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goodness); God conferring the inward blessing of his Spirit thereupon, when and where he will. “ Who then is Paul,” saith St. Paul himself, “and who is Apollos? but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man ?"
“ Therefore," saith Optatus, “int all the servants there is no dominion, but a ministry.” “ Cuis creditur, ipse dat quod creditur, non per quem creditur. It is he who is believed, that giveth the thing which is believed; not he by whom we do believe." Whereas our Saviour then saith unto his apostles, “ Receive’ the Holy Ghost; Whose sins you forgive shall be forgiven:" St. Basil", Ambrose", Augustine', Chrysostom", and Cyrile, make this observation thereupon; that this is not their work properly, but the work of the Holy Ghost, who remitteth by them, and therein performeth the work of the true God. For “ indeed," saith St. Cyril, "it belongeth to the true God alone, to be able to loose men from their sins; for who else can free the transgressors of the law from sin, but he, who is the author of the law itself.” “ The Lord", saith St. Augustine, "was to give unto men the Holy Ghost; and he would have it to be understood,
w 1 Cor. chap. 3. ver. 5.
* Est ergo in universis servientibus non dominium, sed ministerium. Optat. lib. 5.
y Id. ibid. Similiter et Chrysostom. in 1 Cor. cap. 3. homil. 3. Touto dè autó μέν καθ' εαυτό, μέγα και πολλών άξιον μισθών προς δε το αρχέτυπον και την ρίζαν των αγαθών, ουδέν, ου γάρ ο διακονούμενος τοίς άγαθοίς, άλλ' ο παρέχων αυτά και διδούς, ούτός έστιν ο ευεργέτης.
2 John, chap. 20.
Ambros. de Spir. Sanct. lib. 3. cap. 18. op. tom. 2. pag. 693. c Augustin. contr. epist. Parmenian. lib. 2. cap. 11. op. tom. 9. pag. 41. et serm. 99. tom. 8. pag. 525.
& Chrysost. in 2 Cor. cap. 3. hom. 6. op. tom. 10. pag. 476. e Cyrill. Alexandr. in Johan. lib. 12. cap. 56.
? Et certe solius veri Dei est, ut possit a peccatis homines solvere. Cui enim alii prævaricatores legis liberare a peccato licet, nisi legis ipsius autori? Id. ibid.
& Daturus erat Dominus hominibus Spiritum Sanctum : ab ipso Spiritu Sancto fidelibus suis dimitti peccata, non meritis hominum volebat intelligi dimitti peccata. Nam quid es, homo, nisi æger sanandus? Vis mihi esse medicus ? mecum quære medicum. Augustin. serm. 99. op. tom. 5. pag. 525.
that by the Holy Ghost himself sins should be forgiven to the faithful; and not that by the merits of men sins should be forgiven. For what art thou, O man, but a sick man, that hast need to be healed ? Wilt thou be a physician to me? Seek the physician together with me.” So St. Ambrose: “Behold", that by the Holy Ghost sins are forgiven. But men to the remission of sins bring their ministry; they exercise not the authority of any power.” St. Chrysostom, though he make this to be the exercise of a great power (which also he elsewherei amplifieth, after his manner, exceeding hyperbolically), yet in the main matter accordeth fully with St. Ambrose; that it lieth in“ Godk alone to bestow the things wherein the priest's service is employed.” "And what speak I of priests?” saith he, “ Neither angel or archangel can do aught in those things which are given by God: but the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost do dispense all.
The priest lendeth his tongue, and putteth to his hand. His part only is to open his mouth : but it is God that worketh all.” And the reasons whereby both he, and Theophylact" after him, do prove that the priests of the law had no power to forgive sins, are of as great force to take the same power from the ministers of the Gospel : first, because“ ito is God's part only to forgive sins,” which is the moral that Haymo maketh of that part of the history of
Ecce, quia per Spiritum Sanctum peccata donantur. Homines autem in remissionem peccatorum ministerium suum exhibent ; non jus alicujus potestatis exercent. Ambros. de Spir. Sanct. lib. 3. cap. 18. op. tom. 2. pag. 693.
i Chrysost. lib. 3. de sacerdotib.
