Lives of Saints - St. Vincent of Lerins Christianity - Books
I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.                You shall have no other gods before me.                You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:                you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me,                and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.                You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.                Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.                You shall labor six days, and do all your work,                but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates;                for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.                Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.                You shall not murder.                You shall not commit adultery.                You shall not steal.                You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.                You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.
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St. Vincent of Lerins
   

A leading theologian of the Church of Gaul in the 5th century, St. Vincent settled in the island monastery of Lerins off the southern coast of France in order that "avoiding the concourse and crowds of cities... I can follow without distraction the Psalmist's admonition, "Be still, and know that I am God." Here he wrote his celebrated Commonitorium, a "Reminder," where he wrote down "those things which I have truthfully received from the holy Fathers," which they "have handed down to us and committed to our keeping." Among these things is the celebrated definition of orthodoxy as quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus: that which has been believed in the Church "everywhere, always, by everyone." St. Vincent lived in an age of great historical uncertainty; barbarian tribes were a constant menace and although four hundred years of Christian tradition had already passed, the foundations of the faith had been only recently clarified by decisions made in the Ecumenical Councils — the Council of Nicea (325), the Council of Constantinople (381) and the Council of Ephesus (431). It is, therefore, not surprising that St. Vincent was so concerned to preserve the authority of Christian tradition. This is not to say that he was opposed to progress or doctrinal development; each age must face its own particular problems and develop a Christian response in answer to them. "But it must be progress in the proper sense of the word, and not a change in faith. Progress means that each thing grows within itself, whereas change implies that one thing is transformed into another.... The growth of religion in the soul should be like the growth of the body, which in the course of year develops and unfolds, yet remains the same as it was."

"In ancient times, our forefathers sowed the seeds of the wheat of faith in that field which is the Church. It would be quite unjust and improper if we, their descendents, gathered, instead of the genuine truth of wheat, the false tares of error. On the contrary, it is logically correct that the beginning and the end be in agreement, that we reap from the planting of the wheat of doctrine the harvest of the wheat of dogma. In this way, none of the characteristics of the seed is changed, although something evolved in the course of time from those first seeds and has now expanded under careful cultivation. What may be added is merely appearance, beauty, and distinction, but the proper nature of each kind remains."

His defense of the traditions of the Fathers and his condemnation of innovation and novelty in the Church are as appropriate today as they were in his time:

"The Church of Christ, zealous and cautious guardian of the dogmas deposited with it, never changes any phase of them. It does not diminish them or add to them; it neither trims what seems necessary, nor grafts things superfluous; it neither gives up its own nor usurps what does not belong to it. But it devotes all its diligence to one aim: to treat tradition faithfully and wisely; to nurse and polish what from old times may have remained unshaped and unfinished; to consolidate and to strengthen what already was clear and plain; and to guard what already was confirmed and defined. After all, what have the councils brought forth in their decrees but that what before was believed plainly and simply might from now on be believed more diligently; that what before was preached rather unconcernedly might be preached from now on more eagerly."

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust (1 Tim. 6:20).

Source: http://www.fatheralexander.org

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