(Owen, Justification. part 35)

constrained. This is the answer which the apostle gives at large
unto this exception, Rom.6:2,3. Secondly, The whole fallacy of this
exception is,--First, In separating the things that God has made
inseparable; these are, our justification and our sanctification. To
suppose that the one of these may be without the other, is to
overthrow the whole gospel. Secondly, In compounding those things
that are distinct,--namely, justification and eternal actual
salvation; the respect of works and obedience being not the same
unto them both, as has been declared. Wherefore, this imagination,
that the commands of God unto duty, however given, and unto what
ends soever, are not equally obligatory unto the consciences of
believers, as if they were all given in order unto their
justification before God, is an absurd figment, and which all of
them who are truly so defy. Yea, they have a greater power upon them
than they could have if the duties required in them were in order to
their justification, and so were antecedent thereunto; for thereby
they must be supposed to have their efficacy upon them before they
truly believe. For to say that a man may be a true believer, or
truly believe, in answer unto the commands of the gospel, and not be
thereon in the same instant of time absolutely justified, is not to
dispute about any point of religion, but plainly to deny the whole
truth of the gospel. But it is faith alone that gives power and
efficacy unto gospel commands effectually to influence the soul unto
obedience. Wherefore, this obligation is more powerfully con
straining as they are given unto those that are justified, than if
they were given them in order unto their justification.
     (2.) The apostle answers, as we do also, "Do we then make void the
law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law." For
though the law is principally established in and by the obedience
and sufferings of Christ, Rom.8:3,4; 10:3,4, yet is it not, by the
doctrine of faith and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ
unto the justification of life, made void as unto believers. Neither
of these does exempt them from that obligation unto universal obedi
ence which is prescribed in the law. They are still obliged by
virtue thereof to "love the LORD their God with all their hearts,
and their neighbours as themselves". They are, indeed, freed from
the law, and all its commands unto duty as it abides in its first
considerations "Do this, and live"; the opposite whereunto is,
"Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in
the law to do them." For he that is under the obligation of the law,
in order unto justification and life, falls inevitably under the
curse of it upon the supposition of any one transgression. But we
are made free to give obedience unto it on gospel motives, and for
gospel ends; as the apostle declares at large, chap.6. And the
obligation of it is such unto all believers as that the least
transgression of it has the nature of sin. But are they hereon bound
over by the law unto everlasting punishment? Or, as some phrase it,
"will God damn them that transgress the law?" without which all this
is nothing. I ask, again, what they think hereof; and upon a
supposition that he will do so, what they farther think will become
of themselves? For my part, I say, No; even as the apostle says,
"There is no condemnation unto them that are in Christ Jesus."
"Where, then," they will say, "is the necessity of obedience from
the obligation of the law, if God will not damn them that transgress
it?" And I say, It were well if some men did understand what they
say in these things, or would learn, for a while at least, to hold
their peace. The law equally requires obedience in all instances of
duty, if it require any at all. As unto its obligatory power, it is
capable neither of dispensation nor relaxation, so long as the essen
tial differences of good and evil do remain. If, then, none can be
obliged unto duty by virtue of its commands, but that they must on
every transgression fall under its curse, either it obliges no one
at all, or no one can be saved. But although we are freed from the
curse and condemning power of the law by Him who has made an end of
sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness; yet, whilst we are
"viatores," in order unto the accomplishment of God's design for the
restoration of his image in us, we are obliged to endeavour after
all that holiness and righteousness which the law requires of us.
