John Davenant.

A treatise on justification, Volume 2 online

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meaning and nature of that act, that it drives the weak into the
aforesaid error, and draws them into sin ; therefore, whatever
might be the intention of the doer, the act itself will have in it th'e
nature of a scandal.

Since then every one b bound to refrain from every act to which

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he is not necessitated/ and from which an occasion of offence to
the weak may be jnstly apprehended ; how much more from this act
of attending Mass, to which he is in no way bound, and by which
the minds both of the weak and the strong are jastiy offended P

Thirdly, Those lukewarm Protestants who frequent Masses sin
against the Papists themselves, whom by this insincerity they con-
firm still more in their errors and idolatries. Indeed, when they
perceive that we attend their Masses, they forthwith think within
themselves, that not only these, but all the other corruptions of
Popery are approved ; especially since the Mass is accounted a
kind of symbol or mark whereby Romanists are distinguished from
Protestants. Let them, therefore, answer how they can conscien-
tiously confirm these in their superstitious acts of worship, whom
they are bound by every means to reclaim from such works of
darkness P for it is a positive command of the Apostle, Have no
fellowship With the unfruif/ul works qf darkness, but rather reprove
them; Eph. v. 2. Now consider how finely they fulfil this com-
mand ! The Apostle forbids fellowship with unlawful works ; these
men, on the contrary, gratuitously thrust themselves among, and
make common cause with, idolaters occupied in these very deeds of
darkness ! The Apostle commands us to reprove such works ; but
these men not only seem to consent to them by being silent, but, by
themselves conforming to those superstitious rites appear really to
approve and to commend (if not in words, yet by their deeds) the
very act of idolatry ! By this hypocrisy they render the Papists
more obstinate in their pernicious error; they therefore sin against
that charity which is due even to enemies, — an offence impossible
to be committed with a safe conscience.

Lastly, They sin directly against God himself; for the Religion
which binds us to God obliges us likewise to the open avowal of
that religion ; it forbids a dissembling of the true, and much more
an assumption of the outward garb of a false profession. And
^ence it is, that God himself acknowledges those alone for his
genuine servants, who do not communicate with idolaters in any
external acts of their worship : I have left to myself seven thotisand
in Israel^ all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every
mouth which hath not kissed him ; 1 Kings, xix. 18. If they had
bowed their knees before an idol, with the worshippers of Baal,
although they despised that idol in their hearts, God, without doubt,
would not have reckoned them as his people ; for every one is under
a perpetual obligation to that profession of his religion which con-

• Gowon, part. 3. Reg. Moral.

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sists in the uniting himself pnbh'cly with the pioas and orthodox,
and the separating himself from the idolatrous and heretical, (1
Cor. X. 21). For since God is the Creator both of body and sou),
since Christ is alike the Redeemer of both, it is just that we wor-
ship God,» as well with the reverence of the body as of the mind ;
that we cleave to Christ as well with the fellowship of the body as
of the mind ; (1 Cor. vi. 20). Therefore, in vain do they allege
that they remain in obedience to God and to Christ, who join them-
selves to the service of the Devil and of Anti-Christ, in an idola-
trous worship. Elegantly and piously said Tertullian, // is wicked
for any one to lie about his religion ; Jbr, by his pretending thai
he worships one thing ^ when he worships another y he denies what
he does worship ; and does not^ therefore^ worship whcU he hath
denied, — (Apolog. cap. 21).

All these things might be illustrated by examples of the Saints,
drawn as well from the sacred Scriptures as from Ecclesiastical
History ; but want of time forbids this.

Since, therefore, Protestants, who attend the idolatrous sacrifice
of the Mass, pollute their own souls by hypocrisy ; wound the weak
brethren, by causing them to stumble ; ruin the Papists, by con-
firming them in their impiety ; and finally, dishonour God himself
by halting between the true worship of him and idolatry ; we con-
clude, that Protestants cannot^ with a safe conscience^ be present
at the Mass,

Bishop Davenant has confined himself in this discnsfdon to one point of doc-
trine — the Mass ; and on this ground alone he contends that Protestantri cannot
be present at Popish worship without committing sin. The argument may be
supported by an enumeration of other doctrines, held by the Italian Church in
this country, calling itself the Catholic Churchy especially these : — the honour
paid to the Virgin Mary and the figure of the Cross, to the Images of Saints,
to Belies, and to Angels. It is not possible for a Protestant to attend their
worship without countenancing these and other errors, which are maintained
by the Romish Church. The case is, therefore, clear that no Protestant cany
without sin, be present at their worship : we belieTe it to be idolatrous ; and
bad not the Beformers entertained the same belief, there would have been no
Beformation — no return to the trucy ancienty apostotic faith and worship ; conse-
quently, we cannot consistently sanction their practices by being present in
their chapels at their Mass services.

It may not be without its use to supply an instance — an illustration and proof
of what is meant by the worship of the Mass, or of Popish impieties and idolatry,
and thus to shew, that we have just grounds for guarding inconsiderate and
unwary Protestants against the artfulness of men who would in the present day
be thought CaihoUcSy instead of superstitious Papists ; — the following account of
Popery, or Boman Catholic idolatry, taken from the Beport of the morning's
Service and Sermon, in the AchiU Miisiotiary Het-afd of November 30, 1837,

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or No. 5, may therefore be placed before the reader : it is no more than a
sample of Popery, as it now is, or wafer-worship, as practised in the 500 Mans-
houses so recently opened in England : —

^* The inhabitants of the island (as the morning advanced) prepared for the
occupations of the Sabbath. Some repaired to the Popish Chapel, to unite in
worship with the man whom they had been taught to reverence as the Repre-


" Poor souls I Their first act (after sprinkling themseWes with holy water)
was a breach of the second commandment— bowing down to a heap of stones
which they call an altar.

" After the usual Latin Prayers, and the supposed Deification of their pastry
idol— Ihe Priest lifted it up in his bands, and called upon the people to worship
it as * Jesus Christ, as great and glorious as he is in Heaven I'

" The poor deluded people fell down in humble prostration before this idol,
and addressed to it a prayer, of which the following words are the introduction :
— * Most adorable body, I adore thee with all the powers of my soul.' In
addition to this horrid blasphemy, were many prayers oflTered to the blessed
Virgin Mary, as Que#n of Heaven, &c., and to countless saints and angels."

The Report of the Sermon which accompanied this act of idolatry cannot
be submitted here : it is hoped, that awftil as it is to have Popery introduced
among us, so that England may fall under the curse of idolatry, yet no such
abominably low and vulgar impieties, and seditious, heretical, and murderous
effusions, are ever uttered in any idol-place in England, as are stated to have
been uttered on the occasion here referred to.

As we have been delivered (but not without the cost of blood to our forefathers)
from the despotism and tyranny of Popery over our civil liberties, and from the
curse of its idolatry in regard to our souls and the worship of God, and yet it
is making inroads upon our nation and our peace again, the appeal of Ezra to
the Jews may well be added to the above argument and facts, and ought to have
its due weight on our consciences and conduct, to restrain us, not only from
forming any alliance with, but even giving any countenance to this baneful,
superstitions, and idolatrous heresy :—'* And a/Her ail that is came upon us for
owr evU deedsy and our great trespass^ seeing thai Thou^ our God^ hast punished
us less than our iniquiiies deserve^ and hast given us such deliverance as this :
should we again break thy commandments ^ and Join us in affinity unth the people of
these alominationsy wouldest Thou not be angry with us till Thou hadst consumed
us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping ?" Ezra, ix. 13, 14.)— Should
we not regard the charge of our Lord to the Church of Thyatira, which seems
to be remarkably apposite to the present state of this nation, lest we fall under
a corresponding visitation and judgment ? "J have a few things against thee
because thou sufferest that uxman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to
teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed
unto WW»." — " And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she re-
pented HotJ*^ — " Behold I unll cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery
with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds," — " And I will
kill her children with death ; and all the Churches shall know that I am he which
searcheth the reins and hearts : and T will give unto every one of you according
to your uw-A:*."— Rev. ii. 20—23.

The Reader who is desirous of further information on the question discussed
above, will hnd a very excellent letter of Bradford, quite to the point, in Foji^e^s
Acts and Monuments, vol. vii. p. 244 ; and the opinion of Philpot, ibid. p. 688 ;
Seeleys' Edition, 1838.

