« PreviousContinue »
IX. I shall now take some select passages.
1. Vincent describes the cruelty of some Arian persecution ; either in the reign of Constantius, or Valens.
2. Vincent assures us that heretics received the same scriptures that were received by catholics.
• Here, perhaps, some one may say: Do heretics then
• - disturbati clerici, verberati Levitæ, acti in exilium sacerdotes, oppleta sanctis ergastula, carceres, metalla ; quorum pars maxima, interdictis urbibus, protrusi atque extorres, inter deserta, speluncas, teras, saxa, nudidate, fame, siti affecti, contriti, et tabefacti sunt. Comm. cap. 7. p. 320. Baluz.
P Hic fortasse aliquis interroget, an et hæretici divinæ scripturæ testimoniis utantur ? Utuntur plane, et vehementer quidem. Nam videas eos volare per singula quæque sanctæ legis volumina, per Möysis, per Regum libros, per Psalmos, per apostolos, per evangelia, per prophetas. Sive enim apud suos, sive alienos, sive privatim, sive publice, sive sermonibus, sive in libris, sive in conviviis, sive in plateis, nihil unquam pene de suo proferunt, quod non etiam scripturæ verbis adumbrare conentur. Lege Pauli Samosateni opuscula, Priscilliani, Eunomii, Joviniani, reliquarumque pestium : cernas infinitam exemplorum congeriem ; prope nullam omitti paginam, quæ non Novi aut Veteris Testamenti sententiis fucata et colorata sit. Sed tanto magis cavendi et pertimescendi sunt, quanto occultius sub divinæ legis umbraculis latitant. Inde denique et Salvator clamabat: * Attendite vobis a pseudoprophetis, qui • veniunt ad vos in vestitu ovium, intus autem sunt lupi voraces.' Quid est vestitus ovium, nisi prophetarum et apostolorum proloquia ? Qui sunt lupi rapaces, nisi sensus hæreticorum feri et rabidi ? qui manente luporum ferocià deponunt lupinam speciem, et sese divinæ legis sententiis, velut quibusdam velleribus, obvolvunt; ut, quum quisque lanarum niolitiem præsenserit, nequâquam aculeos dentium pertimescat. Cap. 36. p. 357. Baluz.--Ergo, secundum apostoli Pauli magisterium, quotiescumque vel pseudoapostoli, vel pseudoprophetæ, vel pseudodoctores divinæ legis sententias proferunt, quibus male interpretatis errores suos adstruere conentur, non dubium est, quin auctoris sui callıda machinamenta sectentur, quæ ille nunquam profecto comminisceretur, nisi sciret omnino nullam esse ad fallendum faciliorem viam, quam ut ubi nefarii erroris subinducitur fraudulentia, ibi divinorum verborum prætendatur auctoritas. Sed dicet aliquis : Unde probatur, quia sacræ legis exemplis diabolus uti soleat? Legat evangelia, in quibus scribitur: • Tunc assumsit il• lum diabolus,' id est, Dominum Salvatorem, et “statuit illum super pinnam • templi.' Quid hic faciet misellis hominibus, qui ipsum Dominum majestatis scripturarum testimoniis apperivit ? • Si,' inquit, • filius Dei es, mitte te deor* sum.' Quâre ? • Scriptum est enim,' inquit. Magnopere nobis doctrina loci istius attendenda atque retinenda est ; ut tanto evangelicæ auctoritatis exemplo, quando aliquos apostolica seu prophetica verba proferre contra catholicam fidem viderimus, diabolum per eos loqui minime dubitemus. Nam sicut tunc caput capiti, ita nunc quoque membra membris, loquuntur, membra scilicet diaboli mcmbris Christi, perfidi fidelibus, sacrilegi religiosis, hæretici postremo catholicis. Sed quid tandem dicunt ? • Si,' inquit, 'filius Dei es, mitte te * deorsum.' Hoc est : si filius esse vis Dei, et hæreditatem regni cælestis accipere, mitte te deorsum, id est, ex istius te sublimis ecclesiæ, quæ etiam templum Dei putatur, doctrinà et traditione demitte. Ac si quis interroget quempiam hæreticorum sibi talia persuadentem : Unde probas? unde doces, quod ecclesiæ catholicæ universalem et antiquam fidem dimittere debeam ? statim ille : Scriptum est enim. Et continuo mille testimonia, mille exempla, mille auctoritates parat, de Lege, de Psalmis, de apostolis, de prophetis ; quibus novo et malo more interpretatis, ex arce catholicâ in hæreseos barathrum infelix
quote the divine scripture ? Yes, very much. They have the phrases in scripture continually in their mouths: they quote every part of scripture : the law; the books of the Kings; the Psalms; the apostles ; the gospels; the prophets. They are perpetually citing scripture; and they clothe all their language in expressions of scripture; in public and private; in their sermons, and in their books; at their entertainments, and in their walks. Look into the writings of Paul of Samosata, Priscillian, Eunomius, Jovi. nian, and other men of that sort: you will scarcely see a page which is not larded with passages of scripture. They say nothing for which they have not a text of scripture, if you will take it in their sense : for which reason they are to be the more dreaded, and guarded against with the utmost care. And our Saviour therefore says: “ Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheeps'-clothing: but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” What is the sheeps'-clothing, but the sayings of the prophets and apostles ? Who are ravenous wolves, but heretics? Retaining their wolfish fierceness, they cover themselves with sayings of the scriptures, as with fleeces; that they may appear to have the softness of wool, and men may forget their sharp teeth,
Vincent afterwards alleges, 2 Cor. xi. 13, 14. Whence,' he says, “ we may conclude that, according to the apostle, as often as false apostles, false prophets, and false teachers, quote passages of scripture by which, not rightly understood, they endeavour to support their errors, they follow the cunning wiles of their master; which he would never have made use of, if he did not know that there is not a more effectual way to promote error, than a pretence of authority from scripture. But some one may say: How does it appear that the devil is wont to argue from scripture ? Let him read the gospels, in which it is written : « Then the devil taketh bim, and setteth him upon a pinnacle of the temple. And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down : for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee.” (Matt. iv. 5, 6.) What anima præcipitetur. Cap. 37. Baluz. p. 358, 359. Sed dicit aliquis: si di. vinis eloquiis, sententiis, promissionibus, et diabolus et discipuli ejus utuntur, quorum alii sunt pseudoapostoli, alji pseudoprophetæ, pseudomagistri, et omnes ex toto hæretici, quid facient catholici hoinines et matris ecclesiæ filii ? Quonam modo in scripturis sanctis veritatem a falsitate discernent? Hoc scilicet magnopere curabunt, quod in principio Commonitorii istius sanctos et doctos viros nobis tradidisse scripsimus : ut divinum canonem secundum universalis ecclesiæ traditiones, et juxta catholici dogmatis regulas interpretentur : in quâ item catholicâ et apostolicâ ecclesià sequantur necesse est universitatem, antiquitatem, consensionem. Cap. 38. Baluz. p. 360.
peak to head
will not he do to poor mortals, who attacked the Lord of all with passages of scripture? “ If,” says he, “ thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down." Why? “ For it is written,” says he. The doctrine of this place ought to be carefully attended to, and well remembered by us: that by this instance, recorded in the gospel itself, we may be fully satisfied, when we see any men alleging passages of the apostles or prophets against the catholic faith, that it is the devil who speaks by them. For as the head then spake to the head, so now the members speak to the members; that is, the members of Satan to the members of Christ : perfidious men to faithful; sacrilegious to religious; in a word, heretics to catholics. But what do they say ? “ If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down." Which is to say: If thou wilt be the Son of God, and obtain the inheritance of the heavenly kingdom, cast thyself down from the doctrine and tradition of that high church, which is also reckoned the temple of God. And if you should ask any of these heretics, Who talks to you at this rate? How do you prove, that I ought to let go the universal and ancient faith of the catholic church? he will presently answer : “ For it is written.” And without delay he is ready to allege a thousand passages, a thousand instances, a thousand authorities, from the law, the Psalms, the apostles, the prophets, by which, with his new and false interpretations, the unhappy soul, if not upon the guard, is thrown down from the catholic fortress into the dungeon of heresy. .
• But some one may say : If the devil and his disciples, of which soine are false apostles, others false prophets, others false teachers, even all heretics, make use of passages and promises of the divine oracles, what shall catholic men do, who are sons of our mother, the church ? How shall they understand the scripture, so as to distinguish truth from falsehood ? My answer is, that they should carefully observe what was mentioned at the beginning of this Memoir, as delivered to us by learned and holy men : that they are to interpret the divine canon according to the traditions of the universal church, and tbe determinations of catholic doctrine ; in which catholic and apostolic church they must, by all means, have universality,antiquity, consent.'
