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tion, and that, as I said before, I have already at large treated on the doctrine of the nature and necessity of evangelical holiness, I shall at present omit the farther handling of these things, and acquiesce in the answers given by the apostle unto this objection.


The doctrine of the apostle James, concerning faith and works. Its agree

ment with that of St. Paul. The seeming difference that is between the apostles Paul and James, in what they teach concerning faith, works, and justification, requires our consideration of it. For many do take advantage from some words and expressions used by the latter, directly to oppose the doctrine fully and plainly declared by the former. But whatever is of that nature pretended, hath been so satisfactorily already answered and removed by others, as that there is no great need to treat of it again. And although I suppose that there will not be an end of contending and writing in these causes, whilst we know but in part, and prophesy but in part; yet I must say, that in my judgment the usual solution of this appearing difficulty, securing the doctrine of justification by faith through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ from any concernment or contradiction in the discourse of St. James, chap. ii. 14. to the end, hath not been in the least impeached, nor bath had any new difficulty put upon it in some late discourses to that purpose. I should therefore utterly forbear to speak any thing thereof, but that I suppose it will be expected in a discourse of this nature, and do hope that I also may contribute some light unto the clearing and vindication of the truth. To this purpose it may be observed, that 1. It is taken for granted on all hands, that there is no real repugnancy or contradiction between what is delivered by these two apostles. For if that were so, the writings of one of them must be pseudepigrapha, or falsely ascribed unto them whose names they bear, and uncanonical, as the authority of the Epistle of James hath been by some both of old and of late highly, but rashly questioned. Wherefore, their words are certainly capable of a just reconciliation. That we cannot any of us attain thereunto, or that we do not agree therein is from the darkness of our own minds, the weakness of our understandings, and with too many, from the power of prejudices.

2. It is taken also for granted on all other occasions, that when there is an appearance of repugnancy or contradiction in any places of Scripture, if some, or any of them, do treat directly, designedly, and largely about the matter concerning which there is a seeming repugnancy or contradiction ; and others, or any other speak of the same things only obiter,' occasionally, transiently, in order unto other ends, the truth is to be learned, stated, and fixed from the former places. Or the interpretation of those places where any truth is mentioned only occasionally with reference unto other things or ends, is, as unto that truth, to be taken from and accommodated unto those other places wherein it is the design and purpose of the holy penman to declare it for its own sake, and to guide the faith of the church therein. And there is not a more rational and natural rule of the interpretation of Scripture among all them which are by common consent agreed upon.

3. According unto this rule, it is unquestionable that the doctrine of justification before God is to be learned from the writings of the apostle Paul, and from them is light to be taken into all other places of Scripture where it is occasionally mentioned. Especially it is so, considering how exactly this doctrine represents the whole scope of the Scripture, and is witnessed unto by particular testimonies occasionally given unto the same truth, without number. For it must be acknowledged that he wrote of this subject of our justification before God, on purpose to declare it for its own sake, and its use in the church, and that he doth it fully, largely, and frequently in a constant harmony of expressions. And he owns those reasons that pressed him unto fulness, and accuracy herein. I. The importance of the doctrine itself. This he declares to be such, as that thereon our salvation doth immediately depend; and that it was the hinge whereon the whole doctrine of the gospel did turn, Articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesiæ,' Gal. ii. 16. 21.

v. 4, 5. 2. The plausible and dangerous opposition, that was then made unto it. This was so managed, and that with such specious pretences, as that very many were prevailed on, and turned from the truth by it, as it was with the Galatians, and many detained from the faith of the gospel out of a dislike unto it, Rom. x. 3, 4. What care and diligence this requireth in the declaration of any truth, is sufficiently known unto them who are acquainted with these things; what zeal, care, and circumspection it stirred up the apostle unto, is manifest in all his writings. 3. The abuse which the corrupt nature of man is apt to put upon this doctrine of grace, and which some did actually pervert it unto. This also himself takes notice of, and thoroughly vindicates it from giving the least countenance unto such wrestings and impositions. Certainly, never was there a greater necessity incumbent on any person fully and plainly to teach and declare a doctrine of truth, than was on him at that time in his circumstances, considering the place and duty that he was called unto. And no reason can be imagined why we should not principally, and in the first place, learn the truth herein from his declaration and vindication of it, if withal we do indeed believe that he was divinely inspired, and divinely guided to reveal the truth for the information of the church.

