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of Satan has been most successfully assailed, and the human heart most strongly actuated, is that of simple reliance on Christ Jesus : simple acceptance of the truth, that He is made unto us of God, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.' ACcordingly, this doctrine, that, lying under God's wrath and condemnation, we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ : this plain and simple truth has uniformly been assailed by every instrument which the enemy could bring to bear against it. From the time when certain men went down from Jerusalem, and troubled the Church at Antioch (Acts chap. 15, verses 1--25); from the time when Paul had to grieve over the disciples in Galatia, that they were removed from the grace of Christ into another Gospel (Gal. chap. 1, ver. 6); which was not another,' for it was no gospel at all; from the earliest days until now, this has been the point of attack, because on this all depends. We are still experiencing the same, and from the same cause. Through the merciful providence of God, the true principles of the Gospel were prevailing through the length and breadth of the land, and effects were following which they alone are capable of producing. Meanwhile the enemy is on the watch; knows well where his danger lies; and contrives to cast reproach upon the doctrine which is the hinge of Christian truth and Christian practice; to confound things which ought to be kept distinct, things inherent in man with things extraneous to man, individual duties with vicarious merits; and so to reduce religion to that doubt and uncertainty which never has led, and never will lead to a consistent course of action. It is notorious that this attempt, frequently made, and too often successful, has been renewed in the present day.... They have now risen up....part of [whose] system [it is] to involve the article of justification in obscurity; what has been done for us, and what is to be wrought in us, are confused together; and, practically, man is induced to look to himself, and not to his Redeemer, for acceptance with God.
“In all this there is nothing that was unforseen. The Apostle has plainly warned us to 'beware of philosophy and vain deceit,’ lest they turn us aside from the simplicity of the Gospel; that very simplicity, which fits it for the reception and benefit of all, but of which some men profess to be afraid, lest mercy should be too free, and the way of return to God too open. It is, in truth, the offence of the cross renewed under a fresh disguise; the objection which corrupt nature has always opposed, under various forms, to the apostolical doctrine, ‘By grace are ye saved, through faith ; not of works, that any man should boast.' The Scriptural Truth is as clear as it is simple. “When all were dead, Christ died for all ;' so that he that hath the Son bath life, and he that hath not the Son, hath not life.' By one way alone can man possess the Son ; that is, by believing in Him; and therefore, faith alone can justify; faith alone can appropriate to us that remedy which God has appointed for the healing of our plague: faith alone can give us an interest in that sacrifice, which God has accepted as the satisfac. tion for sin. Thus being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ.?” Pp. 19–23.
On this subject Mr. Percival makes the following remarks :
“From these it appears that your lordship thinks yourself at liberty and under obligation to proclaim to your diocese, and to the English Church, that all teaching, on the subject of justification, different from the clear and simple view of the scriptural truth, which you have been pleased to place before us, is to be ascribed to the agency of Satan. All who teach otherwise than your lordship on this point, are, according to this statement, agents of Satan,” and instruments of “the enemy' of mankind.” P. 10.
“From your lordship’s language we should conclude, that the view of the doctrine of justification by faith which your lordship has promulgated, must be more clearly and plainly revealed in Holy Scripture than almost any other doctrine; otherwise, your lordship, who has declared your belief that Scripture intended to sanction actual schisms on matters concerning which Scripture does not carry determinate conviction to every honest mind,' would never have uttered against those who differ from you on the point of justification, denunciations so fearfully painful as those to which I have called your attention ! and, indeed, your lordship expresses yourself to this effect, as follows:
“The Scriptural truth is as clear as it is simple. “When all were dead, Christ died for all;' so that ' he that hath the Son hath life, and he that liath not the Son, bath not life.' By one way alone can man possess the Son ; that is, by believing in him; and therefore, faith alone can justify; faith alone can appropriate to us that remedy, which God has appointed for the healing of our plague; faith alone can give us an interest in that sacrifice, which God has accepted as the satisfaction for sin. "Thus, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ.'".
“ 1. In the first place, I would entreat your lordship to explain how, if the doctrine of justification be so very simple and so very clear, as you have here stated it to be, it has come to pass that for so many hundred years disputes have been had between divines concerning it ? Your lordship, in a passage already cited from you, has hinted at a summary method of answering this question; namely, by imputing want of honesty to all to whose minds the Scriptural evidence does not carry determinate conviction in favour of your lordship’s view. Considering the numbers and characters of those who differ from you on this point, I can hardly bring myself to believe, that, upon reflection, you will desire to avail yourself of such a method. But if not, then, it will seem to follow, that the Scriptural truth is not so very clear, nor so very simple, as your lordship has supposed it to be. And such, I conceive, to be the fact, seeing that we meet in the sacred Scriptures with statements upon the subject apparently in diametrical opposition to one another; e. g. we have, on the one side, the saying of St. Paul, which your lordship has quoted :
“• By grace ye are saved through faith... not of works.' Ephes. chap. 2, verses 5, 8.
“On the other, we have the saying of St. James, which you have not quoted :
“A man is justified by works, and not by faith only.' James chap. 2, ver. 24.
