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extensive, furnish us with abundant evidence, not of their opinions alone, but of those of much earlier writers, as to the subject before us.
“ After this wise (say they) to be justified only by this có true and lively faith in Christ, speak all the old and “ ancient authors, both Greeks and Latins; of whom “ we will specially rehearse three, Hilary, Basil, and “ Ambrose. St. Hilary saith these words plainly “ in the ninth canon upon Matthew; · Faith only “ justifieth.' And St. Basil, a Greek author, writeth
thus: “This is a perfect and whole rejoicing in God, “ when a man advanceth not himself for his own « righteousness, but acknowledgeth himself to lack “ true justice and righteousness, and to be justified by “ the only faith in Christ.'
" These be the very words of St. Basil; and St. " Ambrose, a Latin author, hath these words : « This “ is the ordinance of God, that they which believe in « Christ shall be saved without works, by faith only, “ freely receiving the remission of their sins.' Con6 sider diligently these words, without works by faith « only freely we receive the remission of our sins.' “ What can be spoken more plainly than to say, that “ freely without works, by faith only we obtain remis“ sion of our sins ? These, and other like sentences, " that we be justified by faith only, freely, and without 66 works, we read oft-times in the best and most ancient “ writers: as, beside Hilary, Basil, and Ambrose, “ before rehearsed, we read the same in Origen, St. “ Chrysostom, St. Cyprian, St. Augustine, Prosper, " Oecumenius, Proclus, Bernardus, Anselm, and
“ many other authors, Greek and Latin. Neverthe“ less, this sentence, that we be justified by faith only, “ is not so meant of them that the same justifying :“ faith is alone in man, without true repentance, hope, 6 charity, dread, and the fear of God, at any time “ and season. Nor when they say that we should be “ justified freely, do they mean that we should or “ might afterwards be idle, and that nothing should 5. be required on our parts afterward: neither do they “ mean so to be justified without good works, that we “should do no good works at all, like as shall be more “ expressed at large hereafter. But this saying, that “ we be justified by faith only, freely, and without “ works, is spoken to take away clearly all merit of
our works, as being unable to deserve our justifica“ tion at God's hands, and thereby most plainly to “ express the weakness of man and the goodness of “ God; the great infirmity of ourselves, and the “ might and power of God; the imperfection of our os own works, and the most abundant grace of our “ Saviour Christ ; and therefore wholly to ascribe the “ merit and deserving of our justification unto Christ 66 only, and his most precious blood-shedding. This “ faith the holy Scripture teacheth us; this doctrine “ all ancient authors of Christ's church do approve; “ this doctrine advanceth and setteth forth the true “ glory of Christ, and beateth down the vain-glory of “ man ; this, whosoever denieth, is not to be accounted “ for a Christian man, nor for a setter forth of “ Christ's glory ; but for an adversary to Christ and “ his Gospel, and for a setter forth of men's vain-glory
“ It hath been manifestly declared unto you, that « no man can fulfil the law of God; and therefore by “ the law all men are condemned: whereupon it fol“ loweth necessarily, that some other things should be “ required for our salvation than the law; and that is, “ a true and lively faith in Christ, bringing forth good 6 works, and a life according to God's commandments. “ You heard also the ancient authors' minds of this “ saying, "Faith in Christ only justifieth man,' so “plainly declared, that you see that the very true “ meaning of this proposition or saying, "We be jus“tified by faith in Christ only,' is this: 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 6 good works of our own that is in us, or that we can “ be able to have, or to do, for to deserve the same; 66 Christ himself only being the cause meritorious 66 thereof. Here you perceive many words to be used 6 to avoid contention in words with them that delight 6 to brawl about words, and also to show the true 66 meaning to avoid evil-taking and misunderstanding; 4 and yet peradventure all will not serve with them
that be contentious; but contenders will ever forge 6 matters of contention, even when they have no oc66 casion thereto.” (v) .
And thus, as it should seem, it happens that the adversaries of the docrine of justification by faith, some from pure ignorance, others from a love of calumny, affirm that it is a doctrine which leads to licentiousness.
(v) Homily on Salvation, pp. 20, 21, 23. Oxford ed. 1810.
“ But it is a childish cavil,” says good old Hooker, (w) “ wherewith in the matter of justification our adver“ saries do so greatly please themselves, exclaiming " that we tread all Christian virtues under our feet, “ and require nothing but faith, because we teach that “ faith alone justifieth ; whereas, by this speech, we “ never meant to exclude either hope or charity, from “ being always joined as inseparable handmates, with “ faith in the man that is justified; or works from being “ added, as necessary duties, required at the hands of “ every justified man:-but to show that faith is the 66 only hand which putteth on Christ unto justification, “ and Christ the only garment which being so put on 6 covereth the shame of our defiled natures, hideth “ the imperfection of our works, preserveth us blame“ less in the sight of God: before whom otherwise the “ weakness of our faith were cause sufficient to make “ us culpable, yea, to shut us from the kingdom of “ heaven.”
Thus again, as Reynolds remarks, « Faith hath 66 two properties (as a hand) to work and to receive. “ When faith purifies the heart, supports the drooping “ spirits, worketh by love, carries a man through « afflictions and the like, these are the works of faith: 6 when faith accepts of righteousness in Christ, and 66 receives him as the gift of his Father's love, when it “ embraceth the promises afar off (Heb. i. 13), and " lays hold on eternal life (1 Tim. vi. 12), this is “ the receiving act of faith. Now faith justifies not by 66 working (lest the effect should not be wholly of
(70) Discourse on Justification.
6 grace, and partly of work, Ephesians, ïi. 8, 9): but " by bare receiving and accepting, or yielding consent " to that righteousness, which in regard of working 66 was the righteousness of Christ (Rom. v. 18), and « in regard of disposing, imputing, appropriating unto, 66 us, was the righteousness of God (Rom. iii. 21; « 1 Cor. i. 30; Phil. iii. 9). To make the point of “ justification by the receiving, and not the working “ of faith, plain, let us consider it by a familiar simi66 litude.
“ Suppose a chirurgian should perfectly cure the 6 hand of a poor man from some desperate wound which 6 utterly disabled him from any work ; when he hath 6 so done, should at one time freely bestow some good « alms upon the man, to the receiving whereof he was 66 enabled by the former cure ; and at another time 6 should set the man about some work, unto the which 66 likewise the former cure had enabled him; and the 66 work being done, should give him a reward propor« tionable to his labour : I demand which of these two “ gifts are arguments of greater grace in the man, $ either the recompensing of that labour which was 66 wrought by the strength he restored, or the free be“ stowing of an equal gift, unto the receiving whereof “ likewise he himself gave ability ? Any man will 66 easily answer, that the gift was a work of more free “ grace than the reward, though unto both way was 66 made, by his own merciful cure; for all the mercy “ which was shown in the cure was not able to nullify 66 the intrinsical proportion, which afterwards did arise 6 between the work and the reward. Now, this is the