SERMON ON THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TITUS (3:8-15)
Concerning Forms and Formalities, and Concerning Substance, or Essence
If most philanthropic God has a recompense ready even for the man who quenches the thirst of his neighbor with only cold water, how many must be the rewards He has given or has in store to be given hereafter in the day of judgment to those all-glorious fathers who are being honored with hymns today and who quenched the thirst of men’s souls by giving them to drink, not of cold and perishable water, but of the living and imperishable “water leaping into everlasting life“! (John 4:14) meaning, by the latter expression, the dogma of the Orthodox and soterial faith. These heaven-exhibiting fathers, upon assembling in the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon, degraded, on the one hand, the heresy-leader Eutyches, as well as his pupils and champions, who were preaching contrary to the Gospel, impiously and illogically conflating into one and confusing the two natures and the two activities of our Savior Jesus Christ, while, on the other hand, following the Evangelical dogmas, they reasonably preached and piously taught the natures in Christ as two, and the activities as two, to wit, the divine and the human. This water of their Orthodox teaching truly became “a wellspring of water” (John 4: 14); those who drink of it “leap,” that is, they attain quickly, as if by leaping, to life everlasting.
We can see upon the earth the wake and the shadow of that glory which those thrice-blessed fathers en joy in heaven; because for so many centuries the Church of Christ every year holds a memorial commemorating the council meeting of those fathers who assembled from all parts of the world to uphold the doctrines and dogmas of the Orthodox Church of Christ. Accordingly, the Church on this account gloriously celebrates and with many praises eulogizes and bestows encomiums upon the enthusiastic zeal of their souls, and their heroic and saving achievements. To their glory and honor she reads today also the relevant portion of the Epistle of Paul, the mouthpiece of God, to Titus, in order to point out that whatever he commanded to the pastors of the Church on the part of Titus they performed wonderfully and completely.
Scientific Proof of the Fundamental Dogma of the Faith Formulated by the Fourth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils
The Fourth Ecumenical Council, which was held in Chalcedon, and the Sixth, which was held in Constantinople, were convened for the purpose of deciding whether certain views were heretical. The Fourth Ecumenical Council decided against the heretical Monopolizes Eutyches and Dioscurus; the Sixth decided against the Monotheletes Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter, patriarchs of Constantinople, and Honorius, a pope of Rome. The heresy of the Monophysites taught that there was but a single nature in Christ, thus confusing His two natures, the divine and the human. The heresy of the Monotheletes taught that there was but one will and one activity in Christ, thus confusing His two wills and activities, the divine and the human. In a word, while Nestorius, on the one hand, divided the substance in Christ into two substances and personalities, these other heretics confused and identified the distinct energies of the natures and wills and activities in Christ. It was against these heresies that the aforesaid two Councils were convoked, the one referred to as the Fourth in A.D. 451 in Chalcedon, and the other referred to as the Sixth in A.D. 680 in Constantinople. After confirming the dogmatic definitions adopted by the First Council of Nice, the Second of Constantinople, and the Third of Ephesus, in agreement therewith both the Fourth and the Sixth Councils declared against the doctrine of the Monophysites and of the Monotheletes as cacodoxical and heretical.
In this connection the Council of Chalcedon adopted the following dogmatic definition:
“Following therefore the divine Fathers to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we all in agreement declare Him to be perfectly the same in divinity and perfectly the same in humanity, truly God and Man, truly the same in respect of soul and body, being of the same essence as the Father as respecting Divinity, and of the same essence as we are as respecting humanity, and in all respects like us except for sinfulness. We declare Him, the Son, to have been begotten of the Father ages ago with respect to His divinity, but in the latter days to have been the same as was begotten and born of Mary the Virgin with respect to His humanity for us and for our salvation. We declare Him to be one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized by two natures unconfusably, inconvertibly, indivisibly, and inseparably, the difference between the natures being nowhere done away with on account of the union, but rather the singularity of each nature being preserved and concurring in one person and one substance; not being parted or divided into two persons, but being merged in one and the same Only-begotten Son, the God Logos, the Lord Jesus Christ, precisely as from on high the Prophets have declared concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath assured us, and as the Creed of the Fathers hath informed us.”
Through its dogmatic definition the Council of Chalcedon proclaimed that the Lord Jesus Christ, though one and the same God and Logos of God with respect to His substance, has two natures, the divine and eternal one and the human one which was assumed in process of time and in the course of His being born of the Virgin. It is further stated that these two natures each maintain their own peculiarities unconfusably and inconvertibly, the difference between the nature being nowhere eliminated by reason of their union, but it being rather a fact that the singularity of each nature is preserved and concurs as such in one person and one substance. This definition put forward by the Fourth Council of Chalcedon is a development of the dogma of the First Council of Nice, or Nicaea, giving details concerning the natures of Christ, both divine and human, in accordance with the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. The Logos (or Word) was God – an eternal divine nature (rooted) upon the eternal substance of the Logos; the Logos became a man, or human being – a human nature assumed in (process of) time (and rooted) upon the eternal substance of the Logos. Hence it is to be concluded that the divine nature and the human nature taken together constitute two conjugate natures (inhering) upon the one indivisible and eternal substance of the Logos. The Logos (or Word) of God, being one and eternal, is the underlying support of two natures, the divine and the human. “The Son is one, double in nature but not in substance.” Since the human nature has the body and the soul as its components, it is therefore evident that the Logos, in assuming a human nature, .assumed a soul and a body upon His eternal substance.
After confirming the dogmas of previous Councils, the Sixth Ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople against the Monotheletes, accordingly decided the question contrary to the heretical teachings of the Monotheletes, who identified and confused the two wills and activities in Christ as one. This Council dogmatized “that each form acted in common with the other part upon the substance of the God-man Logos which had its own nature.” If the Lord Jesus Christ is one person, and not two, according to the dogma of the First Council in Nicaea and the Third in Ephesus, double in nature but not in substance, the same Logos being in fact a God and a man, it is evident that He also has two natures and activities. Accordingly, the Sixth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople was right in deciding against the Monotheletes.
The Logos, though substantially (or hypostatically) one, has two natures, the divine and eternal and the human immanent in time; and two wills and activities, the divine and eternal and the human immanent in time. This dogma, too, of the faith is true, as a consequence of the fundamental dogma of the First Nicene Council concerning the eternal Divinity of the Logos, and His incarnation as occurring in time, in accordance with the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. “The Logos was God …. the Logos became flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14 ). The Apostolic Church, having conceived of the word of God in the Scriptures, gave birth to the dogma of the faith through the Holy (Ecumenical) Councils, a true and genuine dogma, and through this dogma to which it gave birth it enforced its decrees against heresies and cacodoxies, and drove them out of its precincts after cutting out the scandals. Accordingly, the Orthodox belief, or right view of (religious) matters, was consolidated, the faith was secured against attack, and the foundation of Christian life was laid stably and permanently. (To comprehend the two natures of the Logos, study the sixth book, entitled “Philosophy,” of the Philosophical System by A. Makrakis).
God is perfect; imperfection is ascribed to man. Consequently the works of God are also perfect, being “very good” (Gen. 1:31); but the works of man are imperfect and faulty, and therefore we observe the fact that his works are being constantly improved. The divine law is perfect and infallible, while, on the other hand, human legislation is defective and full of mistakes, and, on this account, much of it is abrogated or amended. Amendments are made to human laws, but not to the laws of God. The Old and the New Testaments are infallible, and are contracts, or covenants, between God and man. Hence they do not admit of correction or of disbelief. In like manner the dogmas of the Church are definitions of the Testament: they are truths of the Holy Bible that have been brought to light scientific.ally and have been confirmed by means of the Bible, and have been corroborated by miracles with the Holy Spirit co-operating and confirming the truth. In fact, the dogmas are the seven pillars of the Church upon which the heretics distorting the Scriptures have been reduced to dust. Persons who undertake to correct or to abrogate or to alter them (for the sake of economy, as they assert), forfeit all claim to Orthodoxy.
The starting-point in Christian teaching is the eternal and everlasting existence of the Logos in God, His relationship to God, and the co-essentiality of the Logos with God. “In the beginning there already was the Logos,” John the Theologian says theologically (not, as the Authorized and Revised Versions have it, “In the beginning was the Word” – a translation which is ridiculous on the face of it), “and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God” (John 1:1). (Note of Translator. – The reader should carefully observe that the word “was” in this verse is used each of the three times in a different sense. The three different senses attach to the Greek word too, and cannot be otherwise expressed except by a cumbersome circumlocution). This means that the Logos (mistakenly translated as “the Word” in the Authorized and Revised Versions) was already in the beginning with God as an eternal offspring of the first Mind, i.e., of the Father, being equal to the Father, co-essential and equipollent (i.e., consisting of the same essence and having the same power). “All things were made through him; and without him not even one thing was made that was made” (John 1:3).
According to the dogma of the Christian faith, in behalf of which the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea fought against Arius in the year 325, God is one essentially, but a trinity, or triune, as to persons, or as to substances, being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In fact, the Father, being eternal and unbegotten, begets, as a living essence, a living essence called the Son, who is of the same essence as the Father and co-eternal – for as the Father exists, so does the Son exist with Him concurrently; at the same time the Father “emanates,” or emits, to the Son the Spirit of His love, which Spirit, too, is co-eternal and of the same essence as He. (Note of the Translator. – This “emanation” is wrongly called in English “procession”; but in Greek the meaning is approximately the same as that of “emanation” taken in the sense of the transitive verb “emanate,” signifying emit; in fact, the Greek word, mistranslated as “procession,” has the combined meanings of the two English nouns emission and transmission. Therefore there is no single word in the English language that will adequately express the precise meaning of the Greek word. The exact meaning of the Greek word, however, can be grasped by considering that just as the sun emits its rays and transmits them to us so does the Father emit His Holy Spirit and transmit It to the Son.) Since the Father is perfect, it is evident therefore that the Son begotten by Him is also perfect and only-begotten; and it is also evident therefore that the Spirit of love is perfect, too, which is emanated out of the Father, and is reposed in the Son, and through the Son is sent abroad, or conveyed, and revealed to the world. A Trinity in a Unity, and a Unity in a Trinity: one Essence, one Deity, one Power – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Not three Gods, but three persons in one Deity; and in all three there is the same cognition (or thought), the same volition (or will), and the same power (or might). A Holy Trinity that is of the same essence and inseparable.
Arius proclaimed himself opposed to this dogmatic truth, thinking and teaching against the eternity and co-essentiality of the Son with the Father, against the Divinity of the Son, and asserting that there was a time when the Son was not, contrary to the Scriptural words and testimonies, according to which the eternal existence of the Son and His co-essentiality with God the Father are proclaimed as the starting-point in Christian teaching. “In the beginning there already was the Logos (i.e., the Son), and the Logos was with God (i.e., the Father), and the Logos was God” (John 1:1). But the passion of glory-seeking ambition and of envy is blind and hostile to the truth when it has would-be wisdom and presumption as its allies. In the soul of Arius there existed a passion of glory-seeking ambition and envy against Alexander the patriarch of Alexandria because of the fact that the latter had become the patriarch instead of him. In addition there existed also a would-be wisdom and presumption with which the vicious sentiment formed an alliance, and thus was born the monster of the heresy of Arius.
The heresy of Arius disturbed the Christian Church for 150 years until the Orthodox faith prevailed and peace was re-established in the Church. The fight was carried on with regard to a fundamental truth, with regard to the basis of Christianity. The question to be decided was: Whether Christ is a God who became incarnate in man, or is a mere man, which would signify, of course, that He was God’s chief work and creature (or ctisma, i.e., anything that is built). Another question to be decided was: Whether God is a Trinity, or is, as Arius taught, a God without a co-eternal Son and Spirit. Was the dogma of the true God to prevail, or the false dogma of Arianism? Arius taught that God, being unbegotten, does not beget a co-essential Son out of His essence; that Jesus Christ was not a Son of God who became incarnate in man, but that He was His highest and supreme creature; that there was a time when He (the Son) was not, that He has not an eternal existence. Thus, according to the belief of Arius, God does not eternally beget a Son, nor does He emanate an eternal Spirit of love; therefore neither is He a Mind, for it is the nature of any mind to beget the idea and the logical conception of itself, and to emanate a spirit of cognition (or of the process of thinking). For a mind without an idea, and a logical conception, and a process of cognition, is not a mind: on the contrary, it is matter destitute of a process of cognition, of cognitivity, of an idea. Hence it is evident that the God of Arius was matter! To this false God of Arius the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea objected by supporting the true God of the Holy Scriptures, in which Arius believed and which he sophistically misinterpreted: it supported the One and Triune God of Christianity; and thus the dogma of the truth prevailed over the Arianistic falsehood. The Christian Church, and the entire Christian world, believes in One God in Three co-eternal, co-essential, equally honorable and equally powerful persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The source of Christian truths is the word of