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life of continued sins. I say that these inferences are not to be wondered at, if the texts be taken by themselves. Scripture is to be compared with scripture; particular texts with other particular texts; and especially with the main tenor of the whole. The doctrine even of transubstantiation has a text to stand upon, which, taken alone, and interpreted literally, is very strong in its favor; but collated with other texts, and explained according to certain reasonable rules of interpretation, the passage is capable of being disposed of without forcing upon us any doctrine like that which had been deduced from it. Now, proceeding in this manner with the texts above cited, concerning the efficacy of faith, we take upon us to say, that whatever the writer of them meant by these expressions, he did not mean to lay it down as an article to be received by his disciples, that a man leading a wicked life, without change and without repentance, will nevertheless be saved at the last by his belief of the doctrines of the christian religion; still less did he mean to encourage any one to go on in a course of sin, expressly and intentionally comforting and protecting himself by this opinion. I repeat, that he, the apostle, could not mean to say this; because if he did, he would say what is expressly and positively contradicted by other texts of at least equal authority with his own; he would say what is contradicted by the very drift and design of the christian constitution; and would say, lastly, what is expressly denied and contradicted by himself.
First, he would say what is contradicted by other texts of scripture, and those of the very highest authority. For instance, what words can be plainer, more positive, or more decisive of this point than our Saviour's own? Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.' There can be no doubt but that they who are here introduced as crying out to Jesus Christ, Lord, Lord,' are supposed to believe in him; yet neither their devotion, nor their faith which prompted it, were sufficient to save them. Nay, farther; our Lord, in the same passage, proceeds to tell his hearers, that many will say to him in that day, Have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?' It cannot be questioned but that they who do these things in Christ's name believe in Christ. Yet what will be their reception? 'I will profess unto you I never knew you.' And who are they who shall be thus repulsed and rejected? No others than the workers of iniquity. Depart from me, ye workers of iniqui
ty.' The difference between doing good and doing evil according to another declaration of our Saviour, is no less than this; They that have done good shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.' Can a greater distinction be made, or expressed in words more plain? All the preceptive part of our Lord's teaching, especially his whole sermon upon the mount, may be alleged on the same side of the argument. And to substitute belief in the place of the duties there enjoined, or as an expiation for the offences there forbidden, even when persevered in, would in effect set aside the authority of the lawgiver. Why did our Lord command and forbid these things, or indeed any thing, if he did not require obedience as a condition of salvation? Again, every thing which we read concerning repentance implies the necessity of good works to salvation, and the inconsistency of bad works with salvation; for repentance is a change from one to the other, and can be required upon no other supposition than this. But of repentance we hear continually in the New Testament, and from the first to the last of the great mission of which it contains the history. John the Baptist began with it before our Saviour's own ministry commenced, and as the introduction to that ministry. His call to the Jews who resorted to his preaching was to 'repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' That practical virtue made an essential part of what he meant by repentance is not left to be collected from the mere import of the word or nature of the subject, which yet might show it sufficiently, but is expressly by himself declared; Bring forth fruits meet for repentance; and when particular classes of men come to inquire of their teacher what they should do, his answer was a warning against those particular sins to which persons of their class and character were most liable, which is his own application of his own principle, and is, so far as the instances go, a direct and clear exposition of his meaning. All proves that a moral change, a moral improvement, practical sins, and practical virtues, and a turning from one to the other, was what he included in the awful admonition which he sounded in the ears of mankind. What his forerunner began with our Lord followed up in the same sense, and with the same design. Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel.' As our Lord preached repentance himself, nay, made it the burden of his preaching, so he sent out his apos
tles to do the very same. He called the twelve, you read, and began to send them out, two by two. And, thus sent, what were they to' do? They went out and preached, that every man should repent.' After our Lord's departure from the world, the apostles carried on exactly the same plan of religious instruction. They had learnt their lesson too well and too deeply to change its essential part. Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.''Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.' The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men every where to repent.' This is the explicit language the apostle held upon the subject of repentance; which, as hath already been observed, has a precise reference to a good and bad life; and these texts deliver no other judgment concerning the matter than what their great teacher had pronounced before. By comparing St Paul's words with other scriptures, we cannot overlook that well known text of St James; What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and not works; can faith save him?' St James doth not here suppose the man hypocritically, and for some sinister purpose, to pretend to believe what he does not believe. The illustration which follows plainly supposes the belief to be real, for he compares it to the case of the devils, who believe and tremble. Now we are to remember that St James's words are scripture, as well as St Paul's. Here, therefore, is a text, which precisely, and in the most pointed terms, contradicts the sense which the Solifidians put upon St Paul's words.
