VOL. 2









I. As we are about again to commence our course of

theological disputations under the auspices of our gracious

God, we will previously treat a little on theology itself.

II. By the word "theology" we do not understand a conception

or a discourse of God himself, of which meaning it would

properly admit; but we understand by it, "a conception" or "a

discourse about God and things divine," according to its

common use.

III. It may be defined, the doctrine or science of the truth

which is according to godliness, and which God has revealed

to man that he may know God and divine things, may believe on

him and may through faith perform to him the acts of love,

fear, honour, worship and obedience, and obtain blessedness

from him through union with him, to the divine glory.

IV. The proximate and immediate object of this doctrine or

science is, not God himself, but the duty and act of man

which he is bound to perform to God. In theology, therefore,

God himself must be considered as the object of this duty.

V. On this account, theology is not a theoretical science or

doctrine, but a practical one, requiring the action of the

whole man, according to all and each of its parts -- an

action of the most transcendent description, answerable to

the excellence of the object as far as the human capacity

will permit.

VI. From these premises, it follows that this doctrine is not

expressed after the example of natural science, by which God

knows himself, but after the example of that notion which God

has willingly conceived within himself from all eternity,

about the prescribing of that duty and of all things required

for it.



I. It has long been a maxim with those philosophers who are

the masters of method and order, that the theoretical

sciences ought to be delivered in a synthetical order, but

the practical in an analytical order, on which account, and

because theology is a practical science, it follows that it

must be treated according to the analytical method.

II. Our discussion of this doctrine must therefore commence

with its end, about which we must previously treat, with much

brevity, both on its nature or what it is, and its qualities;

we must then teach, throughout the entire discourse, the

means for attaining the end, to which the obtaining of the

end must be subjoined, and, at this, the whole discussion

must terminate.

III. For, according to this order, not only the whole

doctrine itself, but likewise all its parts, will be treated

from its principal end, and each article will obtain that

place which belongs to it according to the principal relation

which it has to its total and to the end of the whole.

IV. But though we are easily satisfied with all treatises in

which the body of divinity is explained, provided they agree

according to the truth, at least in the chief and fundamental

things, with the Scripture itself; and though we willingly

give to all of them praise and commendation; yet, if on

account only of inquiry into the order, and for the sake of

treating the subject with greater accuracy, we may be allowed

to explain what are our views and wishes.

V. In the first place, the order in which the theology

ascribed to God, and to the actions of God, is treated, seems

to be inconvenient. Neither are we pleased with the division

of theology into the pathological, and the therapeutic after

a preface of the doctrine about the principles, the end and

the efficient; nor with that, how accommodating soever it may

be, in appearance, in which, after premising as its

principles the word of God, and God himself, as the causes of

our salvation, and therefore the works and effects of God,

and man who is its subject is placed as a part of it. So

neither do we receive satisfaction from the partition of

theological science into the knowledge of God and of man; nor

from that by which theology is said to exercise itself about

God and the church; nor that by which it is previously

determined that we must treat about God, the motion of a

rational creature to him, and about Christ; nor does that

which prescribes us to a discourse about God, the creatures,

and principally about man and his fall, about his reparation

through Christ, and about the sacraments and a future life.



I. The end of theology is the blessedness of man; and that,

not animal or natural, but spiritual and supernatural.

II. It consists in fruition, the object of which is a

perfect, chief, and sufficient good, which is God.

III. The foundation of this fruition is life, endowed with

understanding and with intellectual feeling.

IV. The connective or coherent cause of fruition is union

with God, by which that life is so greatly perfected, that

they who obtain this union are said to be "partakers of the

divine nature and of life eternal."

V. The medium of fruition is understanding and emotion or

feeling -- understanding, not by species or image, but by

clear vision, which is called that of face to face; and

feeling, corresponding with this vision.

VI. The cause of blessedness is God himself, uniting himself

with man; that is, giving himself to be seen, loved,

possessed, and thus to be enjoyed by man.

VII. The antecedent or only moving cause is the goodness and

the remunerative justice of God, which have the wisdom of God

as their precursor.

VIII. The executive cause is the power of God, by which the

soul is enlarged after the capacity of God, and the animal

body is transformed and transfigured into a spiritual body.

IX. The end, event, or consequence is two-fold, (1.) a

demonstration of the glorious wisdom, goodness, justice,

power, and likewise the universal perfection of God; and (2.)

his glorification by the beatified.

X. Its adjunct properties are, that it is eternal, and is

known to be so by him who possesses it; and that it at once

both satisfies every desire, and is an object of continued




I. Omitting all dispute about the question, "whether it be

possible for God to render man happy by a union with himself

without the intervening act of man," we affirm that it has

pleased God not to bless man except by some duty performed

according to the will of God, which God has determined to

reward with eternal blessedness.

II. And this most equitable will of God rests on the

foundation of the justice and equity according to which it

seems lawful and proper, that the Creator should require from

his creature, endowed with reason, an act tending to God, by

which, in return, a rational creature is bound to tend

towards God, its author and beneficent lord and master.

III. This act must be one of the entire man, according to

each of his parts -- according to his soul, and that

entirely, and each of his faculties, and according to his

body, so far as it is the mute instrument of the soul, yet

itself possessing a capacity for happiness by means of the

soul. This act must likewise be the most excellent of all

those things which can proceed from man, and like a

continuous act; so that whatever other acts those may he

which are performed by man through some intervention of the

will, they ought to be performed according to this act and

its rule.

IV. Though this duty, according to its entire essence and all

its parts, can scarcely be designated by one name, yet we do

not improperly denominate it when we give it the name of

Religion This word, in its most enlarged acceptation,

embraces three things -- the act itself, the obligation of

the act, and the obligation with regard to God, on account of

whom that act must be performed. Thus, we are bound to honour

our parents on account of God.

V. Religion, then, is that act which our theology places in

order; and it is for this reason justly called "the object of

theological doctrine."

VI. Its method is defined by the command of God, and not by

human choice; for the word of God is its rule and measure.

And as in these days we have this word in the Scriptures of

the Old and New Testament alone, we say that these Scriptures

are the canon according to which religion is to be conformed.

We shall soon treat more fully about the Scriptures how far

it is required that we should consider them as the canon of


VII. The opposites to religion are, impiety, that is, the

neglect and contempt of God, and eqeloqrhskeia will-worship,

or superstition, that is, a mode of religion invented by man.

Hypocrisy is not opposed to the whole of religion, but to its

integrity or purity; because that in which the entire man

ought to be engaged, is performed only by his body.




I. As religion is the duty of man towards God, it is

necessary that it should be so prescribed by God in his sure

word as to render it evident to man that he is bound by this

prescript as it proceeds from God; or, at least, it may and

ought to be evident to man.

II. This word is either endiaqeton, [an inward or mental

reasoning,] or wroforikon, [a spoken or delivered discourse]

the former of them being engrafted in the mind of man by an

internal inscription, whether it be an increation or a

superinfusion; the latter being openly pronounced.

III. By the engrafted word, God has prescribed religion to

man, first by inwardly persuading him that God ought, and

that it was his will, to be worshipped by man; then, by

universally disclosing to the mind of man the worship that is

pleasing to himself, and that consists of the love of God and

of one's neighbour; and, lastly, by writing or sealing a

remuneration on his heart. This inward manifestation is the

foundation of all external revelation.

IV. God has employed the outward word, First, that he might

repeat what had been engrafted -- might recall it to

remembrance, and might urge its exercise. Secondly, that he

might prescribe to him other things besides, which seem to be

placed in a four-fold difference. (1.) For they are either

such things as are homogeneous to the law of nature, which

might easily be raised up on the things engrafted, or which

man could not with equal ease deduce from them. (2.) Or they

may appear to be such things as these, yet such as it has

pleased God to circumscribe, lest, from the things engrafted,

conclusions should be drawn that were universally, or at

least for that time, repugnant to the will of God. (3.) Or

they are merely positive, having no communion with these

engrafted things, although they rest on the general duty of

religion. (4.) Or, lastly, according, to some state of man,

they are suitable to him, particularly for that into which

man was brought by the fall from his primeval condition.

V. God communicates this external word to man, either orally,

or by writing. For, neither with respect to the whole of

religion, nor with respect to its parts, is God confined to

either of these modes of communication; but he sometimes uses

one and sometimes another, and at other times both of them,

according to his own choice and pleasure. He first employed

oral enunciation in its delivery, and afterwards, writing, as

a more certain means against corruption and oblivion. He has

also completed it in writing; so that we now have the

infallible word of God in no other place than in the

Scriptures, which are therefore appropriately denominated

"the instrument of religion."

VI. These Scriptures are contained in those books of the Old

and the New Testament which are called "canonical:" They

consist of the five books of Moses; the books of Joshua,

Judges, and of Ruth; the First and Second of Samuel; the

First and Second of Kings; the First and Second of

Chronicles; the books of Ezra and of Nehemiah, and the first

ten chapters of that of Esther; fifteen books of the

prophets, that is, the three Major and the twelve Minor

Prophets; the books of Job, the Psalms, Proverbs,

Ecclesiastes, the Canticles, Daniel, and of the Lamentations

of Jeremiah: All these books are contained in the Old

Testament. Those of the New Testament are the following: The

four Evangelists; one book of the Acts of the Apostles;

thirteen of St. Paul's Epistles; the Epistle to the Hebrews;

that of St. James; the two of St. Peter; the three of St.

John; that of St. Jude; and the Apocalypse by St. John. Some

of these are without hesitation accounted authentic; but

about others of them doubts have been occasionally

entertained. Yet the number is quite sufficient of those

about which no doubts were ever indulged.

VII. The primary cause of these books is God, in his Son,

through the Holy Spirit. The instrumental causes are holy men

of God, who, not at their own will and pleasure, but as they

were actuated and inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote these

books, whether the words were inspired into them, dictated to

them, or administered by them under the divine direction.

VIII. The matter or object of the Scriptures is religion, as

has already been mentioned. The essential and internal form

is the true intimation or signification of the will of God

respecting religion. The external is the form or character of

the word, which is attempered to the dignity of the speaker,

and accommodated to the nature of things and to the capacity

of men.

IX. The end is the instruction of man, to his own salvation

and the glory of God. The parts of the whole instruction are

doctrine, reproof, institution or instruction, correction,

consolation, and threatening.



I. The authority of the word of God, which is comprised in

the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, lies both in the

veracity of the whole narration, and of all the declarations,

whether they be those about things past, about things

present, or about those which are to come, and in the power

of the commands and prohibitions, which are contained in the

divine word.

II. Both of these kinds of authority can depend on no other

than on God, who is the principal author of this word, both

because he is truth without suspicion of falsehood, and

because he is of power invincible.

III. On this account, the knowledge alone that this word is

divine, is obligatory on our belief and obedience; and so

strongly is it binding, that this obligation can be augmented

by no external authority.

IV. In what manner or respect soever the church may be

contemplated, she can do nothing to confirm this authority;

for she, also, is indebted to this word for all her own

authority; and she is not a church unless she have previously

exercised faith in this word as being divine, and have

engaged to obey it. Wherefore, in any way to suspend the

authority of the Scriptures on the church, is to deny that

God is of sufficient veracity and supreme power, and that the

church herself is a church.

V. But it is proved by various methods, that this word has a

divine origin, either by signs employed for the enunciation

or declaration of the word, such as miracles, predictions and

divine appearances -- by arguments engrafted on the word

itself, such as the matters which it contains, the style and

character of the discourse, the agreements between all the

parts and each of them, and the efficacy of the word itself;

and by the inward testification or witness of God himself by

his Holy Spirit. To all these, we add a secondary proof --

the testimony of those persons who have received this word as


VI. The force and efficacy of this last testimony is entirely

human, and is of importance equal to the quantum of wisdom,

probity and constancy possessed by the witnesses. And on this

account the authority of the church can make no other kind of

faith than that which is human, but which may be preparatory

to the production of faith divine. The testimony of the

church, therefore, is not the only thing by which the

certainty of the Scriptures is confirmed to us; indeed it is

not the principle thing; nay, it is the weakest of all those

which are adduced in confirmation.

VII. No arguments can be invented for establishing the

divinity of any word, which do not belong by most equitable

reason to this word; and, on the other hand, it is impossible

any arguments can be devised which may conduce even by a

probable reason to destroy the divinity of this word.

VIII. Though it be not absolutely necessary to salvation to

believe that this or that book is the work of the author

whose title it bears; yet this fact may be established by

surer arguments than are those which claim the authorship of

any other work for the writer.

IX. The Scriptures are canonical in the same way as they are

divine; because they contain the rule of faith, charity,

hope, and of all our inward and outward actions. They do not,

therefore, require human authority in order to their being

received into the canon, or considered as canonical. Nay, the

relation between God and his creatures, requires that his

word should be the rule of life to his creatures.

X. We assert that, for the establishment of the divinity of

the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, this disjunctive

proposition is of irrefutable validity: Either the Scriptures

are divine, or (far be blasphemy from the expression!) they

are the most foolish of all writings, whether they be said to

have proceeded from man, or from the evil spirit.


I. To affirm "that the authority of the Scriptures depends

upon the church, because the church is more ancient than the

Scriptures," is a falsehood, a foolish speech, an implication

of manifold contradictions and blasphemy.

II. The authority of the Roman pontiff to bear witness to the

divinity of the Scriptures, is less than that of any bishop

who is wiser and better than he, and possessed of greater




I. We denominate that which comprehends all things necessary

for the church to know, to believe, to do and to hope, in

order to salvation, "THE PERFECTION OF THE SACRED


II. As we are about to engage in the defense of this

perfection, against inspirations, visions, dreams and other

novel enthusiastic things, we assert, that, since the time

when Christ and his apostles sojourned on earth, no

inspiration of any thing necessary for the salvation of any

individual man, or of the church, has been given to any

single person or to any congregation of men whatsoever, which

thing is not in a full and most perfect manner comprised in

the sacred Scriptures.

III. We likewise affirm, that in the latter ages no doctrine

necessary to salvation has been deduced from these Scriptures

which was not explicitly known and believed from the very

commencement of the Christian church. For, from the time of

Christ's ascent into heaven, the church of God was in an

adult state, being capable indeed of increasing in the

knowledge and belief of things necessary to salvation, but

not capable of receiving accessions of new articles; that is,

she was capable of increase in that faith by which the

articles of religion are believed, but not in that faith

which is the subject of belief.

IV. Whatever additions have since been made, they obtain only

the rank of interpretations and proofs, which ought

themselves not to be at variance with the Scriptures, but to

be deduced from them; otherwise, no authority is due to them,

but they should rather be considered as allied to error; for

the perfection, not only of the propositions, but likewise of

the explanations and proofs which are comprised in the

Scriptures, is very great.

V. But the most compendious way of forming a judgment about

any enunciation or proposition, is, to discern whether its

subject and predicate be either expressly or with equal force

contained in them, that proposition may be rejected at least

as not necessary to salvation, without any detriment to one's

salvation. But the predicate may be of such a kind, that,

when ascribed to this subject, it cannot be received without

detriment to the salvation. For instance, "The Roman pontiff

is the head of the church." "The virgin Mary is the mediatrix

of grace."



I. The perspicuity of the Scriptures is a quality agreeing

with them as with a sign, according. to which quality they

are adapted clearly to reveal the conceptions, whose signs

are the words comprised in the Scriptures, to those persons

to whom the Scriptures are administered according to the

benevolent providence of God.

II. That perspicuity is a quality which agrees with the

Scriptures, is proved from its cause and its end. (1.) In

cause, we consider the wisdom and goodness of the author,

who, according to his wisdom knew, and according to his

goodness willed, clearly and well to enunciate or declare the

meanings of his own mind. (2.) In the end is the duty of

those to whom the Scriptures are directed, and who, through

the decree of God, cannot attain to salvation without this


III. This perspicuity comes distinctly to be considered both

with regard to its object and its subject. For all things [in

the Scriptures] are not equally perspicuous, nor is every

thing alike perspicuous to all persons; but in the epistle of

St. Paul, some things occur which "are hard to be

understood;" and "the gospel is hid, or concealed, to them

who are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the

minds of them who believe not"

IV. But those senses or meanings, the knowledge and belief of

which are simply necessary to salvation, are revealed in the

Scriptures with such plainness, that they can be perceived

even by the most simple of mankind, provided they be able

duly to exercise their reason.

V. But they are perspicuous to those alone who, being

illuminated by the light of the Holy Spirit, have eyes to

see, and a mind to understand and discern. For any colour

whatever, though sufficiently illuminated by the light, is

not seen except by the eye which is endued with the power of

seeing, as with an inward light.

VI. But even in those things which are necessary to be known

and believed in order to salvation, the law must be

distinguished from the gospel, especially in that part which

relates to Jesus Christ crucified and raised up again. For

even the gentiles, who are aliens from Christ, have "the work

of the law written in their hearts," though this is not

saving, except by the addition of the internal illumination

and inspiration of God; but "the doctrine of the cross, which

is foolishness and a stumbling block to the natural man," is

not perceived without the revelation of the Spirit.

VII. In the Scriptures, some things may be found so difficult

to be understood, that men of the quickest and most

perspicacious genius may, in attaining to an understanding of

those things, have a subject on which to bestow their labours

during the whole course of their lives. But God has so finely

attempered the Scripture, that they can neither be read

without profit, nor, after having been perused and reperused

innumerable times, can they be put aside through aversion or




I. The legitimate and genuine sense of the holy Scriptures

is, that which the Holy Ghost, the author of them, intended,

and which is collected from the words themselves, whether

they be received in their proper or in their figurative

signification; that is, it is the grammatical sense, as it is


II. From this sense, alone, efficacious arguments may be

sought for the proof of doctrines.

III. But, on account of the analogical similitude of

corporeal, carnal, natural, and earthly things, and those

belonging to the present life, to things spiritual, heavenly,

future and eternal, it happens that a double meaning, each of

them certain and intended by the author, lies under the very

same words in the Scriptures, of which the one is called "the

typical," the other "the meaning prefigured in the type" or

"the allegorical." To this allegorical meaning, we also refer

the analogical, as opposed in a similar manner to that which

is typical.

IV. From these meanings, that which is called "the

ethiological" and "the tropological" do not differ, since the

former of them renders the cause of the grammatical sense,

and the latter contains an accommodation of it to the

circumstances of persons, place, time, &c.

V. The interpretation of Scripture has respect both to its

words and to its sense or meaning.

VI. The interpretation of its words is either that of single

words, or of many words combined; and both of these methods

constitute either a translation of the words into another

language, or an explanation [or paraphrase] through other

words of the same language.

VII. Let translation be so restricted, that, if the original

word has any ambiguity, the word into which it is translated

may retain it: or, if that cannot be done, let it have

something equivalent by being noted in the margin.

VIII. In the explanation [or paraphrase] which shall be made

by other words, endeavours must be used that explanatory

words be sought from the Scriptures themselves. For this

purpose, attention to the synonymy and phraseology will be

exceedingly useful.

IX. In the interpretation of the meanings of the words, it

must be sedulously attempted both to make the sense agree

with the rule or "form of sound words," and to accommodate it

to the scope or intention of the author in that passage. To

this end, in addition to a clear conception of the words, a

comparison of other passages of Scripture, whether they be

similar, is conducive, as is likewise a diligent search or

institution into its context. In this labour, the occasion

[of the words] and their end, the connection of those things

which precede and which follow, and the circumstances, also,

of persons, times and places, will be principally observed.

X. As "the Scriptures are not of private or peculiar

explanation," an interpreter of them will strive to "have his

senses exercised" in them; that the interpretation of the

Scriptures, which, in those sacred writings, comes under the

denomination of "prophecy," may proceed from the same Spirit

as that which primarily inspired the prophecy of the


XI. But the authority of no one is so great, whether it be

that of an individual or of a church, as to be able to

obtrude his own interpretation on the people as the authentic

one. From this affirmation however, by way of eminence, we

except the prophets and the apostles. For such interpretation

is always subjected to the judgment of him to whom it is

proposed, to this extent -- that he is bound to receive it,

only so far as it is confirmed by strength of arguments.

XII. For this reason, neither the agreement of the fathers,

which can, with difficulty, be demonstrated, nor the

authority of the Roman pontiff, ought to be received as the

rule of interpretation.

XIII. We do not wish to introduce unbounded license, by which

it may be allowable to any person, whether a public

interpreter of Scripture or a private individual, to reject,

without cause, any interpretations whatsoever, whether made

by one prophet, or by more; but we desire the liberty of

prophesying [or public expounding] to be preserved entire and

unimpaired in the church. This liberty, itself, however, we

subject to the judgment of God, as possessing the power of

life and death, and to that of the church, or of her prelates

who are endowed with the power of binding and loosing.



I. When we treat on the force and efficacy of the word of

God, whether spoken or written, we always append to it the

principal and concurrent efficacy of the Holy Spirit.

II. The object of this efficacy is man, but he must be

considered either as the subject in whom the efficacy

operates, or as the object about whom this efficacy exercises


III. The subject of this efficacy in whom it operates, is man

according to his understanding and his passions, and as being

endowed with a capacity, either active or passive. (1.)

According to his understanding, by which he is able to

understand the meanings of the word, and to apprehend them as

true and good for himself: (2.) According to his passions, by

which he is capable of being carried by his appetites to

something true and good which is pointed out, to embrace it,

and to repose in it.

IV. This efficacy is not only preparatory, by which the

understanding and the passions are prepared to apprehend

something else that is yet more true and good, and that is

not comprised in the external word; but it is likewise

perfective, by which the human understanding and affections

are so perfected, that man cannot attain to an ulterior

perfection in the present life. Therefore, we reject [the

doctrine of] those who affirm that the Scriptures are a dead

letter, and serve only to prepare a man, and to render him

capable of receiving another inward word.

V. This efficacy is beautifully circumscribed in the

Scriptures by three acts, each of which is two-fold. (1.)

That of teaching what is true, and of confuting what is

false. (2.) That of exhorting to what is good, dissuading

from what is evil, and of reproving if any thing has been

done beyond or contrary to one's duty. (3.) That of

administering consolation to a contrite spirit, and of

denouncing threats against a lofty spirit.

VI. The object of this efficacy, about which it exercises

itself, is the same man, placed before the tribunal of divine

justice, that, according to this word, he [reporter] may bear

away from it a sentence either of justification or of




We have treated on religion generally, and on its principles

as they are comprehended in the scriptures of the Old and New

Testament. We must now treat upon it in a stricter


I. As religion contains the duty of man towards God, it must

necessarily be founded in the mutual relation which subsists

between God and man. If it happen that this relation is

varied, the mode of religion must also be varied, the acts

pertaining to the substance of every religion always

remaining, which are knowledge, faith, love, fear, trust,

dread and obedience.

II. The first relation between God and man is that which

flows from the creation of man in the divine image, according

to which religion was prescribed to him by the comprehensive

law that has been impressed on the minds of men, and that was

afterwards repeated by Moses in the ten commandments. For the

sake of proving man's obedience, God added to this a

symbolical law, about not eating the fruit of the tree of the

knowledge of good and evil.

III. Through the sin of man, another relation was introduced

between him and God, according to which, man, being liable to

the condemnation of God, needs the grace of restoration. If

God bestow this grace on man, the religion which is to be

prescribed to man must now be also founded on that act, in

addition to creation. Since this act [on the part of God]

requires from man an acknowledgment of sin and thanksgiving

for deliverance, it is apparent that, in this new relation,

the mode of religion ought likewise to be varied, as, through

the appointment of God, it has in reality been varied.

IV. It was the pleasure of God so to administer this

variation, that it should not immediately exhibit this grace

in a complete manner, but that it should retain man for a

season under the sealed dominion of guilt, yet with the

addition of a promise of grace to be exhibited in his own

time. Hence, arises the difference of the religion which was

prescribed by Moses to the children of Israel, and that which

was delivered by Christ to his followers -- of which the

former is called "the religion of the Old Testament and of

the promise," and the latter," that of the New Testament and

of the gospel;" the former is also called the Jewish

religion; the latter, the Christian.

V. The use of the ceremonial law under Moses, and its

abrogation under Christ, teach most clearly that this

religion or mode of religion differs in many acts. But as the

Christian religion prevails at this time, and as [its

obligations are] to be performed by us, we will treat further

about it, yet so as to intersperse, in their proper places,

some mention, both of the primitive religion and of that of

the Jews, so Jar as they are capable, and ought to serve to

explain the Christian religion.

VI. But it is not our wish for this difference to be extended

so far as to have the attainment of salvation, without the

intervention of Christ, ascribed to those who served God

under the pedagogy of the Old Testament and by faith in the

promise; for the subjoined affirmation has always obtained

from the time when the first promise was promulgated: "There

is none other name under heaven, given among men, than that

of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which men must be saved."

VII. It appears, from this, that the following assertion,

which was used by one of the ancients, is false and

untheological: "Men were saved at first by the law of nature,

afterwards, by that of Moses, and at length, by that of

grace." This, also, is further apparent, that such a

confusion of the Jewish and Christian religions as was

introduced by it, is completely opposed to the dispensation

or economy of God.



I. Beginning now to treat further on the Christian religion,

we will first declare what is the meaning of this term, and

we will afterwards consider the matter of this religion, each

in its order.

II. The Christian religion, which the Jews called "the heresy

of the Nazarenes," obtained its name from Jesus of Nazareth,

whom God hath appointed as our only master, and hath made him

both Christ and Lord.

III. But this name agrees with him in two ways -- from the

cause and from the object. (1.) From the cause; because Jesus

Christ, as "the Teacher sent from God," prescribed this

religion, both by his own voice, when he dwelt on earth, and

by his apostles, whom he sent forth into all the world. (2.)

From the object; because the same Jesus Christ, the object of

this religion, according to godliness, is now exhibited, and

fully or perfectly manifested; whereas, he was formerly

promised and foretold by Moses and the prophets, only as

being about to come.

IV. He was, indeed, a teacher far transcending all other

teachers -- Moses, the prophets, and even the angels

themselves -- both in the mode of his perception, and in the

excellence of his doctrine. In the mode of his perception;

because, existing in the bosom of the Father, admitted

intimately to behold all the secrets of the Father, and

endued with the plenitude of the Spirit, he saw and heard

those things which he speaks and testifies. But other

teachers, being endued, according to a certain measure with

the Spirit, have perceived either by a vision, by dreams, by

conversing "face to face," or by the intervention of an

angel, those things which it was their duty to declare to

others; and this Spirit itself is called "the Spirit of


V. In the excellence of his doctrine, also, Christ was

superior to all other teachers, because he revealed to

mankind, together and at once, the fullness of the very

Godhead, and the complete and latest will of his Father

respecting the salvation of men; so that, either as it

regards the matter or the dearness of the exposition, no

addition can be made to it, nor is it necessary that it


VI. From their belief in this religion, and their profession

of it, the professors were called Christians. (Acts xi, 26; 1

Pet. iv, 16.) That the excellence of this name may really

belong to a person, it is not sufficient for him to

acknowledge Christ as a teacher and prophet divinely called.

But he must likewise religiously own and worship him as the

object of this doctrine, though the former knowledge and

faith precede this, and though from it, alone, certain

persons are sometimes said to have believed in Christ.




I. Since God is the object of all religion, in its various

modifications, he must likewise be the object of this

religion. But Christ, in reference to God, is also an object

of it, as having been appointed by God the Father, King and

Lord of the universe, and the Head of his church.

II. For this reason, in a treatise on the Christian religion,

the following subjects come, in due order, under our

consideration: (1.) The object itself, towards which faith

and religious worship ought to tend. (2.) The cause, on

account of which, faith and worship may and ought to be

performed to the object. (3.) The very act of faith and

worship, and the method of each, according to the command of

God and Christ. (4.) Salvation itself, which, as being

promised and desired, has the power of an impelling cause,

which, when obtained, is the reward of the observance of

religion, and from which arises the everlasting glory of God

in Christ.

III. But man, by whom [the duties of] this religion must be

executed, is a sinner, yet one for whom remission of sins and

reconciliation have now been obtained. By this mark, it is

intended to be distinguished from the religion of the Jews,

which God also prescribed to sinners; but it was at a time

when remission of sins had not been obtained, on which

account, the mode of religion was likewise different,

particularly with regard to ceremonies.

IV. This religion, with regard to all those things which we

have mentioned as coming under consideration in it, is, of

all religions, the most excellent; or, rather, it is the most

excellent mode of religion. Because, in it, the object is

proposed in a manner the most excellent; so that there is

nothing about this object which the human mind is capable of

perceiving, that is not exhibited in the doctrine of the

Christian religion. For God has with it disclosed all his own

goodness, and has given it to be viewed in Christ.

V. The cause, on account of which, religion may and ought to

be performed to this object, is, in every way, the most

efficacious; so that nothing can be imagined, why religion

may and ought to be performed to any other deity. that is not

comprehended in the efficacy of this cause, in a pre-eminent


VI. The very act of faith and worship is required, and must

be performed, in a manner the most signal and particular; and

the salvation which arises from this act, is the greatest and

most glorious, both because God will afford a fuller and more

perfect sight of himself, than if salvation had been obtained

through another form of religion, and because those who will

become partakers of this salvation, will have Christ

eternally as their head, who is the brother of men, and they

will always behold him. On this account, in the attainment

and possession of salvation, we shall hereafter become, in

some measure, superior to the angels themselves.




I. The object of the Christian religion is that towards which

the faith and worship of a religious man ought to tend. This

object is God and his Christ -- God principally, Christ

subordinately under God -- God per se, Christ as God has

constituted him the object of this religion.

II. In God, who is the primary object of the Christian

religion, three things come in order under our consideration:

(1.) The nature of God, of which the excellence and goodness

is such that religion can honourably and usefully be

performed to it. (2.) The acts of God, on account of which

religion ought to be performed to him. (3.) The will of God,

by which he wills religion to be performed to himself, and

that he who performs it be rewarded; and, on the contrary,

that the neglecter of it be punished.

III. To every treatise on the nature of God, must be prefixed

this primary and chief axiom of all religion: "There is a

God." Without this, vain is every inquiry into the nature of

God; for, if the divine nature had no existence, religion

would be a mere phantasm of man's conception.

IV. Though the existence of God has been intimated to every

rational creature that perceives his voice, and though this

truth is known to every one who reflects on such an

intimation; yet, "that there is a God," may be demonstrated

by various arguments. First, by certain theoretical axioms;

and because when the terms in which these are expressed have

been once understood, they are known to be true, they deserve

to receive the name of "implanted ideas."

V. The first axiom is, "Nothing is or can be from itself? For

thus it would at one and the same time, be and not be, it

would be both prior and posterior to itself, and would be

both the cause and effect of itself. Therefore, some one

being must necessarily be pre-existent, from whom, as from

the primary and supreme cause, all other things derive their

origin. But this being is God.

VI. The second axiom is, "Every efficient primary cause is

better or more excellent than its effect." From this, it

follows that, as all created minds are in the order of

effects, some one mind is supreme and most wise, from which

the rest have their origin. But this mind is God.

VII. The third axiom is, "No finite force can make something

out of nothing; and the first nature has been made out of

nothing." For, if it were otherwise, it neither could nor

ought to be changed by an efficient or a former; and thus,

nothing could be made from it. From this, it follows, either

that all things which exist have been from eternity and are

primary being, or that there is one primary being. But this

being is God.

VIII. The same truth is proved by the practical axiom, or the

conscience, which has its seat in all rational creatures. It

excuses and exhilarates a man in good actions; and, in these

which are evil, it accuses and torments -- even in those

things [of both kinds] which have not come, and which never

will come, to the knowledge of any creature. This stands as a

manifest indication that there is some supreme judge, who

will institute a strict inquiry, and will pass judgment. But

this judge is God.

IX. The magnitude, the perfection, the multitude, the

variety, and the agreement, of all things that exist, supply

us with the fifth argument, which loudly proclaims that all

these things proceed from one and the same being and not from

many beings. But this being is God.

X. The sixth argument is from the order perceptible in

things, and from the orderly disposition and direction of all

of them to an end, even of those things which, devoid of

reason, themselves, cannot act on account of an end, or at

least, cannot intend an end. But all order is from one being,

and direction to an end is from a wise and good being. But

this being is God.

XI. The preservation of political, ecclesiastical and

economical society among mankind, furnishes our seventh

argument. Amidst such great perversity and madness of Satan

and of evil men, human society could never attain to any

stability or firmness, except it were preserved safe and

unimpaired by One who is supremely powerful. But this is God.

XII. We take our eighth argument from the miracles which we

believe to have been done, and which we perceive to be done,

the magnitude of which is so great as to cause them far to

exceed the entire force and power of the created universe.

Therefore, a cause must exist which transcends the universe

and its power or capability. But this cause is God.

XIII. The predictions of future and contingent things, and

their accurate and strict completion, supply the ninth

argument as being things which could proceed from no one

except from God.

XIV. In the last place, is added, the perpetual and universal

agreement of all nations, which general consent must be

accounted as equivalent to a law, nay to a divine oracle.


On account of the dissensions of very learned men, we allow

this question to be discussed, "from the motion which is

apparent in the world, and from the fact, that whatever is

moved is moved by another, can it be concluded that there is

a God?



I. Concerning God, the primary object of theology, two things

must be known, (1.) His nature, or what God is, or rather

what qualities does he possess? (2.) Who God is, or to whom

this nature must be attributed. These must be known, lest any

thing foolish or unbecoming be ascribed to God, or lest

another, or a strange one, be considered as the true God. On

the first of these we will now treat in a few disputations.

II. As we are not able to know the nature of God, in itself,

we can, in a measure, attain to some knowledge from the

analogy of the nature which is in created things, and

principally that which is in ourselves, who are created after

the image of God; while we always add a mode of eminence to

this analogy, according to which mode God is understood to

exceed, infinitely, the perfections of things created.

III. As in the whole nature of things, and in man, who is the

compendium or abridgment of it, only two things can be

considered as essential, whether they be disparted in their

subjects, or, in a certain order, connected with each other

and subordinate in the same subject, which two things are

Essence and Life; we will also contemplate the nature of God

according to these two impulses of his nature. For the four

degrees, which are proposed by several divines -- to be, to

live, to. feel, and to understand -- are restricted to these

two causes of motion; because the word "to live," embraces

within itself both feeling and understanding.

IV. We say the essence of God is the first impulse of the

divine nature, by which God is purely and simply understood

to be.

V. As the whole nature of things is distributed according to

their essence, into body and spirit, we affirm that the

divine essence is spiritual, and from this, that God is a

Spirit, because it could not possibly come to pass that the

first and chief being should be corporeal. From this, one

cannot do otherwise than justly admire the transcendent force

and plenitude of God, by which he is capable of creating even

things corporeal that have nothing analogous to himself.

VI. To the essence of God no attribute can be added, whether

distinguished from it in reality, by relation, or by a mere

conception of the mind; but only a mode of pre-eminence can

be attributed to it, according to which it is understood to

comprise within itself and to exceed all the perfections of

all things. This mode may be declared in this one expression:

"The divine essence is uncaused and without commencement."

VII. Hence, it follows that this essence is simple and

infinite; from this, that it is eternal and immeasurable;

and, lastly, that it is unchangeable, impassable and

incorruptible, in the manner in which it has been proved by

us in our public theses on this subject.

VIII. And since unity and goodness reciprocate with being,

and as the affections or passions of every being are general,

we also affirm that the essence of God is one, and that God

is one according to it, and is, therefore, good -- nay, the

chief good, from the participation of which all things have

both their being, and their well being.

IX. As this essence is itself pure from all composition, so

it cannot enter into the composition of any thing. We permit

it to become a subject of discussion, whether this be

designated in the Scriptures by the name of "holiness," which

denotes separation or a being separated.

X. These modes of pre-eminence are not communicable to any

thing, from the very circumstance of their being such. And

when these modes are contemplated in the life of God, and in

the faculties of his life, they are of infinite usefulness in

theology, and are not among the smallest foundations of true




I. Life is that which comes under our consideration, in the

second impulse of the divine nature; and that it belongs to

God, is not only evident from its own nature, but is likewise

known, per se, to all those who have any conception of God.

For it is much more incredible that God is something

senseless and dead, than that there is no God. And the life

of God is easily proved. For, as whatever is beside God is

from him, we must also attribute life to him, because among

his creatures are many things which have life; and we affirm

that God is a living substance, and that life belongs to him,

not only eminently but also formally, since life is simply


II. But, as life is taken, either in the second act, and is

called "operation," or in the first, principal and radical

act, and thus is the very nature and form of a living thing,

we attribute this, of itself, primarily and adequately to

God; so that he Is the life of himself, not having it from

His union with another thing; (for that is the part of

imperfection,) but existing the same as it does -- he being

life itself, and living by the first act, but bestowing life

by the second act.

III. The life of God, therefore, is most simple, so that it

is not, in reality, distinguished from his essence; and

according to the confined capacity of our conception, by

which it is distinguished from his essence, it may, in some

degree, be described as being "an act that flows from the

essence of God," by which is intimated that it is active in

itself; first, by a reflex act on God himself, and then on

other objects, on account of the most abundant copiousness,

and the most perfect activity of life in God.

IV. The life of God is the foundation and the proximate and

adequate principle not only of ad intra et ad extra, an

inward and an outward act, but likewise of all fruition by

which God is said to be blessed in himself. This seems to be

the cause why God wished himself, principally in reference to

life, to be distinguished from false gods and dead idols, and

why he wished men to swear by his name, in a form composed

thus: "The Lord liveth."

V. As the essence of God is infinite and most simple,

eternal, impassable, unchangeable and incorruptible, we ought

likewise to consider His life with these modes of being and

life; on which account we attribute to him per se

immortality, and a most prompt, powerful, indefatigable and

insatiable desire, strength and delight to act and to enjoy,

and in action and enjoyment, if it be lawful, thus to express


VI. By two faculties, the understanding and the will, this

life is active towards God himself; but towards other things

it is active by three faculties, power, or capability, being

added to the two preceding. But the faculties of the

understanding and the will are accommodated to fruition, and

this chiefly as they tend towards God himself; secondarily,

and because it thus pleases him of his abundant goodness, as

they tend towards the creatures.



I. The understanding of God is that faculty of his life which

is first in nature and order, and by which the living God

distinctly understands all things and every one, which, in

what manner soever, either have, will have, have had, can

have, or might hypothetically have, a being of any kind, by

which he also distinctly understands the order, connection,

and relation of all and each of them between each other, and

the entities of reason, those beings which exist, or which

can exist, in the mind, imagination, and enunciation.

II. God knows all things, neither by intelligible

representations, nor by similitude, but by his own and sole

essence; with the exception of evil things, which he knows

indirectly by the good things opposed to them, as privation

is known by means of our having been accustomed to any thing.

III. The mode by which God understands, is, not by

composition and division, not by gradual argumentation, but

by simple and infinite intuition, according to the succession

of order and not of time.

IV. The succession of order, in the objects of the divine

knowledge, is in this manner: First. God knows himself

entirely and adequately, and this understanding is his own

essence or being. Secondly. He knows all possible things, in

the perfection of his own essence, and, therefore, all things

impossible. In the understanding of possible things, this is

the order: (1.) He knows what things can exist by his own

primary and sole act. (2.) He knows what things, from the

creatures, whether they will come into existence or will not,

can exist by his conservation, motion, assistance,

concurrence, and permission. (3.) He knows what things he can

do about the acts of the creatures consistently with himself

or with these acts. Thirdly. He knows all entities, even

according to the same order as that which we have just shown

in his knowledge of things possible.

V. The understanding of God is certain and infallible; so

that he sees certainly and infallibly, even, things future

and contingent, whether he sees them in their causes, or in

themselves. But this infallibility depends on the infinity of

the essence of God, and not on his unchangeable will.

VI. The act of understanding of God is occasioned by no

external cause, not even by its object; though if there be

not afterwards an object, neither will there be any act of

God's understanding about it.

VII. How certain soever the acts of God's understanding may

themselves be, this does not impose any necessity on things,

but rather establishes contingency in them. For, as he knows

the thing itself and its mode, if the mode of the thing be

contingent, he must know it as such, and, therefore, it

remains contingent with respect to the divine knowledge.

VIII. The knowledge of God may be distinguished according to

its objects. And, First, into the theoretical, by which he

understands things under the relation of entity and truth;

and into the practical, by which he considers things under

the relation of good, and as objects of his will and power.

IX. Secondly. One [quality of the] knowledge of God is that

of simple intelligence, by which he understands, himself, all

possible things, and the nature and essence of all entities;

another is that of vision, by which he beholds his own

existence and that of all other entities or beings.

X. The knowledge by which God knows his own essence and

existence, all things possible, and the nature and essence of

all entities, is simply necessary, as pertaining to the

perfection of his own knowledge. But that by which he knows

the existence of other entities, is hypothetically necessary,

that is, if they now have, have already had, or shall

afterwards have, any existence. For when any object,

whatsoever, is laid down, it must, of necessity, fall within

the knowledge of God. The former of these precedes every free

act of the divine will; the latter follows every free act.

The schoolmen; therefore, denominate the first "natural," and

the second "free knowledge."

XI. The knowledge by which God knows any thing if it be or

exist, is intermediate between the two [kinds] described in

theses 9 & 10; In fact it precedes the free act of the will

with regard to intelligence. But it knows something future

according to vision, only through its hypothesis.

XII. Free knowledge, or that of vision, which is also called

"prescience," is not the cause of things; but the knowledge

which is practical and of simple intelligence, and which is

denominated "natural," or "necessary," is the cause of all

things by the mode of prescribing and directing to which is

added the action of the will and of the capability. The

middle or intermediate [kind of] knowledge ought to intervene

in things which depend on the liberty of created choice or


XIII. From the variety and multitude of objects, and from the

means and mode of intelligence and vision, it is apparent

that infinite knowledge and omniscience are justly attributed

to God; and that they are so proper or peculiar to God

according to their objects, means and mode, as not to be

capable of appertaining to any created thing.



I. The will of God is spoken of in three ways: First, the

faculty itself of willing. Secondly, the act of willing.

Thirdly, the object willed. The first signification is the

principal and proper one, the two others are secondary and


II. It may be thus described: It is the second faculty of the

life of God, flowing through the understanding from the life

that has an ulterior tendency; by which faculty God is borne

towards a known good -- towards a good, because this is an

adequate object of every will -- towards a known good, not

only with regard to it as a being, but likewise as a good,

whether in reality or only in the act of the divine

understanding. Both, however, are shown by the understanding.

But the evil which is called that of culpability, God does

not simply and absolutely will.

III. The good is two-fold. The chief good, and that which is

from the chief. The first of these is the primary, immediate,

principal, direct, peculiar and adequate object of the divine

will; the latter is secondary and indirect, towards which the

divine will does not tend, except by means of the chief good.

IV. The will of God is borne towards its objects in the

following order: (1.) He wills himself. (2.) He wills all

those things which, out of infinite things possible to

himself he has, by the last judgment of his wisdom,

determined to be made. And first, he wills to make them to

be; then he is affected towards them by his will, according

as they possess some likeness with his nature, or some

vestige of it. (3.) The third object of the will of God is

those things which he judges fit and equitable to be done by

creatures who are endowed with understanding and with free

will, in which is included a prohibition of that which he

wills not to be done. (4.) The fourth object of the divine

will is his permission, that chiefly by which he permits a

rational creature to do what he has prohibited, and to omit

what he has commanded. (5.) He wills those things which,

according to his own wisdom, he judges to be done concerning

the acts of his rational creatures.

V. There is out of God no inwardly moving cause of his will;

nor out of him is there any end. But the creature, and its

action or passion, may be the outwardly moving cause, without

which God would supersede or omit that volition or act of


VI. But the cause of all other things is God, by His

understanding and will, by means of His power or capability;

yet so, that when he acts either through his creatures, with

them or in them, he does not take away the peculiar mode of

acting, or of suffering, which he has divinely placed within

them; and that he suffers them, according to their peculiar

mode, to produce their own effects, and to receive in

themselves the acts of God, either necessarily, contingently,

or freely. As this contingency and liberty do not make the

prescience of God to be uncertain, so they are destroyed by

the volition of God, and by the certain futurition of events

with regard to the understanding of God.



I. Though the will of God be one and simple, yet it may be

variously distinguished, from its objects, in reference to

the mode and order according to which it is borne towards its

objects. Of these distinctions the use is important in the

whole of the Scriptures, and in explaining many passages in


II. The will of God is borne towards its object either

according to the mode of nature, or that of liberty. In

reference to the former, God tends towards his own primary,

proper and adequate object, that is, towards himself. But,

according to the mode of liberty, he tends towards other

things -- and towards all other things by the liberty of

exercise, and towards many by the liberty of specification;

because he cannot hate things, so far as they have some

likeness of God, that is, so far as they are good; though he

is not necessarily bound to love them, since he might reduce

them to nothing whenever it seemed good to himself.

III. The will of God is distinguished into that by which he

absolutely wills to do any thing or to prevent it; and into

that by which he wills something to be done or omitted by his

rational creatures. The former of these is called "the will

of his good pleasure," or rather "of his pleasure;" and the

latter, "that of his open intimation." The latter is

revealed, for this is required by the use to which it is

applied. The former is partly revealed, partly secret, or

hidden. The former employs a power that is either

irresistible, or that is so accommodated to the object and

subject as to obtain or insure its success, though it was

possible for it to happen otherwise. To these two kinds of

the divine will, is opposed the remission of the will, that

is, a two-fold permission, the one opposed to the will of

open intimation, the other to that of good pleasure. The

former is that by which God permits something to the power of

a rational creature by not circumscribing some act by a law;

the latter is that by which God permits something to the will

and capability of the creature, by not placing an impediment

in its way, by which the act may in reality be hindered.

IV. Whatever things God wills to do, he wills them (1.)

either from himself, not on account of any other cause placed

beyond him, (whether that be without the consideration of any

act perpetrated by the creature, or solely from the occasion

of the act of the creature,) (2.) or on account of a

preceding cause afforded by the creature. In reference to

this distinction, some work is said to be "proper to God,"

some other "extraneous, strange and foreign." But there is a

two-fold difference in those things which he wills to be

done; for they are pleasing and acceptable to God, either in

themselves, as in the case of moral works; or they please

accidentally and on account of some other thing, as in the

case of things ceremonial.

V. The will of God is either peremptory, or with a condition.

(1.) His peremptory will is that which strictly and rigidly

obtains, such as the words of the gospel which contain the

last revelation of God: "The wrath of God abides on him who

does not believe;" "He that believes shall be saved;" also

the words of Samuel to Saul: "The Lord hath rejected thee

from being king over Israel." (2.) His will, with a

condition, is that which has a condition annexed, whether it

be a tacit one, such as, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall

be overthrown." "Cursed is every one that continueth not in

all things which are written in the book of the law to do

them," that is, unless he be delivered from this curse as it

is expressed in Gal. iii, 13. See also Jer. xviii, 7-10.

VI. One will of God is absolute, another respective. His

absolute will is that by which he wills any thing simply,

without regard to the volition or act of the creature, such

as is that about the salvation of believers. His respective

will is that by which he wills something with respect to the

volition or the act of the creature. It is also either

antecedent or consequent. (1.) The antecedent is that by

which he wills something with respect to the subsequent will

or act of the creature, as, "God wills all men to be saved if

they believe." (2.) The consequent is that by which he wills

something with respect to the antecedent volition or act of

the creature, as, "Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is

betrayed! Better would it have been for that man if he had

never been born! Both depend on the absolute will, and

according to it each of them is regulated.

VII. God wills some things, so far as they are good, when

absolutely considered according to their nature. Thus he

wills alms-giving, and to do good to man so far as he is his

creature. He also wills some other things, so far as, all

circumstances considered, they are understood to be good.

According to this will, he says to the wicked man, "What hast

thou to do, that thou shouldst take my covenant in thy

mouth?" And he speaks thus to Eli: "Be it far from me that

thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me

for ever; for them that honour me I will honour, and they

that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." This distinction

does not differ greatly from the antecedent will of God,

which has been already mentioned.

VIII. God wills some things per se or per accidens. Of

themselves, he wills those things which are simply relatively

good. Thus He wills salvation to that man who is obedient.

Accidentally, those things which, in some respect are evil,

but have a good joined with them, which God wills more than

the respective good things that are opposed to those evil.

Thus he wills the evils of punishment, because he chooses

that the order of justice be preserved in punishment, rather

than that a sinning creature should escape punishment, though

this impunity might be for the good of the creature.

IX. God wills some things in their antecedent causes, that

is, he wills their causes relatively, and places them in such

order that effects may follow from them; and if they do

follow, he wills that they, of themselves, be pleasing to

him. God wills other things in themselves. This distinction

does not substantially differ from that by which the divine

will is distinguished into absolute and selective.


I. Is it possible for two affirmatively contrary volitions of

God to tend towards one object which is the same and uniform?

We answer in the negative.

II. Can one volition of God, that is, one formally, tend

towards contrary objects? We reply, It can tend towards

objects physically contrary, but not towards objects morally


III. Does God will, as an end, something which is beyond

himself, and which does not proceed from his free will? We

reply in the negative.





I. Those attributes of God ought to be considered, which are

either properly or figuratively attributed to him in the

Scriptures, according to a certain analogy of the affections

and virtues in rational creatures.

II. Those divine attributes which have the analogy of

affections, may be referred to two principal kinds, so that

the first class may contain those affections which are simply

conversant about good or evil, and which may be denominated

primitive affections; and the second may comprehend those

which are exercised about good and evil in reference to their

absence or presence, and which may be called affections

derived from the primitive.

III. The primitive affections are love, (the opposite to

which is hatred,) and goodness; and with these are connected

grace, benignity and mercy. Love is prior to goodness towards

the object, which is God himself; goodness is prior to love

towards that object which is some other than God.

IV. Love is an affection of union in God, whose objects are

not only God himself and the good of justice, but also the

creature, imitating or related to God either according to

likeness, or only according to impress, and the felicity of

the creature. But this affection is borne onwards either to

enjoy and to have, or to do good; the former is called "the

love of complacency;" the latter, "the love of friendship,"

which falls into goodness, God loves himself with complacency

in the perfection of His own nature, wherefore he likewise

enjoys himself. He also loves himself with the love of

complacency in his effects produced externally; both in acts

and works, which are specimens and evident, infallible

indications of that perfection. Wherefore he may be said, in

some degree, likewise to enjoy these acts and works. Even the

justice or righteousness performed by the creature, is

pleasing to him; wherefore his affection is extended to

secure it.

V. Hatred is an affection of separation in God, whose many

object is injustice or unrighteousness; and the secondary,

the misery of the creature. The former is from "the love of

complacency;" the latter, from "the love of friendship." But

since God properly loves himself and the good of justice, and

by the same impulse holds iniquity in detestation; and since

he secondarily loves the creature and his blessedness, and in

that impulse hates the misery of the creature, that is, he

wills it to be taken away from the creature; hence, it comes

to pass, that he hates the creature who perseveres in

unrighteousness, and he loves his misery.

VI. Hatred, however, is not collateral to love, but

necessarily flowing from it; since love neither does nor can

tend towards all those things which become objects to the

understanding of God. It belongs to him, therefore, in the

first act, and must be placed in him prior to any existence

of a thing worthy of hatred, which existence being laid down,

the act of hatred arises from it by a natural necessity, not

by liberty of the will.

VII. But since love does not perfectly fill the whole will of

God, it has goodness united with it; which also is an

affection in God of communicating his good. Its first object

externally is nothing; and this is so necessarily first,

that, when it is removed, no communication can be made

externally. Its act is creation. Its second object is the

creature as a creature; and its act is called conservation,

or sustentation, as if it was a continuance of creation. Its

third object is the creature performing his duty according to

the command of God; and its act is the elevation to a more

worthy and felicitous condition, that is, the communication

of a greater good than that which the creature obtained by

creation. Both these advances of goodness may also be

appropriately denominated "benignity," or "kindness." Its

fourth object is the creature not performing his duty, or

sinful, and on this account liable to misery according to the

just judgment of God; and its act is a deliverance from sin

through the remission and the mortification of sin. And this

progress of goodness is denominated mercy, which is an

affection for giving succour to a man in misery, sin

presenting no obstacle.

VIII. Grace is a certain adjunct of goodness and love, by

which is signified that God is affected to communicate his

own good and to love the creatures, not through merit or of

debt, not by any cause impelling from without, nor that

something may be added to God himself, but that it may be

well with him on whom the good is bestowed and who is

beloved, which may also receive the name of "liberality."

According to this, God is said to be "rich in goodness,

mercy," &c.

IX. The affections which spring from these, and which are

exercised about good or evil as each is present or absent,

are considered as having an analogy either in those things

which are in the concupiscible part of our souls, or in that

which is irascible.

X. In the concupiscible part are, first, desire and that

which is opposed to it; secondly, joy and grief. (1.) Desire

is an affection of obtaining the works of righteousness from

rational creatures, and of bestowing a remunerative reward,

as well as of inflicting punishment if they be contumacious.

To this is opposed the affection according to which God

execrates the works of unrighteousness, and the omission of a

remuneration. (2.). Joy is an affection from the presence of

a thing that is suitable or agreeable -- such as the fruition

of himself, the obedience of the creature, the communication

of his own goodness, and the destruction of His rebels and

enemies. Grief, which is opposed to it, arises from the

disobedience and the misery of the creature, and in the

occasion thus given by his people for blaspheming the name of

God among the gentiles. To this, repentance has some

affinity; which is nothing more than a change of the thing

willed or done, on account of the act of a rational creature,

or, rather, a desire for such change.

XI. In the irascible part are hope and its opposite, despair,

confidence and anger, also fear, which is affirmatively

opposed to hope. (1.) Hope is an earnest expectation of a

good, due from the creature, and performable by the grace of

God. It cannot easily be reconciled with the certain

foreknowledge of God. (2.) Despair arises from the

pertinacious wickedness of the creature, opposing himself to

the grace of God, and resisting the Holy Spirit. (3.)

Confidence is that by which God with great animation

prosecutes a desired good, and repels an evil that is hated.

(4.) Anger is an affection of depulsion in God, through the

punishment of the creature that has transgressed his law, by

which he inflicts on the creature the evil of misery for his

unrighteousness, and takes the vengeance which is due to him,

as an indication of his love towards justice, and of his

hatred to sin. When this affection is vehement, it is called

"fury." (5.) Fear is from an impending evil to which God is


XII. Of the second class of these derivative affections, (See

Thesis 11) some belong to God per se, as they simply contain

in themselves perfection; others, which seem to have

something of imperfection, are attributed to him after the

manner of the feelings of men, on account of some effects

which he produces analogous to the effects of the creatures,

yet without any passion, as he is simple and immutable and

without any disorder and repugnance to right reason. But we

subject the use and exercise of the first class of those

affections (See Thesis 10) to the infinite wisdom of God,

whose property it is to prefix to each of them its object,

means, end and circumstances, and to decree to which, in

preference to the rest, is to be conceded the province of






I. But these attributes preside generally over all the

affections, or specially relate to some of them. The general

is justice, or righteousness, which is called "universal" or

"legal," and concerning which it was said by the ancients,

that it contains, in itself, all the virtues. The special

are, particular justice, patience, and those which are the

moderators of anger, and of chastisements and punishments.

II. The justice of God, considered universally, is a virtue

of God, according to which he administers all things

correctly and in a suitable manner, according to that which

his wisdom dictates as befitting himself. In conjunction with

wisdom, it presides over all his acts, decrees and deeds; and

according to it, God is said to be "just and right," his way

"equal," and himself to be "just in all his ways."

III. The particular justice of God is that by which he

consistently renders to every one his own -- to God himself

that which is his, and to the creature that which belongs to

itself. We consider it both in the words of God and in his

deeds. In this, the method of the decrees is not different;

because, whatever God does or says, he does or says it

according to his own eternal decree. This justice likewise

contains a moderator partly of his love for the good of

obedience, and partly of his love for the creature, and of

his goodness.

IV. Justice In deeds may be considered in the following

order: That the first may be in the communication of good,

either according to the first creation, or according to

regeneration. The second is in the prescribing of duty, or in

legislation, which consists in the requisition of a deed, and

in the promise of a reward, and the threat of a punishment.

The third is in the judging about deeds, which is

retributive, being both communicative of a reward and

vindicative. In all these, the magnanimity of God is to be

considered. In communication, in promise, and in

remuneration, his liberality and magnificence are also to

come under consideration; and they may be appropriately

referred partly to distributive, and partly to commutative


V. Justice in words is also three-fold. (1.) Truth, by which

he always enunciates or declares exactly as the thing is, to

which is opposed falsehood. (2.) Sincerity and simplicity, by

which he always declares as he inwardly conceives, according

to the meaning and purpose of his mind, to which are opposed

hypocrisy and duplicity of heart. And (3.) Fidelity, by which

he is constant in keeping promises and in communicating

privileges, to which are opposed inconstancy and perfidy.

VI. Patience is that by which he patiently endures the

absence of that Good, that is, of the prescribed obedience

which he loves, desires, and for which he hopes, and the

presence of that evil which he forbids, sparing sinners, not

only that he may execute the judicial acts of His mercy and

severity through them, but that he may also lead them to

repentance, or that he may punish the contumacious with

greater equity and severity. And this attribute seems to

attemper the love [which God entertains] for the good of


VII. Long suffering, gentleness or lenity, clemency and

readiness to pardon, are the moderators of anger,

chastisements and punishments.

VIII. Long suffering is a virtue by which God suspends his

anger, lest it should instantly hasten to the depulsion of

the evil, as soon as the creature has by his sins deserved


IX. Gentleness or lenity is a virtue, by which God preserves

moderation concerning anger in taking vengeance, lest it

should be too vehement -- lest the seventy of the anger

should certainly correspond with the magnitude of the

wickedness perpetrated.

X. Clemency is a virtue by which God so attempers the

chastisements and punishments of the creature, even at the

very time when he inflicts them, that, by their weight and

continuance, they may not equal the magnitude of the sins

committed; indeed, that they may not exceed the strength of

the creature.

XI. Readiness to forgive is a virtue by which God shows

himself to be exorable to his creature, and which fixes a

measure to the limits of anger, lest it should endure for

ever, agreeably to the demerit of the sins committed.


Does the justice of God permit him to destine to death

eternal, a rational creature who has never sinned? We reply

in the negative.

Does the justice of God allow that a creature should be saved

who perseveres in his sins? We reply in the negative.

Cannot justice and mercy, in some accommodated sense, be

considered, as, in a certain respect, opposed? We reply in

the affirmative.



I. When entering on the consideration of the power or

capability of God, as we deny the passive power which cannot

belong to God who is a pure act, so we likewise omit that

which is occupied with internal acts through necessity of

nature; and at present we exhibit for examination that power

alone which consists in the capacity of external actions, and

by which God not only is capable of operating beyond himself,

but actually does operate whenever it is his own good


II. And it is a faculty of the divine life, by which,

(subsequently to the understanding of God that shows and

directs, and to his will that commands,) he is capable of

operating externally what things soever he can freely will,

and by which he does operate whatever he freely wills.

III. The measure of the divine capability is the free will of

God, and that is truly an adequate measure; so that the

object of the capability may be, and, indeed, ought to be,

circumscribed and limited most appropriately from the object

of the free will of God. For, whatever cannot fall under his

will, cannot fall under his capability; and whatever is

subject to the former, is likewise subject to the latter.

IV. But the will of God can only will that which is not

opposed to the divine essence, (which is the foundation both

of His understanding and of his will,) that is, it can will

nothing but that which exists, is true and good. Hence,

neither can his capability do any other. Again, since, under

the phrase "what is not opposed to the divine essence," is

comprehended whatsoever is simply and absolutely possible,

and since God can will the whole of this, it follows that God

is capable of every thing which is possible.

