A Treatise on True Theology
Franciscus Junius

A Treatise on True Theology

With the Life of Franciscus Junius

Franciscus Junius

Translated by David C. Noe
Introduced by Willem J. van Asselt
Foreword by Richard A. Muller

Reformation Heritage Books

Grand Rapids, Michigan

About the Electronic Edition


The Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research holds rights to the publication of this non-commercial electronic edition of A Treatise on True Theology, in agreement with Reformation Heritage Books, publisher of the original print edition. This electronic edition is a faithful reproduction of the print edition.

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Please cite this electronic edition of A Treatise on True Theology with page numbers corresponding to the print edition indicated in the left margin of this version. For example:

Franciscus Junius, A Treatise on True Theology: With the Life of Franciscus Junius, trans. David C. Noe (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014), p. 1, http://www.juniusinstitute.org/companion/junius_de_vera/

Copies of Vita and De vera theologica are reproduced from Franciscus Junius, Opera theologica, vol. 1 (Geneva: Peter and Jacob Chouet, 1613), pp. 1-4, 6-23 and cols. 1755-1812 [Calvin College, Hekman Library, BT70 .J86].

Translator’s dedication

Ken Bratt magistro collegae amico quo melior concipi animo vix potest.

Table of Contents

From the limited perspective of twentieth-century theology and historiography, Franciscus Junius was known primarily as Arminius’s respondent in a debate over predestination, namely the Amica cum Francisco Iunio de praedestinatione or, as translated, the Friendly Conference of James Arminius…with Mr. Francis Junius about Predestination. Arminius was understood to be the famous writer, Junius a rather obscure professor of theology in Leiden. When the epistolary conference took place, however, Arminius was a little-known minister in Amsterdam, and Junius was one of the most highly regarded Reformed theologians in Europe. Junius was renowned for his labors as an exegete and translator of the New Testament and for a series of major treatises, the most influential of which, De theologia vera (True Theology), is here for the first time translated into English. Had Junius written nothing else, True Theology would have assured his place in the minds of his contemporaries. It provided several generations of Protestant theologians with the first fully developed prolegomena to theology and, in it, a paradigm for understanding the nature of human theology, based on revelation and formulated in the context of human sinfulness. Junius’s approach was not only much admired but also much borrowed, sometimes verbatim, by numerous of his contemporaries.

The present volume is a significant effort on several counts. It presents an invaluable and highly influential work to contemporary students of Reformed thought. It offers the first English translation of Junius’s autobiography, a work published posthumously in the seventeenth-century edition of Junius’s complete works. It also offers, by way of the introduction, a perspective on the treatise and on Junius’s life and work in the context of the rise of Reformed scholasticism and orthodoxy.

David Noe’s translations represent significant efforts both in carefully rendering the complexities of late Renaissance classicism, as found primarily in the autobiography, and in finely presenting the grammatically simpler but intellectually more complex scholastic Latin of the treatise. Willem van Asselt’s introduction offers a view of Junius’s work in the light both of his researches into the era and of much current scholarship, of which he was a master. It is with sadness that we note the passing of Professor van Asselt, a superb scholar and good friend, who completed the introduction not long before his untimely death. The man and his work will be long remembered.


Richard A. Muller
Senior Fellow, Junius Institute
Calvin Theological Seminary
August 2014

Willem J. van Asselt

Although the importance of Franciscus Junius (1545–1602) for the history of Protestant theology is increasingly valued by contemporary historians of theology, most of his impressive oeuvre is unavailable to the English-speaking reader. This English translation of one of his most influential works, A Treatise on True Theology (1594), accompanied by a translation of his autobiography, will certainly help to rectify this deficit.1

In this introduction I attempt to sketch the important role Junius played in helping shape the Reformed tradition and illustrate the significance of his True Theology for the development of Reformed dogmatics. To do so, I offer a brief biographical sketch of Junius, followed by a description and analysis of the context, genre, purpose, and main arguments of his True Theology. In a final section I focus on the reception and appropriation of this work by his successors. It will become evident that Junius’s investigations into the nature of theology rapidly became standard fare in post-Reformation Protestant theology (both Lutheran and Reformed), thus setting a pattern for theological studies for generations to come.2 Moreover, its theological and ecclesial settings reveal that True Theology should be read within the context of his entire oeuvre. This further means this work must be read against the backdrop of confessionalization, a period in which the religious scene in Europe grew increasingly polarized. In this respect Junius’s oeuvre, including his treatise on the nature of true theology, can be best characterized as one of the first attempts to resolve the ecclesial and theological disputes plaguing Protestant Christendom in Europe through serious dialogue.

