A sweet snippet from Snoddy’s “The Soteriology of James Ussher”


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Regarding our justification by faith alone. Ussher considers faith a ‘poor virtue’ and hence without merit.

“Only the ‘poor virtue’ of faith is instrumental in justification because it receives the gift of Christ: ‘faith indeed, as it is a virtue, is poor and mean, and comes far short of love: and therefore by the apostle, love is many degrees preferred before faith, because love fills the heart, and faith is but a bare hand, it lets all things fall, that it may fill itself with Christ’. God has chosen ‘the lowest and meanest…this poor beggar’s hand’ so that salvation might be by grace, with justification grounded on the merits of Christ. This, according to [Ussher’s] A Body of Divintie, is how faith acts as an instrument, and is ‘not considered as a vertue (sic) inherent in us, working by love’, so that the Christian can know the assurance of salvation that is not dependent upon human merit or inherent righteousness.”

Page 128

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