REFUTATION XIII. – THE ERRORS OF CORNELIUS JANSENIUS.

 

 

 

1. In order to refute the errors of Jansenius, it is quite sufficient to refute his system, which, in substance, consists in supposing that our will is forced by necessity to do either what is good or bad, according to the impulse it receives from the greater or less degree of celestial or terrestrial delectation, which predominates in us, and which we cannot resist, since this delectation, as he says, precedes our consent, and even forces us to yield consent to it. This error he founded on that well- known expression of St. Augustine : ” Quod amplius delectat, id nos operemur, necessum est.” Here are his words : ” Gratia est deletatio et suavitas, qua Anima in bonum appetendum delectabiliter trahitur; ac pariter delectationem concupiscentia? esse desideium illicitum, quo animus etiam repugnans in peccatum inhiat”(l). And again, in the same book (Cap. 9), he says: ” Utraque delectatio invicem pugnat, earumque conflictus sopiri non potest, nisi alteram altera delectando superaverit, et eo totum animæ pondus vergat, ita ut vigente delectatione carnali impossibile sit, quod virtutis, et honestatis consideratio prævaleat.”

 

(1) Jansen. l. 4, de Grat. Christ, c. 11.

 

2. Jansenius says that in that state of justice, in which man was created ” God made man right” (Eccles. vii, 30) being then inclined to rectitude, he could with his own will easily perform what was right, with the Divine assistance alone, called sine quo that is, Sufficient Grace (which gives him the power, but not the will); so that, with that ordinary assistance alone, he could then agree to, and follow grace, but when his will was weakened by sin, and inclined to forbidden pleasures, it then could not, with sufficient Grace alone, do what is right, but required that assistance called, theologically, Quo that is, Efficacious Grace (which is his conquering delectation, in relation to the superiority of degrees), which pushes him on, and determines him to perform what is good, otherwise he never could resist the opposing carnal delectation : “Gratia sanæ voluntatis in ejus libero relinquebatur arbitrio, ut earn si vellet desereret; aut si vellet uteretur; gratia vero lapsso ægrotæque voluntatis nullo modo in ejus relinquitur arbitrio, ut eam deserat, et arripiat si voluerit” (2). During the period that the carnal delectation predominates, then, says Jansenius, it is impossible that virtue should prevail : ” Vigente delectatione carnali, impossibile est, ut virtutis et honestatis consideratio prævaleat” (3). He says, besides, that this superior delectation has such power over the will, that it obliges it necessarily either to wish or reject, according as it moves it : ” Delectatio, seu delectabilis objecti complacentia, est id quod tantam in liberum arbitrium potestatem habet, ut eum faciat velle vel nolle, seu ut ea præsente actus volendi sit reipsa in ejus potestate, absente non sit” (4).

 

3. In another passage he says that, if the celestial delectation is less than the terrestrial one, it will only give rise to some inefficacious and impotent desires in the soul, but will never lead us on to embrace what is good : ” Delectatio victrix, quæ Augustino est efficax adjutorium, relativa est; tune enim est victrix, quando alteram superat. Quod si contingat alteram ardentiorem esse, in solis inefficacibus desideriis hrerebit animus, nec efficaciter unquam volet, quod volendum est” (5). Again, he says that as the faculty of vision not only causes us to see, but gives us the power of seeing, so the predominant delectation not only causes us to act, but gives us the power of acting : ” Tantæ necessitatis  est, ut sine ilia effectus fieri non possit dat enim simul et posse, et operari” (6). He says, besides, that it is just as impossible to resist this superior delectation, as for a blind man to see, a deaf one to hear, or a bird deprived of its wings to fly (7).

 

(2) Jansen. de lib arb. I. 2, c. 4. (3) Jansen. l. 7, de Grat. Chr. c. 3, vide etiam, c. 50. (4) Idem, eod. tit. 7. 7, c. 3. (5) Idem, eod. tit. l. 8, c. 2.  (6) Jansen. l. 2, c. 4. (7) Jans, de Grat. Christ. l. 4, c. 7, & l. 7, c. 5.

 

Finally, he concludes that this delectation, ” delectatio victrix,” be it heavenly or earthly, so binds down our free will, that it looses all power when opposed to it : ” Justitiæ velpeccati delectatio est illud vinculum, quo libcrum arbitrium ita firmiter ligatur, ut quamdiu isto stabiliter constringitur, actus oppositus sit extra ejus potestatem” (8). These passages alone, I think, are quite sufficient to show how false is Jansenius’s system of relative conquering delectation, to which the will is always obliged, of necessity, to yield obedience.

 

4. From this system, then, spring his five propositions, condemned by Innocent X., as we have seen in the Historical Part of the Work (9). It is necessary to repeat them here again. The first proposition is : ” Some commandments of God are impossible to just men, even when they wish and strive to accomplish them, according to their present strength, and Grace is wanting to them, by which they may be possible to them. “The censure passed on this was It was rash, impious, blasphemous, branded with anathema, and heretical; and, as such, condemned. The Jansenists made many objections to the condemnation of this proposition, as well as of the other four. Their two principal objections, however, were the following: First, that the propositions quoted in the Bull of Innocent were not in the Book of Jansenius at all; and, secondly, that these propositions were not condemned in the sense intended by Jansenius. These two objections, however, were quashed by Alexander VII., in his Bull, promulgated in 1656, in which he expressly declares that the five propositions were taken from the book of Jansenius, and in the sense intended by him : ” Quinque propositiones ex libro Cornelii Jansenii excerptas, ac in sensu ab eodem Cornelio intento damnatas fuisse.” This was, in reality, the fact, and so to refute, first of all, these most dangerous and most general objections (for by and by we will have occasion to attack others), I will quote the passages transcribed from the book of Jansenius himself, in which the reader will see that, though the words are not the same, the substance is, and, taken in their natural and obvious sense, prove that this was the meaning intended by the author.

 

 (8) Ibid, 11, c. 5.  (9) Chap. 12, art. 3.

 

5. To begin with the first proposition, it is expressed in Jansenius’s book almost in the same words : ” Hæc igitur omnia plenissime planissimeque demonstrant, nihil esse in St. Augustini doctrina certius ac fundatius, quam esse præcepta quædam, quæ hominibus non tantum infidelibus, excæcatis, obscuratis, sed fidelibus quoque, et justis volentibus, et conantibus secundum præsentes quas habent vires, sunt impossibilia, deesse quoque gratiam, qua possibilia fiant” (10). He then immediately, as an example, quotes the fall of St. Peter, and says: “Hoc enim St. Petri exemplo, aliisque multis quotidie manifestum esse, qui tentantur ultra quam possint substinere.” Listen to this. St. Paul says, that God will not permit us to be tempted beyond our strength : ” God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which your are able” (I. Cor. x, 13); and Jansenius says that many are tempted beyond their strength. Towards the end of the same Chapter, he labours to prove that the grace of prayer sometimes fails the just, or at least that they have not that grace of prayer, which is sufficient to obtain efficacious assistance to observe the commandments, and, consequently, that they have not power to fulfil them. In fine, the sense of this first proposition of his is, that some precepts are impossible even to the just, on account of the strength of earthly delectations, for then they want that Grace by which these commandments could be observed. He says : ” Secundum præsentes quas habent vires ;” by which he understands that these precepts, as to observance, are not absolutely impossible, but only relatively so, according to that stronger Grace, which would be necessary for them, and which they then want to enable them to observe them.  

 

(10) Jasen. l. 3, de Grat. Christi. c. 13.

 

6. This proposition, then, as we have already remarked, was condemned, first, as “Rash,” since it is opposed to Scripture: “This commandment is not above thee” (Deut. xxx, 11); ” My yoke is easy and my burthen light” (Matt, xi, 30). The Council of Trent had already branded this same proposition as rash  (Sess. vi, c. 11), when it was previously taught by Luther and Calvin : ” Nemo temeraria ilia, et a Patribus sub anathemate prohibita voce uti, Dei præcepta homini justificato ad observandum esse impossibilia.” It was also condemned in the fifty-fourth proposition of Baius : ” Definitiva hæc sententia : Deum homini nihil impossibile præcepisse, falso tribuitur Augustineo, cum Pelagii sit.” Secondly, it was condemned as “Impious ;” for it makes of God an unjust tyrant, who obliges men to impossibilities and then condemns them for not performing them. Jansenius prides himself in having adopted all the doctrines of St. Augustine, and did not blush to entitle his book ” Augustinus,” though Anti-Augustinus would have been a more appropriate name, since the Saint, in his works, expressly opposes his impious opinions. St. Augustine taught (11) that God does not desert those once justified by his Grace, unless previously deserted by them; and Jansenius held up the Almighty void of all pity, since he says : ” He deprives the just of grace without which they cannot escape sin, and so abandons them before they abandon him.” Besides, St. Augustine writes, in opposition to this sentiment of Jansenius : ” Quis non clamet stultum esse præcepta dare ei, cui liber urn non est quod præcipitur facere ? et iniquam esse cum damnare, cui non fuit potestas jussa complere” (12); and, above all, we have that celebrated Decree of the Council of Trent (Sess. vi, c. 11) : ” Deus impossibilia non jubet, sed jubendo monet et facere quod possis, et petere quod non possis, et adjuvat ut possis” (13). Thirdly, it was condemned as ” Blasphemous ;” for it makes out God to be without either faith or truth, since he has promised that he will not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength ” God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able” (I. Cor. x, 13) and afterwards commands us to do what is not in our power. St. Augustine himself, from whom Jansenius falsely asserted he had learned this doctrine, calls it a blasphemy : ” Execramur blasphemiam eorum, qui dicunt, impossibile aliquid a Deo esse præceptum” (14). Finally, it was condemned as heretical, being as we have seen opposed to the Holy Scriptures and to the definitions of the Church.

