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Saint John saith, was not in nes, in eo non erat. Sed him. But all we the rest, nos reliqui, etiam baptizati although baptized and bornet in Christo regenerati, in again in Christ, yet offend multis tamen offendimus omin many things; and if we | nes ; et si dixerimus, quod say we have no sin, we de- | peccatum non habemus, nos ceive ourselves, and the truth ipsos seducimus, et veritas is not in us.
| in nobis non est.
1. What is the bearing of the two assertions contained in this Article?
This Article asserts the perfect sinlessness of Christ, as essential to the fulness of his atonement; and the sinfulness of all mankind even after regeneration, thereby removing the very foundation upon which the doctrine of human merit, arising out of works of supererogation, can rest.
2. In what did Christ, with reference to his human nature, differ from the rest of mankind ?
Though Christ took the human nature upon him, as already proved, yet was he not conceived and born in sin, as are the rest of mankind. His conception by the Holy Ghost preserved him from the taint of original sin (Luke i. 35.); and the Scriptures throughout bear unvarying testimony to his pure and spotless life. “As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that “had the power of death, that is, the devil. Therefore we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but he was in all parts "tempted like as we are, yet without sin.'
3. How are we to look upon the notion, which has been entertained by some, of the peccability of Christ?
It has been urged, indeed, that Christ in his human nature must have been peccable : but at all events we are bound to acquiesce in the distinct assurances that 'in him
was no sin' (1 John iii. 5.); that he was ‘holy, harmless, "undefiled, separate from sinners' (Heb. vii. 26.); and that
he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth' (1 Pet. ii. 22.). Had he indeed been polluted by sin, either
original or actual, he would have needed a Redeemer as well as others; and therefore ‘he offered himself without
spot to God,' and so 'put away sin by the sacrifice of himself' (Heb. ix. 14. 26.). [See also Art. II. qq. 12, 13, 16.]
4. Why is Christ called the Lamb of God without spot ?
The Paschal Lamb, which was a type of Christ, was required to be without spot or blemish. Hence St. John speaks of him as 'the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John i. 29.).
5. How do you reconcile the fact that all men are sinners with the righteousness sometimes attributed to eminent characters in Scripture ? :
It has already been shown (Art. ix. qq. 2.11. 13.) that all men, although baptized and born again in Christ,
offend in many things.' True it is that the Scriptures call some few men righteous, as Noah, for instance, and Job, and Zacharias ; but they were only good comparatively with mankind in general. Indeed transgressions of no trivial nature are recorded against each of them; but God visited them with his free and unmerited pardon, and accepted their sincere, though imperfect, endeavours after holiness instead of an absolute unsinning obedience. Their ' faith was counted for righteousness,'
6. Still, is not absolute impeccability ascribed by St. John to the true children of God ?
St. John, indeed, has said that a true Christian 'cannot (sin, because he is born of God' (1 John iii. 9.). Strong, however, as the expression is, it must not be so interpreted as to imply positive impeccability; but limited, as in many similar Scriptural expressions, to a strong repugnance against sin. If otherwise understood, the Apostle will be made to contradict himself; for he has also said that if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not 'in us’ (1 John i. 8.).
7. Shew that the early Christian writers have asserted that Christ is alone without sin.
Justin Martyr (Dial. Tryph.) speaks of Christ as the only unreprovable just man ; and Irenæus (Hær. v. 14.) remarks that he differed from other men in this respect, that he committed no sin, whereas we are sinners. Tertullian (de Pudic. c. 19.) affirms that there are some sins, as causeless and excessive anger, unneighbourly conduct, rash swearing, breach of promise, or thoughtless lying, which men are daily liable to run into. Thus also Clement of Alexandria (Pædag. III. in fine) :-The Word alone is without sin; for sin is natural and common to all.
Of Sin after Baptism. De Peccato post Baptismum.
