Bradley on Faith and Works

But that faith is…merely ideal, is a vulgar and gross error, which, so far as it rests on St. Paul, rests on an entire misunderstanding of him.  In faith we do not rise by the intellect to an idea, and leave our will somewhere behind us.  Where there is no will to realize the object, there is no faith; and where there are no works, there is no will.  If works cease, will has ceased; if will has ceased, faith has ceased.  Faith is not the desperate leap of a moment; in true religion there is no one washing which makes clean.  In Pauline language, that ‘I have died’, have in idea and by will anticipated the end, proves itself a reality only be the fact that ‘I die daily’, do perpetually in my particular acts will the realization of the end which is anticipated.  Nor does faith mean simply works; it means the works of faith; it means that the ideal, however incompletely, is realized.  But, on the other hand, because the ideal is not realized completely and truly as the ideal, therefore I am not justified by works, which issue from faith, as works; since they remain imperfect.  I am justified solely and entirely by the ideal identification; the existence of which in me is on the other hand indicated and guaranteed by works, and in its very essence implies them.

“…[I]n true religion there is no one washing which makes clean.”  Yes; even so.


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