George Gillespie (1613-1648) on infant baptism

George_Gillespie

 

George Gillespie (1613-1648) discusses 22 important topics in his work A Treatise of Miscellany Questions, a collection of papers posthumously published by his brother. In chapter 17, he argues the case for infant baptism. For the sake of clarity, I have added a few notes and my own translations where I deemed it necessary:

CHAP. XVII. OF INFANT BAPTISM.

Master Tombes in his Apology for the two Treatises, and appendix concerning Infant Baptisme, inserts a letter to Mr. Selden, pag. 90. in which he intimateth his opinion, that Paedobaptisme did not succeed into the roome of circumcision, wherein he saith, he was the more confirmed, having read of Baptisme, used among the Jews before the time of John Baptist, in their admitting of Proselytes, and that therefore John was not accused for Baptizing, as if that had been a Novation or new rite introduced, but for Baptizing without authority.

I do not marvel that Mr. Tombes is so cautious, that Baptisme should not be thought to succeed into the roome of circumcision, for so he should make baptisme more like to the circumcision of the Arabians, who are not circumcised, till they be 13. years old (as Zonaras Annal. tom. 1. de rebus Iudaicis, pag: 13. tells us) because their forefather Ishmael was circumcised about that age, then to the circumcision of the eighth day, ordinarly used among the people of God under the old Testament. For my part, I think the Apostle, Col. 2. 11, 12, doth plainly hold forth, that baptisme hath succeeded into the roome of circumcision: which is also the common and received opinion of Divines. However, because Mr. Tombes doth rather think that the Christian baptisme, succeedeth to that baptisme used among the Jews in their admission of Proselytes, this hath Ministred occasion to me, to apply my thoughts, to search a little into the Original of Baptisme by water, and whether the Original thereof, or that which God had respect unto in the institution thereof, maketh any thing against, or for Infant-baptisme.

That Baptizing with water is a divine institution, is plaine from John 1. 33. He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, &c. As for that which this institution had reference unto in the old Testament, or Jewish customs, first of all consider Ezech. 16. 4. As for thy nativity in the day thou wast borne, thy navel was not cut, neither was thou washed in water to supple thee, &c. Where the Chaldee saith, The Congregation of Israel was like unto a childe cast out into the open field, whose navel is not cut, and it is not washed in water, that it might be cleansed. The Septuagint whom Hierome [Jerome] followeth, and thou art not washed in water unto salvation. εἰς σωτηρίαν in salutem. Hierome [Jerome] applieth it to Baptisme, as being necessary even to Infants who are in their blood and sinful pollution, and have therefore need to be washed in the Laver of regeneration, and baptized.

Not only the Hebrews, but the Heathens had a custome of washing Infants soon after their birth, in those hote countries. Hence that of Virgil. lib. 9. Aeneid—

Durum à stirpe genus, natos ad flumina primum 

Deferimus, saevoque gelu duramus, & aestu.

[own translation: a race from a tough lineage, we first bring our newborns to the river, and toughen them with the water’s fierce chill]

Pienda de rebus Solomonis, lib 1. cap: 13. noteth that from the Hebrews and Egyptians, this custome of washing new born babes was derived almost to all nations, for which purpose, he citeth many Testimonies.

