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uses only his right hand oar; and the Pharisee, like him who plies only the oar in his left hand. One makes an endless bustle about grace and faith, the other about charity and works; but both, after all, find themselves exactly in the same case ; with this single difference, that one has turned from truth to the right, and the other to the left.
Not so the judicious, unbiassed preacher, who will safely enter the haven of eternal rest, for which he and his hearers are bound. He makes an equal use of the doctrine of faith, and that of works. If at any time he insist most upon faith, it is only when the stream carries his congregation upon the Pharisaical shallows on the left hand: And if he lay a preponderating stress upon works, it is only when he sees unwary souls sucked into the Antinomian whirlpool on the right hand. His skill consists in so avoiding one danger as not to rau upon the other,
Nor ought this watchful wisdom to be confined to ministers ; for though all are not called to direct congregations ; yet all moral agents are, and always were, more or less called to direct themselves, that is, to occupy till the Lord come, by making a proper use of their talents according to the parable. (Matt. xxv. 15— 31.) God gave to angels and man remigium alarum," the two oars, or if you please, the equal wings of faith and obedience; charging them to use those grand powers, according to their original wisdom and enlightened conscience. Or, to speak without metaphor, he created them in such a manner, that they believed it their dnty, interest, and glory, to obey him without reserve; and this faith was naturally productive of an universal, delightful, perfect obedience. Nor would they ever have been wanting in practice, if they had not first wavered in principle. But when Lucifer had unaccountably per: súaded himself, in part at least, either that obedience was mean, or that rebellion would be advantageous; and when the crafty tempter had made our first parents believe in part, that if they ate of the forbidden fruit, far from dying, they should be as God himself; how
possible, how easy was it for them to venture upon an act of rebellion !-By rashly playing with the serpent, and sucking in the 'venom of his crafty insinuations, they soon gave their faith a wilful wound, and their obedience naturally died of it : But alas ! it did not die unrevenged; for no sooner had fainting faith given birth to a dead work, than she was destroyed by her spurious offspring. Thus faith and obedience, that couple more lovely than David and his friend, more inseparable than Saul and Jonathan, in their death were not divided. They even met with a common grave, the corrupt atrocious breast of a rebellious angel, or of apostate man.
Nor does St. James give us a less melancholy account of this fatal error. While faith slumbered,
lust conceived, and brought forth sin, and sin fivished, brought forth death,' the death of faith, and consequently the moral death of angelic spirits and human souls, who equally live by faith* during their state of probation. So fell Lucifer from heaven, to rule and rage in the darkness of this world : So fell Adam from Paradise, to toil and die in this vale of tears : So fell Judas from an apostolic throne, to hang himself, and go to his own place.
Nor can we rise, but in a way parallel to that by which they fell. For, as a disbelief of our CREATOR, productive of bad works, sunk our first parents ; so a faith in our REDEEMER, productive of good works, must instrumentally raise their fallen posterity.
Faith in God as a Creator, Lawgiver, and Judge, was not less necessary to Lucifer and Adam, in order to their standing in a state of innocence, than faith in God as Redeemer, Sanctifier, and Rewarder of them that diligently seek him, is necessary to sinners, in order to their recovery from a state of guilt; or to believers, in order to avoid relapses and final apostasy. Faith therefore, so far as it implies an unshaken confidence in God, and a firm adherence to his will, is as eternal as love and obedience. But when it is considered as the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen,' which are essential properties of a believer's faith in this present state of things, it is evident that it will nec essarily end; in sight, as soon as the curtain of time is drawn up; and terminate in enjoyment, as soon as God's glory appears without a veil.
Should you ask, which is most necessary to salvation, faith or works ? ; I beg leave to propose a similar question: Which is most essential to breathing, inspiration or expiration ? If you reply, that “ The moment either is absolutely at an end, so is the other; and therefore both are equally important;" I return exactly the same answer. If humble faith receive the breath of spiritual life; obedient love gratefully returns it, and makes way for a fresh supply : When it does not, the Spirit is grieved: And if this want of co-operation is persisted in to the end of the day of salvation, the sin unto death is committed, the Spirit is quenched in his saving operation, the apostate dies the second death, and his corrupt soul is cast into the bottomless pit, as a putrid corpse ivto the noisome grave.
Again, if faith has the advantage over works by giving them birth, works have the advantage over faith by perfecting it. "Seest thou,' says St. James, speaking of the father of the faithful,' how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect ?' And if St. Paul affirms, that works without faith are dead, St. James maintains, ` faith without works is dead also.'
