Computers In The Classroom

Note: This essay first ran as a series on the Heideblog (2007–12).

I’m developing a(n) hypothesis about laptop computers in the (seminary) classroom. My theory, based on my observations of college and seminary students since 1995, is that student reliance upon notebook/laptop computers for taking notes is not helping them to learn.

Since I began teaching at WSC in 1997 the use of laptop computers has become more common among students. Only a few students used them at Wheaton when I was there. When I first came here in 1997 most but not all students used them to take notes. Now, in a typical lecture, virtually all the students are taking notes by computer. At the same time computers have become more prevalent grades on short-essay mid-terms and final exams have dipped.

Can I prove a cause-and-effect relation? No, not yet. My theory is that students are so busy hearing the lecture so that they can transcribe it verbatim that they are not actually listening to what is being said. I theorize that the sound goes into their heads, through their finger tips, as it were, and onto the keyboards. As result, for some students, they seriously engage the material for the first time when they began reviewing their lecture notes.

Of course this means that instead of reviewing familiar material before an exam, some students are learning new material in the days leading up to the exam. I have other evidence that suggests that this theory may be correct. Last Spring I asked the students in Medieval-Reformation history to take notes by hand. Some even went so far as to buy a fountain pen from Steve Baugh! Those who took notes by hand said that they thought that they learned more and engaged the lectures more completely (i.e. they heard and analyzed them, made decisions about what was and wasn’t important to know) than they normally do when taking notes on the computer.

My concern isn’t the computer. My concern is that students listen and learn. The ease of the modern computer keyboard leads students to try to create a complete transcript. There is a transcript of some of Bob Godfrey’s courses floating around, named after the student to made it some years back, that even includes his jokes! Presumably one who takes notes by hand cannot transcribe everything. So he has to make a decision about what to write down and what to ignore. He has to prioritize and analyze information. As a result of this initial engagement with new material on the front end of the learning process, as it were, when he comes to preparing for the final exam he should be reviewing familiar material and refreshing his memory rather than learning material from scratch.

As a consequence of last Spring’s experiment–I confess I failed to follow through and have the handwritten note students mark their blue books so I could develop some sort of correlation–and as a consequence of grading this fall’s Doctrine of God exams, I think I am going to require my Medieval-Reformation students to take notes by hand, unless they can demonstrate to me that they can achieve the same level of initial engagement with the lecture material by using their computer.

–I mark my exams. If I don’t know which notes were done by hand and which were done by computer, how can I generate a correlation? I don’t expect this to be strictly scientific and I think I can be objective enough. I don’t care which they use so long as they learn. My concern is that they may not actually be learning as well as they should/could.

–I agree that, ideally, the classroom should be more than data transmission. i fear that’s what students want to make it, hence the transcript. I discourage them from making a transcript. i encourage them NOT to regard the lecture as mere transmission of data but as a construct for understanding data. Naturally the lectures include data, sometimes quite a lot of it. I hope that by taking strategic and selective notes the student will be able to jog his memory when it comes time to review.

–I wonder if all the stimuli to which students are subject (TV, web, email, cell phone, text messages etc) teaches them that they don’t really have to pay close attention to anything. A lecture or classroom discussion becomes just another ephemeral bit of data in a constant stream.

–Then there is the phenomenon of students refusing to answer the questions asked in the exam. I’ve had students answer the questions that they consider more important. Sometimes students answer the questions that they hoped I would ask. I understand that phenomenon. The technical name for it is “lazy student syndrome.” That some students seem to think that they get to decide what they should learn makes me de Zengotita has a point. Students are convinced that they are the arbiters of what they should have to learn. When I demand that they learn what I think is important, we’re actually engaged in a kind of battle of the wills. They’ve been conditioned to think that they are autonomous “deciders” (to quote the president) so they don’t cotton to being told that they have to learn things the immediate value of which they cannot see. They don’t believe me when I tell them that someday they will realize the value of what they’re being made to learn and they will be glad I made them do it.

–I also suspect that students can’t or don’t distinguish clearly enough between what is important and what is ephemeral. For example, students who read assigned readings online do not seem to read them closely enough to learn the material. Because I’ve noticed this, I tell them to print out the assigned online reading but apparently only a few do because only a few are able to demonstrate that they’ve actually done the reading they tell me they have completed.

Thanks to the good offices of Dennis Johnson, I see that the latest news on this front is from The Chronicles of Higher Education 54.40 (June 13, 2008): A1, A18. The headline reads, “Law Professors Rule Laptops Out of Order in Class.” Reporter Andrea L. Foster quotes Don Herzog, professor in the University of Michigan Law School as saying, “Not only I was stunned by how much better the class was, the students volunteered that it was much better.”  

What began as began as an experiment for Prof. Herzog has become a policy. According to Foster other profs are also trying out the “no-laptops” approach to teaching at Georgetown Law, Harvard Law and the University of Wisconsin Law school. The profs who support the ban argue that students tapping out their notes (or worse, shopping, playing games, or emailing) are not able to participate in the Socratic dialogue necessary to law-school education. The profs who support the use of laptops in the classroom argue that banning them now is like trying to put the horse back in the barn and cutting students off from important learning opportunities.

The cynic in me wants to answer the latter by saying, “Yes, like who is dating whom or what the latest updates are on Facebook?”

This year in Medieval-Reformation Church History (CH602) I guess about 50% of the students voluntarily gave up their laptops. I didn’t impose a ban but I did try to persuade them to take notes by hand. As I’ve argued before, my main interest is in getting students to pay attention.

After grading the latest crop of blue books it’s clear to me that only about 10% of students pay close attention in class. About 10% of the class ignore me (so 10% nail it, 10% fail it and the rest are distributed across the middle) I suspect that a good number of them are distracted. I suspect that at least some of them are distracted by their computers. Others are still caught in the trap of trying to transcribe every word of the lecture/discussion. The anecdotal evidence from my experience thus far suggests that those students who’ve gone back (or begun) to taking notes by hand (preferably using a decent fountain pen from Steve Baugh our resident fountain pen guru—let the record show your honor that counsel brought back two fountain pens from the UK and tried to interest Dr Baugh in them many years ago at which time he was told, “Bah, humbug!”) testify that they now prefer to take notes by hand.

I haven’t established a correlation and I don’t know that I ever will but I am more convinced than ever that students need to pay attention, take judicious notes that will remind them of what was said. This business of making a complete transcription to be reviewed de novo at the end of the semester doesn’t work. It’s too much information to process (and memorize) in too little time. Regular reviewing is more effective.

Neither am I excited about study groups. Every year, despite my warnings, I get several answers that are virtually identical and often wrong. Why? I suspect that students succumb to the most confident and assured voice in the study group. Other students must defer to that voice, even if it’s wrong. What some students don’t seem to understand is that there are a variety of ways to answer the questions correctly and there are a variety of ways to answer the questions incorrectly but what is essential is to learn to listen, to learn to pay attention, and to learn to discern what is important.

This is been a thread on the HB since 2007. Since that time enthusiasm for technology in classroom (“teach-nology”?) seems only to have grown. I have had opportunity re-consider my concerns but those concerns haven’t dissipated. Since I began encouraging students to put away their laptops in favor of pen and paper most have responded well. In some cases students have special needs that require the use of computers but most students do better to listen to the prof, make a decision about what is being said, what is most significant, what needs to be remembered, and to take notes to help stimulate the memory.

I’m encouraged by this report (HT: William Jacobsen’s College Insurrection) about NYU Prof. Vincent Renzi’s decision to ban laptops from his classroom. He does so for three reasons:

  • Laptops create a physical barrier between the instructor and the student
  • It encourages students to think that the point of note-taking is to take transcription rather than taking notes
  • It tempts students to aimlessly browse the internet instead of paying attention

These are the very reasons why I’ve discouraged students from bringing laptops to class. I’ve sometimes used a laptop to teach—my notes wouldn’t print or I was away from a printer before class but I usually teach from notes.

The second is the greatest problem. I first noticed it about 6-7 years ago. Students were transcribing everything I said in class, even the dumb jokes but they weren’t listening as carefully and critically as needed. Then, when time came to study for exams, they were overwhelmed with material they had not analyzed before. Those who’ve chosen to take notes by hand report that they’re getting more out of class.

In this connection I’ve also observed a clear correlation between the medium in which a text as read and the ability of students to be able to discuss it well in exams. Students used to answer an exam question based on a printed article and did very well. When that same material went online scores on the same question dropped significantly. The rest of the readings did not change. The exam question did not change. Only the medium changed (onscreen vs. paper).

It’s true that students have always daydreamed and doodled during class but there is a qualitative difference between doodling and shopping, texting, tweeting, or updating a Facebook status. The distractions available via a laptop are far more enticing and varied than those presented by pen and paper.

At first students were anxious about closing their laptops. Some students insist (see the comments) that it’s more efficient to take notes by computer. Perhaps, if the goal is a transcript but that’s not what a good teacher wants. What we want is for students to pay attention. We understand that this is increasingly difficult. We also understand that teachers and students probably work with different definitions of “pay attention.” Students are tempted to think, “I’ll pay attention when he’s saying something that interests me.” Working through this challenge wants another post but suffice it to say for now that the premise behind the complaint needs to be challenged. Learning is often interesting but it isn’t always entertaining and if we don’t learn the difference we shall lose the art of learning altogether as it is swallowed up by the entertainment monster.

Kingdom Through Covenant: A Review

Below is a review by Harrison Perkins (MDiv) of Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum, Kingdom Through Covenant (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012). He grew up in the south and attended college in Alabama. He began to get more involved in the church in college and there grew in his love for the church and desire to help others understand the riches of the Word of God and the gospel of God’s free grace. He is married and lives in the San Diego area. He is a graduate Westminster Seminary California and a PhD student at Queens University, Belfast.


It is difficult to know what the best way to review such a large book is (778 pages plus bibliography) in way that is useful to readers. There is much ground to cover and it is nearly impossible to do justice to all that the authors argue. The book is much too long to treat point by point. Rather, it seems better to treat this work topically and give a basic overview and response regarding the major issues.

First, there is much to appreciate in this volume for those of us holding to classic Covenant Theology (hereafter CT). This work might well be valuable to have simply as a one-volume commentary on many of the major passages related to CT. Although Reformed CT would not always agree with the exegesis, it can be a useful guide to what many of the issues are in particular texts.

Second, the authors do argue against a separate eschatology for Israel and the church. A wonderful argument is made that the land promises are made to Abraham and his seed, but his true seed are those of his faith (Gal. 3:7). This means that believers, not an ethnic group inherit the land promises. They also argue that there was the promise of expansion beyond the borders of Palestine from the beginning. The land promised to Israel is promised in light of the covenant made at creation. Adam was to tend Eden and fill the earth. The same is true of later land promises: it was meant to fill the earth. These arguments serve well to dispel the Dispensational disjunction between the church and Israel. There is only one people of God.

But what do the authors say about the covenants? Where do they stand in relation to Reformed CT? It is helpful to look at what they say about each major covenant heading. Regarding the covenant of redemption, they do not affirm it by name, but say that it is on the right track (pg. 654–656). They affirm the eternal plan of redemption among the Godhead and also affirm that God in Himself is covenantal, which gives warrant for us to think about all things covenantally.

Regarding the covenant of works, they do not agree with all that CT holds as the covenant of works, but that it is on the right track (pg.610). They do affirm and argue at length for a covenant with Adam (pg. 177–221). What they seem to neglect, however, is that it that covenant was a covenant of works. They affirm, however, the obligations for Adam and that his fulfillment of this covenant arrangement would bring about a further eschatological reality. This shows that there is much that the authors do like about CT’s position on the covenant of works. What they do not seem to like is that it is the covenant of works, i.e. they deny that the other covenants are not also a type of works covenants, as we will see under the covenant of grace section. Thankfully, they do emphasize that Christ did what Adam failed to do and that Christ earned for us redemption. This is an important feature related to CT’s exposition of the covenant of works and covenant of redemption that the authors have affirmed (though I got the impression that they did not fully grasp the issues behind the works covenant between the Father and Son and how that relates to the covenant of works).

Regarding the covenant of grace, they deny that it is legitimate to speak of one covenant. They affirm one “plan of salvation,” but say that we should only speak of the plurality of covenants because the Scripture has a plurality of covenants. There are several reasons why they make this move. First, I am not sure that they understand that in some ways, “one covenant of grace” means one plan of salvation. That is the point of the doctrine. They certainly, however, miss that WCF 7.5-6 speaks of the one covenant administered in diverse ways. CT also speaks of the plurality of covenants, but these covenants are administrations of the one covenant of grace made after the fall (Gn. 3:15). Second, the main reason for dividing the covenant of grace into many pieces is to argue for credobaptism. In many ways, this book is simply a drawn out argument for credobaptism. It becomes clear that the primary reason for posing their hermeneutics under a covenantal scheme is to try and make credobaptism at all plausible for those of us who hold CT. They want to show that there are non-Dispensationalists that hold credobaptism (a claim to be examined below). By not posing one covenant of grace, they leave open the holes they need to make a radical discontinuity between the new covenant and all the others.

Two of the major issues in the concept of the “one plan of salvation” posed in this book are the nature of the covenants and soteriology in regards to the ordo salutis. As far as the nature of the covenants is concerned, the authors deny the distinction that CT traditionally makes between conditional and unconditional (promise) covenants. They say that all the covenants are in some ways conditional and in other ways unconditional. This is the reason they give for the tension between God’s promises and man’s unfaithfulness. God has promised, but He requires a faithful covenant servant. This is the reason they say that the Incarnation was necessary: God had to provide His own faithful covenant servant. However, it seems to me that by denying the distinction between conditional and unconditional covenants, they have made them all conditional. If the unconditional aspects (promises) of a covenant are conditional, then they are not really unconditional. The whole covenant is simply conditional.

This scheme makes all the covenants function the same way. Granted, Wellum and Gentry do a better job of doing justice to redemptive-history in its progress through covenants; they do see the covenants as fulfilling God’s one plan and do acknowledge that later covenants fulfill earlier ones. However, by making all the covenants function the same way (conditionally), they end up posing each covenant as a real potential at fulfilling God’s one plan. If a particular covenant can provide a faithful covenant servant, then it will fulfill God’s promises. It just so happens that this does not happen until the new covenant. This strikes me as Dispensationalism is a covenant suit and tie. The authors have done more to use covenants as the Scripture does, but ultimately they have made each covenant function individually and undermined any attempt at unifying the covenants, which is a major point of Reformed CT.

The other issue is related to soteriology in regards to the ordo salutis. The authors do not seem to pose that OT saints were saved in the same way that NT saints are saved. They state that a flaw of CT is that it poses OT saints as indwelt by the Spirit and united to Christ (pg. 113n74). They do not go as far as classic Dispensationalism and argue that Israelites were saved by keeping the law. However, they do argue for differences in soteriology between the new covenant and the old (this obviously seems to confuse old covenant with OT, but this is a separate issue). They state that OT saints were saved by faith in God’s promises (pg. 684, n.70). They argue that now in the NT the promises of God for salvation are Christologically focused (pg. 685). “In the Old Testament, particularly under the old covenant, the forgiveness of sins is normally granted through the sacrificial system,” (pg.650). This is not the soteriology of Reformed CT, nor is it the biblical soteriology. Christ said no one comes to the Father except through Him (Jn. 14:6) and I do not think that meant only after the NT era began. It was an eternal reality for sinners. When Christ laid down His life for the elect, it was not only the NT elect (Jn. 10). It was the elect from all times. What the authors have posed is a diluted Dispensational soteriology.

More specifically within the covenant of grace, the authors rightly recognize the importance of the Abrahamic covenant, but are mistaken in most of their conclusions about it. They have made it a conditional covenant, just like all the others. This allows them to put it in contrast, rather than continuity, with the new covenant, which is fulfilled by the work of Christ. By setting even the Abrahamic covenant in contrast with the new, they are able to argue that the “genealogical principle” of the Abrahamic covenant is a type of a new covenant reality: the lineage of faith. This forms their argument for the shift in covenantal structure from including infants of believers to not including them. They support this argument by appealing largely to Jeremiah 31:26–40. They put heavy emphasis on the contrast of the new covenant to the old, which they are right to do, but they seem to think that the contrast is mainly about children in the covenant. This places the new covenant in contrast with the whole OT scheme of covenants (which is a Dispensational scheme) but this is not what Jeremiah’s contrast is. He contrasts the new covenant with that made at Sinai (31:32), which is a specific OT administration. Therefore, the authors are mistaken because they miss that the contrast must be between the new covenant and something specific to the Mosaic covenant. The very thing, to which Jeremiah points, is the breakable nature of the covenant at Sinai. The old covenant (Mosaic) was breakable, primarily because it was conditional and rested on the covenant servant to be faithful but the new will be unbreakable (unconditional). It will be fulfilled by God. This not only undermines the authors’ contrast of new covenant with all the OT, but also their denial of the distinction between conditional and unconditional covenants.

More so, the authors have made many of these moves arguing backwards. They know that infants cannot be baptized so they read the OT covenants in a way to support this view rather than listening to the text. They also miss much of the argument of Galatians regarding the AC. Galatians 3:7 poses that the seed of Abraham is those of faith. Paul does not say that this is only true in the NT era. It was always the truth. The same thing is expressed when he argues that the true Jew is the one inwardly (Rom. 2:29). The seed of Abraham was always a spiritual reality. Additionally, Paul calls the Abrahamic covenant the gospel (Gal. 3:8). As hard as the authors work to distance the new covenant and the AC, this runs contrary to Paul’s statements cited here.

Further, the authors argue that the genealogical principle is typological of the principle of faith in the new covenant. They state that the invariable inclusion of all of the physical lineage prefigures the invariable inclusion of all those who have faith. However, this misses much of what happens in the Abrahamic covenant itself regarding the genealogical principle. It should be obvious that not all the physical descendants are true believers (e.g. Esau). This shows that there is certainly a spiritual dimension to the AC, which is the dimension that the NT emphasized most. Some of the physical descendants, however, are also cut off from the covenant (e.g. Ishmael). This shows that whether discussed spiritually or physically, the Abrahamic covenant includes a mixed community in the covenant. Wither way the typology will point forward to a mixed covenant in the church. This runs against the majority of the authors’ arguments for credobaptism in the covenant context.

A few other comments are in order. The major content issues have been addressed, but there are also a few methodological features that should be discussed. First and foremost, the authors do a great job of interacting with Dispensational material. They cite relevant and credible sources and deal fairly with the Dispensational arguments, sometimes at length. The same cannot be said, however, regarding the authors’ interaction with CT. Many times, they do not cite sources for what they claim CT holds. Much of what they claim CT believes, I do not recognize as actual CT. When they do cite sources regarding CT, they are typically shallow or disreputable. Although they cite Michael Horton’s Introducing Covenant Theology (also published as God of Promise) regularly, most of the sources the use for CT are either web searches or Federal Vision writers. The first category is simply not acceptable for academic work. Web pages are helpful for many things, but they are not fit for academic engagement. They authors failed to really wrestle with full-bodied CT, particularly, they did not engage with the primary CT sources at all, even those translated into English. There is no excuse for not including at least one from Witsius, Turretin, Owen, or Hodge in this discussion. They rely on shoddy second hand material, which undermines their attempt at doing any credible academic work on the topic. Regarding the second category, all confessional Reformed CT would have a severe aversion to Federal Vision. To cite Federal Vision authors as representative of orthodox Reformed CT is not only to set up a straw man argument, but is an extreme misrepresentation of the opposing side. If this is an example of being unaware of the controversy, that is totally inexcusable.

Another methodological concern is with Gentry’s exegesis. I should say, it is not with the way he does exegesis per se, but he never makes explicit his exegetical conclusions or the relevance of particular exegesis to the overall topic. The individual chapters on the various covenants hardly ever express a thesis regarding the particular covenant under examination. This makes it difficult to follow the overall argument and frustrating to try and see why he is making the points he is making, Much of the almost 500 pages of exegesis as if it was published simply for the sake of exegesis. A great number of pages does not prove an argument. Conclusions are not only helpful for the reader but necessary for tracing arguments.

In the end, this book is interesting, but it does not really advance the discussion. It is too big and not clear enough for a general audience. On the other hand, academic audiences will see that it has not moved much past a progressive Dispensational position. It rejects a separate future for Israel but still holds a Dispensational-style soteriology and makes the same mistakes regarding what the nature of discontinuity is between the new and old covenants (the major contrast is not about including infants). I enjoyed this book and found much of it helpful. I find, however, claims that this book is “groundbreaking” quite misleading and over stated, unless they refer to the literal effect dropping a book of this size would have on the ground.

How Not To Train Pastors

I see that someone is starting an(other?) online seminary. The whole business of online/distance seminary education is troubling. Because the confessional Reformed churches (i.e., NAPARC) are conservative and theologically oriented, we tend to attract ideologically committed folks. That’s okay but it means that we might have more than our fair share of ideologues and even a few crackpot groups (e.g., King James Only – “if it was good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for me” and geocentrists – “Copernicus and Galileo couldn’t tell a galaxy from a candy bar”). Since, by intent and its very nature, online seminary education skirts the usual educational process, the usual faculty interview and appointment process, and of course, the regulatory process, it’s hard to see how the growing trend of online “education” will help us curb the tendency toward wackiness in the conservative Reformed world.

It’s also hard to see how an educational institution that relies entirely upon online libraries and tutors will produce a genuinely intelligent ministry. There are a lot of great books online (e.g., via Google books) but most online books are in the public domain which means that they weren’t published before 1923. Would you trust your health to a doctor or your legal well being to a lawyer who had only read medical or legal texts published before 1923? If you don’t mind not having access to polio treatments (1952), I guess that’s a choice but as a matter of public health it would be best if everyone didn’t see that physician.

There has been considerable discussion about this post over at The Puritanboard. The PB thread was started my my friend Jerrold Lewis. I haven’t read his blog post, so I’m only responding to the discussion on the PB.

I see there has been clucking about the the fact that Clark doesn’t seem to know that the cost of computers has come down.  I wrote the “necessity” essay about 10 years ago or so. Still, a laptop can run $1500 without much difficulty.

