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hundred years disputes have been had between divines concerning it ? Your lordship, in a passage already cited from you, has hinted at a summary method of answering this question; namely, by imputing want of honesty to all to whose minds the Scriptural evidence does not carry determinate conviction in favour of your lordship’s view. Considering the numbers and characters of those who differ from you on this point, I can hardly bring myself to believe, that, upon reflection, you will desire to avail yourself of such a method. But if not, then, it will seem to follow, that the Scriptural truth is not so very clear, nor so very simple, as your lordship has supposed it to be. And such, I conceive, to be the fact, seeing that we meet in the sacred Scriptures with statements upon the subject apparently in diametrical opposition to one another; e. g. we have, on the one side, the saying of St. Paul, which your lordship has quoted :
“. By grace ye are saved through faith... not of works.' Ephes. chap. 2, verses 5, 8.
“On the other, we have the saying of St. James, which you have not quoted:
“ 'A man is justified by works, and not by faith only.' James chap. 2, ver. 24.
“ That both propositions are perfectly true, is certain ; for they proceed alike from the Spirit of Truth ; but few, I think, will agree with your lordship in thinking, that the truth they convey is very clear or very simple. We may, indeed, put St. Paul out of sight, and then St. James's meaning will be clear; or we may forget St. James, and then find no difficulty in St. Paul. But are either of these courses such as should be approved of by the preachers of the Gospel ? Those against whom you write, seem to you to have taken the first, and you have denounced them as instruments of Satan. Your lordship (pardon me) appears to have taken the second, and it remains for yourself to say how you will escape your own sentence. For myself, I do not believe that the difficulty is to be solved, but by such a process of explanation, as it is the fashion of the day to brand as dishonest, when applied to the Articles of the Church of England.
“2. The next thing I would point out as observable in your lordship’s exposition of justification, is the total absence of all mention of * repentance,' as necessary in order thereto, and one of the means of obtaining it.
“ I am at a total loss to conjecture, whether this silence is to be accounted for, because repentance is excluded from your scheme, or because you consider it sufficiently included in the term ' faith ;' and therefore will merely ask, if repentance is excluded from your scheme as unnecessary in order to justification, how can it be denied that
you have violated the charter of Christianity, seeing that the message proclaimed throughout the world, as the foundation of the gospel scheme of salvation was repentance and remission of sins ?'* If, on the contrary, repentance,' though not expressed in your scheme of justification, is to be understood as implied in the term ' faith, then how can it be consistent with charity to denounce men as agents of Satan, for expressing what you yourself imply ?" Pp. 13—16.
“ The next thing I would point out in your lordship's exposition of justification, is the following :— Faith alone can give us an interest in that sacrifice, which God has accepted. Here again, as it seems to me, your lordship is at open variance with the Scriptures and the Church; for if faith alone can give us an interest in that sacrifice, then infants, who are incapable of faith, can receive no interest therein, and must perish everlastingly. Whereas, the Church of England affirms it to be certain by God's Word, that children which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved.' The Church is so far from agreeing with your lordship, that she affirms that an interest in that sacrifice which God has accepted, is given by baptism to those who, from their tender years, are incapable of faith. Indeed it may be questioned whether the whole phrase be not objectionable, for, in strictness of speech, faith gives us not an interest in that sacrifice; God, and God only, gives us that interestin baptism, I conceive, and by the hands of his ministers, not without faith in them, who by age are capable thereof.
“Another saying of your lordship's in your exposition of justification, requires notice : ‘By one way alone can man possess the Son; that is, by believing in him ;' at least, if by “possessing the Son,' your lordship means (as by your reference to 1 John chap 5, ver. 12, we must suppose you to mean,) the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whereby Christ manifests Himself to his people. He has Himself given a very different account: 'If any man love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”* Our Saviour says that men possess Him by love (which comprises faith) and by obedience : your lordship, by faith alone. If by faith alone your lordship meant to include love and obedience, then it is to be regretted, first, that writing in controversy, which requires strictness of speech, you should have used a * Luke chap. 24, ver. 47.
John chap. 14, ver. 23.
term so calcalated to mislead: secondly, it is to be regretted, that you should so severely have censured others for expressing your own thoughts. If by faith alone, your lordship did not intend to include love and obedience, then it is to be regretted, that you should have proclaimed, from the chair of the Apostles, doctrine apparently so different from that of Him who appointed them.”
We now come to the extract from the British Critic, contained in the article entitled Athanasius against the Arians.
