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The subject of good works has been much misrepresented, and is, I fear, still much misunderstood. Professors themselves are not sufficiently acquainted with their nature, use, and end. What, then, is the distinguishing character of a good work? I answer, It is a work done from a right motive, by a right rule, and directed to a proper end. Its motive is the love of God; its rule is the word of God; and its end is the glory of God. So essentially necessary are these properties to constitute a good work, that the want of one of them would render the most benevolent, liberal, and splendid act, absolutely unprofitable to the agent. "Though I give all my goods to feed the poor, and my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing."

It follows, of course, that none but good men can do good works; all others are destitute of the principle of action. Men are compared to trees in the word of God: good men to good trees-bad men to bad trees; such as thorns, &c. The good works of good men correspond with the good fruit of good trees, and vice versa. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of the thistle or bramble bush? No: it would be the part of an ideot to seek such delicious fruit on trees so corrupt. It is equally absurd to expect that a bad man should do good works: if the man be bad, his works cannot be good.


What are the uses of good works? I answer: Hereby we dence the sincerity of our profession; manifest the life, purity, and power of our faith; express our gratitude to God for benefits received; silence opposers; convince gainsayers; conquer the strongest prejudices of the ignorant against the truth of God; and frequently win the disobedient to an acknowledgment, approbation, and reception of it. In a word, by an external conversation conformable to the divine will, we are rendered useful to the church, beneficial to the community, and honourable to God. Is it asked, what end the believer (so called by reason of living by what he be lieves, and not by what he does) has in view in doing good works? I reply: He does not perform good works either to justify his person, or to save his soul. The truth is, he can do no good works, till he be first justified by faith. "How (says the pious Bishop

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Beveridge) can I be justified by my works, when I can do no good works till I be first justified?" Neither does a believer work for salvation; but being saved by grace, through faith, he has the means of performing, and is thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Dr. Nicholson.

Presumption on our strength is destructive to our virtue; confidence of our own merit is injurious to our Maker; but a deep sense of human unworthiness, and of divine grace, will inspire us with that lowliness of heart which God will accept, and that vigilance of conduct which he will bless: "This, therefore, is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith," working by love.

Archbishop Secker's Sermons.

Ye see, then, how that this passage of scripture, cited by St. Paul as a proof of Abraham's being justified by faith, is by no means to be so understood as if he were justified by his faith only, but by his works as well as his faith. And hence we may infer in general, that "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."

Dr. Wells.

And any man who looks on this uncharitable believer will be able to reprove him thus: Talk as much of thy faith as thou wilt, no man will believe thee; thy works must be superadded to the confession of thy faith, to prove the sincerity of it.

Dr. Hammond. Faith, being an internal act of the mind, is not to be discovered but by its effects: "And I will show thee my faith by my works;" as the cause is demonstrated by the effect. Dr. Whitby.

When we confide ourselves to Christ, we do it according to his own terms. Among these, he has required us to do all things whatsoever he hath commanded us, and to walk as he also walked. But his commands involve every good work, and his example has presented to us an universal system of good works actually done by himself. To obey him, and to be like him, is, therefore, to perform every good work. All this, also, he has required us to do voluntarily, faithfully, and always. When, therefore, we confide in

Christ, we surrender ourselves into his hands with a fixed intention, a cordial choice of universal obedience, as our whole future conduct.

By good works, I intend all acts of piety, benevolence, and selfgovernment. Dr. Dwight.

Whatever we do of ourselves, in answer to our convictions, is a covering, not a cleansing; and if we die in this condition, unwashed, uncleansed, unpurified, it is utterly impossible that ever we should be admitted into the blessed presence of the holy God. Rev. xxi. 27. Let no man deceive you with vain words. It is not the doing a few good works, it is not an outward profession of religion, that will give you an access with joy unto God; shame will cover you, when it will be too late. Unless you are washed by the Spirit of God, and in the blood of Christ, from the pollutions of your nature, you shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Dr. Owen,