As to whether this is like the home school v. traditional school debate, that’s interesting because we home school. I recognize that primary education was done at home or at least privately for centuries. The modern idea that primary/secondary (seminary being post-secondary) education must be conducted in a factory is quite novel and has proven to be not entirely successful. There is a rather large difference between home schooling and distance ed: home schooling is still a face to face tutorial whereas distance ed is not. There is also a significant difference between the general education that occurs at the primary and secondary levels (trivium) and the more technical education that occurs at the post-secondary levels.

The proposal that we should go back to the 19th century American model of full-time ministers training candidates for ministry seems to ignore several facts. First, it’s been tried and abandoned. It was abandoned because it didn’t work very well. It was an ad hoc way of dealing with circumstances not a principled rejection of the University (which is where ministers were trained for centuries before the New World). Further, the Old Side was quite critical of the Log College and quite preferred that candidates for ministry receive a formal theological education.

There are massive practical problems with ad hoc theological/ministerial education. The fact of intellectual specialization has been in evidence since the 13th century – it’s not a wholly modern phenomenon. The speed of specialization has increased with the development of communication technology (printing, telephone, computers etc). The amount of information that must be learned and processed is considerably greater now than it was in the 19th century.

The movement away from the Log College to Princeton was a natural development that followed a pattern that is evident in the early medieval and high medieval periods. We had catechetical schools in the early church organized around a single teacher (still face to face education mind you!). Those schools became associated with cathedrals (sort of an ecclesiastical county seat). Those cathedral schools were larger but not specialized. One “prof” taught both the arts (trivium) and theology. The need for specialization helped create the universities in Oxford and Paris with distinct theology and arts faculties. There was already too much for one person to teach by the 12th century. That process has only continued.

Today, it is not possible for even the most brilliant minister to tend his flock, study for his sermon, and keep up at a professional level (let’s assume he has a PhD and is expert in a given field) with one field let alone four to seven departments, depending on how one divides things. It’s not even possible for a full-time scholar who doesn’t have the daily demands of telephone calls, pastoral calls, hospital visits, small groups studies, crises, sermons, catechism lessons, and planning and session/consistory meetings (as our full-time pastor does) to keep up with more than one field. I teach in three distinct fields and I despair of doing a good job in each. Two of them are closely related (church history and historical theology) but just keeping up with developments and literature in the one theological locus I teach (the doctrine of God, not to mention the other loci of theology) is overwhelming!

So, I take it that one would have to argue that it’s really not necessary to have specialists/experts teaching in each department (exegesis, systematics, history, and practica), that a general knowledge of these things is sufficient. In that case, one has embraced an apparently pious but anti-intellectual approach to training ministers. At the end of the day, that anti-intellectualism will show itself to be impious.

We’re training MINISTERS of the gospel here. We have a spiritual and moral duty to see to it that our ministers have the best education possible. They have the highest calling and the toughest job on the planet. They must be highly trained because they will be pressed on every side (I know!) and pulled in every direction. They will be called to render unexpected judgments in hospital rooms. They must be able to draw on serious (and prayerful) training received at the hands of ministers with highly specialized training. Ministers call upon that training every day in a hundred ways. Now more than ever it is evident that we cannot allow the training of our ministers to slip one iota.

Appeals to the apostolic era are non-starters. Unless you can raise men from the dead, shake off serpents, or heal the lame, unless you were at the feet of the Savior for 3 years and unless you had a tongue of fire on your head, if you would be a minister, you should go to seminary.

To the claim (in another post) that we should be reading mostly 400 year old books (which, as a teacher of history it is my calling to read and teach history) I ask, is that what John Owen did? Did he actually spend most of his time reading 400 year old books or was he one of the most well-read and intelligent theologians of his time? Was he fluent in contemporary Protestant, Roman, Socinian, and Amyraldian, and rationalist theology in Europe? Yes. The point is that we ought to read Owen (and the rest of the British and European classical Reformed theologians) but we ought to do in our age what Owen did in his. Were Owen alive today I’m quite sure he would be thoroughly versed in all the aberrant ideologies and theologies of our day as he was in his own day. He certainly wouldn’t be telling us that we should be reading mostly or only 400 year old theology at the expense of a thorough knowledge of the latest scholarship.

Finally, my question is why doesn’t the analogy with lawyers and doctors work? What is there about the vocation to the ministry that demands LESS training than the vocation to the law or the vocation to medicine? Why should ministers have a less rigorous education (or none at all?)

Are anti-brick and mortar seminary proponents willing to trust your legal and medical well-being to home-grown doctors and lawyers and if not, why not? If we may have ministers who have been trained solely by other ministers then why not lawyers and physicians trained solely by other lawyers and physicians? Because no lawyer who actually knew anything about the law would dare attempt to train other lawyers in place of law school. No sane physician would attempt to replace med school. There’s no way that a single person or even a private co-op could replace the work done in med school.

A seminary is quite like medical and law school. It is an extended internship/apprenticeship, arts education, and technical education in one over the course of several years. This combination cannot be replicated away from school. The alternatives all sacrifice one or more elements.

So, which of the elements are we prepared to sacrifice as we educate our pastors? Knowledge of the Biblical languages? Knowledge of archeology? Knowledge of church history (please say “no!”), knowledge of systematic theology? Time with experienced pastor-scholars who help to shape future ministers in and out of the classroom?

The good news is that we don’t have to sacrifice any of these things.

Well, the discussion over at the PB is still going. Here some responses from that discussion and elsewhere. To Jerrold’s objection I answer (expanding on what wrote originally): In the interests of time, I would like to focus on one question of principle rather than the particulars of your proposal.

We’ve been round this pole more than a few times and I don’t expect to convince you, but I hope that you will at least appreciate how it seems to me that your approach is a subtle sort of anti-intellectualism.

I think there is a difference between real, professional scholarship and that of the amateur variety. Frankly, most pastors are amateur scholars. By this I don’t mean to be demeaning, but it’s a fact. We do train pastor-scholars and we do expect our students and graduates to be able to recognize and use real scholarship in their ministry, but we don’t train them to do what we do. I realize that this is something of which seminaries are frequently charged (that we reproduce ourselves rather than creating pastors). Folk can’t have it both ways. They can’t say, “you’re reproducing yourselves” and when we stop, they can’t say, “you’re not producing professional scholars.” Few folks with an MDiv (which used to be a BD a few yers ago) are prepared to do professional scholarship when they leave. It’s not possible in most cases and it’s not desirable in most cases. What we do intend to do is to produce ministers who are well-trained, who are thoughtful and intelligent, but who are ministers.

As Alistair Begg reminded us this week, a minister is God’s servant. He’s called to preach God’s Word. Nothing can get in the way of that. Scholarship has to facilitate that. Any genuinely educated person should be able to recognize their own limits. They can see what real scholarship looks like and they know that isn’t what they do.

Real scholarship involves the reading of primary and secondary texts. It involves the critical appreciation of both. This is part of what separates professional scholars from amateurs. The latter only know what they read from the professionals and, to a larger degree, must rely on the judgment of professionals and they don’t always know how to do that well. They tend to know what the last book they read told them. They lack judgment. For example, I’m working on Olevianus’ Pauline Commentaries. Hardly anyone knows anything about them. Certainly pastors don’t and aren’t in a position to do. My students know what I tell them. Even if they could read Latin (a few of them can) they aren’t equipped to put into proper context what they’re reading. Most of our grads probably shouldn’t be slogging through a 16th century Latin text. It’s nice if they read our stuff and if that informs them a little about the way to read Paul or the way to preach (that’s one of the reasons I’m doing this work) but they ought to be with their people, in the hospital, in the nursing home, in homes, at coffee and most of all in the pulpit and doing the work of an evangelist.

I’m not saying that ministers are not meant to study, far from it. They are meant to study well and deeply. That’s what we train them to do. I am saying that they’re not meant to be full-time vocational scholars and the profs aren’t meant to be full-time vocational pastors (though our faculty are part-time pastors; we all preach, we all visit hospitals, we all serve our congregations; we all do counseling etc so we are not remote from the life of the church as some (not you) like to insinuate.

It seems to me that you’re saying that we really don’t need scholars (as I’ve defined them) to teach our students. You seem to be saying that it’s okay for well-read pastors teach other, younger, pastors. In my view, that is a form of anti-intellectualism, because though it professes to value learning, it only values it as a credential (“union card” to use Fred’s term) or insofar as it is immediately practical to the life of the church.

As to the nature of seminaries, I don’t have time to sketch the whole history of education, but I take issue with your characterization. A university education was the norm from the 12–13th centuries. Calvin’s lack of theological training was an anomaly and not entirely helpful. There may have been some benefits (some have argued) but arguably the Reformed after him and to clean up a bit because of his lack of training in some questions. There are things he didn’t anticipate. His humanism (which some have over-emphasized) did help him leave us with a sound hermeneutic which makes his commentaries still remarkably useful but you’ll notice that the Reformed did not quote him slavishly and even took issue with him not long after his death. Luther’s education was more typical.

To those who have complained about the time it takes, well, since the 13th century anyway, it’s always taken a certain number of years to earn a BA and then a BD or a Masters. These processes developed out of the practice and needs of the church before the Reformation and were revised but not fundamentally rejected by the Protestants. Were our primary education as strong as Calvin’s and our university training as strong as his (in classical education) we might be able to shorten things a bit, but even in the 16th century, when there was rather less to read, they still took their time.

One of Calvin’s great aims was to establish an Academy. He finally achieved it late in life. By the early 17th century, all the Reformed were university educated (with at least a BA, which in England matured to a Master of Arts) and many took a BD as well. Thus, the idea that a university educated ministry (a seminary faculty is, historically considered a university faculty in exile that has morphed in the 20th century into a tertium quid), is a product of the Enlightenment is something I don’t understand at all.

To these responses on the value of DE, I argue:

1. I do know about the online resources mentioned above, but those aren’t the things being proposed by the new seminary.

2. No one should think that a free chapter of a book here or there is a substitute for real learning. There is a chapter of CJPM available at the WTS/P bookstore site, but reading that is no substitute for reading the whole book.

3. Google can do a lot of things, but I don’t think that Google Books can violate copyright. That limits what they can present.

4. I use Libronix all the time. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m not aware that Libronix makes contemporary books available.

5. I notice in my students that they tend to read online resources less carefully than printed resources. They tend not to pay attention closely to online resources because they seem ephemeral. This is an inherent weakness in online resources. Yes, I’m aware of a new palm sized book reader. Great. Have you actually tried to use it? Talk to me when you’re wearing bifocals or reading glasses. I encourage students to print out there online assignments so that they can mark them up and read them actively. Reading is not just scanning words. See Mortimer Adler’s work on this.

6. I don’t foresee Amazon or other distributors giving away books anytime soon! They may be available online, but that is likely some time away.

7. Even if all contemporary books become available online and even if everything between now and 1923 becomes available and hard copy books are rendered obsolete it is still necessary for students and teaches to be face to face. I can no more teach a man to be a minister by distance than a medical school prof can teach a med student to be a GP or a law school prof can teach one to be a lawyer by distance. It’s not possible. There are too many intangibles that are not communicable by distance.

8. Technology is great but it gives us the illusion that we can transcend time and space, but it’s just an illusion. It’s not real. Even with computers, we’re still just creatures, we still have to live with limits.

9. One of those limits that we’re meant to learn some things in community, not in splendid isolation. Online community is not the same as actual face to face, personal communication.

A version of this post first appeared on the Heidelblog in 2007.

Who Should Go To Seminary?

Dan writes to ask this question. It’s a good and important question and the answer is in two parts: anyone but not everyone.

First, anyone may go to seminary. Since I teach at a seminary and I know how we operate, I’ll write out of my own experience as a teacher in a seminary. The faculty in my school are ministers or ruling elders and we are each called by our congregations or presbyteries to the work we do here on behalf of the churches. Nevertheless, a school is not the visible, institutional church. We do not presume to do the work of consistories/sessions (the local elders and ministers), or presbytries/classes (the regional gathering of elders and ministers), or synods/general assemblies (the national gathering of elders and ministers). We don’t call people to ministry or to mission fields. We don’t send people to congregations or mission fields.

As a school, our vocation is to work closely with and for the visible church to educate, prepare, and train men for pastoral ministry and to train and prepare other students for other vocations. About 70% of our students are in the MDiv program which prepares qualified men to serve (mainly) confessional Reformed and Presbyterian congregations. We also offer three MA degrees enrollment (in Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, or Historical Theology) in which is open to men and women. These degree programs are designed to prepare student to fulfill a variety of vocations. Our MA graduates are teaching in Christian school, serving as missionaries, counselors, earning PhD’s or other graduate/post-graduate degrees, or serving as elders in local congregations.

Let’s talk about two degree tracks, MDiv and MA and two types of callings, internal and external. First the MDiv and calling. If you’re thinking of pastoral ministry, if you have or are developing a strong desire to study, teach, and/or preach the Word, if you would love to be able to read God’s Word in the original languages and to explain it to other people, those may be indicators that you have an internal calling to pastoral ministry. Must you have seen visions, heard voices from God or other supernatural phenomena? No, in fact, we generally prefer if you haven’t since, if you’re currently receiving divine revelation it makes our job as teachers more difficult. Why would you want to listen to a mere historian when you can hear directly from God? I should think that sitting in a seminary classroom, watching mere mortals work through the difficulties of theology, piety, and practice would be exceeding boring when you’re hearing directly from God. What you need is a good secretary to write down these revelations, so you should call that temp agency right away!

If, however, you are a mere ordinary Christian who struggles to be consistent in his prayer life, who believes but doubts, who struggles with sin, whose experience of the presence of God ebbs and flows, who loves the church, the means of grace, the people of God, the lost, and most especially the Lord of the church, then you might be a good candidate for ministry and a for seminary. If you’re an undergraduate student and you never miss the college fellowship, if you find yourself with opportunities to teach or lead bible studies, then you might be a good candidate for seminary. If you’ve finished your undergraduate degree and are in business and If you’re good at what you do but you’ve had a nagging sense that you’re doing the wrong thing, that you should be spending your life for Christ in his church but you’re afraid to take the plunge because you don’t know how it will work out: you’re not alone. Come on in, the water is fine. Trust the Lord to provide for you (and your family). People do it every day here. If you’re working in a para-ecclesiastical organization or in congregational college ministry and you realize that you’re not really prepared for the work you’ve been asked to do, you should think and pray about real seminary where you can get real, face-to-face preparation.

Pray? Yes, absolutely, I didn’t say that you should pray for extra-canonical revelation. Pray for wisdom (godly skill in understanding reality and applying God’s Word to it), pray for self-knowledge, pray for godly advisors (e.g. elders or pastors) who will tell you the truth about your self, your gifts, and your circumstances. These three gifts are relatively rare. Congregations and para-church groups are often reluctant to turn loose of good people and this reluctance may color their evaluation of your situation. Of course, if wisdom were easy to get we wouldn’t need large chunks of holy Scripture or the Holy Spirit would we? It isn’t easy to “get a heart of wisdom,” and we do need the Spirit to illumine Scripture and to enlighten our minds, hearts, and wills. Reality is a remarkably slippery thing. Self knowledge is a lot harder to come by than it might seem and especially when you’re young and don’t have a track record by which to judge. If God graces you with these three things then you are blessed indeed and on the path to the sort of maturity needed for pastoral ministry.

The second part of the call is external. The external call operates on two levels, informal and formal. if your local congregation has identified certain gifts for teaching, preaching, and/or leadership in you, then you should think seriously about seminary. If, when you teach, the elders and the congregation are edified, then you should think about seminary. The formal aspect of the process occurs when you appear before your consistory/session to ask for their blessing to attend seminary, when you come “under care” of a presbytery/classis (depending upon the situation).

Of course, this presumes that the candidate is in a confessionally sound Reformed congregation. If not, then this process becomes a little more difficult. I’ve seen cases where students begin to become Reformed outside of a recognizably Reformed congregation and the elders/pastors worked against the student! There are cases where ostensibly confessional congregations are beset with either the Quest for Illegitimate Certainty or the Quest for Illegitimate Religious Experience and thus the view of ministry is skewed by revivalism, pietism, fundamentalism, or moralism. These things can all make the external call more complicated. Some students don’t come from congregations that are recognizably Protestant and that makes the external aspect of the call more difficult.

In such cases or in cases where the external call has not been clearly defined before seminary–and it isn’t always, remember seminary is a school, a training ground, a place to test one’s calling and gifts not a place merely to confirm them–then that testing and confirmation must come during seminary. In any event our extensive and extended internship requirements provide opportunity for such testing and evaluation.

MA programs provide opportunity for preparation and testing for non-pastoral ecclesiastical service (e.g., as a ruling elder or deacon or in a Christian education program). We regularly send a small number of well-qualified graduates to doctoral programs in North America and overseas. Our MA students find a variety of ways to be useful in the church and in extra-ecclesiastical service (e.g. Christian school teachers, counselors, administrators).

With all that said, not everyone should go to seminary. Anyone may go to seminary but not every one should go to seminary.  The second part of the answer is who should not go to seminary.

Before I continue let me say, for the sake of our current students, that I am not thinking of any of our current students. I am generally very impressed with our students. They make a lot of sacrifices to prepare to fulfill their vocations and they are typically quite dedicated to their studies.

That said, I have known students who should not have been in seminary. They come in three kinds.

1. Those who already know everything and are simply seeking confirmation of their prejudices. I’ve seen lots examples of this but one stands out. I recall a student who had not been on campus for a week who submitted a paper (which in itself was legitimate and part of an administrative process) explaining why a certain interpretation of Genesis 1–2 could not be correct and why a certain learned professor (who reads multiple ancient languages) was all wet. Now, to be sure, there may be good reasons why that view is not the best understanding of Genesis 1–2, it’s possible that the prof was all wet, but I doubt that a seminary student who couldn’t read Hebrew to save his life is in a position to to know that and nothing in the paper suggested that he did. It was the work of an amateur. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that the student didn’t realize that he was an amateur. He was arrogant and seemed blissfully unaware of it.

Such an approach to learning establishes a poor basis for future ministry and service. Mature, patient pastoral ministry requires willingness to learn and change. It requires the ability to be wrong—to recognize when one is or has been wrong. It requires humility and the knowledge of what one is not and what one does not know. One who seeks confirmation of his prejudice is not committed to learning (or getting it right) but is only committed to “being right” and ultimately that is about power and not about truth. One who is seeking power is not preparing for ministry. Jesus did not pick up a sword but wrapped himself with a towel.

2. Those who are interested only interested in practica or what they refer to as “ministry” and not in “learning.” The juxtaposition of these disciplines is deadly for the church. This student is the one who asks, “Do we have to know this?” Nothing makes me want to expel a student from a course more quickly than this question. The short answer is, “Yes.” If a student is not interested in learning, if a student is has no genuine intellectual interest, if a student is not willing to read, learn, dig, and research then he will almost certainly be a mediocre preacher and minister. A seminary education is only a beginning. Those who treat it as the terminus of their education are ill-suited to serve a congregation. The Word of God is large collection of multiple literary forms in three languages and multiple contexts and settings. To preach that Word one must become an adept student of the congregation, of the Scriptures, of ancient cultures, of hermeneutics, of grammar, of homiletics, and of theology and history. The student who will not learn and who is not prepared to be a life-long learner will be ill-suited to address new counseling problems or difficult practical and theological problems in the congregation, classis, or synod.

3. The emotionally and spiritually immature. This is not to say that only those who have entire sanctification should attend seminary. In that case the entire faculty, administration, and board should have to resign en masse. Nor is it to say that we should not have young students. I enjoy the energy and enthusiasm of students just out of college. One hopes, however, that seminary students, particularly MDiv students, will understand that whatever sacrifices they are making to be here, many people have sacrificed a great deal to provide them with a place to study, a library, a faculty, and an administration. Donors and supporters made those sacrifices for the sake of the Christ, his gospel, and his church. Thus an MDiv student isn’t there by himself. It’s not a purely personal or private enterprise. He’s carrying the hopes of many others and preparing to serve Christ and Christ’s people. He’s preparing to bring the Word and the sacraments to people he’s never met. He’s preparing to counsel families and catechize children and to speak to people he can’t even imagine right now. He’s preparing to take on the most important vocation in the world. All honorable vocations are good and right before God and should be pursued as such, but there are two kingdoms in this world and only one of them is the kingdom of God with message of salvation from the king of the church. Thus the maturity in view is the sort of maturity that enters into ministerial preparation with joy and a sense of adventure but without self indulgence or narcissism.

Of course no one is mature enough. We all live by grace, but not everyone who lives by grace is ready for seminary. The irony is that it is probably the one who doubts that he is ready for seminary who is more likely to be ready! It’s those who worry if they are really saved who probably believe. It’s the ones who have no consciousness of their sins about whom I worry. Non-Christians don’t worry about such things. It’s the foolish pre-seminarian (or seminarian) who troubles me, who thinks he has everything in hand, who has no awareness of what he’s about to begin who gives me pause.

If one has limited spiritual interests, if one is unwilling to learn, if one simply wants his passport stamped, or, on the other extreme is satisfied to substitute intense religious experience for hard work, if one is not ready or willing to engage prayerfully and thoughtfully difficult questions, if one is unwilling to enter into the discipline of learning the biblical languages, of learning history and theology, the practice of the church and the other disciplines involved, then seminary, and certainly not the MDiv program is not be the place for that one.

This post, however, is not meant to discourage those who are struggling with their sense of call nor is it meant to add to the load of the burdened. It is meant to trouble the foolish, the arrogant, the senseless, and the immature. That’s a relatively small group. Frankly, I see a lot more of this lot on the web propounding the latest fads or their latest brilliant insight into the problem of evil than I do in the classroom but that’s the stuff for another post.


HT515 History Of Reformed Worship

Course Description

A seminar in the history Christian worship from the the patristic period through the Westminster Assembly. Students will read and discuss primary and secondary sources.

Spring. 2 Credits.

Course Requirements:

(1) Attend all classes, complete all readings, participate in class discussion (50%), and present a research paper (35%). Write a liturgy (15%) with a brief explanation of your principle and its application.

(2) Research Paper. Limit 2500 words. Each student shall present and defend his or her completed paper to the seminar. The last several hours of class will be devoted to the reading and discussion of papers. After reading the paper to the seminar, the student shall revise and re-submit it to the instructor for a final mark. The final paper is due by 10:00 a.m. on the last day of classes.

Paper Requirements: Each student shall supply a copy of his or her paper to eachmember of the seminar 24 hours in advance of the meeting of class so that themembers of the seminar will have time to read it. An essay shall be marked down a full grade for every day it is late for either the seminar or the final deadline.

Liturgy requirements: Due at 10:00 AM on the last day of classes. Limit 1000 words.

Required Readings:

  1. Reader On Populi.
  2. Recovering the Reformed Confession chapters 7-8 (pp. 227-342)
  3. Strasbourg & Heidelberg Liturgies, on Populi.
  4. George Gillespie, A Dispute Against The English Popish Ceremonies. rev. ed. (Dallas: Naptali Press, 2013).


Hour/Date Author/Topic Leader
1/Sep History of Worship rsc
2/Sep History of Worship
3/Sep History of Worship
4/Sep  History of Worship
5/Sep History of Worship
6/Sep History of Worship
7/Sep  History of Worship
8/Sep  History of Worship
9/Oct  Calvin – AGR
10/Oct  Calvin – AGR
11/Oct  Gillespie (Background)
12/Oct  Gillespie
13/Oct  Gillespie
14/Oct  Gillespie
15/Oct  Gillespie
16/Oct  Gillespie
17/Nov Gillespie
18/Nov Gillespie
19/Nov Gillespie
20/Nov Gillespie
21/Nov Gillespie
22-26/Nov Papers  Student

Recommended Reading

  1. Ames, William. A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship Or a Triplication Unto D. Burgesse His Rejoinder for D. Morton the First Part. Rotterdam[?]: 1633.
  2. Baird, Charles W. The Presbyterian Liturgies: Historical Sketches. Eugene, Ore: Wipf & Stock, repr. 2006.
  3. Benedict, Phillip. Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.
  4. Crew, Phyllis Mack. Calvinist Preaching and Iconoclasm in the Netherlands 1544-1569. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  5. Davies, Horton. The Worship of the English Puritans. repr. ed. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 1997.
  6. Dugmore, C. W.  The Influence of the Synagogue Upon the Divine Office. London: Oxford University Press, 1944.
  7. Eire, Carlos M. N. War Against the Idols: the Reformation of Worship From Erasmus to Calvin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
  8. David Lachman and Frank J. Smith, ed. Worship in the Presence of God. Greenville, SC: Greenville Seminary Press, 1992.
  9. Hart, D. G. Recovering Mother Kirk: the Case for Liturgy in the Reformed Tradition. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003.
  10. McKee, Elsie Anne. “Reformed Worship in the Sixteenth Century,” in Christian Worship in Reformed Churches Past and Present, ed. Lukas Vischer (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003)
  11. McNaugher, John. The Psalms in Worship. Pittsburgh: The United Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1907.
  12. Melton, Julius. Melton, Presbyterian Worship in America: Changing Patterns since 1787. Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1967.
  13. Muller, Richard A., and Rowland S. Ward. Scripture and Worship: Biblical Interpretation and the Directory for Public Worship (westminster Assembly and the Reformed Faith). P & R Publishing, 2007.
  14. Nevin, Robert. Instrumental Music in Christian Worship: A Review. 2nd ed. Londonderry: Bible and Colportage Society, 1873.
  15. Old, Hughes Oliphant. Worship. Guides to the Reformed Tradition, ed. John H. Leith and John W. Kuykendall. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1984.
  16. Old, Hughes Oliphant, The Patristic Roots of Reformed Worship. Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1975.
  17. Old, Hughes Oliphant. Worship That is Reformed According to Scripture (Atlanta: John Knox, 1984); Idem, Themes and Variations for a Christian Doxology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.
  18. Old, Hughes Oliphant. The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church. 7 vols. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans, 1998–
  19. Old, Hughes Oliphant. The Shaping of the Reformed Baptismal Rite in the Sixteenth Century. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 1992/li>
  20. Old, Hughes Oliphant. Holy Communion in the Piety of the Reformed Church. 2013: Tolle Lege Press, 2013.
  21. Price, John. Old Light on New Worship: Musical Instruments and the Worship of God, a Theological, Historical, and Psychological Study. Avinger, TX: Simpson Publishing Company, 2005.
  22. Primus, John H., The Vestments Controversy: An Historical Study of the Earliest Tensions Within the Church of England in the Reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth. Kampen: J. H. Kok, 1960.
  23. Quasten, Johannes. Music and Worship in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, trans. Boniface Ramsey. Washington, DC: National Association of Pastoral Musicians, 1973.
  24. Sayers, Dorothy. “Lost Tools of Learning
  25. Thompson, Bard. ed., Liturgies of the Western Church (Philadelphia, 1961, repr. 1980)/li>
  26. Wegman, Herman A. J. Christian Worship in East and West: a Study Guide to Liturgical History. Translated by Gordon W. Lathrop. New York: Pueblo Publshing, 1993.
  27. White, James F. A Brief History of Christian Worship. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993.

Assertion of Intellectual Property Rights

The instructor holds the copyright to all course lectures and original course materials. This copyright extends to student notes and summaries that substantially reflect the lectures or original course materials. Course lectures and materials are made available for the personal use of students only and may not be recorded or otherwise distributed (including the publication of student notes or summaries on social media) in any way for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the express written permission of the instructor.

CH527 Ecclesiastical Latin I

—Academic Goals:

  • By the end of the semester the student shall be able read Latin at an introductory level, i.e., shall recognize and analyze elementary vocabulary and forms and shall be able to recognize, analyze, and translate elementary Latin sentences.

—Pastoral Goals:

  • The student “exhibits growing integrity, teachability/humility, perseverance, self-discipline” (Source: WSC Student Learning Outcomes). Progress will be measured by weekly quizzes, a mid-term, and a final exam, as well as weekly reviews.
  • Students shall be prepared to translate, in class, sentences from the weekly assignment. Attendance to class is essential.

Latin I covers the first 14 chapters of the text.

Required Reading/Texts


  • John C. Collins, A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin (Washington, DC: Catholic University Press, 1985).
  • Dorothy Sayers, “The Greatest Single Defect of My Own Latin Education, pt 1”; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5
  • Course StructureEach week we will review the sentences from the previous week, preview the material to be learned in the upcoming week and take a quiz over this week’s material.Please come prepared on the first day of class to take an exam over the first two chapters of the Collins text. On week 2 we will review the Latin to English material from cha pters 1 and 2, preview ch. 4, and take a quiz over chapter 3.Before you can read Latin you must first memorize the vocabulary and forms. Then you must come to understand how those forms relate to each other in sentence form (grammar).

    Thus, in order to learn Latin you must first memorize. You cannot learn the relations of words and forms if they are unfamiliar. To memorize you need a large set of flash cards (or the Mac Genius program). You must write out the vocabulary and forms and quiz yourself repeatedly until you have mastered the assigned vocabulary and forms. Quiz yourself over the vocabulary until you can work through the assignment without error. Leave it and come back to it later. Isolate the vocabulary you’ve not yet memorized and focus on it. When you’ve mastered these words, go back and review all the vocabulary together. Leave it and come back to it tomorrow. When you pass the flash card quiz repeatedly without error you are ready for the vocabulary portion of the quiz.

    It will be helpful to write out the forms repeatedly on a black/white board (or on paper) until you can reproduce the forms without error and without consulting any helps. Leave it and come back later or even the next day and try to reproduce the forms. When you can reproduce the entire form the next day without error you are ready for that portion of the quiz.

    When translation sentences are assigned you must work on 5-6 sentences daily in order to complete the assignment successfully before the quiz. As a rule, if your translation makes no sense then you have most probably made a mistake. Do not assume that the text has erred. It hasn’t. When you can sight read all the assigned Latin to English sentences you are ready for the weekly quiz.

    Here’s the method for translation: Find the verb (translate it), find the subject of the verb (translate it), then find the qualifiers and translate them.

    If you follow this procedure each week, you should have learned the material well enough, with a little review, to perform well on the mid-term and final.

    Keep up. We move on each week and each chapter builds on the next and assumes that you have mastered the material from the previous chapter.


    The mid-term and final will be scheduled by the registrar. The weekly quizzes are given during the second hour of each class session.

    Recommended Texts

  • Biblia Sacra Vulgata
  • Leo F. Stelten, A Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin (Peabody, MA: Hendricksen, 1995).
  • Richard A. Muller, A Dictionary of Theological Latin and Greek (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996)

Additional Bibliography

  • Dorothy Sayers, Lost Tools of Learning.
  • Brittain, F. Latin in Church. Cambrige: Cambridge University Press, 1934.
  • Harrington, K. P. Mediaeval Latin. Second Edition. ed. Joseph Pucci. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.
  • Mantello, F. A. C. and A. G. Rigg, eds. Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographic Guide. Washington, DC: Catholic University Press, 1996.
  • Leal, Ioanes, ed. Novum Testamentum Domini Nostri Ieus Christi, Iuxta editionem Sixto-Clementinam anni 1592. Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1960.
  • Weber, Robert. ed. Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1969.


  • Stelten, Leo F. Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin
  • Muller, Richard. F., A Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms
  • Harden, J. M., A Dictionary of the Vulgate New Testament
  • Bretzke, James T. Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary
  • Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictonary
  • Smalley, Beryl, The Study of The Bible in the Middle Ages

Assertion of Intellectual Property Rights

The instructor holds the copyright to all course lectures and original course materials. This copyright extends to student notes and summaries that substantially reflect the lectures or original course materials. Course lectures and materials are made available for the personal use of students only and may not be recorded or otherwise distributed (including the publication of student notes or summaries on social media) in any way for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the express written permission of the instructor.

John Owen: Two Short Catechisms

(minor style revisions by R. Scott Clark, March 2006)

Wherein the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, are unfolded and explained.

To my Loving Neighbors and Christian Friends.


My heart’s desire and request unto God for you is, that you may be saved. I say the truth in Christ also, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness, and continual sorrow in my heart, for them amongst you who, as yet, walk disorderly, and not as appropriate the Gospel, little laboring to acquaint themselves with the mystery of godliness; for many walk, of whom I have told you often weeping, and now tell you again with sorrow, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, who mind earthly things. You know, brethren, how I have been amongst you, and in what manner, for these few years past, and how I have kept back nothing (to the utmost of the dispensation to me committed) that was profitable unto you; but have showed you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to all repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, with what sincerity this has been by me performed, with what issue and success by you received, God the righteous Judge will one day declare; for before him must both you and I appear, to give an account of the dispensation of the glorious Gospel amongst us; – in the meanwhile, the desire of my heart is, to be servant to the least of you in the work of the Lord; and that in any way which I can concede profitable unto you, – either in your persons or your families. Now, amongst my endeavors in this kind, after the ordinance of public preaching the Word, there is not, I conceive, any more needful (as all will grant that know the estate of this place, how taught of late days, how full of grossly ignorant persons) than catechizing; which has caused me to set aside some hours for the compiling of these following, which also I have procured to be printed, merely because the least part of the parish are able to read it in writing; – my intention in them being, principally, to hold out those necessary truths wherein you have been in my preaching more fully instructed. As they are, the use of them I shall briefly present unto you: –

1. The Lesser Catechism may be so learned of the younger sort, that they may be ready to answer to every question thereof.

2. The Greater will call to mind much of what has been taught you in public, especially concerning the Person and Offices of Jesus Christ.

3. Out of that you may have help to instruct your families in the Lesser, being so framed, for the most part, that a chapter of the one is spent in unfolding a question of the other.

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4. The texts of Scripture quoted are diligently to be sought out and pondered, that you may know indeed whether these things are so.

5. In reading the Word, you may have light into the meaning of many places, by considering what they are produced to confirm.

6. I have been sparing in the doctrine of the Sacraments, because I have already been so frequent in examinations about them.

7. The handling of moral duties I have wholly omitted, because, by God’s assistance, I intend for you a brief explication of the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, with some articles of the Creed, not unfolded in these, by themselves, by the way of question and answer.

Now, in all this, as the pains has been mine, so I pray that the benefit may be yours, and the praise His, to whom alone any good that is in this or any thing else is to be ascribed. Now, the God of heaven continue that peace, love, and amity, amongst ourselves, which hitherto has been unshaken, in these divided times, and grant that the scepter and kingdom of his Son may be gloriously advanced in your hearts, that the things which concern your peace may not be hidden from your eyes in this your day; Which is the daily prayer of Your servant in the work of the Lord,

J .O. From my Study,
September the last, [1645].

The Lesser Catechism

Q. Whence is all truth concerning God and ourselves to be learned?
Ans. From the holy Scripture, the Word of God. – Chapter 1 of the Greater Catechism.

Q. What do the Scriptures teach that God is?
A. An eternal, infinite, most holy Spirit, giving being to all things, and doing with them whatsoever he pleases. – Chap. 2.

Q. Is there but one God?
A. One only, in respect of his essence and being, but one in three distinct persons, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. – Chap. 3.

Q. What else is held forth in the Word concerning God, that we ought to know.?
A. His decrees, and his works. – Chap. 4.

Q. What are the decrees of God concerning us?
A. His eternal purposes, of saving some by Jesus Christ, for the praise of his glory, and of condemning others for their sins. – Chap. 5.

Q. What are the works of God?

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A. Acts or doings of his power, whereby he creates, sustains, and governs all things. – Chap. 6.

Q. What is required from us towards Almighty God?
A. Holy and spiritual obedience, according to his law given unto us – Chap. 7.

Q. Are we able to do this of ourselves?
A. No, in no wise, being by nature unto every good work reprobate. – Chap. 7.

Q. How came we into this estate, being at the first created in the image of God, in righteousness and innocence?
A. By the fall of our first parents, breaking the covenant of God, losing his grace, and deserving his curse. – Chap. 8.

Q. By what way may we be delivered from this miserable estate?
A. Only by Jesus Christ. – Chap. 9.

Q. What is Jesus Christ?
A. God and man united in one person, to be a mediator between God and man. – Chap 10.

Q. What is he unto us?
A. A King, a Priest, and a Prophet. – Chap. 11.

Q. Wherein does he exercise his kingly power towards us?
A. In converting us unto God by his Spirit, subduing us unto his obedience, and ruling in us by his grace. – Chap. 12.

Q. In what does the exercise of his priestly office for us chiefly consist?
A. In offering up himself an acceptable sacrifice on the cross, so satisfying the justice of God for our sins, removing his curse from our persons, and bringing us unto him. – Chap. 13.

Q. Wherein does Christ exercise his prophetical office towards us?
A. In revealing to our hearts, from the bosom of his Father, the way and truth whereby we must come unto him. – Chap. 13.

Q. In what condition does Jesus Christ exercise these offices?
A. He did in a low estate of humiliation on earth, but now in a glorious estate of exaltation in heaven. – Chap. 14.

Q. For whose sake does Christ perform all these?
A. Only for his elect. – Chap. 15.

Q. What is the church of Christ?
A. The universal company of God’s elect, called to the adoption of children. – Chap. 16.

Q. How come we to be members of this church?
A. By a lively faith. – Chap. 17.

Q. What is a lively faith?

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A. An assured resting of the soul upon God’s promises of mercy in Jesus Christ, for pardon of sins here and glory hereafter. – Chap. 18.

Q. How come we to have this faith?
A. By the effectual working of the Spirit of God in our hearts, freely calling us from the state of nature to the state of grace. – Chap. 18.

Q. Are we accounted righteous for our faith?
A. No, but only for the righteousness of Christ, freely imputed unto us, and laid hold of by faith. – Chap. 19.

Q. 1. Is there no more required of us but faith only?
A. Yes; repentance also, and holiness. – Chap. 20.

Q. 2. What is repentance?
A. A forsaking of all sin, with godly sorrow for what we have committed. – Chap. 20.

Q. 3. What is that holiness which is required of us?
A. Universal obedience to the will of God revealed unto us. – Chap. 20.

Q. What are the privileges of believers?
A. First, union with Christ; secondly, adoption of children; thirdly, communion of saints; fourthly, right to the seals of the new covenant; fifthly, Christian liberty; sixthly, resurrection of the body to life eternal. – Chap. 21.

Q. 1. What are the sacraments, or seals, of the new covenant?
A. Visible seals of God’s spiritual promises, made unto us in the blood of Jesus Christ. – Chap. 21.

Q. 2. Which be they?
A. Baptism and the Lord’s supper.

Q. What is baptism?
A. A holy ordinance, whereby, being sprinkled with water according to Christ’s institution, we are by his grace made children of God, and have the promises of the covenant sealed unto us. – Chap. 23.

Q. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. A holy ordinance of Christ, appointed to communicate unto believers his body and blood spiritually, being represented by bread and wine, blessed, broken, poured out, and received of them. – Chap. 24.

Q. Who have a right unto this sacrament?
A. They only who have an interest in Jesus Christ by faith. – Chap. 24.

Q. What is the communion of saints?
A. A holy conjunction between all God’s people, partakers of the same Spirit, and members of the same mystical body. -Chap. 25.

Q. What is the end of all this dispensation?

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A. The glory of God in our salvation. Glory be to God on high!

The Greater Catechism


Q. 1. What is Christian religion?

Ans. The only way of knowing God aright, and living unto him.

John 14:5, 6, 17:3;
Acts 4:12. Colossians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:19, 20.

Q. 2. Whence is it to be learned?

A. From the holy Scripture only.

Isaiah 8:20; John 5:39.

Q. 3. What is the Scripture?

A. The books of the Old and New Testament, given by inspiration from God, containing all things necessary to be believed and done, that God may be worshipped and our souls saved.

Isaiah 8:20; Romans 3:2. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Revelation 22:19, 20 Psalm 19:7, 8; Jeremiah 7:13; John 20:31.

Q. 4. How know you them to be the word of God?

A. By the testimony of God’s Spirit working faith in my heart to close with that heavenly majesty, and clear divine truth, that shines in them.

Matthew 16:17; John

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16:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 2:20, 5:6. Luke 24:32; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:19.


Q. 1. What do the Scriptures teach concerning God?

A. First, what he is, or his nature; secondly, what he does, or his works.

Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 45:6; Hebrews 1:1-3, 11:6.

Q. 2. What is God in himself?

A. An Eternal, infinite, etc. incomprehensible Spirit, giving being to all things, and doing with them whatsoever he pleases.

Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 1:8. 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:2-5, Exodus 33:20; 1 Timothy 6:16. Genesis 1:1; Psalm 115:3, 135:6; Isaiah 46:10; John 5:17;

Q. 3. Do we here know God as he is?

A. No, his glorious being is not of us, in this life, to be comprehended.

Exodus 33:23; 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Q. 4. Whereby is God chiefly made known unto us in the Word?

A. First, by his names; secondly, by his attributes or properties.

Exodus 3:14, 6:3; Psalm 83:18. Exodus 34:6,7; Matthew 5:48.

Q. 5. What are the names of God?

A. Glorious titles, which he has given himself, to hold forth his excellencies unto us, with some perfections whereby he will reveal himself.

Exodus 3:14, 15, 6:3, 34:6, 7; Genesis 17:1.

Q. 6. What are the attributes of God?

A. His infinite perfections in being and working.

Revelation 4:8-11.

Q. 7. What are the chief attributes of his being?

A. Eternity, infiniteness, Simplicity or purity, all-sufficiency, Perfection, immutability, life, will, and understanding.

Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 93:2; Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 1:11. 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:1-4, 8-10. Exodus 3:14. Genesis 17:1; Psalm 135:4-6. Job 11:7-9; Romans 11:33-36. Malachi 3:6; James 1:17. Judges 8:19; 1 Samuel 25:34; 2 Kings 3:14; Ezekiel 14:16; 16:48; Matthew 16:16; Acts 14:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:9. Daniel 4:35; Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:5, 11; James 1:18. Psalm 7:8, 139:2, 147:4; Jeremiah 11:20; Hebrews 4:13.

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Q. 8. What are the attributes which usually are ascribed to him in his works, or the acts of his will?

A. Goodness, power, justice, mercy, holiness, wisdom, and the like; which he delights to exercise towards his creatures, for the praise of his glory.

Psalm 119:68; Matthew 19:17. Exodus 15:11; Psalm 62:11; Revelation 19:1. Zephaniah 3:5; Psalm 11:7; Jeremiah 12:1; Romans 1:32. Psalm 130:7; Romans 9:15; Ephesians 2:4. Exodus 15:11; Joshua 24:19 Habakkuk 1:13; Revelation 4:8. Romans 11:33, 16:27.


Q. 1. Is there but one God to whom these properties do belong?

A. One only, in respect of his essence and being but one in three distinct persons, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 19:17; Ephesians 4:5, 6. Genesis 1:26; 1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19.

Q. 2. What mean you by person?

A. A distinct manner of subsistence or being, distinguished from the other persons by its own properties.

John 5:17;  Hebrews 1:3.

Q. 3. What is the distinguishing property of the person of the Father? A. To be of himself only the fountain of the Godhead.

John 5:26, 27; Ephesians 1:3.

Q. 4. What is the property of the Son?

A. To be begotten of his Father from eternity.

Psalm 2:7; John 1:14, 3:16.

Q. 5. What of the Holy ghost?

A. To proceed from the Father and the Son.

John 14:17, 16:14, 15:26, 20:22.

Q. 6. Are these three one?

A. One every way, in nature, will, and essential properties, distinguished only in their personal manner of subsistence.

John 10:30; Romans 3:30. John 15:26; 1 John 5:7.

Q. 7. Can we conceive these things as they are in themselves?

A. Neither we nor yet the angels of heaven are at all able to dive into these secrets, as they are internally God; but in respect of the outward dispensation of themselves to us by creation, redemption, and sanctification, a knowledge may be attained of these things, saving and

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1 Timothy 6:16. Isaiah 6:2, 3. Colossians 1:11-14.


Q. 1. What do the Scriptures teach concerning the works of God?

A. That they are of two sorts; first, internal, in his counsel, decrees, and purposes, towards his creatures; secondly, external, in his works over and about them, to the praise of his own glory.

Acts  15:18; Proverbs 16:4.

Q. 2. What are the decrees of God?

A. Eternal, unchangeable purposes of his will, concerning the being and well-being of his creatures.

Micah 5:2; Ephesians 3:9-11; Acts 15:18. Isaiah 14:24, 46:10; Romans 9:11; 2 Timothy 2:19.

Q. 3. Concerning which of his creatures chiefly are his decrees to be considered?

A. Angels and men, for whom other things were ordained.

1 Timothy 5:21; Jude 6.

Q. 4. What are the decrees of God concerning men?

A. Election and reprobation. Romans 9:11-13.

Q. 5. What is the decree of election?

A. The eternal, fire immutable purpose of God, whereby in Jesus Christ he chooseth unto himself whom he pleaseth out of whole mankind, determining to bestow upon them, for his sake, grace here, and everlasting happiness hereafter, for the praise of his glory, by way of mercy.

Ephesians 1:4;  Acts 13:48; Romans 8:29, 30. Matthew 11:26. 2 Timothy 2:19. Ephesians 1:4, 5; Matthew 22:14. Romans 9:18-21. John 6:37, 17:6, 9, 11, 24.

Q. 6. Doth any thing in us move the Lord thus to choose us from amongst others?

A. No, in no wise; we are in the same lump with others rejected when separated by his undeserved grace.

Romans 9:11, 12; Matthew 11:25; 1 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:9.

Q. 7. What is the decree of reprobation?

A. The eternal purpose of God to suffer many to sin, leave them in their sin, and not giving them to Christ, to punish them for their sin.

Romans 9:11, 12, 21, 22; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 11:25, 26; 2 Peter 2:12; Jude 4.


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Q. 1. What are the works of God that outwardly respect his creatures?

A. First, of creation; secondly, of actual providence.

Psalm 33:9; Hebrews 1:2, 3.

Q. 2. What is the work of creation?

A. An act or work of God’s almighty power, whereby of nothing, in six days, he created heaven, earth, and the sea, with all things in them contained.

Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:11; Proverbs 16:4.

Q. 3. Wherefore did God make man?

A. For his own glory in his service and obedience.

Genesis 1:26, 27, 2:16, 17; Romans 9:23.

Q. 4. Was man able to yield the service and worship that God required of him?

A. Yea, to the uttermost, being created upright in the image of God, in purity, innocence, righteousness, and holiness.

Genesis 1:26; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10.

Q. 5. What was the rule whereby man was at first to be directed in his obedience?

A. The moral or eternal law of God, implanted in his nature and written in his heart by creation, being the tenor of the covenant between him, sacramentally typified by the tree of knowledge good and evil.

Genesis 2:15-17; Romans 2:14, 15; Ephesians 4:24.

Q. 6. Do we stand in the same covenant still, and have we the same power to yield obedience unto God?

A. No; the covenant was broken by the sin of Adam, with whom it was made, our nature corrupted, and all power to do good utterly lost.

Genesis 3:16-18; Galatians 3:10, 11, 21; Hebrews 7:19, 8:13. Job 14:4; Psalm 51:5. Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 13:23.


Q. 1. What is God’s actual providence?

A. The effectual working of his power, and almighty act of his will, whereby he sustaineth, governeth, and disposeth of all things, men and their actions, to the ends which he has ordained for them.

Exodus 4:11; Job 5:10-12, 9:5, 6; Psalm 147:4; Proverbs 15:3; Isaiah 45:6, 7; John 5:17; Acts 17:28; Hebrews 1:3.

Q. 2. How is this providence exercised towards mankind?

A. Two ways; first, peculiarly towards his church, or elect, in their generations, for whom are all things; secondly, towards

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all in a general manner, yet with various and divers dispensations.

Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalm 17:8; Zechariah 2:8; Matthew 16:18, 19: 2, 29; 1 Peter 5:7. Genesis 9:5; Psalm 75:6, 7; Isaiah 45:6, 7; Matthew 5:45.

Q. 3. Wherein chiefly consists the outward providence of God towards his church?

A. In three things; — first, in causing and things to work together for their good; secondly, in ruling and disposing of kingdoms, nations, and persons, for their benefit; thirdly, in avenging them of their adversaries.

Matthew 6:31-33; Romans 8:28; 1 Timothy 6:17; 2 Peter 1:3. Psalm 105:14,15; Isaiah 44:28; Daniel 2:44; Romans 9:17. Isaiah 60:12; Zechariah 12:2-5; Luke 17:7; Revelation 17:14.

Q. 4. Does God rule also in and over the sinful actions of wicked men?

A. Yea, he willingly (according to his determinate counsel) suffereth them to be, for the manifestation of his glory, and by them effecteth his own righteous ends.

2 Samuel 12:11, 16:10; 1 Kings 11:31, 22:22; Job 1:21; Proverbs 22:14; Isaiah 10:6, 7; Ezekiel 21:19-21; Amos 7:17; Acts 4:27, 28; Romans 1:24, 9:22; 1 Peter 2:8; Revelation 17:17.


Q. 1. Which is the law that God gave man at first to fulfill?

A. The same which was afterwards written with the finger of God in two tables of stone Mount Horeb, called the Ten Commandments.

Romans 2:14, 15.

Q. 2. Is the observation of this law still required of us?

A. Yes, to the uttermost tittle. Matthew 5:17; 1 John 3:4; Romans 3:31; James 2:8-10; Galatians 3.

Q. 3. Are we able of ourselves to perform it?

A. No, in no wise; the law is spiritual, but we are carnal.

1 Kings 8:46; Genesis 6:5; John 15:5; Romans 7:14, 8:7; 1 John 1:8.

Q. 4. Did, then, God give a law which could not be kept?

A. No; when God gave it, we had power to keep it; which since we have lost in Adam.

Genesis 1:26; Ephesians 4:19; Romans 5:12.

Q. 5. Whereto, then, does the law now serve?

A. For two general ends; first, to be a rule of our duty, or to discover to us the John Owen

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obedience of God required; secondly, lets drive us unto Christ.

Psalm 19:7-11; 1 Timothy 1:8, 9. Galatians 3:24.

Q. 6. How does the law drive us unto Christ?

A. Divers ways; as, first, by laying open unto us the utter disability of our nature to do any good; secondly, by charging the wrath and curse of God, due to sin, upon the conscience; thirdly, by bringing the whole soul under bondage to sin, death, Satan, and hell — so making us long and seek for a Savior.

Romans 7:7-9; Galatians 3:19. Romans 3:19, 20, 4:15,5:20; Galatians 3:10. Galatians 3:22; Hebrews 2:15.


Q. 1. How came this weakness and disability upon us?

A. By the sin and shameful fall of our first parents.

Romans 5:12, 14.

Q. 2. Wherein did that hurt us, their posterity?

A. Divers ways; first, in that we were all guilty of the same breach of covenant with Adam, being all in him; secondly, our souls with his were deprived of that holiness, innocence, and righteousness wherein they were at first created; thirdly, pollution and defilement of nature came upon us; with, fourthly, an extreme disability of doing any thing that is wellpleasing unto God; by all which we are made obnoxious to the curse.

John 3:36; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:3. Genesis 3:10; Ephesians 4:23, 24; Colossians 3:10. Job 14:4; Psalm 51:7; John 3:6; Romans 3:13. Genesis 6:5; Ephesians 2:1; Jeremiah 6:16, 13:23; Romans 8:7. Genesis 3:17; Galatians 3:10.

Q. 3. Wherein does the curse of God consist?

A. In divers things; first, in the guilt of death, temporal and eternal; secondly, the loss of the grace and favor of God; thirdly, guilt and horror of conscience, despair and anguish here; with, fourthly, eternal damnation hereafter.

Genesis 2:17; Romans 1:18, 5:12, 17; Ephesians 2:3.  Genesis 3:24; Ezekiel 16:3-5; Ephesians 2:13. Genesis 3:10; Isaiah 48:22; Romans 3:9, 19, Galatians 3:22. Genesis 3:10,
13; John 3:36.

Q. 4. Are all men born in this estate?

A. Every one without exception.

Psalm 51:5; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:9-12; Ephesians 2:3.

Q. 5. And do they continue therein?

A. Of themselves they cannot otherwise do, Being able neither to know, nor will, nor do any thing that is spiritually good and

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pleasing unto God.

Acts 8:31, 16:14; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 5:8; John 1:5. Jeremiah 6:16, 13:23; Luke 4:18; Romans 6:16, 8:7. John 6:44; 2 Corinthians 3:5.

Q. 6. Have they, then, no way of themselves to escape the curse and wrath of God?

A. None at all; they can neither satisfy his justice, nor fulfill his law.


Q. 1. Shall all mankind, then, everlastingly perish?

A. No; God, of his free grace, has prepared a way to redeem and save his elect.

John 3:16; Isaiah 53:6.

Q. 2. What way was this?

A. By sending his own Son Jesus Christ in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemning sin sinful flesh, condemning sin.

Romans 8:3.

Q. 3. Who is this you call his own Son?

A. The second person of the Trinity, coeternal and of the one Deity with his Father.

John 1:14; Romans 1:3; Galatians 4:4; 1 John 1:1.

Q. 4. How did God send him?

A. By causing him to be made flesh of a pure virgin, and to dwell among us, that he might be obedient unto death, the death of the cross.

Isaiah 50:6; John 1:14; Luke 1:35; Philippians 2:8; 1 Timothy 3:16.


Q. 1. What does the Scripture teach us of Jesus Christ?

A. Chiefly two things first, his person, or what he is in himself; secondly, his offices, or what he is unto us.

Q. 2. What does it teach of his person?

A. That he is truly God, and perfect man, partaker of the natures of God and man in one person, between whom he is a Mediator.

John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14, 15; Ephesians 4:5; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 1:1.

Q. 3. How prove you Jesus Christ to be truly God?

A. Divers ways; first, by places of Scripture, speaking of the great God Jehovah in the Old Testament, applied to our Savior in the New; as,

Numb. 21:5, 6, in 1 Corinthians 10:9; Psalm 102:25-27, in Hebrews 1:10; Isaiah 6:2-4, in John

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12:40 ,41; Isaiah 8:13,14, in Luke 2:34, Romans 9:33; Isaiah 40:3, 4, in John 1:23; Isaiah 45:22, 23, in Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10, 11; Malachi 3:1, in Matthew 11:10.

Secondly, By the works of the Deity ascribed unto him; as, first, of creation,

John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 1:2;

secondly, of preservation in providence,

Hebrews 1:3; John 5:17; thirdly, miracles.

Thirdly, By the essential attributes of God being ascribed unto him; as, first, immensity, Matthew 28:20; John 14:23; Ephesians 3:17;

secondly, eternity, John 1:1; Revelation 1:11; Micah 5:2; thirdly, immutability, Hebrews 1:11, 12; fourthly, omniscience, John 21:17; Revelation 2:2 3; fifthly, majesty and glory equal to his Father, John 5:23; Revelation 5:13; Philippians 1:2, 2:6, 9, 10. Fourthly, By the names given unto him; as, first, of God expressly John 1:1, 20:28; Acts 20:28; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:6; Hebrews 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:16; secondly, of the Son of God, John 1:18; Romans 8:3, etc.

Q. 4. Was it necessary that our Redeemer should be God?

A. Yes; that he might be able to save to the uttermost, and to satisfy the wrath of his Father, which no creature could perform.

Isaiah 43:25, 53:6; Daniel 9:17, 19.

Q. 5. How prove you that he was a perfect man?

A. First, By the prophecies that went before, that so he should be. Secondly, By the relation of their accomplishment. Thirdly, By the Scriptures assigning to him those things which are required to a perfect man; as, first, a body, secondly, a soul, and therein, first, a will, secondly, affections, thirdly, endowments, Fourthly, General infirmities of nature.

Genesis 2:15, 18:18. Matthew 1:1; Romans 1:4; Galatians 4:4. Luke 24:39; Hebrews 2:17, 10:5; 1 John 1:1; Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34; Matthew 26:39; Mark 3:5; Luke 10:21; Luke 2:52. Matthew 4:2; John 4:6; Hebrews 2:18.

Q. 6. Wherefore was our Redeemer to be man?

A. That the nature which had offended might suffer, and make satisfaction, and so he might be every way a fit and sufficient Savior for men.

Hebrews 2:10-17.


Q. 1. How many are the offices of Jesus Christ?

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A. Three; first, of a King; secondly, of Priest; thirdly, of Prophet.

Psalm 2:6. Psalm 110:4. Deuteronomy 18:15.

Q. 2. Hath he these offices peculiar by nature?

A. No; he only received them for offended might suffer, and make satisfaction, and so he might be every way a fit and sufficient Savior for men. until the work of redemption be perfected.

Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:36, 10:42; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 15:27, 28; Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 3:2, 6, 2:7-9.

Q. 3. Wherein does the kingly office of Christ consist?

A. In a two-fold power; first, his power of ruling in and over his church; secondly, his power of subduing his enemies.

Psalm 110:3-7.

Q. 4. What is his ruling power in and over his people?

A. That supreme authority which, Christ’s subjects are all for their everlasting good, born rebels, and are he useth towards them, stubborn, until he make them whereof in general there be obedient by his Word and two acts; spirit. first, internal and spiritual, in converting their souls unto him, making them unto himself a willing, obedient, persevering people; secondly, eternal and ecclesiastical, in giving perfect laws and rules for their government, as gathered into holy societies under him.

Isaiah 53:12, 59:20, 21; Hebrews 8:10-12; Isaiah 61:1, 2; John 1:16, 12:32; Mark 1:15; Matthew 28:20; 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5. Matthew 16:19; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:8-14; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Revelation 22:18, 19.

Q. 5. How many are the acts of his kingly power towards his enemies?

A. Two also first, internal, by the mighty working of his Word, and the spirit of bondage upon their hearts, convincing, amazing, terrifying their consciences, hardening their spirits for ruin; Secondly, external, in judgements and vengeance, which ofttimes he beginneth in this life, and will continue unto eternity.

Psalm 110; John 6:46, 8:59; 9:41; 12:40; 2 Corinthians 10:4-6; 1 Corinthians 5:6; 1 Timothy 1:20. Mark 16:16; Luke 19:27; Acts 13:11; Revelation 17:14.


Q. 1. By what means did Jesus Christ undertake the office of an eternal priest?

A. By the decree, ordination, and will of God his Father, whereunto he yielded voluntary obedience; so that concerning

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this there was a compact and covenant between them.

Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:5, 6; 7:17,18. Isaiah 50:4-6; Hebrews 10:5- 10. Psalm 2:7, 8; Isaiah 53:8, 10-12; Philippians 2:7, 9; Hebrews 12:2; John 17:2, 4.

Q. 2. Wherein does his execration of this office consist?

A. In bringing his people unto God.

Hebrews 2:10, 4:16, 7:25.

Q. 3. What are the parts of it?

A. First, oblation; secondly, intercession.

Hebrews 9:14. Hebrews 7:25.

Q. 4. What is the oblation of Christ?

A. The offering up of himself secondly, intercession. an holy propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of all the elect throughout the world; as also, the presentation of himself for us in heaven, sprinkled with the blood of the covenant.

Isaiah 53:10,12; John 3:16, 11:51, 17:19; Hebrews 9:13, 14. Hebrews 9:24.

Q. 5. Whereby does this oblation do good unto us?

A. Divers ways; first, in that it satisfied the justice of God; secondly, it redeemed us from the power of sin, death, and hell; thirdly, it ratified the new covenant of grace; fourthly, it procured for us grace here, and glory hereafter; by all which means the peace and reconciliation between God and us is wrought.

Ephesians 2:14, 15.

Q. 6. How did the oblation of Christ satisfy God’s justice for our sin?

A. In that for us he underwent the punishment due to our sin.

Isaiah 53:4-6; John 10:11; Romans 3:25, 26, 4:25; 1 Corinthians15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 2:24.

Q. 7. What was that punishment?

A. The wrath of God, the curse of the law, the pains of hell, due to sinners, in body and soul.

Genesis 2:17; Deuteronomy 27:15-26; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:3; John 3:36; Hebrews 2:14.

Q. 8. Did Christ undergo all these?

A. Yes; in respect of the greatness and extremity, not the eternity and continuance of those pains; for it was impossible he should be holden of death.

Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:33, 34; 15:34; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 5:7; Psalm 18:5.

Q. 9. How could the punishment of one satisfy for the offense of all?

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A. In that he was not a mere man only, but God also, of infinitely more value than all those who had offended.

Romans 5:9; Hebrews 9:26; 1 Peter 3:18.

Q. 10. How did the oblation of Christ redeem from death and hell?

A. First, by paying a ransom to God, the judge and lawgiver, who had condemned us; secondly, by overcoming and spoiling Satan, death, and the powers of hell, that detained us captives.

Matthew 20:28; John 6:51; Mark 10:45; Romans 3:25; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 10:9. John 5:24; Colossians 2:13-15; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18, 19.

Q. 11. What was the ransom that Christ paid for us?

A. His own precious blood.

Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:19.

Q. 12. How was the new covenant ratified in his blood?

A. By being accompanied with his death; for that, as all other testaments, was to be ratified by the death of the testator.

Genesis 22:18; Hebrews 9:16, 8:10-12.

Q. 13. What is this new covenant?

A. The gracious, free, immutable promise of God, made unto all his elect fallen in Adam, to give them Jesus Christ, and in him mercy, pardon, grace, and glory, with a re-stipulation of faith from them unto this promise, and new obedience.

Genesis 3:15; Jeremiah 31:31-34, 32:40; Hebrews 8:10-12. Galatians 3:8, 16; Genesis 12:3. Romans 8:32; Ephesians 1:3, 4. Mark 16:16; John 1:12, 10:27, 28.

Q. 14. How did Christ procure for us grace, faith, and glory?

A. By the way of purchase and merit; for the death of Christ deservedly procured of God that he should bless us with all spiritual blessings needful for our coming unto him.

Isaiah 53:11, 12; John 17:2; Acts 20:28; Romans 5:17, 18; Ephesians 2:15, 16, 1:4; Philippians 1:29; Titus 2:14; Revelation 1:5, 6.

Q. 15. What is the intercession of Christ?

A. His continual soliciting of God on our behalf, begun here in fervent prayers, continued in heaven by appearing as our advocate at the throne of grace.

Psalm 2:8; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25, 9:24, 10:19-21; 1 John 2:1, 2; John 17. in heaven by appearing as our advocate at the throne of grace.


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Q. 1. Wherein does the prophetical office of Christ consist?

A. In his embassage from God to man, revealing from the bosom of his Father the whole mystery of godliness, the way and truth whereby we must come unto God.

Matthew 5; John 1:18, 3:32, 9, 14, 14:5, 6, 17:8, 18:37.

Q. 2. Mow does he exercise this office towards us?

A. By making known the whole instrumentally, by the Word a saving and spiritual manner.

Deuteronomy 18:18; Isaiah 42:6; Hebrews 3:1.

Q. 3. By what means does he perform all this?

A. Divers; as, first, internally and of humiliation or abasement; secondly, of exaltation or glory. writing his law in our hearts; secondly, outwardly and instrumentally, by the Word preached.

Jeremiah 31:31-34; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 8:10. John 20:31; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:8-13; 2 Peter 1:21.


Q. 1. In what estate or condition does Christ exercise these offices?

A. In a two-fold estate; first, of humiliation or abasement; secondly, of exaltation or glory.

Philippians 2:8-10.

Q. 2. Wherein consisteth the state of Christ’s humiliation?

A. In three things; first, in his incarnation, or being born of woman; secondly, this obedience, or fulfilling the whole law, moral and ceremonial; thirdly, in his passion, or enduring all sorts of miseries, even death itself.

Luke 1:35; John 1:14; Romans 1:3; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:9, 14. Matthew 3:15, 5:17; Luke 2:21; John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 3:5. Isaiah 53:6; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 2:21.

Q. 3. Wherein consists his exaltation?

A. In, first, his resurrection; secondly, ascension; thirdly, sitting at the right hand of God; — by all which he was declared to be the Son of God with power.

Matthew 28:18; Romans 1:4, 6:4; Ephesians 4:9; Philippians 2:9, 10; 1 Timothy 3:16.


Q. 1. Unto whom do the saving benefits of what Christ performeth, in the execution of his offices, belong?

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A. Only to his elect.

John 17:9; Isaiah 63:9; Hebrews 3:6, 10:21.

Q. 2. Died he for no other?

A. None, in respect of his Father’s eternal purpose, and his own intention of removing wrath from them, and procuring grace and glory for them.

Acts 20:28; Matthew 20:28, 26:28; Hebrews 9:28; John 11:51, 52; Isaiah 53:12; John 3:16, 10:11-13,15; Ephesians 5:25; Romans 8:32, 34; Galatians 3:13; John 6:37, 39; Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20.

Q. 3. What shall become of them for whom Christ died not?

A. Everlasting torments for their sins; their portion in their own place.

Mark 16:16; John 3:36; Matthew 25:41; Acts 1:25.

Q. 4. For whom does he make intercession?

A. Only for those who from eternity were given him by his Father.

John 17; Hebrews 7:24, 25.


Q. 1. How are the elect called, in respect of their obedience unto Christ, and union with him?

A. His church.

Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:32.

Q. 2. What is the church of Christ?

A. The whole company of God’s elect, called elect, called by the Word and Spirit, out of their natural condition, to the dignity of his children, and united unto Christ their head, by faith, in the bond of the Spirit.

Acts 2:47; 1 Timothy 5:21; Hebrews 12:22-24. Romans 1:5, 6, 9:11,24; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Timothy 1:9. Acts 16:14; John 3:8; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Peter 1:23; Hebrews 8:10. Ephesians 2:11-13; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 2:14, 15; 1 Peter 2:9. John 17:21; Ephesians 2:18-22.

Q. 3. Is this whole church always in the same state?

A. No; one part of it is militant, the other triumphant.

Q. 4. What is the church militant?

A. That portion of God’s elect which, in their generation, cleaveth unto Christ by faith, and fighteth against the world, flesh, and devil.

Ephesians 6:11, 12; Hebrews 11:13, 14, 12:1, 4.

Q. 5. What is the church triumphant?

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A. That portion of God’s people who, having fought their fight and kept the faith, are now in heaven, resting from their labors.

Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 3:21, 14:13.

Q. 6. Are not the church of the Jews before the birth of Christ, and the church of the Christians since, two churches?

A. No; essentially they are but one, differing only in some outward administrations.

Ephesians 2:11-16; 1 Corinthians 10:3; Galatians 4:26, 27; Hebrews 11:16, 26, 40.

Q. 7. Can this church be wholly overthrown on the earth?

A. No; unless the decree of God may be changed, and the promise of Christ fail.

Matthew 16:18, 28:20; John 14:16; John 17; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:19.


Q. 1. By what means do we become actual members of this church of God?

A. By a lively justifying faith, of his Father the whole mystery of godliness, the way and truth whereby we must come unto God. Christ, the head thereof.

Acts 2:47, 13:48; Hebrews 11:6, 12:22,23, 4:2; Romans 5:1,2; Ephesians 2:13,14.

Q. 2. What is a justifying faith?

A. A gracious resting upon the free promises of God in Jesus Christ for mercy, with a firm persuasion of heart that God is a reconciled Father unto us in the Son of his love.

1 Timothy 1:16; Job 13:15, 9:25; Romans 4:5. Hebrews 4:16; Romans 8:38,39; Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:20,21.

Q. 3. Have all this faith?

A. None but the elect of God.

Titus 1:1; John 10:26; Matthew 13:11; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:30.

Q. 4. Do not, then, others believe that make profession?

A. Yes; with, first, historical faith, or a persuasion that the things written in the Word are true; secondly, temporary faith, which has some joy of the affections, upon unspiritual grounds, in the things believed.

James 2:19. Matthew 13:20; Mark 6:20; John 2:23,24; Acts 8:13.


Q. 1. How come we to have this saving faith?

A. It is freely bestowed upon us and wrought in us by the Spirit of God, in our vocation or calling.

John 6:29,44;

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Ephesians 2:8, 9; Philippians 1:29; 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

Q. 2. What is our vocation, or this calling of God?

A. The free, gracious act of Almighty God, whereby in Jesus Christ he calleth and translateth us from the state of nature, sin, wrath, and corruption, into the state of grace and union with Christ, by the mighty, effectual working of his preaching of the Word.

Colossians 1:12,13; 2 Timothy 1:9; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:26; Matthew 11:25, 26; John 1:13, 3:3, 8; Ephesians 1:19; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 4:7; James 1:18; 2 Peter 2:20; Acts 16:14.

Q. 3. What do we ourselves perform in this change, or work of our conversion?

A. Nothing at all, being merely church are outwardly called by the Word, none effectually but the elect. church are outwardly called by the Word, none effectually but the elect. in ourselves we have no ability to any thing that is spiritually good.

Matthew 7:18, 10:20 John 1:13, 15:5; 1 Corinthians 12:3, 2:5; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Ephesians 2:1, 8; Romans 8:26; Philippians 1:6.

Q. 4. Does God thus call all and every one?

A. All within the pale of the church are outwardly called by the Word, none effectually but the elect.

Matthew 22:14;  Romans 8:30.


Q. 1. Are we accounted righteous and saved for our faith, when we are thus freely called?

A. No, but merely by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ apprehended and applied by faith; for which alone the Lord accepts us as holy and righteous.

Isaiah 43:25; Romans 3:23-26, 4:5.

Q. 2. What, then, is our justification or righteousness before God?

A. The gracious, free act of imputation of the righteousness of Christ apprehended and applied by faith; for which alone the Lord accepts us as holy and righteous. righteousness of Christ to a believing sinner, and for that speaking peace unto his conscience, in the pardon of his sin, pronouncing him to be just and accepted before him.

Genesis 15:6; Acts 13:38, 39; Luke 18:14; Romans 3:24, 26, 28, 4:4-8; Galatians 2:16.

Q. 3. Are we not, then, righteous before God by our own works?

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A. No; for of themselves they can neither satisfy his justice, fulfill his law, nor endure his trial.

Psalm 130:3,4, 143:2; Isaiah 64:6; Luke 17:10.


Q. 1. Is there nothing, then, required of us but faith only?

A. Yes; repentance, and holiness or new obedience.

Acts 20:21; Matthew 3:2; Luke 13:3. 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; Hebrews 12:14.

Q. 2. What is repentance?

A. Godly sorrow for every known sin committed against God, with a firm purpose of heart to cleave unto him for the to cleave unto him for the quickening of all graces, to walk before him in newness of life.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11; Acts 2:37; Psalm 51:17. Psalm 34:14; Isaiah 1:16, 17; Ezekiel 18:27, 28; Acts 14:15. Ephesians 4:21-24; Romans 6:12, 13, 18, 19, 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15.

Q. 3. Can we do this of ourselves?

A. No; it is a special gift and grace of God, which he bestoweth on whom he pleaseth

Leviticus 20:8; Deuteronomy  30:6; Ezekiel 11:19,20; 2 Timothy 2:25; Acts 11:18.

Q. 4. Wherein does the being of true repentance consist, without which it is not acceptable?

A. In its performance according to the Gospel rule, with faith and assured hope of divine mercy.

Psalm 51; 1 John 2:1,2; 2 Corinthians 7:10,11; Acts 2:38; Matthew 26:75.

Q. 5. What is that holiness which is required of us?

A. That universal, sincere obedience to the whole will of God, in our hearts, minds, wills, and actions, whereby we are in some measure made conformable to Christ, our head.

Psalm 119:9; 1 Samuel 15:22; John 14:15; Romans 6:19; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:12; 2 Peter 1:5-7; Isaiah 1:16,17. 1 Chronicles 28:9; Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37. Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 2:21; Colossians 3:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:11, 12.

Q. 6. Is this holiness or obedience in us perfect?

A. Yes, in respect of all the parts of it, but not in respect of the degrees wherein God requires it.

2 Kings 20:3; Job 1:1; Matthew 5:48; Luke 1:6; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:24; Titus 2:12. Isaiah 64:6; Psalm 130:3; Exodus 28:38; Philippians 3:12.

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Q. 7. Will God accept of that obedience which falls so short of what he requireth?

A. Yes, from them whose persons he accepteth and justifieth freely in Jesus Christ

Romans 12:1; Philippians 4:18; Hebrews 13:16; 1 John 3:22; Ephesians 1:6.

Q. 8. What are the parts of this holiness?

A. Internal, in the quickening of all graces, purging act of all graces, purging act frequent prayers, alms, and all manner of righteousness.

Hebrews 9:14; Ephesians 3:16, 17; Romans 2:29, 6:12. Matthew 5:20; Romans 8:1,2; Ephesians 4:22, 23; Titus 2:12.

Q. 9. May not others perform these duties acceptably, as well as those that believe?

A. No; all their performances in this kind are but abominable sins before the Lord.

Proverbs 15:8; John 9:31; Titus 1:15; Hebrews 11:6.


Q. 1. What are the privileges of those that thus believe and repent?

A First, union with Christ; secondly, adoption of children; thirdly, Christian liberty; fourthly, a spiritual, holy right to the seals of the new covenant; fifthly, communion with all saints; sixthly, resurrection of the body unto life eternal.

Q. 2. What is our union with Christ?

A. An holy, spiritual conjunction unto him, as our head, husband, and foundation, whereby we are made partakers of the same Spirit with him, and derive all good things from him.

1 Corinthians 12:12; John 15:1, 2, 5-7, 17:23. Ephesians 4:15, 5:23; Colossians 1:18. 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 21:9. Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:20-22; 1 Peter 2:4-7. Romans 8:9, 11; Galatians 4:6; Philippians 1:19. John 1:12, 16; Ephesians 1:3.

Q. 3. What is our adoption?

A. Our gracious reception into the family of God, as his children, and coheirs with Christ.

John 1:12; Romans 8:15, 17; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5.

Q. 4. How come we to know this?

A. By the especial working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, sealing unto us the promises of God, and raising up our souls to an assured expectation of the promised inheritance.

Romans 8:15, 17; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 3:1; Romans 8:19,23; Titus 2:13.

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Q. 5. What is our Christian liberty?

A. An holy and spiritual freedom from the slavery of sin, the bondage of death and hell, the curse of the law, Jewish ceremonies, and thraldom of conscience, purchased for us by Jesus Christ, and revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:1. John 8:32, 34, 36; Romans 6:17, 18; Isaiah 61:1; 1 John 1:7; 2 Corinthians 5:21. Romans 8:15; Hebrews 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57. Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 2:15, 16; Galatians 4:5; Romans 8:1. Acts 15:10,11; Galatians 3,4,5. 2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 7:23; 1 Peter 2:16. 1 Corinthians 2:12.

Q. 6. Are we, then, wholly freed from the moral law?

A. Yes, as a covenant, or as it has any thing in it bringing into bondage, — as the curse, power, dominion, and rigid exaction of obedience; but not as it is a rule of life and holiness.

Jeremiah 31:31-33; Romans 7:1-3, 6:14; Galatians 3:19,24; Romans 8:2; Galatians 5:18. Matthew 5:17; Romans 3:31, 7:13, 22, 25.

Q. 7. Are we not freed by Christ from the magistrate’s power and human authority?

A. No; being ordained of God, and commanding for him, we owe them act lawful obedience. Romans 13:1-4; 1 Timothy 2:1,2; 1 Peter 2:13-15.


Q. 1. What are the seals of the New Testament?

A. Sacraments instituted of Christ to be visible seats and pledges, whereby God in him confirmeth the promises of the covenant to all believers, restipulating of them growth in faith and obedience.

Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38, 22:16; Romans 4:11 1 Corinthians 10:2-4, 11:26-29.

Q. 2. How does God by these sacraments bestow grace upon us?

A. Not by any real essential conveying of spiritual grace by corporeal means, but by the way of promise, obsignation, and covenant, confirming the grace wrought in us by the Word and Spirit.

Hebrews 4:2; 1 Corinthians 10; Romans 4:11, 1:17; Mark 16:16; Ephesians 5:26. confirming the grace wrought in us by the Word and Spirit.

Q. 3. How do our sacraments differ from the sacraments of the Jews?

A. Accidentally only, in things concerning the outward matter and form, as their number, quality, clearness of signification, and the like, — not

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essentially, in the things signified, or grace confirmed.

1 Corinthians 10:1,2, 3, etc.; John 6:35; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11.


Q. 1. Which are these sacraments?

A. Baptism and the Lord’s supper.

Q. 2. What is baptism?

A. An holy action, appointed of Christ, whereby being sprinkled with water in the name of the whole Trinity, by a lawful minister of the church, we are admitted into the family of God, and have the benefits of the blood of Christ confirmed unto us.

Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15, 16. Acts 2:41, 8:37. Acts 2:38,39; John 3:5; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 12:13.

Q. 3. To whom does this sacrament belong?

A. Unto all to whom the promise of the covenant is made; that is, to believers, and to their seed.

Acts 2:39; Genesis 17:11,12; Acts 16:15; Romans 4:10,11; 1 Corinthians 7:14.

Q. 4. How can baptism seal the pardon of all sins to us, all our personal sins following it?

A. Inasmuch as it is a seal of that promise which gives pardon of all to believers.

Acts 2:39; Romans 4:11, 12.


Q. 1. What is the Lord’s supper?

A. An holy action instituted and appointed by Christ, to set forth his death, and communicate unto us spiritually his body and blood by faith, being represented by bread and wine, blessed by his word, and prayer, broken, poured out, and received of believers.

Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25, 26. Mark 14:22-24; 1 Corinthians 11:24, 25; John 6:63. 1 Corinthians 11:23, 25. 1 Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:26. Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19.

Q. 2. When did Christ appoint this sacraments?

A. On the night wherein he was betrayed to suffer. 1 Corinthians 11:23.

Q. 3. Whence is the right lose of it to be learned?

A. From the word, practice, and actions of our Savior, at its institution.

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Q. 4. What were the actions of our Savior to be imitated by us?

A. First, blessing the elements by prayer; secondly, breaking the bread, and pouring out the wine; thirdly, distributing them to the receivers, sitting in a tablegesture.

Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23, 24.

Q. 5. What were the words of Christ?

A. First, of command, — “ Take, eat;” secondly, of promise, — “ This is my body;” thirdly, of institution for perpetual use, — “ This do,” etc.

1 Corinthians 11:24-26.

Q. 6. Who are to be receivers of this sacrament?

A. Those only have a true right to the signs who by faith in have an holy interest in Christ, the thing signified.

1 Corinthians 11:27-29; John 6:63.

Q. 7. Do the elements remain bread and wine still, after the blessing of them?

A. Yes; all the spiritual change is wrought  by the faith of the receiver, not the words of the giver: to them that believe, they are the body and blood of Christ.

John 6:63; 1 Corinthians 10:4, 11:29.


Q. 1. What is the communion of saints?

A. An holy conjunction between all God’s people, wrought by their participation of the same Spirit, whereby we are all made members of that one body whereof Christ is head.

Song of Solomon 6:9; Jeremiah 32:39; John 17:22; 1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:3-6, 13; 1 John 1:3, 6, 7.

Q. 2. Of what sort is this union?

A. First, spiritual and internal, in the enjoyment of the same Spirit and graces, — which is the union of the Hebrews church catholic; secondly, external and ecclesiastical, in the same outward ordinances, — which is the union of particular congregations.

1 Corinthians 12:12,13; Ephesians 2:16, 19-22; 1 Corinthians 10:17; John 17:11, 21, 22; John 10:16; 1:11. 1 Corinthians 1:10,11; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:27,28; Ephesians 4:11-13; Philippians 2:2; Colossians 3:15; 1 Peter 3:8.


Q. 1. What are particular churches?

A. Peculiar assemblies of professors in one place, under officers of Christ’s institution, enjoying the ordinances of

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God, and leading lives be seeming their holy calling.

Acts 11:26; 1 Corinthians 4:17, 11:22; 2 Corinthians 1:1. Acts 20:17,28, 14:23; 2 Corinthians 8:23; Hebrews13:17. 1 Corinthians 3:6; Revelation 2:1-3. 2 Thessalonians 3:5, 6,
11; Galatians 6:16; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:12.

Q. 2. What are the ordinary officers of such churches?

A. First, pastors or doctors, to teach and exhort; secondly, elders, to assist in rule and government; thirdly, deacons, to provide for the poor.

Romans 12:7, 8; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28. Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 5:17. Acts 6:2, 3.

Q. 3. What is required of these officers, especially the chiefest, or ministers?

A. That they be faithful in the ministry committed unto them; sedulous in dispensing the Word; watching for the good of the souls committed to them; going before them in an example of all godliness and holiness of life.

1 Corinthians 4:2; Acts 20:18-20. 2 Timothy 2:15, 4:1-5. Titus 1:13; 1 Timothy 4:15, 16. Titus 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:12; Matthew 5:16; Acts 24:16.

Q. 4. What is required in the people unto them?

A. Obedience to their message and ministry; honor and love to their persons; maintenance to them and their families. 2 Corinthians 5:20; Romans 6:17; Hebrews 13:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; Romans 16:19; 2 Corinthians 10:4-6. 1 Corinthians 4:1; Galatians 4:14; 1
Timothy 5:17,18. Luke 10:7; James 5:4; 1 Timothy 5:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 9:9-13.


Q. 1. What is the resurrection of the flesh?

A. An act of the mighty power of God’s Holy Spirit, applying unto us the virtue of Christ’s resurrection, etc.; whereby, at the last day, he will raise our whole bodies from the dust, to be united again unto our souls in everlasting happiness.

Job 19:25-27; Psalm 16:9-11; Isaiah 26:19; Ezekiel 37:2,3; Daniel 12:2; 1 Corinthians 15:16, Revelation 20:12, 13.

Q. 2. What is the end of this whole dispensation?

A. The glory of God in our eternal salvation.

p. 27

To Him be all glory and honor for evermore! Amen.

HT709 Thesis Proposal

(Revised April, 2013)

Course Description

Designed for those enrolled in the MA Historical Theology emphasis and may be attempted only after all the core courses for the degree have been completed. This course entails preparation for the completion of a thesis in the Spring Semester. The thesis proposal will be developed in consultation with faculty in the department of theological studies and will include a brief statement of topic, the state of the question, the proposed argument, research methods and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

Content and Organization

    1. Introduction
      1. Name
      2. Context, i.e. your personal interest in this project (why are you writing thisproject?)
    1. Brief Statement of the Topic
      1. What is the topic
      2. Why should anyone care about this topic
    1. State of the Question
      1. What is at issue?
      2. Who are the parties involved in the discussion?
      3. What is the state of the literature?
    1. Proposed Argument
      1. What is your tentative thesis/argument/hypothesis?
      2. How do you intend to make your case?
    1. Research Methods
      1. What historiographic method will you use?
      2. What sources will you use?
    1. Bibliography
      1. What are the most important primary sources?
      2. What are the most important secondary sources?
  1. Supervisor and Reader
    1. Who is your proposed supervisor?
    2. Who is your proposed reader?


Not to exceed 3000 words, double-spaced.

Please read or re-read On the Writing of Essays.

Please read (or re-read) MA (HT) Thesis Guidelines

Due Date: Last day of the Winter Term Final Exam period, 10:00 AM.


Most of your effort should be directed toward explaining the topic you are researching, the state of the question and explaining how your research supplements the current body of knowledge. It is understood that your .thesis may change as your research progresses.


Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition

Kate L. Turabian, A Manual For Writers

Assertion of Intellectual Property Rights

The instructor holds the copyright to all course lectures and original course materials. This copyright extends to student notes and summaries that substantially reflect the lectures or original course materials. Course lectures and materials are made available for the personal use of students only and may not be recorded or otherwise distributed (including the publication of student notes or summaries on social media) in any way for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the express written permission of the instructor.

PT730 Studies In Distintives And Issues In The United Reformed Churches In North America (URCNA)

A directed study intended to supplement the existing preparation of URCNA students studying for the pastoral ministry and to focus their preparation for classical examinations.

Prerequisite: HT/ST615 Reformed Confessions.

1 or 2 Credits

The academic goal of the course is to expose the student to specific issues in systematic, historical, and pastoral theology related to the URCNAs.

The pastoral goal of the course is to give the student a structured, guided opportunity to excel in his classical exams.

The outcome of the course will be measured by classical examinations and, where possible, by feedback from the classes and examiners.


  1. Read and outline the Three Forms of Unity
  2. Memorize those questions and answers in the Heidelberg Catechism not memorized in HT/ST 615.
  3. Read and outline the Church Order of the URNCAs.
  4. Read Van Dellen and Monsma’s Commentary on the Church Order and submit a one 1-page reaction paper.
  5. Required attendance to and 1-page written reports on all URCNA lunchtime seminars.
  6. Mock oral exam

Assigned Readings

  1. Background to the Synod of Dort
  2. Preface to the Canons of Dort
  3. The Church Order of the Synod of Dort (1619)
  4. Dutch Reformed Church
  5. P. Y. DeJong, “The Rise of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands” in P. Y. DeJong, ed. Crisis in the Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Great Synod of Dort, 1618-1919 (Grand Rapids: Reformed Fellowship, 1968)
  6. Cornelis P. Venema, “Integration, Disintegration, and Reintegration: A Preliminary History of the United Reformed Churches in North America” in Always Reformed: Essays in Honor of W. Robert Godfrey
  7. URCNA Justification Committee Report
  8. URCNA Nine Points
  9. Commentary on the Nine Points
  10. Van Dellen and Monsma’s Commentary on the Church Order
  11. URCNA Form of Subscription
  12. URCNA Report on Deacons in the Churches
  13. URCNA-OPC Report
  14. URCNA Synod Escondido 2001 on Creation

Recommended Reading

  1. James D. Bratt, Dutch Calvinism in Modern America: A History of a Conservative Subculture
  2. ——Abraham Kuyper (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014)
  3. Arie Baars, The Secession of 1834
  4. Hendrik Bouma, Secession, Doleantie, and Union 1834–1892
  5. Michael Brown, ed., Called to Serve: Essays for Elders and Deacons
  6. Abraham Kuyper, Centennial Reader
  7. Ron Gleason, Herman Bavinck: Pastor, Churchman, Statesman, and Theologian
  8. Peter S. Heslam, Creating a Christian Worldview: Abraham Kuyper’s Lectures on Calvinism
  9. CRC Position Paper on Women in Office
  10. Dorothy Sayers, Creed Or Chaos.

Assertion of Intellectual Property Rights

The instructor holds the copyright to all course lectures and original course materials. This copyright extends to student notes and summaries that substantially reflect the lectures or original course materials. Course lectures and materials are made available for the personal use of students only and may not be recorded or otherwise distributed (including the publication of student notes or summaries on social media) in any way for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the express written permission of the instructor.

HT/ST615 Reformed Confessions (Three Forms of Unity)

Course Description

An introduction to the background, doctrine, and use of the Reformed Confessions. Spring. 2 Credits.

The Student Learning Outcome for the Historical Theology Program: The student demonstrates understanding of the main eras of church history, the significant issues, and leaders/theologians of each.

Course Requirements:

(1) Attend all classes, complete all readings, and participate in class discussion (30%).

(2) One double or single spaced, typed, confession of faith or catechism of no more than 1000 words which addresses and includes the following topics:

  • Prolegomena (Revelation, Scripture)
  • Theology Proper (God’s being, attributes, the Trinity, creation and providence)
  • Anthropology (Creation, image of God and sin)
  • Christology (Jesus’ person, natures and work)
  • Soteriology (Sin, atonement, ordo salutis)
  • Ecclesiology (Offices, nature, structure, authority)
  • Sanctification and the sacraments (Baptism, Lord’s Supper; preaching and worship)
  • Eschatology (judgment, heaven and eternity)

This confession/catechism should be grounded in Scripture and informed by the catholic (universal) creeds of the Church and by the Reformed confession(s) to which you subscribe (e.g., The Three Forms or the The Westminster Standards). Your mark will be determined by whether and how well you address the topics listed. Given the word limit and the number of topics (which works out to about 100 words per topic) you must choose your words carefully. It would be wise to begin this assignment in the first week of classes.

NB: This exercise is intended to help you discover and appreciate the difficulty and art of writing a coherent, useful, confessional document. It is not intended to challenge or replace in your affections your present confessional allegiance.

Due the last day of the semester, 10:00 AM (35%)

(3) One double spaced, typed, essay of no more than 2500 words. A normal typescript page is approximately 300 words, therefore your essay should be about 8 pages. (35%)

Topics: You may write on any historical or theological topic addressed by one or more of the standards. Your essay must, however, interact substantially with a portion of at least one of the standards. Due the last day of the semester, 10:00 AM.


Those who wish may substitute catechism memory for the assigned paper.

Heidelberg Catechism questions must be memorized from the Schaff edition, the 1959 CRCNA edition, or the 1978 RCUS edition, or the edition published by the Ontario/Oceanside/Pasadena URCs (in the bookstore), or the edition on this website.

The Heidelberg questions are:

1-9, 15-17, 19, 21, 26-28, 31, 32, 37, 45, 53, 54, 60, 61, 64, 65, 69, 72, 75, 80, 81, 86, 88, 96-98, 103, 114-116.

Those who choose this option will be tested at the end of the semester during finals week.

You must submit your reading percentage to the instructor by the end of reading week.

(4) Complete the Student Work Portfolio (for any questions not covered here, please contact the Academic Dean).

As a graduating senior, you must submit a Student Work Portfolio, which is a collection of your work over the course of your seminary education. This portfolio will be used by WSC for internal review of our educational effectiveness. It will not be distributed outside of the institution. Please follow the submission instructions carefully and ensure that your portfolio contains all of the required documents. Your portfolio should be submitted in digital form (preferably in PDF).

Cover Page

Submit your portfolio with a cover page that provides the following information:

  • Name
  • Program (MDiv, MATS, MAHT, MABS)
  • Start Date (year/month)
  • End Date (year/month)Required DocumentsPlease write a five-page reflection paper that addresses your impression of your experience here at WSC. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses in the curriculum, things you like and things you would like to see changed. Also comment on how well you believe that you have done in achieving educational improvement on the SLOs for your specific degree program. You do not have to cite any sources, as you are the primary source for this paper!PapersPlease submit a clean copy (your name does not appear anywhere) of the following papers if assigned for the class listed below (note, the submission of these papers is the only exception to the rule against the dual-submission of papers for course credit)


ST501 Christian Mind
NT602 Pauline Epistles
ST703 Doctrine of the Church
OT702 Prophetical Books (or OT701 Psalms and Wisdom)
One sermon manuscript (not an outline) from a Senior-level preaching practicum


ST501 Christian Mind
NT601 Gospels and Acts
OT702 Prophetical Books (or OT701 Psalms and Wisdom) OT601 Historical Books


ST501 Christian Mind
ST702 Christian Life
ST703 Doctrine of the Church

Required Readings

R. Scott Clark, Recovering the Reformed Confession.

D. G. Hart, The Lost Soul of American Protestantism (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002).

Samuel Miller, Doctrinal Integrity: On the Utility and Importance of Creeds and Confessions and Adherence to our Doctrinal Standards (Dallas: Presbyterian Heritage Press, [repr] 1989), 3–89.

R. Scott Clark, Why We Memorize the Catechism,” Presbyterian Banner (August, 2003).

R. Scott Clark, “Notes on Belgic Confession Article 15.”

R. Scott Clark, “Notes on a Possible Difficulty in Belgic Confession Article 14

R. Scott Clark, On the Revision of Belgic Confession Article 36

R. Scott Clark, Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude: Historical, Theological, Pastoral Commentary On The Heidelberg Catechism.

WSC Faculty, Our Testimony on Justification

The Three Forms of Unity (Heidelberg Catechismthe Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort). For a print version see Schaff’s Creeds of Christendom. The 1976 CRC edition of the Heidelberg Catechism is not recommended.

P. Y. DeJong ed., Crisis in the Reformed Churches (Grand Rapids: Reformed Fellowship, 1968), 1,2,3,8.

Richard Muller, Confessing the Reformed Faith: Our Identity in Unity and Diversity,” New Horizons (1994).

Recommended Reading

Zacharias Ursinus, Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, [repr] 1985).

Lyle D. Bierma, Charles D. Gunnoe Jr., and Karin Y. Maag, An Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism: Sources, History, and Theology. Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005).

Nicholaas Gootjes, The Belgic Confession: Its History and Sources (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007).

A. A. Hodge, The Westminster Confession of Faith: A Commentary (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth).

David W. Hall, Practice of Confessional Subscription, ed. (Oak Ridge, TN: The Covenant Foundation, repr. 2001).

Joel R. Beeke and S. B. Ferguson, Reformed Confessions Harmonized (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999).

Ligon Duncan, ed. The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century: Essays in Remembrance of the 350th Anniversary of the Publication of the Westminster Confession of Faith, 3 vols (Ross-Shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2003) .

W. R. Godfrey, “Tensions in International Calvinism” (PhD. Diss. Stanford University, 1974), ch.1.

S. W. Carruthers, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Being an account of the preparation and printing of its seven leading editions to which is appended a critical text of the confession(Greenville, [repr] 1995).

Johannes G. Vos, The Westminster Larger Catechism: A Commentary (Philipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2002).

C. R. Trueman and R. Scott Clark, ed., Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment(Carlisle: Paternoster, 1999), Introduction, 1.2; 2.1; 2.4, 5.

Caspar Olevianus, A Firm Foundation, trans. L. D. Bierma (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995).

——An Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed

R. Scott Clark, Caspar Olevian and the Substance of the Covenant of Grace: The Double Benefit of Christ (2005; Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Press, 2008).

Daniel R. Hyde, “The Holy Spirit in the Heidelberg Catechism,” Mid-America Journal of Theology 17 (2006): 211-37.

Daniel Hyde, With Heart and Mind: An Exposition of the Belgic Confession

James T. Dennison, ed. Reformed Confessions of the 16h and 17th Centuries in English Translation (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008).

Dorothy Sayers, “Lost Tools of Learning

—— Creed or Chaos

Other Resources

Assertion of Intellectual Property Rights

The instructor holds the copyright to all course lectures and original course materials. This copyright extends to student notes and summaries that substantially reflect the lectures or original course materials. Course lectures and materials are made available for the personal use of students only and may not be recorded or otherwise distributed (including the publication of student notes or summaries on social media) in any way for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the express written permission of the instructor.

Beza’s Summa Totius Christianismi

Theodore Beza
Geneva, 1555
trans. William Whittingham (1575) revised by R. Scott Clark (2002).

The question of God’s eternal Predestination is not curious, or unprofitable, but of great importance, and very necessary in the Church of God.

p. 2


1. In De bono perseverantiæ (On the Good of Perseverance), Augustine, chapter 14, says, that they who opposed him as adversaries in this question, alleged that the doctrine of predestination hindered the preaching of God’s word, and caused it to be unprofitable. As if (he says) this doctrine had hindered the Apostle Paul to do his duty: who so oftentimes does commend unto us, and teach Predestination, and yet never ceases to preach the word of God. Also says moreover: As he that has received the gift, can better exhort and preach: so he that has received this gift, does hear the Preacher more obediently, and with greater reverence, etc. We do therefore exhort and preach, but they only which have ears to hear do hear us quietly, and to their comfort: and in those that have them not, this sentence is fulfilled, that hearing with their ears they do not hear, for they hear with the outward sense, but not with the inward consent. Now why some men have these ears, and others not, it is, because it is given to some to come, and to others not. Who knew God’s counsel? must that be denied which is plain and evident, because that cannot be known which is hid and secret? Again in the 15th chapter, I pray you (says he) if some under the shadow of predestination give themselves to slothful negligence, and as they are bent to flatter their flesh, so follow their own lusts, must we therefore judge, that this which is written of the foreknowledge of God is false? Now surely this is very handsome, and to the purpose, that we shall not speak that which by the Scripture is lawful to speak. Oh we fear (say you) lest he should be offended, which is not able to understand, and take it. And shall we not fear (say I) lest whiles we hold our tongue, he that is able to take the truth, be taken and snared with falsehood and error? Also in the 20th chapter of the same book he writes in this sort, If the Apostles, and Doctors of the church which came after them, did the one and the other, both teaching the eternal election of God purely and truly, and also retaining the faithful in godly life and manners: What moves our adversaries (seeing they are overcome with the manifest and invincible truth) to think they speak well, saying, although this doctrine of predestination be true, yet it ought not to be preached to the people? Nay, so much the rather it is good to be thoroughly preached, that he that has

p. 3

ears to hear, may hear. And who has them, but he that has received them of God, who promises to give them? And as for him that does receive it, let him refuse it if he will: so that he that does receive it, may take it, drink it, be sufficed, and have life. For as we must preach the fear of God to the end that God may be truly served: so must we preach predestination that he which has ears to hear may hear, and rejoice in God, not in himself, for the grace of God towards him.

2. This is the mind of that excellent doctor as touching this point, which notwithstanding binds us to two conditions: the one is, that we speak no farther herein than God’s word limits us: the other, that we set forth the same thing which the Scripture teaches, accordingly, and to edification. Wherefore we will briefly speak of both these parts: first of the doctrine itself, and next of the use and applying of the same.

p. 4


Of the eternal counsel of God hidden in himself, which afterwards is known by the effects thereof.

1. GOD, whose judgments no man can comprehend, whose ways can not be found out, and whose will (1) ought to stop all men’s mouths (2), according to the determinate and unchangeable purpose of his will, by the virtue whereof all things are made (3), yea even those things which are evil and execrable (not in that they be wrought by his divine counsel, but forasmuch as they proceed of the prince of the air, and that spirit which works in the children (4) of disobedience) has determined (5) from before all beginning with himself, to create all things in their time, for his glory, and (6) namely men: whom he has made after two sorts, clean contrary one to the other. Whereof he makes the one sort (which it pleased him to choose by his secret will and purpose) partakers of his glory through his mercy (7), and these we call according to the word of God, the vessels of honor, the elect, the children of promise, and predestinate to salvation (8): and the others, whom likewise it pleased him to ordain to damnation (that he might show forth his wrath and power, to be glorified also in them) we do call the vessels of dishonor and wrath, the reprobate and cast off from all good works (9).

2. This election or predestination to everlasting life, being considered in the will of God (that is to say) this same determination, or purpose to elect, is the first fountain and chief original of the salvation of God’s children: neither is it thereon grounded, as some say, because God did foresee their faith, or good works: but only of his own good will (10,) whence afterwards the election, the faith, and the good works spring forth. Therefore, when the scripture will confirm the children of God in full and perfect hope, it does not stay in alleging the testimonies of the second causes, that is to say, in the fruits of faith, nor in the second causes themselves, as faith, and calling by the Gospel, neither yet sometimes in Christ himself, in whom notwithstanding we are, as in our head elected and adopted, but ascends higher, even unto that eternal purpose which God has determined only in himself (11.) 3. Likewise, when mention is made of the damnation of the reprobate, although the whole fault thereof be in themselves (12): yet notwithstanding, sometimes when need requires, the Scripture to make more manifest by this Chapter 2

p. 5

comparison the great power of God’s patience, and the riches of his glory towards the vessels of mercy (13), leads us unto this high secret, which by order is the first cause of their damnation, of which secret, no other cause is known to men, but only his just will, which we must with all reverence obey, as coming from him, who is only just, and can not by any means, nor of any man, in any sort be comprehended
(14). For we must put difference between the purpose or ordinance of reprobation, and reprobation itself. Because God would that the secret of this his purpose should be kept close from us: and again we have the causes or reprobation, and damnation, which depends thereof, expressed in God’s word, that is to say, corruption, lack of faith, and iniquity, which as they be necessary, so are they also voluntary in the vessels made to dishonor (15): like as on the other part when we describe orderly the causes of the salvation of the elect, we put difference between the purpose of electing, which God has determined in himself, and the election which is appointed in Christ in such sort, that this his purpose or ordinance, does not only go before election in the degree of causes, but also before all other things that follow the same. (16.)

4. The place and testimonies of the Scriptures, which are alleged in this treatise, and marked by numbers, it seemed good to place apart at the end of every Chapter, partly that being separate they might be better weighed and understood: and partly because they could not for the multitude thereof be contained in the margin of the book. And here we have compassed every number within these two lines ( ) to the intent they might the more easily be found out.

p. 6

Notes of the Second Chapter

(1) Rom. 11.33.
(2) Job 9.10-12; Rom 9.20.
(3) Eph. 1.9,11; Gen. 27.20; Exod.
21.13; John 22.13; Prov. 16.33; 20.24; 21.1; Isa. 14.27; 46.4,10; Jer. 10.23;
Dan. 4.32; Matt. 10.29; Gal. 1.4.
(4) Eph. 2.2.
(5) Gen. 45.8; 50.19,20; Exod. 4.21; 7.3; and 9.12; and 10.1,20,27; and 11.10; 14.4,8,17; Deut. 2.30; Josh.11.19,20; 1 Sam. 2.25; 2 Sam. 12.11; 16.11; and 24.1; 1 Kings 12.15; 22.22,23; 2 Kings 18.25; 2 Chron. 10.15; 11.4; 22.7; 25.20; Neh. 9.36,37; Job 1.12,21; 23.14; 34.30; 37.13; Psalm 105.25; Isa. 10.15; 54.16; 63.17; John 12.40; Acts 2.23; 4.28; Rom. 9.18,19; 11.32 with Gal 3.22; 1 Thes. 3.3
(6) Prov. 16.4.
(7) Isa. 43.7; Eph. 1.5,6; Rom. 9.23;
(8) Rom. 8.29,30; 9.8,21; 1 Cor. 2.7; Eph.1.4; 2 Thes. 2.13; 1 Pet. 1.2.
(9) Exod. 9.16; Prov. 16.4; Rom. 3.5; 9.22; Isa. 54:16.
(10) Deut. 4.37; 7.7,8; Josh. 24.2; Psalm 44.3; Ezek. 16.6,60; John 15.16,19; Acts 13:48; 22.14; Rom. 5.6; 9.11-16,18,23; 11.7,35; 1 Cor. 4.7; Eph.
1.4,5,11; 2.10; Col. 1.12; 2 Tim. 1.9.
(11) Matt. 25.34; John 6.40,45; Acts 13.48; Rom. 8.29,30; 9.8,11,12,16,23; 11.7; Eph. 1.4,5,9,11; 2 Tim. 2.19; 1 Cor. 2.7,10.
(12) Hos. 13.9; John 3.19.
(13) Rom. 9.23. (14) Exod. 9.16; Psalm 33.15; Prov. 16.4; Rom. 9.11,12,13, where he says not only that Esau was ordained to be hated before he did any evil (for in so saying he should not seem to exclude any thing but actual sin and incredulity) but says expressly, before he was born, whereby he excludes the original sin, and all that which might be considered in the person of Esau by his birth, from the cause of the hate. Therefore anon after, when he shows how the Reprobate murmur, and reply, he does not say, that they speak in this sort: Why does not God hate others alike, seeing they are also born in the same corruption that we be? The Apostle speaks no such words, but he says their reason is in this sort: who can resist his will? For hereof man’s reason gathers, that they are unjustly condemned. And yet Paul does not answer, that God would so, because he saw that they would be corrupt, and so consequently that the cause of his decree should be grounded on their corruption (which answer had been clear and resolute, if it had been true) but forasmuch as he says plainly, it so pleased God, and it was not in their power to change this his good pleasure, he bridles man’s wisdom, that it might reverence and wonder at God’s mysteries, as it is most just to do. And also encourages the Elect to honor the grace of God, which is declared and made famous by such a corruption. In this sort then the other places of the Scripture which conduct and lift us up to behold the sovereign will of God, which is the only rule of justice ought to be expounded. Isa. 54.16; 1 Sam. 2.25; John 6.44,45,64,65; 10.26; 12.39,40; 1 Pet. 2.8; and in divers other places. (15) 2 Thes. 2.10-12; Rom. 11.20; 2 Cor. 4.3,4; Heb. 12.17. (16) Rom. 8.30; Eph. 1.4,5.

p. 12


1. THE Lord God, that he might put in execution this eternal  counsel, to his glory, prepared a way according to his infinite wisdom, indifferent both to those that he would choose, and those also which he would refuse. For when he determined to show his infinite mercy in the salvation of the elect, and also his just judgment in the condemnation of the reprobate: it was necessary that he should shut up both under disobedience and sin, to show his mercy to all (1) those that believe (2): that is to say, to the elect: because faith is a gift of God which properly belongs unto them (3): and to the contrary to have just cause to condemn them, to whom it is not given to believe (4), nor to know God’s mysteries (5). Therefore God did this in such sort, and with such wisdom, that the whole fault of the reprobates’ damnation lies in themselves: and on the other side, all the glory and praise of the elects’ salvation belongs wholly in his only mercy. For he did not create man a sinner, for then he should have been (with reverent fear be it spoken, the author of sin, which afterwards he could not justly have punished) but rather he made him after his own image (6): to wit, in innocence, purity, and holiness (7): who notwithstanding without constraint of any, neither yet forced by any necessity of concupiscence as touching his will (which as yet was not made servant to sin) (8), willingly and of his own accord rebelled against God: binding by this means the whole nature of man to sin, and so consequently to the death of body and soul (9). Yet we must confess that this fall came not by chance or fortune, seeing his providence stretches forth itself even to the smallest things (10), neither can we say, that any thing happens, that God knows not, or cares not for, except we would fall into the opinion of the Epicureans, from which God preserve us, neither yet by any bare or idle permission or sufferance, which is separate from his will and sure determination. For seeing he has appointed the end, it is necessary also that he should appoint the causes which lead us to the same end, unless we affirm with the wicked Manicheans that this end happens at all adventures, or by means of causes ordained by some other God. Furthermore we cannot think that any thing happens contrary to God’s will, except we deny blasphemously that he is omnipotent and almighty, As Augustine notes plainly in his book De correptione   et gratia (On Corruption and Grace). Cap. 104. We conclude therefore that this fall of Adam did so.

p. 13

proceed of the motion of his will that notwithstanding it happened not without the will of God: whom it pleases by a marvelous and incomprehensible mean, that the thing which he does not allow (for as much as it is sin) should not happen without his will. And this is done, as we said before, that he might show the riches of his glory towards the vessels of mercy: and his wrath and power upon those vessels, which he has made to set forth his glory by their shame and confusion (12). For the final end of God’s counsel is neither the salvation of the elect, nor the damnation of the reprobate: but the setting forth of his own glory, in saving the one by his mercy, and condemning the other by his just judgment. Then to avoid all these blasphemies, unto which the infirmity of our wits does draw us, let us confess that the corruption of the principal work that God has made (which is man) is not happened by chance, nor without the will of him, who according to his incomprehensible wisdom, does make and govern all things to his glory. Albeit we must confess (in despite of man’s judgment, which was limited in the beginning within a certain compass, and after was miserably corrupted) that the whole fault of his damnation lies in man: forasmuch as between the secret and incomprehensible will of God, and that corruption of man’s nature, which is the very first occasion of the reprobates damnation, the will of the first man is a mean, which being created good, has willingly corrupted itself, and thereby opened the door to the just judgment of God, to condemn all those, to whom it does not please him to show mercy. And if they would yet object and cavil, saying, that they cannot resist the will of God (13), let us suffer them to their own destruction to plead against him, who will be able enough to defend his justice against their quarreling. Let us rather reverence that which passes the reach and compass of our wits, and turn our minds wholly to praise his mercy, who by his only grace has saved us, when we deserved the like punishment and damnation, and were no less sinners and wicked than they.

Notes of the third chapter.

(1) Rom. 11.32.
(2) Gal. 3.22.
(3) Acts 13.48; Eph. 2.8; 2 Thes. 3.2; Titus 1.1,2; Phil. 1.29; Gal. 5.22.
(4) Matt. 13.11.
(5) John 12.38,39.
(6) Gen. 3.
(7) Eph. 4.24.
(8) Rom. 5.12; 7.20.
(9) Rom. 5.12 etc.
(10) Matt. 10.29,30; Prov. 16.33.
(11) Rom. 9.21,22; 1 Pet. 2.8; Exod. 9.16; Prov. 16.4.
(12) Exod. 9.16; Prov.
16.4; Isa. 54.16; Rom. 9.11,12,13,17,18, etc.
(13) Rom. 9.13,19.


1. WHEN God had determined with himself the things before mentioned, he, by a more manifest order of causes, which notwithstanding was eternal (as all things are present to him) disposed orderly all the degrees, whereby he would bring his elect unto his kingdom. Forasmuch therefore as he is merciful, and yet could not forget his justice, before all other things it was necessary that a mediator should be appointed: by whom man might be perfectly restored, and that this should be done by the free mercy and grace which does appear in the salvation of his elect. But man, besides that he is so weak, that it is not possible for him to sustain the weight of God’s wrath, does also so much flatter himself in that his most miserable blindness, that he cannot perceive it (1): because he is wholly in bondage to sin (2): so that the law of God is to him as death (3), so far is he unable of himself to recover his liberty, or to satisfy the law of God in the very least jot. God therefore the most merciful father of the Elect, moderating in such sort his justice, with his infinite mercy, appointed his only son, who was the very same substance, and God eternal with him, that at the time determined, he should by the power of the holy (4) Ghost be made very man (5), to the end that both the natures being joined in Jesus Christ alone (6), first, all the corruption of man should be fully healed in one man (7), who should also accomplish all justice (8), and moreover should be able enough to sustain the judgment of God, and be a Priest sufficient and worthy of himself to appease the wrath of God his father, in dying as a just and innocent for them that were unjust and sinners, covering our disobedience, and purging all our sins which were laid upon him (9). And finally with one only offering and sacrifice of himself should sanctify all the elect, mortifying and burying sin in them by the partaking of his death and burial: and quickening them into newness of life by his resurrection (10): so that they should find more in him than they had lost in Adam (11). And to the intent this remedy should not be found and ordained in vain, the Lord God determined to give this his Son with all things appertaining to salvation (12), to them whom he had determined in himself to choose: and on the other side, to give them unto his son, that they being in him, and he in Chapter 4 13 them (13), might be consummate and made perfect in one, by these degrees that follow after, according as it pleased him to bring forth every one of his elect into this world. For first, when it pleases him to disclose that secret which he had purposed from before all beginning (14), at such time as men least look for it (15), as men are blinded and yet think they see most clear (16), when as in very deed death and damnation hangs over their head (17), he comes suddenly, and sets before their eyes, the great danger wherein they are, and that they might be touched more sharply and lively, he adds to the witness of their own conscience, being as it were asleep and dead, the preaching of his law (18), and the examples of his judgments, to strike them with the horror of their sins: nor that they should remain in that fear, but rather that beholding the great danger thereof, should fly to that only mediator Jesus Christ (19): in whom after the sharp preaching of the law, he sets forth the sweet grace of the Gospel, but yet with this condition, that they believe in him (20), who only can deliver them from condemnation (21) and give them right and title to the heavenly inheritance (22). Yet all these things were but vain if he should only set before men’s eyes these secrets by the external preaching of his word written and published in the church of God, which notwithstanding is the ordinary means whereby Jesus Christ is communicated to us (23): therefore as regarding his elect (24), unto the external preaching of his Word, he joins the inward working of his Holy Spirit, which does not restore (as the Papists imagine) the remnants or residue of free will (for what power soever of free will remains in us, serves to no other use but willingly to sin (25), to fly from God (26), to hate him (27), and so not to hear him (28), nor to believe in him (29), neither yet to acknowledge his gift (30), no not so much as to think a good thought (31): and finally to be children of wrath and malediction,) but to the contrary changes their hard hearts of stone into soft hearts of flesh (32), draws them (33), teaches them (34), lighten their eyes (35), and opens their sense (36), their heart, their ears, and understanding: first to make them to know (as we have said before) their own misery: and next, to plant in them the gift of faith, whereby they may perform that condition, which is joined to the preaching of the Gospel. And that stands in two points, the one, whereby we know Christ, in general, believing the story of Christ, and the Prophecies which are writ of him (37), which part of faith, as we shall declare in due place, is sometimes given to the reprobate. The other, which is proper, and only belongs to the elect, consists in applying

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Christ (who is universally and indifferently preached to all men) to ourselves, as ours: and that every man make himself sure of his election, which has been hid before all time in God’s secret (38), and afterwards revealed unto us, partly by inward testimony of our conscience through the holy ghost, joined to the external preaching of God’s word (39): and partly also by the virtue and power of the same spirit, who delivering the Elect from the servitude of sin (40), persuades and conducts them to will and work the things which please God. These then be the degrees, whereby it pleases God to create and form by his especial grace, that precious and peculiar gift of faith in his elect, to the intent that they may embrace their salvation in Jesus Christ. But because this faith in us is yet weak and only begun, to the end that we may not only persevere in it, but also profit (which thing is most necessary for all men to do) first according to the time that our adoption is revealed unto us, this faith is sealed in our hearts by the Sacrament of Baptism: and after every day more and more is confirmed and sealed in us by the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper: of which two Sacraments, the principal end is, that they be sure and effectual signs and pledges of the communion of the faithful with Christ (41) who is their wisdom, justice, sanctification, and redemption (42). For this occasion it is so oftentimes mentioned with Paul, that we being justified by faith, have peace with God (43): For whosoever has obtained the gift of true faith, has also by the same grace and liberality of God obtained the gift of perseverance (44). So that in all manner of temptations and afflictions, he doubts not to call upon God, with sure confidence to obtain his request (as far as it is expedient for him) knowing that he is of the number of God’s children, who can not fail him (45). Moreover he never swerves so from the right way, but at length by the benefit of God’s grace, he returns again: for although faith sometime seem in the Elect (as it were for a time) hid and buried, so that a man would think it were utterly quenched (46) (which God allows, that men might know their own weakness) yet it does never so far leave them, that the love of God and their neighbor, is altogether plucked out of their hearts. For no man is justified in Christ, who also is not sanctified in him (47), and framed to good works, which God prepared that we should walk therein (48). This is then the way whereby God by his mercy does prepare (to the full execution of his eternal counsel) them amongst his Elect, whom it pleases him to reserve, till they come to ripe age and discretion. As touching the other whom he calls into his kingdom so soon as they are born, or in their

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tender years, he uses a more short way. For seeing he does comprehend in that his free covenant, whereof Jesus Christ is the mediator (49), not only the faithful, but also their posterity (50), into a thousand generations (51), calling the same by express words, holy (52): there is no doubt but the children of the Saints, which appertain to election, (whom he only knows) he has given to his son, who will not cast them out (53).

Notes of the fourth chapter.

(1) John 9.41.
(2) Rom. 1.18; 7.14; 8.7; 1 Cor. 2.14; 2 Cor. 3.5; Eph. 2.3.
(3) Rom.
(4) Matt. 1.20; Luke 1.35.
(5) John 1.14; 1 John 1.1-3.
(6) Rom. 1.3,4; 2Cor. 5.19; Col. 2.9.
(7) Rom. 8.3.
(8) Matt. 3.15; 5.17,18; 1 Cor. 1.30.
(9) Isa. 53.4,5,7,11; Rom. 3.25; Acts 20.28; Col. 1.20; Rom. 5.19; 1 Pet. 2.24; 3.18; 2 Cor. 5.21.
(10) Rom. 6.3,4,5. etc. Col. 3.1; 2.12; John 17.19; Heb. 9.13; 10.14.
(11) Rom. 5.15,16,17,20.
(12) Rom. 8.32; John 3.16. (13) John 17.2,6,9,11,12,23.
(14) Gen. 3.15; 22.18; Rom. 3.25. and 16.25; 1 Cor. 2.7; Gal. 4.4; Eph. 1.9,10; Col. 1.26; 2 Tim. 1.9; Titus 1.2; 1 Pet. 1.20.
(15) Josh. 24.2; Ezek. 16.8,9; Isa. 65.1; Eph. 2.3,4,5,12; Rom. 5.10; 1 Pet. 2.10.
(16) John 9.41; John 3.19.
(17) Rom. 1.18,19; 2.15; Acts 14.17.
(18) Rom. 1.18,19; 2.15; Acts 14.17.
(19) Rom. 7.7; 1 Tim. 2.5; 2 Tim. 2.25,26; Acts 2.37,38; 1 John 2.1.
(20) John 1.12; 3.16; Rom. 1.16, and almost in every page of the whole Scripture.
(21) Rom. 8.1; 1 John 2.1.
(22) John 1.12, and 3.16; Rom. 1.16, and 5.1.
(23) Rom. 10.8,17; 2 Cor. 5.18,19; Jam. 1.18; 1 Pet. 1.25.
(24) Eph. 1.5,9; Col. 1.27.
(25) Rom. 6.19,20.
(26) Gen. 3.8; John 6.44,65.
(27) Rom. 5.10; 8.7.
(28) John 8.47.
(29) Isa. 53.1; John 12.39.
(30) Matt. 13.11; John 4.10; 3.3; 1 Cor. 2.14.
(31) 2 Cor. 3.5.
(32) Ezek. 11.19; 36.26; Psalm 51.12.
(33) John 6.44.
(34) John 6.45; 16.13; Psalm 119.33.
(35) Psalm 119.130; Eph. 1.17.
(36) Isa. 50.5; Psalm 10.17; 119.18,73,130; Col. 1.9. Jer. 31.18,19; 2 Tim. 2.25.
(37) Luke 24.45, Acts 16.14.
(38) 1 Cor. 2.10,11,12,16; Col. 1.26,27; Eph. 1.17-19; 1 John 3.24; 5.20.
(39) Rom. 8.15; Gal. 4.6.
(40) Rom. 8.14; 1 John 3.10,14; 4.14; Phil. 2.13; John 8.36; Rom. 6.18.
(41) Mark 16.16; Acts 2.38; Rom. 6.3,4; Gal. 3.27; Col. 2.12; Eph. 5.26; 1 Pet. 3.21; 1 Cor. 10.16; Rom. 4.11.
(42) 1 Cor. 1.30.
(43) Rom. 3.20-22; 4.2,5; 5.1; and in divers other places.
(44) and (45) Num. 23.19; Psalm 23.6; 27.1-3; Psalm 91 at large; Matt. 24.24; John 6.37; 17.15; 10.28,29; Rom. 5.2-5; 8.15,16,38,39; 1 Cor. 2.12,16; 2 Cor. 13.5; Eph. 1.9; Phil. 1.6; 1 Thes. 5.24; 2 Cor. 1.21; James 1.6; Heb. 4.16; 10.22; 1 John 4.17.
(46) So Moses, Aaron, David, Peter fell. 1 John 1.8.
(47) Rom. 6.1,2; and 1 John 3.9,10; 4.20; 2 Pet. 1.9.
(48) Eph. 2.10; 1.4.
(49) 1 Tim. 2.5; Heb. 9.15.
(50) Gen. 17.7.
(51) Exod. 20.6.
(52) 1 Cor. 7.14.
(53) John 6.37.

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1. BY these things whereof we have now spoken, it may easily appear how God makes them to go to their own place: (1) whom he created to that end that he might be glorified in their just condemnation. For as Christ the second heavenly Adam, is the foundation and very substance and effect of the Elect’s salvation: so also the first earthly Adam, because he fell, is the first author of the hate, and so consequently of the damnation of the reproved (2). For when God, moved with those causes which he only knows, had determined to create them to this end, to show forth in them his just wrath and power (3), likewise he did orderly dispose the causes and means, whereby it might come to pass that the whole cause of their damnation might be of themselves, as has been declared before in the third chapter. When man then was fallen willingly into that miserable estate whereof we have spoken in the chapter before, God who hates justly the Reprobate, because they are corrupt, in part of them he does execute his just wrath so soon as they are born (4): and towards the rest that be of age, whom he reserves to a more sharp judgment, he observes two ways clean contrary one to the other. For as concerning some, he shows them not so much favor, as once to hear of Jesus Christ, in whom only is salvation (5), but suffers them to walk in their own ways (6), and run headlong to their perdition. And as for the testimonies that God has left to them of his divinity (7), serve them to no other use but to make them without all excuse (8), and yet through their own default, seeing their ignorance and lack of capacity, is the just punishment of that corruption wherein they are born. And surely as touching that that they can attain unto in knowing God, by their light, or rather natural darkness (albeit they never failed in the way, but so continued) (9), yet were it not in no wise sufficient for their salvation. For it is

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necessary for us that shall be saved, that we know God, not only as God, but as our father in Christ (10): which mystery flesh and blood does not reveal (11), but the son himself, to them whom his father has given him (12). As concerning others, their fall is more terrible (13). For he causes them to hear by preaching the outward word of the Gospel (14), but because they are not of the number of the Elect, being called, they hear not (15), and forasmuch as they are not able to receive the spirit of truth (16), therefore they cannot believe, because it is not given unto them (17), wherefore when they are called to the feast, they refuse to come, so that the word of life is folly unto them, and an offence (18), and finally the savor of death to their destruction. (19.) There are yet others, whose hearts God opens to receive and believe the things that they hear, but this is with that general faith, whereby the Devils believe and tremble (20). To conclude, they which are most miserable of all, those climb a degree higher, that their fall might be more grievous, for they are raised so high by some gift of grace, that they are a little moved with some taste of the heavenly gift (21): so that for the time they seem to have received the seed, and to be planted in the Church of God (22), and also show the way of salvation to others (23). But this is plain that the spirit of adoption, which we have said to be only proper unto them which are never cast forth (24) but are written in the secret of God’s people (25), is never communicate unto them. For if they were of the Elect, they should remain still with the Elect (26). All these therefore (because of necessity, and yet willingly, as they which are under the slavery of sin (27)), return to their vomit (28) and fall away from faith (29) are plucked up by the roots, to be cast into the fire (30). I mean, they are forsaken of God (31), who according to his will (which no man can resist (32), and yet for all that because of their corruption and wickedness) (33), hardens them (34), makes their hearts fat, stops their ears, and blinds them (35): and to bring this to pass, he uses partly their own vile lusts, to which he has given them up to be ruled and led by (36), and partly the spirit of lies, who keeps them wrapped in his snares (37), by reason of their corruption, from which

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as out of a fountain, issues a continual flowing river of infidelity, ignorance, and iniquity: whereby it follows that [they] having as it were made shipwreck of their faith, can by no means escape the day, which is appointed for their destruction, that God may be glorified in their just condemnation (38).

Notes of the fifth chapter.

(1) Acts 1.25; Rom. 9.22; Matt. 25.41.
(2) Rom. 5.18; 1 Cor. 15.21, etc.
(3) Exod. 9.16; Rom. 9.17,22.
(4) Exod. 20.5; Eph. 2.3; Rom. 5.14.
(5) Matt. 1.21; Acts 4.12.
(6) Acts 14.16,17; 17.30; Rom. 1.24; Eph. 2.11.
(7) Rom. 1.19,20; Acts 14.17; 17.27.
(8) Rom. 1.20; John 15.22; Rom. 2.12.
(9) Rom. 1.21,22.
(10) John 17.3; 3.36.
(11) Matt. 11.27; 16.17. John 1.13; 3.5,6.
(12) Matt. 11.27.
(13) Luke 12.47.
(14) Matt. 22.14; Luke 13.34; 19.42.
(15) Jer. 7.27,28; Prov. 1.24.
(16) John 14.17.
(17) John 12.39,40; 2 Thes. 3.2; Matt. 13.11.
(18) 1 Cor. 1.18,23.
(19) 2 Cor. 2.15,16.
(20) James 2.19.
(21) Heb. 6.4.
(22) Acts 8.12; Matt. 13, and in many other places which we have above recited in the 2nd chapter.
(23) Acts 1.17.
(24) John 6.37.
(25) Ezek. 13.9; Rev. 22.18.
(26) 1 John 2.19.
(27) John 8.34; Rom. 5.12; 6.19,20; and 7.14; and 8.7.
(28) 2 Pet. 2.22.
(29) 1 Tim. 4.1.
(30) Matt. 15.13; John 15.2.
(31) Acts 14.16.
(32) Rom. 9.19.
(33) Rom. 1.27,28; 2 Thes. 2.9-11; John 3.19.
(34) Isa. 63.17; Exod. 4.21; Deut. 2.30, and in many other places above recited in the 2nd chapter.
(35) Isa. 6.10; Rom. 11.32.
(36) Exod. 8.32; Psalm 95.8; Acts 7.42; Rom. 1.26.
(37) 2 Kings 22.23; 2 Cor. 4.4; 2 Tim. 2.26;
(38) 1 Tim. 1.19; Prov. 16.4; Exod. 9.16; Rom. 9.21,22, etc.

Chapter 6

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1. FOR as much as God is justice itself, it is necessary that he should save the just, and condemn the unjust. Now they amongst men are only just, who being by faith joined to Christ (1), grafted (2), rooted in him (3), and made one body with him (4), are justified and sanctified in him, and by him: whereof it follows, that the glory to which they are predestined (5), to the glory of God (6), pertains to them as by a certain right or title. On the other part, they which remain in Adam’s pollution and death, are justly hated of God: and so condemned by him, not excepting so much as them which die before they sin, as Adam did (7). But both these manners of executing God’s judgments, as well in these as in the other which are elected are in three sorts: whereof we have already declared the first. For the elect in that same moment that they have received the gift of faith, have after a certain sort passed from death to life (8), whereof they have a sure pledge (9). But this their life is hid in Christ, till this corporal death make them to step a degree further, and that the soul being released out of the bands of the body, enter into the joy of the Lord (10). Finally, in the day appointed to judge the quick and the dead (11), when that which is corruptible and mortal shall be clad with incorruptibleness and immortality, and God shall be all in all things, then they shall see his majesty face to face, and shall fully enjoy that unspeakable comfort and joy, which before all beginning was prepared for them, which is also the reward that is due to the righteousness and holiness of Christ: who was given for their sins, and raised again from death for their justification: by whose virtue and spirit they have proceeded and gone forward from faith to faith, as shall manifestly appear by the whole course of their life, and good works (12). Whereas altogether contrary, the reprobate conceived, born, and brought up in sin, death, and wrath of God (13), when they depart out of this world, they fall into another gulf of destruction, and their

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souls are plunged in that endless pain (14), until the day come that their bodies and souls being joined again, they shall enter into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels (15). Then by these two ways (which are clean contrary one to another) the last issue and end of God’s judgments shall set forth manifestly his glory to all men, forasmuch as in his elect he shall declare himself most just and most merciful. Most just, I say, for that he has punished with extreme rigor and severity the sins of his elect in the person of his son, neither did receive them into the fellowship of his glory, before he had fully and perfectly justified and sanctified them in his Son. And most merciful, for as much as he freely appointed with himself to elect them, and according as he had purposed, chose them freely in his son, by calling, justifying, and glorifying them, by means of that same faith which he had given them through the same grace and mercy. On the other side, touching the reprobate, their corruption and infidelity, with such fruits as come thereof, and testimony of their own conscience, shall so reprove and accuse them, that although they resist and kick against the prick: yet the most perfect justice of God shall be manifest and shine by all men’s confession in their just condemnation.

Notes of the sixth chapter.

(1) John 17.21.
(2) Rom. 6.5.
(3) Col. 2.7.
(4) 1 Cor. 10.16.
(5) Rom. 8.30; 1 Cor. 1.30; 2 Cor. 5.5; Rom. 9.23.
(6) Rom. 3.25,26.
(7) Rom. 5.14; Eph. 2.3; John 3.36.
(8) and (9) John 5.24; 2 Cor. 1.21,22; 5.5; 1 Cor. 1.6-8; Rom. 8.25; Eph. 1.13,14; in the same 2.6; Rom. 5.2.
(10) Luke 23.43; Matt. 22.31,32; Luke 16.22; Phil. 1.23.
(11) and (12) 2 Tim. 4.1; Acts 3.21; Rom. 8.21; 1 Cor. 15; 1 Cor. 13; Matt. 25.34; Rom. 4.25; 1.17.
(13) Rom. 5.12; 7.14; Eph. 2.3.
(14) Luke 16.2,23,24.
(15) Matt. 25.41.

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1. SINCE we have now declared the effect of this doctrine: it remains also that we show what order we think best to be observed in preaching and applying the same to every particular man. Whereas many find this matter so sharp and strange, that they flee from it as from a dangerous rock: it is partly to be attributed to the malice and arrogance of men: and partly to the rashness and lack of discretion of them that teach it. And thirdly it is to be imputed to their ignorance which can not orderly apply the same to themselves, which faithfully and truly has been taught of others. Concerning them which sin of malice, it only pertains to God to amend them: which surely he has done always in his season, and likewise will do from time to time, to whom he has appointed to show mercy. But for others which remain obstinate in their sin and wickedness, there is no cause why we should be moved either for their number or authority, or dissemble God’s truth. And as touching the second sort, I have thought these things principally to be observed in preaching this mystery.

2. First as in all other things (1), so chiefly in this matter of predestination, they ought to take diligent heed, that instead of God’s pure and simple truth, they bring not forth vain and curious speculations or dreams (2): which thing they can not choose but do, which go about to compass and accord these secret judgments of God with man’s wisdom, and so do not only put difference between predestination and the purpose of God, which thing they must needs do, but separate the one from the other: for they either imagine a certain naked and idle permission, or else make a double purpose and counsel in God. From which errors they must needs fall into many and great absurdities. For sometimes they are constrained to divide those things which of themselves are joined most straitly: and sometimes they are compelled to invent a great sort of foolish and dark distinctions, wherein the further they

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occupy themselves and search, the wider they stray from the purpose, and so entangle their miserable brains, that they can find no way out. This then ought to be avoided with all careful diligence, chiefly in this matter which above all other ought purely and sincerely to be taught in the Church of God.

3. Moreover as much as is possible let them take heed (though sometimes for a more clear understanding of things a man may be bold godly and reverently to do) that no strange manner of speech, or not approvable by God’s word, be used: and also that such phrases and words which the Scriptures approve, be expounded fitly, lest otherwise any man should take occasion of offence, which as yet is rude and ignorant. Furthermore we must have good respect unto the hearers (3), wherein also we must make distinction between the malicious and the rude: and again between them which are willful ignorant, and those which are not capable through a simple and common ignorance. For to that further sort our Lord is accustomed to set forth plainly the judgment of God (4): but the other must be led by little and little to the knowledge of the truth (5). Likewise we must take heed that we have not so much respect to the weak, that they in the mean season which are apt to understand, be neglected, and not sufficiently taught: whereof we have notable examples in Paul, which declare to us the wisdom and circumspection which he observed in this matter, chiefly in the 9, 10, 11, 14, and 15th chapters of the Epistle to the Romans. Also, except some great cause hinder, that they begin at the lowest and most manifest causes, and so ascend up to the highest (as Paul in his Epistle to the Romans which is the right order and way to proceed in matters of divinity, from the law goes to remission of sins, and thence by steps he mounts till he come to the highest degree) or else let them consist in that point which is most agreeable to the text or matter which they have in hand, rather than to the contrary to begin at the very top of this mystery, and so come down to the foot. For the brightness of God’s majesty, suddenly presented to the eyes, does so dim and dazzle the sight, that afterwards, if they be not through long continuance accustomed to the same, they wear blind, when they should see other things.

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4. What then remains? That, whether they begin beneath and ascend upwards, or to the contrary, above, and come downward to the lowest degree, they take always heed, lest omitting that which ought to be in the midst, they leap from one extremity to another, as from the eternal purpose, to salvation, and much more from salvation to the eternal purpose: Likewise from God’s eternal counsel to damnation, or backward from damnation to his purpose: leaving the near and evident causes of God’s judgment. Except perchance they have to do with open blasphemers and condemners of God, who have need of nothing else, but the sharp pricks of God’s judgments: or else with men so trained and exercised in God’s word, that there be no suspicion of any offence. Finally, that they never so propound this doctrine, as if it should be applied to any one man particularly (6), although men must be used after divers sorts, some by gentleness, and some by sharpness, unless some Prophet (7) of God be admonished by some special revelation, which thing because it is out of course, and not usual, ought not lightly to be believed. When the ministers also visit the sick, or use familiar and private admonitions, it is their duty to lift up and comfort the afflicted conscience, with the testimony of their election, and again to wound and pierce the wicked and stubborn, with the fearful judgment of God: so that they keep a mean, refraining ever from that last sentence, which admits no exception nor condition. For this right and jurisdiction only pertains to God (8).

Notes of the seventh chapter.

(1) Matt. 28.20.
(2) 2 Tim. 2.23.
(3) 2 Tim. 2.15.
(4) Matt. 23, the whole chapter; John 8.44; 9.41; 10.26; Luke 20.46; Matt. 23.38.
(5) 1 Cor. 3.2; Rom. 14.1.
(6) John 8.33,34; Phil. 3.2; 1 Tim. 6.3,4.
(7) 2 Tim. 4.14; John 6.64,70.
(8) Matt. 12.38,39, with John 8.24.

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1. IT is most evident, that they who teach that man’s salvation either in part or wholly depends and is grounded in works, destroy the foundation of the Gospel of God (1). And to the contrary, they that teach justification freely by faith, ground on a sure foundation, but so, that they build upon that eternal counsel of God, whereupon Christ himself (2), and the Apostle Paul following Christ’s steps, grounds his doctrine (3). For seeing perseverance in faith is requisite to salvation (4), to what purpose shall faith serve me except I be sure of the gift of perseverance? Nor we need not fear, lest this doctrine make us negligent, or dissolute: for this peace of conscience whereof we speak (5), ought to be distinct and separate from foolish security, and he that is the son of God, seeing he is moved and governed by the spirit of God, (6), will never through the consideration of God’s benefit take occasion of negligence, and dissolution. Then if by this doctrine we had but this one commodity, that we might learn to assure and confirm our faith against all brunts that might happen, it is manifest that they which speak against, and resist this article of religion, either through their wickedness, or else through ignorance, or some foolish blind zeal, which happens when men will measure God according to the capacity of their own wits, subvert and destroy the principal ground and foundation of our salvation. And in very deed though some (as I must confess) do it not purposely: yet do they open notwithstanding the door to all superstition and impiety. As for them, which nowadays maliciously oppose the truth, I beseech the Lord, even from the heart, either to turn their minds (if so be they pertain to the elect) or else to send them a most speedy destruction, that by their own example they may confirm and establish that doctrine, which so maliciously they resist. These other I will desire most instantly, and require them in the name of God, that they would better advise themselves what they do.

2. Now to touch briefly how this doctrine may be applied, let us mark that all the works of God, even the least of all, are such that man cannot judge of them, but in two sorts: that is, either when they are done, or else by foreseeing them to come to pass by the disposition of the second and manifest

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causes, whose effects have been diligently, and by long use observed, as men accustom in natural things to do: wherein, notwithstanding men are wonderfully blind. In this matter then, which is most obscure of all others, it is no marvel if man’s wit be driven into this strait, that it cannot otherwise understand but by this means, what is determined as touching himself in this secret counsel of God. But because these are most high mysteries [1 Cor. 2.7], and therefore stand in the observation of those causes which pass all natural things, we must needs seek further, and come to God’s word: which forasmuch as without all comparison, it is more certain than man’s conjectures: so it can best direct us herein, and assure us. 3. The Scripture then witnesses (7) that all those that God has, according to his counsel, predestinate, to be adopted his children through Jesus Christ, are also called in their time appointed, yea and so effectually, that they hear the voice of him that calls, and believe it (8): so that being justified and sanctified in Jesus Christ, they are also glorified. Will you then, whosoever you are, be assured of your predestination, and so, in order, of your salvation, which you look for, against all the assaults of Satan? Assured I say, not by doubtful conjectures, or our own fantasy, but by arguments and conclusions, no less true and certain (9), than if you were ascended into heaven, and had heard of God’s own mouth his eternal decree and purpose? Beware that you begin not at that most high degree: for so you should not be able to sustain the most shining light of God’s majesty. Begin therefore beneath at the lowest order, and when you shall hear the voice of God (10) sound in your ears, and in your heart, which calls you to Christ the only mediator, consider by little and little, and try diligently (11), if you are justified and sanctified in Christ through faith: for these two be the effects or fruits, whereby faith is known, which is their cause. As for this you shall partly know by the Spirit of adoption, who cries within you, Abba, father (12): and partly by the virtue and effect of the same Spirit, which is wrought in you. As if you fall, and so declare indeed that although sin dwells in you, yet it no more reigns in you (13): for is not the Holy Ghost he who causes us not to let slip the bridle, and give liberty willingly to our naughty and vile desires (14), as they are accustomed, whose eyes the prince of this world blinds (15), or else who moves us to pray when we are cold, and slothful? who stirs up in us those unspeakable groans (16)? who is he that when we have sinned (yea and sometimes willingly and wittingly) engenders in us an hate

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of the sin committed, and not for the fear of punishment which we have therefore deserved, but because we have offended our most merciful father (17)? Who is he, I say, who testifies unto us that our sighs are heard, and also moves us to call daily God, our God, and our Father, even at that time when we have trespassed against him (18)? Is it not that spirit, which is freely given to us as a gift, for a sure and certain pledge of our adoption (19)? Wherefore if we can gather by these effects, that we have faith, it follows that we are called and drawn effectually. And again, by this vocation, which we have declared properly to belong to the children of God; that is evidently proved which we took in hand to show, that is, forasmuch as we were predestinate by the eternal counsel and decree of God, (which he had determined in himself) to be adopted in his Son, therefore we were given to him, whereof the conclusion follows, that since by the most constant will of God (20), which only is grounded on itself, and depends on none other thing, we are predestinate, and no man can take us out of the hands of the Son: also seeing that to continue and persevere in the faith is necessary, it follows, I say, that the hope of our perseverance is certain, and so consequently our salvation: so that to doubt any more of it, is evil and wicked (21). So far then it is against reason to say, that this doctrine makes men negligent or dissolute, that to the contrary, this alone does open us the way, to search out and understand, by the power of the Holy Ghost, God’s deep secrets, as the apostle plainly teaches (22), to the end that when we know them (albeit we know them here in this world but after a sort (23), so that we must daily fight with the spiritual armor against distrust (24,) we may learn to behave ourselves not idly, but rather to persevere valiantly (25), to serve and honor God, to love him, to fear him, to call upon him, that daily more and more as says Peter, as much as in us lies, we may make our vocation and election certain (26). Moreover how shall he stand sure and constant against so many grievous temptations, both within and without, and against so many assaults of fortune (as the world does term it) that is not well resolved in this point which is most true? That is, that God according to his good will, does all things whatsoever they be, and what instruments and means soever he uses in working of the same, for the commodity of his elect (27). Of which number he is, that finds himself in this danger and trouble (28). As touching the other point, which concerns reprobation, because no man can call to mind the determinate purpose of election, but at the same instant the contrary will come to remembrance: (besides that in the holy Scripture these two are oftentimes

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joined together) it must needs be, that such as esteem this part curious or unprofitable, and therefore not to be talked of, do great injury to the Spirit of God. Therefore this part is to be weighed and considered, but with such modesty, that the height of God’s judgments may at all times bridle our curious fancies, in such sort that we do not apply it particularly to any man, nor to any certain company. For in this also it differs from election, because election (as has been said) is revealed to us by the Spirit of God within ourselves, not in others, whose hearts we can not know. And reprobation is ever hid from men, except it be disclosed by God, contrary to the common course of things. For who can tell, if God have determined to show mercy at the last hour of death, to him which has spent all his life past lewdly and wickedly (29)? But this trust [hope] ought not to encourage any man to maintain, and continue in his sin and ungodliness. For I speak of those things which we ought to consider in others, for the examples of such mercy of God are very rare, neither any man that is wise will promise to himself through a vain security and trust, that thing which is not in his own power (30.) It is therefore sufficient if we understand generally that there be vessels prepared to perdition (31): which, seeing God does not reveal unto us who they are, we ought both in example of life and prayer, diligently endeavor to win and recover to their salvation, yea even very such, of whom by seeing their horrible vices, we almost despise (32). And if we observe this order, we shall receive great fruit of this doctrine. For first by the knowledge hereof, we shall learn humbly to submit ourselves to the majesty of God, so that the more we shall fear and reverence him, the more we ought to labor to confirm in ourselves the testimony of our election in Christ (33). Furthermore when we shall diligently consider the difference, which through the mercy of God is between men, which are all alike subject to the same curse and malediction, it can not be, but we must acknowledge and embrace more earnestly the singular goodness of God, than if we did make this grace common to all men indifferently, or else referred the cause of the inequality of this grace to men (34). Besides this, when we know that faith is a special gift of God, shall we not receive it more willingly when it is offered, and be more careful to have the same to increase, than if we should imagine (as some do) that it is in every man’s power to turn and repent when he will, because (they say) the Lord would that all men should be saved, and will not the death of a sinner? Finally, when we see the doctrine of the Gospel not only despised of all the world, but also cruelly persecuted: and when we see so

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great falsehood and rebellion amongst men, what thing can better confirm and fortify us, than to be assured that nothing chances by fortune, that God knows his (35), and that they which commit these things (except God turn their hearts) are those which are predestined, not by chance, but by the sure and eternal counsel of God, to be as it were a glass, wherein the anger and power of God does appear? Truth it is, that these things can never be so commodiously and perfectly treated of, that man’s reason and wit cannot find out something to reply always to the contrary, yea and so kindles with desire of contradiction, that it is ready to bring an action against God, and to accuse and blame him as chief author of all things. But let the Devil roar and discontent himself, and the wicked kick and wince: yet their own conscience shall reprove and condemn them (36) when as ours, being confirmed in the truth, by the grace and mercy of our God, shall deliver and free us (37), in the day of Christ. To whom with the Father, and the holy Ghost, praise, glory, and honor be given for ever. So be it.

Notes of the eight chapter.

(1) Gal. 2.21; Rom. 11.6.
(2) John 6.44,45, and in divers places besides.
(3) Rom. 8.29,30; 9.10,11, and the whole chapter; 1 Cor. 2.10; Eph. 1.4,5,9; 2 Tim. 1.9; 1 Pet. 1.2, and in divers places besides.
(4) Matt. 10.22.
(5) Rom. 5.1,5; Matt. 5.12; 24.48.
(6) Rom. 8.14.
(7) Rom. 8.29,30; Eph. 1.4,5,9.
(8) John 10.27.
(9) Rom. 5.2; 8.38; 1 Cor. 2.10,11; 2 Tim. 1.7; 1 John 3.24.
(10) Psalm 95.7,8; John 10.27.
(11) 2 Cor. 13.5.
(12) Gal. 4.6; 1 John 3.24; 1 Cor. 2.10,11, and in divers other places which we have already alleged. (13) Rom. 6, almost through the whole chapter; 1 John 3.9. (14) Rom. 6.11,12; Eph. 4.29,30.
(15) 2 Cor. 4.4.
(16) Rom. 8.26.
(17) Rom. 7.24.
(18) Rom. 8.15,16.
(19) Rom. 8.27; Eph. 4.30; 1.13,14; 2 Cor. 1.22, and in other places oftentimes.
(20) Rom. 11.29; Heb. 6.17; 2 Tim. 2.19.
(21) Rom. 8.38; John 3.33; Rom. 4.20,21; 5.5; Eph. 3.12; Heb. 4.16; 1 Cor. 1.9; 1 Thes. 5.24; Heb. 10.22,23.
(22) 1 Cor. 2.10-12; Rom. 8.16; 1 John 3.24.
(23) 1 Cor. 13.9. (24) 1 Tim. 6.12; Gal. 5.17.
(25) Rom. 6.1; Heb. 10.23,24; James 3.17,18.
(26) 2 Pet. 1.10.
(27) Rom. 8.28,31, even to the very end of the chapter; Job 13.15; Rom. 5.3; James 1.2.
(28) Rom. 8.16,38,39.
(29) Luke 23.43.
(30) James 4.13-15; 2 Tim. 2.25; Luke 12.20.
(31) Rom. 9.21; 2 Tim. 2.20.
(32) Matt. 5.16; 1 Cor. 9.22; 1 Pet. 2.12.
(33) Phil. 2.12; 1 Pet. 1.17; Rom. 11.20.
(34) Rom. 9.23.
(35) 2 Tim. 2.18,19.
(36) Rom. 2.15.
(37) 1 Pet. 3.21.

The Decades of Heinrich Bullinger

Fifty Sermons Divided into Five Decades Containing the Chief and Principle Points of Christian Religion
(1587 English Translation)

Table of Contents Prepared by
Ryan Glomsrud M.A. (D.Phil. Cand., Pembroke College, Oxon)

Volume I

  1. The Preface (pp. 1-11)
  2. Of the Four General Synods or Councils (pp. 12-35)
  3. The First Decade of Sermons (pp. 36- 192)
    1. First Sermon: Of the Word of God; the cause of it; and how, and by whom, it was revealed to the world (36-57)
    2. Second Sermon: Of the Word of God; to whom, and to what end, it was revealed; also in what manner it is to be heard; and that it doth fully teach the whole doctrine of godliness (57-70)
    3. Third Sermon: Of the sense and right exposition of the word of God, and by what manner of means it may be expounded (70-81)
    4. Fourth Sermon: Of true faith; from whence it cometh; that it is an assured belief of the mind, whose only stay is upon God and his Word (81-97)
    5. Fifth Sermon: That there is one only true faith, and what the virtue thereof is (97-104)
    6. Sixth Sermon: That the faithful are justified by faith without the law and works (104-122)
    7. Seventh Sermon: Of the first articles of the Christian faith contained in the Apostles’ Creed (122-140)
    8. Eighth Sermon: Of the latter articles of the Christian faith contained in the Apostles’ Creed (140-157)
    9. Ninth Sermon: Of the latter articles of Christian faith contained in the Apostles’ Creed (157-180)
    10. Tenth Sermon: Of the love of God and Neighbor (180-192)
  4. The Second Decade of Sermons (pp. 193-435)
    1. First Sermon: Of laws, and of the law of nature, then of the laws of men (193-209)
    2. Second Sermon: Of God’s law, and of the two first commandments of the first table (209-237)
    3. Third Sermon: Of the third precept of the Ten Commandments, and of swearing (237-253)
    4. Fourth Sermon: Of the fourth precept of the first table, that is, of the order and keeping of the Sabbath-Day (253-267)
    5. Fifth Sermon: Of the first precept of the second table, which is in order the fifth of the Ten Commandments, touching upon honour due to the parents (267-298)
    6. Sixth Sermon: Of the second precept of the second table, which is in order the sixth of the Ten Commandments, thou shalt not kill: and of the magistrate (298-322)
    7. Seventh Sermon: Of the office of the magistrate, whether the care of religion appertain to him or no, and whether he may make laws and ordinances in cases of religions (323-344)
    8. Eighth Sermon: Of judgment, and the office of the judge; that Christians are not forbidden to judge; of revengement and punishment; whether it be lawful for a magistrate to kill the guilty; wherefore, when, how, and what the magistrate must punish; whether he may punish offenders in religion or no (345-369)
    9. Ninth Sermon: Of war; whether it be lawful for a magistrate to make war. What the Scripture teacheth touching war. Whether a Christian man may bear the office of a magistrate. And of the duty of subjects (370-393)
    10. Tenth Sermon: Of the third precept of the second table, which is in order the seventh of the Ten Commandments; thou shalt not commit adultery of wedlock; against all intemperance; of continency (393-435)

Volume II

  1. Dedication to Prince Edward VI, King of England and France (pp. 3-16)
  2. The Third Decade of Sermons (pp. 17-432)
    1. First Sermon: Of the fourth precept of the second table, which is in order the eighth of the Ten Commandments, thou shalt not steal. Of the owning and possessing of proper goods, and of the right and lawful getting of the same; against sundry kinds of theft (17-48)
    2. Second Sermon: Of the lawful use of earthly goods; that is, how we may rightly possess, and lawfully spend, the wealth that is rightly and justly gotten; of restitution, and alms-deeds (48-64)
    3. Third Sermon: Of the patient bearing and abiding of sundry calamities and miseries; and also of the hope and manifold consolation of the faithful (64-111)
    4. Fourth Sermon: Of the fifth and sixth precepts of the second table, which are in order the ninth and tenth of the Ten Commandments, that is, thou shalt not speak false witness against they neighbor; and, though shalt not covet they neighbor’s house, & c. (111-124)
    5. Fifth Sermon: Of the ceremonial law of God, but specifically of the priesthood, time, and place appointed for the ceremonies (125-167)
    6. Sixth Sermon: Of the sacraments of the Jews; of their sundry sorts of sacrifices, and certain other things pertaining to the ceremonial law (167-217)
    7. Seventh Sermon: Of the judicial laws of God (217-236)
    8. Eighth Sermon: Of the use or effect of the law of God, and of the fulfilling and abrogating of the same; of the likeness and difference of both the testaments and people, the Old and the New (236-300)
    9. Ninth Sermon: Of Christian liberty, and of offences. Of good works, and the reward thereof (300-357)
    10. Tenth Sermon: Of sin, and of the kinds thereof; to wit, of original and actual sin, and of sin against the Holy Ghost; and lastly, of the most sure and just punishment of sins (358-432)

Volume III

  1. The Fourth Decade of Sermons (pp. 1-114)
    1. First Sermon: Of the Gospel of the grace of God, who hath given his Son unto the world, and in Him all things necessary to salvation, that we, believing in Him, might obtain eternal life (1-55)
    2. Second Sermon: Of repentance, and the causes therefore; of confession, and remission of sins; of satisfaction and indulgences; of the old and new man; of the power or strength of men, and the order of things pertaining to repentance (55-114)
  2. Dedication to Edward VI, King of England and France (pp. 115-122)
  3. The Fourth Decade of Sermons CONTINUED (pp. 123-408)
    1. Third Sermon: Of God; of the true knowledge of God, and of the diverse ways how to know him; that God is one in substance and three in persons (123-173)
    2. Fourth Sermon: That God is the creator of all things, and governeth all things by his providence; where mention is also made of the goodwill of God to usward, and of predestination (173-194)
    3. Fifth Sermon: Of adoring or worshipping, of invocating or calling upon, and of serving the only, living, true, and everlasting God; also of true and false religion (194-238)
    4. Sixth Sermon: That the Son of God is unspeakably begotten of the Father; that He is consubstantial with the Father, and therefore true God. That the selfsame Son is true man; consubstantial with us; and therefore true God and Man, abiding in two unconfounded natures, and in one undivided Person (238-273)
    5. Seventh Sermon: Of Christ, King and Priest; of His only and everlasting kingdom and priesthood; and of the name of a Christian (273-297)
    6. Eighth Sermon: Of the Holy Ghost, the third person in the Trinity to be worshipped, and of His divine power (297-326)
    7. Ninth Sermon: Of good and evil spirits; that is, of the holy angels of God, and of devils or evil spirits; and of their operations (327-365)
    8. Tenth Sermon: Of the reasonable soul of man; and of his most certain salvation after the death of the his body (365-408)

Volume IV

  1. Biographical Notice of Henry Bullinger (pp. vii-xxxi)
  2. The Fifth Decade of Sermons (pp.3-526)
    1. First Sermon: Of the holy catholic church; what it is, how far it extendeth, by what marks it is known, from whence it springeth, how it is maintained and preserved, whether it may err. Also of the power and studies of the church (3-48)
    2. Second Sermon: That there is one catholic church; that without the church there is no light or salvation. Against schismatics. Wherefore we depart from the upstart church of Rome. That the church of God is the house, vineyard, and kingdom of God; and the body, sheepfold, and spouse of Christ; a mother and a virgin (49-92)
    3. Third Sermon: Of the ministry, and the ministries of God’s word; wherefore and for what end they are instituted of God. That the orders given by Christ unto the church in times past were equal. Whence and how the prerogative of ministries sprang, and of the supremacy of the bishop of Rome (93-127)
    4. Fourth Sermon: Of calling unto the ministry of the Word of God. What manner of men, and after what fashion, ministers of the Word must be ordained in the church. Of the keys of the church. What the office of them is that be ordained. Of the manner of teaching the church; and of the holy life of the pastors (128-163)
    5. Fifth Sermon: Of the form and manner how to pray to God; that is, of the calling on the name of the Lord; where also the Lord’s Prayer is expounded; and also singing, thanksgiving, and the force of prayer is entreated (163-226)
    6. Sixth Sermon: Of signs, and the manner of signs; of sacramental signs: what a sacrament is; of whom, for what causes, and how many sacraments were instituted of Christ for the Christian church; of what things they do consist; how these are consecrated; how the sign and the thing signified in the sacraments are either joined together or distinguished; and of the kind of speeches used in the sacraments (226-293)
    7. Seventh Sermon: That we must reason reverently of sacraments; that they do not give grace, neither have grace included in them. Again, what the virtue and lawful end and use of the sacraments is. That they profit not without faith; that they are not superfluous to the faithful; and that they do not depend upon the worthiness or unworthiness of the minister (293-351)
    8. Eighth Sermon: Of holy baptism; what it is; by whom, and when it was instituted, and that there is but one baptism of water. Of the baptism of fire. Of the rite or ceremony of baptism; how, of whom, and to whom it must be administered. Of baptism by midwives; and of infants dying without baptism. Of the baptism of infants. Against Anabaptism or re-baptizing; and of the power of efficacy of baptism (351-401)
    9. Ninth Sermon: Of the Lord’s holy supper; what it is, by whom, when, and for whom it was instituted; after what sort, when, and how oft it is to be celebrated, and of the ends thereof. Of the true meaning of the words of the super, “This is my body.” Of the presence of Christ in the supper. Of the true eating of Christ’s body. Of the worthy and unworthy eaters thereof: and how every man ought to prepare himself unto the Lord’s supper (401-478)
    10. Tenth Sermon: Of certain institutions of the church of God. Of schools. Of ecclesiastical goods, and the use and abuse of the same. Of churches and holy instruments of Christians. Of the admonition and correction of the ministers of the church, and of the whole church. Of matrimony. Of widows. Of virgins. Of monks. What the church of Christ determineth concerning the sick; and of funerals and burials (478-526)
  3. Appendix I: Dedication to the Marque of Dorset (pp. 528-545)
  4. Appendix II: Dedication to Masters Gualter, Simler, etc. (pp. 546-558)
  5. Index of Subjects and Persons (pp. 559-586)
  6. Index of Various Writers Quoted and Referred to (pp. 587-590)