Original Douay Rheims Bible (1582 & 1610)

Epistola Catholica Beati Jacobi Apostoli

1. Fratres mei, nolite in personarum acceptione habere fidem Domini nostri Jesu Christi gloriæ. 1. MY Brethren, Have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory * Leviticus 19,15.
Deuteronomy 1,16.
Proverbs 24,23.
Ecclesiasticus 42,1.
in In acception of persons.
Scripture abused by the Anabaptists to make no distinction of persons.
The Apostle meaneth not, as the Anabaptists and other seditious persons sometime gather hereof that there should be no difference in Commonwealths or assemblies betwixt the Magistrate and the subject, the free man and the bond, the rich and the poor, betwixt one degree & another: for God and nature, and the necessity of man, have made such distinctions, and men are bound to observe them.
What the Apostle meaneth by acception of persons.
But it is meant only, or specially, that in spiritual gifts and graces, in matters of faith, Sacraments, and salvation, and bestowing the spiritual functions and charge of soul, we must esteem of a poor man or a bond man, no less then of the rich man and the free, then of the Prince or the Gentleman: because as Christ himself calleth all, and endoweth all sorts with his graces; so in such and the like things we must not be partial, but count all to be fellows, Brethren, and members of one head. And therefore the Apostle saith with a special clause, That we should not hold or have the Christian faith with or in such differences of partialities.
acception of persons.
2. Etenim si introierit in conventum vestrum vir aureum annulum habens in veste candida, introierit autem et pauper in sordido habitu, 2. For if there shall enter into your assembly a man having a golden ring in goodly apparel, and there shall enter in a poor man in homely attire,
3. et intendatis in eum qui indutus est veste præclara, et dixeritis ei: Tu sede hic bene: pauperi autem dicatis: Tu sta illic; aut sede sub scabello pedum meorum: 3. and you have respect to him that is clothed with the goodly apparel, and shall say to him, Sit thou here well: but say to the poor man, Stand thou there, or sit under my foot-stool:
4. nonne judicatis apud vosmetipsos, et facti estis judices cogitationum iniquarum? 4. do you not judge with your selves, and are become judges of unjust cogitations?
5. Audite, fratres mei dilectissimi: nonne Deus elegit pauperes in hoc mundo, divites in fide, et hæredes regni, quod repromisit Deus diligentibus se? 5. Hear, my dearest Brethren: hath not God chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him?
6. vos autem exhonorastis pauperem. Nonne divites per potentiam opprimunt vos, et ipsi trahunt vos ad judicia? 6. But you have dishonoured the poor men. Do not the rich oppress you by might: and themselves draw you to judgements?
7. nonne ipsi blasphemant bonum nomen, quod invocatum est super vos? 7. Do not they blaspheme the good name that is invocated upon you?
8. Si tamen legem perficitis regalem secundum Scripturas: Diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum: bene facitis: 8. If not-withstanding you fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, * Leviticus 19,18.
Matthew 23,39.
Romans 13.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self, you do well:
9. si autem personas accipitis, peccatum operamini, redarguti a lege quasi transgressores. 9. But if you accept persons, you work sin, reproved of the Law as transgressors.
10. Quicumque autem totam legem servaverit, offendat autem in uno, factus est omnium reus. 10. And * Leviticus 19,37.
Deuteronomy 1,18.
whosoever shall keep the whole Law, but offendeth in one, Is made guilty of all.
How he that offendeth in one commandment, is guilty of all.
He meaneth not, that whosoever is a thief, is also a murderer, or the every murderer is an adulterer also: or that all sins be equal, according to the Stoics & the Heresie of Jovinian: much less, that he shall have as great damnation that transgresseth one commandment, as if he had offended against every precept: but the sense is, that it shall not availe him to salvation, that he seemeth to have kept certain & not broken all the commandments: seeing that any one transgression of the law, proveth that he hath not observed the whole, which he was bound to do, so far as is required, & as is possible for a man in this life. St. Augustine disputing profoundly in his 25 Epistle to St. Jerome, of this place of St. James, expoundeth it this: that he which offendeth in one, that is, against the general and great commandment of love or charity (because it is in a manner all, as being the sum of all, the penitude of the law, and the persecution of the rest) breaketh after a sort and transgresseth all, no sin being committed but either against the love of God, or of our neighbour.
is made guilty of all.
11. Qui enim dixit: Non mœchaberis, dixit et: Non occides. Quod si non mœchaberis, occides autem, factus es transgressor legis. 11. For he that said, Thou shalt not commit adultery, said also, Thou shalt not kill. And if thou do not commit adultery, but shall kill; thou are made a transgressor of the Law.
12. Sic loquimini, et sic facite sicut per legem libertatis incipientes judicari. 12. So speak ye, and so do, as beginning to be judged by the law of liberty.
13. Judicium enim sine misericordia illi qui non fecit misericordiam: superexaltat autem misericordia judicium. 13. For Judgement without mercy.
Works of mercy exceeding grateful to God.
Nothing giveth more hope or mercy in the next life, then the works of almes, charity, and mercy, done to our neighbours in this life. Neither shall any be used with extreme rigour in the next world, but such as used not mercy in this world, August. de pec. merit. li. 2. c 3. Which is true, not only in respect of the judgement to everlasting damnation, but also of the temporal chastisement in Purgatory, as St. Augustine signifieth, declaring that our venial sins be washed away in this world with daily works of mercy, which otherwise should be chastised in the next. See epist. 29. aforesaid in fine, and li. 21. de Ciu. Dei c. 17. in fine.
judgement without mercy to him that hath not done mercy. And mercy κατακαυχᾶται. exalteth it-self above judgement.
14. Quid proderit, fratres mei, si fidem quis dicat se habere, opera autem non habeat? numquid poterit fides salvare eum? 14. What shall it profit, if a man say he hath faith?
The proud and impudent dealing of the heretics against this Epistle, because it is so plain against only faith.
This whole passage of the Apostle is so clear against justification or salvation by only faith, damnably defended by the Protestants, & so evident for the necessity, merit, & concurrence of good works, that their first Author Luther and such as exactly follow him, boldly (after the manner of Heretics) when they can make no shift nor false gloss for the texts, deny the book to be Canonical Scripture. But Calvin and his companion disagreeing with their Masters, confess it to be holy Scripture. But their shifters & fond glosses for answer of so plain places, be as impudent as the denying of the Epistle was in the other: who would never have denied the book, thereby to show themselves Heretics, if they had thought those vulgar evasions that the Zuinglians and Calvinists do use (whereof they were not ignorant) could have served. In both forts the Christian Reader may see, that all the Heretics vaunting of express Scriptures & the word of God, is no more but to delude the world. Whereas indeed, be the Scriptures never so plain against them, they must either be wrested to sound as they say, or else they must be no Scriptures at all. And to see Luther, Calvin, Beza, & their fellows, sit as it were in judgment of the Scriptures to allow or disallow at their pleasures, it is the most notorious example of Heretical pride & misery that can be. See their prefaces and censures upon this Canonical Epistle, the Apocalypse, the Machabees, and other.
What shall it profit, my Brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?
15. Si autem frater et soror nudi sint, et indigeant victu quotidiano, 15. And * 1 John 3,17. if a Brother or Sister be naked, and lack daily food,
16. dicat autem aliquis ex vobis illis: Ite in pace, calefacimini et saturamini: non dederitis autem eis quæ necessaria sunt corpori, quid proderit? 16. and one of you say to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled; but you give them not the things that are necessary for the body; what shall it profit?
17. Sic et fides, si non habeat opera, mortua est in semetipsa. 17. So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in it-self.
18. Sed dicet quis: Tu fidem habes, et ego opera habeo: ostende mihi fidem tuam sine operibus: et ego ostendam tibi ex operibus fidem meam. 18. But some man saith, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without works; and I will show thee by works my faith.
19. Tu credis quoniam unus est Deus: bene facis: et dæmones credunt, et contremiscunt. 19. Thou believest that there is one God. Thou doest well: the Devils also believe and tremble.
