« PreviousContinue »
EUTHERIUS, BISHOP OF TYANA.
1. His time and works. II. Books of the New Testament received by him, III. An argument against following the most. IV. An argument for studying the scriptures.
I. EUTHERIUS, bishop of Tyana, in Cappadocia, flourished, according to Cave, about the year 431. He was a friend of Nestorius, and pleaded his cause against those who condemned him; especially against Cyril of Alexandria, and his followers.
He wrote in Greek; and his words were translated into Syriac; for they are in Ebedjesu's Catalogue: who, beside others, mentions a Commentary upon the gospel; for which reason Eutherius is placed among commentators by Le Long: but Asseman says, that this Commentary is mentioned no where, except in Ebedjesu. For a farther account of Eutherius and his works, I refer to others.
II. Inf the title that remains of him, the books of the New Testament are often quoted; particularly, the beginning of St. John's Gospel; the Acts of the Apostles; and the epistle to the Hebrews, as Paul's.
III. Having observed this, I shall transcribe a part of two remarkable arguments.
The first is against those, who judged of principles by the multitude of those who embraced them. Christ,' says he, is the truth, as he himself said. Him we ought to follow, who said, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." [John xvi. 33.] Are not they then to be pitied, who judge of the truth of a doctrine by the numbers of those who embrace it? Such do not consider, that the Lord
a H. L. T. i. p. 419. b Eutherius edidit disputationem adversus Theopaschitas, necnon homilias, variasque interpretationes, et expositionem evangeli. Ebed. Catal. cap. 32. ap. Assem. Bib. Or. T. iii. p. 42. d Ubi supr. p. 42.
Bib. Sacr. p. 718.
Vid. Fabr. Bib. Gr. T. vii. p. 446, &c. Du Pin, Bib. T. iii. P. ii. p. 67. Tillem. Mem. T. 14. S. Cyril d'Alex. art. 97. Phot. Cod. 46. Mr. Bower's History of the Popes. Vol. ii. p. 3, 4.
' Vid. Eutherii, Tyanor. Episc. Sermones: seu Confutationes quarumdam Propositionum. ap. Theodoret. T. V. p. 688--726. et ap. Athan. T. ii. p. 560 -584. edit. Bened. 8 Προς τες πληθει μονῳ κρινοντας την αληθειαν.
Ap. Theodoret. T. V. p. 690, 691. et Athan.
Και 8 συνιέντες, ότιπερ ὁ δεσποτης Χριςος
T. ii. p. 561, 562.
Christ had twelve disciples, illiterate, poor, unexperienced, whom he encouraged to withstand the whole world: not directing those twelve to follow myriads; but requiring that myriads should learn of them. And in like manner will truth always prevail, though it be at first maintained by a few only.--Let them be ever so many, they shall not persuade me to think, that day is night; nor induce me to take brass money for gold, or manifest poison for wholesome food. In things of this world we do not follow the judgment of the mistaken multitude. Why then should we follow in it heavenly things, which are of much greater moment, without any good reasons assigned; and at the same time abandon doctrines, that have been handed down to us with great consent from ancient times, agreeably to the testimony of the scriptures? Have we not heard the Lord saying," Many are called, but few chosen." And again: "Strait is the gate, and narrow the way, that leadeth to life: And few there be that find it." [Matth. vii. 13, 14.] Who that is in his senses would not wish to be of the few that enter through the strait gate to salvation, rather than of the many that go in the broad way to destruction? What wise man, if he had lived in the time of the blessed Stephen, who was stoned alone, would not have taken his part, rather than that of the multitude, which judged of truth by numbers? The judgment of one sedate and discreet person, is more valuable than that of ten thousand unthinking people. Many examples in support of this assertion, might be alleged from the Old Testament, as well as from the New.- You, if you think fit, may honour the multitude that was drowned in the flood: give me leave to retire into the ark, and be saved. You, if you think fit, may stay with the people of Sodom: I will travel with Lot, although he goes alone: not but that I too have a respect for the multitude; nevertheless, not when they shun inquiry, but when they produce evidence; not when they are influenced by flattery and bribes, or are misled by ignorance, or are swayed by fear of threatened evils, and prefer the momentary pleasures of sin before eternal life.'
IV. The other argument is against some who discouraged the reading of the scriptures. I must, in the next place, confute those who have the assurance to say, that studying the scriptures is needless. If a man believe, it is sufficient; inquiry only makes things more obscure and uncertain.
δωδεκα μαθηταις απλοις, αγραμματοις, πενησιν, ευαλωτοις, το κατα παντος τε κοσμε θαρσος δεδωρηται, κ. λ. Ap. Theodoret. T. v. p
692, 693. et Athan. T. ii. p. 562, 563.
But, says he, this is the reasoning of men who distrust the merits of their cause. On the other hand, relying upon the truth of our doctrine, and the assistance of him who cannot lie, and has said, "He that seeketh, findeth," [Matth. vii. 8.] we inquire, hoping to know what we are desirous to be acquainted with: we prove what we assert; and hear with attention and candour. In which method we convince our friends, confute our opposers, and satisfy ourselves, that we do not propose false doctrine? Shall I neglect the scriptures? How then shall I attain to knowledge? If I want knowledge, how shall I have faith? Accordingly Paul says, "How shall they believe, if they have not heard?" And again: "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." [Rom. x. 14, 17.] To be ignorant of the Roman laws is safe for no man. How great then is the sin of those who forbid men to learn and meditate upon the important oracles of the King of heaven! The scripture is the food of the soul. Do not then cause the inner man to perish with "a famine, not of bread and water, but of hearing the word of the Lord." [Amos viii. 11.] There are enough to wound the soul; and do you hinder a man from seeking proper medicines? Consider the chamberlain, a true lover of the word, who had the charge of all his queen's treasure. [Acts viii.] Who even, when travelling, ceased not to read. Whose conduct was so approved by the Lord, that he sent one to explain to him what he did not understand; and by the scriptures to lead him to the knowledge of the Saviour. And himself said: "Search the scriptures," [John v. 39.] which implies a diligent and attentive examination of things obscure and difficult. In a word, some endeavour to hinder men from reading the scriptures, with a pretence, that it is prying into things that are inaccessible; but indeed, that they may the better hinder men from showing, by them, the absurdity of their false opinions.'
Du Pin says that,' in these passages, the author advances principles that agree very much with those of the pretended reformed nevertheless he has been so good as to translate them. I presume, therefore, that my doing the like can give offence to none: moreover, these passages have been highly commended bym Mr. Bower.
'Ibid. p. 67
History of the Popes, Vol. ii. p. 3, 4.
PROSPER OF AQUITAIN.
1. PROSPER, of Aquitain, by some said to have been a bishop; by others, more probably, reckoned a mere layman, is placed, by Cave, as flourishing about the year 444: Basnage speaks of him at the year 434, which seems to be more proper; for Prosper had some correspondence with Augustine, who died in 430; and, in the year 434, had written several things in favour of the Augustinian doctrine. He is supposed to have lived until after the year 460; but the exact time of his death is not known.
2. I place below the chapter of Gennadius concerning him; who commends Prosper's learning and style, or manner of writing, though he dislikes his doctrine.
3. There are several things ascribed to Prosper, which are not received by all as genuine. I intend, in this chapter, to make extracts out of those works, which are generally allowed of; and, in the following, to take notice of some others, whose genuineness is contested.
4. Prosper quotes not only the gospels, and Acts, and other books of the New Testament, universally received; but likewise the epistle to the Hebrews, the epistle of James, the second of Peter, and the Revelation.
a Vid. Pagi Ann. 455. n. 17. 466. n. 4. Basnag. Ann. 434. 13. Fabr. Bib. Lat. T. iii. p. 521, 522. et alios historiæ literariæ scriptores. b Hist. Lit. T. i. p. 435. c Ann. 434. n. 13. d Prosper, homo Aquitanicæ regionis, sermone scholasticus, et assertionibus nervosus, multa composuisse dicitur. Ex quibus ego chronica illius nomine præætitulata legi, continentia a primi hominis conditione, juxta divinârum scripturarum fidem, usque ad obitum Valen. tiniani Augusti, et captivitatem urbis Romæ a Genserico Vandalorum rege factam. Legi et librum adversus opuscula sub personâ Cassiani, quæ ecclesiæ Dei salutaria probat, ille infamat nociva. Quæ enim vere Cassiani et Prosperi de gratiâ et libero arbitrio sententiæ fuerunt, in aliquibus sibi contraria inveniuntur. Epistolæ quoque Papæ Leonis adversus Eutychen, de verâ Christi incarnatione, ad diversos datæ et ab ipso dictatæ dicuntur. Gennad. de V. I. cap. 84. e Et si omnia bona, utique et fidem, sine quâ nemo placere potest, et quæ est virtutum omnium fundamentum. [Hebr. xi. 6.] Pro Augustin. Responsion. ad Exc. Genuen. Exc. 8. ap. Append. Opp. Augustin. Bened. T. x. et alibi. f Vid. Ep. ad Rutin. de Grat. et Lib. Arbitrio. cap. 17. et passim. In ead. App.
A quo quis superatus est, ei servus addictus est. [2 Pet. ii. 19.] Lib. contr. Collat. in App. ibid. Nam et verbum propheticum lucernæ comparans apostolus Petrus. Habemus,' inquit, certiorem propheticum sermonem,' &c. [2 Pet. i. 19.] Exp. in Ps. 118. al. 119. ap. Bıb. PP. T. viii. p. 139. H.
Et in Apocalypsi est ista vox martyrum. [Apoc. vi. 10.] Expos. Ps. 118.
5. He expressly rejects the book of Hermas, or the Shepherd, as of no authority.
6. He quotes the cpistle to the Ephesians, with that title.
7. Prosper has a fine passage concerning good works, which I transcribe' in the margin. Some may suspect that his expressions represent them to be of greater value than he intended.
WORKS ASCRIBED TO PROSPER OF AQUITAIN.
I. Two books of the calling of the Gentiles. II. An Epistle to Demetrius. III. Of the divine promises and predictions. IV. A work entitled, De Vità Contemplativâ.
I SHALL now make some extracts out of those writings which have been ascribed to Prosper; but are not certainly known to be his.
I. One is a work, in two books, entitled,a Of the Calling of the Gentiles. Quesnel has a dissertation to show that it is not Prosper's, but Leo's. Anthelmi and Pagi still think it to be Prosper's. Du Pind has carefully considered the arguments on both sides, without determining the question; but somewhat inclining to Quesnel's opinion. Tille
ibid. p. 138. H. Et habenti dicitur: Tene quod habes, ne alius accipiat coronam tuam.' [Apoc. iii. 11.] In Ps. 134. ibid. p. 151. C.
i Post illud autem nullius auctoritatis testimonium, quod disputationi suæ de libello pastoris inseruit. Contr. Collat. cap. 13. n. 42. in App. ut supra.
16. n. 50.
* De Ephesiorum etiam fide quid sentiat, audiamus, &c. Contr. Collat. c. Lex Christi perfectio caritatis est, quâ Deus proximusque diligitur, et per quam dicitur conditori legis: Dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.' Bene enim exspectat promissionem Dei, qui mandata ejus exsequitur. Nec frustra sperat parcendum peccatis suis, qui ignoscit alienis. Lib. Sentent. n. 37. in App. ubi supra. Et Conf. Expos. Ps. 139. V. 4. ubi supra.
De Vocatione omnium Gentium, Libri duo. Ap Leon. M. Opp. T. i. edit. Quesn. Lugd. 1700. b Diss. 2. ap. Leon. Opp. T. ii.
c Vid. Pagi Ann. 444. n. 4. et seq. et 461. n. 13.
d Bibl. T. iii. P. ii. p. 193. De l'Auteur des livres de la Vocation des Gentils, et de l'Epître à Démétriade.