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the words Works or Deeds,' he invariably adds, of the Law.' He frequently says a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but not once does he say, a man is not justified by works." How much his Lordship has been mistaken on this head, has been shown by two who have written answers to his Refutation, Dr. Williams, and Mr. Scott. "His Lordship," says the former of these writers, "has hazarded the assertion too hastily, when he says that whenever St. Paul, speaking of Justification uses the words 'Works or Deeds,' he invariably adds, of the Law:' for thus the Apostle reasons, If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God.' To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his Faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works'. Rom. iv. 2, 5, 6. And what he says of Salvation is, a fortiori, applicable to Justification. For by grace are ye saved, through Faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast; for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.'-Eph. ii. 8, 9, 10. Who hath saved us' (in which Salvation, Justification is necessarily included), and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began.'-2 Tim. i. 9. 'Not by works of Righteousness, but according to his mercy he saved From these and similar passages, what can be more evident than the Apostle's design to exclude, not only the merits of our works, but also our works them
which we have done, us.'-Titus, iii. 5.
selves, good works, works of righteousness, from having any part in our Justification ?"*
We return to the last quotation from Bishop Burnet. "Nor had St. Paul any occasion to treat of any other matter, in those Epistles, or to enter into nice abstractions which became not one that was to instruct the world in order to their salvation. Those metaphysical notions are not easily apprehended by plain men, not accustomed to such subtleties; and are of very little value when they are more critically distinguished." This is language altogether unworthy of Bishop Burnet, and of the subject which he treats. It becomes no uninspired Minister of Christianity to say what became not the Apostle Paul, when by the Spirit of God he unfolded the great mystery of our Redemption and Salvation. What the Apostle has done, not what became him to do, is the subject of investigation. All attempts to establish the doctrine of Justification by reasoning, a priori, must be presumptuous. The doctrine of Justification by Faith through Grace is no mere abstraction, no metaphysical notion, no subtlety, as applied to sinners, who being already condemned for their evil works, can never be justified by what their condemnation declares them not to have good works. The doctrine of Justification by Faith, without works, will not easily, nay will not possibly, be apprehended by those who have not the sentence of death in themselves; but he who feels the condemnation of guilt, and beholds by Faith the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, will, through the Spirit wait for
• P. p. 113, 114. See also Mr. Scott's Remarks, on Chap. 1, of the Bishop's Refutation.
the hope of righteousness by faith. ty," says an author who had studied this subject much more accurately than Bishop Burnet, "to be preached to a new race of men, created without spot or sin, or stain of guilt, they might well wonder at the conditions of Faith, and Repentance, as the doctrine of Salvation by the righteousness of Christ, and not by their own, and that their happiness should depend not upon their own works, but upon the free grace and promise of God; they might well ask, Why should God make that a matter of free grace and promise, which must be the necessary effect and consequence of his justice? Why may we not be saved by our own righteousness, since righteousness has a natural claim to happiness? What should we repent of, who have done no harm? Or what other object have we for faith than the justice of God, which is the foundation upon which religion stands? But should this new race fall from innocence, and stand liable to the punishments of vice, should you then ask them where their hopes were, they would not answer, I presume, in the justice of God, or argue upon the right that virtue has to a reward, but, could they express any hope, it would be in the mercy and forgiveness of God. And whence must this forgiveness come? Is it the gift of God, or is it the reward of sin? If it is the gift of God, then it is free grace."*
We shall make but one quotation more from Bishop Burnet on the eleventh Article. "In strictness of words, we are not justified till the final sentence is pronounced; till, upon our death, we are solemnly acquitted of our sins,
• Bishop Sherlock's Discourses. Dis. 52.
and admitted into the presence of God; this being that which is opposite to condemnation, yet, as a man who is in that state that must end in condemnation is said to be condemned already, and the wrath of God is said to abide upon him, though he be not yet adjudged to it; so, on the contrary, a man in that state which must end in the full enjoyment of God, is said now to be justified, and to be at peace with God; because he not only has the promises of that state now belonging to him, when he does perform the conditions required in them, but is likewise receiving daily marks of God's favour, the protection of his providence, the ministry of angels, and the inward assistances of his grace and spirit." By the Bishop's words it would appear, that he teaches us to expect only the pledge of justification, and not the blessing itself, in the present life. He had, in the beginning of his Exposition of the Article, explained Justification as that which brought us into the grace and favour of God, and which put us into a state of acceptation with him. He surely could not mean that in strictness of words no man is brought into a state of favour and acceptance with God in this life; for he afterwards speaks of a pious man's receiving daily marks of God's favour, and yet it appears impossible to give any other natural interpretation to his words. Upon these principles, therefore, according to the thirteenth Article there never was, and there never can be, any such thing as a good work performed in this world. The Bishop does not betake himself to the doctrine of a two-fold Justification, the refuge of many later writers, which was prepared for them by Dr. Taylor, of Norwich, but of which there is not a vestige in Scripture, in the Articles, Homilies, or Fathers of the Church of England. How he could have escaped from contradiction, had he
been pressed on this subject, seems difficult to conceive. When he represents a man in this life brought into a state that must end in the full enjoyment of God, he passes over into the regions of Calvinism; though of this doctrine he makes a recantation in the very next page. In short, from the confusion and contradiction into which his rejection of the doctrine, plainly taught in the Article, ran him; from the necessity imposed on him of apparently explaining what his tenets induced him to oppose, he has left a striking exhibition, how little learning and excellent abilities are able to do in opposition to the simplicity of truth.
A writer of still superior abilities to Bishop Burnet, Bishop Warburton, in his Divine Legation of Moses, has, with that herculean force which in a good cause attended his grasp, demonstrated that Justification is not by Works, but by Faith. We have room only for the following statement. "Supposing St. Paul really to hold that immortality was attached to works, it would contradict the other reasoning which both he himself and the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews urged so cordially against the second error of the Jewish converts; namely, of immortality's being attached to works, or that Justification was by works under the Gospel: for to confute this error, they prove as we have shown, that it was faith which justified, not only under the Gospel, but under the Law also. If immortality were indeed offered through works, by the Law, then Justification by Faith, one of the great fundamental doctrines of Christianity, would be infringed. For then Faith could, at best, be only sup posed to make up the defect of works, in such a sense as to enable works to justify." With reference to what he declares, with respect to Justification by Faith, as one of