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their authority, it was the grand doctrine of the reformation ; It is the grand doctrine of the church of England. It was witnessed by the law. It is the justification to which the intimations of mercy that gleamed amidst the awful curses of the law alluded; the justification which the law with all its shadowy rites and emblematical facrifices unremittingly prefigured. It is the justification witnessed by the prophets. To that Redeemer by whose blood it was to be accomplished, give all the prophets witness; that through his name, whosoever believeth on him shall receive remission of fins (x). It is the justification to which, from the gospel of St. Matthew to the book of Revelations, all the penmen of the new covenant bear witness. It is the justification by which God is glorified; the justification by which man is to be saved.
The most falutary instruction may be perverted; the most holy doctrine may be vilified. What shall we say, therefore, if Ignorance fhould accost us in the language which she once addressed to St. Paul: Do you then make void the law through faith? Shall we continue in fin that grace may abound? In what words shall we reply but in those of the apostle? God forbid! Yea, we establish the law. God
forbid! How shall we that are dead to fin, live any longer therein ? They which do the works of the flesh shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Continue in faith and holiness. Without holiness no man all see the Lord. This is a faithful Saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly; that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works (y). Is additional refutation necessary? Let it be given in the words of St. James. Know, ( vain man, that faith without works is dead. By works faith is made perfect. By works a man is justified, and not by faith only (z). But here new difficulties seem to arise. “ If St. Paul ac« knowledges that holiness must be con“ stantly added to faith; if St. James affirms “that a man is justified, not by faith only, “ but by works ; where is the unity of Chrif“ tian doctrine? Is the apostle of the Gens tiles inconsistent with himself? Do the two “ apostles contradict each other? Will you .“ plead that they speak of a first and of a sub“ fequent justification? Or do you contend " that they refer, the one to justification in "the light of God, the other only to justifica“in the fight of men?” St. Paul is in no degree inconsistent with himself. The two
(y) Rom. iii. 31. vi. 1, 2. Gal. v. 15–21. I Tim. ïi. 15. Tit. iii, 8. pleb. xii. 14. (z) James, ji. 20. 22. 24.
apostles accord in perfect harmony of sentiment: they speak of one and the same justification; and of justification in the fight of God. The justifying faith of St. Paul is faith that worketh by love (a). The justifying, or perfect, faith of St. James, is faith which bringeth forth good works. The same faith is described by the two apostles, and in terms of the same import. A dead, barren, and speculative faith is equally condemned by both. According to the doctrine, the uniform doctrine, of both, a living faith is a faith that justifies; and no faith is a living faith, which does not evince itself to be such by the fruits which a living faith cannot but produce, holiness and good works. ." Yet when St. James pro“. nounces that a man is justified not by faith « only, but by works; is not this,” it will finally be objected, “to pronounce that good “ works pay a part of the price of our justifi“ cation ?". Impossible! "Howis the impofli“bility manifested ?”. By the two following considerations. First: Because such an interpretation of the words of the apostle, an interpretation in no degree required by the ordinary use of language, is utterly inconsistent with that righteousness of God, that method :
(a) Gal. v. 6.
of justification by faith alone, which is witpelled by the law and by the prophets; and is completely unfolded in the New Testament. And, secondly; because it is equally in. consistent with the nature of good works. The best of human works are imperfect in the sight of God. They cannot stand the inquifition of his justice. They are rendered complete and acceptable before him, only through
the atonement of his Son. Admit any hu· man work to have been perfect. It might
have stood by its perfection. Perfect however it ought to be ; and more than perfe&t it could not be. It could boaft no superfluous merit. It could advance no overplus of worth which might be applied to make atonement for evil deeds. He who had wrought that work would still have been, as to that very work, an unprofitable servant ; be would have done no more than it was his duty to do. Good works, persevering good works, ftedfast and habitual holiness of heart and of conduct, are indispensable to salvation. By requiring them as indispenfable, faith establishes the law, grace proscribes and anathematises continuance in sin. But they cannot buy falvation : they can pay no part of its price : they must let that alone for ever. Indispensable as they are,
Vindicated. '. 49 they are valuable, but as evidences, the sole evidences, of that faith, which justifies through the grace that is in Christ Jefus: ; :
My Christian , brethren, I have now endeavoured to set before you, conformably to the fimplicity and the genuine doctrine of the Scriptures, this most important, this frequently misunderstood and misrepresented subject, the method of justification through the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me conclude, with briefly recapitulating the substance of this divine plan, in the way of general application. 13
. If you are seeking pardon and eternal life, seek them nor by standing on the deeds of the law : seek them not by claiming them as in the lightest degree or portion due to any works of your own. The law worketh wrath. By the deeds of the law pall no flesh be justified in the fight of God. Enter not into judgement with thy servant, O Lord: for in thy light ball. no man living be joylified. The law of a God of perfect holiness is itself a law of perfect holiness, and requires perfect obedience. If you fail in any one point, it denounces the penalty of eternal death. Curfed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. You are conscious that, in common with the rest of mankind, you have failed,