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if it yet reply, and say, “Ay, bat good works must be done and the commandments must be kept, if thou wilt obtain salvation;" x then
if once he is dead to the law, wholly and altogether set free from it, as it is the covenant of works; then sin hath lost its strength, death its sting, and Satan his plea against bim. That the author still speaks of the law as it is the covenant of works, from the commanding and condemning power of which believers are delivered, and no otherwise, cannot reasonably be questioned, since he is still pursuing the practical use of the ductrine anent it as such ; and having before spoken of it as acting by commission from God, he treats of it here, as acting (as it were) of its own proper motion, and not by any such commission. To those who are under the law, the law speaks its demands and terrors, as sent from God: but to believers, who are not under it, it cannot so speak, but of itself. Rom. viii. 15, “ For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.” See p. 292, note n, fig. 1.
Now, in the conflict the believer has with the law or covenant of works, the author puts two cases ; in the which the conscience needs to be soundly directed, as in cases of the utmost weight.
The first case is this, The law attempting to exercise its condemning power over him, accuses bim of transgression, demands of bim satisfaction to the justice of God for his sin, and threatens to hale him to execution. In this case the author dare not advise the afflicted to say with the servant in the parable, Matth. xviii 26,“ Have patience with and I will pay thee all ;" but he teaches him to devolve his burden wholly upon his Surety: he bids him plead, that since he is “ married to Christ," whatever action the law may pretend to be competent to it, for the satisfaction of justice, upon the account of his sin, it must lie betwixt the law and Christ, the husband; but that in very deed, there remains no place for such action, forasmuch as, through Jesus Christ's suffering and satisfying to the full, be is set free from the law, and owes nothing to justice nor to the law, upon
If any man will venture to deal in other terms with the law in this case, his experience will at length sufficiently discover bis mistake. Now it is manifest that this relates to the case of justification.
x Here is the second case, namely the law attempting to exercise its commanding power over the believer requires him to do good works, and to keep the commandments, if he will obtain salvation. This comes in natively in the second place. The author could not, reasonably rest satisfied with the believer's being delivered from the curse of the covenant of works, from the debt owing to Divine Justice, according to the pedal sanction : if he bad; he would have left the aflicted still in the lurch, in the point of justification, and of inheriting eternal life ; he would have proposed Cbrist to bim only as a half Saviour, and left as much of the law's plea behind without an answer as would have concluded him incapable of being justified before God, and made an heir of eternal life : for the law, as it is the covenant of works, being broken, has a twofold demand on the sinner, each of which must be answered, before he can be justified. The one is a demand of satisfaction for sin, arising from, and according to its penal sanction ; this demand was made in the preceding case,
and solidly answered. But there remains yet another, namely, the demand of perfect obedience, arising from, and according to the settled condition of that covenant ; and the afflicted must have wherewith to answer it also ; otherwise he shall still sink in the deep mire, where there is no standing. For as no judge can absolve a man, merely on his having paid the penalty of a broken contract, to which he was obliged, by and attour the fulfilling of the condition, so no man can be justified before God, nor have a right to life, till this demand of the law be also satisfied in his case. Then, and not till then,
is the law's mouth stopped, in point of his justification. Thus Adam, before his fall, was free from the curse ; yet neither was, nor could be justified and entitled to life, until he had run the course of his obedience, prescribed by him by the law as a covepant of works. Accordingly, we are taught that “God justifies sinners, not only by imputing the satisfaction, but also the obedience of Christ unto them."-Westm. Confess. chap. 11, art. I. And that “justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein be not only pardopeth all our sins, but accepteth us as righteous in his sight," Short. Catech.
