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Pope Leo the Great and the Heidelberg Connection on the Death of Christ

August 10, 2009

I love it when we find citation connections: when one author cites another, or two or more cite the same, or two or more cite the same Scripture verse with the same intent.

The translations are different by Kimedoncius and Bastinguis, but its clear the first one is the same comment. The same Leo comment is cited approvingly by both of them.

Look at this:

Bastingius:

1) Secondly, seeing the suffering of Christ is the only sacrifice of reconciliation for the sins of the whole world, they wander from the right path of salvation, and do injury to Christ, whosoever, not content with him and his sacrifice, do devise to themselves other means to appease God, and two ways whereby to wipe away the punishment due unto us; to wit, the satisfaction of Christ and of the Satins, which is to deny the blood of Christ to be only sufficient for forgiveness of sins, for reconciliation, for satisfaction [1 Joh. 2; Rom. 3:25.], unless the want of it, being as it were dried up and spent, to supplied and made up by some other, as by Peter, Paul, and other Martyrs, in whose blood the Popish pardons do put satisfaction: against which robbing of God, excellently spoke long ago Leo the B. of Rome: “although the death of the saints has been precious in the sight of God, yet the slaying of no guiltless man was a sacrifice for the sins of the world: the righteous received, they did not give crowns, and examples of patience did grow of the courageousness of the faithful, not gifts of righteousness: for their death were singular: neither did any of them by his end pay any other men’s debt: forasmuch as there was one Lord Christ in whom all were crucified, all died, all were buried, all rose again,” [2 Cor. 1:6-7; Phil. 1: 24-25; 1 Cor. 1:13.]. And Augustine to the same effect: “Although” (says he) “we die brethren for brethren, yet the blood of no Martyr is shed for forgiveness of sins, which Christ died for us: neither did he bestow this upon us that we should follow him in it, but that we should all of us rejoice for it. Jeremias Bastingius, An Exposition or Commentary Vpon the Catechisme of Christian Religion, which is taught in the Schooles and Churches both of the Low Countries, and of the Dominions of the Countie Palatine (Printed at London by Iohn Legatt, Printer to the University of Cambridge, 1614), 158 and 159. [Marginal references cited inline, with marginal comment cited as footnote; some reformatting; extended italics removed; some spelling modernized; and underlining mine.]

Kimedoncius:

1) This is a mere mockery of Satan, and a profanation of the blood of Christ, as Pope Leo notably shows in the forenamed Epistle against the Papists of these times: whose words are these: “Albeit” (says he) “the death of many Saints has been precious in the sight of God, yet the slaying of no guiltless person has been the propitiation of the world.” Jacob Kimedoncius,

And also this from Kimedoncius:

2) But let us hear others also more ancient than Thomas. Innocentius 3. Pope of Rome Anno Dom. 1200. repeating the same distinction, lib.2. de officio Missa. cap. 41. says: The blood of Christ was shed for those only that predestinated, as touching efficiency: but for all men as touching sufficiency. For the shedding of that righteous blood was so rich in price, that if the universality of captives would believe in their redeemer, the tyrannical bands of sin and Satan could withhold none, because as the Apostle says, where sin abounded, there grace did superabound.” This later whole sentence is Pope Leo’s Epist. 83. And 97. which seeing Innocentius alleges, he shows apparently, that Leo was of the same mind. Unto these, that is not much unlike, which Basil writes in Psal. 48. “Man cannot give a propitiation for himself, to God: yet one worthy price was found out for all men, even the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for us all.” And that he speaks of the sufficiency and dignity of the price is apparent by the words themselves, as by that which he says elsewhere very often respecting the effect, that the blood of Christ was shed not for all men without exception, but for many, that is for believers. Chrysostom also and Theophilact who abridged him, acknowledges the same distinction, as we shall see.

Now if we look at Leo in context:

1) What hope then do they, who deny the reality of the human person in our Saviour’s body, leave for themselves in the efficacy of this mystery? Let them say by what sacrifice they have been reconciled, by what blood-shedding brought back.  Who is He “who gave Himself for us an offering and a victim to God for a sweet smell:” or what sacrifice was ever more hallowed than that which the true High priest placed upon the altar of the cross by the immolation of His own flesh? For although in the sight of the Lord the death of many of His saints has been precious, yet no innocent’s death was the propitiation of the world.  The righteous have received, not given, crowns:  and from the endurance of the faithful have arisen examples of patience, not the gift of justification.  For their deaths affected themselves alone, and no one has paid off another’s debt by his own death: one alone among the sons of men, our Lord Jesus Christ, stands out as One in whom all are crucified, all dead, all buried, all raised again. Of them He Himself said “when I am lifted from the earth, I will draw all (things) unto Me ” True faith also, that justifies the transgressors and makes them just, is drawn to Him who shared their human natures and wins salvation in Him, in whom alone man finds himself not guilty; and thus is free to glory in the power of Him who in the humiliation of our flesh engaged in conflict with the haughty  foe, and shared His victory with those in whose body He had triumphed. Leo the Great, “The Letters and Sermons of  Leo the Great,” in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 12:92-93, Letter 124.

What Leo is saying is that it was no ordinary innocent who suffered and died make a propitiation for the world. And if we need to be clear that Leo did believe that Christ died for all, we have this as an example:

2) Whilst the height of all virtues, dearly-beloved, and the fullness of all righteousness is born of that love, wherewith God and one’s neighbor is loved, surely in none is this love found more conspicuous and brighter than in the blessed martyrs; who are as near to our Lord Jesus, Who died for all men, in the imitation of His love, as in the likeness of their suffering.  For, although that Love, wherewith the Lord has redeemed us, cannot be equaled by any man’s kindness, because it is one thing that a man who is doomed to die one day should die for a righteous man, and another that One Who is free from the debt of sin should lay down His life for the wicked:  yet the martyrs also have done great service to all men, in that the Lord Who gave them boldness, has used it to show that the penalty of death and the pain of the cross need not be terrible to any of His followers, but might be imitated by many of them.  If therefore no good man is good for himself alone, and no wise man’s wisdom befriends himself only, and the nature of true virtue is such that it leads many away from the dark error on which its light is shed, no model is more useful in teaching God’s people than that of the martyrs.  Eloquence may make intercession easy, reasoning may effectually persuade; but yet examples are stronger than words, and there is more teaching in practice than in precept.   Leo the Great, “The Letters and Sermons of  Leo the Great,” in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 12:197, Sermon 85.

Now if some doubt that Leo was being quoted to prove that Christ did die for all men, we need to keep this in mind from Kimedoncius:

But let us hear others also more ancient than Thomas. Innocentius 3. Pope of Rome Anno Dom. 1200. repeating the same distinction, lib.2. de officio Missa. cap. 41. says: The blood of Christ was shed for those only that predestinated, as touching efficiency: but for all men as touching sufficiency. For the shedding of that righteous blood was so rich in price, that if the universality of captives would believe in their redeemer, the tyrannical bands of sin and Satan could withhold none, because as the Apostle says, where sin abounded, there grace did superabound.” This later whole sentence is Pope Leo’s Epist. 83. And 97. which seeing Innocentius alleges, he shows apparently, that Leo was of the same mind. Unto these, that is not much unlike, which Basil writes in Psal. 48. “Man cannot give a propitiation for himself, to God: yet one worthy price was found out for all men

Note carefully how Kimedoncius interprets Leo.

This is further confirming evidence regarding the true position on the extent of the expiation and redemption as held by not only the Heidelbergers, but even Bastingius.

David

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