THE THREE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES EXPOUNDED.
SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
Q. Which are the three theological virtues, and why are they so called ?
A. Faith, hope, and charity; and they are called theological, because they regard God as their immediate object. 1 Cor. xiii. 13.
Q. What is faith?
A. It is a supernatural light, or divine virtue, infused by God into the soul, whereby we firmly believe and assent, to all things that are revealed by God and proposed by his church.
Q. Is faith a gift of God?
A. Yes, as it is defined against the Pelagians, and even without charity, as the council of Trent has defined against the Calvinists. Phil. 1. 28, 29.
Q. Is faith necessary to salvation ?
A. Yes, it is, as St. Paul assures us, where he says, that without faith, it is impossible to please God. Heb. xi. 6. And St. Mark says, he who believes not, shall be condemned. Chap. xvi. 16. However, it does not follow from hence, that faith alone will save a man, without good works, as Luther, and other heretics have taught. For the fathers by their lives and writings; councils by their decrees ; pastors by their preaching and exhorting, to do good and avoid evil; to keep God's commandments, etc, universally show, as the Scripture does, in several places, that faith alone, without good works, will never save a man. If I should have all faith, so as to remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing, says St. Paul, 1 Cor. xiii. 2. And St. James declares, that faith without works is dead; C. ii. 26. And our Saviour says, if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. St. Matt. xix. 17. All which is more than sufficient to prove, that faith alone will save no man.
Q. What is the formal object or motive into which faith is resolved ?
A. The authority of God revealing, who can neither deceive, nor be deceived; Heb. vi. 18.
Q. Is not faith resolved into reason, human authority, miracles, etc. ?
A. No; these are only the motives of credibility, which induce and dispose the mind to believe.
Q. Which are the properties of faith ?
A. It is so certain, as to exclude all doubting; it requires a pious affection of the will; it extends to every thing that is revealed, either explicitly, or implicitly; so that not to believe all articles, is T at least, an imperfect faith, or rather human faith; Heb. xi. 1.
Q. What is the material object of faith ?
A. Every thing that is revealed, viz.: The word of God, written, or unwritten.
Q. Is it not sufficient to believe all that is written in the Bible?
A. No, it is not; for we must believe all apostolical traditions, as St. Paul declares; therefore, brethren, says he, stand firm; and keep the traditions, which you have learnt, whether by word, or whether by our epistle. 2 Thess. ii. 14.
Q. From whom do we receive the word of God, and the meaning of it ?
A. From the Catholic church.
Q. How is faith divided ?
A. Into human and divine, actual and habitual, internal and external, living and dead, explicit and implicit.
Q. How do you explain these branches?
A. Human faith depends upon the information of man. Divine faith upon the information of God, proposed by motives of credibility. Habitual faith is the gift of faith, infused by God, and inherent in the soul. Actual faith is the actual assent we give, to what God has revealed. Internal faith is the inward assent given by the intellect. External faith is the outward profession by words or signs. Living faith is joined with charity, or the love of God, as in the just. Dead faith is that which is void of charity, as in the wicked. Hence, the council of Trent has defined, that true faith is separable from charity; yet, it may be lost by its opposite vice, viz.: Infidelity. Explicit faith is when an article is believed explicitly, distinctly, and in distinct terms, as the Trinity. Implicit faith is when we believe in general, every thing that is revealed, and proposed by the church; or when we believe an article not in express terms, but by believing an article wherein it is contained; as he who expressly believes the Trinity, believes implicitly, that the second and third person are consubstantial with the Father: again, he who explicitly believes the incarnation, implicitly believes Christ to have a human soul, body, and will.
Q. When does an external act, or public profession of faith, oblige?
A. As often as God's honor, or the good of our neighbor requires it: Acts iv. 20. Hence, no one is to deny his faith; for our Saviour says, lie who shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven; St. Matt. x. 33. Again, an internal act of faith obliges, when baptism is received by adult persons; as also, when we have a temptation against faith, or when we receive any of the sacraments, or when we are in danger of death, etc.
Q. Which are the vices opposite to faith ?
A. Infidelity, apostasy, heresy. Infidelity is either positive, that is, when a person has faith sufficiently proposed, or negative, that is, when faith is not sufficiently proposed. The first is sinful, the latter innocent. Apostasy is either total, as when Christ and his doctrine is denied, as in Jews, Turks, and Atheists; or partial, as when some particular articles are rejected. Heresy is an obstinate error of those who are baptized, against some particular articles which are of faith; so that it is to be observed, that if a person should deny or obstinately doubt of only one point of faith, he would thereby lose his whole faith; and the reason is, because true faith must always be entire, and he who fails only in one article, is made guilty of all, by disbelieving the authority of God, upon which all are equally grounded.
Q. What is schism ? and does it destroy faith ?
A. It is a sin of disobedience against charity, and separation from the church ; and it is often joined with heresy.
Q. Is blasphemy against faith ?
A. It is a sin opposite to the profession of faith; as being an injurious speech, or thought, against God or holy things, which either attributes to God what does not belong to him, or denies what does belong to him; or gives to creatures what belongs to God.