Outline of the Doctrine of Religion

In this Chapter on RELIGION occurs,

I. A Nominal Treatment, in which is considered the word’s

A. Etymology, § 1;

B. Synonymy, § 2;

C. Homonymy, § 3.

II. A Real Treatment; which

A. Begins with the Definition, § 4:

B. Sets forth an Explication of the Same Definition by parts. Here is to be observed

א. Religion’s Formal Cause, which you might rightly call the Acts of Religion; concerning which

α. There is a general discussion, as the Acts of Religion are

a. Elicited or Commanded,

b. Internal, External, or Mixed, § 5:

β. In particular various questions concerning the Knowledge of Things to be Believed are resolved.

a. Whether the Knowledge of Things to be Believed is a necessary Act of Religion in addition to the Observance of commandments and the Hope of the promises? Which we Affirm against the Socinians and Remonstrants, § 6.

b. Whether Universal Doubt concerning all Religion and its Principium is to be urged in order to acquire this Knowledge? Which we Deny, § 7.

c. Whether Clear and Distinct Perception is necessary before anything be admitted in Religion; and whether everything that is thus perceived by True? The Amphiboly of which Canon is explained, and its danger in Religion is shown, § 8.

ב. Religion’s Material Cause, which is Religion’s principal Heads, or Articles, which

α. Are divided and denominated in a variety of ways, § 9, the prior part.

β. The Necessary or Fundamental Articles are defined, § 9, the latter part.

γ. In the Explication of this Definition,

a. Concerning the Treatment of these Articles a twofold Problem is determined in advance, concerning which the Papists agitate a quarrel with us.

a. Whether in the Anti-Papal Disputation inquiry is first to be made concerning the Weight, or the Truth, of the Articles controverted between us and them? The latter is Affirmed and defended against them, § 10.

b. Whether in Articles both Positive and Negative the Papists are able to free themselves in strict justice from all Proof, and to devolve its burden upon us alone? Our AUTHOR responds in the Negative, and proves his position, § 11.

b. The Properties or Criteria of Religion’s Fundamental Articles are searched out, and the same are exhibited Negatively and Positively, § 12.

c. The Subject or Argument of the same Articles is related, § 13.

d. Some Canons rightly to be held concerning these Articles are delivered: of which

a. The First: Fundamental Articles are not to be restricted to a certain number; which is proven against the Papists, § 14.

b. The Second: These Articles ought not to be excessively multiplied, as is done by the Papists: nor to be excessively diminished, as is done by the Socinians and Remonstrants, § 15.

c. The Third: If the genuine Sense of these Articles be rejected, they are not truly held: which is observed to hold good among other Heretics, and among the Papists: with a caution added at the same time concerning the Lutherans, § 16.

ג. Things set against Religion,

α. In general all Impiety, which is in defect, and all Superstition, which is in excess.

β. In particular the False is set in opposition to the True, which is called

a. Either Infidelity,

b. Or Heresy, which is distinguished from

a. Schism,

b. Error. Apostasy is referred to both Infidelity and Heresy, § 17.

ד. The Properties or Notes differentiating True and False Religion, which are,

α. Either General, by which the Christian Religion in general is discerned as the True; these are set forth in § 18.

β. Or Particular, to be applied to the Reformed Religion, which see in § 19.

ה. The Adjuncts of True Religion are,

α. The free, constant, and prudent Confession of the True Religion, which is commended in § 20, the prior part.

β. Σύγκρασις/mixture is not to be admitted with False Religion,

a. Not in the same Persons,

b. Nor in the same Church: hence

a. On the one hand, a Syncretism is not to be entered upon with those erring in fundamentals, §20, the latter part.

b. Yet on the other hand, Tolerance of Heretics and Infidels

1. Befits all,

2. But yet is limited, § 21.

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Chapter III:21: Tolerance

But Tolerance differs much from Syncretism. We admit the former concerning Heretics as well as Infidels in the external society of the world, imitating the example of God Himself, who bears with the s


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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