Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

10th and following verses to the 24th, in which St. James maintains justification by works, and not by faith alone, evidently admit the following short paraphrase:

V. 14. And let not any Jew or Christian think his faith sufficient to justify and save him, without those works of charity and mercy here spoken of, v. 8, 13: for what doth it profit if a man say he hath faith, i. e. in words profess faith in God, v. 19, or in Christ, v. !, u and have not works," to evidence the truth of that profession? ean such a naked, fruitless faith save him?

V. IS. " If a brother or sister be naked, or destitute of daily food,"

V. 16. « And one of you say unto him, depart in peace, and be you warmed and filled, notwithstanding ye give them not those things which be needful for the body^ what drfth it profit?"

V. 17. "Even so faith," professed with the mouth, "if it hath not works" answerable to that profession, and flowing from it," is dead," and fruitless as those words are, " being alone," i. e. without works showing its reality.

V. 18. " Yea, a man may say," to such a believer, " thou hast," in profession, " faith, and I have" real "works: show me thy faith," which thou professest "without thy works," which thou canst never do, faith being seated in the heart, and only discoverable by its effects, " and I will show thee by my works my faith," as the cause is manifested by the effect.

V. 19." Thou" being a Jew," believest there is one God. Thou'* in this, " doest well;" but doest no more than the very devils, for "devils also believe and tremble;" and if thou hast no better faith than they, thou hast the same reason to tremble, which they have.

V. 20. " But wilt thou know, O vain man!" who makest profession of such a naked faith, "that faith without works is dead," and so unable to justify or save thee? see it in the example of that very Abraham whom thou boastest as thy father.

V. 21. For « was not Abraham," whom we style " our father, justified by works," proceeding from his faith, " when he had of-. fered his son Isaac upon the altar?" confiding that God was able to raise him from the dead. Heb. ii. 17. 19.

V. 22. " Seest thou how," [Greek, thou seeat by t/iis example^] that" faith wrought with his works," to produce them, " and by works was faith made perfect," or elevated in him to the highest degree of excellence?

V. 23. " And the scripture was," again " fulfilled, which saith, Abraham believed in God, and it," i. e. that faith which produced these works," was accounted to him for righteousness, and," upon that account, " he was called the friend of God."

f.-24. " Ye see then how that by works," proceeding from faith, "a man is justified, and not by faith only," i. e. being alone and without them.

From this short paraphrase atises a satisfactory answer to the objection alleged from St. James's epistle. The scope of hi* argument does not interfere with the doctrine of St Paul, "■ . . '• •• '"

.as they do not view justification under the same aspect and circumstances in their respective passages concerning it. WheB St. Paul says, we are justified " by faith without the works of the law," and that " to him that workcth not, but believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, faith is imputed for righteousness," or to justification; the justification there attributed to faith, without works, imports only our absolution from condemnation on account of our past sins, committed before faith in Christ, and our reconciliation to God, by receiving pardon for them, by their not being imputed to those who believe in him. The whole drift of his argument goes to show, that it was necessary, in the first instance, for both Jew and Gentile to be justified freely by grace, and not by works, because they were all under sin, and liad " come short of the glory of God." Rom. iii. "Whereas," says he, " being justified by'faith, we have peace with God, and rejoice in the hope of God's glory." Rom. v. "The law," says he again, " was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith; but now, after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster," that is, under the tuition of the law; " for ye are all the children of God through Christ Jesus." Gal. iii. Here the apostle plainly insinuates, that we tannot be justified by the works of the law, because the law leads vs to Christ for justification. And again; " we are justified by grace, not of works; for we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works:" Ephes. ii. 10; where the argument seems, to run thus; " we cannot be justified by works preceding faith, because we perform no works truly good with respect to eternal life, until by faith we are interested in Christ Jesus." Such is the plain doctrine of St. Paul: whereas St. James speaks evidently of those works which follow faith in Christ, are wrought by it, and are its natural effects. He inculeates their necessity in order to our continuance in a state of justification, and exemption from final condemnation. The one speaks of the act of pardon on the part of God, his act of justification of the sinner, on his cordial belief in Christ, in the first instance: the other, of the continuance of this act of justification, of its efficacy in constituting the believer in Christ, a friend and child of God, as long as his faith continues to work by love, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, and no longer. St. Paul speaks of believing from the heart: St. James of a faith dead and fruitless. St. Paul speaks •f an operative faith: St. James of a faith, which, though it might have justified the believer at first, ceases to do so when it ceases to act, and to show itself in righteousness of life. St. Paul speaks »f a faith which receives Christ as a lawgiver and a sovereign, as well as a Redeemer, and of course of a faith which virtually includes a sincere disposition and firm determination to keep all Jiis commandments: St. James, of a faith which consists merely in believing speculative truths, without any concern for the practice of Christian obedience. And thus it appears that the doctrine of St. Paul is perfectly consistent with that of St. Janies.

