Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Arminius and the Aseity of the Son

"At a disputation held one afternoon in the University, when the thesis that had been proposed for disputation was the Divinity of the Son of God, one of the students happened to object, "that the Son of God was autotheos, and that he therefore had his essence from himself and not from the Father." In reply to this I observed, "that the word autotheos was capable of two different acceptations, since it might signify either "one who is truly God," or "one who is God of himself;" and that it was with great propriety and correctness attributed to the Son of God according to the former signification, but not according to the latter." The student, in prosecution of his argument, violently contended, that the word was justly applicable to the Son of God, principally according to the second of these significations: and that the essence of the Father could not be said to be communicated to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, in any other than in an improper sense; but that it was in perfect correctness and strict propriety common alike to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." He added "that he asserted this with the greater confidence because he had the younger Trelcatius of pious memory, [but who was then living,] as an authority in his favour on this point; for that learned Professor had written to the same purport in his Common Places." To these observations I answered, "that this opinion was at variance with the word of God, and with the whole of the ancient Church, both Greek and Latin, which had always taught, that the Son had His Deity from the Father by eternal generation." To these remarks I subjoined, "that from such an opinion as this, necessarily followed the two mutually conflicting errors, Tri-theism and Sabellianism; that is, (1.) It would ensue as a necessary consequence, from these premises, that there are three Gods, who have together and collaterally the Divine essence, independently of this circumstance—that one of them (being only personally distinguished from the rest) has that essence from another of the persons. Yet the proceeding of the origin of one person from another, (that is, of the Son from the Father,) is the only foundation that has ever been used for defending the Unity of the Divine Essence in the Trinity of Persons. (2.) It would likewise follow as another consequence, that the Son would himself be the Father, because he would differ from the Father in nothing but in regard to name, which was the opinion of Sabellius. For, since it is peculiar to the Father to derive his Deity from himself, or (to speak more correctly,) to derive it from no one, if, in the sense of being "God of himself," the Son be called autotheos, it follows that he is the Father." Some account of this disputation was dispersed abroad in all directions, and it reached Amsterdam. A minister of that city, who now rests in the Lord, having interrogated me respecting the real state of this affair, I related the whole of it to him plainly, as I have now done: and I requested him to make Trelcatius of blessed memory acquainted with it as it had actually occurred, and to advise him in a friendly manner to amend his opinion, and to correct those inappropriate words in his Common Places: this request the minister from Amsterdam engaged to fulfill in his own way.  In all this proceeding I am far from being liable to any blame; for I have defended the truth and the sentiments of the Catholic and Orthodox Church." - James Arminius, Works Vol. I, Emphasis mine

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lord's Day Meditation: Spiritual worship and blessing the LORD

Bless the Lord, O my soul

"..Unless the spirit or soul of a man, is engaged in the service of God, it is of little avail; for bodily exercise profiteth not; preaching, hearing, praying, and praising, should be both with the spirit, and with the understanding: here the psalmist calls upon his soul to "bless" the Lord; not by invoking or conferring a blessing on him, which as it is impossible to be done, so he stands in no need of it, being God, all sufficient, and blessed for evermore; but by proclaiming and congratulating his blessedness, and by giving him thanks for all mercies, spiritual and temporal."

John Gill on Psalm 103:1

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Anselm: Christ Alone

I found this awesome quote from St. Anselm from an old magazine called "The Presbyterian Guardian."  In this quote Anselm lays out what Protestants identify as the active and passive aspects of Christ's obedience:

"While there is life in thee, in this death alone place thy trust, confide in nothing else besides; to this death commit thyself altogether; with this shelter thy whole self; with this death array thyself from head to foot. And if the Lord Thy God will judge thee, say, Lord, between thy judgment and me I cast the death of our Lord Jesus Christ; no otherwise can I contend with Thee. And if He say to thee, Thou art a sinner, say Lord, I stretch forth the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between my sins and Thee. If He say, Thou art worthy of condemnation, say, Lord, I set the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between my evil deserts and Thee, and His merits I offer for those merits which I ought to have, but have not of my own. If He say that He is wroth with thee, say, Lord, I lift up the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between Thy wrath and me."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Christian Worship - The Example of Cornelius

William Burkitt is so practical; below is another great snippet from "The Poor Man's Help and Rich Man's Guide:"

