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is itself made to be a worship of God, it is a will-worship in the criminal sense. “Hanc video sapientissimorum fuisse sententiam, legem neque hominum ingeniis excogitatam, nec scitum aliquod esse populorum, sed æternum quiddam, quod universum mundum regeret, imperandi prohibendique sapientia. Ita principem legem illain et ultimam, mentem esse dicebant, omnia ratione aut cogentis, aut vetantis Dei,” said Cicero *; “ Neither the wit of man, nor the consent of the people, is a competent warranty for any prime law; for law is an eternal thing, fit to govern the world, it is the wisdom of God commanding or forbidding." Reason indeed is the aptness, the disposition, the capacity and matter, of the eternal law; but the life and form of it are the command of God. “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” Some plants arise from seed, some from slips and suckers, some are grafted, and some inoculated; and all these will grow, and bring forth pleasing fruit; but if it grows wild, ļhat is, of its own accord, the fruit is fit for nothing, and the tree is fit for burning.
The Christian Law, both of Faith and Manners, is fully con
tained in the Holy Scriptures ; and from thence only can the
Conscience have divine Warrant and Authority. 1. Of the perfection and fulness of the Christian law I have already given accounts; but where this law is recorded, and that the Holy Scriptures are the perfect and only digest of it, is the matter of the present rule, which is of great use in the rule of conscience; because if we know not where our rule is to be found, and if there can be several tables of the law pretended, our obedience must be by chance or our own choice,—that is, it cannot be obedience, which must be voluntary in the submission, and therefore cannot be chance; and it must be determined by the superior, and therefore cannot be our own antecedent choice, but what is chosen for us.
2. That the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament do contain the whole will and law of God, is affirmed
* De Legibus, ii. 3. Wagner, p. 48.-Vide Plato. 10. de Leg.
by the primitive fathers, and by all the reformed churches; that the Scriptures are not a perfect rule of faith and manners, but that tradition is to be added to make it a full repository of the divine will, is affirmed by the church of Rome. For the establishing of the truth in this great rule and directory of conscience, I shall first show, as matter of fact, that the church of God, in all the first and best ages, when tradition could be more certain, and assent to it might be more reasonable, did nevertheless take the Holy Scriptures for their only rule of faith and manners. 2. Next, I shall show what use there was of traditions. 3. That the topic of traditions, after the consignation of the canon of Scripture, was not only of little use in any thing, but false in many things, and therefore unsafe in all questions; and as the world grew older, traditions grew more uncertain, and the argument from tradition was intolerably worse.
3. (1.) That the first ages of the church did appeal to Scripture in all their questions, I appeal to these testimonies.
-St. Clemens* of Alexandria hath these excellent words : Ου γαρ απλώς αποφαινομένοις ανθρώπους προσέχοιμεν, οίς και ανταποφαίνεσθαι επ' ίσης έξεστιν είδ' ουκ αρκεί μόνον απλώς ειπείν το δόξαν, αλλά πιστώσασθαι δεί το λεχθέν ού την εξ ανθρώπων αναμένομεν μαρτυρίαν, αλλά τη του Κυρίου φωνή πιστούμεθα το ζητούμενον, ή πασών αποδείξεων έχεγγυωτέρα, μάλλον δε η μόνη απόδειξις, ούσα τυγχάνει. «It is not it that we should simply attend to the affirmatives of men, for our nay may be as good as their yea. But if the thing be matter of faith, and not of opinion only, let us not stay for a testimony of man, but confirm our question by the word of God; which is the most certain of all, or is indeed rather the only demonstration.”-Now that there may be no starting-hole from these words of the saint, I only add this, that it is plain, from the whole order of his discourse, that he speaks only of the word of God written. For the words before are these; “Do they take away all demonstration, or do they affirm that there is any? I suppose they will grant there is some; unless they have lost their senses.
But if there be any demonstration, it is necessary that we make inquiry, kaì. łK των αυτών γραφών εκμανθάνειν αποδεικτικώς, and from the Scriptures to learn demonstratively.” And a little after he
* Clem. Alex. Stromat. 7.
adds, “ They that employ their time about the best things, never give over their searching after truth, πριν αν την απόδειξιν απ' αυτών λάβωσι των γραφών, until from the Scriptures they have got a demonstration.'” He speaks against the Gnostics, who pretended to secret traditions from I know not who: against them he advises Christians, kataynpasar ταις γραφεις, αποδείξεις επιζητειν, « to wax old in the Scriptures, thence to seek for demonstrations,” and by that rule to frame our lives.
4. St. Basil in his Ethics": Aci nav pñua 1 Apayua ttστουσθαι τη μαρτυρία της θεοπνεύστου γραφής, είς πληροφορίαν μεν των αγαθών, εντροπην δε των πονηρων, «Whatsoever is done or said, ought to be confirmed by the testimony of the divinely-inspired Scripture; both for the full persuasion of the good, as also for the condemnation of the evil:" Tāv.pñja v apāyna, that is, “every thing' that belongs to faith and manners, not every indifferent thing, but every thing' of duty; not every thing of a man, but every thing' of a Christian; not things of natural life, but of the supernatural. Which sense of his words clearly excludes the necessity of tradition, and yet intends not to exclude either liberty, or human laws, or the conduct of prudence.
