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been the chief doctrine in contro- perly expressed by the terms justiversy between Roman Catholics ficare, rechtfertigen, to acquit, to deand Protestants. It is here that clare just or righteous, to treat one their formularies diverge most as if standing right in the view of widely. We shall endeavor there. law, e. g. Ezek. xvi, 51. fore to state the difference between hast justified thy sisters through them with the utmost precision. thine abominations, i.e. hast caused There is an important difference to them to appear comparatively inno. be noticed at the outset in their views cent." (Gesenius.) Deut. xxv, 1. of the term justification. Roman “If there be a controversy between Catholics confound justification with men, and they come to judgment, sanctification. They regard justi- that the judges may judge them, fication as an internal, subjective then they shall justify (sc. absolve, state. The Council of Trent de acquit) the righteous, and condemn scribes it to be a translation from the wicked.” See also Ex. xxiii, 7, the state in which man is born a and Is. v, 23. As a specimen of child of the first Adam, into a state New Testament usage we may reof grace and of the adoption of the ser to Rom. ii, 13. “ The doers of sons of God through the second the law shall be justified." This Adam, Jesus Christ our Savior. It can not mean that the doers of the is not only the remission of sins, but law shall be made righteous personthe sanctification and renewal of ally, for they would be so of course; the inward man through the volun- but that they shall be declared righttary reception of grace. By the eous judicially. In the justification act of justification, faith, hope and which God bestows on men through charity are infused into the heart of Christ, he is said to regard and treat man; it is in this way only, that he them as righteous, to approve and is truly united to Christ and becomes reward them as truly pious, i.e. “ to a living member of his body. Jus- absolve from the consequences of tification obliterates all sin both orig. sin, and admit to the enjoyment of inal and actual from the soul, but divine favor.” (Robinson.) does not free it wholly from that Here then is a fundamental differlust (concupiscentia) which thoughence between the two systems. not sinful in itself may lead to sin They do not agree upon the meanif not restrained. Hence the justing of the term justification. The man may commit those venial sins, one refers it to an act of God which “ which proceed more from the in- determines the external relation of firmity of the new man, than from the believer to the law; the other any remnant of perverseness in the to a divine act, which not only rewill, and which therefore occasion mits guilt and its penalty, but which no interruption in the newly estab- extirpates sin, and transforms the lished relations with God."
soul, by infusing into it the spirit of Now we insist that the term justi- Christ. The Roman Catholic sys. fication, when applied in the New tem confounds justification with reTestament to believers, is used not generation and sanctification, and in a personal, but in a forensic sense.
therefore makes the concurrence of It does not describe a state of heart human action with the divine as es. but a judicial sentence. The Greek sential to the former as to either of infinitive dıxanowy, corresponds with the latter. Hence the doctrine of the Piel and Hiphil conjugations of justification by works in distinction the Hebrew verb P1x (tsadak.) See from faith. By justification the will Septuagint. Now tsadak is used is changed, the soul is purified, and in these conjugations principally in made incapable of any but venial a declarative or forensic sense ; pro- sins. Dr. Moehler counts it the
glory of the Catholic church that distinction between the views of Roshe “insists, above all things, on a man Catholics and Protestants. He radical internal change." But Pro- charges the Reformers with holding testants surely insist no less upon that man is entirely passive in resuch a change. The question is, generation, because by the fall he what is that change and how is it lost all power of co-operating with effected? We call it regeneration, God; in other words, he imputes a change of heart, of moral princi- to them the doctrine of natural inaple, in which the will of man be. bility. We are less familiar with comes obedient to the will of God. the writings of Luther than with This change though “ internal" and those of Calvin, and we must admit “radical,” does not necessarily that there is much in the Institutes make its subject perfect, but is suc. of the latter which seems to subceeded by a process of sanctifica- stantiate Dr. Moehler's assertion. tion in which the soul approximates But to understand the views of the more and more to a state of sinless Reformers upon human freedom, perfection. The Romanist calls we must remember that their wri. this change justification, and main-tings were controversial ; directed tains that its subject is wholly and against the vagaries of the schoolabsolutely freed from sin. In his men; and that their use of terms view" the justified man is identical and modes of statement were necesin every respect with the sanctified;" sarily affected by the errors which so that the works which we regard they opposed. We must not interas fruits of sanctification, with him pret them by the technical rules of contribute to justification. Dr. Moeh- modern theology, for theological ler, indeed, admits that the act of science was yet inchoate in their justification, properly considered, minds. It is true that Calvin says, which he makes synonymous with that “the will is so bound by the the infusion of spiritual life into the slavery of sin, that it can not excite soul, is instantaneous, yet its devel. itself, much less devote itself to any opment is progressive, and the soul thing good."* But he almost immust be prepared for it by a series mediately adds, that such a declaof preliminary steps. Says Bel. ration can give offense only to those larmine,“ those whom God chooses, " who know not how to distinguish he first calls to faith ; next he in- between necessity and compulsion;" spires them with hope and fear and thus showing that the thing which inchoate love ; and finally he justi- he aimed to express was what we fies them and infuses into them per- now denote by the term moral ina. fect love."
