Chapter III:7: Is Universal Doubt Necessary for the Knowledge of God?

In order to acquire this Knowledge, according to our AUTHOR, sometimes Universal Doubt concerning all Religion and its principium is wrongly urged; by which a man, not now an Infidel or Heretic, but by profession truly a Christian, having come of age, and zealous for Religion, on account of the many things admitted without sufficient scrutiny, ought once by a voluntary Suspension of Judgment to doubt, thus being actually inclined unto Christianity no more than unto Islam.  Which phrase in the Compendio of our AUTHOR alludes to a certain thesis cited in Judicio Ecclesiastico laudato, chapter II, § 5, “While it belongs to the Philosopher (not only as a Philosopher but as a man) to believe or affirm nothing without a reason, definite and which sets the matter beyond doubt, it is manifest that to no one, even if he be born of Christian parents, is the Christian Religion, before it be made evident to him concerning its truth by altogether certain arguments, to be held in a better position than either Islam, Paganism, or Judaism.  For if one ought to esteem the Religion in which he was born the best, with the foundations on which it rests left unexplored, how should any Turk, Pagan, or Jew ever be converted to Christianity?”  Compare what things were already observed on Chapter I, § 32.  This is a manifest abuse of the method of the more recent Philosophy, rashly applied to this by some.  TRIGLAND, Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, page 392, with that method of Descartes, whereby through Universal Doubt he was setting aside for a time all his philosophical opinions previously believed after the likeness of a basket filled with fruit, so that he might then explore whether certain among them were rotten apples, and, with those cast away, take up the rest again; compares the petition of the Arminians, who wanted all Pastors to be relieved for a time from the obligation with which they were bound to the Formulas of Union, the Confession and Catechism:  and he subjoins:  Just as this Philosopher has for some time utterly confused both himself and all his disciples, the Counter-advisers have done likewise by labeling themselves and other Ministers as Atheists. For the attentive reader ought to consider, what difference there is between a Philosopher that doubts and a madman, and between Theologians that are doubtful concerning the tenets of Religion and Atheists. The hypothesis of the Author of Exercitationis de Philosophia Interprete Scripturæ[1] is able to be compared, who wants all articles of faith hitherto believed to be revoked and set aside as so many prejudices, until with Philosophy as guide and Reason as Judge there might be certainty concerning the truth of the same, and concerning the sentence of the Scriptures:  see SPANHEIM the Younger’s Disputation II de Articulis Fundamentalibus, § 8, opera, tome 3, column 1296.  And thus that Doubt concerning Religion is made so much more dangerous, when the arguments by which you might extricate yourself again from that Doubt are urged to be sought, not out of Sacred Scripture, with prayers and the illumination of the Holy Spirit going before, but from the temple storehouse of Reason and Philosophy.  But our AUTHOR rightly observes;

α. That such Doubt implies Unbelief, which ought never to be commended, but is always a most grievous sin, 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Hebrews 11:6; 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Neither is Unbelief able to be made good on account of the brevity of its duration; since even a momentary sin deserves an eternal punishment; not even for a moment is it lawful to deny a humble subservience to the Sacred Scriptures.

Nor is the commendation of Unbelief able to be excused by the good end intended; since it is never lawful to do evil, so that thence good might come, Romans 3:8.

β. If one has received the Spirit, he is bound for a time to resist the operation of the same through Doubt of this sort, of which there is no one ignorant of just how sinful that is, Acts 7:51; Ephesians 4:30.  But the Spirit is wont to reveal to babes, and to ingenerate in them the certainty of faith through a divine power of persuasion, concerning the most sublime mysteries of Religion; the certainty of which proud Philosophers by seeking long demonstrations from Reason or Philosophy, and in not admitting anything that Reason has not dictated, will never attain:  Matthew 11:25; 16:17; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 14.

γ. In the writings of their principal men, the way of Satan is kept, who by injecting Doubt concerning the commandment given by God to man willed to make use of this as a first step toward the seduction of our first parents, thereafter more easily to move them completely to unbelief and disobedience, Genesis 3:1.  To whose seduction man even now dangerously exposes himself through this sort of voluntary Doubt concerning Religion.  Augustine records a similar μεθοδείαν/method of the Manichæans,[2] in which he himself was entangled for almost nine year, Libro Utilitate credenda ad Honoratum, chapter I, § 2, opera, tome 8, column 34, whose words concerning this matter are cited by LEYDEKKER,[3] Face Veritatis, locus I, controversy 3, page 13, § 12; they are worth reading, and deserve to be applied to the present doctrine.

δ. Thus all Catechetical Instruction of children and of the ignorant is eliminated as useless, even noxious, in implanting prejudices; contrary to the divine commandment in Deuteronomy 6:6, 7; Proverbs 22:6; contrary also to the commended example of Timothy, 2 Timothy 3:15, upon whom Paul considered it ill-advised to urge this sort of Doubt concerning those things that he had imbibed from his youth.  So also Academic education is to be pronounced noxious on account of the prejudices that are implanted in the minds of the Youth:  and it would be advantageous for the Teachers of all sects to teach in the Academy, whereby the Studious might hear disputes from every perspective; neither would their minds be rendered more inclined unto the Reformed Religion than any other.  And so by Doubting they would be obliged to wipe out the entire Academic age; and, since not even so do they hold all things sufficiently investigated, nor judgment confirmed to a sufficient extent, that Doubt would also be obliged to be extended thereafter for a long time.

ε. Thus into dangerous Temptation, from which we daily ask relief from God, they manifestly knowingly and willingly bring themselves in this singular manner:  especially if they, withdrawing from God and the illumination of the Spirit, and subordinating the authority of the Scriptures, undertake to try all things by the Lydian Stone[4] of Reason, as it were.  The Lord resists the proud of this sort,[5] and requires them to tremble before His Word.[6]

And so Philosophers without the Spirit would defend that Doubt concerning God and matters of faith is not unworthy of a Christian man; but I would rather glory with Paul, ἔχοντες δὲ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πίστεως, κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον, Ἐπίστευσα, διὸ ἐλάλησα, καὶ ἡμεῖς πιστεύομεν, διὸ καὶ λαλοῦμεν, we having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak, 2 Corinthians 4:13:  and, since I know that all Doubt is opposed to Faith, and that it does not arise from the Spirit but from remaining corruption or the temptation of the Satan, I myself rather daily ask relief from Doubt concerning matters of faith, and proceed by the leading of the Spirit to press more and more to πληροφορίαν πίστεως, the full assurance of faith;[7] gratefully acknowledging the goodness of God and the care of my Parents, who from my youth took care that I be imbued with a sense of the true Religion, which I have daily found by experience to have been delivered to me in conformity with the Word of God without any preceding Doubt.  But if, on the other hand, you should ask all the common people whether they were persuaded of the truth of their Religion by reasons the most substantial? or suggest that their Religion is perhaps erroneous; and that they need first to explore other Religions, today’s Jewish, Pagan, Mohammedan, Papal, Socianian, and Arminian, and then to decide whether they enjoy a Religion greater than all these, or not: In this manner, you will indeed be able to drive some to Skepticism and Indifference in Religion:  but of a hundred common people hardly one by this method will be brought to a better understanding of Religion and a fuller confidence in the truth of their Religion.  FRANCISCUS JUNIUS, in his Collatione de Natura et Gratia, opera, tome 2, column 397, to Francesco Pucci,[8] writes:  “Thy past experience was not occupied in the knowledge of divine things:  it was occupied with errors for twenty-two years:  which I remember to have heard from thee with my own ears.  For thus thou didst narrate concerning thyself:  While thou didst give attention to such a variety of opinions and sects, for twenty-two years thou didst nothing but wander to the Mohammedans, Jews, Arians, and others; so that, with all sorts of doctrine having been examined, thou mightest at last by thy divine judgment establish which Religion is true. I remember that experienced men say that what is able to be done with fewer things is not to be done with more.  But, saith Paul, The Word of the Lord is nigh thee, Romans 10:8, or, as saith the Prophet, This is the way, walk ye in it.[9]  Therefore, what thou hast been able to overtake with fewer things; thou hast walked past in the many.  Then, this is not true expertise, not a true manner of pursuit, if one, pursuing truth, through all errors wanders about.  In this way hast thou found for thyself a path in the pathless wilderness, and in the sea a passage through the buffeting strikes of crosswinds?  Finally, because thou testifiest that belief is to be afforded to the experienced, I as one experienced to say:  I, of all those men that sought truth in various errors, never saw one that either arrived at the truth, or that was ever able solidly to settle himself upon it.  But this is the most just judgment of God:  who does not will that the truth that is before our feet be set aside, and that errors be rashly wandered through; as if there might always be an easy return to the truth by our own judgment.  Those are the ones that the Apostle graphically depicts as ever learning, but never being able to come to the knowledge of the truth.[10]

They object: Thus no Infidel or Heretic would ever be converted, if it never be allowed to doubt of the Religion in which one has been brought up.

I respond: There is a great distance here between false Religion and the true, and the privilege of the latter is certainly to be acknowledge before the former; while the Spirit of truth makes simple believers also the most firmly persuaded concerning the truth of sincere Religion, of which they are not able to boast, who are addicted to false Religion.  Now, a Knowledge of false Religion is not able to be said of itself and simply to be necessary for salvation.

To the Objection, which is again moved to the contrary, that in the early year of life many things are admitted through error, our AUTHOR sufficiently answers:  compare LELAND’S Beschouwing van de Schriften der Deisten, tome 1, chapter 10, pages 280-282, 284, chapter 14, page 498.

[1] Philosophia Sacræ Scripturæ Interpres was published anonymously, and was initially thought to be the work of Spinoza.  It was actually penned by Lodewijk Meyer (1629-1681), a Dutch Enlightenment scholar and Rationalist philosopher.

[2] Manichæism was a dualistic Pseudo-Christianity.  It was founded by a Persian prophet by the name of Mani (c. 216-276).  It thrived after its first founding until the seventh century, and exerted influence from the Roman Empire to China.

[3] Melchior Leydekker (1642-1721) studied under Voetius at Utrecht, and Hoornbeeck and Cocceius at Leiden.  He was appointed Professor of Theology at Utrecht (1676).

[4] A type of black stone, formerly used to test the purity of precious metals.

[5] See James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5.

[6] See Isaiah 66:2, 5.

[7] Hebrews 10:22.

[8] Francesco Pucci (1543-1597) was an Italian humanistic philosopher.  Due to his radical Pelagianism, he was not able to find a home among Protestants, and eventually returned to the Roman communion.

[9] Isaiah 30:21.

[10] 2 Timothy 3:7.

Chapter III:6: Knowledge as a Necessary Act of Religion

Against the Socinians and Remonstrants, our AUTHOR advises us to hold that Religion is not summed up in two Acts, in the Observance of Commandments and the Hope of the promises; but that a third Act of the Knowledge of the things to be believed ought to be added.  Thus, of course, Socinus,[1] de Auctoritate Scripturæ, chapter II, opera Socini, tome I, page 272a:  “I answer that those opinions, so many, and so diverse or even contrary, do not at all hinder that a certain summary of that [Christian] Religion is able to be evident:  which summary is undoubtedly this, in which all that profess that Religion appear to agree; namely, the most holy precepts that are given in it, and the promises, admirable and truly worthy of God, that are contained in it:  in which two matters as duties, the whole of Religion chiefly consists.”  The Catechesis Racoviensis de Sacra Scriptura, chapter I, pages 10, 11, agrees:  “I would wish it to be demonstrated to me that this Christian Religion is divine.  This…is readily taught from those matters in which this Religion consists, namely, from the precepts and the promises.” Jonas Schlichting[2] is added, de Articulis Fundamentalibus, page 59:  “Then we deny that an understanding of the satisfaction of Christ pertains unto faith in Christ.  This alone pertains to it, constitutes it, that we both believe the promises of Christ, and expect those from Him; and, having been set ablaze by the hope and desire of those promises, are obedient to His precepts.”

From this thesis of the Socinians the Remonstrants do not differ, who therefore contend that the Knowledge of God is to be less esteemed than the rest of the Worship of God and piety, in their Apologia, chapter II, page 40, where they assert, “Concerning Knowledge it is not able to be said that it is no less necessary than piety.”  Indeed, in Apologia, chapter VII, page 82, you will find it manifestly declared:  “For the sum of Religion is contained in the precepts of obedience, and the promises of rewards and threats of punishment.”

The πρῶτον ψεῦδος, fundamental error, of the Socinians and Remonstrants is that we are justified through works of obedience.  Their Scope/Goal is to decline the fundamental theoretical Heads of Religion; and to introduce the Indifference of all Religion, by luring and admitting whomever into their society, who only hold those most common heads, which among Christians neither are controverted, nor are able to be drawn into controversy, no matter how much other articles might go wrong.  In which manner their assemblies attempt to extend as widely as possible their walls; in an arrangement not at all dissimilar to what formerly Romulus, with pardon offered for crimes and to criminals, and with an asylum set up, invited and drew a great many to his empty city, which then began its enlargements and splendor.[3]

On the other hand, we hold that the Precepts and their observation, and the Promises and the hope of them, are indeed parts of Religion, but that the Knowledge of the truth, and especially the knowledge of God, and of His Nature, inasmuch as, to whatever extent He has not vainly revealed Himself, He is to be known by us (whose precepts and promises those are also), is not to be separated from the business of Religion in such a way that it does not even constitute a part of Religion, even indeed the first part, that is, which should come in the first place, and without which the rest would not be. Our position we prove,

  1. From the Revelation of God in Sacred Scripture. For what Sacred Scripture teaches and treats no less than the doctrine of the precepts and promises, that ought no less to be esteemed a part of Religion: but Sacred Scripture teaches and treats the Knowledge of the truth concerning God, Christ, and Man himself, no less than the doctrine of the precepts and promises.  Therefore.  For that is the method of Sacred Scripture, that before all things and always in the first place it teaches the truth, and then builds practice on top of that:  neither does it treat the doctrines to be known and believed only in passing, but as seriously, diligently, and copiously as those things that have regard unto the obedience to precepts and the promises.  The Epistles to the Romans and to the Hebrews furnish abundant proof of this.  Ὠφέλιμος ἡ γραφὴ, the Scripture is profitable, no less πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, for doctrine/ teaching, than πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, for instruction in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16.
  2. What God teaches, commends, and urges no less than the rest of Religion, that ought no less to be held as a part of Religion: but God teaches, commends, and urges the Knowledge and Belief of the truth: Therefore.  The Major is of itself altogether certain.  The Minor is proven by a five- or sixfold argument by our AUTHOR:  α. From the Divine Commandments, which expressly command the Knowledge and Belief of the truth, 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 John 3:23; 2 Peter 1:5, on which passage see Commentarium meum.  β. From the Promises, even indeed from that covenant promise, Jeremiah 31:33, 34.  In addition to the promise of His favor, and of His Spirit, by whose grace and power they might learn to fulfill the conditions of the covenant, God also promises the Knowledge of Himself as a covenanted party, in which they might excel, no less than through the Holiness of the covenanted God, and might be manifest to the world.  γ. From the Salvation annexed, which is joined to the Knowledge and Faith of the things to be believed, and to saving wisdom drawn from Scripture, in such a way that without it no certain hope of obtaining it is given, John 17:3; 2 Timothy 3:15.  δ. From the Rebukes and Threats on account of ignorance, so grievous and severe that whether the Knowledge of faith also constitutes a part of Religion may no longer be doubted, Isaiah 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:8.  And I will not now mention, ε. the Prayers for increasing knowledge.  ϛ. From the appellation or description of Religion.  For by what God takes care that the whole of Religion be often described, and what in other respects obtains the first place in the description of Religion; that He wished in this way to commend as of great moment in religion and a more principal part of it.  But by Knowledge He takes care that the whole of Religion be described, or Knowledge obtains the first place in the description of Religion.  Therefore.  See Psalm 36:10; Isaiah 11:9; Titus 1:1.
  3. If the principal Virtues of Religion, Faith, Hope, and Love, cohere in an indissoluble bond, according to 1 Corinthians 13:13. Therefore, Faith in and Knowledge of the truth are not able to be separated from the Hope of the promises and Observance of the commandments. This obtains all the more, the more certainly it is able to be shown that the Observance of the commandments and the Hope of the promises are not at all able to subsist without a Knowledge of and Faith in the things to be believed:  for, α. with respect to the Observance of the Commandments, among the Commandments the first is that of Faith, from which the remaining commandments ought to be fulfilled, John 6:29; Acts 16:31; 1 Timothy 1:5:  the Commandments themselves, if they are going to be observed, must be distinctly known:  the manifold obligation of the Commandments is to be learned also from God’s majesty and blessings.  β. No less does the Hope of the Promises, in addition to the Knowledge of and Faith in the Promises as of the highest veracity, necessarily presuppose Faith in God as Redeemer through Christ:  for those that live χωρὶς Χριστοῦ, without Christ, live ἐλπίδα μὴ ἔχοντες, καὶ ἄθεοι ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, without hope, and without God in the world, Ephesians 2:12.
  4. Finally, one may see the Socinians and the Remonstrants contradicting themselves in this controversy, in HOORNBEECK’S Socinianismo confutato, book I, chapter VIII, tome I, pages 183-185.

LACTANTIUS indeed takes Religion more narrowly for the Worship of God, and thereby distinguishes it from the Knowledge or Wisdom of God; both which, nevertheless, he wills to be most closely conjoined and not to be torn asunder in any way, Institutionibus divinis, book IV, chapter IV, “Therefore, Religion is not able to be separated from wisdom, neither is wisdom able to be dissociated from Religion:  because it is one and the same God, who ought to be understood, which belongs to wisdom, and also to be honored, which belongs to Religion.  But wisdom precedes, Religion follows; because the knowledge of God is first, the worship follows.”

What things they Object are of no great weight:

They object, α. that the bare Knowledge of God with the worship of the same is not sufficient, and the Worship of god excels the Knowledge of God. Response:  We willingly acknowledge the former; and the latter we would also be able to concede without any detriment to our cause, and with our thesis concerning the necessity of the Knowledge of and Faith in the things to be believed, together with the Observance of the commandments and the Hope of the promises, remaining intact:  just as in man the body without the soul is not sufficient, yet the body is nonetheless an essential part of man also; neither does one of the essential or integral parts ever constitute the whole.

They object, β. the Fear of God and pursuit of Righteousness in every nation is pleasing to God even before faith in Christ, according to Acts 10:34, 35:  see the Apologiam Remonstrantium, chapter XVIII, page 196. Response:  that Fear of God and pursuit of Righteousness presupposes the Knowledge of God and of that Righteousness pleasing to Him.  Peter by those words asserts that the distinction of the peoples that had obtained under the Old Testament has now been removed, whence all appearance of προσωποληψίας, respect of persons, was removed by God.  Formerly God had suffered all Nations to walk in their own ways, Acts 14:16, now with the dividing wall removed, in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature, Galatians 6:15, in the place of which in Galatains 5:6 is, for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, not uncircumcision, but faith efficacious through love.  But that life of the new Creature, that life of faith operative through love, Peter describes in its activity, by to fear God and to work righteousness.  1.  For the Fear pleasing to God is filial Fear, which Peter treats in 1 Peter 1:17, with which passage the words of Peter in Acts 10 most closely agree.  But that filial Fear obtains in no one without filiation; neither does filiation obtain without adoption and regeneration:  but where regeneration is, there is the new Creature in Christ, but which is born by the Word of truth, James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23.  2.  Similarly, no one is able to pursue zealously the Righteousness pleasing to God without Faith, through which we may be made more certain both of the commanding will of God, and of God’s reconciliation with us through Christ, Romans 14:23; 1 Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 11:6:  compare TRIGLAND’S[4] Antapologiam, chapter XXXV, pages 473b, 474a; LELAND’S Beschouwing van de Schriften der Deisten, tome 1, chapter 13, pages 442-444.

They object, γ. that hence the damnation of a great many follows.  Our AUTHOR shall give a response:  compare Chapter I, § 19, 20, Chapter VII, § 33.

[1] Fausto Paolo Sozzini, or Faustus Socinus (1539-1604), was the father of Socinianism, a rationalistic heresy (denying the Deity of Christ, the satisfaction theory of the atonement, etc.), an aberration of the Reformation.

[2] Jonas Schlichting (1592-1661) was a theologian of the Socinian Polish Brethren.  He wrote commentaries on most of the books of the New Testament.

[3] Romulus was the legendary founder of Rome.

[4] Jacobus Trigland the Elder (1583-1654) was a Dutch Reformed pastor and theologian.  He was deputed by the Synod of North Holland to the Synod of Dort; he was a member of the committee appointed to draw up the Canons of Dort.  In 1633, he became Professor of Theology at Leiden.

Chapter III:5: The Acts of Religion

The Acts of Religion are, 1. Elicited, or Commanded.  That is, there is a recognized distinction of the Acts into Elicited and Commanded.  The Elicited Acts are those that proceed immediately from some faculty, or power/virtue, whether intellectual, or moral, or Theological, as proper to them.  In the Commanded Acts some other means comes between, by which these are elicited, or proceed elicitedly.  Thus volition is an elicited act of the will; the Elicited Acts of Religion are the Worship and Invocation of God, Prayer, Oaths and Vows, Sacrifices.  A commanded Act of the will, for example, is walking, because walking is of the will as commanding, but elicitedly from the faculty of motion in us.  Thus it is a Commanded Act of Religion to visit widows and orphans, James 1:27, because Religion commands and produces this act, but with other virtues mediating; inasmuch as the act just mentioned is elicited and exercised by mercy.  Nevertheless, it is truly an Act of Religion, because it is commanded by God, who is worthy to be worshipped, and ought ultimately to tend and be directed toward His worship and fear.

Acts Elicited and which formally belong to Religion are immediately concerned with God: But the Commanded Acts of Religion also concern the Neighbor.

2.  Both of these kinds of Acts of Religion are also either Internal, in the exercise of which the mind alone is occupied, like Love, the Fear of God, etc.: or External, in which γυμνασία σωματικὴ, bodily exercise,[1] is concerned, like the building of Temples, the offering of Sacrifices, the distribution of Alms: or Mixed, as in the Invocation of God, the Hearing of the Word; in which the attention of the mind, reverence, and faith are most closely conjoined with external speaking and hearing.

All these Acts are not able to be exercised at the same time: yet they ought not to be separated from each other in True Religion, since God requires both the one and the other:  although the Elicited and Internal Acts are primary, and the Internal Acts alone are generally able to be exercised at any time, even in a time of Persecution:  while on the other hand the External and Commanded Acts are never able to be pleasing to God in their exercise without the Elicited and Internal Acts.

[1] See 1 Timothy 4:8.

Chapter III:4: Definition of “Religion”

Our AUTHOR gives here an elegant Definition of Religion, which Paul supplied in Titus 1:1, 2, when he describes the Faith of the Elect as the Knowledge of the Truth, which is according to Piety in hope of Eternal Life, etc.  The parts of this are so closely connected to each other that they are not able to be separated, and that each spontaneously flows from the other.  Indeed, the Knowledge of God leads to the Worship/Service of God, in comparison with Jeremiah 10:6, 7.  The Worship/Service of God leads to Salvation, Isiah 45:19; Psalm 19:11; 1 Timothy 4:8.  Now, the Salvation of man more than all other things makes for the Glory of God, revealed in the consummated salvation of man in the most illustrious manner, and to be acknowledged and celebrated by blessed men in the most perfect manner, Romans 9:23; Revelation 19:7, 8.  Whence it is not strange that God also wills to be glorified in His Saints in that day, 2 Thessalonians 1:10, whose Salvation requires the Worship/Service of God, since without Holiness no one is going to see God, Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 12:47, 48.  But the Worship/Service agreeable and pleasing to God no one is able to furnish without the right Knowledge of worshipping/serving God and of His will, Psalm 119:9; Matthew 15:9; Colossians 2:23.

Chapter III:3: Homonymy of “Religion”

If you have regard to the Homonymy of the term, Religion, α. is often used of sort of painstaking observance and fear; thus that well-known formula of speech, Religio mihi est, quo minus id faciam, It is Religion to me, that I should not do this, in the place of, I would hardly dare to do that.  TERENCE’S[1] in Heauton, act II, scene I, verse 16:


…that I have nothing, it is religion to say…


In his Andria, act V, scene IV, verses 37, 38, scruple and religion are used interchangeably:


CHREMES: But there yet remains one scruple with me, which troubles me.


PAMPHILLUS: You deserve it…with thy religion, odium.


β. Often also for the External Worship of God, or the external rites and acts with which Religion is demonstrated, whence Religious Places, as it is in SUETONIUS’[2] “Augustus”, chapter VII, religious places also, even in which anything is consecrated by augural rites, are called august.  Likewise, Codicis,[3] book III, title XLIV, de Religiosis et sumptibus funerum, Law II, “A body, carried away by another with thee unwilling or unknowing, into thine undefiled possession, or stone sepulcher, is not able to make the place religious.  But if by thy will one should bury a dead man in thy place, that is made religious:”  and in Law IX, “It is manifest that a religious place is not able to be subdivided and sold off in parts.”  Likewise, Religious Times, which were appointed for the observance of Religion, as it is in SUETONIUS’ “Claudio”, chapter XIV, He most conscientiously administered justice, both when in office as consul and out, even on his and his family’s solemn days, sometimes even on feast days, ancient and religious.  Thus Religion denotes the Monastic Life, and Religious is also used of Monks, who more than others give themselves to the superstitious tenets of Religion ψευδωνύμου, falsely so called: Tridentine Council, final Session, day I, Decreto de Regularibus et Monialibus, canon XV, page 248b, “In whatever Religion, both of men and of women, let not a profession be made before the fulfillment of the sixteenth year….  But let a profession made before that time be void, and induce no obligation unto the observation of any rule, either of a Religion, or of an order.” Canon XVIII, page 250, “The holy Synod subjects all and every person to anathema…if they in any degree compel any virgin or widow, or any other unwilling woman (except in cases expressed in law) to enter monasteries, or to take the habit of whatever Religion, or to publish a profession.” Bellarmine,[4] book II de Monachis, chapter XXXVI, Controversiis, tome 2, column 582, after the prefixing of this title, “It is lawful for sons to undertake Religion with their parents being unwilling”, thus begins:  “Concerning the second, whether sons are able to be made religious with their parents being unwilling? etc.”

γ. But here the language of Religion is taken for the Manner of Knowing and Worshipping God, not so much as that is in Religious man habitually; but as that is reduced unto a definite form:  or for the Doctrine of Religion, which here is not regarded as false, but as true, prescribed, not so much to man in his original Integrity, as to man Fallen, as we called this Subject of our Theology in Chapter I, § 35, not only naturally, since Natural Religion is Insufficient for the blessedness of man, according to those things that we said in Chapter I, § 19, 20, yet is not at all to be taken away and denied, as is done by the Atheists, against whom the decency and usefulness of Natural Religion is taught by REIMARUS’[5] over de voornaamste Waarheden van den natuurlichen Godtsdienst, § 11-25, pages 697-738; compare above Chapter I, § 22, but especially supernaturally in the revealed Word.

[1] Publius Terentius Afer (died 159 BC) was a Roman playwright.

[2] Suetonius Tranquillus (c. 75- c. 130) was a Roman historian.

[3] The Code of Justinian was a body of civil law, a gathering of imperial pronouncements, issued in 529.

[4] Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) entered the Order of the Jesuits in his late teens.  He became one of the great theologians of his era, a Cardinal, and, after his death, a Doctor of the Church.

[5] Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768) was a German Enlightenment philosopher and Deist.  He was an advocate for a pure, natural religion, as opposed to revealed religion; and he stimulated some of the investigation into the historical Jesus.

Chapter III:2: Synonymy of “Religion”

With respect to the Synonymy of the word Religion, The Hebrews, says our AUTHOR, have a more general terms, for example, the Knowledge of God, Psalm 36:10; 87:4; Proverbs 2:5:  the Worship/ Service of God, 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 2:11; 100:2; Zephaniah 3:9:  the Love of God, Psalm 97:10; 145:20; Isaiah 56:6:  the Fear of the Lord, Psalm 34:11; 119:38; Proverbs 1:29:  Calling upon the Lord, Psalm 79:6; 86:5; Joel 2:32a; etc.: yet more famous than all these is the appellation of the Way of God; which then does not so much denote the Way that God Himself walks, but the way that He wills to be walked by man, Genesis 18:19, etc.; in the place of which mention is also made of the Ways of the Lord in the plural, because the acts of Religion are presented as many, Psalm 25:4; Isaiah 2:3; etc.  Now, in this expression of the Way and Ways of God or the Lord, the Genitive is able to be considered as, α. of the efficient cause; thus the Way of God is the Way both invented, and prescribed, by God:  β. of the exemplary cause, because the perfections and virtues that God prescribes to us as to be followed and practiced are expressed most perfectly in Him, Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15, 16:  γ. of the final cause, because this Way leads to God and is at the same time pleasing to Him.  In a similar sense faith in Christ is called the work of God, John 6:29.  In the Acts of the Apostles the Way and the Way of the Lord often come to be understood of the Christian Religion, Acts 18:25, 26; 9:2; 22:4; 24:14, 22.

According to the Most Illustrious VRIEMOET,[1] in his Adnotationibus ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, tome 2, chapter XII, on Isaiah 30:21, pages 258, 259, “The manner of worshipping/serving God and of seeking His favor is above all called the Way in the Sacred Codex, because under the Mosaic Economy there was a way/road to be entered upon to the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary of the temple, to which therefore there is an allusion in the Prophets, where they treat of the conversion of the Gentiles to the true Worship of God, Isaiah 2:3; Zechariah 8:20 and following.  And for this reason roads/ways were wont to be raised up high and leveled throughout all the land of Israel, especially in the time of the feasts:  compare Part I, page 76.”  Nevertheless, it appears to be able to be doubted whether Moses already in his own time made allusion to that, for example, Exodus 18:20; 32:8, even speaking of Abraham, for example, Genesis 18:19, 20.  Indeed, also in Isaiah 2, the Nations want to go up to the mount and house of the Lord, so that, having been brought to that place, they might at last learn the ways and paths of the Lord.  And the Most Illustrious VRIEMOET, in his Adnotationibus ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, tome 1, chapter V, page 243, on Jeremiah 32:39, explains דֶרֶךְ אֶחָד, the one way, of the one manner of worship, even external, adding more generally, From the most well-known usage of the word דֶּרֶךְ/way in Hebrew, and in a great many other languages also, even western tongues. Thus among the Greeks.  See Gataker’s[2] Dissertationem de Stilo Novi Testamenti, chapter XXXII, and his ad Antoninum, book I, § 9; and Kuster’s notes on Aristophanes’[3] Equites, verse 1012. Wherefore in the New Testament one ought not to have recourse to Hebraisms.

Our AUTHOR adds, From this appellation the Hebraic denomination of Law and Teacher has its origin, namely, תּוֹרָה/Torah/law and מּוֹרֶה, Joel 2:23, where nevertheless some prefer to render it rain, rather than Teacher/Doctor,[4] concerning which see the discussion of our AUTHOR, both in his Commentario on this passage, and also in his Exercitationibus textualibus XXIII, Part I:  compare more distinctly Chapter XI, § 8 below.

Among other Greek words, by which Religion is distinguished, the more solemn are, 1.  Εὐσέβεια/godliness, which κατ᾽ ἐξοχὴν, preeminently, is made use of concerning the fulfillment of duties toward God, as these are distinguished from the duties commanded toward ourselves or our neighbor, 2 Peter 1:6, 7,[5] upon which passage see Commentarium meum; but in a broader sense in 2 Peter 1:3 it includes all the duties of Piety,[6] in which place see also Commentarium meum; and in 1 Timothy 3:16,[7] on which text see our AUTHOR’S Exercitationibus textualibus XLIV, Part VI, and Concionem meum in the volume entitled Gedachtenis, etc., pages 305 and following.  2.  Θρησκεία/threskeia/ religion/worship, which is indeed used of false worship, such that it also embraces under itself Pharisaic superstition, Acts 26:5,[8] and also ἀγγελολατρείαν/ Angel-worship, Colossians 2:18;[9] but, when used of the True Religion, James 1:26, 27,[10] it does not only denote duties toward God, but subsumes under itself prudence in restraining the tongue, charity toward one’s neighbor in visiting widows and orphans, and also abstinence in keeping oneself unspotted by the world.  Θρησκεία, says SUIDAS,[11] ἡ λατρεία, ὅθεν καὶ ἑτερόθρησκος, ἑτερόδοξος, the worship is, whereby one is of another religion, another opinion:  where it is referred to a peculiar sect and opinion concerning Religion, whence he that follows another Religion is declared to be one that is attached to another opinion.  But there is no satisfaction in contending of the Etymology of this word, which our Author exhibits as threefold, which is able also to be found in MARTINIUS’[12] Lexico philologico on the word Religio/Religion.  Without any absurdity it is related to the Hebrew דָּרַשׁ/darash, to seek, because Religion is the seeking of God, Psalm 9:10;[13] 27:8; Jeremiah 29:12, 13; etc.:  neither is it incongruously considered as a compound of Θεὸς/ God and ἀρέσκω, to please, as CYRIL has it in his Lexico inedito, Θρησκεία, θεαρεσκία τις οὖσα, anything being pleasing to God:  since it belongs to Religion Θεῷ ἀρέσκειν, to please God, which Paul testifies of the religious, Hebrews 11:5, 6,[14] so that the θρῆσκος, or religious man, is θεάρεσκος, one pleasing to God.  Commonly it is derived from θρὰξ/thrax, a Thracian, for the Thracians were devoted to many ceremonies; or, as HOORNBEECK has it, Summa Controversiarum, page 8, because among the Thracians Orpheus first introduced the worship of the Gods.[15]

Elsewhere in the New Testament, Religion also goes by the name of Εὐλαβείας, godly fear, Hebrews 12:28;[16] and a religious man is called εὐλαβὴς/God-fearing, Luke 2:25, in which Simeon is related to have been δίκαιος/just/righteous toward men, and εὐλαβὴς/God-fearing toward God:  which sort of ἄνδρες εὐλαβεῖς, God-fearing/devout men, are also found in Acts 2:5; 8:2, which elogy in the Septuagint corresponds to the Hebrew חָסִיד/good/pious in Micah 7:2.[17]  Now, one is properly εὐλαβὴς, who manages a matter well,[18] that is, circumspectly, hence also cautiously:  whence εὐλάβεια in general denotes the circumspect caution, with which one is wont to approach matters, or Circumspection and Caution in conducting affairs.  But, from this more common usage, in the New Testament this word is carried over to denote reverence of the divine and piety, and the right and circumspect manner of handling matters of Religion, the Sacred Scriptures and divine Worship; and he that is imbued with such a disposition is regarded as εὐλαβὴς/God-fearing.

Δεισιδαιμονία/religion/superstition is read once in Acts 25:19, and as an adjective δεισιδαίμων/religious in the comparative degree, δεισιδαιμονεστέρους, Acts 17:22, whether in the more negative sense of superstition is open to question; see on both passages the Marginal Notes of the DUTCH TRANSLATION, and WOLF’S[19] Curas philologicas et criticas; likewise LELAND’S[20] de Utilitate et Necessitate Revelationis Christi, part I, section II, chapter XVIII, pages 507-516.  Δεισιδαιμονία is a composite of δείδω, to fear, to tremble, and δαίμων/dæmon/deity.

Finally, concerning the terms θεοσέβεια/godliness[21] and λατρεία/latria/service/worship, and the Papistical differentiation of this term from δουλείᾳ/doulia/service/worship, see below on Chapter XI, § 1, as also concerning the term πίστις/faith in Galatians 1:23[22] on Chapter XXII, § 4.

Concerning the terms δόγμα/dogma/doctrine and φιλοσοφία/ philosophy with epithets, with which our AUTHOR observes the term Religion also occurs in the writing of the Fathers, see SUICERUS’ Thesaurum ecclesiasticum[23] on these words.

[1] Emo Lucius Vriemoet (1699-1760) was a Dutch Reformed Theologian and Orientalist.

[2] Thomas Gataker (1574-1654) was in his day regarded as a critic of unsurpassed skill, learning, and judgment.  On account of his great learning, he was invited to sit as a member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster.

[3] Ludolf Küster (1670-1716) was a Westphalian classicist and New Testament textual critic. He produced an edition of the works of Aristophanes.

[4] Joel 2:23:  “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately (אֶת־הַמּוֹרֶ֖ה לִצְדָקָ֑ה, or, the teacher in righteousness), and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.”

[5] 2 Peter 1:6, 7:  “And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness (τὴν εὐσέβειαν); and to godliness (τῇ εὐσεβείᾳ) brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”

[6] 2 Peter 1:3:  “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness (εὐσέβειαν), through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue…”

[7] 1 Timothy 3:16:  “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness (τῆς εὐσεβείας):  God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

[8] Acts 26:5:  “Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion (τῆς ἡμετέρας θρησκείας) I lived a Pharisee.”

[9] Colossians 2:18:  “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels (θρησκείᾳ τῶν ἀγγέλων), intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind…”

[10] James 1:26, 27:  “If any man among you seem to be religious (θρῆσκος), and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain (τούτου μάταιος ἡ θρησκεία).  Pure religion and undefiled (θρησκεία καθαρὰ καὶ ἀμίαντος) before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

[11] Suidas was the compiler of the Suda, an encyclopedia containing more than thirty thousand entries concerning the ancient Mediterranean world.  It was probably composed in tenth-century Byzantium.

[12] Matthias Martinius (1572-1630) was a German Reformed theologian and teacher.  His teaching was influential in the development of Cocceius’ covenant theology, and at Dort he represented a position tending toward Hypothetical Universalism.

[13] Psalm 9:10:  “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee:  for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee (דֹרְשֶׁיךָ).”

[14] Hebrews 11:5, 6:  “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him:  for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God (εὐηρεστηκέναι τῷ Θεῷ).  But without faith it is impossible to please (εὐαρεστῆσαι) him:  for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

[15] In Greek mythology, Orpheus, son of the Muse Calliope and the Thracian King Oeagrus, was a Thracian musician and prophet.

[16] Hebrews 12:28:  “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (μετὰ αἰδοῦς καὶ εὐλαβείας)…”

[17] Micah 7:2:  “The good man (חָסִיד; εὐλαβὴς, in the Septuagint) is perished out of the earth:  and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.” חָסַד signifies to be good or kind.

[18] Εὐλαβὴς is composed of εὖ/well and λαβεῖν, to take hold of.

[19] Johann Christoph Wolf (1683-1739) was a German Lutheran Hebraist and scholar.  His Bibliotheca Hebræa (published in four volumes, 1715-1733) was a standard reference work on Jewish literature for more than a century.

[20] John Leland (1691-1766) was an English Presbyterian minister.  The focus of his authorship is the opposition of Deism.

[21] For example, 1 Timothy 2:10:  “But (which becometh women professing godliness [θεοσέβειαν]) with good works.”

[22] Galatians 1:23:  “But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith (τὴν πίστιν) which once he destroyed.”

[23] John Caspar Suicer (1620-1684) was a Swiss theologian and philologist.  He studied at Saumur and Montauban, and served as Professor of Hebrew and Greek at the University of Zurich (1660).  His Thesaurus ecclesiasticus was invaluable in the study of the Greek Fathers, shedding light upon words and expressions untreated by lexicographers.

Chapter III:1: The Etymology of “Religion”



The Theology sought from the Scriptures teaches RELIGION; of which word a diverse Etymology is handed down. For it is believed that it was taken,

Either, 1. from relinquendo, leaving behind, because it is separated (from us, namely, because of holiness), or requires the abandonment of all things.  This is the opinion of Massurius Sabinus[1] in AULUS GELLIUS’ Attic Nights,[2] book IV, chapter IX, “That is religious,” says Sabinus, “which because of a certain holiness is removed and separated from us. The word is taken from relinquendo, just as cerimonia/ceremony is from carendo, abstaining from.”  MACROBIUS[3] adduces the same etymon, in book III of Saturnalia, chapter III, page m. 322, and relates that Sulpicius Severus[4] felt similarly:  “Sulpicius Severus,” says he, “related that that is called religion, which because of a certain holiness is removed and separated from us, as if it were derived from relinquendo, as cerimonia is from carendo.”

Or, 2. from relegando, removing, on account of same reasons:  just as Georgius Florus Baldinus, in his compendio de oration, relates that Sulpicius maintains that Religion received its name from relegando/ removing, because it banishes certain things from itself.  But, as was just now seen, Sulpicius in Macrobius derives Religion from another etymon, namely, from relinquendo, leaving behind.  Both are forced, for from these words Relictio/forsaking or Relegatio/banishment would be formed instead; as both these words occur in Cicero as derived from relinquere and relegare.

Or, 3. from relegendo, to read again, on account of necessary re-reading:  thus CICERO, in book II de Natura Deorum, chapter XXVIII, near the end:  “Now, those that diligently go over again, and re-read, as it were, all things that pertain to the worship of the Gods, are called religiosi/religious, from relegendo, as elegantes, choice men, from eligendo/ choosing, and just as diligentes, devoted men, from diligendo/valuing, and intelligentes, understanding men, from intelligendo/understanding:  for in all these words there is the same force of reading that is in religioso.”  But then relectio, re-reading, would like have been used, rather than religio/ religion:  and this rationale of the derivation appears to be too round-about if relegere is used in its common signification, for a great many more things are re-read, than those that have regard especially to Religion; neither do all the religiosi/religious re-read the heads of Religion, since some learn them by hearing alone.  But the verb relego is then taken in a religious sense drawn completely into the service of the Sacred, I am pious:  thus GELLIUS, Attic Nights, book IV, chapter IX, from an ancient song, upon the testimony of Nigidius Figulus,[5] relates the verse,


Religentem esse oportet, religiosum nefas.

It is fitting for one to be religious, but impious to be superstitious.


In which religens is pious, and religiosus superstitious.  So also ARNOBIUS, book IV adversus Gentes, page 148, “For not he that painstakingly relegit/re-reads and slaughters unblemished sacrifices, that gives masses of frankincense to be consumed with fire, is to be reckoned to worship the supernatural, or alone to fulfill the offices of religonis/ religion.  True worship is in the heart, and belief worthy of the Gods.”  And in this manner that Etymology is not destitute of all probability.

Or, 4. from re-eligendo, choosing again, on account of the repeated choice of God, as AUGUSTINE has it, book X de Civitate Dei, chapter III or IV, opera, tome 7, column 183, “For He Himself is the fountain of our blessedness; He Himself is the end of all desire.  Hence eligentes, those choosing, or rather religentes, those choosing again, for we had parted with Him as negligentes, those neglecting:  hence therefore we, being religentes, those choosing again, whence also religio/religion has its name, tend toward Him in dilectione/love, so that in reaching Him we might rest:  therefore we are blessed, because perfected in that end.”  And what things VIVES[6] notes:  “I believe that there is an allusion to the name taken from the occasion at hand.”  And rightly indeed does Vives thus observe; since Augustine elsewhere signifies that another Etymology pleases him, which now follows.

Or, 5. rather from religando, binding fast, etc.  SERVIUS,[7] on Æneid VIII:  Religio/Religion, that is, fear, from that which religet/binds the mind, called religio/religion.  Now, understand fear with reverence, just as he also says on book VI: They are religiosi/religious, that fear through reverence.  Now, just as Religio/Religion, that is, fear, is then derived from religare, so also δέος/fear is derived from δέω, to bind:  because, as hope expands the soul, so fear restricts and binds it.  So also AGGENUS URBICUS, book I de Limitibus agrorum,[8] derives Religiosum/ Religious either from relinquendo, leaving behind, or from religando/binding minds, lest men should behave wickedly.  This Etymology is especially pleasing to the Fathers of the Church, who nevertheless do not stay at fear alone as religante/binding the mind.  LACTANTIUS, book IV of his Institutionum, chapter XXVIII, “On this condition are we brought forth, so that we might fulfill our just and owed duties to the God begetting us, know Him alone, follow Him alone.  Bound to God by this chain of piety, we are religati/bound; whence Religio/Religion itself receives its name, not, as Cicero understood, from relegendo/re-reading….  How unsuitable this interpretation is, one may discover from the matter itself….  We said that the name of Religionis/Religion is derived from the chain of piety; because God religaverit/bound man to Himself, and restrained him by piety:  for it is necessary that we serve Him, as Lord; and obey Him, as Father.  Therefore, Lucretius[9] interpreted that name in a better way; for he says that he unties the knots of Religions:[10]”  compare DESIDERIUS HERALDUS’[11] Animadversionem ad Arnobii, book IV, pages 176, 177.  So also JEROME, on Amos 9:6, writes, Religionem/Religion received its name from religando, binding fast, and binding to the bundle of the Lord.  And also AUGUSTINE, de Vera Religione, chapter LV, opera, tome I, column 588: Pressing on toward the one God and religantes/binding our souls to that one, whence religio/religion is believed to have received its name, let us remain free from all superstition. Religio/religion therefore religet, would bind, us to the one omnipotent God.  And, citing these words in book I Retractationum, chapter XIII, he subjoins, opera, tome I, column 15, The reason that is given in these words of mine, whence religio/religion received its name, has given more satisfaction to me.  Although he says that he is not ignorant that authors of the Latin language derive Religionem/Religion from religendo, a word constructed from legendo/reading/selecting, that is, eligendo/choosing.  But it does not so much appear from the citations above that Latin authors that derive Religionem/Religion from relegendo/ re-reading, take the verb legere, to read, to select, in that sense of eligendi/ choosing.

To this Etymology of the word, Religio/Religion from religando/ binding, is opposed,

α. The Authority of Cicero. I respond, In indicating the Etymology of words he did not necessarily always conduct himself with equal success; the Etymology of the word superstitio/superstition is able to be used as an example, which immediately precedes the place already cited in CICERO, but which comes no less to be rejected, when he writes:  “Our ancestors separated superstitionem/superstition from religione/religion.  For those that were spending entire days praying and sacrificing, so that their children might be superstites/surviving them, are called superstitiosi/ superstitious, which name was afterwards extended more broadly:”  consult § 17 below.  In any event, to Cicero one may here oppose Servius the Grammarian, whose authority in these sorts of matters comes not at all to be despised.

β. That no noun in –io– is derived from a verb of the first Conjugation, but rather of the second or third, and so Religionem/ Religion is not able to be derived from religando/binding,[12] but ought to be derived from relegendo/re-reading.[13] I respond, On the other hand, neither is there any noun, as far as I can remember, derived from the verb lego, to read, or from compounds of it, that is terminated in a similar manner if –ligio; not even when in a compound verb –le– has been changed into –li-, where contrariwise you see nouns formed from the supine, which picks up the –e– again, as, just as we use lectio/reading, similarly from diligo, to select, and eligo, to choose, dilectio/delight and electio/election are formed, not diligio and eligio; so also relectio ought to be used analogically, if Religio/Religion is derived from relego, to re-read:  or if you wish to compare the noun Religio/Religion with the noun Legio/Legion, derived from lego, to read, to gather, Relegio ought to be used, not Religio/Religion. Religio/Religion is now truly best referred to the verb religare, to bind fast, after the likeness of the noun opinio/opinion, which is to be referred to the verb opinari, to suppose; just as also optio/option is derived from optare, to choose, potio/drink from potare, to drink; whence it is evidently false that names in –io– are not also derived from verbs of the First Conjugation.  But if you staunchly maintain that the noun Religio/Religion is from a verb of the Third Conjugation, it is to be said that of old a twofold Conjugation of the verb ligo, to bind, was used, ligo, ligare,[14] and ligo, ligere,[15] both with the same signification of binding; and, just as lictor[16] is formed from ligere, so Religionem/Religion is able to be derived from religere:  which is able to be confirmed from the verse of Nigidius Figulus cited above.


Religentem esse oportet, Religiosum nefas.

It is fitting for one to be religious, but impious to be superstitious.


To this Etymology from the verb, which enjoys the sense of binding, the use of the expression is also joined, in which we say, Religio mihi est, quo minus id faciam, It is Religion to me, that I should not do this; that is, I feel myself constrained and bound, as it were, by chains, which hinder me, so that I might not dare to do this or that thing.  And also what Lactantius cites from Lucretius concerning untying the knots of Religion.

[Insofar as through this, α. God to man…is bound fast]  Consult SPANHEIM’S[17] Decadum Theologicarum, primam, de Religione, § 1, opera, tome 3, column 1198.

[1] Massurius Sabinus (first century AD) was a Roman jurist.

[2] Aulus Gellius (c. 125-c. 180) wrote Attic Nights, a collection of diverse notes on grammar, philosophy, history, etc., in twenty books.  This work finds its principal value in their preservation of quotations of earlier writers, which quotations would be otherwise lost.

[3] The writings of Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius (395-423), a Roman grammarian and Neoplatonist, find their principal value in their preservation of the quotation of earlier writers, which quotations would be otherwise lost.  Macrobius wrote Saturnalia, an account of discussion held at the house of Vettius Agorius Prætextatus during the festival of Saturnalia about Roman festivals and worship, etc.

[4] Sulpicius Severus (c. 360-425) was a member of the Roman senatorial aristocracy, who renounced all for the monastic life.  He wrote the first biography of Martin of Tours and the Chronicorum Libros Duos (or Historiam Sacram), providing a history from the creation to 400 AD.

[5] Publius Nigidius Figulus (c. 98-45 BC) was a scholar of the Late Roman Republic.  Gellius esteems him to be second in learning to none, with the exception of Marcus Varro.

[6] John Louis Vives (1492-1540) was a Spanish classicist.  He wrote a commentary on Augustine’s City of God.

[7] Maurus Servius Honoratius was a fourth century Roman commentator on Virgil.

[8] Aggenus Urbicus (flourished probably toward the end of the fourth century) wrote on the science of land surveying.  He may have been a Christian.

[9] Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 99-c. 55 BC) was a Roman poet and Epicurean philosopher.  He was a proponent of a materialistic atomism, and thus a critic of religions.

[10] De Rerum Natura, book I, line 931.

[11] Didier Herauld (c. 1579-1649) was a French lawyer and philologist.  He annotated Tertullian’s Apology, Minutius Felix, and Arnobius.

[12] A First Conjugation Verb.  The principal parts:  religo, religare, religavi, religatus.

[13] A Third Conjugation Verb.  The principal parts:  relego, relegere, relegi, relectus.

[14] That is, First Conjugation.

[15] That is, Third Conjugation.

[16] A lictor was an attendant upon a Roman magistrate, usually having the responsibility of executing punishments.

[17] That is, the Younger’s.

Ephesians 5:14: How Does the Old Testament Citation Serve Paul’s Purposes?

Finally, it remains to respond in a few words to the seventh Question mentioned in § 1, How does the Apostle, in citing this prophecy, reach the goal that he intends? tying verse 14 with what precedes by the logical conjunction διό/wherefore.  In context, Paul addresses believing Ephesians, who were sometimes darkness, but now were made Light in the Lord, verse 8.  He had instruct these, in verse 11, καὶ μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς ἀκάρποις τοῦ σκότους, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them:  and this admonition he had confirmed in verses 12, 13, with arguments sought from nature of the matter.  But now in verse 14 the Apostle cites to them a formula taken from the Prophetic word, whereby they might be able to refute those that were going on to indulge and to serve the unfruitful works of darkness, and to rouse them to better fruit.  Likewise, in verse 8 he had admonished the believing Ephesians, who were made Light in the Lord, that by abstaining from fellowship with works of darkness they should contrariwise walk as children of light, ὡς τέκνα φωτὸς περιπατεῖτε: and in verses 9 and 10 he had taught them the way in which they might fulfill this.  But he also urges this admonition in verse 14 in the words of Isaiah, which for those conducting themselves worthily of their state and calling were at the same time creating the hope of an ample and most joyous recompense, of greater Illumination to be expected daily from Christ; which ought to make each one especially active in painstakingly fulfilling the dutche that the text prescribes, in comparison with Psalm 89:15-18; Isaiah 58:8; Ephesians 1:15-18.  But that in this matter the Apostle appeals very suitably to the prophecy of Isaiah, Isaiah 60:1-3, appears from those things that were discussed in § 11-15; where it was seen that this prophetic pericope also has complete regard to the beginnings of the New Testament, and that in that very place to the Gentiles, hitherto removed from the communion of God and salvation, a portion is particularly and expressly assigned, which at this juncture of time would arise to the Church, to which therefore these Nations were also held to join themselves conformably.  Such that another prophecy more suited to his scope, whereby he might urge the preceding admonitions, the Apostle was hardly able to city.  Καὶ ταῦτα μὲν δὴ ταῦτα, and this indeed is thus.


On February 11, March 11, and April 5, 1758, in the public defense of this disputation they exercised themselves:

ABRAHAMUS RUYSCH, Son of Joh. Wilh., Vlardinga-Batavus, now Pastor of the Church of Auxelles.

ADRIANUS VAN ASSENDELFT, Harlemo-Batavus, now Pastor of the Church that is gathered to Christ in country district of Nieuwenhoorn.

ARNOLDUS DUIRCANT, Dordracenus, now by the Will of the Great God in the country district of Ysselmuyden.

Ephesians 5:14: Is Supernatural Grace Dependent upon the Right Use of Natural Gifts?

But now, when the text applies this promise to those awaking from sleep and rising from the dead, from this it is not gathered that supernatural Grace is only going to follow upon the right use of natural gifts and strength; as if by virture of these natural man could be awakened from spiritual torpor and arise from the death of sin.  The contrary is taught by the whole Scripture; our National Synod of Dort, closely following the Scripture in this matter, is to be revered in the determination of Articles III and IV controverted between us and the Remonstrants.  But, as it is not advantageous to one sleeping, even if the night be past and the day come; and it is at the same time unbecoming, after the sun has a short time ago risen and shining widely in all directions, by snoring to lose the time, and willingly to neglect the immense advantages, which from the shining rays of the sun are otherwise able to return to us:  so the Apostle recalls into the memory of the Ephesians the day of grace, which had also begun to dawn upon the Gentiles through Christ, the Light of the world, incarnate in the fullness of time and perfected in sufferings, according to the promises of the Father formerly made to Him; he sets forth to them a duty most becoming, being incumbent upon those called through the Gospel; and he renders the same more certain of the bond of the fulfillment of this duty with a gracious reward, especially fitting and most excellent, of which reward, on the other hand, they would be destitute, unless they should act diligently in fulfilling the preceding admonition.  But by no means in this manner is it signified, that the promised Illumination following the ἔγερσιν/waking from sleep and resurrection from the dead would be the first gift of grace to be granted to man by the power of the merits of Christ; and in no way is prevenient grace thus excluded, through which those called might fulfill this admonition:  while everywhere in Sacred Scripture the beginning of all good in natural man, who is declared to be altogether inept for the fulfillment of it, is traced back to divine grace; the omnipotent, efficacious, insuperable power of which is everywhere declared as preceding in order all cooperation of man in the elect man’s regeneration, new creation, vivification, and resurrection from the sleep and death of sin:  to which supernatural and divine operation the moral method of operating, occurring in our text in a manner altogether suited to God’s independence and man’s dependence, as I already advised above, ought to be subjoined.  Compare similar propositions found in the Sacred Codex, Proverbs 8:17; Ezekiel 33:11; Malachi 4:2; James 4:8; Revelation 3:20:  and in what manner generally these come to be taken in accordance with sounder Theology, in such a way Pelagianism might gain nothing from them, you will learn from the passages already cited in § XVIII:  see, if you please, MARCKIUS’ Compendium Theologiæ, chapter XV, § 26, chapter XXIII, § 7, 9.  PAREUS on this passage:  “It appears that the Apostle makes illumination our work:  as if we might at last be illuminated, after we have risen by our own strength from our sins.  Such is the Syllogism:  To whom now awakened from the sleep of sin Christ at last gives light, those go before grace:  But the Apostle attributes that to us:  Therefore, the beginning of conversion is of us.  RESPONSE:  The minor is denied:  The Apostle does not give notice about the effect, so that we might reflect upon the cause:  as it often happens, that the cause, prior in nature, only becomes known after the effect.  Thus illumination by the Holy Spirit is the cause of our conversion, preceding our conversion in nature:  but we only learn that we have been illuminated after we have been converted to Christ and have risen from sins.  Therefore, the Apostle exhorts that we arise, so that we micht see that we are illuminated by Christ. Second, even with the minor conceded, it does not follow:  The Apostle orders us to arise:  Therefore, we are able to arise by our own strength. Third, it is not a promise of the beginning of conversion, but of its increase, which does not take away the promise of its beginning, to which Scripture testifies that it is from God alone: Lord, turn thou me, and I shall be turned.[1] Without me my can do nothing, John 15:5. No man cometh to me, except the Father draw him, John 6:44.  Therefore, the sense is:  Rise, and Christ shall give thee light:  that is, more and more, so that thou mightest make progress in true repentance, according to the promise, Whosover hath, to him shall be given, etc.[2]

[1] Jeremiah 31:18.

[2] Matthew 13:12; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18; 19:26.

Ephesians 5:14: The Meaning of the Promise

We proceed to the sixth Question moved in § 1, What is the meaning of the promise subjoined to the admonition, and Christ shall dawn upon thee? And whether supernatural grace is only going to follow upon the right use of natural gifts? With respect to the first member of the Question, we do not entertain here one and another variant reading, less suitable, or even inept, which already of old CHRYSOSTOM rejected and JEROME exploded, and concerning which Interpreters everywhere treat.  When the Apostle writes, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός, and Christ shall give thee light, the sense of this promise is able to be fixed with sufficient confidence from those things that were observed in § 11 on the text of Isaiah 60:1-3, with those things compared that had been prefaced in § 10 for the illustration of the prophecy of the same Prophet, Isaiah 9:1, 2.  That is, as the grace and salvation to be brought by Christ alone as the Redeemer and Savior of the world is wont not only to be magnified most brilliantly in the Sacred Scripture in proper words, but also to be commended under various emblems borrow from whatever matters eminent in excellence, pleasantness, and usefulness:  so all saving benefits to be merited by Christ and to be conferred upon the redeemed elect occur here under the emblem of Illumination, proceeding from Christ, as the Dayspring from on high, ἀνατολῇ ἐξ ὕψους, Luke 1:78; the Sun of Righteousness, under whose wings are spiritual healing and enlargement, Malachi 4:2; the true Light that, coming into the world, illuminates whatever man; the Word in whom was life, which life was the Light of men, shining in the darkness, John 1:9, 4, 5.  This Sun of Righteousness in his rising would bring a gladsome day of grace, whereby the former darkness of ignorance, impurity, shame, and terror would be dissipated; and the agreeable light of saving wisdom, spiritual healing, divine favor, true holiness, continued enlargement of the new life, the very safest guidance, solid glory, and heavenly joy, would succeed according to the effects and adjuncts proper to Light, especially Solar Light.  In the collation of which benefits Christ the Mediator would show the efficacy of His Sacerdotal merits, would extend His Prophetic instruction, and at the same time His Royal guidance, government, and liberality; which prerogatives the elect in Israel had already of old enjoyed, by the retroactive power of the satisfaction and obedience of the promised and coming Mediator:  but who, coming into the world through incarnation in a time of the thickest gloom, would in actuality merit these benefits, the distribution of which, extended even to the Gentiles, to whom previously communion in the same had been denied, and bring light out of darkness, a most welcome day dawning after a terrible night.  And from none other than Christ, the sole Mediator between God and men, 1 Timothy 2:5; the way, the truth, and the life, without whom no no comes to the Father, John 14:6; was this Illumination able to be expected and to proceed, who is uniquely qualified as the Sun of Righteousness and at the same time is alone sufficient to bless fully the entire world of the elect; just as also the Sun alone is given in nature, illuminating the entire world, warming, vivifying, and benignly nourishing and cherishing all things by its rays.