Not every deadly sin Non omne peccatum morwillingly committed after tale post Baptismum volunBaptism is sin against the tarie perpetratum est peccaHoly Ghost, and unpardon- tum in Spiritum Sanctum, et able. Wherefore the grant of irremissibile. Proinde lapsis repentance is not to be denied a Baptismo in peccata locus to such as fall into sin after poenitentiæ non est neganBaptism. After we have re- dus. Post acceptum Spiritum ceived the Holy Ghost, we Sanctum possumus a gratia may depart from grace given, data recedere, atque peccare; and fall into sin; and by the denuoque per gratiam Dei grace of God we may arise resurgere,ac resipiscere. again, and amend our lives. Ideoque illi damnandi sunt, And therefore they are to be qui se, quamdiu hic vivant, condemned which say, they , amplius non posse peccare can no more sin as long as affirmant, aut vere resipisthey live here, or deny the centibus veniæ locum deneplace of forgiveness to such gant. as truly repent.
1. ARE the Romanists justified in distinguishing between mortal and venial sins; and what alone is the nature and remedy of sin in general.
There is no Scriptural warrant for any such distinction as that which the Church of Rome has instituted between mortal and venial sins, of which the latter are affirmed to be amenable only to temporal punishment. Since the wages
of sin is death' (Rom. vi. 23.), all sins are in their nature deadly, though all may not be equal in magnitude: and death would inevitably be the punishment of all, had not the sacrifice of Christ propitiated the wrath of God against his offending creatures.
2. Is not every sin committed against the Holy Spirit; and, being so, is it therefore unpardonable ?
Every sin, wilfully committed after baptism, is undoubtedly committed against the influence of the Holy Ghost, whose godly motions are thereby resisted and despised ; and it is therefore of a more deadly or heinous nature, than are sins of ignorance and infirmity. It does not, however, appear that any such sin is beyond the efficacy of a sincere repentance, except the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, to which forgiveness is denied by our Lord himself; and which is probably the same with that emphatically described by St John, as a sin unto death (1 John v. 16.), for whose remission Prayer will not prevail.
3. What then do you mean by the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost?
See Questions on St. Matthen, chap. xii. qq. 43, 44.
4. Can this sin be now committed ; and what is the simple declaration of our Church respecting it?
Strictly speaking, the sin of the Pharisees, which our Lord declared to be unpardonable, can no longer be committed, since the age of miracles has passed away; though it would be presumptuous to say that the denunciation does not extend to men in all ages, who labour to set aside the evidence which the Gospel miracles afford to the truth of Christianity. With her usual moderation, our Church neither restrains nor extends the simple declaration of Scripture; merely affirming that the sin in question is the only one which is absolutely unpardonable.
5. Against whom is the Sixteenth Article directed; and what are the doctrines which it maintains ?
In opposition to the Novatians and other Sectarians, this Article asserts the efficacy of repentance for the forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism, and the defectibility of divine grace in those who have once received it.
6. Who were the Novatians; and what was their distinguishing tenet ?
The Novatians were followers of Novatian, a presbyter of the Church of Rome, whose opinions on Ecclesiastical discipline gave rise to much discussion about the middle of the third century. Scarcely admitting that the Lapsed, or those who fell into sin after baptism, could hope for Salvati they excluded all such from their communion, and refused to receive them again as members of the Church.
7. Shew that the Liturgy of our Church abides by the doctrine maintained in this Article.
From the Collects for Ash-Wednesday, for the third Sunday after Easter for the thirteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-fourth Sundays after Trinity, and from the office for the Visitation of the Sick, it will appear that the Liturgy of the Church of England is drawn up in strict conformity with the doctrine of this Article.
8. Prove from the Scriptures that Repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism.
The Apostolic Epistles, which are all addressed to baptized Christians, abound with exhortations to repentance and amendment of life; which plainly indicate that men do constantly sin after baptisın, but that by God's grace they may rise again. Hence St. Paul directs that if a man be 'overtaken in a fault, those which are spiritual are to ' restore him in the spirit of meekness' (Gal. vi. 1.).
9. What text has been urged in support of the position against which this Article is directed; and how far is the interpretation admissible?