« ElőzőTovább »
“ Here, then, we ought first of all to explain that which is now in danger of being secretly undermined, how much this emptiness of ours avails with God, and before all things, to shew from whence has proceeded the necessity of engaging God on our behalf (promerendi Deum) by this method. Adam had received a command from God not to taste of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for he should die if he tasted it. But after the enjoyment of a spiritual ecstasy, in which he had prophesied that great sacrament that relates to Christ and the Church, he fell down again into the natural man; and no longer receiving the things of the Spirit, he more easily yielded to his belly than to God; he minded his commons* more than the commandment; he sold his salvation to satisfy his appetite; he took his fill
, and then he perished ;-he that would otherwise have been safe if he had preferred fasting, and had abstained only from one little tree! So that an animal faithf may hence understand its origin, and may know from whence it has derived its appetite for carnal, and its aversion to spiritual things. I therefore hold, in the beginning, that our homicide appetite or stomach ought to be chastised by the torments and punishments of hunger, even if God had never commanded fasting: for he that has shewn me in what quarter Adam met with his death, has also shewn me the remedies of the offence, in that he had first of all pointed out the offence itself
. Of my own accord, then, by any means and at any time, I should deem food to be poison, and should take abstinence as its proper antidote, means of which I might purge out the original cause of death in me derived from my very birth ; being quite sure that God must wish that, the contrary of what he did not wish, and being sufficiently confident that an attention to abstinence would please Him by whom the crime of indulgence has been condemned. Moreover, when God himself commands fasting, and when he calls a soul that has been brought very low for want of food a sacrifice, who can doubt that this is a rule for a life of general maceration; a rule by which food is interdicted, and the commandment kept, so that the original offence may be expiated, and man satisfy God in the matter in which he first had offended, that is to say, in the interdiction of things to be eaten; and so, by a sort of emulation, rekindle his salvation by hunger, as he had before extinguished it by gluttony, despising many things that are permitted where he had before taken one thing that was forbidden.”
The first of the Latin fathers has therefore formally, and in set words, substituted fasting and the maceration of the body for the atonement and righteousness of Christ ; he tells us, not in ambiguous phrases, but in the chain of an elaborate argument, that the original offence inherited from Adam may be expiated by fasting: by fasting, he informs us that salvation is to be procured. This is the apostasy; this is Popery; this is the doctrine of Antichrist !
Perpetua and Felicitas, two saints of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, may here be mentioned as in connection with the age of Tertullian. They were of the heresy of the Montanists, and were martyred at Carthage A. D. 202. Their acts or memoirs were written by a Montanist, as Valerius, Basnage, and Ittigius have clearly proved. The following passage in the acts distinctly acknowledges the “new prophecies” of Montanism :-" Itaque et nos, qui sicut prophetias, ita et visiones novas pariter repromissas et agnoscimus et honoramus."
It is instructive, but not surprising, to find the Church of England retaining with all reverence sectarians in its roll of saints. Perpetua and Felicitas are names consecrated to superstition in the canon of the mass; and in the calendar of the English Prayer Book, Perpetua, martyr, is commemorated on the 7th of March; on which day Perpetua, Felicitas, Saturus, Saturninus, and Revocatus, were condemned to the lions by Timinianus, Proconsul of Africa. According to the acts of this mar; tyrdom, the sufferers were exposed to various sorts of beasts :-leopards, bears, and wild cows.
The story in all its details is inexpressibly shocking. Perpetua, in the
Pabulo potius quam præcepto. We have endeavoured to preserve the studied alliteration of the original.
+ “An animal faith.” This a specimen of Tertullian's contumelious and intolerant language: by“ an animal faith,” he means the faith of those who did not agree with him on the necessity of making fasting to be righteousness. The " aversion to spiritual things," is his phraseology for rejecting the ascetic dogma.
imprisonment which preceded her martyrdom, had many visions or ecstasies, detailed at length in the acts. The Christians, her fellow prisoners, requested her to seek these visions. She seems to have been one of the prophetesses of the Montanists.
Irenæus.- Nothing is known of the country of Irenæus except that he was a Greek, which is indicated by his name ; and from his early acquaintance with Polycarp, it is to be presumed that he was a Greek of Asia Minor. On the death of Pothinus, in the year 177, he was appointed Bishop of Lyons in Gaul; and having in that situation obtained a high celebrity amongst Christians, he died about the year 202. The whole of the second century, but particularly the latter portion of it, had been so disturbed with heresies, that Irenæus felt himself called upon to defend the Catholic faith in a comprehensive examination of the false doctrines advocated by the principal sectarians. This he executed in a work which he entitled, “A Confutation and Overthrow of Knowledge, or Gnosis, falsely so called,” ɛlɛyxoş kai avatpoan ons Hevdwvupov YvwoEWS. It is written in five books, and contains a treasury of information on the intricate but interesting subject of the early heresies. The venerable author examined the opinions of the heretics with much care, and apparently reported them with much fidelity; but the clue to all the portentous and amazing dogmas recorded in his five boo he apparently never discovered. In this place it would be foreign to our purpose to enter into so wide a field of inquiry, which, however, it is not our intention ultimately to omit.
On the person of Christ, Irenæus has spoken many things excellently well, as may be seen in the following passages :—“Wherefore, as we said before, he united man unto God. For if man had not overcome the adversary of men, the enemy had not been justly conquered. And on the other hand, if God had not given and granted salvation, we could never have a firm and indefeasible possession of it. And if man had not been united unto God, he could not have been partaker of immortality. It behoved, therefore, the Mediator between God and man, by his own participation of the nature of each of them, to bring them both into friendship and agreement with each other” (iii. 30, quoted in Theodoret).—“Our Lord had not gathered up these things in himself, had he not been made flesh and blood according to original creation : so in the end he saved in himself that which had perished in Adam in the beginning. For if the Lord had been incarnate for any other object, and had brought flesh from any other substance (that is, celestial or etherial, according to the theory of the Gnostics), he had not recovered man, brought our nature unto an head in himself, nor could he have been said to be flesh. He therefore himself had flesh and blood, not of any other kind; but he took to himself that which was originally created of the Father, seeking that which was lost.”
Irenæus, in his second book, where he is opposing the followers of Simon and Carpocrates, testifies to the existence of miraculous gifts in the Church. To prove the invalidity of the pretensions of those heretics, he reminds them that they could neither restore the blind to sight, nor cast out devils, nor heal the lame and the paralytic; "and so far were they from being able to raise the dead, as our Lord himself did, and the Apostles after him through prayer; and as very often then happened amongst the brethren in some case of necessity, when, in answer to the request of the whole Church, in any place, after much prayer and fasting, the spirit of the dead man had returned, and the dead man himself had been restored to the prayers of the saints ;-so far were the heretics from being able to perform these miracles, that they did not even believe that this thing could at all be done.'
In like manner, Justin Martyr more than once declares, that in his days there
*“Nec enim cæcis possunt donare visum, neque surdis auditum, neque omnes dæmones effugare, præter eos qui ab ipsis immittuntur, si tamen et hoc faciunt; neque debiles, aut claudos, aut paralyticos curare, vel aliâ quâdam parte corporis vexatos; quemadmodum sæpe evenit fieri secundum corporalem infirmitatem, vel earum quæ à foris accidunt, infirmitatum bonas valetudines restaurare. Tantum enim absunt ab eo ut mortuum ex. citent, quemadmodum Dominus excitavit, et Apostoli per orationem, et in fraternitate sepissime propter aliquid necessarium, eâ quæ est in quoquo loco ecclesià universâ postulante per jejunium et supplicationem multam, reversus est spiritus mortui, et donatus est homo orationibus sanctorum,”- Lib. ii. 56.
were still prophetical gifts in the Church : " For even at this very time," says he, “the prophetical gifts are still amongst us; from whence you may easily perceive that those advantages, which were formerly enjoyed by your people, are transferred to us” (Dial. Tryph. p. 308).* “ It is plain to be seen that there are amongst us both men and women that have received gifts from the Spirit of God” (id. 315).
There are, however, in the five books of Irenæus, many strange things, many frivolities, and some superstitions: of his strange sayings the following may be taken as a specimen, as it conveys a most instructive lesson on the question of tradition :
The Valentinians, in order to sustain their mysteries of astronomical numbers, had asserted, with much confidence, that Christ was exactly thirty years old when he suffered on the cross; that he was just commencing his thirtieth year, that is, twenty-nine complete when he was baptised, and that precisely a twelvemonth after he was put to death. These heretics had a zodiacal secret concealed in the number thirty, and therefore it was important for them in their system of a mystical Christ, that the number of thirty years, neither more nor less, should be contained in the life of this Prince of Æons. Irenæus in answering this nonsense, is not content with pointing out the real duration of the life of Christ upon earth, which, if he had done, would have been quite sufficient for his argument; but asserts that our Lord sanctified all the ages of man in his life, and that he was a child, a young man, a middle-aged man, and a senior amongst seniors—“ For every one must confess that from the fortieth to the fiftieth year, the life of man begins to decline to an older age; and that this was the age which our Lord had during his ministry the gospel and all the elders testify; those elders who were conversant in Asia with John the disciple of the Lord, and who declare that John himself told them so, or gave them this tradition. For he, that is John, continued with them up to the reign of Trajan" (ii. 39).
Here is a tradition most solemnly and accurately delivered to the Church-John told the Elders, the Elders told Irenæus, and Irenæus told it to the Church. No one doubts the authenticity of the record ; it is unquestionably a passage from the pen of Irenæus himself; and yet no one believes it! What becomes of tradition after this ? And who can persuade us to believe any tradition, if we are at liberty to reject this grave and deliberate testimony of the celebrated saint and Bishop of Lyons ?
Those who would understand the extraordinary, or rather the monstrous things that were sometimes propounded by the early fathers, should peruse what follows. It is from the 4th book of Irenæus, but must not be translated :
“ Nesciente igitur Lot, neque libidini serviente, dispensatio perficiebatur, per quam duæ filiæ, id est, duæ synagogæ, ab uno et eodem patre in sobolem adoptatæ significabantur sine carnis libidine; scriptum enim est, Dixit major ad minorem, Puter noster senior est, et nemo est 'super terram qui intret ad nos. Per verba autem earum significabatur, neminem esse alterum qui possit filiorum generationem majori et minori synagogæ præstare. Quando igitur ille vitale semen, id est, Spiritum remissionis peccatorum per quem vivificamur effudit in humanum genus, nonne tunc convescebatur cum hominibus, et bibebat vinum in terra ? Venit, inquit, filius hominis manducans et bibens ; et cum recubuisset, obdormivit et somnum cepit : et quoniam in nostrâ communicatione et vitâ hoc agebat, iterum ait et somnus meus suavis factus est. Totum autem significabatur per Lot, quoniam semen Patris omnium, id est, Spiritus Dei, per quem facta sunt omnia, commixtus et unitus est carni, hoc est plasmati suo: per quam commixtionem et unitatem duæ synagogæ, id est duæ congregationes fructificantes ex Patre suo filios vivos vivo Deo. Et cùm hæc fierent uxor remansit in Sodomis, jam non caro corruptibilis, sed statua salis semper manens, et per naturalia ea quæ sunt consuetudinis hominis ostendens, quoniam et ecclesia, quæ est Sal terræ, subrelicta est in confinio terræ, patiens quæ sunt humana.”+
παρα γαρ ημιν μεχρι νυν προφητικα χαρισματα εστιν --και παρ' ημιν εστιν ιδειν και θηλειας και αρσενας χαρισματα απο του πνευματος του θεου εχοντας. .
+7a karaunvia muliebri sexui naturalia indigitat Irenæus, quæ, Loti uxor licet jam in statuam salis versa edidesse fertur.
THE DIVINITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
"The most proper names of God, and the most Divine titles, are everywhere (according to just interpretation, and by perspicuous consequence) attributed unto the Holy Spirit ; inasmuch as often (almost ever) upon various occasions the same words, works, and acts, are referred to God and the Holy Spirit, so that whatever God is said to have spoken, to have performed, to have made, that also is reported, said, transacted, produced by the Holy Ghost; and reciprocally, whatever doth any way regard the Holy Spirit, that is referred to God; the which doth argue that between the beings denoted by the names of God and Holy Spirit, an essential identity or unity doth intercede. Of the Israelites being wickedly incredulous and refractory, it is said, they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies;' the same Isaiah expresseth, they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit.' In Isaiah God is said to send the prophets : Paul reporting it, saith the Holy Ghost sent them. Peter charged Ananias that he had lied to the Holy Spirit, and thence that he had lied to God : • Ananias,' saith he, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie unto the Holy Ghost.' Presently he subjoins, Thou hast not lied unto men, but God.' He plainly, by those names, designeth the same things, and more than intimates it to be the same thing to lie to God, and to lie to the Spirit. Our Lord, as man, was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and for that reason was the Son of God. · The Holy Ghost,' said the angels, “ shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.' What consequence were there in this, if the Holy Ghost were not God? Our Lord also is said to perform his miracles by the power of God, and by the power of the Holy Ghost, indifferently. If I,' saith he, in Matthew, by the Spirit of God cast out devils.' In St. Luke he saith, “ If I by the finger (that is by the power) of God cast out devils.' And both phrases Paul doth equipollently express by the power of the Holy Ghost; and Peter says, that God did miracles by him. The holy Scripture, because dictated by the Holy Spirit, is said to be inspired by God. The Spirit spake in the Prophets, (saith Peter, and the holy writers commonly). God spake in them, saith the apostle to the Hebrews, and others likewise, so often as the holy Scripture is called the word of God. The Holy Spirit doth shed abroad and work charity in our hearts; we are thence said to be taught by God to love one another ; yea, every virtue, all holiness is promiscuously ascribed to God and the Holy Ghost, as its immediate authors. To be led by the Spirit of God, and God worketh in us to will and to do, do signify the same thing. Every faithful Christian is therefore called a temple (that is a place consecrated to God), because the Holy Spirit in a special manner is present in him. • Know
ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ?' saith Paul. • Know ye not that ye are God's temple ?' Whence shall we know it ? from hence, that God's Spirit inhabiteth you, because the inhabitation of the Spirit is the same with the inhabitation of God.
" To the Spirit are most expressly attributed all the incomparable perfections of God, the essential characters and properties of the divine nature. The very epithet of holy (absolutely, in way of excellence characteristically put), is one of them; for, as it is in Hannah's song, • There is none holy as the Lord, neither is there any beside thee.' There is none, beside God, absolutely and perfectly holy, that is, by a most remote distance, severed from all things, peculiarly venerable and august in majesty—whence the Holy One is a distinctive title of God. Yea, the name of Spirit itself (absolutely and eminently put, and so imparting highest purity and perfectest actuality), doth seem to imply the same. Also eternity, immensity, omniscience, omnipotency (than which no more high perfections, or more proper to God can be conceived), are attributed to the Holy Spirit-Eternity: for the Apostle the Hebrews calls him the Eternal Spirit.' • How much more,' saith he,' shall the blood of Christ, who, by the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience ?'—Immensity: Whither,” saith the Psalmist, shall I
go from thy Spirit, and whither shall I fee from thy face ?' The question involveth a negative, and signifieth a manifest reason thereof. I cannot fly any whither from the Spirit, because it is every where present-Omniscience : The Spirit,' saith Paul, * searcheth all things,' that is, it perfectly comprehendeth all things which God knows, or which can be known :-- even the deep things of God.' The depths or deepest things of God, even those things which, to comprehend, doth as far exceed the condition of a creature, as it goeth beyond the capacity of one man to discern the cogitation and affections of another man : for such a comparison Paul doth make."
This lucid passage is an extract from the works of Dr. Isaac Barrow.
THE DEATH-BED OF KING WILLIAM IV.
(See Psalm lxxxii. 6-7.) “Some Recollections of the Last Days of His late Majesty King William the Fourth." London: Houlston and Hughes. The narrative from which we here make a few selections was drawn up by one of the royal household, and published with the entire approbation of the Queen Dowager. Her Majesty is known to have made presents of this little pamphlet to the friends of the deceased sovereign ; and therefore, as we are informed by a note* facing the title page, “its authenticity may be depended on.”
After some introductory pages describing the progress of the King's disorder, and his praiseworthy anxiety to attend to public business as long as his declining strength would allow him, we are told that his Majesty “expressed a strong desire that the Queen should attend Ascot Races ; preferring rather to dispense with the great comfort of her Majesty's society, than that the public should experience any disappointment from the absence of the Royal Family. However little in accordance with the painful state of her own anxious feelings such a scene might be, the Queen did not hesitate to acquiesce in his Majesty's wishes. Her Majesty, therefore, drove to the course, but returned at the end of two hours to Windsor Castle to resume her almost unceasing attendance on the King." The narrative, a few pages
thus proceeds :" At no period from the commencement of the attack, had his Majesty been insensible to his critical state; but when he alluded to the subject, it was evident that any anxiety which he felt arose less from personal apprehension than from solicitude for the country, and from a contemplation of the embarrassment into which it might possibly be thrown by his early dissolution. It was to such reflections as these that his Majesty gave expression on the morning of the 16th, when he observed to the Queen, 'I have had some quiet sleep; come and pray with me, and thank the Almighty for it. Her Majesty joined in this act of heartfelt devotion; and, when the King had ceased, said, And shall I not pray to the Almighty that you may have a good day?' To which his Majesty replied, “O do! I wish I could live ten years for the sake of the country. I feel it my duty to keep well as long as I can.'
“On the morning of Sunday, the 11th, grateful for the refreshing rest which he had enjoyed, his Majesty's mind was impressed with the most pure devotional feelings. Seeing Lady Mary Fox occupied with a book, he inquired what she was reading; and being told that it a was a Prayer Book, his countenance beamed with pleasure, but he said nothing. After a considerable lapse of time, the Queen asked whether it would be agreeable to him if she read the prayers to him. His Majesty answered, 'O yes! I should like it very much; but it will fatigue you.” He then desired to be informed who preached that morning in the chapel of the castle; and when Lady Mary had ascertained, and told him that it was Mr. Wood who preached, he directed that he might be sent for.
“ When Mr. Wood entered the room, the King said, 'I will thank you, my, dear sir, to read all the prayers till you come to the prayer for the Church Militant. By
• " The short narrative of his late Majesty's fatal illness, and the pious resignation of the King evinced during that solemn period, will be read with deep interest by his affectionate subjects. Its authenticity may be depended on; and it will form no inappropriate companion to the narrative which Sir Herbert Taylor published of the last days of the lamented Duke of York."