第9章 THE THIRD PART OF THE ARTICLES(1)
Concerning the following articles we may [will be able to]
treat with learned and reasonable men, or among ourselves.The Pope and his [the Papal] government do not care much about these.For with them conscience is nothing, but money, [glory]
honors, power are [to them] everything.
Here we must confess, as Paul says in Rom.5, 11, that sin originated [and entered the world] from one man Adam, by whose disobedience all men were made sinners, [and] subject to death and the devil.This is called original or capital sin.
The fruits of this sin are afterwards the evil deeds which are forbidden in the Ten Commandments, such as [distrust]
unbelief, false faith, idolatry, to be without the fear of God, presumption [recklessness], despair, blindness [or complete loss of sight], and, in short not to know or regard God; furthermore to lie, to swear by [to abuse] God's name [to swear falsely], not to pray, not to call upon God, not to regard [to despise or neglect] God's Word, to be disobedient to parents, to murder, to be unchaste, to steal, to deceive, etc.
This hereditary sin is so deep and [horrible] a corruption of nature that no reason can understand it, but it must be [learned and] believed from the revelation of Scriptures, Ps.
51, 5; Rom.6, 12 ff.; Ex.33, 3; Gen.3, 7 ff.Hence, it is nothing but error and blindness in regard to this article what the scholastic doctors have taught, namely:
That since the fall of Adam the natural powers of man have remained entire and incorrupt, and that man by nature has a right reason and a good will; which things the philosophers teach.
Again that man has a free will to do good and omit evil, and, conversely, to omit good and do evil.
Again, that man by his natural powers can observe and keep [do] all the commands of God.
Again, that, by his natural powers, man can love God above all things and his neighbor as himself.
Again, if a man does as much as is in him, God certainly grants him His grace.
Again, if he wishes to go to the Sacrament, there is no need of a good intention to do good, but it is sufficient if he has not a wicked purpose to commit sin; so entirely good is his nature and so efficacious the Sacrament.
[Again,] that it is not founded upon Scripture that for a good work the Holy Ghost with His grace is necessary.
Such and many similar things have arisen from want of understanding and ignorance as regards both this sin and Christ, our Savior and they are truly heathen dogmas, which we cannot endure.For if this teaching were right [approved], then Christ has died in vain, since there is in man no defect nor sin for which he should have died; or He would have died only for the body, not for the soul, inasmuch as the soul is [entirely] sound, and the body only is subject to death.
II.Of the LawHere we hold that the Law was given by God, first, to restrain sin by threats and the dread of punishment, and by the promise and offer of grace and benefit.But all this miscarried on account of the wickedness which sin has wrought in man.For thereby a part [some] were rendered worse, those, namely, who are hostile to [hate] the Law, because it forbids what they like to do, and enjoins what they do not like to do.
Therefore, wherever they can escape [if they were not restrained by] punishment, they [would] do more against the Law than before.These, then, are the rude and wicked [unbridled and secure] men, who do evil wherever they [notice that they] have the opportunity.
The rest become blind and arrogant [are smitten with arrogance and blindness], and [insolently] conceive the opinion that they observe and can observe the Law by their own powers, as has been said above concerning the scholastic theologians;thence come the hypocrites and [self-righteous or] false saints.
But the chief office or force of the Law is that it reveal original sin with all its fruits, and show man how very low his nature has fallen, and has become [fundamentally and]
utterly corrupted; as the Law must tell man that he has no God nor regards [cares for] God, and worships other gods, a matter which before and without the Law he would not have believed.
In this way he becomes terrified, is humbled, desponds, despairs, and anxiously desires aid, but sees no escape; he begins to be an enemy of [enraged at] God, and to murmur, etc.
This is what Paul says, Rom.4, 15: The Law worketh wrath.And Rom.5, 20: Sin is increased by the Law.[The Law entered that the offense might abound.]
This office [of the Law] the New Testament retains and urges, as St.Paul, Rom.1, 18 does, saying: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.Again, 3, 19: All the world is guilty before God.No man is righteous before Him.And Christ says, John 16, 8: The Holy Ghost will reprove the world of sin.
This, then, is the thunderbolt of God by which He strikes in a heap [hurls to the ground] both manifest sinners and false saints [hypocrites], and suffers no one to be in the right [declares no one righteous], but drives them all together to terror and despair.This is the hammer, as Jeremiah says, 23, 29: Is not My Word like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? This is not activa contritio or manufactured repentance, but passiva contritio [torture of conscience], true sorrow of heart, suffering and sensation of death.
This, then, is what it means to begin true repentance; and here man must hear such a sentence as this: You are all of no account, whether you be manifest sinners or saints [in your own opinion]; you all must become different and do otherwise than you now are and are doing [no matter what sort of people you are], whether you are as great, wise, powerful, and holy as you may.Here no one is [righteous, holy], godly, etc.