Chapter III:16: The Necessary, Genuine Sense of the Articles

But our AUTHOR does not suffer those inane boastings of our Adversaries concerning all the Fundamentals acknowledged by them, because they perhaps receive the Apostles’ Creed and the Decalogue. Thus Schlichtingius in his præfatione Symboli Apostolici, which he published in the name of the Polish Churches, as he says, which profess one God and His Only-Begotten Son Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit: “That the Symbol called Apostolic is most ancient, and contains that simplest Apostolic truth, which sort was delivered from the beginning, was doubted by no one. Which for us is the reason that we, since we wish there to be a testimony to the entire world, that we ourselves in all things persist in Apostolic and primitive truth, in publishing this confession of our Churches, follow the footsteps of this Creed closely and deliberately.” So also the Papists everywhere; see Bossuet’s Expositionem Doctrinæ catholicæ, chapter II.


And indeed, it is not sufficient to hold the Fundamental Articles in words or mere external profession, if either another sense is attributed to the words, or those are most manifestly ruined by grossly erroneous additions: 1. Indeed, the Fundamentals are not in the words, but in the sense, according to JEROME; The Scriptures do not consist in reading, but in understanding, as HILARY[1] says. 2. Most, if not all, heretics, either of preceding time, or even of this age, although they err most grievously, will profess without any reluctance that they hold to the Apostles’ Creed. 3. Neither will the Socinians themselves concede that those that profess to hold to the Symbol in words no longer err in Fundamental Articles. And indeed, with Socinus they do not hold as Brethren, indeed not even as Christians, those that deny the honor of Adoration to Christ with Francis David.[2] The Papists also profess the Apostles’ Creed, but concerning these the Socinians pronounce with Socinus in his Epistle to Andreas Dudith,[3] page 42, “As far as I am concerned, I have no doubt that all those, whether Calvinist or Lutheran, whether Anabaptist or Arian, that conduct themselves in accordance with the precept of Christ…are going to enter into the inheritance of celestial life. I am unwilling to affirm the same concerning the Papists, all of whom I esteem to be idolaters at the present time; but I know that no idolater is going to share in eternal salvation.”


Therefore, from this let the judgment be, both concerning the Socinians, who deny the Trinity, Christ’s true and eternal Deity and Satisfaction, and in a word all Mysteries, and pervert the entire Christian Religion. The Walloon Synod of the Netherlands, held in Amsterdam in August of 1690, not without reason condemned and under threat of extreme censure prohibited to teach, that Socianianism is a religion that is tolerable, and in which it may be afforded to obtain salvation: see LEYDEKKER’S Præfationem ante Ludovici de Dieu Aphorismos theologicos, section IV, E. 6. And concerning the Papists, also most grievously dashing against many Articles of the Creed and precepts of the Decalogue, although they hold the same in words, besides more grievous errors concerning the Principium of Faith: hence truly guilty of Apostasy, according to the prediction in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and the commanded departure from them in Revelation 18:4: see SPANHEIM’S Stricturas adversus Bossueti Expositionem Doctrinæ catholicæ, chapter II, opera, tome 3, columns 1055-1078, where he also shows that Bossuet appeals, but not in good faith, to Daillé,[4] as if he had acknowledged that the Roman Church holds to and professes all the Fundamental heads of the Faith.


[If, nevertheless, an Article, etc.] Thus Our Men are wont to think graciously of the Lutherans, who truly believe in the truth of the human nature of Christ, and at the same time in the true presence of His human nature in the Holy Supper, and hence they assert the Omnipresence of that nature, because they think that both one and the other are expressly delivered in Sacred Scripture; and they do not recognize the contradiction between the doctrine, both delivered by the same Spirit of truth. Thus LUTHER in his Rescripto ad Basileenses et Helvetios, sent on December 1, 1537, in which he speaks of the Holy Supper: “With respect to the third article concerning the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ: we have never taught, nor do we now teach, that Christ from heaven or from the right hand of God descends or ascends, visibly or invisibly. We firmly hold to the Article of faith: He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, whence He is going to return to judge, etc. We commit to the Divine Omnipresence, how His body and blood might be present in the Supper, etc. We make no mention of any ascent or descent, which might happen in the Supper: but we simply hold His words, This is my Body, this is my Blood.” Just how unlike is the case of the Lutherans and the Papists at this point, if you have regard to the overturning of the Foundation of the Faith, SPANHEIM teaches against Bossuet, Stricturis, chapter II, opera, tome 3, columns 1064-1070, 1073.

[1] Ad Constantium 2:9.


[2] Francis David (c. 1520-1579) was raised in the Roman Church, but later served as a minister among the Lutherans and the Reformed in Transylvania. He became a leading proponent of Unitarianism in Transylvania.


[3] Andreas Dudith (1533-1589) was a Hungarian nobleman, diplomat, and humanist. He resigned his post as a Roman Catholic bishop, when he embraced Protestantism. Dudith was suspected of Anti-trinitarian Socinian sympathies.


[4] John Daillé (1594-1670) was an eminent preacher and controversialist. He served the Protestant Church at Saumur until 1626, at which time he went to Paris, where he continued to preach and to write until his death. He inclined to Amyraldism.

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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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