     (3.) The apostle answers this objection, by discovering the ne
cessary relation that faith has unto the death of Christ, the grace
of God, with the nature of sanctification, excellency, use, and
advantage of gospel holiness, and the end of it in God's
appointment. This he does at large in the whole sixth chapter of the
Epistle to the Romans, and that with this immediate design, to show
the consistency of justification by faith alone with the necessity
of personal righteousness and holiness. The due pleading of these
things would require a just and full exposition of that chapter,
wherein the apostle has comprised the chief springs and reasons of
evangelical obedience. I shall only say, that those unto whom the
reasons of it, and motives unto it, therein expressed,--which are
all of them compliant with the doctrine of justification by the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ,--are not effectual unto
their own personal obedience, and do not demonstrate an
indispensable necessity of it, are so unacquainted with the gospel,
the nature of faith, the genius and inclination of the new creature
(for, let men scoff on whilst they please, "he that is in Christ
Jesus is a new creature"), the constraining efficacy of the grace of
God, and love of Christ, of the economy of God in the disposition of
the causes and means of our salvation, as I shall never trouble
myself to contend with them about these things.
     Sundry other considerations I thought to have added unto the same
purpose, and to have showed,--1. That to prove the necessity of
inherent righteousness and holiness, we make use of the arguments
which are suggested unto us in the Scripture. 2. That we make use of
all of them in the sense wherein, and unto the ends for which, they
are urged therein, in perfect compliance with what we teach
concerning justification. 3. That all the pretended arguments or
motives for and unto evangelical holiness, which are inconsistent
with the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, do indeed
obstruct it and evert it; 4. That the holiness which we make neces
sary unto the salvation of them that believe is of a more excellent,
sublime, and heavenly nature, in its causes, essence, operations,
and effects, than what is allowed or believed by the most of those
by whom the doctrine of justification is opposed. 5. That the
holiness and righteousness which is pleaded for by the Socinians and
those that follow them, does in nothing exceed the righteousness of
the scribes and Pharisees; nor upon their principles can any man go
beyond them. But whereas this discourse has already much exceeded my
first intention, and that, as I said before, I have already at large
treated on the doctrine of the nature and necessity of evangelical
holiness, I shall at present omit the farther handling of these
things, and acquiesce in the answers given by the apostle unto this

XX. The doctrine of the apostle James concerning faith and works--
Its agreement with that of St Paul

Seeming difference, no real contradiction, between the apostles Paul
and James, concerning justification--This granted by all--Reasons of
the seeming difference--The best rule of the interpretation of
places of Scripture wherein there is an appearing repugnancy--The
doctrine of justification according unto that rule principally to be
learned from the writings of Paul--The reasons of his fulness and
accuracy in the teaching of that doctrine--The importance of the
truth; the opposition made unto it, and abuse of it--The design of
the apostle James--Exceptions of some against the writings of St.
Paul, scandalous and unreasonable--Not, in this matter, to be
interpreted by the passage in James insisted on, chap.2.--That there
is no repugnancy between the doctrine of the two apostles
demonstrated--Heads and grounds of the demonstration--Their scope,
design, and end, not the same--That of Paul; the only case stated
and determined by him--The design of the apostle James; the case
proposed by him quite of another nature--The occasion of the case
proposed and stated by him--No appearance of difference between the
apostles, because of the several cases they speak unto--Not the same
faith intended by them--Description of the faith spoken of by the
one, and the other--Bellarmine's arguments to prove true justifying
faith to be intended by James, answered--Justification not treated
of by the apostles in the same manner, nor used in the same sense,
nor to the same end--The one treats of justification, as unto its
nature and causes; the other, as unto its signs and evidence--Proved
by the instances insisted on--How the Scripture was fulfilled, that
Abraham believed in God, and it was counted unto him for
righteousness, when he offered his son on the altar--Works the same,
and of the same kind, in both the apostles--Observations on the
discourse of James--No conjunction made by him between faith nor
works in our justification, but an opposition--No distinction of a
first and second justification in him--Justification ascribed by him
wholly unto works--In what sense--Does not determine how a sinner
may be justified before God; but how a professor may evidence
himself so to be--The context opened from verse 14, to the end of
the chapter

The seeming difference that is between the apostles Paul and James
in what they teach concerning faith, works, and justification,
requires our consideration of it; for many do take advantage, from
some words and expressions used by the latter, directly to oppose
the doctrine fully and plainly declared by the former. But whatever
is of that nature pretended, has been so satisfactorily already
answered and removed by others, as that there is no great need to
treat of it again. And although I suppose that there will not be an
end of contending and writing in these causes, whilst we "know but
in part, and prophesy but in part"; yet I must say that, in my
judgment, the usual solution of this appearing difficulty,--securing
the doctrine of justification by faith, through the imputation of
the righteousness of Christ, from any concernment or contradiction
in the discourse of St James, chap.2:14, to the end,--has not been
in the least impeached, nor has had any new difficulty put upon it,
in some late discourses to that purpose. I should, therefore,
utterly forbear to speak any thing thereof, but that I suppose it
will be expected in a discourse of this nature, and do hope that I
also may contribute some light unto the clearing and vindication of
the truth. To this purpose it may be observed, that,--1. It is taken
for granted, on all hands, that there is no real repugnancy or
contradiction between what is delivered by these two apostles; for
if that were so, the writings of one of them must be pseudepistolae,
or falsely ascribed unto them whose names they bear, and
uncanonical,--as the authority of the Epistle of James has been by
some, both of old and of late, highly but rashly questioned.
