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Articles and Homilies speak, meaning present forgiveness, pardon of sins, and consequently acceptance with God: who therein * declares his righteousness or mercy, by or for the remission of the sins that are past, saying, I will be merciful to thy unrighteousness, and thine iniquities I will remember no more.
I believe, t the condition of this, is Faith : I mean, not only, that without Faith we cannot be justified; but also, that as soon as any one has true Faith, in that moment he is justified.
$ Good works follow this faith, but cannot go before it: much less can sanctification, which implies, a continued course of good works, springing from holiness of heart. But it is allowed, that entire | sanctification goes before our justification at the last day.
It is allowed also, that | Repentance, and I fruits meet for repentance, go before faith. Repentance absolutely must go before faith : fruits meet for it, if there be oppor. tunity. By repentance, I mean conviction of sin, producing real desires and sincere resolutions of amendment : and by fruits meet for repentance, ** forgiving our brother, Hceasing from evil, doing good, lill using the ordinances of God, and in general $1 obeying him according to the measure of grace which we have received. But these, I cannot as yet, term good works; because they do not spring from faith and the love of God.
3. By salvation I mean, not barely, according to the vulgar notion, deliverance from hell, or going to heaven : but a present deliverance from sin, a restoration of the soul to its primitive health, its original purity: a recovery of the divine nature; the renewal of our souls after the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness, in justice, mercy, and truth. This implies all holy and heavenly tempers, and by consequence all holiness of conversation.
th Rom. ii. 25. + Rom. iv. 5, &c.' Luke vi. 43. || Heb. xii. 14. Mark İ. 15. Matt. iii. 8. ** Matt. vi. 14, 15, ++ Luke iii. 4, 9, 8c. | Matt, vii. 7. ## Matt. xxv. 29.
• Now, if by salvation we 'mean a present salvation from sin, we cannot say, holiness is the condition of it. For it is the thing itself. Salvation, in this sense, and holiness, are synonymoas terms. We must therefore say, “We are saved by faith. Faith is the sole condition of this salvation. For without faith we cannot be thus' saved. But whosoever believeth, is saved already.
Without faith we cannot be thus saved. For we cannot rightly serve God, unless we love him. And we cannot love him, unless we know him: neither can'we know God, unless by faith. Therefore salvation by faith, is only in other words, the love of God by the knowledge of God: or, the recovery of the image of God, by a true, spiritual acquaintance with him..
4. Faith, in general, is a divine, supernatural exerxos* of things not seen, not discoverable by our bodily senses, as being either past, future, or spiritual. Justifying faith implies, not only a divine edesmos, that God was in Christ: “ reconciling the world unto himself," but a sure trust and confidence that Christ died for my sins, that he loved me and gave himself for me. And the moment a penitent sinner believes this, God pardons and absolves him.' . · And as soon as his pardon or justification is witnessed to him by the Holy Ghost; he is saved. He loves God and all mankind. He has the mind that was in Christ, and power to walk as he also walked. From that time, unless he make shipwreck of the faith, salvation gradually increases in his soul. For “ so is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground-And it springeth up, first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear."
5. The first sowing of this seed, I cannot conceive to be other than instantaneous : whether I consider experience, or the word of God, or the very nature of the thing.--Howa ever, I contend not for a circumstance, but the substance; if you can attain it another way, do. Only see that you do attain it; for if you fall short, you perish everlast. ingly.
* Evidence, or Conviction, VOL. XII.
This beginning of that vast, inward change, is usually termed, The New Birth. Baptism is the outward sign of this inward grace, which is supposed by our Church to be given with and through that sign to all infants, and to those of riper years, if they repent and believe the gospel. But how extremely idle are the common disputes on this head! I tell a sinner, “ You must be born again.” “No," say you,“ he was born again in baptism: therefore he cannot be born again now.” Alas! what trifling is this! What if he was then a child of God? He is now manifestly a . child of the devil: for the works of his father he doth. Therefore, do not play upon words. He must go through an entire change of heart. In one not yet baptized, you yourself would call that change, The New Birth. In him, call it what you will; but remember mean time, that if either he or you die without it, your baptism will be so far from profiting you, that it will greatly increase your damnation. .
