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'justification by faith,' so as to reconcile it to the necessity of obedience.'
2. As it is in the word faith,' so it is in works;' for by works is meant sometimes the thing done,-sometimes the labour of doing, sometimes the good will;-it is sometimes taken for a state of good life, sometimes for the covenant of works;-it sometimes means the works of the law, sometimes the works of the Gospel ;-sometimes it is taken for a perfect, actual, unsinning obedience,-sometimes for a sincere endeavour to please God; -sometimes they are meant to be such which can challenge the reward as of debt; -sometimes they mean only a disposition of the person to receive the favour and the grace of God. Now since our good works can be but of one kind (for ours cannot be meritorious, ours cannot be without sin all our life, they cannot be such as need no repentance), it is no wonder if we must be justified without works in this sense; for by such works no man living can be justified: and these St. Paul calls the 'works of the law,' and sometimes he calls them our righteousness;' and these are the covenant of works. But because we came into the world to serve God, and God will be obeyed, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from sin, and to redeem to himself a people zealous of good works,' and hath, to this purpose, revealed to us all his Father's will, and destroyed the works of the devil, and gives us his Holy Spirit, and by him we shall be justified in this obedience; therefore, when works signify a sincere, hearty endeavour to keep all God's commands, out of a belief in Christ, that if we endeavour to do so, we shall be helped by his grace, and if we really do so, we shall be pardoned for what is past, and if we continue to do so, we shall receive a crown of glory ;therefore, it is no wonder that it is said we are to be justified by works; always meaning, not the works of the law, that is, works that are meritorious, works that can challenge the reward, works that need no mercy, no repentance, no humiliation, and no appeal to grace and favour;-but always meaning works, that are an obedience to God by the measures of good will, and a sincere endeavour, and the faith of the Lord Jesus.
3. But thus also it is in the word 'justification:' for God is justified, and wisdom is justified, and man is justified, and
a sinner is not justified as long as he continues in sin; and a sinner is justified when he repents, and when he is pardoned; and an innocent person is justified when he is declared to be no criminal; and a righteous man is justified when he is saved; and a weak Christian is justified when his imperfect services are accepted for the present, and himself thrust forward to more grace; and he that is justified may be justified more; and every man that is justified to one purpose, is not so to all; and faith, in divers senses, gives justification in as many; and, therefore, though to every sense of faith there is not always a degree of justification in any, yet when the faith is such that justification is the product and correspondent, as that faith may be imperfect, so the justification is but begun, and either must proceed further, or else, as the faith will die, so the justification will come to nothing. The like observation might be made concerning imputation, and all the words used in this question; but these may suffice till I pass to other particulars.
4. Not only the word faith,' but also charity,' and godliness,' and 'religion,' signify sometimes particular graces; and sometimes they suppose universally, and mean conjugations and unions of graces, as is evident to them that read the Scriptures with observation. Now when justification is attributed to faith, or salvation to godliness, they are to be understood in the aggregate sense: for, that I may give but one instance of this, when St. Paul speaks of faith as it is a particular grace, and separate from the rest, he also does separate it from all possibility of bringing us to heaven: "Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing" when faith includes charity, it will bring us to heaven; when it is alone, when it is without charity, it will do nothing at all.
5. Neither can this pavóμevov be solved by saying, that though faith alone does justify, yet when she does justify, she is not alone, but good works must follow; for this is said to no purpose:
1. Because if we be justified by faith alone, the work is done, whether charity does follow or no; and, therefore, that want of charity cannot hurt us.
e 1 Cor. xiii. 2.
2. There can be no imaginable cause why charity and obedience should be at all necessary, if the whole work can be done without it.
3. If obedience and charity be not a condition of our salvation, then it is not necessary to follow faith; but if it be, it does as much as faith, for that is but a part of the condition.
4. If we can be saved without charity and keeping the commandments, what need we trouble ourselves for them? If we cannot be saved without them, then either faith without them does not justify; or if it does, we are never the better, for we may be damned for all that justification.