“That both propositions are perfectly true, is certain ; for they proceed alike from the Spirit of Truth; but few, I think, will agree with your lordship in thinking, that the truth they convey is very clear or very simple. We may, indeed, put St. Paul out of sight, and then St. James's meaning will be clear; or we may forget St. James, and then find no difficulty in St. Paul. But are either of these courses such as should be approved of by the preachers of the Gospel ? Those against whom you write, seem to you to have taken the first, and you have denounced them as instruments of Satan. Your lordship (pardon me) appears to have taken the second, and it remains for yourself to say how you will escape your own sentence. For myself, I do not believe that the difficulty is to be solved, but by such a process of explanation, as it is the fashion of the day to brand as dishonest, when applied to the Articles of the Church of England.
“2. The next thing I would point out as observable in your lordship’s exposition of justification, is the total absence of all mention of * repentance,' as necessary in order thereto, and one of the means of obtaining it.
“I am at a total loss to conjecture, whether this silence is to be accounted for, because repentance is excluded from your scheme, or because you consider it sufficiently included in the term "faith ;' and therefore will merely ask, if repentance is excluded from your scheme as unnecessary in order to justification, how can it be denied that you have violated the charter of Christianity, seeing that the message proclaimed throughout the world, as the foundation of the gospel scheme of salvation was 'repentance and remission of sins ?'* If, on the contrary, “repentance, though not expressed in your scheme of justification, is to be understood as implied in the term "faith,' then how can it be consistent with charity to denounce men as agents of Satan, for expressing what you yourself imply ?” Pp. 13—16.
“ The next thing I would point out in your lordship’s exposition of justification, is the following :— Faith alone can give us an interest in that sacrifice, which God has accepted. Here again, as it seems to me, your lordship is at open variance with the Scriptures and the Church; for if faith alone can give us an interest in that sacrifice, then infants, who are incapable of faith, can receive no interest therein, and must perish everlastingly. Whereas, the Church of England affirms it to be certain by God's Word, that children which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved.' The Church is so far from agreeing with your lordship, that she affirms that an interest in that sacrifice which God has accepted, is given by baptism to those who, from their tender years, are incapable of faith. Indeed it may be questioned whether the whole phrase be not objectionable, for, in strictness of speech, faith gives us not an interest in that sacrifice; God, and God only, gives us that interest in baptism, I conceive, and by the hands of his ministers, not without faith in them, who by age are capable thereof.
“Another saying of your lordship’s in your exposition of justification, requires notice : 'By one way alone can man possess the Son; that is, by believing in him ;' at least, if by “possessing the Son,' your lordship means (as by your reference to 1 John chap 5, ver. 12, we must suppose you to mean,) the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whereby Christ manifests Himself to his people. He has Himself given a very different account: 'If any man love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”* Our Saviour says that men possess Him by love (which comprises faith) and by obedience : your lordship, by faith alone. If by faith alone your lordship meant to include love and obedience, then it is to be regretted, first, that writing in controversy, which requires strictness of speech, you should have used a
* Luke chap. 24, ver. 47. . † John chap. 14, ver. 23.
term so calcalated to mislead: secondly, it is to be regretted, that you should so severely have censured others for expressing your own thoughts. If by faith alone, your lordship did not intend to include love and obedience, then it is to be regretted, that you should have proclaimed, from the chair of the Apostles, doctrine apparently so different from that of Him who appointed them.”
We now come to the extract from the British Critic, contained in the article entitled Athanasius against the Arians.
“ The very first agression then of those who labour to revive some degree at least of vital Christianity, (in the room of those gross corruptions and superstitions which have in these latter days among ourselves overlaid and defaced the primitive and simple truth,) their very first aggression must be upon that strange congeries of notions and practices, of which the Lutheran doctrine of justification is the origin and representative. Whether any heresy has ever infested the Church so hateful and unchristian as this doctrine, it is perhaps not necessary to determine : none certainly has ever prevailed so subtle and extensively poisonous. It is not only that it denies some one essential doctrine of the Gospel (as, e. g. inherent righteousness); this all heresies do: it is not only that it corrupts all sound Christian doctrine, nay the very principle of orthodoxy itself; though this also it certainly does : but its inroads extend further than this; as far as its formal statements are concerned, it poisons at the very root, not Christianity only, but natural religion. That obedience to the will of God, with whatever sacrifice of self, is the one thing needful; that sin is the one only danger to be dreaded, the one only evil to be avoided; these great truths are the very foundation of natural religion : and inasmuch as this modern system denies these to be essential and necessary truths, yea counts it the chief glory of the Gospel, that under it they are no longer truths, we must plainly express our conviction, that a religious heathen, were he really to accept the doctrine which Lutheran language expresses, so far from making any advance, would sustain a heavy loss, in exchanging fundamental truth for fundamental error. Our readers must admit that we have never been slow in acknowledging how much of sincerity and self-devotion there has in fact been among those who have embraced this heresy, and to how very great an extent, where that has been the case, individual conscientiousness has neutralized the anti-religious infection. But neither may we forget on the other hand, how miserably also has this same system in its turn crippled and enchained the religious instinct of its victims, and prevented them from carrying that instinct forward to its legitimate de
N.S. NO. 35.--VOL. 3