On The Right Use of the Fathers
J.J. Blunt, D.D.

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3rd Edition. London: John Murray, 1869. Hbk. pp.542.

This book is in the Public Domain.

First Series

On the Objections to the Study of the Fathers Advanced by Daillé and by Barbeyrac

Lecture 1  
  The study of the Early Fathers recommended. Their testimony appealed to by the Church of England in the Prayer Book, in the Articles, in the Canons; and by the Reformers, e. g. Jewel, Philpot, Grindal. Decline of reverence for antiquity at the period of the Rebellion. Milton. Effect of the Revolution. Influence of foreign Reformers. Treatises of Daillé and BarbeyracView in PDF format pdf
Lecture II  
  Division of Daillé's treatise into two heads. His first argument in support of his first proposition. Unfairness of it. Discussion of a passage in Eusebius. Fragments of the Early Fathers collected by Dr. Routh. Illustrations of their value. Second argument of Daillé. Incidental allusions to important topics in the Fathers, overlooked by him. Their evidence not to be gathered without careful study. Illustration of this in establishing the doctrine and ritual of the Church. And in the Romish controversy, e.g. on Transubstantiation, the Papal Supremacy, Auricular Confession, image worshipView in PDF format pdf
Lecture III  
  Third argument of Daillé - its insufficiency to establish his proposition. The quotation of the Sibyl by the Fathers explained. Vindication of them from the charge of dishonesty in quoting Apocryphal books. Opin ions of Vossius, Hammond, and others, on the Epistle of Barnabas, and the Pastor of Hermas. Arguments of Daillé against the Epistles of Ignatius inconclusive. Comparison of passages in Irenaeus, Polycarp, Tertullian, with passages in those Epistles. Quotation of them by Origen. Improbability that Eusebias should have been deceived as to their genuinenessView in PDF format pdf
Lecture IV  
  Fourth argument of Daillé. Vagueness of it. The Fathers disposed of in the same way by Priestley. Paucity of MSS. Antiquity of some of the Versions. Improbability that the Fathers previous to Cyprian have been tampered with by the Romanists. Discussion of passages claimed as favourable to Romish views. The writings of Irenaeus full of evidence against them. His appeal to tradition the same as that of the Church of England. The writings of Clemens occasionally corrupt. Discussion of passages in them claimed by the Romanists. Germ of Romish errors discoverable in Clemens. The same remark true of Tertullian. But neither his writings nor those of Hippolytus in a condition satisfactory to a Romish interpolatorView in PDF format pdf
Lecture V  
  State of the writings of Origen. Theory of their interpolation by the Romanists untenable. Their testimony against Transubstantiation; Prayers in a tongue not understood by the people; the withholding of the Scriptures; Disciplina arcani; the use of Images; Vows of celibacy; the Worship of saints or angels; Purgatory. First instance of Romish interpolation pointed out by James. Neglect of the Early Fathers by the Romanists. Remark of Dodwell. The story of Paschasinus insufficient to support the inference drawn from it by DailléView in PDF format pdf
Lecture VI  
  Interpolation of Cyprian in the editions of Manutius and of Pamelius; continued by the Benedictine editors. Purity of earlier editions. No evidence of the corruption of MSS. Limited extent of the remaining corruptions in the edition of Manntius. Mass of evidence in Cyprian against the Romanists; on the Papal Supremacy; on Transubstantiation; on Tradition; on Absolution; on Extreme Unction; on the number of the Sacraments. Germ of abuses discoverable in him; not introduced by the Romanists. Estimate of patristic testimony formed by English Divines since the Reformation. Causes of the outcry against the Fathers raised by Daillé and othersView in PDF format pdf
