Lecture 6. The Gift of Righteousness

{130} JUSTIFICATION, being an act of Divine Mercy exerted towards the soul, does not leave it as it found it,—cannot but make it what it was not before, as has been shown at length. It stands to reason that a soul that is justified is not in the same state internally as if it had not been justified,—is not in the state of others which are not justified. No one would assert that one who is justified is in all respects the same in his inner self as another who is not; even a professed Antinomian will generally allow that he has certain spiritual feelings, as he falsely calls them, or experiences, or an assurance, or the consciousness of renouncing merit, to distinguish him from those who remain in a state of wrath.

We know well what that state of wrath consists in, or what is the formal character and condition of those who are in it; disobedience, an evil heart of unbelief, hatred of the truth, guilt, fear of judgment to come, hardness of heart; such as these are the constituting parts of that state, and go to make up or define it. Now, on the other hand, what is the state of a justified man? or in what does his justification consist? This is the question which is now more exactly to be treated, as was proposed in a former place; and it is one of no small importance. {131}


As far as the name is concerned, there is a general agreement among all parties; it is called "righteousness." But this is not the question; nor, again, what the meaning of the name is, which all allow to be equivalent to acceptableness, or acceptable obedience, though one school of opinion puts a second sense upon that word, and understands it also to mean an obedience which is short of acceptable, or a righteousness of sanctification. Nor is it now the question what is meant by justification, which some take for accounting, others for being made, righteous. But the question is, what is that which is named righteousness? what is that object or thing, what is it in a man, which God seeing there, therefore calls him righteous? what is the state in which a justified person is, or that which constitutes him righteous in God's sight? just as one might ask what is really meant when it is said that a man is alive, what is the thing denoted by Scripture in saying that God "breathed into Adam the breath of life"?—the sense of the word breath being indisputable.

Now Luther, as we have seen, considers it to be Christ's obedience imputed; the Roman Schools consider it to be the new and spiritual principle imparted to us by the Holy Ghost. But before entering upon the subject, I wish to insist that there really must be, as I have said, in every one who is justified, some such token or substance of his justification; I insist upon it, because many persons will try to slip away from so plain a truth. They so greatly dread our priding ourselves on anything that is good in us, that one cannot assert that there are {132} distinctions between the justified state and the state of nature, without being at once accused of treating these as meritorious causes; therefore, I will insist on the point at the hazard of being tedious.

It is certain, then, that all men are not justified; some are, some are not; what is it they differ in? To justify is to account or declare righteous; this is God's act; this is a movement of the Divine Mind, and altogether external to the subject of that justification. If the only real difference between a justified man and a man unjustified, be Almighty God's thoughts concerning him, then those who are justified are justified from eternity, for God sees the end from the beginning. They are in a justified state even from the hour of their birth; before their conversion, while they are wallowing in all sin and unholiness, they are justified, if justification be an act of the Divine Mind and nothing more,—a conclusion which has before now been maintained. Yet, unless we go these lengths, we must allow that there is a certain distinctive state of soul to which the designation of righteousness belongs. What, then, is the criterion within us, which God sees there (of His giving surely, but still given) the seal and signature of His elect, which He accepts now, which He will acknowledge at the last day?

In asking, then, what is our righteousness, I do not mean what is its original source, for this is God's mercy; nor what is its meritorious cause, for this is the life, and above all the death of Christ; nor what is the instrument of it, for this (I would maintain) is Holy Baptism; nor what is the entrance into it, for this is regeneration; nor what the first privilege of it, for this is pardon; nor what {133} is the ultimate fruit, for this is everlasting life. I am not inquiring about anything past, or anything future, or anything on God's part, but of something present and inward. We should not say that animal life consisted in being born, or in having parents, or in breathing, or in sensation, or in strength, or in a certain period of years, or in God's will, or in God's attributes, or in God's knowledge of us. We should feel that nothing past, or to come, or external, could be a fit account of that which we call animal life, and that all answers so framed were beside the mark. It would be intelligible, for instance, to say that life consisted in the presence of the soul; but whether we said this or anything else, in any case we should fix on something in us, not out of us. And in like manner, when I ask what is that called righteousness, which God first clothes us with as with a robe, then looks upon and accepts, I do not ask why God so looks upon it, but what it is He looks upon.


