Imatges de pÓgina
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In tranflating the Scripture into another Lan- Chap. 3. guage, Care must be taken, that the Tranfla- Queft.8. tion agrees with the Scripture, as far as the two Languages will well bear. For, without this, it is not a Tranflation, but a Paraphrafe.

But when the Catholick Church expounds the Scripture either by her Definitions of Faith, or by her Creeds, this Caution is not requifite, for thefe Reasons:

Ift. Because a true Expofition of Scripture, according to the Original Sense of it, is Part of the Chriftian Revelation. S. John faid, the Word was God,S. Jo. 1. v. 1.If you had afk'd him, whether he meant it, literally, or tropically; He would have answer'd, literally. For fo the first Christians understood it, who ador'd Chrift as God, as it manifeftly appears from the Letter of a Heathen Magiftrate, one of their Perfecutors, to the Emperor Trajan. Which Magiftrate was a Man of Senfe, and had his Information, not by hear-fay, but from the Confeffion of Chriftians themselves, who yielded to the violence of the Persecution. In short, he was the younger [5] Pliny, then Governor of Pontus and Bithynia. His Letter was writ in the year of Chrift 104; that is, within four years after the Death of S. John the Evangelift, and three Years before the Martyrdom of S. Ignatius Bishop of Antioch. So that the Expofition of this Claufe, the Word

was

[5] Affirmabant autem (apfi) hanc fuiffe fummam, vel culpæ fuæ vel erroris, quod effent foliti ftato die ante lucem convenire; carmenq; Chrifto, quafi Deo, dicere fecum invicem, Plin. Lib. x. Epift. cii. ad Trajanum Imper

Chap. 3. was God, as well as the Text, was Part of Queft.8. the Chriftian Revelation. For nothing can be fo wicked as to adore a metaphorical God.

When S. Mat. chap. xxviii. v. 19, recorded the Command of Chrift, of Baptizing all Nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, he knew, whether Children, before they came to the Ufe of Reason, were comprehended in this Precept, or not. The firft Chriftians alfo knew it from the Practice of the Apostles. The Expofition therefore of this Text, in regard to Children, was Part of the Original Sense of it, and of the Chriftian Revelation.

Again, if S. Mathew understood what he writ (which cannot be question'd) he knew, who the Son, and the H. Spirit are, and whether they are Creatures, or not. The first Chriftians also knew it, when baptiz'd in their Name. The Expofition therefore of this Text, in regard to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, was part of the Original Senfe of the Text, and of the Christian Revelation.

When S. John related thefe words of Christ, Chap. xi. v. 8, If I wash thee not, thou bast no Part with me, and v. 14, you also ought to wash one anothers Feet; he knew whether the Apostles and other Chriftians were commanded to wash one another's Feet literally, or only in a tropical Sense. The firft Chriftians knew it alfo from the Practice of the Apostles, and of the Apoftolical Age. If fo, the Expofition of this Text is Part of the Original Senfe, both in the Mind of the Writer, and of those to whom it was publish'd, and confequently

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fequently it was Part of the Chriftian Revela-Chap. 3. tion itself.

Quest.8.

But, without defcending to more particulars: The Apostles and Evangelists writ nothing, but what they could expound. The firft Chriftians, to whom their Writings were publifh'd, faw nothing plain in the New Teftament, or in the whole Bible (plain I fay, either from the written word itself, or from the Chriftian Rule and Syftem of Faith, which the Apostles deliver'd by word of Mouth, or from the Practice of the Apoftles in the publick Exercise of Religion) but what they were able to expound; to declare, whether it ought to be taken literally, or tropically; and in what Senfe it is plain. If fo, the Original and true Senfe of the H. Scripture was a Part of the Christian Revelation (which was made to the Apostles, and by them was publish'd to the Catholick Church) as well as the Words of the Holy Scripture themselves. And if there be any feeming Obfcurity in either of these two Parts, with relation to Confcience, or Religion; we have both an infallible Rule, and an orthodox Guide, for our Direction.

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2dly, No Hereticks, who allow the Bible, would ever grant themselves condemn'd; if the Creeds, Definitions, and Cenfures of the Catholick Church were confin'd to the bare words of Scripture. For who ever was, or ever can be, fo ftupid, as to maintain that, which he grants is contrary to the word of God? To fay therefore, that the Creeds, Definitions, and Cenfures of the Catholick Church, ought to be confin'd to Scripture-Terms, is only

Chap. 3. only to tell us, that Difputes of Religion Queft.8. ought to be endless; that wicked Hereticks, who [6] wreft the Holy Scriptures, from the Original and true Senfe, to their own Perdition, and to the Poisoning of innumerable Souls (for their words [7] eat and fpread like a Gangrene) ought to be tole-rated in the Cath. Communion, whether they be Eutychians, Neftorians, Pelagians, Prifcillianifts, Apolinarians, Arians, Novatians, Sabellians, Montanists, Tatianifts, (8) Valentinians, Ebionites, or others of the like infamous Crew: But this Propofal should have been made to the Catholick Church, in her infancy. 'Tis too late to offer it, after feventeen Centuries.

VI. But is it in her Power abfolutely fpeaking, after she has inferted any Terms into the Creed, to remove them from it? To remove them as false, is what she cannot do. And to remove them as unneceffary, is what she will not do, as long as she is fenfible, that more Ill, than Good, may come of it: Tho' the fame Power, which made it, can unmake a Law.

Hence the Council of Ariminum did not err against Faith, when it agreed (by the Violence and unfair Proceedings of the Emperor Conftantius) to remove the word Confubftantial from the Creed.

Ninth

[6] 2 Pet. iii. v. 16. [7] 2 Tim. ii. v. 17. [8] Neq; enim fi Valentinus integro Inftrumento uti videtur, non callidiore ingenio quam Marcion, manus intulić beritati. Tert. L. de Præfcript. C. xxxviii.

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Ninth QUESTION.

Is the Difcipline of the Catholick Church the fame
in all Ages?

ANSW.

THE

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HE Language of the Catholick Church, and her Difcipline, fall under the fame Rule. Both are changeable, being equally fubject to the common Viciffitude of human Things, and to the Will of her Paftors, By Difcipline, I mean the particular Forms, Practices, and Ceremonies (as in her publick Prayer, in her Sacrifice and Sacraments, in her Government, and in the publick Worship of almighty God) which, in regard to the Law of God, are indifferent, and are neither forbid, nor commanded by it. In thefe there have been fo many Changes, that it is not eafy to reckon them all up. A Few Instances will be fufficient.

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First, Our Saviour inftituted the Bleffed Sacrament of his Body and Blood, and adminifter'd it to his Apostles (1) after Supper. He commanded them to (2) do what he had done, But this Difcipline, tho' Chrift himself was the Author; was foon chang'd. The B. Sacrament was seldom or never given after Supper, but before Break-Faft, and to thofe only who were fafting. It is plain, fays S. (3) Augustin, O

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that

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(1) S. Luke xxii. v. 20. 1 Cor. xi. v. 25. (2) S. Luke xxii. v. 19. 1. Cor. xi. 24. (3) Liquido apparet, quando primum acceperunt Difcipuli Corpus & Sanguinem Domini, non eos accepiffe jejunos Numquid

men

Chap. 3 Queft.9.

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