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The Apology of the Augsburg Confession
by Philip Melanchthon
Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau
_________________________________________________________________ This text was converted to ASCII format for Project Wittenberg by Allen Mulvey. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.
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The Apology of the Augsburg Confession (1531)
Table of Contents
Philip Melanchthon's Introduction to the Apology Part One: On Articles I-II of the Augustana Part Two: On Articles III-IV of the Augustana Part Three: What is Justifying Faith? Part Four: That Faith in Christ Justifies Part Five: That We Obtain Remission of Sins by Faith Alone in Christ Part Six: On Article III: Love and the Fulfilling of the Law Part Seven: Reply to the Arguments of the Adversaries Part Eight: Continuation of: Reply to the Arguments... Part Nine: Second Continuation of: Reply to the Arguments... Part Ten: Third Continuation of: Reply to the Arguments... Part Eleven: Articles Seven and Eight of the Augustana Part Twelve: Article Nine of the Augustana Part Thirteen: Article Ten of the Augustana Part Fourteen: Article Eleven of the Augustana Part Fifteen: Article Twelve of the Augustana Part Sixteen: Article Six of the Augustana (Pt. 1) Part Seventeen: Article Six of the Augustana (Pt. 2) Part Eighteen: Article Seven of the Augustana Part Nineteen: Article Fourteen of the Augustana Part Twenty: Article Fifteen of the Augustana Part Twenty-One: Article Sixteen of the Augustana Part Twenty-Two: Article Seventeen of the Augustana Part Twenty-Three: Article Eighteen of the Augustana Part Twenty-Four: Article Nineteen of the Augustana Part Twenty-Five: Article Twenty of the Augustana Part Twenty-Six: Article Twenty-One of the Augustana Part Twenty-Seven: Article Twenty-Two of the Augustana Part Twenty-Eight: Article Twenty-Three of the Augustana Part Twenty-Nine: Article Twenty-Four of the Augustana Part Thirty: A Definition of the term "Sacrifice" Part Thirty-One: What the Fathers Thought About Sacrafice Part Thirty-Two: Of the Use of the Sacrament and Sacrifice Part Thirty-Three: Of the Term "Mass" Part Thirty-Four:Of the Mass for the Dead Part Thirty-Five: Of Monastic Vows Part Thirty-Six: Of Ecclesiatical Power Part Thirty-Seven: End
THE APOLOGY OF THE CONFESSION.
Philip Melanchthon Presents His Greeting to the Reader. Wherefore we believe that troubles and dangers for the glory of Christ and the good of the Church should be endured, and we are confident that this our fidelity to duty is approved of God, and we hope that the judgment of posterity concerning us will be more just.
For it is undeniable that many topics of Christian doctrine whose existence in the Church is of the greatest moment have been brought to view by our theologians and explained; in reference to which we are not disposed here to recount under what sort of opinions, and how dangerous, they formerly lay covered in the writings of the monks, canonists, and sophistical theologians. [This may have to be done later.]
We have the public testimonials of many good men, who give God thanks for this greatest blessing, namely, that concerning many necessary topics it has taught better things than are read everywhere in the books of our adversaries.
We shall commend our cause, therefore, to Christ, who some time will judge these controversies, and we beseech Him to look upon the afflicted and scattered churches, and to bring them back to godly and perpetual concord. [Therefore, if the known and clear truth is trodden under foot, we will resign this cause to God and Christ in heaven, who is the Father of orphans and the Judge of widows and of all the forsaken, who (as we certainly know) will judge and pass sentence upon this cause aright. Lord Jesus Christ, it is Thy holy Gospel, it is Thy cause; look Thou upon the many troubled hearts and consciences, and maintain and strengthen in Thy truth Thy churches and little flocks, who suffer anxiety and distress from the devil. Confound all hypocrisy and lies, and grant peace and unity, so that Thy glory may advance, and Thy kingdom, strong against all the gates of hell, may continually grow and increase.]
