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  • Franciscus Junius



On Traditions

​1. TRADITIO quae Graecis παράδοσις, Hebraeis Lekac, id est, perceptio, generali significatione omne id complectitur, quod scripto vel sine scripto ad nos peruenit: plerumque tamen de doctrina non scripta, sed ore tantùm & quasi per manus tradita in vulgo accipitur.

​1. Tradition, which in Greek is called “παράδοσις”and in Hebrew “Lekac,” possesses a general signification, which includes everything that has come to us, whether in writing or not written. However, it is commonly understood as referring mostly to unwritten teachings, or those passed down orally, as if handed (tradita) from one person to another.

2. Traditio itaque definitur, verbum Dei quod non fuit ab authore scriptum, id est, à Deo, aut ab eo homine, abs quo primum fuit Ecclesiae traditum.

​2. Thus, tradition is defined as the Word of God that was not written by the author, that is, not by God Himself or by a man from whom it was first handed down to the Church.

3. Traditionum multiplex diuisio pro vario respectu in vulgo traditur. Communiter tamen ad duo genera reuocari solent: nam aliae ab auctoribus, aliae à materia denominationem habent. Ab auctoribus: nam omnes traditiones vel à Deo, vel ab homine dicuntur profectae. Illae diuinae, hae humanae traditiones appellantur. A materia: nam aliae dogmaticae, aliae Ethicae appellantur: & in vtroque genere duae quodammodo species diffusae sunt, quas non incommodè historicas & ceremoniales dixeris.

​3. Tradition is commonly divided in various ways according to its vulgar acceptation. Nevertheless, they are generally classified into two categories: those denominated from their authors and those denominated from their matter. From the authors: all traditions are said to be derived either from God or from man. The ones coming from God are called divine traditions, while those from men are called human traditions. From the matter: some are termed dogmatic traditions, and others are termed ethical traditions. In each genus, there are somewhat distinct species, appropriately termed historical and ceremonial traditions.

​4. Diuinae traditiones vocantur quae à Deo & à Christo immediatè, Prophetisque & Apostolis sine scripto Ecclesiae primèm nascenti traditae fuerunt; quae cùm scriptis hodie sint comprehensae, traditiones ilia generali significatione appellantur; humanae verò, quae nuda hominum voluntate excogitatae sunt.

​4. Those are called Divine traditions which were immediately handed down from God and from Christ, as well as from the Prophets and Apostles to the Church in its earliest days without writing. Now, as many of them are included in written scriptures today, they are referred to under the general meaning of traditions. On the other hand, human traditions are those devised solely by human will.

5. Dogmaticas siue Ethicas Traditiones vocamus illas, quae ad fidem, siue ad mores pertinent. Harum perfecta ratio in Scripturis à Deo nobis tradita est, vt qui totum consilium suum, sibi gloriosum, nobis salutare, quoad eius fieri à nobis potest & expedit, scripto communicauit. Quapropter nullas in hoc genere traditiones admittimus, quia Scriptura est θεόπνευστος & vtilis tota, vt integer sit homo Dei, ad omne opus bonum comparatus, ac proinde omnia in se complectitur expressè aut analogicè quae ad eam rem sunt necessaria.

​5. We call those dogmatic or ethical traditions that pertain to faith or morals. The complete account of these has been handed down to us from God in the Scriptures, as He, in His glory, has communicated His entire counsel to us in writing for our salvation, as far as is necessary and expedient for us. Therefore, we do not admit any traditions in this category, as the Scripture is complete and entirely sufficient (θεόπνευστος) to equip the man of God for every good work, encompassing expressly or by way of analogy everything necessary for that purpose.

6. Humanas ergo traditiones de sacra doctrina & moribus, vt quae ab humano ingenio excogitatae, nec in Scripturis expressae sunt, neque ex iis deduci possint, sed vel directè vel obliquè cum iis pugnent, merito reijcimus.

​6. Therefore, we rightfully reject human traditions devised by human ingenuity, concerning sacred doctrine and morals, which are neither explicit in the Scriptures nor deducible from them, and which may directly or indirectly contradict them.

7. Historicae Traditiones appellantur, rerum à Christo & Apostolis dictarum gestarùmque narrationes. Harum quae in verbo non continentur, pro humanis scriptis habendae sunt, ac non veritate & auctoritate cum Canonicis comparandae.

​7. Historical traditions are called narratives of events and actions spoken or done by Christ and the Apostles. Those not contained in the written word ought to be regarded as human writings and should not be compared in truth and authority with the Canonical Scriptures.

8. Hae autem narrationes ab Euangelistis & Apostolis ideò omissae sunt, tum quia capi à nobis (si perscripta fuissent omnia) nunquam potuissent, tum quia ratio communis earum perfectè Scripturis continetur, vt credamus IESUM esse CHRISTUM filium Dei, credentesque vitam habeamus per nomen eius.

​8. These narratives were omitted by the Evangelists and Apostles because, firstly, we could never capture all of them in writing, and secondly, the essential truths of these narratives are fully contained in the Scriptures for us to believe that JESUS is the CHRIST, the Son of God, and that believing, we may have life through His name.

9. Ceremoniales traditiones vocantur ritus quidam non scripti ad ordinem & decorum pertinentes. In his duo consideranda: vnum essentiale ceremoniarum, illud honestum & ordinatum quod in ritibus est, vtpote ipsa vtilitas & aedificatio proximi. Alterum accidentale, id est, ipsae circumstantiae, modus, tempus, locus, personae, & c.

​9. Ceremonial traditions are certain unwritten rituals pertaining to order and decorum. In them, two things are to be considered: the essential part of ceremonies, which is the honorable and orderly aspect found in the rituals, namely the advantage and edification of our neighbor. The other aspect is the accidental one, namely, the circumstances, mode, time, place, persons, etc.

10. Ipsum essentiale decori & ordinis (nam ceremonias Testamenti Veteris figurales antiquatas constat) quia rebus dogmaticis, ethicísque coniunctissimun, & secundum genus ipsius in verbo Dei perscriptum est, aeternum est atque immutabile. 1. Cor. 14. vers. 40. πάντα εὐσχημόνως καὶ κατὰ τάξιν γενέσθω. Accidentale (id est, ipsa circumstantiarum ratio) varium est & mutabile.

​10. The essential aspect of decorum and order (for it is evident that the ceremonial aspects of the Old Testament have been antiquated), because it is most closely connected with dogmatic and ethical matters, and according to its kind is inscribed in the Word of God, is eternal and immutable. “Let all things be done decently and in order,” (1 Corinthians 14:40). The accidental aspect (i.e., the very nature (ratio) of the circumstances) is varied and mutable.

11. Ceremoniales autem quaecunque sunt, rectè in tria genera distribui à nobis possunt: Vnum bonarum est, alterum malarum, tertium indifferentium & mediarum.

11. Ceremonies of whatever sort can be rightly divided by us into three categories: the first is good, the second evil, and the third indifferent and neutral.

12. Bonae dicuntur eae, quae cum sanctitate, aequitate, veritate, honestate, ordine coniunctae sunt. Malae dicuntur, quae cum rebus iisdem pugnant. Mediae quae pro ratione personarum, locorum, & temporum cum iisdem rebus modò cohaerere, modò pugnare comperiuntur.

12. Those are called good which are harmoniously united with sanctity, equity, truth, honesty, and order. Those are called bad which are repugnant to these principles. The indifferent and neutral ones are those which are found to sometimes agree and sometimes conflict, by reason of persons, places, and times.

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