Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Thus much is said generally of all good works: first, to remove out of the way of the simple and unlearned this dangerous stumbling-block; that any man should go about to purchase or buy heaven with his works. Secondly, to take away, so much as may be, from envious minds and slanderous tongues, all just occasion of slanderous speaking, as though good works were rejected. St. Paul therefore teacheth, that we must do good works for divers respects: first, to shew ourselves obedient children unto our heavenly Father, who hath ordained them, that we should walk in them. Secondly, for that they are good declarations and testimonies of our justification. Thirdly, that others, seeing our good works, may the rather by them be stirred up and excited to glorify our Father which is in heaven. Let us not therefore be slack to do good works, seeing it is the will of God that we should walk in them ; assuring ourselves that at the last day every man shall receive of God for his labour done in true faith, a greater reward than his works have deserved. Hom. xvi. 1.

wither; and whatsoever he doeth another. John xiii. 35. I will shew shall prosper. Ps. i. 3. In this the thee my faith by my works. James children of God are manifest, and ii. 18. Faith, which worketh by the children of the devil: whoso- love. Gal. v. 6. Every man that ever doeth not righteousness is not hath this hope in him purifieth of God. 1 John jii. 10. By this himself even as he is pure. 1 John shall all men know that ye are my iii. 3. disciples, if ye have love one to

XII. Of Works before Justification. "WORKS done before the grace of Christ, and the lụspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in

• They are greatly deceived that preach repentance without Christ; and teach the simple and ignorant that it consisteth only in the works of men. They may indeed speak many things of good works, and of amendment of life and manners: but without Christ they be all vain and unprofitable. They that think they have done much of themselves towards repentance, are so much more the farther from God; because they do seek those things in their own works and merits, which ought only to be sought in our Saviour Jesus Christ, and in the merits of his death, and passion, and blood-shedding. Hom. xxxii. 1.

• The third part of repentance is faith; whereby we do apprehend and take hold upon the promises of God, touching the free pardon and forgiveness of our sins: which promises are

• They that are in the flesh can- in trespasses and sins:--We all not please God. Rom. viii, 8. The had our conversation in times past natural man receiveth not the in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling things of the Spirit of God: for the desires of the flesh and of the they are foolishness unto him. mind; and were by nature the chil1 Cor. ii. 14. There is none that dren of wrath, even as others. Eph. doeth good, no, not one. Rom. iii. ii. 1, 3. These be sensual, having 12. As saith the proverb of the not the Spirit. Jude 19. If any ancients: Wickedness proceedeth man have not the Spirit of Christ, from the wicked. 1 Sam. xxiv. 13. he is none of his. Rom. viii. 9. When we were in the flesh, the Jesus Christ is in you, except ye motions of sin, which were by the be reprobates. 2 Cor. xiii. 5. Ye law, did work in our members to are not in the flesh, but in the bring forth fruit unto death. Rom. Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of vii. 5. Either make the tree good, God dwell in you. Rom. viii. 9. and his fruit good; or else make The fruit of the Spirit is in all the tree corrupt, and his fruit cor- goodness, and righteousness, and rupt. Matt. xii. 33. Do men gather truth. Eph. v. 9. If the first fruit grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? be holy, the lump also is holy: and Even so every good tree bringeth if the root be holy, so are the forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree branches. Rom. xi. 16. As the bringeth forth evil fruit. A good branch cannot bear fruit of itself, tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, except it abide in the vine; no neither can a corrupt tree bring more can ye, except ye abide in forth good fruit. Matt. vii. 16-19. me. I am the vine, ye are the Doth a fountain send forth at the branches : without me (severed same place sweet water and bitter?from me) ye can do nothing. John Can the fig-tree, my brethren, bear xv. 4, 5. From me is thy fruit olive berries? either a vine, figs ? found. Hosea xiv. 8. so can no fountain yield both salt b Without faith it is impossible water and fresh. James iii. 12. You to please God. Heb. xi. 6. If ye hath he quickened, who were dead will not believe, surely ye shall not

Jesus Christ, 'neither do they make men meet

sealed up unto us, with the death and blood-shedding of his Son Jesus Christ. For what should avail and profit us to be sorry for our sins, to lament and bewail that we have offended our most bounteous and merciful Father, or to confess and acknowledge our offences and trespasses, though it be done never so earnestly, unless we do stedfastly believe, and be fully persuaded, that God, for his Son Jesus Christ's sake, will forgive us all our sins, and put them out of remembrance, and from his sight. Therefore they that teach repentance, without a lively faith in our Saviour Jesus Christ, do teach none other but Judas's repentance. But how chance that the one (Peter) was received into favour again with God, and the other (Judas) cast away; but because that the one did by a lively faith, in him whom he had denied, take hold upon the mercy of God; and the other wanted faith, whereby he did despair of the goodness and mercy of God. It is evident and plain then, that although we be never so earnestly sorry for our sins, acknowledge and confess them; yet all these things shall be but means to bring us to utter desperation, except we do stedfastly believe that God our heavenly Father will for his Son Jesus Christ's sake pardon and forgive us our offences and trespasses, and utterly put them out of remembrance in his sight. Therefore, as we said before, they that teach repentance without Christ, and a lively faith in the mercy of God, do only teach Cain's or Judas's repentance. Hom. xxxii. 2.

