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Saturday, January 27, 2007

If you want to be a nice old lady, you have to start practising now

As berenike would say. I came across a very nice little old lady in a smashing sermon by Thomas this week (hurrah for the internet!) and thought you might like to make her acquaintance. This is from Thomas's sermon Attendite a falsis:

... Others are inspired wrongly by their spirit; whence in Ezekiel 13:3: 'Thus saith the Lord God: Woe to the foolish prophets that follow their own spirit, and see nothing.'; Jeremiah 23:16: ' they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.' Such are they who speak according to Platonic accounts of things, which cannot attain to virtue; take those who say that the world is eternal. One finds some who study philosophy, and who say certain things which are not true according to the faith; and when one tells them that this is repugnant to faith, they say 'that the Philosopher says this, and they do not assert it; they are just repeating the words of the Philosopher.' Such is the false prophet, or false teacher, for it is just the same to raise a doubt and not resolve it, as it is to concede the point; which is signified in Exodus 21:33-34, where it says that if anyone digs a ditch and opens a cistern, and does not cover it, and his neighbour's ox comes along and falls into the cistern, then he who opened the cistern is bound to pay him restitution. 'He who opened the cistern': he who raises doubt concerning these things pertaining to faith. 'He who does not cover the cistern': he who does not resolve the doubt, even if he has a sound and clear understanding and is not deceived. For another who does not have such clear understanding may well be deceived, and he who raised the doubt is bound to restitution, since through him the other person 'fell into the ditch.' For see, there are many philosophers and they say many things concerning matters pertaining to faith, and you will scarcely find two of them who agree on any one statement! and whichever of them speaks something of the truth, does not say it without an admixture of falsehood. Even a little old lady knows more about matters pertaining to the faith, than all the old philosophers! We read that Pythagoras was at first a prize-fighter, but he heard a master disputing about the immortality of the soul, and discussing that the soul was immortal; and he was so attracted that he gave everything away and gave himself up to the study of philosophy. But what little old lady today does not know that the soul is immortal? Faith can do much more than philosohy; whence if philosophy is contrary to faith, it should not be accepted. Whence the Apostle says in Colossians 2:8 and 19: 'Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy, and vain deceit; ... Let no man seduce you, ... walking in the things which he hath not seen, in vain puffed up by the sense of his flesh, And not holding the head', that is, Christ.
Others are false prophets from a wrong intention. But what is the true intention of the prophet? Surely the good of the people. Whence the Apostle says in 1 Corinthians 14:3, 'But he that prophesieth, speaketh to men unto edification, and exhortation, and comfort.' 'For edification', that he might make men devout; 'for exortation', that he might make them prompt in good works; 'for comfort', that he make them patient in them. If anyone seeks by his teaching anything other than the good of the people, he is a false prophet. He who is a bishop, receives his office of ruling and preaching, and ought to seek the good of the people; if he seeks something else, like episcopal wealth or vain glory, he is a false prophet, who does not preserve the right intention. Whence Chrysostom says that many priests do not care how their people live, but care what they offer...

... Alii inspirantur falso a spiritu suo. Unde in Ezechiele 13, 3: haec dicit dominus; vae prophetis insipientibus, qui sequuntur spiritum suum, et nihil vident. Jer. 23, 16: visionem cordis sui loquuntur. Non ex ore domini illi qui sequuntur rationem humanam: loquuntur ex spiritu suo. Tales sunt illi qui loquuntur secundum rationes Platonicas, quae non possunt attingere virtutem: puta, sicut illi qui dicunt quod mundus est aeternus. Inveniuntur aliqui qui student in philosophia, et dicunt aliqua quae non sunt vera secundum fidem; et cum dicitur eis quod hoc repugnat fidei, dicunt quod philosophus dicit hoc, sed ipsi non asserunt: imo solum recitant verba philosophi. Talis est falsus propheta, sive falsus doctor, quia idem est dubitationem movere et eam non solvere quod eam concedere; quod signatur in Exod. 21, 33, 34, ubi dicitur quod si aliquis foderit puteum, et aperuerit cisternam, et non cooperuerit eam, veniat bos vicini sui, et cadat in cisternam, ille qui aperuerit cisternam teneatur ad ejus restitutionem. Ille cisternam aperuit, qui dubitationem movet de his quae faciunt ad fidem. Cisternam non cooperit, qui dubitationem non solvit, etsi habeat intellectum sanum et limpidum, et non decipiatur. Alter tamen qui intellectum non habet ita limpidum bene decipitur, et ille qui dubitationem movit tenetur ad restitutionem, quia per eum ille cecidit in foveam. Videte tam multi fuerunt philosophi et multa dixerunt de his quae pertinent ad fidem, et vix invenietis duos concordare in unam sententiam; et quicumque aliquid veritatis dixit, non dixit eam sine admixtione falsitatis. Plus scit modo una vetula de his quae ad fidem pertinent, quam quondam omnes philosophi. Legitur quod Pythagoras primo fuit pugil; audivit magistrum disputantem de immortalitate animae, et disserentem quod anima esset immortalis; et in tantum allectus est quod dimissis omnibus dedit se studio philosophiae. Sed quae vetula est hodie quae non sciat quod anima est immortalis? Multo plus potest fides quam philosophia: unde si philosophia contrariatur fidei, non est accipienda. Unde apostolus ad Coloss. 2, 8 et 19: videte ne quis vos decipiat per philosophiam falsam, aut inanem gloriam vos seducat volens quae non vidit, ambulans frustra inflato spiritu carnis suae, non tenens caput, idest Christum. Alii sunt falsi prophetae ex falsa intentione. Sed quae est vera intentio prophetae? Certe utilitas populi. Unde apostolus 1 Cor. 14, 13: qui prophetat, hominibus loquitur ad aedificationem, exortationem et consolationem. Ad aedificationem ut homines reddat devotos; ad exortationem ut eos in bonis operibus reddat promptos; ad consolationem ut eos reddat in illis patientes. Si alius doctrina sua quaerat aliud quam utilitatem populi, falsus propheta est. Qui est episcopus suscipit officium regiminis et praedicationis, et debet quaerere utilitatem populi; si vero aliud quaerat quam lucrum episcopale aut inanem gloriam, falsus propheta est, quia non servat intentionem rectam. Unde dicit Chrysostomus quod multi sacerdotes non curant quomodo populus vivat, sed quomodo offerat. ...

And I've just found an edifying article on the internet about little old ladies in Thomas, which discusses this sermon. Oh, cooooool, it's in Latin too!!!