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one of them should include any portion of the other: but so distinct they are not. I prove it thus: Does not hope imply desire? Mr. M'Lean granted it did. And does not desire include love? He acknowledged it did, and said that "hope was a modification of love." Then, I replied, your objection is answered.
4. Mr. M'Lean pleads for the term 'faith' being taken in its ordinary acceptation, alleging that it has no definition or description which it would have had, if it were to be understood in a new sense. To this I answer-(1) Is not the term 'justify' used in scripture in a sense different from what it is used in courts of judicature? There it is opposed to pardon, here it includes it. Yet there is no definition or description given of this term in the scriptures. (2) Why does not Mr. M'Lean reason the same concerning the term 'heart?' Here he pleads for a new sense, as if it were put merely for the understanding, and yet there is no definition or description given of this, any more than of the other.-(3) It appears to me that the ordinary meaning of the term faith, on certain subjects, includes an exercise of the heart, much the same as knowledge does. Mr. M'Lean speaks of believing or perceiving the loveliness of divine things. Can he distinguish this from loving them? If he can, I cannot. It is somewhat like the rays of the sun, in which light and heat are united.
5. God is said to justify the ungodly.' Of this, Mr. Booth, in his late publication, has laboured to make something. Mr. M'Lean seems also to rest pretty much upon it. I understand this passage as describing the state of the person, in himself considered; or that God does not justify; with an eye to any goodness in him, but on account of the righteousness of his Son. And how can you or any person, unless he hold the doctrine of eternal justification, understand it otherwise? You consider no one as justified until he believes: yet when he has believed he is not in an ungodly state, but the re
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH OPPOSED TO WORKS.
Extracts of a letter to the Editor, in 1801.
I THINK that Mr. M'Lean is in general a very good reasoner, but in his remarks on my Appendix to the Gospel worthy of all Acceptation, he does not appear to understand the subject. He would persuade his readers (which he would not do, were he not persuaded himself) that my views lead to justification by works; and this because I maintain faith, by which we are justified, to be a holy exercise. But I do not maintain that we are justified, in whole or in part, on account of the holiness of faith; but in respect of the righteousness of Christ only; or in other words, that God's pardoning and receiving us to favour is in reward, not of faith, or any holiness it contains, but of his Son's obedience unto death. This avowal, one should think, ought to free me from all suspicion of ascribing justification to works, in whole or in part, as it is impossible that any position can go farther towards renouncing that doctrine.
It is alleged however, that I ascribe justification to that which is holy, though not on account of its holiness. Be it so Mr. M'Lean acknowledges that I have fully proved faith to be a duty. He must then ascribe justification to that which is a duty, though not on account of our exercising it as a duty: and wherein this differs from what I have advanced, is beyond my capacity to comprehend.
Mr. M'Lean says much on the opposition of faith and works in the scriptures, and substitutes my idea of faith for faith itself, in order to expose its absurdity. But his reasoning proceeds on the supposition, that those things which are opposite must need be so in all respects. It is
true, he does not say thus much. On the contrary, he says, "When two things are contrasted, or set in opposition to one another in the sacred writings, they are always either wholly, or in some leading respect, essentially different in their natures." Very well: and what I have written supposes faith and works to be essentially dif ferent, as mediums of obtaining life. The one receives justification as a reward, the other as a free gift to the unworthy, wholly out of regard to the righteousness of another; and this is that "leading respect,", in which they stand opposed in the scriptures. But his reasoning proceeds on the supposition, that they must be different in all respects: for if in any respect they may be alike, why may it not be in their holy nature?
Aaron and Melchisedec are opposed in scripture, as much as faith and works; but it does not follow that they were not both of them men. As a priest, the latter was 'without father, and without mother;' but as a man, he and Aaron were born alike, and as all other men are. We might as well allege, from the opposition in this case, that Melchisedec could not be a man, as from that in the other, that faith cannot be of a holy nature; and it were as easy in the former instance as in the latter, by substituting the idea of humanity instead of Melchisedec, to render it an apparent absurdity. For example: Thou art a priest for ever after the order of'-one that was born of a woman, like other men-' without father, without mother, without descent,' born of a woman like other men! 'Now consider how great this man was '-born of
a woman like other men !
Mr. M'Lean's reasoning goes to overthrow the duty, as well as the holiness of faith; and well indeed it may, since they are in substance the same thing. The adversaries of that truth allege that faith cannot be a duty, because it stands opposed to the works of the law. The latter, say they, are allowed on all hands to be duties; and if the former be the same, where is the opposition? Such is their reasoning, and such is that of Mr. McLean.
They might also substitute the idea of faith being a duty, for faith itself, and thereby hold it up to ridicule. For example: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by '-that which is a duty! And that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for the just shall live by '-that which is a duty! That I may be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through a duty! It was no difficult task to dress up our Saviour himself in a ludicrous habit, and then expose him to derision.
I had said, "though faith be a work (for so it is expressly called in John vi. 29) yet it does not justify as a work." But says Mr. M'Lean, "How can it justify as any thing than what it really is?" Is it then nothing but a work? It might be asked also with equal propriety, If faith be a duty, how can it justify any otherwise than as a duty? For how can it justify as any other thing than what it really is?
In short, while Mr. M'Lean allows faith to be a duty, he will never be able to prove that it is not a holy exercise of the heart; and all his attempts to show the inconsistency of free justification with the one, will be equally applicable to the other.
From the days of Glass and Sandeman to the present times, much has been said in favour of "simple belief; and it is alleged, that if any holy exercise of heart were included in it, there ought to have been an "explanation of the term." But why do they not also descant on simple unbelief; and allege, that if any unholy exercise of heart were included in it, there ought to have been an explanation of the term? While they allow unbelief to include an unholy exercise of the heart, and deny faith to include a holy one, an explanation of terms is much more necessary on their side, than on that which they oppose.
FAITH NOT A MERE INTELLECTUAL EXERCISE.
In Reply to some Remarks by Dr. Stuart of Edinburgh, 1803.
THE candour and ingenuity of your correspondent induce me, though the subject seemed to be concluded, to offer a brief reply. And if I understand his FIRST QUESTION, it amounts to this :-" Whether faith includes any thing more than an exercise of pure intellect or not, yet it will be allowed to include something intellectual; and is not that a duty? Surely faith in all its parts is the duty of every one."
I answer: The exercise of the intellectual faculty may be necessary to a holy exercise, and yet make no part of the holiness of it. We cannot perform any spiritual act, without the powers of humanity; but it is not as human that they are spiritual, or contain obedience to God. If, as the scriptures teach, love be the fulfilling of the law, and all the law be fulfilled in one word, love;' all the various acts, whether corporeal or mental, which are the subject of commandment, can be no other than the diversified expressions of love. So much of love as there is in them, so much of obedience, and no more. Take away love from fear, whether of God or our parents, and you reduce it to a mere dread of displeasure as a natural evil, which has nothing holy in it; but may exist in all its force even in devils. Take away love from the exercise of charity, and it ceases to be obedience to God, or benevolence to man.
Even those exercises which have their more immediate seat in the intellectual faculty, as knowing and judging, have just so much of holiness or unholiness, and are just so much of the nature of obedience or disobedience, as they contain in them of love or aversion.. Knowledge is