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defended is not contrary to the declarations of Scripture, that we are not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Christ. For let it be considered in the first place, that whatever be our description of faith, it must be allowed to be an act of the mind, which is strictly speaking a work: for acts of the mind are as much our works as acts of the body, in a religious sense of the word. “ Then said they unto him, What shall we do that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered, and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John vi. 28, 29. So that justifcation by faith could never be opposed to justification by any thing that is a work, for faith itself is a work. Again, neither can faith be opposed to every act of obedience; for faith itself is an act of obedience. We are as much commanded to believe in Christ, as to love God; “ This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” 1 John iïi. 23. And, therefore, to believe is as much an act of obedience as to love God.

When, therefore, it is asserted in Scripture that we are not justified by the works of the law, it must mean, that we are not justified in

a

consequence of that obedience to the law to which justification is promised independent of the merits of Christ ; namely, a complete, unsinning obedience; and that no obedience of ours is the meritorious cause of our justification. The duty required by such scriptural declarations is, that we do not consider ourselves as having merited favour at the hands of God, but look upon ourselves as wholly indebted to the mercy of God in Christ for our pardon and reception to eternal glory.

THOUGHTS

ON

CHRISTIAN PERFECTION.

1. The Scriptures repeatedly declare, in express terms, that there is no man who does not fall short of that obedience to God, which the moral law requires. There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not." Ecclesiastes vii. 20. “There is no man that sinneth not.” i Kings viii. 46. " Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin ?” Proverbs xx. 9. “ Who can tell how oft he offendeth ?" Psalm xix. 12. &c.

What reason is there to think, that these texts, which are found in the Old Testament, do not relate to mankind in all ages ?

2. The Scriptures speak of a more abundant effusion of the Holy Spirit under the gospel dispensation; and the New Testament affords us a clearer display of our duty, and more abundant motives to the practice of it than the Jewish dispensation did. Supposing then, that the measure of christian holiness is not to be taken from that of the Jews; it will not follow, that there are any Christians to whom the above cited passages of Scripture may not be applied.

To illustrate this matter, let us suppose it to be asserted in the Old Testament, that there was no man living who did not remain ignorant of many things. Let us suppose, likewise, the New Testament to declare, that Christians had better opportunities of obtaining knowledge than the Jews, and that, in fact, Christians did advance to greater degrees of it than the Jews; and that the knowledge of the former was not to be measured by that of the latter. Every man of common sense must discern that this did not amount to a contradiction of the general assertions in the Old Testament respecting man's know

ledge. Notwithstanding all these declarations in the New Testament, it might still be true, that there was no man who was not defective in knowledge.

This is precisely the case with respect to what is said concerning the holiness of mankind. The Old Testament asserts that there is no man who does not fall short of his duty to God; and the New Testament does not contradict this assertion, though it represents the Christian dispensation as affording greater advantages for growth in holiness, than the Jewish ; and speaks of a more abundant effusion of the Holy Spirit under the latter, than took place under the former. We are therefore bound to believe the general assertions of the Old Testament with respect to all mankind, unless the Scriptures bad left us as express declarations that these passages were only intended to point out the state of mankind in one period of the world.

3. But upon what ground is it believed, that there are Christians who do live without sin, and who are not defective in their duty to God? The foundation of such an opinion is this - That there are found in the New Testament, commands and exhortations to perfect

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