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is the authority of the Church? His answer is, because Holy Writ, on account of its higher meaning, may be explained in so many ways. A Rule is required for its Interpretation, and this he calls the Sensus Catholicus et Ecclesiasticus. He seeks for it outside of the Scriptures, because he cannot recognise it in the Scriptures themselves. The Sensus Catholicus must be recognisable in all ages in all parts of the Church, and by all persons. Its criteria are therefore antiquitas, antiquity; universalitas, universality; consensus, agreement, i. e., the agreement of the General Councils and the great teachers of the Church, which must all be in unison in order to determine the genuineness of a true Tradition. Whatever any Church teacher, however holy, might maintain in opposition to this universal and objective truth, could only be regarded as his private opinion. Vincentius admitted a progressive development of the Church; the only point of importance was that it should be a healthy growth. This is required in every Being, that it should continue unaltered in its essential character, and only be developed in accordance with that. Accordingly, the Church must always hold fast the same fundamental doctrines, on which its soundness depends; but it must advance gradually in the knowledge and clear development of these truths. Heavenly truth cannot change, but it may become more distinctly apprehended. This progressive development is connected with the definite organs of the General Councils, by which the simplicity of the Faith has always been determined with progressive clearness in opposition to
In the writings of FACUNDUS of HERMIANE, we find a very able exposition of the relation between the general Christian consciousness and the gradually formed doctrinal views of individuals. He compares it with the general moral consciousness, with the internal law of consciousness, and the doctrinal distinctions with particular laws. He sets out from the point, that the moral law is implanted in the heart as a whole; this internal law is more powerful than any external letter, and all special laws together cannot go beyond the measure of that internal rule; but since man has deviated in heart from the moral law, so on that account a testimony of outward, special, written words is given against its despisers. Thus there is now nothing more powerful than the expression
of the universal Christian consciousness; but for this reason written testimonies which subserve that consciousness, and never go beyond it, must be given against those who have falsified the meaning and bearing of the Creed.* In reference also to the authority of the General Councils, he agrees with Vincentius, Christ cannot be wanting to the priests assembled in his name. General Councils have this advantage, that what cannot be apprehended by the understanding is credited on authority. But the agreement of these councils proceeds from the previous controversies.
In the Oriental Church the doctrine of the Church's authority was not maintained so systematically and absolutely, but in practice the authority of Tradition prevailed in the interpretation of the Scriptures. It was opposed by MARCELLUS of ANCYRA. When the dogmas of the Fathers were brought against him, he replied that the word dóyua denoted a human opinion;§ he would acknowledge no authority but the Divine declarations of Holy Writ. In the Greek Church the views of the mystic theology respecting the holiness of certain things which could not be expressed, and respecting higher truths which could not be generally understood, promoted the belief in the obscurity of the Scriptures, and the notion that in order to understand them, a traditionary interpretation was needed, not granted to every one. As at an earlier period reference was made to a Gnostic secret tradition, so now certain higher dogmatic truths which were not committed to writing, but were only to be silently propagated, were distinguished from such as were publicly announced; a distinction was made between δόγμα and κήρυγμα.|| Thus many esoteric deeper truths which were not developed in Holy Writ, were said to have found their expression, and to have been propagated in the sacred usages and symbols of the Church. Hence such usages were employed as proofs of dogmas of which they presupposed the existence. certainly true, that certain Church usages might serve as testimonies of the contents of the universal Christian consciousness, but as genuine and foreign elements might mingle
AUTHORITY OF TRADITION.
• Pro Defensione Trium, cap. viii. c. 7. Neander's Ch. Hist. iii. 251.
Euseb. Demon. Evgl. aypapo Jeoμoí. cf. Suicer Thesaur. s. v. dóypa.
§ Ibid. iv. 448. Basil M. de Spir. S. c. 27,
in their development, the same thing might happen in the expression of them which was given in the usages of the Church.
3. THE DOCTRINE OF INSPIRATION.
Neither in this nor the former period was there are any precise determination of the Idea of Inspiration and its adjuncts. Still the view of it was very much modified, consciously or unconsciously, by the diversities of exegetical tendencies. On the allegorical method of Interpretation, discrepancies in the Bible gave little trouble; every impediment was easily removed by it. It well agreed with an idea of Inspiration which was extended to everything equally, since in all it sought in the same manner the divine and the mysterious. On the other hand, the grammatical and logical Exegesis rendered it needful to distinguish the divine and the human; it took notice of difficulties which opposed that extravagant idea of Inspiration. But this sounder method of Interpretation which took more account of the connexion, the historical reference, and the characteristics of the writers, and distinguished more exactly the divine causes from the human, was able to solve difficulties, which could not be obviated by the allegorical method. It was principally the Antiochian School which adopted this plan between extreme literality and allegory. It offered, indeed, no systematic development of the idea of Inspiration, but made various important suggestions which led to modifications of tue previous method.
