Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

fie. We shall receive what we have done ; if we have done good, we shall be rewarded ; if we have done evil, we shall be punished : Good Men shall be received into Heaven; and all Wicked Men, even wicked Believers, as well as wicked Infidels, shall be cast into Hell: this every Child understands to be the meaning of these Words, and no other sense can be made of them; and therefore since this is so plainly, and so freequently taught in Scripture, whatever we believe elfe, we must believe this, if we believe the Scripture.

But now when we read of being justified by Faith without Works, every word is capable of very different senses, and we know is expounded very differently by Learned Men, according to the different Hypothefis they intend to serve by it: And then we must confess, it is not so certain, what is meant by Justifieation by Faith without Works, as what is meant by being judged according to our Works: At least so much must be allowed, that we must prefer that sense of Justification by Faith, which agrees with our being judged by our Works, before any other Interpretation, which contradicts or overthrows this plain sense of a Future Judgment.

As for instance: Some by juftifying, underHand making just and righteous that to justifie the ungodly, is to make a Wicked Man good by the Power and Efficacy of Faith but then to justifie the ungodly without the Works of the Law, or to make a wicked Man good without good Works, does not found very well; and therefore others more reason

? 3

ably,

[ocr errors]

ably, and more agreeably' to Scripture, understand justifying in a forenfick sense, for absolving, acquitting, declaring and accounting Men just and righteous, and treating them as fuch; that is, imputing Righteousness to them, though in a strict and proper sense they are not inherently righteous: And then this forenfick Justification may either signifie our being justified at Baptism, when by the Profession of our Faith in Christ we are incorporated by Baptism into Christ's Church,and are made the Members of his Mystical Body, and have all our Sins washed away in his Blood, and come pure and innocent out of the Laver of Regeneration ; and thus the most ungodly Sinners are justified by Faith in Baptism, without Works, or any antecedent Righteousness of their own; or else this Justification may be extended to the Future Judgment; that at the last Day of ACcount we shall be justified, acquitted, absolved, rewarded, by Faith without Works; byt this does not agree very well with our being judged, and receiving, according to our Works: The Scripture expresly teaches, that we are justified by Faith without Works, and that we shall be judged by our Works; but never faith we shall be judged by our Faith; which seems to make a great difference between being justified, and being judged: For if we are justified without Works, and judged by our Works, justified by Faith without Works, but not judged, not acquitted and rewarded by Faith witha out Works, to be justified, and to be judged, cannot signifie the same thing:

Thus

Thus when we are said to be justified by Faith, fome by Faith understand such a firm and stedfast belief of the whole Gospel, of all that concerns the Person and Mediation of Christ, the Expiation of his Blood, his Resurrection from the Dead, and. Intercession for us in Heaven, his Laws, his Promises, and Threatnings, as renews and fanctifies our Nature, governs our Lives, conquers the World, subdues the Flesh to the Spirit, and makes us truly Divine and God-like Creatures, the Sons of God, not meerly by external Relation, but by a participation of his Nature.

Now this Notion of justifying Faith, that we shall be justified by a living, working Faith, is very reconcilable with being judged by our Works; for if we cannot be justified by Faith without Works, ifno Faith can justifie, but that which is fruitful in all good Works, then we may be judged by our Works, since Holiness is effential to a justifying Faith.

Others by a justifying Faith understand a Reliance and Recumbency on Christ for Salvation ; a receiving and embracing Christ, and rowling their Souls on him, as they are pleased to express it which, when taken out of Metaphor, can fignifie no more, than to hope and trust in Christ, that he will save them, and to be willing to be saved by him without any Works and Righteousness of their own. Now if the bare Act of relying on Christ would justifie and fave Men, I cannot see, how such Believers should be judged by their Works, though Infidels may: But this Antinomian Conceit of juftifying Faith, is not so plain and certain, as it is

that

[ocr errors]

Z4

chat we shall be judged by our Works: not to dispute the Point now, thefe Men may be mistaken in their Notion of justifying Faith ; but there can be no dispute made, what the meaning is of being judged according to our Works.

Thus when we are said to be justified by Faith, in opposition to Justification by Works, it is matter of Controversie, what is meant by Works. Some think, that when Works are rejected, as contributing nothing to our Justification, the Apostle means only the Works of the Ceremonial Law; such as Circumcision and Sa„crifices, Walhings and Purifications, the Obfervation of New Moons and Sabbaths, dc. for this was the great Dispute St. Paul had with the Fews, whether the Observation of the Mosaical Law were necessary to the Juftification of Christians; and in this sense the Apostle with good reason asserts our Justification by Faith without Works. We are now justified by the Faith of Christ, not by the Rites and Ceremonies of the Mofaical Law.

Others, and with very good reason too, not only reject the Works of the Ceremonial Law, . but also of the Moral Law, from the Justification of Sinners ; Not as if Sinners could be justified without good Works; but that they are not justified by them; that is, that no Man is juftified by the Merit of his own Works, but by the Merit and Expiation of the Death of Christ. But though no Man is justified or saved for the Merit of his Works, yet he may be judged according to his Works. Though no Man shall be saved by the Merit of his good

Works,

Works, yet no Man shall be saved without Good Works, and wicked Men shall be damned for their Evil Works, which leaves room enough for our being judged according to our Works.

So that though we be not justified by Works, but by Faith, as St. Paul tells us, yer we must be judged by our Works; wicked Men shall be condemned." for their Wickedness, and none but good Men shall be justified and faved by the Merits of Christ ; and who are wicked, and who are righteous, shall at the last Day be judged by their Works.

And indeed, this is plainly confessed by those who contend most zealously for Justifcation by Faith alone, which makes this a very needlefs and impertinent Controversie; as appears from their way of reconciling St. Paul, and St. James. St. Paul tells us, we are justified by Faith without the Works of the Law; St. James tells us, That by Works a man is justified, and not by faith only, 2 Jam. 15. To rereconcile these two great Apostles, they tell us, That the Man is justified by Faith, and his Faith is justified by Works: Now whether this be the true way of reconciling St. Paul and St. James, I shall not at present dispute, but it grants all that I desire, that notwithstanding our being justified by Faith, we Shall be judged by our Works; for whether a Man or his Faith be judged and justified by Works, I think is the same thing: For if the Man must be justified by Faith, and his Faith justified by Works, I doubt the Man cannot be justified without Works, unless he can be justified by

an

[ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »