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"works." "Who made thee to differ from "another?" or "what hast thou that thou hast "not received?" Being justified freely by his "grace, through the redemption that is in Christ "Jesus." The fact seems to be this: Some pious men, in guarding against abuses, have unwarily thrown impediments in the way of discouraged souls; others, by attachment to system, have moreover furnished excuses to proud and prejudiced unbelievers; and many have expressed themselves in a manner, which may be preverted to encourage a degree and kind of self-preference inconsistent with the pure gospel of Christ. On the other hand, some have incautiously used language on the subject, which may be understood to render even the preaching of regeneration, sanctification, and holiness of life, dangerous; by representing all holy dispositions and good works, as tending to boasting and self-confidence: and the charge of giving countenance to self-righteousness has been so indiscriminately advanced, as to involve many persons and opinions that by no means deserve it. But, if we adhere simply to the word of God, we shall keep at a distance from these extremes: and none will pervert our doctrine, except those "who stumble at the word,
being disobedient," and who "wrest the scrip"tures" themselves" to their own destruction."
SAVING FAITH IN CHRIST ESSENTIALLY HOLY IN ITS
THE TERMS DEFINED AND EXPLAINED.
THE holy nature of saving faith, at least in its first exercises, has been expressly denied by several persons, who have maintained the doctrine insisted on in the former part of this work; and others have used language capable of this construction. Thus the subject has been enveloped in obscurity, and the truth exposed to unmerited objections.
That we may the better understand the subscquent discussion, we should previously obtain precise ideas of the meaning in which the words, holy, holiness, sanctifying, and sanctification are here used. Holy or holiness is opposed to unholy or unholiness, and not to unrighteous or unrighteousness. An unrighteous man, in the language of argumentative theology, signifies a man under condemnation for his sins, and not brought into a state of justification; an unholy man is one unrenewed by the Spirit of God, and under the dominion of sin. Holy and holiness therefore relate to the dispositions and affections of his heart, and not to his state as justified before God. Nor is this distinction of trivial consequence; but essential to a clear understanding of the subject. Indeed
few things have more perplexed religious controversies and discussions, than want of accuracy in speaking of justification and sanctification, and carefully keeping the ideas of them distinct.
The question, therefore, concerning the holy nature of saving faith, has nothing to do with the doctrine of justification, but belongs entirely to 'another topic in theology. We are "justified "freely by the grace of God;" or by free mercy, entirely contrary to our deservings: we are justified by "the righteousness" and atoning "blood" of Christ, as the meritorious ground of our pardon and title to eternal life: and we are "justified by "faith" alone: because faith alone constitutes our relation to Christ, that we may be "made the righteousness of God in him." According to the holy and good law of our righteous Sovereign, and the covenant of works, the least imperfection or failure in obedience condemns us; all the holiness we can ever possess, with all the obedience we have performed, weighs not an atom in the opposite scale; and to the last moment of life we need free forgiveness of every defect, to whatever degree of sanctification we have attained, or how many good works soever we have done. "Cursed is "every one that continueth not in all things written "in the book of the law to do them."-Not only the new convert, or the feeble believer in his first actings of faith in Christ, is excluded from taking any encouragement from his incipient sanctification, if he be capable of ascertaining its existence; but the most advanced Christian, after half a century spent in holy obedience, and zealous endeavours to glorify the Saviour and serve his genera
tion, comparing himself and his best duties with the perfect standard, must exclaim, “I am all as "an unclean thing, and all my righteousnesses are "as filthy rags. Even perfect holiness of heart, and obedience in conduct, could do nothing towards atoning for past sins, or redeeming the forfeited inheritance: and, if Paul's justification at the tribunal of Christ, depended, as its meritorious ground, on the least expression of his love and zeal, when he was expiring as a martyr, he must be condemned by the holy law of God.
first to last we must be justified by mere mercy and grace, through the righteousness and atoning blood of Emmanuel, and by faith alone: nor can sanctification, whether more or less advanced, avail any thing towards justification. If this were well considered and fully understood, many plausible objections to the holy nature of saving faith, which suppose that it interferes with the doctrines of imputed righteousness and free justification, must fall to the ground, and would require no further answer.
"Now to him that worketh not, but believeth on "him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is ac"counted for righteousness."* These words of the apostle have been greatly misunderstood, in this controversy: for it may as fairly be inferred from them, that believers never work at all, for any purpose, or from any motive, as that they are in all senses absolutely ungodly, when God justifieth them. The sinner, when he believes in Christ, "labours for the meat which endureth unto ever
Rom. iv. 5.
always But, not
"lasting life, which the Son of man shall give "him" he "works out his own salvation with "fear and trembling: he "gives diligence to make his calling and election sure;" he is "zealous of "good works;" "fruitful in all the works of righ"teousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto "the glory and praise of God;" yea, " abounding in the work of the Lord." withstanding this, he not only ceases to work, in respect of justification, when he first applies for an interest in the righteousness of Christ; but, amidst all his "diligence to the full assurance of hope unto "the end," to glorify God, and to do good to mankind, he never works at all, at least allowedly, in dependence on his own doings, or in order to add them to "the righteousness of God by faith."
. In like manner he is "ungodly," in himself, according to the law, by his own sincere confession, and in the unerring judgment of God; not only at the moment when he is first justified, but during the whole period that he lives by faith in Christ for justification. His incipient and imperfect godliness is not at all noticed in this respect: yet his coming to Christ with earnest desires of salvation, and his humble, obedient, and willing return to God through him, essentially distinguish his character from that of such persons, as say unto God, " Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways;" and that of all others, who are in every respect absolutely ungodly, and have "no fear of "God before their eyes."
Whatever in any degree accords to the law of God is so far holy but an external or relative holiness falls not under our present inquiry. The