Imágenes de páginas

follow, because God proportions his providential Dispensations to the external Conduct of his prosessing Covenant-People, that therefore we are justified by Works; or that our eternal Salvation is the immediate Fruit of our own Obedience? Will it follow, that because Abatis, threatned temporal Destruction was prevented by his external Reformation, that therefore he was justisied and eternally saved upon the Account of it? No, it is plain, that all Arguments to the present Purpofe, from these Chapters, are altogether impertinent. And the Pleas commonly taken from hence against Perfeverance in Grace, because the Righteous are represented as turning from their Righteoufnef, are nothing at all to the Purpofe, for which they are used.

But aster all, were it even suppofed, that these Chapters reserred to God's Dispensations toward Men in Relation to their eternal State: How would they consirm the Principles you are pleading for? They would indeed fhew us, that there is a necessary Connexion between a Lise of Obedience and our Salvation, and between a Life of Disobedience and our Perdition, which is a Truth allowed on both Sides of the present Question. But as to the meritorious, procuring, and intiiling Cause of our Salvation, or the Foundation of our Right and Title to eternal Lise, here is nothing spoken in these Chapters. If you would sind these Things explained by the Prophet Ezekiel, read the 36th Chapter of his Prophecy, where the Doctrine which you oppose is strongly asserted, and particularly illustrated. You will there sind, it is God that takes away the Heart of Stone from bis People, and gives them a Heart of Flefh ; that caufes them to walk in his Statutes, and keep his Judgments, and do them; and that it is not jor their Sakes that he does this, but for his tswn Name's Sake; and that when this is A a 3 done done for ihem, they will have Cause to be ashamei and confounded for their own Ways; and to loath themfelves in their own Sight, for their Iniquities and Abominations. You will there sind, that tho' God •will be inquired of by the Houfe of Ifrael to it this for them, yet this is not the Condition of their Acceptance: He will bestow his special Grace for

his o-zvn Name's Sake, and not for their Sakes.

Jsow you will acknowledge, that the other Chapters must be taken in the same View with this ; and then tho' it will appear, that he who repenteth and continueth in Obedience to the End, and none but he shall obtain Salvation at last: Yet that this Repentance and new Obedience flows from God's sovereign Grace, and is the Fruit of a justisied State. —The fame Thing may be observed concerning any other Texts of Scripture which you can possibly cite to the like Purpose.—And I must here observe to you, it is a sure Evidence of the Weakness of that Cause, that can be no better desended. There are Multitudes of plain and positive Texts of Scrip' lure, which ascribe our Justisication to Faith, and to the Righteoufnefs of Christ alone, as I have bad Occasion to fhew you already. These must be interpreted away at any Rate; because they don't agree with this Scheme, which must by all Means be supported.—But then, what Evidence have we front Scripture for this Doctrine, which is so strenuously contended for? None but this, that Holinefs and AVw Obedience are necefary to Salvation; which is just so much (and no more) to the Purpose, as if you should attempt to prove your Point from the sirst Verse in Genesis.

You proceed to argue, that " Repentance sot "Sin, which includes new Obedience in the Na"ture of it, is not only made absolutely necessary "to Salvation, but has the Promise of Pardon an"nexed to it; and is therefore plainly propofed in "Scripture, as the Condition of our Justification."

This is but a Repetition of the former Argument in other Words. The Question before us is not, what is necessary to our Salvation; but what is the Condition of our Justification i It is not the Question, whether Pardon and Salvation be necessarily connected to Repentance and new Obedience; but what it is that gives us a Title to this Pardon and Salvation; and whence it is that this Repentance and new Obedience flows, by which we are qualified to partake of saving Benesits.—The Scriptures assure us, that this is the Righteousness of Christ received by Faith; and what you now offer is noways inconsistent with the many Declarations of this Kind, throughout the whole Word of God.—lfit were granted, that whatever are the Requiftes in them that shall be saved, and whatever Qualifications have the Promife of Pardon and Salvation annexed to them, are the Conditions of our Justification, it would then follow that Perseverance is a Condition of our Justification; and consequently all Dispute about being justified in this present Lifo is at an End, as I have observed before. For the Benefit is suspended, till the Condition on which

it depends is accomplished. Besides, I think,

all Men must allow, that if Repentance be the Fruit and Consequence of our Justification, it cannot be the Condition of it. There can be nothing more preposterous, than to suppofe an Effect to be a Condition of tfie Cause producing it. And the Scriptures asture us, that Repentance is the Fruit and Consequence of our Justification. Thus is it particularly represented to us, Ezck. xxxvi. 26. 28. 5'. A new Heart also will I give you; and a new Spirit will I put within you;—And ye skull be my Peopk; and I will be your God.—Thin shall ye

rtremember your own evil Ways, and your Doings that were not good; and shall loath yourselves in ynr trwn Sight, for your Iniquities and for your Abominations. Thus likewise, Zech. xii. 10. Andlmll pour out upon the House os David, and upon tbt Inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit ofGrace andcf Supplications; and they shall look upon me whom the) have pierced; and they shall inourn for him, as mt mourneth for his only Son, and shall be in Bitterness for him, as one that is in Bitterness for his First-born. — In which Texts you see there is first a »k Heart and a new Spirit; they are first in a justified State, they are God's People, and he is their God; they are first renewed, and have a Spirit of Grace and Supplication; they have first the Exercise of Faith, they look upon him whom they have piercet; and then follows their Repentance, as an immediate and necessary Consequence of their regenerate justified State.—This Truth is most evident, not only from the Scripture Representation of this Matter, but also from the Nature of a true and sincere Repentance.—We must be united to Chri/f, and have a Principle of Lise, before we can persorm vital Actions.—We must have the Dispositions of our Souls renewed before we can hate Sin, and heartily mourn aster a Deliverance from what is naturally pleasant and delightsul to us.— We must first have Faith in Christ's Blood, before we can repair to it for cleansing from Pollution and Guilt. - We must first have a Principle of Love to Holiness, before we can live a Lise of new Obedience.—-The legal Terrors, Resolutions and Endeavours, which precede our Justisication, are very sar short of a true Repentance; and therefore can have no Promise of Pardon or Salvation made to them.—It is therefore evident, that tho' an evang lical Repentance does immediately succeed (and in itsBeginung* is even

coiiteniporjry contemporary with) a true justifying Faith; yet it is in Order of Nature an Efsect and Fruit of it, and consequently cannot be the Condition of our Justisication.

And now I proceed to the Consideration of your last Argument for the Vindication of these Principles. "It seems (you say) that our Obedience "must be the Condition of our Justisication,because "theProcess of the sinal Judgment will be put op'' on that Issue; aud every Man will be judged in "that awsul Day, according to his Works."

To which I answer, that I can see no Manner of Consequence in this Reasoning, because Ged of his insinite Grace and Bounty will be pleased to reward the Obedience of Believers at the eternal Judgment, that therefore our Obedience is the Condition of our present Justisication. You yourself, Sir, have been so good to the young Gentleman, your Sister's Son, as to take him out of Prison, to pay his Debts, to adopt him into your Family, to call him by your own Name, and to treat him as your own Child; and I am told that you intend to reward his Dutisulness to you, by giving him the Preserence to your Daughters, and by making him the Heir of your solid Estate. If it should be so, would it from thence appear, that his dutisul Behaviour was the Condition of your taking him out' of Prison, and adopting him into your Family? No, Sir, you know that this was an Act

of mere Compassion and Kindness Apply this to

the Case before us, and you will see the Fate of your Argument.-—You are besides to consider, that it is no where said in Scripture, that we are at the last Day to be rewarded for our good Works, but according to them. The Reward which Believers shall receive will be a Reward of mere Grace; and will of God's insinite Goodness be proportioned to, but not merited by their Obedience.—-Let it


« AnteriorContinuar »