Article I: _Of God._
The First Article of our Confession our adversaries approve, in which we declare that we believe and teach that there is one divine essence, undivided, etc., and yet, that there are three distinct persons, of the same divine essence, and coeternal, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This article we have always taught and defended, and we believe that it has, in Holy Scripture, sure and firm testimonies that cannot be overthrown. And we constantly affirm that those thinking otherwise are outside of the Church of Christ, and are idolaters, and insult God.
Article II (I): _Of Original Sin._
The Second Article, Of Original Sin, the adversaries approve, but in such a way that they, nevertheless, censure the definition of original sin, which we incidentally gave. Here, immediately at the very threshold, His Imperial Majesty will discover that the writers of the _Confutation_ were deficient not only in judgment, but also in candor. For whereas we, with a simple mind, desired, in passing, to recount those things which original sin embraces, these men, by framing an invidious interpretation, artfully distort a proposition that has in it nothing which of itself is wrong. Thus they say: "To be without the fear of God, to be without faith, is actual guilt"; and therefore they deny that it is original guilt.
It is quite evident that such subtilties have originated in the schools, not in the council of the Emperor. But although this sophistry can be very easily refuted; yet, in order that all good men may understand that we teach in this matter nothing that is absurd, we ask first of all that the German Confession be examined. This will free us from the suspicion of novelty. For there it is written: _Weiter wird gelehrt, dass nach dem Fall Adams alle Menschen, so natuerlich geboren werden, in Suenden empfangen und geboren werdenen, das ist, dass sie alle von Mutterleibe an voll boeser Lueste und Neigung sind, keine wahre Gottesfurcht, keinen wahren Glauben an Gott von Natur haben koennen._ [It is further taught that since the Fall of Adam all men who are naturally born are conceived and born in sin, i.e., that they all, from their mother's womb, are full of evil desire and inclination, and can have by nature no true fear of God, no true faith in God.] This passage testifies that we deny to those propagated according to carnal nature not only the acts, but also the power or gifts of producing fear and trust in God. For we say that those thus born have concupiscence, and cannot produce true fear and trust in God. What is there here with which fault can be found? To good men, we think, indeed, that we have exculpated ourselves sufficiently. For in this sense the Latin description denies to nature [even to innocent infants] the power, i.e., it denies the gifts and energy by which to produce fear and trust in God, and, in adults [over and above this innate evil disposition of the heart, also] the acts, so that, when we mention concupiscence, we understand not only the acts or fruits, but the constant inclination of the nature [the evil inclination within, which does not cease as long as we are not born anew through the Spirit and faith].
But hereafter we will show more fully that our description agrees with the usual and ancient definition. For we must first show our design in preferring to employ these words in this place. In their schools the adversaries confess that "the material," as they call it, "of original sin is concupiscence." Wherefore, in framing the definition, this should not have been passed by, especially at this time, when some are philosophizing concerning it in a manner unbecoming teachers of religion [are speaking concerning this innate, wicked desire more after the manner of heathen from philosophy than according to God's Word, or Holy Scripture].
For some contend that original sin is not a depravity or corruption in the nature of man, but only servitude, or a condition of mortality [not an innate evil nature, but only a blemish or imposed load, or burden], which those propagated from Adam bear because of the guilt of another [namely, Adam's sin], and without any depravity of their own. Besides, they add that no one is condemned to eternal death on account of original sin, just as those who are born of a bond-woman are slaves, and bear this condition without any natural blemish, but because of the calamity of their mother [while, of themselves, they are born without fault, like other men: thus original sin is not an innate evil but a defect and burden which we bear since Adam, but we are not on that account personally in sin and inherited disgrace]. To show that this impious opinion is displeasing to us, we made mention of "concupiscence," and, with the best intention, have termed and explained it as "diseases," that "the nature of men is born corrupt and full of faults" [not a part of man, but the entire person with its entire nature is born in sin as with a hereditary disease].
Nor, indeed, have we only made use of the term concupiscence, but we have also said that "the fear of God and faith are wanting." This we have added with the following design: The scholastic teachers also,
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