« PreviousContinue »
Indians. The idolatrous religion and worship of Foe is at the bottom mere atheism; for, it is the grand principle of his disciples, which Foe declared at his death, that, after this life, there is no existence. Jackson's Chronol. vol. ii. p. 475.
Though we be justified at first by FAITI WITHOUT works preceding, (of which St Paul speaks,) yet, faith, without good works following it, will not finally justify and save us ; (and this is what St James affirms ;) nay, indeed, that faith, which does not bring forth the fruits of a good life, was never a true, and living, and perfect, faith, but pretended, and dead, and imperfect, and therefore can justify no man; and he that only hath such a faith does but make an empty and ineffectual profession, but is. really destitute of the true faith of the Gospel. And this is agreeable to that explication which was given by our first reformers here in England, of the nature of justifying faith : “ that it is not a mere persuasion of the truths of natural and revealed religion, but such a belief as begets a submission to the will of God, and hath hope, love, and obedience to God's commandments, joined to it. That this is the faith, which in baptism is professed, from which Christians are called the faithful, and that, in those Scriptures where it is said we are justified by faith, we may not think that we be justified by faith, as it is a separate virtue from hope and charity, the fear of God and repentance, but by it is meant faith, neither only nor alone, but with the aforesaid virtues, containing an engagement of obedience to the whole doctrine and religion of Christ. And that, although all that are justified must of necessity have charity as well as faith, yet neither faith nor charity are the worthiness and merit of our justifieation, but that is to be ascribed only to our Saviour, Christ, who was offered upon. the cross for our sins and rose again for our justification.” As may be seen more at large in a treatise published at the beginning of the reformation upon this and some other points. Tillotson's Serm. vol. 2, p. 26.
And, where the Scripture speaks of justification by faith, it speaks of faith, as it takes, in the whole of Christian religion and of no other; not of a bare appropriation of the; grace and mercy of the Gospel; that is, in plain English, this is not justifying faith, to believe that I am pardoned and justified, nor to have a firm assurance of this. For, if we be justified by faith, we must believe before we can be justified; but, if this be justifying faith, to believe, or be assured, we are justified, we must be justified before we believe, or, else, when we believe that we are justified, we must believe that which is not true. Nor is this justifying faith to lay hold of the righteousness and merits of Christ for the pardon of our sins; that is, to trust and confide only in that as the meritorious cause of our pardon. For, though this be part of the notion of justifying faith, it is not all; though this be one of the terms or conditions upon which we are justified, yet it is not the whole and entire condition; which, besides this, takes in a assent to the whole Gospel, repentance from dead works, and obedience to all the precepts of the Gospel. Tillotson's Serm..vol.ii. p. 308.
St Augustin himself, (whose supposed patronage stands them in so much stead upon other occasions,) hath often affirmed, that divers have had given them that faith, that charity, that justification, wherein, if they had died, they should have been saved, who yet were not saved. According to St Augustin's judgement, therefore, no man could know that he should be saved, (lis salvation depending upon perseverance, which, in his opinion, not being given to all, must, as to our knowledge, whatever it might be in respect to God's decree, be contingent and uncertain,) it follows, I say, upon his suppositions ; yea, he expressly affirms it. “ Itaque utrum quisque hoc perseverantiæ munus acceperit, quandiu hanc vitam ducit, incertum est; nec sibi quisque ita notus est, ut sit de suâ crastinâ conversatione securus." Aug. Ep. 121, ad Probam. -" In hoc mundo, et in hac vita, nulla anima possit esse secura.” Ibid. Wherefore, St Augustin could not be assured of his own salvation. Barrow, vol. ii.
Tout homme qui vit moralement bien, conformément aux régles de l'Evangile, peut avoir une confiance raisonnable qu'il a la grace et qu'il est dans la voie du salut, mais non une parfaite certitude et une assurance infallible. Je ne me reproche rien, disoit St Paul, 1 Cor. iv. 4, mais je ne suis pas justifié par cela. Prétendre que la rémission des péchés dépende de cette certitude, c'est la faire consistre dans une présomption criminelle, puisque, tant que l'homme est en vie, il peut déchoir de la justice; et, que les plus justes, d'ailleurs, ne sont pas exempts de fautes. C'est donc avec raison que le Concile de Trent a condamné cette prétendue certitude de la justice comme une erreur, non pour ôter une raisonnable confiance, mais pour ne l'établir que sur la miséricorde de Dieu, et non sur une assurance présomptueuse que le sentiment de notre foiblesse et l'expérience de nos chutes et de nos fautes rendent incompatible avec l'humilité. Courayer in Sleidan, tom ii. p. 328.
