Chapter II:37: The Single and Composite Sense of Scripture, Part 1

β. But sometimes the Sense of Scripture is Composite, made up of the Literal already declared, signified through Words, and of the Mystical or Spiritual, signified by the typical or parabolic Matter.  That is, that is the Mystical Sense that is not indicated immediately by the Words themselves, but by the Matter signified by those words, whether proper or figurative:  indeed, it is referred to something other than that which the Words immediately signify.  Now, it is called Mystical, inasmuch as it indicates something more abstruse and sublime than the Words manifest:  and Spiritual, inasmuch as it represents a Spiritual matter.

1.  For the illustration of this Composite Sense, the word of Jonathan to the boy concerning the seeking of his arrows, 1 Samuel 20:21, 22, is wont to be adduced, for those words of the order of Jonathan had a simple and literal sense with respect to the boy; but at the same time they were symbolic and had a latent signification with respect to David. 2. For the confirmation of the same Composite Sesne from the Literal and the Mystical Parables are effective, in which through the Literal and Grammatical Sense, which the letters make manifest, some other spiritual things, which the Spirit especially intends, is represented to the intellect; in such a way that the thing, first signified by the letter, is a sign and figure of the thing intended by the Spirit:  whence then the Sense emerges, not as twofold, but as one composite, so to speak; and in no way would one be able to be said to follow the mind of the Spirit, who wills to adhere to the external σχέσει/habit of the Parable:  but through the literal representation of a corporeal matter we are introduced to an acquaintance with the more secret mind of the divine Author:  concerning Parable and establishing the correct interpretation of them consult GLASSIUS’ Philologiam Sacram, book II, part I, tractate II, section V, pages 217-226; and SALDENUS’ Otia Theologica, book IV, Exercitation V, pages 691-703.  Also especially substantiating this are the many examples of Typical Predictions, in which are to be considered two parts, as it were, of one and the same Sense intended by the Holy Spirit, who under the letter had regard to a mystery, so that the full Sense is not able to be had, unless the truth of the antitype is joined with the truth of the type:  for example, in Exodus 12:46, the law concerning not breaking the bones of the paschal Lamb pertains both to the paschal Lamb in a figure, and to Christ in a mystery; which John taught in John 19:36; if this typical relationship of the unbroken bones of the Lamb to Christ be conjoined with the external observance of the law concerning the Lamb, only then is the sense fully exhausted.  The promise made to David, 2 Samuel 7:12-14, had regard both to Solomon and to Christ, comparing Acts 2:29, 30; Hebrews 1:5.  Therefore, it has a Composite Sense, which would be fulfilled by degrees, partly and less perfectly in the type, more fully and perfectly in the antitype, in which manner in the end the one Sense, intended by the Spirit, determines every complement:  which against others, who here consider the Messiah alone, our AUTHOR defends, Exercitationibus Textualibus VII, Part VI.  Add Hosea 11:1, on which passage our AUTHOR is to be seen, both in his Commentario ad Prophetas minors, and especially in his Exercitationibus Textualibus, Part I, Exercitation XX, § 3, in which our AUTHOR distinctly teaches that the latter words of this verse, וּמִמִּצְרַ֖יִם קָרָ֥אתִי לִבְנִֽי׃, and out of Egypt I called my son, are not able to be torn from what things precede and the remaining context in such a way that they might be referred directly to Christ, as if they were spoken of Him alone:  but that they literally have regard undoubtedly to the Israelite people and their past deliverance out of Egypt.  But, when Matthew in Matthew 2:15, narrating the lodging of the Infant Christ with His parents in Egypt unto the death of Herod, adds, ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπὸ τοῦ Κυρίου διὰ τοῦ προφήτου, λέγοντος, Ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἐκάλεσα τὸν υἱόν μου, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son:  from this formula of citation our AUTHOR at the same time concludes that Israel, who on account of distinguishing love was called the Son of God, by special divine love having been preserved for a time from death in Egypt, and afterwards summoned from there by divine calling, while yet undeveloped and weak; in these things in the writing of Hosea it is to be observed that he exhibits a type of the Messiah, the only begotten and most beloved Son of the Father, who from the sword of Herod was to be hidden in Egypt, and from there to be recalled into Canaan, while yet a boy, but loved above all others.  And so he observes that, what was already of old fulfilled literally in Israel as a type, in a mystery its true and full fulfillment followed through the recalling of Christ out of Egypt; in such a way that its entire fulfillment according to the intention of God was not previously obtained.  While the remaining things, which follow in Hosea and involve notable imperfection, as our AUTHOR observes, ought on the other hand to be applied to the type alone, not to the antitype, because the people of Israel did not represent the person of Christ in all things, whom Matthew teaches by his citation to have been portrayed in this calling out by analogy.  But, that the speech is concerning Messiah alone in Hosea 11:1, in the words נַעַר/child and בְּנִי, my son, with an addressed at the same time directed to the Jewish people, GERHARD TEN CATE[1] judges, translating the text, While He was a child, O Israel! then I loved Him, and out of Egypt have I called my Son.  Now, he believes that God the Father thus speaks of Messiah with respect to the last words of Hosea 10, in the morning time the King of Israel in perishing perished, in which, that Christ was to be cut off from the Jews, as the most wicked wickedness to be commited by them,[2] he thought to be predicted, with the context painstakingly drawn there from Hosea 10:9; when he maintains that Hosea 11:1 is subjoined to what was immediately preceding, so that the crime of the Jews, repudiating and murdering the true Messiah, might be magnified, by the opposite love and care of God the Father toward Him in His infantile state according to His humanity for the good of His people, and from the divine excellence of this child, inasmuch as He was also the proper Son of God.  If these things flow in a clear stream, the Composite Sense of Hosea 11:1 should not be admitted:  but indeed there is not time now to undertake an examination of this exegesis:  let the Reader compare with those passages of our AUTHOR cited above GERHARD TEN CATE’S Epistolam de Rebus Jesu Christi ex Prophetis ad Leonardum Offerhaus,[3] after Offerhaus’ Spicilegiorum historico-chronologicorum, pages 697-740.

