Chapter II:5: Scripture Called “the Word of God” because of its Infallible Inspiration

Hitherto concerning the Word; now it is necessary to see why the Scripture is called the Word of God.  The Scripture is so called principally by reason of its infallible Inspiration.  Indeed, our AUTHOR in his Compendio enumerates more reasons why the Scripture is able to be called the Word of God; namely, α.  the Divine Command, concerning which see the preceding §; β.  the Divine Example in the writing of the Law, Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10; γ.  the Divine Preservation of the Scriptures as God’s peculiar property in the midst of the power of the Babylonians, Syrians, and Romans.  But the principal reason that it is so called is its Infallible Inspiration, according to 2 Timothy 3:16, πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος, all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.  2 Peter 1:21:  οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη ποτὲ προφητεία, ἀλλ᾽ ὑπὸ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἅγιοι Θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι, for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:  but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, on which passage see Commentarium meum.  And so Holy Men were internally urged and impelled by the divine Spirit in the writing of His dictates, no less powerfully than various bodies are wont to be impelled and propelled by the wind.  That θεοπνευστία/inspiration is not to be understood of the more common concurrence of Providence, by comparison with Job 32:8, but of the immediate and infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit, who impressed upon the minds of holy men the matters to be committed to writing, and illuminated their understanding with an extraordinary and preternatural light, so that they might perceive what they had to write, and be completely persuaded of the truth and divine ἀσφαλείᾳ/certainty of the things to be written;[1] and so that they might actually judge that these matters are to be set down on paper in these and no other words and in this order.  Which sort of unusual leading was required, so that the Word of the Prophets and Apostles might be able to be held as divine:  while in the rest, which we speak or write, we also enjoy either a common concurrence of divine providence, or the saving guidance of the Holy Spirit; nevertheless, what things we thus speak or write are said to be merely human words and writings, set forth θελήματι ἀνθρώπων, by the will of men, which concerning the Prophecy of Scripture, delivered to the Church θεοπνεύστως, by inspiration, is denied by Peter, who in this matter opposes the will of men to the impulse of the Holy Spirit:  consult LAMPE’S[2] Dissertationem philologico-theologicam, volume II, Disputation X, which de Θεοπνευστίᾳ Auctorum Sacrorum, pages 354 and following.  That this is to be held, which was just now taught concerning the reason for the denomination of the Word of God, against Hobbes,[3] among others, see above, Chapter I, § 1.  The Reverend PETRUS DINANT, in his tractate called de Achtbaarheid van Godts Woord, chapter III, pages 345-561, will by not means displease anyone to consult here; where, 1.  he defines the state of the controversy concerning the Infallible Inspiration of the Word of God, and sets forth the position of the reformed Church concerning this matter.  2.  He justifies his own assertions with respect to the Books of the Old Testament.  3.  He demonstrates that the same infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit is not to be denied to the Writers of the New Testament.  4.  He more distinctly explains that Inspiration; he shows what the Holy Spirit furnished to the Holy Men of God in θεοπνευστία/inspiration; and how that extraordinary influx and guidance of the Spirit did not at all exclude the diligence of the holy Men, and the use of appropriate means to acquire the knowledge of divine things.  5.  He answers certain difficulties that are wont to be moved against this Infallible Inspiration.  You will see here also that the text of 2 Timothy 3:16 is cleared by Grotius from παρερμηνείᾳ/ misinterpretation, § 17, 18, pages 390-398.



[1] Luke 1:4:  “That thou mightest know the certainty (τὴν ἀσφάλειαν) of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.”

[2] Frederic Adolphus Lampe (1683-1729) studied under Campegius Vitringa, and held various ministerial posts.  At Utrecht he was appointed Professor of Theology (1720), then of Church History (1726).  He departed to teach at Bremen in 1727, and died there in 1729.  He was especially learned in ecclesiastical history and antiquities.

[3] Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an English philosopher, remembered for his work in political philosophy and social contract theory.  He was also interested in theology, but heterodox in his beliefs, denying incorporeal substance (reducing all things to matter and motion), and the divine inspiration of the Biblical prophets.

Chapter I:35: The End of Revealed Theology

Finally, in the Difference of the Definition is mentioned its End; the supreme End of Revealed Theology is the Glory of God; which He set before Himself in all His works, Proverbs 16:4, but especially in Redemption, 1 Peter 2:9, and its doctrine, Ephesians 3:10, even as Redemption and its doctrine show forth most perfectly the Glory of God, through a demonstration of His highest attributes.

The subordinate End is the Salvation of the Elect, John 20:31; Titus 1:2.  Because, of course, in the Salvation of the Elect the Attributes of God shall be most gloriously manifested, and shall be most perfectly acknowledged and celebrated forever by Those Saved, 2 Thessalonians 1:10; hence the Salvation of the Elect shall be as advantage as possible to the Glory of God as the supreme End; and hence the whole work of Redemption has a a subordinate End the leading of the Elect unto Salvation.

That here and frequently in what follows the Glory of God is considered rightly in the Definitions as the Supreme End, to which the Salvation of the Elect is subordinated, you will see confirmed in de Nederlandse Bibliotheek, volume 2, n. 4, pages 230-234.

Chapter I:35: The Subject of Revealed Theology

A further Difference of Definition is taken from the Subject.  That is, Revealed Theology has been designed for the education of Man, whom we just now considered as the Secondary Object of Theology as well.  When we contemplate Man as Fallen, to whom this doctrine, like a plank after a shipwreck, was given, that he might rise again from his fall, Psalm 19:7; 2 Timothy 3:17, while the natural Theology of man in his Integrity was previously treated in § 16, which will recur in Chapter XIV:  but, even if Revelation also come to man in his integrity, yet all his Theology was Legal; on the other hand, the Revealed Theology of Fallen man also deserved to be called Evangelical and Christian under the New Testament.

Chapter I:34: The Object of Revealed Theology

After the Principium, in order to establish the specific Difference of Theological Doctrine, the Object concurs, which is known, 1.  from the name of the discipline, which is Theology; and, 2.  from the argument of Sacred Scripture, which is the sole Principium of Revealed Theology.  Theology, of course, means the Doctrine concerning God, and consequently relates the Knowledge and Worship of God.  Hence, either true Religion, to be learned from Revelation; or God, as He revealed Himself in Scripture, and as  He made Himself ours through the grace of Christ, constitute the Object of the Theological discipline, even the Formal Object.  Of course, the Material Object denotes the matter concerning which the one speaking speaks in general; the Formal Object also includes the mode, or special regard, under which the one speaking dwells upon it:  for example, Man is the material object of a painting, of physical science, ethics, medicine, but considered under one and another formal reckonings:  he is the formal object of the painting art as paintable; of physical science as he has a species of body to be referred to the genus of physical bodies; man is the object of ethics as capable of virtue and felicity; of medicine as sick and curable.  Thus God is the material object of Pneumatics, of Theology natural and revealed:  but God is the formal object of Pneumatics and natural Theology as He is to be known and worshipped from nature and according to the dictate of reason:  God is the formal object of revealed Theology as He is to be known and worshipped from the precept of Revelation; not to be known categorically under the reckoning of Deity, as Thomas and a great man Scholastics maintain, which knowledge is of itself not saving, but rather condemning to sinners:  but as God is made ours, and that as He is covenanted in Christ, just as He reveals Himself to us in the Word.

And, as God is thus the primary Object of Theology, so also the Works of God, and among those Man himself, as the greatest work of God, and the End and Object of His greatest works, are able to be held as the Secundary Object of Theology, that is, as far as the Sacred Scripture also treats of all these, and all the same have a relation to God, whether of origin, or of conservation and dependence; and they were made by God, subsist through Him, are subordinate to Him, and ought to tend toward Him.  If you ask concerning Sin, the treatment of which also enters into Theology, in what manner it might be able to be referred unto God and Divine Things? I respond that, not as it is of God, but as it has a certain σχέσιν/relation to God, and lies under His Providence and Justice; just as Medicine treats of diseases and poisons, although its principal object is the healing of man.

Chapter I:33: The Means of Discerning Divine Revelation

β.  As far as the Means of differentiating the Word divinely revealed from another, which is not such, are concerned:

1.  The Prophets themselves recognized the Divinity of such Revelation, partly by external Signs, partly by internal Light, by which God disclosed Himself to them.  The Most Illustrious WITSIUS, in book I of Miscellaneorum sacrorum, tome I, discussing Prophets and Prophecy, in which he inquires the Marks whereby the Prophets were persuaded of the Divinity, and consequently of the Verity, of Revelation; enumerates, a.  the Majesty of the revealing God seen by the Prophets, b.  the manifest Light of that Revelation recognized, by which they were distinguishing the voice of God from every human voice, no less than one easily distinguishes the voice of a parent, of a son, of a brother.  c.  The wisdom, holiness, sublimity, and θεοπρέπειαν/divine-majesty; if this did not always immediately approve itself to conscience, in such revelations the conviction of Divinity is not so much from a consideration of the thing revealed, as from the clarity of the revelation and the majesty of the One revealing, and from a hidden force eliciting the firmest assent:  see Miscellaneorum sacrorum, tome I, book I, chapter XV, § 1-18.  Consult CARPZOVIUS’[1] Introductionem ad Libros Propheticos Veteris Testamenti, chapter I, § 14, pages 38, 39, § 27, pages 82, 83.

2.  Both the Argument of the Doctrine revealed, says our AUTHOR, and the Signs added, and also the character of the Prophets procure for the revelation confidence in the Church.  WITSIUS, in his Miscellaneorum sacrorum, tome I, book I, chapter XV, § 19-46, coming to add Marks by which the Prophets persuaded others that they were sent by God for the disclosure of that Revelation, which they were advancing, mentions, a.  the steadfast testimony of the Prophet himself concerning his mission to the people from God, b.  the honest, holy life of the Prophet,[2] and in which an exemplar of all virtues was gleaming with a most splendid light.  c.  To which is sometimes added the complement of prior prophecies; d.  sometimes God also was sealing the mission of the Prophet by Miracles;[3] unto the external appearance of which, however, the attention was not to be given, when doctrines plainly false were set forth.[4]  e.  Sometimes God granted authority to θεοπνεύστοις/inspired Men in manifest vengeance against the disobedient.  But how those Prophets approved their mission, for whose sake no wonder had been hitherto wrought, WITSIUS especially inquires, Miscellaneorum sacrorum, tome I, book I, chapter XV, § 40:  consult CARPZOVIUS’ Introductionem ad Libros Propheticos Veteris Testamenti, chapter I, § 20, 21, pages 52-58:  consult COCQUIUS’ Hobbesianismi Anatomen, locus XVI, chapter XXXIII, section 2, pages 585, 586; LELAND’S Beschouwing van de Schriften der Deisten, tome 1, chapter 12, pages 370, 371.

