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I saw another messenger flying through the midst of heaven, baving everlast. ing good news to proclaim to the inhabitants of the earth, even to every nation and tribe, and tongue, and people saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgments is come: and worship him who made heaven, and earth, and sea, and the fountains of water.-Joux.

Great is the truth and mighty above all things, and will prevail.

FOR THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER AND MILLENNIAL HARBINGER,

NO. II.

The justification of sinners and ungodly men by faith, without works,

and the justification of righteous men by works and not by faith

only. TO A. CAMPBELL, EDITOR OF THE MILL. HARBINGER:

Brother CampbellI WILL now present to you what I apprehend to be the gospel doctrine of the justification of sinners, or ungodly men, by which they become godly or righteous men in the sight of God; and the justification of righteous men, as distinguished from the justification of ungodly men.

The gospel doctrine of the justification of sinners, is the same as the doctrine of the remission of sins, of forgiveness of sins, and the pardon of sins; and is called the righteousness of God. This doctrine claims to itself a sort of precedency and pre-eminence over all other doctrines, as being the one in which all the other doctrines of grace unite; so that Luther might well pronounce it to be the criterion of a standing or falling church, according as it is held soundly or unsoundly. Respecting those who departed from the gospel views of justification, it was declared by Paul that "Christ should profit them nothing”--to them the gospel had become of none effect, they had fallen from grace.

Justification is a law term, and is taken from the business of Judi. cial Courts, and denotes the acquittal of a person tried by such a court upon an accusation of crime. The person accused being upon trial found innocent of the charge, is declared to be just in the view of the law; and by an easy and natural figure, is said to be justified; that is, made just. The judgment of acquittal in this case does not make the person innocent of the crime charged against him, but hav: ing been innocent, the judgment of acquittal, by which he is said to be justified, declares his innocence.

In the gospel use of the word justification, the meaning is very different from the above, because all have sinned, and all are guilty before God, and therefore it is obvious that no person can be justified VOL. III.

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on account of his own personal innocence. Hence the justification of sinners is gratuitous; that is, by grace, and not meritorious, and is provided for in the New Covenant, or in the gospel of the grace of God, agreeably to which they are justified by faith through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. When our Lord instituted his Supper, he took the cup and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many,

for the remission of sins.” In the New Covenant, by the divine appointment, Christ was made a sin offering for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The righteousness of God in the gospel, being by the faith of Jesus Christ, the true believer in him is supposed to be put upon his trialcharges of various sorts are pleaded-he has been guilty of the sins charged. How can he be justified, and God be just in his justification? The gospel answers the question by declaring that, "by the law is the knowledge of sin;" but, the righteousness of God, is, by the faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus, Rom. iii. 19, 30. Therefore, however aggravated and true the charges may be against the true believer in Jesus Christ, Paul asks the question, Who shall presume to condemn, since it is God who justifies him through Christ, who died for him, and, whom he set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to manifest his righteousness for the remission of sins?

The true believer is thus declared by the judge to be just: the judg. ment of acquittal does not make him just, or innocent, or righteous, in the sight of God, but declares him to be so, and to have been made so, by faith in Jesus Christ; and looks back to the period when he first sincerely believed in him for the commencement of it, and not when he was baptized. The heinous and aggravated sins which he had committed before that period, as an ungodly man, were pardoned at that time. By faith in Christ he obtained redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; and by that faith he became a child of God, and a new creature. He was born of the Spirit by the incorruptible seed of the word, which by the gospel is preached. All this is provided for in the New Covenant, which excludes all works of righteousness that we can do, in the article of justification. From these views of the subject, it appears that the justification of a sinner, or an ungodly man, by which he is received into the divine favor, is complex, and includes the idea of pardon, as well as of acquittal The justification of a pardoned sinner gives him a present title to the reward of righteousness, without respect to his past actions, and independent of his future conduct. The present reward of righteousness is fellowship with God, and hope of glory.

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ousness,

There is a strange kind of notion existing in our day, that sinners are justified, or that their sins are remitted and pardoned by the immediate physical operations of the Spirit, as Naaman was cured of the leprosy, or by immediate impulses. Those who entertain it, do not know that justification is a judicial, and not a physical' act of God. God justifies sinners, not by infusing a holy disposition in them, but by imputing their faith in Jesus Christ to them for righte

Faith is the only instrument in justification, and consists in the cordial belief of the testimony of God concerning his Son. Before God can hold fellowship with man, his sins must be remitted, as it was sin that destroyed that fellowship in Eden. This is done by faith in Jesus Christ, who is exalted to give reformation and remission of sin. Every thing is given to us in Christ, and nothing is given to us without him, of a spiritual or divine nature. Without Christ a sinner can do nothing, as without him he car know nothing of God, and receive no favor from him.

God views and treats man as a sinner, under a dispensation of grace or favor, through the atonement and mediation of Jesus Christ; and he makes no communication to him, bestows no blessing upon him, and requires nothing of him but through his mediation. Christ is the light and life of the world in its fallen state, and God requires nothing of man, either in the exercise of his natural or moral ability, in the way of love or obedience to him, but through Christ, and by faith in him. The first thing he requires of a sinner, is, to believe in Jesus Christ, as without faith it is impossible to please him. And the first thing presented in the gospel for his faith and reception, is Christ, and him crucified, through whom is preached the forgiveness of sin; and by him all that believe are justified from all things." Faith is obtained, not by the physical agency of the Spirit, but by the word of the gospel, and consists in the belief of it.