1. This being the case, we may pronounce that Luther's answer to the question—viz., that Christ's obedience imputed to us is our righteousness—is in itself no answer at all, and needs explanation before it will apply. Properly speaking, I suppose it means, not that Christ's obedience imputed, but that the imputation of His obedience, is our righteousness. Christ's obedience in the days of His flesh, centuries since, must be brought near to the soul of the individual; therefore that present applying or imputing of His obedience must be meant, when it is called our righteousness, not what is {134} past. But that applying or imputing is the act of God; and the question now before us is, not what is God's act in justifying, but what is the state of the justified soul. It is perfectly intelligible to say that Christ's obedience is the procuring, or the meritorious cause of our righteousness; but to say that our present state of being accounted righteous is nothing else than the fact of Christ's having obeyed the Law eighteen hundred years since, if literally taken, is like saying that our animal life consists in the creation of Adam, or that the pangs of guilt consist in the fall of Satan, which are words without meaning.

For the same reason, it is no answer to the present question to say that a state of justification consists in the forgiveness of sins, or in acceptance, or in adoption, all these being God's acts, and as little in point here, as if I said that obedience was divine aid.

Again: if it be laid down that our justification consists in union with Christ, or reconciliation with God, this is an intelligible and fair answer; and then the question will arise, what is meant by union with Christ? It may or may not be possible to explain it; if we consider Scripture to be silent on this point, then we shall say that justification consists in an unknown, unrevealed, mysterious union with Christ; if we do not allow that there is a mystery, then we shall be bound to say what that union does consist in.

For the same reason, to say with Roman divines, that justification consists in spiritual renovation, whether correct or incorrect, is perfectly intelligible. It is a real answer. {135}

And Protestants, who say that it lies in Christ's obedience, seem to have felt this; for when pressed, they have sometimes said that faith is the discriminating mark of justification, or that in which it consists. But for the most part, only when they were pressed; for though such an answer, whether correct or not, is clear and apposite, yet they seem to have feared that it was all one with saying that faith had merit, or an intrinsic expiatory power in the remission of sins. At the same time, this has not hindered some of them from so resolving the question [Note 1]; and as it is the only serviceable answer which {136} I can find on the Lutheran side of the question, I shall make use of it.

These then are the two views which at first sight come into consideration, whether our state of justification, or righteousness in God's sight, consists in faith or in renovation.


Now, however intelligible each of these answers may be, neither will be found sufficient and final. I mean, neither seems to pursue, and, I conceive, neither does pursue, the inquiry so far as it might; neither traces up the criterion of a justified state to its simplest and most elementary form. When Faith is said to be the inward principle of acceptance, the question rises, what gives to faith its acceptableness? Why is faith more acceptable than unbelief? cannot we give any reason at all for it? or can we conceive unbelief being appointed as the token, instrument, state, or condition (it matters not here which word we use) of justification? Surely not; faith is acceptable as having a something in it, which unbelief has not; that something, what is it? It must be God's grace, if God's grace act in the soul, and not merely externally, as in the way of Providence. If it acts in us, and has a presence in us, when we have faith, then the having that grace or that presence, and not faith, which is its result, must be the real token, the real state of a justified man.

Again: if we say that justification consists in a supernatural quality imparted to the soul by God's grace, as Roman writers say, then in like manner, the question {137} arises, is this quality all that is in us of heaven? does not the grace itself, as an immediate divine power or presence, dwell in the hearts which are gifted with this renovating principle? It may or it may not; but if it does, then surely the possession of that grace is really our justification, and not renewal, or the principle of renewal.

And thus, by tracing farther back the lines of thought on which these apparently discordant views are placed, they are made to converge; they converge, that is, supposing there to be vouchsafed to us, an inward divine presence or grace, of which both faith and spiritual renovation are fruits. If such a presence be not vouchsafed, then certainly faith on the one hand, renovation on the other, are the ultimate elements to which our state of righteousness can be respectively referred in the two theologies. But if it be vouchsafed, neither Protestant nor Romanist ought to refuse to admit, and in admitting to agree with each other, that the presence of the Holy Ghost shed abroad in our hearts, the Author both of faith and of renewal, this is really that which makes us righteous, and that our righteousness is the possession of that presence.

