2. Those writers who have refuted Berruyer’s work remark several other errors which, though they may not be clearly opposed to Faith, still, in my opinion, are most extravagant, and totally opposed to the general opinion of Fathers and Theologians. I will here refute some of the most strange and reprehensible.
  3. In one place he says : ” Revelatione deficiente, cum nempe Deus ob latentes causas eam nobis denegare vult, non est cur non teneamur saltem objecta credere, quibus religio naturalis fundatur.” Speaking here of the revelation of the mysteries of the Faith, he says, that should no such revelation be made to us, we are, at all events, obliged to believe those objects on which natural religion is based. And then he assigns the reasons subsequently : ” Religio pure naturalis, si Deus ea sola contentus esse voluisset, propriam fidem, ac revelationem suo habuisset modo, quibus Deus ipse in fidelium cordibus, et animo inalienabilia jura sua exercuisset.” Now the extravagance of this doctrine is only equalled by the confused manner in which it is stated. It would appear that he admits that true believers can be found professing mere natural religion alone, which, according to him, has, in a certain way, its own faith, and its own revelation. Then in mere natural religion there must be a faith and revelation with which God is satisfied. But, says Berruyer’s friend, he intends this a mere hypothesis; but this does not render it less objectionable, for it would lead us to believe that God would be satisfied with a religion purely natural, without faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, and sufficient to save its professors. St. Paul answers this, however, for he says : ” Then Christ died in vain” (Gal. ii, 21.) If natural religion be sufficient to save those who neither believe nor hope in Jesus Christ, then he died in vain, for man’s salvation. St. Peter, on the contrary, says that salvation can only be obtained in Christ: “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved” (Acts, iv, 12). If any infidels, either under the New or Old Law have been saved, it has only been because they knew the Grace of the Redeemer, and hence St. Augustine says that it was granted to no person to live according to God, and save his soul, to whom Jesus Christ has not been revealed, either as promised or already come : “Divinitas autem provisum fuisse non dubito, ut ex hoc uno sciremus etiam per alias Gentes esse potuisse, qui secundum Deum vixerunt, eique placuerunt, pertinentes ad spiritualem Jerusalem : quod nemini concessum fuisse credendum est, nisi cui divinitus revelatus est unus Mediatur Dei, et hominum homo Christus Jesus, qui venturus in carne sic antiquis Sanctis prænunciabatur, quemadmodum nobis venisse nuntiatus est” (1).
  4. This is the faith required for the just man to live always united with God : ” The just man liveth by faith,” says the Apostle : ” But that in the law no man is justified with God it is manifest, because the just man liveth by faith” (Gal. iii, 11). No one, says St. Paul, can render himself just in the sight of God, by the law alone, which imposes commandments, but gives no strength to fulfil them. Neither can we, since the fall of Adam, fulfil them merely by the strength of our free will; the assistance of Grace is requisite, which we should implore from God, and hope for through the mediation of our Redeemer.

(1) St. Aug. l. 18 de C. D. c. 47.

“Ea quippe fides,” says St. Augustine (2), “justos sanavit antiques, quæ sanat, et nos, idest Jesu-Christi,  fides mortis ejus.” In another passage he tells us the reason of this (3) : ” Quia sicut credimus nos Christum venisse, sic illi venturum; sicut nos mortuum, ita ilia moriturum.” Where the Jews went astray was in presuming, without prayer, or faith in a Mediator to come, to be able to observe the law imposed on them. When God commanded Moses to ask them if they wished to perform all that he would reveal to them, they answered : “All that the Lord hath spoken, we will do” (Exod. xix, 8). But after this promise our Lord said to them : ” Who shall give them to have such a mind to fear me, and to keep all my commandments at all times ?” (Deut. vi, 29). They say that they desire to fulfil the commandments, but who will give them power to do so ? By this God means that if they had the presumption to hope to fulfil them, without praying for Divine assistance, they could never accomplish it. Hence it was that immediately after they forsook the Lord, and adored the golden calf.

  1. The Gentiles, who, by power of their own wills alone expected to make themselves just, were even more blind than the Jews. What more has Jupiter, says Seneca, than other good men, only a longer life : “Jupiter quo antecedit virum bonum ? diutius bonus est. Sapiens nihilo so minoris æstimat, quod virtute ejus spatio breviore clauduntur” (4). And again he says Jupiter despises worldly things, because he can make no use of them, but the wise man despises them, because it is his will to do so : ” Jupiter uti illis non potest, Sapiens non vult” (5). A wise man, he says, is like a God in every thing, only that he is mortal : “Sapiens, excepta mortalitate, similis Deo” (6). Cicero said we could not glory in virtue, if it was given to us by God : ” Do virtute rete gloriamur, quod non contingeret, si id donum a Deo, non a nobis, haberemus” (7).

(2) St. Aug. de Nat. et Grat. p. 149. (3) St. Aug. de Nupt. et concup. l. 2 p. 113 (4) Seneca, Eplst. 73. (5) Idem, de Constantia Sap. c. R, (6) Idem, Epist. 53.

And again he says : ” Jovem optimum maximum appellant, non quod nos justos, sapientes efficiat, sed quod incolumes, opulentos,” &c. See here the pride of those wise men of the world, who said that virtue and wisdom belonged to themselves, and did not come from God.

  1. It was this presumption which blinded them more and more every day. The most learned among their sages, their philosophers, as they had a greater share of pride, were the most blind, and although the light of nature taught them to know that there was but one God, the Lord and Creator of all things, still, as the Apostle says, they did not avail themselves of it to thank and praise God as they ought : ” Because that, when they knew God they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks : but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened. For professing themselves to be wise they became fools” (Rom. i, 21). The presumption of their own wisdom increased their folly. Nay, so great was their blindness that they venerated as Gods not only their fellow-mortals, but the beasts of the field : ” And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds and of four-footed beasts and of creeping things” (ver. 22.) Hence it was that God deservedly abandoned them to their own wicked desires, and they slavishly obeyed their most brutal and detestable passions : ” Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness,” &c. (ver. 24). The most celebrated among the ancient sages is Socrates, who, it is said, was persecuted by the Idolaters, for teaching that there was but one supreme God, and still he called them who accused him of not adoring the gods of his country calumniators, and ordered his disciple Zenophon before his death to sacrifice a cock he had in his house in honor of Esculapius. St. Augustine tells us (8) that Plato thought sacrifices ought to be offered to a multiplicity of gods. The most enlightened among the Gentiles, the great Cicero, though he knew there was only one supreme God, still wished that all the gods recognized in Rome should be adored. Such is the wisdom of the sages of Paganism, and such is the faith and natural religion of the Gentiles which Berruyer exalts so much that he says that it could, without the knowledge of Jesus Christ, make people good and innocent, and adopted children of God.

(7) Cicero de Nat. Deor. p. 253. (8) St. Aug. de Civit. Dei, I. 8, c. 12.

  1. We now proceed to examine the other foolish opinions of this work. He says : ” Relate ad cognitions explicitas, aut media necessaria, quæ deficere possent, ut eveherentur ad adoptionem filiorum, dignique fierent cralorum remuneratione, præsumere debemus, quod viarum ordinariarum defectu in animabus rectis ac innocentibus bonus Dominus cui deservimus, attenta Filii sui mcdiatione, opus suum perficeret quibusdam omnipotentiæ rationibus, quas liber um ipsi est nobis haud dctegere” (9). He says, then, that when the means necessary for salvation are wanting, we ought to presume that God will save the souls of the upright and innocent, by certain measures of his omnipotence, which he has not revealed to us. What an immensity of folly in few words. He calls those souls upright and innocent who have no knowledge of the means necessary for salvation, and, consequently, know nothing of the mediation of the Redeemer a knowledge of which, as we have seen, has been, at all times, necessary for the children of Adam. Perhaps, these upright and innocent souls were created before Adam himself, for, if they were born after his fall, they are undoubtedly children of wrath. How, then, can they be exalted up to the adoption of the children of God, and, without faith in Jesus Christ (out of whom there is no salvation), and without Baptism, enter into heaven, and enjoy the beatific vision of God? We have always believed, and do still, that there is no other way of obtaining salvation, but by the mediation of Christ. He himself says : “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John, xiv, 6). And again : ” I am the door; by me, if any man go in, he shall be saved” (John, x, 9). St. Paul says : ” For by him we have access to the Father” (Ephes. ii, 18). Berruyer, however, tells us that there is another way a hidden one, by which God saves those upright souls who live in the religion of nature a way, of which neither Scripture, Fathers, nor Ecclesiastical Writers tell us anything. All Grace and hope of salvation is promised to mankind, through the mediation of Jesus Christ.

(9) Berruyer, t. I, p. 58.

If you read Selvaggi, the Annotator of Moshoim (10), you will see that all the Prophecies of the Old

Testament, and even the historical facts narrated, all speak of this in a prophetic sense, as St. Paul says : “These things were done in a figure” (I. Cor. x, 6).Our Saviour himself proved to the disciples, in the journey to Emmaus, that all the Scriptures of the Old Law spoke of him : ” Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things that were concerning him” (Luke, xxiv, 27). And still Berruyer says, that souls, under the Law of Nature, were adopted as Children of God, without any knowledge of the mediation of Jesus Christ.

  1. How could those persons obtain the adoption of the children of God without Jesus Christ, when it is he who has given to the Faithful the power “to become the children of God.” Berruyer says : ” Quod adoptio prima, eaque gratuito, cujus virtute ab Adamo usque ad Christum, intuitu Christi venturi fideles omnes sive ex Israel, sive ex Gentibus facti sunt filii Dei, non dederit Deo nisi filios minores semper et parvulos usque ad tempus præfinitum a Patre. Vetus hæc itaque adoptio præparabat aliam, et novam quasi parturiebat adoptionem superioris ordinis.” He then admits two adoptions the first and the second. The latter is that which exists in the New Law; the former, that by which all those who have received the Faith among the Jews or Gentiles, in regard to the promised Messiah, and these were only, as it were, younger children of God, minors. This ancient adoption, he said, prepared, and, we may say, brought forth, another one of a superior order; but those who were adopted under this ancient one, scarcely deserved to be named among the faithful ” Vix filiorum nomen obtinerent.” It would take volumes to examine all the extravagant opinions and extraordinary crotchets of this writer, which were never heard of by Theologians before. The adoption of children of God, as St. Thomas says (11), gives them a right to a share in his birthright that is, Eternal Beatitude. Now, supposing Berruyer’s system to be true, as the ancient adoption was of an inferior order, we ask, would it give a right to entire beatitude, or only to an inferior or partial sort, corresponding to the adoption ? It is quite enough to state such paradoxical opinions, and the reader will perceive that they refute themselves. The truth of the matter is, that there never was but one true Religion, which never had any other object but God, nor no way of approaching to God unless through Jesus Christ.

(10) Selvag. in Mosh. vol. 1, n. GS. (11) St. Thom. 3, p. q. 23, a. 1.

It is the blood of Jesus Christ which has taken away all the sins of the world, and saved all those who are saved, and it is the Grace of Jesus Christ that has given children to God. Bcrruycr says, that the Natural Law inspired Faith, Hope, and Charity. What folly ! These Divine virtues are gifts infused by God; and how, then, could they be inspired by the Law of Nature. Why, Felagius himself never went so far as that.

