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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE PERFECTION, BLESSEDNESS AND GLORY OF GOD


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    DISPUTATION XXIII

    ON THE PERFECTION, BLESSEDNESS AND GLORY OF GOD

    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 excellence.

    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.

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