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confound sanctification with justification, we answer, that we admit it. But let it be remembered that such an objection is no refutation of the argument from the above quotations.
II. Ambrose was undoubtedly the most correct, as a theologian, of any of his age. He was Augustine's contemporary: In 1 Cor. 1: 4, he remarks: “For thus is it ordained by God that he who believes in Christ shall be saved without the deeds of the law; freely receiving by faith alone the forgiveness of sins," *
III. Oecumenius says: “How may we be justified ? By forgiveness which is in Christ Jesus.”ť
IV. Bernard (whose testimony is the last that we shall cite) says that “ Christ is made our righteousness by the pardon of sin.” 1
We might adduce also the testimony of Justin Martyr, Origen, etc., but prefer to pass on to that of the reformers. And first, we adduce
V. John Calvin. This writer employs the phrases “imprio tation of righteousness,” and “justification” to mean the same thing; and he explains them both to signify simply “the pardon of sin.” This will be manifest from the quotations which follow.
In his Institutes, he lays down the following as a formal definition of justification. “Justification in its plain and simple acceptation we understand to be that acceptance of us, by which God regards us, being received into favor, as righteous. And we affirm that it consists in the forgiveness of sins, and in the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.”'S After which he goes on to explain himself, and unequivocally declares that justification is only to absolve from guilt or approve as innocent ; and that “imputation of righteousness” is only other phraseolo
*" Quia hoc constitutum est a Deo, ut qui credit in Christum, salvus sit sine opere. Sola fide gratis recipiens peccatorum remissionem."
+ “Quomodo sit justificatio ? per remissionem quam in Christo Jesu consequimur.” In Manuali, cap. 22.
1" Christus factus est nobis justitia in absolutione peccatorum.” Ser. XXII. in Cant.
“Nos justificationem simpliciter interpretamur acceptionem, qua nos Deus ju gratiam receptos pro justis babet. Eamque in peccatorum remissione ac justitiae Christi imputatione positam esse dicimus."
gy for “forgiveness of sins.”* We adduce his own language.
"To justify therefore is nothing else than to absolve from guilt, (as having been approved innocent), him who had been adjudged guilty. When therefore God justifies us at the intercession of Christ, he absolves us, not by approving our own innocence but by the imputation of righteousness; that we may be accounted as righteous in Christ who are not so in ourselves. Thus, in the language of Paul in Acts 13:38, “By this man forgiveness of sins is declared to you ; and whosoever believeth in him is justified from all things from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses.' Here you see that justification is placed after the remission of sins, as if exegetically; you see plainly that it means absolution ; you perceive that it precludes works of law; that it is the mere favor of Christ, and that it is to be received by faith. And further you perceive that a satisfaction is interposed where it is said that we are justified from sin through Christ. So also when the publican is said to have descended from the temple we dare not say
that his righteousness was obtained by any merit of works. This
, therefore, is said, that after he obtained pardon of sin, he was accounted righteous before God. Righteousness therefore was not by an approval of works, but by the free forgiveness of God. Wherefore Ambrose elegantly denominates the confession of sins, legitimate justification. But omitting dispute about the word, if we enter upon consideration of the thing itself, as it is described to us, no doubt will remain. For Paul clearly designates justification by the name of acceptation, when be says in Eph. 1: 5, We are predestinated unto the adoption through Christ, according to the good pleasure of God unto the praise of his glorious grace, by which he bath received us into great favor.' For this is that which he has elsewhere declared (Rom. 3: 24), that God justifies us freely. But in Rom. 4: 6 -8, he calls it the imputation of righteousness, nor doubts that it consists in the forgiveness of sins. His words are, · The man is said by David to be blessed whom God accepts, or to whom he imputes righteousness without works, as it is written, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, etc.? (Ps. 32: 1.)
The apparent discrepancy in the language of Calvin on this subject, will be rendered perfectly intelligible by the subsequent quotaLions froin Calvinistie divines ; particularly Pareus, Tilenus, etc.