As unto what is delivered by the apostle James, so far as our justification is included therein, things are quite otherwise. He doth not undertake to declare the doctrine of our justification before God; but having another design in hand, as we shall see immediately, he vindicates it from the abuse that some in those days had put it unto, as other doctrines of the grace of God which they turned into licentiousness. Wherefore, it is from the writings of the apostle Paul that we are principally to learn the truth in this matter; and unto what is by him plainly declared, is the interpretation of other places to be accommodated.

4. Some of late are not of this mind: they contend earnestly that Paul is to be interpreted by James, and not on the contrary. And unto this end they tell us that the writings of Paul are obscure, that sundry of the ancients take notice thereof, that many take occasion of errors from them, with sundry things of an alike nature, indeed scandalous to Christian religion. And that James writing after him, is presumed to give an interpretation unto his sayings, which are therefore to be expounded and understood according unto that interpretation. Ans. 1. As to the vindication of the writings of St. Paul, which begin now to be frequently reflected on with much severity (which is one effect of the secret prevalency of the Atheism of these days), as there is no need of it, so it is designed for a more proper place. Only I know not how any person that can pretend the least acquaintance with antiquity, can plead a passage out of Irenæus wherein he was evidently himself mistaken, or a rash word of Origen, or the like, in derogation from the perspicuity of the writings of this apostle, when they cannot but know how easy it were to overwhelm them with testimonies unto the contrary from all the famous writers of the church in several ages. And (as for instance in one) Chrysostom in forty places gives an account why some men understood not his writings, which in themselves were so gloriously evident and perspicuous; so for their satisfaction I shall refer them only unto the preface unto his exposition of his epistles, of which kind they will be directed unto more in due season. But he needs not the testimony of men, nor of the whole church together, whose safety and security it is to be built on that doctrine which he taught. In the meantime it would not be unpleasant to consider (but that the perverseness of the minds of men is rather a real occasion of sorrow) how those who have the same design do agree in their conceptions about his writings; for some will have it, that if not all, yet the most of his epistles were written against the Gnostics and in the confutation of their error; others, that the Gnostics took the occasion of their errors from his writings. So bold will men make with things divine to satisfy a present interest.

2. This was not the judgment of the ancient church for three or four hundred years. For whereas the epistles of Paul were always esteemed the principal treasure of the church, the great guide and rule of the Christian faith, this of James was scarce received as canonical by many, and doubted of by the most, as both Eusebius and Jerome do testify.

3. The design of the apostle James is not at all to ex

plain the meaning of Paul in his epistles, as is pretended, but only to vindicate the doctrine of the gospel from the abuse of such as used their liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, and turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, continued in sin, under a pretence that grace had abounded unto that end.

4. The apostle Paul doth himself, as we have declared, vindicate his own doctrine from such exceptions and abuses as men either made at it, or turned it unto. Nor have we any other doctrine in his epistles than what he preached all the world over, and whereby he laid the foundation of Christian religion, especially among the Gentiles.

These things being premised, I shall briefly evidence that there is not the least repugnancy or contradiction between what is declared by these two apostles, as unto our justification with the causes of it. And this I shall do, 1. By some general considerations of the nature and tendency of both their discourses. 2. By a particular explication of the context in that of St. James. And under the first head I shall manifest, 1. That they have not the same scope, design, or end, in their discourses ; that they do not consider the same question, nor state the same case, nor determine on the same inquiry; and therefore not speaking ad idem' unto the same thing, do not contradict one another. 2. That as faith is a word of various signification in the Scripture, and doth, as we have proved before, denote that which is of divers kinds, they speak not of the same faith, or faith of the same kind; and therefore there can be no contradiction in what the one ascribes unto it, and the other derogates from it, seeing they speak not of the same faith. 3. That they do not speak of justification in the same sense, nor with respect unto the same ends. 4. That as unto works they both intend the same, namely, the works of obedience unto the moral law.

1. As to the scope and design of the apostle Paul, the question which he answereth, the case which he proposeth and determines upon, are manifest in all his writings, especially his Epistles unto the Romans and Galatians. The whole of his purpose is to declare, how a guilty, convinced sinner comes through faith in the blood of Christ to have all hïs sins pardoned, to be accepted with God, and obtain

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