In the next place consider, that as the institution of Baptisme by water related to that in Ezech: 16. 4. So also to the Typical Baptisme of all the Children of Israel, men, women, and children in the red sea, and in the cloud, 1 Cor:10. 1. 2. Moreover brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and the sea. The Apostle speaking there of the Church which was brought out of Egypt (whom he calls our fathers, because they were the people and Church of God long before us, and from them the law and service of God was transmitted and propagated to us) showeth that as their Sacraments could not profit them to salvation, they living in sin and provoking God after they had received those Sacraments, no more can our Sacraments profit us, if we sin as they did. For their privileges were the same with ours. The Manna and Water out of the Rocke was the same for substance and signification to them, which the Supper of the Lord is to us; the same spiritual meat, the same spiritual drinke was given both to them and us. So likewise their passing through the Sea, and under the cloud was the very same for substance and signification with our Baptisme, and they were externally baptized with a true Sacrament of Baptisme, as well as we. That Baptisme of theirs, did fitly resemble this Baptisme of ours in diverse respects. For instance. 1. They were first brought out of Egypt before they were brought through the sea, so we are first redeemed by Christ, and finde grace and favour in his eyes, before we receive the seals of the Covenant of grace. Baptisme is intended only for the redeemed of the Lord. 2. They were baptized unto Moses, (or as the Syriac, and Arabic, as likewise Augustine, by Moses) that is, Moses was the leader and commander of the people, (so Theophylact) and he the Captaine of their salvation, or rather Moses was a typical Mediatour typifying Christ; or they were baptized unto Moses, that is, they were by Baptisme dedicated and consecrated to that Doctrine, Covenant, promise of life, faith and obedience, which God revealed by the hand of Moses. So are we baptized unto Christ, or unto his death, and the benefits and fruits thereof. The same Covenant of grace for substance, was sealed by their Baptisme and ours. 3. That Baptisme of theirs did visibly separat between them and the Egyptians: for the cloud divided them from the Egyptians, and the Sea drowned the Egyptians. So our Baptisme, which is unto us a token of Salvation, is unto aliens and those without, a token of perdition, and distinguisheth between the Church and the rest of the world. 4. Their Baptisme was by water, both in the sea and cloud (it being also probably conceived that they were sprinkled with drops both of the sea and cloud) so is ours by water. 5. The sea resembleth the water, the cloud resembleth the Spirit in our Baptisme. So Athanasius. that is beside the water in Baptisme, the Spirit is also poured out from on high, and there is an influence of grace from above, according to the good pleasure of Gods will, upon so many as are ordained to eternal life. That the cloud did typify the Spirit was Damascens observation, who is herein followed by some interpreters. 6. They passed but once through the red sea; but the cloud continued alwayes with them in the wilderness. So the external Baptisme is a transient action, and but once used to one person, not reiterated; but the Spirit and gracious presence of God continueth ever with them in this world. 7. They passed through the sea, and were under the cloud, and so baptized, before they did eat of the Manna, or drink of water out of the Rocke, so must we be baptized, before we be fit to receive the Lords supper. 8. All that were baptized in the sea and cloud, were not acceptable to God, for with many of them God was not well pleased, and he sware in his wrath, that they should not enter into his rest; so of those that are now baptized, many are excluded from the heavenly Canaan.

For these and the like respects the Apostle compareth, paralelleth and equalleth their Sacramental privilege of Baptisme with ours. And as P. Martyr observeth upon the place, the Apostle doth not give instance in their circumcision, but in their Baptisme, that his paralell and comparison with our Baptisme might be the more evident. Now therefore if this paralell hold so fully, then add two considerations more to make it yet more full; they are both of them against the Anabaptists. First they were truly baptized with water, when but wet or besprinkled under the cloud, (and therefore the Apostle saith, they were baptized in the cloud) so are we and our children truly baptized with water, when sprinkled as well as dipped, which is not at all inconsistent, but most agreable to the signification of the verbe βαπτίζειν. For althogh it signifieth immergere, tingere [note: both Latin verbs here signify dipping/immersion], in which sense Iulius Pollux, lib: 1. cap, 9. reckoneth among the passions of a ship, βαπτίζεσθαι, submerge to be drownd or run under water (and if any shall contend that the native signification of βαπτίζω, is mergo, or tingo [note: to dip/immerse], I neither think it can be convincingly proved, nor that it maketh against sprinkling though it were proved) this I hope cannot be denied that βαπτίζω, doth also signify abluo, lavo [note: both Latin verbs here signify washing], and so is used for any manner of washing by water, which whosoever will deny shall contradict Hesyclius, Budaeus, Stephanus, Scapula, Arias Montanus, Pasor in their Lexicons, and the Holy Ghost himself, 1 Cor: 10. 2. 2 Heb: 9. 10 Luke 11. 38. with Mark 7. 3, 4. Secondly I observe, that though the infants of the people of Israel were not fitt to eat of the Manna and drink of the water out of the Rock, as those of some age did, yet the youngest of their Infants were baptized and received a sacramental seal of their interest in Christ and the covenant of Grace, which is a notable precedent to our Infant-baptisme, and it must needs hold, unless we weaken, yea subvert the Apostles argumentation in that place. For what more certain than that among so many hundreth thousand people, there were diverse Infants who had not yet the use of reason, nor were able to give an account of their Faith? What more uncontravertable then that these Infants were with the rest of the congregation baptized in the Sea and under the cloud, being externally incorporated in the Commonwealth of Israel, and the seed of Abraham? What more manifest than that the Apostle holds forth to us that their baptisme was materially or substantially the same with ours, both for the grace signified and sealed, and for the very element of water? So that this Infant-baptisme of theirs, is (upon the matter and according to the Apostles doctrine) a good warrant for Infant-baptisme among us, as well as if the new Testament had expressly told us that some Infants were baptized by Christ or his Apostles. This argument hath taken deep impression in my thoughts, and while I look after the suffrage of Divines, I finde some of very good note have had the same notion from this Text against the Anabaptists, showing also that their objections against Infant-baptisme fall as heavy upon that baptisme of the children of Israel. My Reverent Brother Mr. Bailly, hath drawn an argument from the same Text for Infant-baptisme. See Anabaptisme. p. 149, 150.

But now thirdly whereas tis stood upon that the Original of Baptisme was derived from the Baptisme used among the Jews in the admission of Proselytes, first it must be proved by these who are of this opinion, that the Jewish custome of baptizing with water the Proselytes whom they received, is older than John Baptist, which I finde supposed, yet not proved. Mr. Ainsworth on Gen: 17. 12. is indeed of that opinion that the custome of baptizing Proselytes, is older than John Baptist, but he brings no Testimony for this, older than Moses Maimonides [Note: Maimonides was a 12th century Jewish philosopher]. Mr Marshall in his defence of Infant baptisme. pag. 170. yieldeth to Mr. Tombes, that Baptisme was a knowne rite among the Jews at their admitting of Proselytes, long before it begun to be a Sacrament of Divine Institution. And so from Mr. Tombes his own supposition, he argueth for Infant-baptisme, which he had reason to do. Nevertheless I have never yet read any proof or Testimony brought to prove the Baptisme of Proselytes, which is not far short of John Baptist or Christs dayes. The Scripture mentions no signe or seal or ceremony of the initiation of Proselytes, but circumcision, after profession of their faith and desire to worship the true God and to be of his people. The baptizing of Proselytes was one of the Jewish traditions and inventions in their later and declining times. When it began I have not yet found, neither have I yet seen any proof which can make that custome older than John Baptist, or as old as Christs baptisme. Next let it be proved to be as old as it can, yet the greatest searchers of the Jewish Antiquities have observed that the Baptisme of Proselytes was administred not only to those who were grown up and of age, but to children also under age. So Dr Buxtorf. and Mr Selden.

Such a Proselyte under age the Hebrew writers call גר קטן , Ger katan [own translation, literally: young sojourner] and they reckon a son to be minor & puer [minor and boy], from his nativity till he be thirteen years old (for which see Buxtorf in the word קטן) so that by their principles a child of one year or two years old might be baptized as a Proselyt upon the consent of the Father or of the court.

I conclude, that since the institution of Baptisme by water hath respect unto those baptizings or washings in the old Testament, which are mentioned Ezek: 16, 4. 1 Cor, 10. 1. 2. whereof Infants as well as aged persons were partakers; and since the very Talmudists admit the Infants of Proselytes as well as themselves to Baptisme, surely Mr. Tombes hath gained nothing, but loosed much by starting this question.

I add another Text, Eph: 5. 26. where the Apostle (having respect as I conceive to those passages in the old Testament) saith, that Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it, &c. Are not the children of the faithful parts of this Church, which Christ loved, and for which he gave himself, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, and that he might present it to himself a glorious Church; not having spot or wrinkle? If so, then remember that whole Text is copulative; and none that belong to the Church and body of Christ may be secluded from any part of the Text. We may as well hold that the Children of believers not yet grown up to knowledge and the use of reason, are incapable of the love of Christ, or of justification, sanctification and glorification by Christ, as to hold that they are uncapable of the washing of water by the word, i. e. of Baptisme, which cannot be made void, but is efficacious to all the members of Christ, young and old, by virtue of the word of promise and Covenant of grace sealed in that Sacrament; according to that of Augustine, Accedit verbum ad elementum & fit Sacramentum [own translation: the Word added to the element makes a Sacrament]: The washing of water, by the word, can no more be restricted to the Church of aged or actual believers, than Christs love and death with the ends and effects thereof, can be restricted to such. The complication of these benefites, is clearer in the Original; the nearest rendering, whereof is thus, That cleansing it with the laver of water, by the word, he might sanctify it. The Tigurine version thus, ut illam sanctificaret, mundatam lavacro aquae, &c. [own translation: that it might be sanctified, it is to be cleansed by the washing of water].

Giovanni Diodati (1576-1649) on Ephesians 1:4-6

Diodati

Giovanni Diodati (1576-1649) was a Swiss-Italian Reformed theologian and the first person to translate the Bible into Italian from the Hebrew and Greek. He is also known for his commentary on the Bible, translated into English under the title Pious and Learned Annotations upon the Holy Bible. Below is his commentary on Ephesians 1:4-6. I have slightly modified the structure for greater clarity:

Ephesians 1:4-6. 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Verse. 4.

According as] viz. According as God by his election from everlasting framed a new body of human race (opposite to the first whereof Adam was head, in whom all men have sinned and are dead) and appointed Christ to be its head, that in him it might be all gathered together, and by him made partaker of his grace, life, and glory: so he bringeth this his decree to pass in his appointed time; bestowing all his favours upon his Church by Christ in this sacred communion: see Ephes. 3. 11. 2 Tim. 1. 9.

In him] he showeth hereby, that this election is free, and undeserved, and not in regard of any good foreseen in us.

That we should] viz. that in the kingdom of heaven, after our sanctification hath been brought to perfection, we may enjoy the sight of his face, and steadfast conjunction with him in perfect charity: see Ephes. 5. 27. Col. 1. 22. Or that we should be holy] he doth not say, because we were holy, or that he did foresee we would be so; for our holiness is so far from being the cause of our election, that rather it is an effect of it, because God hath called them whom before he had elected, and afterwards justified, &c. Rom. 8. 30.

Verse. 5.

Adoption of children] viz. To become his children. In this verse two causes, why we are elected or predestinated to salvation; the first is Gods good pleasure, as the efficient cause; the other is Jesus Christ, as the material cause; and in the verse following, he shows the final cause; namely, the honour and glory of God.

To himself] Fr. For himself; viz. to make us his, and eternally unite us to himself; Or, for his glories end: as Rom. 11. 36.

Verse. 6.

Of the Glory] Namely, of his glorious and admirable favour, by which he hath powerfully brought to an end the work of mans salvation: see Rom. 9. 23. 2 Cor. 4. 4.

In the beloved] namely, for the love, and in regard of Christ only who hath all the Fathers love, not only as he is everlasting Son, but also as he is perfectly obedient, and just in his human nature, and quality of Mediator, Mat. 3. 17. John 1. 16. & 3. 35. & 10. 7. Rom. 15. 15.

David Dickson (1583-1663) and James Durham (1622-1658) on the means of grace

Sum-of-Saving-Knowledge

 

David Dickson (1583-1663) and James Durham (1622-1658) co-authored a little book titled The Sum of Saving Knowledge, which was a very brief summary of essential Christian doctrines designed for a lay readership. This little book highly influenced the well-known Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843), as an entry in his diary indicates:

March 11th, 1834. – Read in the ‘Sum of Saving Knowledge;’ the work which I think first of all wrought a saving change in me. How gladly would I renew the reading of it, if that change might be carried on to perfection!

The means of grace are discussed in Chapter 1 of The Sum of Saving Knowledge, Head III and IV:

Head. III.

The outward means, appointed to make the elect partakers of this covenant, and all the rest that are called to be inexcusable.

Many are called. – Matt. xxii. 14.

The outward means and ordinances for making men partakers of the Covenant of Grace are so wisely dispensed, as the Elect shall be infallibly converted and saved by them, and the Reprobate among whom they are not, be justly stumbled. The means are specially these four. 1. The Word of God. 2. The Sacraments. 3. Kirk Government. 4. Prayer. In the Word of God preached by sent Messengers, the Lord makes offer of Grace to all sinners upon condition of faith in Jesus Christ, and whosoever do confess their sin, accept of Christ offered, and submit themselves to his Ordinances, he will have both them and their children received into the honour and privileges of the Covenant of Grace. By the Sacraments God will have the Covenant sealed for confirming the bargain, on the foresaid condition. By Kirk Government, he will have them hedge in, and holped forward unto the keeping of the Covenant. And by Prayer, he will have his own glorious Grace promised in the Covenant, to be daily drawn forth, acknowledged and employed. All which means are followed either really; or in profession only, according to the quality of the Covenanters, as they are true or counterfit believers.

II. The Covenant of Grace set down in the Old Testament before Christ came, and in the New since he came, is one and the same in substance, albeit different in outward administration: for the Covenant in the Old Testament, being sealed with the Sacraments of Circumcision and the Paschal Lamb, did set forth Christs death to come, and the benefits purchased thereby, under the shadow of bloody sacrifices and sundry ceremonies: but since Christ came, the Covenant, being sealed by the Sacraments of Baptism, and the Lords Supper, do clearly hold forth Christ already crucified before our eyes, victorious over death, and the grave, and gloriously ruling Heaven, and Earth for the good of his own people.

Head IV.

The blessings which are effectually conveyed by these means to the Lord’s elect or chosen ones.

Many are called, but few are chosen – Matt xxii. 14

By these outward Ordinances, as our Lord makes the Reprobate inexcusable, so, in the power of his Spirit, he applies unto the Elect effectually, all saving graces purchased to them, in the Covenant of Redemption, and maketh a change in their persons. In particular, 1. He doth convert or regenerate them, by giving spiritual life to them, in opening their understandings, renewing their wills, affections and faculties, for giving spiritual obedience to his commands. 2. He gives unto them saving Faith, by making them, in the sense of deserved condemnation, to give their consent heartily to the Covenant of Grace, and to embrace Christ Jesus unfained. 3. He gives them Repentance, by making them, with Godly sorrow in the hatred of sin, and love of Righteousness, turn from all iniquity to the service of God: and, 4. He Sanctifies them, by making them go on and persevere in faith, and spiritual obedience of the Law of God, manifested by fruitfulness in all duties, and doing good works, as God offereth occasion.

II. Together with this inward change of their Persons. God changes also their state: for so soon as they are brought by Faith into the Covenant of Grace, 1. He Justifies them, by imputing unto them, that perfect obedience which Christ gave to the Law, and the satisfaction also which upon the Cross Christ gave unto Justice in their name. 2. He Reconciles them, and makes them friends to God, who were before enemies to God. 3. He Adopts them that they shall be no more children of Satan, but children of God, enriched with all spiritual privileges of his Sons: And last of all, after their warfare in this life is ended, he perfects the holiness and blessedness, first of their souls at their death, and then both of their souls and their bodies, being joyfully joined together again in the Resurrection, at the day of his Glorious coming to judgement, when all the wicked shall be sent away to Hell, with Satan whom they have served; but Christs own chosen and redeemed ones, true Believers, Students of holiness, shall remain with himself forever, in the state of Glorification.

 

Francis Cheynell (1608-1665): Scripture is sufficient to prove the doctrine of the Trinity

Francis Cheynell

 

Francis Cheynell (1608-1665), a member of the Westminster Assembly, was nicknamed “the hammer of the Socinians,” since he exerted much effort into defending the doctrine of the Holy Trinity against Socinians and Unitarians. Whilst the Papists (and especially the Jesuits) often argued in defense of the Trinity not only from Scripture, but appealed particularly to tradition, Cheynell regarded the latter as a very unstable foundation for such a crucial doctrine. Here, in his work The Divine Trinunity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, chapter 3, he argues that the doctrine of the Trinity has been sufficiently revealed in Scripture. Notably, he points to the church fathers as precedents regarding the sufficiency of Scripture in proving the doctrine of the Trinity:

God hath sufficiently and graciously revealed himself in his holy word for our edification and salvation.

This incomprensible God, who is of himself and for himself, cannot be made known to his creatures but by himselfe: Men and Angels cannot know him any further then he is pleased to reveale himself unto them.

The word of God is pure and perfect, it doth fully discover Gods mind and our duty. The Scriptures direct us in all points of faith, in all parts of worship, and in all passages of our life and conversation; there is the whole body of Religion, and the only right way to salvation sufficiently and graciously revealed unto us by God himself; for God is the Author, Object, End of true Religion, and is the only happinesse and salvation of his chosen People, and therefore God alone can direct us how to serve and enjoy his own blessed self, in an acceptable and comfortable way, for his glory and our own everlasting satisfaction.

The Jesuites tell us that the Scriptures are but a partial Rule, and that we must be beholding to some unwritten word or tradition for the proofe of some points, which are necessary to be known and believed for our everlasting salvation. Some instance in the Doctrine of the Trinity, others in the Worship of the Holy Ghost. The Papists do generally acknowledge that it is necessary for the attainment of salvation to believe the number of the Persons of the Trinity, and their consubstantiality, because no man can be saved who doth not believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, in all three as in the only true God, one and the self-same God blessed for ever; but some of them deny that this mystery is sufficiently revealed in the written word, and therefore I shall make it my businesse to confute them and all that adhere unto them in the following Treatise. The saving knowledge of God in Christ is revealed by the Spirit speaking in the Scriptures of truth; nay Father, Son and Holy Ghost do all join in revealing to us the saving mystery of faith and godlinesse, that by the grace of Christ, the love of God, and Communion of the Holy Ghost, we may have a glorious fellowship with all three as one God, the only true God, whom to know is life eternal, John 17. 3. we are taught by the father to come to Christ for salvation, John 6. 45. we are taught by the son, John 1. 18. Heb. 1. 2. we are taught by the Spirit, Heb. 3. 7. Rev. 2. 29. and 1 John 5. 6. the Spirit doth beare witnesse after an especial manner to this saving truth: it is the spirit that beareth witnesse, because the Spirit is truth: yet all three (and therefore the whole Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,) do join in bearing record, and their record is written, for it stands upon Record in the Gospel, and their Record is a saving Record, and there can be no other Record produced to prove that Christ is our Saviour, 1 John 5. 7, 11, 12, 13, 20. John 20. 31. if we study the Scriptures, believe, apply them, worship and act according to them, we shall be saved by our faith in the written Trinity; in Father, Son and Holy Ghost, without the help of any unwritten tradition whatsoever; for the holy Scriptures are able to furnish the Man of God unto Perfection, and make the simple wise unto salvation, 2 Tim. 3. 15, 16, 17. Cyrill in his Book of the Trinity and Person of Christ, put forth not long since by Wegeline, saith that he would not speak or think any thing of God, but what is written in his Word. Clemens Alexandrinus saith that we ought to make good every point in question by the Word of God, because that is the surest, nay that’s the only Demonstration; he speaks of Theological Demonstration, nothing can be embraced with a divine faith, but that which is delivered to us upon Divine Testimony; and we are to seek for the Testimony of God, nowhere but in the written Word of God, and therefore Basil disputes after this manner, Whatsoever is not in the written Word of God is not of faith, and whatsoever is not of faith is sin, and therefore it is a sin to obtrude any Doctrine upon the conscience as an Article of faith, which is not written in the Word of God. Putean is bold to say, that if Basil his meaning was according to his words, he was a Hugonot, that is as we use to say, a Puritane.

When I read what the Papists write on this Argument, I stand amazed at their blasphemies, and am unwilling to stain my paper with the repetition of them; they who have read Canus, Hosius, Costerus, Eckius, Gautierus, Charronaeus, Stapleton, and the rest of that rabble, will not wonder that the Socinians call the Doctrine of 3. Persons and one God into question, when the Papists who were baptized in the name of the Trinity & professe that they believe the equality of three distinct Subsistences in the same divine Essence, do yet notwithstanding in their writings grant as much as the Socinians need prove, namely that the Doctrine of the distinction and equality of Persons in the same Divine Essence cannot be proved but by unwritten Traditions, by the testimony of the Church of Rome, &c. and yet diverse Papists undertake to defend the doctrine of the Trinity against the Socinians, though they know that the Socinians do not at all value traditions or the testimony of the Church of Rome; and therefore though divers Papists write against the Socinians, yet they do promote Socinianisme by their vaine doctrine of unwritten traditions. Stapleton is not ashamed to deny that it can be proved out of Scripture that the Holy Ghost is God, or that he is to be worshipped.

But Salmeron deserves commendation in this point; The Scriptures saith he, are therefore said to be written by divine inspiration, because they instruct us in divine mysteries, concerning the Unity of God, and Trinity of Persons. Photius in his Bibliotheca shews, that Ephraeni did not dispute of the consubstantial Trinity out of the Testimonies of Fathers, but out of the Holy Scriptures; Justin Martyr, Athanasius, Basil, Irenaeus, Cyrill, Cyprian, Tertullian, Epiphanius, Theodoret, and many other of the Fathers did assert the doctrine of the Trinity, and some of them did confute the Valentinians, Eunomians, Sabellians, Photinians, Arians, Macedonians, Samosatenians, &c. out of the Holy Scriptures. The Nicene Synod did urge Scripture for the maintenance of the truth, which they declared in the Confession of their Faith; and the Synod which met at Constantinople did the like, as is most evident to such as have perused those learned and ancient Records. Athanasius confounded the Arians by cleare Testimonies of Scripture, and in his Book of the Decrees of the Nicene Synod, he saith that the true disciples of Christ, do clearly understand the doctrine of the Holy Trinity preached by divine Scripture. I shall not trouble or amuse the Reader by quotations out of Cyrill, Ambrose, Hilary, Augustine, Nyssen, Nazianzen, or any of those Worthies but now mentioned, whole labours have been ever famous in the Church of God; yet I must not omit one pregnant proofe out of Augustine, who appealed from the Nicene and Ariminensian Synods, and challenged Maximinus to dispute with him about the great point of consubstantiality out of the Scriptures. Bellarmine himself is forced to confesse that Augustine had good reason to do so, because that point is cleare by Scripture; but then we must likewise consider what Augustine saith upon this Argument, that the thing (or sense of any word) may be in Scripture though the word it self be not to be found there, though the words Trinity Trin-unity, Consubstantial, are not found in Scripture, yet that which is signified by those words may be clearly proved by the holy Scriptures. These three are one; I and my Father are one; Behold a Trinity Trin-unity, Consubstantiality, and all quickly proved.

That Rule is of great concernment and very pertinent to the point in hand, which Augustine delivers in his third Book and third Chapter against Maximinus the Arian. Out of those things which we read in Scripture we may collect some things which we do not read, and so both understand and believe the thing which is delivered in other words in Scripture, then those which we are now forced to use, that we may confirme the Orthodox Christians and refute the gain-sayers. But I am weary of this task, and therefore call upon my Reader to join with me in searching the Scriptures that we may find out the truth; for reason cannot demonstrate or comprehend these mysteries of faith; and the Rule is, Rationum fulcro dissoluto humana concidit authoritas. [Own translation, roughly: Authority falls when based on the unstable footing of human reason.]

Edward Leigh (1602-1671): Seven important things to keep in mind about God’s attributes

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Edward Leigh (1602-1671) discusses the attributes of God in his A Treatise of Divinity, Book 2, p. 20-22. He first offers a definition of God’s attributes:

God may be known by his Attributes and essentiall properties, 1. of which some shew what he is in himself, 2. What he is to us.

They are called Attributes, because they are rather said to be attributed to God ( that we might by them better conceive what he is) than to be in him. They are that one most pure God diversly apprehended, and the same with the Divine essence; but for the weaknesse of our capacity they are diversly distinguished. They are called properties, because they are peculiar to his Majesty, and are so in him, as they are not in any Creature.

Some doe distinguish of Gods Attributes and Properties. Attributes are those which belong to the Essence, and Properties to the Persons themselves.

A Property in God is an essentiall Attribute in him, whereby his nature is knowne in it selfe, and is distinguished from all other things.

Having defined the attributes of God, he then lays down seven important things (what he calls “rules”) to keep in mind about God’s attributes:

Some Rules are to bee observed in attributing these to God.

First, they are all essentiall to God; for in him is no accident at all; whatsoever is in God the same is God. All these are also one in him; his Mercy is his Justice, and his Justice is his Mercy, and each are his essence, onely they differ in our apprehension.

Secondly, they are all absolute properties in God, and so distinguished from those respective properties whereby every person in the Trinity hath his own subsistence.

Thirdly, they are all equall to all the three Persons, and alike affirmed of all. The Father Eternall, most Holy, Almighty, mercifull; so is the Sonne and Holy Ghost.

Fourthly, these Attributes are altogether in God alone, and that in the highest degree and measure, yea above all degree and measure; they are eternall and infinite in him. Hee alone is good, Mat. 19.17. and only wise, Rom. 16.27. And King of Kings, 1 Tim 6.15. They are affirmed of him, both in the concrete and abstract; Hee is not onely wise and good, but wisdome and goodnesse it selfe, Life and Justice it selfe.

Fifthly, they are all actually and operatively in God. He doth and will; his holinesse makes us holy.

6. All these are in God objectively and finally; our holinesse lookes upon his holinesse, as the face in the looking-glasse on the man, whose representation it is; and our holinesse ends in his.

7. The attributes of God are everlasting, constant and unchangeable, for ever in him, at one time, as well as another. This may minister comfort to Gods people; Gods attributes are not mutable accidents, but his very essence, his love and mercy are like himselfe, infinite, immutable, eternall.

Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) on the office of Christ

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Thomas Cartwright’s (1535-1603) A Treatise of Christian Religion was a popular exposition of the core doctrines of the Christian religion which took the form of a catechism, divided into 57 short chapters, each focusing on a specific doctrine. Each chapter was headed by an illustrative text from Scripture. His chapter on the office of Christ is based on John 14:6.

John 14.6 Jesus said unto him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No man commeth unto the Father, batby me.

Hitherto of the person of our Saviour Christ. What is his office?

He is the only mediator between God and us, for our reconciliation unto him.

What is his office of mediation?

It is his calling to the works of reconciling men unto God.

What consider you in this office?

First, his calling, then his faithful discharge of it.

Who called him?

God.

What learn you from thence?

There ariseth thereby great comfort unto us, in that he thrust not himself in, but came by the will of God and his appointment; thereby we are more assured of the good will of God to save us, seeing, he hath called his son unto it; and that he will accept of all that he shall do for us, as that which himself hath ordained.

What learn you from his faithfulness?

That he hath left nothing undone, of things that belong to our reconciliation: in which respect he is compared to Moses, faithful in all the house of God.

What names are given him in regard of this office of mediation?

The name of Christ; which was common to all those that represented any part of the office of a Mediatorship.

What doth the name of Christ signify?

Anointed.

What was the ointment wherewith he was anointed?

The spirit of God.

How many mediators are there?

One only.

How is that showed?

By divers reasons. First, because there is but one God; and therefore but one Mediator, 1. Tim. 2. one God and one Mediator between God and man.

Secondly, because he only is fit, as he only that partaketh both the natures, of God and man, which is necessary for him that should come between both.

Thirdly, that is declared by the types of Moses, who alone was in the mountain: of Aaron, or the high Priest, who only might enter into the holy place of holy places.

Fourthly, by the similitudes wherewith he is set forth in this text, I am the Way, I am the Doore.

Fifthly, because he alone hath found sufficient salvation, for all those that come unto him. Heb. 7. and. 9. Joh. 10.

Can no man be mediator between God and man?

No verily: for Ely saith, that a man offending, a man may be accorded by the Judges; but if he offend against God, there is no man can make his peace.

How many parts are there of this his mediation?

Two: his priesthood, and his kingdom.

What is his Priesthood?

It is the first part of his Mediation, whereby he opening the will of God, did also yield that obedience, whereof dependeth the whole merit of our salvation: First in teaching, then in doing the rest of the offices of the Priesthood.

How is he our Prophet, Doctor, or Apostle?

In that he hath opened the whole will of his father.

How doth that appeare?

By his owne testimony, Joh. 15. 15. I call you no more servants, because the servant knoweth not what his master doth. But I call you friends, because all which I have heard of my father, I have made knowne unto you.

What learn you from thence?

That it is a foule errour in them, that thinke that our Saviour Christ delivered not all things pertaining to the necessary instruction and government of the Church, but left them to the traditions and other mere inventions of men.

What further?

That the Ministers of the word should not suppress in silence the things that are necessarily to be delivered. And that the people should content themselves with that Christ hath taught, rejecting whatsoever else the boldness of men would put upon them.

Did his office of Doctorship, then first begin when he came into the world?

No: but when he opened first his fathers will unto us, by the ministery of his servants the Prophets: which the holy Ghost calleth the doctrine of the beginning of Christ; although it were divers hundred years before his conception: and after his owne time, he opened the same doctrine more plainely and fully by the Apostles and Evangelists.

What difference is there between the teaching of Christ and of the Prophets and Ministers sent of him?

First, that Christ taught with another authority then ever did any other Minister before or after him.

Secondly, that by virtue of his prophetical office, he did not only bring an outward sound unto the eare; but wrought (as he did before his comming, and as he doth now by the Ministery of his word,) an alteration in the mind, so far as to the clearing of the understanding.

What have we to gather that Christ taught and teacheth by the Prophets, Apostles, and Evangelist?

First, in what estimation we ought to have the books of the old testament, sith the same spirit spake then, that speaketh now, and the same Christ. Secondly, we must carry our selves in the hearing of the word of God, not to harden our hearts.

What effect hath the careless and fruitless hearing of Gods word?

It hardneth men to further judgement; for it is a two edged sword to strike to life, or to death: it is either the savor of life, to life, or the savor of death to death.

How doth he aggravate the refusal of this office of our Saviour against the Israelites?

First, by the time, of 40 years: secondly, by the place, the wilderness; and by the multitude of his benefits.

What force hath the office of his prophecy in us?

We are in some sort partakers of it by the knowledge of his will, whereby to be able to exhort one another privatly to good things, and to withdraw one another from evil, as occasion serveth.

Albert the Great (c. 1206-1280) on cleaving to God with naked understanding and will

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The Apostle Paul said to the Colossians (3:1-3):

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

Albert the Great (c. 1206-1280) picked up on this in his De adherendo Deo (On Cleaving to God), chapter 6:

“The more you strip yourself of the products of the imagination and involvement in external, worldly things and the objects of the senses, the more your soul will recover its strength and its inner senses so that it can appreciate the things which are above. So learn to withdraw from imaginations and the images of physical things, since what pleases God above everything is a mind bare of those sorts of forms and objects, for it is his delight to be with the sons of men, that is those who, at peace from such activities, distractions and passions, seek him with a pure and simple mind, empty themselves for him, and cleave to him. Otherwise, if your memory, imagination and thought is often involved with such things, you must needs be filled with the thought of new things or memories of old ones, or identified with other changing objects. As a result, the Holy Spirit withholds itself from thoughts bereft of understanding. So the true lover of Jesus Christ should be so united through good will in his understanding with the divine will and goodness, and be so bare of all imaginations and passions that he does not even notice whether he is being mocked or loved, or something is being done to him. For a good will turns everything to good and is above everything. So if the will is good and is obedient and united to God with pure understanding, he is not hurt even if the flesh and the senses and the outer man is moved to evil, and is slow to good, or even if the inner man is slow to feel devotion, but should simply cleave to God with faith and good will in naked understanding. He is doing this if he is conscious of all his own imperfection and nothingness, recognizes his good to consist in his Creator alone, abandons himself with all his faculties and powers, and all creatures, and immerses himself wholly and completely in the Creator, so that he directs all his actions purely and entirely in his Lord God, and seeks nothing apart from him, in whom he recognizes all good and all joy of perfection to be found. And he is so transformed in a certain sense into God that he cannot think, understand, love or remember anything but God himself and the things of God. Other creatures however and even himself he does not see, except in God, nor does he love anything except God alone, nor remember anything about them or himself except in God. This knowledge of the truth always makes the soul humble, ready to judge itself and not others, while on the contrary worldly wisdom makes the soul proud, futile, inflated and puffed up with wind. So let this be the fundamental spiritual doctrine leading to the knowledge of God, his service and familiarity with him, that if you want to truly possess God, you must strip your heart of all love of things of the senses, not just of certain creatures, so that you can turn to the Lord your God with a simple and whole heart and with all your power, freely and without any double-mindedness, care or anxiety, but with full confidence in his providence alone about everything.”