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teousness, that is, endeavouring to save themselves by their own good works [so called, by works which, ftri&tly speaking, deserve rather to be named pharisaical than good; ] they have not submitted to the righteousness of God - to that faith in Chrift, which makes finners righteous before God : for Christ, adds he, is the end of the law yor righteousness 10 every one that believeth, Rom. x. 4; That is, [lince the fall] it is the very design of the [Adamic] law, (the law of innocence given to finless Adam ; yea, and of the Mosaic Jaw, when it is considered as written in stones, and decorated with shadows or types of good things to come,] to bring men to believe in Chrift for justification and salvation : as he alone gives that pardon and life, which the law (of innocence] shews the want of, (and which the Mosaic law, abītracted from gospel-promises, points unto,] but cannot possibly beitow.
The Apostle resuming the same subject in the chapter out of which the text is taken, comforts himself by confidering, that, altho' Israel in general was blinded, yet all were not loft. Old Simeon and Anna had seen the falvation of God, and had departed in peace, Nicode. mus, a doctor in Israel, had received the doctrine of the new birth and salvation by faith. Three thousand Jews had been pricked to the heart by penitential for. row, and filled with peace and joy by believing in Jesus Chrift. And even at this present time, says the Apoftle, there is a remnant [of my country-men saved) according to the election of grace : That is, There are some of them, who, (like Nathaniel and Nicodemus] catting away their dependance on their own righteousness, (and trufling only in Christ's merits] are numbered among the elečt, according to that gracious decree of [election in Christ, which] Ğod (has to clearly revealed) in the covenant of grace, He that believeth Mall be favid, &c. Mark xvi. 16. t
(2) + My sentiment concerning election, is thus expressed by a great Calvinist minifter, " in the written word a decree of God is found, so which thews who are the chosen and the saved people ; He thur
From thence the Apostle takes occasion to thew, that pardon and salvation are not, ia whole or in part, attained by [the covenant of) works, but merely by the covenant of] grace. A remnant of those self-righteous pharisees is saved, (not indeed by their self-righteous. ness,] but by the covenant of grace, (according to which we must equally part with our self-righteousness and our fins.] And if by [the covenant of] gract, then it is no more [by that] of works, whether of the ceremonial law [of Mofes, ) or of the moral law (of innocence perverted to pharifaic purposes; } else (the) grace (of Chrift] is no longer grace (bestowed upon a criminal:] The very nature of [gospel-]grace is loit. And if it be [by the covenant] of works, then it is no more [by gospel ]grace; else work is no longer [the] worke (of a finless creature,] but the very nature of it is de. itroyed (according to the first covenant, which requires perfect conformity to the law in the work, and perfect innocerice in the worker.]
if « believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved. The chosen people there“ fore are a race of true believers, convinced by God's fpirit of their * ruined estate, endowed with divine faith, by which they seek to “ Chrift for help; and seeking do obtain pardon, peace,and holiness.' The Christian World Unmasked. Second Edit. p. 186. Judicious christians will probably agree here with this pious divine, if he does not deny: (1) That in the divine decree of election the word BELIEVETH, excludes from the election those who have cast of their first faith, or bave made shipwreck of the faith: And (2) That the word IS BAPTIZED, implies prof.lling the faith in word and work; or making, and standing to, the baptismal vow, which respects not only believing the articles of the christian faith, but also keeping God's holy will and commandments.
(3) f I say gospel-grace, because it is that which the Apoftle means. It may with propriety be distinguished from the original grace which Adam had before the fall, and which deists and pharisees still suppose themselves possessed of. Some people imagine, that if our first parents had well acquitted themselves in the trial of their faithfulness, their reward would not have been of grace; they would (strictly speaking) have merited heaven. But this is a mistake. From the Creator to the creature, all blessings are, and must for ever be of grace, of mere grace. Gabriel himself enjoys heaven thro' free grace. Unless fome gracious promise interposes, God nay this instant put an end without injustice, not only to his glory, but to his very existence. Should you ask what difference there is, hetween criginal and gospel grace ; I answer, that original, Adamic grace naturally flowed froin God, as Creator and Preserver, to innocent, happy creatures. that for which St. Paul so strenuously contends in my text, fuperna
But gospel grace, turally flows from God, as Redeemer and Comforter, to guilty, wretched mankind: And here let us take notice of the opposition there is, between pharifaic and evangelical obedience, between the works of tbe law and the works of fuith. The former are done with a proud concert of the natural frengtk, which man loft by the fall; and the latter, with an bumble dependence on divine merry thro' the Redeemer's merits; and on the supernutural power testowed upon loft mankind for his sake. When St. Paul decries the works of the law, it is merely to recommend the works of faith : and yet, О the dreadíul effects of confufion! in Babel people fuppołe, that he pours equal content
As if the Apostle had said, There is something so abfolutely inconsistent, between being faved by (the covenant of] grace, and being saved by [that of ] works, that if you suppose either, you of necessity exclude the other : for what is given to works [ upon the footing of the first covenant,] is (improperly speaking] the payment of a debe (which God, by his
gracious promise, contracted with innocent mankind without the interposition of a Mediator:] whereas (gospel-] grace implies (not only) a favour [ftrictly Speaking unmerited [by us; but also an atoning facrifice on the Redeemer's part, and a damnable demerit on our own : ] so that the same benefit cannot, in the very things, be derived from both (covenants.]
