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lukewarmness. For though all the old philosophy consented that virtue and vice had no medium between them, but whatsoever was not evil, was good, and he that did not do evil was a good man, said the old Jews, yet this they therefore did irreprovably teach, because they knew not this secret of the righteousness of God. For in the evangelical justice, between the natural, or legal good or evil, there is a medium or a third, which of itself, and by the accounts of the law was not evil, but in the accounts of the evangelical righteousness is a very great one; that is, lukewarmness, or a cold, tame, indifferent, inactive religion. Not that lukewarmness is by name forbidden by any of the laws of the Gospel, but that it is against the analogy and design of it. A lukewarm person does not do evil, but he is hated by God, because he does not vigorously proceed in godliness. No law condemns him, but the Gospel approves him not, because he does not from the heart obey this form of doctrine, which commands a course, a habit, a state and life of holiness. It is not enough that we abstain from evil, we shall not be crowned unless we be partakers of a divine nature.' For to this St. Peter i enjoins us carefully. Now then we partake of a divine nature, when the Spirit dwells in us,' and rules all our faculties, when we are united unto God, when we imitate the Lord Jesus, when we are perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Now whether this can be done by an act of contrition, needs no further inquiry, but to observe the nature of evangelical righteousness, the hatred God bears to lukewarmness, the perfection he requires of a Christian, the design and great example of our blessed Lord, the glories of that inheritance whither we are designed, and of the obtaining of which, obedience to God in the faith of Jesus Christ is made the only, indispensable, necessary condition.
48. For let it be considered. Suppose a man that is righteous according to the letter of the law of the ten commandments, all of which (two excepted) were negative; this man hath lived innocently and harmlessly all his days, but yet uselessly, unprofitably, in rest and inactive circumstances; is not' this person an unprofitable servant ? the servant in the parable was just such: he spent not his master's talent with riotous living, like the prodigal, but laid it up in a napkin, he did neither good nor harm; but because he did no good, he received none, but was thrown into outer darkness.
1 2 Pet. i. 4.
* Nec furtum feci, nec fugi' si mihi dicat
“Non hominem occidi ;'-' non pasces in cruce corvos k.? An innocent servant amongst the Romans might escape the
furca,' or the mill, or the wheel : but unless he was useful, he was not made much of. So it is in Christianity. For that which according to Moses was called righteousness, according to Christ is “ poverty and nakedness, misery and blindness," as appears in the reproof which the Spirit of God sent to the bishop and church of Laodicea'. He thought himself rich when he was nothing; that is, he was harmless, but not profitable, innocent according to the measures of the law, but not rich in good works. So the pharisees also thought themselves just by the justice of the law, that is, by their abstinence from condemned evils, and therefore they refused to buy of Christ the Lord, gold purified in the fire, whereby they might become rich; that is, they would not accept of the righteousness of God, the justice evangelical, and therefore they were rejected. And thus to this very day do we. Even many that have the fairest reputation for good persons and honest men, reckon their hopes upon their innocence and legal freedoms, and outward compliances : that they are no liars nor swearers, no drunkards nor gluttons, no extortioners nor injurious, no thieves nor murderers; but in the mean time they are unprofitable servants, not instructed, not thoroughly prepared to every good work;' not abounding in the work of the Lord, but “blind, and poor, and naked; just, but as the pharisees; innocent, but as heathens; in the mean time they are only in that state, to which Christ never made the promises of eternal life, and joys hereafter.
49. Now if this be true in one period, it is true in all the periods of our life. If he that hath always lived thus inno cently and no more, that is, a heathen and a pharisee, could not by their innocence and proper righteousness obtain heaven, much less shall he who lived viciously and contracted filthy habits, be accepted by all that amends he can make by such single acts of contrition, by which nothing can be effected but that he hates sin and leaves it. For if the most innocent k Horat. Ep. 1. 16. 46.
T Rev. iii. 15.
by the legal righteousness is still but unprofitable, much more is be such wbo hath prevaricated that and lived rilelr, and now in his amendment begins to enter that state, which if it goes do further, is still unprofitable. Ther were severe words which our blessed Saviour said, “ When re hare done all things which are commanded you, sar, We are unprofitable servants;" that is, when re have done all things which are commanded (in the Law), he says not “all things which I shall command you;" for then we are not unprofitable servants in the evangelical sense. For he that obers this form of doctrine is a good servant. He is “ the friend of God.-"If re do whatsoever I command you, ye are my friends;" and that is more than profitable servants: for “I will not call you servants, but friends," saith our blessed Lord"; and for rou,
a crown of righteousness is laid up against the day of recompenses. These therefore cannot be called unprofitable servants, but friends, sons, and heirs; for he “ that is an unprofitable servant, shall be cast into outer darkness." To live there fore in innocence only, and according to the righteousness of the law, is to be a servant, but yet unprofitable; and that in effect is to be no heir of the promises ; for to these, piety, or evangelical righteousness, is the only title « God liness is profitable to all things, having the promise of this life, and of that which is to come.” For upon this account, the works of the law cannot justify us:' for the works of the law at the best were but innocence and ceremonial performances: but we are justified by the works of the Gospel, that is, faith and obedience. For these are the righteousness of God, they are his works, revealed by his Spirit, effected by his grace, promoted by his gifts, encouraged by special promises, sanctified by the Holy Ghost, and accepted through Jesus Christ to all the great purposes of glory and immortality.
