Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

justification is granted it must be an act of grace. It rèsted with God to declare upon what condition he would grant this act of grace, and we • have seen that it plcased him to appoint faith in * Christ as this condition; and, therefore, as * St. Paul says in the next verse, “ To him that worketh not,” (that is, who has not by his works

obeyed the law under which he formerly lived,) ““but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly,

his faith is counted for righteousness ;” and soon * after he says, “ Therefore it is of faith, that it "might be by grace."').

This passage concedes a great deal in the argument concerning justification.

• Faith then stands in the place of righteousness, or uniform obedience : and through the mercy

of God obtains for the transgressor that justifica'tion as an act of grace, which his own uniform robedience, had it taken place, would have ob'tained for him as a debt of justice, but which he

could not claim, because he had not been uni' formly obedient.' 2

According to this statement, faith itself may seem to constitute our righteousness, and is instead of uniform obedience. This is not, however, his Lordship's deliberate sentiment. The spring of

it, mercy; the meritorious cause, the merits and ' atonement of Christ; the condition of it, faith 'on our part.'3 Christ's righteousness transferred

to us, and made ours in its effects, (according to quotations made in the preceding pages,) 'stands

Ref. 112.

? Ref. 112, 113.

Ref. 147, 148.

in the place of our righteousness, or uniform

obedience;' and faith merely forms that relation to Christ, by which “we are made the righteous“ ness of God in him.”

"A claim from works, and grace through faith, are incompatible. A man cannot obtain justifica‘tion upon both grounds, works and grace.

“We find the same doctrine, as far at least as the condition of justification is concerned, clearly * asserted in the epistle to the Galatians; “A man ‘is not justified by the works of the law, but by 'the faith of Jesus Christ; even we” (that is, even we Jews, who were born under another covenant with God,) “have believed in Jesus Christ, that * we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." _“That no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, “it is evident : for, The just shall live by faith : and the law is not of faith ; but, The man that

doeth them shall live in them :"? meaning that * the promises of the law are not made upon the "condition of believing, but upon condition of * doing. This doing must be undeviating obe

dience, for “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law * to do them :"3 and, all having violated the law, ‘no one can be justified by it. “But the scrip“ture hath concluded all under sin, that the pro‘mise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to * them that believe.” 4 The scripture hath pro

" Gal. ii. 16.

? Gal. iii, 11, 12.

Gal. iii. 10.

Gal. iii. 22.

( nounced every individual of the human race to “ be guilty of sin, that the promise of justification

and life through faith in Christ might extend to all, both Jews and gentiles, who shall comply with the condition of sincerely believing in his name.''

This accords for substance to our views, and indeed establishes the grand doctrine for which we would contend; though we might in a few particulars not choose to adopt exactly the language employed.

" This doing must be undeviating obedience, '&c.' Does not this passage fully coincide with all that sober Calvinists advance, concerning an impossible law? 2 I would also intreat the reader to bear in mind the expression, who shall comply with the condition of sincerely believing in his name:' for, if the faith which justifies must be sincere,' much of the reasoning on our not being continued in a justified state by faith, falls to the ground of coursé. 3

Irenæus, lib. i. cap. 20, says, that Simon Magus, mentioned in the Acts, c. viii. taught, that 'men were saved according to his grace, and not according to just works ;' (Transl.) - which is a

clear proof how early the doctrine of justification 'by faith was corrupted, and that salvation by 'grace without good works was considered as an heretical doctrine. Irenæus lived in the second century, and his authority cannot be questioned.

* Ref. 113, 114. :

. Book I. c. ii. & 5. On Impossibility. 3 Ref. 130, 138.

This corruption is the more remarkable, as St. Paul seems to have guarded against it.'1

No sober man will deny, or can doubt, that St. Paul and all the apostles entered most solemn protests against the error, as congenial to the corrupt nature of man, as it is contradictory to the true spirit of Christianity, 2 that any man can be finally saved by grace through faith without good works:3 and I would plead for no Calvinist, or evangelical minister, so called, who does not unite in this solemn protest, decidedly and frequently. Indeed we may well conclude that to be the apostolical doctrine, against which the same objections are advanced as were made against the doctrine of St. Paul; of which the same perversion is made by men of corrupt minds, as of his doctrine; and which produces the same holy fruits in all who truly believe, as those manifested in the lives of the primitive Christians...

But the testimony of Irenæus concerning Simon Magus is, I apprehend, not in the least to the point.

He (Irenæus) says, that one of the doctrines of Simon Magus was, that those who trust in him and his Helena should have no further care, and that they are free to do what they like ; for that men are saved according to his grace, but not according to just works.' 4

Those who trust in him and his Helena-are saved by his grace;' that is, by the grace of Simon Magus! not by the grace of God, or of

Ref. 117, Note. * Eph. ii. 8, 10.

* Rom. vi. 1, 15. iii. 8.
- Ref. 515.

Christ.—Simon Magus is the only masculine antecedent; and this was clearly the meaning of Irenæus. It is indeed next to incredible that any man should openly avow such presumptuous and pestilent blasphemies: but it is almost equally incredible that any one should invent them if he did not.

This man (Simon) was glorified by many as god ; and taught that it was he himself, who indeed appeared among the Jews as the Son ; but in Samaria, descended as the Father; and came to the other nations as the Holy Spirit. But that he was the sublimest virtue, that is, the Father, who is above all things, and he endured to be called, whatever men call him? (or God). . This person ded about with him a certain woman

called Helena; one who hired out herself for • gain, (quæstuariam,) whom he himself had re

deemed from Tyre, a city of Phænicia; saying, that she was the first conception of his mind, the mother of all, by whom, in the beginning, 'he conceived in his mind to make angels and archangels.?? ...

Irenæus might well consider Simon Magus's doctrine as heretical and abominable: but that any man of learning, and of a serious mind, should venture the assertion, that Calvinists accede to this heresy, to Simon Magus's heresy, about faith in him and his Helena, is most extraordinary, and might seem almost as incredible, as the things recorded concerning this wretched man.

Note translated, Ref. 515.

« EdellinenJatka »