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tyr. The previous collect, page 25, asked that “we may be sensible of the effects of her prayers to thee in our behalf;" and this was asked "through" the only way in which her prayer could avail or be received, “Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in Unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen." Those merits are, in our sense of the word, no more than what eminent Protestant writers, as I shall show, mean by a state of righteousness; and the way in which we believe her merits would be regarded, is found in the meaning which Protestants attach to this text, as read in your version, James v. 16. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” believe, that a person who, through the merits of Jesus Christ, is justified, and continues to serve God by the practice of virtue, is thereby meritorious before God through his mercy and the merits of the Saviour; and we believe that the Almighty, in regard to this secondary and derived merit, which is [of] a very different kind from that of our Saviour, will more kindly and graciously hear the prayer and grant the request of this righteous person, than the prayer of a sinner, or of a reprobate person. Yet, still, to show whence this merit, such as it is, derives its value, the prayer always concludes with the statement of its foundation “Thro.'"
our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen." Catholics are so well accustomed to hear these forms of the conclusion, that, generally, only the word "Thro." is printed, for the sake of abbreviation.
Thus, Catholics do not pray to St. Anastasia to be saved by her merits, in the sense in which Protestants understand the phrase; nor do they pray at all "to be saved” by her merits. But they pray to be saved by the institutions of our Lord Jesus Christ; and they ask of God, through the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous or meritorious martyr, that those institutions of Jesus Christ might be made of avail to them, by his bestowing upon them his grace, and creating in them those dispositions without which even the merits and institutions of our only Saviour and Redeemer and Mediator Christ Jesus will not save us. Hence, to represent Catholics as asking to be saved by the merits of the saints, is doing them a gross injustice, and stating that which is not the fact
In the collect of St. Scholastica and others, your very generous and honourable correspondent stops, as usual, so as to garble the prayer. I give in italics what he omitted.
"O God, who to recommend us to innocence of life, wast pleased to let the soul of thy blessed Virgin Scholastica ascend to heaven in the shape of a dove: grant by her merits and prayers, that we may lead innocent lives here, and ascend to eternal joys hereafter. Thro'.”
“O God, who didst grant thy servant John, being inflamed with the glare of thy love, to walk without hurt through the midst of flames, and by him institute a new order in thy church: grant by his merits, that the fire of thy charity may cure our diseased souls, and obtain for us eternal remedies. Thro'."
"O God, who wast pleased to send blessed Patrick, thy bishop and confessor, to preach thy glory to the Gentiles: grant, that by his merits and intercession we may, through thy grace, be enabled to keep thy commandments. Thro'.”
These prayers are all addressed to God, calling upon him to save us by his mercy; and the meaning of the merits is the same as that above, in the collect of St. Anastasia. I must return to this topic in my next.
I remain, gentlemen,
Give them a pilot to their wandering fleet,
LUSIAD, Transl., Book I.
CHARLESTON, S. C., June 22, 1829.
Gentlemen :-In my last letter I stated that the great difficulty as to a proper understanding of the question here at issue between your correspondent with the contradictory name, and me, existed in the equivocal nature of the word merit. No Roman Catholic expects to be saved either by his own merits or by the merits of any angel or of any saint; neither does he ask either of them or of God “to be saved by their merits," but only by the merits of Jesus Christ. The prayers to which reference has been made, do ask, indeed, of God, that he, having regard to the merits of the saints, would be more kind and merciful to us, and grant to us an increase of that grace, which is altogether derived from the merits and satisfaction of our Redeemer. But we do not give the same meaning to the phrase merits of Christ, that we do to merits of the blessed Virgin Mary, or of any other saint. And my present object is to exhibit the different senses in which this word merit is used.
I shall send to the editors of the Miscellany a translation of such of the doctrinal chapters of the Council of Trent, as may be necessary to exhibit our belief regarding the manner in which justification is obtained by the sinner. This will show to whom we look for salvation, because when we become justified, we are saved from hell, unless we should relapse into sin; and it will be seen that this justification is derived solely and exclusively from the merits of Christ, and in no way from the merits of angels or saints.
Let us now proceed to state our doctrine regarding merit. Merit is a claim to a recompense, by reason of some work which is worthy thereof. This claim is of several kinds. I shall notice only two. The first is that between equals, where one has done for another a work which this latter needs or accepts; the agent was free and independent, under no real or implied obligation to him whom he served, but the service was done upon the express or implied condition of obtaining a just recompense. In this case the agent has fully and justly merited, and the recompense cannot, without palpable injustice, be refused. Even though there should have been no covenant, yet if the service was necessary, and could not then be done by any other agent, there would exist a just ground of claim.
No created being can stand in such a relation as this to God, because all our works are due to him, by reason of our creation and conservation; we have nothing to bestow upon him which he cannot justly claim by several previous titles. Thus, neither are we independent, nor are we exempt from his just claims. Hence, though the works of creatures could in their own nature be of sufficient value to make atonement for our fallen race, men and angels united could not offer anything which was truly their own and free from the claim of the Creator. Thus, the united efforts of angels and saints could not, by their merits, save one sinner. But the works of the incarnate Son of God, being free from claim, and his person independent, so too were his acts; they were also, by reason of his infinite perfections, of infinite value; and by them we are freely and fully saved from ruin, and justified, when through the divine mercy we are made partakers thereof.
