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may for ever increase, and the faith of a Christian shall be like the moon, and no man be sure, that his faith shall not be reproved; and there shall be innumerable questions about the authority of him that is to add, of his skill, of bis proceeding, of the particular article, of our own duty in inquiring, of our diligence, of our capacity, of the degrees of our care, of the competency of instruments, of choosing our side, of judging of questions: and he that cannot inquire diligently, and he that cannot judge wisely, and he that cannot discern spirits, and he that fears, and he that fears not,-shall all be in danger, and doubt, and scruple; and there shall be neither peace of minds nor churches, as we see at this day in the sad divisions of Christendom; and every man almost damns all but his own sect, and no man can tell who is in the right, men dispute well on both sides ; and just and good and wise men are opposed to one another; and every man seems confident, but few men have reason : and there is no rest; and there can be none, but in this simplicity of belief which the apostles recommended to all the world, and which all the world does still keep in despite of all their superinduced opinions and factions : for they all retain this creed, and they all believe it to be the summary of faith.
79. But the church of Rome pretends to a power of appointing new articles of faith b; and for denying this, Pope Leo X. condemned Luther in his bull added to the last council in Lateran. For “ ad solam auctoritatem summi pontificis pertinet nova editio symboli,” “a new edition of the creed belongs to the sole authority of the pope of Rome;" so Aquinas -and Almain most expressly, “ The popes of Rome, by defining many things which before lay hid," "symbolum fidei augere consuevisse," “ are wont to enlarge the creed.”-For" doctrina fidei admittit additionem in essentialibus," saith Salmeron; "the doctrine of faith admits addition even in essential things.”—And in consequence to those expressions, they did add the article of the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son, in a synod at Chantilly in France; and twelve articles to the creed in the council of Trent, with the preface and postscript of the Athanasian creed damning all, that do not equally believe the creed of Trent as the creed of the apostles.
6 2. 2æ. q. 1. a. 10. August. Tri. de Ancona, q. 59. art. 1. Novom symbolom condere solum ad papam spectat, quia est caput fidei Christianæ, cujus auctoritate omnia, quæ ad fidem spectant, firmantur et roborantur. Idem art. 2. Sicut potest novom symbolum condere, ità potest novos articulos supra alios multiplicare. Tom. 13. part. 3. disp. 6. sect. Est ergo.
80. What effect and impress the declaration of any article by the church hath, or is to have, upon the conscience, shall be discoursed under the title of ecclesiastical laws; but that which is of present inquiry, is,— Whether any thing can be of divine faith in one age that was not so in the age of the apostles :'-and concerning this it is that I say, that it is, from the premises, evident, that nothing can make any thing to be of divine faith but our blessed Lord
himself,who is therefore called “the author and finisher of our faith;" he began it, and he made an end. The apostles themselves could not do it;—they were only stewards and dispensers of the mysteries of God; they did rightly divide the word of life, separating the necessary from that which was not so : 80 that their office in this particular was only to declare what was necessary and what was not; no man, and no society of men, could do this but themselves, for none but they could tell, what value was to be set upon any proposition : they were to lay the foundation, and they did so; and they built wisely upon it; but when they commanded that we should keep the foundation, they only could tell us which was it, and they did so by their sermons, preaching the same doctrine to the simple and the crafty, and by immuring the necessary doctrine in a form of words, and consigning it to all the churches where they preached the gospel.
81. For we see that all the world is not able to tell us how much is necessary, and how much is not, if they once go beside the Apostles' creed : and yet it was infinitely necessary, that, at first, this should be told, because there were so many false apostles, and every one pretended authority or illumination, and every one brought a new word and a new doctrine ; and the apostles did not only foresee, that there would be, but did live to see and feel, the heresies and the false doctrines obtruded upon the church, and did profess it was necessary, that such false doctrines should arise : and against all this that they should not provide a universal remedy, is at no hand credible, and yet there was none but the creed; this all the church did make use of, and professed it to be
that summary of faith, which was a sufficient declaration of all necessary faith, and a competent reproof of all heresies that should arise.
82. But then that, after all this, any one should obtrude new propositions, not deducible from the articles of the creed, not in the bowels of any article, neither actually expressed nor potentially included, and to impose these under pain of damnation, if this be not kvpletelv rñs mlotewÇ, which St. Paul said he had no power to do, “ to have dominion or lordship over the faith,” and kataKvpletelv tūv klúpwv," to lord it over God's heritage,” which St. Peter d forbade any man to do, I confess I do not understand the words, nor yet saw or ever read any man that did. I conclude this with those excellent words of Justinian which are in the code, part of the imperial law by which almost all the world was long governed: Ορθή και αμώμητος πίστις, ήνπερ κηρύττει η αγία του θεού καθολική και αποστολική εκκλησία, κατ’ ουδένα τρόπον καινισμόν δεξαμένη, “ This right and irreprehensible faith (speaking of the apostolical creed, part of which he there recites) which the holy catholic and apostolic church of God does preach, can by no means receive any innovation or change."
