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    May 27, 1895

    “Catholicism V. Christianity” The Bible Echo 10, 21, pp. 162, 163.

    ATJ

    A. T. JONES

    “HOW SHALL a man be just with God?” At each of the three great religious epochs of the world’s history—the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage, the apostolic age, and the era of the Reformation—this has been the one great question at issue; and in our day it is again to be the great question at issue in the great controversy which is to be the culmination of all questions and of all earthly ages.BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.1

    EVERY MAN HIS OWN SAVIOUR

    How, then, are men made righteous—justified, saved from sin—according to the way of the Papacy?—It is by penance. Proof?—Here it is: “Penance, by which the sins that we commit after baptism are forgiven.” “The sacrament of penance, in which the forgiveness of sins is granted to the penitent.”—Catholic Belief, pp. 80, 366. One of these says that penance is the means by which the sins that we commit “after baptism” are forgiven. It is, therefore, important to know when, according to that system, baptism is to be administered; and by this to know how many sins can be committed before baptism. Here is the authoritative statement on that point:—BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.2

    “From what has been said, you may well judge how reprehensible is the conduct of Catholic parents who neglect to have their children baptized at the earliest possible moment, thereby risking their own souls, as well as the souls of their innocent offspring.”—Faith of Our Fathers, p. 313.BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.3

    WHAT IS PENANCE

    Penance being the means of justification, the way of salvation from sin, what then is penance? Here is the authoritative answer:—BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.4

    “In the case of those who have fallen into mortal sin after baptism, when the guilt of such sin and the everlasting punishment due to it are forgiven, there still very often remains a debt of temporal punishment, to be paid by the sinner. This debt remains, not from any imperfection in the power of absolution in the sacrament of penance, nor from any want of efficacy in the atonement of Jesus Christ; but because by God’s will, chastisement for past sins helps us to compensate for the imperfection in our repentance, and serves as a correction.—Catholic Belief, p. 191.BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.5

    Now, what does the sinner’s salvation turn? and who is his saviour?—Plainly his salvation turns altogether upon the punishment; and as this debt of punishment is to be paid by the sinner himself, it just as certainly follows that the sinner is his own saviour. And thus penance, punishment, is the papal way of salvation.BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.6

    Nor is this all; but the Lord Himself is made responsible for it, so that it is literally set forth as the divine way of salvation and the divine means of justification. For it is plainly said that this debt of punishment, to be paid by the guiltless sinner, remains “because by God’s will chastisement for past sins helps us to compensate [to pay] for the imperfection in our repentance, and serves as a correction.” As the Lord forgives both the guilt and the everlasting punishment of the sin, and yet by his own will has fixed it that the sinner must still pay a debt of punishment in order to be justified and saved, then it is certain that according to the papal system, God has made punishment, which is penance, the means of justification and the way of salvation.BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.7

    And indeed this is also further stated by this same authority, as follows:—BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.8

    From this we see that ... He has not dispensed us from doing with the help of His grace what we can to punish ourselves for the offences and outrages we have offered to God. Good sense tells us that this is both right and just.”—p. 192.BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.9

    Everybody who will think on the subject can easily enough see that instead of its being good sense, it is an utter lack of every element of sound sense that tells a man that it is in any sense either right or just that he should punish himself to save himself from himself. So essentially is punishment—penance—the papal way of salvation that even the dying thief, whom the Lord Jesus himself pardoned on the cross, is made to do penance. Here are the words:—BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.10

    “The pardon granted to the penitent thief in the saving words: ‘Amen, I says to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in Paradise’ (Luke 23:43), can not be taken as proof that we are dispensed by God from doing works of penance. That was a wonderful and special grace granted under extraordinary circumstances, namely, when the blood of redemption was actually being shed upon the cross; moreover, the dying thief, besides bearing testimony to the divinity of Jesus Christ, confessed his guilt, and, in the spirit of penance, suffered the torment of his crucifixion, and the cruel breaking of his limbs, as penalties justly due to his sins.—p. 193.BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.11

    A DOCTRINE THAT MISREPRESENTS GOD

    This doctrine that men must punish themselves to save themselves springs from the utterly false, even heathenish, idea that God is harsh, stern, forbidding, and exacting, instead of gentle, loving, winning, and merciful. It looks upon him as so ill-tempered and stern that He has to be “moved” by men’s doings so well that they get Him into a good humour, and by punishment making themselves such pitiable objects that he can finally be persuaded to yield and “save” them. And here is that thought authoritatively expressed:—BEST May 27, 1895, page 162.12

    “We stand in continual need of actual graces to perform good acts, both before and after being justified.... The good acts, however, done by the help of grace before justification, are not, strictly speaking, meritorious, but serve to smooth the way to justification, to move God.”—pp. 76, 77.BEST May 27, 1895, page 141.1

    Thus by her own showing, the god of the Papacy is of such a disposition and character that it is necessary for men, wicked men, to do “good acts” in order to move him; and then, after they have thus moved him, it is still essential that they shall pay “a debt of temporal punishment,” in order to induce him to allow them the justification which they have so hardly earned. To such a god as that it is no wonder that the Inquisition is a pleasing tribute.BEST May 27, 1895, page 141.2

    This is self-salvation as set forth by the Papacy. We will in our next article consider a few scriptures setting forth God’s way of saving men.BEST May 27, 1895, page 141.3

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