« AnteriorContinuar »
sition. ' If his Lordship thought that the difference between Justification by Grace through Faith, and Justification by Faith as the complex of Christianity; or in other words, the difference between Justification only by Faith, and Justification partly by Faith and partly by Works, Was a dispute too abstracted and metaphysical; with all his excellencies, we cannot but think him to have fallen into a dangerous error. He further observes, that“ By faith only is not to be meant, faith as it is separated from the other Evangelical graces and virtues, but faith as it is opposite to the rites of the Ceremonial Law." That Faith is a principle of holiness, is a doctrine controverted by none but Sandimanians and Antinomians, and consequently is always followed by the other Evangelical graces and virtues; but these being the consequents, not the antecedents of justifying faith, according to the Twelfth Article, cannot possibly have any share in our Justification. To say that they make a part of our Justification, is the same thing as to affirm, that the fruits which a tree produces are a part of the tree, and were planted with it. As the fruits of Justification cannot, in the nature of things, make a part of it; so Justification by the merits of Christ received by faith, is utterly inconsistent with the supposition that we are in'any part justified by our own virtues.
Bishop Burnet; as we have seen before, is sometiinės obliged, by the consciousness of its weakness, to abandon his system, and to take refuge in the true doctrine of the Gospel. “This (the article of Justification by Faithi only, and not for our works or deservings) is a doctrine full of comfort. For if we did believe that our Justification was founded upon our inherent justice or sanctification, as the consideration on which we receive it, we shoula bave just cause of fear and dejection ; 'since we could not reasonably promise ourselves so great a blessing upon so poor a consideration."—Having observed that we are justified by faith, as it is opposite to the rites of the Mosaical Law, the Bishop proceeds, " For that was the great question that gave occasion to St. Paul's writing so fully upon this head; since many Judaizing Christians, as they acknowledged Christ to be the true Messiah, so they thonght that the Law of Moses was still to retain its force: in opposition to whom St. Paul says, that we are justified by Faith without the works of the Law. It is plain that he means the Mosaical dispensation ; for he bad divided all mankind into those who were in the Laio, and those who were without the Law; that is, onto Jews and Gentiles. Nor has St. Paul any occasion to treat of other matter, in those epistles, or to enter into nice abstractions, which became not one who was to instruct the world in order to their salvation. Those me. taphysical notions are not easily apprehended by plain men, not accustomed to such subtilties: and are of very little value when they are more critically distinguished.” Robert Barclay, in his Apology for the Quakers, (Prop. vii.) in attempting to prove that we are justified by our sanctification and good works; or in other words, that Justification and Sanctification are the same thing, explains the phrase "without the deeds of the law," and similar expressions of the Apostle, precisely in the same way that the Bishop has done.
As the point the Apologist had to prove was the identity of the two words Justification and Sanctification, it was necessary for him to disentangle himself from the expressions which seemed to exclude works from the office of justifying, for these were a dead weight upon his
But the Bishop, who observes that “ The Scrip. ture speaks of Sanctification as a distinct thing from, and subsequent to, Justification," one would have thought, had no occasion for such subterfuges. The real design howeverwas to make out his Justification by Faith as the complex of Christianity, or, in plain language, by Faith and Works together. The Apologist has at least a claim to consistency; but the Bishop's explanation is contradictory, and absolutely felo de se. If Sanctification he subsequent to Justification, which he acknowledges (and even the Apologist is forced at least to confess it) to be the doctrine of Scripture, it is impossible that it can make either a part, or a condition of it, as we are first justified and then sanctified. Were any man to affirm that the acts of loyalty and patriotism, which had afterwards been performed by a malefactor, who had received his Majesty's free pardon, were the cause and condition of his receiving it, he would fall into an absurdity of precisely the same kind, Besides, the thirteenth Article declares that “ Works done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of his Spirit are not pleasånt 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." No Clergyman of the Church of England will be hardy enough to venture the assertion, that we are justified by our sins. The distresses to which some Divines have reduced themselves by endeavouring to reconcile Justification by works to the eleventh and thirteenth Articles of the Church, were it not for the awful seriousness of the subject, would appear almost VOL. II.
equally comical and ridiculous as the bangs and bruises of Don Quixote and his Squire.
No man can be justified by that which he has not. If Justification be by Faith, he who is without Faith cannot be justified. If it be by good works, he who has not good works cannot be justified. It is the doctrine of the Church of England, that no man has good works antecedent to his Justification. It is therefore the doctrine of the Church of England that we are justified by Faith, and not by works. The reasoning is equally conclusive against Justification by Faith and works together. That which does not exist before Justification can no more make a part, than it can the whole of Justification. This subject is well illustrated by Dr. Marsh, in his “ Reply to Dr. Milner's Strictures." “Let it be granted to the Calvinists that according to the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth Articles, the performance of good works is neither a cause, nor a condition, of Justification." He accordingly acknowledges that, in the interpretation of the Eleventh Article, “the Calvinists were right, and the Anti-Calvinists were wrong, and allows that in it works are mentioned in contradistinction to Faith.”
“ I admitted,” says he, “ the weakness of the various attempts, which have been made to introduce voorks into the interpretation of that Article. I added, if, where the terms are so precise, we plead for a latitude of interpretation, there is no Confession of Faith, to which our Articles may not be rendered subservient. But, if the eleventh Article were less precise, the twelfth and thirteenth Articles would remove the question beyond the possibility of doubt. The ope declares that
works done before Justification have the nature of sin; whence it follows, that Justification must take place, be
fore a good work is possible. The other accordingly asserts that good works follow after Justification. But causes and conditions, qualify them how you will, must precede the effect to be produced. I further admitted the weakness of the attempt to introduce good works, by making them qualifications in the party to be justified. I declared that that which no one can possess till he is justified, can never be a qualification in the person to be justified.”—p. 110.
Dr. Marsh has represented the doctrine of Justification by Faith, or by works, as a point at issue between Calvin. ists and Anti-Calvinists. This is doing an honour to the Calvinists to which they have no right; and an injury to the Arminians, for which they have given no occasion. Whoever has read the Works of Arminius knows, that that celebrated Divine declared his readiness to subscribe to the doctrine taught by Calvin, on the subject of Justification. Many most respectable Divines of the Church, who have not believed in the doctrine of Absolute Election, have given their decided testimony to the doctrine of Justification by Faith. We need only mention Bishops Sherlock, Horne, Horsely, &c. &c. Two very respectable private Clergymen, well known in the liter. ary world, Mr. Faber and Mr. Gisborne, have written in support of this doctrine of the Reformation. to mention many other respectable names, both among the Bishops and Clergy. The Bishop of Lincoln, indeed, has, in his Refutation of Calvinism, treated this as a peculiarity of that system, and attacked this doctrine which Dr. Marsh has so solidly and fully established. « Neither in our Articles, nor in our Liturgy, is it said, that Faith without good works will justify.”—“Let it be remarked, that whenever St. Paul, in speaking of Justification, uses
It were easy