Finally, our AUTHOR observes that all this mode of Revelation has now ordinarily cease, and so we have the Scripture as the One divinely Revealed Word.  WITSIUS deserves to be consulted on this point, Miscellaneorum sacrorum, tome I, book I, chapter XXIV, where he discusses the Continuation of Prophecy after the departure of the Apostles, and, with those things ennumerated which make for the confirmation of this thesis, he judges:  1.  That it does not appear to be a thing altogether to be denied, that the gift of Prophecy was lively and active unto the third or fourth Century, although not all things that are related by the Fathers are to be indiscriminately admitted.  2.  That in the Sacred Scripture no declaration of the divine will is found, by which it might be established that the prophetic gift is to continue perpetually in the Church; while, in Joel 2:28, 29, with the prophetic expressions taken from the economy of the Old Testament, but to be explained consistently with the New economy, is promised an abundance of light, of the knowledge of God, and of progress in it; which things were going to be such that rank and file believers of the New Testament, compared with the rank and file believers of the Old Testament, were going to surpass them by so great an interval as was formerly between the Prophets and other men the common people.  At the same time, God wished to set on record a certain extraordinary argument and deposit, as it were, of that, in that extraordinary and altogether miraculous effusion of the Spirit upon the Apostles, of which effusion in those first time He made certain others to be sharers, and in which the very words of the prophecy are fulfilled according to their very sound.  3.  That the Church, after the completion of the Canon of Scripture, does not need new Revelations, whether to add new to those delived in it, or to illustrate the dark passages of the Scriptures, which God did not even promise for the understanding of the Apocalypse, Revelation 1:3.  4.  That those, who profess new Revelations, generally furnish nothing that is not able to proceed from common industry:  indeed, in those pretended Revelations they are wont more show the genius of the writer than the character of the divine Spirit; which he shows by the example of the procedure of Thaumaturgus,[5] and of the Revelations of Christina Paniatovia, and of the Revelation of Krystyna Poniatowska, and also of Christopher Kotterus.[6]  5.  That it is dangerous to labor after a reputation of Revelation, lofty and surpassing the common calling; seeing that the prophecies of Müntzer resulted in the destruction of himself and many others:[7]  and although the confidence and grandiloquence of Nicolaus Drabicius was incredible, yet his prophecy concerning the end of the kingdom of the Beast and of idolatry in the year 1650; concerning the coronation of Ragotski, Prince of Transylvania, at the extirpation of the house of Austria; concerning the wailings and lamentations which would come to the house of Austria on March 19, 1652, with the tenth horn falling from the head of the beast; and concerning no further Roman Emperor from the house of Austria:[8]  these and similar prophecies of Drabicius, says I, passed into smoke, neither did the event answer to these.  Hence WITSIUS leaves all the more recent prophecies in their place, to be approved or refuted by the event; and by no such prophecy does he suffer himself to be impelled to either fear or hope anything vehemently; still less that he, overstepping the bounds of his calling, might apply his hand to a dangerous work.  6.  Yet he does not think that it is to be denied that it frequently happens that men, pious and admitted unto a nearer and closer friendship with the Divine, are by Him taught concerning future things; the knowledge of which is extremely useful for the stirring of piety, for the consolation of the soul, for strengthening in faith and hope and exercising prudence.  Yet, on the other hand, he does not think that all things related are rashly to be received also.  But if any Revelations might fall to any, the purpose of the Revelations is more for their private information, than that they might be to others, still less to the Church, for a norm of faith and actions:  seeing that they themselves perhaps are able to discern by the internal light of the Spirit that these things come to them from heaven; but they are destitute of arguments by which they might prove to the conscience of others the Divinity of the Revelation made to them.

And according to these shall be also the judgment concerning the Groningen Revelations spread some year earlier, which that similar Biblical Soothsaying renders suspect above the others, bringing old wives’ superstition, not to be excused of a sinful temptation of God; concerning which the altogether prudent Judgment of the Theological Faculty of Groningen deserves to be consulted, committed to writing by the Most Illustrious A VELZEN and GERDES:[9]  see also in this work below, Chapter XII, § 19.



[1] That is, Johann Gottlob Carpzov.

[2] 2 Peter 1:21.

[3] For example, Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4.

[4] Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

[5] Gregory Thaumaturgus, or the Wonder-worker (c. 213-c. 270) was a disciple of Origin, and later Bishop of Cæsarea.  His pastoral labors did much to advance the Christian faith in Asia Minor.  It is said of him that he wrought miracles, and received revelatory visits from the Apostle John and Mary.

[6] John Amos Comenius (1592-1670) was a Moravian educator and author.  Comenius was a mystic, and in his Lux in tnebris he published the prophecies and visions of Krystyna Poniatowska (a Moravian mystic, who began prophesying in 1627) and Christopher Kotterus (of Silesia, who began prophesying in 1616).

[7] Thomas Münster (c. 1489-1525) was a German theologian and mystic.  Seeking a more radical Reformation, he broke with Luther and became a rebel leader in the Peasants’ War.  Putting confidence in ongoing revelation, he led a group of about eight thousand peasant against a superior force at Frankenhausen (1525).  The peasants were slaughters; and Münster was captured, tortured, and decapitated.

[8] Nicholas Drabicius (1588-1671), son of a burgomaster in Moravia, was admitted to the ministry, but was forced into exile by the severe edits of the Emperor against Protestantism.  He was more than fifty years old when the visions began.  He prophesied that the house of Austria would be crushed, that Prince Ragotski would command one of the victorious armies, and that Drabicius himself and his brethren would be restored to their native land.  However, Ragotski died, without accomplishing the defeat of the house of Austria; indeed, the house of Austria waxed in strength, rivaling its former power.  Comenius published Drabicius’ prophecies in Lux in Tenebris.

[9] Daniel Gerdes (1698-1765) was a German Reformed Theologian.  He served as Professor of Theology at Duisburg (1726-1735), Professor of Theology at Groningen (1736-1765), and Professor of Church History at Groningen (1752-1765).

Chapter I:33: Modes of Revelation, Part 2

ג.  Less certain than the species of Revelation just now mentioned is the mode of Revelation through the Urim and Thummim, Lights and Perfections,[1] which are sometimes called very emphatically אֶת־הָאוּרִים וְאֶת־הַתֻּמִּים, the Urim and the Thummim,[2] concerning which, beyond many other illuminating Antiquities of the Hebrews, see the discussion of HEINRICH ALTING, in his Theologia problematica nova, locus II, problem VII, pages 94-98; BUDDEUS’ Historiam Ecclesiasticam Veteris Testamenti, period II, section I, § 32, tome I, pages 558-563, who also makes mention of various others to be consulted concerning this matter; to which add LAMPE’S Orationem de Urim et Thummim Dissertationem Theologicam, volume II, pages 595-651.

Concerning what the Urim and Thummim might be, the twofold opinion of Interpreters is especially probable.

1.  For many think that the Urim and Thummim were nothing other than the twelve Gems of the Breastplate of the High Priest, engraved with the names of the children of Israel:  α.  For otherwise it is never declared what the Urim and Thummim were.  β.  When the preparation of the garment of the High Priest, and thus also the breastplate, mention is made of the stones, but no mention of the Urim, Exodus 34:8, 10; and when there is discussion concerning the same being put on Aaron, with the stone passed over, the Urim and Thummim are joined with the breastplate, Leviticus 8:8.  γ.  The names of the Urim and Thummim match well with the Gems of the breastplate.  The Precious Stones, translucent and scattering extraordinary brilliance in every direction, are able with good reason to be called Lights.  The same, on account of their rare size, unusual beauty, and enormous value, are able to be called Perfections; especially when the hand of a skilled artisan had been added, skillfully cutting, polishing, setting the stones, and ingeniously placing them in their sockets.  The Most Illustrious VRIEMOET,[3] in his Theses Antiquitatum Israeliticarum CCCXXXIX, “It appears that the Urim and Thummim were heaps of the most brilliant stones in addition to the remaining twelve; not something else.”  In the same manner he writes in Theses Antiquitatum Israeliticarum, part I, chapter XII, § 27, “Twelve Gems, with the names of the twelve tribes, were inserted grafted on to the surface of the breastplate.  With which thus prepared by the hand of Moses, finally were added the Urim and Thummim.  Which, therefore, were not the twelve Gems themselves, but perhaps they were some mound of other, most brilliant stones, and that twofold.”

2.  Nevertheless, others think that the Urim and Thummim were not provided by a human hand, but something that was fashioned by God Himself and delivered to Moses, the material of which is nor more able to be determined than the kinds of Stones upon which were inscribed
the Law; but which Moses was obliged to store within the twofold breastplate behind the twelve Gems, hidden from sight:  by which God willed to indicate that the prophetic Spirit shall be present with the High Priest, when by the Urim and Thummim he would consult God, who would illuminate his intellect with a knowledge of arcane things, and would make perfectly manifest a doubtful event, whence they were assigned the name Urim and Thummim.  Neither are these destitute of arguments for their opinion:  for, α.  after a sufficiently luminous mention was made in Exodus 28, concerning the preparation of the Breastplate and its twelve Gems, verse 30, it follows as a specific mandate that the Urim and Thummim were to be stored in that breastplate.  β.  In Exodus 39, all things are carefully reviewed, even unto minutiae, that were to be prepared by the hand of the artisan concerning the Breastplate and its Gems; but there is no mention of the Urim and Thummim in that place; an eminent proof that the Urim and Thummim were not fashioned by a human artisan.  But when Moses clothed Aaron with the Pontifical vestments in Leviticus 8, it is read in verse 8,וַיָּ֥שֶׂם עָלָ֖יו אֶת־הַחֹ֑שֶׁן, and he put upon him the breastplate, which, now complete, was adorned, with the twelve Gems grafted onto it by Bezaleel.  But when all the artisans had together directed their effort in the preparation of the breastplate, yet they lacked the Urim and Thummim, for which reason it is added concerning Moses, וַיִּתֵּן, not he was fashioning or providing, but he was adding, merely bestowing (that is, as he had received the same from the Lord), אֶל־הַחֹ֔שֶׁן אֶת־הָאוּרִ֖ים וְאֶת־הַתֻּמִּֽים׃, to the breastplate the Urim and Thummim.  And, γ.  perhaps for this reason the breastplate had to be twofold, so that in its interior fold the Urim and Thummim might be able to be stored:  compare Exodus 28:16; 39:9.  I leave the option of either opinion to the Reader; I am unwilling to deny that the latter pleases me very much.

