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No: of works wrought without faith: else the argument implies a contradiction. For it runs thus, (on the supposition that faith and reliance were synonymous terms,) such a reliance is the result of works wrought through such a reliance.

5. Your fourth argument against justification by faith alone, is drawn from the nature of justification. This, you observe, “ implies a prisoner at the bar, and a law by which he is to be tried ; and this is not the law of Moses, but that of Christ, requiring repentance, and faith, with their proper fruits,” (p. 16,) which now, through the blood of Christ, are accepted and counted for righteousness.' St. Paul affirms this, concerning faith, in the fourth chapter of his epistle to the Romans. But where does he say, that either repentance or its fruits are counted for righteousness? Nevertheless, I allow, that the law of Christ requires such repentance and faith before justification, as, if there be opportunity, will bring forth the “fruits of righteousness. But if there be not, he that repents and believes is justified notwithstanding. Consequently, these alone are necessary, indispensably necessary conditions of our justification.

6. Your last argument against justification by faith alone, “is drawn from the method of God's proceeding at the last day. He will then judge every man "according to his works.' It, therefore, works wrought through faith are the ground of the sentence passed upon us in that day, then are they a necessary condition of our justification :” (p. 19.) in other words, “if they are a condition of our final, they are a condition of our present justification.” I cannot allow the consequence.

All holiness must precede our entering into glory. But no holiness can exist, till being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.'

7. You next attempt to reconcile the writings of St. Paul with justification by works. In order to this you say, “ in the three first chapters of his epistle to the Romans, he proves that both Jews and Gentiles must have recourse to the gospel of Christ. To this end he convicts the whole world of sin. And having stopped every mouth, he makes his inference, Therefore by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified. We conclude,' then, says he, "a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law. But here arise iwo questions, first, What are the works excluded from justifying ? Secondly, What is the faith which justifies?" p. 20, 21, 22.

“ The works excluded are Heathen and Jewish works, set up as meritorious. This is evident from hence, that Heathens and carnal Jews are the persons against whom he is arguing.” Not so: he is arguing against all mankind : he is convicting the whole world of sin.' His concern is, to stop every mouth, by proving, that no flesh, none born of a woman, no child of man can be justified by his own works. Consequently he speaks of all the works of all mankind, antecedent to justification, whether Jewish or any other, whether supposed meritorious or not, of which the text says not one word. Therefore all works antecedent to justification are excluded, and faith is set in flat opposition to them. Unto him that worketh not, but believeth, his faith is counted to him for righteousness.'

“ But what is the faith to which he attributes justification ! That which worketh by love ; which is the same with the new creature, and implies in it the keeping the commandments of God.”

It is undoubtedly true, that nothing avails for our final salvation without rasy XT1C15, a new creation, and consequent thereon, a sincere, uniform keeping of the commandments of God. This St. Paul constantly declares. But where does he say, This is the condition of our justification ? In the epistles to the Romans and Galatians particularly, he vehemently asserts the contrary ; earnestly maintaining, that nothing is absolutely necessary to this, but believing in him that justifieth the ungodly: not the godiy: not him that is already a neu creature, that previously keeps all the commandments of God. He does this afterward : when he is justified by faith, then his faith worketh by love. « Therefore there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, justified by faith in him, provided they walk in him whom they have received, no: after the flesh, but after the Spirit.' But should they turn back, and walk again after the flesh, they would again be under condemnation. But this no way proves, that walking after the Spirit was the condition of their justification. (p. 23.) Neither will any thing like this follow, from the apostle's saying to the Corinthians, «Though I had all faith, so as to remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. This only proves, that miracle-working faith may be, where saving faith is not.

8. To the argument. St. Paul says, Abraham was justified by taith, you answer, “St. James says, “ Abraham was justified by works,'” (p. 24.) True: but he neither speaks of the same justification, nor the same faith, nor the same works. Not of the same justification ; for St. Paul speaks of that justification which was five and twenty years before Isaac was born : (Gen. xii.) St. James of that wherewith he was justified when he offered up Isaac on the altar. It is living faith, whereby St. Paul affirms we are justified: it is dead faith, whereby St. James affirms, we are not justified. St. Paul speaks of works antecedent to justification: St. James of works consequent upon it. This is the plain, easy, natural way of reconciling the two apostles.

The fact was manifestly this : 1. When Abraham dwelt in Haran, being then seventy-five years old, God called him thence: he believed God, and he counted it to him for righteousness.' That is, he was justified by faith, as St. Paul strenuously asserts. 2. Many years after Isaac was born, (some of the ancients thought, three and thirty,) Abraham showing his faith by his works,' offered him up upon

the altar. 3. Here the faith by which, in St. Paul's sense, he was justified long before, ‘vrought together with his works," and he was justified in St. James's sense, that is, (as the apostle explains his own meaning,) .by works his faith was made perfect.' God confirmed, increased, and perfected the principle from which those

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works sprang.

9. Drawing to a conclusion you say, “What pity so many volumes should have been written upon the question, whether a man be justified by faith or works, seeing they are two essential parts of the same thing !” (p. 25.) If by works you understand inward and outward holiness, both faith and works are essential parts of Christianity: and yet they are essentially different, and by God himself contra-distinguished from each other. And that in the very question before us, him that worketh not, but believeth. Therefore, whether a man be justified by faith or works, is a point of the last importance: otherwise our reformers could not bave answered to God, their spending so much time upon it. Indeed they were both too wise and too good men, to have

written so many volumes” on a trifling or needless question.

10. If in speaking on this important point, (such at least it appears to me,) I have said any thing offensive, any that implies the least degree of anger or disrespect, it was entirely foreign to my intention : nor indeed have I any provocation. I have no room to be angry at your maintaining what you believe to be the truth of the gospel: even though I might wish you had omitted a few expressions,

Quas aut incuria fudit,

Aut humana parum cavit natura. In the general, from all I have heard concerning you, I cannot but very highly esteem you in love. And that God may give you both sa right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort," is the prayer of,

Reverend Sir,
Your affectionate Brother and Servant,





Edinburgh, May, 1766. I HAVE neither time, nor inclination, to write a formal answer to the Reverend Dr. Erskine's tract. My hope of convincing him is lost: he has drunk in all the spirit of the book he has published.

But I owe it to God and his children, to say something for myself, when I am attacked in so violent a manner, if haply some may take knowledge, that I also endeavour to live honestly, and to serve God.'

1. Dr. Erskine says, “ An edition of these letters has been published in London, from the author's own manuscripts, which puts authenticity of them beyond doubt." I answer, This is a mistake : impartial men doubt of their authenticity as much as ever. (I meani,,


not with regard to the letters in general, but to many particular pas. sages.) And that for two reasons. First, because those passages breathe an acrimony and bitterness, which Mr. Hervey in his lifetime never showed to any one, and least of all to one he was deeply obliged to. Surely this is not what Dr. E. terms his " Scriptural and animated manner." I hope it was not for this cause, that he pronounces this "equal, if not superior to any one of his controversial pieces published in his life-time.” Indeed, I know of no controversial piece at all which he published in his life-time. His Dialogues he no more intended for such, than his Meditations among the Tombs. A second reason for doubting of their authenticity is, that he told his brother. with his dying voice, (I have it under his brother's own hand) - ) desire my letters may not be published: because great part of them is written in a short-hand, which none but myself can read."

11. But the present question lies, not between me and Mr. Hervey, but between Dr. E. and me, He vehemently attacks me, for saying,

Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is at best, but a very slender part of re{igion, if any part of it at all.' He labours to deduce the most frightful consequences from it, and cries, “ If once men believe, that right opinion is a slender part of religion, if any part of religion, or no part at all, there is scarce any thing so foolish, or so wicked, which Satan may not prompt to." (p. 6.) And what if, after all, Dr. E. himself believes the very same thing? I am much mistaken if he does not Let

us now fairly make the trial. I assert, 1. That, in some cases right opinion is no part of religion:' in other words, there may be right opinion, where there is no religion. I instance, in the Devil. · Has he not right opinions ? Dr. E. must, perforce, say, Yes. Has he religion ? Dr. E. must say, No. Therefore, here right opinion is no part of religion. Thus far then Dr. E. himself believes as I do.

