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in sin, when we were utterly unable of ourselves to help ourselves, Christ died for us, that in his atoning blood the righteousness of God might be declared by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe; therefore is it that we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. To those, however, whose very objection proves that they understand not the spirit of their religion, who can place good works in opposition to faith, and blame those who do not constantly preach them, to those we answer, “ Show me thy faith without thy works.” It is impossible. We will show thee our faith by our works ;they cannot be separated. Faith is the very spirit and essence of the Gospel, nor can he breathe this spirit, or entertain this faith, whose heart is not imbued with an earnest desire of imitating and obeying his Saviour. We do not sufficiently insist on good works :-nay, but we insist on holiness of heart and spirit, as an entire devotion in all our words, our works, and actions, to the service of our heavenly Master; nor can he who preaches faith, the faith of the Gospel, unless wilfully, be misunderstood. The occasion has afforded me the opportunity of briefly explaining to you what faith is. It is not a name or a profession of the lips, but a principle influencing every action of the Christian, and echoed merely by the lips from the inward feeling and expression of the heart. “Do we then through faith make void the law ? God forbid,” says the apostle : God forbid that we should make void any of those holy duties the law requires : "yea, we establish the law;" we place the performance of all its duties on a more prevailing principle. Not fear only, but love must influence us, faith working by love, that the law, not in the letter only but in the spirit, may be obeyed from the heart. Such is the faith the Gospel preaches to us. When we prove ourselves whether we be in the faith, let us try this most pressing question not by our professions, or what we imagine our good works,
but by the motive and spirit from whence they spring, which can alone render them acceptable in the sight of God. Let us not with a dangerous ingenuity, the fruit of human and not heavenly wisdom, separate between Christian faith and Christian holiness; but so blend and unite them, that others, beholding our good works, may glorify our Father which is in heaven, and embrace that pure and heavenly faith which can so sanctify us in this world, as to open to us the gates of the next.
ROMANS, iv. 23, 24.
“ Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him :
“ But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
The apostle in this chapter continues the subject he has so ably treated in the preceding ones, confining his remarks to the example and covenant of Abraham, as they affect the question he so earnestly debates-justification by faith. Now the importance of this question I am earnestly desirous of impressing on you, that I shall follow up the remarks I have already offered by an examination of the further reasoning of the apostle on the subject contained in this chapter. Justi
fication by faith is at once the distinguishing doctrine of the Gospel, and that on which the Protestant rests his dissent from the Roman Catholic Church. That man ought to be good, and holy, and pious, had been taught by the Jew from his law, and by the Heathen, however obscurely, from the dictates of his reason.
" Do this and thou shalt live;" obey all the commandments of God, be righteous and holy, and thou shalt live, had been hitherto the condition and covenant under which mankind had lived. But neither had they done this, or were they of their unassisted powers able to do it : how then were they to be saved ? It was this question the Gospel answered: “Through faith in Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe.” It was this glorious truth that opened to fallen man the gates of heaven. He admitted his guilt; he knew and felt that in him dwelt no good thing; and that a law ruled over his will and his members, which he was utterly unable to contend with. He received therefore, as the first