Original Douay Rheims Bible (1582 & 1610)

The Epistle of Saint Pavl the Apostle to the Hebrews

He exhorteth them to be perfect scholers, and not to need to be Catechumens againe, 4. considering they can not be baptized againe: 9. nad remembring their former good workes, for the which God wil not faile to performe them his promise, if they faile not the imitate Abraham by perseuerance in the faith with patience. 20. And so endeth his digression, and returneth to the matter of Christes Priesthood.
1. WHERFORE intermitting the word of the beginning of Christ, let vs proceed to perfection, not againe laying The foundation of penance.
The Apostles forme of Catechisme, and the points thereof.
Vve see hereby, vvhat the first groundes of Christian institution or Catechisme were in the primitiue Church, and that there vvas euer a necessarie instruction and beleefe of certaine points had by vvord of mouth and tradition, before men came to the Scriptures: vvhich could not treate of things so particularly, as vvas requisite for the teaching of al necessarie groundes. Among these points were the 12 Articles conteined in the Apostles Creede: the doctrine of penance before Baptisme: the maner and necessitie of Baptisme: the Sacrament of Imposition of hands after Baptisme, called Confirmation: the articles of the Resurrection, Iudgement, and such like. Vvithout vvhich things first laid, if one should be sent to picke his faith out of the Scripture, there vvould be madde rule quickly. See S. Augustine in exposit, inchoat. ep. ad Ro. versus finem.
the foundation of penance from dead workes, & of faith toward God,
2. of the doctrine of Baptismes, & of imposition of hands, & of the resurrection of the dead, & of eternal iudgement.
3. And this shal we doe, if God wil permit.
4. For Heb. 10,26. it is Impossible.
The Nouatians (as al Heretikes) made Scripture the ground of their heresies.
Hovv hard the holy Scriptures be, and how dangerously they be read of the vnlearned, or of the proud be they neuer so vvel learned, this one place might teach vs. *Vvhereat the Nouatians of old did so stumble, that they thought, and heretically taught, that none falling into any mortal sinne after Baptisme, could be receiued to mercie or penance in the Church: and so to a contentious man, that vvould folow his owne sense, or the bare vvordes, vvithout regard of the Churches sense and rule of faith (after vvhich euery Scripture must be expounded) the Apostles speach doth here sound.
Ambr. de pœuit. li. 2. c. 2.
Other places make no more for the Protestants then this doth for Nouatus.
Euen as to the simple, and to the Heretike that submitteth not his sense to the Churches iudgement, certaine places of this same Epistle, seeme at the first sight, to stand against the daily oblation or sacrifice of the Masse: vvhich yet in truth make no more for that purpose, then this text we now stand on, serueth the Nouatians: as vvhen we come to the places, it shal be declared.
Caluins heresie vpon this place, vvorse then the Nouatians. The fathers exposition of this place.
And let the good Readers beware here also of the Protestants exposition, for they are herein vvorse then Nouatians, specially such as precisely folovv Caluin: holding impiously, that it is impossible for one that forsaketh entirely his faith, that is, becommeth an Apostata or an Heretike, to be receiued to penance or to Gods mercie. To establish vvhich false and damnable sense, these fellowes make nothing of S. Ambroses, S. Chrysostoms, and the other fathers exposition, vvhich is the holy Churches sense, That the Apostle meaneth of that penance vvhich is done before and in Baptisme. vvhich is no more to say, but that it is impossible to be baptized againe, and thereby to be renouated and illuminated, to die, be buried, and rise againe the second time in Christ, in so easie and perfect penance and cleansing of sinnes, as that first sacrament of generation did yeld: vvhich applieth Christes death in such ample maner to the receiuers, that it taketh avvay al paines due for sinnes before committed: and therfore requireth no further penance aftervvard, for the sinnes before committed, al being vvashed away by the force of that Sacrament duely taken. S. Augustine calleth the remission in Baptisme, Magnam indulgentiam, a great pardon. Enchirid. c. 64.
Ambr. loco cit. & in ep. ad Heb. Chry. ho. 9 in c. 6 ad Hebr.
The Sacrament of penance is ready for al sinners whatsoeuer.
The Apostle therfore warneth them, that if they fall from their faith, and from Christes grace and lavv vvhich they once receiued in their Baptisme, they may not looke to haue any more that first great and large remedie applied vnto them, nor no man els that sinneth after Baptisme: though the other penance, vvhich is called the Second table after shipvvracke, vvhich is a more paineful medicine for sinne then Baptisme, requiring much fasting, praying, and other afflictions corporal, is open not onely to other sinners, but to al once baptized, Heretikes, or oppugners of the truth malitiously and of purpose or what way so euer, during this life. See S. Cyprian ep. 52. S. Ambrose vpon this place. S. Augustine cont. ep. Parm. li. 2. c. 13. and ep. 50. S. Damascene li. 4. c. 16.
Hier. ep. 8 ad Demetriad. c. 6.
impossible for them that were once illuminated, haue tasted also the heauenly guift, & were made partakers of the holy Ghost,
5. haue more-ouer tasted the good word of God, & the powers of the world to come,
6. and are fallen, to be renewed againe to penance, crucifying againe to themselues the Sonne of God, and making him a mockerie.
7. For the earth drinking the raine often comming vpon it, & bringing forth grasse commodious for them by whom it is tilled, receiueth blessing of God.
8. But bringing forth thornes and bryers, it is reprobate, and very neer a curse, whose end is, to be burnt.
9. But It is euident by these wordes, against the Nouatians and the Caluinists, that S. Paul meant not precisely, that they had done, or could doe any such sinne, whereby they should be put out of al hope of saluation, & be sure of damnation, during their life. we confidently trust of you, my best Beloued, better things and neerer to saluation; although we speake thus.
10. For God is not vniust.
Gods iustice in rewarding meritorious workes.
It is a vvorld to see, vvhat vvringing & vvrithing the Protestants make, to shift them selues from the euidence of these vvordes, vvhich make it most cleere to all not blinded in pride and contention, that good vvorkes be meritorious, and the very cause of saluation, so far that God should be vniust, if he rendered not heauen for the same. Reuera grandis iniustitia Dei (saith S. Hierom) Si tantum peccata puniret, & bona opera non susciperet. That is, In deede great vvere Gods iniustice, if he vvould onely punish sinnes, and vvould not receiue good vvorkes. Li. 2. cont. Iouin. c. 2.
God is not vniust, that he should forget your worke & loue which you haue shewed in his name, which haue ministred to the Saints and doe minister.
11. And our desire is that euery one of you shew forth the same carefulnesse to the accomplishing of hope vnto the end:
12. that you become not slouthful, but imitatours of them which by faith and patience shal inherit the promises.
13. For God promising to Abraham, because he had none greater by whom he might sweare, he sware by himself,
14. saying Gen. 22,16. Vnles blessing I shal blesse thee, and multiplying shal multiplie thee.
15. And so patiently enduring he obtained the promise.
16. For men sweare by a greater then themselues: and the end of al their controuersie, for the confirmation, is an othe.
17. Wherein God meaning more aboundantly to shew to the heires of the promise the stabilitie of his counsel, he interposed an othe:
18. that by two things vnmoueable, whereby it is impossible for God to lie, we may haue a most strong comfort. Who haue fled to hold fast the hope proposed,
19. which we haue as an anker of the soule, sure and firme, and going in into the inner parts of the veile,
20. where Iesvs the Precursour for vs is entred, made a high Priest for euer according to the order of Melchisedech.