2012-10-30

The Devil knows Scripture...

For it is written, that He hath given his angels charge over thee, that they keep thee. And that in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering, said to him: It is said: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Luke 4:10-12)

We have the devil here again citing Scripture, (Ps. xc. v. 11.) [Read what is given on this subject in note on v. 6, c. iv. of S. Matthew's gospel (reproduced in the next quote section)] which shews how very dangerous a thing it is to put the Scripture, in the first instance, indiscriminately into every, even the most illiterate person's hands, without any previous disposition of the mind and heart, by study and prayer. How much more satisfactory must it be to be guided by the Church of God, which Christ has promised to secure against all error, and which he commands all to obey! How much more rational to begin with distributing elementary catechisms, approved by the Catholic Church as conformable to the word of God, and then only opening to them the sacred mystic book, when their minds and hearts are better prepared to avail themselves of the inestimable treasure, and of justly appreciating and exploring the golden lore. If humility be a virtue that renders us most pleasing to God, it is a virtue particularly necessary for the proper understanding of Holy Writ. This will teach us to submit (whenever the Scripture is either silent or obscure in points of faith) our own private and unassisted judgment to the judgment and comments of the Church. This was the sentiment of a great philosopher of this nation, who, when charged with scepticism and a love of novelty by his contemporaries, replied: "However fanciful I may be esteemed in matters of philosophy, in religious concerns I like to go the beaten road. Where the Scripture is silent, the Church is my text. Where that speaks, it is but the comment; and I never refer any thing to the arbitration of my own judgment, but in the silence of them both." (Haydock Commentary Luke 4:10)

Heretics, says S. Augustine, quote Scriptures, as the devil does here, in a wrong and forced sense; the Church cites them, like Jesus Christ, in their true sense, and to confute their falsehood. Cont. lit. Petil. l. ii. c. 51. It is on this account, that the Catholic Church wishes persons who come to the study of the most mysterious and difficult book ever published, should bring with them some preparation of mind and heart; convinced that the abuse of the strongest and best food may be converted into deadly poison. The promoters of Bible societies have published in Ireland a tract to encourage the universal perusal of the Scriptures, as the sole rule of faith. In this they give not only a mutilated and corrupt version of the letter of his late Holiness Pius VI. to the now archbishop of Florence, (to be seen at the head of this edition of the Bible) but certain letters from German Jansenists, who are described as being good Catholics. A. (Haydock Commentary Mark 4:6)
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