tine, " which would say, that by the sin of the first man free will is utterly perished from mankind ? Freedom indeed is perished by sin: but that freedom which was in paradise, of having full righteousness with immortality; for which cause man's nature standeth in need of God's grace, according to the saying of our Lord: If the Son shall free you, then ye shall be free indeed : namely, free to live well and righteously. For free will is so far from having perished in the sinner, that by it they sin, all they especially who sin with delight, and for the love of sin, that pleaseth them which liketh them.” When we deny therefore that a natural man hath any free will unto good, by a natural man, we understand one that is without Christ, and destitute of his renewing grace; by free will, that which the philosophers call tò éq' ñuiv, a thing that is in our own power to do; and by good, a theological not a philosophical good, bonum vere spirituale et salutare, a spiritual good and tending to salvation. This then is the difference which God's word teacheth us to put betwixt a regenerate and an unregenerate man. The one is "aliveh unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord;" and so enabled to yield' himself unto God, as one that is alive from the dead, and his members as instruments of righteousness unto God;" having “hisk fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” The other is a mere

stranger' from the life of God, deadm in trespasses and sins ;” and so no more able to lead a holy life acceptable unto God, than a dead man is to perform the actions of him which is alive.

He may live indeed the life of a natural and a moral

quæ in Paradiso fuit, habendi plenam cum immortalitate justitiam : propter quod natura humana divina indiget gratia, dicente Domino ; Si vos Filius liberaverit, tunc vere liberi eritis ; utique liberi ad bene justeque vivendum. Nam liberum arbitrium usque adeo in peccatore non periit; ut per illud peccent, maxime omnes qui cum delectatione peccant, et amore peccati, hoc eis placet quod eis libet. Aug, contr. duas epist. Pelagian. lib. 1. cap. 2. op. tom. 10. pag. 413. h Rom. chap. 6. vers. 11.

i Ibid. vers. 13. k Ibid. ver. 22.

Ephes. chap. 4. ver. 18. m Ephcs. chap. 2. ver. 1. 5.


man, and so exercise the freedom of his will, not only in natural and civil, but also in moral actions, so far as concerneth external conformity unto those notions of good and evil that remain in his mind : in respect whereof the very Gentiles themselves “whicho have not the law,” are said to “ do by nature the things contained in the law:" he may have such fruit, as not only common honesty and civility, but common gifts of God's spirit likewise will yield; and in regard thereof he may obtain of God temporal rewards appertaining to this transitory life, and a lesser measure of punishment in the world to come: yet until he be quickened with the life of grace, and “married to him who is raised from the dead,” he cannot

bring forth fruit unto God," nor be accepted for one of his servants. This is the doctrine of our Saviour himselt: “ As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, , and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do NOTHING;" that is, nothing truly good and acceptable unto God. This is the lesson that St. Paul doth every where inculcate: “ I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. The natural man perceiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can be understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Untot them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure: but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” Now seeing "the" end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned," seeing the first beginning, from whence every good action should proceed, is a sanctified heart, the last end the seeking of God's glory, and faith working by love must intercur betwixt both: the moral works of the unregenerate failing

* Rom. chap. 2. ver. 14.
P Joh. chap. 15. ver. 4, 5.
ri Cor. chap. 2. ver. 14.
" Tit. chap. 1. ver. 15.

• Ibid. chap. 7. ver. 4.
9 Rom. chap. 7. ver. 18.

Hebr. chap. 11. ver. 6. u 1 Tim. chap. 1. ver. 5.

so foully both in the beginning, middle, and end, are to be accounted breaches rather of the commandment than observances, depravations of good works rather than performances. For howsoever these actions be in their own kind good, and commanded of God, yet are they marred in the carriage, that which is bonum being not done bene: and so though in regard of their matter they may be accounted good, yet for the manner they must be esteemed vicious.

The Pelagian heretics were wont here to object unto our forefathers, as the Romanists do now-a-days unto us, both the examples of the heathen," whor being strangers from the faith,” did notwithstanding, as they said, "abound with virtues ;” and St. Paul's testimony also concerning them", by which they laboured to prove, “ that' even such as were strangers from the faith of Christ, might yet have true righteousness; because that these, as the apostle witnessed, naturally did the things of the law." But will you hear how St. Augustine took up Julian the Pelagian, for making this objection ? " Hereiny hast thou expressed more evidently that doctrine of yours, wherein you are enemies unto the grace of God which is given by Jesus Christ our Lord, who taketh away the sin of the world: bringing in a kind of men, which may please God without the faith of Christ, by the law of nature. This is it, for which the Christian Church doth most of all detest you;” and again : “ Be’ it far from us to think, that true

"Sed acerbissimi gratiæ hujus inimici, exempla nobis apponitis impiorum, quos dicitis alienos a fide abundare virtutibus. Aug, contra Julian. lib. 4. cap. 3.

* Rom. chap. 2. ver. 14, 15.

* Per hos enim probare conatus es, etiam alienos a fide Christi, veram posse habere justitiam ; eo quod isti, teste apostolo, naturaliter quæ legis sunt faciunt. August, cont. Julian. lib. 4. cap. 3. op. tom. 10. pag. 597.

y Ubi quidem dogma vestrum quo estis inimici gratiæ Dei, quæ datur per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum, qui tollit peccatum mundi, evidentius expressisti; introducens hominum genus, quod Deo placere possit sine Christi fide, lege naturæ. Hoc est unde vos maxime Christiana detestatur Ecclesia. Ibid.

