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righteousness rests wholly on God's free mercy or grace, through the righteousness and atonement of Christ, received and made their’s by faith ; and not on any of their own works. No faith can at the first justify men, which (not failing or degenerating,) will not preserve them in a justified state.-All that is spoken of works in respect of justification, we consider as evidential; and as distinguishing between a living and justifying faith, and that which is dead and worthless. So that none who do not shew their faith by their holy works have any ground to consider themselves as justified by faith: they have no right to expect to be thus regarded either by the church or the world; nor will God regard them as justified persons at the day of judgment. In proportion as the holy fruits are conspicuous and abundant, is the evidence of our justification ; and time, opportunities, and various circumstances should be taken into the account, in forming our estimate. A living and fruitful faith however alone proves that we
are made the righteousness of God in Christ.” But good works, in our view, answer many and most important purposes, and are absolutely necessary to every one, as “ accompanying salva“ tion;” besides evidencing a man's faith to be justifying, and his assured hope of glory warranted by scripture.—This is the outline of our system : and, I apprehend, every proposition, which I have stated in this book, will fall in with this general outline; and that the whole is simple and consistent, without assuming that it is true and scriptural.
But let his Lordship, if he be able, or let any of those who coincide in his views, or think they do; form all the materials of the chapter on justification, in the Refutation, into one simple and consistent scheme. I shall greatly admire the talents of that man who can even give plausibility to such an attempt: for I am fully persuaded, that the materials are too heterogeneous and discordant to be ever worked up, in reality, into such a regular compendious whole, which may shew the reader, perspicuously and clearly, what he ought to believe, and what he ought not to believe, in this grand point, which the Reformers considered as the articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiæ.