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WORKS OF ARMINIUS - HOW TO TEACH THEOLOGY
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ON THE MANNER IN WHICH THEOLOGY MUST BE TAUGHT
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.