I assert, 2. In some cases, It is a slender part of religion." Observe, I speak of right opinion, as contra-distinguished both from right tempers and from right words and actions. Of this, I say, it is a slender part of religion.' And can Dr. E. say otherwise? Surely, no: nor any man living, unless he be brimful of the spirit of contradiction.

" Nay, but I affirm, right tempers cannot subsist without right opi. nion : the love of God, for instance, cannot subsist without a right opinion of him." I have never said any thing to the contrary : but this is another question. Though right tempers cannot subsist without right opinion, yet right opinion may subsist without right tem pers. There may be a right opinion of God, without either love, or one right temper toward him. Satan is a proof of it. All therefore that I assert in this matter, Dr. E. must affirm too.

But does it hence follow, " that ignorance and error are as friendly to virtue as just sentiments ?” Or, that any man may disbelieve the bible with perfect innocence or safety ? Does Dr. E. himseli think I believe this? I take upon me to say he does not think so. But why does he talk as if he did? * Because it is a clear consequence


your own assertion." I answer, 1. If it be, that conse

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quence is as chargeable on Dr. E. as on me : since he must, nolens volens, assert the same thing, unless he will dispute through a stone wall. 2. This is no consequence at all. For admitting right tem pers cannot subsist without right opinions," you cannot infer, therefore right opinions cannot subsist without right tempers.” Prove this by other mediums, if you can: but it will never be proved by this. However, until this is done, I hope to hear no more of this threadbare objection.

III. Dr. E. attacks me, Secondly, with equal vehemence, on the head of Justification. In various parts of his tract, he flatly charges me with holding justification by works. In support of this charge,

he cites several sentences out of various treatises, abridgments of which I have occasionally published within these thirty years As I have not those abridgments by me now, I suppose the citations are fairly made: and that they are exactly made, without any mistake, either designed or undesigned. I will suppose likewise, that some of these expressions, gleaned up from several tracts, are indefensible And what is it which any unprejudiced person can infer from this? Will any candid man judge of my sentiments, either on this, or any other head, from a few sentences of other men, (though reprinted by me, after premising, that I did not approve of all their expressions) or from my own avowed, explicit declarations repeated over and over? Yet this is the way by which Dr. E. proves, that I hold justification by works!

He continually cites the words of those authors as mine, telling his reader, “ Mr Wesley says thus and thus." I do not say so; and no man can prove it, unless by citing my own words. I believe justification by faith alone, as much as I believe there is a God. I declared this in a sermon preached before the university of Oxford, eight and twenty years ago. I declared it to all the world eighteen years ago, in a sermon written expressly on the subject. I have never varied from it, no, not an hair's breadth, from 1738 to this day. Is it not strange, then, that at this time of day any one should face me down, (yea, and one who has that very volume in his hands, wherein that sermon on justification by faith is contained,) that I hold justification by works? And that, truly, because there are some expressions in some tracts written by other men, but reprinted by me during a course of

years, which seem (at least) to countenance that doctrine Let it suffice, (and it will suffice for every impartial man,) that I absolutely, once for all, renounce every expression which contradicts that fundamental truth, We are justified by faith alone. But

you have published John Goodwin's Treatise on Justification. I have so: but I have not undertaken to defend every expression which occurs therein. Therefore none has a right to palm them upon

the world as mine. And yet I desire no one will condemn that treatise before he has carefully read it over; and that seriously and carefully; for it can hardly be understood by a slight and cursory reading. And let whoever has read it declare, whether he has not proved every article he asserts, not only by plain express Scripture, but by the authority of the most eminent reformers. if Dr. E. thinks


VOL. 8.-Y y

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