Of The Reformation Itself, Of Scripture, And Of The Church Of Rome, Briefly Compared With The Remarks Of The Regius Professor Of Divinity1
I shall first shortly state the reasons which induce me to take notice of, and comment on, the “Remarks “upon the sermon lately preached at St. Mary’s. If the Regius Professor of Divinity had simply undertaken to refute the sermon preached at St. Mary’s, to which his remarks apply, it might perhaps have been unbecoming, or at the least premature, for a third person to enter into the discussion, or do more than watch its progress. But this is expressly disclaimed, and a very different office is assumed. “I must now come,” says the pamphlet referred to, “to the exposition of the gospel; and I trust that I shall not be thought unreasonable or presumptuous, if I say at once that I am not entering into controversy.” It is true the author professes, at the close of the “Remarks,” “I am not entering into controversy, but am merely stating facts.” But for this purpose he has said a great deal too much. “When the doctrine of the Church is misrepresented,” he continues, “and there is danger of young disciples being misled, I feel it my duty as a faithful soldier of Christ to stand between the dead and the living, and to stay the plague.”
This itself were language a little strong for any supposed or real misrepresentation of the doctrines of the Church of England. But the author has indeed altogether said too much or too little. If he meant to confine himself to the vindication of the doctrines of the Church of England from misrepresentation, he has said too much. If he meant to tell us what was not or what was the gospel, he should have surely said a good deal more. But that I may not leave it uncertain how much these remarks call upon every one to satisfy themselves on the whole principles of their faith, I shall conclude the quotation already adverted to. “The sermon now before me professes to contain an exposition of that gospel which Jesus Christ delivered to His apostles; but in the name of Paul, of Cephas, and of Christ, I say that this is not the gospel.” In saying this, the Regius Professor has laid the solemn responsibility upon every one concerned about his own soul of enquiring what his faith is; and whether it be founded in truth, if at all similar to what is thus authoritatively pronounced to be not the gospel; (for, what is the gospel? is a question of individual salvation, which men must judge of responsibly); and, I will add, responsibility to judge of that proposed to be substituted in its place, and to see what conclusions it will lead us.
This is no vindication of the doctrines of the Church of England from misrepresentation, nor a mere statement of facts. It is, in good truth, a standing between the living and the dead, if the author be right. If the preacher be right, and I follow the author of the “Remarks,” I am not, according to the former, in the way of salvation. If the author of the “Remarks” be right, in receiving the doctrine of the preacher I am departing from the gospel of Christ: I am not amongst the living but the dead. I am justified therefore in the fullest comment upon the evidence brought to sustain such a charge; and in enquiring what are the grounds on which I am here called upon to believe that this is a deadly contagion, in which the Church of England has no part; and how far the Regius Professor is warranted in bringing the views which he does in these “Remarks” bring forward in opposition to, and as contravening, what he says is not the gospel. I am not here concerned to defend the preacher: with him the author says he will not enter into controversy; and it is his part, if he see good, to defend himself. But the author of the “Remarks” has thrown the whole question open, and forced it upon the judgment of every one who is interested in what the gospel is; for he has raised a controversy for every soul. I shall leave therefore the sermon itself unnoticed, and discuss merely the statements made in the “Remarks,” as bearing on the general subject.
I know not with what consistency with the injunctions contained in the preface to the Articles, I am led by Archbishop Lawrence and the Regius Professor of Divinity to travel into the mind of Cranmer, through the vacillating opinions of Melancthon. Those opinions we can judge of, according to the testimony of the author of the “Remarks” himself, only by the help of dates, and we must be certain of getting a right edition, before we can know what was that mind which he held, and which therefore Cranmer held, and which therefore the Articles are to be supposed to hold. I there read, that a person “shall not put his own sense or comment” on the Article, “but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense.” The authority of this document I do not pretend to state: whatever it be, of this I am sure, that Archbishop Lawrence’s Bampton Lectures, especially the last two, are a very singular comment on it. For my own part, I soberly think Article XVII to be as wise, perhaps I might say the wisest and best condensed human statement of the views it contains that I am acquainted with. I am fully content to take it in its literal and grammatical sense. I believe that predestination to life is the eternal purpose of God, by which, before the foundations of the world were laid, He firmly decreed, by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and destruction those whom He had chosen in Christ out of the human race, and to bring them, through Christ, as vessels made to honour, to eternal salvation. I believe therefore that those who are endued with so excellent a gift of God, are called according to His purpose working in due time; that they obey the calling through grace; that they are freely justified; that they are adopted to be children of God; that they are made conformed to the image of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ; that they do walk holily in good works; and that at length, through the mercy of God, they do attain to everlasting felicity. And, I might ask, does the author of the “Remarks” believe this? that is, believing as he does that the Church, that is, every baptized person, is predestinated and chosen, does he believe all this of every such person?
But as the historical enquiry has been started, I shall beg leave shortly to follow it, that we may, as far as a brief opportunity allows, investigate the grounds on which the author of the “Remarks states, that the Lutheran Church was the source from which the Church of England derives her doctrine; and that Calvinism was “a contagion flowing from the close contact into which those who fled from the Marian persecution were brought with the Calvinistic doctrines.” And here I must remark, that it appears to me that the Regius Professor of Divinity puts the Church of England into a very discreditable position. Choice between Lutheran and Calvinistic she may be allowed to make. That she drew her doctrines originally from Scripture; that her founders were themselves taught of God, so as to be able to teach others, or lay the basis of the Church they were about to rear or reform on the stable foundations of the word of God, is in no case suggested or supposed. In fact, when we would ascertain her thoughts and her foundation, we are directed to Melancthon. In the Bampton Lectures of Archbishop Lawrence, there is not an expression on which he remarks, of which he does not discover the words and the source in some German reformer. For my own part I cannot believe this: and it would seem to me an ill way of securing confidence in her doctrine, to lead the minds of students to so mazy and uncertain a path to discover her meaning and ascertain the foundations of her authority (however it may suit those who put their “comment on the Articles,” instead of searching the authority of Scripture for their plain and grammatical meaning). But let us ascertain some of the facts. Peter Martyr and Bucer were Regius Professors of Divinity at Oxford and Cambridge respectively during the reign of Edward VI. “Bucer,” the author of the “Remarks,” states, “died in 1551, when Calvin had scarcely begun to propagate his peculiar opinions respecting predestination. His first public controversy was in that year, and his first publication on the subject in 1552.” Let us now see what were the views of Bucer, the Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. After stating some of the difficulties usually objected to what are called Calvinistic views, he thus writes:
“But those who wish simply to follow the word of God easily free themselves from these. For, first, they firmly rest in this: that God Himself testifies concerning Himself, that out of the race of man, ruined by its first parent, He chooses some to re-form them to a new and blessed life; and has, or esteems the rest as vessels of His wrath, in whom he should shew examples of His just vengeance; whereby He should commend to the elect His mercy, because He translates them, born to the same death, into the inheritance of the divine life. This judgment of the Lord concerning men, the Scripture everywhere preaches and inculcates; as well in the history of the Lord’s acts, as in the oracles themselves; for Cain was rejected; Abel elected. In the time of Noah all were destroyed by the flood save eight men: and of the sons of Noah, blessing came upon two, a curse upon the third… And where do we not see, as in whole peoples, so in private men, and these otherwise most closely united, that some are taken, others rejected? From these examples, therefore, and oracles, witnessing clearly the same thing, of which Scripture is full (in which, namely, the difference which God puts between men is declared), the saints have the fullest persuasion, that, before the foundation of the world, some are elected to life, appointed also before their doing anything, to that to which God at length brings them, namely, that in them He should give an example of His wrath, and that in that way His name should be sanctified in them. And, when they see it thus to be pleasing in the sight of God, they render thanks with our Lord to God the Father for this very judgment, as well that He hides this mystery of salvation from the wise and prudent of this world, as that He reveals it to the elect little ones; however He may will that the revelation of the mystery should be equally offered to both. Thence, whereas God nevertheless commands the gospel to be preached to every creature, and to call them to the communion of the gospel, be they who they may; the saints do not dispute why it is God’s command to call them, whom nevertheless He will not have to come, yea, whom He hardens lest they should come: but they thus judge; it is the Lord who commands, it is our part therefore to obey, and to account it sufficient that in the meanwhile we so far serve the Lord as to the reprobate, that every excuse of their wickedness should be taken away from them, and they should be obliged themselves to confess that God justly condemns them.”
Again, “When we speak of God, we all understand the Author of every good; and he who affirms that any good is not effected by God, does not hesitate to deny that He is God. For if ever so little good be not from God, then is He not the effecter of every good; therefore neither is He God. But, when these preposterous patrons of divine justice say, that all men are alike called by the gospel, and that like grace is offered and bestowed upon all, that they may follow, God calling them, and that men’s embracing this grace of God is in their power, we will ask them, Whence is it that some, making good use of their power, embrace the grace equally offered to all—that some reject it, making bad use of their power? If they say, That is from man, not from God; now the chief good from which all the rest hang, the embracing the offered favour of God, is from man; and man has that which he has not received, nor is God now the effecter of every good; therefore neither is He God. This conflicts not only, as I have said, with Scripture, but also with common sense. But if it be from God that any one hears effectually and follows God’s calling, then in any case God does not give His grace to all equally. For to those who follow the call of the gospel He gives that very thing which He does not give to those who reject the gospel. It remains, therefore, as yet and always, that human reason is condemned in the judgment of God, if you permit it to judge about God, the judge of all. If therefore in practice it comes to this concerning the whole dispensation of our salvation, it is not wonderful if it happens, in that it so seemed good to God, that all mortals should be alike called by the gospel, although He may not wish that all should follow that calling: for many are called, few chosen.
“The saints therefore will ingenuously confess, yea and will preach, that God wills that the gospel indeed should be preached to all, and that thereby all mortals should be called to life; but that He does not will that all should believe the gospel, for neither does He bestow that on all, but hardens many, lest they should bear to hear it. It comes indeed, as He Himself says, to many unto judgment: and Paul teaches, that the gospel, which in itself is a power unto salvation unto all, is a savour of death unto death to them who perish. In that is fulfilled, that, ‘Hearing, hear ye, and understand not; seeing, see ye, and perceive not.’ When the blessed Paul preached Christ to all the elders of the Jews at Rome, undoubtedly he did it the Lord willing and commanding it: yet when many did not believe, he himself testified that the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled in them: ‘Hearing, hear ye,’ etc. God therefore willed that they should be called by the gospel, and yet should not come. So when Joab,” etc.
He then enumerates other similar instances. “This, therefore is the method of God; thus it seems good to Himself, that all indeed should be called to Him by the eternal word, but not to draw all to Him by His Spirit; but howbeit that those who are not drawn cannot come to Him; nevertheless, whoever have been called, it is necessary that they should afterwards condemn themselves for despising the mercy of God.”
“Philip Melancthon,” he says, “is accustomed to say2 that man had a free will in the affairs of civil life, but not in the affairs of the life which God approves.”
Again: “For it is certain that any one’s obeying the call of God, which is the beginning of our whole salvation, is the gift and work of God, which God bestows on some, denies to others. For these He persuades that He may effectually influence, those not so; and these whom he effectually influences cannot but follow, and those cannot follow whom He does not effectually influence. He wills therefore altogether that some should hear, and hear effectually; some hear and despise. But why God so wills and does, blessed Augustine has only two things to answer: O the depth of the riches! and, Is there unrighteousness with God? adding, to whomsoever this answer is displeasing, let him seek more learned persons, but let him take care lest he find presumptuous ones: De Sp. et Lit. c. 34. Nor will those who are truly pious answer anything else.” Bucer on Romans 9.
In the same commentary on the Romans, he confutes the presciential or Arminian notion of election, quoting Augustine writing against the Pelagians, against Origen and Ambrose: saying, You say, not of present but of future works—that of future works Jacob was loved; but you contradict the apostle, saying, Not of works that it might be by grace, etc.; bringing also the evidence of an infant dying after baptism to shew that it could not be in prescience of future works.
On Romans 8. “For the apostle in this place is occupied with teaching, that God destined us to salvation before we were, not merely before we had done anything good: and from this he sets about to prove, that this will of God concerning our salvation was certain and unmoved, which no creature could turn aside: as that which God draws from Himself and His own goodness, which cannot be changed; and without any respect to our merit which varies so miserably… Therefore… praefinition, which we commonly call predestination, is that designation of God, by which He marks out with Himself, and now singles out, and separates from the rest of men, those whom in their own time, brought into this life, He draws and grafts into our Lord Jesus; and thus drawn to and planted in Him, by Him begets again, and sanctifies according to His good pleasure.” “But then,” etc. He then states the appointment of everything by God to its own use.
“Hence also is the predestination of the bad. For, as God also forms these out of nothing, so He forms them to some certain end: for He does all things wisely, without any exception, even to the predetermined and good use of the evil. Also the impious are organs and instruments of God, as below, chapter 9. God made all things for Himself, the wicked also for the day of evil. But this theologians do not bear to call predestination, but they call it reprobation: but God does everything well and wisely. Therefore also everything has a determined end” (nihil non destinatum). After adducing instances he proceeds:
“But whereas God formed these and all other wicked men, who will deny, that He knew, before He formed them, to what He willed to use them; and that He then ordained and destined them to this? What therefore forbids us to say that there is a predestination of these also?”
Again on Ephesians 1.
“The term election is used in two ways: sometimes for election to some external office, as ‘Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ Judas the traitor was elected indeed to the apostleship; but to the inheritance of eternal life he was not elected. Again, election sometimes means a designation of some men, out of the common lost mass, to the knowledge of the will of God, and at length to eternal life, of the mere favour of God; and it is of that election the discourse here is, and of that Christ also speaks, ‘I know whom I have chosen.’
“On the whole, election is the mere gift of God, and therefore favour, and not reward. Read Augustine; he certainly has the clearest and most evident testimonies. Election, therefore, is the destination and certain commiseration from eternity, before the world was constituted, by which God separated, from the universal race of lost men, those whom He was pleased to pity, to eternal life, out of His purely free mercy, before they could do anything good or bad. It is certain, I say, and immutable, through Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, and our mediator,” etc.
“And the words of the Holy Ghost are plain by which He ascribes the hardness of heart, the dulness of ears, the blindness of eyes, in Pharaoh, and therefore in all like him, not to the flesh, or the devil, but to God Himself, who owes no man anything, and does everything most justly. If, therefore, any one object, If nothing is done on the part of men, in what relates to election, which concurs with the divine work, God seems to be unjust, that He does not give the same reward to all: he is to be answered, There is nothing similar between God’s thoughts and ours.”
Hence we may estimate the value of the quotation of Dr. Lawrence3 from Bucer, appended to his own views of the subject. “He who doubts about this (namely, about predestination), cannot believe himself to be called and justified, that is, cannot be a Christian. It is to be assumed, therefore, as a first principle of faith, that we all are foreknown, fore-determined, and separated from the rest, and selected for this, that we should be eternally saved; and that this purpose of God cannot be changed.”
I have now only an historical remark or two to make before I turn to Peter Martyr, the Oxford Divinity Professor in the days of the blessed Reformation.
This Bucer was a man highly esteemed for his moderation and powers, and, having long resided at Strasbourg, was therefore invited over to assist in settling the Reformation in England, and was accordingly appointed Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. He had a very important share in the settlement of the English Liturgy, which was translated into Latin on purpose that he might revise, give his opinion and corrections; and many and material alterations were made accordingly at his suggestion and by his advice. In fact, this may be said to have been the formation of the Liturgy, or Book of Common Prayer: and from its validity the whole validity of the English succession hangs. For King Edward’s first book was in truth (what King James was pleased, while a Scotch king, to designate the present Liturgy4 itself) little more than “an ill said mass”: but in this it assumed substantially its present form. There were alterations in Queen Elizabeth’s book, as since also; of of which some have approved, some thought that they were to conciliate the then Papists. But anyone who will take the trouble of comparing them, will see that the second book of King Edward may be considered substantially as the settling of the Liturgy. Moreover, all the first bishops of Queen Elizabeth were ordained according to this book; that is, on the principles of episcopal succession, in effect, all: and (some having called in question the validity of their ordination, it having been abolished by Queen Mary, and not legally revived) an act of parliament was passed against those who should dare to impugn the validity of what was done under that book.
One circumstance or two more may be mentioned to shew the estimation of Bucer, and, if need be, his intimate connection with Cranmer. It was by Cranmer he was invited into England: and, receiving triple the usual stipend during his life at Cambridge, he was buried in the University Church, the vice-chancellor ordering the members of all the colleges to attend his funeral.
A few more quotations from his commentaries on points directly before us shall close what relates peculiarly to him. On “Moreover whom he did predestinate,” Rom. 8:30. “He repeats what he had said concerning the predestination of the children of God, and unfolds it more fully, using an elegant gradation. But what he wished to shew was, that they were already glorified with God: that is, whomsoever God had foreknown as of His own, and had already predestinated, they were certainly destined to the glory of the sons of God. For he calls them, and surely draws them unto the full faith of his Son: they are profited by that (that is, they certainly receive remission of their sins). But, their sins being pardoned, the glory of God is restored to them, of which but just now under sin they were destitute.”
“By faith therefore alone this will be the portion of all, that they will enjoy the love of God, pardon of their sins being received, that is, being justified.” …“If therefore the chief and proper effects of justification come to us by faith, it is manifestly collected, that we receive justification itself by faith, and that all our salvation consists in this, that we embrace with living faith the mercy of God offered to us in the gospel, in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
On “Called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28.
“For that not only renders our confidence in God the fountain of all righteousness more complete, but will incite us also, freed from all solicitude for our salvation, that with the utmost endeavour we should endeavour with all our strength to answer to this so sure and blessed vocation.”
“But the predestination of the saints of which the apostle treats here is the election and destination of the saints to eternal salvation.”
“As to the question, In what respect are we to consider predestination? as to that Philip Melancthon teaches very religiously and diligently, for nothing else truly but that we should be more sure of our salvation, and more firmly rest in the promises of God.”
“In that security therefore by good right are we concerning the eternal love of God towards us, that we may boast most confidently about it.”
Here then closes what specially relates to Bucer, invited over by Cranmer to assist in settling the Reformation here. And having borne a very prominent part in the completion and settling of the Liturgy, he died, after exercising the office of Divinity Professor at Cambridge till his death; honoured in it as an eminent instrument in the establishment of the Church of England, when her faith was to be formed and her services arranged.
I shall now turn to Peter Martyr. The diffuseness of his style renders it difficult to quote from him; but the reader will, I dare say, be persuaded that the toil was at any rate more to the writer.
“We ought to know, that there are various elections of God: for some are to fulfil certain offices, as to a kingdom, or to the apostleship: but others are to eternal life. And these are sometimes distinguished … sometimes however they are united.”
Reasoning from Augustine, he says,
“Neither is it any objection to preaching, that the number of the elect, as in truth it is, is certain and immovable. For what we do in preaching is not to transfer men from the book of the reprobate to the book of the elect, but in order that those who belong to the elect may be brought, by the ministry of the word, to the end destined for them; which same ministry, as it is useful to them, so it is destructive to the others, and takes away all excuse from them.”
