Principium Hic est Liber
Hic Est Liber
This is the Book
Hic est liber mandatorum Dei, et lex quae est in aeternum: omnes qui tenent eam pervenient ad vitam: qui autem dereliquerunt eam, in mortem (Bar 4:1).
This is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that is forever: all they that keep it shall come to life: but they that have forsaken it, to death (Bar 4:1).
Commendatio Sacrae Scripturae
The Commendation of Sacred Scripture
Secundum Augustinum, in IV De doctrina christiana, eruditus eloquens ita eloqui debet ut doceat, ut delectet, ut flectat: ut doceat ignaros; ut delectet tediosos; ut flectat tardos. Haec tria completissime Sacrae Scripturae eloquium.
According to Augustine, a skilled speaker should speak to teach, to delight and to motivate: to teach the ignorant, to delight the bored, and to motivate the lazy (On Christian Doctrine 4.12). The speech of Sacred Scripture does these three things most completely.
Docet enim firmiter aeterna sua veritate, Psalm.: in aeternum, Domine, permanet verbum tuum.
For it teaches steadfastly with its eternal truth: forever, O Lord, thy word stands firm in heaven (Ps 118:89).
Delectat suaviter sua utilitate, Psalm.: quam dulcia faucibus meis eloquia tua.
It delights pleasantly with its usefulness: how sweet are thy words to my mouth (Ps 118:03).
Flectit efficaciter sua auctoritate, Ier. XXIII: nunquid non verba mea sunt quasi ignis, dicit Dominus?
It motivates effectively with its authority: are not my words as a fire, says the Lord? (Jer 23:29).
Et ideo Sacra Scriptura in verbo proposito commendatur a tribus.
Therefore, in the text above, Sacred Scripture is commended for three things.
Primo ab auctoritate qua flectit, cum dicit: hic est liber mandatorum Dei.
First, for the authority by which it motivates, when it says: this is the book of the commandments of God.
Secundo, ab aeterna veritate qua instruit, cum dicit: et lex quae est in aeternum.
Second, for the eternal truth by which it instructs, when it says: and the law that is forever.
Tertio, ab utilitate qua allicit, cum dicit: omnes qui tenent eam pervenient ad vitam.
Third, for the usefulness by which it allures us, when it says: all they that keep it shall come to life.
Auctoritas Sacrae Scripturae
The Authority of Sacred Scripture
Auctoritas autem huius Scripturae ex tribus ostenditur efficax.
The authority of these Scriptures is shown to be effective from three things.
Primo ex origine; quia Deus origo eius est. Unde dicit: mandatorum Dei; Baruch III: hic adinvenit omnem viam disciplinae; Hebr. II: quae cum initium accepisset enarrari per Dominum, ab eis qui audierunt, in nos confirmata est.
First, from its origin; because God is its origin. Hence, it says: the commandments of God; he found out all the way of knowledge (Bar 3:37); which having begun to be declared by the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard him (Heb 2:3).
Cui quidem auctori infallibiliter credendum est; tum propter naturae suae conditionem, quia veritas est, Ioan. XIV: ego sum via, veritas et vita; tum propter scientiae plenitudinem, Rom. XI: o altitudo divitiarum sapientiae et scientiae Dei; tum propter verborum virtutem, Hebr. IV: vivus est sermo Dei et efficax, et penetrabilior omni gladio ancipiti.
Certainly, such an author should be believed infallibly, both because of the condition of his nature, which is truth: I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6); and because of the fullness of his knowledge: o the depths of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God (Rom 11:33); and because of the power of his words: the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword (Heb 4:12).
Secundo, ostenditur efficax ex necessitate quam scilicet imponit, Marc. ult.: qui autem non crediderit condemnabitur, et cetera.
Second, it is shown to be effective from the necessity with which it is imposed: he who does not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:16).
Unde per modum praecepti veritas Sacrae Scripturae proponitur; unde dicit: mandatorum Dei. Quae quidem mandata intellectum per fidem dirigunt, Ioan. XIV: creditis in Deum et in me credite; per dilectionem affectum informant, Ioan. XV: hoc est praeceptum meum ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos; quod ad actum et executionem inducunt: hoc fac, et vives.
Hence the truth of Sacred Scripture is proposed as a precept; hence it says: the commandments of God. These commandments direct the intellect by faith: you believe in God, believe also in me (John 14:1); they shape the affection by love: this is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12); and they lead us to take action: do this, and you will live (Luke 10:28).
Tertio, ostenditur efficax ex dictorum uniformitate, quia omnes qui sacram doctrinam tradiderunt, idem docuerunt, I Cor. XV: sive autem ego, sive illi sic praedicamus, et sic credidistis.
Third, it is shown to be effective from the consistency of its message, because all who teach sacred doctrine teach the same doctrine: whether I, or they, so we preach, and so you have believed (1 Cor 15:11).
Et hoc necesse est quia omnes habuerunt unum magistrum, Matth. XXIII: unus est magister vester, etc.; unum habuerunt spiritum, II Cor. XII: nonne eodem spiritu ambulavimus? Unum insuper affectum, Act. IV: multitudinis credentium una erat anima et cor unum in Deo. Et ideo in signum uniformitatis doctrinae dicitur singulariter: hic est liber.
And this is necessary because all had one teacher: for one is your teacher (Matt 23:8); all had one spirit: did we not walk with the same spirit? (2 Cor 12:18); and all had also one affection: and the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul in God (Acts 4:32). Therefore, as a sign of the consistency of the teaching, it says in the singular: this is the book.
Veritas Sacrae Scripturae
The Truth of Sacred Scripture
Veritas Scripturae huius doctrinae est immutabilis et aeterna. Unde sequitur: et lex quae est in aeternum. Luc. XXI: caelum et terra transibunt; verba autem mea non transibunt.
The truth of this teaching of Scripture is immutable and eternal. Hence it follows: and the law that is forever. Heaven and earth will pass away; but my words will not pass away (Luke 21:33).
Permanet autem in aeternum haec lex propter tria.
This law will endure in eternity because of three things.
Primo, propter legislatoris potestatem, Isa. XIV: Deus exercituum decrevit, et quis poterit infirmare?
First, because of the power of the lawgiver: for the Lord of hosts has decreed, and who can annul it? (Isa 14:27).
Secundo, propter eius immutabilitatem, Malach. III: ego Deus et non mutor. Num. XXIII: non est Dominus quasi homo ut mentiatur; nec ut filius hominis ut mutetur.
Second, because of his immutability: I am God and I change not (Mal 3:6); the Lord is not a man, that he should lie, nor as the son of man, that he should be changed (Num 23:19).
Tertio, propter legis veritatem, Psal.: omnia mandata tua veritas. Prov. XII: labium veritatis firmum erit in perpetuum. III Esdr. IV: veritas manet et invalescit in aeternum.
Third, because of the truth of the law: all your commandments are truth (Ps 118:86); the lip of truth will be steadfast forever (Prov 12:19); truth remains and grows stronger eternally (3 Ezra 4:38).
Utilitas Sacrae Scripturae
The Usefulness of Sacred Scripture
Utilitas autem huius Scripturae est maxima, Isai. XLVIII: ego Dominus Deus tuus docens te utilia. Unde sequitur: omnes qui tenent eam pervenient ad vitam; quae quidem triplex est.
But the usefulness of this Scripture is the greatest: I am the Lord your God who teaches you useful things (Isa 48:17). Hence it follows: all they that keep it shall come to life. Indeed, this happens in three ways.
Prima est vita gratiae, ad quam Sacra Scriptura disponit, Ioan. VI: verba quae ego locutus sum vobis, spiritus et vita sunt. Per hanc enim vitam spiritus Deo vivit, Gal. II: vivo autem, iam non ego: vivit vero in me Christus.
First, there is the life of grace, to which Sacred Scripture disposes: the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life (John 6:64). For through this life the spirit lives in God: and I live, now not I; but Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20).
Secunda est vita iustitiae in operibus consistens, ad quam Sacra Scriptura dirigit, Psal.: in aeternum non obliviscar iustificationes tuas; quia in eis vivificasti me.
Second, there is the life of justice consisting in works, to which Sacred Scripture directs: your decrees I will never forget: for by them you have given me life (Ps 118:93).
Tertia est vita gloriae, quam Sacra Scriptura promittit et ad eam perducit, Ioan. VI: Domine, ad quem ibimus? Verba vitae aeternae habes. Eodem, XX: haec autem scripta sunt ut credatis; et ut credentes vitam habeatis in nomine ipsius.
Third, there is the life of glory, which Sacred Scripture promises and to which it leads: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (John 6:69); but these are written, that you may believe; and that believing, you may have life in his name (John 20:31).
Partitio Sacrae Scripturae
The Division of Sacred Scripture
Ad hanc autem vitam Sacra Scriptura perducit dupliciter: scilicet, praecipiendo et adiuvando.
But Sacred Scripture leads to this life in two ways: namely, by commanding and by helping.
Praecipiendo per mandata quae proponit, quod pertinet ad Vetus Testamentum, Eccli. XXIV: legem mandavit nobis Moyses.
Commanding, by the commands that it sets forth, which pertains to the Old Testament: Moses commanded a law to us (Sir 24:33).
Adiuvando autem per donum gratiae quod legislator largitur, quod pertinet ad Novum Testamentum. Ioan. I: lex per Moysen data est, gratia et veritas per Iesum Christum facta est.
Helping, by the gift of grace that the lawgiver gives, which pertains to the New Testament: the law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17).