It is an error to believe that Christianity did not exist before the Reformation save under the Roman Catholic form.
Anselm of Canterbury laid down as the very essence of Christianity the doctrines of the Incarnation and Atonement; and in a work in which he teaches us how to die. He says to the departing soul, “Look only to the merits of Jesus Christ.”
St. Bernard proclaimed with a powerful voice the mysteries of Redemption. “If my sin cometh from another,” says he, “why should not my righteousness be granted me in the same way!”
Reflect about all the thousands of souls obscure and unknown to the world who have nevertheless been partakers of the real life of Christ.
A monk named Arnoldi every day offered up this fervent prayer in his quiet cell, “O Lord Jesus Christ! I believe that Thou alone art my redemption and my righteousness.”
Christopher of Utenheim, a pious bishop of Basle, had his name inscribed on a picture painted on glass, which is still in that city, and surrounded it with this motto, which he desired to have continually before his eyes, “My hope is in the cross of Christ; I seek grace and not works”
A poor Carthusian friar named Martin wrote a touching confession, in which he says, “O most merciful God! I know that I cannot be saved and satisfy Thy righteousness than by the merits, of the most innocent passion, and by the death of thy dearly beloved Son. Holy Jesus I all my salvation is in Thy hands.” Then the good Carthusian placed his confession in a wooden box, and enclosed it in a hole he made in the walls of his cell.
The piety of Brother Martin would never have been known if the box had not been discovered in 1776 as some workmen were pulling down an old building that had formed part of the Carthusian convent at Basle. –D’ Aubigne