« ÎnapoiContinuă »
at all so these two sayings likewise may stand well enough together, that among all the virtues in the soul, faith is the only instrument whereby we lay hold upon Christ for our justification; and yet, that faith being alone, and disjoined from the society of other graces, "is dead in itself," as St. James" speaketh, and in that respect can neither only justify, nor justify at all.
So though Claudius do teach as we do, that "faith" alone saveth us; because by the works of the law no man shall be justified;" yet he addeth withal this caution, "Not as if the works of the law should be contemned, and without them a simple faith (so he calleth that solitary faith whereof we spake, which is a simple faith indeed) should be desired; but that the works themselves should be adorned with the faith of Christ. For that sentence of the wise man is excellent, that the faithful man doth not live by righteousness, but the righteous man by faith." In like manner Sedulius acknowledgeth with us, that God "hath purposed by faith only to forgive our sins freely," and "by faith only to save the believers;" and that, when men have fallen, they are to be renewed "only" by the faith of Christ, which worketh by love;" intimating by this last clause, that howsoever faith only be it which justifieth the man, yet the work of love is necessarily required (for all that) to justify the faith. And "this faith (saith he') when it hath been justified, sticketh in the soil
"Jam. cap. 2. ver. 17.
• Si gentes fides sola non salvat, nec nos: quia ex operibus legis nemo justificabitur. Claud. in Gal. cap. 2.
P Non quo legis opera contemnenda sint, et absque eis simplex fides adpetenda; sed ipsa opera fide Christi adornentur. Scita est enim sapientis viri illa sententia; non fidelem vivere ex justitia, sed justum ex fide. Id. in Gal. cap. 3.
4 Gratis proposuit per solam fidem dimittere peccata. Sedul. in Rom. cap. 4. Ut sola fide salvarentur credentes. Id. in Gal. cap. 3.
• Per solam fidem Christi, quæ per dilectionem operatur. Id. in Heb. cap. 6. Hæc fides cum justificata fuerit, tanquam radix imbre suscepto, hæret in animæ solo; ut cum per legem Dei excoli cœperit, rursum in eam surgant rami, qui fructus operum ferant. Non ergo ex operibus radix justitiæ, sed ex radice justitiæ fructus operum crescit illa scilicet radice justitiæ, cui Deus acceptam fert justitiam sine operibus. Id. in Rom. cap. 4.
of the soul, like a root which hath received a shower: that when it hath begun to be manured by the law of God, it may rise up again into boughs, which may bear the fruit of works. Therefore the root of righteousness doth not grow out of works, but the fruit of works out of the root of righteousness; namely out of that root of righteousness, which God doth accept for righteousness without works." The conclusion is: that saving faith is always a fruitful faith; and though it never go alone, yet may there be some gift of God, which it alone is able to reach unto, as Columbanus" also implieth in that verse:
Sola fides fidei dono ditabitur almo.
The greatest depressers of God's grace, and the advancers of man's abilities, were Pelagius and Celestius: the one born in Britain (as appeareth by Prosper Aquitanus) the other in Scotland or Ireland; as Mr. PersonsTM doth gather out of those words of St. Hierome in one of the prefaces of his commentaries, not upon Ezechiel, as he quoteth it, but upon Jeremy : "He hath his offspring from the Scotish nation, near to the Britons." These heretics, as our Marianus noteth out of Prosper, in his chronicle, preached, among other of their impieties, that" for "attaining of righteousness every one was governed by his own will, and received so much grace as he did merit." Whose venomous doctrine was in Britain repressed, first by Palladius, Lupus, Germanus and Severus from abroad; afterward, by David Menevensis, and his successors at home; agreeably to whose institution, Asser Menevensis doth profess, that God is always to be esteemed both the mover of the will, and the bestower of
"Columban. in Monostichis.
w Pers. 3. Convers. part. 1. cap. 3. sec. 10.
Habet enim progeniem Scoticæ gentis, de Britannorum vicinia. Hierom. procen. lib. 3. commentar. in Jerem.
Unumquemque ad justitiam voluntate propria regi; tantumque accipere gratiæ, quantum meruerit. Marian. Scot. chron. ad ann. Dom. 413. vel 414. Whereof see more particularly, the Answer to the Jesuit, in the question of Free-will.
the good that it willed; for he is, saith he, "the instigator of all good wills, and withal the most bountiful provider that the good things desired may be had: forasmuch as he would never stir up any to will well, unless he did also liberally supply that which every one doth well and justly desire to obtain."
