Chapter II:31: Answering the Objections of Enthusiasts, Part 1

The Objections of the Enthusiasts:

1.  They attack the Scripture, which they call a double-dealing, dead letter, appealing to Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:6.

I respond with our AUTHOR, α. All the blame of the Obscurity of the Scriptures, through which they may not be able to understand those sufficiently for salvation, is to be sought in the blindness and twistedness of men, while otherwise they are in themselves sufficiently perspicuous, as was seen in § 25, 26.  β. Similarly, that the Scripture is dead and ineffectual, that is occasioned by the vice of corrupt man; but otherwise it is living and efficacious in itself, 1 Peter 1:23; Jeremiah 23:29.  γ. Paul does not speak properly of the Letter, that it is dead, but that it kills, which is not an act of a dead thing, but of a living, τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτείνει, for the letter killeth, of which Letter he says that he is not a minister.  In which manner the Apostles does not reject and despise every Word written in the books of God:  for he himself, who denies himself to be a minister of the letter, left so many volumes written for the Church, and greatly commends the Scripture of the Old Testament also, 2 Timothy 3:15-17.  But by the Letter he understands the Legal ministry of Moses predominating under the Old Testament, to which he opposes the more gracious ministry of the Gospel, called the ministry of the Spirit, either on account of the Spirit promised there, who in the Gospel revealed by Himself not only teaches the spiritual scope/ end and use of the Law, but also confers grace for the fulfillment of the Law in Evangelical perfection:  or because by the Evangelical ministry of the New Testament he understands the Spirit of the Law, as opposed to the external Letter of the same, which is the deeper and more hidden Scope/End of the Law according to the intention of God, namely, that Christ is more clearly delivered and more abundantly inculcated unto righteousness to each believer.  Now, that Letter of the Law kills, since it only prescribes and threatens dearth to transgressors; while at the same time fallen man is unable to fulfill the Law.  Thus by the Law there is no justification, but rather the knowledge of sin, Romans 3:20. The Law worketh wrath, Romans 4:15; Galatians 3:10:  by the Law sin also abounds, Romans 5:20; 7:9, 11.  The Letter of the Ceremonial Law also kills those that, cleaving to the Letter of those precepts, imagine that this worship is of itself acceptable to God, and seek righteousness by the observation of it, but do not penetrate to the spiritual and Evangelical marrow of it by the help of the Spirit of illumination and faith.  δ. And so we do not deny the necessary instruction of the Spirit as teacher for true understanding and the right use of the written Word, but in such a way that He teaches from the Scriptures and through them:  but not that He might deliver new Revelations beyond the Scriptures and contrary to them.  Consult the things to be said concerning the sense of this passage below, Chapter V, § 26, on 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18; and WESSELIUS’ Dissertationem on this passage, which is ninth in his Fasciculo Dissertationum.

Leave a Comment