Page images

SERM. from having in any View the least Concern III. in this Matter of Justification. Those mo

ral Duties which we owe to God, our Neighbours, and ourselves, and the Gospel clearly enforces (let others look with never so unfavourable an Eye on them also as contrary to a justifying Faith) are doubtless its natural and fure Effects, and should be fo regarded by us. They as nece:Tarily flow from it, as the Rays of Light from the Sun ;---are its very Substance diffused abroad, and made to shine before Men: And whenever our Faith is barren of these Fruits, if kindly Seasons be granted for their Production, it is not That, which justifies. Here let us take our Stand, and not be driven from it by any Objections started on Account of the primitive Martyrs, who were many of them put to Death immediately after their being baptized, yet were certainly received to very high Degrees of Favour,---were at once justified and glorified, without behaving suitably to their holy Profession. But those Champions were not so inactive in the Cause of Christ, as is insinuated; they did i all, that could be done in their Circumstances. They cleared their Ground by Repentance from dead Works ---they laid their Foundation by witnessing a good Confession ---


they begun the Superstructure by the Sti- Serm. pulation of a good Conscience, and if they 11. did not go on to finish it by the Obedience of Faith in their future Practice, they performed what was more than equal, by facrificing their Lives in Testimony of the Truth. Besides, theirs, we should remember, is an extraordinary Case, and not rashly to be drawn into a Precedent by others, who enjoy sufficient Opportunities to have Faith both in its Root and Branches.

[ocr errors]

And to keep us stedfast in this Persuasion, we want not very cogent Reasons ---Proofs as convincing as those, on which we embrace Christianity itself; there being nothing more plainly revealed, than that a justifying Faith includes, and ought to be accompanied with, a copious Measure of moral Virtue ; otherwise it will not, generally speaking, conduct Men finally to Salvation. It is what we may fairly collect from these Words of our Lord himself; Not every one that faith unto me, Lord, Lord, sball enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but be, that doth the Will of my Father, which is in Heaven (s). And then he presently adds, Many will say to me in that Day,


(s) St. Matth. vii. 21,

Serm. (viz. in the great Day of Retribution) Lord, III. Lord, have we nòt prophefied in thy Name,

and in thy Name have cast out Devils, and in thy Name done many wonderful Works? And then I will profefs unto them, I never knew you : Depart from me ye, that work Iniquity (t). From which last Passage it is as easy to remark, as it is important, that .no Faith in Jesus Christ, not even a miraculous one, will fuffice to justify any, without great Uprightness of living, and that what will qualify a Man for some special Employment under God, will not qualify him, without something else, for Acceptance with him. It will not be enough to have prophesied or cast out Devils in Christ's Name, if our moral Character be not such as becometh his Gospel.

And many other Sayings are there of our Saviour's importing the Necessity of Obedience to perfect our Faith in order to Justification. As, Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the Things which I say? (u). To call Christ Jesus Lord, is to acknowledge, him for our Divine Master, to believe in him, and to expect Reconciliation by him: But this, he gives us to under


(t) St. Matth. vii, 22, 23.

(u) St. Luke vi. 46.

stand, we may look for in vain, if we SERM. obey not his Commandments And to con- II. found all such ill-grounded Hopes, he a little after declares, Whosoever cometh to me, and beareth my Sayings, and doth them not, is like a Man, that without a Foundation built his House upon the Sand, against which the Stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell, and the Ruine of it was great (x).

Nor do any of the Apostles, not even St. Paul himself, differ from their Lord and Master in this fundamental Point. As for St. Peter, he exhorts us (y) to adorn our Lives with the whole Circle of Christian Graces and Virtues, concluding, that if ye do these Things, ye mall never fall : But be, that lacketh these Things, is blind, and bath forgotten, that he was purged from his old Sins.

St. John also bids us be upon our Guard against those corrupt Teachers, who magnity Faith to the Exclusion of Holiness : Let no Man deceive you, says he ; He, that doth Righteousness, is righteous, even as he

righteous (Z).

[ocr errors][merged small]

(x) St. Luke vi. 49.
(x) i St. John iii. 7.

III. AND St. James it is well known, gives

not the least Countenance to the Error
of these Men. For, as he rightly 'argues,
What doth it profit, my. Brethren, though a
Man fay he hath Faith, and have not
Works ? Can Faith save him ? If a Brother
or Sister be naked, and destitute of daily Food.

And one of you say unto thein, Depart in · Peace, be you warmed and filled : Notwithstanding ye give them not those Things, which are needful for the Body, what doth it profit ? Even so Faith, if it hath not Works, is dead, being alone (a). This his Doctrine he goes on to illustrate by the Examples of · Abraham and Rahab (b). And it is remarkable, that St. Paul urges the Patriarch, as an Instance to prove Justification by Faith alone without Works : Abraham, says he, believed God, and it was accounted to him for Righteousness (c).

Now as these Apostles of our Lord are allowed by every one, who is convinced or the Divine Authority of the Scriptures, to have both written their Epistles by the Guidance and Inspiration of the Holy Ghost, all such must acknowledge, that though there

be (a) St. James ii. 14. 15, 16, 17. (6) V. 21, 25, (c) Gal. ü. 6.

« EelmineJätka »