Having shown that a sinner, or an ungodly man is justified by faith without works, and by which he is made a righteous man, I am now to show that a righteous man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

As faith in Jesus Christ justifies the sinner according to the divine constitution of the New Covenant, so there is nothing that can change the moral state, or the heart of man from enmity to God, to the love of him, and love of holiness, but the manifestation of his grace and love, which he has made in the gift of his Son; and all that do sin. cerely and truly believe in him, realize this change-and thus sanctification begins with justification.

Sın lost our title to heaven, and corruption destroyed our qualification for the enjoyment of it. The former is restored by our justification, and our qualification for the enjoyment of it is restored by our sanctification.

Although Paul has said nothing in reference to the justification of á sinner, but only a true and living faith, yet that faith does not shut out its consequences, reformation, hope, love, and the fear of God, and attention and submission to the ordinances of the gospel, baptism,

the Lord's Supper, &c. These are only excluded from the office or instrumentality of justifying a sinner or ungodly man, and in making him a righteous one. Neither does the justification of a sinner by faith only, shut out the justice of God in requiring good works necessarily afterwards to be done. For ipsis by faith alone that good works can be performed, as it is by faith in Jesus Christ that we are made new creatures, and are qualified for doing good works, or any works that are pleasing to God: “Ye are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which he has before ordained that we should walk in them." Without faith it is impossible to please God. Through faith we receive the promise of the Spirit; and by faith God works in us, to will and to do according to his own good pleasure. Faith is the fruitful and efficient principle of all good works, Every true believer is inclined to do good works, and finds his happiness in it, and feels himself bound to do them (if he cherishes the spirit of the gospel) all the days of his life; while he attributes his justification to the free favor of God in Christ Jesus, “in whom he has redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Eph. i. 5–7; Col. i. 13; Heb. ix. 12; Peter i. 18, 19.

The doctrine of justification by faith alone, so far from being any arrest to the practical influence of it, is felt by every true believer to give all its spirit and scope to the new obedience of the gospel. Under the sacred and constraining influence of that faith, which works by love, and purifies the heart, the question is not, How much must I do to escape punishment, or to obtain salvation? but what can I render to the Lord for all his benefits and goodness? In all ages

those who have practically received the doctrine of justification by faith without works, have been more distinguished than any others in denying themselves of all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and being zealous of good works. This was pre-eminently the case with Abraham and Paul, and is the case now with those who do and suffer most for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the salvation of

Abraham believed in God, and his faith was counted to him for righteousness without works; and being thus made a righteous man by faith, he was justified, as such, by works, and not by faith only. This doctrine the Apostle James illustrates. He says that Abraham was justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar. He then “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was his faith made perfect; and the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness?" Now these words, “it was imputed to him for righteousness,” were spoken many years before Abraham was called to sacrifice Isaac, and some time before Isaac was born. For proof of this, compare Gen. xv. 6, with Gen. xxii. 9, 12. James therefore did not intend to contradict Moses and Paul, who asserted that Abraham believed God, and his faith was counted to him for righteousness; but meant that the true believer proves his faith to be a living one, and

souls.

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his profession to be sincere, by the fruits of holy obedience, and is thus justified before men on earth, and will be judged before an assembled universe by his works, when Christ shall justify the world,

James, when he speaks of justification by works, does not use the term justification in the sense of forgiveness of sins, as Paul does when he says that a man is justified by faith without works. At the last judgment, when men shall be justified by their works, we have no account of the remission of sin there. Justification will be decla. rative and remunerative; the righteous will be declared by their works to be righteous, and receive a crown of life. There will be the works which faith wrought, and the scripture will be fulfilled, or rather illustrated and confirmed, in the same way it was in the case of Abraham, by the works of faith in the case of every sincere believer; while the hypocrites, such as James described them, who pretended that they had faith, but which was alone and dead, will be manifested and declared to be hypocrites, by their want of the works of faith, and by their wicked works. The same will be the case with the professedly wicked portion of mankind; they will be judged by their works.

The previous state of those who are said to be justified by faith without works, and those who are justified by works and not by faith only, is different. The previous state of the former is described as being without strength, ungodly, enemies, and sinners; Rom. iv. 5; v. 8–10. The previous state of the latter is a state of deliverance from guilt and ungodliness; and they are saints and the children of God, those who love God and keep his commandments.

I desire to address one more number to you, which will be on “Christian Union and Gospel Reformation.".

In publishing my first number, the Christian Messenger has made several typographical errors, particularly in the extract from brother Stuart's letter, and one in a scripture quotation, which I desire you to correct when you print it. The Editors of the Messenger divided my first number; you will oblige me by printing it all together in one number of the Harbinger. I am your brother in Christ,

JAMES FISIIBACK. March 14, 1832.

P. S. I ought to have observed that the transaction between God and the soul, and that one upon which God suspends the remission of sin, and the reception of the sinner into his favor as a justified person, and bestows his divine influences upon him, passes in the soul itself, and consists in the cordial faith or belief in Jesus Christ, or in the hearty reception of him, and reliance upon him, as the Son of God and Saviour of sinners, as he is exhibited in the gospel.

The external acts of this faith, and which are consequences of it, are whatever the believer says or does, according to the word of God, as a rule of conduct and duty, whether it relates to the ordinances of the gospel, or to acts of self-denial, good works or worship, or to his living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. J. F. VOL.III.

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