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and virtue? Nay, verily, St. Paul will not
It remains now that we produce the views entertained by the framers of the Homilies, on the subjects of justification, faith, and works.
“Because all men be sinners and offenders against God, and breakers of his law and commandments, therefore can no man by his own acts, work, and deeds (seem they heter so good) be justified, and made righteous before God: but every man of necessity is constrained to seek for another righteousness of justification, to be received at God's own hands, that is to say, the for. giveness of his sins and things as he hath fication,
trespasses, in such *th offended. And this justior righteousness, which we"so re
ceive of God's mercy and Christ's merits,
to this end tand all the prophets, as St. Peter saith in the tenth of the Acts; * Of Christ all the prophets, saith St. Peter, “do witness, that through his name, all they that believe in him shall receive the remission of sins.’ And after this wise to be justified only by this true and lively faith in Christ, speak all the old and ancient authors, both Greeks and Latins." Sermon of the Salvation of Mankind, p. 36. “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. Nor when they say, that we should be justified freely, do they mean that we should or might afterward be idle, and that nothing should 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 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 infirmity 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 deserving of our justification unto Christ only, and his most precious blood-shedding." Sermon of the Salvation of Mankind, pp. 37, 38. “Justification is not the office of man, but of God; for man cannot make himself righteous by his own works, neither in part nor in the whole; for that were the greatest, arrogancy and presumption of man that antichrist could set up against God, to affirm that a man might by his own works take away and purge his own sins, and so justify himself. But justification is the office of God only, and is not a thing which we render unto him, but which we receive of him; not which we give to him but which we take of him by his free mercy, and by the only merits of his most dearly beloved Son, our only Redeemer, Saviour, and Justifier Jesus Christ: so that the true understanding of this doctrine, we be justified 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 un
derstanding 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 works thereunto; yet we must renounce the merit of all our said virtues, of faith, hope, charity, and all other virtues and good deeds, which we either have done, shall do, or can do, as things that be far too weak and insufficient, 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 baptisin, as of all actual sin committed by us after our baptism, if we truly repent, and turn unseignedly to him again.” Sermon of the Salvation of Mankind, pp. 38,39. “It liath 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 followeth necessarily, that some other things should be required for our salvation than the law; and that is, a true and a lively faith in Christ; bringing forth good works, and a life according to God's commandments. And also you heard the aucient anthors' 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 justified by faith in Christ only (according to the meaning of the old ancient authors) is this: we put our faith in Christ, that we be juctified 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 is in us, or that we can be able to have, or to do, for to dc. serve the same; Christ himself only being the meritorious cause thereof.” Sermon of the Salvation of Mankind, p. 40. “They are greatly deceived that preach. repentance without Christ, and teach the simple and iguorant that it consisteth only in the works of men. They may indeed speak many things of good works, and of amendment of life and manners: but without . Christ they be all vain and unprofitable. They that think that they have done much of themselves towards repentance, are so much more the farther from God, because they do seek those things in their own works and merits, which ought only to be sought in out Saviour Jesus Christ, and in the merits of his death, and passion, and blood-shedding." Sermon on Repentance. p. 230.
The framers of the Homilies
thought some apology necessary for the length, and particularly of their statements on the subject of justification, and for the extreme solicitude which they manifest not to be misunderstood. They appear to have had a sort of prophetic anticipation of the ingenious sophistry which would be employed in these later days to perplex and misrepresent their plain and obvious intention.
“Here you perceive many words are used to avoid contention in words, with them that delight to brawl about words, and also to shew the true meaning to avoid mistaking and misunderstanding; and yet peradventure all will not serve with then that be contentious; but contenders will ever forge matters of contention, even when they have none occasion thereto. Notwithstanding, such be the less to be passed upon, so that the rest may profit, which will be more desirous to know the truth, than (when it is plain enough) to contend about it; and with contentious and captious cavillation, to obscure and darken it.”—Sermon on the Salvation of Man, pp. 40, 41.