 

(11) St August, lib. dc Nat. et Grat. c. 26. (12) Idem de Fide contra Manich. l. 10. (13) St. August, lib. Do Nat. et Grat. c. 43. (14) Idem Serm. 191, de Temp,

 

7. The Jansenists still, however, made objections. First That passage of St. Augustine, they say ” Deus sua gratia non deserit, nisi prius deseratur” which is adopted by the Council of Trent (Sess. vi, cap. 11), is thus to be understood : That God does not deprive those who are justified of his habitual Grace before they fall into actual sin, but often deprives them of actual Grace before they sin. We reply, however, with St. Augustine himself, that our Lord, in justifying the sinner, not only gives him the Grace of remission, but also assistance to avoid sin in future; and this, says the Saint, is the virtue of the Grace of Jesus Christ : “Sanat Deus, non solum ut deleat quod peccavimus, sed ut præstet etiam ne peccemus” (15). If God, previous to sin, denied to man sufficient assistance not to fall into sin, he would not heal him, but rather abandon him, before he sinned. Secondly They say that the text of St. Paul, already quoted ” God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able” does not apply to all the faithful, but only to the predestined. But the text itself already shows that here all the faithful are spoken of, and it says : ” But will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it” (I. Cor. x, 13). That is, that God permits his faithful servants to be tempted, that the temptation may be an occasion of merit and profit to them. We should not forget either, that St. Paul was writing to all the faithful of Corinth, and we are not aware that all the faithful of that city were predestined. St. Thomas, therefore, properly understands it as referring to all in general, and God, he says, would not be faithful if he did not grant them (as far as he himself was concerned) the necessary graces to work out their salvation : ” Non autem videretur esse fidelis, si nobis denegaret (in quantum in ipso est) ea per quæ pervenire ad Eum possemus “(16).

 

(15) St. August, lib de Nat, & Grat. c. 26. (16) St. Thorn. Lect. 1, in cap. 1, Epist. 1 ad Cor.

 

8. The second condemned proposition originates from the same principle of Jansenius, the ” delectation victrix” which necessitates the consent of his will : ” Interior Grace in the state of corrupt nature is never resisted.” This, says the sentence, we declare heretical, and as such condemn it. Hear what Jansenius says in one place : ” Dominante suavitate spiritus, voluntas Deum diligit, ut peccare non possit” (17). And again : ” Gratiam Dei Augustinus ita victricem statuit supra voluntatis arbitrium, ut non raro dicat hominem operanti Deo per gratiam non posse resistere” (18). St. Augustine, however, in many passages, declares the contrary, and especially in one (19), in which, reproving the sinner, he says : ” Cum per Dei adjutorium in potestate tua sit, utrum consentias Diabolo; quare non magis Deo, quam ipsi obtemperare deliberas.” And, hence, the proposition was justly condemned as heretical, being, in fact, opposed to the Scripture : ” You always resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts, vii, 51). It is also opposed to Councils to that of   Sens, celebrated in Paris, against the Lutherans, in 1528 (p. 1, c. 15), and to the Council of Trent (Sess. vi, can. 4), which fulminates an anathema against those who assert that we cannot go contrary to Grace : ” Si quis dixerit, liberum hominis arbitrium a Deo motum et excitatum neque posse dissentire, si velit.”

 

9. The third proposition is : ” To render us deserving or otherwise, in a state of corrupt nature, liberty, which excludes constraint, is sufficient.” This has been declared heretical, and as such condemned. Jansenius, in several places, expresses this proposition. In one passage he says : ” Duplex necessitas Augustino, coactionis, et simplex, sou voluntaria; ilia, non hæc, repugnat libertati” (20). And again : ” Necessitatem simplicem voluntatis non repugnare libertati” (21). And, in another place, he says, that our Theologians teach a paradox, when they say, ” quod actus voluntatis propterea liber sit, quia ab illo desistere voluntas, et non agere potest ;” that it is the liberty of indifference which is required for us to have merit or otherwise. His third proposition springs also from the supposed predominant delectation invented by him, which, according to him, forces the will to consent, and deprives it of the power of resistance. This, he asserts, is the doctrine of St. Augustine; but the Saint (22) denies that there can be sin where there is no liberty : “Unde non est liberum abstinere ;” and, on the contrary, in another place he says (23), that it is false that man, in this life, cannot resist Grace. Therefore, according to St. Augustine, man can at all times resist Grace, and always resist concupiscence, likewise, and it is only thus he can acquire merit or otherwise. 

 

17) Jansen. l. 4, de Grat, Christ. c. 9. (18) Janscn. cod. tit. l. 2, c 24. (19) St. August, Horn. 12, inter 50 (20) St. Aug. l. 6, dc Grat. Clir. c . 6. (21) Idem eod. tit. c. 24. . (22) Idem, l. 3, de lib. arb. c. 3.

