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never extol themselves; they will never magnify the merit of their own obedience; they will abhor every proud conceit of their own virtue; they will, with the Publican, rather cry, "God be mercisul to me a sinner!" than with the Pharisee, “God! thank thee that I am not as other men arc.” Both their knowledge of themselves and their knowledge of God will inculcate lowliness of heart, and will teach them to ascribe it to the grace and mercy of God, if they are finally made partakers of his salvation.

Thus understood, the doctrine of salvation by faith alone contains in it nothing unreasonable and nothing which tends to depreciate the general importance of good works. If a man believes that the good works which he has performed, or may yet perform, can never be of sufficient value to recommend him, by their own intrinsic excellence, to the favour of the holiest of Beings, does he for that reason disparage them? Does he consider them as worthless? No: he acknowledges their value, while he laments that he has fallen short of that excellence which his very humiliation tends to exalt. He still looks upon them as useful and necessary in every view, except as affording a ground of his justification before God. He sees that they are necessary, because God requires holiness in all that approach him; and he therefore concludes, that though obedience to the Moral Law cannot establish for man a title to heaven, it may yet be equally necessary for the completion of other purposes in the Divine economy. Although it is not the basis of our justification—it may, notwithstanding this, be neither the less necessary nor the less important. The ground only, on which it is necessary, and not the necessity itself, is here in question.

The reasons which shew the necessity of righteousness and good works are innumerable, and of the utmost weight. They are truly acceptable to God: without them none can be admitted into his kingdom. They qualify us for heaven, although they do not form the ground of our admission into it. They honour God, while the want of them dishonours his holy Name. They are the necessary fruits of a true faith; for as the Twelfth Article of our Church declares, “Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgment, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known, as a tree discerned by the fruits.” They are the guards of our peace; for we deceive ourselves, if while we continue in sin, or do not abound in the fruits of righteousness, we enjoy any religious consolation.

They are of the greatest utility to our fellow-creatures, as well as the evidences to them of the sincerity of our faith. They are the objects of every real Christian's solicitude, desire, and hope. It is his most ardent wish and incessant endeavour, to be holy, even as his Father which is in heaven is holy. He hates and abhors sin as the greatest of evils. It is his grief and burden, the cause of all his suffering and all his sorrow; and it is his one great object in life, through the grace and power of Christ, to be delivered from the corruptions that are in the world through lust, and to be made partaker of a Divine nature. But in all this, the principle from which he acts is the desire to please and serve God, from a grateful sense of the value of Christ's salvation, and not a blind hope to present to God such an obedience as he may justly esteem entitled to the reward of heaven. In a word, good works are not so valued by a real servant of God as to be in his mind inconsistent with the glory of Christ as a Saviour, the holiness of God as a Judge, the purity of his law, or the infirmity of man as a sinful fallen creature. Wherever there is a humble mind, and a real penitence for sin, there good works will be considered with the highest honour, though they will not be substituted in the place of Christ as a Saviour.

That this is the view inculcated in my text, will appear from the explanation of it in detail. “By grace are ye saved;" by an act of the mercy of God, not from a claim upon his justice, as though they who obtain this salvation were righteous and deserving of heaven: “through faith;” that is, while we are saved by Divine grace alone, it is faith which is the instrument of salvation. Faith humbly relies upon Christ as the Redeemer. Faith, acknowledges the value of his death, and the efficacy of his intercession. Faith ascribes all our salvation to him, giving glory and honour to him as our only Saviour. Faith renounces self, that God and that Christ may be exalted: “And that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” The words “and that have been differently understood. Some commentators make them relate to faith, and understand St. Paul to say, that even that faith” is not of ourselves. Others interpret them as relating to the whole of our salvation, which the grammatical construction of the original words seems rather to favour. It is immaterial which interpretation is preferred. Either of them shew the mind of the Aposile to be intent upon proving that we are not to be saved by our own merit or power. Every thing which contributes to our salvation, even our faith, is humbly to be ascribed to the power and grace of God. “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Salvation is not to be considered as procured in any measure by the merit of our own works; and for this very important reason, that man may not be able to arrogate to himself any title to reward before God. Salvation must be an act of God's mercy, for which man must be ever deeply under a sense of obligation to him, and for which he must ascribe praise to God throughout eternity. But it would be inconsistent with such a state of heart if man should attribute any thing to himself. We must be laid prostrate before God as sinners, and saved in that posture

of humiliation. “Boasting," says the A postle, in another place, “is excluded.” By what law? Of works? “Nay, but by the law of faith.”

If men exalt a good life in their own esteem so as to expect their salvation from it, they may suppose that, even should their opinion be erroneous, their mistake would be harmless and unimportant. But let them be assured, that such an expectation will be not less dangerous than deceitful; it will be dangerous, because it is inconsistent with that humiliation which is indispensably requisite in sinners, with that frame and temper of mind which are necessary in the system of salvation. If Christ be the only Saviour of the world; if the song of heaven be, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, by thy blood;"—then should the same acknowledgment be made by his redeemed people on earth, and they also should unite together in ascribing their whole salvation to him. But self-righteousness, or boasting, is inconsistent with such an acknowledgment. Whatever good works are performed by the people of God, are the effect of their faith in Christ. They first approached him as penitent sinners, confessing their guilt and imploring his mercy. Having redeemed them from the curse of the Law, he imparted to them the grace of his Holy Spirit, to form and fashion their souls anew, after his own image, to create in them all holy affections and dispositions, to excite the love of holiness and the practice of it. They “are his workmanship”—the fruits of their faith, no less than their redemption, are his own gracious work—they are by him “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that they should walk in them.” Their deliverance from sin, no less than their redemption from death are entirely and exclusively the work of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus, therefore, while the Christian scheme exalts the value and excellence of good works, and enjoins them by the most solemn sanctions, it does not admit that they are in any sense meritorious. It at once glorifies God, and humbles and sanctifies man.

From this view of the inefficacy of our holiest actions to work out our salvation, let us learn to draw near to God in a spirit of the deepest humility. Before him let us renounce our own merit, looking only to his mercy, and to the intercession of Christ. But God forbid that these considerations should lessen our estimation of practical holiness and piety! We must press after them with the earnestness of men who know that they must perish unless they become holy. We must hunger and thirst after righteousness. Till we “walk with God” in a holy life, we must never cease to distrust our state before him. Thus pursuing good works with a right spirit, and for the right end, seeking them in the strength of Christ, desiring them as the evidences and the fruits of faith in him, acting from a principle of attachment to him, and aiming to promote his glory, we shall attain the true Christian end. We shall produce “the fruits of righteousness through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

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