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O how will you reconcite this conduct, I shall not say to christianity, but to good manners, good sense, or even to heathen honesty !
In the second class of good works, divines place works of (justice and) charity; and these are of two forts, such as are done to the bodies, and such as are done to the souls of men. The former are (for the molt part) enumerated by our Lord, Mat. xxv. They conlift (in being true and just in all our deal. ings; in providing things hones in the light of all men, for us and ours ; in paying our just debts as soon as possible, in protecting widows and fatherless children, j in giving food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty ; in entertaining strangers, easing the oppressed, clothing the naked, attending the fick, visiting the prisoners, (and burying the dead, from scriptural and not from pharisaical motives.]
Now will any one, who fcruples + [advancing an untruth,] dare affirm, that I ever spoke a word against doing any one of these good works: -- Against doing them (at improper times, from bad motives,] in a wrong manner, and to wrong ends, I have often spoken; and fo have all the preachers, who do not daub the wall with untempered mortar : Christ first, Mat. vi. 2. St. Paul next, 1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2, 3. and our Church .fter them; see the Homily on Falting, But I ask it again, whoever heard me speak one word against doing them? On the contrary, have I not declared again and again, that even a cup of cold water, given in Chrift's name, should in no wife lose its reward-lhould certainly be rewarded in eternal life, [if [ ] not-with eternal- life; [And do not some of
(28) + Eleven years ago I said [forging a lie.] (29) | Formerly I wrote (altho' not with eternal life.] The expression was perhaps too peremptory. A man may be so circumstanced in the sultry deserts of Arabia, that a cup of cold water may be of more real value to him than a diadem, and of equal worth with bis own life. Now if he lovingly gives that cup to a disciple of Jesus, or even to his heathen enemy, for his Redeemer's or Creator's sake; I
you know, that within these two Years, I have lost many of my religious friends, by making a stand for the evangelical worthiness of the works of faith?]
As for works of mercy done to the souls of men, such as [giving a christian education to our children and apprentices,] comforting the afflicted, encouraging the dejected, itrengthening the weak, exhorting the careless, fuccouring the tempted, instructing the ignorant, [sympathizing with mourners) warning the stubborn, [detecting hypocrisy) reproving fin, itopping immorality, rebuking profaneness, and helping each other in the narrow way; it is known to many, that my name is caft out as evil by fabbath-breakers, Swearers, and drunkards, for endeavouring to walk in these good works myself, and to make ochers walk in them.
And yet you, (I ftill address myself to the inveterate enemies of salvation by fạith,] you, who poffibly ridicule all those good works, and dream of being saved without them; you, who do perhaps just the reverse of them, strengthening one another's hands in licentiousness and prophaneness, in fabbathbreaking, swearing, or scoffing at every thing that looks like seriousness; you accufe me of despisiog or discountenancing good works!- tell it not in Gath, publish it not in Askelon, left the very Philistines laugh at the glaring inconsistency of your words and conduet.
Good dare not say, that such a work of faith, such an act of brotherly love, may not be rewarded with eternal life. Jesus Christ and Dr. Owen make me rather think to the contrary : For the former says, W bosocyer fhall kose, or shall venture to lose bis life for my fake, and the gofpelos, (which, if I mistake not, implies, among other particulars, Łazarding our life for fteadily adhering to the gospel-precept, that enjoins us to love our neighbour as ourselves, and to give drink to a thirsty enemy:] ball save it.---Verily I say" unto you, Tbere is no man that has left house, &c. or lands for my fake and tbe gospel’s, but be fall receive an hundred-fold now and in the world to come ETSRNAL LIFE. - As for the champion of the Calvinists, he is at once so orthodox and so honest as to confess, that thro' God's gracious appointment, the whole (and consequently every genuine parts of our obedience, bus a REWARDABLE condecency unto ETERNAL LIFE, But more of this in the following Effay,
Good works of the third class, relate to keeping under the flesh, and all its finful appetites. The chief of thele works, are a moderate use of meat, drink, and sleep; self-denial, [in apparel, furniture, and equipage ;] chaitity [in all its branches ; fube duing our flothful, rebellious flesh by] early rifing, abftinence, falting ; (and, in a word, by taking up our daily cross, and following our abftemious, and yet laborious Lord.)
[Permit me to do as St. Paul--to speak as it were foolishly in this confidence of boasting.] Have I not enforced the necessity of these good works both publickly and from house to house? Have you not fometimes even gone away from this place of worship, secretly displeased at my infifting so much upon them; complaining perhaps, “ that I went too far, or that no body could live up to what 'I preach ;": and making a hundred fuch remarks, instead of meditating upon these words of our Lord: With man indeed it is imposible, but with God all things are polible? And yet you now complain that I do not preach up good works - Pray, my brethren, be consistent ; keep to one point, and do not say and unfay: I can "no more be too ftrict, and yet make too little of good works'; than I can go eaft and weft at the same time. Only think.... and you will perceive that your very complaints juftify me, that your sayings overcorn one another, and that your own mouths prove you perverse.
You will probably say, Have we not heard you affirm more than once, that no body can be saved by his works: yea, that a man inay go as conftantly to church, as the f charifte did to the temple, be as virtuous as he was, pay tithes as exactly as he did, and be damned after all ? Can you deny my having preached this doctrine ewen!y times ?”
Deny it! - By no means. It is a doctrine for which, God being my helper, I am ready to go to the
(30) + From this objection it is evident, that the works which 1 decryed cleven years ago, were those against which I now bear my testimony, namely pharifaical works.
stake. It is the very doctrine, that I have established in the former part of this discourse : How then can I deny it?
Here methinks a + pharisee replies in triumpha “ Well then, you plead guilty to the charge : you confess that you have preached twenty times againit good works."
I [I deny the conclufion.] Have you not underftanding (or attention] enough to see, there is a vast difference between preaching against the [proper) merit of good works, and preaching against good works themselves Between saying, that obedience to the king will never get us the crown of Great Britain, and affirming that we owe the king no obedience? In a word, between saying that good works will never procure us heaven, (as the primary and strictly speaking meritorious cause of our salvation] and declaring that we ought not to do good works? Surely your rational faculties are not so impaired, but you may perceive, those propofitions are by no means of the same import.
If I say, that eating will never make me immortal, that drinking will never turn me into an angel, and that doing my work will never take me to the third heaven ; do I so much as hint that eating is useless, drinking of no service, and doing my business unprofitable ? O how does prejudice blind even men of reason and religion ! How hardly does truth go down with us, when we do not love it! How gladly do we dress it up in a fool's coat, that we may have some pretence to defpife and reject it!
If you would speak according to triat truth, my brethren, you would not say that I “preach against good works, that I run down good works, &c.” which
+ See the foregoing Note. When I was younger by eleven years I said, [You are a poor logicians
(31) $ It appears to me, that my fermon, far from being “ the beft confutation of the minutes, is consonant to that proposition, which has given such offence: Not by the merit of works, but by works as a condition,
is [a mistake +] as I shewed just now: but you would fay, that I preach against the (proper) merit 1 of good works in point of salvation : This is very true, so I do, and so I am determined to do, by God's grace, as long as I live. So did Chrift and his apoftles ; fo do our articles and homilies; and so the children of God have done in all ages.
Those of the old testaments [far from mentioning any proper merit of their own, cried out: Now mine eye seeth thee, I abhor myself, and repent in duft and ashes, Job xlii. 5. : Wo is me for I am undone, because I am by nature, and have been by practice, a man of unclean lips. II. vi. 5.] Those of the new, prayed to be found in Christ, not having their own (pharifaic] righteousness which is by the law of works, but the Tevangelical] righteousness which is by faith in Jesus Chrift, Phil. iii. 9: And those of our Church profess, that They are not worthy to gather the crumbs under the Lord's table, and that they do not come to it, trusting in their own righteousness, or good works, but in God's manifold and great mercies thro' Jesus Christ: fo far are they from thinking, that they (properly) merit salvation (either in whole or in part.] See Com. Service.
Yea, I declare it as upon the house-top, of all the falle doctrines that ever came out of the pit of hell, none has done such execution for Satan in the church of God [as the pharisaic conceit that we have, or may have any proper, original merit.] Stealing, drunkenness, and adultery have slain their thousands ; but this damnable error, which is the very root of
+ [Entirely falfe] is the blunt expression, I used eleven years ago.
I Turn back to Note 31. (32) Ş Infiead of this addition, eleven years ago I said [ourned that all their righteoufreljes were as filthy rags, II. Ixiv. 6. For leaning then too much towards calvinism, I supposed that the prophet in this passage spoke of the rightecusnesjes of faith : but fince I have dared to read
my bible without prejudice, and to consult the context, I have found, that text is spoken only of the bypocritical righteousnesses of the wicked; and in the IV th Check, p. 114, I have tried to rescue it froni the hands of the antinomians, who had tanght me to wrest it from its proper meaning.