« ZurückWeiter »
Thus, on John iii. 5. our author writes of God are found. These different paths in this dangerous manner: “We have all of religious orders, some more austere, received this new and heavenly birth, some less, show plainly that the Catholic wherein God himself, by the virtue of his church is the sole spouse of wisdom, that Holy Spirit, is to us as a father ; and the her children are the children of wisdom, church, represented by the water, receives and that they alone are capable of justius into her bosom as our mother. Bap- fying her.” tism gives us a right to the kingdom of But let us proceed to notice the faults God, provided we live like children of of our author's work, as they spring, God and members of Christ, in being 2. From the ACTUAL INSERTION OF UNobedient to his Spirit.”
SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINES AND TENETS.But this language is not pushed ; it is These peep out, as it were, from under not made prominent;- the moment an the large and heavenly furniture of divine occasion is given, the language relapses knowledge and grace with which he is into the most holy and scriptural strain; blessed. The primary error of implicit which shows, that it is a consusion of subjection of faith to the church, casts an ideas, not any fundamental error which obscurity over the operations of his unpervades his divinity. In the very verse derstanding, against which the grace of but one after that on which the preceding God victoriously struggled for the most expressions occur, he writes thus beau- part, but which occasionally appeared.tifully :-"Adam being a sinner could be. Thus, on Luke i. 1-4. he says: "Seripget only sinners, and propagate no other ture and tradition are the two fountains inclinations but such as tend to sin. It of Christian truths, very consistent with belongs to thee, O holy Jesus, as the each other; but tradition preceded Scripprinciple of our new life, to give us thy ture.” Spirit, and to inspire into us thy spiritual So on Luke i. 20. on Zacharias being and holy inclinations. He who is tho-. struck dumb, “Let us learn by this exroughly sensible of the corruption of the ample, that God frequently pardons faults heart of man, is far from wondering that without remitting the whole punishment it is necessary for him to be changed into due to them.” a new man, and that he must receive a Again, in the same chapter,
“ Christ new spirit, a new heart, and a new prin- gives himself still to every one of us a ciple of life and action."
victim, by the communion, which is an Another point where the want of a extension of the incarnation." right division of the word of truth is Once more, “ Mary comes to us when apparent, relates to heretics and schisma- she assists us in our wants : Jesus, who tics, and what he considers the unity of is always in her heart, makes her the inthe hurch. His mind is so possessed strument of his operations, the channel with the Roman Catholic exposition of of his graces, and the minister of his the doctrine of the church, she keys, the mercies.” power of absolution, the primacy of Peter, Again, “ The intercession of saints is the limits of grace and non-salvation out authorized by the example of the Centuof the church, that much confusion ap- rion ;-we honour the great ones of the pears. That he held the freedom and earth, when we apply ourselves to those efficacy of divine grace, the spiritual about them, whom they honour with their union of all the elect, the invisible body favour; and we honour God, when we of Christ, consisting of believers of all make use of the mediation of saints with ages and all parts of the world, is perfectly him, who are his favourites and his certain. Yet at times he speaks confus- friends." edly, and, if strictly interpreted, in a con- Once more, on Luke xi. “ Vouchsafe, tradictory manner. So on Luke vii. 35. O, holy Virgin, to teach us to praise thee “Wisdom is justified of all her chil- in such a manner as may honour thy Son. dren," he writes: * The Catholic church Obtain for us strength to oppose the enealone is that wherein all the different ways mies of that worship which the church
- a man
pays thee, and to avoid therein whatever to our whole purpose. Let the extraoris not according to thy spirit.”
dinary phenomena be considered. Here So, as to relics, Luke xxiii. “It was is a man full of the Holy Ghost, full of just and reasonable, that the honour which the deepest humility of soul, full of the we pay to the relics of the saints, should purest and most spiritual love to the Sabegin with the adorable relics of the Saint viour-born of God, and following God of saints.” Hear again what he says on in a new and holy obedience, the primacy:-“ Does not Jesus Christ who drew upon himself the persecution seem to suppose here a primacy in the of the corrupt church of which he is a apostolical college, and to establish it member, by his bold avowal of the docby the very same words which heretics trines of grace a man whose writings abuse to subvert it. The primacy of St. have been a blessing to thousands upon Peter is a prerogative of divine right.” thousands ;- - and yet this same man Matth. xx. Mark iii.
believes, in a certain way, these gross So as to images, John xix. " It is a errors, is infected with these extraordidouble ingratitude in heretics to reject the nary superstitions, remains a member of images of Christ crucified—which serve this apostate church. to open the eyes of our faith, to awaken What shall we say to such a commixour memory, and to excite our gratitude. ture of light and darkness, but that it These images are an abridgment of the forms an additional confirmation of that Gospel, both for the learned and the ig- doctrine of the corruption of man, which norant; and the history of our blessed laid the foundation, in this very Quesnel's Saviour's passion for those who cannot mind, of all the humility which adorned read."
him? What shall we say, but that where Such is the darkness, the gross dark- the heart is right, the head may be in ness of this holy man's mind in many many important respects wrong? What important respects,--and if these dreadful shall we say, but that where the capital errors were dwelt upon, and occupied any points of contrition and penitence for sin considerable space in the whole body of -an humble faith in the merits and sacrithe Reflections, they would totally de- fice of Christ, and an entire dependence stroy its vital excellency and alter its on the operations of the Spirit possess whole character. But these traits of his the soul, much defect in knowledge and corrupt church appear but rarely; are theological furniture of mind may exist ? qualified by important concessions; seem If these are the real facts of the casethe mere effects of education and habit, and I apprehend they are so then it is contrary to the prevailing tenor of his no use arguing against them; the point is sentiments — are the fragments and re- to draw the proper instruction from such maining links of that chain of darkness phenomena. in which the grace of God found him, And when we see the eminent, the aland from which it released his soul. most unparalleled attainments in the spi
These false doctrines are gross, and ritual life, of such men as Pascal, Nicole, some of them idolatrous - but there are Quesnel-when'we see their love to God, other slighter, though not unimportant their separation from the vanities of the errors, which spring from the confusion world, their holy communion of prayer, of truth in his mind, to which we have their sense of the unutterable evil of sin already adverted, and which are less fun- their apprehension of divine grace, as damental in their nature. They may be the source of all good—their simple, ferchiefly traced to the sources we have vent, self-denying love to Christ — their pointed out—the defects on justification, compassion and zeal for the souls of their baptism and the church.
fellow.creatures; we must acknowledge We bring out these things that the that intellectual errors are less valid to darkness may be seen and felt. We hide overthrow, than moral and affectionale nothing. We apologize for nothing. The emotions of the soul are powerful to susfull exhibition of the real case is essential tain, the spiritual life. The Christian
lives by love, not by doctrine. If there instead of bringing these doctrines and be light enough in the understanding to tenets to the standard of the Bible itself. lead to an acquaintance with ourselves The other mischief is--he gives scope and with Jesus Christ, our attainments to a fruitful imagination; and, instead of will go on in proportion to our holy af- interpreting the meaning of the Scriptures sections, our fervent prayers, our measure soberly, he flies off upon glosses, accomof the Holy Spirit, our self-abasement and modations, pretty thoughts, secondary our union with Christ, the head of all uses of the passages before him. The influence and grace.
attentive reader will perceive this imme. 3. But we shall be reminded of a third diately; and these remarks have extended source of the defects in Quesnel's Reflec- to such a length, that we cannot stop 10 tions
A DEFECTIVE SYSTEM OF INTER- make citations. PRETATION OF the Holy SCRIPTURES, To occasional playfulness of fancy we we mean not a totally false system ; but have no objection; in the strong and hyone materially erroneous, defective in its perbolical language of the emotions we principles, necessarily leaving the inter- have no objection; to the flights of devopreter in uncertainty and darkness con- tional poetry we have no objection ; to tinually. - The false principle in the parable, allegory, metaphor, we have no system is, the interpreting according to objection; to the accommodation of hishuman authorities and tradition, and not torical incidents to the illustration of according to the real meaning of the Holy Spiritual things we have no objection.Spirit in the word, gathered by a sound All these methods' we find used in the judgment and a careful examination of sacred Scriptures. The established laws the Scriptures themselves. To interpret of interpretation apply to them as they by the fathers, is to make the New Testa- do to the plainest parts of the Bible. ment a nose of wax. To impose a cer- Men know how to interpret an act of Partain meaning upon Scripture, instead of liament, when that is before them; as they drawing all our opinions from that sacred know how to interpret an heroic poem book, is fundamentally erroneous. Lan- or an ode. If there be true faith in the guage is the mere instrument of commu- heart, which seeks honestly to learn and nicating ideas. In using human language, to do the will of God, this faith will set the inspiring Spirit employs ideas which to work all that. common sense, all that already form part of the stock of human integrity, all that spirit of prayer, all that knowledge. This is the point from which application of the powers of the mind to we must set out. Human language must the language of the Scriptures, all that be interpreted by the ordinary laws of entire submission of the understanding human language: otherwise, we have no to the matter of revelation, on which a revelation of God's will intelligible to true interpretation depends. man.
What we object to in Quesnel, is the All Quesnel's errors spring from the dangerous system, the defective and ertrammels and bonds which the Church of roneous principles, or rather want of Rome imposes on her members. He in- principles, in his interpretation, whereby terprets as he is bidden, not as the truth his mind, at sea without a rudder or pilot, of things demands. An enlightened un- is tossed hither and thither. Fancy is the derstanding, as to the main truths of staple commodity, not the ornament and Christianity, and a holy heart, led him, appendage. He proceeds continually as indeed, into substantial truth; but his the church direcis, as the fathers happen fathers, and councils, and decrees, and to dictate, as his imagination suggests ; bulls, perverted the operations of his fine and not as the real import of the passage powers on many important occasions. before him requires.
This appears in two principal respects. The consequence is, the errors in docHe applies, without authority, every ex- trine which we have been pointing out. pression and incident he can, to establish Against this whole system we enter our the doctrines or tenets of his church; solemn protest. In the case of Quesnel,
the evils were neutralized by the high And this is what we want in the preguidance of spiritual affections, and the sent day. We have learned comments blessed influences of the Holy Spirit.— enough — we have light, and doctrine, But the evils are not the less real in them- and systems of divinity enough. But selves. If a sound system of interpreta- devotional feelings, communion with God, tion be once relinquished, all is thrown the life of grace, the separation of heart into uncertainty; the Scriptures may be from the vanities of the world, is what made to prove any thing; and the very we need. first end of a divine revelation may be And we doubt whether all the gross defeated. But we hasten to relieve the errors and defects of Quesnel are so inreader from a great source of anxiety. He jurious to the mind of a young Protestwould naturally ask how he could safely ant student as those plausible comments intrust a work debased with such gross which sap the foundations of grace and and dangerous errors, to the hands of truth'; which elevate the natural power ministers; or in fact how he could ven- of man ; which place justification on the ture to read such a book himself? We footing of human works, conjointly with inform him, then, that these errors are all the obedience and death of Christ; which omitted in the Glasgow edition. Every explain away most of the passages conone of the passages cited in pages 33 and cerning the new and divine birth of the 34 of this Essay, is left out in this trans- soul; which weaken or deny the experilation. We quoted them in order to give 'ence of religion in the heart ; which teach the true view of our author's character, conformity to the world, and insist not on and to show what errors may possibly the life of faith and grace. consist with a very high measure of the We conceive we are in danger of no
mistake, in warmly recommending QuesThe translation was made about a cen- nel for the particular purposes for which tury since; but we have not been able to his work is designed. We would place learn any thing important concerning the him with Calvin, and Hall, and Henry, author of it. He prefixes to his work and Doddridge, and Guyse, and Scott. the 101 propositions which the court of We would place him far above another Rome condemned; he intimates that, in series of commentators, whom it would his day, there were many among Protest- be invidious to name. At the same ants more in the dark as to the doctrines time, more caution is necessary in readof the grace of God in salvation, than ing Quesnel than in reading many other Quesnel and other divines of the Roman authors. We would not put him into the Catholic Church—and, alas ! the case is, hands of young and inexperienced Chriswe fear, the same now.
tians, whose principles are not fixed, and And this was one principal motive for who want the first " sincere milk of the the republication. We have no work of Word.” Aster all the omissions made in the same kind—we have nothing in practi- this edition, the defective theology of our cal divinity so sweet, so spiritual, so inte. author could not, of course, be changed ; rior as to the real life of grace—so rich, the confusion in his own mind could not 80 copious, so original. We have nothing be wholly cleared up; the integrity of the that treats the whole New Testament as work could not be violated; the occasional the manual of the minister of religion.- tinge of error could not be obliterated. We have nothing that extols the grace of
The doctrine of justification by faith God, and abases and lowers man so en- only, if thoroughly known, will be a bartirely. We lessen not the value of our rier against most of these evils. The various admirable comments on the New operations of grace, not only by the saTestament—they have each their parti- craments, but in all the other means of cular excellencies. — But none of them instruction and especially by the meditasupersedes Quesnel; none can supply tion of the holy Scriptures, if duly apthat thorough insight into the world, the prehended, will protect the heart against evil of sin, the life of faith and prayer, many remaining errors of the work.
which he possesses.
EXTRACTS FROM THE CONSTITUTION know the spirit, piety and mysteries of the Holy
UNIGENITUS, or the Decree of Pope Clement Scripture. 1 Cor. xiv. 5.
of Christians, or to keep it closed up, by taking
from them the means of understanding it, is no Being forewarned, to the great grief of our
other than to shut or close up the mouth of Christ heart, that a certain book, under the title of The
in respect of them. Matt. v. 2. New Testament, in French, with Moral Reflec
To forbid Christians the reading of the holy tions, &c., already condemned by us, and contain Scripture, especially of the Gospel, is to forbid ing the falsehood of corrupt doctrine, is still look
the use of light to the children of light, and to ed upon by many as free from error, ...... we
make them suffer a sort of excommunication. have resolved to make use of some more effectual
Luke xi. 33. remedy in order to put a stop to this spreading
To deprive the unlearned people of this comdisease, which might otherwise in time break out
fort of joining their voice with the voice of the in all manner of bad consequences. (The Con- whole church, is a custom contrary to apostolical stitution proceeds then to enumerate ihe “most grievous errors” of Quesnel, in 101 propositions practice, and to the design of God. 1 Cor. xiv. 16.
The fear of an unjust excommunication ought maintained in his book, of which we have room
never to hinder us from performing our duty. to copy but a portion, which follow.]
We never go without the pale of the church, even The grace of Jesus Christ, the efficacious prin- when we seem to be driven out of it by the wickciple of every kind of good, is necessary to every edness of men, so long as we continue united to good action : without it, not only nothing is done,
Goil, to Jesus Christ, and to the church itself by but likewise nothing can be done. John xv. 5.
charity. John ix. 22, 23. Nothing but the grace of Christ renders man
To suffer peaceably an unjust excommunication fit for the sacrifice of faith : without this sacrifice,
and anathema, rather than betray the truth, is to there is nothing but impurity, nothing but unwor. imitate St. Paul; so far is it from rising up against thiness. Acts xi. 9. There are but two sorts of love, from whence
authority, or breaking unity. Rom. ix. 3. the motions of the will and all our actions pro
Nothing gives the enemies of the church a ceed: the love of God, which does all things for
worse opinion concerning the church, than to see
therein an absolute dominion exercised over the God's sake, and which is rewarded by him; and
faith of believer's, and divisions fomented on the the love of ourselves and of the world, which does
account of such things as are prejudicial neither nol ultimately refer that to God which ought to
to the faith nor to manners. Rom. xiv. 16. be referred to him, and which for this very rea
We do, by this our constitution, which shall be son becomes bad. Joha v. 29.
of perpetual force and obligation, declare, conAll other means of salvation are contained in
demn and reject, respectively, all and every one faith, as in their seed and bud; but this faith is
of the propositions before recited, as false, capnot without love and confidence. Acts x. 48.
tious, shocking, offensive to pious ears, scandalEvery thing is wanting to a sinner, when hope is wanting; and there is no hope in God, where
ous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the church and
her practice, contumelious not only against the there is no love of God. Matt. xxvii. 5.
church, but likewise against the secular powers, If nothing but the fear of punishment excite to
seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of repentance, the more vehement this is, the more
heresy and plainly savouring thereof, and likeit leads to despair. Matt. xxvii. 5. He who would draw near to God, must neither
wise favouring heretics, heresies and schism,
erroneous. come to him with brutal passions, nor be led, as
We require, moreover, our venerable brethren, beasts are, by natural instinct, or by feal' ; but by
the patriarchs, archbishops, bishops and other faith and by love, as children. Heb. xii. 20.
ordinaries of places, and also the inquisitors of One mark of the Christian church is, that it is
heresy, that they restrain and coerce all those catholic, comprehending all the angels of heaven,
who shall contradict and rebel against this conall the elect and just of the earth, and of all ages.
stitution, by the censures and penalties aforesaid, Heb. xii. 22-24.
and the other remedies of law and fact, and even What is the church but the congregation of the
by calling to their assistance, if there he occasion, children of God, continuing in his bosom, avlopt
the secular power. ed in Christ, subsisting in his person, redeemed
Let no one, therefore, infringe or audaciously with his blood, living by his Spirit, acting by his
oppose this our declaration, condemnation, mangrace, and expecting the grace of the world to
daie, prohibition, and interdict. And if any one come. 2 Thess. i. 1, 2. The church, or Christ entire, las the incarnale
presume to attempt this, let him know, that he Word for its head, and all the saints for men
will incur the indignation of Almighty God, and
of his blessed apostles Peter and Paul. Given at bers. 1 Tim. iii. 16.
Rome at St. Mary Major's, in the year of our He who does not lead a life becoming a child
Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirteen, of God, and a member of Christ, ceases to have
on the sixth of the Ides of September, and in the in wardly God for his father, and Christ for his
thirteenth year of our pontificate. Head. 1 John ji. 22.
Registered in the office of the Secretary of It is useful and necessary at all times, in all
L, MARTINETTO. places, and for all sorts of persons, to study and