bility; and that he meant by neces. What we term regeneration is re. sity mere certainty, implying no garded by Romanists as the first constraint or “compulsion stage of justification. According ever. Again he says, the “ will is to the Council of Trent, the soul of removed in conversion) not conan adult is prepared for justification sidered as the will ; because, in the by passing through several succes- conversion of man, the properties sive states or exercises, such as of our original nature remain enfaith, fear, hope, seeking after God tire. I assert also, that it is created as the fountain of all righteousness, anew, not that the will then begins hatred of sin, contrition for it, a to exist, but that it is then converted purpose to receive baptism, to enter from an evil into a good one ;” i. e. upon a new life and keep the divine the faculty remaining the same, its commandments.
original, natural properties being unUpon the doctrine of regeneration Dr. Moehler makes an unfair * Institutes, B. 2. C. 3, Sec. 5.
changed, its employment, object or that regeneration constitutes one thean, direction, is changed from bad to
dric work. God's holy power precedes, good. Here then is no physical re
awakening, exciting, vivifying ;---man,
the while, being utterly unable to merit, generation, and no physical inability. call forth, or even desire, that divine
But we are not concerned to vin. grace ; yet he must let himself be excidicate Calvin from the imputations his aid to raise the sinner after his fall;
ted, and follow with freedom. God offers of Dr. Moehler. Nullius addictus yet it is for the sinner lo consent and rejurare in verba magistri. Our sim- ceive that aid. By accepting it, he is acple object is to bring out in the cepted by the divine Spirit; and through clearest manner, the theological sen- again
gradually (though never completely
bis faithful co-operation, he is exalted timents of those whom Moehler him- in this life) to that height from which self so ably represents. We are he was precipitated. The divine Spirit Calvinists in the same sense as our
worketh not by absolute necessity, though
he is urgently active. His omnipotence worthy brethren of the Presbyterian suffers human freedom to set it a bound, Board of Publication, who say, in which it can not break through, because the advertisement to their beautiful an unconditional interference with that edition of the Institutes, that “this freedom would bring about the annihila
tion of the moral order of the world, term is not understood as by any which the divine wisdom hath founded means implying an entire coinci. on liberty." dence in the views of Calvin, or a
Dr. Moehler thus satirizes the submission to his authority as an
doctrines of natural inability and umpire in theological controversies. physical regeneration which he (unAlthough a learned and pious, he justly, as we think) imputes to the was a fallible man; and his opin: Reformers, as the representatives ions although deserving of profound of the Protestant faith. respect, are not to be blindly fol. lowed. While admitting that the
* By this doctrine the identity of con
sciousness is destroyed; and we can not Institutes, considering the times and see how the man, new-born or newly circumstances in which they were created, can recognize hinself to be the written, form an invaluable body of same—at least it is not easy for him to do divinity, still it must be acknowl- and perceives to his contentment, that
so, unless he stands before the mirror, edged, that some of the doctrines he has ever the same nose, and consetherein maintained have been more quently is the same person as heretofore. luminously set forth in modern Nor can we conceive how repentance
can be possible on such a theory; for the times.”
new-created faculties will find it hard to Had Dr. Moehler been as con- repent of what they have not perpetraversant with the writings of Ed. ted; and the old can not repent, for a wards and Dwight as with those of divine act is not within their power.” the Reformers, he would have bet- But it is needless to pursue this ter understood the views of at least branch of the subject farther. We one class of Protestants upon hu- do not think the Romanists so much man freedom. Admitting that he at fault in their theory about human has fairly represented the views of agency in the matter of salvation Luther, Calvin, Zuingle and others, as in their practice. Their notions we must own that he stands here of free will, however, lead them upon better ground than they. But very generally to discard the Calhis views do not differ essentially vinistic doctrine of predestination, from those of the standard divines at least as they understand it. But of New England. Take the fol- the real difficulty lies in their inalowing as a specimen.
bility to reconcile the certainty of
an event with the possibility of its “ According to Catholic principles, in opposite, or the entire freedom of two operations concur—the divine and human action ; things the consisthe human; they pervade each other, so tency of which is apparent in the
occurrences of every day. Those luminous commentary upon it, give of our readers who have a taste for ing contradictory opinions on almost metaphysical discussions, will find every point. When this decree had much to entertain them in the de. been approved at Trent, it was sent bates of the Fathers at Trent upon to the Pope, “who gave it to the predestination. Some affirmed that friars and learned men of Rome
liberty is understood to be a power to be consulted of ; and it was to both the contraries ; and that it approved by them, because every could not be said to be a liberty to one might understand it in his own evil, if it were not also to good. sense. Well done, most holy and But they were made to acknowledge ecumenical synod of the one, true, their error, when they were told and infallible church ! that the saints, and blessed angels The canon concerning justifica. in heaven, are free to do good, and tion, first denies that the deeds of therefore that it was no inconven- the law can justify the sinner, and ience that some should be free only insists upon the necessity of divine to do evil !" Others maintained, grace and the influences of the Holy that “God governeth and moveth Spirit for this end ; then asserts the every thing according to its proper freedom of man's will; then de. nature, which in contingent things nies that “all the works which preis free, and such as that the act cede justification for whatever reamay consist together with the power son done, are sins, and merit the to the opposite ; so that with the displeasure of God;" and finally deact of predestination, the power to clares that if any one shall say, reprobation and damnation doth that “ the sinner is justified by faith stand." These views however, were alone, meaning that nothing else is neither understood nor relished by needed which may co-operate in sethe Council at large.
