As to the Forgiveness of Sins, it Ought to be Enough Simple to Believe. For who Would Ask the Cause or the Reason when a Prince Grants Indulgence? when the Liberality of an Earthly Sovereign is no Fit Subject for Discussion, Shall Man's Temerity Discuss God's Largess? for the Pagans are Wont to Ridicule Us, Saying that we Deceive Ourselves, Fancying that Crimes Committed in Deed Can be Purged by Words. And they Say, "Can He who Has Committed Murder be no Murderer, and He who Has Committed Adultery be Accounted no Adulterer? How Then Shall one Guilty of Crimes of this Sort all of a Sudden be Made Holy?" but to This, as I Said, we Answer Better by Faith than by Reason. For He is King of all who Hath Promised It: He is Lord of Heaven and Earth who Assures us of It. Would You have Me Refuse to Believe that He who Made Me a Man of the Dust of the Earth Can of a Guilty Person Make Me Innocent? and that He who when I was Blind Made Me See, or when I was Deaf Made Me Hear, or Lame Walk, Can Recover for Me My Lost Innocence? and to Come to the Witness of Nature --To Kill a Man is not Always Criminal, but to Kill of Malice, not by Law, is Criminal. It is not the Deed Then, in Such Matters, that Condemns Me, Because Sometimes it is Rightly Done, but the Evil Intention of the Mind. If Then My Mind which had Been Rendered Criminal, and in which the Sin Originated, is Corrected, Why Should I Seem to You Incapable of Being Made Innocent, who Before was Criminal? for if it is Plain, as I have Shewn, that Crime Consists not in the Deed but in the Will, as an Evil Will, Prompted by an Evil Demon, Has Made Me Obnoxious to Sin and Death, So the Will Prompted by the Good God, Being Changed to Good, Hath Restored Me to Innocence and Life. It is the Same Also in all Other Crimes. In this Way There is Found to be no Opposition Between Our Faith and Natural Reason, While Forgiveness of Sins is Imputed not to Deeds, which when once done Cannot be Changed, but to the Mind, which it is Certain Can be Converted from Bad to Good. CThis Last Article, which Affirms the Resurrection of the Flesh, Concludes the Sum of all Perfection with Succinct Brevity. Although on this Point Also the Faith of the Church is Impugned, not Only by Gentiles, but by Heretics Likewise. For Valentinus Altogether Denies the Resurrection of the Flesh, So do the Manicheans, as we Shewed Above. But they Refuse to Listen to the Prophet Isaiah when He Says, "The Dead Shall Rise, and they who are in the Graves Shall be Raised," or to Most Wise Daniel, when He Declares, "Then they who are in the Dust of the Earth Shall Arise, These to Eternal Life, but those to Shame and Confusion. " yet Even in the Gospels, which they Appear to Receive, they Ought to Learn from Our Lord and Saviour, who Says, when Instructing the Sadducees, "As Touching the Resurrection of the Dead: have Ye not Read How He Saith to Moses in the Bush, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob? Now God is not the God of the Dead but of the Living. " Where in what Goes Before He Declares what and How Great is the Glory of the Resurrection, Saying, "But in the Resurrection of the Dead they Will Neither Marry or be Given in Marriage, but Will be as the Angels of God. " but the virtue of the Resurrection Confers on Men an Angelical State, So that they who have Risen from the Earth Shall not Live Again on the Earth with the Brute Animals but with Angels in Heaven --Yet those Only Whose Purer Life Has Fitted them for this --Those, Namely, who Even Now Preserving the Flesh of their Soul in Chastity, have Brought it into Subjection to the Holy Spirit, and Thus with Every Stain of Sins done Away and Changed into Spiritual Glory by the virtue of Sanctification, have Been Counted Worthy to have it Admitted into the Society of Angels. Is. xxvi. 19
40. As to the Forgiveness of Sins, it ought to be enough simple to believe. For who would ask the cause or the reason when a Prince grants indulgence? When the liberality of an earthly sovereign is no fit subject for discussion, shall man's temerity discuss God's largess? For the Pagans are wont to ridicule us, saying that we deceive ourselves, fancying that crimes committed in deed can be purged by words. And they say, "Can he who has committed murder be no murderer, and he who has committed adultery be accounted no adulterer? How then shall one guilty of crimes of this sort all of a sudden be made holy?" But to this, as I said, we answer better by faith than by reason. For he is King of all who hath promised it: He is Lord of heaven and earth who assures us of it. Would you have me refuse to believe that He who made me a man of the dust of the earth can of a guilty person make me innocent? And that He who when I was blind made me see, or when I was deaf made me hear, or lame walk, can recover for me my lost innocence? And to come to the witness of Nature -- to kill a man is not always criminal, but to kill of malice, not by law, is criminal. It is not the deed then, in such matters, that condemns me, because sometimes it is rightly done, but the evil intention of the mind. If then my mind which had been rendered criminal, and in which the sin originated, is corrected, why should I seem to you incapable of being made innocent, who before was criminal? For if it is plain, as I have shewn, that crime consists not in the deed but in the will, as an evil will, prompted by an evil demon, has made me obnoxious to sin and death, so the will prompted by the good God, being changed to good, hath restored me to innocence and life. It is the same also in all other crimes. In this way there is found to be no opposition between our faith and natural reason, while forgiveness of sins is imputed not to deeds, which when once done cannot be changed, but to the mind, which it is certain can be converted from bad to good. c41. This last article, which affirms the Resurrection of the Flesh, concludes the sum of all perfection with succinct brevity. Although on this point also the faith of the Church is impugned, not only by Gentiles, but by heretics likewise. For Valentinus altogether denies the resurrection of the flesh, so do the Manicheans, as we shewed above. But they refuse to listen to the Prophet Isaiah when he says, "The dead shall rise, and they who are in the graves shall be raised," or to most wise Daniel, when he declares, "Then they who are in the dust of the earth shall arise, these to eternal life, but those to shame and confusion." Yet even in the Gospels, which they appear to receive, they ought to learn from our Lord and Saviour, Who says, when instructing the Sadducees, "As touching the resurrection of the dead: have ye not read how He saith to Moses in the Bush, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob? Now God is not the God of the dead but of the living." Where in what goes before He declares what and how great is the glory of the resurrection, saying, "But in the resurrection of the dead they will neither marry or be given in marriage, but will be as the angels of God." But the virtue of the resurrection confers on men an angelical state, so that they who have risen from the earth shall not live again on the earth with the brute animals but with angels in heaven -- yet those only whose purer life has fitted them for this -- those, namely, who even now preserving the flesh of their soul in chastity, have brought it into subjection to the Holy Spirit, and thus with every stain of sins done away and changed into spiritual glory by the virtue of sanctification, have been counted worthy to have it admitted into the society of angels.

Is. xxvi.19[3411] Dan. xii.2

[3412] Mark xii.26, 27

[3413] Matt. xxii.30

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