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end, Mark xi.
to the end, and
gious observer of their law. He had likewise been pronounced innocent even by the From Matth. Roman Governor, profligate and abandoned as that governor was; and therefore when xx. 10. to the they called out" His blood be on us and on our children," they involved themselves in 15. to the end, the guilt of the most atrocious murder that ever was committed-guilt, which must Luke xix. 45. have pricked with remorse the conscience of any man not totally destitute of all moral John xii. 19. to feelings. They are said indeed by St Peter (a) to have done it in ignorance”—i. e. the end. in ignorance of Jesus being the Messiah promised to their forefathers; but they could not be ignorant, that they had consented to the death of a man, against whom the chief priests and Pharisees had failed to bring proof of any kind of guilt even by suborning false witnesses, and whom the governor himself had pronounced to be absolutely guiltless. Yet even of those sinful wretches, no other repentance seems to have been required as a condition of baptism than such a change of religious principles as was implied in sincerely professing the Christian faith. Repent (Thoare), says the apostle, and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, every one of you, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost;-and with many other words. did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward (σxoxis) perverse or corrupt generation ;"-forsake the traditions of the Pharisees, and their worldly interpretations of the prophecies of the Messiah, and embrace the truth as it is in Jesus. That all this is here implied in the sense of the word repent, and in the apostle's exhortations to save themselves from that perverse generation, seems evident from the fact, that if it be not, he appears to have baptized them without having required any profession of their faith at all, which cannot be supposed by any party of Christians.
It seems to me therefore that there is really no difference whatever in the principles of those sincere Christians, who have so long disturbed the peace of the church with controversies concerning the terms or conditions on which those of riper years were by the apostles first admitted into a state of salvation, or in the language of that age were justified. To whom was St Paul addressing himself when he said (b) that " God is the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus; that it is one God who shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith; and that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law?" It was to Romans of mature age, who had been either idolatrous heathens, or at most proselytes of the gate from a conviction of the falsehood of the religion of Rome, and of the truth of the law of Moses; and of those persons he expressly declares, that no other condition of justification, in this sense of the word, was required, but faith in Jesus, or a full admission of the truth of the Gospel. The reason is obvious and clearly stated by him; " For all, says he, (c) both Jews and Gentiles, have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness-dia Thr TapeTV TWV πрoyeуoróтwν άμαзтnuárw-for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God," who overlooked or disregarded (d) the sins committed in their former state of heathenism or Judaism.
As their heathen or Jewish virtues contributed nothing to their justification, or admission into the church or kingdom of God, so the sins, which they committed whilst they were heathens or Jews, operated not to their exclusion from that kingdom. No other repentance therefore was required of them as a condition of that justification of which we are now treating, than such a change of mind as is expressed by the word METάvoia; and that is surely implied in their believing the Gospel, for they could not really embrace it, without forsaking all their former courses. It appears not to have been inquired of them whether they felt for their past sins that godly sorrow expressed (c) Ibid.
(a) Acts iii. 17, &c. (b) Rom. iii. 21, &c. on the words πάρεσις and προγίνομαι, VOL. III.
(d) See Schleusner and Parkhurst
&c. or 31.
A. M 4037, by the words xara Otòr aún, which is required of sinful Christians as working repentance &c. or 5442. to salvation-μetárolar eis owτnpíar; for in the converted heathens and Jews, that repentVulg. Ær 33, ance-μTária-that change of mind and life which is the most important part of all repentance, had been wrought, not by sorrow for their pasts sins, but by the grace of God through the preaching of the apostles. It is perfectly clear that this justification is a thing quite different from our final salvation, or justification at the tribunal of Christ; for St Paul teaches expressly (a), that when we are, in this sense, "justified by the grace of God and the washing of regeneration," we are only made" heirs according to the hope of eternal life;" and of that heritage, we shall see by and bye, that we may be disappointed by our own apostacy or disobedience.
