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SER Memanded them to go rather to those, and not III. into the Way of the Gentiles, nor into any
City of the Samaritans to enter. (b),-.-and himself exercised his Ministry, except in one or two Instances, among his Brethren according to the Flesh,-----neither discovered plainly, that it was his Intention to put an End to the Mofaical Dispensation ; it is nothing strange, that his Apostles should confine their Preaching to their own Nation, and not be cured of their Prejudices in its Favour, but by immediate Revelation.
This was made known at first to St. Peter in the Vision of the great Sbeet (c), full of all sorts of animal Food, both clean and unclean, according to the Law, with an Order from Heaven to kill and make Use of it. And though the Explication instantly followed in his being invited by Cornelius, a devout Heathen, to come to his House, and commanded by God to accompany his Messengers ; yet it was some Time e'er the Disciples at large were convinced, that the Gentile Converts were not bound to observe the Law of Mofes, and longer, before it was generally believed, that the Jewish were
released (6) St. Matth. x. 5, 6, 7. (c) Acts x.
released from it, ---that the roke, which nei- Serm. ther 'they, nor their Fathers were able to III. bear (d), was broken from off their Necks, and that the Law, being fulfilled, was abrogated in Christ.
It was on this Subject, that the first Controversy arose in the Christian Church ; which was decided only by the immediate Revelation of the Holy Ghost. But one Grievance removed, another foon started up, and from this Good no small Evil ensued : For many, either through a mistaken or a carnal Mind, not making a Difference between the Law of Righteousness and the Law of Ordinances,---between Moral Rules and Political Statutes, since they were forbid to retain the Whole of their old Religion, were disposed to reject it altogether. Hence there sprung up among the Believers as great a Mischief as the former, and Licentiousness succeeded in the Room of Superstition.
Against both these Errors, viz. That the Ceremonial Law reinained in full Force, as alserted by some, and that the Moral Law was become repealed, as pleaded by others, our Apostle made a noble Stand. The one he restrained by giving repeated Directions to
Serm. all the Disciples, now set free from Ritual III. 'Observances, not to use their Christian Li
berty for an Occasion to the Fleso (d), or as a Cloak of Maliciousness (e), the other, he wrote some Epistles, expressly to set aside, and even reproved St. Peter for countenancing it by his Practice. The Substance of this Debate he here gives the Gallations ; and as well to recover those, who had been carried away with the Dissimulation of some false Brethren, as to confirm those, who continued in the Truth of the Gospel, he explains and establishes the great Doctrine of Justification by Faith, which yet has never been free from Opposition in some Shape or other, there having been always misbelieving or ill-living, if not Judaizing, Christians. And however clearly stated and strongly settled, our Apostle left it; still the Unlearned and Unstable have often wrested his written Sentiments on the Point, as they have done also the other Scriptures to their own Destru£tion (f). For some, from St. Paul's laying it down as a first Principle, that Man is 110€ justified by the Works of the Law, but by the Faith of Jesus Christ, have drawn an unauthorized Conclusion, as if a
(d) Gaiat. v. 13.
2 St. Pet. ii. 16.
c) i St. Pet. ii. 16.
naked folitary Belief, or a bare Affent to the SERM. Truths of Christianity was sufficient to re- III. commend them to the Divine Mercy in Christ.
But that these Men are, and will one Day find themselves to be, wretchedly deceived, may poslibly appear from the present Discourse.
WHEREIN shall be considered---What both Faith and Juftification mean,---how the One is produced by the Other ---and what those Works are, which are contrary to a justifying Faith, as well as what are included in; and are perfe&tive of it.
Now Faith is a Term, which, as it frequently occurs in Holy Scripture, has there various Significations given unto it. This it has been common, because it is obvious to observe ; though few have understood the Word in all its Variety of Senses, and some have unluckily applied every Meaning to it, but the highest and most important.----Let us see then, if we can acquit ourfelves better,
In several Places of sacred Writ Faith i tands' for Fidelity or Faithfulness: Thus the Question of St. Paul to the Romans () What if fome did not believe, all their Unbelief make the Faith of God without Effeet ? Must be interpreted after the following Manner ; Shall their Infidelity make void the Faithfulness of God, so as that he shall not perform his Promises to Abraham and his Pofterity! And so likewise should it be understood in that threatning Expreslion of our Saviour to the leading Men among the Jews (b), Wo unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, ye have omitted the weightier Matters of the Law, Judgement, Mercy, and Faith, i. e. Faithfulness in Contracts and Promises, and in civil Intercourses between Man and Man.----In other Places, Faith signifies the external Profession of the Christian Religion; as when St. Paul exhorts the Corinthians (i) to stand fast in the Faith, or to persevere in an open Adherence to that Gospel, which they had embraced. ---It likewise signifies, in those Passages particularly where Christ bids the Apostles have Faith in God (k), and St. Peter tells the Jews,
the (g) Rom. iii. 3. (b) St. Matth. xxiii. 23. (i) 1 Cor. xri. 13. (A) St. Mark xi. 2...