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to urge no motive of good works but grateful love ; as it would be in physicians to insist, that a good stomach must be the only motive from which their patients out to take either food or physic.
Our Lord, far from countenancing our doctrinal refinements, in this respect, perpetually secures the practice, of good works, by promising heaven to all that persevere in doing them ; while he deters us from sin, by threatening destruction to all that persist in committing it; working thus alternately upon our hopes and fears, those powerful springs of action in the human breast.
The force of this double incentive to practical religion, I greatly weakened ; when, being carried away by the stream of Solifidianism, I rashly said in my old sermon, after some of our Reformers, that “ good works shall be rewarded in heaven and eternal life, although not with eternal life and heaven.” An Antinomian error this, which I again publicly renounce, and against which I enter the following scriptural protest.
If the oracles of God command us to work from an initial life of grace, for an eternal life of glory ; frequenting annexing the promise of heavenly bliss to good works, and threatening all workers of iniquity with hell-torments; it follows, that hearen will be the gracious reward of good works, and hell the just wages of bad ones.
I readily grant, however, that, if we cousider ourselves merely as sinners, in the light of the first gospelaxiom, and according to the covenant of works, which we have so frequently broken ; heaven is merely the gift of God through our Lord Jesus Christ : For, according to that covenant, destruction is the wages of all who have committed siu. But, if we be converted sinners, or obedient believers; and if we covsider ourselves in the light of the second gospel-axiom, and according to the covenant of grace ; every unprejudiced person, who believes the Bible, must allow that heaven is the gracious reward of our works of faith,
An illustration may help the reader to see the justness of this distinction.- A charitable nobleman discharges the debts of ten insolvent prisovers, sets them up in great or little farms, according to their respective abilities; and laying down a thousand pounds before them, he says : “ I have already done much for you, but I will do more still. I freely give you this purse to encourage your industry. You shall share this gold among you, if you manage your farms according to my directions; but if you let your fields be overrun with thorns, you shall not only lose the bounty I design for the industrious, but forfeit all my preceding favours.” Now, who does not see, that the thousand pounds thus laid down, are a free gift of the nobleman; that nevertheless, upon the performance of the condition or terms he has fixed, they become a gracious reward of industry; and that consequently, the obtaining of this reward turns now entirely upon the works of industry performed by the farmers.
Just so eternal salvation is the free gift of God through Jesus Christ; and yet the obtaining of it (on the part of adults) turns entirely upon their works of faith ; that is, upon their works as well as upon their faith. Hence the scripture says indifferently, 'He that believeth is not condemned ;' and 'If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?'-'All that believe are justified;' and 'Hethat worketh righteousness is accepted.' -Our Lord, speaking of a weeping penitent, says equally: 'Her sins, which are many, are forgiven: For she loved much :' and, “Thy sins are forgiven; thy faith hath saved thee.'-As for St. Paul, though he always justly excludes the works of unbelief, and merely ceremonial works, yet he so joins faith, and the works of faith, as to shew us, they are equally necessary to eternal salvation : “ There is no condemuation,' says he, ' to them that are in Christ by faith :' (Here is the Pharisee's portion) who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.' (Here is the Antinomian's portion.) Hence it appears, that living faith now and always works righteousness, and that the works of righteousness now* and always accompany faith, so long as it remains living
“ I know this is the doctrine,” says the judicious Mr. Baxter, “ that will have the loudest outcries raised against it; and will make some cry out, Heresy, Popery, Socinianism ! and what not ? For my owo part, the Searcher of hearts knoweth, that not singularity, nor any good will to Popery, provoketh me to entertain it: But that I have earnestly sought the Lord's direction upon my knees, before I durst adven. ture on it ; and that I resisted the light of this couclusion as long as I was able.” May this bright testimony make way for an illuminated cloud of prophets and apostles! and may the Sun of righteousness rising behind it, so scatter the shades of error, that we may awake out of our Laodicean sleep, and Antinomian dreams, and see a glorious, unclouded gospel-day !
That, in subordination to Christ, our eternal salvation depends upon good works, i. e., upon the works of faith, will, I think, appear indubitable to them that believe the Bible, and candidly consider the following scriptures, in which heaven and eternal life in glory are suspended upon works, if they spring from a sincere belief in the light of our dispensation ; I say, if they spring from true faith, it being absolutely impossible for an Heathen, and much more for a Christian, to work righteousness without believing in some degree 'that God is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, as well as the punisher of them that presumptuously sin against him.- For without faith it is impossible to please God;' all faithless works springing merely from superstition, like those of Baal's priests, or from hypocrisy, like those of the Pharisees. Having thus guarded again the doctrine of faith, 1 produce some of the many scriptures that
# I use the word now, to stop up the Antinomian gap, which one of my opponents tries to keep open by insinuating, that though a true believer may commit adultery and murder now, yet he will always work righteousness before he die.
directly or indirectly annex the above-mentioned reward to works: And,
2. To consideration, conversion, and exercising our. selves to godliness.— Because he considereth, and turneth away from his transgressions, &c. he shall surely live, he shall not die.—When the wicked man turueth away from his wickedness, &c. he shall save his soul alive.-Wherefore turn yourselves and live ye. Exercise thyself unto godliness, for it is profitable unto all things ; having the promise of the life that now is, aud that which is to come.'
2. To doing the will of God. He that does the will of my Father, shall enter into the kingdom of heaveu. He that does the will of God, abideth for ever.- Whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother and sister-i. e. the same is au heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ.'
3. To confessing Christ, and calling upon the name of the Lord.— With the mouth confession is made to salvation.Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father : But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father.—Whosoever shall call npop the name of the Lord, shall be saved.'
4. To self denial: 'If thy hand offend thee, cut it off : It is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go to hell, &c. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, thau having two eyes to be cast into hell-fire.- There is no man, that hath left house, or brethren, &c. for my sake aud the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundred-fold now, and in the world to come eternal life.-He that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it, &c.--He that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal.'— And our Lord .supposes that by gaining the world' a man may
lose his own soul.' For according to the covenant of grace, even reprobates are not totally lost, till they make themselve sons of perdition, like Judas, i. e. till they personally and absolutely lose their own souls' and heaven, by their personal and obstinate pursuit of wordly things.
5. To diligent labour, and earnest endeavours.-- 0 man of God, lay hold on eternal life.—Work out your own salvation.—Labour for the meat that endureth to everlasting life.—Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. In so doing thou shalt save thyself.—Narrow is the gate that leads to life.-Strive to enter in.-The violent press iuto the kingdom of God, and take it by force.'
6. To keeping the Commandments.— Blessed are they that do his commandments, &c. that they may evter through the gates into the city, i. e. into heaven,
- There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that worketh abomination. If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.—Thou has answered right; This do and thou shalt live.—There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy : [some of whose laws run thus :) Forgive, and ye shall he forgiven.-, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy.-Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God, [and, of course, the heirs of the kingdom.]— The king shall say unto them, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, for I was hungry and ye gave me meat, &c.—Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the iuheritance : But he that does wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done, and there is no respect of persons.—Be ye there. fore followers of God as dear children, &c. for this ye know, that no whoremonger, &c. hath any inheritance in the kingdom of God.—The works of the flesh are
$ See the excellent comment of our Church upon these words oi our Lord, Fourth Check, Yol, ii,