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doctrine flowed.” So great, in his opinion, was the importance of this article of Christian faith, that he thought himself warranted in asserting, that, “ while the doctrine upon it was pure, there would be no reason to fear either schism or division; but that, if the true doctrine of justification were altered, it would be impossible to oppose error, or to stop the progress of fanaticism.” (Luth. Op. Ed. Jenæ 1561, T. 6. p. 13. Ib. T. 3. p. 189.) It is far from the object of these pages to enter into any thing like controversial discussion; but the writer thinks his readers will not be displeased to find in this place, an accurate statement of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches upon this important tenet of their respective creeds. It is expressed, with extreme accuracy, in a work highly celebrated on the Continent, “ Lettres d'un Docteur Catholique à un Protestant, sur les Principaux Points de Controverse. Rouen, 1769. Deuxieme Leltre, sur la justification.” The writer of these letters begins that, which relates to the point in question, by observing to his Lutheran correspondent, that, “ if there be a point, on which persons have disputed with warmth, and without sufficiently understanding one another, on either side, it must be acknowledged, that the question on the justification of a sinner, is a point of that description.” .
" You teach,” he proceeds to observe, “ that the sinner is solely justified by faith; that, after having offended God, and lost his grace, we obtain the remission of our sins, and are restored to the friendship of God, by means only of an act of faith :every other act of virtue, as acts of contrition, good resolution, hope, charity, &c. having, as you pretend, no part in the sinner's justification.
“ Now, to form a just idea of the faith, which you maintain to be the only means of reconciling us with God, it is to be remarked, that it is not the faith, which is understood by that word, in its common acceptation ; that is to say, a general faith, by which we believe all that God has revealed to us. You require, that it should be a special faith, on the merits of Christ ; and this faith, as your doctors explain it, contains first, an act of the understanding, by which we acknowledge, that Jesus
Christ has died for us; that he has fully satisfied for our sins ; and that he presents to us his merits, his satisfactions, and his remission of our sins : and secondly, an act of the will, by which we accept all this, in applying and appropriating to ourselves what is offered to us, by Jesus Christ,-- mean his merits and the remission of our sins.
“ It is, however, necessary, that we do you the justice to acknowledge, that you require justifying faith to be fruitful in good works; for you declare explicitly, that if faith be not accompanied by good works, it is not a true faith ; that we must be careful to avoid imagining, that justifying faith can subsist with a wish to persist in sin; that, those, who have not contrition, and are resolved to continue to live in their disorders, have not the faith which justifies and saves them. Luther's expression is, Faith and good works are inseparably connected; it is faith only which justifies, but justifying faith is never single, and without good works.'
“ We believe,- First, that faith, taken in the ordinary sense of that word, that is, for the virtue which makes us believe revealed truths, is absolutely necessary for the justification of the sioner. We are fully persuaded, that no works done before faith, or without faith, by the mere strength of free-will, or human reason, can have any part in the justification of the sinner,
“ Secondly, We believe that faith alone does not suffice to justify the sinner; that, in addition to it, there must be a sincere sorrow for sin, a firm resolution not to relapse into it, a salutary fear of the judgments of God, with a true confidence in the merits of Jesus Christ, and in the divine mercy.
“ Thirdly,-We believe, that though the sinner may obtain the grace of justification, in bringing the dispositions which I have mentioned, still he cannot merit them; so that he is justified, gratuitously, by the pure mercy of God, and solely, in the view of the merits of Jesus Christ. I explain myself :—the sinner, after he has lost the grace of God, can do nothing, which is sufficiently agreeable to God, to entitle hin: to be restored to his friendship. All the good works which he does, in such a state, are dead; and of too little value to exact from the divine justice, that the grace of reconciliation should be restored to him, as the fruit of his works. When God justifies us, by restoring his friendship to us, it is not in consequence of the goodness of our works ; it is solely in consequence of the infinite price of the passion and death of Jesus Christ; it is gratuitously; it is from the pure effect of his mercy, that he applies to us the fruit of the merits and the infinite satisfaction of his Son. It is true, that God requires certain works, without which he does not justify the sinner ; and in consequence of which, he does justify him : but he does not require them as meritorious works; he requires them as conditions, or as necessary dispositions, without which he does not receive the sinner into favour, or admit him to participate in the merits of Jesus Christ, as to their effects in the remission of sins. According to the doctrine of the Council of Trent, (Sess. VI. c. 8.) nothing that precedes justification, either of faith or works, can merit the grace of. justification.
