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from the guilt of all the fins they have till then committed, they must be judged twice ; contrary to the declarations of scripture, in which one judgment only, of the righteous as well as of the wicked, is spoken of; and that one judgment is foretold to happen at Christ's second coming.

From these arguments I think it evident, that notwithstanding Moses hath fpoken of the justification of Abraham, and Paul hath spoken of the justification of believers, in words sometimes of the present, and sometimes of the past time, these paffages are to be interpreted like many other passages of scripture, in which things future are represented as past, or present, to signify the absolute certainty of their happening. Thus Moses says, in his song, Exod. xv. 13. Thou hast guided them in thy Strength unto thy holy habitation ; that is, thou wilt assuredly guide them. In the prophetic writings, this manner of expressing things future, is common.-We find it ufed likewise by our Lord and his apostles, Matth. xxvi. 28. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many: that is, which is to be shed.Luke xx. 37. Now, that the dead are raised ; 'that is, shall be raised, Mofes dhewed at the bush,-John-iii. 19. He that believeth not is condemned already : shall be condemned, if he does not repent.-Rom. viii. 30. W kom he called, them he also justified; and whom he juslified, them lse also glorified. But as believers are not glorified in the present life, so neither are they justified.1 Cor. xv. 2. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory, &c. But how could persons be already faved, whose salvation depended on the condition of their keeping in memory the doctrines they had been taught !-2 Tim. i. 9. He hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling. Here the expreslion hath saved us, signifies only God's resolution to save us; as is plain from its being put before, his calling us to believe the gospel.—2 Pet. iii. 11. Seeing all these things are dissolved : namely, the heavens and the earth. Thefe, the apostle represents as already dissolved, to shew the certainty of their diffolution at the second coming of Christ. See Prelim. Efsay iv. 10.

Wherefore, since it is usual in scripture, to speak of things future sometimes as present, and sometimes as passed, it does not follow from Moses saying, Abraham believed in the Lord, an!

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he counted it to him for righteousness, that Abraham was then justified: nor from Paul's ipeaking of believers as already justified, that they are justified in the present life. These expressions are to be confidered only as assurances, or promises that Abraham, with all his seed by faith, shall, at the general judgment, have their faith counted to them for righteousness, and be rewarded as righteous persons. This is clear in the case of Abraham. For, as the counting of what Phinehas did to Zimri, for righteousness, consisted in God's promising him the everlasting priesthood, so the counting of Abraham's faith for righteous. ness, consisted in God's promising him the inheritance of Camaan, and not in giving him the actual poffefsion of that inheritance. Farther, as Canaan was the emblem of heaven, the promise to give to Abraham and to his feed the inheritance of Canaan, was also a promise to give them the inheritance of heaven, provided they persevered in their faith and obedience ; for on that circumstance the title of Abraham himself to the heavenly inheritance was suspended, Gen, xviii. 19. as was fora merly observed, p. 3.

From these things it is plain, that Moses's words, Gen. xv. 6. He believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness, do not imply, according to their second meaning, that Abraham was then justified or pardoned, any more than they imply, according to their first meaning, that he then obtained the possesfion of Canaan. They were a declaration only, or promise that Abraham should be pardoned, and put in poffefsion of heaven in due time. This being the true meaning of Moses's words, the expressions in St. Paul's writings, which seem to import that believers are justified in the present life, being formed on Moses's words, muft, like them, be understood as declarations or promises that believers shall certainly be justified at the judgment; agreeably to the usage of the inspired writers, who, to shew the certainty of the future events of which they speak, reprefent them as already come to pass.

If the foregoing account of justification, and of the time when that blefling is beitowed on believers, be agreeable to scripture, the supposition of a first and second justification, framed for the purpose of reconciling the dodrine of Paul and James concern

ing the justification of believers is inadmissible, being contrary both to fcripture and reason. Besides, it is needless, the doctrine of the two apostles being perfectly the same. Wherefore, the expositions which Eftius, Whitby, Locke, Taylor and other commentators have given of certain passages in the epistle to the Romans, in as far as they are built on the supposition of a twofold justification, ought to be rejected as not agreeable to the truth of the gospel.-The same judgment should be pronounced on all those explications of the doctrine of justification, which have any tendency to weaken the obligation of good works. For although the abettors of these explications, attempt to remove that inconveniency by a variety of subtle distinctions, these being not easily understood by the common people, make little or no impression on their minds; while the consequences which flow from the doctrine they are intended to vindicate, being obvious and agreeable to men's passions, have the greatest influence to make them hope for salvation, notwithltanding they continue in their sins. But all hopes of this sort being expressly condemned in the gospel, every explication of the doctrine of justification which warrants such hopes, I repeat it, ought to be rejected, not only as unfcriptural, but as dangerous in the highest degree.

CONCLUSION.

Thus have I endeavoured to shew, that the belief of the doctrines of revelation, is not necessary to the justification of those who are destitute of revelation : and that neither the belief of any particular doctrine, such as, that Jesus is Christ the Son of God, nor of any determinate number of doctrines, such as those contained in creeds and confessions, is necessary to the justification of all who enjoy revelation; because all have not an equal opportunity of knowing, nor an equal capacity to comprehend these doctrines : But that justifying faith consists in one's believing such doctrines of religion as God hath given him an op: portunity and a capacity of knowing; and in his being at pains to acquire such a knowledge of these doctrines as his talents and opportunities enable him to acquire ; whether he hath nothing but his own reason and conscience to direct him, or hath these faculties aided by an external revelation : Confifts also in habitually recollecting these doctrines, so as to be influenced by them, not to a single act of obedience only, but to an habitual compliance with the will of God, as far as he knows it. This idea of justifying faith, I have been at pains to explain and establishi by the example of Abraham's justification, because it accords perfectly with all the things said of justifying faith in the scriptures, and is what men in every age and nation may acquire with those aslistances which God grants to the fincere; and because it is such a faith as qualifies men for heaven, and which, according to the tenor of the new covenant made after the fall with Adam and all his posterity, will be accounted to them for righteousness through the merits of Christ. -I have likewife Thewed, that the inspired writers have afcribed men's juftification to good works, as exprefsly as to faith; not however as if either had any meritorious influence in procuring justification, but as conditions equally required by God, and equally necessary to render men capable of eternal life, and so inseparably connected, that it is impoflible for the one to exist without the other.Farther, I have proved, that the common opinion concerning the justification of believers in the present life, from which so many dangerous consequences have been deduced, is founded in a misunderstanding of the scripture phraseology, and is not agreeable either to reason or experience : not to reason; for how can a man be justified till his trial is finished, and there is an opportunity of judging of his whole conduct? nor to experience; for where is the believer, who in the present life is freed from any of the temporary penal confequences of sin, and is put in poffeffion of the reward which God hath promised to bestow on them whom he accepteth as righteous? The judgment and acquittal of believers, will not happen till Christ returns to judge the world; at which period believers of all ages and nations being raised from the dead, will, by Christ's sentence as judge, be freed for ever from misery and death, and be put in poffeffion of eternal life.

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To conclude, I have thus largely treated of justification by faith, not only because it hath been the subject of much controversy in modern times, but because wrong notions concerning that important article of Christianity, have a tendency to weaken the

obligations of morality: Whereas, right conceptions concerning it, afford the strongest motives to an holy life, throw a great light on the revelations of God, and shew the method of salvation discovered in these revelations, to be consonant to the best ideas men can form of the character of God as the righteous Goverpor of the universe.

PRLFACE

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