"Repentance and amendment they inculcated as no less necessary to a state of acceptance, than faith": What Article 11 does not mean

From the 1834 Bampton Lectures of Richard Laurence (then Archbishop of Cashel), Sermon VI, addressing Justification "by Faith only".  Laurence took care to point to the Lutheran rejection of the allegation that sola fide encouraged "Enthusiasm", reducing faith to an individual experience of "an internal confidence, that his name is written in the book of life", irrespective of repentance and good works.  After quoting Lutheran sources, he turns to Article 11:

Both in their object and tendency perfectly accord; but the latter is, if possible, more guarded than the former against the obliquities of Enthusiasm.

Noting the Article's reference to the Homily of Justification, he quotes from the Homily to illustrate that "justified by Faith only" was not intended to deny the necessity of repentance and works:

For when we are said, as the same Homily remarks, to be justified by faith only, it is not meant "that this our own act to believe in Christ doth justify us; for that were to count ourselves to be justified by some act or virtue that is within ourselves; .... nor that the said justifying faith is alone in man without true repentance, hope, charity, the dread and fear of God at any time and season".

The purpose of Article 11 was to challenge the late medieval Latin formulation of justification, not to undermine the Christian vocation to - in words from the collect for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity quoted in a footnote - "plenteously [bring] forth the fruit of good works":

the great point in dispute was this: Whether he who sincerely repents of his past transgressions should trust (for affiance must be somewhere placed) in the efficacy of his own merits, or in that of his Redeemer's. But while our Reformers, like the Lutherans, pertinaciously contended for an affiance of the latter description, they never dreamed of imputing to it any mysterious operation, or of investing it with a higher character of certainty, than what it derives from the stable foundation, upon which it rests. Without reserve or hesitation they declared, that he, who contemplates it as an act of the mind in itself capable of justifying him, disregarding all internal change of disposition, and external emendation of life, only trifles with God, and deceives himself.

The Articles, the Homily, and the liturgy, therefore, combine to ensure that "justified by Faith only" is defined in a manner "admirably calculated to preclude the worst of errors upon the most important topic of Christianity", neither with the Scholastics ascribing merit to our repentance and works, but nor with the Enthusiasts denying their necessity:

Repentance and amendment they inculcated as no less necessary to a state of acceptance, than faith; not indeed as meritorious, but as requisite conditions, as conditions, without which it is neither to be obtained nor preserved. Never therefore should it be forgotten, that when they spoke of justification by faith alone, they solely opposed the scholastical system, so frequently alluded to, which attributed to our merits the expiation of crime, and a readmission into the favour of God.


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