[1] Gerhard Ten Cate (1699-1749)

[2] Hosea 10:15:  “So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness (מִפְּנֵ֖י רָעַ֣ת רָֽעַתְכֶ֑ם):  in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off (בַּשַּׁ֕חַר נִדְמֹ֥ה נִדְמָ֖ה מֶ֥לֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃).”

[3] Leonard Offerhaus (1699-1779) was a German historian.  He was a professor of history at Groningen, beginning in 1725.

Chapter II:37: The Single and Simple Sense of Scripture

So that the Reading of the Scripture might be useful, the Understanding of the Sense ought to attend.

The Sense (which in Greek is able to be called διάνοια/ intention, and νοῦς/mind/meaning, which latter word especially in that signification, which occurs here for us, occurs in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 2:16:[1]  consult GLASSIUS’ Philologiam Sacram,[2] book II, tractate II, section I, article I, page 166) is the Meaning signified by the mind of the Spirit in the words and phrases of Sacred Scripture.

Concerning the Sense of Scripture in this §, our AUTHOR observes:

  1. That commonly said by us to be only One:

But, α. sometimes Simple, called Literal, when by the Literal Sense is understood that which is most closely and immediately signified by the very letters or the words composed of the letters.  Again, the Literal Sense is used sometimes more strictly, sometimes more broadly:  that more strictly Literal Sense is what I have just declared; and thus it is distinguished from the Mystical Sense, which is not so much signified by the words, as by the things indicated by the words.  The more broadly Literal Sense comprehends in itself the entire complex of the Sense intended by the Holy Spirit, whether in a type, or in the antitype, and thus also contains under it the Mystical Sense; and it is distinguished only by the multiple spiritual Uses, which the Sense intended by the Spirit additionally furnishes.

The Literal Sense occurs here in the stricter signification; which also is otherwise called the Grammatical, because it is in τοῖς γράμμασιν, tois grammasin, the letters, and because by the help of Grammar, as well as of Rhetoric and Logic, is elicited that simple and genuine Sense.  It is likewise called Historical, namely, that which relates a matter done or said.

Our AUTHOR adds, Whether it be expressed in the proper words or in Improper speech, since the Fathers sometimes distinguish the Literal Sense from the figurative or tropical;[3] but which is wont to be comprehended under the Literal, as it is opposed to the Mystical:  and it is indeed the Literal Sense, as Salmeron, opera, tome I, tractate VII, page 73b, holds, even “what the Holy Spirit as author of the Scripture first intended to signify by the Words, whether according to the proper signification cohering with the Grammar, or through tropes and figures:”  see GLASSIUS’ Philologiam Sacram, book II, tractate II, section I, articles I, II, pages 166-169.

Again, whether it be in the text κατὰ τὸ ῥητὸν, according to the express terms, or κατὰ συνακολούθησιν, according to the consequences; since legitimate Consequences are comprehended under the explicit words of Scripture, and ought to be said implicitly and materially to be contained in them and to lie under them; the appropriate use of which we gave as confirmed in Chapter I, § 29, 30.

And this Simple Sense obtains in the precepts, dogmas, histories, or prophecies set forth simply, for example, in Isaiah 7:14, where no composite Sense obtains from the typical and antitypical, but birth from a Virgin is promised to Messiah alone; consult Chapter XVIII, § 10; in Psalm 16:10, which passage also has regard to Christ alone, and is not able to be referred to David as a type, according to Acts 2:24-32.

[1] 1 Corinthians 2:16:  “For who hath known the mind (νοῦν) of the Lord, that he may instruct him?  But we have the mind (νοῦν) of Christ.”

[2] Solomon Glassius (1593-1656) was a German Lutheran divine and critic.  He was Professor of Divinity at the University of Jena.  His Philologia Sacra was a groundbreaking work in Biblical Hebrew.

[3] That is, involving a trope or figure of speech.

Chapter II:36: Objections to Scripture-Reading Answered, Part 3

  1. They object the Practice of the Church, both Christian, see Bellarmine, book II de Verbo Dei, chapter XV, Controversiis, tome I, columns 140-144, and Jewish, see Bellarmine, pages 139, 140.

But to this Objection our AUTHOR adequately Responds; on whose words, with respect to the Christian Church, that it made use of the Scriptures only in the Three Languages, as a figment previously exploded, see what things I taught in § 33.  Consult also for the blunting of this Objection GERHARD, Confessione catholica, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, pages 180-184.  On Nehemiah 8:9, consult CARPZOV’S Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part II, chapter I, pages 432, 433.  That the vernacular use of the Hebrew Tongue did not cease in the time of Ezra, with the Chaldean or Syrian dialect substituted even at that time, JACOB ALTING will show in his Dissertatione de Constantia vernaculæ Judæis Hebrææ Linguæ in Captivitate Babylonica, which is Dissertation I, in Heptadibus VII, opera, tome 5, pages 195-197.

  1. They object Reasons taken,

α. From the Obscurity of Scripture, on account of which the Reading of it is to no purpose.  For what is not able to be understood by the people, that ought not to be Read by them, say they:  see GERHARD, Confessione catholica, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, page 205, argument I.

Responses: 1.  In § 25, 26, it appeared that such Obscurity was used as a pretext without justification by the Papists.  2.  The Obscurity of the Scripture, which nevertheless is necessary to be known for salvation, should rather furnish an argument for exertion in Reading than for neglecting it.  What things concerning the Majesty of Scripture our AUTHOR here adds, they make to enervate it, which Bellarmine sets forth in the Seventh Place, book II de Verbo Dei, chapter XV, Controversiis, tome I, column 146.

β. From the disadvantages following from a promiscuous Reading.  For, what bring more disadvantage and harm than advantage to the people, that is not to be permitted to them:  The Reading of Scripture bring more harm than advantage to the people:  Therefore.  For hence arise heresies, curiosity, desire for popularity, errors in practice, etc.  Thus again Bellarmine, book II de Verbo Dei, chapter XV, Controversiis, tome I, columns 145, 146, § Fifth; and others cited by GERHARD, Confessione catholica, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, pages 205-207, numbers 2, 3.

Responses: 1.  It is the fallacy of false cause.  If these evils arise from the Reading of Scripture, that will only happen because of the wickedness of the man reading:  and so the Reading of Scripture will only be the cause per accidens, circumstantially, but the wickedness of the man per se, efficiently.  The very best things of all are not without abuse of this sort.  The impious abuse the longsuffering and grace of God unto lasciviousness and hardening in sin, Ecclesiastes 8:11; Jude 4.  The Use of the Reading of the Scripture is not therefore to be abrogated.  2.  No more the Reading than the hearing of the Scripture is going to produce evils of this sort.  3.  No more in the people than in the Clergy are those evils going to arise from the Reading of Scripture:  contrarywise, heresies everywhere get their rise, not from the common people, but from Teachers.  4.  On the other hand, Ignorance of Scripture is to be held as the true cause of heresies and errors, Matthew 22:29.  CHRYSOSTOM, in his Proœmio in Epistola ad Romanos, opera, tome 9, page 426, says, τὰ μυρία ἐφύη κακὰ ἀπὸ τῆς τῶν γραφῶν ἀγνοίας· ἐντεῦθεν ἡ πολλὴ τῶν αἱρέσεων ἐβλάστησε λύμη· ἐντεῦθεν οἱ ἠμελημένοι βίοι, countless evils are produced by ignorance of the Scriptures: hence the manifold outrages of heresies sprouted:  hence the dissolute lives.  Contrariwise, from the Scripture is the knowledge of the truth, a conviction of errors, a correction of vices, and a most powerful incitement to holiness, 2 Timothy 3:15; it hinders curiosity, Romans 12:3, discourages pride, James 4:6, etc.:  consult GERHARD, Confessione catholica, tome 2, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, pages 206-208.

γ. From the Unity of the Church, which of course requires the public use of the Scriptures in whatever language is most common; without which the frequenting of the public Assemblies would be even more neglected:  see Bellarmine, book II de Verbo Dei, chapter XV, Controversiis, tome I, column 145, § the Fourth argument, etc.  But our AUTHOR easily explodes these reasonings with three words.

Chapter II:36: Objections to Scripture-Reading Answered, Part 1

The πρῶτον ψεῦδος, original error, of the Papists on the Question is the Obscurity of Scripture, which they set forward as a pretext without justification.

Their true Scope/Goal:  lest the common people, more thoroughly educated by the clarity of Scripture, detect Papal Errors and Superstitions, but rather that they might all remain subject to the authority of the Church.

They object in vain:

  1. Passages of Scripture,

α. Matthew 7:6, in which it is said that a Holy Thing is not to be given to Dogs.  Thus already in the Twelfth Century Pope Innocent III, in a Decree to those of Metz, says that dogs and swine that tear in pieces a holy thing and despise pearls are they that in the Diocese of Metz read the Sacred Scripture translated into the language of Gaul; and hence argue the ignorance of the Priests:[1]  see SPANHEIM’s Historiam Ecclesiasticam, Century XII, chapter III, § 4, column 1578. Sixtus Senensis, in his Bibliotheca Sancta, book VI, annotation CLII, page 482, has:  “Therefore, there is to be a restraint…of such abundance and liberty of the vulgar Versions, lest contrary to the Holy precept of the Savior it be given to be devoured by Dogs, and pearls be given to be crushed under foot by swine.”  From which, nevertheless, he distinguishes those that are gifted with a right faith upon god and approved manners, since to these he is willing that translations of the sacred volumes be granted.  But Hosius, de expresso Dei Verbo, tome I, page 664, simply writes:  “To permit the Reading of the Scriptures by the Laity is to give a holy thing to dogs and to cast pearls before swine.”  And GERHARD, Confessione catholica, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, page 185, cites more, who in the same manner and sense apply this saying of Christ.

But We Respond that not one of those that are tolerated in the communion of the Church is able to be treated as a Dog or Pig, impure, trampling, devouring:  for he that is indicated by these similitudes is to be cast out from the holy people of Christ and His tame sheepfold.

[1] Pope Innocent III, reigning from 1198 to 1216, wrote a letter to Metz, urging the persecution of the Waldenses because of their reading of the Scripture in the vernacular tongue.

Chapter II:36: Opponents of Bible Reading: Rome’s Softening Position

We acknowledge likewise with our AUTHOR that from this severity somewhat recede, both the Practice of those dwelling among the Reformed, some of whom are led by the shame of the Roman Decrees, others are not able so to enslave to themselves men entire in blind obedience: and the doctrine of many of the more judicious; which is able to be seen from what is cited at the end of § XXXV of GERHARD’S Confessionis Catholicæ, tome 2, page 188-203; and from the theses of Quesnel just now recited; and also from Epistolis Philippe Vlaming[1] contra David Pierman, in which the Quesnellian Theses regarding this are defended against the Bull Unigenitus, and it is shown the the Jansenist Theses are upheld, especially the granting of the Reading of the Sacred Scripture to the common people also:  see Epistolas Philippe Vlaming contra David Pierman, tome I, Preface, § XVII, Epistle X, § 7, pages 280-284, Epistle XI, § 5, pages 313-317, and the little book subjoined under the title, Kort Begrip van ’t boeje Beweerde Dryheid der eenvoudige Catholijken in ’t lezen der Heilige Schriftuure:  add also BUDDEUS’ Isagogen ad Theologiam universam, book II, chapter VII, § 9, tome 2, page 1265b, in which he reviews various writings by Antoine Arnauld,[2] in which this Jansenist vehemently contends that the Reading of the Sacred Scripture to all, even the Laics, is to be conceded, and evinces it with the most resplendent arguments:  add what things from the Table of the Jesuits, which is called, Jansenism destroying all Religion, Grade IX, LEYDEKKER exhibits in his Historia Jansenismi, pages 582-584.  Moreover, time will show what is to be retained of the following Decree, and what the result of the same is going to be, the Decree, I say, mentioned in the New Notices at Amsterdam, February 24, 1759, out of letters sent from Rome on February 7:  “To the Index returned in the past year by order of the Congregation[3] is conjoined a Decree, whereby translation, printing, and reading of the Bible in the vernacular Language are permitted, only let the translation be approved beforehand by the Holy See.  This Decree is additionally confirmed by a special Brief of the deceased Pope Benedict XIV,[4] which likewas is inserted in the new edition.”

[1] Philippe Louis Verhulst (d. 1753) was a Roman Catholic.

[2] Antoine Arnauld (1612-1694) was a French theologian, philosopher, and mathematician, and an intellectual luminary and apologist for the Jansenists of Port-Royal.

[3] In 1571, the Sacred Congregation of the Index was established to evaluate questionable works, and to make recommendations to the Pope concerning these works.

[4] Benedict XIV reigned as Pope from 1740 to 1758.  He laid restraints upon the Sacred Congregation of the Index, opening up publishing to a significant degree.

Chapter II:36: Opponents of Bible Reading: the Roman Church

The Papists, who without the permission of Bishops, Inquisitors, or Superiors, which later Popes have further limited, assert that the Reading of Scripture is noxious, etc., and deny the Absolution of sinners until the Bible has been returned to the Ordinary.  The Reading of the Scriptures is dangerous and pernicious, from Facultatis Parisiensis contra Erasmum Censura, article IV, title XII, where the Parisian Theologians thus declare:  “In this tempest arises the dangerous and pernicious translation of the Scripture into the vulgar Tongue from the evident ill will of men.  If it be sometimes useful to some, it is not therefore rashly to be permitted to all.  For in fact, in a matter not necessary for salvation, it is better to look to the profit of the many by interdicting that, than by permitting it for the advantage of the few with grevious harm to the many; whence also translation of this sort is rightly condemned.”  These are the words in GERHARD’S Confessione catholica, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, thesis VIII, page 172.  Indeed, if we listen to Alfonso de Castro,[1] book I adversus Hæreses, chapter XIII, page 33, the reading of the Sacred Codex is more harmful than the reading of Gentile Philosophers:  “Not without reason did we advise above that that the books of the pagans are to be read with great caution.  Therefore, since more harm is brought in by the sacred books translated into the vulgar tongue than by the reading of pagan Philosophers, that is with good reason restricted, even if no prohibition is made concerning the other.”  A good number of similar, crude pronouncements of the Papists shall be given by GERHARD, Confessione catholica, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, thesis VIII, pages 185-187.  Rule V (or IV) of the Index of Prohibited Book prepared by the Council of Trent has it thus, as it is found in the Indice Expurgatorio Hispanico anni 1667, pages XXV, XXVI:  “Since experience teaches that from the permission of the Sacred Books in the vulgar Tongue arises more detriment than advantage on account of the temerity, ignorance, or malice of men; the Bible, extant in the vulgar Tongue, is prohibited, with all its parts, printed or in manuscript….  Now, so that scruples might be avoided, which are able to arise at this point, and so that the reader might distinguish what belongs to vulgar idiom or otherwise, it is declared that the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Chaldean, Syriac, Æthiopic, Persic, and Arabic are not vulgar idiom; which is understood of the original languages, which today are not used commonly in familiar speech; so that the reader might see that all others are vulgar.”  Pope Pius IV[2] somewhat softened this harsh sentence, permitting it to the judgment of the ordinary Parish Priest or Bishop to grant the Reading of the Bible to those that they understand are able from Reading of this sort to reap, not harm, but an increase of faith and piety:  while he denies the Absolution of sinners to the one that without this permission read the Bible in the vulgar tongue before it was handed over:  this is indeed expressed by Tridentina Regula IV of the Expurgatory Index, published by commandment of Pius IV; see Indicem Expurgatorium Romanum anno 1667, page 4. Sixtus Senensis, Bibliotheca Sacra, book VI, annotation CLII, page 482:  “The Most Holy Synod of Trent in the Index of prohibited volumes, in the fourth rule, decreed in these words:  Since by experience it is manifest that, if the Holy Bible in the vulgar tongue be permitted everywhere without discrimination, more detriment than advantage arise from it on account of the temerity of men; in this respect let it be fixed in the judgment of the Bishop or Inquisitor, that with the counsel of the Parish Priest, or Confessor, they might be able to grant the reading of the Bible in the vulgar tongue, translated by Catholic authors, to those that they understand are able from Reading of this sort to reap, not harm, but an increase of faith and piety: which authority let them have in writing.  But let not those that may presume to read or have the Bible without such authority, except with the Bible previously returned to the Ordinary, be able to receive the Absolution of Sinners.” Bellarmine set this forth as the sentence of the Catholic Church, book II de Verbo Dei, chapter XV, Controversiis, tome I, column 139.  But this moderation was soon retracted again near the end of the sixteenth century.  Pope Clement VIII, in the following Observation made upon the fourth Rule just now cited, which is found in the Indice Expurgatorio Romano anno 1667, page 6:  “It is to be observed concerning the aforementioned fourth rule of the Index of Pope Pius the IV of blessed memory, that by this impression and edition no authority is newly granted to Bishops, or Inquisitors, or Superiors of Regulars, to grant a license to purchase, read, or keep a Bible published in the vulgar tongue, since hitherto by the mandate and usage of the Holy Roman and universal Inquisition the authority to grant licenses of this sort for reading or keeping vulgar Bibles, or other parts of the Sacred Scripture, both of the New and of the Old Testament, published in whatever vulgar language, was taken from them:  …which is indeed to be kept inviolately.”  Apart from the fact that, at the time of the Rule published by Pius IV mentioned above, there was no Version of the Bible in the Vulgar Tongue approved by the Roman Church, which sort was not thereafter admitted in regions in which the Inquisition is stong.  But to permit the Reading of the Bible in the Vulgar Tongue, but this is permitted only by a Bishop, Inquisitor, or Superior; and to deny to these the authority to grant a license of this sort:  or to concede to Bishops and Inquisitors this authority, and to take care that such an approved Version be not found:  is to make sport in a serious matter:  see MOULIN’S[3] Novitatem Papismi, book I, chapter LVIII, page m. 175-183, especially pages 175, 176; CABELJAUW’S[4] Catholyk Memorie-voek, part I, chapter V, pages 140-155, especially 143, 144.  At the same time, by the judgment of Clement VIII just now reviewed, it is to stand as the judgment of the Church, until it be publicly revoked:  since the Council of Trent not only acknowledges that supreme authority over the universal Church granted to the Popes, Session XIV, chapter VII, de Pœnitentia, pages 128, 129, but also what things concerning Censorship of Books were accomplished by the Fathers appointed to Trent, it ordered that they might be exhibited to the most holy Roman Pontiff, so that all this might be concluded and made public by his judgment and authority, last Session, day 2, Decretal 3, page 270b, compared with Session XVIII, page 161.  And so it is not strange that Clement XI also in the year 1713 in the Bull Unigenitus condemned the following Quesnellian Theses, in which QUESNEL[5] had commended to all the Reading of the Sacred Codex in the Vulgar Tongue. Thesis LXXX on Acts 8:28:  The Reading of the Holy Scripture between the hands even of a man of business and of finances, mark that this is for the entire world. Thesis LXXXI on Acts 8:31: The holy obscurity of the word of God is not a reason for the Laity to dispense with the reading. Thesis LXXXII on Acts 15:21: Sunday, which has succeeded the Sabbath, must be sanctified by readings concerning piety, and over all of the Holy Scriptures. It is the milk of the Christian, even that which God Himself, who knows His own work, has given to him to feed upon.  It is dangerous to want to wean him. Thesis LXXXIII on John 4:26: It is an illusion to imagine that the knowledge of the mysteries of religion ought not to be communicated to this sex [women] by the Reading of the Holy Books, after this example of the confidence with which Jesus manifests Himself to this woman. It is not from the simplicity of women, but rather from the proud knowledge of men, that the abuse of the Scriptures has come, and that heresies have been born.  Thesis LXXXIV on Matthew 5:2: When we open the New Testament, it is the mouth of Jesus Christ that opens for us. What is it to close it to Christians, but to snatch this holy book from their hands, or to restrain them from the means of hearing it. Thesis LXXXV on Luke 11:33: The Scripture, and especially the Gospel is our lamp…. To prohibit the Reading to Christians, this is to prohibit the use of the light to the children of the light, and to make them suffer a form of excommunication.

[1] Alfonso de Castro (1495-1558) was a Franciscan theologian of the School of Salamanca.  His work was largely devoted to the defense of Roman Catholicism by means of civil and criminal law.

[2] Pius IV reigned as Pope from 1559 to 1565.  In 1562, he reconvened the Council of Trent to moderate some of the Council’s pronouncements that had occasioned unrest among the principal Roman Catholic nations.

[3] Pierre du Moulin (1568-1658) was a Huguenot pastor and theologian.  He served as Professor of Theology at Sedan (1621-1658).

[4] Pieter Cabeljauw (c. 1608-1668) was a Reformed theologian.

[5] Pasquier Quesnel (1634-1719) was a French Theologian.  Although he graduated from the Sorbonne with distinction, he fell out of favor as he began to embrace Jansenist doctrine.  Beginning with his banishment from Paris in 1681, Quesnel suffered persecution for the rest of his life.  The publication of Unigenitus marks the end of Roman Catholic toleration of Jansenism.

Chapter II:35: Candid Concessions of Adversaries concerning the Reading of Scripture

4. Indeed, the Papists, pressed by the force of truth, are time and again forced to give their assent to us, as the more noble of them willingly lend their agreement to us, which GERHARD shows from many passages cited out of their writings, Confessione catholica, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, thesis VIII, pages 188-203, in which are things especially worthy of mention, which are cited out of ERASMUS’ Præfationem Paraphrasum in Novum Testamentum, pages 189, 190.

Chapter II:35: Biblical Rationale for the Reading of Scripture

  1. From Reasons: taken,

α. From the divine design of Scripture for the use of all.  For, what was designed for the use of all, its use is to be conceded to all, and no one is to be kept from it:  but that this is so designed see Habakkuk 2:2, upon which passage see the Commentarium of our AUTHOR; and Romans 1:7.

β. From the manifold, necessary, and most useful end that the Scripture has, and is not able to fulfill apart from Reading.  For what Scripture according to the intention of God furnishes to every believer eminent and absolutely necessary uses, which he is not able to obtain without the Reading of Scripture, that is to be read in the presence of and by each and every one in a known language.  There are these uses: direction, Psalm 119:9; Galatians 6:16; information, 2 Timothy 3:16; consolation, Romans 15:4; defense, Ephesians 6:17 compared with Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; nourishment, 1 Peter 2:2.

γ. From the state of believers, who are not to be suppressed so far below the Clergy in the lawful handling of Scripture; since all are Prophets taught by God Himself, John 6:45; Joel 2:28, 29; but the searching of and meditation upon divine mysteries is especially fitting for Prophets.  They are Priests, 1 Peter 2:5, 9, who hence are to be admitted unto the holy, and are not able to be kept from holy things.  The divine Law is to be examined by them daily, so that thence they might be able to learn the manner of Priestly worship acceptable to God.  They are additionally Judges of all things according to the divine Law, which hence they have need to search assiduously, 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1.

Chapter II:35: The Church’s Abiding Practice of Reading the Scripture

2.  From the Practice of the Church. For what the Church has always performed, and the practice of which in this matter is commemorated with praise, that is even now lawful; indeed, in this the example of the ancient Church moves us to imitation. The practice of the Jewish Church publicly reading the Sacred Scripture is abundantly evident out of Nehemiah 8:2-9, on which passage consult CARPZOV’S Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part II, chapter I, pages 432, 433; out of Acts 15:21, Μωσῆς γὰρ ἐκ γενεῶν ἀρχαίων κατὰ πόλιν τοὺς κηρύσσοντας αὐτὸν ἔχει, ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς κατὰ πᾶν σάββατον ἀναγινωσκόμενος, for Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day, on which passage see our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes textuales.  Now, it is quite well-known that this was the custom of the Jews, from the most ancient times to complete yearly in the Synagogues the Reading of the Pentateuch, divided into certain Parashot, and then also the Reading of certain Haphtarot out of the Prophets; see § 19 above:  which the Christian Church diligently imitated, whence also the Ecclesiastical order of Readers among the offices is reviewed, see Chapter XXXIII:12 below.  Indeed, since in the latter times of the Jewish republic the Hebrew dialect was passing into disuse, and the Chaldean or Syriac dialect was coming into its place, the Jews are recorded to have had in their Synagogues in Palestine Translators, who were rendering in Chaldean what things had been read in Hebrew out of the Sacred Codex by the Reader:  in the imitation of which custom learned Men also maintain that what things had been read out of the Hebrew Books were translated into Greek in Egypt; see CARPZOV’S Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part I, chapter V, section V, page 218, part II, chapter I, pages 433, 434, chapter II, § 5, pages 506β, 508, number 2, § 7, pages 522, 523; PRIDEAUX’S An Historical Connection of the Old and New Testaments, columns 393, 394, 432, 758, 763, 1383, 1397, 1398.  The pious were no less accustomed to read and meditate upon the Scriptures privately in all previous ages, Psalm 119:24; Acts 8:28; 2 Timothy 3:15; Acts 17:11, which passage, although it is to be expounded of the more noble and advanced among the Thessalonians, nevertheless makes against the Papists; because some among the Thessalonians are at that time commended as εὐγενέστεροι, more noble, than the rest, because in addition to the reception λόγου μετὰ προθυμίας, of the Word with readiness, they themselves were also searching the Scriptures:  but from the phrase and especially from the context it is certain that the Bereans are here treated, who are commended jointly as εὐγενέστεροι, more noble, than the Thessalonians on account of their private and daily searching of the Scripture:  consult GERHARD’S Confessionem catholicam, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, page 204.  That by τὰς γραφάς, the Scriptures, in Acts 17:11, the Sacred Books of the Old Testament are to be understood, NIEUWLAND confirms, Lectionibus exegeticis, book IV, epistle XVI, pages 579-582, against someone that believed that that term was to be explained in this place of parchments and skins containing the deeds and oracles of Jesus Christ, inscribed in the same, and confirmed by trustworthy witnesses, which Paul carried with him for the conviction of the Jews everywhere.  The pious and diligent care of the Jewish Church, whereby for ages and also in this later time, there is a commendation and clear sanctioning to each and every one, even from earliest youth, of the study and private reading of the Scripture, that each one at his own home have a copy of the Law written out, if it could be done, with his own hand; is able amply to be demonstrated out of HOTTINGER’S Thesaurum Philologicum, pages 89-93; PRIDEAUX’S An Historical Connection of the Old and New Testaments, column 1384.  Nothing else was instituted in the true, Christian Church; while from the reading of the Fathers, whose many passages upon this matter TURRETIN noted, Theologiæ Elencticæ, locus II, question XVIII, § 4; and also LEYDEKKER’S Veritatem Euangelicam triumphantem, tome I, book I, chapter XII, § 8, pages 145, 146, it abundantly appears how solicitous the Church and her Doctors always were in commending to and inculcating in all the Reading of the Sacred Scripture:  see also JEWEL’S adversus Hardingum, article XV, opera, tome I, pages 119-133.