There is another notion of faith, which is this; that faith is not an assent to propositions of any kind, but a recumbency, leaning, resting, rolling upon, adherency to, the person of Christ, or an apprehending and applying to ourselves the righteousness of Christ. But these new phrases (for such they are) were not known to antient Christians, nor delivered either in terms or sense in Scripture; for, the places alleged in favour of them by Ames, one of the first broachers of them, do not, as might easily be shewed, import any such thing, (but are strangely misapplied,) do much obscure the nature of this great duty, and make the state of things in the Gospel more difficult and dark than it truly is, and thereby seem to be of bad consequence, being apt to beget in people both dangerous presumptions and sad perplexities. Barrow, vol. ii. p. 52, 53.
Faith, in the Redeemer alone, justifieth; or, in other words, is the sole condition of recovering the possession of what we lost by Adam. Man, from his creation to his entrance into paradise, was subject to the law of natural religion only. From thenceforth, to bis expulsion from paradise, revealed religion, superinduced to the natural, was to be his guide; whereby, to God's favour, (the sanction of natural reli--gion,) was added immortality, (the sanction of the revealed,) not on condition of lus observance of moral duties, for that was the condition of God's favour, under natural religion, bụt on condițion of his obedience to a positive command. But are good works, therefore, of no use in the Christian-system? So far from that impiety, good works are seen, by this explanation, to be of the greatest avail, as they render men
the only capable subjects of this justification, which faith alone procures. : This is the true use and value of works with regard to faith, and greater cannot be conceived. Hence it appears, that justifying faith is so far from excluding good works, that it necessarily requires them. But how? Not as sharing in that justification, but as -procuring for us a title to God's favour in general, they become the qualification of that inestimable reward, revealed by the Gospel to be obtained by faith alone... Warburton's Div. Legat. vol. iii. 4to, p. 688, 689. tis.it
: The justification by faith, which St Paul speaks of generally in his epistle to the Romans, is the first
, justification, or that according to which God pardoned the past sins of the heathen world, for which he might have destroyed theiu, and upon their faith admitted them into the kingdom and covenant of grace. The justification by works, which St James speaks of, is the full and final justification, which is consequent to faith, and to which works are absolutely necessary. Taylor, on Rom.
.....! Græci præsertim ea FESTORUM ;farragine annum impleverant, quasi genus humanum ad ludum potius quam laborem natum crederent, et festa Gentilium, ut Philo observat, mera erant intemperantiæ exercitia, insipientiæ meditationes, studia turpitudinis, honestatis pernicies, nocturna excitationes ad, cupiditates inexplebiles, &c. Spencer, tom. ii. p. 708.
Nihil apud aliquos pervulgatius est, quam PATRES, ut in aliis, ita secum hac parte plurimum pugnare, quippe qui libertatem arbitrii uno ore prædicent, et tamen alias contendant, hominem auxilio Dei ad actus singulos indigere. Sed quod imprimis nsu venire solet, quoties 'ex contrariis erroribus sic uni oppugnando intentus est animus, ut de altero sollicitus sit parum. Hoc etiam patribus illis obtigisse dici potest.
Neupe ein libertatem arbitrii tuerentur, vix gratiæ meminerunt; cum res exigeret, * ti gratia defenderetur;, vix docere curarunt, quid cum et şub gratiâ liberum posset arbitrium,', Voss. Hist. Pelag. lib. iii.p. 1. Thes. 2.
Nain semper hoc declesie Catholicæ judicium fuit cum gratia, sed sub gratia tamen conspirare amice arbitrii libertatem. Ut B. Augustinus scite dicebat, “ Şi non est Dei gratia, quomodo salvat mundum et si non est liberum arbitrium, quomodo judicat mundum? Nihilominus-nullis prope temporibus defuere, qui hanc ecclesiæ doctrinam in dubium vocarent, ac vel gratiam sic prædicarent, ut liberum tollerent arbitrium, vel sic arbitrii libertatem urgerent, ut inimici fierent gratiæ. Ab utris corum magis
periculum periculum sit, haud facile dictu est.” — Utrumque optime perspexit Augustinus in Joh. Homil. 53. “ Quosdam nimia suæ voluntatis fiducia extulit in superbiam, et quosdam nimia suæ vocationis diffidentia dejecit in negligentiam. Illi dicunt, Ut quid rogamus Deum, ne vincamur tentatione, quod in nostra est potestate? Isti dicunt, Uto quid conamur bene vivere, quod in Dei est potestate? O Domine! O Pater! qui es in coelis, ne hos in feras in quamlibet istarum tentationum, sed liberá nos a malo." -- Sed dicere quid sola gratia possit, quid cum et sub gratiâ liberum arbitrium possit, pericůli' plenum est. Quemadmoduin enim non raro contingit, ut qui - duobus inimice concurrentibus, dirimendæ pugnæ, mediuin se interponit, amborum in se irain atque impetum convertat; itidem in controversiis istius modi plurimum usu venire solet, út qui veritatis simul ac pacis studio ductus, gratiæ liberique arbitrii concordiam profitetar, nec agnoscendo liberum arbitrium, satisfaciat illis qui ejus inane nomen putant, nec gratiam prædicando, iis se probet, quibus sola arbitrii libertas utramque paginam facit. Voss. Hist. Pelag. lib. i. c.'4.
