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and in the day of judgment, is only the precious atonement, and the infinite merits, of our Lord Jesus Christ. -We all agree likewise, that in the day of conversion, faith is the instrumental cause of our justification before God.--Nay, if I mistake not, we come one step nearer each other, for we equally hold, that, after conversion, the works of faith are in this world, and will be in the day of judgment, the evidencing cause of our justification : That is, the works of faith (under the above-mentioned primary cause of our salvation, and in subordination to the faith that gives them birth) are now, and will be in the great day, the evidence that shall instrumentally cause our justification as believers. Thus Mr. Hill says, (Review, p. 149, “ Neither Mr. Shirley nor I, nor any Ca.vinist that I ever heard of, denies, that though a sinper be justified in the sight of God by Christ alone, he is declaratively justified by works, both here and at the day of judgment.” And the Rev. Mr. Madan, in his Sermon on Justification by Works, &c., stated, explained, and reconciled with Justification by Faith, &c., says, (p. 29,) “By Christ only are we meritoriously justified, and by faith only are we instrumentally justified in the sight of God; but by works and not by faith only, are we declaratively justified before men and angels." From these two quotations, which could easily be multiplied to twenty, it is evident, that pious Calvinists hold the doctrine of a justification by the works of faith; or, as Mr, Madan ex. presses it, after St. James, “ by works, and not hy faith only.”
It remains now to shew wherein we disagree. At first sight the difference seems trifling, but upon close examination it appears, that the whole Antinomian gulf still remains fixed between us. Read over the preceding quotations; weigh the clauses which I have put in Italics; compare them with what the Rev. Mr. Berridge says in his “ Christian World unmasked," (p. 26,) of “ an absolute impossibility of being justified in any manner by our works,” namely, before
God; and you will see, that although pious Calvinists allow, we are justified hy works before men and angels, yet they deny our being ever justified by works before God, in whose sight they suppose we are for ever “justified by Christ alone,” i. e., only by Christ's good works and sufferings absolutely imputed to us, from the very first moment in which we make a single act of true faith, if not from all eternity. Thus works are still entirely excluded from having any hand either in our intermediate or final justification before God, and thus they are still represented as totally needless to our eternal salvation. Now, in direct opposition to the above-mentioned distinction, we Anti-Calvinists believe, that adult persons cannot be saved without being justified by faith as sinners, according to the light of their dispensation ; and by works as believers, according to the time and opportunities they have of working :-We assert, that the works of faith are not less necessary to our justification before God, as believers; than faith itself is necessary to our justification before him, as sinners :- And we maintain, that when faith does not produce good works (nuch more when it produces the worst works, such as adultery, hypocrisy, treachery, murder, &c.,) it dies, and justifies no more ; seeing it is a living and not a dead faith, that justifies us as siuners; even as they are living, and not dead works, that justify us as believers. I have already exposed the absurdity of the doctrine, that works are necessary to our final justifi. cation before men and angels but not before God : However, as this distinction is one of the grand subterfuges of the decent Autinomians, and one of the pleas by which the hearts of the simple are most easily deceived into Solifidianism, to the many argaments that I have already produced upon this head, in the Sixth Letter of the Fourth Check, 1 beg leave to add those which follow :
1. The way of making up the Antinomian gap by saying, that works are necessary to our intermediate and final justification before men and angels, but not before God, is as bad as the gap itself.
" If God is for me (says judicious Mr. Fulsome) who can be against me ? If God has for ever justified me only by Christ, and if works have absolutely no place in my justification before him, what care I for men and augels ? Should they justify when God condemus, what would their absolution avail ? And if they condemu when God justifies, what signifies their con. demnation ? All creatures are fallible. The myriads of men and angels are as nothing before God. He is all in all.” Thus Mr. Fulsome, by a most judicious way of arguing, keeps the field of licentiousness, where the Solifidian ministers have inadvertently brought him, and whence he is too wise to depart upon their brandishing before him the broken reed of an absurd distinction.
