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CHAP. the perfect obedience of Christ, whereby the
righteousness of the law is fulfilled. 3dly, That they consider faith in that notion and signification as an action performed by us, according to the command, and by the grace of God, in consideration of which, he, by a certain gracious constitution, is pleased to give us the righteousness of Christ, and remission of sins. 4thly, That they will have that condition to be demanded of us by the gospel, that we may be accounted righteous and innocent before God. For the condition of justification, properly speaking, is nothing but perfect obedience. This the law demands. Neither does the gospel substitute another. But it teacheth, that the law is satisfied by Christ the surety: further, that it is the office of faith to accept the satisfaction offered to it, and by accepting, to make it its own: and that thus, according to the graci- . ous constitution of God, revealed in the gospel, all believers are justified by faith. And this is the genuine judgment of the reformed church, which I have elsewhere vindicat
ed at large. XI. The
XI. Let us now sacrifice to peace and harof Daniel mony, after we have provided for the truth. Williams.
As Britain knows, so I wish it not to be unknown to our Provinces, that all those do not recede far from the truth in this cause, who otherwise with some come under the name of Neonomians. Truly, candour does not allow, nor doth piety permit, that we should
overlook the consent of some brethren in orthodoxy, as unworthy of praise. I at least read with great pleasure, that clear and distinct Catechism, concerning justification and justifying faith, page 13. wherein the very Reverend Daniel Williams explained his mind in dejence of evangelic truth. To exhibit a summary of which at present, is both his interest, and that of the public. He therefore professes and teaches, " That our sins are para doned only for the sake of Christ's merits and righteousness imputed to us. That our faith is not that righteousness, on account of which, or for the sake of which, we obtain forgiveness. That God does not by a certain acceptation, admit of faith, or any imperfect obedience, in place of that perfect obedience which the law demands, as righteousness, in consideration of which he reckons us worthy of the pardon of sins and eternal life; as if, for Christ's sake, he had abrogated the law for this purpose: for that in this way, the merits of Christ are excluded, as the only procuring cause of remission and eternal life. That neither faith, nor any other thing in man, is the cause of remission: in regard that it is the free and the generous grace of God. That God did not only decree, or Christ purchase, that the elect should be able to obtain remission, if they believe: but also that they should certainly believe, and infallibly obtain remission. That that faith to which God gives remission, is that assurance in Christ my cru
CHAP. cified Saviour, whereby I receive him wholly,
excluding all his rivals, for justification, sanctification, and glory: relying on his merits, fulness, power, and care, to perform in his own way, every thing which he hath promised, and which I want. Not indeed that we receive remission before we receive Christ; but that we receive himself with all his bene. fits: yet so, that I first believe remission of sins is laid up in him, for me, as well as other sinners, provided I receive him by faith. That the use of faith to obtain this remission, is not that it purchases, causes, or any way effectuates it; but that it answers to the rule of the gospei, according to which God has been pleased to apply to us the righteousness of Christ; yet so, that even faith itself is reckoned among the fruits of Christ's death. That therefore we do not by faith obtain a right to remission for Christ's sake: but that the promise of God gives us a right to remission, for the sake of Christ's merits, when we believe." Mean wlrile he rather inclines to call faith the condition of remission, than the instrument: because he thinks that under the notion of an instrument, more causality than is just, is ascribed unto faith; yet so, that he easily excuses them who choose to use that word, since he believes they understand nothing else but a moral instrument, which is equivalent to a condition: hence the orthodox are wont to use these words promiscuously.
[18.] He adds, “It is the office of faith to look CHAP, to Christ and his righteousness, to rely upon
X. it, and to accept of it, in order to forgiveness: and that in this matter faith has a singular consideration beyond every other inherent grace. But that we obtain forgiveness by faith, is not so much from this, that we receive Christ by faith; as that this is the ordinance of God, that whosoever receives him, his sins are forgiven him.”.
XII. And XH. To which I now add the excellent words of the conciliatory letter sent to me who sub
scribed his from England : “ We declare, that though book. regeneration, conversion to God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and a holy conversation, be expressly required in the word of God, as manifestly necessary to the salvation of a sinner; nevertheless, none of these, nor any work done by man, nor produced by the Spirit of God in him, is under the notion of subordination, or under any other denomination whatsoever, a part of that righteousness for which, or in consideration of which, God forgives, justifies, and receives sinners into favour, or grants them a right to life; since this is only the righteousness of Jesus Christ without them, imputed to them, and accepted by them, through faith alone.” Thus the English Divines, who subscribed Daniel Wil. liams Book.
XIII. If these things are spoken in since.
CHAP. rity, and faithfully maintained, as charity, X.
which suspects nothing rashly, bids us beXIII.
lieve; truly I do not see, that much controWhereby versy, as to this point, can remain. Morosea way is paved for
ness is not to be ascribed to virtue, nor should unity. charity be violated under pretence of defending
the truth. It is like the severity of a pedagogue, to examine all speeches by human formulas. Men of a liberal genius, refuse to be loaded with the fetters of rigid crities, whom they consider the offspring of deformity. Since the scripture, describing the relation of faith to justification, calls it neither an instrument nor a condition; he may be as orthodox, who uses neither word, as he who uses one, or both. My judgment is this: he who acknowledges that it is the righteousness of Christ only, wherein we stand before God, that it is received by faith, that it may be ours; and that thus we are justified by faith, not by any worthiness or causality of faith, as they speak, much less, by its merit, or substitution in the place of perfect obedience; but by virtue of the gracious appointment of God, whereby he determined, that for the sake of Christ's righteousness, he would justify believers ; God forbid that I should impeach such a divine with heterodoxy on this account, that he perhaps chooses rather to call faith a condition of justification; while I consider it as an instrument.