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poral labours in equal poise.” The same for this point is taught by St. Cyril of Alexandria: that thed crown which we are to receive, doth “ much surpass the pains" which we take for it. And the author of the book Of the calling of the Gentiles, attributed unto Prosper, observeth out of the parable, that God bestoweth eternal life on those that are called at the end of their days, as well as upon them that had laboured longer; “not as paying a price to their labour, but pouring out the riches of his goodness upon them whom he had chosen without works; that even they also who have sweat with much labour, and have received no more than the last, might understand, that they did receive a gift of grace, and not a due wages for their works."
This was the doctrine taught in the Church for the first five hundred years after Christ, which we find maintained also in the next five hundred : “If: the King of heaven should regard my merit,” saith Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, “ either I should get little good, or great punishments; and judging of myself rightly, whither I could not come by merits, I would not tend in desire. But thanks be to him, who, that we may not be extolled, doth so cut off our offences, that he bringeth our hope unto better things.” Our glorification, saith Fulgentius, “ish not unjustly called grace : not only because God doth bestow his own gifts upon his own gifts; but also because the grace of God's reward doth so much there abound, as that it exceedeth incomparably and unspeakably all the merit of the will and work of man, though good, and given from God." For “ although we did sweat,” saith he, who beareth the name of Eusebius Emissenus, or Gallicanus, “ with all the labours of our soul and body, although we were exercised with all the strength of obedience: yet shall not we be able to recompence and offer any thing worthy in merit for the heavenly good things. The offices of this present life cannot be compared with the joys of the life eternal. Although our members be wearied with watchings; although our faces wax pale with fastings, yet the sufferings of this time will not be worthy to be compared with the future glory which shall be revealed in us. Let us knock therefore, dearly beloved, as much as we can, because we cannot as much as we ought: the future bliss may be acquired, but estimated it cannot be."
nodù ToŨ otepávov ToùG Tóvovs trepavio xovros. Cyril. Alexandrin. homil, Paschal. e Matth. chap. 20. ver. 9.
Non labori pretium solvens, sed divitias bonitatis suæ in eos, quos sine operibus elegit, effundens : ut etiam hi qui in multo labore sudarunt, nec amplius quam novissimi acceperunt, intelligant donum se gratiæ, non operum accepisse mercedem. Prosp. de vocat. Gent. lib. 1. cap. 17.
8 Meritum meum regnator cælestis si attenderet, aut exigua bona adipiscerer, aut magna supplicia ; et mei idoneus æstimator, quo meritis pervenire non poteram, voto non tenderem. Sed gratias illi, qui delicta nostra sic ne extollamur resecat, ut spem ad lætiora (al. latiora) perducat. Ennod. Ticinens. lib. 2. epist. 10. ad Faust.
h Gratia autem etiam ipsa ideo non injuste dicitur, quia non solum donis suis Deus dona sua reddit : sed quia tantum etiam ibi gratia divinæ retributionis exuberat, ut incomparabiliter atque ineffabiliter omne meritum, quamvis bonæ et ex Deo datæ, humanæ voluntatis atque operationis excedat. Fulgent, ad Monimum, lib. 1. cap. 10.
“ Albeitt thou hadst good deeds equal in number to the stars," saith Agapetus the deacon, to the emperor Justinian, " yet shalt thou never go beyond the goodness of God. For whatsoever any man shall bring unto God, he doth but offer unto him his own things, out of his own store; and as one cannot outstrip his own shadow in the sun, which prevented him always, although he make never so much speed : so neither can men by their good doings
Totis licet et animæ et corporis laboribus desudemus, totis licet obedientiæ viribus exerceamur : nihil tamen condignum merito pro cælestibus bonis compensare et offerre valebimus. Non valent vitæ præsentis obsequia æternæ vitæ gaudiis comparari. Lassescant licet membra vigiliis ; pallescant licet ora jejuniis : non erunt tamen condignæ passiones bujus temporis ad futuram gloriam, quæ revelabitur in nobis. Pulsemus ergo, charissimi, in quantum possumus ; quia non possumus quantum debemus : futura beatitudo acquiri potest, æstimari non potest. Euseb. Emiss. vel Gallican. ad Monachos, serm. 3.
