24 November 2007

Augustine's Admonition Against a Hidden Church

Brethren, let us hasten in the way, because we are Catholic Christians, which is the one Church of God, as was foretold in the holy Scriptures. For it was not God’s Will that she be hidden; that no one might plead this as excuse. It was foretold that she would be established throughout the whole earth; ;and she has been made visible to the whole earth. Nor should we falter because there are heresies and schisms innumerable: it should trouble us more if there were not; for they too have been foretold. All, either those who remain in the Catholic Church, or those who are outside the Catholic Church, bear testimony to that Gospel. They bear testimony that all that was said in the Gospel is true. For in what form was it foretold that she would appear among the nations? As One; as founded on a Rock; and that the gates of hell would not prevail against her.

The beginning of sin is a gate of hell: For the wages of sin is death, and death here beyond leads to hell. And what is the beginning of sin? Let us ask the Scriptures. Pride, they say, is the beginning of all sin. And if pride is the beginning of sin, pride is a gate of hell. Think now of what it was gate birth to all the heresies; and you will find they had no other mother save pride. For when they think much of themselves, and call themselves saints, and seek to draw crowds to themselves, and draw them from Christ, they promote heresies to their advantage, and likewise schisms, and this solely through pride. But because the Catholic Church shall not be overcome by all these heresies and schisms, that is, by the sons of pride, it was therefore foretold: That the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

1 comment:

Sch├╝tz said...

There is a neat paragraph in Diarmaid MacCulloch's "Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490-1700":

" Erasmus went on fighting, in too bulky and bitter volumes published in 1526 and 1527, in which he showed how Luther had forced him back to reaffirm his loyalty to the imperfect structures of the old Church. "Therefore I will put up with this church until I see a better one; and it will have to put up with me, until I become better." with this weary statement, he was confronting not only Luther, but also his own humanist sympathises like Zwingli or Melanchthon, who had made the irrevocable decision to favour Augustine's doctrine of grace over Augustine's doctrine of the Church."