« VorigeDoorgaan »
does not thereby e teousness and obedi
ro: 3650, 2oreceived into the favour Spel, as the conditi
om inte gratefan of the Christian faith, w of God, and of our
Esis of righteousness preceding. St. Ja solution by the sen és
i au may conuinues in a justificd state, ap contrary, does eve
::1 codwhose faith doth not bring forth holy and virtuous
Bak is not a true and lively faith, w plainly the tenour à
- DINTOR 20d the wittelf to be lo, by the v out all bis epistles.!
i m a a good life. James ii. 14. What are justified by faith
. it:1, ay bretbren, if a man say that be three things :
* Torks ; car faith fave him ? .;. 1. That the obi
te basis cath rot warks is dead, being cessary to our juftif
is be repeats it again, know, o valia does in opposirion
ratock is dead. And ver. 22. fp ... church, by teachin ftians to keep the la fo, they could not be account given, Acts the meaning of that to the Romans and 1 ed by the works of the And this is very evid ing about this mattei urge this argument, viz. That men were ) was given, for which therefore the observand 2012 to a man's justification a s
2. Sometimes he, in de ment, denies the merit o mais
Dia mea righteousness to gain the sa so that we cannot challeng 33 all and as a ground of boasting, blog and mercy of God; and w have done but our duty. An interes Jy infilts upon in his epiftle t o the tion to an arrogant opinion, c.pl of the merit of good works, ar inte to them for their obedience. In iv. 4. Now to him that worketh not of grace but of debt; that is, . tion, and the reward of eternal lis
2 2, telow faith wrought with his
E' nate perfect. And ver. 2
wa ue se jutined at firit by faith.
m outy and have us ; nay ind
on; and he that hash only such af
2 empty and ineffectual profeflio . s of the true faith of the golpel
mult of necessity have charity, as widos!2
our reformation, upon this and some ct..?
and that our conversation be as become
is bis, n& perify bine', een
frutat. Vasta', waar janda
per ye de,
had been ay the betale, it will · particular as concern
that in two a their tem
ner is at first justified, and received into the favour of God, by a sincere profession of the Christian faith, without any works of righteousness preceding. St. James affirms, that no man continues in a justified state, and in favour with God, whose faith doth not bring forth good works, and that it is not a true and lively faith, which doth not approve and thew itself to be so, by the works of obedience and a good life. James ii. 14. What doth it profit a man, my brethren, if a man say that he hath faith, and hath not works ; can faith save him ? And ver. 17. Faith if it hath not works is dead, being alone. And ver. 20. he repeats it again, know, o vain man, that faith without works is dead. And ver. 22. speaking of Abraham, Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect. And ver. 26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, lo faith without works is dead alf. The sum and result of all which is this, that though we be justified at first by faith without works preceding, yet faith, without good works following it, will not finally justify and fave us ; nay indeed, that faith which does not bring forth the fruits of a good life, was never a true, and living, and perfect faith ; but pretended, and dead, and imperfect, and therefore can juftify no man; and he that hath only such a faith, does but make an empty and ineffectual profession, but is really destitute of the true faith of the gospel.
And this is agreeable to that explication which was given by our first reformers here in England, of the nature of justifying faith; “ That it is not a mere persua“sion of the truths of natural and revealed religion, 6 but such a belief as begets a submillion to the will of " God, and hath hope, love, and obedience to God's « commandments joined to it. That this is the faith “ which in baptism is professed, from which Christians “ are called the faithful; and that in those scriptures, of where it is said, we are justified by faith, we may not oc think that we be justified by faith, as it is a separate “ virtue from hope and charity, the fear of God, and “ repentance, but by it is meant faith, neither only “ nor alone, but with the aforesaid virtues, containing an “ engagement of obedience to the whole doctrine and re. “ ligion of Christ. And that although all that are justi
“ fied, must of necessity have charity, as well as faith, “ yet neither faith nor charity are the worthiness and “ merit of our justification, but that is to be ascribed “ only to our Saviour Christ, who was offered upon the «cross for our sins, and rose again for our justification;" as may be seen more at large in a treatise published at the beginning of our reformation, upon this and some other points. And I do not see what can be said upon this point with more clearness and weight.
All the application I shall make of this discourse shall be briefly this; that if we be convinced of the necessity of the virtues of a good life to all that profess themselves Christians, we would seriously and in good earneft set about the practice of them ; if this be a faithful saying, then I am sure it greatly concerns us to be careful of our lives and actions, and that our conversation be as become eth the gospel of Christ; because if this be true, there is no possible way to reconcile a wicked life, no, nor a wilful neglect and violation of any of the duties and laws of Christianity, with the hopes of heaven and eternal life. In this the scripture is positive and peremptory, that every man that hath this hope in him, must purify himself, even as he is pure : that without holiness no man fhall Jee the Lord: but if we have our fruit unto holiness, our end Mall be everlasting life.
And here I might particularly recommend, to your care. ful practice, the great virtues of Christianity; those which St. Paul tells us are the proper and genuine fruits of the Spirit of Christ, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodnefs, fidelity, meekness, temperance. But I have not time to infilt particularly upon ihem. I shall content myself briefly to mention thofe duties, which the Apostle in this epistle doth more especially press upon the several conditions and relations of men. Those who are teachers and instructors of others, that they would not only be careful to preach found doctrine, but in oll things to sew themselves patterns of good works. Those who are subject to others, and under their government, that they would pay all duty and obedience to their superiors, as children to their parents, fervants to their masters, that they may adarn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, as the Apostle speaks, chap. ii. ver. 10. And so likewise those who are subjects, that they live in all peaceable and humble obedience to princes and magistrates. This our Apostle speaks of as a great duty of Christian religion, and reckons it among good works, chap: iji. 1. Put them in mind to be subječt to principalities and powers, and to obey magiftrates, and to be ready to every good work.
And then those who are of an inferior condition, that they labour and be diligent in the work of an honest cal. Jing, for this is privately good and profitable unto men, and to their families; and those who are above this necessity, and are in a better capacity to maintain good works properly so called, works of piety, and charity, and juItice; that they be careful to promote and advance them, according to their power and opportunity, because these things are publickly good and beneficial to mankind. And besides this, as St. Peter exhorts, 2 Pet.i. 5. 6. &c. And befides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge, and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience ; and to patience, godliness ; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindnefs, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren, nor unfruit.ful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he ihat lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old fins ; that is, doth not consider that the design of Christianity is to renew and reform the hearts and lives of men. Wherefore the rather, brethren, as he goes on, give diligence to make your calling and election fure ; for if ye do these things, ye hall never fall. For so an entrance fall be ministered unto you abundently into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Seviour Jesus Christ. . I will conclude all with that excellent saying of St.
Paul in this epistlé to Titus, which so fully declares to ' us the great design, and the proper efficacy of the Ghriftian doctrine upon the minds and manners of men; chap. ii. 11. 12. 13. For the grace of God that bringeth falvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness, and worldly lufts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world : looking for