* Ισάριθμα τοις άστροις αν κτήση κατορθώματα, ουδέποτε νικήσεις την του θεού αγαθότητα όσα γάρ άν τις προσενέγκη θεώ, εκ των αυτού τα αυτού προσφέρει αυτό και ώς ουκ έστιν υπερβήναι την ιδίαν εν τω ηλία σκιάν, προλαμβάνουσαν αεί και τον λίαν επειχόμενον, ούτως ουδέ τήν ανηπέρβλητον του θεού χρηστότητα ταϊς ευποιίαις υπερβήσονται άνθρω7704. Agapet. Diacon. Parrenes, ad Justinian. sect. 13.
outstrip the unmatchable bounty of God.” “ Allt the righteousness of man,” saith Gregory, " is convicted to be unrighteousness, if it be strictly judged. It needeth therefore prayer after righteousness, that that which being sifted might fail, by the mere pity of the judge might stand for good. Let him therefore say: Although I had any righteous thing I would not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge; as if he should more plainly confess, and say: Albeit I did grow up unto the work of virtue, I should be enabled unto life, not by merits, but by pardon.” But you will say: “ If this bliss of the saints be mercy, and is not obtained by merits, how shall that stand which is written, And thou shalt render unto every one according to his works? If it be rendered according to works, how shall it be accounted mercy? but it is one thing to render according to works, and another thing to render for the works themselves. For whence it is said, According to works, the quality itself of the work is understood, that whose works appear good, his reward may be glorious. For unto that blessed life, wherein we are to live with God, and by God, no labour can be equalled, no works compared: seeing the apostle saith: The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. “ By' the
to Ut enim sæpe diximus : Omnis humana justitia, injustitia esse convincitur, si districte judicetur. Prece ergo post justitiam indiget; ut quæ succumbere discussa poterat, ex sola judicis pietate convalescat, &c. Dicat ergo : Qui etiamsi habuero quippiam justum non respondebo, sed meum judicem deprecabor. Ve*lut si apertius fateatur, dicens: Etsi ad opus virtutis excrevero, ad vitam non ex meritis, sed ex venia convalesco. Gregor. Moral. in Job, lib. 9. cap. 14.
Job, chap. 9. ver. 15. * Quod si illa sanctorum felicitas misericordia est, et non meritis acquiritur : ubi erit quod scriptum est : Et tu reddes unicuique secundum opera sua? si secundum opera redditur, quomodo misericordia æstimabitur ? Sed aliud est secundum opera reddere, et aliud propter ipsa opera reddere. In eo enim quod secundum opera dicitur, ipsa operum qualitas intelligitur; ut cujus apparuerint bona opera, ejus sit et retributio gloriosa. Illi namque beatæ vitæ in qua cum Deo, et de Deo vivitur, nullus potest æquari labor, nulla opera comparari : præsertim cum apostolus dicat: Non sunt condignæ passiones hujus temporis ad futuram gloriam quæ revelabitur in nobis. Id. in Psal. Pænitent. 7. ver. 9.
Per justitiam factorum nullus salvabitur, sed per solam justitiam fidei. Beda, in Psal. 77.
righteousness of works no man shall be saved, but only by the righteousness of faith :" saith Bede; and therefore
nom man should believe that either his freedom of will, or his merits, are sufficient to bring him unto bliss; but understand that he can be saved by the grace of God only.” The same author, writing upon those words of David, “He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation :” expoundeth the blessing to be this : " that for the present time he shall merit (or work) well, and for the future shall be rewarded well; and that, not by merits, but by grace only.”
To the same purpose Elias Cretensis, the interpreter of Gregory Nazianzen, writeth thus : “ ByP mercy we ought to understand that reward, which God doth repay unto
For we as servants do owe virtue, that the best things and such as are grateful we should pay and offer unto God as a certain debt: considering that we have nothing, which we have not received from him; and God on the other side, as our Lord and Master, hath pity on us, and doth bestow rather than repay unto us.” “ This? therefore is true humility,” saith Anastasius Sinaita or
m Instruit videlicet, ut nemo vel libertatem arbitrii, vel merita sua sufficere sibi ad beatitudinem credat ; sed sola gratia Dei se, salvari posse intelligat. Beda, in Psal. 31.
n Psalm 24. ver. 5.
