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well as shine ; that is, it makes them do that which in their
own nature they are apt to do, and from doing which they
are only hindered accidentally.

20. By these instances it is evident, that we ought not
to refuse tradition when it is universal ; nor yet believe that,
in any thing of great concernment, though it be but matter
of rite and government, the Scripture is defective ; for in
these things we admit tradition to be the commentary but
Scripture to be the text: crav-a <tv,'j,$uvct raTg ygupaTg, as Ire-
nseus u in Eusebius expresses it, "all must be agreeable to
Scripture." And although a tradition so absolutely universal
as these, were a warranty greater than any objection can be
against them, and were to be admitted though they had not
express authority in Scripture, as all these have ; yet that
even these things also are in Scripture, is a very great argu-
ment of the perfection of it.

21. For all other things the Scripture is abundant, and
whatever else is to be used in the externals and appendages
of religion, the authority of the Church is a sufficient war-
ranty, as I shall prove in its proper place. But if, in these
externals, there be a tradition, according to the degree of its
antiquity and universality, so it puts on degrees of reason-
ableness, and may be used by any age of the Church : and if
there be nothing supervening that alters the case, it is better
than any thing that is new ; if it be equally fit, it is not
equally good, but much better.

22. This is all the use which is, by wise and good men,
made of traditions, and all the use which can justly be made
by any man ; and besides the premises this will be yet fur-
ther apparent, that although there are some universal prac-
tices, which ever were and still are in all Churches, which
are excellent significations of the meaning of these Scriptures,
where the practices are less clearly enjoined, yet there are
no traditive doctrines distinct from what are consigned in

Lib. v. c. 20.



120 OF THE INTERPRETATION AND OBLIGATION

Scripture. And this I shall represent in the third particular,
which I promised to give account of, viz.

23. That the topic of tradition, after the consignation of the
canon of Scripture, was not only of little use in any question
of faith and manners, but falsely pretended for many things,
and is unsafe in all questions of present concernment.

24. In order to the proof of this, I divide the great heap
of traditions, which are shovelled together by the Church of
Rome, into three little heaps: 1. Of things necessary or
matters of faith ; 2. Of things impertinent to the faith and
unnecessary; 3. Of things false.

25. The traditions of things necessary, are the trinity of
persons, the consubstantiality of the eternal Son of God
with his Father, the baptism of infants, the procession of
the Holy Ghost from the Son, and original sin, that the
Father was not begotten, that the Holy Ghost is God, and
to be invocated, that baptism is not to be reiterated, that
in Christ there are two natures and one person. Now that
these be appertaining to the faith, I easily grant ; but that
the truth of these articles and so much of them as is certain
or necessary is also in Scripture, I appeal to all the books of
the fathers, and of all moderns 11 who do assert them by tes-
timonies from Scripture. " Quicquid sciri vel praedicari opor-
tet de incarnatione, de vera Divinitate atque humanitate Filii
Dei, duobus ita continetur Testamentis, ut extra hsec nihil
sit, quod annunciari debet aut credi," said Rupertus Abbas,
as I before quoted him. " All the mysteries of Christ's nature
and person, of his humanity and Divinity, are clearly set down
in both Testaments." But they are not clearly reported in
tradition : the fathers having sometimes spoken in these
articles more in the Arian than in the Catholic style, say
Hosius, Gordon, Huntly,Gretser. Tanner, Perron, and Fisher.
By Scriptures, therefore, the Church confuted the Arians, the
Eutychians, the Nestorians, the Monothelites, the Photi-
nians, and the Sabellians. The other articles are also y

* De Author. S. Script, lib. iii. p. 53, torn. i. cont. 1, de Verbo Dei, c. 19.
In Colloq. Ratisbon. lib. iii. c. 3, centre le Roy Jaques, et lib. ii. c. 7, de
Euchar. cont. Du Plessis, et c. 5, obser. 4, Resp. ad Quaest. 9, Jacobi Regis
Epipb. hseres. 69 .

St. Ambros. c. 5. lib. de Fide contra Arianos. S. Aug. tract, xcvii. in Johan.
et epist. 174, 178. St. Atbanas. in libel, de Decret. Synod. Nicen. Tertul. adv.
Praxeam. Theodoret. dial. ii. c. 4. Sulmero, disp. 4, in 2, ad Timoth.



OF THE LAWS OF JESUS CHRIST. 121

evidently in the words of Scripture or in the first consequences
and deductions. And when we observe the men of the
Church of Rome going about with great pretensions to con-
firm all their articles by Scriptures, they plainly invalidate
all pretence of necessity of traditions. If they say that all
the articles of Trent are not to be found in Scripture, let
them confess it plainly, and then go look out for proselytes.
If they say there are scriptures for all their articles, then
Scripture is sufficient, or else their faith is not. For all
these I before reckoned, it is certain both they and we have,
from Scripture, many proofs ; and, if there were not, I be-
lieve tradition would fail us very much ; for the heresies
which oppugned them, were very early ; and they also had
customs and pretences of customs to prescribe for their false
doctrines : as I shall make appear in the following periods.

26. There are also traditions pretended of things which
are not necessary, such as are the fast of Lent, godfathers
and godmothers in baptism, the mixture of wine and water
in the eucharistical chalice, the keeping of Easter upon the
first day of the week, trine immersion in baptism, the
apostles' creed, prayer for the dead, the Wednesday and
the Friday fast, unction of sick people, canon of Scrip-
ture, the forms of sacraments, and the perpetual virginity
of the Virgin Mary. Now that these are not Divine tradi-
tions nor apostolical, appears by the destitution of their
proper proof. They are ecclesiastical traditions and of seve-
ral ages, and, some of them, of very great antiquity; but of
what obligation they are, I shall account in the chapter of
' Laws Ecclesiastical.' In the meantime, they neither are
of the necessity of faith, nor the essential duty of Christian
religion : and therefore as a Christian cannot go to heaven
without the observation of them in certain circumstances, so
is the Scripture a perfect canon without giving rules concern-
ing them at all.

27. But then as for others, there are indeed a great many
pretended to be traditions, but they are false articles, or
wicked practices, or uncertain sentences at the best. I reckon
some of those which the Roman Church obtrudes : such as
are invocation of saints and angels ; adoration of them, and
worshipping of images; the doctrine of purgatory ; prayer
in an unknown tongue ; the pope's power to depose kings,



122 OF THE INTERPRETATION AND OBLIGATION

and to absolve from lawful and rate oaths ; the picturing of
God the Father and the Holy Trinity ; the half- communion ;
the doctrine and practice of indulgences ; canon of the
mass; the doctrine of proper sacrifice in the mass; monas-
tical profession ; the single life of priests and bishops. Now
these are so far from being apostolical traditions, that they
are, some of them, apparently false, some of them expressly
against Scripture, and others confessedly new, and either
but of yesterday, or, like the issues of the people, born where
and when no man can tell. Concerning indulgences, Anto-
nius, z the famous archbishop of Florence, says, that * we have
nothing expressly recited in Holy Scripture, nor are they found
at all in the writings of the ancient doctors.' The half-
communion is, by the Council of Constance, affirmed to be
different from the institution of Christ and the practice of
the Primitive Church. Concerning invocation of saints,
** Cum scriberentur Scripturse, nondum coeperat usus vovendi
sanctis." 3 Bellarmine b confesses that 'in the age in which
the Scriptures were written, the use of making vows to saints
was not begun ; ' and Cardinal Perron c excludes the next ages
from having any hand in the invocation of them. " Et quant
aux autheurs plus proche du siecle apostolique, encore qu'il
ne se trouve pas de vestiges de ceste coustume," &c. " In
the authors more near the apostolical age, no footsteps of
this custom can be found."

Concerning making an image of the Father or of the
Holy Trinity, Baronius cites an epistle of Gregory II. An.
Dom. 726, in which he gives a reason why the Church did
not make any picture of the Father ; which forces him to
confess, that the beginning of the custom of painting the
Father and the Holy Ghost, " postea usu venit in Ecclesia,
came into use afterward in the Church."

The doctrine of purgatory is not only expressly against
Scripture, saying, " Blessed are the dead which die in the
Lord, even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their la-
bours;" but it is also certain, that it was not so ancient as

Snmma Theol. p. 1, tit. 10, c. 3, de Indtilg. fol. 202. Venet. 1582. Vide
etiani Cajetan. c. ii. de Indulgent. Navar. Comment, de Jubil. et Indulgent.
Biel. lect. 57, in Can. Missae.
b De Cultu Sanctorum, c. ix. sect. Praeterea.
c Centre le Roy de la Grand Bretagne, p. 1009.



OF THE LAWS OF JESUS CHRIST. 123

the canon of the Roman mass ; the age of which no man can
tell any more than they can tell the age of a flock of sheep
or a company of men and children together ; for one piece is
old, and another is late, and another of a middle age. But
the prayer which in the canon is for the dead, supposes that
they are not in purgatory ; but prays for them which are
asleep in rest and quietness.

28. I shall not instance in any more, because I shall in
other places meet with the rest : but these are a sufficient
indication how the Church hath been abused by the pretence
of tradition ; and that a bold man may, in private, confi-
dently tell his parishioner, that any doctrine is a tradition ;
and he is the more likely to prevail, because he cannot be
confuted by his undiscerning hearer, since so great parts and
so many ages of the Church have been told of things, that
they were traditions apostolical, when the articles themselves
are neither old nor true. Is it imaginable by a man of ordi-
nary understanding, or that hath heard any thing of anti-
quity, that the apostles should command their followers to
worship the relics of St. James, or St. Stephen ; or that St.
Peter did ever give leave to a man that had sworn, to go
from his oath, and not to do what he had sworn he would?
Is it likely that St. Peter or St. Paul should leave secret
instructions with St. Clement or St. Linus, that they might
depose kings lawfully when it was in their power, and when
kings did disagree in opinion from them? Is there any
instance, or precept, or line, or doctrine, or history, that ever
any apostle or apostolical man consecrated the holy commu-
nion where there was none to communicate ? It was never
heard that a communion could be single, till the ' catholic '
Church came to signify the 'Roman:' and yet if Scripture
will not prove these things, tradition must. The experience
and the infinite unreasonableness of these things does suffi-
ciently give a man warning of attending to such new traditions,
or admitting the topic in any new dispute, it having been so
old a cheat : and after the canon of Scripture was full, and
after that almost the whole Church had been abused by the
tradition of Papias in the millenary opinion, which for three
hundred years of the best and first antiquity prevailed, all the
world should be wiser than to rely upon that which might



124 OF THE INTERPRETATION AND OBLIGATION

introduce an error, but which truth could never need, it
being abundantly provided for in Scripture.

29. Sometimes men have been wiser ; and when a tradi-
tion apostolical hath been confidently pretended, they would
as confidently lay it aside, when it was not in Scripture.
Clemens Alexandrinus reckons many traditions apostolical ;
but no man regards them. Who believes that the Greeks
were saved by their philosophy, or that the apostles preached
to dead infidels, and then raised them to life, although these
were by St. Clement affirmed to have been traditions aposto-
lical ? Did the world ever the more believe that a council
might not be called but by the authority and sentence of the
bishop of Rome, though Marcellus was so bold as to say it
was a canon apostolical ? And after St. Jerome had said these
words, " prsecepta majorum apostolicas traditiones quisque
existimat," that " what their fathers commanded, all men
were wont to call them traditions apostolical ;'' no man had
reason to rely upon any thing, which, by any one, or two, or
three of the fathers, was called tradition apostolical, unless
the thing itself were also notorious, or proved by some other
evidence. But this topic of tradition is infinitely uncertain ;
and therefore, if it be pretended new, it can be of no use in
any of our questions. For if, in the Primitive Church, tradi-
tion was claimed by the opposite parties of a question, who
can be sure of it now? Artemon pretended it to be an apo-
stolical tradition that Christ was -\}//Xis a^ewro?, "a mere
man;" and the Nicene fathers proved it was not so, but
much rather the contrary : but that topic would not prevail
for either side. In the question of rebaptization of persons
baptized by heretics, both sides pretended tradition ; so they
did in that impertinent, but (as they then made it) great
question of the time of keeping Easter. Clemens Alexan-
drinus d said it was an apostolical tradition, that Christ
preached but one year; but Irenaeus 6 said it was an aposto-
lical tradition, that Christ was about fifty years old when he
died, and consequently that he preached almost twenty
years. But if they, who were almost at the fountain, were
uncertain of the river's head ; how shall we know it, who
dwell where the waters are ready to unbosom themselves into

d Lib. i. Stromat. * Lib. ii. c. 39.



OF THE LAWS OF JESUS CHRIST. 125

the ocean? And to pretend an apostolical tradition in mat-
ters of faith, now that the books of the fathers have been
lost, and yet there are a very great many to be read for the
proving of tradition, that is, that there are too many and too
few ; that, in the loss of some of them, possibly we have lost
that light which would have confuted the present pretences
of tradition, and the remaining part have passed through the
limbecs and strainers of heretics, and monks, and ignorants,
and interested persons, and have passed through the correc-
tions, and deturpations, and mistakes of transcribers (a trade
of men who wrote books that they might eat bread, not
promote a truth), and that they have been disordered by
zeal, and faction, and expurgatory indices, and that men have
been diligent to make the fathers seem of their side ; and
that heretics have taken the fathers' names and published
books under false titles, and therefore have stamped and
stained the current ; is just as if a Tartar should offer to prove
himself to have descended from the family of King David,
upon pretence that the Jews mingled with their nation, and
that they did use to be great keepers of their genealogies.

30. But after all this, the question of tradition is wholly
useless in the questions between the Church of Rome and
the other parts of Christendom. Not only because there are
many Churches of differing rites and differing doctrines from
the Roman, who yet pretend a succession and tradition of
their customs and doctrines " per tempus immemoriale/'they
know not when they began, and, for aught they know, they
came from the apostles, and they are willing to believe it,
and no man amongst them questions it, and all affirm it ;
particularly the Greek Church, the Russians, the Abyssines ;
but also because those articles which they dispute with the
other Churches of the West, cannot be proved by tradition
universal, as infinitely appears in those pitiful endeavours
and attempts which they use to persuade them to be such ;
which if they did not sometimes confute themselves, the
reader may find confuted every where by their learned
adversaries.

31. Therefore, although the perfection of Scripture be
abundantly proved, yet if it were not, tradition will but make
it less certain, and therefore not more perfect. For besides
that nuncupative records are like diagrams in sand and



126 OF THE INTERPRETATION AND OBLIGATION

figures efformed in air, volatile and soon disordered, and
that by the words and practice of God, and all the world,
what is intended to last was therefore written, as appears
in very many places in Scripture/ and therefore Job calls
out, " O that my words were now written, O that they were
printed in a book, that they were engraved with an iron pen
and lead in the rock for ever : " upon which words the Greek
Catena says, " He draws a similitude from them who put
those things in writing which they very greatly desire should
remain to the longest posterity ; " and that the very nature of
things is such, that a tradition is infinitely better preserved
in writing than in speaking : and besides all those very many
weak, and uncertain, and false traditions with which several
men, and several ages, and several Churches, have abused
others, or been abused themselves ; I instance in two great
things, by the one of which we may see how easily the Church
may be imposed upon in the matter of tradition ; and by the
other, how easily those men impose upon themselves whose
faith hath a temporal bias and divertisement.

33. The first is, that very many epistles of popes, viz. from
St. Clemens to St. Gregory, that is, for above five hundred
years, were imposed upon the Church as the genuine writ-
ings of those excellent men, who governed the Church of
Rome in all her persecutions and hardnesses : and of these
epistles the present Church of Rome makes very great use
to many purposes, and yet no imposture could be greater
than this.

34. For, 1. They are patched up of several arguments and
materials not at all agreeing with the ages in which they
were pretended to be written, but are snatched from the writ-
ings of other men and latter times. 2. They were invented
after St. Jerome's time, as appears in the citation of the testi-
monies of Scripture from St. Jerome's translation, and the au-
thor cited St. Jerome's version of the Hebrew psalter. 3. They
were not known in Rome for eijrht ajjes together : which

O O O

were a strange thing that the records of Rome should have
no copies of the epistles of so many of the bishops of Rome.
4. They are infinitely false in their chronology ; and he that
invented them, put the years of false councils to their date, as

' Exod. xvii. 14 ; xxzir. 27. Job, xix. 23, 24. Psalm cii. 18. Isaiah, xxx. 8.
Jer. xxx. 2. Rev. i. 11, 19; xxi. 5.



OF THE LAWS OF JESUS CHRIST. 127

Baronius himself confesses, quite reckoning otherwise : and
in the epistles of the whole five-and-forty, the decrees of
councils and the words of ecclesiastical writers are cited,
who yet were not at all in their ages, but wrote after the
death of those popes who are pretended to have quoted
them ; or something is said that could not be done or said
by them, or in their times. 5. They are written with the
same style ; and therefore it is no more probable that they
should be the genuine epistles of so many popes, than that
so many men in several ages should have the same features
in their faces ; but these epistles say over the same things
several times, even unto tediousness, and yet use the very
same words without any differing expressions. 6. And some-
times these words were most intolerably barbarous, neither
elegantly fine, nor elegantly plain, but solecisms, impure
words, and the most rude expressions, not unlike the friars'
Latin, or the " epistolee obscurorum virorura." 7. IS one of
the ancient writers of the Church did ever cite any testimony
from these epistles for eight hundred years together, only one
part of one of the epistles of St. Clement was mentioned
by Ruffinus and the Council of Vase. 8. None of those who
wrote histories ecclesiastical, or of the Church-writers, made
mention of them : but all that do were above eight hundred
and thirty years after the incarnation of our blessed Lord,
9. And all this beside the innumerable errors in the matter
which have been observed by the centuriators of Magdeburg,
David Blondel, and divers others. And a more notorious
cheat could never have been imposed upon the world ; but
that there are so many great notorieties of falsehood, that it
is hard to say which is greater, the falsehood of the pontifical
book, or the boldness of the compiler. Now if so great, a
heap of records can at once be clapped upon the credulity of
men, and so boldly defended as it is by Turrian and Binius,
and so greedily entertained as it is by the Roman confidants,
and so often cited as it is by the Roman doctors, and yet have
in it so many strange matters so disagreeing to Scripture, so
weak, so impertinent, and sometimes so dangerous, there is
very great reason to reject the topic of traditions, which can
be so easily forged, and sometimes rely upon no greater
foundation than this, w r hose foundation is in water and sand,
and falsehood that is more unstable.



128 OF THE INTERPRETATION AND OBLIGATION

35. The other thing is, that heretics and evil persons, to
serve their ends, did not only pretend things spoken by the
apostles and apostolical and primitive men (for that was
easy), but even pretended certain books to be written by
them, that under their venerable names they might recom-
mend and advance their own heretical opinions. Thus some
false apostles, as Origen relates, wrote an epistle, and sent
it to the Church of Thessalonica under St. Paul's name,
which much troubled the Thessalonians ; and concerning
which, when St. Paul had discovered the imposture, he gives
them warning, that ' they should not be troubled about any
such epistle, as if he had sent it.' Thus there was a book
published by an Asian priest under St. Paul's name, as St.
Jerome reports, containing the vision of Paul and Tecla, and
I know not what old tale of the baptizing Leo. Some or
other made St. Clement a Eunomian, and Dionysius of
Alexandria an Arian, and Origen to be every thing, by in-
terpolating their books, or writing books for them. Ruffinus
tells that the heretics endeavoured to corrupt the Gospels :
and that they did invent strange acts of the apostles, and
made fine tales of their life and death, we need no better tes-
timony than Tertullian's instances in his books against Mar-
cion : and for this reason Origen 8 gives caution, " Oportet
caute considerare, ut nee omnia secreta, quae feruntur no-
mine sanctorum, suscipiamus ; We must warily consider
and not receive all th >se secret traditions, which go up and
down under the name of saints," viz. of the holy apostles.
And of the same nature is that famous cheat that usurps the
name of Dionysius the Areopagite, called ' The Passion of
Peter and Paul ;' as who please may see in Laurentius Valla
and Erasmus. And such is the book of the same passions at-
tributed to Linus ; which was invented so foolishly and care-
lessly, that it contradicts the Scriptures most apparently, as
every one that reads it may without difficulty observe. Now
the observation from these things is plain : in the matter of
traditions, as they are now represented, there is so much of
human failings, and so little of Divine certainty, they are
often falsely pretended, and never truly proved ; and if they
should need to be proved, were therefore not to be accepted ;
because no particular proofs can make them universal ; and

I lluiiul. xxvi. in Matt



OF THE LAWS OF JESUS CHRIST. 129

if they be not universal, of themselves they cannot be credi-
ble, but need something else to make them so; they are
(whether true or false) so absolutely now to no purpose, be-
cause it is too late to prove them now, and too late to need
them, the Church having so long accepted and relied upon
the canon of Scripture, that we are plainly, and certainly,
and necessarily, devolved upon Scripture for the canon of
our faith and lives. For though no man ought to reject tra-
dition if he did need it, and if he could have it, yet because



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