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use of an article which appeared in a Review some years ago, on the subject of St. Ignatius' Epistles.
“Men fancy,” it was observed,“ that though they have never seen Clement or Ignatius, or any other Father before, they are quite as well qualified to interpret the words λειτουργία or προσφορά as if they knew them and their brethren well. How different is their judgment in other matters! Who will not grant, except in the case of theology, that an experienced eye is an important qualification for understanding the distinction of things or detecting their force and tendency? In politics, the sagacious statesman puts his finger on some apparently small or not confessedly great event, promptly declares it to be no little matter,' and is believed. Why? because he is conceived to have scholarship in the language of political history, and to be well read in the world's events. In the same way the comparative anatomist falls in with a little bone, and confidently declares, from it, the make, habits, and age of the animal to which it belonged. What should we say to the unscientific hearer who disputed his accuracy and attempted to argue against him? Yet, is not this just the case of sciolists, or less than sciolists in theology, who, when persons who have given time to the Fathers recognise in some phrase or word in Clement or Ignatius a Catholic doctrine, object that the connexion between the phrase and the doctrine is not clear to them, and allow nothing to the judgment of the experienced, over that of ordinary men? Or again, surely it needs not be formally proved that sympathy and congeniality of mind are concerned in enabling us to enter into another's meaning. His single words or tones are nothing to one man, they tell a story to another: the one man passes them over; the other is arrested by them, and
| British Critic, January, 1839, pp. 57—74.
never forgets them. Such is the difference between reading the Apostolical Father with or without a knowledge of theological language.”
After quoting various passages from St. Ignatius, the writer continued,
“ In these extracts there are a number of remarkable expressions, which the student in Catholic theology alone will recognise, and he at once, as belonging to that theology, and having a special reference to the heretical perversions of it. He will enter into, and another might pass over such words and phrases as γεννητος και αγέννητος,-εν σαρκί γενόdevoç Ocòs,—ÉK Mapiaç kai łK 080ī,- antos kai áralns, -άχρονος,-αόρατος, δι' ημάς ορατός,-τέλειος άνθρωπος yavóuevos,-capkópopoç,-álos toū Mɛou. He will perceive such expressions to be dogmatic, and will be at home in them.
“For instance, take the words rédeloc äv. pwroc, perfect man.' A heresy existed in the beginning of the fourth century, which was in fact a revival of the error of the Docetæ, in St. John's times, viz. that our Lord was not really a man as other men are, that he had no intellectual soul, and, as they went on to say, not even a real body. Such was the tenet of Apollinarianism, and the Catholics protested against it by maintaining that Christ was
perfect man' (réelos). This was their special symbol against the heresy, as we find it in the Athanasian Creed, perfect man, subsisting of a reasonable soul and human flesh. The Apollinarians joined issue on this point; they contended that it was impossible for one and the same person to contain in him dúo té ela, and that since our Lord was perfect God, he could not be perfect man. In consequence, this became a turning point of the controversy, and is treated as such, among other authors, . by Athanasius, Nazianzen, Epiphanius, Leontius, and Maximus.
“ The importance of the word is most readily shown by its occurrence in Creeds. The Athanasian has already been mentioned; in like manner a confession ascribed by Theodoret to St. Ambrose speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in the last days became incarnate, and took on Him a perfect manhood of rational soul and body;' so that of two perfect natures an union has been made ineffably,' &c. In a Creed of Pelagius, who was orthodox on this point, we are told that they who own in the Son an imperfect God and imperfect man, are to be accounted not to hold truly either God or inan.' And John of Antioch, in his explanation to St. Cyril, confesses that our Lord is perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and body.'
“ The expression, then," perfect man,' was a portion of the dogmatic Catholic view existing in the fourth and fifth centuries. Now, as we have above quoted, it belongs also to Ignatius: 'I endure all,' he says, “as He who became perfect man, enables me.' Here; then, on the one hand, we find a word in Ignatius, which is scarcely taken from Scripture, which is uncongenial to modern sentiments, which is uncalled for by the context, which has the air of a dogmatic expression, which was well adapted to oppose existing errors, and which is found in a work which does oppose heresies of various sorts. On the other hand, we find this word undeniably and prominently a dogmatic term in the fourth century; can we doubt that it is dogmatic in Ignatius ? or, in other words, that Ignatius's tone of writing is inconsistent with the modern theory,. whether of feelings or of good lives being the whole of religion, and formal creeds being superfluous or burdens?
“ Take another instance: he speaks of those who “blaspheme' Christ, not confessing that He bore flesh' (oapkopopov). This word is of a dogmatic character on the very face of the passage; and it is notoriously such in after-controversy. It is so
used by Clement of Alexandria, Athanasius, and in the Confessions of the Emperors Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian. It was used both in the Apollinarian and Nestorian controversies; by the Catholics against Nestorius, who asserted that our Lord was not Oeòç sapkopópos, but äv. pwrog 0:opópos, and by the Apollinarians with a view of imputing to the Catholics what was really the Nestorian tenet.
“ Again: Nestorius considering, after the Cerinthians and other early Gnostics, that the Son of God was distinct from Christ, a man, as if Christ had a separate existence or personality, the Catholics met the heresy, among other strong statements, by the phrases that God was born and suffered on the cross,' and that the Blessed Virgin was 0£orókoc, “the Mother of God.' On the other hand, such phrases, it is scarcely necessary to say, are considered in the judgment of this day's religion at once incorrect and unbecoming. This is not the place to go into the history of the controversy, and to show their propriety and necessity. The latter of the two is found in Origen, who, moreover, engaged in an inquiry into its real meaning, which is remarkable as showing that it was at that time a received word; for we do not investigate what we have invented. It is used by Alexander, Nazianzen, and Athanasius, and, as many think, by Dionysius. As to the former phrase, Irenæus speaks of our Lord's descensio in Mariam;' Tertullian of His descending 'in vulvam de vulvâ carnem participaturus;' or of ' Dei passiones,' ' Dei interemptores;' and Athanasius of the owua Geoū,' and of the consequent duty of worshipping it. Athanasius, indeed, as is well known, objected to the phrase that God suffered,' as used by Apollinaris, who by Osòs meant Oɛórns, but that it was a usual and received phrase in the Church Catholic cannot be disputed. Now turning to Ignatius, we find it in a passage above quoted from his Epistles; he speaks of being a follower of the zálos toū Deoû.' In like manner, he says that our God, Jesus the Christ, was born in the womb, ékvoopnon, by Mary. Is this the language of the modern school, and not rather of the Catholic Church?”
And then after adding other instances : “ To draw out fully the case for Catholic doctrine, which this apostolical Father supplies, would lead us beyond both the literal and moral bounds of a review. It would be a great service if some divine would publish the text of these Epistles, with a running comment from the Fathers after them. It is hardly too much to say that almost the whole system of Catholic doctrine may be discovered in them, at least in outline, not to say filled up in parts. There are indeed one or two remarkable omissions, as if on purpose to prove to us their genuineness; for in a later age these certainly would have been supplied ; the chief of which is the scanty notices they contain of the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and of baptismal regeneration, which in Ignatius's time were not subjects of controversy. But after all the deductions from the completeness of his theological system, let us see what we have in the course of these seven short compositions. We have, first, the principle of dogmatic faith; next, the doctrine of the Incarnation, almost as theologically laid down as it is in the fourth and fifth centuries; then that of the dissemination of a new and divine nature in the fallen stock of Adam, and that by means of the Eucharist. Further, we read in them of the divine origin and duty of the Episcopal regimen; the divine authority of the Bishop, as the representative of our unseen Maker and Redeemer; the doctrine of the three orders ; the doctrine of unity; the doctrine of the Church's Catholicity; the diocesan system ; the sin of going by individual judgments in matters of faith; what may be called the sacramental character of unity; the consecrating