“These places, and very many other like ones, manifestly declare, that men are predestinated before they begin to be; which those who take from us, snatch from us along with it a great consolation,, which we receive from this, that we know that we are predestinated by God to glory before all eternity.”
After much reasoning and scholastic discussion, in which, as Bucer, he says, “But since God does all things with a destined purpose, nothing by chance or fortuitously, beyond doubt whatever He creates and makes, He destines to some end and use. In this respect neither the impious, nor the devil himself, nor sins, can be excluded from predestination.” Then distinguishing, however, between the predestination of saints, as Bucer did, and what he says is more properly called reprobation, he thus defines them:
“I say, therefore, predestination is the most wise purpose of God, by which before all eternity He fixedly decreed, to call those whom He loved in Christ to the adoption of sons, to justification by faith, and at length to glory by good works, whereby they might be conformed to the image of the Son of God; and that in them might be declared the glory and mercy of the Creator.” “Purpose,” he says, includes “will.” “But this will we ought to understand to be that efficacious will which they call of a consequence, i.e., producing a consequence: by which is caused that the predestination of God should not be frustrated.” “By which He fixedly decreed.” “By these words we are taught that the predestination of God is immutable. For Paul says, in 2 Timothy, The foundation standeth sure; the Lord knows those who are His”; and he quotes from the well-known conclusion of Romans 8; James 1:17; Isaiah, “I am God; I change not”; and Paul, “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
Again: “Let us define reprobation, the most wise purpose of God, by which, before all eternity, He fixedly decreed, without any injustice, not to pity those whom He did not love, but passed by; whereby in this just condemnation He might declare His anger against sin, and His glory.”
After reasoning on the causes, saying, amongst other things, “Whereas predestination is the purpose or will of God, but that is the first cause of all things, … it cannot be that there should be any cause of it,” he says, “For men who are predestinated, and those things which God hath decreed to bestow on the elect by predestination, such are calling, justification, glorification, may be called the matter about which predestination is conversant.”
Again: “There is ambiguity in that word for (Propter), how it is to be understood. For if good works are understood, as in truth they are, and are done because God predestinated us to this end, that we should live rightly (as the epistle to the Ephesians has it, to wit, that we are elect, that we should be holy, without blame before Him, and that God prepared good works that we should walk in them), as to this opinion, the proposition is to be affirmed. But if that word for, is to be referred to the efficient cause, as if good works, which God foresaw we were about to do, were as merits and causes which could move God that He should predestinate us, this sense we admit in no way… For vocation, which is the effect of predestination, is the cause why we should be justified: justification is the cause of good works: and good works, although they be not the cause, are yet the means by which God leads us to eternal life. But none of them is the cause or the means why we should be elected by God; as, on the other hand, sins are the cause indeed why we are damned, not however why we are reprobated by God. For if they were the causes of reprobation, no one could be elected; for the condition of all is alike, for we are all born in sin… These things being now thus settled, reasons are to be given, on account of which we deny that foreseen good works are the causes of our predestination.”
He then argues, that justification would be of works if election depended on foreseen works; and that good works are the effect of predestination; and that if we were predestinated for foreseen works, Paul’s exclamation about it would be nonsense. And he reasons, that foreseen works could be no such moving cause, from the cases of Tyre and Sidon, when God did foresee and did not spare. Then, again: “For it is useful for us, that our salvation should not hang from our works… But if we believe that our salvation remains fixed and certain in God on account of Christ, we cannot but be of good courage.”
Both Peter Martyr and Bucer reason soundly and fully, that judgment is to be taken, not from the fathers, but from Scripture. I shall here just mention several heads of argument from Peter Martyr, drawn from several pages of his commentaries. He reasons on the words, “many called, but few chosen,” to shew the distinction of the elect even in the called body. He reasons, that God could not have decreed what was not to have place; he distinguishes between His efficacious will, and His revealed will (voluntatem signi); and that Christ was the first effect of predestination.
He says, “We in no way say that grace is common to all, but that it is granted to some, and to others by the will of God it is not given”: and he reasons, that it is theirs only that are drawn, and peculiar to them; and declares it absurd to reason that all are drawn, and some will not come,” etc. That sufficient grace is not given to all—that Tyre and Sidon had not what was sufficient—that external vocation is common to predestinated and reprobate; and that thereby God does not mock them with general promises, but their damnation is rendered just. That all have not power to become the sons of God, but those who are born of the will of God, and that Christ is to be said to have died for all, “sufficiently, but not efficaciously.” That the reprobate subserve the divine purpose, to illustrate and declare the power of His sincerity; that the reprobate can do many good works to a certain extent, and, on the other hand, the predestinate fall into the grossest sins; instincing Saul, Solomon (who he seems to think fell away, “lapsus est, imo defecit”), Ahab, Joash, and quoting Ezekiel; and, on the other hand, David, Moses, Aaron: and that good works “sometimes subserve predestination, sometimes reprobation. Predestination through them brings the elect to life; and as to reprobation, they are sometimes reasons why the fall is made more terrible.” …“Sins also tend as to reprobation, so to predestination. For those who are reprobate, by them are drawn to eternal ruin. Those who are predestinate, through them illustrate the glory of God, when they are snatched out of them.”
As to perseverance, we may quote our author, on 1 Corinthians 1:8: “When he preaches a faithful God, he shews that He can be rendered false by no fault of ours. Therefore if He have called us by a just and efficacious calling, there is no doubt that He will perfect the work which He has begun, that we should be preserved by Him blameless in the day of our Lord (…): however often, which is our infirmity while we live here, we may have fallen.
“St. Paul seems to reason thus: Thou hast already obtained grace through Christ, and you have obtained many gifts through the same; that therefore which remains you will have, that you should be blameless in the day of the Lord. Nor does the same write otherwise in sense to the Romans: The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Wherefore we also use this kind of argument, if at any time we may be (as is the case) of a dejected mind. We have been called to salvation, we have believed in Him that calls, we have obtained remission of sins, and have obtained gifts not common to all: we shall be saved therefore; nor will God cast away the work of His own hands. You may ask, as to calling, How can I determine whether it is effectual or otherwise? or concerning the faith with which I am endowed, whether it be temporary? I say that the Spirit of Christ bears testimony with our spirit, that we are the children of God: which St. Paul to the Romans has taught the Church to be a mark of the elect. In the second place, from the effects, and, as they say, a posteriori: good works make our calling and election certain. For Peter, in his latter epistle, chapter 1, when he had made copious mention of good works, adds, ‘Wherefore, brethren, the rather give diligence, that ye make your calling and election sure.’ But if, in the last place, you enquire, Whereas the spirit of one’s neighbour by no means appears to us, shall we be able to judge of him in any other way than by works? Certainly Christ has left no other criterion by which we may judge concerning our neighbours, for He said, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them,’” etc.
As to certainty of faith and hope, on Romans 5, “Hope maketh not ashamed,” he says, “For Paul wished to intimate, that the pious could not be frustrated in their hope.” There stating, that it could not depend on works, for they were uncertain, he says, “But that it is true and certain, Paul shews, not by one word only, but by three very significant ones; for, first, he uses the word, knowing (sciendi), which indicates a certain knowledge (cognitionem) of a thing. He makes mention also of making boast, which has no place with holy and prudent men, unless concerning those blessings which they certainly and firmly possess. Lastly, he adds, that hope maketh not ashamed; but, deservedly, he very often brings in the persuasion of that certainty, because hence especially consolation is to be sought in affliction.”
After reasoning against its connection with works actual or prospective, he says, “But it is worth while to see how they get on when they say, on the one hand, that hope is a certain expectation; on the other, however, that it is a most firm dogma, that none can be certain of his salvation, unless it shall have been individually revealed to him by God. Here they feel themselves at a loss: they confess that it is difficult to see how that is certainty of hope. Here they miserably fret themselves, sweat, and use many glosses. First, they determine… that certainty of hope which flows from certainty of faith… But they go farther, and say, that we by faith believe generally and absolutely that all the elect and predestinated will be saved, but that hope causes us to trust that we are of the number of the elect: as if hope had a particular knowledge subordinate to faith: that what had been generally comprehended through faith, should be separately applied to us through hope… lastly, they conclude, that the certainty of hope is less than that of faith: we on the contrary make the certainty of both equal. As much faith as we have, so much also we have of hope, for neither does faith retain any certainty for itself which it does not transmit to hope… But they seem to me to do as those who, when they defend a city in a siege, diligently shut and fortify all the rest of the gates, but in the meanwhile leave one open, by which when the enemies enter and plunder everything, they may perceive that they have lost their labour; so they indeed labour extremely, lest there should seem to be any uncertainty arising from the goodness, power, and clemency of God, or the merit of Christ. Yet in the meanwhile they determine our will to be so liable to change, that no man can or ought to promise himself perseverance, even from the word of God: and so wholly take away all certainty, that the saying of Paul can have no place, ‘ Hope maketh not ashamed’; nor can the certainty, which they endeavour to establish, be of any profit. Indeed, if we consult the sacred scriptures, we shall understand that God is not only generally good and powerful, but also that He is good and propitious to our own selves, and therefore will confirm our will that it should never fall away from Him; for, as we have mentioned a little before, He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able to bear, but will with the temptation make a way to escape; and (1 Corinthians 1) He will confirm you unto the end blameless unto the day of our Lord Jesus Christ; for God is faithful, through whom ye were called. There are, besides, very many other testimonies in the sacred scriptures, which promise to us both perseverance and confirmation of will through Christ. Wherefore we say that that certainty of hope is a firm adherence in the promises offered to us, and received by faith, that we shall not fail of obtaining our ultimate end. Of so great virtue is this hope, that, as Augustine says to Dardanus, and in very many other places, it calls that which is about to be, done already… That certainty arises chiefly from the worthy judgment which we are able to entertain by faith of the constancy of God, which no unworthiness of ours can cause to fail; which if we look at when drawing us away from this confidence, we ought against hope to believe in hope; and, however much that may oppose its voice, trust that we shall be saved by Christ: proposing to ourselves our father Abraham, to whose steps we ought to hold fast by faith. He, etc… so, although we be unworthy, and our faith and our sins hinder us, yet let us not distrust that we shall be saved by Christ, unless we wish to be subject to infidelity, which Abraham specially abhorred; for he did not doubt through infidelity, says the apostle: whence the uncertainty of our adversaries is wholly taken away from pious minds.” …“Wherefore,” speaking of Job’s expression, ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,’ “let us imitate him; and if we have fallen, and our unworthiness sets itself before our eyes, yet let us not distrust. Let us detect, meanwhile, our vices, and let us amend them as much as we can: but on account of them let us by no means fail in our hope of salvation. For if, when the promises of God are set before us, we will look at our own worthiness, we shall be led to despair rather than to any hope; for there is no one whose soul is not burdened with many and grievous sins. Besides, Paul teaches that we have peace towards God through Christ, and by faith which is in Him; which certainly is altogether done, or at any rate would be very turbulent, if we should perpetually doubt concerning His will towards us”: and then he reasons on our calling Him Father in our prayers, and how unpleasing it must be to a father for a child to doubt his father’s love. “Hope therefore is a faculty breathed in by the Holy Spirit, by which we expect, with a certain and even mind, that the salvation begun by Christ, and received by faith, will be in time accomplished in us, not by our merits but from the mercy of God.” Then, after comparing the hope of present circumstances, as Paul’s hope of escaping the persecution of Nero, etc., “That we may reply to this, we repeat what has been said before, that hope receives its certainty from faith: but faith has its certainty from the word of God; wherefore it is consistent, that both are as certain as the promises are which are set forth. But God promises us remission of sins and eternal life simply, and has commanded that we should believe and hope for these things without any doubt. In these things, therefore, neither faith nor hope can deceive us; but if at any time the minds of saints are disturbed, as if they should doubt concerning the promises of God or their own salvation, that does not happen through the fault of faith or hope; but that while we live here, we are not perfectly furnished. Therefore this doubt springs from the flesh and human prudence.” And again: “These evils arise from our corruption”; and he then compares them to mathematics, of which ignorance may doubt the certainty, but it is to be attributed to ignorance alone.
