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is derived to us from the apostles ; and by this the baptism
of infants is much confirmed unto the Church ; and what-
soever can descend to us and be observed in this channel,
there is no sufficient reason to deny it to be apostolical : but
then how far it can be obligatory to all ages and to all
churches, will be another consideration ; it being on all hands
confessed, that some rituals which were observed in the
apostles' times, are, with good cause and just authority, laid
aside by several churches. But of this I shall give particular
accounts.

42. (4.) ' When all the doctors of the Church by common
consent testify concerning any particular that it descends
from apostolical tradition, we are to hold it for such :
whether they affirm this in all their writings, or together in
a council.' To this rule I answer, That where it would do
good, there it is not practicable ; and where it is practicable,
there it is not true. For it is indeed practicable, that a coun-
cil may give testimony to a particular, that it came from the
apostles ; but it does not follow that they are not deceived ;
for it never was, and it never will be, that all the doctors of
the Church shall meet together in council, and unless they
do, their testimony is not universal. But if all the fathers
should write in their books that such a thing was delivered
by the apostles, unless it were evidently against Scripture or
right reason, there could be no sufficient cause to disbelieve
it ; and it were the best way we have of conveying and
handing the tradition to us, next to the universal practice of
the Church in her rituals. But there is no such thing so con-
veyed to us : and, therefore, Bellarmine plays at small game
with this rule, and would fain have the world admit tradition
for apostolical, if some fathers of great name say so, and
others that speak of the same thing, contradict it not. But
this is a plain begging, that when he cannot prove a thing



140 OF THE INTERPRETATION AND OBLIGATION

to be tradition apostolical by a good argument and sufficient,
we will be content to take it without proof, or at least to be
content with such as he hath, and believe his own word for
the rest, though he knows nothing of it. Tf it fails or goes
less than " omnibus, and semper, and ubique," which is Vin-
centius's measure, it cannot be warranted ; and he that allows
it is more kind than wise. St. Basil k proves the perpetual
virginity of the blessed Virgin Mary, by a tradition that Za-
chary was slain by the Jews, between the porch and the altar,
for affirming her to be a virgin after the birth of her most
holy son : but St. Jerome 1 says it is " apocryphorum som-
nium, a dream of apocryphal persons." But it was a long
time before the report of the millenary tradition was contra-
dicted ; and yet, in that interval, in which many of the most
eminent fathers attested it to have descended from the apo-
stles, it was neither true nor safe to have believed it. But
then, as to the particular and more practicable part of this
rule, that ' if a general council affirms it to be tradition
apostolical, it is so to be accepted,', it is evidently fallacious
and uncertain ; for the second Council of Nice affirmed the
veneration of images to be an apostolical tradition : but it is
so far from being true that it was so as they affirmed, that
not only the apostolical, but divers of the following ages
hated all images, and did not think it lawful so much as to
make them ; of which I have already 1 " given a large account
in this book.

43. (5.) ' When the apostolical churches, which from the
apostles have had uninterrupted succession, do witness con-
cerning any thing that it is apostolical tradition, it is to be
admitted for such.' This rule was good before the chan-
nels were mingled with impure waters entering in. It was
used by Irenaeus, Tertullian, St. Austin, and others; and it
was to them of great advantage. But although it was good
drinking of Euphrates when it newly ran from the garden
of Eden, yet when it began to mingle with the Borborus, it
was not good : and who durst have trusted this rule when
Dioscorus was bishop of Alexandria, who yet was lineally
descended from St. Mark? And who durst have relied upon
this rule when Pope Julius absolved the Sabellian heretics,
and communicated with Marcellus Ancyranus ? and when

k Serrn. de S. Natmtat. ' In Matt, xxiii. m Cap. ii. rule 5.



OF THE LAWS OF JESUS CHRIST. 141

St. Basil n complains of the western bishops, and particu-
larly the Roman, " quod veritatem neque norunt, neque
discere sustinent cum iis, qui veritatem ipsis annunciant,
contendentes, haeresin autem per seipsos stabilientes ;
that they neither know the truth, nor care to learn it ;
but they contend with them who tell them the truth, and by
themselves establish heresy." " Quia multi principes et
summi pontifices et alii inferiores inventi sunt apostatasse a
fide, propterea ecclesia consistit in illis personis, in quibus
est notitia vera, et confessio fidei et veritatis." How can this
rule guide any man, when all the apostolical churches have
fallen into error, and many popes have been apostates from
the faith, and the Church consisted not of prelates, but indif-
ferently of all that believed and professed the truth, which
the popes, and princes, and prelates, did deny? The aposto-
lical Church of Antioch is not ; and the patriarchal Church
of Alexandria is accused by the Latins of great errors ; and
the mother Church of Jerusalem hath no succession, but is
buried in ruins ; and the Church of Rome is indeed splen-
did ; but he that will take her word for tradition, is sure to
admit many false ones, but not sure of any true, but such as
she hath in common with all the churches of the world.

44. I conclude therefore this question, that, amongst
those rules of discerning traditions truly apostolical from
them that are but pretended such, there is no rule competent
but one, which is scarcely practicable, which indeed trans-
mits to the Church a few rituals, but nothing of faith or rule
of good life ; and therefore it is to no purpose to look any
where else for the Divine rule of conscience but in the pages
of the Old and New Testament : they are sufficient, because
they were intended by God to be our only rule ; and yet if
God had intended traditions to be taken in, to integrate the
rule, and to oblige our conscience, it is certain that God
intends it not now, because the traditions are lost if there
were any ; and if they be now, they do not appear, and
therefore are to us as if they were not.

Question II.

45. The second question also does very nearly relate to
conscience and its conduct, viz. ' Since the Scripture is the

n Epist. x. Lyra in Matt. c. xvi.



142 OF THE INTERPRETATION AND OBLIGATION

perfect rule of conscience, and contains in it all the will of
God, whether or no, and how far, is a negative argument
from Scripture to prevail?'

46. The resolution of this depends upon the premises.
For if Scripture be the entire rule of faith and of manners,
that is, of the whole service and worship of God, then no-
thing is an article of faith, nothing can command a moral
action, that is not in its whole kind set down in Scripture.
This I proved by direct testimonies of Tertullian, St. Basil,
St. Austin, St. Cyril, Theophilus Alexandrinus, and St. Jerome,
in the foregoing numbers. p To which I add these ex-
cellent words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem ; speaking of the
Jerusalem creed, which he had recited and explicated, and
promised to prove from Scripture, he gives this reason ;
" Nam Divinorum sanctorumque fidei mysteriorum nihil, ne
minimum quidem, absque Divinis Scripturis tradi debet, neque
simplici probabilitate neque verborum ornatu traduci ;
Not the least part of the Divine and holy mysteries of faith
must be delivered without the Divine Scriptures. Believe not
me telling thee, unless I demonstrate what I say from the
Divine Scripture. For the safety and conservation of our
faith rely upon the proof of the Divine Scriptures." But
because there are some particulars and some variety in the
practice of this rule, 1 am to consider it now to other
purposes.

47. (1.) 'Nothing is necessary either to be believed or
done, unless it be in Scripture.' Thus St. Gregory Nyssen* 1
argues, " Ubinam dixit Deus in evangeliis oportere credere
in unurn et solum verum Deum ? Non possent ostendere nisi
habeant ipsi novum aliquod evangelium. Quse enirn ab anti-
quispertraditionem ad hsec usque tempera iu ecclesiis legun-
tur, hanc vocem non continent quae dicat, oportere credere
vel baptizare in unum solum verum Deum, quemadmodum
isti autumant,sed in nomen Patris,et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti."
I have, I confess, something wondered at the matter of this
discourse. For either the Arians have infinitely imposed upon
us, and interpolated Scripture in a very material article ; or
else St. Gregory forgot the seventeenth of St. John and the
third verse ; or else he insisted only upon the words 8e? irignvw,
for the same sense is in the place now cited. For if this be

P Vide num. 9. i Orat. ii. cont. Euuoiuium.



OF THE LAWS OF JESUS CHRIST. 143

' life eternal to know him the only true God, and whom he
hath sent, Jesus Christ,' then also to believe in them only is
life eternal, and then we are tied to believe in none else ; for
we cannot believe in that we do not know. Indeed the words
are not there or any where else, that " we ought to believe
in [God the Father] him, the one only true God," &c. But
certainly, if we are to know him only, then only to believe in
him seems to be a very good consequent. But St. Gregory
therefore only insisted upon the very words, and thought him-
self safe (as indeed he was) upon the reverse of another argu-
ment. For since the words " oportere credere in unum soluni
verum Deum" were not in St. John or any where else, he con-
cluded the contrary sense from a very good argument : we are
commanded to be baptized into the faith of Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost, therefore we are to believe in three : and because
the word " believe" was not set down expressly, where know-
ledge is confined to one or two, therefore it cannot be said
that we are tied to believe only in one or two : but because
to believe in three can be inferred as a duty from another
place, and therefore it cannot be denied as a consequent
from this ; and therefore he had no reason to insist upon his
negative argument. Thus St. Austin 1 " also argued; "Pater
enim solus nusquam legitur missus ; The Father is never
in Scripture said to be sent ; therefore no man must say it."
So Epiphanius ; s " Ipsa dictio non omnino cogit me de Filio
Dei dicere: non enim indicavit Scriptura, neque quisquam
apostolorum meminit, neque evangelium ; The manner of
speaking compels me not to understand it of the Son of God :
for the Scripture hath not declared it ; neither the Gospel
nor any of the apostles hath made any mention of it."

48. (2.) 'A negative argument from the letter of Scrip-
ture is not good, if the contrary affirmative can be drawn by
consequent from any part of it.' Thus our blessed Saviour,
confuting the sadducees in the article of the resurrection,
hath given us a warranty for this proceeding ; " God is the
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." These were the words
of Scripture. But these directly would not do the work.
But therefore he argues from hence, " God is not the God of
the dead, but of the living :" therefore these men are alive.
That the Holy Ghost is God is nowhere said in Scripture ;

r Lib. ii. de Trinit. c. 5, et c. 6. Cent. Her. lib. ii. tom. 2.



144 OF THE INTERPRETATION AND OBLIGATION

that the Holy Ghost is to be invocated is nowhere com-
manded, nor any example of its being done recorded. It
follows not therefore that he is not God, or that he is not to
be invocated : and the reason is, because that he is God is a
certain consequent from something that is expressly affirmed ;
and therefore the negative argument is imperfect, and con-
sequently not concluding. " Quse neque a Christianis di-
cuntur neque creduntur, neque ex consequente per ea, quae
apud nos certa sunt et concessa intelliguntur," 1 &c. "If
Christians did never speak nor believe any such thing, nor
can they be drawn from the consequence of those things
which are certain and granted amongst us, then indeed it is
to be rejected from our creed." .Now amongst Christians
this is believed as certain, that we may pray to Him in whom
we believe ; that we believe in Him into the faith of whom we
are baptized ; that we are commanded to be baptized into the
belief and profession of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost :
from hence Christians do know that they are to invocate the
Holy Ghost. For St. Paul's argument is good, " How shall
we call on him on whom we have not believed?" therefore
we may call on him if we believe on him : according to that
rule of reason, " Negatio unius diversum affirmat, The de-
nying of one is the affirmation of its contrary," in like matter.
And something of this was used by.Paschasius," the deacon :
and the effect of it prevailed upon this account of a nega-
tive from Scripture ; "In nullis autem canonicis libris, de
quibus symboli textus pendet, accepimus, quia in ecclesiam
credere sicut in Spiritum Sanctum Filiumque debemus ;
We are taught in no scripture (from whence the creed is
derived) to believe in the Church as we believe in the Son
and in the Holy' Ghost : " and therefore we ought not to do
it ; but it being plain in the creed, and consequently in the
Scripture, that we must believe in the Holy Ghost, therefore
also we may pray to him, and confess him to be God. To the
same purpose St. Basil argues concerning the Holy Spirit ;
" Dignitate namque ipsa secundum esse a Filio pietatis sermo
fortassis tradit : natura vero tertia uti nee a Divinis Scripturis
edocti sumus, nee ex antecedentibus possibile est consequenter
colligi," that the Holy Spirit is of a nature distinct from the
Father and the Son, we neither are taught in Scripture,

* S. Greg. Nyssen. ibid. " Lib. de Spir. dec. !._.



OF THE LAWS OF JESUS CHRIST. 145

" neither can it be drawn into consequence from any ante-
cedent pretences." x

49. (3.) ' A negative argument of a word or an expression
cannot be consequently deduced in the negation of the mys-
tery signified by that word.' The Arians therefore argued
weakly, " Shew us in all the Scripture that the Son is called
o/Aoovffiog, or ' consubstantial ' to the Father ; if you cannot,
you ought not to affirm it." For we know God is one ; if
therefore we find in Scripture that the Son is true God, we
know he must needs be of the same substance with his Father ;
for two substances cannot make one God. So though the
blessed Virgin Mary be not in Scripture called dzoroxog, * the
mother of God/ yet that she was the mother of Jesus, and
that Jesus Christ is God, and yet but one person, that we
can prove from Scripture, and that is sufficient for the
appellative ; and if the Church of Rome could prove the
mystery of transubstantiation from Scripture, we would in-
dulge to them the use of that word, or any other, aptly to
express the same thing.

50. (4.) ' A negative argument from Scripture is suffi-
cient to prove an article not to be of necessary belief, but is
not sufficient to prove it not to be true.' Because although
the Scripture is the measure of faith and of manners, yet it is
not an adequate measure of all truth. The meaning of which
rule takes in all truths of art, of experience, of prudence, of
tradition, and common report. Thus, although it be nowhere
said in Scripture that our blessed Saviour said, " Nunquam
Iseti sitis nisi cum fratrem vestrum in caritate videritis ;
Be never very merry but when you see your brother in
charity ;" yet St. Jerome reports it of him, and it is a worthy

* Nonne perspicuum est, ista, tametsi non dicantur, tamen ex illis colligi quse
Laec necessario efficiant ac probent 1 Quas tandem? ' Ego sum primus ;' et post
hrec, ' et ante me non est alius Deus, et post me non erit.' Totum enimquicquid
est, mecum, nee principium habens, nee finem babiturum. His a Scriptura accep-
tis, illud quidem, quod ante eum nihil sit, nee antiquiorem causam habeat, anar.
chum et ingenitum appellasti : quod autem nunquam desiturum sit, immortale,
exitiique expers. A T a:ia?ts. lib. v. Theol, interprete Jacobo Billlo. Et infra ;
Cum ergo in nominibus et rebus tantum discrimen reperiatur, quid causae est cur
liters tantopere servias, Judaicsque sapientiae teipsum adjungas,relictisque rebus
syllabas consecteris ? Quod si te bis quinque aut bis septem dicente, decem aut
quatuordecim ex verbis tuis colligerem, aut ex eo quod animal ratione praditum
et mortale diceres, homiuem esse concluderera, an tibi viderer delirare 1 Neque
enim verba magis sunt ejus qui loquitur quam illius qui loquendi necessitatem
simul affert.

VOL. XIII L



146 OF THE INTERPRETATION AND OBLIGATION

saying, and therefore may very well be entertained, not only
as true and useful, but as from Christ. The Scripture no-
where says that the blessed Virgin was a virgin perpetually
to the day of her death : but as therefore it cannot be
obtruded as an article of faith, yet there are a great many
decencies and probabilities of the thing, besides the great
consent of almost all the Church of God, which make it very
fit to be entertained. There are some things which are " pie
credibilia, there is piety in the believing them:" and in
such cases it is not enough that there is nothing in Scripture
to affirm it; if there be any thing in any other topic, it is to
be entertained according to the merit of the thing.

51. (5.) ' A negative argument from Scripture does not
conclude in questions of fact.' And therefore St. Jerome y
did not argue rightly, " Quahquam excepto apostolo non sit
manifeste relatum de aliis apostolis quod uxores habuerint,
et cum de uno scriptum sit ac de cseteris taciturn, intelligere
debemus, sine uxoribus eos fuisse, de quibus nihil tale Scrip-
tura significat ; The Scripture names only Peter's wife,
and does not say that any other of the apostles were married,
therefore we are to conclude that they were not." For
besides that the allegation is not true, and St. Paul intimates
that the other apostles, as well as Peter, did lead about a
sister, a wife ; and that from thence the fathers did believe
them all to have been married except St. John, and some
also except St. Paul; yet the argument is not good; for it
may as well be concluded, that St. Peter never had a child,
or that Christ did never write but once when he wrote upon
the ground, because the Scripture makes no mention oieither.

52. (6.) ' When a negative argument may be had from
Scripture for both the parts of the contradiction, nothing at
all can be concluded thence.' But it must be wholly argued
from other topics. The Scripture neither says that Christ
did ever laugh, nor does it say that he did never laugh ;
therefore either of the contradicting parts may be equally
inferred, that is, truly neither. And indeed this is of itself a
demonstration, that in matters of fact and matters not neces-
sary, a negative argument from Scripture is of no use at all.

53. (7.) ' But when the question is of lawful or unlawful,
then it is valid.' If it be not in Scripture forbidden, directly
or by consequent, then it is lawful : it is not by God

T Lib. i. cont. Jovin.



OF THE LAWS OF JESUS CHRIST. 147

forbidden at all. And, on the other side, if it be not there
commanded, it is not necessary. Lucentius thus argued in
the Council of Chalcedon : " Dioscorus synoduin ausus est
facere sine auctoritate sedis apostolicae, quod nunquam licuit,
nunquam factum est." That it was never done, proves not
but that it may be done ; but if it was never lawful to be
done, then it was forbidden ; for whatsoever is not forbidden
is not unlawful ; but if it was not in Scripture forbidden,
then ' aliquando licuit, it once was lawful;' and therefore
is always so, if we speak of the Divine law; and if Lucentius
speaks of that, he ought to have considered it in the instance ;
but I suppose he means it of custom, or the ecclesiastical
law ; and therefore I meddle not with the thing, only I
observe the method of his arguing.

54. (8.) 'An argument from the discourse of one single
person omitting to affirm or deny a thing relating to that of
which he had discourse, is no competent argument to prove
that the thing itself omitted was not true.' And therefore
Ruffinus 2 had but a weak argument against the traduction of
the soul when he argued thus : "Si anima quoque esset ex
anima secundum illorum vanas opiniones, nunquam profecto
hoc Adam prseterisset. Nam sicut ' os ex ossibus meis et
caro de carne mea ' dicebat, sic etiain * anima ex anima mea '
dicere potuisset. Sed tantum hoc dixit quod sibi videlicet
sciebat ablatum ; Adam, seeing his wife, said, 'This is
bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh;' for he knew what
was taken from him ; but he could have said, ' soul of my
soul,' if the soul had been derived from him." This, I say,
is no good argument, unless every one must be supposed,
when he says any thing, to say all that is true, and all that
he knows ; so that Ruffinus, in this particular, defended a
good cause with a broken sword.

55. (9.) ' But if that which is omitted in the discourse
be pertinent and material to the inquiry, then it is a very
good probability, that that is not true that is not affirmed.'
When the Jews asked our blessed Saviour, ' Why do the dis-
ciples of John and of the pharisees fast so often, but thy dis-
ciples fast not ?' he gave an answer that related to the pre-
sent state of things and circumstances at that time, and said
nothing of their not fasting in the time of the Gospel ; from

! Lib. de Fide, n. 28.



148 OF THE INTERPRETATION AND OBLIGATION

which silence we may well conclude, that there is nothing
in the religion disobliging Christ's disciples from fasting ; if
it had, it is very likely it would have been then expressed
when there was so apt an occasion, and the answer had been
imperfect without it. St. Jerome's" was also very good, but
not so certain as the other, against the tale of Leo baptized
after his death, and the periods of Paul and Tecla : " Igitur
periodos Pauli et Teclae et totam baptizati Leonis fabulam
inter apocryphas Scripturas computamus. Quale enim est ut
individuus conies apostoli inter cseteras ejus res hoc solum
ignoraverit ? " It is not likely that' St. Luke, who continu-
ally attended on St. Paul, observed all his actions, remarked
his miracles, described his story, should omit things so
strange, so considerable, if they had been true.

56. The reason of these things is, ' Every thing is to be
suspected false that does not derive from that fountain,
whence men justly expect it, and from whence it ought to
flow.' If you speak of any thing that relates to God, you
must look for it there where God hath manifested himself;
that is, in the Scriptures. If you speak of any human act or
ordinance, or story and matter of fact, you must look for it
in its own spring and original, or go the nearest to it you
can. And thus the bishops, at the conference had with the
Acephali, heretics who had churches without bishops, re-
fused their allegations of the authority of Dionysius the
Areopagite, b upon this account : " Ilia testimonia quse vos
Dionysii Areopagitae dicitis, unde potestis ostendere vera
esse sicut suspicamini? Si enim ejus essent, non potuis-
sent latere beatum Cyrillum. Quid autem de beato Cyrillo
dico, quando et beatus Athanasius, si pro certo scisset ejus
fuisse, ante omnia in Niceno Concilio de consubstantiali Tri-
m'tate eadem testimonia protulisset adversus Arii diverssesub-
stantise blasphemias? Si autem nullus ex antiquis recordatus
est ea, unde nunc potestis ostendere quod illius sunt, nescio ;
If neither St. Cyril nor St Athanasius, who were so diligent
to inquire, so skilful in knowing, so concerned that these
books should be the works of St. Dionysius, did yet know
nothing of them, and if amongst the ancients they were not
known; for you moderns now to tell of antiquity what by
them who then lived was not told, is a folly that can never

Lib. de Script. Eccles. in Luca. b C. Pli. A. D. 532.



OF THE LAWS OF JESUS CHRIST. 149

gain credit amongst reasonable persons. Let every fruit
proceed from its own root. We cannot say, because a thing
is not in Scripture, therefore it is not at all ; but therefore it
is nothing of Divine religion. So it is also in things relating



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