V. Those things are impossible to God which involve a

contradiction, as, to make another God, to be mutable, to

sin, to lie, to cause some thing at once to be and not to be,

to have been and not to have been, &c., that this thing

should be and not be, that it and its contrary should be,

that an accident should be without its subject, that a

substance should be changed into a pre-existing substance,

bread into the body of Christ, that a body should possess

ubiquity, &c. These things partly belong to a want of power

to be capable of doing them, and partly to a want of will to

do them.

VI. But the capability of God is infinite -- and this not

only because it can do all things possible, which, indeed,

are innumerable, so that as many cannot be enumerated as it

is capable of doing, [or after all that can be numbered, it

is capable of doing still more]; nor can such great things be

calculated without its being able to produce far greater, but

likewise because nothing can resist it. For all created

things depend upon him, as upon the efficient principle, both

in their being and in their preservation. Hence, omnipotence

is justly ascribed to him.

VII. This can be communicated to no creature.



I. Next in order, follows the perfection of God, resulting

from the simple and infinite circuit of all those things

which we have already attributed to God, and considered with

the mode of pre-eminence -- not that perfection by which he

has every individual thing most perfectly, (for this is the

office of simplicity and infinity,) but that by which he has

all things simply denoting some perfection in the most

perfect manner. And it may be appropriately described thus:

It is the interminable, and, at the same time, the entire and

perfect possession of essence and life.

II. And this perfection of God infinitely transcends every

created perfection, in three several ways: (1.) Because it

has all things. (2.) It has them in a manner the most

perfect. And (3.) It does not derive them from any other

source. But as the creatures have, through participation, a

perfection from God, faintly shadowed forth after its

archetype, so, of consequence, they neither have every

perfection, nor in a manner the most perfect; yet some

creatures have a greater perfection than others; and the more

of it they possess, the nearer are they to God, and the more

like him.

III. From this perfection of God, by means of some internal

act, his blessedness has its existence; and by means of some

relation of it ad extra, his glory exists.

IV. Blessedness is an act of God, by which he enjoys his own

perfection, that is fully known by his understanding, and

supremely loved by his will, with a delightful satisfaction

in it. It is, therefore, through the act of the

understanding, and of the will; of the understanding, indeed,

reaching to the essence of the object, but the act of which

would not be an act of felicity, unless it had this, its

being an act of felicicity[sic.], from the will which

perpetually desires to behold the beatified object, and is

delightfully satisfied in it.

V. But this blessedness is so peculiar to God that it cannot

be communicated to any creature. Yet he is, himself, with

respect to the object, the beatified good of creatures

endowed with understanding, and the effector of the act which

tends to the effect, and which is delightfully satisfied in

it. Of these, consists the blessedness of the creature.

VI. Glory is the divine excellence above all things, which he

makes manifest by external acts, in various ways.

VII. But the modes of manifestation, which are declared to us

in the Scriptures, are principally two -- the one, by an

effulgence of unusual light and splendour, or by the opposite

to it, a dense darkness and obscurity; the other, by the

production of works which agree with his perfection and


VIII. This description of the divine nature is the first

foundation of all religion. For it is concluded, from this

perfection and blessedness of God, that the act of religion

can be worthily and usefully exhibited to God, to the

knowledge of which matter, we are brought, through the

manifestation of the divine glory.

The candid reader will be able, in this place, to supply from

the preceding public disputations, the theses on the Father

and the Son, and those on the Holy Spirit, the Holy and

undivided Trinity.



I. We have treated on God, who is the first object of the

Christian religion. And we would now treat on Christ, who,

next to God, is another object of the same religion; but we

must premise some things, without which, Christ would neither

be an object of religion, nor would the necessity of the

Christian religion be understood. Indeed, the cause must be

First explained, on account of which God has a right to

require any religion from man; THEN the religion, also, that

is prescribed in virtue of this cause and right, and, LASTLY,

the event ensuing, from which has arisen the necessity of

constituting Christ our saviour, and the Christian religion,

employed by God, through his own will, who hath not, by the

sin of man, lost His right which he obtains over him by

creation, nor has he entirely laid aside his affection for

man, though a sinner, and miserable.

II. And since God is the object of the Christian religion,

not only as the Creator, but likewise as the Creator anew,

(in which latter respect, Christ, also, as constituted by God

to be the saviour, is the object of the Christian religion,)

it is necessary for us first to treat about the primitive

creation, and those things which are joined to it according

to nature, and, after that, about those which resulted from

the conduct of man, before we begin to treat on the new

creation, in which the primary consideration is that of

Christ as Mediator.

III. Creation is an external act of God, by which he produced

all things out of nothing, for himself, by his Word and


IV. The primary efficient cause is God the Father, by his

Word and Spirit. The impelling cause, which we have indicated

in the definition by the particle "for," is the goodness of

God, according to which he is inclined to communicate his

good. The ordainer is the divine wisdom; and the executrix,

or performer, is the divine power, which the will of God

employs through an inclination of goodness, according to the

most equitable prescript of his wisdom.

V. The matter from which God created all things, must be

considered in three forms: (1.) The first of all is that from

which all things in general were produced, into which, also,

they may all, on this account, relapse and be reduced; it is

nothing itself, that our mind, by the removal of all entity,

considers as the first matter; for, that, alone, is capable

of the first communication of God ad extra; because, God

would neither have the right to introduce his own form into

matter coeval [with himself], nor would he be capable of

acting, as it would then be eternal matter, and, therefore,

obnoxious to no change. (2.) The second matter is that from

which all things corporeal are now distinguished, according

to their own separate forms; and this is the rude chaos and

undigested mass created at the beginning. (3.) The third

consists both of these simple and secret elements, and of

certain compound bodies, from which all the rest have been

produced, as from the waters have proceeded creeping and

flying things, and fishes -- from the earth, all other living

things, trees, herbs and shrubs -- from the rib of. Adam, the

woman, and from seeds, the perpetuation of the species.

VI. The form is the production itself of all things out of

nothing, which form pre existed ready framed, according to

the archetype in the mind of God, without any proper entity,

lest any one should feign an ideal world.

VII. From an inspection of the matter and form, it is

evident, First, that creation is the immediate act of God,

alone, both because a creature, who is of a finite power is

incapable of operating on nothing, and because such a

creature cannot shape matter in substantial forms. Secondly.

The creation was freely produced, not necessarily, because

God was neither bound to nothing, nor destitute of forms.

VIII. The end -- not that which moved God to create, for God

is not moved by any thing external, but that which

incessantly and immediately results from the very act of

creation, and which is, in fact, contained in the essence of

this act -- this end is the demonstration of the divine

wisdom, goodness and power. For those divine properties which

concur to act, shine forth and show themselves in their own

nature action -- goodness, in the very communication --

wisdom, in the mode, order and variety -- and power, in this

circumstance, that so many and such great things are produced

out of nothing.

IX. The end, which is called "to what purpose," is the good

of the Creatures themselves, and especially of man, to whom

are referred most other creatures, as being useful to him,

according to the institution of the divine creation.

X. The effect of creation is this universal world, which, in

the Scriptures, obtains the names of the heaven and the

earth, sometimes, also, of the sea, as being the extremities

within which all things are embraced. This world is an entire

something, which is perfect and complete, having no defect of

any form, that can bear relation to the whole or to its

parts; nor is redundant in any form which has no relation to

the whole and its parts. It is, also, a single, or a united

something, not by an indivisible unity, but according to

connection and co-ordination, and the affection of mutual

relation, consisting of parts distinguished, not only

according to place and situation, but likewise according to

nature, essence and peculiar existence. This was necessary,

not only to adumbrate, in some measure, the perfection of God

in variety and multitude, but also to demonstrate that the

Lord omnipotent did not create the world by a natural

necessity, but by the freedom of his will.

XI. But this entire universe is, according to the Scriptures,

distributed in the best manner possible into three classes of

objects, (1.) Into creatures purely spiritual and invisible;

of this class are the angels. (2.) Into creatures merely

corporeal. And (3.) Into natures that are, in one part of

them, corporeal and visible, and in another part, spiritual

and invisible; men are of this last class.

XII. We think this was the order observed in creation:

Spiritual creatures, that is, the angels, were first created.

Corporeal creatures were next created, according to the

series of six days, not together and in a single moment.

Lastly, man was created, consisting both of body and spirit;

his body was, indeed, first formed; and afterwards his soul

was inspired by creating, and created by inspiring; that as

God commenced the creation in a spirit, so he might finish it

on a spirit, being himself the immeasurable and eternal


XIII. This creation is the foundation of that right by which

God can require religion from man, which is a matter that

will be more certainly and fully understood, when we come

more specially to treat on the primeval creation of man; for

he who is not the creator of all things, and who, therefore,

has not all things under his command, cannot be believed,

neither can any sure hope and confidence be placed in him,

nor can he alone be feared. Yet all these are acts which

belong to religion.


I. The world was neither created from all eternity, nor could

it be so created; though God was, from eternity, furnished

with that capability by which he could create the world, and

afterwards did create it; and though no moment of time can be

conceived by us, in which the world could not have been


II. He who forms an accurate conception, in his mind, of

creation, must, in addition to the plenitude of divine

wisdom, goodness and power, or capability, conceive that

there was a two-fold privation or vacuity -- the First,

according to essence or form, which will bear some

resemblance to an infinite nothing that is capable of

infinite forms; the SECOND, according to place, which will be

like an infinite vacuum that is capable of being the

receptacle of numerous worlds.

III. Hence, this, also, follows, that time and place are not

Separate Creatures, but are created with things themselves,

or, rather, that they exist together at the creation of

things, not by an absolute but a relative entity, without

which no created thing can be thought upon or conceived.

IV. This creation is the first of all the divine external

acts, both in the intention of the Creator, and actually or

in reality; and it is an act perfect in itself, not serving

another more primary one, as its medium; though God has made

some creatures, which, in addition to the fact of their

having been made by the act of creation, are fitted to be

advanced still further, and to be elevated to a condition yet

more excellent.

V. If any thing be represented as the object of creation, it

seems that nothing can be laid down more suitably than those

things which, out of all things possible, have, by the act of

creation, been produced from non-existence into existence.



I. Angels are substances merely spiritual, created after the

image of God, not only that they might acknowledge, love and

worship their Creator, and might live in a state of happiness

with him, but that they might likewise perform certain duties

concerning the rest of the creatures according to the command

of God.

II. We call them "substances," against the Sadducees and

others, who contend that angels are nothing more than the

good or the evil motions of spirits, or else exercises of

power to aid or to injure. But this is completely at variance

with the whole Scripture, as the actions, (which are those of

supposititious beings,) the appearances, and the names which

they ascribe to them, more than sufficiently demonstrate.

III. We add that they are "merely spiritual," that we may

separate them from men, the species opposite to them, and may

intimate their nature. And though composition out of matter

and form does not belong to angels, yet, we affirm that they

are absolutely compound substances, and that they are

composed, (1.) Of being and essence. (2.) Of act and power,

or capability. (3.) Lastly, of subject and inhering accident.

IV. But because they are creatures, they are finite, and we

measure them by place, time, and number. (1.) By PLACE, not

that they are in it corporeally, that is, not that they

occupy and fill up a certain local space, commensurate with

their substance; but they are in it intellectually, that is,

they exist in a place without the occupying and repletion of

any local space, which the schoolmen denominate by way of

definition, "to be in a place." But, as they cannot be in

several places at once, but are sometimes in one place, and

sometimes in another, so they are not moved without time,

though it is scarcely perceptible. (2.) We measure them by

TIME, or by duration or age, because they have a commencement

of being, and the whole age in which they continue they have

in succession, by parts of past, present and future; but the

whole of it is not present to them at the same moment and

without any distance. (3.) Lastly. We measure them by NUMBER,

though this number is not defined in the pages of the sacred

volume, and, therefore, is unknown to us, but known to God;

yet it is very great, for it is neither diminished nor

increased, because the angels are neither begotten nor die.

V. We say that they were "created after the image of God;"

for they are denominated "the sons of God." This image, we

say, consists partly in those things which belong to their

natures, and partly in those things which are of supernatural

endowment. (1.) To their nature, belong both their spiritual

essence, and the faculty of understanding, of willing, and of

powerfully acting. (2.) To supernatural endowment, belong the

light of knowledge in the understanding, and, following it,

the rectitude or holiness of the will. Immortality itself, is

of supernatural endowment; but it is that which God has

determined to preserve to them, in what manner soever they

may conduct themselves towards him.

VI. The end subjoined is two-fold -- that, standing around

the throne of God as his apparitors or messengers, for the

glory of the divine Majesty, the angels may perpetually laud

and celebrate [the praises of] God, and that they may, with

the utmost swiftness, execute, at the beck of God, the

offices of ministration which he enjoins upon them.

VII. We are informed in the Scriptures themselves, that there

is a certain order among angels; for they mention angels and

archangels,-and attribute even to the devil his angels. But

we are willingly ignorant of that distinction into orders and

various degrees, and what it is which constitutes such

distinction. We also think that if [the existence of] certain

orders of angels be granted, it is more probable that God

employs angels of different orders for the same duties, than

that he appoints distinct orders to each separate ministry;

though we allow that those who hold other sentiments, think

so with some reason.

VIII. For the performance of the ministries enjoined on them,

angels have frequently appeared clothed in bodies, which

bodies they have not formed and assumed to themselves out of

nothing, but out of pre-existing matter, by a union neither

essential nor personal, but local, (because they were not

then beyond those bodies,) and, according to an instrumental

purpose, that they might use them for the due performance of

the acts enjoined.

IX. These bodies, therefore, have neither been alive, nor

have the angels, through them, seen, heard, tasted, smelled,

touched, conceived phantasms or imaginations, &c. through the

organs of these bodies, they produced only such acts as could

be performed by an angel inhabiting them, or, rather,

existing in them, as the mover according to place. On this

account, perhaps, it is not improperly affirmed, that bodies,

truly human, which are inhabited by a living and directing

spirit, can be discerned, by human judgment, from these

assumed bodies.

X. God likewise prescribed a certain law to angels, by which

they might order their life according to God, and not

according to themselves, and by the observance of which they

might be blessed, or, by transgressing it, might be eternally

miserable, without any hope of pardon. For it was the good

pleasure of God to act towards angels according to strict

justice, and not to display all his goodness in bringing them

to salvation.

XI. But we do not decide whether a single act of obedience

was sufficient to obtain eternal blessedness, as one act of

disobedience was deserving of eternal destruction.

XII. Some of the angels transgressed the law under which they

were placed; and this they did by their own fault, because by

that grace with which they were furnished, and by which God

assisted them, and was prepared to assist them, they were

enabled to obey the law, and to remain in their integrity.

XIII. Hence, is the division made of angels into the good and

the evil. The former are so denominated, because they

continued steadfast in the truth, and preserved "their own

habitation." But the latter are called "evil angels," because

they did not continue in the truth, and "deserted their own


XIV. But the former are called "good angels," not only

according to an infused habit, but likewise according to the

act which they performed, and according to their confirmation

in habitual goodness, the cause of which we place in the

increase of grace, and in their holy purpose, which they

conceived partly through beholding the punishment which was

inflicted on the apostate angels, and partly through the

perception of increased grace. [If it be asked,] Did they not

also do this, through perfect blessedness, to which nothing

could be added?, we do not deny it, on account of the

agreement of learned men, though it seems possible to produce

reasons to the contrary.

XV. The latter (Thesis 13) are called "evil angels," First,

by actual wickedness, and then by habitual wickedness and

pertinacious obstinacy in it; hence, they take a delight in

doing whatever they suppose can tend to the reproach of God

and the destruction of their neighbour. But this fixed

obstinacy in evil seems to derive its origin partly from an

intuition of the wrath of God and from an evil conscience

which springs out of that, and partly from their own


XVI. But, concerning the species of sin which the angels

perpetrated, we dare not assert what it was. Yet we say, it

may with some probability be affirmed, that it was the crime

of pride, from that argument which solicited man to sin

through the desire of excellence.

XVII. When it is the will of God to employ the assistance of

good angels, he may be said to employ not only those powers

and faculties which he has conferred on them, but likewise

those which are augmented by himself. But we think it is

contradictory to truth, if God be said to furnish the devils,

whose service he uses, with greater knowledge and power than

they have through creation and their own experience.


I. We allow this to become a subject of discussion: Can good

angels be said sometimes to contend among themselves, with a

reservation of that charity which they owe to God, to each

other, and to men?

II. Do angels need a mediator? and is Christ the mediator of

angels? We reply in the negative.

III. Are all angels of one species? We think this to be more

probable than its contrary.



I. Man is a creature of God; consisting of a body and a soul,

rational, good, and created after the divine image --

according to his body, created from pre-existing matter, that

is, earth mixed and besprinkled with aqueous and ethereal

moisture, -- according to his soul, created out of nothing,

by the breathing of breath into his nostrils.

II. But that body would have been incorruptible, and, by the

grace of God, would not have been liable to death, if men had

not sinned, and had not, by that deed, procured for himself

the necessity of dying. And because it was to be the future

receptacle of the soul, it was furnished by the wise Creator

with various and excellent organs.

III. But the soul is entirely of an admirable nature, if you

consider its origin, substance, faculties, and habits. (1.)

Its origin; for it is from nothing, created by infusion, and

infused by creation, a body being duly prepared for its

reception, that it might fashion matter as with form, and,

being united to the body by a native bond, might, with it,

compose one ufisamenon, production. Created, I say, by God in

time, as he still daily creates a new soul in each body.

IV. Its substance, which is simple, immaterial, and immortal.

Simple, I say, not with respect to God; for it consists of

act and power or capability, of being and essence, of subject

and accidents; but it is simple with respect to material and

compound things. It is immaterial, because it can subsist by

itself, and, when separated from the body, can operate alone.

It is immortal, not indeed from itself, but by the sustaining

grace of God.

V. Its faculties, which are two, the understanding and the

will, as in fact the object of the soul is two-fold. For the

understanding apprehends eternity and truth both universal

and particular, by a natural and necessary, and therefore by

a uniform act. But the will has an inclination to good. Yet

this is either, according to the mode of its nature, to

universal good and to that which is the chief good; or,

according to the mode of liberty, to all other [kinds of]


VI. Lastly. In its habits, which are, First, wisdom, by which

the intellect clearly and sufficiently understood the

supernatural truth and goodness both of felicity and of

righteousness. Secondly. Righteousness and the holiness of

truth, by which the will was fitted and ready to follow what

this wisdom commanded to be done, and what it showed to be

desired. This righteousness and wisdom are called "original,"

both because man had them from his very origin, and because,

if man had continued in his integrity, they would also have

been communicated to his posterity.

VII. In all these things, the image of God most wonderfully

shone forth. We say that this is the likeness by which man

resembled his Creator, and expressed it according to the mode

of his capacity -- in his soul, according to its substance,

faculties and habits -- in this body, though this cannot be

properly said to have been created after the image of God who

is pure spirit, yet it is something divine, both from the

circumstance that, if man had not sinned, his body would

never have died, and because it is capable of special

incorruptibility and glory, of which the apostle treats in 1

Corinthians 15, because it displays some excellence and

majesty beyond the bodies of other living creatures, and,

lastly, because it is an instrument well fitted for admirable

actions and operations -- in his whole person, according to

the excellence, integrity, and the dominion over the rest of

the creatures, which were conferred upon him.

VIII. The parts of this image may be thus distinguished: Some

of them may be called natural to man, and others

supernatural; some, essential to him, and others accidental.

It is natural and essential to the soul to be a spirit, and

to be endowed with the power of understanding and of willing,

both according to nature and the mode of liberty. But the

knowledge of God, and of things pertaining to eternal

salvation, is supernatural and accidental, as are likewise

the rectitude and holiness of the will, according to that

knowledge. Immortality is so far essential to the soul, that

it cannot die unless it cease to be; but it is on this

account supernatural and accidental, because it is through

grace and the aid of preservation, which God is not bound to

bestow on the soul.

IX. But the immortality of the body is entirely supernatural

and accidental; for it can be taken away from the body, and

the body can return to the dust, from which it was taken. Its

excellence above other living creatures, and its peculiar

fitness to produce various effects, are natural to it, and

essential. Its dominion over the creatures which belongs to

the whole man as consisting of body and soul, may he partly

considered as belonging to it according to the excellence of

nature, and partly as conferred upon it by gracious gift, of

which dominion this seems to be an evidence, that it is never

taken wholly away from the soul, although it be varied, and

be augmented and diminished according to degrees and parts.

X. Thus was man created, that he might know, love and worship

his Creator, and might live with him for ever in a state of

blessedness. By this act of creation, God most manifestly

displayed the glory of his wisdom, goodness and power.

XI. From this description of man, it appears, that he is both

fitted to perform the act of religion to God, since such an

act is required from him -- that he is capable of the reward

which may be properly adjudged to those who perform [acts of]

religion to God, and of the punishment which may be justly

inflicted on those who neglect religion; and therefore that

religion may, by a deserved right, be required from man

according to this relation; and this is the principal

relation, according to which we must, in sacred theology,

treat about the creation of man after the image of God.

XII. In addition to this image of God, and this reference to

supernatural and spiritual things, comes under our

consideration the state of the natural life, in which the

first man was created and constituted, according to the

apostle Paul, "that which is natural was first, and

afterwards, that which is spiritual." (1 Cor. xv, 46.)

This state is founded in the natural union of body and soul,

and in the life which the soul naturally lives in the body;

from which union and life it is that the soul procures for

its body, things which are good for it; and, on the other

hand, the body is ready for offices which are congruous to

its nature and desires. According to this state or condition,

there is a mutual relation between man and the good things of

this world, the effect of which is, that man can desire them,

and, in procuring them for himself, can bestow that labour

which he deems to be necessary and convenient.



I. Through creation, dominion over all things which have been

created by himself, belongs to the Creator. It is, therefore,

primary, being dependent on no other dominion or on that of

no other person; and it is, on this account, chief because

there is none greater; and it is absolute, because it is over

the entire creature, according to the whole, and according to

all and each of its parts, and to all the relations which

subsist between the Creator and the creature. It is,

consequently, perpetual, that is, so long as the creature

itself exists.

II. But the dominion of God is the right of the Creator, and

his power over the creatures; according to which he has them

as his own property, and can command and use them, and do

about them, whatever the relation of creation and the equity

which rests upon it, permit.

III. For the right cannot extend further than is allowed by

that cause from which the whole of it arises, and on which it

is dependent. For this reason, it is not agreeable to this

right of God, either that he delivers up his creature to

another who may domineer over such creature, at his arbitrary

pleasure, so that he be not compelled to render to God an

account of the exercise of his sovereignty, and be able,

without any demerit on the part of the creature, to inflict

every evil on a creature capable of injury, or, at least, not

for any good of this creature; or that he [God] command an

act to be done by the creature, for the performance of which

he neither has, nor can have, sufficient and necessary

powers; or that he employ the creature to introduce sin into

the world, that he may, by punishing or by forgiving it,

promote his own glory; or, lastly, to do concerning the

creature whatever he is able, according to his absolute

power, to do concerning him, that is eternally to punish or

to afflict him, without [his having committed] sin.

IV. As this is a power over rational creatures, (in reference

to whom chiefly we treat on the dominion and power of God,)

it may be considered in two views, either as despotic, or as

kingly, or patriarchal. The former is that which he employs

without any intention of good which may be useful or saving

to the creature; that latter is that which he employs when he

also intends the good of the creature itself. And this last

is used by God through the abundance of his own goodness and

sufficiency, until he considers the creature to be unworthy,

on account of his perverseness, to have God presiding over

him in his kingly and paternal authority.

V. Hence, it is, that, when God is about to command some

thing to his rational creature, he does not exact every thing

which he justly might do, and he employs persuasions through

arguments which have regard to the utility and necessity of

those persuasions.

VI. In addition to this, God enters into a contract or

covenant with his creature; and he does this for the purpose

that the creature may serve him, not so much "of debt," as

from a spontaneous, free and liberal obedience, according to

the nature of confederations which consist of stipulations

and promises. On this account, God frequently distinguishes

his law by the title of a COVENANT.

VII. Yet this condition is always annexed to the

confederation, that if man be unmindful of the covenant and a

contemner of its pleasant rule, he may always be impelled or

governed by that domination which is really lordly, strict

and rigid, and into which, he who refuses to obey the other

[species of rule], justly falls.

VIII. Hence, arises a two-fold right of God over his rational

creature. The First, which belongs to him through creation;

the Second, through contract. The former rests on the good

which the creature has received from his Creator; the latter

rests on the still greater benefit which the creature will

receive from God, his preserver, promoter and glorifier.

IX. If the creature happen to sin against this two-fold

right, by that very act, he gives to God, his Lord, King and

Father, the right of treating him as a sinning creature, and

of inflicting on him due punishment; and this is a THIRD

right, which rests on the wicked act of the creature against




I. Not only does the very nature of God, and of things

themselves, but likewise the Scriptures and experience do,

evidently, show that providence belongs to God.

II. But providence denotes some property of God, not a

quality, or a capability, or a habit; but it is an act, which

is not ad intra nor internal, but which is ad extra and

external, and which is about an object different from God,

and that is not united to him from all eternity, in his

understanding, but as separate and really existing.

III. And it is an act of the practical understanding, or of

the will employing the understanding, not completed in a

single moment, but continued through the moments of the

duration of things.

IV. And it may be defined the solicitous, everywhere

powerful, and continued inspection and oversight of God,

according to which he exercises a general care over the whole

world, and over each of the creatures and their actions and

passions, in a manner that is befitting himself, and suitable

for his creatures, for their benefit, especially for that of

pious men, and for a declaration of the divine perfection.

V. We have represented the object of it to be both the whole

world as it is a single thing consisting of many parts which

have a certain relation among themselves, and possessing

order between each other, and each our the creatures, with

its actions and passions. We preserve the distinction of the

goodness which is in them, (1.) According to their nature,

through creation; (2.) According to grace, through the

communication of supernatural gifts, and elevation to

dignities; (3.) According to the right use both of nature and

grace; yet we ascribe the last two, also, to the act of


VI. The rule of providence, according to which it produces

its acts, is the wisdom of God, demonstrating what is worthy

of God, according to his goodness, His severity, or his love

for justice or for the creature, but always according to


VII. The acts of providence which belong to its execution,

are -- preservation, which appears to be occupied about

essences, qualities and quantities -- and government, which

presides over actions and passions, and of which the

principal acts are motion, assistance, concurrence and

permission. The three former of these acts extend themselves

to good, whether natural or moral; and the last of them

appertains to evil alone.

VIII. The power of God serves universally, and at all times,

to execute these acts, with the exception of permission;

specially, and sometimes, these acts are executed by the

creatures themselves. Hence, an act of providence is called

either immediate or mediate. When it employs [the agency of]

the creatures, then it permits them to conduct their motions

agreeably to their own nature, unless it be his pleasure to

do any thing out of the ordinary way.

IX. Then, those acts which are performed according to some

certain course of nature or of grace, are called ordinary;

those which are employed either beyond, above, or also

contrary to this order, are styled extraordinary; yet they

are always concluded by the terms due fitness and

suitableness, of which we have treated in the definition.

(Thesis 4.)

X. Degrees are laid down in providence, not according to

intuition or oversight itself, neither according to presence

or continuity, but according to solicitude and care, which

yet are free from anxiety, but which are greater concerning a

man than concerning bullocks, also greater concerning

believers and pious persons, than concerning those who are


XI. The end of providence and of all its acts, is the

declaration of the divine perfections, of wisdom, goodness,

justice, severity and power, and the good of the whole,

especially of those men who are chosen or elected.

XII. But since God does nothing, or permits it to be done in

time, which he has not decreed from all eternity, either to

do or to permit that decree, therefore, is placed before

providence and its acts as an internal act is before one that

is external.

XIII. The effect, or, rather, the consequence, which belongs

to God himself, is his prescience; and it is partly called

natural and necessary, and partly free -- FREE, because it

follows the act of the divine free will, without which it

would not be the object of it -- Natural and Necessary, so

far as, (when this object is laid down by the act of the

divine will,) it cannot be unknown by the divine


XIV. Prediction sometimes follows this prescience, when it

pleases God to give intimations to his creatures of the

issues of things, before they come to pass. But neither

prediction nor any prescience induces a necessity of any

thing that is afterwards to be, since they are [in the divine

mind.] posterior in nature and order to the thing that is

future. For a thing does not come to pass because it has been

foreknown or foretold; but it is foreknown and foretold

because it is yet to come to pass.

XV. Neither does the decree itself, by which the Lord

administers providence and its acts, induce any necessity on

things future; for, since it, the decree, (§ 12) is an

internal act of God, it lays down nothing in the thing

itself. But things come to pass and happen either necessarily

or contingently, according to the mode of power, which it has

pleased God. to employ in the administration of affairs.



I. Though, according to His right and power over man, whom he

had created after his own image, God could prescribe

obedience to him in all things for the performance of which

he possessed suitable powers, or would, by the grace of God,

have them in that state; yet, that he might elicit from man

voluntary and free obedience, which, alone, is grateful to

him, it was his will to enter into a contract and covenant

with him, by which God required obedience, and, on the other

hand, promised a reward, to which he added the denunciation

of a punishment, that the transaction might not seem to be

entirely one between equals, and as if man was not completely

bound to God.

II. On this account, the law of God is very often called a

Covenant, because it consists of those two parts, that is, a

work commanded, and a reward promised, to which is subjoined

the denunciation of a punishment, to signify the right which

God had over man and which he has not altogether surrendered,

and to incite man to greater obedience.

III. God prescribed this obedience, first, by a law placed in

and imprinted on the mind of man, in which is contained his

natural duty towards God and his neighbour, and, therefore,

towards himself also; and it is that of love, with fear,

honour and worship towards a superior. For, as true virtue

consists in the government or right ordering of the

affections, (of which the first, the chief, and that on which

the rest depend, is Love,) the whole law is contained in the

right ordering of love. And, as no obedience seems to be

yielded in the case of a man who executes the whole of his

own will without any, even the least resistance, therefore,

to try his obedience, that thing was to be prescribed, to

which, by a certain feeling, man had an abhorrence; and that

was to be forbidden, towards which he was drawn by a certain

inclination. Therefore the love of ourselves was to be

regulated or rightly ordered, which is the first and

proximate cause that man should live in society with his

species, or according to humanity.

IV. To this law, it was the pleasure of God to add another,

which was a symbolical one. A symbolical law is one that

prescribes or forbids some act, which, in itself, is neither

agreeable nor disagreeable to God, that is, one that is

indifferent; and it serves for this purpose that God may try

whether man is willing to yield obedience to him, solely on

this account, because it has been the pleasure of God to

require such obedience, and though it were impossible to

devise any other reason why God imposed that law.

V. That symbolical law was, in this instance, prohibitive of

some act, to which man was inclined by some natural

propensity, (that is, to eat of the tree of the knowledge of

good and of evil,) though "it was pleasant to the eyes and

good for food." By the commanding of an indifferent act, it

does not seem to have been possible to try the obedience of

man with equal advantage.

VI. This seems to be the difference between each [of these

kinds of] obedience, that the first (Thesis I) is true

obedience and, in itself, pleasing to God; and the man who

performs it is said truly to live according to godliness; but

that the latter (Theses 4 and 5) is not so much obedience,

itself, as the external profession of willingly yielding

obedience; and it is therefore an acknowledgment, or the

token of an acknowledgment, by which man professes himself to

be subject to God, and declares that he is willingly subject.

Exactly in the same manner, a vassal yields obedience to his

lord, for having fought against his enemies, which obedience

he confesses that he cheerfully performs to him, by

presenting him annually with a gift of small value.

VII. From this comparison, it appears that the obedience

which is yielded to a symbolical law is far inferior to that

which is yielded to a natural law, but that the disobedience

manifested to a symbolical law is not the less serious, or

that it is even more grievous; because, by this very act, man

professes that he is unwilling to submit himself, and indeed

not to yield obedience in other matters, and those of greater

importance, and of more difficult labour.

VIII. The reward that corresponds with obedience to this

chief law, the performance of which is, of itself, pleasing

to God, (the analogy and difference which exist between God

and man being faithfully observed,) is life eternal, the

complete satisfying of the whole of our will and desire. But

the reward which answers to the observance of the symbolical

law, is the free enjoyment of the fruits of Paradise, and the

power to eat of the tree of life, by the eating of which man

was always restored to his pristine strength. But this tree

of life was a symbol of eternal life, which man would have

enjoyed, if, by abstaining from eating the fruit, he had

professed obedience, and had truly performed such obedience

to the moral law.

IX. We are of opinion that, if our first parents had remained

in their integrity by obedience performed to both these laws,

God would have acted with their posterity by the same

compact, that is, by their yielding obedience to the moral

law inscribed on their hearts, and to some symbolical or

ceremonial law; though we dare not specially make a similar

affirmation, respecting the tree of the knowledge of good and


X. So, likewise, if they had persisted in their obedience to

both laws, we think it very probable that, at certain

periods, men would have been translated from this natural

life, by the intermediate change of the natural, mortal and

corruptible body, into a body spiritual, immortal, and

incorruptible, to pass a life of immortality and bliss in



We allow this to be made a subject of discussion: Did Eve

receive this symbolical command about the tree of the

knowledge of good and evil, immediately from God, or through





I. When God had entered into this covenant with men, it was

the part of man perpetually to form and direct his life

according to the conditions and laws prescribed by this

covenant, because he would then have obtained the rewards

promised through the performance of both those conditions,

and would not have incurred the punishment due and denounced

to disobedience. We are ignorant of the length of time in

which man fulfilled his part; but the Holy Scriptures testify

that he did not persevere in this obedience.

II. But we say the violation of this covenant was a

transgression of the symbolical law imposed concerning his

not eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and


III. The efficient cause of that transgression was man,

determining his will to that forbidden object, and applying

his power or capability to do it. But the external, moving,

per se, and principal cause was the devil, who, having

accosted the woman, (whom he considered weaker than the man,

and who when persuaded herself, would easily persuade him,)

employed false arguments for persuasion. One of his arguments

was deduced from the usefulness of the good which would ensue

from this act; another was deduced from the setting aside of

Him who had prohibited it, that is, by a denial of the

punishment which would follow. The instrumental cause was the

serpent, whose tongue the devil abused to propose what

arguments he chose. The accidental cause was the fruit

itself, which seemed good for food, pleasant in its flavor,

and desirable to the eyes. The occasional cause was the law

of God, that circumscribed by its interdict an act which was

indifferent in its nature, and for which man possessed

inclination and powers, that it might be impossible for this

offense to be perpetrated without sin.

IV. The only moving or antecedent cause was a two-fold

inclination in man, a superior one for the likeness of God,

and an inferior one for the desirable fruit, "pleasant to the

sight, and good for food." Both of them were implanted by God

through creation; but they were to be used in a certain

method, order and time. The immediate and proximate cause was

the will of man, which applied itself to the act, the

understanding preceding and showing the way; and these are

the causes which concurred to effect this sin, and all of

which, as, through the image of God, he was able to resist,

so was it his duty, through the imposing of that law, to have

resisted. Not one of these, therefore, nor others, if such be

granted in the genus of causes, imposed any necessity on man

[to commit that sin]. It was not an external cause, whether

you consider God, or something from God, the devil, or man.

5.(1.) It was not God; for since he is the chief good, he

does nothing but what is good; and, therefore, he can be

called neither the efficient cause of sin, nor the deficient

cause, since he has employed whatever things were sufficient

and necessary to avoid this sin. (2.) Neither was it

something in God; it was neither His understanding nor his

will, which commands those things which are just, performs

those which are good, and permits those which are evil; and

this permission is only a cessation from such an act as would

in reality have hindered the act of man, by effecting nothing

beyond itself, but by suspending some efficiency. This,

therefore, cannot be the cause. (3.) Nor was the devil the

cause; for he only infused counsel; he did not impel, or

force by necessity. (4.) Eve was not the cause; for she was

only able to precede by her example, and to entice by some

argument, but not to compel.

VI. It was not an internal cause -- whether you consider the

common or general nature of man, which was inclined only to

one good, or his particular nature, which exactly

corresponded with that which is general; nor was it any thing

in his particular nature, for this would have been the

understanding; but it could act by persuasion and advice, not

by necessity. Man, therefore, sinned by his free will, his

own proper motion being allowed by God, and himself persuaded

by the devil.

VII. The matter of that sin was the eating of the fruit of

the tree -- an act indifferent, indeed, in its nature, but

forbidden by the imposing of a law, and withdrawn from the

power of man. lie could also have easily abstained from it

without any loss of pleasure. In this, is apparent the

admirable goodness of God, who tries whether man be willing

to submit to the divine command in a matter which could so

easily be avoided.

VIII. The form was the transgression of the law imposed, or

the act of eating as having been forbidden; for as it had

been forbidden, it had gone beyond the order of lawful and

good acts, and had been taken away from the [allowable] power

of man, that it might not be exercised without sin.

IX. There was no end for this sin; for it always assumed the

shape or habit of good. An end, however, was proposed by man,

(but it was not obtained, that he might satisfy both his

superior propensity towards the image of God, and his

inferior one towards the fruit of the tree. But the end of

the devil was the aversion of man from his God, and, through

this, his further seduction into exile, and the society of

the evil one. But the permission of God had respect to the

antecedent condition of creation, which had made men

possessed of free will, and for [the performance of] acts

glorious to God, which might arise from it.

X. The serious enormity of that sin is principally manifest

from the following particulars: (1.) Because it was a

transgression of such a law as had been imposed to try

whether man was willing to be subject to the law of God, and

it carried with it numbers of other grievous sins. (2.)

Because, after God had loaded man with such signal gifts, he

had the audacity to perpetrate this sin. (3.) Because, when

there was such great facility to abstain from sin, he

suffered himself to be so easily induced, and did not satisfy

his inclination in such a copious abundance of things. (4.)

Became he committed that sin in a sanctified place which was

a type of the heavenly Paradise, almost under the eyes of God

himself, who convened with him in a familiar manner.



I. The first and immediate effect of the sin which Adam and

Eve committed in eating of the forbidden fruit, was the

offending of the Deity, and guilt -- Offense, which arose

from the prohibition imposed -- Guilt, from the sanction

added to it, through the denunciation of punishment, if they

neglected the prohibition.

II. From the offending of the Deity, arose his wrath on

account of the violated commandment. In this violation, occur

three causes of just anger: (1.) The disparagement of his

power or right. (2.) A denial of that towards which God had

an inclination. (3.) A contempt of the divine will intimated

by the command.

III. Punishment was consequent on guilt and the divine wrath;

the equity of this punishment is from guilt, the infliction

of it is by wrath. But it is preceded both by the wounding of

the conscience, and by the fear of an angry God and the dread

of punishment. Of these, man gave a token by his subsequent

flight, and by "hiding himself from the presence of the Lord

God, when he heard him walking in the garden in the cool of

the day and calling unto Adam."

IV. The assistant cause of this flight and hiding [of our

first parents] was a consciousness of their own nakedness,

and shame on account of that of which they had not been

previously ashamed. This seems to have served for racking the

conscience, and for exciting or augmenting that fear and


V. The Spirit of grace, whose abode was within man, could not

consist with a consciousness of having offended God; and,

therefore, on the perpetration of sin and the condemnation of

their own hearts, the Holy Spirit departed. Wherefore, the

Spirit of God likewise ceased to lead and direct man, and to

bear inward testimony to his heart of the favour of God. This

circumstance must be considered in the place of a heavy

punishment, when the law, with a depraved conscience,

accused, bore its testimony [against them], convicted and

condemned them.

VI. Beside this punishment, which was instantly inflicted,

they rendered themselves liable to two other punishments;

that is, to temporal death, which is the separation of the

soul from the body; and to death eternal, which is the

separation of the entire man from God, his chief good.

VII. The indication of both these punishments was the

ejectment of our first parents out of Paradise. It was a

token of death temporal; because Paradise was a type and

figure of the celestial abode, in which consummate and

perfect bliss ever flourishes, with the translucent splendour

of the divine Majesty. It was also a token of death eternal,

because, in that garden was planted the tree of life, the

fruit of which, when eaten, was suitable for continuing

natural life to man without the intervention of death. This

tree was both a symbol of the heavenly life of which man was

bereft, and of death eternal, which was to follow.

VIII. To these may be added the punishment peculiarly

inflicted on the man and the woman -- on the former, that he

must eat bread through "the sweat of his face," and that "the

ground, cursed for his sake, should bring forth to him thorns

and thistles;" on the latter, that she should be liable to

various pains in conception and child-bearing. The punishment

inflicted on the man had regard to his care to preserve the

individuals of the species, and that on the woman, to the

perpetuation of the species.

IX. But because the condition of the covenant into which God

entered with our first parents was this, that, if they

continued in the favour and grace of God by an observance of

this command and of others, the gifts conferred on them

should be transmitted to their posterity, by the same divine

grace which they had, themselves, received; but that, if by

disobedience they rendered themselves unworthy of those

blessings, their posterity, likewise, should not possess

them, and should be liable to the contrary evils. This was

the reason why all men, who were to be propagated from them

in a natural way, became obnoxious to death temporal and

death eternal, and devoid of this gift of the Holy Spirit or

original righteousness. This punishment usually receives the

appellation of "a privation of the image of God," and

"original sin."

X. But we permit this question to be made a subject of

discussion: Must some contrary quality, beside the absence of

original righteousness, be constituted as another part of

original sin? though we think it much more probable, that

this absence of original righteousness, only, is original

sin, itself, as being that which alone is sufficient to

commit and produce any actual sins whatsoever.

XI. The discussion, whether original sin be propagated by the

soul or by the body, appears to us to be useless; and

therefore the other, whether or not the soul be through

traduction, seems also scarcely to be necessary to this




I. Without religion, man can have no union with God; and

without the command and institution of God, no religion can

subsist, which, since it appertains to himself, either by the

right of creation, or by the additional right of restoration,

he can vary it according to his own pleasure; so that, in

whatever manner he may appoint religion,. he always obligates

man to observe it, and through this obligation, imposes on

him the necessity of observing it.

II. But the mode of religion is not changed, except with a

change of the relation between God and man, who must be

united to him; and when this relation is changed, religion is

varied, that is, on the previous supposition that man is yet

to be united to God; for, as to its substance, (which

consists in the knowledge of God, faith, love, &c.,) religion

is always the same, except it seem to be referred to the

substance, that Christ enters into the Christian religion as

its object.

III. The first relation, and that which was the first

foundation of the primitive religion, was the relation

between God and man -- between God as the Creator, and man as

created after the image and in a state of innocency;

wherefore the religion built upon that relation was that of

rigid and strict righteousness and legal obedience. But that

relation was changed, through the sin of man, who after this

was no longer innocent and acceptable to God, but a

transgressor and doomed to damnation. Therefore, after [the

commission of] sin, either man could have had no hope of

access to God and to a union with him, since he had violated

and abrogated the divine worship; or a new relation of man to

his Creator was to be founded by God, through his gracious

restoration of man, and a new religion was to be instituted

on that relation. This is that which God has done, to the

praise of his own glorious grace.

IV. But, as God is not the restorer of a sinner, except in a

mediator, who expiates sins, appeases God, and sanctifies the

sinner, I repeat it, except in that "one Mediator between God

and men, the man Christ Jesus," it was not the will of our

most glorious and most gracious God, alone and without this

Mediator, either that there should be any foundation between

him and the sinner restored by him, or that there should be

an object to the religion, which, to the honour of the

restorer and to the eternal felicity of the restored, he

would construct upon that relation. For it pleased the

Father, through Christ, to reconcile all things to himself,

and by him to restore both those things which are in heaven,

and those on earth. It also pleased the Father "that all men

should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father;" so

that whosoever does not honour the Son, does not honour the


V. Wherefore, after the entrance of sin, there has been no

salvation of men by God, except through Christ, and no saving

worship of God, except in the name of Christ, and with regard

to him who is the Anointed One for sinners, but the saviour

of them who believe on him; so that whosoever is without God

is without Christ; and he that is without Christ, is without

the faith, the worship and the religion of Christ; and

without the faith and hope of this Christ, either promised

and shadowed forth in types, or exhibited and clearly

announced, neither were the ancient patriarchs saved, nor can

we be saved.

VI. On this account, as the transgression of the first

covenant contains the necessity of constituting another

religion, and as this would not have occurred if that first

covenant had not been made, it appears that. those things

upon which the Scriptures treat, concerning the first

covenant, and its transgression on the part of the first

human beings, contain the occasion of the restoration which

God was to make through Christ, and that they were,

therefore, to be thus treated in the Christian religion. This

conclusion is easily drawn from the very form of the

narration given by Moses.

VII. God is also the object of the Christian religion, both

as Creator, and as Restorer in Christ, the Son of his love;

and these titles contain the reason why God can demand

religion from man, who has been formed by his CREATOR a

creature, and by his Restorer a new creature. In this object,

also, must be considered what is the will of the Glorifier of

man, who leads him out from the demerit of sin, and from

misery, to eternal felicity. These three names, Creator,

Restorer, and Glorifier, contain the most powerful arguments

by which man is persuaded to religion.

VIII. But because it was the good pleasure of God to make

this restoration through his Son, Jesus Christ, the Mediator,

therefore, the Son of God, as constituted by the Father

Christ and Lord, is likewise an object of the Christian

religion subordinate to God; though he on earth, as the Word

of his Father, both may be and ought to be considered as

existing in the Father from all eternity.



I. Since God is the object of the Christian religion, not

only as the Creator, but also and properly as the Restorer,

of the human race, and as we have finished our treatise on

the creation, we will now proceed to treat on the restoration

of mankind, because it is that which contains, in itself,

another cause why God by deserved right can require religion

from a man and a sinner.

II. This restoration is the restitution, and the new or the

second creation, of sinful man, obnoxious through sin to

death temporal and eternal, and to the dominion of sin.

III. The antecedent or only moving cause is the gracious

mercy of God, by which it was his pleasure to pardon sin and

to succour the misery of his creature.

IV. The matter about which [it is exercised] is man, a

sinner, and, on account of sin, obnoxious to the wrath of God

and the servitude of sin. This matter contains in itself the

outwardly moving cause of his gracious mercy, but

accidentally, through this circumstance, that God delights in

mercy; for in every other respect sin is per se and properly

the external and meritorious cause of wrath and damnation.

V. We may indeed conceive the form, under the general notion

of restitution, reparation, or redemption; but we do not

venture to give an explanation of it, except under two

particular acts, the first of which is the remission of sins,

or the being received into favour; the other is the renewal

or sanctification of sinful man after the image of God, in

which is contained his adoption into a son of God.

VI. The first end is the praise of the glorious grace of God,

which springs from, and exists at the same time with, the

very act of restitution or redemption; the other end is,

that, after men have been thus repaired, they "should live

soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world," and

should attain to a blissful felicity in the world to come.

VII. But it has pleased God not to exercise this mercy in

restoring man, without the declaration of his justice, by

which he loves righteousness and hates sin; and he has,

therefore, appointed that the mode of transacting this

restoration should be through a mediator intervening between

him and sinful man, and that this restoration should be so

performed as to make it certain and evident that God hates

sin and loves righteousness, and that it is his will to remit

nothing of his own right, except after his justice had been


VIII. For the fulfilling of this mediation, God has

constituted his only begotten Son the mediator between him

and men, and indeed a mediator through his own blood and

death; for it was not the will of God that, without the

shedding of blood and the intervention of the death of the

Testator himself, there should be any remission, or a

confirmation of the New Testament, which promises remission

and the inscribing of the law of God in the hearts [of


IX. This is the reason why the second object of the Christian

religion, in subordination to God, is Jesus Christ, the

Mediator of this restoration, after the Father had made him

Christ [the Anointed One] and had constituted him the Lord

and the Head of the church, so that we must, through him,

approach to God for the purpose of performing [acts of]

religion to him; and the duty of religion must be rendered to

him, with God the Father, from which duty we by no means

exclude the Spirit of the Father and the Son.



I. Because our Lord Jesus Christ is the secondary object of

the Christian religion, we must further treat on him, as

such, in a few disputations. But we account it necessary, in

the first place, to consider the person, of what kind he is,

in himself.

II. We say that this person is the Son of God and the son of

man, consisting of two natures, the divine and the human,

inseparably united without mixture or confusion, not only

according to habitude or indwelling, but likewise by that

union which the ancients have correctly denominated


III. He has the same nature with the Father, by internal and

external communication.

IV. He has his human nature from the virgin Mary through the

operation of the Holy Spirit, who came upon her and

overshadowed her by fecundating her seed, so that from it the

promised Messiah should, in a supernatural manner, be born.

V. But, according to his human nature, he consists of a body

truly organic, and of a soul truly human which quickened or

animated his body. In this, he is similar to other persons or

human beings, as well as in all the essential and natural

properties both of body and soul.

VI. From this personal union arises a communication of forms

or properties; such communication, however, was not real, as

though some things which are proper to the divine nature were

effused into the human nature; but it was verbal, yet it

rested on the truth of this union, and intimated the closest

conjunction of both the natures.


The word autoqeov "very God," so far as it signifies that the

Son of God has the divine essence from himself, cannot be

ascribed to the Son of God, according to the Scriptures and

the sentiments of the Greek and Latin churches.



I. Though the person of Christ is, on account of its

excellence, most worthy to be honoured and worshipped, yet,

that he might be, according to God, the object of the

Christian religion, two other things, through the will of

God, were necessary: (1.) That he should undertake some

offices for the sake of men, to obtain eternal salvation for

them. (2.) That God should bestow on him dominion or lordship

over all things, and full power to save and to damn, with an

express command, "that all men should honour the Son even as

they honour the Father," and that "every knee should bow to

him, to the glory of God the Father."

II. Both these things are comprehended together under the

title of saviour and Mediator. He is a saviour, so far as

that comprises the end of both, and a Mediator, as it denotes

the method of performing the end of both. For the act of

saving, so far as it is ascribed to Christ, denotes the

acquisition and communication of salvation. But Christ is the

Mediator of men before God in soliciting and obtaining

salvation, and the Mediator of God with men in imparting it.

We will now treat on the former of these.

III. The Mediator of men before God, and their saviour

through the soliciting and the acquisition of salvation,

(which is also called, by the orthodox, "through the mode of

merit,") has been constituted a priest, by God, not according

to the order of Levi, but according to that of Melchisedec,

who was "priest of the most high God," and at the same time

"king of Salem."

IV. Through the nature of a true and not of a typical priest

was at once both priest and victim in one person, which

[duty], therefore, he could not perform except through true

and substantial obedience towards God who imposed the office

on him.

V. In the priesthood of Christ, must be considered the

preparation for the office, and the discharge of it. (1.) The

Preparation is that of the priest and of the victim; the

Priest was prepared by vocation or the imposition of the

office, by the sanctification and consecration of his person

through the Holy Spirit, and through his obedience and

sufferings, and even in some respect by his resuscitation

from the dead. The victim was also prepared by separation, by

obedience, (for it was necessary that the victim should

likewise be holy,) and by being slain.

6.(2.) The Discharge of this office consists in the offering

or presentation of the sacrifice of his body and blood, and

in his intercession before God. Benediction or blessing,

which, also, belonged to the sacerdotal office in the Old

Testament, will, in this case, be more appropriately referred

to the very communication of salvation, as we read in the Old

Testament that kings, also, dispensed benedictions.

VII. The results of the fulfillment of the sacerdotal office

are, reconciliation with God, the obtaining of eternal

redemption, the remission of sins, the Spirit of grace, and

life eternal.

VIII. Indeed, in this respect, the priesthood of Christ was

propitiatory. But, because we, also, by his beneficence have

been constituted priests to offer thanksgivings to God

through Christ, therefore, he is also a eucharistical priest,

so far as he offers our sacrifices to God the Father, that,

when they are offered by his hands, the Father may receive

them with acceptance.

IX. It is evident, from those things which have been now

advanced, that Christ, in his sacerdotal office, has neither

any successor, vicar, nor associate, whether we consider the

oblation, both of his propitiatory sacrifice which he offered

of those things which were his own, and of his eucharistical

sacrifice which he offered of those also, which belonged to

us, or whether we consider his intercession.


I. We deny that the comparison between the priesthood of

Christ and that of Melchisedec, consisted either principally

or in any manner in this, that Melchisedec offered bread and

wine when he met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the


II. That the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ is bloodless,

implies a contradiction, according to the Scriptures.

III. The living Christ is presented to the Father in no other

place than in heaven. Therefore, he is not offered in the




I. The prophetical office of Christ comes under consideration

in two views -- either as he executed it in his own person

while he was a sojourner on earth, or as he administered it

when seated in heaven, at the right hand of the Father. In

the present disputation, we shall treat upon it according to

the former of these relations.

II. The proper object of the prophetical office of Christ was

not the law, though [he explained or] fulfilled that, and

freed it from depraved corruptions; neither was it epaggelia

the promise, though he confirmed that which had been made to

the fathers; but it was the gospel and the New Testament

itself, or "the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness.

III. In this prophetical office of Christ are to be

considered both the imposition of the office, and the

discharge of it. 1. The imposition has sanctification,

instruction or furnishing, inauguration, and the promise of


IV. Sanctification is that by which the Father sanctified him

to his office, from the very moment of his conception by the

Holy Spirit, (whence, he says, "To this end was I born, and

for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear

witness unto the truth,") and, indeed, in a manner far more

excellent than that by which Jeremiah and John are said to

have been sanctified.

V. Instruction, or furnishing, is a conferring of those gifts

which are necessary for discharging the duties of the

prophetical office; and it consists in a most copious

effusion of the Holy Spirit upon him, and in its abiding in

him -- "the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel

and might, of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;" by

which Spirit it came to pass that it was his will to teach

according to godliness all those things which were to be

taught, and that he had the courage to teach them -- his mind

and affections, both concupiscible and irascible, having been

sufficiently and abundantly instructed or furnished against

all impediments.

VI. But the instruction in things necessary to be known is

said, in the Scriptures, to be imparted by vision and

hearing, by a familiar knowledge of the secrets of the

Father, which is intimated in the phrase in which he is said

to be in the bosom of the Father, and in heaven.

VII. His inauguration was made by the baptism which John

conferred on him, when a voice came from the Father in

heaven, and the Spirit, "in a bodily shape, like a dove,

descended upon him." These were like credential letters, by

which the power of teaching was asserted and claimed for him

as the ambassador of the Father.

VIII. To this, must be subjoined the promised perpetual

assistance of the Holy Spirit, resting and remaining upon him

in this very token of a dove, that he might administer with

spirit an office so arduous.

IX. In the Discharge of this office, are to be considered the

propounding of the doctrine, its confirmation and the result.

X. The propounding of the doctrine was made in a manner

suitable, both to the things themselves, and to persons -- to

his own person, and to the persons of those whom he taught

with grace and authority, by accepting the person of no man,

of whatsoever state or condition he might be.

XI. The confirmation was given both by the holiness which

exactly answers to the doctrine, and by miracles, predictions

of future things, the revealing of the thoughts of men and of

other secrets, and by his most bitter and contumelious death.

XII. The result was two-fold: The First was one that agreed

with the nature of the doctrine itself -- the conversion of a

few men to him, but without such a knowledge of him as the

doctrine required; for their thoughts were engaged with the

notion of restoring the external kingdom. The Second, which

arose from the depraved wickedness of his auditors, was the

rejection of the doctrine, and of him who taught it, his

crucifixion and murder. Wherefore, he complains concerning

himself, in Isa. xlix, 4 "I have laboured in vain, I have

spent my strength for nought."

XIII. As God foreknew that this would happen, it is certain

that he willed this prophetical office to serve, for the

consecration of Christ, through sufferings, to undertake and

administer the sacerdotal and regal office. And thus the

prophetical office of Christ, so far as it was administered

by him through his apostles and others of his servants, was

the means by which his church was brought to the faith, and

was saved.


We allow this question to become a subject of discussion: Did

the soul of Christ receive any knowledge immediately from the

Logos operating on it, without the intervention of the Holy

Spirit, which is called the knowledge of union?



I. As Christ, when consecrated by his sufferings, was made

the author of salvation to all who obey him; and as for this

end, not only the solicitation and the obtaining of blessings

were required, (to which the sacerdotal office was devoted,)

but also the communication of them, it was necessary for him

to be invested with the regal dignity, and to be constituted

Lord over. all things, with full power to bestow salvation,

and whatever things are necessary for that purpose.

II. The kingly office of Christ is a mediatorial function, by

which, the Father having constituted him Lord over all things

which are in heaven and in earth, and peculiarly the King and

the head of his church, he governs all things and the church,

to her salvation and the glory of God. We will view this

office in accommodation to the church, because we are

principally concerned in this consideration.

III. The functions belonging to this office seem to be the

following: Vocation to a participation in the kingdom of

Christ, legislation, the conferring of the blessings in this

life necessary to salvation, the averting of the evils

opposed to them, and the last judgment and the circumstances

connected with it.

IV. Vocation is the first function of the regal office of

Christ, by which he calls sinful men to repent and believe

the gospel -- a reward being proposed concerning a

participation of the kingdom, and a threatening added of

eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord.

V. Legislation is the second function of the regal office of

Christ, by which he prescribes to believers their duty, that,

as his subjects, they are bound to perform to him, as their

Head and Prince -- a sanction being added through rewards and

punishments, which properly agree with the state of this

spiritual kingdom.

VI. Among the blessings which the third function of the regal

office of Christ serves to communicate, we number not only

the remission of sins and the Spirit of grace inwardly

witnessing with our hearts that we are the children of God,

but likewise all those blessings which are necessary for the

discharge of the office; as illumination, the inspiring of

good thoughts and desires, strength against temptations, and,

in brief, the inscribing of the law of God in our hearts, In

addition to these, as many of the blessings of this natural

life, as Christ knows will contribute to the salvation of

those who believe in him. But the evils over the averting of

which this function presides, must be understood as being

contrary to these blessings.

VII. Judgment is the last act of the regal office of Christ,

by which, justly, and without respect of persons, he

pronounces sentence concerning all the thoughts, words, deeds

and omissions of all men, who have been previously summoned

and placed before his tribunal; and by which he irresistibly

executes that sentence through a just and gracious rendering

of rewards, and through the due retribution of punishments,

which consist in the bestowing of life eternal, and in the

infliction of death eternal.

VIII. The results or consequences which correspond with these

functions, are, (1.) The collection or gathering together of

the church, or the building of the temple of Jehovah; this

gathering together consists of the calling of the gentiles,

and the bringing back or the restoration of the Jews, through

the faith which answers to the divine vocation. (2.)

Obedience performed to the commands of Christ by those who

have believed in the Lord, and who have, through faith, been

made citizens of the kingdom of heaven. (3.) The obtaining of

the remission of sins, and of the Holy Spirit, and of other

blessings which conduce to salvation, as well as a

deliverance from the evils which molest [believers] in the

present life. (4.) Lastly. The resurrection from the dead,

and a participation of life eternal.

IX. The means by which Christ administers his kingdom, and

which principally come under our observation in considering

the church, are the word, and the Holy Spirit, which ought

never to be separated from each other. For this Spirit

ordinarily employs the word, or the meaning of the word, in

its external preaching; and the word alone, without the

illumination and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is

insufficient. But Christ never separates these two things,

except through the fault of those who reject the word and

resist the Holy Spirit.

X. The opposite results to these consequences are, the

casting away of the yoke [of Christ], the imputation of sin,

the denial or the withdrawing of the Holy Spirit, and the

delivering over to the power of Satan to a reprobate mind,

and to hardness of heart, with other temporal evils, and,

lastly, death eternal.