“ The very first agression then of those who labour to revive some degree at least of vital Christianity, (in the room of those gross corruptions and superstitions which have in these latter days among ourselves overlaid and defaced the primitive and simple truth,) their very first aggression must be upon that strange congeries of notions and practices, of which the Lutheran doctrine of justification is the origin and representative. Whether any heresy has ever infested the Church so hateful and unchristian as this doctrine, it is perhaps not necessary to determine : none certainly has ever prevailed so subtle and extensively poisonous. It is not only that it denies some one essential doctrine of the Gospel (as, e. g. inherent righteousness); this all heresies do: it is not only that it corrupts all sound Christian doctrine, nay the very principle of orthodoxy itself; though this also it certainly does : but its inroads extend further than this; as far as its formal statements are concerned, it poisons at the very root, not Christianity only, but natural religion. That obedience to the will of God, with whatever sacrifice of self, is the one thing needful; that sin is the one only danger to be dreaded, the one only evil to be avoided; these great truths are the very foundation of natural religion: and inasmuch as this modern system denies these to be essential and necessary truths, yea counts it the chief glory of the Gospel, that under it they are no longer truths, we must plainly express our conviction, that a religious heathen, were he really to accept the doctrine which Lutheran language expresses, so far from making any advance, would sustain a heavy loss, in exchanging fundamental truth for fundamental error. Our readers must admit that we have never been slow in acknowledging how much of sincerity and self-devotion there has in fact been among those who have embraced this heresy, and to how very great an extent, where that has been the case, individual conscientiousness has neutralized the anti-religious infection. But neither may we forget on the other hand, how miserably also has this same system in its turn crippled and enchained the religious instinct of its victims, and prevented them from carrying that instinct forward to its legitimate de
N.S. NO. 35,- VOL. 3
velopment, the Catholic scheme. Hence the inconsistency, both moral and intellectual, which is so surprising a phenomenon among the
evangelicals;" surprising, that is, at first sight, but no longer surprising, when we regard them as possessed really with religious feelings which draw them to Christ, but possessed, also, by a human, traditionary, and most unscriptural system, which draws them directly from Him. Hence that feebleness, ambiguity, uncertainty of doctrinal statement, that inequality, unshapeliness, dwarfishness of spiritual stature, which persons at all conversant with Catholic models, are so pained and disappointed in finding (with very few exceptions) in what they hear or see of religious Protestants."
From the foregoing extracts, we see, first, that the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith alone, is regarded by the Bishop of Chester as a fundamental truth, and that the teaching which opposes it, is the teaching of Satan.
Secondly, that, according to the British Critic, which is the organ of the Tractarians, the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith alone, is a heresy, poisoning at the very root, not Christianity only, but also natural religion. The expression of Luther was ominous, that the doctrine of justification by faith alone, was the article of a standing or a falling church.
HEAR THE CHURCH. (No. 2.)
To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, WHEN I wrote my last article under this title, I had no idea of renewing the oft reiterated cry.
But the number for August, contains an article “On the Constitution and Nature of the Christian Ministry,” to which no one has replied, and which, I conceive, ought not to pass unnoticed, as it appears to me to contain sentiments which are liable to be construed to the discredit of the church, and the Christian ministry, as now constructed in an orderly manner, I trust it will not be deemed obtrusive, or out of character, either by J. W. H., or by others who may entertain the same conscientious views, if, without ostentation, or any claim to superior discernment above others, I offer, without uncharitableness, or other unchristian intention or feeling, a few remarks. Far be it from the spirit of the New Church, merely " to strive for masteries ;": yet, "if a man strive,” or contend for the prize, he receives not the
garland crown unless he contend “lawfully,” or according to the established rule. So the apostle enjoins the church to “strive together for the faith of the gospel ; and to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.” But, says he, “let your moderation, (gentleness, clemency,) be known unto all men.” “Let all things be done with charity.” “Let all things be done to edifying.” “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, I should not be ashamed; that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.” I cannot, therefore, disguise my opinion that the most prominent feature and principal tendency (I say not design) of the article alluded to, is to bring into disrepute the ordination of ministers as established by rule, and to introduce the administration of the sacred ordinances of the Christian Church by unordained, and therefore, in a certain sense, unauthorized persons, because contrary to such established order. This is no impeachment of the sincerity or piety of those who in this respect exceed the bounds of order or rule. The will may be well disposed, and the understanding and judgment wrong. It is possible, the will may be biased by some influential person or persons of the church; and that, won by solicitation, and guided by other authority than that established, the individual may readily yield to the infringement of rule and order, for the sake of amnesty and peace.
Our friend seems to prefer the authority of a church or society, to the authority of the church in conference assembled. But, surely, those who are altogether opposed to conferences, have little if any reason to complain of its proper authority, if no bad party spirit exists, so long as all the societies by their representatives are invited to attend and share in its deliberations and decisions; and to oppose, or sanction, as conscience and a love of truth and equity may dictate, any measures then and there introduced.
The power of authorizing and ordaining ministers, is not "retained against the will of the people," and therefore cannot be an "abominable usurpation;" nor are ministers, thus approved by the people and by the church, mere intruders in the fold of God." There are instances in which ordinations have been refused by the Conference, but none, that I am aware of, in which it granted ordination, and then forced the individual, when ordained, upon a congregation, or society of the church. An unprejudiced view of the matter, compared with the Conference rules on that point, completely neutralizes such an intimation. According to the ideas of your correspondent, the approval of the congregation is sufficient; but here is a double recognition of