Here I close my quotations from Peter Martyr, the Professor of Divinity at Oxford. I have but few remarks to make upon these men. That they were honoured and blessed in the churches, is beyond controversy with those who are acquainted with the history of the Reformation in Germany, where Bucer was greatly blessed and looked up to for his moderation and depth of scriptural knowledge: or with that of the Reformation in Italy, where Peter Martyr took an active and leading part— we might almost say, save the preaching of Ochinus at Naples, the leading part; till the persecutions which hung over the Church drove him from Italy.5 Bucer, I may add, was converted by hearing Luther.
We have seen then the place they held in the Reformation: we have seen their doctrines. I have given them at the length I have, partly that it may be manifest that there is no forced interpretation of particular passages, but a regularly argued-out development of the principles they themselves sustained, and preached too; and partly, as affording matter bearing upon almost every point called into question by the author of the “Remarks.” The attentive reader of the foregoing quotations cannot but have taken notice of this—taken notice, I mean, that the conclusions met in the “Remarks “are here stated as the just, blessed, triumphant, and love-inspired consequences of truths held by them to be the objects of certain faith, and therefore affording the equal certainty of sanctifying hope; “for he indeed that hath this hope in him,” and he only, “purineth himself as he is pure.” He will see that they are equally and expressly opposed to the Arminian (so called, but properly Pelagian) notion of prospective works, or the (new and if you please Melancthonian) notion of church election, as contrasted with individual. I am not here arguing the point of the truth of these things; but arguing on the facts of the history of the times.
And now, were these notions originated in the university by some unrecognized individual to which the Church is not a party? They were the argued published opinions of the Professors of Divinity of both universities. But were they merely the particular opinions of these individuals there, as a particular pope may sometimes err, and not give the opinion of the Catholic body? No, they were called to the chairs of divinity, because they were what they were, and because they held these opinions. They were called by those who were the ordering instruments of the reformation of the Church of England, that, in constituting it as it stands now, they might form its opinions, and establish its principles: her formularies were submitted to their correction, and their advice taken upon them. If, certainly, the testimony of the Professor of Divinity of our university be competent to state and vindicate the doctrines of that university, and declare the opinions of the Church of England (and I am content to admit that he is), them am I fully warranted in taking the matured testimony of the Professors of both, as witness of the doctrines approved by both, and as a declaration of the doctrines of the then Church—at least I will not say a vindication of them from misrepresentation: and all this, observe, when, according to the author of the “Remarks,” “Calvin had scarcely begun to propagate his peculiar opinions concerning predestination.”
There is one other person whom it may become us to take notice of, whose name is a host in the Church of England, and who was its pillar and defence, as far as man went, on its re-establishment; than whom no one could be mentioned as more a witness of its character and principles—I mean Jewell. It is well known his Apology was quasi-symbolical.
On 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14, he writes (Works, 143, title, A View of, etc.), “God hath chosen you from the beginning; His election is sure for ever. The Lord knoweth who are His. You shall not be deceived with the power and subtilty of antichrist; you shall not fall from grace; you shall not perish. This is the comfort which abideth with the faithful when they behold the fall of the wicked; when they see them forsake the truth, and delight in fables; when they see them return to their vomit, and wallow again in their mire.”
“When we see these things in others, we must say, Alas! they are examples for me, and they are lamentable examples. Let him that standeth take heed that he fall not. But God hath loved me, and chosen me to salvation. His mercy shall go before me, and His mercy shall follow in me; His mercy shall guide my feet, and stay me from falling. If I stay by myself, I stay by nothing, I must needs come to the ground. Although all the world should be drowned with the waves of ungodliness, yet will I hold by the boat of His mercy, which shall safely preserve me. If all the world be set on fire with the flame of wickedness, yet will I creep into the bosom of the protection of my Lord; so shall no flame hurt me. He hath loved me, He hath chosen me, He will keep me. Neither the example nor the company of others, nor the enticing of the devil, nor mine own sensual imaginations, nor sword, nor fire, is able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is the comfort of the faithful; so shall they wash their hands in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, saith Paul, you are my children, etc… Whatsoever falleth upon others, although others fall and perish, although they forsake Christ, and follow after antichrist, yet God hath loved you, and given His Son for you; He hath chosen you, and prepared you to salvation, and hath written your names in the book of life. But how may we know that God hath chosen us? how may we see this election? or how may we feel it? The apostle saith, Through sanctification and the faith of truth; these are tokens of God’s election. Have you received the gospel? It is the light of the world; it teaches us to know that God is God, and that we are His people. The credit you give to the gospel is a witness of your election.” Again, in his Defence of the Apology, Works, 67, Eng. fol. Lon. 1611: “Now concerning the assurance or certainty of salvation, the scriptures are full. St. Paul saith, There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. The Spirit of God beareth witness to our spirit that we are the children of God. I know that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor powers, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature else, shall be able to remove me from that love that God beareth towards me in Christ Jesus our Lord; Romans 8. But as these words perhaps have not the sense of the Church of Rome, without which,” etc., and then he goes on to the Fathers.
Having quoted thus much, we may add that this Jewell was a great friend of, and during Mary’s reign lived with, Peter Martyr abroad: and in a letter, dated the 5th November, 1559, he states that there was much talk that Martyr would again be invited over; but he feared that the Saxon or Lutheran influence would prevail. Peter Martyr died just after the Apology was printed.6 I am not able to verify the references to the letters.7
And as further evidence how little then the Lutheran church was taken as the standard, even by authority, Bishop Cheyney was held in disrepute on account of his Lutheran opinions. If Jewell’s letters to Peter Martyr and others be consulted, it will sufficiently appear what feelings he had towards the main-tainers of the Interim, that is, Melancthon’s party in the Lutheran Church.8 It is said, I know not on what authority, that Jewell esteemed Calvin’s Institutes so highly, that he learned the greater of them by heart: he was very famous for this gift of memory.
We may remark here, that, as the language of Article XVII may be traced through Bucer and Peter Martyr, even in the rapid translation I have here given, so it was not changed in the revision of 1562, save to omit the words, “Although the decrees of predestination are unknown to us, yet.”9
But there were then those who, “in the name of Paul, and Cephas, and Christ,” or however of Peter, and Paul, and of Christ, said that this was not the gospel; and came forward to stand between the dead and the living, to stop the contagion of this doctrine of assurance of salvation. The following is the decree of the council of Trent upon the subject:
“But although it be necessary to believe that sins neither are nor ever were forgiven, save freely by the divine mercy on account of Christ; yet to no one boasting his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins, and resting in that alone, is it to be said that his sins are or have been forgiven: since amongst heretics and schismatics this vain confidence, far removed from all piety, may be, yea, in our time is, preached, and with great earnestness against the Catholic Church; but neither is that to be asserted, that those who are truly justified ought, without any doubt at all, to determine with themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from his sins and justified, save he who certainly believes himself to be absolved and justified; and that by this faith alone absolution and justification is wrought, as if he who does not believe this, doubted concerning the promises of God, and concerning the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ. For, as no pious person ought to doubt concerning the mercy of God, concerning the merit of Christ, and concerning the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, so every one, when he considers himself, and his own infirmity and indisposition, may tremble concerning his own grace, and fear, since none can know with the certainty of faith, in which fallacy cannot exist, that he has obtained the grace of God.”
I leave the contrast of these passages, with the question now passing before us, to the judgment of every right-ordered mind.
