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for the Son of man upon earth to forgive sins. For it is true, 'none can forgive sins but God alone : therefore he who remitteth is God, because none remitteth but God. God, remaining in man, performed this cure upon man." St. Hierome thus: “ Wep read that God saith in the prophet; I am he that blotteth out thine iniquities. Consequently therefore the Scribes, because they thought him to be a man, and did not understand the words of God, accuse him of blasphemy. But the Lord, seeing their thoughts, sheweth himself to be God, who is able to know the secrets of the heart : and holding his peace after a sort speaketh; By the same majesty and power, wherewith I behold your thoughts, I am able also to forgive sins unto men:” or, as Euthymius expresseth it in his commentaries upon the same place : “Ino truth, none can forgive sins but one, who beholdeth the thoughts of men." St. Chrysostom likewise, in his sermons upon the same, sheweth that Christ here declared himself to be God equal unto the Father : and that, if he had not been equal unto the Father, he would have said ; “Why do you attribute unto me an unfitting opinion? I am far from that power.” To the same effect also writeth Christianus Druthmarus, Paschasius Radbertus, and Walafridus Strabus in the ordinary gloss upon the same place of St. Matthew ; Victor Antiochenus upon the second of Mark; Theophylact and Bede upon the second of Mark, and the fifth of Luke ; St. Ambrose upon the fifth of Luke: who in another place also bringeth this sentence of the Scribes, as a ground to prove the Deity of the Holy Ghost withal: forasmuch as “ noneforgiveth sins but one God; because it is written, Who can forgive sins but God alone ?” as St. Cyril doth to prove the Deity of the Son : “Fort this only,” saith he, “ did the malice of the Jews say truly; that none can forgive sins, but God alone, who is the Lord of the law:" and thence he frameth this argument. “If he alone, who is the Lord of all, doth free us from our sins, and this agreeth to no other, and Christ bestoweth this with a power befitting God; how should he not be God ?"
P Legimus in propheta dicentem Deum, Ego sum qui deleo iniquitates tuas. Consequenter ergo scribæ, quia hominem putabant, et verba Dei non intelligebant, arguunt eum blasphemiæ. Sed Dominus, videns cogitationes eorum, ostendit se Deum, qui possit cordis occulta cognoscere : et quodammodo tacens loquitur, Eadem majestate et potentia, qua cogitationes vestras intueor, possum et hominibus peccata dimittere. Hieronym. lib. 1. commentar. in Matt.
9 Vere nullus potest remittere peccata, nisi unus, qui intuetur cogitationes hominum. Euthym. cap. 13. in Matt.
η Ει μη ίσος ήν, έχρήν είπείν, τί μοι προσάπτετε μη προσήκουσαν υπόληψιν; πόρρω ταύτης έγω της δυνάμεως. Chrysost. in Μatt. 9. hom. 29. op. tom. 7. pag. 343. Vid. etiam Basilium, lib. 5. contra Eunomium, op. tom. 1.
The same argument also is used by Novatianus and Athanasius, to the self-same purpose.
" Forif, when it agreeth unto none but unto God to know the secrets of the heart, Christ doth behold the secrets of the heart; if, when agreeth unto none but unto God to forgive sins, the same Christ doth forgive sins:" then deservedly is Christ to be accounted God, saith Novatianus. So Athanasius demandeth of the Arians: "If the Son were a creature, how was he able to forgive sins ? it being written in the Prophets, that this is the work of God. For who is a God like unto thee, that taketh away sins, and passeth over iniquities ?” "Buty the Son," saith he," said unto whom he would
• Peccata nemo condonat, nisi unus Deus : quia æque scriptum est; Quis potest peccata donare nisi solus Deus? Ambros. de Spir. Sanct. lib. 3. cap. 18. op. tom. 2. pag. 693.
! Istud enim solum malitia Judæorum vere dicebat, quod nullus potest dimittere peccata, nisi solus Deus, qui legis Dominus est. Cyrill. Alexandr. thesaur. lib. 12. cap. 4.
Η Ει μόνος ημάς απαλλάττει ο τών όλων θεός πλημμελημάτων, ετέρω πρέποντος τούτου μηδενί, χαρίζεται δε και τούτο Χριστός μετ' εξουσίας θεοπρεπούς, πως ούκ αν είη θέoς; Ιd. in lib. de recta fide ad reginas.
* Quod si, cum nullius sit nisi Dei cordis nosse secreta, Christus secreta conspicit cordis : quod si, cum nullius sit nisi Dei peccata dimittere, idem Christus peccata dimittit : &c. merito Deus est Christus. Novatian. de Trinitat.
* Πώς δε, είπερ κτίσμα ήν Λόγος, την απόφασιν του θεού λύσαι δυνατός ήν και αφεϊναι αμαρτίαν, γεγραμμένου παρά τους προφήταις, ότι τούτο θεού εστί; τίς γάρ θεός ώσπερ συ εξαίρων αμαρτιάς, και υπερβαίνων ανοpias; Athanas. orat. 2. contr. Arian. op. tom. 1. pag. 535.
Υ “ο δε υιός έλεγεν οίς ήθελεν, αφέωνταί σοι αι αμαρτίαι σου. ότε και των Ιουδαίων γογγυζόντων, έργο την άφεσιν εδείκνυε, λέγων το παραλυτικά, έγειραι, άρον τον κράββατόν σου, και ύπαγε εις τον οίκόν σου. Id. in epist. de synodis Arimin. et Seleuc. pag. 763. Vid. etiam orat. 3. contra Arrian. pag. 551, et 590.
Thy sins are forgiven thee: and when the Jews murmured, did demonstrate also this forgiveness indeed, saying to the man that was sick of the palsy; Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house." And therefore Bede rightly inferreth, that “the” Arians do err here much more madly than the Jews : who, when they dare not deny, being convicted by the words of the Gospel, that Jesus is both the Christ, and hath power to forgive sins; yet fear not for all that to deny him to be God :" and concludeth himself most soundly ; that, “if a he be God according to the psalmist, who removeth our iniquities from us as far as the east is from the west, and the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins; therefore the same is both God and the Son of man: that the man Christ by the power of his divinity might forgive sins; and the same Christ God by the frailty of his humanity might die for sinners." Whereunto we will add another sweet passage, borrowed by him from an ancienter author:
“ Nob man taketh away sins (which the law, although holy and just and good, could not take away), but he in whom there is no sin. Now he taketh them away, both by pardoning those that are done, and by assisting us that they may not be done, and by bringing us to the life where they cannot at all be done.”
Peter Lombard allegeth this as the saying of St. Augustine"; the former sentence only being thus changed:
z Sed multo dementius errant Ariani, qui, cum Jesum et Christum esse, et peccata posse dimittere, evangelii verbis devicti, negare non audeant; nihilominus Deum negare non timent. Bed. in Marc. lib. 1. cap. 10.
a Si et Deus est juxta psalmistam, qui quantum distat oriens ab occasu elongavit a nobis iniquitates nostras, et filius hominis potestatem habet in terra dimittendi peccata : ergo idem ipse et Deus et filius hominis est; ut et homo Christus per divinitatis suæ potentiam peccata dimittere possit, et idem Deus Christus per humanitatis suæ fragilitatem pro peccatoribus mori. Id. ibid.
b Nemo tollit peccata (quæ nec Lex, quamvis sancta et justa et bona, potuit auferre), nisi Ille in quo peccatum non est. Tollit autem, et dimittendo quæ facta sunt, et adjuvando ne fiant, et perducendo ad vitam ubi fieri omnino non possint. Id. in 1 Johan. cap. 3.
C P. Lombard. lib. 4. sentent, distinct. 18. d.
d in quo etiam eandem demum repperi, lib. 2. contra posteriorem Juliani respons. num. 84. op. tom. 10. pag. 986.
“ None taketh away sins, but Christ alone, who is the Lamb, that taketh away the sins of the world.” Agreeable to that, which in the same place he citeth out of St. Ambrose : “Hef alone forgiveth sins, who alone died for our sins :” and to that of Clemens Alexandrinus : “He alone can remit sins, who is appointed our master by the father of all, who alone is able to discern disobedience from obedience:” to which purpose also, St. Ambrose maketh this observation upon the history of the woman taken in adultery"; that “Jesus', being about to pardon sin, remained alone. For it is not the ambassador," saith he, "nor the messenger, but the Lord himself that hath saved his people. He remaineth alone, because it cannot be common to any man with Christ to forgive sins. This is the office of Christ alone, who taketh away the sin of the world." Yea, St. Chrysostom himself, who of all the fathers giveth most in this point unto God's ambassadors and messengers, is yet careful withal to preserve God's privilege entire, by often interposing such sentences as these. “Nonek can forgive sins, but God alone.” “To forgive sins belongeth to no other.” “Tom forgive sins, is possible to God only. God" alone doth this; which also
e Nemo tollit peccata, nisi solus Christus ; qui est agnus tollens peccata mundi. Augustin.
| Ille solus peccata dimittit, qui solus pro peccatis nostris mortuus est. Ambros.
8 Μόνος ούτος οίός τε αφιέναι τα πλημμελήματα, υπό του πατρός των όλων ο ταχθείς παιδαγωγός ημών, μόνος και της υπακοής διακρίνει την Tapakonv ovváuevoç. Clem. Alex. pædagog. lib. 1. cap. 8. op. tom. 1. pag. 138.
John, chap. 8. ver. 9. i Donaturus peccatum, solus remanet Jesus, &c. Non enim legatus neque nuncius, sed ipse Dominus salvum fecit populum suum. Solus remanet ; quia non potest hoc cuiquam hominum cum Christo esse commune, ut peccata condonet. Solius hoc munus est Christi, qui tulit peccatum mundi. Ambros. epist. 26. ad Irenæum, op. tom. 2. pag. 900.
* Ουδείς γαρ δύναται αφιέναι αμαρτίας, ει μη μόνος ο θεός. Chrysost. in 2 Corinth. cap. 3. homil. 6. op. tom. 10. pag. 476.
1 Το γάρ αφεϊναι αμαρτίας, ουδενός ετέρου εστί. Ιd. in Johan. cap. 8. homil. 54. op. tom. 8. pag. 316.
Τι αμαρτήματα μέν γάρ αφεϊναι μόνο θεο δυνατόν. Ιd. in 1 Cor. cap. 15. hom. 40. op. tom. 10. pag. 379.
η θεός γάρ μόνος τούτο ποιεί, και δη και εν τω λουτρό της παλιγγενεσίας đpyázetat. Id. Ibid. pag. 380.
he worketh in the washing of the new birth.” Wherein, that the work of cleansing the soul is wholly God's, and the minister hath no hand at all in effecting any part of it, Optatus proveth at large in his fifth book against the Donatists: shewing, that "none can wash the filth and spots of the mind, but he, who is the framer of the same mind;" and convincing the heretics, as by many other testimonies of holy Scripture, so by that of Isaiahp, which he presseth in this manner, “ Ito belongeth unto God to cleanse, and not unto man: he hath promised by the prophet Isaiah, that he himself would wash, when he saith ; If your sins were as scarlet, I will make them as white as snow : I will make them white, he said; he did not say, I will cause them to be made white. If God hath promised this, why will you give that, which is neither lawful for you to promise, nor to give, nor to have? Behold, in Isaiah, God hath promised that he himself will make white such as are defiled with sins; not by man."
Having thus therefore reserved unto God his prerogative royal in cleansing of the soul, we give unto his underofficers their due, when we account of them as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God;" not as Lords, that have power to dispose of spiritual
graces as they please; but as servants, that are tied to follow their master's prescriptions therein; and in following thereof do but bring their external ministry (foro which itself also they are beholding to God's mercy and
• Sordes et maculas mentis lavare non potest, nisi qui ejusdem fabricator est mentis. Optat. lib. 5.
p chap. 1. ver. 18.
9 Dei est mundare, non hominis : ipse per prophetam Esaiam promisit se loturum, dum ait; Et si fuerint peccata vestra velut coccum, ut nivem inalbabo. Inalbabo, dixit; non dixit, Faciam inalbari. Si hoc Deus promisit, quare vos vultis reddere, quod vobis nec promittere licet, nec reddere, nec habere ? Ecce in Esaia se promisit Deus inalbare peccatis affectos; non per hominem. Id. ibid.
r i Cor. chap. 4. ver. 1, 2.
Id. in 2 Cor. cap. 4. homil. 8. Ibid. pag. 492. 1 και γάρ τούτο αυτό, φησι, το διακονήσασθαι τούτοις, από ελέου και φιλαι θρωπίας. Ιd. ibid.