Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ness and force, and shows that Faith cannot justify in the way contended for by the supporters of this mischievous doctrine, since " by works & inan is justified, and not by Faith only (%)." Here St. James uses the word Faith, not in the sense in which it was used by St. Paul when speaking of Justification, but in the sense in which it was used by those whose opinions he is com bating, namely, barę belief, without producing inward purity, or practical obedience : this is evident, by his attributing the Faith of which he is speaking, to devils, (a). By works, he means not the ceremonial works of the Mosaic law, which were rejected, by St. Paul, but works of benevolence and conformity to the will of God, as appears, from the illustration of a brother or

sister (z) Jas. c. 2. V. 24: (a) “ The devils, we find, confessed Christ, saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God, Luke, c. 4. V. 41, the same form of words, almost verbatim, in which the Apostles of our Saviour made confession of their Faith, John, c. 6, v. 69." Allen. et eam quæ Petri secunda dicitur, scriptas adversus eos, qui Paulinas Epistolas prave interpretantes, Fidem dicebant sine bonis operibus ad salutem sufficere. Bull. It is evident from the beginning of the 4th chapter, that the Christians, to whom St. James addressed his Epistle, were guilty of many vices and irregularities. They seemed to have relied upon Faith as alone sufficient for salvation, and to have been regardless of their moral conduct,

sister who is naked and destitute of daily food (b), and from the examples of Abraham and Rahab (c), who gavé proof of their Faith by their actions. And by the word “justify” he does not mean, as St. Paul did, Justification or remission of past sins at the time of admission into the Christian Covenant, but the continuance in a state of Justification, which would be followed by Salvation; and here again he conforms himself to the language of those whose error be is refuting. In reasoning upon this point, he asks,“ Can Faith save him (a)?” implying, that the Faith spoken of is insufficient for Salvation. But if it be insufficient for Salvation in the world to come, it is insufficient to keep a person in a state of Justification in this world; and accordingly the Apostle soon after says, “ By works a man is justified, and not by Faith only (e);” that is, Faith only will not preserve a man in a justified state; it must be accompanied by works, for “ Faith without works is dead." It is evident that the Faith here spoken' of may exist without works; and in that case it is of no avail to Salvation. Let it be remarked, that whenever St. Paul, in speaking of Justification, uses the word Works or Deeds, he invariably adds “ of the law;" he frequently says, a man is not justified by the works of the law,

but (6) V. 15.

(c) V. 21 & 25 (d) C. 2. v. 141

(e) V. 24 .

bụt not once does he say, a man is not justified by works : so scrupulous is he upon this point, that he repeats the expression, " works of the law,” three times in one verse (f). The works, therea fore, which he rejects from any share in Justification, are the ceremonial works of the law, for which the Judaizing Christians contended. On the other hand, St. James, in speaking upon. the same subject, uses the word “ works”. simply, never adding “ of the law :” he does not therefore mean the ceremonial works of the law, but moral works, which the corrupters of St. Paul's doctrine pronounced to be of no impor-, tance. And even to these works he does not attribute the whole of Justification, for his exa. pression is, “ By works a man is justified, and not by Faith only;” that is, he admits the necessity of Faith, but asserts, that a man is not jus, tified by Faith only : Moral works must follow Faith, or a man will not continue justified, or in a justified state (g). It has been noticed, that both St. Paul and

St. James (f) Gal. c. 2. v. 16.

(g) Calvin, Lib. 3. cap. 11. sect. 13, concludes, that if works have any share in Justification, there is boasting in works: this by no means follows ; for we do not say that works liąve any intrinsic merit, but that they are the appointed condition of Justification, that is, of the continuance in a state of Justification. The same objection would hold against the doctrine of Justification by Faith; for we are not allowed to boast of Faith, or to consider it as possessing any intrinsic merit.

OM

St. James speak of the Justification of Abraham : the former ascribes it to Faith, referring to a passage in Genesis (h): “ What saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto hin for righteousness (i).” The latter ascribes it to works, and as it were to show that his doctrine was not contrary to that of St. Paul, he refers to the same passage in Genesis, “ Was not Abraham our Father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how Faith wrought with his works, and by works was Faith made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness (k)." Abraham was first pronounced to be justified when he professed Faith alone without works, which Faith consisted in giving implicit credit to God's promise of numerous descendants; “He believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness (1).Abraham therefore was justified upon that occasion, in the saine manner as St. Paul represents adult converts to the Gospel to be justified upon the

profession (h) C. 15. v. 6. ☺ Rom. c. 4. V. 3.

(k) Jas. c. 2. v. 21. Abraham seems to have been justified three times, First, When by the command of God he left his own country, Heb. c. 11. v. 8. Secondly, When he believed God's promise of numerous descen. dants, Gen. c. 15. v. 5 & 6. And Thirdly, When he obeyed God's command to offer his son, Jas. c. 2. v. 21,

(1) Gen. c. 15. V, 6.

profession of their faith in Christ, and admission into the Christian Covenant by baptism; and the Apostle illustrates his own doctrine of Justification, by appealing to the Justification of Abraham, as related by Moses. Had St. Paul been asked, whether Abraham, if he had subsequently refused to obey the divine command, to “ offer Isaac his son upon the altar,” would still have continued in the state of Justification, to which by his Faith in the promise of God he had previously attained, he would have answered, certainly not ; for if he had not done this work, or at least expressed a sincere readiness to do it, he could not have possessed the genuine principle of human conduct, a conformity to the will of God; he could not have continued justified, disobedience to the cominands of God being incompatible with a state of Justification. St. James, to illustrate his doctrine of both Faith and Works being essential to the continuance in a state of Justification, appeals to the works of Abraham, by which the Faith, previously professed by the Patriarch, “ wrought, and was made perfect.” And having declared' Abraham to be justified by his works, he quotes the same passage from Genesis, respecting Abraham's Justification, which St. Paul had quoted, applying it not to the time when Abraham professed his Faith, but to the time when he demonstrated the sincerity of that Faith by actual obedience. This different application arises from the different views

of

« AnteriorContinuar »