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XI. The Saxony Catechism, framed Anno 1571. forgiveness of sin differs not from justification. Hence justification is defined to be remission of sins, reconciliation with God, imputation of righteousness, and acceptance to life eternal.'
XII. Not having the original of the following Confession (the Belgic) by me, I am obliged to make the subsequent extract from a miserable abridgement, and even a perversion of the · Harmony of Confessions,' recently published in America. It reads thus: We believe that all our happiness consists in the forgiveness of sins, which we have by Jesus Christ, and that in it alone all our righteousness is contained, as St. Paul teacheth, out of the prophet David, who declareth the happiness of those men to whom God imputeth righteousness without works. And the same apostle saith, Rom. iii. and iv. that
We are justified by the redemption made in Christ Jesus.' We therefore, leaning upon this as a sure foundation, do yield all glory to God, having a most base and humble opinion of ourselves, knowing full well who and what manner of creatures we be indeed. Therefore we do not presume of ourselves, or of any of our own merits, but being upholden by the holy obedience of Christ crucified, we do rest altogether in it: and to the intent it may become ours, we believe on him. This righteousness alone is all-sufficient, both to cover all our iniquities, and also to make us safe and secure against all templations,” etc. Art. XXIII.
XIII. Wendeline, whose character as a profound and consistent Calvinist, is of the highest standing, shall be our next witness. On pp. 565–590 of his Christian Theology, we meet with the following language: “ Evangelical Justification is that by which a sinner is absolved from the curse of the law, and by grace accounted righteous before God, for the sake of the righteousness or merit of Christ, apprehended and applied by true faith. Legal justification is that by which any one is pronounced righteous in himself, from his own inherent righteousness and innocency. Before the divine tribunal no one is justified, that is, absolved from the curse of the law, and pronounced innocent and righteous, except by evangelical righteousness and justification. For as many as are of the works
“Remissio peccatorum et justificatio non differunt. Ideo justificatio definitur, quod sit remissio peccatorum, reconciliatio cum Deo, imputatio justitiae, et acceptatio ad vitam aeternam Catechesis Saro
v. 11." *
of the law are under the curse. Gal. 3: 10. And it is manifest that no man can be righteous with God but by the law.
Again : “ Theologians remark that forgiveness of sins or absolution from the curse, and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, are not two integral parts of justification, or two acts really and numerically distinct : but only one act respecting the two terminos a quo and ad quem. Even as by one and the same act darkness is expelled from the atmosphere and light introduced into it; so by one and the same act of justification, the sinner is absolved from guilt and pronounced right
Whence we are sure that they express the whole nature ustification who affirm that it consists in the forgiveness of sins, and also those who affirm that it consists in the imputation of righteousness. Because, when God forgives our sins, he pronounces us righteous through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ : and when he pronounces us righteous through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, he forgives our sins." Again : “ But that we are justified before God, that is, absolved from the curse of the law, not by our inherent righteousness, but by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, we prove in this manner: (1) The material of our justification before God is nothing other than the righteousness of Christ, or his obedience to the law accomplished for us. Therefore we are not justified, that is, absolved from the curse of the law, unless by and on account of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us." * — “ The justification of the wicked is by imputed righteousness. But the justification of the Christian is the justification of the wicked. Therefore the justification of the Christian is by imputed righteousness. The proposition is thus proved : Because the justification of the wicked is his absolution from punishment." +
Evangelica justificatio est, qua peccator absolvitur a maledictione legis, et justus refutatur coram Deo gratis, propter Christi justitiam seu meritum vera fide apprehensum ac applicatum. Legalis justificatio est, qua quis justus pronunciatur in se propria suo et inhaerente justitia ac innocentia. Coram tribunali divino nemo justificatur, hoc est, a maledictione legis absolvitur, innocensque et justus pronunciatur nisi justitia et justificatione Evangelica. Quotquot enim er operibus legis, sub execratione sunt. Gal. 3: 10. Et manifestum est nullum per legem justificari apud Deum. ver. 11.”
