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justified by faith only is a most 'wholesome,
Behold, the law bringeth a curse with it, and maketh us guilty, not because it is of itself naught or unholy ;
-God forbid we should so think ;-but because the frailty of our sinful fesh is such, that we can never fulfil it, according to the perfection that the Lord requireth. Could Adam then, think you, hope or trust to be saved by the law ? No, he could not. But the more he looked on the law, the more he saw his own damnation set before his eyes, as it were in a most clear glass. So that now of himself he was most wretched and miserable, destitute of all hope, and never able to pacify God's heavy displeasure, nor yet to escape the terrible judgment of God, whereinto he and all his posterity were fallen, by disobeying God's holy law. Hom. xxv. 2. See also Article Xív. e.
To fast then with this persuasion of mind, that our fasting and other good works can make us good, perfect, and just men, and finally bring us to heaven, is a devilish persuasion: and that fast is so far off from pleasing of God, that it refuseth his mercy, and is altogether derogatory to the merits of Christ's death, and his precious blood-shedding.–The Publican having no good works at all to trust unto, yielded up himself unto God, confessing his sins; and hoped certainly to be saved by God's free mercy only. The Pharisee gloried and trusted so much to his works, that he thought himself sure enough without mercy, and that he should come to heaven by his fasting and other deeds. To this end serveth that parable ; for it is spoken to them that trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.--Now, because the Pharisee directed his works to an evil end, seeking by them justification, which indeed is the proper work of God without our merits; his fasting twice in the week, and all his other works, though they were never so many, and seemed to the world never so good and holy, yet in very deed before God they are altogether evil and abominable. Horn. xvi. 1.
To have any affiance, or to put any confidence in our works, as by the merit and deserving of them to purchase to ourselves and others remission of sin, and so consequently everlasting life, were mere blasphemy against God's mercy, and great derogation to the blood-shedding of our Saviour Jesus Christ. For it is of the free grace and mercy of God, by the mediation of the blood of his Son Jesus Christ, without merit or deserving on our part, that our sins are forgiven us; that we are reconciled
prevented me, that I should re- eous? or is it gain to him that thou pay him? Job xli. 11.
makest thy ways perfect? If thou man be profitable unto God, as he be righteous, what givest thou him? that is wise may be profitable or what receiveth he of thine hand? unto himself? Is it any pleasure to Job xxii, 2, 3. xxxv. 7. the Almighty that thou art right, f What shall we say then? Shall
doctrine, and very 8 full of comfort; as more
and brought again into his favour, and are made heirs of his heavenly kingdom. Hom. xvi. 1.
Let us know our own works, of what imperfection they be, and then we shall not stand foolishly and arrogantly in our own conceits, nor challenge any part of justification by our merits or works. Hom. ii. 2.
There is no mercy due to our merits. By Christ alone we have access to the grace of God. Nowell, p. 69.
Yea, “ there is none other thing that can be named under heaven to save our souls, but this only work of Christ's precious offering of his body upon the altar of the cross.” (Acts iv. 12.) Certainly there can be no work of any mortal man, be he never so holy, that shall be coupled in merits with Christ's most holy. act. Hom. xxv. 1.
Q. Dost not thou then say, that faith is the principle cause of this justification, so as by the merit of faith we are counted righteous before God ? A. No: for that were to set faith in the place of Christ. But the spring-head of this justification is the mercy of God, which is conveyed to us by Christ, and is offered to us by the Gospel, and received of us by faith as with a hand. Nowell, p. 73.
Justification is not the office of man, but of God; for man cannot make himself righteous by his own works, neither in part, nor in the whole, for that were the greatest arrogancy and presumption of man that Antichrist could set up against God, to affirm that a man might by his own works take away
purge his owu sins, and so justify himself. But justification is the office of God only, and is not a thing which we render unto him, but which we receive of him; not which we give to him, but which we take of him, by his free mercy, and by the only merits of his most dearly beloved Son, our only Redeemer, Saviour, and Justifier, Jesus Christ: so that 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, (for that were to count ourselves to be justified by some act or virtue that is within ourselves;) but the
we continue in sin that grace may 8 Comfort ye, comfort ye, my abound?. God forbid. How shall people, saith your God. Speak ye we that are dead to sin live any comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry longer therein ? Rom. vi. 1, 2. Do unto her that her warfare is accomwe then make void the law through plished, that her iniquity is par. faith? God forbid : yea we esta- doned : for she hath received of the blish the law. Rom. iii. 31. , The Lord's hand double for all her sins. Lord is well pleased for his right- Isa. xl. 1, 2. I will greatly rejoice in eousness sake; he will magnify the the Lord, my soul shall be joyful law, and make it honourable. Isa. in my God : for he hath clotbed me xlv. 21.
with the garments of salvation, he
largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
true understanding and meaning thereof is, that although we hear God's word and believe it; although we have faith, hope, charity, repentance, dread, and fear of God within us, and do never so many works thereunto; yet we must renounce the merit of all our said virtues, of faith, hope, charity, and all other virtues and good deeds, which we either have done, shall do, or can do, as things that be far too weak and insufficient, and imperfect to deserve remission of our sins, and our justification. Hom. iii. 2. See Article XVII. r.
e 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. And because no man shall say again that he lacked time to do good works, for else he would have done them, truth it is, and I will not contend therein : but this I will surely affirm, that faith only saved him. If he had lived, and not regarded faith and the works thereof, he should have lost his salvation again. But this is the effect that I say, that faith by itself saved; but works by themselves never justified any man.
