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whole of the abovementioned description. It implies a sense of our own sinfulness. Certainly in the hearty embracing of a Saviour from the punishment of our sinfulness, there is the exercise of a sense that we are sinful. We cannot heartily embrace Christ as a Saviour from the punishment of that which we are not sensible we are guilty of. There is also in the same act, a sense of our desert of the threatened punishment. We cannot heartily embrace Christ as a Saviour from that which we are not sensible that we have deserved. For if we are not sensible that we have deserved the punishment, we shall not be sensible that we have any need of a Saviour from it, or, at least, shall not be convinced but that God who offers the Saviour, unjustly makes him needful; and we cannot heartily embrace such an offer. And further, there is implied in a hearty embracing Christ as a Saviour from punishment, not only a conviction of conscience, that we have deserved the punishment, such as the devils and damned have, but there is a hearty acknowledgment of it, with the submission of the soul, so as, with the accord of the heart, to own that God might be just in the punishment. If the heart rises against the act or judgment of God, in holding us obliged to the punishment, when he offers us his Son as a Saviour from the punishment, we cannot with the consent of the heart receive him in that character: But if persons thus submit to the righteousness of 30 dreadful a punishment of sin, this carries in it an hatred of sin.
That such a sense of our sinfulness, and utter unworthiness, and desert of punishment, belongs to the nature of saving faith, is what the scripture from time to time holds forth; as particularly in Matt. xv. 26-28. "But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table. Then Jesus answered, and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith." And Luke vii. 6-9. "The centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself, for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof. Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee; but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed: for I also am a man set under authority," &c.-" When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." And also ver. 37, 38. "And behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster-box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them
with the ointment." Together with ver. 50. "He said unto the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."
These things do not necessarily suppose that repentance and faith are words of just the same signification; for it is only so much in justifying faith as respects the evil to be delivered from by the Saviour, that is called repentance. Besides, both repentance and faith, take them only in their general nature, are entirely distinct; repentance is a sorrow for sin, and forsaking of it; and faith is a trusting in God's sufficiency and truth. But faith and repentance, as evangelical duties, or justifying faith, and repentance for remission of sins, contain more in them, and imply a respect to a mediator, and involve each other's nature; though they still bear the name of faith and repentance, from those general moral virtues-that repentance, which is a duty of natural religion, and that faith, which was a duty required under the first covenant-that are contained in this evangelical act; which severally appear, when this act is considered with respect to its different terms and objects.
It may be objected here, that the scripture sometimes mentions faith and repentance together, as if they were entirely distinct things; as in Mark i. 15. "Repent ye, and believe the gospel." But there is no need of understanding these as two distinct conditions of salvation, but the words are exegetical one of another. It is to teach us after what manner we must repent, viz. as believing the gospel, and after what manner we must believe the gospel, viz. as repenting. These words no more prove faith and repentance to be entirely distinct, than those forementioned. Matth. xxi. 32. "And ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him." Or those, 2 Tim. ii. 25. "If peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." The apostle, in Acts xix. 4. seems to have reference to these words of John the Baptist, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe," &c. where the latter words, as we have already observed, are to explain how he preached repentance.
Another scripture, where faith and repentance are mentioned together, is Acts xx. 21. "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ." It may be objected, that in this place, faith and repentance are not only spoken of as distinct things, but having distinct objects.
* Agreeable to this, is what Mr. Locke says in his second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity, &c. vol. ii. of his works, p. 630, 631. "The believing him therefore, to be the Messiah, is very often, with great reason, put both for faith and repentance too, which are sometimes set down singly, where one is put for both, as implying the other."
To this I answer, That faith and repentance, in their general nature, are distinct things: And repentance for the remission of sins, or that in justifying faith that respects the evil to be delivered from, so far as it regards that term, which is what especially denominates it repentance, has respect to God as the object, because he is the Being offended by sin, and to be reconciled, but that in this justifying act, whence it is denominated faith, does more especially respect Christ. But let us interpret it how we will, the objection of faith being here so distinguished from repentance, is as much of an objection against the scheme of those that oppose justification by faith alone, as against this scheme; for they hold that the justifying faith the apostle Paul speaks of, includes repentance, as has been already observed.
3. This repentance that has been described, is indeed the special condition of remission of sins. This seems very evident by the scripture, as particularly, Mark i. 4. "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins." So, Luke iii. 3. "And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Luke xxiv. 47. "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations." Acts v. 31. "Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sins." Chap. ii. 38. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins." And, chap. iii. 19. "Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." The like is evident by Lev. xxvi. 40-42; Job xxxiii. 27, 28; Psalm xxxii. 5; Prov. xxviii. 13; Jer. iii. 13; and 1 John i. 9; and other places.
