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MOST SURE LIGHT.
Abraham, for he is not the God of the dead but of the living.*
Here he makes use of reason : so the apostles after him. Surely, therefore, we are not so to adhere to the letter of the scripture, as to deny the use of our reason in finding out the true sense and meaning of the scripture ; for then we must hold with the papists, that the bread in the Lord's supper is turned into the body of Christ, for the letter saith, “ This is my body.” Reason is of great use, even in the things of God; and well hath he said, Contra rationem nemo sobrius ; Against reason, no man is sober; against Scripture, no man is a christian; and against the church, no man is peaceable. But,
Though there be a good use of reason even in the things of God, yet reason is but the drawer of water, an handmaid; and therefore if Hagar will perk above her mistress, the Scripture, she must be turned out of doors. I
And though you do make use of your reason in the things of God, yet if you will not yield unto Scripture truth and gospel truth, until you can see reason for the thing believed, and how in a way of human reason such a thing can be; then you are in a great error. For as Luther speaks, in the matter of the gospel, we must shut our eyes, and go blindfold into the commandments of God. “ The wisdom of the world (saith the apostle) looks upon gospel truths as foolishness :" and as none know the things of a man, but the spirit of man; so none know the things of God, but the Spirit of God; therefore not by human reason only. The sun is not seen but by the light of the sun; nor Christ, but by the light of Christ. This know first, says the apostle in this text, though you do attend to the word of prophecy, yet you must have the Spirit of God, not human reason only. Why? For as it was written, so it must be understood; but “all prophecy of Scripture was written by the inspiration of the Spirit, and did not come from man.” The schoolmen speak well: Rea
* Rationis in Theologia usus, Alting. pars i. loc. 209.
+ Contra rationem nemo sobrius, contra Scripturam nemo christianus, contra ecclesiam nemo pacificus.
! Και οπ τα υπερ φυσιν εν τη φυσει γινομενα καπα την θειαν δυναμιν, , αδυνατον κατα
τον λογον της φυσεως ποιητα θαι την παραρασιν.Justin Martyr. Q. 107.
sons before faith lessen and diminish it; after faith they strengthen it.*
Though you do make use of reason in the things of God, yet your very reason is to be mortified, crucified; Crucifigamus istam pestem, quare, says Luther; We must crucify that pest and plague. Why?
Why? Deus non vult, non esse quaristas, vel rationistas; God would not have us that are christians, to be querists or wherefore-ists: naked, simple obedience is best in the eyes of God. With man, says he, we must consider, Quid, what it is that is commanded; but in our obedience to God, we must consider, Quis, who it is that commandeth. And this is to be the ground of our faith and obedience; as we must renounce our will, so we must deny our reason. But we must not deny the Scripture, nor crucify the Scripture, nor renounce the Scripture. Surely, therefore, the light of the Scripture, and the word written, is beyond and more excellent than all human reason and the light thereof.+ And thus I have done with the seventh instance.
Instance VIII. As for judicial astrology. That is another
* Quid Athenis et Hirosolymis ? quid academia et ecclesia ? quid hæreticis et christianis ? nostra institutio de porticu Salomonis.—Tertul. de Prescript.
Kı yap olopoòça pwpoi, &c. valde stulti sunt, qui rationibus maxime permittunt quæ non licet invenire nisi per fidem, ex philosophia res divinas velle intelligere est candens ferrum non forcipe sed digitis contrectare.—Chrysostom. 1 Cor. Hom. 5.
Aufer argumenta ubi fides queritur.—Ambros. Lib. de fide. cap. v.
Si quis potest intelligere Deo gratias agat, si non potest non immittat cornua ad ventilandum, sed submittat caput ad venerandum.-Anselm. Ep. de Fide arvo. Pap. cap. ii.
Laudatur maria, quod rationem fide prevenit, et punitur Zacharias quod fidem ratione tantavit.-Bern. Epist. 109.
Rationes precedentes minunt fidem subsequentes augent.
+ Dicimus nullam rationem humanam esse principium quo seu per quod aut ex quo seu cur credamus aut fundamentum aut legem aut normam credendorum ex cunis prescripto judecemus, &c.
Dr. Voet. de ratione humana in rebus fidei, Disp. Select. pars prima.
Transeundum est e navicula rationis Verulam.
Apud Aristotelem argumentum est ratio rei dubiæ faciens fidem sed apud Christum argumentum est fides faciens rationem.-Altisodoren. prefat. sum.
Si quis idiota tali philosopho qualis Aristot. aut Pythagoras fuit de rerum principiis obstreperet nonne audiret arrogans et insaniens at quanto major est insania, ideo non credere divinæ philosophiæ quod multa non assequatur humanis intellectus.— Erasmus in Symb. Catech.
Tantum abest ut humana ratio fidei sit mensura ut ne naturæ quidem propter ignorantiam et pravitatem esse possit.--Morn. prefat. Lib. de Vera Religione.
thing that is cried up as a great means of light in these dark times of ours. Thereby men will undertake to tell how things may be found that are lost; what persons shall be joined together in marriage; what shall be the issue and end of suits in law and diseases; what ends men shall come to in reference to their lives; and what plagues and mortalities in commonwealths; and what not. This is, I say, this judicial astrology is cried up as a great light in these days of ours, but is, in truth, a work of darkness; for where do we find in Scripture, that God doth command any of his people to attend upon astrologers (or star-gazers, as the word calls them) for any such things as these. We are forbidden to learn the way of the heathen in fearing the signs of heaven; Jer. x. 2, and Deut. xviii. 9, “ Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.” Wherein ? Verse 10, “ There shall not be found amongst you any that maketh his son to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a necroman
The observation of times is pne of these things. These were the ways of the nations, these things were abomination to the Lord, these things cannot stand with a perfect heart, verse 13, “Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.”
This destroys prophecy; for if a man can foretel future things by the stars, then what need of prophecy? The Lord tells us in the xlviith of Isaiah, that he will bring evil upon his people, which they with all their astrologers should not be able to foresee and hide themselves from: verse 1], " Therefore shall evil come upon thee, and thou shalt not know whence it riseth.” No! but we will, might they say, go unto our astrologers. Do so, says God, verse 12, “ Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, if so be thou mayest be able to profit:" and verse 13, “ Let now the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators stand up and save thee: behold they shall be as stubble,” verse 14. If astrologers and star-gazers can foretel the several changes in states and commonwealths, and what great things shall come to pass therein, and how they come to pass; then why doth God say here, that in spite of all them, thou shalt not know whence this evil comes ? verse 11. Surely, therefore, such things as these are not to be read in the book of the heavens.
But is there no light of knowledge to be had from the stars, and do not the heavens teach and declare the Lord's handywork: will ye condemn all astronomy?
Astronomy? No. There is much difference between astronomy, the lawful knowledge of the stars, and judicial astrology, whereby men would foretel all events. I grant, first, that there is a teaching work in the heavens; “ The heavens declare the glory of the Lord,” and so do all the creatures; yet this teaching is not able to convert the soul: and therefore when the Psalmist had said in the sixth Psalm, “ The heavens declare,” &c., he comes to shew where the true converting teaching is to be found, even in the Scriptures; verse 7, “ The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Secondly, I grant, also, that the stars are for signs; so the word saith, Gen. i. 14, “Let there be lights in the firmament, to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years.” But how for signs? Of the weather: as the sun when it setteth with a red sky, foresheweth a fair day to follow. Matt. xvi. 2. Yea, and sometimes they import and are signs of God's displeasure. Luke xxi. 25. Ordinarily they are for signs to know when to sow, and plant, and prune, and reap; and are signs to sail by, for the mariners at sea. Yea, thirdly, I grant that the stars have a great influence upon these sublunary things,
the bodies of men and women. But though the stars have a great influence upon this nether world, are signs of weather, and have a teaching power with them, as all other creatures have; yet if a man shall undertake by the stars, to foretell future events, which are accidental, depending on the wills and actions of men, he doth plainly step into the chair of God. This is God's great prerogative; therefore saith he, Isa. xli. 23, “Shew the things that are to come hereafter,
know that ye are gods." Those men, therefore, that will undertake to shew the things that are to come hereafter, would be known to be gods. But though they would be gods themselves, yet why should they not let God be God still? Qui fatum ponit, Deum tollit : he that sets up a fate, doth destroy God. And if all things come to pass by influence of the stars (else they cannot pretend to foreknowledge of them), then all things must come to pass by a fate. Yea, what doth this
that we may
practice otherwise, than, as Austin observes well,* make God the author of all the sin in the world ? For if these astrologers can foretell future things, which depend on the will of man, and that by the stars, then the stars and their influence must be the cause thereof. For as Aquinas observes,t if such a constellation be a sign of an event, then it must be the effect of it, or the cause of it; the effect it cannot be. And if the influence of the stars be the cause of all sinful actions, then God must be the cause of all sin, for he hath made the star, and given it such an influence. This doth so clearly follow, that Austin,* (telling the story of a man's converting from this wicked art) saith, the man did confess that whilst he practised that art, he with others held, that adulterium non faciebat voluntas propria sed Venus ; a man's own will was not the cause of adultery, but the star Venus; a man's own will was not the cause of murder, but the star Mars. Thus, saith he, doth this art of judicial astrology, lay the sin of all the world upon God himself; and it must needs do so, for
* Multi hoc dicunt, fatum mihi fecit, stellæ me fecerunt, ita jam per circuitum ad Deum volunt pervenire ad Deum accusandum, qui nolunt de compendio venire ad Deum placandum, et dicunt fatum mihi fecit, quid est fatum ? stellæ me fecerunt, quid sunt stellæ ? certe istæ quas in cælo perspicimus ; et quis eas fecit ? Deus, qui eas ordinavit ? Deus, ergo vides quod voluisti dicere. Deus fecit ut peccarem, ita ille injustus tu justus, quod nisi ille fecisset tu non peccasses, tolle istas excusationes in peccatis memento illius Psalmi. Ne declines cor meum in verba maligna ad excusanda prccata, &c.
Ad hæc magni viri sunt qui defendunt peccata sua, magni sunt qui numerant sydera. Et computant stellas et tempora et dicunt quis quando. Vei peccet vel bene vivat et quando Mars facit homicidium et Venus adultarium magni docti viri videntur in hoc sæculo sed quid ait Psal. Ne declines cor, &c.--Austin in Psal. xxxi.
+ Omne corporale signum vel est effectus ejus cujus est signu sicut fumus significat ignem a quo causatur vel est, cum non potest autem dici quod dispositiones cælestium corporum et motus sint effectus futurorum et ventuum, nec possunt reduci in aliquam superiorem rem communem quo sit corporalis &c.Aquin. xxii, quest. 95, art. 5.
* Seductus enim ab inimico cum esset fidelis diu mathematicus fuit, seductus, seducens, deceptus, decipiens, illexit fefellit, multa mendacia locutus est, contra Deum qui dedit hominibus potestatem faciendi quod bonum est et non faciendi quod malum est, iste dicebat quod adulterium uon faciebat propria voluntas sed Venus justum non faciebat Deus sed Jovis et alia multa sacrilega non parva. quam multis eum putatis Christianis nummus abstulisse ! quam multi ab eo emerunt mendacium, &c.—Austin in Psal. lxxi, post tractatum cum mathematicus in populo monstraretur.