Images de page
[ocr errors]

improvement of their own free-will, have been enabled perfectly, and personally, and perpetually to keep the whole law of God; and by this have merited eternal life for themselves, and greater degrees of glory. Nay, more ; not only so, not only done all the good which the Lord required, or only just so much as the law demanded ; not only given the Lord 'good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, but even running over ;' (Luke vi. 38;) that is, by lending an obedient ear to God's evangelical counsels," (which are things of greater moment by far with Papists than God's moral precepts,) “ they have even done more than the law demands, more than was needful to be done by them for the obtaining of eternal salvation, and have suffered more grievous torments than their sin deserved; and by both, have most plentifully merited for others."

The vanity and rottenness of this third suggestion I suppose I have sufficiently evidenced in the proof of my first and second proposition ; and therefore hasten to the next assertion of the Papists, which is,

IV. “ These redundant and overflowing meritorious actions and sufferings of eminent saints, being mixed and jumbled together with the superabundant satisfaction of Christ,” (concerning which Clement VI. tells us, that one drop of Christ's blood was sufficient for the redemption of all mankind, as if all the rest might have been well spared,) "are,” say they, “ deposited in the church's hands as a common stock and treasury.'

V. And lastly. “The key of this church-treasury is committed by God to the whole and sole care and dispose of his Holiness the pope himself, the whole treasury to be disposed of by him and his delegates, and to be applied to poor, penitent, and contrite sinners, that so by the pope's Bull and Indulgences they may enjoy the benefit of those merits, and be delivered either from church-censures on earth, or the pains of purgatory, next door to hell.”

To both these I shall briefly say but this much : Et risum teneutis amici ?+ or rather, Quis talia fando temperet a lachrymis ? I This, this was the thing that first raised the spirit of that German Elijah, to put his life into his hand, and in the strength of his God to go out against the Romish Goliath. Pope Leo had gratified his dear sister Magdalene with a large monopoly of German pardons. Aremboldus, her factor, was a little too covetous, and held the market too high. The height of his over-rated ware caused the chapmen, and, among the rest, Luther, a little more narrowly to inspect their worth ; and they were soon found to be (what indeed they are) a novel and irrational vanity, an upstart opinion; not known, say Cornelius Agrippa, Polydore Virgil, and Machiavel, to the churches, till the year 1300, in Boniface VIII.'s days; who was the first that extended indulgences to purgatory, and the first that devised the jubilee, which is indeed the mart or market for the full uttering of them.

But, to let pass the novelty, do but seriously weigh the sinfulness, of Concil. Trid. sess. ri. cap. 18; BELLARMINUS De Justificatione, lib. iv. cap. 10.

“ Can you, my friends, refrain from laughing ?"-EDIT. I VIRGILII Æneid, ii, 6. “ Who can abstain from tears at such a tale as this ?"-- EDIT,


+ HORATIUS De Arte Poet. 5.

this opinion. It is grounded on a supposed merit in saints. Now merit is that which purchaseth a thing de novo which he had not before, and to make that due which one had not before, but may now lay just claim to. If so, how deeply derogatory is this opinion to the fulness of Christ's merit to purchase all reconciliation and acceptation both of our persons and services, together with an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven! (Dan. ix. 24—26 ; Col. i. 19, 20; John xvii. 2; Heb. ix. 12, 15.) If the merit of Christ be of infinite value, and that by it he hath purchased in behalf of us, his members, a full right unto eternal life and happiness, then their good works do not make the same newly due. If they make it any way due, [it is] either in whole, or in part : if in whole, then Christ hath merited nothing for them; if in part, then something of eternal life there is which Christ hath not merited. Either way there is a manifest derogation from the merits of Christ.

As for that ignis fatuus of purgatory, I refer you to the learned labours of my reverend brother, that in this book professedly treats of that subject.

USE IT. EXHORTATION. I have done with the self-advancing Papist, A few words more to the self-abhorring reformed Protestant, and I have done.

1. Be" sincerely careful to maintain" and practise good works," and that with all your might, even to the end of your days. (Titus iii. 8.) -Dorcas was “full of good works.” (Acts ix. 36.) Yea, “provoke one another to love and to good works.” (Heb. x. 24.) Let not this thoughtthat you cannot, when you have done all, either merit, or super-erogate by them—tempt you to neglect the holy, faithful, humble, constant per. formance of them. Do them, then ; but do them “ for necessary uses,' (Titus iü. 14,) for the noble ends by God prescribed. Not for this end, as if by them to merit or super-erogate; leave that design to the pharisaical Papist ; but in all your obedience, active, passive, aim directly,

(1.) At the evidencing of the truth and liveliness of your faith ; to show your faith by your works. (James ii. 18.)—Abraham's faith was made perfect by his works. (Verses 21, 22.) Not as if Abraham's faith received its worth, value, and perfection from his works ; but “[was] made perfect," that is, made known and discovered, as God's strength is said to be perfected in our weakness. (2 Cor. xii. 9.) Or thus : his faith, co-working with his obedience was made perfect; ” that is, bettered and improved, as the inward vigour of your spirits is increased by motion and exercise.