XI. From these things, it appears that the prophetical

office, by which a church is collected through the word,

ought to be a reserve or accessory to the regal office; and,

therefore, that the administrators of it are rightly

denominated "the apostles and the servants of Christ," as of

him who sends them forth into the whole world, over which he

has the power, and who puts words into their mouths, whose

continued assistance is likewise necessary, that the word may

produce such fruit as agrees with its nature.

XII. This regal office is so peculiar to Christ, under God

the Father, that he admits no man, even subordinately, into a

participation of it, as if he would employ such an one for a

ministerial head. For this reason, we say, that the Roman

pontiff, who calls himself the head and spouse, though under

Christ, is Antichrist.



I. Respecting the imposition and the execution of the offices

which belong to Christ, two states of his usually come under

consideration, both of them being required for this purpose -

- that he may be able to bear the name of saviour according

to the will of God, and, in reality, to perform the thing

signified under this name. One of these states is that of his

humiliation, and is, according to the flesh, natural; the

other is that of glory, according to the Spirit, and is


II. To the first state, that of his humiliation, belong the

following articles of our belief: "He suffered under Pontius

Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; he descended into

hell." To the latter state, that of his exaltation, belong

these articles: "He arose again from the dead; he ascended

into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father

Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and

the dead."

III. The sufferings of Christ contain every kind of

reproaches and torments, both of soul and body, which were

inflicted on him partly by the fury of his enemies, and

partly by the immediate chastisement of his Father. We say

that these last are not contrary to the good of the natural

life, but to that of the spiritual life. But we deduce the

commencement of these sufferings from the time when he was

taken into custody; for we consider those things which

previously befell him, rather to have been forerunners of his

sufferings, by which it might be put to the test, whether,

with the prescience of those things which were to be endured,

and, indeed, through an experimental knowledge, he would

still be ready by voluntary obedience to endure other


IV. The crucifixion has the mode of murder, by which mode we

are taught, that Christ was made a curse for us, that we,

through his cross, might be delivered from the curse of the

law; for this seems to have been the entire reason why God

pronounced him accursed who hung on a tree or cross, that we

might understand that Christ, having been crucified rather by

divine appointment, than by human means, was reckoned

accursed for our sake, by God himself.

V. The death of Christ was a true separation of his soul from

the body, both according to its effects and according to

place. It would indeed have ensued from crucifixion, and

especially from the breaking of his legs; on which account,

he is justly said to have been killed by the Jews; but death

was anticipated, or previously undertaken, by Christ himself,

that he might declare himself to have received power from God

the Father to lay down his soul and life, and that he died a

voluntary death. The former of these seems to relate to the

confirmation of the truth which had been announced by him as

a prophet, and the latter, to the circumstances of his

priestly office.

VI. The burial of Christ has relation to his certain death;

and his remaining in the grave signifies, that he was under

the dominion of death till the hour of his resurrection. This

state, we think, was denoted by the existence of Christ among

the dead, of which his descent into hell [or hades] was the

commencement, as his interment was that of his remaining in

the tomb. This interpretation is confirmed, both by the

second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and by the

consent of the ancient church, who, in the symbol of her

belief, had only the one or the other of these expressions,

either "He descended into hell," or "He was buried." Yet if

any man thinks the meaning of this article -- "He descended

into hell" -- to be different from that which we have given,

we will not contradict his opinion, provided it be agreeable

to the Scriptures and to the analogy of faith.

VII. This state [of humiliation] was necessary, both that he

might yield obedience to his Father, and that, having been

tempted in all things without sin, he might be able to

sympathize with those who are tempted, and, lastly, that he

might, by suffering, be consecrated as priest and king, and

might enter into his own glory.

VIII. But this state of glory and exhaltation contains three

degrees -- his resurrection, ascension into heaven, and

sitting at the right hand of the Father.

IX. The commencement of his glory was his deliverance from

the bonds of the grave, and his rising again from the dead,

by which his body, that was dead and had been laid in the

sepulcher, after the effects of death had been destroyed in

it, was reunited to his soul, and brought back again to life,

not to this natural, but to a spiritual life; though, from

the overflowing force of natural life, he was able to perform

its functions as long as it was necessary for him to remain

with his disciples in the present life, after having "arisen

again from the dead," to impart credibility to his

resurrection. We ascribe this resurrection, not only to the

Father through the Holy Spirit, but likewise to Christ

himself, who had the power of taking up his life again.

X. The assumption of Christ into heaven contains the progress

of his exaltation. For, as he had finished, on earth, the

office enjoined, and had received a body -- not a natural,

earthly, corruptible, fleshly and ignominious body, but one

spiritual, heavenly, incorruptible and glorious, and as other

duties, necessary for procuring the salvation of men, were to

be performed in and concerning heaven, it was right and

proper that he should rise and be exalted to heaven, and

should remain there until he comes to judgment.

From these premises, the dogma of the papists concerning

transubstantiation, and that of the Ubiguitarians concerning

consubstantiation, or the bodily presence of Christ in, with

and, under the bread, are refuted.

XI. The exaltation of Christ to the right hand of the Father

is the supreme degree of his exaltation; for it contains the

consummate glory and power which have been communicated to

Christ himself by the Father -- glory, in his being seated

with the Father in the throne of majesty, both because the

regal office has been conferred on him, with full command,

and on earth above all and over all created things, and

because the dignity was conferred on him of further

discharging [the duties of] the sacerdotal office, in that

action which was to be performed in heaven by a more sublime

High Priest constituted in heaven itself.

XII. In relation to the priesthood, the state of humiliation

was necessary; because it was the part of Christ to appear in

heaven before the face of his Father, sprinkled with his own

blood, and to intercede for believers. It was also necessary,

in relation to his regal office; because, (and in this behold

the administration of the prophetical office placed in

subordination to the regal!) because it was his duty to send

the word and the Spirit from heaven, and to administer from

the throne of his majesty all things in the name of his

Father, and especially his church, by conferring on those who

obey him, the blessings promised in his word and sealed by

his Spirit, and by inflicting evils on the disobedient after

they have abused the patience of God as long as his justice

could bear it. Of this administration, the last act will be

the universal judgment, for which we are now waiting. "Come,

Lord Jesus!"





I. In addition to the things that God has done in Christ, and

Christ has done through the command of the Father, for the

redemption of mankind, who were lost through sin, by which

both of them have merited that religious homage should be

performed to them by sinful man -- and in addition to the

fact that the Father has constituted Christ the saviour and

Head, with full power and capability of saving through the

administration of his priestly and regal offices, on account

of which power, Christ is worthy to be worshipped with

religious honours, and able to reward his worshipers, that he

may not be worshipped in vain, it was requisite that the will

of God the Father and of Christ should be subjoined, by which

they willed and commanded that religious worship should be

offered to them, lest the performance of religion should be

"will-worship," or superstition.

II. It was the will of God that this command should be

proposed through the mode of a covenant, that is, through the

mutual stipulation and promise of the contracting parties --

of a covenant, indeed, which is never to be disannulled or to

perish, which is, therefore, denominated "the new covenant,"

and is ratified by the blood of Jesus Christ as Mediator.

III. On this account, and because Christ has been constituted

by the Father, a prince and Lord, with the full possession of

all the blessings necessary to salvation, it is also called

"a Testament" or "Will;" therefore, he, also, as the

Testator, is dead, and by his death, has confirmed the

testamentary promise which had previously been made,

concerning the obtaining of the eternal inheritance by the

remission of sins.

IV. The stipulation on the part of God and Christ is, that

God shall be God and Father in Christ [to a believer] if in

the name, and by the command of God, he acknowledges Christ

as his Lord and saviour, that is, if he believe in God

through Christ, and in Christ, and if he yield to both of

them love, worship, honour, fear, and complete obedience as


V. The promise, on the part of God the Father, and of Christ,

is, that God will be the God and Father, and that Christ will

be the saviour, (through the administration of his sacerdotal

and regal offices,) of those who have faith in God the

Father, and in Christ, and who, through faith, yield

obedience to them; that is, God the Father, and Christ, will

account the performance of religious duty to be grateful, and

will crown it with a reward.

VI. On the other hand, the promise of sinful man is that he

will believe in God and in Christ, and through faith will

yield compliance or render obedience. But the stipulation is

that God be willing to be mindful of his compact and holy


VII. Christ intervenes between the two parties; on the part

of God, he proposes the stipulation, and confirms the promise

with his blood; he likewise works a persuasion in the hearts

of believers, and affixes to it his attesting seal, that the

promise will be ratified. But, on the part of sinful man, he

promises [to the Father] that, by the efficacy of his Spirit

he will cause man to perform the things which he has promised

to his God; and, on the other hand, he requires of the

Father, that, mindful of his own promise, he will deign to

bestow on those who answer this description, or believers,

the forgiveness of all their sins, and life eternal. He

likewise intervenes, by presenting to God the service

performed by man, and by rendering it grateful and acceptable

to God through the odour of his own fragrance.

VIII. External seals or tokens are also employed to which the

ancient Latin fathers have given the appellation of

"Sacraments," and which, on the part of God, seal the promise

that has been made by himself; but, on the part of men, they

are "the hand-writing," or bond of that obligation by which

they had bound themselves that nothing may in any respect be

wanting which seems to be at all capable of contributing to

the nature and relation of the covenant and compact into

which the parties have mutually entered.

IX. From all these things, are apparent the most sufficient

perfection of the Christian religion and its unparalleled

excellence above all other religions, though they also be

supposed to be true. Its sufficiency consists in this -- both

that it demonstrates the necessity of that duty which is to

be performed by sinful man, to be completely absolute, and on

no account to be remissible, by which the way is closed

against carnal security -- and that it most strongly

fortifies against despair, not only sinners, that they may be

led to repentance, but also those who perform the duty, that

they may, through the certain hope of future blessings,

persevere in the course of faith and of good works upon which

they have entered. These two [despair and carnal security]

are the greatest evils which are to be avoided in the whole

of religion.

X. This is the excellence of the Christian religion above

every other, that all these things are transacted by the

intervention of Christ our mediator, priest and king, in

which, numerous arguments are proposed to us, both for the

establishment of the necessity of its performance, and for

the confirmation of hope, and for the removal of despair,

that cannot be shown in any other religion. On this account,

therefore, it is not wonderful that Christ is said to be the

wisdom of God and the power of God, manifested in the gospel

for the salvation of believers.


No prayers and no duty, performed by a sinner, are grateful

to God, except with reference to Christ; and yet, people have

acted properly in desiring and in beseeching God, that he

would be pleased to bless King Messiah and the progress of

his kingdom.



I. As we have hitherto treated on the object of the Christian

religion, that is, on Christ and God, and on the formal

reasons why religion may be usefully performed to them, and

ought to be, among which reasons, the last is the will of God

and his command that prescribes religion by the conditions of

a covenant; and as it will be necessary now to subjoin to

this a discourse on the vocation of men to a participation in

that covenant, it will not be improper for us, in this place,

to insert one on the Predestination, by which God determined

to treat with men according to that prescript, and by which

he decreed to administer that vocation, and the means to it.

First, concerning the former of these.

II. That predestination is the decree of the good pleasure of

God, in Christ, by which he determined, within himself, from

all eternity, to justify believers, to adopt them, and to

endow them with eternal life, "to the praise of the glory of

his grace," and even for the declaration of his justice.

III. This predestination is evangelical, and, therefore, per-

emptory and irrevocable; and, as the gospel is purely

gracious, this predestination is also gracious, according to

the benevolent inclination of God in Christ. But that grace

excludes every cause which can possibly be imagined to be

capable of having proceeded from man, and by which God may be

moved to make this decree.

IV. But we place Christ as the foundation of this

predestination, and as the meritorious cause of those

blessings which have been destined to believers by that

decree. For the love with which God loves men absolutely to

salvation, and according to which he absolutely intends to

bestow on them eternal life, this love has no existence

except in Jesus Christ, the Son of his love, who, both by his

efficacious communication, and by his most worthy merits, is

the cause of salvation, and not only the dispenser of

recovered salvation, but likewise the solicitor, obtainer,

and restorer of that salvation which was lost. Therefore,

sufficient is not attributed to Christ, when he is called

executor of the decree which had been previously made, and

without the consideration of him as [the person] on whom that

decree is founded.

V. We lay down a two-fold matter for this predestination --

divine things, and the persons to whom the communication of

them has been predestinated. (1.) Those divine things are the

spiritual blessings which usually receive the appellations of

grace and glory. (2.) The persons are the faithful, or

believers; that is, they believe in God who justifies the

ungodly, and in Christ raised from the dead. But faith, that

is, the faith which is on Christ, the mediator between God

and men, presupposes sin, and likewise the knowledge or

acknowledgment of it.

VI. We place the form of this predestination in the internal

act itself of God, who foreordains to believers this union

with Christ their Head, and a participation in his benefits.

But we place the end in "the praise of the glory of the grace

of God;" and as this grace is the cause of that decree, it is

equitable that it should be celebrated by glory, though God,

by using it, has rendered it illustrious and glorious. In

this place, too, occurs the mention of justice itself, as

that by the intervention of which Christ was given as

mediator, and faith in him was required; because, without

this mediator, God has neither willed to shew mercy, nor to

save men without faith in him.

VII. But, as this decree of predestination is according to

election, which necessarily includes reprobation, we must

likewise advert to it. As opposed to election, therefore, we

define reprobation to be the decree of God's anger or of his

severe will, by which, from all eternity, he determined to

condemn to eternal death all unbelievers and impenitent

persons, for the declaration of his power and anger; yet so,

that unbelievers are visited with this punishment, not only

on account of unbelief, but likewise on account of other sins

from which they might have been delivered through faith in


VIII. To both these is severally subjoined the execution of

each; the acts of which are performed in that order in which

they have been ordained by God in the decree itself; and the

objects, both of the decree and of its execution, are

completely the same and uniform, or they are invested with

the same formal reason, though they are considered in the

decree, as in the mind of God, through the understanding,

but, in the execution of it, as such, actually in existence.

IX. This predestination is the foundation of Christianity, of

salvation, and of the certainty of salvation; and St. Paul

treats upon it in his epistle to the Romans, (viii, 28-30) in

the ninth and following chapters of the same epistle, and in

the first chapter of that to the Ephesians.



I. After we have finished our discussion on the

predestination by which God has determined the necessity of

faith in himself and in Christ, for the obtaining of

salvation, according to which faith is prescribed to be

performed as the bounden duty of man to God and Christ; it

follows, that we treat on the predestination by which God

determines to administer the means to faith.

II. For, as that act of faith is not in the power of a

natural, carnal, sensual, and sinful man, and as no one can

perform this act except through the grace of God, but as all

the grace of God is administered according to the will of God

-- that will which he has had within himself from all

eternity -- for it is an internal act, therefore, some

certain predestination must be preconceived in the mind and

will of God, according to which he dispenses that grace, or

the means to it.

III. But we can define this predestination, that it is the

eternal decree of God, by which he has wisely and justly

resolved, within himself, to administer those means which are

necessary and sufficient to produce faith in [the hearts of]

sinful men, in such a manner as he knows to be comportable

with his mercy and with his severity, to the glory of his

name and to the salvation of believers.

IV. The object of this predestination is, both the means of

producing this faith, and the sinful men to whom he has creed

either to give or not to give this faith, as the object of

the predestination discussed in the preceding disputation was

faith itself, existing in the preconception of the mind of


V. The antecedent, or only moving cause, impelling to make

the decree, is not only the mercy of God, but also his

severity. But his wisdom prescribes the mode which his

justice administers, that what is justly due to mercy may be

attributed to it, and that, in the mean time, regard may be

had to severity, according to which God threatens that he

will send a famine of the word on the earth.

VI. The matter is the conceded or the denied dispensation of

the means. The form is the ordained dispensation itself,

according to which it is granted to some men and denied to

others, or it is granted or denied on this and not on that


VII. The end for the sake of which, and the end which, are

conjoined to the administration itself at the very same

moment, and are the declaration of the mercy of God, and of

his severity, wisdom and justice. The end for which it was

intended, and which follows from the administration, is the

salvation of believers. The results are, the condemnation of

unbelievers, and the still more grievous condemnation of some


VIII. But the proper and peculiar means destined, are the

word and Spirit; to which, also, may be joined the good and

the evil things of this natural life, which God employs for

the same end, and of the nature and efficacy of which we

shall treat in the disputation on Vocation, where they are


IX. To these means, we attribute two epithets, "necessity"

and "sufficiency," (§ 3,) which belong to them according to

the will and nature of God, and which we also join together.

(1.) Necessity is in them; because, without them, a sinner

cannot conceive faith. (2.) Sufficiency also is in them;

because they are employed in vain, if they be not sufficient;

yet we do not account it necessary to place this sufficiency

in the first moment in which they begin to be used, but in

the entire progress and completion.

X. God destines these means to no persons on account of, or

according to, their own merits, but through mere grace alone;

and he denies them to no one, except justly, on account of

previous transgressions.




I. The vocation or calling to the communion of Christ and its

benefits, is the gracious act of God, by which, through the

word and His Spirit, he calls forth sinful men, subject to

condemnation and placed under the dominion of sin, from the

condition of natural life, and out of the defilements and

corruptions of this world, to obtain a supernatural life in

Christ through repentance and faith, that they may be united

in him, as their head destined and ordained by God, and may

enjoy the participation of his benefits, to the glory of God

and to their own salvation.

II. The efficient cause of this vocation is God and the

Father in the Son; the Son, also, himself, as constituted

Mediator and King by God the Father, calls men by the Holy

Spirit, as he is the Spirit of God given to the mediator, and

the Spirit of Christ, the King and the Head of His church, by

whom the Father and the Son both "work hitherto." But this

vocation is so administered by the Spirit, that he also, is

properly denominated the author of it. For he appoints

bishops in the church, he sends teachers, he furnishes them

with gifts, he grants them divine aid, and imparts force and

authority to the word.

III. The antecedent or only moving cause is the grace, mercy

and philanthropy of God, by which he is inclined to succour

the misery of sinful men, and to bestow blessedness upon him.

But the disposing cause is, the wisdom and the justice of

God, by which he knows the method by which it is proper for

this vocation to be administered, and by which he wills to

dispense it as it is proper and fight. From this, arises the

decree of his will concerning its administration and mode.

IV. The instrumental cause of vocation is the word of God

administered by the aid of man, either by preaching or by

writing; and this is the ordinary instrument; or it is the

divine word immediately proposed by God, inwardly to the mind

and will, without human aid or endeavour; and this is

extraordinary. The word employed, in both these cases, is

that both of the law and of the gospel, subordinate to each

other in their separate services.

V. The matter of vocation is men constituted in their sensual

life, as worldly, natural, sensual, and sinful.

VI. The boundary from which they are called, is, both the

state of sensual or natural life, and that of sin and of

misery on account of sin; that is, from condemnation and

guilt, and afterwards from the bondage and dominion of sin.

VII. The boundary to which they are called, is, the

communication of grace, or of supernatural good, and of every

spiritual blessing, the plenitude of which resides in Christ

-- also their power and force, as well as the inclination to

communicate them.

VIII. The proximate end of vocation is, that men may love,

fear, honour and worship God and Christ -- may in

righteousness and true holiness, according to the command of

the word of God, render obedience to God who calls them, and

may, by this means, make their calling and election sure.

IX. The remote end is the salvation of those who are called,

and the glory of God and of Christ who calls; both of which

are placed in the union of God and man. For as God unites

himself to man, and declares himself to be prepared to unite

himself to him, he makes his own glory illustrious; and, as

man is united to God, he obtains salvation.

X. This vocation is both external and internal. The external

vocation is by the ministry of men propounding the word. The

internal vocation is through the operation of the Holy Spirit

illuminating and affecting the heart, that attention may be

paid to those things which are spoken, and that credence may

be given to the word. From the concurrence of both these,

arises the efficacy of vocation.

XI. But that distribution is not of a genus into its species,

but of a whole into its parts; that is, the distribution of

the whole vocation into partial acts concurring together to

one result, which is obedience yielded to the vocation.

Hence, the company of those who are called and who answer to

the call, is denominated "a Church."

XII. The accidental issue of vocation is, the rejection of

the doctrine of grace, contempt of the divine counsel, and

resistance manifested against the Holy Spirit, of which the

proper and per se cause is, the wickedness and hardness of

the human heart; and to this not unfrequently is added the

just judgment of God, avenging the contempt shown to his

word, from which arise blindness of mind, hardening of the

heart, and a delivering up to a reprobate mind, and to the

power of Satan.



I. As, in the matter of salvation, it has pleased God to

treat with man by the method of a covenant, that is, by a

stipulation, or a demand and a promise, and as even vocation

has regard to a participation in the covenant; it is

instituted on both sides and separately, that man may perform

the requisition or command of God, by which he may obtain

[the fulfillment of] his promise. But this is the mutual

relation between these two -- the promise is tantamount to an

argument, which God employs, that he may obtain from man that

which he demands; and the compliance with the demand, on the

other hand, is the condition, without which man cannot obtain

what has been promised by God, and through [the performance

of] which he most assuredly obtains the promise.

II. Hence, it is apparent that the first of all which accepts

this vocation is the faith, by which a man believes that, if

he complies with the requisition, he will enjoy the promise,

but that if he does not comply with it, he will not be put in

possession of the things promised, nay, that the contrary

evils will be inflicted on him, according to the nature of

the divine covenant, in which there is no promise without a

punishment opposed to it. This faith is the foundation on

which rests the obedience that is to be yielded to God; and

it is, therefore, the foundation of religion.

III. But divines generally place three parts in this

obedience. The first is repentance, for it is the calling of

sinners to righteousness. The second is faith in Christ, and

in God through Christ; for vocation is made through the

gospel, which is the word of faith. The third is the

observance of God's commands, in which consists holiness of

life, to which believers are called, and without which no man

shall see God.

IV. Repentance is grief or sorrow on account of sins known

and acknowledged, the debt of death contracted by sin, and on

account of the slavery of sin, with a desire to be delivered.

Hence, it is evident, that three things concur in penitence -

- the first as an antecedent, the second as a consequence,

and the third as properly and most fully comprising its


V. That which is tantamount to an antecedent is the knowledge

or acknowledgment of sin. This consists of a two-fold

knowledge: (1.) A general knowledge by which is known what is

sin universally and according to the prescript of the law.

(2.) A particular knowledge, by which it is acknowledged that

sin had been committed, both from a recollection of the bad

deeds perpetrated and of the good omitted, and from the

examination of them according to the law. This

acknowledgment, has, united with it, a consciousness of a

two-fold demerit, of damnation or death, and of the slavery

of sin; "for the wages of sin is death;" and "he who sins is

the slave of sin." This acknowledgment is either internal,

and made in the mind, or it is external, and receives the

appellation of "confession."

VI. That which intimately comprises the nature of repentance

is, sorrow on account of sin committed, and of its demerit,

which is so much the deeper, as the acknowledgment of sin is

clearer, and more copious. It is also produced from this

acknowledgment by means of a two-fold fear of punishment:

(1.) A fear not only of bodily and temporal punishment, but

likewise of that which is spiritual and eternal. (2.) The

fear of God, by which men are afraid of the judgment of such

a good and just being, whom they have offended by their sins.

This fear may be correctly called "initial;" and we believe

that it has some hope annexed to it.

VII. That which follows as a consequence, is the desire of

deliverance from sin, that is, from the condemnation of sin

and from its dominion, which desire is so much the more

intense, by how much the greater is the acknowledgment of

misery and sorrow on account of sin.

VIII. The cause of this repentance is, God by his word and

Spirit in Christ. For it is a repentance tending not to

despair, but to salvation; but such it cannot be, except with

respect to Christ, in whom, alone, the sinner can obtain

deliverance from the condemnation and dominion of sin. But

the word which he uses at the beginning is the word of the

law, yet not under the legal condition peculiar to the law,

but under that which is annexed to the preaching of the

gospel, of which the first word is, that deliverance is

declared to penitents. The Spirit of God may, not improperly,

be denominated "the Spirit of Christ," as he is Mediator; and

it first urges a man by the word of the law, and then shows

him the grace of the gospel. The connection of the word of

the law and that of the gospel, which is thus skillfully

made, removes all self-security, and forbids despair, which

are the two pests of religion and of souls.

IX. We do not acknowledge satisfaction, which the papists

make to be the third part of repentance, though we do not

deny that the man who is a real penitent will endeavour to

make satisfaction to his neighbour against whom he owns that

he has sinned, and to the church that he has injured by the

offense. But satisfaction can by no means be rendered to God,

on the part of man, by repentance, sorrow, contrition,

almsgiving, or by the voluntary susception and infliction of

punishments. If such a course were prescribed by God, the

consciences of men must necessarily be tormented with the

continual anguish of a threatening hell, not less than if no

promise of grace had been made to sinners. But God considers

this repentance, which we have described, if it be true, to

be worthy of a gracious deliverance from sin and misery; and

it has faith as a consequence, on which we will treat in the

subsequent disputation.


Repentance is not a sacrament, either with regard to itself,

or with regard to its external tokens.



I. In the preceding disputation, we have treated on the first

part of that obedience which is yielded to the vocation of

God. The second part now follows, which is called "the

obedience of faith."

II. Faith, generally, is the assent given to truth; and

divine faith is that which is given to truth divinely

revealed. The foundation on which divine faith rests is two-

fold -- the one external and out of or beyond the mind -- the

other internal and in the mind. (1.) The external foundation

of faith is the very veracity of God who makes the

declaration, and who can declare nothing that is false. (2.)

The internal foundation of faith is two-fold -- both the

general idea by which we know that God is true -- and the

knowledge by which we know that it is the word of God. Faith

is also two-fold, according to the mode of revelation, being

both legal and evangelical, of which the latter comes under

our present consideration, and tends to God and Christ.

III. Evangelical faith is an assent of the mind, produced by

the Holy Spirit, through the gospel, in sinners, who, through

the law, know and acknowledge their sins, and are penitent on

account of them, by which they are not only fully persuaded

within themselves that Jesus Christ has been constituted by

God the author of salvation to those who obey him, and that

he is their own saviour if they have believed in him, and by

which they also believe in him as such, and through him on

God as the benevolent Father in him, to the salvation of

believers and to the glory of Christ and God.

IV. The object of faith is not only the God and Father of our

Lord Jesus Christ, but likewise Christ himself who is here

constituted by God the author of salvation to those that obey


V. The form is the assent that is given to an object of this

description; which assent is not acquired by a course of

reasoning from principles known by nature; but it is an

assent infused above the order of nature, which, yet, is

confirmed and increased by the daily exercises of prayers and

mortification of the flesh, and by the practice of good

works. Knowledge is antecedent to faith; for the Son of God

is beheld before a sinner believes on him. But trust or

confidence is consequent to it; for, through faith,

confidence is placed in Christ, and through him in God.

VI. The author of faith is the Holy Spirit, whom the Son

sends from the Father, as his advocate and substitute, who

may manage his cause in the world and against it. The

instrument is the gospel, or the word of faith, containing

the meaning concerning God and Christ which the Spirit

proposes to the understanding, and of which he there works a


VII. The subject in which it resides, is the mind, not only

as it acknowledges this object to be true, but likewise to be

good, which the word of the gospel declares. Wherefore, it

belongs not only to the theoretical understanding, but

likewise to that of the affections, which is practical.

VIII. The subject to which [it is directed], or the object

about which [it is occupied], is sinful man, acknowledging

his sins, and penitent on account of them. For this faith is

necessary for salvation to him who believes; but it is

unnecessary to one who is not a sinner; and, therefore, no

one except a sinner, can know or acknowledge Christ for his

saviour, for he is the saviour of sinners. The end, which we

intend for our own benefit, is salvation in its nature. But

the chief end is the glory of God through Jesus Christ.


"Was the faith of the patriarchs under the covenants of

promise, the same as ours under the New Testament, with

regard to its substance?" We answer in the affirmative.



I. As Christ is constituted by the Father the saviour of

those that believe, who, being exalted. in heaven to the

right hand of the Father, communicates to believers all those

blessings which he has solicited from the Father, and which

he has obtained by his obedience and pleading, but as the

participation of blessings cannot be through communication,

unless where there has previously been an orderly and

suitable union between him who communicates and those to whom

such communications are made, it is, therefore, necessary for

us to treat, in the first place, upon the union of Christ

with us, on account of its being the primary and immediate

effect of that faith by which men believe in him as the only


II. The truth of this thing, and the necessity of this union,

are intimated by the names with which Christ is signally

distinguished in a certain relation to believers. Such are

the appellations of head, spouse, foundation, vine, and

others of a similar kind; from which, on the other hand,

believers are called members in his body, which is the entire

church of believers, the spouse of Christ, lively stones

built on him, and young shoots or branches. By these

epithets, is signified the closest and most intimate union

between Christ and believers.

III. We may define or describe it to be that spiritual and

most strict and therefore mystically essential conjunction,

by which believers, being immediately connected, by God the

Father and Jesus Christ through the Spirit of Christ and of

God, with Christ himself, and through Christ with God, become

one with him and with the Father, and are made partakers of

all his blessings, to their own salvation and the glory of

Christ and of God.

IV. The author of this union is not only God the Father, who

has constituted his Son the head of the church, endued him

with the Spirit without measure, and unites believers to his

Son; but also Christ, who communicates to believers that

Spirit whom he obtained from the Father, that, cleaving to

him by faith, they may be one Spirit. The administrators are

prophets, apostles and other dispensers of the mysteries of

God, who lay Christ as the foundation, and bring his spouse

to him.

V. The parties to be united are, (1.) Christ, whom God the

Father has constituted the head, the spouse, the foundation,

the vine, etc, and to whom he has given all perfection, with

a plenary power and command to communicate it; (2.) And

sinful man, and therefore destitute of the glory of God, yet

a believer, and owning Christ for his saviour.

VI. The bond of union must be considered both on the part of

believers, and on the part of God and Christ. (1.) On the

part of believers, it is faith in Christ and God, by which

Christ is given to dwell in our hearts. (2.) On the part of

God and Christ, it is the Spirit of both, who flows from

Christ as the constituted head, into believers, that he may

unite them to him as members.

VII. The form of union is a compacting and joining together,

which is orderly, harmonious, and in every part agreeing with

itself by joints fitly supplied, according to the measure of

the gifts of Christ. This conjunction receives various

appellations, according to the various similitudes which we

have already adduced. With respect to a foundation and a

house built upon it, it is a being built up into [a spiritual

house]. With respect to a husband and wife, it is a

participation of flesh and bones; or, it is flesh of the

flesh of Christ, and bone of his bones. With respect to a

vine and its branches, or to an olive tree and its boughs, it

is an engrafting and implanting.

VIII. The proximate and immediate end is the communion of the

parts united among themselves; this, also, is an effect

consequent upon that union, but actively understood, as it

flows from Christ, and positively, as it flows into

believers, and is received by them. The cause of this is,

that the relation is that of disquiparency, where the

foundation is Christ, who possesses all things, and stands in

need of nothing; the term, or boundary, is the believer in

want of all things. The remote end is the external salvation

of believers, and the glory of God and Christ.

IX. But not only does Christ communicate his blessings to the

believers, who are united to him, but he likewise considers,

on account of this most intimate and close union, that the

good things bestowed, and the evils inflicted on believers,

are also done to himself. Hence, arise commiseration for his

children, and certain succour, but anger against those who

afflict, which abides upon them unless they repent, and

beneficence towards those who have given even a draught of

cold water, in the name of Christ, to one of his followers.




I. The union of believers with Christ tends to communion with

him, which contains, in itself, every end and fruit of union,

and flows immediately from the union itself.

II. Communion with Christ is that by which believers, when

united to him, have, in common with himself all those things

which belong to him; yet the distinction is preserved, which

exists between the head and the members, between him who

communicates, and them who are made partakers, between him

who sanctifieth, and those who are sanctified.

III. This communion must, according to the Scriptures, be

considered in two views, for it is either a communion of his

death, or of his life; because Christ must be thus considered

in two relations, either according to the state in the body

of his flesh, which was crucified, dead, and buried, or,

according to his glorious state and the new life to which he

was raised up again.

IV. The communion of his death is that by which, being

planted together in the likeness of his death, we participate

of his power, and of all the benefits which flow from his


V. This planting together is the crucifixion, the death and

the burial of "our old man," or of "the body of sin," in and

with the body of the flesh of Christ. These are the degrees

by which the body of the flesh of Christ is abolished; that

may also in its own measure, be called "the body of sin," so

far as God has made Christ to be sin for us, and has given

him to bear our sins, in his own body, on the tree.

VI. The strength and efficacy of the death of Christ consist

in the abolishing of sin and death, and of the law, which is

"the hand-writing that is against us;" and the strength or

force of sin is that by which sin kills us.

VII. The efficacious benefits of the death of Christ which

believers enjoy through communion with it, are principally

the following: The First is the removal of the curse, which

we had deserved through sin. This includes, or has connected

with it, our reconciliation with God, perpetual redemption,

remission of sins, and justification.

VIII. The SECOND. is deliverance from the dominion and

slavery of sin, that sin may no longer exercise its power in

our crucified, dead and buried body of sin, to obtain its

desires by the obedience which we have usually yielded to it

in our body of sin, according to the old man.

IX. The THIRD is deliverance from the law, both as it is "the

hand-writing which was against us," consisting of ceremonial

institutions, and as it is the rigid exactor of what is due

from us, and useless and inefficacious as it is on account of

our flesh, and the body of sin, according to which we were

carnal, though it was spiritual, and as sin, by its

wickedness and perversity, abused the law itself to seduce

and kill us.



I. Communion with the life of Christ is that by which, being

engrafted into him by a conformity to his life, we become

partakers of the whole power of his life, and of all the

benefits which flow from it.

II. Our conformity to the life of Christ, is either that of

the present life, or of that which is future. (1.) That of

the present life is the raising of us up into a new life, and

our being seated, with regard to the Spirit, "in heavenly

places" in Christ our head. (2.) That of the life to come is

our resurrection into a new life according to the body, and

our being elevated to heavenly places with regard to the

entire man.

III. Hence, our conformity to Christ is according to the same

two-fold relation: in this life, it is our resurrection to

newness of spiritual life, and our conversation in heaven

according to the Spirit; after the present life, it is the

resurrection of our, bodies, their conformity to the glorious

body of Christ, and the fruition of celestial blessedness.

IV. The blessings which flow from the life of Christ, fall

partly within the limits of this life, and partly within the

continued duration of the life to come.

V. Those which fall within the limits of the present life

are, adoption into sons of God, and the communication of the

Holy Spirit. This communication composes within itself three

particular benefits: First. Our regeneration, through the

illumination of the mind and the renewal of the heart.

Secondly. The perpetual aid of the Holy Spirit to excite and

co-operate. Thirdly. The testimony of the same Spirit with

our hearts, that we are the children of God, on which account

he is called "the Spirit of adoption."

VI. Those which fall within the boundless duration of the

life to come, are our preservation from future wrath, and the

bestowing of life eternal;' though this preservation from

wrath may seem to be a continued act, begun and carried on in

this world, but consummated at the period of the last


VII. Under the preservation from wrath, also, is not

unsuitably comprehended continued justification from sins

through the intercession of Christ, who, in his own blood, is

the propitiation for our sins, and our advocate before God.



I. The spiritual benefits which believers enjoy in the

present life, from their union with Christ through communion

with his death and life, may be properly referred to that of

justification and sanctification, as in those two is

comprehended the whole promise of the new covenant, in which

God promises that he will pardon sins, and will write his

laws in the hearts of believers, who have entered into

covenant with him.

II. Justification is a just and gracious act of God as a

judge, by which, from the throne of his grace and mercy, he

absolves from his sins, man, a sinner, but who is a believer,

on account of Christ, and the obedience and righteousness of

Christ, and considers him righteous, to the salvation of the

justified person, and to the glory of divine righteousness

and grace.

III. We say that "it is the act of God as a judge," who

though as the supreme legislator he could have issued

regulations concerning his law, and actually did issue them,

yet has not administered this direction through the absolute

plenitude of infinite power, but contained himself within the

bounds of justice which he demonstrated by two methods,

First, because God would not justify, except as justification

was preceded by reconciliation and satisfaction made through

Christ in his blood; Secondly, because he would not justify

any except those who acknowledged their sins and believed in


IV. We say that "it is a gracious and merciful act; "not with

respect to Christ, as if the Father, through grace as

distinguished from strict and rigid justice, had accepted the

obedience of Christ for righteousness, but with respect to

us, both because God, through his gracious mercy towards us,

has made Christ to be sin for us, and righteousness to us,

that we might be the righteousness of God in him, and because

he has placed communion with Christ in the faith of the

gospel, and has set forth Christ as a propitiation through


V. The meritorious cause of justification is Christ through

his obedience and righteousness, who may, therefore, be

justly called the principal or outwardly moving cause. In his

obedience and righteousness, Christ is also the material

cause of our justification, so far as God bestows Christ on

us for righteousness, and imputes his righteousness and

obedience to us. In regard to this two-fold cause, that is,

the meritorious and the material, we are said to be

constituted righteous through the obedience of Christ.

VI. The object of justification is man, a sinner,

acknowledging himself, with sorrow, to be such an one, and a

believer, that is, believing in God who justifies the

ungodly, and in Christ as having been delivered for our

offenses, and raised again for our justification. As a

sinner, man needs justification through grace, and, as a

believer, he obtains justification through grace.

VII. Faith is the instrumental cause, or act, by which we

apprehend Christ proposed to us by God for a propitiation and

for righteousness, according to the command and promise of

the gospel, in which it is said, "He who believes shall be

justified and saved, and he who believeth not shall be


VIII. The form is the gracious reckoning of God, by which he

imputes to us the righteousness of Christ, and imputes faith

to us for righteousness; that is, he remits our sins to us

who are believers, on account of Christ apprehended by faith,

and accounts us righteous in him. This estimation or

reckoning, has, joined with it, adoption into sons, and the

conferring of a right to the inheritance of life eternal.

IX. The end, for the sake of which is the salvation of the

justified person; for that act is performed for the good of

the man himself who is justified. The end which flows from

justification without any advantage to God who justifies, is

the glorious demonstration of divine justice and grace.

X. The most excellent effects of this justification are peace

with God and tranquillity of conscience, rejoicing under

afflictions in hope of the glory of God and in God himself,

and an assured expectation of life eternal.

XI. The external seal of justification is baptism; the

internal seal is the Holy Spirit, testifying together with

our spirits that we are the children of God, and crying in

our hearts, Abba, Father!

XII. But we have yet to consider justification, both about

the beginning of conversion, when all preceding sins are for,

given, and through the whole life, because God has promised

remission of sins to believers, those who have entered into

covenant with him, as often as they repent and flee by true

faith to Christ their propitiator and expiator. But the end

and completion of justification will be at the close of life,

when God will grant to those who end their days in the faith

of Christ, to find his mercy, absolving them from all the

sins which had been perpetrated through the whole of their

lives. The declaration and manifestation of justification

will be in the future general judgment.

XIII. The opposite to justification is condemnation, and this

by an immediate contrariety, so that between these two no

medium can be imagined.


I. That faith and works concur together to justification, is

a thing impossible.

II. Faith is not correctly denominated the formal cause of

justification; and when it receives that appellation from

some divines of our profession, it is then improperly so


III. Christ has not obtained by his merits that we should be

justified by the worthiness and merit of faith, and much less

that we should be justified by the merit of works: But the

merit of Christ is opposed to justification by works; and, in

the Scriptures, faith and merit are placed in opposition to

each other.



I. The word "sanctification" denotes an act, by which any

thing is separated from common use, and is consecrated to

divine use.

II. Common use, about the sanctification of which [to divine

purposes] we are now treating, is either according to nature

itself, by which man lives a natural life; or it is according

to the corruption of sin, by which he lives to sin and obeys

it in its lusts or desires. Divine use is when a man lives

according to godliness, in a conformity to the holiness and

righteousness in which he was created.

III. Therefore, this sanctification, with respect to the

boundary from which it proceeds, is either from the natural

use, or from the use of sin; the boundary to which it tends,

is the supernatural and divine use.

IV. But when we treat about man, as a sinner, then

sanctification is thus defined: It is a gracious act of God,

by which he purifies man who is a sinner, and yet a believer,

from the darkness of ignorance, from indwelling sin and from

its lusts or desires, and imbues him with the Spirit of

knowledge, righteousness and holiness, that, being separated

from the life of the world and made conformable to God, man

may live the life of God, to the praise of the righteousness

and of the glorious grace of God, and to his own salvation.

V. Therefore, this sanctification consists in these two

things: In the death of: the old man" who is corrupt

according to the deceitful lusts," and in the quickening or

enlivening of "the new man, who, after God, is created in

righteousness and the holiness of truth."

VI. The author of sanctification is God, the Holy Father

himself, in his Son who is the Holy of holies, through the

Spirit of holiness. The external instrument is the word of

God; the internal one is faith yielded to the word preached.

For the word does not sanctify, only as it is preached,

unless the faith be added by which the hearts of men are


VII. the object of sanctification is man, a sinner, and yet a

believer -- a sinner, because, being contaminated through sin

and addicted to a life of sin, he is unfit to serve the

living God -- a believer, because he is united to Christ

through faith in him, on whom our holiness is founded; and he

is planted together with Christ and joined to him in a

conformity with his death and resurrection. Hence, he dies to

sin, and is excited or raised up to a new life.

VIII. The subject is, properly, the soul of man. And, first,

the mind, which is illuminated, the dark clouds of ignorance

being driven away. Next, the inclination or the will, by

which it is delivered from the dominion of indwelling sin,

and is filled with the spirit of holiness. The body is not

changed, either as to its essence or its inward qualifies;

but as it is a part of the man, who is consecrated to God,

and is an instrument united to the soul, having been removed

by the sanctified soul which inhabits it from the purposes of

sin, it is admitted to and employed in the service of God,

"that our whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved

blameless unto the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."

IX. The form lies in the purification from sin, and in a

conformity with God in the body of Christ through his Spirit.

X. The end is, that a believing man, being consecrated to God

as a priest and king, should serve him in newness of life, to

the glory of his divine name, and to the salvation of man.

XI. As, under the Old Testament, the priests, when

approaching to render worship to God, were accustomed to be

sprinkled with blood, so, likewise, the blood of Jesus

Christ, which is the blood of the New Testament, serves for

this purpose-to sprinkle us, who are constituted by him as

priests, to serve the living God. In this respect, the

sprinkling of the blood of Christ, which principally serves

for the expiation of sins, and which is the cause of

justification, belongs also to sanctification; for in

justification, this sprinkling serves to wash away sins that

have been committed; but in sanctification, it serves to

sanctify men who have obtained remission of their sins, that

they may further be enabled to offer worship and sacrifices

to God, through Christ.

XII. This sanctification is not completed in a single moment;

but sin, from whose dominion we have been delivered through

the cross and the death of Christ, is weakened more and more

by daily losses, and the inner man is day by day renewed more

and more, while we carry about with us in our bodies, the

death of Christ, and the outward man is perishing.


We permit this question to be made the subject of discussion:

Does the death of the body bring the perfection and

completion of sanctification -- and how is this effect





I. As, through faith, which is the first part of our duty

towards God and Christ, we have obtained the blessings of

justification and sanctification from our union and communion

with Christ, by which benefits we are, from children of wrath

and the slaves of sin, not only constituted the children of

God and the servants of righteousness, (on which account it

is fit that we should render obedience and worship to our

Parent and our Lord,) and as we have likewise obtained power

and confidence for the performance of such obedience and

worship, it would follow that we should now treat on

obedience and worship as on another part of our duty.

II. But as there are multitudes of those who have, through

these benefits, been made the sons and the servants of God,

and who have been united, among themselves, by the same faith

and the Spirit of Christ, as members in one body, which is

called the church, and of which the Scriptures make frequent

mention, it appears to be the most proper course to treat,

First, upon this church, because, as she derives her origin

from this faith, she comprehends within her embraces all

those to whom the performance of worship to God and Christ is

to be prescribed.

III. And as it has pleased God to institute certain signs by

which may be sealed or testified, both the communion of

believers with Christ and among themselves, and a

participation of these benefits, and, on the other hand,

their service of gratitude towards God and Christ, we shall

deem it proper, NEXT, to treat upon these signs or tokens,

before we proceed to the worship, itself, which is due to God

and Christ. First, then, let us consider the church.

IV. This word, in its general acceptation, denotes a company

or congregation of men who are called out, and not only the

act and the command of him who calls them out, but likewise

the obedient compliance of those who answer the call; so that

the result or effect of that act is included in the word

"church. "

V. But it is thus defined: A company of persons called out

from a state of natural life and of sin, by God and Christ,

through the Spirit of both, to a supernatural life to be

spent according to God and Christ in the knowledge and

worship of both, that by a participation with both, they may

be eternally blessed, to the glory of God through Christ, and

of Christ in God.

VI. The efficient cause of this evocation, or calling out, is

God the Father, in his Son Jesus Christ, and Christ himself,

through the Spirit, both of the Father and of the Son as he

is Mediator and the Head of the church, sanctifying and

regenerating her to a new life. The impulsive cause is the

gracious good pleasure of God the Father, in Christ, and the

love of Christ towards those whom he has acquired for himself

by his own blood.

VII. The executive cause of this gracious good pleasure of

God in Christ, which may also, in this respect, according to

its distribution, be called "the administrative cause," is

the Spirit of God and of Christ by the word of both; by which

he requires outwardly a life according to God and Christ,

with the addition of the promise of a reward and the

threatening of a punishment; and he inwardly illuminates the

mind to a knowledge of this life, imparts to us the feelings

of love and desire for this life, and bestows on the whole

man strength and power to live such a life.

VIII. The matter about which [it is occupied], or the object

of the vocations, are natural and sinful men, who, indeed,

according to nature, are capable of receiving instruction

from the Spirit through the word, but who are, according to

the life of the present world and the state of sin, darkened

in their minds and alienated from the life of God. This state

requires that the beginning of preaching be made from

preaching the law as it reproves sin and convinces of sin,

and thus that progress be made to the preaching of the gospel

of grace.

IX. The form of the church resides in the mutual relation of

God and Christ who calls, and of the church who obeys that

call, according to which, God in Christ, by the Spirit of

both, infuses into her supernatural life, feeling or

sensation, and motion; and she, on the other hand, being

quickened and under the influence of feeling and motion,

begins to live and to walk according to godliness, and in

expectation of the blessings promised.

X. The end of this evocation, which also contains the chief

good of the church, is blessedness perfected and consummated

through a union with God in Christ. From this, results the

glory of God, who unites the church to himself and beatifies

her, which glory is declared in the very act of union and

beatification -- also the glory of the same blessed God, when

the church in her triumphant songs ascribes to him praise,

honour and glory forever and ever.

XI. From the act of this evocation and from the form of the

church arising out of it, it appears that a distinction must

be made among the men or congregation, as they are men, and

as they are called out and obey the call; and they must be so

distinguished that the company to whom the name of "the

church" at any time belonged, may so decline from that

obedience as to lose the name of "the church," God "removing

their candlestick out of its place," and sending a bill of

divorce to his disobedient and adulterous wife. Hence it is

evident that the glorying of the papists is vain on this

point -- that the church of Rome cannot err and fall away



I. As Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and ever --

as he is the chief or deepest corner-stone, upon which the

superstructure of the church is raised, being built up both

by prophets and apostles, and as he is the head of all those

who will be partaken of salvation, the whole church,

therefore, may, in this sense, be called "Christian," though

under this appellation, peculiarly, comes the church as she

began to be collected together after the actual ascent of

Christ into heaven.

II. But though the church be one with respect to its

foundation, and of those things which concern the substance

itself yet, because it has pleased God to govern it according

to different methods, in reference to this the church may, in

the most suitable manner, be distinguished into the church

which existed in the times of the Old Testament before

Christ, and into that which flourished in the times of the

New Testament and after Christ appeared on earth.

III. "The church, prior to the advent of Christ, under the

dispensation of the Old Testament," is that which was called

out, (by the word of promise concerning the seed of the woman

and the seed of Abraham, and concerning the Messiah who was

subsequently to come,) from the state of sin and misery, to a

participation of the righteousness of faith and salvation,

and to the faith placed in that promise -- and by the word of

the law, to render worship to God in confidence of obtaining

mercy in this blessed Seed and the promised Messiah, in a

manner suitable to the infantile age of the church herself.

IV. The word of promise was propounded, in the beginning, in

a very general manner and with much obscurity, but in

succeeding ages, more specially and with greater

distinctness, and still more so, as the times of the advent

of the Messiah in the flesh drew nearer.

V. The law which contributed to this calling, was both the

moral and the ceremonial; (for, in this place, the forensic

does not come under consideration;) and both of them as

delivered orally, and as comprised and proposed in writing by

Moses, in which last respect, the law is principally treated

upon in the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament.

VI. The moral law serves this office in a two-fold manner:

First, by demonstrating the necessity of the gracious

promise, which it does by convincing [men] of sins against

the law, and of the weakness [of man] to perform the law. To

this purpose it has been rigidly and strictly propounded; and

it is considered as so proposed, according to these passages:

"The man that doeth them shall live in them," and "Cursed is

every one that continueth not in all things which are written

in the book of the law to do them." Secondly, by ewieikwv

moderately, or with clemency, requiring the observance of it

from those who were parties to the covenant of promise.

VII. Though the observance of the ceremonial law be not, of

itself, and on account of itself, pleasing to God, yet the

observance of it was prescribed for two purposes: (1.) That

it might convince of the guilt of sins and of the curse, and

might thus declare the necessity of the gracious promise.

(2.) And that it might sustain believers by the hope of the

promise, which hope was confirmed by the typical

presignification of future things. In the former of these two

respects, the ceremonial law was the seal of sins; but in the

latter, it was the seal of grace and remission.

VIII. The church of those times must, therefore, be

considered, both as it is called the heir, and as called the

infant, either according to its substance, or according to

the dispensation and economy suitable to those times.

According to the former of these respects, the church was

under the promise or the covenant of promise; and according

to the latter respect, she was under the law and under the

Old Testament, in regard to which, that people is called

servile, or in bondage, and the infant heir "differing in

nothing from a servant," as, in regard to the promise, the

same people are denominated free, born of a free woman, and

according to Isaac "counted for the seed" to whom the promise

was made.

IX. According to the promise, the church was a willing people

-- according to the Old Testament, a carnal people; according

to the former relation, the heir of spiritual and heavenly

blessings; according to the latter, the heir of spiritual and

earthly blessings, especially of the land of Canaan and of

its benefits. According to the former relation, the church

was endowed with the Spirit of adoption; according to the

latter, she had this Spirit intermixed with that of bondage

as long as the promise continued.

X. The open consideration of these relations, and a suitable

comparison and opposition between the covenant of promise,

and the law or the Old Testament, contributes much to the

[correct] interpretation of several passages of Scripture,

which, otherwise, can scarcely be at all explained, or at

least with great difficulty


I. Because the Old Testament was forced to be abrogated,

therefore it was to be confirmed, not by the blood of a

testator or mediator, but of brute animals.

II. "The Old Testament" is never used in the Scriptures for

the covenant of grace.

III. The confounding of the promise and of the Old Testament

is productive of much obscurity in Christian theology, and is

the cause of more than a single error.



I. The Church of the New Testament is that which, from the

time when that Testament was confirmed by the blood of Christ

the mediator of the New Testament, or from the period of his

ascension into heaven, began to be called out from a state of

sin which was plainly manifested by the word of the gospel,

and by the Spirit that was suited to the heirs who had

attained to the age of adults -- to a participation of the

righteousness of faith and of salvation, through faith placed

in the gospel, and to render worship to God and Christ in the

unity of the same Spirit; and this church will continue to be

called out in the same manner to the end of the world, to the

praise of the glory of the grace of God and of Christ.

II. The efficient cause is the God and Father of our Lord

Jesus Christ, who has now most plainly manifested himself to

be Jehovah and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and it is

Christ himself, elevated to the right hand of the Father,

invested with full power in heaven and on earth, and endowed

with the word of the gospel and with the Spirit beyond

measure. The antecedent or only moving cause is the grace and

mercy of God the Father and of Christ, and even the justice

of God, to which, through the good pleasure of the Father,

the fullest satisfaction has now been made in Jesus Christ,

and which is clearly manifested in the gospel.

III. The Spirit of Christ is the administering cause,

according to the economy, as he is the substitute of Christ

and receives of that which is Christ's, to glorify Christ by

this calling forth in his church, with only a full power to

administer all things according to his own pleasure. The

Spirit uses the word of the gospel placed in the mouth of his

servants, which immediately executes this vocation, and the

word of the law, whether written or implanted in the mind;

the gospel serves both antecedently that a place may be made

for this vocation, and consequently when it has been received

by faith.

IV. The object of this evocation is, not only Jews, but also

gentiles, the middle wall of partition which formerly

separated the gentiles from the Jews being taken away by the

flesh and blood of Christ; that is, the object is all men

generally and promiscuously without any difference, but it is

all men actually sinners, whether they be those who

acknowledge themselves as such and to whom the preaching of

the gospel is constantly exhibited, or those who are yet to

be brought to the acknowledgment of their sins.

V. Because this church is of adult age, and because she no

longer requires a tutor and governor, she is free from the

economical bondage of the law, and is governed by the spirit

of full liberty, which is, by no means, intermixed with the

spirit of bondage; and, therefore, she is free from the use

of the ceremonial law, so far as it served for testifying of

sins, and as it was "the hand-writing which was against us."

VI. This church, also, with unveiled or open face, beholds

the glory of the Lord as in a glass, and has the very express

image of heavenly things, and Christ, the image of the

invisible God, the express image of the Father's person, and

the brightness of his glory, and the very body of things to

come which is of Christ. She, therefore, does not need the

law, which has the shadow of good things to come; on which

account, she is free from the same ceremonial law, by which

it typically prefigured Christ and good things to come.

VII. The church of the New Testament has not experienced,

does not now experience, and will not, to the end of the

world, experience, in the whole of its course, any change

whatever with regard to the word itself or the spirit; For,

in these last times, God has spoken to us in his Son, and by

those who have heard him.

VIII. This same church is called "catholic," in a peculiar

and distinct sense in opposition to the church which was

under the Old Testament, so far as she has been diffused

through the whole world, and has embraced within her boundary

all nations, tribes, people and tongues. This universality is

not hinder, by the rejection of the greater part of the Jews,

as they will also be added to the church, some time hence, in

a great multitude, and like an army formed into columns.

IX. We may denominate, not unaptly or inappropriately, the

state of the church, as she existed from the time of John

until the assent of Christ into heaven, "a temporary or

intermediate one" between the state of the promise and of the

gospel, or that of the Old Testament and of the New.

X. On which account, we place the ministry of John between

the ministry of the prophets and that of the apostles, and

plainly, and in every respect, conformable to neither of

them. Hence, also, John is called "a greater prophet," and is

said to be "less than the least in the kingdom of heaven.


The baptism of John was so far the same with that of Christ,

that there was afterwards no need for it to be restored.



I. Though the head and the body be of one nature, and though,

according to nature, they properly constitute one

subsistence, yet he who, according to nature, is the head of

the church, cannot have communion of nature with her, for she

is his creature.

II. But it has been the good pleasure of God, who is both the

head of the church according to nature, and her creator, to

bestow on his church his Son Jesus Christ, made man, as her

head, by whom, likewise, it has been his will to create his

church -- that is, a new creature, that the union between the

church and her head might be closer, and the communication

more free and confiding.

III. But a three-fold relation exists between the church and

her head: (1.) That the head contains in himself, in a manner

the most perfect, all things which are necessary and

sufficient for salvation. (2.) That he is fitly united to the

church, his body, by "the joints and bands" of the Spirit and

of faith. (3.) That the head can infuse the virtue of his own

perfection into her, and she can receive it from him

according to the order of preordination and subordination

fitly corresponding with it according to the difference of


IV. But these three things belong to Christ alone; nay, not

one of the three agrees with any person or thing except with

Christ. Wherefore, he, only, is the head of the church, to

whom she immediately coheres according to her internal and

real essence.

V. But no one can, according to this relation, be vicar or

substitute to him; neither the apostle Peter, nor any Roman

pontiff; nay, Christ can have no one among men as his vicar,

according to the external administration of the church; and,

what is still more, he cannot have a universal minister,

which term is less than that of vicar.

VI. Yet we do not deny that those persons who are constituted

by this head as his ministers, perform such functions as

belong to the head; because it has been his pleasure to

gather his church to himself, and to govern it by human


VII. But, according to her internal essence, this church is

known to no one except to her head. She is likewise made

known to others by signs and indications which have their

origin from her true internal essence itself, if they be

real, and not counterfeit and deceptive in their appearance.

VIII. These signs are, the profession of the true faith, and

the institution or conducting of the life according to the

direction and the instigation of the Spirit -- a matter that

belongs to external acts, about which, alone, a judgment can

be formed by mankind.

IX. We say that these are the marks of a church which

outwardly conducts herself with propriety. But it may come to

pass, that a mere profession of faith may obtain in this

church through the public preaching and hearing of the word,

through the administration and use of the sacraments, and

through prayers and Thanksgivings; and yet in her whole life

she may degenerate from the profession; and, lastly, she may

in her deeds deny Christ, whom she professes to know in word,

in which case, she does not cease to be a church as long as

it is the pleasure of God and Christ to bear with her ill

manners, and not to send her a bill of divorcement.

X. But it has happened that in her profession itself, she

begins to intermix falsehoods with truth, and to worship, at

the same time, Jehovah and Baal. Then, indeed, her condition

is very bad, and "nigh to destruction," and all those who

adhere to her are commanded to desert her, so far, at least,

as not to become partakers of her abominations, and to

contaminate themselves with the pollutions of her idolatry;

nay, they are commanded to accuse their mother of being a

harlot, and of having violated the marriage compact with her


XI. In such a defection as this, those who desert her are not

the cause of the dissension, but she who is justly deserted,

because she first declined from God and Christ, to whom all

believers, and each of them in particular, must adhere by an

inseparable connection.

XII. The Roman pontiff is not the head of the church; and

because he boasts himself of being that head, the name of

"Antichrist" on this account most deservedly belongs to him.

XIII. The marks of the church of which the papists boast --

antiquity, universality, duration, amplitude, the

uninterrupted succession of teachers, and agreement in

doctrine-have been invented beyond those which we have laid

down, because they are accommodated to the present state of

the church of Rome.



I. The catholic church is the company of all believers,

called out from every language, tribe, people, nation and

calling, who have been, are now, and will be, called by the

saving vocation of God from a state of corruption to the

dignity of the children of God, through the word of the

covenant of grace, and engrafted into Christ, as living

members to their head through true faith, to the praise of

the glory of the grace of God. From this, it appears that the

catholic church differs from particular churches in nothing

which appertains to the substance of a church, but solely in

her amplitude.

II. But as she is called "the catholic church" in reference

to her matter, which embraces all those who have ever been,

are now, and will yet be, made partakers of this vocation,

and received into the family of God, so, likewise, is she

denominated "the one and holy church," from her form, which

consists in the mutual relation of the church, who by faith,

embraces Christ as her head and spouse, and of Christ, who so

closely unites the church to himself, as his body and spouse,

by his Spirit, that the church lives by the life of Christ

himself, and is made a partaker of him and of all his


III. The Catholic Church is "ONE," because, under one God and

Father, who is above all persons, and through all things, and

in all of us, she has been united as one body to one head,

Christ the Lord, through one Spirit, and through one faith

placed in the same word, through a similar hope of the same

inheritance, and through mutual charity, she has been "fitly

framed and built for a holy temple, and a habitation of God

through the Spirit." Wherefore, the whole of this unity is

spiritual, though those who have been thus united together

consist partly of body, and partly of spirit.

