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the honour of the reviled Saviour, and of love to the soul of his fellow-sufferer.—“ Behold he pray“ eth!” He “ called on the name of the Lord “Jesus," “Lord, remember me, when thou com“ est into thy kingdom.”2 But “whosoever “ calleth on the name of the Lord shall be saved." -Each of these circumstances was sufficient to distinguish his faith in Christ from a dead and inefficacious assent to the truth of the gospel. Indeed, it may be questioned, whether he did not do more honour to Christ, during the short space allotted him, than many Christians do in a long course of years.
This statement may shew that some of us at least are as unwilling as our opponents can be to admit, that solitary faith, faith which is not attended with true repentance, and productive of good works, is sufficient for salvation. “ It is dead
being alone;" and can no more justify a man than an amputated hand can work, or an eye separated from the head can see.
Had the thief merely said, however confidently, “I believe that ' Jesus is the Messiah ;' it might have been thought that he did not understand the nature of the Messiah's kingdom ; but had the same worldly notions of it which the Jews in general entertained. But what could a dying malefactor expect from a crucified Messiah, as to this world? He did not say, “ If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us :" but, “ Lord, remember me when thou comest into
thy kingdom.” It is manifest that, being “taught “ of God,” he believed in Jesus as “the Author
'Luke xxiii. 39_-43.
“of eternal salvation,” as “ the Saviour of the “ lost ;” and that he understood the spiritual nature of his kingdom, more clearly than the apostles themselves at that time did, who could not conceive how his “coming into his kingdom ” could consist with his dying on the cross. He called on Jesus (with desire, and some feeble hope at least,) for salvation from wrath and sin, and for the blessings of his heavenly kingdom; while he confessed himself so atrociously wicked that he deserved crucifixion from man, and condemnation from God. He hoped for eternal salvation from one expiring on a cross. Thus he honoured Christ, who did not disappoint his expectations. Had he been taken down from the cross, and lost this faith, or not shewn it by his subsequent works,“ he
should have lost his salvation again.' But the question is, whether such a faith is ever lost. “I “ have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.”
· The reference to the Homily upon justification was in the Articles of 1552; but our reformers 'in 1562, as a farther caution, added the xiith
Article, no part of which was in the Articles of * 1552, and which may be considered as expla
natory of the species of faith, of which they • intended to speak in the preceding Articles, the ' word faith being there used without any epithet. • In the xiith Article it is said, ' Albeit that good works cannot put away our sins, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith :' the Popish doctrine of human merit is here again condemned, for the purpose of declaring that,
though good works possess no power to atone ‘for sin, yet they are pleasing and acceptable to 'God, and arise necessarily out of a true and lively · faith. This Article, therefore, plainly shews that * the faith, by which in the preceding Article we
are said to be justified, is a faith productive of a holy and virtuous life, and not a faith which bringeth forth no good works, but is idle, barren and unfruitful, consisting only in believing in the word of God.'1
The addition of the 12th Article was made with great wisdom and propriety; and without it the system would have been incomplete, and nothing can more exactly express our sentiments than it does.—The doctrine of human merit is indeed popish ; but it is held in some form or other by a vast proportion of nominal protestants, and by persons of various religions all over the world. Our Articles and Homilies were levelled against the sentiment, by whomsoever held, and not exclusively against the Papists. Their opinions are like those of the Jews in the time of our Lord and his apostles; and the opinions of vast multitudes, in every age and nation, in this respect resemble their's.
If, however, the framers of our Articles had said, “We are not justified by faith only,' instead of saying, as they have done,' We are justified by faith only, they might, as we have seen, • equally have pleaded the authority of an apostle for the assertion. Both propositions are true;
1 Ref. 157-159.
' and the seeming contradiction between them, arises from the different senses in which the word faith is used.'1
Had the framers of our Articles said, 'We are ' not justified in the sight of God by faith alone ; they would have found much difficulty in adducing any scriptural authority in their favour. What they have said sufficiently proves that they understood St. James as not meaning any thing inconsistent with the doctrine of St. Paul, in this argu ment; though, probably, they would not all have made out the agreement in exactly the same manner, any more than we now do.
St. James says that a man is not justified by · faith only, but St. Paul does not expressly say ' that a man is justified by faith only; his words are, “ by faith without the deeds of the law.” In no part however of his epistles does he mention
any thing but faith as necessary to justification, because, when he speaks of the justification of * Christians, he always means the justification con· ferred by baptism.'2
The apostles never say, in so many words, that we are justified by faith only, or alone : and the language of our Article, in which this is expressly stated, is a decided proof, in what sense the framers of it understood the apostolical language.
Because, when he speaks,' &c. In what part of St. Paul's epistles does he so much as hint, that the justification of which he speaks is “the justi'fication conferred by baptism?' or where does
he mention baptism in connexion with justification? Assertion is easy, but proof is wanting; and very clear and conclusive proof in such a case as this.—If, as pædobaptists in general contend, the infants of believing parents were baptized in the days of the apostles ; could these infants be justified in baptism and by faith at the same time?
· These men believing, but not obeying the gospel, have the faith meant by St. James, which does not justify; but they have not the faith ' meant by St. Paul, which does justify. But, if a
person of this description become convinced of “the evil of his ways, be sincerely penitent, and ' feela true and lively faith in Christ, he is then justified from all the sins he has committed, being accounted righteous before God for the 'merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.'3
This is accurately stated, according to our sentiments. Whether faith ever rises from a dead to a living faith, shall not be here disputed. We hope it is often exchanged for a living faith. Of this there is much clearer and fuller proof than that a living faith ever degenerates into a dead faith.
• True Christian faith, and good works pleasant ' and acceptable to God, are in their own nature ' inseparable. True faith produces good works as naturally as a tree produces its fruit: good
See Catechism, on Sacraments, 6th and 7th Questions and Answers. ? See B. I. c. ii. & 12.: On Internal Feelings.
* Ref. 159, 160: