Imatges de pÓgina

the question concerning our present claim to heaven upon Gospel terms, turns only on what is present, and what serves for the time being. A present right is not, therefore, no right, or not certain for the present, because of its being liable to forfeiture on such and such suppositions afterwards. This I observe here, to remove the prejudices which some may possibly conceive against the very notion of present remission, (either in the Sacraments or out of them,) only because it is not absolute in every view and upon every supposition, but on the present view only, or in the circumstances now present. Indeed remissions of sins is a kind of continued act of God towards good men, often repeated in this life, and more and more confirmed the more they improve; ascertained to them against all future chances at their departure from hence, but not finally, or in the most solemn form conferred, before the day of judgment "."

This quotation, after a few words of introduction, has these words, "God often confers remission, or justification for the time being in this life present, with certain and immediate effect, according to the degree or extent of it." The Doctor must here allude to or mean the particular acts of justification or remission recorded in

• Waterland on the Eucharist, chap. ix. p. 322.

Scripture from the cases he afterwards adduces, and calls coming to particulars. If a principle or system of justification in this life is to be established, it must be general and invariable, and apply to all men under particular circumstances. The cases of Christ remitting sins were all special, and the power Christ gave his Apostles of remission of sins was also special, and shews remission was not general in this life; these are the first cases mentioned by the Doctor, and he observes upon them, that they were present remission of some kind or other, but who can doubt the power of Christ, &c. of remitting sins? These cases prove, as far as negative proof can, that remission in this life is not general but special. The Doctor afterwards recites a number of texts, (containing general expressions, to shew the cause of justification) to prove his statement of remission to some degree or other, and from the present or past tenses being used he has drawn his conclusion, but which have been fully and clearly shewn that no dependance can be placed upon them. See heads, "Preliminary observations to quotations from Scripture," and "Texts of Scripture in favour of justification in this life quoted and answered." He proceeds "So then present remission in some cases and circumstances may be justly looked upon as a clear point." That they

have taken place is proved by many statements in Scripture is beyond doubt, and in every case the sentence was especially pronounced. He then says, "Nevertheless we are to understand it in a sense consistent with what St. Paul teaches elsewhere, We are made partakers of Christ (finally) if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." We now plainly see by a reasonable construction of the words in this statement, that they prove beyond all question, there must be a continuance as an absolute condition; how can justification take place till the condition is performed? There can be no justification, either for the present or any other time, without partaking of Christ, and here is a condition having a continuance unto the end, which precludes all manner of justification by or under Christ till the condition is performed. The Doctor, by his own shewing, has proved there can be no justification in this life as a general system, for, or upon any particular act being done, or condition performed by man, and it cannot but be supposed it must take place, if it takes place at all in this life, upon some particular act being done. The Doctor has stated there is a distinction between present and final justification, and that both are absolute, although he afterwards says, "the party may live long enough to need a new grant." How is it then

absolute? This is making justification a sort of running account, to be renewed as occasion requires; "but not finally, or in the most solemn form conferred, before the day of judgment." Scripture speaks only of one justification, which must be permanent, and having once taken place must be irrevocable. The text most in favour of the Doctor's system is, "All that believe are justified," &c. Take this text in its literal sense, all persons upon believing become justified, that is, all who have faith. Is this true according to the cases of those who were specially justified? Certainly not; in the case of Abraham he was not justified upon having faith. Those who had their sins remitted by Christ were told their faith saved them, but that was to shew, that their faith was the ground of the sentence or act of remission being pronounced. This remission in strictness was not justification, only an indispensable part. We now see the strongest text quoted by the Doctor wholly fails of the proof for which he adduced it. The Doctor's system of justification is stated in that indefinite, uncertain, and contradictory manner, which must do away all effect as any thing like an argument to prove justification generally takes places in this life, that is, primarily to be perfected hereafter which must be a division of justification into two parts, and according to the Doctor, it is not only divisible


into parts, but one of those parts may wear out and require renewal, it then becomes fluctuating, moveable, and variable; such a justification, upon any principle either of Scripture or reason, cannot be reconciled to the acts or decrees of the Supreme Being, who cannot change.

A learned Prelate has recently, in a tract appended to his Charge to the Clergy of his Diocese, when treating of justification, given a statement in support of two justifications, in these words: "The remission of sin through faith only is our first justification, and is confined to this life; and is as distinct from the final justification of the last day, as pardon is from reward; and bears no other relation to it than this, that all men will be punished in the next life whose sins are not forgiven in this; and that no man will be rewarded hereafter, who has not made his peace with God here by faith and repentance. For the judgment of the last day will be not to pardon, but to reward or punish every man according to his works"." His Lordship, at page 6 of his letter placed before the charge, has stated, "There is no justification without the pardon of sin ;" and in the first quotation, that " our first justification is as distinct from the final justification as pardon is

? Bishop of Salisbury's Charge, p. 80.

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