IV. She is "HOLY;" because, by the blessing of the Holy of

holies, she has been separated from the unclean world, washed

from her sins by His blood, beautified with the presence and

gracious indwelling of God, and adorned with true holiness by

the sanctification of the Holy Spirit.

V. But though this church is one, yet she is distinguished

according to the acts of God towards her, so far as she has

become the recipient of either of all of those acts, or of

some of them. The church that has received only the act of

her creation and preservation, is said to be in the way, and

is called "the church militant," as being she that must yet

contend with sin, the flesh, the world, and Satan. The church

that, in addition to this, is made partaker of the

consummation, is said to be in her native land, and is called

"the church triumphant;" for, after having conquered all her

enemies, she rests from her labours, and reigns with Christ

in heaven. To that part which is still militant on earth, the

title of "catholic" is likewise ascribed, so far as she

embraces within her boundaries all particular militant


VI. But the catholic church is distributed, according to her

parts, into many particular churches, since she consists of

many congregations far distant from each other, with respect

to place, and quite distinct. But as these particular

churches have severally the name of "a church," so they have

likewise the thing signified by the name and the entire

definition like similar parts which participate in the name

and definition of the whole; and the catholic church differs

from each particular one solely in her universality, and in

no other thing whatever which belongs to the essence of a

church. Hence, is easily learned in what manner it may be

understood that, as single, particular churches may err, yet

the church universal cannot err; that is, in this sense, that

there never will be a future time in which some believers

will not exist who do not err in the foundation of religion.

But from this interpretation, it is apparent that it cannot

be concluded from the circumstance of the catholic church,

being said to be in this sense, free from error, that any

congregation, however numerous soever it may be, is exempt

from error, unless there be in it one person, or more, who

are so guided into all truth as to be incapable of erring.

VII. Hence, since the evocation of the church is made

inwardly by the Spirit, and outwardly by the word preached,

and since they who are called, answer inwardly by faith, and

outwardly by the profession of faith, as they who are called

have the inward and the outward man, therefore, the church,

in reference to these called persons, is distinguished into

the visible and the invisible church, from the subjoined

external accident -- invisible, as she "believes with the

heart unto righteousness," and visible, as "confession is

made with her mouth unto salvation." And this visibility or

invisibility belongs neither more nor less to the whole

catholic church, than to each church in particular.

VIII. Then, since the church is collected out of this world,

"which lieth in the wicked one," and often by ministers who,

beside the word of God, preach another word, and since this

church consists of men liable to be deceived and to fall,

nay, of men who have been deceived and are fallen, therefore,

the church is distinguished with respect to the doctrine of

faith, into an orthodox and heretical church -- with respect

to divine worship, into an idolatrous church, and into one

that is a right worshiper of God and Christ, and with respect

to the morals prescribed in the second table of the law, into

a purer church or a more impure one. In all these, are also

to be observed the degrees according to which one church is

more heretical, idolatrous and impure than another; about all

these things a correct judgment must be formed according to

the Scriptures. Thus, likewise, the word "catholic" is used

concerning those churches that neither labour under any

destructive heresy, nor are idolatrous.



I. The power of the church may be variously considered,

according to various objects; for it is occupied either about

the delivery of doctrines, the enactment of laws, the

convening of assemblies, the appointment of ministers, or,

lastly, about jurisdiction.

II. In the institution of doctrines, or in the first delivery

of them, the power of the church is a mere nullity, whether

she be considered generally, or according to her parts; for

she is the spouse of Christ, and, therefore, is bound to hear

the voice of her husband. She cannot prescribe to herself the

rule of willing, believing, doing and hoping.

III. But the whole of her power, concerning doctrines, lies

in the dispensation and administration of those which have

been delivered by God and Christ -- necessarily previous to

which is the humble and pious acceptance of the divine

doctrines, the consequence of which is, that she justly

preserve the name that has once been received.

IV. As the acceptance and the preservation of doctrines may

be considered either according to the words, or according to

the right sense, so, likewise the delivery of the doctrines

received and preserved must be distinguished either with

respect to the words, or with respect to their correct


V. The delivery or tradition of doctrines according to the

words, is when the church declares or publishes the very

words which she has received, (after they have been delivered

to her by God, either in writing or orally,) without any

addition, diminution, change or transposition, whether from

the repositories in which she has concealed the divine

writings, or from her own memory, in which she had carefully

and faithfully preserved those things which had been orally

delivered. At the same time, she solemnly testifies that

those very things which she has received from above are [when

transmitted through her] pure and unadulterated, (and is

prepared even by death itself to confirm this her testimony,)

as far as the variations of copies in the original languages

permit a translator into other languages [thus to testify];

yet they do not concern the foundation so much as to be able

to produce doubts concerning it on account of these


VI. The delivery or tradition according to the meaning, is

the more ample explanation and application of the doctrines

propounded and comprehended in the divine words, in which

explanation, the church ought to contain herself within the

terms of the very word which has been delivered, publishing

no particular interpretation of a doctrine or of a passage,

which does not rest on the entire foundation, and which

cannot be fully proved from other passages. This she will

most sedulously avoid if she adhere as much as possible to

the expressions of the word delivered, and if she abstain, as

far as she is capable, from the use of foreign words or


VII. To this power, is annexed the right of examining and

forming a judgment upon doctrines, as to the kind of spirit

by which they have been proposed; in this, also she will

employ the rule of the word which bears assured evidences

that it is divine, and has been received as such; and indeed,

they will employ the rule of this word alone, if she be

desirous to institute a proper examination, and to form a

correct judgment. But if she employ any human writings

whatsoever, for a rule or guide, the morning light will not

shine on her, and, therefore, she will grope about in


VIII. But the church ought to be guarded against three

things: (1.) To hide from no one the words which have been

divinely delivered to her, or to interdict any man from

reading them or meditating upon them. (2.) When, for certain

reasons, she declares divine doctrines with her own words,

not to compel any one to receive or to approve them, except

on this condition, so far as they are. consentaneous with the

meaning comprehended in the divine words. (3.) And not to

prohibit any man who is desirous of examining, in a

legitimate manner, the doctrines proposed in the words of the

church. Whichsoever of these things she does, she cannot, in

that case, evade the criminal charge of having arrogated a

power to herself, and of abusing it beyond all law, right and



It is one of the fabulous stories of the papists that the

Holy Spirit assists the church in such a manner, in forming

her judgment on the authentic Scriptures, and in the right

interpretation of the divine meanings, that she cannot err.



I. The laws which may be prescribed to the church, or which

may be considered as having been prescribed, are of two

kinds, distinguished from each other by a remarkable

difference and by a notable doctrine -- according to the

matter, that is, the acts which are prescribed -- according

to the end for the sake of which they are prescribed, and,

lastly, according to the force and necessity of obligation.

2. (1.) For some laws concern the very essence of ordering

the life according to godliness and Christianity, and the

necessary acts of faith, hope and charity; and these may be

called the necessary and primary or principal laws, and are

as the fundamental laws of the kingdom of God itself. (2.)

But others of them have respect to certain secondary and

substituted acts, and the circumstances of the principal

acts, all of which conduce to the more commodious and easy

observance of those first acts. On this account they deserve

to be called positive and attendant laws.

III. 1. The church neither has a right, nor is she bound by

any necessity, to enact necessary laws, and those which

essentially concern the acts of faith itself, of hope and of

charity. For this belongs most properly to God and Christ;

and it has been so fully exercised by Christ, that nothing

can essentially belong to the acts of faith, hope and

charity, which has not been prescribed by him in a manner the

most copious.

IV. The entire power, therefore, of the church is placed in

enacting laws of the second kind; about the making and

observing of which we must now make some observations.

V. In prescribing laws of this kind, the church ought to turn

her eyes, and to keep them fixed, on the following

particulars: First. That the acts which she will command or

forbid be of a middle or an indifferent kind, and in their

own nature neither good nor evil; and yet that they may be

useful, for the commodious observance of the acts [divinely]

prescribed, according to the circumstance of persons, times

and places.

VI. Secondly. That laws of this description be not adverse to

the word of God, but that they rather be conformable to it,

whether they be deduced from those things which are, in a

general manner, prescribed in the word of God, according to

the circumstances already enumerated, or whether they be

considered as suitable means for executing those things which

have been prescribed in the word of God.

VII. Thirdly. That these laws be principally referred to the

good order and the decorous administration of the external

polity of the church. For God is not the author of confusion;

but he is both the author and the lover of order; and regard

is in every place to be paid to decorum, but chiefly in the

church, which is "the house of God," and in which it is

exceedingly unbecoming to have any thing, or to do any thing,

that is either indecorous or out of order.

VIII. Fourthly. That she do not assume to herself the

authority of binding, by her laws, the consciences of men to

acts prescribed by herself; for she will thus invade the

right of Christ, in prescribing things necessary, and will

infringe Christian liberty, which ought to be free from

snares of this description.

IX. Fifthly. That, by any deed of her own, by a simple

promise or by an oath, either orally or by the subscription

of the hand, she do not take away from herself the power of

abrogating, enlarging, diminishing or of changing the laws

themselves. It would not be a useless labour if the church

were to enter her protest, at the end of the laws, about the

perpetual duration of this her power, in a subjoined clause,

such as the civil magistrate is accustomed to employ in

political positive laws.

X. But with regard to the observance of these laws; as they

are already enacted, all and every one of those who are in

the church are bound by them so far, that it is not lawful to

transgress them through contempt, and to the scandal of

others; and the church herself will not estimate the

observance of them at so low a value as to permit them to be

violated through contempt and to the scandal of others; but

she will mark, admonish, reprove and blame such

transgressors, as behaving themselves in a disorderly and

indecorous manner, and she will endeavour to bring them back

to a better mind.


Is it not useful, for the purpose of bearing testimony to the

power and the liberty of the church, occasionally to make

some change in the laws ecclesiastical, lest the observance

of them becoming perpetual, and without any change, should

produce an opinion of the [absolute] necessity of their being





I. As no society, however rightly constituted and furnished

with good laws, can long keep together unless they who belong

to it be restrained within their duty by a certain method of

jurisdiction or discipline, or be compelled to the

performance of their duty, so, in the church, which is the

house, the city and the kingdom of God, discipline of the

same kind must flourish and be exercised.

II. But it is proper that this discipline be accommodated to

the spiritual life, and not to that which is natural; and

that it should be serviceable for edifying, confirming,

amplifying and adorning the church as such, and for directing

consciences, without [employing] any force hurtful in any

part to the body or to the substance, and to the condition of

the animal life; unless, perhaps, it be the pleasure of the

magistrate, in virtue of the power granted to him by God, to

force an offender to repentance by some other method. Such a

proceeding, however, we do not prejudge.

III. But ecclesiastical discipline is an act of the church,

by which, according to the power instituted by God and

Christ, and bestowed on her, and to be employed through a

consciousness of the office imposed, she reprehends all and

every one of those who belong to the church, if they have

fallen into open sin, and admonishes them to repent; or, if

they pertinaciously persevere in their sins, she

excommunicates them, to the benefit of the whole church, the

salvation of the sinner himself, to the profit of those who

are without, and to the glory of God himself and Christ.

IV. The object of this discipline is all and each of those

who, having been engrafted into the church by baptism, are

capable of this discipline for the correction of themselves.

The cause or formal condition why discipline must be

exercised on them is, the offenses committed by them, whether

they concern the doctrine of faith, and are pernicious and

destructive heresies, or whether they have respect to morals

and to the rest of the acts of the Christian life.

V. But it is requisite, that these sins be external and

manifest, that is, known, and correctly known, to those by

whom the discipline shall be administered; and that it be

evident, that they are sins according to the laws imposed by

Christ on the church, and that they have actually been

committed. For God, alone, judges concerning inward sins.

VI. Let the form of administering the laws be with all

kindness and discretion, also with zeal, and occasionally

with severity and some degree of rigor, if occasion require

it to be employed. But the intention is, the salvation of him

who has sinned, and that of the whole body of the church, to

the glory of God and of Christ.

VII. The execution of this discipline lies both in admonition

and in castigation or punishment, or in censure, which is

conveyed only in words, through reprehension, exhortation and

communication, or which is given by the privation of some of

those things which outwardly belong to the communion of

saints, and to the saving edification or building up of every

believer in the body of Christ.

VIII. Admonitions are accommodated, First, to the persons who

have sinned, in which must be observed the difference of age,

sex and condition, with all prudence and discretion.

Secondly. They are accommodated to those sins which have been

committed; for some are more grievous than others. Thirdly.

To the mode in which sins have been perpetrated, which mode

comes now under our special consideration.

IX. For some sins are clandestine, others are public, whether

they are offenses only against God, or whether they have, in

union with such offense, injury to a man's neighbour.

According to this latter respect, it is called "a private

sin," that is, an offense committed by one private individual

against another-such as is intimated by the word of Christ,

in Matt. xviii, 7-18, in which passage is likewise prescribed

the mode of reproving an offense.

X. A clandestine sin is that which is secretly perpetrated,

and with the commission of which very few persons are

acquainted; to this belongs a secret reprehension, to be

inflicted by those who are acquainted with it. One of the

principal ministers of the church, however, will be able to

impart authority to the reprehension; yet he can, by no

means, refer it to his colleagues; but it will be his duty to

deliver this reproof in secret.

XI. A public sin is that which is committed when several

people are acquainted with it. We allow it to be made a

subject of discussion, whether a sin ought to receive the

appellation of a public one, when it has been secretly

committed but has become known to many persons either through

the fault of him who perpetrated it, or through the

officiousness of those who divulged it without necessity.

XII. But there is still some difference in public sins; for

they are known either to some part of the church, or to the

whole, or nearly to the whole of it; according to this

difference, the admonition to be given ought to be varied. If

the sin be known to part of the church, it is sufficient that

the sinner be admonished and reproved before the consistory,

or in the presence of more persons to whom it had been known.

If it be known to the whole church, the sinner must be

reprehended before all the members; for this practice

conduces both to the shame of him who has sinned, and to

deter others from sinning after his example. Some

consideration, however, may be had to the shame of any

offender, and a degree of moderation be shown; that is, if he

is not deeply versed in sinful practices, but if a sin has

taken him by surprise, or "he is overtaken in a fault."

XIII. As this reproof has the tendency to induce the offender

to desist from sinning, if this end is not obtained by the

first admonition, it is necessary to repeat it occasionally,

until the sinner stands corrected, or makes an open

declaration of his contumacy. But some difference of opinion

exists on this point among divines: "Is it useful to bring an

offender to punishment, when, after having afforded hopes of

amendment, he does not fulfill those hopes according to the

judgment and the wishes of the church?" But it does not seem

possible to determine this so much by settled rules, as by

leaving the matter to the discretion of the governors of the


XIV. But if the offender despise all admonitions, and

contumaciously perseveres in his sins, after the church has

exercised the necessary patience towards him, she must

proceed to punishment; which is excommunication, that is, the

exclusion of the contumacious person from the holy communion

and even from the church herself. This public exclusion will

be accompanied by the avoidance of all intercourse and

familiarity with the person excommunicated, to [the

observance of] which, each member of the church must pay

attention as far as is permitted by the necessary relative

duties which either all the members owe to him according to

their general vocation, or some of them owe according to

their particular obligation. [For a subject is not freed from

his obligation toward his prince, on account of the

excommunication of the prince; neither, in such

circumstances, is a wife freed from the duty which she is

bound to perform to her husband; nor are children freed from

their duty to parents; and thus in other similar instances.]

XV. Some persons suppose, that this excommunication is solely

from the privilege of celebrating the Lord's supper. Others

suppose it to be of two kinds, the less and the greater --

the less being a partial exclusion from attendance on some of

the sacred offices of the church -- the greater, an exclusion

from all of them together, and totally from the communion of

believers. But others, rejecting the minor excommunication,

acknowledge no other than the major; because it appears to

them, that there is no cause why a contumacious sinner ought

to be rejected from this communion more than from that, since

he has rendered himself unworthy to obtain any place in the

church and the assembly of saints. We do not interpose our

opinion; but we leave this matter to be discussed by the

judgment of learned and pious men, that by common consent it

may be concluded from the Scriptures what is most agreeable

to them, and best suited to the edification of the church.


Excommunication must be avoided, where a manifest fear of a

schism exists.

"Should not this also be done, where a fear exists of

persecution being likely to ensue on account of

excommunication?" We think, that, in this case, likewise,

excommunication should be avoided.



I. An ecclesiastical council is an assembly of men gathered

together in the name of God, consulting and defining or

settling, according to the word of God, about those things

which pertain to religion and the good of the church, for the

glory of God and the salvation of the church.

II. The power of appointing an assembly of this kind resides

in the church herself. If she is under the sway of a

Christian magistrate, who makes an open profession of

religion, or who publicly tolerates it, then we transfer this

power to such a magistrate, without whose convocation, those

persons that protested to the church concerning the nullity

of the Council of Trent have maintained that a council is

illegitimate. But if the magistrate is neither a believer,

nor publicly tolerates religion, but is an enemy and a

persecutor, then those who preside in the church will

discharge that office.

III. An occasion will be afforded for convening an assembly

of this kind, either by some evil men who are an annoyance to

the church, whether they be in the church or out of it, or

even the perpetual constitution of the church so long as she

continues on earth. For as she is liable to error,

corruption, and defection from the truth of doctrine, from

the purity of divine worship, from moral probity and from

Christian concord, to heresies, idolatry, corruption of

manners, and schisms, it is useful for assemblies of this

kind to be instituted. Yet may they be instituted, not only

to correct any corruption if it manifestly appears that it

has entered, but likewise to inquire whether something of the

kind has not entered; because the enemy sows tares while the

men sleep, to whom is entrusted the safe custody of the

Lord's field.

IV. We say that this is an assembly of men; for, "Let a

woman. keep silence in the church, unless she has an

extraordinary and divine call; and we say, these men ought to

be distinguished by the following marks: First. That they be

powerful in the Scriptures, and have their senses exercised

in them. Secondly. That they be pious, grave, prudent,

moderate, and-lovers of divine truth and of the peace of the

church. Thirdly. That they be free, and bound down to no

person, church, or confession written by men, but only to God

and Christ, and to his word.

V. They are men, whether of the ecclesiastical or of the

political class -- in the first place, the supreme magistrate

himself, and those persons who discharge any public office in

the church and the republic. Then, also, private individuals,

even those persons not being excluded who maintain some other

[doctrine] than that which is the current opinion, provided

they be furnished with the endowments which I have described.

(Thesis 4.) And we are of opinion that such persons may

deliver not only a deliberative but likewise a decisive


VI. The object about which the council will be engaged is,

the things appertaining to religion and to the good of the

church as such. These are comprised under two chief heads-the

primary, comprehending the doctrine, itself, of faith, hope,

and charity, and the secondary, the order and polity of the


VII. The rule, according to which deliberation must be

instituted, and decision must be formed, is that single and

sole one -- the word of God, who holds absolute dominion in

the church. But in things which belong to the good order and

eutaxian the discipline of the church, it is allowable for

the members attentively to consider the present state of the

commonwealth and of the church, and to exercise deliberation

and form decisions according to the circumstances of places,

times and persons, provided one thing be guarded against-to

determine nothing contrary to the word of God.

VIII. But, because all things in assemblies of this kind

ought to be done in order, it is requisite that some one

preside over the whole council. If the chief magistrate be

present, this office belongs to him; but he can devolve this

charge on some other person, whether an ecclesiastic or

layman; nay, he may commit this matter to the council itself,

provided he take care that all and each of the members be

restrained within the bounds of their duty, lest their

judgments be concluded in a tumultuous manner. But it is

useful that some bishop be appointed, who may perform the

offices of prayer and thanksgiving, may propose the business

to be transacted, and may inquire and collect the opinions

and votes; indeed, so far, he, as an ecclesiastic, is the

more suitable for fulfilling these duties.

IX. A place must be appointed for assemblies of this kind,

that they may be most commodious to all those who shall come

to the synod, unless it be the pleasure of the chief

magistrate to choose that place which will be the most

convenient to himself. It ought to be a place secure from

ambuscade or hostile surprise; and a safe conduct is

necessary for all persons, that they may arrive and depart

again, without personal detriment, as far as is allowable by

the law of God itself, against which the authority of no

council, however great, is of the least avail.

X. The authority of councils is not absolute, but dependent

on the authority of God; for this reason, no one is simply

bound to assent to those things which have been decreed in a

council, unless those persons be present, as members, who

cannot err, and who have the undoubted marks and testimonies

of the Holy Spirit to this fact. But every one may, nay, he

is bound, to examine, by the word of God, those things which

have been concluded in the council; and if he finds them to

be agreeable to the divine word, then he may approve of them;

but if they are not, then he may express his disapprobation.

Yet he must be cautious not easily to reject that which has

been determined by the unanimous consent of so many pious and

learned men; but he ought diligently to consider, whether it

has the Scriptures pronouncing in favour of it with

sufficient clearness; and when this is the case, he may yield

his assent, in the Lord, to their unanimous agreement.

XI. The necessity of councils is not absolute, because the

church can be instructed respecting necessary things without

them. Yet their utility is very great, if, being instituted

in the name of the Lord, they examine all things according to

his word, and appoint that which, by common consent,

according to that rule, the members have thought proper to

pronounce as their decision. For, as many eyes see more than

one eye, and as the Lord is accustomed to listen to the

prayers of a number who agree together among themselves on

earth, it is more probable that the truth will be discovered

and confirmed from the Scriptures by some council consisting

of many learned and pious men, than by the exertions of a

single individual transacting the same business privately by

himself. From these premises, we also say that the authority

of any council is greater than that of any man who is present

at such council, even that of the Roman pontiff, to whom we

ascribe no other right in any council, than that which we

give to any bishop, even at the time when he performed with

fidelity the duties of a true bishop. So far, are we

disinclined to believe, that no council can be convened and

held without his command, presidency and direction.

XIII. No council can prescribe to its successors, that they

may not again deliberate about that which has been transacted

and determined in preceding councils; because the matter of

religion does not come under the denomination of a thing that

is prejudged; neither can any council bind itself, by an

oath, to the observance of any other word than that of God;

much less can it make positive laws, to which it may bind

either itself, or any man, by an oath.

XIV. It is also allowable for a later ecumenical or general

council to call in doubt that which had been decreed by a

preceding general council, because it is possible even for

general councils to err; nor yet does it follow from these

premises that the catholic church errs; that is, that all the

faithful universally err.




I. By The word "ministry," we designate a public auxiliary

office or duty, subservient to a superior, who, in this

instance, is God and Christ as he is the Lord and Head of the

church. It receives the appellation of "ecclesiastical" from

its object, which is the church; and we distinguish it from a

political ministry, which exercises itself in the civil

affairs of the commonwealth.

II. But it is the public duty which God has committed to

certain men, to collect a church, to attend to it when

collected, and to bring it to Christ, its Head, and through

him to God, that [the members of] it may attain a life of

happiness, to the glory of God and Christ.

III. But as a church consists of men who live a natural life,

and are called to live while in the body, a spiritual life,

which is superior and ought to be as the end of the other,

there is a two-fold office to be performed in the church

according to the exigencies both of the natural and of the

spiritual life: The First is that which is properly, per se,

and immediately occupied about the spiritual life, its

commencement, progress and confirmation; the Second is that

by which the natural life is sustained, and, therefore, it

belongs, only by accident and mediately, to the church. The

First is always necessary per se. The Second is not necessary

[in the church] except by hypothesis; because there are those

who need a maintenance from others, and they do not obtain

this through some order established in the community, in

which case, it ought always to endure; but where any such

order is established, it is unnecessary. On the former of

these we are now treating; about the latter we have no

further remarks to make.

IV. The office accommodated to the spiritual life, consists

of these three acts: The First is the teaching of the truth

which is according to godliness; the Second is intercession

before God; the Third is regimen or government accommodated

to this institution or teaching.

V. Institution or teaching consists in the proposing,

explanation and confirmation of the truth, which contains the

things that are to be believed, hoped for, and performed, in

the refutation of falsehood, in exhortation, reprehension,

consolation, and threatening, all of which is accomplished by

the word both of the law and the gospel. To this function, we

add the administration of the sacraments, which serve for the

same purpose.

VI. Intercession consists in prayers and Thanksgivings

offered to God for the church and each of its members,

through Christ our only advocate and intercessor.

VII. The government of the church is used for this end, that,

in the whole church, all things may be done decently, in

order, and to edification; and that each of its members may

be kept in their duty, the loiterers may be incited, the weak

confirmed, those who have wandered out of the way brought

back, the contumacious punished, and the penitents received.

VIII. These offices are not always imposed in the same mode,

nor administered by the same methods. For, at the

commencement of the rising Christian church, they were

imposed on some men immediately by God and Christ, and they

were administered by those on whom they had been imposed,

without binding them to certain churches; hence, also, the

apostles were called "ministers," as being the ambassadors of

Christ to every creature throughout the world. To these were

added the evangelists, as fellow-labourers. Afterwards [the

same offices were imposed] immediately on those who were

called pastors and teachers, bishops and priests, and who

were placed over certain churches. The former of these [the

apostles and evangelists] continued only for a season, and

had no successors. The latter [pastors, &c.] will remain in

perpetual succession to the end of the world, though we do

not deny that, when a church is first to be collected for any

one, a man may traverse the whole earth in teaching.

IX. These offices are so ordered, that one person can

discharge all of them at the same time; though, if the

utility of the church and the diversity of gifts so require,

they can be variously distributed among different men.

X. The vocation to such ecclesiastical offices is either

immediate or mediate. Immediate vocation we will not now

discuss. But that which is mediate is a divine act,

administered by God and Christ through the church, by which

he consecrates to himself a man separated from the

occupations of the natural life and from those which are

common, and removes him to the duties of the pastoral office,

for the salvation of men and his own glory. In this vocation,

we ought to consider the vocation itself, its efficient and

its object.

XI. The act of vocation consists of previous examination,

election, and confirmation. (1.) Examination is a diligent

inquiry and trial, whether the person about whom it is

occupied be well suited for fulfilling the duties of the

office. This fitness consists in the knowledge and approval

of things true and necessary, in probity of life, and a

facility of communicating to others those things which he

knows himself, (which facility contains language and freedom

in speaking,) in prudence, moderation of mind, patient

endurance of labours, infirmities, injuries, &c.

XII. Election, or choice, is the ordination of a person who

is legitimately examined and found good and proper, by which

is imposed on him the office to be discharged. To this, it is

not unusual to add some public inauguration, by prayers and

the laying on of hands, and also by previous fasting and is

like an admission to the administration of the office itself,

which is commonly denominated "confirmation."

XIII. The primary efficient is God and Christ, and the Spirit

of both as conducting the cause of Christ in the church, on

which cause the whole authority of the vocation depends. The

administrator is the church itself, in which we number the

Christian magistrate, teachers, with the rest of the

presbyters, and the people themselves. But in those places in

which no magistrate resides who is willing to attend to this

matter, there, bishops or presbyters, with the people, can

and ought to perform this business.

XIV. The object is the person to be called, in whom is

required, for the sake of the church, that aptitude or

suitableness about which we have already spoken, and on

account of it, the testimony of a good conscience, by which

he modestly approves the judgment of the church, and is

conscious to himself that he enters on this office in the

sincere fear of God, and with an intense desire only to edify

the church.

XV. The essential form of the vocation is that all things may

be done according to the rule prescribed in the word of God.

The accidental is, that they may all be done decently and

suitably, according to the particular relations of persons,

places, times, and other circumstances.

XVI. Wheresoever all these conditions are observed, the call

is legitimate, and on every part approved; but if some one be

deficient, the act of vocation is then imperfect; yet the

call is to be considered as ratified and firm, while the

vocation of God is united by some outward testimony of it,

which, because it is various, we cannot define


The vocations or calls in the papal church have not been

null, though contaminated and imperfect; and the first

reformers had an ordinary and mediate call.



We have thus far treated on the church, her power, and the

ministry of the word; it follows that we now discuss those

signs or marks which God appends to his word, and by which He

seals and confirms the faith which has been produced in the

minds of his covenant people. For these signs are commonly

called "sacraments" -- a term, indeed, which is not employed

in the Scriptures, but which, account of the agreement about

it in the church, must not be rejected.

I. But this word, "sacrament," is transferred from military

usage to that of sacred things; for, as soldiers were devoted

to their general by an oath, as by a solemn attestation, so,

likewise, those in covenant are bound to Christ by their

reception of these signs, as by a public oath. But because

the same word is either taken in a relative acceptation, (and

this either properly for a sign, or by metonymy for the thing

signified,) or in an absolute acceptation, (and this by

synecdoche for both,) we will treat about its proper


II. A sacrament, therefore, is a sacred and visible sign or

token and seal instituted by God, by which he ratifies to his

covenant people the gracious promise proposed in his word,

and binds them, on the other hand, to the performance of

their duty. Therefore, no other promises are proposed to us

by these signs than those which are manifested in the word.

III. We call it "a sign or token, and a seal, both from the

usage of Scripture in Gen. xvii, 11, and Rom. iv, 11, and

from the nature of the thing itself, because these tokens,

beside the external appearance which they present to our

senses, cause something else to occur to the thoughts.

Neither are they only naked significant tokens, but seals and

pledges, which affect not only the mind, but likewise the

heart itself.

IV. We call it "sacred" in a two-fold respect: (1.) Because

it has been given by God; and (2.) Because it is given to a

sacred use. We call it "visible," because it is of the nature

of a sign that it be perceptible to the senses; for that

which is not such, cannot be called a sign.

V. The author of these signs is God, who alone, is the lord

and lawgiver of the church, and whose province it is to

prescribe laws, to make promises, and to seal them with those

tokens which have seemed good to himself; yet they are so

accommodated to the grace to be sealed, as, by a certain

analogy, to be significant of it. Therefore, they are not

natural signs, which, from their own nature, signify all that

of which they are significant; but they are voluntary signs,

the whole signification of which depends on the will or

option of him who institutes them.

VI. The matter is the external element itself created by God,

and, therefore, subject to his power, and made suitable to

seal that which, according to his wisdom, God wills to be

sealed by it.

VII. As the internal form of the sacrament is ek twn prov ti

of things to their relation, it consists in relation, and is

that suitable analogy and similitude between the sign and the

thing signified which has regard both to the representation,

and to the sealing or witnessing, and the exhibition of the

thing signified through the authority and the will of him who

institutes it. From this most close analogy of the sign with

the thing signified, various figurative expressions are

employed in the Scriptures and in the sacraments: as, when

the name of the thing signified is ascribed to the sign,

thus, "And my covenant shall be in your flesh;" (Gen. xvii,

13; ) and, on the contrary, in 1 Corinthians v, 7, "Christ,

our passover, is sacrificed for us." Or, when the property of

the thing is ascribed to the sign, as "Whosoever drinketh of

the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst." (John

iv, 14. ) And, on the contrary, "Take, eat: this is my body."

(Matt. xxvi, 26.)

VIII. The end of sacraments is two-fold, proximate and

remote. The proximate end is the sealing of the promise made

in the covenant. The remote end is, (1.) the confirmation of

the faith of those who are in the covenant, and by

consequence the salvation of the church that consists of

those covenanted members; and (2.) the glory of God.

IX. Those for whom the sacraments have been instituted by

God, and by whom they are to be used, are those with whom God

has entered into covenant, all of them, and they only. To

them the use of the sacraments is to be conceded, as long as

they are reckoned by God in the number of those who are in

covenant; though by their sins they have deserved to be cast

off and divorced.

X. But these sacraments are to be considered according to the

varied conditions of men; for they have either been

instituted before the fall, and are of the covenant of works;

or, after the fall, and are of the covenant of grace. There

was only a single sacrament of the covenant of works, and

that the tree of life. Those of the covenant of grace are

either so far as they have regard to the promised covenant,

and belong to the church while yet in her infancy and placed

under pedagogy [the law being her schoolmaster] as were those

of circumcision and of the passover; or so far as now they

have regard to the covenant confirmed, and belong to the

Christian church that is of adult age, as are those of

baptism and the Lord's supper. The points of agreement and

difference between each of these will be the more

conveniently perceived in the discussion of each.


Though in some things, sacrifices and sacraments agree

together, yet they are by no means to be confounded; because

in many respects the latter differ from the former.




I. The tree of life was created and instituted by God for

this end -- that man, as long as he remained obedient to the

divine law, might eat of its fruit, both for the preservation

and continuance of this natural life against every defect

which could happen to it through old age, or any other cause,

and to designate or point out the promise of a better and

more blissful life. It answered the former purpose, as an

element created by God; and the latter, as a sacrament

instituted by God. It was adapted to accomplish the former

purpose by the natural force and capability which was

imparted to it; it was fitted for the latter, on account of

the similitude and analogy which subsist between natural and

spiritual life.

II. Circumcision is the sign of the covenant into which God

entered with Abraham to seal or witness the promise about the

blessed seed that should be born of him, about all nations

which were to be blessed in him, and about constituting him

the father of many nations, and the heir of the world through

the righteousness of faith; and that God was willing to be

his God and the God of his seed after him. This sign was to

be administered in that member which is the ordained

instrument of generation in the male sex, by a suitable

analogy between the sign and the thing signified.

III. By that sign all the male descendants from Abraham,

were, at the express command of God, to be marked, on the

eighth day after their nativity; and a threatening was added,

that it should come to pass that the soul of him who was not

circumcised on that day should be cut off from his people.

IV. But though females were not circumcised in their bodies,

yet they were in the mean time partakers of the same covenant

and obligation, because they were reckoned among the men, and

were considered by God as circumcised. It, therefore, was not

necessary that God should institute any other remedy for

taking away from females the native corruption of sin, as the

papists have the audacity to affirm, beyond and contrary to

the Scriptures.

V. And this is the first relation of circumcision belonging

to the promise. The other is, that the persons circumcised

were bound to the observance of the whole law, delivered by

God, and especially of the ceremonial law. For it was in the

power of God to prescribe, to those who were in covenant with

him, a law at his pleasure, and to seal the obligation of its

observance by such a sign of the covenant as had been

previously instituted and employed; and in this respect

circumcision belongs to the Old Testament.

VI. The paschal lamb was a sacrament, instituted by God to

point out the deliverance from Egypt, and to renew the

remembrance of it at a stated time in each year.

VII. Beside this use, it served typically to adumbrate

Christ, the true Lamb, who was to endure and bear away the

sins of the world; on which account, also, its use was

abrogated by the sufferings and [the sacrifice of Christ on

the cross, as it relates to the right; but it was afterwards,

in fact and reality, abrogated with the destruction of the

city and the temple.

VIII. The sacrament of the tree of life was a bloodless one;

in the other two, there was shedding of blood -- both

suitable to the diversity of the state of those who were in

covenant with God. For the former was instituted before the

entrance of sin into the world; but the two latter, after sin

had entered, which, according to the decree of God, is not

expiated except by blood; because the wages of sin is death,

and natural life, according to the Scriptures, has its seat

in the blood.

IX. The passage under the cloud and through the sea, manna,

and the water which gushed from the rock, were sacramental

signs; but they were extraordinary, and as a sort of prelude

to the sacraments of the New Testament, although of a

signification and testification the most obscure, since the

things signified and witnessed by them were not declared in

express words.


I. It is probable that the church, from the primitive promise

and reparation after the fall, until the times of Abraham,

had her sacraments, though no express mention is made of them

in the Scriptures.

II. It would be an act of too great boldness to affirm what

those sacraments were; yet if any one should say, that the

first of them was the offering of the infant recently born

before the Lord, on the very day on which the mother was

purified from childbearing, and that another was, the eating

of sacrifices and the sprinkling of the blood of the victims;

his assertion would not be utterly devoid of probability.



I. The sacraments of the New Testament are those which have

been instituted for giving testimony to the covenant, or the

New Testament confirmed by the death and blood of its

mediator and testator.

II. Wherefore, it was necessary that they should be such as

were adapted to give significance and testimony to the

confirmation already made; that is, that they should declare

and testify that the blood had been shed, and that the death

of the mediator had intervened.

III. There ought, therefore, to be no shedding of blood in

the sacraments of the New Testament; neither ought they to

consist of any such thing as is or has been partaker of the

life which is in the blood; for as sin has now been expiated,

and remission fully obtained through the blood and death of

the mediator, no further shedding of blood was necessary.

IV. But they were to be instituted before the confirmation of

the new covenant was made by the blood of the mediator and

the death of the testator himself; both because the

institution and the sealing o! the testament ought to precede

even the death of the testator; and because the mediator

himself ought to be a partaker of these sacraments, to

consecrate them in his own person, and more strongly to seal

the covenant which is between us and him.

V. But as the communion of a sacrifice unto death, offered

for sins, is signified and testified by nothing more

appropriately than by the sprinkling of the blood and the

eating of the sacrifice itself and the drinking of the blood,

(if indeed it were allowable to drink blood,) hence,

likewise, no signs were more appropriate than water, bread

and wine, since the sprinkling of his very blood and the

eating of his body could not be done, and, besides, the

drinking of his blood ought not to be done.

VI. The virtue and efficacy of the sacraments of the New

Testament do not go beyond the act of signifying and

testifying. There can neither actually be, nor be imagined,

any exhibition of the thing signified through them, except

such as is completed by these intermediate acts themselves.

VII. And, therefore, the sacraments of the New Testament do

not differ from those used in the Old Testament; because the

former exhibit grace, but the latter typify or prefigure it.

VIII. The sacraments of the New Testament have not the ratio

of sacraments beyond that very use for the sake of which they

were instituted, nor do they profit those who use them

without faith and repentance; that is, those persons who are

of adult age, and of whom faith and repentance are required.

Respecting infants, the judgment is different, to whom it is

sufficient that they are the offspring of believing parents,

that they may be reckoned in the covenant.

IX. The sacraments of the New Testament have been instituted,

that they may endure to the end of time; and they will endure

till the end of all things.


The diversity of sects in the Christian religion does not

excuse the omission of the use of the sacraments, though the

vehemence of the leaders of any sect may afford a legitimate

and sufficient cause to the people to abstain justly and

without sin from the use of the sacraments of which such men

have to become partakers with them.



I. Baptism is the initial sacrament of the New Testament, by

which the covenant people of God are sprinkled with water, by

a minister of the church, in the name of the Father, of the

Son, and of the Holy Ghost -- to signify and to testify the

spiritual ablution which is effected by the blood and Spirit

of Christ. By this sacrament, those who are baptized to God

the Father, and are consecrated to his Son by the Holy Spirit

as a peculiar treasure, may have communion with both of them,

and serve God all the days of their life.

II. The author of the institution is God the Father, in his

Son, the mediator of the New Testament, by the eternal Spirit

of both. The first administrator of it was John; but Christ

was the confirmer, both by receiving it from John, and by

afterwards administering it through his disciples.

III. But as baptism is two-fold with respect to the sign and

the thing signified -- one being of water, the other of blood

and of the Spirit -- the first external, the second internal;

so the matter and form ought also to be two-fold -- the

external and earthy of the external baptism, the internal and

heavenly of that which is internal.

IV. The matter of external baptism is elementary water,

suitable, according to nature, to purify that which is

unclean. Hence, it is also suitable for the service of God to

typify and witness the blood and the Spirit of Christ; and

this blood and the Spirit of Christ is the thing signified in

outward baptism, and the matter of that which is inward. But

the application both of the blood and the Spirit of Christ,

and the effect of both, are the thing signified by the

application of this water, and the effect of the application.

V. The form of external baptism is that ordained

administration, according to the institution of God, which

consists of these two things: (1.) That he who is baptized,

be sprinkled with this water. (2.) That this sprinkling be

made in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy

Ghost. Analogous to this, is the inward sprinkling and

communication both of the blood and the Spirit of Christ,

which is done by Christ alone, and which may be called "the

internal form of inward baptism."

VI. The primary end of baptism is, that it may be a

confirmation and sealing of the communication of grace in

Christ, according to the new covenant, into which God the

Father has entered with us in and on account of Christ. The

secondary end is, that it may be the symbol of our initiation

into the visible church, and an express mark of the

obligation by which we have been bound to God the Father, and

to Christ our Lord.

VII. The object of this baptism is not real, but only

personal; that is, all the covenanted people of God, whether

they be adults or infants, provided the infants be born of

parents who are themselves in the covenant, or if one of

their parents be among the covenanted people of God, both

because ablution in the blood of Christ has been promised to

them; and because by the Spirit of Christ they are engrafted

into the body of Christ.

VIII. Because this baptism is an initiatory sacrament, it

must be frequently repeated; because it is a sacrament of the

New Testament, it must not be changed, but will continue to

the end of the world; and because it is a sign confirming the

promise, and sealing it, it is unwisely asserted that,

through it, grace is conferred; that is, by some other act of

conferring than that which is done through typifying and

sealing: For grace cannot be immediately conferred by water.



I. As in the preceding disputation, we have treated on

baptism, the sacrament of initiation, it follows that we now

discuss the Lord's supper, which is the sacrament of


II. We define it thus: The Lord's supper is a sacrament of

the New Testament immediately instituted by Christ for the

use of the church to the end of time, in which, by the

legitimate external distribution, taking, and enjoyment of

bread and wine, the Lord's death is announced, and the inward

receiving and enjoyment of the body and blood of Christ are

signified; and that most intimate and close union or

fellowship, by which we are joined to Christ our Head, is

sealed and confirmed on account of the institution of Christ,

and the analogical relation of the sign to the thing

signified. But by this, believers profess their gratitude and

obligation to God, communion among themselves, and a marked

difference from all other persons.

III. We constitute Christ the author of this sacrament; for

he alone is constituted, by the Father, the Lord and Head of

the church, possessing the right of instituting sacraments,

and of efficaciously performing this very thing which is

signified and sealed by the sacraments.

IV. The matter is, bread and wine; which, with regard to

their essence, are not changed, but remain what they

previously were; neither are they, with regard to place,

joined together with the body or blood, so that the body is

either in, under, or with the bread, &c.; nor in the use of

the Lord's Supper can the bread and wine be separated, that,

when the bread is held out to the laity, the cup be not

denied to them.

V. We lay down the form in the relation and the most strict

union, which exist between the signs and the thing signified,

and the reference of both to those believers who communicate,

and by which they are made by analogy and similitude

something united. From this conjunction of relation, arises a

two-fold use of signs in this sacrament of the Lord's supper

-- the first, that these signs are representative -- the

second, that, while representing, they seal Christ to us with

his benefits.

VI. The end is two-fold: The first is, that our faith should

be more and more strengthened towards the promise of grace

which has been given by God, and concerning the truth and

certainty of our being engrafted into Christ. The second is,

(1.) that believers may, by the remembrance of the death of

Christ, testify their gratitude and obligation to God; (2.)

that they may cultivate charity among themselves; and (3.)

that by this mark they may be distinguished from unbelievers.



I. Omitting the various significations of the word "Mass"

which may be adduced, we consider, on this occasion, that

which the papists declare to be the external and properly

called "expiatory sacrifice," in which the sacrificers offer

Christ to his Father in behalf of the living and the dead,

and which they affirm to have been celebrated and instituted

by Christ himself when he celebrated and instituted his last


II. First. We say, this sacrifice is falsely ascribed to the

institution of the Lord's supper; for Christ did not

institute a sacrifice, but a sacrament, which is apparent

from the institution itself, in which we are not commanded to

offer any thing to God, at least nothing external. Yet we

grant, that in the Lord's supper, as in all acts, is

commanded, or ought to exist, that internal sacrifice by

which believers offer to God prayers, praises and

thanksgiving. In this view, the Lord's supper is called "the


III. Secondly. To this sacrifice are opposed the nature,

truth and excellence of the sacrifice of Christ. For, as the

sacrifice of Christ is single, expiatory, perfect, and of

infinite value; and as Christ was once offered, and "hath by

that one oblation perfected for ever them who were once

sanctified," as the Scriptures testify, undoubtedly no place

has been left either for any other sacrifice, or for a

repetition of this sacrifice of Christ.

IV. Thirdly. Besides, it is wrong to suppose that Christ can

be or ought to be offered by men, or by any other person than

by himself; for he, alone, is both the victim and the priest,

as being the only one who is truly "holy, harmless,

undefiled, and separate from sinners."

V. From all these particulars it is sufficiently apparent,

that it is not necessary, nay, that it is impious, for any

expiatory sacrifice now to be offered by men for the living

and the dead. Besides, it is a piece of foolish ignorance, to

suppose either that the dead require some oblation; or that

they can by it obtain remission of sins, who have not

obtained pardon before death.

VI. In addition to these three enormous errors committed in

the mass, with respect to the sacrifice, to the priest, and

to those for whom the sacrifice is offered, there is a

fourth, which is one of the greatest turpitude of all, and is

committed in conjunction with idolatry -- that this very

sacrifice is adored by him who offers it, and by those for

whom it is offered, and is carried about in solemn pomp.


In these words, "the mass is an expiatory, representative and

commemorative sacrifice," there is an opposition in the

apposition and a manifest contradiction,



I. As three things are necessarily required to constitute the

essence of a sacrament -- that is, divine institution, an

outward and visible sign, and a promise of the invisible

grace which belongs to eternal salvation -- it follows that

the thing which is deficient in one of these requisites, or

in which one of them is wanting, cannot come under the

denomination of a sacrament.

II. Therefore popish confirmation is not a sacrament, though

the external signing of the cross in the forehead of the

Christian, and the unction of the chrism, are employed; for

these signs have not been instituted by Christ; neither have

they been sanctified to typify or to seal any thing of saving

grace; nor is promised grace annexed to the use or to the

reception of these signs.

III. Penitence, indeed, is an act prescribed, by the Lord, to

all who have fallen into sin, and has the promise of

remission of sins. But because there does not exist in it,

through the divine command, any external sign, by which grace

is intimated and sealed, it cannot, on this account, receive

the appellation of "a sacrament." For the act of a priest,

absolving a penitent, belongs to the announcement of the

gospel; as does likewise the injunction of those works which

are inaccurately styled by the papists satisfactory, that is,

fasting, prayers, alms, afflicting the soul, &c.

IV. That is called extreme unction, by the papists, which is

bestowed on none except on those who are in their last

moments; but it has then not the least power or virtue; nor

was it ever instituted by Christ to signify the premise of

spiritual grace. It cannot, therefore, obtain the appellation

of "a sacrament."

V. Neither can the order or institution, confirmation or

inauguration of any person to the official discharge of some

ecclesiastical duties, come under the denomination of a

sacrament -- both because it belongs to the particular and

public vocation of some persons in the church, and not to the

general vocation of all; and because, though it may have been

instituted by Christ, yet, whatever external signs may be

employed in it, they do not belong to the sealing of that

grace which makes a man agreeable [to God] or which is

saving, but only to that which is freely given, as they say

by way of distinction.

VI. Though matrimony between a husband and wife agree by a

certain similitude with the spiritual espousals subsisting

between Christ and the church; yet it was neither instituted

by the Lord for signifying this, nor has it any promise of

spiritual grace annexed to it.



I. The first part of our duty to God and Christ was, the true

meaning concerning God and Christ, or true faith in God and

Christ; the second part is, the right worship to be rendered

to both of them.

II. This part receives various appellations. Among the

Hebrews, it is called h r w k [ and µ y h w l a t a d y the

honour or worship, and the fear of God. Among the Greek, it

is called Eusebeia piety; Qesebeia godliness, or a

worshipping of God; Qrhskeia religion; Latreia service

rendered to God; Douleia religious homage; Qerapeia divine

worship; Timh honour; Fobov fear; Agaph tou Qeou the love of

God. Among the Romans it is called, pietas, cultus or cultura

dei, veneratio, honos, observantia.

III. It may be generally defined to be an observance which

must be yielded to God and Christ from a true faith, a good

conscience, and from charity unfeigned, according to the will

of God which has been manifested and made known to us, to the

glory of both of them, to the salvation of the worshiper, and

the edification of others.

IV. We express the genus by the word "observance," because it

contains the express intention of our mind and of our will to

God and to his will, which intention partly inspires life

into this portion of our duty towards God.

V. The object is the same as that of the whole of religion,

and of the first part of it, which is faith; and this object

is God and Christ, in which the same formal reasons come

under consideration, as those which we explained when

treating generally on religion.

VI. In the efficient or the worshiper, whom we declare to be

a Christian man, we require true faith in God and Christ, a

good conscience, as having been sanctified and purified

through faith by the blood and Spirit of Christ, and a

sincere charity; for, without these, no worship which is

rendered to God can be grateful and acceptable to him.

VII. The matter is, those particular acts in which the

worship of God consists; but the very will and command of God

gives form to it; for it is not the will of God to be

worshipped at the option of a creature, but according to the

pleasure and prescript of his own will.

VIII. The principal end is, the glory of God and Christ. The

less principal is the salvation of the worshiper, and the

edification of others, both that they may be won over to

Christ, and that, having been brought to Christ, they may the

more increase and grow in devotedness.

IX. The form is the observance itself, which is framed from

the suitable agreement of all these things to the dignity,

excellence and merits of the object that is to be worshipped

-- from such a disposition of the worshiper according to such

prescript, and from the intention of this end. If one of

these be wanting the observance is vitiated, and is,

therefore, displeasing to God.

X. Yet the worship which is prescribed by God must not, on

this account, be omitted, though the man, to whom it is

prescribed, cannot yet perform it, from such a mind, to this




I. To those who are about to treat on the worship of God, the

most commodious way and method seems to be this -- to follow

the order of the commands of God in which this worship is

prescribed, and to consider all and each of them. For they

instruct and inform the worshiper, and they prescribe the

matter, form and end of the worship.

II. In the precepts which prescribe the worship of God, three

things come generally under consideration: (1.) Their

foundation, on which rest the right and authority of him who

commands, and the equity of his command. (2.) The command

itself. (3.) The sanction, through promises and threatenings.

The first of these may be called "the preface to the

command;" the third, "the appendix to it;" and the second is

the very essence of the precept.

III. The foundation or preface, containing the authority of

Him who commands, and, through this, the equity of the

precept, is the common foundation of all religion, and, on

this account, also, it is the foundation of faith; for

instance, "I am the Lord thy God," &c. "I, the God omnipotent

or all sufficient, will be thy very great reward." "I am thy

God, and the God of thy seed." From these expressions, not

only may this conclusion be drawn -- "Therefore shalt thou

love the Lord thy God," "Therefore walk before me, and be

thou perfect" -- but likewise the following: "Therefore

believe thou in me." But we must not treat on this subject on

this occasion, as it has been discussed in the preceding


IV. I say that the other two are, the precept, and the

sanction or appendix of the precept. For we must suppose that

there are two parts of a precept, the first of which requires

the performance or the omission of an act, and the second

demands punishment. But we must consider that the latter

part, which is called "the appendix," serves for this

purpose, that, in the former, God enjoys the thing which he

desired, dispensing blessings if he obtain his desire, and

inflicting punishments if he does not obtain it.

V. With regard to the precepts, before we come to each of

them, we must first look generally at that which comes under

consideration in every precept.

VI. In the first place, the object of every precept is two-

fold, the one formal, the other material; or the first

formally required, the second materially,. Of these, the

former is uniform in all circumstances and in every precept,

but the latter is different or distinguishable.

VII. The formal object, or that which is formally required,

is pure obedience itself without respect of the particular

thing or act in which, or about which, obedience must be

performed. And we may be allowed to call such obedience

"blind," with this exception, that it is preceded solely by

the knowledge by which a man knows that this very thing had

been prescribed by God.

VIII. The material object, or that which is materially

required, is the special or particular act itself, in the

performance or omission of which obedience lies.

IX. From the formal object, it is deduced that the act in

which it is the will of God that obedience be yielded to him

by its performance, is of such a nature that there is

something in man which is abhorrent from its performance; and

that the act, the omission of which is commanded by God, is

of such a nature that there is something in man which is

inclined to perform it. If it were otherwise, neither the

performance of the former, nor the omission of the latter,

could be called "obedience."

X. From these premises, it further follows that the

performance and the omission of this act proceed from a cause

which overcomes and restrains the nature of man, that is

inclined towards the forbidden act, and is abhorrent from

that which is prescribed.



I. The obedience which is the formal object of all the divine

precepts, and which is prescribed in all of them, is properly

and adequately prescribed to the will conducting itself

according to the mode of liberty; that is, as it is free,

that it may regulate the will conducting itself according to

the mode of nature, that is, that it may regulate the

inclination according to the prescribed obedience.

II. This liberty is either that of contradiction or exercise,

or that of contrariety or specification. According to the

liberty of exercise, the will regulates the inclination, that

it may perform some act rather than abstain from it, or the

contrary. According to the liberty of specification, the will

regulates the inclination, that, by such an act, it may tend

towards this rather than towards that object.

III. From this formal object of all precepts, and its

relation thus considered, arises the first distribution and

that a formal one, of all the precepts, into those which

command, and those which forbid; that is, those in which the

commission or the omission [of an act] is prescribed.

IV. A precept which forbids is so binding, as not to allow a

man to commit what is forbidden. For we must not perpetrate

wickedness that good may come; yet this is the only reason

why we might occasionally be allowed to perform what has been


V. A precept which commands is not equally rigidly binding,

so as to require in every single moment of time the

performance of what is commanded; for this cannot be done,

though the period when man will or will not perform it, is

not left to his option; but performance of it must be

administered according to the occasions and exigencies which

offer. Thus it was not lawful for Daniel to abstain for three

days from calling upon his God.

VI. When a precept which forbids, and one which commands, are

directly contrary -- whether it be according to the act,

"Thou shalt love God, and not hate him," "Thou shalt hate the

world and not love it;" or, whether it be according to the

object, "Thou shalt love God, and not love the world;" "Thou

shalt hate the world, but shalt not hate God;" then the

transgression of the law which forbids, is more grievous than

that which commands, because it recedes further from

obedience, and because the commission of an evil which has

been forbidden includes in it the omission of a good which

has been commanded.



I. Because the yielding of obedience is the duty of an

inferior, therefore, for the performance of it, humility is

requisite. This, generally considered, is a quality by which

any one becomes ready to submit himself to another, to

undertake his commands and to execute them; and, in this

instance, to submit himself to God.

II. Obedience has respect partly to an internal act, and

partly to one that is external. The performance of both these

is required for entire, true, and sincere obedience. For God

is a Spirit, and the inspector of hearts, who demands the

obedience of the whole man, both of the inward and the

outward man -- obedience from the affections of the heart and

from the members of the body. The external act without the

internal is hypocrisy; the internal, without the external, is

incomplete, unless man be hindered from the performance of

the external act without his own immediate fault.

III. With this, nearly coincides the expression of the

scholastic divines "to perform a command either according to

the substance of the act only, or also according to the

required quality and mode," in which sense, likewise, Luther

seems to have uttered that expression -- "Adverbs save and


IV. The grace and special concurrence of God are required for

the performance of entire, true, and sincere obedience, even

for that of the inner man, of the affections of the heart,

and of a lawful mode. But we allow it to be made a subject of

discussion, whether revelation, and that assistance of God

which is called "general," and which is opposed to this

special aid, and is distinguished from it, be sufficient only

to perform the external act of the body and the substance of

the act.

V. Though that special grace which moves, excites, impels and

urges to obey, physically moves the understanding and the

inclination of man, so that he cannot be otherwise than

affected with the perception of it, yet it does not effect or

elicit the consent except morally, that is, by the mode of

suasion, and by the intervention of the free volition of man,

which free volition not only excludes coaction, but likewise

all antecedent necessity and determination.

VI. But that special concurrence or assistance of grace,

which is also called "co-operating and accompanying grace"

differs neither in kind nor efficacy from that exciting and

moving grace which is called preventing and operating, but it

is the same grace continued. It is styled "co-operating" or

"concomitant," only on account of the concurrence of the

human will which operating and preventing grace has elicited

from the will of man. This concurrence is not denied to him

to whom exciting grace is applied, unless the man offers

resistance to the grace exciting.

VII. From these premises, we conclude that a regenerated man

is capable of performing more good than he actually performs,

and can omit more evil than he omits; and, therefore, that

neither in the sense in which it is received by St.

Augustine, nor in that in which some of our divines

understand it, is efficacious grace necessary for the

performance of obedience -- a circumstance which is highly

agreeable with the doctrine of St. Augustine.


Coaction only circumscribes the liberty of an agent, it does

not destroy or take it away; and such circumscription is not

made, except through the medium or intervention of the

natural inclination; the natural inclination, therefore, is

more opposed to liberty than coaction is.



I. As mere obedience, considered in the abstract, is the

formal object of all the precepts of the divine law, so the

acts in which the obedience that must be performed is

prescribed, are the material objects of the same precepts.

II. For this reason, these acts will at length be said to be

conformable to law, and performed according to law, when

obedience has given form to them; that when they have been

performed from obedience, or through the intention and desire

of obeying. This desire to obey is necessarily preceded by a

certain knowledge that those acts have been prescribed by

God, according to this expression of the apostle: "Whatsoever

is not of faith, is sin."

III. Hence, it is apparent that a good intention does not

suffice to justify an act, unless it be preceded by a command

of God and a knowledge of such command; though, without a

good intention, no act, even when commanded by God, can of

itself be pleasing to him. But it is our wish that, under the

term "actions," omission is also understood to be


IV. A good work, therefore, universally requires these

conditions: (1.) That it be prescribed by God. (2.) That man

certainly knows it to have been commanded by God. (3.) That

it be performed with the intention and desire of obeying God,

which cannot be done without faith in God. To these ought to

be added a special condition, which belongs to Christ and to

his gospel -- that it be done through faith in Christ,

because no work is agreeable to God after the commission of

sin in a state of grace, except in Christ, and through faith

in him.

V. But the acts which are prescribed in the law, are either

of themselves and in their own nature indifferent; or they

have in them. something why they are pleasing or displeasing

to God -- why they are prescribed by him or forbidden. The

law, which prescribes the former of these, [the indifferent

acts,] is called "positive," "symbolical," and "ceremonial."

That which prescribes the latter is styled "the moral law"

and "the decalogue;" it is also called "the law of nature."

On these last, we shall afterwards treat at greater length.

VI. The material acts, in which obedience is prescribed to be

performed by the moral law, are either general, and belonging

to the observance of the whole law and of all and each of its

precepts; or they are special, and peculiarly prescribed in

each of the precepts of the decalogue.

VII. The general acts are the love, honour and fear of God,

and trust in him. The special acts will be treated in the

particular explanation of each of the precepts.




I. These general acts may be considered either in the first

act or in the second. In the first, they come under the

denomination of affections; in the second, they retain to

themselves the appropriate name of acts. But in consequence

of the close union and agreement of nature between an

affection and a second act, love, fear, trust and honour,

receive the same denomination of "an affection," and "an


II. The love of God is a dutiful act of man, by which he

knowingly and willingly prefers, before all other things, the

union of himself with God and obedience to the divine law, to

which is subjoined a hatred of separation and of


III. The fear of God is a dutiful act of man, by which he

knowingly and willingly dreads before all things and avoids

the displeasing of God, (which is placed in the transgression

of his commands,) his wrath and reprehension and any

[sinister] inauspicious estimation of him lest he be

separated from God.

IV. Trust in God is a dutiful act of man, by which he

knowingly and willingly reposes on God alone, assuredly

hoping for and expecting from him all things which are

salutary or saving to himself; in which we also comprehend

the removal of evils.

V. The honour of God is a dutiful act of man, by which he

knowingly and willingly repays to God the reward due for his

excellent virtues and acts.

VI. The primary object of all these acts, as they are

prescribed by law and are man's duty, is God himself;

because, for whatever other things these acts are to be

performed, they must be performed on account of God and

through his command, otherwise no one can truly call them


VII. The formal reason of the object, that is, why these acts

may and ought to be performed to God, is, the wisdom,

goodness, justice, and power of God, and the acts performed

by him according to and through them. But we permit this to

be made the subject of a pious discussion, Which of these, in

requiring simple acts, obtain the precedence, and which of

them follow?

VIII. The immediate cause of these acts is man, according to

his understanding and inclination, and the freedom of his

will, not as man is, natural, but as he is spiritual, and

formed again after the life of God.

IX. The principal cause is the Holy Spirit, who infuses into

man, by the act of regeneration, the affections of love,

fear, trust, and honour; by exciting grace, excites, moves

and incites him to second acts, and by co-operating grace,

concurs with man himself to produce such second acts.

X. The form of these acts is that they be done through faith,

and according to the law of God. Their end is, that they be

performed to the salvation of the workers themselves, to the

glory of God, and to the benefit and confirmation of others.





I. The special acts of obedience are prescribed in the

decalogue, and in each of the commandments. The decalogue,

therefore, itself, must be considered by us in order.

II. A convenient distribution of the decalogue is that into a

preface and precepts. The preface is contained in these

words: "I am the Lord thy God, who have brought thee up from

the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." For we are

of opinion that this preface belongs to the entire decalogue,

rather than to the first commandment; though we do not

consider it advisable to contend about a matter so small and


III. The preface contains a general argument of suasion, why

the children of Israel ought to yield obedience to Jehovah --

and this two-fold -- the first drawn from the right of

confederation or covenant -- the second, from a particular

and signal benefit recently conferred on him. The former of

these is contained in the words, "the Lord thy God;" the

latter, in the expression, "who have brought thee out of the

land of Egypt," of which benefit a high commendation is given

in the description which is added -- that Egypt was to the

Israelites "the house of bondage" that by amplifying the

misery of that servitude, they might be able to call to mind

those things which had happened to them.

IV. Though this argument, "thy God," may likewise have

respect to creation, and may comprise that benefit, yet it is

more probable that it has a special reference to the

concluding of a covenant with this people.

V. From this preface, may conveniently be deduced those

general acts about which we have treated in the preceding

disputation -- the love, fear, trust, and honour of God; for,

as Jehovah is their God, who delivered them out of Egypt,

therefore, most justly, as well as profitably, must he be

loved, feared and honoured, and trust must be reposed in him.

VI. But some things generally must be observed for the

correct performance of all the precepts together. Such are,

VII. The law of God requires the entire obedience of the

mouth, heart and work, that is, inward and outward obedience

-- for God is the God of the whole man, of the soul and body,

and looks principally upon the heart.

VIII. The explanation of the precepts of the decalogue must

be sought from Moses and the prophets, from Christ and his

apostles; and it may be procured in sufficient abundance, so

that nothing necessary can be imagined, which may not be

drawn from the writings of the Old and the New Testament.

IX. The meaning of each precept must be taken from the end on

account of which it was given; and all those things must be

considered as included in it, without which the precept

cannot be performed. Therefore, one and the same work may be

referred to different precepts, so far as it has respect to

different ends.

X. In affirmation, its opposite negative seems to be

comprised; and, in a negative, the affirmation which is

opposed to it; because God not only requires a refraining

from evil, but likewise a performance of good, though a

reason may be given why God declared some things negatively,

and others affirmatively.

XI. Homogeneous and cognate acts are commanded or are

forbidden in the same precept; and a genus comprehends its

species; and a species comprises, in the same command, other

species allied to it, unless a just law exists why it must be

otherwise determined.

XII. An effect in its cause, or a cause in its effect, (if

the conversion be necessary and according to nature,) is not

commanded and prohibited through accident.

XIII. When of those things which have a relation to each

other, one is prescribed or forbidden, the other is also

commanded or forbidden, because they mutually lay themselves

down and remove themselves.

XIV. If it happen that the observance of two precepts cannot

be paid at the same time to both of them, regard must be had

to that which is of the greater moment, and for the

performance of which more and juster causes exist.



I. The ten precepts of the decalogue are conveniently

distributed into those of the first and those of the second

table. To the first table are attributed those precepts which

immediately prescribe our duty towards God himself; of this

kind, there are four. The second table claims those precepts

which contain the duties of men towards their fellow-men; and

to it are attributed the last six.

II. This is the relation which subsists between the commands

of each table -- that, from love to God and in reference to

him, we manifest love, and the offices of love towards our

neighbour; and if it should happen that we must of necessity

relinquish either our duty to God or our neighbour, God

should be preferred to our neighbour. Let this relation,

however, be understood as concerning those precepts only

which are not of the ceremonial worship; otherwise,

[respecting ceremonies] this declaration holds good: "I will

have mercy, and not sacrifice."

III. The first commandment is, "Thou shalt have no other god

before my face," or "against my face."

IV. It is very certain that, in this negative precept, the

subjoined affirmative one is included or presupposed as

something preceding and prerequisite: "Thou shalt have me,

who am Jehovah, for thy God." This is likewise immediately

consequent upon the preface, "I am the Lord thy God;"

therefore, "Let me be the Lord thy God;" or, which is the

same, "Therefore, have thou me, the Lord, for thy God."

V. But "to have the Lord for our God, is the part both of the

understanding and of the inclination or the will; and,

lastly, of an effect proceeding from both or from each of


VI. "Another god" is whatever the human mind invents, to

which it attributes the divinity that is suitable and

appropriate to the true God alone -- whether such divinity be

essence and life, or properties, works, or glory.

VII. Or whether the thing to which man attributes divinity be

something existing or created, or whether it be something

non-existent and merely imaginary and a figment of the brain,

it is equally "another god" for the entire divinity of that

other god lies radically, essentially and virtually in human

ascription, and by no means in that to which such divinity is

ascribed. Hence is the origin of this phrase, in Scripture,

"To go a whoring after their own heart."

VIII. But this "other God" may be conceived under a three-

fold difference, according to the Scriptures. For those who

have him, have (1.) either themselves been the first

inventors of him, (2.) have received him from their parents,

or (3.) from other nations, when neither they nor their

fathers knew him; and this last is done either by force, by

persuasion, or by the free and spontaneous choice of the


IX. For this reason, that "other god" is truly called "an

idol;" and the act by which he is accounted another god, is

idolatry; whether this be committed in the mind, by

estimation, acknowledgment, and belief, or by the affections,

love, fear, trust and hope, or by some external effect of

honour, worship, adoration and invocation.

X. The enormity of this sin is apparent from the fact of its

being called "a defection from God," "a forsaking of the

living fountain," and "a digging of broken cisterns that hold

no water," "a perfidious desertion of holy matrimony," and "a

violation of the connubial compact." Nay, the gentiles are

said to sacrifice to devils whatsoever they suppose that they

offer to God, in this ignorance of God and alienation from

the life of God.

XI. The cause why men are said to do service unto devils,

although they have themselves other thoughts, is this:

because Satan is the fountain head, and origin of all

idolatry; and is the author, persuader, impeller, approver

and defender of all the worship which is expended on another

god. Hence, likewise, it is the highest degree of idolatry

when any one accounts divine or ascribes divinity to Satan as

Satan, displaying himself as Satan and vaunting himself for


XII. But though the gentiles worshipped angels or devils, not

as the supreme God, but as minor deities and his ministers,

by whose intervention they might have communication with the

supreme God; yet the worship which they paid to them was

idolatry, because this worship was due to no one except to

the true God. But it does not belong to the definition of

idolatry, that any one should pay to another, as to God, that

worship which is due to the true God alone; for it is

sufficient if he account him as God, by ascribing divine

worship to him, though, in his mind, he may account him not

to be the supreme God. It is no palliation of the crime, but

an aggravation, if any one knowingly performs divine worship

to him whom he knows not to be God.

XIII. And since Christ must be honoured as the Father is,

because he has been constituted by his Father KING and LORD,

and has received all judgment, since every knee must bow to

him, and since he is to be invoked as Mediator and the Head

of his church, so that the church can pay this honour to no

one except him, without incurring the crime of idolatry;

therefore, the papists, who adore Mary, the angels, or holy

men, and who invoke them as the donors and administrators of

gifts, or as intercessors through their own merits, are

guilty of the crime of idolatry.

XIV. Besides, when they adore the bread in the Lord's supper,

and receive and account the pope for that personage whom he

boasts himself to be, they commit the sin of idolatry.



I. The second precept consists of a command and its sanction,

from a description of God, who is prompt and powerful to

punish the transgressor, and who is greatly inclined to bless

him that is obedient. In this are consequently included a

threat of punishment and a promise of reward.

II. This command is negative: A deed which is displeasing to

God is forbidden in these words: "Thou shalt not make unto

thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is

in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the

earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve


III. The sum of the precept is, that no one should adore or

offer divine worship to any sculptured, molten or painted

image, or one made in any other way, whether it has for its

archetype a thing really existing or something fictitious,

God or a creature, or whether it resemble its archetype

according to some real conformity, or only by institution and

opinion, or, which is the same thing, that he do not in or to

any image adore or worship that which he considers in the

place of a deity and worships as such, whether this be truly

or falsely.

IV. As, from a comparison of this precept, with other

passages of Scripture in which God commands certain images to

be made, it appears that the mere formation of every kind of

image whatsoever is not forbidden, provided that they be not

prostituted to worship; so, from a comparison of this same

precept with others which are analogous to it or collateral,

it is evident that no image ought to be made to represent

God, because this very act is nothing else but a changing of

the glory of the incorruptible God into the image or likeness

of a corruptible thing. For whatever can be fashioned or

framed is visible, therefore corruptible. We are not afraid

of making this general affirmation under the sanction of the

Scriptures, though with them and from them we know, that now,

according to the body, Christ is incorruptible.

V. A double distinction is here employed by the papists, of

an archetype and its image; and also of an image itself as it

is formed of such materials, and as it is an image, that is,

calculated and fitted to represent the archetype. From these,

they further deduce the distinction of the intention in

worshipping; by which the worshiper looks upon either the

archetype alone, not its image; or, if he even looks on the

image, does not behold it as it is made of such materials,

neither on it principally, but in reference to its archetype.

We do not attempt to deny that the mind of man can frame a

distinction of this kind.

VI. But when those who fall down before an image attempt, by

such a distinction, to excuse themselves from the

transgression of this precept, they accuse God himself of a

falsehood, and deride his command. (1.) They charge him with

falsehood; because, when God declares that he who falls down

before an image, says to the wood and to the stone, "Thou art

my Father!" they assert, that the prostrated person does not

say this to the wood and the stone, but to their archetype,

that is, to God. (2.) They mock God and his command; because

by this distinction it comes to pass, that no man at any

time, though paying adoration to any kind of images, can be

brought in guilty of having violated this precept, unless,

according to his own opinion, he has judged that wood really

to be God, and therefore that he has himself truly and in

reality formed a god, which cannot possibly enter into the

conception of one who uses his reason.

VII. But they partly annihilate their own excuse which rests

on this distinction, when they say that the same honour and

worship (whether it be that of latria, of dulia, or of

hyperdulia,) must be given to an image as to its archetype.

Neither does this prolong its existence by such distinction,

when they represent God himself by an image, because that is

simply forbidden to be done.

VIII. We assert, therefore, that, according to the judgment

of God, and express passages of Scripture, the papists are

correctly charged with giving a portraiture of the essence of

God, when they represent him in the form of an old man,

graced with an ample gray beard, and seated on a throne --

though in express words they say, that they know God has not

a body, and though they protest that they had fashioned this

form, not for the purpose of representing his essence, but

that they had instituted this similitude to represent the

appearance which he occasionally made to his prophets, and to

signify his presence. For the protestation is contrary to

facts; since facts are, by nature, not what we feign them to

be, but what God, the legislator, declares them to be. But he

says those facts are, that he has been assimilated, that a

[supposed] likeness of himself has been formed, and that he

has been [falsely] set up in a gold or silver graven image.

IX. We assert that all those images of which we have spoken -

- both those of God, placed only for representation, and

those of other things (whether true or fictitious,) exposed

for adoration -- are correctly called "idols," not only

according to the etymology of the word, but likewise

according to the usage of the Scriptures, and that the

distinction which is employed by the papists between idols

and resemblances or images has been produced from the dark

cave of horrid idolatry.

X. In the same precept in which it is forbidden to fashion or

make any images for divine worship, it is likewise commanded

to remove others, if they have been previously made and

exposed for worship, these two cautions being always

observed, (1.) That it be done, when preceded by a suitable

and sufficient teaching. (2.) That it be the work of those

who are in possession of the supreme authority in the

commonwealth and the church.

XI. Though the honour exhibited to such images, or to the

deity through such images, be reproachful to the true God

himself; yet he, also, who pours contumely on the images

which he considers to be correctly formed, and lawfully

proposed for worship, pours contumely on the deity himself,

whom he presumes to worship, and declares himself to be an


XII. The affirmation seems here to be strictly and directly

opposed to the whole negative precept, that we may worship

God, because he is a Spirit, with a pure cogitation of mind

and abstracted from every imagination.

XIII. The sanction of the precept, which includes the

threatening, is this: "For I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous

God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children,

unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;"

that is, unless you obey this, my precept, you shall feel

that I am jealous of mine honour, and that I will not, with

impunity, suffer it to be given to another, or my glory to be

communicated to graven images.

XIV. The other part of the sanction contains a promise in

these words: "I am the Lord thy God, showing mercy unto

thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments;"

[That is, if you obey this my precept, you shall feel that I

will display mercy towards you, and towards your children to

the thousandth generation, provided that they also love me.]

XV. But mention is made of posterity, that men may be thus

the more incited to obedience, since their future compliance

with the precept will prove beneficial, not only to

themselves, but to their posterity, or their future

transgression will be injurious to them and their offspring.

XVI. From a comparison of the preceding command with this, it

appears that there is a two-fold idolatry -- one, by which a

false and fictitious deity is worshipped; another, by which a

true or false deity is worshipped in an image, by an image,

or at an image. Yet this very image is sometimes called "a

false and another god," which the Lord God also seems to

intimate in this place, when he endeavours to deter men from

a violation of this precept by an argument drawn from his



Without any exaggeration, the idolatry of the papists may be

placed on an equality with that of the Jews and gentiles. If

it be urged as an exception, that they have neither made

their children pass through the fire, nor have offered living

men in sacrifice -- we reply, The horrid tyranny which the

papists have exercised in the murder of so many thousand

martyrs, with the design of confirming the idolatry that

flourishes among them, may be equitably compared to making

their children pass through the fire, and the oblation of

living men in sacrifice, if not according to the appearance

of the deed, at least according to the grievous nature of the




I. This precept, as well as its predecessor, consists of a

command, and of its sanction through the threatening of a

punishment. The precept is a negative one, and prohibits a

deed which is displeasing to God, in these words: "Thou shalt

not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."

II. The reason, and end of the precept is this: Because God

is entirely holy, and because his name is full of majesty, we

must use it in a holy and reverend manner, and must, by no

means, account it common or contaminate it.

III. "The name of God" is here received in its most general

notion, for every word which, according to the purpose God,

is used to signify God and divine things.

IV. "To assume" or "to take the name of God," properly, to

take that word into our mouth and pronounce it with our

tongue. If, under this phrase, any one, by a synecdoche, is

desirous, likewise, of comprehending the deeds, in which God

and divine things are less religiously treated, he has our

full permission; and, we think, he does not depart from the

sense of the precept. But we still continue in the

explanation of the proper acceptation.

V. The particle, "in vain," is variously received -- for that

which is done rashly and without just cause -- for what is

done in vain and with no useful end -- for what is done with

mendacity, dissimulation, falsely, inadvertently, &c. Hence,

this prohibition likewise diffuses itself extensively in

every direction.

VI. But, perhaps with some propriety, every "taking of the

name of the Lord in vain" may be reduced to two principal

heads or kinds: The First genus comprehends the use of the

name of God when no mention of it, whatever, should be made;

that is, in a word or deed, in which, it has been the will of

God that the mention of his name shall not intervene, either

because the word or deed is not lawful, or because it is of

minor moment.

VII. But the Second genus comprises the incorrect use of the

name of God; that is, when it is not truly used in any of our

duties in which it may be lawfully used, or in which it ought

also to be dutifully used according to the divine direction.

VIII. The duties of this class are, the adoration and

invocation of God, the narration and preaching of his word or

of divine things, oaths, &c. in these, the name of God is

taken in vain, in three ways: (1.) Hypocritically, when it is

not used sincerely from the whole heart. (2.) With a doubting

conscience, when it is used with an uncertain belief that it

is lawful to be used in that duty. (3.) Against conscience,

as when it is employed to bear testimony to a falsehood.

IX. The threatening is expressed in these words: "For the

Lord will not leave him unpunished that taketh his name in

vain." By this he endeavours to persuade men, that no one

should dare to use his name; of which persuasion there is so

much the greater necessity, as the heinousness of this

offense is not sufficiently considered among men.



I. This precept contains two parts, a command and a reason

for it. But the command is first proposed in few words; it is

afterwards more amply explained. The proposition is in these

words: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." The

explanation is thus expressed: "Six days shalt thou labour,

and do all thy work," &c. But the reason is comprehended in

the following words: "For in six days the Lord made heaven

and earth, the seas," &c.

II. In the proposition of the precept, three things are

worthy of observation: (1.) The act prescribed, which is

sanctification. (2.) An anxious and solicitous care about not

omitting this act, which is expressed in the words,

"remember," and "do not forget." (3.) The object, which is

called "the Sabbath," or "the seventh day;" that is, the

seventh in the order of the days in which the creation was

commenced and perfected. It is also called "the Sabbath,"

from the circumstance of God having rested at that period,

and man was required to repose.

III. The explanation contains two things: (1.) A concession

or grant, that men may spend six days in labours belonging to

the natural life and its sustenance; this concession contains

the equity of the command. (2.) A command about resting from

those works on the seventh day, with an enumeration of the

persons whose duty it is to rest: "Not only thou, but also

thy son, thy man servant, thy maid servant, thy cattle, and

thy stranger shall rest;" that is, thou shalt cause as many

persons to rest as are under thy power.

IV. The reason contains, in itself, two arguments: The First

is the example of God himself, who rested from his works on

the seventh day. The Second is the benediction and

sanctification of God, by which it was his pleasure that the

seventh should be separated from the rest of the days, and

devoted to himself and to his worship.

V. "To sanctify the seventh day," is to separate it from

common use, and from such as belong to the natural life, and

to consecrate it to God, and to acts which belong to God, to

things divine, and to the spiritual life. This sanctification

consists of various acts.

VI. We think that it may be made a most useful point of

consideration, how far must abstinence from those works which

belong to the natural life be extended? And though we

prescribe nothing absolutely, yet we should wish that the

liberty of performing such labour should be restricted as

much as possible, and confined to exceedingly few necessary

things. For we have no doubt that the Sabbath is in various

ways violated among Christians, by not abstaining from such

things as are lawful to be done on other days.

VII. We think that the acts which belong to the

sanctification of the Sabbath may be included in two classes:

(1.) Some per se and primarily belong to the worship of God,

and are in themselves grateful and acceptable to God. (2.)

Others are subordinate to those acts which are to be

performed, and they answer the purpose, that those acts may,

in the best possible manner, be performed to God by men; such

are those which belong to the instruction of believers in

their duty.

VIII. But this kind of sanctification ought not only to be

private and domestic, but also public and ecclesiastical. For

it is the will of God, not only that he should be

acknowledged, worshipped, invoked and praised by each

individual in private, but likewise by all united together in

the great church; that he may, by this means, be owned to be

the God and Lord not only of each individual, but likewise of

the whole of his universal family.

IX. But because the neglect of God and of things divine

easily creeps upon man, who is too closely intent on this

natural life, it was, therefore, necessary that men's

memories should be refreshed by this word "Remember," &c.

X. But now, with regard to the seventh day, which is

commanded to be sanctified. In it, this is moral and

perpetual -- that the seventh day, that is, one out of the

seven, be devoted to divine worship, and that it be unlawful

for any man, at any time, after having expended six days in

the labours of the natural life, to continue the seventh day

in all the same labours, or in the same manner.

XI. But with regard to that day among the seven which

followed the six days in which God completed the creation,

its sanctification is not of perpetual institution and

necessity; but it might be changed into another day, and in

its own time it was lawful for it to be changed, that is,

into the day which is called "the Lord's day;" because the

new creation was then perfected in Christ our head, by his

resurrection from the dead; and it was equitable and right

that the new people should enter on a new method of keeping

the Sabbath.

XII. That reason which was taken from the example of God who

rested on the seventh day, (that is, when the creation was

completed,) endured to the time of the new creation; and,

therefore, when it ceased, or at least when a second reason

was added to it from the new creation, it was no subject of

wonder that the apostles changed it into the following day,

on which the resurrection of Christ occurred. For when Christ

no longer walks in the flesh, and is not known after the

flesh, all things become new.

XIII. But the benediction and the sanctification of God are

understood to be transferred from the Sabbath to the Lord's

day; because all the sanctification which pertains to the new

earth, is perfected in Jesus Christ, who is truly the Holy of

holies, and in whom all things are sanctified for ever.

XIV. Because the reason, by which God afterwards persuaded

the people to observe the Sabbath, was for a sign between him

and His people that God would engage in the act of

sanctifying them; it may likewise be accommodated to the

times of the New Testament, and may persuade men to the

observance of the [new] Sabbath.

XV. If any one supposes that the Lord's day is by no means to

be distinguished from the rest of the days [of the week]; or

if, for the sake of declaring evangelical liberty, this

person has changed it into another day, either into Monday or

Tuesday; we think he ought at least to be considered a

schismatic in the church of God.



I. This precept is the first of the second table. It contains

the precept itself, and the promise attached to it. The end

of the precept is, that a certain order should exist among

men, according to which some are superiors and others

inferiors, and which consists in the mutual performance of

the duties of commanding and obeying that are necessary for

the defense of society.

II. The precept prescribes an act, and adds an object to

which that act must be performed. The act is contained in the

word "honour;" the object in these words: "thy father and thy

mother." From this, it appears, according to the nature of

relations, that this law is prescribed to all those who are

relatively opposed to father and mother [as are sons and


III. The word "honour" is not appropriately employed to

signify eminence; for honour is the reward of excellence, and

its performance is a sign of recognition; and this word

comprehends, either in the wide compass of its signification,

all the duties which are due from an inferior to a superior;

or, as an end, it comprehends all things necessary to the

rendering of such honour.

IV. Three things principally are contained in this word: (1.)

That reverence be shown to the persons of our parents. (2.)

That obedience be performed to their commands. (3.) That

gratitude be evinced, in conferring on them all things

necessary to the preservation of the present life, with

respect to the dignity of their persons and of their office.

V. Reverence consists both in the performance of those acts

which contain, [on our part] a confession of their pre-

eminence and of our submission under them, and in the

endurance of their faults and manners, in a connivance at

them, in a modest concealment of them, and in kind excuses

for them.

VI. Obedience lies in the prompt and free performance of

those things which they prescribe, and in the omission of

those which they prohibit. This obedience must be performed

not only "for wrath," or the fear of punishment, but also

"for conscience' sake," and this, not so much that we may

obey them, as God himself, whose vicegerents they are.

VII. Gratitude, which contains the conferring of things

necessary for them to the uses of life according to their

dignity, ought to extend itself not only to the time when

they discharge this duty, but likewise through the whole life

-- though it may happen that, through old age or some other

cause, they are rendered unfit to discharge the parental


VIII. The duties of superiors are analogous to those of

inferiors -- that they conduct themselves with moderation,

seriousness, and decorum, in the whole of their life, public

as well as private -- that they observe justice and equity in

issuing their commands, and that, in requiring gratitude,

they do not transgress the bounds of moderation. But these

points will be more particularly discussed in the disputation

on the magistracy.

IX. The object is enunciated in the words "father," and

"mother," in which, likewise, are comprehended all those who

are placed above us in human society, whether it be

political, ecclesiastical, scholastic or domestic society --

whether in the time of peace or in that of war -- whether

such persons discharge the duties of an ordinary or an

extraordinary office, or whether they be invested with this

power either constantly, or only for a season, however short.

X. But all these persons in authority are, in this

commandment, fitly, and not without just cause, expressed

under the name of "parents," which is an endearing and

delightful appellation, and most appropriate both to signify

the feeling which it is right for superiors to indulge

towards inferiors, and most efficaciously to effect a

persuasion in inferiors of the equity of performing their

duty towards their superiors. It may be added that the first

association among men is that of domestic society, and from

this follow the rest by the increase of mankind.

XI. Superiors lose no degree of this eminence by any sin, or

by any corruption of their own; therefore, this duty of

honour, reverence, obedience and gratitude must be performed

to superiors, even when they are evil, and abusing their

power; provided caution be used that the interest of God be

always the more powerful with us, and lest, while that which

is Caesar's is given to Caesar, that which belongs to God, be

taken from him, or be not given.

XII. To this, must necessarily be subjoined another threefold

caution -- (l.) That no one commit an error in judgment, by

which he persuades himself this or that belongs to God, and

not to Caesar. (2.) That he discern correctly between that

which he is commanded to do or to tolerate; and, if he must

do it, whether or not it be an act about a thing or object

which is subject to his power. (3.) That under the name of

liberty, no one arrogate to himself the right of a superior,

of not obeying in this thing or that, or the power of rising

against his superior, either for the purpose of taking away

his life, or only his rule and dominion.

XIII. The promise which is added to this precept is contained

in the following words: "that thy days maybe long upon the

land which the Lord thy God will give thee" in which are

promised, (1,) to the Jewish believers who perform this

precept, length of days in the land of Canaan; (2,) and also

to the gentile believers who perform this command, the

duration of the present life; (3,) typically, to such persons

are promised the eternal or heavenly life, of which the land

of Canaan was a type.



I. Order in human society being appointed by the fifth

commandment, through the mutual duties of superiors and

inferiors in commanding and obeying, God now manifests his

care for all those things which, in order to pass one's life

in this society, are necessary for the life of each person,

for the propagation of the species, for the blessings

necessary to life, and for reputation, at the end of which

God adds the tenth commandment, in which the coveting of

certain things is prohibited.

II. By these words, "thou shalt not kill," the sixth precept

provides for the preservation of the natural life, and

designs the safety of men's bodies that it may be preserved


III. The sum of the precept is neither in reality to injure

the life of another person, and to endanger his safety, nay

not even our own, whether we use fraud or violence, nor to

wish his injury by our will, to which must be added that we

do not intimate this kind of wish by any external token.

IV. From this, it appears that the accident must not receive

the appellation of "homicide," if, as the Scripture phrase

is, any one going into a wood with his neighbour to cut down

timber, and the head of his ax slips from the handle and

strikes his neighbour so that he dies, nor, if, for the

defense of his own life, any one be compelled, at the peril

of his life, to repel the force employed against him by


V. But in this precept, we are commanded to endeavour by all

legitimate means and methods, to save the life of our

neighbour, as well as our own, and to defend them from all


VI. But the cause of this precept, which is universal and

always, and in every place, valid, is the following: because

man was created after the image of God, which, in this place,

principally denotes immortality. To this, may be added

similitude of nature, and because all of us derive our origin

from one blood. But several particular causes may be adduced,

which agree with the spiritual state of men, such as because

they have been redeemed by Christ with a price -- because

their bodies are a habitation for the Holy Spirit -- because

they are all members of one mystical body under one head, &c.

VII. But, in the mean time, God reserves to himself the right

of disposing of the life of every man according to his own

pleasure. Hence, commands have been issued to magistrates

concerning killing transgressors, and a command was delivered

to Abraham about slaying his son.


The perpetration of homicide cannot consist with a good

conscience, unless pardon for it be sought and obtained by

particular repentance, &c.










A Native of Oudewater, in Holland






THAT expression of the apostle Paul, by which he designates

the doctrine of the gospel as "the truth which is according

to godliness," (Tit. i, 1) is very remarkable and worthy of

perpetual consideration. From this sentiment, with the leave

of all good men, we may collect that this "truth" neither

consists in naked theory and inane speculation, nor in those

things which, belonging to mere abstract knowledge, only play

about the brain of man, and which never extend to the

reformation of their will and affections. But it consists in

those things which imbue the mind with a sincere fear of God,

and with a true love of solid piety, and which render men

'"zealous of good works." Another passage, not less famous

and remarkable, in the same epistle and by the same apostle,

tends greatly to confirm and illustrate this view of the

matter; it is thus expressed: "For the grace of God that

bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us

that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live

soberly, righteously and godly in this present world." (Tit.

ii, 11,19.) Whosoever they be, therefore, that profess

themselves the heralds of this divine "truth," they ought to

give additional diligence that, casting aside all curious and

thorny questions, and those idle subtilities which derive

their origin from human vanity, they commend to their hearers

this one and only "godliness," and that they seriously

instruct them in faith, hope and charity. And, in return,

those of their auditors who are enamored with this "truth,"

are bound strenuously to conform themselves to this course of

conduct -- to pass by and to slight all other things which

may come across their path, and constantly to aim at this

"godliness" alone, and keep their eyes intent upon it. For

both clergy and laity may receive this as a principle, that

they are yet rude and complete strangers in true theology,

unless they have learned so to theologize, that theology may

bear the torch before them to that piety and holiness which

they sedulously and earnestly pursue.

If this admonition ever was necessary, it is undoubtedly the

more necessary at this time; because we see impiety

overflowing in every direction, like a sea raging and

agitated by whirlwinds. Yet, amidst all this storm, such are

the stupor and insensibility of men, that not a few who

remain exactly the same persons as they formerly were, and

who, indeed, have not changed the least particle of the

manner of their impure life, still imagine themselves to be

in the class of prime Christians, and promise themselves the

favour of the supreme God, the possessing of heaven and of

life eternal, and of the company of Christ and of the blessed

angels, with such great and presumptuous confidence, and with

such security of mind, that they consider themselves to be

atrociously injured by those who, judging them to be deceived

in this their self-persuasion, desire them in any wise to

entertain doubts about it. In a condition of affairs thus

deplorable, no endeavour appears to be more laudable, than to

institute a diligent inquiry into the causes of such a

pernicious evil, and, by employing a saving remedy, to arouse

erring souls from this diabolical lethargy, and induce them

to alter their lives, under the felicitous auspices of the

gospel and the Spirit of Christ, to devote their energies to

a solid amendment of manners, and thus, at length, from the

divine word, to promise themselves, when answering this

description, grace with God and eternal glory.

The causes of this evil are various, and most of them consist

in certain erroneous and false conceptions which, being

impressed on their minds, some men carry about with them,

being either their own inventions, or furnished to them from

some other quarter; yet, either in general or in particular,

either directly or indirectly, such erroneous conceptions lay

a stumbling-block and an impediment before the true and

serious study of piety and the pursuit of virtue. We will

not, in this place, introduce any mention of the impious

conceptions of some men who do not believe either that there

is a life eternal, or that, if it really exists, it is of

such great and sublime excellence as it is described to be in

the Holy Scriptures -- who either despair of the mercy of God

towards repentant sinners, or who consider it to be

impossible to enter on that way of piety and new obedience

which has been prescribed by the prince of our salvation. We

say nothing about these persons, because they not only relax

the asseverations and the promises of God, which are the true

foundations of the Christian religion, but they likewise

entirely overturn them, and thus, with one effort, they pluck

up, by the roots, all piety, and all desire and love of it,

from the hearts of men.

We now begin to make some observations on those hypotheses,

whether secret or avowed, which are injurious to piety, and

which obtain among Christians themselves, whether they be

publicly defended or otherwise. Among them, the first which

comes under enumeration, is the dogma of unconditional

predestination, with those which depend on it by a necessary

connection; and, in particular, the so highly extolled

perseverance of the saints, in a confidence in which such

things are uttered by some persons as we dread to recite, for

they are utterly unworthy of entering into the ear of

Christians. It is no small impediment which these dogmas

place in the way of piety. When, after a diligent and often-

repeated perusal of the Holy Scriptures, after long

meditations and ardent prayers to God, with fasting, our

father, of blessed memory, thought that he had made a sure

discovery of the baneful tendency of these dogmas, and had

reflected upon them within his own breast, and that, however

strenuously they might be urged by certain divines, and

generally instilled into the minds of students by scholastic

exercises, yet neither the ancient church nor the modern,

after a previous lawful examination of them, ever received

them or allowed them to pass into matters that had obtained

mature adjudication. When he perceived these things, he began

by degrees, to propose his difficulties about them, and his

objections against them, for the purpose of shewing that they

were not so firmly founded in the Scriptures as they are

generally supposed to be; and, in process of time, being

still more strongly confirmed in the knowledge of the truth,

especially after the conference which he had with Doctor

Francis Junius, and in which he had seen the weakness of his

replies, he began to attack those dogmas with greater

boldness; yet on no occasion was he forgetful of the modesty

which so eminently became him. But, of the arguments with

which he attacked those dogmas, this [on the seventh chapter

of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans] in which we have now

engaged, was not the last -- that is, such was the nature of

these doctrines that they were calculated to relax the study

of piety, and thus to extinguish it. In that labour he also

occasionally employed subtilities. and such reasons as are

not at once obvious to the multitude; but they were subtle

distinctions, necessary for overturning dogmas which, in his

judgment, were very baneful. And, undoubtedly, as love is not

conquered except by another love, so that subtlety, which is

the inventor and establisher of falsehood, can scarcely be

conquered and overturned without the subtlety which is the

assertor of the truth and the convictor of falsehood.

Therefore, the subtilities which he employed on that

occasion, [his conference with Junius,] were useful and

necessary -- not insignificant, trifling, and invented for

pleasure, ostentation or display. But with regard to other

things, it is known to all those who were on terms of

familiarity with him -- especially during the last years of

his life, when he was much engaged in the schools, in which

it is an established custom principally to pursue subtilities

-- what a rigid enemy he was of all subtilities and of lofty

language; and even those whom he had among his students that

differed on some other points from him, could testify, if

they would conscientiously relate the truth, that he referred

all things to use and to the practice of a Christian life;

and thus that piety and the fear of the divine Majesty

uniformly breathed in his lectures, in his disputations,

(both public and private,) in his sermons, discourses and

writings. But it is not necessary for us, in this place, to

rehearse the method by which he proved the genius of

unconditional predestination and its annexed dogmas to be

adverse to godliness; because his writings on this subject

are partly extant, and the remainder, under the divine

auspices, will soon be published. It is better that prudent

readers should listen to him uttering his own words, than to

us who are but stammerers about him. The water is sweeter

which we taste at the fountain, than that which we drink at a

distance from the spring.

Various are the other hypotheses which operate as hindrances

to piety, and the whole of which we are not able now to

mention; but we will briefly discuss a Jew of those which

occur, that we may not produce weariness in you, most noble

sir, by our prolixity.

A capital error which first offers itself, and which closely

adheres to the inmost core and fibers of nearly all mankind,

is that by which they silently imagine in their own minds

that illimitable mercy exists in God; and from this they

opine that they will not be rejected, though they have

indulged themselves a little too much in vicious pursuits,

but that, on the contrary, they will continue to be dear to

God and beloved. This error is in reality joined with

notorious incredulity, and, in a great measure destroys the

Christian religion, which is founded on the blood of Christ.

For, in this way, is removed all necessity for a pious life,

and a manifest contradiction is given to the declaration of

the apostle, in which he affirms that "without holiness no

man shall see God." (Heb. xii, 14) Alas for the insanity of

men, who have the audacity to bless themselves when they are

cursed by God!

This is succeeded by the false hypothesis of others, who,

revolving in their minds the designs, the morals, and the

life of mortals, and reflecting on the multitude, among men

of all orders, of those who are wandering in error, conclude

that the mercy of God will not permit eternally to perish so

many and such infinite myriads of rational creatures, formed

after the divine image. The consequence is, that, instead of

performing their duty according to the tenor of Christianity,

by opposing the torrent of impiety, they, on the contrary,

suffer themselves to be carried away by the impulse of such

views, and associate with the multitudes of those who are

devious in error. They seem to forget that the many walk in

the broad way, whose end, according to the truth of God, will

be "destruction from the presence of the Lord." A multitude

will preserve no man from perdition. Unhappy and most

miserable solace, to have many companions in enduring

everlasting punishment!

Let the force of this deception, likewise, be considered,

that vices are dignified with the names of virtues, and, on

the other hand, virtues receive the defiling appellation of

vices. The effect of this is, that men, who are of

themselves, prone to vicious indulgences, pursue them with

the greater avidity when they are concealed under the mask of

virtues, and, on the contrary, are terrified at virtues, in

the attainment of which any difficulty is involved, as though

they were clothed in the monstrous garb of the most horrid

vices. Thus, among mankind, drunkenness obtains the name of

hilarity; and filthy talking, that of cheerful freedom; while

sobriety in food and drink, and simplicity in dress, are

opprobiously styled hypocrisy. This is really to "call good

evil, and evil good," and to seek an occasion, by which a man

may cease from the practice of virtue, and devote himself to

vicious courses, not only without any reluctance of

conscience, but likewise at the impulse and instigation of

his [seared] conscience. Into this enumeration, must come

that shameful and false reasoning by which unwise men infer,

from those passages in Scripture in which we are said to be

justified by faith without works, that it is not, therefore,

necessary to attend to good works, they being of such a

nature that without them we may be justified, and, therefore,

saved. They never advert to the fact that, in other passages,

it is recorded -- True faith, that is, the faith by which we

are justified, must be efficacious through charity; and that

faith, without works, is dead, and resembles a lifeless


This vain idea also, in no trifling degree, consoles the men

who try to flatter themselves in those vices to which they

have a constitutional propensity -- that they are not given

up to all vices, they have not run into every excess of

wickedness, but, though addicted to certain vices peculiar to

themselves, they feel an abhorrence for all others. As men

are most ingenious in the invention of excuses for

themselves, in support of this incorrect view are generally

cited these common phrases: "No man lives without sin;"

"Every man is captivated by that which he finds to be

pleasing to himself." Such men, therefore, consider

themselves to be true Christians, and that, on this account,

it will be eternally well with them, when, as they foolishly

persuade themselves, they abstain from most evils, and, as

for the rest, they cherish only some one vice, a single

Herodias alone. A most absurd invention! since no one is, no

one can be, addicted to all vices at once; because some among

them are diametrically opposed to others, and are mutual

expellers. If this conceit be allowed, no mortal man either

will or can be impious. The subjoined passage in the epistle

of St. James ought to recur to the remembrance of these

persons: "Whosoever shall offend in one point, he is guilty

of all." (ii, 10.) We are also commanded to "lay aside," not

some one, but "all malice, guile, and hypocrisy," (1 Pet. ii,

1,)that we may thus the more fully devote ourselves to God.

Others suppose that, if in some degree their affections be

partly drawn out towards God and goodness, they have

adequately discharged their duty, though in some other part

of their affections they are devoted to the service of the

prince of this world and of sin. These men assuredly have

forgotten, that God must be adored and loved with the whole

affections of the heart -- that the Lord God of Heaven, and

the prince of this world, are opposing masters, and,

therefore, that it is impossible to render service to both of

them at once, as our saviour has most expressly declared.

Not very dissimilar from this is that invention by which some

persons divide their time into portions, and when they have

marked off one part for God and Christ, and another part for

the flesh and the affections, they imagine that they have

most excellently performed their duty. But these men,

whosoever they be, never reflect that our whole lives, and

all the time of which they are composed, must be consecrated

to God, and that we must persevere in the ways of piety and

obedience to the close of life; and for this brief obedience

of a time which is short at the longest, God has, of grace,

covenanted to bestow on the obedient, that great reward of

life eternal. Undoubtedly, if at any time a man falls, he

cannot return into favour with God until he has not only

deplored that fall by a sincere repentance, and is again

converted in his heart to God, with this determinations --

that he will devote the remaining days of his life to God.

Those men must not be forgotten who are in this heresy --

that all those things which are not joined with blasphemy to

God, and with notorious injury and violence to one's

neighbour, and which, with regard to other things, bear the

semblance of charity and benevolence, are not to be reckoned

among the multitude of sins. According to their doctrine,

they are at liberty to indulge their natural relish for

earthly things, to serve their belly, to take especial care

of themselves, to gratify their sensual and drunken

propensities, to live the short and merry life which Epicurus

recommends, and to do whatsoever a heart which is inclined to

pleasure shall command; provided they abstain from anger,

hatred, the desire of revenge, bitterness and malice, and the

other passions which are armed for force and injury. If we

follow these masters, we shall assuredly discover a far more

easy and expeditious way to heaven, than that which has been

taught us by the divine ambassador of the great God, whose

sole business it was to point out the way to heaven.

Occasion is also afforded to unjust conceptions respecting

the extreme of piety, by the mode in which some theological

subjects are treated, and by some ecclesiastical phrases

which are either not sufficiently conformable to the

Scriptures, or which are not correctly understood. We must

briefly, and without much regard to order, animadvert on a

few of these, for the sake of example. When our good works

are invested with the relation of gratitude towards God, it

is a well ascertained fact, that men collect from this that

they are now the heirs and proprietors of life eternal, and

are in a state of grace and everlasting salvation, before

they ever begin to perform good works. This delusion makes

them think it expedient also to follow the hypothesis that

the performance of good works is not absolutely necessary. In

this case, it must be maintained from the Scriptures, that a

true conversion and the performance of good works form a

prerequisite condition before justification, according to

this passage from St. John, "But if we walk in the light, as

he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and

the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son cleanseth us from all

sin." (1 John i, 7) This is consonant with that celebrated

passage in Isaiah, in which the Lord promises to the Jews the

cleansing and the destruction of all their sins, even those

which were of the most aggravated kind, after they turned

themselves to him, and corrected their ways. (Isa. i, 15-20.)

When the sacraments are considered only in the light of

sealing to us the promises and the grace of God, but not as

binding us to the performance of our duty and admonishing us

of it, the discussion of them is not only defective, but it

may also, through such defect, be accounted injurious to the

work of personal piety. "Believers and the regenerate are

still prone and inclined to every evil;" and "the most holy

among them have only the small beginnings of the obedience

which is required." These are phrases which describe, in a

manner far too low and weak, the efficacy of the new

creation, and they are, therefore, kata ton rhton in reality

exceedingly dangerous. For the former of these phrases seems

entirely to remove all distinction between the regenerate and

the, while the latter seems to place such minutiae of

obedience in the regenerate, as will induce a man, who has

been accustomed to bless himself if he perceives even the

slightest thought or motion about the performance of

obedience, immediately to conclude himself to be a partaker

of true regeneration.

When the continued imperfection of the regenerate, and the

impossibility of keeping the law in this life, are urged

unseasonably and beyond measure, without the addition of what

may be done by holy men through faith and the Spirit of

Christ, the thought is apt to suggest itself to the mind even

of the most pious of their hearers, that they can do nothing

which is at all good. Through this erroneous view, it happens

that sometimes far less is attributed to the regenerate than

the unregenerate are themselves able to perform. The ancient

church did not reckon the question about the impossibility of

performing the law among those which are capital: This is

apparent from St. Augustine himself, who expresses a wish

that Pelagius would acknowledge it possible to be performed

by the grace of Christ, and declares that peace would then be

concluded. The apostles of Christ were themselves occupied in

endeavouring to convince men, when placed out of the

influence of grace, of their incapability to perform

obedience. But about the imperfection and impotency of the

regenerate, you will scarcely find them employing a single

expression. On the contrary, they attribute to believers the

crucifying of the flesh and the affections, the mortification

of the works of the flesh, a resurrection to a new life, and

walking according to the Spirit; and they are not afraid

openly to protest, that by faith they overcome the world. The

acknowledgment of their imperfection was but a small matter,

because that was a thing previous to Christianity. But the

glory of Christians lies in this -- that they know the power

of the resurrection of Christ, and, being led by the Spirit

of God, they live according to the purest light of the

gospel. The distribution of theology into God, and the acts

of God, introduces to us a speculative religion, and is not

sufficiently well calculated to urge men to the performance

of their duty. To this may be added that too subtle

disquisition, which is an invention unsanctioned by

Scripture, about the relations of those acts which are

performed by us.

As unsuitable for the promotion of piety, seems likewise that

deduction or dispensation of our religion, by which all

things are directed to the assurance of special mercy as the

principal part of our duty, and to the consolation which is

elicited from it against the despair that is opposed to it,

but in which all things are not directed to the necessary

performance of obedience in opposition to security. It

derives its origin from the idea that greater fear ought to

be entertained respecting despair than respecting security,

when the contrary to this is the truth. For in the whole

history of the Old and New Testament, which comprises a

period of so many thousand years, only a single instance

occurs of a person in despair, and that was Judas Iscariot,

the perfidious betrayer of his saviour -- the case of Cain

being entirely out of the question; while, on the contrary,

as the world was formerly, so is it now, very full of persons

in a state of security, and negligent of the duty divinely

imposed on them; yet these men, in the mean time, sweetly

bless their souls, and promise themselves grace and peace

from God in full measure.

To proceed further: To these and all other delusions of a

similar nature, we ought to oppose a soul truly pious, and

most firmly rooted in the faith of God and Christ, exercising

much solicitous caution about this -- not to be called off

from the serious and solid study of piety, and not to yield

ourselves up to sins or to take delight in them, either

through the deceptive force of any conceits, such as have now

been enumerated or any others, or by the incautious use of

any phrases and the sinister distortion of particular

subjects; but, on the contrary, denying all ungodliness, let

us sedulously and constantly walk in the paths of virtue; and

let us always bear in mind the very serious admonition which

the apostle Paul propounds to the Ephesians; having dehorted

them from indulging in impurity and other crimes, he says:

"Let no man deceive you with vain words" or reasons; "for,

because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the

children of disobedience." (Verse 6) It is worthy of

observation, how significantly the hypothesis and arguments

on which men depend when they bless themselves in their

vices, are designated as "vain speeches;" For "vain" they

truly are; that is, false and deceitful are those reasons

with which men are deceived while they are in bondage to

their lusts, and persuade themselves that they are in a state

of grace and salvation, when, on the contrary, they are in a

state of wrath and eternal perdition; than which, no other

more capital imposture or deception can be produced.

But, beside those things of which we have made previous

mention, and which place obstructions to the progress of

piety, another also occurs, which particularly belongs to the

subject on which we are now treating; that is, the depraved

and perverted interpretation of certain passages of

Scripture, by which, in general, either all attention to good

works is superseded, or in particular some part of it is

weakened. This kind of hindrance ought undoubtedly to be

reckoned among those which are the greatest; for thus either

evil itself seems to be established by divine authority, or a

more remiss pursuit of good, which, of the two, is without

exception the greater evil. Wherefore, as all those persons

deserve praise who endeavour to overturn every kind of

hypothesis that is injurious to piety, so those among them

are worthy of the highest commendation who try to give a

correct interpretation, and such as is agreeable to "the form

of sound words," of those passages which are, through common

abuse, generally so explained as, by such exposition, either

directly or indirectly to countenance a disorderly course of

life -- to free them from such a depraved interpretation, and

to act as torch-bearers, in a thing so useful and necessary

to Christian people and chiefly to the pastors of the church.

Many are those passages which are usually distorted to the

injury of godliness; and from which we shall in this place

select only the three following.

(1.) In the Proverbs of Solomon it is said, "A just man

falleth seven times." This sentence is in the mouth of every

one, with this gloss superadded, "in a day," which is an

interpolation to be found in the Latin Vulgate. This passage

ought to be understood of falling into misfortune; yet it is

most perversely interpreted to signify a fall into sin, and

thus contributes to nourish vices.

(2.) In the prophecy of Isaiah, when the Jewish church, after

having been defiled by manifold idolatries, by her defection

from God, and by other innumerable crimes, was severely

punished for all these her foul transgressions; in a tone of

lamentation, complaining of the heaviness of her punishment,

and at the same time making humble confession of her sins,

she acknowledges, amongst other things, that "her

righteousnesses are as the cloth of a menstruous woman,"

designating by this phrase the best of those works which she

had performed during her public defection. This passage, by a

pernicious contortion, is commonly corrupted; for it is very

constantly quoted, as if the sense to be inferred from it

was, that each of the excellent works of the most eminent

Christians, and therefore that the most ardent prayers poured

forth in the name of Christ, deeds of charity performed from

a heart truly and inwardly moved with mercy, and the flowing

of the blood of martyrs even unto death for the sake of

Christ -- that all these are as the cloth of a menstruous

woman, filthy, detestable and horrid things, and thus mere

abominations in the sight of God. And as this name is, in the

Scriptures, bestowed only on flagitous crimes and the

greatest transgressions, it further follows [from this mode

of reasoning] that the best and most excellent works differ

in no respect from the most dreadful wickedness. When a man

has once thoroughly imbibed this conceit, will he not east

away all care and regard for piety? Will he not consider it

of no great consequence whether he leads a bad or a good

life? And will he not, in the mean time, indulge in the

persuasion, that he can, notwithstanding all this, be a true

disciple of Christ Jesus? The reason, undoubtedly, seems to

be evident, since, according to this hypothesis, the best

works are equally filthy with the worst crimes in the sight

of God.

(3.) In this number of abused passages is included the

seventh chapter of the epistle of Paul to the Romans, from

the fourteenth verse to the end of the chapter; that is, if

the apostle be understood, in that chapter, to be speaking

about a man who is regenerated. For then it will follow that

a renewed man is still "carnal, and sold under sin," that is,

the slave of sin; that "he wills to do good, but does it not;

but the evil which he wills not, that he does;" nay, that he

is conquered, and "brought into captivity to the law of sin,"

that is, under the power and efficacy of sin. From this view

it is further deduced, that, if any one be regenerate, it is

sufficient for him "to will that which is good," though with

a will that is incomplete, and that is not followed by

action; and "not to will that which is evil," though he

actually perpetrates it. If this view of that chapter be

correct, then all attention to piety, the whole of new

obedience, and thus the entire new creation, will be reduced

to such narrow limits as to consist not in effects, but only

in affections or feelings. Every man, at first sight,

perceives how languid, cold and remiss such a belief will

render all of us, both in our abstaining from evil, and in

the performance of that which is good. Those, indeed, who

defend this opinion, have their subterfuges and palliatives;

but they are of such a kind, that the comment is generally

repugnant to the text on which it is founded. With respect to

the exercise of piety, it is dangerous for men to have this

conceit previously impressed on their minds: "This chapter

must be understood about regenerate persons;" for they who

hold it as a foundation, in other things wander wherever they

are led by their feelings, and never recollect the glosses

proposed by their teachers. This effect was observed by St.

Augustine, and being afraid of giving offense, in the more

early period of his Christian career, he interpreted the

passage as applicable to a man under the law, but in his

latter days he applied it to a man under grace; but he held

this opinion in a much milder form than it is now maintained,

and almost without any injury to godliness. For "the good"

which the apostle says "he willed but did not," St. Augustine

interprets into "a refraining from concupiscence;" and "the

evil" which the apostle declares "he willed not and yet did,"

he interprets as "an indulgence in concupiscence;" -- though

this novel interpretation involves a wonderful mixture of the

preceptive and prohibitive parts of the law. Modern

interpreters [among the Calvinists] understand it as relating

to actual good and evil -- a most notable distinction! But as

our venerated father laboured with all diligence in removing

the other hindrances of piety, so did he principally expend

much toil and unwearied study in searching out the true

meaning of such passages of Scripture as were imperfectly

understood, particularly if they placed a stumbling-block in

the way of those who were studious of piety. If, in that

species of labour, he ever had eminent success, it must

undoubtedly be confessed that it was in his attempts on this

seventh chapter of the epistle to the Romans; for he wrote a

commentary on it of great length, which, with the greatest

accuracy, he prepared and finished, and which we now publish.

When he returned from Geneva to his native country, he

understood this very chapter as it is now commonly explained;

having been instructed in that view of it by his teachers,

whose authority was so great among the students, that not one

of the latter durst even inquire about any thing which they

uttered. But when, in the exercise of his ministry in the

church of Amsterdam, he had afterwards taken epistle to the

Romans as the subject of a series of discourses from the

pulpit, and when he had come to the explication of the

seventh chapter, concerning the received interpretation of

which he had then begun to conceive scruples in his mind,

because it seemed both to undervalue the grace of

regeneration and to diminish all zeal and attention to piety;

he diligently considered the chapter from the beginning to

the conclusion with a good conscience, as it was proper that

he should do, and as the nature of his public function

required; he collated it with those passages which preceded

it and followed; he revolved all of them, in their several

particulars, as in the presence of God; he read all the

various commentators upon it which he could procure, whether

among the ancients, those of the middle ages, or among the

moderns; and, at length, after having frequently invoked the

name and aid of Almighty God, and having derived his chief

human assistance from the commentaries of Bucer and Musculus

on that part of Holy Writ, he discovered that the received

interpretation could not bear the scrutiny of truth, but that

the passage was to be entirely understood in reference to a

man living under the law, in whom the law has discharged its

office, and who, therefore, feeling true contrition in his

soul on account of sins, and being convinced of the

incapability of the law to save him, inquires after a

deliverer, and is not, in fact, a regenerated man, but stands

in the nearest grade to regeneration. This explanation of the

chapter he publicly delivered from the pulpit; because he

thought that such a course was allowable by the liberty of

prophesying, which ought always to have a place in the church

of Christ. Though this diligence in elucidating the

Scriptures, and the candour which he displayed, deserved

singular praise and commendation, especially from all persons

of the ecclesiastical order, yet, by some zealots, in whom

such a conduct was the least becoming, it was received in a

manner which shewed that the author ranked no higher with

them than as one who, instead of receiving a reward, ought to

be charged with mischief and insanity. Such is the result of

employing a sedulous care in the investigation of the

Scriptures, and of cultivating the liberty of prophesying;

and it is esteemed a preferable service, to render the

servants of Christ the slaves of certain men who lived only a

short time before ourselves, and almost to canonize their

interpretation of the Scriptures as the only rule and guide

for us in our interpretation.

When our father perceived these things, he began to write

this commentary, which at length he brought to a conclusion.

If God had granted him longer life, he would have corrected

his production with greater accuracy, as he had already begun

to do; but as he was prevented by death, and thus rendered

incapable of giving it a final polish, and yet as, in the

judgment of many great men, it is a work that is worthy to

see the light, we have now ventured to publish it. Here then,

Firstly, the author proposes his own sentiments, and proves

them by deductions from the entire chapter, as well as from

the connection in which it stands with the preceding and

following chapters. Secondly. He shows that this

interpretation has never been condemned, but has always had

the greatest number of supporters. Thirdly. He defends it

from the black charge of Pelagianism, and demonstrates that

it is directly opposed to that error. Fourthly. He contends

that the interpretation now generally received is quite new,

and was never embraced by any of the ancients, but rejected

by many of them. Lastly. And that it is injurious to grace

and hurtful to good morals. He then enters into a comparison

of the opinion of St. Augustine, and of that which is now

generally received with his own interpretation; and concludes

the work with a friendly address to his fellow-ministers.

It was our wish, most noble Bardesius, to dedicate and

address this work to your mightiness; for this desire, we had

several reasons. From the first entrance on his ministry, a

sacred friendship subsisted between our revered father and

that nobleman of honoured memory, your excellent father -- a

friendship which continued till our venerable parent came

down to the grave, full of years and loaded with honours.

You, as the lawful inheritor of your father's possessions,

have also succeeded in his place as the heir of his

friendships; and this is the reason why the closest intimacy

was formed between you and our good father, immediately after

your return from your travels, which you had undertaken for

the purpose of prosecuting your studies and visiting foreign

nations. You were accustomed to place a high estimate on his

endowments, and frequently consulted him on questions of

theology, and very often acted upon his advice -- as he did,

also, upon yours. But after he had reflected in his mind,

that he was not the slave of men, but the servant of Jesus

Christ, and that he was under an oath [to the observance of]

his words alone, when, on this account, he had begun freely

to inquire into the sentiments invented by men, and into

their truth and necessity, and, after comparing them with the

Scriptures, had also occasionally proposed, with great

modesty, his doubts concerning them, and His animadversions

on them -- when for this reason, many of those who were

formerly his acquaintances and intimate friends, became

alienated from him as from one who had removed the ancient

land-marks out of their places; and when some of them, by

degrees, both in public and private, began either to take an

occasion or to make one, to circulate sinister reports

concerning him, while others, with sufficient plainness,

openly renounced all friendship with him; and when the whole

chorus of ecclesiastical zealots had excited each other to

rise up against him; yet, amidst all these things, you took

no offense, but, having weighed the matter in the just

balance of your judgment, you persisted to cherish a constant

love for him. When he was debilitated by a slow and constant

malady, as soon as the mildness of the weather and the

intervals in his disorder would permit his removal, you

invited him to your house in a manner the most friendly, and,

on his arrival, you received him as the angel of the Lord;

and a friendship, thus pure and refined, you cultivated with

him, until he departed out of this life, and ascended to

Christ, his Lord and Master. Besides, after his decease, by

your conduct to our afflicted family, you shewed yourself

such a one as it became that man to be who was not a

pretended friend to the survivors of his departed friend --

affording, by words and deeds, such substantial proofs of

your kindness and beneficence towards his sorrowing widow and

distressed orphans, as far exceed the feebleness of our

expressions. Therefore, unless we wished not only to be the

most ungrateful of mortals, but likewise to be generally

depicted as such, it was exceedingly proper in us, while the

posthumous writings of our revered parent are occasionally

issuing from the press, to inscribe some portion of them to

your very honourable and most friendly name, and by this

method, as by a public document, to testify at once before

the whole world our gratitude to you as well as our vast


To these considerations, we may add that our father had

determined within himself, if God had granted him life and

leisure, to write a system of the whole Christian religion,

not drawing it out of the stagnant lakes of Egypt, but out of

the pure fountains of Israel, and to inscribe it to your

mightiness. As he was unable to execute his purpose, partly

through the multiplicity of his engagements, and partly

through the lingering nature of his disorder, you have here,

in the place of the other world, the present commentary; for

in no other way than this, can the design of our father now

be fulfilled. We hope the subject itself, which is treated in

this commentary, will not be disagreeable to you; for it is

one which is excellently accordant with your genius and

disposition. It is a fact which is well known to all those

who are acquainted with you and which you do not wish to be

regarded as a secret, but which you openly profess, as often

as occasion demands, that you take no delight in those thorny

disputations and discussions which contribute nothing to the

practice of the Christian life; but that you place the chief

part of religion in the pursuit of real and solid piety. As

our honoured father also shows in this work that his wishes

and purposes were in this respect similar to yours, we have

thought that nothing could be more appropriate than to

dedicate to a man of extensive learning, who is likewise

deeply attached to the interests of religion, a work which is

highly conducive to the promotion of piety.

Accept, therefore, with a cheerful heart and a serene

countenance, this small gift, which we and our dear mother

are desirous to commit to posterity, that it may perpetually

remain as an endless monument of that sacred friendship which

subsisted between you and James Arminius, our venerated

parent, and, at the same time, of our own great obligations

to you. To you, who have been under the influence of mercy

towards our afflicted family, may the Lord God in return shew

mercy; and may he enrich you and your very honourable family

with every kind of heavenly blessings, to the glory of his

name and to the salvation of all of us! Amen.

So pray those who are most attached to your mightiness,


LEYDEN, 13th August, 1612.









1. What is the subject of inquiry concerning the meaning of

this chapter? 2. The manner in which this question is made a

subject of dispute; formerly, a latitude of sentiment

respecting it, was permitted. 3. Those who explain this

passage as relating to a man under the law, are rashly

charged with having some affinity With the Pelagian heresy.

