§. 1. That our good works merit not eter∣nall lyfe, or glorie, for their owne condignitie and worth, as the Pa∣pists affirme. Bell. l. 5. de justi∣ficatione, c. 17.
1. Authoritie of Scripture.
IOB 35.7.If thou be righ∣teous, vvhat gi∣vest thou him? (to wit, to God) or what receiveth hee of thine hand?
Note then, That wee cannot merit at Page 124 God's hand: for to bee righteous, is a thing that wee are bound to bee: and when wee are so, God getteth no profite there-by
To this same effect therefore Christ sayeth,
Luke 17.10.So also yee, vvhen yee haue done all those things, vvhich are commanded you, say, vvee are vnprofitable servants, vvee haue done but that which was our duetie to doe.
And holie David confesieth thus of him-selfe, saying,
Psal. 16.2.My goodnesse (Lord) extendeth not to thee.
Thus wee see then, that all our good works, is a debt-bound service onlie to God, who hath created vs; and that when wee haue done them, yet hee is not benefited.
But so it is, that a worke that meri∣teth, must not be debt, (for no man me∣riteth reward, by paying his debt) and it must bring some good also or com∣moditie to the rewarder, if it merit at his hand, which our works doe no-wise to God.
Rom. 8.18.For I reckon that the sufferings of this present Page 125 time, are not worthie to bee com∣pared with the glorie, which shall be revealed in vs.
Note then, If the verie sufferings, and Martyrdomes of God's Saincts, merite not eternall glorie, because there is no proportion betweene them, (as ought to bee betweene a worke, and the re∣ward that it meriteth) much lesse can the actions of anie servant of God's, be meritorious at his hands of eternall life. Which there-fore if anie-where it is cal∣led a reward, it is in respect of the time when it is given, to wit, at the ende of our service and lyfe-tyme, as the pennie wages, but not in respect of anie meri∣torious qualitie.
Rom. 6.23.For the wages of Sinne, is death: but the gift of GOD is eternall lyfe, through Iesus Christ our Lord.
Remarke, therefore, that eternall lyfe is not called the godlies wages, as death is called the wickeds wages: but death is called the wages of Sinne, because sinners them-selues merit it: and eternall lyfe is called the free gift of GOD, through CHRIST, (as the worde 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifyeth:) because with∣ou••nie meriting there-of by them∣selues, Page 126 by grace they receiue it, as a free gift, through the merit of Iesus Christ allanerlie.
Ephes. 2.8.For by grace yee are saved, through fayth; and that not of your selues, but it is the gift of GOD.
Rom. 11.6.And if by grace, then is it no more of workes: other∣wyse grace is no more grace.
Rom. 4.4.For to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Remarke then, that to obtayne eter∣nall lyfe by grace, and to obtayne it by the merit of our works, are set as things contrarie: even as free gift, is contrarie to oblieged debt. And yet contrarie to so cleare Scripture, (such is the pryde of Papall doctrine) it peartlie avoweth, eter∣nall lyfe to bee a debt, and that God is our debter; not onelie because of His promise, but also because of our works. Bellarm. L. 5. de Iustif. Cap. 18. §. Sed fa∣cilis, &c.
Luke 12.32.Feare not, little flocke, for it is your Fathers pleasure to giue to you a Kingdome.
VVee see then, that heavenlie King∣dome Page 127 called heere a gift, and that it is God's good pleasure onlie, which is the cause why wee get the same, and no me∣rit of ours.
Ephes. 1.5.Having predesti∣nated vs vnto the adoption of Chil∣dren, by Iesus Christ, to him-selfe, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the prayse of the glorie of his grace.
Note then attentiuelie, That if the fore-sight of our merites, was not the cause why God predestinated vs to eter∣nall lyfe, but onelie his owne good plea∣sure, to the prayse of the glorie of his owne grace; Then it is still the same good pleasure of God, that is the onelie cause, why hee giveth vs eternall lyfe, to the prayse of the same glorie of his grace, and not of vs, or anie of our merites. Other-wyse, the cause should not bee one, but diverse, yea, contrarie, why GOD bestoweth vpon vs one and the same thing, which were absurd: to wit, Eternall lyfe in our election before time, and the possessing vs there-with at our glorification in time.
Remarke lyke-wyse, That it is to an inheritance of adopted sonnes that wee are predestinated: (For if wee bee Chil∣dren, wee are also Heyres, sayeth the Apo∣stle, Page 128Rom. 8.17.) If, there-fore, eternall lyfe bee an inheritance, it is no purchase of workes: and who-so-ever by such a title claymeth the same, hee renounceth the lawfull succession there-to as a sonne, and so falleth from Grace, Gal. 5.4.
2. Witnessing of Antiquitie.
ALthough the Lord bestow Heaven vpon the Godlie, according to their workes, yet it is not for their workes, sayeth Gregorie, on these wordes of Psal. 7. Auditam fac mihi, &c. And first, thou must belieue, (sayeth Bernard, tria Bernardi credenda) that thou canst not obtayne remission of sinne, but by the meers mercie of God: There-after, that thou hast no good workes, but that which is His free gift: And last of all, that thou canst not merite Eternall lyfe, by no workes of thine; but that Hee free∣lie lyke-wyse bestoweth that on thee. Bern. Serm. 1. in Anunc. Mariae.
3. Confession of Partie.
NEyther are our workes, what-so∣ever they bee, of that worth (sayth Ferus) that they deserue duelie and con∣dignlie anie such reward. Ferus, in Ioh. 3. f. 69. So sayeth Alphonsus de Castro, verbo meritum. Therefore Bellarmine is forced to conclude, That for the vncer∣taintie of our owne righteousnes, (sayth hee) and the danger of vayne glorie, it Page 129 is moste safe, to put our vvhole confi∣dence in the onelie mercie and bountie of God. Bellarm. Lib. 5. de Iustif. Cap. 7. §. sit tertia.