Wherefore, their words are certainly capable of a just recon
ciliation. That we cannot any of us attain thereunto, or that we do
not agree therein, is from the darkness of our own minds, the
weakness of our understandings, and, with too many, from the power
of prejudices
     2. It is taken also for granted, on all other occasions, that when
there is an appearance of repugnancy or contradiction in any places
of Scripture, if some, or any of them, do treat directly,
designedly, and largely about the matter concerning which there is a
seeming repugnancy or contradiction; and others, or any other, speak
of the same things only "obiter," occasionally, transiently, in
order unto other ends; the truth is to be learned, stated, and fixed
from the former places: or the interpretation of those places where
any truth is mentioned only occasionally with reference unto other
things or ends, is, as unto that truth, to be taken from and
accommodated unto those other places wherein it is the design and
purpose of the holy penman to declare it for its own sake, and to
guide the faith of the church therein. And there is not a more
rational and natural rule of the interpretation of Scripture among
all them which are by common consent agreed upon.
     3. According unto this rule, it is unquestionable that the
doctrine of justification before God is to be learned from the
writings of the apostle Paul, and from them is light to be taken
into all other places of Scripture where it is occasionally
mentioned. Especially it is so, considering how exactly this
doctrine represents the whole scope of the Scripture, and is
witnessed unto by particular testimonies occasionally given unto the
same truth, without number: for it must be acknowledged that he
wrote of this subject of our justification before God, on purpose to
declare it for its own sake, and its use in the church; and that he
does it fully, largely, and frequently, in a constant harmony of
expressions. And he owns those reasons that pressed him unto fulness
and accuracy herein,--(1.) The importance of the doctrine itself.
This he declares to be such as that thereon our salvation does
immediately depend; and that it was the hinge whereon the whole
doctrine of the gospel did turn,--"Articulus stantis aut cadentis
ecclesiae," Gal.2:16-21; 5:4,5. (2.) The plausible and dangerous
opposition that was then made unto it. This was so managed, and that
with such specious pretences, as that very many were prevailed on
and turned from the truth by it (as it was with the Galatians), and
many detained from the faith of the gospel out of a dislike unto it,
Rom.10:3,4. What care and diligence this requires in the declaration
of any truth, is sufficiently known unto them who are acquainted
with these things; what zeal, care, and circumspection it stirred up
the apostle unto, is manifest in all his writings. (3.) The abuse
which the corrupt nature of man is apt to put upon this doctrine of
grace, and which some did actually pervert it unto. This also
himself takes notice of, and thoroughly vindicates it from giving
the least countenance unto such wrestings and impositions. Cer
tainly, never was there a greater necessity incumbent on any person
fully and plainly to teach and declare a doctrine of truth, than was
on him at that time in his circumstances, considering the place and
duty that he was called unto. And no reason can be imagined why we
should not principally, and in the first place, learn the truth
herein from his declaration and vindication of it, if withal we do
indeed believe that he was divinely inspired, and divinely guided to
reveal the truth for the information of the church.
