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  • Franciscus Junius

2. DE SACRA SCRIPTURA.

De Sacra Scriptura


On Holy Scripture

​Sacrae Scripturae consideratio vti inter disquisitiones Theologicas maximi est momenti, ita pluribus hodie controuersiis implicata; eo diligentius est instituenda, quoniam ab ea pendent caetera, neque enim de religione tutius & certius quam ex hac indice diuinae veritatis diuinitus, definire possumus, & debemus: cùm semel fenestra aliis rebus praeter ipsam patefacta magnus erroribus patescat aditus: quare in ipso disputationum Theologicarum principio de ipsa, auxilio eiusdem Spiritus qui ipsam dictauit, dispiciendum esse iudicauimus.

​The consideration of Holy Scripture is of the greatest importance among theological inquiries. Thus, as it is entangled in more controveries today, so it should be more diligently studied, since all the rest depend upon this one; nor, indeed, is there a safer and more certain way to divinely define matters of religion than by this divine index of truth, which task we can and must perform. Since once the breach gives way to other things besides itself, an entrance may be exposed to great errors; for this reason, we have judged that it is necessary to examine Holy Scripture in the very beginning of theological disputations, with the help of the same Spirit who dictated it.

1. De instrumento supernaturalis, coelestis & diuinae illius disciplinae, quam Deus verbo suo nobiscum communicat, acturis, duplex se nobis offert eius consideratio. Prior, quà est in se, Altera, quatenus à nobis percipitur & ad vsum nostrum accommodatur. Ad priorem considerationem pertinent esse eius, Auctoritas & perfectio: Ad alteram verò perspicuitas & interpretatio. Sacrae Scripturae essentia tota in relatione consistit ad verbum, cuius Scriptura est, est enim instrumentum visibile, verbi inuisibilis: ideóque secundum relationem illam ita definimus; Sacra Scriptura est Verbum Dei à Deo per ministros suos Ecclesiae in Vetere & Nouo Testamento scripto traditum & consecratum ad gloriam ipsius & electorum bonum. 2. Tim. 3. 16. În hac definitione causas omnes breuiter complexi sumus, tum internas, Materiam, & Formam: tum externas, Efficientem & Finem.

1. Concerning the instrument of the supernatural, celestial, and divine discipline that God communicates to us through His word, a twofold consideration of it is offered to us. The former, as it exists in itself; the latter, insofar as it is perceived by us and adapted for our use. To the former consideration pertain its authority and perfection; to the latter, its perspicuity and interpretation. The whole essence of Holy Scripture consists in relation to the word, which word Scripture is, for it is the visible instrument of the invisible word. Thus, according to that relation, we define it thus: Holy Scripture is the Word of God given by God through His ministers in the Old and New Testament and consecrated to His glory and the good of the elect (2 Timothy 3:16). In this definition, we have briefly encompassed all the causes, both internal—Matter and Form—and external—Efficient and Final.

2. Materia huius Scripturae eadem est quae Verbi Dei, nimirum quicquid de Deo & rerum ab Deum ordinatione hominibus scire expedit, & Deus ipsos vult cognoscere. Commune enim subiectum verbi, tum quà enunciatum est, tum quà scripto comprehensum est, Deus ratione primaria: Secundariò verò Ecclesia & quaecunque ad Deum, siue ad Ecclesiam secundum Deum ordinationem habent. Omnia enim quae in Scriptura continentur conuenientem ad Deum ordinationem habent, etiam quae videntur ab eo esse remotissima iudicio nostro.

2. The matter of this Scripture is the same as that of the Word of God, namely, whatever it is expedient for men to know about God and the ordering of things by God, and what God Himself wills man to know. For the common subject of the Word, both as enunciated and as contained in writing, is principally (ratione primaria) God. Secondarily, its matter is the Church and whatever pertains to God or to the Church according to God’s ordering. Indeed, all things which are contained in Scripture have a fitting arrangment towards God, even those things which may seem to be, by our judgment, the farthest removed from him.

3. Forma Sacrae Scripturae dupliciter consideratur intus & foris, ex quo internam & essentialem, aut externam & accidentalem dicimus. Interna Scripturae forma in relatione consistit. Scriptura enim, verbi enunciati Scriptura est: itaque quae est forma verbi ea etiam Scripturae secundum relationis formam censenda est. Verbi autem essentialis forma est diuina veritas, totum subiectum & singulas eius partes informans: Ioan. 17. 17. Eadem ergo & Scripturae forma tota in toto & in singulis eius partibus contenta.

​3. The form of Holy Scripture is considered in two ways: internally and externally. Hence, we speak of the internal and essential form or the external and accidental form. The internal form of Scripture consists in relation. For Scripture is the writing of the enunciated Word: thus, what is the form of the Word is also to be regarded as the form of Scripture according to relation. Now, the essential form of the Word is divine truth, informing the whole subject and its individual parts (John 17:17). Therefore, the form of Scripture is the same, contained in its entirety and in each of its parts.

​4. Huic formae essentiali accedit forma externa & accidentalis cum interna illa modificata: nam sicuti intus diuina illa est veritas sancta iusta atque perfecta, ita etiam foris in singulis Scripturae particulis eadem est diuinitus expressa, ita vt nihil - planè in ea possit animaduerti, quod non summam habeat cum veritate diuina conuenientiam. Cui formae externae accedit dictio qua primariò expressa est, quae in veteri quidem Testamento Hebraica, in nouo Graeca est: vnde non immeritò illis editionibus tanquam prototypis, ab ipsis Prophetis & Apostolis instinctu expressis, omnia tribuimus.

​4. To this essential form, the external and accidental form is joined when that internal form is modified. Just as internally, that divine truth is holy, just, and perfect, so too, externally, in each particular part of Scripture, it is divinely expressed in such a way that nothing in it can be observed which does not have the utmost congruity with divine truth. To this external form is added the wording by which it is primarily expressed, which in the Old Testament is Hebrew and in the New Testament is Greek. Thus, we do not unjustly ascribe everything in those editions, as prototypes, to the Prophets and Apostles themselves, expressed by inspiration.

​5. Efficiens causa Scripturae duplex obseruari potest, Principalis & secundaria. Principalis est Deus Pater in filio per Spiritum sanctum. Secundaria sunt ministri Dei, Prophetae & Apostoli, quos Deus tanquam notarios publicos adhibuit, qui verbum suum obsignarent, obsignatum Ecclesiae traderent. Se verò Scripturae auctorem esse olim testatus est, & quotidie testatur ordinariè & extraordinariè, communiter & singulariter. Communiter testatur Deus se authorem Scripturae esse aut secundum ortum Scripturae semel: aut secundum actum perpetuum in Ecclesia sua. Secundum ortum, Scripturae Deus se auctorem asseruit, stante quidem arca per fumum, & illo ordinario indicio per Vrim & Tummim: sublata arca multis aliis modis, adeo vt nihil auctoritatis post Symbolicas illas significationes sublatas, reliquis scriptis deesset. In Nouo Testamento se auctorem coram testatus est, & Apostolos notarios suos agnouit.

​5. The efficient cause of Scripture can be observed as twofold: primary and secondary. The primary cause is God the Father in the Son through the Holy Spirit. The secondary causes are the ministers of God, the Prophets and Apostles, whom God appointed as public notaries to seal His word and deliver it sealed to the Church. Moreover, the Author of Scripture testified to being so in the past and continues to testify ordinarily and extraordinarily, collectively and individually. Collectively, God testifies that He is the author of Scripture either according to the origin of Scripture once or according to the perpetual action in His Church. According to the origin, God asserted Himself as the author of Scripture, with the ark standing amid smoke and with that ordinary indication through Urim and Thummim; afterwards, the symbolic meanings of the ark were multiplied in many other ways, so that nothing of authority would be lacking in the remaining writings. In the New Testament, He declared Himself openly as the author, and He acknowledged the Apostles as His notaries.

​6. Quotidie verò idem testatur in Ecclesia sua, maiestate quadam ex ipsa Scripturae simplicitate relucente, Euentorum consecutione, singularum partium inter se harmonia, denique Ecclesiae contestatione quae auctorem Scripturae Deum accepit olim ex perpetuo lapsu temporis agnouit, & constantissimè tuetur, denique consensu piorum alioquin etiam inter se de aliis dissidentium. Omni verò exceptione maius est singulare testimonium Spiritus Sancti, qui in cordibus fidelium fidem facit Scripturam sacram à Deo authore emanasse: 1. Cor. 2. 12. Ioan. 16. 13. 1. Ioann. 4. 1. licet enim illa testimonia in se clara sint, tamen “nequaquam permouent necessariò nisi Deus ipse cor nostrum disponat ad eorum apprehensionem & fidem.