2. So much is gained from the views of the contending parties; next, I observe, in corroboration of the conjectural inference to which they have led us, that justification actually is ascribed in Scripture to the presence of the Holy Spirit, and that immediately, neither faith nor renewal intervening. For instance, St. Peter speaks of our being "elect through sanctification," or consecration "of the Spirit, unto," that is, {138} in order to, "obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ," that is, the Holy Ghost is given us unto, or in order to, renovation and justification. Again: we are said by St. Paul to be "washed, sanctified, and justified, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." The same Apostle says, "Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Again: "The law of the Spirit of life hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Again: Christ says, "It is the Spirit that giveth life," [1 Pet. i. 2. 1 Cor. vi. 11. Rom. viii. 2, 15. John vi. 63. Gal. v. 5. Tit. iii. 5-7.] life being the peculiar attribute or state of "the just," as St. Paul, and the prophet Habakkuk before him, declare. These passages taken together, to which others might be added from a former Lecture, show that justification is wrought by the power of the Spirit, or rather by His presence within us. And this being the real state of a justified man, faith and renewal are both present also, but as fruits of it;—faith, because it is said, "We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith;" and renewal, because in another passage, "renewing of the Holy Ghost" is made equivalent to "being justified by His grace."

Such is the doctrine of Scripture, which our Church plainly acknowledges, as is evident from the following passages in her formularies. In the 13th Article, for instance, which I have already cited, what in the title are called "works before justification," are in the body of the article called "works done before the grace of {139} Christ, and the inspiration of his Spirit;" that is, justification may fitly be called an "inspiration of the Spirit of Christ," or a spiritual presence. Again in the Baptismal Service, in which we pray God that the child to be baptized may "receive remission of his sins," which surely implies justification, "by spiritual regeneration," which is as surely the gift of the Spirit. The Homilies are in accordance; in which we are told, by way of comment upon St. Paul's words, "Who rose again for our justification," that Christ "rose again to send down His Holy Spirit to rule in our hearts, to endow us with perfect righteousness;" and that in this way David's words in the 85th Psalm are fulfilled, "Truth hath sprung out of the earth, and righteousness hath looked down from heaven," in that "from the earth is the Everlasting Verity, God's Son, risen to life, and the true righteousness of the Holy Ghost, looking out of heaven, and in most liberal largess dealt upon all the world?" Justifying righteousness, then, consists in the coming and presence of the Holy Ghost within us.


3. But further, Scripture expressly declares that righteousness is a definite inward gift, while at the same time it teaches that it is not any mere quality of mind, whether faith or holiness; as I shall now proceed to show.

By a gift I mean a thing given. Now, there are four words [Note 2] used in Scripture to describe the special abiding gift of the Gospel, which either is, or at least {140} includes justification, nay, which is expressly said to be justification, and they all signify a thing given, not a mere giving;—not a favour (as if we should say, "it is a great mercy we are saved," that is, an act, display, proof of mercy), but, as indeed the word gift means in English, a possession; as when you say a man has the gift of languages, it is a faculty in him; whereas you would not say that popularity was a gift, which is something external, but rather the talent of becoming popular, or influence, is the gift; nor would you say acceptance was a gift, but acceptableness.

For instance, in Rom. v. 17 we read, "They that receive the abundance of grace, and of the gift [Note 3] of righteousness, shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ." The word gift here used certainly must mean a thing given; implying that the righteousness of justification, whatever it turn out to be, is a real and definite something in a person, implanted in him, like a talent or power, and not merely an act of the Divine Mind externally to him, as the forgiveness of sins may be.

But the preceding verses contain a still more convincing statement, on which indeed one might not be unwilling to rest the whole question. St. Paul says, "Not as the offence, so also is the gift [Note 4] … the gift is of many offences unto justification." Here, observe, he distinctly declares that justification is the result of a gift. Now the word used for "gift" in the original, is the very word used elsewhere for extraordinary gifts, such as of healing, of tongues, and of miracles; that is, a definite power or virtue committed to us. Nowhere {141} else does the word occur in Scripture without this meaning; indeed, it necessarily has it from its grammatical form. For instance, St. Paul says, he "longs to see" the Romans, "that he may impart unto them some spiritual gift;" again, that "the gift of God is eternal life." He enumerates as gifts, prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, ruling, and showing mercy. Speaking of continence, he says, "Every man has his proper gift from God." He says, there are "diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit." He exhorts Timothy "not to neglect the gift that was in him," but to stir up, to re-kindle, "the gift of God which was in him." St. Peter too speaks of our "ministering" our "gifts as good stewards." [Rom. i. 11; vi. 23; xii. 6-18. 1 Cor. vii. 7; xii. 4. 1 Tim. iv. 14. 2 Tim. i. 6. 1 Pet. iv. 10.]

If, then, by a gift is meant a certain faculty or talent, moral, intellectual, or other, justification is some such faculty. It is not a mere change of purpose or disposition in God towards us, or a liberty, privilege, or (as it may be called) citizenship, accorded to us, but a something lodged within us.

To the same effect is St. Paul's intimation, that righteousness is ministered or dispensed by the Spirit [Note 5]; for surely the idea of dispensing, as well as the general office of the gracious Dispenser, lead us to conclude that the righteousness dispensed is a thing, and not a name.


To these passages we shall be right in adding a number of others which speak of the Gospel Gift, though {142} not calling it justification. For they speak as if there was one great benefit given to us under the Gospel; and so great and essential is justification, that it must be either this or must be included in it.

For instance, our Lord says to the Samaritan woman, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water." The water was a real thing to be given and received.

Again: St Peter says to the multitude, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost;" [John iv. 10. Acts ii. 38.] can we doubt that this is identical with the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness of which St. Paul speaks?

Again: the latter Apostle alludes elsewhere to "those who were once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift." [Heb. vi. 4.] Will it be said this means sanctification? then is sanctification represented as greater than justification; else why is not justification mentioned in a passage which is expressly speaking of a case in which a second justification is pronounced to be impossible? The contrast surely requires that justification should be mentioned; yet unless included in "the heavenly gift," it is passed over. We may add such passages as the following: "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." And "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." With such compare the words in the Prophet: "Then will {143} I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you." [John iv. 14; vii. 38. Ezek. xxxvi. 25.] This means justifying purification, for renewal is not mentioned till the next verse:—"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." By water, I say, is typified justification, which accordingly is a something applied and communicated, not a change in the Divine Mind merely.

The same doctrine is implied in the Sacrament of Baptism, which certainly typifies the justifying gift. But if so, that gift is not an act merely on God's part, but a something, proximate and one, received and embraced by us.

Once more: whatever be the more precise meaning of the words, does not "the Bread of Life" which is to be "eaten," imply an inward gift, not merely an imputation? Yet who can deny that that gift carries with it the application of Christ's merits to the soul, that is, justification?

Moreover, these passages show that this gift, whatever it is, is not any moral excellence or grace, such as faith or a renewed state. For instance, to recur to the last instance, faith is but the recipient of the heavenly Bread, and therefore cannot be identical with it.

Thus an examination of the promises made to us in Scripture bears out the conclusion I had already drawn on other grounds, that the righteousness, by virtue of which we are called righteous, or are justified,—that in which justification results or consists, which conveys or applies the great gospel privileges,—that this justifying {144} power though within us, as it must be, if it is to separate us from the world, yet is not properly speaking of us, not any quality or act of our minds, not faith, not renovation, not obedience, not anything cognizable by man, but a certain divine gift in which all these qualifications are included.


4. Now to proceed a step further. I have said that, while justification is the application of Christ's merits to the individual, that application is the imparting of an inward gift; to this conclusion I have come chiefly by a consideration of the language of St. Paul. Now, turning to the gospel we shall find that such a gift is actually promised to us by our Lord; a gift which must of necessity be at once our justification and our sanctification, for it is nothing short of the indwelling in us of God the Father and the Word Incarnate through the Holy Ghost. If this be so, we have found what we sought: This is to be justified, to receive the Divine Presence within us, and be made a Temple of the Holy Ghost.

