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· 156 JUSTIFICATION, IN MODERN NOTIONS, SIMPLY THE RESULT
sent; it cannot have any date, except in the opinion of such as hold that every real Christian must be able to assign the precise moment of his conversion ; and these are now comparatively few. For since they reject justification through the Sacrament of Baptism, and hold it to be simply the result of the act of faith apprehending Christ, laying hold of His merits, and applying them to itself, this justification must necessarily consist in a number of repeated acts, each separately wrought in the soul by the agency of the Holy Spirit, but none differing in kind from another, so that the one should be the cause, the rest the result. Justification then must be to them continually and simply present; not as the result of any thing past', but as consequent upon their present act of casting themselves on the Redeemer's merits: they have been, they trust, and are, justified ; but their present justification is the result, they think, simply of their present faith ; and so at each former time their then act of reliance on His merits was the means of their justification, it was then to them the present source of justification ; and in like manner, in such as
This is the more remarkably illustrated in a recent very popular work of a Dissenting missionary, in that the writer, when called upon to minister, in a case of extreme distress, seems to have no notion that Baptism made any difference at all in a person's state. A mother sent to him in great agony on her death-bed, on account of the infanticides of which she had been guilty, when an heathen. "I began to reason with her, and urged the consideration, that “she had done this when an heathen, and during the times of ignorance, which “ God winked at ;' but this afforded her no consolation. I then directed her “ to the faithful saying, which is worthy of all acceptation, that Christ “ JEsus came into the world to save sinners.' This imparted a little comfort ; "and after visiting her frequently, and directing her thoughts to that Blood “ which cleanseth from all sin, I succeeded, by the blessing of God, in tranquil“ lizing her troubled spirit; and she died about eight days after my first inter“ view, animated with the hope, that'her sins, though many, would all be for“ given her.' And what but the Gospel could have brought such consolation ?" -Williams's S. Sea Islands, p. 480, 1. Consolation is not the main object of the Gospel, yet the Gospel would have brought much more consolation, had this teacher known it all, and could have told her of the "one Baptism for the remission of sins," that she “ had been washed, had been cleansed ;" and so could he have declared authoritatively, without altering our Lord's own words, “ Thy “ sins are forgiven."
OF PRESENT FAITH ; IN SCRIPTURE, OF A PAST ACT.
persevere to the end. These would take up the words of St. Paul, as they stand in our English Bibles, and would be interpreted according to our present idiom', “ Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God;" “much more then, being now justified by His blood;" “but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus ;" as exactly expressing their meaning. It is then very remarkable, in contrast with these views, that Holy Scripture never speaks of justification with regard to individuals, simply as present; it never says strictly, "ye being justified," but uniformly "ye having been justified," and so refers to a past act, whereby they were justified once for all, or placed “in a state of salvation " or justification, wherein they were to abide or to be kept. And this usage is the more remarkable, in that the other form“ being justified " is used, as often as Scripture would speak of God's method of grace in the abstract, without reference to individuals. Thus St. Paul to the Romans, "Therefore having been justified
(alkawdévres) by faith, we have(ěxouer) peace with God, through
our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom also we have received (coxń“ kajev) access into this grace, and rejoice (Kavyúspeda) in hope, “ &c." So again, (ver. 9.) “Much more then having now been “justified (dikawwlévtes) by His Blood, we shall be saved.” “If
being enemies we were reconciled (karniłáy nuev) much more “ having been reconciled' (karallayévtes) shall we be saved.” (ver. 10.) “By whom we have now received (eNáßoper) the
atonement.” (ver. 11.) But as soon as St. Paul has to declare this as a general statement of God's dealings with regard to His whole purpose of mercy, and without respect to individuals, the present is used. Thus in ver. 17. "they which receive (Aapsávovres)
1 The words, “being justified," meant, according to the translators, " being “in a justified state," just as in the Collect for Christmas Day, they translated “ renati,” “ being regenerate," meaning" being persons regenerated or re-born," which is equivalent to “having been regenerate.” The controversy some years back, which would interpret this as a prayer for regeneration, is a curious illustration of the effect of modern notions in altering the meaning of ancient language.
> E. V. “ being justified” (throughout), “ have access," “ being reconciled."
158 JUSTIFICATION, IN ITSELF, IN PRESENT TIME ; OF MEN IN PAST.
“ the abundance of grace-shall reign in life.” “It is God " which justifieth” (dikatūr); “all have sinned and come short of “ the glory of God, being justified” (duxalotpevol), &c. And so in like manner to the Galatians, "a man is not justified (dekaloūrai) “ by the works of the law" (ii. 16); "the Scripture foreseeing " that God justifieth (@ukaloi) the heathen through faith ” (iii. 8); " that no man is justified (@KALŪTAL) by the law" (iii. 11); but when he speaks of individuals, he again uses the past, “Such? “ were some of you; but ye were washed (úmedovonole), but ye “ were sanctified (iyiáoOnte), but ye were justified (éducaiúönte), " in the Name of the LORD Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God;" “ He saved (čowoer) us by the washing of regeneration, and re"newing of the Holy Ghost—that having been justifed (Olkalw* Dévres) by His grace, we may become heirs.” (Tit. iii. 5—7.) And so both St. James and St. Paul, speaking of the specific act of faith involving obedience, whereby Abraham was justified, say, the one, "if Abraham were justified;" the other“ was not Abra“ ham our father justified ?" (both édekatúon); but the general proposition which each 'derives from this example, they express in the present, (iv. 5.) St. Paul, “to him that worketh not, but be“ lieveth (Tloteúovri) on Him that justifieth (dukaloūvra) the un“godly:" St. James, “ Ye see, then, how that by works a man " is justified (dikalOūrai), and not by faith only.” And so it is universally true, that there is no one place in Holy Scripture, in which individuals are spoken of otherwise than as having been justified; while the use of the other form, whenever individuals are not spoken of, shows the more that there was some reason for relinquishing that form, and adopting this, so soon as they are. And this is, that the justification of individuals is not simply the result of their present belief, (in which case it would be most natural, as moderns do, but as Holy Scripture never does, to speak of it in the present,) but was conferred upon them through the “one “ Baptism for the remission of sins ;" which being a past act, so must the justification thereby conferred be spoken of, as having taken place in past time.
