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that nothing is wanting to complete their perfection. The falsehood of this opinion and the truth of our own, appear from the following considerations :

(1.) Our imperfection is mentioned in Scripture. Thus, Gen. vi. 3. Every imagination of the heart of man is only evil continually.” St. James says, “ in many things we offend all.” (Jas. iii. 2.) And even St. Paul, “ counts that “ he had not yet apprehended, but still pressed “ toward the mark.” (Phil. iii. 13.) And (in Ps. cxxx. 3.) it is said, “ if God should straitly mark iniquity, who can stand before him ?”

(2.) We are desired to pray constantly for pardon. The prayer given to us by our Lord is to be used daily, as is implied by the clause, “ Give us this day our daily bread.” But a standing petition in it, is “ Forgive us our trespasses;” we must therefore sin daily, since we always need a pardon.

(3.) This imperfection is confirmed by the experience of mankind. Thus we see that the best men in all ages, have been complaining and humbling

A denial of this doctrine was one of the five propositions of the Jansenists, condemned by Pope Innocent X. See Maresii. Apol. pro Jansen. Cont. Pontif. Par. 3. p. 69.

A Roman Doctor has not hesitated to say, that " no accession “ of dignity is made to the works of the just by the merits or person “ of Christ.” Vasquez Comment. in 1, 2. qu. 114. disp. 214.

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themselves before God for their sins even in their best actions, for their vanity and desire of glory, for the distraction of their thoughts in devotion, and for the affection which they bore to earthly things.

2d. The Roman Catholic Church hold that these works are meritorious of eternal life. This has been decreed by the council of Trent, a but as if conscious of the impiety of the doctrine, they endeavour to soften it by adding: “None ought to glory in himself, but in the “Lord, whose goodness is such, that he makes “his own gifts to be merits in us :''b and,“ that “ because in many things, we offend in all, every one ought to consider the justice and

severity as well as the mercy and goodness of “God, and not to judge himself, even though he “should know nothing by himself.” In these points then, all seem to agree. 1. That our works cannot be good, except as we are assisted to

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a Sess. 6. cap. 16. It is worth observing, that this council did not decree what they meant by the words “ truly meriting ;" and the consequence has been, that scarcely any two Roman Doctors agree on the subject. See Stillingficet's Works, v. 6. p. 466. Ed. Lond. 1710.

Nothing can be more absurd than this use of terms. Bellarmine endeavours to prove, that there is no inconsistency between merits in us and free mercy in God, co-operating to produce the same effect. Oper. Tom. 4. de Justifi. 1. 1. c. 21. p. 787. Ed. Paris, a On the nature of merit there have been three principal opinions : 1. That it arose from the real and inherent dignity of the action itself. This monstrous doctrine is held by Vasquez, and in general by the Jesuits.—(Maldon. in Ez. xviii. 20.) 2. That it arose solely from the promise of God, which was the opinion of the Scotists. (Camerac. in 1 Sent. Dist. 1 qu. 2.) 3. That it arose partly from the promise of God and partly from the dignity of the work ; which is the opinion of Bellarmine (de Justifi. 1. 5. c. 17.) See Usher's Answer to the Jesuit, p. 494. Turretin, Ins. Theol. L. 17. Q. 5. and Stilling fleet's Works, v. 6. p. 468.

perform them by the grace of God. 2. That God does certainly reward good works: and 3. That this reward is promised in the Gospel, and could not have been claimed without that by any antecedent merit.a

The falsehood of the Roman Catholic doctrine, however, follows from the imperfection of our works. This is evident, for where there is guilt to be pardoned, there can be no pretension to merit.

II. The Article asserts, that good works are necessary and pleasing to God. They are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith.”

This is so fully and frequently expressed in Scripture, that no doubt can be made of it by any who reads it. Thus it is said, Heb. xii. 15, " Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” “ Every one who nameth the name of Christ,

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• See Whole Duty of Man, Sunday 1; Beveridge on the Articles ; Homily of Faith, and Jewel's Def. of Ap. p. 2. c. 20. Div. I.

must depart from iniquity.” (2 Tim. ii. 19.) It was the object of Christ's sufferings “ to bring us to God;” (1 Pet. iii. 18;) and to raise up and restore that image of God, from which we had fallen by sin.

It has been objected, that our good works cannot please God if they are imperfect, since nothing can be acceptable to him in which there is a mixture of sin. But we believe, that God regards an action according to the intention of the person, and as a father pities his children, so God

passes over the defects of those who love him sincerely, though not perfectly. And thus we find, that the midwives of Egypt, “ feared God,” yet they excused themselves by a lie. But God accepted of what was good, and passed over what was amiss in them, and built “ them houses.” (Ex. i. 21.)

This objection has been made hy Roman Catholic writers, and in reply to it, a distinction has been made between an action wbich is verè bonum, though not perfectè bonum, that is, good, as proceeding from a sincere heart; though not good as fulfilling all the requirements of the law. See Turretin's Inst. Theol. L. xvii. Q. 4.

ARTICLE XIII.

OF WORKS BEFORE JUSTIFICATION.

WORKS DONE BEFORE THE GRACE OF CHRIST AND THE

INSPIRATION OF HIS SPIRIT, ARE NOT PLEASANT TO
GOD; FORASMUCH AS THEY SPRING NOT OF FAITH
IN JESUS CHRIST, NEITHER DO THEY MAKE MEN MEET
TO RECEIVE GRACE, OR (AS THE SCHOOL AUTHORS
SAY,) DESERVE GRACE OF CONGRUITY. YEA, RATHER
FOR THAT THEY ARE NOT DONE AS GOD HATH COM-

MANDED AND WILLED THEM TO BE DONE, WE DOUBT

NOT BUT THAT THEY HAVE THE NATURE OF SIN.

THE writers of the Roman Catholic Churcha hold, that the actions of men in a state of unas

a Nameroous extracts in support of this assertion, may be found in Archbishop Laureuce’s Ser. 4. notes, It must be confessed, however, that this doctrine of congruous merit, considered independently of preventing grace, is fully disclaimed by the Council of Trent. Thus, (in Sess. 6. c. . 5, 6. can. 3.) the following declaratiou is made : “ If any one say, that without the inspiration of the Holy

Spirit preventing and assisting him, a man can either believe, “ hope, love, or repent as he ought, so that the grace of justification be bestowed on him, let him be accursed.” See also Can. 1 and 2, and Bellar. de Just. l. 1. c. 21. p. 788. In the notes to the Rhemish Testament, however, merit of congruity is plainly avowed. Thus, speaking of Cornelius, the authors say, “ By

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