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pose the opinion of the Antinomians, who misunderstanding St. Paul's doctrine, held that men were justified by the mere profession of Christianity. (2.) The works that he mentions, (v. 21.) are not the circumcision or ritual observances of Abraham, but his offering up his son Isaac, which St. Paul had reckoned as a part of his faith ; and hence he says," a man is justified by works, but does not say " the works of the law." (3.) By the word faith, he means a bare believing, a such as devils are capable of, which he says canuot justify us. These two parts, then, of the New Testament, do not, by any means, contradict each other; for as it is certainly true, that we are taken into the favour of heaven upon

a This is confirmed by v. 14., “ What doth it profit, though a man say he bath faith and have not works Can faith save him ?" In the latter clause faith is expressed by n TPLOTIS, the faith, that kind of faith which the man declares himself to have; so that the phrase is equivalent to, " can such faith a's this save him?"

No subject in the sacred writings has given rise to a greater variety of opinions than this. Some suppose St. Paul speaks of jastification properly so called, and St. James of the manifestation of that justification. (See Poole's Synop. in loc.) The Council of Trent suppose that St. Paul speaks of the first justification, (as they termed it,) and St. James of the second. (Sess. 6.c. 19. Bellar. de Justif. 1. 11. c. 16., and Vega, Trid. dec. de Justif. expos. p. 308.) Others thought the reconciliation su difficult, as to induce them to expange St. James's Epistle from the canon. (Centur. Magdeb. cent. 1. 1. 2. c. 4.) That given above is, perhaps, the most satisfactory. (See Dwight's Theol. ser. 68, and Turretin's Exerc, Theol. text de Concord. Paul et Jac.)

our receiving the whole Gospel, without observing the Mosaical precepts, so it is as certainly true, that a bare professing the doctrines of Christianity, without our living suitably to them, cannot make us acceptable to God.

When it is said, however, that we are justified by faith, it is not to be considered as a meritorious act, but as the condition on which the mercy of God is offered to us. The consideration on which God acts is merely the death of Christ, which being provided by him out of the riches of his grace and offered to us, justification is therefore said to be free, there being nothing on our part which either did or could procure it. But our faith, which includes our hope, love, repentance, and obedience, is the condition that makes us capable of receiving the benefits of this redemption.

Before we conclude, it may be necessary to mention the doctrine of the Roman Catholic

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a This distinction is well observed in the Latin original : “ Tautùm propter merita domini, per fidem, non propter opera et merita nostra.” It would also be more apparent in the translation by a slight transposition. We are accounted righteous before God by means “ of our faith, only on account of the merit of our Lord, not on “ account of our own works or deservings.” For the opinion of Luther and Melancthon on this subject, see Archbp. Laurence, ser. 6. note (13. 17 and 18.)

See Bate on the Harmony of the Div. Attrib. o. 14. p. 163. Ed. 1723, and Prideaux's Fas. Cont. p. 267.

b

Church on the subject of this article. They consider remission of sins as distinct from justification. This is freely given to us in Christ Jesus, and consists in the infusion of inherent righteousness into the individual, whereby he becomes truly just, and is therefore justified by God. On this point, the difference between us seems a debate about words, since what they call remission of sins we call justification, and what they call justification, we call sanctification. Yet even in this we have the Scriptures clearly on one side, for they speak of sanctification as a thing different from, and subsequent to justification : “ Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified.”—1 Cor. vi. 11.

There are other points, however, on which the difference between us is considerable. They holdd that the receiving of the sacraments, if men do not put a bar to them, thongh they have only imperfect acts of repentance accompanying them, supplies that imperfection, so as to justify them. This doctrine we reject, as tending to

a This they called the first and second justification. See Conc. Trid. sess. 6. de Increm. Justifi. c. 9, 10, 11.

• See Vega, Trid. dec. de Justifi. Ex. p. 76. Bellar. de Justifi. 1. 1. c. 21. and Conc. Trid. sess. 6. c. 4.

See Hooper's Discourse on Justification, and a curious tract called, Discovery of the Jesuitical Opinion of Justification, London, without date.

d See Archbishop Laurence, ser. 6. with notes.

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enervate all religion, and to make the sacraments, which were intended to excite our piety, become means of deadening our devotion.Further, they hold, that after the infusion of inherent righteousness, the acts of good men become of their own nature so perfect, that they merit by their own condignity, the reward of final justification. We, on the contrary, admit, that God is indeed pleased with the inward reformation that he sees in good men, and accepts of their sincere intentions; still there remains so much imperfection, that even his acceptance of this is an act of mere mercy.

Our justification by faith is a doctrine full of comfort, for if we believed that it was founded on our inherent justice, as the ground on which we receive it, we should have just cause of fear and dejection, since we could not reasonably promise ourselves so great a blessing upon so poor a consideration. But when we know that this is only the condition of it, then when we feel it is sincerely received and believed, and carefully observed by us, we may conclude that we are justified, and so long as we continue to « work out our own salvation with fear and

trembling," we may depend on the propitiation of Christ, which extends to all who believe and obey his Gospel.

ARTICLE XII.

OF GOOD WORKS.

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

FRUIT.

This Article consists of two parts:

I. Good works are imperfect, and II. They are necessary and pleasing to God.

I. Good works are imperfect. “ They cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of

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“God's judgment.”

With respect to the nature and consequences of good works, the Roman Catholic Church hold two doctrines : Ist. That men by their good works have só fully satisfied the law of God,

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b

See Conc. Trid. sess. 6. cap. 16. can. 32. The possibility of keeping the laws of God perfectly, was also beld by the Anabaptists. See Bullinger, Adv. Anab. l. 4. c. 3.

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