6. The Author of faith and salvation is God alone. It is he that works in us both to will and to do. He is the sole giver of every good gift, and the sole author of every good work. There is no more of power than of merit in man; but as all merit is in the Son of God, in what he has done and suffered for us, so all power is in the Spirit of God. And therefore every man, in order to believe unto salvation, must receive the Holy Ghost. This is essentially necessary to every Christian, not in order to his working mira. cles, but in order to faith, peace, joy, and love, the ordi. nary fruits.of the Spirit.
Although no man on earth can explain the particular. manner, wherein the Spirit of God works on the soul, yet whosoever has these fruits, cannot but know and feel that God has wrought them in his heart. :
Sometimes, he acts more particularly on the understanding, opening or enlightening it, (as the Scripture speaks). and revealing, unveiling, discovering to us the deep things of God.
Sometimes he acts on the wills and affections of men : withdrawing them from evil, inclining them to good, inspir
ing (breathing, as it were) good thoughts into them: so it has frequently been expressed, by an easy, natural metaphor, strictly analogous to min, Tverud, Spiritus, and the words used in most modern tongues alsó, to denote the Third Person in the Ever-blessed Trinity, But, however it be expressed, it is certain, all true faith, and the whole work of salvation, every good thought, word, and work, is altogether by the operation of the Spirit of God.
II. 1. I now come to consider the principal objections, which have lately been made against these doctrines.
I know nothing material which has been objected, as to the nature of Justification : but many persons seem to be very confused in their thoughts concerning it, and speak as if they had never heard of any justification antecedent to that of the last day. To clear up this, there needs only a closer inspection of our Articles and Homilies; wherein Justification is always taken, for the present remission of our sins.
But many are the objections which have been warmly urged, against the condition of Justification, Faith alone : particularly in two treatises, the former entitled, The Notions , of the Methodists fully disproved: the second, The 'Notions of the Methodists farther disproved. In both of which it is vehemently affirmed, 1. That this is not a scriptural doctrine. 2. That it is not the doctrine of the Church of England.
It will not be needful to name the former of these any more; seeing there is neither one text produced therein, to prove this doctrine unscriptural, nor one sentence from the Articles or Homilies, to prove it contrary to the doctrine of the Church. But so much of the latter as relates to the merits of the cause, I will endeavour to consider calmly. As to what is personal, I leave it as it is. God, be merciful to me a sinner!
2. To prove this doctrine unscriptural, that “ Faith alone is the condition of Justification,” you allege, that " Sanctificaticn, according to Scripture, must go before it:" to evince which, you quote the following texts, which I leave as I find them :* 6 Go, disciple all nations--teaching them.
. * Matt. xxviii, 19, 20.
to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded them.” *“ He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved." + “Preach repentance and remission of sins." "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the remission of sins.” 1 “Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” $ " By one offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” You add, “St. Paul taught Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ;' and calls § Repentance from dead works, and faith toward God,” first principles.
You subjoin, “But ye are washed,” says he, “but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified.” By washed is meant their baptism; and by their baptism is meant, first their sanctification, and then their justification.” This is a flat begging the question; you take for granted, the very point, which you ought to prove. “St. Peter also," you say, " affirms, that baptism doth save us or justify us.” Again, you beg the question : you take for granted what I utterly deny, viz. that save and justify are here synonymous terms. Till this is proved, you can draw no inference at all; for you have no foundation whereon to build
I conceive these and all the scriptures which can be quoted to prove Sanctification antecedent to Justification, if they do not relate to our final Justification, prove only, what I have never denied, that repentance, or conviction of sin, and fruits meet for repentance, precede that faith whereby we are justified: but by no means, that the love of God, or any branch of true holiness, must or can precede faith.
3. It is objected, secondly, That Justification by Faith alone, is not the doctrine of the Church of England.
“You believe,” says the writer above-mentioned, that no good work can be previous to Justification, nor consequently a condition of it. But God be praised, our Church has no where delivered such abominable doctrine.” Page 14. “ The clergy contend for inward holiness, as previous to
warnaransannonsernararan . * Mark xvi. 16. + Luke xxiv. 47. Acts ii. 38. I Chap. iii. 19. Heb. x. 14.
Acts xx. 21. Heb. vi. 1.