4. Distribution of the subjects to be discussed in this


1. The subject of inquiry concerning the meaning of the

seventh chapter of the epistle to the Romans, and

particularly of the latter part of it, which is treated upon

from the beginning of the fourteenth or fifteenth verse to

the end of the chapter, is this: "Does the apostle there

treat of himself, such as he then was?" Or, which is almost

the same question, "Under his own person, does he treat about

a man living in the possession of the grace of Christ, or

does he there personate a man placed under the law?" This

question is also usually proposed in other words, thus: "Does

the apostle there treat about a man who is still

unregenerate, or about one who is already regenerated through

the Spirit of Christ?" The latter question differs a little

in its meaning from the former, (1.) because the word

"unregenerate" has a more extensive signification, embracing

even those who are under the law, and at whose state the

apostle has also briefly glanced in the ninth verse of this

chapter, and (2.) because the same word, with some persons,

denotes not only the mere absence of regeneration, but

likewise of all those things which are necessarily previous

to regeneration; and these previous things are so far from

being excluded by the words, "under the law," that, on the

contrary, a great part of them is necessarily comprehended in

the ample compass of that state which these words describe.

This ought not to be passed over without some animadversion;

because this notion about the word "unregenerate" which many

persons have previously formed, is no small cause why they

think they must reject the opinion, which declares that this

passage of Scripture relates to an unregenerate man, that is,

to one not only devoid of regeneration, but likewise of all

those things which usually precede regeneration; and why they

suppose that they ought to approve of the one contrary to

this, without any further attentive consideration of the

words and of the things signified.

2. But this question has now become a subject of dispute, not

as one of those about which the writers who treat on Catholic

doctrine may be allowed to maintain different sentiments, but

as if it was one of such importance and weight to the truth

of faith, that, without great detriment to truth and manifest

heresy, no determination can be made concerning it except in

one way, which is the affirmation that the apostle is there

treating about a man who lives under grace and is regenerate.

This judgment about the question seems new to me, and is one

which was never heard in the church before these our times.

In those better days, liberty was granted to the divines of

the church to maintain an opinion on the one part of this

question or on the other, provided they did not produce an

explanation of their meaning that was at variance with the

articles and doctrines of faith. The thing itself will shew

that it is possible to do so in this matter, and such was the

persuasion which was entertained on the subject by those who

granted this liberty of sentiment, because no man ever

supposed that any opinion was to be tolerated in the church

which could not admit of an explanation that was agreeable to

the doctrines and articles of belief.

3. Those who explain this passage in reference to a man

living under the law, are charged with holding a doctrine

which has some affinity to the two-fold heresy of Pelagius,

and are said to ascribe to man, without the grace of Christ,

some true and saving good, and, taking away the contest

between the flesh and the spirit which is carried on in the

regenerate, are said to maintain a perfection of

righteousness in the present life. But I ingenuously confess

that I detest, from my heart, the consequences which are here

deduced; in the mean time, I do not perceive how they can

flow from such an opinion. If any one will deign to prove

this, I will instantly abjure an opinion thus conducting to

heresy; knowing that nothing can be true, from which a

falsehood may, by good consequence, be concluded. But if this

cannot be demonstrated, and if I can make it evident that

neither these heresies, nor any other, are derived from this

opinion when it is properly explained, then, under these

circumstances, it seems that I may require, in my own right,

that no molestation shall be offered to me, or to any one

else, on account of this opinion. If I shall confirm this

opinion by arguments which are not only probable, but

likewise incapable of refutation, or which at least have a

greater semblance of probability than those by which the

contrary opinion is supported, then let me be allowed to

request that, by at least an equal right, this sentiment may

obtain a place with the other in the church. If, lastly, I

shall prove that the other opinion as it is in these days

explained by most divines, cannot, without the greatest

difficulty, be reconciled to many of the plainest passages of

Scripture, that it is in no small degree injurious to the

grace of the indwelling Spirit, that it has a hurtful effect

on good morals, and that it was never approved by any of the

ancient fathers of the church, but, on the contrary,

disapproved by some of them, and even to St. Augustine

himself; then may I be permitted by a most deserved right to

admonish the defenders of that other sentiment, that they

reflect frequently and seriously, whether they be wishful to

excite the wrath of God against themselves by an unjust

condemnation of this better opinion and of those who are its


4. Having premised these things, let us now enter on the

matter itself, which shall be treated by us after being

distributed in the following parts:

I. I will show that, in this passage, the apostle does not

speak about himself, nor about a man living under grace, but

that he has transferred to himself the person of a man placed

under the law.

II. I will make it evident that this opinion has never been

condemned in the church as heretical, but that it has always

had some defenders among the divines of the church.

III. I will show that no heresy, neither that of Pelagius,

nor any other, can be derived from this opinion, but that it

is most evidently opposed to Pelagianism, and that in a most

distinguished manner and designedly, it refutes the grand

falsehood of Pelagius. Confining myself within the bounds of

necessary defense, I might, after having explained these

three heads, conclude this treatise, unless it might seem to

some one advisable and useful to confute by equal arguments

the contrary opinion, especially as it is explained in these

days. This I will attempt in other two chapters, subjoined to

the preceding three, which will then be analogous and appear

as parallels to the last two.

IV. Therefore, I will prove that the meaning which some of

our modern divines attribute to the apostle in this was not

approved by any of the ancient fathers of the church, not

even by St. Augustine himself, but that it was repudiated and

confuted by him and some others.

V. And, lastly, I will demonstrate, that this opinion, as

explained in these days by many persons, is not only

injurious to grace, but likewise adverse to good morals.

God grant that I may meditate and write nothing but what is

agreeable to his sacred truth. If, however, any thing of a

contrary kind should escape from me, which is a fault of easy

occurrence to one who "knows but in part, and prophesies in

part;" I wish that neither to be [considered as] spoken nor

written. I make this previous protestation against any such

thing; and will, in reality, declare those things which

possess greater truth and certainty, when any one has taught

them to me.



1. A description of the terms contained in the Thesis. 2.

The reason why the description of the apostle is here

omitted. 3. What is meant by "being under the law. 4. What

it is to be "under grace." 5. What is meant by "a regenerate

man?" 6. Who is "an unregenerate?"

THE apostle, in this passage, is treating neither about

himself, such as he then was, nor about a man living under

grace; but he has transferred to himself the person of a man

placed under the law.

Or as some other persons express it :

The apostle, in this passage, is not treating about a man who

is already regenerate through the Spirit of Christ, but has

assumed the person of a man who is not yet regenerate.

1. To the proof of the thesis, must be premised and prefixed

definitions or descriptions of the subjects which it

comprises. The subjects are -- the apostle himself, a man

placed under grace, a man placed under the law, a man

regenerate by the Spirit of Christ, and a man not yet


2. I have set the apostle apart from those who are regenerate

and placed under grace, not because I would take him away

from the number of regenerate persons, among whom he holds a

conspicuous station, but because some people have thought

proper to deduce, from the description of the apostolical

perfection, arguments by which they prove, that the apostle

could not, in this passage, be speaking concerning himself,

as he then was; because those things which he here ascribes

to himself are at variance with some things that, in other

passages, he writes about himself, and because they are a

disgrace to his eminent state of grace, and to his progress

in faith and newness of life. But since it is certain, that

the apostle has not, in this chapter, treated of himself

personally, as distinguished from all other men of whatsoever

condition or order they may be, but that he, under his own

person, described a certain kind and order of men, whether

they be those who are under the law and not yet regenerate,

or those who are regenerate and placed under grace, omitting

the description of the apostle, we will first see what is

meant by being under grace and under the law, and what by

being regenerate, and not yet regenerate or unregenerate; yet

we will do this in such a man -- that, in the subsequent

establishment of our own opinion, we may produce arguments

drawn from the description given by the apostle.

3. The expression, therefore, to be under the law, does not

signify merely that the man is liable to perform it, or that

he is bound to obey the commands of the law; in which sense

all men generally, both those who are said in the ninth verse

of this chapter to be "without law," are reckoned to be under

the law by right of creation, and those also who are under

grace, are considered to be under the law by the further

fight of redemption and sanctification, and yet in such a

manner as not to be under its rigor, because they are under

the law to Christ, who makes his people free from the rigor

of the law. But because the office of the law concerning

sinners is two-fold -- the one, to conclude sinners under the

guilt of that punishment which is denounced by the law

against transgressors, and to condemn them by its sentence --

the other, first to instruct sinners and to give them

assurance about its equity, justice and holiness, and

afterwards to accuse them of sin, to urge them to obedience,

to convince them of their own weakness, to terrify them by a

dread of punishment, to compel them to seek deliverance, and,

generally, to lead, govern and actuate sinners according to

its efficacy. Therefore, with regard to the first office of

the law, all sinners universally are said to be under it,

even those who are without law and have sinned without it;

"for they shall also perish without law (Rom. ii, 12) yet

they are not to be condemned without a just sentence of the

law. In relation to the second office of the law, they are

said to be under its dominion, government, lordship and

(pedagogy) tutelage, who are ruled and actuated by the

efficacy and guidance of the law, in whom it exerts its

power, and exercises these its operations, whether some of

them or all, whether more or less, in which respect there may

be, and really are, different degrees and orders of those

persons who are said, in this second view, to be under the

law. But in this passage, we define a man under the law to be

"one who is under its entire efficacy and all its

operations;" the design of the apostle requiring this, as we

shall afterwards perceive.

4. This phrase "to be under grace," answers in opposition to

the other of being "under the law," since the effect of this

grace is two-fold. The first is, to absolve a sinful man from

the guilt of sin and from condemnation; the second is, to

endow man with the Spirit of adoption and of regeneration,

and by that Spirit to vivify or quicken, to lead, actuate and

govern him. Hence, not only are they said to be "under grace"

who are free from guilt and condemnation, but likewise they

who are governed and actuated by the guidance of grace and of

the Holy Spirit. But since we are in this place discussing,

not properly the condemnation of sin, but the tyranny and

dominion which it violently exercises over those who are its

subjects, by compelling them with its own force to yield it

complete obedience, and to which are opposed in vain the

efficacy and power of the law; and since we are now treating,

not about the remission of sins, but about that grace which

inhibits or restrains the force of this tyrant and lord, and

which leads men to yield it due obedience; therefore we must

restrict the expressions, "to be under the law," and "to be

under grace," to the latter signification -- that he is

"under the law" who is governed and actuated by the guidance

of the law, and that he is "under grace" who is governed and

actuated by the guidance of grace. This will be rendered

evident from the fourteenth verse of the sixth chapter, when

accurately compared with the preceding and following verses

of the same chapter, and from the 17th and 18th verses of the

fifth chapter of the epistle to the Galatians, when they are

properly applied to this matter. Yet if any one be desirous

of extending these passages to the two-fold signification of

each of the expressions, he has my free permission for such

extension; for it cannot prove the least hindrance in the

inquiry and discovery of the truth of the matter which is the

subject of our present discussion.

5. LET us now see about the regenerate and the unregenerate

man. That we may define him with strictness, as it is proper

to do in oppositions and distinctions, we say that a

regenerate man is one who is so called, not from the

commenced act or operation of the Holy Spirit, though this is

regeneration, but from the same act or operation when it is

perfected with respect to its essential parts, though not

with respect to its quantity and degree; he is not one "who

was once enlightened, and has tasted of the heavenly gift,

and was made partaker of the Holy Ghost, and who has tasted

the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come;"

(Heb. vi, 4,5) because the explanation given by most of our

divines to this passage, applies only to unregenerate

persons. Neither is he one who "has escaped the pollutions of

the world through the knowledge of the Lord and saviour Jesus

Christ, and who has known the way of righteousness;" (2 Pet.

ii, 20,21) or they explain this passage also as applicable

solely to the unregenerate. Nor is it a man who "heareth the

law, and has the work of the law written in his heart, whose

thoughts mutually accuse or else excuse themselves, who rests

in the law, makes his boast of God, knows his will, and

approves the things that are more excellent, being instructed

out of the law." (Rom. ii, 13-18.) Neither is he one who "has

prophesied in the name of the Lord, and in his name cast out

devils;" (Matt. vii, 22) and who "has all faith, so that he

could remove mountains." (1 Cor. xiii, 2) Nor is he one who

acknowledges himself to be a sinner, mourns on account of

sin, and is affected with godly sorrow, and who is fatigued

and "heavy laden" under the burden of his sins; (Matt. xi,

28) for such persons as these Christ came to call, and this

call precedes justification and sanctification, that is,

regeneration. (Rom. viii, 30.) Neither is it he who "knows

himself to be wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind,

and naked;" for this is the man whom Christ "counsels to buy"

of him the things necessary for himself. (Rev. iii, 17,18.)

This interpretation is not invalidated by the fact that the

church of Laodicea is said not to know herself; for the

"counsel" or advice bestowed will never persuade her to buy

those things of Christ, unless she have previously known

herself to be such a one as is there described. Nor is he one

who knows that a man cannot be justified by the works of the

law, and who, from this very circumstance, is compelled to

flee to Christ, that in him he may obtain justification.

(Gal. ii, 16) Nor is he a man, who, acknowledging himself as

being unworthy even to lift up his eyes to heaven, and who,

smiting on his breast, has exclaimed, God be merciful to me a


This has been well observed by Beza in his Refutation of the

calumnies of Tilman Heshusius, where he makes a beautiful

distinction between "the things which precede regeneration"

and "regeneration itself" and thus expresses himself: "It is

one thing to inquire by what methods God prepares for

repentance or newness of life, and it is another to treat on

repentance itself. Let, therefore, the acknowledgment of sin

and godly sorrow be the beginning of repentance, but so far

as God begins in this way to prepare us for newness of life,

in which respect it was the practice of Calvin deservedly to

call this fear initial. Besides, in the description of

penitence we are not so accustomed as some people are, to

call these dreadful qualms of conscience the mortification of

the flesh or of the old man; though we know that the word of

God is compared to a sword, which, in some manner, slays us,

that we may offer ourselves for a sacrifice to God; and St.

Paul somewhere calls afflictions the death of Christ which we

carry about with us in the body. For it is very evident that,

by the mortification or death of the flesh and of the old

man, or of our members, St. Paul means something far

different: He means not that efficacy of the Spirit of Christ

which may terrify us, but that which may sanctify us, by

destroying in us that corrupt nature which brought forth

fruit unto death. Besides, we also differ from some persons

on this point, not with respect to the thing itself, but in

the method or form of teaching it, that they wish faith to be

the second part of penitence, but we say that metanoia [a

change of mind for the better,] by which term we understand,

according to Scripture usage, renovation of life or newness

of living, is the effect of faith," &c. (Opuscula, tom. I,

fol. 328.) Such are the sentiments of Beza; but how exactly

they agree with those things which I have advanced, will be

rendered very apparent to any man who will compare the one

with the other.

Consonant with these is that which John Calvin says about

initial fear, in the following words: "They have probably

been deceived by this -- that some persons are tamed by the

qualms or terrors of conscience, or are prepared by them for

obedience, before they have been imbued with the knowledge of

grace, nay, before they have tasted it. And this is that

initial fear which some persons reckon among the virtues,

because they discern that it approaches nearly to a true and

just obedience. But this is not the place for discussing the

various ways by which Christ draws us to himself, or prepares

us for the pursuit of piety," &c.

But a regenerate man is one who comprises within himself all

the particulars which I shall here enumerate: "has put off

the old man with his deeds, and has put on the new man, who

is renewed in knowledge, which agrees with the image of him

who created him." (Col. iii, 9,10.) has received from God

"the Spirit of wisdom and revelation through the knowledge of

Him, the eyes of his understanding being illuminated" or

opened. (Ephes. i, 18.) He has put off, "concerning the

former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according

to the deceitful lusts; and he is renewed in the spirit of

his mind, and has put on the new man, which, after God, is

created in righteousness and true holiness." (Ephes. iv, 22-

24) He, "with open face, beholding, as in a glass, the glory

of the Lord, is changed into the same image from glory to

glory, even us by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Cor. iii, 18)

He is "dead to sin; his old man is crucified with Christ,

that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth he

should not serve sin; he is freed from sin, and is alive unto

God through Jesus Christ our Lord?" (Rom. vi, 2,6, 7,11) "he

is crucified with Christ; nevertheless he lives, yet not he;

but Christ liveth in him; and the life which he now lives in

the flesh, he lives by the faith of the Son of God." (Gal.

ii, 20.) Being one of Christ's followers, "he has crucified

the flesh with its affections and lusts, and now lives in the

Spirit." (v. 24,25) "By our Lord Jesus Christ, the world is

crucified unto him, and he unto the world." (vi, 14) "In

Christ Jesus the Lord, he is also circumcised with the

circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of

the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." (Col.

ii, 11.) "In him, God worketh both to will and to do." (Phil.

ii, 13.) "He is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit; the

Spirit of Christ dwelleth in him; through the Spirit, he

mortifies the deeds of the body; he is led by the Spirit of

God, and does not walk after the flesh, but after the

Spirit." (Rom. viii, 4,9,13,14)

Uniting in a brief manner, all the parts and fruits of

generation into one summary -- A regenerate man is he who has

a mind freed from the darkness and vanity of the world, and

illuminated with the true and saving knowledge of Christ, and

with faith, who has affections that are mortified, and

delivered from the dominion and slavery of sin, that are

inflamed with such new desires as agree with the divine

nature, and as are prepared and fitted for newness of living,

who has a will reduced to order, and conformed to the will of

God, who has powers and faculties able, through the

assistance of the Holy Spirit, to contend against sin, the

world and Satan, and to gain the victory over them, and to

bring forth fruit unto God, such as is meet for repentance --

who also actually fights against sin, and, having obtained

the victory over it, no longer does those things which are

pleasing to the flesh and to unlawful desires, but does those

which are grateful to God; that is, he actually desists from

evil and does good -- not indeed perfectly, but according to

the measure of faith and of the gift of Christ, according to

the small degree of regeneration, which, begun in the present

life, must be gradually improved or increased, till at length

it is perfected after this short life is ended -- not with

respect to essential parts, but with respect to quantity, as

we have already declared -- not always without interruption,

(for he sometimes stumbles, falls, wanders astray, commits

sin, grieves the Holy Spirit, ac.,) but generally, and for

the most part, he does good.

6. But an unregenerate man is, not only he who is entirely

blind, ignorant of the will of God, knowingly and willingly

contaminating himself by sins without any remorse of

conscience, affected with no sense of the wrath of God,

terrified with no compunctions visits of conscience, not

oppressed with the burden of sin, and inflamed with no desire

of deliverance -- but it is also he who knows the will of God

but does it not, who is acquainted with the way of

righteousness, but departs from it -- who has the law of God

written in his heart, and has thoughts mutually accusing and

excusing each other -- who receives the word of the gospel

with gladness, and for a season rejoices in its light -- who

comes to baptism, but either does not receive the word itself

in a good heart, or, at least, does not bring forth fruit --

who is affected with a painful sense of sin, is oppressed

with its burden, and who sorrows after a godly sort -- who

knows that righteousness cannot be acquired by the law, and

who is, therefore, compelled to flee to Christ.

For all these particulars, in what manner soever they be

taken, do not belong to the essence and the essential parts

of regeneration, penitence, or repentance, which are

mortification and vivification and quickening; but they are

only things preceding, and may have some place among the

beginnings, and, if such be the pleasure of any one, they may

be reckoned the causes of penitence and regeneration, as

Calvin has learnedly and nervously explained them in his

Christian Institutes. (Lib. 3, cap. 3.) Besides, even true

and living faith in Christ precedes regeneration strictly

taken, and consisting of the mortification or death of the

old man, and the vivification of the new man, as Calvin has,

in the same passage of his Institutes, openly declared, and

in a manner which agrees with the Scriptures and the nature

of faith. For Christ becomes ours by faith, and we are

engrafted into Christ, are made members of his body, of his

flesh and of his bones, and, being thus planted with him, we

coalesce or are united together, that we may draw from him

the vivifying power of the Holy Spirit, by which power the

old man is mortified and we rise again into a new life. All

these things cohere together with each other in a certain

order, and must thus also be considered, if any one be

desirous of knowing them not confusedly but distinctly, and

of explaining them well to others. But we are not, in this

place, treating about all the unregenerate in general, but

only about those in whom the law has exerted all its

efficacy, and who are, on this account, reciprocally said to

be under the law.


1. The design of the Apostle in the sixth chapter. 2. A short

disposition of this argument. 3. Four enunciations of it.

4. This distribution is treated in order [in the seventh

chapter]. 5. The two former enunciations are contained in

conjunction. 6. What therefore is proved by them. 7. The

third and fourth enunciations are proposed in the fifth and

sixth verses. 8. In the third enunciation lies the principal

part of the controversy; its deduction consists of the

proposition of the enunciation and of its method of being

treated. 9. The proposition of the enunciation. 10. The

investigation of the proposition, consisting of a larger

explanation, and the rendering of the cause. 11. A larger

explanation of the seventh chapter, from the seventh verse to

the fourteenth. 12. The rendering of the cause, from the

fourteenth verse to the end of the seventh chapter. 13. The

fourteenth verse contains the rendering of a two-fold reason.

14. The proof of this is contained in the fifteenth verse.

15. And a more ample explanation of it. 16. From which two

consectaries are deduced -- the first in the sixteenth verse,

and the second in the seventeenth. 17. From this, the

apostle returns to the rendering of the cause, in the

eighteenth verse, and to the proof of it. 18. Its more ample

explanation follows in the nineteenth verse, from which is

deduced the second consectary in the twentieth verse. 19. The

conclusion of the thing intended, in the twenty-first verse,

and the proof of it is given in the twenty-second and twenty-

third verses. 20. A votive exclamation for the deliverance

of a man who is under the law, occurs in the twenty-fourth

verse. 21. An answer or a thanksgiving reference to that

exclamation, is given in the former part of the twenty-fifth

verse, and the conclusion of the whole investigation, in

which the state of a man who is under the law is briefly

defined in the latter part of the twenty-fifth verse. 22. A

brief recapitulation of the second part.

1. Having, from necessity of the thing and of order, thus

premised these things, let us now proceed to treat on the

question and the thesis itself. But it will be useful,

briefly to place before our eyes the sum of the whole

chapter, its disposition and distribution; that, after having

considered the design of the apostle, and those things which

conduce to that design, and which have been brought forward

by the apostle as subservient to his purpose, his mind and

intention, may the more plainly be made known to us. That

this may the more appropriately be done, the matter must be

traced a little further backward. In the 12th and 13th

verses, as well as in the preceding verses of the sixth

chapter of the epistle to the Romans, the apostle had

exhorted all the believers at Rome to contend strenuously

against sin, and not to suffer sin to domineer or rule over

them, or to exercise authority in their mortal body; but to

devote themselves to God, and to yield their members as the

instruments of righteousness unto God; and he demonstrated

and confirmed the equity of his exhortation by many

arguments, especially by those which are deduced from the

communion of believers with Christ. But, in order to animate

them the more powerfully to this spiritual contest -- the

persuasion to enter on which was to be wrought not only by a

demonstration of its equity, but also by a promise of its

felicitous and successful issue -- in the 14th verse of the

same chapter, he proposed to them the certain hope of

victory, declaring "sin shall not have dominion over you."

For nothing can so strongly incite men to engage manfully and

with spirit in this warfare, as that certain confidence of

obtaining the victory which the apostle promises in these

words. But he grounds his promise, in the 14th verse, on a

reason drawn from it, and on the power and ability of that

[grace] under the guidance and auspices of which they were

about to contend against sin, or from that state in which

they were then placed it, and through Christ, when he says,

"For ye are not under the law but under grace," thus

extolling the powers of grace at the expense of the contrary

weakness of the law, as though he had said, "I employ these

continual exhortations to induce you strenuously to engage in

the conflict against sin; and I do this, not only because I

consider it most equitable that you should enter into that

warfare, while I have regard to your communion with Christ,

but also because I arrive at an assured hope, while I view

your present condition, that you will at length enjoy the

victory over sin, through that under whose auspices you

fight; and it can by no means come to pass, that sin shall

have dominion over you, as it formerly had; for you are under

grace, under the government and guidance of the Spirit of

Christ, and no longer under the law. if you were still in

that state in which you were before faith in Christ, that is,

if you were yet under the law, I might indulge in despair

about declaring a victory for you, as placed under the

dominion of sin. Such a victory over the power of sin

contending within you, you would not be able to obtain by the

strength or power of the law, which knows how to command, but

affords no aid for the performance of the things commanded,

how great soever might be the exertions which you made to

gain the battle under the auspices of the law." But this

reasoning, in the first place, possessed validity to prove

the necessity of the grace which was offered and to be

obtained in Christ alone, in opposition to those who were the

patrons of the cause of the law against the gospel, and who

urged that covenant, the law of works, against the covenant

of grace and the law of faith. This reasoning also

contributed greatly to the design which the apostle proposed

to himself in the principal part of this epistle. His design

was to teach that, not the law, but "the gospel is the power

of God to salvation to every one that believeth," both

because by the law, and by the works of the law, no man can

be justified from the sins which he has committed, and

because, by the power and aid of the same law no one can

oppose himself to the power of sin to shake off its yoke,

and, alter having been freed from its yoke, to serve God,

since he immediately falls in the conflict. But in Christ

Jesus, as he is offered to us through the gospel, and

apprehended by faith we can obtain both these blessings --

the forgiveness of sins through faith in his blood, and the

power of the Spirit of Christ, by which, being delivered from

the dominion of sin, we may, through the same Spirit, be able

to resist sin, to gain the victory over it, and to serve God

"in newness of life."

These things in the sixth chapter may be perceived at one

glance when placed before the eyes in the following order:


Dehortatory. -- "Neither yield ye your members as instruments

of unrighteousness unto sin."

Hortatory. -- "But yield your members as instruments of

righteousness unto God."


"For sin shall not have dominion over you."

Hence, an enthymeme, whose

Antecedent is -- "Sin shall not have dominion over you."

Its consequent -- "Therefore, neither yield your members as

instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves

unto God," &c.


"For ye are under grace; therefore, sin shall not have

dominion over you."


For ye are not under the law."


"If, indeed, you were yet under the law, as you formerly

were, sin would have the dominion over you as it once had;

and, having followed its commands and impulses, you would not

be able to do any other than yield your members as

instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.

"But as you are now no longer under the law, but under grace,

sin shall not in any wise have the dominion over you, but by

the power of grace you shall easily resist sin, and yield

your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

From the 14th verse, the apostle perseveres in the same

exhortation throughout the remainder of the sixth chapter,

with a slight intermission of this argument, yet having

previously refuted the objection which might be deduced from

it; being about to resume the same argument, and to treat it

more at large, in the whole of the seventh chapter, and in

the former part of the eighth, since, as we have already

perceived, the prosecution of this argument contributes very

materially to his design.

2. But the apostle treats this subject in the order and

method which was demanded by reason itself, and by the

necessity of its discussion. For he had said, "Sin shall not

have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but

under grace."

3. In these words, are contained the four following


(1.) Christians are not under the law.

(2.) Christians are under grace.

(3.) Sin shall have dominion over those who are under the


(4.) Sin shall not have dominion over those who are under


Of these four enunciations, the second and the fourth are

necessary and sufficient to persuade in favour of this

exhortation; but the first and the third are adduced, both

for the sake of illustration, and because they were required

by the principal design of the entire epistle. The former of

these [pairs of conjoint enunciations] is well known to all

who understand the nature of a separated axiom and the mutual

relation which exists between its parts; but the latter of

them will he rendered very apparent by the deduction of the

epistle itself, and on a diligent inspection of its


4. The apostle, therefore, thought that these four axioms

ought to be treated by him in order, and indeed always with

the mention of the conclusion which he was desirous to infer

from them as from premises; and in which the sum of the

exhortation consisted.

5. But the apostle treats those two former enunciations

conjointly, such a course being required by their nature. For

he gives one thing to those from which he takes another away,

and this very properly; because there exists one and the same

cause why the one should be attributed and the other taken

away, why they are under grace and not under the law. This

cause is expressed in the fourth verse of the seventh

chapter, in the following words: "Ye, also, are become dead

to the law in the body of Christ, that ye should be married

to another."

6. But in the first four verses, the apostle proves that

Christians or believers are not under the law, but under

grace; which proof may be comprised in this syllogism:

They who are dead to the law, and this in the body of Christ,

that they may be married to another, even to Christ, are no

longer under the law, but are now under grace;

But Christians are dead to the law, that they should he

married to another, even to Christ;

Therefore, Christians are no longer under the law, but under


The first part of the proposition -- "They who are dead to

the law, are no longer under the law," is expressed in the

first verse of the seventh chapter in these words: "The law

hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth." The latter

part of it, "They who are made Christ's are under grace, --

is included in the fourth verse, from which it may be

deduced. But a confirmation of the first part of the

proposition is added, in the first verse, from the testimony

of the consciences of those who are expert in the knowledge

of the law; and the same part of the proposition is

illustrated, in the second and third verses, by a simile,

that of marriage, in which the woman is no longer liable to

the law of her husband than "so long as he liveth;" but when

he is dead, she is free from the law of her husband, so that

she may be allowed to transfer herself to another man without

committing the crime of adultery. The application of this

comparison is evident, the difference only being observed,

that the apostle has declared, by a change in the mode of

speaking, that Christians are become dead to the law, and not

that the law is become dead to them. This change of speech is

attributed by some persons to the prudence of the apostle,

who wished to avoid the use of a phrase which he previously

knew would be offensive to the Jews. By others it is

transferred to the nature of the thing, in which they say

that sin, and not the law, sustained the part or person of

the husband, because in the sixth verse sin is said to be

dead; but this makes nothing to our present purpose.

The assumption, in the fourth verse, is in these words: "we

also are become dead to the law in the body of Christ, that

ye should be married to another, even to Christ." This

assumption is illustrated, First, by the efficient cause of

that mortification or death, which is the crucifixion and the

resurrection of the body of Christ, and the communion of

believers with Christ in that crucifixion and in the rising

again of His body. Secondly. This assumption is illustrated

by the final cause of deliverance, which contains the scope

or design of the apostolical exhortation, that is, "to bring

forth fruit unto God." But he perseveres in the same end in

the two subsequent verses, the sixth and seventh, by treating

it through a comparison of things similar, as he had also

done in the nineteenth verse of the sixth chapter. The

parallel is, that we serve God, and since we are not now in

the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of Spirit, and

are delivered from the law, that thing being dead in which we

were held, it is equitable that we bring forth fruit unto

God; because when we were in the flesh, the motion of sins,

existing through the law, did work in our members to bring

forth fruit unto death.

The conclusion is not openly inferred, but is understood,

which is a mode of frequent occurrence, because the

proposition, or question to be treated, does not differ from

the conclusion in the matter, but only in the mode of


7. But though these two verses, the fifth and sixth, have

such a relation to those things which preceded as has been

already explained, yet they are likewise to be referred to

those which follow. For the third and fourth enunciations are

proposed in these two verses -- the third in the fifth verse,

and the fourth in the sixth. For, this expression, "The

motions of sins, which are by the law, are vigourous, or

operate in the members of men who are yet in the flesh,"

(verse 5) is tantamount in meaning to these words: "Sin has

the dominion over those who are under the law." These words

likewise, "But now we are delivered from the law, that being

dead wherein we were held, wse so that we should serve in

newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter,"

(verse sixth,) agree well with the following: "Sin shall not

have the dominion over those who are under grace." This will

be rendered evident if any one translates the particle wse as

an ancient interpreter has done, by the words "so that," and

understands it not of the end or intention, but of the issue

or event, as the almost perpetual use of that particle

requires. For the sense is this: "When we were yet in the

oldness of the letter and under the law, then we were held

under sin; and when we are now delivered from the law and

placed in newness of spirit, we are able to serve God in

righteousness and true holiness," agreeably to this state of

our newness of living.

8. But let us now more closely inspect how this third

enunciation is treated, since in it is laid the principal

part of the controversy. The exposition of the whole matter

consists of the proposing of the enunciation, and of its

investigation, the latter of which is partly an explanation,

and partly an application of the cause. Both of these are

briefly joined to the proposition, as it is laid down in the

fifth verse of this chapter; wherefore they are more copious,

and better accommodated to the more prolix investigation,

than as they are proposed from the fourteenth verse of the

sixth chapter.

9. For that proposition is, "sin," or, as it is more

energetically expressed, "The motions of sins have the

dominion over those who are under the law." This attribute is

likewise more nervously expressed by this method of speech,

by which the motions of sins are said to have existence by

the law itself.

Two effects of this dominion, therefore, are added to the

proposition for the sake of explication. One is, its vigour,

and its working in the members; the other is, its bringing

forth fruits unto death. The cause why, in men under the law,

"the motions of sins work in their members to bring forth

fruit unto death," is rendered in these words, "when we were

in the flesh." For the reference to the time preceding is

taken from the carnal state, which state comprises the cause

why, in times past, "the motions of sins did work in our

members." As if the apostle had said, "It is not wonderful

that the motions of sins have had the dominion over us, and

have worked in our members to bring forth fruit unto death;

for we are in the flesh; and the law itself is so far from

being able to hinder this dominion and to restrain the

vigourous growth of sin, that these motions are by the law

far more fervid and vehement, not through the fault of the

law, but through the wickedness and obstinacy of sin that

holds the dominion and abuses its power."

10. This proposition, therefore, is more largely explained,

from the seventh verse to the fourteenth; and its cause is

fully treated from the fourteenth verse inclusive, to the end

of the chapter. The explanation is occupied about this two-

fold effect -- the working of sin, and its fructification by

which it brings forth fruit unto death. The rendering of the

cause is continually intent upon what is said in the fifth

verse, "When we were in the flesh." But on both these points,

we must carefully guard against bringing the law under the

suspicion of blame, as though it were of itself the cause of

depraved desires in us, and of death; when it is only the

occasion, upon which sin violently seizes, and uses it to

produce these effects in men who live under the law. In the

explanation, both these effects are removed from the law, and

they are attributed to sin as to their proper cause; yet this

is done in such a way, that it is at the same time added,

that sin abuses the law to produce these effects.

11. (i) The former of these effects is removed from the law,

in the seventh verse, by these words: "What shall we say

then? Is the law sin? God forbid." That is, as if he had

said, "Can it, therefore, be attributed to the law that it is

itself, or the cause of depraved desires in us, because it is

called in the fifth verse, the motions of sin which are by

the law?" The apostle replies, that it is very wrong to

entertain even the bare thought of such a thing concerning

the law. He subjoins a proof of this removal of the first

effect, from the contrary effect which the law has; for the

law is the index of sin, or that which points it out;

therefore, it is neither sin nor the cause of sin. He then

illustrates this proof by a special example: "For I should

not have known concupiscence, unless the law had said, Thou

shaft not desire or covet."

But the same effect is, in the eighth verse, attributed to

sin, in these words: "But sin wrought in me all manner of

concupiscence," yet so that it abuses the law as an occasion

to produce this effect. This is intimated in the words which

immediately follow:. "Sin, taking occasion by the

commandment, wrought in me," &c. The latter effect [the

fructification of sin] is proved in the next verse, in these

words: "For, without the law, sin was dead; but, on the

approach of the law, sin revived," which is illustrated by

its opposite privatives, "For I was alive when sin was dead;

but when sin revived then I died;" but, as this was done by

the law, it is evident that sin abused the law to produce

this effect. But the apostle here joins the second effect to

the first, (because they cohere together by nature, and the

former is the cause of the latter,) and thus in the tenth and

eleventh verses, ascribes death to sin, which abuses the law,

yet so as to excuse the law also from the effect of death, as

it is expressed in the tenth verse, "the commandment which

was unto life;" the cause of death being transferred to sin,

in the expression, "for sin, taking occasion by the

commandment," &c. But he follows up his exculpation of the

law, in the twelfth verse, by a description of the nature of

the law, that it "is holy, and just, and good," and,

therefore, by no means the cause of death -- an insinuation

against the law which he indignantly repels in the former

part of the thirteenth verse, by saying, "God forbid that

that which is good, should be made death unto me." But in the

latter part of this verse, he ascribes the same effect to

sin, with the addition of a two-fold end, both of them

inclining to the disparagement of sin itself, in these words:

"That sin might appear sin, working death in me by that which

is good; that sin, by the commandment, might become

exceedingly sinful." As though he had said -- "Sin, by this

abuse of the law to seduce and kill us, has produced the

effect, that. in return, its own depravity and perverseness

be made manifest by the law. This perverse depravity consists

in sin working death by the law which is good, and in being

made exceedingly sinful by the commandment which is just and

holy, and that it might only become as it were a sinner above

measure by its own wickedness, but also might be declared to

be such by the indication of the law, which it has so

shamefully abused to produce these effects." But it is

apparent from the whole of this explanation, that the apostle

has so attempered his style as to draw a conclusion of the

necessity of the grace of Christ, from the efficacy of sin,

and from the weakness of the law. This will be still more

perspicuous, if we briefly comprise this explanation of the

apostle in the following form: "Sin has the dominion over

those who are under the law, by working in them all manner of

concupiscence through the law itself, and also by killing

them through it, yet so that the law is free from all blame

in both cases, since, it is holy and good, the index of sin,

and was given for life. But sin is so powerful in men who are

still under the law, that it abuses the law to produce those

effects in a man who is under subjection to it; by which

abuse of the law, sin, on the other hand, takes away the

reward from the law, that its own perverse and noxious

disposition and tendency may be manifested by the indication

of the law. From these circumstances a man who is under the

law is compelled to flee to grace, that he may by its

beneficent aid be delivered from the tyranny of such a wicked

and injurious master."

12. The rendering of the cause follows from the fourteenth

verse to the end of the chapter; in which, as we have already

observed, the utmost care is evinced not to impose any

ignominy on the law, or to ascribe any blame to it; and the

entire mischief is attributed to the power of sin, and to the

weakness of that man who is under the law. But the cause is

briefly given in the fourteenth verse, in these words: "For

we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold

under sin." But in order that this rendering of the cause may

be accurately understood, we must again consider that

proposition, the cause of which the apostle determines in

this place to explain, and which is this: "Sin has dominion

over those who are under the law;" or, "The motions of sins,

which are by the law, work in men who are under the law."

13. That the cause of this may be fully and perfectly

rendered, it must be shown why the law cannot weaken the

force and tyranny of sin in those who are under the law, and

why sin holds those who are under the law bound and obnoxious

to itself as by some right of its own. Therefore, this

rendering of the cause consists of two parts: The first is

contained in these words: "For truly the law is spiritual;

but I am carnal." That the particle "indeed" or "truly" must

be added, is proved both by its relative de, "but," as well

as by the very subject. The second is contained in these

words: "For I am sold under sin;" that is, I am under the

dominion of sin, as one who is constituted a purchased

servant by the right of sale, and like one who becomes the

bond-slave of sin. As though the apostle had said, "That the

law is incapable of hindering the strength and operation of

sin in men who are under the law, arises from this, that men

under the law are carnal; in whom therefore the law, though

it is spiritual, does not possess so much power as to enable

it to restrain the strong inclination of the flesh to things

which are evil and contrary to the law. And since sin, by a

certain right of its own, exercises dominion over those men

who are under the law, therefore it comes to pass that they

have been made bond-slaves to sin, and are bound and

"fettered like a purchased menial."

14. The apostle immediately subjoins a proof, in the

fifteenth verse, not so much of the fact that a man under the

law is carnal, as that he is the slave of sin. But the proof

is taken from the peculiar adjunct or effect of a purchased

servant, in these words: "For that which I do I allow not."

For a servant does not do that which seems good to himself,

but that which his master is pleased to prescribe to him;

because thus is the word "I allow" used in this passage, for

"I approve." But if any one thinks that it is here used in

its proper signification, the argument will be the same, and

equal its validity; "for," as Christ has told us, "the

servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth;" (John xv, 15;)

neither is his Lord bound, nor is he accustomed, to make

known to his servant all his will, except so far as it seems

proper to himself to employ the services of his menial

through the knowledge of that will.

15. But the first signification of the word is better

accommodated to this passage, and seems to be required by

those things which follow; for a more ample explanation of

this argument is produced in the following words: "For what I

would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I;" which is

an evident token of a will that is subjugated, and subject to

the will of another; that is, to the will of sin. Therefore

he is the servant and the slave of sin.

16. The apostle now deduces two consectaries from this, by

the first of which he excuses the law, and by the second, he

throws on sin all the blame respecting this matter, as he had

also done in a previous part of the chapter. The first

consectary is, "if, then, I do that which I would not, I

consent unto the law that it is good." (16.) That is, "if I

unwillingly do that which sin prescribes to me, now, indeed,

I consent unto the law that it is good, as being that against

which sin is committed. I assent to the law that commands,

though, while placed under the dominion of sin, I am unable

to perform what it prescribes." The second consectary is,

"Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth

in me." (17.) That is, "therefore, because I reluctantly do

what I do, not at my own option but at that of another, that

Is, of my master, who is sin; it follows from this, that it

is not I who do it, but sin which dwells in me, has the

dominion over me, and impels me to do it."

17. Having treated upon these subjects in the manner now

stated, the apostle returns to the same rendering of the

cause and the proof of it. The eighteenth verse contains the

rendering of the cause, in these words: "For I know that in

me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing:" Wherefore

it is not surprising that the law, though it be spiritual, is

not able to break the power of sin in a man who is under the

law; for that which is good does not dwell, that is, has not

the dominion, in a carnal man who is under the law. The proof

of this is subjoined in the same verse: "For to will is

present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find

not." Or, "I do not find how I can perform any thing good."

18. The more ample explanation of it is given in the

nineteenth verse, "For the good that I would, I do not; but

the evil that I would not, that I do;" which is an evident

token that no good thing dwelleth in my flesh. For if any

good thing dwelt in my flesh, I should then be actually

capable of performing that to which my mind and will are

inclined. He then deduces once more the second consectary, in

the twentieth verse: "Now if I do that I would not, it is no

more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."

19. But from all these arguments, in the twenty-first verse

he concludes the thing intended: "I find then a law, [which

is imposed in this way,] that, when I would do good, evil is

present with me." That is, In reality, therefore, I find from

the circumstance of "to will being present with me," but of

not being capable of performing what is good, that evil or

sin is present with me, and not only has it a place in me but

it likewise prevails. This conclusion does not differ in

meaning from the rendering of the cause which is comprised in

the fourteenth verse, in this expression: "But I am carnal,

sold under sin." But in the two subsequent verses, the

twenty-second and twenty-third, the apostle proves the

conclusion which immediately preceded; and, in proving it, he

more clearly explains whence and how it happens, that a man

who is under the law cannot have dominion over sin, and that,

whether willing or unwilling, such a person is compelled to

fulfill the lusts of sin; and he says, "for I delight in the

law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my

members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me

into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."

20. At the close, from a consideration of the miserable state

of those men who are under the law, a votive exclamation is

raised for their deliverance from this tyranny and servitude

of sin, in the following terms: "O wretched man that I am!

who shall deliver (or snatch) me from the body of this

death?" That is, not from this mortal body, but from the

dominion of sin, which he here calls the body of death, as he

calls it also in other passages the body of sin.

21. To this exclamation he subjoins a reply -- "the grace of

God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, will deliver thee" -- or

a thanksgiving, in which the apostle intimates, in his own

person, whence deliverance must be sought and expected. In

the last place, a conclusion is annexed to the whole

investigation, in the latter part of the twenty-fifth verse,

in which is briefly defined the entire condition of a man

under the law, that had been previously and at great length

described; "so then, with the mind, I myself, serve the law

of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin." And in this

manner is concluded the seventh chapter.

22. But in order that these arguments, after having been

reduced to a small compass, may be perceived at a single

glance, let us briefly recapitulate this second part

likewise, in the following manner:

"We have already declared, that sin has dominion over those

men who are under the law: But the cause of this is, that,

though the law itself is spiritual, and though the men who

are under it consent unto it that it is good, and though they

will what is good and delight in the law of God after the

inward man; yet these very men who are under the law are

carnal, sold under sin, have no good thing dwelling in their

flesh, but have sin dwelling in them, and evil is present

with them; they have likewise a law in their members which

not only wars against the law of their mind, but which also

renders them captives to the law of sin which is in their

members. Of this matter it is a certain and evident token,

that the good which such men would, they do not; but the evil

which they hate, that they do; and that when they will to do

good, they do not obtain the ability. Hence it is undoubtedly

evident, that they are not themselves the masters of their

own acts, but sin which dwelleth in them; to which is also

chiefly to be ascribed the culpability of the evil which is

committed by these men who are like the reluctant

perpetrators of it. But on this account, these persons, from

the shewing of the law, having become acquainted with their

misery, are compelled to cry out, and to implore the grace of

Jesus Christ."


1. A closer investigation of this question and a

demonstration taken from the text itself, that the apostle is

here treating about a man paced under the law, and not under

grace. 2. The manner in which Carnal and spiritual are

opposed to each other in the scriptures. 3. An objection

taken from 1 Corinthians iii, 1,2; and a reply to it. 4. The

meaning of the phrase, sold under sin. The views of Calvin

and Beza on this verse.

1. Having, in the preceding manner, considered the

disposition and economy of the whole chapter, let us now

somewhat more strictly investigate the question proposed by

us, which is this: "Are those things which are recorded, from

the fourteenth verse to the end of the seventh chapter, to be

understood concerning a man who is under the law, or

concerning one who is under grace?"

First of all, let some attention be bestowed on the

connection of the fourteenth verse with those which preceded

it; for the rational particle gar "for," indicates its

connection with the preceding. This connection shows, that

the same subject is discussed in this verse, as in those

before it; and the pronoun egw I, must be understood as

relating to the same man, as had been signified in the

previous verses by the same pronoun. But the investigation in

the former part of the chapter was respecting a man who is

under the law, and the pronoun "I" had previously denoted the

man who was under the law: Therefore, in this fourteenth

verse also, in which a, cause is given of that which had been

before explained, a man under the law is still the subject.

If it be otherwise, the whole of it is nothing less than

loose reasoning; nor, in this case, have we ever been able to

perceive even any probable connection, according to which

these consequences that follow can be in coherence with the

matters preceding, and which has been adduced by those who

suppose that, in the first thirteen verses of this seventh

chapter, the discourse refers to a man under the law, but

that in the fourteenth verse and those which follow, the

subject of the discourse is a man under grace. If any one

denies this, let him attempt to make out the connection

[between the two portions of the chapter which have just been

specified]. Some of those who have entertained that opinion,

perceiving the difficulty of such an undertaking, interpret

this fourteenth verse as well as those which preceded it, as

relating to a man under the law, but the fifteenth and

following verses as applicable to a man under grace. This,

also, we shall hereafter perceive.

Secondly. In the same fourteenth verse, that man about whom

the apostle treats under his own person, is said to be

carnal; but a man who is regenerate and placed under grace is

not carnal, but spiritual. Therefore, it is a matter of the

greatest certainty, that the subject of the apostle in this

verse is not a man placed under grace. But a man who is under

the law is carnal; therefore, it is plain that the subject of

discourse in this verse is a man under the law. I prove that

a regenerate man, one who is placed under grace, is neither

carnal, nor so designated in the Scriptures. In Romans viii,

9, it is said "but ye are not in the flesh, but in the

Spirit." And in the verse preceding, it is said, "so then

they that are in the flesh cannot please God:" But a

regenerate man, one who is placed under grace, pleases God.

In Romans viii, 5, it is said "They that are after the flesh

do mind the things of the flesh," but [as it is expressed in

the same verse] a man under grace "minds the things of the

Spirit." In Gal. v, 24, it is said, "They that are Christ's

have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts;" and

they that "have crucified the flesh" are not carnal. But men

who are regenerate and placed under grace "are Christ's and

have crucified the flesh." Therefore, such men as answer this

description are not carnal. In Romans viii, 14, it is said,

"As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons

of God." Therefore, they are "led by the Spirit of God;" but

such persons are spiritual.

2. But it is here objected, "the same man may, in a different

respect, be called carnal and spiritual -- 'spiritual,' so

far as he is regenerate through the Spirit -- 'carnal' so far

as he is unregenerate; for, as long as man is in this mortal

body, he is not fully regenerate. From this arises a two-fold

signification of the work 'carnal': one denotes a man purely

carnal, in whom sin has the dominion; the other denotes a man

partly carnal and partly spiritual."

Answer: I grant, according to the Scriptures, that man is not

fully and perfectly regenerate so long as he is in the

present life. But this admission must be correctly

apprehended, that is, that such perfection be understood as

relating not to the essence and essential parts of

regeneration itself, but to the degree and measure of the

quantity. For the business of regeneration is not carried on

in such a manner, that a man is regenerate or renewed with

regard to some of his faculties, but remains with regard to

others of them altogether in the oldness of depraved nature.

But this second birth is ordered in the same manner as our

first nativity, by which we are born human beings -- that is,

partaking entirely of human nature, but not in the perfection

of adult manhood. Thus also, does the power of regeneration

pervade all the faculties of man, none of them excepted; but

it does not pervade them perfectly at the first moment; for

it is carried on gradually, and by daily advances, until it

is expanded or drawn out to a full and mature age in Christ

Hence, the whole man is said to be regenerated, according to

all his faculties, mind, affections and will; and he is,

therefore, with regard to these, his regenerated faculties, a

spiritual person.

But as in the Scripture, a spiritual man and a carnal man are

opposed to each other in their entire definitions, [for the

former of them is one who walks according to the Spirit, and

the latter is he that walks after the flesh, and as the one

is mentioned for the opposite of the other,) in this respect

indeed, the same man cannot be said to be at once both

spiritual and carnal. And thus I reject, according to the

Scriptures, this distinction of carnal persons, by which some

of them are called carnal, in whom sin has dominion on the

predominant part, and by which others receive the appellation

of carnal men, in whom the flesh contends against the Spirit

on the part which is less powerful; for the rejection of this

distinction, I have the permission of Scripture, which is not

accustomed to reckon the latter of these two classes in the

number of carnal persons. This is expressed in a very

significant manner by Leo, on the resurrection of our Lord,

in the following words: "Though we are saved by hope, and

still bear about with us corruption and mortal flesh, yet we

are correctly said not to be in the flesh if carnal

affections have not dominion over us, and we deservedly lay

aside and discard the name of that thing whose will we no

longer follow."'

But were this, their distinction, allowed, still, that is not

yet proved which they attempt, unless it be demonstrated that

this man is called carnal, not in the first of these respects

or senses, but in the second -- not because sin has the

dominion in him, but because the flesh contends against the

Spirit, which is a result that can never be deduced from the

text itself: For It is evident that, in the man whom the

apostle here calls carnal, sin has the dominion, and the

party of the flesh is more powerful in him than that of the

Spirit. Because "sin dwelleth in him, he does the evil that

he would not, and he does not the good which he would; to

perform what is good, finds not; but sin, which dwelleth in

him, perpetrates that which is evil; he is brought into

captivity to the law of sin, or he is a captive under the law

of sin." All these are certain and manifest tokens of sin,

which has the dominion. Nor is it any valid objection, that

the man is compelled, though unwilling and reluctant, to obey

sin; for the dominion of sin is two fold -- either with the

consent of him who sins, or against his conscience, and his

consent arising from his conscience. For whether a servant

obeys his Lord willingly or unwillingly, he is still the

servant of him to whom he yields obedience. This is such a

certain truth, that no one is able to come from the servitude

of sin to liberty, except through this way -- the way of this

hatred of servitude, and of this desire of obtaining


3. But some one will say, "Even those who are under grace are

called carnal in" 1 Corinthians iii, 1,2.

I reply, The question does not relate to the word itself; but

to its true meaning and the thing signified by it. We must

try, therefore, whether this word has the same signification

in this passage as it has in the seventh chapter of the

epistle to the Romans. But they [at Corinth] are called

carnal with respect to knowledge, and in reference to feeling

or inclination. In this sense, being unskillful and

inexperienced in the doctrine of piety, and the knowledge of

the gospel, they are called carnal in opposition to those who

are spiritual, who know how to "judge all things," (1 Cor.

ii, 15,) and who are also called "who are perfect," in (1

Cor. ii, 6,) and, in this sense, "babes in Christ," and those

who have need to be fed with milk are called carnal. But with

respect to feeling or inclination, those men are called

carnal in whom human and carnal affections have the dominion

and prevail, and who are said, in other passages, to be in

the flesh, and to walk according to the flesh, in opposition

to those who are spiritual, who, "through the Spirit, have

mortified the deeds of the flesh and have crucified the flesh

with its affections and lusts." But the apostle seems here to

bestow this appellation on the Corinthians, or on some of

them, with this two-fold reference; for he says that, with

respect to knowledge, they are "babes in Christ," that is,

unskillful and inexperienced in the doctrine of piety, who

had to be "fed with milk, and who were not able to bear solid

food." But with respect to affections, he says that they "are

carnal, and walk as men," on account of the contentions and

divisions which prevailed among them, from which it was

evident that, in them, the flesh had the predominance over

the Spirit. But in whatever sense or manner the word is used

in this passage, it brings no advantage to the cause of those

who declare that the apostle calls himself a carnal man in

Romans vii, 14. For if the same word is not used in 1

Corinthians iii, 1, in a sense similar to that which it bears

in Romans vii, 14, then it is adduced in an unlearned and

useless manner in elucidation of this question; for

equivocation is the fruitful parent of error. If the word is

to be received in the same sense in both passages, then I am

at liberty firmly to conclude from this, in favour of my

opinion, that the apostle cannot be called carnal in Romans

7, for under that appellation he severely reprehends the

Corinthians because he "was not able to speak unto them as

unto spiritual persons," since they were such as were still

carnal; which he would have done without any just cause, if

he were himself also comprehended under that title when

understood in the same signification.

4. Thirdly. The same man about whom the apostle is here

treating, is also said, in this, the fourteenth verse, to be

sold under sin, or, (which is the same thing,) the slave of

sin, and become its servant by purchase, which title can, in

no sense whatsoever, be adapted to men placed under grace --

a misappropriation of epithet, against which the Scriptures

openly reclaim in many passages: "If the Son, therefore,

shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John viii,

36.) "For he that is dead" is justified, that is, he "is

freed from sin" (Rom. vi, 7.) "But God be thanked that ye

were the servants of sin; being then made free from sin, ye

became the servants of righteousness," or those who are

completely subject to it. (Rom. vi, 17,18.) But that the two

things here specified [the service of sin, and that of

righteousness] are so opposed to each other, as not to be

able to meet together at once in the same individual, is

evident from the twentieth verse of the same chapter: "For

when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from

righteousness." But that the same remark applies to a man who

is under the law, is apparent from a comparison of 2

Corinthians iii, 17, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there

is liberty," with Gal. v, 18, "But if ye be led of Spirit, ye

are not under the law;" therefore, they who are of the Spirit

are free. But such persons are not under the law; therefore,

those who are under the law are not free, but are the

servants of sin. For, whether any one unwillingly, and

compelled by the force of sin, obeys it, or whether it

willingly -- whether anyone becomes the slave of sin by the

deed of his first parents, or whether, in addition to this,

"he has sold himself to work evil in the sight of the Lord,"

as it is related concerning Ahab in 1 Kings xxi, 20. In each

of these cases is the man truly and deservedly called the

servant of sin. "For of whom a man is overcome, of the same

is he brought into bondage." (2 Pet. ii, 19.) And "whosoever

committeth sin is the servant of sin." (John viii, 34.) "Know

ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his

servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death,

or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom. vi, 16.) For the

different mode of servitude does not exempt or discharge [the

subject of it] from servitude, but is conclusive that he is

under it.

Should any one reply, concerning the man mentioned in Romans

vii, 14, "that he is not simply called the servant of sin,

but that he is so denominated with this restriction -- that

he is the servant of sin with respect to the flesh, and not

with respect to the mind, as is apparent from the last verse

of the same chapter, which is an explanation of this verse,"

I rejoin that this man is simply called the servant of sin,

but of the description of those who unwillingly and with a

reluctant conscience serve sin. But with respect to the

manner in which the last verse of the chapter is to be

understood, we shall perceive what it is when we arrive at

that part.

But the greater part of the divines of our profession

acknowledge that this fourteenth verse must be understood as

relating to an unregenerate man, to one who is not placed

under grace. Thus Calvin observes on verse, "The apostle now

begins to bring the law and the nature of man a little more

closely into hostile contact with each other." And on the

subsequent verse he says, "He now descends to the more

particular example of a man already regenerate." Thus also,

Beza, against Castellio, in the refutation of the first

argument to the thirteenth and fourteenth calumny, (fol.

413,) says, "St. Paul exclaims that he is not sufficient even

to think that which is good; and in another passage,

considering himself not within the boundaries of grace, he

says, But I am carnal, sold under sin."


1. He does not approve of that which he does, neither does he

do that which he would, but he does that which he hates. 2.

The nature of the contest carried on in man. 3. The opinion

of St. Augustine and Peter Martyr, respecting the conflict in

men who are not born again.

1. The fifteenth verse contains a proof of the affirmation in

the preceding verse, which is, that the man about whom the

apostle is treating, is "sold under sin" or is the bond-slave

of sin.

For the argument is taken from the office and proper effect

of a purchased servant, and of one who has no legal control

over himself, but who is subjected to the power of another.

For it is the property of a servant, not to execute his own

will, but that of his lord, whether he does this willingly

and with full consent, or he does it with the judgment of his

own mind exclaiming against it, and with his will resisting

it. This is expressed in no unskillful manner by St.

Augustine, in his Retractions (lib. I, cap. i, ) "he who by

the flesh that lusteth against the Spirit, does those things

which he would not, lusteth indeed unwillingly; and in this

he does not that which he would; but if he be overcome [by

the flesh lusting against the Spirit] he willingly consents

to his lusts -- and in this he does nothing but what he has

willed, that is, devoid of righteousness and the servant of

sin." This is confirmed by Zanchius, on the works of

Redemption: (lib. I, cap. iii, ) "Undoubtedly Peter,

therefore, denied Christ because he would, though he did not

that with a full will, but reluctantly." But the proof [which

the apostle adduces in the fifteenth verse] is accommodated

to the condition of the man about whom he is treating, that

is, of a man who is under the law, and who is the servant of

sin just so far as to serve it not with full consent, but

with a conscience crying out against it. For these are the

words of the apostle: "For that which I do, I allow not,"

that is, I do not approve of it. This sentiment, he explains

and proves more at large in the words which immediately

follow in the same verse: "For what I would, that do I not;

but what I hate, that I do," from which we frame this

syllogism. He who approves not of that which he does, nor

does that which he would, is the slave of another, that is,

of sin; But the man about whom the apostle is treating,

approves not of that which he does, nor does what he would,

but he does that which he hates:

Therefore, the man who is in this place the subject of

discussion, is the slave of another, that is, of sin; and

therefore the same man is unregenerate, and not placed under


2. But perhaps you will say, "In this passage is described a

contest in the man about whom the apostle is treating, which

contest cannot take place in a man who is unregenerate."

Answer. In this passage, the contest between this man and sin

is not described; but the dominion of sin, and the servitude

of the man himself under sin, are demonstrated from the

proper effect of a servant by purchase, which effect, in

reality, is not produced by this man without much reluctance

of conscience and great mental struggles, which precede the

very production of the act; but this deed is not committed

except by a mind which is conquered and overcome by the force

of sin. Then I deny the preceding affirmation that, in an

unregenerate man, of what description soever he may be, there

is discovered no contest of the mind or conscience with the

inclinations and desires of the flesh and of sin. Nay, I

further assert and affirm, that, in a man who is under the

law, there is necessarily a conflict between the mind and

conscience on the one part, that prescribe those things which

are just and honest, and the inclinations or motions of sin,

on the other, which impel the man to things that are unlawful

and forbidden. For the Scriptures describe to us a two-fold

conflict against sin -- the First, that of the flesh, and of

the mind or the conscience-the Second, that of the flesh, or

sin, and of the Spirit.

The former of these obtains in all those who have a knowledge

of what is righteous and iniquitous, of what is just and

unjust, "in whose hearts is written the work of the law, and

whose thoughts, in the mean while, either accuse or excuse

one another," as it is recorded in Romans ii, 15, "who hold

the truth in unrighteousness," (i, 18) whose consciences are

not yet seared as with a hot iron, who are not yet "past all

feeling," (Ephes. iv, 19,) and who know the will of their

Lord, but do it not. (Luke xii, 47)

3. This view of the matter is confirmed to us by St.

Augustine, in his book "The Exposition of certain

propositions in the Epistle to the Romans,"(cap. 3) in which

he says, "Before the law, that is, in the state or degree

before the law, we do not fight; because we not only lust and

sin, but sins have also our approval. Under the law we fight,

but are overcome; for we confess that those things which we

do, are evil; and, by making such confession, we intimate

that we would not do them. But, because we have not yet any

grace we are conquered. In this condition it is shown to us,

in what situation we be; and while we are desirous of rising

up, and still fall down, we are the more grievously

afflicted," &c. This is likewise acknowledged by Peter

Martyr, who observes, on Romans v, 8, "We do not deny that

there is occasionally some contest of this kind in

unregenerate men; not because their minds are not carnal and

inclined to vicious pursuits, but because in them are still

engraven the laws of nature, and because in them shines some

illumination of the Spirit of God, though it be not such as

can justify them, or can produce a saving change."

The latter contest, that between the flesh and the Spirit,

obtains in the regenerate alone. For in that heart in which

the Spirit of God neither is nor dwells, there can be no

contest -- though some persons are said to "resist the Holy

Spirit," and, to "sin against the Holy Ghost," which

expressions have another meaning.

The difference between these two contests is very manifest

from the diversity of the issue or consequence of each: For,

in the first, the flesh overcomes; but, in the latter, the

Spirit usually gains the victory and becomes the conqueror.

This may be seen by a comparison of this passage with Gal. v,

16,17 -- a comparison which we will afterwards undertake.

But from the proper effects of the law itself, it may be most

certainly demonstrated that a contest against sin is carried

on within a man who is so under the law as that it has

discharged all its office towards him, and has exerted all

its powers in him. For it is the effect of the law to convict

a man, already convicted of sin, of the righteousness of God,

to incite him to obedience, to convince him of his own

weakness, to inflame him with a desire to be delivered, and

to compel him to seek for deliverance. It is well known,

however, that these effects cannot be completed without a

contest against indwelling sin. But we have already said that

about such a man as this the apostle treats in this passage -

- one who is in this manner under the law.

If any man will yet obstinately maintain, that all

unregenerate persons in general perpetrate that to the

commission of which, sin and the flesh persuade, with full

consent and without any reluctance, let him not view it as a

grievance if I demand proof for his assertion, since it is

made against express testimonies of Scripture, and since many

examples may be adduced in proof of the contrary, such as

that of Balsam, who, against his own conscience, obeyed the

king of Moab -- that of Saul, who, against his own

conscience, persecuted David -- that of the Pharisees, who,

through obstinate malice, resisted the Holy Spirit, &c. But

even that very common distinction, which sins are

distinguished into those of ignorance, infirmity and malice,

is likewise by this method destroyed, if all unregenerate

persons commit sin with full assent and without any struggle

or reluctance. I am desirous also, on this occasion, to bring

to the recollection of the adverse party, the steps or

degrees by which God is accustomed to convert his children to

himself from wickedness of life, and which, if they will

diligently and without prejudice consider, they will perceive

that the contest between the mind and the flesh, which is

excited by the law, must of necessity be placed among the

beginnings and the precursors of regeneration.


1. He consents to the law that it is good; a consectary

deduced. 2. An objection answered. 3. A second objection.

1. From what has preceded, a consectary or consequence is

deduced for the excuse of the law, in the following words:

"If then, I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law

that it is good." In this verse nothing is said, which may

not, in the best possible manner and without any controversy,

agree with one who is under the law. For unless a man under

the law yields his assent to it that it is good, he is not at

all under the law: For this is the first effect of the law in

those whom it will subject to itself -- to convince them of

its equity and justice; and when this is done, such consent

necessarily arises. It is also apparent from the first and

second chapters of the epistle to the Romans, and from the

tenth chapter, in which "a zeal of God touching the law" is

attributed to the Jews, that this consent is not peculiar to

a regenerate man, nor is it the proper effect of the

regenerating Spirit.

2. If any one say, "The subject in this passage is that

assent by which a man assents to the whole law of God, and

which cannot be in those who do not understand the whole law,

but none among the unregenerate understands the entire law of


I reply, FIRST, it can never be affirmed with truth, that

"none among the unregenerate understands the entire law"

while the following passages exclaim against such an

assertion: "That servant who knew his Lord's will and did not

according to it, shall be beaten with many stripes." (Luke

xii, 47) "Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand

all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith,

so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, it

profiteth me nothing;" (1 Cor. xiii, 2 ) "Knowledge puffeth

up, but charity edifieth;" (1 Cor. viii, 1) "For it had been

better for them not to have known the way of righteousness,

than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy

commandment delivered unto them." (2 Pet. ii, 21.)

Secondly. Neither can this affirmation be truly made in every

case: "No man assents to the entire law unless he understands

the whole of it;" for he assents to the whole law who knows

it to be from God and to be good, though he may not

particularly understand all things which are prescribed and

forbidden in the law. And where, among the regenerate, is

that man to be found who dares to claim for himself such a

knowledge of the whole law?

Thirdly. That which is appropriately subservient to this

purpose, is, a denial that this passage has any reference to

that consent by which a man assents to all the precepts Of

the law as being specially understood; for neither do the

words themselves indicate any such thing, nor does the

analogy of the connection permit it. Because it is concluded

from the circumstance of his doing what he would not, that he

"consents unto the law that it is good "which conclusion

cannot be deduced from this deed if it be said, that this

expression relates to the consent which arises from a special

acquaintance with and an understanding of all the precepts of

the law. For that which this man here says that he does, is a

particular deed; it is, therefore, prohibited by some special

precept of the law, the knowledge and approval of which is

the cause why he who does that deed does it with reluctance.

Hence, as from a consequent, it is concluded from this deed

thus performed, (that Is committed with a mind crying out and

striving against it,) that he who commits the deed in this

manner, consents to the law that it is good.

3. But some one will perhaps rejoin and say, "This passage

does not relate to the consent of general estimation, which

may be possessed, and is so, in reality, by many of the

unregenerate. But it has reference to the consent of

particular approbation, which is the peculiar act of the

regenerating Spirit." Such an objector ought to know that

those things which are confidently uttered without any

attempt at proof, may, with equal freedom, be rejected

without offering the smallest reason. The thing itself,

however, evinces the contrary; for, to consent to the law

that it is good, is not to approve in particular a deed which

has been prescribed by the law; for this consent of

particular approbation cannot consist with the perpetration

of a deed which is particularly disapproved. But the

commission of such an act agrees well with the consent about

which the apostle here treats.


1. He no longer himself perpetrates this evil, but it is done

by sin that dwelleth in him, a second Consectary deduced. 2.

From this verse are drawn two arguments for the contrary

opinion, both of which are refuted -- the first argument, and

a reply to it. 3. The second argument and a reply. 4. An

argument from this verse in favour of true opinion. 5. On

the word dwelling, or inhabiting, according to its

signification, and the usage of Scripture, with quotations

from Zanchius, Bucer, Peter Martyr, and Musculus.

1. From the preceding verses is deduced another consectary,

by which this man transfers to sin all the blame of this

matter -- not to excuse himself, that be far from him, for

the law has been given and written on his heart, that "his

thoughts may accuse or else excuse one another, but to point

out his servile condition under the dominion of sin. In this

consectary, therefore, nothing can be contained which does

not agree with a man who is under the law. If it were

otherwise, the consectary would contain more than was to be

found in the premises, which, it has been demonstrated, agree

extremely well with a man who is under the law.

2. But let us see the words of the consectary: "Now then, it

is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me," that

is, sin that dwelleth in me, does this." From these words,

the opposite party seem capable of eliciting two arguments in

support of the opinion which affirms that the apostle is here

treating about a regenerate man and one who is placed under


The First of these arguments is of this kind: --

"It cannot be said of unregenerate men when they sin, that

they do not commit it themselves, but that it is committed by

sin which dwells in them.

But this is most appropriately said about the regenerate:

Therefore, the man about whom the apostle here treats, is

"not an unregenerate man, but one who is regenerate."

Answer. The antecedent must be examined; for, when it is

either granted or denied, the consequence is also granted or


(1.) It is evident, that it cannot simply be affirmed

concerning any man, whatever his condition may be, that he

does of himself commit the sin which he commits; for this is

a contradiction in the adjunct; and the apostle declares,

that this man "does evil." Therefore, if this can be said

with truth, the expression must be understood relatively and

in a certain respect. But this relation or respect ought to

be founded either in the man himself who perpetrates the

offense, or in the perpetration itself. (i.) If this respect

be founded in the man himself, it must be thus generally

explained and enunciated -- "The sin which this man commits,

he does as he is such a one; and he does not as he is such a

one." (ii.) If the respect be founded in the perpetration and

the effecting of the sin, then it must be taken from the

varied relation of causes of the same kind to the effect. But

in this passage, the apostle is treating on the efficient

cause of sin, which is here allowed to be two-fold -- The

man, and sin dwelling in him, but so as this may be said to

be effected by indwelling sin, and not by the man. Wherefore,

this effect must be taken from the distribution of the

efficient cause, by which it is distributed into that which

is primary and principal, and that which is secondary and

less principal.

(2.) It can by no means be said by him who is inspired with a

sincere love of truth, that this two-fold respect is

applicable only to a man who is regenerate and placed under

grace, but that it does not at all appertain to a man placed

under the law or does not in the least agree with him. For as

this respect or relation is two-fold in the regenerate, On

account of the imperfection of regeneration in this life, and

the remains of "the old man," according to which respect it

may be said concerning a regenerate man, that "as he is

regenerate he does this, and as he is not regenerate he does

it not or does not do it perfectly;" so, likewise, in a man

under the law, the respect is two-fold on account of the

coming in of the law; for he is "carnal" and "the servant of

sin," and is under the law, that is, "he consents to the law

that it is good," which consent is neither of the flesh nor

according to the flesh, that is, it is not from depraved

nature. Wherefore, it may be said concerning a man under the

law, that he commits sin, not as he is under the taw, nor as

he consents to the law that it is good, but as he is carnal

and the servant of sin.

(3.) The second respect (according to which the effect, that

has simply proceeded from two concurrent causes, is taken

away from one of them and ascribed to the other) seems to

hold the chief place in this passage, as it does also in this

saying of the apostle, "I laboured more abundantly than they

all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1

Cor. xv, 10.) For it is well known to be a very general

practice to ascribe the effect to the principal and primary

of two concurrent causes, at the same time taking away the

same effect from the secondary cause; especially if by some

means, either beyond nature, or against the will and by the

force of the superior cause, the secondary one has been drawn

forth to efficiency. Thus, an ambassador who manages the

cause of his prince, is not said himself to act, but his

prince, who makes use of his services. Thus, much more

appropriately, if a servant, who is oppressed by a tyrannical

lord, does something against his own will at the command and

through the compulsion of his lord, he will not himself be

said to do this, but his lord who has the dominion over him.

And it is most manifest, to every one who will look upon

these words of the apostle with unjaundiced eyes, that they

convey this meaning; as is apparent from the epithet which is

attributed to sin, the perpetrator of this evil, and by which

the dominion of sin is denoted, that is, "sin that dwelleth

in me does it."

(4.) It is no matter of wonder, that "he does it not, but sin

does it;" for "when the law came, sin revived and he died."

(Rom. vii, 9) Therefore, the cause of actions, is that which

lives, and not that which is dead.

It is apparent, then, that the first part of the antecedent

in this argument is false, and on this account the second

part is not reciprocal; therefore, the conclusion cannot be

deduced from it by good consequence, which consequence

concludes [that the apostle is here treating] about a

regenerate man, to the exclusion of the unregenerate,

3. The second argument is drawn from the adverbs of time,

"now," and "no more," which are used in this verse; and from

which a conclusion is thus drawn in favour of the same

opinion: "These adverbs have respect to time antecedent; but

the time antecedent is the time when the man was not

regenerate. As though he had said, Formerly, when I was not

yet regenerated, I committed sin; but now I no longer do

this, because I am regenerated. Therefore, it is apparent

that this present time, which is signified by the adverb

"now," must be understood concerning the state of

regeneration, since it cannot be said concerning an

unregenerate man, that "though he formerly committed sin, he

commits it no more."

Answer. -- I grant it to be a great truth, that these adverbs

denote relation to time antecedent, and that in fact the

passage is thus commodiously explained: Formerly indeed

perpetrated evil, but now I no longer do this. But I deny

that the time antecedent embraces the entire state before

regenerations; for the state of unregeneracy, or that which

is prior to regeneration, is distinguished by our author, the

apostle himself, into another twofold state -- before or

without the law, and under the law, as it is expressed in the

ninth verse of this very chapter. And the antecedent time, in

reference to which it is said "now" and "no more," comprises

the state without the law; but the present time [described by

the two adverbs] comprises the state under the law. As if he

had said, "Formerly, when I was without the law, I committed

sin, but now, when I am under the law, I no longer commit it,

but sin that dwelleth in me." This is in unison with what is

said in the ninth verse: "For I was alive without the law

once," or formerly; "but when the commandment came, sin

revived, and I died." For, while "he was alive without the

law," he committed evil without any reluctance of mind or of

will. Therefore, at that time, he did evil; but now, being

placed under the law, he undoubtedly commits sin, but he does

it against his conscience and not without resistance on the

part of his will. Wherefore, the cause and culpability of sin

must be ascribed, not so much to the man himself, as to the

violent impulse of sin.

4. Thus far we have perceived, that this verse contains

nothing which can afford support to the opposite opinion. Let

us further see whether an argument may not be elicited from

it, for establishing the truth of the other opinion, which

declares that it must be understood concerning an

unregenerate man, and one who is placed under the law:

The apostle says that "sin dwelleth in this man." But sin

does not dwell in those who are regenerate.

Therefore, the apostle is not, in this passage, treating

about the regenerate or those who are placed under grace, but

about the unregenerate and those who are under the law.

One of the premises of this syllogism is in the text: the

other must be demonstrated by us. I am aware indeed, that

this seems wonderful to those who are accustomed to the

distinction of sin, by which one kind is called ruling or

governing, and another receives the appellation of sin

existing within us, or of indwelling and inhabiting sin, and

who suppose that the former of these epithets is peculiar to

the unregenerate, and the latter to the regenerate. But if

any one require a proof of this distinction, those who ought

to give it will evince a degree of hesitation. But is not one

kind of sin ruling or reigning, and another existing within

and not reigning, and is not the former peculiar to the

unregenerate, and the latter to the regenerate? Who can deny,

when the Scriptures affirm, that there are in us the remains

of sin and of the old man as long as we survive in this

mortal life? But what man, conversant with the Scriptures,

shall distinguish reigning from indwelling or inhabiting sin,

and will account indwelling sin to be the same as the sin

existing within? Indeed, indwelling sin is reigning sin, and

reigning is indwelling, and therefore sin does not dwell in

the regenerate, because it does not domineer or rule in them.

I prove the first part of this, both from the very

signification of the word to inhabit or dwell, and from the

familiar usage of the Scriptures.

5. Concerning the signification of the word, Zanchius

observes, in his treatise On the Attributes of God, "God is

not said to dwell in the wicked, but he dwells in the pious.

For what is it to dwell in any place? It is not simply to be

there, as people are at inns and places of entertainment

during journeys; but it is to reign and have the dominion at

his pleasure as if in his own residence." (Lib. 2, cap. 6,

quest. 3.) On Ephes. iii, 17, the same Zanchius says, "In

this proposition, Christ dwells in your heart by faith, the

word to dwell is undoubtedly put metaphorically; the metaphor

being taken, not from those persons who, as tenants or

lodgers, and as strangers or travelers, tarry for a season in

the house or inn belonging to another; but it is taken from

masters of families, who, in their own proper dwelling houses

live at liberty, work, govern the family, and exercise


Bucer observes, on the very passage which is the subject of

our meditation, "He says that this destructive force or power

dwells in him, that is, it entirely occupies him and has the

dominion, as is the manner of those who are at their own

house, in their proper dwelling and domicile. The apostle

Paul, and all Scripture, frequently employ this metaphor of

inhabitation or residing; and by it they usually signify the

dominion and the certain presence, almost perpetually, of

that which is said to inhabit." And this is one of his

subsequent remarks: "When, in this manner, sin resides in us,

it completely and more powerfully besieges us and exercises


Peter Martyr says, on Romans viii, 9, "The metaphor of

habitation, or indwelling, is taken from this circumstance --

that they who inhabit a house, not only occupy it, but also

govern in it and order [all things in it] at their own


The subjoined remark is from Musculus on this passage: "And

that he may evidently express this tyranny and violence of

sin, he does not say, 'Sin exists in me,' but 'Sin dwells in

me.' For by the word to dwell or inhabit, he shows that the

dominion of sin is complete in him; and that sin has, as it

were, fixed his seat, or taken up his residence, in him. Evil

reigns in no place with greater power than in the place where

it has fixed its seat; that is what we see in the case of

tyrants. Thus, in a contrary manner, God is said to have

dwelt in the midst of the children of Israel; because among

no other people did he declare his goodness with such strong

evidence, as he did among them, according to this expression

of the Psalmist -- He hath not dealt so with any nation.

(cxlvii, 20) In this sense, the word to inhabit or to dwell,

is very often used in the Scriptures. When, therefore, the

apostle wished to declare the power and tyranny of sin in

him, he said that it dwelt in him, as in its proper domicile,

and thus fully reigned."

Calvin, in his Institutes, says (lib. iv, cap. 6, sec. 11,)

that we are circumcised in Christ, with a circumcision not

made by hands, having laid aside the body of sin which dwelt

in our flesh; which he calls the circumcision of Christ.

(2.) What I have said, in accordance with Bucer, about the

usage of Scripture, is plain from the following passages: "My

Father and I will come unto him, and make our abode with

him." (John xiv, 23.) "But if the Spirit of him that raised

up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ

from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his

Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Rom. viii, 11.) "For ye are

the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell

in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they

shall be my people." (2 Cor. vi, 16.) "That Christ may dwell

in your hearts by faith." (Ephes. iii, 17.) "When I call to

remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt

first in thy grand-mother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and, I

am persuaded, in thee also." (2 Thess. i, 5.) "That good

thing which was committed unto thee, keep by the Holy Ghost

which dwelleth in us." (i, 14.) "Do ye think that the

Scripture saith in vain, The Spirit that dwelleth in us

lusteth to envy? (James iv, 5.) "Nevertheless, we, according

to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein

dwelleth righteousness?' (2 Pet. iii, 13.) "Thou has not

denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my

faithful martyr, who was slain among you where Satan

dwelleth." (Rev. ii, 13.) According to this usage, the saints

are said to be "a habitation of God through the Spirit."

(Ephes. ii, 22.)

It is manifest, therefore, from the signification of the word

and its most frequent usage in the Holy Scriptures, that

indwelling sin is exactly the same as reigning sin.

But it is easy now, likewise, to demonstrate the second

premise in the syllogism, (p. 53,) which is, "Sin does not

dwell in those who are regenerate." For [according to the

passages of Scripture quoted in the preceding paragraph] the

Holy Spirit dwells in them. Christ, also, dwells in their

hearts by faith; and they are said to be "a habitation of God

through the Spirit;" therefore, sin does not dwell in them;

because no man can be inhabited by both God and sin at the

same time; and when Christ has "overcome the strong man

armed," he binds him hand and foot and casts him out, and

thus occupies his house and dwells in it. Sin does not dwell

in those who are "dead to sin," and "in whom Christ liveth."

But the regenerate "do not live in sin," but are "dead to

it;"(Rom. vi, 2) and in them Christ dwelleth and liveth;

(Gal. ii, 20) therefore, sin does not dwell in the


Let the two subjoined passages of Scripture be compared

together: "Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that

dwelleth in me:" (Rom. vii, 17) "I live; yet no more I, but

Christ liveth in me." (Gal. ii, 20.) We shall be able by this

comparison most fully to demonstrate, that in this verse the

apostle has not been speaking about himself, but has taken

upon himself to personate the character of a man who lives to

sin, and in whom sin lives, dwells and operates. Yet it does

not follow from this, that no sin is in the regenerate; for

it has already been shown, that to be in any place, and there

to dwell, to have the dominion, and to reign, are two

different things.


1. "In this man, (that is, in his flesh,) dwelleth no good

thing," &c. 2. An argument for the contrary opinion is

proposed from the eighteenth verse -- the answer to it. 3. A

reply and its rejoinder. 4. Another reply and its rejoinder.

5. An argument from the same words in favour of the true

opinion. 6. The second part of the eighteenth verse, "To

will is present with this man, but how to perform that which

is good, he finds not." 7. An argument for the contrary

opinion from the second part of this verse -- the answer to

it, with distinctions between each kind of willing and

nilling, with extracts from St. Augustine, Zanchius and

Bucer. 8. An argument for the true opinion, from the

eighteenth and nineteenth verses -- the proof of the major

proposition, which alone can be called in question. 9. An

objection and the answer to it. 10. Another reply and its

rejoinder -- not only some other things, but likewise those

which precede things, that are saving, have a place in some

of the unregenerate, with extracts in confirmation from St.

Augustine, and references to Calvin, Beza and Zanchius. 11.

The dissimilar appellations by which the Scriptures

distinguish those who are under constraint through the law,

from those who are renewed or regenerated by the grace of the


1. Let the 18th verse now be brought under consideration, in

which the apostle follows up the same rendering of a cause,

and the proof of it. The rendering of the cause is, "For I

know that in me, (that is, in my flesh,)dwelleth no good

thing;" by which words the same thing is signified, as by the

following: "I am carnal." For he is carnal, in whom no good

thing dwelleth. The proof is contained in these words: "For

to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is

good, I find not."

2. From this rendering of the cause, some persons have

instituted an argument for the support of their opinion, in

the following terms:

"In this man, about whom the apostle is treating, are the

flesh, and some other thing either distinct or differing from

flesh; otherwise, the apostle would not have corrected

himself by saying, In me, that is, in my flesh.

"But in unregenerate persons, there is nothing else but the


Therefore, the man about whom the apostle here treats, is a

regenerate person.

Answer. I grant, that, "in this man is some other thing

diverse or distinct from the flesh;" for this is to be seen

in the apostolical correction. But I deny, that "in

unregenerate persons is nothing else beside the flesh" -- in

those unregenerate persons, I say, who are under the law, and

about whom we are engaged in this controversy.

I adduce this reason for the justness of my negation; because

in men who are under the law is a mind which knows some truth

concerning God and "that which may be known of God," (Rom. i,

18,19) which has a knowledge of that which is just and

unjust, and whose "thoughts accuse or else excuse one

another," (ii, 1-15,) which knows that the indulgence of

carnal desires is sinful, (vii, 7) which says that "men must

neither steal nor commit adultery," (2, 21,22)&c., &c. To

certain of the unregenerate, also is attributed some

illumination of the Holy Ghost, (Heb. vi, 4,) a "knowledge of

the Lord and saviour Jesus Christ,", a "knowledge of the way

of righteousness," (2 Pet. 2, 20,21) some acquaintance with

the will of the Lord, (Luke xii, 47,) the gift of prophecy,

&c., &c. (1 Cor. 13.) That man who is bold enough to style

such things as these "the flesh," inflicts a signal injury on

God and his Spirit. And indeed how, under the appellation of

"the flesh" can be comprehended that which accuses sin,

convinces men of sin, and compels them to seek deliverance?

There is, then, in men who are under the law, "the flesh, and

something beside the flesh," that Is a mind imbued with a

knowledge of the law and consenting to it that it is good;

and in some unregenerate persons there Is beside the flesh, a

mind enlightened by a knowledge of the gospel. But to the

"other thing which is distinct from the flesh," the apostle

does not, in this chapter, give the title of the Spirit, but

that of the mind.

The remark of Musculus on this passage is as follows: "Behold

how cautiously the apostle again employs the word to dwell.

He does not say, "I know that in me is no good thing;' for,

whence could he otherwise approve of good things and detest

those which are evil, consenting to 'the law of God, that is

holy, and just, and good,' if he had in himself nothing of

good? But he say, 'I know that in me dwelleth no good thing;'

that Is, it does not reign in me, does not possess the

dominion, since it has seized upon sin for itself, and since

the will earnestly desires that which is good, though it is

not free, but weak and under restraint, enduring the power of

a tyrant."

3. But some one will here reply, "Not only is something

different from the flesh attributed to this man, but the

inhabitation or residence of good is likewise attributed to

that which is different from the flesh; for, otherwise, that

part of the verse in which the apostle corrects himself,

would not have been necessary; but in an unregenerate man, or

one who is under the law, there is nothing in which good may

reside. Therefore, this is a regenerate man," &c.

Rejoinder. While I concede the first of these premises, I

deny the second which affirms, "In an unregenerate man, or

one who is under the law, there is nothing in which good may

dwell or reside." For in the mind of such a man dwells some

good thing, that is, some truth and knowledge of the law. The

signs of habitation or residence are the works which this

knowledge and truth in the mind unfold or disclose. For

instance -- a conscience not only accusing a man of sin, but

also convincing him of it -- the delivering of a sentence of

condemnation against the man himself -- the enacting of good

laws -- careful attention to public discipline -- the

punishment of crimes -- the defense of good people -- despair

of obtaining righteousness by the law and by legal works the

impelling necessity to desire deliverance and to seek for it.

These works, indeed, are most certain signs of the law

dwelling and reigning in the mind of such a man as has been


On this point, I intreat, that no one will condemn as heresy

that which he has yet either not heard, or not sufficiently

considered. For I do not assert that good dwells and reigns

in a man under the law, or in any of the unregenerate. For to

reign in the mind, and, simply, to reign in the man, are not

the same thing. Because, if this knowledge were simply to

dwell and reign in the man, this very man would then live in

a manner agreeable to his knowledge, the resistance of the

flesh being repelled by that which would simply obtain the

first and principal place in a man.

If any one closely considers this rendering of the cause, and

accommodates it to the design of the apostle, he will

understand that the apostolical correction was both necessary

and produced for this purpose -- that, notwithstanding the

indwelling of something good in the mind of a man who is

under the law, a proper and adequate cause might be given

why, in such a man as this, "the motions of sins" flourish,

and work all concupiscence; which cause is this: In the flesh

of this man dwelleth no good thing. For if any good thing

dwelt in his flesh, he would then not only know and will what

is good, but would also complete it in actual operation, his

passions or desires being tamed and subdued, and subjected to

the law of God. In reference to this, it is appositely

observed by Thomas Aquinas on this very passage -- "And by

this, it is rendered manifest that the good thing [or

blessing] of grace does not dwell in the flesh; because if it

dwelt in the flesh, as I have the faculty of willing that

which is good through the grace that dwells in my mind, so I

should then that of perfecting or fulfilling what is good

through the grace that would dwell in my mind."

4. But some one will object -- "In the Scriptures, the whole

unregenerate man is styled flesh. Thus, For that he also is

flesh. (Gen. vi, 3.) That which is born of the fish, is

flesh. (John iii, 6.)"

REPLY. -- First. This mode of speaking is metonymical, and

the word carnal "flesh," is used instead of carnal, by a

usage peculiar to the Hebrews, who employ the abstract for

the concrete. This is clearly pointed out by Beza, on the

passage just quoted, (John iii, 6,) on which he observes --

"Flesh is here put for carnal, as, among the Hebrews,

appellatives are frequently employed as adjectives. This was

also a practice among the Greeks and Romans, as in the words,

kaqarma &c.

Secondly. Though the word flesh, in the abstract, be urged,

yet the whole man may be called flesh, but not the whole of

man; for the mind which condemns sin and justifies the law,

is not flesh. But this very same mind may in some degree be

called carnal, because it is in a man who is carnal, and

because the flesh, which fights against the mind, brings the

whole man into captivity to the law of sin, and by this means

has the predominance in that man.

5. But from these remarks may be constructed an argument in

confirmation of the true sentiment, in the following manner:

In the flesh of a regenerate man dwells that which is good;

therefore, the man about whom the apostle discourses is


I prove the proposition from the proper effect of the

indwelling Spirit; for the Holy Spirit crucifies the flesh

with its affections and lusts, mortifies the flesh and its

deeds, subdues the flesh to Himself, and weakens the body of

the flesh of sin: And He performs all these operations by his

indwelling. Therefore, good dwelleth in the flesh of a

regenerate man. The assumption is in the text itself;

therefore, the conclusion follows from it.

6. Let us now examine the proof of the affirmation -- that in

the flesh of this man "dwelleth no good thing." This is

contained in the words subjoined: "For to will is present

with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not."

From a comparison of the question to be proved, and the

argument produced to prove it, it is apparent that the

argument is contained in these words: "For I find not to

perform that which is good," that is, I attain not to the

performance of that which is good. This proof is taken from

the effect; for as, from the indwelling in the flesh of that

which is good, would follow the performance of good; so, from

"no good thing dwelling in the flesh," arises the

impossibility of performing that which is good. For these

words, "for to will is present with me," are employed through

a comparison of things that differ; which was necessary in

this place, because the proof was to be accommodated to the

man about whom the apostle was treating: And this is the way

in which the proof is accommodated -- "To will is indeed

present" with a man who is under the law; but the same man

"does not find to perform that which is good," because he is

carnal. From this it is apparent, that "he is carnal," and

that "in his flesh dwelleth no good thing." If any good thing

resided in his flesh, it would in that case restrain the

strong force and desires of the flesh, and prevent their

being able to hinder the performance of the good which he

might will.

But let the whole proof be stated in the following syllogism:

In the flesh of him who has the power to will, but who "does

not find to perform that which is good," dwelleth no good


But the man about whom the apostle is treating, has indeed

the power of willing, but "does not find to perform that

which is good; "

Therefore, in the flesh of such a man as this, "dwelleth no

good thing."

It will not be denied by any one who is in the least degree

acquainted with logic, and who has accurately considered the

eighteenth verse, that this is the syllogism of the apostle.

But from this proposition I may conclude the proposition of

the syllogism which I have already adduced for confirming my

opinion, and which is, "In the flesh of a regenerate man

dwelleth some good thing," by this argument, "Because a

regenerate man finds to perform that which is good." For the

contrary would be a consequence from things contrary. That

this may the more plainly appear, let us now see this

proposition, with others which are deduced from it by

inversion. The proposition is, "No man who is incapable of

performing that which is good, has any good thing dwelling in

his flesh;" therefore, by inversion, "No man who has that

which is good dwelling in his flesh, is incapable of

performing what is good." To this, is equivalent the


"Every man who has any thing good dwelling in his flesh, is

capable of performing what is good; in fact he is capable,

because he has good dwelling within him," therefore, by

simple Inversion in a necessary and reciprocal matter,

"Every one who is capable of performing what is good, has

good dwelling in his flesh." This is the major, from which I


"But a regenerate man can perform that which is good." (Phil.


"Therefore, a regenerate man has good dwelling in his flesh;"

which was the major of the syllogism that I had previously


7. But the defenders of the contrary opinion seem to think,

that, from this proof, they are able, for the confirmation of

their own opinion, to deduce an argument, which they frame


He is a regenerate man, with whom to will that which is good

is present: But to will that which is good, is present with

this man; Therefore, this man is regenerate.

Answer. Before I reply to each part of this syllogism, I must

remove the ambiguity which is in this phrase, "to will that

which is good," or the equivocation in the word "to will."

For it is certain, that there are two kinds of this volition

or willing; since it is here asserted of one and the same

man, that he is occupied both in willing and in not willing

that which is good, concerning one and the same object; in

willing it, as he [merely] wills, it but in not willing it as

he does not perform it; for this is the reason why he does

not perform it, because he does not will it, though [he acts

thus] with a will which is, as it were, the servant of sin

and compelled not to will [that which is good]. Again, he is

occupied both in not willing and in willing that which is

evil concerning one and the same object -- in not willing it,

as he does not will it and hates it -- in willing it, as he

performs the very same [evil] thing; for he would not do it,

unless he willed it, though [he acts thus] with a will which

is impelled to will by sin that dwelleth in him.

St. Augustine gives his testimony to the expressions which I

have here employed, in his Retractions. (Lib. I, cap. 13.)

The remarks of Bucer on this passage are: "Hence it came to

pass that David did, not only that which he willed, but also

that which he willed not. He did that which he willed not,

not indeed when he committed the offense, but when the

consideration of the divine law still remained, and when it

was restored. He did that which he willed, just at the time

when he actually concluded and determined about the woman

presented to his view. So Peter," &c. (Fol. 368.)

Zanchius, also, in his book, On the Works of Redemption,

observes -- "This was undoubtedly the reason why Peter denied

Christ, because he willed so to do, though not with a full

will, neither did he willingly deny Him." (Lib. I, cap. 3,

fol. 25)

Wherefore, since it is impossible that there should be only a

single genus of volition and nolition, or one mode of willing

and not willing, by which a man wills the good and does not

will the same good, and by which he does not will the evil

and wills the same evil; this phrase, "to will that which is

good" and "not to will that which is evil," must have a

twofold meaning, which we will endeavour now to explain.

(1.) Because every volition and every nolition follows the

judgment of the man respecting the thing presented as an

object, each of them, therefore, is also different according

to the diversity of the judgment. But the judgment itself,

with reference to its cause, is two-fold: For it either

proceeds from the mind and reason approving the law that it

is good, and highly esteeming the good which the law

prescribes, and hating the evil which it forbids; or, it

proceeds from the senses and affections, and (as the

expression is) from sensible knowledge, or that which is

derived from the senses, and which approves of that which is

useful, pleasant and delightful, though it be forbidden; but

which disapproves of that which is hurtful, useless, and

unpleasant, though it be prescribed. The former of these is

called "' the judgment of general estimation," the latter

"the judgment of particular approbation or operation." Hence,

one volition is from the judgment of general estimation; the

other is from the judgment of particular approbation, and

thus becomes a nolition. On this account, the will which

follows the judgment of general estimation wills that which

the law prescribes, and does not will that which the law

forbids. But the same will, when it follows the judgment of

particular approbation, wills the delectable or useful evil

which the law forbids, and does not will the troublesome and

hurtful good which the law prescribes.

(2.) This distinction, when considered with respect to one

and the same object contemplated in various ways, will be

still further illustrated. For that object which is presented

to the will, is considered either under a general form, or

under one that is particular. Thus adultery is considered

either in general, or in particular; considered in general,

adultery is condemned by reason as an evil and as that which

has been forbidden by the law; considered in particular, it

is approved, by the knowledge which is derived from the

senses, as something good and delectable. Bucer, when

treating on this subject, in his remarks on the same verse,

says: "But there is in man a two-fold will -- one, that by

which he consents to the law -- another, that by which he

does what he detests. The one follows the knowledge of the

law by which it is known to be good; The other follows the

knowledge which is derived from the senses, and which is

concerning things present."

(3.) This volition and nolition may likewise be distinguished

in another manner. There is one volition and nolition which

follow the last judgment formed concerning the object; and

another volition and nolition which follow not the last but

the antecedent judgment. In reference to the former of these,

volition will be concerning good; in reference to the latter,

volition will be concerning the evil opposed to it, and

contrariwise. Thus, likewise, concerning nolition. And with

respect to the former, it will be volition; in respect to the

latter, it will be nolition, concerning the same object, and

the contrary. But the volition and nolition which follow not

the last judgment, cannot so well be simply and absolutely

called "volition" and "nolition," as velicity and nolicity.

Those, however, which follow the last judgment, are simply

and absolutely called efficacious volition and nolition, to

which the effect succeeds.

(4.) Thomas Aquinas, on this very passage in Romans 7, says,

that the former is not a full will, the latter is a complete

will. But let this same distinction be considered as it is

employed concerning God. For God is said to will some things

approvingly as being good in themselves, but to will other

things efficaciously, as simply conducing to his glory.

We must now consider the kind of willing and nilling about

which the apostle is here treating. He is treating, not about

the volition and nolition of particular approbation, but

about those of general estimation -- not about the volition

and nolition which are occupied concerning an object

considered in particular, but concerning one generally

considered -- not about the volition and nolition which

follow the last judgment, but about those which follow the

antecedent judgment -- not about simple, absolute and

complete volition, but about that which is incomplete, and

which rather deserves to be called velicity. "For the good

that he would, he does not; but the evil which he would not,

that he does." If he willed the good prescribed by the law,

with the will of particular approbation, which follows the

last judgment, he would then also perform the good which he

had thus willed. If, in the same manner, he did not will the

evil forbidden by the law, he would then abstain from it.

This is explained, in a learned and prolix manner, by Bucer

on this passage.

(1.) I now come specially to each part of the syllogism, in

which the Major Proposition seems to me to be reprehensible

on two accounts: (1.) Because "to will that which is good,

"which is here the subject of the apostle's argument, is not

peculiar to the regenerate; for it also appertains to the

unregenerate -- for instance, to those who are under the law,

and who have in themselves all those things which God usually

effects by the law; (2.) Because, even when used in that

other sense, [as applicable to the regenerate,] it does not

contain a full definition of a regenerate man; for a

regenerate man not only wills that which is good, but he also

performs it; because "it is God who worketh in" the

regenerate "both to will and to do." (Phil. ii, 13.) And "God

hath prepared good works," that the regenerate "might walk in

them;" or, "he hath created them in Christ Jesus unto good

works." (Ephes. ii, 10.) They are "new creatures;" (2 Cor. v,

17) are endued with that "faith which worketh by love;" (Gal.

v, 6) and to them is attributed the observance, or "keeping

of the commandments of God;" (1 Cor. vii, 19; ) they "do the

will of God from the heart;" (Ephes. vi, 6) "have obeyed from

the heart that form of doctrine to which they were

delivered." (Rom. vi, 17) etc, &c. From these observations,

it is apparent that the particle "only" must be added to the

proposition; for when this is appended, it will, at first

sight, betray the falsehood and insufficiency of the

proposition in this manner: "He is a regenerate man, with

whom only to will that which is good is present."

(2.) To the assumption, I reply that it is proposed in a

mutilated form. For this, "to will is present with me," is

not the entire sentence of the apostle; but it is one part

separated from another. without which it is not consistent.

For this is a single discrete axiom: "To will is present with

me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not." But

nothing can be solidly concluded from a passage of Scripture

proposed in a form that is mutilated. I add that, when this

latter part of the apostle's sentence is omitted, the reader

is left in doubt concerning the kind of volition and nolition

which is here the subject of investigation. But when the

omission is supplied from the text of the apostle, it plainly

signifies that the subject of discussion is inefficacious

volition and that of general estimation, but, as has already

been observed, this kind of volition is not peculiar to the


But the assumption may be simply denied, as not having been

constructed from the context of the apostle. For St. Paul

does not attribute to the man about whom he is treating, that

he wills that which is good and does not will that which is

evil, but that he does that which is evil, and does not

perform that which is good, to which attributes, something

tantamount to a description is added -- "That which I would

not," and "that which I would." This description is added in

accommodation to the state of the man about whom the apostle

is treating, and it is required by the method of

demonstrative investigation. For he had determined to produce

the proper and reciprocal cause, why the man about whom he is

treating "does not find to perform that which is good;" and

therefore all other causes were to be removed, among which

were the nolition of good and the volition of evil, also

ignorance of that which is good and that which is evil, &c.

Thus, in that other disjunctive axiom, "to will is present

with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not,"

the principal thing which is attributed to the man about whom

the apostle is treating, or that which is predicated

concerning him, is that "he does not find to perform that

which is good;" for the illustration of which, is produced

that differing attribute, "to will indeed is present with

me." This is a remark which must be diligently observed by

every one who engages in the inquiry, about the most correct

manner in which this very difficult passage is to be


8. But the preceding observations make it evident that a

contrary conclusion may be drawn from these two verses in the

following manner:

He is not a regenerate man, with whom to will is indeed

present, but not to perform, and who does not perform the

good which he would, but who commits the evil which he would

not; (this is from the description of regeneration and its

parts; )

But to will is present with this man, but not to perform; and

the same man does not perform the good which he would, but

commits the evil which he would not;

Therefore, the man about whom the apostle is treating, is


The assumption is in the text of the apostle; the proposition

alone, therefore, remains to be proved. Regeneration not only

illuminates the mind and conforms the will, but it likewise

restrains and regulates the affections, and directs the

external and the internal members to obedience to the divine

law. It is not he who wills, but he who performs the will of

the Father, that enters into the kingdom of heaven. (Matt.

vii, 21.) And, at the close of the same chapter, he is called

a wise or prudent man "who doeth the sayings of Christ," not

he who only wills them. Consult what has already been

remarked in the negation of the proposition in that syllogism

which was produced for the establishment of the contrary

opinion; And,

Those persons who fulfill the will of the flesh in its

desires, are unregenerate;

But this man fulfills the will of the flesh;

Therefore, he is unregenerate.

But these [attributes] agree most appropriately with a man

who is under the law -- to will that which is good and not to

will evil, as agreeing with one who "consents to the law that

it is good," but not to do that which is good and to do evil,

as agreeing with one who is "carnal and the servant of sin."

9. But perhaps some one will here reply, "From this man is

not simply taken away the performing of that which is good,

but the completion of it, that is, the perfect performance of

it -- a view of the matter which has the sanction of St.

Augustine, who gives this explanation of the word."

Answer. Omitting all reference to the manner in which the

opinion of these persons agrees with that of St. Augustine,

which we shall afterwards examine, I affirm that this is a

mere evasion. For the Greek verb katergazomai does not

signify to do any thing perfectly, but simply to do, to

perform, to dispatch, as is very evident from the verb poiw

"to do," which follows, and from this word itself as it is

used in the fifteenth verse, where, according to their

opinion, this verb cannot signify completion or perfect

performance -- for the regenerate, to whom, as they

understand it, this clause in the fifteenth verse applies, do

not perfectly perform that which is evil. Let those passages

of the sacred writings be consulted in which this word

occurs, and its true meaning will be easily understood from

Scripture usage.

I add that, in this sense, "the completion," that is, "the

perfect performance" of that which is good, can no more be

taken away from a regenerate man, than "the willing" of that

which is good. For while the regenerate continue in this

state of mortality, they do not "perfectly will" that which

is good.

10. But some one will further insist, that "to will good" and

"not to will evil," in what mode and sense soever these

expressions are taken, is "some good thing;" and that, to an

unregenerate man can be attributed nothing at all which can

be called GOOD, without bringing contumely on grace and the

Holy Spirit.

To this I reply, We have already understood the quality and

the quantity of this "good thing." But I am desirous to have

proof given to me, that nothing at all which is good can be

attributed to an unregenerate man, of what description soever

he may be. According to the judgment which I have formed, the

Scriptures in no passage, openly affirm this; neither do I

think that, by good consequence from them, it can be

asserted. But the contrary assertion may be most evidently


"The truth" which is mentioned in Romans i, 18, is good, as

being opposed to "unrighteousness;" but this "truth" is in

some unregenerate persons. "The work of the law," which is

mentioned in Romans ii, 15, is a good thing; but it is:

written in the hearts" of heathens, and that by God. "The

taste of the heavenly gift, of the good word of God, and of

the powers of the world to come," (Heb. vi, 4,5,) is good;

and yet it is in the unregenerate. "To have escaped the

pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and

saviour Jesus Christ, and to have known the way of

righteousness," (2 Pet. ii, 20,21) are good things; yet they

belong to the unregenerate. "To receive the word of God with

joy," (Matt. xiii, 20, is good; and it appertains to the

unregenerate. And, in general, all those gifts of the Holy

Spirit which are for the edification of the church, and which

are attributed to several of the reprobate, are good things.

(1 Cor. 12 & 13.) To acknowledge themselves to be sinners,

to mourn and lament on account of personal transgressions,

and to seek deliverance from sin, are good things; and they

belong to some who are unregenerate. Nay, no man can be made

partaker of regeneration, unless he have previously had

within him such things as these. From these passages, it is

evident that it cannot be said with truth, that nothing of

good can be attributed to the unregenerate, what kind of men

soever they may be.

If any one reply, "But these good things are not saving in

their nature, neither are they such as they ought to be "I

acknowledge the justness of the remark. Yet some of them are

necessarily previous to those which are of a saving nature;

besides, they are themselves in a certain degree saving. That

which has not yet come up to the point toward which it aims,

does not immediately lose the name of "a good thing" The

dread of punishment, and slavish fear are not that dread and

fear which are required from the children of God; yet they

are, in the mean time, reckoned by St. Augustine among those

good things which precede conversion. In his thirteenth

sermon on these words of the apostle, have not received the

spirit of bondage again unto fear, (Rom. viii, 15) he says,

"What is this word again? It is the manner in which this most

troublesome schoolmaster terrifies. What is this word again?

It is as ye received the spirit of bondage in Mount Sinai.

Some man will say, The Spirit of Bondage is one, the spirit

of liberty another. If they were not the same, the apostle

would not use the word again. Therefore, the spirit [in both

cases] is the same; but, in the one case, it is on tables of

stone in fear, in the other, it is on the fleshly tables of

the heart in love," &c. In a subsequent passage he says, "You

are now, therefore, not in fear, but in love, that you may be

sons, and not servants. For that man whose reason for still

doing well is his fear of punishment, and who does not love

God, is not yet among the children of God. My wish, however,

is that he may continue even to fear punishment. Fear is a

bond-servant, love is a free man; and, if we may thus express

ourselves, fear is the servant of love. Therefore, lest the

devil take possession of the heart, let this servant have the

precedence in it, and preserve a place within for his Lord

and Master, who will soon arrive. Do this, act thus, even

from fear of punishment, if you are not yet able to do it

from a love of righteousness. The master will come and the

servant will depart; because, when love is perfected, it

casts out fear."

Calvin likewise numbers initial fear among good things; and

Beza, from the meaning attached to it by Calvin and himself,

makes it to be preliminary to regeneration, as we have

already perceived.

But these things, and others, (if any such there be,) are

attributed to the unregenerate, without any injury to grace

and the Holy Spirit; because they are believed to be, in

those in whom they are found, through the operation of grace

and of the Holy Spirit. For there are certain acts which

precede conversion, and they proceed from the Holy Spirit,

who prepares the will; as it is said by Zanchius, in his

Judgment on the First and Second Tome of the objections and

answers of Pezelius, which judgment is subjoined to the

second tome. Consult likewise what we have cited in a

preceding page from Beza against Tilman. Heshusius.

11. What man is there who possesses but a moderate

acquaintance with theological matters, and does not know,

that the Holy Spirit employs the preaching of the word in

this order, that he may first convict us of sin, by the law,

of whose equity and righteousness he convinces the mind --

may accuse us of being obnoxious to condemnation -- may place

before our eyes our own impotency and weakness -- may teach

us that it is impossible to be justified through the law,

(Rom. iii, 19-21) -- that he may compel us to flee to Christ,

using "the law as a schoolmaster, to lead us by the hand to

Christ," who is "the end of the law for righteousness to

every one that believeth"? (Gal. ii, 16-21; iii, 1-29.) On

this account, also, the unregenerate receive certain names or

appellations, in the Scriptures: They are called sinners, as

they are contra-distinguished from the righteous that boasted

themselves of their righteousness, which sinners Christ came

to call -- labouring and Heavy-Laden, to whom Christ came to

afford refreshment and rest -- sick and infirm, and such as

stand in need of a Physician's aid, that they may be

distinguished from those who supposed themselves to be

"whole," and not to require the services of a Physician --

poor and needy, to whom Christ came to preach the gospel --

captives and prisoners in bonds, who acknowledge their sad

condition, and whom Christ came to deliver -- contrite in

spirit and broken hearted, whom Christ came to bind up, &c.

Secondly. Having completed these effects by the law, the same

Spirit begins to use the preaching of the gospel, by which he

manifests and reveals Christ, infuses faith, unites believers

together into one body with Christ, leads them to a

participation of the blessings of Christ, that, remission of

sins being solicited and obtained through his name, they may

begin further to live in him and from him. On this account

likewise, the very same persons are distinguished by certain

other appellations in the Scriptures. They are called

believers, justified, redeemed, sanctified, regenerated, and

liberated persons, grafted into Christ, concorporate with

him, bones of his bones, flesh of his flesh, &c.

From this order, it appears that some acts of the Holy Spirit

are occupied concerning those who are unregenerate, but who

are to be born again, and that some operations arise from

them in the minds of those who are not yet regenerate, but

who are to be born again. But I do not attempt to determine

whether these be the operations of the Spirit as He is the

regenerator. I know that, in Romans viii, 15-17, the apostle

distinguishes between the Spirit of adoption and the spirit

of bondage. I know that, in 2 Corinthians iii, 6-11, he

distinguishes between the ministration of the law and of

death, and the ministration of the gospel and of the Spirit.

I know the apostle said, when he was writing to the

Galatians, that the Spirit is not received by the works of

the law, but by the faith of the gospel of Christ. And I

think that we must make a distinction between the Spirit as

he prepares a temple for himself, and the same Spirit as He

inhabits that temple when it is sanctified. Yet I am

unwilling to contend with any earnestness about this point --

whether these acts and operations may be attributed to the

Spirit, the regenerator, not as He regenerates, but as He

prepares the hearts of men to admit the efficiency of

regeneration and renovation. Hence, I think it is once

generally clear, that this opinion is not contumelious to the

Holy Spirit, nor can it take away from the Spirit any thing

which is attributed to Him in the Scriptures; but that it

only indicates the order according to which the Holy Spirit

disposes and distributes his acts. I am not certain whether,

on the contrary, it be not contumelious to the Spirit of

adoption who dwells in the hearts of the regenerate, if he be

said to effect in them a volition of this description from

which no effect follows, but which fails or becomes defective

in the very attempt, being conquered by the tyranny of sin

that dwelleth within -- and this in opposition to the

declaration in 1 John iv, 4, "Greater is HE that is in you,

than he that is in the world." Neither do I think it to flow

as a consequence from this, that in Romans vii, 18,19, the

subject under investigation is a man faced under grace; for

it is one thing to feel or perceive some effect of preparing

grace; and it is another to be under grace, or to be ruled,

led and influenced by grace.


If he does that which he would not, then it is no more he

that does it, but sin that dwelleth in him.

We have already taken the twentieth verse into consideration.

But I here briefly remind the reader, that in this passage,

likewise, is manifestly discovered the truth of our

exposition which has been adduced; because, in this verse, he

says, both that he does what he would not, and yet that he

does not do it himself, but sin that dwelleth in him. He does

it, therefore, and he does it not; because he does it as a

servant who is under compulsion by his master, and who does

not execute his own will so much as that of his master,

though it is also his own, otherwise he would not perform it;

for he consents to the will of his master before he performs

it, because he does it without co-action or force; for the

will cannot be forced.


He finds that, where he would do good, evil is present with

him. The twenty-first verse contains a conclusion from the

preceding, accommodated to the purpose of the apostle upon

which he is here treating. For, from the circumstance of this

man knowing that "to will is present with him" but not to

perform it, he concludes, that "when he would do good, evil

is present with him." But it must be observed, that, in the

eighteenth verse, the apostle employs the same phrase about

willing, as he here uses about evil; and thus he says, that

both to will good, and to will evil, are present with him, or

lie close to him. And as "to will that which is good is

present with him" through his inclination for the law, and

through his mind which approves of it as "just and good," so

"to will evil is likewise present with him" through a certain

law of sin, that is, by the force and tyranny of sin,

assuming to itself the power, and usurping the right or

jurisdiction over this man.

We must now consider whether the essence and adjacency of

each (if I may employ such a word) are of equal power; or

whether the one prevails over the other, and which of them it

is that acquires this ascendancy. It is manifest that the two

are not equally potent, but that the one prevails over the

other, and that, in fact, "evil is present" in a more

powerful and vehement manner: For that obtains and prevails

in a man, through the command, instigation and impulse of

which he is found to act and to cease from acting. But I wish

to see it explained from the Scriptures, how such an

assertion as this can be made with truth concerning a

regenerate man who is placed under grace; for, in every

passage, the sacred records seem to me to affirm the



1. HE delights in the law of God, or he finds a kind of con,

delectation with it, after the inward man; but he sees

another law in his members, warring against the law of his

mind, &c. 2. An argument, from the twenty-second verse, for

the contrary opinion. 3. An answer to the PROPOSITION in

this argument. The inward man signifies the MIND, as the

OUTWARD Man signifies the BODY. (1.) This is shown from the

etymology of the word, and from the usage of Scriptures,

especially in 2 Corinthians iv, 16, and in Ephes. iii, 16,17.

(2.) Proofs of this are given at great length from the

ancient Christian fathers. (3.) Similar proofs are adduced

from modern divines 4. The meaning of the phrase, "to

delight in the law of God after the inward man." 5. An

answer to the assumption, which is shown to be proposed in a

mutilated form, by the omission of those things which are

mentioned in the twenty-third verse. 6. An argument, from

the twenty-third verse, for the contrary opinion. (1.) An

answer to the proposition in it. (2.) And to the assumption.

7. A most irrefragable argument deduced from these two

verses. (1.) To the refutation of the contrary opinion. (2.)

To the establishment of the true one, which at first is

proposed in an ample manner, and afterwards in an abridged

form. (3.) The proposition is proved by three reasons, which

are confirmed against all objections. (4.) It is proved from

the Scriptures, that, in the conflict against sin, the

regenerate usually obtain the conquest 8. A special

consideration of the text, Gal. v, 16-18, and a collation of

it with this passage. 9. An objection, and a reply to it.

10. An objection to the third reason, and a reply. 11. A

consideration of Isaiah lxiv, 10.

1. In the twenty-second and twenty-third verses is adduced a

clearer explanation and proof of the conclusion which had

been drawn in the twenty-first verse, and which agrees with

the very topic that the apostle had, in this part, proposed

to himself for investigation. But the proof is, properly,

contained in the twenty-third verse; because that verse

corresponds with these words, "When I would do good, evil is

present with me," an affirmation which was to be proved. The

proof is taken from the effect of the evil which is present

with the man, and it is the warfare against the law of his

mind, the victory obtained over him, and, after such victory,

the captivity of the man to the law of sin. The twenty-second

verse has reference to these words, "When I would do good;"

and it contains a more ample explanation of this willing,

from the proper cause, and an illustration of the following

verse from things diverse and disjunctive. But in these two

verses is contained one axiom, which is appropriately called

a discrete or disjunctive axiom; as is apparent from the use

of the particle, de "but," in the twenty-third verse, which

is the relative of men though the latter is omitted in the

twenty-third verse. It is likewise apparent from the very

form of opposition. The antecedent and less principal part of

this axiom is contained in the twenty-second verse; the

consequent and principal part, in the twenty-third. For the

antecedent is employed for the illustration of the

consequent, as is very manifest in all axioms. Thus, as in

many similar instances, "I indeed baptize you with water unto

repentance; but He that cometh after me, shall baptize you

with the Holy Ghost and with life." (Matt. ii, 11.) "Though

our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by

day." (2 Cor. iv, 16.) For the particles, indeed, though,

since, when, &c., denote the antecedent and less principal

part of the axiom; while the particles, but, yet, then, &c.,

denote the consequent and principal part. "To delight in the

law of God," or, "to find a sort of condelectation in it,"

"after the inward man," is the cause that to will is present

with this man. "The evil which is present with him," is "the

law of sin in his members." The effect, by which the presence

of this evil is proved, is contained in these words, "Warring

against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to

the law of sin which is in my members."

I have considered it proper to offer these remarks to assist

in forming a right judgment about a discrete or disjunctive

axiom, lest any one should separate the one part from the

other, and should account the less principal to be the

principal one. Let us now further see what conclusion can be

drawn from these two verses, in proof of the one opinion or

of the other.

2. Those who hold sentiments contrary to mine, draw the

following conclusion, from the twenty-second verse, for the

establishment of their view of the subject:

He who delights in the law of God after the inward man, is

regenerate and placed under grace;

But this man about whom the apostle is treating delights in

the law of God after the inward man;

Therefore, this man is regenerate and placed under grace.

They suppose that, in the proposition, they have a two-fold

foundation for their opinion: (1.) Because "the inward man"

is attributed to this person. (2.) Because that same

individual is said "to delight in the law of God after the

inward man? For, they say, both these adjuncts can appertain

to regenerate persons alone. The First agrees with them only,

because, in the Scriptures, "the inward man" has the same

signification as that of "the new man and the regenerate;"

the Second, because it is declared concerning the pious, that

"they meditate in the law of the Lord, and that their delight

is in it, day and night?

3. To the proposition, I reply, first, that the inward man is

not the same as the new man or the regenerate, either from

the etymology of the word, or from the usage of Scripture;

and the inward man is not peculiar to the regenerate, but

that it also belongs to the unregenerate. Secondly, that to

delight in the law of God, or, rather, to find a sort of

condelectation in the law of God after the inward man, is not

a property peculiar to the regenerate and to those who are

placed under grace, but that it appertains to a man placed

under the law.

(1.) With regard to the first, I say, from the etymology of

the epithet, he is called the inward man, relatively and

oppositely to the outward man. For there are two men in the

same individual, the one existing within the other, and the

one having the other first within himself. The first of these

is the hidden man of the heart, (Peter iii, 4,) the second is

the outward man of the body; the former is he who inhabits or

dwells in, the latter, he who is inhabited; the former is

calculated or adapted to invisible and incorporeal blessings,

the latter, to those which are earthly and visible; the

former is immortal, the latter is mortal and liable to death.

In these two words, not a single syllable occurs which can

afford even the least indication of regeneration, and of the

newness arising from regeneration. But these three epithets,

the inward man, the regenerate Man, and the new man, hold the

following order among each other, which the words themselves

indicate at the first sight of them. The inward man denotes

the subject, the regenerate man denotes the act, of the Holy

Spirit who regenerates; and the new man denotes the quality

which exists in the inward man through the act of


(2.) The sense and usage of Scripture are not adverse to this

signification, but, on the contrary, are very consentaneous

to it. This will be apparent from a diligent consideration of

those passages in which mention is made of "the inward man."

One of them is the text now under discussion; the second is 2

Corinthians iv, 16; and the third is Ephes. iii, 16,17. Let

us at present take into consideration the last two passages.


The former of the two is thus expressed: "for which cause we

faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward

man is renewed day by day." From this verse itself, I shew

that the inward and the outward man are not in this passage

taken for the new and the old man; but that the inward man is

to be understood as that which is incorporeal and inhabiting,

so denominated from the interior of man, that is, his mind or

soul; and that the outward man is here taken for that which

is corporeal and inhibited, so denominated from the body, the

exterior part of man. This I shew,

First. Because, if the outward and the inward man were to be

taken for the old and the new man, then this disjunctive mode

of speech could not attain in this verse. For these two could

not then be distinguished in this following manner from each

other: "Though our old man perish, yet the new man is renewed

day by day;" for [as there stated] they are necessarily

cohering, and mutually consequent on each other; because

whatever is taken away from the old man, is so much added to

the new. The absurdity of such a distinction will be still

more manifest, if the same thing be thus proposed: "Though

our old man be crucified, destroyed and buried, yet the new

man rises again, is quickened or vivified, and is renewed

still more and more." And, "Though we lay aside our former

oldness, yet we make greater and still greater proficiency in

newness of life." Let any one that pleases render himself

ridiculous by employing the following language: "Though this

youth unlearns and lays aside his ignorance, yet he daily

makes a greater proficiency in the knowledge of necessary


Secondly. The solace which the apostle produces, in

opposition to those oppressions and distresses to which holy

people are liable, while they remain in this world, consists

in the following words: "The inward man is renewed day by

day;" and not in these, "though our outward man perish."