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(Tku Trmuiaiitm it adcptedjrom the Briiiih Magazine for March, 1 896.;

It is allowed by all, that remission of sins cannot be obtained
except by the intervention of a fall and exact satisfaction ; bat
what that satisfaction is, and by whom rendered, which makes ap
for the injury offered to God, and by sach compensation extin-
guishes the whole punishment due to sin, is a matter of debate be-
tween the Orthodox and the Papist. The Papists think that our
Lord, by his obedience and death, so satisfied God, that every true
penitent may at any time gain remission of ^tlt through this his
satisfaction, bat (if he sin after baptism) not an absolute remission^
but a merciful commutation of punishment. For, according to their
notion,* after guilt is remitted, the very same punishment of the
bodily senses must be endured, as the sinner would have endured
in hell, only taking away its eternity. For the plan of Divine
justice requires that, when we are freed from guilt by Christ, we
should satisfy the account of punishment, either by satisfaction in
this life, or by suffering in purgatory. Now the Papists think that
satisfaction is made to Divine justice by works of penance ; which
are either imposed according to the judgment of the Priest, or,
are voluntarily undertaken at the will of the penitent ; or, finally,
are inflicted from without, — if any one, by patiently bearing such
inflictions^ and offering them to Ood for his sins, makes them
morally his own, as Suarez teaches.f And in requiring satisfaction
from us, they think that God acts so strictly, that he requires an
exact and full measure of the punishment due ; and if the sinner
has not paid it, how much or how little soever of it is left, it must
be paid in purgatory to the last farthing4 Such is the argument
of the Popish fable.

We, on the contrary, teach, that our Lord offered to God that
expiatory sacrifice, by which alone the guilt, as well as the punish-
ment of ail our sins is expiated and expunged ; so that the duty bf

* Bellann. de peccai. lib. 4. cap. 1.
t In 3. Tom. 4. disp. 37. sect. 7. ' t Ibid. diep. 38. sect. 4., 5.

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satisfying God for the injury offered to him does not rest on
penitents in any part.* Nor does any debt of punishment (taxed
according to the rule of avenging justice) remain to be paid by any
actions or sufferings of theirs, after the remission of gmlL The
punishments, therefore, enjoined to penitents among the ancients,
we affirm to have been imposed, not to satisfy Divine justice, but
the offended Church, The works of penance, voluntarily under-
taken and offered by the faithful, we judge not to have been the
payments of redemption or satisfaction, but exercises of humility
and mortification. Finally, we say, that afflictions and misfortunes,
which, after the remission of guilt, are inflicted either by God
himself, or by man, on the pious and reconciled, have no reference
to the satisfaction of Divine justice as if not yet expiated ; but to
the bridling our corrupt concupiscence, which is not extirpated
even in the regenerate.

We deny, then, that works of penance, or any human works
whatever, are satisfactions of Divine justice, or compensations for
the injury done to God, which is proved, first, by the definition of
Satisfaction; for satisfaction is the giving an equivalent for an
equivalent, as Scotus truly teaches.f But who will say, that all
our works of penance, if brought into one heap, can equal the pains
of hell, even not considering the eternity of hell torments P When,
then, the Papists suppose, that they are exhibiting and offering
these satisfactions of theirs to God, to buy off the pains of hell ;
they do just the same, as if one condemned to the rack should say
that he is willing to prick his finger with a needle, and, by this
work of penance, to buy off the punishment laid on him. But he
who pays less than he owed, has not yet made satisfaction. These
satisfaction-men, then, never can set themselves right, for they
never can make a satisfaction equal to the punishment settled for

Secondly, we shew the same from the quality of our works. For
the best of them are not wholly free from their faults and imper-
fections.* If, therefore, the matter were transacted in the court
of strict justice, we should be so far from expiating or expunging
our debt of punishment by our works or sufferings, that we should
be daily contracting a new one. But suppose our jurks were free
from all blemish, — yet, as satisfaction is to be maoe from our own
goods, and not from goods due and belonging to our creditor on
another score,^ our good works, which are the gift of God him-
self, and our acts of obedience, which certainly are most wholly

• 1 John ii. 2 ; Isa. liii. b ; Rom. ▼Hi. 1 , 33, &c. Rev. xir. 13 ; Jerem. 1. 20.
t 4 Sent. dist. 15. qusst. 1. | Anselm. Cur Deus homOy lib. 2.