Man's chief prerogative and dignity which he hath to glory of, is this, that he is the only creature in the visible world, made to worship and enjoy his great creator.  All other creatures are servants, but man only is a priest to God; they obey their maker, he only worships him.  This worship, under the law, was limited to a particular place, to wit, the tabernacle and temple.  But under the gospel, Almighty God has declared that it is his will that "Men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting."  Almighty God therefore not only allows Christians the liberty, but enjoins them the duty of worshiping him with their household: And accordingly we find, that religious householders have, in all ages, constantly and conscientiously performed this duty.  Devout Cornelius stands upon record for his family religion, Acts 10:2, "He feared God, and all his house; that is, he reverenced and worshiped him: It is added, that he "gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always." Surely, he that was so charitable at his door to refresh the pinched bowels of his poor neighbors, could not be so cruel to the souls of his relations and servants within his house, as to lock up his religion in a closet for them.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

God's covenant not determined by human action

"God's covenant love to us in Christ is another stream, flowing from the fountain of unmingled grace. And here, as in the preceeding instance, every truly awakened person disclaims all title to praise; shoves it away from himself, with both hands; and not only with his hands, but with his heart also; while his lips acknowledge, "Not unto us, O Thou divine and coeternal Three, not unto us, but to Thy Name, give glory!"

How is it possible, that either God's purposes, or that His covenant concerning us, can be, in any respect whatever, suspended on the will or the works of men; seeing, both His purposes and His covenant were framed, and fixed, and agreed upon, by the Persons of the Trinity, not only before men existed, but before angels themselves were created, or time itself was born? All was vast eternity, when grace was federally given us in Christ ere the world began (see II Timothy 1:9). Well therefore might the Apostle, in the very text where he makes the above assertion, observe, that the holy calling, with which God effectually converts and sanctifies His people, in time, is bestowed upon us, "not according to our works," but according to God's own free purpose and eternal destination."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sound advice from William Burkitt

From  "The Poor Man's Help and Rich Man's Guide:"

"Begin and end every day with God: In the morning when you awake, accustom yourself to think first upon God, and let him have your first awaking thoughts; lift up your hearts to God reverently and thankfully for the rest of the night past, and let your first discourse be agreeable to your thoughts.  Psalm 139:18 "When I awake, I am still with thee.""

Monday, February 20, 2012

John Lightfoot on Adam's Fall

Below is a section from a sermon on the Sabbath, by Dr. John Lightfoot of the Westminster Assembly.  In this particular portion, Lightfoot argues that Adam fell in the same day he was created.

"That Adam fell on the very day that he was created, needs not so much dispute about, for it is easy to be proved, - as it needs sorrow and wonder: wonder, that he, placed in so incomparable happiness, and having perfect power to continue in it, should set so light by that happiness, as to pass it off for an apple; and that he should lose that happiness on his first day, when he was able to have kept it all his days; and sorrow that the noblest of natures that God had created, should be so soon overthrown, and overthrown so sorely.  For proof of this, we may have recourse to Scripture, to reason and to the correspondence, that was betwixt the fall and the redemption.

1. To prove it by Scripture: First, observe that Psalm 49:12 "Nevertheless, man, being in honour, abideth not, but is like the beasts that perish."  The Psalmist in the verse before, shows the carnal confidence of worldly men: "their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations," etc.  And in this verse he shows how vain such confidences are.  For that man hath no abiding here in his "house," or "honour," but he must away.  And he lays it down, not only as a thin undoubted in itself, in the words that you have before you in your English bibles; but, in the original he includes the most proof of it, that could be produced.  For, in the original, the words speak literally, thus - "Adam in honour lodged not all night," but was fitted out of his honour before his first night came.  And if it were so with him in his great honour, and in his great ability, to have stood and remained in his honour - it is much more so with man, that is become sinful, mortal, and nothing but fading.  I say, the words in the original, bear also this sense, that "Adam in honour lodged not all night."  And so they speak and prove the thing we are upon, that he fell and faded on the very day he was created; and lost his honour and happiness before night came.

2. Second.  Observe that - John. 8:44.  "He was a murderer from the beginning."  The Syriac renders it, "From in the beginning;" the common phrase, whereby the Jewish nation expressed the "days of creation." So is it their common expression, whereby they denote the works of the creation, to call them [hebrew text] "the works in the beginning."  And the Jews that stood by, and heard Christ speak these words - "He was a murderer from the beginning" - could not otherwise understand it, than that he was a murderer even from the days of the creation - that he murdered Adam on the very day that he was created.  And so Christ meant in the words, as speaking according to the common and familiar language of the nation."