Here then is the second demand of the law, namely, the demand of perfect obedience, respecting the case of jnstification, no less than the demand of satisfaction for sin. And it is proposed in such terms as the Scripture uses to express the self-same thing by, Luke x. 28, “This do and thou shalt live.” Mat. xix. 17, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” In both which passages our Lord proposeth this demand of the covenant of works, for the conviction of the proud legalists with whom he there had to do. And the truth is, that the terms in which this demand stands here conceived, are so very agreeable to the style and language of the covenant of works, expressed in these texts and elsewhere, that the law, without receding in the least from the propriety of expression, might have addressed innocent Adam in the verv same terms; changing only the word salvation into life, because he was not yet miserable; and so saying to him, Good works must be done, and the commandments must be kept, if thou wilt obtain life. What impropriety there could have been in this saying, wbile as yet there was no covenant known in the world, but the covenant of works, I see not. Even innocent Adam was not, by his works, to obtain life, in the way of proper merit; but in virtue of compact only.
Now, this being the case, one may plainly perceive, that in the true answer to it, there can be no place for bringing in any holiness, righteousness, good works, and keeping of the commandments, but Christ's only; for nothing else can satisfy this demand of the law. And if a believer should acknowledge the necessity of his own holiness and good works, in this point, and so set about them, in order to answer this demand; then he should grossly and abominably pervert the end for which the Lord requires them of him; putting his own holiness and obedience in the room of Christ's imputed obedience; and so should be fix himself in the mire, out of which he could never escape, until he gave over that way and betook himself again to what Christ alone has done for satisfying this demand of the law. But that the excluding of our holiness, good works, and keeping of the commandments, from any part in this matter, militates nothing agaiost the absolute necessity of holiness in its proper place, (without which, in men's own persons, no man shall see the Lord,) is a point too clear among sound Protestant divines, to be here insisted upon.
And hence our author could not instruct Neophitus to say, in this conflict with the law or covenant of works, “ It is my sincere resolution, in the strength of grace, to follow peace with all men, and holiness." Neither would any sound Protestant divine have put such an answer into the mouth of the afflicted in this case; knowing that our evangelical holiness and good works, (suppose we could attain unto then before justification) would be rejected by the law, as filthy rags : forasmuch as the law acknowledges no holiness, no good works, no keeping of the commandments, but what is every way perfect, and will never be satisfied with sincere resolutions, to do, in the strength of grace to be given; but requires doing in perfection, in the strength of grace given already, Gal. iii. 10. Therefore our author sends the afflicted unto Jesus Christ, the surety for all that is demanded of him by the law or covenant of works: and teaches him in this case, to plead Christ's works, and keeping of the
answer you and say, “I am already saved before thou camest; y
commands : and this is the only safe way, which all true Christians will find them. selves obliged to take at long-ruu, in this conflict.
The difficulty raised on this head is owing to that anti-scriptural principle, “ That believers are under the commanding power of the covenant of works;" which is overthrown before.
The case itself, and the answer to it at large, is taken from Luther's Sermon of the Lost Sheep, p. 77, 78, and Sermon upon the Hymn of Zacharias, p. 50.
y Saved, namely, really, though not perfectly ; even as a drowning man is saved, when his head is got above the water, and he, leaning on bis deliverer, is making towards the shore; in this case, the believer has no more need of the law, or covenant of works, than such a man has of one, who, to save bim, would lay a weight upon him, that would make him sink again beneath the stream. Observe the manner of speaking and reasoning used on this head. Tit. iii. 5, “Not by works of righteous. ness, wbich we bave done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of REGENERATION, and RENEWING of the Holy Ghost." Eph. ii. 8--10, “For by grace are ye saven, through faith_not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are bis workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, Unto good works." Here (1.) It is undeniable, especially according to the original words, that the apostle asserts believers to be saved already. (2.) Denying that we are saved by works which we bave done, he plainly enough intimates, that we are saved by the works which Christ has done. (3.) He argues against salvation by our works, upon this very ground, that our good works are the fruit following our being saved, and the end for which we are saved. Thus he at once overthrows the doctrine of salvation by our good works, and establishes the necessity of them, as of breathings and other actions of life to a man saved from death. (4.) He shows, that inherent holiness is an essential part of salvation, without which it can no more consist, than a man without a reasonable soul; for, according to the apostle, “ We are saved by our being regenerated, renewed, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works.” And so is our justification also, with all the privileges depending thereupon. In one word, the salvation bestowed on believers, comprehends both holiness and happiness. Thus the apostle Peter disproves that principle, (Acts xv. I, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved,") from his own observation of the contrary, namely, that God purified the hearts of the Gentiles by faith, (ver 9.) adding for the part of the Jews, who were circumcised, (ver. 11.) “ We believe, that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they;" that is, even as they were saved, namely, by faith without the works of the law. And the apostle Paul, encountering the same error, carries on the dispute in these terms, that a man is not justified by works, Gal. ii. and iii. From whence one may conclude, that justification does no further differ from salvation, in the Scripture sense, than an essential part from the whole.
