81. It is wonderful, that the doctrine of justification by faith alone prevails at this day over every other doctrine throughout the whole Reformed Christian world, and is esteemed in the sacred order almost as the only important point of theology. This is what all young students among the clergy greedily learn and imbibe at the universities, and what they afterwards teach in temples, and publish in books, as if they were inspired with heavenly wisdom, and whereby they endeavor to acquire to themselves a name, and the reputation of superior learning, as well as diplomas, licenses, and other honorary rewards.
And these things are done, notwithstanding it is owing to this doctrine alone, that the sun is at this day darkened, the moon deprived of her light, and the stars of the heavens have fallen, that is, have perished. It has been testified to me, that the doctrine of faith in imputed justice has blinded the minds of men at this day to such a degree, that they will not, and therefore as it were cannot, see any Divine truth by the light of the sun, nor by the light of the moon, but only by the light of a fireplace by night; on which account I will venture to assert, that supposing Divine truths concerning the conjunction of charity and faith, concerning heaven, the Lord, and eternal happiness, to be sent down from heaven engraven in silver characters, they would not be thought worthy to be read by the sticklers for justification; but the case would be quite otherwise supposing a paper concerning justification by faith alone to be brought up from hell. It is also said in the Formula Concordiae, that the article of justification by faith alone, or the justice of faith, is the chief article in the whole Christian doctrine; and that the works of the law are utterly to be excluded from this article (pp. 17, 61, 62, 72, 89, 683; Appendix, p. 164).