Homily 3 in the First Book of Homilies The first part of the Homily of Salvation. Because all men are sinners and offenders against God, and breakers of his law and commandments, therefore can no man by his own acts, works, and deeds (seem they never so good) be justified, and made righteous before God: but every man of necessity is constrained to seek for another righteousness or justification, to be received at God’s own hands, that is to say, the forgiveness of his sins and trespasses, in such things as he hath offended. And this justification or righteousness, which we so receive of God’s mercy and Christ’s merits. embraced by faith, is taken, accepted and allowed of God, for our perfect and full justification. For the more full understanding thereof, it is our parts and duties ever to remember the great mercy of God, how that (all the world being wrapped in sin by breaking of the Law) God sent his only son our Saviour Christ into this world, to fulfil the Law for us, and by shedding of his most precious blood, to make a sacrifice and satisfaction, or (as it may be called) amends to his Father for our sins, to assuage his wrath and indignation conceived against us for the same. In so much that infants, being baptized and dying in their infancy, are by this sacrifice washed from their sins, brought to God’s favour, and made his children, and inheritors of his kingdom of heaven. And they which in act or deed do sin after their baptism, when they turn again to God unfeignedly, they are likewise washed by this sacrifice from their sins, in such sort, that there remaineth not any spot of sin, that shall be imputed to their damnation. This is that justification or righteousness which S. Paul speaketh of, when he saith, No man is justified by the works of the Law, but freely by faith in Jesus Christ. And again he saith (Galatians 2), We believe in Jesu Christ, that we be justified freely by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the Law, because that no man shall be justified by the works of the Law. And although this justification be free unto us, yet it comes not so freely unto us, that there is no ransom paid therefore at all. But here may man’s reason be astonished, reasoning after this fashion. If a ransom be paid for our redemption, then is it not given us freely. For a prisoner that paid his ransom, is not let go freely, for if he go freely, then he goeth without ransom: for what is it else to go freely, then to be set at liberty without paying of ransom? This reason is satisfied by the great wisdom of God in this mystery of our redemption, who hath so tempered his justice and mercy together, that he would neither by his justice condemn us unto the everlasting captivity of the devil, and his prison of Hell, remediless for ever without mercy, nor by his mercy deliver us clearly, without justice or payment of a just ransom: but with his endless mercy he joined his most upright and equal justice. His great mercy he showed unto us in delivering us from our former captivity, without requiring of any ran some to be paid, or amends to be made upon our parts, which thing by us had been impossible to be done. And where as it lay not in us that to do, he provided a ransom for us, that was, the most precious body and blood of his own most dear and best beloved Son Jesu Christ, who besides this ransom, fulfilled the law for us perfectly. And so the justice of God and his mercy did embrace together, and fulfilled the mystery of our redemption. And of this justice and mercy of God knit together, speaketh S. Paul in the third Chap. to the Romans, All have offended, and have need of the glory of God, but are justified freely by his grace, by redemption which is in Jesu Christ, whom God hath sent forth to us for a reconciler and peacemaker, through faith in his blood, to show his righteousness. And in the tenth Chap. Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness, to every man that believeth. And in the 8th chapter. That which was impossible by the law, inasmuch as it was weak by the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the similitude of sinful flesh, by sin damned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, which walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. In these aforesaid places, the Apostle toucheth specially three things, which must go together in our justification. Upon God’s part, his great mercy and grace: upon Christ’s part, justice, that is, the satisfaction of God’s justice, or the price of our redemption, by the offering of his body, and shedding of his blood, with fulfilling of the law perfectly and thoroughly; and upon our part true and lively faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, which yet is not ours, but by God’s working in us: so that in our justification, is not only God’s mercy and grace, but also his justice, which the Apostle calleth the justice of God, and it consisteth in paying our ransom, and fulfilling of the law: and so the grace of God doth not shut out the justice of God in our justification, but only shutteth out the justice of man, that is to say, the justice of our works, as to be merits of deserving our justification. And therefore S. Paul declares here nothing upon the behalf of man, concerning his justification, but only a true and lively faith, which nevertheless is the gift of God, and not man’s only work, without God: And yet that faith doth not shut out repentance, hope, love, dread, and the fear of God, to be joined with faith in every man that is justified, but it shutteth them out fro the office of justifying. So that although they be all present together in him that is justified, yet they justify not all together: Nor the faith also doeth not shut out the justice of our good works, necessarily to be done after wards of duty towards God (for we are most bounden to serve God, in doing good deeds, commanded by him in his holy Scripture, all the days of our life But it excludes them, so that we may not do them to this intent, to be made good by doing of them. For all the good works that we can do, be imperfect, and therefore not able to deserve our justification: but our justification doth come freely by the mere mercy of God, and of so great and free mercy, that whereas all the world was not able of themselves to pay any part towards their ransom, it pleased our heavenly Father of his infinite mercy, without any our desert or deserving, to prepare for us the most precious jewels of Christ’s body and blood, whereby our ransom might be fully paid, the law fulfilled, and his justice fully satisfied. So that Christ is now the righteousness of all them that truly do believe in him. He for them paid their ransom by his death. He for them fulfilled the Law in his life. So that now in him, and by him, every true Christian man may be called a fulfiller of the Law, forasmuch as that which their infirmity lacked, Christ’s justice hath supplied.