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is a problem that cannot be satisfactorily solved. Still less can the conduct of the fathers be accounted for, who never once thought of appealing to the Hebrew Gospel as a document of authority.
I cannot therefore admit the currency of such a Gospel-not even along with a Greek copy. The conduct of the church catholic is utterly inexplicable, when this is once admitted.
I must come, therefore, to a conclusion quite different from that of Mr. Norton, in respect to the original language of Matthew's Gospel. Quite as wide apart we are, also, in respect to the genuineness of Matthew I. II. The question respecting these chapters, however, remains yet to be discussed. After the preceding disquisition, it may occupy perhaps less time and room than the first question has occupied. But it is time to close our discussion for the present; the remaining topic of inquiry must be reserved for a future number of this work.
WHAT WERE THE VIEWS ENTERTAINED BY THE EARLY RE
FORMERS, ON THE DOCTRINES OF JUSTIFICATION, Faith, AND THE ACTIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST.
By Rev. R. W. Landis, Jeffersonville, Pa. [Continued from Vol. XI. p. 481.)
$ II. Views entertained by the Reformers on the subject of
Faith. It is contended by some that it is an essential departure from the principles of the Reformation to maintain that faith is simply an act of the mind, and is itself imputed for righteousness.*
* The fourth charge of Dr. Junkin against Mr. Barnes is, “ Mr. Barnes teaches that faith is an act of the mind and not a principle, and is itself imputed for righteousness :" in support of which he quotes from “ Notes on Romans" p. 94, 95. To give the reader an idea of the strong points of the evidence we subjoin a part of Dr. Junkin's summary, viz. “ Mr Barnes says, 'the strong act of Abrabam's faith. He could not write without contradicting his own doctrine. What sense is in the phrase, “the strong act of Abraham's act of the mind ? It is impossible to introduce this definition of his was as much his owu act as any act of obedience to the law.' Here it is indubitably taught, that the individual, personal act of Abraham's mind is the ground of his justification before God. Not the righteousness of the Saviour, as the church has always believed, but the act of the man himself was imputed to him for righteousness. “The word it,' says Mr. Barnes, 'here evidently refers to the act of believing. It does not refer to the righteousness of another of God, or of the Messiah.' Now it is righteousness which justifies--when a man has the righteousness required by the law, he must and will be justified by the judge. If, therefore, Abraham's act is his own righteousness—is the ground and cause of his being justified-be is not justified by Christ's merits at all, but by his own act.—Oh, sir, how difficult it is to get clear of the doctrine of imputed righteousness!" etc. etc. See “ Vindication," pp. 55, 56.
The reader by consulting the note in the margin, will perceive the true state of the case, and render it unnecessary for us in this place to be more particular in our allusions. We will proceed to examine what were the views of the Reformation on the points here in controversy. [“ faith is always an act of the mind”), without multiplying most strange and unmeaning expressions. If "faith is always an act of the mind,' and 'not a principle of action, who can explain the phrase (an act of faith?' 3. If faith is an act of the mind only,' and not a principle of grace in the soul, from which the acts proceed, then it must follow that Abraham was justified by an act of his mind, which The writer had read considerably in the older divines, when this controversy was approximating its height ; and was surprised at the objections made to the views above stated, and the consequences attempted to be deduced from them. It is a singular fact that these very objections might be urged with equal, if not greater force against such men as Martin Luther and Francis Gomar. As these two divines have treated especially on this topic, and as they have ever been regarded fair representatives of the orthodox doctrine, we shall quote them at some length on this topic. Let us hear
In relation to this charge Mr. Barnes thus replies: “ this charge consists of three counts, or specifications, which it is necessary to dispose of in their order. The first is, that "faith is an act of the mind ;' the proof is on p. 94. In regard to this position of the charge, I admit that I meant to teach, as charged that 'faith is always an act of the mind.' And the meaning is so obvious, that it scarcely requires elucidation. I designed to teach that it is not a created essence independent of the soul; and that there was nothing in faith which could not appropriately be described by the mind receiving, and resting on Christ; exercising confidence in him ; believing his promises, fearing his threatenings, and depending on him for salvation ; all which are actings of the mind, or are the mind acting. And I do not wish to be understood now as holding any thing on this point different from that which is here charged upon me.—The second count in the charge is, that faith is not a principle. In the passage referred to in the Notes as proof, this is expressly stated as my belief, that faith is not a principle. By this I meant to affirm that it was not any thing independent of the acting of the mind; any created or conceivable essence of the soul that was lying back of the act of believing.-The third specification in this
I. LUTHER. In the second volume of his works (the Nürimberg edition, printed A. D. 1550,) when treating upon Gen. 15: 6, he thus remarks: “ Paul has fully established this as the sentiment of the whole Scriptures; a sentiment so hateful and yet so formidable to the gates of hell, that all who believe what God has spoken are righteous. I shall not therefore darken so illustrious an exposition [of Gen. 15: 6] with any thing that I can offer. I shall therefore be brief. Read Paul, and read him with attention, and you will perceive that from this place he erects that chief article of our faith, so intolerable to the world and to Satan, that faith alone can justify; and that faith is to assent to the Divine promises, and to decide that they are true. From this foundation the author of the epistle to the Hebrews skilfully comprehends in the article faith the achievements of all the saints and affirms that all these things were done by faith. For without faith it is impossible to please God; and God, when he promises any thing, requires that we believe it, that is, we conclude it to be true by faith, and doubt not that the event will answer to the promise. If you inquire, therefore, whether before this period Abraham
charge is, that I have taught, that ' faith itself is imputed for righteous.
In regard to this I observe, 1. that so far as I am able to understand the Apostle Paul, this is his very language and senseRom. 4:3, `Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him (or imputed floyio In,) for righteousness. The word “it in our translation, I understand as referring, unquestionably, to the act of Abraham's mind; since bis strong act of faith was the subject, and the only subject of discussion. That it should refer to any thing else, seemed to me a departure from all the proper laws of interpretation,
-5. By being justified by faith, it is meant, that we are treated as righteous that we are forgiven,-that we are admitted to the fnvor of God, and treated as his friends.” Defence, pp. 160, 161, 166, 167,
were righteous, I answer, he was righteous because he believed God. This indeed the Spirit here wished to be plainly testified (because the promise is in relation to the spiritual seed, as is evident,) that they who embrace this seed, or those who believe in Jesus Christ, are righteous. Faith was strong in Abraham, when, being commanded, he left his country and wandered about in exile. But we are not all required to do the same thing: and hence he does not at that time add, Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness; but he adds it here in this place when he speaks of the heavenly seed; in order that the church in all ages might be confirmed. Because they, who, with Abraham, believe this promise, are truly righteous. The Holy Ghost wished to express this, in its own appropriate place clearly and unequivocally, that righteousness is nothing but to believe the promises of God."*
“ How therefore did Abrabam obtain righteousness? In this way alone, God spake, and he believed God speaking. But the Holy Spirit appears, (a witness worthy of belief,) and affirms that this believing, or this faith itself is righteousness. Or that it is by God himself imputed for righteousness, and that it is regarded as righteousness. But because the words which the Lord speaks, especially concern the spiritual seed, Christ; Paul unfolds this mystery, and openly declares that righteousness is by faith in Christ. In this doctrine, therefore, we acquiesce, nor can we suffer ourselves to be driven from it by the ravings of the devil, or of popes. One proof that Satan hates this doctrine is, that not only in our time does he with the greatest hostility contend against it, and impudently blaspheme and condemn it through his popish satellites ; but the Jewish rabbins here also make known their folly and the surious hatred which they bear to Christ. For they read this place as follows: Abraham believed in God and thought to him in righteousness : that is, he believed the Lord, and thought that he was righteous, and that he would grant to him a seed because he was righteous : that is, because he regarded the merits and holiness of father Abraham: an idea that is truly worthy of rabbins and enemies of Christ. For in this manner the whole doctrine is reversed; the promise and the grace is excluded, and human righteousness established; when Paul from this very place earnestly opposes this same sentiment as both false and impious.
* “Hoc vero est apostolice tractare scripturas, et statuere illam universalem sententiam ipsis inferorum portis formidabilem et invisam, quod omnes qui credunt verbo Dei, sunt justi. Ne igitur optimum interpraetem meis disputationibus obscurem, brevius hic ero. Vos Paulum legite, et legite attentissime, et videbitis ex boc loco estruere eum praecipuum nostrae fidei articulum, mundum et Satanae intolerabilem, quod sola fides justificet. Fidem autem esse promissionibus divinis assentiri, et statuere quod verae sint. Ex hoc fundamento author epistolae ad Hebraeos, erudite omnium sanctorum res gestas includit in fidem, et dicit, ex fide ab eis gesta esse omnia. Sine fide enim impossibile est placere Deo, et Deus cum proinitit aliquid, hoc exigit, ut id credamus, hoc est, ut verum esse fide statuamus, nec dubitemus eventum responsurum promissioni. Si interroges igitur an Abraham ante hoc tempus fuerit justus. Respondeo suit justus quia credidit Deo. Hic autem diserte id Spiritus Sanctus testari voluit, quia promissio est de spirituali semine, ut recta consequentia statuas, amplectentes hoc semen, seu credentes in Christum esse justos. Fuit fides in Abraha eximia, cum jussus deserit patriam, et se exilio committit. Sed non omnes jubemur idem facere : Ideo tum non addit, credidit Abraham Deo, et reputatum est ei ad justitiam. Hic autem addit cum de coelesti semine loquitur, ad ecclesiam omnium temporum confirmandum : quod qui cum Abraha huic promissioni credunt, vere sunt justi. Hanc sententiam in hoc tanquam maxime proprio loco voluit Spiritus Sanctus diserte et clare proponere, quod justitia nihil sit, nisi credere promittenti Deo." Ut supra, p. 55, 56.
“ About the word on, I shall not much contend; for whether you understand it as signifying to account, or to esteem, it amounts to the same. For when the Divine Being thinks of me that I am righteous, that my sins are forgiven, that I am freed from eternal death, and I, with thankfulness apprehend, as a matter of faith, this thought of God concerning me, truly I am righteous ; not indeed by my own works, but by that faith by which I apprehend the divine thought. For the thought of God is infallible truth : therefore when I lay hold on it, with a strong exercise of will, (not with a vague and doubtful opinion, I am righteous. For faith's a sure and certain belief, or confidence concerning God, that through Christ he is propitious, --that through Christ he thinks thoughts of peace concerning us, and not thoughts of affliction or of anger. For the thought or promise of God, and the faith by which I lay hold on that promise are related to each other. Paul therefore rightly translates the verb (Sun) by the verb, loyicio fat; because it also alludes to the thought as being a verb of accounting. For