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  • Franciscus Junius

5. DE VERBI DEI AVCTORITATE & PERFECTIONE

DE VERBI DEI AVCTORITATE & PERFECTIONE


On the Authority and Perfection of the Word of God

Quum Sacro-sanctum Dei Verbum sit proprium principium & norma verae & perfectae Theologiae, ex quo omnes demonstrationes peti & depromi debent, & sine quo nullum fidei dogma, liquidò definiri potest: non immeritò eius tractationem tanquam fundamentum caeteris futuris disputationibus substernimus.

​Since the most Holy Word of God is the proper principle and true, perfect norm Theology, from which all demonstrations must be sought and drawn and without which no dogma of the faith can be clearly defined, its treatment is not undeservedly laid down as the foundation for all other future disputations.

​1. VERBUM Dei intelligimus non Verbum aeternum Filium aeterni Patris, nempe λόγον ὑφιστάμενον, sed Verbum externum à Deo sanctis, & certis hominibus inspiratum; Hebr. 1. 1. 2. Tim. 3. 16. 2. Pet. 1. 21. & per eosdem in libris Canonicis Veteris & Noui Testamenti conscriptum; vt Dei veritas ab omni obliuione & corruptelis vindicaretur, & Ecclesia perfectè institueretur ac confirmaretur in omnibus iis quorum cognitio & fides ad salutem aeternam est necessaria. 2 Petri 3. 2. Prou. 30. 6. Luc. 1. 4. 2. Tim. 3. 16.

​1. We understand the Word of God not as the eternal Word, the Son of the eternal Father, namely, the Word subsisting (λόγον ὑφιστάμενον), but as the external Word from God and certain holy, inspired men (Hebrews 1:1; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21), written through the same in the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments, so that the truth of God might be vindicated from all oblivion or corruption, and the Church might be perfectly established and confirmed in all those matters of knowledge and faith which are necessary for eternal salvation. (2 Peter 3:2; Proverbs 30:6; Luke 1:4; 2 Timothy 3:16).

​2. Hoc Verbum Dei, Sacra Scriptura, & κατ᾽ὲξοχὴν Scriptura dici solet, item & Scriptura Canonica, quo nomine omnes illos tum Veteris tum Noui Testamenti libros complectimur qui in Bibliorum volumine continentur, ijs exceptis, quos, etiamsi libris Propheti cis adiunctos, tamen quia nec ab aliquo Propheta sunt scripti, nec Prophetarum linguâ editi, nec in Canonem Hebraeorum vnquam admissi, nec à veteri Ecclesia pro talibus agniti, nos Propheticos esse negamus. vt sunt, Historici, liber Tobiae, Oratio Menaschis, liber Juditae, liber Baruci, Epistola Ieremiae, Supplementum Danielis, liber tertius & quartus Esdrae, Supplementum Estherae & Tres libri Macchabaeorum. Didascalici, liber Sapientiae & Ecclesiasticus seu Syracides. Quos omnes, quia etiam praeter illud quod diximus multa absurda & pugnantia tradunt, nos pro θεοπνεύστοις non habemus, & tanquam Spurios & Apocryphos ad fidei dogmata probanda non valere contendimus: quamuis tamen legi posse ad Ecclesiae vtilitatem concedamus.

​2. This Word of God, Holy Scripture, and by way of preeminence (κατ᾽ὲξοχὴν) simply called “Scripture,” and also “Canonical Scripture,” by which name, we comprehend all those books of both the Old and New Testaments that are contained within the volume of the Bible, except those which, though joined to the books of the Prophets, yet because they were neither written by any Prophet, nor expressed in the language of the Prophets, nor ever admitted into the Canon of the Hebrews, nor acknowledged by the ancient Church as such, we deny to be Prophetic. These books are, as for the historical: Tobit, the Prayer of Manasseh, Judith, Baruch, the Epistle of Jeremiah, the additions to Daniel, the third and fourth books of Esdras, the additions to Esther, and the three books of Maccabees; as for the didactic books, they are: Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus or Sirach. All of which, since they also deliver many absurd and conflicting things besides what we have said, we do not consider to be inspired by God, and we contend that they are not valid for proving the dogmas of faith, being considered as spurious and apocryphal; yet, we still allow that they can be read for the benefit of the Church.

