31 December, 2012

Ambrose on Merit

"What can we do worthy of heavenly rewards? By what labours, by what sufferings, can we wash away our sins? Not according to our merits, but according to the mercy of God, the heavenly decrees concerning men are issued."

Ambrose of Milan (c.330-397)  Exposition of Psalm 118, 20:42, in F. Holmes Dudden, The Life and Times of St. Ambrose (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1935), Vol. II, p. 606.  Courtesy David Jay Webber

Cf The Council of Trent, 6th Session, Canons on Justification:
CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of
glory; let him be anathema.

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