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the minds of their hearers. The morality which they incalcate, is a morality grafted upon Christianity, and intwining itself around its trunk. The chief, if not the only, point of difference between them and the Evangelical body, seems to be on the subject of Justification. They cheerfully admit, that the only meritorious ground of our acceptance, is the obedience and Atonement of the Son of God, and they sometimes treat this subject with great force and eloquence, as well as with the feelings and language of humility. Still, however, they discover a reluctance, to assent to the doctrine of Justification without Works. They are alarmed for the in. terests of religion and morality. They know, that on the doctrine of Justification by Faith only, there is a coincidence of sentiment between those who are called Evangelical, and those who are Antinomians. The essential difference between the sentiments of these two parties,—that “with the first, Faith is considered as a holy principle, necessarily attended with good works, and that with the other, it is nothing more than the assent of the understanding, without any purifying influence," escapes their notice. Both of the parties agree that our Faith does not justify us as an act of our own holiness ; but the former, by maintaining the inseparability of true Faith and holiness, sufficiently provide for the interests of piety and virtue; whereas the Faith and Justification of the other, are nothing more than a visionary conceit, and altogether worthless. It were much to be wished that some good men, who confound the Evangelical with the Antinomian doctrine, on the head of Justification, would examine the subject more accurately. The misrepresentation is certainly, with them, not intentional. Many of them, if they could divest them
selves of those modes of speaking, by which Justification and Sanctification are confounded, are building upon the same foundation, and resting their souls on the same hope that supports the faith of those who embrace a more Evangelical creed. It ought not, however, to be expected, that those who embrace the doctrine of Justification by Faith only, will, by admitting inaccurate definitions, on a subject of such vast importance, and that embraces one grand peculiarity of the Gospel, endanger the best interests of men, by enveloping in darkness a doctrine which St. Paul has placed in the clearest light. While they charitably believe that many whose statements of the doctrine are incorrect, have erred more in words, than in sentiment, erred more in defining their faith, than in forming it, they must faithfully exhibit the dangerous consequences of inadequate conceptions of the scriptoral doctrine of Justification, even while they hope that many who are not sufficiently aware of them, escape from those consequences, in a great measure. It was precisely in this manner that St. Paul treated this subject, in his Epistle to the Galatians. “Whosoever of you,” says he, 6 is justified by the law, is fallen from grace.” “If righteousness come by the works of the law, Christ is dead in vain.” “I fear that I have bestowed much labour on you. in vain.” “I stand in doubt of you.” In this faithful manner he exposes the dangerous tendency of the doctrine of Justification by Works. Yet, in the same Epistle, he calls them the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus.
It may not be unworthy of the consideration of the Evangelical body, both in the Church of England and in other denominations, whether even that venerable man of God, Luther, who pronounced the doctrine of Justification
by faith to be, the articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesii, the criterion of a standing or falling Church, did not seem to place a disproportionate, because a detached weight upon this important article of the Christian faith; and whether they themselves, by adopting it, do not appear to feel a greater predilection for one doctrine of Christianity, than for others of equal importance. Luther had a strong apology for giving a prominence to this doctrine, in the general agreement of all the orders in the Church of Rome, to depreciate, if not to bury it. Had he lived to see, as we have lived to see, the formation of Churches on Sandemanian principles, in which this doctrine is considered as almost the whole of Christianity ; and a clear head in defining it, substituted for a sanctified heart that teaches to do the whole will of God, it is not improbable that he would have retracted his paradoxical description. The doctrine of internal Sanctification, and the necessary consequence of it, the faithful discharge of the duties we owe to God, and to our fellow-men, may, each of them, be termed with as much propriety, that which determines the state of a Church, as flourishing or decaying, as it is enforced or neglected. It is not the prevalence of any one single doctrine that will ascertain the prevalence of true religion in any Church, but the combined and co-operating harmony of all those great truths, in their regular proportions, and comely symmetry. Each one of them, if it be not joined in holy matrimony with the others, will be unavailing. Even in Christian Churches, we often see such zeal for one doctrine, as by lessening that for another, of equal value, presents the appearance of a body deformed. As in one of the first Christian Churches, there were schisms, while one contended for Paul, another for Apollos, and a third for Peter; so, among some Protestant Churches, one gives the preference to the doctrine of Justification, another to Sanctification, and another to the Relative Virtues. But all these are by God joined, and that Church which gives them all their equal dignity, has attained the most vigorous and healthy constitution. When one party over-rates the importance of any doctrine, detached from others, another advances a claim for its more favourite tenet, and a third party labours to prove, that the object of its preference is entitled to a superiority over both. Thus the doctrines of Christianity are made to assume a distorted aspect, and by being separated from each other, are necessarily deprived of that compacted strength, which every joint supplies. It is in the spiritual, as it is in the natural body; a variety of parts is necessary, not only to health and vigour, but even to life. The heart, the lungs, the brain, though different, are all equally vital parts, and the destruction of any one of them is the destruction of the whole body.
ON THE MANNER OF PREACHING.
The Church of Rome requiring implicit faith in her doctrines, and suspending the belief of individuals upon the testimony of the Church, has no other use for preaching, than merely to state to her members what her sentiments are, and to prescribe conformity to that standard. For individuals to examine the doctrines of the Church by the VOL. II.
word of God, would, according to her tenets, be both absurd and impious ; because the authority and meaniog of Scripture depends wholly upon her testimony. According to her, it is sufficient that religion be a service in which they are devoutly engaged : but that it be a reasonable service, there is no necessity at all. Preaching, or an address to the understanding, can be of little service where the exercise of the intellect is not supposed to be wanted ; sermons in that Church are, accordingly, rare. The Reformers, taking the doctrines of the Scriptures as the guide of their faith, rendered the frequent explanation of these necessary, and as they admitted the necessity of addressing the heart and conscience, as well as of informing the judgment, sermons were considered as of indispensable obligation. It was by the preaching of the Gospel that Christianity was first propagated, and it is by the same means that the knowledge of its doctrines, and the practice of its duties, are to be preserved in the world. The English Reformers being sensible, that at the first establishment of the Protestant religion, preachers, well instructed themselves, and well affected to the doctrines of the Reformation, could not be found in sufficient numbers to instruct the whole nation, wisely had recourse to the following expedient. They composed and published two books of Homilies. The first book was published in the reign of Edward, and the second in that of Elizabeth. They are short discourses, combining the great truths of the Gospel, with the practical duties that rise out of them. They are faithful, sound, and animated discourses, and excellent models of Evangelical instruction. The style, indeed, has something of the venerable rust of antiquity, and will not be thought sufficiently polished for the taste of a fastidious