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not be truly holy, whose hearts and lives are conformable to the principles I am opposing. Not all their religious purposes, promises, resolutions, reformations-not all their fastings, external mortifications, macerations of their bodies, vows, meditations, prayers, or other endeavours they may use, can be productive of holiness upon these principles. Men may, by such means, put some restraint upon their corruptions; they may, in a slavish manner, perform some hypocritical duties, and thereby may quiet their consciences, obtain a reputation among men, and entertain hopes of heaven; but they must yet remain strangers to any true love to God, delight in him, and conformity of heart and affections to him, wherein the essence of holiness consists. This will appear from such considerations as these :- -It is an incontestable truth, that we cannot be holy, before we have a principle of holiness: that we cannot perform vital actions, without a source and priociple of life. It is equally certain, that we naturally have not this principle of spiritual life; but “the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, only evil continually.” It is also certain, that faith in Christ is contemporary with (though, in order of nature, it flows from, and is successive to,) the first principle of spiritual life; and it is from our union to Christ by faith that we derive from him supplies of grace and strength, and that the whole progress of holiness is carried on in the soul. It is therefore necessary that we be first united to Christ, the head of all influences and fountain of all holiness, and so be habitually alive to God, before we can actually live to God, as I have observed before.
attainments in religion, without a vital principle within, will be but as a carcass without breath, or as streams from a corrupt fountain. Whence it fol. lows, that they who are looking to sincere obedience for justification, must be strangers to true holiness; they not having first committed their souls to Christ, depended upon him alone for righteousness and strength, and thereby obtained supplies of grace for a life of holiness, from that only fountain of life. To seek justification from our sanctification, is to invert the order and method for our salvation; it is to produce the cause from the effect, to fetch the fountain from the streams. We must first, by a new living principle, be enabled to act faith in Christ, to receive him, and thereby be united to him, and be justified in the sight of God; otherwise all our religious and moral duties will be vain, a sacrifice without a heart, mere legal or slavish performances, that have nothing of true holiness in them. We must be “ created in Christ Jesus unto good works," if we would walk in them.
We must be "renewed in the spirit of our mind,” if we would put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
We must be “ quickened together with him.”
We are " sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all." It is of “ Christ's fulness that we all receive, even grace for
as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can we, except we abide in Christ.”
Moreover, I think, it will be readily allowed, that we cannot live a life of holiness, while we remain children and servants of sin and Satan. It
grace.” And 66
this. For instance, that covenant was appointed and enjoined by God as a sovereign : whereas this, as is pretended, was purchased by the blood of Christ, and is the law of a Mediator.
That covenant admitted no renovation when violated; but this leaves room for recovery, upon condition of repentance and future obedience, to such transgressors as do not happen to die in the sad interval of unbelief and insincerity. And that covenant required perfect, this accepts of imperfect, obedience. But these things are only circumstances, and enter not into the nature of a covenant-condition. From whatever inducement God was pleased to propose these conditions—whatever be the consequence of their violation--and whatever degree of obedience be required in order to our justification-yet, according to this new divinity, sincere persevering obedience is the stated condition of each of these covenants. This, and this only, was what rendered the first covenant a covenant of works; and, therefore, when all the pretences are made that can be made, the second covenant, upon this scheme, is as strictly and properly a covenant of works as the first was. You seem to be aware of this
and therefore demand of me, “ Why it may not be supposed agreeable to the divine perfections, to require of man a life of obedience now, proportioned to his present abilities, as the condition of his justification, as well as to make with him a covenant of works at first, proportioned to his primitive powers
capacities?”. To which I answer:
I have already shown you, that it is impossible that any covenant requiring sincere obedience as the
• We are
condition of our justification, can be proportioned to
I would now only add, that the Scriptures represent to us an irreconcilable opposition between our being saved by works, and our being saved by the grace revealed in the Gospel. I have shown you, in my last, how strongly faith and works are opposed to each other, with respect to our justification. And, I must also observe, that works and grace are, in like manner, opposed as irreconcilably inconsistent with each other, in this grand concern.
6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace: but if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.” “ By grace are ye saved through faith : and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
66 Now to him that worketh, is the reward reckoned not of grace, but of debt.”
Here are the most plain, express, and peremptory declarations, that can be made in human language, of the utter inconsistency of works and grace, the impossibility of their concurring in the affair of our justification and interest in the saving mercy of God.
Whence it plainly appears, that we must be saved by works alone, or by grace alone. And if the former, it must be by the first covenant of works. But if the latter, then not by
any works, by no obedience at all, as the condition of our justification and acceptance with God.
You have indeed undertaken to obviate all such arguments against your scheme, by pretending that, 66 where works are ejected as having no hand in our justification, and as being inconsistent with the grace of the Gospel, it must be legal obedience which is there intended; whereas, the obedience pleaded for is evangelical. It is not supposed, that we are justified by obedience to the moral law, but by sincere obedience to the Gospel institution.”
But I entreat you to consider, that if we are indeed justified by sincere obedience to the Gospel, we must be justified by the works of the law, by obedience to the moral law, and therefore not by the faith of Christ, as revealed in the Gospel. This appears evident from such considerations as these. The moral law is the very rule and standard of all our obedience to God: if, therefore, we obtain justification by sincere obedience, we must obtain it by a conformity to the moral law, without which there can be no obedience at all, and therefore no sincere obedience. All the duty and obedience which we can owe to God, as rational creatures, is comprised in that comprehensive summary of the moral law, to “ love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and strength; and to love our neighbour as ourselves;" and there neither is, nor can be, any obedience sincere and acceptable to God, but what flows from this principle of love, the source of all practical conformity to the moral law. Besides, the Gospel does not make void the law, as a rule of obedience, but establishes it: and therefore our justification, by