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port. Nor can any man declare, how the truth of this proposition, Abraham was justified by works,' intending absolute justification before God, was that wherein that Scripture was fulfilled; Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness;' especially, considering the opposition that is made both here and elsewhere between faith and works in this matter. Besides, he asserts that Abraham was justified by works then when he had offered his son on the altar; the same we believe also, but only inquire in what sense he was so justified. For it was thirty years or thereabout after it was testified concerning him, that he believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness; and when righteousness was imputed unto him he was justified. And twice justified in the same sense, in the same way, with the same kind of justification, he was not. How then was he justified by works when he offered his son on the altar? He that can conceive it to be any otherwise, but that he was by his work in the offering of his son evidenced and declared in the sight of God and man to be justified, apprehends what I cannot attain unto, seeing that he was really justified long before, as is unquestionable and confessed by all. He was, I say, then justified in the sight of God, in the way declared, Gen. xxii. 12. and gave a signal testimony unto the sincerity of his faith and trust in God, manifesting the truth of that Scripture, he believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.' And in the quotation of this testimony the apostle openly acknowledgeth that he was really accounted righteous, had righteousness imputed unto him, and was justified before God (the reasons and causes whereof, he therefore considereth not) long before that justification which he ascribes unto his works, which therefore can be nothing but the evidencing, proving, and manifestation of it: whence also it appears of what nature that faith is whereby we are justified, the declaration whereof is the principal design of the apostle. In brief, the Scripture alleged that Abraham believed and it was imputed unto him for righteousness, was fulfilled when he was justified by works on the offering of his son on the altar, either by the imputation of righteousness unto him, or by a real efficiency or working righteousness in him, or by the manifestation and evidence of his former justification, or some other way
must be found out. 1. That it was not by imputation, or that righteousness unto the justification of life, was not then first imputed unto him, is plain in the text; for it was so imputed unto him long before, and that in such a way as the apostle proves thereby, that righteousness is imputed without works. 2. That he was not justified by a real efficiency of a habit of righteousness in him, or by any way of making him inherently righteous, who was before unrighteous is plain also; because he was righteous in that sense long before, and had abounded in the works of righteousness unto the praise of God. It remains, therefore, that then, and by the work mentioned, he was justified as unto the evidencing and manifestation of his faith and justification thereon. His other instance is of Rahab, concerning whom he asserts that she was justified by works, when she had received the messengers and sent them away. But she received the spies by faith, as the Holy Ghost witnesseth, Heb. xi. 31. and therefore had true faith before their coming; and if so, was really justified. For that any one should be a true believer, and yet not be justified, is destructive unto the foundation of the gospel. In this condition she received the messengers, and made unto them a full declaration of her faith; Josh. ii. 10, 11. After her believing and justification thereon, and after the confession she had made of her faith, she exposed her life by concealing and sending of them away. Hereby did she justify the sincerity of her faith and confession, and in that sense alone is said to be justified by works: and in no other sense doth the apostle James in this place make mention of justification, which he doth also only occasionally.
4. As unto works mentioned by both apostles, the same works are intended, and there is no disagreement in the least about them. For as the apostle James intends by works, duties of obedience unto God, according to the law, as is evident from the whole first part of the chapter, which gives occasion unto the discourse of faith and works; so the same are intended by the apostle Paul also, as we have proved before. And as unto the necessity of them in all believers, as unto other ends, so as evidences of their faith and justification, it is no less pressed by the one than the other as hath been declared.
These things being in general premised, we may observe some things in particular from the discourse of the apostle James, sufficiently evidencing that there is no contradiction therein, unto what is delivered by the apostle Paul concerning our justification by faith, and the imputation of righteousness without works, nor to the doctrine which from him we have learned and declared; as, 1. He makes no composition or conjunction between faith and works in our justification, but opposeth them the one to the other, asserting the one and rejecting the other in order unto our justification. 2. He makes no distinction of a first and second justification, of the beginning and continuation of justification, but speaks of one justification only, which is our first personal justification before God. Neither are we concerned in any other justification in this cause whatever. 3. That he ascribes this justification wholly unto works, in contradistinction unto faith, as unto that sense of justification which he intended, and the faith whereof he treated. Wherefore, 4. He doth not at all inquire or determine how a sinner is justified before God, but how professors of the gospel can prove or demonstrate that they are so, and that they do not deceive themselves by trusting unto a lifeless and barren faith. All these things will be farther evidenced in a brief consideration of the context itself, wherewith I shall close this discourse.
