« PreviousContinue »
therefore ought in any wife to be carefully perus’d, before a Man passes a Judgment upon the Doctrin of this Article.
Now whosoever has read the aforesaid Homily, must have observ’d, 1. That (in how different Senses soever the Word may be used in either Scripture or other Writers) yet our Church does in this Homily, and consequently in this Article also, by Justification most certainly mean being in a State of Favor with God, being accounted righteous before him, having our Sins forgiven, so that they shall not be imputed to us. 2. That when our Church condemns the Doctrin of Justification by Works, she does not deny the Neceflity of our living in Obedience to God's Laws, as that without which we cannot possibly be saved; but the denies, that any Works of ours are strictly good, or have a real Worth of their own, so as to merit or deserve Remission of our Sins upon their own account. 3. That by Faith our Church means not the bare Act of Believing, as separate from other Instances of Obedience; but a lively Faith, a Faith that works by Love, and is accompanied with every Branch of Gospel Holiness. 4. That when she asserts and maintains Justification by Faith, she does not mean, that Faith is of it self meritorious, or can deserve Remission of Sins at God's hand; but that we do by Faith lay hold upon the Merits of Christ, by whom alone our Peace with God is made, and for whose Sake alone we are justified. Faich therefore is the Instrument by which a Man applies to himself the Virtue of Christ's Sacrifice. And consequently, s. When the Church teacherh Justification by Faith only, she does in reality mean the very same, as if she had faid, We are justified by Chrift only, that is, to use (a) her own Expressions, 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 Savior Christ only, and by no Virtue and good Works of our own, that 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.
From whence it follows, that when Justification by Faith, is by our Church oppos'd to Justification by Works, the Word By is used in different Senses, and consequently the Opposition is not exact. For Works are by our Adversaries consider'd as the meritorious Cause of Justification, and the Word By expresses their meritorious Caufality : whereas Faith is not by us consider'd as the meritorious Çause of Justification (and consequently the Word By does not express their meritorious Causality) but as the Instrument by which Christ's Satisfaction is applied to particular Persons; and consequently the Word By, when applied to Faith, expresses (what I may call) the instrumental Causality, or the applicatory Cause of our Justification. Wherefore, when our Church saies, we are justified by Christ's Merits only, in Opposition to our Adversaries, who say, we are justified by our own Works (in what Measure or Degree, is another Question) there is a direct Opposition; and then the Word By in both contradictory Oppositions is used in the same Sense : but not otherwise.
From what has been said, our Church's Intention and Doctrin about Justification by Faith are abundantly manifeft, tho' they are unhappily worded. And the Truth is, , St. Paul having spoken so much of Justification by Faith, in a Sense which the Compilers of our Articles and Homilies do not
Jure or Demultified by our onto our Advered by Cbrift";
(A) Homily of Salvation, Third Part, near the beginning.
seem throughly to have understood, occasion'd theni, in Opposition to a most notorious Falshood
and most pernicious Doctrin of the Papists, to exi press the real Truth in the Apostle's own Phrase : * but in a Sense, tho' in no wise contrary to, yet
somewhat different from, what he (as later Writers have evidently shewn) did most certainly intend thereby.
These things being premis’d, I proceed to the Propositions contain'd in this Article.
The First Proposition. The Reason of it is plain, because (according to what I observ'd upon the foregoing Article) our own Works are not ftri&tly good. But see the Second Question of Turretin's Locus Decimus fextus.
The Second Proposition. See the same Author in the Third Question of the same Locus. For since our own Works are excluded in the foregoing Question, and there is no Pretence of any other Mediator ; therefore we are justified by Christ only.
The Third Proposition. See the same Person in the Seventh Question of the same Locus.
The Fourth Proposition is the necessary Conse. quence of the other Three. For if the Doctrin of Justification, as taught in the Homily referr'd to, is proved in the forecited Places of Turretin ; 'tis confequently wholsom, because true, and founded on the Holy Scriptures. And it cannot but be full of Comfort also, because it assures us of Happiness upon such infallible Grounds, as the Malice of Men and Devils can't affect or undermine.
The Reader should also compare the Fourth Chapter of the Sixth Book of Limborch's System, with those Parts of Turretin whịch I have just now referi'd to
The TWELFTH ARTICLE
Of good Works. A LBEIT that good works, which are the fruits of
A faith, and follow after Fustification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment ; get are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do Spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, infomucb that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known, as a tree discerned by the fruit.
This Article contains Four Propositions.
low after Justification.
endure the severity of God's Judgment. 3. Good Works are pleasing and acceptable to
God in Christ. 4. Good Works do spring out necessarily of a
true and lively Faith, insomuch that by them
For the better understanding this Article, the Terins and Distinctions premised in the Tenth Article must be carefully observed. It must also be farther noted, 1. That our Church does not allow any Works, which are done before Juftification, to be soʻmuch as imputatively good ; as ap. pears from the Thirteenth Article. 2. That by faith, in the former Part of this Article, our Church means a lively faith, as she expresses her self in the latter Part of it. 3. That those Works which she calls good, meaning that they are imputatively such,
are Works performed in Obedience to God's Com. mandments. These things being premised,
are speciously offelves, or upon their
The First Proposition has Two Branches. First Good Works (that is, Works imputatively good, and perform'd in Obedience to God's Commandments) are the Fruits of Faith. See the Tenth Chapter of the Fifth Book of Limborch's System. Secondly, good Works follow after Justification, that is, those Works or Instances of Obedience to God's Commandments, which follow after Justification, are imputatively good. See the Fourth Question of Turretin's Locus Decimus Teptimus. · The Second has also Two Branches, the last of which depends on the First. Good Works cannot endure the Severity of God's Judgment. That is, Because those Works, which we perform, are not strictly good, tho they are Speciously or comparatively such"; therefore they cannot in themselves, or upon their own account, or real and intrinsic Worth, endure the Severity of God's Judgment, which must needs discover and condemn the Imperfection of them. See the Second Question of Turretin's Locus Decimus feptimus. From whence it necessarily follows, that good Works cannot put away our Sins, or merit our Pardon for former evil Actions. For that which is it self so imperfect, as in its own Nature to need Pardon ; can't merit Pardon for something else.
The Third Proposition. See the Third Question of Turretin's Locus Decimus Septimus. For God can't be suppos'd to have made that necessary to Salva. tion, which is not pleasing and acceptable to him, self. And that good Works are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, is evident. Because, since they cannot of themselves endure the Severity of God's Wrath, they can't be pleasing and accepta