« ElőzőTovább »
faith mentioned by St. Paul, and called by St. James, perfect faith, and is the true, divine, living, and saving faith, and the only faith that can have an effect with God and Christ, in man's justification, and eternal salvation; and indispensably necessary for that man to possess, who seeks his justification under the Gospel of Christ.
We cannot here, without notice, pass by an error, which has prevailed with certain sects of Christians, who upon the ground that faith is an indispensable instrument, or condition, have carried their ideas, or notions, so far as to conclude that nothing more than faith is wanting to obtain justification, and have held, that faith only, or alone will justify, and from repeated and frequent use of these words, would endeavour to make us believe they are St. Paul's words, whereas, they must, or at least ought to have known, they are no where to be found so placed, either in the writings of St. Paul, or any other part of Scripture: when it is stated that justification is obtained by faith only, or alone, it must not, and cannot have any connection or relation to any other work or act of man; if faith is necessarily to have the aid, assistance, or co-operation of any other work or act whatever by man, it cannot then be said to effect the great work of justification itself, and consequently cannot be truly called alone, it would be making a most
deceptious use of words, we must, therefore, for the sake of correctness of language, conclude when this expression is used, it is intended to be understood to exclude all other works or acts whatever by man in obtaining his justification, whether considered as conditions or duties.
say, justification is not to be obtained without faith ; and to say, justification is obtained by faith only, and that no other work is combined with it in effecting justification, are totally different propositions, the former, according to the revealed words of Christ, is wholly true, the latter wholly erroneous : to place this matter in a right point of view to arrive at truth, we shall find it necessary to remove these two surreptitious beings, “only” and “ alone,” from the situation they have so wrongly usurped, and introduce faith into proper society, suited to her high and exalted station, and not let her wander any longer as a solitary being, and alone, but place her in company becoming her worth, and which St. Paul clearly intended she should have as a constant attendant, verily love, and that in all her doings, or operations, if this friend, her lawful and rightful companion and sister, is not in her train, she must always be considered as a forlorn and deserted being, and of little, very little, estimation. The faith here intended, and it is necessary to be particular ; as there may be great variety of different sorts of faith, is the very identical faith, mentioned in these words:
Gal. v. 6. “ For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision ; but faith which worketh by love.
This is the explanation given by St. Paul himself, when he was stating to the Galatians his doctrine of faith, and shews most distinctly what true Christian faith is, and that nothing can avail any thing, with respect to Christ, but this faith ; and St. Paul is the principal writer in Scripture who has used the word faith, and made it indispensably necessary to our justification; consequently, in every instance where we meet with the word faith in his writings, and in any way relating to, or connected with Christ, this must be the faith the Apostle intended, and the circumcision he mentioned is applicable to man only, he is the party to which this faith applies, and by the words circumcision and uncircumcision, all men are included, of course all faith that man is connected with, or concerned in, that relates to Christ, to have an available effect with him, must be, that “faith which worketh by love." It is not possible to doubt that the definition, or description given by St. Paul can be otherwise than correct; St. Paul must have known what the peculiar properties or qualities of the faith he was describing and wrote so fully upon, possessed, and whether this definition was given before or after he had written, and applied faith to justification, is of no importance whatever. If he had written upon justification previously, he afterwards deemed it necessary to give the explanation; if subsequently, it has a most perfect effect; and by not annexing the words,“ which worketh by love,” in every instance where faith is mentioned, he has avoided great, very great, repetition, which must necessarily have taken place. St. Paul most assuredly gave this definition, or explanation of faith to prevent mistake, or misconception as to the true meaning of the word. After this plain, concise, and at the same time, irresistible and most conclusive argument, drawn from St. Paul's words, it is impossible the tenet of those, who hold that faith alone, or only, is sufficient for man's justification, can be supported by the authority of St. Paul. St. James has stated most pointedly and expressly, that “faith without works is dead," and as long as these words are held to be a part of the Gospel as preached by Christ's disciples, there are no means or words to be found in Scripture to shew, that justification can be obtained by faith alone : works, he says, must be used to perfect faith, but mark how the Calvinist has perverted his words; he, St. James, has stated, that “ faith if it hath not works is dead, being aloned :" but, says the Calvinist, faith alone justifies ! here we discover where he has found this solitary being, and constant adjunct to his faith, and not stated from whence it was really taken, but has attempted to palm it upon St. Paul. It may not be unprofitable to see who speak the sentiments or doctrines of St. Paul most truly, St. James or the Calvinist." St. James has said, as above stated, that “ faith without works is dead.” St. Paul has said, (1 Cor. xiii. 2.) “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge ; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
Here we see that the man who has all faith, and has not charity is nothing, how can a man who is nothing be justified by faith? when it is by faith alone, according to his (the Calvinist's) doctrine he is to be justified: the man, who, by the Apostle's expression, is nothing, cannot be possessed of those qualities, which are necessary to his justification, or to effect any good purpose with respect to God or Christ. The meaning of the term,“ nothing," as used by St. Paul, must be with respect to God or Christ, or, as Dr. Whitby
d James ii. 17.