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of the reformers, contains the precise sentiments of the evangelical clergy: and few of them would decline subscribing it, if that would conduce to obviate misconceptions.concerning their doctrine.
• Others moved subtler questions, as, Whether obedience was an essential part of faith, or only a consequent of it. This was a nicety scarce becoming divines.'1
In this very point, which Bishop Burnet speaks of in so slighting a manner, the whole argument concerning justification is most deeply concerned ; and no one of the reformers from popery, either in Britain, or on the continent, failed to mark that very distinction which is here scouted. If good works are an essential part of justifying faith, then we may as properly be said to be justified by good works, as by faith ; and we are not justified till we do good works : and how many good works, and what continuance and eminence in them, are essential to faith and justification, is not easily discovered. But, if good works be a 'consequent of faith,' or rather, produced by living faith, then we are justified at the time of believing ; and our subsequent good works evidence our faith to be genuine: “ Seest thou how “faith wrought with his works, and by works
was faith made perfect? and the scripture was “ fulfilled, which saith, Abraham believed God, " and it was imputed to him for righteousness ; " and he was called the friend of God.” 2. Abraham's justification by faith is recorded in the fif
Quotation from Bp. Burnet in Noté, Ref. 153, 154.
Jam. ii. 22, 23.
teenth chapter of Genesis ; the work here spoken of, not till the twenty-second. But, though this was deemed by Bishop Burnet,' a nicety scarce ' becoming divines,' he himself deigns to determine it, and directly contrary to the decision of the reformers! When they settled the notion of faith, they divided it into two sorts: the one was a persuasion of the truth of the gospel ; but the other carried with it a submission to the will of * God; and both hope, love, and obedience be
longed to it.'? Then they were an essential part of it. We have seen in several quotations, that our reformers constantly, spoke of faith as being attended by good works in the justified man, and of good works as 'springing from living faith ; but never once of its belonging to it: and to this language the Refutation itself generally adheres. This is the evident doctrine of the scriptures, and of our Articles : it consists completely with justification by free grace in Christ, through faith alone ; and it is fully sufficient to exclude perversion as far as words can do it.
' Cranmer took great pains to state this matter right; and made a large collection of many places, all written with his own hand, both out of
antient and modern authors, concerning faith, `justification, and the merit of good works ; and
concluded with this, That our justification was to 'be ascribed only to the merits of Christ; and that 'those who are justified must have charity as well
as faith, but that neither of these was the meri'torious cause of justification.'3
Rom. iv. 1-5.
· Note on Ref. 154. Note Ref. 154.
This passage concerning Cranmer, with the quotation from him, as made from Bishop Burnet's history, is alone a sufficient answer to the rest of the note from Burnet.-Neither of these, faith or charity.' Is charity then an essential part of 'faith, or a consequent to it?” “Nothing availeth in “ Christ Jesus, but faith which worketh by love."?
· But even in their zeal to renounce and stigmatize this obnoxious doctrine, our reformers observed some degree of caution ; for neither in our Articles, nor in our Liturgy, is it said that ' faith, without good works, will justify; and the word faith in the with Article we are justified
by faith only,'—means a true and lively faith, ' which necessarily produces good works.'2
Does his Lordship, or do any of our opponents, suppose that the evangelical clergy, or indeed that Calvinists in general, or any considerable number of them deny this; and, in their zeal against the
obnoxious doctrine' of justification by works, forget this caution, and this distinction between dead and living faith? Indeed it is impossible to say, what extravagant and abominable sentiments some who are by themselves, and by our opponents, classed among us may hold : but, once for all, I must declare that I should abhor the idea of pleading in behalf of any, who suppose justification attached to a dead faith, and consistent with an unholy life. Much as I detest Popery, I would prefer the creed of a Papist to that of so gross an Antinomian. It is possible, that amidst all the rubbish of Popery there may be some precious ore ; but there can be nothing but abominable wickedness in that man, who deliberately, expressly, and avowedly lives in sin, and encourages others to do the same, by so vile a perversion of the
1 Gal. v. 6.
• Ref. 155.
grače of God into licentiousness.
If any one shall say that the good works of a justified man do not truly deserve eternal life, let him be accursed.')
Horrible as this is, yet saying, 'Let us sin without fear or remorse, because God is infinitely merciful, the atonement and righteousness of Christ of infinite value, salvation wholly of grace, by faith, and not of works ;' is still, in my mind, even more horrible. The former may be the offspring of ignorance; but this is the wilful deliberate perversion of doctrinal knowledge, by the avowed depravity of a licentious heart.
* And indeed in the very Homily, from which the above quotation is taken, it is said, ' None ‘are to consider themselves justified, who are 'destitute of repentance, love, and obedience. If
none be to consider themselves justified who are destitute of repentance, love, and obedience, it follows that repentance, love, and obedience are necessary in a justified person, that is, in a person who has been justified, in order that he may continue in a state of justification."
Much more, in this and the preceding page, might be quoted with approbation. The con
Council of Trent, from Hooker, Note, Ref. 156.
cluding clause, about continuing in a state of ' justification,' refers to a subject, which has been fully considered.
It seems to me wonderful, that no other necessity of good works is expressly mentioned by our opponents, than that which is connected immediately with self-love: as if, were it but possible for us to be justified, and preserved in a justified state, and thus get to heaven, without them; though we might not prefer this, we should, at least, have little objection to it. Whereas I am confident that there is not a true believer on earth, nor ever was, nor will be, who would prefer going to heaven, if practicable, in the neglect of good works, to being made abundantly fruitful in them. Christ“ gave himself for us that he might redeem “ us from all iniquity, and purify us unto himself
a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”I True repentance is inseparable from living faith. Every true penitent hates sin for its own hatefulness, and loves holiness for its own loveliness; yea, he “hungers and thirsts after righteousness. And every justified person has the law of God written in his heart. He loves God supremely, and longs to love him perfectly. He loves his neighbour greatly, and longs to love him as wholly and absolutely as he loves himself. He loves “the “ household of faith.” He would gladly do good to men, and in every way glorify God: and, while he is cheered, amidst the frowns and scorns of an ungodly world, by the assurance of a gracious recompense for “his work and labour of love;" yet,
| Tit. ii. 14.