Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

remain the children of God through him ; that being children, we may be beirs, and so have right to the tree of life”. But to prevent misunderstandings, it is needful to observe the contents of the next inference y, which, now at length I proceed unto.

2. From what has been said, we may learn,“ that although we are justified by faith, yet we are not justified for faith." That is, our faith, considered as something holy, virtuous, and good in us, is not that which recommends us to God, in whole, or in part. Nor has it, viewed in this point of light, any hand in our justification.--For,

The true believer, considered as in himself, without any relation to Christ, does, in strict justice, deserve dampation after he believes, as much as he did before. The act of faith makes no ainonds for his past sins, none at all. The account stands just as it did. Only, as he falls short of sinless perfection every moment; so every moment he merits damnation afresh ; according to law: a law holy, just, and good. And indeed, it must in reason be so. For if we should perfectly devote ourselves to God in heart and life for the time to come, we should but give God his just due; for we are his, wholly his. But doing our daty for the future, cannot make up for past neglects, any more than our paying the debts we may contract for the time to come, will satisfy for debts contracted in time past. Besides, our sins are infinite evils : but our virtues are of finite worth: but finite put in balance to infinite is nothing. For when it is substracted, the remainder is still infinite. Therefore only the mere defects, attending our best services, our highest exercises of grace, in this imperfect state, merit eternal damnation. Nor does all the grace and goodness in us make the least amends. So that the believer, in bis purest and highest act of faith, considered as in himself, without any relation to Christ, merits eternal damnation, instead of justification to eternal life.

Or, if we leave speculation, and come to experience, still the poiot before us appears to be true.

« For the believer f John xv. 6.

y If the reader would see this subject thoroughly discussed, let him read Mr. Adwards' sermon on Justification by Faith alone.

the ing this in the wha do. to G Gala 时, ach



feels that hell is his proper due, that very moment he exercises faith in Christ.” For why else does he apply to the atonement of Christ ? For if he does not deserve to go to hell, he does not need the sacrifice of Christ to save him from hell. His looking to Christ by faith, to be saved from hell, supposes he feels, hell to be his proper due. Else, it is a mere mockery.

But it is plain from Moses, and from St. Paul, “ that no goodness short of sidless perfection can entitle us to the favour of God.” Faith, as it is our virtue, cannot do it any more than repentance, or sincere obedience. For nothing short of sinless perfection can do it. But faith is not sinless perfection. Therefore we cannot be justified on the account of our faith. In a word, St. Paul's reasonings do as effectually prove that faith cannot justify us in this sense, as that works cannot. And indeed, faith viewed in this light, is as much a work, as any other Christian grace whatsoever, or as any external act of obedience a man can do. And he that depends upon his faith to recommend him to God, depends upon his own righteousness, as much as the Galatians did. He is in the same scheme, only a little refined. There is no essential difference. The Galatians trusted in their own righteousness. So do these. The Galatians nevertheless hoped and expected that Christ would be of some effect to them, and profit them some. And so do these. The Galatians had never had the law sufficiently set home upon their hearts. So it is with these. The only difference is, that the Galatians seem to have tiusted chiefly in their external religious performances'; and these trust chiefly in the internal religious frame of their hearts. But as there was nothing of the nature of true virtue in the duties of the self-righteous Galatians; so there is nothing of the nature of true faith, in the faith of these self-righteous believers. It being as inconsistent with the nature of faith in Christ, for a man to make a righteousness of his faith, as it is to make a righteousness of any thing else.

If it should be inquired, “in what sense then are we justified by faith?” I answer-When the Jew brought a bullock for a sin-offering, and presented it before the Lord, and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

laid his hands on the head of it, that it might die in his stead, and make an atonement for his sin, that it might be forgiven; if he acted understandingly, and uprightly, it implied an hearty approbation of the law.; wbich he could not have, without a supreme love to God; which would naturally lay the foundation for repentance and sincere obedience. Yet it was not that approbation of the law, nor that love to God, nor that repentance, nor that sincere obedience, nor his bringing the bullock, nor his laying his hands on his head, which was to make atonement for his sin; but the blood of the bullock; according to the constant language of the law of Moses. So, although true faith in Christ implies an hearty approbation of the law, which cannot be without a supreme love to God, which will naturally lay a foundation for repentance and sincere obedience; yet, it is not this hearty approbation of the law, nor this supreme love to God, nor this repentance, nor this sincere obedience, no, nor the act of faith itself, that makes atonement for sin; but only the blood of Christ ; according to the constant language of the New Testament. Nor are any of these, therefore, to be depended upon; but only Jesus Christ. Nor can faith do any thing towards justifying us, unless as it unites us to Christ. For in the very act of faith, all pretences to the divine favour on our own account, are given up; and hell is owned to be our due. And we look only to the merits and atonement of Christ : leave all other refuges, and fly hither : are divorced from the law, and married to Christ ; according to the language of St. Paul ?. And the married wife, we know, is interested in her husband's estate. For they two are become one flesh a. They are one in law. And in consequence of this relation, this union, or oneness, she is interested in all his. riches and honour; even if he is a prince, and she before but a poor, despised maid. And this marriage union, St. Paul considers, as resembling the union between Christ and believers, and dwells upon it at large, in Eph. v. 23–32. And as the husband pays his wife's debts ; so Christ gave himself for his Church, to pay the ten thousand talents she owed, and to redeem her to himself, to be his wife. To be


