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To begin therefore with Traditions, which is your forlorn hope that in the first place we are to set upon: this must I needs tell you before we begin, that you much mistake the matter, if you think that traditions of all sorts promiscuously are struck at by our religion. We willingly acknowledge that the word of God, which by some of the apostles was set down in writing, was both by themselves and others of their fellow-labourers delivered by word of mouth: and that the Church in succeeding ages was bound, not only to preserve those sacred writings committed to her trust, but also to deliver unto her children, viva voce, the form of wholesome words contained therein. Traditions therefore, of this nature, come not within the compass of our controversy: the question being betwixt us de ipsa doctrina tradita, not de tradendi modo; touching the substance of the doctrine delivered, not of the manner of delivering it. Again, it must be remembered, that here we speak of the doctrine delivered as the word of God, that is, of points of religion revealed unto the prophets and apostles, for the perpetual information of God's people : not of rites and ceremonies, and other ordinances which are left to the disposition of the Church, and consequently be not of divine but of positive and human right. Traditions therefore, of this kind likewise, are not properly brought within the circuit of this question.
But that traditions of men should be obtruded unto us for articles of religion, and admitted for parts of God's worship; or that any traditions should be accepted for parcels of God's word, beside the holy Scriptures, and such doctrines as are either expressly therein contained,
or by sound inference may be deduced from thence, I think we have reason to gainsay : as long as for the first we have this direct sentence from God himself, “ In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men;" and for the second, the express warrant of the apostle, in the third chapter of the second to Timothy, testifying of the holy Scriptures, not only that they " are able to make us wise unto salvation" (which they should not be able to do, if they did not contain all things necessary to salvation); but also that by them" the man of God," that is, the minister of God's word, unto whom it appertaineth “ to declare all the counsel of God,” may be a perfectly instructed to every good work:” which could not be, if the Scriptures did not contain all the counsel of God which was fit for him to learn, or if there were any other word of God which he were bound to teach, that should not be contained within the limits of the book of God.
Now whether herein we disagree from the doctrine generally received by the fathers, we refer ourselves to their own sayings. For ritual traditions unwritten, and for doctrinal traditions, written indeed, but preserved also by the continual preaching of the pastors of the Church successively, we find no man a more earnest advocate than Tertullian. Yet he having to deal with Hermogenes the heretic in a question concerning the faith, Whether all things at the beginning were made of nothing, presseth him in this manner with the argument ab authoritate negative; for avoiding whereof, the papists are driven to fly for uccour to their unwritten verities, 66 whetherd all things were made of any subject matter, I have as yet no where. Let those of Hermogenes his shop shew that it is written. If it be not written, let them fear that Wo, which is allotted to such as add or take away."
a Matt. chap. 15. ver. 9.
b. 1 Tim. chap. 6. ver. 11. © Acts, chap. 20. ver. 27.
d An autem de aliqua subjacenti materia facta sint omnia, nusquam adhuc legi. Scriptum esse doccat Hermogenis officina. Si non est scriptum, timeat Væ illud adjicientibus aut detrahentibus destinatum. Tertul. advers. Hermog.
In the two Testaments, saith Origen, " every word that appertaineth to God may be required and discussed, and all knowledge of things out of them may be understood. But if any thing do remain, which the holy Scripture doth not determine ; no other third Scripture ought to be received for to authorize any knowledge : but that which remaineth we must commit to the fire; that is, we must reserve it to God. For in this present world, God would not have us to know all things.”
Hippolytus the martyr, in his homily against the heresy of Noetus: “ There is one God; whom we do not otherwise acknowledge, brethren, but out of the holy Scriptures. For as he, that would profess the wisdom of this world, cannot otherwise attain hereunto, unless he read the doctrine of the philosophers: so whosoever of us will exercise piety toward God, cannot learn this elsewhere, but out of the holy Scriptures. Whatsoever therefore the holy Scriptures do preach, that let us know; and whatsoever they teach, that let us understand."
Athanasius, in his oration against the gentiles, toward the beginning : "the holy Scriptures, given by inspiration of God, are of themselves sufficient to the discovery of truth.”
St. Ambrose, “ The things which we find not in the
e In quibus liceat omne verbum, quod ad Deum pertinet, requiri et discuti ; atque ex ipsis omnem rerum scientiam capi. Si quid autem superfuerit, quod non divina seriptura decernat, nullam aliam debere tertiam scripturam ad authoritatem scientiæ suscipi : sed igni tradamus quod superest ; id est, Deo reservemus. Neque enim in præsenti vita Deus scire nos omnia voluit. Orig. in Levit. hom, 5. op. tom. 2. pag. 212.
| Unus Deus est, quem non aliunde, fratres, agnoscimus, quam ex sanctis scripturis. Quemadmodum enim si quis vellet sapientiam hujus sæculi exercere, non aliter hoc consequi poterit, nisi dogmata philosophorum legat: sic quicunque volumus pietatem in Deum exercere, non aliunde discemus, quam ex scripturis divinis. Quæcunque ergo sanctæ scripturæ prædicant, sciamus ; et quæcunque docent, cognoscamus. Hippol. tom. 3. biblioth. patr. pag. 20, 21. edit. Colon.
6 Αυτάρκεις μέν γάρ εισιν αι αγίαι και θεόπνευστοι γραφαι, προς την της αληθείας απαγγελίαν. Athanas.
h Quæ in scripturis sanctis non reperimus, ea quemadmodum usurpare possuimus? Ambros. offic. lib. 1. cap. 23.
