Jeremy Taylor.

The whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) online

. (page 14 of 50)
Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) → online text (page 14 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

represented : and that Durandus," affirming the same thing,
says that the Grecians continue it to this day ; besides this, I
say, the author of the Roman order (says Cassander y ) took it
very ill, that the loaves of bread, offered in certain churches
for the use of the sacrifice, should be brought from the form of
true bread to so slight and slender a form, which he calls 'mi-
nutias nummulariarum oblatarum, scraps of little pennies,'

" Salmer. in 2 Cor. x. disp. 17, p. 183.

* Durand. Ration. Divin. Offic. lib. iv. c. 53.

T Cassaud. Liturg. c. xxvii. sect. Et cum mensa.


or pieces of money, and not worthy to be called bread, being
such which no nation ever used at their meals for bread.
But this is one of the innovations, which they have intro-
duced into the religious rites of Christianity, and it is little
noted, they having so many greater changes to answer for.

But it seems this section was too hot for them, they loved
not much to meddle with it ; and therefore I shall add no
more fuel to their displeasure, but desire the reader, who
would fully understand what is fit to be said in this question,
to read it in a book of mine which I call ' Ductor Dubitan-
tium,' or the 'Cases of Conscience ;' z only I must needs
observe, that it is an unspeakable comfort to all protestants,
when so manifestly they have Christ on their side in this
question against the Church of Rome. To which I only add,
that for above seven hundred years after Christ, it was es-
teemed sacrilege in the Church of Rome to abstain from the
cup, and that, in the ' Ordo Romanus,' the communion is
always described with the cup ; how it is since, and how it
comes to be so, is too plain. But it seems the Church hath
power to dispense in this affair, because St. Paul said, that
the " ministers of Christ are dispensers of the mysteries of
God :" as was learnedly urged in the Council of Trent in the
doctrine about this question.


Of the Scriptures and Service in an unknown Tongue.

THE question being still upon the novelty of the Roman
doctrines and practices ; I am to ma"ke it good that the
present article and practice of Rome are contrary to the doc-
trine and practice of the Primitive Church. To this purpose
I alleged St. Basil in his sermon or book " de Variis Scrip-
turse locis:" but, say my adversaries, 'there is no such
book.' a Well! was there such a man as St. Basil? If so,
we are well enough ; and let these gentlemen be pleased to
look into his works printed at Paris, 1547, by Carola Guillard,
and in p. 130, he shall see this book, sermon, or homily ;

* Lib. ii. c. 3, rule 9. a E. W. p. 45 ; and A. L. p. 25.


* in aliquot scripturse locos,' at the beginning of which he
hath an exhortation in the words placed in the margent;
there we shall find the lost sheep : the beginning of it is an
exhortation to the people, congregated to "get profit and
edification by the Scriptures read at morning-prayer, the mo-
nitions in the Psalms, the precepts of the Proverbs ; search
ye the beauty of the history, and the examples, and add to
these the precepts of the apostles. But in all things join
the words of the Gospel, as the crown and perfection ; that
receiving profit from them all, ye may at length turn to that
to which every one is sweetly affected, and for the doing of
which he hath received the grace of the Holy Spirit." 3

Now this difficulty being over, all that remains for my
own justification is, that I make it appear that St. Chrysos-
tom, St. Ambrose, St. Austin, Aquinas, and Lyra, do respect-
ively exhort to the study of the Scriptures, exhorting even
the laity to do so, and testify the custom of the ancient
Church in praying in a known tongue, and commending this
as most useful, and condemning the contrary as being useless
and without edification. I shall in order set down the doc-
trine they deliver, in their own words; and then the impertinent
cavils of the adversaries will of themselves come to nothing.

St. Chrysostom b commenting upon St. Paul's words con-
cerning preaching and praying for edification, and so as to
be understood ; coming to those words of St. Paul, * If I pray
with my tongue, my spirit prayetli, but my mind is without
fruit,' " you see" (saith he) " how, a little extolling prayer,
he shews, that he who is such a one (viz. as the apostle
there describes) is not only unprofitable to others, but also
to himself; since his mind is without fruit." Now if a man,
praying what he understands not, does not, cannot profit
himself; how can he that stands by, who understands no
more, be profited by that which does him that speaks no
good ? For God understands though he does not ; and yet he
that so prays, reaps no benefit to himself, and therefore neither

* Recordemini, qu:cso, ex bis spiritunlibus sermonibus qui lecti sunt medicinae.
Reminiscamini earum, qua; sunt in psalmis, monitionum : proverbialia praecepta,
historiae pulcbritudinem, exemplaque investigate. Kis addite apostolica mandata.
In omnibus vero, tanquam coronida perfectionemque, verba evangelica conjungite,
ut ex omnibus utilitatem capientes, ad id demumconvertatis, etrevertamiiii ad quod
quisquejucunde est ad quodobeundumgratiam aSpiritu Sancto accepit.

b 35. Homil. in 1 Cor. xiv.


can any man that understands no more. The affirmation
is plain, and the reason cogent. To the same purpose are
the words of St. Chrysostom, which A. L. himself quotes
out of him; " If one speaks in only the Persian tongue, or
some other strange tongue, but knows not what he saith,
certainly he will be a barbarian even to himself, and not to
another only, because he knows not the force of the words."
This is no more than what St. Paul said before him ; but
they all say, that he who hears and understands not,
whether it be the speaker or the scholar, is but a barba-
rian. Thus also St. Ambrose' 1 in his commentary upon the
words of St. Paul : " The apostle says, It is better to speak
a few words, that are open or understood, that all may un-
derstand, than to have a long oration in obscurity ; " that is
his sense for reading and preaching : now for prayer he adds,
" The unskilful man, hearing what he understands'not, knows
not when the prayer ends, and answers not Amen, that is,
' So be it,' or ' It is true,' that the blessing may be established : "
and a little after, " If ye meet together to edify the Church,
those things ought to be said, which the hearers may under-
stand. For what profit is it to speak with a tongue, when
he that hears, is not profited ? Therefore he ought to Ijpld
his peace in the church, that they who can profit the hearers,
may speak." 6 St. Austin' compares "singing in the church
without understanding, to the chattering of parrots and mag-
pies, crows and jackdaws. But to sing with understanding
is by the will of God given to man. And we who sing the

c P. 25. d In 1 Cor. xiv.

* Utilius dicit (apostolus) paucis verbis in apertione sermonis loqui, quod om-
nes intelligant, quamprolixam orationembabere inobscuro. Imperitusenim audiens
quod non intelligit, nescit tinera orationis, et non respondet Amen, id est, verum,
ut confirmetur benedictio. Et in baec verba. ' Nam tu quidem bene gratias agis'
deeo dicit qui cognita sibi loquitur, quia scit quid dicit : ' sed alius non aedificatur :'
si utique ad ecclesiam aedincandam convenitis, ea debent dici qua; intelligant audi-
entes. Nam quid prodest ut lingua loquatur quam solus scit, ut qui audit, nihil
proficiat. Ideo tacere debet in ecclesia, ut ii loquantur qui prosunt audientibus.

f St, August, in 2. Comment, in Ps. xviii. Deprecati Dominum ut ab occultis
nostris mundet nos, et ab alienis parcat servis suis, quid hoc sit intelligere debe-
mus, ut humaiii'i ratioue, non quasi avium voce, cantemus. Nam et rnerulas, et
peittaci, et corvi, et picae, et bujusmodi volucres, saspe ab hominibus docentur
sonare quod nesciunt. Scienter autem cantare non avi sed homini Divina volun-
tate concessum est. Et paulo post : Nos autem qui in ecclesia divina eloquia
cantare didicitnus, simul etiam instare debemus esse quod scriptum est, ' Beatus
populus qui intelligit jubilationem :' proinde cbarissimi quod consona voce can-
tavimus, sereno etiam corde nosse ac ridere debemus.


Divine praises in the church, must remember that it is writ-
ten, ' Blessed is the people that understands singing of
praises.' Therefore, most beloved, what with a joined voice
we have sung, we must understand and discern with a serene
heart." To the same purpose are the words of Lyra and
Aquinas,* which I shall not trouble the reader withal here,
but have set them down in the margent, that the strange con-
fidence of these Romanists, outfacing notorious and evident
words, may be made, if possible, yet more conspicuous.

In pursuance of this doctrine of St. Paul and the
fathers, the primitive Christians in their several ages and
countries were careful, that the Bible should be translated
into all languages where Christianity was planted. That
the Bibles were in Greek is notorious ; and that they were
used among the people St. Chrysostom g is witness, that it
was so, or that it ought to be so. For he exhorts, " Vace-
mus ergo Scripturis, dilectissimi," &c. " Let us set time
apart to be conversant in the Scripture, at least in the Gos-
pels ; let us frequently handle them to imprint them in our
minds, which because the Jews neglected, they were com-
manded to have their books in their hands ; but let us not
have them in our hands, but in our houses and in our hearts :"
by which words we may easily understand, that all the
churches of the Greek communion had the Bible in their
vulgar tongue, and were called upon to use them as Christ-
ians ought to do, that is, to imprint them in their hearts :
and speaking of St. John 11 and his Gospel, he says that the
Syrians, Indians, Persians, and Ethiopians, and infinite
Other nations, 11$ rr^ avruv {AtraftaXovTz; "/XSirrav ra ffsgi TQ-JTQU
ra s/aa^Sst/ra, tftadov eii/dguffoi f3dp(3apoi <pi}*offopt?V ' they

* Tho. Aquin. in 1 Cor.xiv. Ille qui intelligit reficitur, et quantum ad intellec-
tum et quantum ad affectum ; sed mens ejus qui non intelligit, est sine fructu refec-
tionis. And again : Quantum ad fructum devotionis spiritualis, privatur qui non
attendit ad ea qua? orat, seu non intelligit. Lyra : Caeterum hie consequenter idem
ostendit in oratione public;*!, quia si populus intelligatorationem seu benedictionem
sacerdotis, melius reducitur in Deum et devotius Amen. And again: Propter
quod in ecclesia primitiva benedictiones et caetera omnia lege communia fiebant in
vulgari. For of ' common things,' that is, things in public the ' Dissuasive ' speaks,
common prayers, common preachings, common eucharists and thanksgivings, com.
mon blessings. All these and all other public and common things being used in
the vulgar tongue in the primitive; ' communia' and ' omnia' are equivalent, but
' communia ' is Lyra's word.

s Homil. i, in Joh. viii.

h Homil. i, in viii. Johan. Videat lector S. Basil, in Ascert. in 278, resp. in
Regul. Brevior. et Cassidore.


grew wise by translating his (St. John's) doctrines into their
several languages.' But it is more that St. Austin says :
"The Divine Scripture, by which help is supplied to so
great diseases, proceeded from one language which oppor-
tunely might be carried over the whole world, that, being
by the various tongues of interpreters scattered far and wide,
it might be made known to the nations for their salvation.'"
And Theodoret speaks yet more plainly ;J "We have mani-
festly shewn to you the inexhausted strength of the apo-
stolic and prophetic doctrine ; for the universal face of the
earth, whatsoever is under the sun, is now full of those
words. For the Hebrew books are not only translated into
the Greek idiom, but into the Roman tongue, the Egyptian,
Persian, Indian, Armenian, Scythian, Sauromatic languages ;
and that I may speak once for all, into all tongues which at
this day the nations use." By these authorities of these
fathers we may plainly see, how different the Roman doc-
trine and practice are from the sentiment and usages of the
Primitive Church, and with what false confidence the Roman
adversaries deny so evident truth, having no other way to
make their doctrine seem tolerable, but by outfacing the known
sayings of so many excellent persons ; and especially of St.
Paul, who could not speak his mind in apt and intelligible
words, if he did not, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, ex-
hort the Church to pray k and prophesy so as to be under-
stood by the catechumens, and by all the people; that is,
to do otherwise than they do in the Roman Church. Christ-
ianity is a simple, wise, intelligible, and easy religion ; and
yet if a man will resolve against any proposition, he may
wrangle himself into a puzzle, and make himself not to un-
derstand it so, though it be never so plain : what is plainer

1 De Doctrin. Christiana, lib. ii. c. 5. Ex quo factum est, ut etiam scriptura
divina, qua tantis morbis humanarum voluntatum subvenitur, ab una lingua pro-
fecta, quae opportune potuit per orbem terrarum disseminari, per varias interpre-
tum linguas longe lateque diffusa innotesceret gentibus ad salutem.

J Theodoret. lib. 5. de Curand. Graec. affect. Nos autem verbis apostolicaa pro-
pheticaeque doctrinae inexhaustum robur manifeste ostendimus. Universa enim fa-
cies terrae, quantacunque soli subjicitur, ejusmodi verborum plena jam est. Hebraei
vero libri non modo in Graecum idiomaconversi sunt, sed inRomanamquoquelin-
guam, Egyptiam, Persicam, Indicain, Armenicamque et Scy tbicam, atque adeo Sauro-
maticam, semelque ut dicam, in linguas omnes quibus ad hunc diem natiooes utuntur.

k Quamvis per se bonum sit ut officia divina celebrentur ea lingua quam plebs
intelligat, id enim per se confert ad aedificatiouem, ut bene probat hie locus. Estius
in 1. Ep. Cor. c. xiv.


than the testimony of their own Cajetan, 1 "that it were
more for the edification of the Church, that the prayers were
in the vulgar tongue?" He says no more than St. Paul says ;
and he could not speak it plainer. And indeed no man of
sense can deny it, unless he affirms, at the same time, that
it is better to speak what we understand not, than what we
do ; or that it were better to serve God without that noble
faculty than with it ; that is, that the way of a parrot and a
jackdaw were better than the way of a man ; and that, in
the service of God, the priests and the people are to differ
as a man and a bird.

But besides all this ; was not Latin itself, when it was
first used in Divine service, the common tongue, and gene-
rally understood by many nations and very many colonies ?
And if it was then the use of the Church to pray with the
understanding, why shall it not be so now ? However, that
it was so then, and is not so now, demonstrates that the
Church of Rome hath in this material point greatly inno-
vated : let but the Roman Pontifical be consulted, and there
will be yet found a form of ordination of readers, in which
it is said, 'That they must study to read distinctly and plain-
ly, that the people may understand:'" 1 but now it seems
that labour is saved. And when a notorious change was
made in this affair, we can tell by calling to mind the fol-
lowing story. The Moravians did say mass in the Sclavonian
tongue ; for which Pope John the Eighth severely reproved
them, and commanded them to do so no more; but being
better informed, he wrote a letter to their Prince Sfentoputero,
in which he affirms, that it is not contrary to faith and sound
doctrine to say mass and other prayers in the Sclavonian
tongue, and adds this reason ; because he that made Hebrew,
Greek, and Latin, hath made the others also for his glory ;
and this also he confirms with the authority of St. Paul's
first Epistle to the Corinthians, and some other scriptures;
only he commanded, for the decorum of the business, the
Gospel should first be said in Latin, and then in the Sclavo-

1 Respon. ad artic. pacis. Magis fore ad aedificationem ecclesire, ut preces vul-
gari lingua conciperentur. Ex Lac doctrina Pauli habeturquod melius ad redifica-
tionem ecclesiae est, orationes publicas, qua? audiente populo, dicuutur, dici lingua
communi clericis et populo, quam dici Latinii. Idem in 1 Cor. xiv.

m Studete verba Dei, viz. Lectiones sacras distincte et aperte ad intelligentiam
et ffidificationem fidelium, absque omni mendacio falsitatis, proferre, &c.


nian tongue. But just two hundred years after this, the tables
were turned, and though formerly these things were per-
mitted, yet so were many things in the Primitive Church ;
but upon better examination they have been corrected. And,
therefore, Pope Gregory the Seventh wrote to Vratislaus, of
Bohemia, that he could not permit the celebration of the
Divine offices in the Sclavonian tongue, and he commanded
the prince to oppose the people herein with all his forces.
Here the world was strangely altered, and yet St. Paul's
Epistle was not condemned of heresy, and no council had
decreed that all vulgar languages were profane ; and no rea-
son can yet be imagined why the change was made, unless
it were to separate the priest from the people, by a wall of
Latin, and to nurse stupendous ignorance in them, by not
permitting to them learning enough to understand their pub-
lic prayers, in which every man was greatly concerned. Nei-
ther may this be called a slight matter ; for besides that
Gregory the Seventh thought it so considerable, that it was
a just cause of a war or persecution (for he commanded the
prince of Bohemia to oppose the people in it with all his
forces) ; besides this, I say, to pray to God with the under-
standing, is much better than praying with the tongue ; that
alone can be a good prayer, this alone can never ; and then
the loss of all those advantages which are in prayers truly
understood, the excellence of devotion, the passion of de-
sires, the ascent of the mind to God, the adherence to and
acts of confidence in him, the intellectual conversation
with God, most agreeable to a rational being, the melt-
ing affections, the pulses of the heart to and from God, to
and from ourselves, the promoting and exercising of our
hopes, all these and very many more (which can never be
entire but in the prayers and devotions of the heart, and can
never be in any degree but in the same, in which the prayers
are acts of love and wisdom, of the will and the understand-
ing) will be lost to the greatest part of the catholic Church,
if the mouth be set open, and the soul be gagged ; so that it
shall be the word of the mouth, but not the word of the mind.
All these things being added to what was said in this ar-
ticle by the 'Dissuasive,' will more than make it clear, that
in this article (the consequents of which are very great) the
Church of Rome hath causelessly troubled Christendom, and


