IN HIS LAST WILL Mr. Morgan, financier and multimillionaire of New York, had said: "I commit my soul into the hands of my Savior, in full confidence that, having redeemed it and washed it in His most precious blood, He will present it faultless before the throne of my heavenly Father; and I entreat my children to maintain and defend, at all hazard and at any cost of personal sacrifice, the blessed doctrine of the complete atonement for sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, once offered, and through that alone."
It had been pointed out by Kev. Hageman, of Fall River, Mass., that this dying statement of Mr. Morgan embodies "the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith alone." Mgr. Cassidy, a Roman rector of Fall River, who had previously criticised Mr. Morgan's faith as out of harmony with his vast wealth, became so incensed at the idea of Morgan's holding the Lutheran faith that he violently attached Luther and his doctrine of justification in the Fall River Evening News of May 20. We quote the pertinent passage as a sample of Rome's tactics in polemics: —
"Luther, having destroyed (?) the infallible authority of the Church, made himself an infallible authority. On the 5th of March, 1522, he wrote to the prince elector of Saxony: 'I have not received my Gospel from men, but from heaven, through our Lord Jesus Christ, so that I desire to be called henceforth an evangelist.' (De Wette, 2, 139.) Luther calls himself: 'By the grace of God Ecclesiastes of Wittenberg, who not only has his doctrine from heaven, but is one who has more power in his little finger than a thousand popes, kings, princes, and doctors.' 'Whosoever teaches differently from what I have taught, or whosoever condemns, he condemns God and must remain a child of hell.' (Saemtliche Werke, 28, S46.)Luther's claim to authority as a teacher of God's Word is the common claim of every Christian who proves his belief from the Scriptures. The infallibility of the Scriptures becomes the infallibility of the teachers of Scripture. They can challenge the world as Isaiah did: "To the Law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them"; or Christ: "The Scripture cannot be broken"; or Paul: "Though an angel from heaven preached other gospel to you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed!" — Luther's utterance: "Pecca forliter!" in a letter to Melanchthon of July 19, 1521, we have reproduced in its context in Theol. Quart., Vol. XII, p. 117. Luther replies to a maudlin complaint about his sins which Melanchthon had made to him. Luther, in his rugged, heroic way, tells his friend: "If you are a preacher of grace, do not preach a fictitious, but true grace. If grace is of the true sort, you will also have to bear true, not fictitious, sins. God does not save those who only acknowledge themselves sinners in a feigned manner. Be a sinner, then, and sin boldly, but let your trust be still greater and rejoice in Christ, who is the Victor over sin, death, and the world. We must sin as long as we are in this world; the present life is not an abode of righteousness; however, we look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, says Peter. We are satisfied by the richness of God's glory to have come to the knowledge of the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world. No sin shall wrest us from Him, were we even in one day to commit fornication and manslaughter a thousand times over again. Do you think the price paltry and the payment small that has been made for us by so great a Lamb?" This statement of Luther on the unlimited grace of God's pardon for sin Mgr. Cassidy construes into a free pass to commit sin and go to heaven nevertheless. Does Mgr. Cassidy know that the argument of Luther is the same as that of Paul in Rom. 5, 20, and that Mgr. Cassidy's cavil is the same as that to which Paul replied Rom. 6, 1 ffJ
"How does that strike my non-Lutheran Protestant friends? At another time Luther says: 'I will not have my doctrine judged by any one, not even by angels. For as I am convinced of it, I shall be through it your and the augels' judge, so that he who refuses my doctrine may not be saved.' (Saemtliche Werke, 28, 144.)
"And now let us learn the doctrine of Luther. 'Faith alone,' Luther teaches, 'works justification; and a man is saved and his sins are forgiven by confidently believing.' He writes to Melanchthon, his colaborer and friend: 'Be a sinner and sin boldly; but more boldly still believe and rejoice in Christ, who is the Conqueror of sin, death, and the world. Sin is our lot here below. This life is not the abode of justice. It is sufficient that by the riches of God's glory we acknowledge the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world; sin cannot deprive us of Him, even if in the same day we were to commit a thousand adulteries or a thousand murders.' (De Wette, 2, 37.) In one of his sermons he exclaims: 'Provided one has faith, adultery is no sin.' (Saemtliche Werke, 21, 284 sq.)
"Sin boldly! rob, murder, violate, debauch! Provided one has faith, it is no sin. Such is the doctrine of Luther — justification by faith alone — in all its nakedness, and such is the doctrine that we do net hesitate to term hideous, monstrous, soul-appalling. Is there here any mention of faith (which) leads to good works? I deny it. 'Be a sinner that the blood of the Lamb many cleanse you!' Do evil, not good. Is there here any mention of penance, of regret, sorrow, of reparation? None. 'Justified by faith alone,' screams Luther, while up from the apostolic ages, making the centuries resound with its echoings, thunders the voice of Christ's disciple, St. James: 'Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well; the devils also believe and tremble,' James 2, 19.
"'Sin boldly, that the blood of the Lamb may cleanse you,' preaches Luther in the sixteenth century, and 'my soul, washed and redeemed in the precious blood, He will present faultless,' writes the dying Dives in the twentieth, both in union and harmonious declaration of the same doctrine. However sinfully we may have lived, how unrepentantly we may have died, it matters not, 'we are saved by the blessed doctrine of the complete atonement for sin, through the blood of Jesus Christ, once offered, and through that alone.' Oh, ye fair-minded students! Oh, ye learned and ready of speech! Oh, ye who labor and sweat and toil, see you not the hideousness of such a teaching?
"Brother may betray brother, and wife be false to husband, and son shed the blood of parent, and each plunder the other — it is all right. Get you not a glimpse of the monstrousness of the position taken by this dying Dives? The masters of finance may water stock; they may corner commodities of life; they may manipulate the great enterprises of the land; they may sequester the great natural stores laid away in the earth for the use of all; the captains of industry may hire men and women as they hire the beasts of the field; they may melt and spin and weave the blood and body of the worker into the substance and fiber of the manufactured product; on the sweat, the toil, the hunger, the want, the wretchedness of labor they may fatten and grow great and rich and powerful; yet dying and bequeathing their (ill-gotten) gains, standing on the brink of eternity, they turn and look out backward on the homes they have made desolate, the laud made desert by their injustices, and strewn with the bodies of the men and women whom they have murdered, and then turn in sacrilegious Satanic confidence and say, 'It is nothing. I have believed. I am made clean.'
"And the man with the hoe, yea, and the pick and the crowbar and the dynamite stick, raises his head from his toil-bent position and says: 'What's that? Justified by faith alone? Sin boldly, rob, plunder, ravage, murder, — never mind as long as I believe? By heavens, that's a great doctrine. The world is surely ours if we can get it, and dying I'll be redeemed and spotless made in the precious blood of my Savior.' And the pickax descends no longer into the earth, but into the brain of some weaker brother. 'It's no harm to murder if I believe.' And the sledge-hammer falls no longer on the hard rock, but on the iron bolts of the rich man's vaults. 'It's no harm to rob if I believe.' And the dynamite is planted no longer in the tunnel, the cave, or the mine, but under the city or town cottages of the fewer rich. 'It is no harm to lay waste if I believe.' And sabotage and syndicalism and pauperism measure forces with capitalism and industrialism and grow-richism, each down and up in turn, each robbing, each murdering, each plundering until, both weltering in each other's life-blood, the human family expires in chaos — all washed clean in the Savior's blood — because both believed and wore therefore forever justified! Such a doctrine, we repeat, is not only hideous, it borders on the Satanic."