Chapter II:50: The Goal/End of Scripture

Thus it has finally come unto the Ultimate End of Scripture; which is able to be said to be twofold, with one subordinated to the other, and both set forth clearly enough by our AUTHOR:  namely,

α. The Elect’s Salvation, which nevertheless does not always and in all follow upon the every preaching and use of the Scripture, because God does not intend the Salvation of all those externally called, and hence does not grant the Spirit of Grace to the same, by a comparison of Isaiah 53:1; Acts 13:46-48; 2 Corinthians 2:16; in which manner then God does not fail of His own End in the preaching of the Word, inasmuch as in it He only intends the Salvation of the Elect, not of all.

β. God’s Glory, which the Lord willed to reveal in the subject matter of Scripture, in such a way that He luminously discloses the same both in the damnation of the unbelieving revealed in the Word, and in the salvation of the Elect, Romans 9:22, 23.

Chapter II:49: Retention of the Force and Breadth of Scriptural Expressions

Finally, our AUTHOR adds that the Force of the Words and Phrases of Scripture is also to be held in exposition, as far as the Analogy of Faith and Context allows.  This is certainly urged, α. by the breadth of the Divine word, Psalm 119:96; β. by the Wisdom of God, whereby He, knowing best the force and use of the words, did not use them in a restricted sense, unless with a sufficient indication added.  Thus, when Christ is called God, this title ought to be thought to be attributed to Him, not merely analogically and in a slight sense on account of this or that similitude, as with Angels[1] and Magistrates,[2] but in the full and proper sense.  Thus under Bread in the Lord’s Prayer is comprehended whatever pertains to both sustenance and clothing, according to the Heidelburg Catechism, Lord’s Day L.[3]  The Breadth of the Sense of the Decalogue especially is gathered from Rules,[4] which our AUTHOR sets forth below, Chapter XI, § 31.  Now, the Analogy of Faith is not sufficient here; but a consideration of the Analogy of Context ought to be added, according to the things that we observed on § 45:  so that quite frequently a certain Interpretation is to be called false, which, considered simply in itself, contains nothing false; insofar as it agrees with the Analogy of Faith, but is not able to be reconciled with the Analogy of Context:  which does not allow multiple and widely diverse Interpretations of one passage, and what Interpretations, therefore, are not able to be subordinated to each other, to be conjoined, because of the Unity of the Literal Sense asserted above, § 37, 38, and the Perspecuity and Normative use of Scripture, concerning which § 25, 26, 32.

Therefore, that hermeneutical Rule, that the Words of Sacred Scripture signify whatever they are able to signify, is false, if it be taken without any limitation, and with no regard had to the Analogy of Context, as often happens in practice; through imitation of the Jewish Rule, that it is allowed to explain Scripture בְּכָל־פָּנִים שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר, in whatever way it is possible for it to be done; whence those Kabbalistic interpretations by Gematria, Temurah, Notarikon, etc., flowed forth, as BUXTORF the Younger observes, de Punctorum Antiquitate et Origine, page 100.

What is commonly said, that Words mean whatever they are able to mean, this, in other words returning to the same sense, they observe to be promoted by the Most Illustrious COCCEIUS on Habakkuk 2:9, § 45, page 186b, “To what all things predicated are applicable, certainly concerning this it follows that something is said:”  yet as the things predicated are such as are permitted to their subjects.  In a similar manner the same COCCEIUS writes on Romans 10:6, § 121, pages 162, “It is impossible for anything to be done in the world, concerning which the words of the Holy Spirit might be able rightly and aptly to be used, with all reasons agreeing, that the Holy Spirit speaking in prophecy might not have regard to it, and might not mean for the reader to accommodate those words to that matter, and πληροφορεῖσθαι, to be certain, of their signification.”  But that Impossibility is not so easy to approve as possible; unless under all agreeing reasons is comprehended in addition to the Analogy of Faith the rationale of the Analogy of Context and of the Scope of the Author speaking:  compare what things I have commended in § 45 of this Chapter out of WESSELIUS’ Oratione de Simplicitate prudenti in Oratore Sacro.

Concerning the use and abuse of this Rule, that Words signify all that they are able to signify, consult at length LEYDEKKER’S Facem Veritatis, locus II, controversy VI, pages 48-53, with the added Preface, *****4b; and ANTONIUS HULSIUS’[5] Specimines Theologiæ hypotheticæ, part I, Disputation II, which is Concerning the Interpretation of Sacred Scripture, pages 9-26, and part II in the Vindications of Disputation II Concerning the Interpretation of Scripture, pages 3-63, and Disputation XXIV, which is on the Question, How and to what extent the Prophets of the Old Testament prophesied of the Matters of the New Testament, and in what manner might whatever belongs to the quarrel surrounding this argument be able to be removed from the Church?; to which add MARCKIUS’ Commentarios, especially upon the Minor Prophets and the Song, and the strictures everywhere met there upon the interpretations of the Most Illustrious COCCEIUS.

Without danger we hold with our AUTHOR: A Word is able to signify all that according to the intention of God and Context has regard and is able to be referred unto its one signification.

[1] For example, Psalm 8:5:  “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels (מֵאֱלֹהִים, than God or the gods), and hast crowned him with glory and honour.”

[2] Exodus 22:28; Psalm 82:1, 6, 7.

[3] Heidelburg Catechism 125:  “Which is the fourth petition? Give us this day our daily bread; that is, be pleased to provide us with all things necessary for the body, that we may thereby acknowledge Thee to be the only fountain of all good, and that neither our care nor industry, nor even Thy gifts, can profit us without Thy blessing; and therefore that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures, and place it alone in Thee.”

[4] Westminister Larger Catechism 99:  “What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the ten commandments? For the right understanding of the ten commandments, these rules are to be observed:  1.  That the law is perfect, and bindeth everyone to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience for ever, so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin.  2.  That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures.  3.  That one and the same thing, in divers respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments.  4.  That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded; so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included; and where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included.  5.  That what God forbids, is at no time to be done; what he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times.  6.  That under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded together with all the causes, means, occasions and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto.  7.  That what is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to our places, to endeavour that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places.  8.  That in what is commanded to others, we are bound, according to our places and callings, to be helpful to them; and to take heed of partaking with others in what is forbidden them.”

[5] Antonius Hulsius (1615-1685) was a Dutch Reformed philologist and theologian.

Chapter II:48: Hermeneutical Canons, Part 2

2.  That there is to be an adherence, as far as possible, to Propriety of Speech. The Most Illustrious GOMAR, on Matthew 6:11, opera, part I, page 65a, says that it is an altogether certain rule of right interpretation that there is to be no withdrawal from the proper signification of the word to an improper, unless a counterbalancing consideration necessarily requires this. Christ and the Apostles everywhere observe this Canon, in citing the prophecies of the Old Testament in their native signification; and that this is to be embraced is urged, α. both by the Perspicuity of Scripture, § 25, 26, asserted against the Papists; β. and by the Goodness of God, through which there is to be no thought of withdrawing from the most ἐμφύτῳ/natural signification of the words without sufficient warrant, either in the text, or in the context, or in parallels; γ. and by the prohibition of ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως, private interpretation, 2 Peter 1:20, which is nothing other than that by which we alter at will the signification of the phrases and words with the thread of the text and the force of the words neglected, and pervert it from the intention of the Spirit; which is exactly what is done, if this rule does not prevail.  Thus, when the Lord commands us to ask, Matthew 6:11, τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον, our daily bread, this rule urges us to explain this petition of corporeal food, as long as no necessity of drawing back from the propriety of the words presses us, which does not appear to be the case here; see our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Juveniles, Disputations XVII-XXI.  So in Isaiah 65:20 this rule requires us to explain the words of the Prophet of a promise of extraordinary Longevity; not rashly to explain these things improperly of an eminent measure of spiritual gifts, Knowledge, etc.:  see our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Textuales XXV, Part IV.

Nevertheless, on the other hand, there is not to be an excessive adherence to the Propriety of Words, neither is τὸ ῥητὸν, what is expressly stated, to be so urged that we attribute to the Spirit either contradiction, or overturning of faith, or manifest absurdities:  which three inconveniences concur, when we wish to adhere to the propriety of the letter in the explication of the words of the Eucharist, This is my body; see below, Chapter XXXI, § 20:  or when we attribe to God, an infinitely perfect Spirit, bodily members, and human affections; see Chapter IV, § 14, 26:  or when the Word is said to have become Flesh; see Chapter XIX, § 19, etc.; consult GLASSIUS’ Philologiam Sacram, book II, part I, tractate II, section I, article IV, pages 182-185.

3.  Similarly that there is to be no passing from the Literal Sense to a Mystical Sense upon slight grounds. Accordingly, in our AUTHOR’S Medulla Theologiæ it is read: A Mystical Sense is not to be imposed without slight grounds. Perhaps it is better to delete that without, if you consult the Compendium:  otherwise only those will be refuted that impose a Mystical Sense without any foundation at all, however slight, although there is to be no passing to this without weighty grounds.  Since otherwise, α. faith is converted into vain opinion; β. we easily fall into the vice of ἀλληγορομανίας/allegoromania, so highly prized of old in ORIGEN; γ. Scripture is explained with manifold frivolities, while by this practice we made that similar to a Lesbian rule, a wax nose, from which profane calumny we rightly shrink, when with words the Papists prate against Scripture.

But a Mystical Sense is not always to be altogether rejected, especially in the Prophetic Writings:  for example, when the moral and spiritual Worship of the New Testament is described in phrases taken from the Ceremonial Worship of the Old Economy, Isaiah 19:19; 66:20, 21, 23; Zechariah 14:16; Malachi 1; 2; 4:5.  While the overly carnal and crass conceptions of the Jews in the explication of the Prophecies verily hold them blinded in unbelief:  consult Chapter XVIII, § 13, Objections 1, 4, and Chapter XX, § 32, in which is treated the Spirituality of the Kingdom of Messiah against the Jews.

Chapter II:48: Hermeneutical Canons, Part 1

Our AUTHOR yet supplies for us hermeneutical Canons rightly to be observed: 1.  that the Exposition of Scripture ought principally to be made by the very Words of Scripture found elsewhere, but those that are Clearer, not obscurer, or equally obscure:  AUGUSTINE, book II de Doctrina Christiana, chapter IX, opera, tome 3, part I, column 19, well advised, In order to illustrate obscurer expressions let examples be drawn from clearer expressions.  But, although it is hardly able to be sufficiently commended, that in the Interpretation of Scripture we ought to makde the Biblical style familiar to ourselves, according to the example of Paul and others, who with him were lead by the same Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:4, 13; nevertheless there is not to be such a scrupulous adherence to the Biblical expression that we altogether abstain from other words that are suitable to denote a matter, and are well-known by use, which sort of word is Sacrament, which, having been received by Ecclesiastical use, has become the most familiar for designating the signs and seals of the Covenant of Grace; or even from those that the impiety of heretics playing with the words of Scripture has required to be used, which sort of word is ὁμοούσιος/ homoousios.[1]

[1] The term, ὁμοούσιος/homoousios, was used by the orthodox of the fourth century to express that Christ share the same nature with the Father, and also to expose the error of the Arians, who were content with the words of Scripture, but not its sense, on this matter.

Chapter II:46: Critique of the Roman Catholic Position on the Authority of the Fathers, Part 2

2.  We say here that the things requisite for the Criterion of true Interpretation, enumerated by our AUTHOR, are wanting, especially Infallibility, on account of the fallibility of all the Fathers; who, whether they be regarded as individuals separately, or all conjointly, were not Prophets nor Apostles, who, having been furnished with an immediate calling and extraordinary gifts, had a special claim to Infallibility: but were men, fallible and liable to error, into which they also frequently fell for want of the knowledge of the Original Languages, from the common errors of the time, from the zeal of disputation, etc. That the individuals were fallible, the Papists everywhere concede:  but what is true of the individuals, is also true of the many or all, gathered together from the individuals; for the whole retains and presents again the nature of the integrating parts:  and, although authority increases with respect to degree because of multitude, yet it is not changed in kind, that the human might rise to the divine.  The dogmatic and exegetical Errors of the Fathers, whether peculiar to some, or even common to a great many, are also set forth by us in a long series; which neither Bellarmine, nor Sixtus Senesis in his Præfatione to book V of Bibliothecæ Sanctæ, pages 324, 325, or other learned men in the Roman communion are able to deny.  Consult the Writers commended above:  HEINRICH ALTING, Theologia Elenctica nova, locus II, controversy IV with the Papists, pages 78, 79; JEAN DAILLÈ, libris duis de Usu Patrum ad ea definienda Religionis capita, quæ sunt hodie controversa, book II, chapter IV, pages 252-294; RIVET, tractate de Patrum Auctoritate, which is set before Critici Sacri libris quattuor, opera, tome 2, chapters IX-XI; SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century IV, chapter V, § 4, column 848, § 2, column 851.

3.  Moreover, we argue against the Papists from the Lack of unanimous Expositions of this sort, since the Father frequently disagree and rarely agree: and a judgment concerning the Consent of the Fathers is hardly able to be made, since many writings of the Fathers have perished, and the Commentaries upon the whole Bible of exceedingly few or none survive; concerning many writing it is hardly evident whether they proceed from the Fathers themselves, for not a few counterfeit and spurious have been pawned off for ages as the γνησίοις/legitimate or genuine writings of the Fathers, with Eusebius, Jerome, and Augustine already lamenting over this matter; and, on the other hand, those genuine monuments of the Fathers that survive are discovered to have been variously interpolated, and to have been corrupted with respect to sense, not only by the carelessness and ignorance of copyists, but also by the audacity of the monks, who, before the invention of the art of printing were almost alone in the possession of the Fathers in their monasteries, corrected and emended them at will; and especially by the wickedness of the Jesuits, who, with new Indices composed, which they call Expurgatory, removed from the monuments of the Fathers what things were adverse to their superstition, but replaced what things seemed to be advantageous for fostering it: and so this infallible Criterion of true Interpretation is extremely difficult for the Learned themselves, but altogether impossible for the common people to search out, from whom the private Judgment of Discretion is certain taken away in this way:  see HEINRICH ALTING, Theologia Elenctica nova, locus II, controversy IV with the Papists, page 80; HOTTINGER, Dissertationum miscellanearum Πεντάδι, Dissertation II; DAILLÈ, libris duis de Usu Patrum ad ea definienda Religionis capita, quæ sunt hodie controversa, book II, chapter V, pages 295-304, book I, chapters III, IV, pages 11-120; RIVET, tractate de Patrum Auctoritate, which is set before Critici Sacri libris quattuor, opera, tome 2, chapters XII-XIV; GERHARD, Confessione catholica, tome I, pages 602-608; SIXTUS SENENSIS, Bibliotheca Sancta, book IV at the end, pages 320-323.

4.  But finally, whatever the Papists may boast concerning the Consent of the Fathers, and however they may wish to appeal to that; the Papists themselves repudiate the Authority of the Fathers, and freely draw back from it, whenever it is not advantageous to their cause, while they give more credence to one supreme Pontiff, than to a thousand Augustines, Jeromes, and Gregories, as Cornelio Musso, Bishop of Bitonta, preached on Romans 14, and wrote on page 606.[1] Erasmus on Jerome, tome 3, page 28, wrote: When it is advantageous, the authority of Jerome prevails among us: when it is not advantageous, he hardly prevails at all: and afterwards they condemn us as too little trusting, while none believe less rightly than those that believe whatever.  Let us hear one Melchior Cano, who, in his locorum Theologicorum, book VII, chapter III, after he had prefaced from AUGUSTINE, “God willed this felicity to be in the divine volumens alone, that in them there would not be any error,” rightly subjoins, “Every one, no matter how learned and holy, is mistaken sometimes, is bling occasionally, slips from time to time….  And so the Ancient Fathers shall be read by us with reverence indeed, but as men, with discrimination and judgment:”  see CALVIN, Præfatione Institutionis Christianæ Religionis ad Gallicum Regem, *5, 6; TURRETIN, Theologiæ Elencticæ, locus II, question XXI, § 10; DAILLÈ, libris duis de Usu Patrum ad ea definienda Religionis capita, quæ sunt hodie controversa, book II, chapter VI, pages 305-352; RIVET, tractate de Patrum Auctoritate, which is set before Critici Sacri libris quattuor, opera, tome 2, chapters VII, X; GERHARD, Confessione catholica, tome I, book I, generalem partem II, chapter XIII, pages 569-602; PETRUS ZORNIUS,[2] Historia Eucharistiæ Infantium, chapter XII, § I, pages 140-143.  The Fathers themselves did not desire that so much would be made of their writings:  see above on Chapter I, § 32; add HEINRICH ALTING, Theologia Elenctica nova, locus II, controversy IV with the Papists, pages 80, 81; TURRETIN, Theologiæ Elencticæ, locus II, question XXI, § 9; RIVET, tractate de Patrum Auctoritate, which is set before Critici Sacri libris quattuor, opera, tome 2, chapter II; DAILLÈ, de Usu Patrum, book II, chapter II, pages 212-233.  Concerning the opinion of today’s Greeks about this matter, and against it, see JAKOB ELSNER, nieuwste Beschzyving van de Grieksche Christenen in Turkyen, chapter V, § 28.

What things our AUTHOR has concerning holding all things to the last jot, have regard to the words of the Glossator Decreti Gratiani, which in defining the state of this Controversy I cited above.

[1] Cornelio Musso (1511-1574) was a Conventual Franciscan and Bishop of Bitonta in southern Italy.  He was one of the great preachers of his day, called the “Italian Demosthenes”.  Musso was prominent in the debates over Justification at Trent, and wrote a commentary on Romans.

[2] Peter Zorn (1682-1746) was a German Lutheran theologian, historian, and linguist.  He held a variety of academic posts.

Chapter II:46: Critique of the Roman Catholic Position on the Authority of the Fathers, Part 1

Our AUTHOR observes that here the Papists imitate, both the Pharisees, who were κρατοῦντες τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων, holding the tradition of the elders, Mark 7:3, and who were wont to say, ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις, that it was said by them of old time, Matthew 5:21, etc.; and many ancient Heretics, wont to appeal to the Father, among whom were the Donatists, concerning whom AUGUSTINE on Psalm 57 (more correctly, Psalm 58), opera, tome 4, column 407, says, “But those, turning a deaf ear to the Gospel, and not permitting us to read the Words of God, which they boast that they have preserved from the flame and desire to remove from the tongue, speak their own things, speak vanities:  This one said this, and that one said that.  Indeed, I also say, And this one said this, and that one said that:  and I speak the truth.  But what is that to me?  You do not read to me out of the Gospel those that you have named, and I do not read out of the Gospel those that I have named.  Let our books be removed from the midst, and let the codex of God proceed into the midst:  Hear Christ speaking, hear the truth speaking.”  Concerning the similar manner of the acting of the Pelagians see SPANHEIM’S Historiam Ecclesiasticam, Century V, chapter VII, § 2, number 4, column 991.

In a word, we say with our AUTHOR, 1. that the Papists are refuted out of Matthew 5:21, 22, etc.  That is, what norm and criterion of truth Moses, the Prophets, Christ, and the Apostles set forth and commended in the Old and New Testaments, that alone is to be credited with this name.  But they do not commend the writings of the ancients in addition to or beside the Scripture, or of the Fathers past, present, or future; but constantly the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments alone.  The Minor is able to be proven by a length induction of the passages already quite frequently cited.  It only remains to be said that Scripture does send us away to the Unanimous Consent of the Fathers in searching out its sense and matters of faith, or much commends Traditions πατροπαραδότους, handed down from the Fathers, so that, on the other hand, it might manifestly reject and condemn the ancient Fathers departing from the truth of Scripture unto false comments and worship, Ezekiel 20:18, 19; Matthew 5:21, 22; Mark 7:5, 8-13:  therefore, the Exegetical Traditions of the Fathers are not always true and are not always to be followed.

Chapter II:46: Sources on the Dispute over the Use of the Fathers

On this controversy read HEINRICH ALTING’S Theologiam Elencticam novam, locus II, controversy IV with the Papists, pages 73-84; TURRETIN’S Theologiæ Elencticæ, locus II, question XXI, pages 179-184; JOHANN HEINRICH HOTTINGER’S Analecta historico-theologica, Dissertations VII, VIII, in which he supplies an Introduction to the Reading of the Fathers, and discusses the Use of the Fathers:  and his Dissertationum miscellanearum Πεντάδα, where in Dissertation I he treats of the Abuse of the Fathers, in Dissertation II he sets forth a Catalogue of Spurious Ecclesiastical Writings.  JEAN DAILLÈ’S libros duos de Usu Patrum ad ea definienda Religionis capita, quæ sunt hodie controversa:  and especially RIVET’S tractate de Patrum Auctoritate, which is set before Critici Sacri libris quattuor, opera, tome 2, pages 1047-1067, where in chapter I he teaches, What ar the Fathers? What is the authority of the Fathers and for what?; in chapter II, Of what sort and extent according to the opinion of Orthodox is the authority of the Fathers in matters of faith and manners?; in chapter III, Of what sort and extend according to the opinion of the Papists is the authority of the Fathers?; in chapters IV and V the opinions of the Papists are assessed and brought to nothing; in chapter VI by arguments and examples is shown the infirmity of such a consent, of which sort the Papists boast, in the understanding of the Scriptures and in Theological disputations; in chapter VII, by examples it is proven with refutation that the Papists think little of the Fathers even when agreeing completely, cast aside the interpretations of the Fathers, set the Pope before all the Fathers; in chapter VIII it is shown, How the authority of the Fathers is to be used in disputation with heretics; in chapter IX there is an admonition concerning the errors and blemishes of the Ancients; in chapter X it is taught that those Papists often note the errors and blemishes in the Fathers, and hence are unjustly angry with us for this; in chapter XI, are indicated the Reasons why the Fathers sometimes speak incommodiously, and Cautions for reading the Ancients, from observations of various ones; in chapter XII it is observed that the Records of the ancient Fathers have been corrupted and adulterated in many ways formerly and at the present time; in chapter XIII it is taught that already of old, and also recently, spurious books have been ascribed to the Fathers, and various reasons for these frauds are treated; as are also in chapter XIV the indications and notes of spurious writings.  In like manner, consult BUDDEUS, Isagoge ad Theologiam universam, tome 1, book II, chapter III, where he indicates who then should be understood by the name of Fathers, § 2, pages 535-537; who is able to be consulted concerning their writings, § 2, pages 537-546; what is to be embraced concerning their authority, § 9-11, 13, 14, pages 569- 601, 604-610.  While in Isagoge ad Theologiam universam, tome 2, book II, chapter VII, § 4, pages 1062-1065, he additionally warns that in this cause the Papists incorrectly appeal to VINCENT OF LERINS,[1] who in his Commonitorio commends the constant, more ancient Tradition of the Fathers as the best Rule of the Interpretation of Scripture and Controversies of Faith:  since he was more addicted to the Semi-Pelagians, in the writings of the Fathers of the previous age he sought whatever patronage he could plausibly gather for their error.

[1] Vincent of Lerins (died c. 445) was a Gaulish monk.  He is most remembered for his rule in separating orthodox truth from error (namely, what is believed “everywhere, always, by all,” is to be embrace), and his Semi-Pelagianism.

Chapter II:46: Diverse Perspectives on the Fathers within Roman Catholicism

The Papists here are divided into three parties.  There are those that equate the writings of the Fathers with Scripture, and bestow upon them almost the same faith and authority, as the Glossator Decreti on Distinction IX, chapter III, asserts that the Writings of the Fathers are authenical, both of each and of all, writing in column 29, “He speaks according to those times, when the writings of Augustine and of the other holy Fathers were not as yet authentical:  but today all are commanded to be embraced unto the last jot:”  which sentence others among the Papists expressly refute.  That is, others, on the other hand, acknowledge that their writings are merely human, which as such are not able to be the norm of truth, or the rule of the interpretation of Scripture, with Cajetan, in his preface to Quinque libros Mosis, whose words are in RIVET, opera, tome 2, page 1050.  Others, holding a middle position, concede that the individual Fathers separately have a human and fallible authority:  but either what the greater part of the Fathers understand thence from the Apostles, or especially in what there is a universal consent of all the Fathers, that they judge to be infallible and divine in the doctrines of faith and Interpretation of the Scriptures:  thus a great many of the Papists, siding with the Council of Trent, which states, Session IV, decree I, page 31b, “Traditions pertaining both to faith and to manners are to be received with an equal affection of piety as the books of the Old and New Testaments:”  and it forbids, decree II, page 33, “the interpretation of Scripture contrary to the Unanimous consent of the Fathers.”  PETRUS SUAVIS POLANUS, Historia Concilii Tridentini, book II, pages 177-180, 182, 183, records contentions of the Tridentine Fathers concerning this matter.

The Scope/Goal of the Papists, when they appeal to the unanimous consent of the Fathers in the interpretation of Scripture, our AUTHOR observes to be this, that they might decline the tribunal of Scripture, better protect their errors, and control interpretation themselves.

Chapter II:46: The Use of the Fathers

Controversy is agitated with the Papists concerning the use and authority of the Fathers in the explaining of Sacred Scriptures and in matters of faith.  The Fathers, as it is well-known, are wont to be called the Doctors/Teachers of the Ancient Christian Church, who both in word and in writing set forth the doctrine of salvation, vindicating the same against the enemies of truth, and committed the history of the Church to writing so that posterity might ever remember; with the rationale for the name sought both from age, for they preceded our age by many years, indeed many centuries, and hence they are to be received as Fathers of great age; and from office and doctrine, for they begat children to God in the Church by inculcating doctrine in the disciples.  To what extent their age and succession is to be extended, all do not share one and the same opinion:  for some conclude it at the thousandth year or tenth Century after Christ, others at the sixth, yet others at the fifth or five hundredth year:  and the observation of DANÆUS and others is not able to be denied, who have observed that the doctrine and worship of Religion evidently declined in the East after CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA, but in the West after AUGUSTINE.  It is especially evident that after the six hundredth year the purity of doctrine and worship, with errors and superstitions increasing by the just judgment of God, suffered a great blemish:  and that the liberty of the ministry in preserving religion was less thereafter, with the tyranny of the Papacy in Boniface III established by the Emperor Phocas soon after the beginning of the Seventh Century.[1]  Just as the later Doctors of the Church also had less authority, because they were further removed from the age of the Apostles, and were not at all equal to their predecessors in zeal for piety and in the glory of doctrine.  Inquiry is made concerning the authority of these Fathers, with their age hardly determined with sufficient certainty, in matters of faith and interpretation of Scripture.  We highly value the authority of the orthodox Fathers, and we make use of the same as Witnesses, from whose writings both concerning history, and concerning the doctrine of the Ancient Church, and also concerning our agreement in matters of faith with the ancient Church, it is able everywhere to be evident:  nevertheless, we recognize that their authority is only human and Ecclesiastical, which is of no weight in matters of faith, except insofar as it agrees with Scripture; indeed, in the Interpretation of Scripture it stands highly prized, yet it obliges the assen of no one.

[1] Boniface III was elected in 606, but did not take up the office until 607 (and served less than a year).  He is significant in the annals of the Papacy in that, due to his relationship with the Byzantine Emperor Phocas, he was able to secure for the Bishop of Rome the title of Universal Bishop.

Chapter II:45: The Means of Biblical Interpretation: Parallel Passages

Besides this twofold Analogy, Parallel Passages, Similar and Dissimilar, are yet to be considered in Interpretation, the σύγκρισις/syncrisis/comparison or collation of which is of no small use, since those passages are wont everywhere to shed light upon one another:  only let care be exercised, lest passages be held as Parallel, which are not such, for example, by comparing Jeremiah 31:33 with Romans 2:14, 15, which has been the continuous fault of the Socinians, proof of which the Catechesis Racoviana, for example, exhibits on almost every page.

On § 45, consult SPANHEMIUS’ Collegium Theologicum Heidelbergæ de Principio Theologiæ, part V, § 12-15, opera, tome 3, part 2, columns 1195, 1196; STEPHANUS GAUSSENUS’ Theses theologicas inaugurales de Verbo Dei, theses LXXXV-XCII, pages 465-472, where he explains what is to be done by the Theologian in the Reading of Scripture, and what is to be avoided.