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" he hath whereof to glory."! Here works are exo cluded from justifving Abraham; and ceremonial works, or works of the law, could not be intended. The same is manifestly shewn, though not in exactly the same words, in inany other p'aces. “ By grace " are ye saved, through faith, and that not of your: * selves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest
any inan should boast ; for we are his workmanship, se created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which “ God hath before ordained, that we should walk in " them.". Here works, of every kind, are excluded from having saved us; and a new creation unto good works is considered as a part of our salvation: Works in general must then be excluded from any share in our justification." Who hath saved us, and called “ us with an holy calling, not according to our works, “ but according to his own purpose
grace. s by works of righteousness, which we have done, “ but according to his 'mercy he saved us."-" That “ being justified by his grace, we should be made “ heirs according to the hope of eternal life."4 No distinction is here inade between one sort of works and another'; or rather, “ works of righteousness" properly means obedience to the moral law.' “ Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh * be justified before God, for by the law is the “ knowledge of sin."-By what law is “ the know. " ledge of sin !" By the moral, or by the ritual law? $ ~] had not known sin, but by the law; for I had
13 " Not
? Rom. iv. 2.
Eph. fi. &---10.
3 2 Tim. i.9.
o not known lust, except the law had said, Thou “ shalt not covet."? Indeed all the apostle's preceding discourse had been concerning the violations of the moral law, without one reference to the ceremonies : “ by which he proved both Jews, and Gen
tiles to be all under sin ;" in order to stop every mouth, and bring in the whole world “guilty before 6 God.”
“Therefore by the works of the law, &c.”? Indeed it does not appear, why ceremonial works exclusively, should be meant by the “ works of the “ law.” Though ceremonial observancès introduced the subject, in the second of Galatians; yet the apostle afterwards says, “I through the law, am “dead to the law :" which accords to his language elsewhere, when he says, “ I was alive without the “ law once, but when the commandment came, sin “ revived and I died;" } where the moral law exclusively is meant beyond all doubt: and he adds, “ If “ righteousness come by the law, then Christ is “ dead in vain ;" which equally holds good of the moral as of the ritual law.-“ As many as are of the 66 works of the law are under the curse ; for it is “ written, Cursed is every one, that continueth not « in all things written in the law to do them.”: Now the passage, to which the apostle refers, wholly treats of sins against the moral law, without a single intimation of the ceremonies. " The works of the “ law,” therefore, do not exclude works of obedience to the moral law. It was the tenth commandment,
'Rom yii. 7. Ered upoçy. Oux &o fupi noelg. Coreting, Thou shalt pot covet. 2 Rom. ii. 9-20. 3 Comp. Rom. vii. 7-9, with Gal. ii. 19-21. 4 Gal. iii, 10. s Deut. xxvii. 15--26.
« Thou shalt not covet," which slew the self-righteous hopes of Saul of Tarsus.--Even real good works; “ the fruits of the Spirit,” (and let it be noted, that nothing else are called good works, in the New Testament,) can do nothing towards our justification.--. Good works, which are the fruits of
faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away ! our sins, and endure the severity of God's judg
* And also you have heard the ancient ? authors' minds of this saying, Faith in Christ only `justifieth man, 80 plainly declared, that you see, that the true meaning of this proposition, or saying, We be justified by faith in Christ alone, (according to the meaning of the ancient authors,) is this: we put our trust in Christ that we may be justified by God's free mercy, and the merits of é our Saviour Christ only; and by no virtue or good - works of our own that is in us, or that we can be * able to have, or to do, for to deserve the same: -Christ himself only being the meritorious cause thereof.'2
Let it not be thought, that we exclude good works from our system. These have their place, and that of the greatest importance, yea, of absolute necessity : but it is not, as to our justification, in the least degree, except as evidencing our faith to be living and justifying:- It may seem somewhat extreme, which I will speak; therefore let every one judge of it, even as his own heart shall tell him, and no otherwise. I will but only make a demand:
I Art. xii.
2 Homily of salvation, third part.
if God should yield unto us, not as unto Abraham; " if fifty, forty, thirty, twenty, yea, or if ten good
persons can be found in a city; for their sakes, that city should not be destroyed. But, and if he should make an offer thus large : Search all the genera.
tions of men, since the fall of our father Adam; find one man, that hath done one action, which ? hath passed from him pure, without any blemish, • or stain at all, and for that man's only action, neither men nor angels shall feel the torments
which are prepared for both. Do you think, that ! this ransom, to deliver men and angels, could be • found among the sons of men ? The best things 6 which we do, have something in them to be para doned; how then can we do any thing meritorious, or worthy to be rewarded.We acknowledge the dutiful necessity of doing well ; but the meritorious dignity of doing well we utterly renounce. The . little fruit, which we have, in holiness, it is, God
knoweth, corrupt and unsound; we put no confi. dence at all in it; we challenge nothing in the
world for it; we dare not call God to reckoning, as . if we had him in our debt-books. Our continual suit to him is, and must be, to bear with our infir
mities, and to pardon our offences.”' : In this quos tation, the judicious Elooker goes even beyond our sentiments. The word unsound, seems too strong to be applied to the real good works of believers, “ the fruits of the Spirit,” yet these are grievously defective. As “ the fruits of the Spirit," they are
most holy: but, like very excellent wine, when' put into a cask, which has not been fully cleansed; as performed by us, they lose much of their fine flavour, and contract a disagrecable taste from the vessel, through which they have passed. We must therefore still contend, that all works of man are wholly excluded froin any share in our justification : and, whatever difference there may be in other respects, between moral and ceremonial works, there is none in this grand concern.
P. cxx. Note. Calvin, &c.' We can bear it, with calmness, when faith, or even repentance, is called the condition of justification; though we think the language inappropriate and unscriptural: but we must most decidedly oppose the idea, of our works, in any sense, being the appointed condition of
justification: not merely, because there is hoast. ing in works,' but also, because it is antiscriptural. Faith is the gift of God:” and so boasting is excluded : faith does not justify us, except as it receives Christ, that we my be “made the righteous.
ness of God in him.” No one pas-age, either in Scripture, or in the authorized writings of our church, can be adduced, in support of the sentiment. The language of St. James implies no such
: Calvin.concludes, that if works have any share in justifica• tion, there is boasting in works : ibis : y no meanis follows; for
we do not say that works have any intrinse merit, but that • they are the appointed condition of justificacion. The same * ubjection would hold against the ductile of justification by ' faith, for we are not allowed 10 boast of fạith, or to consider it.
as possessing any intrinsic merit,