then holy

a Eph. V. 31.

ng bus


z Rom. vii.

for ever one with him us he and his father are oneb. And therefore a new convert is said to be espoused to Christ For in the first act of faith, the match is made for eternity.

And the whole Church, being but one mystical body, is called the bride, the lamb's wife d. And, if the church is the lamb’s wife, then the church is God's daughter; God's ebild; and every true believer is a child of God. As it is written, as many as received him, to them gave he power, or a right, to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Wherefore they are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christf. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. And thus by faith we are united to Christ, and so interested in him and in all blessings through him. And this is the reason that believers, in the constant language of the New Testament, are said to be in Christ. But Christ is God's beloved Son; and so we are accepted in the beloved h. And after our persons are accepted, then also our spiritual sacrifices, all our religious duties and holy exercises, in wbich we present ourselves to God, as a living sacrifice', are acceptable to God by Jesus Christk And thus we are justified by faith, not as an holy act, recommending us to God; but as an uniting act, uniting us to Christ, Just as a married wife, being one in law with her husband, is consequently interested in his estate. Not because her

marrying her husband was an act of virtue ; but because her marriage made her one with him.

St. Paul dearly loves, in his writings, to illustrate Gospel-truths by Jewish types; that people, their law, and almost all God's dispensations towards them, being designed by God to be shadows of good things to come. The earthly Canaan was a type of the heavenly; and Isaac, the promised son, was a type of Christ, the promised seed. And as the Israelites were entitled to the earthly Canaan, not by law, but by promise, the promise made to Abraham in Gen. xii. in which God made a grant of all that country to him, and to his seed; so it was not any

6 John xvü. 21.
e John i. 12.
h Eph. i. 6.

c 2 Cor. xi. 2.
f Gal. iii. 26.
i Rom. xü. 1.

d Rey: xxi. 9. & Rom. viii. 17. k 1 Pet. ij. 5.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

goodness in Abraham's seed, butonly their relation to Abraham, that gave them a title to that good land. If they were Abraham's seed, they were heirs according to the promise. The law, which was given 450 years after, not being designed to disannul their former title, or to appoint any new terms. (Rom. iv. 14. Gal. iii. 16, 17, 18.) Even so it is in this case, says the apostle. Our title to the heavenly Canaan is not by law, not by any goodness in us, but if we are Christ's, then are we Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (ver. 29.) For the promise was to Abraham and to his seed; not to seeds, as of many; but as of one to thy seed, which is Christ. (ver. 16.) And so Christ was appointed heir of all things. (Heb. i. 2.) Now therefore, if we are Christ's, i. e. if we are in Christ, by faith, we are joint heirs with him. And so our title to the beavenly Canaan results, not from any goodness in us; but only from our relation to Christ. Therefore faith justifies us, not as an holy act, recommending us to God; but as an uniting act, uniting us to Christ. Just as a descendant of Abraham was entitled to the earthly Caanan by birth ; not because it was a virtue to be born of Jewish parents, but only because by this means he was a child of Abraham ;

and so an heir according to promise. And thus we are saved by grace through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast'. Not in the least degree, or in any respect, for any goodness in us, considered merely as in ourselves, that there might not be the least ground of boasting; but that all the glory might be given to free grace through Jesus Christ“. Arminians and Neonomians suppose it is in some degree for some goodness in us; and so take some of the glory to themselves, and give the rest to Christ and free grace. Socinians suppose they are justified wholly for their own goodness; and so take the whole glory to themselves. For they consider Christ on the cross, not as a sacrifice of atonement; but only as a martyr. But St. Paul gives quite all the glory to Christ and free grace. And the reason is, because the very best man on earth, afresh merits eternal damnation every hour, according to law, and strict justice; and all his goodness does not make the very least amends. So

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


( Eph. ii. 8, 9.

m Eph. i. 6.

« ZurückWeiter »