“ Fourthly,-We believe, that though the sinner can only owe his justification to the merits of Jesus Christ, yet the merits of Jesus Christ are not the formal justice of the person justified: he is not just of the justice of Jesus Christ; that is extrinsic to him. He is just, by an inherent justice, a justice which, at the same time, is the justice of God, and the justice of man;the justice of man, because, having obtained it of the divine liberality, it is within him, and not out of him ;the justice of God, because it comes from God alone; he alone gives it to the sinner, by a pure effect of his mercy, gratuitously, and only in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the sinner being altogether unable, on his part, to merit the justice by any imaginable work, whatever it may be.”
We leave the reader to his own reflections :—if he be a Ro- . man Catholic, he must concede to the Protestant, that he believes no sinner to be justified without good works; if he be a Protestant, he must concede to the Catholic, that he believes no good works of the sinner entitle him to justification ; and whether
the son He is
he be a Roman Catholic or a Protestant, he must concede to both, that they equally believe, that, where either faith or good works are wanting, the sinner will not be justified,-still, that his justification is not owing either to his faith or his good works, or to both: for though these abound, still would not the sinner be justified, if it were not for the infinite mercy of God, and the infinite merits and satisfaction of his Son. The author of the letters, to which the writer of these pages has referred, was Father Scheffmacker, a jesuit of Strasburgh. The reader, whatever be his creed, will be delighted with their truly christian politeness, elegance and perspicuity.
Communication between the divines of Wirtemburgh and the
patriarch of Constantinople, on the Confession of Augsburgh.
The Confession of Augsburgh, and the other symbolic books of the Lutherans, have been translated into every European language, and made the subject of innumerable commentaries. One of the most important of these translations, is that of the Confession, into modern Greek, which in 1574 was sent, under the direction of some Lutheran ministers of Wirtemburgh, to -Jeremias, the patriarch of Constantinople. The translation was accompanied by a letter, in which the Wirtemburgh divines expressed their hopes, that, “ though, on account of the distance of their countries, there was some difference of ceremonies between them, the patriarch would acknowledge, that they had introduced no innovation into the principal things necessary to salvation ; and that they embraced and preserved, as far as their intelligence reached, the faith which had been taught them by the Apostles, the Prophets, and the Holy Fathers; and inspired by the Holy Spirit, the seven councils, and the Holy Scripturés.”The different readings of that article of the Confession of Augsburgh, which relates to the real presence, have been noticed. In the translation of the Confession, which was sent to the patriarch, it was expressed in the following terms, “ Touching the supper of the Lord, they teach, that the body and blood of Jesus Christ are there truly present, and are distributed to those who participate; and they condemn those who teach the contrary."
The patriarch's answer, so far as it relates to this article, is expressed in the following terms: “ The tenth article treats of the Lord's supper; and to say the truth, with some obscurity; for they report to us on this point some things of you, which we disapprove. The catholic church teaches, that the bread is changed into the very body and the very blood of the Lord; but it is necessary, that the bread should be leavened, not unleavened. For the Lord, in the night in which he was betrayed, having taken bread and given thanks, brake it, and said, take and eat. He does not tell them, “this is unleavened bread,' or the figure of my body;' but this is my body. It is not, that the flesh which our Saviour bore, was given to his disciples to eat, or his blood to drink; or that the Lord descends from heaven in the divine mysteries : for this would be blasphemy: but it is, that then, at our Lord's supper, and now, in our sacrifice, by the invocation and grace of the all-powerful spirit, which operates it, and by the holy prayers and words of the Lord, the bread is changed and converted into the very body of the Lord, and the wine into his very blood.” To the answer of the patriarch Jeremias, the divines of Wirtemburgh replied. They state separately in their reply, the points in which they agreed, and the points in which they differed : on the real presence, they tell him, that they agree with him in believing, that “the body and blood of Jesus Christ are truly present in the holy supper; but that they do not believe, that the bread is changed into the body of Jesus Christ.” To this reply the patriarch answered. Another reply and another answer followed. The Wirtemburgh divines afterwards published the whole correspondence, under the title, “ Acta et Scripta Theologorum Wirtemburgensium et Patriarchæ Constan