That Abraham was not iustified by his owne power, but by God's grace, in whom he beleeued (6.
which is a way for the sinner also to come to iustice.) 9. And that, seeing he was not as then
circumcised; not only the circumcised Iew, but also the vncircumcised Gentil may by beleeuing
the Christian faith, come to iustice, as Abraham did: 11. specially considering also, that Abraham
was promised to be Father of the whole world, and not only of the Iewes, to whom only the Law was
giuen: and that, not to fulfil the promise, but for another cause.
1. WHAT shal we say then that Abraham.
Abraham's works before faith.
The Apostle disputing in this chapter, as before, against them that thought they might be iustified by their workes done without the grace of Christ & faith in him, proposeth Abraham for an example, and proueth that he had no iustice nor estimation of iustice before God by any workes done before he had faith, or that proceeded not of faith & God's grace. Abraham did find, our Father according to the flesh?
2. For if Abraham were iustified By works.
Iustice before men, & iustice before God.
If Abraham did any commendable works before he beleeued Christ, as many Philosophers did, men might count him iust therfore; but in God's sight (who accepteth nothing without faith in him, or that proceedeth not from his grace) he should neuer haue had the estimation of a iust man. Therfore God in the Scriptures reputing him as a iust man, giueth the cause thereof, saying: Abraham beleeued God, and it was reputed to him for iustice. by works he hath glorie, but not with God.
3. For what saith the Scripture? Gen. 15,6.
Iames 2,23. Abraham beleeued God, & it was reputed him to iustice.
4. But To him that worketh.
Not works, but mere grace is cause of our first iustification.
That is to say: He that presumeth of his owne works as done of himself without faith, God's help, and grace: and saying, that grace or iustification were giuen to him for his works; this man doth chalenge his iustification as debt, & not as of fauour & grace. to him that worketh, the reward is not λογίζεται. imputed according to grace but according to debt.
5. But To him that worketh not.
He worketh not (in this place) that hath no workes or alleageth not his works done in his infidelitie as cause of his iustification, but faith in Christ, & that proceeding of mere grace. Whereupon S. Augustine saith: Know thou that faith found thee vniust. And if faith giuen to thee, made thee iust, it found thee a wicked one whom it might make iust. If it found thee wicked, and of such an one made thee iust, what works hadst thou being then wicked? None couldest thou haue (nor canst haue) before thou beleeuest. Beleeue then in him that iustifieth the impious, that thy good works may be good works indeed. August. in Psal. 31. to him that worketh not, yet beleeueth in him that iustifieth the impious, his faith is λογίζεται. reputed to iustice according to the purpose of the grace of God.
6. As Dauid termeth.
The Protestants for, *termeth, translate, describeth, for that they would haue the ignorant beleeue, the whole nature & definition of Iustification to be nothing els but remission of sinnes, and no grace or inherent iustice giuen from God at al. When the Apostle would say nothing els, but that in the first iustification God findeth no good works or merits to reward, but only sinnes to forgiue vnto such as haue faith in him.
*λέγει As Dauid also termeth the blessednes of a man, to whom God reputeth iustice without works:
7. Psa. 31,1. Blessed are they whose iniquities by forgiuen, and whose sinnes be couered.
8. Blessed is the man to whom our Lord hath 7. Couered 8. not imputed.
What is, Sinnes couered or not imputed.
You may not gather (as the Heretikes doe) of these termes, couered, and, not imputed, that the sinnes of men be neuer truly forgiuen, but hidden only. For that derogateth much to the force of Christs bloud & to the grace of God, by which our offences be truly remitted. He is *the Lamb that taketh away the sinnes of the world, that **washeth, and blotteth out our sinnes. Therfore to couer them, or, not to impute them, is, not to charge vs with our sinnes, because by remission they be cleane taken away: otherwise it were but a feined forgiuenesse. See S. Augustine in Psal. 31. enarrat. 2.
**1. Corinth. 6,11.
Apoc. 1,5. not imputed sinne.
