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· It is the doctrine of our church, that baptism * duly administered confers justification.'
Baptism, rightly received, seals justification ; as Abraham's circumcision “sealed to him the right
eousness of the faith which he had yet being “ uncircumcised :” but God alone ' confers justi
cation,' and faith alone receives it. If our church does indeed teach,' that baptism duly adminis'tered confers justification ;' we should be glad to know in what part of her liturgy, articles, and homilies, this is found.
Let us attend to the words of this Article 2 in • the Latin, which is much clearer than the English: Tantum propter 'meritum Domini ac • Servatoris nostri, Jesu Christi, per fidem, non propter opera, et merita nostra, justi coram Deo reputamur : observe, that faith is not opposed to ' works, but the merit of Christ is opposed to the
merit of our works-propter meritum Christi' non propter opera et merita nostra- and it is per
fidem, not propter fidem. We are here said to * be justified on account of the merit of Christ, * through our own faith, and not on account of our own works or deservings. Our works never can have any merit towards procuring pardon of our sins, from their own intrinsic worth ; they cannot justify, or tend to justify us. Nor has
our faith any merit of this kind; we are not said 'to be justified propter meritum fidei, or propter ' fidem, but per fidem. The blood of our Lord " and Saviour Jesus Christ is the meritorious cause
of our justification ; but it operates through our faith, and through our faith only. If faith be ' wanting in those to whom the gospel is made
known, the merits of Christ are of no avail to them; and, if they have faith, no other pre* vious condition is required. “Wherefore, 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 jus'tification.'' 1
I quote this passage as conveying our sentiments. But, if we be justified by faith only, and ' if no previous condition be required ;' how can
baptism confer justification' on those who have previously believed, and consequently been justified?
* This is the only reference in the thirty-nine · Articles ; and the compilers of them seem to have been aware that the doctrine of justification by faith alone, though founded in scripture, and necessary to be maintained in opposition to Papists, was yet liable to misinterpretation, and required further explanation, than is consistent • with the brief declarations used in Articles of
religion. They therefore send us to the Ho‘mily, in which the subject of justification by ' faith is treated at large; and in which the true doctrine concerning the unworthiness of man,
and the worthiness of Christ, is clearly and 'strongly expressed.'2
After this introduction, his Lordship quotes a
Ref. 147, 148. Comp. Ref. 112.
passage from the Homily; but omits the beginning, which I beg leave to prefix.
Because all men be sinners and offenders against God, and breakers of his law and com• mandments, therefore can no man by his own acts, works, and deeds (seem they never so good,) be justified and made righteous before God: but every man of necessity is constrained to seek for another righteousness or justification, to be received at God's own hands, that is to say the forgiveness of his sins and trespasses, in such things as he hath offended. And this justification, or righteousness, which we so receive of God's mercy and Christ's merits, embraced by faith, is taken, accepted, and allowed of God, for our perfect and full justification. For the more full ' understanding hereof, it is our parts and duties
ever to remember the great mercy of God, how “that, all the world being wrapped in sin by break
ing of the law, God sent his only Son our Saviour * Christ into this world, to fulfil the law for us, and,
by shedding his most precious blood, to make • sacrifice and satisfaction, or, as it may be called, • amends to his Father for our sins, to assuage his 'wrath and indignation conceived against us for · the same. Insomuch that infants, being baptized and dying in their infancy, are by this sacrifice washed from their sins, brought to God's favour, • and made his children, and inheritors of his kingdom of heaven. And they which in act or deed do sin after their baptism, when they turn again to God unfeignedly, they are likewise washed by 'this sacrifice from their sins, in such sort that 'there remaineth not any spot of sin that shall
be imputed to their damnation. This is that ‘ justification or righteousness which St. Paul
speaketh of, when he saith, No man is justified by the works of the law, but freely by faith in Jesus Christ.'l
· Infants, being baptized, and dying in their infancy, are by this sacrifice' (not by baptism) washed from their sins.' There is no intimation, that sins before baptism are washed away by any other washing than sins after baptism ; but both by the sacrifice of Christ.-In another part of the same Homily, we read thus : “The apostle toucheth
specially three things, which must go together in our justification.2 Upon God's part, his great mercy and grace : upon Christ's part, justice ; that is, 'the satisfaction of God's justice, or the price of our redemption, by the offering of his body, and shedding of his blood, with fulfilling of the law
perfectly and throughly: and upon our part, true ' and lively faith in the merits of Jesus Christ.'
St. Paul declareth here nothing upon the behalf ‘of man, concerning his justification, but only a
true and lively faith, which nevertheless is the 'gift of God, and not man's only work without • God. And
And yet that faith doth not shut out repentance, hope, love, dread and the fear of God, ' to be joined with faith, in every man that is justi
Homily on Salvation, Part I.-Both the Article and his Lordship call this The Homily of Justification:' yet in the Book of Homilies it is called A Sermon on the salvation of 'mankind by only Christ our Saviour, from sin and death ever• lasting :' and there is no homily called The Homily of Justi• fication. It does not appear how or when the title was altered.
,? Rom. iii. 19–26. X. 4.
fied; but it shutteth them out from the office of `justifying. So that, although they be all present
together in him that is justified, yet they justify ' not altogether. Neither doth faith shut out the `justice of our good works, necessarily to be done
afterwards of duty towards God ; (for we are most • bounden to serve God, in doing good deeds, com‘manded by him in his holy scripture, all the days
of our life ;) but it excludeth them, so that we may not do them to this intent, to be made just by doing them.'—Christ is now the righteousness of all them that truly do believe in him. He for them paid their ransom by his death : he for them fulfilled the law in his life; so that now, ‘in him, and by him, every true Christian man 'may be called a fulfiller of the law; forasmuch as that which their infirmity lacked, Christ's justice · hath supplied. If good works had, in the judgment of our reformérs, been needful for this special purpose, in order to continue a justified man in a justified state, they would surely have given some hint of this, when directly speaking of the necessity of good works in a justified person, and of the good works done after justification.-They are needful for important purposes, yet not for this; at least in the sense contended for in the Refutation. But I trust that what his Lordship has said concerning this Homily, as introducing his quotation from it, will induce all his readers to study the whole of it and of those connected with it, carefully and diligently, for themselves.