Hugo of St Victor

Hugo of St. Victor said to have been count of Blankenburg, was born at Ein, near Ypres, about 1097, and educated in the convent of Hammersleben, near Halberstadt. When eighteen years of age he went to Paris, and joined the Augustines of St.Victor. He next became professor of theology, and his success as a teacher and writer was very brilliant. He died at Paris about 1141. Hugo was the most spiritual theologian of his time, and the precursor of the later Mystics. He recommended the use of the Bible for private devotion, and urged also its study on priests and teachers. He followed the theology of Augustine so strictly, and expounded it so successfully, that he was called Augustine the Second, and the Mouth of Augustine. "In Hugo we see the representative of a school distinguished in the 12th century for its hearty religious spirit, and its tendency to practical reform; a school which, though it united more or less the mystico contemplative with the speculative element, yet constantly kept up the contest with the predominant dialectic tendency of the times. If, in Abelard, we see those spiritual tendencies, which had been harmoniously united by Anselm, brought into conflict with each other, we see them once more reconciled in Hugo, but with this difference, that in him the dialectical element is not so strong as it was in Anselm. In his doctrinal investigations, he often has reference to, and contends against Abelard, though without mentioning his name. The empirical department of knowledge generally, and in theology the study of the older Church teachers, and of the Bible, was made specially prominent by Hugo, in opposition to one-sided speculation and innovating influences. Hs principle was, 'Study everything; thou wilt afterwards see that nothing is superfluous.' Adopting the definition of faith in the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, he remarks, 'Faith is called the substance of things invisible, because that which, as yet, is not an object of open vision, is by faith, in a certain sense, made present to the soul actually dwells in it. Nor is there anything else whereby the things of God could be demonstrated, since they are higher than all others; nothing resembles them which could serve us as a bridge to that higher knowledge.' Hence he declared that, in regard to the essence of true faith, much more depends on the degree of devotion than on the extent of knowledge; for divine grace does not look at the amount of knowledge united with faith, but at the degree of devotion with which that which constitutes the object of faith is loved" (compare Trench, Sac. Lat. Poetry, p. 54). In the struggle then raging between scholasticism (Bernhard) and mysticism (Abelard), Hugo inclined rather to mysticism; but, instead of favoring exclusively the one, he aimed rather at combining the two antagonistic doctrines, and giving birth to a new system, containing the better elements of both. It is for this reason that we oftentimes find one or the other of these doctrines quite promiscuously advocated in his writings. A tolerably accurate idea of Hugo's own doctrines, and of the peculiarities of his system, may be obtained by a study of his Summa sentfentiacrum. In man, says he, there is a threefold eye: the bodily eye, for visible things; the eye of reason, which enables man to see his own soul and its faculties; and the eye of contemplation, to view divine things. But by sin the eye of contemplation has become blinded, so that faith, which has the advantage of realizing without seeing, comes in its stead, and is the organ of the knowledge of the super terrestrial; while the eye of reason is not so greatly obscured as to excuse man's ignorance of divine things. Thus he acutely distinguishes between what is possible to be known ex ratione, the "necessaria" (natural laws), and what secundum rationem, the "probabilia," as well as what lies supra rationem, the "mirabilia" (divine things), and what must be acknowledged to be contra rationem, the "incredibilia." Subject to knowledge are the necessaria, subject to faith the probabilia and mirabilia. Faith, he continues, is supported by reason, reason is perfected by faith. The certainty of faith is-

superior to opinion, but not to knowledge; still scire quod ipsum sit must precede faith; after faith comes intelligere quid ipsum sit. Purity of heart and prayer lead upon the steps of cogitatio, meditatio, and contemplatio, gradually to this higher intuition, which affords a real foretaste of heaven itself (compare Ebrard, Hdbuch. d. Kirch. u. Dogmen-Gesch. 2, 220). In his De sacramentis fidei, treating of redemption, he regards man as the end of creation, and God as the end of Iman. In the doctrine of the attributes of God, he considers, like Abelard, power, wisdom, and goodness as primary, but contradicts Abelard in his view that what God does is the limit of his omnipotence. With Anselm, he seeks to exhibit the doctrine of the Trinity by analogy with the human spirit. Spirit, wisdom, and love, says he, correspond to the three divine persons; but, while human wisdom and affection are liable to changes, the divine are not. On the doctrine of the will, he modified Augustine slightly. He distinguishes, in order to harmonize the freedom of man with the omnipotence of God, between willing per se, and the fixing of the will upon something definite; making the former free, and the latter bound by the moral government of God. God is consequently not auctor ruendi, but only ordinator incedendi. Hugo was also the first to advance distinctly the idea of gratia superadita. Grace is both creatrix and salvatrix; of these, the creatrix involved the power to be free from sin, but positively to do good required gratia apposita. After the fall, gratia operats had to be added to gratia co- operans. The essence of original sin he holds to consist in ignorance and concupiscence. To the doctrine of the sacraments Hugo was the first of the scholastics to give definiteness. Unsatisfied with Augustine's definition of them as sacrae rei signum, he says, in his Summa, that the sacrament is visibilis borma invisibilis gratiae, in eo collatae. In his De sacramentis fidei he defines it still more distinctly as 'a corporeal, actually perceptible element, which, by virtue of the divine institution, exhibits, and really contains, symbolically, invisible grace." He also distinguishes three classes of sacraments: the first, those on which salvation especially depends (Baptism and the Lord's Supper); the second, those which are not necessary to salvation, but yet useful for sanctification-the number of these is indefinite; and, thirdly, that which serves to qualify for the administration of the other sacraments priestly ordination. To the first class, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, he gave not only especial prominence, but he laid particular stress on their careful observance. Of course he believed in transubstantiation, calling the mode of the change transitio, but he considered it a means of communion with Christ. The best edition of his collected works is the first-Opera Omnia, stud. Badii Ascensii et J. Parvi (Paris, 1526, 3 vols. fol.). The later editions are Venice, 1588; Cologne, 1617; Rouen, 1648: all in 3 vols. See Neander, Ch. History 4, 401 sq.; Dupin, Eccl. Writers, 12th century; Oudin, Comment. de Script. Eccl. t. 2 p. 1138; Schmid, Mysticisimus di. Mittelalters (Jena, 1824); Liebner, Monographie über Hugo (Leips. 1832). A number of the writings attributed to Hugo are probably not his, and others of his real writings remain unedited. The task of selecting what are and what are not his genuine works has been undertaken by M. Haureau, of Paris, who will doubtless do it full justice. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, 25, 436 sq.; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 6, 308 sq.; Maurice, Medieval Philos. p. 144 sq.; Tiedemann, Geist. der speculat. Philos. 4, 289 sq.; Tennemann, Gesch. d. Philos. 8, 206 sq.; Schröckh Kirchengesch. 24, p. 392 sq.; 29, 274 sq.; Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines (see Index); Neander, Hist. of Christian Dogmas, 2, 467 sq. (J. H. W.)

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