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does not appear in his dispute with Malvenda and other popish divines at the conference at Ratisbon in 1546, where (according to Sleidan) he maintained; “ That a
the popish doctrine of justification. “I cannot but wish," “ said Bucer, in the year 1529, “ a more found judgment to some “persons, who have disturbed many in this our age with this para. “ dox, That we are saved by faith only ; Though they saw the thing “ was carried so far, as to confine righteousness only to the opinion of the “ mind, and excluding good works. Where is their charity, who refuse “ to cure this evil, by one word or two? It is only to say, that, when * Fauna is forried, we are juSTIFIED ; and that, through faith, we ob“tain a disposition to GOOD Works, and, consequently, a righteousness: “ Or, that FAITH IS THE FOUNDATION AND ROOT OF A RIGHTEOUS LIFE, « as Augustine said.” • Is there a single sentence in this paragraph, to I which the strictest Calvinist would not consent ? Observe the order in ' which Bucer arranges faith, justification, and obedience. Faith goes be• fore ; juftification follows faith ; and practical obedience follows justification : "We firit believe ; we no sooner believe, than we are justified: and the ' faith, which justifies, disposes us to the after-performance of good * works : Or, in other words, juftifying faith " is the root and foundation of a “ righteous life.” Says not every Calvinist the same?
• As Bucer advanced in years and experience, he learned to express his • idea of justification with still greater clearness and precision, than he had • done on some past occasions. Finding that the enemies of grace had greedily lain hold of some inadvertent phrafes, and taken ungenerous If
advantage of some well-meant concessions, which he had made, before • his evangelical light was at the full; he deemed it necessary, to retract • such of his positions as countenanced the merit of works ; and to place justification on the scriptural basis of the Father's gratuitous goodnefs, and the Son's imputed righteousness: Still, however, taking care to incuicate, that the faith, hy which we receive the grace of God and the righteousness of Christ, is the certain source of all good works. For being thus honeft to his convictions, he was loaded by his adversaries with accumulated flander and reproach. How modeltly, and forcibly, he • vindicated his conduct, may be judged from the following passage : " The Lord, (fùys Bucer) has given me to understand fome places of
fcripture] more fully than I formerly did : Which, as it is so bountifully " given to me, why should I not inipart it liberally to my brethren, and "ingenuoully declare the goodness of the Lord? What inconsistency is “ there, in profiting in the work of salvation ? And who, in this age, or in “ the last, has treated of the scripture, and has not experienced, that, even “ in this study, one day is the scholar of another?"
• Indeed, no stronger proof need be given, of Bucer's foundness in • the article of justification, than the rapture and admiration with « which he mentions the English book of Homilies. No sooner, says Mr Stripe, were the homilies composed, and fent abroad; but the news thereof (and the book itself, as it seemed, already trans• lated into Latin) came to Strasburgh, among the protestants there : * Where it caused great rejoicing, And Bucer, one of the chief mio nister's there, wrote a gratulatory epistle hereupon to the church of
England, in November, 1547, which was printed in the year after. • Therein that learned and moderate man shewed, “ How these 4 pious sermons were conae among them, wherein the people were fo
godlily “ godlily and effectually exhorted to the reading of the holy fcriptures; “ and FAITH was so well explained, whereby we become Christians ;
« man is not justified before God through his own works « or merits, but that he is freely justified through Christ “ by faith, when he believeth, both that he is received “ into grace, and that his sins are pardoned through « Christ: That Christ, by his death, made satisfaction « for our sins; and that God doth impute faith for righte6. ousness :" All which he proved and illustrated by testimonies from scripture, and confuted the arguments of Malvenda.