innovated against the Primitive Church, and against her own
ancient doctrines and practices, and even against the apostle :
but they "care for none of these things." Some of their own
bigots profess the thing in the very worst of all these expres-
sions ; for so Reynolds and Gifford, in their ' Calvino Turcis-
mus,' complain that such horrid and stupendous evils have
followed the translation of Scriptures into vulgar languages,
that they are offeree enough "ad istas translationes penitus
supprimendas, etiamsi divina vel apostolica auctoritate nite-
rentur; although they did rely upon the authority apo-
stolical or divine, yet they ought to be taken away." So that
it is to no purpose to urge Scripture, or any argument in the
world, against the Roman Church in this article ; for if God
himself commanded it to be translated, yet it is not sufficient;
and, therefore, these men must be left to their own way of
understanding; for beyond the law of God, we have no
argument. I will only remind them, that it is a curse which
God threatens to his rebellious people, " I will speak to this
people with men of another tongue, and by strange lips, and
they shall not understand.'" 1 This is the curse which the Church
of Rome contends earnestly for, in behalf of their people.


Of the Worship of Images.

THAT society of Christians will not easily be reformed, that
think themselves obliged to dispute for the worship of
images, the prohibition of which was so great a part of the
Mosaic religion, and is so infinitely against the nature and
spirituality of the Christian ; a thing which every under-
standing can see condemned in the decalogue, and no man
can excuse, but witty persons that can be bound by no words,
which they can interpret to a sense contradictory to the de-
sign of the common : a thing for the hating of, and abstain-
ing from which, the Jews were so remarked by all the world,
and by which as by a distinct cognizance they were separated
from all other nations, and which, with perfect resolution,
they keep to this very day, and for the not observing of which
they are intolerably scandalized at those societies of Christ-

n Isa. xxviii. 11.


ians, who, without any necessity in the thing, without any
pretence of any law of God, for no good, and for no wise
end, and not without infinite danger, at least, of idolatry,
retain a worship and veneration to some stocks and stones.
Such men as these are too hard for all laws, and for all argu-
ments ; so certain it is, that faith is an obedience of the will
in a conviction of the understanding ; that if in the will and
interests of men there be a perverseness and a non-compli-
ance, and that it is not bent by prudent and wise flexures,
and obedience to God, and the plain words of God in Scrip-
ture, nothing can ever prevail, neither David, nor his sling,
nor all the worthies of his army.

In this question I have said enough in the ' Dissuasive,'
and also in the ' Ductor Dubitantium ; ' but to the arguments
and fulness of the persuasion, they neither have nor can they
say any thing that is material; but, according to their usual
method, like flies they search up and down, and light upon
any place which they suppose to be sore, or would make their
proselytes believe so. I shall therefore first vindicate those
few quotations which the epistles of his brethren except
against (for there are many, and those most pregnant, which
they take no notice of) ; as bearing in them too clear a convic-
tion. 2. I shall answer such testimonies, which some of them
steal out of Bellarmine, and which they esteem as absolutely
their best. And, 3. I shall add something in confirmation of
that truth of God, which I here have undertaken to defend.

First, for the questioned quotations against the worship
of images ; St. Cyril was named, in the ' Dissuasive,' as de-
nying that the Christians did give veneration and worship to
the image even of the cross itself; but no words of St. Cyril
were quoted ; for the denial is not in express words, but in
plain and direct argument ; for being by Julian charged with
worshipping the cross, St. Cyril, in behalf of the Christians,
takes notice of their using the cross in a religious memory of
all good things, to which, by the cross of Christ, we are en-
gaged ; that is, he owns all that they did, and therefore taking
no notice of any thing of worship, and making no answer to
that part of the objection, it is certain that the Christians did
not do it, or that he could not justify them in so doing. But
because I quoted no words of St. Cyril, I shall now take
notice of some words of his, which do most abundantly clear


this particular by a general rule : " Only the divine nature is
capable of adoration, and the Scripture hath given adoration
to no nature but to that of God alone ; " "that, and that alone,
ought to be worshipped." But to give a little more light
to this particular, it may be noted, that, before St. Cyril's
time, this had been objected by the pagans, particularly by
Caecilius, to which Minutius answers by directly denying it
and saying, that the pagans did rather worship crosses, that
is, the wooden parts of their gods. The Christians indeed
were by Tertullian called ' religiosi crucis,' because they had
it in thankful use and memory, and used it frequently in a

Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) → online text (page 14 of 50)