Brief Biographical Sketch

The first source for our knowledge of the life of Franciscus Junius (or François du Jon) is his autobiography, which contains the deeply moving story of his adventurous life until 1593, the year he arrived at Leiden. With Junius’s permission, this autobiography was published in 1595 by Petrus Merula.3 Born at Bourges on May 1, 1545, Junius was one of nine children of a local nobleman. He studied law at Bourges and Lyon and theology at Geneva during Calvin’s final years (1562–1565). In 1565 Junius accepted a call to be the pastor of the Walloon congregation of Antwerp. Here he was associated with Marnix of St. Aldegonde in a committee to spread political and religious literature; for this activity the authorities put a price of three hundred guilders on his head. Junius escaped capture, fleeing to Breda only a half hour before his house was raided. For the next few years he was forced to move to Ghent (1566), and, after a short stay there, he fled to Germany, where he was appointed minister of the church of Reformed refugees at Schönau by the elector Frederick III. He left Schönau for Heidelberg when the elector commissioned him and Immanuel Tremellius, a Jew converted to the Reformed religion, to write a new Latin translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, first published in Frankfurt in 1579. The Sacra Biblia of Tremellius and Junius gained tremendous influence, and its exegetical annotations were highly valued. Published together with Beza’s Latin translation of the Greek New Testament, it was reprinted well into the seventeenth and even the eighteenth century.4

Due to the restoration of Lutheranism at Heidelberg in 1576 by Frederick’s son Louis IV, Junius was forced to go to Neustadt an der Haardt, where he became professor of Hebrew at the Casimirianum, a theological school founded by John Casimir. Casimir was also a son of Frederick III, but he remained loyal to the Reformed religion. During his stay at Neustadt, Junius taught alongside Zacharias Ursinus, the author of the Heidelberg Catechism, and even delivered Ursinus’s funeral oration when he died in 1583. After the reintroduction of Reformed religion in the Palatinate, Junius returned to Heidelberg and in 1584 became a professor of theology there.

In 1591 the French king, Henry IV, asked Junius to come to Paris to be his advisor in Protestant affairs. On his trip to France he visited Leiden where, in 1592, he accepted an appointment as professor of theology. In 1594 Franciscus Gomarus arrived at Leiden to be his colleague and stayed there until 1611. Junius declined invitations to be a minister at La Rochelle and professor in the new university of Franeker. In 1598 the Company of Pastors at Geneva invited Junius to come to assist the Dutch students there. Junius refused, however, perhaps due to increasing ecclesiological differences with Beza after his publication of the Eirenicum.5

On October 23, 1602, at the age of fifty-seven, Junius died, a victim of the Black Death. Gomarus conducted the funeral oration, which was published in 1602 at Leiden under the title Oratio in obitum F. Junii. Throughout his life Junius married four times. His two most well-known children were from his second and third marriages: his daughter Elisabeth, who married the famous humanist scholar Gerardus Johannes Vossius (1577–1649); and his son Franciscus Junius (the younger) (1589–1677), who was the first Reformed minister with Remonstrant sympathies at Hillegersberg.6

Junius as Scholar

One can easily conclude from Junius’s biography that the dark events surrounding the Reformation history of Germany and Flanders profoundly and emotionally affected him until the end of his life. This memory, together with other dramatic events of his Huguenot and family history, colored his identity and personality. As an academic, Junius can be categorized as a scholar who worked in the tradition of advanced humanist scholarship and Protestant theology. In early modern Protestant thought, and especially during the beginning period of confessionalization in which the religious scene in Europe grew more and more polarized, Junius was one of the foremost and creative voices addressing themes and challenging questions of his day throughout his writings. This is evident in that soon after his death in 1602 most of his writings were published as a collected work (his Opera Theologica), which saw three editions: Geneva (1607), Heidelberg (1608), and again Geneva (1613).7

Browsing through the two tomes of his Opera Theologica (comprising more than five thousand pages), one is impressed by the great diversity of subjects. This impression was shared by the nineteenth-century theologian Abraham Kuyper, who in 1882 published an edition of selected works of Junius. In the preface, Kuyper pointed to the international reputation of Junius, stating, “Junius taught everywhere, in France, Switzerland, Germany, and in the Netherlands (apud nostrates).” According to Kuyper, Junius was a preeminent teacher and scholar as well as a strong defender of Augustine’s and Calvin’s teachings.8

Junius was a prolific and versatile author. Besides several commentaries on the Pentateuch, the Old Testament prophets Ezekiel and Daniel, and a commentary on Revelation, he wrote on Hebrew grammar, exegesis, dogmatics, and ecclesiastical and natural law as well as other political issues that seemed to influence thinkers such as Hugo Grotius.9 Junius’s polemical writings include works against the Controversiae of the Jesuit Robert Bellarmine, consisting of seven Animadversiones in which he discussed (among other things) Bellarmine’s views on Holy Scripture and the authority of church councils and the pope. Most of these were published during the last years of his life.10 He also wrote against the Polish Socinians Christophorus Ostorodt and Andreas Voidovius, who arrived at Leiden in 1598 determined to study there. While Junius cordially received them, he refused to discuss their views as he thought them to be dangerous and heretical. In part owing to his instigation, Ostorodt and Voidovius were later forced to leave the Netherlands.11

