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and sanctified by faith? This is our Third head of inquiry. And this being the main point in question, and a point of no ordinary importance, it will not be improper to give it a more distinct and particular consideration.
III. 1. And, First, how are we justified by faith? In what sense is this to be understood ? I answer, Faith is the condition, and the only condition, of justification. It is the condition : None is justified but he that believes : Without faith no man is justified. And it is the only condition : This alone is sufficient for justification. Every one that believes is justified, whatever else he has or has not. In other words : No man is justified till he believes ; every man, when he believes, is justified.
2. “But does not God command us to repent also ? Yea, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance ? '—to cease, for instance, from doing evil; and learn to do well? And is not both the one and the other of the utmost necessity, insomuch that if we willingly neglect either, we cannot reasonably expect to be justified at all? But if this be so, how can it be said that faith is the only condition of justification ?"
God does undoubtedly command us both to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance; which if we willingly neglect, we cannot reasonably expect to be justified at all: Therefore both repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, are, in some sense, necessary to justification. But they are not necessary in the same sense with faith, nor in the same degree. Not in the same degree ; for those fruits are only necessary conditionally ; if there be time and opportunity for them, Otherwise a man may be justified without them, as was the thief upon the cross ; (if we may call him so; for a late writer has discovered that he was no thief, but a very honest and respectable person !) but he cannot be justified without faith ; this is impossible. Likewise, let a man have ever so much repentance, or ever so many of the fruits meet for repentance, yet all this does not at all avail ; he is not justified till he believes. But the moment he believes, with or without those fruits, yea, with more or less repentance, he is justified.-Not in the same sense ; for repentance and its fruits are only remotely necessary; necessary in order to faith ; whereas faith is immediately and directly necessary to justification. It remains, that faith is the only condition, which is immediately and proximately necessary to justification.
3. " But do you believe we are sanctificd by faith? We know you believe that we are justified by faith ; but do not you believe, and accordingly teach, that we are sanctified by our works ?” So it has been roundly and vehemently affirmed for these five-and-twenty years: But I have constantly declared just the contrary; and that in all manner of ways. I have continually testified in private and in public, that we are sanctified as well as justified by faith. And indeed the one of those great truths does exceedingly illustrate the other. Exactly as we are justified by faith, so are we sanctified by faith. Faith is the condition, and the only condition, of sanctification, exactly as it is of justification. It is the condition : None is sanctified but he that believes ; without faith no man is sanctified. And it is the only condition : This alone is sufficient for sanctification. Every one that believes is sanctified, whatever else he has or has not. In other words, no man is sanctified till he believes : Every man when he believes is sanctified.
4. “But is there not a repentance consequent upon, as well as a repentance previous to, justification ? And is it not incumbent on all that are justified to be zealous of good works ?' Yea, are not these so necessary, that if a man willingly neglect them he cannot reasonably expect that he shall ever be sanctified in the full sense; that is, perfected in love ? Nay, can he grow at all in grace, in the loving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ? Yea, can he retain the grace which God has already given him ? Can he continue in the faith which he has received, or in the favour of God? Do not you yourself allow all this, and continually assert it? But, if this be so, how can it be said that faith is the only condition of sanctification ?”
5. I do allow all this, and continually maintain it as the truth of God. I allow there is a repentance consequent upon, as well as a repentance previous to, justification. It is incumbent on all that are justified to be zealous of good works. And these are so necessary, that if a man willingly neglect them, he cannot reasonably expect that he shall ever be sanctified; he cannot grow in grace, in the image of God, the mind which was in Christ Jesus ; nay, he cannot retain the grace he has received; he cannot continue in faith, or in the favour of God.
What is the inference we must draw herefrom? Why, that both repentance, rightly understood, and the practice of all good works,—works of piety, as well as works of mercy, (now properly so called, since they spring from faith,) are, in some sense, necessary to sanctification.
6. I say, repentance rightly understood; for this must not be confounded with the former repentance. The repentance consequent upon justification is widely different from that which is antecedent to it. This implies no guilt, no sense of condemnation, no consciousness of the wrath of God. It does not suppose any doubt of the favour of God, or any “fear that hath torment.” It is properly a conviction, wrought by the Holy Ghost, of the sin which still remains in our heart; of the Opornice Japxos, the carnal mind, which “ does still remain," (as our Church speaks,)“ even in them that are regenerate ;” although it does no longer reign; it has not now dominion over them. It is a conviction of our proneness to evil, of an heart bent to backsliding, of the still continuing tendency of the flesh to lust against the spirit. Sometimes, unless we continually watch and pray,
it lusteth to pride, sometimes to anger, sometimes to love of the world, love of ease, love of honour, or love of pleasure more than of God. It is a conviction of the tendency of our heart to self-will, to Atheism, or idolatry; and, above all, to unbelief, whereby, in a thousand ways, and under a thousand pretences, we are ever departing, more or less, from the living God.
