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what sense we are said to be justified by faith, and what is intended by the faith which justifies. By the faith which justifies is not intended merely simple belief, or the assent of the understanding to the facts and doctrines of Christianity: there may be this, in the absence of that “ beliering in the heart to righteousness," on which St. Paul insists as essential to salvation. (Rom. x. 9, 10.) True faith, to which the Scriptures attribute justification and everlasting salvation, is thus explained in the language of the Reformers in the homilies of the church of England :
“ 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 Saviour Christ only; and by no virtue or good work of our own in us, or that we can be able to have or do, for to deserve the same, Christ himself only being the meritorious cause thereof."
“ The only mean and instrument of salvation required of our parts is faith : that is to say, a true trust and confidence in the mercies of God; whereby we persuade ourselves, that God both hath and will forgive our sins; that he hath accepted us ngnin into his favour; that he hath released us from the bonds of damnation, and received us again into the number of his elect people, not for our merits or deserts, but only and solely for the
* Hom. iii. 3.
merits of Christ's death and passion—this faith is required at our hands.” *
The faith that justifies, by which we become interested in the merits of Christ, is trust in the Saviour; it is connected with a feeling of worthlessness and insufficiency in ourselves, leading us on the one hand to renounce all trust in any righteousness of our own, and on the other, to place our whole dependance on what Christ has done and suffered for our salvation. The following observations of Tindal, the martyr, are beauti. ful and important, as illustrating the doctrine of justification by faith as held by the church of England.
Mark, therefore, the way towards justifying or forgiveness of sin, is the law. God causeth the law to be preached unto us, and writeth it in our hearts, and maketh us by good reasons feel that the law is good, and ought to be kept, and that they which keep it not are worthy to be damned. And on the other side, I feel that there is no power in
* Hom. xxv. 2. Dr. Gregory, in his Life of Dr. Good, says, “In the New Testament the words πιστις and πιστεύω, are never used to express belief in any fact, that is not fitted to excite confidence in God or
in Christ. Out of one hundred and thirty instances of their occurrence, there is only one that is at all doubtful. This is momentous, as it serves to prove that faith goes far beyond mere assent or belief, and confirms, as Dr. Watts remarks, the constant sentiment of our Protestant divines in their opposition to the Papists, that, ' fides est fiducia.'
me to keep the law; whereupon it would shortly follow that I should despair, if I were not shortly holpen. But, God which hath begun to cure me, and hath laid that corrosive unto my sores, goeth forth in his cure, and setteth his Son Jesus before me, and all his passions and death, and saith to me, This is my dear Son, and he hath prayed for thee, and hath suffered all this for thee, and for his sake I will forgive thee all that thou hast done against this good law, and I will heal thy flesh, and teach thee to keep this law, if thou wilt learn. And I will bear with thee, and take all aworth that thou doest, till thou canst do better. And in the mean season, notwithstanding thy weakness, I will yet love thee no less than I do the angels in heaven, so thou wilt be diligent to learn. And I will assist thee, keep thee, and defend thee, and be thy shield, and care for thee.
“' And the heart here beginneth to mollify and wax soft, and to receive health, and believeth the mercy of God, and in believing is saved from the fear of everlasting death, and made sure of everlasting life ; and then, being overcome with this kindness, beginneth to love again, and to submit herself unto the laws of God, to learn them, and to walk in them.
“ Note now the order : first, God giveth me light to see the goodness and righteousness of the law, and mine own sin and unrighteousness. Out of which knowledge springeth repentance. Now repentance teacheth me not that the law is good, and I evil, but is a light that the Spirit of God hath given me, out of which light, repentance springeth.
“ Then the same Spirit worketh in mine heart trust and confidence to believe the mercy of God and his truth, that he will do as he hath promised ; which belief saveth me. And immediately out of that trust springeth love towards the law of God again. And whatsoever a man worketh of any other love, it pleaseth not God, nor is that love godly
“ Now love doth not receive this mercy, but faith only, out of which faith love springeth; by which love I pour out again upon my neighbour that goodness which I have received of God by faith. Hereof ye see that I cannot be justified without repentance, and yet repentance justifieth me not. And hereof ye see that I cannot have a faith to be justified and saved, except love spring thereof immediately; and yet love justifieth me not before God. For my natural love to God again doth not make me first see and feel the kindness of God in Christ, but faith through preaching. For we love not God first, to compel him to love again ; but he loved us first, and gave his Son for us, that we might see, love, and love again, saith St. John in his first epistle. Which love of God to usward, we receive by Christ through faith, saith Paul.
“ And this example have I set out for them in divers places, but their blind Popish eyes have no power to see it, covetousness hath so blinded them. And when we say, faith only justifieth us, that is to say, receiveth the mercy wherewith God justifieth us and forgiveth us, we mean not faith which hath no repentance, and faith which hath no love unto the laws of God again and unto good works, as wicked hypocrites falsely belie us.
For then, how should we suffer as we do, all misery, to call the blind and ignorant unto repentance and good works, which now do but consent unto all evil, and study mischief all day long, for all their preaching the justifying of good works.”
The church of Rome, in her zeal for the doctrine of the efficacy of human merit, labours to overthrow the doctrine of justification by faith, by teaching that faith, as a virtue including every other grace, is an efficient and meritorious cause of our obtaining acceptance with God and the pardon of sins—thus faith is exalted into a work, the worth and dignity of which merits salvation. In holy Scripture faith is often put for the object of faith. Thus faith is said to be “ accounted for righteousness,” because it receives and relies on Christ and his righteousness. Thus our Lord often attributed that to the faith of those who applied to him for benefits, which only belongs to himself, “ that faith might be honoured and encouraged, that its necessity might be made prominent, and