I add the following: “No one also, so long as he lives in this mortal life, ought so far to presume concerning the secret mystery of divine predestination, that he should certainly determine himself to be altogether in the number of the predestinated: as if it were true that, being justified, he could no more sin, or, if he sinned, he ought certainly to promise himself repentance; for, unless by special revelation, he cannot know whom God has chosen to Himself.”10
The passages I have here quoted are very strong evidence of the opinions propagated generally at the Reformation. Of this they are direct evidence, viz., of the views of the Church of Rome; as Bucer and Peter Martyr are evidence of the opinions taught in the universities, and sanctioned by the English reformers, as those on which the Church of England was founded: and it is a very simple question, to which of the two are the doctrines here discussed on either side most like?
But the author of the “Remarks “cannot but have been aware that the doctrine of assurance, as directly connected with consequentially, I will not say as being, as some hold, justifying faith, but that the doctrine of assurance in fact is taught, not only in the confession of the reformed churches in France, but also in that of Augsburg. I certainly should have stated the confession of the French churches to have been a much more formed and material document. This, however, of course, is matter of judgment. In this point the confession of Augsburg is as decided as possible; and this is material, as shewing, not merely the fact of its being taught in the church, but that it was one of the points on which, as essential to Christian truth, they separated from the apostate church of Rome: as if, as the council of Trent expresses it, “to doubt of it were to doubt of the promises of God, and the efficacy of Christ’s death and resurrection.” That the soul of a saint may be disturbed, as Peter Martyr says, we admit; but to make doubts which arise from the flesh and the corruption of our nature, the state in which a Christian ought to be, or the justifiable standard of the frame of his mind, is to make unbelief the rule of faith, to deny the power of Christ’s atonement as received by faith, and to affirm the propriety of disbelief in its efficacy and in God’s promises, or that being justified by faith we have peace with God. But we must not pass yet quite away from history. As to this appropriating character of faith, and consequently the connection of the sense of salvation with justification, we may quote what the author of the “Remarks “has already recognized as sound doctrine. He has commented much on, and indeed spoken of it as a leading error, the confounding of justification and salvation; but he is charging here not the preacher, but the reformers, nay, rather, the authorized formularies of the Church. “As is more fully declared in the homily of justification,” is the language of the Articles. And where is this homily to be found? I suppose the author of the “Remarks “will not deny that it is the homily in three parts, entitled the homily of salvation. The homily of salvation is in fact a full treatise on justification: but I shall quote a passage from the third part, as evidence of their view, and also of the author of the “Remarks.” “These articles of our faith the devils believe, and so they believe all things that be written in the New and Old Testament to be true: and yet for all this faith they be but devils, remaining still in their damnable estate, lacking the very true Christian faith. For the right and true Christian faith is, not only to believe that holy scripture and all the foresaid articles of our faith are true, but also to have a sure trust and confidence in God’s merciful promises, to be saved from everlasting damnation by Christ; whereof doth follow a loving heart to obey His commandments.”
And proving that profession with ungodliness cannot have this assurance, they reason: “For how can a man have this true faith, this sure trust and confidence in God, that by the merits of Christ his sins be forgiven, and he reconciled, to the favour of God, and to be partaker of the kingdom of heaven by Christ, when he liveth ungodly? “Well, the author of the “Remarks” says now: “I dare not in this life count myself to have apprehended, or pronounce my sins to be forgiven.”
But I quote it now as evidence of the way in which the homilies identify salvation with justification (for they use them as identical terms, or rather assume, that in proving justification they were proving salvation), and how a true faith is made by them to consist in the confidence in God’s promises, that our sins are forgiven, and that we shall be partakers of the kingdom of heaven by Christ, and that both are at once concluded by faith.
Farther, as to the historic evidence of the alleged Lutheranism of the Church of England reformation, we may remark, that, when the persecuted English protestants fled to Germany on the accession of Mary, the Lutherans would not receive them into their cities at all; this was rather singular evidence of the Lutheran character of their views. It is evidence of this, that so far from the contagion being merely brought back, they were in the full Calvinistic disease before they left England. I am quite aware that the sacrament question was connected with this. But what other substantial difference was there? For example, what was the point on which the two parties of the Reformation finally split at the conferences at Marpurg?
Farther, an evidence of the estimation in which the Lutherans held the English reformers, we may quote Melancthon, quoted in a note to Mosheim: “Some vociferate that the English martyrs are martyrs of the devil. I am unwilling thus to insult the Holy Spirit in Latimer, who has past his eightieth year, and in other holy men whom I knew.” Note in Maclaine’s Mosheim, vol. iv, p. 383. [Cent. XVI, sec. iii, part ii, chap. 2, xvii.]
Melancthon, indeed, it is evident, did not agree with them in this opinion, that these Lutheran English were martyrs of the devil; but even his language is a little gentle if he was the author of all these opinions for which they were burnt.
But as the Lutheran Church has been referred to and as we have been told that “the Loci Theologici of Melancthon in any edition after 1545 may be taken as speaking the sentiments of all the Lutheran divines,” and the Church of England views are attempted to be rested on this basis; it may be worth our while to advert to the history of the Lutheran Church briefly. It is not perhaps astonishing, though it might seem odd, that the author of the “Remarks “has never once adverted to Luther as having anything to say to the opinions of the Lutheran Church. It would indeed have destroyed all the groundwork upon which the argument that the Church of England was Lutheran rested, and its object too: still we must be allowed to refer to them in considering the Lutheran Church. It is well known that one of Luther’s principal and most laboured works was on the bondage of the will—its absolute and unqualified incapability of doing anything but sin. I shall confine myself to two quotations, exhibitory of his views: merely mentioning, that it is stated by historians, that declarations of Luther were extant, written many years after, in which he stated, that this and his catechism were the only things on review in which he could feel thoroughly satisfied. He thus writes: “It is a granted11 position that free-will in all, is alike defined to be, that which cannot will good.” “And indeed if it were not so, God could not elect any one, nor would there be any place for election, but for free-will only, as choosing or refusing the long-suffering and anger of God. And if God be thus robbed of His power and wisdom to elect, what will there be remaining but that idol fortune, under the name of which all things take place at random? Nay, we shall at length come to this; that men may be saved and damned without God’s knowing anything at all about it, as not having determined by certain election who should be saved or who should be damned; but having set before all men in general His pardoning goodness12 and long-suffering, and His mercy, shewing correction and punishment, and left them to choose for themselves whether they would be saved or damned; while He in the meantime should be gone, as Homer says, to an Ethiopian feast. It is just such a God as this that Aristotle points out to us,” etc. Bondage of the Will, p. 281 (of Coles’s translation).
Again, he says, quoted by Milner, IV, 461, “You undermine at once all the divine promises and threatenings; you destroy the faith and the fear of God; in fact, you deny the Deity Himself, unless you allow a necessary efficacy to His prescience.”
I shall now give a quotation from Melancthon, from his Loci Theologici before 1545, when in the state in which Luther speaks of it so strongly in the opening of his “de servo arbitrio,” as incomparable. I give the quotation from Milner, who says the book is rare. “The divine predestination takes away the liberty of man; for both the external actions and the internal thoughts of all created beings whatever, take place agreeably to the divine predestination. The judgment of a carnal mind resists this sentiment; but a man of a spiritual understanding approves it. Moreover, the mind which is deeply affected with a sense of the divine predeterminations will always have the profoundest reverence for God, as well as the most steady dependence on Him.” (Phil. Melancthon’s Loc; Theol. ap. Milner, V, p. 300.)
I suppose only the author of the “Remarks “would appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober. But we will have his thoughts after Calvin’s views were presented to his mind. I quote from the same source, p. 333.
Melancthon writes to Calvin. After stating his hypothesis on the subject, he says, “I do not write these things to you in a dictatorial spirit; it is not for me to dictate to so very learned a person, and so very well skilled in the exercises of piety; and indeed I am satisfied that these views of mine agree with yours, but they are stated in a ruder, less refined manner, and are adapted to use.”
Do we say, then, that this steady basis of the Church of England doctrine did not change his opinion? Far from it. The above sentence disappeared from the Loci before 1545: but that all the Lutheran doctors followed his opinions, is one of the most monstrous statements that could be made. Did the author of the “Remarks “ever hear of the Interim? of the convocation at Torgaw? or the Form of Concord, which itself again divided the whole Lutheran Church? Why the university of Jena owes its origin to the resistance of the Lutheran doctors to the new opinions of Melancthon. Nor let it be said, this does not apply to the Loci Theologici; for at the conference at Torgaw, where Melancthon advocated submission to the Interim, the statement of these his later views gave occasion to the divisions of the Lutheran Church.
Mosheim (a man, I suppose, latitudinarian enough not to bear hard upon Melancthon) gives the following account of his changes: and if we are told he was as a Lutheran jealous for the credit of Luther, it does but further prove the point.
In the question of indifferent things, or, as it is called, the Adiaphoristic controversy, arising from the Interim, we have the following: “But in the class of matters indifferent, this great man and his associates placed many things which had appeared of the highest importance to Luther, and could not, of consequence, be considered as indifferent by his true disciples. For he regarded as such, the doctrine of justification by faith alone, the necessity of good works to salvation, the number of the sacraments, the jurisdiction claimed by the pope and the bishops, extreme unction, the observation of certain religious festivals and several superstitious rites and ceremonies.” Mosheim, Cent. XVI, sec. iii, pt. ii, c. I, xxviii.
Is this the basis on which the Church of England is founded? For this is Melancthon after 1545.
Again: “The Synergists, whose doctrine was almost the same with that of the Semipelagians, denied that God was the only agent in the conversion of sinful men; and affirmed, that man co-operated with divine grace in the accomplishment of His salutary purpose. Here also Melancthon renounced the doctrine of Luther; at least the terms he employs in expressing his sentiments concerning this intricate subject are such as Luther would have rejected with horror; for, in the conference at Leipsic already mentioned, the former of these great men did not scruple to affirm, that God drew to Himself and converted adult persons in such a manner, that the powerful impression of His grace was accompanied with a certain correspondent action of their will, etc. But this representation of the matter was far from being agreeable to the rigid Lutherans. They looked upon it as subversive of the true and genuine doctrine of Luther, relating to the absolute servitude of the human will, etc., and hence they opposed the Synergists, or Semipelagians, with the utmost animosity and bitterness.” Flacius was the leader of the other party. Such was the way in which Melancthon may be stated “as speaking the sentiments of all the Lutheran divines.” The history of the Lutheran Church, after the death of Luther, is the history of its divisions and controversies, occasions by Melancthon’s holding these very opinions in which he departed from Luther.
But there is one remarkable circumstance which I cannot refrain from noticing—that the same opinions in Archbishop Lawrence produced the same result; and (not to refer to public acts, as they are not written) his published charge of his views as Archbishop was direction to his clergy to cultivate reciprocal feelings with the Roman Catholic priests, as there was no difference between the churches in any material point. He here at least was a genuine Melancthonian Adiaphorist.
I have now done with the historical part of this enquiry. If any one wishes to see a foreigner’s view of the settlement of the English Church, he may consult Mosheim, Cent. XVI, sec. iii, pt. 2, c. 2, xvi. We have seen the doctrine of the professors of divinity in England who were called over at the Reformation. We have seen the views of Luther, and the real character of Melancthon and his views. I suppose we need not attempt to prove Calvin a Calvinist. That is, we have seen not merely the doctrines upon which the Church of England was founded, but we have seen the principles on which the Reformation itself was founded, and arose as the assertor of truth against the errors of the Church of Rome: and we have
seen this confirmed by the Church of Rome’s stepping out to meet them as a fundamental point of difference, as the primary turning point which upset their errors. And accordingly we have found, in more than one instance, that when these are departed from, acquiescence in the principles of the Church of Rome in material points has been held indifferent; or that there was no difference at all. Such is the state of things which history presents to us: and I think the attentive reader will have already found every point called in question by the author of the “Remarks” fully stated in the affirmative in the *** retracts from the Professors of Divinity at Oxford and Cambridge. As to justification in baptism, everybody knows that the Roman Catholics were baptized in all that the Church of England holds essential. If therefore the reformers held this to be justification, how they could have turned the world upside down by their arguments with the Church of Rome on the point, is hard to tell. Surely, if this had been their view, all their arguments, nay their lives, for the doctrine of justification by faith (the Articulus stantis or cadentis ecclesiae), would have been very little to the purpose.
For my own part, I cannot discern one single jot of difference on this head between the statement of the author of the “Remarks,” and the doctrine of the Church of Rome. The Church of Rome held, that righteousness could not be imputed without faith, as well as the author of the “Remarks.” The Church of Rome held, that “it were necessary to believe that no sins are, or ever were, remitted, save freely by the divine mercy on account of Christ,” and that “no pious person ought to doubt of the merit of Christ’s death,” as well as the author of the “Remarks.” The Church of Rome held, and does hold, that past sin is put away in baptism, only a little more clearly stated than by the author of the “Remarks,” that is, original sin in infants, or actual also in adults: so that a person is therein called, pardoned, accepted in Christ; while subsequent evil was to be put away by subsequent repentance. They hold the necessity of good works, and the freedom of the will, as well as the author of the “Remarks.” But what the did not hold, and what the author of the “Remarks” does not hold, was, such a reception of the value of Christ’s death by faith as gives peace and assurance of conscience, so the “gloriemur confidentissime,” as a former Professor of Divinity at Oxford expresses it: which the reformers did hold, and preach, and did profess; and that so universally as to be made a special matter of condemnation as their opinion at the council of Trent.
With some remarks on this point I shall close this trs as it has extended to so great, but, I hope, not unprofitable extent. And here I must remark, that while I have canvased the facts, I have abstained from any observations on the sp manner, or expressions of the “Remarks “in question. I am not disposed, nor did I feel it my object, so to do, though I think there was ample opportunity. I do not think it remark of a frank or honest-minded person to comment i the expression “added another word,” when the author know, as every one else, that this was a mere question c structure of language, and that the idea is as much add the Greek word, as it is in the English word freely: I c
think this worthy of a mind estimating things in the great purposes of God’s glorious gospel.13 And here I feel myself at liberty. I cannot but feel it one of the singular evidences of the way in which our spiritual thoughts can be cramped by a system, that when the question is as to the whole plans and counsels of the invisible God, and our entrance into them by the glorious gospel of the blessed God, for we have the mind of Christ, and our reconciliation into His communion of love, so as to enjoy all His counsels and see them accomplished in Him who is the brightness of His Father’s glory, and the express image of His Person; and be enabled to say in Him, “Grant thee thy hearts* desire, and fulfil all thy counsel”: I should find myself brought down to the enquiry of what five or six men held—saints indeed, from whom I should be willing to learn, but who, as individuals, were but the objects of the everlasting counsels and glory of Him, who hath gathered us also into the same inheritance. I traced this indeed, not as regards their individual opinions, but the great broad facts on which the work proceeded, for the sake of those who may be accustomed to walk in their steps, and to have assumed very different facts from those which are indeed true. But the truth of God receives no testimony from man, though He may give it to them and honour them thereby. May we in this day be honoured as faithful to that which is given us.
I shall close by very freely discussing the principles advanced by the author of the “Remarks,” as principles in which the peace of God’s children is concerned. Because the statement amounts to this: that a justified person, justified by true faith (for I suppose the author will not say that hypocritical faith justifies, in the teeth of James, and indeed, in the plain sense of his own statement), may be damned. Observe, that a person justified by true faith, may yet be damned. It is not that a man may be deceived by a false faith, etc., but that a man whom God has justified by a true faith may yet be damned: nay, as we know that the world around us are nominally Christians, and actually baptized, and yet that it is a strait gate and a narrow way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; that most of those whom God has justified will be damned: and this is the doctrine they would give us as comfortable. This is the point which men are anxious to prove—this strange fatuity of self-will by which men will claim the title, after God has actually taken them in hand, yea justified them by the power of His grace in Christ, though they were ruined sinners, to damn themselves. Strange comfort! Whether the statements of page 19 are consistent with the views of the English and German reformers, they will judge who have read the extracts already given. But I must remark, that I am not here arguing the question of election. The author has brought it to a much nearer and closer personal point. How and in what is a man justified? and what is this justification worth to him? As to justification by baptism, I find nothing in the Articles about it. It is not mentioned in the Article on justification; and in the Article of baptism, justification is not mentioned; it is called a sign of regeneration. But let us see first the consistency of these views.
God will not impute righteousness to any one who has not faith;
But God imputes righteousness to every baptized person;
Therefore every baptized person has faith.
Every baptized person has faith;
But every infant in the Church of England is baptized;
Therefore every infant in the Church of England has faith.
But this faith is manifestly genuine faith, or else a man may be justified by virtue of being a hypocrite; therefore we may say,
Every infant in the Church of England has genuine faith;
But he who has genuine faith works in love;
Therefore every infant in the Church of England works in love.
Such is the genuine and necessary consequence of the proposition of the “Remarks”: and let not this be thought idle. Two things essentially distinct being declared identical, one may, nay must, affirm of one, what is true of the other: but in doing this the absurdity of the identification is shewn, and in truth nothing but pure Antinomianism can result from making baptism justification, if justification have anything to do with faith; because then justifying faith may be without any fruits at all. In truth these views are the height of Anti-nomianism: or anything which justifies, or puts a man actually and efficiently amongst the children of God, without any reference to a total change in the principle of his will. What a child’s past sins are which are blotted out, I know not; save that this idea was necessary to the notion of justification; but what the author means when he says, figuratively, i.e., spiritually rises again, it would be hard to tell.
But let us see the consistency of fact in which it results. “Every baptized person feels,” observe, not ought to feel, or is in fact, but feels, “assured that he is called, pardoned, chosen, and accepted in Christ.” This I can call nothing but a funny assertion. Did the author ever meet with a poor broken-spirited Roman Catholic? I mention them, because anyone conversant with them knows their principles to be identical with the author’s, as here expressed, save that a priest lets the Roman Catholic, and a Protestant quietly lets himself off. But will the author walk through the streets of Oxford and ask any of the inhabitants of it, except those who hold the principles which the author condemns, Do you feel assured that you are called, pardoned, chosen, and accepted in Christ? But these things are trifling with religion. Peace is something real; to be chosen and accepted, ay and pardoned too in Christ, is something real; and to feel it is something real; and it is adding mockery to misery to tell a man that he feels pardoned and accepted, when he neither knows nor cares one farthing about the matter, or perhaps is groaning under a sense of sin which he knows not how to get rid of.
But the inconsistency of those who speak of these things from theory, without any acquaintance with men’s conscience (though it is there generally that the utter folly of their notions comes out to light), was never more glaringly manifested than in these “Remarks.” We are told in one page, that every baptized person feels assured that he is pardoned; but in the next, the author says, “I dare not say my sins are forgiven.” I suppose the author is not a baptized person; or if he tells me, Yes, but I may have committed sins since I was baptized, then I suppose he felt assured he was pardoned when he was an infant, and felt nothing at all; or at any rate it results, that every baptized persons’ feeling assured that he is pardoned comes to this, that nobody does in point of fact. There was peace preached by Jesus Christ, and the atonement of Christ was not only for original but for the actual sins of men: there can be no application of this in faith when all are baptized in their infancy, save that in which I can say, My sins are forgiven. Theory, the theory of a Roman Catholic, can apply it to original, and therefore there every unbeliever rests.