5. To the like purpose is that of Origen”: “Debemus ergo ad testimonium verborum, quæ proferimus in doctrina, proferre sensum Scripturæ, quasi confirmantem quem exponimus sensum ;” “We ought to bring Scripture for the confirmation of our exposition :” which words of his are very considerable to those, who are earnest for our admittance of traditive interpretation of Scriptures. Concerning which, in passing by (because it will be nothing to the main inquiry, which is not how Scripture is to be understood, but whether being rightly understood, it be a sufficient rule of faith and manners), I shall give this account: that besides there are (I mean in matters of faith, not in matters ritual and of government) no such traditive commentaries; there being no greater variety and difference amongst the ancient and modern writers commonly and respectively in any thing in their expositions of Scripture; no where so great liberty, no where so little agreement; besides this, I say, that they are in commentaries of Scriptures to be looked upon as so many single
y Definit. 26.
z In Matt. tract. 5.
persons, because there was no public authentic commentary any where, no assemblies in order to any such expositions, no tradition pretended for the sense of controverted places ; but they used right reason, the analogy of faith, the sense of the words, and the notice of the originals, and so they expounded certainly or probably according as it happened, according to that of St. Athanasius a: “Sunt vero etiam multi sanctorum magistrorum libri, in quos si quis incurrat, assequetur quodammodo Scripturarum interpretationem :" “ There are many books of the holy doctors, upon which if one chance to light, he may in some measure attain to the interpretation of the Scriptures,” But when they (according to Origen's way here described) confirmed an exposition of one place by the doctrine of another, then, and then only, they thought they had the dmódelis yapın, 'the Scripturedemonstration, and a matter of faith and of necessary belief; and that this was the duty of the Christian doctors, Origent, does expressly affirm:" " Afterward, as Paul's custom is, he would verify from the Holy Scriptures what he had said ; so also giving an example to the doctors of the church, that what they speak to the people should not be of their own sense, but confirmed by divine testimonies : for if he, such and so great an apostle, did not suppose his own authority sufficient warrant to his sayings, unless he make it appear that what he says is written in the law and the prophets,-how much more ought we little ones observe this, that we do not bring forth ours, but the sentences of the Holy Spirit,” viz. from Scripture. For that was the practice of St. Paul, whom he in this place, for that very thing, propounds as imitable. And in pursuance of this example and advice, St. Cyrile expresses himself perfectly : Mù rais šuais ευρεσιολογίαις πρόσεχε, , “ Attend not to my inventions ;" for you may possibly be deceived: but trust no words, čàv μη μάθης έκ των θείων γραφών, unless thou dost learn it from the divine Scriptures.”—And more fully yet he speaks in another placed: speaking of faith in the holy Trinity, he advises them to “retain that zeal in their mind, which by heads or summaries is lightly expounded to you, but if God grant, shall, according to my strength, be demonstrated to you
a Orat. contra Gentes.
b In cap. ii, Ep. Rom. • St. Cyril. Hierosol. Catech. 12. Illuminatorum. d Catech. 4. Illaminat.
by Scripture; δει γαρ περί των θείων και αγίων της πίστεως μυστηρίων μηδε το τυχόν άνευ των θείων παραδίδοσθαι γραφων ; ' for it behoves us not to deliver so much as the least thing of the holy mysteries of faith without the divine Scriptures,' nor to be moved with probable discourses. Neither give credit to me speaking, unless what is spoken, be demonstrated by the Holy Scriptures : η σωτηρία γαρ αύτη της πίστεως ημων ουκ εξ ευρεσιολογίας αλλ' εξ αποδείξεως των θείων εστι γραφών, “ for that is the security of our faith, which is derived not from witty inventions, but from the demonstration of divine Scriptures.”—“Omne quod loquimur, debemus affirmare de Scripturis Sanctis," said St. Jerome €; “ Every thing that we speak, we must prove it from the Holy Scriptures ;” not every thing absolutely, but every thing of religion, every thing of faith and manners : and if all this be not in the Scriptures, it can have no just authority. “ Hoc quia de Scripturis auctoritatem non habet, eadem facilitate contemnitur qua probatur;" “ If it have not its warrant from Scripture, it may with as much ease be despised as it was offered.” Where though St. Jerome speaks of a particular question, viz. whether Zecharias the son of Barachias were the father of John the Baptist; yet it could not have been applied to this particular, if it had not been true in the general, that every thing of religion may be rejected that is not proved from Scripture. But this is expressly affirmed by St. Chrysostom 3 ; " Nam si quid dicitur absque Scriptura, auditorum cogitatio claudicat,” &c. “If any thing be spoken without Scripture, the thought of the hearers is lame; sometimes inclining to assent, sometimes declining; sometimes rejecting the opinion as frivolous, sometimes receiving it as probable: but when a testimony of the divine voice proceeds from Scripture, it confirms the speech of him that speaks, and the mind of him that hears." —And
this account it was, that St. Cyril, of Alexandria, being to dispute with Theodoret concerning some mysterious questions of religion, refused to confer but from the fountains of Scripture. became him (says he "), being exercised in Scriptures, since his desire was to confer with me about divine mysteries, to speak with us only out of the Holy Scriptures, and so to
! Idem in Matt. cap. xxiii.
c In Psal. Ixxxix.