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very method of all doctrine," says St. Augustine, "being partly most open, and partly by similitudes, in words, in deeds, in sacraments, adapted to all the instruction, and all the exercise of the soul, serves as a method of discipline for the reason. For both is the unfolding of mysteries directed to those things which are spoken most openly; and, if these were only such things as are most easily understood, truth would neither be sought for with study, nor be discovered with delight. If in the Scriptures there were no sacraments, and if in the sacraments there were not the symbols of truth, action and knowledge would not be sufficiently united. But now piety begins in fear, and is perfected in love."-(Augustine, Lib. de Verâ Relig. tom. i. p. 1223.)
And the whole of this subject, respecting the difficulty of arriving at Divine knowledge, will also bear upon another great and essential principle, which has been alluded to in the former treatise; although it be but one and a partial development of it, viz. that CHRIST Crucified is the first doctrine taught, the knowledge of our LORD's Divinity, the last men come to learn; that the study of the Cross of CHRIST, implying the humiliation of the natural man, leads to the living and practical sense of His Atonement; that through the humanity and sufferings of our LORD, men are brought to an union with the Godhead; that we cannot come to CHRIST but by bearing the Cross after Him, by which, as St. Bernard says, we are made to partake of that anointing which goeth forth from Him. The Fathers seem always to imply that the ecrets of CHRIST's kingdom are obtained only by a consistent course of self-denying obedience; that a knowledge of these things is not conveyed by mere words, nor is a matter of excited emotion, but is a practical knowledge of the heart, obtained more and more by self-renouncing duties of prayer and the like; and thus it is, that, by the Cross of CHRIST, we are brought to Him, and led on to the knowledge of GOD. So that this higher degree of faith "goeth not forth but by prayer and fasting." This is often either explicitly stated, or incidentally implied by Origen and others. St. Augustine sets it forth in the following beautiful and figurative passage (in Johan. Evan. ii.)
He compares the world to a sea that we must cross before we can arrive at the stable shore. He says, that "GOD has afforded the plank or wood by which we may reach the shore, and that wood is the Cross of CHRIST. For no one can pass over this sea, unless carried on the Cross of CHRIST. One who has no eyes to see embraces this Cross; and while from afar he knows not whither he is to go, if he looses not his hold on this wood, it will bear him to it." "This," he says, "I would wish to instil into your hearts, that, if you will live piously, and as a Christian cling to CHRIST in that which He has been made for us, you may arrive at Him in what He is and hath been in Himself." "It were better not to perceive in the understanding that which He is, if notwithstanding we adhere to the Cross of CHRIST, than to see Him in the understanding, and to despise the Cross of CHRIST. It were, indeed, best of all that that might be beheld to which we are going, and that he that goeth might cling to that which should bear him thither." "And this hath been the case with those who are enlightened with higher degrees of faith. They have seen the shore from afar, and, in order to arrive at it, have loosed not their hold of the Cross of CHRIST, nor despised His humility. But those little ones who cannot understand this, if they depart not from the Cross of CHRIST, His Passion, and His resurrection, they are carried by this ship to that which they behold not: and they who behold it arrive also thither in the same ship." "And why was He crucified? because the wood of His humility was necessary for thee. Thou wert swollen with pride, and cast far away from thy country. Thy way was intercepted by the waves of this world, and thou hadst no means to pass over to thy country, unless carried by the wood. Be carried in the ship, on this wood: believe in the Crucified, and thou shalt arrive thither. He was crucified for thee, that He might teach thee humility; and because if He had come as GoD, He would not have been acknowledged. For He neither cometh nor goeth in that He is GOD, inasmuch as He is every where present, and contained by no place. What, therefore, was His coming, but His appearing as Man?"