  1. In another place, he says : ” Per annos quatuor millo quotquot fucrunt primogeniti, et sibi successerunt in heriditate nominis illius, Filius Hominis, debitum nascendo contraxerunt.” And again : ” Per Adami hominum Parentis, et Primogeniti lapsum oneratum est nomen illud, sancto quidem, sed pœnali debito satisfaciendi Deo in rigore justitise, et peccata hominum expiandi.” Berruyer then says that, for four thousand years, the first-born were obliged to make satisfaction for the sins of mankind. This opinion would bear rather heavy on me, as I have the misfortune to be the first-born of my family, and it would be too hard that I should make atonement, not only for my own manifold sins, but also for the crimes of others. But can he tell us where this obligation is laid down. He appears to think that the law of nature imposed it : ” Erat præceptum illud quantum ad substantiam naturale.” But no one with a grain of sense will admit this to be a precept of the law of nature, when neither the Scriptures nor the Canons of the Church make any allusion to it. It is not, then, imposed by the law of nature, nor by any positive command of God, for all children of Adam, as well as the first-born, are born with the guilt of original sin (with the exception of our Lord and his Immaculate Mother), and all are equally bound to have themselves cleaned from this stain.
  2. Berruyer leaves the first-born alone, then, and applies this new doctrine of his to our Lord. All those, he says, from whom Jesus Christ sprung were first-born down to Joseph, and hence, in the person of Christ, by the succession inherited from St. Joseph, all the rights and all the debts of his first-born ancestors was united; but as none of these could satisfy the Divine justice, the Saviour, who alone could do so, was bound to make satisfaction for all, for he was the chief among the first-born, and on that account, he says, he was called the Son of Man. This title, however, St. Augustine says, was applied to our Lord as a title of humility, and not of majority or obligation. As the Son of Man, then, he says, he was the first-born among men; and as the Son of God, he was bound, according to the rigour of justice, to sacrifice himself to God for his glory, and the salvation of mankind : ” Dobitum contraxerat in rigore justitiæ fundatum, qui natus erat Filius hominis, homo Primogenitus simul Dei Unigenitus, ut so Pontifex idem, et hostia ad gloriam Dei restituendam, salutemque hominum rcdimendam Deo Patri suo exhiberet.” Hence, he says that Christ, by a natural precept, was bound, ex condigno, to satisfy the Divine Justice by his Passion : ” Offere Se tamen ad satisfaciendum Deo ex condigno, et ad expiandum hominis peccatum, quo satis erat passione sua, Jesus Christus Filius hominis, et Filius Dei præcepto naturali obligabatur.” Christ, therefore, he says, as the Son of Man, and the first-born of man, contracted a debt, obliging him, in rigorous justice, to atone to God, by his Passion, for the sins of mankind. We answer, that our Saviour could not, either as Son of Man, or first-born of man, contract this strict obligation to make satisfaction for mankind. He could not be obliged, as the Son of Man, for it would be blasphemous to assert that he incurred original sin : ” Accepit enim hominem, says St. Thomas (12), absque peccato.” Neither could he be obliged to it, as the first-born among men. It is true, St. Paul calls him the first-born among many brethren; but we must understand in what sense the Apostle applies this term. The text says : ” For whom he foreknew he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom. viii, 29). The Apostle here instructs us, that those whom God has foreseen will be saved, he has predestined to be made like unto Jesus Christ, in holiness and patience, poor, despised, and persecuted, like him on earth.

(12) St. Thom. 3 p. q. H, a. 3.

  1. Berruyer, however, asserts, that according to strict justice Christ could not be the mediator of all mankind, if he was not at the same time Man-God, and the Son of God, and thus make full satisfaction for the sins of man. But St. Thomas says (13) that God could be satisfied in two ways in regard to man’s sin, perfectly and imperfectly perfectly, by the satisfaction given him by a Divine Person, such as was given him by Jesus Christ; imperfectly, by accepting the satisfaction which man himself could make, and which would be sufficient, if God wished to accept it. St. Augustine says those are fools who teach that God could save mankind in no other manner, unless by becoming man himself, and suffering all he did. He could do so if he wished, says the Saint; but then their folly would not be satisfied : ” Sunt stulti qui dicunt : * Non poterat aliter sapientia Dei homines liberare, nisi susciperet hominem, et a peccatoribus omnia ilia pateretur. Quibus dicimus, poterat omnino; sed si aliter faceret, similiter vestra? Stultitiæ displiceret ” (14).
  2. Such being the case, it is insufferable to hear Berruyer assert that Christ, as the Son of Man, and firstborn of man, had contracted, in rigorous justice, the obligation of sacrificing himself to God, by dying for the satisfaction of man’s sins, and obtaining salvation for them. It is true in another place he says that the Incarnation of the Son of God was not a matter of necessity, but merely proceeded from God’s goodness alone; but then he contradicts himself (see n. 55). No matter what his meaning was, one thing is certain that Christ suffered for us, not because he was obliged to do so by necessity, but of his own free will, because he voluntarily offered himself up to suffer and die for the salvation of mankind : ” He was offered because it was his own will” (Isaias, liii, 7). He says himself: “I lay down my life no man taketh it away from me, I lay it down of myself” (John, x, 17, 18). In that, says St. John, he shows the extraordinary love he bore to mankind, when he sacrificed even his life for them : “In this we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us. This sacrifice of love was called his decease by Moses and Elias on the Mount of Thabor : ” They spoke of his decease, which he should accomplish in Jerusalem.”

(13) St. Thorn, p. 3, ar. 1, ad. 2. (14) St. August, lib de Agone Christiano, c. 11.

  1. I think I have said enough about Berruyer’s errors; the chief and most pernicious of all, the first and third, I have rather diffusely refuted. In these the fanatical author labours to throw into confusion all that the Scriptures and Councils teach regarding the great mystery of the Incarnation, the foundation of Christianity itself, and of our salvation. In conclusion, I protest that all that I have written in this Work, and especially in the Refutation of Heresies, I submit to the judgment of the Church. My only glory is, that I am her obedient child, and as such I hope to live and die.