Man is assuredly justified by that faith alone, which is described by the former apostle, and not by that alone which is described by the latter. The first procures our pardon and acceptance on the part of God: by it alone we stand justified before him, and continue to enjoy that mighty blessing and privilege, unless our belicf degenerate into that barren and dead faith, which produces no fruits of righteousness—the only evidences of a faith active and justifying. By works, therefore, springing from this faith as from their root and foundation, God is induced to perpetuate his first act of pardon and acceptance; and so far St. James declares the sinner to be justified by works. And, indeed, it is only by works that a habit of saving faith can be formed and maintained; for" faith without works is dead." "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God," says St. John I. v. 1.: but he adds, in the same' chapter, " whosoever is born of God, overcomcth the world." Whence it follows that, in the sense of the apostle, he believeth not " that Jesus is the Christ," who, by virtue of that faith, does not overcome the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Wherefore, it appears very evidently, that St. John, as well as the other apostolick writers, considered that alone to be true faith, which was productive of obedience; which, though not formally, yet virtually includes it, as causes virtually contain their effects. So that the difference between men of candour and judgment, as to saving faith, lics more in words than in substance; all agreeing in this—that

(we cannot be saved by that faith, which does not produce in. us sincere obedience to the laws of Christ.

FOR THE THEOLOGICAL MAGAZINE.

SOME ACCOUNT
OF THE ORIGINAL INHABITANTS OF AMERICA.

IT is not improbable that America was known to the ancient Carthaginians, and that it was the great island Atalantis, of whichPlato speaks both in his Critias and Timeus, as larger than Asia md Africa; though he adds, that it had been swallowed up by an tarthquake, with other fabulous accounts. It is well known in what' wanner Christopher Columbus, a Genoese, under the protection of Ferdinand, king of Spain, in 1492, first discovered the Lucay* Islands in America, viz. Guanahani or the Desired Land, and afV '^rwards Cuba, Hispaniola, &c: also how Americo Vespucci, si f iorentine, by the authority of Emmanuel, king of Portugal, in' I501, sailing as far as Brazil, discovered that vast continent which was called from him America. Among the barbarous nations which inhabited it, all the rest, though united by certain laws of society and government, might justly be styled savages, comparatively to those who composed the two great empires of Mexico and Peru. These were both acquainted with, and very expert in the useful and necessary arts, though strangers to sciences, and even to the use of writing or an alphabet properly so called; so that the memory of transactions was only preserved by signs or marks, made by a wonderful variation of colours and knots called quippos, in threads or cords, and by these they expressed what they desired. The same was the manner of writing, (if it may be so called,) used by the ancient Chinese before the invention of their hieroglyphical letters. Father Jos. Acosta says, their Indians that were converted to the faith, readily wrote, or rather marked down by a dexterous arrangement of these quippos, the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Creed, in order to learn them more easily by heart. The Peruvians preserved by these quippos, the history of the chief actions of their Incas; on which see the accurate Inca Garcilasso de la Vega, (in historia Incarum,) who was himself of the race of the Incas. The Mexicans, and ancient inhabitants of Canada, wrote, not by quippos, but by certain hieroglyphicks; that is, by marks or little pictures, framed with meal or similar substances, on the barks of trees. Their figures resembled hooks, axes, cards, &c. but were never understood by any Europeans. The Spaniards, in the conquest of Mexico, destroyed many such books, which they at first mistook for magical charms. Certain annals of Mexico, in this manner of writing, are preserved in the Vatican library. The Peruvians and Mexicans performed their arithmetical operations by the help of grains of maize or Indian wheat. The policy or constitution of the two empires of Mexico and Peru, and their art of government, resembled in some respect, those of civilized kingdoms: their cities, palaces, and temples, were surprisingly magnificent, and well regulated. These were richer in Peru, but the court of Mexico was supported with greater state; their armies were exceedingly numerous; but their chief weapons were bows and arrows, stones which they threw, or sharp flints fixed on poles, instead of steel weapons. The Mexicans had a great number of fantastical idols. They were conquered under their great empcrour Montezuma in 1521, by Ferdinand Cortes, who, with 800 Spaniards, and some thousands of Indian allies, destroyed the great city of Mexico, which stood on an island in the midst of a lake. New Mexico was afterwards built upon the banks of the same water. The history of the conquest of Mexico by Cortes, is most elegantly written by Don Antonio de Solis. The incas or emperours of Peru, resided in the rich and stately city of Cusco. The language ot Quito was generally understood over that whole empire, the policy •f which was superiour to that of Mexico. The chief god of the Peruvians was the Sun, to whom they offered in his great temple at Cusco, bloody victims, and fruits of the earth. Francis Pizarro, a haughty, cruel, and perfidious Spanish adventurer, conquerei

[graphic][subsumed]
« AnteriorContinuar »