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Rom. x. 3.

of the Levitical dispensation and constitution, expected justification by their conformity to it. Of these forts of profeffors the Apostle observes, that they were foon removed from him that called them into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel, Gal. i. 6. And that being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to efiablish their own righteousness, they had not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God,

His concern was therefore to discover their dangerous and destructive mistake ; and to represent to them the way, the true and only way, in which they might hope for justification in the sight of God. That it is not by works of righteousness which they had done, but of God's mercy, they must be saved ; that they must be juflified freely by God's grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jefus ; and that in the justification of a fin. ner, righteousness is imputed without works, and received by faith only.

On the contrary, James being concerned with carnal profeffors of Christianity, who perverted the doctrines of grace to encourage themselves in a care. - Jess licentious life, does at large convince them of the necessity of holiness, as the fruit and evidence of a true and saving faith, and the means to qualify them for the kingdom of heaven. He therefore puts them upon examining into the truth of their faith, and foundation of their hope, and thews them, by the arguments already considered, what alone. will justify their profession of faith, and give them good grounds to conclude the safety of their state.

They therefore who over-inagnify works, and depend upon them as the condition of their juftifi. cation before God, are admonished by the Apostle Paul to consider, that they are building upon the Sand, and that they must renounce their false confi. dence, or perilh. For by the works of the law shalt no flem be justified: And if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain, Gal. ii. 16. 27. This folemn truth does indeed, Sir, call for your earneft attention. LETTER XVI. Wherein is consider

On the other hand, they who depretiate good works, and neglect them as of no consequence to eternal salvation, are called upon by the Apostle James to consider, how empty their profession, how dead their faith, and how vain their hope of falvation is. For if men may go to heaven without holiness, why may not the devils go there too, who have faith (such as it is) as well as they? We must have a living faith, or a dead hope. Our faith must purify our hearts, and renew our conversations; or leave us among the impure and ungodly for ever. It concerns every one therefore, fo to speak, and so to do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty, Jam. ii. 12.

Upon the whole then, as you are taught by the one Apostle, how dangerous it is to build upon any other foundation than Christ only ; for Christ Jesus is our hope, and other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Christ Jefus ; fo are you admo. nished by the other Apoftle, that you can have no interest in Chrift, nor title to his falvation, but by a faith, which purifies the heart, works by love, and is justified by a subsequent life of holiness and new obedience.

The extremes on both sides of the question are equally dangerous. He that joins good works with faith, as equally the terms of justification before God, virtually rejects the Saviour's sufficiency; sub. stitutes his own righteousness in the room of the righteousness of God; and consequently his expectations must perish.-He that separates good works from faith, in his life and conversation, as though they were not requisite to salvation, will be found

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very unfit for the heavenly world, when the de. cree brings forth, He that is filthy, let him be filthy Still.

Suffer me then to conclude, Sir, with an earnest intreaty, that, as you love your socl, you would leave off unprofitable disputes ; and not distract your mind, and carry away your thoughts from practical godliness, by such an earnest application to these controverted points; but see to it, that you come to the footstool of divine grace, as a loft unworthy perishing finner ; that you depend only upon the riches of God's free fovereign grace, to draw you to Christ, and give you an interest in him ; that you look to Christ Jesus alone for righteousness and strength ; and cheerfully trust in him as a fafe foun. dation of confidence and hope. -See to it, that the life which you live in the flesh be by the faith of the Son of God; and as you look to his righteoulness only for the safety of your state, so likewise repair by faith to his fulness for all supplies of grace, whereby you may make a progress in holiness. See to it, that you do not quiet your conscience with a dead faith ; but always remember, that he who hath this hope in Chrift, purifies himself even as he is pure; and that as your person cannot be justified but by faith in Christ, fo your faith cannot be justified buc by a careful diligence in maintaining good works. Having therefore with the heart believed unto righteoufness, be you in an humble dependence upon Christ, stedfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord ; and your labour will not be in vain in the Lord.

That ye may be kept by the power of God through faith, and receive the end of your faith, the salvation of your soul, is the prayer of,

Sir, Your, &C.

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ed in what Respects good Works are necefsary; and our Obligations to them reprefented and urged.

Y of

a unsuitable and unseasonable to make apologies for this further trouble (as you are pleased to " call it] after I have given you so many assurances “ of my cheerful readiness, to contribute all in my

power to your best interest."-Indeed, Sir, I have found nothing troublesome in the whole progress of our correspondence, excepting fome dark apprehensions of late, left you would fruftrate the grace of God, in seeking righteousness, not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. But it now greatly animates my endeavours to serve you, to find those fears on my part so happily removed, by finding, “ the difficulties on your part obviated, in " that iinportant point, and you satisfied with respect to the foundation of your hope." I am fenfible, that the principles which I have been pleading for, are “commonly loaded with oppro“ brious invectives, as being destructive of an holy “ life, and subversive of morality and godliness.” But I think I have already given you sufficient evi. dence, that all these insinuations are mere calum. nies; and that there is no other possible foundation, than what I have represented to you, for a life of true holiness and piety. I appeal to your own ob. fervation and experience, whether in general there be any that live more holy lives, and more honour their profession, than they who must strictly ad. Jiere to the doctrines of special grace, and depend upon Christ alone for righteousness and frength; and whether they, on the contrary, who depend upon their good works for a title to the divine favour, do not too commonly thew the weakness of their foun. dation, by the carelessness and unfruitfulness of their lives.


The question which you propose, is however worthy of a distinct consideration." How far, and “ in what respects are our good works necessary to « falvation ?”

In order to give you a proper view of this case, it will be needful to answer this question both nega. tively and positively ; or to shew you wherein our good works ought to have no place, nor be at all looked to or depended upon ; and then to Thew

you wherein good works ought to have place, and in what respect they are necessary to every Christian indeed, that would entertain a well grounded hope of eternal life.

In my negative answer to this question, I must first observe, that we are not to do good works in order to change God's purposes and designs towards us, or to excite his benevolence and compassion to us. - I suspect, it is too common a case for men to de. pend upon their penitent frames, their duties, their reformations, their works of charity, or other reli. gious exercises, as what will excite affections, par. Lions, or compassions in the glorious God, correspondent to what they find in themselves. , And thence, when conscience upbraids the finner for his paft provocations to God, he hopes to appease his displeasure by his remorse, by his duties, or by his more careful future conduct : And now he is deli. vered to do all these abominations ; his account is ba. lanced, and he begins upon a new score. Thence it is that his hopes and fears bear proportion to his frames and carriages. Every serious pang, every


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