Other version available: text. [10K]
Whoever was the author however, if it was not Vincentius, he must at least, as the subjoined extracts seem to prove, have been familiar with the Commonitory, as also with St. Augustine's writings, of which, as well as of the Commonitory, the Creed bears evident traces.
I subjoin the following instances of agreement between the Commonitory and the Creed: Antelmi gives several others.
COMMONITORY. ATHANASIAN CREED. Unum Christum Jesum, non duos, Est ergo Fides recta, ut credamus eumdemque Deum pariter atque et confiteamur, quia Dominus noster Hominem confitetur. § 36. Jesus Christus, Dei Filius, Deus pariter et Homo est. v. 28. Alia est Persona Patris, alia Alia est Persona Patris, alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti. § 37. Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti. v. 5. Unus idemque Christus, Deus et Deus ex substantia Patris, ante Homo, Idem Patri et aequalis et saecula genitus, Homo ex substantia minor, Idem ex Patre ante saecula Matris, in saeculo natus; perfectus genitus, Idem in saeculo ex Matre Deus perfectus Homo. vv. 29, 30. generatus, perfectus Deus, perfectus Homo. § 37. Unus, non corruptibili nescio Unus omnino, non conversione qua Divinitatis et Humanitatis substantiae, sed unitate Personae. confusione, sed integra et v. 34. singulari quadam unitate Personae. § 37. Sicut Verbum in carne caro, ita Unus, non conversione Divinitatis Homo in Deo Deus est. § 40. in carne, sed Adsumptione Humanitatis in Deo. v. 33.
1. This is probably the true reading.
COMMONITORY, § 69. PROSPER TO AUGUSTINE. "Si quis interroget quempiam "The Massilian clergy complain," haereticorum sibi talia he says, "Romoveri omnem industriam, persuadentem, Unde probas, unde tollique virtutes, si Dei constitutio doces quod Ecclesiae Catholicae humanus praeveniat voluntates." universalem et antiquam fidem § 3. dimittere debeam? Statim ille, Then referring to the teaching of `Scriptum est enim,' et continuo the Massilians themselves, Prosper mille testimonia, mille exempla, continues, mille auctoritates parat de Lege, de "Ad conditionem hanc velint Psalmis, de Apostolis, de Prophetis, uniuscujusque hominis pertinere, ut ad quibus, novo et malo more cognitionem Dei et ad obedientiam interpretatis, ex arce Catholica in mandatorum Ejus possit suam dirigere haereseos barathrum infelix anima voluntatem, et ad hanc gratiam qua in praecipitetur. Audent enim Christo renascimur pervenire, per polliceri et docere, quod in naturalem scilicet facultatem, petendo, Ecclesia sua, id est, in communionis quaerendo, pulsando." suae conventiculo, magna et Referring to the line of argument specialis ac plane personalis pursued by himself and others of quaedam sit Dei gratia, adeo ut sine Augustine's friends and the Massilian ullo labore, sine ullo studio, sine way of dealing with it, he says, "Et ullo industria, etiamsi nec petant, cum contra eos Scripta Beatitudinis nec quaerant, nec pulsent, quicunque tuae validissimis et innumeris illi ad numerum suum pertinent, testimoniis Divinarum Scripturarum tamen ita divinitus dispensentur, instructa proferimus, . . . ut, angelicis evecti manibus, id obstinationem suam vetustate est, angelica protectione servati, defendunt." § 3. nunquam possint offendere ad lapidem pedem suum, id est, nunquam scandalizari." St. Augustine replies to Prosper not in an ordinary letter, but in two short Treatises, which must have been written immediately after its receipt, for he died in August 430, the first entitled "De Praedestinatione Sanctorum," the second "De Dono Perseverantiae." The following extract is from the latter: "Attendant ergo quomodo falluntur qui putant Esse a nobis, non dari nobis, ut petamus, quaeramus, pulsemus. Et hoc esse, dicunt, quod gratia praeceditur merito nostro, ut sequatur illa cum accipimus petentes, et invenimus quaerentes, aperiturque pulsantibus. Nec volunt intelligere etiam hoc divini muneris esse ut oremus, hoc est, petamus, quaeramus, atque pulsamus."--De Dono Persev. c. 23, § 64.
Vincentius's language is in keeping with that of others of St. Augustine's opponents, as Cassian and Faustus, extracts from whom are given by Noris; only, as he observes, while Vincentius uses the term "heresy" of the doctrine impugned,--they are content to use the milder term "error."--Histor. Pelag. p. 246.
1. Inter Epistolas S. August. Ep. 225. Tom. ii. and again Tom. x. col. 1327.
2. Opera ix. col. 1833.
It appears that Prosper and Hilary had made a journey to Rome, where they then were, for the purpose of complaining to Celestine of the connivance of certain bishops of Southern Gaul with the unsound teaching of their clergy. They complained too of the disrespectful manner in which these same clergy treated the memory of Augustine, then recently deceased.
Celestine writes to these bishops: blames their connivance with a fault, which, says he, by their silence they make their own, and then proceeds to charge them, as in the passage quoted in the text, "Rebuke these people: restrain their liberty of preaching. If the case be so, let novelty cease to assail antiquity, let restlessness cease to disturb the Church's peace." Then, after some further exhortation, he adds, "We cannot wonder at their thus assailing the living, when, they do not shrink from seeking to asperse the memory of the departed. Let a stop be put to this spirit of disparagement, which unhappily is on the increase."
The manner in which Vincentius deals with this letter has been very commonly thought, and with reason, to indicate a Semipelagian leaning. His "si ita est," "if the case be so," emphasized by being repeated again and again, quite in an excited manner, as we should say, shows an evident wish to shift the charge of novelty from those against whom it had been brought, and fix it upon the opposite party. "Who are the introducers of novelty? The Massilians, as Prosper represents them, or their calumniators? Not the Massilians: they notoriously appeal to antiquity,--not the Massilians, but Prosper and the rest of Augustine's followers."
The feeling with regard to Augustine, on the part of the Massilian clergy, as indicated in Celestine's letter, is quite in accordance with the animus of § 69 above. See the note on that place, and see Noris's remarks, pp. 246-248.
1. E.g. "Hunc locum Vincentius Lirinensis sic a vero sensu contra Prosperum et Hilarium detorquet, ut ipse haud injuria in erroris Semipelagiani suspicionem veniat." The Benedictine editor of St. Augustine's works on Celestine's letter, Tom. x. col. 2403. To the same purpose, among others, CARD. NORIS, Histor. Pelag., 246. VOSSIUS, Histor. Pelag. TILLEMONT, T. xv. pp. 145, 862. NEANDER, Church History, iv. p. 388.