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Where it is plain that faith fignifies the SERM.
But it by no means follows, that St.
proper sanctions; and it is in this light the apostles and evangelifts always set it; they represent it as the grace of God, which hath appeared unto men bringing salvation,
SERM.but it does not terminate wholly in their de-
answered on their part by bare believing,
any degree of attention, without being convinced that its principal scope is, to teach and urge men to goodness, righteousness, temperance, and patience, by the strongest motives, and particularly by the hope of acquittal in the day of judgment, and of obtaining eternal life; if, I fay, we consider it in this light, there can remain no doubt but that, tho' by the works of the law, as set against faith, a man cannot be justified, yet that, the works and obedience of which faith is the great animating principle, are, in conjunction with it, the condition of our acceptance. All this is farther confirmed by the example of Abraham, and the method of his justification, which St. Paul represents as a precedent to all after ages, and argues from it. He afferts that Abraham was accounted
righteous before God, while circumcision Serm.
SERM. sees him who is invisible, is the substance of VI. things hoped for, and the evidence of things
not seen, and worketh by love.
Farther, St. Paul argues not from the example of Abraham only, but from the tenor of the declarations which were made to him. The promise was given him, that he should be the heir of the world, the father of many nations, and have a numerous Jeed : Which the apostle interprets, not of his natural offspring, tho' they were as the stars of Heaven for multitude, for these were not all heirs of the promise in the spiritual sense: But so as to extend to all who should walk in his steps; that is, imitate his faith, and his virtue. Now the promise was made to him while he was yet uncircumcised, and therefore, as the text says, is sure to all the seed: Not to that only which is of the law, but to that also, which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. And more fully at the roth ver. How was it. (righteousness) then reckoned? When he was in circumcifion, or in uncircumcison? not in circumcifion, but in uncircumcison. And be received the sign of circumcifion, a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had being yet uncircumcised: That he might be.
the father of all them that believe, though SERM. they be uncircumcised ; that righteousness VI.
. might be imputed to them also. From all which it is apparent, what law it is the apostle intends to exclude from a share in our justification : It is that law, which was added because of transgression, denouncing wrath for every disobedience, and binding men over to punishment for the least failure, which therefore could not give life. And the Jews mistook its nature and design, if they expected life by it: For it was intended only as a schoolmaster, to lead them, by its severe discipline, to Christ the promised seed, who declared righteousness by faith, or upon the more favourable and gracious terms of a sincere, tho' imperfect obedience to the gospel. This, I say, is the law which the apostle excludes from a share in our justification: Not the eternal, unchangeable law of fobriety, righteousness, godliness, and charity, which christianity, or the grace that brings falvation, teaches, and in the strongest manner enforces, making our obedience to it indispensably necessary to our obtaining the reward it promises.
Thus the seeming contradiction between the apostles St. Paul and St. James is very VOL. I.