     As unto what is delivered by the apostle James, so far as our
justification is included therein, things are quite otherwise. He
does not undertake to declare the doctrine of our justification
before God; but having another design in hand, as we shall see
immediately, he vindicates it from the abuse that some in those days
had put it unto, as other doctrines of the grace of God, which they
turned into licentiousness. Wherefore, it is from the writings of
the apostle Paul that we are principally to learn the truth in this
matter; and unto what is by him plainly declared is the
interpretation of other places to be accommodated.
     4. Some of late are not of this mind; they contend earnestly that
Paul is to be interpreted by James, and not on the contrary. And
unto this end they tell us that the writings of Paul are obscure,
that sundry of the ancients take notice thereof, that many take
occasion of errors from them, with sundry things of an alike nature,
indeed scandalous to Christian religion; and that James, writing
after him, is presumed to give an interpretation unto his sayings;
which are therefore to be expounded and understood according unto
that interpretation. Ans. First, As to the vindication of the
writings of St Paul, which begin now to be frequently reflected on
with much severity (which is one effect of the secret prevalence of
the Atheism of these days), as there is no need of it, so it is
designed for a more proper place. Only I know not how any person
that can pretend the least acquaintance with antiquity, can plead a
passage out of Irenaeus, wherein he was evidently himself mistaken,
or a rash word of Origin, or the like, in derogation from the
perspicuity of the writings of this apostle, when they cannot but
know how easy it were to overwhelm them with testimonies unto the
contrary from all the famous writers of the church in several ages.
And as (for instance in one) Chrysostom in forty places gives an
account why some men understood not his writings, which in
themselves were so gloriously evident and perspicuous; so for their
satisfaction, I shall refer them only unto the preface unto his
exposition of his epistles: of which kind they will be directed unto
more in due season. But he needs not the testimony of men, nor of
the whole church together, whose safety and security it is to be
built on that doctrine which he taught. In the meantime, it would
not be unpleasant to consider (but that the perverseness of the
minds of men is rather a real occasion of sorrow) how those who have
the same design do agree in their conceptions about his writings:
for some will have it, that if not all, yet the most of his epistles
were written against the Gnostics, and in the confutation of their
error; others, that the Gnostics took the occasion of their errors
from his writings. So bold will men make with things divine to
satisfy a present interest.
     Secondly, This was not the judgment of the ancient church for
three or four hundred years; for whereas the epistles of Paul were
always esteemed the principal treasure of the church, the great
guide and rule of the Christian faith, this of James was scarce
received as canonical by many, and doubted of by the most, as both
Eusebius and Jerome do testify.
     Thirdly, The design of the apostle James is not at all to explain
the meaning of Paul in his epistles, as is pretended; but only to
vindicate the doctrine of the gospel from the abuse of such as used
their liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, and, turning the grace
of God into lasciviousness, continued in sin, under a pretence that
grace had abounded unto that end.
     Fourthly, The apostle Paul does himself, as we have declared,
vindicate his own doctrine from such exceptions and abuses as men
either made at it, or turned it into. Nor have we any other doctrine
in his epistles than what he preached all the world over, and
whereby he laid the foundation of Christian religion, especially
among the Gentiles.
     These things being premised, I shall briefly evidence that there
is not the least repugnancy or contradiction between what is
declared by these two apostles as unto our justification, with the
causes of it. And this I shall do,--1. By some general
considerations of the nature and tendency of both their discourses.
2. By a particular explication of the context in that of St James.
And under the first head I shall manifest,--(1.) That they have not
the same scope, design, or end, in their discourses; that they do
not consider the same question, nor state the same case, nor
determine on the same inquiry; and therefore, not speaking "ad
idem," unto the same thing, do not contradict one another. (2.) That
as faith is a word of various signification in the Scripture, and
does, as we have proved before, denote that which is of diverse
kinds, they speak not of the same faith, or faith of the same kind;
and therefore there can be no contradiction in what the one ascribes
unto it and the other derogates from it, seeing they speak not of
the same faith. (3.) That they do not speak of justification in the
same sense, nor with respect unto the same ends. (4.) That as unto
works, they both intend the same, namely, the works of obedience
unto the moral law.
