Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles – Article XI (Part 1)

Article XI.

Of the Justification of Man.

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: 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 Justification.

De Hominis Justificatione.

TANTUM propter meritum Domini et Servatoris nostri Jesu Christi, per fidem, non propter opera et merita nostra, justi coram Deo reputamur. Quare sola fide nos justificari, doctrina est saluberrima, ac consolationis plenissima, ut in homilia de justificatione hominis fusius explicatur.

Section I. — History.

IT is probable that natural religion inclines all men, uninstructed by Revelation, to seek for pardon and acceptance with God, either by attempting to live up to His law, or by making some personal sacrifices as an atonement for offences against it. The robe laid before the statue of Athena, or the hecatomb offered to Phœbus, were to compensate for sins against their divinity.

If we look to Jewish history, we shall find the prophets remonstrating with the Israelites for thinking that ceremonial observances would satisfy for the breach of God’s commandments, and their sincerest penitents acknowledging that sacrifices would not profit them, but that they needed to be purged as with hyssop, and new created in heart (Psalm li.). Hence we may readily see, that the temptation of the Jews was to seek God’s favour, when they had fallen from it, by ceremonial rites, without sufficient reference to the spirit of the ritual; as with many it was to seek the same favor by a rigid observance of a mere formal obedience, such as our Lord reproves in the Pharisees, and as St. Paul declares to have been the cause of the fall of his countrymen (Rom. ix. 31, 32). The Rabbins appear to have taught that a man’s good deeds would be weighed against his bad; and that if the former preponderated, he would be accepted and rewarded.[1] And forgetting or neglecting the spiritual significance of their prophecies and sacrifices, they expected a Messiah indeed, but a triumphant conqueror, not one who by His death would expiate their sins; and so the Cross of Christ was a stumbling-block and offence to them. They were profoundly ignorant that Christ should be to them “the end of the Law for righteousness,” that by Him alone all who believed in Him should receive justification and life.[2]

It has been thought also, that some among the Jews held that a man would be saved, even without holiness, who simply embraced the creed of Abraham, acknowledging the unity of the Godhead and the Resurrection of the dead; a view which seems to have been adopted by Mohammed in the Koran. Accordingly, it has been said, that, as St. Paul in his Epistles condemned the former error of his fellow-countrymen, so St. James directed his Epistle against the latter: the one showing, that neither ceremonial observances nor legal obedience could satisfy the demands of God’s justice, but that an atonement and true faith were necessary; the other, that a mere creed was not calculated to please God, when the life was not consistent with it.[3]

The sentiments of the fathers on the subject of justification have afforded matter for much discussion. According to some, they taught nearly the doctrine of the Council of Trent; according to others, they nearly spoke the language of Luther. The truth appears to lie in neither of these statements. Justification had not been in early times the cause of much debate. No fierce contests had arisen upon it. Hence, no need was felt for accurate definitions concerning it. The statements of the fathers are therefore generally rather practical than formal. They dwell much on the Atonement, and the meritorious cause of pardon; so much so, that they could see the Blood of Christ in the scarlet thread which Rahab tied in her window, and His Cross in the stretched out hands of Moses, when Israel prevailed over Midian.[4] But they do not appear ever to have entered thoroughly into the question of justification, as it was afterwards debated in the time of the schoolmen, and, still more, of the reformers.

It is remarkable, that probably the most express statement on the subject which occurs in all the writings of the fathers, is to be found in the very earliest of all, Clement of Rome. Speaking of faithful men of old, he writes, “They were all therefore greatly glorified, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness that they themselves wrought; but through His will. And we also, being called by the same will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, neither by our own wisdom, or knowledge, or piety, or any works which we did in holiness of heart, but by that faith by which God Almighty has justified all men from the beginning: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”[5]

The passage is important, not only because of its antiquity, but because of its distinctness. The word “justify” appears to be used, as our Article uses it, for “to account righteous;” not, as the Council of Trent, for “to make righteous” by infusion of holiness; and the instrument of such justification is declared to be and ever to have been, not “wisdom, knowledge, piety, or works done in holiness of heart, but” “faith.”[6]

With regard to the statements of the later fathers, we must carefully bear in mind, that, without question, they attributed the salvation of man solely and perfectly to the Blood of Christ; that they did not look to be saved because they had deserved salvation, but because Christ had satisfied for their sins; but though this is thus far plain, it will not enable us to come to any certain conclusion as to their views concerning the doctrine of justification scholastically considered.

Such passages as the following show the spirit of the fathers, as regards their reliance on the Atonement of Christ. “Let us without ceasing hold steadfastly to Him, who is our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, even Jesus Christ, who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree; who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; but suffered all for us that we might live through Him.”[7]

“For this cause did our Lord vouchsafe to give up His Body to destruction, that through the forgiveness of our sins we might be sanctified; that is, by the sprinkling of His Blood.”[8]

“By His stripes healing is conferred on all who come to the Father by Him.”[9]

“All men fall short of the glory of God, and are justified not by themselves, but by the coming of the Lord.”[10]

“I will not glory because I am righteous, but because I am redeemed. I will glory, not because I am free from sins, but because my sins are forgiven me; not because I have profited, nor because any one hath profited me, but because Christ is my Advocate with the Father, and because Christ’s Blood hath been shed for me.”[11]

“Our righteousness . . . . is such in this life that it consists rather in remission of sins than in perfection of virtue.”[12]

“Not to commit sin, is the righteousness of God; but man’s righteousness consists in the mercy of God.”[13]

Thus far it is plain that the fathers believed what the Scriptures taught and what the Article of our Church maintains, that “we are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and not for our own works or deservings.” And if anywhere they seem to speak a language not strictly in accordance with this doctrine, we ought in fairness to conclude that they do not mean really to contradict themselves, though they speak broadly and as the Scriptures speak, concerning the necessity of that “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” But when we come to technical terms, and express definitions, we shall find considerable difficulty in ascertaining the sense attached to them in the patristic writings. We have already seen something like a distinct statement in Clement of Rome, and something nearly approaching it may be found in those who followed him. A few examples I have thrown into the note.[14] Yet it seems, on a general examination of the most remarkable passages from the ancient writings on this subject, that it is extremely difficult to say whether the fathers always understood the word “justification” in a forensic sense, as signifying acquittal from guilt and imputation of righteousness, or rather, as, in addition to that, containing in it the notion of infusion of righteousness. It has already been observed that we must not expect in their words the precision of controversy, where no controversy had been raised. In order of time, acquittal from guilt and infusion of righteousness (or what in modern Theology have been called justification and sanctification) go together, and are never separated. Therefore, though at times the fathers seem to use the term “justification” merely in its forensic sense, yet sometimes they speak too as if it included the idea of making just, as well as of esteeming just.