Again, a sense which virtually sets aside the obligation and the necessity of good works cannot be the true sense of St Paul's words, because it is contrary to at least one declared end of Christianity itself. The office and design of the christian revelation is set forth in the following texts; The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.' By the phrase, the grace of God that bringeth salvation,' is undoubtedly meant Christianity. Then for what purpose hath it appeared? To do what was it published? The text goes on to tell us; namely, that it should teach 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 Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works. That was his object, or at least one of his ob
jects, and the mean towards it was to teach us, that denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Our Saviour himself had
before told his disciples, that he came to call sinners to repentance;' and repentance, as already hath been noticed, bears a necessary relation to good works and bad works. Agreeably hereunto, the benefit and blessing of Christianity, as a revelation, is described by the apostle Peter to consist in its converting efficacy; for addressing the Jews upon a very signal occasion, and a very short time after our Lord's ascension, when every thing was fresh in his thoughts, he speaks thus; 'Unto you first, God, having raised up his son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.'
The question, you remember, is what St Paul meant, or rather, strictly speaking, what he did not mean, in the several texts that have been cited in this discourse, and which are usually cited by those who may be called the advocates of faith, in contradistinction to good works. Now, although it may be a reasonable method of showing that a man's words are not to be taken in the sense which the letter and terms of the sentence may seem, at first sight at least, to convey, in order to prove that such sense is inconsistent with what is delivered by authority as great as his own, or greater, and inconsistent also with the main drift and purpose of that very institution, in the administration of which, and as forming part of which, the texts in question were written; although these points may be fairly brought forward in argument, yet the straight and clear way of showing, in any case of difficulty, in what sense a writer intended that his words should be understood, or rather in what sense he did not mean them to be taken, is to look to what himself has elsewhere said upon the same subject, and more especially to what he has said in the same writing. For though a man may advance what is contrary to sound reason, what is contrary to other authority, nay, what is contrary to his own professions at other times, and in other writings, yet surely his words ought not to be interpreted, if there be any fair way of avoiding it, in such a manner as to make him contradict himself in the same discourse.
Now, pursuing this line of observation, we have to remark, first, that in the very same epistle to the Romans in which St Paul says, that the just shall live by faith,' not only in the same epistle, but in the same sentence, St Paul tells us that the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness. By
quoting, therefore, the old prophet's expression, shall live by faith,' he cannot mean to say that faith, accompanied with ungodliness and unrighteousness, would end in salvation. That indeed would be to say, not that the 'just,' but that the unjust, shall live by faith. It would be to say what his next words unsay, and contradict. The most therefore that this text, 'the just shall live by faith,' can amount to, is, that though good works be necessary and be performed, yet, after all, it is not by them, otherwise than as they are the proof of faith, but by that faith itself, that the just shall live. Again; though it be true that St Paul in this epistle concludes that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,' yet in the same epistle he had before told us, that God will render to every. man according to his deeds; to them, who by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, and honor, and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jews first, and also of the Gentiles.' Therefore, his expression concerning faith, in the third chapter of this epistle, though strong, must not be so construed as to make the author assert the direct contrary of what he had asserted just before in the second chapter. Again; four chapters of this very epistle, viz. from the twelfth to the fifteenth inclusive, are occupied in delivering moral precepts. Let no one therefore say that moral precepts are indifferent, or that moral practice, i. e. the conduct which these precepts enjoin and enforce, is unnecessary; I mean in the judgment of the writer whose authority is here pleaded. Nor is it possible to reconcile with this opinion the two following texts, taken out of the same epistle; The wages of sin is death;' chap. vi. verse 23. 'If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live ;' chap. viii. verse 13.
The same species of observation applies to the epistle to the Galatians; in which epistle, it is true, that the apostle hath used concerning faith these very strong terms; Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ; that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.' Nevertheless, in another place of this same epistle, we have the following plain, clear, and circumstantial denunciation; The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred,