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a circumstance in a parable, is to preponderate against all the texts before quoted, the reader must determine. Expositors in general think, that circumstances of this kind are to be explained according to the clear import of other scriptures, and not used to decide controverted points of doctrine. The language also of him who owed the immense sum of ten thousand talents, when he confidently says, “ Have patience with me, and I “ will pay thee all;" which he had not the smallest prospect of doing, was very dissimilar from that of the publican, “God be merciful to me a sin~ ner!" And his harsh treatment of his fellowservant, is as little like the effect of that “faith ~ which worketh by love;" as his undertaking to pay the whole debt was like the contrition and humility of a true penitent. If however, a true believer loses his living faith, and commits sins, and does not deeply repent, his pardon no doubt is cancelled, and he will finally perish : nay, if he fall into sin, or grow negligent in his duty, he will lose“ the joy of God's salvation,” and be exposed to alarms, and rebukes, and sharp corrections till he become zealous and repent.
• To the much agitated question, therefore, whether works be necessary to justification, we answer, that, if by justification be meant the first
entrance into a state of justification, works are not necessary; if by justification be meant the
continuance in a state of justification, works are necessary.''
1 Ref. 124.
Dead faith, by his Lordship's own statement, does not justify: and a lively holy faith will preserve the believer in a justified state. Concerning this the scriptural language is very decided :.“ By
faith stand :”] “We walk by faith :"? “Above “all taking the shield of faith, whereby ye shall be “ able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked :"3
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal “ life :" “ The life, which I now live in the flesh, “ I live by the faith of the Son of God.”4 All the obedience, victories, and perseverance of ancient worthies, enumerated in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, were effected by faith.
“ We through “ the Spirit,” says the apostle, “ wait for the hope “ of righteousness by faith.”5 Certainly that faith which does not " work by love" can accomplish, nothing of this kind: neither ean it give the first ' entrance into a state of justification.' But faith which“ worketh by love” will manifest itself by “ the work of faith, and labour of love, and pa“ tience of hope,” and “ patient continuance in
well-doing.”. Yet, to the very last, it is by faith alone, that we abide in a justified state; because, to the last, we are in ourselves sinners ; our best days are days of imperfect obedience; our best actions are imperfect, defective, if not defiled ; and our dying prayer must be,“ God be merciful to
me a sinner.”? Forgiveness is only by the blood of Christ, and by faith in him; and therefore faith alone saves the sinner from first to last : though
1 2 Cor. i. 24.
Eph. vi. 16. 1 Tim. vi. 12.
2. Cor. v.
7. + Gal. i. 20. 6 1 Thes. i. 3. Rom. ii. 7.
not a faith which is solitary, or alone, in him who is saved; but one which produces good works, as certainly as a good tree brings forth good fruit.? “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your “ most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep
yourselves in the love of God; looking for the
mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal « life." 2
By this distinction, we support the fundamental principle of the gospel-justification by faith in · Christ; and at the same time secure the main
purpose of our Saviour's incarnation and death, ““ who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works ;" we shew the consistency of justification by faith alone with 'the necessity of personal righteousness and holi'ness; we vindicate the mercy of God and the • atonement of Christ, while we afford the strongest ' possible sanction to the cause of moral virtue.'3
By the simple distinction between lively, or living, and dead faith, all this is far more completely answered ; many other difficulties are removed ; apparent inconsistencies reconciled, and pernicious inferences obviated.
It cannot be doubted that his Lordship, in the pages below referred to, has decidedly the best of the argument, in those points, (whether faith, and the merits of Christ mean the same thing,) respecting which he differs from Dr. Pearson, Chris
? Jude 20, 21.
tian Advocate in the University of Cambridge.But this is not our present concern.
"Whoever will examine the numerous passages • of scripture, in which the word faith occurs with
out any adjunct, will find that something is always * understood. Faith must have an object. Faith • is of itself an imperfect expression, though per
haps from its frequent use, and the obviousness ' of the person or thing signified, it is scarcely < noticed as such. « The name of faith,' says
Hooker, ‘being properly and strictly taken, it 'must needs have reference unto some uttered ' word as the object of belief.''1
This note contains an important instruction. Faith bears the same relation to revealed truth, which the eye does to light. Without the one, the other must be useless; and God would never have created eyes, if he had not created, or purposed to create, light. The uttered word is the
object of belief.' “ The sure testimony of God” is that which faith credits and trusts; and thus the simplest believer is made “ wise unto eternal “salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.” But all other faith, in matters of religion, must either be mere opinion ; or credit given to human testimony, reasoning, or authority.?
The word believe, in all its various inflexions, occurs many hundred times, but, if I mistake not, the word belief occurs only once, in the New Testament.' 3
There was, it seems, only one place, in which it was convenient to translate the word niotis, belief : for it is the same word, which is in other places rendered faith.
• No man, says the learned and judicious Hooker, can attain belief by the bare contemplation of heaven and earth, for that they neither ' are sufficient to give us as much as the least 'spark of light concerning the very principal mysteries of our faith.'1.
If this be well grounded, as no doubt it is, what are we to think of that statement concerning faith, which has lately been considered ? 2
"That belief or faith may exist, unaccompanied by any of the Christian virtues and graces, appears from the case of Simon Magus, already referred to, who is said to have“ believed," and yet (“his heart was not right in the sight of God;" ' he was “ in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."'3
It is readily allowed, nay strenuously insisted on, that “ dead faith” may thus exist, and often does : but not “ the faith which worketh by love,” and " overcometh the world,” and which may be as evidently known by good works, as a tree is discerned by the fruits. To this faith all the blessings of salvation are constantly promised, in the same inspired writings, which at other times used the word in so much lower a sense. 4 And no
Note, Ref. 102, 103.-See also Book I. i. $ 4. On the case of the Gentiles. 3 Ref. 130. Comp. John iii. 14--18, 36. v. 24. with ii. 23-25. xii. 42, 43.