curing the grace of justification, or The following articles concerning that there is no necessity for him to free will were proposed for censure be prepared and disposed for it by in the Council.
an act of his own will,” he shall be “1. God is the total cause of our works,
accursed. good and evil; so that the adultery of
Concerning the cause of justificaDavid, the cruelty of Manlius, and the tion, the Council decrees as follows. treason of Judas are works of God as
The final cause is “ the glory of well as the calling of Saul. 2. No man hath power to think well or ill, but all God and of Christ, and eternal life;" cometh from absolute necessity, and in
the efficient cause,
a compassionus is no free will, and to affirm it is a ate Deity, who freely cleanses and mere fiction. 3. Free will since the sin of Adam is lost and a thing only titular,
sanctifies (the soul,) sealing and and when one doth what is in his power anointing it with the Holy Spirit of he sinneth mortally; yea, it is a thing promise;" the meritorious cause, feigned and a title without reality. 4. to his well-beloved and only-begotten Free will is only in doing ill and hath no power to do good. 5. Free will moved by the instrumental cause is,
Son, our Lord Jesus Christ ;" but God, doth by no means co-operate, and followeth as an instrument without life, crament of baptism, which is the or as an unreasonable creature. 6. God
sacrament of faith, without which converleth those only whom he will, though they will not and spura against it." justification never reached any one."
Now it matters not how much a After a protracted discussion, a Romish doctor in his abstract specudecree condemning these several lations may insist upon the necesarticles was framed, but with so sity of divine grace in the work of much ambiguity, that two leading man's salvation, so long as he holds friars of the Dominican and Fran- that that grace is bestowed through ciscan orders published each a vo- the medium of a sacrament. The
66 the sa
doctrine of the saving efficacy of through the mercy of God, and sacraments is the bane of his whole “ without any merit on the part of system. The ignorant mass, who are mankind in general or of any
indinot instructed by doctrinal preach- vidual man.' ing, as Protestants are, will seize But when we use the term subupon the idea of virtue in the sacra- jectively, the Protestant means by ment, and trust to what they can it a cordial trust in Christ which is see and touch for salvation, rather the condition of our justification bethan to an unseen, though living fore God; but the Catholic, confaith.
founding it with various other graThe views of Romanists concern- ces, makes justifying faith the acing the nature of justification, ex- tual sanctification of the soul, as the plain their views of the relation of ground and assurance of its accepFAITH to that act. If justification tance with God-an act whereby is not a mere judicial act of God, “the righteousness of Jesus Christ but an internal change of the man is not only imputed, but actually himself, then of course it calls for communicated to believers by the something more than mere faith. Holy Spirit, so that they are not The Council of Trent defines the only reputed, but made just by his relation of faith to justification as grace." (Bossuet.) follows: “Since the Apostle has The Roman Catholic's idea of jussaid that man is justified through tification is in like manner the key faith and grace, these words are to to his DOCTRINE OF GOOD WORKS. be understood in the sense which For want of a proper distinction bethe uniform consent of the Catholic tween justification and sanctificachurch has held and expressed ; so tion, he makes those works which that although we say he is justified are the fruit and evidence of a sancby faith, because faith is the begin- tified heart themselves contribute ning of human salvation, the basis to justification. Thus the Council and root of all justification, without of Trent declares in substance, that which it is impossible to please God, works are not the mere fruit and and enter into the fellowship of his evidence of justification, but the sons; we also say that he is justi- means of preserving and increasing fied by grace, because nothing which it in the sight of God; that good precedes justification, whether faith deeds are not in such a sense the or works, confers the grace of jus- gift of God but that they may also tification itself.” They insist also be the meritorious deeds of the jus. that the exercise of charity and the tified person himself, and that the performance of good works, that is, justified are enabled, through works the mode of life which we regard performed in God, to satisfy the as the fruit and evidence of regen- divine law according to the condi. eration, is as much concerned in tion of this present life, and to merit the justification of the believer as eternal life and augmented glory is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. when they depart in a state of grace.
If we use the term faith in an The holy Fathers of Trent have objective sense, to denote the sys- furnished us with the anomaly of tem of faith revealed in the Gospel, merited grace. For say they," so then Roman Catholics and Protest- great is the goodness of the Lord ants agree that it is only by faith toward men, that he considers his that man is justified. Both hold that own gifts as their merits.” Dr. there is no other name given to men Moehler understands by this nothwhereby they may be saved, but ing more than what is sometimes the name of Christ Jesus ; and that called the merit of congruity ; as salvation through that name is given for example, that between believers Vol. III.