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to pay any part towards their ransom, it pleased our heavenly Father of his infinite mercy, without any our desert or deserving, to prepare for us the most precious jewels of Christ's body and blood, whereby our ransom might be fully paid, the law fulfilled, and his justice fully satisfied. So that 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 lacketh, Christ's justice hath supplied.” *
“ Justification is not the office of man, but of God; for man cannot make himself righteous by his own works, neither in part nor in the whole, for that were the greatest arrogancy and presumption of man that Antichrist could set up against God, to affirm that a man might by his own works take away and
purge his own sins, and so justify himself. But justification is the office of God only, and is not a thing which we render unto him, but which we receive of him; not which we give to him, but which we take of him, by his free mercy, and by the only merits of bis most dearly beloved Son, our only Redeemer, Saviour, and Justifier, Jesus Christ.” +
“ To have any affiance, or to put any confidence in our works, as by the merit and deserving of them, to purchase to ourselves and others remission of sin, and so consequently everlasting life, were mere blasphemy against God's mercy, and great derogation to the blood-shedding of our Saviour Jesus Christ. For it is of the free grace and mercy of God, by the mediation of the blood of his Son Jesus Christ, without merit or deserving on our part, that our sins are forgiven us; that we are reconciled and brought again into his favour, and are made heirs of his heavenly kingdom.
* Homily of Salvation, Part I. + Hom. iii. 2.
The same doctrine runs through the whole of the Liturgy of the church of England. While the devotional formularies of tbe church of Rome, in consistency with her belief respecting the way of justification before God, lead her members to plead human merit for the remission of sin, the formularies of the church of England teach us to plead the merit of the Saviour alone. “ In the name, and for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord,” is the lead. ing feature of all her prayers. No creature merit is once mentioned in her petitions for divine mercy
In the service for the communion, there is the most distinct renunciation of self-righteousness, and the most pointed recognition of entire and simple dependence on the merits of the Saviour. In inviting us to partake of the holy communion, we are admonished, that it is “ to be received in remembrance of Christ's meritorious cross and passion, whereby alone we obtain remission of our
* Hom. xvi. 1.
sins, and are made partakers of the kingdom of heaven.” When we draw near to the sacramental feast, the church thus instructs us to confess : “ We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies.” In the prayer after the communion, there is the same renunciation of all self-righteousness—“ We most humbly beseech God to grant, that, by the merits and death of his Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we may obtain remission of our sins :”—again we beseech him, “ not to weigh our merits, but to pardon our offences through Jesus Christ.”
The same doctrine of a sinner's justification before God through the merits of Christ alone, by faith, which is taught with so much clearness in her articles and formularies now in use, was held by the church of England before and after the Conquest. In the days of Anselme, Archbishop of Canterbury, about the year 1080, there was in use a prescribed form of prayer for the visitation of the sick, from which this is most evident. The priest asked the sick person,
« Dost thou believe to come to glory, not by thine own merits, but by the virtue and merit of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ? Dost thou believe that our Lord Jesus Christ did die for our salvation, and that none can be saved by his own merits, or by any other means but by the merit of his passion ?” On the sick person an
swering, “ All this I believe,” the priest was commanded to instruct and comfort him in the following words :--"Go to, therefore, as long as thy soul remaineth in thee, place thy whole confidence in his death only, have confidence in no other thing, commit thyself wholly to his death, with this alone cover thyself wholly, intermingle thyself wholly in this death, wrap thy whole self in this death : and if thy Lord God will judge thee, say, Lord, I appose (put) the death of our Lord Jesus Christ betwixt me and thy judgment, and no otherwise do I contend with thee. And if he say unto thee, that thou art a sinner, say, Lord, I put the death of our Lord Jesus Christ betwixt thee and my sins.
sins. If he
say unto thee, Thou hast deserved damnation ; say, Lord, I set the death of our Lord Jesus Christ betwixt thee and my bad merits, and I offer his merit instead of the merits which I ought to have, but yet have not. If he say, that he is angry
with thee, say, Lord, I interpose the death of our Lord Jesus Christ betwixt me and thine anger.
The church of England, in accordance with holy Scripture, maintains, that justification before God is “by faith.” The following declarations of sacred Scripture are decisive on this point—“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law,
“ Via Tuta, Via Devia,” by Sir Humphrey Lynde, p. 61, 62; a work of singular merit, and which deserves to be extensively known and read by all who desire further information on the Romish controversy.
but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law." (Gal. ii. 16.) Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. v. 1.) By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. ii. 8, 9.)
« Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith, without works of law, xwpis špywv vóuov.” (Rom. iii. 28.) The church of Rome is opposed to the doctrine of Scripture on this point ; in the following canon of the Trent Council she declares-" If any one shall say, that justifying faith is nothing else than a trust in the divine mercy, remitting sin for Christ's sake, or that it is faith alone by which we are justified let him be accursed.” The church of Rome, therefore, attributes justification to the use of the sacraments, (ex opere operató,) to works of obedience, and to those other Christian graces which constitute the real Christian, to all which, as well as faith, they attribute merit as entitling to the favour of God and eternal life ; in this way, confounding sanctification with justification, they repudiate the Scripture doctrine of justification by faith alone, , and charge Protestants who hold it as trampling upon all Christian virtues and all moral obligations.
It is, then, of great importance to inquire in