Among our Irish, the grounds of sound doctrine in these points were at the beginning well settled by Palladius and Patricius, sent hither by Celestinus bishop of Rome. And when the poison of the Pelagian heresy, about two hundred years after that, began to break out among them: the clergy of Rome in the year of our Lord DCXXXIX. during the vacancy of the See, upon the death of Severinus, directed their letters unto them, for the prevention of this growing mischief. Wherein among other things they put them in mind, that "it is both blasphemy and folly to say, that a man is without sin : which none at all can say: but that one mediator betwixt God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who was conceived and born without sin." Which is agreeable, partly to that of Claudius; that "it is manifest unto all wise men, although it be contradicted by heretics, that there is none who can live upon earth without the touch of some sin :" partly to that of Sedulius, that "there is none of the elect so great, whom the Devil doth not dare to accuse, but him alone who did no sin, and who said: The Prince
a Omnium bonarum voluntatum instigator; nec non etiam, ut habeantur bona desiderata, largissimus administrator: neque enim unquam aliquem bene velle instigaret, nisi et hoc, quod bene et juste quisque habere desiderat, largiter administraret. Asser. de rebus gestis Ælfredi. R.
b Prosp. Aquitan. advers. Collator. circa finem.
< Blasphemia et stultiloquium est dicere, esse hominem sine peccato : quod omnino non potest, nisi unus mediator Dei et hominum homo Christus Jesus, qui sine peccato est conceptus et partus. Epist. Cler. Roman. apud Bedam, lib. 2. hist. cap. 19.
d Quia, (quod omnibus sapientibus patet, licet hæretici contradicant) nemo est, qui sine adtactu alicujus peccati vivere possit super terram. Claud. lib. 2. ann.
e Nullus electus et ita magnus, quem diabolus non audeat accusare: nisi illum solum, qui peccatum non fecit, qui et dicebat; Nunc venit Princeps hujus mundi et in me nihil invenit. Sedul. in Rom. cap. 8.
of this world cometh now, and in me he findeth nothing."
For touching the imperfection of our sanctification in this life, these men held the same that we do: to wit, that the law" cannot be fulfilled; that "there is none that doth good, that is to say, perfect and entire good;" that God's elect shall be perfectly "holy and immaculate in the life to come, where the Church of Christ shall have no spot nor wrinkle :" whereas "in this present life they are righteous, holy, and immaculate, not wholly, but in part" only; that "the righteous shall then be without all kind of sin, when there shall be no law in their members, that shall resist the law of their mind;" that although "sin do not now reign in their mortal body to obey the desires thereof :" yet "sin dwelleth in that mortal body, the force of that natural custom being not yet extinguished," which we have gotten by our original, and increased by our actual transgressions. And as for the matter of merit, Sedulius doth resolve us out of St. Paul, that we are saints "by the calling of God, not by the merit of our deed;" that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above that we ask or think," according to the power that worketh in us, not according to our merits; that "whatsoever" men have from God is
f Non potest impleri. Id. in Rom. cap. 7.
Non est qui faciat bonum, hoc est, perfectum et integrum bonum. Id. in Rom. cap. 3.
h Ad hoc nos elegit, ut essemus sancti et immaculati, in futura vita; quoniam Ecclesia Christi non habebit maculam neque rugam. Licet etiam in præsenti vita justi, et sancti, et immaculati, quamvis non ex toto, tamen ex parte, non inconvenienter dici possunt. Id. in Ephes. cap. 1.
i Tunc erit justus sine ullo omnino peccato, quando nulla lex erit in membris ejus repugnans legi mentis ejus. Claud. in Gal. 5.
* Non enim jam regnat peccatum in eorum mortali corpore ad obediendum desideriis ejus: quamvis habitet in eodem mortali corpore peccatum, nondum extincto impetu consuetudinis naturalis, qua mortaliter nati sumus, et ex propriis vitæ nostræ, cum et nos ipsi peccando auximus quod ab origine peccati humani damnationis trahebamus. Id. ibid.
1 Vocatione Dei, non merito facti. Sedul. in. Rom. cap. 1.
m Secundum virtutem quæ operatur in nobis; non secundum merita nostra. Id. in Ephes. cap. 3.
n Sciendum est, quia omne quod habent homines a Deo, gratia est: nihil enim ex debito habent. Id. in Rom. cap. 16.