The controversy about the conditions of this first justification, as it has been called *, keenly as it has been agitated, is of very little importance, except to those who are to preach the Gospel unto heathen or other unconverted nations. In Christian nations all men, except the Antipædobaptists and Quakers, are, in this sense, justified in their infancy, when they can neither perform, nor by themselves promise to perform, any conditions whatever; for all that can be understood, by the promise made by their godfathers and godmothers in their name, is, that they shall be carefully instructed in the doctrines and duties of the Gospel as soon as they shall be able to comprehend them. I think indeed that when a person of mature age, who was born and educated in a Christian country, is to be admitted by baptism into that state of salvation or justification of which we have been treating, greater care is necessary to inquire into the nature of his repentance of his past sins, than there is in the admission of a converted heathen into that state. No man in such circumstances can be so ignorant of his duty to God and his neighbour, as an unenlightened heathen; and therefore if such a man has fallen into gross sins against the law of nature, which in him must have been wilful, something more should be required as a condition of his admission by baptism into the church or kingdom of God, than a solemn profession of that faith which, when made by a converted heathen, implies all that repentance which is denoted by the word práva. He should be required to give evidence of the sincerity of his repentance by displaying some symptoms of that godly sorrow, from which such repentance ordinarily proceeds; but at the admission of infants to this state of salvation, of which they are surely as capable in the Christian church as they were in the Jewish, no other condition whatever can be required than a promise that they shall be properly taught or instructed as soon as they shall be able to learn.
I have said, that it is by baptism alone that infants as well as those of riper years can be admitted into the church, or justified; and such is certainly the doctrine of the church of England, and, as it appears to me, of Christ and his apostles. We have seen, that whosever is in a state of salvation must likewise be justified; but all persons duly baptized, are by the church taught (b) to consider themselves as called to a state of salvation, as being made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors or heirs of the kingdom of heaven; but whoever is in this state is certainly, in the language of all the reformers, justified. When the church says, (c)" that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, albeit they cannot put away our sins, and endure
(a) Titus iii. 7.
I am perfectly aware that the doctrine of a first and final justification has been disliked by many emi. nent divines, and by no less a man than Bishop Bull among them; but I think it impossible to deny that by the word justification, as well in the authorised version of the New Testament, as in the Articles and Homilies of the church of England, is meant sometimes the state into which we are admitted by baptism, and sometimes the acquittal of those who shall
end, Mark xi.
to the end, and
the severity of God's judgment, are yet pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ," she From Matth. can mean nothing else by justification than that state into which we are admitted by xx. 19. to the baptism; for whatever works we may perform in heaven after our final justification at 15. to the end, the end of this world, will not be the fruits of faith, which we are assured will then Luke xix. 45. be swallowed up in vision and enjoyment, because (a) "faith is the substance of things John xii. 19. to hoped for,"-not possessed, "the evidence of things not seen." The same church else- the end. where (6) instructs us, that "our office is, not to pass the time of this present life unfruitfully and idly after that we are baptized or justified, not caring how few good works we do, to the glory of God, and the profit of our neighbours;" from which it is evident that she considers her members as justified, in the sense in which the only condition of justification is faith, at the very instant in which they are baptized. In perfect harmony with this, Cranmer teaches, (c) that the "way by which God hath determined, that man, being of age, and coming to Christendom, should be justified, is baptism."
The authority of Cranmer and even of the English church would indeed be nothing were it not supported by the Holy Scriptures; but by them, as we have already seen, it is amply supported. In a passage lately referred to, St Paul says expressly, that "after the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us"-we us-brought us into the Christian church or kingdom of God (d), " by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Our Saviour himself says expressly (e), that "except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God;" which surely implies, that whosoever is born of water and of the Spirit does thereby enter into the kingdom of God, and is of course justified.
