Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

Contarini on Justification (7)

The next installment of Gasparo Contarini’s De Iustificatione.

In this passage, Contarini continues his discussion of the various senses in which “faith” (fides) can be taken. Here he discusses it in the sense of fiducia, “faithfulness” (in reference to God) or “trust” (in reference to man), and he connects the latter sense to “hope” (spes).


But let us narrow down this [type of] “faith” to [one that has regard to] the divine promise, [a “faith”] that is in God inasmuch as he keeps His promises. Thus in the Psalm: “God is faithful [fidelis] in all His words.”1 Thus in Paul: “Has their iniquity made void the faith [fidem] of God?”2 But this “faith” [fides] is in us, in so far as we trust [fidimus] in the divine promise. This meaning of “faith” in place of “trust” [fiducia]3 is connected to the meaning of “hope” [spei], although “hope” properly looks to things future, but “faithfulness”/”trust” [looks] also to things present and past; but nevertheless this “trust” is related to “hope.” Therefore, the one is very often used in place of the other. (De Iustificatione, pp. 589-90)

  1. Psalm 144:13 Vulg. (145:13). There is dispute over the authenticity of this verse, which is bracketed in the ESV.
  2. Rom. 3:3.
  3. Here Contarini appears to use fiducia in the sense in which he had applied it to man.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.