« EelmineJätka »
CHAP. go on. What is the sum of Christ's commandments in the gospel? That every one seriously repent, love God above all things, do to his neighbour what he wishes done to himself, be holy according to his example who hath called him, and in fine, be perfect as his heavenly Father is perfect. How much do these differ from the Mosaic precepts? They are so far from differing in any instance, that the Lord comprehended the sum of evangelical morals in the same words which Moses used.
X. I would wish to be informed of three things here, by the very learned men. 1.Wherein the commands of Christ exceed the commands of the moral law of Moses. For it seems to me, that nothing sublimer, and more Divine, can be commanded, than to love God with all the heart and mind, and to be holy after his example. 2. Why the same obedience, or the performance of the same duties, is called a work, in reference to the commandments of the Mosaic law; but faith, in relation to the commandments of the gospel. 3. Why the Israelites could not be justified of old, by the same duties performed to the Mosaic law, by which Christians are now justified, if they be performed according to the evangelical law.
XI. Or if Paul meant that the Israelites of old were also justified by their sincere observation of the moral law, why did he not finish the matter by one distinction, and that very easy; by hinting that righteousness is
not of the ceremonial or judicial law, but of CHAP. the moral only; especially if it be so considered as Christ hath illustrated it in the gospel? Why did he not add, that by a new word, and hitherto unheard of, in that sense, he called the observation of that law faith? Could he not have said much more clearly and distinctly, righteousness is not in that part of the law which you erroneously urge, but in that other part which treats of charity and sanctity, according to the image of God, and which Christ in the gospel illustrated in the clearest manner, by new explications, and which I now commend to you under the name of faith?
Faith is a
XII. Further, not only in the article of jus- XII. tification, but also often elsewhere, the scrip- singular ture speaks of faith as a certain singular vir- virtue. tue, distinct from other virtues, and from o-" bedience to the commands of Christ, or evangelical holiness. Paul says, that faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the demonstration of those which are not seen. Heb. ii. 1. John places it in receiving the testimony of God which he hath testified concerning his own Son, 1 John v. 9. John iii. 33. or in receiving Christ himself, viz. for this purpose, that he may be our Saviour, John' i. 12. Elsewhere it is distinguished from hope and charity, 1 Cor. xiii. 18.1 Thess. i. 3. 2 Thess. i. 3. as also from sanctification, 2 Thess. ii. 13. Neither do I remember any
of faith is.
CHAP. place where faith is defined by holiness, exacted according to the rule of the gospel. XIII. I know, indeed, that the Apostle comWhat the mended the obedience of faith to the Romans, Rom. i. 5. xvi. 26. But evident it is, that that may be understood in two senses: either thus, that faith itself is called obedience performed, namely, to that precept in which we are commanded to assent to the testimony of God, and to believe in Christ, as the Apostle elsewhere praises a professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, 2 Cor. ix. 13. Or thus, that that is called the obedience of faith, which proceeds from faith, as the effect from its cause, for so he uses to speak. That joy which follows from faith, as a fountain, he calls the joy of faith, Phil. i. 25. And in the same sense, he writes concerning the work of faith, the labour of love, and the patience of hope.
XIV. Faith, the
XIV. But to no purpose, are we bid comnew crea- pare Gal. v. 6. both with chap. vi. 15. and ture, and o- with 1 Cor. vii. 19. as if from that which he bedience
ot quite had said in the first place, that in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith, which worketh by love; and that in the second place, instead of faith, he mentions a new creature; and in the third, the keeping the commandments of God; we might conclude, that faith is entirely the same with the new creature, and the keeping the commandments of God. For from these tes
timonies this only is evinced, that the excel CHAP. lence of all external things is of much less vaJue with God, than the inward state of a welldisposed mind, such as faith, the new creature, and the keeping of God's commandments: all which things so belong to the inward man, that they are not therefore entirely the same. For certainly, faith is distinct from charity, by which it worketh.
XV. James and
XV. But neither does James give occasion to believe, that Paul, by the works which he Paul not excludes from justification, understood those opposite. which were done either by men's own powers, or according to the Mosaic law, but not such as were done by faith, and the observation of the evangelical law: as if James called that works which Paul designed by the name of faith; that he might show, that Paul, by faith, understood works performed, according to the prescription of the gospel. For though I would not deny to the very learned man, that James vindicates and explains Paul's doctrine, forcibly snatched away by perverse men to impious purposes; yet it is clear to me, at least, that Paul treats of one justification, James of another.
XVI. For because Paul had taught, that a XVI. man is justified by faith without works, hence of one justisome inferred, that in whatever manner a man Paul, of anlive, it, equally suffices, that he persuade him- other. self that Christ is his Saviour. Which they could have inferred with no plausibility, if that had been evident which the very learned
CHAP. man will have to be so, viz. That Paul, VIII. by faith understood evangelical godliness. But because Paul's words evidently bore that sense, that faith was a thing distinct from all the works of holiness, as in reality it is, hence arose the pretext of calumny. I say, of calumny: for though Paul taught, that works contribute nothing to justification, or to procure a man's title to salvation; yet he always taught, that they were not only useful, but also necessary to salvation, and that it is impossible that sanctification should be separated from justification. James treads in the same path, and teaches that it is necessary that he who is justified by faith, should also be justified by works: that is, perform these works which are the evidences and effects of righteousness, and by which it is demonstrated not only before men, but also before God, that he is righteous: according to that of John, "He who doeth righteousness is righteous," 1 John iii. 7. Indeed there is a double justification: one of a man sinful in himself, whereby he is absolved from sin, and declared to have a title to eternal life, on account of Christ's righteousness apprehended by faith, which Paul inculcated: another of a man, righteous already, sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, and who is declared to be such, by his words and actions. James teaches, that this is so necessary, and so connected with the former, that he is deceived who boasts of that,