​6. Truly, every day He testifies the same in His Church, with a certain majesty shining from the very simplicity of Scripture itself, through the consecution of events, the harmony among its individual parts, and then by the testimony of the Church, which received God as the author of Scripture and acknowledged it throughout the perpetual lapse of time and guards it most resolutely, and finally by the consensus of the pious, even when they differ about other matters among themselves. But beyond all exception, there is the greater singular testimony of the Holy Spirit, who in the hearts of the faithful makes them believe that the Holy Scripture has emanated from God the author (1 Corinthians 2:12, John 16:13, 1 John 4:1). For even though those testimonies are clear in themselves, they do not necessarily move us unless God Himself disposes our hearts to an apprehension of them and belief in them.

​7. Finis Scripturae duplex est, vnus remotus vel summus: alter propinquus & priori subordinatus. Primarius seu summus finis est gloria Dei (omnia enim facit Deus propter seipsum) idque duplici argumento: vno, à natura ipsius Scripturae sumto, qua Sapientiam Dei rerùmque diuinarum tradit: altero ab effectis eiusdem qua reuerentiam cordibus nostris ingenerat maiestas illa diuina, sole clariùs in Scriptura Sacra elucescens. Secundarius verò finis est electorum bonum, quod consistit in conformatione nostri cum Deo, quae ex communicatione verbi & interna Spiritus operatione existit: Ioan. 20. 31. Etenim hac Scriptura duce ad bonum commune, id est, gloriam Dei contendentes, ad bonum singulare salutem nostram deducimur quem finem eleganter expressit Apostolus Paulus cùm dicit nos conformandos imagini Filij Dei. Rom. 8. Et Petrus cùm nos consortes diuinae naturae effici dicit. 2. Pet. 1. 4.

​7. Moreover, the end of Scripture is twofold: one is remote or highest, the other is proximate and subordinate to the former. The primary or highest end is the glory of God (for God does all things for Himself), and this for two reasons: one taken from the nature of Scripture itself, by which it imparts the Wisdom of God and the things divine; the other from its effects, by which that divine majesty engenders reverence in our hearts, shining more clearly in Holy Scripture. The secondary end, moreover, is the good of the elect, which consists in our conformity with God, arising from the communication of the Word and the internal operation of the Spirit (John 20:31). Therefore, led by this Scripture to the common good, that is, striving for the glory of God, we are brought to the singular good, our salvation, which end was elegantly expressed by the Apostle Paul when he said that we are to be conformed to the image of the Son of God (Romans 8[:29]) and by Peter, when he says that we are made partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

​8. Ex his itaque constat Sacram Scripturam, materiâ, formâ, efficiente & fine, diuinam esse, vnde necessariò consurgunt duo: Authoritas Scripturae omni exceptione maior, & perfectio incomparabilis. Authoritas quia à Deo est, cuius veluti Principis, tum in omnes iure naturae, tum verò in Ecclesiam iure gratiae, summa & plena est potestas, ideóque rescripta eius sola authoritatis summae, & absolutae sunt. Deut. 4. 2. Sicuti autem auctoritas Scripturae in se summa est, & irrefragabilis, ita illam nobis Deus eisdem indiciis testatam facit, quibus se auctorem profitetur: ita vt nullo modo sit necessarium vt aut Ecclesiae auctoritas eam nobis commendet, aut conciliorum decreta stabiliant, quorum vtrorumque munus est auctoritatem à Deo inditam tradere & propagare: non ei maiorem adstruere, vt perperam opinantur Pontificij: Eccius, Enchir. de auct. Script. Eodem modo & Scripturae perfectio ex antecedentibus elucet.

​8. From these, therefore, it is clear that Holy Scripture, in terms of matter, form, efficient, and end, is divine. Hence, necessarily, two things arise: the authority of Scripture beyond all exception, and incomparable perfection. Authority because it is from God, whose authority is supreme and complete, both over all by the right of nature and especially over the Church by the right of grace; and for this reason, its writings alone possess the highest and absolute authority (Deuteronomy 4:2). Even as the authority of Scripture in itself is supreme and irrefragable, so God also confirms this authority to us through the same evidences by which He declares Himself as the author. He does this in such a way that it is by no means necessary for either the authority of the Church to commend it to us or for the decrees of councils to establish it, for the office of both is to transmit and propagate the authority bestowed by God, without any need to strengthen it, as the Roman Catholics mistakenly opine (Johann Eck, “De Ecclesia et eius auctoritate,” Enchiridion Locorum communium aduersus Lutheranos). In the same way, the perfection of Scripture also becomes evident from things antecedent.

​9. Haec Scriptura ita constituta, appellatur Canon Fidei nostrae, id est indubitata regula, eorum omnium quae fidem nostram & vitam concernunt. Sed quoniam hodie magna de Canone & partibus eius controuersia est, dum aduersarij nostri nimis latè fimbrias eius extendunt, Bell. libr. 1. cap. 4. hîc quoque de eo paucis dispiciendum. Duplex itaque à prisca Ecclesia Canon fuit obseruatus, proprius & aequiuocus: August. de ciuit. Dei, libr. 18. cap. 26. siue vt dinstinguit Athanasius in Synopsi Πρωτοκάνων καὶ Δευτεροκάνων. Proprij Canonis dicti vniuoce duae sunt conditiones inseparabiles, quòd veritatem diuinam continet diuinitus materia & forma, & quòd auctoritate Diuina est publico Ecclesiae datus & sanctificatus, vt sit canon siue regula ipsius; Iren. praefat. lib. 3. Atque hic verè diuinus est canon, ex iis libris solummodo constans, quos Deus per seruos suos ab ipso ἱκανωθέντας scripsit: Hic habet τὸ αὐτόπιστον proprie quarto modo, & obstringit fidem, nec ab Ecclesia definitus, sed à Deo ipso traditus & obsignatus est.

​9. Thus, this Scripture so constituted is called “the canon of our faith,” that is, the indubitable rule of all things concerning our faith and life. But since today there is a great controversy about the Canon and its parts, since our adversaries extend its boundaries too far, (Bellarmine, “De Verbo Dei,” I.iv, in De controversiis christianae fidei adversus hujus temporis haereticos), we must also briefly consider this. And so, from ancient times, a twofold Canon was observed by the Church, one proper and one equivocal: as Augustine distinguishes in The City of God (XVIII.26ff), or as Athanasius distinguishes in his Synopsis of Sacred Scripture (Ps-Athanasius, “Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae,” in Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Graeca, 28:284-93). The conditions of the proper canon, called univocal, are twofold and inseparable: that it divinely contains divine truth in terms of matter and form, and that it is given and sanctified by divine authority to the public Church, so that it is its canon or rule (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book III, Preface). And this is truly a divine canon, composed only of those books which God, by His servants, wrote from Himself. This truly has the property (proprie quarto modo) of being self-authenticating (τὸ αὐτόπιστον), and it binds faith and is not defined by the Church, but is handed down and sealed by God Himself.

​10. Alterius canonis aequiuocè dicti conditiones diuersae sunt: nempe quod secundum eius partes singulas vniuersè, neutra conditionum earum, quas thesi antecedenti posuimus ipsi conuenit; sed contra quaedam humano modo & instituto sunt partes illius, quas non exhibuit Deus. Atque hic canon humanus est vel Ecclesiasticus, tum ex libris diuini canonis constans, tum aliis, quos ab hominibus scriptos Ecclesia accenseri putauit oportere, accensos per manus accepit & auctoritate humana consecrauit, non tamen vnquam eadem auctoritate habuit qua illos, qui à Deo ipso in Diuino canone sunt consecrati.


​10. The conditions of the other canon, which is equivocally so-called, are different: namely, that according to its individual parts, neither of the conditions we set forth in the preceding proposition universally applies to it; rather, to the contrary, some parts of it are established by human manner and institution, which God did not provide. And this canon is human or ecclesiastical, both consisting of books from the divine canon and others which the Church thought should be included, accepted by human hands and consecrated by human authority; however, it has never had the same authority as those which are consecrated in the Divine canon by God Himself.

11. Causa huius facti triplex adferri potest: Occasio, quòd Ecclesiae Christianae Scripturam ita auctam ab Ecclesiis ludaeorum Hellenistarum accipientes, libros illos adiectos sine graui offensa resecare non poterant: praesertim cùm argumentum esset de rebus sacris ac non profanis: denique secundarius à diuino esset, librisque Canonicis intelligendis inseruiret: quare placuit patribus coniunctos quidem Diuino Canoni haberi, sed inferiore longè auctoritate: cuius prudentiae patrum & priscae Ecclesiae vel illud indicium est clarissimum, quòd hi libri in Ecclesia quidem legerentur, sed de gradu lectorum, cùm illi diuini Canonis libri de Ambone, id est gradu Episcoporum & Presbyterorum, ab ipsis Episcopis & Presbyteris Ecclesiae praelegerentur, cum veneratione diuinae auctoritatis simpliciter & propriè appellatae. August. lib. 1. de praedest. cap. 14.

​11. A threefold reason (causa) can be brought forth for this fact: (1) this first reason is from the occasion: that the Christian Church, receiving the Scripture augmented by the Jewish Hellenistic Churches, could not excise the added books without causing grave offense, especially since the subject was about sacred matters and not profane ones; (2) moreover, the secondary reason is they were understood to be included among the divine canonical books; therefore, it pleased the fathers that these books be considered as joined to the divine canon but with far lesser authority. The clearest evidence of this is the prudence of the fathers and the ancient Church, for these books were indeed read in the Church, but in the rank of readers, whereas the divine canonical books were read from the pulpit, that is, from the rank of Bishops and Presbyters, by the Bishops and Presbyters of the Church, with simple and proper divine authority, as Augustine states in On Predestination of the Saints, I.xiv.26-29.

12. Canon itaque diuinus continet in se libros veteris & Noui Testamenti, illos quidem Hebraicos, hos verò Graecos: his enim duabus linguis Deus verbum suum Ecclesiae suae consecrauit: vnde quoque argumentum est euidens, eos libros qui veteri Testamento Graecè scripti accensentur, canonis diuini minimè esse. Verùm singulos libros suo ordine recenseamus ad maiorem euidentiam. Libri veteris Testamenti Canonici hi numerantur, quinque libri Mosis, liber Iosue, Iudicum, Ruth, duo libri Samuelis & totidem Regum, liber Estherae, duo libri Chronicorum, liber Esdrae, Nehemiae: Tum Iob, Psalmorum libri, Prouerbia, Ecclesiastes & Canticum Canticorum Schelomonis: Prophetarum libri, Ieschahiae, firmeiae, Iechezkelis, Danielis, Hoschehae, Ioëlis, Amosi, Hobadiae, Ionae, Mícae, Nachumi, Chabakkuki, Zephaniae, Chaggaij, Zecariae, Maleaci.

12. The divine Canon thus contains within itself the books of the Old and New Testament, the former indeed in Hebrew, the latter in Greek, for God consecrated His word to His Church in these two languages. (3) From which also, the argument is evident that the books which are written in Greek in the Old Testament are by no means part of the divine Canon. But let us list each book in its order for the sake of greater clarity. The Canonical books of the Old Testament are these: the five books of Moses, the book of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, two books of Samuel and as many of Kings, the book of Esther, two books of Chronicles, the book of Ezra, Nehemiah; then Job, the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon; the books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.​

13. Hi omnes libri & soli in Iudaeorum Ecclesia à Deo fuerunt sanctificati, & in arca siue capsa Ecclesiastica repositi, vt auctor est Epiphanius, qui reliquos ab eis exterminat, inquiens neque in Aaron, neque in Testimonij arca fuisse repositos: lib. de mensuris & ponderibus. In arca autem testimonij nihil fuit repositum praeter tabulas legis, vt patet ex diuina historia: 1. Reg. 8. 9. Deut. 31. 25. In arca verò omnia Canonica scripta Hebraicè, vt patet ex praecepto Dei: quae duo repositoria Pontificij causae suae seruientes confundunt. Bellar. libr. 1. cap. io. His diuini Canonis libris adiecti sunt illi quos Apocryphos appellamus, quòd abfuerint à sancta illa crypta & Thesauro Ecclesiae Dei: vel vt ait Glossa, quorum author ignoratur, id est quorum auctorem nescimus esse Deum, vel potius scimus non esse Deum, licet nomen hominis auctoris constet. In hac classe sunt, septem postrema Estherae capita, quae sunt in editione vulgata, non Hebraica: Tobiti liber, oratio Menaschis, Iudith, Baruc, Epistola Ieremiae, adiectiones ad Danielem, Hezrae lib. 3. & 4. Machabaeorum libri: Sapientia, Ecclesiasticus. August. libr. 2. in epist. Gaudent. cap. 23.

13. All these books and they alone were sanctified by God in the Jewish Church and were stored in the ecclesiastical ark or chest, as Epiphanius attests, who expels the rest from them, saying that they were not stored in the Ark of the Covenant, nor in the Ark of the Testimony. In the Ark of the Testimony, nothing was stored except the tablets of the law, as is clear from the divine history (1 Kings 8:9, Deuteronomy 31:25). In the Ark, however, were all the canonical writings in Hebrew, as is evident from the command of God; these two repositories serve the pontifical cause but are confounded (Bellarmine, “De Verbo Dei,” I.x, in De controversiis christianae fidei adversus hujus temporis haereticos). Added to these divine canonical books are those which we call the Apocrypha, because they were absent from the holy crypt and treasure of the Church of God; or, as the gloss says, their author is unknown, that is, we do not know them to be from God, or rather, we know they are not from God, although the name of the human author is known. In this class are the last seven chapters of Esther, which are in the Vulgate edition but not in the Hebrew; the book of Tobit, the prayer of Manasseh, Judith, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, additions to Daniel, the third and fourth books of Ezra, the books of Maccabees, Wisdom, and Sirach or Ecclesiasticus (Augustine, Contra Gaudentium, *I.xxxviii.).

14. Libri noui Testamenti canonis diuini sunt hi, Quatuor Euangelia: Acta Apostolorum: Epistolae Pauli numero quatuordecim, nam etiam Epistolam ad Hebraeos comprehendimus: Iacobi Epistola vna, Petri duae, Ioannis tres, Iudae vna: quibus accedit Apocalypsis Ioannis, tanquam clausula toti diuino canoni addita, in fine totum ipsius corpus grauissima contestatione muniens, cum inquit, Contestor cuiuis audienti verba prophetiae libri huius, si quis adiecerit ad haec imponet ei Deus plagas scriptas in libro isto: Et siquis abstulerit aliquid ex verbis libri prophetiae huius, auferet Deus partem eius è libro vitae, & c. Apoc. 22. 18.

​14. The books of the New Testament divine canon are these: the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the fourteen Epistles of Paul, for we also include the Epistle to the Hebrews; one Epistle of James, two of Peter, three of John, and one of Jude; to which is added the Revelation of John, as a seal added to the whole divine canon, fortifying the whole of its body with a most solemn testimony when it says, “I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add the plagues written in this book to him; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the book of life, etc.” (Revelation 22:18).

15. Etenim Apostolus Ioannes reliquis omnibus superstes, rogatu Ecclesiarum Asiae, fines Scripturae canonicae diligenter circumscripsit mucrone Apostolico alia configens omnia, nequid credentes falleret nageioaxtov, vt testatur Hieronym. in prooem. comment. in Matt. & alij. & exemplum nobis reliquit Tertullianus, qui de Quintillanis ita ait: Quod si quae Pauli perperam scripta legunt, exemplum Teclae ad licentiam mulierum docendi tinguendique defendunt: sciant in Asia Presbyterum, qui eam scripturam construxit quasi titulo Pauli de suo cumulans, conuictum apud Ioannem atque confessum id se amore Pauli fecisse loco decessisse. lib. de Baptis. cap. 17.

​15. Indeed, the Apostle John survived all the others, and, at the request of the Churches in Asia, diligently circumscribed the bounds of the canonical Scripture with the apostolic sword, transfixing all others, lest anything should deceive believers, as is testified by Jerome in the preface to his commentary on Matthew and others. And Tertullian has left us an example, who said of the Quintillians: “But if the writings which wrongly go under Paul’s name, claim Thecla’s example as a licence for women's teaching and baptizing, let them know that, in Asia, the presbyter who composed that writing, as if he were augmenting Paul’s fame from his own store, after being convicted, and confessing that he had done it from love of Paul, was removed from his office.” (On Baptism, XVII.).

16. Hactenus de Scriptura in se vidimus, nunc de eadem applicata ad vsum nostrum videamus; vbi duo consideranda veniunt, perspicuitas & interpretatio. Ad perspicuitatem quod attinet Sacram Scripturam veluti Solem quendam spiritualem, claram esse per se nemo bonus infitiari potest: Psal. 19. 9. Deut. 30. 11. Sed ea claritas non videtur nisi ab iis quorum oculi interna luce Spiritus S. sunt illuminati : Rom. 10. 6. Heb. 8. 10. nam, vt inquit Apostolus; Tectum est Euangelium nostrum ijs (f. 1597.) qui pereunt, in quibus Deus huius seculi excaecauit mentes ipsorum ne irradiet eos lumen Euangelij gloriae Christi. 2. Corinth. 4. 3.

​16. Thus far we have seen about Scripture in itself; now let us see about the same Scripture applied to our use; where two things come under consideration: perspicuity and interpretation. As for perspicuity, none can deny that Holy Scripture, like a spiritual Sun, is clear in itself: (Psalm 19:9, Deuteronomy 30:11). But this clarity does not seem to be seen except by those whose eyes have been illuminated by the inner light of the Holy Spirit (Romans 10:6, Hebrews 8:10). As the Apostle says, “Our Gospel is hidden to those who perish, in whom the god of this world has blinded their minds so that the light of the glory of the Gospel of Christ might not shine on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3).

17. Scriptura itaque semper in se perspicua est, sed nobis difficilis & obscura est duabus de causis: propter earum rerum quae traduntur difficultatem, & nostram corruptionem. Res quae traduntur difficiles sunt, tum propter obscuritatem vt res futurae: tum propter maiestatem earum aut mysterium Trinitatis. De vtrisque agit Scriptura modo attemperato, & si quam habet obscuritatem eam non habet à se, sed à rerum quas tractat excellentia & sublimitate. Deinde claritas illa Scripturae nequaquam apparet hominibus, quandiu in peccatis suis & corruptione sepulti iacent, tum propter intercurrentes tenebras mentis nostrae; tum propter externas & aduentitias à Principe tenebrarum offusas: nos denique in vitio sumus, quod Scriptura obscura audit. Ephes. 5. 8. 2. Cor. 4. 4.

​17. Therefore, Holy Scripture is always perspicuous in itself, but it is difficult and obscure to us for two reasons: due to the difficulty of the things that are taught and due to our corruption. The things that are taught are difficult, both due to their obscurity, as in the case of future events, and due to their majesty or mystery as in the case of the Trinity. We must accommodate ourselves to how Scripture deals with both, and if it has any obscurity, it does not have it from itself but on account of the excellence and sublimity of the matters it treats. Then, that clarity of Scripture does not at all appear to men as long as they lie buried in their sins and corruption, both due to the darkness that intervenes in our minds and due to the external and adventitious darkness cast by the Prince of Darkness; accordingly, we are at fault when we find Scripture obscure (Ephesians 5:8, 2 Corinthians 4:4).

18. Haec Scripturae perspicuitas iis demum illucescit qui à Deo regenerati per Spiritum, oculos mentis habent illuminatos, cùm Deus dispellens tenebras superioris luce gratiae, nobis eam reuelat; primum intus, luce interna Sp. S. 2. Cor. 12. 7. secundò; foris luce externa verbi sui & Scripturae sacrae, locum vnum altero explicantis, & tenebras illustrantis. Vtrumque enim necessarium illustratio interna Spiritus & Scripturae fax foris, prout in tenebris lucerna foris opus est, intus oculorum luce. Quae duo Scripturae intelligendae subsidia, Dominus noster & Apostoli eius multis locis inculcant: & hac de causa Christus Spiritum sanctum suis pollicetur: & Apostolus Petrus tam studiose propheticum verbum commendat. Ioan 16. 2. Pet. 1. Nihil enim ad fidem salutarem pertinet, quod non clarè in Scriptura reperiatur comprehensum.

​18. This clarity of Scripture is only evident to those who, being regenerated by God through the Spirit, have the eyes of their minds illuminated, when God dispels the darkness by the light of His grace from above and reveals it to us; first within, by the inner light of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 12:7); then outwardly, by the external light of His Word and Holy Scripture, explaining one place with another and illuminating the darkness. For both are necessary for understanding Scripture: the internal illumination of the Spirit and the external light of His Word. Just as in darkness, we need a lamp outside and the light of our eyes within. Both of these aids for understanding Scripture are inculcated by our Lord and His Apostles in many places; and for this reason, Christ promises the Holy Spirit to His own, and the Apostle Peter so fervently commends the prophetic word (John 16:13, 2 Peter 1[:19-21]).

19. Scripturam Sacram in se perspicuam esse ostendimus: sed quia pauci Hebraeum sermonem aut Graecum intelligunt, quorum ille numquam communis fuit nisi Iudaeis, hic iamdudum communis esse desiit, necessarium fuit ad fidelium aedificationem vt Scriptura in communes linguas aut vulgares vniuscuiusque gentis fideliter transfunderetur ne diuino instrumento homines destituerentur, sed omnes, quod iubebat Christus, Scripturas scrutari possent, Ioan. 5. 39. & pro demenso donationis eius ex ea fructum percipere.

​19. Thus, we have shown that Holy Scripture is clear in itself, but, since few understand Hebrew or Greek, of which the former was never common except among the Jews and the latter has long ceased to be common, it was necessary for the edification of the faithful that the Scripture be faithfully translated into common or vernacular languages of each nation, so that people would not be deprived of the divine instrument, but all, as Christ commanded, could search the Scriptures (John 5:39) and derive fruit from it according to the measure of His gift.

20. Hac necessitate Sacra Scriptura in communes linguas primò, puta Graecam & Latinam: deinde etiam in vulgares translata est ad vsum vniuscuiusque. Sed hic duo errores diligenter notandi. Primus, quod Pontificij ad Latinam versionem, quam vulgatam vocant, cunctos adstringi volunt, cùm iam vix centesimus eam intelligat, & Scripturam vulgaribus linguis à quibusuis legi prohibent. Bell. lib. 2. cap. ii. Alter, quod translationem suam cum ipso fonte conferunt, imò interdum praeferunt, fontem lutulentum fluere arguentes: Bell. lib. 2. cap. 15. quod quàm sit iniquum, ne dicam absurdum, videbunt ij qui sine praeiudicio rem animaduertent.

​20. Due to this necessity, Holy Scripture was first translated into common languages, such as Greek and Latin, and then also into the vernacular languages for the use of everyone. However, two errors are to be carefully noted here. The first is that the Roman Catholics wish everyone to be bound to the Latin version, which they call the Vulgate, since now scarcely the one man in a hundred understands it, and they forbid the Scripture to be read in common languages by anyone (Bellarmine, “De Verbo Dei,” II.ii, in De controversiis christianae fidei adversus hujus temporis haereticos). The second error is that they compare their own translation with the source itself, and sometimes they prefer it, arguing that the source flows with muddy water (Bellarmine, “De Verbo Dei,” II.xv, in De controversiis christianae fidei adversus hujus temporis haereticos). How unjust, not to say absurd, this is, those who observe the matter without prejudice will see.

Concludo igitur Propheticos & Apostolicos libros, secundum mentem Dei per Spiritum in ministris eius agentem conscriptos & Ecclesiae sanctificatos, vnicam, certam & omni exceptione maiorem regulam fidei nostrae continere, idque perfectissime: Atque adeo solem illum spiritualem esse omnibus hominibus propositum & à Spiritu sancto in cordibus fidelium expositum, benignitate coelestis illius Patris, cui cum Filio & Spiritu sancto sit laus & gloria in aeternum. Amen.

I conclude, therefore, that the Prophetic and Apostolic books, written according to the mind of God through the Spirit acting in His ministers and sanctified by the Church, contain the unique, certain, and unexceptionable (omni exceptione maiorem) rule of our faith, and this most perfectly. And indeed, that spiritual sun has been set before all men and explained by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the faithful, by the benevolence of that heavenly Father, to whom, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, be laud and glory forever. Amen.


(Junius) 2. DE SACRA SCRIPTURA
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