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due to God, on the mere score of creation, can never go to the
discharge of a new debt. As often, therefore, as we act or suffer
well and holily, we endeavour to satisfy the call of duty, and to
approve ourselves to God by fulfilling his will; but we do not
dream, that by these works we are expiating the vengeance due to
our sins, or making up for the injury done to the Divine Majesty,
by exhibiting to him, in this endeavour of ours, a worthy satisfaction.

Thirdly, we confirm our cause by the consideration of the Divine
remission of sins. For* remission of sins is the work of free
mercy. But that sin is not freely remitted, to expiate which a
sufficient satisfaction is made by the sinner himself. Moreover,
the remission made by God is always entire ^ and not by halves.
But to be unwilling to exact the whole punishment, or such and
such a degree of eternal punishment ; and yet to be willing to
inflict some, and that a very bitter degree of punishment, cannot
be called an entire remission^ but a punishing in moderation. Fi-
nally, the remission of sin should be such, that, when it is obtained,
the sinner can settle in his conscience, that he is now fully recon-
ciled to God, and has obtained peace with him.f But who can feel
this, who thinks that he is still to be tortured in the most fearful
manner, to satisfy an avenging God ?

Fourthly, the truth of our opinion appears from the perfection
of that satisfaction which Christ himself offered to God the Father,
in the name of all believers.^ For it is most certain, that our
Redeemer offered to God a price abundantly sufficient to expiate
the guilt and the punishment of our sins.§ Nor is it less certain,
that this satisfaction is imputed to all those who believe and repent,
just as if it had been offered to God by themselves. If, therefore,
God should require satisfaction from the members of Christ, which
they have paid to the last farthing in Christ their head, he would
twice take vengeance for the same thing, and would do a manifest
injury to the Redeemer and the redeemed.

Lastly, the error of the Papists is shewn by the nature of Divine '
justice. For justice never inflicts the vengeance of punishment ^
except with regard to the debt of guilt. When, then, the satisfac-
tion of Christ abolished the guilt on which the debt of punishment
is founded, he ^k away the object of Divine justice, and, conse-
quently, the necessity of human satisfaction. To this it must be
added, that, according to the laws of justice, no satisfaction can
redeem the punishment due to sin, except by an express ordinance

• Epb.i. 7; Col. ii. 13; Isa. xliii! 25. ; Mich. vii. 19.
t Rom. V. 1, 10. X 2 Cor. v. 18, 19, 21.

§ Rom. iii. 25.

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of God for accepting 8uch satisfaction in the room of a ransom.*
Christ's satisfaction has this privilege by the eternal decree of God ;
. but wretched sinners cannot bring forward any ordinance of God,
in right of which he is obliged to accept these works of penance
for the eternal punishment due to sin. The guilty party, then,
must contend in vain, that that is a satisfactory infliction which he
undergoes, not by the decree of the judge, but of his own pleasure.

• Suarez in 3. Tom. 4. disp. 37. sect. 8.

[For farther discussion of this subject, see EUiotts's Delmeatkms of Roman
Catholicism^ ch. xi. pp. 233., &c. Edit. Lond. 1844 ; and Cramp's Tej^ Book
of Popery; pp. 187—192, edit. 1841.



We say that Free-will is granted for this or that special object,
when there is the active faculty to will, to choose, or to do that
freely. We contend not whether this faculty be disengaged or im-
peded, relaxed or bound, awake or stupid. If only this faculty be
in man, although it needs some extraneous assistance to facilitate
its operation, the Papists will prevail ; but if this active faculty
shall have utterly perished, and a mere capacity or receptive pos-
sibility be left, which God alone gives and perfects in renewing it,
our opinion obtains.

As to the term regenerated or born again^ I do not call one who
is enlightened or breathed upon by any motion of the Holy Spirit,
regenerated ; but him who is raised from a death of sin, and quick-
ened by the all-powerful operation of that Spirit. On the other
hand, I call him wwregenerate, who has not yet attained to this
spiritual quickening, however he may have been a£fected by some
preceding operations of the Holy Spirit.