​3. Ad reliquos verò Bibliorum libros quod attinet: eorum nos (vt verè θεοπνευστων & Canonicorum) Primò, Irrefragabilem esse authoritatem, excellentiámque sacratissimam, & planè diuinam asserimus, adeò vt quicquid, quomodocunque & quacunque de re isti libri & testificentur & pronuncient, id omne pro certissimo Dei verbo & infallibili Veritate absque vlla tergiuersatione, errorísue suspicione sequamur & amplectamur.

3. Regarding the remaining books of the Bible, (which are truly inspired (θεοπνευστων) and canonical): Firstly, we assert their irrefragable authority, most sacred excellence, and truly divine nature, such that whatever these books testify and declare in any manner and on any matter, we follow and embrace all of it as the most certain Word of God and infallible Truth, without any suspicion of distortion or error.

4. Secundò, Tantam esse perfectionem, vt perspicuè & sufficienter contineant omnia, tum ad saluificam fidem, tum ad vitam Deo placentem informandam pertinentia: vt citra apertum illorum testimonium nihil admittendum sit in religione tanquam necessarium, vel ad credendum vel ad faciendum.

4. Secondly, such is their perfection that they clearly and sufficiently contain all things necessary both for saving faith and for forming a life pleasing to God, that apart from their explicit testimony nothing should be admitted as necessary in religion, either to be believed or to be done.

5. Ac prior quidem propositio tum certissinis testimoniis, tum argumentis firmissimis confirmatur. Testimonia sunt aut interna aut externa. Internum testimonium omni alia authoritate praestantius, & sine quo reliqua omnia testimonia & argumenta nullius, apud nos, ponderis aut momenti futura essent, est Spiritus sancti intus animum nostrum alloquentis & hos S. Scripturae libros θεοπνεύστους, id est, à se dictatos esse, spiritui nostro testantis & quasi obsignantis : atque huius S. Spiritus interno lumine illustrati, & arcano testimonio efficaciter persuasi non solùm certò credimus diuinitus dictatum esse quicquid in his libris continetur; sed etiam hosce libros à nothis & adulterinis spirituali iudicio discernere & an spiritum Dei redoleant diiudicare possumus.

5. And indeed the first proposition is confirmed both by the most certain testimonies and by the strongest arguments. Testimonies are either internal or external. The internal testimony, surpassing all other authority, and without which all other testimonies and arguments, with regard to us, would be of no weight or significance, is the Holy Spirit within, speaking to our souls, and bearing witness to these holy Scriptures as being inspired by God Himself, that is, dictated by Him, testifying to our soul, as if He were sealing it. And we, being illuminated by the internal light of this Holy Spirit, and effectively persuaded by the hidden testimony, not only believe with certainty that whatever is contained in these books is divinely dictated, But we can also distinguish these books by a spiritual judgment from spurious and adulterated ones and discern whether they are redolent of the Spirit of God.

6. Externum Testimonium est, 1. Ipsius S. Scripturae, seu potius Dei nobis in S. Scriptura loquentis, & se eius authorem esse asserentis. Esa. 58. 14. Ezech. 12. 25. 28. 2. Tim. 3. 16. 2 Petri 1. 21. 1. Cor. 2. 13. 2 Prophetarum & Apostolorum, quos diuina auctoritate, virtute, & dictamine instruxit Deus, vt Ecclesiae traderent, tamquam legati Dei & notarij publici Ecclesiae dati, quod à Domino per Spiritum eius acceperant. 3. Ecclesiae Catholicae, cuius constanti & perpetuo consensu, plurimùm quidem nos moueri libenter agnoscimus, sed ita tamen vt eius testimonium, & authoritatem postponamus infallibili Sp. Sancti testimonio, cuius solius testimonium efficit, vt quemadmodum S. Scriptura in se est canonica atque authentica, sic nobis quoque videatur; & sine quo Ecclesiae testimonium mutum prorsus atque inualidum esse censemus.

​6. External testimony is: (1) the testimony of Holy Scripture itself, or rather of God speaking to us in Holy Scripture, and asserting himself to be its author (Isa. 58:14; Ezek. 12:25, 28; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:13), (2) the testimony of the Prophets and Apostles, whom God instructed by divine authority, power, and dictation, to transmit to the Church, as messengers of God and public notaries appointed for the Church, what they had received from the Lord through His Spirit, and (3) the testimony of the Catholic Church, whose constant and perpetual consensus we freely acknowledge to move us greatly, yet in such a way that we place its testimony and authority after the infallible testimony of the Holy Spirit, whose sole testimony makes it so that just as the Holy Scripture is canonical and authentic in itself, it seems to be the same to us as well; and without His testimony, we consider the testimony of the Church to be entirely silent and invalid.

7. Argumenta porrò ex quibus etiam de huius Scripturae auctoritate concludi potest, vt quae certissimò eam verè θεόπνευστον esse euincunt non pauca afferri possunt. vt Quòd à viris sanctissimis scripta: quòd tam coelestis vbique & nihil terrenum redolens doctrina: quòd tam pulchra omnium inter se partium consensio: quòd, vel ipsorum Ethnicorum testimonio, antiquissima: quòd, licet inculta & sermonis simplicitate constans, tamen in hominum animis sit efficacissima viuidéque eorum animos afficiat: quòd vaticiniorum euentu & complemento comprobata: quòd sola liberationem à peccato & morte ostendat: quòd multis & insignibus miraculis sancita: quòd licet toti mundo & inuisa tamen inuicta perstet, & mirabili successu triumphet: quod sanguine tot martyrum obsignata: Denique quòd eius contemptores atrociter à Deo puniti sunt, vt Pharao, Achab: Iezabel, Sennacherib, Antiochus, Herodes, Nero, Domitianus, &c. Quae omnia argumenta, licet iudicium nostrum constringant & cogant, & Scripturam hanc verè Diuinam esse validè euincant; tamen nunquam firmiter id nobis persuadere possunt, nisi accedat Spiritus Sancti testimonium, qui solus illis argumentis vim addit; nec tantùm cogit & premit, vt illa, sed etiam totam mentem ad assentiendum excitat, & animos nostros mirificâ quâdam πληροφορια complet, facitque vt S. Scripturam, tanquam vere θεόπνευστον, amplectamur.

7. Moreover, not a few arguments can be brought forward from which several truths can be concluded concerning the authority of Scripture, as those arguments which most certainly evince that it is truly inspired (θεόπνευστον). We argue thus: (i) that it was written by the most holy men; (ii) that it contains a heavenly and entirely unworldly doctrine everywhere; (iii) that there is such a beautiful agreement among all its parts; (iv) that, even according to the testimony of the Pagans themselves, it is the most ancient; (v) that, though simple and plain in language, it is nevertheless most efficacious and vividly affects the minds of people; (vi) that it has been confirmed by the outcome and fulfillment of prophecies; (vii) that it alone reveals deliverance from sin and death; (viii) that it has been established by many and remarkable miracles; (ix) that although it is opposed by the entire world and despised, it remains unconquered and triumphs with wondrous success; (x) that it has been sealed with the blood of so many martyrs; (xi) finally, that its despisers have been severely punished by God, such as Pharaoh, Ahab, Jezebel, Sennacherib, Antiochus, Herod, Nero, Domitian, and so on. All these arguments, though they constrain and compel our judgment and strongly establish that this Scripture is truly Divine, they can never firmly persuade us unless the testimony of the Holy Spirit is added, who alone imparts force to those arguments; not only does He urge and press upon us to believe those, but He also stirs up our entire mind to assent and fills our souls with a wonderful assurance (πληροφορια), causing us to embrace the Holy Scripture as truly inspired by God (θεόπνευστον).


​8. Posterior (quae de S. Scripturae perfectione erat) propositio, practer innumeras alias rationes, probatur,


I. Ab ipsa definitione perfecti: quod scilicet illud omnino perfectum sit in suo genere, cui nihil in eo genere addi aut diminui potest: talem autem esse S. Scripturam liquet ex Deuter. 4. 2. Non addetis ad Verbum, &c. & ibidem cap. 12. vers. vlt. Quod praecipio tibi, hoc tantùm facito, &c. Si autem non licuit Iudaeis addere ad scripta Mosis, multò minùs iam licebit nobis addere ad scripturae canonem tot libris auctum. liquet item ex Galat. 1. v. 8. vbi omnes αναθεματισμοῦ rei iudicantur quicunque εὐαγγελίζονται praeter illud quod scriptum est.




II. A causa efficiente simul & finali S. Scripturae. Deus hanc Scripturam Patribus inspirauit & per eosdem in libros retulit & scripsit, vt in iis quae pietatis sunt instrueremur ad salutem, vtque ea ratione obuiam iretur corruptelis & adulterationi verae doctrinae: Luc. 1. 4. Ergo Scriptura ita est perfecta, vt nihil in ea possit desiderari quod ad salutem & vitam aeternam pertineat; alioquin enim accusaretur Deus “aut inscitiae, quod nesciuerit perfectam dare, aut inuidiae, quod noluerit, aut impotentiae, quod non potuerit.




III. Ab effectis S. Scripturae, vt, quod faciat sapientem ad salutem, 2. Tim. 3. 15. hominem ad bonum opus perfecte instruat, ibidem; regeneret, 1. Pet. 1. 23 saluet. Rom. 1. 16. liberet à seruitute peccati, Ioh. 8. beatum efficiat, Ps. 1. 1. 2. & denique cum Deo, & Christo viuat, 1. Ioh. 1. Perfecta ergo, quum nihil praeterea desideremus aut opus habeamus ad salutem aeternam consequendam.


IV. Ab iis S. Scripturae locis quibus Traditiones ἄγραφοι expressè damnantur, vt Matth. 15. 16. & Marc. 7. 13. & Esa. 29. 13. Frustra me colunt, seruantes, &c. & Gal. 1. 20. Paulus ait se (ante conuersionem suam) fuisse aemulatorem paternarum Traditionum &c.

​8. The second proposition (which was concerning the perfection of Holy Scripture) is proven by countless other reasons:


I. From the very definition of perfection: that is, that which is absolutely (omnino) perfect in its kind, to which nothing in that kind can be added or diminished. That Holy Scripture is such is clear from Deuteronomy 4:2, “You shall not add to the word,” and Deuteronomy 12:32, “What I command you, that only you shall be careful to do.” If the Jews were not allowed to add to the writings of Moses, much less are we allowed to add to the canon of Scripture, already enlarged by so many books. The same is also clear from Galatians 1:8, where all are anathematized (αναθεματισμοῦ) who preach (εὐαγγελίζονται) something other than what is written.


II. From the efficient and final cause of Holy Scripture: God inspired this Scripture in the Fathers and recorded and transcribed it through them into books, so that we may be instructed in all that pertains to piety and salvation, and so that by this means we might confront (obuiam iretur) corruptions and adulterations of true doctrine (Luke 1:4). Therefore, Scripture is so perfect that nothing necessary for salvation and eternal life is missing from it; otherwise, God would be accused either of ignorance for not knowing how to provide something perfect, or of envy for not willing to, or of impotence for not being able to.


III. From the effects of Holy Scripture: that it makes one wise for salvation (2 Tim. 3:15); fully equips a person for good works (2 Tim. 3:15); regenerates (1 Pet. 1:23), saves (Rom. 1:16), liberates from the slavery of sin (John 8), makes one blessed (Ps. 1:1–2), and finally, makes one live with God and Christ (1 John 1[:3]). Therefore, it is perfect, since we do not need or require anything else to attain eternal salvation.


IV. From those places in Holy Scripture where unwritten (ἄγραφοι) traditions are expressly condemned: as in Matthew 15:16, Mark 7:13, and Isaiah 29:13, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men,” and Galatians 1:20, where Paul asserts that he was zealous for the traditions of his fathers before his conversion.


​9. Quid? quòd non alia de caussa Canonicae dicuntur Scripturae quàm quòd (vel ipsorum Pontificiorum testimonio) pietatis & Religionis Canonem, hoc est, regulam atque normam è coelis summo Dei beneficio ad nos delatam contineant amplissimam; quo certè manifestissimè eius perfectio arguitur, quum nihil aliud sit κανών quàm (vt definit Varinus) μέτρον αδιαψευςον πᾶσαν πρόσθεσιν καὶ αφαίρεσιν μηδαμῶς ἀποδεχόμενον.

​9. What [else can we say concerning its perfection]? Is it not for another reason that the canonical Scriptures are so called, than because (even by the testimony of the Papists themselves) they contain the most magnificent (amplissimam) canon, that is, the rule and norm of piety and religion, brought to us from heaven by the supreme blessing of God; this certainly most manifestly demonstrates their perfection, that the term “canon” (as defined by Varinus) is nothing else but “an unerring measure not admitting of any addition or subtraction whatsoever.”

10. Adde quòd, nisi S. Scripturam ea omnia perspicuè & perfecte continere agnoscamus, quorum cognitio & fides ad salutem nostram est necessaria, sed etiam traditionibus Pontificiorum non scriptis opus esse concedamus, necessariò etiam concedendum erit



I. Apostolos omnia ad salutem necessaria aut non debuisse scribere, aut noluisse, aut non potuisse, quum tamen in omnem veritatem à Spiritu Sancto deducti fuerint. Ioh. 16.



II. Scripturam Veteris Testamenti esse Noui Testamenti Scripturâ perfectiorem, quum nihil possit adferri extra illam Scripturam, quod piis maioribus sub Veteri Testamento constitutis fuerit ad salutem necessarium.



III. Sacra Biblia non respondere suae inscriptioni διαθήχῃς: si quidem liceat hominibus addere diuinae διαθήχῃ.



IV. Eandem fidem esse scripts veterum adhibendam quae S. Scripturae: immò.


V. certam esse fidem adhibendain in iis rebus de quibus certò non constat: quid enim magis varium & incertum est istis traditionibus, quibus Pontificij defectum Scripturae supplere volunt? Denique


VI. sequetur Apostolos alio Spiritu fuisse locutos quàm quo scripserint, quae omnia quàm absurda sint & ἀθεόλογα nullus est qui non videat.

​10. Furthermore, if we do not acknowledge that the Holy Scripture clearly and perfectly contains all those things which are necessary for our knowledge and faith unto salvation, and also concede the need for unwritten traditions of the Papists, it will be necessary to conceed the following:


I. Either the Apostles should not have written, or they did not desire to write, or they could not write all things necessary for salvation, even though they were led into all truth by the Holy Spirit (John 16).


II. That the Scripture of the Old Testament is more perfect than the Scripture of the New Testament, since nothing can be brought forth outside that Scripture which would have been necessary for the salvation of the pious forebears under the Old Testament.


III. The Sacred Books do not correspond with their own inscription of covenant (διαθήχῃς), since it would allow men to add to the divine covenant (διαθήχῃ).


IV. The same faith is to be applied to the writings of the ancients as to the Holy Scripture.


V. Certainty should be attributed to those matters about which there is no certainty. For what is more varied and uncertain than those traditions by which the Papists intend to supplement the deficiencies of Scripture?


VI. Finally, it would follow that the Apostles spoke with a different Spirit than that with which they wrote, all of which are so absurd and atheological (ἀθεόλογα) that no one can fail to see it.


11. Errant igitur Libertini & Anabaptistae, caeteríque id genus haeretici, qui S. Scripturam pro fabula habentes, multisque probris impudenter afficientes, Spiritum nescio quem Enthusiasticum iactant.

​11. Therefore, the Libertines and Anabaptists err, and other such heretics who regard Holy Scripture as a fable and impudently revile it, boasting of some unknown enthusiastic spirit.

​12. Errant item & Pontificij,


I. quòd non contenti iis voluminibus, quae in Vetere Testamento edita sunt à Prophetis, in Nouo ab Apostolis atque Euangelistis, ad integerrimum hoc Canonicae Scripturae opus etiam illos quos initio Apocryphos probauimus, adiungunt.



II. Quòd Scripturae authoritatem ex voce testimonióque Ecclesiae pendere statuunt, & quoad nos Scripturam non esse Scripturam i. verum Dei verbum, nisi propter Ecclesiae sententiam, docent.


III. Quòd doctrinam Scripturarum ad salutem non sufficientem. immò apertè mutilam & mancam esse blasphemantes, ei innumerabiles traditiones ἀγράφους, quarum nulla sit in Scripturis mentio, non modò coniungunt, sed etiam dignitate, authoritate, vsu, fide, necessitate, exaequant.

​12. Likewise, the Papists err:


I. because, not being content with those books which were published by the Prophets in the Old Testament and by the Apostles and Evangelists in the New, they also add those books which we previously proved as Apocryphal to this most authentic work of canonical Scripture.


II. Because they establish the authority of Scripture upon the voice and testimony of the Church and, as far as we are concerned, they teach that Scripture is not truly the Word of God except on account of the judgment of the Church.


III. Moreover, blaspheming that the doctrine of the Scriptures is not sufficient for salvation, but openly declaring it to be incomplete and deficient, they not only add countless unwritten (ἀγράφους) traditions, of which there is no mention in the Scriptures, but they also elevate them in dignity, authority, usage, faith, and necessity.


(Junius) 5. DE VERBI DEI AVCTORITATE, & PERFECTIONE
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