For example, in one place St. Chrysostom (on Rom. viii. 33: “It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth?”) writes: “He does not say, it is God that forgave our sins, but, what is much greater, It is God that justifieth. For when the Judge’s sentence declares us just (δικαίους ἀποϕαίνει), and such a Judge too, what signifieth the accuser?”[15] Here he seems to speak as if he considered justification as no more than “declaring or pronouncing just.” Yet, in other parts of the same work, he clearly shows that in justification he considered something more to be included than remission and acquittal. Thus, in the Eighth Homily on Rom. iv. 7, (“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven,”) we read: “He seems to be bringing a testimony beside his purpose. For it does not say, Blessed are they whose faith is reckoned for righteousness. But he does so purposely, not inadvertently, to show the greater excellence. For if he be blessed that by grace received forgiveness, much more he that is made just and that manifests faith.” Again, Homil. x. on Rom. v. 16, (“the free gift is of many offences unto justification,”) he argues that  “it was not only that sins were done away, but that righteousness was given.” It is true that to be esteemed righteous is more than to be esteemed sinless; as the one would only deliver from punishment, the other give a right to reward; and so St. Chrysostom may only mean that justification is more than pardon, because to be accounted righteous is more than to be acquitted of guilt. But it appears to have been common to many of the fathers to leave in some uncertainty the question, whether justification did or did not contain in it the making that of which it involved the imputation.

This is especially observable in the works of St. Augustine. For example, in the 45th chapter of the De Spiritu et Litera, where he is reasoning on the words of St. Paul, “The doers of the Law shall be justified.” He asks “What is to be justified but to be made just, by Him who justifies the ungodly, so that from ungodly, he becomes just?” and so he concludes, that by this phrase St. Paul means that “they shall be made just who before were not so, not who before were just; that so the Jews, who were hearers of the Law, might understand that they need the grace of a justifier that they might become doers of the Law.” Or else, he proposes to interpret it in the other way, “shall be justified, as though it were said, shall be held and accounted righteous; just as it is said of a certain one, He willing to justify himself, that is, to be held and esteemed just.” So then Augustine appears to leave it an open question, whether to justify is to make, or to esteem and hold as righteous.

Yet, though there be such ambiguity, we need be but little solicitous on the subject; but rather conclude, that “the point having never been discussed, and those fathers never having thoroughly considered the sense of St. Paul, might unawares take the word (justify). as it sounded in the Latin, especially the sense they affixed to it signifying a matter very true and certain in Christianity.” [16]

Dr. Waterland, in his treatise on Justification,[17] has collected a great number of passages from the fathers, to show that they considered every person at his baptism to receive the gift of justification. Our limits will not allow us to follow him at length. But if we take justification to mean remission of sin and admission into God’s favour, it needs but very slight acquaintance with the writings of the early Christians to know, that as they confessed their faith “in one baptism for the remission of sins,” so they universally taught that all persons duly receiving baptism, and not hindering the grace of God by unbelief and impenitence, obtained in baptism pardon for sin, admission into the Christian Church and covenant, and the assistance of the Holy Spirit of God; and that so they were thenceforth “children of God, members of Christ, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.”

To sum up what has been said. In the essence of this Article the fathers’ language is clear. They held, that all hope of salvation must spring from the mercy of God through the merits of Christ. They taught, that every person baptized (not forfeiting the grace by sin and impenitence) was looked on as a member of the body of the faithful, and so in favour with God. They spoke too of faith as that state of salvation in which we receive justification and life. But (if at least we make some exceptions) they do not speak in the clear and controversial language of later days; nor is it always certain, whether by the word justified they understand that a man’s faith is accounted to him for righteousness, or that, being the great sanctifying principle, it is the instrument whereby God works in him holiness.

It would be beside our purpose and exceed our limits to investigate at length the definitions of the schoolmen. Learned discussions are liable to much misunderstanding. But the impressions popularly conveyed by the teaching of the scholastic divines, and especially the view which was taken of them by Luther and their opponents, are very important to our right apprehension of the controversy at the time of the Reformation.

In the first place it appears that the schoolmen generally understood justification to mean not infusion of righteousness, but forgiveness of sins. It is true, they looked on it as the immediate result of, and as inseparably connected with grace infused; but their definitions made justification to mean, not the making righteous, but the declaring righteous.[18]

It is not to be supposed that they denied or doubted that such justification sprang primarily from the grace of God, and meritoriously from the death of Christ. The faults charged upon their system are, that they looked for merit de congruo, and de condigno, that they attached efficacy to attrition, that they inculcated the doctrine of satisfaction, and that they assigned grace to the Sacraments ex opere operato.

Luther especially insists that these scholastic opinions were directly subversive of the doctrine of St. Paul, and of the grace of God. “They say,” he writes, “that a good work before grace is able to obtain grace of congruity (which they call meritum de congruo), because it is meet that God should reward such a work. But when grace is obtained, the work following deserveth eternal life of debt and worthiness, which they call meritum de condigno. . . . . For the first God is no debtor, but because He is just and good, He must approve such good work, though it be done in mortal sin, and so give grace for such service. But when grace is obtained, God is become a debtor, and is constrained of right and duty to give eternal life. For now it is not only a work of free will, done according to the substance, but also done in grace, which makes a man acceptable to God, that is to say, in charity.” “This is the divinity of the kingdom of antichrist; which here I recite, that St. Paul’s argument may be the better understood, for two things contrary to one another being put together may be the better understood.”[19]

Again, the compunction for sin which might be felt before the grace of God was given, was called attrition; compunction arising from the motions of God’s Spirit being called contrition. Now attrition was considered as a means whereby God predisposed to grace. So that it had in it some merit de congruo, and so of its own nature led to contrition and to justification.[20]

There being some difficulty in knowing whether a man’s repentance was contrition or merely attrition, the Church was supposed to come to his aid with the power of the keys. The sacrament of penance added to attrition, and works of satisfaction being enjoined, the conscience was to be stilled, though it might yet be uncertain whether true repentance and lively faith had really been attained.[21]

Once more, the doctrine that the Sacraments worked grace and so effected justification independently of the faith of the receiver, and merely ex opere operato, was by the reformers charged upon the schoolmen, as overthrowing the doctrine of justification, through faith, by the merits of Christ.[22] And at last when by attrition perfected by penance, satisfaction, and absolution, and through the grace of God passing into contrition, the sinner was believed to be pardoned, and his soul justified before God, it still remained a question whether there was not a certain amount of temporal punishment to be endured, in this life perhaps, but more probably in purgatory, before the soul be received into full favour with God, and be pronounced “not guilty” in His presence.

The abuses which prevailed at the time of the Reformation connected with the above doctrines are popularly known. Hence, especially, the merit attached to pilgrimages, and other works of satisfaction, which were thought capable of averting the temporal punishments yet due to sin; although of course eternal punishment could be averted only by the merits of Christ. Hence, too, the famous sale of indulgences, which first prompted Luther to take the steps which led rapidly to his breach with the see of Rome.

It is possible that much of the teaching of the schoolmen, and of the more learned and pious of the divines of the Middle Ages, may, when fairly interpreted, admit of a sense far more innocent than we are apt to attribute to it, and might, if confined to the schools, have produced comparatively little mischief. But the effect produced upon the popular mind was evidently noxious. Nothing can be more plain than the fact, that reformers, in all countries, felt that the great evil against which they had to fight was the general belief that man could merit God’s favour by good deeds of his own, and that works of mercy, charity, and self-denial, procured (through the intercession of Christ, or perhaps of the Virgin Mary) pardon for sin and acceptance with God.

It was in opposition to all this, that Luther so strongly propounded his doctrine of “justification by faith only.” He saw the extreme importance of teaching men to acknowledge their own weakness, and to rely on the Atonement “as a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.” Salvation was to be ascribed to grace, not to be claimed as a right; and with the view of effectually destroying all hope from claims, he adopted the language of St. Paul, and put forth in its strongest possible form, as the articulus stantis aut cadentis ecclesiæ, the statement, that “justification is by faith only,” without works, love, or holiness. That is to say, he asserted that man is justified through, or because of the merits of Christ, and that the sole instrument of his justification is faith. This faith indeed will produce charity, and so good works; but, when considered as justifying, it must be considered as apart from holiness, and charity, and good works.

The vehemence of his temper, and the great importance which he attached to his doctrine, led him to state it in language which we may not approve. Such language, if used now, when very different errors prevail from those most common in Luther’s time, might, in all probability, lead to Antinomianism and fanaticism of all kinds. But it is necessary to put ourselves into Luther’s position, and to take a fair view of the man, whose energy brought about the greatest revolution in history, in order to judge fairly of his language and opinions.

For example, Luther stated that faith alone, not faith informed or perfected by charity, was that which justified. This seems opposed to the language of St. James (ch. ii. 14, &c.), and even to the language of St. Paul, who tells us that it is “faith, which worketh by love,” which “availeth in Christ Jesus” (Gal. v. 6). Accordingly, the schoolmen had distinguished between fides informis, a faith which was merely speculative, and had in it neither love nor holiness, and fides formata, or faith which is perfected by the charity and good works which spring from it; to which faith they attributed the office of justifying.[23] Now this statement, that it is fides formata which justifies, Luther denied. By so doing it will be thought by many that he contradicted Scripture, the fathers, the homilies of our own Church, and the sentiments of many contemporary reformers. But the ground on which he did so he himself clearly explains to us. The schoolmen and Romanist divines, according to him, taught that faith, furnished with charity, justified the sinner, in order that they might assign the office of justification, not to the faith, but to the charity: that so it might be said, Faith justifies indeed; but it is because of the merit of that charity, and of those good works which it contains, and which give it all its efficacy. “Faith,” he says, is, according to them, “the body and the shell; charity the life, the kernel, the form, and furniture.” “But we,” he continues, “in the stead of this charity, put faith, and we say that faith apprehends Jesus Christ, who is the form which adorns and furnishes faith . . . . As the schoolmen say that charity adorns and furnishes faith, so do we say that it is Christ which furnishes or adorns faith, or rather, that He is the very form and perfection of faith. Wherefore Christ apprehended by faith and dwelling in the heart is the true Christian righteousness, for which God counteth us righteous, and giveth us eternal life.”[24]

Faith then, he taught, will justify, not because it is full of love, but because it is full of Christ. Therefore, too, he thought it necessary to state that faith justified, before it had charity or good works with it; though, of necessity, it must produce charity and good works, as soon as it has justified. Faith he compares to the bride, Christ to the bridegroom. The bride will be alone with the Bridegroom, but as soon as she cometh forth from the bridechamber, she will be attended by her bridesmaids and followers, good works and holiness.

The earnestness with which he pursued his object, and the infinite importance which he attached to it, led him into vehemence of expressions, and perhaps inaccuracy of statements, which only the circumstances of the case can extenuate. At times he seems to speak as if faith itself was the cause, not merely the instrument, of salvation. At other times he writes as if good works were rather to be avoided than desired. But it is fair to consider these expressions as the result of inadvertence and the impetuosity with which he pleaded a favourite cause, when we find statements of the evil of Antinomianism, and the excellency of those works which spring from faith, in other portions of the very same writings.[25]

It should be added, that Luther plainly put forth the statement that the sins of the believer are imputed to Christ, and so that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believer.[26] He speaks often of the desirableness of attaining to personal assurance of salvation, and at times appears to identify this assurance with justifying faith.[27]

The council of Trent was much occupied in discussing Luther’s doctrine of justification. Indeed, the Tridentine fathers appear to have gone to the consideration of it, with the conviction that all his errors might be resolved into this one.[28]

It was universally agreed among these divines, that faith justifies. But what justifying faith was, or how it justified, was much debated. “All agreed, that justifying faith is an assent to whatsoever is revealed by God, or determined by the Church to be believed; which, sometimes being joined with charity, sometimes remaining without it, they distinguished into two sorts: one, which is found in sinners, which the schools call unformed, solitary, idle, or dead; the other, which is only in the good, working by charity, and therefore called formed, efficacious, and lively.” But it was not universally agreed that justifying faith was to be called faith formed by charity; Marinarus, a Carmelite, objecting that St. Paul did not say that faith was formed by charity, but that it worketh by charity.[29]

There was much discussion concerning works before grace, and merit de congruo; in which the Franciscans maintained, whilst the Dominicans denied, that good works could be done without the Spirit of God, and so merit grace of congruity.[30] But concerning works after grace, all agreed to condemn Luther, who denied intrinsic goodness to works done in and after grace, and asserted even that they were sins. These, they all asserted, having been wrought by the Spirit of God, were essentially good and perfect.[31] They all agreed too, that only faith could not be said to justify, since God and the Sacraments do justify, as causes in their several kinds.[32]

But the principal points of the difficulty were: first, Is a man justified, and then acts justly? or, Does he act justly, and then is justified? and, secondly, Is the word “justify” to be used in the forensic sense of imputing righteousness; or does it mean infusion of habitual righteousness into the heart? On the latter point there was much difference of opinion; the Franciscans strongly opposing the forensic sense, which was as strongly upheld by Marinarus. None doubted that Christ had merited for us, but some blamed the word to impute, because it was not found in the fathers; whilst others said that, agreeing on the thing, it was needless to dispute about the word; a word which it appears the Dominicans especially would have accepted, as showing that all was from Christ, but that they suspected any word which was popular with the Lutherans.[33]

