Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification
John Henry Newman

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Revised January, 2002—NR.

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  1.  Faith considered as the Instrumental Cause of Justification      1.
  2. Love considered as the Formal Cause of Justification    30.
  3. Primary Sense of the Term "Justification"    62.
  4. Secondary Senses of the Term "Justification"    85.
  5. Misuse of the Term "Just" or "Righteous"  104.
  6. The Gift of Righteousness  130.
  7. The Characteristics of the Gift of Righteousness  155.
  8. Righteousness viewed as a Gift and as a Quality  179.
  9. Righteousness the Fruit of our Lord's Resurrection  202.
10. The Office of Justifying Faith  223.
11. The Nature of Justifying Faith  252.
12. Faith viewed relatively to Rites and Works  274.
Note on Lecture 12  304.
13. On Preaching the Gospel  312.
  Appendix (file 1)  343.
Appendix (file 2)  373.

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{v} THE present Volume originated in the following way: It was brought home to the writer from various quarters, that a prejudice existed in many serious minds against certain essential Christian truths, such as Baptismal Regeneration and the Apostolical Ministry, in consequence of a belief that they fostered notions of human merit, were dangerous to the inward life of religion, and incompatible with the doctrine of justifying faith, nay, with express statements on the subject in our Formularies; while confident reports were in circulation that the parties who advocated them could not disguise even from themselves their embarrassment at those statements. Moreover, it was suggested, that, though both these lines of doctrine had in matter of fact been continuously followed out by the great body of our divines for two centuries and more, yet such historical considerations did not weigh with men in general against their own impressions; and that nothing would meet the evil but plain statements on the subject argued out from Scripture,—statements which, if not successful in convincing {vi} those who refused to trust Tradition and the Church, might at least be evidence to the world, that the persons so suspected did themselves honestly believe that the doctrines of our Articles and Homilies were not at variance with what they thought they saw in the Services for Baptism, Holy Communion, and Ordination, and in other Forms contained in the Prayer Book.

These considerations have led the writer on, first to deliver, and then to publish, the following Lectures, in the hope that he might be thereby offering suggestions towards a work, which must be uppermost in the mind of every true son of the English Church at this day,—the consolidation of a theological system, which, built upon those formularies which were framed in the 16th century, and to which all Clergymen are bound, may tend to inform, persuade, and absorb into itself religious minds, which hitherto have fancied that, on the peculiar Protestant questions they were seriously opposed to one another. Such have been the occasion and the object of these Lectures; and if in them, or in anything else he has written, there be what readers consider more severe or contentious than such an object admits, let them impute it to his firm belief that no wound is cured which is not thoroughly probed, and that the first step in persuasiveness is decision.

Since they were delivered, Mr. Faber has published his work on the "Primitive Doctrine of Justification," with a special reference to Mr. Knox's opinions. Thus the {vii} writer finds himself engaged in a discussion even more delicate and anxious than he had anticipated; but, as he originally drew up his remarks without reference to either of those respected authors, so he has judged it best not to take part in a dispute which in no sense belongs to him, and very little to his work. How far he assents to Mr. Knox, how far to Mr. Faber, will there appear; but while the points from which he starts are different, so too are his arguments, as being drawn not from Primitive Christianity but from Scripture.

Another recent work on Justification, Dr. O'Brien's Sermons on Faith, should also here be mentioned, from the station and reputation of the Author; though no reason has occurred for referring to it elsewhere, as it does but advocate, in opposition to Bishop Bull and the greater number of English Divines, the pure Lutheran theory, which has been sufficiently considered in these Lectures, as far as it fell under their scope.

March 12, 1838.

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{ix} THESE Lectures on the doctrine of Justification formed one of a series of works projected by the Author in illustration of what has often been considered to be the characteristic position of the Anglican Church, as lying in a supposed Via Media, admitting much and excluding much both of Roman and of Protestant teaching.

Their drift is to show that there is little difference but what is verbal in the various views on justification, found whether among Catholic or Protestant divines; by Protestant being meant Lutheran, Calvinistic, and thirdly that dry anti-evangelical doctrine, which was dominant in the Church of England during the last century, and is best designated by the name of Arminianism.

Unless the Author held in substance in 1874 what he published in 1838, he would not at this time be reprinting what he wrote as an Anglican; certainly not with so little added by way of safeguard. Of course there are points of detail, as to which he cannot accept {x} what these Lectures contain; but even such incidental errors of opinion he has thought he might let stand, except where they became offensive by repetition, contenting himself with notes in brackets at the foot of the page, drawing attention to them and setting them right.

However, a few words of explanation are called for here in relation to two main propositions of the Volume, which he distinctly professed to be at variance, but (as he now believes) are not really at variance, with the doctrine held in the Roman schools of recent times on the subject of Justification. The first of these is the proposition that more than one formal cause can be assigned to the justified state; and the second that one of those forms is the Presence of our Lord in the soul, whether the Eucharistic Presence, or a Presence cognate to it.