Baptism, however, is not in the Scripture anywhere, I believe, called justification, but very often regeneration (f);—and appears to be the only regeneration which was ever mentioned by the apostles and evangelists, or the earliest uninspired writers of the Christian church. The reason of its receiving this denomination was, that all who were converted from idolatry to the Mosaic law, were in the Jewish church viewed, as has been already shewn, in the light of new creatures; and the converts from heathenism and Judaism to the Christian faith being considered in the same light when incorporated into the Christian church, the ordinance of baptism was naturally called their regeneration or second birth, because by it they were born into a new state-the state of salvation or justification. To this regeneration the baptism by water is as essential a part as baptism by the Spirit; for we see (g) that the latter did not, in the case of Cornelius, supersede the necessity of the former; and therefore, though baptism by water will, in the case of the adult, signifiy nothing to his final justification at the last day, if it be not received by faith, the case is otherwise with respect to baptized infants, who, if they die before the commission of actual sin, shall unquestionably be saved at the day of judgment *. Even in the case of adults, men, who cannot discern the secrets of the heart, are in duty bound to judge charitably. God, who is faithful, will always
(a) Hebrews xi. 1.
(b) Homily on Salvation.
(c) Necessary Doctrine, &c.
place of happiness must be provided for all infants,
(d) See Schleusner on the word rázwi
(e) St John iii. 5.
(f) Ibid. 7. 1 Peter ii. 23. 1 Cor. xii. 13. but if they are to be raised from the dead, as unActs ii. 38. Titus iii. 5. (g) Acts x.
* It appears to me indeed, that in some one of the many mansions of our heavenly Father's house, a
doubtedly they are, it is not conceivable that they
A. M. 4037. confer the benefits promised in his sacraments, unless prevented by want of faith in &c. or 5142. those who should receive them; and therefore all who were regularly baptized with Vulg. Er. 33, water, were in the primitive church said to be regenerated, or born a-new †, because &c. or 31. they were admitted into the visible church or kingdom of God, and therefore to be Flooked on as justified persons, who had received the Spirit at the same time.
From this state of salvation or justification, however, a man may certainly fall; for every duly baptized infant is undoubtedly justified, though, alas many infants, after arriving at the age of manhood, have done despite to the Spirit of grace, by which they were at baptism "sealed (a) unto the day of (final) redemption," or justification (b). The reason of this is very obvious; for the conditions on which we can continue in our state of justification, and be finally justified at the tribunal of Christ, are not exactly the same with those on which we were at first admitted into it. The sole condition required of those who from among the Jews and Gentiles were converted by the preaching of the apostles, and at the age of manhood admitted into the church, was, as we have seen, such faith in Christ, as necessarily implied in it that change of heart and purpose which is denoted by the word utrdoia. The conditions on which those in riper years are in Christian countries admitted into it by baptism, are the same faith together with that repentance for such sins as they may have committed, which involves in it contrition, or that " godly sorrow, which worketh repentance to salvation—μerávorav eis owongía-not to be repented of. By infants no conditions whatever can be performed, and therefore none are personally required of them; but it is obvious that no man can continue to enjoy all the privileges of his first justification, who does not obey the laws of the Gospel, to which at his baptism either he promised himself, or a promise was made for him, that by God's help he would be obedient Faith and obedience therefore are the conditions, on which a Christian can continue in that state of salvation to which he was admitted by baptism, and by which alone he can be justified at the tribunal of Christ, before which "we must all appear, that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad;" for "God will render to every man according to his deeds," and not according to his faith only; " to them, who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory and honour, and immortality, eternal life; but to them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile." (c)
Our present state, however, as I have often repeated, is but a state of probation, in which we have a steady course to pursue, though we are liable to diviate from it both to the right hand and to the left. Perfection is not to be attained in this world, nor is it indeed expected from us; but it is expected that we shall make daily advances towards it, till we become meet to be inheritors of some one of the many mansions of our heavenly Father's house, which is laid open to us by the death and resurrection of our Redeemer alone. To encourage us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, we are assured that the Comforter, even that Blessed Spirit whom our Lord sent from his Father on the apostles," shall remain with the church for ever," to enable every individual member, who in earnest endeavours to obey the Gospel, to "work and to do according to his good pleasure;" that to every Christian who devoutly asks his aid, that aid will be granted by our Heavenly Father more readily than any one of us gives good gifts to his children; that the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, dwelleth with the church, and is in every good Christian; and that it is by the influ
Hence St Augustin (tom. 9. p. 169.) says"Simon ille Magus natus erat ex aqua et Spiritu," though probably at the time of his baptism, and certainly soon after it, he was " in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity,"
(a) Eph. iii. 30.
