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It is true, that God commands, accepts, delights in, will graciously reward good works ; what, for their own sake ? No, fór his mercies sake he will save the man whose heart is holy, and whose life is fruitful; What, for the works fake? No, but for his Cbrifts fake.
It cannot be denied, but that there is some relation wise good works and salvation, as between the meanes and the end; but there is nocebat relation as 'cwist an efficient cause, and an effe&t; for the efficient cause of our salvation is only Gods grace and favour; Nor, as 'cwixe a meritorious cause and the reward, for the meritorions cause of our salvation, is only the obedience of Jesus Chrift; Nor, as 'twixt an apprehensive canle, (may I use such an improper speech) for that only is faith, the instru. ment of our salvation, &c.
There is not in regenerace men such an adequation or full
Covenant of life and salvation.
There are divers Arguments to cleare this, I will couch one 3. Reasons, or two.
1. imperfe&t aétions do not fulfil a perfe&t Rule, no more then a short line answers a long copy, or a line partly crooked doth that which is ftreight:But the duties which regenerate men perform, are imperfe& a&ions, for as much as they flow from an imperfe& agent, viz. froni che soul of a Christian, whicb is partly ipiritual, and partly carnal nor wholly spiritual,nor wholy carnal;even from this doth the Apostle conclude the impoffi. bility (for us) to fulfil the Law,Rom.8. 3. viz. from the weakness or infirmity of tbe flere (that is) of the old man not yet fully purged and changed.
2. If any man could perfc&tly fulfilibe Latte, then fome man kad no need of Christ, either to be his Redeemer, or to be his Interceffor ; for a Redeemer and Interceffour is,in case of trang gression and failing , and so Christ should be to a regenerate person, at least an idle and fruitlesse intercessour; for as much as it doth appertaine to bis intercession, to pacifre, and reconcile, and ingratiace: but what use of this, where all things and services are just already, as they should be without any animadvertency of the Law against them? But Cbrift as an Interceffor eveo for the Saint). He makes intercession for us,
faith Paul,Rom. 8. and Saint fohn implies that an Advocate is for a fenner, only for him, 1 John 2. 1. If any man finne, we have An Advocate, &c. If for a sinner only, then for a transgressor of the Law, and if for a transgressor of the Law,then not for one who doth perfe&ly fulfil it.
3. If the juft must live by faith, Then he cannot perfeElly fulfil ebé Late; for chen he might live by bis works, but the juft Mall live by his fairl, Gal. 3.11. T bar no man is juftified by ibe Law in the right of God, it is evident, for the just shall live by fail; Mark the place (foall live by faith) If ic comes to the matter of life and deach, then farewel werks, Cursed is every one that dorb not continue in all that is written to do them; If he will save his life, he muß gee bim faith to fly to mercy and Christ : yea , and mark of whom he speaks this, It is not of a person un. converted, but it is of the just even the just must live by his faith, (that is) By Christ, on which faith doch rest, not by his owo merits, works, obedience.
Now,put all this together, there are but two ways to save a man, either by faith in Christ, or else by the observance of the Law, But none can observe the Law, so as to be justified by it; Because, 1. His holinesse is short. 2. His works ineffectual. 3. His performances unanswerable, Ergo,to beleeve in Christ is the only way.
Every mouth is stopped (by the Lam) and all the world is to become gilty before God, Therefore by the Deeds of the Lalt, there soal no flesh be justified in his fighi, for by the Lalo is she knowledge of fin, Rom.3. 19,20. Suppose a man had many great debes, and several poore friends, and he seeks to one of them, good fir be. bound for me, alas saith he, all my estate will not reach or extend to satisfie half of what thou owest; Then he goes to another ; Sir be you pleased to engage your self; Alas, faith be, I am so poore char the Credicor will not take my word ; Even thus it is when a man will runne to something in bimself, to joftifie him before God; alas, faith holineffe, I am not able enough, and faith good works, God may finde reason enough to discard us: Therefore, iaith Faith, To Chrift, To Chrift, None but Chrift.
, in Chrift, as in the meritorioses cause, Ergo, the only way to be saved, is to be beleeve in Jesus Christ. Hence is Christ called. Heb. 2. 10. The Chapia ne of our salvation, Heb. s. 18. The Author of eternal salvation.
