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Elucidations.

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I.

(Spotless virgin, etc. p. 223 and note 7.)

Oh that “foolish and unlearned questions” had been avoided, as the Scripture21772177    2 Tim. ii. 23; Tit. iii. 9. bids! Surely, we should be as decent about the conjugal relations of the Blessed Virgin as we are socially in all such matters. Pearson, as in the note, says all that should be said on such a subject. Photius, in his thirtieth epistle, expounds the text Matt. i. 25. But it did not rest there. Let it rest here.

II.

(Get thee behind me, Satan, p. 224 and note 13.)

I adopt the views of those who reverently suppose that when it was said, “Let us make man,” etc., Lucifer conceived rebellion, and said, “This be far from Thee, Lord;” fearing the creature made in God’s own image might outshine himself. Hence our Lord applies the epithet “Satan” to Peter when he ventures to use similar language. Possibly there lurks a reference to this in such language as Job iv. 18. I have previously referred to the Messias and Anti-Messias of the Rev. Charles Ingham Black (London, 1854), in which this view is singularly well argued. It is well to halt, however, with a confession, that, while it seems intimated in Holy Scripture, it cannot be proved as revealed. Hence let us reverently say what is said by the Psalmist in Psa. cxxxi. 1, and confess what is written in Deut. xxix. 29. I go so far, only because the words on which this note is a comment seem to authorize inquiry as to the force of “Satan” just there. I state what seems the reference, but go no farther. Compare Dan. iv. 35.

III.

(I shrink from repeating, p. 227 and note 10.)

The delicacy of feeling here expressed is most honourable to the sentiment of the Church at this period. Not till St. Bernard’s day was it hinted21782178    St. Bernard, Opp., tom. i. Compare note 10, p. 227, supra. See the Abbé Laborde on the Impossibility, etc., translated by the editor of this series, ed. Baltimore, 1855. even in the West, that the Blessed Virgin was conceived without taint of original sin; and he rebukes the innovators with a holy indignation.21792179    Save only by Mohammed. It shocks him that questions were thus raised as to her parents, their amplexus maritales, etc.

236IV.

(In presence of the catechumens, p. 235.)

Here is testimony to the catechumen system of the primitive Church which appears to me not inconsistent with the period to which it is assigned. No doubt this gradual instruction of the disciple is based upon the example of our Lord Himself, who spoke in parables,21802180    Matt. xiii. 34; Mark iv. 33. and taught “as they were able to hear it.” But the disciplina arcani was designed chiefly to protect the Church from the profaneness of the heathen, and it fell into desuetude after the Council of Nice.


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