After many such discussions as these, the Council finally drew up sixteen heads and thirty canons or anathemas on the subject of justification, yet so guarded and obscure that each party wrote treatises to prove that the decisions were in their favour.[34] The most important of the decrees were the following: (2) That God sent His Son to redeem both Jews and Gentiles. (3) But that, though He died for all, yet those only enjoy the benefit to whom His merit is communicated. (4) That the justification of the wicked is a translation from the state of a son of Adam to that of a son of God, which, since the Gospel, is not done without baptism or the vow thereof. (5) That the beginning of justification in adults proceeds from preventing grace. (7) That justification is not only remission of sins, but sanctification also; and has five causes: the final, God’s glory and eternal life; the efficient, God; the meritorious, Christ; the instrumental, the sacraments; and the formal, righteousness, given by God, received according to the good pleasure of the Holy Ghost, and according to the disposition of the receiver, receiving together with remission of sins, faith, hope, and charity. (8) That, when St. Paul saith that man is justified by faith and gratis, it ought to be understood, because faith is the beginning, and the things which precede justification are not meritorious of grace.[35]

Among the anathemas, some of the most important are: (1) That a man may be justified without grace. (11) That man is justified only by the imputation of the justice of Christ, or only by remission of sins without inherent grace, or charity; or that the grace of justification is only the favour of God. (12) That justifying faith is nothing but confidence in the mercy of God, who remitteth sins for Christ. (14) That man is absolved and justified, because he doth firmly believe that he is justified.[36]

These articles and canons show the difference between Luther and the Council of Trent, so far as we can be certain of the design of the latter. Yet the most eminent divines present in the Council, after its decrees, debated on their sense;[37] so that at last it was necessary to make a decree against all notes, glosses, and commentaries; the Pope reserving to himself the right of solving difficulties, and settling controversies on the subject.[38]

Roman Catholic writers since the Reformation have generally gone against the forensic sense of the word “justify;” have held, that God by grace implants inherent righteousness in the heart, makes the sinner righteous by union with Christ and the indwelling of His Spirit, and that then He esteems him, what in fact He has made him, a holy and righteous man. Their view has been thus stated by one who may be supposed to have carefully studied it. “It appears that they hold two things: — that the presence of grace implies the absence of mortal sin; next, that it is a divine gift bringing with it the property of a continual acceptableness, and so recommending the soul to God’s favour so as to anticipate the necessity of any superadded pardon.”[39]

To return to the Lutheran divines: Melancthon, the Confession of Augsburg, and generally the more moderate Lutherans, softened and explained the strong language of Luther. With them Faith was trust (fiducia), or fiduciary apprehension. It was made clear, that faith in itself had no virtue, but that the meritorious cause of justification was the death and satisfaction of Jesus Christ. So that justification by faith was even said to be a correlative term for justification or salvation by the merits and death of Christ. Nay, justification by faith was even called a Paulina figura, by which was meant that we are saved by grace, and not by claims or merits of our own.[40]

Thus then it was ruled, that the peculiar significance of St. Paul’s language, and of the Lutheran use of it, implied, not an opposition of faith to charity, or of faith to holiness, but an opposition of the merits of Christ to the merits of man, of the mercy of God to the claims which a sinner might suppose himself to have for acceptance in God’s presence.

Still it was clear that, in some sense, faith was made the instrument or formal cause of justification. And the question still remained, Had such faith love in it, or was it to be considered as apart from love? We have seen that Luther declared that justifying faith had not love in it till it had justified; and to his definitions some of the Lutherans adhered, though he may himself afterwards have in some degree modified them.

Melancthon and the moderate Lutherans appear to have spoken rather differently. Melancthon says, that “no doubt there are love and other graces in faith; but that, when St. Paul says, ‘we are justified by faith,’ he means, not by the virtue of that grace, but by the mercy of God, for the sake of the Mediator.”[41] The Confession of Augsburg declares, that “faith cannot exist except in those who repent;” that “among good works, the chief is faith, which produces many other virtues, which cannot exist till faith has been conceived in the heart.”[42] Again, it reconciles St. James and St. Paul, by explaining that St. James speaks of a mere historical faith, whilst St. Paul speaks of reliance on God’s mercy in Christ.[43] It distinctly asserts, that faith brings forth good works, and quotes with approbation the words of St. Ambrose, Fides bonæ voluntatis et justæ actionis genitrix est.[44] All then, but a few of the more rigid Lutherans, agreed that it was a living, not a dead faith, a faith full of good works, not a bare and historical assent to truth, which justified the soul. Still, the question remained, Was it fides, quæ viva est, or, fides qua viva est, (i. e. faith, which is living, or faith, because it is living,) which justifies? Some thought, that if it were considered as justifying because it was living, then there would be some merit attached to that which quickened it, or which showed it to be alive, i. e. to charity. Modes were invented of explaining the difficulty, which savoured more of metaphysical subtlety than of practical wisdom, such as that mentioned by Bishop Bull: “Faith justifies, pregnant with good works, but not as yet having given birth to them.”[45]

Bucer, a divine, who had some concern in our own Reformation, and whose opinions are therefore particularly interesting to us, seems to have been very moderate on this subject. He expresses his regret that language should be used concerning faith alone, to the exclusion of holiness, such as to offend well-meaning men. He considers that no one should object to the additions of viva or formata as applied to justifying faith; since it is plain that St. Paul spoke of a living faith as justifying, and only meant to exclude self-righteousness.[46]

Several controversies concerning justification arose among the Lutherans, even in the lifetime of Luther. Osiander, A. D. 1550, broached some opinions, the exact nature of which it may be difficult to define. They appear to have been chiefly, “that faith does not justify by applying and embracing the righteousness of the Man Christ, but by uniting to Christ, who then by His Divine nature dwells in the heart, and that this union both justifies before God, and sanctifies the sinner.” There was probably, however, something more than this, or it would hardly have excited the vehement opposition of so mild a man as Melancthon.[47]

Of a very different kind were the errors of Agricola, (A. D. 1538,) who is accused of having carried the doctrine of faith alone to its most noxious extreme. He is esteemed the founder of the Antinomians; and is said to have held that all licentiousness and sin were allowable, if only Christ was received and embraced by a lively faith. He was vigorously opposed by Luther.[48]

To proceed from the Lutheran to the Calvinistic reformers: they appear for the most part to have symbolized with Luther in his general statement concerning justification. They declared that to justify was a forensic term signifying to remit sins, and pronounce righteous.[49] They said, that we receive this justification not by works, but by faith in God’s mercy; and because faith receives Christ, our righteousness, and ascribes all to God’s grace in Christ, therefore justification is attributed to faith, and that chiefly because of Christ, not because it is any work of ours.[50] They considered it to consist especially in the imputation of our sins to Christ, and of Christ’s righteousness to us; and strenuously denied that justification was in consequence of any internal sanctification wrought in us by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and the faith which He inspires.[51] They denied that justification was of faith and works conjoined.[52] But when the question arose, Is the faith which justifies to be considered as alone, and informis, or lively, and full of good works, (formata)? they seem to have decided that it was the latter and not the former. Although Calvin complained that the distinction was nugatory, inasmuch as faith never could exist apart from the holiness which it produces.[53]