1. As to the former of these, it is quite true that the Fathers at Trent pronounced that there was but one formal cause of justification as a state of the soul, and that, in opposition to the Protestant view, that form was an inward gift. "Unica formalis causa justificationis," they say, "est justitia Dei, quā nos justos facit, quā renovamur spiritu mentis nostrę, et verč justi nominamur et sumus, justitiam in nobis recipientes." And so far as the author of these Lectures contradicts this categorical statement, he now simply withdraws what he has said in them. But he was mistaken if he supposed that it {xi} was thereby determined what the "unica forma" really was, or again that there might not be more forms than one (whether improper forms, or forms of the justifying justice or renovation); and he says so for the following reasons:—

First, Bellarmine, though he quotes the words of the Tridentine Fathers, declaratory of the "unica formalis causa" of Justification (de Justif. ii. 2), does not hesitate to say that it is an open question whether grace or charity is the justice which justifies; and, though he holds for his own part that these are different names for one and the same supernatural habit, yet he allows that there are theologians who think otherwise (ibid. i. 2). Though, then, there be but one formal cause (and there never can be more than one proper form of anything), still it is not settled precisely what that form is. We are at liberty to hold that it is, not the renewed state of the soul, but the Divine gift which renews it.

And Pallavicino, as he is quoted in the Appendix (infra, p. 351), says "Adhibitam datā operā fuisse ą Patribus, vocem nunc gratię, nunc charitatis, et interdum etiam utramque, ut se abstinerent ab eā declaratione, duę res an una eademque res, illa forent."

Vasquez too allows (infra, p. 353) that there are two possible forms, "per quas homo justificari possit apud Deum."

Sporer holds two partial forms, as making up the "unica forma," an external Divine act and internal Divine {xii} work,—"favor Dei" and "habitus justitię" (ibid.), which, with grace as an internal gift going between the two, make three forms, proper or improper.

Bellarmine furnishes a fourth, when he lays down that, according to the Council, living faith, "fides viva, est vera et Christiana justitia" (de Grat. i. 6, p. 401); and says also (de Justif. v. 15, p. 986), "Formalem causam justificationis ... esse fidem charitate formatam."

Moreover, Petavius speaks of another, or fifth, viz. the substantial Presence of the Holy Ghost in the soul, as infra, pp. 352, etc. He speaks of the "infusio substantię Spiritūs Sancti, quā ... efficimur ... justi et sancti." And he calls this substantial Presence a "tanquam principalis," and a "primaria forma," and a "proxima causa, et, ut ita dixerim, formalis." And he maintains this to be the doctrine of the early Fathers. So much on the first point.

2. With these authorities preceding him, the author went on to speak of the Eucharistic Presence, or a Presence such as that in the Eucharist, as an additional form of Justification; and, in speaking of the fact of such a permanent Presence in the soul, he held nothing very different from what is taught by mystical theologians of authority such as Schram, who writes as follows:—

"Quintus modus unionis [per Pręsentiam Christi personalem Eucharisticam] est, quņd, corruptis etiam speciebus, non solum maneat Christus per gratiam et charitatem unitus animę dignč communicanti, sed etiam {xiii} personaliter penes suam hypostasim et deitatem; ita nimirum ut, sicuti in omni justificatione, non modo per gratiam, sed etiam personaliter Spiritus Sanctus fit animę justi pręsens, ... sic etiam Christus personaliter scilicet penes suam hypostasim, virtute SS. Eucharistię, speciali modo, cum incremento gratię unionisque cum Deo, etiam corruptis speciebus, permanet."

And he goes on to mention a further "modus unionis" in the Eucharist, accorded only to very holy persons, by means of the continued Presence of the soul of Christ: a mode of union, "quo se Christus uniendum permanenter offert, non solłm per deitatem, hypostasim, et personam suam, sed etiam per suam sacratissimam animam, quatenus, corruptis speciebus, adeoque recedente corpore et sanguine, ... tamen ... cum [animā] velut immediato instrumento, Verbo conjuncto, specialius quam per solam deitatem, permanet specialissime unitus nonnullis animabus valde perfectis."—Theol. Myst. p. 1, §§ 152, 153.

These passages do not indeed countenance the idea that the ordinary form of Justification is the Real Presence of the Crucified and Risen Saviour in the soul, a doctrine which was never, it is conceived, even imagined by any writer in the Catholic Church; but they are sufficient to show that the hypothesis of a Personal Presence of our Lord in the soul, apart from his Incarnate Presence which is vouchsafed in the Eucharist, though not as a form of justification, is in itself neither preposterous nor inadmissible. {xiv}

It may be well to explain the principle of succession on which these Lectures are arranged.

1. The first two introduce and open the subject which is to be discussed, by an exposition, first, of the Protestant, then of the Catholic doctrine of Christian justification.

2. Then follows in three Lectures—the 3d, 4th, and 5th—an inquiry into the meaning of the term "Justification."

3. In the next four—the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th—is determined what is the real thing which is denoted by the term "Justification."

4. In the 10th, 11th, and 12th, the office and nature of Faith is discussed in its relation to Justification.

In the 13th and last, a practical application is made of the principles and conclusions of the foregoing Lectures, to the mode of preaching and professing the Gospel, popular thirty or forty years since, called evangelical."

January 6, 1874.

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