* Α" γάρ εγκεχείρισται ο ιερεύς, θεού μόνου έστι δωρείσθαι. Ιd. in Johan. cap. 20. homil. 86. op. tom. 8. pag. 518.
1 Και τι λέγω τους ιερείς και ούτε άγγελος ούτε αρχάγγελος εργάσασθαι τι δύναται εις τα δεδομένα παρά του θεού αλλά πατήρ και υιός και άγιον πνεύμα πάντα οικονομεί. ο δε ιερεύς την έαυτού δανείζει γλώτταν, και την έαυτού παρέχει χείρα. Ιd. ib.
m Το πάν της χάριτός έστιν τούτου έστιν ανοίξαι μόνον το στόμα. το δε πάν ο θεός εργάζεται, σύμβολον ούτος πληρώι μόνον. Ιd. in 2 Tim. сар. . 1. homil. 2. op. tom. 11. pag. 671. * Id. in Johan. cap. 8. homil. 54. op. tom. 8. pag. 316.
Tỏ rào vat cuapriag 90% Bóvov. Theophylact, in Johan. cap. 8.
the Gospel, wherein the lepers are cleansed by our Saviour, before they be commanded to shew themselves unto the priests: “because,” saith he, "not the priests, but God doth forgive sins." Secondly, because the priests were servants, yea servants of sin, and therefore had no power to forgive sins unto others : but the Son is the Lord of the house ; who" wasî manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin," saith St. John, upon which saying of his, St. Augustine giveth this good note: “It' is he in whom there is no sin, that came to take away sin. For if there had been sin in him too, it must have been taken away from him, he could not take it away himself.”
To forgive sins therefore being thus proper to God only, and to his Christ: his ministers must not be held to have this power communicated unto them, but in an improper sense; namely, because God forgiveth by them, and hath appointed them both to apply those means, by which he useth to forgive sins, and to give notice unto repentant sinners of that forgiveness. “For who can forgive sins but God alone? yet doth he forgive by them also, unto whom he hath given power to forgive :” saith St. Ambrose, and his followers'. And“ though" it be the proper work of God to remit sins," saith Ferus, “yet are the apostles (and their successors) said to remit also; not simply, but because they apply those means whereby God doth remit sins. Which means are the word of God and the sacraments."
Ρ Δούλοι κακείνοι όντες οι ιερείς υμών, ουκ έχουσιν εξουσίαν αφιέναι άλλοις αμαρτίας. Ιd. ib. 91 John, chap. 3. ver. 5.
In quo non est peccatum, ipse venit auferre peccatum. Nam si esset et in illo peccatum, auferendum esset illi, non ipse auferret. Augustin. tract. 4. in 1. Johan. cap. 3. op. tom. 3. par.
• Quis enim potest peccata dimittere, nisi solus Deus ? qui per cos quoque dimittit, quibus dimittendi tribuit potestatem. Ambr. lib. 5. comment, in Luc. cap. 5. op. tom. 1. pag. 135.
i Beda, et Stratus in Marc. cap. 2. et Luc. cap. 5.
u Quamvis Dei proprium opus sit, remittere peccata; dicuntur tamen etiam apostoli remittere: non simpliciter, sed quia adhibent media, per quæ Deus remittit peccata. Hæc autem media sunt, verbum Dei et sacramenta. Jo. Ferus, annotat. in Johan. cap. 20. item, lib. 3. comment. in Matt. cap. 16.
Whereunto also we may add, the relaxation of the censures of the Church, and prayer: for in these four the whole exercise of this ministry of reconcilation, as the apostle" calleth it, doth mainly consist; of each whereof it is needful that we should speak somewhat more particularly.
