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side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” (s) “If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” (t) “Being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (u) The Father hath predestinated all whom he hath chosen in his Son “to be conformed to his image, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren;” and therefore “neither death, nor life, nor things present, nor things to come, shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus;” (w) but “all things shall work together for good” (x) to us, and conduce to our salvation. We do not justify men by works before God; but we say, that all who are of God are regenerated and made new creatures, that they may depart from the kingdom of sin into the kingdom of righteousness; and that by this testimony they ascertain their vocation, (y) and, like trees, are judged by their fruits.
A Refutation of the injurious Calumnies of the Papists against this Doctrine.
THE observation with which we closed the preceding chapter is, of itself, sufficient to refute the impudence of some impious persons, who accuse us, in the first place, of destroying good works, and seducing men from the pursuit of them, when we say that they are not justified by works, nor saved through their own merit; and secondly, of making too easy a road to righteousness, when we teach that it consists in the gratuitous remission of sins, and of enticing men by this allurement to
(s) 2 Cor. iv. 8–10. (t) 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12. (w) Phil. iii. 10, 11. (w) Rom. viii.29, 38, 39. (z) Rom. viii. 28. (y) 2 Peter i. 19.
the practice of sin, to which they have naturally too strong a propensity. These calumnies, I say, are sufficiently refuted by that one observation; yet I will briefly reply to them both. They allege that justification by faith destroys good works. I forbear any remarks on the characters of these zealots for good works, who thus calumniate us. Let them rail with impunity as licen— tiously as they infest the whole world with the impurity of their lives. They affect to lament that while faith is so magnificently extolled, works are degraded from their proper rank. What if they be more encouraged and established? For we never dream either of a faith destitute of good works, or of a justification unattended by them: this is the sole difference, that while we acknowledge a necessary connection between faith and good works, we attribute justification, not to works, but to faith. Our reason for this we can readily explain, if we only turn to Christ, towards whom faith is directed, and from whom it receives all its virtue. Why then are we justified by faith? Because by faith we apprehend the righteousness of Christ, which is the only medium of our reconciliation to God. But this you cannot attain, without at the same time attaining to sanctification: for he “is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption.”(z) Christ therefore justifies no one whom he does not also sanctify. For these benefits are perpetually and indissolubly connected, so that whom he illuminates with his wisdom, them he redeems; whom he redeems, he justifies; whom he justifies, he sanctifies. But as the present question relates only to righteousness and sanctification, let us insist upon them. We may distinguish between them, but Christ contains both inseparably in himself. Do you wish then to obtain righteousness in Christ? You must first possess Christ, but you cannot possess him without becoming a partaker of his sanctification; for he cannot be divided. Since then the Lord affords us the enjoyment of these blessings, only in the bestowment of himself, he gives them both together; and never one without the other. Thus we see how true it is that we are justified, not without works, yet not by works;
(+) 1 Cor. i. 30. Vol. II. 2 N
since union with Christ, by which we are justified, contains sanctification as well as righteousness. II. It is also exceedingly false, that the minds of men are seduced from an inclination to virtue, by our divesting them of all ideas of merit. Here the reader must just be informed, that they impertinently argue from reward to merit, as I shall afterwards more fully explain: because, in fact, they are ignorant of this principle, that God is equally liberal in assigning a reward to good works, as in imparting an ability to perform them. But this I would rather defer to its proper place. It will suffice at present, to shew the weakness of their objection, which shall be done two ways. For first, when they say that there will be no concern about the proper regulation of our life without a hope of reward being proposed, they altogether deceive themselves. If they only mean that men serve God in expectation of a reward, and let or sell their services to him, they gain but little; for he will be freely worshipped and freely loved, and he approves of that worshipper who, after being deprived of all hope of receiving any reward, still ceases not to worship him. Besides, if men require to be stimulated, it is impossible to urge more forcible arguments than those which arise from the end of our redemption and calling; such as the Word of God adduces, when it inculcates, that it is the greatest and most impious ingratitude not reciprocally to “love him who first loved us;” (a) that “by the blood of Christ our consciences are purged from dead works, to serve the living God;” (b) that it is a horrible sacrilege, after having been once purged, to defile ourselves with new pollutions, and to profane that sacred blood; (c) that we have been “delivered out of the hand of our enemies,” that we “might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life;” (d) that we are made “free from sin,” that with a free spirit we might “become the servants of righteousness;” (e) “that our old man is crucified,” that “we should walk in newness of life.” (f) Again, “If ye be risen with Christ,” as his members indeed are, “seek those things which are above,” and
(a) 1 John iv. 10, 19. (b) Heb. ix. 14. (c) Heb. x. 29.
