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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jeremy Taylor on Justification and Works

So that as it is to no purpose for Christians to dispute whether we are justified by faith or the works of the law, that is, the covenant of works without the help of faith, and the auxiliaries and allowances of mercy on God’s part, and repentance on ours; because no Christian can pretend to this: so it is perfectly foolish to dispute whether Christians are to be justified by faith, or the works of the gospel; for I shall make it appear that they are both the same thing. No man disparages faith but he that says, faith does not work righteousness; for he that says so, says indeed it cannot justify; for he says that faith alone: it is faith only, and the words of my text are plain; ‘you see,’ saith St. James, that is, it is evident to your sense, it is as clear as an ocular demonstration, ‘that a man is justified by works and not by faith only.’ viii., 288.

He goes on to say in conclusion:

I will sum it all up in this proposition, that in the question of justification and salvation, faith and good works are no parts of a distinction, but members of one entire body. Faith and good works together work the righteousness of God: that is, that I may speak plainly, justifying faith contains in it obedience; and if this be made good, then the two apostles are reconciled to each other, and both of them to the necessity, the indispensable necessity of a good life. viii., 295

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
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