The consequent of these observations is briefly this :—
That no man should fool himself by disputing about the philosophy of justification, and what causality faith hath in it, and whether it be the act of faith that justifies, or the habit? Whether faith as a good work, or faith as an instrument? Whether faith as it is obedience, or faith as it is an access to Christ? Whether as a hand, or as a heart? Whether by its own innate virtue, or by the efficacy of the object? Whether as a sign, or as a thing signified? Whether by introduction, or by perfection? Whether in the first beginnings, or in its last and best productions? Whether by inherent worthiness, or adventitious imputations? "Uberiùs ista, quæso:" (that I may use the words of Cicero 4) "hæc enim spinosiora, prius, ut confitear, me cogunt, quam ut assentiar:" these things are knotty, and too intricate to do any good; they may amuse us, but never instruct us; and they have already made men careless and confident, disputative and troublesome, proud and uncharitable, but neither wiser nor better. Let us, therefore, leave these weak ways of troubling ourselves or others, and directly look to the theology of it, the direct duty, the end of faith, and the work of faith, the conditions and the instruments of our salvation, the just foundation of our hopes, how our faith can destroy our sin, and how it can unite us unto God; how by it we can be made partakers of Christ's death, and imitators of his life. For since it is evident, by the premises, that this article is not to be determined or relied upon by
d Tuscul. i. 8. Davis.
arguing from words of many significations, we must walk by a clearer light, by such plain sayings and dogmatical propositions of Scripture, which evidently teach us our duty, and place our hopes upon that which cannot deceive us, that is, which require obedience, which call upon us to glorify God, and to do good to men, and to keep all God's commandments with diligence and sincerity.
For since the end of our faith is, that we may be disciples and servants of the Lord Jesus, advancing his kingdom here, and partaking of it hereafter; since we are commanded to believe what Christ taught, that it may appear as reasonable as it is necessary to do what he hath commanded; since faith and works are in order one to the other, it is impossible that evangelical faith and evangelical works should be opposed one to the other in the effecting of our salvation. So that as it is to no purpose for Christians to dispute whether we are justified by faith or the works of the law, that is, the covenant of works, without the help of faith and the auxiliaries and allowances of mercy on God's part, and repentance on ours; because no Christian can pretend to this, so it is perfectly foolish to dispute whether Christians are to be justified by faith, or the works of the Gospel; for I shall make it appear that they are both the same thing. No man disparages faith but he that says, faith does not work righteousness; for he that says so, says indeed it cannot justify; for he says that faith is alone: it is 'faith only,' and the words of my text are plain: "You see," saith St. James, that is, it is evident to your sense, it is as clear as an ocular demonstration, “ that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only."
My text hath in it these two propositions; a negative and an affirmative. The negative is this, 1. By faith only' a man is not justified. The affirmative, 2. 'By works also' a man is justified.
When I have briefly discoursed of these, I shall only add such practical considerations as shall make the doctrines useful, and tangible, and material.
1. By faith only a man is not justified. By faith only, here is meant, faith without obedience. For what do we think of those that detain the faith in unrighteousness? They have faith, they could not else keep it in so ill a cabinet: but yet the apostle reckons them amongst the reprobates; for
the abominable, the reprobates, and the disobedient, are all one; and, therefore, such persons, for all their faith, shall have no part with faithful Abraham: for none are his children but they that do the works of Abraham. Abraham's faith, without Abraham's works, is nothing; for of him "that hath faith, and hath not works," St. James asks, "Can faith save him?' meaning, that it is impossible. For what think we of those, that did miracles in Christ's name, and in his name cast out devils? Have not they faith? Yes, omnem fidem,' all faith,' that is, alone, for they could remove mountains:' but yet to many of them Christ will say, "Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity; I know you not." Nay, at last, what think we of the devils themselves? Have not they faith? Yes; and this faith is not fides miraculorum' neither; but it is an operative faith, it works a little; for it makes them tremble; and it may be, that is more than thy faith does to thee: and yet dost thou hope to be saved by a faith that does less to thee than the devil's faith does to him? That is impossible. For "faith without works is dead," saith St. James. It is manus arida,' saith St. Austin; it is a withered hand;'- and that which is dead cannot work the life of grace in us, much less obtain eternal life for us. In short, a man may have faith, and yet do the works of unrighteousness; he may have faith and be a devil; and then what can such a faith do to him or for him? It can do him no good in the present constitution of affairs. St. Paul, from whose mistaken words much noise hath been made in this question, is clear in this particular: "Nothing in Christ Jesus can avail, but faith working by charity f;" that is, as he expounds himself once and again, “nothing but a new creature, nothing but keeping the commandments of God." If faith be defined to be any thing that does not change our natures, and make us to be a new creation unto God; if keeping the commandments be not in the definition of faith, it avails nothing at all. Therefore deceive not yourselves; they are the words of our blessed Lord himself: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord," that is, not every one that confesses Christ, and believes in him, calling Christ Master and Lord, shall be saved; "but he that doth the will