How in other parts of Macedonia he planted the Church, and namely at Thessalonica. 5.
where the obstinate Iewes are so malitious, that they pursue him also into Berœa. 14. From
whence being conducted into Greece, he preacheth at Athens both to the Iewes and Gentils disputing
with the Philosophers, 19. and in Areopagus, persuading them from their Idols vnto one God and
Iesvs Christ raised from the dead.
1. AND when they had walked through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Synagogue of the Iewes.
2. And Paul according to his custome entred in vnto them, & three Sabboths he discoursed to them out of the Scriptures,
3. declaring and insinuating that it behoued Christ to suffer and to rise againe from the dead: & that this is Iesvs Christ, whom I preach to you.
4. And certaine of them beleeued, and were ioyned to Paul and Silas, and of the Gentils that serued God a great multitude, and noble women not a few.
5. But the Iewes Zelantes. This is the zeale of Heretikes, and a liuely paterne of their dealing as this day against Catholike Priests & Preachers, and the good Iasons that receiue them. enuying, & taking vnto them of the rascal sort certaine naughtie men, and making a tumult, stirred the citie: and besetting Iasons house, sought to bring them forth vnto the people.
6. And not finding them, they drew Iason and certaine Brethren to the Princes of the citie crying, That these are they that stirre vp the world, and are come hither,
7. whom Iason hath receiued, and al these doe against the decrees of Cæsar, saying that there is another King, Iesvs.
8. And they moued the people, and the Princes of the citie hearing these things.
9. And taking a satisfaction of Iason and of the rest, they dimissed them.
10. But the Brethren forthwith by night sent away Paul and Silas vnto Berœa. Who when they were come, entred into the Synagogue of the Iewes.
11. (And these were more noble then they that are at Thessalonica, who receiued the word with al greedines, daily Searching the Scriptures.
The people may not iudge of the sense of Scriptures.
The Heretikes vse this place to proue that the hearers must trie & iudge by the Scriptures, whether their Teachers & Preachers doctrine be true; & so reiect that they find not in Scriptures: As though here the sheep were made iudges of their Pastours, the people of the Priests, & men and women of al sortes, euen of S. Paules doctrine it self: Which were the most foolish disorder in the world.
The comfort of Christian men by hearing or reading the Scriptures.
And they did not therfore read the Scriptures of the old Testament (for none of the new were yet extant commonly) to dispute with the Apostle, or to trie and iudge of his doctrine, or whether they should beleeue him or no: for they were bound to beleeue him and obey his word, whether he alleaged Scripture or no, and whether they could read or vnderstand the Scriptures or no: but it was a great comfort and confirmation for the Iewes that had the Scriptures, to find euen as S. Paul said, that Christ was God, crucified, risen, and ascended to Heauen; which by his preaching and expounding they vnderstood, and neuer before, though they read them, and heard them read euery Sabboth: As it is a great comfort to a Catholike man, to heare the Scriptures declared & alleaged most euidently for the Churches truth against Heretikes, in Sermons or otherwise. And it doth the Catholikes good & much confirmeth them, to view diligently the places alleaged by the Catholike Preachers. Yet they must not be iudges for al that, ouer their owne Pastours, whom Christ commandeth them to heare and obey, and by whom they heare the true sense of Scriptures. searching the scriptures, if these things were so.
12. And many surely of them beleeued, and of honest women Gentils, and men not a few.)
13. And when the Iewes in Thessalonica vnderstood, that at Berœa also the word of God was preached by Paul, they came thither also, mouing and troubling the multitude.
14. And then immediatly the Brethren sent away Paul, to goe vnto the sea: but Silas and Timothee remained there.
15. And they that conducted Paul, brought him as farre as Athens, and receiuing commandement of him to Silas and Timothee, that they should come to him very speedily, they departed.
16. And when Paul expected them at Athens, his spirit was incensed within him, seeing the citie giuen to Idolatrie.
17. He disputed therfore in the Synagogue with the Iewes, & them that serued God, and in the market-place, euery day with them that were there.
18. And certaine Philosophers of the Epicures and the Stoikes disputed with him, and certaine said, what is it that this σπερμολόγος. Word-sower would say? But others: He seemeth to be a Preacher of new dæmoniorum. gods: because he preached to them Iesvs and the resurrection.
19. And apprehending him, they led him to Areopagus, saying: May we know what this new doctrine is that thou speakest of?
20. for thou bringest in certaine new things to our eares. We wil know therfore what these things may meane.
21. (And al the Athenians, and the strangers seiourning there, emploied them selues to nothing els but either to speake, or to heare some newes.)
22. The Epistle for S. Dionysius Areopagita. Octob. 9. But Paul standing in the middes of Areopagus, said: Ye men of Athens, in al things I perceiue you as it were Superstitious.
The Protestants cal deuotion, superstition.
The Apostle speaketh of the Heathens superstition.
S. Paul calleth not them superstitious for adoring the true and only God with much deuotion or many ceremonies or in comely prescribed order, or for doing due reuerence to holy Sacraments, to Saints and their memories, Images, or Monuments: or for keeping the prescribed lawes, daies, & fastes of the Church, or for fulfilling vowes made to God, or for blessing with the signe of the Crosse, or for capping and kneeling at the name of IESVS, or for religiously vsing creatures sanctified in the same name, or any other Christian obseruation, for which our new Maisters condemne the Catholike people of Superstition (themselues wholy void of that vice by al wise mens iudgement, because they haue in manner taken away al religion, and are become Epicureans and Atheists; who are neuer troubled with superstition, because it is a vice consisting in excesse of worship or religion, whereof they are void) but the Apostle calleth them superstitious for worshipping the Idols and gods of the Heathen, and *for the feare that they had, lest they should leaue out any God that was vnknowen to them: for thus their Altar was inscribed: Dijs Asiæ, Europæ, & Lbiæ; Deo ignoro & peregrino: that is, To the gods of Asia, Europe and Libia; to the vnknowen & strange God.
The Catholike Church allowed no superstition.
This superstition (saith S. Augustine) is wholy taken away from the Church by Christs incarnation, and by the Apostles preaching, and by Martyrs holy life and death. Neither doth the Catholike Church allow this or any other kind of superstitious obseruation. Only we must take heed that we beleeue not her Aduersaries definition of superstition, for they would imply therein al true religion.
**Aug. de. cons. Euang. li. 1. c. 26. superstitious.
23. For passing by and seeing your τὰ σεβασματα.
The Aduersaries (in the new Test. 1580.) translate, your deuotions most corruptly against the nature of the Greeke word (2. Thess. 2,4) and most wickedly, against the laudable deuotion of good Christians, calling the Pagans idolatrie and superstition their deuotions. Idols, I found an altar also where vpon was written: To the vnkowen God. That therfore which you worship, not knowing it, the same doe I preach to you.
24. The God that made the world and al things that are in it, he being Lord of Heauen & earth dwelleth God is not concluded in Temples, nor needeth them for his necessitie of dwelling, or other vses of indigence. See Annot. c. 7. Act. v. 48. not in Act. 7,48. Temples made with hand,
25. neither is he serued with mens hands, needing any thing, whereas himself giueth life vnto al, and breathing, and al things:
26. and he made of one, al mankind, to inhabite vpon the whole face of the earth, assigning set times, and the limits of their habitation,
27. for to seeke God, if happily they may feele or find him; although he be not farre from euery one of vs:
28. For in him we liue and moue and be, as certaine also of your owne Aratus. Poetes said, For of his kind also we are.
29. Being therfore of Gods kind, we may not suppose, The Diuinitie to be like.
Nothing can be made by mans hand of what forme or sort soeuer, that is like to Gods essence, or to the forme or shape of his Godhead or Diuinitie. Therfore howsoeuer the Heathens did paint or graue their Idols, they were nothing like to God. And this also is impertinently alleadged by Heretikes against the Churches images: Which are not made, either to be adored with godly honour, or to be any resemblance of the Diuinitie or any of the three Persons in Godhead, but only of Christ as he was in forme of man, who in that respect may be truly expressed, as other men by their portraictes: and of the Holy Ghost, not as he is in him self, but as he appeared in firy tongues or in the similitude of a doue, or such like.
How there may be Images or resemblances of the three Persons in Trinitie and of Angels.
And so to paint or graue any of the three Persons as they appeared visibly and corporally, is no more inconuenient or vnlawful, then it was vndecent for them to appeare in such formes. And therfore to paint or portraict the Father also being the first Person, as he hath shewed himself in vision to any of the Prophets of the old or new Testament (namely to *Daniel as an old man) or the three Angels representing the three Persons to **Abraham, or the one Angel that wrastling with ***Iacob bare our Lords Person, no such thing is any where forbidden, but is very agreable to the peoples instruction. In which sort the Angels were commonly pourtraicted (and namely the aCherubins ouer the Propitiatorie) as they be now in the Church, not in their natural forme, but with corporal wings (as the bSeraphins appeared to Esay the Prophet) to expresse their qualitie and office of being God's Angels, that is, Messengers: and God the Father with the world in his hand, to signifie his creation and gouernement of the same, and such like: Whereof the people being wel instructed may take much good, and no harme in the world, being now through their faith in Christ farre from al fond imagination of the false gods of the Pagans.
Images are for the peoples instruction.
And therfore S. Gregorie saith of the Churches Images: cThat which scripture or writing doth to the readers, the same doth the picture to the simple that look therevpon, for in it euen the ignorant see what they ought to follow: in it they doe read, that know no letters. Where he calleth it a matter of antiquitie and very conuenient, that in holy places Images were painted to the peoples instruction, so they be taught that they may not be adored with diuine honour. And he in the same place sharply rebuketh Serenus the Bishop of Massilia, that of indiscrete zele he would take away Images, rather then teach the people how to vse them.
cGreg. li. 9. ep. 9. the Diuinitie to be like vnto gold or siluer, or stone, the grauing of art and deuise of man.
30. And the times truly of this ignorance whereas God dispised, now he denounceth vnto men that al euery where doe penance,
31. for that he hath appointed a day wherein he wil iudge the world in equitie, by a man whom he hath appointed, giuing al men faith, raising him vp from the dead.
32. And when they had heard the resurrection of the dead, certaine indeed mocked, but certaine said: We wil heare thee againe concerning this point.
33. So Paul went forth out of the middes of them.
34. But certaine men ioyning vnto him, did beleeue: among whom was also Dionysius Areopagita. Dionysius Dionysius Areopagita.
S. Dionysius Areopagita is al for the Catholikes.
This is that famous Denys that first conuerted France, and wrote those notable & diuine workes De Ecclesiastica & Cœlesti hierarchia, de diuinis nominibus, & others in which he confirmeth and proueth plainly almost al things that the Church now vseth in the ministration of the holy Sacraments, & affirmeth that he learned them of the Apostles, giuing also testimonie for the Catholike faith in most things now controuersed, so plainly, that our Aduersaries haue no shift but to deny this Denys to haue been the authour of them; feyning that they be an others of later age. Which is an old flight of Heretikes, but most proper to these of al others. Who seeing al antiquitie against them, are forced to be more bold or rather impudent then others in that point. Areopagita, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.