(2.) At the manifestation of your thankfulness. Thus David : “ What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the

cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.” (Psalm cxvi. 12, 13.) To “show forth the praises of Him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter ii. 9; i. 5–11.)

(3.) At the strengthening of your assurances of God's special love toward you.—“Hereby ye shall know that you know him, if ye keep his

Opera non sunt causa quod aliquis justus sit apud Deum, sed potiùs sunt manifestationes justitiæ.-AQUINAS. “Works are not the cause why any one is just before God, but rather are manifestations of a justified state."-EDIT.

commandments ;” that in you“ verily the love of God may be perfected,” and that “hereby you may know that you are in him.” (1 John ii. 3, 5.)

.(4.) At the edification of your brethren, that your zeal may provoke very many.As that of the brethren of Achaia did those of Macedonia. (2 Cor. ix. 2.) “ Let your light so shine before men,” not that they may magnify you, but “glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. v. 16.)

(5.) At the adorning of your profession of the gospel, and stopping of the mouths of adversaries. (Titus ii. 5_13; 1 Tim. vi. 1; 1 Peter ii. 15.)

(6.) Chiefly and principally at the glory of God. (1 Cor. x. 31.) Let your conversation be so honest, that, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, though their corruptions accuse you, their consciences may acquit you ; "that they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter ii. 12; Phil. i. 11; John xv. 8.) Glorify God,” I say, whose “workmanship you are, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had before ordained that ye should walk in them,” (Eph. ii. 10,) that so, “having your fruit unto holiness, you may have the end,” or consequent, not the merit, of your works, namely, “eternal life.” (Rom. vi. 22.)

2. As, when you have done all, you are but an unprofitable servant,and therefore must not presume to come to God in the opinion of your own worthiness, yet be not afraid to come to God because of your unworthiness.—The worst of men should not keep off from God because they are unprofitable, since the best cannot profit him. If we have done much, it is nothing to the Lord; and if we have done nothing, it is no bar to the Lord's doing much for us. God will not turn us back because we bring him nothing; nay, he invites us to come without any thing, “without money,” or money-worth. (Isai. lv. 1.)

3. When you have done all, and are most fully laden with good works, beg earnestly of God to work and keep in you low and humble thoughts of yourself, of all you do or suffer for him.They of whom God hath the highest thoughts, have the meanest thoughts of and put the lowest rate upon themselves. No man ever received a fairer certificate from God than Job did : “ There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man ;” (Job i. 1, 8 ;) and yet no man could think or speak more humbly and undervaluingly of himself than Job did : he "abhors ” himself, and “repents in dust and ashes.” (Job xlii. 6.) And, “Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my Judge.” (Job ix. 15.) And, " Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul : I would despise my life.” (Verse 21.)

To make and keep thee humble under thy greatest attainments,

USE II. DIRECTION. 1. Often look up and consider the infinite purity and holiness of God.—The more we know God, the more humble we are before him. “ Now mine eye hath seen thee,” that is, “ Having now a clearer and more glorious manifestation of thee to my soul than ever ; I now, perceiving thy pure holiness, wisdom, faithfulness, goodness, as if they were corporeal objects and I saw them with mine eye, on this very score abhor myself in dust and ashes.'” (Job xlii. 5, 6.)

2. When thou hast done all, remember still, that thy ability to do good works is not at all from thyself, but from the Spirit of Christ. (John xv. 4, 5; 2 Cor. iii. 5 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27.)—A continual gale and influence of the Holy Spirit [is] necessary to bring thy richly-laden soul into its port. (Phil. ii. 13; iv. 13.)

3. When thou art at thy non ultra,in thy very zenithof attainable excellences here, remember that all thy acceptation at the hand of God, both as to person and performance, depends wholly and solely on the blessed Jesus, and thy peculiar interest in him. (Eph. i. 6; 1 Peter ii. 5 ; Exod. vii. 28 ; Gen. iv. 4; Heb. xi. 4 ; xii. 20, 21 ; 2 Cor. viii. 12; Heb. vi. 10; Matt. xxv. 21, 23.)






Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in

Christ Jesus.—Romans iii. 24.

The apostle, in these words and the following, gives an exact account of the doctrine of justification, dictated to him by the Spirit of truth. And this will be the best ground we can proceed on, to discover the errors by which it is corrupted. That is our present business, to which I hasten ; only first opening the words by a brief touch upon them.

Being justified— To be justified, is to be freely accepted of God as righteous, so as to have pardon and title to life upon the account of Christ's righteousness. We cannot be accepted as righteous, till we be acquitted from guilt. The apostle describes justification by remission of sins. (Rom. iv. 5, 6.) And being accepted as righteous, we are accepted to life: the apostle calls it “justification of life.” (Rom. v. 17, 18, 21.) This is upon the account of Christ's righteousness. We cannot be justified upon our own account ; for so we are condemned, and cannot but be 80 : nor upon other account but Christ and his righteousness; for there is no justification without righteousness, and none sufficient but that of Christ; which the apostle includes in “ the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Freely by his grace-The Lord justifies by his grace, and this acts freely. That which moves him is called, in Titus iii. 4, XPROTOTIS xat pinavopwria, “kindness and love ; ” which in verse 7 is “ grace : “ That being justified,” on EXELVOU xapıtı, “ by his grace.' So justification is to xapouce, " the free gift ;” (Rom. v. 16 ;) ý owpede ev xapiti, “the gift by grace.” (Verse 15.) This grace, as it is free mercy, so it acts like itself, awpear, “freely;” (the word used in Matt. x. 8: swpean EnabETE, “ Freely ye have received " it ;) he gives it freely to those who

[ocr errors]



have no merit to deserve it: there is none in us ; what there was, was in Christ. It is

Through the redemption-Redemption is deliverance by a price, or valuable consideration. This price was the blood of Christ, (Rom. iii. 25; v. 9; Eph. i. 6, 7,) his death, (Rom. viii. 33, 34,) his obedience, (Rom. v. 19,) his righteousness. (Verse 18.) We

may view the text distinctly in three parts :-
I. Believers are justified.
II. “ Freely by his grace.
III. "

* Through the redemption that is in Christ.Against each of these the Papists have advanced several errors of pernicious consequence, and thereby dangerously corrupted the whole doctrine of justification.

I. That a sinner may be saved, the scriptures declare that he must be both justified and sanctified : the Romanists, as if one of those were but requisite, call that “justification,” which in scripture is “sanctification ;” and that which in scripture is “justification,” they admit not, as distinct from inherent righteousness.

The apostle Paul, who most insists upon the doctrine of justification, delivers these two as distinct things. (1 Cor. vi. 11; and elsewhere.) He ascribes justification commonly to the blood of Christ ; (as in the text, and Rom. v. 8, 9 ;) sanctification to the Spirit of Christ. (Titus

iii. 5.)

However, the Papists' promiscuous use of the words might be tolerated, if they did not confound the things, and contend that we are formally justified by that which is the form and essence of sanctification, namely, inherent righteousness. The danger is that which the apostle would have the Jews avoid, when he expresseth his hearty desire that they might be saved : “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Rom. x. 3.) The Papists trust to their own righteousness for acceptance and life, and will be justified in the sight of God by that which indeed is imperfect and culpable, and, so, liable to be condemned ; and being convinced that they cannot be justified by an imperfect righteousness, therefore they will have their inherent righteousness to be perfect: not so perfect as it will be in

* but so as to be free from sin, and to answer the demands of the law,t since they know, otherwise, it would not justify them. And this fancy of a sinless perfection runs them into many absurd and pernicious conceits.

First. For they are hereby obliged to maintain, that no corruption in their natures after baptism, no aversion from God, no inclination to evil, though habitual and fixed, has any thing of sin in it; no, nor any

Quod dicebamus, justitiam et charitatem in hâc vitâ non esse perfectam, comparatione duntarat ad illam patriæ reputandum est.DOMINICUS A Soto De Nat. et Grat. lib. iii. cap. 4, p. 134. + The Council of Trent calls it justitiam candidam et immaculatam [“ white and spotless justice").-Sess. v. cap. 67. In the Trent Catechism it is divina qualitas in animá inhærens, quæ animarum, vestrarum omnes maculas delet. " A divine quality, inherent in the soul, which takes away all stains and spots from your souls."— Edit. Ea (charitas) siquidem est verissima, plenissima, perfectissima justitia.-BelLARMNUs De Justif. lib. ii. cap. 16, p. 806. “ Since it (grace) is a most true, full, and perfect righteousness."--Edit.


« PrécédentContinuer »