But here it must be carefully observed, that the word Regenera^
tton, either denotes the very first act, whereby spiritual life (as
though by a creative act) is infused into man, and so is effected
in a moment ; or else a continued act of the Spirit, whereby the
new powers and qualities breathed into him, together with this

2 M

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life, are increased and strenf^hened ; and so it is accomplished by
degrees, and that not without the wrestlings and strivings of the
regenerate person himself. For example, take the embryo; we
affirm that this properly lives as soon as the heart partakes of life,
although the other members of the body are not yet developed.
Why, then, should we not say, that the spiritual embryo, fi-om
that very moment in which the heart is emboed with spiritual life,
is quickened or regenerated, although many parts of sanctification
have not yet acquired their distinct, and, as it were, perfect de-

In the last place, by spiritual good^ we understand whatever
work is ordained from the Divine promise for obtaining the remis-
sion of sins, or attaining possession of the kingdom of heaven. But
we enquire now, chiefly, not respecting those good works which
follow justification, but of those primary acts, on the efficacy of
which justification itself follows ; such as to repent truly, to believe
in the Mediator, to love God; all which things are both coupled
with one another, and with the very attaining of justification.
These are called spiritual acts, because, with respect to the spe-
cific essence of an action, and the mode of acting, they surpass
the connatural faculty of free-will, as it is now observable in fallen

From all these considerations, this meaning of the question is
conspicuous: — That there is not any active power in free-will,
whilst unquickened by regeneration, to saving repentance, faith,
love, or whatever work is to be done, upon which, as a disposition
tending thereto, justification is procured ; or, upon which, as an
appointed way, it advances to glorification. Before we proceed to
confirm our opinion, it will not be beside the matter, to notice a
few things, as to how far we agree with the Papists, and how far
dififer from them in this whole business.

We concede, then, to the Papists, that before the infusion of
regenerating grace, many actions which lead the way to faith and
contrition, are both required from men, and by them both can,
and are wont to be done, through the sole assistance of awakening
grace. Of this kind, are not only joining the Church and hearing
the word ; but thinking of God and Divine things ; considering
their peculiar sins, being alarmed by the sense of them, desiring
deliverance from this fear, and many other such like things, which
are pre-requisite to acts truly spiritual and saving. But we affirm,
moreover, that the mind and disposition of the nnregenerate is
engaged in a natural way only with the aforesaid things ; that the
will is not elevated to produce an act truly spiritual, until regene-

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rating or qaickening efficacy shall have been added, besides, to
the awakening and evidencing grace.* Moreover, we grant, that
this regenerating grace is not infused into men remaining inactive,
and idly looking for some vagae fervors or other ; but, to minds
aroused, and brought under, and disposed, in some measure, by the
aforesaid actions, through the word and Spirit of God ; neverthe-
less, we deny, that the free-will of an unregenerate man is assisted
by these auxiliaries, in such a way, so to dispose itself, that God
should be bound to infuse quickening grace into any one from merit
of congruity. Lastly, we confess, that in the Church of God, where
men are excited constantly by the word and Spirit, this regenera-
ting grace, which alone renders them capable of repenting and
believing savingly, is denied to no adult, of whom it cannot be truly
said, that he willingly resists the Holy Spirit in those actions be-
forementioned, and also, perversely repulses the quickening opera-
tion of the same.t Yet we deny that any mortal man can be found,
who, in repelling the preparatory actions of the Spirit, does not
incur, abundantly, this demerit ; and, inasmuch as some, repelling
God by this intervening, common demerit, are repelled of God and
left to themselves ; others, notwithstanding equal or greater deme-
rit, are often, and more powerfully assailed by grace, and are at
length quickened by the omnipotent operation of the Spirit. The
mystery is to be referred to the gracious will of God, pitying or
not pitying ; and not to be rashly enquired into by any human

These things being premised, I confirm our proposition by some
arguments : —

1. — In the unregenerate, the faculty of free-will to spiritual good
is not like a loco- motive power, in him who is bound by fetters ; or,

Online LibraryJohn DavenantA treatise on justification, Volume 2 → online text (page 27 of 59)