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version, justified him also as a believer by works in the day of his trial.
7. But this is not all : Turning to Gen. xxii., the chapter which St. James had undoubtedly in view, when he insisted upon Abraham's justification by works; I find the best of arguments, matter of fact.
And it came to pass, that God did tempt, [i. e., try,] Abraham.' The patriarch acquitted himself like a sound believer in the hard trial, he obediently offered up his favourite son. Here St. James addresses a Solifidian, and bluntly says, 'Wilt thou know, 0 vain man, that faith without works is dead,' i. e., that when faith gives over working by obedient love, it sickens, dies, and commences a dead faith? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac upon the altar ? If Mr. Hill answer : Yes, he was justified by works before men and angels, but not before God : I reply, Impossible ! for neither men nor angels put him to the trial, to bring out what was in his heart. God tried him, that he might justly puvish, or wisely reward him; therefore God justified him. If a judge, after trying a man on a particular occasion, acquits him upon his good behaviour, in order to pro. ceed to the reward of him, is it not absurd to say, that the man is acquitted before the court, but not before the judge ; especially if there is neither court nor jury present, but only the judge? Was not this the case at Abraham's trial ? Do we hear of any angel being present but 17179 78'59, the Angel Jehovah ? And had not Abraham left his two servants with the ass at the foot of the mount? Is it reasonable then to suppose, that Abraham was justified before them by a work, which as yet they had not heard of; for, says St. James,
When [which implies as soon as] he had offered Isaac, be was justified by works?' If you say, that he was justified before Isaac; I urge the absurdity of supposing, that God made so much ado about the trial of Abraham before the lad; and I demand proof that God had appointed the youth to be the justifier of his aged palent.
8. But let the sacred historian decide the questioil. * And the Lord called to Abraham out of heaven, and said, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, for now I know [declaratively] that thou fearest God,' (i. e., believest in God :) Now I can praise and reward thee with wisdom and equity : 'Seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thy only son from me.' Upon Calvinistic principles, did uot God speak improperly? Should not he have said, Now angels and men, before whom thou hast offered Isaac, do know that thou fearest me ? But if God had spoken thus, would he have spoken consistently with either his veracity or his wisdom : Is it not far more reasonable to suppose, that although God as omniscient, with a glance of his eyes, 'tries the hearts, searches the reins,' and foresees all future contingencics, yet, as a judge, and a wise dispenser of punishments and rewards, he condemns no unbelievers, and justifies no believers, in St. James's sense, but by the evidence of tempers, words, and actions, which actually spring from their unbelief, or their faith?
9. Was it not from the same motive, that God tried Job in the land of Uz, (chap. i. 12,) Israel in the wil. derness, (Deut. viii. 1, compared with Josh. xxii. 2,) and King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. (2 Chron. xxxii. 31.) • God (says the historian) left him [to the temptation] that He (God) might koow (declaratively] all that was in his heart.' It is true, Mr. Hill supposes, in the 2d Ed. of his Five Letters, that the words, He might know, refer to Hezekiah, but Canne more judiciously refers to Gen. xxii, 1, where God tried Abraham, not that Abraham might know, but that He himself inight declaratively know what was in Abraham's lieart. If the word that he might "know, did refer to Hezekiah, should not the affix (1) he, or him, have been added to
, , , , , , , ? 10. Our Lord himself decides the question, where he says to his believing disciples, 'Whosoever shall cou
,as it is put to the two preceding verbs ,לדעתו ,thus ,דעת
? to try HIM ,לנסותו ,he left HIM ,עזבו
fess me before men, him will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deuy before any Father who is in heaven. It was undoubtedly an attention to this scripture that made Dr. Owen say: Hereby [by personal obedievce) that faith whereby we are justified [as sinners) is evidenced, proved, manifested in the sight of God and man.” And yet, astonishing ! this passage, which indirectly gives up the only real difference there is, between Mr. Hill's justification by works and ours ; this passage, which cuts him off from the only way he has of making his escape, (except that by which his brother tried to make his own, see Fourth Check, p. 85,) this very passage which makes so much for my sentiment, is one of those concerning which he says, (Finishing Stroke, p. 14,) “ Words prudently expunged by Mr. Fletcher,” when they are only words, which for brevity's sake I very imprudently left out, since they cut down Solifidianism, even with Dr. Owen's sword.
To conclude : Attentive reader, peruse James ii., where the justification of believers by works before God is so strongly insisted upon : Observe what is said there of the law of liberty; of believers being judged by that law; of the judgment without mercy,' that shall be shewn to fallen, merciless believers according to that law :--Consider that this doctrine exactly coincides with the Sermon upon the Mount, and the Epistle to the Hebrews——that it perfectly tallies with Ezek. xviii. xxxiii. Matt. xii. xxv. Rom. ii. Gal. vi, &c., and that it is delivered to brethren, yea, to the beloved brethren of St. James, to whom he could say, 'Out of his own will the Father of Lights begat us with the word of truth :'-Take notice, that the charge indirectly brought against them, is that they
had faith of the Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons ;' and that they deceived their ownselves,' by not being as careful doers as they were diligent • hearers of the word.'— Then look round upou some of our most famous believers ; see how foaming, how roaring, how terrible are the billows of their partiality. Read “ An Address from candid Protestants to the Rev. Mr. Fletcher;" read “ The finishing Stroke;" read “ More Work for Mr. Wesley;" read the Checks to Antinomianism ; and say, if there is not as great need to insist upon a believer's justification by words and works, as there was in the days of our Lord and St. James : And if it is not high time to say to modern believers, ' My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, with respect of persons.-So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty : For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy :-For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again, [by him, that] shall render to every one according to what he has done in the body, whether it be good or bad.' But " candid Protestants" have an ready in their “ Address ” This is “ the Popish doctrine of justification by works,” aud “ Arminian Methodism turned out rank Popery at last.”—This is a mingle mangle of “ the most high and mighty, selfrighteous, self-potent, self-important, self-sanctifying, self-justifying, and self-exalting medley Minister."'S The misfortune is, that amidst these witticisms of “ the Protestants,” (for it seems the Calvinists engross that name to themselves,) we, “rank Papists,” still look out for arguments; and when we find none, or only such as are worse than none, we still stay, Logicu Genevensis !, and remain confirmed in our dreadful heresy," or rather, in our Lord's anti-Calvinistic doctrine, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and hy thy words thou shalt be condemned.'