Here truly he does not speak of a part of justification, but of it in the whole. Furthermore, he openly avows the definition of the word [justification) attached to it by David, when he pronounces them to be blessed to whom has been given a free pardon of sin. Whence it appears that this righteousness of which he speaks, is simply opposed to guilt.”* And again,
“But Osiander may respond to me in the passage where Paul says that David describes righteousness without works in these words : Blessed are they whose iniquities are
“ Justificare ergo nihil aliud est, quam euin qui reus agebatur, tanquam approbata innocentia a reatu absolvere. Quum itaque nos Christi intercessione justificet Deus, non propriae innocentiae approbatione, sed justitiae imputatione nos absolvit : ut pro justis in Christo censeamur, qui in nobis non sumus. Sic Actorum, cap. 13. (v.38.) in concione Pauli: 'Per hunc vobis annuntiatur remissio peccatorum, et ab omnibus iis a quibus non potuistis justificari in lege Mosis, omnis qui credit in eum, justificatur. Vides post remissionem peccatorum justificationem hanc velut interpretationis loco poni: vides aperte pro absolutione sumi: vides operibus legis adimi : vides merum Christi beneficium esse: vides fide percepi : vides denique interponi satisfactionem, ubi dicit nos a peccatis justificari per Christum. Sic quum publicanus dicitur (Luc. 18:14) justificatus e templo decendisse, non possumus dicere aliquo operum merito consequutum esse justi. tiam. Hoc ergo dicitur, post impetratam peccatorum veniam pro justo esse coram Deo habitum. Justus ergo fuit non operum approbatione, sed gratuita Dei absolutione. Quare eleganter Ambrosius, qui peccatorum confessionem vocat justificationen legitimam (in Ps. cxviii. Serm. 10). 4. Atque ut omittamus contentionem de voce, rem ipsam si intuemur qualiter nobis describitur, nulla manebit dubitatio. Nam Paulus acceptionis nomine certe justificationem designat quum dicit ad Ephesios cap. 1. v. 5: · Destinati sumus in adoptionem per Christum, secundum bene placitum Dei in laudem gloriosae, ipsius gratiae, qua nos acceptos vel gratiosus habuit.' Id enim ipsum vult quod alibi dicere solet (Rom. 3: 24), Deum nos gratuito justificare. Quarto autem capite ad Romanos (v. 6—8), primum appellat justitiae imputationem : nec eam dubitat in peccatorum remissione collocare.
Beatus homo (inquit) a Davide dicitur, cui Deus accepto fert vel im. putat justitiam sine operibus: sicut scriptum est, Beati quorum remissae sunt iniquitates, etc. (Ps. 32: 1.) Illic sane non de justificationis parte, sed de ipsa tota disputat. Ejus porro definitionem a Davide positam testatur, quum beatos esse pronuntiat, quibus datur gratuita peccatorum venia. Uvde apparet, justitiam hanc, de qua loquitur, simpliciter reatui opponi.” Inslitutio, Lib. III. cap. 11. 3, 4. Tholuck's Edition, Vol. II. p. 7, 8. Vol. XI. No. 30.
