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salvation was given to outward works and money gifts, which might proceed from evil men, while, in theory, it was ascribed to love and the works of the Spirit. He thought to preclude this abuse and establish Scripture at the same time by declaring faith alone the means of salvation, and good works the necessary offspring of faith in the heart. And how could such a doctrine encourage Antinomianism, for is it not plain, that if good works flow necessarily from saving faith, where the works are not good, the mind whence they spring cannot have saving faith? 40 This Luther expressly states. "Whoso obeyeth the flesh," says he, "and continueth without any fear of God or remorse of conscience in accomplishing the desires and lusts thereof, let him know that he pertaineth not unto Christ."41 The whole strain of his commentary on chapters v. and vi. of Galatians is an utter shattering of Antinomianism, which indeed is precluded by the doctrine of the commentary from beginning to end. In one respect a Solifidian like Luther is a more effectual opponent to Antinomians than a teacher of justification by faith and works, because he more completely wrests out of their hands those sayings of St. Paul which seem to deny that works of any sort do in any sense justify.—But it is an insult to the apostolic man's memory to defend him from the charge of Antinomianism. He knocked down with his little finger more Antinomianism than his accusers with both hands. If his doctrine is the jaw bone of an ass, he must have been a very Samson, for he turned numbers with this instrument from the
40 Burnet urges this plea for solifidians, though not one himself.
41 Commentary on Galatians, chap. v. verse 18.
evil of their lives; and the same instrument in the hands of mere pygmies in comparison with him has wrought more amendment of life among the Poor than the most eloquent and erudite preachers of works and rites have to boast, by their preaching. For this doctrine presents hope and fear more sharply to the mind than any other; it supplies the steam of encouragement and propels from behind while it draws on from before.
The following charges are brought against Luther. It has been said that he denied the power of Christians to fulfil the law or produce really good works; that he denied the use of conscience in keeping Christians from sin and wickedness; and that he separated justifying faith from love.
That he denied the good works of Christians is just as true as that he denied the sun in heaven. He beautifully compares them to stars in the night, the night and darkness of surrounding unjustification; and beautifully too does he say, that even as the stars do not make heaven, but only trim and adorn it, so the charity of works does not constitute blessedness but makes it shine to the eyes of men, that they may glorify the Father of Lights.42 That Luther denied the work of the Spirit to be really good is one of the many charges against him which sound loud and go off in smoke. He considered them relatively good, just as any man else does,-saw a wide world of difference betwixt the deeds of the justified and of the unjustified. If he thought that, as sin remains in the best men, so likewise something of human infirmity clings about the best deeds, who shall convict him of error? That he denied any portion or quality of real goodness to be in the soul in
42 Table Talk, chap. 14, p. 232.
which Christ lives, I cannot find and do not believe. But when Luther said that because our righteousness is imperfect, therefore it cannot be the ground of acceptance with God, he drew, in my opinion a wrong inference from his premiss. Our faith is as imperfect as our works; but if it unites us with Christ, it is, (not of course the deepest ground, Christ alone is that,) but the intermediate ground or condition of our acceptance. The question is, shall we call faith alone, or faith, love, obedience, all Gospel graces, the "connecting bond" between us and Christ? If faith alone, then faith alone is our intermediate ground of acceptance; and repentance, love and obedience are not excluded because they are imperfect, but because of their posteriority to faith.
That Luther denied the power of Christians to fulfil the law is the self-same charge in another shape and false in that shape as in the other. He reiterates that the faithful do fulfil the law and that they alone fulfil it ; that by faith they receive the Holy Ghost and then accomplish the law.43 "I come with the Lord Himself," says Luther; "on Him I lay hold, Him I stick to, and leave works unto thee: which notwithstanding thou never didst." He shews that against the righteous there is no law, because he is a law to himself. "For the righteous," says he, "liveth in such wise that he hath no need of any law to admonish or constrain him, but without constraint of the law, he willingly doeth those things which the law requireth." **
43 Comm. Gal. v. 23.
44 Mr. Ward thinks the Commentary on the Galatians such a" silly" work! Shakespeare has been called silly by Puritans, Milton worse than silly by Prelatists and Papists, Wordsworth
What more would we have a teacher of the Gospel say? Ought a Christian to perform the law unwillingly by a force from without? Luther teaches that in the justified there is an inward law superseding the outward: that the outward law remains, but only for the sinner: that it either drives him to Christ or bridles him in his carnality. This is the idea expressed in that passage at the end of the introduction to his commentary, which sets forth the argument of the Epistle. "When I have this righteousness reigning in my heart, I descend from heaven, as the rain maketh fruitful the earth: that is to say, I come forth into another kingdom, and I do good works how and whensoever occasion is offered." What is there in this that is worthy of condemnation or of sarcasm? Is it not true Pauline philosophy to say, that the realm of outward works is another kingdom from the realm of grace?-that the true believer is freed from the compulsion of the law?-to call the sum of outward things and all deeds, considered as outward, the Flesh? To me this animated passage seems the very teaching of the Apostle to the Gentiles uttered with a voice of joy. It is the unconfusing intoxication of Gospel triumph and gladness. Some say
was long called silly by Buonaparteans; what will not the odium theologicum or politicum find worthless and silly? To me, perhaps from my silliness, his Commentary appears the very Iliad of Solifidianism; all the fine and striking things that have been said upon the subject are taken from it; and if the author preached a novel doctrine, or presented a novel development of Scripture in this work, as Mr. Newman avers, I think he deserves great credit for his originality. The Commentary contains, or rather is, a most spirited Siege of Babylon, and the friends of Rome like it as well as the French like Wellington and the battle of Waterloo.
mocking, The man is full of new wine; but Luther was not really drunk when he spoke thus; he spoke it in the noon day of his vigorous life, with all his wits, and they were sound ones, about him.45
It is affirmed that Luther denied the use of conscience in religion, and this is the grand engine which Mr. Ward brings to bear upon him in his Ideal; you would think from the account of the Gospel hero's doctrine therein contained that he was a very advocate for unconscientiousness, and would have men go on sinning that grace may abound; would have them "wallow and steep in all the carnalities of the world, under pretence of Christian liberty," and continue without any fear of God or remorse of conscience in accomplishing the desires of the flesh; or at least that his teaching involved this: I wonder how men can have the conscience to write thus of Luther on the strength of a few misconstrued passages, while the broad front of his massive fortress of Gospel doctrine, a stronghold against Antinomianism, must present itself to their eyes unless they are stone blind.46 Luther
45 Mr. Newman points out that fine passage on faith in Gal. ii. 16, and 334 Puulus his verbis, &c. and he quotes that admirable exposition of his on "incarnate faith or believing deeds," in Gal. vii. 10, in which he brings in the analogy of the Incarnation.
46 I have read Mr. Ward's Ideal with so much interest, and, I humbly hope, benefit, that I am far more grieved by the chapter on Justification than if the writer were a narrow, s stupid, uncharitable man. I have heard persons say it was the clever part of the book; the whole of the book is clever, but this part has no other merit than cleverness, and that is a sorry commendation of a discourse upon morals and religion: as the author himself would readily admit in general. It is the force with which he has made this and other cognate truths apparent, the way in which he has vitalized and, to use Luther's phrase," en