Page images
PDF
EPUB

refuted, that it is amazing, a protestant is CHAP.

VIII. found who again patronizes it. Let Calvin be heard at present, instead of all. Instit. Book iii. Chap. xi. Sect xiv. I have resolved, however, to dispute, not by his authority, but by his arguments. Sophisters, says he, who take pleasure and pastime in corrupting the scriptures, and in empty cavils, think to escape by subtility: for they expound works to be those which the irregenerate perform only literally, by the exertions of free will, without the grace of Christ : but they deny that this has a respect to spiritual works. Thus, according to them, a man is justified both by faith and works, provided the works are not his

own, but the gifts of Christ, and the fruits of regeneration. For that Paul spoke so, for no other reason, but to convince the Jews, trusting in their own strength, that they foolishly claimed righteousness to themselves, since the Spirit of Christ alone confers it on us, and not any exertion from nature's own motion. But they do not observe; that in the opposition between legal and evangelical righteousness, which Paul states elsewhere, all works are excluded, with whatever title they may be adorned. For he teaches, that the righteousness of the law is this, that the man may obtain salvation who performs what the law commands: but that the righteousness of faith is this, If we believe that Christ died, and rose again, Rom. X. 5 -9. Gal, iii. 11, 12. Hence it follows, that

VIII.

CHAP. even spiritual works comes not into the ac

count, when justifying virtue is ascribed unto faith. And when Paul denies that Abraham had whereof to glory before God, because he was not righteous by works, this ought not be restrained to the literal and external kind of virtues, or to the exertions of free will: but that although the patriarch's life was spiritual, yea, almost angelical, yet it could not supply the merit of works, which might procure him righteousness before God.” By these reasons, Calvin confutes, the cavil concerning the mere acts of free will, and solidly indeed, if judgment has not entirely forsaken me. Chrysostom uses the same arguments; whom the very learned man, (Dr. Cave,) I apprehend will gladly hear speak in his (Chrysostom’s) own language. Let him hear him therefore pleading thus, Homil. ii. in Epistle to the Romans: “ O 'AxoTTodos βουλεται δείξαι οτι και Αβρααμ εκ πισως εδικαιωθη, όπερ ην περιουσια νικης πολλης: το μεν γαρ εργα μη εχοντα εκ πιστεως δικαιωθήναι τινα συδέν απεικός, τον δε κομώντα εν κατι

κατορθώμαςι, μη, εντευθεν αλλ' αποτισεως γενεσθαι δικαιον, τουτο ην θαυμασον. The Apostle means to show that even Abraham was justified by faith: in which indeed there is the excellence of a mighty victory. For that a man who hath no works should be justified by faith, is no how unlikely: but that one adorned with good works, should be just, not by them, but by faith, that certainly is wonderful.” Do you see how carefully, how solicitously, he removes from justifica

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

tion, not only that righteousness, or these CHAP.
works, which are done before conversion, by VII.
the strength of free will; but all without ex-
ception, even these with which Abraham was
richly adorned beyond other men? But I have
been too tedious' in a matter so very plain;
and which ought to be uncontroverted among
all the orthodox.
VI. Neither is that true, which is other-

VI. Nor

these which wise pretended, viz. That the works of the are in perlaw, which are opposed to faith, signify the fedlion perfect observation of the law, which the legal covenant demands. For the state of the controversy was not, Whether a man could be justified by the perfect observation of the law; which none in his wits would ever deny: Neither was it, whether there are very many men who after the first sin of Adam, committed no sin during the whole period of their life, and finished every perfection of parts, degrees, and perseverance'; which none in his senses would say. But the question was this, Whether the Jews could be justified by that observation of the law which they could perform. That, they certainly thought, viz. That they could be justified, provided they observed the law of Moses to the utmost of their power,

and made these satisfactions for their offences, which the ceremonial law presçribed. But this the Apostle denies: resting on that axiom, that the righteousness which can be sustained before God's tribunal, must be absolutely perfect: but since no works of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

VDI.

of

VII.

CHAP. any men are such, he concludes, that no

works of whatever kind, can contribute any thing to the obtaining of justification. The Apostle, without doubt, excludes these works, upon which they commonly rested, who went about to establish their own righteousness. Now it is not credible, that there was any them who would say, that through the whole course of their life, they had kept themselves unstained even from every the least little spot of sin. These things are evident.

VII. That faith sometimes signifies the Faith, a hunuan a&. doctrine of the gospel concerning salvation to be

obtained through Christ, because it is a faith.
ful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, and
because it demands that it be believed, in or-
der to salvation, I do not at all doubt; and
thus it is opposed to the law of works, which
is satisfied not by believing, but by perfectly
fulfilling its commandments. But at the same
time, none will deny, that in the matter of
justification, faith very frequently, if not for
the most part, denotes some act of the man
who is justified, and as he is justified, Rom.
i, 17. iii. 22. iv. 3-5. Gal. ii. 16. and
innumerable other passages.

VIII. But what is that act? If we hear

Socinus, to believe in Christ, is nothing else than fine obedi- to show ourselves obedient to God, according to

the law and prescription of Christ, and in doing 'ments of that, to expect a crown of eternal life from Christ

himself. From which the brethren with whom.. we now dispute, depart but a little, if they

VIII. Which

some de

ence to the command

Christ.

[ocr errors]

VIII.

[ocr errors]

depart at all, who likewise define faith, a cer- CHAP.
tain new manner of mind, and life, and obedience
10 the commands of Christ.
IX. I would not deny indeed, that such !X. But

unjustly an obedience is inseparable from that faith, and contraby which we are justified: but to understand to Paul's it by the name of faith, when it is opposed to works, seems to me as foreign to Paul's purpose, as foreign can be. The brethren confess, that he disputes against those who sought justification by the works of the Mosaic laws. They confess likewise, that three kinds of precepts are found in these laws, some of which used to be called moral, others judicial, and others ceremonial. Now let us set aside for a little, the judicial and the ceremonial. What are the chief heads of the moral precepts? These, if I mistake not; that every one of the Israelites should turn to God with all his heart, should love and worship him with all his mind, and with the utmost efforts of all his power: should love his neighbour as himself, and be holy as the Lord God is holy. He who doeth these things, does the works of the Mosaic law, according to that part, at least, which is moral: which surely they by no mean's intended to omit, who sought righteousness by the law. For none of the Jews or judaizing Christians were senseless to such a degree, as to imagine that justification could be obtained merely by the observation of the judicial and ceremonial laws, while the moral were disregardede Let us

« EelmineJätka »