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WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE SCRIPTURE AND HUMAN TRADITIONS
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I. ON THE SCRIPTURE AND HUMAN TRADITIONS
1. The rule of theological verity is not two-fold, one primary and the other secondary; but it is one and simple, the Sacred Scriptures.
2. The Scriptures are the rule of all divine verity, from themselves, in themselves, and through themselves; and it is a rash assertion, "that they are indeed the rule, but only when understood according to the meaning of the confession of the Dutch churches, or when explained by the interpretation of the Heidelberg Catechism."
3. No writing composed by men -- by one man, by few men, or by many -- (with the exception of the Holy Scriptures,) is either axiopison "creditable of itself," or autopison "of itself deserving of implicit credence," and, therefore, is not exempted from an examination to be instituted by means of the Scriptures.
4. It is a thoughtless assertion, "that the Confession and Catechism are called in question, when they are subjected to examination;" for they have never been placed beyond the hazard of being called in doubt, nor can they be so placed.
5. It is tyrannical and popish to bind the consciences of men by human writings, and to hinder them from being submitted to a legitimate examination, under what pretext soever such tyrannical conduct is adopted.
II. ON GOD CONSIDERED ACCORDING TO HIS NATURE
1. GOD is good by a natural and internal necessity, not freely; which last word is stupidly explained by the terms "unconstrainedly" and "not slavishly."
2. God foreknows future things through the infinity of his essence, and through the pre-eminent perfection of his understanding and prescience, not as he willed or decreed that they should necessarily be done, though he would not foreknow them except as they were future, and they would not be future unless God had decreed either to perform or to permit them.
6. The will of God is both correctly and usefully distinguished into that which is antecedent, and that which is consequent.
9. God is blessed in himself and in the knowledge of his own perfection. He is, therefore, in want of nothing, neither does he require the demonstration of any of his properties by external operations: Yet if he do this, it is evident that he does it of His pure and free will; although, in this declaration [of any of His properties] a certain order must be observed according to the various egresses or "goings forth" of his goodness, and according to the prescript of his wisdom and justice.
III. ON GOD, CONSIDERED ACCORDING TO THE RELATION BETWEEN THE PERSONS IN THE TRINITY
1. The Son of God is not called by the ancient fathers "God from himself," and this is a dangerous expression. For, Autoqeov [as thus interpreted, God from himself,] properly signifies that the Son has not the divine essence from another -- But it is by a catachresis, or improperly, that the essence which the Son has is not from another; because the relation of the subject is thus changed: for "the Son," and "the divine essence," differ in relation.
2. The divine essence is communicated to the Son by the Father, and this properly and truly. Wherefore it is unskillfully asserted "that the divine essence is indeed properly said to be common to the Son and to the Father, but is improperly said to be communicated:" For it is not common to both except in reference to its being communicated.
3. The Son of God is correctly called Autoqeov "very God," as this word is received for that which is God himself, truly God. But he is erroneously designated by that epithet, so far as it signifies that he has an essence not communicated by the Father, yet has one in common with the Father.
4. "The Son of God, in regard to his essence, is from himself," is an ambiguous expression, and, on that account, dangerous. Neither is the ambiguity removed by saying "The Son, with respect to his absolute essence, or to his essence absolutely considered, is from himself." Besides, these modes of speaking are not only novel, but are also mere prattle.
6. The divine persons are distinguished by a real distinction, not by the degree and mode of the thing.
7. A. person is an individual subsistence itself, not a characteristic property, nor is it an individual principle; though it be not an individual, nor a person, without a characteristic property or without an individual principle.
8. QUERIES. -- Is it not useful that the Trinity be considered, both as it exists in nature itself, according to the co-essential relation of the divine persons, and as it has been manifested in the economy of salvation, to be accomplished by God the Father, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit? And does not the former of these considerations appertain to religion universally, and to that which was prescribed to Adam, according to the law? But the latter consideration properly belongs to the gospel of Jesus Christ, yet not excluding that which I have mentioned as belonging to all religion universally, and therefore to that which is Christian.