Chapter II:41: Scripture as Supreme Judge, not the Church, Part 5

From what has been said, as the Fallibility of the Church is evident in general, so certain Particulars are added against the Roman Church, which, α. with the others is without a promise of Infallibility, while Paul admonishes these very Romans, Romans 11:20-22, καλῶς· τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ ἐξεκλάσθησαν, etc., well; because of unbelief they were broken off, etc.  β. And it has had many Bishops erring in faith; Liberius in the Fourth Century subscribing to an Arian formula at the behest of Constantius, when he was wearied with two years of exile:[1]  see SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century IV, chapter XI, columns 911, 915, 916, opera, tome I; BUDDEUS, Isagoge ad Theologiam universam, book II, chapter II, § 5, tome 1, pages 458, 459a. Vigilius, who in the Sixth Century actually changed his opinion three times concerning the case of the Three Chapters and of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, and by the condemnation of the Three Chapters involved himself in the crime of heresy by the judgment of most of the Latins and Africans of that time:[2]  see SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century VI, chapter X, § 4, column 1123, § 9, columns 1127, 1128. Honorius I, who asserted Monthelitism, and condemned those that opposed, in the Seventh Century; afterwards Pope Honorius himself was then also anathematized by the Sixth Ecumenical, or Third Constantinopolitan, Council:[3]  see SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century VII, chapter VIII, § 3, columns 1220, 1221, § 6, column 1224, chapter IX, § 4, 5, columns 1227, 1228. John XXII, who in the Fourteenth Century denied that the Souls of the saints are received into heaven, and enjoy the vision of God before the day of the Resurrection; but he, when near to death, recanted:[4]  see SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century XIV, chapter III, § 3, columns 1744, 1745, chapter V, § 11, column 1764. John XXIII, who in the Fifteenth Century at the Council of Constance was to be deprived of office, having been accused of denying the future Life and the Resurrection of the dead:  see SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century XV, chapter II, § 2, column 1819, and likewise in Xeniis Romano-catholicorum, Dilemma XIV, in Antidoro, § 2, columns 1143, 1144, opera, tome 3.  And according to Canon Law, says our AUTHOR, it is possible to have Bishops deviating from the faith:  so indeed in part I of the Decree of GRATIAN, Distinction XL, chapter VI, Si Papa, columns 211, 212, it is read that the Pope is to be judged by no one, unless he be found a deviant from the faith:  in the place of which the Gloss on that place has, unless he be found a heretic:  but, if this be impossible, for what reason is that restriction added?

[1] Liberius was Roman Bishop from 352 to 366.

[2] Vigilius was Roman Bishop from 537 to 555.  The Three-Chapter Controversy was instigated by the Emperor Justinian.  In order to reconcile Monophysite Christians to the Greater Church, which had embraced the Chalcedonian formula, he called for the condemnation of Theodore of Mopsuestia, certain writings of Theodoret, and a letter of Ibas of Edessa, since these “Three Chapters” were particularly offensive to the Monophysites.  He called for the subscription of the Bishops of the Church, which occasioned the controversy.  The Fifth Ecumenical Council condemned the Three Chapters.

[3] Honorius I was Roman Bishop from 625 to 638.  In 680, he was anathematized by the Third Council of Carthage as a Monothelite, asserting that Christ had but one energy and will, rather than two energies and will.

[4] John XXII was the Roman Pope from 1316 to 1334.

Chapter II:41: Scripture as Supreme Judge, not the Church, Part 4

That many Doctors congregated together are no less Fallible, is taught by the examples of entire Councils erring even under the New Testament, of which sort, for example, are the Councils of Rimini and Seleucia under Constantius in the Fourth Century, confirming Arianism;[1] the second Ephesian, λῃστρικὸν/ Robber’s, Council in the Fifth Century, in which, with Dioscorus of Alexandria as President, the Eutychian heresy was approved;[2] the Second, Pseudo-Ecumenical Council of Nicea,[3] which rescinded the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of Constantinople,[4] and established the veneration of images.

To this Argument from the sought and abundantly confirmed Fallibility of the Church, Bellarmine is able to be opposed, book II de Conciliis, chapters VI-IX, tome 2, Controversiis, columns 75-102, in which he tries to enervate the same with a great many arguments, but to no purpose.

[1] In 358, Emperor Constantius II convened two councils (one in the West at Rimini, and one in the East at Seleucia Isauria) to settle the Arian controversy, which adopted a compromise, Semi-Arian, position.

[2] The Second Council of Ephesus was held in 449.

[3] The Second Council of Nicea was held in 787.

[4] This iconoclastic Council was held in 786.

Chapter II:41: Scripture as Supreme Judge, not the Church, Part 3

Under the New Testament, there are Examples in Paul of Samosata,[1] etc., who, at least all those reviewed by our AUTHOR, were Ministers in the Church of the first dignity; Paul of Samosata, Bishop of Antioch, who called Christ a ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον, mere man, denied His Deity and preexistence before His birth of the Virgin Mary. Photinus, Bishop of Sirmium in Illyricum, who held the same heresy concerning the Son of God as Samosata, and nonsensically said that the Holy Spirit is neither God nor a person of the Trinity.[2] Arius, Prebyter of the Alexandrian Church, and ἐξηγητὴς τῶν θείων γραφῶν, Interpreter of the Divine Scriptures, whose errors concerning the Son of God as less than the Father, a creature made ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων, from non-being, a God made, instrument of the Father in Creation; and concerning the Holy Spirit, not even God, but a creature of the Son; are well-known:  no less well-known are the factions and tumults that the Arian heresy stirred up.[3] Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who similarly impugned the Deity of the Holy Spirit, and asserted that He was only a created force, ministering to the Son, which would be in all spirits.[4] Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, who erred, as it was common knowledge, from the truth concerning the Union of the two Natures in Christ.[5] Dioscorus, Bishop of Alexandria, who was the first patron of the Eutychian heresy, and condemned at the Council of Chalcedon.[6] Peter Mongus, Bishop of Alexandria, previously Archdeacon of the Alexandrian Church, thrust into the Alexandrian chair by turbulent men, was the head of the faction of the Eutychians; but thereafter, since he appeared in letters written to embrace the Council of Chalcedon, he was confirmed in the Alexandrian Patriarchate by the Emperor, but left his own sect among the Eutychians without a definite leader/ head, hence to be called the Acephali.[7] Peter Gnapheus, Overseer of the Antiochene seat, thereafter was numbered among the heads of that same sect.[8]

[1] Paul of Samosata (200-275), Bishop of Antioch from 260 to 268, was a monarchian and adoptionist.  In 269, he was deposed by a Synod at Antioch.

[2] Although the exact character of Photinus’ (died 376) beliefs are not clear, he appears to have in some way denied the full and proper Deity of Jesus Christ.

[3] Arius (c. 250-336).

[4] Macedonius I of Constantinople (flourished 340-360) was the progenitor of a heretical group known as the Macedonians, who denied the Deity of the Holy Spirit.

[5] Nestorius (c. 386-451) taught that in Christ, there are not only two natures, but two persons, Jesus of Nazareth and the eternal Son of God.  Some believe that this was not actually Nestorius’ view, but rather his opponents’ caricature of his beliefs.

[6] Dioscorus was Patriarch of Alexandria from 444 to 454.  Dioscorus supported Eutyches, the champion of Alexandrian monophysitism.  Although he was deposed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, he continued to be recognized by many as Patriarch until his death in 454.

[7] That is, the head-less.  Peter Mongus was Patriarch of Alexandria through twelve tumultuous years, from 477 to 489.

[8] Peter the Fuller was Patriarch of Antioch from 471 to 488.

