« AnteriorContinuar »
the Augustinian doctrine. He is supposed to have lived until after the year 460; but the exact time of his death is not known.
2. I place below the chapter of Gennadius concerning him; who commends Prosper's learning and style, or manner of writing, though he dislikes his doctrine.
3. There are several things ascribed to Prosper, which are not received by all as genuine. I intend, in this chapter, to make extracts out of those works, which are generally allowed of; and, in the following, to take notice of some others, whose genuineness is contested.
4. Prosper quotes not only the gospels, and Acts, and other books of the New Testament, universally received; but likewise the epistle to the Hebrews, the epistle of James, the second of Peter, and the Revelation.
5. He expressly rejects the book of Hermas, or the Shepherd, as of no authority.
6. He quotes the epistle to the Ephesians, with that title.
7. Prosper has a fine passage concerning good works, which I transcribe in the margin. Some may suspect that his expressions represent them to be of greater value than he intended.
I. Two books of the calling of the Gentiles. II. An Epistle to Demetrias. III. Of the divine promises and predictions. IV. A work entitled, De Vita Contemplativa.
WORKS ASCRIBED TO PROSPER OF AQUITAIN.
I SHALL now make some extracts out of those writings which have been ascribed to Prosper; but are not certainly known to be his.
I. One is a work, in two books, entitled, Of the Calling of the Gentiles. Quesnel has a dissertation to shew that it is not Prosper's, but Leo's. Anthelmi and ' Pagi still think it to be Prosper's. Du Pin has carefully considered the arguments on both sides, without determining the question; but somewhat inclining to Quesnel's opinion. Tillemont likewise weighs the
Prosper, homo Aquitanicæ regionis, sermone scholasticus, et assertionibus nervosus, multa composuisse dicitur. Ex quibus ego chronica illius nomine prætitulata legi, continentia a primi hominis conditione, juxta divinarum scripturarum fidem, usque ad obitum Valentiniani Augusti, et captivitatem urbis Romæ a Genserico Vandalorum rege factam. Legi et librum adversus opuscula sub personâ Cassiani, quæ ecclesia Dei salutaria probat, ille infamat nociva. Quæ enim vere Cassiani et Prosperi de gratiâ et libero arbitrio sententiæ fuerunt, in aliquibus sibi contraria inveniuntur. Epistolæ quoque Papæ Leonis adversus Eutychen, de verâ Christi incarnatione, ad diversos datæ et ab ipso dictatæ dicuntur. Gennad de V. I. cap. 84.
Et si omnia bona, utique et fidem, sine quâ nemo placere potest, et quæ est virtutum omnium fundamentum. [Hebr. xi. 6.] Pro Augustin. Responsion. ad Exc. Genuen. Exc. 8. ap. Append. Opp. Augustin, Bened. T. x. et alibi.
Vid. Ep. ad Rufin, de Grat. et. Lib. Arbitrio. cap. 17. et passim. In ead. App.
A quo quis superatus est, ei servus addictus est. [2 Pet. ii. 19.] Lib. contr. Collat. in App. ibid. Nam et verbum propheticum lucerna comparans apostolus Petrus. 'Habemus, inquit, certiorem propheticum sermonem,' &c. [2 Pet. i. 19.] Exp. in Ps. 118. al. 119. ap. Bib. PP. T. viii. P. 139. H.
• Et in Apocalypsi est ista vox martyrum. [Apoc. vi. 10.] Expos. Ps. 118. ibid. p. 158. H. Et habenti dicitur: Tene quod habes, ne alius accipiat coronam tuam.' [Apoc. iii. 11.] In Ps. 134. ib. p. 151. C.
fPost illud autem nullius auctoritatis testimonium, quod disputationi suæ de libello pastoris inseruit.... Contr. Collat. cap. 13. n. 42. in App. ut supra.
De Ephesiorum etiam fide quid sentiat, audiamus, &c. Contr. Collat. cap. 16. n. 50.
h Lex Christi perfectio caritatis est, quâ Deus proximusque diligitur, et per quam dicitur conditori legis: Dimitte nobis 'debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.' Bene enim exspectat promissionem Dei, qui mandata ejus exsequitur. Nec frustra sperat parcendum peccatis suis, qui ignoscit alienis. Lib. Sentent. n. 37. in App. ubi supra. Et Conf. Expos. Ps. 139. V. 4. ubi supra.
i De Vocatione omnium Gentium. Libri duo. Ap. Leon. M. Opp. T. i. edit. Quesn. Lugd. 1700.
Diss. 2. ap. Leon. Opp. T. ii.
1 Vid. Pagi Ann. 444. n. 4. et seq. et 461. n. 13.
m Bibl. T. iii. P. ii. p. 193. De l'Auteur des livres de la Vocation des Gentils, et de l'Epître à Démétriade. n S. Prosper. art. 12. Mem. T. xvi.
reasons on both sides, without declaring for either; and in another place says, he does not think Quesnel's arguments to be conclusive. S. Basnage says, the style of the work plainly shews it not to be Prosper's; but he does not say whose it is. For my part, I think the author may be reckoned unknown and anonymous.
1. This writer had in his copies the latter part of the sixteenth chapter of St. Mark's gospel.
2. He quotes the epistle to the Ephesians, with that title.
3. The epistle to the Hebrews is here quoted several times.
4. He quotes the epistle of St. James.
5. The most remarkable thing in these two books is, that the author quotes the epistles of St. Peter, as written to Gentile Christians.
6. He quotes both the epistles of Peter, and the first epistle of John, very often: he also quotes the epistle of Jude, and the book of the Revelation.
II. There is a letter to the virgin Demetrias, ascribed sometimes to Ambrose, of Milan; at other times, to Prosper, of Aquitain. Quesnel' contends, that it was written by the author of the Calling of the Gentiles; who, he says, was Pope Leo. Pagi" thinks it was written by Prosper. Cave also is willing to allow, that this epistle and the books of the Calling of the Gentiles, were written by Prosper. Du Pin allows, that they were both written by one and the same person: which, indeed, is the general opinion, though all are not agreed who the author is.
Here seems to be a reference to the epistle to the Hebrews. The epistle of James is here quoted, and both the epistles of Peter. I need not say any thing of the first epistle of John, or other generally received books, which are here often quoted.
III. Another work, formerly ascribed to Prosper, but now generally supposed to be written by an African, is entitled, ' Of Divine Promises and Predictions, in three, or five parts. If the author's name was Prosper, he must not be he of Aquitain, but another of that name, in Africa; and he may be a contemporary writer.
1. Here are many quotations out of almost all the books of scripture; particularly, the epistle to the Hebrews, the epistle of James, both the epistles of Peter, and the Revelation, which is quoted very largely: I need not make any particular references.
2. This author quotes" the latter part of the sixteenth chapter of St. Mark's gospel.
3. He quotes the * epistle to the Ephesians, with that title.
• Il semble néanmoins, qu' il y prouve mieux la foiblesse des conjectures des autres, que la solidité des siennes. S. Leon Pape. Art. 1. T. xv.
b De Vocatione Gentium liber, qui vulgo et Prospero addicitur, ab eo esse abjudicandum, certissime docent stylus ab illo Prosperi diversus, altumque de Augustino silentium. An. 434. n. 14.
Secundum Marcum vero eisdem apostolis ita dicitur: Ite in orbem universum. Prædicate evangelium universæ creaturæ,' &c. [Marc. xvi. 15, 16.] De Vocat. Omn. Gent. 1. 2. c. 2 Vid. et cap. 3. Ap. Leon. Opp. Lugd. 1700.
Ad Ephesios quoque scribens.... 1. c. 23. Vid. et c. 24. et alibi.
Aut cum ait: Novissimis istis diebus locutus est nobis in filio, quem constituit heredem universorum.' [Hebr. i. 2.] 1. 1. c. 9. Vid. et l. 2. c. 11.
f L. 1. cap. 24.
Sicut est quod sanctus Petrus apostolus, scribens sui et futuri temporis gentibus, ait: Vos autem genus electum, regale sacerdotium, gens sancta, &c. [1 Pet. ii. 9, 10.] 1. i. c. 11 Vid. et c. 15.
Item idem in secundâ epistolâ de fidei perceptione loquitur. Simon Petrus, servus et apostolus Jesu Christi, his qui coæqualem nobis adepti sunt fidem.' [2 Pet. i. 1.] 1. i.
i Et, ut brevissime pateat, qualis sit natura humana sine gratiâ, dicat Judas apostolus, quid agat vel ignorantia imperitorum, vel doctrina sapientium: Hi autem,' inquit, 'quæcumque quidem ignorant, blasphemant: quæcumque autem
'naturaliter velut bruta animalia nôrunt, in his corrumpuntur.' [Jud. ver. 10.] L. i. c. 19.
k Vid. l. ii. c. 11.
1 Vid. Diss. iv. ap. Opp. S. Leon. T. ii.
m Ann. 413. n. 8, 9.
a Hist. Lit. T. i. p. 436.
• Ubi supra, note m
P Aut quod vir sacratissimus Melchisedec, Domini et Salvatoris nostri præferens formam, non fuerit perfecte humilis, quia et sacerdotio eminebat et regno. [Heb. vii. 3.] Ep. ad Demetr. cap. v. p. 41. Ap. S. Leon. Opp.
q Vid. ib. cap. 9. p. 43. et c. 24. p. 48.
Sed contra hoc periculum quid beatus Petrus in primâ epistolâ prædicet, audiamus... Item in epistolâ secundâ.... Ib. c. 16. p. 46.
• Vid. Cav. in S. Prospero. H. L. T. i. p. 436. Pagi Ann. 444. 3. Basnag. Ann. 434. n. 14. Du Pin. S. Prosper. T. iii. P. ii. p. 189. Tillem. S. Prosper, art. 12. T. xvi.
De promissionibus et prædictionibus Dei. Part. iii. Quibus adjunguntur dimidium temporis, ad cujus finem implenda sunt visiones.. de Antichristo, et de gloriâ regnoque sanctorum. Ap. Bib. PP. T. viii. p. 1... 52. et ap. Prosperi Opera, p. 1... 50. Paris. 1671.
Firmant hæc evangelista, dicente ipso in Marco: Signa ' autem credentes hæc subsequentur. In nomine meo da'monia ejicient; linguis loquentur novis.' [Marc. xvi. 17.] De Promiss. et Prædict. Part. 3. Prom. 31. Vid. et cap. 30.
ubi citatur ver. 14.
* Exponens quippe hunc locum in epistola ad Ephesios, ait. Ibid. Part. i. c. 1. Vid. ib. cap. 7.
4. Once, the second epistle of Peter is quoted, as written to the Gentile Christians.
5. He twice quotes 1 John iii. 16, in this manner: Because as Christ laid down his life for us, we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.' I mention this, because of our English translation of the former part of this verse, which is unsupported by any good authority: "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:" so our translation. However, I presume, it needs not to be supposed, that this author had the name of Christ in this verse. No: probably he read, as in most, or even all Greek copies: Hereby perceive we the love [which ought to be in us] because he [meaning Christ, or the Son of God, the ' antecedent, mentioned ver. 8,] laid down his life for us; and [or so] we ought to lay down " our lives for the brethren.'
6. This writer quotes the fifth chapter of St. John's first epistle, without the heavenly witnesses.
IV. There is still another work, De Vita Contemplativa, in three books, which was formerly ascribed to Prosper, and is now generally thought not to be his; but rather a work of Julian Pomerius, supposed to have been presbyter at the city of Arles, in Gaul, about the
1. This work does not abound with texts of scripture; though the Acts of the apostles are here several times largely quoted, and also the epistle of James.
2. This writer makes a lamentable complaint of the clergy of his time: That' they sought riches, honour, power, and authority; but neglected the duties of their function, and the care of the people which had been committed to their charge.
I. His work, called a Memoir or Commonitorium, and his time. II. III. The first and second chapters of that work. IV. Remarks upon those two chapters. V. The third chapter of that memoir. VI. The meaning of it examined, and settled. VII. Remarks upon it. VIII. Books of the New Testament received by him. IX. Select passages. X. Remarks upon one of those passages, for shewing the authority of scripture, as the rule of faith.
I. VINCENTIUS LIRINENSIS, or VINCENT, monk and presbyter in the monastery of Lerins, an island on the south coast of France, wrote a Memoir, or Commonitorium for the Catholic Faith, against the profane novelties of all heretics, as it is now entitled. It was written in the
a Testatur et Petrus apostolus in epistolâ ad Gentes. 'Deus ' enim,' ait, 'angelis peccantibus non pepercit.' [2 Pet. ii. 4.] Dimid. Temp. cap. 2.]
b Testatur et Joannes apostolus, dicens: Sicut Christus pro nobis animam suam posuit, sic et nos debemus pro fratribus animas ponere. De Prom. P. 3. cap. 34. Vid. et Part 2. cap. 38.
Dicit et Joannes apostolus: Tria sunt, quæ testimonium ⚫dicunt: Spiritus, sanguis, et aqua.' Et sequitur: si testimonium hominum acceperimus, testimonium Dei majus est. Prom. P. 3. cap. 25.
d De Vitâ contemplativâ libri tres. Ap. Bib. PP. T. viii. p. 52...83. et ap. S. Prosperi Opp. p. 51... 83. Paris. 1671. e Vid. Cav. H. L. P. 1. De Prospero, p. 436. de Jul. Pomerio, p. 466. Du Pin Bib. T. ii. P. 2. S. Prosper. p. 189. et Jul. Pomere. ib. p. 273. &c. Tillem. S. Prosper. art. 12. T. xvi.
Sed nos præsentibus delectati, dum in hac vitâ commoda nostra et honores inquirimus: non ut meliores, sed ut ditiores, nec ut sanctiores, sed ut honoratiores simus cæteris,
festinamus. Nec gregem Domini, qui nobis pascendus, tuendusque commissus est, sed nostras voluptates, dominationem, divitias, et cætera blandimenta, carnaliter cogitamus. Pastores dici volumus, nec tamen esse contendimus. Officii nostri vitamus laborem, appetimus dignitatem. De Vit. Contempl. 1. i. c. 21. in.
Vid. Cav. H. L. P. i. Pagi ann. 434. n. 15...20. Basnag. ann. 434. n. 10... 12. J. Basnag. Hist. de l'Eglise, 1. 9. ch. 7. n. 4. Du Pin Bib. T. iii. P. 2. p. 170. Tillem. Mem. T. xv.
▲ Vincentius, natione Gallus, apud monasterium Lirinensis insula presbyter, vir in scripturis sanctis doctus, et notitia ecclesiasticorum dogmatum sufficienter instructus, composuit ad evitanda hæreticorum collegia nitido satis et aperto sermone validissimam disputationem, quam, absconso nomine suo, titulavit Peregrini adversus hæreticos.' Cujus operis, quia secundi libri maximam in schedulis partem a quibusdam furatam perdidit, recapitulato ejus paucis sermonibus sensu pristino compegit, et uno in libro edidit. Moritur Theodosio et Valentiniano regnantibus. Gennad. cap. 64.
year of our Lord 434, as we learn from himself, who speaks of its being then three years since the council of Ephesus, which was held in 431. The work, as first composed by him, consisted of two books; but the second book having been lost by some accident, he contented himself with making a recapitulation of the whole: which we still have, together with the first book. It may be also observed that, for some reasons, he did not put his name to his work; but published it under the borrowed name of Peregrinus, or, The Pilgrim against Heretics. As most of these particulars are mentioned by Gennadius, in his book of Illustrious Men, I have transcribed the chapter below. It is supposed that Vincent died about the year 450.
Vincent is generally called a Semi-Pelagian, and reckoned an adversary of the Augustinian doctrine; nevertheless, as he is severe against all heresy in general, so particularly against Pelagianism.
II. After the preface, he says: Having, with much care and diligence, inquired of great numbers of learned and pious men, for a sure and general rule, whereby to discern the true 'catholic doctrine from the errors of heretics, I received from almost all this answer: That he who would escape the deceits and snares of heretics, and be preserved sound and entire in the right faith, should secure himself by this twofold method; first, by the authority of the divine law, and then by the tradition of the catholic church.'
III. That is the first chapter. The second is to this purpose: But here, perhaps, some may ask; since the canon of scripture is perfect, and abundantly sufficient, what need can there be to join with it the authority of the church's interpretation? The reason is this: Such is the sublimity of the sacred scripture, that all do not understand it alike; but there are many very different interpretations of it: Novatus understands it in one sense; Donatus, in another; Sabellius, in another: and, in the like manner, Arius, Photinus, Priscillian, Pelagius, Nes'torius: insomuch, that there are almost as many opinions formed upon it, as there are men in the world. It is therefore, necessary, upon account of those numerous and various deviations of error, that the line of the prophetical and apostolical interpretation, should be guided according to the rule of the ecclesiastical and catholic sense.'
IV. We cannot avoid making remarks upon these two chapters.
1. Vincent says, that having inquired of many, how he might discern the catholic doctrine from heresy, he received from almost all of them this answer: That it might be done in ⚫ a twofold method; by the authority of the divine law, and the tradition of the catholic church.' We must not charge Vincent with falsehood; or deny, that he had received this answer from some, and even from many: nevertheless, I cannot say that this direction has appeared in any of the writers whom we have hitherto examined. They do in general say, that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the rule of Christian belief and practice; that there are no other writings from which any doctrine of religion may be proved; that they build their faith upon the prophets and apostles, who alone are infallible; and that they are far from paying the like regard to Cyprian, or Hilary, or their writings. This has been the concurrent declaration of the primitive Christians, and of all other Christian writers to this time: and we perceive that Vincent had met with some who were of the same opinion; though, as he says, many were for joining ecclesiastical tradition with the divine law.
2. Here is mentioned, by Vincent, that allowed maxim, admitted by all Christians in general, that the canon of scripture is perfect, and in itself abundantly sufficient for all the purposes of a rule;' and, I think, this must have been a general maxim in Vincent's age, as well as in former times.
• Et contra reclamant ranæ quædam, et ciniphes, et muscæ morituræ, quales sunt Pelagiani. Comm. cap. 14. Vid. et cap. 40.
Sæpe igitur magno studio et summâ attentione perquirens a quamplurimis sanctitate et doctrinâ præstantibus viris, quonam modo possim certâ quâdam, et quasi generali, ac regulari viâ catholicæ fidei veritatem ab hereticæ pravitatis falsitate discernere, hujusmodi semper responsum ab omnibus fere retuli: quod, sive ego, sive quis alius vellet exsurgentium hæreticorum fraudes deprehendere, laqueosque vitare, et in fide sana sanus atque integer permanere, duplici modo munire fidem suam, Domino adjuvante, debere: primum scilicet ivinæ legis auctoritate, tum deinde ecclesiæ catholicæ traditione. Comm. cap. 1.
c Hic forsitan requirat aliquis: cum sit perfectus scripturæ canon, sibique ad omnia satis superque sufficiat; quid opus est, ut ei ecclesiasticæ intelligentiæ jungatur auctoritas? Quia videlicet scripturam sacram, pro ipsâ sua altitudine, non uno eodemque sensu universi accipiunt, sed ejusdem eloquia aliter alius atque alius interpretatur, ut pene quot homines sunt, tot illinc sententiæ erui posse videantur. Aliter namque illam Novatianus, aliter Sabellius, aliter Donatus exponit, aliter Arius, ... aliter Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillianus, .... Pelagius, aliter postremo Nestorius. Atqui idcirco multum necesse est, propter tantos tam varii erroris anfractus, ut prophetica et apostolicæ interpretationis linea secundum ecclesiastici et catholici sensûs normam dirigatur. Ib. cap. 2.
3. There is no good reason to say, that the scriptures are too sublime to be understood.' It is certain, and has been generally allowed by all Christians of the early ages, that the scriptures are clear in all matters of importance; and that, if read with care, and an honest mind, men of ordinary capacities may gain from thence instruction in all things necessary to be known and understood by them, in order to their being saved.
4. The sacred scripture is the only proper rule of Christian belief and practice; because it is admitted, by Christians of all sects and denominations, to contain a true and infallible account of the revealed will of God. To this all appeal: Sabellians, Novatians, Donatists, Arians, Priscillianists, as well as catholics; by this they are willing to be determined. But how can men of different sentiments be convinced and satisfied by catholic tradition, when they do not admit its authority?
5. To say that the scripture is a 'perfect and sufficient rule,' and that tradition must be ◄ joined with it,' in order to our knowing the right faith, is a contradiction in terms; though some, as it seems, do not perceive it, through prejudice, or want of due attention.
6. To make tradition the rule of interpretation, is to advance it above the scriptures, and to render them of no effect: which, certainly, could not be the design of any of the numerous Christian writers whom we have hitherto consulted; for they do all express a very high regard for the sacred scriptures, and sincerely, so far as we are able to judge.
V. We now proceed to the third chapter of Vincent's Memoir.
• And, * in the catholic church itself, great care must be taken, that we hold that which has been believed every where, always, and by all; for that is catholic, as the word itself shews. • We are, therefore, to confess that one true faith, which the whole church confesseth, throughout the whole world; nor are we to depart from that faith, which our ancestors and holy fathers have maintained. We are also to follow the determinations which have been made by • all, or almost all, the bishops, and eminent men of the church; so shall we obtain universality, antiquity, and consent.'
VI. Upon this chapter, likewise, we are led to make remarks; but before we do so, some inquiries are needful for settling this rule.
‹ b First of all. Are the apostles here included, or excluded? If,' says Ja. Basnage, in ⚫ order to our receiving any thing as true, it ought to have been believed by all teachers, and in all times, we must place the apostles in the rank of teachers; for why should they be excluded? • Are not they as venerable, and as judicious, as the bishops that have succeeded them; the 'greatest honour of some of whom is, that they had conversed with the apostles? If we include the apostles in the class of teachers, we must have recourse to their writings, and consult them; if they are excluded, Vincent's rule is badly expressed: for in that way we must at once, and first of all, retrench a quarter part of the time that had passed between Jesus Christ ‹ and himself; that is, the first age, and the purest period of the church. We also, in this way, ⚫ set aside those teachers which are most to be relied upon, and have had the greatest authority.'
So that learned and diligent author. Nevertheless, it seems to me, that the inspired writers of the Old and New Testament are here excluded; for, at the conclusion of the preceding chapter, he said, It is necessary, that the line of prophetical and apostolical interpretation should be guided by the rule of the ecclesiastical and catholic sense.' That 'rule,' or 'norma,' is here more distinctly specified. The prophets and apostles, therefore, are excluded. Vincent here speaks of quite other persons: he mentions not them, but only bishops, and masters,' or eminent men. I think, he intends the immediate successors of the apostles; and also all succeeding catholics, all along in every part of the world to his own time, but especially bishops, and other eminent men.
In the second place. Another question may be put: Whether Vincent speaks of catholics only, or of all Christians in general, catholics and heretics, since the time of the apostles? Then the rule will be thus: Whatever has been believed every where, always, and by all, with
a In ipsâ item catholicâ ecclesiâ, magnopere curandum est, ut id teneamus, quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est. Hoc est enim vere proprieque catholicum, (quod ipsa vis nominis ratioque declarat,) quod omnia fere universaliter comprehendit. Sed hoc ita demum fiet, si sequamur universitatem, antiquitatem, consensionem. Sequeinur autem universitatem hoc modo, si hanc unam fidem veram VOL. III.
esse fateamur, quam tota per orbem terrarum confitetur ecclesia. Antiquitatem vero ita, si ab iis sensibus nullâtenus recedamus, quos sanctos majores ac patres nostros celebrâsse manifestum est. Consensionem quoque itidem, si in ipsâ vetustate omnium, vel certe pene omnium, sacerdotum et magistrorum definitiones sententiasque sectemur. Ibid. cap. 3. Histoire de l'Eglise, 1. 9. ch. 7. n. 4.