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and the faith delivered to it by the Apostles. It is only necessary to discover the communion which acknowledges the authority of the faith and worship transmitted from the Apostles, as well as of their written word, and which retains in unbroken succession the Apostolic ministry, administering with the authority of Christ the sacraments and functions of their office. Where these characters are found, there must be a portion of the Catholic Church. The faith and worship of the Church, or the traditions transmitted in the Creeds, decrees of primitive councils, and records of the Church, received as the true guide to the interpretation of Scripture, will be security for Apostolic doctrine against the heresies and errors of private interpretation ; and the possession of a successive Apostolic ministry will afford the only ground of confidence for possessing the great privileges of our Lord's institution. Thus the Apostolic ministry is necessary for preserving the unity of the Catholic Church, by being a striking mark and character inseparable from it, attracting the attention of mankind, and distinguishing it from all schismatic communions, as well as by communicating the spiritual graces it is endowed with by the charter of the Divine promise. 88.--THE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY NECESSARY FOR THE RE

CEPTION AND TRANSMISSION OF HOLY SCRIPTURE, AND OF APOSTOLIC TRADITIONS.

The Apostles taught the faith of Christ by oral preaching, and by writing; the former constitutes the unwritten tradition, the latter the written tradition, of the Church. This distinction is made, not that both are not preserved in written records, but because the oral traditions were not committed to writing by the Apostles as the Holy Scriptures were, but are preserved in the records of the Church. The consideration of the nature of this double instruction will afford strong reason for the necessity and existence of the Apostolic and successive ministry.

89.-HOLY SCRIPTURE, OBLIGATION OF. It has been seen that the Church was founded by the preaching of the Apostles, accompanied by the miraculous signs which testified the truth of their ministry. In its first establishment, therefore, the Church had only the Scriptures of the Old Testament for its guidance, which they used in its testimony to our Lord.(John v. 39; and Acts xvii. 11.) The value of the Jewish Scriptures to the Church is testified by St. Paul in emphatic language, “es being able to make wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus, being given by inspiration of God, and being profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. iii. 15.) - For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (Rom. xv. 4.) St. Peter teaches us that the epistles of St. Paul are to be reckoned among

the Scriptures. (2 Pet. iii. 16.) And there can be no doubt that the writings of the Apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, bringing all the teaching of Christ to their remembrance, putting into their mouth what they should say, and securing them from all error, (John xiv. 26), are to be received as Holy Scripture written by inspiration of God. That which St. Paul attributes to the Jewish Scriptures must therefore belong to the Scriptures of the New Testament even in a higher degree, as more immediately written for the instruction of the Christian Church. Their instructions are delivered with the full anthority of the Almighty, and require from every Christian the implicit reverential submission due to the words of God.

90.-HOLY SCRIPTURE NOT THE MEANS OF INSTRUCTION TO

THE FIRST GENERATION OF THE CHURCH. The Church was founded and established by the personal instruction of the Apostles. The first written instruction of the Apostles, or book of Scripture, was the Gospel of St. Matthew, written, at the earliest computation, eight years after the Ascension of our Lord, or foundation of the Church. The remaining books of the New Testament were written between this date and the year ninety-five, when the Revelation was written by St. John. For eight years, then, the Church had no portion of Holy Scripture, and for the long period of sixty years the canon of Scripture was not completed : during that time the Churches were instructed almost wholly by the verbal or personal teaching of the Apostles. In so long a space of time nearly the whole generation which had reached manhood at the foundation of the Church must have passed away. It

may

therefore be stated that the first generation of Christians lived almost entirely without the New Testament. The personal instruction of the Apostles, and of their fellow-labourers in the Gospel, was fully sufficient to preserve the Church in the unity of the faith, and of

the knowledge of the Son of God, and was exactly suited to the condition of mankind at that period, when the high price of manuscripts* precluded their general diffusion, and when very few were capable of reading or understanding any written document. It cannot be supposed that the members of the Church, during the many years that it remained under the verbal teaching of the Apostles, were allowed to remain in ignorance of any article of the Christian faith, or that their worship, and ministerial observances and constitution, were not fully established. In the course of the eight years even which elapsed before the writing of the Gospel of St. Matthew, the Church had ample time to consolidate its institutions. The instructions of the Apostles must have become generally known, and the practice of the Churches have grown into a rule of uniformity. (1 Cor. xi. 16.) Even after the publication of the writings of the Apostles, a considerable time must have elapsed before they could have been diffused and received throughout all the Churches, translated into their languages, and been made known to their members. This would have required some time and deliberation, even in the usual communication of the Churches in a season of tranquillity, and must have been tediously accomplished in the prosecution and distress of the infant Church. We may therefore conclude that the Church was founded by the preaching of the Apostles,--that it was established and instructed in the faith and in the worship of Christ by their verbal teaching, -and that therefore the Churches had already been fully instructed in the faith, confirmed by habitual observance of devotional practices, and accustomed to the ministerial services of religion, when the writings of the Apostles, or books of Holy

Scripture, were communicated to them.

91.-HOLY SCRIPTURE A SUMMARY OR WRITTEN COMPILA

TION OF WHAT WAS ALREADY BELIEVED BY THE CHURCH.

This will lead us to a full understanding of the teaching of the New Testament. The Gospels were written to give a connected history of the life of Christ-an epitome or sum

* The sum obtained by the sale of the books of magic (Acts xix. 19) is evidence of the price of manuscripts. Cicero, in a letter to Atticus, expresses his intention of selling his estate to purchase manuscripts copied at Athens by the slaves of Atticus, who were educated for that purpose. Cicero describes the value of manuscripts as above all other possessions,

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mary “of all that Jesus began to do and to teach,”(Acts i.1); “ for if all the things which Jesus did were written, the world itself would not contain the books which should be written.” (John xxi. 25.) The Gospels are not delivered as containing truths or information not already known to the Churches, but on the contrary are distinctly stated to be

DECLARATIONS OF THOSE THINGS WHICH ALREADY WERE MOST SURELY BELIEVED AMONG CHRISTIANS, WRITTEN THAT THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH MIGHT HAVE ADDITIONAL PROOF OF THE CERTAINTY OF THOSE THINGS WHEREIN THEY HAD BEEN INSTRUCTED.” (Luke i. 1-4.) The Epistles of the Apostles were written with the same design of conveying instruction on some particular subjects, or of giving general exhortations to individual Churches already built up

and established in the faith and observance of the Gospel. The subjects of most of the Epistles are either local or occasional or incidental, resembling pastoral charges of the Apostles sent to the Churches under their rule and instruction, containing numerous allusions to the connexion between the Apostles and those Churches, and filled with incidental references to local circumstances.

92 -THE GOSPELS NECESSARILY WITHOUT FULL AND EX

PLICIT STATEMENTS OF TAE DOCTRINES OR OBSERVANCES OF RELIGION.

The Gospels being the teaching of our Lord, could not contain plain and explicit declarations of the doctrines of the Christian religion, or a complete account of the faith and worship of the Church : for our Lord taught the unbelieving Jews, who sought to draw from his own mouth grounds of accusation against him. He therefore was obliged to speak enigmatically and figuratively in parables, that “hearing they might hear, and not understand.” His Apostles also were slow of belief, ignorant of his character, and incapable of understanding the true nature of his religion even up to the time of his Ascension. He was therefore precluded from giving to them privately a detailed and precise account of the doctrines and observances of his Gospel, and taught them in such language as they might fully understand when afterwards instructed by the Holy Ghost. Our Lord showed a peculiar tenderness in proportioning his teaching to the faith and capacity of his hearers,-never setting forth truths which his hearers were not in a conJition to receive : hence the Gospels contain no complete view of the Christian faith and practice, and the most important truths are often delivered obscurely and enigmatically.

93.THE EPISTLES NOT DESIGNED TO AFFORD A COM

PLETE DECLARATION OF THE DOCTRINES AND OBSERV-
ANCES OF RELIGION

It formed no part of the design of the Apostles, in writing Epistles to Churches already established in the faith, to make full and explicit declarations of the doctrines of religion. Each Epistle was written for some definite object, which the writer was more concerned to enlarge upon, and impress, than to give a clear or explicit statement of all the articles of the faith. Hence the declarations of the Apostles which have been considered as most explicitly declaring the most essential truths of religion are to be found INCIDENTALLY AND UNDESIGNEDLY EXPRESSED ; as, for example, where St. Paul declares, “ that our Lord, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." He does not design directly to teach the divinity of Christ, but to inculcate humility by the example of our Lord's voluntary humiliation : “Let this mind be in you which was also in. Christ Jesus, who being in the form," &c. (Phil. ii. 7.)

OF

SCRIPTURE

CORRESPOND

WITH

THE

94.-TRUTHS

VERBAL INSTRUCTION OF THE APOSTLES TO THE CHURCH.

From the preceding considerations it may be deduced, that the truths expressed or referred to in the Holy Scriptures are those delivered to the Church by the verbal in struction of the Apostles ; that the Gospels contain as much of the life and teaching of our Lord as the Apostles were inspired to record for the instruction of the Church; that the Epistles are full of declarations, not designed to be explicit statements of the doctrines of the Gospel, but showing what were the doctrines and belief of the Church under the Apostolic instruction and guidance. It is never to be forgotten that, however incidental and apparently undesigned, however general or even obscure, are the declarations which teach us the faith delivered by the Apostles to the Church, the Spirit of Infinite Wisdom pervades and limits each phrase and expression, so as to render the evidence, or clearness of the declaration, exactly conformable to the purposes

of Gospel instruction, to afford room for pious faith and reverential submission devoutly to gather the intent and design of the Divine Word, sacrificing doubts and reason

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