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Good Works.

Good Works.

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Published by glennpease


"Ye see, then, that by works a man is justified, and not by
faith only." — James 1:2J.


"Ye see, then, that by works a man is justified, and not by
faith only." — James 1:2J.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 15, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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GOOD WORKS.By DAVID SWIG"Ye see, then, that by works a man is justified, and not byfaith only." — James 1:2J.WH0EVER should undertake to find any one' ' doctrine in which all the essentials of salva-tion should be contained, would have before him atask difficult indeed. The wants of the soul are manyand varied. The variety and richness which prevail innature, with its seasons, with its myriad species of plants and animals, with its waters that reveal differentcolors, and with its stars which shine in diflFerentlights, are an emblem of what may be expected inthe spirit world ; and hence in any plan of salvationthat may spring up in the spiritual confines, thereshould be expected some such variety of action andof doctrine as would harmonize with a varied souland a varied world. There was once a sect — and theyhave not all gone from earth yet — who were calledSolifidians, because they expected salvation because106 QOOD WORKS.they believed Christ would bestow, or had bestowed,upon them that great boon. This sect had condensedthe whole Bible into a single sentence, and all conductinto a mental operation called belief, and hence theirchief virtue must have been that of placid expectation.In hours of gratitude over the office of a Mediator,there often seems nothing in the world but Him andHis cross. Comparatively, all else fades; but thereverie of the Christian is soon broken by the words,
"Why stand ye here idle?" "Blessed are the pure inheart," and " Ye see that by works a man is justified,and not by faith only ; " and in a moment he findshimself in the midst of a varied world, rich and beau-tiful as the tropics — a world in which faith in Christis of vast moment, but does not lay waste the wholecontinent. The question how the mediatorial office of Christ may do all, if man must also do good works, is just such a question as is sprung upon us by thehuman will. How can God accomplish His will, andat the same time permit man to possess an independ-ent, self-determining volition ? I know of no methodby which we can make works neces^ry or essentialin a kingdom of perfect redemption or perfect forgive-ness ; but this difficulty we pass by, and, as in the caseof the will, would cast ourselves upon the evidentfacts of Christianity and of common life; and theGOOD WORKS. 107facts are that the Bible, from first to last, insists uponpersonal righteousness. Common life, or society, teachesus also that a salvation that did not insist upon virtuewould be the destruction of society in all its temporalinterests. If heaven could be sustained and peopledby faith without good works, earth at least could not;it would be compelled to resort to moral lives.The doctrine of salvation by faith must therefore beso stated and held as to leave society its friend, trustingfaith rather than fearing it, and must be so stated andheld as to leave the other doctrines of Christianity somereason of existence. In their joy over the newly-discovered idea of salvation by the mediation of Christ,some of the divines around Luther, with Luther himself,declared that no amount of sin would imperil the soul
that should possess this marvelous faith. Thus at onestroke the doctrines of regeneration, and repentance,and sanctification, and love to man are cut down ascumberers of the ground. The Bible is reduced to onesentence ; its grateful music is silenced into one note, tobe sounded evermore upon a single string. This cannotbe wondered at, however, for the tendency of zealousminds is always to narrow the universe, and make itall flow in the channel of their almost accidental thoughtor taste. There are always those with whom some onedoctrine has eclipsed all other truths of the Bible. The108 GOOD WORKS.Second Adventists possess souls full of little except theimmediate coming of the Lord. Hundreds of timeshave they stood in white robes awaiting for His comingin the clouds in great glory. Thus all through thehistory of religion the limitations of the individual, theatomic quality of the soul, has always revealed itself inits selecting an atom only of God's vast truth. Inreligion we all verify the legend of Achilles, that, whenan infant, ha\'ing been placed in a room full of objects,he picked out a sword. Thus, his soul being only anatom, it was able to appreciate only an atom of thevaried world. He passed by, as though they did notexist, the implements of art or industry, the emblemsof music, poetry, eloquence, perhaps the ivory images of the gods, and drew forth the emblem of death andinjustice. In that far-off age one of the wise mendeclared philosophy to be a study of death, thus tellingus, not the whole truth, but that the clouds andsolemnity of the grave had so impressed this one mindthat to him there was nothing worthy of profoundlogic except the last hour of human life. Thus we allgo down to the great truths of God as a child would

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