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a more con
CHAP. the controversy. Let us therefore now atXV.
III. They teach in general, that it is so far IIL But to be soft- from being possible to separate holiness and ened by the good works from salvation, that they are a intention of their au
part of the salvation purchased for us by thors, by Christ; for we are created in him unto venient ex- good works. They add, that the ends of plication.
good works are very remarkable: namely, the manifestation of our obedience and subjeco tion; the promoting of the glory of the grace of God, in this that we endeavour to be useful to others; the edification of our neighbour; the gathering of ourselves together unto Christ Jesus, who hath promised that he will be found in them. Besides, they put us in mind, that in all these assertions, the only end they propose is, that the glory of free justification may remain entire to God and Christ, and that no justifying virtue may be attribut
ed to our works of whatsoever kind. IV. In what sense
IV. Having premised these general obserit may be vations, they explain the several assertions said that
much in this manner. 1. There is no be1 good works
contribute liever under heaven, to whom it is given to nothing to
ascend the celestial heights, until he has in sion of sal, his generation served the purpose of God. vation, and are not the None believes in Christ and receives him by way to the faith, who is not after that reception creatkingdom.
ed in him to good works, that he may walk in them. Mean while, Christ is the only way to life; the practice of godliness is the necessary labour and occupation of those who
walk in this way. Further, we do no good CHAP. for ourselves, since all things requisite to sal. vation, were abundantly performed for us by Christ; who alone died for all, “that they who live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but to him who died for them, and rose again,” 2 Cor. v. i 5. The tenor of the legal covenant is, « Do this, and thou shalt live.” But the doctrine of grace is, Christ hath quickened thee, therefore do thou live in the life of the Son of God, and testify it by a holy activity.
V. That V. 2dly, God hath blessed us with every it is unlawa, spiritual blessing in heavenly places, in Christ:ful to do neither is there a more certain assurance of with an in
any thing salvation to be found elsewhere than in Christ, tention to
promote who finished it most perfectly for us. If therefore we seek to finish it for ourselves, salvation. what do we else but that which is already done, labouring in vain? Besides the generous spirit of true Christianity is far from all mercepary meanness. Neither does it teach thus; I will carefully addict myself to the exercise of good works, that I may gain the eternal reward; but rather in this manner, the lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places, I have a goodly heritage, goodness and mercy shall follow me all my days; and because Christ has provided so abundantly for me, hence contented with so great opulence, and seeking nothing further by my own works, I will glorify him in my body and my spirit, and serve my generation to the glory of his grace.
CHAP VI. 3dly, Our duties, even the best and XV.
the most excellent, have no efficacy of them
selves to do us any good: All efficacy deVI. 'That no good is pends upon the blessing of God in Christ. acquired
Therefore it must be inculcated that we can nor evil avoided, by ward off no evil by our prayers, or any
other doing well.
exercises of religion; lest, as is generally the case, we attribute unto them any power to reconcile us to God, which lies in the satisfaction of Christ alone. In fine, what do our works avail to peace of conscience and joy in Christ? Which, if we attend to their imperfection, and the pollution wherewith they are defiled, proclaim nothing but war: the blood of Christ only proclaimeth peace,
which you seek in vain elsewhere. He is VII.
our peace. That prac
VII. 4thly, The principal evidences wheretical godli
by it appears that we are in Christ, are reckon, a sufficient, ed by many to be these: universal obedience, a state of sincerity of heart, and love towards the grace. brethren. But though these in their own kind,
and within their own sphere, are of remarkable use to this purpose, yet because they are weakened by the flesh, they are scarcely sufficient to give solid assurance to the soul. For there is no man, provided he attend to himself, but will easily find that they are all subject to so great blemishes, that the soul, solicitous concerning its own salvation, has a difficulty to satisfy itself in discerning these marks. The Spirit of the Lord must first reveal his grace to our spirit, and endue us
ness is not
with faith, whereby we may receive that tes. CHAP. timony of the Divine Spirit; that content with it, we may quiet our heart, before any duty of holiness can give evidence of a matter of such importance. But after the testimony of the Divine Spirit, received by faith, hath produced assurance in the soul, then the gifts of the Divine Spirit, together with the Spirit of the Lord, and the heart of the believer, bear witness. VIII. 5thly, When Paul testifies, Phil. iii.
That the 8. “ that he counts all things but loss and best works dung, for the excellency of the knowledge of of believers
are nothing Christ Jesus, and that he might gain Christ;" but filthiby these words he excludes, as to justification nees and
dung before God, all works, whether previous to faith, or following it, as is excellently observ. ed by Beza. For the elucidation of which point, it is proper to make the following remarks. 1. The graces of the sanctifying Spirit flow clear and pure from their fountain. 2. But running through the channels of our hearts, infected with corruption, from their filth, they contract uncleanness.
3. And hence it is that all our best duties and exercises are polluted. 4. And consequently they cannot be reckoned for our righteousness before God's tribunal. 5. There is therefore no reason why we should glory in duties well performed, or on their account commend ourselves to God; but that rather being covered with shame, we should implore pardon. 6. Whatever proceeds from us, compared with
CHAP, the most immaculate holiness of God, and in
respect of the imperfection cleaving to it, arising from a mixture of sin dwelling in us, causes that the duties performed by us, if considered in themselves, are nothing but dung. 7. Nevertheless by faith in Christ all the filthiness of our sins is washed away by him, who presents to God these duties cleansed by his blood alone, and makes them pleasing and acceptable to him which he does not, except we entirely renounce ourselves and our own righteousness, and count it all but loss and dung. 8. In fine, since we ourselves, and the spiritual sacrifices which we offer unto God, are not acceptable to him but by Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. ii. 5. it is unlawful to presume so much upon our own holiness, however great, as to ask that on its account, con.sidered in itself, and separately from Christ, we may please God.