God, which is written in the Holy Scriptures. (Note of Translator. – The English-speaking reader should beware of confusing this “word of God” with the LOGOS, who is usually but wrongly called the “Word of God,” since the one is entirely different from the other.) Out of the Holy Scriptures, which the Apostles transmitted to the Church, were formulated the Christian dogmas, and the dogmatic code of faith was completed. The Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea took from the Scripture the truths concerning the eternity, and co-essentiality, and divinity of the Logos, and, after combating by means thereof the deluded beliefs of Arius, declared their views in Holy Spirit – that is to say, in truth – and formulated the dogma of the faith, and they proclaimed this throughout the Church with the object of putting an end to dissension and of doing away with scandals, and, on the other hand, with the object of consolidating in the souls of men the right frame of mind and the right view of matters – i.e., with the object of firmly establishing the right doctrine in their souls. Hence it is logically evident that the dogmas of the faith are not inventions or excogitations of the Ecumenical Councils, and of the majority of the votes cast therein, as some persons assert, but are truths contained in the Holy Scriptures, which the Councils took and assembled logically and which they announced as a dogma of faith to the Church when a dispute was raised by contrary-minded heretics. Through the dogma of the Councils the right view to be found in the Scriptures is officially made known for the elimination of disputes and scandals, and the view contrary to the word of God is disavowed and proscribed.
Since it is a fact that the dogmas of the faith are not created in the Councils, but are formulated from correlation and logical arrangement and assembly of the divine truths contained in the Holy Scriptures, leading to a consensus of faith and uniform confession as a result of the Conciliar definition, it is logically evident therefore that the Ecumenical Councils are to be characterized as authoritative bodies charged with the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures for the purpose of putting an end to emergent dissensions and scandals in the Church. Nevertheless, their authoritative interpretation is to be judged by the word of God; for over and above the voice of the Councils there is the word of the Holy Scriptures to serve as the criterion of the truth, in accordance with which are to be judged even the definitions themselves, and the decisions of the Councils. In fact, from a scientific point of view ecclesiastical councils, whether ecumenical or local, can be criticized and be distinguished as true and false, as councils speaking in Holy Spirit and as pseudo-councils speaking in a spirit of error.
The word of God possesses the supreme validity and value when it interprets itself; that is to say, in other words, the Bible interpreting the Bible: together with the science of hermeneutics established upon and conducted in accordance with logical principles. An ecclesiastical council interpreting the Bible by means of the Bible and dogmatizing in accordance with the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures pronounces judgment in Holy Spirit; and its hermeneutic validity in the Church is absolute, because it speaks in truth! The First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea pronounced judgment in Holy Spirit, and therefore its decisions have absolute hermeneutic validity in the Church. For its dogma in favor of the co-essentiality of the Son and of His co-eternity with the Father is founded upon the truths concerning the One and Triune God which are contained in the Holy Scriptures.
The Dogma and the various Species of Faith
The one power and virtue of faith, as having great depth and breadth, is distinguishable into various species which differ from each other. In the first place, faith is distinguishable into initial and sequential or subsequent. Initial faith is that due to belief of the first thing known about God and of the first truth of logical knowledge – to wit, that there is a God who created heaven and earth. Sequential and subsequent faith is that due to belief of all the truths that follow from the first and initial truth. Concerning initial faith Paul the Apostle says: “For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he becomes a rewarder of those who diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Without this initial faith it is impossible to please God. To this initial faith is opposed the initial disbelief of the fool who says in his heart: “There is no God.” Those who have such initial disbelief are incapable of piety and virtuousness, and become susceptible to every sort of vice and wickedness, because in those who are initially disbelieving the Devil rules by inspiring them with his own thoughts and sentiments and wishes. But in those who have initial faith God reveals Himself and promotes them from faith to faith through word heard and telling them the commandments and the law of God’s righteousness, in accordance wherewith it is their duty to think and to act, and through the efficacy of which they are enabled to become righteous and just.