Such is the doctrine of the Cross as taught by the Ancient Church, and confirmed by the according testimony of all Scripture so far as we are able to trace a principle, which must be inconceivably vast and incomprehensible in its nature and
14. The practice and principle of the Ancient Church perfectly analogous to our LORD's example.
The evidence therefore of Catholic Antiquity affords the fullest and most complete confirmation, in every point of principle and detail, to all that has been said in the former treatise respecting the conduct of our LORD when seen in the flesh. And as our LORD has vouchsafed His presence to be with His Church, and the condition of that His presence is union and agreement; therefore in this concurrent acknowledgment to this principle we have again in the eyes of Faith our LORD's presence, His spiritual as before His bodily presence. There is a wonderful analogy in all God's dealings with mankind; in the conclusion of Part II. (Tract No. 80.) it was observed that a perfect parallel might be found throughout our moral nature, wherein He who is "the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" discloses Himself. The same exact parallel may now be shown as He is revealed in His Church. (And that independently of the occasional testimony which the foregoing extracts bear to the conduct of our LORD having been as we describe, in the way of historical allusion to the fact.)
First of all, as our LORD in the flesh concealed His divinity and His miracles, so did the Disciplina Arcani of the early Church do the same. It was that high doctrine that this system concealed, and the nature of those Sacraments, which are as it were a continued miracle in His Church.
Secondly, it appears that, as our LORD spake by parable things hard to be understood to the multitude, and explained them to His chosen disciples, so does the Catholic and Primitive mode of interpreting Scripture imply that all the Holy Word is like a parable, containing within it Divine wisdom, such as is disclosed to the faithful and good Christian,-That, if we are inclined to feel sur
prise at our LORD's not making Himself publicly known to His enemies in His power and wisdom, the early Church suffered herself to be under the same obloquy and misinterpretation among heathens, who were singularly ignorant of the nature of Christianity. That, as our LORD implied that there was great and increasing danger to those who knew His will, so, in a manner quite different to our modern notions, do the Ancients imply, that great danger is to be apprehended from knowing the Gospels, and not acting suitably to that knowledge,-That, as the Gospels indicate throughout that the benefit conferred on every individual was exactly according to his faith, to the effort he made to ask, or to touch the hem of our SAVIOUR'S garment, so do the Fathers also teach, that exactly according to the advancement in holiness of life, or the effort to advance, does CHRIST disclose the Eternal FATHER. That as our LORD continually pointed out to natural objects, as conveying spiritual instruction and the Wisdom of GoD,-the birds as teaching filial confidence, the lilies of the field humility, the seed sown the nature of the eternal kingdom,—so do the Fathers speak of nature itself being also but a clothing, by which the ALMIGHTY was concealed from us, and revealed to those who read His works with faith. Finally, it would appear that, as the mortification of the Cross, and keeping the commandments, was our LORD's teaching to all indiscriminately, and to those who were thus brought to Him that He made known His Divinity; so the object of the Disciplina Arcani was to effect this purpose, to procure a preparation of the heart previous to the imparting of the highest knowledge. That such is throughout the teaching of the Fathers, that the Doctrine of the Cross is among them one of extensive meaning, containing both the humiliation of the natural man, and in conjunction with it the knowledge of our LORD's Divinity and Atonement.
THE PRINCIPLE OPPOSED TO CERTAIN MODERN RELIGIOUS
1. The nature of the objections which have been made.
It is very evident that the mere mention of such a principle as this subject indicates, would immediately be met with the very strongest objections, before it is at all considered what is really meant by it. For let it be only suggested that Holy Scripture observes a rule of reserve, it may be answered at once by the strong and distinct contradiction, that the very word Revelation directly declares the contrary; for is it not the very purpose of Scripture to communicate knowledge, not to conceal it? Does not, it may be said, its very graciousness depend on this very circumstance, that it reveals God's goodness to His creatures, sitting in darkness and the shadow of death? as well might it be said that the very object of light is to darken, of communication to conceal. And this argument, when not thus stated, might be put at great length, by adducing passages of Holy Writ which declare expressly this very object,—that its purpose is to reveal. But all these texts, thus adduced, need not be separately referred to, or answered, as the whole argument which they are brought to prove runs up into, and is contained in, this very simple statement, viz., that Scripture is a system of revelation; to imply therefore that it is a system of reserve, is at once a palpable contradiction.
And it is curious that the very texts, adduced in this mode of treating the subject, often imply or suggest all that we maintain. To refer to figurative language, it is said, does not God “deck Himself with light, like as with a garment?" Whereas this very expression conveys it; for does not a garment veil in some measure that which it clothes? is not that very light conceal