Chapter II:41: Scripture as Supreme Judge, not the Church, Part 2

Moreover, in every case mentioned we deny to the Church Supreme Judgment in the Interpretation of Scripture, and in the Decision of controversies of Faith: 1.  Because the private Judgment of Discretion belongs to individual believers, in accordance with § 39, which ought to remain free:  neither by the αὐτοκρατορικὴν/autocratic and ἀνυπεύθυνον, not accountable, determination of the Church is it lawful to take from believers free recourse to the Sacred Scriptures.  2.  Because all things are to be examined by Scripture, which as the sole and supreme Rule of the Church is also addressed to its individual members.  But a subordinate Judge, to whom the Law was given by the Prince, according to which he ought to judge, is not able to arrogate to himself Judgment Supreme and ἀνυπεύθυνον, not accountable, from the Law at pleasure, when controversy at length arises:  but it belongs to the Prince himself to interpret his Law:  which God does in Scripture, to which He accordingly sends all, Deuteronomy 5:32; Isaiah 8:20, concerning the sense of which passage see § 4 above; 2 Peter 1:19, 20, upon which passage see my Commentarium.  3.  Because every Church in this world is Fallible, consult below Chapter XXXII, § 16, both of the Elect, which indeed is not able to err finally in the foundation and necessary articles; but never in this life is to be said to be so infallible that it is liable to no error:  and this Church is truly Invisible, neither are its member able to be infallibly discerned by other men, see Chapter XXXII, § 3, 4, 8; and so this is not able to sustain the part of a visible Judge concerning the sense of Scripture and controversies of faith:  and of the Called, who often, and sometime even universally in particular places, are able to err, Romans 11:20; Acts 13:46:  and of the Prelates, who, α. As men are liable to error, Romans 3:4, whom even our Adversaries would not deny to able to err as individuals:  but what the individuals do not have separately, that does not belong to all of them conjointly; neither is a Council, which is made up of fallible members, able to be infallible:  consult below, Chapter XXXIII, § 26.  β. They themselves are subject expressly to error in rebukes and prophecies, Isaiah 56:10; Ezekiel 7:26; Matthew 24:24.  γ. Indeed, they are judged on account of their presumption of Infallibility, Jeremiah 18:18.  δ. And in very grievous errors with great frequency are found the High Priests themselves and Councils both under the Old and under the New Testament. Examples bear this out: Aaron, when he prepared the golden calf and built an altar before it, Exodus 32:2-5; Urijah, at the commandment of Ahaz constructing an altar according to the form of the idolatrous altar of Damascus, and sacrificing on it, with the altar that Solomon had cause to be made by divine commandment set aside, 2 Kings 16:10-16; Caiaphas, regarding the Lord Jesus as a plague upon the republic, accusing Him of blasphemy, and hence obtaining a sentence of death against Him, which example TURRETIN frees from many Exceptions, Theologiæ Elencticæ, locus XVIII, question XI, § 14; the Pharisees and Sadducees, who as individuals were liable to grievous errors in faith and practice, and who notwithstanding as public Doctors were instructing the people, but to both of these sects the members of the highest Politico-Ecclesiastical Council among the Jews were devoted, Acts 23:6; Councils of the Prophets and Elders, for example, of the four hundred Prophets about the time of Ahab, all whom a Spirit of falsehood was bringing into one, 1 Kings 22:6, 19-23, and of the Elders in the time of Christ, who even with one accord by the consent of the Elders present repudiated the true Messiah, and judged Him worthy of death as a blasphemer, Matthew 26:65, 66.

Chapter II:41: Scripture as Supreme Judge, not the Church, Part 1

ג. On this eminence, not even the Church is to be placed, whether of the Elect, which is truly called the Invisible Church, or of the Called, in which are mixed many Reprobates; or the Universal Church of Clerics and Laics together, as Bellarmine, book III, de Ecclesia, chapter XIV, tome 2, Controversiis, column 187 joins the Entire Body of the faithful and the Entire Body of the Bishops; or the Representative Church of Overseers, upon whom that privilege is wont chiefly to be bestowed by our Adversaries, whether it be represented in Councils, or in one Roman Pope:  concerning the remaining Overseers of the Church considered individually there is no controversy, whom our Adversaries readily concede to be able to err.  Yet we except here the Extraordinary Doctors of the Old Testament, namely, the Prophets, and the first that founded the Church of the New Testament, namely, the Apostles, whom we willingly acknowledge to have been blessed with the gift of Infallibility in teaching, and through whom the Holy Spirit to have exercised Judgment and ἀνυπεύθυνον, not accountable, in matters of faith:  at which point, nevertheless, we assert that those very Prophets and Apostles are to be considered after the likeness of Ministers, through whom the Spirit, by whom they were moved,[1] was delivering His sentence as the Supreme Judge.

[1] 2 Peter 1:21.

Chapter II:40: Scripture as Supreme Judge, not Reason or Philosophy, Part 5

γ. In matters known Naturally also, we certainly admit the Judgment of Reason also. Responses:  1.  Matters known Naturally are thereupon considered as such, in which, even as such, the foundation of the truth is not our Concept, Idea, or Judgment; but the matter itself, and the conformity of our Concept with it.  2.  But to what extent the same matters are also revealed in Scripture and are the object of faith, the divine Word as such founds our faith, and compels us unto assent:  and to this revealed Word the Judgment of Reason is to be subjected, even in matters known by nature.  Compare entirely WITSIUS’ Exercitation XVII, tome 2, Miscellaneorum sacrorum, which is concerning the Use and Abuse of Reason concerning the Mysteries of Faith; SALDENUS’ Otia Theologica, book IV, Exercitation VII, which is concerning the Operations of human Reason and of the Holy Spirit in Spiritual matters, pages 718-733, in which against the Author of Exercitationis de Philosophia Sacræ Scripturæ Interprete he admirably explains what then is the Operation of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of believers concerning revealed Truths, so that they might be savingly known and evaluated, and then turned into practice, which without Him Reason is not capable of furnishing; and for the denial of which hyperphysical operation the ignorance of that Exercitator is not at all sufficient. Byvoegsel tot het Formulier van Ondertekeninge gestalt by de Classis van Walcheren anno 1693, article I.  CAMPEGIUS VITRINGA in his Oratione de Synodis, pages 95-98:  “The Doctrine of Religion would be obscure to no one:  all would readily consent to the judgments, even as spiritual men discern spiritual things.[1]  But pride works, and also the corruption of intellect, so that all do not obtain it of themselves.  They stumble over certain Dogmas in the Doctrine of Christ and the Apostles, which according to their capacity they do not perfectly understand, or with difficulty they harmonize with certain of their own prejudiced notions, which they most falsely call right Reason.  These idols of their minds they worship, venerate adore:  with these they draw near to consult the mouth of the Lord (Ezekiel 14:3, etc.); holding it as certain and established among them to believe nothing that sounds different, although most clearly revealed.  And so they seek this counsel out of audacity, so that they, abusing their genius and erudition, might bend the sense of the Divine Oracles and accommodate it to their hypotheses, which they imprudently and arrogantly contrive for themselves without the Word of God, and make in such a way that the Spirit says and teaches nothing other than what was to be said and taught according their own opinion and sense of judgment; even if to someone, holding and treating the Word of God with greater reverence and modesty, it may prove manifest that the interpretations that they set forth are not elicited from the Scriptures, but are intruded upon them violently and insolently, as if it were proposed, not to seek the Doctrine of Faith from the Scripture, but to emend what they find in them.  But, if the dogmas of Scripture be inconsistent with Reason, you say, O good people! what Reason are you speaking of, right and sound, or false and adulterous, a mockery of your thoughts?  Reason indeed, rightly so called, is a splendid thing, a Divine gift, common to all, which few use, most abuse, being mad with reason itself.  This no one, skilled in the interpretation of the Divine Word, or in declaring the mysteries of Faith, thinks is to be neglected:  but modest men thus suppose that in the most excellent nature of God, and in His counsels and words, and in their nexus and end, there are a great many things that not only do we not know, but the capacity of our mind does not reach; whether because it did not seem good to God to reveal to us in this world all their extent and rationale (for He only revealed things necessary to know for instilling faith and supporting hope), or because the nature of our mind cannot contain an understanding of Him:  here they halt; they assent to things clearly revealed; they bridle excessive curiosity and command their minds to be silent, and forbid it impudently to intrude upon and dispute what it hath not seen (Colossians 2:18).  Indeed, they recognize that the harmonious and rational consent of all parts of revelation concerning the way of salvation is so beautiful that they illuminate, not destroy nor subvert, each other mutually, and Reason itself also:  but that contrary to those things those especially err in accommodating the system of Christian Theology to reason, who insolently boast of it; of which sort are those that make the Savior not God, and yet teach that He is to be worshipped and adored as God.  I have adduced these things so that it might be revealed that the fault is not in the Canon of judgments concerning Faith, if one should apply it circumspectly to resolve questions concerning Religion.”  Moreover, consider STAPFER, Theologicæ polemicæ, tome 2, chapter x, § 219-232, pages 1024-1034, in which he responds to the Objection of the Anti-scripturists taken from passages that are said to furnish for us ideas little worthy of God, unless help be afforded to them by a suitable interpretation sought from the principles of Reason:  and also BUDDEUS, Isagoge ad Theologiam universam, book II, chapter VIII, § 12, tome 2, pages 1757b-1758, in which against Richard Simon that Protestants and Socianians do not have the same Principium of Religion and of interpreting Sacred Scripture; neither do those that do not make with the Socianians in this part therefore regard it as necessary to pass over unto the camp of the Papists:  add § 13, tome 2, pages 1794b-1796.

[1] See 1 Corinthians 2:13, 14.

Chapter II:40: Scripture as Supreme Judge, not Reason or Philosophy, Part 4

The Objections, briefly and vigorously resolved by our AUTHOR, do not much delay us; for example,

α. With the help of Reason we elicit the true Sense. Response:  We acknowledge this, and taught the manifold Use of Reason in Theology, Chapter I, § 32.  But already at that time we observed at the same time that Reason is here, not the principal, but the minister:  whence with no greater right of Reason would you conclude it to be the Supreme and Infallible Judge in matters of Faith, than you might assign the same to the Senses of sight and hearing; since they also intervene in learning and grasping the true Sense of Sacred Scripture.

β. The Judgment of Discretion is competent to human Reason. Response:  The Judgment of Discretion, 1.  differs much from the Supreme and Infallible Judge, which we yield to no man.  2.  The Judgment of Discretion is more private, proper to individual believers, and does not serve the universal Church as a norm.  3.  We do not attribute the Judgment of Discretion absolutely to human Reason or individual men:  but we assert that that Judgment is competent to believers, but we believe that it is able to be exercised rightly only with the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Chapter II:40: Scripture as Supreme Judge, not Reason or Philosophy, Part 3

We urge against them: α. What Reason is nowhere extant as sound and infallible in the concrete, that is not able to arrogate to itself certain and infallible Judgment concerning divine matters of certain truth:  but, that sound and infallible Reason in the concrete is today sought in vain, shall be abundantly proven from those things that are to be said in Chapter XV concerning the universal Corruption of fall man, especially in § XXVII-XXIX.  The Fallibility of Reason in each one of us is sufficiently gathered from the variety of judgments in all those things that depend upon the dictate of Reason.  Indeed, common Notions, indited in the mind by God, survive; but even those in this destitute state of man are much obscured and corrupted in many things and diminished in all things, and hence are to be emended and completed by Revelation.  The power of reasoning, perceiving, judging, extrapolating, survives in man, but has been greatly injured and hence is to be restored by the internal grace of the Spirit, correcting and corroborating, especially in the business of saving Religion; in this way to a certain extent vision, hearing, speech, motion, and not rarely intellect, judgment, memory, even in decrepit old men often are not altogether lacking, but are not at all able to furnish the same thing as in young or vigorous men.  And, although we do learn many truths through this power of Reasoning properly applied, even in the business of Religion; yet that use of Reason is not always proper in all, or even in any, men, so that many truths of reason everywhere might not remain hidden to reason, and also the most filthy errors might be mixed by reason with revealed truths:  which is the learned and pious observation of the Theologian of Leiden in Judicio Ecclesiastico laudato, chapter II, § 9, page 46, deservedly withdrawing from Reason the Supreme and Infallible Judgment in matters of faith and interpretation of the Scriptures.  β. Sacred Scripture confirms this our opinion, when Reason in Spiritual things, exceeding its capacity, it plainly pronounces to be blind, with this blindness not even completely removed in the regenerate.  But what, 1.  in Sacred Things is blind, to that Judgment, much less Supreme and Infallible, is not to be committed concerning Sacred Things:  for if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch, Matthew 15:14.  But according to 1 Corinthians 2:14, ψυχικὸς—ἄνθρωπος οὐ δέχεται τὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ Θεοῦ, the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, and, when he undertakes to judge concerning them, they are foolishness to him:  neither is it strange that he cannot know them, for they are to be discerned spiritually:  see STEPHEN DE BRAIS’ Lecturas theologicas de Auxiliis, after Analysin Epistolæ ad Romanos, pages 444-505:  add 2 Corinthians 3:5.  2.  What is above Reason, that is not to be judged by Reason:  but Scripture teaches us, and faith embraces, truths that are place above the orbit and sphere of Reason.  Therefore.  For, as the Senses do not assume to themselves Judgment in those things that are above Sense, and belong to Reason:  so neither is Judgment competent to Reason concerning those things that are supernatural and are above Reason:  but see 1 Corinthians 2:7; Matthew 13:11.  The Imperfection of the Degree of Illumination in believers, conjoined with the sublimity of these Mysteries, drives even the regenerate to their prayers, Open thou mine eyes, etc., Psalm 119:18, and presses from them humble confessions, I am brutish, etc., Proverbs 30:2-4.  γ. Not only is Reason blind in spiritual matters, but it is also averse to divine truth, and adverse to it, Romans 8:7.  But to that which is wont to make opposition to divine truth, which is for us the sole norm of faith and life; to that, I say, Judgment concerning the truth of faith and the sense of divine revelation is not at all safely committed.  On the other hand, from of old Philosophers were called the Patriarchs of Heretics, as it is in TERTULLIAN’S contra Hermogenem, chapter VIII, opera, pages 236, the truth of which saying experience also confirms.  δ. Therefore, the method of Scripture is completely contrary, which commands to take the mind captive and to submit to the Word of God, 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5.  Now, what ought to submit to Scripture and to be judged by Scripture, to that supreme Judgment concerning the Scripture and its argument is not able to be committed.  For in the same way the matter stands, here with Reason, and with the Church in controversy with the Papists.  Indeed, ε. if Reason be here the Supreme and Infallible Judge, Scripture and its Interpretation would be subject to Reason and human judgment:  but one would for good reason dread to arrogate such a thing to himself concerning the divine Word, which is so prejudicial to its dignity.  According to 1 John 5:9, the divine witness is greater than human witness.  And rightly, ϛ. does our AUTHOR observe that this Judgment of which we treat is not transferred to Reason or Philosophy, even in the very smallest matter delivered by the Holy Spirit in the Sacred Books, since by that very thing that substance of divine Faith, ultimately resting upon the Word of God, would be taken away as such.  But this would be absurd:  since the formal reason of Faith, why I believe this, is the Word of God and its infallible truth, 1 Thessalonians 2:13.  But, if to Reason we commit the Supreme Judgment in matters of faith, the final analysis of Faith shall be in us; and the supreme reason why we thus believe shall be this, that so it appears to us:  consult VAN MASTRICHT’S Gangrænam Novitatum Cartesianarum, prior Section, chapter X, pages 105-148; LEYDEKKER’S Facem Veritatis, locus II, controversies II, III, pages 29-40; STAPFER’S Theologicæ polemicæ, tome I, chapter III, section XIX, § 1355-1359.  MILL, in his Oratione de Fatis Theologiæ exegeticæ, in Miscellaneis Sacris, page XXI, from a Manuscript of אשרי תמימי דרך, Blessed Are the Undefiled in the Way, relates this method, which the Karaites, to be commended above the Rabbis in exegetical method, maintain is to be used in the explication of Sacred Scripture:  “They teach that use is to be made of Reason and the Judgment of Intellect that attends to the words and nexus of the text, and also legitimately deduces by consequence other truths from the things said; but that also the light of Scripture ought to be added, and hence they are wont elegantly to call Reason and Scripture שתי הנרות בשתי ידינו, the two lights in both our hands.  But, where a more profound and abstruse Sense of Scripture occurs, that it is not to be too thoroughly searched out, neither is it therefore to be rejected, because we are not able to grasp it:  for, for that reason it is called הנבואה/prophecy, inspired by God, and what is more sublime than all reason, which is to be brought into subjection to Scripture; as what has God as author, and is confirmed by so many miracles that there is sufficient certainty concerning the Word of God, and so we are able to believe, although we do not everywhere understand it.”

Chapter II:40: Scripture as Supreme Judge, not Reason or Philosophy, Part 2

The πρῶτα ψεύδη, fundamental errors, of the Socinians and Pseudo-philosophers are:  the Confusion of Reason and Revelation; the hypothesis concerning the ambiguity of accommodating Scripture to Reason; that the principia of Philosophy are certain, and hence what Philosophy does not perceive is false.

Their Scope/Goal:  to defend their Errors, which are contrary to Scripture.

Chapter II:40: Scripture as Supreme Judge, not Reason or Philosophy, Part 1

ב. Neither is human Reason or any Philosophy to be held as such a Supreme and Infallible Judge.  Which our AUTHOR wishes to be observed against the Socinians and many Philosophers, who show that they thus think, either in their practice, in denial of the mysteries of the Trinity, Incarnation, and Satisfaction, and other things that Scripture plainly relates; or who sometimes confess this even in words.  HOORNBEECK, Socinianismo confutato, tome I, book I, chapter VI, pages 89-94, most clearly proves both concerning the Socinians.  In that place, that I might relate only one or the other example out of Ostorodus’ Institutionibus, you may see Chapter IV, page 30, cited, in which he, disputing against the Trinity, says:  “But if anyone should say that this our reason does not prevail, since in Sacred Scripture such things are written concerning Christ as the Son of God and the Holy Spirit, etc., to this we respond that that is indeed greatly to be deplored, that men stick in such deep darkness, since it is impossible for the same matter to be at the same time both false and true.  Therefore, if Reason, that is, the mind, or the intellect plainly shows that the Trinity of persons in God is false, how would it ever come into the mind of man endowed with understanding that it is nevertheless able to be true and able to be proven by the Word of God?” Ostorodus in chapter VI, where he disputes against the divine nature of Christ, page 43, says:  “But we say, what Reason attests to us, and that as evidently and clearly as the Sun shining at noon, that it is impossible, and therefore false, that two natures are found in Christ.”  Although elsewhere the Socinians contradict themselves and speak as if they agree completely with us:  see HOORNBEECK’S Socinianismum confutatum, tome I, book I, chapter VI, pages 111, 112.  To the Philosophers that our AUTHOR mentions are to be added especially Spinoza, see SPANHEIM’S Elenchum Controversiarum, opera, tome 3, columns 1002, 1003; LEYDEKKER’S Dissertationem contra Bekkerum, section XXIV, § 34, pages 445-450, 453, who nevertheless also speaks chastely enough in appearance elsewhere, see LEYDEKKER’S Dissertationem contra Bekkerum, section XXIV, § 34, pages 454-456:  and the Author of the treatise entitled, Philosophiæ Sacræ Scripturæ Interpretis:  which thesis, that Philosophy is the Interpreter of Sacred Scripture, the Curators prohibited to be taught or defended Academy of Leiden; as the Most Illustrious HEIDANUS and COCCEIUS against the book just now mentioned also communicated their opinion in writing to the Nobles of Holland;  see HEIDANUS’ Consideratien, etc., pages 138, 139; SPANHEIM’S Epistolam de novissimis in Belgio dissidiis, pages 67-69, who against the Dissertation concerning Philosophy as the Interpreter of Sacred Scripture sets forth twelve arguments in his Elencho Controversiarum, opera, tome 3, columns 999-1001, which are altogether worthy to be diligently weighed:  consult VAN MASTRICHT’S Gangrænam Novitatum Cartesianarum, prior Section, chapter X, § 1-18, pages 105-125; WEISMANN’S Historiam Ecclesiasticam, Part II, Century XVII, § 29, page 726, in which you may see that Lodewijk Meyer, a Physician of Amsterdam, and publisher of Posthumorum Spinosæ, is held as the author of the Exercitation of that Paradox concerning Philosophy as the Interpreter of Scripture;[1] and WALCH’S Miscellanea Sacra, book I, Exercitation VI, § 3, 7, pages 146, 151, § 13-24, pages 159, 172, in which he specifically expostulates against Johann Lorenz Schmidt new Germanic Version of the Pentateuch.[2]  Let me not now mention the Remonstrants, those defenders of the Socinians, in HOORNBEECK’S Socinianismum confutatum, tome I, book I, chapter VI, pages 94 and following; nor repeat those things just now observed in Chapter I, § 32. Compare the theses committed to the press by a student of the Most Illustrious RÖELLIUS for a public defense, and which Röellius himself applauded with a Poem subjoined, although the airing of those these was hindered, in Judicio Ecclesiastico laudato, chapter II, § 5, page 36.  Add VRIESIUS’ Exercitationem de Officio Philosophi circa Revelata.  The Theses concerning having Reason as the highest Interpreter of the Scriptures, and not acknowledging the Scripture, or God speaking in the Scripture, as the Interpreter of itself/Himself, equivalent to the doctrine of the Socinians, from the writings of that that confess themselves to be committed to Reformed Rites, are set forth and refuted with gravity by WITSIUS, Twist des Heeren met zynen Wyngaard, chapter XXI, pages 281-290.  The inane thesis of BRAUN[3] concerning this matter, out of his Disputatione IV, § 8, our AUTHOR also sets forth, Narratione Apologetica contra Braunium, § XL, pages 38, 39; and that these he calls to a more accurate examination in Appendice Narrationis Apologeticæ, § LXXVI, pages 170 and following, in which at the same time he nevertheless shows just how much in this matter Braun contradicts himself and speaks ἀσύστατα, things incoherent.

[1] Philosophia Sacræ Scripturæ Interpres was published anonymously, and was initially thought to be the work of Spinoza.  It was actually penned by Lodewijk Meyer (1629-1681), a Dutch Enlightenment scholar and Rationalist philosopher.

[2] Johann Lorenz Schmidt (1702-1749), a radical Wolffian, began a translation of the Bible (Wertheim Bible) in keeping with the rationalistic spirit of the age.  For example, he refused to use the New Testament in the interpretation and translation of the Old, denied the Christological bearing of Old Testament passages, and removed much traditional religious language.  Schmidt’s Pentateuch ignited public controversy, and so his translation was never finished.

[3] Johannes Braun (1628-1708) was a Reformed theologian.  He served as Professor of Theology at Groningen (1680-1708).