Original Douay Rheims Bible (1582 & 1610)

The Second Epistle of Saint Pavl to the Thessalonians

He requireth them, in no case to thinke that Domes-day is at hand, 3 repeating vnto them that there must before come first a reuolt, secondly the reuelation also of Antichrist himself in person, and that Antichrist shal not permit any God to be worshipped but only himself: that also with his lying wonders he shal winne to him the incredulous Iewes. But Christ shal come then immediately in maiestie, and destroy him and his. 13 Therfore he thanketh God for the faith of the Thessalonians, 15 and biddeth them stick to his Traditions both written and vnwritten, and praith God to confirme them.
1. The Epistle on the Imber Saturday of Aduent. AND we desire you, Brethren, by the comming of our Lord Iᴇꜱᴠꜱ Christ, & of our congregation into him;
2. that you be not easily moued from your sense, nor be terrified, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle as sent by vs, As though the day.
The day of iudgement vncertaine, & to be left to God's secrets.
The curiositie of man fed by Satans deceits, hath sought to know and to giue out to the world, such things as God wil not impart to him, nor be necessarie or profitable for him to know: so farre, that both in the Apostles daies and often afterward, some haue feined reuelations, some falsely gathered out of the Scriptures, some presumed to calculate and coniect by the starres, and giuen forth to the world a certaine time of Christes comming to iudgement. Al which seducers be here noted in the person of some that were about to deceiue the Thessalonians therin. And S. Augustin (in his 80. Epistle ad Hesychium) proueth that no man can be assured by the Scriptures of the day, yeare, or Age that the end of the world or the second Aduent shal be.
as though the day of our Lord were at hand.
3. Let no man seduce you by any meanes, for Vnles there come a reuolt first.
Two special signes before the later day: a general apostasie, and the comming of Antichrist.
Though we can not be assured of the moment, houre, or any certaine time of our Lordes comming, yet he warranteth vs that it wil not be before certaine things be fulfilled, which must come to passe by the course of God's prouidence and permission before, which are diuers, wherof in other places of Scriptures we be forewarned. Here he warneth vs of two specially, of a reuolt, defection or an apostasie, and of the comming or reuelation of Antichrist. Which two partaine in effect both to one, either depending of the other, & shal fal (as it may be thought) neer together and therfore S. Augustin maketh them but one thing.
This apostasie or reuolt, by the iudgement in manner of al ancient Writers, is the general forsaking & fal of the Romane Empire. So Tertullian li. de resur. carnis. S. Hierom q. 11. ad Algasiam. S. Chrysostom ho. 4. and S. Ambrose vpon this place. S. Augustin De Ciuit. Dei li. 20. c. 19. Al which Fathers and the rest *Caluin presumptuously condemneth of errour and follie herein, for that their exposition agreeth not with his & his fellowes blasphemous fiction that the Pope should be Antichrist.
* Caluin in hunc locum
The heretikes interpretation of this apostasie, & their condemning of the Fathers.
To establish which false impietie, they interpret this reuolt or apostasie to be a general reuolt of the visible Church from God, whose house or building (they say) was sodenly destroied and lay many yeares ruined, and ruled only by Satan and Antichrist. So saith the foresaid Arch-heretike here: though for the aduantage of his defence & as the matter els where requireth, he seemeth (as al their fashion is) to speake in other places quite contrarie: but with such colour and collusion of words, that neither other men nor himself can tel what he would haue or say. And his Fathers Wicleffe and Luther, his fellowes and followers Illyricus, Beza, and the rest, are (for the time of the Churches falling from Christ) so various among themselues, and so contrarie to him, that it is horrible to see their confusion, and a pitieful case that any reasonable man wil follow such companions to euident perdition.
There can be no apostasie of the visible Church from God.
But concerning his errour & falshood of the Churches defection or reuolt, it is refuted sufficiently by S. Augustin against the Donatistes in many places. Where he proueth that the Church shal not faile to the worlds end, no not in the time of Antichrist: affirming them to deny Christ & to robbe him of his glorie & inheritance bought with his bloud, which teach that the Church may faile or perish. Li. de vnit. Ec. c. 12. 13. De Ciuit. li. 20 c. 8. In Psal. 85. ad illud, Tu solus Deus magnus, Ps. 70. Conc. 2. & Psal. 60. De vtil. cred. c. 8. S. Hierom refuteth the same wicked Heresie in the *Luciferians, prouing against them, that they make God subiect to the Diuel, and a poore miserable Christ, that imagine the Church his body may either perish or be driuen to any corner of the world. Both of them answer to the Heretikes arguments grounded on Scriptures falsely vnderstood, which were too long here to rehearse. It is enough for the Christian Reader to know, that it is an old deceit and excuse of al Heretikes and Schismatikes, for defence of their forsaking God's Church, that the Church is perished, or remaineth hidden, or in themselues only & in those places where they & their followers dwel: to know also, that this is reproued by the holy Doctours of the primitiue Church, and that it is against Christes honour, power, prouidence, and promise.
* Dial. adu. Lucifer. c. 6.
It is very like, the Apostle speaketh of a great apostasie from the See of Rome, & from most articles of the Catholike faith.
If the Aduersaries had said that this reuolt which the Apostle fore-telleth shal come before the worlds end, is meant of great numbers of Heretikes and Apostataes reuolting from the Church, they had said truth of themselues and such others, whom *S. Iohn calleth Antichristes. And it is very like (be it spoken vnder the correction of God's Church and al learned Catholikes) that this great defection or reuolt shal not be only from the Romane Empire, but specially from the Romane Church, and withal from most points of Christian religion: not that the Catholike Christians, either in the time of Antichrist or before, shal refuse to obey the same; but for that neer to the time of Antichrist and the consummation of the world, there is like to be a great reuolt of Kingdoms, peoples, and Prouinces from the open external obedience and communion therof. Which reuolt hauing been begun and continued by Heretikes of diuers Ages, resisting & hating the Seat of Peter (which they called cathedram pestilentia, the chaire of pestilence, **in S. Augustines daies) because it is Christes fort erected against Hel-gates and al Heretikes, and being now wonderfully increased by these of our daies the next precursours of Antichrist as it may seeme, shal be fully atchieued a little before the end of the world by Antichrist himself. Though euen then also, when for the few daies of Antichristes reigne the external state of the Romane Church and publike entercourse of the faithful with the same may cease, yet the due honour and obedience of the Christians toward it, and communion in hart with it, and practise therof in secret, & open confessing therof if occasion require, shal not cease, no more then it doth now in the Christians of Cypres & other places where open entercourse is forbidden.
* 1 Io. 2. v. 18.
** li. 2. cont. lit. Petil. c. 51.

The wonderful prouidence of God in preseruing the See of Rome more then al other States, notwithstanding manifold dangers and scandals.
This is certaine and wonderful in al wise mens eyes, & must needs be of God's prouidence and a singular prerogatiue, that this Seat of Peter standeth, when al other Apostolike Sees be gone: that it stood there for certaine Ages together with the secular Seat of the Empire: that the Popes stood without wealth, power, or humane defense, the Emperours knowing, willing, & seeking to destroy them, and putting to the sword aboue thirtie of them one after another, yea and being as much afraid of them as if they had been æmuli Imperij, Competitours of their Empire, as S. Cyprian noteth (epist. 52. ad Antonianum num. 3.) of S. Cornelius Pope in his daies, & Decius then Emperour: againe, that the Emperours afterward yealded vp the citie vnto them, continuing for al that in the Emperial dignitie stil: that the Successours of those that persecuted them, laid downe their crownes before their Seat and sepulchers, honouring the very memories & Relikes of the poore men whom their Predecessours killed: that now wel-neer these 1600 yeares this Seat standeth, as at the beginning in continual miserie, so now of long time for the most part in prosperitie, without al mutation in effect, as no other Kingdom or State in the world hath done, euery one of them in the said space being manifoldly altered. It standeth (we say) al this while (to vse S. Augustines words de vtil. cred. c. 17.) Frustra circumlatrantibus hæreticis, the Heretikes in vaine barking about it, not the first Heathen Emperours, not the Gothes and Vandals, not the Turke, not any sacks or massakers by Alaricus, Gensericus, Attila, Borbon, and others; not the emulation of secular Princes, were they Kings or Emperours, not the Popes owne diuisions among themselues & manifold difficulties and dangers in their elections, not the great vices which haue been noted in some of their persons, not al these nor any other endeuour or scandal could yet preuaile against the See of Rome, nor is euer like to preuaile til the end of the world draw neer, at which time this reuolt (here spoken of by the Apostle) may be in such sort as is said before, and more shal be said in the Annotations next following.
vnlesse there come ἀποστασία. a reuolt first, & The man of sinne.
Many Antichristes, as forerunners of the great of Antichrist.
There were many euen in the Apostles time (as we see by the 4. Chapter of S. Iohn's first epistle, and in the writings of the ancient Fathers) that were forerunners of Antichrist, & for impugning Christes truth & Church were called Antichristes, whether they did it by force and open persecution, as Nero & others either Heathen or Heretical Emperours did, or by false teaching & other deceits, as the Heretikes of al Ages. In which common and vulgar acception S. Hierom saith, al belonged to Antichrist that were not of the communion of Damasus then Pope of Rome. Hiero. ep. 57 ad Damas. and in another place, al that haue new names after the peculiar calling of Heretikes; as Arians, Donatistes (and as we say now, Caluinistes, Zuinglians, &c.) al such (saith he) be Antichristes. Dial. cont. Lucifer. c. 9. Yea these later of our time much more then any of the former, for diuers causes which shal afterward be set downe.
The great Antichrist shal be one special and notorius man.
Neuerthelesse they nor none of them are that great Aduersarie, enemie, and impugner of Christ, which is by a peculiar distinction and special signification named, the Antichrist, 1. Io. 2. and *the man of sinne, the sonne of perdition, the Aduersarie, described here and els where, to oppose himself directly against God and our Lord IESVS CHRIST. The Heathen Emperours were many, Turkes many, Heretikes haue been and now are many: therefore they can not be that one great Antichrist which here is spoken of, and which by the article alwaies added in the Greek, is signified to be one special and singular man: as his peculiar & direct opposition to Christ's person in the 5. chapter of S. Iohn's Ghospel v. 43. the insinuation of the particular stock and tribe wherof he should be borne, to wit, of the Iewes (for of them he shal be receiued as their Messias Io. 5. v. 43.) and of the tribe of **Dan. Iren. li. 5. Hieron. com. in c. 11. Dan. August. q. in Ios. q. 22; the note of his proper name Apoc. 13; the time of his appearing so neer the worlds end; his short reigne, his singular wast and destruction of God's honour and al religion, his feined miracles, the figures of him in the Prophets and Scriptures of the new & old Testament: al these & many other arguments proue him to be but one special notorious Aduersarie in the highest degree, vnto whom al other persecutours, Heretikes, Atheistes, and wicked enemies of Christ and his Church, are but members and seruants.
* ὁ ἀντίχϱιστος.
ὁ υἱὸς ἀπωλείας.
ὁ ἄνθϱωπος
ὁ ἀντικείμενος.
** Gen. 49,17.
And this is the most common sentence also of al ancient Fathers. Only Heretikes make no doubt but Antichrist is a whole order or succession of men. Which they hold against the former euident Scriptures and reasons, only to establish their foolish and wicked paradoxe, that Christes cheefe Minister is Antichrist, yea the whole order.
The Caluinistes place Antichrist in the See of Rome, in S. Paules daies.
Wherin *Beza specially pricketh so high, that he maketh Antichrist (euen this great Antichrist) to haue been in S. Paules daies, though he was not open to the world. Who it should be (except he meane S. Peter, because he was the first of the order of Popes) God knoweth. And sure it is, except he were Antichrist, neither the whole order, nor any of the order can be Antichrist, being al his lawful Successours both in dignitie & also in truth of Christes religion. Neither can al the Heretikes aliue proue that they or any of them vsed any other regiment, or iurisdiction Ecclesiastical in the Church, or forced the people to any other faith or worship of God, then Peter himself did preach & plant.
* Beza in hoc cap.
They make S. Leo & S. Gregorie, great furtherers of Antichristes pride.
Therfore if the rest be Antichrist, let *Beza boldly say that S. Peter was so also, and that diuers of the ancient Catholike Fathers did serue and worke (though vnwares) towards the setting vp of the great Antichrist: for so doth that blasphemous pen boldly write in his Annotations vpon this place; & an English printed book of late comming forth out of the same schoole, hath these wordes: As for Leo and Gregorie Bishops of Rome, although they were not come to the ful pride of Antichrist, yet the mysterie of iniquitie hauing wrought in that Seat neer fiue or sixe hundred yeares before them, and then greatly increased, they were deceiued with the long continuance of errour. Thus writeth a malapert scholer of that impudent schoole, placing the mysterie of Antichrist as working in the See of Rome euen in S. Peters time, and making these two holy Fathers great workers and furtherers of the same. Whereas another English Rabbin doubted not at Paules crosse to speake of the self-same Fathers as great Doctours and Patrones of their new Ghospel, thus: **O Gregorie, ô Leo, if we be deceiued, you haue deceiued vs. Wherof we giue the good Christian Reader warning, more diligently, to beware of such damnable bookes and Maisters, carying many vnaduised people to perdition.
* Against D. Sanders rocke pag. 248. & page. 278.
** Iuel.
the man of sinne be reuealed, the sonne of perdition,
4. which is an aduersarie & is Extolled.
Antichrist shal suffer no worship or adoration, but of himself only: therfore the Pope can not be Antichrist.
The great Antichrist which must come neer the worldes end, shal abolish the publike exercise of al other religions true and false, & pul downe both the B. Sacrament of the altar, wherin consisteth specially the worship of the true God, & also al Idols of the Gentils, & Sacrifices of the Iewes; generally, al kind of religious whorship, sauing that which must be done to himself alone. Which was partly prefigure in such Kings as published that no God nor man but themselues should be praied vnto for certaine daies, as *Darius and such like. How can the Protestants then for shame & without euident contradiction, auouch the Pope to be Antichrist, who (as we say) honoureth Christ the true God with al his power, or (as they say) honoureth Idols, and chalengeth no diuine honour to himself, much lesse to himself only, as Antichrist shal doe? He humbly praieth to God, & lowly kneeleth downe in euery Church at diuers altars erected to God in the memories of his Saints, & praieth to them. He sayeth or heareth Masse daily with al deuotion; he confesseth his sinnes to a Priest as other poore men doe; he adoreth the holy Eucharist which Christ affirmed to be his owne body, the Heretikes cal it an Idol (no maruel if they make the Pope his Vicar Antichrist, when they make Christ himself an Idol:) these religious duties doth the Pope, wheras Antichrist shal worship none, nor pray to any, at the least openly.
* Dan. c. 6.
extolled How then can the Pope be Antichrist, as the Heretikes fondly blaspheme, who is so farre from being exalted aboue God, that he praieth most humbly not only to Christ but also to his B. mother and al his Saints. aboue al that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth In the temple.
In what temple Antichrist shal sit.
Most ancient Writers expound this of the Temple in Hierusalem, which they thinke Antichrist shal build vp againe, as being of the Iewes stock, & to be acknowledged of that obstinate people (according to our Sauiours prophecie Io. 5.) for their expected & promised Messias. Iren. li. 5. in fine. Hyppolyt. de consum. mundi. Cyril. Hieros. Catech. 15. Author op. imp. ho. 49. in Mat. See S. Hierom in 11. Dan. Grego. li. 13. Moral. c. 11. Not that he shal suffer them to worship God by their old manner of Sacrifices, (al which he wil either abolish, or conuert to the only adoration of himself; though at the first to apply himself to the Iewes, he may perhaps be circumcised & keep some part of the law) for it is here said that he shal sit in the Temple as God, that is, he shal be adored there by Sacrifice and diuine honour, the name & whorship of the true God wholy defaced. And this they thinke to be *the abomination of desolation fore told by Daniel, mentioned by our Sauiour, prefigured and resembled by Antiochus and others, that defaced the worship of the true God by prophanation of that Temple, specially by abrogating the daily Sacrifice, which was a figure of the only Sacrifice and continual oblation of Christes holy body & bloud in the Church, as the abolishing of that, was a figure of the abolishing of this, which shal be done principally & most vniuersally by Antichrist himself (as now in part by his fore-runners) through-out al Nations & Churches of the world (though then also Masse may be had in secret, as it is now in Nations where the secular force of some Princes prohibiteth it to be sayd openly) For although he may haue his principal seat & honour in the Temple and citie of Hierusalem, yet he shal rule ouer the whole world, and specially prohibit that principal worship instituted by Christ in his Sacraments, as being the proper Aduersarie of Christes person, name, law, and Church. The prophanation and desolation of which Church by taking away the Sacrifice of the altar, is the proper abomination of desolation, and the worke of Antichrist only.
* Dan. 9.
Mat. 24.
1. Mach. 1.

The abomination of desolation consisteth cheefely in abolishing the Sacrifice of the Altar.
S. Augustin therfore li. 20 de ciuit. c. 19. and S. Hierom q. 11. ad Algasiam, doe thinke, that this sitting of Antichrist in the temple, doth signifie his sitting in the Church of Christ, rather then in Salomons temple.
How Antichrist shal sit in the Church.
Not as though he should be a cheefe member of the Church of Christ, or a special part of his body mystical, and be Antichrist and yet withal continuing within the Church of Christ, as the Heretikes feine, to make the Pope Antichrist (whereby they plainely confesse and agnise that the *Pope is a member of the Church, & in ipso sinu Ecclesiæ, & in the very bosome of the Church, say they:) for that is ridiculous, that al Heretikes whom S. Iohn calleth Antichristes as his precursours, should goe out of the Church, and the great Antichrist himself should be of the Church, & in the Church, & continue in the same.
* Beza.
Neither Antichrist nor his precursours, are members of the Church.
And yet to them that make the whole Church to reuolt from God, this is no absurditie. But the truth is, that this Antichristian reuolt here spoken of, is from the Catholike Church: and Antichrist, if he euer were of or in the Church, shal be an Apostata and a renegate out of the Church, & shal vsurp vpon it by tyrannie, and by chalenging worship, religion, and gouernement thereof, so that himself shal be adored in al the Churches of the world which he list to leaue standing for his honour. And this is to sit in the temple, or *against the Temple of God, as some interpret. If any Pope did euer this, or shal doe, then let the Aduersaries cal him Antichrist.
* εἰς τὸν ναὸν.
Antichrist (by interpretation, One against Christ) why so called.
And let the good Reader obserue, that there be two special causes why this great man of sinne is called Antichrist. The one is, for impugning Christes kingdom in earth, that is to say, his spiritual regiment which he constituted and appointed in his Church, and the forme of gouernement ordained therein, applying al to himself by singular tyrannie and vsurpation, in which kind S. Athanasius (ep. ad Solit. vit. degentes) is bold to cal the Emperour Constantius being an Arian Heretike, Antichrist, for making himself Principem Episcoporum, Prince ouer the Bishops & President of Ecclesiastical iudgements, &c. The other cause is for impugning Christes Priesthood, which is only or most properly exercised in earth by the Sacrifice of the holy Masse, instituted for the commemoration of his death, & for the external exhibition of godly honour to the B. Trinitie, which kind of external worship by Sacrifice no lawful people of God euer lacked.
Protestants and Caluinists the neer fore runners of Antichrist.
And by these two things you may easily perceiue, that the Heretikes of these daies doe more properly and neerly prepare the way to Antichrist and to extreme desolation, then euer any before: their special heresie being against the spiritual Primacie of Popes and Bishops, & against the Sacrifice of the altar, in which two the soueraintie of Christ in earth consisteth.
in the Temple of God, shewing himself as though he were God.
5. Remember you not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6. And now What letteth.
S. Augustin's humilitie in interpreting the Stiptures.
S. Augustin (li. 20. c. 19. de ciuit. Dei.) professeth plainely that he vnderstandeth not these words, nor that that followeth of the mysterie of iniquitie, and least of al that which the Apostle addeth: Only that he which holdeth now, doe hold &c. Which may humble vs al and stay the confident rashnes of this time, namely of Heretikes, that boldly feine hereof whatsoeuer is agreable to their heresie and phantasie. The Apostle had told the Thessalonians before by word of mouth a secret point which he would not vtter in writting, and therfore referreth them to his former talke.
The mysterie of iniquitie is the couert working of heretikes toward the manifest reuelation of Antichrist himself.
The mysterie of iniquitie is commonly referred to Heretikes, who worke to the same, and doe that that Antichrist shal doe, but yet not openly, but in couert and vnder the cloke of Christes name, the Scriptures, the word of the Lord, shew of holines, &c. Whereas Antichrist himself shal openly attempt and atchieue the foresaid desolation, and Satan now seruing his turne by Heretikes vnder-hand, shal toward the last end vtter, reueale, and bring him forth openly. And that is here, to be reuealed, that is, to appeere in his owne person.
These other words, Only that he which now holdeth, hold; Some expound of the Emperour, during whose continuance in his state, God shal not permit Antichrist to come, meaning that the very Empire shal be wholy desolate, destroied, & taken away before or by his comming: which is more then a defection from the same, whereof was spoken before: for there shal be a reuolt from the Church also, but it shal not be vtterly destroied. Others say, that it is an admonition to al faithful, to hold fast their faith and not to be beguiled by such as vnder the name of Christ or Scriptures seeke to deceiue them, til they that now pretend religion and the Ghospel, end in a plaine breach, reuolt, and open apostasie by the appearance of Antichrist. Whom al Heretikes serue in mysterie, that is, couertly and in the Diuel's meaning, though the world seeth it not, nor themselues at the beginning thought it, as now euery day more & more al men perceiue they tend to plaine Atheisme and Antichristianisme.
what letteth, you know: that he may be reuealed in his time.
7. (For now the mysterie of iniquitie worketh: only that he which now holdeth, doe hold, vntil he be taken out of the way.)
8. And then that wicked one shal be reuealed * Es. 11,4. whom our Lord Iᴇꜱᴠꜱ shal kil with the spirit of his mouth; and shal destroy with the manifestation of his aduent, him,
9. whose comming is according to the operation of Satan, In al power.
What kind of men shal follow Antichrist.
Satan, whose power to hurt is abridged by Christ, shal then be let loose, & shal assist Antichrist in al manner of signes, wonders, and false miracles, whereby many shal be seduced, not only Iewes: but al such as be deceiued & caried away by vulgar speach only, of Heretikes that can worke no miracles, much more shal follow this man of sinne doing so great wonders. And such both now doe follow Heretikes, & then shal receiue Antichrist, that deserue so to be forsaken of God, by their forsaking of the vnitie & happie fellowship of SS. in the Catholike Church, where only is the Charitie of truth, as the Apostle here speaketh.
in al power, and lying signes and wonders;
10. and in al seducing of iniquitie to them that perish; for that they haue not receiued the charitie of the truth that they might be saued.
11. Therfore Deus mittet (saith S. August. li. 20. de Ci. c. 19.) quia Deus Diabolum facere ista permittet. God wil send, because God wil permit the Diuel to doe these things.
Wherby we may take a general rule that God's action or working in such things is his permission. See Annot. Ro. 1,24.
God wil send them the operation of errour, to beleeue lying:
12. that al may be iudged which haue not beleeued the truth, but haue consented to iniquitie.
13. But we ought to giue thankes to God alwaies for you, Brethren beloued of God, that he hath chosen you first-fruits vnto saluation, in sanctification of spirit and faith of the truth:
14. into the which also he hath called you by our Ghospel, vnto the purchasing of the glorie of our Lord Iᴇꜱᴠꜱ Christ.
15. Therfore, Brethren, stand; and hold τὰς παϱαδόσεις. the Traditions.
Heretical translation.
Not only the things written and set downe in the holy Scriptures, but al other truths and points of religion vttered by word of mouth and deliuered or giuen by the Apostles *to their scholers by tradition, be so here approued & els-where in the Scripture it self, that the Heretikes purposely guilefully, and of il conscience (that belike reprehendeth them) refraine in their translations, from the Ecclesiastical & most vsual word, Tradition, euer more when it is taken in good part, though it expresse most exactly the signification of the Greek word: but when it soundeth in their fond phantasie against the traditions of the Church (as indeed in true sense it neuer doth) there they vse it most gladly. Here therfore and ***in the like places, that the reader might not so easily like of Traditions vnwritten, here commended by the Apostle, they translate it, Instructions, Constitutions, Ordinances, and what they can inuent els, to hide the truth from the simple or vnwarie Reader, whose translations haue no other end but to beguile such by art and conueiance.
* See S. Denys
** παϱάδοσις.
*** 1. Cor. 11.
2. Thes. 3.
Traditions vnwritten.
But S. Chrysostom (ho. 4 in 1 Thes. 2.) and the other Greeke scholies or commentaries say hereupon, both written and vnwritten precepts the Apostles gaue by tradition, and both be worthy of obseruation. S. Basil (De Sp. Sancto c. 29 in principio) thus, I account it Apostolike to continue firmely euen in vnwritten traditions. And to proue this, he alleageth this place of S. Paul.
Their authoritie and estimation, & examples of some peculiar traditions out of the Fathers.
In the same booke c. 17 he saieth: If we once goe about to reiect vnwritten customs as things of no importance, we shal, ere we be aware, doe damage to the principal parts of the faith, and bring the preaching of the Ghospel to a naked name. And for example of these necessarie traditions, he nameth the signe of the Crosse, praying towards the east, the words spoken at the eleuation or shewing of the holy Eucharist, with diuerse cerimonies vsed before and after the consecration, the hallowing of the font, the blessing of the oile, the anointing of the baptized with the same, the three immersions into the font, the words of abrenunciation and exorcismes of the partie that is to be baptised &c. What scripture (saith he) taught these and such like? none truly, al comming of secret and silent tradition, wherwith our Fathers thought it meet to couer such mysteries.
S. Chrysostom.
S. Basil.
S. Hierom.
S. Hierom (Dialog. cont. Lucif. c. 4. et ep. 28. ad Licinium) reckneth vp diuers the like traditions willing men to attribute to the Apostles such customs as the Church hath receiued in diuers christian countries.
S. Augustin.
S. Augustine esteemeth the Apostolike traditions so much, that he plainely affirmeth in sundrie places, not only the obseruation of certaine festiuities, fasts, ceremonies, and whatsoeuer other solemnities vsed in the Catholike Church to be holy, profitable, and Apostolike, though they be not written at al in the Scriptures: but he often also writeth, that many of the articles of our religion and points of highest importance, are not so much to be proued by scriptures, as by tradition. Namely auouching that in no wise we could beleeue that children in their infancie should be baptized, if it were not an Apostolical tradition. De Gen. ad lit. li. 10. c. 23. Tradition caused him to beleeue that the baptized of heretikes should not be rebaptized, notwithstanding S. Cyprian's authoritie and the manifold scriptures alleaged by him, though they seemed neuer so pregnant. De bap. li. 2. c. 7. By tradition only, he and others condemned Heluidius the heretike for denying the perpetual virginitie of our Lady. And without this, be the Scriptures neuer so plaine, no Arian, no Macedonian, no Eutychian, no Pelagian, no Zuinglian wil yeald.
S. Epiphanius.
We must vse tradition, (saith S. Epiphanius hær. 61. Apostolicorum.) For the Scripture hath not al things: and therfore the Apostles deliuered certaine things in writting, certaine by tradition. And for that, he alleageth this place also of S. Paul. And againe hær. 55. Melchised. There be bounds set downe for the foundation and building vp of our faith, the tradition of the Apostles, and holy Scriptures, and succession of doctrine, so that truth is euery way sensed.
S. Irenæus.
S. Irenæus (li. 3. c. 4.) hath one notable chapter, that in al questions we must haue recourse to the traditions of the Apostles: teaching vs withal, that the way to trie an Apostolical tradition and to bring it to the fountaine, is by the Apostolike succession of Bishops, but specially of the Apostolike See of Rome: declaring in the same place that there be many barbarous people, simple for learning, but for constancie in their faith most wise, which neuer had Scriptures, but learned only by tradition.
S. Cyprian.
Tertullian. (lib. de corona militis, nu. 3.) reckneth vp a great number of Christian obseruations or customs (as S. Cyprian in many places doth in manner the same) wherof in fine he concludeth: Of such and such if thou require the rule of Scriptures, thou shalt find none. Tradition shal be alleaged the authour, custom the confirmer, and faith the obseruer.
Origen also of this matter writeth in plaine termes, that there be many things done in the Church (which he there nameth) wherof there is no easier reason to be giuen then tradition from Christ and the Apostles. ho. 5. in Numer. S. Dionysius Areopagita referreth the praying and oblation for the dead in the Liturgie or Masse, to an Apostolical tradition. in fine Ec. Hierarch. c. 7. parte 3. So doth Tertullian De coron. militis. S. Augustin De cura pro mortuis c. 1. S. Chrysostom ho. 3. in ep. ad Philip. in Moral. S. Damascene Ser. de defunctis in initio.
The Scriptures giuen vs by tradition, and the sense thereof.
We might adde to al this, that the Scriptures themselues, euen al the books and parts of the holy Bible, be giuen vs by tradition: els we should not nor could not take them (as they be indeed) for the infallible word of God, no more then the workes of S. Ignatius, S. Clement, S. Denys, and the like. The true sense also of the Scriptures (which Catholikes haue and heretikes haue not) remaineth stil in the Church by tradition.
The Creed an Apostolical tradition.
The Creed is an Apostolike tradition. Ruffin. in expo. Symb. in principio. Hiero. ep. 61. c. 9. Ambros. Serm. 38. Aug. de Symb. ad Catechum. li. 3. c. 1. And what Scriptures haue they to proue that we must accept nothing not expresly written in Scriptures? We haue to the contrarie, plaine Scriptures, al the Fathers, most euident reasons, that we must either beleeue traditions or nothing at al.
An inuincible argument for the credit of Traditions.
And they must be asked whether, if they were assured that such things and such (which be not expressed in Scriptures) were taught & deliuered by word of mouth from the Apostles, they would beleeue them or no? If they say no, then they be impious that wil not trust the Apostles preaching: if they say they would, if they were assured that the Apostles taught it: then to proue vnto them this point, we bring them such as liued in the Apostles daies, and the testimonies of so many Fathers before named neer to those daies, and the whole Churches practise and asseueration descending downe from man to man to our time. Which is a sufficient proofe (at least for a matter of fact) in al reasonable mens iudgement: Specially when it is knowen that S. Ignatius the Apostles equal in time, wrote a book of the Apostles traditions, as Eusebius witnesseth li. 3. Ec. hist. c. 30. And Tertullians book of prescriptions against Heretikes, is to no other effect but to proue that the Church hath this vantage aboue Heretikes, that she can proue her truth by plaine Apostolike tradition, as none of them can euer doe.
traditions which you haue learned, whether it be by word, or by our epistle.
16. And our Lord Iᴇꜱᴠꜱ Christ himself and God and our Father which hath loued vs, and hath giuen eternal consolation, and good hope in grace,
17. παϱακαλέσαι
This word of exhorting implieth in it comfort and consolation: as 2. Cor. 1. v. 4. &. 6.
exhort your harts and confirme you in euery good worke and word.