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Speaking perverse things, and turning the Grace of God into Wantonnes, who from Tome mifunderstood Passages of St Paul, us d the Liberty, which he afferted for a Cloak of Maliciousness, made void that Faith, which he so earnestly contended for, by opposing it to the genuine Fruits that it should produce, and notwithstanding the clear obligation which the Gospel lays upon the Professors of it to all good Works, taught on the contrary, that it was a special Dispensation from the doing of any. And as those Opinions that gratify Mens Lufts are easily Believ'd and greedily Swallow'd, especially if there can be found any plausible covering for them under Scripture expressions, this pernicious Doctrine has been propagated down thro' all Ages of the Church, even unto the Dregs of Time, into which we our selves are fallen. And tho' nothing can be plainer in the Gospel, than that the whole design of it was to Teach us, ihat denying Vngodlyness and Worldly Lufts, we jould live Sos berly, and Righteously, and Godly in this present World, and that the very End of Christ's giving himself for us, was, that he might Ree deem us from all Iniquity, and Purify unto bimself a People Zealous of good Works. We meet with those that instead of Conscientiously paying these Debts, have the impudence to deny them, even by audaciously appealing to the great Book of accompts, and affirm that they are already discharg‘d by attonement of Another for them, and are not therefore now any longer owing.
Now if it be fo difingenious an abuse (as we all know it is) of the kindness of Men, to misconftrue their Words spoken in our favoạr, and put such an Extravagant Sense on them as was never intended, what is it to deal fo with the Words of God? Instead of Blessing his Name for so gracious a Promise, that for the Merit of his Son's perfect Obedience, he will accept of the Sincere, tho' Imperfect Obedience of Every one, that by Faith lays hold on him, to pretend that laying hold of Christ by Faith, is all that he requires to the Justification of a Sinner.
This was far from St Paul's intention, as by his Mind plainly declar'd in several Places of his Epistles, particularly thofe but just now produc'd out of that to Titus, füfficiently appears. When therefore in his discourse concerning Juftification, he opposes Faith to Works, Excluding the One that he may Establish the Other, by Works he either means the Ceremonial Works of the Law, or Works perform'd by the meer ftrength of Nature, unaslisted by Grace, for he cannot poffibly mean, Works following Faith, and done by Faith, Works proceeding from the Gifc of God, and produc'd by us when new Creatures in Chrift; for our Juftification or Condemnation in the Day of Judgment, will be according to our having fulfill'd or neglected those Works, as he himself teaches us, 2 Cor. 5. 10, and our Saviour in the 25th Chapter of Mat. V. 35. more at large, and most lively sets forth. In short, The Works of the Law, or barely Works he always excludes, bút Good Works he ever Enjoins: For this is a remarkable difference that has been very well obsery'd in his Stile. Works, (that is, such as a Moral Heathen may produce, which tho never so specious, yet being without Faith, can never please God, or the Works of the Law Ceremonial, which consider'd in themselves, have nothing of Goodness or Holiness in them,) are in St Paul's language quite different from the Works, which the Gospel prescribes, which are in their Own Nature really and Intrinsecally Juft, Holy, and Profitable, and therefore peculiarly and deservedly come under the Name of Good Works. And these are so far from being opposite to, that they are Naturally produc'd by, and necessarily included in, a Justifying Faith: and accordingly of These St James pronounces as a thing Notorious and Evident, Ye see that Man is Justify'd by Works, and not by Faith only. In which Affertion whateyer seeming difference there may be in Sound, there is no real Contradiction in Sense, to that of St Paul, That Mon is fuftify'd by Faith only, and not by the Works of the Law; which will easily be made appear to any One, that will consider the different Occasions of writing, and the different Sorts of Persons, to which these two Apostles apply'd themseves in their several Epistles. St Paul against the Jews, who would have made the Mofaical Rites still obligatory to Christians, truly teaches and strongly presses, that Faith in Christ, provided it bring forth the genuine and proper Fruit of Christian Faith, good Works, is sufficient to their Justification, without the Works of the Law. St James against Libertines, Hereticks, who went about to deftroy all the Morality of our Saviour's most Holy Religion, by pretending, that Faith without good Works was sufficient to Salvation, as truly declares, and as zealously urges, that Faith, unless it do produce Good Works, can by no means justify or save. So that these two great Apostles no more contradict each Other, than the Doctrine of Grace contradicts the Doctrine of Sanctification. Notwithstanding all this, there are those, whom the Spirit, that workes in the Children of Disobedience, infatuates to that degree, as to pronounce good Works not only unnecessary to Sal
vation, vation, as some, but even pernicious, as others, have dar'd to blaspheme. To affert, that a strong Assurance, a confident Re lying, and familiar Resting upon Chrift, is all that is requir'd to Saintship here, and Salvation hereafter. Dividing Chrift's Offices willingly enough they would use him as their Priest, but care not to obey him as their King. Not considering what St Peter, and the other Apostles taught, Acts s: 31. Him has God exalted to be a Prince, and a Saviour, a Prince, to give Laws to be submitted to by Obedience, as well as a Saviour, to procure Redemption to be embrac'd by Faith.
But these, it feems, that are more intimate with Christ, are not ty'd to the Obu servance of the Moral Law; for St Paul has in several Places told them, that the Faithfull are freed from the Law, are dead to the Law, are no longer under the Law and such like · Expressions, which these unlearned and prefumptuous Wretches wrest, as they do other Scriptures, to their own Destruction. Not rightly understanding, or not duly attending to this plain Diftinction, that will clear up all this Difficulty, namely, that the Law in Scripture, is sometimes confiderd as a com venant, and sometimes as a Rule; when 'tis spoken of as abrogated, it is taken as a Covenant of Works, but when 'tis urg'd as