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on a consciousness of having performed the conditions. And a reliance so founded is the result of works wrought through faith.” No: of works wrought without faith : else the argument implies a contradiction. For it runs thus, (on the supposition that faith and reliance were synonymous terms,) such a reliance is the result of works wrought through such a reliance.
5. Your fourth argument against justification by faith alone, is drawn from the nature of justification. This, you observe, “implies a prisoner at the bar, and a law by which he is to be tried ; and this is not the law of Moses, but that of Christ, requiring repentance and faith, with their proper fruits,” (p. 16,) which now, through the blood of Christ, are accepted and counted for righteousness.' St. Paul affirms this, concerning faith, in the fourth chapter of his epistle to the Romans. · But where does he say, that either repentance or its fruits are counted for righteousness? Nevertheless, I allow, that the law of Christ requires such repentance and faith before justification, as, if there be opportunity, will bring forth the fruits of righteousness.' But if there be pot, he that repents and believes is justified notwithstanding, Consequently, these alone are necessary, indispensably necessary conditions of our justification.
6, Your last argument against justification by faith alone, " is drawn from the method of God's proceeding at the last day, He will then judge every man - aceording to his works. If, therefore, works wrought through faith are the ground of the sentence passed upon us in that day, then are they a necessary condition of our justification:” (p. 19.) in other words, “if they are;a condition of our final, they are a condition of our present justification.". I cannot allow the consequence. Al holiness 'must preçede our entering into glory. But no boliness can exist, till being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.'
7. You next attempt to reconcile the writings of St. Paul with justification by works. In order to this you say, the three first chapters of this epistle to the Romans, he
proves that both Jews and Gentiles must have recourse to the gospel of Christ. To this end he convicts the whole world of sin. And having stopped every mouth, he
” makes his inference, Therefore by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified. We conclude,' then, says: he,' a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law.' But here arise two questions, first, What are the works excluded from justifying? Secondly, What is the faith which justifies ?" p. 20, 21, 22.
“ The works excluded are Heathen and Jewish works, set up as meritorious. This is evident from hence, that Heathens and carnal Jews are the persons against whom he is arguing.” Not so: he is arguing against all mankind: he is convicting the whole world of sin.' His.concern is, to stop every mouth, by proving, that no flesh, none born of à woman, no child of man can be justified by his own works. Consequently he speaks of all the works of all mankind, antecedent to justification, whether Jewish or any other, whether supposed meritorious or not, of which the text says not one word. Therefore all works antecedent to justification are excluded, and faith is set in flat opposition to them. • Unto him that worketh not, but believeth, his faith is counted to him for righteousness.'
“ But what is the faith to which he attributes justification? That which worketh by love: which is the same with the new creature, and implies in it the keeping the commandments of God.”
It is undoubtedly true, 'that nothing avails for our final salvation without raivn *Tidis, a new creation, and consequent thereon, a sincere, uniform keeping of the commandments of God. This St. Paul constantly declares. But where does he say, This is the condition of our justification? In the epistles to the Romans and Galatians particularly, he vehemently asserts the contrary; earnestly maintaining, that nothing is absolutely necessary to this, but believing in him that justifieth the ungodly: not the godly; not him that is already a new creature, that previously keeps all the com
mandments of God. He does this afterward: when he is justified by faith, then his faith worketh by love. There
“ fore there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,' justified by faith in him, provided they walk in him whom they have received, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.' But should they turn back, and walk again after the flesh, they would again be under condemnation. But this no way proves, that walking after the Spirit was the condition of their justification. (p. 23.) Neither will any thing like this follow, from the apostle's saying to the Corinthians, ' Though I had all faith, so as to remove moun
6 tains, and have not charity, I am nothing. This only proves, that miracle-working faith may be, where saving faith is not.
8. To the argument. St. Paul says, ' Abraham was justi- . fied by faith,' you answer, “ St. James says, “ Abraham was justified by works,'” (p. 24.) True: but he neither speaks of the same justification, nor the same faith, nor the same works. Not of the same justification; for St. Paul speaks of that justification which was five and twenty years before Isaac was born : (Gen xii.) St. James of that wherewith he was justified when he offered up Isaac on the altar. It is living faith, whereby St. Paul' affirms we are justified: it is dead faith, whereby St. James affirms, we are not justified. St. Paul speaks of works antecedent to justification: St. James of works consequent upon it. This is the plain, easy, natural way of reconciling the two apostles.
The fact was manifestly this: 1. When Abraham dwelt in Haran, being then seventy-five years old, God called him thence: he believed God, and he counted it to him for righteousness. That is, he was justified by faith, as St. Paul strenuously asserts. 2. Many years after Isaac was born, (some of the ancients thought, three and thirty,) Abraham
shewing his faith by his works, offered him up upon the altar. S. Here the faith by which, in St. Paul's sense, he was justified long before, 'wrought together with his works, and he was justified in St. James's sense, that is, (as the
apostle explains his own meaning,)' by works his faith was made perfect.' God confirmed, increased, and perfected the principle from which those works sprang. 9. Drawing to a conclusion you say, “What pity so
, many volumes should have been written upon the question, whether a man be justified by faith or works, seeing they are two essential parts of the same thing!” (p. 25.) If by works you understand inward and outward holiness, both faith and works are essential parts of Christianity: and yet they are essentially different, and by God himself contradistinguished from each other. And that in the very question before us, him that worketh not, but believeth. Therefore, whether a man be justified by faith or works, is a point of the last importance : otherwise our reformers could not have answered to God, their spending so much time upon it. Indeed they were both too wise and too good men, to have a written so many volumes” on a trifling or needless question.
10. If in speaking on this important point, (such at least it appears to me,) I have said any thing offensive, any that implies the least degree of anger or disrespect, it was entirely foreign to my intention: nor indeed have I any provocation. I have no room to be angry at your maintaining what you believe to be the truth of the gospel: even tho' I might wish you had omitted a few expressions,
Quas aut incuria fudit,
Aut humana parum cavit natura. In the general, from all I have heard concerning you, I cannot but very highly esteem you in love. And that God may give you both “a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort," is the prayer of,
R E M A R K S
DEFENCE OF THE PREFACE TO THE EDINBURGH
EDITION OF ASPASIO VINDICATED.
EDINBURGH, MAY, 1766. I HAVE neither time, nor inclination, to write a formal answer to the Reverend Dr. Erskine's tract. My hope of convincing him is lost. he has drunk in all the spirit of the book he has published. But I owe it to God and his children, to say something for myself, when I am attacked in so violent a manner, if haply some may take knowledge, that I also endeavour to live honestly, and to serve God.' 1. Dr. Erskine says, “ An edition of these letters has
6 been published in London, from the author's own manuscripts, which puts the authenticity of them beyond doubt." I answer, This is a mistake impartial men doubt of their authenticity as much as ever. (I meanr, not with regard to the letters in general, but to many particular passages.) And that for two reasons.
First, because those passages breathe an acrimony and bitterness, which Mr. Hervey in his life-time never shewed to any one, and least of all to one he was deeply obliged to. Surely this is not what Dr. E. terms his. scriptural and animated manner." I hope it was not for this cause, that he pronounces this “equal, if