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SET

23 1891

TY

ON THE

Study of the Sacred Books.

BY

MERWIN-MARIE SNELL.

WITH INTRODUCTION BY

A. J. FAUST, Ph. D.

Non quæras, quis hoc dixerit; sed quis dicatur, attende.- De Imitatione Christi, lib. I, cap. v.

BALTIMORE:

JOHN MURPHY & Co.

1887.

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INTRODUCTION.

In a pamphlet on the study of the Bible prepared for the Catholic laity, it seems out of place to enter into any discussion relative to the use and abuse made of the Sacred Scriptures by those who reject the authority of the Catholic Church. The terms of the Apostolic Commission examined in the light of the inspired record and in the light of nineteen centuries of Christian history are witnesses which no sophistry can bewilder and no research impugn. They present a series of truths which constitute the divine charter of the Church and its patent of incorporation-first, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ established His Church on earth, and to His Church alone He promised indefectibility and infallibility till the end of the world; secondly, in the establishment of His Church, Our Lord appointed St. Peter the Rock of its foundation, and to him and to him alone in the Apostolic College He gave supreme jurisdiction under the symbol of the Keys; and thirdly, the prerogatives bestowed upon the Chief of the Apostles became by divine appointment the prerogatives of all successors to the Chair of Peter. Thus Scripture and history are the unbroken testimony to the great cardinal fact of Christian civilization—the Supremacy of the See of Rome.

With this divine fact, intellectually and ethically comprehended, as the luminous centre from which emanate dogmatic definitions pertaining alike to faith and morals, the Catholic reader of the Sacred Scriptures is prepared for their study under such limitations as the Church in her wisdom may see fit to enact by disciplinary decrees, when peculiar exigencies demand the exercise of her authority. Under the guidance of the Ecclesia docens the Catholic student of the Sacred Volume is fortified against an evil genius in modern Biblical criticism whose tendency, in harmony with the Protestant principle of private judgment, is to wrest from a pre-established system of Christian thought its hereditary right, to divert its nomenclature from definitive and authentic use, and make it the vehicle of novel and destructive theories.

The Catholic scholar who has examined the writings of the Fathers of the Church with reference to the Christian use of the Greek and Roman classics, will readily admit that a partial consensus can be formulated in their favor, of interest and of value in our day when the trend of popular

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