A mottó eredete

Még a legműveltebb egyházi emberek is gyakran Ágoston egyházatyának tulajdonítják az "In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas" mondást, például Dupanloup, Orleans ékes szavú r.k. püspöke az I. Vatikáni Zsinatot beharangozó pásztorlevelében. Így nem csoda, hogy én magam is ezen a véleményen voltam, amíg az interneten rá nem bukkantam egy alapos eredetnyomozó cikkre, amely már százéves, tulajdonképpen kivonat Philip Schaff nyolckötetes egyháztörténetéből, amely a Christian Classics Ethereal Library (keresztény alapművek internetes könyvtára) honlapján megtalálható. Az alábbiakban közlöm ezt a kivonatot, sajnos engedély nélkül – remélem, nem bírságolnak meg érte.

Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 7, pp. 650-653 (repr. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1965)

It was during the fiercest dogmatic controversies and the horrors of the Thirty Years' War, that a prophetic voice whispered to future generations the watchword of Christian peacemakers, which was unheeded in a century of intolerance, and forgotten in a century of indifference, but resounds with increased force in a century of revival and re-union:




On the Origin of the Sentence:

in necessariis unitas

in non-necessariis (or, dubiis) libertas

in utrisque (or, omnibus) caritas

This famous motto of Christian Irenics, which I have slightly modified in the text, is often falsely attributed to St. Augustin (whose creed would not allow it, though his heart might have approved of it), but is of much later origin. It appears for the first time in Germany, A.D. 1627 and 1628, among peaceful divines of the Lutheran and German Reformed churches, and found a hearty welcome among moderate divines In England.

The authorship has recently been traced to RUPERTUS MELDENIUS – an otherwise unknown divine, and author of a remarkable tract in which the sentence first occurs. He gave classical expression to the irenic sentiments of such divines as Calixtus of Helmstadt, David Pareus of Heidelberg, Crocius of Marburg, John Valentin Andreae of Wuerttemberg, John Arnd of Zelle, Georg Frank of Francfort-on-the-Oder, the brothers Bergius in Brandenburg, and of the indefatigable traveling evangelist of Christian union, John Dury, and Richard Baxter. The tract of Meldenius bears the title, Paraenesis votiva pro Pace Ecclesiae ad Theologos Augustanae Confessionis, Auctore Ruperto Meldenio Theologo, 62 pp. in 4to, without date and place of publication. It probably appeared in 1627 at Francfort-on-the-Oder, which was at that time the seat of theological moderation. Mr. C. R. Gillett (librarian of the Union Theological Seminary) informs me that the original copy, which he saw in Berlin, came from the University of Francfort-on-the-Oder after its transfer to Breslau.

Dr. Luecke republished the tract, in 1860, from a reprint in Pfeiffer's Variorum Auctorum Miscellanea Theologiae (Leipzig, 1736, pp. 136-258), as an appendix to his monograph on the subject (pp. 87-145). He afterwards compared it with a copy of the original edition in the Electoral library at Cassel. Another original copy was discovered by Dr. Klose in the city library of Hamburg (1858), and a third one by Dr. Briggs and Mr. Gillett in the royal library of Berlin (1887).

The author of this tract is an orthodox Lutheran, who was far from the idea of ecclesiastical union, but anxious for the peace of the church and zealous for practical scriptural piety in place of the dry and barren scholasticism of his time. He belongs, as Luecke says ("Stud. und Kritiken," 1851, p. 906), to the circle of "those noble, genial, and hearty evangelical divines, like John Arnd, Valentin Andrea, and others, who deeply felt the awful misery of the fatherland, and especially the inner distractions of the church in their age, but who knew also and pointed out the way of salvation and peace." He was evidently a highly cultivated scholar, at home in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and in controversial theology. He excels in taste and style the forbidding literature of his age. He condemns the pharisaical hypocrisy, the philodoxia, philargia, and philoneikia [dicsvágy, pénzvágy(?), vitatkozási vágy – NF] of the theologians, and exhorts them first of all to humility and love. By too much controversy about the truth, we are in danger of losing the truth itself. Nimium altercando amittitur Veritas."Many," he says, "contend for the corporal presence of Christ who have not Christ in their hearts." He sees no other way to concord than by rallying around the living Christ as the source of spiritual life. He dwells on the nature of God as love, and the prime duty of Christians to love one another, and comments on the seraphic chapter of Paul on charity (1 Cor. 13). He discusses the difference between necessaria and nonnecessaria.

Necessary dogmas are,
(1) articles of faith necessary to salvation;
(2) articles derived from clear testimonies of the Bible;
(3) articles decided by the whole church in a synod or symbol;
(4) articles held by all orthodox divines as necessary.

Not necessary, are dogmas
(1) not contained in the Bible;
(2) not belonging to the common inheritance of faith;
(3) not unanimously taught by theologians;
(4) left doubtful by grave divines;
(5) not tending to piety, charity, and edification.

He concludes with a defense of John Arnd (1555-1621), the famous author of "True Christianity," against the attacks of orthodox fanatics, and with a fervent and touching prayer to Christ to come to the rescue of his troubled church (Rev. 22: 17).

The golden sentence occurs in the later half of the tract (p. 128 in Luecke's edition), incidentally and in hypothetical form, as follows:

"Verbo dicam: Si nos servaremus IN necesariis Unitatem, IN non-necessariis Libertatem, IN UTRISQUE Charitatem, optimo certe loco essent res nostrae.'"

The same sentiment, but in a shorter sententious and hortative form, occurs in a book of Gregor Frank, entitled Consideratio theologica de gravibus necessitatis dogmatum Christianorum quibus fidei, spei et charitatis officia reguntur, Francf. ad Oderam, 1628. Frank (1585-1661) was first a Lutheran, then a Reformed theologian, and professor at Francfort. He distinguishes three kinds of dogmas:
(1) dogmas necessary for salvation: the clearly revealed truths of the Bible;
(2) dogmas which are derived by clear and necessary inference from the Scriptures and held by common consent of orthodox Christendom;
(3) the specific and controverted dogmas of the several confessions.

He concludes the discussion with this exhortation:

"Summa est: Servemus IN necessariis unitatem, IN non-necessariis libertatem, IN utrisque charitatem."

He adds,

"Vincat veritas, vivat charitas, maneat libertas per Jesum Christum qui est veritas ipsa, charitas ipsa, libertas ipsa."

Bertheau deems it uncertain whether Meldenius or Frank was the author. But the question is decided by the express testimony of Conrad Berg, who was a colleague of Frank in the same university between 1627 and 1628, and ascribes the sentence to Meldenius.

Fifty years dater Richard Baxter, the Puritan pacificator in England, refers to the sentence, Nov. 15, 1679, In the preface to The True and Only Way of Concord of All the Christian Churches, London, 1680, in a slightly different form:

"I once more repeat to you the pacificator's old despised words, 'Si in necessariis sit [esset] unitas, in non necessariis libertas, in charitas, optimo certo loco essent res nostrae."

Luecke was the first to quote this passage, but overlooked a direct reference of Baxter to Meldenius in the same tract on p. 25. This Dr. Briggs discovered, and quotes as follows: "Were there no more said of all this subject, but that of Rupertus Meldenius, cited by Conradus Bergius, it might end all schism if well understood and used, viz." Then follows the sentence. Baxter also refers to Meldenius on the preceding page. This strengthens the conclusion that Meldenius was the "pacificator." For we are referred here to the testimony of a contemporary of Meldenius. Samuel Werenfels, a distinguished irenical divine of Basel, likewise mentions Meldenius and Conrad Bergius together as ironical divines, and testes veritatis, and quotes several passages from the Paraenesis votiva. Conrad Bergius (Berg), from whom Baxter derived his knowledge of the sentence, was professor in the university of Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, and then a preacher at Bremen. He and his brother John Berg (1587-1658), court chaplain of Brandenburg, were irenical divines of the German Reformed Church, and moderate Calvinists.

John Berg attended the Leipzig Colloquy of March, 1631, where Lutheran and Reformed divines agreed on the basis of the revised Confession of 1540 in every article of doctrine, except the corporal presence and oral manducation. The colloquy has ill advance of the spirit of the age, and had no permanent effect. See Schaff, Creeds of Christendom I. 558 sqq., and Niemeyer, Collectio Confessionum in Ecclesiis Reformatis publicatarum, p. LXXV. and 653-668 Dr. Briggs has investigated the writings of Conrad Bergius and his associates in the royal library of Berlin. In his "Praxis Catholica divini canonis contra quasuis haereses et schismata," etc., which appeared at Bremen in 1639, Bergius concludes with the classical word of "Rupertus Meldenius Theologus," and a brief comment on it is quoted by Baxter in the form just given. In the autumn of 1627 Bergius preached two discourses at Frankfurt on the subject of Christian union, which accord with the sentence, and appeared in 1628 with the consent of the theological faculty. They were afterwards incorporated in his Praxis Catholica. He was thoroughly at home in the polemics and irenics of his age, and can be relied on as to the authorship of the sentence.

But who was Meldenius? This is still an unsolved question. Possibly he took his name from Melden, a little village on the borders of and Silesia. His voice was drowned, and his name forgotten, for two centuries, but is now again heard with increased force. I subscribe to the concluding words of my esteemed colleague, Dr. Briggs:

"Like a mountain stream that disappears at times under the rocks of its bed, and re-appears deeper down in the valley, so these long-buried principles of peace have reappeared after two centuries of oblivion, and these irenical theologians will be honored by those who live in a better age of the world, when Protestant irenics have well-nigh displaced the old Protestant polemics and scholastics."

The origin of the sentence was first discussed by a Dutch divine, Dr. Van der Hoeven of Amsterdam, in 1847; then by Dr. Luecke of Goettingen Ueber das Alter, den Verfasser, die urspruengliche Form und den wahren Sinn des kirchlichen Friedenspruchs 'In necessariis unitas,' etc., Goettingen 1850 (XXII. and 146 pages); with supplementary remarks in the "Studien und Kritiken" for 1851, p. 905-938. Luecke first proved the authorship of Meldenius. The next steps were taken by Dr. Klose, in the first edition of Herzog's "Theol. Encycl." sub vol. IX. (1858), p. 304 sq., and by Dr. Carl Bertheau, in the second edition of Herzog, IX. (1881), p. 528-530. Dr. Briggs has furnished additional information in two articles in the "Presbyterian Review," vol. VIII., New York, 1887, pp. 496-499, and 743-746.