† “ Notant theologi, remissionem peccatorum sed absolutionem a maledictione, et imputationem justitiae Christi non esse duas justificationis partes integrantes, vel actus numero et realiter distinctos; sed unum esse duntaxat actum duos respicientem terminos, a quo et ad quem : veluti uno eodemque actu tenebrae ex aëre pelluntur, et lumen in aërem introducitur, sic uno eodemque justificationis actu peccator a reatu absolvitur et justos pronunciatur. Unde colligimus eos totam justificationis daturain exprimere, qui aiunt eam in remissione peccatorum consistere, et qui dicunt eam in imputatione justitiae consistere: quia duin remittit nobis Deus peccata, nos justos pronunciat per inputationem justitiae Christi: et dum justos nos pronunciat per inputationern justitiae Christi, peccata nobis remittit.” Christ. Theolog. Lib. I. Cap. XXV. p. 587.
XIV. Our next witness shall be Dr. Tilenus of Sedan. In his Syntagma, (the date of the preface to which is A. D. 1606) p. 714, he thus speaks: “To justify, in the Scripture, most frequently signifies, to absolve, to pronounce righteous and innocent, 2 Kings 15: 4. Deut. 25: 1. Is. 43: 9, which also the antithesis shows in certain places, where to justify;' and * to condemn,' are opposed, Prov. 17: 15. Is. 5: 23, and 50: 8. Rom. 8: 33." I
On pp. 724, 725, he speaks as follows: “The forgiveness of sins, and the imputation of righteousness are not diverse parts differing in reality, but only in word: for either of the two taken separately expresses the whole nature of justification, as appears
from Rom. 4: 6, 7, where the apostle, avowedly treating upon
this matter, uses the phrases to forgive sins and to impute righteousness as equivalent, although this is stoutly denied by Bellarmine. The distinction between these two forms of
. “ Justificari autem nos coram Deo, hoc est, a maledictione legis absolvi, non per inhaerentem nobis justitiam sed per imputatam nobis Christi justitiam, probamus: (1) Materia nostrae justificationis coram Deo alia nulla est, nisi Christi justitia, seu obedientia legi pro nobis praestita. Ergo non justificamur, hoc est a maledictione non absolvimur, nisi per et propter Christi justitiam nobis imputatam.” Ibid.
† “ Justificatio impii est per imputatam justitiam. Atqui justificatio Christiani est justificatio impii. Ergo justificatio Christiani sit per imputatam justitiam. Proposilio prob. Quia justificatio impii est absolutio ejus a poena.” Ibid.
| Justificare in Scriptura frequentissime significat, absolvere ; justum et insontein pronunciare. 2 Reg. 15: 4. Deut. 25: 1. Is. 43: 9. Quod et ostendit antithesis in quibusdam locis, ubi to justificare et to condemnare opponuntur. Prov. 17: 15. Is. 5: 23 et 50: 8. Rom. 8: 33.” Syntag. Par. II. loc. XLI. Thes. 2.