     (1.) As to the scope and design of the apostle Paul, the question
which he answers, the case which he proposes and determines upon,
are manifest in all his writings, especially his Epistles unto the
Romans and Galatians. The whole of his purpose is, to declare how a
guilty, convinced sinner comes, through faith in the blood of
Christ, to have all his sins pardoned, to be accepted with God, and
obtain a right unto the heavenly inheritance; that is, be acquitted
and justified in the sight of God. And as the doctrine hereof
belonged eminently unto the gospel, whose revelation and declaration
unto the Gentiles was in a peculiar manner committed unto him; so,
as we have newly observed, he had an especial reason to insist much
upon it from the opposition that was made unto it by the Jews and
judaizing Christians, who ascribed this privilege unto the law, and
our own works of obedience in compliance therewithal. This is the
case he states, this the question he determines, in all his
discourses about justification; and in the explication thereof
declares the nature and causes of it, as also vindicates it from all
exceptions. For whereas men of corrupt minds, and willing to indulge
unto their lusts (as all men naturally desire nothing but what God
has made eternally inconsistent,--namely, that they may live in sin
here, and come to blessedness hereafter), might conclude that if it
were so as he declared, that we are justified freely, through the
grace of God, by the imputation of a righteousness that originally
and inherently is not our own, then was there no more required of
us, no relinquishment of sin, no attendance unto the duties of
righteousness and holiness; he obviates such impious suggestions,
and shows the inconsequence of them on the doctrine that he taught.
But this he does not do in any place by intimating or granting that
our own works of obedience or righteousness are necessary unto, or
have any causal influence into, our justification before God. Had
there been a truth herein, were not a supposition thereof really
inconsistent with the whole of his doctrine, and destructive of it,
he would not have omitted the plea of it, nor ought so to have done,
as we have showed. And to suppose that there was need that any other
should explain and vindicate his doctrine from the same exceptions
which he takes notice of, by such a plea as he himself would not
make use of, but rejects, is foolish and impious.
     The apostle James, on the other hand, had no such scope or design,
or any such occasion for what he wrote in this matter. He does not
inquire, or give intimation of any such inquiry; he does not state
the case how a guilty, convinced sinner, whose mouth is stopped as
unto any plea or excuse for himself, may come to be justified in the
sight of God; that is, receive the pardon of sins and the gift of
righteousness unto life. To resolve this question into our own
works, is to overthrow the whole gospel. But he had in hand a
business quite of another nature; for, as we have said, there were
many in those days who professed the Christian religion, or faith in
the gospel, whereon they presumed that as they were already
justified, so there was nothing more needful unto them that they
might be saved. A desirable estate they thought they had attained,
suited unto all the interest of the flesh, whereby they might live
in sin and neglect of all duty of obedience, and yet be eternally
saved. Some suppose that this pernicious conceit was imbibed by them
from the poisonous opinions that some had then divulged, according
as the apostle Paul foretold that it would come to pass, 2
Tim.4:1-4: for it is generally conceived that Simon Magus and his
followers had by this time infected the minds of many with their
abominations; and amongst them this was one, and not the least
pernicious, that by faith was intended a liberty from the law and
unto sin, or unto them that had it, the taking away of all
difference between good and evil; which was afterward improved by
Basilides, Valentinus, and the rest of the Gnostics. Or, it may be,
it was only the corruption of men's hearts and lives that prompted
them to seek after such a countenance unto sin. And this latter I
judge it was. There were then among professed Christians, such as