 

10. The fourth proposition says : ” That the Pelagians admitted the necessity of interior preventing Grace for every act in particular, even for the commencement of the Faith, and in this they were heretics, inasmuch as they wished that the human will could either resist it or obey it.” This proposition consists of two parts the first false, the second heretical. In the first part, Jansenius says that the Semipelagians admitted the necessity of internal and actual Grace for the beginning of Faith. Here are his words : ” Massiliensium opinionibus, et Augustini doctrina quam diligentissime ponderata, certum esse debere sentio, quod Massilienses præter prædicationcm, atque naturam, veram etiam, et internam, et actualem gratiam ad ipsain etiam Fidem, quam humanæ voluntatis ac libertatis adscribunt viribus, necesseriam esse fateantur” (24). This is false, then, for St. Augustine always taught as a dogma, that Grace was necessary for the commencement of Faith; but the Semipelagians, for the most part, denied it, as the Holy Doctor himself attests (25). In the second place, Jansenius says that the Semipelagians were heretics, in teaching that Grace was of such a nature that man could either use or reject it; hence, he called them, “Gratiæ medicinalis destructores, et liberi arbitrii præsumtores.” In this, however, not the Massilians, but Jansenius himself, was heretical, in saying that free will had not the power of agreeing to or dissenting from Grace, contrary to the definition of the Council of Trent (Sess. vi, can. 4), which says : ” Si quis dixerit liberum hominis arbitrium a Deo motum et excitatum non posse dissentire si velit anathema sit.” With good reason, then, the proposition was branded as heretical.

 

11. The fifth proposition says : “That it is Semipelagianism to say that Jesus Christ died or shed his blood for all men in general ;”and this has been condemned as false, rash, and scandalous, and, understood in the sense that Christ died for the predestined alone, impious, blasphemous, contumelious, derogatory to the Divine goodness, and heretical. Therefore, if we are to understand the proposition in the sense that Jesus Christ died for the predestined alone, it is impious and heretical; and yet in this sense it is published in several places by Jansenius.

 

(23) St. Aug. de Nat. & Grat. c. 67. (24) St. Aug. l. 2 de Peccator. merit. c. 17.  (25) Idem de Prædest. Ss. c. 3 in Ep. 227 ad Vital, n. 9.

 

In one passage he says : ” Omnibus illis pro quibus Christus Sanguinem fudit, etiam sufficiens auxilium donari, quo non solum possint, sed etiam velint, et faciant id quod ab iis volendum, et faciendum esse decrevit” (26). Therefore, according to Jansenius, Jesus Christ offered up his blood solely for those whom he selected both to will and to perform good works, understanding by the sufficiens auxilium the assistance, Quo (as explained already), that is, efficacious Grace, which, according to him, necessarily obliges them to perform what is good. Immediately after he explains it even more clearly; for, speaking of St. Augustine, he says : ” Nullo modo principiis cjus consentaneum est, ut Christus vel pro Infidelium, vel pro Justorum non perseverantium aiterna salute mortuus esse sentiatur.” See, then, how Jansenius explains how it is that our Saviour did not die for the just not predestined. “When his proposition was,   then, understood in this sense, it was justly censured as heretical, as opposed both to Scripture and Councils as to the first Council of Nice, for example, in which, in the Symbol, or Profession of Faith (27), then promulgated, and afterwards confirmed by several other General Councils, it was decreed as follows : ” Credimus in unum Deum Patrem …..et in unum Dom. Jesum Christum Filium Dei Qui propter nos homines; et propter nostram salutem descendit, et incarnatus est, et homo factus; passus est, et resurrexit,” &c.

 

12. Let us consider the proposition in general, that Christ did not die for all. Jansenius said it was an error against Faith to assert that he did : ” Nec enim juxta doctrinam Antiquorum pro omnibus omnino Christus mortuus est, cum hoc potius tanquam errorem a Fide Catholica abhorrentem doceant esse respuendum” (28). And this opinion, he adds, was an invention of the Semipelagians. Understanding it in this sense, it was fake and rash, as not in accordance with the Scripture, or the sentiments of the Holy Fathers. As Jesus Christ died for every individual in particular of the human race, some Theologians teach that he prepared the price for the redemption of all; and, therefore, say he is the Redeemer of all, solely sufficientia pretii. But the opinion more generally followed is, that he is the Redeemer sufficientia voluntatis, also that is, that he desired, with a sincere will, to offer up his death to his Father, in order to   obtain for all mankind the helps necessary for salvation.

 

(26) Janscn. I. 3 de Grat. Christ. c. 21. (27) Chap. 4, art. 1, n. 16.  (28) Jansen. I. 3, de Grat. Christ. c. 3.

 

13. We do not agree in opinion with those who say that Jesus Christ died with equal affection for all, distributing to each individual the same Grace; for there can be no doubt that he died with special affection for the Faithful, and more especially for the elect, as he himself declared, previous to his Ascension : ” I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me” (John, xvii, 9). And St. Paul says he is ” the Saviour of all men, especially of the faithful” (I. Tim. iv, 10). Neither can we agree with others, who say that, for a great number, Christ has done nothing more than prepare the price sufficient to redeem them, but without offering it up for their salvation. This opinion, I think, is not in conformity with the Scripture, which says : ” If one died for all, then all were dead; and Christ died for all,” &c. (II. Cor. v, 14, 15). Therefore, as all were dead, through original sin, so Christ died for all. By his death he cancelled the general (decree of death, which descended from Adam to all his posterity : ” Blotting out the hand-writing of the decree which was against us, which was contrary to us; and he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross” (Coll. ii, 14). Osea, speaking in the person of Christ, before his coming, says that he will, by his death, destroy that death which was produced by the sin of Adam : “I will be thy death, death” (Osea, xiii, 14). And the Apostle St. Paul afterwards speaks to the same effect: “0 death, where is thy victory” (I. Cor. xv, 15); meaning by that, that our Saviour, by his death, killed and destroyed the death brought among men by sin. Again, St. Paul says : ” Jesus Christ, who gave himself a redemption for all” (I. Tim. ii, 5, 6); ” Who is the Saviour of all men, especially of the faithful” (iv, 10); and St. John says that he “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (I. John, ii, 2). When I see the Scripture speaks thus so plainly, I do not know how any one can say that Jesus Christ, by his death, has only prepared a sufficient price for the redemption of all, but has not offered it to the Father for the redemption of all. Taken in that sense, we might say that Christ shed his blood even for the devils themselves, for there is no doubt but that this sacred blood would have been a price sufficient even to save them.

 

14. This opinion is most clearly opposed, likewise, by many of the Holy Fathers, who say that Christ has not alone prepared the ransom, but, likewise, offered it to his Father for the salvation of all. St. Ambrose says : ” Si quis autem non credit in Christum, generali beneficio ipso se fraudat; ut si quis clausis fenestris solis radios excludat, non idco sol non est ortus omnibus” (29). The sun not alone prepares light for all, but offers its light, likewise to all, if they wish to avail themselves of it, and do not close their windows against it; and, in another place, the same Saint says, in the clearest manner : ” Ipse pro omnibus mortem suam obtulit” (30). St. Jerome says just the same : ” Christus pro nobis mortuus est, solus inventus est, qui pro omnibus, qui erant in peccatis mortui, offerretur” (31). St. Prosper says: ” Salvator noster dedit pro Mundo Sanguinem suum (remark dedit, he gave, not paravit), et Mundus redimi noluit, quia lucem tenebræ non receperunt” (32). St. Anselm says: “Dedit redemptionem semetipsura pro omnibus, nullum excipiens, qui vellet redimi ad salvandum et ideo qui non salvantur, non de Deo, vel Mediatore possent conqueri, sed de seipsis, qui redemptionem quam Mediator dedit, noluerunt accipere” (33). And St. Augustine, explaining these words of St. John, “God sent not his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved by him” (John, iii, 17), says : ” Ergo, quantum in Medico est, sanare venit ægrotum. Ipse so interimit, qui prrccepta Medici servare non vult. Sanat omnino Ille, sed non sanat invitum” (34). Remark the words, ” quantum in Medico est, sanare venit ægrotum ;” this shows that he did not alone come to prepare the price as the remedy of our evils, but that he offers it to every one sick, and willing to be healed.

 

(29) St. Ambrose, in Ps. 118, t. 1, p.1077  (30) Idem, l. de Joseph, c. 7 (31) St. Hier. in Ep. 2, ad Cor. c.5. (32) St. Prosp. ad object. 9, Gallor.  (33) St. Anselm. in c. 2, Ep. 1, ad Tim. (34) St. Aug. Tract. 12, in Joan. Circa fin.

 

15. Then (perhaps those who hold the contrary opinion will say) God gives to the infidels who do not believe in him at all, the same sufficient Grace which he gives to the Faithful. I do not mean to say that he gives them the same Grace; but I hold, with St. Prosper, that he gives them, at all events, a lesser Grace call it a remote Grace; and if they correspond to this, they will be exalted by the reception of a more abundant Grace, which will save them. Here are the Saint’s words : ” Adhibita semper est universis hominibus quædam supernæ mensura doctrinæ, quæ et si parcioris gratiæ fuit, suificit tamen quibusdam ad remedium, omnibus ad testimonium” (35). A remedy to those who correspond to it, a testimony to those who do not. Hence it is, that among the thirty-one propositions, condemned by Alexander VIII., on the 7th of December, 1690, the fifth was that “Pagans, Jews, Heretics, and such like, receive no influx from Jesus Christ, and had nothing but a naked and powerless will, without any sufficient Grace :” “Pagani, Judæi, Hæretici, aliique hujus generis nullum omnino accipiunt a Jesu Christo influxum; adeoque hinc recto inferes, in illis esse voluntatem nudam et inermem, sine omni gratia sufficienti.” Finally, God does not blame us for ignorance alone, but only for culpable ignorance, which, in some sort, must be wilful; he does not punish the sick, but only those who refuse to be healed : ” Non tibi deputatur ad culpam, quod invitus ignoras, sed quod negligis quærere quod ignoras. Nec quod vulnerata membra non colligis, sed quod volentem sanare contemnis” (36). There can be no doubt, then, but that Jesus Christ died for all, though, as the Council of Trent teaches, the benefit of his death does not avail all : ” Verum, et si ille pro omnibus mortuus est, non omnes tamen mortis ejus beneficium recipiunt, sed ii dumtaxat quibus meritum passionis ejus communicatur” (Sess. vi, c. 3). This must be understood, as applying solely to infidels, who, being deprived of the Faith, do not, in effect, participate in the merits of the Redeemer, as the Faithful do, by means of the Faith and Sacraments, though, through their own fault, all the Faithful even do not participate in the complete benefit of eternal salvation. The renowned Bossuet says that everyone of the Faithful is bound to believe, with a firm Faith, that Jesus Christ died for his salvation; and this, he says, is the ancient tradition of the Catholic Church.

 

(35) St. Prosp. de Vocat. Gent. c. 4. (36) St. August. l. 3, dc lib. arb. c. 19, n. 53.

 

And, in truth, every one of the Faithful is bound to believe that Jesus Christ died for us and for our salvation, according to the Symbol drawn up in the First General Council. [See the Historical Part of the Work (37), which says : ” We believe in one God Almighty and one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who, for us man, and for our salvation, descended, and was made flesh, and suffered,” &c.] Now, when Jesus Christ died for us all who profess the Christian Faith, how can one say that he has not died for those who are not predestined, and that he does not wish them to be saved.

 

16. We should, therefore, with a firm faith, believe that Jesus Christ died for the salvation of all the faithful. Everyone of the faithful, says Bossuet, should believe with a firm faith that God wishes to save him, and that Jesus Christ has shed every drop of his blood for his salvation (38). The Council of Valence (Can. 4) had previously published the same doctrine: ” Fideliter tenendum juxta Evangelicam, et Apostolicam veritatem, quod pro illis hoc datum pretium (sanguinis Cristi) teneamus, de quibus Dominus noster dicit………… Ita exaltari oportet Filium hominis, ut omnis, qui credit in ipsum, non  pereat, sed habeat vitam æternam” (39). The Church of Lyons, also, in its Book of the Truth of the Scripture, says : ” Fides Catholica tenet, et Scripture sanctæ veritas docet, quod pro omnibus credentibus, et regeneratis vere Salvator noster sit passus” (40). Antoine, in his Scholastic and Dogmatic Theology (41), says : ” Est Fidei Dogma Christum mortuum esse pro salute æterna omnium omnino Fidelium.” Tournelly (42) teaches the same, and quotes the Body of Doctrine, published by Cardinal de Noailles, in 1720, and signed by ninety Bishops, which says, ” that every one of the faithful is bound by firm Faith to believe that Jesus Christ shed his whole blood for his salvation.” And the Assembly of the Galilean Clergy, in 1714, declared that all the faithful, both just and sinners, are bound to believe that Jesus Christ has died for their salvation. 

 

(37) Chap. 4, art. 2, n. 16. (38) Bossuet, lib. Justisic. des Reflex. &c. sec. 16, p. 100. (39) Syn. Valent. com. Concil. p. 136. (40) Eccl. Lugdun. l.deten.ver.&c.c.5.  (41) Antoine Theol. univers. t. 2, de Grat. c. 1, a. 6, ad Prop. 5. (42) Tourn. Theol. l. 1, q. 8, art. 10, Concl. 2.

 

17. Now, when the Jansenists held that our Redeemer did not die for all the faithful, but only for the elect, they say, then, he had no love for us. One of the principal motives which induces us to love our Saviour and his Eternal Father, who has given him to us, is the great work of Redemption, by which we know that for love of us the Son of God sacrificed himself on the Cross : ” He loved us, and delivered himself up for us” (Ephes. v, 2). It was this same love that inclined the Eternal Father to give up his only begotten Son : “God so loved the world as to give up his only begotten Son” (John iii, 16). This was the chief incentive St. Augustine made use of to inflame Christians with the love of Jesus : ” Ipsum dilige; qui ad hoc descendit, ut pro tua salute sufferret” (43). When the Jansenists, then, believe that Christ died solely for the elect, how can they have for him an ardent affection, as having died for love of them, when they cannot be sure that they are among the number of the predestined? They must, consequently, be in doubt that Christ died for love of them.

 

18. This belief of theirs, that Christ did not die for all the faithful, is also totally destructive of Christian hope. Christian hope, as St. Thomas defines it, is an expected certainty of eternal life : ” Spes est expectation certa beatitudinis” (44). We are, therefore, bound to hope that God will surely save us, trusting to the promises of salvation, through the merits of Jesus Christ, who died to save us, if we correspond to his grace. This is what Bossuet states, also, in the Catechism which he composed for his Diocese of Meaux :

 

Q. Why do you say that you hope for the eternal life which God has promised?

 

A. Because the promise of God is the foundation of our hope (45).

 

19. A modern writer, in a work entitled ” Christian Confidence,” says that we should not found the certainty of our hope on the general promise made by God to all believers, that he will give them eternal life, if they faithfully correspond to his Grace, although our Lord in several places makes this promise : ” If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever” (John, viii, 52); ” If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt, xix, 17). This general promise, says this writer, made to all Christians who observe the Divine Commandments, is not enough to give a certain hope of salvation; for, as it is subject to a condition which may not be fulfilled, that is, that we should correspond to it, it only gives us an uncertain hope. Hence, he says, we ought to found our hope on that particular promise of salvation given to the elect; for, as this promise is absolute, it is the foundation of a certain hope. Hence, he concludes, that our hope consists in appropriating to ourselves the promise made to the elect, by considering ourselves enrolled among the number of the predestined.

 

(43) St. August. Tract. 2, in Ep.l, Jo. (44) St. Thom. 2, 2, q. 18, a. 4. (45) Bossuet Catech. Meldens. 3, p. 161, n. 117.

 

The opinion, however, I imagine, does not square with the doctrine of the Council of Trent (Sess. vi, cap. 16), which says : ” In Dei auxilio firmissimam spcm collocare onmes debent, Deus enim, nisi ipsi illius gratiæ defuerint, sicut cæpit opus bonum, ita perficiet.” And, therefore, though we should fear on our part that we may lose our salvation, by abusing Grace, still we should have a most firm hope, on the part of God; that he will save us by his Divine assistance : ” In Deo auxilio (says the Council) firmissimum spem collocare omnes debent.” All should hope, the Council says; for even those who are buried in sin frequently receive from God the gift of Christian hope, expecting that our Lord, through the merits of Jesus Christ, will show them his mercy; and hence the same Council says, speaking of sinners : ” Ad considerandam Dei misericordiam so convertendo, in spem eriguntur, fidentes Deum sibi proptcr Christum propitium fore.” St. Thomas says to those who are in a state of Grace, that the dread of falling away from it should not weaken the certainty of this hope, which is founded on the Divine power and mercy, which cannot fail : ” Dicendum quod hoc quod aliqui habcntes Spem deficiant a consecutione beatitudinis, contigit ex defectu liberi arbitrii ponentis obstaculum peccati, non autem ex defectu potential, vel misericordiæ, cui Spes innititur; unde hoc non præjudicat certitudini Spei” (46). Our hope is, therefore, made certain, not by regarding ourselves as written among the number of the elect, but by being based on the power and mercy of God; nor should the uncertainty of our correspondence with Grace prevent us from having this certain hope of salvation, founded on the power, and mercy, and faithfulness of God, who has promised it to us through the merits of Jesus Christ, since this promise never can fail, if we fail not to correspond to it. 

 

(46) St. Thom. 2, 2, qu. 18, art. 4 ad 3.

 

20. Besides, if our hope, as this writer says, was to be founded on the promise alone made to the elect, it would be uncertain not only as far as concerned ourselves, but with regard to God, likewise; for as we are not sure that we are enrolled among the number of the predestined, neither could we be sure of the Divine assistance promised to us to work out our salvation; and as the number of the reprobate is much greater than that of the elect, we would have greater reason to despair of, than to hope for, salvation. The writer has taken notice of this difficulty, and admits it to be a most important one. The number of the elect, he says, is, without comparison, much smaller than the reprobate, even among those called. One will, then, ask himself, in this difficulty : Why should I imagine myself to belong to the lesser, instead of the greater number ? And, on the other hand, I am commanded to hope; but how can I think that I am separated from the number of the reprobate in the decrees of the Almighty, when he commands the reprobates to hope as well as me ? Let us see how he extricates himself out of this difficulty. It is, he says, a mystery which we cannot understand; and, as we are bound to believe the articles of Faith, though we cannot comprehend them, because God commands to do so; so, in like manner, and for the same reason, we should hope, though our reason cannot explain the difficulty we encounter. The true answer, however, is, that the writer, to uphold his system, imagines a mystery in the Commandment to hope which does not exist in reality. In Faith there are mysteries which we are bound to believe, without being able to comprehend, as the Trinity, Incarnation, &c.; these are beyond our reason; but in the Commandment to hope there is no mystery, for this precept merely regards eternal life, and the motive we have in hoping for it, the promise of God to save us through the merits of Christ, if we correspond to his Grace, and all this is clear to us, and no mystery. On the other hand, when it is most true that all the faithful should have a most firm hope of salvation, by the assistance of God, as the Council, St. Thomas, and all Theologians teach, how can we most firmly and most surely hope for this salvation, by hoping that we are among the number of the elect, when we do not know for certain, nor have we any certain argument in Scripture, to prove that we are comprised in that number ?

