« Prev DOCTRINAL DISAGREEMENT Next »

DOCTRINAL DISAGREEMENT

Wherein then do we disagree? We disagree about the nature of the very essence of the medicine whereby Christ cureth our disease; about the manner of applying it; about the number and the power of means, which God requireth in us for the effectual applying thereof to our soul's comfort.

When they are required to show what the righteousness is whereby a Christian man is justified, they answer that it is a divine spiritual quality, which quality, received into the soul, doth first make it to be one of them who are born of God; and, secondly, endue it with power to bring forth such works as they do that are born of him; even as the soul of man, being joined unto his body, doth first make him to be in the number of reasonable creatures, and, secondly, enable him to perform the natural functions which are proper to his kind; that it maketh the soul gracious and amiable in the sight of God, in regard whereof it is termed grace; that by it, through the merit of Christ, we are delivered as from sin, so from eternal death and condemnation, the reward of sin. This grace they will have to be applied by infusion, to the end that, as the body is warm by the heat which is in the body, so the soul might be righteous by inherent grace; which grace they make capable of increase; as the body may be more and more warm, so the soul more and more justified, according as grace shall be augmented; the augmentation whereof is merited by good works, as good works are made meritorious by it.[Trent VI, ch 10] Wherefore the first receipt of grace is in their divinity the first justification; the second thereof, the second justification.

As grace may be increased by the merit of good works, so it may be diminished by the demerit of sins venial; it may be lost by mortal sin.[Trent VI, chs 14,15] Inasmuch, therefore, as it is needful in the one case to repair, in the other to recover, the loss which is made, the infusion of grace hath her sundry after-meals; for which cause they make many ways to apply the infusion of grace. It is applied unto infants through baptism, without either faith or works, and in them it really taketh away original sin and the punishment due unto it; it is applied unto infidels and wicked men in their first justification through baptism, without works, yet not without faith; and it taketh away both sin actual and original, together with all whatsoever punishment eternal or temporal thereby deserved. Unto such as have attained the first justification, that is to say, the first receipt of grace, it is applied further by good works to the increase of former grace, which is the second justification. If they work more and more, grace doth more and more increase, and they are more and more justified.

To such as have diminished it by venial sins it is applied by holy water, Ave Marias, crossings, papal salutations, and such like, which serve for reparations of grace decayed. To such as have lost it through mortal sin, it is applied by the sacrament (as they term it) of penance; which sacrament hath force to confer grace anew, yet in such sort that, being so conferred, it hath not altogether so much power as at the first. For it only cleanseth out the stain or guilt of sin committed, and changeth the punishment eternal into a temporary satisfactory punishment here, if time do serve, if not, hereafter to be endured, except it be either lightened by masses, works of charity, pilgrimages, fasts, and such like; or else shortened by pardon for term, or by plenary pardon quite removed and taken away.[Trent VI, ch 14]

This is the mystery of the man of sin. This maze the Church of Rome doth cause her followers to tread when they ask her the way of justification. I cannot stand now to unrip this building and to sift it piece by piece; only I will set up a frame of apostolical erection by it in a few words, that it may befall Babylon, in presence of that which God hath builded, as it happened unto Dagon before the ark.

"Doubtless," saith the Apostle, "I have counted all things but loss, and I do judge them to be dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God through faith.[Phil 3:8f] Whether they speak of the first or second justification, they make the essence of it a divine quality inherent, they make it righteousness which is in us. If it be in us, then it is ours, as our souls are ours, though we have them from God and can hold them no longer than pleaseth him; for if he withdraw the breath of our nostrils we fall to dust; but the righteousness wherein we must be found, if we will be justified, is not our own: therefore we cannot be justified by any inherent quality. Christ hath merited righteousness for as many as are found in him. In him God findeth us, if we be faithful, for by faith we are incorporated into him.

Then, although in ourselves we be altogether sinful and unrighteous, yet even the man who in himself is impious, full of iniquity, full of sin, him being found in Christ through faith, and having his sin in hatred through repentance, him God beholdeth with a gracious eye, putteth away his sin by not imputing it, taketh quite away the punishment due thereunto, by pardoning it, and accepteth him in Jesus Christ as perfectly righteous, as if he had fulfilled all that is commanded him in the law: shall I say more perfectly righteous than if himself had fulfilled the whole law? I must take heed what I say; but the Apostle saith, "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.[2 Cor 5:21] Such we are in the sight of God the Father as is the very Son of God himself. Let it be counted folly, or phrensy, or fury, or whatsoever. It is our wisdom and our comfort; we care for no knowledge in the world but this: that man hath sinned and God hath suffered; that God hath made himself the sin of men, and that men are made the righteousness of God.

You see therefore that the Church of Rome, in teaching justification by inherent grace, doth pervert the truth of Christ, and that by the hands of his Apostles we have received otherwise than she teacheth.

« Prev DOCTRINAL DISAGREEMENT Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |