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ness in the person of Innocent the First, who commenced his pontificate in 402. He expressly places extreme unction in the number of the sacraments? As to the sacrament of order, what plainer proof can the catechist require of its existence, than the language of a general council? Now the general council of Chalcedon, held in 451, expressly condemns those who take money for conferring orders, assigning as a reason of the censure, that they sell the grace of God,—an invincible argument that the grace of God was deemed to be annexed to ordination?

As to matrimony, besides the general agree. ment of the Latin and Greek churches on the subject, we have the express testimony of St. Augustine, who calls matrimony a real sacrament.

After these observations, I leave this question to be determined by the catechist himself, whether or not it be more reasonable, in ascertaining the number of the sacraments, to be swayed by the authority and practice of the church of Christ, which he has promised to protect for ever; or to listen to the fancies of individual Protestants, some of whom discover one, some

Innocent I. Epist. ad Decen. No. 8.
? See Con. 2 Conc. Chal. edit. Carranza, p. 135.

St. Aug. lib. i. de Nupt. et Concupis, c 10.

two, and some three sacraments in the Bible ; whilst others, with more ingenuity than consistency, find out various sacraments at different times.

See Bellarm. Controvers. tom. 3. book ii. c. 23.


Why do not you embrace all that the Council of Trent hath

defined about Justification ?


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Because the Council of Trent asserts, “ that the good works

of a justified person do truly merit increase of grace and

eternal life,” which cannot be true. 1. Because St. Paul tells us, that we are not only justified by

grace, Rom. iii. 24, but sanctified by grace, 1 Cor. vi. 11, and glorified by grace, Eph. ii. 8; Luke xii. 32. And if

by grace, there can be no such thing as merit. 2. All the good works of a justified person are finite, and how

can they merit a glory which is infinite? In merit there

must be a proportion between the work and reward. 3. The sufferings of this present life, even the greatest persecu

tions, are not worthy to be compared with the future glory. These merit not: how then shall other good works merit, which are of less

consequence ? 4. Whatever is truly meritorious, must have no flaws, no de

fects, no imperfections mingled with it: but even the best works of justified persons have some defects and imperfec

tions, and therefore cannot merit. 5. Though God promises eternal life to our good works, yet

that only declares his great goodness, not what is due in strict justice to our good works; and consequently, his promise doth not make our good works truly meritorious.


It appears from the question and answer before us, that the catechist does not disapprove of all that the council of Trent has defined on the


subject of justification, but of that part only which relates to the merit of good works : and even here his objections arise from a confusion

of ideas. For he supposes that, when the coun·cil speaks of merit on the part of the just, we

are to understand that term in the most rigorous acceptation of the word, and that it implies what is due in strict justice to our good works. Had he been more conversant with the language of sound theology, he would have discovered, with intuitive readiness, that the term mcrit is understood in various senses ; that in one sense it implies an equality between the work to be performed and the reward to be bestowed, without compromise and without favour. This, in the rigorous acceptation of the term, is properly denominated merit ; but it cannot be applied to the finite actions of a mere creature, and is only to be understood of the merit attached to the actions, the labours, the sufferings, the passion and death of our Redeemer, the infinite dignity of whose person gave to all that he achieved for us, this species of merit. Another kind of merit is that which is called by divines, meritum de condigno; as also meritum de congruo; either of which implies, not a rigid equality between the work that is performed, and the reward which is bestowed, but only that proportion which exists between good works executed with the aid of divine grace, and directed to a supernatural end, and that degree of glory in heaven which is to requite works thus performed. This is the kind of merit, which the council ascribes to the good works of the just ; and of the reality and existence of this description of merit, the most ample testimonies may be produced from the sacred writings. In fact, is not our Redeemer perpetually urging us to the performance of good works, by the alluring prospect of a glorious reward ? and how is a reward to be obtained but by meritorious conduct ? Does he not encourage us to bear persecution with joy, because our reward is great in heaven"? Does he not declare in terms not to be mistaken?, that he shall come in the glory of his Father, and render to every man according to his works ?

The language of St. Paul is in perfect unison with that of our Redeemer. In this Epistle to the Romans', he charges the sinner with the guilt and folly of treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every one according to his works. In his first Epistle to the Corinthians, he asserts, that if any man's work shall pass the fiery ordeal, he shall receive a. reward. Nothing can be clearer or more precise than his language in another place; what

į Matt. v.

2 Ibid, xvi. 27.

* C. iii. 14.

3 C. ii, 5, 6. 6 Gal. vi, 7.

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