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never follow from the premises. For it will by no means follow, because a lifeless, fruitless faith, destitute of mercy and obedience to the royal law of love, will not juftify lis before God, that therefore good works in truth will justify us before God. It will by no means follow, because we cannot be accepted of God and saved by a false and insincere profession of faith, that therefore we can be accepted of God and saved, by such obedience as we are capable to perform.-The inference is therefore necessary, that the Apostle must be so understood, as will secure the connection of his discourse, and the force of his argument; which cannot be done if we con. sider him as speaking of justification in any other fenfe than that which I am now pleading for. · Further, that the justification here treated of is the justification of our faith and sincerity, but not of our persons, is evident likewise from the consequence the Apostle draws from the foregoing premises, which he undertakes to prove and vindicate in the following verses; which is, Even foi faith; if it hath not works, is dead, being alone, ver. 17. This is the point which he undertakes to prove; and accordingly this is the conclufion of the whole, when he has finished his reasoning on the subject. For as the body without the Spirit is dead, fo faith without works is dead also, ver. 26. As a breathless, spiritless corpse, that cannot act or move, is evidently dead; so a speculative belief, that does not influence a man's life and actions, is evidently dead: A dead thing in itself argues a dead soul, and is dead as to the purposes and offices of gospel faith. -We must therefore understand all the arguments here used to refer to this point only. They are al brought to prove, that faith which is without for fevered from) works, is dead: And that therefore there is a necessity of works to justify our faith, or to make it manifest that it is not a dead faith.



Were justification here taken in the other fense, bis arguments would not only be utterly inconclusive, but his reasoning quite foreign to his subject, which may not be supposed : And therefore it necessarily is the justification of our faith, or Christian profelfion, and not of our persons, which the Apostle James is here treating of,

This is also evident from every one of the argu- . ments used by the Apostle in this context.-Every, one of them will bring out the conclusion now mentioned ; but neither of thein, separately consi. dered, nor all of them connected, have any appear. ance of an argument, in proof of our personal justi. fication (or our perfons being made righteous be. fore God) by our good works.

The first argument seems but ironically proposed. Yea, a man may say, Thou haft. faith, and I have works. Shew me thy faith without thy works; and I will shew thee my faith by my works, ver. 18. As if he should have said, Have you indeed faith with. out works? I pray, shew me your faith without works, if you can. For my part, I know of no such way of manifesting the truth of faith; I resolve to tạke a contrary method, and will Mew you my faith, will evidence the sincerity of it, and justify my pro. feßion of faith by my works. Here the argument is very clear and full, in favour of the interpretacion I am pleading for. And here we have an index to. point out the meaning of the word justification in the subsequent discourse. It cannot import more than a manifestative justification, Indeed it fignie fies the same thing with fewing our faith or evidencing the truth of our profession, and so of our justified ftatę.-But now let us see how this argument will conclude for the other side of the que. stion. The argument ought to be thus ftated : Our faith must be nown and manifested by our


works; therefore our good works will justify our perfons before God, and render us righteous and acceptable in his light. I think every body will own, that the Spirit of God does not reason at that rate, and therefore that justification before God, which is the finner's relief against the challenges of his law and justice, cannot be the subject here treated of.

The fecond argument here used is, that a fruitlefs and unoperative faith, though it be good as far as it goes, yet is no other than what the devils have ; he is therefore a vain man, who depends upon ac. ceptance with God by such a dead faith. Tbou be. lieveft there is one God; thou dost well; the devils ata so believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, 0 vain man, that faith without works is dead, ver. 19, 20.

- Here the Apostle expressly. shews us what it is he had undertaken to prove : Which is, that a bare, fruitless, historical faith, cannot fave us, be. cause it is common to the very devils.—Here he expressly thews who it is he is disputing with : It is a vain man, who vainly expects to be faved by an idle faith and empty profession of the gospel, with. out any fruit of obedience. And here he does again expressly affert the principle which was the fub. ject of his discourse, and the only point to be proved, that faith without works is dead.So that there is no room to debate, what was the design of this argu. ment. By this he effectually proves, that the faith which justifies our persons must be justified by good works; otherwise we are but vain men, and our: hope is but a vain hope, which will leave us among unpardoned devils at last. But not so much as the least colour of an argument can be found here, that. our persons are justified before God by good works : Whence it follows, that the justification here treated of, muft necessarily be the justification of our


faith, of our Christian character and profeffion; and not of our persons, in regard of their state, before God. : A third argument here brought by the Apostle, to prove his point, is Abraham's being justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his fon upon the al. tar, ver. 21,-Now it appears from a variety of the strongest and clearest evidences, that the Apostle did not (could not) refer to the justification of Abraham's person in the light of God, but to the juftification of his faith and sincerity only in this inItance before us.

This appears, in the first place, because Abraham was in a justified state, by an everlasting covenant, thirty years before his offering his son Ifaac upon the altar. It was so long, or near so long before this, that the glorious God himself made the pro. mise to him, in Gei. xvii. 7. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy feed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be: a GOD unto thee, and to thy feed after thee. And it was more than so long before this, that Abraham had this testimony given him in Gen. xv. 6. That he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. Yea, he was a believer so long before, at his first leaving his father's house. By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out, Heb. xi. 8. How then could his offering his fon isaac be the mean or term of the justification of his perfon before God, when he had faith unfeigned, had righteousness imputed to him, and an everlasting covenant made with him so long a time before? Besides, if works could have justified his person, he would have been justified by works long before this. For his whole story thews, that he had lived in a course of holy fruitful obedience, from the time of his justification till this time.


There cannot therefore be any fair pretence made, that the justification of his person is here referred to. No, this good work was not in the least constitutive, but only evidential, of his personal justification before God.

Further, it appears by the story itself, to which the Apostle refers, that it was only a manifestative justification, a justification of his faith and sincerity, and so declarative of the justified state of his person, that Abraham obtained by offering his fon Ifaac upon the altar. The glorious God condescends to treat with him after the manner of men; and by an assumption of human affections, to declare con. cerning hin, Now I know that thou fearest God, feeing thou hast not with held thy fon, thine only son, from me, Gen. xxii. 12. This then was the boomi

the japijitution of which the Apostle treats, Abraham's making it known that he feared God, and that his faith and profeffion were sincere. -For this is all the justificaa tion which can be proved from this text in Genesis, to which he refers. We may not fuppose, that an inspired Apostle quoted Scripture impertinently; and yet we cannot suppose the Scripture referred to was any thing at all to his purpose, unless we understand him to be speaking of justification in the sense I am pleading for. In this sense therefore, and this only, did the Apostle design to prove our justification by works, by the argument now before us. Abraham's obedience witnessed to the truth of his faith; and so his real state of justification before God was made apparent.

This also appears by the Apostle's illustration of this argument, in ver. 22. Seeft thou how faith wrought with bis works, and by works was faith made perfect ? How was it that faith wrought with his works ? not a joint-condition of his justifica: tion before God. He was justified in the fight of


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