But all these mythological explanations are supererogatory, since the actual legend in question can be definitely traced to the pamphlet of 1602.
So great were his variations even in his latter years, that he could speak to his friend Allsop in a highly latitudinarian sense, declaring that in Christianity "the miracles are supererogatory," and that "the law of God and the great principles of the Christian religion would have been the same had Christ never assumed humanity."
The reality of this tendency, particularly at Rome, betrays itself in Hermas, who teaches the supererogatory merit of alms gained by the selfdenial of fasting (Sim.
Theories of legal merit, amount of debt, supererogatory goodness, and ascetic claim - representing the aspect of Catholicism as law - are more and more worked out.
Between Christianity and Jewish legalism, it maintained the inwardness of faith to be the sole way to eternal life, in contrast to the outwardness of works; returning to Augustine, and expressing his spirit in a new formula, to resist the Neo-Pelagianism that had gradually developed itself within the apparent Augustinianism of the church, it maintained the total corruption of human nature, as contrasted with that " congruity " by which, according to the schoolmen, divine grace was to be earned; renewing the fervent humility of St Paul, it enforced the universal and absolute imperativeness of all Christian duties, and the inevitable unworthiness of all Christian obedience, in opposition to the theory that " condign " merit might be gained by " supererogatory " conformity to evangelical " counsels."