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An action, abstractedly considered, may be good, without being relatively so. For instance, an act of charity is a good act in itself, by whomsoever it is performed; but the principles, aim, and motives of the doer are taken into account by God, and unless all these can stand the test of the Gospel, the deed will find no favour in his sight. Thus the very same act, as done by different persons, will obviously appear in a very different light.
3. Illustrate your reasoning by an example; and apply it to the case of mankind in general.
Both Cain and Abel sacrificed to God: and 'the Lord had respect to Abel and his offering ; but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect' (Gen. iv. 4, 5.). Now it was 'by faith' in the promised seed that Abel offered the
more excellent sacrifice' (Heb. xi. 4.); and thus it is only when they 'spring of faith in Jesus Christ,' that good works 'make men meet to receive his grace, and the inspiration of
bis Spirit,' which are necesssary to counteract the fatal effects of the Fall.
4. What do you understand by Grace of Congruity ; and to what is it Theologically opposed ?
Grace of Congruity is a term employed by the Schoolmen to express a certain degree of grace, which a man, who has attained by his natural powers to the required state of moral fitness, claims of God de congruo. It is opposed to a further extension of grace, in virtue whereof he arrives at a state of merit, to which eternal happiness is due (ex condigno) as a right. This latter is called Grace of Condignity.
5. Who were the Schoolmen ?
The Schoolmen were the originators of a system of Theology, called the Scholastic, which professed to reduce Divinity to a kind of Science, and to establish the doctrines of Christianity on metaphysical principles. Many of the disputes which still agitate the Church may be traced to their discussions; and though the terms which they employed, such as Predestination, Reprobation, Perseverance, and the like, have become almost essential to the language of divines, the controversies respecting the doctrines which they involve have been pregnant with deplorable mischief to
the peace of the Church, The Scholastic system arose in the 11th Century, and continued to enjoy a high celebrity during the 3 follo ving centuries.
6. Whence is it that works before Justification are said to have the nature of sin ?
It has been seen that works to be perfectly good must proceed from a good principle ; they must spring of faith,' and thus be done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done. If not perfectly good, they doubtless have the nature of sin.'
7. Do the views expressed in this article tend to exclude all, who have not embraced Christianity, from God's favour?
Unquestionably the views of this Article include all those who have not lived under the Gospel; but though the works of all such persons are here declared to have the nature of sin, it does not follow that they will therefore fail of Salvation, 'A willing mind is accepted according to that a man
hath, and not according to that he hath not' (2 Cor. viii. 12.); so that all of every age, who have not heard the name of Christ, but have been a law unto themselves' (Rom. ii. 14.), will partake of the all-sufficient merits of his atonement.
8. Does it appear that the writers of the primitive Church entertained opinions in accordance with the doctrine of this Article?
Ignatius observes (ad Ephes. c. 8.) that they, who are carnal, cannot do the things that are spiritual: neither can unbelief do the works of faith.-As the wild olive, says Irenæus (Hær. v. 10.), if it be not grafted, continues useless to the onner; so man, who receives not the grafting of the Spirit by faith, continues to be what he was before, flesh and blood, which cannot inherit the kingdom of God.Chrysostom, in his Sermon de fide &c., speaks thus : You shali find many which have not the true faith, and are not of Christ's flock, and yet appear to ābound in works of mercy: you shall find them full of pity, and compassion, and justice: and yet they have no fruit of their works, because the chief work is wanting.
Of Works of Supererogation. | De Operibus Supereroga
tionis. VOLUNTARY Works besides, over and above, God's OPERA, quæ SupererogaCommandments, which they tionis appellant, non possunt call Works of Supererogation sine arrogantia et impietate cannot be taught without ar prædicari ; nam illis declarogancy and impiety; for by rant homines, non tantum se them men do declare, that Deo reddere quæ tenentur, they do not only render sed plus in ejus gratiam unto God as much as they cere quam deberent: cum are bound to do, but that aperte Christus dicat, Cum they do more for his sake, feceritis omnia quæcunque than of bounden duty is re- præcepta sunt vobis, dicite, quired : whereas Christ saith Servi inutiles sumus. plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.