2. Our justification by works will principally, and in some cases entirely, turn upon the works of the beart, which are unknown to all but God. Again, were men and angels in all cases to pass a decisive sentence upon us according to our works, they might judge us severely, as Mr. Hill judges Mr. Wesley ; they might brand us for forgery upon the most frivolous appearances; at least they might condemn us as rashly as Job's friends condemned him. Once more ; were our fellow-creatures to condemu us decisively by our works, they would often do it as unjustly as the disciples condemned the blessed woman, who poured a box of very precious ointment ou our Lord's head. They had indignation, and blamed as uncharitable waste, what our Lord was pleased to call “a good work wrought upon him,'-a good work, which shall be told for a memorial of her, as long as the Christiau gospel is preached. To this may be added the mistake of the apostles, who, even after they had received the Holy Ghost, condemned Saul of Tarsus by his former, when they should have absolved him by his latter works. And even now, how few believers would justify Phineas for running Zimri and Cosbi through the body, or Peter for striking Ananias and Sapphira dead, witliout giving them time to say once, “ Lord, have mercy upon as !" Nay, how many would condemi them as rash men, if not as cruel murderers ! In some cases, therefore, none can possibly justify or cordemn believers hy their works, but he who is perfectly acquainted with all the outward circumstances of their actions, and with all the secret springs whence they flow.
3. The scriptuies know nothing of the distinction which I explode. When St. Paul denies that Abraham was justified by works, it is only when he treats of the justification of a sinner, and speaks of the ' works of ur belief.' When Christ says, “By thy words thou shalt be justified,' he makes no mention of angels. To suppose that they shall be able to justify a world of men by their words, is to suppose, that they have heard, and do remember, all the words of all mankind, which is supposiug them to be gods. Nay, far from being judged by angels, St. Paul says, that' we shall judge them ;' vot indeed as proper judges, but as Christ's assessors and mystical members : For our Lord, in liis description of the great day, informs us that he, and not men or angels, will justify the sleep and condemn the goats, by their works.
4. St. Paul discountenances the evasive distinction which I oppose, when he says, “Thiukest thon, O man who doest such things, that thou shalt escape the righteous judgmeut of God, who will render eternal life to them that by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, &c., when he shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ ?' For reason dictates, that neither men nor angels, but the Searcher of hearts alone, will be able to justify or condemn us by secrets, unknown possibly to all but himself.
.5. If you say, Most men shall have been condemued or justified long before the day of judgment; therefore the solemu pomp of that day will be appointed merely for the sake of justification by men and angels : I ex:
claim against the unreasonableness of supposing that 'the great and terrible day of God,' with an eye to which the world of rationals was created, is to be only the day of men and angels : And I reply :-Although I grant, that judgment certainly finds us where death leaves us; final justification and condemnation being chiefly a solemn seal set, if I may so speak, upon the forehead of those whose consciences are already justified or condemned, according to the last turn of their trial on earth : Yet it appears, both from scripture and reason, that mankind cannot properly be judged before the great day : Departed spirits are not men; and dead men cannot be tried till the resurrection of the dead takes place, when departed spirits, and raised bodies, will form men again by their re-union. Therefore, in the very nature of things, God cannot judge mankind before the great day; and to suppose that the Father has appointed such a day, that we may be finally justified by our works before men and angels, and not before him, is to suppose that he has committed the chief judgment to the parties to be judged, i. e., to nien and angels, and not to Jesus Christ.
6. But if I mistake not, St. James puts the matter out of all dispute, where he says : 'You see, then, that by works a man is justified and not by faith only: (Chap. ii. 24.) This shews that a man is justified hy works before the same judge, by whom he is justified by faith; and here is the proof: Nobody was ever justified by faith before men and angels, because faith is an inward act of the soul, which none but the Trier of the reins can be a judge of. Therefore, as the Justifier by faith alluded to in the latter part of the verse, is undoubtedly God alone; it is contrary to all the rules of criticism to suppose, that the Justifier by works, alluded to in the very same sentence, is men and angels. Nay, in the preceding verse, God is expressly mentioned, and not men or angels : “ Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness,' i. e., he was justified before God : So that the same Lord, who justified him as a sinner by faith in the day of his con.