• Accipiet benedictionem, id est, multiplicationem a Domino; hanc scilicet ; ut in præsenti bene promereatur, et in futuro bene remuneretur. Et hoc non ex meritis, sed ex gratia sola. Id. in Psal. 23.
p Debemus per misericordiam intelligere mercedem illam, quam nobis Deus rependit. Nos enim tanquam servi, virtutem debemus, ut optima quæque Deo et grata tanquam debitum quoddam exsolvamus ac offeramus: quippe quum nihil habeamus, quod non ab ipso acceperimus. Deus autem velut Dominus et Herus noster miseretur, nobisque potius donat, quam rependit. Elias in Nazianz. orat. habit. in elect. Eulalii.
9 Ούκούν ταπεινοφροσύνη αληθής έστι, το πράττειν τα αγαθά, λογίζεσθαι δε εαυτόν ακάθαρτον και ανάξιον του Θεού, διά μόνην την φιλανθρωπίαν αυτού σωθήναι νομίζοντας όσα γαρ αγαθά εάν ποιήσωμεν, ουκ απολογούμεθα τω θεώ υπέρ μόνου αυτού του αέρος του αναπνεομένου όταν γάρ και πάντα, όσα έχομεν, προσενέγκωμεν αυτώ, ού χρεωστεί ημίν μισθόν αυτού γάρ έστι τα σύμπαντα ουδείς δε τα ίδια λαμβάνων, χρεω- στεί μισθόν δούναι τοίς προσφέρουσιν αυτώ αυτά. Anastas. quest. 135.
Nicænus, “to do good works, but to account one's self unclean and unworthy of God's favour, thinking to be saved by his goodness alone. For whatsoever good things we do, we answer not God for the very air alone which we do breath. And when we have offered unto him all the things that we have, he doth not owe us any reward; for all things are his: and none receiving the things that are his own, is bound to give a reward unto them that bring the same unto him.” In the book set out by the authority of Charles the Great against images; “ the ark of the covenant is said to signify our Lord and Saviour, in whom alone we have the covenant of peace with the Father. Over which the propitiatory is said to be placed: because above the commandments either of the Law, or of the Gospel, which are founded in him, the mercy of the said Mediator taketh place; by which, not by the works of the Law which we have done, neither willing, nor running, but by his having mercy upon us, we are saved.” So Ambrosius Ansbertus, expounding that place, “Let' us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to him ; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." In this', saith he,“ do we give glory to him, when we do confess, that by no precedent merits of our good deeds, but by his mercy only, we have attained unto so great a dignity.” And Rabanus in his commentaries upon the Lamentations of Jeremy: “ Lest' they should say: Our fathers were accepted for their merit, and therefore they obtained such great things
9 Arca foderis secundum quosdam Dominum et Salvatorem nostrum, in quo solo fædus pacis apud patrem habemus, designat, &c. Cui propitiatorium superponitur, quia scilicet legalibus sive evangelicis præceptis, quæ in eo fundata sunt, supereminet misericordia ejusdem mediatoris ; per quam non ex operibus legis quæ fecimus nos, neque volentes, neque currentes, sed ejus miseratione salvamur. Opus Carolin. de imaginib. lib. 1. cap. 15.
r Revel. chap. 19. ver. 7.
* In eo autem damus illi gloriam, quo nullis præcedentibus bonorum actuum meritis, sed sola nos ejus misericordia, ad tantam dignitatem pervenisse fatea
Ambros. Ansbert. lib. 8. in Apocalyps. cap. 19.
Ne dicerent: Patres nostri suo merito placuerunt, ideo tanta sunt a Domino consecuti : intulit non meritis datum, sed quia ita sit Deo placitum, cujus est gratuitum omne quod præstat. Raban. in Jerem. lib. 18. cap. 2.