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justifies, and affirm that works are also required. These, when they hear the Gospel, form to themselves certain notions, and turn over in their minds some frigid cogi. tations concerning Christ, and then think that this vague dream of theirs, and these cold cogitations, are faith. And of such, these are the common sayings
Well then (say they) if faith alone justifies, I hear the Gospel, I know the history concerning Christ, therefore I believe.' But, as this is a mere cold notion and human cogitation, which does not renew the heart nor have any effect upon it, no newness of life, no works of faith are seen to follow.
But true faith is the work of God in us, by which we are born again, and renewed of God and the Spirit of God, John iii.; by which the old Adam is destroyed and we are wholly transformed in all things. As the apostle saith, by faith we are made new creatures in Christ, and the Holy Spirit becomes the life and governing law in our hearts. Faith works so effectually, is such a living spring and powerful energy in the heart, that it cannot remain inactive, but must break forth into works. Nor could he that has true faith sit down at ease, whether good works were commanded or not: even if there were no law, he would, by this impulse influencing and urging him in his heart, be carried forth into action, nor would he come short in any pious and Christian duty. Whereas he, who does not his works from this living and impelling affection of mind, is in unbelief, and a total stranger to faith: and there are many who dispute and argue much about faith in the schools, and yet, know not themselves “what they say nor whereof they affirm.”
Faith, therefore, is a steady confidence in the mercy of God toward us, living in the heart, and there effectually working; by which, we are enabled to cast ourselves wholly upon God, and to entrust ourselves unto him; so that, supported by this confidence, we hesitate not to meet death a thousand times. This animating confidence in the mercy of God, gladdens, cheers, and enlarges the heart, and carries it forth in the softest and sweetest af
fections towards him. It so strengthens the heart of him that believes
, that, having this reliance on God, he fears not to stand alone in the face of the whole creation: such an intrepid boldness, such a supporting courage, does
the Spirit of God received by faith, put into the heart. -
Upon this we follow on, and by this lively impulse in the God
, we are moved on to good. This gladdened inclination of heart we follow up, so as to find a spontaneous, willing, prompt, and glowing desire to do, to bear, to suffer all things in obedience to so merciful a God and Father
, who, through Christ, has enriched us with such a fulness of grace, and overwhelmed us with such an w
abundance of riches. And it never can be, that this efficacy and life of faith can be in any one, without its causing him to continue in good works, and to bring forth fruit unto God; even as it is impossible that a fuperal pile should be set on fire, and the flame of it not shine forth. Wherefore, in this important matter, take heed that thou trust not to the vain fancies and vague cogitations of thine own brain, or to the idle imaginations of the sophist. These sophists have neither heart nor understanding, but are beasts serving their own
belly only, born for nothing else but the holiday-feasts level of the schools. But pray thou unto God, who by his
word commanded the light to shine out of darkness, that hraste te would shine into thy heart and beget in thee faith ;
or thou wilt never in truth believe, even though thou shouldst
, by such notional cogitations as these, strive after the attainment and possession of faith for a thousand years together.
This real faith is true righteousness, which the apostle calls the righteousness of God: that is, which avails and stands before God, because it is the pure gift of God. And this righteousness renews, and transforms the whole man, and renders him such, that, according to the common definition of righteousness, he “renders to every one his own." For when by this faith we are justified and brought to love the law of God, by thus magnifying God and his law, we render unto God the
honour due unto him. Moreover, when by this faith we believe that we are freely reconciled to God through Christ, who gave himself up entirely to become a servant unto our salvation, then also, in like manner, we are enabled to become servants unto our neighbour; and thus again we “render to every one of his own.' But unto this righteousness of the heart we shall never attain, by any strivings of our own free-will, or by any powers or merits of our own. For, as no one but God himself can implant in the heart that vital energy, faith, so no one can expel from himself that enmity, the unbelief of the heart; it is the work of the grace and Spirit of God only; so utterly impossible is it to deliver ourselves from one sin by our own powers. How specious a show soever, therefore, external works may carry with them, yet, whatever is not of faith is hypocrisy and sin.
And, finally, concerning the terms Flesh and Spirit, which so often occur in this epistle. - By Flesh you are not to understand, in the common sense of the term, desires and luşts only. Nor by Spirit are you to understand those things only that are carried on in the internal recesses of the mind and heart. According to the apostle, and Christ himself, John iii., you are to understand by flesh “whatsoever is born of the flesh :” that is, the whole man, his body, his soul, and his whole reason, together with all its greatest and best faculties: because all these faculties savour of nothing but flesh and seek nothing but what is carnal. You are to consider flesh whatever is without the Spirit of God, even though it be thinking or speaking of God, or faith, or any spiritual things. You are to call flesh, all works, how good and holy soever in appearance, that are done without the grace and motions of the Holy Spirit in the heart. This is clear from Gal. v., where the apostle enumerates, among the fruits of the flesh, heresies, and divisions. And, Rom. viii
, he saith, the law was weak through the flesh: which is to be understood, not of lust only, but of the whole enmity and depravity of nature; and, in one
word of unbelief, which is the grand secret spring of all sin, yea, the greatest of all sins.
On the contrary, by Spirit, you are to understand
spiritual things, even external works, when they proceed Jour: 22
from the spiritnal man, or from the heart renewed by the wn." I Holy Spirit
. That washing of the feet which Christ did before his disciples was Spirit, although an external any poiz work. The fishing of Peter was Spirit, to which he reGod hinte
tumed after he was justified by the Spirit.— Flesh, there
fore, is whatever a man does seeking and savouring of unbelie carnal things. Spirit
, is whatever a man does, either d Spiri
within or without, exercising faith and love, and seeking Leliver spiritual things. Hory Unless you understand all these terms, you will commajor prehend neither this Epistle of St. Paul, nor the other - hypoc books of the holy scriptures
. And therefore, what authors soever they may be who use these terms in any other and Se
sense, be thou in nothing moved with such authority of men, but shun them all as a contagious pestilence.
THE USE OF THE LAW.
GALATIANS iii. 19.
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Wherefore then serveth the Law? It was added because of transgressions. As things are divers and distinct, so the uses of them are divers and distinct: therefore, they may not be confounded : for if they be, there must needs be a confusion of the things also. A woman may not wear a man's apparel, nor a man a woman's attire. Let a man do
the works that belong to a man, and a woman the works d die that belong to a woman. Let every man do that which throuets his vocation and office requireth. Let pastors and
preachers teach the Word of God purely: Let magistrates govern their subjects, and let subjects obey their magistrates. Let every thing serve in his due place and
order. Let the sun shine by day, and the moon and stars by night Let the sea give fishes; the earth grain; the woods wild beasts and trees, &c. In like manner let not the law usurp the office and use of another; that is to say of justification : but let it leave this only to grace, to the promise, and to faith. What is then the office of the law?_Transgressions. Or else (as he saith in another place,)." The law entered that sin should abound.” A goodly office forsooth! “ The law (saith he) was added because of transgressions :" that is to say, it was added besides and after the promise, until Christ, the “ seed," should come unto whom it whom it was promised.
OF THE DOUBLE USE OF THE LAW.
Here you must understand, that there is a double use of the law. One is civil. For God hath ordained civil laws, yea, all laws, to punish transgressions. Every law then is given to restrain sin. If it restrain sin, then, it maketh men righteous !—No! nothing less! For in that I do not kill, I do not commit adultery, I do not steal; or, in that I abstain from other sins, I do it not willingly, or for the love of virtue, but I fear the prison, the sword, and the hangman. These do bridle and restrain me that I sin not; as bonds and chains restrain a lion or a bear, that he tear and devour not every thing that he meeteth. Therefore, the restraining from sin is not righteousness, but rather, a signification of unrighteousness. For as a mad or wild beast is bound, lest he should destroy every thing that he meeteth; even so, the law doth bridle a mad and furious man, that he sin not after his own lust. This restraint sheweth plainly enough, that they which have need of the law (as all they have which are without Christ,) are not righteous; but rather, wicked and mad men; whom it is necessary by the bonds and prison of the law, so to bridle, that they sin not. Therefore, the law justifieth not!
The first use then of the law is, to bridle the wicked. For the devil reigneth throughout the whole world, and enforceth men to all kinds of horrible wickedness. There