Now also he sheweth that neither the Iewes could be saued by the knowledge of the Law, of the
which they did so much bragge against the Gentils, seeing they did notwithstanding stinne as
the Gentils did. 14. And therfore that the true Iew is the Christian (though he be a Gentil) who
by grace in his hart doeth the good workes that the Law commandeth.
1. FOR the which cause thou art inexcusable, ô man, whosoeuer Thou that iudgest.
Iudging other men.
Such as by publike authoritie either spiritual or temporal haue to punish offenders, be not forbidden to iudge or condemne any for their offenses, though themselues be sometimes guilty in their conscience of the same or greater: yet may it be matter of aggrauating sinnes before God, when they wil not repent of those offenses themselues, for the which they punish others. But if they be open offenders themselues, in the same sort for which they iudge other, they giue scandal, and thereby aggrauate their sinnes very much. Properly here he forbiddeth to charge another falsely or truly with these crimes whereof himself is as farre guilty or more then the other, as the Iewes specially did the Gentils, to whom he speaketh here. thou be that iudgest. For wherein thou iudgest another, thou condemnest thyself. For thou doest the same things which thou iudgest.
2. For we know that the iudgement of God is according to veritie vpon them that doe such things.
3. And doest thou suppose this, ô man, that iudgest them which doe such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the iudgement of God?
4. Or Doest thou contemne.
God's long suffering is for our repentance.
This proueth that God offereth his grace & mercie to many, & by long patience & sufferance expecteth their repentance, differring their punishment of purpose that they may amend, and that he is not delighted in their perdition, nor is the cause of their sinne: but contrariewise that they harden their owne harts, and their owne free-wil reiect his grace and contemne his benignitie. doest thou contemne the riches of his goodnes, and patience, and longanimity, not knowing that the benignity of God bringeth thee to penance?
5. But according to thy hardnes and impenitent hart, thou heapest to thy self wrath, in the day of wrath and of the reuelation of the iust iudgement of God,
6. who wil Psa. 61,13. render to euery man Good men also according to the merits of their good wil shal haue their reward Aug. ep. 47. according to his According to his workes.
Good workes meritorious.
Though the holy Apostles special purpose be in this Epistle, to commend vnto the Gentils that trusted so much in their moral workes, the faith in Christ; yet lest any man should thinke or gather vntruly of his wordes, that Christian mens works were not meritorious or the cause of Saluation, he expresly writeth, that God giueth vs wel euerlasting life and glorie to men, for and according to their good workes, as he giueth damnation for the contrarie workes. And howsoeuer Heretikes fondly fly from the euidence of these places, yet S. Augustine saith, *Life euerlasting to be rendered for good workes according to the manifest Scripture: God shal render to euery man according to his workes.
*Li. de grat. & lib. arb. c. 8. workes:
7. to them truely that according to patience in good worke, seeke glorie and honour and incorruption, life eternal;
8. but to them that are of contention, and that obey not the truth, but giue credit to iniquitie, wrath and indignation.
9. Tribulation and anguish vpon euery soul of man that worketh euil, of the Iew first and of the That is, the Gentil. Greek:
10. but glorie and honour and peace to euery one that worketh good, to the Iew first and to the Greek.
11. For Deu. 10,17.
Act. 10,34. there is no acception of persons with God.
12. For whosoeuer haue sinned without the Law, without the Law shal perish: and whosoeuer haue sinned in the Law, by the Law shal be iudged.
13. For Mat. 7,21.
Iames 1,21. not Not the hearers.
The first iustification without workes; the second by workes.
This same sentence agreable also to Christes wordes (Mat. 7,21.) is the very ground of S. Iames disputation, that not faith alone, but good workes also doe iustifie. Therfore S. Paul (howsoeuer some peruersely consider his wordes in other places) meaneth the same that S. Iames. And here *he speaketh not properly of the first iustification, when an Infidel or il man is made iust, who had no acceptable workes before to be iustified by (of which kind he specially meaneth in other places of this Epistle) but he speaketh of the second iustification or increase of former iustice, which he that is in Gods grace, daily proceedeth in, by doing al kind of good workes, which be iustices, and for doing of which, he is iust indeed before God.
S. Paul speaketh of the first specially, S. Iames of the second.
And of this kind doth S. Iames namely treate. Which is directly against the Heretikes of this time, who not only attribute nothing to the workes done in sinne and infidelitie, but esteeme nothing at al of al Christian mens workes toward iustification & saluation, condemning them as vncleane, sinful, hypocritical, Pharisaical: which is directly against these & other Scriptures, and plaine blaspheming of Christ and his grace, by whose spirit and cooperation we doe them. *Aug. de Sp. & lit. c. 26. to. 3. the hearers of the Law are iust with God: but the doers of the Law Shal be iustified.
Against imputatiue iustice.
Of al other Articles deceitfully handled by Heretikes, they vse most guile in this of Iustification; & specially by the equiuocation of certaine wordes; which is proper to al contentious wranglers, and namely in this word, Iustifie. Which because they find sometime to signifie the acquiting of a guilty man of some crime whereof he is indeed guilty, & for which he ought to be condemned, (as by mans iudgement either of ignorance or of purpose often a very malefactour is deemed or declared & pronounced innocent) they falsly make it so signifie in this place & the like, wheresoeuer man is said to be iustified of God for his workes or otherwise: as though it were said, that God iustifieth man, that is to say, imputeth to him the iustice of Christ though he be not indeed iust; or of fauour reputeth him as iust, when indeed he is wicked, impious, and vniust. Which is a most blasphemous doctrine against God, making him either ignorant who is iust, & so to erre in his iudgement; or not good, that can loue and saue him whom he knoweth to be euil.
True inherent iustice for God's glorie, & for the commendation of Christs merites.
And a maruelous pittiful blindnes it is in the Churches Aduersaries, that they should thinke it more to God's glorie, and more to the commendation of Christes iustice, merites, and mercie, to cal and count an il man so continuing, for iust; then by his grace and mercie to make him of an il one, iust indeed, and so truly to iustifie him, or as the word doth here signifie, to esteeme and approue for iust indeed, him that by his grace keepeth his law and commandements. For, that the keepers or doers of the commandements be iust and so reputed, it is plaine by the correspondence to the former wordes: Not the hearers are iust, but the doers. Whereupon S. Augustine de Sp. & lit. c. 26 to. 3. hath these wordes: When it is said, The doers of the Law shal be iustified, what other thing is said, then, The iust shal be iustified? for the doers of the Law verily are iust. shal be iustified.
14. For when the Gentils which haue not the Law, naturally doe those things that are of the Law; the same not hauing the Law, themselues are a law to themselues:
15. who shew the workes of the Law written in their harts, their conscience giuing testimonie to them, and among themselues mutually their thoughts accusing, or also defending,
16. in the day when God shal iudge the secrets of men, according to my Ghospel, by Iesvs Christ.
17. But if thou be surnamed a Iew, and restest in the Law, and doest glorie in God,
18. and knowest his wil, and approuest the more profitable things, instructed by the Law,
19. presumest that thyself art a leader of the blind, a light of them that are in darknes,
20. a teacher of the foolish, a maister of infants, hauing the forme of science & of veritie in the Law.
21. Thou therfore It is a shameful and damnable thing for Preachers, Teachers, or other guides of mens life, to commit the same things themselues, which they reproue in others. that teachest another, teachest not thy self: that preachest, men ought not to steale, thou stealest:
22. that sayest men should not commit aduoutrie, thou committest aduoutrie: that abhorrest idols, thou doest sacrilege:
23. that doest glorie in the Law, thou by preuarication of the Law doest dishonour God.
24. ( Isai. 52,5.
Eze. 36,20. For It is a great sinne that by the il life of the faithful, our Lords name should be il spoken of among the misbeleeuers, and many withdrawen from the true religion thereby. the name of God through you is blasphemed among the Gentils, as it is written.)
25. Circumcision indeed profiteth, if thou obserue the Law: but if thou be a preuaricatour of the Law, thy circumcision is become Prepuce is the foreskin not circumcised, & therfore signifieth the Gentils, or the state and condition of the Gentils: as circumcision, the Iewes and their state. prepuce.
26. If then the prepuce Keepe the iustices.
True iustice both in Iew and Gentile, is by keeping the Law.
If a Gentil either now since Christ, by his grace and faith, or any other before Christ, not of the stocke of Abraham, through the Spirit of God keep the iustices of the Law, he is iust no lesse then if he had been outwardly circumcised, and shal condemne the circumcised Iew not keeping the Law, without which, his outward Sacrament cannot serue him, but shal be much to his condemnation, that hauing the Law and peculiar Sacraments of God, he did not keepe the Law, nor inwardly exercise that in his hart which the outward signe did import. And al this is no more but to insinuate that true iustice is not in faith only or knowledge of the Law, or in the name either of Iew or Christian, but in doing good workes and keeping the Law by Gods grace. keepe the iustices of the Law; shal not his prepuce be reputed for circumcision?
27. and shal not that which of nature is prepuce, fulfilling the Law, iudge thee, that by the letter and circumcision art a preuaricatour of the Law?
28. For not he that is in open shew, is a Iew, nor that which is in open shew in the flesh, is circumcision:
29. but he that is in secret is a Iew; and the circumcision of the hart, In spirit, not letter.
The letter, and the spirit.
The outward ceremonies, Sacraments, threates, and commandements of God in the Law, are called the letter; the inward working of God in mans hart & indowing him with faith, hope, and charitie, and with loue, liking, wil, & abilitie to keepe his commandements by the grace and merites of Christ, are called the spirit.
The carnal, & spiritual Iewe.
In which sense, the carnal Iew was a Iew according to the letter, and he was circumcised after the letter: but the true beleeuing Gentil obseruing by Gods grace in hart and in Gods sight that which was meant by that carnal signe, is a Iew according to the spirit, & iustified by God. Of the spirit and letter S. Augustine made a famous *worke, very necessarie for the vnderstanding of this Epistle.
*de sp. & lit. to. 1. in spirit, not in the letter: whose praise is not of men, but of God.