Merit signifies desert, or that which is earned.; originally the word was applied to soldiers and other military persons, who, by their labors in the field, and by the various hardships they underwent during the course of a campaign, as also by other services they might occasionally render to the commonwealth, were said, mserere stipendio, to merit, or earn their pay; which they might properly be said to do, because they yielded in real service an equivalent to the state for the stipend they received, which was therefore due to them in justice. Here, then. we come at the true meaning of the word merit; from which it is very clearly to be seen that, in a theological sense, there can be no such thing as merit in our best obedience. One man may merit of another, but all mankind together cannot merit from the hand of God. This evidently appears, if we consider the imperfections of all our services, and-the express declaration of the divine Word (Eph 2:8-9; Ro 11:5-6; Tit 3:5; Ro 10:1,4). The scholastic distinction between merit of congruity and merit of condignity is thus stated by Hobbes (Of Man, pt. i, ch. iv): " God Almighty having promised Paradise to those that can walk through this world according to the limits and precepts prescribed by him, they say he that shall so walk shall merit Paradise ex congruo. -But because no man can demand a right to it by his own righteousness, or any other power in himself, but by the free grace of God only, they say no man can merit Paradise ex condigno." SEE MERITUM. See South's Sermons, The Doctrine of Merit stated, vol. iii, ser. 1; Toplady's Works, 3:471; Hervey's Eleven Letters. to Wesley; Robinson's Claude, 2:218. SEE ALSO WORKS.

Bible concordance for MERIT.

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