Chapter II:24: The Clarity of Scripture, considered generally

Furthermore, Sacred Scripture delivers the substance of Religion Perspicuously.  So that we might demonstrate this Perspicuity, it is to be observed:

1.  In general,

α. That that does not so much have regard unto the Things related, as unto the Manner of relating.  For Scripture treats the sublimest mysteries of salvation, even those that far transcend human capacity; but the Spirit in marvelous συνκαταβάσει/condescension sets forth the same in the Scriptures in so Perspicuous a manner that, although the proposed Matter in all its fullness often flees the sight fo the mind, yet the pious mind pursues the Word clearly setting forth that matter, and thence learns to understand the matter itself, which has been related, as far as understanding is required for salvation.  Thus clearly and perspicuously the Scripture reveals τὸ ὅτι, the fact, of mysteries, for example, the Trinity, the eternal Generation of the Son, etc., which is necessary for us to know and to believe for salvation:  but τὸ πῶς, τὸ διότι, the how and wherefore, lie hidden to us, and one is not required to know this for salvation.

β. We observe that nevertheless the Degrees of Perspicuity vary in the Sacred Scripture;

1.  In various Passages and parts of Scripture, of which variegated style of Scriptures AUGUSTINE teaches us that there is manifest use, both in book II de Doctrina Christiana, chapter VI, opera, tome 3, part I, column 17, “ Therefore, the Holy Spirit magnificently and profitably has modified the holy Scriptures in such a way that by the plainer passage He might meet need, but by the more obscure remove contempt”; and in Sermon XI or LXXI de Verbis Domini, chapter VII, opera, tome 5, column 272, “In all the abundance of the holy Scriptures, we are fed by the plain passages, exercised by the obscure:  in the former hunger is banished, in the latter contempt.”

2.  In various Matters; thus prophetical matters are often of a more profound research, which God has left for our diligent investigation and for the exercise of our faith, and the Church’s necessary understanding of which He nevertheless does not exclude. Dogmatic matters are more perspicuous, especially those that are absolutely necessary for salvation; not in such a way that no industry is needful for the understanding of these things:  to such an extent that with the help of legitimate means they are able to be understood from the Scriptures by individual believers unto salvation:  so that common people are not to be kept from the reading of Scripture as harmful and dangerous to them, nor is it necessary to depend the tradition and pronouncement of the Church.

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