When a man is thus justified by the application of Christ's merits to his soul, we say that he may thereafter, for the first time, become meritorious by observing the law of God; but the nature of his merits will differ essentially from that of the Saviour's merits. In the first place, the righteous or justified man is acceptable only by reason of the merits of the Son of God: hence his are not independent merits. Next, he cannot of strict justice claim any recompense, but what is freely promised by God; thus his claim is founded upon the merits of Christ, and the covenant by which the Creator freely bound himself to give a reward
to those works, and not upon any intrinsic natural value of his own deeds. Thus it is clear, that when we say persons in a state of sanctity or justification have merit for their good works, we always understand that those works are raised to this grade of excellence through the free mercy of God, and by the free merits of Christ, and that they create no demand upon God, farther than in virtue of his own voluntary covenant. That the Almighty could claim them by several previous titles, but having mercifully waived those claims, he has promised us that he would give to us a recompense or reward for deeds, to perform which he even now aids us by the grace of Jesus Christ, without which we could not do those works as we ought; and that when he thus rewards the saints, he by this recompense crowns his own gifts in them. This is the only merit which Catholics believe the saints can have in his sight.
We believe that all men obtain sufficient grace, and have free will. We know that God promises a recompense to those who, using that freedom as they ought, co-operate with his grace. We also know that he threatens punishment to those who, abusing that freedom, and rejecting this grace, do wickedly. We therefore say that the first persons, through the grace of Jesus Christ, merit heaven, and that the second, by their criminality, merit hell. The first possess what we call merit, properly speaking,—the latter what we call demerit. Hence may be clearly seen what we mean by the merits of the saints, and that it is a very different sort from that of the Saviour. I deem it unnecessary to enter into proof of the positions which I have here taken, as my object is rather to exhibit what our doctrine truly is, than to defend it to show that we have been misrepresented, rather than to show that we believe as Christ taught.
In order that a man might be capable of merit of even this description, it is required by our tenets that the person shall have been already saved from hell, and justified by the merits of Christ Jesus.—Amongst a variety of scriptural reasons for this assertion, perhaps one would suffice at present.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye abide in me.
“I am the vine, ye are the branchces: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.' (John xv. 4, 5).
To this text, amongst others, the Council of Trent refers in its doctrinal chapter regarding merit, which I here insert. The branch (man) really brings forth the fruit of merit, but only because the branch itself derives its sap, or the virtue, from Jesus Christ, the vine, through which stock alone this virtue can be drawn from the root of merciful atonement. The sinner who is not justified, whose works are not influenced by grace,
is not grafted on this vine-stock; he can do nothing. Hence the council teaches in the same chapter, (Chap. xvi. Sess. vi):
“Upon this ground, therefore, whether they shall perpetually have preserved that grace which they received, or recovered that which they lost, the words of the Apostle are to be placed before justified men [a). Abound in every good work, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord [b]: for God is not unjust that he should forget your work, and the love which you have shown in his name. And, [c] Do not lose your confidence, which hath a great reward. And therefore, to those doing well [d] unto the end, and hoping in God, eternal life is to be proposed, it being as well, that grace mercifully promised through Christ Jesus [e] to the children of God; as also, the reward to be faithfully given as a recompense [f], by reason of the promise of God himself, to their good works and merits. For this is that crown of justice [g] which the Apostle said was laid up for him, to be given to him by the just judge, after his fight and course; and not only to him, but also to all that love his coming; for since he, Christ Jesus himself, as a head into the members, and as a vine [h] into the branches, continually infuses virtue into those justified, (which virtue always precedes their good works, and accompanies and follows them, and without which they could on no account be agreeable to God and meritorious;) it is to be believed that nothing more is needful for those justified, but that they might be considered, indeed, by those works which are done in God, to have fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life; and have truly merited (if indeed [i] they shall have departed in grace) to obtain eternal life also in its proper time, since Christ himself says [k], If any one shall drink of the water which I will give him, he shall not thirst for ever; but it shall become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life. So neither  is our own proper justice established as our own, proper from ourselves, nor is the justice of God overlooked or rejected: for that righteousness which is called ours, because we are justified by its inhering in us, is that same righteousness of God, because it is poured into us by God, through the merit of Christ. Nor is that either to be omitted, that although in the sacred letters so much is attributed to good works, that even Christ himself promises [m] that whosoever will give a drink of cold water to one of those least ones will not lose his reward: and the Apostle testifies [n] that what in the present is but for a moment and light of our tribulation, worketh in us above degree exceedingly on high, an eternal weight of glory: far be it from n8, however, that a Christian man should so confide  or glory in himself, and not in the Lord whose goodness towards men is so great, that he wishes those things which are his gifts to be their merits. And because [p] we all offend him, in many things, so each one of us ought to have severity and judgment before his eyes, as he has mercy and goodness; nor ought any one judge himself  even though he should not be conscious to himself of anything: for all the life of man is to be examined not only by human judgment, but by that of God [r]: who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of
The following references show the parts of Scripture, according to the Vulgate, which contain the doctrine above laid down.
[a] I Cor. xv; [b] Heb. vi; (c) Heb. x; [a] Matt. x, and xxiv; [e] Ps. cii; [f] Rom. v; [g] I Tim. iv; [b] John xv; [i] Apocal. xiv; [k] John iv; ilj Rom. x; [m] Matt. x, Mark ix and so forth; [n] I Cor. iv;  I Cor. i, II Cor. x and so forth; [p] James iii; [q] I Cor. iv; [r) I Cor. iv; [s] Matt. xvi, Rom. ii and so forth.