83. I conclude therefore this question; in our inquiries of faith, no man's conscience can be pressed with an authority but of Christ enjoining, and the apostles declaring, what is necessary. I add also, that the apostles have declared it in this form of words, which they have often set down in their writings, and which they more largely described in their Symbol of Faith. For since, as Sixtus Senensis' says,
omnes orthodoxi patres affirmant symbolum ab ipsis apostolis conditum,” that " all the orthodox fathers affirm the creed to be made by the apostles," and they all say this is a sufficient rule of faith for all Christians; here we ought to rest our heads and our hearts, and not to intricate our faith by more questions. For as Tertullian 6 said well, “Hæc regula à Christo, ut probabitur, instituta nullas habet apud nos quæstiones nisi quas hæreses inferunt, et quæ hæreticos
c 2 Cor. i. 24.
d 1 Pet. v. 3.
ö Lib. 1. advers. Hærel. cap. 13.
faciunt ;" “ Heretics make disputes, and disputes make heretics, but faith makes none.”-For if upon the faith of this creed all the church of God went to heaven, all I mean that lived good lives,- I am sure Christ only hath the keys of hell and heaven; and no man can open or shut either, but according to his word and his law : so that to him that will make his way harder by putting more conditions to his salvation, and more articles to his creed, I may use the words of St. Gregory Nazienzen : “ Tu quid salute majus quæris? gloriam nempe quæ illic est et splendorem: mihi vero maximum est ut salver, et futura effugiam tormenta. Tu per viam incedis minime tritam et incessu difficilem: ego vero per regiam, et quæ multos salvavit:"_“What dost thou seek greater than salvation ?” (meaning, by nice inquiries and disputes of articles beyond the simple and plain faith of the Apostles' creed) " It may be, thou lookest for glory and splendour here. It is enough for me, yea the greatest thing in the world, that I be saved and escape the torments that shall be hereafter. Thou goest a hard and an untrodden path: I go the King's high-way, and that in which many have been saved.”
In the Law of Christ there is no Precept, that wholly ministers to
the Law of Moses ; but for a Time only, and less principally. 1. This rule I received from St. Irenæus ; and they are his words as near as I could translate them. “In lege Christi, non est ullum præceptum veteri tantum legi inserviens, nisi ad horam et minus principaliter.” For our blessed Saviour descended like rain upon a fleece of wool, and made no violent changes, but retained all the morality that he found amongst his countrymen; he made use of their propositions, spake their proverbs, united their ejaculations into a collect of his own,--for almost every word of the Lord's prayer was taken from the writings of the pious men of their nation; he changed their rites into sacraments ; their customs into mysteries; their washings he made our baptism ; their pas
See Liberty of Propbesying, secl. 1.
chal supper he converted into the holy eucharist: and still because he would be understood by them, he retained the Mosaic words, when he delivered a Christian precept; for he knew his Father would send his Holy Spirit to be an interpreter; and when the types of Moses passed into the substance of Christ, then the typical words also would be expounded in the senses of evangelical duties.
2. For indeed it is not reasonable to suppose, that our blessed Saviour,—who came to fulfil the law in his own person, and to abolish it in his disciples, to change the customs of Moses, and to be an eternal lawgiver in the instances of moral and essential natural rectitudes,—would give a new commandment to confirm an old precept which himself intended to extinguish. No man puts a piece of new cloth to an old garment, nor a new injunction to an abrogated law; that is, no wise master-builder holds up with one hand, what he intends to pull down with both: it must therefore follow, that whatever Christ did preach, and affirm, and exhort, was, although expressed in the words of the law, yet wholly relative to the duty and signification of the gospel. For that which St. Hilary i said of all the words of Scripture, is particularly true in the sense now delivered of the sermons of Christ: “ Sermo enim divinus secundum intelligentiæ nostræ consuetudinem naturamque se temperat, communibus rerum vocabulis ad significationem doctrinæ suæ et institutionis aptatis. Nobis enim, non sibi, loquitur: atque ideo nostris utitur in loquendo :” “God speaks to us, and not to himself; and therefore he uses words fitting to our understandings :”—by common and usual expressions and such as were understood, he expressed precepts and mysteries which otherwise were not to be understood.
3. Thus when our blessed Saviour delivers the precept of charity and forgiveness, he uses this expression, " When thou bringest thy gift unto the altar, and there rememberest that thou hast any thing against thy brother, leave thy gift at the altar, go and be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” If Christ had said, " When thou comest to the Lord's supper, and hast any thing against thy brother," &c. he had not been understood : but because we know this is an eternal precept, part of a moral and eternal ex
1 In Psal. cxxvi.