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by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is. justified by faith without the deeds of the law;' Rom. iii. 24–28. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God.' For what saith the Scripture ? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto, him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as, David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord will not impute sin;' Rom. iv. 2-8. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto, many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men unto condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as, by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous;' chap. v. 15—19. “There is therefore no, condemnation unto them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death. And what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us;' chap. viii. 1–4. 'For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness unto every one that believeth ;' chap. x. 4. • And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then
it is no more grače, otherwise work is no more work;' chap. xi. 6. •But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption;' 1 Cor. i. 30. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him ;' 2 Cor. v. 21.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified;' Gal. ii. 16. “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, is evident. For the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith; but the man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ;' chap. iii. 11-13. 'For by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them;' Eph. ii. 8–10. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having my own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith;' Phil. iii. 8, 9.
Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according unto his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began;' 2 Tim. i. 9. "That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life ;' Tit. iii. 7. 'He hath once appeared in the end of the world to put away sin ;' Heb. ix. 26. 28. ' Having in himself purged our sins ;' chap. i. 3. 'For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified ; chap. x. 14. For the blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God cleanseth us from all sin ;' 1 John i. 7. •Wherefore, unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father ;
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen; Rev. i. 5. 6.
These are some of the places which at present occur to remembrance, wherein the Scripture represents unto us the grounds, causes, and reasons of our acceptation with God, The especial import of many of them, and the evidence of truth that is in them, will be afterward considered. Here we take only a general view of them. And every thing in and of ourselves, under any consideration whatever, seems to be excluded from our justification before God, faith alope excepted, whereby we receive his grace and the atonement, And on the other side, the whole of our acceptation with him seems to be assigned unto grace, mercy, the obedience and blood of Christ; in opposition unto our own worth and righteousness, or our own works and obedience, And I cannot but suppose that the soul of a convinced sinner, if not prepossessed with prejudice, will in generaļ not judge amiss, whether of these things, that are set in opposition one to the other, he should betake himself unto, that he may be justified,
But it is replied, these things are not to be understood absolutely and without limitations. Sundry distinctions are necessary, that we may come to understand the mind of the Holy Ghost and sense of the Scripture in these ascriptions unto grace, and exclusions of the law, our own works and righteousness from oựr justification. For (1.) the law is either the moral or the ceremonial law; the latter indeed is excluded from any place in our justification, but not the former. (2.) Works required by the law are either wrought before faith, without the aid of grace, or after believing, by the help of the Holy Ghost. The former are excluded from our justification, but not the latter. (3.) Works of obedi. ence wrought after grace received, may be considered either as sincere only, or absolutely perfect according to what was originally required in the covenant of works. Those of the latter sort are excluded from any place in our justification, but not those of the former, (4.) There is a twofold justification before God in this life, a first and a second ; and we must diligently consider with respect unto whether of these justifications any thing is spoken in the Scripture, (5.) Justification may be considered either as to its begin
ning, or as unto its continuation, and so it hath divers causes under these divers respects. (6.) Works may be considered either as meritorious ex condigno, so as their merit should arise from their own intrinsic worth, or ex congruo only with respect unto the covenant and promise of God. Those of the first sort are excluded at least from the first justification; the latter may have place both in the first and second. (7.) Moral causes may be of many sorts; preparatory, dispository, meritorious, conditionally efficient, or only sine quibus non.' And we must diligently inquire in what sense, under the notion of what cause or causes, our works are excluded from our justification, and under what notions they are necessary thereunto. And there is no one of these distinctions, but it needs many more to explain it, which accordingly are made use of by learned men. And so specious a colour may be put on these things, when warily managed by the art of disputation, that very few are able to discern the ground of them, or what there is of substance in that which is pleaded for; and fewer yet, on whether side the truth doth lie. But he who is really convinced of sin, and being also sensible of what it is to enter into judgment with the Holy God, inquires for himself and not for others, how he may come to be accepted with him, will be apt upon the consideration of all these distinctions and sub-distinctions wherewith they are attended, to say to their authors, ' fecistis probe, incertior sum multo, quam dudum.' My inquiry is how I shall come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? how shall I escape the wrath to come? What shall I plead in judgment before God, that I may be absolved, acquitted, justified? Where shall I have a righteousness that will endure a trial in his presence? If I should be harnessed with a thousand of these distinctions, I am afraid they would prove thorns and briers, which he would pass through and consume.
The inquiry therefore is, upon the consideration of the state of the person to be justified before-mentioned and described, and the proposal of the reliefs in our justification as now expressed ; whether it be the wisest and safest course for such a person seeking to be justified before God, to betake himself absolutely, his whole trust and confidence, unto sovereign grace and the mediation of Christ, or to have some reserve for, or to place some confidence in, his own graces, duties, works, and obedience ? In putting this great difference unto umpirage, that we may not be thought to fix on a partial arbitrator, we shall refer it to one of our greatest and most learned adversaries in this cause. And he positively gives us in his determination and resolution in those known words, in this case ; Propter incertitudinem propriæ justitiæ, et periculum inanis gloriæ, tutissimum est fiduciam totam in sola misericordia Dei et benignitate reponere;' Bellar. de Justificat. lib. v. cap. 7. prop. 3. 'By reason of the uncertainty of our own righteousness, and the danger of vain glory, it is the safest course to repose our whole trust in the mercy and kindness or grace of God alone.'
And this determination of this important inquiry, he confirmeth with two testimonies of Scripture, as he might have done it with many more.
But those which he thought meet to mention are not impertinent. The first is Dan. ix. 18. • We do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. And the other is that of our Saviour, Luke xvii. 10. •When you have done all these things which are commanded you, say we are unprofitable servants.' And after he hath confirmed his resolution with sundry testimonies of the fathers, he closeth his discourse with this dilemma ; either a man hath true merits, or he hath not. If he hath not, he is perniciously deceived (when he trusteth in any thing but the mercy of God alone), and seduceth himself, trusting in false merits; if he hath them, he loseth nothing whilst he looks not to them, but trusts in God alone. So that whether a man have any good works or no, as to his justification before God, it is best and safest for him, not to have any regard unto them, or put any trust in them. And if this be so, he might have spared all his pains he took in writing his sophistical books about justification, whose principal design is to seduce the minds of men into a contrary opinion. And so, for ought I know, they may spare their labour also without any disadvantage unto the church of God, or their own souls, who'so earnestly contend for some kind of interest or other, for our own duties and obedience in our justification before God, seeing it will be found that they place their own whole trust and confidence in the grace of God by Jesus Christ alone. For