Chapter III:17: Things Opposed to True Religion in General: Impiety and Superstition

In general, Impiety and Superstition are Opposed to Religion. And indeed, Impiety, as our AUTHOR holds, is opposed in Defect; which one may also call Profanity, and which obtains when a sinner, with due reverence for God shaken off, is unto such thoughts, words, and deed, by which the honor due to His consummate Perfection is trampled upon: Impious Men of this sort are mentioned by Job, Job 21:14, 15, the Psalmist, Psalm 94:3-7, etc. This Impiety was prevailing in the old world, Jude 14, 15.

But Superstition is said to be opposed to Religion in Excess, which obtains when we religiously attribute to certain things, words, and ceremonies a certain virtue/power, which does not agree with those things according to the Word of God, nor according to the nature of the things; and out of a servile fear we approach God in such a sort of worship that is incompatible with His Perfections and Word. It is not called Superstition not from the continuous prayers and sacrifices of parents, so that their children might be Superstites/Surviving them, as CICERO maintains, book II de Natura Deorum, chapter XXVIII. But it is Superstition when anything in Divine Worship superstat, in the place of superset, is in excess, beyond the legitimate mode; or when we commit anything in Religion supra statutum, beyond what has been established, or supra/beyond that which is able stare, to stand, with Divine Worship: see VOSSIUS’[1] Etymologicon on the word Superstitio. Concerning this see Matthew 15:5, 6, 9; Mark 7:4; Colossians 2:21-23.

Therefore, Impiety denies to God those things that He requires as duties; Superstition obtrudes Worship upon Him that He rejects, and that is averse to His nature. Concerning Superstition, after VOETIUS’ Disputationum theologicarum, part III, pages 91-233, read BUDDEUS discoursing clearly and copiously, de Atheismo et Superstitione, chapters VIII-X: see also below, Chapter XII, § 2.

[1] Gerhard Johann Vossius (1577-1649) was a Dutch classical scholar and theologian. In 1619, his Historia Pelagiana brought him into suspicion of Arminianism.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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