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at the proud spirit of a merely "awakened sinner”
can find an occasion for glorying in the one case, which it cannot in the other. To suppose the first, is the same as supposing that it is of the nature of holy affection to Christ to reject his salvation, of godly sorrow for sin to render us more attached to it, and of humility of heart to lift us up with pride. With respect to the last, I cannot answer for it
shall not make a righteousness of a supposed holy faith ; nor can Mr. M. answer for it that he shall not do the same of his “simple belief.” Whether faith have any holiness in it, or not, seeing he is taught to consider it as necessary to justification, and told that God makes so great account of it, that without it the atonement itself will avail him nothing, there is no wonder if his unhumbled heart should take up its rest in his supposed believing, instead of looking to the doctrine of the cross. An unrenewed sinner will make a righteousness of any thing, rather than submit to the righteousness of God. But this I can answer for, If he really have repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, his mind will not be employed in self-admiration. And this I am persuaded is more than Mr. M. can say respecting a faith in the nature of which there is nothing holy: for if faith have holiness in its nature, the sinner must and will in the very exercise of it admire himself. It is only in the exercise of a holy disposition of heart that the attention is turned another way; if this therefore be absent, there is nothing to counteract a self-righteous spirit; and if at the same time the
sinner be flattered with having gained more clear and evangelical views of faith than the generality of professing Christians, there is every thing to feed it. To make the requirement of a speculative assent of the judgment, in which there is no ho liness, necessary to the destruction of self-righteouse ness, is supposing that this spirit cannot exist unless it have true holiness to feed upon; but every one knows that in “mere sinners” it reigns uncontroled; and that according to the degree in which true holiness exists, it is so far counteracted. It is natural that it should be so: for it is essential to this principle to sink us into our native nothingness, and to embrace the Saviour as all in all.
From these considerations, I conclude, that instead of its being necessary for a sinner to be in an ungodly state of mind, in order to his believing in Christ, and being justified as ungodly; the direct contrary is true. To believe in Christ, as justifying the ungodly, is to forego all claim, and expectation of favour on the ground of our own deservings; to feel that unto us belongs nothing but shame, and confusion of face; and that the only hope which remains for us is in the free mercy of God through Jesus Christ: but this no man ever did, whose heart was still under the dominion of enmity ; for the thing itself is a contradiction. Enmity necessarily blinds the mind, both to its own deformity, and to the glory of the Saviour. An enemy of God, therefore, and a self-righteous unbeliever, are one and the same character.
I cannot but express my surprise that it should ever have entered into the heart of wise and good men to imagine that a faith which implies contrition, and self-annihilation in its very nature, (the spirit of the publican) should be supposed to be favourable to self-righteousness; while that which may consist with a hard heart, a proud spirit, and perfect enmity to God, (the very temper of the pharisee) is pleaded for as necessary to root it up? Why did not the pharisee then go down to his house justified, rather than the publican? The one had humbled himself: for God to justify him, therefore, would, it seems, be inconsistent with the freeness of his grace. As to the other, assuredly he was not wanting in ungodliness ; nor had he ever wrought a single work for God, notwithstanding all his boasting. He was “a mere sinner;" and if Christ's death will prove a benefit to such, why was it not so to him? At least, he came very near to the character, which, according to Mr. M.'s doctrine, God should justify. No, it will be said, he did not believe. It seems then that something more is necessary, after all, than being “a mere sinner.” Yet why should it? Did not Christ“ die for sinners, for the ungodly?” Why should he not as "a mere sinner” become a partaker of his benefits ? Or if not, why does Mr. M. write as if he should ? He did not believe.'.......... True, nor, while he was under the dominion of such a spirit, could he believe. Ere he could come to Jesus, or believe in him, he must have heard and learned another lesson.*
* John v. 44. xii. 39, 40. vi. 45.
It is farther objected, that to suppose faith to include in it any holy disposition of heart, is confounding it with its effects, and making those to be one, which the scriptures declare to be three; namely, faith, hope, and charity. I do not know that the scriptures any where teach us that all holy disposition is the effect of faith. It is not more so, I apprehend, than all unholy disposition is the effect of unbelief: but unbelief itself is the effect of unholy disposition, as I suppose will be allowed: all unholy disposition, therefore, cannot be the effect of unbelief.-Mr. M. has proved that faith also is not only a principle of evangelical obedience; but is itself an exercise of obedience : all obedience, there. fore, by his own account, is not the effect of faith; for nothing can be an effect of itself. And unless it be possible to obey God without any holy disposition of heart to do so, it will equally follow, that all holy disposition cannot be the effect of faith.With respect to the confounding of what the scriptures distinguish, whatever distinction there is between faith, hope, and charity, it makes nothing to Mr. M.'s argument, unless they can be proved to be so distinct as that nothing of the one is to be found in the other. Faith must not only have no love in it, but no hope ; hope must include neither faith nor love; and love must possess neither faith nor hope. But are they thus distinct? On the contrary, it may be found upon strict inquiry, that there is not a grace of the Holy Spirit, but what possesses a portion of every other grace. Yet faith is not love, nor hope, nor joy, nor long-suffering,
nor gentleness, nor goodness, nor meekness, nor patience: each has a distinctive character, and yet each is so blended with the other, that in dissecting one, you must cut through the veins of all.
“ Some affirm, says Mr. M., that faith, hope, " and love, are three considered only in respect of “their objects.”* I had indeed suggested that they are three, considered with respect to their objects; but never thought of affirming that they are three only in that view. They may be three in many other respects, for aught I know. My argument only required me to point out a sense in which they were distinct, provided they were not so in respect of their holy nature. I see no solidity in Mr. M.'s objection to an objective distinction; and it is rather extraordinary that what he substitutes in its place, from Mr. Sandeman, is a distinction merely objective.
Mr. M. thinks that faith, hope, and love, are distinct as to their nature; and that the excellency ascribed to love, consists in its being holy; whereas faith is not so. But what becomes of hope? Love. is not said to excel faith only : hope therefore is required to have no holiness in it, any more than faith. And has it none? Mr. M., when asked whether hope did not imply desire, and desire love? answered, “ Yes, hope is a modification of love."
* On the Commission, p. 82. Note.