50. Since therefore a constant innocence could not justify us, unless we have the righteousness of God, that is, unless we superadd holiness and purity in the faith of Jesus Christ : much less can it be imagined that he who hath transgressed the righteousness of the law, and broken the negative precepts, and the natural human rectitude, and hath superinduced vices contrary to the righteousness of God, can ever n John, xv. 14, 15.
hope to be justified by those little arrests of his sin, and his beginnings to leave it upon his death-bed, and his sorrow for it, than when he cannot obtain the righteousness of God, or the holiness of the Gospel. It was good counsel that was given by a wise heathen.
Dimidium facti, qui cæpit, habet; sapere aude ;
Labitur, et labetur in omne volubilis ævumo, • It is good for a man to begin : the clown that stands by a river-side expecting till all the water be run away, may stay long enough before he gets to the other side.'-He that wil not begin to live well till he hath answered all objections, and hath no lusts to serve, and no more appetites to please, --shall never arrive at happiness in the other world. Be wise, and begin betimes.
Consideration of the Objections against the former Doctrine. 51. I. But why may not all this be done in an instant by the grace of God? Cannot he infuse into us the habits of all the graces evangelical ? Faith cannot be obtained by natural means, and if it be procured by supernatural, the Spirit of God is not retarded by the measures of an enemy, and the dull methods of natural opposition. « Nescit tarda molimina Spiritus Sancti gratia.” Without the divine grace we cannot work any thing of the righteousness of God; but if he gives us his grace, does not he make us chaste and patient, humble and devout, and all in an instant ? For thus the main ques. tion seems to be confessed and granted, that a habit is not remitted but by the introduction of the contrary: but when you consider what you handle, it is a cloud and nothing else ; for this admission of the necessity of a habit, enjoins no more labour nor care, it requires no more time, it introduces no active fears, and infers no particular caution, and implies the doing of no more than to the remission of a single act of one sin. 52. To this I answer, that the grace of God is a supernas
o Hor. Ep. i. 2. 40.
tural principle, and gives new aptness and inclinations, powers and possibilities, it invites and teaches, it supplies us with arguments and answers objections, it brings us into artificial necessities, and inclines us sweetly: and this is the semen Dei,' spoken of by St. John, the seed of God,' thrown into the furrows of our hearts, springing up (unless we choke it) to life eternal. By these assistances we being helped can do our duty, and we can expel the habits of vice, and get the habits of virtue: but as we cannot do God's work without God's grace; so God's grace does not do our work without us. For grace being but the beginnings of a new nature in us, gives nothing but powers and inclinations. “The Spirit helpeth our infirmitiesP;" so St. Paul explicates this mystery. And therefore when he had said, “By the grace of God I am what I am ;" that is, all is owing to his grace: he also adds, “I have laboured more than they all, yet not I;" that is, not I alone; 6 sed gratia Dei mecum ;" “ the grace of God that is with me.”—For the grace of God stands at the door and knocks; but we must attend to his voice, and open the door, and then he will enter and sup with us, and we shall be with him.' The grace of God is like a graff put into a stock of another nature; it makes use of the faculties aad juice of the stock and natural roots, but converts all into its own nature. But,
53. II. We may as well say there can be a habit born with us, as infused into us. For as a natural habit supposes a frequency of action by him who hath natural abilities; so does an infused habit (if there were any such); it is a result and consequent of a frequent doing the works of the Spirit. So that to say, that God, in an instant, infuses into us a habit [of charity, &c.] is to say that he hath in an instant infused into us to have done the acts of that grace frequently. For it is certain by experience, that the frequent doing the actions of any 'grace, increases the grace, and yet the grace or aids of God's Spirit are as necessary for the growth, as for the beginnings of grace. We cannot either will or do without his help; he worketh both in us, that is, we hy his help alone are enabled to do things above our nature. But then we are the persons enabled; and therefore we do these works as we do others, not by the same powers, but in the same manner;
P Rom. viii. 26.