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left for the pretended second justification. For (1.) therein do we receive the complete 'pardon and forgiveness of our sins;' Rom. iv. 4. 6, 7. Eph. i. 7. iv. 32. Acts xxvi. 18. (2.) Thereby are we made righteous;' Rom. v. 19. x. 4. And (3.) are freed from condemnation, judgment, and death; John iii. 16. 19. v. 25. Rom. viii. 1. (4.) Are reconciled unto God; Rom. v. 9, 10. 2 Cor. v. 21, 22. And (5.) have peace with him, and access into the favour wherein we stand by grace, with the advantages and consolations that depend thereon in a sense of his love; Rom. v. 1-5. And (6.) we have adoption therewithal and all its privileges; John i. 12. And in particular (7.) a right and title unto the whole inheritance of glory; Acts xxvi. 18. Rom. viii. 17. And (8.) hereon eternal life doth follow; Rom. viii. 30. vi. 23. Which things will be again immediately spoken unto upon another occasion. And if there be any thing now left for their second justification to do as such, let them take it as their own; these things are all of them ours, or do belong unto that one justification which we do assert. Wherefore it is evident, that either the first justification overthrows the second, rendering it needless; or the second destroys the first, by taking away what essentially belongs unto it; we must therefore part with the one or the other, for consistent they are not. But that which gives countenance unto the fiction and artifice of this distinction, and a great many more, is a dislike of the doctrine of the grace of God, and justification from thence by faith in the blood of Christ, with some endeavour hereby to send out of the way upon a pretended sleeveless errand, whilst they dress up their own righteousness in its robes, and exalt it into the room and dignity thereof.
But there seems to be more of reality and difficulty in what is pleaded concerning the continuation of our justification. For those that are freely justified, are continued in that state until they are glorified. By justification they are really changed into a new spiritual state and condition, and have a new relation given them unto God and Christ, unto the law and the gospel. And it is inquired what it is whereon their continuation in this state doth on their part depend; or what is required of them that they may be justified unto the end. And this as some say is not faith alone, but also
the works of sincere obedience. And none can deny but that they are required of all them that are justified, whilst they continue in a state of justification on this side glory, which next and immediately ensues thereunto. But whether upon our justification at first before God, faith be immediately dismissed from its place and office, and its work be given over unto works, so as that the continuation of our justification should depend on our own personal obedience, and not on the renewed application of faith unto Christ and his righteousness, is worth our inquiry. Only I desire the reader to observe, that whereas the necessity of owning a personal obedience in justified persons, is on all hands absolutely agreed, the seeming difference that is herein, concerns not the substance of the doctrine of justification, but the manner of expressing our conceptions concerning the order of the disposition of God's grace, and our own duty, unto edification, wherein I shall use my own liberty, as it is meet others should do theirs. And I shall offer my thoughts hereunto in the ensuing observations.
1. Justification is such a work as is at once completed in all the causes, and the whole effect of it, though not as unto the full possession of all that it gives right and title unto. For (1.) all our sins past, present, and to come, were at once imputed unto, and laid upon, Jesus Christ; in what sense, we shall afterward inquire. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes are we healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath made to meet on him the iniquities of us all ;' Isa. liii. 6, 7. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree;' 1 Pet. ii. 24. The assertions being indefinite, without exception or limitation, are equivalent unto universals. All our sins were on him, he bare them all at once, and therefore once died for all. (2.) He did therefore at once finish transgression, made an end of sin, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness;' Dan.ix. 24. At once he expiated all our sins; for by himself he purged our sins, and then sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;' Heb. i. 3. And we are sanctified or dedicated unto God through the offering of the body of
Christ once for all; for by one offering he hath perfected' (consummated, completed, as unto their spiritual state) 'them that are sanctified;' Heb. x. 10. 14. He never will do more than he hath actually done already for the expiation of all our sins from first to last; for there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. I do not say that hereupon our justification is complete, but only that the meritorious procuring cause of it was at once completed, and is never to be renewed or repeated any more; all the inquiry is concerning the renewed application of it unto our souls and consciences, whether that be by faith alone, or by the works of righteousness which we do. (3.) By our actual believing with justifying faith, believing on Christ, or his name, we do receive him, and thereby on our first justification become the sons of God;' John i. 12. that is, 'joint heirs with Christ, and heirs of God;' Rom. viii. 17. Hereby we have a right unto, and an interest in, all the benefits of his mediation; which is to be at once completely justified. For in him we are complete;' Col. ii. 10. For by the faith that is in him we do receive the forgiveness of sins, and a lot or inheritance among all them that are