20. Vis autem scire, o homo inanis, quoniam fides sine operibus mortua est? 20. But wilt thou know, He speaketh to all heretics that say, faith only without workes doth justify, calling them vain men, and comparing them to Devils. o vain man, that faith without works is dead idle?
21. Abraham pater noster nonne ex operibus justificatus est, offerens Isaac filium suum super altare? 21. Abraham our Father Abraham, was he not justified by works?
Only faith, an old heresy.
It is much to be noted that St. Augustine in his book de fide & operibus c. 1 4 writeth, that the heresy of only faith justifying or saving, was an old Heresy even in the Apostles time, gathered by the false interpretation of some of St. Paul's profound disputation in the Epistle to the Romans, wherein he commended so highly the faith in Christ, that they thought good works were not available: adding further, that the other three Apostles, James, John, and Jude, did of purpose write so much of good works, to correct the said error of only faith, gathered by the misconstruction of St. Paul's words.
St. James & the rest inculcate good works against the error of only faith falsely gathered of St. Paul's words.
Yea when St. Peter (Ep. 2. c. 3.) warneth the faithful that many things be hard in St. Paul's writings, and of light unlearned men mistaken to their perdition; the said St. Augustine affirmeth, that he meant of his disputation concerning faith, which so many Heretics did mistake to condemne good works. And in the preface of his commentary upon the 31 Psalme, he warneth all men, that this deduction upon St. Paul's speach, Abraham was justified by faith, therefore works be not necessary to salvation: is the right way to the gulf of Hell and damnation.
loco citato.
St. Augustines while diputation in this point very notable, & directly against only faith.
And lastly (which is in it-self very plain) that we may see this Apostle did purposely thus commend unto us the necessity of good works, & the inanity and insufficiency of only faith, to correct the error of such as misconstructed St. Paul's words for the same: *the said holy Doctor noteth that of purpose he took the very same example of Abraham, whom S. Paul said to be justified by faith, and declareth that he was justified by good works, specifying the good work for which he was justified and blessed of God, to wit, his obedience and immolation of his only son. But now St. Paul saith that Abraham was justified by faith, see the Annotations upon that place. Rom. 4,1.
Li. 83. q. q. 76.
was he not justified by works offering Isaac his son upon the altar?
22. Vides quoniam fides cooperabatur operibus illius: et ex operibus fides consummata est? 22. Seest thou that Faith did work with.
Heresies against good works.
Some Heretics hold, that good works are pernicious to salvation and justification: other, that though they be not hurtful but required, yet they be no causes or works of salvation, much less meritorious, but are as effects and fruits issuing necessarily out of faith. Both which fictions, falshoods, & flights from the plain truth of God's word, are refuted by these words, when the Apostle saith, That faith worketh together with good works: making faith to be a coadjutor or cooperator with works, and so both joyntly concurring as causes and workers of justification: yea afterward he maketh works the more principal cause, when he resembleth faith to the body, and works to the spirit or life of man.
Works concurre with faith as cause of justification.
faith did work with his works: and by the works the faith was consummate?
23. Et suppleta est Scriptura, dicens: Credidit Abraham Deo, et reputatum est illi ad justitiam, et amicus Dei appellatus est. 23. And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, * Genesis 15,6.
Romans 4,3.
Galatians 3.
Abraham believed God, and it was reputed him to justice, and he was called the The friend of God.
Works make us just indeed before God.
By this also another false and frivolous evasion of the Heretics is overtaken, when they feign, that the Apostles here when he saith, works do justify, meaneth that they show us just before men, and availe not to our justice before God. For the Apostle evidently declareth that Abraham by his works was made or truly called the friend of God, and therefore was not (as the Heretics say) by his works approved just before man only.
friend of God.
24. Videtis quoniam ex operibus justificatur homo, et non ex fide tantum? 24. Do you see that by works a man is justified; & Not by faith only.
The Protestants say by faith only: St. James clean contrary, Not by faith only.