God is everywhere as absolutely and entirely as if He were nowhere else; and it seems to be essential to the existence of every creature, rational and irrational, good and evil, in heaven and hell, that in some sense or other He should be present with it and be its life. Thus we are told concerning mankind, that "in Him we live, and move, and have our being." And He who lives in all creatures on earth in order to their mortal life, lives in Christians in a more divine way in order to their life immortal; and as we do not know how {145} the creation exists and lives in Him as a Creator, and use words about it beyond our comprehension, so much more (were not comparison out of the question) are we ignorant of the mode or nature of that life of God in the soul, which is the wellspring of the Christian's sanctity, and the seed of everlasting happiness. If this notion of the literal indwelling of God within us, whether in the way of nature or of grace, be decried as a sort of mysticism, I ask in reply whether it is not a necessary truth that He is with and in us, if He is everywhere? And if He is everywhere and dwells in all, there is no antecedent objection against taking Scripture literally, no difficulty in supposing that the truth is as Scripture says,—that as He dwells in us in one mode in the way of nature, so He is in us in another in the way of grace [Note 6]; that His infinite and incomprehensible Essence, which once existed by and in itself alone, and then at the creation so far communicated itself to His works as to sustain what He had brought into existence, and that according to the different measures of life necessary for their respective perfection, may in the Christian Church manifest itself in act and virtue in the hearts of Christians, as far surpassing what it is in unregenerate man, as its presence in man excels its presence in a brute or a vegetable. And those who without any antecedent difficulty still refuse to accept the literal interpretation of Scripture, should be reminded, that, since the promise expressly runs that we shall be made one as the Father {146} and the Son are one, we are necessarily led either to think highly of the union of the Christian with God, or to disparage that of the Father and the Son; and that such schools of religion as maintain that the former is but figurative, will certainly be led at length to deny the real anion of our Lord with His Father, and from avoiding mysticism, will fall into what is called Unitarianism.

With these thoughts let us turn to the review of the texts in which this wonderful promise is made to us.

Our Saviour, then, thus speaks of our communion with the Father and Son;—"At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you." "He that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father; and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him … My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." Again, He prays to His Father that His disciples "all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us ... I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one." [John xiv. 20, 21, 23; xvii. 21-23.]

Accordingly, St. John says, in his General Epistle, that "if we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us … He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God and God in him ... He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him." "We are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ." "Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." [1 John iv. 12, 16; iii. 24; v. 20; i. 3.]

Further, this fellowship with the Son, and with the {147} Father in the Son, is made through the Spirit. "Hereby we know that we dwell in Him and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit." Hence St. Paul speaks of the "fellowship of the Holy Ghost;" and that "we are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in us;" and that "our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in us, which we have of God, and we are not our own." [1 John iii. 24; iv. 13. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. 1 Cor. iii. 16; vi. 19. John xiv. 16-18.] Agreeably to which are our Saviour's words, who, when He promised the indwelling of Father and Son in His followers, said also, "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter that He may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth … He dwelleth in you, and shall be in you." And then He adds: "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you."

Moreover, this indwelling had been promised as the distinguishing grace of the Gospel. St. Paul declares both the prophecy and its fulfilment, when he says: "Ye are the temple of the Living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." Again, in our Saviour's words, "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water; but this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified." [2 Cor. vi. 16. John vii. 38, 39.] Accordingly, in some of the texts just quoted, He who dwells in Christians is called "He that {148} is True," and the Comforter is "the Spirit of Truth," grace and truth being the characteristics of the New Covenant.

And further let it be remarked that the Divine Presence vouchsafed to us, besides being that of the Holy Trinity, is specially said to be the presence of Christ; which would seem to imply that the "Word made flesh" is in some mysterious manner bestowed upon us. Thus He says: "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." [Rev. iii. 20.] This allusion to a feast is conveyed in still more sacred and wonderful language in the following passage, to which I have already referred: "I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever, and the Bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." ... "He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me and I in him." Again: "We are members of His body, from His flesh and from His bones." [John vi. 51, 56. Eph. v. 30. [Note 7]]


Such, as far as the words of Scripture go, is the great gift of the Gospel which Christ has purchased for all believers;—not many words are necessary to connect it with justification. I observe then—

1. First, this indwelling accurately answers, as I have already said, to what the righteousness which justifies has already been shown to consist in; an inward {149} gift conveying the virtue of Christ's Atoning Blood. The coincidence of one and the other in such a definition proves their identity; if to justify be to impart a certain inward token of our personal redemption, and if the presence of God within us is such a token, our justification must consist in God's coming to us and dwelling in us. It were the same to maintain, though knowing that God lives in us in the way of nature, that our mortal life does not consist in that indwelling, as to allow that He dwells in us Christians in a supernatural and singular way, yet deny that our new life of privilege and blessing depends on that Mystical Presence,—to believe that we are temples of God, yet are not justified thereby. On the other hand, since this great gift is the possession of all Christians from the time they become Christians, justification, whatever be the measures of increase which it admits, as certainly presupposes the gift, as the gift involves justification. In a word, what is it to have His presence within us, but to be His consecrated Temple? what to be His Temple, but to be set apart from a state of nature, from sin and Satan, guilt and peril? what to be thus set apart, but to be declared and treated as righteous? and what is this but to be justified?

