« EdellinenJatka »
This saying, that we be justified by faith only, freely, and without works, is spoken for to take away clearly all merit of our works, as being unable to deserve our justification at God's hands, and thereby most plainly to express the weakness
of man, and the goodness of God; the great in' firmity of ourselves, and the might and power of
God; the imperfection of our own works, and the 'most abundant grace of our Saviour Christ; and
therefore wholly to ascribe the merit and deserv‘ing of our justification unto Christ only, and his most precious blood-shedding.'!
The saying here referred to, stands thus in the Homily:- These and other like sentences, that "we be justified by faith only, freely, and without
works, we do read oft-times in the best and most 'ancient writers ; as, besides Hilary, Basil, and St.
Ambrose, before rehearsed, we read the same in * Origen, St. Chrysostom, St. Cyprian, St. Augus
tine, Prosper, Oecumenius, Phocius, Bernardus, s Anselm, and many other authors, Greek and Latin. Nevertheless this sentence, that we be justified by faith only, is not so meant of them, 'that the said justifying faith is alone in man, without true repentance, hope, charity, dread, and
the fear of God, at any time and season. -- I have not read all, or even the most, of these ancient writers, and so am not competent to judge on the subject; but it is the express declaration of our reformers, (who were deeply versed in these studies, especially Cranmer, to whom this Homily is generally ascribed,) that they all maintain justi
.Quotation from Part 2. of Homily on Salvation, Ref. 150.
fication by faith,' only, freely and without works,' in exactly the same sense, as far as I can perceive, in which the evangelical clergy at present do.
“Although this doctrine be never so true, as it' is most, true indeed, that we be justified freely, without all merit of our own good works, as St. * Paul doth express it, and freely, by this lively and perfect faith in Christ only, as the ancient authors
used to speak it; yet this true doctrine must be • also truly understood, and most plainly declared, lest carnal men should take unjustly occasion thereby to live carnally, after' the appetite and will of the world, the flesh, and the devil.'--The
true understanding of this doctrine, we be justi"fied freely by faith without works, or that we be "justified by faith in Christ only, is not that this
our own act to believe in Christ, or this our faith • in Christ, which is within us, doth justify us, and
deserve our justification unto us; (for that were to count ourselves to be justified by some act or virtue that is within ourselves :) but the true understanding and meaning thereof is, that, although we hear God's word and believe it ; although we have faith, hope, charity, repentance, dread and fear of God within us, and do never so 'many good works thereunto; yet we must re‘nounce the merit of all our said virtues, of faith, (hope, charity, and all our other virtues and good • deeds, which we either have done, shall do, or can *do, as things that be far too weak, and insufficient, s and imperfect, to deserve remission of our sins, and our justification ; and therefore we must trust only in God's mercy, and that sacrifice which
our High Priest and Saviour Christ Jesus, the * Son of God, once offered for us upon the cross, 'to obtain thereby God's grace and remission, as 'well of our original sin in baptism, as of all actual ‘sin committed by us after our baptism, if we truly repent, and turn unfeignedly to him again.'1
After this quotation it follows, “So that as St. ‘John Baptist, although he were never so virtu‘ous and godly a man, yet in this matter, of for'giving sin, he did put the people from him, and
appointed them unto Christ, saying thus unto "them, “Behold, yonder is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.”'
* As great and as godly a virtue as the lively faith is, yet it putteth us from itself, and remitteth or appointeth us unto Christ, for to have only by him remission of our sins or justification.'2
It follows, 'So that our faith in Christ, as it were, saith unto us thus: It is not I that
take away your sins, but it is Christ only ; and 'to him only I send you for that purpose, for
saking therein all your good virtues, words, thoughts, and works, and only putting your trust in Christ.
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 work of our own, that
· Quotation from the same Homily, Ref. 150, 151. -
is in us, or that we can be able to have, or to do, for to deserve the same; Christ himself only being the cause meritorious thereof.'1
To these most excellent quotations from the Homily of salvation,' another may be added from the Homily of faith. First that this faith doth not lie dead in the heart, but is lively and fruitful in bringing forth good works. Secondly, that without it can no good works be done, that shall be acceptable and pleasant to God. Thirdly, what manner of good works they be that this • faith doth bring forth.'- The soul, that hath a
lively faith in it, will be doing always some good work, which shall declare that it is living, and will not be unoccupied. Therefore, when men hear in the scriptures so high cominendations of faith, that it maketh us to please God, to live with God, and to be the children of God; if then they fancy that they be set at liberty from doing * all good works, and may live as they list, they trifle with God, and deceive themselves. And it is a manifest token that they be far from having 'the true and lively faith; and also far from know·ledge what true faith meaneth.'
"Let it be observed, that in this quotation faith and good works are mentioned together, as not being the meritorious cause of justification. The 'expressions of faith only,' and faith without
works,' were not intended to exclude the • necessity of works' as the condition of salva
Homily on Salvation, Part 3.
• tion, but were directed, as in the with article,
against the Popish doctrine of human merit. • Our reformers excluded the merit of faith, as well 'as the merit of works; but they were particularly anxious, upon every occasion, to exclude
the pretended merit of works, as being the grand * pillar which supported the church of Rome.''
The part of the preceding quotation from the Homily, here particularly intended, is this : ‘In * respect of merit, and deserving, we forsake as it were altogether again, faith, works, and all other virtues.'
The reformers certainly meant to oppose the “Popish doctrine of human merit ; for that doctrine was then openly avowed by few except Papists : but their statements, as strongly and decidedly oppose all the more refined methods of introducing the same doctrine, used by modern nominal Protestants, as they do those of the.. Papists.
Nor do ours, when they say, we are justified by • faith alone, mean any other thing than what I " have now spoken, that on account of Christ' (or s for the sake of Christ, propter Christum,) 'we.
obtain remission of sins, and not on account of our own worthiness (dignitatem). The little word, • alone, does not exclude contrition or other vir'tues, that they should not be present; but denies them to be causes of reconciliation, and transfers the cause to Christ alone.'2 This note from Melancthon, the most cautious
Ref. 152, 153. » Translation of Latin Note from Melancthon, Ref. 153, 154.