But the simplicity and clearness of the doctrine of faith, could not secure it, even in the apostolic times^ from being perverted to countenance the most fatal error concerning its nature and effi- cacy ; while it was mistaken to be alone sufficient to make man acceptable [to his Maker ; and, with- out good works, to entitle him to the rewards of the Gospel-covenant. This dangerous extravagance, which has continued, more or less, to infect all ages of the Christian Church, spread immediately so swift and wide, upon the wings of that divine truth, ttiat a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law, that the apostolic writers found it necessary to give it a frequent and formal confu- tation. And on this account, St. Peter's first pre- cept enjoins us to add or build virtue upon faith. Add to your faith, virtue. God having before revealed the whole doctrine of morality by the religion of nature, (and none of God's dispensa- tions contradicting another,) it was enough for the first teachers of Christianity, when they preached 396 Virtue, to refer their followers for particulars, to what 7iafural religion taught concerning" it. Scripture, then, constantly referring to the law of nature, — what can result from the study of Scripture, by one ignorant of that law, but doubt and uncertainfi/y if modest; and if vain and pre- suming, and, at the same time, (which has too often happened,) a teacher of others by profession, — what but mistakes and errors ; the fatal errors of superstition and fanaticism ?