"1 Cor. vi. 11. "are washed ; are sanctified--are justified."-E. V.
ATONEMENT, & ITS APPLICATION, PAST IN ACT, ABIDE IN EFFECT. 159
And this characteristic mode of speaking is not confined to the word “justified” only ; it runs through the whole Apostolic Epistles, as being written to baptized persons; so that, while the fruits of the gifts of Baptism, as victory over the world, being temples of the Holy Ghost, are spoken of as present (“yea, in all these " things, we are more than conquerors,” ütepveõuev, Rom. viii. 37. " ye are (ote) the temple of the Holy Ghost" (1 Cor. iii. 16): the gift is uniformly spoken of as past. More than this, the gift is spoken of as having been conferred once for all (it is expressed by a tense which denotes what has been done once for all), and just as our Saviour's Death is spoken of as having taken place once for all, although the fruits of that precious Death continue, and shall continue for ever; so also its atoning, justifying, sanctifying influences are spoken of as having been imparted to us through Baptism, which took place once for all ; though to the faithful they be afterwards continued, and enlarged in them. Thus, in addition to the passages already adduced out of the Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul says, " we died' with Christ,” (in Baptism to which the context refers); " but having been made free from sin “(élevdepwl évres) ye were made servants (édovl6onte) to righteous“ness ?." The act whereby they were made free, is as much past as their former slavery. “ Thanks be to God that ye were (178) “ the servants of sin, but ye obeyed (uankovoare) that form of doc“ trine into which ye were delivered," or cast, as in a mould (trapedóÔnte). “Ye were slaves to sin,” “ were free from righteousness;" “ but now having been made free from sin, and having been made ser"dants (élevbepw évres, čov.wbévtes) to God, ye bave," &c. (éxete). “ So then, my brethren, ye also were deadened' (ébavarúönte) to “ the law through the body of Christ.” “ But now, having died “(Àrobavóvres ^) we were made free (carnpyhonuev) from the law." And so after describing in the seventh chapter the slavery of the
1 árebávousv. Rom. vi. 8. E. V. “ be dead."
? Rom. vi. 18. 22.“ being made free, ye became.” E. V. ver. 18. “ and become," ver. 22. “ have obeyed,” ver. 17. * Rom. vii. 4. 6. " are become dead," " that being dead," " are delivered.”
Griesbach's and Scholz's reading. The other reading, útodavóvros, is, as to the argument, the same.
tained when this peculiarity of Scripture language has once been set before our eyes : any one can, with the original text, observe it for himself throughout. Yet may it be worth while to present the results as to those two of St. Paul's Epistles, which first gave occasion to these remarks, in that they speak of the past “sealing" of Christians ; the 2nd to the Corinthians, and that to the Ephesians. The instances in that to the Corinthians are also comparatively few, in that that Epistle is more occupied with subjects relating to the subsequent behaviour and relations of his converts ; in that to the Ephesians, on the other hand, they are extremely condensed, on account of the fulness wherewith St. Paul sets forth to this spiritual Church the mysteries of the Gospel.
The earliest instance in the Epistle to the Corinthians has already been dwelt upon at large'; and the Apostle uses the same language, in part, in another place, where, in the midst of speaking, in present time, of his then condition, “we who are in this “ tabernacle groan, being burthened (Bapoúpe voe), not that we “ wish (érojev) to be unclothed,” &c. he inserts the mention of that act of God, whereby he was qualified thus to "long to “ be clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life ;" and in so doing he immediately reverts to the past, as speaking of a past act ; " but He that wrought us? (katepyaoá ueros, “ moulded us) for this same thing is God, who also gave us “ (ó vai dovs) the earnest of the Spirit.” This having been done, the Apostle reverts to the account of his present state ; "we then, being confident (@appoūrtes), and knowing that, being "present in the body, we are absent [are in a state of absence] " from the Lord, for we walk (are walking] by faith, not by “sight, we are confident (Oappoữuev), I say, and choose rather “ (evdokoðuev) ” &c.
The second passage in the Epistle furnishes an instance of that accuracy of language, which our modern languages cannot fully preserve, in distinguishing between an act which has taken place once for all, and one which continues, not in its effect only, but in itself,
i See p. 135. sqq. ? 2 Cor. v. 2-8. “ hath wrought us-hath given us." E. V. 3 C. iii. 2, 3.