Once njore, Christ is always the primary, original, properly meritorious cause of our justification and salvation. To dispute it, is to renounce the faith, and to plead for antichrist. And yet, to deny, that, under this primary cause, there are secondary, subordinate, instrumental causes of our justification, and consequently of our salvation, is to set the Bible aside, and fly in the face of judicious Calvinists, who cannot help maintaining it, both from the pulpit and from the press.*
* The Rev. Mr. Madan does not scruple to call our faith " the instrumental cause" of our justification. See his sermon on James ii. 24, printed by Fuller, London, 176, page 18. And if we shall be justified in the day of judgment by our words, they shall undoubtedly be at least an evidencing cause of our final justification. Hence it is that the same judicious divine speaks (p. 30, L 4, &c.) of our being “justified in this 'threefold sense of the word, meritoriously by
Now, if in the day of our conversion, faith is the secondary subordinate cause of our acceptance as penitent sinners ; in the day of judginent, works, even the works of faith, will be the secondary subordinate cause of onr acceptance as persevering saints. Let us therefore equally decry dead faith and dead works, equally recommend living faith and its important fruits.
Hitherto I have endeavoured to check the rapid progress of speculative Antinomianism, that perpetually decries works, and centres in the following paragraph, which presents without disguise the doctrine of the absolute, unconditional perseverance of adulterous believers, and incestuous saints :
Saving faith being immortal, can not only subsist
Christ, instrumentally by faith, and declaratively by works, which are the fruits of Faith."
The reader will permit me to illustrate the essential difference there is between primary and secondary causes, by the manner in which David became Saul's son-in-law. The primary causes of this event were undoubtedly, on God's part, assisting power and wisdom ; and on king Saul's part, a free promise of giving. his daughter in marriage to the man who should kill Goliah The secondary causes, according to the Rev. Mr. Madan's plan, may be divided into instrumental and declarative. The instrumental causes of David's honourable match, were his faith, his sling, his stone, Goliah's sword, &c. And the declarative or evidencing causes, were his works, He insists upon fighting the giant, he renounces carnal weapons, puts on the armour of God, runs to meet his adversary, slings a fortunate stone, brings his adversary down, flies upon him, and cuts off his head. By these works he was evidenced a person duly qualified to marry the princess; or, to keep to the Rev. Mr. Madan's expression, "by" these “ works” he was " declaratively" judged a man fit to be rewarded with the hand of the princess. Now is it not clear, that his works, upon the evidence of which he received such a reward, had as important a part in his obtaining it, as the faith and sling by whose instrumentality he wrought the works? And is it not strange that the Rev. Mr. Madan should be an orthodox divine, when he says, that “ we are declaratively justified by works," and that Mr. Wesley should be a dreadful heretic for saying, that we are "saved not by the merit of works, but by works as a condition;" or in other terms, that we are finally justified not by works as the primary, meritorious cause ; but as a secondary, evidencing, declarative cause?
without the help of good works, but no aggravated crimes can give it a finishing stroke.
A believer may in cool blood murder a man, after having seduced his wife, without exposing himself to the least real danger of forfeiting either his heavenly inheritance, or the divine favour; because his salvation, which is finished in the full extent of the word, without any of his good works, cannot possibly be frustrated by any of his evil
It will not be improper now to attempt a check to Pharisaism, which perpetually opposes faith, and whose destructive errors collected iu one position may run thus :--If people perform external acts of worship towards God, and of charity towards their neighbour ; their principlez* are good enough : And should they be faulty, these good works will make ample amends for that deficiency.-Upon this common plan of doctrine, if the filthy sepulchre is but whitewashed, and the noisome grave adorned with a flowery turí, it little matters what is within, whether it be a dead man's bones, a dead heart swelled with pride, or ali manner of corruptiov.
It is hard to say, who do Christianity most disservice, the Solifidians, who assert that works are nothing • before God;' or the Pharisees, who maintain that certain religious ceremonies, and external duties of morality are the very soul of religion. O thou true believer, bear thy testimony against both their errors ; and equally contend for the tree and the fruit, the faith of St. Paul and the works of St. James ; remem bering that if ever the gates of hell prevail against thee, it will be by making thee over-value faith and
* The ingenious author of a new book, called “ Essays on Public Worship, Patriotism," &c. does not scruple to send such an exhortation abroad into the world. “ Let us substitute honesty instead of faith. It is the only foundation of a moral character, and it ought to be the only test of our religion. It should not signify what, or how little a man believed, if he was honest. This would put Christianity upon the best footing." See the Monthly Review for March, 1773.