Hom. v. 1. That (true and lively) faith doth not shut out repentance, hope, love, dread, and the fear of God, to be joined with faith in
every man that is justified; but it shutteth them out from the office of justifying. Hom. iii. 1.
Q. Then this doctrine of faith doth not withdraw men's minds from godly works and duties ? - A. Nothing less. For good works do stand upon faith as upon their root. So far therefore is faith from withdrawing our hearts from living uprightly, that contrariwise it doth most vehemently stir us up to the endeavour of a good life, yea and so far, that he is not truly faithful that doth not also to his power shun vices and embrace virtues, so living always as one that looketh to give an account. Nowell, p. 74.
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, and denieth Christ in his deeds ? Surely no such ungodly man can have this faith and trust in God. Hom. iii. 2.
8 This faith the holy Scripture teacheth us; this is the strong rock and foundation of Christian religion ; this doctrine all old and ancient authors of Christ's Church do approve; this
hath covered me with the robe of jewels. Isa. Ixi. 10. The Scripture righteousness, as a bridegroom foreseeing that God would justify decketh himself with ornaments, and the heathen through faith, preached as a bride adorneth herself with her before the Gospel unto Abraham,
doctrine advanceth and setteth forth the true glory of Christ, and beateth down the vain glory of man; this whosoever denieth is not to be accounted for a Christian man, nor for a setter-forth of Christ's glory; but for an adversary to Christ and his Gospel, and for a setter-forth of men's vain glory. Hom. iii. 2. See Article XV11. r.
No tongue surely is able to express the worthiness of this so precious a death. For in this standeth the continual pardon of our daily offences; in this resteth our justification; in this we be allowed; in this is purchased the everlasting health of all our souls. Hom. xxv. 1.
saying, In thee shall all nations be ham. For as many as are of the blessed. So then they which be of works of the law are under the faith are blessed with faithful Abra. curse. Gal. iii. 8-10.
XII. Of Good Works. ALBEIT that Good Works, 'which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification,
Q. What thinkest thou of those works, which we, after that we be reconciled to God's favour, do by the instinct of the Holy Ghost ? A. The dutiful works of godliness, which proceed out of faith, working by charity, are indeed acceptable to God, yet not by their own deserving; but that he, of his liberality, vouchsafeth his favour. For though they be derived of the Spirit of God, as little streams from the spring-head, yet of our flesh that mingleth itself with them in the doing by the way, they receive corruption, as it were by infection, like as a river, otherwise pure and clear, is troubled and mudded with mire and slime, wherethrough it runneth. Nowell, p. 74.
Q. But can this justification be so severed from good works, that he that hath it can want them ? A. No: for by faith we re
• The grace of God, that bring- and truth. Eph. v. 9. The fruit of eth salvation, hath appeared to all the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longmen, teaching us, that, denying un- suffering, gentleness, goodness, godliness and worldly lusts, we faith, meekness, temperance. Gal. should live soberly, righteously, v. 22. Herein is my Father gloriand godly, in this present world. fied, that ye bear much fruit. Jobn Tit. ii. 11. The Gospel, which is
xv, 8. Their righteousness is of come unto you, as it is in all the me, saith the Lord. Isa. liv. 17. world; and bringeth forth fruit, as From me is thy fruit found. Hosea it doth also in you, since the day xiv. 8. Thou hast wrought all our ye heard of it, and knew the grace works in us. Isa. xxvi. 12.
He of God in truth. Col. i. 6. This is that abideth in me, and I in him, a faithful saying, and these things the same bringeth forth much fruit. I will that thou affirm constantly, I have chosen you, and ordained that they which have believed in you, that ye should go and bring God might be careful to maintain forth fruit. John xv. 5, 16. Withgood works. Tit. iii. 8. Giving all out faith it is impossible to please diligence, add to your faith virtue; God. Heb. xi. 6. Now the end of and to virtue knowledge; and to the commandment is charity out knowledge temperance; and to of a pure heart, and of a good temperance patience; and to pa- conscience, and of faith unfeigned. tience godliness; and to godliness i Tim. i. 5. Faith, if it have not brotherly kindness; and to bro- works, is dead, being alone. Yea, therly kindness charity. For if a man may say, Thou hast faith, these things be in you and abound, and I have works; shew me thy they make you that ye shall nei- faith without thy works, and I will ther be barren nor unfruitful in shew thee my faith by my works. the knowledge of our Lord Jesus By works was faith made perfect. Christ. 2 Pet. i. 5–8. Being filled As the body without the spirit is with the fruits of righteousness, dead, so faith without works is which are by Jesus Christ, unto dead. James ii. 17, 18, 22, 26. the glory and praise of God. Phil. b Sin shall not have dominion i. 11. The fruit of the Spirit is in over you, for ye are not under the all goodness, and righteousness, law, but under grace. Rom. vi, 14.