the world now swarms withal, who suppose that their faith, or the
religion which they profess, be it what it will, shall save them,
although they live in flagitious wickedness, and are utterly barren
as unto any good works or duties of obedience. Nor is there any
other occasion of what he writes intimated in the epistle; for he
makes no mention of seducers, as John does expressly and frequently,
some while after. Against this sort of persons, or for their
conviction, he designs two things,--First, In general, to prove the
necessity of works unto all that profess the gospel or faith in
Christ thereby. Second, To evidence the vanity and folly of their
pretence unto justification, or that they were justified and should
be saved by that faith that was indeed so far from being fruitful in
good works, as that it was pretended by them only to countenance
themselves in sin. Unto these ends are all his arguings designed,
and no other. He proves effectually that the faith which is wholly
barren and fruitless as unto obedience, and [by] which men pretended
to countenance themselves in their sins, is not that faith whereby
we are justified, and whereby we may be saved, but a dead carcass,
of no use nor benefit; as he declares by the conclusion of his whole
dispute, in the last verse of the chapter. He does not direct any
how they may be justified before God, but convinces some that they
are not justified by trusting unto such a dead faith; and declares
the oddly way whereby any man may really evidence and manifest that
he is so justified indeed. This design of his is so plain as nothing
can be more evident; and they miss the whole scope of the apostle
who observe it not in their expositions of the context. Wherefore,
the principal design of the apostles being so distant, there is no
repugnancy in their assertions, though their words make an
appearance thereof; for they do not speak "ad idem," nor of things
"eodem respectu." James does not once inquire how a guilty,
convinced sinner, cast and condemned by the law, may come to be
justified before God; and Paul speaks to nothing else. Wherefore,
apply the expressions of each of them unto their proper design and
scope,--as we must do, or we depart from all sober rules of
interpretation, and render it impossible to understand either of
them aright,--and there is no disagreement, or appearance of it,
between them.
     (2.) They speak not of the same faith. Wherefore, there can be no
discrepancy in what one ascribes unto faith and the other denies
concerning it, seeing they understand not the same thing thereby;
for they speak not of the same faith. As if one affirms that fire
will burn, and another denies it, there is no contradiction between
them, whilst one intends real fire, and the other only that which is
painted, and both declare themselves accordingly. For we have proved
before that there are two sorts of faith wherewith men are said to
believe the gospel, and make profession thereof; as also that that
which belongs unto the one does not belong unto the other. None, I
suppose, will deny but that by "faith," in the matter of our
justification, St Paul intends that which is "kurios", or properly
so called. The "faith of God's elect," "precious faith," "more
precious than gold," "the faith that purifieth the heart, and
worketh by love," "the faith whereby Christ dwelleth in us, and we
abide in him, whereby we live to God," "a living faith," is that
alone which he intends. For all these things, and other spiritual
effects without number, does he ascribe unto that faith which he
insists on, to be on our part the only means of our justification
before God. But as unto the faith intended by the apostle James, he
assigns nothing of all this unto it; yea, the only argument whereby
he proves that men cannot be saved by that faith which he treats of,
is that nothing of all this is found in it. That which he intends
is, what he calls it, a dead faith, a carcass without breath, the
faith of devils, a wordy faith, that is no more truly what it is
called, than it is true charity to send away naked and hungry
persons without relief, but not without derision. Well may he deny
justification in any sense unto this faith, however boasted of, when
yet it may be justly ascribed unto that faith which Paul speaks of.