1. What is the derivation and meaning of the word Supererogation ; and what do you mean by Works of Supererogation ?
Supererogation, from the Latin verb erogare, to disburse ' money,' signifies in fact the over-payment of a debt; and Works of Supererogation, in the language of the Romish Church, are good deeds which a man may have done over and beyond what is actually necessary to ensure his salvation.
2. In what does this doctrine of the Romish Church appear to have originated ?
The notion seems to have arisen out of an assumed distinction between the precepts and the counsels of the Gospel. As the Jews distinguished between the weightier and lighter matters of the Law, and thus made the commandments of God of none effect through their traditions (Matt. xv. 3.); so the Romanists maintain in like manner that, besides the positive duties enjoined in the New Testament, there are certain Counsels of Perfection, which advise the voluntary performance of many works, though not of universal obligation.
3. Give an example of these “ Counsels of Perfection ;” and show that they have no real foundation in Scripture.
One of the texts upon which this error is founded, is that in which St Paul offered his opinion that, for the pre
sont distress; it was good for a man to abstain from mar‘riage' (1 Cor. vii. 26. 38.); whereon the Romanists build the supererogatory virtue of celibacy. It is clear, however, that this, and other passages similarly perverted, have a reference either to a definite period, or to particular circumstances; so that they cannot have a general application.
4. To what extent have the Romanists carried their notions on this subject; and to what purpose are works of supererogation applied ?
Not only do they hold that Christ both did and suffered more than was necessary for man's salvation, but that the saints have practiced much beyond the requisite amount of virtue to merit their own justification. Of this superabundant store of merit the Pope is the guardian ; and he dispenses it in the form of Pardons and Indulgences to any person or persons who may stand in need thereof, and have the means of obtaining them.
5. What are Pardons and Indulgences ?
6. Does the Gospel afford any sanction to the doctrine condemned in this Article?
So far from affording the slightest sanction to the doctrine that a man can do more than is required of him, the Gospel urges us to strive to be perfect even as our
Father which is in heaven is perfect' (Matt. v. 48.); when we have done all to say we are unprofitable servants, hav‘ing only done what it was our duty to do' (Luke xvii. 10.); and to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness both of the flesh
and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God' (2 Cor. vii. 1.). He then that has no merit of his own, can have none to transfer to others : so that no man may deliver his 'brother, nor make agreement unto God for him' (Psal. xlix. 7.).
7. Why cannot Works of Supererogation be taught without arrogance and impiety?
A doctrine which is so opposed to the humility which the Gospel teaches (Luke xviii. 9–14.), may well be called arrogant ; nor can it be taught without impiety, inasmuch as it detracts from the all-sufficiency of the atonement, and contradicts the most explicit declarations of Scripture.
8. Illustrate this Article by quotations from the Fathers.
Basil on Psal. xlix. 7. How can he, who cannot make satisfaction to God for his own sins, propitiate Him for those of another ? Cyprian. Test. III. 51. No one ought to be lifted up on account of what he does. Augus
ohan. Tr. 84. The blood of a martyr is not shed for the remission of the sins of his brethren, as Christ died for us.
Of Christ alone without | De Christo, qui solus est
CHRIST in the truth of our CHRISTUS, in nostræ nanature was made like unto us turæ veritate, per omnia siin all things, sin only except, milis factus est nobis, exfrom which he was clearly | cepto peccato, a quo prorsus void, both in his flesh and in erat immunis, tum in carne, his spirit. He came to be tum in spiritu. Venit ut ag.. the Lamb without spot, who, | nus absque macula, qui munby sacrifice of himself once di peccata per immolationem made, should take away the sui semel factam tolleret; et sins of the world ; and sin, as peccatum, ut inquit Johan