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the chosen people, whom they hated or despised. Those opposite tendencies of the Eastern and Western mind, which have made ancient Greece the mistress of speculative philosophy, and Rome the fountain of law even for modern Europe, reappear in the history of Christian theology. To the one it was given to investigate the revealed nature and attributes of God, to the other His purposes and His gifts for man. Thus,
, again, theology took its rise in the third century at Alexandria, the centre alike of the Neo-Platonist revival and of Gnosticism, and had something to learn from both; while afterwards, the accidental introduction, as men count accident, of Aristotle's writings into mediæval Europe by the Crusaders, in an Arabian translation, was the immediate origin of scholasticism, which, beginning with St. Anselm, shaped through. four centuries the whole theology of Christendom.' And thus, to use the words of a high authority,
gradually, and in the course of ages, Catholic inquiry has taken certain definite shapes, and has thrown itself into the form of a science, with a method and a phraseology of its own, under the intellectual handling of great minds, such as St. Athanasius, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas.” As a matter of fact, there is probably no single case where the process of doctrinal formation has not been more or less directly
| The controversy of Lanfranc with Berengar on the Blessed Sacrament marks the opening of the Scholastic period. But the method of argument which Lanfrane adopted partially and under protest St. Anselm made his own. Sve Shirley's Schwlusticism, and cf. infr. ch. IV.
promoted by the questionings of heresy. Truth is struck out from the clash of conflicting opinions, to be fixed by theological science, and finally ratified by the sentence of the Church. And this brings us to the second stage in the course of development. So far agree
who will differ, when we come to the Divine or supernatural element in the process, which is supplied in the Church by the continual guidance of the Holy Ghost, and preserves her in the last resort from giving her authoritative sanction to any development not in accordance with the original revelation and the mind of God. Whether that sanction be expressed through the medium of a Council, as in the case of the ouoouolos, or directly ascertained through the sensus fidelium, as with the Athanasian Creed, or by the voice of the Holy See, as with the recent definition of the Immaculate Conception, is immaterial to my present argument; nor need any question be raised here as to the proper organ of its
| "There are those indeed who seem as though they would be glad to divest themselves of the advantage of such decisions. They would rather fall back on the unreflecting simplicity of that early faith, which rested only on the single facts of the Gospel. But this is to be ignorant, that the gradual expansion of Christian doctrines was only the growth of the religious mind as, under the moulding power of the Holy Ghost, it compared the individual truths with which it had been entrusted. Those truths must have resolved themselves into wrong combinations if they had not been resolved into right ones.......... Those who seek to regain it (early simplicity of faith) by throwing away wbat was earned by the religious impulse then given to the age, do but restore the imbecility of childhood without its innocence.”—Wilberforce's Doctrine of the Incarnation, p. 129. This development during the carly ages, as regards the formation of the Canon, is traced by Mr. Westcott in his Bible in the Church, (Macmillan, 1864), only he does not seem to recognise the similar operation of the divine instinct of the later Church,
utterance; I am simply concerned with the result. Such, then, is a brief statement of the theory; the chief objections which have been urged against it will be noticed by and by. My present object is rather to explain than to defend it.
First, then, I observe, what is obvious, that the gradual development of Christian doctrine is analogous to the development of Christian history. The grain of mustard seed, which was to grow into a mighty tree, is emblematic alike of the revelation of Christ, and of the Church He established with His Blood. As the one was to expand from a "hidden sect in the bosom of Judiasm,' like an unborn child in its mother's womb, into a 'world-Church,' a 'world-kingdom,' coextensive with the nations of the earth; so, too, was the original deposit of 'facts, principles, dogmatic germs, and intimations, afterwards summarized in the Apostles' Creed, not a mere “lifeless possession ready-made for all times to be taken care of, but a ktņua és dei destined to expand, through the toil of successive ages, and the corporate consciousness of the faithful enlightened from on high, into all the majestic fulness and coherence of Catholic theology. There was to be a growth, incessant, but with no break of continuity, continuo non vero per saltum, alike in the Church's intellectual consciousness and her organic life. The primacy of the Roman See was recognised with growing distinctness, as the practical inn
Döllinger's Christenthum und Kirche in der Zeit der Grundlegung, pr. 162 161, 219-221. (First Age of the Church, 2 ed. pp. 158-60, 212-14.)
portance of a visible centre of unity became apparent in the clash of conflicting interests and diverse nationalities at work within the common fold; and so, too,
, successive theological controversies were the providential means of bringing out in detail the due ' proportion' and harmony of the faith. The fulness of truth was wrapped up in the apostolic tradition, the world-wide religion lay hid in the upper room at Jerusalem, as the results of mathematical science are involved in its axioms, or the oak is contained in the
And, next, we may trace a certain historical sequence in the evolution of doctrines running parallel to the order of the Creed. First, in the contest with Greek philosophy, the doctrine of the Trinity had to be evolved and fixed, and this mainly occupied the two first Ecumenical Councils; the four next were engaged in formulizing and guarding the faith of the Incarnation; the first definition on the Eucharist occurs in the seventh (787, A.D.) Later on, and in the West, the subjective questions of grace and free will, first mooted by St. Augustine, and their mutual relations in the justification of man (involving the doctrine of merit,' so strangely misunderstood afterwards) presented themselves to the mind of the Church; as also the theology of the sacraments, in their nature, number, and distinguishing characteristics. The results of her judgment on all these points found a luminous exposition in the Catechism and decrees of Trent, from which the later doctrinal symbols of the Greek Church do not
materially differ. It was in the subjective side of their theology that the strength of the Reformers chiefly lay. Luther desired to shift the verdict from the Synod, and the lecture-room, and the cloister, and to make his appeal direct to the hearts and experiences of mankind. He questioned them, not of the nature or mission of the Redeemer, but of how the sinner is made just before God. The controversies of our own day turn principally on the last division of the Creed, which deals with the Person and Offices of the Holy Ghost, and concern more especially His inspiration of Scripture, and His abiding Presence in the Church. What the Protestant movement was to the sixteenth century, that is the Rationalistic movement to our own.
I observe further, that, if the principle of development be denied, only two theories remain on which any positive scheme of Christian doctrine can be maintained; first, that laid down by Chillingworth, and accepted in name, but rejected in practice, by nearly all Protestant communities, “ The Bible, and the Bible only, the religion of Protestants." His thesis is defended in the famous passage which has passed into a classical common place of Protestant polemics, but which is founded on a radical misconception of the Catholic idea of Church authority and an absolute ignoring, or rather denial, of the whole principle of development, which indeed he elsewhere refers to as a reductio ad absurdum of the claims of Catholicism. It
| Chillingwortli's Religion of Protestants, a Safe Way of Salvation, published in 1637.