X. I shall transcribe no more : I only hope that my readers will now join with me in the following remarks :
1. We may hence conclude it to be very probable, that there were then some christians, of different sentiments from Vincentius upon some points, who made great use of scripture, and had an advantage from it: it was their strong
hold ; and Vincentius endeavours to bring their intrenchments into suspicion. If he can once draw them from thence, he hopes to have them for his converts and captives,
2. We may also reckon it to be probable, that there were about this time some christians, whose great regard for the determination of some councils, and for the writings of learned men much esteemed by them, had diminished their respect for the sacred scriptures.
3. Nevertheless, in the method here proposed, of joining the traditions of the church with scripture, or interpreting the divine canon by the determinations of bishops, and other eminent men, Vincentius is far from having universality, antiquity, consent; many excellent christians, of his own time, had a greater regard for scripture. The early christian writers declare the inspired scriptures of the old and New Testament to be the rule of faith; and in that doctrine they concur, and consent. 9 And I would hope that the large collections which have been made by us, containing so numerous testimonies to the scriptures, may be of use to fortify serious men against all confident asser. tions to the contrary: for whenever they are advanced, they must be accompanied with confidence, as the only way of making head against reason, scripture, and the general sense of the most early christians.
Vincentius does little less than say, that arguments from scripture are heretical and satanical: wbicb, I presume, every reader of this work is able to say, upon good grounds, is a novel way of speaking, unknown in the early ages of christianity, next succeeding those of the apostles ; in which the scriptures were not slighted and disparaged, but highly respected, and earnestly recommended to the atten, tion of all. Moreover, Vincentius seems to have forgotten, that our Saviour himself repelled all the temptations of Satan with texts of scripture, and with reasons from thence, saying: “ It is written.” And, again.' “ It is written : for it is written." See Matthew iv. and Luke iv. 8-12,
I Rufinus, who was well acquainted with the ancient christian writers, both Greeks and Latins, having put down a catalogue of the books of the Old and New Testament, the same which are now received by us, adds : « These are • the volumes which the fathers have included in the canon, and out of which • they would have us prove the doctrines of our faith. See Vol. iv. ch. cxv.
EUCHERIUS, BISHOP OF LYONS.
1. EUCHERIUS,a bishop of Lyons in Gaul, flourished about the year 434. Some things have been ascribed to him, which are not allowed to be his. The generally received are b these : Forms and Phrases of Scripture, or a book of Spiritual Forms; Difficult Questions out of the Old and New Testament, with an interpretation of Hebrew names; an epistle concerning the Contempt of the World and Secular Philosophy; another epistle, in Praise of Solitude, or of the Desert. I shall quote no other beside these.
2. As Eucherius is in Gennadius, I place a part of his chapter" below.
3. Thed difficult questions of the New Testament, are taken out of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; the epistle to the Romans; the first and second to the Corinthians; the epistle to the Ephesians; to the Colossians; the first and second to Timothy; the epistle to the Hebrews; the Acts of the Apostles; the epistle of James; the first epistle of Jobn; and the Revelation : out of each book, in the order here named.
4. Though no questions are there taken out of other books of the New Testament, no doubt can be made but Eucherius received all the fourteen epistles of St. Paul, and St. Peter's two epistles, and the two latter epistles of St John, and the epistle of St Jude : the second epistle of Peter is quoted by bime more than once.
· Vid. Cav. H. L. T. i. p. 423, 424. Fabric. ad Gennad. cap. 63. Du Pin. T. iii, P. ii. p. 173. Tillem. T. xv.
Formulæ seu Phrases Scripturæ, seu Formularuin Spiritualium Liber. Instructiones ad Salonium de Quæstionibus Veteris et Novi Testamenti. Epistola parænetica ad Valerianum cognatum de Contemtu Mundi et Secularis Philosophiæ. De Laude Eremi, seu de Vità Solitariâ. Ap. Bib. PP. Lugd. T. vi. p. 822–866.
· Eucherius, Lugdunensis ecclesiæ presbyter, scripsit ad Valerianum propinquum suum . de Contemtu Mundi et Secularis Philosophiæ epistolam i unam,' scholastico sermone et rationabili. Disseruit etiam ad personam filiorum Salonii et Veranii, postea episcoporum, · Obscura quæque Sanctarum • Capitula Scripturarum.'-Aliaque tam ecclesiasticis quam monasticis studiis necessaria. Moritur sub Valentiniano et Martiano Principibus. Gennad. De V. I. cap. 63.
d Ap. Bib. PP. T. vi. p. 847—853. e Sic Petrus in epistolâ : • Unam vero hoc non lateat vos, carissimi, quia unus dies apud Deum sicut mille anni.' [Pet. iii. 8.] Form. Spiritual. cap. 11. p. 839. D. Vit. et cap. 5. p. 832. H.