« PoprzedniaDalej »
moreover the advantage of retaining the Catholic phraseology, on Christ's existence "in two natures." We hope we shall not be thought irreverent if, for the sake of illustrating this Monothelite doctrine, we avail ourselves of a well-known Eastern story. Its hero shall be its narrator:
"I was endowed by this beneficent genius with a singular power of deserting my own body when I pleased, and shooting my soul into the body of any dead animal I might meet. My first experience of this power was with the body of a magnificent stag, which had just died from breathless exhaustion in running. Immediately its body-now my body-rose into life, and I gazed with complacency on the beautiful form reflected in a neighbouring brook. Soon however the hunter's horn sounded at a distance. My cervine nature at once experienced a keen emotion of deadly fear, while my human nature at the same moment experienced an emotion of wonder at that fear. Speedily however my reason told me that danger was near at hand; and my feet, set in motion by command of my will, carried me off at a speed to me astonishing, till they placed me in a safe spot."
Here appears on the surface a true case of one person in two natures. The narrator says, "I experienced at once a cervine emotion of fear, and a human emotion of wonder at that fear." We cannot be surprised, in the parallel case, that Monothelites sincerely believed themselves to hold the dogma of "two natures." But a little consideration of the fable will show that (without speaking of the human nature) the cervine nature at all events was not possessed in its integrity, but on the contrary was destitute of its principal element. There was no cervine principle of operation. The immediate cause, which set in motion the narrator's cervine legs, was his human will. The fable therefore affords a true analogy to the Monothelite tenet. According to that tenet, there is in Christ no human principle of action, no human will; but all things done by the sacred humanity are caused immediately by command of the divine will.
Now it would carry us much too far, if we attempted to give any sufficient account of the frightful results which issue. logically from Monothelism. But it is important, even for our present purpose, to touch the matter superficially; and we will briefly indicate therefore two of these results.
Firstly there is no more vital dogma of the Faith, we need not say, than that the acts and words of Jesus Christ are the acts and words of God the Son; and not in any proper sense the acts and words of God the Father, or God the Holy Ghost. This vital dogma is utterly overthrown by Monothelism. Let
us explain this statement; and let us begin with contemplating His words.
Now we ask this preliminary question:-To what person are those words truly ascribed, which are uttered by human organs? Of course to that person who has power over those organs, and who commands them to articulate those words. Read F. Surin's most interesting narrative about the Ursulines of Loudun. Some evil spirit possesses a certain nun, and compels her mouth to utter frightful blasphemies. Whose words are these blasphemies? The nun's? No one would dream of saying so; they are the words of the evil spirit.
Consider then our Blessed Lord pronouncing, e. g., the Sermon on the Mount. Whose are those blessed words? They are the words of Him who commands our Lord's vocal organs to articulate them. But according to the Monothelites, this command is issued by no will except the divine; and every act of the divine will is common of course to the Three Divine Persons. According to Monothelism then, it is the Father no less truly and primarily than the Son, Who says, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit"; "Not My will, but Thine be done"; "The Father is greater than I"; &c., &c. If Christian dogma really resulted in such an issue as this, it would of course be self-contradictory and selfcondemned. And what we have said on Christ's words, applies with equal force to His acts.
Then, secondly, Jesus Christ came on earth, as for other reasons, so also very prominently for this; that by practising human virtue, He "might leave us an example for us to follow His steps." We shall see subsequently the stress laid by Honorius on this doctrine. But human virtue consists exclusively in due regulation of the human will; above all, in its absolute and unreserved submission to the divine will. The Monothelites then in effect denied that He gave us any example of human virtue whatever.
Our direct purpose, in mentioning these two results of the heresy, is to make clear the precise and most unmistakable distinction between Monothelism and orthodoxy. But we have been far from unwilling incidentally to show, that this distinction is no minute and subtle splitting of hairs-as misbelievers and indifferentists love to declare-but on the contrary among the deepest and widest distinctions which can possibly be imagined; that the Monothelite heresy subverts Christianity from its very foundation.
Whoever would see a fuller explanation of the Monothelite tenet, and an exposition of its historical relations with Eutychianism, cannot do better (as we have already said) than
study carefully F. Bottalla's most instructive pages. ourselves we thus briefly sum up. Catholics and Monothelites agree that Christ possesses, not only human sensations of the body, but human emotions of the soul. They differ, in that Monothelites will not ascribe to him any human will, any human principle of operation; whereas Catholics say that His human nature is in itself operative, its operative principle being His human will.
To our mind it is one of the most instructive facts in the world, as showing the absolute blindness which prejudice can superinduce, that persons have been found, who can read Honorius's Letters and suspect them of any the remotest tendency to Monothelism. We have no hesitation in saying, that they demonstrate him to have held the orthodox dogma as clearly and explicitly, as it was held by S. Sophronius, S. Maximus, S. Martin I., S. Agatho, or S. Leo II. We cannot of course say that he expressed that dogma quite so clearly as did those Saints; simply because he knew nothing about Monothelism, and did not therefore express orthodoxy with a direct view to the contradiction of that heresy. But even in the way of expression, we must maintain that his Letters are fully as complete and distinct as the renowned exposition of S. Leo I.; and indeed, as will presently appear, somewhat more so. So completely is this the case, that if other circumstances permitted one to consider the doctrinal portion of his Letters as having been put forth ex cathedrâ, there would be nothing in their doctrine to invest this supposition with any kind of improbability.