Our own reformers soon embraced the doctrine of Luther, with such modifications as their own wisdom suggested. In the Articles set forth in 1536, justification is defined to signify remission of sins and acceptance into the favour of God. We are said to attain this justification for the only mercy and grace of the Father, freely for Jesus Christ’s sake, through contrition and faith joined with charity;[54] language which is repeated in the Institution of a Christian Man.[55]

As on other subjects, the English reformers’ views grew more fixed and definite after the death of Henry VIII. The Homily of Salvation, and the 11th Article of 1552, expressed definitively the judgment of Cranmer and his companions on justification. The 11th Article, as drawn by them, ran thus: “Justification by only faith in Jesus Christ, in that sense as it is declared in the Homily of Justification, is a most certain and wholesome doctrine for Christian men.” The Article as it stands now is somewhat differently worded, but probably conveys the same sense. Both send us to the “Homily of Justification” as the interpreter of the sense in which the Church of England understands “Justification by faith;” and therefore the definitions of this homily, if we can discover them, are the definitions of the Anglican Church concerning this debated point. There is no homily entitled the Homily of Justification, but the Homily of Salvation treats expressly of justification; and it has therefore always been understood, either that this homily alone, or this conjoined with that which precedes and that which follows it, is the homily referred to in the Article.

The Article itself, as it now stands, appears to speak very much the language of Melancthon and the Confession of Augsburg; for its statement of the doctrine of justification by faith is, that “We are accounted righteous before God only for the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings.” This is language very similar to that of Melancthon, quoted above, who considered justification by faith, and salvation by grace, to be correlative terms; and to that of the Confession of Augsburg, which calls justification by faith a Paulina figura for remission of sins by mercy, for the sake of Christ. For further explanation the Article sends us to the homily, which teaches as follows.

It begins by defining justification to be “the forgiveness of sins and trespasses.” “This justification or righteousness, which we so receive of God’s mercy and Christ’s merits, embraced by faith, is taken, allowed, and accepted for our perfect and full justification. . . . . God sent His Son into the world to fulfil the Law for us, and by shedding of His most precious Blood, to make a 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 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 of 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. Gal. ii. . . . . The Apostle toucheth specially three things, which must go together in our justification. Upon God’s part, His great mercy and grace: upon Christ’s part, justice, that is, the satisfaction of God’s justice . . . . upon our part, true and lively faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, which yet is not ours, but God’s working in us . . . . Therefore 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 yet

[How it is to be understood that faith justifieth without works.]

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 justified, 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; nor the faith also doth not 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, commanded 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 of them.”[56]

Again — “The true understanding of the doctrine, we be justified freely by faith without works, or that we be justified by faith in Christ only, is not that this our own act to believe in Christ, or this our faith in Christ, which is within us, doth justify us, and deserve our justification unto us (for that were to count ourselves to be justified by some act or virtue which is within ourselves); but the true understanding and meaning thereof is, that although we hear God’s word and believe it; although we have faith, hope, charity, repentance, dread and fear of God within us, and do never so many good works thereunto; yet we must renounce the merit of all said virtues, of faith, hope, charity, and all other virtues and good deeds which we either have done, shall do, or can do, as things that be far too weak and insufficient and imperfect to deserve remission of our sins and our justification; and therefore we must trust only in God’s mercy, and that sacrifice which our High Priest and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God, once offered for us upon the cross, to obtain thereby God’s grace and remission, as well of our original sin in baptism, as of all actual sin committed by us after our baptism, if we truly repent and turn unfeignedly to Him again. So that as St. John the Baptist, although he was never so virtuous and godly a man, yet in this matter of forgiveness of sin, he did put the people from him, and appointed them to Christ, saying thus unto them: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world, John i.; even so, as great and godly a virtue as the lively faith is, yet it putteth us from itself, and remitteth or appointeth us unto Christ, for to have only by Him remission of our sins, or justification. So that our faith in Christ (as it were) saith unto us thus: It is not I that take away your sins, but it is Christ only; and to Him only I send you for that purpose, forsaking therein all your good virtues, words, thoughts, and works, and only putting your trust in Christ.”[57]

It is plain that the doctrine contained in these extracts (from a homily which has unusual authority, as being virtually assented to by every one who signs the Articles) is briefly as follows. That, which the English reformers meant by justification by faith, is, that we can never deserve anything at God’s hands by our own works, — that therefore we must owe our salvation only to the free mercy of God, who, for the sake of His Son Jesus Christ, pardons and accepts all infants who are baptized in His name, and all persons who sin after baptism, when by His grace they are brought to repentance and conversion, — that justification is especially assigned to faith, not because of any peculiar excellence in faith itself, but rather because faith sends us from itself to Christ, and because by it we apprehend Christ and rest upon Him only for acceptance with God, — that, though therefore we ascribe justification to faith only, it is not meant that justifying faith either is or can be without its fruits, but that it is ever pregnant and adorned with love, and hope, and holiness.

Language in strict conformity with this was uniformly held by those who had the chief hand in drawing up the Articles and compiling the Liturgy, and is to be found in those semi-authoritative documents which were from time to time set forth by them.[58]

Owing to the unhappy divisions of later times in the Church of England, there has been no small difference among her divines on this head of justification; a difference, however, which there is good reason to hope is rather apparent in scholastic and logical definitions, than in its bearing on vital truth or practical godliness.

The great Hooker wrote a treatise on Justification, in which he strongly impugns the doctrine of the Church of Rome concerning justification by infusion of righteousness, and maintains the principle of imputation, distinguishing the righteousness of justification as external to us, the righteousness of sanctification as internal.[59]

Bishop Bull in his Harmonia Apostolica admits that sense of justification by faith, which, he says, all the sounder Protestants have attached to it, namely, Salvation by grace only. He takes justification in the forensic sense, the meritorious cause of which is Christ, the instrument or formal cause being fides formata, or faith accompanied by good works.[60]

Dr. Barrow, in the first five of his Sermons on the Creed, discusses the nature of faith and justification with great learning and moderation. Justification he shows to be a forensic term, to be given for the sake of Christ, to be the result of God’s mere mercy, apart from our deserts; yet he considers baptism and faith to be the conditions of justification, and faith to include its effects. Faith is a hearty reception of the Gospel, first exerting itself by open avowal in baptism, to which time therefore the act of justification especially pertains. Yet too every dispensation of pardon granted upon repentance may be also termed justification. Hence every person is justified freely for Christ’s sake at his baptism, continues justified whilst he is in a state of lively faith, and returns to a state of justification, if he have fallen from it, by repentance.[61]

