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to the ancient Church ; from thence only can we derive any
notice of their doctrine and of their practices. For if an
article prevailed in St. Austin's time, it was no argument
that therefore it was believed in St. Cyprian's lime : but a
negative argument from any age ought to prevail in refer-
ence to that age ; and if there be in it nothing of antiquity,
no argument of the moderns can prove it to be ancient : and
Baronius said well, " Quod a recentiori auctore de rebus
antiquis, sine alicujus vetustioris auctoritate, profertur, con-
temnitur; What the moderns say of the ancients without
warranty from themselves, is to be despised." One thing
only I am to add to this out of Vincentius Lirinensis : c " Quic-
quid vero ab antiquo deinceps uno praeter omnes, vel contra
omnes sanctos novum et inauditum subinduci senserit, id non
ad religionem sed ad tentationem potius intelligat perti-
nere ; If one of the fathers say a thing, and the others
say it not, but speak diversely or contrarily, that pertains not
to religion, but to temptation." I doubt not but he intended
it against St. Austin, who spake things in the matter of pre-
destination, and the damnation of infants, and other append-
ant questions, against the sense of all the fathers that were
before him ; one, it may be, or scarce one, being excepted.
And to the same purpose Tertullian d argued against Marcion,
concerning a pretended gospel of St. Paul : " Et si sub
ipsius Pauli nomine evangelium Marcion intulisset, non suf-
ficeret ad fidem singularitas instrument! destituta patrocinio
antecessorum ; If you cannot bring testimony from the
fathers and ancient records, you must not receive it ; one
alone is not to be trusted." He that affirms must prove ; to
him that denies, a negative argument is sufficient. For to a
man's belief a positive cause is required, but for his not
believing, it is sufficient that he hath no cause. Thus St.
Jerome e argues well against the rebaptizing of converted here-
tics : " Ad eos venio hsereticos, qui evangelia laniaverunt
quorum plurimi vivente adhuc Johanne apostolo eruperunt,

c Commonit. c. v. <> Lib. iv. c. 2, cont. Marcion.

* Dial. adr. Luciferianos.


et tamen tmllum eorum legimus rebaptizatum ; Of all the
heretics which appeared in St. John's time, we never read
of any that was rebaptized :" and therefore it is to be pre-
sumed they were not ; for a thing so considerable and so no-
torious, in all reason would have given some signs, and left
some indications of it. But then it is to be observed.

57. (10.) ' A negative argument must not be ^<sov ^^/jtov,
a partial or a broken piece of a medium :' You cannot argue
rightly thus, ' St. John in his Gospel speaks nothing of the
sacrament of the Lord's supper, therefore that sacrament is
no part of the doctrine of salvation.' For three evangelists
had done it before him, and therefore h,e did not ; and a
negative argument only from one Gospel cannot conclude
rightly concerning any article of the religion. And it is very
evident in matters of fact also. For if it be argued thus,
' We do not find in Scripture nor in the days of the apostles
any infant baptized ; therefore we conclude there was none ;'
this is p'saov pigixbv. It is true, if there were no way else to
find it but the practice of the apostles, the negative argu-
ment had been very good ; but we derive it from the force
of Christ's words of institution, and of his discourse with
Nicodemus, and the analogy of circumcision, and the prac-
tice of the Jews in baptizing their children, and many pro-
prieties of Scripture, and the effect of the sacrament, and the
necessities of regeneration. St. IrenseusV negative argument
was good ; " Quod neque prophetse praedicaverunt, neque
Dominus docuit, neque apostoli tradiderunt," &c. ; " If nei-
ther Moses nor the prophets, Christ nor his apostles, have
taught it, it is not to be received as any part of Christian
doctrine." For this negative is integral and perfect. But
St. Cyril 8 of Alexandria disputed also well with his negative
argument from antiquity, " Etenim nomen hoc sor6xo$ nul-
lus unquam ecclesiasticorum doctorum repudiavit : qui autem
illo subinde usi sunt, et multi reperiuntur, et maxiine
celebres; Many famous doctors used this word, calling
the Virgin Mary the parent of God ; and none ever refused it ;
therefore it may safely be used." If the negative argument
from Scripture or antiquity respectively can run thus, ' It was
not condemned in Scripture or antiquity, but it was used,
therefore it is good ;' the argument concludes rightly in relation

1 Lib. i. c. 1. 8 PrimA i>arte Concil. Ephes. c. 25.


to Scripture, and probably in relation to antiquity. But
if it be said only, l The Scripture condemns it not ;' but nei-
ther does it approve it, then it cannot be concluded to be
laudable, but only not criminal. But if it be said of antiquity,
* It was neither condemned nor used,' it cannot be inferred
from them, that it is either laudable or innocent. The rea-
son is, because Scripture is the measure of lawful and unlaw-
ful, but the writings of the doctors are not ; and these may
be deficient, though that be full.

58. (11.) ' In the mysteries of religion, and in things con-
cerning God, a negative argument from Scripture ought to pre-
vail both upon our faith and upon our inquiries, upon our
belief and upon our modesty :' For as St. Austin said well,
" De Deo etiam vera loqui periculosissimum ; It is hard
to talk many things of God :" we need have good warranty
for what we say ; and therefore it is very fit we speak
Scripture in the discourses of God. And thus St. Austin* 1
argued ; " Ideo nusquam scriptum est quod Deus Pater major
sit Spiritu Sancto, vel Spiritus Sanctus sit minor Deo Patre :
quia non sic assumpta est creatura, in qua appareret Spiritus
Sanctus, sicut assumptus est Filius hominis." Since it is
nowhere written that the Father is greater than the Spirit,
we ought not to say he is. But if it be objected, that neither
does the Scripture say that he is not greater, it does not say
that they are equal ; and therefore it will be hard to use a
negative argument in such cases ; and how shall we know
which part of the negative to follow? I answer, It is very
true according to the sixth proposition, numb. 52 ; but then,
in this case, we must inquire for other words of Scripture
by which we may be directed, and proceed accordingly,
or inquire into the analogy of faith, or the measures of
piety : but if there be nothing to determine to any side of
the negative, we must say nothing : and if there be, yet we
must say but little, because the notice is not great.

59. (12.) Lastly, ' In matters of envy and burden, a nega-
tive argument, even in matter of fact, ought to prevail, un-
less the contrary be proved by some other competent topic :'
That the clergy ought not to marry is nowhere affirmed
in Scripture, and therefore it is permitted ; and because it is
agreeable to nature and the laws of all republics, their

h Lib. ii. de Trinit. c. 6.


marriage is also holy and pleasing to God. A burden must not
be directly imposed ; a man must not be frighted or scared
into it. When our blessed Saviour reproved the pharisees for
imposing heavy burdens, such which God imposed not, he
taught us the value of this argument ; ' Ubi scriptum est ?
Shew us where it is written,' that this is displeasing to God :
if it be nowhere forbidden, * praesumitur pro libertate/ all
men are as free as they were born. How this can be altered
by the laws of man, will be afterward considered. In the
meantime, God hath left us under no more restraints than
are described in Scripture. This argument St. Chrysostom
urges against the necessity of corporal afflictions to a con-
trite weeping penitent. " Lacrimas Petri lego, satisfactio-
nem non lego ; I read that St. Peter wept, I do not read
that he imposed penances on himself." The argument were
good from this place, if the case be not special, or if it be
not altered by some other consideration. This is also to be
extended to such negative arguments as are taken from mat-
ter of fact in accusations and criminal proceedings : not
that it can of itself be great enough to prevail, but that the
case is so favourable, that every little thing ought to be
strong enough. Thus St. Athanasius' defended his decessor
Dionysius ; " Et prius eorum auctorem Dionysium per hoc
voluit esse purgatum, atque ab Arianorum crimine alienum,
quod ipse non, sicut Arius, cum viveret, de impietate fuerat
accusatus, aut de episcopatu dejectus, neque velut haeresim
defendens, de ecclesia, sicut ille, decesserit, sed in ejus per-
manserit unitate ; Dionysius was not accused while he
was alive, he was not thrown from his bishoprick, he did not
depart from the Church, but remained in her communion ;
and therefore he was no Arian." But arguments of this
nature, when the medium is so limited, and the instance so
particular, have their force only by accident. For this and
the like negatives are good arguments when they are the
best light in the question, that is, when nothing greater can
be said against them, or when men are easy and willing to
be persuaded ; as in the questions of burden and trouble all
men ought.

Question III.
60. Whether there may be any new articles of faith : or

1 Apud Facundum, lib. x. c. 5.


that the creed of the Church may so increase, that what is suf-
ficient to salvation in one age, cannot serve in another?

61. If this question were to be determined by witnesses,
it were very easy to produce many worthy ones. Theodorus,
the bishop of Rome, in his synodical epistle to Paul, the pa-
triarch of Constantinople, thus concludes against the Mono-
thelites ; " Sufficit nobis fides quam sancti apostoli praedica-
verunt, concilia firmaverunt, et patres consignaverunt ;
That which the apostles preached, which the councils have
confirmed, which the fathers have consigned, that faith is
sufficient for us :" therefore nothing new can be superin-
duced. After the apostles had done preaching, the faith was
full and entire. It was so long before they died ; but, after
their death, the instruments were sealed and ratified, and there
could be nothing put to them, but our obedience and con-
sent. And therefore Victor, bishop of Carthage, in his syn-
odical epistle to Theodorus, gives caution against any thing
that is new. " Vestrum est itaque, frater sanctissime, cano-
nica discretione solita contrariis catholicae fidei obviare, nee
permittere noviter dici, quod patrum venerabilium auctoritas
omnino non censuit ; You must not permit any thing to
be newly said, which the authority of the venerable fathers
did not think fit." If, therefore, the fathers did not say it
was necessary to believe any other articles than what they
put into their confessions of faith ; he that says otherwise
now, is not to be suffered. Excellent, therefore, is the coun-
sel of St. Cyprian : k " As it happens when the pipes of an
aqueduct are broken or cut off, the watef cannot run, but
mend them and restore the water to its course, and the whole
city shall be refreshed from the fountain's head :" " Quod et
nunc facere oportet Dei sacerdotes, praecepta Divina servan-
tes, ut si in aliquo nutaverit et vacillaverit veritas, ad origi-
nem Dominicam et evangelicam et apostolicam traditionem
revertamur, et hide surgat actus nostri ratio, unde et ordo et
origo surrexit ; So must God's priests do, keeping the Di-
vine commandments : if the truth be weakened or fail in any
thing, let a recourse be made to the original, to the fountain
of Christ and his apostles, to what hath been delivered in
the Gospel ; that thither our faith may return from whence
it did arise."

k Bpist. Ixxir. ad Pompeium.


62. From the simplicity, truth, and ingenuity of this dis-
course, it will plainly follow, that what was the faith at first,
the same it is now and no other : Sicut erat in principio,"
&c. ; " As it was in the beginning, so it is now, and so it
shall be ever." For to what purpose can it be advised, that
in all questions of faith or new springs of error, we should
return to the fountains of our Saviour and the first emana-
tions of the apostles, but because no Divine truth is war-
rantable but what they taught, no necessity is to be pretend-
ed but what they imposed ? If it was their faith, it is and
must be ours ; but ours it ought not to be, if it was not

63. Now concerning this, there are very material consider-
ations. (1.) Whatsoever the apostles taught we must equally
believe, if we equally know it : but yet all that they taught
is not equally necessary to be taught ; but only so much as
upon the knowledge of which good life is superstructed, and
our hopes of heaven depend. Whatsoever is in the Scripture
is also true ; but whatsoever is there, is not alike necessary,
nor alike useful, nor alike easy to be understood. But what-
soever, by reading or hearing any other instrument, we come
to learn to be the truth of God, that we must believe : be-
cause no man disbelieves any such thing, but he disowns
God. But here the question is not, what we must believe
when we know it to be the word of God, for that is every
thing; but how much we are bound to know what must
be taught to all Christians, how much their memory and
their hearts must be charged withal. For the faith of a
Christian is not made up of every true proposition ; but of
those things which are the foundation of our obedience to
God in Jesus Christ, and the endearment of our duty, and
the stabiliment of our hope. Faith, hope, and charity, are
the " fundamentum, paries, et tectum, the foundation, the
walls, and the roof," of our building : now this foundation is
that necessary belief without which nothing could subsist in
our religion.

64. (2.) This foundation was by Christ and his apostles
laid sure, but at first it was made but of a just latitude and
evenness with the intended building. It was a little enlarged
and paraphrased by the apostles and apostolical men in their
days; the faith of Christians was the most easy and plain,


the most simple and wise, tiling in the world : it was wholly
an art of living well, and believing in God through Jesus
Christ. And what Seneca said of the wisdom of the old men
in infant Rome, is very true of the aborigines in Christianity,
in the first spring of our religion; " Antiqua sapientia nihil
aliud, quam facienda et vitanda, prsecepit : et tune longe
meliores erant viri : postquam docti prodierunt, desunt boni :
The ancient and primitive wisdom did only command
virtue, and prohibit vice ; and then men lived good lives :
but when they became more learned, they became less virtu-
ous;" 1 " Simplex erat ex simplici causa valetudo : multos
morbos multa fercula fecerunt ; The old world ate a sim-
ple and a natural diet, and they had a simple and a natural
religion ; but when variety of dishes were set upon the table,
variety of diseases entered together with them." Now in
what instance the simplicity of a Christian was at first exer-
cised we find in St. Irenaeus : m " Melius itaque est nihil om-
nino scientem quempiam, ne quidem unamcausamcujuslibet
eorum quse facta sunt, cur factum, et credere Deo, et perse-
verare in ejus dilectione quse hominem vivificat, nee aliud in-
quirere ad scientiain nisi Jesum Christum Filium Dei, qui pro
nobis crucifixus est, quam per quaestionum subtilitates et mul-
tiloquium in impietatem cadere ; It is therefore better for
a man to know absolutely nothing of the causes of things,
why any thing was done (and to believe in God, and to per-
severe in his love, that makes a man to live, and to inquire
after no knowledge, but to know Jesus Christ the Son of
God, who was crucified for us), than by subtle questions and
multitude of words to fall into impiety."

65. (3.) If we observe the creeds or symbols of belief
that are in the New Testament, we shall find them very short.
" Lord, I believe that thou art the Son of God, who was to
come into the world ;" n that was Martha's creed. "Thou
art Christ, the Son of the living God ;" that was Peter's
creed. " We know and believe that thou art Christ, the Son
of the living God ;"P that was the creed of all the apostles.
" This is life eternal, that they knowthee the only true God ;
and whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ ; "PP that was the creed
which our blessed Lord himself propounded. And again ;

'Senec. ep. xcv. 13, et!9. Rubkopf. vol. iii.p.219. m Lib. ii. c. 45.

" John, xi. 26, 27. Matt. xvi. 16. P John, vi. 69. PP John, urii. 3.


" I am the resurrection and the life : he that believeth in me,
yea, though he were dead, yet shall he live ; and he that liveth
and believeth in me, shall not die for ever :" q that was the
catechism that Christ made for Martha, and questioned her
upon the article, " Believest thou this?" and this belief was
the end of the Gospel, and in sufficient perfect order to eter-
nal life. For so St. John ; r " These things are written, that
ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that believing ye might have life through his name."
"For this is the word of faith which we preach, namely, if
you with the mouth confess Jesus to be the Lord, and believe
in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall
be saved ;" s that is the Christian's creed. " For I have re-
solved to know nothing amongst you, but Jesus Christ, and
him crucified ; that in us ye may learn not to be wise above
that which is written, that ye may not be puffed up one for
another, one against another." That was St. Paul's* creed,
and that which he recommends to the Church of Rome, to
prevent factions, and pride, and schism. The same course he
takes with the Corinthian" Church ; " I make known unto
you the Gospel, which I preached unto you, which ye have
received, in which ye stand, and by which ye are saved, if ye
hold what I deliver to you," &c. Well : what is that Gospel
by which they should be saved? It was but this, "that
Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that he rose
again the third day," &c. So that the sum is this, The Gen-
tiles' creed, or the creed in the natural law, is that which St.
Paul sets down in the epistle to the Hebrews, ** Deum esse,
et esse remuneratorem," that " God is, and that God is a
rewarder." Add to this the Christian creed, that Jesus is the
Lord, that he is the Christ of God, that he died for our
sins, that he rose again from the dead ; and there is no
question but he that believes this heartily, and confesses it
constantly, and lives accordingly, shall be saved : we cannot
be deceived : it is so plainly, so certainly, affirmed in Scrip-
ture, that there is no place left for hesitation. " For this is
his precept, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus
Christ, and that we love one another : " so St. John." This
is his precept. True, and so there are many more : but why

* John, xi. 25, 26. ' John, xx. 31. Rom. x. 8, 9.

1 1 Cor. ii. . "1 Cot. xv. 1. 1 John, iii. 23.


is this so signally remarked, but because this is the funda-
mental precept, that upon which all the rest are super-
structed ? that is the foundation of faith and manners, and
he that keeps this commandment shall never perish. " For
other foundation can no man lay than this, which is Jesus
Christ. But if any man should build upon this foundation,
gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, every man's
work shall be made manifest ; for that day shall declare it,
because it is revealed in fire ; and every one's work the fire
shall prove what it is. If any man's work which he hath su~
perstructed, shall remain, he shall receive a reward. But if
any man's work shall be burned, he shall receive loss, yet
himself shall be saved, but so as by fire." y Nothing more
plain than that the believing in Jesus Christ is that funda-
mental article upon which every other proposition is but a
superstructure, but itself alone with a good life is sufficient
to salvation. All other things are advantage or disadvantage,
according as they happen : but salvation depends not upon
them. " For every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ to have
come in the flesh, is of God ; and whosoever shall confess that
Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God :"*
and, " Every one that believeth that Jesus is Christ, is born
of God :" and, " Who is he that overcometh the world, but
he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" a

66. In proportion to this ' measure of faith,' the apostles
preached the ' doctrine of faith.' St. Peter's first sermon b
was, that ' Jesus is Christ, that he was crucified, and rose
again from the dead : " and they that believed this, were pre-
sently baptized. His second sermon was the same ; and then
also he baptized proselytes into that confession. And when
the eunuch had confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God, Philip presently baptized him. And it is observable,
that when the eunuch had desired baptism, St. Philip told
him, " he might, if he did believe ; " and was, when he made
that confession ; intimating, that this is the Christian faith,
which is the foundation of all his hope, and the condition of
his baptism, and therefore sufficient for his salvation. For
indeed that was the sum of all that Philip preached ; for it is
said of him, that "he preached things concerning the king-

Jl Cor. iii. 11, 15. * Uohn, ir. 2. 1 John, v. 1, 5.

b Acts, ii. 24 ; hi. 15. Acts, viii. 12, 37, 38.


dom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ." And this was
the sum of all that St. Paul preached in the synagogues and
assemblies of the people ; this he disputed for, this he proved
laboriously, that Jesus is Christ, that he is the Son of God,
that he did, that he ought to, suffer ; and rise again the third
day ; and this was all that new doctrine for which the Athe-
nians and other Greeks' 1 wondered at him, and he seemed
to them to be a setter forth of strange gods, " because he
preached Jesus and the resurrection." This was it into
which the gaoler and all his house were baptized ; this is it
which was propounded to him as the only and sufficient
means of salvation; "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou
shalt be saved and all thine house." 6 This thing was illus-
trated sometimes with other glorious things still promoting
the faith and honour of Jesus, as, that he ascended into hea-
ven, and shall be the judge of all the world. But this was
the whole faith ; Ta vrtg) T^S /3arf/Xs/ag rou sou xai mgi ov6>j<a-
rog rov 'Irjgov Xg/<rrou, "The things which concerned the
kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ," was the
large circumference of the Christian faith. That is, such ar-
ticles which represent God to be our Lord, and Jesus Christ
to be his Son, the Saviour of the world ; that he died for us,
and rose again, and was glorified, and reigns over all the world,
and shall be our judge, and in the resurrection shall give us
according to our works ; that in his name only we shall be
saved, that is, by faith and obedience in him, by the mercies
of God revealed to the world in Jesus Christ : this is all
which the Scripture calls necessary : this is that faith alone
into which all the Church was baptized : which faith, when it
was made alive by charity, was, and is, the faith by which
" the just shall live."

67. This excellent summary of faith we find also, but with
a very little paraphrase, propounded as sufficient by St.
Polycarp, in that excellent epistle of his to the Philippians,
which St. Irenaeus so much commends : f " Fidei vestrse firmitas
a principio usque nunc permanet, et sanctificatur in Domino
Jesu Christo ; This is the firmness of your faith from the
beginning, which remains unto this day, and is sanctified in
Jesus Christ." This St. Ignatius calls, " plenam de Christo
cognitionem, a full knowledge concerning Christ:" then

d Acts, ix. 20 ; xvii. 2. Acts, xvi. 31. ' Ad Magnes.


he reckons the generation of the Son from God the Father
before all worlds, his being born of the Virgin Mary, his
holy life, his working miracles, his preaching one God even
the Father, his passion and crucifixion, his death and resur-
rection, his ascension and sitting at the right hand of God ;

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