CHAPTER VII.
HOW GREATLY THE REFORMERS HAVE VIOLATED THE INTEGRITY OF THE SCRIPTURES

Now, how can an honest soul refrain from giving the rein to the ardour of a holy zeal, and from entering into a Christian anger, without sin, considering with what presumption those who do nothing but cry, Scripture, Scripture, have despised, degraded, and profaned this divine Testament of the eternal Father, as they have falsified this sacred contract of so glorious an alliance! 0 ministers of Calvinism, how do you dare to cut away so many noble parts of the sacred body of the Bibles? You take away Baruch, Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, the Machabees: why do you thus dismember the Holy Scripture? Who has told you that they are not sacred? There was some doubt about them in the ancient Church; but was there not doubt in the ancient Church about Esther, the Epistle to the Hebrews, those of S. James and S. Jude, the Second of S. Peter, the two last of S. John, and especially of the Apocalypse? Why do you not also erase these as you have done those? Acknowledge honestly that what you have done in this has only been in order to contradict the Church. You were angry at seeing in the Machabees the intercession of Saints and prayers for the departed: Ecclesasticus stung you in that it bore witness to free-will and the honour of relics. Rather than do violence to your notions, adjusting them to the Scriptures you have violated the Scriptures to accommodate them to your notions: you have cut off the holy Word to avoid cutting off your fancies: how will you ever cleanse yourselves from this sacrilege ? Have you degraded the Machabees, Ecclesiasticus, Tobias, and the rest, because some of the Ancients have doubted of their authority ? Why then do you receive the other books, about which there has been as much doubt as about these ? What can you oppose to them except that their doctrine is hard for you to accept ? Open your heart to faith, and you will easily receive that which your unbelief shuts out from you. Because you do not will to believe what they teach, you condemn them : rather condemn your presumption, and receive the Scripture. I would chiefly lay stress on the authority of those books which exercise you the most. Clement of Alexandria (Strom. v. 5, &c.), Cyprian (Ep. lxv.), Ambrose (de fide iv.), Augustine (Ep. ad Oros. contra Prise.), and the rest of the Fathers consider Ecclesiasticus canonical. S. Cyprian (Serm. de op et Deem.), S. Ambrose (lib. de Tobid, i.), S. Basil (de avar.), honour Tobias as Holy Scripture. S. Cyprian again (de exhort. mar.), S. Gregory Nazianzen (orat. de Mach.), S. Ambrose (de Tacob et vit beat. x. xi.), believed the same of the Machabees. S. Augustine protests that: “it is the Catholic Church which holds the Books of Machabees as canonical, not the Jews. “What will you say to this ? that the Jews had them not in their catalogues ? S. Augustine acknowledges it; but are you Jews, or Christians? If you would be called Christians, be satisfied that the Christian Church receives them.

Is the light of the Holy Spirit extinguished with the synagogue? Had not our Lord and the Apostles as much power as the synagogue? Although the Church has not taken authority for her books from the mouth of the Scribes and Pharisees, will it not suffice that she has taken it from the testimony of the Apostles ? Now we must not think that the ancient Church and these most ancient doctors would have had the boldness to rank these books as canonical, if they had not had some direction by the tradition of the Apostles and their disciples who could know in what rank the Master himself held them; unless, to excuse our imaginations, we are to accuse of profanation, and of sacrilege, such holy and grave doctors as these, and the whole ancient Church. I say the ancient Church, because the Council of Carthage, Gelasius in the decree de libris canonicas, Innocent I in the epistle to Exuperius, and S. Augustine, lived before S. Gregory, before whose time Calvin confesses that the Church was still in its purity, and yet these bear witness that all the books which we held to be canonical when Luther appeared were already so in their time. If you would destrov the credit of those holy books. why which there has been so much doubt, and that of the Epistle to the Hebrews? But I return to you, gentlemen of Thonon, who have hitherto given ear to such men; I beseech you, let us say in conscience, is there any likelihood that Calvin knows better what grounds they had who anciently doubted of these books, and what grounds they who doubted not, than the Bishops and Councils of these days? And still, all things well considered, antiquity received them; what do we allege to the contrary ? Oh! if it were lawful for men, in order to raise their opinions on horseback, to use the Scripture as stirrups, to lengthen and shorten them, each one to his own size, where, I beg you, should we be? Do you not perceive the stratagem? All authority is taken away from Tradition, the Church, the Councils, the Pastors: what further remains?The Scripture. The enemy is crafty. If he would tear it all away at once he would cause an alarm; he takes away a great part of it in the very beginning, then first one piece, then the other, at last he will have you stripped entirely, without Scripture and without Word of God.

Calvin takes away seven books of the Scripture: (In prologis Bib. Et horum lib.) Baruch, Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and the Machabees; Luther has removed the Epistle of S. James, that of S. Jude, the second of S. Peter, the 2nd and 3rd of S. John, the Epistle to the Hebrews; he ridicules Ecclesiastes, he holds Job as a fable. Reconcile, I pray you this false spirit, who takes away from Luther’s brain what he puts back in that of Calvin. Does this seem to you a trifling discord between these two evangelists? You will say you do not hold Luther’s intelligence in great account; his party think no better of that of Calvin. But see the progress of your fine church, how she ever pushes on further. Calvin had removed seven books, she has further thrown out the 8th, that of Esther ; [note: later reformers accepted Esther as canonoical] in Daniel she cuts off the canticle of the Three Children (c. iii.), the history of Susanna (c. xiii.), and that of the dragon slain by Daniel (xiv). In the Gospel of S. John is there not doubt among you of the history of the woman taken in adultery? S. Augustine had indeed said formerly that the enemies of the faith had erased it from their books, but not from all, as S. Jerome says. Do they not wish to take away these words of S. Luke (xxii. z0), which shall be shed for you, because the Greek text clearly shows that what was in the chalice was not wine but the true blood of our Lord ? As if one were to say in French: Cecy est la coupe du Nouveau Testament, en mon sang, laquelle sera respandue pour vous: this is the chalice, the New Testament in my blood, which (chalice) shall be shed for you? For in this way of speaking one sees clearly that what is in the cup must be the blood, not wine, since the wine has not been shed for us, but the blood. In the Epistle of S. John have they not taken away these noble words: every spirit. who dissolveth Jesus is not of God (iv. 3)? What say you, gentlemen ? If your church continues in this liberty of conscience, making no scruple to take away what she pleases, soon the Scripture will fail you, and you will have to be satisfied with the Institutes of Calvin, which must indeed have I know not what excellence, since they censure the Scriptures themselves!