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I leave my Friend to apply the preceding Instances. Only let me beg of Him to believe; that, if my W ords are grating, they are extorted by the Force of Truth. If I am obliged to blame, what He calls good Works; it is, as a great Critic blames Eloquence, « with the « Tenderness of a Lover."-But my Censure falls only on their faulty Origin, and unbecoming Aim. Let them spring from the Grace of CHRIST, as their Source; let them propose the Glory of CHRIST, as their End; then, inftead of putting a Slight upon them, or giving them a Bill of Divorce, I would court, caress, and wed them.-Whereas, if neither this End be kept in the View, nor that Principle operate in the Heart; I must perfift, in queftioning the Genuineness of their Character; nay, in denying the very Possibility of their Existence. There may be a Mimickry of holy Actions. But it is Mimickry only; empty, as the Combs * made by those Wasps; and unreal, as the Flame that is painted.
I have an Authority for this Doctrine, which I think, You will not offer to controvert...
Ther. What Authority?
Afp. That of our Church. Who declares, in her XIIIth Article; “ Works done before the Grace « of CHRIST, and Inspiration of his SPIRIT, « are not pleasing to GOD; forasmuch as they « spring not out of Faith in CHRIST,”-Faith in JESUS CHRIST, purifies the Heart. Till this be done, the Heart is polluted; the Mind and Conscience are defiled fi nothing, that we have or do, is pure.--It is written; The LORD had
Respect * Faciunt & Vespæ Favos. .t. Tit. i. 15.
Respect unto Abel, and to his Offering *. First, unto Abel; then, unto his Offering. The Man must be restored to Favour, before his Duties can be received with Complacency.
Such a One, You say, is honest in his Dealings, temperate in his Enjoyments, charitable to the Poor. Be it so. Yet, unless these shewy Deeds are referred to the Glory of the Supreme JEHOVAH; unless they flow from Faith in the crucified JESUS; they are but the Carcass of Virtue f. They may be
* Gen. iv. 4.. .. + This great evangelical Truth, will, probably, be reckoned a hard Saying, by the carnal Mind; and may seem a foolish Notion, to vain Philosophy. I beg Leave therefore, for its better Reception and firmer Establishment, to produce some of the greatest Testimonies in the World.-Let Us hear, what the pious Bishop of St. Afaph fays, upon the Subject ; what the famous Archbishop of Constantinople said, long before Him; and what a whole Synod, or a whole Nation of Ecclefiaftics, are continually saying, in the Homilies of the Church of England.
* I can do no good Works at all, before I be first “ justified. My.Works cannot be accepted as good, till “ my Person be so. Nor can my Person be accepted by « GOD, till first engrafted into CHRIST; before “ which engrafting into the true Vine, 'tis impoflible I " should bring forth good Fruit.", Beveridge's Private Thoughts, Artic. 8.
Ευρησεις γουν πολλές και εκλος το λοψε της αληθειας ερίοις αγαθοις καλα το φαινομενον διαλαμπούλας" ευρησεις ανδρας ζυμπαθεις, ελεηMoras, disaloouun apcexovlug waader esu EĞw wifiws ałabor. Εοκασιν οι ερΓους κομωδίες απαθους, και τον Θεον της ευσεβειας ανοησα λες, λειψανους γκρων, καλα μεν ενδεδεμενοις, αισθησιν δε των καλων εκ exoon. Chryfoft. Tom. vi.
« Faith giveth Life to the Soul; and they be as much 4 dead to GOD that lack Faith, as they be to the 6 World, whose Bodies lack Soals. Without Faith, all " that is done of Us, is but dead before GOD, although VOL. I. A a
Acts of worldly Policy, of selfish Prudence, or Pbarisaical Pride. They are no religious Service, nor any pleasing Oblation to the LORD Almighty *. -Nay; instead of being Acts of Obedience, and Objects of Approbation, they stand condemned in the Scripture, and are Breaches of the Commandment. They stand condemned in that Scripture, which declares; Without Faith it is imposible to please GODt. They are Breaches of that Commandment, which requires; Whether Ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever Ye do, do all to the Glory of GOD I.
Ther. Who can believe this, that considers the intrinsic Excellency of Virtue and virtuous Acțions ?
