Theology post, late this week.

There are many preachers in this fallen time who say that we don’t have a religion. We don’t have rules to obey that will ensure our salvation. There is no scale weighing our good deeds and our bad.

Instead the older theologians were more visceral. They considered that we are united, in Christ, as we our with our spouse, who we love with passion.

That passion drives us to please God. It is not our doing: it is the love of God reflected in us.


1 Looking to the effects which He properly produces in the rational nature, we must also give consideration to this fact: When we are somehow made like a divine perfection, perfection of this kind is said to be given us by God; so wisdom is said to be a gift from God to us when we are somehow made like the divine wisdom.
Since, then, the Holy Spirit proceeds by way of the love by which God loves Himself, as was shown, from the fact that in loving God we are made like to this love, the Holy Spirit is said to be given to us by God. Hence the Apostle says: “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, who, is given to us” (Rom. 5:5).
Notes All knowledge, beliefs about Truth, flow from God, because they all must have a singular source—because if there were separate sources, each of these would have to have a cause, and the series cannot go to infinity.

2 One should realize, for all that, that what is in us from God is related to God as to an efficient and as to an exemplar cause. We say as to an efficient cause inasmuch as something is accomplished in us by the divine operative power. We say as to an exemplar cause so far as we are, thanks to that in us which is from God, imitating God.
Since, then, the power of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is identical just as the essence is, necessarily whatever God effects in us must be, as from an efficient cause, simultaneously from the Father and the Son and the, Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, the “word of wisdom” (cf. Dan. 1:20) by which we know God, and which God sends into us, is properly representative of the Son. And in like fashion the love by which we love God is properly representative of the Holy Spirit. And thus the charity which is in us, although it is an effect of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is nonetheless for a special sort of reason said to be in us through the Holy Spirit.

3 However the divine effects not only begin to be by the divine operation, by it they are also maintained in being (as is clear from the foregoing). And nothing operates where it is not, for the agent and that acted upon must be simultaneously in act, just as the mover and the moved.
Necessarily, then, wherever there is an effect of God, there God Himself is efficient. Hence, since the charity by which we love God is in us by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit Himself must also be in us, so long as the charity is in us.
And so the Apostle says: “Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). Therefore, since we are made lovers of God by the Holy Spirit, and every beloved is in the lover as such, by the Holy Spirit necessarily the Father and the Son dwell in us also. And so our Lord says: “We will come to him”—He means to one who loves God—“and will make our abode with him” (John 14:23). And in 1 John. (3:7.4) we read: “In this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us.”

4 Moreover, God manifestly loves in the greatest degree those whom He has made lovers of Himself through the Holy Spirit, for He would not confer so great a good save by loving us. Hence, we read in Proverbs (8:17) from the Person of God: “I love those who love Me”; “not as though we had loved God, but because He has first loved us,” as we read in 1 John (4:10).
Of course, every beloved is in a lover. Therefore, by the Holy Spirit not only is God in us, but we also are in God. Hence, we read in 1 John (4:16, 13): “He who abides in charity abides in God, and God in him;” and: “In this we know that we abide in Him and He in us: because He has given us of His Spirit.”

5 Of course, this is the proper mark of friendship: that one reveal his secrets to his friend.
For, since charity unites affections and makes, as it were, one heart of two, one seems not to have dismissed from his heart that which he reveals to a friend; and so our Lord says to His disciples: “I will not now call you servants but friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).
Therefore, since by the Holy Spirit we are established as friends of God, fittingly enough it is by the Holy Spirit that men are said to receive the revelation of the divine mysteries. Hence, the Apostle says: “It is written that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for them that love Him. But to us God has revealed them, by His Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:9-10).

There are those who despise the Calvinist because Calvin mistrusted free will. He did, but we all should do so. It is the complete work of Christ that saves us, we are, by our nature, irredeemable. This is another reason why the progressive project will fail: the bricks by which they build the temple of man are men, and men are broken from birth to death. Their solution is to engineer a new Soviet or transhuman man: ours is to look to the spirit of God.

6. All this being admitted, it will be beyond dispute, that free will does not enable any man to perform good works, unless he is assisted by grace; indeed, the special grace which the elect alone receive through regeneration. For I stay not to consider the extravagance of those who say that grace is offered equally and promiscuously to all (Lomb. lib. 2 Dist. 26). But it has not yet been shown whether man is entirely deprived of the power of well-doing, or whether he still possesses it in some, though in a very feeble and limited degree–a degree so feeble and limited, that it can do nothing of itself, but when assisted by grace, is able also to perform its part. The Master of the Sentences (Lombard, ibid). wishing to explain this, teaches that a twofold grace is necessary to fit for any good work. The one he calls Operating. To it, it is owing that we effectually will what is good. The other, which succeeds this good will, and aids it, he calls Co-operating. My objection to this division (see infra, chap. 3 sec. 10, and chap. 7 sec. 9) is, that while it attributes the effectual desire of good to divine grace, it insinuates that man, by his own nature, desires good in some degree, though ineffectually. Thus Bernard, while maintaining that a good will is the work of God, concedes this much to man–viz. that of his own nature he longs for such a good will. This differs widely from the view of Augustine, though Lombard pretends to have taken the division from him. Besides, there is an ambiguity in the second division, which has led to an erroneous interpretation. For it has been thought that we co-operate with subsequent grace, inasmuch as it pertains to us either to nullify the first grace, by rejecting its or to confirm it, by obediently yielding to it. The author of the work De Vocatione Gentium expresses it thus: It is free to those who enjoy the faculty of reason to depart from grace, so that the not departing is a reward, and that which cannot be done without the co-operation of the Spirit is imputed as merit to those whose will might have made it otherwise (lib. 2 cap. 4). It seemed proper to make these two observations in passing, that the reader may see how far I differ from the sounder of the Schoolmen. Still further do I differ from more modern sophists, who have departed even more widely than the Schoolmen from the ancient doctrine. The division, however, shows in what respect free will is attributed to man. For Lombard ultimately declares (lib. 2 Dist. 25), that our freedom is not to the extent of leaving us equally inclined to good and evil in act or in thought, but only to the extent of freeing us from compulsion. This liberty is compatible with our being depraved, the servants of sin, able to do nothing but sin.
7. In this way, then, man is said to have free will, not because he has a free choice of good and evil, but because he acts voluntarily, and not by compulsion. This is perfectly true: but why should so small a matter have been dignified with so proud a title? An admirable freedom! that man is not forced to be the servant of sin, while he is, however, ejthelodou’lo” (a voluntary slave); his will being bound by the fetters of sin. I abominate mere verbal disputes, by which the Church is harassed to no purpose; but I think we ought religiously to eschew terms which imply some absurdity, especially in subjects where error is of pernicious consequence. How few are there who, when they hear free will attributed to man, do not immediately imagine that he is the master of his mind and will in such a sense, that he can of himself incline himself either to good or evil? It may be said that such dangers are removed by carefully expounding the meaning to the people. But such is the proneness of the human mind to go astray, that it will more quickly draw error from one little word, than truth from a lengthened discourse. Of this, the very term in question furnishes too strong a proof. For the explanation given by ancient Christian writers having been lost sight of, almost all who have come after them, by attending only to the etymology of the term, have been led to indulge a fatal confidence.
8. As to the Fathers (if their authority weighs with us), they have the term constantly in their mouths; but they, at the same time, declare what extent of meaning they attach to it. In particular, Augustine hesitates not to call the will a slave. In another passages he is offended with those who deny free will; but his chief reason for this is explained when he says, “Only lest any one should presume so to deny freedom of will, from a desire to excuse sin.” It is certain he elsewhere admits, that without the Spirit the will of man is not free, inasmuch as it is subject to lusts which chain and master it. And again, that nature began to want liberty the moment the will was vanquished by the revolt into which it fell. Again, that man, by making a bad use of free will, lost both himself and his will. Again, that free will having been made a captive, can do nothing in the way of righteousness. Again, that no will is free which has not been made so by divine grace. Again, that the righteousness of God is not fulfilled when the law orders, and man acts, as it were, by his own strength, but when the Spirit assists, and the will (not the free will of man, but the will freed by God) obeys. He briefly states the ground of all these observations, when he says, that man at his creation received a great degree of free will, but lost it by sinning. In another place, after showing that free will is established by grace, he strongly inveighs against those who arrogate any thing to themselves without grace. His words are, “How much soever miserable men presume to plume themselves on free will before they are made free, or on their strength after they are made free, they do not consider that, in the very expression free will, liberty is implied. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,' (2 Cor. 3:17). If, therefore, they are the servants of sin, why do they boast of free will? He who has been vanquished is the servant of him who vanquished him. But if men have been made free, why do they boast of it as of their own work? Are they so free that they are unwilling to be the servants of Him who has said,Without me ye can do nothing’?” (John 15:5). In another passage he even seems to ridicule the word, when he says, “That the will is indeed free, but not freed–free of righteousness, but enslaved to sin.” The same idea he elsewhere repeats and explains, when he says, “That man is not free from righteousness save by the choice of his will, and is not made free from sin save by the grace of the Saviour.” Declaring that the freedom of man is nothing else than emancipation or manumission from righteousness, he seems to jest at the emptiness of the name. If any one, then, chooses to make use of this terms without attaching any bad meaning to it, he shall not be troubled by me on that account; but as it cannot be retained without very great danger, I think the abolition of it would be of great advantage to the Church. I am unwilling to use it myself; and others if they will take my advice, will do well to abstain from it.
9. It may, perhaps, seem that I have greatly prejudiced my own view by confessing that all the ecclesiastical writers, with the exception of Augustine, have spoken so ambiguously or inconsistently on this subject, that no certainty is attainable from their writings. Some will interpret this to mean, that I wish to deprive them of their right of suffrage, because they are opposed to me. Truly, however, I have had no other end in view than to consult, simply and in good faith, for the advantage of pious minds, which, if they trust to those writers for their opinion, will always fluctuate in uncertainty. At one time they teach, that man having been deprived of the power of free Will must flee to grace alone; at another, they equip or seem to equip him in armour of his own. It is not difficult, however, to show, that notwithstanding of the ambiguous manner in which those writers express themselves, they hold human virtue in little or no account, and ascribe the whole merit of all that is good to the Holy Spirit. To make this more manifest, I may here quote some passages from them. What, then, is meant by Cyprian in the passage so often lauded by Augustine, “Let us glory in nothing, because nothing is ours,” unless it be, that man being utterly destitute, considered in himself, should entirely depend on God? What is meant by Augustine and Eucherius, when they expound that Christ is the tree of life, and that whose puts forth his hand to it shall live; that the choice of the will is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that he who, forsaking the grace of God, tastes of it shall die? What is meant by Chrysostom, When he says, “That every man is not only naturally a sinner, but is wholly sin?” If there is nothing good in us; if man, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, is wholly sin; if it is not even lawful to try how far the power of the will extends,–how can it be lawful to share the merit of a good work between God and man? I might quote many passages to the same effect from other writers; but lest any caviller should say, that I select those only which serve my purpose, and cunningly pass by those which are against me, I desist. This much, however, I dare affirm, that though they sometimes go too far in extolling free will, the main object which they had in view was to teach man entirely to renounce all self-confidence, and place his strength in God alone. I now proceed to a simple exposition of the truth in regard to the nature of man.