Faith giveth life to the soul; and they be as much dead to God that lack faith, as they be to the world whose bodies lack souls. Without faith, all that is done of us is but dead before God, although the work seem never so gay and glorious before man. Even as the picture graven or painted is but a dead representation of the thing itself, and is without life, or any manner of moving; so be the works of all unfaithful persons before God: they do appear to be lively works, and indeed they be but dead, not availing to the everlasting life: they be but shadows and shews of lively and good things, and not good and lively things indeed: for true faith doth give life to the works, and out of such faith come good works, that be very good works indeed ; and without faith no work is good before God, as saith St. Augustine. We must set no good works before faith, nor think that before faith a man may do any good works; for such works, although they seem unto men to be praiseworthy, yet indeed they be but vain, and not allowed before God. Hom. v. 1.

C Q. Can we not therefore prevent God with any works or

be established. Isa. vii. 9. He that he, ye shall die in your sins. John believeth not is condemned. John viii. 24. ; iii. 18. If ye believe not that I am • God, who is rich in mercy, for

to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace or congruity : "yea, rather for that

deservings, whereby we may first provoke him to love us and be good unto us? A. Surely, with none. For God loved and chose us in Christ, not only when we were his enemies, that is, sinners, but also before the foundations of the world were laid. And this is the same spring, head, and original of our justification, whereof I spake before. Nowell, p. 74.

Grace, saith St. Augustine, belongeth to God, who doth call us; and then hath he good works, whosoever receiveth grace. Good works then bring not forth grace; but are brought forth by grace. The wheel, saith he, turneth round, not to the end that it may be made round; but because it is first made round, therefore it turneth round. So, no man doth good works, to receive grace by his good works; but because he hath first received grace, therefore consequently he doth good works.And in another place he saith, Good works go not before in him which shall afterward be justified; but good works do follow after, when a man is first justified. Hom. xvi. 1.

For as the good fruit is not the cause that the tree is good, but the tree must first be good before it can bring forth good fruit; so the good deeds of man are not the cause that maketh man good, but he is first made good by the Spirit and grace of God, that effectually worketh in him, and afterward he bringeth forth good fruits. And then, as the good fruit doth argue the goodness of the tree, so doth the good and merciful deed of the man argue and certainly prove the goodness of him that doth it. Hom. xxiii. 2.

d He that by nature would withstand vice, either by natural will or reason, he doth in vain garnish the time of this life, and attaineth not the very true virtues; for without the worshipping of the true God, that which seemeth to be virtue is vice. Hom. v.1.

his great love wherewith he loved be righteous, what givest thou us, even when we were dead in him? or what receiveth he of thine sins, hath quickened us together hand? Job xxxv.7. What hast thou with Christ (by grace ye are saved). that thou didst not receive? 1 Cor. Eph. ii. 4, 5. Not by works of iv. 7. Not of works, lest any man righteousness which we have done, should boast. Eph. ii. 9. Now to but according to bis mercy he saved him that worketh, is the reward us, by the washing of regeneration, not reckoned of grace, but of debt. and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Rom. iv. 4. To him that worketh Tit. iii. 5. It is not of him that not, but believeth on him that juswilleth, nor of him that runneth, tifieth the ungodly, his faith is but of God that sheweth mercy. counted for righteousness. Rom. iv. Rom. ix. 16. Who hath prevented 5. They being ignorant of God's me, that I should repay him? Job righteousness, and going about to xli. 11. Who hath first given to establish their own righteousness, him, and it shall be recompensed have not submitted themselves unto to him again ? Rom. xi. 35. If thou the righteousness of God. Rom.x.3.

they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

In good works, two things are principally required. First, that we do those works that are prescribed by the law of God; secondly, that they be done with that mind and faith which God requireth. It is evident therefore that all works whatsoever we do, before that we are born again and renewed by the Spirit of God, such as may properly be called our own works, are faulty (vitiosa). For whatsoever shew of gayness or worthiness they represent and give to the eyes of men, sith they spring and proceed from a faulty and corrupted heart, which God chiefly considereth, they cannot but be defiled and corrupted, and so, grievously offend God. Such works therefore, as evil fruits, growing out of an evil tree, God despiseth and rejecteth from him. Nowell, p. 74.

If the inheritance be of the law, it and the Father by him. Col. iii. 17. is no more of promise. Gal. iii. 18. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, A man is justified by faith without or whatsoever ye do, do all to the the deeds of the law. Rom. iii. 28. glory of God. 1 Cor. x. 31. WhatThe law is spiritual, but I am car. soever is not of faith is sin. Rom. nal, sold under sin. Rom. vii. 14. xiv. 23. Unto them that are de

The carnal mind is enmity against filed and unbelieving is nothing God : for it is not subject to the pure; but even their mind and law of God, neither indeed can be. conscience is defiled. Tit. i. 15. Rom. viii. 7. For the flesh lusteth The plowing of the wicked is sin. against the Spirit, and the Spirit Prov. xxi. 4. He that turneth against the flesh: and these are away his ear from hearing the law, contrary the one to the other. Gal. even his prayer shall be abominav. 17. If ye live after the flesh, ye tion. Prov. xxviii. 9. Many will shall die; but if ye through the say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, Spirit do mortify the deeds of the have we not prophesied in thy name, body, ye shall live. Rom. viii. 13. and in thy name have cast out devils, He that soweth to the flesh, shall of and in thy name done many wonder. the flesh reap corruption. Gal. vi. 8. ful works? and then will I profess

Whatsoever ye do, in word or unto them, I never knew you: dedeed, do all in the name of the part from me ye that work iniquity. Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God Matt. vii. 22, 23.

« AnteriorContinuar »