This proposition or speech is directly opposite or contradictory to that which the Heretics hold. For the Apostle saith, Man is not justified by good works, but by faith only. Neither can they pretend that there is the like contradiction or contrariety betwixt St. James speeches and St. Paul's. For though St. Paul say, man is justified by faith, yet he never saith, by faith only, nor ever meaneth by that faith which is alone, but always by that faith which worketh by charity, *as he expoundeth himself. Though concerning works also, there is a difference betwixt the first justification, whereof St. Paul specially speaketh: and the second justification, whereof St. James doth more specially treat. Of which thing *else-where there is enough said.
*Gala. 5.
See the annotations vpon the epistle to the Romans c. 2,11.

The manifold meaning of certain Fathers, when they say, Only faith.
The Fathers indeed use sometimes this exclusive, sola, only, but in far other sense then the Protestants. For some of them thereby exclude only the works of Moses law, against the Jews: some, the works of nature and moral virtues without the grace or knowledge of Christ, against the Gentiles: some, the necessity of external good works where the parties lack time and means to do them, as in the case of the penitent thief: some, the false opinions, sects, and religions contrary to the Catholic faith, against Heretics and miscreants: some exclude reason, sense, and arguing in matters of faith and mystery, against such as will believe nothing but that they see or understand: some the merit of works done in sin before the first justification: some, the arrogant Pharisical vaunting of man's own proper works and justice, against such as refer not their actions and good deeds to God's grace. To these purposes the holy Doctors say sometimes, that only faith saveth and serveth: but never (as Protestants would have it) to exclude from justification and salvation, the cooperation of mans free-will, dispositions and preparations of our hearts by prayers, penance, and sacraments, the virtues of hope and charity, the purpose of well-working and of the observation of God's commandments: much less, the works and merits of the children of God, proceeding of grace and charity, after they be justified & are now in his favour: which are not only dispositions and preparations to justice, but the meritorious cause of greater justice, and of salvation.
not by faith only?
25. Similiter et Rahab meretrix, nonne ex operibus justificata est, suscipiens nuntios, et alia via ejiciens? 25. And in like manner also * Joshua 2,1. 18. and 6,22. Rahab Rahab.
St. Paul nameth faith & St. James works, causes of justification: but neither the one, faith only, nor the other works only.
This Apostle alleageth the good works of Rahab by which she was justified, and St. Paul (11 Heb.) saith she was justified be faith. Which are not contrary one to the other: for both is true that she was saved by faith, as one faith, and that she was saved be her works, as the other saith. But it were untruly said, that she was saved either by only faith as the Heretics say; or by only good works, as no Catholic man ever said. But because some Jews and Gentile Philosophers did affirm; they, that they should be saved by the works of Moses law; these, by their mortal works: therefore St. Paul to the Romans diputed specially against both, proving that no works done without or before the faith of Christ, can serve to justification or salvation.
the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and putting them forth another way?
26. Sicut enim corpus sine spiritu mortuum est, ita et fides sine operibus mortua est. 26. For even as the body without the spirit is dead: so also Faith without workes is dead.
Faith without works is a true faith, but not available: as the body without the spirit is a true body, though it be dead.
St. James (as the Protestants feign) saith that faith without good works is no faith, and that therefore it justifieth not, because it is no faith; for he saith that it is dead without works as the body is dead without the soul, and therefore being dead hath no activity or efficacy to justify or save. But it is a great difference, to say that faith without works is dead, and to say that faith without works is no faith. And if a dead body be not-withstanding a true faith, but yet not available to justification, because it is dead, that is, because it is only faith without good works.
What faith the Apostle speaketh of: & that he knew no special faith.
And therefore it is a great impudency in Heretics, and a hard shift, to say that the faith of which the Apostle disputeth all this while, is no true or properly called faith at all. It is the same faith that St. Paul defined and commended in all the 11 chapter to the Hebrews, and the same which is called the Catholic faith, and the same which being formed & made alive by charity, justifieth. Mary true it is, that it is not that special faith which the Heretics feign only to justifie, to wit, when a man doth firmly believe as an article of his faith, that himself shall be saved. This special faith it is not whereof the Apostle here speaketh. For neither he, nor St. Paul, nor any other sacred Writer in all the holy Scriptures ever speake or know of any such forged faith.
faith without works is dead.