Asp. Who can disbelieve it, that confiders the preceding Declarations of Scripture ? And observes, how GOD has confirmed by his Providence, what He has declared in his Word. Behold Ifrael after
the “ the Work seem never so gay and glorious before Man." Homily on Faith.
* Might not this Observation be made, with great Propriety, in our infirmary and other charitable Sermons ? Should not the Audience be exhorted to abound in Acts of Benevolence, from a grateful Regard to the infinitely merciful and condescending JESUS? 2 Cor. viii. 9.-Should they not, before all Things, be directed to make fure their Interest in the REDEEMER's Merits? That their Persons may find Favour, and their Alms Acceptance, Eph. i. 6.--Should they not be admonished, that, without this believing Application to CHRIST, whatever they do, whatever they give, is worthless in the Eye of their MAKER, and will be fruitless to their own Souls? Heb. xi. 6. In this Respect our SAVIOUR was eminently typefied by the Jewish Altar. On which every Sacrifice, by whomsoever brought, was to be offered. And separate from which no Sacrifice, however costly, could be accepted, Exod. xx. 24. Levit. xvii. 3, 4. + Heb. xi. 6.
i i Cor. x. 3!.
ved Him, med GOD inthe HOLY
the Fles. They had, what You will reckon greater : than Sincerity, a Zeal for GOD*. Yet, not bee ing according to Knowledge, the Knowledge of Justification by the Righteousness of CHRIST; it was as if they offered Swine's Flesh, or cut off a Dog's Neck; affronting and offensive to the HOLY ONE.-Nay; they served GOD intensely t and affiduously; served Him, the Apostle affirms, Night and Day. Yet, not serving Him as Sinners, redeemed by CHRIST; but rather as Righteous Persons, who would be their own Redeemers; all their Toil was unacceptable and unprofitable. With all this Parade of Services, they were rejected by JEHOVAH, and cast out from his presence, cs like an abominable Branch.”
Upon the Whole : Shall We submit to the Determination of our established Church ? Shall We acquiesce in the Decision of our Divine MASTER? Then We must acknowledge; That there is no such Thing as a good Work, till We are reconciled to GOD; till our Persons are accepted through CHRIST.-Therefore, to represent our own Works, as the Means of Reconciliation and Acceptance, is both chimerical and absurd. Chimeri. cal, because it builds upon a Phantom ; and takes for a Reality, what has no Existence. Absurd, bea cause it inverts the natural Order of Things; and would make the Effect, antecedent to the Cause. I might add, idolatrous also; because it pays to the Performances of a Creature, what is reserved wholly for the Righteousness of our incarnate GOD.
Ther. Before We quit this agreeable Retreat, let me ask my Aspasio; What He proposes, by running down all those Works, which are the Produce of inward Religion, and essential to true Holiness? Whofe Excellency is displayed in the clearest, and whose Necessity is urged in the strongest Terms, throughout the whole Bible. .
. . · Ajp. I am far from running down such Works, as are the Produce of inward Religion; and therefore may be juftly styled, Works of Faith, and Labours of Love *. -But I would caution my Theron, and I would myself take care, that our Works be accompanied with those Circumstances, which alone can render them truly good. Let them arise from Faith, and bear witness to Love, or else We shall have Thistles instead of Wheat, and Cockle instead of Barley t.
Perform them, in Obedience to a reconciled GOD, and out of Gratitude to a reconciling SAVIOUR, then they are genuine, they are valuable. Attempt them, in order to be accepted by your MAKER, and obtain eternal Life, then they are spurious, they are pernicious. In the for
mer * Works of Faith, and Labours of Love, i Theff. i. 3. How finely are good Works characterized, in this place! Though it be only en pasent, tranfiently, or by the by. And how judiciously are the true distinguished from the counterfeit! Works, which are done in Faith ; Works, which proceed from Love; these, and these only, the Apostle signifies, are really good.--As a spacious River, though pressing forward to the Ocean, nourishes many a fair Plant; and suckles many a sweet Flower, by the Way. So the sacred Writers, though principally intent (as here) apon some different Point; yet drop incidentally fich valuable Truths, as chear the Believer's Heart, and make glad the City of our GOD.
† Job xxxi. 40.