That prayer is a means ordained by God for procuring remission of sins, St. Chrysostom observeth* out of Job, chapter forty-two, verse eight; and is plain by that of St. James. “ The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed : for the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The latter of which sentences hath reference to the prayers of every good Christian, whereunto we find a gracious promise annexed, according to that of St. John ; “ Ifa any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.” But the former, as the verse immediately going before doth manifestly prove, pertaineth to the prayers made by the ministers of the Church ; who have a special charge to be the Lord's remembrancers for the good of his people. And therefore, as St. Augustine out of the latter proveth, that one brother by this means may cleanse another from the contagion of sin; so doth St. Chrysostom out of the former, that priests do perform this, “not by teaching only and admonishing, but by assisting us also with their prayers ;" and the faithful prayers, both of the one and of the other, are by St. Augustine' made the especial means, whereby the power of the keys is exercised in the remitting of sins: who thereupon exhorteth offenders to shew their repentance publicly in the Church, “ that the Church might pray for them, and impart the benefit of absolution unto them."
W 2 Cor. chap. 5. ver. 18.
* 'Εντεύθεν γινώσκομεν, ότι ευχή δικαίων περιαιρεί αμαρτίαν. Chrysost. in catena Græca, in Job. cap. 42. ver. 8.
y James, chap. 5. ver. 15, 16. 2 1 John, chap. 5. ver. 16.
a Quod etiam frater fratrem a delicti poterit contagione mundare. Augustin. in evangel. Johan. tract. 58. op. tom. 3. par. 2.
6 ου τα διδάσκειν μόνον και νουθετεϊν, αλλά και το δι' ευχών βοηθείν. Chrysost. lib. 3. de sacerd, op. tom. 1. pag. 384.
In the life of St. Basil, fathered upon Amphilochius, of the credit whereof we have before spoken, a certain gentlewoman is brought in, coming unto St. Basil for obtaining remission of her sins: who is said there to have demanded this question of her. “ Hast thou heard, O woman, that none can forgive sins but God alone?" and she to have returned him this answer. “ I have heard it, father: and therefore have I moved thee to make intercession unto our most merciful God for me." Which agreeth well with that which Alexanderf of Hales and Bonaventures do maintain; that the power of the keys extends to the remission of faults, by way of intercession only and deprecation, not by imparting any immediate absolution. And as in our private forgiving and praying one for another, St. Augustine well noteth, that "it" is our part, God giving us the grace, to use the ministry of charity and humility; but it is his to hear us, and to cleanse us from all pollution of sins for Christ, and in Christ; that what we forgive unto others, that is to say, what we loose upon earth, may be loosed also in heaven;" so doth St. Ambrose shew, that the case also standeth with the ministers of the Gospel, in the execution of that commission given unto them for the
Augustin. de baptismo contra Donatist. lib. 3. cap. 17, 18.
Id. serm. 392. Agite pænitentiam qualis agitur in Ecclesia, ut oret pro vobis Ecclesia. op. tom. 5. pag. 1504.
e tom. 2. vit. sanct. ab Aloysio Lipomano edit. Venet. ann. 1553. fol. 298. Vit. patrum, ab Her. Rosweydo edit. Antverp. ann. 1615. pag. 160. Miscellan. a Gerardo Vossio. edit. Mogunt. ann. 1604. pag. 136.
Alex. in summ. part. 4. quæst. 21. membr. 1. 8 Bonaventur, in lib. 4. sent. dist. 18. art. 2. quæst. 1.
• Nostrum est, donante ipso, ministerium charitatis et humilitatis adhibere : illius est exaudire, ac nos ab omni peccatorum contaminatione mundare per Christum, et in Christo; ut quod aliis etiam dimittimus, hoc est, in terra solvimus, solvatur et in cælo. Augustin, in fine tractat. 58. in evangel. Johann.