« AnteriorContinuar »
men brought with them the doctrines relative to the atonement, that they had learned in the school of Luther, and they taught them to numerous youth of the most powerful families in the kingdom, who resorted to Oxford. This measure had a happy effect in a two told way, by communi. cating, through the medium of the youth, a knowledge of the way of salvation into the first families in England, and by securing the education of young men, to furnish the church with a learned ministry. All other events, even the translation of the Bible and its circulation in the English language, were little more than preparatory to this measure, which produced a most extensive and powerful effect. With all the exertion of the primate and the efforts of the learned protestants, whom he had brought over from the continent to aid him, the progress of truth was still slow. The clergy were unwilling and unable to instruct the people, who were sunk into the lowest state of igno
Soon after the death of Henry VIII., John Knox, whose fame had spread extensively in England, being released from the French gallies, in which he had been confined, visited London, where he was received with every inark of respect and friendship by the archbishop, to whom as well as to the privy council, his late sufferings had greatly re. commended him. He preached, with his usual zeal, and to vast audiences, the doctrines in which he had been in. structed from the word of God, both in his native country and at Geneva. He was appointed to preach at Berwick, on the borders between the two kingdoms, by which he had it in his power to be instrumental in leading many people of both ngdoms, from the Catholic church, and instructing them in the knowledge of that salvation, which is by Christ Jesus.
As soon as Edward ascended the throne, he used his utmost exertions to promote the protestant cause,
of which he was a warm friend, and pious professor. He appointed six protestant chaplains, two of whom were to preach tó himself and his court, while the other four were to itinerato
through the kingdom and supply the place of those lazy and ignorant bishops, who neglected their flocks. One of those was Knox, whose instrumentality in advancing the cause of truth during his residence in England was very great. The thirty-nine articles, and the liturgy generally, a great part of which was taken from the Augsburgh Confession and Liturgy, and had been compiled by Cranmer, was adopted, and by authority fully introduced into the church during the short reign of Edward. Knox was consulted on this occasion. Some of those who were active in bringing the liturgy into use, were for retaining in it the doctrine of the corporeal presence in the Eucharistic bread and wine; but, through the influence of Knox, it was expunged, and also the practice of kneeling, at the reception of the elements. It is now time that from the standards of the church of England, we should lay before the reader a few selections, relative to the subject of atonement; and first of original sin, the fountain whence flow all the evils which render a satisfaction necessary. The Homily on the misery of man has these words:" In ourselves (as of ourselves) we find nothing whereby we may be delivered from the miserable captivity into which we are cast through the envy of the devil; by breaking God's commandment in our first parent Adam.” The same Homily asserts that we cannot deliver ourselves from the consequences of the fall by any power of our own. “We cannot think a good thought of ourselves, much less can we say well, or do well of ourselves.” Of this original guilt it says again:-“Wherefore he,” (i. e. David) " says, Mark and behold I was conceived in sins; he saith not sin, but in the plural number, sins; forasmuch as out of one as a fountain spring all the rest." The Homily on Christ's nativity, is clear and full to the same point. “ As before he,” (Adam) was most beautiful and precious, so now he was most wretched and vile in the sight of the Lord his Maker. Instead of the image of God, he was now become the image of the devil; instead of the citizen of heaven, he was now become the bond-slave of hell, having in himself no one part of his former purity and
eleanness, but being altogether spotted and defiled, insomuch that he now seemed to be nothing else but a lump of sin, and therefore by the just judgment of God condemned to everlasting death."
The ninth article is entitled, “Of original sin,” which it thus defines; “ Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk) but it is the fault of the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit.” Lest it should be thought that by all these expressions, no more is intended than the derivation of corruption from Adam fallen, while we are not accountable for his violation of the covenant, the Homilies assert " that we are by nature children of wrath, but we are not able to make ourselves inheritors of God's glory.” Again; " We are all miserable persons, damnable persons, justly driven out of Paradise, justly excluded from heaven, justly condemned to hell.” As if the writers of the standards of the English church found it difficult to express, in the Eng. lish language the greatness of this sin, they heap epithet upon epithet, so as to put their meaning beyond all doubt. Hence the Homily on the nativity of Christ— Before Christ's coming into the world, all men universally in Adam, were nothing else but a crooked generation, rotten and corrupt tares, stpny ground, full of brambles, and briars, lost sheep, prodigal sons, naughty and unprofitable servants, unrighteous stewards, workers of iniquity, the brood of adders, blind guides, sitting in darkness, and the shadow of death; to be short nothing else, but children of perdition, and inheritors of hell." All this is not merely of themselves or by actual transgression, but in Adam, that is, if language have any meaning, by the guilt of Adam's sin in breaking the covenant of works, being imputed to them. Listen again to the tremendous language of the Homilies, which, strange to tell, many swear to maintain, and yet are Arminians, who deny the doctrine of ori
ginal sin.“ Neither he" (Adam)“ nor any of his, had any right, or interest at all in the kingdom of heaven, but were become plain reprobates, and cast-aways, being perpetually damned to the everlasting pains of hell fire.” Than all this, nothing could possibly be more decisive. It is perfectly the doctrine of the Genevan school.
That man cannot, in his own person, make satisfaction to the divine justice, is taught with the same precision. The homily on the misery of mankind, instructs the worshipper, " that his own works are imperfect," and then, it adds, "we shall not stand foolishly and arrogantly in our own conceits, nor challenge any part of justification by our merits or works.” The homily on salvation says, “ Justification is not the office of man, but of God, for man cannot make himself righteous by his own works, veither in part por in whole; for, that were the greatest arrogancy and presumption of man, that antichrist could set up against God, to affirm that man might by his own works, take
purge sins, and thus justify himself." Quotations to the same ef. fect might be greatly multiplied, but what we have made are amply sufficient to prove, that those who composed the homilies, if they understood English, intended to say that unless help for fallen man was laid upon some one more mighty than man himself, there was nothing for him but everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power. Original sin as taught in the Calvinistic school, the total depravity and utter inability of man to help himself are as clearly and explicitly taught here as in any of the works of Calvin, or in the confessions of any of the Calvinistic churches.
As to the manner in which we are justified, the homily on salvation asserts, that “ we be justified by faith only," which is more fully explained in the following words-“We put our faith in Christ that we be justified by him only, that we be justified by God's free mercy, and the merits of our Saviour Christ only, and by no virtue or good works of our own that are io us, or that we can be able to have or to do for to deserve the same; Christ himself only being the meri
torious cause thereof." What is this but a total exclusion of our own good works, and a full and explicit assertion of the merits of Jesus as the only ground of our justification before God? Shall the church of England continue to decry Calvin, and the Genevan school, while her own homilies, which all her own clergy and the officers of the British government must swear to support, teach the same doctrines that were taught in that celebrated school?
The eleventh article is also explicit on the same point: u We are accounted righteous before God only for the me. rit of our Lord 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 on justification.” But the homilies do not stop here; they con. tain, in clear and precise terms, the doctrine of imputation. The view which the scriptures present of this subject is, that Jesus Christ from eternity, in the covenant of grace undertook as the representative of his spiritual seed, to pay the debt which they should, after their fall in Adam, owe to the divine justice, by suffering in their room, what they deserved, and fulfilling the law which they would be unable to do in their own persons, and thus pay the price of redemption for them, as their legal representative. Hence when the believer, by faith accepts of this righteousness offered in the gospel, it becomes his own, and because it is his own, as much as if he had wrought it out for himself, it is imputed to him for his justification. This grand and consolatory doctrine lies at the very foundation of all our hopes of acceptance with God and a blessed immortality. It is so exhibited in the homilies of the English established church. Hear the homily on the salvation of mankind: “ The price of our redemption, is by the offering of his” (Christ's) “ body and the shedding of his blood, with fulálling of the law perfectly and thoroughly.” Aod again it adds, " the justice of God, consisteth in paying our ransom and fulfilling the law.” In the same homily it is farther expressed in these words:
-He" (God) “provided. a ransom for us, that was