speaking, (not two integral parts of justification) respects the two “terminos a quo, and ad quem. For, as by one and the same act, darkness is expelled and light introduced, so a sinner, by one and the same act of justification, is absolved from guilt and pronounced righteous. Bellarmine trifles when he pretends that, with our theologians, there are conflicting sentiments, inasmuch as one places justification in the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, while another places it in forgiveness
This is as if he should contend that a man is clothed in one way when his nakedness is covered, and in another way when his garments are put upon him. As ridiculously as does this adversary imagine that darkness can be banished, and cold driven away, so that neither light nor heat need follow in the subject body, so sophistically does he allege that forgiveness of sins effects only this, that we thereby escape the punishment of hell, but do not at the same time obtain the rewards of eternal life. Just as though sin and righteousness were really not so contrary to each other, as that the one being absent the other must be necessarily present : or as if hell was to be considered only as the suffering of the greatest evil, and not the loss of the greatest good. Wherefore, if the forgiveness of sins takes away each part of this punishment, truly it leaves nothing more to be desired. But neither in the thought, nor even by dreaming, can there be imagined a being who is both righteous and unrighteous,-no angel or man, who, although he be not unrighteous, cannot on that account properly be called righteous. Just as if any one should dream of an animal that is not indeed dead, and yet not living! For death and life, perdition and salvation, are not more directly opposed to each other in the mysteries of grace than in nature itself. And hence the authors and abertors of this opinion have invented a new Tragelaphus, not unlike the chimera of transubstantiation : imagining accidents to exist, the subject of which cannot be conceived of, much less ascertained."*
*“Remissio peccatorum, et imputatio justitiae, non sunt partes diversae, aut distinctae top Elvat, sed duntaxat to hoyo : nam utravis seorsim sumpta, totam justificationis naturam exprimit, ut patet, Rom. 4:6, 7, ubi Apostolus hoc argumentum ex professo tractans remittere peccata, et imputare justitiam, tanquam looduvauovuta usurpat, quamvis hoc proterve neget Bellarminus. Distinctio inter has duas loquendi formulas, non duas justificationis partes integrantes sed duos respicit terminos a quo, et ad quem. Nam ut uno eodemque actu, et tenebrae ex aëre pelluntur, et lumen in aërem introducitur: Sic
XV. We had intended to have quoted some other authorities, Piscator, for instance, (see Opp. Tom. I. p. 250,) but think it needless. We shall therefore close these citations with the testimony of the Synod of Dort. Not having the original Latin by us, we shall subjoin the English version.*
We believe that our salvation consists, in the remission of our sins for Jesus Christ's sake, and that therein our righteousness before God is implied, as David and Paul teach us, declaring this to be the happiness of man, that God imputes righteousness to him without works. And the same apostle saith, that we are justified freely, by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. And therefore we always hold fast this foundation, ascribing all the glory to God, humbling ourselves before him, and acknowledging ourselves to be such as we really are, without presuming to trust in any thing homo impius uno eodemque justificationis actu, et a reatu absolvitur, et justus pronunciatur. Nugas agit Bellarminus, cum pugnantes theologis nostris sententias adfingit, eo quod alius justificationem in imputatione justitiae Christi, alius in remissione peccatorum, sitam esse velit : Perinde ae si contenderet, aliter hominem vestiri, cum tegitur ejus nuditas: aliter, cum applicatur ei vestis. Quam inepte adversarius ille fingit, tenebras quodammodo fugari, frigus depelli posse, ita ut nulla lux, calor nullus in subjecto corpore consequatur: tam sopbistice statuit, remissionem peccatorum hoc tantum efficere, ut gehennae poenas evadamus, non item ut coelestis vitae praemia consequamur. Quasi vero peccatum et justitia non sint contraria Quera, quorum uno sublato, necessario ponitur alterum: aut quasi gehenna tantum consideranda sit in perpessione summi mali, non etiam in amissione summi boni. Quocirca, si remissio peccatorum utramque hanc poenae partem tollit, certe nihil amplius desiderari potest. Nec vero vel cogitatione, imo ne per somnium quidem fingi potest subjectum, justitiae et injustitiae dextixov, puta, angelus, aut homo, qui non quidem sit injustus: at non propterea recte possit vocari justus : perinde ac si quis animal somniet non quidem mortuum, minime tamen vivens. Neque enim mors et vita, exitium et salus, minus immediate opponuntur in mysteriis gratiae, quam in negotio naturae. Ac proinde bujus commenti autores et assertores novum hic pingunt Tragelaphum, transubstantiationis chimerae non absimilem: accidentia comminiscentes, quorum nullum potest cogitari, nedum reperiri subjectum.” Ibid. Loc. XLII. Thes. 9, 10, 11, 12 et 13. p. 724, 725.
See “The Confession of Faith of the Reformed Dutch Church, revised in the national Synod, held at Dordrecht in the years 1618, and 1619," Article XXIII.