By these the highest Divinity was giving responses to the High Priest now equipped with the Urim, when the King or supreme Prince in difficult circumstances, upon which salvation was actually depending, especially in undertaking war, was coming to consult God through the Priest:  see Numbers 27:18, 21; 1 Samuel 23:6, 8-12; 30:7, 8.  It is difficult to specify the true mode of this lost oracle.  The Jews relate that the brightness of those letters, from which the response was composed, was unusual and standing out from the breastplate:  hence they allege that, besides the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, inscribed on the Stones of the Breastplate were also the names of אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק יַעֲקֹב, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and שִׁבְטֵי־יָהּ, the tribe of Jah,[4] or שִׁבְטֵי יְשׁוּרוּן, the tribes of Jeshurun, or כָּל אֵלֶּה שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, all these tribes of Israel; for, of course, otherwise all the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet were not found inscribed on the stones of the breastplate.  But that thus a conspicuous patch is rashly sewn onto the Sacred history; and that it was ἀδύνατον/impossible enough for the High Priest to learn from letters of this sort, flashing and protruding, responses, everyone sees.  Therefore, to the High Priest consulting God by the Urim and Thummim God gave the desired response by a sonorous voice, or He showed it to him by an internal illumination of the mind and revelation of the prophetic Spirit, which was to be given by way of response to the King or Prince.  According to the Most Illustrious VRIEMOET, in his Theses Antiquitatum Israeliticarum CCCCXLIX, “Divine responses appear to have been given through the Urim and Thummim by a voice altogether clear and intelligible.”  He asserts the same in Theses Selectæ Controversæ ex A.J., XCI.

Now, this consultation ordinarily was to be done before the face of Jehovah, Numbers 27:21, whether the Priest stand in the Holy Place, turned toward the Holy of Holies and the place of the Shekhinah; or whether the Prince consulting the mouth of the Lord and the Priest, through whom he was asking God, stand together in the same place in the Courtyard of the Priests.

The Urim and Thummim, and the divine responses through them, with some other things, are said to have been wanting in the second Temple, to which point Ezra 2:63 is also consulted:  see Concionem mean introductoriam in pago Oostzaandam habitam ad Deuteronomy 33:8 a, in a volume, which is entitled Gedactenis, etc; SAMUEL CHANDLER’S[5] A Critical History of the Life of David, preface, volume I, pages 10-13.

Concerning the threefold Word of God, rational, sensible, and prophetic, which we apprehend through right Reasoning, Sense, and Faith, which things, related by Hobbes, see called to examination in COCQUIUS’ Hobbesianismi Anatomen, locus I, chapter I, pages 7-11.



[1] אוּרִים/Urim appears to be related to אוּר/flame or אוֹר/light.  תֻּמִּים/ Thummim is derived from the verbal root תָּמַם, to be complete.

[2] Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8.

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

[4] Psalm 122:4:  “Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord (שִׁבְטֵי־יָהּ), unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.”

[5] Samuel Chandler (1693-1766) was a Presbyterian, Nonconformist minister and scholar.  His theology shows signs of the intrustion of Rationalism.

Chapter I:33: Modes of Revelation, Part 1

Now, of this divine Revelation our AUTHOR surveys, α.  the various Modes, β.  the Means of differentiating the Word divinely Revealed from another that is not such.

α.  That Revelation was formerly given by God, not only πολυμερῶς, at sundry times, but also πολυτρόπως, in diverse manners, Paul acknowledges in Hebrews 1:1.  God gave it:

א.  Either through the intervening ministry of Angels, Daniel 9:21, etc.; Luke 1:11, 13, 19, 26, 28, 30, etc.; Matthew 2:13, in which is the appearance of the Angel of the Lord to Joseph κατ᾽ ὄναρ, in a dream.

ב.  Or without intervening ministers of this sort, whether, a.  God manifest Himself to the external Senses; and that, 1.  either to the sight and hearing at the same time, when He appeared in an assumed corporeal form, Genesis 18:17; or, 2.  without a corporeal representation of this sort to the hearing alone through Sonorous Voice, 1 Samuel 3:10.  b.  Or He reveal Himself to the internal Imagination, and that, 1.  to those awake, through a Vision of the thing to be known, exhibited to holy men carried into Ecstasy, 1 Kings 22:19; Acts 10:10-17; 2.  or to those sleeping, by affecting the fancy in a Dream, no less vividly than if one being awake should hear the voice of God and see visions of Him, Genesis 28:12; 37:5, etc.; Job 33:14, 15; Daniel 7:1, etc; Acts 16:9.  c.  Or even without affected sense or imagination, in a mode especially spiritual, He bless Men of God with Revelation through the internal illumination of the Mind only, 2 Samuel 23:2, 3; Matthew 10:19:  see WITSIUS’ Miscellaneorum sacrorum, tome 1, book I, chapters III-VI.

The various Modes of Revelation are enumerated together in Numbers 12:6-8.  God affirms that commonly He is going to appear to the Prophets, either, 1.  while awake, בַּמַּרְאָה, through a vision, symbolical and enigmatical, or, 2.  while sleeping, בַּחֲלוֹם, through a dream.  Then God makes mention of, 3.  addressing them בְחִידֹת , through dark speeches, in which is depicted something other than what is to be understood, for example, when Ezekiel is commanded to eat a book, Ezekiel 3:1-3; when he is commanded to lie on his side for three hundred and ninety days, and also to eat breat with cow’s dung, Ezekiel 4:5, 15.  To this Revelation by enigmas is opposed, 4.  another מַרְאֶה /appearance attributed to Moses, which two things in other places are not to be considered opposites, but here in opposition to enigmas the Appearance granted to Moses might indicate a vision clear and distinct of the very things, as if presented face-to-face.  5.  The תְמֻנַ֥ת יְהוָ֖ה, the similitude of the Lord, is similar, which Moses was regarding; this it is denied that the Isrealites saw at Mount Sinai, Deuteronomy 4:12:  it denotes, not the very essence of God, but a certain extraordinary radiance of divine splendor, perhaps shining in human appearance, which Messiah at length assumed.  6.  Also this was Moses’ special privilege, that God spoke with him mouth-to-mouth, פֶּ֣ה אֶל־פֶּ֞ה אֲדַבֶּר־בּ֗וֹ.  It differs little from that which is in Exodus 33:11, וְדִבֶּ֙ר יְהוָ֤ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה֙ פָּנִ֣ים אֶל־פָּנִ֔ים, etc., and the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, etc.; to which is similar what is narrated concerning the whole people, Deuteronomy 5:4,פּנִ֣ים׀ בְּפָנִ֗ים דִּבֶּ֙ר יְהוָ֧ה עִמָּכֶ֛ם, the Lord talked with you face to face.  Concerning Moses, it, received and related as among his privileges, shall have a notable emphasis, and shall signify that God immediately, but also most familiarly, entered into a give and take with Moses, unto which Moses might attend with great παῤῥησίᾳ/frankness, without immoderate perturbation or horror of mind.  It is similar, what you read in Jeremiah 32:4, in which Zedekiah, King of Judah, is mentioned as about to be delivered in the hand of the King of Babylon, וְדִבֶּר־פִּ֣יו עִם־פִּ֔יו, and he shall speak with him mouth to mouth, that is, face-to-face, that with his own eyes he might look upon his face:  consult WITSIUS’ Miscellaneorum sacrorum, tome 1, book I, chapters VII, § 1-8; CARPZOVIUS’[1] Introductionem ad Libros Propheticos Veteris Testamenti, chapter I, § 7, 16-19.  Verse 8 of Numbers 12 is interpreted somewhat differently by the Most Illustrious WESSELIUS in his Dissertationes Leidenes V, § 8, pages 180-182; whether his exegesis is to be preferred, the judgment shall be left in the hands of the Reader.  Where, after his examination upon the Vulgate Translator and Cameron,[2] you read:  “I would suppose that these words are thus able more aptly to be translated:  Mouth to mouth I spoke to him, and not by Vision nor by dark sayings; and he contemplated the Similitude of the Lord.  Wherefore then were ye not afraid to rail against my servent, against Moses?[3]”  And then, among other things, the Illustrious Man subjoins:  “I believe that the word מַרְאֶה/vision/appearance is in the place of בְּמַרְאֶה, by vision, through an ellipsis of the prefixed ב/in/by, to be understood here easily from the following בְחִידֹת, by dark sayings.  Indeed, the adverb of negation, לֹא/not, set down between וּמַרְאֶה, and the Vision, and בְחִידֹת, by dark sayings, affects both those words, I believe, both the antecedent and the consequent; in the same manner in which in Psalm 4:5 it is said רִגְז֗וּ וְֽאַל־תֶּ֫חֱטָ֥אוּ, be ye moved, that is, by anger, and sin not, ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε, be ye angry, and sin not, Ephesians 4:26.  The sense is that we ought neither to be moved by anger, nor thus to sin.  Finally, by תְמֻנַ֥ת יְהוָ֖ה, the similitude of the Lord, I understand this Most Glorious Symbol of the presence of Jehovah, a view of which from the Back and hinder parts God promised to Moses, as about to happen in the desert of Sinai, according to that which is narrated in our Text, Exodus 33:23; but, that He granted this view of His Glory to him, Jehovah testifies in this passage of Numbers, when Israel was encamped in Hazeroth.”



[1] That is, Johann Gottlob Carpzov.

[2] [2] John Cameron (1580-1625) was a Protestant divine of great distinction, serving as Professor of Philosophy at Sedan, Professor of Divinity at Saumur (1608) and at Glasgow (1620).  Darling:  “He was a man of good genius and judgment, a good philosopher; not much acquainted with the works of the fathers; obstinate in his opinions.  He adopted a more enlarged mode of explaining the doctrine of grace than Calvin, which was followed by Amyraut.”  Ibid., 563-564.

