Appendices by C.A. Heurtley

From: A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Volume 11

New York, 1894

Other version available: text. [10K]


Note on Section 41.

THERE is so close an agreement, both in substance and often in the form of expression, between the preceding sections (36-42) and the so-called Athanasian Creed, that it led Antelmi (Nova de Symb. Athanas. Disquisitio,) to ascribe that document to Vincentius as its author, and to suppose that in it we have the fulfilment of the promise here referred to. If, however, the Creed was the work of Vincentius, it cannot well be the work promised at the close of § 41, for Vincentius's words point to a fuller and more explicit treatment of the subjects referred to, whereas in the Athanasian Creed, though the subjects are the same, the treatment of them is very much briefer and more concise.

Whoever was the author however, if it was not Vincentius, he must at least, as the subjoined extracts seem to prove, have been familiar with the Commonitory, as also with St. Augustine's writings, of which, as well as of the Commonitory, the Creed bears evident traces.

I subjoin the following instances of agreement between the Commonitory and the Creed: Antelmi gives several others.


             COMMONITORY.                        ATHANASIAN CREED.

     Unum Christum Jesum, non duos,         Est ergo Fides recta, ut credamus
eumdemque Deum pariter atque           et confiteamur, quia Dominus noster
Hominem confitetur.  § 36.             Jesus Christus, Dei Filius, Deus
                                       pariter et Homo est.  v. 28.

     Alia est Persona Patris, alia          Alia est Persona Patris, alia
Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti.  § 37.    Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti.  v. 5.

     Unus idemque Christus, Deus et         Deus ex substantia Patris, ante
Homo, Idem Patri et aequalis et        saecula genitus, Homo ex substantia
minor, Idem ex Patre ante saecula      Matris, in saeculo natus; perfectus
genitus, Idem in saeculo ex Matre      Deus perfectus Homo.  vv. 29, 30.
generatus, perfectus Deus, perfectus
Homo.  § 37.

     Unus, non corruptibili nescio          Unus omnino, non conversione
qua Divinitatis et Humanitatis         substantiae, sed unitate Personae.
confusione, sed integra et             v. 34.
singulari quadam unitate Personae.
§ 37.

     Sicut Verbum in carne caro, ita        Unus, non conversione Divinitatis
Homo in Deo Deus est.  § 40.           in carne, sed Adsumptione Humanitatis
                                       in Deo.[1]  v. 33.

1. This is probably the true reading.



Note on Section 69.

That Vincentius had Augustine and his adherents in view in this description will hardly be doubted by any one who will compare it with the following extracts, the first from Prosper's letter to Augustine,[1] giving him an account of the complaints made against his doctrine by the Massilian clergy; the second from St. Augustine's treatise "De dono Perseveranti"[2] written in consequence of it.


       COMMONITORY, § 69.                       PROSPER TO AUGUSTINE.

     "Si quis interroget quempiam           "The Massilian clergy complain,"
haereticorum sibi talia                he says, "Romoveri omnem industriam,
persuadentem, Unde probas, unde        tollique virtutes, si Dei constitutio
doces quod Ecclesiae Catholicae        humanus praeveniat voluntates."
universalem et antiquam fidem          § 3.
dimittere debeam?  Statim ille,             Then referring to the teaching of
`Scriptum est enim,' et continuo       the Massilians themselves, Prosper
mille testimonia, mille exempla,       continues,
mille auctoritates parat de Lege, de        "Ad conditionem hanc velint
Psalmis, de Apostolis, de Prophetis,   uniuscujusque hominis pertinere, ut ad
quibus, novo et malo more              cognitionem Dei et ad obedientiam
interpretatis, ex arce Catholica in    mandatorum Ejus possit suam dirigere
haereseos barathrum infelix anima      voluntatem, et ad hanc gratiam qua in
praecipitetur.  Audent enim            Christo renascimur pervenire, per
polliceri et docere, quod in           naturalem scilicet facultatem, petendo,
Ecclesia sua, id est, in communionis   quaerendo, pulsando."
suae conventiculo, magna et                 Referring to the line of argument
specialis ac plane personalis          pursued by himself and others of
quaedam sit Dei gratia, adeo ut sine   Augustine's friends and the Massilian
ullo labore, sine ullo studio, sine    way of dealing with it, he says, "Et
ullo industria, etiamsi nec petant,    cum contra eos Scripta Beatitudinis
nec quaerant, nec pulsent, quicunque   tuae validissimis et innumeris
illi ad numerum suum pertinent,        testimoniis Divinarum Scripturarum
tamen ita divinitus dispensentur,      instructa proferimus, . . . 
ut, angelicis evecti manibus, id       obstinationem suam vetustate
est, angelica protectione servati,     defendunt."  § 3.
nunquam possint offendere ad lapidem
pedem suum, id est, nunquam

                                            St. Augustine replies to Prosper
                                       not in an ordinary letter, but in two
                                       short Treatises, which must have been
                                       written immediately after its receipt,
                                       for he died in August 430, the first
                                       entitled "De Praedestinatione
                                       Sanctorum," the second "De Dono
                                            The following extract is from the
                                            "Attendant ergo quomodo falluntur
                                       qui putant Esse a nobis, non dari
                                       nobis, ut petamus, quaeramus, pulsemus.
                                       Et hoc esse, dicunt, quod gratia
                                       praeceditur merito nostro, ut sequatur
                                       illa cum accipimus petentes, et
                                       invenimus quaerentes, aperiturque
                                       pulsantibus.  Nec volunt intelligere
                                       etiam hoc divini muneris esse ut
                                       oremus, hoc est, petamus, quaeramus,
                                       atque pulsamus."--De Dono Persev.
                                       c. 23, § 64.

Vincentius's language is in keeping with that of others of St. Augustine's opponents, as Cassian and Faustus, extracts from whom are given by Noris; only, as he observes, while Vincentius uses the term "heresy" of the doctrine impugned,--they are content to use the milder term "error."--Histor. Pelag. p. 246.


1. Inter Epistolas S. August. Ep. 225. Tom. ii. and again Tom. x. col. 1327.

2. Opera ix. col. 1833.



Note on Section 85.

Celestine's letter was addressed to certain Bishops of Southern Gaul, who are particularized by name.

It appears that Prosper and Hilary had made a journey to Rome, where they then were, for the purpose of complaining to Celestine of the connivance of certain bishops of Southern Gaul with the unsound teaching of their clergy. They complained too of the disrespectful manner in which these same clergy treated the memory of Augustine, then recently deceased.

Celestine writes to these bishops: blames their connivance with a fault, which, says he, by their silence they make their own, and then proceeds to charge them, as in the passage quoted in the text, "Rebuke these people: restrain their liberty of preaching. If the case be so, let novelty cease to assail antiquity, let restlessness cease to disturb the Church's peace." Then, after some further exhortation, he adds, "We cannot wonder at their thus assailing the living, when, they do not shrink from seeking to asperse the memory of the departed. Let a stop be put to this spirit of disparagement, which unhappily is on the increase."

The manner in which Vincentius deals with this letter has been very commonly thought, and with reason, to indicate a Semipelagian leaning.[1] His "si ita est," "if the case be so," emphasized by being repeated again and again, quite in an excited manner, as we should say, shows an evident wish to shift the charge of novelty from those against whom it had been brought, and fix it upon the opposite party. "Who are the introducers of novelty? The Massilians, as Prosper represents them, or their calumniators? Not the Massilians: they notoriously appeal to antiquity,--not the Massilians, but Prosper and the rest of Augustine's followers."

The feeling with regard to Augustine, on the part of the Massilian clergy, as indicated in Celestine's letter, is quite in accordance with the animus of § 69 above. See the note on that place, and see Noris's remarks, pp. 246-248.


1. E.g. "Hunc locum Vincentius Lirinensis sic a vero sensu contra Prosperum et Hilarium detorquet, ut ipse haud injuria in erroris Semipelagiani suspicionem veniat." The Benedictine editor of St. Augustine's works on Celestine's letter, Tom. x. col. 2403. To the same purpose, among others, CARD. NORIS, Histor. Pelag., 246. VOSSIUS, Histor. Pelag. TILLEMONT, T. xv. pp. 145, 862. NEANDER, Church History, iv. p. 388.


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