But sin is a thing which affects the conscience when a man thinks: and it is only the direct exercise of faith in the blood of the atonement, which can give knowledge of actual forgiveness, which purges the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. And here consequently is the association of salvation with it; because the redeeming love of God is personally known, the Spirit witnessing with our spirit that we are the children of God. And hence persons holding these general views can go along with the world as others, because they have never personally come to God. And, I add, its thoroughly Antinomian tendency cannot be too strongly pressed; because what is it that is to be got over in man? The enmity of his heart against God; the carnal mind, which is enmity with God; and the friendship of the world, which is enmity with God. But how is the enmity of the natural heart to be got over but by bringing in love? And how? By knowing that “he loved us.” And how shall we know this? but “hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us.” For observe now, the enmity is a real thing, and the love must be a real thing: as Paul expresses it, “by whom we have now received the reconciliation” (or, if you please, “atonement”): and to be produced it must be by practically knowing “he first loved us,” which is known by the value of Christ’s death received by faith, and the Father’s love as manifested in it. If I rest in a pardon received in baptism, I can feel assured that I am pardoned without ever personally coming to God in my conscience, which is the root and essence of Antinomianism; whereas if it hang on the exercise of personal faith in Him, this brings me directly into His presence and subjection. But if I now exercise faith in Christ’s death as an atonement and reconciliation, now that I am writing this; I must believe that my sins are everlastingly forgiven and rejoice in the Father’s favour, or I do not believe in the efficacy of Christ’s death, or the Father’s manifested love therein.
I say, that not to see it is neither more nor less than unbelief. A man may be brought afterwards to believe, but at present he is not properly a believer in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. If I can see that he really believes in His Person, but Satan is clouding his mind, then I may feel a good assurance that he is a forgiven sinner, though he cannot. But I am not to sanction his unbelief, but minister the sure mercies which I may be given to know myself. But if I am told, True, if it be so with you, you are very happy; but how do you know you will continue to believe? This is still unbelief. I may wait on a person’s weakness of faith, but cannot preach it: it is simply getting back into distrust of God, which is the devil’s greatest triumph. “I knew thee (said the unprofitable servant) that thou wast an austere man.” “I heard thy voice in the garden,” said Adam, when the devil had effected his first self-ruining purpose, “and I was afraid, and went and hid myself.” The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is not of their perseverance, but of God’s faithfulness. Their confidence is, not that they would not fail, but God; it is a trust in His promises, as the opposite is unbelief. “They have known and believed,” as John expresses it, “the love that God hath to them”: and they rest and hang upon this as a child upon a parent, yea, much more. Nor is this present enjoyment, or confidence in the favour and known love of the everlasting God (how better known than in the gift of His only and glorious Son?) merely stayed by the witness in their own hearts, but it hath also the stable foundation of testimony which they dare not disbelieve, yea, which it is sin not to believe, and a great dishonour to God. They believe that God did not shew them this love in the gift of Christ, and the earnest of the Spirit, to leave them as uncertain, as they were before of their estate. They read, “who also shall confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ.” And they believe it; and bless God that to such poor and mere sinners He could have destined such things and shewn such love. They believe that, if any man sin, they have an advocate with the Father; and that He is the propitiation for their sins; and they do therefore believe that if they should fall, through mercy they will rise again.
They reason, with wondering faith, “If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” If “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; much more, then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Observe here the singular and marked contrast between the argument of natural unbelief, and of that holy faith which believes in God. It is plain, says the author of the “Remarks,” from this passage, that salvation and justification are distinct things; and therefore, though we be justified, we are not made thereby sure of salvation; I suppose, because of our own weakness and sinfulness and infirmity. But faith is that which sees the intervention of God’s power, and leans on it; it knows that it has been justified, and from its justification concludes infallibly its salvation: one indeed has taken place, says unbelief, which it cannot help ascribing to God, but that is no proof that he shall obtain the other. God reconciled when we were enemies argues faith: certainly, having reconciled us, He will now save us from wrath; and again, if we were reconciled by His death, surely His life shall save us. Thus, while unbelief sees nothing but that they are distinct things (and they are distinct only because we are in the body, and therefore the latter is matter of faith and not of sight), faith sees yet the certainty of one from the other, as proving God’s love with an even stronger argument, and the certainty yet again of the same from the power of the Instrument now exalted in life, who reconciled us by death. The sinner doubts no more about his falling than his standing: he knows certainly that he would fall instantly if in himself; but he knows that God has promised, and that God will perform, and that He cannot fail; and that none, not Satan himself, can pluck him out of His hands; nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor life, nor death, nor any other creature, can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus his Lord.
The comparison of the argument of Paul, and of the author of the “Remarks “gives the key to the whole of the sentiments expressed, be they in whom they may. The saint is persuaded, “that he who hath begun a good work in him, will perfect it unto the day of Jesus Christ.” Unbelief is not so persuaded. The scripture hath said, “Faithful is he which hath called you, who also will do it”; and the saint believes it. Nay, but I cannot be sure of it because of my infirmity! That is, you do not believe the word of the testimony of God: you are making your weakness a greater evidence of the result than the power of God! Such precisely is unbelief. But a justification without the exercise of a personal faith in Christ, the sent of God, the Saviour, cannot possibly be accompanied with any knowledge of salvation, nor can it either be accompanied with any renewal of heart, for the heart is purified by faith. But the love of God, and God who is loved, are known by faith; and therefore we can say, “who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” But indeed it were endless to quote passages, for this simple reason, that this is the gospel. The Jew could be circumcised and brought into the covenant of God; nay, the Jew could, if so given of God, walk uprightly. But the Jew could not know, what in faith he might hope for and trust in, what is the essential distinction of the Christian— the finished work of the atonement, and the earnest of the Spirit shed abroad till the redemption of the promised possession. This is Christianity, and received into the heart by faith; and this therefore unbelief can never know anything about. “Blessed is the man whose unrighteousness is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth no sin, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” There is not a man in the world that is not a hypocrite, that has not guile in his heart, till his conscience is washed in the blood of the Lamb. But what blessedness, what reconciliation, what purging of guile, if the forgiveness of sins be not known?
But the author of the “Remarks” says, “I bless Him, that He has taught me, not to trust in my own works, but in the assistance of His Holy Spirit.” What will the Holy Spirit assist him to do, according to this view of the case, except to work? So that he trusts in his works after all, and the Holy Spirit is a mere assister or helper of him in this. But He never taught him to put his trust here; but they shall be to the praise of the glory of His grace, who have trusted in Christ. And they who have so trusted have ever, according to His promise, been sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of their inheritance. There is not such a thing in Scripture, as trusting in the assistance of the Spirit, contrasted with trusting in works; nor in common sense either. And Christianity is a fable if it does not enable one who believes in the atonement to pronounce his sins forgiven. I do not say but there may be doubting souls under gracious influences; but I say as to this, It is unbelief.
Let us put the case of the jailer at Philippi: “What must I do to be saved?” What would the author of the “Remarks” answer? Why, as to being justified, if you are baptized you will be justified; but perhaps you will not be saved at all; nor can I give you any assurance of this, nor indeed will you be able to pronounce at any given time subsequent whether your sins are forgiven or not: the former will depend on how you receive the Spirit; as to the latter, nobody knows on what; in short, I dare not pronounce as to myself. Was this the answer of the blessed and believing apostle? No: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Well then, supposing God gave him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, would the man be warranted or not in saying in his heart, I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and shall be saved. People became Christians because they believed that it was the salvation of God, and that they had there what they had not elsewhere, namely, salvation. Again, what is the testimony of Peter? “We believe, that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” So in Peter’s account of the message to Cornelius, Acts 11, “Who shall tell thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.”
But there is one idea which runs in the strongest way through the writings of the Reformation, and is one great hinge of this matter—the acceptance of the person. “By the which will we are sanctified,” says the apostle, “through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” And what then? Why, that, “by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” As to our salvation depending on the manner in which we receive the Spirit, though the sentence be sufficiently obscure, as the person is supposed to be justified already, if it mean anything it is Pelagianism, or at least Semipelagianism; for the manner of my receiving the Spirit must depend on my will previous to the Spirit’s influence, if it has any meaning, which is just Semipelagianism.
This part of my subject I feel fully to be most feebly treated: I know that none but believers can feel assurance; but I know that it is the direction of the apostle to “draw near with full assurance of faith.” I know that believers will supply infinitely more than any pen could write, or tongue of men or angels could tell: if it be made the instrument of strengthening any soul or convincing it there is such a thing as peace (a peace which, having received forgiveness, is able to rest with undoubting assurance on the promises of the God who gave it, when its possessor was in his sins), I shall be satisfied, yea, abundantly thankful. The hope of the Christian is, not of forgiveness, which the hope of one who cannot pronounce his sins forgiven must be, unless he be a madman; but because he can, of glory. “Beloved,” he says, “now are we the sons of God.” For, “behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us: and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know, that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And he that hath this hope in him” not a vague estimate of the portion of somebody or other, “purifieth himself, as he is pure.” He who throws down the assurance of salvation, throws down all Christian progress; for I affirm, that there is not one atom of Christian holiness in the person who has it not, nor any purification which is truly of the sanctuary. “He that believeth in the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not hath made God a liar, because he hath not believed the witness which God hath given concerning his Son. And this is the witness, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Well, but after all, though he have this life, he may lose it and perish. “My sheep hear my voice, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of my hand.” “He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, shall not come into condemnation,14 but is passed from death unto life.”
