Page images


The doctrine of Scripture concerning the

utility of Holiness.

I. The interest of religion is ill consulted by such rugged

phrases. 11. In the matter itself somethings are to be approved, others not. III. Scripture teaches that something must be done that we may be saved. IV. That holiness is the way to life. V. That it is not inconsistent that we live to Christ, and consult our own advantage. VI. That we must do good because we live, and that we may live. VII. That it is good and holy, that in the study of good works we have a regard also to our own salvation. VIII. Provided that love to ourselves be properly subordinate to the love of God. IX. That godliness is profitable to all things. X. That by it impending calamities are avoided, and peace of conscience, and joy promoted. XI. Some seem unjustly to deny that sanctification is an evidence of justification. XII. The Spirit indeed beareth witness that we are the sons of God. XIII. But together with our spirit; which he excites to discern the gifts of grace that are in us. XIV. Assurance of election arises from a consciousness of Christian virtues. XV. By them it is demonstrated whether one be in the faith and in Christ. XVI. XVII. The very arguments of those who think otherwise, lead the same way. XVIII. The assurance resulting from the testimony of the Divine Spirit compared with that which arises from a view of the evidences of grace. XIX. The holiness of believers, though imperfect, is pleasing to God for Christ's sake. XX. Nay also, inasmuch as it it is true holiness, for its own sake. XXI. Whence it is, that by how much one is more holy, by so much he is the more acceptable to God. Charnock quoted.

1. The



ICH after this manner the learned XVI. I.

men explain their mind, which appears with interest of quite another face when the hideous vizard Teligion is of the most rugged phrases is torn off. Truly ill consulted by such I cannot sufficiently admire why the learned rugged

men took a pleasure so to express themselves, phrases.

that nothing but stones seemed to speak; the ruggedness of which piled up in one, well nigh broke the brains of all the hearers. By such a conduct they very badly consulted not only their own character, but also the whole of the reformed religion; which very imprudently, and without any other probable cause, is exposed to the cavils and calumnies of adversaries. Not very long ago, Anthony Arnauld, the celebrated patriarch of the Jansenists, attempted to throw an odium on the doctrine of the reformed churches, as hostile to piety and good works; namely, lest he should by any means be thought to be on Calvin's side. Hence he took for a pretext some of the most innocent expressions of our divines, which by the most unjust interpretation he wrested to a wrong purpose. What would he not have done, if these unusual phrases, and such as are similar to them, had come under his review; and if he had known that their authors were teachers in the reformed church? and I am afraid truly, lest he may have done it, at least in part. See Jurieu Justificat de la Morale, book iii. chap. ii. What an unhappy thing is it, so to speak, and that of determin


II. In the matter it

ed purpose, that immediately you need a tedi- CHAP. ous explication before simple and candid hearers, and an apology before the less favourable and the suspicious? Since perspicuity is the chief ornament of speech, what hindered, but that omitting all these turnings and windings in obscurity, you spoke clearly from the very beginning, what you might hope would immediately approve itself to the conscience of pious men? But let these things suffice at present, as to the harshness of phrases. II. In the matter itself, there is that I

approve, and what I disapprove. I approve in- self, some

things are deed, of the scope of all this doctrine; which

to be aphas this for its object, that men may be cal- proved, oled off from all presumption upon their own righteousness, and trained up to the exercise of generous piety, which flows from the pure fountain of Divine love. But I do not equally approve, that it seems at least in a great degree, to take from good works all that fruit and utility, so frequently assigned them in scripture. Free justification is so to be consulted, that nothing be derogated from the benefit of sanctification. And as the oracles of the Divine Spirit which speak of the former, are to be explained according to their utmost emphasis, lest the merits of Christ alone be any how diminished; so those which treat of the latter, are not to be extenuated by unnatural interpretations. We must accurately distinguish between a right to life, and the possession of life. The former must so

thers not.


es that

we may

CHAP. be assigned to the obedience of Christ, that XVI. all the value of our holiness may be entirely

excluded. But certainly our works, or rather these, which the Spirit of Christ worketh in us, and by us, contribute something to the latter. And here again, that excessive rigidity of disputation is inconsistent with the moderation and mildness of the scriptures.

Which I shall show distinctly and in order. IU. Scrip

III. Ist, Scripture teacheth that man must ture teach- do something, that he may obtain the possessomething sion of the salvation purchased by Christ. must be

“ Labour, (said he) for the meat which endurdone, that

eth unto everlasting life," which indeed he inbe saved.

terprets afterwards of faith, but so, that there he plainly reduces it to the catalogue of works; for justification is not the subject, John vi. 27-29. And Paul expressly says, Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," Phil. ii. 12. And again, “ Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know, that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Cor. xv. 58.

IV. Neither because Christ is the way to holiness is life, is the practice of Christian piety therethe way to life. fore not the way to life. Christ is the way

to life, because he purchased us a right to life. The practice of Christian piety is the way to life, because thereby we go to the possession of the right obtained by Christ. For it is more than a hundred times designed

IV. That.

by the name of life: again the way of righteous- CHAP.

XVI. ness, the good way, the way of peace; yea, that nothing might be wanting, it is called the way

III. of life and salvation. Prov. vi. 23. “ The commandment is a lamp, and the law is light, and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” And x. 17. « He is in the


unto life who keepeth instruction.” xv. 24. “ The way

of life is above to the wise." Psal. 1. 23. « Whoso ordereth his way, I will cause him to enjoy the salvation of God.” And what does Christ himself understand by that narrow way which leadeth unto life, Matt. vii. 14. but the strict practice of Christian religion? which is called the way of salvation, A&ts. xvi. 17. V. It is certain indeed that the true Christ

V. That

it is not inrian lives to Christ, that is, to his glory: but it consistent does not follow from thence that he does no

we live to

Christ, and thing for his own advantage. It is not con- consult our trary to the duty of a holy man, to desire life,

own advan

tage. Jove days, and enjoy good, Psal. xxxiv. 13. Nor did Eliphaz the Temanite advise Job amiss; “pray, acquaint thyself with him, and be at peace: whereby good shall come unto thee," Job. xxii. 21. Nor is it unlawful to anticipate how good it shall be for me if I live to Christ. « It is good for me, to draw near to God," Psal. lxxiii. 28. [26.]

VI. In fine, it is not inconsistent to do VI. That something from this principle, because we live,

we must do

good beand to the end, that we may live. No man cause we

live, and

that we Note (26.]

may live,

« PreviousContinue »