The apostle having, in the foregoing verses, spoken of justification by grace, without works of righteousness, here immediately gives a strict and solemn charge to Titus, to press the necessity of good works upon those who believe and embrace the gospel, on purpose to prevent all mistake and abuse of the doctrine of justification by faith, and the free grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus: intimating, that they who are justified by the faith of the gospel, should be so far from thinking themselves hereby excused from good works, that they ought on that account to be more careful to maintain and practise them; because, by the very profession of the Christian religion, they have solemnly engaged themselves so to do. From the apostle's vehement asseveration, "This is a faithful saying," and from his solemn charge, "These things I will that thou affirm constantly," it appears that there have been persons in all ages, who have exalted the virtue of faith, if not intentionally, yet indiscreetly, to the prejudice and neglect of a good life; as if by a mere speculative belief and profession of Christianity, men were discharged from the practice of moral virtues. God grant that the decried morality of some persons may be an integral part of my religion, Burkitt.

Though we say there is no trust to be put in the merit of our works and actious, and place all the hope and reason of our salvation only in Christ; yet we do not therefore say that men should live loosely and dissolutely, as if baptism and faith were sufficient for a Christian, and there was nothing more required. The true faith is a living faith, and cannot be idle; therefore we teach the people, that God hath not called us to luxury and disorder, but to "good works, that we might walk in them;" Eph. ii. 10. Col i. 10. Phil. ii. 21. that we should root up all the relics of sin; that it might appear that the spirit of sanctification was in us, that Christ himself dwelleth in our heart by faith.

Bishop Jewell

Are good works, then, and moral obedience, unnecessary? Quite the reverse. They are of indispensable necessity. They must and will be wrought by all who are born from above. They are the evidences of faith, and the necessary consequences of justification. Believe in Christ for justification, and lead a bad life, if you can. It is impossible. They that are of God will do the works of God. Toplady.

And it is not for a Christian to say, that his faith shall render such works unnecessary; for, indeed, without such works his faith will nothing profit him, and it is ridiculous to think it will.

Dr. Hammond.

As Christ came to save us from hell, and to bring us to heaven; so, in order thereto, he came to save us from our sins, and to make us holy; and therefore he expects, that all who hope to be saved by him, should be "a peculiar people, zealous of good works." He expects that we be eminent for piety and religion towards God, as also for charity and righteousness towards men; that we shine as lights in the world. Phil. ii. 15. He expects that we do not content ourselves with a bare profession of his religion, nor yet with reading the scriptures, hearing sermons, and praying now and then; but that we strive and study to excel the heathenish moralists, the Jewish and Christian pharisees, yea, and our former selves too, in all true grace and virtue; in humility, in meekness, in temperance, in patience, in self-denial, in contempt of the world, in justice, in cha

rity, in beavenly-mindedness, in faith, in praying, in denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and in living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; (ver. 12.) What remains, but that, knowing our Master's will, we should all do it? We see Christ came into the world to make us his " peculiar people, zealous of good works;" and such we must be, before ever we come to heaven. Bishop Beveridge,

The scripture hath seven reasons, (which, in the sacred writings, is a perfect and complete number) for the practice of good works.

1st. They are commanded by God himself; Tit. iii. 8. "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.”

2. God's people are predestinated, chosen, and born again in Christ Jesus, for this very purpose; Eph. ii. 10. We are his workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God bath before ordained, that we should walk in them."

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3. Good works are the external evidences of true living faith bere, and will be so at the day of judgment, according to which a reward of grace will be given. Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. I will show thee my faith by my works." James ii. 17, 18. "For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, and then shall he reward every man according to his works." Matt. xvi. 27. xxv. 31, &c.

4. The love of Christ to us sinners excites us to the practice of them; yea, to be zealous for them. "For the love of Christ constraineth us." 2 Cor. v. 14. “If ye love me, keep my commandments." John xvi. 15. "He gave himself for us, to purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Tit. ii. 14. 5. The example of Christ and his apostles teaches and enforces them. "Jesus of Nazareth went about doing good." Acts x. 38. "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." 1 Cor. xi. 1.


6. When performed from right motives, and to right ends, they tend to glorify God. "Let your light so shine before men, they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matt.

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