Lecture VII  
  The Fathers objected to by Daillé on account of their obscurity. Value of incidental evidence. Clear testimony of Justin and of Tertullian on the Arian question, and on the Eucharist. Charge of wilful obscurity. Occasional reserve accounted for. Frank exposition of the Christian Ritual in the Apologies. Reserve of Clemens Alexandrinus. Plan of his writings; and motive of it. Difficulty of Tertullian. Method of studying him recommended. Testimony of the Fathers to principles distasteful to Daillé. Further objection to their style on account of the change which has taken place in the meaning of words. Corresponding changes in things to be tested by comparison with the Primitive Church. Result of that comparisonView in PDF format pdf
Lecture VIII  
  Clemens Alexandrinus the only Ante-Nicene Father charged with disingenuousness by Daillé. His instance from Cardinal Perron. Passages liable to misconstruction in Clemens and in Origen. Inference of Daillé from the illogical reasoning cif the Fathers disputed. Their use of the argumentum ad hominem explained. Value of their testimony notwithstanding. Instances of inconsistency from Clemens and from Tertullian. Relative importance of different topics not confounded by the Fathers. Daillé's instances to the contrary examined. The Early Fathers fair exponents of the sentiments of the early Church; especially where they were identified with their respective Churches; and where they concur with each other. Allowance to be made for the peculiar character of their timesView in PDF format pdf
Lecture IX  
  Second proposition of Daillé. His charges against the Fathers of inaccuracy, ignorance of Hebrew, use of allegory, examined. Important principle involved in the latter. Why it was so largely resorted to. Excessive use of it by Clemens and Origen. Doctrinal errors of the Fathers insufficient to overthrow their testimony. Daillé's instances of their discrepancies chiefly Post-Nicene. Discrepancies of the Ante-Nicene confined to minor points. Their concurrence in important ones the more striking. Concluding objection of Daillé. The appeal to the Fathers not excluded by the sixth Article. Discretion of our Church in her use of them. Scripture and antiquity the authorities appealed to by our ReformersView in PDF format pdf
Lecture X  
  Occasion of Barheyrac's work. His imperfect acquaintance with the Fathers, and misconstruction of their writings. His charge against Justin, that he encouraged volunteering martyrdom, examined. Sentiments of Clemens, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprianl'on this subject. Warmth of their language accoun,ted for. Martyrdom instrumental in the establishment of Christianity. Language of the Fathers concerning marriage explained by the circumstances of their times. True view of the case given by Tertullian in his treatise Ad Uxorem. Extravagances of later times not chargeable on the Early FathersView in PDF format pdf
Lecture XI  
  Further illustration of the defect in Barbeyrac's reasoning. Examination of his charge against Tertullian of interdicting trades connected with idolatry, the profession of arms, national customs, offices of state. Unfairness of regarding in the abstract what was meant only to apply to particular circumstances. Sentiments of Tertullian and Cypnan on self-defence accounted for. Justification of idolatry among the Pagans in Clemens, owing to a misinterpretation of Dent. iv. 10. His real opinion on that snbject. Defence of writers subsequent to the third century declined. Late ecclesiastical antiquity less deserving of confidence. Subjects of the second SeriesView in PDF format pdf

Second Series

On the Advantages to be Derived From the Stidy of the Early Fathers

Lecture I  
  Use of the Fathers in relation to the Evidences. Their testimony to the wide dispersion of the Gospel opposed to the statements of Gibbon. His unfairness in citing them. Argument from their incidental allusions. More direct testimony to the early establishment of Christianity on the shores of the Mediterranean and Euxine, and in the countries beyond the Euphrates. Its secret progress illustrated from the Acts, from St. Paul's Epistles, from the Fathers. Its disturbance of the soc!al relations instrumental to its propagation. Exposition of Phil. i. 12-18. Further illustrations. Effect of the public gamesView in PDF format pdf
Lecture II  
  The insinuation of Gibbon respecting the rank and character of the early Christians, orignally advanced by the heathen opponents of Christianity, and answered by the Apologists. The fact, that many persons of wealth and education were Christians proved, from the acquirements of the Fathers, from their specific assertion of it, from their addressing themselves to the rich and intelligent, from the fund at the disposal of the Church Variety of demands upon the pecuniary resources of the Christians. Remarks on the LibellaticiView in PDF format pdf
Lecture III  
  The insinuation of Gibbon, that the Church was recruited, 1°. By abandoned characters, suggested by Celsus, inconsistent with the primitive discipline the probation before Baptism, the responsibility attaching to the sponsors, the appeal of the Apologists to the pure morality of the Christians their charges of laxity against the heretics and the philosophers the treatment of the lapsed, the frequency of excommunication: 2°. By mercenary persons, repudiated by Origen, inconsistent with the precautions used against mercenary motives and the maladministration of the Church fund, and with a passage in the Constitutions: 3°. By foundlings, incapable of being substantiated by any positive evidence. Probability that it might happen occasionally. Negative proof that it did not happen systematically. How the Church fund was really expendedView in PDF format pdf
Lecture IV  
  The opinion of Sir James Mackintosh on Gibbon's sixteenth chapter. The statements of the latter to be corrected by a review of the Early Fathers. Their testimony, 1°. To the extent of the persecutions of the Christians. The classification into ten great persecutions untenable. Inquiry whether the edicts of Nero and Domitian were repealed. Effect of those of Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus. Christianity a capital offence from the time of Nero downwards. Martyrdom of Ignatius. Remarks of Tertullian on Trajan's edict. Subsequent activity of persecution. That at Lyons and Vienne a sample of others. The assertion of Origen respecting the number of martyrs relative, not positive. Motives in various quarters for setting persecution on footView in PDF format pdf
Lecture V  
  Testimony of the Fathers, 2°. To the intensity of the persecutions, unduly extenuated by Gibbon. Reflections on his account of the Letter of Pliny and of the martyrdom of Cyprian. Early narratives of martyrdom not to be confounded with the fictions of later times. The sources of information as reliable as those from which Gibbon drew his history. Explanation of a passage in Eusebius unfairly used by him. 3°. To the nature of the persecutions. Domestic as well as official ones foretold by Christ. Verification in the effect of Christianity on the relations of husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant. Its inconsistency with many trades and occupations. Consequent pecuniary losses to the converts. Their embarrassment in legal and commercial proceedingsView in PDF format pdf
Lecture VI  
  Review of passages in the Early Fathers bearing witness to the exercise of miraculous powers in their times. Unanimity of this testimony. Estimate, which ought to be formed of it; and difficulty of resisting it. The powers of exorcism and healing diseases more decidedly asserted than others. Correspondence of this with the terms in which the powers were conferred, and with the record of their exercise in the Acts. The same correspondence between the Scriptural and Ecclesiastical records observable in another particular. The exercise of miraculous powers by those on whom the Apostles laid their hands established by inspired authority. The theory of the cessation of all miracles with their lives unsatisfactoryView in PDF format pdf
Lecture VII  
  Use of the Fathers in the inquiry concerning the nature and construction of the Church. The outline of it, which may be inferred from the Acts and the Apostolical Epistles, filled up by them. A standing ministry deriving it a authority from the Apostles, and consisting of three Orders, included in their definition of it. Direct proof of this from the :Fathers themselves: indirect, from the practice of heretics. Incidental character of the evidence. Variety of quarters from which it is drawn. Conclusion in the words of HookerView in PDF format pdf
Lecture VIII  
  Use of the Fathers in settling the Canon of the New Testament; Appeal to them in the sixth Article. Method of establishing the Canon stated by Jones. Illustration of this method with reference to the Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles, the Revelation. Discussion of questions, whether the autographs of the Apostles existed in the time of Tertullian; whether any Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians is missing; whether the Epistle to the Ephesians is rightly so entitled; whether St. Paul was the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Use of the Fathers in proving that the substance of the Canonical books, the beginnings and endings of the Gospels, the incidents of our Lord's ministry, the circumstances recorded in the Act.a, the t.enour of the Epistles, were the same in their times as they are nowView in PDF format pdf
Lecture IX  
  Use of the Fathers in ascertaining the text of the New Testament. Their motives for accuracy in this particular. Importance of their testimony in establishing the genuineness of whole passages. The impression produced by it increased, when the occasion of it is known. Its use further exemplified, where the genuineness of the passage is doubtful, as 1 John v. 7, and the subscription of the first Epistle to the Corinthians. The same testimony of still greater value in the criticism of single words; opposed to the reading of Griesbach and Wetstein in Acts xx.28, and to that of the "Improved Version" in Rom. ix. 5. Some other examplesView in PDF format pdf
Lecture X  
  Use of the Fathers in unfolding the meaning of Scripture: I. Their testimony opposed to the Socinian scheme, 1 °. In the spirit of their expositions, which is evangelical, not rationalistic. Extent to which the Old Testament is applied by them to Jesus Christ. Concurrence of our Church and of our standard divines in this principle of. interpretation. The proof of it from the Fathers independent of the ment of their particular expositions. Actual uncertainty as to the extent of symbolical teaching in Scripture. 2°. On the doctrine of the Trinity. Statement of the Racovian Catechism. The Creed of ih:e early Church shown to have been Trinitarian from the exposition of particular texts; from the opinions of early heretics; from primitive practices and formularies; and from the correspondence of the Athanasian Creed with the writers of the first three centuries. Unguarded language of these writers, especially of Origen, accounted forView in PDF format pdf
Lecture XI  
  The testimony of the Fathers opposed to the Socinian scheme, 3°. On the doctrine of the Atonement. Statement of the Racovian Catechism. The death of Christ, according to the Fathers, a sacrifice-expiatory, vicaious, univenally necessary. nreasonableness and hardihood of rejecting a doctrine thus guaranteed. 4°. On the nature and effect of baptism. Statement of the Racovian Catechism. Unanimity of the Fathers on aptismal Regeneration. Variety of forms in which they assert it. The effect of :Baptism, according to them, the work of the Holy Ghost. Their account of it meant to apply to infants as well as to adults. Evidence for Infant Baptism. The office of sponsors recognised. The benefit not ascribed to the opus operatum, but represented as contingent on the observance of the Baptismal promises. Strictness of the Early Church in this particularView in PDF format pdf
Lecture XII  
  The testimony of the Fathers opposed to the Socinian seheme, 5°. On the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Statement of the Racovian Catechism. Sentinlents of the Fathers. The Eucharist contemplated by them, first as a sacrifice, not material (except as including an oblation of the fruits of the earth), but commemorative of the Sacrifice of Christ; and secondly, as the spiritual food of his Body and Blood. Their testimony unfavourable to the Romish as well as to the Socinian views. The benefit not ascribed to the opus operatum, but represented as dependent on the fitness of the recipient. Strictness in this particularView in PDF format pdf
Lecture XIII  
  Use of the Fathers in unfolding the meaning of Scripture: II. Their testimony opposed to the Calvinistic scheme, 1°. On the freedom of the will The assertion of it by the Fathers distinct and emphatic. 2°. On the degree of human corruption. The consequences of the Fall recognised by the Fathers, but not in a manner satisfactory to the Calvinist. Their language upon this point dubious and conflicting. Cause of their embarrassment. Illustrations. Vindication of the Fathers from the charge of Pelagiamsm. Their teaching on the necessity of Divine grace for the recovery and restoration of manView in PDF format pdf
Lecture XIV  
  The testimony of the Fathers opposed to the Calvinistic scheme of interpretation, 3°. On the nature of spiritual influence; The language of the Fathers incompatible with the Calvinistic doctrine of irresistible grace. 4°. On election and reprobation. What the Fathers understood by the terms, foreknown, ·elect, predestined, saints. Their exposition of passages of Scripture relating to this subject. Prophecy, according to them, an evidence of the Divine Foreknowledge, yet not so as to control the contingency of events. Tenets akin to the Calvinistic ascribed by Origen to the Valentinians. His exposition of Rom. ix.View in PDF format pdf
Lecture XV  
  Use of the Fathers in unfolding the meaning of Scripture: III. Prevailing mistake. of applying a modern -standard of interpretation to passages which should be explained by reference to an ancient one. The information, which the Fathers give, on early heresies, the true key to much of the New Testament. The method of Dr. Hammond substantially correct. Succession of heresies. Observation of Tertullian. Illustration of it from the writings of St. John. St. Paul explained with reference to the Gnostic heresy by Irenreus. Application of the same method by Tertullian. Further allusions to the doctrines and phraseology of the Gnostics discoverable in the Apostolical Epistles. IV. Interpretation of individual texts by the Fathers. Their comments not always to be relied on; yet often 'Superior to those of modern days. IllustrationsView in PDF format pdf
  Passages of Scripture explained or referred toView in PDF format pdf
  IndexView in PDF format pdf


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