Initial faith in the one God of the universe leads to belief in Christ, the Son of the living God; and belief in Christ leads to belief in the three eternal persons of the one co-essential Deity. For to the patriarchs who had the initial faith God revealed His own Son and foretold His coming in the world, which the Prophets of God constantly and for a long time prophesied. Accordingly, when the fullness of time came, God sent out His Son, who had been born of a woman, and had been born under the law in order to redeem those under the law, in order that we might enjoy adoption as sons. When Christ came and was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, God revealed Himself perspicuously in three distinct persons. For the voice of the Father bore witness out of heaven, by saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I have shown my good will” (Matt. 3: 17); at the same time the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove came down and dwelled upon the Son of God coming up out of the water, who was called Jesus Christ because of the fact that He was anointed of the Holy Spirit (the word Christ meaning, in Greek, “anointed”). Hence it is logically evident that initial faith in the one God leads to belief in Christ as the Son of God; and belief in Christ leads to belief in the Holy Trinity, which belief in the present age is accounted an initial faith, seeing that God has clearly revealed Himself in three eternal and co-essential persons. But disbelief in Christ is accounted an initial disbelief in God, and is condemned and is doomed to hell everlasting. Jews and Mohammedans, disbelieving in Christ, are accounted infidels, or disbelievers, and are inconsequent and inconsistent in failing to accept the testimonies of God concerning Christ. Initial belief in Christ leads to belief in the future kingdom and glory of Christ. Accordingly, those who believe in Christ prepare themselves for His future kingdom and glory by living their present life in accordance with the commandments of Christ. Those, however, who only initially believe in Christ, but disbelieve in the resurrection of the dead and in the future and everlasting kingdom of Christ on the earth, derive no benefit from their initial belief, and they fall into the class of infidels. For their inconsistent and inconsequent disbelief vitiates their initial belief. In fact, he that disbelieves in the sequential belief is denying his own initial belief and soon becomes altogether an infidel. Initial belief in Christ leads to belief in every word of Christ and in every testimony of the Holy Spirit written in the Holy Scriptures. Consequently those who reject these testimonies, and especially what is attested concerning the Devil and demons, are inconsequent and inconsistent, and are to be condemned as infidels. Justification results from consistent and sequential faith, and not from initial faith alone. By initial faith alone nobody has ever been justified, and nobody can be justified. All persons have been justified, if at all, and can be justified as a result of consistent and sequential and perfective faith.
Belief, again, is distinguishable into belief from hearing and belief resulting from one’s own experience. Belief from hearing believes that the word of God heard is true, and disbelieves whatever is said to the contrary. Experiential belief, on the other hand, believes what it obtains further knowledge of by doing the divine word. Respecting belief from hearing divine Paul says: “Belief cometh from hearing, but that hearing is a result of God’s word” (Rom. 10: 17). Respecting experiential belief the Prophet-King (i.e., David) says: “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8). He that hears that the Lord is good and believes it has belief from hearing. He, on the other hand, that tastes and sees that the Lord is good has experiential belief which is incapable of lapsing into disbelief. Belief from hearing is analogous to initial faith, while experiential belief is analogous to subsequent and sequential faith, and it has greater power and insures salvation. Belief resulting from hearing without experiential belief is of no avail, just as is the case with initial without sequential and subsequent faith.
Belief, further, is distinguishable into dogmatic and logical or scientific belief. Dogmatic belief believes everything that the God-bearing Fathers dogmatized in Holy Spirit, which is summed up in the twelve articles of the Creed (or the Symbol of the Faith), though there are some definitions that are not to be found therein. Logical and scientific belief, on the other hand, believes all the truths that have been brought to light and confirmed through reason and proof. Logical belief differs in kind from subjective, and not from objective, dogmatic belief; for the same truth may be believed both dogmatically and logically. But he that believes dogmatically lacks insight into the truth believed – that is to say, he fails to realize its full meaning; he merely entertains the conviction that it is a truth, because of the fact that it seemed so to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Fathers. He, on the other hand, that believes logically and scientifically has an insight into, or deeper knowledge of, the truth and is able to appreciate its meaning; as a result of reasons precluding every contrary belief, he cannot come to disbelieve in the truth which has been logically proved. Hence it is evident that only subjective dogmatic belief differs from logical belief, but not as a result of the truth believed. Accordingly, logical belief is more perfect and more secure than is dogmatic belief, since it cannot change to disbelief. Moreover, logical belief possesses a greater breadth than does dogmatic belief. For dogmatic belief believes only the dogmas that have been “defined,” or formulated, those necessary for salvation; whereas logical belief, on the other hand, believes not only these but also all truths connected with the primary dogmas and proved. Subjectively, therefore, logical belief is more perfect and more secure, while objectively it is broader. Logical belief embraces and includes the initial faith and that sequential thereto. For logical belief starts with initial faith, which it elicits logically by examining and refuting the reasons for disbelief; and it proceeds to every other belief that depends upon the initial truth and initial faith. In the same way that logical belief believes in principles, or initial postulates, it believes also in the consequences thereof; accordingly, it allows no admission to disbelief, examining it from all angles and excluding it. Logical belief, however, is for perfect men, whereas dogmatic and authoritative belief is for imperfect men (including women and children) unable to learn the truth through reason and science.