Dr. Waterland, in a very able tract on the same subject, argues, that the causes of justification are (1) the moving cause, God’s grace and goodness; (2) the meritorious cause, Christ; (3) the efficient cause, the Holy Spirit — that its instruments are (1) baptism; (2) faith — that its conditions are, (1) faith; (2) obedience.[62]

Mr. Alexander Knox, a writer of great originality and piety, expressed himself unable to believe the protestant doctrine of justification. The forensic sense of the word seemed to him too like a legal fiction: and he could not believe that God could pronounce any one just, or account any one righteous, who had really no such inherent quality as justice or righteousness. Accordingly, he solved the difficulty by asserting that God pronounces those righteous by justification, whom He has already made so by sanctification.[63]

In still later days, Mr. Faber has written an able work to prove that in the earliest Christian writers, from Clement of Rome downwards, the word justification is used strictly in its forensic sense, and that justification is ascribed to faith alone.[64]

Lastly, not very long before his secession to the Church of Rome, Mr. Newman published a most logical treatise, in which he professes to steer a middle course between the Roman and the Lutheran doctrines. He takes the forensic sense of the term justification — and asserts, that it is conferred in baptism, is maintained by faith, and consists in the indwelling of the Spirit of God, and the being made members of the Body of Christ.[65]

Whatever speculative differences may have existed of late or in times gone by, it is no small comfort to know, that it has been allowed by all that fallen man cannot of himself become worthy of eternal salvation, that he stands in need both of pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace, that this mercy and this grace have been procured for him by the all-prevailing merits of the Redeemer, and that these blessings, offered to all, may be appropriated to the individual believer by that faith which the Holy Spirit will implant, and which must produce love and holiness and all good fruits. The divines of Trent and their most extreme antagonists have denied none of these propositions.