To the numerous quotations already given, we shall subjoin only two, on the subject of faith and works.
“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 Scripture so high commendations of faith, that it maketh us to please God, to live with God, and to be children of God; if then they saucy that they be set at liberty from doing all goed 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 iron knowledge what true faith meaneth. For the very sure and lively Christian faith is, not only to believe all things of God which are contained in holy Scripture, but also is an earnest trust and coniidence in God, that he doth regard us, and that he is careful over us, as the father is over the child whom he doth love, and that he will be merciful unto us for his only Son's sake, and that we have our Saviour Christ our perpetual advocate, and priest, in whose only uterits, oblation, and suiteriug we do trust that out of*nces be continually washed and purged, "housoever we, repeating truly, do return
to him with our whole heart, stedfastly determining with ourselves, through his grace, to obey and serve him in keeping his commandments, and never to turn back again to sin. Such is the true faith that the Scripture doth so much commend.”—Hemily effaith, pp. 47, 48. “Faith giveth life to the soul; and they be as much dead to God' that lack faith, as they be to the world whose bodies lack souls. Without faith, all that is done of us is but dead before God, although the work seem never so gay and glorious before man. Even as the picture graven or painted is but a dead representation of the thing itself, and is without life or any manner of moving; so be the works of all unfaithful persons before God: they do appear to be lively works, and indeed they be but dead, not availing to the everlasting life: they be but shadows and shews of lively and good things, and not good and lively things indeed: for true faith doth give life to the works, and out of such faith come good works, that be very good works indeed; and without faith m work is good before God, as saith St. Angustine."—Homily of Good Works, p. 59. Now let any candid man, after having attentively perused these extracts, compare them with those passages of the Bishop of Lincoln's Elements of Theology, or of his Refutation of Calvinism, in which the same subjects are discussed, and we can have no doubt that the result will be, a conviction that the views of the Bishop, as there exhibited, differ materially from those of the Church of England. We do not
know what the eager ingenuity of
controversialists may attemptinestablishing an agreement between his Lordship and the Homilies; for we have of late seen wonders attempted in this way; but we cannot believe that a jury of twelve competent men. impannelled to try the fact of agreement or disagreement, would hesisate about their verdict. We are aware that the charge which we have thus ventured to prefer against his Lordship's productions, is one of grave and serious import. It is one, nevertimeless, which, after due deliberation, we do not shrink from maintaining; and in doing so we ground ourselves entirely on the plain and obvious meaning of the Articles,
Homilies, and Liturgy of the Church, which we further believe to be a
clear and faithful exposition of the
doctrines of Scripture. We have recommended one experiment to our readers. We will now recommend another. After having instituted the proposed comparison between the Bishop of Lincoln’s book and our extracts from the Homilies, and satisfied themselves as to the result, let them proceed to compare with the same extracts what has been written on the subject of Original Sin, Justification by Faith, and Spiritual Influences, by some of those men who are branded as evangelical clergymen, Calvinists, &c., and whom the Bishop's last work attempts, by means of some sweeping inuendoes, to bring into discredit, as if they had introduced a new faith. Let them take, for example, the writings of Scott, Cecil, Milner, Simeon, Woodd, Cooper, Gisborne, Loyd, Robinson, to whom many more names might be added; and they will find in these writers, on the points we have mentioned (however they may differ on other points of less moment, such as those involved in the Calvinistic controversy), a remarkable agreement, not only with each other, but with the Homilies. We should be willing, indeed, to leave to the issue of this double comparison the decision of the question, who are the most faithful expositors of the doctrines of the Church, the Bishop of Lincoln or those whom he attacks. We have already given it as our opinion, that the Bishop's work is unseasonable. We continue to be of the same opinion. He has selected Calvinism for the object of his attack, as if Calvinism were the great evil existing in the Church. But who are the writers who now inculcate Calvinism Who are they whose endeavours to propagate this noxious heresy have rendered it incumbent on the learned prelate to wield the weapons of offensive war?
