« PreviousContinue »
falso celebrium virorum titulo commendatis scatere omnia." It was then a public business, and a trick not more base than public: but it was more ancient than so; and it is memorable in the books attributed to St. Basil, containing thirty chapters de Spiritu Sancto,' whereof fifteen were plainly by another hand under the covert of St. Basil, as appears in the difference of the style, in the impertinent digressions, against the custom of that excellent man,-by some passages contradictory to others of St. Basil,—by citing Meletius as dead before him, who yet lived three years after him,—and by the very frame and manner of the discourse: and yet it was so handsomely carried, and so well served the purposes of men, that it was indifferently quoted under the title of St. Basil by many, but without naming the number of chapters, and by St. John Damascenus in these words; "Basilius in opere triginta capitum de Spiritu Sancto ad Amphilochium;" and to the same purpose, and in the number of twenty-seven and twenty-nine chapters, he is cited by Photius, by Euthymius, by Burchard, by Zonaras, Balsamon, and Nicephorus. But for this, see more in Erasmus's preface upon this book of St. Basil. There is an epistle goes still under the name of St. Jerome ad Demetriadem virginem,' and is of great use in the question of predestination with its appendices; and yet a very learned man eight hundred years ago did believe it to be written by a Pelagian, and undertakes to confute divers parts of it, as being high and confident Pelagianism, and written by Julianus, Episc. Eclanensis: but Gregorius Ariminensis from St. Austin affirms it to have been written by Pelagius himself. I might instance in too many there is not any one of the fathers who is esteemed author of any considerable number of books, that hath escaped untouched. But the abuse in this kind hath been so evident, that now if any interested person of any side be pressed with an authority very pregnant against him, he thinks to escape by accusing the edition, or the author, or the hands it passed through, or at last he therefore suspects it because it makes against him: both sides being resolved that they are in the right, the authorities that they admit,
b Vid. Baron. in Annal.
d Nomocan. tit. 1. cap. 3.
í Greg. Arim. in 2. sent. dist. 26. q. 1-3.
c Lib. 1. de imag. orat. 1.
e V. Beda de gratia Christi adv. Julianum.
they will believe not to be against them; and they which are too plainly against them, shall be no authorities. And indeed the whole world hath been so much abused, that every man thinks he hath reason to suspect whatsoever is against him, that is, what he pleaseth: which proceeding only produces this truth, that there neither is nor can be any certainty, nor very much probability, in such allegations.
6. But there is a worse mischief than this,-besides those very many which are not yet discovered,-which, like the pestilence, destroys in the dark, and grows into inconvenience more insensibly and more irremediably, and that is, corruption of particular places, by inserting words and altering them to contrary senses: a thing which the fathers of the sixth general synod complained of, concerning the constitutions of St. Clement, "quibus jam olim ab iis, qui à fide aliena sentiunt, adulterina quædam, etiam à pietate aliena, introducta sunt, quæ divinorum nobis decretorum elegantem et venustam speciem obscurârunt." And so also have his recognitions, so have his epistles been used, if at least they were his at all; particularly the fifth decretal epistle that goes under the name of St. Clement, in which community of wives is taught upon the authority of St. Luke, saying, the first Christians had all things common;-if all things, then wives also, says the epistle: a forgery like to have been done by some Nicolaitan, or other impure person. There is an epistle of Cyril extant to Successus bishop of Diocæsarea, in which he relates that he was asked by Budas bishop of Emessa, whether he did approve of the epistle of Athanasius to Epictetus bishop of Corinth; and that his answer was, "Si hæc apud vos scripta non sint adultera: nam plura ex his ab hostibus ecclesiæ deprehenduntur esse depravata"." And this was done even while the authors themselves were alive: for so Dionysius of Corinth complained, that his writings were corrupted by heretics; and Pope Leo, that his epistle to Flavianus was perverted by the Greeks. And in the synod of Constantinople before quoted (the sixth synod), Macarius and his disciples were convicted, "quod sanctorum testimonia aut truncârint aut deprâvarint." Thus the third chapter of St. Cyprian's book 'de Unitate Ecclesiæ,' in the edition of
* Can. 2.
