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stress, and some of them went so far in this error, as to say to their Gentile brethren, ‘Except ye be circumcised after the manver of Moses, ye cannot be saved.' (Acts xv. 1.) Hence the apostles wrote, verse 24, Certain men, subverting your souls, have troubled you, saying, ye must be circumcised, and keep the law.' Hence also it is said, that when St. Paul shaved, and was at charges, to purify himself,' in the temple, he walked orderly and kept the law.' (Acts xxi. 24.)
2. The apostle likewise opposed to faith those bypocritical deeds of the moral law, those external works of partial piety and ostentatious mercy, by which proud Pharisees think to atone for their sins, and purchase the kingdom of heaven. Such works of unbelief and spiritual pride cannot be too much decried. They do infinite mischief; they draw a veil over our apostasy ; they breed self-complacence, generate self-conceit, aud feed the opposition of Pharisees against the gospel. Hence their contempt of Christ, their enmity against his people, their ridiculing the atonement, despising others, and boasting of their own goodness. St. Paul was the more zealous in bearing his testimony against these fruits of self-righteousness, as he kuew, by fatal experience, that they are the reverse of “fruits meet for repentance,' and of the righteousness which is of God by faith ;' and that they stood yet in the way of the Jews, as much as they once did in his own.
3. The apostle excludes also all the works of impious moralists, who make no scruple of robbing God, be. cause they are just to mau; all the works of Antinomian believers, who, like the Galatians, pray to the Lord, and devour their neighbours; or, like the Jews, fast to-day, and to-morrow strike with the tist of wickedness ;' all the works which are not ultimately referred to the glory of God through Jesus Christ; and all the works whose gracious rewardableness is not acknowledged to flow from the original and proper merit of the Redeemer. These works the apostle Vol. II.
justly discards, as contrary to the doctrine of grace, because they do not spring from the grace of God, but fron the pride of inan. He explodes them as opposite to the righteousness of faith,' because they are not the works of humble faith, but of conceited unbelief; the constant language of faith being, ‘Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and truth's sake.'
Let the judicious reader say, if by thus distinguishing hetween the justification of a sinner, in the day of conversion, and the justification of a saint in the great day; and by making a proper difference between the works of a humble believer, which the apostle justly extols;
and the works of a proud Pharisee, which he justly decries; we do uot perfectly reconcile him to himself, and sufficiently secure the honour of free grace ?
Is it possible to make larger concessions, without sacrificing St. James's Epistle to Geneva logic, and our Lord's invaluable Sermou on the Mount, to Antinomian obstinacy? If we continue to assert that no sort of works have any thing to do with any sort of justification and salvation, shall we not justly shock the moral and rational part of mankind ? Is it not of the Lord, that the contempt which unconserted men shew to religious people, rises no higher than it does ? And do we not deserve that our candour or good sense should be suspected, when we go about to persuade the world, that half-a-dozen strained verses of St. Paul, put in the favourite scale of a Geneva balance, are sufficient to outweigh fifty plain texts of the apostle, and the best half of the Bible, which testifies, directly or indirectly, that though the final justification and eterval salvation of adult persons are not by the merit, yet they are by the evidence or instrumentality, of good works?
II. OBJ. “« There is some plausibility in your answer, but we are still afraid that this doctrine of justification, or salvation, by works in the last day, robs the Lord Jesus Christ of his glory."
Ans. Just the reverse. It delivers him from the shame of saving men by unaccountable humour, or damning them with unparalleled cruelty. But how do you prove your assertion? Of what glory does our doctrine rob the Redeemer? Does it rob him of the glory of atoning for our sins, as our High Priest? Or of leading us into all the truth necessary to salvation, as our great Prophet? Does it rob him of the glory of pardoning our sins, and esteeming us righteous when we believe, as the Lord our righteousness? Does it rob him of the glory of making us fruitful branches in him as the true Vine? Or of rendering to every one according to his works, as an impartial Judge ? On the coutrary, is it not the opposite doctrine, which refuses him the glory of maintaining the honour of his crown, as the King of kings, and Lord of lords ?
Yes, we affirm, that to reject the doctrine of justification by works in the great day, is to set Christ at nought, in the most glorious of his offices. Is it not enough, that in the days of his flesh, he was chiefly derided and crucified as the King of the Jews ? Must he also, in the days of his Spirit, be every where put to open shame in his regal office? How useless is his sceptre, and contemptible his government, if he gives his subjects only shadows of laws, which amount to no laws at all ? And if, leaving his immense dominions in a lawless condition, he saves the happy number of his favourites, and damns the rest of mankind, merely according to Calvin’s notions of free grace, and free wrath ? Or, according to Dr. Crisp's scheme of salvation and damnation finished !
To this Mr. Rowland Hill answers beforehand, (Friendly Remarks, p. 45, 46,) “ You slander the Calvinists.-We grant, that in the point of justificatiou, [and of course of condemnation,] we have nothing to do with the law: [But] though we boldly say, we are not under the law as a covenant of works, yet we never were so ignorant and daring as to say, we are not under the law to Christ as a rule of life.”
Pardon my freedom, dear Sir, if I tell you, without ceremony, that, like thousands more, you have learned to say Shibboleth, hefore you have properly considered the sense of the expression. If you mean any thing by
being under the law to Christ only as a rule of life," you probably mean, with Dr. Crisp, that Christ has indeed a law; but that, with regard to belierers, who are the subjects of his kingdom, this law has no more the divine sanction of a blessing for those whọ observe it, and of a curse for its violators. And is not this saying, in ambiguous words, that Christ's subjects are absolutely lawless ? Let little children pompously give the name of laws to rules of play, or rules of grammar; but let not men of sense imitate their mistake, by giving that name to directions of conduct, or rules of life, which are no longer enforced by rewards and penalties.
You decry “ illustrations,” and I do not wonder at it; for they carry light into Babel, where it is not desired. The father of errors begets darkness and confusion. From darkness and confusion springs Calvinism, who, wrapping himself up in some garments, which he has stolen from the truth, deceives the nations, and gets himself reverenced in a dark temple, as if he were the pure and free gospel.
To bring him to a shameful end, we need not stab him with the dagger of " calumny,” or put him upon the rack of persecution. Let him only be dragged out of his obscurity, and brought unmasked to open light, and the silent beams of truth will pierce him through ! Light alone will torture him to death, as the meridian suudoes a bird of night, that cannot fly from the gentle operations of its beams.
May the following illustration dart at least one luminous beam into the profound darkness in which your venerable Diana delights to dwell! And may it shew the Christian world, that we do not “slander you," when we assert, you inadvertently destroy God's law, and cast the Redeemer's crown to the
ground: And that when you say,
" in point of justifi. cation, [and consequently of condemnation,) we have nothing to do with the law. We are under the law as a rule of life,” but not as a rule of judgment; you might as well say, “ We are under po law, and consequently no longer accountable for our actions."
“ The king," who I suppose is in love with your doctrines of free grace and free wrath, by the advice of a predestinarian council and parliament, issues out a gospel proclamation, directed “ to all his dear subjects, and elect people, the English.” By this evangelical manifesto they are informed, “ that in consequence of the Prince of Wales's meritorious intercession, and perfect obedience to the laws of England, all the pebalties annexed to the breaking of those laws are now abolished with respect to Englishmen : That his majesty freely pardons all his subjects, who have been, are, or shall be guilty of adultery, murder, or treason : That all their crimes, 'past, present, and to come, are for ever and for ever caucelled : That nevertheless, his loving subjects, who remain strangers to their privileges, shall still be served with sham warrants according to law, and frightened out of their wits, till they have learned to plead “they are Englishmen,' [i. e. elect:] And then, they shall also set at defiance all legalists; that is, all those who shall dare to deal with them according to law: And that, excepting the case of the above-mentioned false prosecution of his chosen people, none of them s'all ever be molested for the breach of any law.
* By the same supreme authority it is likewise enacted, that all the laws shall continue in force against foreigners, [i. e., reprobates,] whom the king and the prince hate with everlasting hatred, and to whom they have agreed never to shew mercy : That, accordingly, they shall be prosecuted to the utmost rigour of every statute, till they are all hanged or burned out of the way: And that, supposing no personal offence can be proved against them, 'it shall be lawful to hang