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of God, and be prepared to leave and suffer all things. Those holy ones of Cain's progeny, think their good works are the narrow gate; and are not, therefore, extenuated or made less, whereby they might enter.
When we begin to preach of faith, to those that believe altogether in works, they laugh and hiss at us, and say,
dost thou count us as Turks and Heathens, whom it behooves now first to learn faith ? is there such a company of priests, monks, and nuns, and is not faith known? who knoweth not what he ought to believe ? even sinners know that. Being after this sort animated and stirred up, they think themselves abundantly endued with faith, and that the rest is now to be finished and made perfect by works. They make so small and slender account of faith, because they are ignorant what faith is, and that it alone doth justify. They call it faith, believing those things which they have heard of Christ : this kind of faith the devils also have, and yet they are not justified.. But this ought rather to be called an opinion of men. To believe those things to be true which are preached of Christ, is not sufficient to constitute thee a christian, but thou must not doubt that thou art of the number of them unto whom all the benefits of Christ are given and exhibited; which he that believes must plainly confess, that he is holy, godly, righteous, the son of God, and certain of salvation; and that by no merit of his own, but by the mere mercy of God poured forth upon him for Christ's sake : which he believes to be so rich and plentiful, as indeed it is, that although he be as it were drowned in sin, he is notwithstanding made holy, and become the son of God.
Wherefore take heed that thou nothing doubt, that thou art the son of God, and therefore made righteous by his grace; let all fear and care be done away. However thou must fear and tremble that
thou mayest persevere in this way unto the end ; but thou must not do this as though it consisted in thy own strength, for righteousness and salvation are of grace, whereunto only thou must trust. But when thou knowest that it is of grace alone, and that thy faith also is the gift of God, thou shalt have cause to fear, lest some temptation violently move thee from this faith.
Every one by faith is certain of this salvation : but we ought to have care and fear that we stand and persevere, trusting in the Lord, and not in our own strength. When those of the race of Cain hear faith treated of in this manner, they marvel at our madness as it seems to them. God turn us from this way, say they ; that we should affirm ourselves holy and godly, far be this arrogance and rashness from us : we are miserable sinners, we should be mad, if we should arrogate holiness to ourselves. Thus they mock at true faith, and count such doctrine as this execrable errour ; and thus try to extinguish the gospel. These are they that deny the faith of Christ, and persecute it throughout the whole world; of whom Paul speaks, 1 Tim. iv. “In the latter times many shall depart from the faith,” &c. for we see by these means that true faith lies every where oppressed; it is not preached, but commonly disallowed and condemned.
The pope, bishops, colleges, monasteries, and universities, have more than five hundred years persecuted it with one mind and consent most obstinately; which has been the means of driving many to hell. If any object against the admiration, or rather the mad senselessness of these men, if we count ourselves even holy, trusting the goodness of God to justify us, or as David prayed, “Preserve thou me, O Lord, for I am holy,” Ps. 86. or as Paul saith, “ The spirit of God beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God;" they an
swer, that the prophet and apostle would not teach us in these words, or give us an example which we should follow, but that they being particularly and specially enlightened, received such revelation of themselves. In this way they misrepresent the scripture, which affirms that they are holy, saying, that such doctrine is not written for us, but that it is rather peculiar miracles, which do not belong to all. This forged imagination we account of, as having come from their sickly brain. Again, they believe that they shall be made righteous and holy by their own works, and that because of them God will give them salvation and eternal blessedness.
In the opinion of these men it is a christian duty to think that we shall be righteous and saved because of our works; but to believe that these things are given by the grace of God, they condemn as heretical; attributing that to their own works, which they do not attribute to the grace of God. They that are endued with true faith, and rest upon the grace of the Lord, rejoice with holy joy, and apply themselves with pleasure to good works, not such as those of Cain's progeny do, as feigned prayers, fasting, base and filthy apparel, and such like trifles, but to true and good works whereby their neighbours are profited.
Perhaps some godly man may think, if the matter be so, and our works do not save us, to what end are so many precepts given us, and why doth God require that they be obeyed ? The present text of the apostle will give a solution of this question, and upon this occasion we will give an exposition thereof The Galatians being taught of Paul the faith of Christ, but afterwards seduced by false apostles, thought that our salvation must be finished and made perfect by the works of the law; and that faith alone doth not suffice. These Paul calls back again from works unto faith with great diligence; plainly pro
ving that the works of the law which
before faith, make us only servants, and are of no importance toward godliness and salvation; but that faith makes us the sons of God, and from thence good works without constraint forthwith plentifully flow.
But here we must observe the words of the apostle ; he calls him a servant that is occupied in works without faith, of which we have already treated at large : but he calls him a son which is righteous by faith alone. The reason is this, although the servant apply himself to good works, yet he does it not with the same mind as doth the son; that is, with a mind free, willing, and certain that the inheritance and all the good things of the Father are his; but does it as he that is hired in another man's house, who hopes not that the inheritance shall come to him. The works indeed of the son and the servant are alike ; and almost the same in outward appearance; but their minds differ exceedingly: as Christ saith; “ The servant abideth not in the house forever, but the son abideth ever.” John viñ.
Those of Cain's progeny want the faith of sons, which they confess themselves; for they think it most absurd, and wicked arrogancy, to affirm themselves to be the sons of God, and holy; therefore as they believe, even so are they counted before God; they neither become holy or the sons of God, nevertheless they are exercised with the works of the law, wherefore they are and remain servants forever. They receive no reward except temporal things ; such as quietness of life, abundance of goods, dignity, honour, &c. which we see to be common among the followers of popish religion. But this is their reward, for they are seryants, and not sons ; wherefore in death they shall be separated from all good things, neither shall any portion of the eternal inheritance be theirs who in this life would believe nothing thereof. We perceive, therefore, that ser
vants and sons are not unlike in works, but in mind and faith they have no resemblance.
The apostle endeavours here to prove that the law with all the works thereof makes us but mere servants, if we have not faith in Christ; for this alone makes us sons of God. It is the word of grace followed by the Holy Ghost, as it is showed in many places, especially in Acts x. where we read of the Holy Ghost falling on Cornelius and his family, while hearing the preaching of Peter. Paul teaches, Rom. iii. 7. that no man is justified before God by the works of the law; for sin only cometh by the law. He that trusts in works, condemns faith as the most pernicious arrogancy and errour of all others. Here thou seest plainly that such a man is not righteous, being destitute of that faith and belief which is necessary to make him acceptable before God and his Son; yea, he is an enemy to this faith, and therefore to righteousness also. Thus it is easy to understand that which Paul saith, that no man is justified before God by the works of the law.
The worker must be justified before God, before he can work any good thing. Men judge the worker by the works ; God judges the works by the worker. The first precept requires us to acknowledge and worship onę God, that is, to trust in him alone, which is the true faith whereby we become the song of God. Thou canst not be delivered from the evil of infidelity by thy own power, nor by the power of the law; wherefore all thy works which thou doth to satisfy the law, can be nothing but works of the law; of far less importance than to be able to justify thee before God; who counteth them righteous only, which truly believe in him ; for they that acknowledge him the true God, are his sons, and do truly fulál the law. If thou shouldst even kill thyself by working, thy heart cannot obtain this faith thereby, for thy works are even a hinderance to it, and cause thee to persecute it.