THE Revelation of God came to the world through the Hebrews, a people unused to abstract speculation, their very language too bald for Philosophy, so that Theology had to take the language of poetry, concrete images taking the place of definitions or syllogisms. These characteristics, whilst they prevented very great development of doctrine, were a safeguard against its perversion. When in the fullness of time Christ brought that complete Revelation of which Judaism was but the prologue, it was to the Hebrews that He spoke. He gave them His whole teaching-but in their own tongue, their own forms, not only of speech but of thought. Yet His Church was to be no longer the Jewish Church, but the Catholic Church. His Revelation was to all mankind and was to be received and assimilated not by the practical ethical Hebrew only, but by the subtleminded Greek, by the Eastern mystic, and by the childlike, untrained mind of far-off Goth and Barbarian. When on the day of Pentecost the Holy Ghost descended upon that little band which Christ had formed and trained, they went forth to bring all minds into captivity to the truth; and these were not minds empty, waiting passively for the truth, but minds already active, with ideas, theories, and habits of thought of their own. Into minds thus preoccupied the Christian Faith was to enter-to seize and act upon and mould them, and, within certain very rigid limits, to be reacted upon by them. When Revelation took its rightful place as Ruler and Judge, then all of natural truth or mental power that a man had was enriched and crowned by it; al1 that was false or imperfect being abolished or rejected. The Faith itself being more clearly set forth, more deeply penetrated, as the minds of men were brought to bear upon it, gave forth all its strength, light, and sweetness. That way lay development-a process which began the first moment a Christian meditated on Christ's teaching, and it shall not cease as long as one of the Faithful remains to keep the Faith. But whenever Faith came to a mind not prepared to give it the first and ruling place, but determined to judge and test it by its own prepossessions, its own prejudices -then the truth became perverted, one-sided: and so were born heresies: so began the first heresy: so will heresies arise until Christ returns and Faith ends in Vision. Well might the Apostles have quailed at the task before them. Silnple Palestinian Jews, how should they commend their faith to the whole Gentile world, a world whose thought was so alien from their own? But their Risen Master had promised that the Holy Ghost should bring to their minds all things whatsoever He had told them. In this knowledge, with this strength, they went forward knowing that whatever their personal weakness, however limited their individual knowledge or capacity, their mission could not fail, for He who had sent them had promised that the gates of hell should not prevail against them and that He would be with them even to the consummation of the world.
M L Cozens, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1492897639, ISBN 13: 9781492897637