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knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib,"* but that his people know not him. But however they may laugh at its uncertainty, if they were called to seal their own doctrine with their blood and lives, it would appear how much they value it . Very different is our confidence, which dreads neither the terrors of death, nor even the tribunal of God.
Their requiring miracles of us is altogether unreasonable; for we forge no new Gospel, but retain the very same whose truth was confirmed by all the miracles ever wrought by Christ and the apostles. But they have this peculiar advantage above us, that they can confirm their faith by continual miracles even to this day. But the truth is, they allege miracles which are calculated to unsettle a mind otherwise well established, they are so frivolous and ridiculous, or vain and false. Nor, if they were ever so preternatural, ought they to have any weight in opposition to the truth of God, since the name of God ought to be sanctified in all places and at all times, whether by miraculous events, or by the common order of nature. This fallacy might perhaps be more specious, if the Scripture did not apprize us of the legitimate end and use of miracles. For Mark informs us, that the miracles which followed the preaching of the apostles were wrought in confirmation" of it, and Luke tells us, that" "the Lord gave testimony to the word of his grace," when "signs and wonders" were "done by the hands " of the apostles. Very similar to which is the assertion of the apostle, that "salvation was confirmed " by the preaching of the Gospel, "God also bearing witness with signs, and wonders, and divers miracles."" But those things which we are told were seals of the Gospel, shall we pervert to undermine the faith of the Gospel? Those things which were designed to be testimonials of the truth, shall we accommodate to the confirmation of falsehood? It is right, therefore, that the doctrine, which, according to the evangelist, claims the first attention, be examined and tried in the first place; and if it be approved, then it ought to derive confirmation from miracles. But it is the characteristic of sound doctrine, given by Christ.
• Isaiah L 3. "Mark xvi. 20. u Acts xiv. 3. u Heb. ii. 3-4.
that it tends to promote, not the glory of men, but the glory of God." Christ having laid down this proof of a doctrine, it is wrong to esteem those as miracles which are directed to any other end than the glorification of the name of God alone. And we should remember that Satan has his wonders, which, though they are juggling tricks rather than real miracles, are such as delude the ignorant and inexperienced. Magicians and enchanters have always been famous for miracles; idolatry has been supported by astonishing miracles; and yet we admit them not as proofs of the superstition of magicians or idolaters. With this engine also the simplicity of the vulgar was anciently assailed by the Donatists, who abounded in miracles. We therefore give the same answer now to our adversaries as Augustine" gave to the Donatists, that our Lord hath cautioned us against these miracle-mongers by his prediction, that there should arise false prophets, who, by various signs and lying wonders, "should deceive (if possible) the very elect."" And Paul has told us, that the kingdom of Antichrist would be "with all power, and signs, and lying wonders."1* But these miracles (they say) are wrought, not by idols, or sorcerers, or false prophets, but by saints; as if we were ignorant, that it is a stratagem of Satan to "transform" himself "into an angel of light."" At the tomb of Jeremiah," who was buried in Egypt, the Egyptians formerly offered sacrifices and other divine honours. Was not this abusing God's holy prophet to the purposes of idolatry? Yet they supposed this veneration of his sepulchre to be rewarded with a cure for the bite of serpents. What shall we say, but that it has been, and ever w;ll be, the most righteous vengeance of God to "send those who receive not the love of the truth strong delusions, that they should believe a lie?We are by no means without miracles, and such as are certain, and not liable to cavils. But those under which they shelter themselves are mere illusions of Satan, seducing the people from the true worship of God to vanity.
Another calumny is their charging us with opposition to the fathers,—I mean the writers of the earlier and purer
"John vii. 18, mi. 50. "In Joan, tract . 13. "Matt. xxiv. 24. ij Thesa. ii. 9. "2 Cor. xi. 14. "Hierom. in praef. Jerem.
"2 Thess. ii. io, 11.
(3) HC XXXIX
ages,—as if those writers were abettors of their impiety; whereas, if the contest were to be terminated by this authority, the victory in most parts of the controversy—to speak in the most modest terms—would be on our side. But though the writings of those fathers contain many wise and excellent things, yet in some respects they have suffered the common fate of mankind; these very dutiful children reverence only their errors and mistakes, but their excellences they either overlook, or conceal, or corrupt; so that it may truly be said to be their only study to collect dross from the midst of gold. Then they overwhelm us with senseless clamours, as despisers and enemies of the fathers. But we do not hold them in such contempt, but that, if it were consistent with my present design, I could easily support by their suffrages most of the sentiments that we now maintain. But while we make use of their writings, we always remember that "all things are ours," to serve us, not to have dominion over us, and that "we are Christ's"*0 alone, and owe him universal obedience. He who neglects this distinction will have nothing decided in religion; since those holy men were ignorant of many things, frequently at variance with each other, and sometimes even inconsistent with themselves. There is great reason, they say, for the admonition of Solomon, "not to transgress or remove the ancient landmarks, which our fathers have set.'"1 But the same rule is not applicable to the bounding of fields, and to the obedience of faith, which ought to be ready to "forget her own people and her father's house."TM But if they are so fond of allegorizing, why do they not explain the apostles, rather than any others, to be those fathers, whose appointed landmarks it is so unlawful to remove? For this is the interpretation of Jerome, whose works they have received into their canons. But if they insist on preserving the landmarks of those whom they understand to be intended, why do they at pleasure so freely transgress them themselves? There were two fathers,TM of whom one said, that our God neither eats nor drinks, and therefore needs neither cups nor dishes; the other, that sacred things require no gold, and that gold
"i Cor. iii. 21, 23. n Prov. xxii. 28. "Psalm xlv. 10. "Acat. in lib. 11, cap. 16. Trip. Hist. Arab. lib. 2, de Off. c 28. is no recommendation of that which is not purchased with gold. This landmark therefore is transgressed by those who in sacred things are so much delighted with gold, silver, ivory, marble, jewels, and silks, and suppose that God is not rightly worshipped, unless all things abound in exquisite splendour, or rather extravagant profusion. There was a father" who said he freely partook of flesh on a day when others abstained from it, because he was a Christian. They transgress the' landmarks therefore when they curse the soul that tastes flesh in Lent. There were two fathers," of whom one said, that a monk who labors not with his hands is on a level with a cheat or a robber; and the other, that it is unlawful for monks to live on what is not their own, notwithstanding their assiduity in contemplations, studies, and prayers; and they have transgressed this landmark by placing the idle and distended carcasses of monks in cells and brothels, to be pampered on the substance of others. There was a father* who said, that to see a painted image of Christ, or of any other saint, in the temples of Christians, is a dreadful abomination. Nor was this merely the sentence of an individual; it was also decreed by an ecclesiastical council, that the object of worship should not be painted on the walls. They are far from confining themselves within these landmarks, for every corner is filled with images. Another father" has advised that, after having discharged the office of humanity towards the dead by the rites of sepulture, we should leave them to their repose. They break through these landmarks by inculcating a constant solicitude for the dead. There was one of the fathers" who asserted that the substance of bread and wine in the eucharist ceases not, but remains, just as the substance of the human nature remains in the Lord Christ united with the divine. They transgress this landmark therefore by pretending that, on the words of the Lord being recited, the substance of bread and wine ceases, and is transubstantiated into his body and blood. There were fathers" who, while they exhibited to
14 Spiridion. Trip. Hist. lib. I, c. 10.
"Trip. Hist. lib. 8, c. i. August, de Opere Mon. c. 1f.
*> Epiph. Epist. ab Hier. vers. Con. Eliber. c 36.
** Arab, de Abra. lib. i. c. 7. w Gelas. Pap. in Cone. Rom.
• Chrys. in 1 Cap. Epbes. Calix. Papa de Cons. dist. a.
the universal Church only one eucharist, and forbade all scandalous and immoral persons to approach it, at the same time severely censured all who, when present, did not partake of it. How far have they removed these landmarks, when they fill not only the churches, but even private houses, with their masses, admit all who choose to be spectators of them, and every one the more readily in proportion to the magnitude of his contribution, however chargeable with impurity and wickedness! They invite none to faith in Christ and a faithful participation of the sacraments; but rather for purposes of gain bring forward their own work instead of the grace and merit of Christ. There were two fathers," of whom one contended that the use of Christ's sacred supper should be wholly forbidden to those who, content with partaking of one kind, abstained from the other; the other strenuously maintained that Christian people ought not to be refused the blood of their Lord, for the confession of whom they are required to shed their own. These landmarks also they have removed, in appointing, by an inviolable law, that very thing which the former punished with excommunication, and the latter gave a powerful reason for disapproving. There was a father*1 who asserted the temerity of deciding on either side of an obscure subject, without clear and evident testimonies of Scripture. This landmark they forgot when they made so many constitutions, canons, and judicial determinations, without any authority from the word of God. There was a father" who upbraided Montanus with having, among other heresies, been the first imposer of laws for the observance of fasts. They have gone far beyond this landmark also, in establishing fasts by the strictest laws. There was a father** who denied that marriage ought to be forbidden to the ministers of the Church, and pronounced cohabitation with a wife to be real chastity; and there were fathers who assented to his judgment. They have transgressed these landmarks by enjoining on their priests the strictest celibacy. There was a father who thought that attention should be paid to Christ only, of
"Gelas. can. Comperimus de Cons. dist. a. Cypr. Epist . 2, lib. 1, de Laps. TM August, lib. 2, de Pec. Mer. cap. ult. ■"Apollon. de quo Eccl. Hist. lib. 5, cap. 11, u. ■Faphnut. Trip. Hist. lib. 2, c. 14. Cypr. Epist. 2, lib. t.