9. This blessednes then doth it abide in the circumcision, or in the prepuce also? For we say that vnto Abraham faith was The word Reputed, doth not diminish the truth of the iustice, as though it were reputed for iustice being not iustice indeed; but signifieth, that as it was in itself, so God esteemed & reputed it: as the same Greeke word must needs be taken v. 4. next going before, & 1. Cor. 4,1. and elswhere. reputed to iustice.
10. How was it reputed? in circumcision, or in prepuce? Not in circumcision, but in prepuce.
11. And Gen. 17,10. he receiued Our Sacraments of the new Law giue ex opere operato, that grace iustice of faith which here is commended: whereas circumcision was but a signe or marke of the same. the signe of circumcision, A seale.
The Sacraments are not mere markes, but causes of iustification.
The Heretikes would proue hereby, that the Sacrament of the Church giue not grace or iustice of faith, but that they be notes, markes, and badges only of our remission of sinnes had by faith before, because Abraham was iust before and took this Sacrament for a seale therof only. To which must be answered, that it followeth not that it is so in al, because it was so in the Patriarch, who was iust before, and was therfore as it were the Founder of Circumcision, or he in whom God would first establish the same: no more than it followeth that, because the Holy Sacrament of the Altar remitted not sinnes to Christ nor iustified him, therfore it hath that effect in none. Look S. Augustine de Baptismo contra Donatistas li. 4. c. 24. Where you shal see that (though not in Abraham) yet in Isaac his sonne, and so consequently in the rest, the Sacrament went before, and iustice followed. a seale of the iustice of faith that is in prepuce: that he might be the Father of al that beleeue by the prepuce, that vnto them also it may be reputed to iustice:
12. and might be father of circumcision, not to them only that are of the circumcision, but to them also that follow the steps of the faith that is in the prepuce of our father Abraham.
13. For not by the Law was the promise to Abraham, or to his seed, that he should be heire of the world; but by the iustice of faith.
14. For if they that are of the Law, be heires; faith is made void, the promise is abolished.
15. For the Law worketh wrath. For where is no Law. neither is there preuarication.
16. Therfore of faith: that according to grace the promise may be firme to al the seed, not to that only which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of vs al, (as it is written:
17. Gen. 17,4. For, a father of many Nations haue I appointed thee) before God, whom 'he beleeued,' thou didst beleeue, who quickneth the dead; and calleth those things that are not, as those things that are.
18. Who contrarie to hope beleeued in hope; that he might be made the father of many Nations, according to that which was Gen. 15,5. said to him: So shal thy seed be, as the starres of Heauen, and the sand of the sea.
19. And he was not weakned in faith; neither did he consider his owne body now quite dead, whereas he was almost an hundred yeares old, and the dead matrice of Sara.
20. In the promise also of God he staggered not by distrust; but was strengthned in faith, giuing glorie to God:
21. most fully knowing that whatsoeuer he promised, he is able also to doe.
22. Therfore was it also reputed him to iustice.
23. And it is not written only for him, that it was reputed him to iustice:
24. but also For vs, to whom it shal be reputed.
By what faith are we iustified.
By this it is most plaine against our Aduersaries, that the faith which was reputed for iustice to Abraham, was his beleefe of an Article reuealed to him by God, that is to say, his assent & credit giuen to God's speaches: as in vs his posteritie according to the spirit, it is here plainly said, that iustice shal be reputed to vs by beleeuing the Articles of Christes death and Resurrection, and not by any fond special faith, fiducia or confidence of each mans owne saluation. To establish the which fiction, they make no account of the faith Catholike, that is, wherewith we beleeue the Articles of the faith, which only iustifieth, but cal it by contempt, an historical faith: so as they may terme Abraham's faith, & our Ladies faith, of which it was *said, Beata quæ credidisti, Blessed art thou that hast beleeued. And so in truth they deny as wel the iustification by faith, as by works.
*Luke 1,45. for vs, to whom it shal be reputed beleeuing in him, that raised vp Iesvs Christ our Lord from the dead,
25. who was deliuered vp for our sinnes, and rose againe for our iustification.