Pamelius, suffered great alteration; these words—' primatus Petro datur' wholly inserted, and these super cathedram Petri fundata est ecclesia:' and whereas it was before, 'super unum ædificat ecclesiam Christus,' that not being enough, they have made it super illum unum.' Now these additions are against the faith of all old copies before Minutius and Pamelius, and against Gratian, even after himself had been chastised by the Roman correctors, the commissaries of Gregory XIII. as is to be seen where these words are alleged ; “ Decret. c. 24. q. 1. can. Loquitur Dominus ad Petrum." So that we may say of Cyprian's works, as Pamelius himself said concerning his writings and the writings of others of the fathers, "Unde colligimus (saith he) Cypriani scripta, ut et aliorum veterum, à librariis variè fuisse interpolata." But Gratian himself could do as fine a feat when he listed, or else somebody did it for him, and it was in this very question, their beloved article of the Pope's supremacy; for "de Pœnit. dist. 1. c. Potest fieri," he quotes these words out of St. Ambrose, "Non habent Petri hæreditatem, qui non habent Petri sedem:" 'fidem,' not' sedem,' it is in St. Ambrose; but this error was made authentic by being inserted into the code of the catholic church. And considering how little notice the clergy had of antiquity but what was transmitted to them by Gratian, it will be no great wonder that all this part of the world swallowed such a bole, and the opinion that was wrapped in it. But I need not instance in Gratian any farther, but refer any one that desires to be satisfied concerning this collection of his, to Augustinus archbishop of Tarracon, ‘in emendatione Gratiani,' where he shall find fopperies and corruptions good store noted by that learned man. But that the 'indices expurgatorii,' commanded by authority, and practised with public licence, profess to alter and correct the sayings of the fathers, and to reconcile them to the catholic sense, by putting in and leaving out,-is so great an imposture, so unchristian a proceeding, that it hath made the faith of all books and all authors justly to be suspected'. For considering their infinite diligence and great opportunity, as
k Annot. Cyprian. super Concil. Carthag. n. 1.
1 Vid. Ind. Expurg. Belg. in Bertram. et Flandr. Hispan. Portugal. Neopolitan. Romanum; Junium in præfat. ad Ind. Expurg. Belg. Hasenmullerum, pag. 275. Withrington. Apolog. num. 449.
having had most of the copies in their own hands, together with an unsatisfiable desire of prevailing in their right or in their wrong, they have made an absolute destruction of this topic and when the fathers speak Latin ", or breathe in a Roman diocess, although the providence of God does infinitely overrule them, and that it is next to a miracle that in the monuments of antiquity there is no more found that can pretend for their advantage than there is, which indeed is infinitely inconsiderable; yet our questions and uncertainties are infinitely multiplied, instead of a probable and reasonable determination. For since the Latins always complained of the Greeks for privately corrupting the ancient records both of councils and fathers", and now the Latins make open profession not of corrupting, but of correcting, their writings (that is the word), and at the most it was but a human authority, and that of persons not always learned, and very often deceived; the whole matter is so unreasonable, that it is not worth a farther disquisition. But if any one desires to inquire farther, he may be satisfied in Erasmus, in Henry and Robert Stephens, in their prefaces before the editions of the Fathers, and their observations upon them; in Bellarm. 'de Scrip. Eccl.;' in D. Reynolds' de Lib. Apoc.;' in Scaliger; and Robert Coke, of Leeds in Yorkshire, in his book de Censura Patrum,'
Of the Incompetency of the Church, in its diffusive Capacity, to be Judge of Controversies; and the Impertinency of that Pretence of the Spirit.
1. AND now, after all these considerations of the several topics, tradition, councils, Popes, and ancient doctors of the church, I suppose it will not be necessary to consider the authority of the church apart. For the church either speaks by tradition, or by a representative body in a council, by Popes, or by the fathers: for the church is not a chimera, not a shadow, but a company of men believing in Jesus.
m Videat Lector Andream Christoviam in Bello Jesuitico, et Joh. Reynolds in lib. de idol. Rom.
n Vid. Ep. Nicolai ad Michael. Imperat.
Christ; which men either speak by themselves immediately, or by their rulers, or by their proxies and representatives. Now I have considered it in all senses but in its diffusive capacity; in which capacity she cannot be supposed to be a judge of controversies, both because in that capacity she cannot teach us; as also, because if, by a judge, we mean all the church diffused in all its parts and members, so there can be no controversy: for if all men be of that opinion, then there is no question contested; if they be not all of a mind, how can the whole diffusive catholic church be pretended in defiance of any one article, where the diffusive church being divided, part goes this way, and part another? But if it be said, the greatest part must carry it (besides that it is impossible for us to know which way the greatest part goes in many questions), it is not always true that the greater part is the best; sometimes the contrary is most certain; and it is often very probable, but it is always possible. And when paucity of followers was objected to Liberius, he gave this in answer, There was a time, when but three children of the captivity resisted the king's decree. And Athanasius wrote on purpose against those, that did judge of truth by multitudes: and indeed it concerned him so to do, when he alone stood in the gap against the numerous armies of the Arians P.
2. But if there could, in this case, be any distinct consideration of the church, yet to know which is the true church is so hard to be found out, that the greatest questions of Christendom are judged, before you can get to your judge; and then there is no need of him. For those questions which are concerning the judge of questions, must be determined before you can submit to his judgment; and if you can yourselves determine those great questions, which consist much in universalities, then also you may determine the particulars, as being of less difficulty. And he that considers how many notes there are given to know the true church by, no less than fifteen by Bellarmine, and concerning every one of them almost, whether it be a certain note or no, there are very many questions and uncertainties; and when it is resolved which are the notes, there is more dispute about the application of these notes than of the πρωτοκρινόMEVOV;-will quickly be satisfied that he had better sit still
Theod. 1. 2. c. 16. hist.
P Tom. 2.