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because he dreaded offence abroad, and schism at home; he would not comply with them, both because he had not the same antipathy' to the old religion, and because he wished to conciliate its adherents.
The policy of Cranmer (fair as it may be right to deem it) was liable to have defeated itself, through its very want of decision, had not Ridley been at hand to execute what the other aimed at, and to draw a definite line, where his principal would have been apt to shift his ground. Whatever, therefore, in our formularies, bears the characters of method, exactness, precision, terseness, elegance, philosophy, or Catholicity, I am inclined to ascribe to the admirable Ridley. Whatever, in our Articles especially, or in the first Book of Homilies, would not be laid hold of by dogmatists as countenancing their views, I think likely to have been the work of Cranmer, or done under his direction. Ridley was conciliatory as really as Cranmer, but within stricter limits, as his resistance to Hooper about the episcopal vestments made pretty evident. He was, no doubt, the very man to arrange all that regarded public worship; but, in the articles, his correctness might not have answered so well as the comparative vagueness of Cranmer.
“ Sudden changes,” said Ridley, “ without necessary cause, and the heady setting forth of extremities, I did never love.” What a sentiment is here! and how wonderfully does this incomparable principle appear to have been acted on in all that we can suppose himn concerned in! No
doubt he advised in the Articles, and there is no room to suppose that the two reformers did not exactly think alike on all points of doctrine and practice. But, if either or both had been merely declaring their own sentiments, it might, most probably, have been done in other language than occurs in the doctrinal articles. As it is, does any thing in them really contradict what I have now been remarking? I will leave others to settle this question in its general bearing, and confine myself to the one point-justification by faith. Here, if I am right in supposing a conciliatory policy at work, the point has been gained; for the Church has been deemed to speak on this subject exactly with Luther and Calvin. I humbly conceive she does not. They, if I mistake them not, make faith merely the instrumental medium, whereby the righteousness of Christ is so apprehended, as to give peace to the conscience. “ The gift of righteousness,” (i.e. imputed righteousness), says a Mr. Cooper, praised in the “ Christian Observer," " is offered to all. Faith is the hand which receives, applies, and appropriates the gift.” What says the article ? “We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings.” Now, I grant this may, for want of attention, sound well in dogmatical ears. question arises : what place does faith hold in our being accounted righteous before God? It holds some place, or it would not be here, yet not the place assigned by Mr. Cooper; for, what has a hand receiving a gift, to do with our being accounted
righteous? In this latter connexion, faith must hold the place of a qualification, and such a qualification as forms the hinge of the business; that is, he that has it, is accounted righteous; he that wants it, is not. What, then, is this faith ? Read the next, the twelfth Article, and see. It is “a lively faith, bearing good works, as a tree bears fruit.” That is, it is a faith, which is in our hearts a root of inherent righteousness; which is strictly St. Augustin's justification. To add to this, then, or to say along with this, that the faith, which makes us thus righteous in ourselves, makes us also be accounted righteous before God, is not an atom more than St. Augustin would have said, but is not what was said by Calvin or Luther. I have
LETTER TO DR. WOODWARD ON THE CENTRAL
CHARACTER OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND,
MY DEAR DOCTOR,
Bellevue, January 6th, 1812.
You might almost conclude that I meant, by my silence, to reprove you for making me pay double postage. But that is far from being the case. There are few expenditures which I make with more pleasure than those for letters from persons I regard. And I never think of little matters. Write to me, therefore, when you can. nothing, I pray you, whether it be double or single.
I was occupied in rather a long letter to an English barrister, who is also a dissenter, and yet likes to hear all I have to say. These are calls to which I like to yield. Who knows what may be done, by even scattering here and there the seeds of truth? My opportunities must be such, or none; for, were I to write to the public, my reward would be, “ Deferor in vicum vendentem thus et odores.” As Prior says,
“ Could I my remarks sustain,
The avocation just mentioned, with others, occurring at this time (Christmas holidays), in this place (Bellevue), have alone prevented my thanking you for so kindly remembering your promise. I know you are capable of observing. And be the things observed pleasant or unpleasant, I am glad to receive an authentic report. In truth, it is the height of folly not to look things in the face. There is not one of us whom correct apprehension of things as they are, may not serve, if it were only (only, do I say ?) in the warning thus given to ourselves, individually, to have both our minds and hearts in readiness for whatever may happen ;--- our minds, by being established in solid truth,- our hearts, by being possessed of that vital piety, which, like the ark, no deluge can submerge. If there ever were times, since the influx of the barbarians in the fifth century, which called for these resources, the present times are such. I am ready to think, almost, that we are witnessing the commencement of that general concussion predicted in Haggai, ii. 6, and quoted by St. Paul (Heb. xii. 26). And, if so, what can be our consolation for the destiny allotted to us, but that mentioned in the 28th verse of the same chapter,-an interest in the kingdom, “which cannot be shaken." This will more than indemnify us; it will make us feel exactly what our Lord has warranted in his true followers looking forward, probably, to these very times : for to the season now commencing, I am strongly persuaded he alludes in St. Luke, xxi. 28. Observe, I pray you, the foregoing verses; and mark the contrast between the horrific images in the 25th and 26th