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Depin's Life


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They fprang from the Principles of the Pagan Philofophers; and from the Mysteries, which crack-brain'd "Men put on the Hiftory of the Old and New Testament, according to their Imaginations; the more extraordinary thefe 'Opinions were, the more did they re"lish, and the better did they like them; and those who "invented them, publish'd them gravely as great Mysteries


to the fimple, who were all difpos'd to receive them.

But cou'd any crack-brain'd Writers have found out more Mysteries in the Old and New Teftament, than the primitive Fathers; (who interpreted them according to their Imaginations, and jumbl'd them together with that Pagan Philofophy they were educated in?) Or have publish'd. their myfterious Reveries with greater Gravity to fimple People, always difpos'd to receive what they do not understand ?

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THE fame Author, fpeaking of St. Barnabas's Catholick Epiftle in Answer to this Objection, "That it was incredible so great an Apostle, full of the Holy Ghost, and Colleague of St. Paul, fhou'd be the Author of fuch forc'd "Allegories, and extravagant Explications of Scripture; of "thofe various Fables concerning Animals, with divers other Conceits of the like Nature; fays, "They have 6. col. 2-7, but little Knowledge of the Jewish Nation, and of the primitive Chriftians educated in the Synagogues, who .." obftinately believe, that fuch Sort of Notions cou'd not "proceed from them; that on the contrary, it was their very Character to turn the whole Scripture into Allegory. And,

of Barnabas p.

cul, L.

Wake's Life of
Barnabas, P.


See 1 Cor, 10,


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I think, none of our celebrated Writers reject this Epi1. 4. Gal. 4. ftle as fpurious, because of the Allegories it abounds with : 21 Heb 9.3. Our excellent Archbishop fays, "Even St. Paul himfelf in

21 Eph. 5.

123.24 10. his Epiftles, receiv'd by us as Canonical, affords us not a

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... few

few Inftances of this, which is fo much found Fault with "in St. Barnabas: As I might easily make appear from a "Multitude of Paffages out of them, were it needful for

me to enlarge myself on a Point, which every One, who "has read the Scriptures with any Care, cannot choose but "have obferv'd. " And thofe Chriftians St. Paul mentions, for believing the Refurrection was past, were, no Doubt, great Allegorists.

C. 19 p.403,B

Adv. Marc. 1.

THE primitive Fathers exactly follow'd the Precedent fet them by the Apostle Barnabas, and other Apoftolical Men: Clemens of Alexandria fays, "The Oeconomy of the Law, Stroma 1. 2. is typical and prophetical; and that Mofes and the Pro-1.6 c. 15 phets, wrote all in Parables.” So Tertullian, "The P 678, B. Law is fpiritual and prophetical, and almost in all Points 2. c. 19 figurative." And Le Clerc obferves, that "The Fathers Le Clerc's Life did not content themselves with interpreting the Old Tef- Eng. Tranfl. "tament allegorically, but they did the fame as to the P. 54. & Bib"New." But because,

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of Cle. Alexan.

loth Univer. To.10.1236

Origen was famous for this allegorical Method, and by Virtue of it esteem'd the greatest Champion of Chriftianity, next to the Apostles; and fince what he says, was not only his own, but the Senfe of the then Church, it will not be improper to cite him. "If we adhere, fays he, Hom. 7. in

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to the Letter; or understand what is written in the Law Levit. To. 1. fol. 73, C-"of God, as the Jews do, in the common Acceptation of the "Words, I blush to own, that God ever gave fuch Laws; for

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mere human Conftitutions, as thofe of the Romans, Athe"nians, or Lacedemonians, will feem more reasonable and proper; but if the Law of God is to be understood in the "Senfe the Church teaches, then truly it exceeds all human « Ordinances.” For which Reafon he makes the allegorical Way of interpreting Scripture to be the Key of Knowledge;

G g


and following the Letter of the Law, the direct Way to Homil. 26 into Infidelity and vain Superftition. Literam fequentes in InMat 101 50 E- fidelitatem, & varias Superftitiones incurrunt. And he Rem jects to Marcion the Heretick, that he was against the allegorical Way of interpreting Scripture.

c. 2. fol. 147,


B. Do not thefe Fathers fuppofe God either a weak Being, who could not frame as wife Laws as Men; or else an ill-natur'd Being, who, in Order to puzzle Mankind, speaks in Riddles and Myfteries? What fhould we think of a Lawyer, who faid, he fhou'd be afham'd of the Laws of his. own Country, if taken in a literal Senfe; but that there was. an allegorical Senfe which could one but hit, wou'd difcover profound Wisdom ?

A. THUS the Fathers fufficiently acknowledg'd the Sovereignty of Reafon, in allegorifing away Matters of Fact, that were in Truth, uncapable of being allegoris'd; tho' that is but running into one unreafonable Thing, to get rid of another: And how can we depend on any Thing faid in the Scripture, if we can't on its Facts? One wou'd think nothing was a plainer Fact, than that of Lib. 4. c. 51. Lot's lying with his two Daughters, yet St. Irenæus allegorifes That away; and is fo fond of Allegorifing, that Lib. 4 c. 37. for the fake of it, he contradicts the Scripture, and fays, p. 33, co. The Harlot Raab entertain'd three Spies;" and had he not made them three, he wou'd have been at a Lofs, how to fay as he does, that this Harlot bid in her Houfe, Hom. 6. in Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft. "How can we be edi

per totum

1. 36, &c. Joh. 2. 1,

Gen. to J.

fol. 12, H, 13



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fy'd, fays Origen, in reading that fo great a Patriarch "as Abraham, not only ly'd to King Abimelech, but also betray'd to him the Chastity of his Wife? What Inftruc"tions can we reap from the Wife of fo great a Patriarch, "if we think he was expos'd to be debauch'd by her Hus


"band's Contrivance. Let the Jews believe fuch Things, and those with them, who are greater Friends to the Let

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ter than to the Spirit.

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He afferts," That there are even in the Gospel Things Hom. 6. in faid, which, according to the Letter, or taken in their literal D

Senfe, are mere Falfities, or Lies ; as where our Saviour fays, "He that believeth in me, the Works that I do, shall he do alfo; and greater Works than thefe fhall be do. John xiv. ves xii, &c. which, he fhews, was not verify'd literally, but fpiritually. And,

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Celf. 1. 6, P.

"THAT it was Want of Knowledge in the Scriptures, to Orig, contra think, that God fpent fix real Days in the Work of the 310, 311. See


Philocal, c. In P. 12.

D. E.

He defires any one to fhew, "how the Truth of the Gof-Tom. 10, in pels can be maintain'd, or their seeming Contrarieties clear'doh. p. 150, by any other than the anagogical Method; which he affirms "neceffary for that Purpose.

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He fays, The pair of Turtle-Doves, or two young Pid

Hor. 14, in Luc. p. 101, B, to. 3.

geons, offer'd for Jefus, were not such as we fee with our "carnal Eyes; not Birds, such as fly in the Air; but fomething divine and auguft, beyond human Contemplation, &c. Ir You defire to be more plentifully furnish'd with In-Cap. 1. p. 12. ftances of the like Nature with those abovemention'd, con- & feqq. Edit. Cantab. 1658. fult the Philocalia of Origen.

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dacium, c. 10,

ST. Auftin, a Man of the greatest Authority of all the Contra MenFathers, fays, "We must not take the Story of Jacob's p 44, 45. to. cheating his Father, by perfonating his Brother Efau, lite-4 rally, left the Scripture thould seem to encourage Lying; and fpeaking of Jefus curfing the Fig-Tree, lays, Hoc fac-Serm, "77. 4. tum, nifi figuratum ftultum invenitur. And he, with the rest 2. de Gen. of the Fathers, not only moft unnaturally allegorifes away Contra Manithe History of the Fall, but even of the whole Creation ; & d.



che. C. £7,

Tom. 3. lib. and fays, "The whole World was created in an Inftant;" and Imperf. De Gen. ad Lit. tho' there is not one Word about Angels in the Text, yet this angelical Doctor makes Part of the fix Days Labour relate to the Creation of Angels.

€. 7. &c.

Lib. 2. de

Gen. contra

18 p 841, B. To. 1.

B. But how could he account for God's inftituting the
Sabbath, upon
his refting from his fix Days Labour, if all
Things were created in an Instant ?--

A. How happy he was in allegorifing, You may judge from his explaining that Paffage of Genefis, iii. xiv. where the Latin Verfion which he follow'd, runs thus; Upon thy Manich. 17, Breaft, and upon thy Belly fhalt thou go, and Duft shalt thou eat all the Days of thy Life. By the Breaft, fays he, is to be understood Pride; by the Belly, the Lufts of the Flesh; and by that which is added, Duft fhalt thou eat, is meant Curiofity, which extends only to Things temporal and earthly; and by Curiofity, he means Avarice. And,

Lib. de Noe

ST. Ambrofe will not allow the Rainbow to be the Bow, Arca. 27, which God plac'd in the Clouds; and faith, “ Far be it from us to call this God's Bow; for this Bow, which

" is call'd Iris, is feen indeed, in the Day, but never ap

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pears in the Night:" For which weighty Reason, he fubftitutes in its Room, a strange, allegorical Bow, out of his own Imagination.

IF the Fathers could allegorife away the most ftubborn Matters of Fact, they could have no Difficulty in allegorifing away any other Matter, where the Words are capable of various Senses: One would think, it was difficult to find, out an allegorical Meaning to this Text, O Daughter of BaOrigen contra bylon, happy is he, who taketh, and dashes thy little Ones aCelfum, 1. 7. gainst the Stones; yet nothing is too hard for Origen, who affures us, that the Text intends, The Man who dashes his vi cious Thoughts against the folid Rock of Reafon.



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