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works, wherever they exist, must proceed from ' faith, their only genuine source. And hence it • happens, that the one is often mentioned in scrip*ture without the other, although the other is implied or supposed.'1
This is admitted by both parties, and needs no further remark : provided the word produce, be adhered to; and contained, or any other term to the same effect, be not substituted.
Faith, or a general belief of the truth of Christianity, is not necessarily connected with good works. True Christian faith and good works are inseparable.'2
I know not, that any evangelical clergyman dissents from this statement: if any do, let them plead for themselves.
*St. Paul says, “They who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, 6 and immortality, shall inherit eternal life.” Here
is not a word concerning faith; but it is supposed, for nothing but faith can cause a patient ? continuance in well-doing with the hope of ever-lasting happiness.'3
Where nothing occurs to which we should materially object, I take a pleasure in selecting a few passages which meet my cordial approbation, and I think that of my brethren in general.
* There are, however, more passages in the
? Note, Ref. 160.
'Ref. 160, 161. * Ref. 161.
epistles which attribute justification and salvation to good works, than to faith.'! · Final salvation is frequently connected with good works, though not attributed to them : but, except the passage in St. James, which has been repeatedly considered, I do not recollect one in which justification is attributed to good works, in any sense, or in any degree; or even intimately connected with them. It is added in a note, “That ‘is, the continuance in a state of justification :' but justification, and continuance in a justified state, are not the same. We however read nothing in any part of scripture, about ' continuance in a
state of justification' unless the following texts refer to it: “ By whom also we have access by “ faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice “ in hope of the glory of God.” “ While we were “ yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more " then being justified by his blood, we shall be “ saved from wrath through him.” 2 “That, being “justified by his grace, we should be made heirs “ according to the hope of eternal life."3 “Who “ are kept by the power of God, through faith, “ unto salvation." 4_There is indeed one passage which may be thought more favourable to the sentiment; “ If ye continue in the faith grounded “ and settled,” &c. 5 but, even here, their continuance in a state of reconciliation is connected with their continuance in the faith, not with good works.
The authors of these epistles were therefore chiefly anxious, by the use of plain and intelligible language, to induce their converts to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they were called, by an upright and holy life; to make professed believers in the gospel real Christians.'' · Were then the churches, to which the apostles wrote, constituted of professed believers who were not' real Christians' This, alas! is to a great degree the case in modern times, now that whole nations profess to believe in Christ; while the bulk of them do not so much as appear to live as it becometh Christians; but surely it was not thus, with the select companies collected into churches by the apostles themselves. And, if the epistles were written to make professed believers real Chrisstians, where are we to find those fuller instructions, by which real Christians were led further into the knowledge of the deeper and more mysterious parts of Christianity? The laboured discussions of St. Paul in his epistles to the Romans, the Galatians, and the Hebrews, were evidently intended to settle the minds and judgments of the persons addressed, in all the great truths of Christianity; to explain and confirm the grand doctrines of the gospel : not only to induce the s converts to walk worthy of their vocation,' but also to rectify their errors, to recal them from their wanderings, to guard them against deceivers, and to lead them forward in the knowledge of Christ : “ that they should no more be children, tossed to “ and fro with every wind of doctrine, by the
“ sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby " they lay in wait to deceive; but, speaking the “ truth in love, might grow up into him in all “ things, which is the head, even Christ.”] I think no man can attentively read the first chapters of the epistles to the Ephesians, the Colossians, and the Thessalonians, without being convinced that the persons to whom they were sent were already 'real Christians,' who gave decided proof of living faith, by “ the work of faith, the “ labour of love, and the patience of hope.” Even those to the Corinthians and the Galatians, in which much warning and reproof are contained, proceed on the supposition that the inost of the persons addressed were true Christians, at least 6 babes in Christ." Those to Timothy and Titus were evidently intended to instruct these eminent ministers how to perform, more and more completely, the duties of their important station. In that to the Hebrews the apostle says, “ Called of “ God a High Priest after the order of Melchize“ dec, of whom we have many things to say, and “ hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hear“ing." Yet, having shewn that they had made very small proficiency compared with what might have been expected, he proceeds with his purpose, and says, “ Therefore, leaving the first principles of “ the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto per“ fection.”2 St. Peter speaks thus of St. Paul: “ As our beloved brother Paul also, according to “ the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto “ you: as also in all his epistles, speaking in
“ them of these things ; in which are some things “ hard to be understood, which they that are un“ stable and unlearned wrest, as they do the other “ scriptures, to their own destruction.” These were not “ milk for the unskilful in the word of “ righteousness," but strong “meat, which be“ longeth to those of full age ; even those who, " by reason of use, have their senses exercised to “ discern good and evil.”—If, however, any modern teachers go further into doctrinal discussions than the apostolical epistles do; and if they neglect by the use of plain and intelligible language to
induce their converts to “ walk worthy of their “ vocation;" they are justly to be reprehended. We at least in our times, and even in every part of this highly favoured land, may find abundant opportunity of attempting to convert professed * believers into real Christians;' and should use all scriptural means, with persevering earnestness and diligence, for that purpose.
*Again, St. John says, “ God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have • everlasting life ;” and St. Paul says, “ Christ be
came the author of eternal salvation unto all - them that obey him :" salvation therefore is pro'mised both to faith and to obedience; and consequently faith and obedience must in reality signify the same thing, or include each other ; otherwise the two passages would be irreconcilable. The obedience, in the latter, is the obe
1 2 Pet. iii. 15, 16.