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“ vain, but I laboured more abundantly than “ they all: yet not I, but the grace of God " which was with me."
How triumphantly also, and at the same time how modestly, does he declare, “ I count all " things but loss for the knowledge of Christ « Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered " the loss of all things, and count them but " dung, that I may win Christ, and be found " in him, not having mine own righteousness, " which is of the law, but that which is through
the faith of Christ; if by any means I might " attain unto the resurrection of the dead: not
? as though I had already attained, either were - already perfect; but I follow after it, that I
may apprehend: brethren, I count not myself “ to have apprehended; but this one thing I “ do: forgetting those things which are behind, “ and reaching forth unto those things which are § before, I press toward the mark, for the prize “ of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” And if we want not only a pattern to induce us to humility, but a warning also to deter us from vain-glory, the history of Herod will furnish us with a very terrible one: St. Luke will inform us, “ that upon a set day, Herod, arrayed in “ royal apparel, sat upon his throne and made “ an oration; and the people gave a shout, say
16 ing, it is the voice of a god and not of a man. “ And immediately the Angel of the Lord smote “ him, because he gave not God the glory; " and he was eaten of worms and gave up “the ghost.”
What shall we say then? Are our best actions of no value in the eyes of the Deity? Does not David tell us, that “ precious in the sight of the " Lord is the death of his saints ;” and St. Peter, “ the ornament of a neek and quiet “ spirit is in the sight of God of great price?” Most certainly they are so: whatsoever is perfectly good is perfectly valuable, and whatsoever is but imperfectly good is at least valuable, so far as it is good : so that if you mean no more by our works having merit; than that they are of some value, it need not be contended with you. For as we are taught in our articles, • albeit that good works, which are the fruits “ of faith and follow after justificationi, cannot “ put away our sins, and endure the severity of “ God's judgment, yet are they pleasing and " acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring “ out necessarily of a true and lively faith, in" somuch that by them a lively faith may be as “ evidently known as a tree by its fruit.”
Hence Hence then appears the absurdity of those who put asunder what God hath joined together. They read, " that by faith alone we are “ saved,” and therefore they conclude that good works are unnecessary: they do not consider that good works are of the very essence of faith, and that faith without works is dead, being aloue. True Christian faith worketh by love and charity, and by such works alone faith iş made perfect; for without holy actions, as well as holy thoughts, no man shall see the Lord. In sum, this is the true and genuine doctrine of the Church of Englanr: “* they “ believe that faith, which is alone and unac“ companied with sincere obedience, is to be " esteemed not faith but presumption, and is " no way sufficient to justification; that though “ works of charity be not imputed to justifica“ tion, yet they are required as a necessary s disposition in the person to be justified: and “ that though, in regard of their imperfection, “ no man can be justified by them, yet that, on “ the other hand, no man can be justified with“ out them.”
Let each of us, therefore, as true sons of the church, and faithful followers of Jesus Christ, ceașe not earnestly to beseech Almighty God, that he would pour into our hearts the gifts and graces of his holy spirit, without which we canpot attain unto a true faith; that he would also keep us stedfast in that faith without which we cannot be justified; and on our parts, let us shew the purity of our faith by the fruits of good living; without which our faith cannot be effectual to salvation :*" For though it is faith “ alone which justifies a man, yet that faith " which is alone will never save him *.”
L 4 .
HEBREWS iii. 13. Exhort one another daily, while it is called to
day; lest any one of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
THE Scriptures justly represent the life of a
1 Christian as a state of war: He treads in the dangerous paths of an enemy's country, and is exposed to the violence of open attack, and the snares of secret surprize. On the one hand, he is threatened by the undisguised malice of the world; on the other, he is solicited by the subtle insinuations of sin: The one endeavours to shake the stedfastness of his faith; the other to cheat him of his innocence by wily arts and delusive intrigues.
It therefore becomes the christian warrior ever to be upon his guard, as well against the one as the other: but yet, from which of the two his yirtue is most in danger, is no very difficult