There are two points fully stated here, and on which we have seen Paul exercising faith, of which Christ, given, dead, and risen, is witness to us by the Spirit. First, inasmuch as we are justified by it, no condemnation. Secondly, that we have eternal life, and so, further, that we joy in God. How a man can do that who dare not say that his sins are forgiven, I know not. But there is this ignorance, further, of the very place of the Church; namely, that they are redeemed and risen in spirit, and are thus, their bodies being not redeemed, a witness of God’s power in the midst of and over sin, to the praise of the glory of His grace; whereby, according to His counsels, the glory of the Son, and the power of the Spirit are displayed, till the redemption in those who are kept by the power of Gcd until salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.
I have stated many texts. The question is, does the author of the “Remarks” believe in them? For example, does he believe that the sheep of Christ shall never perish and that no one can pluck them out of His hand? If he say, I feel so the strength of my flesh warring against me, that I cannot believe this, then I say, It is indeed unbelief; but it is unbelief through which many a child of God has passed, and here are the promises which apply against it. But if he deny and reason and preach against them, and the faith of God’s children in them; then I say, however softly expressed, or guarded by gentleness of manner, It is impiety and presumption. He must deny God’s willingness or power; for it is in that they trust: and he must deny God’s testimony and word; for on that they rely, upon the carnal suggestions of nature. He must preach the power of sin and Satan, against the power of God, in spite of the testimony of God’s word, which, because the children were under those, has declared this; and bears witness to the deliverance by Christ. For the testimony of this is the gospel. And, to conclude, God hath predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son: but “whom he predestinated, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we say then to these things? “It is simple question of the power of God; we know through faith in Christ that God is for us: if God be for us, who can be against us? “He that spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth: who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again: who shall separate us from the love of Christ? For I am persuaded,” etc. Who is he that condemneth? why not reckon upon salvation as to this? If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead dwell in us, God shall also quicken our mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in us: why not reckon on salvation as to this? In a word, we know that we are alive in our souls and spirits; we know that there is no condemnation for us; and we know that our mortal bodies will be quickened; what are we to doubt of? It is a poor office to make God a liar in the assurance of His grace towards His children.
But there is one other sentence to which (as exhibiting the inconsistency of these views in the light of the Scripture, and how little they flow from this as opened to us by the Spirit of God) I must advert: “It is a mistake to say, that a free gift excludes conditions; on the contrary, the very nature of a covenant implies conditions.” If one merely had to cavil in argument, one might reason on this as as extraordinary a sentence as could be written; but I must go a little deeper. Take it on the surface, and the argument is simply nothing, and the expression “on the contrary “makes it almost ridiculous. But if we are to assume that there is a latent idea which takes away the absurdity, namely, that the free gift of the gospel is a covenant; then I say, that the argument flows from a direct contravention or ignorance of the whole statement of Scripture on the subject. In the first place, the argument proceeds on there being a covenant with man. There is no such thing in Scripture. You may call the law on Adam one, if you please, by which he fell (though I think incorrectly). And the covenant which God made with Abraham, and confirmed to Christ, has no conditions: and the difference of this as a pure promise is at length argued by the apostle on this very ground, to wit, that there was no second party but as a receiver, as contrasted with the one at Sinai; and therefore simply received by faith, which believes in a thing done by someone else.
Thus in Genesis 15: the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, etc., and Abram said, What wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless? etc. Then the Lord promised him his seed should be as the stars; and he believed the Lord, etc. And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? Then God directed him to take the pieces of the heifer, etc., and divide the birds: and when the sun went down and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between these pieces. In the same day, the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, etc. Now here we have a covenant of gift, where the only party was simply God; who condescendingly entered into it, that man might know the solemnity and immutability of His promise. And here, accordingly, Paul contrasts the difference of the law, and the gift of the inheritance. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise, which the law could not disannul. The law was conditional, and therefore was forfeited (yea, before its conditions were declared) by the making of the golden calf, and was temporary: but the inheritance was of promise, and therefore secure. Why? Because it rested upon the unity of God. When a second came in, it was not merely of promise; and of this the mediator was evidence, shewing that it was not of one. But the inheritance is simply of the promise of God, and therefore of gift: and His covenant was a solemn pledge merely, as connected with the promise, of the security of the gift, and not including two parties at all; save as a Giver securing the faith of the receiver by His solemn engagement of mere mercy to assure, which none could claim; and the receiver of the thing promised waited for by faith upon the assurance of the promise and covenant. To pursue this subject into all its branches would carry us too far here; but the simple perusal of Genesis 15 (if the reader find difficulty in following the argument of Paul in the Galatians) will amply demonstrate the point in question. I shall close the subject by two passages from Melancthon,15 as he has been so much insisted on. From the Confession of Augsburg 5. [a.d. mdxl.—Ed.]
“They are condemned who teach nothing concerning this faith by which remission of sins is received, but command consciences to doubt whether they obtained forgiveness; and add that this doubt is not a sin.”
I do not give the reasoning on this subject, it would be to transcribe pages, merely their opinion. The following is from the Saxon Confession (a document prepared for the council of Trent). It may be seen in the Sylloge Confess., or in Op. Mel., 123, on “Credo remissionem peccatorum.” “Here many and great corruptions are brought in by the adversaries: I believe, that is I doubt, they say: also, Then I will believe when I have sufficient merits: also they do not say, I believe the remission of sins to be certainly freely given on account of the Son of God.”
Again: “As therefore from what has been now said, it is manifest, what the word faith means in this proposition, we are justified by faith; hence it may be understood, that the monks err perniciously, and others whom, converted to God, they command to doubt whether they are acceptable to God. Lastly, the error concerning doubting is altogether a heathenish imagination, and abolishes the gospel, and [on the other hand] takes away true consolation from those who feel the anger of God.”
That no notice is taken of the prospect before the Church, I am not surprised. One would think that the progress of infidelity, and everything which might obliterate the peace of mankind, and separate him from God, were calculated to awaken even the unbeliever: not one nation scarcely in Europe not in a state of insurrection, though all are trying to keep peace; while even at home every opinion that could agitate the state is forcing itself into notice, however men may wish for rest. But there was one sign yet wanting to complete the picture to the believer, the unbelief of the body; and that also stares them in the face. The Lord deliver many souls, yea, He will deliver every one of His sheep, before the time of helpless judgment leave no room for repentance, and the Lord awake, as it were, out of sleep to the judgment that He hath commanded, to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, when the Lord shall make it empty, and turn it upside down, and it shall reel to and fro like a drunkard. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and so ye perish from the way, if his wrath be kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”—
1 Oxford, 1831.
2 This, which was part of the Article on free will in 1553, was omitted in 1562.
3 In the appendix to his Bampton Lectures, Dr. Lawrence gives this as a sort of conclusion to his view of election. Having seen what Bucer’s own was, we shall see how suitable such a sentence was to Dr. Lawrence’s. I give it as Dr. L.’s quotation, because I cannot lay my hand on it in Bucer; but I do not doubt his literal correctness.
4 The alterations of 1662 were made subsequent to this, and some additions in King James’s time; many were projected after the revolution.
5 Peter Martyr’s leaving Italy was much called in question by many then as a desertion. However, it appears many of those who boasted most fell away in the time of trial.
6 [Jewell sent Peter Martyr a copy of his Apology on February 7th, 1562, just after it was published. Martyr died November 12th, of the same year, in his sixty-third year.—Ed.]
7 [The following extracts (translated into English) from the Letters of Bishop Jewell in the fourth volume of his works published by the Parker Society supplies the needed reference, pages 1221 and 1222.]
“As to what you write about religion and the theatrical habits, would that it could be accomplished! For our part we have not been wanting to the good cause. But those who are so mightily pleased with such things have followed, I believe, the ignorance of the clergy; and since they found them to be nothing but logs without ability, learning, and morality, they were willing that they should be made agreeable to the people by a comical dress… These are indeed, as you very well write, relics of the Amorites. Who can deny it? And would that some time or other they may be taken away and extirpated even to the lowest roots!… The queen, however, diligently inquired of the messenger, what you were doing, where you lived, what your state of health and what your circumstances were, and whether your time of life would admit of your undertaking a journey: she altogether wished that you should by all means be invited to England; that, as you had tilled the university by your voice, so you might by the same voice water it in its present disordered and wretched condition. Since then, however, somehow the Saxon deliberations and the embassy from Smalcald have put an end to those counsels. Yet, whatever be the reasons, nothing is at this time more talked about than that Peter Martyr is invited and daily expected to come to England.”
From Strype’s Annals (i, 382) it appears that Martyr was invited to England in 1561, but pleaded his obligations to Zurich as his excuse for declining the offer.—Ed.]
8 [Thus in Jewell’s letter to Peter Martyr, dated London, November 16th, 1559, he says:
“Many of our chief men, and these not unknown to you, think of you and desire that you should be invited at the earliest opportunity also, spite of all the Smalcaldists.”
Again, in his letter to Peter Martyr dated Salisbury, February 7th, 1562, Jewell writes:
“But as to what you write, that a sort of interim and farrago of religion is sought after by certain ones, may God avert it! “—Ed.[
9 Perhaps “fervently “for “frequently “was a change, “vehementer,” in 1562. See Bishop Sparrow’s Collection, or Burnet.
10 The reader will find anathematising canons as to the connection of free-will with justification in Canon 3, and a following one of this Session, “De Justificatione,” Sess. 7, I think.
11 That is, by the opposite party, as represented by Erasmus in his Diatribe.
12 These expressions refer to some expressions of Erasmus, in which he speaks of God having used all goodness towards Pharaoh, etc.
13 The observation on the other word (received) I think just, as far as negativing any argument from it, as used in that text.
14 In full truth, judgment. Our Lord is contrasting His two characters of life and judgment; He exercises His power towards the saints in giving life.
15 The fact is, Luther composed the Confession at a previous meeting of the confederates, by desire of the elector: Melancthon dressed them up for the diet.