De l'unité de l'église
DE L’UNITÉ DE L’ÉGLISE
1° Exhortation à la vigilance; — 2° Les hérésies; — 3° Principe de l’unité; — 4° Obligation de s’en tenir à l’unité; — 5° Figures; — 6° Les chefs de secte; — 7° Leur crime; — 8° Les hérésies prédites; — 9° Union des premiers fidèles; — 10° Affaiblissement de la foi.
On the Unity of the Church
On the Unity of the Church. 1
Argument.--On the Occasion of the Schism of Novatian, to Keep Back from Him the Carthaginians, Who Already Were Not Averse to Him, on Account of Novatus and Some Other Presbyters of His Church, Who Had Originated the Whole Disturbance, Cyprian Wrote This Treatise. And First of All, Fortifying Them Against the Deceits of These, He Exhorts Them to Constancy, and Instructs Them that Heresies Exist Because Christ, the Head of the Church, is Not Looked To, that the Common Commission First Entrusted to Peter is Contemned, and the One Church and the One Episcopate are Deserted. Then He Proves, as Well by the Scriptures as by the Figures of the Old and New Testament, the Unity of the Church. 2
[Written a.d. 251. Although, in order of time, this treatise would be the third, I have placed it here because of its dignity, and because of its importance as a key to the entire writings of Cyprian; for this theory is everywhere the underlying principle of his conduct and of his correspondence. It illustrates the epistles of Ignatius as well as his own, and gives the sense in which the primitive Christians understood these words of the Creed, "the Holy Catholic Church." This treatise has been subjected to falsifying interpolations, long since exposed and detected, to make it less subversive of the countertheory of Rome as developed by the school doctors. Elucidation I.] ↩
Describing in few words the ambition and dissimulation of Novatian in invading the episcopate of Rome, he argues at length, that neither on the one hand is the passage in Matthew xviii. of any avail to compensate for their fewness as against the Church: "Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name," etc.; nor, on the other, could martyrdom be of any benefit to them outside the Church. Then he tells them that they need not marvel that heresies flourished, since they had been foretold by Christ; nor that certain Roman confessors acquiesced in the schism, because before one's death no one is blessed, and the traitor Judas was found in the very company of the apostles. Yet he charges them to shun the association of schismatics and heretics, and finally exhorts them by the Scriptures to peace and unanimity. ↩