תמונות בעמוד

himself, he says, I delight in the law of God after the inward man; and with the mind I myself serve the law of God. He also declares it to be the great end, for which God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a sin-offering, lo condemn sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in Chrislians, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. If, then, Christians do not fulfil the righteousness of the law, that is, obey it, this great end of Christ's mediation must be frustrated. The same Apostle declares, that Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing ; but keeping the commandments of God; and that circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but faith which worketh by love; and that circumcision is nothing, and Uncircumcision is nothing ; but a new creature. From these three passages it is evident, among other things, that he, who keepeth the commandments of God, is the same person, in all instances, with him, who is possessed of the faith, which worketh by love and who is a new creature. So far, then, is faith from making void the law, that it is exhibited by the Apostle as the very spirit, with which its commandments are kept, and which thus becomes the means of establishing the law.

Finally, the same Apostle says, Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Holiness, every person at all acquainted with the Scriptures knows, is nothing but obedience to the law. Without this obedience, then, a person, who is the subject of faith, and of consequent justification, if we were to suppose such a case, would never see the Lord. These passages, which I have selected without any labour, are ample proof of the falsity of this doctrine. Without any labour also, many more might be easily added, which are equally explicit, and unambiguous, from every part of the New Testament. The decision of St. James has been heretofore recited, as it exists in one passage; but his whole Epistle, and the whole united voice of the Scriptures, is against this scheme. In truth, I am astonished, that it should have been adopted by any sober man, who has read his Bible.

Let me ask the Antinomian, from which part of the law he considers himself as released; or whether from the whole. Is he released from his obligation to love God? or to love mankind ? or from restraining those passions, which, if indulged, will prevent him from loving either? Or is he released from them all? In the former case he is released from being virtuous in part. In the latter he is released from all virtue. In other words, the doctrine of justification by faith has become, to him, a license to hate, or forget, the God that made him ; to hate, or disregard, his neighbour ; and to give the reins to those passions, which, thus indulged, will conduct him to absolute profligacy.

II. The doctrine of justification by faith does not destroy, or lessen, the Motives to obedience.

Those, with whom we have hitherto contended, it will be reinembered, hold the doctrine of justification by faith ; and admit this objection in its full force; while they believe that, instead of lessening the evidence of the doctrine, the objection, as well as the doctrine, is an original part of the Evangelical system. Those, with whom we are now to contend, on the contrary, deny the doctrine of justification by faith ; and allege this objection, as primary evidence of its falsehood. The argumentation, therefore, must now take a different course from that, which has been already adopted; and, in most respects, proceed on different principles. The chief design, hitherto, has been, to take the doctrine of justification by faith as granted; because it is in fact granted by our antagonists; and, with this admission, to show, that the law remains in full force, as an obligatory rule of obedience. The design will now be to show, that the objection against the doctrine, that it lessens the Motives to obedience, is destitute of validity, because it is destitute of truth. For this purpose, I observe,

1st. That the obedience, which precedes the existence of faith, is destitute of any virtuous character.

Without faith it is impossible to please God. The external acts of conformity to the law of God are frequently called by the name of obedience; and for this reason only have I given them that name. But, in my own view, the Gospel considers them as utterly undeserving of such a title. They are, there, always exhibited as proceeding from an evil heart of unbelief ; and we are decisively taught, that oul of the evil treasure of such a heart evil things only proceed.

It is undoubtedly our duty to lay hold on eternal life, and a

gross sin to be negligent of this duty. But it cannot be pretended, that the mere pursuit of this good, without any relish for its moral nature, and without any voluntary conformity to the will of God concerning it, is virtuous. In this case, it is pursued with the same spirit, and the same views, with which we labour to obtain property, office, or reputation; and the mind is no less selfish in the one case, than in the other. No man is more scrupulous, or more exact, in external religious observances, than the superstitious man. Yet no other person, beside himself, dreams, that his observances are virtuous. The Pharisees with great care tithed mint, anise, and cummin ; and this they did with an intention to procure immortal life by what they esteemed obedience. For the same end they washed their hands, cups, pots, and other vessels ; made long prayers; gave alms; fasted often; and did many other things of an external nature with great care, and exactness. So exact, so scrupulous, were they in their outward religious conduct, that they were highly respected by the people at large, as good men. Still, they are pronounced by our Lord to be a generation of Vipers, and children of hell. All their external offices of religion, then, though directed, generally at least, to the attainment of eternal life, and performed with a strong expectation of securing it to themselves, were utterly destitute of virtue; and failed, altogether, of rendering them acceptable to God.