I do have sympathy with my papist brothers today, because they are having the best form of the gospel — their liturgy, which though flawed [1] has preached the gospel, expunged by an effete and heretical pontiff. I feel the same way about the Book of Common Prayer: it was the iron rations for English Christians for centuries until the reformers ruined it by modernisation.

There is a reason people are flocking to the Latin Churches, to the Orthodox, and the Bapticostals. They are seeking Christ proclaimed: they do not want to preached mindfulness and the convergence of this age.

I am quite sure that many of this age would find Augustine, Aquinas and that querulous canon lawyer from Geneva all united in that they offend their woke sensibilities.

Because all three tried, to the best of their ability, preach the whole word of God to their time.

May we do the same.

  1. My issues with the mass relate to the involvement of saints and angels in the confession:

Confíteor Deo omnipoténti, beátæ Maríæ semper Vírgini, beáto Michaéli Archángelo, beáto Joanni Baptístæ, sanctis Apóstolis Petro et Paulo, ómnibus Sanctis, et tibi, Pater: quia peccávi nimis cogitatióne, verbo et ópere: He strikes his breast three times mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. Ideo precor beátam Maríam semper Vírginem, beátum Joánnem Baptístam, sanctos Apóstolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes Sanctos, et te, Pater, oráre pro me ad Dóminum Deum nostrum.

And the invocation:

Communicántes, et memóriam venerántes, in primis gloriósæ semper Vírginis Maríæ, Genitrícis Dei et Dómini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beáti Joseph ejúsdem Vírginis Sponsi, et beatórum Apostolórum ac Mártyrum tuórum, Petri et Pauli, André æ, Jacóbi, Joánnis, Thomæ, Jacóbi, Philíppi, Bartholomæi, Matthæi, Simónis et Thaddæi: Lini, Cleti, Cleméntis, Xysti, Cornélii, Cypriáni, Lauréntii, Chrysógoni, Joánnis et Pauli, Cosmæ et Damiáni: et ómnium Sanctórum tuórum; quorum méritis precibúsque concédas, ut in ómnibus protectiónis tuæ muniámur auxílio. Per eúndem Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

I could continue: but there are such prayers I cannot say with a good conscience. May God have mercy on me.

ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father, We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, We have offended against thy holy laws, We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.