Page images

sense he was not a Christian, and yet had a Christain faith, has been already shewn."

The former apostle says of the Jews, “Not the 'hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."??

The whole passage runs thus: “As many as « have sinned without law shall also perish without “ law; and as many as have sinned in the law “shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers “ of the law are just before God, but the doers of « the law shall be justified.” 3 Did the apostle mean to state, that any Jews had been actually justified as “ doers of the law" or merely to shew, that without obedience, yea, complete obedience in all respects, justification could not be had by the law? Thus our Lord said to the lawyer,

“ Thou hast answered right; this do and “thou shalt live." 4

Did the apostle intend to contradict what he elsewhere says? “ deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his

sight?” “ As many as are of the works of the “ law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed “ is every one that continueth not in all things, “ which are written in the book of the law, to do “them ?!"5 His object was to prove both Jews “ and gentiles to be all under sin," as introductory to his opening the doctrine of justification by grace, in Christ, and through faith in him; and this forms the clue to his whole argument.

By the

'B. I. c. i. $ 3. On the approved characters who lived before Christ. ? Ref. 98.

Rom. ii. 12, 13. • Luke x. 28, 29.

s Rom. iii. 20. Gal. iii. 16.

• Of the heathen he says, “ The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen

through faith, preached before the gospel unto • Abraham."'1

The preceding verses are these : “ Abraham be“ lieved God, and it was accounted 2 to him for

righteousness. Know ye, therefore, that they “ which are of faith, the same are the children of “ Abraham.” Then, after the words quoted by his Lordship, the apostle adds," saying, In thee “ shall all nations be blessed. So then they that

are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham : “ for as many as are of the works of the law are “ under the curse.” 3 God, who inspired the scripture, foresaw and predetermined, that the gentiles, under the gospel dispensation, should be admitted into the church, as justified in the same way as Abraham had been justified, namely, by faith in the divine Saviour, and as “made the righteous

ness of God in him.” And a pre-intimation of this was given to Abraham, when it was said, “ In “ thee shall all nations be blessed.” As the apostle says afterwards, “That the blessing of Abraham

might come on the gentiles through Jesus « Christ.” And again,

And again, “ Ye are all one in Christ " Jesus : and, if ye be Christ's, then ye are Abra“ham's seed, and heirs according to the pro“ mise.” 4 One single method of justification, first explicitly stated to Abraham, runs throngh the whole; and not different methods, as might from such detached quotations be concluded.

· Ref. 98.
3 Gal. ij. 6-10.

* êxoyloin, imputed.
* Gal. ii. 14, 28, 29.

“This is the Christian faith, which these holy men had, and we also ought to have. And, although they were not named Christian men, yet it was a Christian faith that they had ; for they looked for all benefits of God the Father, ‘through the merits of bis Son Jesus Christ, as we (now do. This difference is between them and us, that they looked when Christ should come, and we be in the time when he is come. There. fore, says St. Augustine, the time is altered, but (not the faith. For we have both one faith in one · Christ. The same Holy Ghost also, that we have, ‘ had they, saith St. Paul.?!

[ocr errors]

* Here St. Paul represents the Corinthian Chris*tians as having been formerly guilty of great

sins, but as being now washed, sanctified, and justified ; that is, as having been baptized, as

having abandoned their former wickedness, and as having been justified from their former guilt, ‘in the name of Christ, and through the operation of the Divine Spirit at the time of baptism: it is evident that in this passage nothing is spoken of as future ; the washing, the sanctification, the justification, were all events which had already 'taken place.'

The verbs are all in the past time, “ Ye have “ been washed ; ye have been sanctified, &c.”3 But is there any sufficient authority for substituting the words baptized and baptism, for washed ? or for fixing the time when the Corinthians were sanctified by the operation of the Divine Spirit, to * the time of baptism?' Such alterations of the words of inspiration would in Calvinists be considered as arising from a blameable attachment to system : and that justly.—The term wash was used in this figurative sense long before baptism was constituted the sacrament of regeneration; though not without reference to the “divers bap“ tisms” of the Mosaic law.. Thus penitent David prays,

Hom. of Faith, part 2.

? Ref. 99.

'1 Cor. vi. 6. Gr.

“ Wash me throughly from my iniquity, “ and cleanse me from my sins.” “ Purge me with

hyssop, and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall “ be whiter than snow."1 Thus Isaiah exhorts his people in the name of God, “Wash you, make

you clean, put away the evil of your doings from “ before mine eyes ; cease to do evil, learn to do “ well.”? And in like manner Jeremiah, “ Jeru

salem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that “thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain

thoughts lodge within thee?"3 This last citation seems not unlike a call upon them to regenerate 'themselves.'Thus in Proverbs also, “ There is

a generation that is pure in their own eyes, and “yet are not washed from their filthiness." 5 Is not this as applicable to baptized persons who confide in their baptism, as to circumcised Israelites who confided in their legal purifications : nay as to the Pharisees, who trusted in their traditionary washing and baptisms?

But in what manner does our Lord himself address men of this description ? “ The Pharisee “ marvelled that he had not first washed before


Ps. li. 2, 7. ? Is. i. 16, 17. ; Jer. iv. 14. Ez. xviii.31. Matt. xii. 33. Jam. iv. 8.

• Prov. xxx. 12. 'EBattioon, Luke xi. 38–40. VOL. VII.

2 F

“ dinner: and the Lord said, Now do ye

Pharisees “make clean the outside of the cup and platter ;

but your inward part is very wickedness. Ye fools, “ did not he that made that which is without make “ that which is within also ?” Thus again, speaking to his disciples, when he was about to wash their feet, (as an emblem of a more inward and efficacious washing, as well as an example of condescending, self-abasing, self-denying love,) he said, “ He that is washed needeth not save to wash his “ feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, .but not all.! Nay Judas was, for aught we know, entirely on the same ground as to baptism with the other apostles : yet by the attestation of our Judge and Saviour, he was not, and they were, “ washed, and sanctified, and justified.”

Even where baptism is referred to, some expression is generally, if not always, added to shew that something more than outward baptism or any thing inseparable from it, however rightly administered, is intended.? But the figure is employed, where no reference is made to baptism, or to what is declared by our church to be the inward and spiritual grace of baptism.' “Unto him that loved

us, and washed us from our sins in his own “ blood.”3_In the passage, which gave rise to these remarks, the apostle was not speaking of baptism : the term “ washed” is general, and implies, I apprehend, both “ sanctified” and “ justi"fied;" and nothing is said, that allows any one to restrict this to the time of baptism.'

John xiii. 8. 10. Heb. x. 22. 1 Pet. iii. 21.

? Tit. iii. 5. Eph. v. 26, 27.

Rev. i. 5. vii. 14.


« PreviousContinue »