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the way of conveying the spirit to the “ wind “ which bloweth where it listeth, no man knows “ whence it comes, or whither it goes.” (John, iii. 8.) That, as it is impossible to see and know the causes of the changes in the wind, so it is with every one that is born of the spirit. We see the effect produced, but the manner of producing it is beyond our comprehension.
OF THE JUSTIFICATION OF MAN.
WE ARE ACCOUNTED RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD, ONLY FOR
THE MERIT OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS
BEFORE we proceed to the direct consideration of this Article, it will be necessary to explain the meaning of the terms it employs.
(1.) The meaning of the uord “ justified."'b This word is used in two senses: the one signifies a person who is in the favour of God, by a mere act of his grace, and not upon consideration of any holiness or merit in the individual ;a the other signifies a man who is truly holy, and as such is beloved by God. The meaning of the term, as used in the Gospel, is, being put in the favour of God, or accounted righteous before him. This is evident, not only from its origin, but from the context in which we find it. As to its origin, it seems to have been taken from the term chasidimo among the Jews, a designation of such as observed the external parts of the law strictly, and who were, therefore, supposed to be in the favour of God, in opposition to which, the design of the New Testament is to show, that these things did not justify, or put men in the favour of heaven. Again, as to its context, we find that St. Paul intends in the Epistle to the Romans, to show that the observance of the Mosaic law could not justify, that is, could not put men in a state of favour or acceptance with God,
a See Homily
“ of the Salvation of Markind,” and, “ of a true and lively Faith.”
b This word is taken from Courts of Judicature, in which when
person has been proved innocent of the charge brought against him, he is acquitted or justified, i. e., declared not guilty.
* In this sense it is used by St. Paul, being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” (Rom. v. 1.)
by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Gal. ii. 16.
This word literally means a turgid, showy kind of virtue. See Parkhurst in voc.
as opposed to state of wrath and condemnation. And this he illustrates by the example of Abraham, who was in the favour of God, before his circumcision, on account of his trusting to his promises, and obeying his commands; which faith" was imputed to him for righteousness," that is, God reckoned upon these acts, as if they had been an entire course of righteousness, and, thus,“ justified him freely by grace.” (Rom. iv. 3, 4, &c.)
In this act of justification, there is a great difference between the consideration upon which it is done, and the condition upon which it is offered. The one is a dispensation of God's mercy, in which he has regard to his own attributes and the honour of his laws; the other is the method in which that is applied to us, so as to lead to the perfection of human nature, and be consistent with the holiness of God,
(2.) As to the meaning of the word “ faith.” This term generally signifies in the New Testament the complex of Christianity,a in opposition to “ the law,” which as generally means the whole Mosaic dispensation.
« The faith of Christ,” therefore, is equivalent to “ the Gospel of Christ,” which is thus called, because Christianity is a federal religion, in which the only
a Thus, in Gal. i. 23, St. Paul is said “ to preach the faith which once he destroyed.”
condition on our part is the believing this revelation; but still our faith must receive the whole Gospel, the precepts as well as the promises of it, and regard Christ in his threefold character of a prophet to teach, a king to rule, as well as a priest to save us.a
(3.) The meaning of " faith only." By this phrase is not to be understood, faith as separated from good works, properly so called, but as it is opposed to the rites of the Mosaic law. And those works are called good, which consist not merely in assumed and voluntary mortifications of the body, but in acts of true holiness and sincere obedience to the laws of God.
In defining the doctrine of justification, the Article considers it in two respects: I. As to the meritorious cause of our justification; and, II. As to the means by which this is effected.
I. As to the meritorious cause of our justification. “ We are accounted righteous before God, orily for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." St. Paul frequently asserts, that “ we
are justified freely by grace, through the re“ demption in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. iii. 24.) Indeed, that God pardons sin, and receives us into favour only through the death of Christ, is so fully expressed in the Gospel, (as was already proved in the second Article,) that it is impossible that any person can doubt it, who firmly believes and attentively reads the New Testament.
a See Dwight's Theol. ser. 66.
II. As to the means by which this is effected. “ We are accounted righteous by faith.” This is, likewise, frequently asserted by St. Paul. Thus, in Rom. iii. 28, he says,
“ We are justified by faith, without the works of the law.” Here, however, a difficulty seems to arise from the assertion of St. James: “A man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” (ii. 24.) But this will be removed by considering, that St. Paul merely excludes the rites of the Mosaic law. This is evident (1.) from his design, which was to guard against the Judaising Christians, who thought that the law of Moses was still to retain its force, and in opposition to them, he says, “weare justified by faith, without the works of the law.” (2.) He had before divided all mankind into those who were “in the law," and those who were"without the law,” that is, into Jews and Gentiles.b The same term then, when afterwards used, must have the same meaning, the Mosaical dispensation. On the other hand, St. James does not use these terms in the same sense. This is evident, (1.) From his design, which was to op
b He afterwards shows, that the Gentiles were not free from, or without, the moral law. The law bere mentioned, therefore, must be the Mosaic ritual.