Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Contarini on Justification (8)

Herewith the next installment of a translation of Gasparo Contarini’s De Iustificatione. He here continues his discussion of the various senses of “faith” (fides).


John of Damascus says in his fourth book that “faith” is used in two senses, of which he says the one is assent, but the other he says is hope for those things which have been promised to us; and to this latter sense he refers the definition of “faith” given by the Apostle in the Epistle to the Hebrews, when he says that faith is the substance of the things hoped for, etc.1 From the Apostle Paul we have this use of “faith” for “confidence” (confidentia) in very many passages; let one suffice for now, in the Epistle to the Romans; when he was speaking concerning Abraham, on whose example the Apostle especially relies, he said, “He was not weakened by distrust (diffidentia),2 but was strengthened by faith.” Take note: he opposed faith, that is, confidence, to distrust.

  1. A reference to Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 4.10: “Moreover, faith is twofold. For faith comes by hearingRomans 10:17 For by hearing the divine Scriptures we believe in the teaching of theHoly Spirit. The same is perfected by all the things enjoined by Christ, believing in work, cultivating piety, and doing the commands of Him Who restored us. For he that believes not according to the tradition of the Catholic Church, or who has intercourse with the devil through strange works, is an unbeliever. But again, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen Hebrews 11:1, or undoubting and unambiguous hopealike of what God has promised us and of the good issue of our prayers. The first, therefore, belongs to our will, while the second is of the gifts of the Spirit.”
  2. Or “want of confidence.”

By E.J. Hutchinson

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