CHRYSOSTOM* notices the objection against the divine origin of the Gospels, taken from the discrepancies they contain. He was too unprejudiced to deny them altogether, and says
* Chrys. in Matth. Hom. i. § 2. Op. vii. p. 5.-αὐτό μὲν οὖν τοῦτο μέγιστον δεῖγμα τῆς ἀληθείας ἐστὶν· εἰ γὰρ πάντα συνεφώνησαν μετὰ ἀκριβείας, καὶ μέχρι καιροῦ, καὶ μέχρι τόπου, καὶ μέχρι ῥημάτων αὐτῶν, οὐδεὶς ἂν ἐπίστευσε τῶν ἐχθρῶν, ὅτι μὴ συνελθόντες ἀπὸ συνθήκης τινὸς ἀνθρωπίνης ἔγραψαν ἅπερ ἔγραψαν· οὐ γὰρ εἶναι τῆς ἁπλότητος τὴν τοσαύτην συμφωνίαν νυνὶ δὲ καὶ ἡ δοκοῦσα ἐν μικροῖς εἶναι διαφωνία, πάσης ἀπαλλάττει αὐτοὺς ὑποψίας, καὶ λαμπρῶς τοῦ τρόπου τῶν γραψάντων ἀπολογεῖται: εἰ δέ τι περὶ καιρῶν ἢ τόπων διαφόρως ἀπήγγειλαν, τοῦτο οὐδὲν βλάπτει τῶν εἰρημένων τὴν ἀλήθειαν, ὡς ἄν ὁ Θεός παρέχη, πειρασόμεθα προϊόντες ἀποδεῖξαι· ἐκεῖνοι μετὰ τῶν εἰρημένων ἀξιοῦντες ὑμᾶς παρατηρεῖν, ὅτι ἐν τοῖς κεφαλαίοις καὶ συνέχουσιν ἡμῶν τὴν ζωὴν καὶ τὸ κήρυγμα συγκροτοῦσιν, οὐδαμοῦ τις αὐτῶν οὐδὲ μικρὸν διαφωνήσας εὑρίσκεται.
THE DOCTRINE OF INSPIRATION.
even these are great evidences of the truth, for if there was a perfect agreement in every particular, opponents would allege this as a proof of concert in the writers. But these discrepancies in unimportant matters free the writers from all suspicion. He attributes these differences to the nature and peculiarity of historical composition as a human art. Hence he adds, since truth may pervade the narratives notwithstanding these differences, it is a proof of its power. If an important contradiction had been found, Christianity would long ago have perished; for every kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. But the power of the Divine Spirit is shown in unimportant differences, inasmuch as it prompts men to unanimity in what is essential and necessary, and not to be misled into Unbelief by differences in subordinate particulars. This view is founded on the idea of Inspiration as a general enlivening by the Divine Spirit, so that unity is preserved, but yet the human and the fallible is apparent in particular things. Yet we cannot say that Chrysostom always followed out to its consequences the principle which his language involves.
JEROME, owing to his more exact investigation, could not help remarking many things which were not to be explained by the divine causality, but only by the peculiar characteristics of the human organs. To this cause he attributes the defects of the Hellenistic dialect of the Apostles; * he notices in Paul solecisms, hyperboles, and abrupt periods. His statements on this subject are remarkable, though what he finds defective in Paul's style must be regarded from a higher standpoint only as the garb of a powerful spirit. He goes still further in his observations on Gal. v. 12; he thinks that the language of the Apostle indicates the mixture of human passion not altogether
Commt. in Ep. ad Ephes. c. 3, init.-Puto autem quod et vitiosa in hoc loco elocutio sit. Si vero quis potest etiam juxta sermonis et eloquii contextum docere apostolum fuisse perfectum, et in artis grammaticæ vitia non incurrisse, ille potius auscultandus est; nos quotiescunque soloecismos aut tale quid annotamus, non apostolum pulsamus, ut malevoli criminantur, sed magis apostoli assertores sumus, quod Hebræus ex Hebræis absque rhetorici nitore sermonis et verborum compositione et eloquii venustate numquam ad fidem Christi totum mundum transducere valuisset, nisi evangelizasset eum non in sapientia verbi sed in virtute Dei. Iste igitur qui solœcismos in verbis facit, qui non potest hyperbaton reddere sententiamque concludere, audacter sibi vindicat sapientiam, et dicit, &c.
pure. We cannot be surprised,* he says, if the Apostle as a man, still in the weak vessel of the body, should allow himself the use of such an expression, for we are acquainted with other instances of holy men who have done the same thing. He thus held the opinion that as Paul was not yet perfectly holy, the reaction of sin might still show itself in his writings; consequently, he did not extend the idea of Inspiration so far as to suppose that this was prevented by the Holy Spirit.
A controversy respecting the Epistle to Philemon is deserving of notice; to many persons, owing to their extreme views of Inspiration, which took no account of human co-operation, it seemed not to possess the character of an inspired writing, as it was occupied entirely with the common relations of social life. Hence, without denying its genuineness, they were disposed to exclude this Epistle from the Canon. In confirmation of their opinion, they alleged that Paul had not always spoken in such a manner as if Christ ever spoke in him; that human weakness could not have borne such an incessant operation of the Holy Spirit. They regarded this uniformity of divine influence as the prerogative of Christ, which distinguished him from all others. Even in Paul's life there were moments to which his language-"I live, but not I, but Christ liveth in me"-would not be applicable; this was the case in whatever related to the satisfaction of his bodily wants. Was it a mark of the indwelling of Christ, when he charged Timothy to bring his cloak with him? On the other hand, Jeromet said, that on the same principles which led them to reject this Epistle, they might reject other Epistles of the Apostle. Paul himself in 1 Cor. vii. distinguishes between what he said from his own standpoint, and what Christ commissioned him to say. And if bodily necessities claimed attention at certain times, the operation of the Holy Spirit was not thereby denied. He added, that those who knew not how to harmonize the great and the little, must, if they would be consistent, maintain, like the Gnostics, that there is one Creator of ants and flies, and another of the
* Nec mirum esse, si apostolus ut homo et adhuc vasculo clausus infirmo vidensque aliam legem in corpore suo captivantem se et ducentem in lege peccati, semel fuerit hoc locutus; in quod frequenter sanctos viros cadere perspicimus.
† In Epist. ad Philem. Prooem.