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thing. “Seest thou, how faith wrought with his
of the gospel, which produces obedience to its pre'cepts.” Now, if faith justifies, and obedience or good works are produced by faith; how can these subsequent works be the condition of the precedent justification? . Works done before the grace of «Christ, and the inspiration of his Spirit, are not
pleasant to God; forasmuch as they spring not of • faith in Jesus Christ: neither do they make men 6 meet to receive grace,---yea rather, for that they • are not done as God hath willed and commanded
them to be done, we doubt not but they have the • nature of sin.” Works, then, before faith, are worthless, and cannot be the appointed condition of justification: and works done after faith are too late; for the man, who doeth them, has been previously justified.
* Page 103, Refutation. 2 Art. xiii.
P.cxxi. Note.“ Abraham, &c.'? How far this accords with justification being uniformly spoken of, as a past transaction, in respect of believers, may be a question. But, aceording to the general doctrine, of those, who are decided in respect of justification by faith alone, justification is a permanent, not a transient, act of God. A believer's justification may be more clearly manifested to the soul by God, at one time, than at another; and it may be more clearly evidenced, by the man's conduct, at one time, than at another. It is, howerer, an abiding state of acceptance with God; and whether ever finally lost or not, is not here the question. No doubt, Abraham was justified, when he believed, and obeyed, and left, at God's command, his coun- , try and his father's house: but this was not declared, as far as we know, till a considerable time afterwards; when “ he believed in the LORD, and it was “ imputed to him for righteousness." His faith was afterwards especially evidenced, when he obeyed the hard command of offering Isaac as a burnt-offering. But it is not said in the history, that he was . then justified. His faith was, however, the spring and motive of his obedience, and was most illustriously displayed. He had before been justified, in
1. Abraham seems to have been justified three times, first, ! when by the command of God he left his own country.
Secondly, when he believed God's promise of numerous de"scendants; and, Thirdly, when he obeyed God's command te
offer his son.'
* Page 99-102, Refutation, i S. Gen. xv. 6. Rom. iv. 3. 9. Jam. ä. 23.
the sight of God; and by this triumphant work of faith and labour of love, his justification was evidenced, and declaratively recognized, and published to mankind, for the instruction of all future generations.
P. cxxi. last line. God foreseeing, &c.” “God,
1 God, foreseeing that the faith of Abraham was of that true * and lively nature, which would produce obedience, whenever • an opportunity offered, impuied it to him for righteousness; .. and accordingly he did obey upon the very trying occasion of • God's commanding him to “ offer Isaac his son upon the altar?" • bis Faith wrought with his works;” that is, bis faith pro• duced this. act of obedience; by it bis “ Faith was made per“ fect;" and it was proved, that he possessed the genuine prin
ciple of human conduct, a conformity to the will of God; he i was therefore “ justified by works," for if he had not done
this work, or at least expressed a sincere readiness to do it, he . would not have been justified, disobedience to the commando .' of God being incompatible with a state of justification. Hence • it follows that faith, which produced works, was the faith
which justified Abraham, and consequently the faith which St. • Paut meant, when, in arguing upon justification by faith, he . appealed to the justification of Abraham. St. Paul's assertion : therefore is this; Abraham was justified by faith, which pro• duced works : St. James's is, Abraham was justified by works, · which proceeded from faith. These assertions are in substance
the same; and St. James; in pointing out the true nature of • Abraham's faith, only intended to correct the error of those,
who had misinterpreted the doctrine of St. Paul. This instance 6 of Abraham's justification; the still earlier examples of Noah, • Enoch, and Abel; and the more recent ones of Gideon, David, "" and the prophets under the Mosaic economy, mentioned by • St. Paul upon another occasion, mark the uniformity of God's • dealings with mankind in every period of the world, and estab. • lish these fundamental and universal principles of the divine • dispensations, that “ without faith it is impossible to please « Gud;" and that “ faith without works is dead." ..
« who knoweth the hearts," not only foresaw, but saw at the time, that the faith of Abraham was • of that true and lively nature, which would pro! duce obedience, whenever an opportunity offered. • Upon the trying occasion of God's commanding
him to “ offer Isaac his son upon the altar," his “ faith wrought with his works;" that is, his faith produced obedience, by it his “ faith was made
perfect," and it was proved, &c.' All this, for substance, is the view, that Calvinisės in general would give of this passage. Disobedience to the
commands of God being incompatible with a state
of justification. No doubt, deliberate habitual disobedience is here meant: for " in many things we “ offend all," Abraham's conduct, in denying his wife, and saying “my soul shall live because of sr thee,"? implied no small degree of unbelief and distrust, and reliance on a creature ; and was not conformity to the will of God. In other respects the statement in these pages, as reconciling the doctrine of the two apostles, is to me satisfactory. The language, produce, produced, (not contains,) should not pass unnoticed.
P. cxxiii. l. 14. It is, &c.?? Nothing can be a
Geo. xii. 13.
:: It is scarcely possible to imagine a more gross perversion '* of any doctrine, than that which we have been now considering.
St. Paul meant, that ceremonial works were not necessary before
justification; whereas these men pretended St. Paul's authority • for maintaining that mural works were not necessary after justifi. 'cation. Ceremonial works are not necessary to obtain justifica• tion in this world; therefore, say they, moral works are not
necessary to obtain justification or salvation in the world to come.' more gross perversion of any doctrine, than to maintain, that a dead and barren faith is sufficient to justification and salvation ; because the Scripture teaches us that we are justified and saved by a living, operative, and fruitful faith : but how far the statement here given is scriptural, or agrees with the authorized writings of our church, may be quesfioned. Did St. Paul mean, that moral works were needful before justification, though ceremonial works were not? And needful, in order to justification ? for that is the question. If so, where were the moral works of the Corinthians to whom St. Paul preached the gospel ? « Such were some of you; “ but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye “ are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and
by the Spirit of our God.". To him that work “eth not, but believeth in him, that justifieth the « ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. « Even as David also describeth the blessedness of " the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness « without works." “ What shall we say then ? that. “ the Gentiles, which followed not after righteous" ness, have attained to righteousness, even the righ“ teousness of faith. But Israel, which followed “ after the law of righteousness, hath not attained " to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because “ they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the
works of the law: for they stumbled at that stum« bling-stone."3 Was any true believer ever excluded from justification, because he had not pre
"Cor. vi. 9-11.
? Rom. ir. 3-5.
* Rom. ix. 30-32.