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after that conclusion receiving the contents, as it is now popular to maintain? Far from it; he grants the fact alleged against the Church and defends it. He observes that, considering the engagements and the necessary ignorance of the multitude of men, it is a very happy circumstance that a substitute is provided for those philosophical exercises, which Christianity allows and encourages, but does not impose on the individual. “Which,” he asks, “is the better, for them to believe without reason, and thus to reform any how and gain a benefit, from their belief in the punishment of sinners and the reward of well-doers, or to refuse their conversion on mere belief, except they devote themselves to an intellectual inquiry?”1 Such a provision then is a mark of divine wisdom and mercy. In like manner, St. Irenæus, after observing that the Jews had the evidence of prophecy, which the Gentiles had not, and that to the latter it was a foreign teaching and a new doctrine to be told that the gods of the Gentiles were not only not gods, but were idols of devils, and that in consequence St. Paul laboured more upon them, as needing it more, adds, “On the other hand, the faith of the Gentiles is thereby shown to be more generous, who followed the word of God without the assistance of Scriptures.” To believe on less evidence was generous faith, not enthusiasm. And so again, Eusebius, while he contends of course that Christians are influenced by “no irrational faith," that is, by a faith which is capable of a logical basis, fully allows that, in the individual believing, it is not necessarily or ordinarily based upon Reason, and maintains that it is connected with that very “ hope," and inclusively with that desire of the things beloved, which Locke in the above extract considers incompatible with the love of truth. “What do we find,” he says, “but that the whole life of man is suspended on
'c. Cels. i. 9.
seither says the and unbeases where 'aith is to many of
these two, hope and faith ?" 1 and Clement calls faith a "presumption.” The natural tendency of the heretical doctrine concerning Faith is to make men over-confident, in cases where they do not become sceptical and unbelieving. Thus the same Father says that the Valentinians attribute to themselves Knowledge and to Catholics Faith.” Tertullian too observes of heretics generally: “ All are puffed up, all promise knowledge; their catechumens are perfected before they are taught.” 2
I do not mean to imply that the Fathers were opposed to inquiries into the intellectual basis of Christianity, but that they held that men were not obliged to wait for proof before believing; on the contrary, that the majority were to believe first and prove afterwards.
St. Augustine, who had tried both ways, strikingly contrasts them in his De Utilitate credendi, though his direct object in that work is to decide, not between Reason and Faith, but between Reason and Authority. He addresses in it a very dear friend, who, like himself, had become a Manichee, but who, with less happiness than his own, was still retained in the heresy. “The Manichees," he observes, “inveigh against those who, following the authority of the Catholic faith, fortify themselves in the first instance with believing, and, before they are able to set eyes upon that truth, which is discerned by the pure soul, prepare themselves for a God who shall illuminate. You, Honoratus, know that nothing else was the cause of my falling into their hands, than their professing to put away Authority which was so terrible, and by absolute and simple Reason to lead their hearers to God's presence, and to rid them of all error. For what was there that forced me, for nearly nine years, to slight the religion which was sown in me when a child by my parents, and to follow them and diligently attend their lectures, but their assertion that I was terrified by superstition, and was bidden to have Faith before I had Reason, whereas they pressed no one to believe before the truth had been discussed and unravelled ? Who would not be seduced by these promises, and especially a youth, such as they found me then, desirous of truth, nay conceited and forward, by reason of the disputations of certain men of school learning, with a contempt of old-wives' tales, and a desire of possessing and drinking that clear and unmixed truth which they promised me?”1 Presently he goes on to describe how he was reclaimed. He found the Manichees . more successful in pulling down than in building up; he was disappointed in Faustus, whom we found eloquent and nothing besides. Upon this, he did not know what to hold, and was tempted to a general scepticism. At length he found he must be guided by Authority; then came the question, Which authority among so many teachers ? He cried earnestly to God for help, and at last was led to the Catholic Church. He then returns to the question urged against that Church, that “she bids those who come to her believe," whereas heretics “boast that they do not impose a yoke of believing, but open a fountain of teaching." On which he observes, “True religion cannot in any manner be rightly embraced, without a belief in those things which each individual afterwards attains and perceives, if he behave himself well and shall deserve it, nor altogether without some weighty and imperative Authority.” 2
1 Hær. iv. 24. Euseb. Præp. Ev. i. 5. Vid. also Clem. Strom. ii. 2. Arnob. ii. 8. Cyril, Cat. v. 3. Greg. Naz. Orat. 32, 26. Pseudo-Basil. in Ps. 115. init Theod. Græc. Aff. i. p. 717, &c.
2 Clement. Strom. ii. 6. (Vid. the word præsumptio in Tertullian, Oxf. tr. p. 136, note t. Kortholt. Calumn. 10, p. 83.) Ibid. 3. Tertull. de Præscr. Hær. 41.
These are specimens of the teaching of the Ancient Church on the subject of Faith and Reason; if, on the other hand, we would know what has been taught on Init.
? De Util. Cred. init.
what was the ct certainty.. me with ab.
the subject in those modern schools, in and through which the subsequent developments of Catholic doctrines have proceeded, we may turn to the extracts made from their writings by Huet, in his “Essay on the Human Understanding;" and, in so doing, we need not perplex ourselves with the particular theory, true or not, for the sake of which he has collected them. Speaking of the weakness of the Understanding, Huet says :
“God, by His goodness, repairs this defect of human nature, by granting us the inestimable gift of Faith, which confirms our staggering Reason, and corrects that perplexity of doubts which we must bring to the knowledge of things. For example: my reason not being able to inform me with absolute evidence, and perfect certainty, whether there are bodies, what was the origin of the world, and many other like things; after I have received the Faith, all those doubts vanish, as darkness at the rising of the sun. This made St. Thomas Aquinas say: 'It is necessary for man to receive as articles of Faith, not only the things which are above Reason, but even those that for their certainty may be known by Reason. For human Reason is very deficient in things divine; a sign of which we have from philosophers, who, in the search of human things by natural methods, have been deceived, and opposed each other on many heads. To the end then that men may have a certain and undoubted cognizance of God, it was necessary things divine should be taught them by way of Faith, as being revealed of God Himself, who cannot lie.'1 ....
“Then St. Thomas adds afterwards : ‘No search by natural Reason is sufficient to make man know things divine, nor even those which we can prove by Reason.' And in another place he speaks thus:
Things which may be proved demonstratively, as the Being of God, the Unity of the Godhead, and other points, are placed among articles we are to believe,
pp. 142, 143, Combe's tr.
because previous to other things that are of Faith ; and these must be pre-supposed, at least by such as have no demonstration of them.
“What St. Thomas says of the cognizance of divine things extends also to the knowledge of human, according to the doctrine of Suarez. "We often correct,' he says, “the light of Nature by the light of Faith, even in things which seem to be first principles, as appears in this: those things that are the same to a third, are the same between themselves; which, if we have respect to the Trinity, ought to be restrained to finite things. And in other mysteries, especially in those of the Incarnation and the Eucharist, we use many other limitations, that nothing may be repugnant to the Faith. This is then an indication that the light of Faith is most certain, because founded on the first truth, which is God, to whom it's more impossible to deceive or be deceived than for the natural science of man to be mistaken and erroneous.'1 ....
“If we hearken not to Reason, say you, you overthrow that great foundation of Religion which Reason has established in our understanding, viz. God is. To answer this objection, you must be told that men know God in two manners. By Rea. son, with entire human certainty; and by Faith, with absolute and divine certainty. Although by Reason we cannot acquire any knowledge more certain than that of the Being of God; insomuch that all the arguments, which the impious oppose to this knowledge are of no validity and easily refuted; nevertheless this certainty is not absolutely perfect.? ......
“Nowalthough, to prove the existence of the Deity, we can bring arguments which, accumulated and connected together, are not of less power to convince men than geometrical principles, and theorems deduced from them, and which are of entire human certainty; notwithstanding, because learned philo
pp. 144, 145. ? p. 219.
od in two miv; and byuch by