There be two thinzs, which if a man had, he should be saved, one is the forgivenese of his finnes. Ergo, faith David, Pf. 32. 1. Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose fin is covered, ver.2. Blessed is tbe mar auto whom the Lord impus reth not iniquity,
Another is, che potession of a most compleat righteousneffe, by which he might stand and appeare perfe&ly just before the judgement seat of God; so that if divine justice should look on it, with the exa&teft eye, yet it were every way unspotted and full. Now these two are to be found only in Christ, and by him,
Firft, Remission of finnes. It is the purchase of his blood onely, and therefore often in Scripture assigned chereto. Thou canst not with all thy teares wipe off (meritoriously) the least of thy Giones, nor with all thy grace, buy out the pardon of thy present failings. All Remision is by blood, by the only blood of Chrift.
Secondly, the righteousnelle which justifies and faves us, is only in Christ, He is made rigbteousnese to us, 1 Cor 1.30. and Rom.5.19. As by one mans disobedience, many were made fone kers; fo by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous ; see verse 21. Grace reignes through righteoulneffe unto eternal life by Jesus Chrift our Lord.
I know that this point of impuled righl eousnese, is the great quarrel.wixt us and the Church of Rome, I shall therefore referve the handling of it to the Uses, where I may more fitly clear our doctrine.
Now put things together, Whatsoever will save as, is in Cbrift, ånd faith is the only grace to conjoyne us with Christ, nd cherefore, To believe in Jesus Christ is she only way in fa..
Hirdly, Salvation is by grace only, Eph. 2.5. Rom. 11.6.
grace of God, and the gifs of grace, which is by one man Jesus Christ, buch abounded unto many, and v. 16. the free gifs is of man ng offences to justification, and v.18. the free gife came upon all men to justification of life. Now if it be so, then here's roome for beiceving; For Fairb brings nothing of its own, but receives al as gift from God. It is the receiving grace, Lord give me thy Son, Lord give me the pardon of my linnes, Lord give me a righteousnesle, Lord give me cternal life, all these things are gifts, and faith only receives these gifts, Ergo.
God only may bave the glory of it. Though God doch bestow great matters on us for our good, yet all the end of them is for his own glory. To commend the riches of his grace and mercy, Ephef.2.7,8. lo v.9. Not of works,least any man should boaft;(that is) he should vaunt, and say, I have got heaven by my own merits , I have my wages for my labour, and my happinesse for my penny:
Now the way of beleeving is the only way of acknowledgeing a God,and of emptying of our proud imaginations; whatlo. ever faith bath, it hath taken the same out of a gracious hand; All is almos which comes to faith, and it will confesse, I have noching, and am nothing ; but what I have received, and what I exped, I expect it for bois Jake. who promileth it, not for my fake who receivesis, and chas faith puts all the glory on God.
Seet. SECT. V.
fure, if we were so be saved any other way iben by believing in
de Jesus Chrift.
Salvation would not be sure, because, First, our happinesse would be no more fure, now being in our oan bands, out of Chrifts, then was Adams,left to bimself.
Secondly, we would never be sure of salvation by any thing against which God might cake just exception.
No sure comfort, because conscience troubled with the sence of fin, could never be pacified with imperfections and fans. That which will not farisfie God, can never pacifie conscienoe. But faith the Apostle, Rom. 5.1. Being justified by faith, we bave peace with God : faith findes one who was delivered for our offences, who pacified God to the utmost, who was without spot, whose righteousnejse is full, impuied to us, accepted for us, and so hereupon doth graciously quiet and still the heart.
We must distinguish cwixt the root and fountaine and ground of our comfort, and between the teftimonies of our interest in the foot of our comfort; only Jesus Clorift is the ground of a Christians comfort, and therefore faith Paul, God forbid that I jould rejoyce in any ibing, but in the crofse of Christ. If at any time we behold holinefle, or any part of it in our hearts, we take comfort in it, not as the ground, but as in the testimony, because it doch manifest our interest in him, who is our comfort, our peace, our joy, . our salvation, our all in all.
Thus much for the Explication and confirmation of this great assertion, viz. That to beleeve in Jelus Christ is the only way of salvation. Now I descend to the useful Application of all to our felves,