The young man, who came to Christ to know what good thing he should do to inherit eternal life, appears, in his original character, to have been more than usually amiable: for Jesus, beholding him, loved him. The account, which he gave of his own external obedience, appears to me to have been sincerely given. There is good reason to believe, that he really, and with uncommon care, had, in the external sense, obeyed the commands of the decalogue. Still, he lacked one thing ; and that was the one thing needful ; viz. real, or evangelical, virtue.

From these examples, thus considered, it is evident, that men may proceed far, (it is difficult to say how far,) in external obedience; and yet be destitute of the evangelical character, and of every recommendation to God. Hence it cannot but be seen, hat external religious observances, existing in the highest degree, and performed, primarily, for the purpose of obtaining eternal life, are not in themselves, nor for this reason, virtuous, nor recommendations to the Divine favour. If, then, the doctrine of justification by faith should in fact lessen the motives to this kind of obedience, as performed merely with these views, it cannot, therefore, with any truth be said to make void the law; or to lessen the motives to evangelical obedience.

The dictates of reason perfectly accord with those of the Scriptures concerning this subject. That service, which is emphatically called mercenary, or which, in other words, is performed solely for the sake of a personal reward, is never considered by mankind as being virtuous, however exactly performed. Hence the very term mercenary, though originally indicating nothing immoral, has, in the most common use, acquired a bad signification ; and is customarily used, and regarded, as a term of reproach. Voluntary service, only, in which good-will is exercised about the employment, and towards the object, which it respects, is acknowledged by mankind to be virtuous. Those, who love us, merely because we love them, and who do good to us, merely because we do good to them, are considered by common sense, as well as by Christ, as no better than publicans and sinners. They may be, they usually are, convenient to us; and we may love them with the same spirit, with which they love us; but it is impossi. ble for us rationally to esteem them virtuous in this conduct.

2dly. The Obligations of the Law are not lessened by this docerine ; and therefore, the Motides to obedience, derived from this source, continue the same.

The nature of the law, its rewards and penalties, and the character and authority of the Lawgiver, the relations which we sus. tain towards him, as creatures, and as subjects of law, are certainly in no respect changed by the scheme of Evangelical justification. If there is a hint of this nature contained in the Gospel, 1 have never been able to find it. Until such a hint shall be produced, I shall take it for granted, that there is none.

I know of nothing, of this nature, which can be alleged, even with plausibility, unless it is this ; that the believer, being justified by faith, and having his title to justification secured, from the commencement of faith in his mind; the penalty of the laro becomes,

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to him, a nullity. As I suppose this to be the chief thing, aimed at by those, who make the objection under consideration ; and that, in which the real difficulty is supposed to lie; I' shall examine it with some degree of attention.

1st. The penalty of the law exists as truly against the Christian, as against the sinner; although in a different sense.

The law denounces its penalty against every soul of man that doeth evil. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

But it will be said, that those, who hold the doctrine of justification by faith, hold, also, that of the final perseverance of the saints; and, by consequence deny, that the penalty of the law will ever be executed on any of those, who become the subjects of faith. As this is fairly said, because it is said with truth; particularly, so far as I am concerned ; I feel myself bound to give it a fair consideration.

Let it be observed then, that the security, which those, who are the subjects of faith, possess of eternal life, is not, in my view, connected with the first act of faith, in this manner; that they are the subjects of this single act of faith, and will afterwards. be the subjects of habitual and characteristical disobedience; but in this manner; that, having once exercised faith, they will continue, thenceforth, to practise an habitual and characteristical obedience; to the end of life. If a man abide not in me, saith our Saviour, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and east them into the fire; and they are burned. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. For we are inade parlakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our Confidence steadfast unto the end. In every one of these passages, the doctrine, which I have specified, is declared in terms, so plain and unequivocal, as to need no comment. I shall only add one more, although multitudes might be easily added. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection ; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. If St. Paul, whose words these are, felt himself, in any manner, exposed to be finally cast away, and considered it as absolutely necessary to make these efforts, in order to avoid this

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