The Formal and Material Principals of the Reformation

“THE Protestant reformation proceeded from the practical developement of two propositions, the one of which embodied its formal, the other its material principle.

The first is, that the Scriptures are the only rule of Christian faith and practice; and the second, that justification before God is solely through the righteousness of Christ, imputed to the believer, without the works of the law.

The former of these principles inaugurates the right of private judgment, and rescues the liberties of the church and people of God from the bondage of a usurping priesthood.

The latter enunciates a theology, which, whether designated, from its unani- mous reception by the divines of the reformation, by the name of “Reformed;” or from its great expounders called Calvinistic, Augustinian, or Pauline, has always proved itself the alone sure basis of a stable faith; and the only reliable fountain of a pure morality.”

Samuel J. Baird 1857
The Southern Presbyterian Journal

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