William Beveridge (1637-1708): It is into the merit of Christ, that I resolve the whole work of my salvation

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This excerpt from the Private Thoughts upon Religion of the Reformed Anglican William Beveridge (1637-1708) is pure gold:

“[T]ho’ it is the death of Christ by which I believe my sins are pardoned, yet it is the life of Christ by which I believe my person is accepted. His passions GOD accounts as suffer’d by me, and therefore I shall not die for sin: his obedience GOD accounts as perform’d by me, and therefore I shall live with Him. Not as if I believed that Christ so performed  obedience for me, that I should be discharged from my duty to Him, but only that I should not be condemned by GOD in not discharging my duty to Him in so strict a manner as is requir’d. I believe the active obedience of Christ will stand me in no stead, unless I endeavour after sincere obedience in mine own person: his active as well as his passive obedience being imputed unto none but only to such as apply it to themselves by faith; which faith in Christ will certainly put such as are possess’d of it upon obedience unto GOD. This therefore is the righteousness, and the manner of justification, whereby I hope to stand before the judgment-seat of GOD; even by GOD’s imputing my sins to Christ, and Christ’s righteousness to me; looking upon me as one not to be punished for my sins, because Christ hath suffer’d, but to be receiv’d into the joys of glory, because Christ hath performed obedience for me, and does, by faith, through grace, impute it to me.

And thus it is into the merit of Christ, that I resolve the whole work of my salvation, and this not only as to that which is wrought without me, for the justification of my person, but likewise as to that which is wrought within me for the sanctification of my nature. As I cannot have a sin pardon’d without Christ, so neither can I have a sin subdued without Him; neither the fire of GOD’s wrath can be quenched, nor yet the filth of my sins washed away, but by the blood of Christ. So that I wonder as much at the doctrine that some men have advanc’d concerning free-will, as I do at that which others have broach’d in favour of good-works; and ’tis a mystery to me how any that ever had experience of GOD’s method in working out sin, and planting grace in our hearts, should think they can do it by themselves, or anything in order to it. Not that I do in the least question, but that every man may be saved that will (for this I believe is a real truth); but I do not believe that any man of himself can will to be saved. Wheresoever GOD enables a soul effectually to will salvation, He will certainly give salvation to that soul: but I believe it is impossible for any soul to will salvation of himself, as to enjoy salvation without GOD.”

– William Beveridge (1637-1708), Private Thoughts upon Religion, p. 90-93

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Johannes Braun (1628-1708) on the terminus a quo and the terminus ad quem of sanctification

 

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“Since sanctification is a certain change in man, and since every change consists of a motion, it is customary to consider in it a terminus a quo, and a terminus ad quem.* The terminus a quo is the corruption of the image of God. But the terminus ad quem is the restoration of that image. For the old [man] is to be cast off, and the new man is to be put on. (Eph. 4:24). Hence it is also called conversion, namely from evil to good. (Is. 1:16, 17; Ps. 34:14).** Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump (1 Cor. 5:7).”

– Johannes Braun (1628-1708), Doctrina Foederum, sive Systema Theologica Didacticae et Elencticae, Vol. I, Pars. III, Cap. X, 10.

* For the sake of clarity to readers who might be unfamiliar with the Latin terminology, a terminus a quo refers to the starting point of something, literally meaning “the point from which,” whereas a terminus ad quem refers to the end or finishing point of something, literally meaning “the point [or end] to which.” In other words, Braun says that sanctification starts with the image of God being in a state of corruption in man, and ends with the image of God fully restored, upon glorification.

** Braun, in the original, here cites Ps. 34:15 (as it appears in the Vulgate), which is Ps. 34:14 in modern English Bibles.

Carl Trueman on the Protestant use of tradition

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“Ask a thoughtful Protestant about where Protestantism and Catholicism most significantly diverge, and it is likely that he will mention the closely related areas of tradition and authority. Now, Protestants tend to be very suspicious of any talk of tradition as playing a role in theology, as it would seem to stand somewhat in tension with the Reformation’s view of Scripture alone as the authoritative basis for theological reflection. In fact, the Reformation itself represented a struggle over two types of tradition, that which scholars call T1, tradition based on Scripture as the sole source of revelation (the position of Protestants such as Luther and Calvin, and some pre-Tridentine Catholics), and that which they term T2, tradition based on two sources, namely, Scripture and an oral tradition mediated through the teaching magisterium of the church. This latter was arguably the position codified at the Council of Trent, although it would seem that the boundary between T1 and T2 is in practice often blurred, and very difficult to define in any formal or precise sense; nevertheless, as a heuristic device the distinction is useful, and it is really only as Protestants come to understand exactly what is the Catholic view of tradition (i.e., T1 plus T2) that they can come to properly understand how tradition (T1) does not subvert the notion of Scripture alone.

A moment’s reflection on Protestant practice should demonstrate the truth of this. Every time a Protestant minister takes a commentary off his shelf to help with sermon preparation, or opens a volume of systematic theology, or attends a lecture on a theological topic, he practically acknowledges the importance of T1, whether he cares to admit it or no. A belief in Scripture as a unique and all-sufficient cognitive foundation for theology does not, indeed, cannot, preclude the use of extrabiblical and thus traditional sources for help. Protestantism and Catholicism both value tradition; the difference lies in the source and authority of this tradition: Protestant tradition is justified by, and is ultimately only binding insofar as it represents a synthesis of the teaching of the one normative source of revelation, holy Scripture.”

– Carl Trueman, Fools Rush In where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone, p. 151-153