Having thus opened the context, I proceed to a more particular illustration of the text; and that I may explain it as fully, as the time allotted for this discourse will permit,
FIRST, I thall premise an account of the cwo covenants : The covenant of works, to which the pharisees of old trusted, and (most of ] the Roman catholics, with too many false protestants, fill truít in our days : And the covenant of grace, by which alone
a remnant was saved in St. Paul's time, ard will be saved in all ages.
SECONDLY, I fhall prove, that the way of sal. vation By [obedient) FAITH ONLY, or, which is the same thing, BY THE COVENANT OF GRACE, is the ONLY WAY that leads to life, according to the scriptures and the articles of our church, to whose holy doctrine I shall publicly set my seal.
THIRDLY, I shall endeavour to show the unreasonableness and injustice of those, who accuse me of “ preaching againit good works" when I [decry pharisaic works, and] preach salvation thro' the covenant of grace only.
FOURTHLY and lastly, after having informed you, why (even] good works (truly so called] cannot + (properly] deserve salvation in whole or in part; Í ihall answer the old objection of [some ignorant] papists, and pharifaical proteftants ] “lf good works
cannot f [properly merit us heaven, ] why should
we do them! There is no need to trouble ourselves " about any."
(4) + I prefer properly to absolutely, the word which I formerly used; because absolutely bears too hard upon the second gospel axiom, and turns out of the gospel the rewardable condecency, that our who'e obedience, even according to Dr. Owen, bath unto eternal life, tbro' God's gracious appointment.
(5) I I say now properly merit us beau n, and not save us, get us beaven, or procure us beaven, expressions which occur a few times in my old sermon; because (taking the word merit in its full and proper sense) the phrase “cannot merit us heaven," leaves room to defend the necessity of evangelical obedience, and of the works of faith, by which we shall be saved, not indeed as being the first and properly meritorious cause of our salvation, (for to ascribe them that honour would be to injure free grace, and place thein on the Mediator's throne) but as being the secondary inftrumental cauge of our justification in the great day, and consequently of our eternal salvation.
Nor does the expression properly merit us heaven clash with such fcriptures as these — When the wicked man tur neth from his iniquity, he fball save his soul
alive Save fome with fear Save thy busband Save thy wife-We are saved by bope -- Work out your own salvation,
He ibat converteth a Jinner Mall save a foul from death Tby faith bath saved thee In doing this thou shalt fave thyself, and them that bear
FIRST PART. I begin by laying before you an account of the two [ grand ) covenants, that God entered into with man. The first was made with Adam, when he was in a state of innocence in paradise. The condition of it, which is excessively hard, [nay, absolutely impoffible] to fallen man, was easy before the fall. It runs thus :
thee. A preacher fhould do justice to every part of the scripture. Nor thould he blunt one edge of the sword of the spirit, under pretence of making the other sharper. This I inadvertently did some times in the year 1762. May God endue me with wisdom that I may not do it it in 1774! I find it the nicest thing in practical, as well as in polemical divinity, so to defend the doctrine of God's free grace as not to wound that of man's faithful ebedience, and vice versa. These two doctrines support the two gospel axioms, and may be called the breats of the church. A child of God, instead of peevishly biting the one or the other, should fuck them alternately; and a minister of Christ, instead of cutting off either, should carefully protect them both.
Should any one object, that if Calvinism is supposted by the Rev. Mr. Berridge's distinction between Is and IF (see the fifth Check, 2d part:] the gospel-arioms, about which we make fo much ado, have not a better foundation ; since they depend upon a distinction between original merit and derived merit. 1 reply, that the distinction between legal Ir and evangelical IF, is unworthy of Christ, and not less contrary to scripture, than to reason, and morality. On the contrary, the distinction between original or proper merit, and derived or improper worthiness, far from being frivolous, is fcriptural, [ see IV Check, p. 65, &c.] solid, highly honourable to Christ, greatly conducive to morality, very rational, and lying within the reach of the meanest capacity.
This will appear from the following propositions, which contain the sum of our doctrine concerning merit.-(i) All proper worthiness, merit, or desert of any divine reward, is in Christ, the overflowing fountain of all original excellence. (2) If any of the living water of that rich spring is received by faith, and flows thro' the believer's heart and works, it forms improper worthiness, or derived merit; because, properly speaking, it is Christ's merit fill. - (3) Original merit answers to the first gospel axiom, and derived worthiness to the second. (4) According to the first covenant we can never merit a reward, be. cause, of ourselves as sinners, we deserve nothing but hell ; and that covenant makes no provision of merit for hell-deserving finners.---But(5) according to the second covenant, by God's gracious appointment and merciful promise, we can, improperly speaking, be worthy of heaven thro' the blood of Christ sprinkled upon our hearts, and thro' his righteousness derived to us and to our works by faith. - (6) Hence