Obrazy na stronie
[ocr errors]

enough to make us hate the sin, but not to sink under it; it was sufficient for a fine, but so as to preserve the stake; it was a manuduction to the great sacrifice, but suppletory of the great loss and forfeiture; it was enough to glorify God, and by it to save ourselves; it was insufficient in itself, but accepted in the great sacrifice; it was enough in shadow, when the substance was so certainly to succeed. 3. It was given the Jews ὅπως πιεζόμενοι, καὶ ὑπὸ κλοιοῦ ἀγχόμενοι, τῆς πολυθέου πλάνης ἐκστῶσι, as the authorp of the Apostolical Constitution affirms, that " being laden with the expense of sacrifices to one God, they might not be greedy upon the same terms to run after many:" and therefore the same author affirms, "before their golden calf, and other idolatries, sacrifices were not commanded to the Jews, but persuaded only;" recommended, and left unto their liberty. By which we are at last brought to this truth; that it was taught by God to Adam, and by him taught to his posterity, that they should in their several manners worship God by giving to him something of all that he had given us; and therefore something of our time, and something of our goods: and as that was to be spent in praises and celebration of his name, so these were to be given in consumptive offerings; but the manner and the measure were left to choice, and taught by superadded reasons and positive laws: and in this sense are those words to be understood, which above I cited out of Justin Martyrand St. Chrysostom. To this purpose Aquinas cites the gloss upon the second of the Colossians, saying, "Ante tempus legis justos per interiorem instinctum instructos fuisse de modo colendi Deum, quos alii sequebantur; postmodum vero exterioribus præceptis circa hoc homines fuisse instructos, quæ præterire pestiferum est:" "Before the law, the righteous had a certain instinct by which they were taught how to worship God, to wit, in the actions of internal religion; but afterward they were instructed by outward precepts." That is, the natural religion consisting in prayers and praises, in submitting our understandings and subjecting our wills, in these things the wise patriarchs were instructed by right reason and the natural duty of men to God: but as for all external religions, in these things they had a teacher and a guide; of these things they were to do nothing of their own

P Lib. 6. cap. 18.

a Numb. vii.


heads. In whatsoever is from within, there can be no willworship, for all that the soul can do, is God's right; and no act of faith or hope in God, no charity, no degree of charity, or confidence, or desire to please him, can be superstitious. But because in outward actions there may be indecent expressions or unapt ministries, or instances not relative to a law of God or a counsel evangelical, there may be irregularity and obliquity, or direct excess, or imprudent expressions, therefore they needed masters and teachers, but their great teacher was God. "Deum docuisse Adam cultum divinum, quo ejus benevolentiam recuperaret, quam per pecca-" tum transgressionis amiserat; ipsumque docuisse filios suos dare Deo decimas et primitias," said Hugo de S. Victore: "God taught Adam how to worship him, and by what means to recover his favour, from which he by transgression fell :" the same is affirmed by St. Athanasius', but that which he adds, that "Adam taught his children to give firstfruits and tenths," I know not upon what authority he affirms it. Indeed Josephus seems to say something against it; 'O fòs

δὲ ταύτῃ μᾶλλον ἥδεται τῇ θυσίᾳ τοῖς αὐτομάτοις καὶ κατὰ φύ σιν γεγόσιν τιμώμενος, ἀλλ ̓ οὐ τοῖς κατ ̓ ἐπίνοιαν ἀνθρώπου πλεονέκτου κατὰ βίαν πεφυκόσι, “ God is not pleased so much in oblation of such things which the greediness and violence of man forces from the earth, such as are corn and fruits; but is more pleased with that which comes of itself naturally and easily, such as are cattle and sheep." And therefore he supposes God rejected Cain and accepted Abel, because Cain brought fruits which were procured by labour and tillage; but Abel offered sheep, which came by the easy methods and pleasing ministries of nature. It is certain Josephus said not true, and had no warrant for his affirmative: but that which his discourse does morally intimate, is very right, that the things of man's invention please not God; but that which comes from him, we must give him again, and serve him by what he hath given us, and our religion must be of such things as come to us from God: it must be obedience or compliance; it must be something of mere love, or something of love mingled with obedience: it is certain it was so in the instance of Abel.

[ocr errors]

In Epist. de Perfidia Eusebii; et libro super illud, Omnia mihi tradita sunt.
Antiq. Jad. lib. 1. c. 3.

31. And this appears in those words of St. Paul', "By faith Abel offered sacrifice:" it was not therefore done by choice of his own head; but by the obedience of faith,' which supposes revelation and the command or declaration of the will of God. And, concerning this, in the traditions and writings of the easterlings, we find this story: "In the beginning of mankind, when Eve, for the peopling of the world, was by God so blessed in the production of children, that she always had twins before the birth of Seth, and the twins were ever male and female, that they might interchangeably marry, 'ne gens sit unius ætatis populus virorum,' 'lest mankind should expire in one generation;' Adam being taught by God did not allow the twins to marry, οὓς ἡ μὲν φύσις ἅμα τῇ γενέσει διήρτησε καὶ διέζευξε, ‘whom nature herself by their divided birth had separated and divided;' but appointed that Cain should marry the twin-sister of Abel, and Abel should marry Azron the twin-sister of Cain: but Cain thought his own twin-sister the more beautiful, and resolved to marry her. Adam therefore wished them to inquire of God by sacrifice; which they did: and because Cain's sacrifice was rejected, and his hopes made void, and his desire not consented to, he killed his brother Abel; whose twin-sister after fell to the portion of Seth, who had none of his own."-Upon this occasion sacrifices were first offered. Now whether God taught the religion of it first to Adam, or immediately to Cain and Abel, yet it is certain from the Apostle (upon whom we may rely, though upon the tradition of the easterlings we may not) that Abel did his religion from the principle of faith; and therefore that manner of worshipping God did not consist only in manners, but in supernatural mystery; that is, all external forms of worshipping are no parts of moral duty, but depend upon divine institution and divine acceptance: and although any external rite that is founded upon a natural rule of virtue, may be accepted into religion, when that virtue is a law; yet nothing must be presented to God but what himself hath chosen some way or other. "Superstitio est quando traditioni humanæ religionis nomen applicatur," said the gloss": "When any tradition or invention of man is called religion, the proper name of it is superstition;" that is, when any thing is brought into religion and

Heb. xi.

"In Coloss. ii.

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 illam 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, that 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 contained 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.

[ocr errors]

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:


Οὐ γὰρ ἁπλῶς ἀποφαινομένοις ἀνθρώποις προσέχοιμεν, οἷς καὶ ἀνταποφαίνεσθαι ἐπ ̓ ἴσης ἔξεστιν' εἰδ ̓ οὐκ ἀρκεῖ μόνον ἁπλῶς εἰπεῖν τὸ δόξαν, ἀλλὰ πιστώσασθαι δεῖ τὸ λεχθέν· οὐ τὴν ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀναμένομεν μαρτυρίαν, ἀλλὰ τῇ τοῦ Κυρίου φωνῇ πιστούμεθα τὸ ζητούμενον, ἣ πασῶν ἀποδείξεων ἐχεγγυωτέρα, μᾶλλον δὲ ἡ μόνη ἀπόδειξις, οὖσα τυγχάνει. “ It is not fit 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, kai k τῶν αὐτῶν γραφῶν ἐκμανθάνειν ἀποδεικτικῶς, ‘and from the Scriptures to learn demonstratively.'' And a little after he


Clem. Alex. Stromat. 7.

[blocks in formation]
« PoprzedniaDalej »