In the beginning of the chapter unto ver. 14. he reproves those unto whom he wrote for many sins committed against the law, the rule of their sins and obedience; or at least warneth them of them; and having shewed the danger they were in hereby, he discovers the root and principal occasion of it, ver. 14. which was no other but a vain surmise and deceiving presumption that the faith required in the gospel was nothing but a bare assent unto the doctrine of it, whereon they were delivered from all obligation unto moral obedience or good works, and might without any danger unto their eternal state live in whatever sins their lusts inclined them unto, chap. iv. 1-4. v. 1-5. The state of such persons, which contains the whole cause which he speaks unto, and which gives rule and measure unto the interpretation of all his future arguings, is laid down, ver. 14. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith and
have not works, can faith save him?' Suppose a man, any one of those who are guilty of the sins charged on them in the foregoing verses, do yet say, or boast of himself, that he ` hath faith, that he makes profession of the gospel, that he hath left either Judaism or Paganism, and betaken himself to the faith of the gospel; and therefore, although he be destitute of good works, and live in sin, he is accepted with God and shall be saved; will indeed this faith save him? This therefore is the question proposed: whereas the gospel saith plainly, that he who believeth shall be saved;' whether that faith which may and doth consist with an indulgence unto sin, and a neglect of duties of obedience, is that faith whereunto the promise of life and salvation is annexed? And thereon, the inquiry proceeds, how any man, in particular he who says he hath faith, may prove and evidence himself to have that faith which will secure his salvation. And the apostle denies that this is such a faith as can consist without works, or that any man can evidence himself to have true faith any otherwise but by works of obedience only. And in the proof hereof doth his whole ensuing discourse consist. Not once doth he propose unto consideration the means and causes of the justification of a convinced sinner before God, nor had he any occasion so to do. So that his words are openly wrested when they are applied unto any such intention.
That the faith which he intends and describes, is altogether useless unto the end pretended to be attainable by it; namely, salvation, he proves in an instance of, and by comparing it with, the love or charity of an alike nature; ver. 15, 16. If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto him, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled, notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit?' This love or charity is not that gospel grace which is required of us under that name; for he who behaveth himself thus towards the poor,' the love of God dwelleth not in him ;' 1 John iii. 17. whatever name it may have, whatever it may pretend unto, whatever it may be professed or accepted for, love it is not, nor hath any of the effects of love; is neither useful nor profitable. Hence the apostle infers, ver. 17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.'
For this was that which he undertook to prove, not that we are not justified by faith alone without works before God, but that the faith which is alone without works, is dead, useless, and unprofitable.
Having given this first evidence unto the conclusion which in thesi' he designed to prove, he reassumes the question and states it 'in hypothesi,' so as to give it a more full demonstration, ver. 18. Yea a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works' (that is, which is without works, or by thy works), ' and I will shew thee my faith by my works. It is plain beyond denial, that the apostle doth here again propose his main question only on a supposition that there is a dead, useless faith. which he had proved before. For now all the inquiry remaining is, how true faith, or that which is of the right gospel kind, may be shewed, evidenced, or demonstrated, so as that their folly may appear, who trust unto any other faith whatever. Aεižóv μoι тηv TíσTIV σov, evidence or demonstrate thy faith to be true by the only means thereof, which is works. And therefore although he say, 'Thou hast faith ;' that is, thou professest and boastest that thou hast that faith whereby thou mayest be saved, and I have works ;' he doth not say, Shew me thy faith by thy works, and I will shew thee my works by my faith, which the antithesis would require; but, I will shew thee my faith by my works,' because the whole question was concerning the evidencing of faith and not of works.
That this faith, which cannot be evidenced by works, which is not fruitful in them, but consists only in a bare assent unto the truth of divine revelation, is not the faith that doth justify or will save us, he farther proves, in that it is no other but what the devils themselves have, and no man can think or hope to be saved by that which is common unto them with devils, and wherein they do much exceed them, ver. 11. Thou believest there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble.' The belief of one God is not the whole of what the devils believe, but is singled out as the principal fundamental truth, and on the concession whereof an assent unto all divine revelation doth necessarily ensue. And this is the second argument, whereby he proves an empty barren faith to be dead and useless.