This is the doctriue of holy Luther, and of our author after him, upon this head, here and elsewhere. And the disuse of this manner of speaking, and the setting of salvation so far from justification, as heaven is from earth, are not without danger, as leaving room for works to obtain salvation thereby.
“They that believe, have already everlasting life, and therefore undoubtedly are justified and holy, without all their own labour."-Luther's Chos. Sermons, serm. 10. page (mihi) 133. “ How has God, then, remedied thy misery? He bas forgiven all my sins, and freed me from the reward thereof, and made me righteous, holy, and
and therefore I have no need of thy presence, z for in Christ I have all things at once; neither need I any thing more that is necessary a
happy, to live for ever, and that of his free grace alone, by the merits of Jesus Christ, and working of the Holy Ghost.”—(Mr. James Melvil's Cat. Propine of a Pastor, p. 44.) “Now, being made truly and really partakers of Christ, and his righteous. ness, by faith only, and so justified, saved, and counted truly righteous—we are to see, what God craveth of us in our own part, to witness our thankfulness.”—(Mr. John Duvidson's Cat. p. 27.)–(See Palat. Cat. q. 86.) “God delivereth his elect out of it (viz. the estate of sin and misery) and bringeth them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant."-(Lar. Cat. q. 30.) Ard surely one cannot be in a state of salvation who is not really saved; more than one can be in a state of health aod liberty, who is not really saved from sickness and slavery. " Those whom God hath predestioated unto life, and those only he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation_effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ."-(Westm. Confess. chap. 10. art. 1.) Whence one may easily perceive, that a sinner drawn to Jesus Christ, is saved; though not yet carried to heaven.
z A good reason why a soul united to Jesus Christ, and already saved by him really, though not perfectly, hath no need of the presence of her first husband the law, or covenant of works : namely, because she hath in Christ her head and present husband, all things necessary to save her perfectly, that is, to make her completely holy and happy. If it were not so, believers might yet despair of attaining to it: since Christ shareth bis office of Saviour with none; neither is there salvation in any other, whether in whole or in part, Acts iv. 12. But surely believers have all that is necessary to complete this salvation, in Jesus Christ : forasmuch as he “ of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption;" in the compass of which, there is sufficient provision for all the wants of all his people. It is The great ground of their comfort, that “it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell,” Col. i. 19. And it becomes them, with their whole hearts to approve of the design and end of that glorious and happy constitution, namely, that " he that glorieth, glory in the Lord," I Cor. i. 31. It is true, that fulness is so far from being actually conveyed, in the measure of every part, into the persons of believers at once; that the stream of conveyance will run through all the ages of eternity, in hea. ven, as well as on earth. Nevertheless, whole Christ, with all his fulness, is given to them at once, and therefore they have all necessary for them at once, in him as their head. 1 Cor. iii. 21, “ All things are yours." Phil. iv. 18, “I have all, and abound." Cor. vi. 10, “As having nothing, yet possessing all things.” Col. ii. 10, “And ye are comple:e in him, which is the Head."