forgiven (Rom. 4: 7. Ps. 32: 1). Is this a complete definition of justification, or a partial one? Most assuredly he does not adduce the prophetic testimony as if it taught that the pardon of sins was a part of righteousness ! or that it merely unites with something else in justifying man! But David embraces our entire righteousness in gratuitous forgiveness ; declaring that man to be blessed whose sins are covered, to whom God remits iniquities, and to whom he does not impute transgressions. He estimates and reckons his happiness from thence, that he is righteous in this manner, not in very deed, but by imputation."*
Further on in the same chapter he remarks, " Now let us ex• amine the truth of that which is affirmed in the definition, viz., that the righteousness of faith is reconciliation with God, which consists alone in the forgiveness of sins. It is an axiom never to be forgotten that the whole world of mankind are under the wrath of God so long as they continue sinners. Isaiah beautifully declares this truth in the following words, (chap. 59: 1, etc.): "The Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save: neither is his ear heavy that he cannot hear : But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God; and your sins have hid his face from you that he may not hear. In this we perceive that sin is a separation between man and God, a turning of the countenance of God from the sinner. Nor can it be otherwise, when it is truly foreign from his righteousness to have any intercourse with sin. Whence the apostle teaches that man is an enemy to God, until restored into favor by Christ (Rom. 5: 8-10). Whom therefore the Lord receives into fellowship he is said to justify; because he can neither receive into favor nor unite man to himself, until from a sinner he makes him righteous. We add that this is done by the remission of sins. For if by their works they be estimated whom the Lord reconciles to himself, they will still be found to be truly sinners, whom, notwithstanding we must regard as pure and released from sin. It appears therefore, that those whom God receives into favor, are not otherwise made righteous, save that their corruptions having been washed away they are purified by the forgiveness of sins; as such righteousness can be in one word denominated the forgiveness of
*“Jam vero mihi respondeat Osiander, ubi dicit Paulus describi a Davide justitiam sine operibus in his verbis, Beati quorum remissae sunt iniquitates (Rom. 4: 7. Ps. 32: 1): Sitne plena haec definitio, an dimidia. Certe Prophetam non adducit testem, acsi doceret partem justitiam esse veniam peccatorum, vel ad hominem justificandum concurrere: sed totam justitiam in gratuita remissione includit, beatum hominem pronuntians, cujus tecta sunt peccata, cui remisit Deus iniquitates, et cui transgressiones non imputat : felicitatem ejus inde aeglimat et censet, quia hoc modo justus est non re ipsa, sed imputatione." Vide ut supra, cap. 11. 11.
These passages place the opinions of Calvin on this subject beyond controversy.
VI. Ursinus is our next witness. He was the writer of the Heidelberg Catechism ; and a man who was not only of the straitest sect of Calvinists, but in every respect abundantly qualified to teach theology in Calvin's presence and from Calvin's chair. He was contemporary with Calvin, and died in 1583. His testimony is very explicit
. In his exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism (a book from which more sound theology can be learned than from almost any other of its size except the Bible), he remarks Question 60 (p. 339), as follows: “Righteousness is conformity with law, or the fulfilment of law, or it is that by which we are righteous before God. Justification is the application of righteousness to any one.
Hence righteousness and justification differ from each other as the form differs
* «Nunc illud quam verum sit excutiamus, quod in definitione dictum est, justitiam fidei esse reconciliationem cum Deo, quae sola peccatorum remissione constet. Semper ad illud axioma redeundum est, universis iram Dei incumbere, quamdiu peccatores esse perseverant. Id eleganter significavit Jesaias his verbis (59: 1 seq.): “Non est abbreviata manus Domini, ut servare nequeat ; neque aggravata auris ejus, ut non exaudiat: sed iniquitates vestrae dissidium fecerunt inter vos et Deum vestrum, et peccata vestra absconderunt faciem ejus a vobis, ne exaudiat.' Audimus peccatum esse divisionem inter hominem et Deum, vultus Dei aversionem a peccatore: nec fieri aliter potest, quandoquidem alienum est ab ejus justitia, quicquam commercii habere cum peccato. Unde Apostolus inimicum csse Deo hominem docet, donec in gratiam per Christum restituitur (Rom. 5: 8–10). Quem ergo Dominus in conjunctionem recepit, eum dicitur justificare : quia nec recipere in gratiam, nec sibi adjungere potest, quin ex peccatore justum faciat. Istud iddimus fieri per peccatorum remissionem. Nam si ab operibus aestimentur quos sibi Dominus reconciliavit, reperientur etiamnum revera peccatores, quos tamen peccato solutos purosque esse oportet. Constat itaque, quos Deus amplectitur, non aliter fieri justos nisi quod abstersis peccatorum remissione maculis purificantur : ut talis justitia uno verbo appellari queat peccatorum remissio.” Ut supra, cap. 11. 21.