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Ser M.understood him,) that Men are justified VI.
barely by Faith or Believing, as distinguished from Virtue or Righteousness of Life ; but that men are justified by the Obedience of the Gospel, (so the word Faith always signifies in St Paul's epistles,) and is therefore sometimes expressly called The Obedience of Faith, Rom. xvi. 25; and obedience to the Faith, Rom. i. 5;
and Asts vi. 7, they are justified (he faith) by the Obedience of the Gospel only, by that Fidelity or Sincerity in Religion, which the Gospel requires, without observing the ceremonies of the Law of Moses. In like manner, when he tells them that their Salvation is not of Works, but of Grace, Rom. xi. 5; and Gal. v. 4. he does not mean that God saves them without the works of Virtue and Righteousness; but that they are saved by the gracious dispensation of the Gospel, (That is always the meaning of the word, Grace, in these Epistles,) they are faved by the gracious dispensation of the Gospel, by the merciful Terms of Repentance declared through Christ, and not by the ritual and rigorous Observations of the Mofaick
Law. Further ; because one great End S e Rm.
VI. of This Last Dispensation of the Gospel, was to teach men to worship God with pure worship, in Spirit and in Truth, with all Holiness and Righteousness of the Heart and Mind; in opposition to external Forms and carnal Ordniances, Such as Circumcision, Bodily Washings, Purifications, and the like; which affect the Body only; therefore St Paul frequently expresses the Gospel of Christ by the figurative Name of Spirit, and the Law of Moses by that of Flesh : Gal. iji. 3, Are ye so foolish ? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfeet by the Flesh? These Phrases, which otherwise might seem very difficult, because different from modern ways of speaking ; do, from what has been said, appear plainly to signify This only, that the Galatians were worthy of reproof, for that since their embracing the Religion of Christ, they imagined they could still become more perfect, by continuing the practice of Jewish observances. And that This is his true and only meaning may be shown yet more evidently from the following
SER M. parallel places; Rom. ii. 29, Circumcifion,
VI. is that of the Heart, in the Spirit, and not Min the letter : And ch. vii, 6, We are deli
vered from the Law; that we mould ferve in newness of Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter : And Phil. iïi. 3,
We are the circumcifion, which worship God in the Spirit,
and have no confidence in the Flesh. Spirit, in all these places, is the spiritual worship of the Gospel; and what he here stiles Flesh, is the fame as what he elsewhere calls a carnal commandment, Heb, vii. 16; and ch. ix. 10, carnal ordinances, namely meats and drinks and divers washings. These, where there is no true Virtue and Righteousness of Life, are the Forms of Godliness without the Power of it; the corruption, which our Saviour principally meant to reform in the words of the Text; and which St Paul cautions againit, when he declares, that the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousnefs, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; Rom. xiv. 17: that we are ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, 2 Cor. iii. 6: that Circumcifion is
nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, Serm.
3dly, As Some among the Antient
Christians of all later Ages
1 PLACE, Those of the Church of Rome, do in the Highest degree transgress this great Commandment of our Saviour, when instead of that Spiritual Worship, which our Lord intended to establifn,
Serm. they on the contrary fill their religion VI. with more rites and ceremonies, than even
the Law of Mofes itself was burdened withal ; And (which of all other things is the most profane, ) compell men by force, to make external and hypocritical Professions in matters of Religion ; which yet, they well know, if it is not feated in the Heart, is no Religion at all.
2dly, Of transgressing this precept in the Text, those Christians also are guilty in All communions, who place the chief of their religion in the Form of Godliness, in barely going to Church, and in receiving the Sacrament, and in such other outward Performances, which ought not indeed to be left undone, but which are Then only acceptable to God and useful to the Souls of Men, when they are Means of producing that True Holiness, Charity, and Righteousness of life, which is, in Heaven, as well as upon Earth, the eternal and unchangeable essence of Religion. Such persons as These therefore are well reproved by the Prophet Jeremy; ch. vii. 4. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the