7. With this conviction of the sin remaining in our hearts, there is joined a clear conviction of the sin remaining in our lives ; still cleaving to all our words and actions. In the best of these we now discern a mixture of evil, either in the spirit, the matter, or the manner of them; something that could not endure the righteous judgment of God, were he extreme to mark what is done amiss. Where we least suspected it, we find a taint of pride, or self-will, of unbelief, or idolatry; so that we are now more ashamed of our best duties than formerly of our worst sins : And hence we cannot but feel that these are so far from having any thing meritorious in them, yea, so far from being able to stand in sight of the divine justice, that for those also we should be guilty before God, were it not for the blood of the covenant.
8 Experience shows that, together with this conviction of sin remaining in our hearts, and cleaving to all our words and actions; as well as the guilt which on account thereof we should incur, were we not continually sprinkled with the atoning blood; one thing more is implied in this repentance ; namely, a conviction of our helplessness, of our utter inability to think one good thought, or to form one good desire ; and much more to speak one word aright, or to perform one good action, but through his free, almighty grace, first preventing us, and then accompanying us every moment.
9. “But what good works are those, the practice of which you affirm to be necessary to sanctification ?" First, all works of piety ; such as public prayer, family prayer, and praying in our closet ; receiving the supper of the Lord; searching the Scriptures, by hearing, reading, meditating ; and using such a measure of fasting or abstinence as our bodily health allows.
10. Secondly, all works of mercy; whether they relate to the bodies or souls of men ; such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, entertaining the stranger, visiting those that are in prison, or sick, or variously afflicted ; such as the endeavouring to instruct the ignorant, to awaken the stupid sinner, to quicken the lukewarm, to confirm the wavering, to comfort the feebleminded, to succour the tempted, or contribute in any manner to the saving of souls from death. This is the repentance, and these the “ fruits meet for repentance," which are necessary to full sanctification. This is the way wherein God hath appointed his children to wait for complete salvation.
11. Hence may appear the extreme mischievousness of that seemingly innocent opinion, that there is no sin in a believer ; that all sin is destroyed, root and branch, the moment a man is justified. By totally preventing that repentance, it quite blocks up the way to sanctification. There is no place for repentance in him who believes there is no sin either in his life or heart : Consequently, there is no place for his being perfected in love, to which that repentance is indispensably necessary.
12. Hence it may likewise appear, that there is no possible danger in thus expecting full salvation. For suppose we were mistaken, suppose no such blessing ever was or can be attained, yet we lose nothing : Nay, that very expectation quickens us in using all the talents which God has given us; yea, in improving them all; so that when our Lord cometh, he will receive his own with increase.
13. But to return. Though it be allowed, that both this repentance and its fruits are necessary to full salvation ; yet they are not necessary either in the same sense with faith, or in
the same degree :-Not in the same degree; for these fruits are only necessary conditionally, if there be time and opportunity for them ; otherwise a man, may be sanctified without them. But he cannot be sanctified without faith. Likewise, let a man have ever so much of this repentance, or ever so many good works, yet all this does not at all avail : He is not sanctified till he believes. But the moment he believes, with or without those fruits, yea, with more or less of this repentance, he is sanctified. -Not in the same sense ; for this repentance and these fruits are only remotely necessary,—necessary in order to the continuance of his faith, as well as the increase of it; whereas faith is immediately and directly necessary to sanctification. It remains, that faith is the only condition which is immediately and proximately necessary to sanctification.
14. “ But what is that faith whereby we are sanctified ;saved from sin, and perfected in love ?" It is a divine evidence and conviction, First, that God hath promised it in the Holy Scripture. Till we are thoroughly satisfied of this, there is no moving one step further. And one would imagine there needed not one word more to satisfy a reasonable man of this, than the ancient promise, “ Then will I circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” How clearly does this express the being perfected in love !-how strongly imply the being saved from all sin ! For as long as love takes up the whole heart, what room is there for sin therein ?
15. It is a divine evidence and conviction, Secondly, that what God hath promised he is able to perform. Admitting, therefore, that “ with men it is impossible” to “ bring a clean thing out of an unclean,” to purify the heart from all sin, and to fill it with all holiness ; yet this creates no difficulty in the case, seeing “ with God all things are possible.” And surely no one ever imagined it was possible to any power less than that of the Almighty! But if God speaks, it shall be done. God saith, “ Let there be light; and there” is “ light!"
16. It is, Thirdly, a divine evidence and conviction that he is able and willing to do it now. And why not? Is not a moment to him the same as a thousand years ? He cannot want more time to accomplish whatever is his will. And he cannot want or stay for any more worthiness or fitness in the
persons he is pleased to honour. We may therefore boldly say, at any