Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

rich treasure-house, the Apostles have laid up in its fullness all that pertains to the truth, so that whosoever seeketh may receive from her the food of life. She is the door of life. (Adr. Ilæres. lib. iii. c. 4.)

19. What is that which you call holy Scripture !

Certain books written by the Spirit of God through men sanctified by God, called Prophets and Apostles. These books are commonly termed the Bible.

20. What does the word Bible mean?

It is Greek, and means the books. The name signifies that the sacred books deserve attention before all others.

21. Which is the more ancient, holy tradition or holy Scripture ?

The most ancient and original instrument for spreading divine rerelation is holy tradition. From Adam to Moses there were no sacred books. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself delivered his divine doctrine and ordinances to his Disciples by word and example, but not by writing. The same method was followed by the Apostles also at first, when they spread abroad the faith and established the Church of Christ. The necessity of tradition is further evident from this, that books can be available only to a small part of mankind, but tradition to all.

22. Why, then, was holy Scripture given ?

To this end, that divine revelation might be preserved more exactly and unchangeably. In holy Scripture we read the words of the Prophets and Apostles precisely as if we were living with them and listening to them, although the latest of the sacred books were written a thousand and some hundred years before our time.

23. Must we follow holy tradition, even when we possess holy Scripture ?

We must follow that tradition which agrees with the divine revelation and with holy Scripture, as is taught us by holy Scripture itself. The Apostle Paul writes: Therefore, brethren, stand fust, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle. 2 Thess. ii. 15.

24. Why is tradition necessary even now?

As a guide to the right understanding of holy Scripture, for the right ministration of the sacraments, and the preservation of sacred rites and ceremonies in the purity of their original institution.

St. Basil the Great says of this as follows: Of the doctrines and injunctions kept by the Church, some we have from written instruction, but some we have received from apostolical tradition, by succession in private. Both the former and the latter have one and the same force

for piety, and this will be contradicted by no one who has ever so little knowledge in the ordinances of the Church; for were we to dare to reject unwritten customs, as if they had no great importance, we should insensibly mutilate the Gospel, even in the most essential points, or, rather, for the teaching of the Apostles leave but an empty name. For instance, let us mention before all else the very first and commonest act of Christians, that they who trust in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ should sign themselves with the sign of the cro88who hath taught this by writing? To turn to the east in prayerwhat Scripture have we for this? The words of invocation in the change of the Eucharistic bread and of the Cup of blessingby which of the Saints have they been left us in writing? for we are not content with those words which the Apostle or the Gospel records, but both before them and after them we pronounce others also, which we hold to be of great force for the sacrament, though we have received them from unwritten teaching. By what Scripture is it, in like manner, that we bless the water of baptism, the oil of unction, and the person himself who is baptized ? Is it not by a silent and secret tradition? What more! The very practice itself of anointing with oilwhat written word have we for it? Whence is the rule of trine immersion ? and the rest of the ceremonies at baptism, the renunciation of Satan and his angels ? - from what Scripture are they taken? Are they not all from this unpublished and private teaching, which our Fathers kept under a reserve inaccessible to curiosity and profane disquisition, having been taught as a first principle to guard by silence the sanctity of the mysteries ? for how were it fit to publish in writing the doctrine of those things, on which the unbaptized may not so much as look ? (Can. xcvii. De Spir. Sanct. c. xxvii.)

Ox Holy SCRIPTURE IN PARTICULAR. 25. When were the sacred books written ? At different times: some before the birth of Christ, others after. 26. Hare not these two divisions of the sacred books each their own names?

They have. Those written before the birth of Christ are called the books of the Old Testament, while those written after are called the books of the New Testament.

27. What are the Old and New Testaments ?
In other words, the old and new Covenants of God with men.
28. In what consisted the Old Testament?

In this, that God promised men a divine Saviour, and prepared thein to receive him.

29. How did God prepare men to receive the Saviour ?
Through gradual revelations, by prophecies and types.
30. In what consists the New Testament?

In this, that God has actually given men a divine Saviour, his own only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

31. How many are the books of the Old Testament?

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Athanasius the Great, and St. Jolin Damascene reckon them at twenty-two, agreeing therein with the Jews, who so reckon them in the original Hebrew tongue. (Athanas. Ep. xxxix. De Test.; J. Damasc. Theol. lib. iv. c. 17.)

32. Why should we attend to the reckoning of the Hebrews ?

Because, as the Apostle Paul says, unto them were committed the oracles of God; and the sacred books of the Old Testament have been received from the Hebrew Church of that Testament by the Christian Church of the New. Rom. iii. 2.

. 33. How do St. Cyril and St. Athanasius enumerate the books of the Old Testament?

As follows: 1, The book of Genesis; 2, Exodus; 3, Leviticus; 4, the book of Numbers; 5, Denteronomy; 6, the book of Jesus the son of Nun; 7, the book of Judges, and with it, as an appendix, the book of Ruth; 8, the first and second books of Kings, as two parts of one book; 9, the third and fourth books of Kings; 10, the first and second books of Paralipomena; 11, the first book of Esdras, and the second, or, as it is entitled in Greek, the book of Nehemiah ; 12, the book of Esther; 13, the book of Job; 14, the Psalms; 15, the Proverbs of Solomon; 16, Ecclesiastes, also by Solomon; 17, the Song of Songs, also by Solomon; 18, the book of the Prophet Isaiah ; 19, of Jeremiah; 20, of Ezekiel ; 21, of Daniel; 22, of the Twelve Prophets.

34. Why is there no notice taken in this enumeration of the books of the Old Testament of the book of the Wisdom of the son of Sirach, and of certain others ?

Because they do not exist in the IIebrew. 35. How are we to regard these last-named books ? Athanasius the Great says that they have been appointed of the Fathers to be read by proselytes who are preparing for admission into the Church.

36. Is there any division of the books of the Old Testament by which you can give a more distinct account of their contents ?

They may be divided into the four following classes : 1. Books of the Law, which form the basis of the Old Testament. 2. Historical books, which contain principally the history of religion. 3. Doctrinal, which contain the doctrine of religion.

4. Prophetical, which contain prophecies, or predictions of things future, and especially of Jesus Christ.

37. Which are the books of the Law ?

The five books written by Moses—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Jesus Christ himself gives to these books the general name of the Law of Moses. Luke xxiv. 44.

38. What in particular is contained in the book of Genesis ?

The account of the creation of the world and of man, and afterwards the history and ordinances of religion in the first ages of mankind.

39. What is contained in the other four books of Moses?

The history of religion in the time of the Prophet Moses, and the Law given through him from God.

40. Which are the historical books of the Old Testament?

The books of Jesus the son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, Kings, Paralipomena, the book of Esdras, and the books of Nehemiah and Esther.

41. Which are the doctrinal ?
The book of Job, the Psalms, and the books of Solomon.
42. What should we remark in particular of the book of Psalms ?

This book, together with the doctrine of religion, contains also allusions to its history, and many prophecies of our Saviour Christ. It is a perfect manual of prayer and praise, and on this account is in continual use in the divine service of the Church.

43. Which books are prophetical ?

Those of the Prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the twelve others.

44. How many are the books of the New Testament? Twenty-seven.

45. Are there among these any which answer to the books of the Law, or form the basis of the New Testament ?

Yes. The Gospel, which consists of the four books of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

46. What means the word Gospel ?

It is the same as the Greek work Evangely, and means good or joyful tidings.

47. Of what have we good tidings in the books called the Gospel ?

Of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, of his advent and life on earth, of his miracles and saving doctrine, and, finally, of his death upon the cross, his glorious resurrection, and ascension into heaven.

48. Why are these books called the Gospel ?

Because man can have no better nor more joyful tidings than these, of a Divine Saviour and everlasting salvation. For the same cause, whenever the Gospel is read in the church, it is prefaced and accompanied by the joyful exclamation, Glory be to thee, O Lord, glory be to thee.

49. Are any of the books of the New Testament historical?
Yes. One: the book of the Acts of the holy Apostles.
50. Of what does it give an account?

Of the descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, and of the extension through thein of Christ's Church.

51. What is an Apostle ?

The word means a messenger. It is the name given to those disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ whom he sent to preach the Gospel.

52. Which books of the New Testament are doctrinal ?

The seven general Epistles: namely, one of the Apostle James, two of Peter, three of John, and one of Jude; and fourteen Epistles of the Apostle Paul: namely, one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, and one to the Hebrews.

53. Are there also among the books of the New Testament any prophetical? Such is the book of the Apocalypse. 54. What means this word Apocalypse ? It is Greek, and means revelation.

« ÖncekiDevam »