ence of the Holy Ghost that we are renewed in the spirit of our minds, and "have put From Matth. on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created xx. 10. to the him." (a)
end, Mark xi. 15. to the end,
to the end, and
This last expression, with several others of the same import scattered through the Luke xix. 45. writings of St Paul, appear to me to refer to those graces of the Holy Ghost, which, ac- John xii. 19. to cording to the unanimous opinion of the fathers of the church, were conferred on the the end. first parents of the human race in paradise, and which were forfeited by their fall when they forfeited their title to eternal life, to prepare them for which those graces had been bestowed on them. In my opinion therefore, every text which speaks of the renewing of
araxairwars-the restoration of the Holy Ghost, gives a powerful support to that primitive doctrine, which is so much disliked by some moderns of name, for no other reason, that I can conceive, than that it was taught by many of the school divines. But the shcool divines were men of great acuteness, who taught many truths as well as many errors; and if this ancient doctrine be an error, it is surely a harmless one; for that Adam and Eve were immediately taught by God in some way internal, or external, or both, is as certain as that the book of Genesis was written by Divine inspiration. We likewise are taught by God externally in the Holy Scriptures, and internally by the Holy Ghost speaking in the still small voice to our minds, as well to enlighten our understanding as to purify our hearts. Even faith itself is "the gift of God;" for, as one of the greatest of our old Divines well observes, (b)" Christ is not only given unto us, in whom we may believe, but it is also given us on the behalf of Christ to believe on him; and this last gift is the gift of the Holy Ghost working an assent unto that which by the word is propounded to us. It was by this internal operation of the Holy Ghost that the Lord opened (c) the heart of Lydia, so that she attended to the things which were spoken by Paul;" and it is by the same operation that "the word preached profiteth, when it is mixed (d) with faith in them that hear it." But we are not only enlightened by the Spirit of God operating on our intellectual powers, but also directed by the same Spirit in our conduct; for we are assured, (e) that " as many, and only as many, as are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God; that the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God; and that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
Every thing therefore which was lost by the fall of the first Adam has been more than restored to us through the second. We hold our title to eternal life by a much surer tenure; if by the commission of wilful sin we fall from that state of salvation into which we were admitted at our baptism, we may be restored to it in the same way that men of riper years are at first justified, by repentance and faith, which we are not sure that under the first covenant we could have been; and if even from that period, we seek, by patient continuance in well-doing, for glory and honour and immortality, we shall by the gracious terms of the Gospel covenant be finally justified at the tribunal of Christ, and " inherit the kingdom prepared for us from the beginning of the world."
Through the whole of this discussion I have industriously avoided the mention of any kind of instrument of justification; for "we are justified freely by Divine grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood (f);" and, as Bishop Bull observes, (g) " Omnis caussa instrumentalis, suo modo, in effectum influit, eique effecti productio propriè attribui potest. Jam, vero, cum justificatio nihil aliud sit quam gratiosus Dei actus, quo peccata nostra nobis condonet, ac nos ad salutem acceptet, valde absurdum esset dicere, vel fidem, vel
(a) St John xiv. 16, 17. (b) Pearson on the Creed. (ƒ) Rom. iii, 24, 25.
Philippians ii. 12, 13. St Luke xi. 13. Ephesians iv. 23.
(c) Acts xvi. 14.
Colossians iii. 10, (e) Rom. viii. 14, &c.