conduct yourselves as “pilgrims on the earth;” that you may aspire towards heaven, where your treasure is.(g) That “the grace of God hath appeared, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour.” (h) Wherefore “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by Christ.” (7) That we are the “temples of the Holy Ghost,” which it is unlawful to profane; (4) that we are not darkness “but light in the Lord,” whom it becomes to “walk as children of the light;” (l) that “God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness; for this is the will of God even our sanctification, that we should abstain from fornication;” (m) that our calling is a holy one, which should be followed by a correspondent purity of life; (n) that we are “made free from sin,” that we might “become servants of righteousness.” (o) Can we be incited to charity by any stronger argument than that of John, “If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil;”(p) hereby the children of light, by their abiding in love, are distinguished from the children of darkness: Or that of Paul, That if we be united to Christ, we are members of one body, and ought to afford each other mutual assistance? (q) Or can we be more powerfully excited to holiness, than when we are informed by John, that “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as God is pure:”(r) Or when Paul says, “Having therefore these promises (relative to our adoption), let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit?”(s) Or than when we hear Christ proposing himself as our example, that we should follow his steps: (t) III. These few instances, indeed, I have given as a specimen; for if I were disposed to pursue every particular passage, I should produce a large volume. The apostles are quite full
(g) Col. iii. 1. Heb. xi. 13.1 Peter ii. 11. (h) Titus ii. 11—13. (i) 1 Thess. v. 9. (4) 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. vi. 19. Ephes. ii. 21. (1) Ephes. v. 8. (m) 1 Thess. iv. 3, 7. (n) 2 Tim. i. 9.1 Peter i. 15. (o) Rom. vi. 18. (p) 1 John iv. 11. iii. 10. (q) 1 Cor. xii. 12, &c. (r) 1 John iii. 3. (s) 2 Cor. vii. 1. (t) Matt. xi. 29. John xiii. 15.
of admonitions, exhortations, and reproofs, to “furnish the man of God unto all good works,” (v) and that without any mention of merit. But they rather deduce their principal exhortations from this consideration, That our salvation depends not on any merit of ours, but merely on the mercy of God. As Paul, after having very largely shewn that we can have no hope of life, but from the righteousness of Christ, when he proceeds to exhortations, beseeches us “by the mercies of God” with which we have been favoured. (u) And indeed this one reason ought to be enough; that God may be glorified in us. (w) But if any persons be not so powerfully affected by the glory of God, yet the remembrance of his benefits should be amply sufficient to incite them to rectitude of conduct. But these men, who by the obtrusion of merit extort some servile and constrained acts of obedience to the law, are guilty of falsehood when they affirm that we have no arguments to enforce the practice of good works, because we do not proceed in the same way. As though, truly, such obedience were very pleasing to God, who declares that he “loveth a cheerful giver;” and forbids any thing to be given “grudgingly, or of necessity.” (x) Nor do I say this, because I either reject or neglect that kind of exhortation, which the Scripture frequently uses, that no method of animating us to our duty may be omitted. It mentions the reward which “God will render to every man according to his works;” (y) but that this is the only argument, or the principal one, I deny. In the next place, I confess that we ought not to begin with it. Moreover, I contend that it has no tendency to establish the merit preached by these men, as we shall afterwards see; and, lastly, that it is entirely useless, unless preceded by this doctrine, That we are justified solely on account of the merit of Christ, apprehended by faith, and not on account of any merit in our own works; because none can be capable of the pursuit of holiness, but such as have previously imbibed this doctrine. This sentiment is beautifully suggested by the Psalmist when he thus addresses the Lord; “There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be fear