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eternal salvation were intended. But that cannot be the sense of it in this place, otherwise than as that salvation is included in the causes of it, which are effectual in this life. Nor do I think that in that expression, by grace ye are saved,' our justification only is intended, although it be so principally. Conversion unto God, and sanctification, are also included therein, as is evident from ver. 5, 6. And they are no less of sovereign grace, than is our justification itself. But the apostle speaks of what the Ephesians being now believers, and by virtue of their being so, were made partakers of in this life. This is manifest in the whole context. having in the beginning of the chapter described their condition, what it was in common with all the posterity of Adam by nature, ver. 1-3. he moreover declares their condition in particular, in opposition to that of the Jews, as they were Gentiles, Idolaters, Atheists, ver. 11, 12. Their present delivery by Jesus Christ from this whole miserable state and condition, that which they were under in common with all mankind, and that which was a peculiar aggravation of its misery in themselves, is that which he intends by their being saved. That which was principally designed in the description of this state is, that therein, and thereby, they were liable unto the wrath of God, guilty before him, and obnoxious unto his judgment. This he expresseth in the declaration of it, ver. 3. Answerable unto that method, and those grounds, he every where proceeds on in declaring the doctrine of justification.
Rom. iii. 19-24. Tit. iii. 3-5. From this state they had deliverance by faith in Christ Jesus. For unto as many as received him, power is given to be the sons of God;' John i. 12. He that believeth on him, is not condemned,' that is, he is saved, in the sense of the apostle in this place; John iii. 15. 'He that believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life' (is saved), but he that believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him;' ver. 36. And in this sense, 'saved,' and 'salvation,' are frequently used in the Scripture. Besides he gives us so full a description of the salvation, which he intends from ver. 13. unto the end of the chapter, that there can be no doubt of it. It is our being made nigh by the blood of Christ;' ver. 13. peace with God by his death; ver. 14, 15.
... of the apostle and his determinaing the causes of our justification ciares and fixeth both positively and cy. 1. In the supreme moving cause on :s is that free sovereign grace and love strates by its adjuncts and properties 2. In the meritorious procuring cause Christ in the work of his mediation, as ou for the rendering this grace effectual 7. 13. 16. 3. In the only means or inour part, which is faith. By grace are aith;' ver. 8. And lest he should seem to from the grace of God, in asserting the of faith, he adds, that epanorthosis, and ves, it is the gift of God.' The communia unto us is no less of grace than is the ich we obtain thereby. So hath he secured
unto the grace of God through Christ,
wueva he doth so.
ach be excludes is works; 'not of works;' ver. 9.
eks he intends, at least principally, himself deks, say some, of the law, the law of Moses. g. 1.44 cucernment had these Ephesians therein, that the posed sound vorm them, that they were not justified by They were never under that law, never sought sess by it, nor had any respect unto it, but were delivered from it. But it may be he wis wrought in the strength of our own nahout the aids of grace, and before believing. See the works of these Ephesians antecedent A de before and afterward declares. For being
dead in trespasses and sins, they walked according to the course of this world in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind;' ver. 1-3. It is certain enough that these works have no influence into our justification; and no less certain, that the apostle had no reason to exclude them from it, as though any could pretend to be advantaged by them, in that which consisteth in a deliverance from them. Wherefore, the works here excluded by the apostle, are those works which the Ephesians now performed, when they were believers, quickened with Christ; even the works which God hath fore-ordained, that we should walk in them, as he expressly declared, ver. 10. And these works he excludeth not only in opposition unto grace, but in opposition unto faith also. Through faith, not of works. Wherefore he doth not only reject their merit, as inconsistent with grace, but their co-interest on our part with, or subsequent interest unto, faith, in the work of justification before God.
If we are saved by grace through faith in Christ exclusively unto all works of obedience whatever, then cannot such works be the whole or any part of our righteousness unto the justification of life. Wherefore another righteousness we must have or perish for ever. Many things I know are here offered, and many distinctions coined to retain some interest of works in our justification before God; but whether it be the safest way to trust unto them, or unto this plain, express, divine testimony, will not be hard for any to determine when they make the case their own.