sanctified,' Acts xxvi. 18. being immediately justified from all things, from which we could not be 'justified by the law;' Acts xiii. 39. yea, God thereon 'blesseth us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ;' Eph. i. 3. All these things are absolutely inseparable from our first believing in him, and therefore our justification is at once complete. In particular (4.) on our believing, all our sins are forgiven. He hath quickened you together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;' Col. ii. 1315. For in him we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according unto the riches of his grace;' Eph. i. 7. Which one place obviates all the petulant exceptions of some against the consistency of the free grace of God in the pardon of sins, and the satisfaction of Christ in the procurement thereof. (5.) There is hereon nothing to be laid unto the charge of them that are so justified. For 'he that believeth hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life;' John v. 24. And who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, it is Christ that died,' Rom. viii. 33, 34. and there is no condemnation unto them that
are in Christ Jesus ;' ver. 1. For being justified by faith, we have peace with God;' chap. v. 1. And (6.) we have that blessedness hereon whereof in this life we are capable; Rom. iv. 5, 6. From all which it appears that our justification is at once complete. And (7.) it must be so or no man can be justified in this world. For no time can be assigned, nor measure of obedience be limited, whereon it may be supposed that any one comes to be justified before God, who is not so on his first believing. For the Scripture doth nowhere assign any such time or measure. And to say that no man is completely justified in the sight of God in this life, is at once to overthrow all that is taught in the Scriptures concerning justification, and therewithal all peace with God and comfort of believers. But a man acquitted upon his legal trial, is at once discharged of all that the law hath against him.
2. Upon this complete justification, believers are obliged unto universal obedience unto God. The law is not abolished, but established by faith. It is neither abrogated nor dispensed withal by such an interpretation as should take off its obligation in any thing that it requires, nor as to the degree and manner wherein it requires it. Nor is it possible it should be so. For it is nothing but the rule of that obedience which the nature of God and man make necessary from the one to the other. And that is an Antinomianism of the worst sort, and most derogatory unto the law of God, which affirms it to be divested of its power, to oblige unto perfect obedience, so as that what it is not so, shall (as it were in despite of the law) be accepted as if it were so, unto the end for which the law requires it. There is no medium, but that either the law is utterly abolished, and so there is no sin, for where there is no law, there is no transgression; or it must be allowed to require the same obedience that it did at its first institution, and unto the same degree. Neither is it in the power of any man living to keep his conscience from judging and condemning that, whatever it be, wherein he is convinced that he comes short of the perfection of the law. Wherefore,
3. The commanding power of the law in positive precepts and prohibitions, which justified persons are subject unto, doth make and constitute all their inconformities unto it to
be no less truly and properly sins in their own nature, than they would be if their persons were obnoxious unto the curse of it. This they are not, nor can be; for to be obnoxious unto the curse of the law, and to be justified, are contradictory; but to be subject to the commands of the law, and to be justified, are not so. But it is a subjection to the commanding power of the law, and not an obnoxiousness unto the curse of the law, that constitutes the nature of sin in its transgression. Wherefore, that complete justification which is at once, though it dissolve the obligation on the sinner unto punishment by the curse of the law, yet doth it not annihilate the commanding authority of the law, unto them that are justified, that what is sin in others, should not be so in them. See Rom. viii. 1. 33, 34.
Hence, in the first justification of believing sinners, all future sins are remitted as unto any actual obligation unto the curse of the law, unless they should fall into such sins as should, ipso facto, forfeit their justified estate, and transfer them from the covenant of grace, into the covenant of works, which we believe that God in his faithfulness will preserve them from. And although sin cannot be actually pardoned before it be actually committed; yet may the obligation unto the curse of the law be virtually taken away from such sins, in justified persons, as are consistent with a justified estate, or the terms of the covenant of grace, antecedently unto their actual commission. God at once in this sense forgiveth all their iniquities, and healeth all their diseases, redeemeth their life from destruction, and crowneth them with loving-kindness and mercies;' Psal. ciii. 2, 3. Future sins are not so pardoned as that when they are committed they should be no sins, which cannot be, unless the commanding power of the law be abrogated. But their respect unto the curse of the law, or their power to oblige the justified person thereunto is taken away.
Still there abideth the true nature of sin in every inconformity unto, or transgression of, the law in justified persons, which stands in need of daily actual pardon. For there is
no man that liveth and sinneth not, and if we say that we have no sin, we do but deceive ourselves.' None are more sensible of the guilt of sin, none are more troubled for it, none are more earnest in supplications for the pardon of it,