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CCIX.

SERM. To which I answer, that St. Paul, when he does fo vehemently and frequently affert " justification by the "free grace of GOD," and "by faith, without the "works of the law," does not thereby exclude the neceffity of works of righteoufnefs and obedience to the moral precepts of the gofpel, as the condition of our continuance in the favour of God, and of our final and perfect juftification and abfolution by the fentence of the great day; but on the contrary, does every where declare the neceffity of a holy and virtuous life to this purpose. And this is moft plainly the tenor and current of his doctrine throughout all his epiftles. But whenever he contends that we" are juftified by faith without works," he denies one of these three things.

1. That the observation of the law of Mofes is ne ceffary to our juftification and falvation. And this he does in oppofition to those who troubled the christian church, by teaching, that it was ftill neceffary to Christians to keep the law of Mofes; and that unlefs they did fo, they could not be faved; of which we have a full account given, Acts xv. And this for the most part is the meaning of that affertion, fo frequent in his epiftles to the Romans, and the Gala tians, that "we are not juftified by the works of the "law, but by the faith of CHRIST." And this is very evident from the tenor of his reasoning about this matter, in which he does fofrequently urge this argument, and infift fo ftrongly upon it, viz. That men were juftified before the law of Mofes was given, for which he inftances in Abraham, and therefore the obfervance of that law cannot be neceffary to a man's juftification and falvation.

2. Sometimes he, in his difcourfe upon this argument, denies the merit of any works of obediencé

and

and righteousness to gain the favour and acceptance
of GOD; fo that we cannot challenge any thing of,
GOD as "of debt," and as "a ground of boafting," but
we owe all to the free grace and mercy of GoD; and
when we have done our beft, have done but our du-
ty. And this he likewife frequently insists upon in
his epistle to the Romans, in opposition to an arro-
gant opinion, common among the Jews, of the me-
rit of good works, and that God was indebted to
them for their obedience. In this fenfe he fays, Rom.
iv. 4.
"Now to him that worketh is the reward
"reckoned, not of grace but of debt;” that is, he
that claims juftification, and the reward of eternal
life, as due to him for his obedience, does not afcribe
it to the free grace of Gop, but challengeth it as a
debt due to him.

SERM.

3. Sometimes he denies the neceffity of any works of righteousness, antecedently to our first juftification, and being received into a state of grace and favour with God; and afferts on the contrary, that by the faith of CHRIST, and fincerely embracing the christian religion, men are juftified, and though they were never fo great finners before, all their past fins are forgiven, and GOD is perfectly reconciled to them; in which fenfe he says, Chap. iv. 5. "That "GOD juftifies the ungodly upon their believing." So that whatever fins they were guilty of before, and though they never did any one good action in their lives, yet if they fincerely embrace the chriftian religion, and thereby engage themfelves to reform their lives, and to obey the precepts of the gospel for the future, GOD will thereupon receive them into his favour, and pardon the fins of their former lives. And in this epistle to Titus, ch. iii. 5, 7. immediately before the text, "Not by works of righteousness which

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CCIX.

SER M." we have done, but according to his mercy he faved: CCIX. "us, by the washing of regeneration, and by the re"newing of the holy Ghoft: that being juftified by "his grace,we fhould be made heirs according to the "hopes of eternal life;" that is, though their former life had been very bad, (as he defcribes it before, ver. 3. "for we our felves were fometimes foolish, difo"bedient, ferving divers lufts and pleasures, living in "malice, and envy, and hatred of one another)" Ifay, notwithstanding this, though they had done no works of righteoufnefs, but the contrary, yet upon their folemn profeffion of chriftianity at their baptifm, and declaration of their repentance, and engagements to live better, they were "juftified freely by GoD's "grace" and "faved by his mercy." But then he' does not fay, that after this folemn profeffion of chriftianity works of righteousness were not neceffary to continue them in this state of grace and favour with GOD, but quite contrary, he plainly declares the neceffity of them in the very next words; "this is "a faithful faying, &c."

And the confideration of this will fully reconcile the feeming difference between St. Paul and St. James, in this matter of juftification. St. Paul affirms that a finner is at firft juftified, and received into the favour of God, by a fincere profeffion of the christian faith, without any works of righteoufnefs preceding. St. James affirms, that no man continues in a juftified ftate, and in favour with God, whofe faith doth not bring forth good works, and that it is not a true and lively faith which doth not approve and fhew itself to be fo, by the works of obedience and a good life, James ii. 14. "What doth it profit a man, my brethren, if a man fay that he hath faith, "and hath not works; can faith fave him?" And

66

ver. 17.

CCIX.

"Faith if it have not works is dead, being SER M. " alone." And ver. 20. he repeats it again, "know, "O vain man, that faith without works is dead." And ver. 22. fpeaking of Abraham, "Seeft 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, so faith with"out works is dead alfo.". The fum and refult of all which is this, that though we be juftified 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 justify no man; and he that hath only fuch a faith, does but make an empty and ineffectual profeffion, but is really deftitute of the true faith of the gofpel.

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 "perfuafion of the truths of natural and revealed re"ligion, but fuch a belief as begets a fubmiffion to "the will of GoD, and hath hope, love, and obe"dience to Go D's commandments joined to it.

That this is the faith which in baptifm is profef"fed, from which Chriftians are called the faithful; "and that in thofe fcriptures, where it is faid, we "are justified by faith, we may not think that we "be juftified by faith, as it is a feparate virtue from "hope and charity, the fear of God and repentance, "but by it is meant faith, neither only nor alone, " but with the forefaid virtues, containing an engagement of obedience to the whole doctrine and religion of CHRIST. And that although all that

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CCIX.

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SERM. are justified, must of neceffity have charity, as "well as faith, yet neither faith nor charity are the "worthiness and merit of our juftification, but that " is to be afcribed only to our SAVIOUR CHRIST, "who was offered upon the crofs for our fins, and "rofe again for our juftification;" as may be seen more at large in a treatise published at the beginning of our reformation, upon this and fome other points.And I do not fee what can be faid upon this point with more clearness and weight.

All the application I shall make of this discourse, fhall be briefly this; that if we be convinced of the neceffity of the virtues of a good life to all that profess themselves Chriftians, we would seriously and in good earnest set about the practice of them: If " this "be a faithful faying," then I am fure it greatly concerns us to be careful of our lives and actions, and that " our conversation be as becometh the gospel of CHRIST," because if this be true, there is no poffible 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 fcripture is pofitive and peremptory, that "every man that hath this hope in him, muft "purify himself, even as he is pure:" that " with"out holiness no man fhall fee the LORD: but if "we have our fruit unto holiness, our end fhall be "everlasting life."

And here I might particularly recommend to your careful practice, the great virtues of christianity; thofe which St. Paul tells us are the proper and genuine fruits of the fpirit of CHRIST, "love, joy, peace,

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long-fuffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meek"ness, temperance." But I have not time to insist particularly upon them. I shall content myself briefly to mention thofe duties, which the apostle in this

epiftle

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