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CHAPTER IX. APPLICATION OF THE FOURTH NOTE OF A TRUE DEVELOPMENT. LOGICAL SEQUENCE. LoGicAL Sequence has been set down: above as a fourth test of fidelity in development, and shall now be briefly illustrated in the history of Christian doctrine. That is, I mean to give instances of one doctrine leading to another ; so that, if the former be admitted, the latter can hardly be denied, and the latter can hardly be called a corruption without taking exception to the former. And I use " logical sequence " in contrast both to that process of incorporation and assimilation which was last under review, and also to that principle of science, which has put into order and defended the developments after they have been made. Accordingly it will include any progress of the mind from one judgment to another, as, for instance, by way of moral fitness, which may not admit of analysis into premiss and conclusion. Thus St. Peter argued in the case of Cornelius and his friends, " Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have re­ ceived the Holy Ghost as well as we ? " Such is the series of doctrinal truths, which start from the dogma of our Lord's Divinity, and again from such texts of Scripture as " Thou art Peter," and which I should 384 APPLICATION OF THE FOURTH NOTE. [ca. rx. have introduced here, had I not already used them for a previous purpose in the Fourth Chapter. I shall confine myself then for an example to the instance of the develop­ ments which follow on the consideration of sin after Baptism, a subject which was touched upon in the same Chapter.§ 1. Pardons. It is not necessary here to enlarge on the benefits which the primitive Church held to be conveyed to the soul by means of the Sacrament of Baptism. Its distin­ guishing gift, which is in point to mention, was the plenary forgiveness of sins past. It was also held that the Sacrament could not be repeated. The question immediately followed, how, since there was but " one Baptism for the remission of sins," the guilt of such sin was to be removed as was incurred after its administra­ tion. There must be some provision in the revealed system for so obvious a need. What could be done for those who had received the one remission of sins, and had sinned since ? Some who thought upon the subject appear to have conceived that the Church was empowered to grant one, and one only, reconciliation after grievous offences. Three sins seemed to many, at least in the 'Vest, to be irremissible, idolatry, murder, and adultery. But such a system of Church discipline, however suited to a small community, and even expedient in a time of persecution, could not exist in Christianity, as it spread into the orbis terrarum, and gathered like a net of every kind. A more indulgent rule gradually gained ground ; yet the Spanish Church adhered to the ancient even in the fourth century, and a portion of the African in the third, and in the remaining portion there was a relaxation only as regards the crime of incontinence. S ECT. I. § 2.] PENANCES. 385 2. Meanwhile a protest was made against the growing innovation : at the beginning of the third century Mon­ tanus, who was a zealot for the more primitive rule, shrank from the laxity, as he considered it, of the Asian Churches ;1 as, in a different subject-matter, Jovinian and Vigilantius were offended at the developments in divine worship in the century which followed. The Montanists had recourse to the See of Rome, and at first with some appearance of success. Again, in Africa, where there had been in the first instance a schism headed by Felicissimus in favour of a milder discipline than St. Cyprian approved, a far more formidable stand was soon made in favour of Antiquity, headed by Novatus, who originally had been of the party of Felicissimus. This was taken up at Rome by Novatian, who professed to adhere to the original, or at least the primitive rule of the Church, viz. that those who had once fallen from the faith could in no case be received again.2 The controversy seems to have found the following issue,-whether the Church had the means of pardoning sins committed after Baptism, which the Nova­ tians, at least practically, denied. " It is fitting," says the Novatian Acesius, " to exhort those who have sinned after...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780268158088
Related ISBN
9780268009212
MARC Record
OCLC
1017613061
Pages
480
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Language
English
Open Access
No
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