The Monothelite issue assumed different forms, as the controversy advanced through successive stages. At first the question asked was, "Are there in Christ two operations, or is there only one?" but latterly the question rather was, "Are there in Him two wills, or is there only one?" It is quite immaterial however, which of these questions you ask: for on both, Honorius's answer on the orthodox side is as clear as noonday light. We begin with the first. Did Honorius hold that there is in Christ a buman principle of operation? In other words, did he hold that Christ's human nature-His human soul-is operative? Or, on the contrary, did he hold (with the Monothelites) that it is purely passive? We should be glad to see how Dr. Döllinger or Mr. Renouf could give a more simply unmistakable answer to this question, than does Honorius in his second Letter. "We ought to confess," he says, "two natures in Christ operating and principles of action : « ἐνεργοῦσας καὶ πρακτικὰς”: 66 operantes atque operatrices." Again. "Let us preach," he says, "the two
natures φύσεις rantes."*
each operating its own proper acts:” “ràs dvo ἐνεργοῦσας τα ἴδια :” “duas naturas propria ope
So much on the human operation. But put the issue in its other shape. Did he hold that in Christ there is a human will? Turn to his first Letter. "We profess," he says, one will of our Lord Jesus Christ: because plainly our nature was assumed by the Godhead, not the sin in it; that is, our nature as it was created before sin existed, not that which was corrupted after the transgression." The question to be here asked is most simple, and admits but of one possible reply. Is Honorius speaking in these words of Christ's divine or human will? Mr. Renouf makes the astounding remark (p. 16) that "the context of this passage proves its reference to the divine will. Can he be in his senses? Does he think, or did Honorius think, that Adam before the fall was a plant? a vegetable? at the utmost a brute? Was not Adam created in possession of a will? That which he was happy in not possessing, was a second will at variance with the first. Now Honorius's distinct argument is this:-" Since Christ assumed that human nature which existed before the fall, He has only one will, and not two." Yet Mr. Renouf will have it, and Dr. Döllinger will have it, that the will of which the Pontiff speaks is the divine. When should we have heard the last of it, if some unlucky Ultramontane had talked such nonsense? Judging indeed from his pamphlet, we cannot ascribe to Mr. Renouf any high order of ability; and we are confident that Dr. Döllinger's intellectual power has been egregiously overrated: but still neither of the two is an idiot. How can we account for so stupid a blunder, unless we ascribe it to the blinding force of prejudice?
Mr. Renouf, in desperation we suppose, attempts this argument:" If Honorius believed that the real question at issue" concerned two human and contrary wills, "he ought
*There is a little misprint,-" operantis instead of operantes,"-in F. Bottalla's citation of this passage (p. 52), which would much lessen the force of his argument if it were not observed.
Mr. Renouf (p. 22) cites, almost entire, the fragment of Honorius's second Letter from which these two quotations are derived; and yet omits the former quotation, merely substituting marks of omission. This is pointed out by F. Bottalla. In our former article we mentioned (p. 214, note) that he ends his quotation in the midst of a sentence; and that if he had inserted the two remaining lines, the complete fallaciousness of his argument would have been manifested. In October we had to complain (p. 450) that in quoting two sentences, as from S. Jerome, to prove the fall of S. Liberius, he omitted from one of them three words, which would have shown the sentences to be in flagrant mutual contradiction. All this is incredibly unfair.
to have condemned Sophronius for manifestly heretical doctrine" (p. 16). Never was there a more suicidal piece of reasoning. It is Mr. Renouf's very contention, that Honorius thoroughly agreed with Sergius; and Ultramontanes on their side (F. Bottalla is an instance) always admit, that he did thoroughly coincide with what he understood to be Sergius's mind. Did Sergius then represent S. Sophronius and himself as having been at issue, on the question of two human wills in Christ? It was not possible he could have ventured on such a calumny; which must at once indeed have aroused the Pope's suspicion, and overthrown Sergius's whole iniquitous design. The most cursory perusal of that Patriarch's letter will show, that he represented S. Sophronius and himself as absolutely united on every point of dogma, and as only having differed for a time (though not still differing) on the advisableness of a certain expression. In what Sergius said about two human and contrary wills, he was adducing an argument against the advisableness of the phrase "two operations." Such a phrase, he said, scandalizes many; (1) because it has not been used hitherto by Christian teachers, and (2) because a misunderstanding of it leads men to preach the impious tenet, of two human and contrary wills in the Incarnate God. Since Sergius then had expressly said that the phrase "two operations" was leading men to this impious doctrine, what could be more natural, than that the Pope should occupy a considerable portion of his Letter in denouncing the said doctrine?
In fact Honorius, thoroughly and explicitly versed though he was in Catholic dogma, had not the slightest or most rudimental knowledge of the Monothelite heresy, nor any suspicion whatever of Sergius's real drift. And we are thus able to understand the fault, for which he was afterwards anathematized. It was twofold. Sergius's letter was most carefully worded indeed, still it contained one or two expressions which were indubitably Monothelistic:* yet these did not awaken the Pontiff's suspicion. Then secondly, even if Sergius had avoided every the slightest indication of his heresy, it was still Honorius's duty, not to take Sergius's statement of the case for granted, but to investigate through trustworthy persons the true theological phenomena of the East. He
For instance: "As our body is ordered and directed by our intellectual and rational soul, so also, in the case of our Lord Christ, His whole human composition was always moved by God (θεοκίνητον).” "The divine nature truly operates the salvation of all, through the body which clothes it (TO TEρì áνTη owμaroc), so that [His death] is the suffering indeed of the flesh, but the operation of God (rov dè Oεov Týv ¿vépyɛiav)." F. Bottalla gives an excellent analysis of Sergius's letter in pp. 50, 51.