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  • Franciscus Junius

6. DE TRADITIONIBVS (PARS I)

DE TRADITIONIBVS

On Traditions

​1. Verbum Dei aut ἔγγραφον est, aut ἀγραφον. Scripturam sacram verbum esse ἔγγραφον, auctoritate, perfectione, modo & fine suo diuinum & canonem authenticum, hactenus fuit demonstratum. Iam de ἀγράφῳ, siue non scripto, nobis videndum est, quod nomine traditionum donarunt multi.

1. The Word of God is either written (ἔγγραφον) or unwritten (ἀγραφον). That Holy Scripture is the Word written, by its authority, perfection, its divine manner and end, and its authentic canonical status, has been demonstrated thus far. Now we must treat of the [Word] unwritten (ἀγράφῳ), or not written, which name many have given to traditions.

​2. Traditionis vox latius, aut angustius sumitur. Priore modo significat doctrinam quamlibet scriptam, aut non scriptam in Testamento N. & V. vt 2. Thess. 2. Posteriore verò significat eam, quae non à Prophetis aut Apostolis scripta est, sed ab iis viua voce dicitur exposita. Hanc affirmant Pontificij; nos distinguimus, quae non satis aptè aut verè ab illis obtenduntur.

2. The word “tradition” is taken more broadly or more narrowly. In the former mode, it signifies any doctrine, whether or not it is written in the New and Old Testaments, as seen in 2 Thessalonians 2[:15]. In the latter sense, however, it signifies those things which were not written by the Prophets or Apostles but were explained by them orally (viua voce). The Papists affirm this latter sort; we distinguish those things which are not adequately, suitably, or truly explicated (obtenduntur) by them.

3. Etsi autem Traditiones illi in Diuinas, Apostolicas, & Ecclesiasticas solent distinguere, ab authoribus ipsarum: tamen quia illud nihil ad rem praesentem facit; alterum distinctionum genus, quod à materia ducitur, in hoc loco satis futurum confidimus. Sunt enim traditiones aliae facti, puta historicae; aliae iuris, puta quae ad fidem, mores, aut disciplinam pertinent.

3. Although those traditions are accustomed to be distinguished into the Divine, the Apostolic, and the Ecclesiastical, on account of their diverse authors, yet, because that matters not for the present case, we trust that the other type of distinction, derived from the matter, will be sufficient in this place. For there are some traditions of fact, namely, historical ones; and there are others of law, namely, those which pertain to faith, morals, or discipline.

4. Traditiones historicas appellamus eas, quibus historiae narrantur à Christo, Prophetis, Apostolis, aut Euangelistis ipsius gestae, quorum nulla tamen in scriptura Canonica habetur mentio. Nam alias praetereà fuisse gestas quàm quae scripturis continentur cùm ipsa docet ratio, tum Iohannes testatur euangelio suo cap. 20 & 21. Earum verò narrationes (nam habentur quaedam apud orthodoxos Patres) si cum illo canone conueniunt, suscipimus: si dissentiunt, improbamus, si non dissentiunt, in medio relinquimus, nemini fidem praescribentes.

4. We call those traditions historical by which histories are narrated of deeds done by Christ, the Prophets, the Apostles, or the Evangelists themselves, of which, however, the canonical Scripture makes no mention. That other deeds were performed besides what is contained in the Scriptures, both reason itself teaches and John attests to in his own gospel (John 20:[30–31], 21[:25]). If the narratives of these traditions (for some are found among orthodox Fathers) agree with that canon, we accept them. If they disagree, we reject them. If they neither agree nor disagree, we leave them undetermined (in medio relinquimus), not prescribing faith to anyone.

5. Traditionum verò illarum quae sunt in iure positae ratio est multiplex. Nam aliae ad rationem fidei propriè & per se pertinent: aliae ad rationem morum, & instituendae vitae; aliae denique ad rationem disciplinae ceremoniarùmque illius. De his ordine videamus.

5. However, the reason for those traditions which are set down in law is manifold. For some pertain to matters (rationem) of faith properly and essentially (per se), others to moral principles (rationem) and the conduct of life, and still others to matters (rationem) of discipline and ceremonies. Let us now examine them in order.

​6. Traditiones ad rationem fidei pertinentes aliquas esse, & esse necessarias affirmant Pontificij, nos negamus. Nam Scriptura S. instrumentum est diuinum diuina perfectione & modo continens perfectè regulam fidei, quae vnica est, eadémque semper, & sola immutabilis, cui nihil addere, demere, nouare fas, atque (vt Tertullianus loquitur) irreformabilis: quorsum igitur Traditiones? Tum à sola authoritate Dei est fidei auctoritas, éaque adeo in S. Scripturís obsignata, vt deletum iri pronuncietur eum qui addiderit, minuerit aut mutauerit in ea quicquam. Itaque tantum abest, vt traditiones de fide nobis sint necessariae, vt contrà omninò sit necessarium, ne traditiones de fide habeamus in Ecclesia Dei.

6. The Papists affirm that there are certain traditions pertaining to matters of faith and that they are necessary; we deny this. For the Holy Scripture is a divine instrument perfectly containing the rule of faith by divine perfection and manner, which is unique, always the same, and alone immutable, to which nothing can be added, taken away, or altered, and (as Tertullian says) it is “irreformable.” What, then, is the purpose of traditions? Moreover, the authority of faith is solely from the authority of God, and it is sealed in the Holy Scriptures in such a way that whoever adds, diminishes, or changes anything in it is pronounced cursed (deletum). Thus, it is far from being the case that traditions about the faith are necessary for us; on the contrary, it is altogether necessary that we do not have traditions about the faith in the Church of God.

7. Sed quia traditionum harum auctoritatem & exemplum nullum adferre possunt qui eas praedicant, solent Pontificij ad traditiones quae aut de moribus, aut de disciplina sunt, aut de historia, confugere. Nam quòd (verbi gratia) de beatae virginis θεοτόκου perpetua virginitate asserunt, & nos minimè negamus, id traditionis est historicae caetera fermè omnia è disciplinae traditione sunt. Hoc verò alienum est, quòd ex vna specie alteram probare volunt, & ἀσυλλόγιστον. De traditionibus historicis in thesi 4. praescripsimus: de aliis itaque videamus.

7. However, since those who proclaim these traditions are unable to bring forth any authority or example for the authenticity of them, the Papists usually resort to traditions that pertain to either morals, discipline, or history. For what they assert, for example (verbi gratia), concerning the perpetual virginity of the blessed Virgin, the Mother of God (θεοτόκου)—and we by no means deny it—is a tradition of history; nearly all other things are regarding the tradition of discipline. However, it is inconsistent and inconclusive (ἀσυλλόγιστον) to argue from one species of tradition in order to prove another. We have addressed historical traditions in the fourth thesis; let us now consider the others.

​8. Traditionum quae ad mores pertinent auctoritatem aut ex Natura, aut ex Scriptura peti necesse est, ídque simpliciter primò & per se, aut etiam analogicè, perspicuè aut obscure. Nam si quid vel Ecclesia tota, extra, praeter, aut contra hanc authoritatem, vel alterius harum statueret, pios certè ne ipsi quidem Ecclesiae auscultare oporteret.

8. The authority of traditions that pertain to morals must be sought either from Nature or from Scripture, and that either firstly absolute and per se or analogically, whether clearly or obscurely. For if anything were to be established by the entire Church, outside, beyond, or against this authority, or by any other [authority] than these, surely the pious should not even heed it from the Church itself.

​9. Cùm autem ex natura sit morum naturalium nostrorum, ex Scriptura verò sit supernaturalium morum & ad vitam aeternam pertinentium auctoritas, certè ipsa Naturae cum Scriptura S. comparatio demonstrat, vt nihil morum naturalium extra, praeter, aut contra naturam, adeóque nisi à natura docetur, ita supernaturalium, qui ad vitam futuram spectant, nihil extra, praeter, aut contra Scripturam, nihil nisi ex Scriptura doceri debere aut posse: nisi quis fortè naturam in suo genere perfectam, Scripturam verò minus perfectam statuat, ac proinde magis in natura Deum, quàm in Scriptura sapuisse.

9. Indeed, since the authority of our natural morals is from nature, and the authority of supernatural morals pertaining to eternal life is from Scripture, surely the very comparison of Nature with the Holy Scripture demonstrates that just as nothing concerning natural morals is outside, beyond, or contrary to nature, and thus is taught only by nature, likewise, for supernatural morals pertaining to future life, nothing is to be taught or able to be taught outside, beyond, or against Scripture, unless perhaps someone might posit that nature in its kind is perfect, while Scripture is less perfect; and hence, they assert that God has revealed more in nature than in Scripture.

​10. Earum verò Traditionum, quae ad disciplinam pertinent, distinctiones illae sunt propriae, quae à Pontificiis in hac caussa adferri solent. 1. has esse perpetuas, vt (exempli caussa) sacros coetus haberi, &c. illas temporarias, vt haberi in publico, aut secreto, ante meridiem vel post &c. 2. has vniuersales esse, & particulareis illas. 3. alias esse Necessarias, & alias Liberas. Nam quaecunque fidei & morum sunt, ea propriè sunt necessaria, aut primò & per se, aut secundariò. quae ordinatae sunt ad principium suum immutabiliter.

10. However, the distinctions of those traditions which pertain to discipline are peculiar. These are usually presented by the Papists in this matter: (1) Some are perpetual traditions, as (for example) the holding of sacred gatherings, etc., and others are temporary, as holding them in public or private, in the morning or in the afternoon, etc. (2) Some are universal traditions and others, particular ones. (3) Some traditions are necessary, and others are optional. For whatever pertains to faith and morals is properly necessary, either primarily and directly, or secondarily, which are immutably ordained to their principle.

​11. Cùm autem disciplina nihil sit aliud quàm iusta auxiliatrix, atque administra fidei & morum, certa hîc distinctio à nobis statuitur. Nam quaecunque documenta disciplinae sunt, quae genere, specie, & fine suo perpetuam, vniuersalem & necessariam ordinationem coniunctionémque habent cum regula fidei & morum, eorum non est traditio: nam in Scripturis sacris comprehensa sunt expressè aut analogicè. Quaecunque verò in circumstantiis posita sunt, eorum traditiones in Ecclesia esse aut esse posse, verumtamen temporaleis, particulares, & liberas agnoscimus.

11. Since a discipline is nothing other than a just helper and administrator of faith and morals, a certain distinction is made by us here: For, whatever teachings of discipline there are, which in their kind, species, and purpose have a perpetual, universal, and necessary connection and conjunction with the rule of faith and morals, are not traditions of those things. For they are comprehensively contained either expressly or analogically in the Holy Scriptures. However, whatever is established in circumstances, whatever things are established in circumstances, the traditions of them are or can be in the Church, yet we acknowledge them to be temporary, particular, and optional (liberas).

12. Atque harum quidem traditionum quae in circumstantiis versantur lex fertur à Paulo 1. Cor. 14. τὸ εὒσχημον, καὶ τὸ κατὰ τάξιν, honestum decus & ordo, quae in singulis Ecclesiis pro commoditate ipsarum procurantur atque ordinantur in re praesente, vt idem Apostolus dicit 1. Cor. 11. Nam (ait optimè Seneca Epistola 22.) quaedam non nisi à praesente monstrantur. Non potest medicus per epistolas cibi aut balnaei tempus eligere: vena tangenda est. Vetus prouerbium est, gladiatorem in arena capere consilium. Sed harum tamen traditionum certus modus atque duratio tenenda est. Modus, vt externum hominem dicantur abligare ad iustum ipsarum vsum in veritate, & simplicitate, sine superstitione, sine tyrannide, id est permanente libera interni hominis conscientia: duratio verò, vt tantisper in Ecclesia obtineant, dum verum, sanctum, iustum legitimúmque finem suum assequantur, statu verò mutato abrogentur, ne vero, sancto, iusto, legitimóque praeiudicent, vt serpente aeneo factum fuisse legimus à rege Ezechia. 2. Reg. 10.

12. And indeed, concerning these traditions that deal with circumstances, the law is set forth by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:40, “Let all things be done decently and in order,” referring to honorable decorum and order, which in individual Churches are arranged and ordained for their convenience in the present matter, as the same Apostle says in 1 Corinthians 11. “For,” as Seneca excellently states in Epistle 22, “some things are only shown in the present. A physician cannot choose the timing of food or baths through letters; the vein must be touched. The old saying is, ‘take the advice of the gladiator in the arena.’” However, a definite manner and duration must be maintained for these traditions. Manner, so that external actions are said to be bound for the just use of them in truth and simplicity, free from superstition and tyranny, that is, with the free conscience of the inner person remaining unharmed; but as for duration, that they persist in the Church only until they achieve their true, holy, just, and legitimate end. But when the situation changes, they should be abrogated, lest they prejudice what is true, holy, just, and legitimate, as we read of the bronze serpent being destroyed by King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18[:4]).


(Junius) 6. DE TRADITIONIBVS (PARS I)
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