And the reason may be plain from what has been said. We need not wonder that what in faith especially respects sin, should be especially the condition of remission of sins; or that this motion or exercise of the soul, as it rejects and flies from evil, and embraces Christ as a Saviour from it, should especially be the condition of being free from that evil; in like manner, as the same principle or motion, as it seeks good, and cleaves to Christ as the procurer of that good, should be the condition of obtaining that good. Faith with respect to good is accepting, and with respect to evil it is rejecting. Yea, this rejecting evil is itself an act of acceptance; it is accepting freedom or separation from that evil; and this freedom or separation is the benefit bestowed in remission. No wonder that what in faith immediately respects this benefit, and is our acceptance of it, should be the special condition of our having it. It is so with respect to all the benefits that Christ has purchased. Trusting in God through Christ for such
a particular benefit that we need, is the special condition of obtaining that benefit. When we need protection from enemies, the exercise of faith with respect to such a benefit, or trusting in Christ for protection from eneinies, is especially the way to obtain that particular benefit, rather than trusting in Christ for something else; and so of any other benefit that might be mentioned. So prayer (which is the expression of faith) for a particular mercy needed, is especially the way to obtain that mercy*. So that no argument can be drawn from hence against the doctrine of justification by faith alone. And there is that in the nature of repentance, which peculiarly tends to establish the contrary of justification by works for nothing so much renounces our own worthiness and excellency, as repentance; the very nature of it is to acknowledge our own utter sinfulness and unworthiness, and to renounce our own goodness, and all confidence in self; and so to trust in the propitiation of the Mediator, and ascribe all the glory of forgiveness to him.
Object. 6. The last objection I shall mention, is that paragraph in the 3d chapter of James, where persons are said expressly to be justified by works; verse 21. "Was not Abraham our father justified by works?" Verse 24. "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." Verse 25. “Was not Rahab the harlot justified by works?"
In answer to this objection, I would
1. Take notice of the great unfairness of the divines that oppose us, in the improvement they make of this passage against us. All will allow, that in that proposition of St. James, " By works a man is justified, and not by faith only, one of the terms, either the word faith, or else the word justify, is not to be understood precisely in the same sense as the same terms when used by St. Paul; because they suppose, as well as we, that it was not the intent of the apostle James to contradict St. Paul in that doctrine of justification by faith alone, in which he had instructed the churches. But if we understand both the terms, as used by each apostle, in precisely the same sense, then what one asserts is precise, direct, and full contradiction of the other, the one affirming and the other denying the very same thing. So that all the controversy from this text comes to this, viz. which of these two terms shall be understood in a diversity from St. Paul. They say that it is the word faith; for they suppose, that when the apostle Paul uses the word, and makes faith that by which alone we are justifi
*If repentance justifies, or be that by which we obtain pardon of sin any other way than this, it must be either as a virtue or righteousness, or something amiable in us; or else it must be, that our sorrow and condemning what is past, is accepted as some atonement for it; both which are equally contrary to the gospel-doctrine of justification by Christ.
ed, that then by it is understood a compliance with, and practice of Christianity in general; so as to include all saving Christian virtue and obedience. But as the apostle James uses the word faith in this place, they suppose thereby is to be understood only an assent of the understanding to the truth of gospel doctrines, as distinguished from good works, and that may exist separate from them, and from all saving grace. We, on the other hand, suppose that the word justify is to be understood in a different sense from the apostle Paul. So that they are forced to go as far in their scheme, in altering the sense of terms from Paul's use of them, as we. But yet at the same time that they freely vary the sense of the former of them, viz. faith, yet when we understand the latter, viz. justify, in a different sense from St. Paul, they exclaim against us. What necessity of framing this distinction, but only to serve an opinion? At this rate a man may maintain any thing, though never so contrary to scripture, and elude the clearest text in the Bible! though they do not shew us why we have not as good warrant to understand the word justify in a diversity from St. Paul, as they the word faith. If the sense of one of the words must be varied on either scheme, to make the apostle James's doctrine consistent with the apostle Paul's; and if varying the sense of one term or the other be all that stands in the way of their agreeing with either scheme; and if varying the sense of the latter be in itself as fair as of the former, then the text lies as fair for one scheme as the other, and can no more fairly be an objection against our scheme than theirs. And if so, what becomes of all this great objection from this passage in James?
2. If there be no more difficulty in varying the sense of one of these terms than another, from any thing in the text itself, so as to make the words suit with either scheme, then certainly that is to be chosen that is most agreeable to the current of scripture, and other places where the same matter is more particularly and fully treated of; and therefore that we should understand the word justify in this passage of James, in a sense in some respect diverse, from that in which St. Paul uses it. For by what has been already said, it may appear, that there is no one doctrine in the whole Bible more fully asserted, explained, and urged, than the doctrine of justification by faith alone, without any of our own righteousness.
3. There is a very fair interpretation of this passage of St. James, no way inconsistent with this doctrine of justification, which I have shewn that other scriptures abundantly teach, which the words themselves will as well allow of, as that which the objectors put upon them, and much better agrees with the context; and that is, that works are here spoken of as justifying as evidences. A man may be said to be justified by that which clears him, or vin