This is shown by the mode of speech adopted by the apostle,

indicating that this very "perishing of the outward man,"

which is effected through oppressions and distresses, is that

against which the consolation, comprehended in the following

words, is produced by the apostle. The afflicted person says,

"But our outward man is perishing." The apostle replies to

him, "Do not grieve on this account; for our inward man is

renewed day by day, in the renewal of which consists our

salvation. For we must not have regard to external and

visible blessings, which conduce to the life of the outward

man; because they are liable to perish. But we must highly

estimate and regard internal and invisible things, which

appertain to the life of the inward man; because these are

eternal, and will never perish."

But if, by this word, "the outward man" were to be understood

"the old man," then the apostle must have produced this in

the place of consolation, in the following manner: "Do not

lament that you are liable to many afflictions and

oppressions, for those are the very things by which your old

man perishes, and by which the inward man is the more

renewed." But that the perishing of the outward man, and that

of the old man, are not the same, is evident from this

circumstance, that the former of these is against the very

nature of man and the good of natural life, but that the

latter is against depraved nature, and is contrary to the

life of sin in man.

Thirdly. From the word "renewed," it is apparent that "the

inward man" is the subject of renovation or renewal, and of

the act of the Holy Spirit.

I confess indeed, that it may be correctly said, "The new man

is daily renewed more and more," both because it is needful

that this newness, which has been produced in a man by the

act of the regenerating Spirit, should increase and be

augmented day by day, and because the remains of the old man

ought by degrees to be taken away and weakened yet more and

more. But even in this case the subject is the inward man,

that is called new from the newness which now begins to be

effected in him by the regenerating Spirit; for the subject

of increasing and progressive renovation, and that of

commencing renovation, are the same.

But the subject of incipient or commencing renovation is not

the new man, (for he is not called new before the act of

renovation, and prior to the quality impressed by that act,)

but it is the inward man. Therefore, though the new man be

said to be renewed, (a phrase which I am not aware that the

Scriptures employ,) yet the subject is the inward man, which

subject may receive the appellation of the new man from the

quality impressed. As we say that a white man becomes whiter

every day, whiteness being communicated to a white man not as

he is white, but as he is a man who has still some dark

shades remaining, and who has not yet attained to that degree

of whiteness which he desires. ConsonantIy with this view,

the Scriptures themselves use these words: "Be renewed in the

spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which after God

is created in righteousness and true holiness," (Ephes. iv,

23,24.) In this passage the subject of renovation is called

"the spirit of our mind," that is, the inward man, or the

mind; and "the new man," in the same passage, is not the

subject itself, but it is the quality which the subject ought

to induce: This quality is there called "righteousness and

true holiness."

I have said that I am not quite certain whether the

Scriptures use this phrase in any passage: I have felt this

hesitation on account of Col. iii, 10, in which it seems to

be so used; the apostle saying, "and ye have put on the new

man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who

created him." But it will be obvious to every one who

consider, the passage with diligence, that these words,

"which is renewed," or ton anakainoumenon must be joined with

what preceded, "and ye have put on the new man," that is,

"that which is renewed," or, "the renewed," "in knowledge,"

&c., so as to be a description of the new man, not some new

attribute of this new man. But to this criticism no great

importance is attached; and I have said, I do not deny that

the new man is renewed more and more.

The same thing is manifest from the rest of this passage. (2

Cor. iv, 16.) For, "the outward man," (16,) "an earthen

vessel," (7,) "our body," (10,) "our mortal flesh," (11,) are

all synonymous terms; as are also, "troubled," "perplexed,"

"persecuted," "bearing about in the body the dying of the

Lord Jesus," "delivered unto death," and "perishing." This

may be rendered very clear to the studious inquirer after the

truth, who will compare the preceding and the succeeding

verses with the 16th.

EPHESIANS iii, 16,17.

The latter of the two passages is thus expressed: "That he

would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be

strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that

Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." From these verses,

it is plain, that by the inner man is denoted the subject

about which the Holy Spirit is occupied in his act and

operation; and this operation is here denominated "a

corroboration," or "a being strengthened." This is also plain

from the synonym mentioned in the following verse, "that

Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;" for "the heart,"

and "the inner man," are taken from the same thing. In this

view of the subject I am supported by the very learned

Zanchius, who writes in the following manner upon this

passage: "We have asserted, and from 2 Corinthians iv, 16, we

have demonstrated, that by the term inner man is signified

the principal part of man, that is, the mind, which consists

of the understanding and the will, and which is usually

denoted by the word heart, in which the affections or

passions flourish; as, on the contrary, by the term outward

man, no other thing can be understood than the corporeal part

of man, which grows, possesses senses, locomotion," &c. And

in a subsequent passage, he says, "Therefore, by this

particle, in the inner man, the apostle teaches, that as the

gift of might or strength, so likewise the other virtues of

the Spirit, have not their seat in the vegetative or growing

part Of man, but in his mind, heart, spirit," &c.

(2.) Because it is not only held for a certainty by some

persons, that "the inward man" is the same with the new and

the regenerate man, from which they venture to assert, "that

the regenerate alone possess the inward man;" but because

this is also urged as an article of belief, let us therefore

see what a great portion of the divines of the Christian

church here understood by the epithet, "the inward man."



The apostle gives two appellations to the man -- his person

and his mind. (Strom. lib. 3, fol. 194.)


"BUT," says the apostle, "though our outward man be

destroyed," that is, the flesh, by the force of persecutions,

"yet the inward man is renewed day by day," that is, the

mind, by the hope of the promises. (Against the Gnostics,

cap. 15.)

Having, therefore, obtained the two men mentioned by the

apostle -- the inward man, that is, the mind, and the outward

man, that is, the flesh -- the heretics have in fact adjudged

salvation to the mind, that is, to the inward man, but

destruction to the flesh, that is, to the outward man;

because it is recorded 2 Corinthians iv, 16, "for though our

outward man perish," &c. (On the resurrection of the Body,

cap. 40.)

From without, wars that overcome the body; inwardly, fear

that afflicts the mind. So, "though our outward man perish,"

perishing will not be understood as losing our resurrection,

but as sustaining vexation; and this, not without the inward

man. Thus it will be the part of both of them to be glorified

together, as well as to be fellow-sufferers. (lbid.)

For though the apostle calls the flesh "an earthen vessel,"

which he commands to be honourably treated; yet it is also

called, by the same apostle, "the outward man," that is, the

clay which was first impressed and engraved under the title

of man, not of a cup, of a sword, or of any small vessel; for

it was called "a vessel" on account of its capacity, which

holds and contains the mind. But this flesh is called "man,"

from community of nature, which renders it not an instrument

in operations, but a minister or assistant, (Ibid. cap. 16.)


"For I delight in the law of God after the inward man." he

says that his mind delights in those things which are

delivered by the law; and thus it is the inward man. (On Rom.

vii, 22.) "Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man

is renewed day by day." The flesh perishes or wastes away by

afflictions, stripes, famine, thirst, cold and nakedness; but

the mind is renewed by the hope of a future reward, because

it is purified by incessant tribulations. For the mind is

profited in afflictions, and does not perish; so that when

additional temptations occur, it makes daily advances in

worthiness; because this "perishing" is profitable also to

the body for its immortality through the excellence of the

mind. (On 2 Corinthians iv, 16.)

"I delight in the law of God after the inward man." Our

inward man is that which was made after the image and

likeness of God; the outward man is that which was formed and

shaped from clay. As therefore there are two men, there is

likewise a two-fold course of conduct -- one is that of the

inward man, the other that of the outward man. And, indeed,

most of the acts of the inward man extend to the outward man.

As the chasteness of the inward man also passes to the

chastity of the body. For he who is ignorant of the adultery

of the heart, is likewise unacquainted with the adultery of

the body, &c. It is, therefore, the circumcision of the

inward man; for he who is circumcised has stripped off the

enticements of his whole flesh, as his foreskin, that he may

be in the Spirit, and not in the flesh; and that in the

Spirit he may mortify the deeds of his body, &c., &c. When

our inward man is in the flesh, he is in the foreskin.

(Letter 77th, to Constantius.)


"Let us make man according to our image." He means the inward

man, when he says, "Let us make man," &c., &c. Listen to the

apostle, who says, "Though our outward man perish, yet the

inward man is renewed day by day." How do I know the two men?

One of them is apparent; the other is hidden in him who

appears, it is the invisible, the inward man. We have then a

man within us; and we are twofold; and what is said is very

true, that we are inward. (Homily 10th, on the six days of


"Thy hands have made me, and fashioned me." God made the

inward man, and fashioned the outward man. For "the

fashioning" belongs to clay; but "the making" appertains to

that which is after his own image. Wherefore the thing which

was fashioned is the flesh, but that which was made is the

mind. (Ibid. Homily 11.)

Since there are, indeed, two men, as the apostle declares,

the one outward and the other inward, we must also, in like

manner, receive the age in both, according to him whom we

behold, and according to him whom we understand in secret.

(Discourse on the beginning of the Proverbs of Solomon.)


"But though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is

renewed day by day." If any one, therefore, says that our

inward man dwells in the outward man, he repeats an important

truth; yet he will not on this account seem to divide the

unity of man. (On the incarnation, of the only begotten Son,

cap. 12.)


The true death consists in the heart, and is hidden, when our

inward man is dead. If therefore any one has passed over from

death to the hidden life, he in reality lives forever, and

dies no more, &c., &c. Sin acts secretly upon the inward man

and the mind, and commences a conflict with the thoughts.

(Homily 15.)

The members of the soul are many: such as the mind, the

conscience, the will, the thoughts which accuse or else

defend. But all these have been collected together into one

reason; yet they are the members of the soul. But the soul is

single, that is, the inward man. (Homily 7.)

"The inward man" and "the soul" are taken for the same thing,

in his 27th Homily.


"But though our outward man perish," &c. How does it perish?

While it is beaten with stripes, is driven away, and endures

innumerable evils. "Yet the inward man is renewed day by

day." How is it renewed? By faith, hope and alacrity, that it

may have the courage to oppose itself to evils. For, the more

the evils which the body endures, the greater is the hope

which the inward man entertains, and the more bright and

resplendent does it become, as gold which is examined or

tested by much fire. (On 2 Corinthians iv, 16.)

Let us now see what is said by one who stands higher than



But who, except the greatest mad man, will say that in the

body we are, or shall afterwards be, like God, That likeness,

therefore, exists in the inward man, "which is renewed in the

knowledge of God, after the image of him that created him."

(Tom. 2, Epist. 6.)

By this grace, righteousness is written in the inward man,

when renewed, which transgression had destroyed. (On the

Spirit and the Letter, cap. 27.) As he called him the inward

man when coming into this world, because the outward man is

corporeal as this world is. (On the Demerits and Remission of

Sin, lib.1, cap. 25; Tom. 7.)

As the eyes of the body derive no aid from the light, that

they may depart from it with eyelids closed and turned in

another direction, but in order to see, they are assisted by

the light, (nor can this be done at all, unless the light

lends its aid,) so God, who is the light of the inward man,

assists the drowsiness of our mind, that we may perform

something that is good, not according to our righteousness,

but according to his own. (Ibid. lib. 2, cap. 5.)

If, in the mind itself, which is "the inward man," perfect

newness were formed in baptism, the apostle would not

declare, "Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man

is renewed day by day." (Ibid. cap. 7.) As that tree of life

was placed in the corporeal Paradise, so this wisdom is in

the spiritual Paradise, the former of them affording vital

vigour to the senses of the outward man, the latter to those

of the inward man, without any change of time for the worse.

(Ibid. cap. 21.)

Behold, then, of how many things are we ignorant -- not only

such as are past, but also of those which are present,

concerning our nature, and not only in reference to the body,

but likewise I, reference to the inward man; yet we are not

compared to the beasts. (Tom. 7. 0n the Soul and its Origin,

lib. 4, cap. 8.)

Because the thing is either the foot itself, the body, or the

man, who hobbles along with a lame foot; yet the man cannot

avoid a lame foot, unless he have it healed. This can also be

done in the inward man, but it must be by the grace of God

through Jesus Christ. (On Perfection against Caelestius, fol.

I, letter f.)

Thus also the mind is the thing of the inward man, robbery is

an act, avarice is a vice, that is, a quality, according to

which the mind is evil, even when it does nothing by which it

can render any service to avarice or robbery. (Ibid.)

Beside the inward and the outward man, I do not indeed

perceive that the apostle makes another inward of the inward

man, that is, the innermost of the whole man. (On the Mind

and its Origins, lib. 4, cap. 4.)

He confesses in the same passage, that the mind is the inward

man to the body, but he denies that the spirit is the inward

man to the mind.

Some persons have also made this supposition, that now the

inward man was made, but the body of the man afterwards, when

the Scripture says, "And God formed man of the dust of the

ground." (Tom. 3. On Genesis according to the letter, l. 3,

c. 22.)

The apostle Paul wishes "the inward man" to be understood by

the spirit of the mind, "the outward man" in the body and

this mortal life. Yet it is sometimes read in his epistles,

that he has not called both of these together "two men," but

one entire man whom God made, that is, both that which is the

inward man, and that which is the outward. But he does not

make him after his own image, except with regard to that

which is inward, not only what is incorporeal, but also what

is rational, and which is not within beasts. (Tom. 6. Against

Faustus the Manichee, lib. 24, cap. 1.)

Behold God is likewise proclaimed, by the same apostle, as

former of the outward man. "But now hath God set the members

every one in the body as it hath pleased him."(Ibid.)

The apostle says that "the old man" is nothing more than the

old [course of] life, which is in sin, and in which men live

according to the first Adam, concerning whom he declares, "By

one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so

death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

Therefore, the whole of that man, both in his outward and

inward part; has become old on account of sin, and is

sentenced to the punishment of mortality, &c. (Ibid.)

And therefore, by such a cross, the body of sin is emptied,

that we may "not now yield our members as instruments of

unrighteousness unto sin;" because this inward man also, if

he be really renewed day by day, is certainly old before he

is renewed. For that is an inward act of which the apostle

speaks thus: "Put off the old man, and put on the new man."

(Tom. 3. On the Trinity, lib. 4, cap. 3.)

But now the death of the flesh of our Lord belongs to the

example of the death of our outward man, &c. And the

resurrection of the body of the Lord is found to appertain to

the example of the resurrection of our outward man." (Ibid.)

Come now, let us see where is that which bears some

resemblance to the confines of the man, both the outward and

the inward; for, whatever we have in the mind in common with

the beasts, is correctly said still to belong to the outward

man; For not only will the body be accounted as "the outward

man," but likewise certain things united to its life, by

which the joints of the body and all the senses flourish and

grow, and with which it is furnished for entering upon

outward things. When the images of these perceptions, infixed

in the memory, are revisited by recollection, the matter is

still a transaction which belongs to the outward man. And in

all these things we are at no great distance from the cattle,

except that in the shape of our bodies we are not bending

downwards, but erect. (On the Trinity, lib. 12, cap. 1.)

While ascending, therefore, inwardly by certain degrees of

consideration through the parts of the mind, another thing

begins from this to occur to us, which is not common to us

with the beasts; thence reason has its commencement, that the

inward man may not be known. (Ibid. cap. 8.)

Both believers and unbelievers are well acquainted with the

nature of man, whose outward part, that is, the body, they

have learned the lights of the body; but they have learned

the inward part, that is, the mind, within themselves. (Ibid.

lib. 13, cap. 1.)

Besides, the Scriptures thus attest it to us in this that,

when these two things also are joined together and the man

lives, and when likewise they bestow on each of them the

appellation of man, calling the mind "the inward man," but

the body "the outward man," as though they were two men,

while both of them together are only one man. (Tom. 5. On the

City of God, lib. 13, cap. 24. See also lib. 11, cap. 27 &


As this outward and visible world nourishes and contains the

outward man, so that invisible world contains the inward man.

(Tom. 8. On the First Psalm.)

He who believes in Him, eats and is invisibly fattened,

because he is also invisibly born again. The infant is

within, the new man is within; where young and tender vines

are planted, there are they filled and satiated. (On John,

Tract 26.)


Moreover, "the outward man," that is, the body, "perishes."

How is this? While it is beaten with stripes, while it is

driven about. "But the inward man," that is, the spirit and

the mind, "is renewed." By what means? When it hopes well,

and freely acts, as though suffering and rejoicing on account

of God. (On 2 Corinthians iv, 16.)


Let us spiritually advert to the spiritual expressions of the

apostle, by which he testifies, that he has seen and handled

the word of God, not with his bodily eyes and hands, but with

the members of the inner man. (Against Eutychus, lib. 4.)


The substance of man, if you consider his inward man, is this

image of God; if you take his outward man into consideration,

his substance will be the earth, or the dust of the ground.

Yet one and the same is the man in the composition which is

completed from both of them. (0n Genesis, cap. 1.)


As the outward man is recognized by his countenance, so is

the inward man pointed out by his will. (Sermon 3, On

Ascension Day.)


When the outward man is slightly afflicted, let the inward

man be refreshed; and withdrawing corporeal fullness from the

flesh, let the mind be strengthened by spiritual delights.

(Sermon 4, On Quadragesima Sunday.)


But in this, our nature, every care is towards the inward man

of the heart, and every desire is directed to it. (Apology

for his flight.)


Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. God speaks

thus respecting the inward man. "But," you will say, "you are

giving a dissertation upon reason. Shew us man after the

image of God. Is reason the man?" Listen to the apostle:

Though your outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed

day by day. By what means? I own that man is two-fold, one

who is seen, another who is hidden, and whom he that is seen

does not perceive. We have, therefore, an inward man, and in

some degree are two-fold. For I am that man who is inward;

but I am not those things which are outward; but they are

mine. Neither am I the hand, but I am the reason which is in

the mind; but the hand is a part of the outward man. (On

Genesis, i, 26.)

Thus, when the inward man, whom God denominates the heart,

has wiped off the rusty filth which, on account of his

depraved thirst, had grown up with his form; he will once

more recover the likeness [of God] with his original and

principal form, when he will become good. (On the



Let us now see the opinions of certain divines of our own age

and religious profession, on the inward man.


Though the reprobate do not proceed so far with the children

of God, as, after the casting down of the flesh, to be

renewed in the inner man, and to flourish again. (Instit.

lib. 2, cap. 7, sect. 9.)

But the reprobate are terrified, not because their inward

mind is moved or affected, but because, as by a bridle cast

upon them, they refrain less from outward work, and inwardly

curb their own depravity, which they would otherwise have

shed abroad. (Ibid. sect. 10.)

Besides, since we have already laid down a two-fold regimen

in man, and as we have, in another place, said enough about

the other, which is placed in the mind, or the inward man,

and which has reference to life eternal, &c. (Ibid. lib. 4,

cap. 20, sect. 1.)

Though the glory of God shines forth in the outward man, yet

the proper seat of it is undoubtedly in the mind. (Ibid. lib.

I, cap. 15, sect. 3.)

Some persons perversely and unskillfully confound the outward

man with the old man. For the old man, about whom the apostle

treats in Romans vi, 6, is something far different. In the

reprobate, also, the outward man perishes, but without any

counterbalancing compensation. (On 2 Corinthians iv, 16.)


- Is renewed, that is, acquires fresh strength, lest the

outward man, who is sustained by the strength of the inward

man, should be broken when assaulted with fresh evils, for

which reason, the apostle said, in the 12th verse, "So, then,

death worketh in us." (On 2 Corinthians iv, 16.)


In holy persons, likewise, there are two men, an inward and

an outward one. St. Paul says, "Though our outward man

perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." As,

therefore, man is two-fold, so, likewise, are his judgment

and his will two-fold -- a fact which our Lord himself was

not ashamed to confess, when he said to his Father,

"nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done." By saying

this, "not what I will, but what thou willest, be done," he

undoubtedly shewed that he willed what the Father willed; and

yet, at the same time, he acknowledges that this was his

will: "Remove this cup from me." Our Lord, therefore,

acknowledges the existence within himself of two wills, one

of which was apparently at variance with the other. (On

Romans 5. Fol. 261.)


The outward man hears the word of God outwardly, but the

inward man hears it inwardly. (On the Three Verities, lib. 3,

cap. 2. fol. 182.)

But then, as in ecclesiastical administration, not only the

inward man is informed in the knowledge of God, but as aids

and services are also sought by the outward man, so far as

the external signs of the communion of saints are required to

feed and promote the inward communion, in this cause,

likewise, we acknowledge that God has delegated his authority

to the magistrate. (On Ecclesiast. lib. 3, cap. 5.)


The outward man, that is, the body, as he had previously

called it. The inward man, that is, the soul or mind. (On 2

Corinthians iv, 16.)


When, indeed, from the depraved heart, and from the inward

man, evil fruits do proceed, a necessary consequence of this

is that he who is desirous of boasting that he is pure, must

demonstrate the truth of his assertion by a spontaneous

approval of the commands of Christ, and by a willing

obedience to them. (A pamphlet, in which they give a reason

for the excommunication of Koolhaes. Fol. 93.)


The inward man is the rational mind unfolded in its powers,

which never perishes. But the body, adorned with its senses,

is called "the outward man," or "our man who is outward and

corruptible," as the apostle says in 2 Corinthians iv, 16,"

though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed

day by day." Again, he says, in Romans vii, 22, "I delight in

the law of God after the inward man." (On Grace and Free

Will. Fol. 262.)

The apostle Paul frequently does not understand the same

thing by "the old man" and by "the outward man," nor has he

signified the same thing by "the new man" and by "the inward

man;" but in the inward man are found both the old and the

new man. For, in the mind, oldness of this kind is formed at

the same time as newness. In it, the likeness is either

heavenly or earthly, that is, either a carnal will, living

according to the exciting feel of Sin, or a Spiritual will,

living according to the Spirit of God. (Ibid.)

I AM aware that the divines of our profession frequently take

"the inward man" for the regenerate and this new man; but

then they do not consider "the inward man," except with a

certain quality infused into it by the Holy and Regenerating

Spirit, with which quality, when the inward man is

considered, he is then correctly called regenerate and a new

man. If any one urges that the very designation of "the

inward man" possesses, of itself, as great a value with those

divines as do the titles of "the regenerate" and "the new

man," I shall desire him to demonstrate, by sure and stable

arguments, that the meaning adopted by those divines is

conformable to truth.

4. Let us now approach to the other foundation, which is that

this man, to whom it is attributed that "he delights in the

law of God," is regenerate; and that this attribute can agree

with no other than a regenerate person. That we may be able

to clear up this matter in a satisfactory manner, we must see

what is meant by this phrase, "to delight in the law of God;"

or "to feel a joint delight with the law of God," as it

appears the Greek text is capable of being rendered, and as

an ancient version has it; for the verb, sunhdomai seems to

signify the mutual pleasure which subsists between this man

and the law, and by which not only this man feels a joint

delight in the law, but the law also feels a similar delight

in him.

"I feel a joint delight with the law of God," that is, I

delight with the law: the same things are pleasing to me as

are pleasing to the law. This interpretation may be

illustrated and confirmed by a comparison of similar phrases,

which frequently occur in other passages of the New

Testament; Sunagwnisasqai moi "that ye strive together with

me in your prayers to God for me" -- Sunanapauswmai umin

"that I may with you be refreshed, (Rom. xv, 30,32) --

Sunhqlhsan moi "those women who laboured with me in the

gospel," (Phil. iv, 3) -- Summarturei tw pneumati umwn "the

Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the

children of God," (Rom. viii, 16,) from which St. Chrysostom

not inappropriately explains, "I feel a joint delight with

the law," by this paraphrase, "I assent to the law that it is

well applied, as the law, also, in return, assents to me,

that it is a good thing for a man to will to do it." He takes

this explanation of the phrase from the text itself, which

kind of interpretation not only may obtain, but likewise

ought to be employed, in this passage, since there is no

other in the whole of the Scriptures in which this same

phrase is used.

If any one wishes to attach the same meaning to the phrase as

to that which is used in Psalm i, 2, "But his delight is in

the law of the Lord;" let him who says this, know that it is

incumbent on him to produce proof for his assertion. This is

not unreasonably required of him, because the antecedents and

the consequences which are attributed to the man who is

denoted in the first Psalm and described as being blessed,

are not only vastly different from those things which are

attributed to the man on whom we are now treating, but are

likewise quite contrary to them. Conceding, however, this for

the sake of argument, but by no means absolutely granting it,

(which I am far from doing,) we must observe, that this man

[in Romans vii, 22] is said, not simply "to delight in the

law of God," or "to feel a joint delight with the law of

God," but he does so with restriction and relatively, that is

"according to the inward man." This restriction intimates

that "the inward man" has not obtained the pre-eminence in

this man, but that it is weaker than the flesh; as the latter

is that which hinders it from being able, in operation and

reality, to perform the law, to which it consents, and in

which it delights.

He who will compare the following verse with this will

perceive that the cause of that restriction is the one which

we have here assigned. For in the subsequent verse, (the

23rd,) it is not said, "But I see another law in my members,

according to which I do not delight in the law of God," such

as the opposition ought to have been, it, by that

restriction, the apostle wished only to ascribe this

"delighting" to the man according to one part of him, and to

take it away according to the other part of him. But since

the apostle not only takes this "delighting" from the other

part of him, but likewise attributes it to the power of

warring against that inward man and overcoming him, it is

evident that the restriction has been added on this account -

- to shew that, in the man who is now the subject of

discussion, "the inward man" has not the dominion, but is, in

fact, the inferior.

Let him who is desirous to contradict these remarks, shew us,

in any passage in which regenerate persons are made the

subject of investigation, a similar restriction employed, and

adduced for another purpose. From these observations,

therefore, it appears that the proposition is most deservedly

denied. Let us now attend to the assumption.

5. l say that the assumption is proposed in a mutilated form,

as it was previously in the argument produced from the

eighteenth verse. For with it, the apostle joins the

following verse, in such a manner that the twenty-third verse

may be the principal part of a compound and discrete axiom,

employed for the purpose of proving what the apostle

intended. But that which is now placed in the assumption, is

a less principal part, conducing to the illustration of the

other by separation. From this, it follows that the

conclusion cannot be deduced From the premises, because the

proposition is destitute of truth, the assumption mutilated,

and the conclusion itself, beyond the purpose of the apostle

and contrary to his design.

6. Let us see whether any thing further can be brought from

the twenty-third verse for the demonstration of the contrary


The man who has within him, beside the law of his members,

the law of his mind, which is contrary to the other, is a

regenerate man.

Such a man is the one mentioned in this passage;

Therefore, he is a regenerate man.

(1.) The defenders of the contrary opinion believe the

proposition in this syllogism to be true, because "the law of

the mind" is opposed to "the law of the members," as it

consents to the law of God -- a quality which they suppose to

belong only to the regenerate. This, they think, is confirmed

from the circumstance that the same apostle expressly calls a

certain mind, in Col. ii, 18, "a fleshly mind," which he

likewise calls in Romans viii, 7, "the carnal mind."

But the proposition cannot be supported by these passages;

for it is simply false, and those arguments which are

produced in proof of it are inappropriate. For to some of the

regenerate also, (that is, to those who are under the law,

who have some knowledge of the law, who have thoughts

accusing or else excusing them, and who know that

concupiscence is sin,) belongs something beside "the law of

the members," '"a fleshly mind," and one that is "carnal,"

which is opposite and repugnant to these: And this is "the

work of the law written in their hearts;" which is neither

"the law of the members," "a fleshly mind," nor one that is

"carnal," but it contends with them. For a conscience or

consciousness of good and evil, which compels a man, though

in vain, to good, and deters him from evil, is directly

opposed to "the law of the members" impelling to evil, and

"to the carnal affections which cannot be subject to the law

of God." For this conscience consents to the law of God, and

is the instrument of the same law even in an unregenerate man

to accuse and convict him. We may, therefore, be permitted to

deny that proposition, and to demand stronger proofs for it.

(2.) With regard to the assumption, we may say the same as we

did about the assumption in the previous syllogism -- that it

is not fully proposed, as it ought to have been, and it omits

those things which were joined together in the text of the

apostle. But those things are of such a description, as, when

added to the assumption, will easily point out the falsity of

the proposition; that is, such is the opposition in this man

between this law of the members and that of the mind, that

the former not only "wars against" the latter, but likewise

obtains the conquest in the fight; that is, "it brings man

into captivity under the law of sin." From these observations

also it is evident, that no good consequence can ensue from

the assumption.

7. But let us now try, whether something cannot be deduced

from these two verses for the establishment of our opinion.

It appeals indeed to me, that I can from them deduce an

invincible argument for the refutation of the contrary

opinion, and for the confirmation of my own.

(1.) The argument in refutation of the contrary opinion may

be stated in the following manner:

The law of the mind which wars against the law of the

members, is conquered by the law of the members, so that the

man "is brought into captivity to the law of sin which is in

his members;" (as it occurs in this very passage; )

But the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, when

warring against the law of the members, overcomes the latter;

so that it liberates the man, who had been brought into

captivity under the law of sin, from the law of sin and

death: (Rom. viii, 2.)

Therefore, the law of the Spirit is not the law of the mind;

neither is the law of the mind, the law of the Spirit. This

is evident from simple inversion, and from this very

syllogism, the premises being so transposed, as for the

assumption to take the place of the proposition, and vice

versa: and, therefore, the word "mind" is not used in this

passage for "the Spirit."

This argument is irrefragable. Let him who is desirous of

proving the contrary, make the experiment, and he will find

this to be the result. But its peculiar force will be more

correctly understood towards the close of this investigation,

in which is more fully explained the whole of the matter

about which the apostle is here treating. (2.) For the

confirmation of my own opinion, I deduce the following

argument from these verses:

That man, who delights indeed in the law of God after the

inward man, but who, with the law of his mind warring against

the law of his members, not only cannot prevail against the

latter, but is also conquered by it and brought into

captivity under the law of sin, while the law of his mind

fruitlessly contends against it, is an unregenerate man, and

placed, not under grace, but under the law;

But though this man delights in the law of God after the

inward man, and though with the law of his mind he wars

against the law of His members; yet not only is he unable to

prevail against the law of his members, but he is likewise

brought into captivity under the law of sin by the law of his

members, the law of his mind maintaining a strong but useless


Therefore, the man [described] in this passage is

unregenerate, and placed, not under grace, but under the law;

Or, to state the argument in a shorter form, omitting

whatever it is possible to omit --

That man in whom the law of the members so wages war against

the law of the mind, as, when the latter is overcome, or at

least while it offers a vain resistance, to bring the man

himself into captivity under the law of sin, is unregenerate,

and placed under the law;

But in this man, about whom the apostle is treating, the law

of the members so wages war with the law of the mind, as,

when the latter is overcome, or at least while it offers a

vain resistance, to bring the man himself into captivity

under the law of sin;

Therefore, this man is unregenerate and placed under the law.

(3.) The truth of the proposition rests on these three


I. Because a regenerate man not only with the law of his mind

wages war against the law of his members, but he does this

principally with the law of the Spirit, that is, by the

strength and power of the Holy Spirit; for it is said in Gal.

v, 17: "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit

against the flesh."

II. Because far different is the result of that contest

which, by the strength and power of the Spirit, or by "the

law of the Spirit," a regenerate man maintains against the

law of the members and against the flesh. For the law of the

Spirit always obtains the victory, except when the man ceases

from employing it in the battle, and from defending himself

with it against the invading temptations of the flesh, Satan,

and the world.

III. Because it is not an attribute of a regenerate man, of

one who is placed under grace, to be brought into captivity

under the law of sin; but that, rather, is his which is

ascribed to him in the second verse of the following chapter

-- "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made

me free from the law of sin and death." For when he was

formerly placed under the law, he was in captivity under the

strength and power of sin.

I will now confirm these reasons against the objections which

are, or which can be, made against them.

Against the first it may be objected -- "Since 'the law of

the mind,' and 'the law of the Spirit,' are one, they are in

this argument unskillfully distinguished; both because no one

lights against the law of the members except by the law of

the Spirit, or by the strength and power of the Holy Spirit;

and therefore the law of the mind is the law of the Spirit."

To this I reply, it has already been proved, that the law of

the mind, and the law of the Spirit, are not the same, and

that the conscience also wages war against the law of the

members in those men who are under the law.

Against the Second reason it may be objected, "Even the

regenerate themselves 'offend in many things.' (James iii,

2.) There is on earth 'no man that sinneth not.' (1 Kings

viii, 46.) The regenerate cannot say with truth 'that they

have no sin.' (1 John i, 8.)" With other objections similar

in their import.

To these, I reply, that I heartily acknowledge all these

things, but that I do not perceive how by means of them the

second reason can be weakened. For these expressions are not

repugnant to each other -- "In many things the regenerate

offend," and "The regenerate most generally gain the victory

in the contest against sin," that is, when they use the arms

with which they are furnished by the Holy Spirit.

(4.), any one says, "In this contest, the regenerate are more

frequently the conquered than the conquerors," I shall

request him to explain how then it can be declared concerning

the regenerate, "that they walk not after the flesh, but

after the Spirit;" for, "to be the conquered" is "to fulfill

the desires of the flesh;" and he who usually does this,

"walks after the flesh." But many passages of Scripture teach

that this contest, which the regenerate maintain against sin

by the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, has generally a

felicitous and successful termination; "for whatsoever is

born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory

that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that

overcometh the world, but he that believeth Jesus to be the

Son of God," (1 John v, 4,5.) "Submit yourselves therefore to

God; resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James iv,

7.) Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the

world." (1 John iv, 4.) "Put on the whole armour of God, that

ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Wherefore, take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may

be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all,

to stand." (Ephes. vi, 11,13.) "I can do all things through

Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phil. iv, 13.) "All things

are possible to him that believeth." (Mark ix, 23.) This

truth also is proved, by various examples, through the whole

of Hebrews 11. "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding

abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the

power that worketh in us, unto him be glory," &c. (Ephes.

iii, 20,21.) "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from

falling," "and to present you, faultless, before the presence

of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our

saviour, be glory," &c. (Jude 24, 25.) "They that are after

the Spirit, do mind the things of the Spirit. If ye, through

the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through

Him that loved us." (Rom. viii, 5,13,37.) By many other

passages of Scripture, this may also be proved.


8. But let us now consider Gal. v, 16-18, and let us compare

it with Romans vii, 22,23, the passage at present under

investigation, that it may also clearly appear, from such

consideration and comparison, that the result of the contest

between the Spirit and the flesh is generally this: the

Spirit departs from the combat the conqueror of the flesh,

especially as, in this seventh chapter to the Romans, we

perceive an entirely contrary issue or result is described

and deplored. The passage may be thus rendered: "This I say

then, Walk in the Spirit and fulfill not that after which the

flesh lusteth," or "ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the

flesh." "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the

Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to

the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would. But

if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law?

The exhortation of the apostle occurs in the sixteenth verse;

and, on account of the ambiguity of the Greek word, it may be

read in two different ways, "fulfill not," or "ye shall not

fulfill." If the former rendering be adopted, then the

exhortation consists of two parts, of which the one teaches

what must be done, and the other what must be omitted; that

is, we must walk in the Spirit, and the desires of the flesh

must not be fulfilled." But if the clause be rendered in the

second manner, then the sixteenth verse contains an

exhortation in these words: "Walk in the Spirit;" and a

consectary subjoined to the exhortation in these words: "And

ye shall not fulfill the desires or lusts of the flesh." The

latter mode of reading the passage seems to be more agreeable

to the mind of the apostle; for he had previously, in the

thirteenth verse, exhorted the Galatians not to abuse their

Christian liberty for carnal licentiousness and

lasciviousness. But now, in the sixteenth verse, he produces

a remedy, by which they will be able to restrain and curb the

assaults and the power of the flesh, and which is, if they

walk in the Spirit, it shall then come to pass, that they

shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

In the seventeenth verse a reason is added, that is deduced

from the contrariety or contest which subsists between the

flesh and the Spirit, and from either the end or the result

of this contest. (1.) The contrariety or contest is described

in these words: "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,

and the Spirit against the flesh." From which is manifest the

necessity both of the exhortation, not to abuse their

Christian liberty to carnal licentiousness, and not to

fulfill the lusts of the flesh; and of the remedy, by which

alone the lusts of the flesh can be curbed and restrained,

and which is this: "if they walk in the Spirit, that lusteth

against the flesh." For it is from this enmity and

contrariety which subsists between the flesh and the Spirit

that the conclusion is drawn, "If ye walk in the Spirit, ye

shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." From this it is

also manifest, that this latter mode of rendering is better

adapted to the meaning of the apostle.

(2.) The end or result of this contest is described in these

words: "And these are contrary the one to the other, that ye

may not do the things that ye would." I have said that the

end or the issue of the contest is here described; because

some persons suppose that its issue, and not its end, is

pointed out in this passage. (i.)But the particle, ina

"that," which is used by the apostle, signifies the end or

intention, and not the result or issue; and this

interpretation is entirely agreeable to the mind of the

apostle. "For the Spirit lusteth against the flesh" for this

purpose, "that we may not do those things" which we lust

according to the flesh, and "which we would," the consequence

of which is, "if we walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfill

the desires of the flesh." And, on the contrary, since "the

flesh also lusteth against the Spirit" for this purpose,

"that we may not do those things which we lust according to

the Spirit," it follows that if we walk in the flesh or

according to the flesh, we shall not fulfill the desires of

the Spirit. But this rendering is agreeable to the scope or

design of the apostle, "that ye may not do what things soever

ye would according to the flesh."

(ii.) If we assert that the result or issue is here

signified, then the meaning will likewise be two-fold. For it

will be possible for it to be as follows: "The flesh and the

Spirit are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot

do those things which according to the Spirit ye would." It

may likewise be this: "So that ye cannot do these things

which, according to the flesh ye would." That is, this

contest obtains the following result, "that ye cannot do

those things which, according to the Spirit, ye would;" or,

"that ye cannot do those things, which, according to the

flesh, ye would." But let us see which of these two meanings

is the more suitable: Truly, the latter of them is. It is not

only more suitable, but likewise necessary, if the apostle is

here treating about the issue or result. This will be still

more apparent from the absurdity of the admonition, if the

passage be explained in the other sense: The apostle

admonishes the Galatians, "to walk in the Spirit, and not to

fulfill the desires of the flesh;" (for we will now retain

this rendering of the latter clause, as that which is more

consentaneous with the meaning that explains the passage

concerning this issue or result;) and the persuasion to this

will then be: "For the flesh and the Spirit are contrary the

one to the other, by this result, that ye cannot do those

things which, according to the Spirit, ye would." This indeed

is not to exhort, but to dissuade and dehort by a forewarning

of the unhappy result.

Besides, reason itself requires, according to [logical]

scientific usage, that what has been proposed be drawn out in

the conclusion; otherwise the parts of connection will be

broken. But the proposition was either this -- "Walk in the

Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh," or

it was this: "Walk in the Spirit, and fulfill not the lusts

of the flesh." I am desirous to have it demonstrated to me,

by what means this proposition can be concluded from the

eighteenth verse understood about the issue or result, by

which the flesh hinders the Galatians from doing that which,

according to the Spirit, they would. But it has been already

shown, that each of these propositions may be fairly

concluded from the passage, when understood as relating to

the end or intention of the conflict, nay, when also

understood as referring to the issue or result when the

Spirit is the conqueror. It is apparent, therefore, not only

that this is the end or design of the contest which is here

mentioned from the lusting of the Spirit, but that this is

likewise its issue or result from the strength and power of

the Spirit -- that, when the flesh is subdued, the Spirit

comes off as the conqueror; and that the man who, by the

Spirit, wages war against the flesh, and who walks in the

Spirit, does not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

From these is inferred a consectary in the eighteenth verse:

"But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law;"

that is, if ye walk in the Spirit, if under the guidance of

the Spirit ye contend against the lusts of the flesh, and

contend so as not to fulfill them, from these circumstances

you may assuredly conclude that ye are not under the law.

In this consectary, we see, that the phrases, "to be under

the law," and "not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh," are

opposed to each other; for the latter of them is descriptive

of the proper effect of the guidance of the Spirit.

Wherefore, the phrases, "to be under the law," and "to

fulfill the lusts of the flesh," are consentaneous and of the

same import. But this is the very thing which is asserted in

Romans vi, 14: "For sin shall not have dominion over you;

for ye are not under the law, but under grace." From this, it

is apparent, that the dominion of sin, which is the cause why

the lusts of the flesh are fulfilled, prevails in those

persons who are under the law. But since the dominion of sin

does not obtain in those who are under grace, (and, in fact,

on this account, because they are under grace,) it is

therefore evident that these phrases, "to be under grace,"

and "to be led by the Spirit," are consentaneous, nay, that

they are exactly the same. For the effect of each of them is

one and alike, and that is, to prevent sin from having

dominion over a man, and to hinder man from fulfilling the

lusts of the flesh, which is also explained at great length

in Romans 8, in a manner agreeable to that which is briefly

laid down in this seventeenth verse, that is, "The Spirit is

contrary to the flesh for this purpose -- that men may not do

those things which, according to the flesh, they would." But,

from Romans 7 it is very plain, that the result of that

contest is different from the one upon which the apostle is

here treating: For, in that chapter, the man does that which,

after the flesh, he would, and does not what he is said to

will after the inward man; the law of God, the law of the

mind, and the inward man, vainly attempting to restrain the

power of sin and to hinder the lusts of the flesh, because

all these [strive as they may] are debilitated through the


9. If any one urge this as an objection, "It likewise befalls

the best of the regenerate, that they do not the things

which, according to the Spirit, they would, but that they

fulfill the lusts of the flesh;" I perfectly assent to the

truth of this, if the small addition be made, that "this

sometimes happens to the regenerate." For if such be their

general practice, they do not now walk in the Spirit; though

this is a property of the regenerate. I say, that Romans 7

does not describe what sometimes befalls the pious, and that

it contains a description of the state of that man about whom

the apostle is there treating, that is, of a man who is under

the law, before he is led by the guidance of grace, and is

governed by the motions of the Holy Spirit. This is confirmed

by the passage in Gal. v, 16-18.

Then I reply, such a case as this does not occur from the

circumstance of the Spirit, who has for a long time

maintained a strenuous contest with the desires of the flesh,

being at length conquered, and yielding on account of

impotence or weakness: But it happens, because the man is

either overtaken with temptation and overcome, before he

begins to oppose to it the arms of the Spirit and of grace;

or, in the progress of the conflict, he throws out of his

hands those arms which, at the commencement, he began to use;

or he uses them no longer, having begun the battle in the

Spirit, but ending in the flesh. In no other way than in this

can it happen, that the flesh, the world and Satan can

overcome us; because "greater is He who is in us, than he

that is in the world "as has already been pointed out in

several passages. Without manifest ignominy and contumely

poured on divine grace and on the Spirit of Christ, no other

cause can be assigned why the pious, and those who are placed

under grace, should sometimes be conquered by the flesh, the

world and Satan; for either the Spirit that is in us is not

the stronger of the two; or, while lusting and fighting

against the flesh, He overcomes. And how can it possibly come

to pass, that He who has conquered the flesh while it was

still in its full strength, and has thus subjected us to

Himself, should not be able to gain the victory over the

flesh when it is crucified and dead in the body of Christ?

10. To the Third reason it is objected, "Even the regenerate

may in some degree and relatively be said to be captives

under sin, that is, so far as they are not yet fully

regenerated, and still feel within themselves the motions of

the flesh lusting against the Spirit, from which they are not

completely delivered while they continue in this mortal

body." I grant the antecedent, but I deny the consequence;

for so far are the scriptures from ascribing the detention of

the regenerate as captives under sin, to the imperfection of

regeneration and to the remains of the flesh, that they are

said with respect to this very regeneration to be freed from

the yoke and slavery of sin and from the tyranny of the

devil. "The remains of sin survive in the regenerate," and,

"The regenerate are detained as captives by the remains of

sin," are contradictory affirmations: For the former of the

two is a token of sin conquered and overcome; the latter

attributes victory and triumph to sin. After the Holy Spirit

has commenced the mortification and death of sin, what is the

act of the same Spirit respecting sin? Undoubtedly it is the

persecution of the remains of sin, that He may subdue and

extinguish them until they no longer exist; "and when their

place is sought after, it is no more to be found," as St.

Augustine has elegantly observed, when treating on this

matter in a passage of his works.

But the cause why such an opinion as this is entertained, is

because "deliverance from sin" and "slavery under its

tyrannical power," "a being loosed from the chains of Satan"

and "captivity under his tyranny," are so accounted as if

they can concur together, as the phrase is, in remiss

degrees, and meet together in one subject, in much the same

manner as the colour of white and that of black meet together

in green, and heat and cold meet together in lukewarmness.

Yet this matter stands in a situation vastly different; for

liberty cannot consist with even the smallest portion of

servitude or captivity; though it may labour under great

difficulties in resisting its assaulting foes, and though it

may occasionally come out of the conflict with something like

a defeat. But if the matter stood in the relation of similes

which have been adduced, yet even then it could not be said,

"This man is partly free from sin, and partly its slave and

captive;" but a necessity would then arise for the existence

of a third thing from these two, which might obtain the name

of "a medium between the extremes," belonging neither to this

nor to that. But I am desirous to see some passage of

Scripture adduced, where that is said about the regenerate,

and about those who are placed under grace, which is ascribed

to the man about whom the apostle is treating, or what is

equivalent to it.


11. But a passage is produced from the prophet Isaiah to

prove that pious persons, and those who are placed under

grace are, by the law of their members, brought into

captivity under the law of sin. The degree of correctness

with such an affirmation is made, will be very manifest from

a comparison of the two passages. That in Isaiah (lxiv, 6)

says, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our

righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a

leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

The passage in Romans, (vii, 23,) now under investigation, is

this. "But I see another law in my members, warring against

the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law

of sin which is in my members."

Let us now approach and institute a comparison. The subject

of the first of these passages is, the captivity by which the

children of Israel were led away into exile on account of

their sins; the subject of the latter is, captivity under

sin; therefore, this is to pass over to a different genus,

contrary to the method observed in every approved discussion.

In the former of these passages, the subject is the

punishments which that people deservedly suffered on account

of the actual sins which they had committed against God; but,

in the latter, the subject is the cause whence it arises that

the man who consents to the law of God, and who, with the law

of his mind, wages war against the law of his members, is

conquered and overcome, so that he actually commits sin, to

which he is instigated and impelled by sin which dwelleth in

him. Wherefore, the latter passage treats upon the CAUSE of

actual sin, and the former upon the PUNISHMENTS of actual

sins. For this phrase, "We all do fade as a leaf, and our

iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away," does not

signify that those men were impelled to some kind of sin

through the depraved lusts of the flesh, as by a vehement

wind, or that they melted away, as it were, into sins; but it

signifies, that, on account of actual sins, which are

distinguished by the appellation of "our iniquities," they

are driven away into banishment as by a wind, and were

scattered about as leaves. Let this passage be compared with

the first Psalm, in which similar declarations are made

concerning the wicked. Consult our interpreters of holy writ,

such as Calvin, Musculus, Gualther, &c., and it will be

evident, even with respect to the things which precede it,

that the whole of this passage is unaptly cited by many

persons to prove what they are desirous to establish.

For the plainer and more obvious explanation of this matter

we must observe, that there is a two-fold captivity under the

tyranny of sin -- the one, that of our primeval origin from

Adam, according to which we are all born "children of wrath"

and the servants of sin -- the other, that of our own

particular act, when, by actual transgressions, we subject

and bind ourselves still more to sin, and engage in its

service. Some persons will have this two-fold servitude to

have been allegorically typified by the Egyptian and

Babylonian captivities. For the Israelites, in their parents,

entered into Egypt; and while there, after a lapse of years,

they began to be oppressed and to be regarded as servants.

The same people, on account of their sins, were led away, by

the violence of their enemies, into captivity in Babylon.

But the captivity about which the apostle is here treating,

is posterior to the first of these two kinds; for the law of

the members, which we have from our primeval origin, waging

war with the law of the mind, when the latter is overcome,

brings a man who is under the law into captivity to the law

of sin, that very man who was formerly conceived in sin and

born in iniquity. And, to express the whole in one word, he

who was born in sin and originally under captivity to it, is

brought into captivity under the law of sin by means of

actual sins.

From these observations, therefore, it is apparent, that the

proposition of our syllogism is true, and stands unshaken

against all these objections. The assumption stands in the

very text of the apostle, from which the conclusion follows,

that the man about whom the apostle treats in this passage,

is an unregenerate man, and not placed under grace, but under

the law.


1. The lamentable exclamation, O wretched man that I am! -- a

two-fold reading of it. 2. The body of death is the body of

sin. 3. By four reasons it is proved that the body of death

is not our mortal body. 4. This is confirmed by the

testimonies of St. Augustine and Epiphanius. 5. An argument

in favour of the true opinion. 6. Another argument in its


1. From the condition of this man, when accurately considered

by himself, follows the mournful lament and exclamation, "O

wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of

this death, or from this body of death?" Of this, a two-fold

explanation is produced, according the double meaning of the

words -- either "from the body of this death," or "from this

body of death," which some people interpret by "this mortal

body that we bear about with us," and others, by "that body

of sin which has the dominion in a man who is under the law,

and which renders him liable to death." The latter

interpretation, however, is more agreeable both to the phrase

and to the context; for the pronoun, toutou must not be

referred to Swmatov "the body," but to Qanatou "death," to

which it is most nearly conjoined; and the clause ought to be

rendered thus: "Who shall deliver me from the body of this

death," [which is sin not only existing within me, but

dwelling and reigning]? as it is expressed in the 17th and

20th verses.

2. For the apostle attributes a body to sin in the sixth

verse of the sixth chapter of this epistle: "Our old man is

crucified with him, that The Body of Sin might be destroyed,"

the destruction of which is followed by a deliverance from

the servitude of sin, as it is expressed in the same verse.

The phrase also occurs in Col. ii, 11: "In putting off the

Body of the Sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ."

Wherefore, according to this mode of reading it, the meaning

of the exclamation is, "Who shall deliver me from this

tyranny of sin, which, reigning in me and dwelling in my

flesh, bringing me into captivity and subjecting me to

itself, brings certain death to me?"

3. Some other persons are urgent about a different rendering,

and give this meaning to the words, "Who shall deliver me

from this mortal body?" That is, as the apostle speaks in

another passage, "I desire to be dissolved, and to be with

Christ." But this meaning does not agree with the


(1.) On account of the construction, which declares that the

pronoun, toutou "this," must not be referred to the body, but

to death.

(2.) Because the preceding verses do not permit this meaning

to be entertained. For the force and tyranny of sin, dwelling

in this man, and impelling him to fulfill his desires, is the

subject on which the apostle is here treating. But "the

deliverance" which is earnestly sought in this 24th verse,

opposed to "the captivity" which is the subject of the verse.

(3.) On account of the thanksgiving which is appended to it,

and which ought not to be subjoined to a desire which was not

then fulfilled [if the meaning of the phrase were, this

mortal body].

(4.) Because the grace of Christ is not simply to deliver out

of this mortal body, but to free us from the body of sin and

from its dominion. It is true indeed, that, through the

blessed analusin "dissolution" or "departure," for which we

are waiting in the faith and hope of Christ, rest is granted

to us from all our labours, and from the conflict of lusts

with which we are inwardly attacked. But in this passage the

apostle is treating, not about the conflict and impulse of

lusts which exist within us, but about the fulfilling of

those lusts by that impulse to which "the law of the mind"

opposes itself in vain.

4. St. Augustine is one of my supporters, who says, in his

treatise On Nature and Grace (cap. 53,) "The saints most

certainly do not pray to be delivered from the substance of

the body, which is good, but from carnal vices; from which no

man is delivered without the grace of the saviour, nor at the

time of his departure from the body, when it dies." It is no

injury to my interpretation, that St. Augustine here says,

that, according to his interpretation, "Saints or holy

persons pray for deliverance from carnal vices" &c.; I only

point out what he understood by "the body of death?

On the Perfection of Justice, against Celestius, St.

Augustine also says, "It is one thing, therefore, to depart

out of this body, which the last day of the present life

compels all men to do; but it is another thing to be

delivered from the body of this death, which divine grace

alone, through Jesus Christ, imparts to his saints and


Epiphanius, On the 64th Heresy, (lib. 2, tom. I,) from

Methodius, says, "Wherefore, O Aglaophon, he does not call

this body death, but sin which dwells in the body through the

lust of the flesh, and from which God has delivered him by

his coming?

5. Wherefore, from the 24th verse, when rightly understood, I

argue thus for the establishment of my own opinion: Those

men who are placed under grace are not wretched; But this man

is wretched; Therefore, this man is not placed under grace.

The assumption is in the text, and thus placed beyond all


In reference to the proposition, perhaps some one will say,

"Men, placed under grace, are partly blessed, and partly

wretched -- blessed, as they are regenerate and partakers of

the grace of Christ -- wretched, as they still have within

them the remains of sin, with which they ought to maintain a

constant warfare. This is a sure sign of a felicity which is

not yet full and perfect." I confess that, while the

regenerate continue as sojourners in this mortal life, they

do not attain to a felicity that is full, complete in all its

parts, and perfect. But I do not recollect ever to have read

[in the Scriptures] that they are, on this account, called

"wretched" with regard to the "spiritual life which they live

by faith of the Son of God," though, in reference to this

natural life, "they be of all men most miserable." (1 Cor.

xv, 19.) The opposite to this may be easily proved from the

Scriptures: "Blessed are the poor in spirit -- they that

mourn -- that hunger and thirst after righteousness," &c.

(Matt. v, 3-12.)

"But," some one will rejoin, "Is it not wretched to contend

with the remains of sin, to be buffeted by the messenger of

Satan, sometimes to be overcome, and to be grievously

injured?" It is undoubtedly desirable that this were not

necessary, that it never occurred, that they might be

delivered from the messenger of Satan; but the contenders,

and those who are thus buffeted, cannot be called "wretched"

on account of that contest and buffeting. But it is wretched

indeed, to be overcome; yet neither are they called

"wretched," who, though they be sometimes conquered, more

frequently obtain the victory over the world, sin and Satan.

6. He who desires to be delivered from the body of this

death, that is, from the dominion and tyranny of sin, is not

placed under grace, but under the law. But this man desires

to be delivered from the dominion and tyranny of sin;

therefore, this man is not placed under grace, but under the


The proposition is true, because regenerate men, and those

who are placed under grace, are free from the servitude and

tyranny of sin -- not indeed perfectly free, but yet so far

as to render it impossible for them to be said to be under

the dominion and servitude of sin, if the person who speaks

concerning them be desirous of talking in accordance with the

Scriptures. But it has been already proved, that this man is

desirous of being freed from the body of sin which dwells and

reigns within him; therefore, the conclusion regularly



1. Various readings of the first clause, from the ancient

fathers. 2. In the latter clause, this man is said "to serve

the law of God with his mind, but with his flesh, the law of

sin." 3. "To serve God," and "to serve the law of God," are

not the same thing. 4. The various kinds of law mentioned in

this chapter, with a diagram, and the explanation of it. 5.

From this verse nothing can be obtained in confirmation of

the contrary opinion.

1. St. Chrysostom reads the former part of this verse thus:

"I thank," &c., which is also the reading of Theophylact.

This is the reading of St. Ambrose: "The grace of God through

Jesus Christ." St. Jerome, also, against Pelagius, adopts the

same reading.

St. Augustine renders the clause thus: "By the grace of God

through Jesus Christ." (Discourse 5. On the Words of the

Apostle. Tom. 10.)

Epiphanius renders it, "The grace of God through Jesus

Christ." (From Methodius against Origen, Heresy 64. Lib. 2,

tom. 1.)

But this clause contains a thanksgiving, in which St. Paul

returns thanks to God that he, in his own person, has been

delivered from this body of sin, about which he had been

treating, and to which that man was liable whose character he

was then personating. In this, thanksgiving is contained, by

implication, an answer to the preceding interrogatory

exclamation; that is, "The grace of God will deliver this man

from the body of this death, from which he could not be

delivered by the law." This is directly and openly explained

by some copies of the Greek original, in which this verse is

thus read: "The grace of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ,"

that is, "This grace will deliver me, or the man whose

character I have been personating, from the body of this

death" -- a thing which it was the chief purpose of the

apostle to prove in this investigation.

2. In the latter part of the same verse, is something

resembling a brief recapitulation of all that had been

previously spoken, in which the state of the man about whom

the apostle is here treating, is briefly defined and

described in the following words: "So then, with the mind, I

myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of

sin." In the correct explanation of these phrases, lies an

important key for the clear exposition and dilucidation of

the whole matter; these phrases must, therefore, be subjected

to a diligent examination.

3. Those persons who interpret this passage as relating to a

regenerate man and to one placed under grace, are desirous to

intimate, by these phrases, that St. Paul, so far as he was

regenerate, "served God," but that so far as he was

unregenerate, and still partly carnal, "he served sin." They

also take "the mind" in the acceptation of the regenerated

portion of man, and "the flesh" for that portion of him which

is not yet regenerate; and they suppose that "to serve the

law of God" is the same thing as "to serve God," and that "to

serve the law of sin" is the same thing as "to serve sin."

But neither of these suppositions can be proved by this text

or by other passages of Scripture.

(1.) For the apostle is not accustomed to bestow on man, as

he is regenerate, the epithet of "the mind," but that of "the

Spirit." And this he does for a very just reason; for "the

mind" is the subject of regeneration, "the Holy Spirit" is

the effector of it, from communion with whom a participation

also with his name arises. Besides, "the mind" is attributed

to the flesh:" Vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." (Col.

ii, 18.) The gentiles are said to have "walked in the vanity

of their mind." (Ephes. ii, 17.) Idolaters are "given over to

a reprobate mind;" (Rom. i, 28; ) and the apostle mentions

"men of corrupt minds." (1 Thess. vi, 5; 2 Thess. iii, 8.)

(2.) But that "to serve God" is not the same as "to serve the

law of God," and "to serve sin" is not the same as "to serve

the law of sin," is evident, First. From the difference of

the words themselves. For it is very probable, that different

phrases denote different meaning. If any one denies this, the

proof of his position is incumbent on himself.

Secondly. From the words of Christ, who denied the

possibility of any man serving two masters, God and Mammon,

God and sin. If any one say that "it is possible for this to

be done in a different respect, that is, to serve God with

the mind, and to serve sin with the flesh," I reply that, by

such a petty distinction as this, the general affirmation of

Christ is evaded, to the great detriment of piety and divine

worship, and that a wide door will thus be opened for

libertines and Pseudo-Nicodemites. But some one will say,

"The apostle expressly affirms this, which I deny, and my

denial will be supported by the phrases themselves, when

correctly explained, as they will soon be; for this man

serves sin, and not God.

Thirdly. From the perpetual usage of the Scriptures, which

are not accustomed to employ these restrictions when any man

is said to serve God, or to serve sin. Wherefore, since they

are employed in this passage, it is exceedingly probable that

the same thing is not signified by these different phrases.

4. But the subject itself, upon which the apostle here

treats, when placed plainly before the eyes, may disclose to

us the true meaning of these phrases; so that the man who

will inspect it with honest eyes, and with eyes desirous to

investigate and ascertain the truth alone, may have that with

which to satisfy himself.

The apostle, therefore, here makes mention of four laws. (1.)

The law of God. (2.) The law of sin. (3.) The law of the

mind. (4.) The law of the members. They are opposed to each

other and agree together in the following manner:

"The law of God," and "the law of sin," are directly opposed;

as are likewise "the law of the mind," and "that of the


"The law of God," and "the law of the mind," agree together;

as do likewise "the law of sin," and "the law of the members.