Wednesday, November 22, 2006

On the concealment of wolves

Another extract from Vincent of Lerins Commonitorium (not, I should add, with unqualified support and approval for everything he stands for in that book). But on the danger and deception of heresy he has this to say:

"It was for this reason that the Saviour cried, 'Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.' What is meant by 'sheep's clothing'? What but the words which prophets and apostles with the guilelessness of sheep wove beforehand as fleeces, for that immaculate Lamb which taketh away the sin of the world ? What are the ravening wolves?

What but the savage and rabid glosses of heretics, who continually infest the Church's folds, and tear in pieces the flock of Christ wherever they are able ?

But that they may with more successful guile steal upon the unsuspecting sheep, retaining the ferocity of the wolf, they put off his appearance, and wrap themselves, so to say, in the language of the Divine Law, as in a fleece, so that one, having felt the softness of wool, may have no dread of the wolf's fangs.

Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium, Chapter XXV

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