There can be no surrender of the heritage that we have received from the past. The deposit which has been trusted to us must needs remain with us, if we ourselves are to remain Catholics, "inviolate and pure." There can be no surrender of any truth which we have received from God.
"But," continues St. Vincent, " some one will perhaps say: Is there then no progress in religion in Christ's Church ?' Surely there is; let us have progress, even the greatest. For who would be so envious of man, so hateful to God, as to seek to hinder it ? But yet of such sort it should be, as to be in good truth a progress of the Faith, not a change thereof. It belongs to the nature of progress, that the particular thing itself should be amplified, but to the nature of change that some thing should be turned from one thing into another. Therefore, the understanding, the knowledge, the wisdom, ought to increase, and make much and vigorous progress, as well of every man in particular as of all in common, as well in the successive stages of a man's life, as in the various ages and times of the whole Church; but yet for all that, only in its own kind and nature, that is to say in the same doctrines, in the same sense, in the same judgment. Let the religion of our souls imitate the way of our bodies, which though, as years go by, they develop and unfold their proportions, yet remain the same that .they were. There is a great difference between the flower of youth and the ripeness of old age, yet the self same men become old who once were young, so that although the state and condition of one and the selfsame man be altered, yet one and the self same nature, one and the selfsame person, still remain. Small are the limbs of infants, large are those of young men—yet they are the same. So many joints as young children have, so many have they when they are men ; and if there are any parts that are put forth in course of more mature age, yet these were already planted after the manner of seed, so that nothing afterwards comes forth new in old men, which did not already lie hidden in them when they were still children."
The Saint goes on to show how this analogy is applicable to the growth and progress to be found in the statement of the Faith.
"In like manner also it befits this doctrine of the Christian religion to follow these rules of progress . . . our fathers of old sowed in the Church's field the seeds of faith. . . . Whilst then there is some evolution in course of time from those first seminal beginnings, and the germs have been now fertilised and improved, yet nothing has been changed from its nature."