— John Henry Newman
Context: The more I read of Athanasius, Theodoret, etc, the more I see that the ancients did make the Scriptures the basis of their belief. The only question is, would they have done so in another point besides the θεολογία (theology), etc, which happened in the early ages to be in discussion? I incline to say the Creed is the faith necessary to salvation, as well as to Church communion, and to maintain that Scripture, according to the Fathers, is the authentic record and document of this faith.
It surely is reasonable that 'necessary to salvation' should apply to the Baptismal Creed: 'In the name of,' etc (vid. He who believeth etc.). Now the Apostles' Creed is nothing but this; for the Holy Catholic Church, etc [in it] are but the medium through which God comes to us. Now this θεολογία, I say, the Fathers do certainly rest on Scripture, as upon two tables of stone. I am surprised more and more to see how entirely they fall into Hawkins’s theory even in set words, that Scripture proves and the Church teaches. http://books.google.com/books?id=JbwJVBOvECwC&pg=PA66&dq=%22that+the+sacred+text+was+never+intended+to+teach+doctrine,+but+only+to+prove+it%22&hl=en&ei=k-RlTq__FOStsQKOwrCzCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22that%20the%20sacred%20text%20was%20never%20intended%20to%20teach%20doctrine%2C%20but%20only%20to%20prove%20it%22&f=false
I believe it would be extremely difficult to show that tradition is ever considered by them (in matters of faith) more than interpretative of Scripture. It seems that when a heresy rose they said at once ‘That is not according to the Church's teaching,’ i. e. they decided it by the praejudicium [N. B. prescription] of authority.
Again, when they met together in council, they brought the witness of tradition as a matter of fact, but when they discussed the matter in council, cleared their views, etc., proved their power, they always went to Scripture alone. They never said 'It must be so and so, because St. Cyrian says this, St. Clement explains in his third book of the "Paedagogue," etc.' and with reason; for the Fathers are a witness only as one voice, not in individual instances, or, much less, isolated passages, but every word of Scripture is inspired and available.
To Richard Hurrell Froude, August 23, 1835.
Letters and Correspondence of John Henry Newman During His Life in the English Church, 1890, Anne Mozley, ed., Longmans’s Green & Co., London, New York, Volume 2, p. 113. http://books.google.com/books?id=uak8AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA113&dq=%22the+more+i+read+of+athanasius,+theodoret%22&hl=en&ei=CeBlTqH1K4m2sQL91pm3Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22the%20more%20i%20read%20of%20athanasius%2C%20theodoret%22&f=false