2. Next, it may be remarked that whatever blessings in detail we ascribe to justification, are ascribed in Scripture to this sacred indwelling. For instance, is justification remission of sins? the Gift of the Spirit conveys it, as is evident from the Scripture doctrine about Baptism: "One Baptism for the remission of sins." Is justification adoption into the family of God? in like {150} manner the Spirit is expressly called the Spirit of adoption, "the Spirit whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Is justification reconciliation with God? St. Paul says, "Jesus Christ is in you, unless ye be reprobates." Is justification life? the same Apostle says, "Christ liveth in me." Is justification given to faith? it is his prayer "that Christ may dwell in" Christian "hearts by faith." Does justification lead to holy obedience? Our Lord assures us that "he that abideth in Him and He in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." Is it through justification that we rejoice in hope of the glory of God? In like manner "Christ in us" is said to be "the hope of glory." Christ then is our righteousness by dwelling in us by the Spirit: He justifies us by entering into us, He continues to justify us by remaining in us. This is really and truly our justification, not faith, not holiness, not (much less) a mere imputation; but through God's mercy, the very Presence of Christ.

3. It appears, moreover, that this inward presence is sometimes described as God's presence or indwelling; sometimes that of Father and Son; sometimes of the Holy Ghost; sometimes of Christ the Incarnate Mediator; sometimes "of God through the Spirit;" sometimes of Christ, of His Body and Blood, of His Body in "flesh and bones," and this through the Spirit. Different degrees or characteristics of the gift are perhaps denoted by these various terms, though to discriminate them is far beyond our powers. What is common to all Christians, as distinguished from good men under other Dispensations, is that, however the latter were justified in God's inscrutable resources, Christians are justified by the {151} communication of an inward, most sacred, and most mysterious gift. From the very time of Baptism they are temples of the Holy Ghost. This, I say, is what is common to all; yet it is certain too, that over and above what all have, a still further communication of God's glory is promised to the obedient, and that so considerable as sometimes to be spoken of as the special communication, as if there were none previously. "He that loveth Me," says our Lord, "shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him;" and "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."


4. Further, we here see in what sense it is true that justification admits of increase, and in what not. The fact that we are the temple of God does not admit of more or less; such words have no meaning when applied to it. Righteousness then, considered as the state of being God's temple, cannot be increased; but, considered as the divine glory which that state implies, it can be increased, as the pillar of the cloud which guided the Israelites could become more or less bright. Justification being acceptableness with God, all beings who are justified differ from all who are not, in their very condition, in a certain property, which the one body has and the other has not. In this sense, indeed, it is as absurd to speak of our being more justified, as of life, or colour, or any other abstract idea increasing. But when we compare the various orders of just and acceptable beings with one another, we see that though they all {152} are in God's favour, some may be more "pleasant," "acceptable," "righteous," than others, and may have more of the light of God's countenance shed on them; as a glorified Saint is more acceptable than one still in the flesh. In this sense then justification does admit of increase and of degrees; and whether we say justification depends on faith or on obedience, in the same degree that faith or obedience grows, so does justification. And again (to allude to a point not yet touched on), if justification is conveyed peculiarly through the Sacraments, then as Holy Communion conveys a more awful presence of God than Holy Baptism, so must it be the instrument of a higher justification. On the other hand, those who are declining in their obedience, as they are quenching the light within them, so are they diminishing their justification [Note 8].

5. And this view of the subject enables us to understand how infants may be regenerate, though they give no indications of being so. For as God dwelt secretly in His material Temple, ever hallowing it, yet only in season giving sensible evidences of what was there, so may He be present with their souls, rescuing them from Satan, and imparting new powers, manifesting new objects, and suggesting new thoughts and desires, without their being conscious, or others witnesses, of His work.

6. Moreover, if justification be the inward application of the Atonement, we are furnished at once with a sufficient definition of a Sacrament for the use of our Church. The Roman Catholic considers that there are seven; we do not strictly determine the number. We {153} define the word generally to be an "outward sign of an inward grace," without saying to how many ordinances this applies. However, what we do determine is, that Christ has ordained two Special Sacraments, as generally necessary to salvation. This, then, is the characteristic mark of those two, separating them from all other whatever; and what is this but saying in other words that they are the only justifying rites, or instruments of communicating the Atonement, which is the one thing necessary to us? Ordination, for instance, gives power, yet without making the soul acceptable to God; Confirmation gives light and strength, yet is the mere completion of Baptism; and Absolution may be viewed as a negative ordinance removing the barrier which sin has raised between us and that grace, which by inheritance is ours. But the two Sacraments "of the gospel," as they may be emphatically styled, are the instruments of inward life, according to our Lord's declaration, that Baptism is a new birth, and that in the Eucharist we eat the living Bread [Note 9]. {154}


