Obrazy na stronie

viously done moral works? And what are moral works? Doubtless acts of obedience to the moral law of God. But “ the carnal mind is enmity against “God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor « indeed can be." I And therefore all' works which

spring not from faith in Christ, we doubt not « have the nature of sin.'

Again, did St. Paul teach that ceremonial works were needful after justification for this the distinction seems to imply. Therefore say they, moral • works are not necessary to obtain justification, or • salvation in the world to come.' Justification has before been shewn by his Lordship to belong to this life, and is distinguished from salvation. That good works are not necessary to justification, has been shewn ; for they spring from justifying faith, and are " the fruits of the Spirit:" but they are needful for salvation in the life to come :", not as in any sense meriting that blessedness; but as evidencing our faith to be living and justifying; and for various other important purposes ; as it will be shewn hereafter.

P. cxxiii. 1. 25. Faith, &c.'s His Lordship hath fully shewn, that such a faith as is here described, cannot justify.”+ But how could they be kept in a state of justification, who, having only a dead faith, never were justified ? Dead faith is no better than direct unbelief; and, “ he that believeth not the “ Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abid6 eth on him ;"' and in this state he must abide, unless he believe with a true and living faith.

i Rom. viii. 7, 8. 2 Page 100-102, Refutation. 3 Faith alone is sufficient; meaning, instead of a true and lively faith productive of obedience, a bare assent to the truth < of the gospel, without any practical regard to its precepts. • They vainly hoped that this spurious faith would keep them in

a state of justification in this life, and finally procure them ? salvation in the next. + Pages 104, 105, Refutation.


P. cxxiv. 1. 11. 'If they disobey, the pardon is Š cancelled. Habitual disobedience proves a professed believer's faith to be dead and worthless. If he never had any other faith, he never was pardoned; and therefore his pardon cannot be cancelled.

It need not here be argued, whether living faith ever fails, or degenerates into dead faith : but the language of Scripture is very expressive, respecting forgiveness of sins. 6 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions

" I will forgive their iniquity, and I “ will remember their sin no more.":

“ The iniquity “ of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be « none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not “ be found: for I will pardon them whom I re

- Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy " back." “ He will subdue our iniquities, and “ thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the “ sea.” 6 What is sunk in shallow water, may be got up again; but that which sinks to the bottom, in the depths of the sea, will never more be brought forth. “ There is no condemnation to them that " are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh

« from us.



3 John iii. 36. 2 Ps. ciii. 12. 3 Jer. xxxi, 34. Heb. viii. 12 X. 17. 4 Jer. 1. 20. s Is. xxxvii. 17. Mic, vii. 19.

[ocr errors]

" but after the Spirit.” “They shall not come into “ condemnation ; but are passed from death unto “ life."? They, who “ in time of temptation fell

away,” had “ no root in themselves:" - the foolish “ virgins had no oil in their vessels ;" and the intruder, at the marriage-feast, had not the weddinggarment. Indeed the servant, whose debt was ' forgiven by his Lord, but who afterwards refused

to forgive his fellow-servant, was severely rebuked, and delivered to the tormentors to suffer punish

ment, for that very debt which had been forgiven." And how far this single instance of a cancelled forgiveness, so much as intimated in Scripture, is to preponderate against all the texts before quoted, the reader must determine. Expositors in general think, that circumstances in parables are to be explained according to the clear import of other Scriptures ; and not used to decide controverted points of doctrine. The language of hiin, who owed the immense sum of ten thousand talents, “ Have patience “ with me, and I will pay thee all;" of which he had no prospect, was very dissimilar from that of the publican, “ God be merciful to me, a sinner!"

When they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both."

And his harsh treatment of his fellow-servant, is as little like the part of that “ faith, which worketh by love;" as bis undertaking to pay the whole debt was like the contrition and humility of a true penitent. If, however, a true believer loses his living faith, and commits sins, and By faith

? Rom, viii. 1.

2 John v, 24.

3 Refutation,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ye stand.”

does not deeply repent; his pardon no doubt is cancelled, and he will finally perish: nay, if he fall into sin, or grow negligent in his duty; he will lose “ the joy of God's salvation,” and be exposed to alarms, and rebukes, and sharp corrections; till he become zealous and repent.

P. cxxiv. 1. 18. 'To the much, &c.'' Dead faith does not justify: living faith will preserve the believer in a justified state. Concerning this the scriptural language is very

decided. “ We walk by faith."

" Above all “ taking the shield of faith, whereby ye shall be “ able to quench all the fiery darts of the wieked.”+

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal “ life." “ The life, which I now live in the flesh, “ I live by the faith of the Son of God.”S Certainly that faith, which does not work by love, can do none of these things: neither can it give the first • entrance into a state of justification.' But faith, which “ worketh by love,” will manifest itself by

the work of faith, and labour of love, and patience ~ of hope,” and “ patient continuance in well

doing:" yet, after all, to the very last, it is by faith alone, that we abide in a justified state : because, to the last, we are in ourselves sinners; our best days are days of imperfect obedience; our best actions are imperfect, defective, if not defiled; and our dying prayer must be, “ God be merciful to me “a sinner.” Forgiveness is only, by the blood of Christ, and by faith in him; and therefore, faith alone saves the sinner from first to last: though not a faith which, is solitary or alone in him, who is saved; but one, which produces good works, as certainly as a good tree brings forth good fruit. “ But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your « most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep

ri To the much agitated question, therefore, whether works be necessary to justification, we answer, that if by justification • be meant the first entrance into a state of justification, works

are not necessary; if by justification be meant the continuance * in a state of justification, works are necessary:: ? See on p. 119, Refutation. * 2 Cor. v. - 7

- Eph. vi. 16. 1 Tim. vi. 12. 5 Gal. ii, 20.

yourselves in the love of God; looking for the « mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal « life.” · P. cxxiv. 1. 24. * By this, &c.'? By the simple distinction between living faith, and dead faith, all this is more completely answered ; many other difficulties are removed ; apparent inconsistencies reconciled, and pernicious inferences obviated.

P. cxxiv--cxxviii. It appears to me, that his Lordship, in these pages, has decidedly the best of the argument, in those points, (whether faith, and the merits of Christ mean the same thing,) respect


See note on p. 81, Refutation. 2. Jude 20, 21. 3 By this distinction, we support the fundamental principle

of the gospel, justification by faith in Christ; and at the same • time secure the main purpose of our Saviour's incarnation and · death," who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us “ from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, “ zealous of good works;" we shew the consistency of justification

by faith alone with the necessity of personal righteousness, and

holiness; we vindicate the inercy of God and the atonement of • Christ, while we afford the strongest possible sanction to the cause of moral virtue.'


[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »