« ForrigeFortsæt »
To Mr. Richard and Mr. Rowland Hill.
HON, AND DEAR SIRS,
HAVING answered the arguments which each of you has advanced against the doctrice of justification by works in the great day, permit me to consider what may farther be advanced against it.
I. We cry to sinvers, By grace shall ye be saved through faith,' in the day of your conversion; but to believers we say, By grace shall ye be sared, through works, in the day of judgment. Turn therefore, ye sinners; and ye saints, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.'
“ Saved by grace, through works, in the day of judgment! What a farrago of Popery and gospel ! Faith and works, what a shocking mixture! Geminantur tigribus agni. You have undoubtedly the full consent of Bellarmine and the scarlet whore for such a match. But with what detestation would St. Paul enter his protest against it? Does he not declare, that faith and works reciprocally exclude each other ? Says he not, “ If by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace; but if it be of works, then it is no more grace, otherwise work is no more work. If Abraham was justified by works he hath whereof to glory; for to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt: But Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness : And David also describeth the blessedness of the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works. Hence the apostle concludes, ‘ By grace ye are saved, through faith : Not of works, lest any man should boast.' And again, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but of his mercy he saved us,' &c. Now, how does this doctrine of justification and salvation without works, agree with your doctrine of justification or salvation by works, in the last day; and how can you reconcile St. Paul with Bellarmine, Mr. Wesley, and yourself?”
Ans. 1. Should you not rather ask, how we can re concile St. Paul, with Jesus Christ, St. James, and himself? Is vot the second chapter to the Romans as strong for works as the Minutes, the Epistle of St. James, and our Lord's Sermon on the Mount? Have we not observed, that even in the Epistles, where the apostle purposely maintains the doctrine of justification, by faith in the day of conversion, he writes of works in such a manner as flatly to contradict himself, if they have nothing to do with our final justification in the last day?
Says he not to the believers at Rome, “If ye live after the flesh,' or, if ye do not cast off the works of darkness, rioting and drunkenness, strife and envying, &c. ye shall die ; but if ye through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live?' And again, ‘ Be subject to the higher powers : For they that resist them, shall receive to themselves damnation ?'
And says he not to the Galatians, ' All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself ?' And let uo Antinomian persuade you, that the law of obedient love is only a rule of life. No, it is also a rule of punishment; for, ‘I tell you before,' says he, as I have also told you in time past, (see how plainly and constantly the apostle preached the law of Christ !] that they who do such things, [they who are guilty of] adultery, fornication, hatred, wrath, strife, envying, murder, drunkenness, and such like, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Fulfil therefore the law of Christ. Let every man prove
his own work; for every man shall bear his own
his Epistles to the Romans and Galatians, preaches so evidently justification and condemnation by works in the great day, do we not suppose him deprived of common sense, when we represent him as perpetually saying and unsaying, as building up one hour what he pulls down the next?
But as this general answer, though it vindicates our doctrine, does not vindicate the apostle from the charge of contradiction, I beg leave once more to carry the candle of the Lord into the tower of Calviniau confu
thus shall we see the farrago made at Geneva with the words “justification, salvation, works, righteousness of the law, and righteousness of faith.”
It is evident that every degree of justification is attended with a degree of salvation. Hence, when St. Paul preached to the Jews, justification by faith, he said, 'To you is the word of this salvation sent,' and when he wrote to those who were justified, he says, * By grace are ye saved through faith. This holds with regard to the justification of infants, for of such is the kingdom of heaven :' And by the same rule eternal salvation answers to final justification.
This being premised, we may observe, that when the apostle excludes works from having any hand in our justification or salvation, it is only when he speaks of the justification of sinners, whether we consider them as infants or adults. For if he excluded works from the justification of believers, either in the day of trial, or in the day of judgment, he would grossly contradict himself! But now he is quite consistent. Mr. Wesley and I, through grace, gladly join him and Titus, when they say, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, (either in our infancy, or before
the day of our conversion,] but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration ;-that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.'
But what does the apostle mean here by the hope of eternal life?' Is it the hope of a Laodicean believer, who makes his boast of “imputed righteousness, and finished salvation," while he goes on iu strife and envying, perhaps in adultery and murder ? Certainly no; this is the “hope of the hypocrite, which shall perish.' The hope, according to which we are made heirs of eternal life' in glory, is a hope, which ‘if any man hath,' he will purify himself even as God is pure ;' and this hope, far from being contrary to our doctrine of justification by works in the last day, is inseparably connected with the labour of love,' by which persevering believers shall then be justified.
Inquire we pow, what are those works which St. Paul opposes to faith and free grace; and I observe,
1. That it is not absolutely every work; or else he would oppose faith to itself; for believing is as much a work of the heart, as walking to church is a work of the feet.
2. Neither does the apostle oppose to faith, 'works meet for repentance;' for he strongly recommended them himself. (Acts xxvi. 20.) Nor the works of upright Gentiles, that fear God, and believe he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. If St. Paul represented these works as “dung and filthy rags,' he would contradict the angel, who said to Cornelius, " Thy prayers and alms, [far from being rejected,] are come up for a memorial before God.'
3. Much less did it ever come into the apostle's mind, to oppose 'the work of faith, and the labour of love,' to faith and free grace; for they are no more contrary to cach other, than the stalk and the ear are contrary to the root that bears them. Far from despising these works, see how honourably he speaks of them, “We give thanks alway for you, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love in our Lord Jesus Christ. God is not unrighteous, to forget your work and labour that proceedeth of love. --Always abound in the work of the Lord.—Charge the rich, that they be rich in good works, laying up for themselves a good foundation, that they may lay hold on eternal life.'
For want of attending to this, some have preposte. rously opposed the righteousness of faith to personal holiness. The latter they look upon as the righteousness which is of the law,' and which the apostle explodes. (Pbil. iii. 9.) Thus they suppose, that St. Paul formed the horrid wish of not being found clothed with holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord;' not considering, that the pardon of sins, and true holiness, the two inseparable fruits of a living faith, constitute the righteousness which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith ;' A righteousness this, that far exceeds the outside righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees,' with which the apostle had too long been satisfied, and which he so justly despised after his conversion.
One mistake makes way for another : Those who imagine, that the apostle would not be found in his own inherent righteousness, flowing from Christ formed in his heart by faith, insinuate, that he desired to be found clothed with the personal actions of our Lord, put upon his soul by as irrational and unscrip tural an imputation, as if God had fed Peter, when he was hungry, by imputing to his empty stomach the meals which Christ ate in the days of his flesh; or, as if he had clothed St. Paul, when he was naked, by laying to his account our Lord's being wrapt up in swaddling clothes in the stable at Bethlehem.
But to return : The works which St. Paul excludes, are,
1. The works of the ceremonial law of Moses, generally called the works of the law.' On these works most Jewish converts still laid a very great