  1. See Bull, Harmon. Apost. II. xvi. 8.
  2. See Bull, Harmon. Apost. II. xvii. 3.
  3. See Michaelis, Introduction to the New Testament, IV. ch. XXVI. § 6, who considers this to have been the cause of St. James’s argument on justification, and that his Epistle was written before St. Paul’s, or at least before he had seen St. Paul’s writings.
  4. Clem. Rom. Epist. 1 ad Corinth. 12. Barnab. Epist. 12.
  5. Clem. Rom. Epist. I. cap. 32.
  6. Πάντες οὖν ἐδοξάσθησαν, οὐ δι’ αὐτῶν, ἢ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῶν, ἢ διὰ τῆς δικαιοπραγίας ἧς κατειργάσαντο, ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ. Καὶ ἡμεῖς οὖν διὰ θελήματος αὐτοῦ ἐν Χριστῷησοῦ κληθέντες, οὐ δι’ ἑαυτῶν δικαιοῦμεθα, οὐδὲ διὰ τῆς ἡμετέρας σοϕίας, ἢ συνέσεως, ἢ εὐσεβείας, ἢ ἔργων ὧν κατειργασάμεθα ἐν ὁσιότητι καρδίας · ἀλλὰ διὰ τῆς πίστεως, δι’ ἧς πάντας τοὺς ἀπ’ αἰῶνος ὁ παντοκράτωρ Θεὸς ἐδικαίωσεν · ᾧ ἔστω δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν. Almost the only question which may be raised on the passage is, Does St. Clement contrast faith with works done before the grace of God, or works after the grace of God, i. e. evangelical works? Dr. Waterland says, “It is of great weight with him, that so early and so considerable a writer as Clement of Rome, an apostolical man, should so interpret the doctrine of justifying faith as to oppose it plainly even to evangelical works, however exalted.” — Works, IX. p. 452. Mr. Faber thinks that, “Indisputably, by the very force and tenor of their definition (i. e. as being works done in holiness of heart), they are works performed after the infusion of holiness into the heart by the gracious spirit of God.” — Primitive Doctrine of Justification, p. 83. Mr. Newman, on the other hand, contends that “in holiness of heart” means no more than “piously,” “holily;” and that “works which we did in holiness of heart” (as the article is omitted before ἔργων though not the former substantives σοϕίας, εὐσεβείας, &c., and the verb κατειργασάμεθα is in the aorist) would more naturally, though perhaps not necessarily, signify an hypothetical, not a real case, as in those words of St. Jerome afterwards quoted by Mr. Faber, p. 122, “Convertentem impium per solam fidem justificat Deus, non per opera quæ non habuit.” — Newman, On Justification, p. 436.
  7. Polycarp, Epist. VIII.
  8. Barnab. Ep. V.
  9. Just. M. Dial. p. 366. See also Bp. Kaye’s Justin Martyr, p. 77.
  10. Iren. IV. xxxvii. See also Beaven’s Irenæus, p. 194.
  11. Ambros. De Jacobo et Vita Beat. I. 6. See Newman, On Justification, p. 401.
  12. August. De Civit. XIX. 27. See Calvin, Institut. III. 12.
  13. Non peccare Dei est justitia; hominis autem justitia, Dei indulgentia. — Bernard, Sermon. 21 et 23 in Cantic. See Calvin, Institut. III. 12. See also Neander, VIII. p. 218.
  14. Οὐ γὰρ δή γε εἰς βαλανεῖον ὑμᾶς ἔπεμπενσαΐας ἀπολουσομένους ἐκεῖ τὸν ϕόνον καὶ τὰς ἄλλας ἁμαρτίας, οὗς οὐδὲ τὸ τῆς θαλάσσης ἱκανὸν πᾶν ὕδωρ καθαρίσαι, ἀλλὰ ὡς εἰκὸς πάλαι τοῦτο ἐκεῖνο τὸ σωτήριον λουτρὸν ἦν, ὅ εἵπετο τοῖς μεταγινώσκουσι, καὶ μηκέτι αἵματι τράγων καὶ προβάτων ἢ σποδῷ δαμάλεως, ἢ σεμιδάλεως προσϕοραῖς καθαριζομένους, ἀλλὰ πίστει διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ τοῦ θανάτου αὐτοῦ, ὅς διὰ τοῦτο ἀπέθανεν. κ. τ. λ. — Just. M. Dial. p. 229, d. Non incognitus igitur erat Dominus Abrahæ, cujus diem concupivit videre: sed neque Pater Domini; didicerat enim a Verbo Domini, et credidit ei; quapropter et deputatum est ei ad justitiam a Domino. Fides enim quæ est ad Deum altissimum justificat hominem. — Irenæ. IV. 13. See also IV. 27. His igitur consideratis pertractatisque pro viribus quas Dominus donare dignatur, colligimus non justificari hominem præceptis bonæ vitæ nisi per fidem Jesu Christi, hoc est non lege operum sed fidei; non litera sed spiritu, non factorum meritis sed gratuita gratia. — August. De Spiritu et Litera, cap. 22. Convertentem impium per solam fidem justificat Deus, non opera bona quæ non habuit: alioquin per impietatis opera fuerat puniendus. Simul attende, quia non peccatorem dicit justificari per fidem sed impium, hoc est, nuper credentem asseruit. Secundum propositum gratiæ Dei. Qui proposuit gratis per solam fidem peccata dimittere. — Hieron. In Epist. ad Rom. cap. iv. Tom. v. pp. 937, 938. The Benedictine editors consider this commentary as not Jerome’s. See also In Epist. ad Galat. cap. iii.
  15. Homil. in Ep. ad Rom. XV. See also Hom. VII. on ch. iii. 27.
  16. Barrow, II. Sermon v. On Justification by Faith.
  17. Waterland’s Works, IX. p. 442.
  18. Primo quæritur, an justificatio impii sit remissio peccatorum? Et videtur quod non . . . . Sed contra est quod dicitur in Glossa Rom. viii. Super illud “Quos vocavit, hos et justificavit.” Glo. remissione peccatorum: ergo remissio peccatorum est justificatio. — Aquinas, Quæstion. Disput. quæst. 28, Art. I. quoted by Laurence, Bampt. Lect. p. 119. Neander, VIII. p. 222, gives an interesting account of the scholastic discussions on justification. His statements appear different from those in the text, but it is only so at first sight.
  19. Luther, on Galatians, ii. 16.
  20. See Laurence, B. L. Lect. IV. and VI. Also notes on Lect. VI. The following is one sentence from a long passage quoted by him, p. 321, from Scotus, Lib. IV. dist. IV. quæst. 2. “Potest ergo dici quod Deus disponit per attritionem, in aliquo instanti dare gratiam: et pro illa attritione, ut pro merito, justificat, sicut est meritum justificationis. Et licet non continuaretur idem actus circa peccatum in genere naturæ et moris, qui prius, adhuc in illo instanti infunderetur gratia, qui jam præcepit meritum de congruo.”
  21. Laurence, as above, and p. 320.
  22. Laurence, p. 324.
  23. On this scholastic distinction see Calvin, Institut. Lib. III. ch. ii. § 8. Also Neander, VIII. 220, 221. Calvin himself denies the justice of the distinction on this ground: Fides in Christi notitia sita est. Christus nisi cum Spiritus sui sanctificatione cognosci nequit. Consequitur fidem a pio affectu nullo modo esse distrahendam. A very different argument from Luther’s.
  24. Luther on Galat. ii. 16. See also on Gal. ii. 17; v. 16.
  25. For example, on Gal. iii. 22: “When we are out of the matter of justification, we cannot enough praise and extol those works which God has commanded. For who can enough commend the profit and fruit of only one work, which a Christian does in and through faith? Indeed, it is more precious than heaven and earth.” See also on Gal. iii. 19, 23, 27, &c.
  26. See on Gal. ii. 16; iii. 13.
  27. See on Gal. iii. 13. Opera, 1554. Tom. v. p. 350. Concerning Luther’s view of the connection of justification with baptism, we may refer to his commentary on Gal. iii. 27, Tom. v. p. 369. There he says, “We have by nature the leathern coat of Adam, but we put on Christ by baptism.” In Baptismo non datur vestitus legalis justitiæ aut nostrorum operum, sed Christus fit indumentum nostrum . . . . Evangelice Christum induere, non est legem et opera, sed inæstimabile donum induere, scilicet remissionem peccatorum, justitiam, pacem, consolationem, lætitiam in Spiritu Sancto, salutem, vitam, et Christum ipsum. See also De Sacr. Baptism. Tom. I. p. 72.
  28. Sarpi, Hist. Lib. II. p. 178.
  29. Ibid. p. 183.
  30. Ibid. p. 185.
  31. Ibid. p. 186.
  32. Ibid. p. 183.
  33. Sarpi, Hist. Bk. II. p. 187.
  34. Ibid. p. 202.
  35. Concil. Trident. Sess. VI. capp. 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8.
  36. Concil. Trident. Can. 1, 11, 12, 14.
  37. Sarpi, Bk. II. p. 215.
  38. Ibid. Bk. VIII. p. 762.
  39. Newman, On Justification, p. 396. See also Bellarmine, De Justific.; and Barrow, II. Sect. v. p. 79. Bellarmine states the causes of justification thus: 1. The final cause, God’s glory and our salvation. 2. The efficient cause, God’s goodness and Christ’s merits. 3. The material cause, the mind or will of man, in which righteousness abides, and in which are formed the dispositions predisposing to the formal cause. 4. The formal cause, internally, the habit of grace; externally, the righteousness of Christ. De Justific. Lib. I. cap. 2. Justification he denies to consist in remission of sins or imputation of righteousness only, but asserts it to have for its formal cause the infusion of habitual righteousness. Lib. II. cap. 3, 6, 15. Good works he asserts to be meritorious of eternal life, but that, because they are wrought in us by the grace of God. Lib. V. cap. 12, et passim.
