Of Good Works.
1. Good Works are only such as God hath (a)
commanded in his Holy word; and not such as without the warrant thereof,
are devised by men, out of blind zeal, (b)
or upon any pretence of good intentions.
a Mic. 6.8. Heb. 13 21.
2. These good works, done in obedience to Gods
commandments, are the fruits, and evidences (c)
of a true, and lively faith; and by them Believers manifest their (d)
thankfullness, strengthen their (e)
assurance, edifie their (f) brethren,
adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries
and glorifie (g) God whose workmanship
they are, created in Christ Jesus (h)
thereunto, that having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end
(i) eternal life.
c Jam. 2.18.22.
3. Their ability to do good works, is not at all
of themselves; but wholly from the Spirit (k)
of Christ; and that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they
have already received, there is necessary an (l)
actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will,
and to do, of his good pleasure; yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent,
as if they were not bound to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion
of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in (m)
stirring up the Grace of God that is in them.
k Joh. 15.4.6.
4. They who in their obedience attain to the greatest
height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to superrogate,
and to do more then God requires, as that (n)
they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.
n Job 9.2 3. Gal. 5.17. Luk. 17.10.
5. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of Sin
or Eternal Life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion
that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that
is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfie
for the debt of our (o) former sins;
but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable
servants; and because as they are good they proceed from his (p)
Spirit, and as they are wrought by us they are defiled (q)
and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they cannot endure
the severity of Gods judgement.
o Rom. 3.20. Eph. 2.8,9. Rom. 4.6.
6. Yet notwithstanding the persons of Believers
being accepted through Christ their good works also are accepted in (r)
him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreprovable
in Gods sight; but that he looking upon them in his Son is pleased to accept
and reward that which is (s) sincere
although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
r Eph. 1.6. 1 Pet. 2.5.
7. Works done by unregenerate men although for
the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use,
both to themselves and (t) others;
yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by (u)
faith, nor are done in a right manner according to the (w)
word, nor to a right end the (x)
glory of God; they are therefore sinful and cannot please God; nor make
a man meet to receive grace from (y)
God; and yet their neglect of them is more sinful and (z)
displeasing to God.
t 2 King. 10.30. 1 King. 21.27,29