Scriptures, how can we use them?” And again: “I read that he is the first, I read that he is not the second ; they who say he is the second, let them shew it by reading,"
“ It is well,” saith St. Hilary, “ that thou art content with those things which be written.” And in another place, he commendeth' Constantius the emperor, for “ desiring the faith to be ordered only according to those things that be written.”
St. Basil: “ Believe those things which are written ; the things which are not written, seek not.” “ It" is a manifest falling from the faith, and an argument of arrogancy, either to reject any point of those things that are written, or to bring in any of those things that are not written. He teacheth further “ that every word and action ought to be confirmed by the testimony of the holy Scripture, for confirmation of the faith of the good, and the confusion of the evil;” and “that it is the property of a faithful man, to be fully persuaded of the truth of those things that are delivered in the holy Scripture, and not to dare either to reject, or to add any thing thereunto. For if whatsoever is not of faith be sin, as the apostle saith, and faith is by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; then
i Lego quia primus est, lego quia non est secundus : illi qui secundum aiunt, doceant lectione. Id. in virginis instit. cap. 11.
* Bene habet ut iis quæ sunt scripta contentus sis. Hil. lib. 3. de Trinit. op. pag. 822.
In quantum ego nunc beatæ religiosæque voluntatis vere te, Domine Constanti imperator, admiror, fidem tantum secundum ea quæ scripta sunt deside
Id. lib. 2. ad Constantium Aug. op. pag. 1229. η Τοίς γεγραμμένοις πιστεύε, τα μη γεγραμμένα μη ζήτει: Basil. hom. advers. calumniantes S. Trinitat. op. tom. 2. pag. 611.
2 φανερά έκπτωσις πίστεως, και υπερηφανίας κατηγορία, ή άθετεϊν τι των γεγραμμένων, ή επεισάγειν τών μή γεγραμμένων. Ιd. de fide. Op. tom,
2. pag. 224.
ο ότι δεί πάν ρήμα, ή πράγμα πιστούσθαι τη μαρτυρία της θεοπνεύστου γραφής, είς πληροφορίαν μεν των αγαθών, εντροπήν δε των πονηρών. Id. in ethicis. regul. 26. op. tom. 2. pag. 256.
P Και μηδέν τολμάν άθετείν, ή επιδιατάσσεσθαι. Ει γάρ πάν, και ουκ εκ πίστεως, αμαρτία εστίν, ώς φησίν ο Απόστολος, ή δέ πίστις εξ ακοής, η δε ακοή διά ρήματος θεού, πάν το εκτός της θεοπνεύστου γραφής, ουκ εκ πίστεω ôv, åpapria totiv. Id. Ibid. reg. 80. cap. 22. op. tom. 2. pag. 317.
whatsoever is without the holy Scripture, being not of faith, must needs be sin." Thus far St. Basil.
In like manner Gregory Nyssen, St. Basil's brother, layeth this for a ground,
or whicho no man should contradict, that in that only the truth must be acknowledged, wherein the seal of the Scripture testimony is to be seen.” And accordingly in another book, attributed also unto him, we find this conclusion made : “ Forasmuch as this is upholden with no testimony of the Scripture, as false we will reject it."
Thus also St. Hierome disputeth against Helvidius. “ Ass we deny not those things that are written; so we refuse those things that are not written. That God was born of a virgin, we believe; because we read it: that Mary did marry after she was delivered, we believe not; because we read it not."
“ Int those things," saith St. Augustine, " which are laid down plainly in the Scriptures, all those things are found, which appertain to faith and direction of life.” And again: “ Whatsoever" ye hear from the holy Scriptures, let that savour well unto you; whatsoever is without them, refuse, lest you wander in a cloud." And in another place: “ All" those things which in times past our ancestors have mentioned to be done toward mankind, and have delivered unto us; all those things also which we see, and do deliver unto our posterity, so far as they appertain to the seeking
1 Κάν τις αν άντείποι, μή ουχί εν τούτω μόνο την αλήθειαν τιθέσθω, v oppayis étéoti tñs ypapixñs uaprupias. Greg. Nyss. dialog. de anima et resurrect. tom. 3. pag. 207.
' Cum id nullo Scripturæ testimonio suffultum sit, ut falsum improbabimus. lib. de cognit. Dei, cit. ab Euthymio in panoplia, tit. 8.
• Ut hæc quæ scripta sunt non negamus; ita ea quæ non sunt scripta renuimus. Natum Deum esse de virgine credimus, quia legimus : Mariam nupsisse post partum non credimus, quia non legimus. Hieron. advers. Helvid.
? In iis quæ aperte in Scripturis posita sunt, inveniuntur illa omnia quæ continent fidem moresque vivendi. Augustin. de doct. Christ. lib. 2. cap. 9. op. tom. 3. pag. 24.
u Quicquid inde audieritis, hoc vobis bene sapiat: quicquid extra est respuite, ne erretis in nebula. Id. in. lib. de pastor. cap. 11. op. tom. 5. pag. 238.
* Omnia quæ præteritis temporibus erga humanum genus majores nostri gesta esse meminerunt, nobisque tradiderunt ; omnia etiam quæ nos videmus, et posteris tradimus, quæ tamen pertinent ad veram religionem quærendam et tenendam, divina scriptura non tacuit. Id. cpist.232. op. tom. 2. pag. 843.