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then if the inspired apostles were guided to in'struct their disciples in this manner, it is incum'bent upon their successors, the present ministers of the gospel, to insist upon the necessity of good works, at least with as much earnestness and as frequently, as upon the necessity of faith. To * obviate any misunderstanding upon a point of so
great moment, the observance of the moral du'ties, upon the principles and motives required in 'the gospel, ought to be expressly enforced as indispensable to salvation; and, whenever faith is inculcated, the congregation should be reminded, * that to shew faith by works is the only mode of shewing faith authorized by scripture, and not palpably subject to deceit and delusion.'1
“ The style of preaching here stated, and very justly, to be imperfect and dangerous,' is I trust little known in our congregations. He, who insists solely on salvation through faith, is far indeed
declaring the whole counsel of God.” Whatever God has made a part of his revealed word, that, as far as doctrine and practice are concerned, ought to have a proportionable place in our instructions; and most of the evangelical body, I trust, aim at this. It may fairly be said of many among us, that there is no one of our discourses or sermons, either printed or preached, which does not contain exhortations to the practice of moral virtue or Christian holiness; or in which a gracious reward is not proposed to the fruits of faith and grace. We hope that we both read, and endeavour to reduce to practice in our
ministry, what his Lordship here very properly recommends to our attention : and many will unite with me in earnestly praying, that all the clergy of our church, and all every where called the ministers of Christianity, may do this more and more. But here is our disadvantage: we read his Lordship's book, and the works of our other opponents; and we really know what their opinions are: but we cannot avoid thinking, that many of our opponents do not read our books, and are not acquainted with our sentiments. And this is, by far, the most candid construction we can put upon their conduct; for most certainly we are supposed to hold, and to disseminate doctrines, which we wholly abhor and most decidedly protest against.
*No clergyman should confine his public in“struction to subjects of morality or of theology. • The sermons of a parish-priest ought to extend 'to all the doctrines and to all the duties of Christianity. The one are not to be dwelt upon to the exclusion of the other. A faithful minister of the gospel will strive to “shew himself approved unto God,” by “rightly dividing the 'word of truth,” so as to embrace the whole Christian scheme of human redemption. Sometimes ' he will give a summary of this wonderful dis
pensation, and explain its divine origin, neces'sity, extent, and inestimable value. At other times he will illustrate the various truths which it reveals, and enlarge upon the numerous pre'cepts which it contains; and whatever doctrine 'he inculcates, or whatever duty he enforces, he will be careful not to lead his hearers into the
error of imagining, that this single point is all • that is required of a Christian; or that obedience · or belief in this one article will compensate for disobedience or unbelief in any other. “ He * that offendeth in one point, is guilty of all :" surely then every portion and particle of the · Christian character is to be explained, lest a man • by a single omission become a transgressor of
the whole law. Much less are doctrinal subjects totally to supersede the duties of morality, “ for ' what does it profit, though a man say he hath
faith, and have not works?” Let not these two, · faith and works, which Christ has joined together ' in his gospel, be ever separated by his ministers. · Let faith be inculcated as the appointed condition ' of justification ; and let works at the same time
be always enforced as the necessary fruits and ?sole criterion of true faith.''
Except the word condition, there is nothing in this passage which does not accord to the views of the author of these remarks. He is a very defective minister of Christianity indeed, who does not preach the whole of Christianity, in scriptural connexion and proportion. It would be a most important blessing, if these publications should excite those clergymen who have greatly excluded, or cast into the back ground, the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, to bring them forward, and to give them all that prominency which they have in the apostolical writings, and to graft all their practical exhortations upon them: and if such evangelical preachers as have too much confined
1 Ref. 1674-169.
themselves to doctrines, promises, and privileges, and have been too general and slight in practical instructions and exhortations, might be induced to insist more fully and particularly upon them, as the genuine deduction from their doctrines ; according to the just remark of the pious Doddridge. I can truly say, should I live to see it, that I should as cordially rejoice in the latter, as in the former effect. The deficiency, indeed, has been by no means so great as our opponents suppose ; yet there has been a deficiency in evangelical preachers, in respect of practical instruction, which many of us have deeply lamented, and endeavoured, perhaps with some success, to remedy. He who does not preach the grand doctrines of salvation by grace, in Christ, through faith, builds without a foundation: and he who, laying this foundation, does not build upon it every part of Christian holiness and obedience, has a foundation without a building erected on it; or one constructed of such materials as will never stand the fiery trial.
* But, while I am contending that a strict atten‘tion to the duties of morality is indispensably
required by the religion of Christ, I must repeat, * that good works are in no respect or degree the ' meritorious cause of our salvation. Whenever we speak of any benefit derived from the gospeldispensation, all potion of deserving it, all idea of ' merit on our part, is to be disclaimed. The whole ' and every part of this inestimable blessing, every
consequence and effect proceeding from it, directly or indirectly, is the free gift of God to
‘ unworthy and undeserving man. This distinc* tion, between meritorious cause and appointed condition, is a very material one.'1 I quote this passage, as cordially approving it.
* But, if we went into the opposite extreme, and believed that good works were not the appointed condition of salvation, we should of course become indifferent to the character of our actions.'2
• Works the appointed condition of salvation' may here be noticed as language not found in scripture, nor known to our reformers.— If we ' believed that good works were not the appointed condition of salvation, we should of course become indifferent to the character of our actions.' This must mean, that self-love is the highest, or the only motive, of human activity, even in the most religious persons : otherwise love to God and man, love to holiness, hatred of sin, and other disinterested motives, might render us“ zealous “ of good works,” even if we did not believe them to be the condition of salvation. But, if nothing except mercenary hope and slavish fear can deter men from wickedness, it is manifest that they are destitute of love, gratitude, benevolence, and every right disposition.
* In the Revelation it is said, “ Blessed are they * that do his commandments, that they may have
right to the tree of life.”3 This is a right not ' founded in the real merit of men, but derived ' from the gracious promise of God; not a claim
1 Ref. 169.
3 Rev. xxi. 14.