Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

majority,) only request, that we may not be confounded with them.

P. cv. Translation of note from Bp. Bull.* This passage from Bp. Bull exactly describes what we disapprove, as that before from the Refutation,' what we approve. 'Faith produces,' says the Refutation; • Faith * comprises,' says Bp. Bull. The former, we Calvinists maintain; the latter we wholly reject, as inconsistent with salvation of grace, and justification by faith alone. St. Paul declareth,—nothing upon the behalf of man concerning his justification, but only a true and lively * faith; which nevertheless is the gift of God, and not 'man's only work without God. And yet that faith doth 'not shut out repentance, hope, love, dread, and the fear of God, to be joined with faith, in every man that is justified: but it shutteth them out from the office of justifying. So that, although they be all present together in him that is justified, yet they justify not altogeth*er, Neither doth faith shut out the justice of our good works, necessarily to be done afterwards, of duty to. wards God: (for we are most bounden to serve God,

in doing good deeds, commanded by him in his holy *Scripture, all the days of our life:) but it excludeth them, so that we may not do them to this intent, that we may be made just by doing them. For all the good 'works that we do be imperfect, and therefore not able 'to deserve our justification: but our justification doth

come freely by the mere mercy of God; and of so 'great and free mercy, that whereas all the world was

That faith, to which so many and great things are ascribed in the New Testament, must by no means be taken for a single and simple virtue. “Por, in its circuit, it comprises all the works of Christian piety. But every 'where, when it is taken for a work distinct by itself, and disjointed from all other virtues; so far is the Holy Spirit from ascribing to it the first part, that it is placed by St. Pauli himself afier love, almos: in the third place:

not able of themselves to pay any part towards their ' ransom, it pleased our heavenly Father, of his infinite 'mercy, without any of our desert, or deserving, to pre‘pare for us the most precious jewels of Christ's body • and blood, whereby our ransom might be fully paid,

and his justice fully satisfied. So that Christ is now the Righteousness of all them, that do truly believe in him. He for them paid their ransom by his death; He "for them fulfilled the law in his life. So that now, in

him and by him, every true christian man may be - called a fulfiller of the law; for as much, as that which their infirmity lacked, Christ's justice hath supplied.'*

Our faith in Christ, as it were, saith unto us thus: 1. It is not I who take away your sins; but it is Christ

only; and to him only, I send you for that purpose, for. saking therein all your good virtues, words, thoughts, and works, and only putting your trust in Christ. • Because faith doth directly send us to Christ for re'mission of our sins; and that by faith given us of God,

we embrace the promise of God's mercy, and of the remission of our sins, (which thing none of our own

virtues and works properly doeth,) therefore the Scrip"ture useth to say, that faith without works doth justify.'! It is a childish objection, wherewith, in the matter of every justified man. But to show, that faith is the only hand, which putteth on Christ for justification: ' and Christ the only garment, which, being so put on, covereth the shame of our defiled natures, hideth the imperfection of our works, preserveth us blameless in the sight of God; before whom, otherwise, the weakness of our faith were cause sufficient to make us culpable, yea, to shut us from the kingdom of God, where ' nothing that is not absolute can enter.'*-The view given, in the last remark, of faith as producing good works, coincides with this: but that which states faith, as containing within it all other christian graces, is perfectly incompatible: for, on that supposition, it might as properly be said, that repentance, that hope, that love, alone, justifies us, as that faith alone justifies us. Un. doubtedly the apostle meant by the faith which abideth, along with hope and love, living justifying faith: but love, “the requirement of the law,” “the fruit of the “Spirit;" the very image of God, who “is Love;" the very essence of heavenly holiness and happiness, is far greater than faith, though it cannot perform the office of faith. Faith and hope are, so to speak, the scaffolding of that building, by which fallen man is to become an eternal “ habitation of God through the Spirit:” but love is the building itself: and when that is finished, the scaffolding shall be taken down. Now the building which shall remain to eternity, and for the sake of which the scaffolding was prepared, must be vastly greater than the scaffolding itself; though that was indispensa. bly necessary.

of justification, our adversaries do so greatly please ''themselves, exclaiming that we tread all christian vir.

tues under our feet, and require nothing but faith; be'cause we teach that faith alone justificth. Whereas by this speech, we never meant to exclude either hope or charity, from being always joined, as inseparable mates

with faith, in the man that is justified; or works from • being added as necessary duties, required at the hands

necessai

• Homily of salvation, first part. Homily of salvation, third part.