 

21. There are, to besure, powerful arguments in the Scriptures to induce us to hope for eternal life, Confidence, and Prayer; for God tells us that ” No one hoped in the Lord and hath been confounded” (Eccles. ii, 11); and our Redeemer says : ” Amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name he will give it to you” (John, xvi, 23). But if, as this writer said, the certainty of our hope consisted in considering ourselves among the number of the elect, where would we find a foundation in Scripture for believing that we belong to that number? We would rather find proofs to the contrary, as that the elect were but few in comparison with the reprobate : ” Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt, xx, 16); “Fear not, little flock,” &c. (Luke, xii, 32). To conclude the subject, however, I will quote the words of the Council of Trent : ” In Dei auxilio firmissimam spem collocare omnes debent,” &c. Now God having commanded all to repose in his assistance a certain hope of salvation, he ought to give a sure foundation for this hope. The promise made to the elect is a sure foundation for them, but not for us individually, since we do not know that we are of the elect. The certain foundation, then, that each of us has to hope for salvation, is not the particular promise made to the elect, but the general promise of assistance made to all the faithful to save them if they correspond to grace. To make the matter more brief: If all the faithful are obliged to hope with certainty for salvation in the Divine assistance, and this assistance being promised not to the elect alone but to all the faithful, it is on this, then, that every one of the faithful should base his hope.

 

22. To return to Jansenius. He wants us to believe that Christ did not die for all men, not even for all the faithful, but only for the predestined. If that were the case Christian hope would exist no longer, for, as St. Thomas says, hope is a sure foundation on the part of God, and this foundation is in fact the promise made by God to give, through the merits of Christ, eternal life to all who observe his law. Hence St. Augustine said that the certainty of his hope was in the blood of Christ, shed for our salvation : ” Omnis spes, et totius fiducia} certitudo mihi est in pretioso Sanguine ejus, qui effusus est propter nos, et propter nostram salutem” (46). The death of Christ, then, as the Apostle tells us, is the sure and firm anchor of our hope : ” We may have the strongest comfort who have fled for refuge to hold fast the hope set before us, which we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm” (Heb. vi, 18, 19). St. Paul had previously, in the same chapter, explained what this hope was which was “proposed to us the promise made to Abraham to send Jesus Christ to redeem mankind If Jesus Christ had not died, then, at least for all the faithful, the anchor St. Paul speaks of would not be secure or firm, but weak and doubtful, not having that sure foundation, the blood of Jesus Christ shed for our salvation. See, then, how the doctrine of Jansenius destroys Christian hope. Let us, then, leave their opinions to the Jansenists, and warmly excite in our hearts a confidence of salvation, through the death of Jesus Christ, but still let us never cease to fear and tremble, as the Apostle says : ” With fear and trembling work out your salvation” (Phil, ii, 12). Notwithstanding the death of Christ, we may be lost through our own fault. Thus, during our whole lives, we should fear and hope, but hope should predominate, for we have stronger reasons to hope in God that to fear him.

 

23. Some people give themselves a great deal of trouble by seeking to penetrate the order of God’s Divine judgments, and the great mystery of Predestination. These mysterious secrets of the Most High our weak intellects never can arrive at. Let us then leave these secrets which God keeps to himself, since we have so many things to learn which he has revealed for our instruction. First, he wishes us to know that he ardently desires that all should be saved, and that none should perish : ” Who will have all men to be saved” (I. Tim. ii, 4); ” Not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance” (II. Pet. iii, 9). Secondly, he wishes us to know that Jesus Christ died for all : ” Christ died for all, that they also who live may not now live to themselves but unto him who died for them, and rose again” (II. Cor. v, 15).  Thirdly, he wishes us to know that he who is lost is so through his own fault, since he provides all the requisite means for his salvation : ” Destruction is thy own, Israel, thy help is only in me” (Osee, xiii, 9). It will not avail sinners in the day of judgment to excuse themselves by saying that they could not resist temptation, for the Apostle teaches that God is faithful, and will suffer no one to be tempted beyond his strength : ” God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted beyond what you are able” (I. Cor. x, 13). If we require more strength to resist we have only to ask the Almighty, and he will give it to us, for with his assistance we can subdue all carnal and infernal temptations : ” Ask and it shall be given unto you” (Matt, vii, 7); ” Every one that asketh receiveth” (Luke, ii, 10). St. Paul shows that he is most bountiful to those who invoke him : “Rich unto all that call upon him, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. x, 12, 13).

 

(46) St. August. Medis. 50, cap. 14.

 

24. Behold, then, the sure means of obtaining salvation. We should pray to God for light and strength to accomplish his will, but we should also pray with humility, confidence, and perseverance, which are the three requisites for prayer to be heard. We should labour to co-operate to our salvation as much as we can, without waiting for God to do every thing while we do nothing. Let the order of predestination be as it will, and let heretics say what they like, one thing is certain, that if we are to be saved, it is our good works that will save us, and if we are to be damned it is our own sins that will damn us. Let us place, however, all our hopes of salvation, not in our own works, but in the Divine mercy, and in the merits of Jesus Christ, and we shall be surely saved. If we are saved, then, it will be solely by the grace of God, for even our good works are but gifts of his grace, and if we are lost it is solely through our own sins. It is this truth that preachers should frequently hold up to the people, and not go into the pulpit to make subtle theological disquisitions, uttering opinions not taught by the Fathers, and Doctors, and Martyrs of the Church, and explaining things in a way only calculated to make their hearers uneasy.