Did Ursinus Teach Final Salvation Through Works?

Zacharias Ursinus (1534–83) was the principal author of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563). He was responsible for perhaps as much as 70% of the catechism, though the two source documents that he created, from which much of the catechism was formed, drew from many sources (including Luther), so the source criticism of the catechism is challenging. For more on the background of the catechism see Lyle Bierma et al ed., An Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism: Sources, History, and Theology (2005) and J. I. Good, Good, The Heidelberg Catechism in Its Newest Light ( Philadelphia, PA: Publication and Sunday School Board of the Reformed Church in the United States, 1914).

Ursinus was from Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland) and studied in Wittenberg with the great Protestant scholar Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560) for several years before finally siding with the Reformed just after Melanchthon’s death. Frederick III (1515–76), the elector Palatinate, called him to teach theology in the University in Heidelberg and in the seminary, the Collegium Sapientiae (the College of Wisdom). So, Ursinus had deep roots in the Protestant Reformation. Melanchthon had been involved in controversies over how to relate good works to salvation. There had been those (e.g., John Major in the early 1550s) who had tried out formulae to the effect that the believer enters salvation by grace but retains it by good works. Melanchthon, who had battled the Antinomians (e.g., Johannes Agricola) decades earlier in the 1520s, had toyed with such language but ultimately rejected it. He had no interest in corrupting the doctrine of justification and sanctification (salvation) by sola gratia, sola fide. The question of the relation between good works was, then, “in the air,” when Ursinus reached Heidelberg.

Ursinus’ Catechisms Before The Heidelberg
In his larger catechism (Q. 46), also known as the Summa Theologiae, which he wrote in preparation for drafting the official catechism of the Palatinate (Heidelberg), he taught salvation as the product of grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fide):

46 Q What does it mean to believe in God?

A It means to be firmly convinced that this one true God who has revealed himself in the church is Lord of all creatures so that with the highest right he is able to do with them whatever he wishes, and yet he so desires our good that we ought to expect from him everything that pertains to our salvation.

Of course one sees here the lineaments of what will become Heidelberg 21. Note that the question pertains to faith and that the instrument of salvation is not good works but faith. One sees the same doctrine in his Catechismus Minor (from the same period) Q. 17. He repeated this doctrine in Summa Q. 49 in the very same terms. Salvation is through faith alone. Under Christology (e.g., Summa 45), in both catechisms, he taught that Christ is the Savior, that Christ accomplished our salvation for us. Nowhere are we said to be co-Saviors, cooperating sufficiently with grace unto salvation. Of course, Ursinus knew nothing and taught nothing of a two-stage salvation wherein we are said to be initially justified sola gratia, sola fide but only finally saved through faith and works. In his Minor Q. 51, (as in Heidelberg 64) free salvation does not make the believer careless about sanctification and good works.

A No. Rather, it kindles in me an even stronger desire to continue and advance in piety, since, without true conversion to God, I cannot take comfort in the confidence of my election. And the more certain I am of my salvation, the more I want to show God that I am thankful.

In Q. 90, obeying the fifth commandment (to honor parents and superior authorities) is said to “serve our salvation.” Q. 195 in the Summa echoes this doctrine. In Q 219 he addressed the problem of assurance.

Q But since no one is saved except those whom God from eternity has chosen for salvation, how can you be convinced that the promise of grace belongs to you when you don’t know whether you are elect?

A Because by true faith I accept the grace of God offered to me, and by that most certain proof I know that I have been chosen and will always be kept by God for eternal life. For if he had not chosen me from eternity, he would never have given me the Spirit of adoption.

We note two things: the absence of any mention of good works and his immediate turn to the unique function of faith. “By true faith” (language later to be adopted repeatedly in the Heidelberg) “I accept the grace of God offered…”.

In Summa 233 and in Minor 98 prayer, like good works, is said to “serve” our salvation but it is not made an instrument. In Summa 264 the ministry of the church is said to work toward the “perfecting” of our salvation. Clearly here, Ursinus was thinking of our progressive sanctification graciously wrought and aided by the due use of the ordained means of grace.

In Summa 267 he explained the relationship between the ministry of the church and the sanctification of the Christian. Notice the instrument of salvation.

267 Q Isn’t the Holy Spirit’s honor taken awaywhen sanctification is attributed to the ministry?

A No, it is not. For the strength and power by which we are sanctified is all from the divine Spirit; the ministry is simply his instrument. By it he moves the hearts and souls of the elect whenever and however he sees fit; not because he could not do otherwise, but because it pleased divine wisdom, through the foolish preaching of the cross, to save those who believe.

God the Spirit uses means and instruments. The ministry of Word and sacrament is a divinely instituted instrument of sanctification. Notice, however, what is the instrument of salvation: faith. God saves believers. Had Ursinus intended to teach salvation through faith and works, he should have written, “to save those who believe and obey” but he did not because, for Ursinus, faith was the alone instrument of salvation.

In Summa 269 he gave his students a diagnostic test to determine whether the ministers were preaching God’s Word faithfully:

269 Q And how can we be sure that the Word of God is being proclaimed by ministers?

A If they proclaim the teaching written in the books of the Old and New Testaments, and if what they say conforms to the articles of faith and the commands of God; in short, if they teach us to seek our complete salvation
in Christ alone.

Again, Ursinus wrote nothing about the instrumental role of good works. Studying God’s Word privately, he wrote, is “necessary for your salvation” (Q. 270). The force of this language, however, does not seem to be instrumental. It was analogous to that in 281 where he wrote about the use of the sacraments in the Christian life:

A Those who do not make use of the sacraments, when it is possible, show that they have no faith
and exclude themselves from the communion of saints and God’s covenant. Nevertheless the promise made to believers is valid for those deprived of the sacraments against their will.

Those who refuse the sacraments “show” that they do not believe. Here he was thinking of fruit and evidence and not of instruments (see also Minor Q. 55). This is the same language he used in Summa 123 where he wrote that being a member in the visible church is “necessary for all who will be saved.” Membership is not instrumental but it is necessary. Unlike some in the contemporary debates, Ursinus regularly distinguished between is, with, and through.

In Minor 19 he made it clear that not only is Christ the only Savior but it is those who believe who are saved:

19 Q Why do you call him “Jesus” meaning

A Because I am firmly persuaded that he alone by his merit and power is the author of perfect and eternal salvation for me and all who believe in him.

Had Ursinus wanted us to think that good works were co-instrumental in our salvation it is odd that he missed his opportunity to say so here. So too in Summa 135 where Jesus was said to be the Savior only of believers. Faith is always and only the instrument of salvation. In this connection Minor 52 speaks only of the instrumentality of faith in salvation.

Rather, consistently good works were said to be the result of salvation as in Summa 160:

160 Q Why does he call himself our God who brought Israel out of Egypt?

A First, so that we may be reminded that this alone is the true God who revealed himself from the beginning in the church by his sure Word and clear divine testimonies. Second, so that, considering that we are saved and set free from all evil by him, we may realize that we owe him thanks and obedience.

God is the Savior and believers are the saved. We respond with good works out of heartfelt gratitude. He taught this explicitly in Summa 214:

214 Q Since we are not made right with God by this obedience, why does he require it?

A First, so that we might give our thanks to him who has freely justified and saved us. Second, so that even in our reconciliation it will still be clear that God is an enemy of sin, since he receives in grace only those who repent.

For Ursinus, in his catechisms, salvation is a free gift, offered graciously and received through the sole instrument of faith. Works are the said to be the by product of true faith, to act as evidence of salvation given and received but there are nowhere said to function as co-instruments with faith nor is salvation ever structured in two stages, initial and final.

On Heidelberg Catechism 91
Above we considered the two catechisms Ursinus wrote in preparation for the drafting of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563). We saw that, though he taught both the necessity and even inevitability of good works issuing from new life and true faith as fruit and evidence of salvation, he did not distinguish two stages of salvation (initial and final) nor did he teach that good works are the instrument of final salvation. He certainly taught nothing about an “initial justification” sola gratia, sola fide and continuing or maintaining justification through good works.

Nevertheless, Ursinus’ career did not end in 1562. After the publication of the Heidelberg Catechism he was assigned by the Elector Palatinate, Frederick III, with explaining and defending the catechism in a series of lectures. They were later published as the Body of Orthodox Doctrine or Explication of the Catechism. He addressed the question of good works at length in his lectures on Heidelberg 91, which is in the beginning of the third part of the catechism. Remember, the catechism is in three parts: Guilt (law), Grace (Gospel), and Sanctification or Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude. The Heidelberg is a Protestant catechism, i.e., it distinguishes law and gospel and teaches justification and sanctification (salvation) sola gratia, sola fide. For Ursinus, becoming Reformed did not entail abandoning all he had learned from Melanchthon even if it did mean putting it in a somewhat different framework, namely the framework of the covenant of works made with Adam before the fall, in which Adam was under the law for glorification and the covenant of grace made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David after the fall in which believers are declared righteous and saved only on the basis of Christ’s righteousness imputed and received through faith alone.

According to the catechism, the first use of the law is to convict us of our sins and the gospel declares our righteousness and salvation from sin and wrath sola gratia, sola fide. Believers do good works out of thankfulness, in union with Christ, in communion with the saints.What are good works (bona opera)? Good works are such as are performed according to the law of God, such as proceed from a true faith, and are directed to the glory of God.”1

Ursinus was an Augustinian. He was a Calvinist. He accepted Augustine’s and Calvin’s reading of Romans 7 (as distinct from that of Pelagius, who knew that Paul could not have been describing a believer). He was realistic about the effects of the fall and the corruption of sin even in those who are in a state of grace (favor with God) for Christ’s sake alone:

The works of the saints are not perfectly good or pure in this life:

1. Because even those who are regenerated do many things which are evil, which are sins in themselves, on account of which they are guilty in the sight of God, and deserve to be cast into everlasting punishment. Thus, Peter denied Christ thrice; David committed adultery, slew Uriah, attempted to conceal his wickedness, numbered the children of Israel, &c. The law now declares, “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.” (Deut. 27:26.).

2. Because they omit doing many good things which they ought to do according to the law.

3. Because the good works which they perform are not so perfectly good and pure as the law requires; for they are always marred with defects, and polluted with sins. The perfect righteousness which the law requires is wanting, even in the best works of the saints. The reason of this is easily understood, inasmuch as faith, regeneration, and the love of God and our neighbor, from which good works proceed, continue imperfect in us in this life. As the cause is, therefore, imperfect, it is impossible that the effects which flow from this cause should be perfect. “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind.” (Rom. 7:23.) This is the reason why the works of the godly cannot stand in the judgment of God. “Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.” (Ps. 143:2. Deut. 27:26.) Inasmuch, therefore, as all our works are imperfect, it becomes us to acknowledge and lament our sinfulness and infirmity, and press forward so much the more towards perfection.

From what has now been said, it is evident that the figment, or conceit of the Monks in reference to works of supererogation—by which they understand such works as are done over and above what God and the law require from them, is full of impiety; for it makes God a debtor to man. Yea, it is a blasphemous doctrine; for Christ himself has said: “When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; for we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10.)2

Our good works are, in themselves, so defiled by sin, that they are acceptable to God only because he has imputed to them Christ’s righteousness. To understand Ursinus on this point it is essential to grasp his Augustinian realism about sin. Ursinus was not a Methodist nor a Perfectionist of any sort. He wrote, “Yet they are, nevertheless, acceptable to God in Christ the Mediator, through faith, or on account of the merit and satisfaction of Christ imputed unto us by faith, and on account of his intercession with the Father in our behalf.”3 It was only by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness that Abel’s works were accepted as righteous.4

As he turned to the necessity of good works he re-stated his exposition of Heidelberg 86 in two points. Good works are necessary first as “the proof of our faith and election” and second as “a good example by which others are won to Christ.”5 Since it is being claimed that Ursinus taught that good works are the instrument or part of the instrument of final salvation (as if he taught a two-stage salvation) let us observe that here, where he might have articulated such a view, he remained classically Protestant. In his elaboration Ursinus distinguished between the ways good works are owed to God, the ways we owe them to ourselves, third, the ways we owe them to our neighbors. Under the first heading he gave three reasons why good works are necessary:

  1. “In order that the glory of our heavenly Father might be illustrated or on account of the glory of God.”6
  2. “That we may present to God the obedience owed.”7
  3. “That we might be thankful to God or on account of the gratitude we owe to God.”8

Under the second heading, he discussed how our good works testify to our faith and contribute to our assurance. Ursinus taught the practical syllogism:

  1. believers do good works.
  2. By God’s grace I do good works out of gratitude
  3. Therefore I am a believer

Our good works are not the foundation (basis) of our standing with God nor the basis for our assurance. The gospel and the promises of Christ are the basis for our assurance but good works do help. As Belgic Confession (1561) art. 24, Ursinus appealed to the analogy of trees and fruit. How does one know that a tree is alive? It produces fruit. The fruit does not make the tree good but it gives proof that the tree is alive, that it is good. This is why faith is not “formed” (Rome) by good works but it is evidenced by it yet those good works never become the ground or instrument of our standing before God.9

He also appealed to what Calvin called the “twofold grace of God (duplex gratia Dei) and what his colleague Caspar Olevianus called the “double benefit of Christ” (duplex beneficium), namely that we have from God’s gracious hand both justification and sanctification. Good works give evidence that we have received this double benefit and thereby contributes to our assurance that we really are elect. Good works also exercise (exerceatur) our faith.10 When we do good works we “adorn” (ornemus) and “commend” (cohonestumus) our profession of faith. He quoted Ephesians 4:1.11 In passing (number 6 under this heading) he mentioned in passing, “that we might avoid temporal and eternal penalties.”12 As proof he quoted Matthew 7:19, ” Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” The seventh reason we ought to do them for ourselves is that rewards graciously given might follow (consequamur; here the Willard translation creates a misleading impression) good works in this life and the life to come. He quoted 1 Timothy 4:8, godliness is profitable for this life and the life to come. “For unless God willed the hope of rewards and the fear of penalties to be impulsive causes of good works, he would not make use of these arguments in his promises and judgments.”12 A correspondent wrote recently to ask if, under this heading, Ursinus had put the believer back under the covenant of works. I think not. First, Ursinus was writing under the broader heading of the covenant of grace, not the covenant of works. Second, His use of Matthew 7 here links this passage to the earlier line of argument from fruit and evidence. Third, Ursinus assumed that reasonable people, enlightened by new life (regeneration) would fear God. Fourth, we do turn to God to be saved from the wrath to come. Fifth, there is such a thing as a holy, filial fear of God (Heb and of the consequences of sin. Such reverence is one of the reasons why believers do good works. It is an expression of our gratitude. As we interpret this passage we may not read it without remember all that he has already said about the role and function of good works.

These last two points are no more than the teaching of Hebrews 12:7–11:

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (ESV).

Perhaps our cultural setting and the influence of broad evangelical antinomianism makes it more difficult to appreciate this sort of teaching but it is biblical. Being disciplined by our heavenly Father does not mean that we are being put back under the covenant of works for our standing with God or that we are “in by grace” and “stay in by works.” It is believers that God chastises and corrects and believers ought to have a healthy respect for almighty God even as they love and adore him for saving them graciously from wrath and judgment.

Finally, under this head, he turned to how they relate to one’s neighbor.13 This section is brief. We do them in order to benefit our neighbor and to edify him. He quoted 2 Cor 4:15 and Philippians 1:24. We do do them so “that through us scandals might be avoided.” He quoted Matthew 18:7 and Romans 2:2414 The third reason (relative to our neighbor) that we do good works is that we might gain (lucrifaciamus) unbelievers (infideles) for Christ.15 He quoted Luke 22:32.

