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Serm. there being no Hopes of Pardon or JuftiVII. fication from it but upon strict Obedience,
the Gospel steps in to supply the Defects of the Law, not to exclude the Morality of it, or make Good Works less necessary than they were before, but to make them truely useful by a Covenant of Grace; that makes large Allowances for the Infirmities of Human Nature, accepting of Repentance instead of Innocence, and so justifies us from all Things, from which we could not be justify’d by the Law of Moses : For Good Works were not more necessary under the Law, than they are under the Gospel ; but there being no Provision made by the Law, as it is a Covenant of Works, to pardon our Infirmities, as there is in the Gospel, as it is a Covenant of Grace, therefore we cannot be justify'd by the Law of Mofes.
The Law having two Acceptations, when it is opposed to the Gospel, it is not opposed barely as a Law, but as a Covenant. And the whole Design of it taken in its largest Sense being to bring us unto Christ, one Part of it ceased of
Course, when Christ, who is the End of Serm. the Law, was.come; the other is to con
VII. tinue in full Force for ever. As to the Word Faith, taken in a Gospel-Sense, it is not to be understood only as a Belief of the Gospel of Christ, exclusive of good Works, such as St. James mentions, as availing to Justification, and such as St. Paul, when he talks of a justifying Faith, comprehends under the Word Faith; but it is to be understood so as to be always join’d with Good Works; and so it includes the Doctrine of Faith or the Gospel.
The Law and the Gospel being thus stated, they don't differ as to Good Works, any further than as the one is an Improvement of the other, nor do they oppose each other as a Rule, but as these. Works are made a Covenant, and are destitute of that dispensing Power of altering the Conditions of that Covenant, which the Gospel is poffefs'd of. And therefore when we find Good Works mention'd in Scripture, as necessary to Juftification, as we do very often in St. James, we are not by him to understand those
SERM. Works, which the Jews held in Opposition VII.
to Faith, or those which the Jewish Converts held equally in Conjunction with it, but those Works only, which are inseparable from it. Otherwise St. Peter, when he talks of St. Paul's Epistles, that there are lome Things in them hard to be understood, which the Unlearn'd and Unstable wrest, meaning, as is supposed, the Doctrine of Justification, which was misinterpreted by fome to be by Faith without Works, would be guilty of the fame Fault, when he exhorts to add to Faith, as in sufficient of itself, Virtue, and to Virtue Knowledge, Temperance, Patience &c. and when he says, that by Good Works, we are to make our Calling and Election sure.
And therefore the Works of the Law, as it is made a Covenant, can't be those Works, which accompany Faith, which belong to a Covenant establish'd upon better Promises, and is therefore calld a better Covenant; and so could not justify the Performers of them, and make them
that Seed of Abraham to whom the Serm.
VII. Blessing was promised.
But tho' the Law thus confider'd can't justify us, does it therefore follow that our Obligations to the Moral Law are made void thro' Faith? God forbid. To object this is to sew an Ignorance of the Law and the Gospel too. For to say, that because the Law, consider'd as the whole Law of Moses, will not justify us, that therefore that part of it, which is call'd the Moral Law, is made null and void ; or else if we put it this way, to say, that because that Part of the Law of Moses, which is callid the Moral Law, will not justify us of itself, that therefore it is not at all necessary towards it, is to argue very confusedly and inconsistently : For tho' the moral Law itself is not binding as a Covenant, as I have already proved, yet it will by no Means follow from thence, that it is not binding as a Rule of Life. It has still the Force of a Moral Rule, because there still remains the same Reason for it ; and is the same in all Respects as before, except in this one, that an exact Obe
Ser M. dience to it is not made a necessary ConVII. dition of Salvation, but Repentance is ac
cepted instead of it.
But however, if we are still bound to obey the Moral Law, very likely it may be objected, how then is the Gospel a better Covenant, or the Gospel Dispensation easier, since the Law remains in Force as much now as it did before? The anfwering this Objection rightly, I hope, will very much illustrate the Matter, and put it in a clear Light. If we confider the Gospel, as a Moral Rule, in the fame Sense as we do the Law, it is not at all easier than the Law; because the fame Duties are still binding upon us as before, and many more, as I shall shew under the next Head : For the Gospel is not under a Dispensation as a Law, or a Rule, but as a Covenant; and it is easier than the Law no otherwise, than as it is an eafier Covenant; but if we consider it likewise as a Covenant, then it is of great Advantage to us, where the Law as a Covenant is defective, and has a dilpensing Power which the Law has not,