2 Sed absit, ut sit in aliquo vera virtus, nisi fuerit justus. Absit autem ut sit justus vere, nisi vivat ex fide : justus enim ex fide vivit. Quis porro eorum qui se Christianos haberi volunt, nisi soli Pelagiani, aut in ipsis etiam forte tu solus, justum dixerit infidelem, justum dixerit impium, justum dixerit Diabolo

virtue should be in any one, unless he were righteous, and as far, that one should be truly righteous, unless he did live by faith : for the just doth live by faith. Now which of them, that would have themselves accounted Christians, but the Pelagians alone, or even among them, perhaps thou thyself alone, would say that an infidel were righteous, would say that an ungodly man were righteous, would say that a man mancipated to the devil were righteous ? although he were Fabricius, although he were Fabius, although he were Scipio, although he were Regulus.” And whereas Julian had further demanded : “ Ifa a heathen man do clothe the naked, because it is not of faith, is it therefore sin ?" St. Augustine answereth absolutely, “ inasmuch as it is not of faith, it is sin: not because the fact considered in itself, which is to clothe the naked, is a sin; but of such a work not to glory in the Lord, none but an impious man will deny to be a sin.” For howsoever, " in itself, this natural compassion be a good work; yet he useth this good work amiss, that doth it unbelievingly, and doth this good work amiss, that doth it unbelievingly : but whoso doth any thing amiss, sinneth surely. From whence it is to be gathered, that even those good works which unbelievers do, are not theirs, but his who maketh good use of evil men: but that the sins are theirs, whereby they do good things amiss, because they do them not with a faithful, but with an unfaithful, that is, with a foolish and naughty will. Which kind of will no Christian doubteth to be an evil tree, which cannot bring forth but evil fruits, that is to say, sins only. For all that is not of faith, whether thou wilt or no, is sin.” This and much more to the same purpose, doth St. Augustine urge against the heretic Julian : prosecuting at large that conclusion which he layeth down in his book of the acts of the Palestine council against Pelagius : “Howe much soever the works of unbelievers be magnified, we know the sentence of the apostle to be true and invincible, Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.” Which maketh him also in his retractations to correct' himself, for saying in one place, that the “philosophersd shined with the light of virtue, who were not endued with true piety.”

mancipatum ? sit licet ille Fabricius, sit licet Fabius, sit licet Scipio, sit licet Regulus. Aug. contra Julian. lib. 4. cap. 3. op. tom. 10. pag. 593.

a Si gentilis (inquis) nudum operuerit, nunquid quia non est ex fide, peccatum est? Prorsus in quarum non est ex fide peccatum est: non quia per seipsum factum, quod est nudum operire, peccatum est : sed de tali opere non in Domino gloriari, solus impius negat esse peccatum. Ibid. pag. 600.

b Quod si et ipsa (misericordia) per seipsam naturali compassione opus est bonum; etiam isto bono male utitur qui infideliter utitur, et hoc bonum male facit qui infideliter facit: qui autem male facit aliquid, profecto peccat. Ex quo colligitur, etiam ipsa bona opera quæ faciunt infideles, non ipsorum esse, sed illius qui bene utitur malis : ipsorum autem esse peccata, quibus et bona male faciunt; quia ea non fideli, sed infideli, hoc est, stulta et noxia faciunt voluntate; qualis voluntas, nullo Christiano dubitante, arbor est mala, quæ facere non potest nisi fructus malos, id est, sola peccata. Omne enim, velis nolis, quod non est cx fide, peccatum est. Ibid. paz. 601.

The like sentence doth St. Hierome pronounce against those, “ who not believing in Christ, did yet think themselves to be valiant and wise, temperate or just: that they might know that no man doth live without Christ, without whom all virtue is accounted vice.” And Prosper against Cassianus, a patron of the free will of the semiPelagians: “ It appeareth," saith he, “most manifestly, that there dwelleth no virtue in the minds of the ungodly, but that all their works be unclean and polluted; who have wisdom not spiritual but animal, not heavenly but earthly, not Christian but Diabolical, not from the Father of light but from the prince of darkness; while by those very things which they should not have had but by God's

• Quantumlibet opera infidelium prædicentur, apostoli sententiam veram novimus et invictam ; Omne quod non est ex fide, peccatum est. Aug. de gestis contra Pelagium, cap. 14. op. tom. 10. pag. 211.

Quod Philosophos non vera pietate præditos, dixi virtutis luce fulsisse. Id. Retract. lib. 1. cap. 3. op. tom. 1. pag. 6.

e Sententiam proferamus adversus eos, qui in Christum non credentes, fortes et sapientes, temperantes se putant esse et justos : ut sciant nullum absque Christo vivere, sine quo omnis virtus in vitio est. Hieronym. in Galat. cap. 3.

Manifestissime patet, in impiorum animis nullam habitare virtutem : sed omnia opera eorum immunda esse atque polluta ; habentium sapientiam non spiritualem sed animalem, non cælestem sed terrenam, non Christianam sed Diabolicam, non a Patre luminum sed a principe tenebrarum; dum per ea ipsa quæ non haberent nis

dante Deo, subduntur ei qui primus recessit a Deo. Prosper, contra Collator, cap. 13.

« VorigeDoorgaan »