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that we are justified by faith only is a most
wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort, as 'more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.' Art. xi.
"3. Does not true conversion include in its essence, faith, repentance, supreme rcguid to God, ' and therein a disposition of heart to cvery good ' word and work?'
Is it not equally clear that the scriptures connect justification with faith, not only more frequently than they even seem to do with any other Christian grace, but in quite another manner? Conversion in the days of the apostles, was so striking a change, that, if your querist's expression would have conveyed clearly their ideas, they would on some occasions at least, have adopted it; yet we never read of being justified by true conversion.-But,' say some, revolving ages have changed almost every thing, and, among the rest, , men's way of expressing themselves.' Let it however be remembered, that Christianity introduced so many new ideas into the world, at least among the gentiles, that the apostles were under the necessity of using many words in almost an entirely new sense, and even of naturalizing terms or modes of expression from the Hebrew, in order to convey their meaning. Now, if they did not this by divine inspiration, who shall presume, without inspiration, to modernize their language, according to the reasonings or taste of men, now called Christians.
4. “Why continually recur to the ambiguous · phrase of being justified by faith only, which may be well meant and ill understood, since no true convert is possessed of faith only, and none 'but a true convert is justified ?'
St. Paul does not, it is allowed, use the word only or alone, when treating on the subject of justification : but he always ascribes it to faith, and never to repentance, love, &c; and he carefully excludes every thing which at that time he supposed any one would be tempted to join with it. It is not indeed worth while to contend about a word, without which the apostle maintained his doctrine; yet, circumstanced as our reformers were, (and perhaps the present defenders of their doctrine may add, circumstanced as we are, the use of it formed the most compendious and explicit way of distinguishing between their doctrine and that of their opponents : and I cannot but think they acted wisely, in adding the word only, not to prove their doctrine, but to shew their precise meaning.
But neither the apostle, nor our reformers, intended to say that faith subsists alone in any justified person ; for such a solitary faith is dead, and cannot justify. As, however, in a living man, there are many members, senses, and faculties, and each has its proper function, which none of the rest can perform ; so, in the true Christian, there are many co-existent graces, but each has its proper office, to which all others are entirely unsuited.—Love is greater than either faith or hope, being the image of God, the essence of holiness, and eternal in its duration ; yet it cannot justify a sinner. Now the reason of this is very plain and simple. “ Therefore it is of faith, that “ it might be by grace.” The free mercy of God, contrary to our deservings, is the source of our justification. “We are justified freely by his
grace.” The righteousness and atonement of Emmanuel are the meritorious cause of our justification. “ We are made the righteousness of “ God in him." “ For the wages of sin is death; “ but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus “ Christ our Lord.” This gift of God is reported and proposed in the gospel; now only faith can receive the report, credit the testimony, apply for the gift, place confidence in the faithfulness of God the giver, and renouncing all self-dependence, entrust the soul and its eternal interests, into the hands of Christ. And as this is the case, we are justified by faith, and not by any other Christian grace, or all others compendiously considered.
I would just observe, that, if St. Paul had admitted of the way of settling this most important controversy, for the sake of peace, which many now adopt, and which your querist seems rather to approve, it would have been unnecessary for him to argue the point so largely and earnestly, as he does in his epistles to the Romans and the Galatians. What, on this ground, could he mean by the vehement language, in the opening of the latter epistle, which he repeatedly uses ? what, by the strong assertion in the beginning of the fifth chapter? Circumcision, and observing the legal ceremonies, if considered as matters of expediency, excluded no man from the grace of the gospel; but, when any one joined them with faith, and depended on them in any degree for justification, he virtually renounced the covenant
of grace, and became a debtor to do the whole law. I would also ask your querist, if he still hesitate, what was the precise point at issue between the reformers and the church of Rome, on justification, but that which constitutes the subject of his inquiry :-I shall conclude with a passage from the judicious Hooker, the most conceding of those who opposed the papists in the age in which he lived, as containing in itself a short but striking statement of this controverted subject. • It is a childish cavil wherewith, in the matter of justification, our adversaries do so greatly please themselves, exclaiming that we tread all • Christian virtues under our feet, and require
nothing of Christians but faith ; because we teach that faith alone justifieth. Whereas by • this speech we never meant to exclude either hope or charity from being always joined as inseparable mates with faith in the man that is justified, or works from being added as necessary
duties required at the hands of every justi'fied person : but to shew that faith is the only hand that putteth on Christ unto justification ; and Christ the only garment which, being so put oņ, covereth the shame of our defiled natures, hideth the imperfection of our works, preserveth us blameless in the sight of God; before whom, otherwise, the weakness of our faith alone 'were cause sufficient to make us culpable, yea, " to shut us out of the kingdom of heaven, where nothing that is not absolute can enter.'
'Hooker's Works, folio, 1682, p. 508, 509.
ON IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS.
The Serious Inquirer, in your number for January last, seems to have received some instructions concerning' faith in the righteousness of Christ,' which many who are zealous for that doctrine do not insist upon; and which are not, as they conceive, at all essential to it, or indeed implied in it. Content with the language of the apostle, “ We “ are made the righteousness of God in him ; with that of our articles,' We are accounted
righteous before God only for the merit of our ‘Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not
for our own works or deservings;' we do not say, that' we have perfectly fulfilled all righteousness in him ;' which phrase does not so well express the idea of imputation as that of personal obedience.
Perhaps your correspondent does not exactly mark the line of distinction between being accounted righteous and being made holy : for, if he did, he would hardly suppose that being accounted righteous implied being really with
out spot before God;' for this expression, as I understand it, signifies being perfected in holiness. 1
I consider the righteousness of Christ, or his