Qui primi eos, qui patres vocantur, sic vocarunt, nescio. Credo, quibus eorum authoritas usui erat, et quorum intererat, ut ita vocarentur. Nullo jure. Siquis enim scripta eorum sine pra-judicio legat, quis non videt, primo, quam longe 'sæpe a vero aberrent, quam procul interdum a Scripturarum sensu abeant, quam palpabiles errores non raro errent. Nec hoc tantum; sed secundo, quam sæpe a seipsis dissideant, tanquam si dormitantes quædam scripsissent? Imo tertio, quam crebro inter se dissentiant, et quidem in iis, quæ nunc ab iis qui eos patres vocarunt, fundamentalia dogmata habentur. 'Denique quam frequenter ea dicant, quæ Cothurnorum instár sunt et cuilibet pedi aptari possunt, et fere aptari solent. Hæc causa est, cur in its operam magnam non pono, eorumqúe authoritatibus me tueri religioni ducam. Episcopius de Cultu Imagin. c. 1.
Justin Martyr, in the second century, wrote an excellent apology for the Christians, which now goes under the name of his second apology.
Tertullian, in the third century, wrote an excellent apology for Christianity, treatises of penitence, baptism, prayer, and patience. The style of this author is vehement, energetic, and sententious, but not very polite, and often obscure. It is hard to say whether he has done more service to the church by writing against its heresies than he has done hurt by attacking its disciplire, in order to maintain that of the Montanists.
Origen, in the third century, a very laborious author, entertained some singular opinions; and it cannot be denied, that, by endeavouring to reconcile the Platonic philosophy with Christianity, he departed from the simplicity of the truth.
St Cyprian, in the third century, is to be respected for his sanctity, his wisdom, and the beauty and solidity of his writings, penned with a great deal of eloquence, full of noble sentiments of religion, and are very useful for learning the antient discipline of the church, and the pure morality of the Gospel.:
St Basil, in the fourth century, joined the beauty of eloquence to the solidity of learning: he excelled in every kind.
St Gregory Nazianzen certainly carries the prize of eloquence from all the fathers,. for the purity of his, words, the nobleness of his expressions, the elegance of his diction, the variety of his figures, the justness of his comparisons, the solidity of his reasonings, and the beauty of his thoughts. He was born in 328.
St Ambrose, in the fourth century, had as much nobleness, greatness, and majesty, in his style, as were in his actions and conduct. His chief discourses are those on mysteries, virginity, and penitence, with his offices.
St Chrysostom, i. e. golden mouth, is one of the most eloquent Christian orators; and his eloquence is so much the more valuable as it is natural, without affectation, without constraint, and without obscurity.
St Jerom, without dispute the most learned of all the fathers, well skilled in the languages, had abundance of the belles lettres : he was very conversant in history and the classics.
St Isidore, the Monk, in the fifth century, Bishop of Pelusium in Egypt, was also famous for a great number of letters upon passages of Holy Scripture, in a laconic style, with abundance of wit and agreeableness. Dupin's Auteurs Eccles.
Many of the works of the fathers are so voluminous that the attention of the ecclesiastical student must of course be contined to, particular parts of them. The following selection would, perhaps, give no very : inadequate idea of the general merits of their authors. The Apology of Tertullian, the Dialogue of Minucius Felix, the Commentaries of Origen, and his books against Celsus, the Epistles of Cyprian, the institutions of Lactantius, the Ecclesiastical History and Evangelical Preparation of Eusebius, the homilies of Basil, the Orations of Gregory of Nazianzum, the Coma mentaries and Epistles of Jerom, the City of God by Austin, the Duty of the Priesthood by, Chrysostom, the Commentaries and Homilies of Theodoret, and the Ecclesiastical Histories of Socrates and Sozomen. But the first attention of an ecclesiastical student is most properly directed to Clemens Romanus, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenæus, and Athanagoras, whose writings iminediately succeeded * the publication of the New Testament, : Kett's Bampton Lectures, notes p. 92, 1. 8, &c.
::. ! Remarkable, instances of the pernicious consequences of FORTUNL-TELLING. The first is related as follows in Moore's Manners af France, vol.ii. p. 202,
sito $19 ito
... I went a few days since, with Mr. Fortescue, to see a man executed for the murder of a child. His motives for this horrid deed were much more extraordinary than the action itself. He had accompanied some of his companions to the house of a fellow who assumed the character of a fortune-teller; and,