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that it is the doctrine of our church, that
baptism duly administered confers justification.' I hope this assertion is made through inadvertence, for the credit of the church by law established. Were this clearly proved, it would be a strong argument with all unprejudiced men to leave its communion. Any church whatever advancing an opinion so contrary to scripture, to piety, and the plain dictates of reason, would prove itself corrupt in no small degree: and with regard to the church of England I would beg leave to say, that in proportion as it approaches to the sentiment ascribed to it, so will be the evidence that it is but partially reformed from the superstitions of dark ages. In the Church Catechism, in reply to the question, “ What is required of persons to be baptized?” it is said,
Repentance, whereby they forsake sin, and faith, whereby they steadfastly believe the promises of God made to them in that sacrament." Are not the persons who really possess these qualifications, pardoned as penitent, and justified as believers, before they are baptized? In onę of the Homilies, entitled “ Of good works annexed unto Faith,” a quotation from ChrysosTOM is introduced: “ I can shew a man that by faith without works lived, and came to heaven; but without faith never man had life. The thief, that was hanged when Christ suffered, did believe only, and the most merciful God justified
him.” Had he lived to receive baptism, would his justification have been deferred, until that rite “ conferred” it? Or, if baptism, be the the appointed mode of “conveying” or “confirming” justification, what right have those who hold that sentiment to conclude that this person was justified? If it be said, that he gave sufficient evidence of repentance and faith; so do thousands of converts, in like manner, before they are admitted into the visible and explicit communion of Christians by baptism. What is done prior to that transaction, certainly cannot be the effect of it.
$ 6. “ Faith without good works will not justify.” This is his Lordship’s avowed sentiment, and these are his words: 'Neither in our 'articles, nor in our liturgy, is it said, that faith • without Good Works will justify.'* • Let it be • remarked, that whenever St. Paul, in speaking • of Justification, uses the words Works or Deeds • he invariably adds of the law;' he frequently says, a man is not justified by the works of the
law, but not once does he say, a man is not • justified by works.'t. It is of little moment what the articles and the liturgy say, any further than they are consistent with scripture and the analogy of divine dispensations. And as the
* Refut. p. 155.
+ Ibid. p. 120.
compilers were men of like passions with ourselves, however learned, or pious, or desirous of stating the real truth, their successors have an equal right to bring their statements to the test, as they had respecting those of their predecessors. It is, however, expressly stated in the eleventh article, “ We are justified only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, without our own works or deservings.” The article cannot mean our bad works, which would be absurd; and as all our works are either good or bad, the meaning must be without our own good works. In the liturgy it is said, that God “ pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe in his holy gospel.” Now as God never pardoneth and absolveth any who are not at the same time justified, it is clear, that true repentance and unfeigned faith, without good works, in the estimation of the church, justify. The Homily on Justification, to which the elventh article refers, observes, “ The true understanding of this doctrine, we be justified freely by faith without works, or that we be justified by faith in Christ only, is not, that this our own act to believe in Christ, or this our faith in Christ, which is within us, doth justify us, and deserve our justification unto us—we must renounce the merit of all virtues and good deeds, which we either have done, shall do, or can do, as
things that be far too weak, and insufficient, and imperfect, to deserve remission of our sins, and our justification :, and therefore we must trust only in God's mercy, and that sacrifice which our High Priest and Saviour Christ Jesus, the Son of God, once offered for us upon the cross, to obtain thereby God's grace and remission.”—Here two things are maintained; first, that the converted sinner is justified by faith in Christ only, or freely by faith without works, and consequently good works; for no one ever supposed that bad works can justify; and, secondly, that faith itself, as well as all virtues and good deeds, are renounced in point of merit for justification.
8 7. Let the reader now reflect what reliance ou_ht to be placed upon this assertion: ‘Neither ' in our articles, nor in our liturgy, is it said, that * faith without good works will justify.' That the expressions of “Faith only,” and “ Faith without works” were not intended to exclude the necessity of Works for other purposes, we freely allow; but if words have any meaning, they were intended to exclude them, however good, in the point of Justification. We also maintain, that a true and lively faith is productive of good works, as a good tree bringeth forth good fruit; and that its character may be best known to us by its effects; but surely, as
a cause is distinct from its effects, as a good tree differs from its fruits, and a principle in the mind from its operations, so a good faith is a different thing from good works, and therefore should neither be identified nor confounded. But though Calvinists avoid this, they are in the constant habit of insisting, that a fruitless faith is not saving They urge the importance of good works on several accounts; for they know that God requires universal obedience— that they are well pleasing to God that Christians are justified and renewed, in order that they may walk in them unto all pleasing—that they are profitable unto men--that Christ is the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him—and that they are bound, in duty and in gratitude, to observe all things whatsoever Christ has commanded. They reprobate with warmth a dead faith, and inculcate with earnestness charity, and all other virtues and good deeds,” as indispensable towards forming the Christian character.
Ý 8. That good works justify the goodness of faith, and of the Christian character, by way of evidence to ourselves and others, is not denied; as good fruit is an evidence of a good tree. “ By their fruits ye shall know them.” A true Christian is ingrafted into Christ, in a higher and far more important sense than by