Ancient testimonies #2

Discussion in 'Church History' started by DTK, Feb 11, 2019.

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  1. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Brethren, in 1990, the Augustinian Heritage Institute began to oversee the English translation of The Works of Saint Augustine, A Translation for the 21st Century. This project was started in conjunction with New City Press. At that time, English was the only major Western language into which the Works of Saint Augustine in their entirety had not yet been attempted. Existing translations were often archaic or faulty and the scholarship was outdated. These new translations offer detailed introductions, extensive critical notes, both a general index and scriptural index for each work as well as the best translations in the world. The Works of Saint Augustine, A Translation for the 21st Century in its complete form will be published in 49 volumes. To date, more than 42 volumes have been published.

    I have been waiting for nearly two decades for New City Press to publish for the very first time an English translation of Augustine's De unitate ecclesiae, which was repeatedly postponed due to the illness of the contracted translator, who eventually passed and the work had to be completed by another. The translation of this work, along with a number of others by Augustine, on the Donatist controversy has just come off the press at the end of this January 2019. It is an expensive volume ($89.00), but is well worth it in my opinion because of the multiple works of Augustine are contained in it along with his De unitate ecclesiae. It is over 700 pages including the indices. I have received my copy in the mail in the past few days. Here's the latest volume to which I'm referring, Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Psalm Against the Party of Donatus, Answer to the Writings of Petilian, Answer to the Letter of Parmenian, Baptism, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 3,5 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019). The Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists is the same work as Augustine's De unitate ecclesiae (On the Unity of the Church).

    I want to offer a number of extended transcriptions to demonstrate by a multitude of examples of how Augustine argued with the Donatists about their separation from the church catholic. Unlike your modern day Romanists, Augustine never argues the priority of the church to prove the divine authority of the Scriptures, but rather the precise opposite, that the church can only be proved from the divine authority of the scriptures. Anyone who has ever engaged the sophistry of Roman apologists, but who has never read Augustine extensively, might be surprised to find that he would be ashamed to argue as defenders of modern day Rome do. The work from which I am about to cite is a necessity if you desire to enter into serious polemics with the defenders of the modern day Roman communion.

    Augustine (354-430): But, as I was about to say, let us not hear, “You say this; I say that,” but let us hear, “The Lord says this.” There are certainly the Lord’s Books, whose authority we both accept, to which we both yield and we both obey: let us look for the Church there; let us examine our case there. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 3,5 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), p. 611.
    Latin text: Sed, ut dicere coeperam, non audiamus, Haec dicis, haec dico; sed audiamus, Haec dicit Dominus. Sunt certe Libri dominici, quorum auctoritati utrique consentimus, utrique cedimus utrique servimus: ibi quaeramus Ecclesiam, ibi discutiamus causam nostram. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput III, §5, PL 43:394.

    Augustine (354-430): Let those things, then, be removed from our midst, which we both read not out of the Divine Canonical Books but elsewhere. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 3,5 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), p. 611.
    Latin text: Auferantur ergo illa de medio, quae adversus nos invicem, non ex divinis canonicis Libris, sed aliunde recitamus. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput III, §5, PL 43:395.

    Augustine (354-430): Because I do not want the holy Church to be set forth by human proofs but by the divine oracles. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 3,6 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), p. 612.
    Latin text: Quia nolo humanis documentis, sed divinis oraculis sanctam Ecclesiam demonstrari. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput III, §6, PL 43:395.

    Augustine (354-430): Those who disagree with the Sacred Scriptures about that head [i.e. Christ], even if they are found in all places where the Church is represented, are not in the church. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 4,7 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), p. 613.
    Latin text: Quicumque de ipso capite, ab Scripturis sanctis dissentiunt, etiamsi in omnibus locis inveniantur in quibus Ecclesia designata est, non sunt in Ecclesia. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput IV, §7, PL 43:395-396.
    Augustine (354-430): We ourselves hold to this Church and admit no human objections to these divine words. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 11,28 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), p. 634.
    Latin text: Nos hanc Ecclesiam tenemus, contra istas divinas voces nullas humanas criminationes admittimus. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XI, §28, PL 43:410.

    Augustine (354-430): I have my shepherd’s clearest word, commending and portraying the Church to me without any ambiguity. It will be my fault if I choose to be seduced by the words of men and to wander from his flock, because it is the Church itself, especially since he warned me when he said, Those who are my sheep hear my voice and follow me (Jn 10:27). See how clear and plain his voice is. Once he who has heard it does not follow him, how will he dare to call himself his sheep? Let no one say to me, “Oh, what did Donatus say? Oh, what did Parmenian or Pontius or any one of them say?” Because there must be no commonality with Catholic bishops, they are sometimes by chance deceived into thinking something contrary to God’s canonical Scriptures. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 11,28 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), pp. 634-635.
    Latin text: Habeo manifestissimam vocem pastoris mei, commendantis mihi et sine ullis ambagibus exprimentis Ecclesiam: mihi imputabo si ab ejus grege, quod est ipsa Ecclesia, per verba hominum seduci atque aberrare voluero; cum me praesertim admonuerit dicens, Quae sunt oves meae, vocem meam audiunt et sequuntur me. Ecce vox ejus clara et aperta: hac audita qui eum non sequitur, quomodo se ovem ejus dicere audebit? Nemo mihi dicat: O quid dixit Donatus, o quid dixit Parmenianus, aut Pontius, aut quilibet illorum! Quia nec catholicis episcopis consentiendum est, sicubi forte falluntur, ut contra canonicas Dei Scripturas aliquid sentiant. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XI, §28, PL 43:410-411.


    Augustine (354-430): Once they have distanced themselves from all of that, then, let them describe their church, if they can, not in the words and gossip of Africans, not by the councils of their own bishops, not by the writings of this or that polemicist, not by false signs and prodigies, because we have even been prepared for and warned against these by the Lord’s word, but rather by the prescripts of the law, by the foretellings of the prophets, by the songs of the Psalms, by the words of the one shepherd himself, by the preaching and labors of the apostles⸺in other words, by all the canonical authorities of the Holy Books, but not so that they may collect and repeat things that have been said obscurely or ambiguously or figuratively, which whoever wants to do so may interpret according to his own sense. For such [texts] cannot be understood and expounded correctly unless the things that are said with great clarity are first held with a firm faith. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 18,47 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), p. 660.
    Latin text: Remotis ergo omnibus talibus Ecclesiam suam demonstrent, si possunt, non in sermonibus et rumoribus Afrorum, non in conciliis episcoporum suorum, non in litteris quorumlibet disputatorum, non in signis et prodigiis fallacibus, quia etiam contra ista verbo Domini praeparati et cauti redditi sumus: sed in praescripto Legis, in Prophetarum praedictis, in Psalmorum cantibus, in ipsius unius Pastoris vocibus, in Evangelistarum praedicationibus et laboribus, hoc est, in omnibus canonicis sanctorum Librorum auctoritatibus. Nec ita, ut ea colligant et commemorent, quae obscure vel ambigue vel figurate dicta sunt, quae quisque sicut voluerit, interpretetur secundum sensum suum. Talia enim recte intelligi exponique non possunt, nisi prius ea, quae apertissime dicta sunt, firma fide teneantur. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XVIII, §47, PL 43:427-428.

    Augustine (354-430): But no one attains salvation and eternal life itself unless he has Christ as his head. No one, however, will be able to have Christ as his head unless he is in his body, which is the Church, which we must recognize in the Holy Canonical Scriptures, just as we do the head itself, rather than looking for it in the various rumors and opinions and deeds and words and visions of men. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 19,49 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), pp. 662-663.
    Latin text: Ad ipsam vero salutem ac vitam aeternam nemo pervenit, nisi qui habet caput Christum. Habere autem caput Christum nemo poterit, nisi qui in ejus corpore fuerit, quod est Ecclesia, quam sicut ipsum caput in Scripturis sanctis canonicis debemus agnoscere, non in variis hominum rumoribus, et opinionibus, et factis, et dictis, et visis inquirere. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XIX, §49, PL 43:429.

    Augustine (354-430): But let them not show that they hold to the Church except from the canonical books of the Divine Scriptures. For we ourselves do not say that we should be believed that we are in Christ’s Church because Optatus of Mievis or Ambrose of Milan or countless other bishops of our communion have commended that very thing which we hold to; or because it was foretold in the councils of our colleagues; or because in the holy places throughout the world that our communion frequents great miracles take place, when prayers are hearkened to and healings occur, such that the bodies of martyrs that had lain hidden for many years⸺which those who are interested can hear from may people⸺would be revealed to Ambrose and that a man blind for many years and very well known in the city of Milan would gain the use of his eyes near those bodies; or because someone had a vision and, while in a state of ecstasy, heard either that he should not go to the party of Donatus or that he should withdraw from the party of Donatus. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 19,50 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), pp. 663-664.
    Latin text: Augustine: Sed utrum ipsi Ecclesiam teneant, non nisi de divinarum Scripturarum canonicis libris ostendant: quia nec nos propterea dicimus nobis credi oportere quod in Ecclesia Christi sumus, quia ipsam quam tenemus, commendavit Milevitanus Optatus, vel Mediolanensis Ambrosius, vel alii innumerabiles nostrae communionis episcopi; aut quia nostrorum collegarum conciliis ipsa praedicata est; aut quia per totum orbem in locis sanctis, quae frequentat nostra communio, tanta mirabilia vel exauditionum, vel sanitatum fiunt, ita ut latentia per tot annos corpora martyrum , quod possunt a multis interrogantes audire, Ambrosio fuerint revelata, et ad ipsa corpora caecus multorum annorum civitati Mediolanensi notissimus oculos lumenque receperit; aut quia ille somnium vidit, et ille in spiritu assumptus audivit, sive ne iret in partem Donati, sive ut recederet a parte Donati. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XIX, §50, PL 43:429-430.

    Augustine (354-430): Whatever things like that happen in the Catholic Church should be approved because they take place in the Catholic Church, not because the Catholic Church itself is proven because these things happen in it. When the Lord Jesus himself had risen from the dead and offered his body to be seen by the eyes of his disciples and touched by their hands, he judged it better that they should be strengthened by testimonies from the law and the prophets and the Psalms, lest they think that they were still suffering from a delusion; in this way he showed that the things that had been foretold about him so long before had been fulfilled. He also commended his Church when he said that in his name repentance and the forgiveness of sins are to be preached throughout all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. He himself testified that this was written in the law and the prophets and the psalms; we hold to it as having been commended to us by his mouth. These are the proofs for our case; these are the fundamentals; these are the foundations. In the Acts of the Apostles we read that it says of certain believers that they would examine the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Which scriptures, indeed, if not the canonical ones of the law and the prophets? To these were added the Gospels, the apostolic epistles, the Acts of the Apostles, the Apocalypse of John. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 19,50-51 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), pp. 664-665.
    Latin text: Quaecumque talia in Catholica fiunt, ideo sunt approbanda, quia in Catholica fiunt; non ideo ipsa manifestatur Catholica, quia haec in ea fiunt. Ipse Dominus Jesus cum resurrexisset a mortuis, et discipulorum oculis videndum, manibusque tangendum corpus suum offerret, ne quid tamen fallaciae se pati arbitrarentur, magis eos testimoniis Legis et Prophetarum et Psalmorum confirmandos esse judicavit, ostendens ea de se impleta, quae fuerant tanto ante praedicta. Sic et Ecclesiam suam commendavit dicens: Praedicari in nomine suo poenitentiam, et remissionem peccatorum per omnes gentes, incipientibus ab Jerusalem. Hoc in Lege, et Prophetis, et Psalmis esse scriptum ipse testatus est (Luc. XXIV, 44-47): hoc ejus ore commendatum tenemus. Haec sunt causae nostrae documenta, haec fundamenta, haec firmamenta. 51. Legimus in Actibus Apostolorum dictum de quibusdam credentibus, quod quotidie scrutarentur Scripturas, an haec ita se haberent (Act. XVII, 11): quas utique Scripturas, nisi canonicas Legis et Prophetarum? Huc accesserunt Evangelia, apostolicae Epistolae, Actus Apostolorum, Apocalypsis Joannis. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XIX, §50-51, PL 43:430.

    Augustine (354-430): If they do not want to understand this, it is enough for us that we hold to the Church that is shown forth by the clearest testimonies of the holy and canonical Scriptures. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 22,62 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), pp. 664-665.
    Latin text: Quod si nolunt intelligere, sufficit nobis quod eam tenemus Ecclesiam, quae manifestissimis sanctarum et canonicarum Scripturarum testimoniis demonstratur. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XXII, §62, PL 43:437.

    When the Romanist asks you, “where is your church,” and mocks you when you insist that God has always preserved a remnant, look at how Augustine responds to such mockery . . .

    Augustine (354-430): 24,71. Why should I go on any longer? Whoever thinks of responding to this letter should examine the Scriptures and produce clear testimony about Africa, in which alone or from which alone the party of Donatus exists, which he cannot produce because Scripture cannot oppose those very clear [testimonies] that have been cited by us; or else, if he is looking for credulous adherents of his suspicions or accusations or slanders and wants to bring them over to another gospel, which is not another one, and to tell us [something] beyond what we have received, even if it were an angel from heaven, let him be anathema. For, if the devil too, who fell from heaven because he did not stand in the truth, had been anathema to the man when he told him [something] beyond what he had received from the Lord God, the first parents of our flesh would not have fallen under the penalty of death and have left the abode of happiness.
    25,72. Hence you, beloved, to whom I am writing this letter, hold with a most faithful and steadfast heart to the rule of the shepherd who laid down his soul for his sheep and who now, glorified and exalted, sits at the right hand of God the Father, who says, Those who are my sheep hear my voice and follow me (Jn 10:27). You have heard his most clear voice not only through his law and the prophets and the Psalms but also through the very mouth of the one who commended his Church when it was about to come into being; and you see the things that he foretold as they occurred, one after the other, by reading the Acts and the writings of the apostles that fill out the canon of the Divine Scriptures. This is no obscure matter, where there are going to be those who would deceive you, who the Lord himself foretold would say, Look, here is the Christ; look, there he is (Mt 24:23); look, in the wilderness (Mt 24:26), as though in a place apart from the throng; look, in the inner rooms (Mt 24:26), as though in secret traditions and doctrines. You have the Church spread out everywhere and growing until the harvest. You have the city about which he who founded it said, A city set on a hill cannot be hidden (Mt 5:14). It is not in some particular part of the earth, then, but is very well known everywhere. From time to time it endures storms in its grain to the point that in some places it is unrecognizable, but yet it lies hidden there for the divine decree cannot err, because it is growing until the harvest. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 24,71-25,72 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), pp. 682-683.

    Augustine (354-430): 25,75. But you, supported by so many utterly clear testimonies from the law, the prophets, the Psalms, the Lord himself and the apostles about the holy Church spread throughout the whole world, demand of [the Donatists] that they show some clear testimonies from the Canonical Books regarding Africa that bear upon the party of Donatus. For, as I have already said, it cannot possibly be the case that the Church (as they say, but which is unimaginable), having been preached so sublimely and so unhesitatingly on the basis of so many testimonies, would perish so quickly from so many nations, and that there would be silence about [the church] that they claim as their own and that, as they contend, will abide until the end. For remember what was said to the rich man when he was being tormented in the netherworld and wanted someone to be sent from the dead to his brothers. They have, [Abraham] said, Moses and the prophets (Lk 16:29). And, when he said that they would not believe them unless someone went to them from the dead, [Abraham] said, If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe if someone rises from the dead (Lk 16:31). Moses said that in Abraham’s offspring all the nations would be blessed. The prophets said, You shall be called My Desire, and your land shall be the whole world, and All the ends of the earth shall remember and be converted to the Lord (Ps 22:27). [The Donatists] have not wanted to believe such clear prophecies like these that describe the Church. The Lord has risen from the dead. He said that in his name repentance and the forgiveness of sins are to be preached throughout all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Those who had not believed Moses and the prophets did not believe the Lord when he rose from the dead. What remains for them except to share in the torments of that rich man? Flee from them while there is still time before quitting this life. Hold faithfully to the divine utterances, so that in this life you may not be confounded and after this life you may deserve to receive what was promised at Abraham’s offspring. Boniface Ramsey and David G. Hunter, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Donatist Controversy, Part 1, Vol. 21, trans. Maureen Tilley and Boniface Ramsey, Letter to Catholics on the Sect of the Donatists (De Unitate Ecclesiae), 25,75 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2019), pp. 685-686.
     
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