† Homily of salvation, second part

P. cvi. I. 23. The general, Sc.'+ ' The condi. * tion to be performed by ourselves to render that cause • efficacious,' might here be objected to. The clause, however, may admit of a sound construction: but as no word, answering to the English words, terms, conditions; conditional, are used in Scripture, on this subject; as the sacred writers fully expressed their meaning without them; and as these terms are often misunderstood, and liable to be misunderstood; we hope to be excused from employing them in our discussions. Nothing, as a condition, a means, an instrument, a sine qua non, by which some, rather than others, are “made the righte“ ousness of God in Christ,” can be mentioned, properly, except“ faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the adduced, in order to express an approbation of it, as by no' means, materially differing from the views, which the evangelical clergy have of this subject.

• Hooker. This and several other quotations from Hooker, were made b; the author, in The Force of Truth,' published about thirty-two years ago.

f. The general dcctrine of justification thus stated, may be resolved into "these three parts: first, the meritorious cause on account of which we are

gift of God.”! The quotation, though rather long, is justified: secondly, the condition to be performed by ourselves, to render • that cause efficacious: and, thirdly, the motive which led to the appoint. * ment of this mode of justification. First, God is said to have “set forth " Christ to be our propitiation, to declare his righteousness for the remission “of sins." Christ is our propitiation, that is, the atonement made by his • death is the meritorious cause of tb remission of our sins, or of our justif

cation. The characteristic blessing of the christian religion is, that it pro • vides a satisfaction for sin: to this inestimable benefit it has an exclusive

claim: “By Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which “ they could not be justified by the law of Moses," or by any previous dis. pensation. Secondly, does this cause operate necessarily, and produce our justification as its unavoidable effect! No; it operates “ through faith in his « blood;" that is, the means by which it operates is our faith in the death of • Christ. If we have not that faith, if we do not embrace the gospel when pro. posed to us, Christ is not our propitiation; and, consequently, faith is the condition to be performed by ourselves, to render the death of Christ ef• fectual to our justification. And the same thing is expressed in a preced. ‘ing verse, “The righteousness of God (is manifested) which is by faith of “ Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them, that believe;" belief or faith is “here also pronounced to be the condition of justification. Thirdly, the mo(tive which led to the appointment of this mode of justification, is contained • in these words, “ being justified freely by God's grace:" it was the mercy of “God, his good will towards men, which alone induced him to appoint this 'gracious mode of justification. It was done "freely” and gratuitously, · without any merit in us, any claim on our part, when we were all sinners, when the whole world was guilty in the sight of God, and must otherwise have perished everlastingly. “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By « what law? Of works? Nay, but by the law of faith.”

P. cvii. Note, from Barrow. ' The apostle, &c."* "The gospel was preached before unto Abraham.'+ " If “ thou, LORD, shouldst mark iniquities, O LORD, who “ shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that “ thou mayst be feared.”' “ Seek the LORD, while “ he may be found;" “ Call ye upon him while he is

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the un“ righteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto “ the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our “ God, and he will abundantly pardon.” These, and numerous other express and energetick passages, in the Old Testament, contain most manifest overtures or ' promises of pardon.' It is indeed a truth, worthy of peculiar notice, that the light of nature doth only • direct to duty, condemning every man in his own

judgment and conscience, who transgresseth; but as * to pardon, in case of transgression, it is silent. Yet, the very opening of revelation, the light, not of nature, but of grace, revealed “ the Seed of the woman, who

• "The apostle (St. Paul) in this discourse, says Dr. Barrow, implies that no precedent dispensation had exhibited any manifest overture or promise

of pardon, and upon that account we are in a main point defective; for the * light of nature doth only direct to duty, condemning every man in his own * judgment and conscience, who trangresseth; but as to pardon, in case of • trangression, it is blind and silent: and the law of Moses rigorously exacteth • punctual obedience, denouncing in express terms a condemnation and curse « to the transgressors of it in any part: and so it was a law ou Šuvajevos • <0.7m6h, not able to give life, Gal. iii. 21, or save us from death. Hence • doth the apostle lay down this as the foundation of this whole dispute, that "the gospel alone was the power of God through faith to the salvation both of • Jew and Gentile,' Rom. i. 16, 17, ' because in that alone was the righteous

ness of God by faith revealed to beget faith in them, even the faith by · which the just shall live, declaring that no precedent dispensation could

justify any man, and that a man is justified by faith, or hath an absolute need of such a justification as that which the gospel tendereth.' | Gal. iii. 8. Ps. cxxx. 3, 4.

$ Is. lv. 6,7

« FöregåendeFortsätt »