Page images
PDF
EPUB

B. SPECIAL HISTORY OF DOCTRINES

DURING THE FOURTH PERIOD.

FIRST CLASS.

THE CHARACTERISTIC DOCTRINES OF ROMANISM

AND PROTESTANTISM.

(INCLUDING THE OPPOSITION BETWEEN LUTHERANS AND CALVIN

ISTS, AND THE OPINIONS OF THE MINOR RELIGIOUS PARTIES AND SECTS.)

FIRST DIVISION.

THE DOCTRINES CONCERNING THE SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE.

(THE FORMAL PRINCIPLE).

FORMAL PRINCIPLE.

$ 240.

ROMANISM AND PROTESTANTISM.

Heppe, Die Dogmatik des deutschen Protestantismus. [Comp. the works referred to, vol

i., p. 42. W. 0. Dielein, Vorträge über Protest. und Katholicismus, Halle, 1854. Schenkel, Das Princip, des Protestantismus, 1852. Twesten, Protest, und Kathol. in his Dogmatik, i. Bp. Edmond Gibson, Preservative against Popery, 18 vols., Lond. 1848–9, and Supplement, 8 vols., 1849, contains many of the leading English treatises on the points of difference. D. Schenkel, Ursprüngliches Verbältniss der Kirche zum Kanon, Basel, 1838. William Goode, Divine Rule, repr. Phil., 2 vols., 1848. Richard Baxter, Key for Catholicy, 1659; Roman Tradition Examined, 1676. E. B. Pusey, Rule of Faith as maintained by the Fathers of the Church of England.]

From the commencement of the Reformation it became evident, in the course of the struggle, that its adherents proceeded upon a different formal principle (as to the source of knowledge, and rule of faith), from that held by the Roman Church of that period. For

1

while the advocates of the Romish Church continually appealed to the authority of tradition, the Protestants refused to yield to any arguments but those clearly drawn from Scripture. This primitive difference was prominently brought forward in the symbolical books in general, and in those of the Reformed Church in particular.' It may be specified in the four following particulars ; 1. While the Protestant Church asserts that the sacred writings of the Old and New Testaments are the only sure source of religious knowledge, and constitute the sole rule of faith, the Roman Catholic Church assumes the existence of another source together with the Bible—viz. tradition. 2. Acording to Protestants, the Holy Bible is composed only of the canonical writings of the Old and New Testament,' while the Roman Catholics also ascribe canonical authority to the so-called Apocrypha of the Old Testament. 3. The Roman Catholic Church claims the sole right of interpreting the Scripture,' while the Protestant church concedes this right in a stricter sense, to every one who possesses the requisite gifts and attainments, but in a more comprehensive sense to every Christian who seeks after salvation ; it proceeds upon the principle, that Scripture is its own interpreter, according to the analogia fidei.' With this is connected, in the fourth place, the assumption of the Roman Catholic Church, that the Vulgate version, which it sanctions, is to be preferred to all other versions, as the authentic one, and is thus to a certain extent of equal importance with the original,' while Protestants regard the original only as authentic."

10

· Luther was led to his view about the Scriptures, as the only rule of faith, from his views about justification; he came to the formal by means of the material principle. Contending against the false doctrine of justification, as seen in relation to the sale of indulgences, he first of all appealed to the Pope; then from the Pope ill instructed, to the Pope better instructed; then to a council; until at last he recognized the authority of Scripture as alone decisive ; and elevated this to the rank of a formal principle. Even in his Protestation at the end of his Theses, he says, that he is not so presumptuous as to prefer his opinion to the opinion of all; but also, that he is not so thoughtless as to put the Divine Word below fables of human invention (Werke, Walch's edition, xviii., 254 sq.). He is more definite at the Leipsic Disputation (ibid., p. 1160), saying, that no Christian can be forced to bind himself to aught but the Holy Scriptures, which alone have divine right. In his Resolutiones, he rises distinctly above the authority of councils. Compare his other controversial works, and his position at the Diet of Worms; see, further, Schenkel, Das Wesen des Protest., i., 20 sq. [Gieseler, Church Hist., New York ed., vol. v., § 34.] What Luther thus attained unto was further developed by Melancthon : Loci Theol., ed. Augusti, p. 4 sq. Imo nihil perinde optarim, atque si fieri possit, Christianos, omnes in solis divinis litteris liberrime versari et in illarum indolem plane transformari. Nam cum

e

in illis absolutissimum sui imaginem expresserit divinitas, non poterit aliur.de neque certius neque purius cognosci. Fallitur quisquis aliunde Christianismi formam petit, quam e Scriptura canonica. Comp. also the passages in the later editions, in Bretschseider, Corpus Reform., xxi , p. 453, 685 sq., 732. On the distinction which he makes between Scripture and the word of God, see Heppe, u. s., p. 216.-Zwingle came more speedily than Luther to a clear view of the Scriptures as a rule of faith, although he did not at first emphasize Scripture as such, but the Word of God in contrast with the doctrines of man. Thus, in his treatise “ Von der Klarheit und Gwüsse des göttlichen Wortes" (Werke, i., 81), he says: “In fine, that we may stop having to give an answer to every body about all sorts of objections, this is our view, that the Word of God must be held by us in the highest honor (by Word of God meaning only what comes from the Spirit of God), and that to no word should be given such faith as to that. For this word is certain, cannot fail; it is clear, and will not let us wander in darkness; it teaches itself, expounds itself, and makes the human soul to shine with all salvation and grace," etc. See, too, his declarations at both of the Zurich Disputations. He speaks of the Scripture itself first in his Architeles (Opera iii.; see Ebrard, Abendmahlslehre, ii. 46, sq.). Thus on p. 32: Scripturam sacram ducem et magistram esse oportet, qua si quis recte usus sit, impunem esse oportet, etiamsi doctorculis maxime displiceat. And here the highest rule is what Christ teaches, ibid., p. 30; Cunctis post habitis huc tandem veni, ut nulla re, nullo sermone tam fiderem, atque eo, qui ex ore Domini prodiit. Pag. 31 : Dum lapidem inquiro, non invenio alium, quam lapidem offensionis et petram scandali, ad quam offendunt, quotquot Pharisæorum more irritum faciunt præceptum Dei propter traditionem suam. His itaque in hunc modum comparatis, cæpi omnem doctrinam ad hunc lapidem explorare, et si vidissem lapidem eundem reddere colorem vel potius doctrinam ferre posse lapidis claritatem, recipi eam; sin minus, rejeci.... Ad hunc thesaurum, puta ad certitudinem verbi Dei, dirigendum est cor nostrum.-And in his Expositio Simplex (Opera, iv. p. 67): Non vel jota unum docemus, quod non ex divinis oraculis didicerimus, neque sententiam ullam, cujus non primarios ecclesiæ doctores, prophetas, apostolos, evangelistas, episcopos, interpretes, sed priscos illos, qui purius ex fonte hauserunt, auctores habeamus. (That is, he urges in respect to Scripture, the idea of its original and primitive authority.) Moreover, according to Zwingle, “ Scripture can be understood only through and by faith, and faith be confirmed, as to its being right, only by the Scripture, which is rightly understood by faith.” (The Analogia fidei. He gives as an illustration, the case of one, who should try to put a horse to a cart without harness or lines, or to draw the cart with ropes without the horse; both belong together-German Works, ii. 2, p. 3).—The principle about Scripture is more abstractly presented by Calvin, Instit. I. c. 6, § 2 : Sic autem habendum est, ut nobis affulgeat vera religio, exordium a cælesti , doctrina fieri debere, nec quemquam posse vel minimum gustum rectæ sanæque doctrinæ percipere, nisi qui Scripturæ fuerit discipulus. Unde etiam emergit veræ intelligentiæ principium, ubi reverenter amplectimur, quod de se illic testari Deus voluit. (Compare what he says in the context of this chapter, and in the subsequent chapters.)

SS.

• The Lutheran symbols do not contain any separate article de Sacra Scriptura, but occasionally oppose tradition. Comp. Confess. August., p. 13, 28

Apolog., p. 205 ss. Articles of Smalcald, p. 337. The Form. Concord. is more definite, p. 570. On the other hand, the symbols of the Reformed Church, for the most part, commence with the article de Sacra Scriptura, or have a special article elsewhere (see the next note). The only exception is the first Confession of Basle, which, nevertheless, concludes with a submission of all its articles to the authority of Scripture. Compare note 3.

• Articles of Smalcald, I. c.: Regulam autem aliam habemus, ut videlicet verbum Dei condat articulos fidei et præterea nemo, ne angelus quidem. Form. Conc., l. c.: Credimus ... unicam regulam et normam, secundum quam omnia dogmata omnesque doctores æstimari et judicari oporteat, nullam omnino aliam esse, quam prophetica et apostolica scripta cum V. tum N. T. Reliqua vero sive patrum sive neotericorum scripta, quocunque veni. ant nomine, sacris litteris nequaquam sunt æquiparanda. Comp. Sol. Decl., p. 632.-Conf. Helv., I. (Bas. II.) : Scriptura canonica verbum Dei, Spiritu S. tradita, omnium perfectissima et antiquissima philosophia, pietatem omnem, omnem vitæ rationem, sola perfecte continet.-Helv., II., 1: In Scriptura sancta habet universalis Christiana ecclesia plenissime exposita, quæcunque pertinent cum ad salvificam fidem tum ad vitam Deo placentem recte informandam ... Sentimus ergo ex hisce scripturis petendam esse veram sapientiam et pietatem, ecclesiarum quoque reformationem et gubernationem omniumque officiorum pietatis institutionem, probationem denique dogmatum reprobationemque aut errorum confutationem omnium, sed admonitiones omnes. Cap. 2 : Non alium sustinemus in causa fidei judicem, quam ipsum Dcum per Script. S. pronunciantem, quid verum sit, quid falsum, quid sequendum sit, quidve fugiendum.-Repudiamus traditiones humanas, quæ tametsi insigniantur speciosis titulis, quasi divivæ apostolicæque sint, viva voce apostolorem et ceu per manus virorum apostolicorum succedentibus episcopis ecclesiæ traditæ, compositæ tamen cum scripturis ab his discrepant, discrepantiaque illa sua ostendunt, se minime esse apostolicas. Sicut enim Apostoli inter se diversa non docuerunt, ita et apostolici non contraria apostolis ediderunt. Quinimo impium esset asseverare, apostolos vive voce contraria scriptis suis tradidisse.—Comp., Conf. Gall., Art. 5; Belg. 7; Angl. 6; Scot. 18, etc., quoted by Winer, pp. 30, 31. The Remonstrants and Socinians agreed with the Protestants in this general formal principle. See Conf. Remonstr., i, 10 ss., i. 13; Cat. Racov., Qu. 31 and 33, quoted by Winer, pp. 31, 32. Concerning the sense in which Protestants take tradition, see below (8 241). That the same importance should afterwards be assigned to the symbolical writings of the Protestant Churches, which was formerly ascribed to tradition (Form. Cons., Helv. 26), was not the intention of their original authors; see the conclusion of the first Confession of Basle; “And lastly, we submit this our confession to the authority of Holy Writ, and are willing to render grateful obedience to God and his Holy Word, whenever we shall be better instructed therefrom.” Comp. Confess. Helv. II., and Confess. Scot, at the close of the preface.

* The Confession, however, grants, that God can enlighten man on extraordinary cases, oven without the preaching of the word: Agnoscimus interim, Deum illuminare posse homines, etiam sine externo ministerio, quos et quando velit; id quod ejus potentiæ est. Nos autem loquimur de usitata ratione instituendi homines, et præcepto exemplo tradita nobis a Deo. 1 $ In reference to external rites (which are transmitted to us by tradition) the Conf. Angl., says, Art. 34: Traditiones atque ceremonias easdem, non omnino necessarium est 1988€ ubique, aut prorsus consimiles. Nam ut variæ semper fuerunt, et mutari possunt, pro regionum, tomporum et morum diversitate, modo nihil contra verbum Dei instituatur.

• Conc. Trid., sess. IV., (de Canon. Scripturis) : Synodus........ hoc sibi perpetuo ante oculos proponens, ut sublatis erroribus puritas ipsa evangelii in ecclesia conservetur.... perspiciensque veritatem et disciplinam contineri in libris scriptis et sine scripto traditionibus, quæ ex ipsius Christi ore ab apostolis acceptæ, aut ab ipsius apostolis Spiritu Sancto dictante, quasi per manus traditæ, ad nos usque pervenerunt: orthodoxorum patrum exempla secuta, omnes libros tam V. quam N. T. cum utriusque unus Deus sit auctor, necnon traditiones ipsas, tum ad fidem, tum ad mores pertinentes, tamquam vel oretenus a Christo, vel a Spiritu Sancto dictatas et continua successione in ecclesia catholica conservatas, pari pietatis affectu ac reverentia suscipit et veneratur. .....Si quis autem...... traditiones prædictas sciens et prudens contemserit, anathema sit. Comp. Cat. Rom. præf. 12; and on the nature of tradition, see the passages from Bellarmine De Verbo Dei iv. 3, quoted by Winer, pp. 30 and 31. (See also Köllner, Symbolik, ii. 342-354.] Cane Loci Theolog. 3. The doctrine of the Greek Church is similar, Confess. orthod. p. 18: Φανερόν πως τα άρθρα της πίστεως έχουσι το κύρος και την δοκιμασίαν, μέρος από την αγίαν γραφήν, μέρος από την εκκλησιαστικής παράδοσιν.

Compare the passage in note 3, and what is said of the quam prophetica et apostolica scripta cum V. tum N. T.-The Apocrypha was more distinctly rejected in the symbols of the Reformed Churches, as well as in those of the Arminians, Mennonites, and Socinians. Confess. Helv. II. 1. Gall. 3, 4. Confess. Belg. 6. Confess. Remonstr. i. 6. (Winer, p. 41). Some confessions of faith even contain lists of the canonical writings, e.g., Conf. Angl. 6; Belg. Art. 4. (But the free examination of the canon was thus prevented or limited.)

Conc. Trid. sess. IV. Decret. 1.-Respecting the reasons by which the Roman Catholic Church may have been induced to ascribe so much importance to the Apocryphạ (which indeed contained proofs of some of its doctrines, but with which it could dispense in consequence of the authority ascribed to tradition), see Marheineke, Symb. vol. ii. p. 234, ss. 41. [Köllner, Symbolik, ii. 346-8.7

? Conc. Trid. sess. IV., decret. de Edit. et Usu S. S. : Ad coërcenda petulantia ingenia decernit (Synodus), ut nemo suæ prudentiæ innixus, in rebus

b

Winer, P.

Traditiones et ceremonias ecclesiasticas, quce cum verbo Dei non pugnant, et sunt auctoritate publica institutæ atque probatæ, quisquis privato consilio volens, et data opera, publice violaverit, is, ut qui peccat in publicum ordinem ecclesiæ, quique lædit auctoritatem magistratus, et qui infirmorum fratrum conscientias vulnerat, publice, ut cæteri timeant, arguen. dus est. Quælibet ecclesia particularis, sive nationalis, auctoritatem habet instituendi, mutandi, aut abrogandi ceremonias, aut ritus ecclesiasticos, humana tantum auctoritate institutos, modo omnia ad ædificationem fiant.

« PreviousContinue »