But, nevertheless, the adversaries acknowledge that satisfactions are of no profit for the remission of guilt. Yet they imagine that satisfactions are of profit in redeeming from the punishments, whether of purgatory or other punishments. For thus they teach that in the remission of sins, God [without means, alone] remits the guilt, and yet, because it belongs to divine justice to punish sin, that He commutes eternal into temporal punishment. They add further that a part of this temporal punishment is remitted by the power of the keys, but that the rest is redeemed by means of satisfactions. Neither can it be understood of what punishments a part is remitted by the power of the keys, unless they say that a part of the punishments of purgatory is remitted, from which it would follow that satisfactions are only punishments redeeming from purgatory. And these satisfactions, they say, avail even though they are rendered by those who have relapsed into mortal sin, as though indeed the divine displeasure could be appeased by those who are in mortal sin. This entire matter is fictitious, and recently fabricated without the authority of Scripture and the old writers of the Church. And not even Longobardus speaks in this way of satisfactions. The scholastics saw that there were satisfactions in the Church; and they did not notice that these exhibitions had been instituted both for the purpose of example, and for testing those who desired to be received by the Church. In a word, they did not see that it was a discipline, and entirely a secular matter. Accordingly, they superstitiously imagined that these avail not for discipline before the Church, but for appeasing God. And just as in other places they frequently, with great inaptness, have confounded spiritual and civil matters [the kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual, and the kingdom of the world, and external discipline], the same happens also with regard to satisfactions. But the gloss on the canons at various places testifies that these observances were instituted for the sake of church discipline [should serve alone for an example before the Church].
But they say that it belongs to God's justice to punish sin. He certainly punishes it in contrition, when in these terrors He shows His wrath. Just as David indicates when he prays, Ps. 6, 1: 0 Lord, rebuke me not in Thine anger. And Jeremiah, 10, 24: 0 Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in Thine anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing. Here indeed the most bitter punishments are spoken of. And the adversaries acknowledge that contrition can be so great that satisfaction is not required. Contrition is therefore more truly a punishment than is satisfaction. Besides, saints are subject to death, and all general afflictions, as Peter says, 1 Ep. 4, 17: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God? And although these afflictions are for the most part the punishments of sin, yet in the godly they have a better end, namely, to exercise them, that they may learn amidst trials to seek God's aid, to acknowledge the distrust of their own hearts, etc., as Paul says of himself, 2 Cor. 1, 9: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead. And Isaiah says, 26, 16: They poured out prayer when Thy chastening was upon them i.e., afflictions are a discipline by which God exercises the saints. Likewise afflictions are inflicted because of present sin, since in the saints they mortify and extinguish concupiscence, so that they may be renewed by the Spirit, as Paul says, Rom. 8, 10: The body is dead because of sin, i. e., it is mortified [more and more every day] because of present sin which is still left in the flesh. And death itself serves this purpose, namely, to abolish this flesh of sin, that we may rise absolutely new. Neither is there now in the death of the believer, since by faith he has overcome the terrors of death, that sting and sense of wrath of which Paul speaks 1 Cor. 15, 56: The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the Law. This strength of sin, this sense of wrath, is truly a punishment as long as it is present; without this sense of wrath, death is not properly a punishment. Moreover, canonical satisfactions do not belong to these punishments; as the adversaries say that by the power of the keys a part of the punishments is remitted. Likewise, according to these very men, the keys remit the satisfactions, and the punishments on account of which the satisfactions are made. But it is evident that the common afflictions are not removed by the power of the keys. And if they wish to be understood concerning punishments, why do they add that satisfaction is to be rendered in purgatory?
But we have already frequently testified that repentance ought to produce good fruits: and what the good fruits are the [Ten] Commandments teach, namely, [truly and from the heart most highly to esteem, fear, and love God, joyfully to call upon Him in need], prayer, thanksgiving, the confession of the Gospel [hearing this Word], to teach the Gospel, to obey parents and magistrates, to be faithful to one's calling, not to kill, not to retain hatred, but to be forgiving [to be agreeable and kind to one's neighbor], to give to the needy, so far as we can according to our means, not to commit fornication or adultery, but to restrain and bridle and chastise the flesh, not for a compensation of eternal punishment, but so as not to obey the devil, or offend the Holy Ghost, likewise, to speak the truth. These fruits have God's injunction, and ought to be brought forth for the sake of God's glory and command; and they have their rewards also. But that eternal punishments are not remitted except on account of the compensation rendered by certain traditions or by purgatory, Scripture does not teach. Indulgences were formerly remission of these public observances, so that men should not be excessively burdened. But if, by human authority, satisfactions and punishments can be remitted, this compensation, therefore, is not necessary by divine Law, for a divine Law is not annulled by human authority. Furthermore, since the custom has now of itself become obsolete and the bishops have passed it by in silence, there is no necessity for these remissions. And yet the name indulgences remained. And just as satisfactions were understood not with reference to external discipline, but with reference to the compensation of punishment, so indulgences were incorrectly understood to free souls from purgatory. But the keys have not the power of binding and loosing except upon earth, according to Matt. 16, 19 : Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Although as we have said above, the keys have not the power to impose penalties, or to institute rites of worship, but only the command to remit sins to those who are converted, and to convict and excommunicate those who are unwilling to be converted. For just as to loose signifies to remit sins, so to bind signifies not to remit sins. For Christ speaks of a spiritual kingdom. And the command of God is that the ministers of the Gospel should absolve those who are converted, according to 2 Cor. 10, 8: The authority which the Lord hath given us for edification. Therefore the reservation of eases is a secular affair. For it is a reservation of canonical punishment; it is not a reservation of guilt before God in those who are truly converted. Therefore the adversaries judge aright when they confess that in the article of death the reservation of eases ought not to hinder absolution.