[3] Hebrew: פֶּ֣ה אֶל־פֶּ֞ה אֲדַבֶּר־בּ֗וֹ וּמַרְאֶה֙ וְלֹ֣א בְחִידֹ֔ת וּתְמֻנַ֥ת יְהוָ֖ה יַבִּ֑יט וּמַדּ֙וּעַ֙ לֹ֣א יְרֵאתֶ֔ם לְדַבֵּ֖ר בְּעַבְדִּ֥י בְמֹשֶֽׁה׃.

Chapter I:33: The Principium of Revealed Theology Confirmed

But yet it remains that the Revealed Word of God alone is the Principium and foundation of Revealed Theology:  1.  For in this very thing Revealed Theology is distinguished from other disciplines, and in species is set over against Natural Theology, that it is sought from Revelation; without which it would not be able to be called Revealed Theology.  2.  The Truths that Revealed Theology delivers we are constrained to embrace by Faith; which, if it shall be rightly constituted, and a Faith divine, not human, requires a Principium and foundation infallible and authentic, which is the Revelation of God alone:  see HEINRICH ALTING’STheologia problematica nova, locus II, problem I, pages 69-71; and this work below, Chapter II, here and there, but especially in § 32.  That the Fathers of the Ancient Church thought the same, LEYDEKKER observes in his Veritas Euangelica triumphans, tome I, book I, chapter XII, § I, pages 135, 136.

That for this reason this was from the beginning in the imitation of Satan, adds our AUTHOR:  that is, because all by nature had a persuasion from the beginning that the true knowledge of Religion and the right method of worshipping God is to be traced from the Revelation of it; that hence impostors, about to deliver a form of Religion, feigned Interviews with Divinities and Angels, as Lycurgus with Apollo, Minos with Jove, Numa with the nymph Ægeria, Muhammad with Gabriel:  but also the Devil was able through ψεύδους/lying Oracles so much more easily to bewitch the Gentile world:  compare § 23 above, and Chapter IX, § 3, 8, 26 below.

Chapter I:32: The Principium of Revealed Theology: Not the Senses

In the fourth place, and finally, the Testimony of the Senses is excluded from the Principium and Foundation of Theology, from which, on the other hand, we are not willing to remove all Use in matter of Theology and of Faith with the Papists, who, that so they might obviate the argument that we aim at to impugn Transubstantiation and the carnal Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and to confirm the reality fo the Substance of the bread and wine, from the Testimony of the Senses; say that the Testimony of the Senses is not to be received in the Mysteries of the Faith, because the Mysteries are above Sense, and Faith is posited in this, that we believe what we do not see.[1]

And we know how to distinguish between Sense, Reason, and Faith, and we assign to each one of these faculties its proper object; concerning which it is conversant, that is, matters αἰσθητὰς/sensible, νοητὰς/mental, and πιστὰς, to be believed, which, as they ought not to be confounded, neither are they to be opposed to each other.  Therefore, it is not asked whether nothing ought to be admitted except what the Senses are able to receive; for many things have been revealed to us unto which Sense is not able to rise:  but, when the senses judge concerning their proper object, and pass not beyond their sphere, it is asked whether their Testimony is to be rejected in Theology; or, whether Faith be opposed to well-ordered judgment of the Senses, and overturn that judgment?  This we deny.  We distinguish also between Mysteries purely spiritual and exceeding all our capacity, of which sort are the Trinity, the Generation of the Son, etc.:  and the Mysteries which are situated in matters sensible and corporeal; whether God makes use of those as means to accomplish His decrees, or He wills through them to lift us to a clearer knowledge of the more sublime Mysteries, of which sort are the miracles of Christ, the types of the Old Testament, the Sacraments of the New Testament.  In Mysteries of the latter sort, in which a spiritual thing is joined with a corporeal, a Mystery is revealed indeed, and it remains the object of Faith, but the corporeal thing entering the Mystery is also the object of Sense.  At this point it is asked whether Faith makes use of the testimony of the Senses, or rejects it, in corporeal matters, for example, when it judges of the substance of the bread and wine in the Eucharist and of the absence of the Body of Christ?

That the Testimony of the Senses in cases of this sort is not entirely to be rejected, it is evident:  1.  Because God makes use of this means to engender Faith, Romans 10:14, 17; whence, not only is the use of this means proven, but hence also it is apparent that the Senses are not in all things and always fallible; for otherwise this means would not be suitable to engender certain knowledge.  2.  The sacred text seeks arguments from the Senses to confirm Theological truths, of which sort, for example, is the Resurrection of Christ, which is confirmed by the testimony of sight, Matthew 28:6, of sight and touch together, Luke 24:39; Peter appeals to the seeing and hearing of Christ’s glory, 2 Peter 1:16-18; John appeals to hearing, seeing, and touching together in matters regarding the economy of Christ, 1 John 1:1.  Now, 3.  the Faithfulness of God does not allow us to believe that He has willed to make sport of men, by sending them to testimony, which was designed as uniquely apt to cheat and to deceive.

