« EelmineJätka »
be a seeming, there can be no real Repug- SERM. nancy between them. Divers Methods have III. been pursued, to reconcile the apparent Difm . agreement of the two Apostles: These are not unknown to the learned, and need not be known to the unlearned Christian. I shall therefore pass over in Silence every Solution, but what the Course of my Argument leads me to adopt, and which seems the most probable, viz. That St. Paul writing to the Jews and Judaizing Christians, insisted on Justification by Faith alone in Opposition to the legal Rites; and that St. Fames writing to such as had fadly perverted the Words of his Brother Paul to the Encouragement of Debauchery, declared they must not expect to be justified by an empty Belief, but by such a one, as manifested its vital Force - in the Produce of Piety, Charity, and Purity: And being so understood, as they well may; there is no Contradiction in Sentiment between them, boch speaking and designing the same Thing, though addressing themselves to different Persons and on different Occasions, they express their Reasonings in different Terms..
The Works which St. Paul excludes from any Concern in this weighty Affair, are diI 2
SERM. rectly the Works of the Jewish Law and III. ceremonial Ordinances, consequentially the
Works of absolute Perfection and of strict Merit ; none of which St. James requires : And the Gospel-Services, which the latter enjoins, as necessary, the former does by no means represent, as injurious or useless. It is doing the great Apostle of the Gentiles foul Injustice to suppose this, he having guarded most strongly against the Reflection in several of his Epistles. .
He delivers his Thoughts on this fundamental Article to the Gelatians thus: In Christ Jesus neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor Uncircumcifion, but a New Creature (d). And to the Corinthians, Circumcision is nothing, and Uncircumcision is nothing ; but the keeping the Commandments of God (e). And again, he teaches the Romans the Necefsity, and exhorts them to the conscientious Observance, of all Virtues, in the following weighty Passage, Let not Sin reign in your mortal Bodies, that ye mould obey it in the Lufts thereof; neither yield ye your Members, as Instruments of Unrighteousness
unto Sin: But yield your selvs unto God, as · those that are alive from the dead, and
(d) Gallat. vi. 15.
(e) 1 Cor. vii, 19.
your Members as Instruments of Righteousness Serm. unto God (f).
And what may be further look'd upon to be an unanswerable Argument in St. Paul's Favour, is, That Abrábam, in whom he instanced in his Epistle to the Galatians, as a Person justified by Faith, is in his Epistle to the Hebrews proposed for an Example of Obedience. By Faith, says the Apostle, Abraham, when he was called to go out into a Place, which he should afterwards receive for an Inheritance, obeyed; and be went out, not knowing whither he went (8).
So that upon the whole, we have very small Room to think, that St. Paul designed to extoll an Affent to the Doctrines of Revelation at the Expence of its Duties; any more than St James aimed at crying up Moral Virtue to the Prejudice of an Orthodox Confeffion. Our Apostle is so far from it, that he makes little Account of Faith itself separate from good Works: For, says se to the Corinthians (6), Though I have all Faith, so that I could remove Mountains, Beve no Charity, I am nothing. And, I 3
(f Rom. vi. 12, 13. (b) i Cor. xiii, 2.
(8) Heb. xi. 8.
Serm. indeed, altogether worthlefs is an historical III. and speculative,---a dead and unactive Be
lief of revealed Religion,---a Profession which is not ornamented with a consonant Practice, or which implies not an habitual Difposition to exercise every Kind and Degree of true Goodness, whenever it is thrown in our Way.
And now, if the Case be, as has been before represented, how wretched is the State of many, who stile themselves the Disciples of Christ,---who are forward to own the Truths of the Gospel, but as prone to deny the Power of it in their Lives, -----who are Christians in Name and Heathens in Man: ners? Their confident Assurance, they know not why, that they are at present, and shall be finally justified, must miserably deceive them ; and such nominal Believers, who depend on Salvation, will doubtless find their Hopes void of all solid Grounds.
We are to be thoroughly perfuaded, that, though we cannot be saved by our Virtue, yet we cannot be saved without it, --that it is not enough to have Faith in God, unless this indipensable Subjection of the Understanding causes us to pay him all
dutiful dutiful Submission of the Will, ---that it is SERM, not enough to acknowledge Christ Jesus to III. be the Saviour of the World, the only be no gotten Son of God and one in Essence with the Father, unless we diligently keep his Commandments, and tread, as exactly as our Infirmities will permit, in the blessed Steps of his most holy Life, ---that it is not enough to believe in the Holy Ghost, as the Third Person of the adorable' Trinity, the Assister and Sanctifier of the Faithful, if we resist his Operation on our Hearts, and turn his Grace into Wantonness.
To maintain undue and presumptuous Reliances on the Merits and Intercession of our Redeemer to the Contempt of sound Morality, is as bad, or rather a worse Cor-.. ruption of Christianity, than to plead for the Meritoriousness of our own imperfect Works. For whilst this Notion makes the Christian Scheme useless, that renders it pernicious; whilst the one supposes it need. less, that it should subsist as a Rule of Astion, the other proves, that it ought not.
But we, I trust, have not so learned Christ, who declare it to be an indisputable Article of our Religion, That in the great
14 . Day