Belief, furthermore, is distinguishable into legal and moral. Legal belief believes in the truth that is attested in accordance with the law of God through the mouth of two or three credible eyewitnesses who have had firsthand knowledge of the truth attested. Moral belief, on the other hand, believes in the promises of God which have been ratified by means of a covenant, or contract, and an oath, or solemn pledge; and it is based upon and relies upon the moral virtuousness of God, who cannot break His own word nor His own oath. Respecting this moral belief divine Paul says: “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, saying, surely I will bless thee, and surely I will multiply thee. And thus after being patient for a long time he obtained the promise. For human beings swear by one greater, and an oath of confirmation affords them an end of all dispute. Wherein God, more abundantly willing to show unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, made use of an oath: in order that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a potent exhortation who have taken refuge in him to hold fast to the hope set before us, which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both secure and certain and which entereth what is further within the veil; where Jesus entered as a forerunner in our behalf after becoming a high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 6: 13-20). (Note of Translator. – The current English versions of this passage teem with mistranslations of the Greek words, the real meaning of which is approximated in the foregoing English words more closely.)
Belief in the immutability of God’s counsel and in the fact that it is impossible for God to lie is called moral belief, being based upon the honesty and morality of the free will of God, who, though possessed of power to do the contrary of His promise, cannot, however, do a moral wrong and break His own sworn promise. Moral belief is necessarily a concomitant of logical belief. Accordingly, those who believe logically that there is a God and that He becomes a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, believe morally also that it is impossible for God to lie in regard to what He promises, and to break His own oath and word. Disbelief in the moral promises of God is an unpardonable offense, for it directly insults God’s holiness. That is why the Bible says: “But the righteous man shall live by his faith in me: and if he become discouraged, my soul will not show my good will in him” (Habakkuk 2:4). Belief involves faith, which is the first of moral virtues, and therefore has a character of logicality and of morality. Accordingly, he that believes logically and morally and is incapable of lapsing into any kind of disbelief is the one who is attested as being righteous according to God’s judgment, and he lives with God a life that is blissful and everlasting. Legal belief, on the other hand, is inferior to moral belief, and only serves to pave the way thereto; for he that accepts in accordance with the law the testimony of human beings and believes that honest men do not lie, will much rather accept the testimony and the promise of God, since he believes that it is impossible for God to lie and that it is impossible for Him to break His own word or His own oath. The great Apostle calls this moral belief a secure and certain anchor of the soul, and says that it enters, or penetrates, further within the veil, where Jesus entered as a forerunner in our behalf, after becoming forever a high priest after the order of Melchisedec. This statement means that those who have the moral belief enter the presence of God freely, just as Jesus first entered in our behalf, after having been made a high priest after the order of Melchisedec forever. Such great significance and value attach to moral belief, which is the first of the virtues constituting the moral perfection of man .
The last and least variety of belief is miracle-working faith, respecting which Christ says: ”Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, it shall be done. And all things whatsoever that ye shall ask for in prayer, with faith, ye shall receive” (Matt. 21 :21-22). Miracle-working faith, by itself, does not save the miracle-worker, as Christ bears witness, by saying: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have we not cast out demons? and in thy name done many powerful works? And then will I confess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7: 22-23). Miracle-working faith is of no avail without consistent and perfective faith, which acts as it believes, and does not transgress the law in opposition to that belief. But miracleworking faith is sometimes a gift of God granted even to the unworthy for their condemnation and for the benefit and salvation of others. That is why it is not enviable and pursuable, as logical and moral belief is, which is in all respects pleasing to God and which remains permanently sinless.
Such are the various species of faith and of belief, which being one and the same thing are designated by one and the same word in Greek: and such are the power and the value of each of its various species.