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holiness, drew down upon himself point, and that they were convoked the displeasure and the judgments not to define truth, but to condemn of the Almighty, incurred the pen.
Many of the Council, inalty of death, became subject to Sa. deed, insisted upon having some tan, and wholly corrupt in body and clear, intelligible definition of the soul.
nature of original sin set forth by Both sin and its consequences are the authority of the Holy Synod. transmitted from Adam to all his Andreas Vega, a Franciscan divine, posterity, so that even infants need maintained, " that it was not conto be washed in the laver of regen- venient, nor ever used by any eration in order to obtain eternal council, to condemn an opinion for life.*
heretical, without declaring first Nevertheless, the freedom of the which is catholic ; that no true nego will was not wholly lost by the sinative hath in itself the cause of its of Adam, so that man still retains truth, but is so by the truth of an the natural image of God, and all affirmative ; nor ever any proposihis actions are not necessarily sin- tion was false, but because another ful,t though none are in themselves is true : neither can the falsity of acceptable to God.
the one be known, but by him who These propositions are derived knoweth the truth of the other. from the anathemas of the Council Therefore the opinion of the Luagainst the contrary doctrines. The therans can not be condemned of last is aimed against the doctrine of heresy, until the opinion of the physical depravity which they as- church be set down. He that shall cribed to the Reformers. The observe the manner of proceeding in Council carefully refrained from all councils, which have handled matgiving any definition of original sin, ters of faith, will see, that they have on the grounds that Scripture and laid first an orthodox foundation, tradition are alike silent on this and by that condemned the here
sies, and so it is necessary to do *“Si quis parvulos recentes ab uteris now. For when it shall be read matrum baptizandos negat, etiam si fue- that the Council of Trent hath conrant a baptizatis parentibus orti ; aut dicit demned the Lutherans, for saying in remissionem quidem peccatorum eos baptizari
, sed nihil ex Adam trahere ori original sin is ignorance, contempt, ginalis peccati, quod regenerationis lava
distrust and hate of heavenly things, cro necesse sit expiari ad vitam æternam and a corruption of the whole man consequendam ; unde sit consequens ut in the will, soul and body, who is in eis forma baptismatis in remissionem peccatorum non vera, sed falsa intelliga- there that will not demand, what is tur; anathema sit ; quoniam non aliter it then? and will not say in himself, intelligendum est it quod dixit Aposto- if this opinion be heretical, which lus ; (Rom. v, 12.) nisi quemadmodum, is catholic? And when he shall ecclesia catholica ubique diffusa semper intellexit. Propter hanc enim regulam
see the opinion of Zuinglius confidei ex traditione Apostolorum, etiam demned, that children, the sons of parvuli, qui nihil peccatorum in semetip- the faithful, are baptized into remissis adbuc committere potuerunt ideo in
sion of sins, though nothing be remissionem peccatorum veraciter baptizantur, ut in eis regeneratione mundetur transmitted from Adam but the punquod generatione contraxerunt.” Dec. de ishments and the corruption of napec. orig. iv. 7 Dens carries this doctrine farther; else is then transmitted ? In sum,
ture, will not suddenly ask, what and maintains not only that mankind possess certain constitutional propensities he concluded, that the Council was which are in themselves innocuous, but assembled principally to tell the cathat they are capable of performing what tholic truth, not only to condemn is meritorious in the sight of God,
and of thus contributing to their own justifica
These reasonable views, however,
did not prevail. There were too “9. That the principal punishment dne many conflicting opinions in the
to original sin, is hell-fire, besides corpoCouncil itself to allow of harmoni.
ral death, and other imperfections, to
which man is subject in this life." ous action in any thing but the con. demnation of Protestants; and “the
These several articles were all prelates had no hope to be able by condemned by the Council, though study to be well-informed in the some of them elicited much discuscrabbed school-points, neither durst sion. Father Paul tells us, that the they go about to make trial of it.” divines were most “ troubled to disIn this we commend their prudence. course how sin was transmitted from Pallavicini justifies the course of the Adam to posterity, and successively Council by saying, that “if the from father to son. For St. Austin, church be unable to give any accu•
who opened the way to others, pressrate definition of original sin, it is ed with the objection of Julianus the sufficient for her to denote what Pelagian, who asked him of the original sin is not; and this she can manner of transmitting original sin do with as much propriety as one, when man is conceived, seeing that who, having no clear notion of heavé matrimony and the use thereof is en, could still assert with confidence, holy, neither God the first author that it was not composed of linen sinning, nor the parents, nor he that adorned with gold-paper." The ar. is born, by what chink sin entered, ticles proposed to be condemned as answered only, that chinks were not heretical, were the following.
to be sought where a gate stood wide ." 1. That Adam by transgressing the open, the Apostle saying that by divine command, hath lost justice, and
Adam sin entered into the world." incurred the wrath of God and mortality;
This is a specimen of the perplexbut though he is impaired both in soul ity in which the “holy synod” was and body, yet no sin is transferred from often involved in attempting to fix him to posterity, but only corporal pun. infallibly the faith of the world. It ishment.
“2. That Adam's sin is called original, shows the utter futility of legislating because it is derived from him to poster- upon metaphysical niceties. ity, not by transmission, but by imitation. 53. That original sin is ignorance, or
The mode in which original sin contempt of God, or want of fear, without is removed, will be considered when confidence in his Majesty, without divine we come to treat of justification. It love, and with concupiscence and bad desires; and generally a corruption of the Council were entirely unanimous,
was upon this point alone that the whole man in his will, soul and body.
“4. That in children there is an incli- Much frivolous discussion arose renation to evil, proceeding from a corrupted specting the condition of infants who nature, so that after the use of reason, it die without baptism. Some held bringeth forth a loathing of divine things, and an immersion in matters of the world that they went to a Limbo, or a reand that this is original sin.
gion of gloomy unconsciousness un“5. That children, at least those born der the earth; others that after the of believing parents, though they are bap- resurrection they would inhabit the tized into the remission of sins, yet have no sin by descending from Adam.
earth itself in light, but be deprived “6. That original sin is not cancelled in baptism, but not imputed, or so razed, the physical constitution; that it is whol. that it beginneth to diminish in this life, ly removed by baptism, and a change of and is wholly rooted out in that to come. the will; that whatever propensities to
“7. That the sin remaining in the bap- evil may remain in the system after baptized, hindereth his entrance into heaven. tism, they are not themselves sinful; nor
“8. That concupiscence which cher- even when they lead to sin, do they so isheth sin, and remaineth after baptism, enslave the will as to estrange it from is truly sin.*
God or to deprive the justified person of
his good estate. It is important to notice The theory of Romanists appears to the nicest shades of thought upon the docbe, that human depravity is moral and not trine of original sin, in view of their inpbysical, though its effects are seen upon fluence on the doctrine of justification, Vol. III.
of celestial blessedness. The Dou- of our joy, Vessel of Spirituality, ay Catechism teaches, that they go Vessel of honor, Noble vessel of de"to a part of hell, where they endure votion, Mystical rose, Tower of Da. the pain of loss, but not of sense, vid, Tower of ivory, House of gold, and shall never see the face of God.” Ark of the Covenant, Gate of HeavOne of the fathers, for maintaining en, Morning Star, Health of the that they will suffer positive evil, weak, Refuge of sinners, Comfort received the appellation of Tormen. of the afflicted, Help of Christians, tor of Children
Queen of angels, Queen of patri. A furious controversy arose re- archs, Queen
of prophets, Queen of specting the Virgin Mary. The apostles, Queen of martys, Queen Franciscans maintained that she of confessors, Queen of virgins, should be excepted under the gen. Queen of all saints . .... Pray eral declaration that the sin of Adam for us.” passed into all mankind. The Do- Thus far we have found no greater minicans, on the other hand, insisted diversity of opinion upon the fall that as Paul had not excepted her and its effects between Roman Cath. neither should they. It required all olics and Protestants, than exists the artifice of the legates and the among different sects of Protestants. authority of the Pope himself, to But when we advance a step farther, prevent a schism upon this point. and inquire into the nature of sin, A compromise was finally agreed we find an irreconcilable difference upon between the parties to the ef. between Romanists and the great fect that it should be said, that the body of Protestants. The church synod had no reference to the Vir- of Rome divides the sins of men gin Mary in their decree. “ Decla- into two classes, mortal and venial. rat tamen hæc ipsa sancta synodus, Mortal sin is “ that which of itself non esse suæ intentionis, compre- brings spiritual death upon the soul; hendere in hoc decreto, ubi de pec- since it inevitably deprives the soul cato originali agitur, beatam et im- of sanctifying grace and love, in maculatam Virginem Mariam, Dei which spiritual life consists." Ve. genitricem, sed observandas esse nial sin is that which does not bring constitutiones felicis recordationis spiritual death upon the soul, or Xysti Papæ quarti, sub pænis in eis which does not turn the mind aside constitutionibus contentis, quas inno- from its ultimate end, (i. e. which vat.”
does not produce aversion to God,) We should think it important to or which is but slightly repugnant exempt the Virgin wholly from hu- to reason rightly exercised.” (Ďens, man imperfection if such prayers as Vol. I, Nos. 153, 154.) the following are to be addressed to These definitions do not enable her. " The litanies of the blessed us to distinguish clearly between Virgin Mary. Holy Mary, pray for these two classes of offenses, for us. Holy Mother of God, Holy Vir- they are based upon effects which gin of virgins, Mother of Christ, are to some extent beyond our cog. Mother of divine grace, Mother most nizance. We can not see that morpure, Mother most chaste, Mother tal and venial sins differ in their naundefiled, Mother untouched, Moth- ture. The Douay Catechism attempts er most amiable, Mother most admi. to distinguish them thus ; to constirable, Mother of our Creator, Moth- tute an offense mortal “ it is requirer of our Redeemer, Most prudented that it be deliberate and perfectly Virgin, Venerable Virgin, Renown. voluntary; and that it be a matter ed Virgin, Powerful Virgin, Merci- of weight against the law of God; ful Virgin, Faithful Virgin, Mirror one or both of which conditions are of Justice, Seat of Wisdom, Cause always wanting in a venial sin.”
But this does not remove our per- inance of selfishness. " Whoever plexity. We can not conceive of a is born of God doth not commit sin ; sin which is not a perfectly volunta- for his seed remaineth in him ; " ry,” or which is not “a matter of the germ of the divine life is in his weight against the law of God." soul; that holy principle which emAgain we inquire for the true ground anated from the Spirit of God never of distinction; but the only answer fully dies, though its activity may we receive is, that mortal sin is be for a while suspended under the “any great offense against the love power of temptation. He that has of God," an offense which " kills once been truly regenerated, can the soul," and that venial sin is “a not be again brought under the absmall and very pardonable offense solute control of selfishness; “he against God, or our neighbor;" i.e. can not sin," therefore, as he once mortal sin is sin which is mortal, and did, or as others do," for he is born of venial sin is sin which is venial. God.” But there is no such distinc
We are not alone, however, in tion between the sins of Christians our perplexity. Dens himself ad- and those of other men as to war. mits that “it is extremely difficult rant us in calling the one class ve. to discover and very dangerous to nial and the other mortal. Both are define what is mortal and what ve- odious in the sight of God; both call nial sin,” and that sins are to be for retribution; both create the same weighed in the judgment of God and necessity for repentance and the apnot of men, since they may inter- plication of the blood of Christ. Yet change their natures and effects. Peter Dens maintains, that "there
The proof that some sins are ve. are sips so trivial that in just persons nial, is derived from such passages they are consistent with a state of as these. "In many things we all grace and friendship with God.” offend.' "The just man falleth sev. He does not say simply that a Chris. en times,' not mortally, for then he tian may enjoy the divine favor notwere no longer just; therefore ve. withstanding his imperfect sanctifinially.
cation, but that his sins may be so “* But I say to you, every idle trivial as not to detract from his word which men shall speak, they character or enjoyment as a Chrisshall render an account for it at the tian. “ For," he argues, as in all day of judgment.' Now God forbid social intercourse, certain light of that every idle word should be a fenses occur which do not dissolve mortal sin !”
friendship, there are such also in This is the only attempt at an ar- that friendly intercourse which man gument from the Scriptures in favor enjoys with God. And though the of a distinction which is insisted on remission of venial sin is an act of with so much confidence, and which divine mercy, it is yet in a sense leads to such tremendous results. due to the just man who seeks it, Not a single passage is named in since venial sin destroys neither the which the Scriptures speak of venial ground of God's friendship, nor the sins. No such passage can be found. power of self-recovery." Sin is the transgression of the law; Let it not be supposed that this it is opposition to the will of God, division of human transgressions into and can not in any circumstances two classes, is a mere metaphysical be a trivial thing. There is indeed nicety to tax the ingenuity of theoa sense in which the sins of a Chris- logians. It is a practical distinction tian differ from those of an unregen- affecting every branch of human erate man. The former are to be conduct. But if we were perplexed traced to the imperfection of holy at the definitions of these two classprinciple; the latter to the predom- es of offenses, we are still more so at the illustrations which are given of salvation, presumption of God's under each. It is a mortal sin to mercy, to impugn the known truth, eat flesh on a day of fasting or ab- envy at another's spiritual good, stinence, though it may become ve- obstinacy in sin, and final impeninial from the trifling quantity which tence;" and also, “four sins that cry is taken.—He who deliberately to heaven for vengeance, viz. willful omits the mass or a considerable murder, the sin of Sodom or carnal part of the mass on a festival day sin against nature, oppressing of the sins mortally; but he who omits poor, and to defraud working men hearing mass through ignorance of of their wages.” Where does the the day, or who omits but a small word of God authorize such a classportion of it, sins only venially. ification of sins ? There is no error To anticipate the time appointed for of the Romish church more danger. taking refreshment on a day of ous than that of measuring off the fasting, by one hour, is according to sins of men upon an imaginary line, some writers, a mortal sin; though and attaching different degrees of to eat half an hour before the time guilt to offenses which involve the is a light offense.
same spirit of rebellion against God, Theft is a mortal sin only " when and which may be equally heinous the thing stolen is of a considerable in His sight. The practical influ. value, or causeth a considerable ence of the belief that certain sins hurt to our neighbor ;" when the are only venial is most disastrous to article taken is insignificant, or the good morals; especially when ofinjury sustained by the owner is fenses against the moral law are comparatively slight, it is a venial made trivial in comparison with ofoffense.
fenses against the custom of “the A lie is a mortal sin, “ when it is church." The Apostle James (who any great dishonor to God, or nota- is a favorite authority with Roman. ble prejudice to our neighbor ; other. ists on some points) tells us that wise, if it be merely officious or whosoever shall keep the whole law, trifling, it is but a venial sin.” These and yet offend in one point, he is are specimens of the Roman Cath- guilty of all. In transgressing a olic code of morals, taken at ran- single precept, he resists the authordom from the writings of Dens, the ity of the lawgiver which lies back Douay Catechism, and other authen- of it, and betrays a spirit which in tic sources. In view of such arbi- the appropriate circumstances would trary distinctions, we do not wonder transgress the law in every particuthat Dens has furnished chapters lar. There can be no such thing upon
" “ conduct which is safe, safer, as a venial sin against God; sin as and not so safe;" upon a
a principle, however developed, is ful conscience ;” a “perplexed con- that “abominable thing” which he science;" a "probable conscience;" hates. and “opinions more probable, but This division of sins into two less safe.” To complete the list, classes, mortal and venial, calls for he should have added a chapter up- a corresponding diversity in the on opinions which are neither“ pro- mode of remitting sin. Accordingbable” nor “safe,” which would ly we are told, that mortal sin can have been an admirable summation be remitted only by “ hearty penof the series.
ance and contrition,” but that venial The Douay Catechism enumerates sin is remitted by the sacraments, seven deadly or capital sins, viz. by holy water, devout prayer, alms. pride, covetousness, lechery, anger, deeds, and the like good works." gluttony, envy and sloth ;"-.“ six sins Here we are brought to the doctrine against the Holy Ghost, viz. despair of JUSTIFICATION. This has always