Friday, 26 February 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 6.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada

Q. Are there no priests in the new law, besides Christ ? Has he none to succeed him in his priesthood ?

A. A God, a religion, a priesthood, and a sacrifice, are correlatives, and depend upon one another. They are frequently mentioned and asserted in the new law. The manner is this* as to priesthood. Christ was the only priest that offered himself up, as a bloody sacrifice upon the cross, for the redemption of mankind : as to this character, he has no successors. But then as he was a priest, according to the order of Melchizedeck, in offering up himself, under the forms of bread and wine, in this, he has as many successors as there are priests in the new law, who offer him up in the same manner. But even here, Christ is still the chief high priest, and though others are really priests, they are only ministerially so, both jointly at the same time offering up the same sacrifice; so the sacrifice of the cross, and the sacrifice of the mass, are the same sacrifice as to substance, though after a different manner, one being bloody, the other unbloody; and the latter a commemorative sacrifice of the former, as to the manner.

Q. In what manner did Christ complete this great work he came about?

A. First, by appearing as a Redeemer, and paying the full ransom required, according to the strictest demands of justice, merit and satisfaction. Secondly, as a master, by delivering lessons proper for all stations and circumstances. Thirdly, as a pattern, by practicing himself, what he taught others.

Q. Why is the second person's assuming human nature, called the incarnation, and in

what manner do you explain this wonderful union ?

A. It is called incarnation, from the Latin word caroy flesh, not that the union is only with man's flesh, but partly because flesh is a word commonly used in the Scriptures for the whole man; and partly to show God's goodness and humility, who was pleased to join himself to the more ignoble part of man's nature.

Q. Was the second person united both to man's soul and body?

A. Yes; and that in such a manner as to be liable both to grief and trouble of mind, with the defects of the body, as hunger, thirst, cold, pain, etc., nay, even to death; and, in general, all inconveniences, excepting ignorance, and sin, with other moral defects, which the divine person was incapable of.

Q. According to the description you give of this mystery, Christ consists of one divine person having two natures, one divine, and the other human and no human person to be admitted. Now this is altogether unintelligible.

A. It is entirely a mystery, and above human understanding, as all other mysteries of faith are wherein we are to captivate our understanding in obedience to faith, and divine revelation.

Q. Which are the effects produced in mankind, by means of the redemption ?

A. In general, these three: grace, justification, and merit.

Q. What is grace?

A. In general, it is a gift bestowed on a person, without any inducement from the party on whom it is bestowed; and this includes all gifts whatsoever, both natural and supernatural.

Q. What is the difference between natural and supernatural gifts ?

A. Natural gifts or graces, are such as are given by God, for man's well-being in this life, viz.: Man's body, soul, free-will, with all sorts of temporal conveniences. Supernatural gifts are such as immediately conduce toward procuring man's eternal happiness; whereof some are outward; for instance, instruction in the true faith, and practical duties of religion, good example? miracles, etc. Others are internal, as good thoughts, and pious affections, whereby the understanding is enlightened, and the will moved, and excited to perform such actions, as lead us on to future happiness.

Q. What is properly the grace of Christ, or the grace obtained by redemption ?

A. It is every inward, or outward means which immediately tends to make man eternally happy, and which are produced only through the merits of Christ.

Q. Is there any difference in the grace which is purchased by our redemption ?

A. Yes, some of the differences I have hinted at already, others there are, observable from the following divisions of those supernatural gifts. For instance, there is grace given on account of our neighbor, and grace given on our own account only. The first is called, grace gratis given; (Gratia gratis data) the other, grace that makes us acceptable to God. (Gratia gratum faciens.) There is actual grace, and habitual grace; there is sufficient grace and efficacious grace.

Q. What do you mean by grace given, on account of our neighbor? Why is it called gratis given, for is not all grace gratis given ?

A. St. Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, reckons above nine of the first kind, viz.: Working of miracles, speaking of languages, curing diseases, prophesying, etc., which were bestowed upon the apostles, and others, afterward, in order to facilitate the world's conversion. Now these are called gratis giving, because they are sometimes given to such as want sanctifying grace, which renders them acceptable to God.

Q. What is actual grace, and how distinguished from habitual grace?

A. Actual grace is a passing motion given by God, disposing the soul for good actions, whereby she may become happy, and working its effect, by enlightening the understanding, and producing pious affections in the will. Habitual grace is an established state of the soul, whereby she is entirely placed in God's favor, and made capable of advancing herself more and more, by subsequent actual grace.

Q. What difference is there between sufficient and efficacious grace, and why so called?

A. We call it sufficient grace, when God does bestow all requisites to enable us to perform good actions and produce supernatural effects, though something intervenes to hinder the said effects. Grace is said to be efficacious, when it infallibly produces its effects, in concurrence with man's free-will; which is no ways lessened nor taken away by efficacious grace, but still enjoys the liberty of assenting, or dissenting, as the church has defined against Calvin.

Q. Give me the true system of actual grace, as it is maintained in the Catholic church.

A. It requires chiefly these particulars, viz.: To make our good actions meritorious, and capable of obtaining salvation, besides the natural efforts of the soul, and outward helps; as instructions, example, etc. It is required, that the mind be illustrated, and the will excited, by certain inward motions of grace. The contrary opinion is condemned by the church r against the Pelagians, who asserted the sufficiency of nature without grace. That the said grace is necessary, not only for carrying on . meritorious works, but even to begin them; as the church has defined against the Semipelagians. That this actual or exciting grace is purely gratuitous, without any consideration of the creature's merits, is decreed against the aforesaid heretics.