Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VII.: THE FAITH OF CHRIST IS TRUE, BECAUSE IT CAUSES MEN TO LEAD A PERFECT LIFE. - The Triumph of the Cross
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CHAPTER VII.: THE FAITH OF CHRIST IS TRUE, BECAUSE IT CAUSES MEN TO LEAD A PERFECT LIFE. - Girolamo Savonarola, The Triumph of the Cross 
The Triumph of the Cross, trans. from the Italian, edited, with an Introduction by the Very Rev. Father John Procter, S.T.L. With a frontispiece portrait of the author (London: Sands & Co., 1901).
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THE FAITH OF CHRIST IS TRUE, BECAUSE IT CAUSES MEN TO LEAD A PERFECT LIFE.
In proving Christianity to be true, we have hitherto made use of arguments founded on the good life of true Christians. We will now proceed to examine the causes of this virtuous life. One of the chief causes is, as the Scripture teaches, the belief in Christ informed by charity: “The justice of God, by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe in Him” (Rom. iii. 22). “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. xi. 6). By faith informed by charity, we mean that, loving Christ crucified above all things, we believe Him to be truly God and truly Man, One with the Father and the Holy Ghost, and distinct from them only in Person.
Universal experience demonstrates the truth of what we say. For in the present day it is evident to all, and still more was it so in days gone by, that, as soon as a man grasps the Faith of Christ and becomes inflamed with His love, he begins to lead a Christian life, and makes progress in perfection, in proportion to his increase of faith and charity; and at the same time he is confirmed in those virtues, in proportion to his advance in perfection. On the other hand, they who lead bad lives are deficient in faith; and they that lack faith lead bad lives. As this is a truth admitting no denial, we will investigate it, and, by inquiring into the causes of such wonderful effects, will deduce proofs of the truth of the Christian religion.
First. Since all perfection depends upon its cause, no effect can be more perfect than its cause. Therefore, if all the truth and uprightness of the Christian life depends upon the Faith of Christ, as upon its cause, it is impossible that the Faith of Christ should not be true. And if this faith be true, we must, with Christians, confess that Christ is God, and that His religion is the true religion revealed by God.
Again. It is impossible that falsehood and evil should be the cause of truth and goodness; for evil, in so far as it is evil, and falsehood, in so far as it is falsehood, are nothingness. If, then, the Faith of Christ were false, His love would be vain and evil. Now, a life so perfect as is the Christian life could not spring from falsehood and iniquity. Therefore, the Christian religion must be true.
Furthermore. If this religion be untrue it is the most stupid falsehood that can possibly be conceived; for to say (were it not true) that a crucified man is God would be the extreme of folly. Now, as the Christian life is a perfect life, it cannot spring from untruth; for all rightly ordered life proceeds from correctness of understanding, and all error in human conduct springs from some mistake on the part of the intellect.
It must also be remembered that capacity for improvement in any nature is proportioned to the good disposition already existing therein. Now, as the perfection of our intellect is truth, and as purity of heart is the disposition which enables him to become steadfast in truth, the more a man is purged from earthly affections the better he will know the truth, the more closely he will embrace it, and the further he will banish falsehood from his soul. If this be true, surely Christians, since their lives are purer than those of other men, would be the first to know if their religion were false. We see, however, that far from rejecting their faith, Christians cling more closely to it in proportion as they increase in perfection, and that their increase in perfection is proportioned to their steadfastness in their faith. Therefore, their faith cannot be false.
Again, as God is the First Cause moving all things, both spiritual and corporal, it is certain that it is He who must move the human understanding, and that, apart from Him, no truth can be known. But who can doubt that God will inspire to know the truth those who are prepared for its reception, rather than those who are not thus disposed, and especially when the truth concerns eternal salvation? Since then true Christians are better prepared than are any other men to embrace the truth, we cannot doubt that, if the Faith of Christ were false, they would be enlightened by God to reject it. To think otherwise, would be to doubt the providence and goodness of God.
The end regulates the means used to attain it, and he that errs as to his end, will err also as to the means which he uses. Christians do not err as to the means which they adopt for attaining to beatitude, and therefore they do not err as to their end. Now, as all Christians profess that Christ is their End, and that they strive to be made like to Him in this life in order to enjoy Him in the next, it cannot be erroneous to teach that Christ is God, and is the End of human life.
Again, God proceeds in all things in a certain order, and in His wisdom governs inferior things by those that are superior to them. And since the cause is always more perfect than the effect, He has ordained noblest causes for the noblest effects. As there is not in the world a more noble effect than the Christian life, it follows that the cause from which it springs must be the noblest possible. Since the Christian life is an effect of the Faith of Christ, we must acknowledge that that Faith, far from being a fable, is the noble cause of a noble effect.
All secondary causes are instruments of a primary cause. Therefore Christ, the Man who was crucified, is the instrument whereby God chooses to produce that wonderful effect—the Christian life. Had Christ, in spite of His assertions, not been God, His pride and mendacity would have been unparalleled; and God would have used a bad instrument to produce a most perfect effect—a course quite out of keeping with His wisdom.
The more closely an effect resembles its cause, the more perfect does it become. We become more holy and more Divine in proportion as we walk in the footsteps of Christ and become like to Him. This is a clear proof that Christ is true God, and the Cause of man.
Causes are known by their effects, and one of the best arguments in favour of the Christian religion is the reflection that, whereas heathen philosophers have laboured for years to establish rules of conduct, they have gained but few disciples, of whom even the most virtuous have never attained to that standard of living which has been so quickly reached by innumerable Christians of both sexes and of every race and condition. No one who reflects on this fact can fail to see that there is no comparison between the efficacy of the heathen philosophy and of the Christian Faith, which is able to render the proud, avaricious, and luxurious, humble, benevolent and chaste. Every one, consequently, must acknowledge that Christ, as God, is the Principal Cause of human perfection, and, as Man, is its Means and Instrumental Cause.