THE Condition of Man after the
fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by
his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God:
Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God,
without the grace of God by Christ preventing us [going before us], that we
may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
WE are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ
by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings:
Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only is a most wholesome Doctrine,
and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of
ALBEIT that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after
Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's
Judgement; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do
spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a
lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.
WORKS done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his Spirit,
are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus
Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the
School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they
are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not
but they have the nature of sin.
VOLUNTARY Works besides, over and above, God's Commandments, which they call
Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for
by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as
they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden
duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that
are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.