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sacrifices *, &c. but that he meant to include the moral works, both of the law of Moses, and of the law of nature, is evident from his reckoning “ all under sin, both Jews and Greeks," for their gross violations of moral and religious duties ;“ not having the fear of God before their eyes;” that “every mouth might be stopped” [from boasting,] “ and all the world be made liable to punishment from God,” Rom. iii. 9—19. Compare Ephes. ii. 3.
And the tenor of his argument necessarily includes evangelical works also; “ for, if justification could come even of such, without taking in faith in the meritorious sufferings and satisfaction of a MEDIATOR, then might we have whereof to boast, or to glory, (Eph. ii. 9; Rom. iv. 2.) And then it might be justly said, that CHRIST died in vain,” (Gal. ii. 21.)
And this judicious exposition of Waterland, p. 44, is firmed by the high authority of Clemens Romanus, the intimate friend of the Apostle Paul, (Phil. iv. 3,) one of the most eminent of the “saints at Rome,” to whom this Epistle was addressed, (Rom. i. 17,) in the following passage, which he cites in the original.
“ The ancient Patriarchs, [Abraham, &c.] were all, therefore, greatly glorified and magnified; not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they themselves wrought, but through HIS good pleasure.
And we [Christians] also, being called, through his good pleasure in CHRIST JESUS, are not justified by ourselves, neither by our own wisdom, or knowledge, or piety, or the works which we have done in holiness of heart, but by that faith by which THE ALMIGHTY God justified all, from the beginning of the world.” Epist. I. c. 32.
The profound Hooker gives a similar explanation of the doctrine, in his Discourse on Justification by Faith.
“ God doth justify the believing man, yet not for the worthiness of his belief, but for the worthiness of Him which is believed; God rewardeth abundantly every one which worketh, yet not for any meritorious dignity which is, or can be in the work, but through His mercy, by whose commandment he worketh.”—“ The best things which we can do, have some
See Bishop Bull's Harmonia Apostolica, or its abridgment in Wells' New Testament, preface to the Epistles.
thing in them to be pardoned. How then can we do any thing meritorious, or worthy to be rewarded ? Indeed, God doth liberally promise whatsoever appertaineth to a blessed life, to as many as sincerely keep His law, though they be not exactly able to keep it. Wherefore, we acknowledge a dutiful necessity of doing well, but the meritorious dignity of doing well, we utterly renounce.”-“ Our doctrine, in truth, is no other than we have learned at the feet of CHRIST,” p. 21, 34. And we may add, it is also the doctrine of our Articles, XI. XIII.
The shortest, plainest, and fullest account, perhaps any where to be found, of this abstruse but most important doctrine, is furnished by the pious and learned Bishop Hopkins *, in the following passages.
“ Justification is a gracious act of God, whereby, through the righteousness of Christ's satisfaction imputed, He freely remits to the believing sinner, the guilt and punishment of his sins : and, [moreover,] through the righteousness of CHRIST'S perfect obedience, imputed, He accounts him righteous, and accepts him into love and favour, and unto eternal life.”
“This is justification, which is the very sum and faith of the whole GOSPEL, and the only end of the COVENANT OF GRACE.” For wherefore was there such a covenant made with us, through CHRIST, but as St. Paul tells us, Acts xiii. 39, “ that by Him, all that beliere might be justified from all things, which they could not be justified from by the law of Moses." —And he proves that justification is equivalent to salration, by the following syllogism.
If the righteousness of Christ be made thine, thou shalt be sared ; If thou believest, the righteousness of Christ shall be made thine; therefore, If thou believest, (from first to last,) thou shalt be saved.—“ When, therefore, a sinner, being on one hand thoroughly convinced of his sins, of the wrath of God due to him for them, (Rom. ii. 8, 9,) of his utter inability either to escape, or bear this wrath, (Rom. vii. 24,) and on the other hand, being likewise convinced of the sufficiency, willingness, and designation of Christ to satisfy justice, and to reconcile and sare sinners, (Rom. vii. 25,) doth hereby yield a firm assent unto these truths revealed in THE SCRIPTURES; and doth also accept and receire Jesus CHRIST in all his offices, as his PRO
See a new edition of liis works, lately published, Vol. II. p. 382—386.
PHET, resolving to attend to his teaching, as his LORD and KING, resolving to obey his commands, and as his PRIEST, resolving to rely upon his sacrifice alone, and doth accordingly submit to him, and confide in Him sincerely and perseveringly; this is that faith which doth justify, and will certainly save all those in whom it is wrought.”
This is indeed a plain, rational, and Scriptural account of a doctrine which is the comer-stone of CHRISTIANITY, and the foundation of the REFORMATION.
II. The strong and emphatic expressions of SCRIPTURE, and of the primitive Fathers, stating the utter inability of works to justify us, as a meritorious cause; that “whatsoever is not from faith, is sin,” Rom. xiv. 23, which our Article XIII. understands of works before justification ; and the slanderous misrepresentation of the Apostle's doctrine, as if he affirmed that GoD permitted the Gentiles “ to do evil, that good may come,” or that his “grace may abound to sinners,” which he deprecates, “ God forbid !” Rom. iii. 8, vi. 1, gave rise, even in the Apostle's days, to the opposite error of an affected humility, resolving the whole business of justification into “faith alone, not only without works,” but even exclusive of works; for “ that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," not only not acceptable, but even offensive to God; and equally unnecessary and insufficient to cover our nakedness in his sight, before whom “ no man living shall be justified” by his own righteousness, Psalm cxliii. 2.