a But are not personal holiness, and godliness, good works, and perseverance in boly obedience, jostled out at this rate as unnecessary? No, by po means. For Christ is the only fountain of holiness, and the cause of good works, in those who are united to him ; so that, where union with Christ is, there is personal holiness infallibly ; there they do good works (if capable of them) and persevere therein ; and where it is not, all pretences to these things are utterly vain. 'Therefore are ministers directed to prosecute such doctrives, and make choice of such uses especially, as may most draw souls to Christ, the fountain of light, boliness and comfort."- Directory tit. “Of the preaching of the word.” “ As we willingly spoil ourselves of all honour and glory of our own creation and redemption, so do we also of our regeneration and sanetification ; - for of ourselves we are not sufficient to think one good thought; but he who has begun
to salvation. He is my righteousness, my treasure and my work : 6
the work in us, is only he that continues us in the same, to the praise and glory of his undeserved grace.
So that the cause of good works, we confess to be, not our free will, but the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, wbo, dwelling in our hearts by true faith, bringeth forth such works, as God has prepared for us to walk in. For this we must boldly affirm, that blasphemy it is to say, that Christ abideth in the hearts of such, as in whom there is no spirit of sanctification."-Old Confess. art. 12, 13. “M. What is the effect of thy faith? C. That Jesus Christ his Son came down into this world, and accomplished all things which were necessary for our salvation.”—The manner to examine children, &c. quest. 3. “ Whether we look to our justification or sanctifi. cation, they are wholly wrought and perfected by Christ, in whom we are complete, bowbeit after a divers sort.”—Mr. John Duvidson's Cat. p. 34. The truth is, personal holiness, godliness, and perseverance, are parts of the salvation already bestowed on the believer, and good works begun, the necessary fruit thereof. See the preceding note, and p. 250. note s. And he hath, in Christ his head, what infallibly secures the conversation of his personal boliness and godliness : his bringing forth of good works still, and perseverance in boly obedience, and the bringing of the whole to perfection in another life, and so completing the begun salvation. If men will, without warrant from the word, restrain the term salvation to happiness in heaven, then all these, according to the doctrine here taught, are necessary to salvation, as what of necessity must go before it, in subjects capable; since, in a salvation carried on by degrees, what is by the unalterable order of the covenant first conferred on a man, must necessarily go before that which, by the same unalterable order, is conferred on him in the last place. But, in the sense of Luther and our author, all these are comprehended in the salvation itself. For justifying of which, one may observe, that when the sal. vation is completed, they are perfected ; and the saints in glory work perfectly good works, without interruption, throughout all eternity ; for they were the great end God designed to bring about by the means of salvation. To the Scripture texts adduced, in the preceding note, add 2 Tim. ii. 10, “I endure all things, for the elect's sake, that they also may obtain the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory." Here is a spiritual salvation, plainly distinguished froin eternal glory. Compare i Pet. i. 8, 9, “ Believing, ye rejoice-Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” This receiving of salvation, in the present time, is but the accomplishment of that promise, in part; Acts xvi. 31, " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved ;" which, I make no question, bears a great deal of salvation, communicated on this side death, as well as beyond it; Matt. i. 21, “ He shall save his people from their sins." Thus, salvation comprehends personal holiness and godliness. And the Scripture holds out good works, as things that accompany salvation, (Heb. vi. 9,) and as the fruit of it, Luke i. 71--75, “ That we should be saved from our enemies being delivered out of the bands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before hiin, all the days of our life." For it is an everlasting salvation, (Isa. xlv. 17,) importing a perseverance in holy obedience to the end.
b My righteousness, upeo which I am justified, my treasure, out of which all my debt to the law, or covenant of works, is paid, and my work, whence my righteousness arises, and which I can, with safety and comfort, oppose to the law-demand of work. “ The law of God we confess and acknowledge most just, most equal, most holy, most perfect, commanding these things, which being wrought in perfection, were able to give life, and able to bring man to eternal felicity. But our nature is so corrupt, so wuak,