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FAITH DOES NOT EXCLUDE WORKS

But we say our salvation is by Christ alone; therefore howsoever or whatsoever we add unto Christ in the matter of salvation we overthrow Christ. Our case were very hard if this argument, so universally meant as it is proposed, were sound and good. We ourselves do not teach Christ alone, excluding our own faith, unto justification, Christ alone, excluding our own works, unto sanctification, Christ alone, excluding the one or the other as unnecessary unto salvation. It is a childish cavil wherewith in the matter of justification our adversaries do so greatly please themselves, exclaiming that we tread all Christian virtues under our feet and require nothing in Christians but faith, because we teach that faith alone justifieth; whereas by this speech we never meant to exclude either hope and charity from being always joined as inseparable mates with faith in the man that is justified, or works from being added as necessary duties, required at the hands of every justified man, but to show that faith is the only hand which putteth on Christ unto justification, and Christ the only garment which, being so put on, covereth the shame of our defiled natures, hideth the imperfections of our works, preserveth us blameless in the sight of God, before whom otherwise the very weakness of our faith were cause sufficient to make us culpable, yea, to shut us out from the kingdom of heaven, where nothing that is not absolute can enter.

That our dealing with them be not childish as theirs with us when we hear of salvation by Christ alone, considering that ["alone" is an] exclusive particle, we are to note what it doth exclude, and where. If I say, "Such a judge only ought to determine such a cause," all things incident unto the determination thereof besides the person of the judge, as laws, depositions, evidences, etc., are not hereby excluded; persons are, yet not from witnessing herein or assisting, but only from determining and giving sentence. How then is our salvation wrought by Christ alone? Is it our meaning that nothing is requisite to man's salvation but Christ to save, and he to be saved quietly without any more to do? No, we acknowledge no such foundation. As we have received, so we teach that besides the bare and naked work wherein Christ, without any other associate, finished all the parts of our redemption and purchased salvation himself alone, for conveyance of this eminent blessing unto us many things are required, as to be known and chosen of God before the foundation of the world, in the world to be called, justified, sanctified, after we have left the world to be received into glory: Christ in every one of these hath something which he worketh alone. Through him, according to the eternal purpose of God before the foundation of the world, born, crucified, buried, raised, etc., we were in a gracious acceptation known unto God long before we were seen of men: God knew us, loved us, was kind towards us in Christ Jesus; in him we were elected to be heirs of life. [cf Eph 1:3ff]

Thus far God through Christ hath wrought in such sort alone that ourselves are mere patients, working no more than dead and senseless matter, wood or stone or iron, doth in the artificer's hand, no more than the clay when the potter appointeth it to be framed for an honourable use; nay, not so much. For the matter whereupon the craftsman worketh he chooseth, being moved by the fitness which is in it to serve his turn; in us no such thing. Touching the rest, that which is laid for the foundation of our faith importeth, further, that by him we be called, that we have redemption, remission of sins through his blood, health by his stripes, justice by him; that he doth sanctify his Church and make it glorious to himself; that entrance into joy shall be given us by him; yea, all things by him alone. Howbeit, not so by him alone as if in us, to our vocation, the hearing of the Gospel; in our justification, faith; to our sanctification, the fruits of the Spirit; to our entrance into rest, perseverance in hope, in faith, in holiness, were not necessary,

Then what is the fault of the Church of Rome? Not that she requireth works at their hands that will be saved, but that she attributeth unto works a power of satisfying God for sin, and a virtue to merit both grace here and in heaven glory. That this overthroweth the foundation of faith I grant willingly; that it is a direct denial thereof I utterly deny. What it is to hold and what directly to deny the foundation of faith I have already opened. Apply it particularly to this cause, and there needs no more ado. The thing which is handled, if the form under which it is handled be added thereunto, it showeth the foundation of any doctrine whatsoever. Christ is the matter whereof the doctrine of the Gospel treateth, and it treateth of Christ as of a Saviour. Salvation therefore by Christ is the foundation of Christianity. As for works, they are a thing subordinate, no otherwise necessary than because our sanctification cannot be accomplished without them. The doctrine concerning them is a thing builded upon the foundation; therefore the doctrine which addeth unto them power of satisfying or of meriting addeth unto a thing subordinated, builded upon the foundation, not to the very foundation itself. Yet is the foundation consequently by this addition overthrown, forasmuch as out of this addition it may negatively be concluded, he who maketh any work good and acceptable in the sight of God to proceed from the natural freedom of our will, he who giveth unto any good work of ours the force of satisfying the wrath of God for sin, the power of meriting either earthly or heavenly rewards, he who holdeth works going before our vocation in congruity to merit our vocation, works following our first to merit our second justification and by condignity our last reward in the kingdom of heaven, pulleth up the doctrine of faith by the roots; for out of every of these the plain direct denial thereof may be necessarily concluded. Nor this only, but what other heresy is there which doth not raze the very foundation of faith by consequent?

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