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was a persect or sincere Faith, when it was imputed to him for Righteoufnefs thirty Years before this. But this noble Act of Obedience evidenced the Truth of his Faith, justisied his Prosession and Character, witnessed to his being a true Believer, and made it knrwn that he indeed feared God, feeing he with-held not his Son, his only Son, from hirn.—\<n this View of the Case, the Argument is clear and pertinent, and the Evidence sull and convincing; but considered according to the other Construction of the Words, it affords no Conclusion to the Purpofe. It is no Consequence, that because Abraham's Faith was operative, therefore his good Works made him righteous, or had any Hand in the Juftification of his Person before God; or that because his good Works were an Evidence that his Faith was perfect and upright, therefore his good Works were a Condition of his Jastification in the Sight of God, with respect to his Person and State.
The same Thing likeways appears from the 23d Verse. And the Scripture was fulfilled, which faith, Abraham believed God; and it was imputed to him for Righteoufnefs; and he •was called the Friend of God.—There can be nothing more pertinent, natural and easy, than the Application of these Words to the Purpofe which I have proposed. That eminent Instance of Abraham's Obedience did most convincingly evidence the Truth and Sincerity of his Faith, and abundantly verify the Report in the Scripture, that Abraham did believe God, and that he had indeed such a Faith as was the Means of rendering him righteous and accepted with God.—Thus the Scripture -was fulfilled, and clearly manisested to be true.—But then, on the other Hand, if Justification be considered in the Sense which you plead for, this Argument
would would be so sar from concluding in savour of the Point to be proved, that it would be directly op. polite and contrary to it: For how could Abraham's being justified by Works fulfil the Scripture, which faith, he was jujtified by Faith; if Jtistificati»n be in both Places taken in the lame Sense for absolute Justification of the Person before God? Ho.v could his Works being imputed for Righteousness sulfil that Scripture, which assures us, that his Faith was imputed for Righteousness, unless Faith and Works are the same thing, and there be no Disference at al) between believing and obeying? —Certain it is, that the Apostle Paul understood the \rgument to conclude the quite contrary Way, when he undertook to prove, from this very Text, that Righteousness is imputed to him that worketh s»f; and that it is imputed without Works: And therefore the Apostle James must be understood in such a Sense, as will make both his Argument conclusive, and his Doctrine consistent with the other inspired Writings.—I fhall only add, as to that Clause, And he was called the Friend of God; this does not mean, that Abraham'* Works made him the Friend of God: fiut they declared him so. His Obedience did not put him in the State of a Friend: But being, upon Trial, found saithsul, he obtained this Testimony, that he was the Friend of God, a justisied Believer.—Now Abraham being the Father of all them that believe, an eminent Example of Faith, and Pattern of Justification, the Apostle subjoins, Ver. 24. Tou see then hoiu that by Works a Man is justified, and not by Faith only.—In a like Sense, even as Christ is said to be justisied in [or by]} the Spirit, so a Christian Man is justified by the Fruit of the-Spirit, in a holy Lise, *'. e. declared approved of God. By Works a Man that says he «| Faith, is thus justified, and not by Faith only;
not not by a Faith that bath not Works attending it; not by a Faith which is abne, or by itself, destitute ot its proper Fruits and Evidences. Some of the best Critics in the Greek Language tell us, the exclusive Particle piiot, Ver. 24. as here placed aster the Word Faith, has the Force of an Adjective; and they read it Fideseditaria, Faith which is alone.
A fourth Argument is taken from the Instance of Rahab, Ver. 2 J. Like'ways also was not Rabab the Harlot justified by Works, when she had received the Messengers, and had sent them out another Way? —Upon which the same Remarks may be made as on the Instance of Abraham.—Rahab seared the God of Israel, and was a true Believer, and therefore personally justified'in the Sight of God, before her sending out the Spies another Way. For she had received the Spies by Faith. Heb. xi. 3 c And consequently she certainly had Faith before she received them. A noble Consession whereof we find her making to these Spies before she dismissed them. See Josh. ii. 10, II. What Justification therefore could she possibly obtain by these Works, but the Justification of her Faith, since she was really ia a justified State before?
And now I am come to the Conclusion of this whole Dissertation, which is, For as the Body iuithout [or severed from] the Spirit is dead, so Faith 'without [or severed from] Works ii dead also. Ver. 26. This, as I observed before, clearly shews what was the Apostle's Design in his whole Discourse. For every Conclusion of anArgument, justly profecuted, must be naturally deduced from the Premises, and consist of the principal Subject-matter to be proved, as we see is the Case before us. But if Justification were here taken in the Sense
w hicb, which you esponse, the Arguments would all of them be inconclusive; and that Conclusion would be quite foreign to the Purpose.-—This Consequence wherefore of my foregoing Discourse necessarily (forces itself upon you, that the Apostle was not here treating of the Justification of our Persons before God, in Regard to their State; but of our Faith in Point of Sincerity: And therefore there can no Argument be brought from this Context, for our Justification by Works, in the Sense you plead for.
Thus, Sir, yon have seen, that the Apostles Paul and James were treating of very different Su&jeffs, and their Determinations were adapted to the Doctrines which they undertook to explain. And thence it is a just Inserence made by an eminent Divine upon this Subject, that " the principal De"signs of the two Aposties being so distant, there "is no R( pugnancy in their Assertions, tho' their
Words make an Appearance thereof. For they "do not speak ad idem, nor of Things eodem refptclu. 'James doth not once inquire, How a "guilty convinced Sinner, cast and condemned by "the Law, should be justified besore God? And "Paul speaks to nothing else. Wherefore apply "the Expressions of each of them to their proper "Design and Scope, (as we must do, or we depart "from all iober Rules of Interpretation, and make "it impossible to understand either of them aright) "and there is no Disagreement, or Appearance of "it between them."
And it may be yet surther remarked, that these Apostles had very differentVctiom to deal with, in their respective Kpistles; and their Addresses were accordingly accommodated to the State of the Parties to whom they wrote.—T he Apostle Paul's Business si ness either lay with such, who being newly con* verted from Heathenifm, were biassed by the Principles taught by the Light of Nature, and alway* received by them, to indulge the vain Thought* that they must render themselves acceptable to God, and be justified in his Sight, by their own personal Righteousness and Ob?dience to the Law. An Opinion greatly strengthened by the numerous salse Teachers, who were desirous to be Teachers of the Law, though they understood neither 'what they said, nor 'whereofthey affirmed: Or else his Business lay with judaizing Christians, who being zealous or the Levitical Dispensation and Constitution, expected Justification by their Consormity to it.—Of these Sorts of Prosessors the Apostle observes, that they weresoon removed from him that called them into the Grace of Christ, unto another Gofpel, Gal. i. 6. And that being ignorant of Go<TsRighteousness, and going about to establish their own Righteousness, they had not submitted themselves unto the Righteousness of God, Rom. x. 3. His Concern was therefore to discover their dangerous and destructive Mistake; and to represent to them the Way, the true and only Way, in which they might hope for Justification in the Sight of God. That it is not by Works of Righteousness -which they had done, but of God's Mercy, they must be saved; that they must 1 be justified freely by God's Grace, through the Redemption which is in Christ Jesus; and that in the Justification of a Sinner, Righteousness is imputed <without Works, and received by Faith only.