  40. Fide sumus justi, id est, per misericordiam propter Christum sumus justi; non quia fides sit virtus, quæ mereatur remissionem sua dignitate. — Melancth. Loci Theolog. de Argum. Advers. p. 286. Laurence, B. L. p. 333. Cum dicitur, Fide justificamur, non aliud dicitur, quam quod propter Filium Dei accipiamus remissionem peccatorum et reputemur justi . . . . Intelligatur ergo propositio correlative, Fide justi sumus, id est, per misericordiam propter Filium Dei sumus justi seu accepti. — Mel. Loc. Theol. de Voc Fidei, f. 199, 2. Newman, On Justif. p. 278. Cum igitur dicimus Fide justificamur, non hoc intelligimus, quod justi sumus propter ipsius virtutis dignitatem, sed hæc est sententia, consequi nos remissionem peccatorum, et imputationem justitiæ per misericordiam propter Christum . . . . Jam bonas mentes nihil offendet novitas hujus Paulinæ figuræ, Fide justificamur, si intelligant proprie de misericordia dici, eamque veris et necessariis laudibus ornari. Quid potest enim esse gratius conscientiæ afflictæ et pavidæ in veris doloribus quam audire, hoc esse mandatum Dei, hanc esse vocem sponsi Christi. ut statuant certe donari remissionem peccatorum seu reconciliationem, non propter nostram dignitatem, sed gratis, per misericordiam, propter Christum, ut beneficium sit certum. — Confessio August. 1540. De Fide, Sylloge Confessionum, Oxf. 1827, p. 182.
  41. Concedo in fiducia inesse dilectionem, et hanc virtutem et plerasque alias adesse oportere; sed cum dicimus, Fiducia sumus justi, non intelligatur nos propter virtutis istius dignitatem, sed per misericordiam recipi propter Mediatorem, quem tamen oportet fide apprehendi. Ergo hoc dicimus correlative. — Melancth. Loci Theolog. de Argum. Advers. p. 284. Laurence, B. L. p. 332. Newman, Justific. p. 10.
  42. Nec existere fides potest nisi in his qui pœnitentiam agunt, quia fides consolatur corda in contritione et terroribus peccati . . . . Inter bona opera, præcipuum est et summus cultus Dei fides ipsa, et parit multas alias virtutes, quæ existere non possunt, nisi prius corda fidem conceperint. — Confess. August. Syll. Conf. p. 83.
  43. Sylloge Conf. pp. 181, 182.
  44. Ibid. p. 183.
  45. Bull, Harm. Apostol. Diss. Prior. VI. 2.
  46. See especially on Psalm xi. quoted by Bull, Harm. Apostol. Diss. Post. II. 8.
  47. Mosh. Ch. Hist. Art. XVI. § III. part II. See also Calv. Instit. III. cap. xi. 5‒11, who accuses him of opinions bordering on Manicheism.
  48. Mosh. as above.
  49. Justificatio significat Apostolo in disputatione de Justificatione, peccata remittere, a culpa et pœna absolvere, in gratiam recipere, et justum pronunciare. — Confess. Helvet. Sylloge, p. 51. Nos justificationem simpliciter interpretamur acceptionem, qua nos Deus in gratiam receptos pro justis habet. — Calvin, Inst. III. xi. 2.
  50. Sylloge, p. 52.
  51. Deus nos justificat non imputans nobis peccata, sed imputans Christi nobis justitiam. Sylloge, p. 52. Hinc et illud conficitur, sola intercessione justitiæ Christi nos obtinere ut coram Deo justificemur. Quod perinde valet ac si diceretur hominem non in seipso justum esse, sed quia Christi justitia imputatione cum illo communicatur: quod accurata animadversione dignum est. Siquidem evanescit nugamentum illud, ideo justificari hominem fide, quoniam illa Spiritum Dei participat quo justus redditur: quod magis est contrarium superiori doctrinæ quam ut conciliari unquam queat. Neque enim dubium, quin sit inops propriæ justitiæ, qui justitiam extra seipsum quærere docetur. — Calv. Inst. III. xi. 23.
  52. Calv. Inst. III. xi. 13, 14.
  53. Quapropter loquimur in hac causa, non de ficta fide, de inani et otiosa et mortua, sed de viva, vivificanteque, quæ propter Christum, qui vita est et vivificat, quem comprehendit, viva est et dicitur, ac se vivam esse vivis declarat operibus. Nihil itaque contra hanc nostram doctrinam pugnat Jacobus ille, qui de fide loquitur inani et mortua, quam quidam jactabant, Christum autem intra se viventem per fidem non habebant. — Confess. Helvet. Sylloge, p. 53. See also Calvin, Inst. III. ii. 8, quoted above.
  54. Formularies of Faith in the Reign of Henry VIII. Oxford, p. 12.
  55. Ibid. p. 209.
  56. First Part of the Homily of Salvation.
  57. Second Part of Homily of Salvation. Also concerning the difference between a dead and living faith, and the reconciliation of St. Paul and St. James, see Part 3. See also the conclusion of the 3d part of the Homily on Prayer; the 2d part of the Homily on Almsdeeds, near the middle; the conclusion of the second Homily of the Passion, and particularly the whole of the Homilies of Faith and Good Works.
  58. We may refer particularly to the following: Cranmer’s Catechism, Oxf. pp. 98, 114, 115, 143, 205; Cranmer’s Works; ed. Jenkyns, Oxf. II. p. 121, III. 553. Justification is thus briefly explained in Edw. VI.’s Catechism: “As oft as we use to say that we are made righteous and saved by faith only, it is meant thereby, that faith or rather trust alone, doth lay hand upon, understand, and perceive our righteous making to be given us of God freely: that is to say, by no deserts of our own, but by the free grace of the Almighty Father. Moreover, faith doth engender in us the love of our neighbour, and such works as God is pleased withal. For if it be a true and lively faith, quickened by the Holy Ghost, she is the mother of all good saying and doing . . . . And although good works cannot deserve to make us righteous before God, yet do they so cleave unto faith, that neither can faith be found without them, nor good works be anywhere without faith.” — (Enchiridion Theolog. I. p. 25.) So Noel’s Catechism: Ad Dei misericordiam confugiendum est qua gratis nos in Christo nullo nostro merito nec operum respectu, amore et benevolentia complectitur; tum peccata nobis nostra condonans, tum justitia Christi per Fidem in ipsum ita nos donans ut ob eam, perinde ac si nostra esset, ipsi accepti simus . . . . M. Non ergo inter hujus justitiæ causas Fidem principem locum tenere dicis, ut ejus merito nos ex nobis justi coram Deo habeamur? A. Nequaquam: id enim esset Fidem in Christi locum substituere . . . . M. Verum an a bonis operibus ita separari hæc justitia potest, ut qui hanc habet, illis careat? A. Nequaquam . . . . M. Justitiam ergo, Fidem, ac bona opera, natura coherentia esse dicis, quæ proinde non magis distrahi debeant quam Christus illorum in nobis author a seipso divelli possit. — Enchirid. Theolog. I. p. 282. Jewel’s Apology: Itaque unicum receptum nostrum et perfugium esse ad misericordiam Patris nostri per Jesum Christum, ut certo animis nostris persuadeamus illum esse propitiationem pro peccatis nostris; ejus sanguine omnes labes nostras deletas esse . . . .Quamvis autem dicamus nihil nobis esse præsidii in operibus et factis nostris, et omnis salutis nostræ rationem constituamus in solo Christo, non tamen ea causa dicimus laxe et solute vivendum esse, quasi tingi tantum et credere, satis sit homini Christiano, et nihil ab eo aliud expectetur. Vera Fides viva est, nec potest esse otiosa. — Enchirid. Theolog. pp. 131, 132.
  59. Discourse on Justification, &c. Works, III. pt. II. p. 601. Oxf. 1836.
  60. Bull’s Harm. Apost. and Examen Censuræ. Works, Oxf. III. IV.
  61. Works, fol. Vol. II. especially Sermons IV. V.
  62. Waterland, On Justification, Works. Van Mildert, IX. p. 427.
  63. Knox’s Remains.
  64. Faber’s Primitive Doctrine of Justification.
  65. Newman, On Justification; see especially Lect. III. VI. IX.


E. Harold Browne

(Edward) Harold Browne was an English bishop, born at Aylesbury and educated at Eton and Cambridge. He was ordained in 1836, and two years later was elected senior tutor of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. From 1843 to 1849 he was vice-principal of St David’s College, Lampeter, and in 1854 was appointed Norrisian professor of divinity at Cambridge. His best-known book is the Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles (vol. i., Cambridge, 1850; vol. ii., London, 1853), which remained for many years a standard work on the subject and is still beloved today. In 1864 he was consecrated bishop of Ely.

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