2. The apostle adds a reason of this, exclusion of works; 'not of works lest any one should boast.' God hath ordained the order and method of our justification by Christ in the way expressed, that no man might have ground, reason, or occasion to glory or boast in or of himself. So it is expressed, 1 Cor. i. 21. 30, 31. Rom. iii. 32. To exclude all glorying or boasting on our part, is the design of God. And this consists in an ascription of something unto ourselves, that is not in others, in order unto justification. And it is works alone that can administer any occasion of this boasting; For if Abraham were justified by works, he had whereof to glory;' Rom. iv. 2. And it is excluded alone by the law of faith;' Rom. iii. 27. For the nature and use of
faith, is to find righteousness in another. And this boasting, all works are apt to beget in the minds of men, if applied unto justification. And where there is any boasting of this nature, the design of God towards us in this work of his grace, is frustrated what lieth in us.
That which I principally insist on from hence, is, that there are no boundaries fixed in Scripture unto the interest of works in justification, so as no boasting should be included in them. The Papists make them meritorious of it, at least of our second justification as they call it. This, say some, ought not to be admitted; for it includeth boasting. Merit and boasting are inseparable. Wherefore, say others, they are only 'causa sine qua non,' they are the condition of it; or they are our evangelical righteousness before God, whereon we are evangelically justified; or they are a subordinate righteousness, whereon we obtain an interest in the righteousness of Christ; or are comprised in the condition of the new covenant whereby we are justified; or are included in faith, being the form of it, or of the essence of it, one way or other: for herein men express themselves in great variety. But so long as our works are hereby asserted in order unto our justification, how shall a man be certain that they do not include boasting; or, that they do express the true sense of these words, 'not of works lest any man should boast? There is some kind of ascription unto ourselves in this matter, which is boasting. If any shall say, that they know well enough what they do, and know that they do not boast in what they ascribe unto works, I must say that in general I cannot admit it. For the Papists affirm of themselves, that they are most remote from boasting; yet I am very well satisfied that boasting and merit are inseparable. The question is not what men think they do, but what judgment the Scripture passeth on what they do. And if it be said, that what is in us, is also of the grace and gift of God, and is so acknowledged, which excludes all boasting in ourselves, I say it was so by the Pharisee, and yet was he a horrible boaster. Let them therefore be supposed to be wrought in us in what way men please, if they be also wrought by us, and so be the works of righteousness, which we have done, I fear their introduction into our justification, doth include boasting in it, because of this assertion of the
apostle, 'not of works lest any man should boast.' Wherefore, because this is a dangerous point, unless men can give us the direct, plain, indisputable bounds of the introduction of our works into our justification, which cannot include boasting in it, it is the safest course utterly to exclude them, wherein I see no danger of any mistake in these words of the Holy Ghost, 'not of works lest any man should boast.' For if we should be unadvisedly seduced into this boasting, we should lose all the benefit which we might otherwise expect by the grace of God.
3. The apostle gives another reason why it cannot be of works, and withal obviates an objection, which might arise from what he had declared, ver. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.' And the force of his reason, which the casual conjunction intimates the introduction of, consists in this: that all good works, those concerning which he treats, evangelical works, are the effects of the grace of God in them that are in Christ Jesus, and so are truly justified antecedently in order of nature unto them. But that which he principally designed in these words, was that which he is still mindful of, wherever he treats of this doctrine, namely, to obviate an objection that he foresaw some would make against it, and that is this; 'If good works be thus excluded from our justification before God, then of what use are they? we may live as we list, utterly neglect them, and yet be justified.' And this very objection do some men continue to manage, with great vehemency against the same doctrine. We meet with nothing in this cause more frequently, than that if our justification before God be not of works, some way or other, if they be not antecedaneously required thereunto, if they are not a previous condition of it, then there is no need of them. Many may safely live in an utter neglect of all obedience unto God. And on this theme men are very apt to enlarge themselves, who otherwise give no great evidences of their own evangelical obedience. To me it is marvellous, that they heed not unto what party they make an accession in the management of this objection; namely, unto that of them, who were the adversaries of the doctrine of grace taught by the apostle. It must be elsewhere considered.