Hence “sprung up" early in the Church, "the tares,” the licentious and immoral sects of the Solifidians and Antinomians, as they were called, from “resting solely in faith,” and “reprobating the law of works;" and the Libertines, who were guilty of the most scandalous excesses, “ abusing their gospel liberty as a cloak of licentiousness *,” “through the ignorance of senseless men,” enthusiasts and fanatics, 1 Pet. ii. 15, 16.
It is also remarkable that the same mischievous sect sprouted up again at the revival of pure Christianity, at the auspicious era of the REFORMATION, as will be shewn hereafter. The same mischievous errors are still to be found among the schismatical sects that disgrace our land of liberty.
Hence it became expedient, both for correction of reigning
* Libertati præsidia quærentes, non licentia , ad impugnandum alios. Livii III. 53.
errors, and anticipation of future, to state in HOLY WRIT the sacred and indissoluble union of faith and works as jointly necessary to salvation.
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH AND WORKS.
1. OUR LORD declares, “ By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned,” Matt. xii. 37; words intimating the thoughts and intentions of the heart, and forming no inconsiderable branch of actions, Matt. xv. 19, whence “ words” and “ things" were considered as synonymous in the Hebrew language, and are both expressed by the word dabar. And that OUR LORD meant both is evident from the following: “Why call ye me LORD, LORD, [expressive of your faith,) and do not the things that I say?” Luke vi. 46. “Many shall say to me in that day (of judgment,] LORD, LORD, hare we not prophesied in thy name? and expelled demons in thy name? and done many mighty works in thy name? Then will I profess to them, I never knew you, (or acknowledged you as my disciples,] depart from me all ye that work iniquity,” Matt. vii. 21-23. This is an awful and awakening declaration, intimating the insufficiency of the highest degrees of faith, even the miraculous, without good works, to procure salvation.
In like manner Paul declares, and evidently in allusion thereto, “ Though I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains figuratively, or work the greatest miracles, (Matt. xi. 23,) and have not charity, I am nothing," or of no value in the sight of God, 1 Cor. xiii. 2.
“ This is a faithful saying, and I desire thee firmly to maintain (diapapaiovolal,) that they who have believed in God be careful to practise yood works,” Tit. iii. 8.
This illustrious Apostle seems to have been aware of the false construction that had been or might be put upon his earlier epistles, especially to the Romans and Galatians, which were rather of a controversial nature, designed to remove the leaven of Judaism, that principally prevailed in those “high minded” Churches, (Rom. xi. 20, Gal. iii. 1.) Hence he so strongly insists on the indispensable necessity of good works to salvation. “ Follow holiness, without which no man shall see THE LORD,” Heb. xii. 14; “ Being freed from the punishment and dominion of] sin, and made servants to God, (by faith) ye hare your
fruit in holiness, and the end everlasting life," Rom. vi. 22. Here the first requisite for the final attainment of salvation, or ererlasting life, is the righteousness of justification; the second, the righteousness of sanctification, as critically remarked by Hooker, p. 20.
And to guard the faithful from these dangerous errors of the Solifidians and Antinomians, seems to have been a leading design of the practical epistles of Peter and James, of whom the former may refer to his doctrine of justification, among the things hard to be understood in Paul's Epistles, 2 Pet. iii. 16, and the latter expressly combats its abuse, James ii. 24.
3. Peter thus enumerates the good works that are the necessary appendages of faith.
Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue or morality, or probity of manners, (Phil. iv. 8; 1 Cor. xv. 33,) and to virtue knowledge or discretion (Col. iv. 5; Matt. x. 16,) and to knowledge temperance, or moderation in prosperity, (Gal. v. 23,) and to temperance patience in tribulation, or resignation in adversity, (Rom. xii. 12, v. 3,) and to patience godliness, or piety toward God, (Acts iii. 12; Tit. ii. 12,) and to godliness brotherly love toward fellow Christians, (John xii. 35; Rom. xii. 10,) and to brotherly love charity toward all mankind, for God and CHRIST's sake, which is the end or completion of the law, and the bond of perfectness, (1 Tim. i.5; Rom. xiii. 10; Col. iii. 14;) 2 Pet. i. 5—7.
It is the just and ingenious remark of Paley, in his Moral Philosophy, (Art. Virtue,) that the Apostle here enumerates the virtues collectively, the practice of all being necessary to salvation; but that vices are enumerated disjunctively, as separately and severally excluding the habitual sinner from heaven.
“ Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God," 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.
4. James also teaches the same doctrine. He carefully distinguishes mere speculative or dead faith from operative and lively. The former even “ the demons profess,” for “ they beliere and tremble ;” and he considers good works as the proper evidence of faith; “shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works,” and insists on the necessity of complete and perfect obedience. " Whosoever shall VOL. III.