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to it. In this hopeless situation we lay, when the Lord, in mercy, provided a law of grace for our recovery, from misery and ruin; and laid help upon one, who is mighty to save. God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we inight live through him. He tasted death for every man: and God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses. And now, according to the gracious constitution of the gospel, whosoever believeth in him, is justified from all things, from which he could not be justified by the law of works. To conclude, all in a word; as Christ lived and died for us, and, as our substitute, has magnified the law and made it honourable, by his obedience, and died to satisfy justice, by pay. ing the debt of suffering, God may now be just and the justifier of all who believe in Jesus.
Having said thus much, in order to shev the ground, on which the doctrine of justification is founded, I shall now proceed to shew what is implied in being justified, or what is meant by justification.
Some suppose that to be pardoned and justified is one and the same thing: and that nothing more is implied in justification, than a mere pardon of sin. But I can
by no means subscribe to that opinion. That pardon of sin is included in the justifi. cation of a sinner, I allow : büt, that this is all which is included in it, I must deny. Justification undoubtedly implies much more than a mere pardon. Every person knows, that in common language, to be justified and pardoned are two very different things. And why then should we confound them here, in the present case? True it is, that, in the day of a sinner's conversion to God, pardon and justification are happily united; but still pardon is not the whole of what is implied in being justified. The idea, which I have of justification, shall be expressed in the following words. “When God justifies a sinner, he not only pardons all his sins, past and present, but he also receives him into his love and favor; accounts him righteous, and gives him a title to heaven.”—This is my definition of that term, and it is both brief and plain ; and I doubt not, but it will stand the test, both of reason and scripture. And that you may notice the definition more particularly, I have marked it with commas.
I expect to have occasion of adverting to several things mentioned in this letter, when I come to treat of the righteousness, by which we are justified, and the faith,
righelf, you will have here elucidate the
through which we are interested in that righteousness. At which time, I flatter myself, you will clearly discover the propriety of what I have here advanced. I hope that I shall be able to elucidate the matter, in so plain a manner, as may be satisfactory to your mind.
For the present, I conclude,
Of the RIGHTEOUSNESS by which Sinners
Bath, June 10, 1790.
IN my last, I briefly shewed what I understood by justification, and what it is to be justified, in a gospel sense. In this letter I am to speak of that righteousness, by which we are to be justified. And that I
may be sure to speak accurately and steer clear of error, in a matter of such great importance, I shall have an immediate recourse to the fountain of truth, the Bible.
In the apostolic writings, we may observe such expressions as these, to wit, “ Being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.” Rom. x. 3. and in the third chapter of the same epistle, 21st and 22d verses, we meet with the same expression: “ The righteousness of God,” &c.—and in the fifth chapter of St. Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians, and last verse, we have these very plain, very decisive, and very comfortable words ; “ For he was made sin for us, who knew no sin ; that we might be made the righte
"mis bahomada no Shes ousness of God in him.” I might mention other places, where the same expression occurs, but these are sufficient. • Now it is beyond all doubt, or controversy, that, whatever this righteousness may be, it is the only righteousness for the sake of which a sinner can be justified ; or on account of which our sins are pardoned, our persons accepted, our souls restored to the favor of God, and intitled to heaven. It is indeed our only justifying righteousness; and it is called the righteousness of God, in contra-distinction to the righteousness of man. Man's righteousness, in his highest attainments, is still scanty and imperfect : but this is completely perfect and God-like, equal to all the law can de. mand in its utmost strictness and spiritu. ality.
Nor is it, I think, hard to determine what this righteousness consists in, if we humbly seek to the inspired writings for information. It is sometimes called the righteousness of God; and sometimes the righteousness of Christ. It is so called, 2d Peter i. 1. 6 To them who have obtained like. precious faith in the righteousness of God our Saviour, Jesus Christ.” And what the righteousness of Christ consists in, you may discover by reading Rom. V. 19. 6 By the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous." By the obedi. ence of ane, that is, of Christ, as may be seen in the context. Here the righteousness of Christ, by which we are justified, or the means by which we are made righteous, is said to consist in his obedience. Now we all know that obedience consists in the observance of a law : consequently the obedience of Christ, by which many are made righteous, or just, consists in his.per