Topical Reference to the Beliefs of the Church Fathers by Dave Armstrong Part 4
Church and the Canon
"For the blessed apostle Paul himself,following the rule of his predecessor John, writes only by name to seven Churches in the following order--to the Corinthians afirst...there is a second to the Corinthians and to the Thessalonians, yet one Church is recognized as being spread over the entire world...Howbeit to Philemon one, to Titus one, and to Timothy two were put in writing...to be in honour however with the Catholic Church for the ordering of ecclesiastical discipline...one to the Laodicenes, another to the Alexandrians, both forged in Paul's name to suit the heresy of Marcion, and several others, which cannot be received into the Catholic Church; for it is not fitting that gall be mixed with honey. The Epistle of Jude no doubt, and the couple bearing the name of John, are accepted by the Catholic Church...But of Arsinous,called also Valentinus,or of Militiades we receive nothing at all."
The fragment of Muratori (A.D. 177),in NE,124
" In his[ie. Origen] first book on Matthew's Gospel, maintaining the Canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, 'The church that is at
Origen,Commentary on Matthew,fragment in Eusebius Church History,6:25,3(A.D. 244),in NPNF2,I:273
"The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage--I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew--whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter's whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke's form of the Gospel men unsually ascribe to Paul."
Tertullian,Against Marcion,4:5(A.D. 212),in ANF,III:350
"Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testaments, and what those of the New."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,4:33(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:26
"I beseech you to bear patiently, if I also write, by way of remembrance, of matters with which you are acquainted, influenced by the need and advantage of the Church. In proceeding to make mention of these things [ie. the canon] ,I shall adopt, to comment my undertaking, the pattern of Luke...to reduce into order for themselves the books termed apocryphal, and to mix them up with the divinely inspired Scripture, concerning which we have been fully persuaded, as they who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, delivered to the fathers; it seemed good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon...."
Athanasius,Festal Letters,39 (A.D. 367),in NPNF2,IV:551-552
"Likewise it has been said: Now indeed we must treat of the divine Scriptures, what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she ought to shun.The order of the Old Testament begins here: Genesis one book, Exodus one book, Leviticus one book, Numbers one book, Deuteronomy one book, Josue Nave one book, Judges one book, Ruth one book, Kings four books, Paraleipomenon two books, Psalms one book, Solomon three books, Proverbs one book, Ecclesiastes one book, Canticle of Canticles one book, likewise Wisdom one book, Ecclesiasticus one book. Likewise the order of the Prophets. Isaias one book, Jeremias one book,with Ginoth, that is, with his lamentations, Ezechiel one book,Daniel one book, Osee one book, Micheas one book, Joel one book, Abdias one book, Jonas one book, Nahum one book, Habacuc one book, Sophonias one book, Aggeus one book, Zacharias one book, Malachias one book. Likewise the order of the histories. Job one book, Tobias one book, Esdras two books, Esther one book, Judith one book, Machabees two books. Likewise the order of the writings of the New and eternal Testament, which only the holy and Catholic Church supports. Of the Gospels, according to Matthew one book, according to Mark one book, according to Luke one book, according to John one book. The Epistles of Paul [the apostle] in number fourteen. To the Romans one, to the Corinthians two, to the Ephesians one, to the Thessalonians two, to the Galatians one, to the Phillipians one, to the Colossians one, to Timothy two, to Titus one, to Philemon one, to the Hebrews one. Likewise the Apocalypse of John, one book. And the Acts of the Apostles one book. Likewise the canonical epistles in number seven. Of Peter the Apostle two epistles, of James the Apostle one epistle, of John the Apostle one epistle, of another John, the presbyter, two epistles, of Jude the Zealut, the Apostle one epistle."
Pope Damasus(regn A.D. 366-384),Decree of,Council of Rome,The Canon of Scripture(A.D. 382),in DEN,33
"Besides the canonical Scriptures, nothing shall be read, in the church under the title of divine writings.'. The canonical books are:---Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the four books of Kings, the two books of Paraleipomena(Chronicles), Job, the Psalms of David, the five books of Solomon, the twelve books of the (Minor) Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobias, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees. The books of the New Testament are:---the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles of S. Paul, one Epistle of S. Paul to the Hebrews, two Epistles of S. Peter, three Epistles of S. John, the Epistle of S. James, the Epistle of S. Jude, the Revelation of S. John. Concerning the confirmation of this canon, the transmarine Church shall be consulted."
Council of Hippo, Canon 36 (A.D. 393), in HCC,2:400
"[It has been decided] that nothing except the Canonical Scriptures should be read in the church under the name of the Divine Scriptures. But the Canonical Scriptures are:Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Josue, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paraleipomenon two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon, twelve books of the Prophets, Isaias, Jeremias, Daniel, Ezechiel, Tobias, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees. Moreover, of the New Testament: Four books of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles one book, thirteen epistles of Paul the Apostle, one of the same to the Hebrews, two of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude, the Apocalypse of John."
Council of Carthage III,Canon 47(A.D. 397),in DEN,39-40
"The authority of our books [Scriptures], which is confirmed by agreement of so many nations, supported by a succession of apostles, bishops, and councils, is against you."
Augustine,Reply to Faustus the Manichean,13:5 (c.A.D. 400),in NPNF1,IV:201
"If any one shall say, or shall believe, that other Scriptures, besides those which the Catholic church has received, are to be esteemed of authority, or to be venerated, let him be anathema."
"A brief addition shows what books really are received in the canon. These are the desiderata of which you wished to be informed verbally: of Moses five books, that is, of Genesis, of Exodus, of Leviticus, of Numbers, of Deuteronomy, and Josue, of Judges one book, of Kings four books, also Ruth, of the Prophets sixteen books, of Solomon five books, the Psalms. Likewise of the histories, Job one book, of Tobias one book, Esther one, Judith one, of the Machabees two, of Esdras two, Paralipomenon two books. Likewise of the New Testament: of the Gospels four books, of Paul the Apostle fourteen epistles, of John three, epistles of Peter two, an epistle of Jude, an epistle of James, the Acts of the Apostles, the Apocalypse of John."
Pope Innocent(regn A.D. 401-417),Epistle to Exsuperius Bishop of Toulose,6:7,13(A.D. 405),in DEN,42
"Item, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in the church under the name of divine Scripture. But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows: Genesis....The Revelation of John...for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in the church."
"The book of the Apocalypse which John the wise wrote, and which has been honoured by the approval of the fathers."
Cyril of Alexandria,Worship and Adoration in Spirit and in Truth,5 (A.D. 425),in FOC,I:445
"Now, in regard to the canonical Scriptures, he must follow the judgment of the greater number of catholic churches; and among these, of course, a high place must be given to such as have been thought worthy to be the seat of an apostle and to receive epistles. Accordingly, among the canonical Scriptures he will judge according to the following standard: to prefer those that are received by all the catholic churches to those which some do not receive. Among those, again, which are not received by all, he will prefer such as have the sanction of the greater number and those of greater authority, to such as are held by the smaller number and those of less authority. If, however, he shall find that some books are held by the greater number of churches, and others by the churches of greater authority (though this is not a very likely thing to happen), I think that in such a case the authority on the two sides is to be looked upon as equal.Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised, is contained in the following books:--Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; one book of Joshua the son of Nun; one of Judges; one short book called Ruth, which seems rather to belong to the beginning of Kings; next, four books of Kings, and two of Chronicles --these last not following one another, but running parallel, so to speak, and going over the same ground. The books now mentioned are history, which contains a connected narrative of the times, and follows the order of the events. There are other books which seem to follow no regular order, and are connected neither with the order of the preceding books nor with one another, such as Job, and Tobias, and Esther, and Judith, and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Ezra, which last look more like a sequel to the continuous regular history which terminates with the books of Kings and Chronicles. Next are the Prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David; and three books of Solomon, viz., Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes. For two books, one called Wisdom and the other Ecclesiasticus, are ascribed to Solomon from a certain resemblance of style, but the most likely opinion is that they were written by Jesus the son of Sirach. Still they are to be reckoned among the prophetical books, since they have attained recognition as being authoritative. The remainder are the books which are strictly called the Prophets: twelve separate books of the prophets which are connected with one another, and having never been disjoined, are reckoned as one book; the names of these prophets are as follows:--Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; then there are the four greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel. The authority of the Old Testament is contained within the limits of these forty-four books. That of the New Testament, again, is contained within the following:--Four books of the Gospel, according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John; fourteen epistles of the Apostle Paul--one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Colossians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews: two of Peter; three of John; one of Jude; and one of James; one book of the Acts of the Apostles; and one of the Revelation of John."
Augustine,On Christian Doctrine,2:8,12(A.D. 426),in NPNF1,II:538-539
"Having then this hope, let our souls be bound to Him who is faithful in His promises, and just in His judgments. He who has commanded us not to lie, shall much more Himself not lie; for nothing is impossible with God, except to lie. Let His faith therefore be stirred up again within us, and let us consider that all things are nigh unto Him. By the word of His might He established all things, and by His word He can overthrow them. 'Who shall say unto Him, What hast thou done ? or, Who shall resist the power of His strength?'[Wisdom 12:12,ll:22] When and as He pleases He will do all things, and none of the things determined by Him shall pass away? All things are open before Him, and nothing can be hidden from His counsel. 'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. And there are no words or speeches of which the voices are not heard.'[Ps. 19:1-3]"
Clement of Rome,To the Corinthians, 27:5(c A.D. 80),in ANF,I:12
"Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood, and being attached to one another, joined together in the truth, exhibiting the meekness of the Lord in your intercourse with one another, and despising no one. When you can do good, defer it not, because 'alms delivers from death.'[Tobit 4:10,12:9] Be all of you subject one to another?[1 Pt 5:5] having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles,'[1 Pt 2:12] that ye may both receive praise for your good works, and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed![Isa 52:5] Teach, therefore, sobriety to all, and manifest it also in your own conduct.
Polycarp,To the Phillipians,10(A.D. 135),in ANF,I:35
" 'Be just in your judgement':[Deut 1:16,17 Prov 31:9] make no distinction between man and man when correcting transgressions. Do not waver in your decision. 'Do not be one that opens his hands to receive, but shuts them when it comes to giving'[Sirach 4:31]"
Didache,4:3-5(A.D. 140),in ACW,VI:17
"Melito to his brother Onesimus, greeting: Since thou hast often, in thy zeal for the word, expressed a wish to have extracts made from the Law and the Prophets concerning the Saviour and concerning our entire faith, and hast also desired to have an accurate statement of the ancient book, as regards their number and their order, I have endeavored to perform the task, knowing thy zeal for the faith, and thy desire to gain information in regard to the word, and knowing that thou, in thy yearning after God, esteemest these things above all else, struggling to attain eternal salvation. Accordingly when I went East and came to the place where these things were preached and done, I learned accurately the books of the Old Testament, and send them to thee as written below. Their names are as follows: Of Moses, five books: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy; Jesus Nave, Judges, Ruth; of Kings, four books; of Chronicles, two; the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, Wisdom also, Ecclesiastes, Song off Songs, Job; of Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah; of the twelve prophets, one book; Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras. From which also I have made the extracts, dividing them into six books."
Melito of Sardes,Fragment in Eusebius' Ecclesiatical History,4:26(A.D. 177),in NPNF2,I:206
"[New Testament books...] The Epistle of Jude, indeed, and two belonging to the above-named John--or bearing the name of John--are reckoned among the Catholic epistles. And the book of Wisdom, written by the friends of Solomon in his honour."
Muratorian Fragment(A.D. 200),in ANF,V:603-604
"What, then, again says the prophet? 'The assembly of the wicked surrounded me; they encompassed me as bees do a honeycomb,'[Ps. 22:17,118:12] and 'upon my garment they cast lots.'[Ps. 22:19] Since, therefore, He was about to be manifested and to suffer in the flesh, His suffering was foreshown. For the prophet speaks against
Epistle of Barnabas,6(A.D. 74),in ANF,I:140
"And when these things are done, he says, 'God will remove men far away, and those that are left shall multiply in the earth.'[Isa. 6:12] 'And they shall build houses, and shall inhabit them themselves: and plant vineyards, and eat of them themselves.'[Isa. 65:21] For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction of all nations under his rule; in [the times of] which [resurrection] the righteous shall reign in the earth, waxing stronger by the sight of the Lord: and through Him they shall become accustomed to partake in the glory of God the Father, and shall enjoy in the kingdom intercourse and communion with the holy angels, and union with spiritual beings; and [with respect to] those whom the Lord shall find in the flesh, awaiting Him from heaven, and who have suffered tribulation, as well as escaped the hands of the Wicked one. For it is in reference to them that the prophet says: 'And those that are left shall multiply upon the earth,' And Jeremiah the prophet has pointed out, that as many believers as God has prepared for this purpose, to multiply those left upon earth, should both be under the rule of the saints to minister to this Jerusalem, and that [His] kingdom shall be in it, saying, "Look around Jerusalem towards the east, and behold the joy which comes to thee from God Himself. Behold, thy sons shall come whom thou hast sent forth: they shall come in a band from the east even unto the west, by the word of that Holy One, rejoicing in that splendour which is from thy God. O Jerusalem, put off thy robe of mourning and of affliction, and put on that beauty of eternal splendour from thy God. Gird thyself with the double garment of that righteousness proceeding from thy God; place the mitre of eternal glory upon thine head. For God will show thy glory to the whole earth under heaven. For thy name shall for ever be called by God Himself, the peace of righteousness and glory to him that worships God. Arise,
Irenaeus,Against Heresies,V:35:1(A.D. 180),in ANF,I:565
"Those, however, who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts, and, do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt towards others, and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat, and work evil deeds in secret, saying, 'No man sees us,' shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance (secundum gloriam), nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart; and they shall hear those words, to be found in Daniel the prophet: 'O thou seed of Canaan, and not of Judah, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust perverted thy heart.'[Daniel 13:56-Susanna] Thou that art waxen old in wicked days, now thy sins which thou hast committed aforetime are come to light; for thou hast pronounced false judgments, and hast been accustomed to condemn the innocent, and to let the guilty go free, albeit the Lord saith, The innocent and the righteous shalt thou not slay.'[Daniel 13:52-53-Susanna] Of whom also did the Lord say: "But if the evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite the man-servants and maidens, and to eat and drink and be drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day that he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.' [Matt 24:48] "
Irenaeus,Against Heresies,IV:26:3(A.D. 180),in ANF,I:497
"For, when one reads of God as being 'the searcher and witness of the heart;'[Wisdom 1:6] when His prophet is reproved by His discovering to him the secrets of the heart; when God Himself anticipates in His people the thoughts of their heart, 'Why think ye evil in your hearts?'[Matt 9:4] when David prays 'Create in me a clean heart, O God,'[Ps 51:12] and Paul declares, 'With the heart man believeth unto righteousness,'[Romans 10:10] and John says, 'By his own heart is each man condemned;'[1 John 3:20] when, lastly, 'he who looketh on a woman so as to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart,'[Matt 5:28]--then both points are cleared fully up, that there is a directing faculty of the soul..."
Tertullian,On the Soul,15(A.D. 197),in ANF,III:194
"Our instruction comes from 'the porch of Solomon,' who had himself taught that 'the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart.'[Wisdom 1:1]"
Tertullian,Prescription Against the Heretics,7(A.D. 200),in ANF,III:246
"For they remembered also the words of Jeremias writing to those over whom that captivity was impending: 'And now ye shall see borne upon (men's) shoulders the gods of the Babylonians, of gold and silver and wood, causing fear to the Gentiles. Beware, therefore, that ye also do not be altogether like the foreigners, and be seized with fear while ye behold crowds worshipping those gods before and behind, but say in your mind, Our duty is to worship Thee, O Lord.'[Baruch 6:3] Therefore, having got confidence from God, they said, when with strength of mind they set at defiance the king' s threats against the disobedient: 'There is no necessity for our making answer to this command of yours. For our God whom we worship is able to deliver us from the furnace of fire and from your hands; and then it will be made plain to you that we shall neither serve your idol, nor worship your golden image which you have set up.'[Daniel 3:16]"
Tertullian,Scorpiace,8(A.D. 205),in ANF,III:246
"At this stage some rise up, saying that the Lord, by reason of the rod, and threatening, and fear, is not good; misapprehending, as appears, the Scripture which says, 'And he that feareth the Lord will turn to his heart;'[Sirach 21:6] and most of all, oblivious of His love, in that for us He became man. For more suitably to Him, the prophet prays in these words: 'Remember us, for we are dust;'[Ps 103:14] that: is, Sympathize with us; for Thou knowest from personal experience of suffering the weakness of the flesh. In this respect, therefore, the Lord the Instructor is most good and unimpeachable, sympathizing as He does from the exceeding greatness of His love with the nature of each man. 'For there is nothing which the Lord hates.'[Wisdom 11:24] For assuredly He does not hate anything, and yet wish that which He hates to exist Nor does He wish anything not to exist, and yet become the cause of existence to that which He wishes not to exist. Nor does He wish anything not to exist which yet exists. If, then, the Word hates anything, He does not wish it to exist. But nothing exists, the cause of whose existence is not supplied by God. Nothing, then, is hated by God, nor yet by the Word. For both are one--that is, God. For He has said, 'In the beginning the Word was in God, and the Word was God.'[John 1:1]"
Clement of Alexandria,The Instructor,I:8(A.D. 202),in ANF,II:225
"And again He says, 'Come all to Me, who labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;'[Matt 11:28] and that which is added the Lord speaks in His own person. And very clearly He calls to goodness by Solomon, when He says, 'Blessed is the man who hath found wisdom, and the mortal who hath found understanding.'[Prov 3:13] 'For the good is found by him who seeks it, and is wont to be seen by him who has found it.'[Prov 2:4,5;3:15] By Jeremiah, too, He sets forth prudence, when he says, 'Blessed are we,
Clement of Alexandria,The Instructor,I:8(A.D. 202),in ANF,II:232-233
"[H]aving heard the Scripture which says, 'Fasting with prayer is a good thing.'[Tobit 12:8]"
Clement of Alexandria,The Stromata,6:12(A.D. 202),in ANF,II:503
"But they said, 'We will not come forth: neither will we do the king's commandment; we will die in our innocency: and he slew of them a thousand souls.'[1 Macc 2:33] The things, therefore, which were spoken to the blessed Daniel are fulfilled: 'And my servants shall be afflicted, and shall fall by famine, and by sword, and by captivity.'[Dan. 11:33] Daniel, however, adds: 'And they shall be holpen with a little help.' For at that time Matthias arose, and Judas Maccabaeus, and helped them, and delivered them from the hand of the Greeks."
Hippolytus,Commentary on Daniel,2:32(A.D. 204),in ANF,V:183
"What is narrated here, happened at a later time, although it is placed before the first book (at the beginning of the book[of Daniel]. For it was a custom with the writers to narrate many things in an inverted order in their writings....To all these things, therefore, we ought to give heed, beloved, fearing lest any one be overtaken in any transgression, and risk the loss of his soul, knowing as we do that God is the Judge of all; and the Word Himself is the Eye which nothing that is done in the world escapes. Therefore, always watchful in heart and pure in life, let us imitate Susannah."
Hippolytus,Commentary on Daniel,6:1,61(A.D. 204),in ANF,V:191,194
" 'For even now the angel of God.' He shows also, that when Susannah prayed to God, and was heard, the angel was sent then to help her, just as was the case in the instance of Tobias[Tobit 3:17] and Sara. For when they prayed, the supplication of both of them was heard in the same day and the same hour, and the angel Raphael was sent to heal them both."
Hippolytus,Commentary on Daniel,6:55(A.D. 204),in ANF,V:193
" '[T]he prophet says, "The ungodly said, reasoning with themselves, but not aright," that is, about Christ, "Let us lie in wait for the righteous, because he is not for our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings and words, and upbraideth us with our offending the law, and professeth to have knowledge of God; and he calleth himself the Child of God.'[Wisdom 2:1,12,13] And then he says, 'He is grievous to us even to behold; for his life is not like other men's, and his ways are of another fashion. We are esteemed of him as counterfeits, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and pronounceth the end of the just to be blessed.[Wisdom 2:15,16]"
Hippolytus,Against the Jews,65(ante A.D. 235),in ANF,V:218-9
"But the case stands not thus; for the Scriptures do not set forth the matter in this manner. But they make use also of other testimonies, and say, Thus it is written: 'This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant (son), and to
Hippolytus,Against the Noetus,2(A.D. 210),in ANF,V:224
" 'It should be stated that the canonical books, as the Hebrews have handed them down, are twenty-two; corresponding with the number of their letters.' Farther on he says: 'The twenty-two books of the Hebrews are the following: That which is called by us Genesis, but by the Hebrews, from the beginning of the book, Bresith, which means, 'In the beginning'; Exodus, Welesmoth, that is, 'These are the names'; Leviticus, Wikra, 'And he called'; Numbers, Ammesphekodeim; Deuteronomy, Eleaddebareim, ' These are the words'; Jesus, the son of Nave, Josoue ben Noun; Judges and Ruth, among them in one book, Saphateim; the First and Second of Kings, among them one, Samouel, that is, 'The called of God'; the Third and Fourth of Kings in one, Wammelch David, that is, 'The kingdom of David'; of the Chronicles, the First and Second in one, Dabreiamein, that is, 'Records of days'; Esdras, First and Second in one, Ezra, that is, 'An assistant'; the book of Psalms, Spharthelleim; the Proverbs of Solomon, Me-loth; Ecclesiastes, Koelth; the Song of Songs (not, as some suppose, Songs of Songs), Sir Hassirim; Isaiah, Jessia; Jeremiah, with Lamentations and the epistle in one, Jeremia[Baruch 6]; Daniel, Daniel; Ezekiel, Jezekiel; Job, Job; Esther, Esther. And besides these there are the Maccabees, which are entitled Sarbeth Sabanaiel."
Origen,Canon of the Hebrews,Fragment in Eusebius' Church History,6:25[A.D. 244],in NPNF2,I:272
"In all these cases consider whether it would not be well to remember the words, 'Thou shalt not remove the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set.' Nor do I say this because I shun the labour of investigating the Jewish Scriptures, and comparing them with ours, and noticing their various readings. This, if it be not arrogant to say it, I have already to a great extent done to the best of my ability, labouring hard to get at the meaning in all the editions and various readings; while I paid particular attention to the interpretation of the Seventy, lest I might to be found to accredit any forgery to the Churches which are under heaven, and give an occasion to those who seek such a starting-point for gratifying their desire to slander the common brethren, and to bring some accusation against those who shine forth in our community."
Origen,To Africanus,5(ante A.D. 254),in ANF,IV:387
In Origen's epistle to Julius Africanus he defends the canonicity of Susanna [Daniel 13], Bel and the Dragon[Daniel 14], the prayers of Azarias[Daniel 3], and the hymn of praise of the three youths in the fiery furnace[Daniel 3].
"And I make it my endeavour not to be ignorant of their various readings, lest in my controversies with the Jews I should quote to them what is not found in their copies, and that I may make some use of what is found there, even although it should not be in our Scriptures. For if we are so prepared for them in our discussions, they will not, as is their manner, scornfully laugh at Gentile believers for their ignorance of the true reading as they have them."
Origen,To Africanus,5(ante A.D. 254),in ANF,IV:387
"[A]s is written in the book of Tobit: 'It is good to keep close the secret of a king, but honourable to reveal the works of God,'[Tobit 12:7]--in a way consistent with truth and God's glory, and so as to be to the advantage of the multitude."
Origen,Against Celsus,5:19(A.D. 248),in ANF,IV:551
"But he ought tp know that those who wish to live according to the teaching of Sacred Scripture understand the saying, 'The knowledge of the unwise is as talk without sense,'[Sirach 21:18] and have learnt 'to be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asketh us a reason for the hope that is in us.'[1 Pt 3:15] "
Origen,Against Celsus,7:12(A.D. 248),in ANF,IV:615
"But that we may believe on the authority of holy Scripture that such is the case, hear how in the book of Maccabees, where the mother of seven martyrs exhorts her son to endure torture, this truth is confirmed; for she says, ' ask of thee, my son, to look at the heaven and the earth, and at all things which are in them, and beholding these, to know that God made all these things when they did not exist.'[2 Maccabees 7:28]"
Origen,Fundamental Principles,2:2(A.D. 230),in ANF,IV:270
"[T]he Wisdom of Solomon, a work which is certainly not esteemed authoritative by all. In that book, however, we find written as follows: "For thy almighty hand, that made the world out of shapeless matter, wanted not means to send among them a multitude of bears and fierce lions.'[Wisdom 11:17]"
Origen,Fundamental Principles,2:2(A.D. 230),in ANF,IV:270
"And, forsooth, when we notice such things, we are forthwith to reject as spurious the copies in use in our Churches, and enjoin the brotherhood to put away the sacred books current among them, and to coax the Jews, and persuade them to give us copies which shall be untampered with, and free from forgery! Are we to suppose that that
Origen,To Africanus,4(ante A.D. 254),in ANF,IV:387
"For since it is written, 'God did not make death, neither hath He pleasure in the destruction of the living,'[Wisdom 1:13]"
Cyprian,Epistle 51/55:22(A.D. 252),in ANF,V:333
"[T]his the faith of the sacred Scripture assures us, and in telling us how such as these prayed, gives an example which we ought to follow in our prayers, in order that we may be such as they were: 'Then these three,' it says, 'as if from one mouth sang an hymn, and blessed the Lord.'[3 Youths-Daniel 3:51]"
Cyprian,Treatise 4,8(A.D. 252),in ANF,V:449
"And thus Holy Scripture instructs us, saying, 'Prayer is good with fasting and almsgiving.'[Tobit 12:8]
Cyprian,Treatise 4,32(A.D. 252),in ANF,V:456
"Holy Scripture teaches and forewarns, saying, 'My son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in righteousness and fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation.'[Sirach 2:1,4] And again: 'In pain endure, and in thy humility have patience; for gold and silver is tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.'[Sirach 2:5]"
Cyprian,Treatise 7,9(A.D. 252),in ANF,V:471
"Also in Daniel: 'There was a man dwelling in Babylon whose name was Joachim; and he took a wife by name Susanna, the daughter of Helchias, a very beautiful woman, and one that feared the Lord. And her parents were righteous, and taught their daughter according to the law of Moses.'[Susanna-Daniel 13:1-3]. Moreover, in Daniel: 'And we are lowly this day in all the earth because of our sins, and there is not at this time any prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt-offering, or oblation, or sacrifice, or incense, or place to sacrifice before Thee, and to find mercy from Thee. And yet in the soul and spirit of lowliness let us be accepted as the burnt-offerings of rams and bulls, and as it were many thousands of lambs which are fattest. If our offering may be made in Thy presence this day, their power shall be consumed, for they shall not be ashamed who put their trust in Thee. And now we follow with our whole heart, and we fear and seek Thy face. Give us not over unto reproach, but do with us according to Thy tranquillity, and according to the multitude of Thy mercy deliver us.'[3 Youths-Daniel 3:37-43]"
Cyprian,Testimonies,20(ante A.D. 258),in ANF,V:540
"In the Gospel according to John: 'No one can receive anything, except it were given him from heaven.'[John 3:27] Also in the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: 'For what hast thou that thou hast not received? But if thou hast received it, why boastest thou, as if thou hadst not received it?'[1 Cor 4:7] Also in the first of Kings: 'Boast not, neither speak lofty things, and let not great speeches proceed out of your mouth, for the Lord is a God of knowledge.'[1 Sam 2:4] Also in the same place: 'The bow of the mighty men has been made weak, and the weak are girt about with strength.'[1 Sam 2:5] Of this same thing in the Maccabees: 'It is just to be subjected to God, and that a mortal should not think things equal to God.'[2 Macc 9:12] Also in the same place: 'And fear not the words of a man that is a sinner, because his glory shall be filth and worms. Today he shall be lifted up, and to-morrow he shall not be found; because he is turned into his earth, and his thought has perished.'[1 Macc 2:62,63] "
Cyprian,Treatises,12:3:4(A.D. 248),in ANF,V:533
"In Genesis: 'And God, tempted Abraham, and said to him, Take thy only son whom thou lovest, Isaac, and go into the high land, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell thee.'[Gen 22:1,2] Of this same thing in Deuteronomy: 'The Lord your God proveth you, that He may know if ye love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul.'[Deut 13:3] Of this same thing in the Wisdom of Solomon: 'Although in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality; and having been in few things distressed, yet in many things they shall be happily ordered, because God tried them, and found them worthy of Himself. As gold in the furnace He proved them, and as a burnt-offering He received them. And in their time there shall be respect of them; they shall judge the nations, and shall rule over the people; and their Lord shall reign for ever.'[Wisdom 3:4-8] Of this same thing in the Maccabees: 'Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness?'[1 Macc 2:52]"
Cyprian,Treatises,12:3:15(A.D. 248),in ANF,V:537
"[T]hat they worship Him alone, saying: 'O king Nebuchodonosor, there is no need for us to answer thee in this matter. For the God whom we serve is able to deliver us out of the furnace of burning fire; and He will deliver us from thy hands, O king. And if not, be it known unto thee, that we do not serve thy gods, and we do not adore the golden image which thou hast set up.'[Dan 3:16-18] And Daniel, devoted to God, and filled with the Holy Spirit, exclaims and says: 'I worship nothing but the Lord my God, who founded the heaven and the earth.'[Dan 14:5 Bel & Dragon] Tobias also, although under a royal and tyrannical slavery, yet in feeling and spirit free, maintains his confession to God, and sublimely announces both the divine power and majesty, saying: 'In the land of my captivity I confess to Him, and I show forth His power in a sinful nation.'[Tobit 13:6]"
Cyprian,Treatises,11:11(A.D. 257),in ANF,V:503
"But listen to the divine oracles: 'The works of the Lord are in judgment; from the beginning, and from His making of them, He disposed the parts thereof. He garnished His works for ever, and their principles unto their generations.'[Sirach 16:24-25]"
Dionysius the Great,On Nature,3(ante A.D. 265),in ANF,VI:86
"He is a Spirit--for says He, 'God is a Spirit'[John 4:24]--fittingly again is Christ called Breath; for 'He,' saith He, 'is the breath of God's power.'[Wisdom 7:25]"
Dionysius the Great,To Dionsyius of Rome,4(ante A.D. 265),in ANF,VI:92
"Solomon also shows that it is the Word of God, and no other, by whose hands these works of the world were made. 'I,' He says, 'came forth out of the mouth of the Most High before all creatures: I caused the light that faileth not to arise in the heavens, and covered the whole earth with a cloud. I have dwelt in the height, and my throne is in the pillar of the cloud.'[Sirach 24:3-5]"
Lactanius,Institutions,4:8(A.D. 310),in ANF,VII:107
"Therefore, I do not think men ought to be considered pious who presume to investigate this subject, in disobedience to the injunction, 'Seek not what is too difficult for thee, neither enquire into what is too high for thee.'[Sirach 3:21] For if the knowledge of many other things incomparably inferior is beyond the capacity of the human mind, and cannot therefore be attained, as has been said by Paul, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared far them that lave Him'[1 Cor 2:9], and as God also said to Abraham, that the stars could not be numbered by him; and it is likewise said,' Who shall number the grains of sand by the sea-shore, or the drops of rain?'[Sirach 1:2]"
Alexander of Alexandria,To brother Alexander, fragment in Theodoret of Cyrus' Ecclesiastical History,1:3(A.D. 324),in NPNF2,III:37
"For this was accomplished at that time, when the venerable and aged Eleazar was slain, and the sons of the blessed Samuna, seven in number,[ref 2 Maccabees 6:18-31] and when Judas (Maccabeus) and his brethren were struggling on behalf of their people[ref 2 Maccabees 5:27]"
Aphraates the Persian Sage,Demonstrations,5:19(A.D. 345),in NPNF2,XIII:359
"He leads away to himself the wealthy, the sons of luxury; And 'they leave their possessions as the waves of the sea.'[Sirach 29:17]"
Aphraates the Persian Sage,Demonstrations,22:7(A.D. 345),in NPNF2,XIII:404
"Of these read the two and twenty books, but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study earnestly these only which we read openly in the Church. Far wiser and more pious than thyself were the Apostles, and the bishops of old time, the presidents of the Church who handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, trench thou not upon its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if thou art desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave, and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch[1-5] and Lamentations and the Epistle[of Jeremiah-Baruch 6]; then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,4:33(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:27
"The Divine Nature then it is impossible to see with eyes of flesh: but from the works, which are Divine, it is possible to attain to some conception of His power, according to Solomon, who says, 'For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably the Maker of them is seen'[Wisdom 13:5]. He said not that from the creatures the Maker is seen, but added proportionably. For God appears the greater to every man in proportion as he has grasped a larger survey of the creatures: and when his heart is uplifted by that larger survey, he gains withal a greater conception of God. Wouldest thou learn that to comprehend the nature of God is impossible? The Three Children in the furnace of fire, as they hymn the praises of God, say 'Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the Cherubim'[Daniel 3:55-Three Youths]."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,9:2,3(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:51
"[L]earn from this instance the mightiness of God: for 'He hath numbered the drops of rain'[Job 26:27], which have been poured down on all the earth, not only now but in all time. The sun is a work of God, which, great though it be, is but a spot in comparison with the whole heaven; first gaze stedfastly upon the sun, and then curiously scan the Lord of the sun. 'Seek not the things that are too deep for thee, neither search out the things that are above thy strength: what is commanded thee, think thereupon'[Sirach 3:20,21]."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,6:4(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:34
"Hear the Prophet saying, 'This is our God, none other shall be accounted of in comparison with Him. He hath found out every way of knowledge, and given it to Jacob His servant, and to
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,9:15(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:68
"He says to Daniel; young though thou be, convict old men infected with the sins of youth; for it is written, 'God raised up the Holy Spirit upon a young stripling'[Daniel 13:45-Susanna]"
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,16:31(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:123
"For when they speak against the ascension of the Saviour, as being impossible, remember the account of the carrying away of Habakkuk: for if Habakkuk was transported by an Angel, being carried by the hair of his head[Daniel 14-Bel & the Dragon], much rather was the Lord of both Prophets and Angels, able by His own power to make His ascent into the Heavens on a cloud from the Mount of Olives."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,14:25(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:101
"[T]he Old Testament is reckoned as consisting of twenty-two books...so that of Moses there be five books...with the Lamentations and the Letter[Baruch 6-Epistle of Jeremiah], and Daniel...bringing the number of the books to twenty-two. It is to be noted also that by adding to these Tobias and Judith, there are twenty-four books, corresponding to the number of letters used by the Greeks."
Hilary of Poitiers,Prologue to the Psalms,15(A.D. 365),in JUR, 1:383
"They say that the Father has prescience of all things, as the blessed Susanna says, 'O eternal God, that knowest secrets, and knowest all things before they be'[Daniel 13:42-Susanna]"
Hilary of Poitiers,On the Trinity,4:8(A.D. 359),in NPNF2,IX:73
"As you have listened already to Moses and Isaiah, so listen now to Jeremiah inculcating the same truth as they:--'This is our God, and there shall be none other likened unto Him, Who hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant and to Israel His beloved. Afterward did He shew Himself upon earth and dwelt among men.'[Baruch 3:36-38]
Hilary of Poitiers,On the Trinity,4:42(A.D. 359),in NPNF2,IX:84
"Such suggestions are inconsistent with the clear sense of Scripture. For all things, as the Prophet says[ref 2 Maccabees 7:28], were made out of nothing; it was no transformation of existing things, but the creation into a perfect form of the non-existent."
Hilary of Poitiers,On the Trinity,4:16(A.D. 359),in NPNF2,IX:76
"Then, while the devout soul was baffled and astray through its own feebleness, it caught from the prophet's voice this scale of comparison for God, admirably expressed, 'By the greatness of His works and the beauty of the things that He hath made the Creator of worlds is rightly discerned'[Wisdom 13:5]."
Hilary of Poitiers,On the Trinity,1:7(A.D. 359),in NPNF2,IX:42
"There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows. The first is Genesis, then Exodus, next Leviticus, after that Numbers, and then Deuteronomy. Following these there is Joshua, the son of Nun, then Judges, then Ruth. And again, after these four books of Kings, the first and second being reckoned as one book, and so likewise the third and fourth as one book. And again, the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book. Again Ezra, the first and second are similarly one book. After these there is the book of Psalms, then the Proverbs, next Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Job follows, then the Prophets, the twelve being reckoned as one book. Then Isaiah, one book, then Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations, and the epistle, one book; afterwards, Ezekiel and Daniel, each one book. Thus far constitutes the Old Testament...But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being [merely] read; nor is there in any place a mention of apocryphal writings. But they are an invention of heretics, who write them when they choose, bestowing upon them their approbation, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as ancient writings, they may find occasion to lead astray the simple.
Athanasius,Festal Letters,39:4,7(A.D. 367),in NPNF2,IV:552
"[T]he sacred writers to whom the Son has revealed Him, have given us a certain image from things visible, saying, 'Who is the brightness of His glory, and the Expression of His Person;'[Heb 1:3] and again, 'For with Thee is the well of life, and in Thy light shall we see lights;'[Ps 36:9] and when the Word chides lsrael, He says, 'Thou hast forsaken the Fountain of wisdom;'[Baruch 3:12] and this Fountain it is which says, 'They have forsaken Me the Fountain of living waters'[Jer 2:13]"
Athanasius,Defense of the Nicene Faith,2:12(A.D. 351),in NPNF2,IV:158
" And where the sacred writers say, Who exists before the ages,' and 'By whom He made the ages,'[Heb 1:2] they thereby as clearly preach the eternal and everlasting being of the Son, even while they are designating God Himself. Thus, if Isaiah says, 'The Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth;'[Is 40:28] and Susanna said, 'O Everlasting God;'[Daniel 13:42-Susanna] and Baruch wrote, 'I will cry unto the Everlasting in my days,' and shortly after, 'My hope is in the Everlasting, that He will save you, and joy is come unto me from the Holy One;'[Baruch 4:20,22]"
Athanasius,Discourses Against the Arians,1:4(A.D. 362),in NPNF2,IV:313
"[I]t is written that 'all things were made through the Word,' and 'without Him was not made one thing,'[John 1:3] and again, 'One Lord Jesus, through whom are all things,'[1 Cor 8:9] and 'in Him all things consist,'[Col 1:17] it is very plain that the Son cannot be a work, but He is the Hand of God and the Wisdom. This knowing, the martyrs in
Athanasius,Discourses Against the Arians,2:71(A.D. 362),in NPNF2,IV:387
"Daniel said to Astyages, 'I do not worship idols made with hands, but the Living God, who hath created the heaven and the earth, and hath sovereignty over all flesh;'[Daniel 14:5-Bel & the Dragon]"
Athanasius,Discourses Against the Arians,3:30(A.D. 362),in NPNF2,IV:410
"But if this too fails to persuade them, let them tell us themselves, whether there is any wisdom in the creatures or not? If not how is it that the Apostle complains, 'For after that in the Wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God?'[1 Cor 1:21] or how is it if there is no wisdom, that a 'multitude of wise men'[Wisdom 6:24] are found in Scripture? for 'a wise man feareth and departeth from evil;'[Prov 14:16] and 'through wisdom is a house builded;'[Prov 24] and the Preacher says, 'A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine;' and he blames those who are headstrong thus, 'Say not thou, what is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire in wisdom concerning this.'[Eccl 8:1,7:10] But if, as the Son of Sirach says, 'He poured her out upon all His works; she is with all flesh according to His gift, and He hath given her to them that love Him,'[Sirach 1:8,9]"
Athanasius,Discourses Against the Arians,2:79(A.D. 362),in NPNF2,IV:391
"[F]or it is written of the other, 'The foolish person will speak foolishness;' [Is 32:6 LXX] but of these, 'Ask counsel of all that are wise.'[Tobit 4:18]"
Athanasius,Defense before Constantius,17(A.D. 357),in NPNF2,IV:244
"So as Judith says, 'Thou hast thought, and what things thou didst determine were ready at hand.'[Judith 9:5,6]"
Basil,On the Holy Spirit,8:19(A.D. 375),in NPNF2,VIII:13
"The Lord ordereth 'all things in measure and weight,'[Wisdom 11:20]"
Basil,To Clergy of Samosata,Epistle 219:1(A.D. 375),in NPNF2,VIII:260
"What Scripture says is very true, 'As for a fool he changeth as the moon.'[Sirach 27:11]
Basil,Hexaemeron,6:10(A.D. 370),in NPNF2,VIII:88
"Standing and sitting, I apprehend, indicate the fixity and entire stability of the nature, as Baruch, when he wishes to exhibit the immutability and immobility of the Divine mode of existence, says, 'For thou sittest for ever and we perish utterly.'[Baruch 3:3]"
Basil,On the Holy Spirit,6:15(A.D. 375),in NPNF2,VIII:10
"But the Spirit is believed to have been operating at the saint time in Habakkuk and in Daniel at Babylon,[ref Daniel 14:35-Bel & the Dragon] and to have been at the prison with Jeremiah,[ref Jer 20:2] and with Ezekiel at the Chebar.[ref Ez 1:1]"
Basil,On the Holy Spirit,23:54(A.D. 375),in NPNF2,VIII:35
"The Lord is now making trial of your love for Him. Now there is an opportunity for you, through your patience, to take the martyr's lot. The mother of the Maccabees[ref 2 Maccabees 7] saw the death of seven sons without a sigh, without even shedding one unworthy tear."
Basil,To the Wife of Nectarius,Epistle 6:2(A.D. 358),in NPNF2,VIII:115
"[T]he Scripture tells us, 'into the malicious soul Wisdom cannot come.'[Wisdom 1:4]"
Gregory of Nyssa,On Virginity,15(A.D. 371),in NPNF2,V:361
"[T]he prophetical writing says, 'knoweth all things before they be,'[Daniel 3:42-Susanna]"
Gregory of Nyssa,Against Making of Man,16(A.D. 379),in NPNF2,V:406
"[T]he prophet says, 'was seen upon earth and conversed with men,'[Baruch 3:38]"
Gregory of Nyssa,Against Eunomius,6:4(A.D. 384),in NPNF2,V:189
"[I]n the Scripture the 'Seed of the Chaldeans'[Judith 5:6] removed, and the children of Babylon dashed against the Rocks and destroyed."
Gregory of Nazianzen,Oration 45,2nd Oration on Easter 15(A.D. 383),in NPNF2,VII:428
"And how shall we preserve the truth that God pervades all things and fills all, as it is written 'Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord,'[Jer 23:24] and 'The Spirit of the Lord filleth the world,'[Wisdom 1:7] if God partly contains and partly is contained?"
Gregory of Nazianzen,Oration 28,2nd Theological 8(A.D. 380),in NPNF2,VII:291
"Passing by the elders in the book of Daniel;[Ref Daniel 13:5-Susanna] for it is better to pass them by, together with the Lord's righteous sentence and declaration concerning them..."
Gregory of Nazianzen,Oration 2,Flight to Pontus 64(A.D. 362),in NPNF2,VII:218
"Not by raining down manna, as for Israel of old[ref Ex 16:14] or opening the rock, in order to give drink to His thirsting people,[ref Ps 78:24] or feasting her by means of ravens, as Elijah,[ref 1 Kings 17:6] or feeding her by a prophet carried through the air, as He did to Daniel when a-hungered in the den.[ref Daniel 14:33,34-Bel & Dragon]"
Gregory of Nazianzen,Oration 18,On the Death of his Father 30(A.D. 374),in NPNF2,VII:264
"[T]he just man in the den, restraining the lions' rage,[ref Daniel 6:22] and the struggle of the seven Maccabees,[ref 2 Maccabees 7:1] who were perfected with their father and mother in blood, and in all kinds of tortures.
Gregory of Nazianzen,Oration 43,Panegyric on Basil 74(A.D. 381),in NPNF2,VII:420
"The order of the Old Testament begins here: Genesis, one book; Exodus, one book; Leviticus, one book; Numbers, one book; Deuteronomy, one book; Joshua [Son of] Nave, one book; Judges, one book; Ruth, one book; Kings, four books [ie., 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings];Paralipomenon [Chronicles], two books; Psalms, one book; Solomon, three books: Proverbs, one book; Ecclesiastes, one book; Canticle of Canticles, one book; likewise Wisdom, one book; Ecclesiasticus [Sirach], one book. Likewise the order of the Prophets. Isaias one book, Jeremias one book,...lamentations, Ezechiel one book, Daniel one book, Osee ... Nahum ... Habacuc ... Sophonias ... Aggeus ... Zacharias ... Malachias ... Likewise the order of the historical [books]: Job, one book; Tobit, one book; Esdras, two books [Ezra and Nehemiah]; Esther, one book; Judith, one book; Maccabees, two books."
Council of Rome,Decree of Pope Damasus(A.D. 382),in DEN,34
"Of the Old Covenant: the five books of Moses--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; one of Joshua the son of Nun, one of the Judges, one of Ruth, four of the Kings, two of the Chronicles, two of Ezra, one of Esther, one of Judith, three of the Maccabees, one of Job, one hundred and fifty psalms; three books of Solomon--Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs; sixteen prophets. And besides these, take care that your young persons learn the Wisdom of the very learned Sirach."
Apostolic Constitutions,47:85(A.D. 400),in ANF,VII:505
"And again; 'Do not to another what thou hatest'[Tobit 4:15]"
John Chrysostom,Concerning Statues,7(A.D. 387),in NPNF1,IX:428
"Wherefore we must cast out all wickedness from our souls, and never more contrive any deceit; for, saith one, 'To the perverse God sendeth crooked paths [Prov 21:8 LXX]; and, 'The holy spirit of discipline will flee deceit, and remove from thoughts that are without understanding.'[Wisd. 1:5]"
John Chrysostom,Homilies on John,41(A.D. 391),in NPNF1,XIV:150
"Let us then repeat to ourselves soothing charms drawn from the holy Scripture, and say, 'Thou art earth and ashes.' 'Why is earth and ashes proud?' [Sirach 10:9], and, 'The sway of his fury shall be his destruction'[Sirach 1:19] and, 'The wrathful man is not comely'[Prov. 11:25 LXX]"
John Chrysostom,Homilies on John,48(A.D. 391),in NPNF1,XIV:175
"Elsewhere the Scripture takes the term "old" in the sense of blame; for seeing that the things are of various aspect as being composed of many parts, it uses the same words both in a good and an evil import, not according to the same shade of meaning. Of which you may see an instance in the blame cast elsewhere on the old: [Ps. 17:46 LXX] 'They waxed old, and they halted from their paths.' And again, [Ps. 6:7 LXX] 'I have become old in the midst of all mine enemies.' And again, [Daniel 13:52-Susanna] 'O thou that art become old in evil days.' So also the 'Leaven' is often taken for the
John Chrysostom,Homilies on 1st Corinthians,15(A.D. 392),in NPNF1,XII:87
"And to prove that I say not this upon conjecture; when they fell into the furnace, they bewailed themselves after this sort, saying, [Daniel 3:29,33-Three Youths] 'We have sinned, we have done iniquity, we cannot open our mouth.'
John Chrysostom,Homilies on 1st Corinthians,18(A.D. 392),in NPNF1,XII:104
"And Baruch in the book of Jeremiah says 'this is our God: no other shall be reckoned by the side of Him: He found out every path of knowledge and gave it to Jacob His servant, and lsrael his beloved. After these things also He appeared upon the earth, and held converse with men.'[Baruch 3:35-37] And David signifying His incarnate presence said 'He shall come down like the rain into a fleece of wool, and like the drop which distills upon the earth'[Ps 72:6] because He noiselessly and gently entered into the Virgin's womb.
John Chrysostom,Against Marcionist & Manicheans(ante A.D. 403),in NPNF1,XI:205
"That nothing be read in church besides the Canonical Scripture. Item, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture. But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows: Genesis. Exodus. Leviticus. Numbers. Deuteronomy. Joshua the Son of Nun. The Judges. Ruth. The Kings, four books. The Chronicles, two books. Job. The Psalter. The Five books of Solomon. The Twelve Books of the Prophets. Isaiah. Jeremiah. Ezechiel. Daniel. Tobit. Judith. Esther. Ezra, two books. Macchabees, two books."
Council of Hippo,Canon 36(A.D. 393),in NPNF2,XIV:453-454
"[It has been decided] that nothing except the canonical Scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine Scriptures. But the canonical Scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon, two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon [Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach], twelve books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees."
Council of Carthage III,Canon 397(A.D. 397),in DEN,39-40
"Nor do I allege any opinion of my own, but I repeat that which the Holy Spirit spake by the prophet: 'Blessed is the barren that is undefiled.'[Wisdom 3:13]"
Ambrose,Concerning Virginity,7:35(A.D. 378),in NPNF2,X:369
"So then, holy Judith,[Judith 10:3ff] strengthened by lengthened mourning and by daily fasting, sought not the enjoyments of the world regardless of danger, and strong in her contempt for death."
Ambrose,Concerning Widows,7:38(A.D. 378),in NPNF2,X:397
"Daniel also, unless he had received the Spirit of God, would never have been able to discover that lustful adultery, that fraudulent lie. For when Susanna, assailed by the conspiracy of the elders, saw that the mind of the people was moved by consideration for the old men, and destitute of all help, alone amongst men, conscious of her chastity she prayed God to judge; it is written: 'The Lord heard her voice, when she was being led to be put to death, and the Lord raised up the Holy Spirit of a young youth, whose name was Daniel.'[Daniel 13:44,45-Susanna]"
Ambrose,On the Holy Spirit,3:6:39(A.D. 381),in NPNF2,X:140
"And the Lord bids them lay aside the garments of mourning, and to cease the groanings of repentance, saying: 'Put off, O Jerusalem, the garment of thy mourning and affliction. and clothe thyself in beauty, the glory which God hath given thee for ever.'[Baruch 5:1]"
Ambrose,Concerning Repentance,I:9:43(A.D. 384),in NPNF2,X:336
"Wherefore the Scripture says well: 'A wise man will keep silence until there is opportunity.'[Sirach 20:6]"
Ambrose,Duties of the Clergy,I:2:5(A.D. 391),in NPNF2,X:2
"When Jeremiah understood what they wanted he said: 'The spot will remain unknown until God shall gather His people together and be gracious to them. Then God shall reveal these things and the majesty of the Lord shall appear.'[2 Maccabees 2:7]"
Ambrose,Duties of the Clergy,III:17:101(A.D. 391),in NPNF2,X:84
"And what safety can there be for us unless we wash away our sins by fasting, since Scripture says that fasting and alms do away sin? [Tobit 12:8,9]"
Ambrose,Epistle 63:16(A.D. 396),in NPNF2,X:459
"This preface to the Scriptures may serve as a 'helmeted' introduction to all the books which we now turn from Hebrew into Latin, so that we may be assured that what is not found in our list must be placed amongst the Apocryphal writings. Wisdom ... the book of ... Sirach, and Judith, and Tobias, and the Shepherd are not in the canon. The first book of Maccabees I have found to be in Hebrew, the second in Greek, as can be proved from the very style."
Jerome,Preface to Samuel and Kings[Prologus Galeatus](A.D. 391),in NPNF2,VI:490
"We have the authentic book of Jesus son of Sirach, and annother pseudepigraphic work, entitled the Wisdom of Solomon. I found the first in Hebrew, with the title, 'Parables', not Ecclesiasticus, as in Latin versions...The second finds no place in Hebrew texts, and its style is redolent of Greek eloquence: a number of ancient writers assert that it is a work of Philo Judaeus. Therefore, just as the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them to the canon of Scripture; so let the Church read these two volumes, for the edification of the people, but not to support the authority of ecclesiastical doctrines."
Jerome,Preface to Proverbs,(A.D. 398),in LCF,187
"What sin have I committed in following the judgment of the churches? But when I repeat what the Jews say against the Story of Susanna and the Hymn of the Three Children, and the fables of Bel and the Dragon, which are not contained in the Hebrew Bible, the man who makes this a charge against me proves himself to be a fool and a slanderer; for I explained not what I thought but what they commonly say against us."
Jerome,Against Rufinus,11:33(A.D. 402),in NPNF2,III:517
"At least that is what Solomon says: "wisdom is the gray hair unto men.'[Wisdom 4:9]"
Jerome,To Paulinus, Epistle 58(A.D. 395),in VI:119
"[D]oes not the scripture say: 'Burden not thyself above thy power'[Sirach 13:2]?"
Jerome,To Eustochium,Epistle 108(A.D. 404),in NPNF2,VI:207
"I would cite the words of the psalmist: 'the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,'[Ps 51:17] and those of Ezekiel 'I prefer the repentance of a sinner rather than his death,'[Ez 18:23] and those of Baruch, 'Arise, arise, O Jerusalem,'[Baruch 5:5] and many other proclamations made by the trumpets of the prophets."
Jerome,To Oceanus,Epistle 77:4(A.D. 399),in NPNF2,VI:159
"The words of 2 Maccabees v. 17, which say that Antiochus Epiphanes had power to overthrow the Temple, 'because of the multitude of sins,'[2 Macc 5:17] are quoted in connection with the confessions of Daniel."
Jerome,Against the Pelagians,II:30(A.D. 415),in NPNF2,VI:471
"Of the Old Testament, therefore, first of all there have been handed down five books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Then Jesus Nave, (Joshua the son of Nun), The Book of Judges together with Ruth; then four books of Kings (Reigns), which the Hebrews reckon two; the Book of Omissions, which is entitled the Book of Days (Chronicles), and two books of Ezra (Ezra and Nehemiah), which the Hebrews reckon one, and Esther; of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; moreover of the twelve (minor) Prophets, one book; Job also and the Psalms of David, each one book. Solomon gave three books to the Churches, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles. These comprise the books of the Old Testament...But it should be known that there are also other books which our fathers call not 'Canonical' but 'Ecclesiastical:' that is to say, Wisdom, called the Wisdom of Solomon, and another Wisdom, called the Wisdom of the Son of Syrach, which last-mentioned the Latins called by the general title Ecclesiasticus, designating not the author of the book, but the character of the writing. To the same class belong the Book of Tobit, and the Book of Judith, and the Books of the Maccabees. In the New Testament the little book which is called the Book of the Pastor of Hermas, [and that] which is called The Two Ways,[ie. Didache] or the Judgment of Peter; all of which they would have read in the churches, but not appealed to for the confirmation of doctrine. The other writings they have named 'Apocrypha.' These they would not have read in the Churches. These are the traditions which the Fathers have handed down to us, which, as I said, I have thought it opportune to set forth in this place, for the instruction of those who are being taught the first elements of the Church and of the Faith, that they may know from what fountains of the Word of God their draughts must be taken."
Rufinus of Aquileia,The Apostles Creed,37-38(A.D. 404),in NPNF2,III:557-558
"Which also the Prophet fore told when he said, 'This is our God: no other shall be accounted of in comparison of Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant and to
Rufinus of Aquileia,The Apostles Creed,37-38(A.D. 404),in NPNF2,III:557-558
"A brief addition shows what books really are received in the canon. These are...of Moses five books...and Josue, of Judges one book, of Kings four books, and also Ruth, of the Prophets sixteen books, of Solomon five books, the Psalms. Likewise of the histories, Job one book, of Tobias one book, Esther one, Judith one, of the Machabees two, of Esdra two, Paralipomenon two books..."
Pope Innocent[regn. A.D. 401-417],To Exsuperius,Epistle 6(A.D. 405),in DEN,42
"Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised, is contained in the following books:--Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; one book of Joshua the son of Nun; one of Judges; one short book called Ruth, which seems rather to belong to the beginning of Kings; next, four books of Kings, and two of Chronicles --these last not following one another, but running parallel, so to speak, and going over the same ground. The books now mentioned are history, which contains a connected narrative of the times, and follows the order of the events. There are other books which seem to follow no regular order, and are connected neither with the order of the preceding books nor with one another, such as Job, and Tobias, and Esther, and Judith, and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Ezra,(ie. Ezra & Nehemiah) which last look more like a sequel to the continuous regular history which terminates with the books of Kings and Chronicles. Next are the Prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David; and three books of Solomon, viz., Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes. For two books, one called Wisdom and the other Ecclesiasticus, are ascribed to Solomon from a certain resemblance of style, but the most likely opinion is that they were written by Jesus the son of Sirach. Still they are to be reckoned among the prophetical books, since they have attained recognition as being authoritative. The remainder are the books which are strictly called the Prophets: twelve separate books of the prophets which are connected with one another, and having never been disjoined, are reckoned as one book; the names of these prophets are as follows:--Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; then there are the four greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel. The authority of the Old Testament is contained within the limits of these forty-four books."
Augustine,On Christian Doctrine,II:8(A.D. 426),in NPNF1,II:53-539
"Wherefore, as Scripture says, 'when you go forth to serve the Lord stand in the fear of the Lord, and prepare your mind'[Sirach 2:1]"
John Cassian,The Institutes,4:37(A.D. 426),in NPNF2,XI:231
"[A]s Scripture itself testifies: 'For God made not death, neither rejoiceth in the destruction of the living.'[Wisdom 1:13]"
John Cassian,Third Conference of Abbot Chaermon,7(A.D. 428),in NPNF2,XI:425
"[T]he Prophet says, 'the Lord Himself is God, who found out all the way of knowledge; who was seen upon earth and conversed with men.'[Baruch 3:37,38]"
John Cassian,The Incarnation of Christ,4:13(A.D. 430),in NPNF2,XI:580
"[T]he divine Oracles cry aloud, 'Remove not the landmarks, which thy fathers have set,'[Prov 22:28] and 'Go not to law with a Judge,'[Sirach 8:14] and 'Whoso breaketh through a fence a serpent shall bite him,'[Eccles 10:8]"
Vincent of Lerins,Commonitory,21:51(A.D. 434),in NPNF2,XI:146
"Two officers in the army, who were shield bearers in the imperial suite, at a certain banquet lamented in somewhat warm language the abomination of what was being done, and employed the admirable language of the glorious youths at Babylon, 'Thou hast given us over to an impious Prince an apostate beyond all the nations on the earth.'[Daniel 3:32-Three Youths]"
Theodoret of Cyrus,Ecclesiastical History,3:11(A.D. 440),in NPNF2,III:101
"A wise man who knew all this full well reasons about deaths of this kind and says, 'Yea; speedily was he taken away, lest that wickedness should alter his understanding.'[Wisdom 4:11]"
Theodoret of Cyrus,To Cyrus Magistrianus,Epistle 136(ante A.D. 466),in NPNF2,III:306
"And hence Tobias also, while instructing his son in the precepts of godliness, says, 'Give alms of thy substance, and turn not thy face from any poor man: so shall it come to pass that the face of GOD shall not be turned from thee'[Tobit 4:7]"
Pope Leo the Great[regn A.D. 440-461],Sermon 10:4(ante A.D. 461),in NPNF2,XII:121
"[T]he sins which are washed away either by the waters of baptism, or the tears of repentance, may be also blotted out by alms-giving; for the Scripture says, 'As water extinguisheth fire, so alms extinguisheth sin.'[Sirach 3:29] Through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Pope Leo the Great[regn A.D. 440-461],Sermon 49:6(ante A.D. 461),in NPNF2,XII:162
"But O ungodliest of men[ie Judas Iscariot], "thou seed of Chanaan and not of Juda,'[Daniel 13:56-Susanna]"
Pope Leo the Great[regn A.D. 440-461],Sermon 67(ante A.D. 461),in NPNF2,XII:179
"Who[ie the Son] is equal with God the Father, have assumed the form of a slave and the likeness of sinful flesh. But because 'by the devil's malice death entered into the world'[Wisdom 2:24]"
Pope Leo the Great[regn A.D. 440-461],Sermon 78:2(ante A.D. 461),in NPNF2,XII:192
"The canonical books of the Old Testament are therefore twenty-one in number...Besides these there are other books of the same Old Testament, which are not canonical, and which are read only to the catechumens. These are the Wisdom of Solomon...the Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach,... Esther,... Judith,... Tobias... These are not canonical."
Synopsys of Sacred Scripture,2(A.D. 500),in JUR,III:255
"For of him it is written, But by envy of the devil death entered into the world'[Wisdom 2:24]"
Pope Gregory the Great[regn A.D. 590-604],Pastoral Care,10(ante A.D. 604),in NPNF2,XII:32
"[L]et them hear what is written, 'Give to every man that asketh of thee'[Luke 6:30]. Lest they should give something, however little to those on whom they ought to bestow nothing at all, let them hear what is written. 'Give to the good man, and receive not a sinner: do well to him that is lowly, and give not to the ungodly'[Sirach 12:4]. And again, 'Set out thy bread and wine on the burial of the just, but eat and drink not thereof with sinners' [Tobit 4:17]."
Pope Gregory the Great[regn A.D. 590-604],Pastoral Care,20(ante A.D. 604),in NPNF2,XII:45
"The divine Scripture likewise saith that 'the souls of the just are in God's hand'[Wisdom 3:1] and death cannot lay hold of them."
John Damascene,Orthodox Faith,4:15(A.D. 743),in NPNF2,IX:87
"But others, though future, are put in the past tense, as, for instance, This is our God: 'Therefore He[she] was seen upon the earth and dwell among men'[Baruch 3:38]."
John Damascene,Orthodox Faith,4:18(A.D. 743),in NPNF2,IX:90
"[S]o that in them was fufilled that which is written, 'The service of God is abominable to the sinner.'[Sirach 1:22]"
7th Ecumenical Council,Nicea II,Canon 6,in NPNF2,XIV:566
"And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture a certain place, 'I will appoint their bishops s in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.'... Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry...For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties."
Clement,Epistle to Corinthians,42,44(A.D. 98),in ANF,I:16,17
"For what is the bishop but one who beyond all others possesses all power and authority, so far as it is possible for a man to possess it, who according to his ability has been made an imitator of the Christ Of God? And what is the presbytery but a sacred assembly, the counsellors and assessors of the bishop? And what are the deacons but imitators of the angelic powers, fulfilling a pure and blameless ministry unto him, as ... Anencletus and Clement to Peter?"
Ignatius,To the Trallians,7(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:69
"Hegesippus in the five books of Memoirs which have come down to us has left a most complete record of his own views. In them he states that on a journey to
Hegesippus,Memoirs,fragment in Eusebius Ecclesiatical History,4:22(A.D. 180),in NPNF2,I:198-199
"True knowledge is [that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither receiving addition nor [suffering] curtailment [in the truths which she believes]; and [it consists in] reading [the word of God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy; and [above all, it consists in] the pre-eminent gift of love, which is more precious than knowledge, more glorious than prophecy, and which excels all the other gifts [of God]."
Irenaeus,Against Heresies,4:33:8(A.D. 180),in ANF,I:508
"But if there be any (heresies) which are bold enough to plant themselves in the midst Of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men,--a man, moreover, who continued stedfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to their episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed. Let the heretics contrive something of the same kind. For after their blasphemy, what is there that is unlawful for them (to attempt)? But should they even effect the contrivance, they will not advance a step. For their very doctrine, after comparison with that of the apostles, will declare, by its own diversity and contrariety, that it had for its author neither an apostle nor an apostolic man; because, as the apostles would never have taught things which were self-contradictory, so the apostolic men would not have inculcated teaching different from the apostles, unless they who received their instruction from the apostles went and preached in a contrary manner. To this test, therefore will they be submitted for proof by those churches, who, although they derive not their founder from apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in the same faith, they are accounted as not less apostolic because they are akin in doctrine. Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith."
Tertullian,Prescription against the Heretics,33(A.D. 200),in ANF,III:258
"And that you may still be more confident, that repenting thus truly there remains for you a sure hope of salvation, listen to a tale? which is not a tale but a narrative, handed down and committed to the custody of memory, about the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant's death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit."
"We are not to credit these men, nor go out from the first and the ecclesiastical tradition; nor to believe otherwise than as the churches of God have by succession transmitted to us."
Origen,Commentary on Matthew (post A.D. 244),in FOC,407
"Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honour of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: 'I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers."
Cyprian,To the Lapsed,1(A.D. 250),in ANF,V:305
"Therefore the power of remitting sins was given to the apostles, and to the churches which they, sent by Christ, established, and to the bishops who succeeded to them by vicarious ordination."
Firmilian,To Cyprian,Epistle 75:16(A.D. 256),in ANF,V:394
"It is my purpose to write an account of the successions of the holy apostles, as well as of the times which have elapsed from the days of our Saviour to our own; and to relate the many important events which are said to have occurred in the history of the Church; and to mention those who have governed and presided over the Church in the most prominent parishes, and those who in each generation have proclaimed the divine word either orally or in writing... When Nero was in the eighth year of his reign, Annianus succeeded Mark the evangelist in the administration of the parish of
Eusebius,Ecclesiastical History,1:1,2:24,(A.D. 325),in NPNF2,I:81
"Lo! In these three successions, as in a mystery and a figure ... Under the three pastors,--there were manifold shepherds"
Ephraem,Nisbene Hymns,The Bishops of Nisibis(Jacob, Babu, Valgesh),13,14(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,XIII:180
"[W]hile before your election you lived to yourself, after it, you live for your flock. And before you had received the grace of the episcopate, no one knew you; but after you became one, the laity expect you to bring them food, namely instruction from the Scriptures ... For if all were of the same mind as your present advisers, how would you have become a Christian, since there would be no bishops? Or if our successors are to inherit this state of mind, how will the Churches be able to hold together?"
Athanasius,To Dracontius,Epistle 49(A.D. 355),in NPNF2,IV:558
"[B]elieve as we believe,we , who are, by succesion from the blessed apostles, bishops; confess as we and they have confessed, the only Son of God, and thus shalt thou obtain forgiveness for thy numerous crimes."
Lucifer of Calaris,On St. Athanasius(A.D. 361),in FOC,274
"[W]e shall not recede from the faith ... as once laid it continues even to this say, through the tradition of the fathers, according to the succession from the apostles, even to the discussion had at Nicea against the heresy which had, at that period, sprung up."
Hilary of Poitiers,History Fragment 7(ante A.D. 367),in FOC,273
"[D]uring the days of that Anicetus, bishop of Rome, who succeeded Pius and his predecessors, For, in Rome, Peter and Paul were the first both apostles and bishops; then came Linus, then Cletus ... However the succession of the bishops in Rome was in the following order. Peter and Paul, and Cletus, Clement ..."
Epiphanius,Panarion,27:6(A.D. 377),in FOC,279
"He[St. Athanasius] is led up to the throne of Saint Mark, to succeed him in piety, no less than in office; in the latter indeed at a great distance from him, in the former, which is the genuine right of succession, following him closely. For unity in doctrine deserves unity in office; and a rival teacher sets up a rival throne; the one is a successor in reality, the other but in name. For it is not the intruder, but he whose rights are intruded upon, who is the successor, not the lawbreaker, but the lawfully appointed, not the man of contrary opinions, but the man of the same faith; if this is not what we mean by successor, he succeeds in the same sense as disease to health, darkness to light, storm to calm, and frenzy to sound sense."
Gregory of Nazianzen,Oration 21:8(A.D. 380),in NPNF2,VII:271
"For they[Novatians] have not the succession of Peter, who hold not the chair of Peter, which they rend by wicked schism; and this, too, they do, wickedly denying that sins can be forgiven even in the Church, whereas it was said to Peter: 'I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.' "
Ambrose,Concerning Repentance,7:33(A.D. 384),in NPNF2,X:334
"It has been ordained by the apostles and their successors, that nothing be read in the Catholic Church, except the law, and the prophets, and the Gospels."
"Let a bishop be ordained by three or two bishops; but if any one be ordained by one bishop, let him be deprived, both himself and he that ordained him. But if there be a necessity that he have only one to ordain him, because more bishops cannot come together, as in time of persecution, or for such like causes, let him bring the suffrage of permission from more bishops."
Apostolic Constitutions,8:27(A.D. 400),in ANF,7:493
"For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: 'Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it !' The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: -- Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is found. But, reversing the natural course of things, the Donatists sent to Rome from Africa an ordained bishop, who, putting himself at the head of a few Africans in the great metropolis, gave some notoriety to the name of "mountain men," or Cutzupits, by which they were known."
Augustine,To Generosus,Epistle 53:2(A.D. 400),in NPNF1,I:298
" 'To the saints in Christ Jesus which are at
John Chrysostom,Homilies on Phillipians,1:1(A.D. 404),in NPNF2,XIII:184
"[I]f any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless as the steward of God.' And to Timothy he says: 'Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.' Peter also says in his first epistle: 'The presbyters which are among you I exhort, who am your fellow-presbyter and a witness of the sufferings of Christ and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of Christ' ... taking the oversight thereof not by constraint but willingly, according unto God.' In the Greek the meaning is still plainer, for the word used is episkopountes, that is to say, overseeing, and this is the origin of the name overseer or bishop. But perhaps the testimony of these great men seems to you insufficient. If so, then listen to the blast of the gospel trumpet, that son of thunder, the disciple whom Jesus loved and who reclining on the Saviour's breast drank in the waters of sound doctrine. One of his letters begins thus: 'The presbyter unto the elect lady and her children whom I love in the truth; ' and another thus: 'The presbyter unto the well-beloved Gains whom I love in the truth.' When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to preside over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each individual from rending the
Jerome,To Evangelus,Epistle 146:1(ante A.D. 420),in NPNF2,VI:288-289
"We must strive therefore in common to keep the faith which has come down to us to-day, through the Apostolic Succession. "
Pope Celestine[regn A.D. 422-432],To the Council of Ephesus,Epistle 18(A.D. 431),in NPNF2,XIV:220
"Examples there are without number: but to be brief, we will take one, and that, in preference to others, from the Apostolic See, so that it may be clearer than day to every one with how great energy, with how great zeal, with how great earnestness, the blessed successors of the blessed apostles have constantly defended the integrity of the religion which they have once received."
Vincent of Lerins,Commonitories,6:15(A.D. 434),in NPNF2,XI:135
"Moreover, with respect to a certain bishop who, as the aforesaid magnificent men have told us, is prevented by infirmity of the head from administering his office, we have written to our brother and fellow-bishop Etherius, that if he should have intervals of freedom from this infirmity, he should make petition, claring that he is not competent to fill his own place, and requesting that another be ordained to his Church. For during the life of a bishop, whom not his own fault but sickness, withdraws from the administration of his office, the sacred canons by no means allow another to be ordained in his place. But, if he at no time recovers the exercise of a sound mind, a person should be sought adorned with good life and conversation, who may be able both to take charge of souls, and look with salutary control after the causes and interests of the same church; and he should be such as may succeed to the bishop's place in case of his surviving him. But, if there are any to be promoted to a sacred order, or to any clerical ministry, we have ordained that the matter is to be reserved and announced to our aforesaid most reverend brother Etherius, provided it belong to his diocese, so that, enquiry having then been made, if the persons are subject to no fault which the sacred canons denounce, he himself may ordain them. Let, then, the care of your Excellency conjoin itself with our ordering, to the end that the interests of the Church, which you have exceedingly at heart, may not suffer damage, and that increase of reward may accrue to the good deeds of your Excellency."
Pope Gregory the Great[regn A.D. 590-604],Epistle 6(A.D. 602),NPNF2,XIII:94
"See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out [through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church."
Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrneans, 8:2(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:89
"[A]ll the people wondered that there should be such a difference between the unbelievers and the elect, of whom this most admirable Polycarp was one, having in our own times been an apostolic and prophetic teacher, and bishop of the Catholic Church which is in Smyrna. For every word that went out of his mouth either has been or shall yet be accomplished."
Martyrdom of Polycarp,16:2(A.D. 155),in ANF,I:42
"[N]or does it consist in this, that he should again falsely imagine, as being above this [fancied being], a Pleroma at one time supposed to contain thirty, and at another time an innumerable tribe of Aeons, as these teachers who are destitute of truly divine wisdom maintain; while the Catholic Church possesses one and the same faith throughout the whole world, as we have already said."
Irenaeus,Against Heresies,1:10,3(A.D. 180),in ANF,I:331-332
"For the blessed apostle Paul himself,following the rule of his predecessor John, writes only by name to seven Churches in the following order--to the Corinthians afirst...there is a second to the Corinthians and to the Thessalonians, yet one Church is recognized as being spread over the entire world...Howbeit to Philemon one, to Titus one, and to Timothy two were put in writing...to be in honour however with the Catholic Church for the ordering of ecclesiastical discipline...one to the Laodicenes, another to the Alexandrians, both forged in Paul's name to suit the heresy of Marcion, and several others, which cannot be received into the Catholic Church; for it is not fitting that gall be mixed with honey. The Epistle of Jude no doubt, and the couple bearing the name of John, are accepted by the Catholic Church...But of Arsinous,called also Valentinus,or of Militiades we receive nothing at all."
The fragment of Muratori (A.D. 177),in NE,124
"Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called the rock on which the church should be built,' who also obtained the keys of the kingdom of heaven,' with the power of loosing and binding in heaven and on earth?'...Where was Marcion then, that shipmaster of
Tertullian,On the Prescription Against Heretics,22,30(A.D.200),in ANF,III:253,257
"Peter speaks there, on whom the Church was to be built, teaching and showing in the name of the Church, that although a rebellious and arrogant multitude of those who will not hear and obey may depart, yet the Church does not depart from Christ; and they are the Church who are a people united to the priest, and the flock which adheres to its pastor. Whence you ought to know that the bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the bishop; and if any one be not with the bishop, that he is not in the Church, and that those flatter themselves in vain who creep in, not having peace with God's priests, and think that they communicate secretly with some; while the Church, which is Catholic and one, is not cut nor divided, but is indeed connected and bound together by the cement of priests who cohere with one another."
Cyprian,To Florentius,Epistle 66/67(A.D. 254),in ANF,V:374-375
"But for those who say, There was when He was not,and,Before being born He was not,and that He came into existence out of nothing,or who assert that the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance...these the Catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes"
Creed of Nicea (A.D. 325),in ECC,216
"Concerning those who call themselves Cathari, if they come over to the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the great and holy Synod decrees that they who are ordained shall continue as they are in the clergy. But it is before all things necessary that they should profess in writing that they will observe and follow the dogmas of the Catholic and Apostolic Church; in particular that they will communicate with persons who have been twice married, and with those who having lapsed in persecution have had a period [of penance] laid upon them, and a time [of restoration] fixed so that in all things they will follow the dogmas of the Catholic Church..."
Council of Nicaea I (A.D. 325),Canon 8,in NPNF2,XIV:19
"[T]he Article, In one Holy Catholic Church,' on which, though one might say many things, we will speak but briefly.It is called Catholic then because it extends over all the world, from one end of the earth to the other; and because it teaches universally and completely one and all the doctrines which ought to come to men's knowledge, concerning things both visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly; and because it brings into subjection to godliness the whole race of mankind, governors and governed, learned and unlearned; and because it universally treats and heals the whole class of sins, which are committed by soul or body, and possesses in itself every form of virtue which is named, both in deeds and words, and in every kind of spiritual gifts... But since the word Ecclesia is applied to different things (as also it is written of the multitude in the theatre of the Ephesians, And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the Assembly), and since one might properly and truly say that there is a Church of evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics, the Marcionists and Manichees, and the rest, for this cause the Faith has securely delivered to thee now the Article, And in one Holy Catholic Church;' that thou mayest avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which thou wast regenerated. And if ever thou art sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord's House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God (for it is written, As Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, and all the rest,) and is a figure and copy of Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and the mother of us all; which before was barren, but now has many children."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,18:23,26(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VIII:139-140
"I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the remission of sins, the resurrection of the flesh, and eternal life. Amen"
Apostles Creed(A.D. 360),in ECC,369
"And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the life-giver, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is together worshiped and together glorified, Who spoke through the prophets; in one holy Catholic, and apostolic Church"
Constantinopolitan Creed(A.D. 381),in ECC,298
"Those who from heresy turn to orthodoxy, and to the portion of those who are being saved, we receive according to the following method and custom: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, who call themselves Cathari or Aristori, and Quarto-decimans or Tetradites, and Apollinarians, we receive, upon their giving a written renunciation [of their errors] and anathematize every heresy which is not in accordance with the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of God."
"We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church, which is Catholic and which is called Catholic not only by her own members but even by all her enemies. For when heretics or the adherents of schisms talk about her, not among themselves but with strangers, willy-nilly they call her nothing else but Catholic. For they will not be understood unless they distinguish her by this name which the whole world employs in her regard"
Augustine,The True Religion, 7:12(A.D. 390),in JUR,3:40
"You think that you make a very acute remark when you affirm the name Catholic to mean universal, not in respect to the communion as embracing the whole world, but in respect to the observance of all Divine precepts and of all the sacraments, as if we (even accepting the position that the Church is called Catholic because it honestly holds the whole truth, of which fragments here and there are found in some heresies) rested upon the testimony of this word's signification, and not upon the promises of God, and so many indisputable testimonies of the truth itself, our demonstration of the existence of the Church of God in all nations."
Augustine,To Vincent the Rogatist,93:7,23(A.D. 403),in NPNF1,I:390
"Inasmuch, I repeat, as this is the case, we believe also in THE HOLY CHURCH, [intending thereby] assuredly the CATHOLIC. For both heretics and schismatics style their congregations churches. But heretics, in holding false opinions regarding God, do injury to the faith itself; while schismatics, on the other hand, in wicked separations break off from brotherly charity, although they may believe just what we believe. Wherefore neither do the heretics belong to the Church catholic, which loves God; nor do the schismatics form a part of the same, inasmuch as: it loves the neighbor, and consequently readily forgives the neighbor's sins, because it prays that forgiveness may be extended to itself by Him who has reconciled us to Himself, doing away with all past things, and calling us to a new life. And until we reach the perfection of this new life, we cannot be without sins. Nevertheless it is a matter of consequence of what sort those sins may be."
Augustine,On Faith and Creed,10:21(A.D. 393),in NPNF1,III:331
"For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of which a few spiritual, men attain in this life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure,deed, because they are but men, still without any uncertainty (since the rest of the multitude derive their entire security not from acuteness of intellect, but from simplicity of faith,)--not to speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should, though from the slowness of our understanding, or the small attainment of our life, the truth may not yet fully disclose itself. But with you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me, the promise of truth is the only thing that comes into play. Now if the truth is so clearly proved as to leave no possibility of doubt, it must be set before all the things that keep me in the Catholic Church; but if there is only a promise without any fulfillment, no one shall move me from the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion in which almost all that you believe is contained. For in that unhappy time when we read it we were in your opinion enlightened. The epistle begins thus:--'Manichaeus, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the providence of God the Father. These are wholesome words from the perennial and living fountain.' Now, if you please, patiently give heed to my inquiry. I donor believe Manichaeus to be an apostle of Christ. Do not, I beg of you, be enraged and begin to curse. For you know that it is my rule to believe none of your statements without consideration. Therefore I ask, who is this Manichaeus? You will reply, An apostle of Christ. I do not believe it. Now you are at a loss what to say or do; for you promised to give knowledge of the truth, and here you are forcing me to believe what I have no knowledge of. Perhaps you will read the gospel to me, and will attempt to find there a testimony to Manichaeus. But should you meet with a person not yet believing the gospel, how would you reply to him were he to say, I do not believe? For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. ... for it was through the Catholics that I got my faith in it; and so, whatever you bring from the gospel will no longer have any weight with me. Wherefore, if no clear proof of the apostleship of Manichaeus is found in the gospel, I will believe the Catholics rather than you. But if you read thence some passage clearly in favor of Manichaeus, I will believe neither them nor you: not them, for they lied to me about you; nor you, for you quote to me that Scripture which I had believed on the authority of those liars. But far be it that I should not believe the gospel; for believing it, I find no way of believing you too. For the names of the apostles, as there recorded, do not include the name of Manichaeus. And who the successor of Christ's betrayer was we read in the Acts of the Apostles; which book I must needs believe if I believe the gospel, since both writings alike Catholic authority commends to me. The same book contains the well-known narrative of the calling and apostleship of Paul. Read me now, if you can, in the gospel where Manichaeus is called an apostle, or in any other book in which I have professed to believe. Will you read the passage where the Lord promised the Holy Spirit as a Paraclete, to the apostles? Concerning which passage, behold how many and how great are the things that restrain and deter me from believing in Manichaeus."
Augustine,Against the Epistle of Manichaeus,4:5,5:6 (A.D 397),in NPNF1,IV:130-131
"Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his successors."
Council of Ephesus,Session III(A.D. 431),in NPNF2:XIV:223
"I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical depravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or anyone else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they arise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church. But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation?' For this reason,--because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another, so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters. For Novation expounds it one way, Sabellius another, ... Arius ... another ... Pelagius ... another. Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation"
Vincent of Lerins,Commoniories,2:4,5(A.D. 434),in NPNF2,XI:132
"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, hath stripped him of the episcopate, and hath alienated from him all hieratic worthiness. Therefore let this most holy and great synod sentence the before mentioned Dioscorus to the canonical penalties."
The hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church
"Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry."
"Accordingly,elect for yourselves bishops and deacons,men who are an honor to the Lord,of gentle disposition,not attached to money,honest and well-tried; for they, too, render you the sacred service of the prophets and teachers."
Didache(c.A.D. 140),in ACW,6:24
"See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid."
Ignatius of Antioch,Epistle to the Smyraens,8 (c.A.D. 110),in ANF,I:89-90.
"Hegesippus and the Events which he mentiones. Hegesippus in the five books of Memoirs which have come down to us has left a most complete record of his own views. In them he states that on a journey to
Hegesippus,fragment in Eusebius Ecclesiastical History,4:22(c.A.D. 180),in NPNF2,I:198-199.
"Since, according to my opinion, the grades here in the Church, of bishops, presbyters, deacons, are imitations of the angelic glory, and of that economy which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who, following the footsteps of the apostles, have lived in perfection of righteousness according to the Gospel."
" Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honour of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers.s Since this, then, is founded on the divine law, I marvel that some, with daring temerity, have chosen to write to me as if they wrote in the name of the Church; when the Church is established in the bishop and the clergy, and all who stand fast in the faith."
Cyprian,To the Lasped,Epistle 26/33(A.D. 250),in ANF,V:305.
"And before you had received the grace of the episcopate, no one knew you; but after you became one, the laity expected you to bring them food, namely instruction from the Scriptures...For if all were of the same mind as your present advisers, how would you have become a Christian, since there would be no bishops? Or if our successors are to inherit the state of mind, how will the Churches be able to hold together?"
Athanasius,To Dracontius,Epistle 49:2,4(c.A.D. 355),in NPNF2,IV:558
"The Blessed Apostle Paul in laying down the form for appointing a bishop and creating by his instructions an entirely new type of member of the Church, has taught us in the following words the sum total of all the virtues perfected in him:--Holding fast the word according to the doctrine of faith that he may be able to exhort to sound doctrine and to convict gainsavers. For there are many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers. For in this way he points out that the essentials of orderliness and morals are only profitable for good service in the priesthood if at the same time the qualities needful for knowing how to teach and preserve the faith are not lacking, for a man is not straightway made a good and useful priest by a merely innocent life or by a mere knowledge of preaching."
Hilary of Poitiers,On the Trinity(A.D. 359),in NPNF2,VIII:137
"The immediate object of my entreaty is as follows. By the old census,the clergy of God,presbyters and deacons, were left exempt"
Basil,To Modestus,Epistle 104(A.D. 372),in NPNF2,VIII:186
"You must know that Faustus came with letters for me,from the pope,requesting that he migh be ordained bishop."
Basil,To Theodotus,Epistle 121(A.D. 373),in NPNF2,VIII:193
"There is not, however, such narrowness in the moral excellence of the Catholic Church as that I should limit my praise of it to the life of those here mentioned. For how many bishops have I known most excellent and holy men, how many, presbyters, how many deacons, and ministers of all kinds of the divine sacraments, whose virtue seems to me more admirable and more worthy of commendation on account of the greater difficulty of preserving it amidst the manifold varieties of men, and in this life of turmoil!"
Augustine,On the Morals of the Catholic Church,69(A.D. 388),in NPNF1,IV:60.
"Who can test himself by the rules and standards which Paul laid down for bishops and presbyters, that they are to be temperate, soberminded, not given to wine, no strikers, apt to teach, blameless in all things, and beyond the reach of the wicked, without finding considerable deflection from the straight line of the rules?"
Gregory of Nazianzen,In Defense of his Flight,69(ante A.D. 389),in NPNF2,VII:219
"You saw there the deacon, you saw the priest, you saw the chief priest [i.e. the bishop]."
Ambrose,Concerning the Mysteries,2(A.D.391),in NPNF2,X:317
"To this end it is well, I think, to look out for high qualifications in your election, that he who is appointed to the Presidency may be suitable for the post. Now the Apostolic injunctions do not direct us to look to high birth, wealth, and distinction in the eyes of the world among the virtues of a Bishop"
Gregory of Nyssa,To the Church at Nicodemia,Epistle 13(ante A.D. 394),in NPNF2,V:536
"Martin[bishop of Tours], then, clothed in this garment, proceeds to offer the sacrifice to God. And then on that very day--I am about to narrate something wonderful--when he was engaged in blessing the altar, as is usual, we beheld a globe of fire dart from his head, so that, as it rose on high, the flame produced a hair of extraordinary length. And, although we saw this take place on a very famous day in the midst of a great multitude of people, only one of the virgins, one of the presbyters, and only three of the monks, witnessed the sight: but why the others did not behold it is a matter not to be decided by our judgment...I have often noticed this, Sulpitius, that Martin was accustomed to say to you, that such an abundance of power was by no means granted him while he was a bishop, as he remembered to have possessed before he obtained that office. Now, if this be true, or rather since it is true, we may imagine how great those things were which, while still a monk, he accomplished, and which, without any witness, he effected apart by himself; since we have seen that, while a bishop, he performed so great wonders before the eyes of all. Many, no doubt, of his former achievements were known to the world, and could not be hid, but those are said to have been innumerable which, while he avoided boastfulness, he kept concealed and did not allow to come to the knowledge of mankind; for, inasmuch as he transcended the capabilities of mere man, in a consciousness of his own eminence, and trampling upon worldly glory, he was content simply to have heaven as a witness of his deeds."
Sulpitius Severus,Dialogues,2,4(c.A.D. 400),in NPNF2,XI:38-40
"To the fellow-Bishops and Deacons.' What is this? were there several Bishops of one city? Certainly not; but he called the Presbyters so. For then they still interchanged the titles, and the Bishop was called a Deacon. For this cause in writing to Timothy, he said, Fulfil thy ministry,' when he was a Bishop. For that he was a Bishop appears by his saying to him, Lay hands hastily on no man.' (1 Tim. v. 22.) And again, Which was given thee with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.' (1 Tim. iv. 14.) Yet Presbyters would not have laid hands on a Bishop."
Chrysostom,Homily on Philippians,1:1(c.A.D. 404),in NPNF1,XIII:184.
"For in the early days of the faith when only a few, and those the best of men, were known by the name of monks, who, as they received that mode of life from the Evangelist Mark of blessed memory, the first to preside over the Church of Alexandria as Bishop...But sometimes it creates a wish to take holy orders, and a desire for the priesthood or diaconate. And it represents that if a man has even against his will received this office, he will fulfil it with such sanctity and strictness that he will be able to set an example of saintliness even to other priests; and that he will win over many people, not only by his manner of life, but also by his teaching and preaching. It makes a man, even when alone and sitting in his cell, to go round in mind and imagination to the dwellings and monasteries of others, and to make many conversions under the inducements of imaginary exultatio."
John Cassian,Institutes,2:5,11:14(ante A.D. 435),in NPNF2,XI:278
" Theotocos,' but not in the sense in which it is imagined by a certain impious heresy which maintains, that she is to be called the Mother of God for no other reason than because she gave birth to that man who afterwards became God, just as we speak of a woman as the mother of a priest, or the mother of a bishop, meaning that she was such, not by giving birth to one already a priest or a bishop, but by giving birth to one who afterwards became a priest or a bishop. Not thus, I say, was the holy Mary Theotocos,' the mother of God, but rather, as was said before, because in her sacred womb was wrought that most sacred mystery whereby, on account of the singular and unique unity of Person, as the Word in flesh is flesh, so Man in God is God."
Vincent of Lerins,Commonitories, 15(ante A.D. 450),in NPNF2,XI:143
"For although they who are not within the ranks of the clergy are free to take pleasure in the companionship of wedlock and the procreation of children, yet for the exhibiting of the purity of complete continence, even sub-deacons are not allowed carnal marriage: that both those that have, may be as though they had not,' and those who have not, may remain single. But if in this order, which is the fourth from the Head[ie. Christ], this is worthy to be observed, how much more is it to be kept in the first, or second, or third, lest any one be reckoned fit for either the deacon's duties or the presbyter's honourable position, or the bishop's pre-eminence, who is discovered not yet to have bridled his uxorious desires."
Pope Leo the Great[regn A.D. 440-461],To Anastasius,Epistle 14,5(A.D. 446),in NPNF2,XII:18
"Through my most beloved son Laurentius, the presbyter, and Peter the monk, I received thy Fraternity's letter, in which thou hast been at pains to question me on many points. But, inasmuch as my aforesaid sons found me afflicted with the pains of gout, and on their urging me to dismiss them speedily were allowed to go, leaving me under the same painful affiction; I have not been able to reply, as I ought to have done, at greater length on every single point. Augustine's first question. I ask, most blessed father, concerning bishops, how they should live with their clergy: And concerning the offerings of the faithful which are received at the altars, both into what portions they should be divided, and how the bishop ought to deal with them in the Church. Answer of St. Gregory, Pope of the City of
Pope Gregory the Great[regn A.D. 590-604],To Augustine,Epistle 64,in NPNF2,XIII:74-75