That Bucer was also, in the other points, a strict Reformer, let his own words testify: “ Predestination, “ (says he) is neither more nor less than pre-limitation, “ or fore-appointment: And God, who consigns every “ thing to its proper use, worketh all things agreeably “ to its pre-determination; and, accordingly, separates “ one thing from another, so as to make each thing « answer to its respective use. you
desire “ extensive definition of this predestination, take it thus ; “ predestination is an appointment of every thing to its “ proper use; by which appointment, God doth, before “ he made them, even from eternity, destine all things or whatever to some certain and particular use. Hence « it follows, that even wicked men are predestinated. « For, as God forms them out of nothing, so he forms " them to some determinate end : For he does all things, « knowingly, and wisely. The Lord hath made all things “ for himself, even the wicked for the day of evil. (Prov. " xvi. 4.] Divines, however, do not usually call this “ predestination ; but, reprobation. It is certain, that “ God makes a good use of evil itself : And every
sin we « commit, hath something in it of the good work of « God. Scripture does not hesitate to affirm, that " there are some persons, whom God delivers over to a
JUSTIFICATION, whereby we are saved; and the other chief heads of " Christian religion are foundly handled. And therefore, (as he added) “ these foundations being rightly laid, there could nothing be wanting in se our churches, requisite towards the building 'hereupon found doctrine s and discipline." He commended much the homilies of Faith, the ' nature and force of which was so clearly discussed; and wherein it was
so well distinguished from the faith that was dead. He much approved
of the manner of treating concerning the misery and death, we are all • lapsed into, by the fin of our first parent; and how we are rescued from • this perdition, only by the grace of God, and by the merrt and resur"rection of his Son.'
reprobate sense, and whom he forms for destruction : " Why, therefore, should it be deemed derogatory from “ God, to assert, that he not only does this, but resolved 66 beforehand to do it ?"
Nothing can be more plain and nervous, than the following remarks of Bucer, respecting God's obduration of Pharaoh. Whether the remarks be, or be not, carried too far, is beyond my province to enquire. « The “ apoštle says, Who may resist the will of God? By the " word will, Paul gives us to understand, that God “ actually willeth those very things, unto which men « are hardened by him.' When Paul adds, Who may “ resist? he, in fact, points out the necessity, which
they, whom God hardens, are under of doing those « things. When God would harden Pharaoh, in order “ that he might not obey the commandment, it was the « actual will of God that Pharaoh should not obey. 66 Yea, God himself wrought in Pharaoh to oppose the « commandment sent to him. Pharaoh therefore did o what in reality he willed him to do; yea, he did no more ss than what God himself had wrought in him : Nor “ was it in Pharaoh's power, to act otherwise than he 6 did.” Such was the doctrine taught by this able and indefatigable divine. Willing, however, to obviate any exceptions, which those persons might raise, who had not studied these deep points so carefully and so extensively as he had been enabled to do; he, presently after, shelters both his doctrine and himself under the following words, and the correspondent practice, of the great apostle whom he had quoted before : « Nay but, “ () man, [Who art 'thou that repliest against God?St « Paul does not accommodate, nor soften down, a single “ syllable of what he had just asserted. The sacred pen
does not deny, that they, who are hardened by “ God, perish according to the will of God. The " apostle does not admit it to be even possible, that a
person, who is hardened from above, can perform what “ is good. Paul [instead of setting himself to answer « our reasonings on the matter] contents himself with “ merely giving us a solemn caution, not to sit in judg56 ment on the decrees of God: Assuring us, that we «« cannot arraign the Deity at our own bar, without “ being guilty of the uttermost, boldness and impiety." If Bucer was not a Calvinist, where shall we find one ? I cannot prevail on myself to defraud the Readers of a few more citations, which may be found in another
most valuable work of Bucer, entitled, “ A continued “ Interpretation of the Four Gospels.” are the rather subjoined, as the book itself is exceeding scarce, and possibly may be in the hands of very few of our Readers. “They, who are at any time able to 6 fall quite away from Christ, did never really belong to « him. Consequently, they never truly believed, nor were « indeed pious, nor had the holy Spirit of adoption : On o the contrary, all their performances were nothing but “ hypocrisy, how sanctified and ready soever unto good “ works they, for a time, pretended to be. They, whom, « Christ loves, are loved by him even unto the end : And « he doth not cast away those whom the Father giveth “ him ; neither can any snatch them from his hand. • Therefore, admitting that these may fall, yet they cano not fall utterly; for they are elect unto life: And God's os election cannot be made void by an creature whatever.
Seeing, then, that the purpose of God, according to election,
inay stand, not of works, but of him that calleih : (Rom. « ix. 2.] He not only elected his own people, before they 56 were born, and had done either good or evil, [Rom. ix. 11.] « but even before the very foundation of the world. [Eph. i. 4.] 66 Hence, our Lord said, concerning his apostles, I pray “ 1100 for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me ; • for they are thine That is, they were chosen by thee “ unto life.
“ As, therefore, on the one hand, Christ never knew “ [i, e. never loved] the reprobate, whatever deceitful
appearance of virtue they might have; so, on the “ other, he always knew [i. e. always loved] the elect, “ how ungodly soever they might seem for a time. “ Consequently, as these [i. e. the elect] are predesti“ nated and called, they shall, sooner or later, be
formed anew, according to the likeness of Christ : " While those [i. e. the reprobate] shall be stripped of that “ artificial mask, under which they passed for chil« dren of God; and be made to appear in their own “ proper colours."--On those words of Christ, ye believe 110t, because ye are not of my sheep ; Bucer thus remarks : “ They were not of our Lord's sheep, i. e. they were “ not in the number of those who were given to him by “ the Father; they were not elected unto life. There“ fore it was, that they were totally destitute of God's “ good Spirit, and were utterly immersed in flesh: " Neither were they able to believe in our Lord, nor to «s embrace him as a Saviour.”-A little farther on, we
find this admirable commentator observing as follows: “ My sheep hear my voice, &c. In these words, our Lord « expressly teaches, that all good things are dependent
on God's election: And that they, to whom it is once “ given to be sheep, can never perish afterwards. Christ “ here tells us, that they alone hear his voice : That is, “ they who are indeed his sheep, are made partakers of « faith. Now, whence is it, that some people are “ Christ's sheep, or susceptible of his doctrine, while 16 others are not? Undoubtedly, because the former are “ inspired by the good Spirit of God, whereas the latter
are not inspired at all. But whence is it that the “ former are endued with the Holy Spirit, and not the " latter? For this reason: Because the former were “ given to Christ to be saved by him; but the latter
were not given to him. Let us therefore allow “ God the honour of being the bestower of his own 6 Spirit, without supposing him to need or receive any « of our assistance. Christ adds, And I know them : i. c.
They are committed to my trust; I have them in spe“cial charge. And doubtless, from hence it is, that “ his sheep follow him; and live the life which never “ ends. The Father gave them to him, that he might “ endue them with life eternal: And they can no more “ be plucked from Christ's hand, than from the hand of “ the Father, who is mightier and greater than all. Christ “ and the Father are one : Their power and strength are 65 the same.
Consequently, as none can pluck the elect " from the Father's hand, so neither from the hand of « Christ. We are to observe, moreover, that it flows “ only from God's election, that we are the sheep of “ Christ, and follow him. We must observe too,' that “ such can never entirely fall away. For, the Father " and the Son being undivided, their hand, that is, their
power, must be undivided also: And out of heir " hand, none shall ever snatch those whorí that hand 16 has once laid hold on for salvation. Now, unto “ whomsoever it shall be given to hear the voice of “ Christ, and to follow him; they may be said to be “ thus laid hold on [by the hand, or power, of divine “ grace], seeing, none but the sheep are able to hear and 66 follow the Redeemer. And if they are sheep now,
they are so held in the hand of Christ and of the Fa" ther, as never to perish, but to have eternal life.”
Bucer was at the diet of Ratisbon, in 1541, with Melancthon and Pistorius: And he also accompanied Brentius,