Objection:  The Senses are able to deceive.  Response:  Yet they do not always and in all things deceive; and at this point to guard against error it is required, 1.  that the object be at an appropriate distance; 2.  that the medium be pure and free from all that which might be able to spoil the mental image; 3.  that the organ be rightly disposed; 4.  that all the Senses that are able to examine a certain object be consulted and make the same judgment; 5.  that Senses act attentively and not precipitantly; 6.  that the fancy be free, and that frenzy and fever be not present:  for otherwise it happens that we believe that we see or hear those things, which nevertheless we do neither see nor hear.  Now, all these conditions concur in the Testimony of our Senses concerning the Bread and Wine in the Eucharist.  Consult VRIESIUS’ Dissertationem de Sensuum usu in Philosophando, § 16-18, 27-37; ’S GRAVEZANDE’S[2] Introductionem ad Philosophiam, book II, part I, chapter XIV, pages 149-163; and below in this work, Chapter XIII, § 16.



[1] Hebrews 11:1.

[2] Willem Jacob ’s Gravesande (1688-1742) was a Dutch lawyer and natural philosopher.

Chapter I:32: The Principium of Revealed Theology: Not Reason, Part 8

I am unable to conclude, without finally subjoining to these things the deep groans and sighs of our AUTHOR, which, for fear of the imminent evils of the Church, from the Magistracy committed to Reason in matters of Religion, he poured forth in his Oratione quarta post Exercitationes Miscellaneas, held at Groningen in 1688, pages 474-477:  “Why should I deny that I fear for the Netherlands, and for the Church and Reformed truth, if we embrace a common principium with the Socinians, indeed, if we commend it more than those.  Our interests have fallen to such an extent that Reason, as an Oracle, infallible, to be heard and adored with a humble and obsequious mind not otherwise than as the word of God Himself, is set forth openly, which it is not far from blasphemy to argue is of a lie; and at the same time are ridiculed those that admonish out of Clement that Hagar ought to be made subject to Sarah or to be ejected.[1]  We have come to such a point that there are those that defend that those things that by reason are indubitable to us are not to be denied, even if we are not able to reconcile those things with Scripture; that those that, with their reason captivated, believe the Scripture are become beasts; that Theologians that, finding themselves to be no match for reasons, invoke the Scripture for help act incorrectly; that reason is not to be reconciled with Scripture, but Scripture with reason; that untroubled philosophizing is a must, and concerning the rest one must sleep idly upon either ear; that the infallibility of Reason is to be embraced, so that the authority of Scripture might be certain, because this is not able to be constructed from any other source than Reason.  The Doctors have advanced to such a point that they hold Reason to be the sole principium of all truth; that all love of God, reverence, obedience, and faith is derived from this source, and ought to be reduced to it; that here, and not elsewhere, the hope of blessedness finds its sacred anchor; that in fact, if even a bit be added to or subtracted from the dictate of Reason, its authority is injured.  Why are you astonished, as if you have not confidence in the one narrating?  You have undoubtedly read, or you all are able to read, almost all the words which I have recited, very recently written, and have known those that foster these hypotheses in their souls, and from time to time speak similar things.  But it is better that you be astonished at me, than that Socinian principia be heard in the Reformed Schools without restraint, the hurt of which the Church shall hereafter lament sooner or later.  For you will not be able to give to me, nor I to name, anyone from the impure flock, who might not speak more reverently concerning Revelation, and more modestly concerning Reason.  But even now the pious and true lovers are able to understand, indeed, all that do not close their eyes in the midst of light, what unwholesome fruit that bitter root of Reason will bear.  The Christian Religion, before its truth is made evident by particular and most certain arguments (how many and who, I ask, of children, foolish women, and private men, arrive at that?), is said to be held in no better position that the Turkish, or Pagan, or Jewish.  The single Omnipresence of God is learned from chimeras of the Scholastics, and is a fictitious attribute; the simplicity of God is called into doubt; the liberty of God and the eternity of the Decrees of God are set against each other; arguments for Deity, if they be disjoined from our idea of God, are invalid; miracles are attributed to natural causes; rational creatures are judged to be masters of their own actions; nothing ought to be placed outside of the will that might determine it; the working of God is not to be understood as through the mode of predetermination; the mysteries of the Trinity and of the Incarnation are to be removed from the fundamentals; the corruption of the human nature does not pertain to the mind or its faculties, but unto its use, act and habit; the activities of angels, by which their existence most forcefully demonstrated from the earliest times, are fabricated fables; the state of souls is changed in death, but they do not exchange the dwelling of earth with heaven; a disputation is brought against the infernal region, neither from any appearance of truth is it thought to be unsuitable that after the day of judgment the impious are going to dwell on this earth, and perhaps are going to abound in external goods.  Rejoice, ye impious, and let Epicurus be held as vile among you, who did not promise such things.  But what do these and all similar things elicit from me and from all good men, except the most ardent sighings after God, that He might be willing to take pity on Zion, and to attend upon His own glorious name; except supplications to you, Most Distinguished Nobles, that you from your chairs of authority might prevent the dictate of proud reason; except fraternal rousing to you, Most Illustrious Colleagues and Reverend Co-laborers in the Lord, that we might together oppose the advancing madness, etc.”



[1] Stromata, book I, pages 284, 285.