Imágenes de páginas


all begotten from one, and the nature of all men is one) become one with each other in the disposition (of our mind) having as our pattern (or archetype) the oneness of nature which is between the Son and the Father." So St. Augustin, speaking of the gathering together of all nations into one to serve the Lord, says, “In this he answered him, namely, in unity; for whosoever is not in unity answers him not. For He is one. The Church is unity. Nothing answers to one but unity. And in another place, writing on the Holy Trinity, he says,

“ He would have His own to be one, in Himself, because in themselves they cannot be one, being severed from each other by various lusts and desires and impurities of sin. Wherefore they are cleansed by the Mediator that they may be one in Him, not only by that same nature through which all are made of mortal men to be the equals of angels, but also through the same and into the same blessedness which conspires with a perfect concord of will into one spirit, being fused, as it were, by the fire of charity. This is the intention of His words, “That they may be one, as we are one.' That as the Father and the Son, not only by equality of substance, but by will, are one, so also they between whom and God the Son is mediator, not only for that they are of the same nature (i. e. among themselves), but also by the same fellowship of love, may be one.' St.

" 3

IS. Athan. Orat. iii, contra Arian. 20. Ed. Ben. * S. Aug. in Psal. ci. 8.

3 De Trinitate, lib. iv. viii.


66. That

Cyril of Alexandria, in his Commentary on St. John, confuting the error of the Arians, says, on the same text, “This we shall necessarily repeat, that Christ, assuming the unity of substance which the Father hath with Him, and He with the Father, as an image or type of the unity of undivided love and agreement of mind, which is perceptible in the union of soul, would mingle us together as it were with each other, by the virtue of the holy and consubstantial Trinity, that the universal body of the Church be perceived to be one by the coalition and concourse of two people into the constitution of one perfect (body), which grows up in Christ.” So Theophylact, who may be taken as representing the expositors of the Greek Church, says, the world may believe that Thou hast sent me;' forasmuch as by the concord of my disciples it shall be manifested of me the Teacher that I am sent from God. But if they contend with one another, men will not say that they are the disciples of the Peacemaker.” Then, after quoting the verse, he adds, “What glory does He say He gave them ? The glory of miracles, of doctrine, of teaching; and that other glory of unity of mind, that they may be one. For this glory is greater than that of miracles. For as we adore God with wonder, because in His nature there is neither strife nor conflict, and this is the greatest glory, so, saith He, let them be conspicuous, that is to say, by reason of their unity of

'S. Cyril. Alex. in Joan. Ev. lib. xi. 11.

mind.” These passages are sufficient to show in what way the early Christians argued from the unity of the Godhead to the subjective unity of the Church, and by the converse : the one form exhibiting the principle, the other the symbol ; the unity of the Godhead being both the archetype and the cause; the unity of the Church the consequence and the expression. And this will be sufficient for our present purpose.

From what has been said, it is not difficult to perceive the ideal relation between the unity of the Divine nature and the unity of the Church. The visible phenomenon is in a manifold way declaratory of the invisible mystery: as, for instance, in the unity of its doctrine, which expressly teaches the oneness of the Divine nature ; in the unity of its worship, which is uniform, and incommunicable, as the prerogative of God alone ; in the unity of organic structure, which, like the framework of the universe, bespeaks one causative and conserving principle; in the unity of what may be called the universal laws, conditions, instincts, and energies of the Church, as those of the world may be called the universal ordinances, deposits, and traditions of nature; and, lastly, in the subjective unity of mind and action, which has no type, as it can have no cause, but in God Himself. In all these ways, dogmatic, organic, energetic, and moral, the One Holy Catholic Church is the earthly witness of the One Holy Trinity, God over all, blessed for ever.

· Theophyl. in loc.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

We may now proceed to the next point, which is to ascertain in what way the Unity of the Church is a means of the restoration of man to the image of God.

And, first of all, we must take into the present chapter the conclusion of the last. It is obvious that a right knowledge of God is a necessary condition of the restoration of man to the image of God. And we have already seen how the Unity of the Church is the divinely ordained means of restoring that right knowledge. The reason, however, we are now in search of is of a more particular and proximate kind.

By the image of God is to be understood that holy state in which man was created. The test and distinguishing mark of this state was the unity of the will of man with the will of God : and in this

unity is potentially involved what was never actually manifested, namely, the unity of every several will with the wills of all mankind.

By the disobedience of the first man, or, in other words, by the collision of his will with the will of God, these unities were altogether marred. Every man born into the world brought with him into life a several will as far estranged from the will of God as the will of the first who fell. The multiplication of mankind, therefore, was the multiplication of disuniting principles. Every man, as he is severed from God, is severed also from his fellows; and holiness, which consists in love to God and man, in submission and brotherhood, was marred in its principle, and became impossible. To restore man therefore to holiness it was necessary to restore him to the moral unities which are its conditions and security. As these moral unities were the divine characters of the first creation, so are they of the second—that is, of the redemption and restoration of man. It is evident that the Unity of the Church is, as it were, the restored unity of the primordial creation. It is the will of God re-impressing itself as at the first upon the creatures from which it had been erased. And such is the uniform language of Holy Scripture. The prophets prophesied of the coming redemption as a power which should purge natural and moral evil out of the creatures of God, ' which should heal and abolish the diseases and imperfec

Isaiah xi. 6.


« AnteriorContinuar »