7. Lastly, We now may see what the connection really is between justification and renewal. They are both included in that one great gift of God, the indwelling of Christ in the Christian soul. That indwelling is ipso facto our justification and sanctification, as its necessary results. It is the Divine Presence that justifies us, not faith, as say the Protestant schools, not renewal, as say the Roman. The word of justification is the substantive living Word of God, entering the soul, illuminating and cleansing it, as fire brightens and purifies material substances. He who justifies also sanctifies, because it is He. The first blessing runs into the second as its necessary limit; and the second being rejected, carries away with it the first. And the one cannot be separated from the other except in idea, unless the sun's rays can be separated from the sun, or the power of purifying from fire or water. I shall resume the subject in the next Lecture.

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1. "The difference betwixt the justification and obedience required by the Old and New Covenant, doth not consist, as the Bishop" [Beveridge] "saith it is, in this, that, in the first, obedience in our own persons was required as absolutely necessary; in the second, obedience in our surety is accepted as completely sufficient; but in this, that whereas the Old Law required perfect obedience, in order to our justification, allowing no pardon for sins committed, but leaving all under the curse, who 'continue not in all things written in the Law to do them,' the New Covenant requires only faith in the blood of Christ, for the remission of our past sins." Again, "What interpretation of the Apostle's words can be more uncouth and unsound than this, 'Faith is imputed to us for righteousness,' that is, it is not faith, but Christ's active righteousness, which is imputed to us for righteousness?"—Whitby, Discourse on Imputed Righteousness. Melanchthon puts the objection made to his doctrine clearly and pointedly, but is very circuitous in his reply. "Sed dicat aliquis, Si per misericordiam salvandi sumus, quid interest inter nos quibus contingit salus et quibus non contingit? Num pariter sperabunt misericordiam boni et mali? Hoc argumento videntur moti Scholastici ad quśrendum meritum condigni. Necesse est enim discrimen esse inter salvandos et damnandos." … He answers, that in order for the conscience to be at rest, it must have a "certa spes;" and a "certa spes" can only come from God's mercy; and God's mercy is given to faith. "Fides justificat, quandocunque et quocunque tempore apprehendunt eam homines."—Apol. f. 77.
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2. [charisma, doron, dorea], and [dorema].
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3. [doreas].
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4. [charisma].
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5. 2 Cor. iii. 8, 9.
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6. The angelic appearances in the Old Testament, to which divine titles are given and divine honours paid, may be taken as an instance of such a presence of Almighty God in a created nature.
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7. Vid. also 2 Pet. i. 4.
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8. Vid. Jerom. in Jovinian. ii. 27-29.
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9. "As for the number of them [the Sacraments], if they should be considered according to the exact signification of a Sacrament—namely, for visible signs expressly commanded in the New Testament, whereunto is annexed the promise of free forgiveness of our sins, and of our holiness and joining to Christ—these are but two; namely, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord. For, although Absolution hath the promise of forgiveness of sin, yet by the express word of the New Testament it hath not this promise annexed and tied to the visible sign, which is imposition of hands. For this visible sign (I mean laying on of hands) is not expressly commanded in the New Testament to be used in Absolution, as the visible signs in Baptism and the Lord's Supper are,—and, therefore, Absolution is no such Sacrament as Baptism and the Communion are. And though the ordering of ministers hath this visible sign and promise, yet it lacks the promise of remission of sin, as all other sacraments besides the two above named do. Therefore, neither it, nor any other sacrament else, be such sacraments as Baptism and the Communion are."—Homily of Common Prayer and Sacraments.

[Catholics hold that there are two justifying Sacraments, in the sense in which the word "justification" is mainly used in this volume—that is, Sacraments which reconcile the sinner to God, or sacramenta mortuorum—viz. Baptism and Penance. The other five are sacramenta vivorum, that is, they presuppose the subject of them to be in a state of grace, or justified, and increase his justification. To regard the Holy Eucharist as justifying, in the same light as that in which Baptism justifies, is to confuse the first justification of the sinner with the farther justification of the already just.]
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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