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plied to such as are of verbal, rather than substantial, difference; in which, whether from misconception, or some perverseness of spirit, between the contending parties, either the terms of Scripture, or the terms used in the interpretation of Scripture, are made the occasion of perplexity and discord. These “ strifes of words"

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vitiate controversies of every description. They may obtrude into discussions on the most important and essential truths of Christianity, as well as those which are of lesser moment. They insinuate themselves also in various ways, more or less

of detection; assuming different aspects under different circumstances. Sometimes the controversy professedly relates to a disagreement respecting the signification of words, but much more frequently it arises from substituting, whether designedly or undesignedly, one mode of expression for another, by which the sense is imperceptibly altered; or, from using a term capable of a variety of acceptations, in that which is not mutually intended or understood between the disputing parties. From these and other similar sources of contention, familiar to those who are versed in polemical writings, many a bitter warfare in theology has taken its rise.

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To what extent such strifes as these were

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carried on by the perverse disputers whom St. Paul complains of, we have no direct means of ascertaining. One striking instance, however, of that sort of misunderstanding which ensues from the use of the same terms in different acceptations, occurs in the contests which appear to have given occasion to St. James's admonitions respecting faith and works. St. Paul had used these terms to denote the distinct grounds of acceptance under the Law and under the Gospel. In the term faith he comprehends the whole of the Christian covenant as contrasted with the Jewish; which latter he calls a “ law of “ works.” The general

The general scope of his reasoning on this subject, is to shew that the works of the Law were insufficient in themselves to procure salvation; that they could only be accepted through faith in the promised Redeemer; and that when that Redeemer was come, through whom salvation was to be obtained, the service of the Law (those peculiar works which it required) ceased to be any longer necessary.

Nor does the Apostle stop here. He further contends, that works in general, comprising the utmost extent of obedience to the moral law which mankind in their present fallen state are capable of performing, could not be rendered acceptable to

God, without reliance upon the merits and intercession of the Redeemer, to atone for their imperfections. In this sense St. Paul preached justification by faith only, as alike applicable both to Jew and Gentile. But this doctrine, it appears, was soon perverted to a very different meaning, by setting faith in opposition to works, even to those fruits of righteousness and holiness, without which no man, under either of these dispensations, was allowed to hope for acceptance. Thus St. Paul was represented as preaching faith without works in the same sense as the Antinomians do of the present day; and this is the notion which St. James decidedly reprobates.

Here we see the consequence of verbal misrepresentation. St. Paul and St. James entirely agreed in their acceptation of the terms faith and works. St. Paul, when he spoke of faith, included in it whatever the Gospel requires as the condition of our salvation; and the tenor of his reasoning, both with Jew and Gentile, went to prove, that no works which man can perform, either of legal or of moral righteousness, without that faith, will be available. St. James virtually asserted the same.

He reproved those who attached to the word faith a narrower signification than St. Paul had given to it, by confining it either to a bare assent to the truth of the Gospel, or to a presumptuous reliance on salvation through Christ, without regard to the conditions on which that salvation depends. He insists upon the inseparability of faith from works in order to render it effective; and he shews, by the very same instance St. Paul had referred to, that the faith which justified Abraham was a faith productive of works. There is, therefore, no contrariety between the two Apostles.

They take different views of the subject, but coincide in the principles on which they set out, and in the meaning of the terms they use. St. Paul maintains, that works without faith cannot save; St. James, that faith without works cannot save: propositions both equally true, and perfectly consistent with each other. The errors which each Apostle had to combat arose, in the former instance, from an abuse of the term works, so interpreted as to exclude the necessity of faith ; in the latter instance, from a like abuse of the term faith, so interpreted as to exclude the necessity of those works, which faith itself obliges the believer to perform.

It might be expected that such an error as this would expire almost at the instant of its

birth; and that when the joint authority of these Apostles had so effectually guarded the doctrine from abuse on either side, all controversy concerning it must have ceased. But, unhappily, the same perversion of St. Paul's meaning, the same unwarrantable limitation of the word faith to a bare reliance upon Christ as a Saviour, unaccompanied by any practical conditions, has continued to create divisions and offences in the Church. And although the grosser systems of Antinomianism are far from being now generally adopted by those who thus misapprehend the Apostle's doctrine; yet such interpretations of the doctrine are still frequently resorted to, as tend much more to countenance that pernicious error, than to guard against it.

It becomes, then, of importance to inquire into the most frequent causes of such questions as these ; an inquiry which I shall endeavour to elucidate, as heretofore, by reference to some past or present disputes on subjects of theology.

No one who duly appreciates the value of philological researches will indiscriminately censure verbal controversies. It is as impossible to understand the holy scriptures, as it is to understand any other writings, without a competent knowledge of the language in

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