His Lordship, we think, should have
named them; should have pointed to their writings; should have specified the particular passages in those writings against which he felt it to be his duty to warn the public. It is implied indeed, but without the shadow of proof, that the clergy who are usually styled evangelical, not only hold, but teach the peculiar tenets of Calvin. If the fact could have been substantiated, there might then have been found some apology for disturbing the peace of the Church by a ponderous volume on this most unprofitable subject. The writings of the class of the clergy to which we have alluded, have, during the last ten or fifteen years, been numerous; and the writers are certainly not of a character to suppress any part of divine truth which they deem to be essential. But to how small a portion of these numerous writings can the appellation of Calvinistic be, with any propriety, applied ? When we use the term Calvinistic, however, we must be considered as using it in a sense very different from that in which the Bishop of Lincoln wishes it to be understood. We use it as comprising merely the peculiarities of the Calvinistic scheme, and not any of those fundamental verities of the Christian religion which give to that religion its distinctive character, and are embraced alike by pious Calvinists and pious Arminians. Had the Bishop consulted the writings of Arminius himself, of Limborch, of John Wesley “, of Fletcher of Madeley, of Mr. Gisborne, and many others who might be named, he would have found it to be perfectly consistent with the most decided non-calvinism, to hold those very opinions on the subject of Ori.
* We particularly recommend to his Lordship the perusal of a tract, written by Mr. Wesley, entitled, “Predestination calmly considered,” as containing, in a small contpass, and expressed with great precision and force, almost every thing that can be said on the anti-calvinistic side of this formidable question.
inal Sin, the Influences of the Holy Spirit, and Justification by Faith, which he condemns as among the peculiar dogmas of Calvin. The impression produced by the Bishop's book—we do not say that it was intended—is, that the opinions which he impugns, as those of the evangelical clergy, are unfriendly to morality, and tend to licentiousness. Here, however, we feel bold to challenge the closest scrutiny. We have already named a number of writers of this obnoxious class. Their opinions are before the world; and they are expressed, in the case of many of them at least, on every material point of Christian faith and practice. Mr. Scott, Mr. Robinson, and Mr. Loyd,have published professed systems of theology; and the sermons of the others comprise, though not in an equally systematic form, every essential part of the Christian scheme. Now, we are far from saying that these works are free from error: of what human work can this be said We nevertheless will venture to affirm, that on that very point, on which it seems to be implied by the Bishop of Lincoln that these men are the most vulnerable, we mean the practical tendency of their writings, they will be found to stand on infinitely higher ground than any one of their opponents, be he who he may. Let the Essays of Mr Scott, for example, which contain his elementary system of theology, be compared with Elements of Theology by the Bishop of Lincoln, in respect to the elevation of the principles, the spirituality of the motives, the purity of the practice, and the strict and undeviating regard to duty, which they severally inculcate, and we can have no doubt that the decision will be greatly in favour •f the former, in all these respects. We say nothing of the soundness of the theology: that point we have already considered. If our voice could reach his Lordship, we would endeavour to persuade him to institute this comparison himself. In that case (such is the opinion we
entertain of his candour) we should expect from him the frank admission, that, for all purposes of practical godliness, the system of this member of a proscribed and heterodox party is far superior even to his own. And if such should be the result of the examination we recommend; if it should appear from it that Mr. Scott's great aim, in what he has written, is to promote the interests of Christ's kingdom, and to call men off from sin and the world to holiness and heaven; and if it should further appear that the general body of those who share in his reproach, are treading, with possibly a few exceptions, the same path of honourable service in which he has so long distinguished himself; then it will be for the Bishop of Lincoln to consider, whether his episcopal censures have, in the present instance, been judiciously applied;—whether he has done well in passing by all the worldly, negligent, lukewarm, fishing, fox-hunt. ing, visiting, dancing clergymen in his diocese; while he holds up to the scorn of these very men, as well as of the irreligious of every class, those whose conduct, both in private and in public, as ministers of Christ, and as members of society, bears unequivocal testimony to their sincere devotion to the best of causes.