     Bellarmine uses several arguments to prove that the faith here
intended by James is justifying faith considered in itself; but they
are all weak to contempt, as being built on this supposition, that
true justifying faith is nothing but a real assent unto the catholic
doctrine or divine revelation: De Justificat. lib.1 cap.15. His
first is, "That James calleth it 'faith' absolutely, whereby always
in the Scripture true faith is intended." Ans. 1. James calls it a
dead faith, the faith of devils, and casts all manner of reproach
upon it; which he would not have done on any duty or grace truly
evangelical. 2. Every faith that is true as unto the reality of
assent which is given by it unto the truth, is neither living,
justifying, nor saving; as has been proved. 3. They are said to have
faith absolutely, or absolutely to believe, who never had that faith
which is true and saving, John 2:23; Acts 8:13. Secondly, He urges,
"That in the same place and chapter he treats of the faith of
Abraham, and affirms that it wrought with his works, chap.2:22,23;
but this a vain shadow of faith does not do: it was therefore true
faith, and that which is most properly called so, that the apostle
intends." Ans. This pretence is indeed ridiculous; for the apostle
does not give the faith of Abraham as an instance of that faith
which he had treated with so much severity, but of that which is
directly contrary unto it, and whereby he designed to prove that the
other faith which he had reflected on was of no use nor advantage
unto them that had it; for this faith of Abraham produced good
works, which the other was wholly without. Thirdly, He urges verse
24, "'Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by
faith only;' for the faith that James speaks of justifies with
works, but a false faith, the shadow of a faith, does not so: it is
therefore true, saving faith whereof the apostle speaks." Ans. He is
utterly mistaken: for the apostle does not ascribe justification
partly to works, and partly to faith; but he ascribes justification,
in the sense by him intended, wholly to works, in opposition to that
faith concerning which he treats. For there is a plain antithesis in
the words between works and faith as unto justification, in the
sense by him intended. A dead faith, a faith without works, the
faith of devils, is excluded from having any influence into
justification. Fourthly, He adds, "That the apostle compares this
faith without works unto a rich man that gives nothing unto the
poor, verse 16; and a body without a spirit, verse 26: wherefore, as
that knowledge whereby a rich man knows the wants of the poor is
true and real, and a dead body is a body; so is faith without works
true faith also, and as such is considered by St James." Ans. These
things do evidently destroy what they are produced in the confirma
tion of, only the cardinal helps them out with a little sophistry;
for whereas the apostle compares this faith unto the charity of a
man that gives nothing to the poor, he suggests in the room thereof
his knowledge of their poverty. And his knowledge may be true, and
the more true and certain it is, the more false and feigned is the
charity which he pretends in these words, "Go, and be fed and
clothed." Such is the faith the apostle speaks of. And although a
dead body is a true body,--that is, as unto the matter or substance
of it, a carcass,--yet is it not an essential part of a living man.
A carcass is not of the same nature or kind as is the body of a
living man. And we assert no other difference between the faith
spoken of by the apostle and that which is justifying, than what is
between a dead, breathless carcass, and a living animated body,
prepared and fitted for all vital acts. Wherefore, it is evident
beyond all contradiction, if we have not a mind to be contentious,
that what the apostle James here derogates from faith as unto our
justification, it respects only a dead, barren, lifeless faith, such
as is usually pretended by ungodly men to countenance themselves in
their sins. And herein the faith asserted by Paul has no concern.
The consideration of the present condition of the profession of
faith in the world, will direct us unto the best exposition of this
     (3.) They speak not of justification in the same sense nor unto
the same end; it is of our absolute justification before God,--the
justification of our persons, our acceptance with him, and the grant
of a right unto the heavenly inheritance,--that the apostle Paul
does treat, and thereof alone. This he declares in all the causes of
it; all that on the part of God, or on our part, concurs thereunto.
The evidence, the knowledge, the sense, the fruit, the manifestation
of it in our own consciences, in the church, unto others that
profess the faith, he treats not of; but speaks of them separately
as they occur on other occasions. The justification he treats of is
but one, and at once accomplished before God, changing the relative
state of the person justified; and is capable of being evidenced
various ways, unto the glory of God and the consolation of them that
truly believe. Hereof the apostle James does not treat at all; for
his whole inquiry is after the nature of that faith whereby we are
justified, and the only way whereby it may be evidenced to be of the
right kind, such as a man may safely trust unto. Wherefore, he
treats of justification only as to the evidence and manifestation of
it; nor had he any occasion to do otherwise. And this is apparent
from both the instances whereby he confirms his purpose. The first

(continued in part 36...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-35.txt