Here began to address directly the question whether (utrum) good works (bona opera) are neessary (necessaria) unto salvation (ad salutem) or whether they are “pernicious” (perniciosa) to the same.16 As mentioned in the first part of this essay, Ursinus was well aware of the controversies Melanchthon and the Protestants had experienced in the 1530s, 40s, and 50s over how to relate justification to sanctification and sanctification to good works and salvation. The view that they are “necessary” to salvation was proposed by John Major and the view that they are “pernicious” or injurious by Nicholas von Amsdorf. He criticized both ways of speaking as “ambiguous and scandalous,” i.e., vague and liable to give offense. He was particularly unhappy with von Amsdorf’s expression since it tends to diminish (damnare) trust (fiduciam) but also zeal for good works.17 Major’s thesis can be retained if it is understood properly. The marginal note in the 1616 edition says, “the degree to which good works are necessary.”18

They are necessary unto salvation not as cause to effect or as merit to reward but as part of salvation itself, as antecedent to consequent or as means to an end.19

Later Reformed theologians would describe good works as “constituitive” of salvation. This is what I call the “is” of good works. We are not saved because of good works. They never become the ground of salvation. We may be confident that “medium” does not mean “instrument” since he was elaborating on the expression “pars ipsius salutis.” This is the equivalent of the Westminster Divines saying “having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life” (WCF 16.2). Good works are the fruit of the “saving graces” (WCF 11.2). He continued to explain the relationship of good works to salvation by analogy with justification. Good works are necessary to salvation as they are necessary “unto righteousness” (ad iustitiam) or “unto justification” (ad iustificationem) or “in those being justified” (in iustificandis), i.e., as a consequence of justification (quam consequens iustificationis) since sanctification (regeneratio) is inseparably conjoined with justification.20 This was Calvin’s doctrine of the duplex gratia Dei (twofold grace of God) or Olevianus’ duplex beneficium. Justification gives rise to progressive sanctification and sanctification produces good works as fruit and evidence of salvation.21

At the top of the next page, however, he hastened to add “but I do not use this form of speaking” because it is ambiguous (which had already said) and because “it gives birth to contentions and give our adversaries opportunity for quibbling. 22 He also did not speak thus because this way of speaking is not found in Scripture. It is prudent (tutius) to say “good works are necessary in those being justified (iustificandis) and in those being saved” (salvandis). 23 Ursinus was unwilling to say things about salvation (the broader concept) that he could not say about justification (the narrower concept). It is “ambiguous” (ambigue) to talk about the necessity of good works in justification since such a way of speaking may be understood to make good works prior or antecedent to justification (ante iustificationem), which way of speaking would overturn the material cause of the Reformation. He was unequivocally and irrevocably committed to justification sola gratia, sola fide. Neither was he willing to say that good works are a “cause of justification” (causa iustificationis).24 Rather, he wanted to follow Augustine: Good works do not precede (praecedunt) being justified but they follow the justified.25

From there he responded to the objection that good works are so essential to salvation that it is not possible to have salvation without them. In answer he reminded the reader of Heidelberg 87,

87. Can they then not be saved who do not turn to God from their unthankful, impenitent life?

By no means, for, as the Scripture says, no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like shall inherit the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, he concluded, “good works are necessary to salvation” but he insisted on a distinction. They are, as he had already said and now repeats, “pars salutis (part of salvation). They are antecedent to salvation (antecedens salutem) but they do not merit salvation. They are necessary “in those being saved” (in salvandis) but they do not merit or cause salvation.


In the contemporary debate over salvation prompted by the thesis of a prominent evangelical leader that there are two stages in salvation, the initial being justification sola gratia, sola fide and the putative “final” stage through “that fruit [of justification] and that faith” or that we good works are for “maintaining” our justification it has been claimed that this two-stage soteriology with good works as the instrument of final salvation is nothing more than one finds frequently in the Reformed tradition. It has been claimed that Ursinus taught this very thing or something like it.

To examine this claim we have surveyed his two early catechisms, the Summa and the Minor (1561 and 1562) and his lectures on the Body of Orthodox Doctrine, which he gave for about two decades until his death in 1583. In none of these texts have seen even the slightest hint of a “two-stage” soteriology nor have found him teaching that good works are instrumental in our salvation. We have found him teaching that good works are constituitive of salvation, that they are found in the saved, that they are fruit and evidence of salvation, that they glorify God, that they assure the believer, and edify the neighbor. We even found him teaching that they help the believer to avoid temporal and eternal penalties (chastisements) but we have seen no indication that he thought or taught his students that good works are instrumental in salvation and certainly not co-instrumental with faith in salvation.


1. Zacharias Ursinus, The Commentary of Dr. Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg Catechism, trans. G. W. Williard (Cincinnati, OH: Elm Street Printing Company, 1888), 476. Corpus doctrinae orthodoxae (Heidelberg, 1616), 470.

2. Commentary, 481.

3. Ibid., 482.

4. Ibid., p. 482.

5. Ibid., p. 482–83.

6. Corpus doctrinae, 476. My translation.

7. Corpus, 477.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid., 478.

10. Ibid., 478.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid.

13. Ursinus, Commentary, 484–85.

14. Corpus doctrinae, 478.

15. Ibid.

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid.

19. “quod sint necessaria ad salutem, non tanquam causa ad effectum, vel tanquam tum ad mercedem, sed tanquam pars ipsius salutis, vel tanqam antecedens ad consequens, vel tanquam medium, fine ad finem.” (Ibid).


21. See Cornelis Venema, Accepted and Renewed in Christ and R. Scott Clark, Caspar Olevian and the Substance of the Covenant: The Double Benefit of Christ.

22. Ibid., 479.

23. Ibid.

24. Ibid.

25. Augustine, Ennaratio in Psalmum 110.3 (= English 111.3). Augustine of Hippo, “Expositions on the Book of Psalms,” in Saint Augustin: Expositions on the Book of Psalms, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 8, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888), 545.

Are The Remonstrants Heretics?

This question comes over the transom regularly. I think most confessional Reformed pastors would probably say that, though they disagree strongly with Arminianism, it is not heresy. Somewhere I read (or heard) that William Ames (1576–1633),   who served as an advisor at the Synod of Dort, regarded Arminianism as an error tending to heresy but not heresy itself. Whether Ames actually said that—he wrote treatises against the Remonstrants, which have not been translated—it all comes down to the definition of heresy.

Defining Heresy
The New Testament noun αἵρεσις (haeresis signals “faction” or “sect.” In Acts 5:17 the Sadducees are described as a “faction” or “sect.” In Acts 15:5 the Pharisees are a αἵρεσις. In Acts 24:5 Tertullus describes the Christians as a αἵρεσις. In 1 Cor 11:19 a αἵρεσις is divisive group in the Corinthian congregation. In Galatians 5:20 it refers to “divisions” that must be avoided in the church.

Already in the apostolic period the line between divisive behavior and divisive doctrine began to blur. The Corinthian congregation was riven by self-described “Super Apostles,” who denigrated Paul’s office and his doctrine. The Galatian Judaizers, who were teaching that God accepts (justifies) us partly on the basis of grace and partly on the basis of our law keeping (obedience) were guilty of schismatic doctrine, which produced divisions in the congregation. The Apostle Peter’s lapse was doctrinal and moral (Gal 2:11–14). Peter and Barnabas accepted false doctrine (i.e., that Gentiles must become Jews to become Christians) for which the Apostle Paul rightly denounced their doctrine and life as out of “step with the truth of the gospel.”

In the early post-Apostolic church this pattern, of recognizing the connection between doctrinal and moral error, continued. The ecumenical church, meeting in council (e.g., at Nicea in 325, at Constantinople in 381, at Ephesus in 431) recognized and denounced moral errors and great doctrinal errors. Today, however, we speak less frequently of moral heresy and more typically of doctrinal heresy.

There is another distinction to consider and that is between heresy used in the broad sense, to refer to error and heresy used in the narrow sense, to refer to a doctrinal error that contradicts the holy ecumenical faith and puts one in jeopardy of damnation. We know that there are such things. There is a sin against the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:31), namely attributing the work of the Spirit to the devil. The Athanasian Creed (mid-4th to mid-5th centuries AD) declares:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic [ecumenical] faith; Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

It is not possible to reject the doctrine of the ecumenical doctrine of the Trinity and be saved nor is it possible to reject the ecumenical doctrine of the two natures of Christ and be saved. The ecumenical faith is summarized by the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed (325, 381), the Definition of Chalcedon (451), and the Athanasian.

An Ecumenical Consensus On Salvation
What, however, should we say about the doctrine of salvation (soteriology)? Is there an ecumenical orthodoxy on salvation? Yes. The Council of Ephesus (431) condemned the errors of Coelestius [aka, Caelestius], who was an associate of Pelagius, the British monk who opposed Augustine’s doctrine that humans are fallen in Adam and utterly corrupted by sin and that salvation, including unconditional election, is by grace alone. Pelagius and Coelestius denied that in Adam’s fall sinned we all, as the colonial catechism had it. They denied the doctrine of total depravity (as it has come to be known). They taught that humans are all born like Adam, able to sin or not to sin, that we are able, at birth, if we will, to live sinless lives. They taught the doctrine of sinless perfection and that grace is to make salvation easier. Those doctrines were condemned not only at Ephesus but all through the medieval church and by the Reformation churches. The Second Council of Orange (529 AD), and even the Council of Trent (17 June 1546) condemned it. Pelagianism is condemned by name in the Augsburg Confession (1530), French Confession (1559), the Belgic Confession (1561), the Second Helvetic Confession (1566), the Anglican Articles (1571), and by the Synod of Dort (1619). As I wrote some years ago, “to say that Pelagianism is heresy, is to stand in the broadest stream of the Western Church. It is not a narrow, bigoted position, at least not as seen from the perspective of the historic Western Christian tradition.”

Arguably, to deny the Augustinian doctrine of provenient grace (i.e., unconditional election, that grace comes first, that grace regenerates) and to deny the Augustinian doctrine of sin is to contradict the ecumenical understanding of holy Scripture. This is a significant claim. It is not clear to me how to reconcile the soteriology of post-7th century [Greek/Russian etc] Orthodox traditions, whose soteriology more closely resembles that of Origen and Pelagius than Augustine’s, with the ecumenical doctrine. Nor is it easy to see how the Wesleyan and Nazarene traditions are squared with the broad Augustinianism of Ephesus et al.

It is important to note that, to this point, I have only appealed to Scripture (the magisterial authority for the Christian faith and the Christian life; sola Scriptura) and to the Council of Ephesus, the Second Council of Orange, to the Lutheran Augsburg Confession, to the Council of Trent (!), and to the Reformed church insofar as they all agree contra Pelagius. It is important to recognize that this is not a narrow band of ecclesiastical authorities nor a bigoted opinion.

This bring us to the question of the way the international Synod of Dort (1618–19) addressed the Remonstrants [Arminians]. What category did they use to analyze and reject the Remonstrants?

Above we considered the definition of heresy. We saw that there is a distinction to be made between heresy defined narrowly and broadly. The question remains, what should we think of the Remonstrants? In 1610 they made their Remonstrance against the confession of the Reformed churches. They proposed that the Reformed churches should confess

  1. that election is conditioned upon foreseen faith (and perseverance). They proposed;
  2. that Christ died and has obtained forgiveness for all;
  3. that grace is resistible;
  4. that it is possible that believers can turn away from Christ

In 1611, the contra-Remonstrance replied to the Remonstrants in a series of 5 articles that would form the core of the Canons considered by the various committees and finally adopted by the Synod. The international Synod of Dort (1618–19) convened to respond to this challenge. Did they regard these proposed revisions as heresy and if so, in what sense? The Canons did not use the word heresy or heretic very often but they did use it in the preface to the Canons:

The truth of this kind promise is evident in the Church of all ages. She has been attacked from the beginning, not only by the public force of enemies and the ungodly violence of heretics, but also by the masked subtleties of seducers.

The promise to which Synod referred was “I will be with you always” in Matthew 28:20.

Synod was explicit in its support for the judgment of the Council of Ephesus that Pelagianism is heresy:

But that others who are called by the gospel obey the call and are converted is not to be ascribed to the proper exercise of free will, whereby one distinguishes himself above others equally furnished with grace sufficient for faith and conversion (as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains); but it must be wholly ascribed to God…. (3/4.10)

Finally, they invoked the category of heresy in the 5th head of doctrine, article 15:

The carnal mind is unable to comprehend this doctrine of the perseverance of the saints and the certainty thereof, which God has most abundantly revealed in His Word, for the glory of His Name and the consolation of pious souls, and which He impresses upon the hearts of the believers. Satan abhors it, the world ridicules it, the ignorant and hypocritical abuse it, and the heretics oppose [spiritusque erronei oppugnant] it. But the bride of Christ has always most tenderly loved and constantly defended it as an inestimable treasure; and God, against whom neither counsel nor strength can prevail, will dispose her so to continue to the end. Now to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen.

So far it seems likely that Synod was confessing that the Remonstrants were teaching heresy but it is not certain. Even though the phrase “spiritusque erronei oppugnant” (“the spirits of the wanderers”) is widely translated as “heretics,” since the word heretic is not explicitly used in 5.15 some ambiguity remains. If, however, we consider the rhetorical function of their invocation of Pelagius, the picture becomes clearer.

Synod declared that the Remonstrant doctrine of conditional election “savors of the teaching of Pelagius” (Rejection of Errors, 1.10. Hereafter, RE). In the RE 2.3 Synod denounced the teaching that, “by his satisfaction” Christ neither merited salvation itself for anyone nor faith but he only merited the right to create a sort legal new deal, a new set of conditions to be met by the Christian the exercise of free will. Here the Remonstrants were guilty of judging “too contemptuously the death of Christ, in no way acknowledge that most important fruit or benefit thereby gained” and guilty of “bring[ing] again out of hell the Pelagian error.”

In RE 2.6 Synod complained bitterly that the Remonstrants, by using the distinction between “meriting” and “appropriating” such that our salvation depends upon our exercise of our free cooperation with grace, sought to “instill into the people the destructive poison of Pelagianism.”

In 3/4 head of doctrine, article 2, Synod contrasted the Augustinian teaching of the Reformed churches on the corruption and conversion of man with that of the Pelagians who held that sin was not inherited but communicated “by imitation, as the Pelagians of old asserted…”.

The Remonstrant doctrine that “the grace whereby we are converted to God is only a gentle persuasion” or an “advising,” is “altogether Pelagian and contrary to the whole Scripture…” ( RE 3/4.7). The Remonstrant proposal to return to the old medieval system of grace and cooperation with grace was, according to Synod, a proposed return to “this doctrine of the Pelagians” that had “long ago ago condemned…” (RE 3/4.9). In the 3/4 head of doctrine, article 10, on the corruption and conversion of man, Synod rejected the Remonstrant doctrine that the ability to obey the gospel call lies in the human free will, by which “one distinguishes himself above others equally furnished with grace sufficient for faith and conversion (as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains)…”. In RE 4.7, Synod condemned as “altogether Pelagian” the Remonstrant doctrine that saving grace is but “gentle persuasion” or “advice” and the Remonstrant doctrine that grace and free will are both partial causes of our salvation as the “doctrine of the Pelagians” condemned “long ago” (RE 4.9). The Remonstrant idea that our perseverance depends partly on our free will is nothing but “outspoken Pelagianism” (RE 5.2).

Finally, in her sentence pronounced upon the Remonstrants, Synod explicitly characterized the Remonstrant errors as “heresies.”

Did Synod condemn the Remonstrants as heretics? If we consider the various points at which Synod flatly characterized the errors of the Remonstrants as heresy, the ways in which Synod repeatedly associated the Remonstrants themselves with the Pelagians, and characterized their errors as Pelagian it seems hard to avoid the conclusion that, for the Synod of Dort, the revisions proposed by the Remonstrants were errors of such a magnitude that they not mere errors and not merely heresy in the broad sense, but heresy in the narrow, technical sense described in the first part of this essay: an error transgressing the ecumenical teaching of the church as agreed at Ephesus in 431, in the condemnation of Coelestius (and through him, Pelagius).

In the modern period, and particularly under the influence of neo-Evangelicalism, the rhetorical tendency has been to downplay the differences between the Reformed and the Remonstrants. To be sure, much water has passed under the bridge since 1619 but the Reformed churches still confess the Canons (rules) of the Synod of Dort. These are not mere historical curiosities. They are the living voice of the Reformed Churches, they are our understanding of the Word of God as touching the revisions of Reformed doctrine proposed by Arminius and his followers.

Perhaps the most important use that can be made of a recovery of the judgment of Synod upon the original Arminian doctrine is to recognize how passionate the church was for the Reformation. This year is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dort will be observed in 2018–19 and it is well that we should remember that what Synod feared most was that the Remonstrants were leading us away from the biblical gospel of salvation by grace alone back to the medieval doctrine of salvation by grace and cooperation with grace. That threat is ever with us. It exists now in the form of the self-described Federal Vision theology. It exists in other proposals too. We ought to be as passionate for the Reformation and biblical doctrines of grace as the Synod was.

We ought also to recognize again how great the difference is between the Reformed confession of the Word of God and the Arminian-inspired versions that have dominated evangelical theology and piety since the early 19th century. Synod did not invoke the category of heresy lightly or unintelligently. They knew what they were doing and they used that language advisedly. It was meant to be bracing to the churches and to her ministers and so it should once again have that same affect in us.

This essay first appeared in May-June, 2017 on the Heidelblog. ©2017 R. Scott Clark. All rights reserved.

The Synod Of Dort On Election, Conditions Of Salvation, And Fruit

The Reformed churches have endured discussions and disagreements about salvation (justification, sanctification, and deliverance from the wrath to come) before. Beginning in the late 16th century a Reformed minister in Amsterdam began offering significant revisions of the Reformed understanding of Scripture. Early on critics accused him of corrupting the faith but he was allied by marriage with some powerful families and therefore was protected. When a teaching position opened up at the most prestigious university in the land he was nominated to fill the post. Despite misgivings by faculty members and others he was appointed and almost immediately there was controversy. He was accused of replacing orthodox textbooks with unorthodox ones. He was accused of denying the Reformation doctrine of salvation. He denied the charges and always, throughout the controversy, played the victim—a rhetorical stance which has become standard for his followers since. Over the years it became clear that this revisionist was not merely trimming the edges of Reformed theology but advocating a revolution. His movement not only placed the churches in jeopardy but threatened to become a cause of civil war. Within a year after his death, his followers published a five-point summary of what he had been teaching, four points of which conceded what had been charged against him. The fifth point, on perseverance, was deliberately obscure and finally, in 1618, 9 years after his death, an international synod met to address the crisis and to stem the spread of the movement he had unleashed. Of course we are talking about Jacobus Arminius (d. 1609) and the Remonstrant movement he created, Arminianism.

One of the theological motives of the Remonstrants, which is not always fully appreciated, was that they had concluded that the Reformation doctrine of salvation (e.g., definitive justification and consequent progressive sanctification) would never produce the sort of godliness and good works they thought ought to mark the life of the Christian. Thus, they created a system whereby good works are not merely the fruit and evidence of salvation but an antecedent condition thereof. That is, where the orthodox Reformed had faith as the “sole instrument” or antecedent condition of justification, sanctification, and deliverance from the wrath to come (salvation), the Remonstrants had faith and works.

In the Remonstrant theology even election was said to be conditional. The Remonstrants taught that God had determined to save those who “shall believe on this his son Jesus, and shall persevere.” Salvation, they taught, was conditioned upon foreseen faith (fides praevisa) and upon our cooperation with grace. They used the word grace, as moralists usually do, but the clear effect of their revision was to take the Reformed churches back to the medieval system of salvation by grace and cooperation with grace or salvation by grace and works. Indeed, their doctrine of the election was worse than some taught by the medievals since Gottschalk (d. c. 867), Thomas (d. 1274), and e.g., Thomas Bradwardine (d. 1349) had taught unconditional election before the Reformation. The Remonstrants turned the gracious Reformation doctrine of salvation sola gratia, sola fide on its head. Note carefully how vociferously and with what terms the Synod rejected the Remonstrant theology:

We reject the errors of those who teach hat Christ by His satisfaction merited neither salvation itself for any one, nor faith, whereby this satisfaction of Christ unto salvation is effectually appropriated; but that He merited for the Father only the authority or the perfect will to deal again with man, and to prescribe new conditions as He might desire, obedience to which, however, depended on the free will of man, so that it therefore might have come to pass that either none or all should fulfill these conditions. For these adjudge too contemptuously the death of Christ, in no way acknowledge that most important fruit or benefit thereby gained, and bring again out of hell the Pelagian error (Rejection of Errors 2.3).

The Reformed churches of the Netherlands, France (in absentia), Great Britain, the Palatinate, Geneva, Bremen, Zürich, and elsewhere with one voice rejected these revisions in the Canons of the Synod of Dort (1618–19). These canons (or rulings) of the Synod are helpful in the current discussions about sanctification, conditions in the covenant of grace, good works, and salvation. The Canons are organized under 5 “heads of doctrine,” corresponding to the Five Points of the Remonstrance.

The term “conditio” occurs about 10 times in the Canons. It occurs first in Canons 1.9 and that use tells us a good bit about the concerns of the orthodox about the Remonstrant theology.

This election was not founded upon foreseen faith and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality or disposition in man, as the prerequisite, cause, or condition on which it depended; but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc. Therefore election is the fountain of every saving good, from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to the testimony of the apostle: “He chose us [not because we were, but]…that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph 1:4).

One of the most fundamental things that the Reformed needed to re-assert was the total inability of fallen man and the radical, free favor (grace) of God, in Christ, toward helpless sinners. The Remonstrant revision had it that we are not as sinful as Augustine and the Reformation had said. They posited some ability to cooperate with grace. Indeed, arguably, they collapsed grace into nature. By nature, even after the fall, we had sufficient ability to do our part. In this scheme, grace becomes a helper but not the marvelous, sovereign free favor earned for us by Christ and given unconditionally to sinners. According to the Synod, there are no conditions that we must meet in order to warrant God’s favor in salvation. Rather, by contrast, the Reformed taught that election is the “fons (the source) of all salvation (fons omnis salutaris). Notice that the divines singled out not only “foreseen faith” but also “the obedience of faith, sanctity, or other good quality and disposition.” The Remonstrant position had the effect of moving the ground of our salvation from Christ’s righteousness for us (pro nobis) back to qualities intrinsic to us. According to the Remonstrants we are saved partly on the basis of things done by us and wrought in us by grace and cooperation with grace. Such a system raises the question: how much must one do, in cooperation with grace, in order to be saved? That such a question necessarily arises tells us that we are no longer living in the house of the Reformation and that we are not talking about “grace alone” and “faith alone” but grace plus works. The Remonstrants turned the covenant of grace into a covenant of works (E.g., Rejection of Errors 2.2).

We know that the orthodox Reformed concern was the reception of eternal life because the Canons themselves say so. That is why the Reformed churches re-asserted that “faith, sanctity, and the remaining saving goods, and then eternal life itself flows from (profluunt) and is the effect of ” God’s sovereign, unconditional election. We are not elect because we are sanctified or obedient or because of foreseen faith but but we are being graciously, gradually sanctified by God because of God’s unconditional electing grace in Christ.

This was the doctrine of art. 10 also. The “cause” of our election is only (solum) God’s good pleasure (Dei beneplacitum). Salvation is not the outcome of our sanctification and good works. Rather, our sanctification and the consequent good works are the result of our salvation. The Remonstrants had set up “possible human qualities and actions” as a “condition of salvation” (salutis conditionem). The Reformed taught that God unconditionally, freely elected out of the “common multitude of sinners” (communi peccatorum multitudine) some to salvation. Their proofs? Romans 9:11–13 and Acts 13:48. Jacob believed and was saved because he was unconditionally elect. The Reformed make salvation a benefit freely given to sinners in the covenant of grace.

According to Canons 1.12, God’s free, sovereign decree of election comes to expression in history “in due time” in various ways. In other words, our experience varies. Even though our salvation is as sure as God’s free grace and election our subjective experience of assurance varies. It is interesting then to note how the divines spoke of the “infallible fruits of election” (fructus electionis infallibiles). According to the divines (and contrary to the popular caricature of Reformed theology and piety) we are never to ask “Am I elect?” Rather, the divines would have us ask, “Do I believe? Is there some evidence of true faith?” God’s grace produces observable effects. We are not to rest in but we are to observe the effects of election: true faith in Christ (vera in Christum fides), a filial fear of God—not a servile fear. Believers are in a covenant of grace, not a covenant of works. We respect (timor) our holy God but we do not fear him as if we are under judgment. Christ has endured that judgment for us. Because we have been saved and are being saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone we have a genuine sorrow (dolor) for sin, a hungering and thirsting for our own actual righteousness. Our sanctification and good works are the fruits of God’s gracious election and salvation, which he bestows unconditionally upon his people.

The divines were aware of the Remonstrant doctrine that there are different kinds of election: “general and indefinite” (general et indefinitam) and “singular and definite” (singularem et definitam). We have faced the exact same threat in our time in the self-described “Federal Vision” theology, which posits two kinds of election, eternal and conditional. The Reformed approach to assurance is to start with the objective, Christ’s work for us, which is credited to us and received by us through faith alone (sola fide). We observe the fruits of God’s grace and give thanks to him for them. We rest in Christ and his promises (gospel) but we recognize that he is working in us, however slowly that almost imperceptibly that work may sometimes seem to us. We do not have to choose between the objective and the subjective. We embrace them both. Neither do we need to become de facto sacerdotalists by turning baptism into magic so that our only answer to doubt is “I am baptized” (and ergo necessarily saved ex opere operato). No, baptism itself is not salvation but a sacrament of our salvation, i.e., a sign and seal of what is true of those who believe. Baptism is not the “sole instrument” (Belgic Confession art. 22) of our salvation. Faith is is the alone instrument of our salvation (sola fide).

The divines also, however, rejected as an error the notion that there is an election unto faith (electio ad fidem) or unto justifying faith (ad fidem justificantem) but which nevertheless leaves one “without a preemptory election to salvation (absque electione peremptoria ad salutem; rejection of errors 1.2). The Remonstrants were trying to set up a system where our salvation is in stages. We are justified now but not yet saved, which is the second stage. Here was their opportunity to make room for our good works and cooperation with grace co-instruments of our salvation. According to the Reformed churches, however, under such a construction, “the doctrine of election is corrupted” and the “golden chain of our salvation is dissolved” (auream hanc salutis catenam dissolvens). To that end they re-asserted the ordo salutis (order of salvation) by quoting Romans 8:30. “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (ESV). This fact should give us pause when we encounter those contemporary writers who wish to “move beyond” what they dismiss as “ordo salutis thinking.” There is an order to the application of redemption. It is the elect who are given new life, who come to faith, who through faith are justified, united to Christ, adopted,  saved, and glorified. Our salvation is not contingent upon our performance, even if that performance is qualified as “cooperation with grace.” Any such construction necessarily turns the covenant of grace into a covenant of works.

One consequence of abandoning the biblical and Reformed order of the application of redemption is our current confusion over the nature of salvation (justification, sanctification, and deliverance from the wrath to come), conditions in the covenant of grace, and the role of good works. This confusion is not new. There was confusion in the 1590s and in the early 17th century leading up to the Synod of Dort. The Remonstrants were not satisfied with the Reformation doctrines. They wanted our cooperation with grace and our good works to be more than the fruit and evidence of our justification and our sanctification, more than those necessary accompaniments to true faith and sanctification. In response the the Synod made not only our sanctification and good works but our new life and our faith to be fruit and evidence of our unconditional election. In so doing, they effectively re-contextualized the whole debate. Where the Remonstrants, who denied the pre-lapsarisan covenant of works, had put believers in a covenant of works for salvation, the Reformed churches re-asserted that believers are in a covenant of grace for salvation. As a result of the Synod’s reassertion of the Reformation against the Remonstrants, the question concerning good works was no longer, “How much must I do to warrant salvation?” but “How should I respond in gratitude for God’s unconditional favor to me in Christ?”

The Fifth Article Of The Remonstrance
Now we want to consider the fifth article of the 1610 Remonstrance, on perseverance. It was vague and confusing and must be read carefully, word by word, phrase by phrase, and clause by clause. It began with promising language, by speaking of those who are “incorporated into Christ by a true faith,” who have “thereby become partakers….” This sort of language was very familiar to the Reformed and created a false impression that the Remonstrants were more sympathetic to the Reformed cause than they really were. As I always say: keep reading. According to the Remonstrants, we are partakers of Christ’s “life-giving Spirit….” This is a subtle move since the truth is that it is the Spirit who has sovereignly and unconditionally made us alive (regenerated us), given us true faith, and who, through the sole instrument of faith, united us to Christ. We are already partakers of Christ’s life-giving Spirit.

The second sentence of 5 could expresses the underlying Perfectionism of the Remonstrants. B. B. Warfield saw this connection and identified two sources for the Perfectionism he encountered in the 19th century: Mysticism and the Remonstrants. According to the Remonstrants, those so united to the Spirit have “full power” to “win the victory.” This language may be interpreted more or less favorably but it is not exactly that of Heidelberg Catechism 56, which speaks of “the sinful nature with which I have to struggle all my life long…” nor of Heidelberg 60, which testifies that even as a Christian, in union with Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit nevertheless “that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them, and am still prone always to all evil….” One document is full of the spirit of Paul, Augustine, and Martin Luther and the other is not.

The Remonstrants always find a way to put the believer “on the hook” for his final salvation. Grace is never really free. It is never really amazing. As with Rome, grace is reduced to a helper. The Remonstrants wrote of “the assisting grace of the Holy Spirit” and that Jesus Christ “assists” us poor sinners “if only” we are “ready for the conflict and desire his help, and are not inactive….” Here the true nature of the Remonstrant doctrine of perseverance emerges: God helps those who help themselves by cooperating with his “assisting grace.” This is quite another picture of salvation. Here God has not parted the Red Sea and led us through, by the hand, as it were (Jer 31:32; Ex 14:16). Rather, according to the Remonstrants, God has covenanted to co-act with those who do what lies within them (facientibus quod in se est, Deus non denegat gratiam). The Remonstrants turned Reformed theology into the Pelagian covenant theology of the Franciscan theologian Gabriel Biel (c. 1420–95). Those who meet these antecedent conditions—the Remonstrants turned the covenant of grace into a covenant of works—cannot be plucked out of Christ’s hands. If we only read the first few lines and then let our eyes slip down to quotation of John 10:28 we might get entirely the wrong impression. Once, however, we read the words in between the picture becomes much clearer. The Remonstrants re-contextualized John 10:28 and the evangelical (in the original, sixteenth-century sense of the word), Protestant, Reformed doctrine of the perseverance of the saints.

Then comes the last part of the article, in which the Remonstrants feigned modesty and uncertainty about whether it was possible for one, who had been regenerated, “through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace….” Whether that might be true, the offered, “must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scriptures before we ourselves can teach it with the full persuasion of our minds.” In light of history we may say with confidence that the Remonstrants made up their minds quickly.

Synod Reasserts The Reformation Doctrine
Of course, the Synod was having none of it. They categorically rejected this doctrine as Pelagianizing, to whom or to which heresy they referred no fewer than 8 times. Remember, what is at stake here is the salvation of the elect. What is the nature of salvation (justification, sanctification, and deliverance from the wrath to come)? Is it by “assisting grace” and sufficient cooperation with the same or by grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fide)? In the Rejection of Errors under the Fifth Head of Doctrine (on perseverance) Synod explicitly labelled the Remonstrant doctrine “Pelagianism:”

We reject the error of those who teach: That God does indeed provide the believer with sufficient powers to persevere ( sufficientibus ad perseverandum viribus), and is ever ready to preserve these in him if he will perform his office (si officium faciat); but that, though all things which are necessary to persevere in faith and which God will use to preserve faith are furnished to us, even then it ever depends on the pleasure of the will (pendere semper a voluntatis arbitrio) whether it will persevere or not. For this idea contains manifest Pelagianism (manifestum Pelagianismum), and while it would make men free, it make them robbers of God’s honor, contrary to the consensus (consensum) of evangelical doctrine (evangelicæ doctrinæ), which takes from man all cause of boasting, and ascribes all the praise for this favor to the grace of God alone (soli divinæ gratiæ); and contrary to the apostle, who declares that it is God who “will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:8).

This paragraph alone makes clear that, for the Reformed Churches of Great Britain, France (in absentia), Geneva, Zürich, the Palatinate, Bremen, and the Netherlands the Reformation was at stake. Under the guise of promoting greater sanctity, the Remonstrants were attempting to lead the Reformed Churches back to medieval moralism: salvation by grace and cooperation with grace. That scheme they could only say that our cooperation with grace was tantamount to the doctrine of salvation by works condemned by the Apostle Paul: “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace” (Rom 11:6; ESV).

Where the Remonstrants posited salvation by assisting grace and sufficient cooperation with grace by those who are willing , the Reformed taught that it is by God’s grace alone that we persevere. We are justified by grace alone. We are sanctified by grace alone. We are saved by grace alone. One ground of their insistence upon grace was their stout Pauline, Augustinian, and Protestant assessment of the human condition. The Remonstrants downplayed the effects of the fall. The Reformed understood Scripture to teach that, by nature, we are desperately wicked (Jer 17:9), dead in sins and trespasses (Rom 1–3; Eph 2:1–4). The Remonstrants had collapsed grace into nature. As far as they were concerned, God had endowed us with all we need, if only we will exercise our free will to “do what lies within us,” as the Franciscans had put it. Just as the entire confessional Reformation rejected the Franciscan covenant as Pelagian, so also the Reformed rejected the Remonstrant doctrine of perseverance as its latest manifestation.

Whereas the Remonstrants implied the possibility of perfect sanctification in this life (Perfectionism), the Synod rejected it. Though we are “though not altogether from the body of sin and from the infirmities of the flesh, so long as they continue in this world” (5.1). As long as we are in this life all our good works shall be spotted with sin. This is a cause of humiliation that causes us to turn Christ and by his grace to put to death the old man and to be made alive in the new. We press forward toward heaven, where perfection rests (5.2). The Synod rejected the over-realized eschatology of the Remonstrants.

Left to “what lies within” us, to cooperation with assisting grace, we would be lost. Instead, the churches declared, “God is faithful, who having conferred grace, mercifully confirms and powerfully preserves them therein, even to the end” (5.3). Where the Remonstrants said “we can,” the Reformed said, “But God.” The Remonstrants gave us law but the Reformed preached the gospel of free grace in Christ to helpless sinners.

Because of our struggle with sin in this life. Sometimes we are not always “so influenced and actuated” by the Spirit as ought to be. That is why we sometimes “sinfully deviate from the guidance of divine grace.” That is why we do not always experience the presence of God (5.11) and the strong sense of assurance that is ours by right. Sin and the struggle against sin are both real. That is why we confess that it is the “power of God who confirms and preserves true believers in a state of grace…” (5.4). It is by the “righteous permission of God” that we, like David, Peter, and other believers “actually fall into these evils…” (5.4). Such sins are truly offensive. They grieve the Spirit. They interrupt the exercise of faith. They wound the conscience and we may even, for a time, lose the sense of God’s presence (Ps 51:11). In such cases we have not fallen from grace. We have not lost our salvation but we have given ourselves great cause to lament our fallen state, our actual sins, and to repent of them and to seek, by grace alone, to mortify them. Whatever our experience may tell us, the Gospel tells us (5.10) that God never abandons his people. He never permits “them to be totally deserted, and to plunge themselves into everlasting destruction.” (5.5,6). Even in sanctification (mortification and vivification), the Christian life is still a covenant of grace, not a covenant of works. Assurance is restored to believers as their property under the gospel (5.9).

In order to produce sanctity among believers, the Remonstrants sought implicitly to put Christians back under the law, under a covenant of works, for salvation. In contrast, as the Reformed churches understood that it is by grace we are saved, through faith (Eph 2:8–10) unto good works appointed by God for us. God’s grace produces in us a desire to be conformed to Christ (5.13). It is not by the law that we are sanctified, though those who are being sanctified seek earnestly to bring their lives into conformity to God’s holy law. Rather, Synod said:

And as it hath pleased God, by the preaching of the gospel, to begin this work of grace in us, so he preserves, continues, and perfects it by the hearing and reading of his Word, by meditation thereon, and by the exhortations, threatenings, and promises thereof, as well as by the use of the Sacraments (5.14).

The ground of the Christian life, of perseverance is the gospel of God’s free (to us) favor earned for us by Christ and received through faith alone. By his grace he strengthens us. By hearing his Word, by meditating on the gospel, we are drawn back to Christ. By meditating on the law—the threatenings of what happens to those who do not believe—we are driven back to Christ’s righteousness for us but we are not placed under a covenant of works. It is impossible for believers, those for whom Christ died, to be placed back under works for salvation.

As the churches said (5.15), this doctrine will not be received favorably by all. The Socinians rejected it for the same reason as the Remonstrants. Both were essentially rationalists—thus explaining why so many Remonstrants became Socinians after Dort—and wanted to remove the gospel mystery of sanctification and perseverance. To those who know the greatness of their sin and misery and how utterly dependent they are on Christ for salvation (justification, sanctification, and deliverance from the wrath to come) the doctrine of perseverance by grace alone, through faith alone is a great consolation. It is explains our experience. It is a roadmap. It teaches us what to expect and how to understand our experience. Sinners sin but believers repent and seek to be conformed to Christ. We shall not reach perfection in this life but Christ was perfect for us. We shall be perfected after this life or at Christ’s return, whichever happens first. In the ordinary providence of God we shall endure periods of doubt and struggle but God has promised not to abandon us, whatever our experience may suggest. Christ has met the conditions of the covenant of works for us. We, who believe, are in a covenant of grace: All that he did is credited to us and God has graciously worked in us true faith, the sole instrument of our salvation. The Spirit has united us to Christ and is even now sanctifying us in Christ’s image and he shall glorify us.

Three Things Dispensational Apologists Should Stop Saying

There are varieties of Dispensationalism, e.g., classic (Darby, Scofield), modified (Chafer, Ryrie), and progressive (Bock, Blaising). To be sure there are varieties of covenant theology, e.g., classic e.g., that taught in the classical period that taught the covenant of redemption (pactum salutis), the covenant of works (foedus operum), and the covenant of grace (foedus gratiae) and revised (which omits the covenant of works and/or the covenant of redemption). Nevertheless, despite the significant differences between revised and classic covenant theology, they are united in their conviction that the history of redemption is united by a single, typological, covenant of grace progressively revealed in the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis 3:15 and ratified by Christ’s obedience and death.

For a century, beginning in the 1870s, American evangelicalism was heavily influenced by Dispensationalism. Advanced through Dispensationalist prophecy conferences, Bible Colleges, seminaries and perhaps most of all, through the Scofield Bible (1909), it became the dominant paradigm for the interpretation of redemptive history among those influenced by revivalism and fundamentalism, which is to say most evangelicals in the period. Dispensationalism appeared to be at the peak of its influence in the 1970s with the publication of Hal Lindsey’s, The Late, Great Planet Earth (1970),  John Walvoord’s Armageddon, Oil, and the Middle East Crisis (1976; rev. 1990), and the Ryrie Study Bible (1976) seemed to signal that the influence of Dispensationalism, especially the modified Dispensationalism was only continuing to grow.

In retrospect, however, it appears that 1970s were not a staging ground for further growth but the zenith of Dispensationalism. Its influence began to wane through the 1980s. In 1990 Bock and Blaising  published Progressive Dispensationalism, which signaled a movement away from the Dispensationalism of not only of Scofield but also of Chafer, Ryrie, and Walvoord. There are bastions of modified Dispensationalism, however, that are continue to hold the fort but they seem to feel beleaguered not  without and within.

I. Covenant Theology Began in the 1640s?
Perhaps in reaction, some defenders of modified Dispensationalism are prone to make certain exaggerated historical and theological claims as part of their defense. One of them is that covenant theology arose in the 1640s (or 1670s).

C. Fred Lincoln made this claim in a series of articles published in Bibliotheca Sacra beginning in 1943. His work has been further reduced to the bald claim, as one pastor puts it on his website: “Covenant theology is a system developed by two men, Johannes Cocceius (1603–1669) and Hermann Witsius (1636-1708).” I have heard this claim repeatedly.

However comforting such a narrative might be to Dispensationalists it is demonstrably false. Covenant theology did mature in the 17th century but the very system of a prelapsarian (pre-fall) covenant of works and a postlapsarian covenant of grace, which allegedly arose in the 1640s, existed explicitly as early as 1561 and implicitly much earlier than that. In the transitional period from 1561 until 1600 one sees multiple writers doing explicitly what some Dispensational apologists claim did not exist until the 1640s.

Further, there is good evidence to think that the roots of the explicit covenant theology of the early 1560s were in in the magisterial Reformers as they worked out an account of redemptive history from the 1520s. forward By the early 17th century the Reformed themselves believed that the roots of their covenant theology were in Oecolampadius (1520s). Certainly Zwingli and Bullinger were working out a covenant theology in response to the Anabaptists. The latter published a treatise on the covenant of grace in 1534. Ursinus taught the covenant of works or a covenant of nature in 1561. Caspar Olevianus published a series of treatises on covenant theology in the 1560s, 70s, and 80s culminating in his work, On The Substance of the Covenant of Grace Between God and the Elect (1585). Arguably, Olevianus taught a legal, prelapsarian covenant between God and Adam which was substantially identical to that found in Ursinus and later in Rollock and Perkins. He also taught something very much like the pre-temporal covenant of redemption. See Caspar Olevian and the Substance of the Covenant for a survey of his theology.

Long before the Reformed developments in the late 16th century there had been covenant theologies current in the medieval and patristic periods. Much of what the Reformed argued in their account of the substantial unity of salvation was influenced by those earlier responses, e.g., to the Albigensians in the 13th century and to the Gnostics and Marcionites in the 2nd century. Among the second-century writers Barnabas, Irenaeus, and Justin were clearly proponents of a covenantal explanation of redemptive history, which the Reformed would repeat in the 16th century against the Anabaptists. In short, the evidence that a developed covenant theology pre-existed the mid-17th century is overwhelming and claims that Reformed covenant theology arose as a system in mid-17th century are not tenable.

Part 2: Is Reformed covenant theology a “replacement theology”?


R. Scott Clark, “Christ and Covenant: Federal Theology in Orthodoxy,” in Herman Selderhuis, ed., Companion to Reformed Orthodoxy (Leiden: Brill, 2013).

R. Scott Clark, A Brief History of Covenant Theology.

Here’s the syllabus for my course on the history of covenant theology (with a bibliography).

II. Covenant Theology Is Replacement Theology
Our English word canard is actually a French word for duck (the noun, not the verb). Used figuratively in both French and English it signals “an unfounded rumor or story” (Oxford American Dictionary). In this brief three-part series I am addressing three canards, i.e., three unfounded claims that Dispensational apologists make about Reformed theology. This series should interest those more irenic Dispensationalists who seek to build bridges between the Reformed and Dispensationalists. It should also interest those who, though they have been raised in Dispensational congregations, are investigating Reformed theology or who are in transition between Dispensationalism and Reformed theology, piety, and practice. In part 1 we looked at the claim by some Dispensationalists that covenant theology arose in the mid-17th century.

The second thing that Dispensational apologists should stop saying that Reformed theology is a “replacement” or “supersessionist” theology. According to this criticism Reformed theology is supposed to teach that whereas the Jews were God’s visible people under the Old Testament, under the New Testament, they have been replaced or superseded (hence supersessionism) by the New Testament Church. This is a gross mischaracterization of Reformed theology and it begs the question, i.e., it assumes what it must prove.

The charge is loaded with a premise that we do not accept: that “Israel” and “the church” are two distinct or parallel things. As we understand redemptive history the church has always been. There was a church, of sorts, even before the fall. The garden was a temple, a holy place, which Adam as prophet, priest, and king was to rule, guard, and administer. He failed. There was a church after the fall, beginning with Adam, then Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc.

This is not some theory that the Reformed impose upon Scripture. The doctrine that the church has always been is a biblical idea. According to Deuteronomy 4:10, when Israel was gathered at the foot of Sinai (Horeb) they were gathered, before the face of Yahweh (‏לִפְנֵ֨י יְהוָ֣ה) as the covenant assembly (‏קהל). The Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which was highly influential upon the vocabulary of the Greek NT uses the expression “on the day of the assembly” (τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῆς ἐκκλησίας). The noun that the LXX uses there and in Deuteronomy 9:10, 18:16. In Deuteronomy 23:3 (LXX) the same noun is used for the “assembly (‏ (קהלof the Lord” (ἐκκλησίαν κυρίου). Deuteronomy 31:30 speaks of the “assembly of Israel” (ἐκκλησίας Ισραηλ). This is the noun which, in the New Testament, is translated “church.” When our Lord says, in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church” he uses this noun (ἐκκλησίαν). In v. 17, when he says “tell it to the church” (ἐκκλησίᾳ), he is saying, “tell it to the covenant assembly.” It is the very same idea, the very same sort of assembly in view in Deuteronomy 4, 9, 18 (as surveyed above) that is being invoked in Matthew 16. Here is a longer, more detailed explanation of the biblical doctrine of the church as the Christ-confessing covenant community. The Biblical understanding would be clearer if we used the same terms in both cases. We could speak of the church gathered at Sinai etc or Jesus building his covenant assembly.

In the Reformed understanding, the church gradually became predominantly and distinctively Jewish with the institution of the sacrament of circumcision, as Paul says in Rom 4:–12. Abraham believed before he was circumcised, i.e., while he was a Gentile and he believed after he was circumcised, when he became a Jew. So it is with the history of redemption. God had his people under Noah and Abraham but, in the providence of God, the focus of redemption gradually narrowed, like a funnel, through redemptive history as it became focused for about a millennium, temporarily, on national Israel. From Israel would come the Savior of the world. So, for a time the church was predominantly Jewish. In no way do we diminish the importance of this administration of the church or the outward administration of the covenant of grace under national Israel. We agree with Paul who wrote, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen” (Rom 9:4–5; ESV). In Ephesians 2:12 Paul says that to national Israel was given “the covenant of promise” (διαθηκῶν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας). They had the highest privilege.

The very notion of a “replacement” or “succession” assumes that God is no longer saving Jews. This is contrary to Paul’s teaching in Romans 11:

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace (Rom 11:1–5; ESV).

Paul appealed to himself as a proof that God was still honoring his promise and still saving his people, his elect, from among the descendants of Abraham. Further, it is held by many faithful Reformed theologians, on the basis of Romans 11, that there will a future, great conversion of Jews to new life and true faith in Jesus as the Messiah. That would be a glorious thing indeed.

We must also remember, however, that Paul also says that, in Christ, the dividing wall erected by the 613 commandments (of the Mosaic law) has been broken down. It’s worth quoting at length:

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Eph 2:11–22; ESV).

According to Paul, though there was a temporary dividing wall, under Moses and David (for about 1,000 years). That dividing wall has been demolished by the death of Christ. Now, for those who are in Christ there is only “one man,” as it were. Peace has been made. Reconciliation has been accomplished. Even under the Mosaic and Davidic administrations of the covenant of grace (the church) there were some Gentiles grafted in to the body as a foreshadow of the future ingathering of the Gentiles. Remember Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5)? He was a Gentile but he was received by the prophet as a member of the covenant community. Rahab is another case (Matt 1:5; Heb 11:31).  In the NT we see that the Old, Mosaic covenant (2 Cor 3:14) was fulfilled and cancelled (Col 2:14) by the death of Christ. In the New Testament the nations, Gentiles, would be called to faith in Jesus the Messiah just as the Jews had been (Isa 52:10, 15; 60:3). Indeed, the actual inclusion of Gentiles into covenant communities (into the church) created a crisis that had to be resolved by a formal assembly (Acts 15). Paul had to address the problem repeatedly (e.g., in Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians to name but a few).

Now, in Christ, there is no longer any distinction between Jew or Gentile (See Rom 10:12; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11). The wall, erected in the temporary national covenant with Israel, has been destroyed never to be rebuilt. God is saving all his elect, Jew and Gentile alike (See Rom 11) and shall continue to do so until Christ returns. Reformed theologians and the Reformed churches have always believed this. The very category “replacement” is alien to Reformed theology. Like all Christians we pray for the conversion of Jews and Gentiles by the sovereign, gracious work of the Holy Spirit. With Paul, we pray for the conversion of Israel to saving faith in the ascended and glorified Messiah Jesus of Nazareth.

We reject the idea that there are two peoples, an earthly and a spiritual people. God’s spiritual promises were temporarily administered through an earthly national people but, as Paul says in Galatians 3:17, the Mosaic covenant was 430 years after Abraham and the Mosaic covenant did not change the Abrahamic. Agreeing with Paul in Galatians is hardly “replacement theology” or of “supersessionism.”

If Dispensationalists are genuinely interested understanding Reformed theology and it representing it accurately to others, they must stop saying that Reformed theology teaches “replacement theology.”

Here are some resources on the so-called “replacement theology.”

III. Reformed Covenant Theology Allegorizes?

“For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6b)

It was widely held in the early church that 2 Corinthians 3:6 intended to distinguish between the literal sense of the text of Scripture and its figurative sense. The literal sense is that sense the text had in its original context, to its original readers (or hearers). The figurative sense referred to metaphorical or symbolic truth contained in the text, which might take a variety of shapes. There was never any doubt, even by that most prolific scholar of the figurative senses Origen (c. 184–c.254), that the literal sense is always present and most basic. What varied, however, was the degree to which a writer was interested in one category or the other. Thus, whereas Origen was much more interested in the figurative (theological and moral) senses, John Chyrsostom (347–407) was much more interested in the literal sense.

Over time, the figurative sense developed. Initially it was said to contain the doctrinal (allegorical) and the moral (tropological). Eventually, by the 7th century writers were speaking of a third sub-category of figurative meaning, the eschatological (analogical). Together, these 4 senses came to be known as the quadriga. The development of the three sub-categories of the figurative sense was not arbitrary. It was driven by two impulses. First, there was a correlation with 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Faith refers to the doctrinal sense (allegory) or what is to be believed (credenda), hope refers to what the text teaches about heaven (eschatology) or what is to hoped (speranda), and love to what is to be done (agenda). Each of these correlated to a cardinal, basic, pivotal (cardo = hinge) Christian virtue: faith (fides), hope (spes), and charity (or love; caritas). The medievals developed a song to help students remember how to keep the senses distinct:

Litera gesta docet, (The letter teaches of deeds)
quid credas allegoria; (allegory of what is believed)
moralis quid agas; (morality of what is done)
quo tenda anagogia. (anagoge of things to come)

Sometimes one is given the impression that users of the quadriga sought to find every sense in every text. This is not likely. In his commentary on Job (Moralia in Job), Gregory the Great (c. 540–604) wrote,

Let it be known that we survey some passages with a literal interpretation. Other passages we examine by means of allegory in a figurative interpretation. Still others we study through the exclusive use of moral comparisons. Finally, some passages we investigate with greater care through the combined use of all three ways. Thus, we first lay a foundation of literal meaning. Then, through the figurative sense, we raise the structure of the mind into a citadel of faith. Finally, through the moral interpretation, we clothe our building with an additional shading.

The second driver of the expansion of the figurative sense was the influence of the spirit/matter dualism of middle and neo-Platonism. In this scheme the material is less real and less significant than the spiritual. To the degree this bias influenced Christians, it is not surprising that they (e.g., Origen) came to see the literal sense of the text as superficial and the spiritual (or figurative) senses of the text as more significant. Thus, for Origen, the literal narrative about the ark in Genesis 6–9 was undoubtedly true (contra critics like Celsus) but the literal sense was obvious. What was less obvious, what required more skill, more insight was the figurative (spiritual) senses of the narrative, particularly the theological (or allegorical) sense of the narrative. Origen was most interested in the theological sense of the ark because it suited his apologetic program. For Origen, Celsus and the critics missed the point of the ark by focusing on its size and the number of animals on board. We see analogous use of Scripture by apologists today in the way some make us of “every thought captive” (2 Cor 10:5). In context Paul does not mean to teach immediately what that text is often used to say. If there is a connection, it is via the theological implication of the text.

By the fourth century, under Origen’s considerable influence—Origen was not condemned until 553—it became fairly commonplace for interpreters to assign multiple senses to an important term such as Jerusalem.

Literal = the actual city
Allegorical = Christ’s church
Tropological = Human souls
Anagogical = The heavenly city

In this approach, Jesus did not get into a boat to teach (Luke 5:3) for practical reasons but in order to send a symbolic message about the centrality of the visible institutional church. The boat was said to represent the visible church. Again, we recoil against such a reading (or we should) because it is arbitrary, because it ignores the context and the grammar but one can see how, under the influence of Platonic dualism and the ordinary pastoral need to try to impress God’s people with the significance of the narrative, or to apply the text, or even to maintain the congregation’s interest in a sermon—it is not as if evangelical pastors do not allegorize in precisely this way every Sunday across the globe for precisely these reasons—such an approach would have been attractive. Again, this approach, however misguided it might seem to us, it is not as if Paul did not invoke allegory (in some sense) in Galatians 4 in his explanation of the flow of redemptive history. Add a little Platonic dualism to one’s hermeneutic and voilà and the text becomes, in the tropological sense, about the journey of the soul to God. We would be less than honest if we did not recognize at least a little popular contemporary evangelical preaching and teaching in the very approach that many have been taught to condemn.

By the 13th century Thomas Aquinas (c. 1224–74) recognized the excess to which the quadriga had been taken and attempted to rein it in by leading a sort of back to the Bible movement wherein the spiritual senses were said to be embedded in the text itself, rather than derived outside the text and imposed upon it but he continued to read the text in ways that the Reformation would ultimately find unsatisfying and arbitrary.

In The Reformation the Protestants not only affirmed the primacy of the literal sense but they rejected the quadriga as an abuse of Scripture. This is not to say that they did not themselves find “spiritual” or figurative senses from time to time but that they were so committed to the notion that the text has one intended sense that rhetorically and in practice were highly critical of the quadrigal system. When the text was intended by the divine and human authors to be taken figuratively, they sought to do so. When the text was intended (as in the case of Luke 5:3) to be taken as a straightforward historical narrative), they did so. They certainly made theological and moral applications of the text but that was a rather different thing than finding multiple senses in the text.

I offer this narrative to help our Dispensationalist friends understand why it is so wrongheaded for them to continue to criticize Reformed covenant theology for “allegorizing.” What the Dispensationalist critic typically means by this criticism is not that the Reformed are guilty of looking for the doctrinal sense of the text, as the fathers and medievals did, but rather that the Reformed have reached a different conclusion than the Dispensationalist. In my experience with Dispensationalists there is not a great awareness of the history of hermeneutics, the quadriga, or even of what the allegorical sense really was. “Allegory” is used a synonym for figurative or even as a synonym for typology. In the classic and modified dispensational schemes, the promises made to national Israel are central to the unfolding of redemptive history. By contrast, in classic Reformed covenant theology, Christ is said to be at the center of the unfolding history of redemption. According to some Dispensationalist critics, any scheme which fails to read the divine promises to be chiefly about national Israel (e.g., in a millennial kingdom including the institution of the memorial Levitical sacrifices) is said to be guilty of “allegorizing.”

This charge is false. The reality is that Reformed interpreters are committed to the original, intended literal sense of Scripture. Historically, however, we have recognized that Scripture intends to use a variety of forms of speech and genres and we interpret Scripture in light of the human and divine authorship of Scripture. We let the clearer interpret the less clear. The prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel are manifestly less clear insofar as symbolic language is inherently less clear than didactic and narrative discourse. We let the newer teach us how to interpret the older. Thus, when Jesus said, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25, 26; ESV) and Luke adds, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27; ESV) and further that when Christ “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45; ESV) it was to see that the central message is, as Luke writes, “that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46, 47; ESV). In other words, it is not “allegorizing” to see all of Scripture chiefly pointing to Christ as the fulfillment of divine promises but rather it is the intended sense of Scripture understood as Jesus and the Apostles would have it. That this is so seems abundantly clear to those who are not burdened with the a priori that God’s plan for national Israel and its restoration must be at the center of redemptive history and therefore the hermeneutical key to Scripture. As we understand the literal sense of Scripture, Jesus said, “Abraham saw my day and rejoiced” (John 8:56). Abraham literally believed in Jesus. Contra Dispensationalism, the “content” of faith has not changed throughout redemptive history. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David all believed in Jesus. That is the literal, intended message of Hebrews 11 and Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 1:20, “all the promises of God are amen in Christ Jesus.” Paul literally teaches in Ephesians 2 that Christ figuratively tore down the dividing wall that separated Jew and Gentile and that all those who believe in Christ form one, new covenant, man.

Scripture uses “types” (τύπος) and shadows (σκιὰ). Paul says that Adam was a “type” of Jesus (Rom 5:14). Paul teaches that the 613 Mosaic laws were a “shadow” of Christ (Col 2:16–17). Hebrews 10:1 says exactly the same thing in exactly the same terms. They were anticipations of the reality. They prefigured the coming of Christ. Heaven is a reality. Arguably, in John and Hebrews, it is the reality. After all, the true bread comes from heaven (John 6:32). On this see Geerhardus Vos, “True and Truth in the Johannine Writings” in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation).

Hebrews 8:5 says that the Levitical priests serve at a copy and shadow (ὑποδείγματι καὶ σκιᾷ) of the reality, i.e., of the heavenly temple, where Christ is now. In other words, unless we are to accuse Hebrews of Platonism, which charge is nothing but rationalism, then we must say that the earthly temple was only and ever intentionally an illustration of something else. Thus, it is not allegorizing to recognize, as the fathers and the Reformed did, that when Jesus said “destroy this temple, and in thee days I will raise it up” (John 2:19) he was speaking figuratively, he was saying that he is the temple. He was saying that he is the fulfillment of the temple. This is not Reformed allegorizing. It is the patent teaching of God’s Word: “But he was speaking about the temple of his body” (John 2:21). The true sense of Jesus’ words is a figure of speech. It is on the basis of our union with Christ that believers become corporately and individually, figuratively, the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16, 17; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16). The dividing wall having been broken down by Christ’s death, Jewish and Gentile Christians are being made into one figurative temple (Eph 2:21). The Spirit of God and of Shekinah glory rests upon us corporately (1 Pet 4:14).

As Hebrews says, he is our high priest (Heb 2:17; 3:1; 4:15, 15; 5:5, 10, 6:20; 7:26; 8:1, 3; 9:11). That is why Jesus “once for all” (ἐφάπαξ) offered himself up as the sacrifice for sin (Heb 7:27). He entered “once for all” into the holy of holies (Heb 9:12). He appeared “once for all” to put away sin by his sacrifice (Heb 9:26). Believers have been sanctified by his “once for all” offering (Heb 10:10). There were literal sacrifices, priests, and temples but they prefigured the literal reality of Jesus’ perfect, active suffering obedience, which he accomplished for all his elect (Jew and Gentile) and which has been graciously imputed to all who believe by grace alone. His literal obedience made him figuratively the “lamb of God” (John 1:29, 36). He is the lamb who was led before its shearer (Acts 8:32). He is our Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7; 1 Pet 1:19; Rev 5:6).

In short, as Hebrews teaches, Moses and the entire typological system, worked for (i.e., pointed to and was fulfilled by) Jesus:

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope (Heb 3:1–6; ESV).

Jesus is the literal Son, the literal heir, and the literal owner of God’s figurative house. Moses was a worker, a servant in that house. The whole Israelite arrangement was never anything but a type and shadow of the reality to come: Christ. That is not allegorizing. That is the way holy Scripture itself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, inerrant in every syllable, intends to be interpreted. Fidelity to Scripture requires that we distinguish properly between the literal and the figurative, that we recognize literary devices, that we recognize what is a type and what is a fulfillment. Fidelity to Scripture requires that we not only see where Scripture explicitly finds a fulfillment but that we learn from Scripture how to interpret Scripture. J. Dwight Pentecost was wrong (Things to Come, 17). The rabbis did not have the right hermeneutic but the wrong conclusions. Their system meant that Jesus could not be the Savior because he did not meet their expectations. The question we might ask, in light of the clear, repeated, and abundant testimony of Scripture is whether the hermeneutic of our Dispensationalist friends is more like that the Pharisees than it is like that of Jesus and the Apostles?

Further Reading
My understanding of the history of the quadriga is influenced by a number of sources beginning with the work of Beryl Smalley (e.g., The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, 1940). The Song of the Exegete is taken from Richard Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985), s.v., “Quadriga.”

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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Classic Reformed Texts in English Translation

prepared by Patrick J. O’ Banion M A. (Westminster Seminary California), 2001

Orthodox Reformed Writers Available in the Early English Books

(all reel numbers are from the 1475-1640 series unless otherwise noted)


    1. The beloved city: the saints reign on earth for
      1,000 years asserted and illustrated
      – Reel #
      [1641-1700 series] 243:E.90, no.9 (1643)
    2. Templum musicum: Compendium of the mathematical
      and practical elements of music
      – # [1641-1700
      series] 198:9 (1664)


    1. An account of the life of Valentinus Gentilis
      (the tritheist executed at Bern) – Reel # [1641-1700
      series] 883:20 (1696)


    1. A brief declaration of the chief points of
      Christian religion set forth in a table
      – Reel #173
    2. Christian mediations upon eight psalms – #411
    3. A brief and pithy sum of the Christian faith
      – #451 (1565?); #279 (1589)
    4. A discourse of the true and visible marks of the
      catholic church
      – #411 (1582?); #1537 (1622, 1623)
    5. A discourse containing the life and death of John
      – #173 (1564); #451 (1578)
    6. Patched pelagianism – #642 (1578)
    7. Job expounded (with Ecclesiastes) – #279
    8. On the three-fold order of bishops – #279
    9. A little catechism – #411 (1578, 1579); #1807
    10. Sermons on the first three chapters of the
      Canticle of Canticles
      – #279 (1587)
    11. An oration made at the nunnery of Poyssy(?) –
      #1195 (1561); #174 (1562)
    12. The pope’s cannons: wherein the masters of the
      Sorbonne are confuted
      – #452 & 174 (1585)
    13. The Psalms of David truly opened and explained
      – #1470 (1580); #452 (1590)
    14. A book of Christian questions and answers
      #1537 (1574); #452 (1578); #1721 (1586)
    15. Treatise on the plague – #377 (1580)
    16. A tragedy of Abraham’s sacrifice – #174
    17. The treasure of truth: touching the ground work
      of man’s salvation and the chief points of the Christian
      – #452 (1576)


    1. Institutions of the Christian religion –
      Reel #646? & 704 (1606)


    1. Concerning the refusal to wear apparel – Reel #181
    2. Gratulations to the church of England – #29 (1549)
    3. Exposition of “Woe be to the world” in St. Matthew –
      #487 (1566)
    4. On the distribution of Alms – #309 (1557?)
    5. On divorce – [1641-1700 series] #228:E4, no. 19


    1. The Christian State of Matrimony – Reel # 29
      (1543); #61 (1543 [46?]); #1892 (1548?); #1266 (1552);
      #183 (1552); #1747 (1552); #283 (1575)
    2. Commentary upon the second epistle to the
      – #29 (1538)
    3. Common places of Christian religion – #453
    4. Decades #183 (1577); #184 (1587)
    5. A wholesome antidote against the pestilent heresy
      of Anabaptists
      – #29 (1548)
    6. One hundred sermons on the Apocalypse – #184
    7. Treatise on minister’s clothing – #198 (1566)
    8. Judgments on certain matters of religion
      #184 (1566)
    9. Sermon on the Lord’s Supper – #1164? (1577)
    10. Discourse on the worthiness of scripture
      #487 (1579)
    11. Defense of infant baptism – #184 (1551)
    12. Of the end of the world and the judgment to come
      – #184 (1577)
    13. The old faith; an evident probation out of the
      holy scripture
      – #99 (1547); #951 (1580)
    14. The sum of the four evangelists – #412 (1582)
    15. The tragedies of tyrants exercised upon the
      – #185 (1572)
    16. Concerning magistrates and the obedience of
      – #28 (1549)


    1. A diaglogue of witches – Reel #283 (1575)
    2. Commentary on the minor prophets – #493
    3. Preface to his I Timothy commentary – #213
    4. Treatise on the AntiChrist – #213 & 1513
    5. True and Christian friendship – #922 (1586)
    6. The wonderful workmanship of the world (on
      natural philosophy) – #379 (1578)

Hyperius (listed under Gerardus, Andreas):

    1. The course of Christianity (as touching the
      daily reading and mediation of the scriptures) – Reel
      #888 (1579)
    2. The foundation of Christian religion – #1486
    3. The practice of preaching (how to frame a sermon)
      – #295, 1306 (1577)
    4. The regiment of poverty (how parishes may provide
      for the poor)
      – #295 (1572)
    5. A treatise of God’s providence and of comforts
      against calamities
      – #1024 (1588?)
    6. The true trial and examination of a man’s own
      – #1817 (1587)
    7. Two common places out of Hyperius (on
      astrology and the power of demons/ magic) – Reel not at
      WTSCal (1581)

Junius (Listed under Du Jon, François):

    1. The Apocalypse of St. John – Reel #289
      (1596); #218 (1592)
    2. Certain letters – #1234 (1602)


    1. Heavenly knowledge (A manducation to theology)
      – Reel #802 (1622); #1729 (1625)

du Moulin:

    1. The accomplishment of the prophecies (against
      Bellarmine and Coeffeteau) – Reel #1136 (1613)
    2. The anatomy of Arminianism – #1412 (1620,
      1626); #1377 (1635)
    3. The antibarbarian (showing the clauses of the
      mass which would offend people if they understood them)

      – #989 (1629)
    4. Apology for the Lord’s Supper (against
      – #1063 (1611)
    5. The buckler of the faith (a defence of the
      confession of faith of the reformed churches in France)

      – #1064 (1619); #1513 (1623); #1064 (1636)
    6. Coals from the altar (four religious treatises) –
      #1095 (1622)
    7. A treatise on the knowledge of God – #1095
    8. A defense of the catholic faith – #727 (1610)
    9. The elements of logic – #1095 (1624)
    10. Hereclitus (on the vanity and misery of human
      – #1064 (1609); #15 (1624)
    11. Treatise on the Jesuits’ shifts and evasions
      – #1064 (1623)
    12. A learned treatise of traditions – #1201
    13. Oppositions of the word of God – #1064 (1610)
    14. Oration in praise of divinity – #1095 (1640)
    15. A preparation to suffer for the gospell
      #577 (1623)
    16. The right way to heaven (prayers and meditations)
      – #1064 (1630)
    17. Theophilus or love divine – #1095 (1610)
    18. The encounter between Du Moulin and de Balzac
      – #1095 (1636)


    1. Common places of Christian religion – Reel
      #386 (1563, 1578)
    2. Of the lawful and unlawful usury amongst
      – #557 (1556?)
    3. The temporiser (he that changes with the time)
      – Reel not at WTSCal but a French translation is
      available: #1577 (1550)


    1. An exposition of the symbol of the apostles
      Reel#328 (1581)


    1. Treatise on man’s justification – Reel #598


    1. The substance of Christian religion – Reel
      not at WTSCal (1594); Reel #1580 may contain a copy of
      the English translation, but I believe that it is an
      enlarged edition of the Latin.
    2. Concerning God’s eternal predestination
      #1554 (1599)


    1. Disputation against the adoration of the relics
      of saints – #1554 (1611)

de la Roche Chandieu (Listed as La Roch de Chandieu,

    1. Meditations on the 32nd psalm
      #712 (1579)
    2. Treatise on the Word of God – #1709 (1583)


    1. A brief institution of the common places of sacred
      divinity – #1158 (1610)


    1. Certain learned discourses (For explanation
      of difficult points in his catechism) – Reel #582 (1613)
    2. Discourse on keeping the Sabbath – #1612
    3. The sum of Christian religion (lectures on
      the Heidelberg) – #364 (1587, 1591); #1368 (1589); #1499
      (1611); #1561 (1617)


    1. A brief and most excellent exposition of the 12
      ariticles of our faith commonly called the Apostle’s
      – Reel not available at WTSCal (1578)
    2. Judgments on the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
      – Reel #157 (1550)
    3. An epistle to the Duke of Sommerset – #157
    4. The common places – #366 (1582)
    5. Commentary on the Book of Judges – #367 &
      1673 (1584)
    6. Most godly prayers compiled out of David’s Psalms
      – #1223 (1569)
    7. Commentary on Romans – #367 (1568)

Virellius (Listed under Virel, Matthieu):

    1. The principal grounds of Christian religion –
      Reel #1533 (1594)


    1. Against the popish mass – Reel #1588 (1584)
    2. The Christian disputation – #1645 (1579)
    3. A Christian instrutction – #1534 (1573)
    4. On the Lord’s prayer – #1499 (1582)
    5. An exposition of the 12 articles in the Apostle’s
      – #158 (1548)
    6. The world possessed with devils (three dialogues)
      – #1737 (1583)


    1. Spiritual marriage – Reel #1615 (1592)
    2. Confession of the Christian faith – #471
    3. Speculum Christianum (or a Christian survey for
      the conscience)
      – #1577 (1614)

High Orthodox Writers Available in
Early English Books

(from the 1641-1700 series)


    1. Antidote against careless indifference in
      matters of religion
      – Reel # 748:33 (1698)

Catechesis Palatinae

Catechesis sive brevis institutio christianae doctrinae quo modo illa in ecclesiis et scholis 
palatinatus tum electoralis tum ducalis 


Fridericus Dei gratia Palatinus Rheni, ac Sacri Imperii Romani elector, Dux Bavariae, etc. omnibus quibus commissa est cura Ecclesiarum et Scholarum, 
 quae sunt in Palatinatu, S.D.

Postquam, quid nostri sit muneris, ex verbo Dei, atquae ex natura ipsa cognovimus, nosque in eo, ipsi potissimum qui id nobis imposuit, Deo Opt. Max. parere oportere: statuimus ut nihil esset, in quo tam in universa vita laboraremus, quam ut et nostrae conscientiae, satisfaceremus, et nostrorum saluti, quamtum in nobis esset, consuleremus.

Cum autem non satis esse existimaremus, nos ita consilio et ratione iustitiam administrare, ut nostrae fidei commissi populi, ius et honestatem colentes, placide tranquilleque viverent, nisi eo etiam perducerentur, ut Deum creatorem suum ac redemtorem ex verbo ipsius recte cognoscerent: (nam id unicum et firmum est fundamentum cum ceterarum virtutum, tum vel maxime omnis obedientiae et verae erga Deum pietatis) coepimus toto animo de ista re cogitare, nihil cupientes praetermittere, quod ad eam beatitudinem, tum parandam, tum conservandam pertineret. Et si autem et ab iis, qui nos proxime antecesserunt, cognatis nostris Palatinis et Electoribus (quorum memoriam cum amore ac reverentia usurpamus) varia utiliter et pie instituta sunt, ad gloriam Dei illustrandam, et populum in officio retinendum: tamen ut ipsi in principio gubernationis nostrae experti sumus, non ea adhibita est diligentia in illis exequendis, et ad utilitatem publicam accomodandis, quam par fuerit in re tanta adhiberi. quocirca minime mirum est, si ii, qui sperati erant fructus, percipi non potuerunt. His rebus permoti summus, ut non solum, quae ab ipsis recte instituta essent, revocaremus ac resitueremus: verum etiam, ut quae minus firma essent, fulciremus: quae vero corrupta et depravata essent, ea emendaremus et corrigeremus. Iacebant Scholae, tenera iuventus negligebatur, bulla erat in religione Christiana certa et consentiens institutio. Itaque vel male, vel ad nullam certam normam, sed ad cuiusque arbitrium iuventus erudiebatur, vel omnino non informabatur, sed reudis prorsus et impolita relinquebatur


Catechesis religonis christiane

Quaestio 1. Quae est unica tua consolatio in vita et in morte?

Quod animo pariter et corpore, sive vivam sive moriar, non meus, sed fidissimi Domini et servatoris mei Iesus Christi sum proprius, qui precioso sanguine suo, pro omnibus peccatis meis plenissime satisfaciens, me ab omni potestate Diaboli liberavit, meque ita conservat, ut sine voluntate patris mei coelestis, ne pilus quidem de meo capite possit cadere: imo vero etiam omnia saluti meae servire oporteat: Quocirca me quoque suo Spiritu de vita aeterna certum facit, utque ipsi deinceps vivam promptum ac paratum reddit.

Quaestio 2. Quot sunt tibi scitu necessaria ut ista consolatione fruens, beate vivas et moriaris?

Tria. Primum, quanta sit peccati mei et miseriae meae magnitudo. Secundum, quo pacto ab omni peccato et miseria liberer. Tertium, quam gratiam Deo pro ea liberatione debeam.

Prima Pars De Hominis Miseria

Quaestio 3. Unde tuam miseriam cognoscis?

Ex Lege Dei

Quaestio 4. Quid a nobis postulat Dei?

Id docet nos Christus summatim Matthaei 22: Diliges Dominum Deum tuum, ex toto corde tuo, ex tota anima tua, ex tota cogitatione tua, et ex omnibus viribus tuis. Istud est primum et maximum mandatum. Secundum autem simile est huic: Diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum. Ab istis duobus mandatis tota lex et Prophetae pendent.

Quaestio 5. Num haec omnia perfecte servare potes?
Minime: natura enim propensus sum ad odium Dei et proximi.

Quaestio 6. Num ergo Deus hominem ita pravum et perversum condidit?

Nequaquam: Imo vero bonum et ad imaginem sui condidit eum, hoc est, vera iustitia et sanctitate praeditum, ut Deum creatorem suum recte cognosceret, ex animo diligeret, cum eo beatus in aeternum viveret, idque ad eum laudandum et celebrandum.

Quaestio 7. Unde igitur existit haec naturae humanae pravitas?

Ex lapsu et inobedientia primorum parentum Adami et Evae. Hinc natura nostra ita est depravata, ut omnes in peccatis concipiamur et nascamur.

Quaestio 8. An vero adeo corrupti sumus, ut ad bene agendum prorsus non simus idonei, et ad omne proclives?

Certe: nisi per Spiritum sanctum regeneremur.

Quaestio 9.An non igitur Deus homini iniuriam facit, qui ab eo in lege sua flagitat, quae praestare non queat?

Minime. Nam Deus hominem talem condiderat, ut ea praestare posset: verum homo, impulsore Diabolo, sua ipsius contumacia, se et omnem posteritatem divinis illis donis orbavit.

Quaestio 10.Num Deus hanc contumaciam et defectionem hominis dimittit impunitam?

Imo vero horrendis modis irascitur, tum ob innata nobis peccata, tum ob ea, quae ipsi committimus, eaque iustissimo iusdicio praesentibus et aeternis suppliciis punit, quemadmodum ipse pronunciat: Maledictus omnis qui non permanet in omnibus quae scripta sunt in libro legis, ut ea faciat.

Quaestio 11.An non igitur Deus etiam est misericors?

Est ille quidem misericors. verum ita ut etiam sit iustus. qua propter postulat eius iustitia, quod adversus summam Dei maiestatem commissum est, id quoque ut summis, hoc est, sempiternis cum animi tum corporis suppliciis luatur.

Secunda Pars: De Liberatione Hominis

Quaestio 12. Quoniam igitur iusto Dei iudicio, temporalibus et aeternis poenis obnoxii sumus: estne reliqua ulla ratio aut via, qua his poenis liberemur et Deo reconciliemur?

Vult Deus iustitiae sua satisfieri: quocirca necesse est, vel per nos, vel per alium satisfaciamus.

Quaestio 13. Possumusne ipsi per nos satisfacere?
Nulla ex parte: quin etiam debitum in singulos dies augemus.

Quaestio 14. Postestne ulla creaturum in coelo vel in terra, quae tantum creatura sit, pro nobis satisfacere?
Nulla: Nam principio non vult Deus, quod homo peccavit, id in ulla alia creatura plectere. Deinde, nec potest quidem, quod nihil nisi creatura sit, iram Dei adversus peccatum sustinere, et alios ab ea liberare.

Quaestio 15. Qualis ergo querendus est mediator et liberator?
Qui verus quidem homo sit, ac perfecte iustus, et tamen omnibus creaturis potentior, hoc est, qui simul etiam sit verus Deus.

Quaestio 16. Cur necesse est, cum verum hominem, et quidem perfecte iustum esse?
Quia iustitia Dei postulat, ut eadem natura humana, quae peccavit, ipsa pro peccato depndat: qui vero ipse peccator esset, pro aliis depndere non posset.

Quaestio 17. Quare oportet eum simul etiam vere Deum esse?
Ut potentia suae divinitatis, onus irae divinae carne sua sustinere, nobisque amissam iustitiam et vitam reparare ac restitutere possit.

Quaestio 18. Quis autem est ille Mediator, qui simul est vere Deus ac verus ac perfecte iustus homo?

Dominus noster Iesus Christus, qui factus est nobis sapientia a Deo, iustitia, sanctificatio et redemptio.

Quaestio 19. Unde id scis?

Ex Evangelio, quod Deus primum in paradis patefecit, ac deinceps per patriarchs et prphetas propagavit: sacrificiis filium suum unigenitum complevit.

Quaestio 20.Num igitur omnibus hominibus qui in Adam perierant, per Christum salus redditur?

Non omnibus, verum iis tantum, qui vra fide ipsi inseruntur, eiusque beneficia amplectuntur.

Quaestio 21. Quid est fides?

Est non tantum notitia, qua firmiter assentior omnibus, quae Deus nobis in verbo suo patefecit, sed etiam certa fiducia, a Spiritu sancto per Evangelium in corde meo accensa, in qua in Deo acquiesco, certo satuiens, non solum aliis, sed mihi quoque remissionem peccatorum, aeternam iustitiam et vitam donatam esse idque gratis, ex Dei misericordia, propter unius Christi meritum,

Quaestio 22.Quaenam sunt illa, quae necesse est hominem Christianum credere?

Omnia, quae nobis in Evangelio promittuntur, quorum summa in Symbolo Apostolico, seu in capitibus catholicae et indubitatae omnium Christianorum fidei, breviter comprehenditur.

Quaestio 23. Quod est illud Symbolum?

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, creatorem coeli & terrae: Et in Iesum Christum, Filium eius unigenitum Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu sancto, natus ex Maria virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus et sepultus: Descendit ad inferna, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,ascendit ad coelos, sedet at dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est ad iudicatuum vivos et mortuos: Credo in Spiritum sanctum. Credo sanctam Ecclesiam, Catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, et vitam aeternam.

Quaestio 24.In quot partes distribuitur hoc Symbolum?

In tres partes. Prima est de aeterno Ptre, et nostri creatione. Altera est de Filio et nostri redemtione. Tertia est de Spiritu sancto, et nostri sanctificatione.

Quaestio 25. Cum una sit tantum essentia divina: our cur tres istos nominas, Patrem, Filium et Spirtum sanctum?

Quia Deus ita se in suo verbo patefectit, quod tres hae distinctae personae sint unus ille, verus et aeternus Deus.

De Patere

Quaestio 26. Quid credis cum dicis: Credo in Deum Patrem, omipotentem, creatorem coeli et terrae?

Credo aeternam Patrem Domini nostri Iesu Christi, qui coelum et terram, cum omnibus, quae in iis sunt, ex nihilo creavit, quique eadem aeterno suo consilio et providentia sustentat ac gubernat: propter Christum Deum meum et patrem meum esse: itaque sic ei confido, sic in eo acquiesco, ut no dubitem, quin provisurus sit omnibus, tum animo, tum corpori meo necessariis. Quin etiam, quae mihi mala in hac aerumosa vita mittit, ea in meum salutem sit conversurus, eum et facere id possit, ut omnipotens Deus, et facere id velit, ut benignus Pater.

Quaestio 27. Quid est providentia Dei?

Omipotes et uique praesens Dei vis, qua coelum et terram, cum omnibus creaturis, tanquam manu sustinet ac gubernat: ut quae terra nascuntur, pluvia item et siccitas, gertilitas et sterilitas, cibus et potus, nona et adversa valetudo, divitiae et paupertas, omia denique non temere aut fortuito, sed patero eius consilio et voluntate contingant.

Quaestio 28. Quid nobis prodest haec cognitio creationis et providentiae divinae?

Ut in adversis patientes, in secundis grati simus, in futurum vero optimum in Deo fidissimo Patre spem repositam habeamus, certo scientes, ihil esse, quod nos ab eius amore abstrahat, quandoquidem omnes creaturae ita sunt in eius potestate, ut sine eius arbitrio, no modo nihil agere sed ne moveri quidem possint.

De Filio

Quaestio 29. Quare Filius Dei appellatur Iesus, hoc est, Salvator?

Quia nos salvat ab omnibus peccatis nostris: nec ulla salus aliunde peti debet, nec alibi reperiri potest.

Quaestio 30. Creduntne igitur illi in uicum Servatorem Iesum, qui a sanctis, aut a se, aut aliunde felicitatem aut alutem quaerunt?

Non: Etsi enim verbo quidem eo Servatore gloriantur, re ipsa tamen abnegant unicum Servatorem Iesum. Necesse est eim, aut Iesum non esse perfectum Servatorem, aut qui eum Servatorem fide amplectuntur vera, eos omia in ipso possidere, quae ad alutem requiruntur.

Quaestio 31. Quare appellatur Christus, hoc est, unctus?

Quod a Patre ordinatus, et Spiritu Sancto unctus sit summus Propheta ac Doctor, qui nobis arcanum consilium et omnem voluntatem Patris, de redemtione nostri patefecit; et summus Pontifex, qui nos unico sacrificio sui corporis redemit, assidueque pro nobis apud Patrem intercedit: et Rex, qui nos suo verbo et Spiritu gubernat, et partam nobis alutem tuetur ac coservat.

Quaestio 32. Cur vero tu Christianus appellaris?

Quod per fidem membrem sum Iesu Christi, et unctiois ipsius particeps, ut et nomen eius cofitear, meque sistam ipsi vivam gratuidinis hostiam, et in hac vita, contra peccatum et Stanam, libera et bona conscientia pugnem, et postea aeternum cum Christo regnum in omnes creaturas teneam,

Quaestio 33. Quam ob causam Christus vocatur Filius Dei unigenitus, cum os quoque simus filii Dei?

Quia solus Christus est coaeternus, et naturalis aeterni Patris Filius: nos autem propter eum, ex gratia, a Patre adoptati summus.

Quaestio 34. Qua de causa appellas eum Dominum nostrum?

Quia corpus et animam ostram a peccatis, non auro, nec argento, sed pretioso suo sanguine redimens, et ab omni potestate Diaboli liberans nos sibi proprios vidicavit.

35.Quid credis cum dicis: Conceptus est per Spiritum Sanctum, natus ex Maria Virgine?

Quod ipse Filius Dei, qui est, et permanet verus ac aeternus Deus, naturam vere humaam ex carne et sanguine virgiis Mariae, operatione Spiritus Sancti assumpsit, ut simul sit verum semen Davidis, fratribus suis per ominia similis excepto peccato.

Quaestio 36. Quem fructum percipis ex sancta conceptione et nativiatate Christi?

Quod is noster sit Mediator, et sua inocentia, ac perfecta sanctitate, mea peccata, in quibus conceptus sum, tegat, ne in conspectum Dei veniant.

Quaestio 37. Quid credis cum dicis: Passus est?

Eum toto quidem vitae suae tempore, quo in terris egit, praecipue vero in eius extremo, iram Dei adversus peccatum iniversi generis humai, corpore et anima sustinuisse: ut sua passione, tanquam unico sacrificio propitiatorio, corpus et animam nostram ab aeterna damnatione liberaret, et obis gratiam Dei, iustitiam ac vitam aeternam acquiret.

Quaestio 38. Quid causae fuit, cur sub iudice Pilato pateretur?

Ut innocens coram iudice politico damnatus, nos a severo Dei iudicio, quod omnes manebat, eximeret.

Quaestio 39. Est vero quiddam amplius, quod affixus sit cruci, quam si alio genere mortis affectus esset?

Sane amplius: Ex hac enim re sum certus, eum maledictionem, quae mihi incumbebat, in se recpisse: nam mors crucis a Deo erat maledicta.

Quaestio 40.Cur necesse fuit, ut Christus ad mortem usque se demitteret?

Propterea quod iustitiae et veritati Dei nullo alio pacto pro nostris peccatis potuit satisfierei, quam ipsa morte filii Dei.

41.Quare etiam sepultus est?

Ut eo testaum facceret, se vere mortuum esse.

Quaestio 42. Ad cum Christus pro nobis mortem oppetierit, cur nobis quoque moriendum sit?

Mors nostra non est pro peccatis nostris satisfactio, sed peccati abolitio, et transitus in vitam aeternam.

Quaestio 43. Quid praeterea capimus commodi ex sacrificio et more Christi?

Quod virtute eius mortis vetus noster homo, una eum eo crucifigitur, interimitur, ac sepelitur, ne pravae cupiditates et desideria cranis posthac in nobis regnent, sed nos ipsos ei hostiam gratitudinis offeramus.

Quaestio 44. Cur additur: Descendit ad inferna?

Ut in summis doloribus et gravissimis tentioibus, me consolatione hac sustentem, quod Dominus meus Iesus Christus inenarrabilibus animi sui anguistiis, cruciatibus et terroribus, in quos cum antea, tum maxime in cruce pendens, fuerat demersus, me ab anguistiis et cruciatibus inferni liberaverit.

Quaestio 45. Quid nobis prodest resurrectio Christi?

Primum sua resurrectioe mortem devicit, ut nos posset eius iustitiae, quam nobis sua more peperat, participes facere. Deinde, nos iam quoque eius potentia ad novam vitam excitamur. Postremo, resurrectio capitis nostri Christi, nobis gloriosae resurrectionis nostrae pignus est.

Quaestio 46. Quomodo intelligia illud: Ascendit ad coelos?

Quod aspicientibus discipulis, Christus de terra in coelum sublatus est. atque etiamnum nostra causa ibidem est, et erit donec redeat ad iudicandum vivos et mortuos.

Quaestio 47. An ergo Christus non est nobiscum usque ad finem mundi, quemadmodum promisit?

Christus est verus Deus, et verus homo; itaque secundum naturam humanam, iam non est in terra: at secundum divinitatem suam, maiestatem, gratiam et spiritum, nullo unquam tempore a nobis abest.

Quaestio 48. An vero isto pacto duae naturae in cristo, non divelluntur, si non sit natura humana, unicunque est divina?

Minime: Nam cum divinitatis comprehendi non queat, et omni loco praesens sit, necessario consequitur, esse eam quidem extra naturam humanam, quam assumsit, sed nihilo minus tamen esse in eadem, eique personaliter unitam permanere.

Quaestio 49. Quem fructum nobis adfert ascensio Christi in coelum?

Primum quod in coelo apud patrem pro nobis intercedit. Deinde quod cardem nostram in coelo habemus, ut in eo tanquam certo pignore confirmemur, fore, ut ipse qui caput nostrum est nos sua membra ad se extollat. Tertio, quod nobis suam Spiritum mutui pignoris loco mittit, cuius efficacia non terrena sed superna quaerimus, ubi ipse est ad dextram Dei sedens.

Quaestio 50. Cur additur: Sedet ad dextram Dei?

Quia Christus ideo in coelum ascendit, ut se ibi caput suae Ecclesiae declaret, per quod Pater omnia gubernat.

Quaestio 51. Quid nobis prodest haec gloria nostri capitis Christi?
Primum, quod per Spiritum sanctum in nos sua membra, ecclesia dona effundit. Deinde, quod nos sua potentia contra omnes hostes protegit ac defendit.

Quaestio 52. Quid te consolatur reditus Christi ad iudicandum vivos et mortuos?

Quod in omnibus miseriis et persecutionibus, erecto capite, eundem illum, qui se prius pro me iudicio dei statuit, et maledictionem omnem a me abstulit, iudicem e eolo exspecto, qui omnes suos et meos hostes, in aeternas poenas abiiciat; me vero cum omnibus electis ad se in coelestia gaudia, et sempiternam gloriam traducat.

De spiritu sancto

Quaestio 53.Quid credis de Spiritu Sancto?

Primum, quod sit verus et coaeternus Deus, cum aeterno Patre et Filio: deinde, quod mihi quoque datus sit, et me perveram fidem, Christi et omnium eius beneficiorum participem faciat, me consoletur, et mecum in aeternum maneat.

Quaestio 54.Quid credis de sancta et catholica Christi Ecclesia?

Credo Filium Dei, ab initio mundi ad finem usque, sibi ex universo genere humano coetum ad vitam aeternam electum, per Spiritum suum et verbum, in vera fide consentientem, colligere, tueri, ac servare: meque vivum eius coetus membrum esse, et perpetuo mansurum.

Quaestio 55. Quid sibi vult Communio Sanctorum?

Primum, quod universi et singuli credentes, Christi et omnium eius bonorum, tamquam ipsius membra communionem habeant. Deinde, quod singuli, quae acceperunt dona, in commune commodum et universorum salutem prompte et alacriter conferre debeant.

Quaestio 56. Quid credis remissione peccatoris?

Deum propter satisfactionem Christi, meorum peccatorum, atquae illius etiam pravitatis, cum qua mihi per omnem vitam pugnandum ets, memoriam omnem deposuissse, et me iustitia Christi gratis donare, ne unquam in iudicium veniam.

Quaestio 57. Quid te consolatur Resurrectio carnis?

Quod non tantum anima mea, postquam e corpore excesserit e vesito ad Christum suum caput assumetur: verum quod haec quoque caro mea, potentia Christi excitata, rursus animae meae unietur, et glorioso Christi corpori conformabitur.

Quaestio 58. Quam consolationem capis et articulo de vita aeterna?

Quod, quoniam in praesentia vitae aeternae inita in meo corde praesentisco, futurm sit, ut post hanc vitam plena perfectaque beatitudine potiar, in qua Deum in aeternum celebrem: quam quidem beatitudinem nec oculus vidit, nec auris audivit, nec ullus homo cogitatione comprehendit.

Quaestio 59. At cum haec omnia credis, quid utilitatis inde ad te redit?

Quod in Christo iustus sum coram Deo, et haeres vitae aeternae.

Quaestio 60. Quomodo iustus es coram Deo?

Sola fide in Iesum Christum, adeo ut licet mea me conscientia accuset, quod aversus omnia mandata Dei graviter peccaverim, nec ullum eorum servaverm, adhaec etiamnum ad omne malum propensus sim, nihlominus tamen (modo haec beneficia vera animi fiducia amplectar), sine ullo meo merito, ex mera Dei misericordia, mihi perfecta satisfactio, iustitia et sanctitas Christi, imputetur ac donetur; perinde ac si nec ullum ipse peccatum admissem, nec ulla mihi labes inhaereret: imo vero quasi eam obedientiam, quam pro me Christus praestitissem.

Quaestio 61. Cur sola fide iustum esse affirmas?

Non quod dignitate meae fidei Deo placeam, ded quod sola satisfactio, iustitia ac sanctitas Christi, mea iustitia sit coram Deo. Ego vero eam non alia ratione, quam fide amplecti, et mihi applicare queam.

Quaestio Quaestio 62. Cur nostra bona opera non possunt esse iustitia, vel pars aliqua iustitiae coram Deo?

Propterea quod oporteat eam iustitam, quae in iudico Dei consistat, perfecte absolutam esse, et omni ex parte divinae legi congruentem: nostra vero etiam praestantissima quaeque opera, in hac vita sunt imperfecta, atquae adeo peccatis inquinata.

Quaestio 63. Quomodo bona opera nostra nihil promereantur, cum Deus et in praesenti et in futura vita mercedem pro his se daturum promittat?

Merces ea non datur ex merito, sed ex gratia.

Quaestio 64. An autem haec doctrina non reddit homnes securos et prophanos?

Non: neque enim fieri potest, quin ii qui Christo per fidem insiti sunt, fructus proferent gratitudinis.
de sacramentis

Quaestio 65. Quoniam igitur sola fides nos Christi atque omnium eius beneciorum participes facit: unde haec fides proficiscitur?

A Spiritu Sancto, qui eam per praedicationem Evangelii in cordibus nostris accendit, et per usum Sacramentorum confirmat.

66. Quid sunt Sacramenta?

Sunt Sacra et in oculos incurrentia signa, ac sigilla, ob eam causam a Deo instituta, ut per ea nobis promissionem Evnagelii magis declaret et obsignet: quod scillicet non universis tantum , verum etian singulis credentibus, propter unicum illud Christi sacrificium in cruce peractum, gratis donet remissionem peccatorum, et vitam aeternam.

Quaestio 67. Num utraque igitur, et verbum et Sacramenta eo spectant, ut fidem nostram ad sacrificium Christi in cruce peractum, tanquam ad unicum nostrae salutis fundamentum deducant?

Ita est. Nam Spiritus sanctus docet Evangelio, et confirmat Sacramentis, omnem nostram salutem positam esse in unico sacrificio Christi, pro nobis in cruce oblati.

68.Quot Sacramenta instituit Christus in novo foedere?

Duo, Baptismum et sacram Coenam.

De baptismo

69. Qua ratione in Baptismo admoneris et confirmaris, te unici illius sacrificii Christi participem esse?

Quod Christus externum aquae lavacrum mandavit, addita hac promissione, me non minus certo, ipsius sanguine et Spiritu a sordibus animae, hoc est, ab omnibus meis peccatis lavari: quam aqua extrinsecus ablutus sum, qua sordes corporis expurgari solent.

70.Quid est sanquine et Spiritu Christi ablui?

Est accipere a Deo remissionem peccatorum gratis, propter sanguinem Christi, quem is pro nobis in suo sacrificio in cruce profudit. Deinde etiam per Spiritum sanctum renovari, et ipso sanctificante membrum christi fieri, quo magis ac magis peccatis moriamur, et sancte inculpateque vivamus.

Quaestio 71. Ubi promisit Christus, se nos tam certo sanguine et Spirituo suo abluturum, quam aqua baptismi abluti sumus?

In institutione Baptismi, cuius haec sunt verba: Ite et docete omnes gentes, baptizantes, baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti: Qui crediderit et baptizatus fuerit, servabitur: qui non crediderit, condemnabitur. Haec promissio repetitur, cum scriptura Baptismum nominat lavacrum regenerationis, et ablutionem peccatorum.

Quaestio 72.Estne ergo externus Baptismus aquae, ipsa peccatorum ablutio?
Non est: Nam solus sanguis Iesu Christi purgat nos ab omni peccato.

Quaestio 73. Cur ergo Spiritus sanctus baptismum appellat lavacrum regenerationis et ablutionem peccatorum?

Deus sine gravi causa sic loquitur, videlicet non solum ut nos doceat, quemadmodum sordes corporis aqua purgantur, sic peccata nostra sanguine et Spiritu Christi expiari: verum multo magis, ut nobis hoc divino symbolo ac pignore certum faciat, nos non minus vere a peccatis nostris interna lotione ablui, quam externa et visibili aqua abluti sumus.

Quaestio 74. Sunte etiam infantes baptizandi?

Omnino. Nam cum aeque ac adultiad foedus et Ecclesiam Dei pertineant: cumque per sanguinem Christi, remissio peccatorum, et Spiritus sanctus fidei effector, non minus quam adultibus promittatur: per Baptismum Ecclesiae Dei inserendi sunt, et ab infidelium liberis discerndi, itidem ut in Veteri foedere, per circumcisionem fiebat, cui in Novo foedere substitutus et Baptismus.

De coena domini

Quaestio 75. Qua ratione in Coena Domini admoneris et confirmaris, te unici illius sacrificii Christi in cruce oblati, atque omnium eius bonorum participem esse?

Quod Christius me atque omnes fideles de hoc fracto pane edere, et de poculo distributo bibere iussit, in sui memoriam, addita hac promissione: Primum corpus suum non minus certe pro me in cruce oblatum ac fractum, et sanguinem suum pro me fusum esse: quam oculis cerno, panem Domini mihi fragi, et poculum mihi communicari. Deinde animam meam non minus certo ipsius corpore, quod pro nobis crucifixum, et sanguine qui pro nobis fusus est, ad vitam aeternam ab ipso pasci: quam panem et vinum, Symbola corporis et sanguinis Domini, e manu ministri accepta, ore corporis percipio.

Quaestio 76. Quid est crucifixum corpus Christi edere, et fusum eius sanguinem bibere?

Est non tantum totam passionem et mortem Christi certa animi fiducia amplecti, ac per id remissionem peccatorum et vitam aeternam adipisci: sed etiam per Spiritum sanctum, qui simul in Christo et in nobis habitat, it sacrosancto eius corpori magis ac magis uniri, ut quamvis ipso in coelo, nos vero in terra simus, nihilominus tamen caro simus de carne eius et os de ossibus eius: utque omnia corporis membra ab una anima, sic nos uno eodemque Spiritu vivificemur et gubernemur.

Quaestio 77. Quo loco promisit Christus, se credentibus tam certo corpus et sanguinem suum sic edendum et bibendum daturum, quam fractum huncpanem edunt, et peculum hoc bibunt?

In Institutione Coenae, cuius haec sunt verba: Dominus noster Iesus Cristus, ea nocte qua proditus est, accepit panem: et gratiis actis, fregit ac dixit: accipite, (comedite,) hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis frangitur: hoc facite in mei recordationem. Itidem et pculum, postquam coenassaent, dicens hoc poculum est novum foedus per meum sanguinem: Hoc facite, quotiescunque bibertis, in mei recordationem. Quotiescumque enim ederitis panem hunc, et poculum hoc biberitis, mortem Domini annunciate, donec venerit. haec promissio a Paul repetitur, cum inquit: Poculum gratiarum actionis, pro gratias agimus, nonne communio est sanguinis Christi? Panis, quem frangimus, nonne communio est corporis Christi? quoniam unus panis, unum corpus multi sumus: Nam omnes unius panis participes sumus.

Quaestio 78. Num ergo panis et vinum fiunt ipsum corpus et sanguinis Christi?

Nequaquam: verum, ut aquam Baptismi in sanguinem Christi non convertitur, nec est ipsa peccatorum ablutio, sed Symbolum tantum et pignus earum rerum, quae nobis in Baptismo obsignantur: ita nec panis coenae Dominicae, est ipsum corpus Christo: quanquam pro ratione Sacramentorum, et usitata Spiritui Sancto de his loquendi forma, panis Christi corpus appellatur.

Quaestio 79.Cur ergo Christus panem appellat suum corpus, calicem vero suum sangu9nem, seu novum foedus per suum sanguinem: Paulus item panem et vinum, communionem corporis et sanguinis Christi?

Christus non sine gravi causa sic loquitur: videlicet, non solum ut nos doceat, quemadmodum panis et vinum corporis vitam sustentant: sic etiam crucifixum suum corpus et effusum suum sanguinem, vere esse animae nostrae cibum ac potum, quo ad vitam aeternam nutriatur: Verum multo magis, ut hoc visibili signo ac pignore nobis certum faciat, nos non minus vere, corporis et sanguinis sui, per operationem Spiritus sancti, partcipes esse, quam sacra ista Symbola, in eius memoriam, ore corporis percipimus: Tum etiam, quod eius passio et obedientia, tam certo nostra sit, quam si ipsimet pro nostris peccatis poenas dedissemus, et Deo satisfecissemus.

Quaestio 80.Quid interest inter Coenam Domini, et Missam Papisticam?

Coena Domini nobis testaur, nos perfactam remissionem omnium nostrorum peccatorum habere, propter unicum illud Christi sacrificium, quod ipsemet semel in cruce peregit: tum etiam nos per Spiritum sanctum inseri Christo, qui iam secundum naturam suam humanam tantum in coelis est ad dextram Patris, ibique vult a nobis adorari.
In Missa autem negatur, vivos et mortuos habere remissionem peccatorum, propter unicam Christi passionem, nisi etiamnum quotidie Christus pro ipsis a Sacrificulis offeratur: tum etiam docetur, Christum corporaliter sub speciebus Panis et Vini esse ideoque in illis adorandum esse. Atque ita ipsum Missae fundamentum, nihil aliud est, quam abnegatio unici illius sacrificii et passionis Iesu Christi, et execranda idolatria.

Quaestio 81.Quibus accendum est ad mensam Domini?

Tantum iis, qui vere dolent, se suis peccatis Deum offendisse: confidunt autem sibi ea propter Chrstum remissa esse: et quas reliquas habet infirmitates, eas passione et morte illus obtectas esse, quique desiderant magis ac magis in fide et integritate
vitae proficere. Hypocritae autem, et qui non vere resipiscunt, damnationem sibi edunt et bibunt.

Quaestio 82.Sunte illi etiam ad hanc Coenam admittendi, qui confessione et vita, ac infideles et impios esse declarant?

Neququam: Nam eo pacto foedus Dei proganatur, et ira Dei in universum coetum concitatur. Quocirca Ecclesia, ex praescripto Christi et Apostolorum, hos, clavibus reni coelorum utens, a coena arcere debet, quoad resipuerint, et mores mutaverint.

Quaestio 83.Quid sunt claves regni coelorum?

Praedicatio evangelii, et Ecclesiastica disciplina: quibus coelum credentibus aperitur: infelibus autem clauditur.

Quaestio 84.Quo pacto aperitur et clauditur regnum coelorum praedicatione Evangelii?

Cum ex mandato Christi credentibus universis et singuilis, publice annunciatur, omnia peccata ipsis divinitus propter meritum Christi condonari, quoties promissionem evangelii vera fide amplectuntur: contra vero omnibus infidelibus et hypocritis denuntiatur, tantisper ipsis iram Dei et aeternam condemnationem incumbere, dum in suis sceleribus perseverant: secundum quod Engaleii testimonium, Deus tam in praesenti, quam in futura vita iudicaturus est.

85.Quo pacto clauditur et aperitur regnum coelorum per disciplinam Ecclesiasticam?

Cum ex mandato Christ, ii qui nomine quidem sunt Christiani, verum doctrina aut vita se ostendunt a Christo alienos, postquam aliquoties fraterne admoniti, ab erroribus aut flagitiis discedere nolunt, Ecclesiae indicantur, aut iis, qui ab Ecclesia ad eam rem sunt constituit, ac si ne horum quidem admonitioni pareant: ab iisdem interdictione Sacramentorum, ex coetu Ecclesiae, et ab ipso Deo, ex regno Christi excluduntur: ac rursum, si emendationem profiteantur, et reipsa declarent, tanquam Christi et Ecclesiae membra recipiuntur.

Tertia Pars: De Gratitudine

Quaestio 86.Cum ab omnibus peccatis et miseriis, sine ullo nostro merito, sola Dei misericordia, propter Christum liberati simus, quid est cur bona opera faciamus?

Quia postquam nos Christus suo sanguine redemit, renovat nos quoque suo Spiritu ad imaginem sui, ut tantis beneficiis affecti, in omni vita nos erga Deum gratos declaremus, et ipse per nos celebretur. Deinde, ut nos quoque ex fructibus, de sua quisque fide certi simus. postremo, ut vitae nostrae integritate alios Christo lucrifaciamus.

Quaestio 87.non possunt igitur illi servari, qui ingrati, et in peccatis secure persistentes, a sua pravitate ad Deum non convertuntur?

Nullo modo. Nam, ut scriptura testatur, nec impudici, nec idolatrae, nec adulteri, nec fures, nec avari, nec ebriosi, nec convitiatores, nec raptores, haereditatem regni Dei conseqentur.

Quaestio 88.Quibus partibus constat conversio hominis ad Deum?
Mortificatione veteris, et vivificatione hominis.

Quaestio 89.Quid est mortificatio veteris hominis?

Vere et ex animo dolere, quo peccatis tuis Deum offenderis, eaque magis ac magis odisse et fugere.

Quaestio 90.Quid est vivificatio novi hominis?

Vera laetitia in Deo per Christum, et serium ac promptum studium iustituendi vitam ex voluntate Dei, omniaque bona opera exercendi.

Quaestio 91.Quae sunt bona opera?

Tantum ea, quae ex vera fide, secundum legem Dei fiunt, et ad eius solius gloriam referuntur: non ea autem quae a nobis opinione recti conficta, aut ab hominibus tradita sunt.

Quaestio 92.Quae est Lex Dei?

Loquutus est omnia verba haec:

Primum praeceptum
Ego sum Dominus Deus tuus, qui eduxi te ex Aegypto, domo servitutis. Non habebus Deos alienos in conspectu meo.

Secundum (praeceptum)
Ne sculpas tibi simulacrum, nec ullam imaginem effingas eorum, quae aut supra sunt in coelo, aut infra in terra, aut in aquis sub terra: neque incurves te illis, neque colus ea. Ego enim sum Dominus, Deus tuus, fortis, Zelotes, vindicans peccata patrum in filiis, idque in tertia et quarta progenie eorum qui oderunt me: et misercordia utens in millesimam eorum, qui diligunt me, et observant praecpta mea.

Tertium (praeceptum)
Ne ursurpes nomen Domini Dei tui temere. Neque enim Dominus dimittet eum impunitum, qui nomen eius vane ururpaverit.

Quartum (praeceptum)
Memento ut diem Sabbathi sanctifices. Sex diebus operaberis, et facies omne opus tuum: At septimo die Sabbathum erit Domino Deo tuo. Non facies ullum opus, nec tu, nec filius tuus, nec filia tua, nec servus tuus, nec ancilla tua, nec iumentum tuum, nec advena, qui est intra portas tuas. Nam sex diebus fecit Deus coelum, terram, mare, et quaecunque in iis sunt, et requivit die septimo, ideoque benedixit dici Sabbathi, et sanctificavit eum.

Quintum (praeceptum)
Honora Patrem tuum et matrem tuam, ut diu vivas in terra, quam tibi Dominus Deus tuus daturus est.

Sextum (praeceptum)
Non occides.

Septimum (praeceptum)
Non committes adulterium.

Octavum (praeceptum)
Non furaberis.

Nonum (praeceptum)
Non dices contra proximum tuum falsum testimonium.

Decimum (praeceptum)

Non concupisces domum proximi tui, nec concupisces uxorem proximi tui, nec servum eius, nec ancillam, nec bovem, nec asinum, nec quicquam eorum, quae sunt proximi tui.

Quaestio 93.Quomodo dividitur haec praecepta?

In duas tabulas, quarum prior quatuor praecptis tradit, quo pacto nos erga Deum geraumus: Posterior sex praeceptis, quae officia proximo debeamus.

Quaestio 94.Quid postulat Deus in primo praecepto?

Ut, quam mihi chara est salus animae meae, tam studiose vitem et fugiam omnem (idolatriam), magiam, incantationem, superstitionem, invocationem sanctorum, aut caeterarum creaturarum: unicum autem et verum Deum recte agnoscam, ipsi soli fideam, summa humilitate, ac patientia me illi subiiciam, ab eo solo omnia bona exspectem; denique intimo cordis affectu ipsum amem, reverear, venerer, adeo ut omnibus potius creaturis renunciem, quam ut vel minimum contra eius voluntatem committam.

Quaestio 95.Quid est idolatria?

Est loco unius Dei, aut praeter unum illum et verum Deum, qui se in suo verbo patefecit, alius quippiam figere aut habere, in quo spem reponas.

Quaestio 96. Quid postulat secundum Praeceptum?

Ne Deum ulula imagine aut figura ex primam, nec ulla alia ratione eum colamus quam qua se in verbo suo coli praeceptis

Quaestio 97. An nulla ergo prorsus singende sunt imagines aut simulachra?

Deus nec ulla ratione essingi debet, nec potest: Creaturas autem, etsi exprimere quidem licet: vetat tamen Deus earum imagines singi, aut haberi, quo vel ipsas, vel Deum per ipsas colamus, aut honoremus.

Quaestio 98. An autem in templis imagines tolerari non possunt quae pro libris sint imperitae multitudini?

Minime: neque enim decet nos sapienttiores esse Deo, qui suam Ecclesiam non mutis simulacris sed viva praedicatione verbi sui vult erudiri.

Quaestio 99. Quid sancit Deus tertio praecpto?

Ut non solum execrando, aut peierando, verum etiam temere iurando, nomen Dei contumeliose, aut irruerenter ne usurpemus; neve tacendo aut connivendo, horrendis istis sceleribus communicemus: Sed sacro sancto Dei nomine non nisi summa cum religiioone et veneratione utamur, ut vera et constanti confessione, invocatione ominibus denique verbis et actionibus nostris ipse celebretur.

Quaestio 100. Estne igitur adeo grave peccatum iurando, dira imprecando, nomen Dei temerare,
ut Deus etiam iis succenseat, qui quantum in se est, illud non prohibent aut impediunt?

Certe graviissimum: Neque enim ullum est peccatum maius, aut quod Deum gravius ostendat, quam sacri ipsius nominis contemelia. Quo circa etiam id scelus morte multari voluit.

Quaestio 101.Potestne quis etiam pie per nomen Dei iurate?

Postest, cum vel magistratus id exigit, vel alioqui necessitas hoc pacto fidem firmari, et veritatem stabiliari postulat: quo et gloria Dei illustretur, et aliorum salutis consulatur. Nam eius generis uisurandum, verbo Dei sancitur, ideoque etiam a sanctis in veter et novo foedere, recte est usurpatum.

Quaestio 102. Estne licitum iurare per Sanctos auralias creaturas?

Non: Nam legitimum iuramentum, est invocatio Dei, qua petitur, ut is tanquam unicum cordium inspector, testimonium det veritati et iuramentem puniat, sisciens fallat. Porro hic honos nulli creaturae convenit.

Quaestio 103. Quid praecipit Deus in quarto praecepto?

Primum, ut Ministerium Euangelii et Scholae conseruentur: utque ego cum aliis, tum praecipue festis diebus, studiose coetus divinos frequentem, vermbum Dei diligenter audiam, utar sacramentis precibus publicis meas quoque preces adiungam, pro facultatibus aliquid consferam in pauperes. Deinde, ut in omni vita a pravis actionibus vacem, Domino concedens, ut per Spiritum sanctum in me suum opus faciat, atque ita sempiternum illud sabbathum in hac vita exordiat.

Quaestio 104. Quid nobis iniungit Deus in quinto praecepto?

Ut parentibus, atque adeo omnibus qui nobis praesunt debitum honorem amorem et fidem praestemus, nosque ipsorum fideo libus praeceptis et castiga ionibus ea, qua par est, obedientia submittamus: Tum etiam uteorum vitia et mores nostra patientia toleremus, illud semper cogitantes, Deum nos illorum manu velle ducere ac regere.

Quaestio 105. Quid Deus flagitat Deus in sexto praecepto?

Ut proximum neque cogitatione, neque verbis, neque gestibus, nedum factis, vel per me, vel per alium contumelius afficiam, aut oderim, aut laedam, aut occidam: Sed omnem vindictae cupiditatem abiiectam, Adhaec ne me ipsum laedam, aut sciens in aliquod periculum coniiciam, Quocirca etiam ne caedes fierentm Magistratum gladio armavit.

Quaestio 106. Atiqui hoc praeceptum solam caedem prohibere videtur?

At caedem proibendo, docet Deus, se radicem et originem caedis, iram scilicet, invidiam, odium, et vindictae cupiditatem odisse, atque ea omnia pro caede ducere.

Quaestio 107. An vero id satis est, non neminem eo, quo dictum est, modo, occidere?

Non est satis: dum enim Deus iram, invidiam, odium damnat postulat ut proximum aequae ac nos ipsos diligamus, et ut humanitate, lenitate, mansuetudine patientia, et misericordia ergo eum utamur, quodque ei damno esse posit. quantum in nobis est avertamus: Ad summam, ita animo affecti simus, ut ne inimicis quindem benefacere dubitemus.

Quaestio 108. Quae est sententia septimi praecepti?

Deum omnem turpitudinem execrari: ideoque nos eam penitus odisse et destari debere: contraque temperanter, modeste et caste, sive in sacro coniugio, sive in vita coelibe vivere oportere.

Quaestio 109. Nihilne amplius prohibet Deus hoc praecepto, quam adulterium, et id genus turpidtunes?

Cum corpus et animus noster templa sint Spiritus sancti: vult Deus ut utrumque pure sancteque posideamus. Ideoque facta, gestus, sermones, cogitatones, cupiditates foedas, et quicquid hominem ad ista allicit, id universum prohibeti.

Quaestio 110. Quid vetat Deus in octavo praecepto?

Non solum ea furta et rapinas, quas magistratus punit: sed furti nomine comprehendit, quidquid est malarum artium et aucupiorum, quibus aliena captamus, et ad nos vi aut specie recti transferre studemus: qualia sunt, inquum pondus iusta vulna, inaequalis mensura, sucola merx, fallax, moneta, usura, aut alia quemvis ratio aut modus rem faciendi a Deo interdictus. His adde omnem avararitia, et multiplicem divinorum donorum prfusionem et abusum.

Quaestio 111. Quae sunt ea quae Deus hic iubet?

Ut commoda et utilitates proximi, quantum possim, adiuvem et augeam, eum eo sic agam, ut mecum ago cuperem: sedulo et fideliter opus faciam, ut aliorum quoque egestati subvenire queam.

Quaestio 112. Quid exigit nonum praeceptum?

No adversus quempiam dicam falsum testimonium, nullius verba calumnier, nulli obtrectem, aut convicium faciam, neminem temere, vel indicta causa condemnem. Verum omnis generis mendacia, fraudes, ut opera Diaboli propria, nisi in me gravissimam iram Dei concitare velim, omni cura fugiam: In iudiciis caeterisque negotiis veritatem secter, et id quod res est libere constanter profitear. Ad haec famam aliorum et existimationem, quantum queam, defendam et augeam.

Quaestio 113. Quid prohibet decimum praeceptum?

Ne vel minima cupiditate,aut cognitatione, adversus ullum Dei praeceptum corda nostra unquam solicitentur : sed ut perpetuo, et ex animo omne peccatum detestemur, contraque omni iustitia delectemur.

Quaestio 114. Possuntne autem illi, qui ad DEum conversi sunt, haec praecepta perfecte servare?

Minime: Vertum etiam sanctissi quique, quamdi vivunt, habent tantum exigua initia huius obedientiae: sic tamen, ut serio ac non simulato studio, non accendum aliqua tantum, sed secundum omnia Dei praecepta vivere incipiant.

Quaestio 115. Cur igitur vult Deus legem suam adeo exacte et severe praedicari, eum nemo sit in hac vita, qui eam servare possit?

Primum, ut in omni vita magnis magisque agnoscamus, quanta sit naturae nostrae ad pecandum propensio, tantoque avidius remissionem peccatorum, et iustitiam in Chrito expectamus: Deinde, ut hoc perpetuo agamus, illud semper meditemur, et pratiam Spiritus sancti a Patre imploremus, quo indies magis ac magis ad imaginem Dei renovemur, donec aliquando tandem, postquam ex hac vita decesserimus, propisitam nobis perfectionem laeti assequamur.

De Precatione

Quaestio 116. Quare Christianis necessaria est precatio?

Quia praecipua pars est eius, quam Deus a nobis postulat, gratitudinis. Tum, quia illis tantum suam gratiam et Spiritum sanctum Deus largitur, qui veris gemitibus, continenter haec ab eo petunt, et pro iis ipsi gratias agunt.

Quaestio 117. Quae ad eam preccationem requiruntur, quae Deo placeat, queque ap ipso exaudiatur?

Ut a solo vero Deo, qui se in verbo suo patefecit, omnia, quae a se peti iussit, vero cordis affectum petamus, et intimo nostrae inigentiae ae miseriae sensu, nos consepctu divinae Maiestatis, supplices abiiciamus, huic firmo fundameno innitamur, nos a Deo, qunquam indignos, propter Christum tamen certo exaudiri, quemadmodum nobis in suo verbo promisit.

Quaestio 118. Quae sunt ea quae a se peti iubet?

Omnia tum animae tum corpori necessaria, quae Dominus noster Iesus Christus ea preccatonie, quam nos ipse docuuit, complexus est.

Quaestio 119. Qui est precatio?

Pater noster, qui es in coelis: Sanctifctur nomen tuum: Veniat regnum tuum: Fiat voluntas tua, quemadmodum in coelo, sic etiam in terra: Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie: Et remite nobis debita nosra, sicut et nos rmittimus debitoriubus nostris: Et ne nos inducas in tentantionem, sed libera nos a malo. Quia tuum est regnum, potentia, et gloria in secula, Amen.

Quaestio 120. Cur praecpit Christus, ut ita Deum compellemus: Pater noster?

Ut statim in ipso precationis exordio, convenientem Dei filiis reverentiam et fiduciam erga Deum in nobis excitet, quae nostrae precationis fundamentum esse debet: nimirum, Deum propter Christum nobis Patrem factum esse, et quae vera fide ab eo petimus, nobis multo minus negare, quam parentes nostri, nobis bona terrena denegant.

Quaestio 121. Cur additur: Quis es in coelis?

Ne de coelesti maestate Dei humile quippiam aut terrenum cogitemus: simul etiam, ut ab eius omnipotentia, quaecunque animo et corpori sunt necessari, expectemus.

Quaestio 122.Quae est prima petitio?

Sanctififectur nomen tuum; hoc est: Da principio, ut te recte agnoscamus, et lucentem in omnibus operbus tuis omnipotentiam, sapientiam bonitatem, iustitiam misericordiam vertatem tuam veneremur, praedicemus et celebremus: Deinde, u universam vitam nostram, cogitationes, sermones et actiones, eo semper dirigamus, ne sanctissimum nomen tuum proper nos contumelia afficatur, sed honore potius et laudibus illustretur

Quaestio 123. Quae est secunda petitio?

Veniat regnum tuum; hoc est: regas nos ita verbo et Spiritu tuo, ut nos tibi magis magisque subiiciamus. Conserva et auge Ecclesiam tuam, destrue opera Diaboli omnemque potentiam se adversus maiestatem tuam efferentem; irrita fac omnia consilia, quae contra verbum tuum eapiuuntur, quoad plene tandem ac perfecte regnes, cum eris omnia in omnibus.

Quaestio 14. Quae est tertia petitio?

Fiat voluntas tua, quemadmodum in coelo, sic etiam in terra; hoc est: Da, ut nos et omnes homines, voluntati propriae renunciantes, tuae voluntati, quae sola est sancta, prompte et sine ulla murmure pareamus: atquae ita singuli mandatum nobis munus fideliter et alacriter exequamur, quemadmodum faciunt Angeli in coelo.

Quaestio 125. Quae est quarta petitio?

Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie; hoc est, suppedita nobis omnia, quae sunt ad hanc vitam necessaria, ut per ea agnoscaus, te unicum fontem esse, ex quo omnia bona emanant, ac nisi tu bendicas, omnem nostre=am curam et indiustraim, atque adeo tua ipsius dona, nobis infelicia et noxia esse. Quapropter da, ut fiduciam nostram ob omnibus creaturis aversam, in te solo colloceamus.

Quaestio 126. Quae est quinta petitio?

Remitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos remittimus debitoribus nostris; hoc est: nobis miserrimis peccatoribus, omnia peccata nostra, atque eam etiam pravitatem, qiae in nobis etiamnum haeret, propter Christi sanguinem ne imputes: quemadmodum nos quoque hoc tuae gratiae tesimonium in cordibus nostris sentimus, quod firmiter mobis propositum habemus, omnibus, qui nos effenderunt, ex animo ignoscere.

Quaestio 127. Quae est sexta petitio?

Ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo; hoc est: quoniam ipsi natura adeo debiles et ifnirmi summus, ut no momento quidem subsistere possimus: infensissimi autem hostes nostri, Satam, mundus, ac nostra ipsorum caro, nos continenter oppgunant: tu nos sustentes, et Spiritus tui robore firmes, ne in hoc Spirituali certamine succcumbamus, set tantisper illis fortiter resistamus, donec integram tandem victoriam obtineamus.

Quaestio 128. Quo modo concludis precationem tuam?

Quia tuum est regnum, potentia, et gloria in secula; hoc est: omnia haec a te petimus, quia cum et rex noster, et omninipotens sis, omnia nobis et vis et ptes largiri: Atque haec quidem ideo petimus, ut ex iis, non ad nos, sed ad sanctum nomen tuum, omnis gloria redeat.

Quaestio 129. Quid sibi vult particula: Amen?

Rem certam ac ratam esse: Nam precatio mea, multo certius a deo est exaudita, quam ego in corde mea sentio, me illud ex animo cupere.