Junius also wrote noteworthy pieces on federal theology. In 1585 he began his academic career in Heidelberg with two orations on federal theology, and just before his death in 1602 he addressed the same subject in chapters 25 and 26 of his Leiden Theological Theses (respectively entitled De foederibus et testamentis divinis and De veteri et novo Dei foedere); in these writings he offered an extensive examination of federal terminology and salvation in its historical setting.12 Although Junius did not develop a full-blown federal system within these pieces, he did mention the divine covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Israel, and the church and further argued that God’s revelation in various times and periods took place in the context of a covenant. This covenant of God is a gracious “disposition of God and offers the only way of salvation without which no one can or will ever attain grace with God.”13 But Junius did not confine his understanding of covenant to its theological and ecclesiastical dimensions. It was especially the Noahic covenant that he used in political and juridical areas, proposing a civil or state covenant (foedus civile) on which the political commonwealth had to be based.14 This suggests Junius’s possible impact on the federal political philosophy of Johannes Althusius (ca. 1557–1638), the Herborn school of federalism, and even the federal theology of Johannes Cocceius (1603–1669).15

As a respected Reformed orthodox theologian, Junius provided leadership under which the Leiden theological faculty could thrive. Together with Gomarus and Lucas Trelcatius Sr. (1542–1602), Junius made an important contribution to the development of the theological faculty of Leiden University, where he finished out his career. Remarkably, the humanist scholar and philologist Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540–1609) was of another opinion, calling Junius an ingenium desultorium (a superficial mind). In his letters to colleagues, Scaliger wrote rude and insulting things about the Leiden theology professor, even jotting down invective marginal notes such as “ape” (simia) and “donkey” (asinus) while studying Junius’s philological works.16 Scaliger, who was a rather conceited and narrow-minded person, thought little of Junius’s philological scholarship perhaps because he envied Junius’s position as professor primarius at Leiden University. Scaliger’s dislike of Junius may also have been the result of the latter daring to contest Scaliger’s views of biblical chronology.17

According to most of his colleagues, however, Junius’s scholarship was greatly valued; the renowned humanist scholar Gerardus Johannes Vossius (1577–1649) defended Junius, his father-in-law, against Scaliger’s negative comments, as did Hugo Grotius and Franciscus Gomarus, who both studied at Leiden University under the tutelage of Junius. Christiaan Sepp rightly observes that Scaliger appears to have retracted his insults in the memorial poem he wrote after the death of Junius:

For you a wailing school her master mourns,
An orphan church weeps for you her father,
And for her doctor groans the whole wide world.18

Mention should also be made of Junius’s long-standing correspondence with the humanist scholar Justus Lipsius (1547–1606), a prominent representative of the Stoa-reception (Tacitus) in the second half of the sixteenth century. This exchange of letters clearly shows that Junius fully participated in the Republic of Letters (respublica literaria) in Europe during his professorship at Leiden. It was a stimulating factor for the development of his own ideas on social and political issues.19

It is also important to comment on Junius’s relationship with Jacobus Arminius, who became professor at Leiden University in 1603. Junius carried on a correspondence with Arminius after meeting him at Leiden in 1596 at the wedding of Geertje Jacobsdochter (Arminius’s aunt) and Johannes Cuchlinus, who had been regent of the Saten­college since 1592. During the wedding celebration, Arminius and Junius discussed the doctrine of predestination and agreed to exchange letters on the subject.20 They promised to keep the correspondence confidential lest it cause trouble in the church. In this correspondence Arminius complained that Junius’s position on predestination required the existence of sin for the execution of the decree of election. Junius responded to this complaint with twenty-eight propositions in which he refuted Arminius and defended his own view. Although he did not defend full supralapsarianism like Beza, Junius emphatically denied that his views made God the author of sin. When this correspondence was publicized by one of Junius’s students, Arminius continued the debate, but Junius refused any further discussion. In 1613 the correspondence between Arminius and Junius was posthumously published under the title Amica Collatio cum Francisco Junio.21 In order to prevent Arminius’s appointment at Leiden, Gomarus—then the senior member of the theological faculty—told the story that on his deathbed Junius had warned him against appointing Arminius as his successor at Leiden University. The curators of the university did not believe the story, however, telling Gomarus that he had no authority to speak on the matter.22

It seems that the relationship between Junius and Arminius was somewhat ambivalent. While they could appreciate each other, theologically they disagreed. Despite the fact that Junius and his family had cordial relationships with the Remonstrants, it cannot be inferred that he shared the opinions of Arminius and later Remonstrants. The words of praise that the Remonstrant historian Geeraert Brandt dedicated to Junius in a Dutch poem show that he was admired for his peaceable disposition even by his theological opponents:

Famous Junius, virtuous pastor, and fourfold nobleman, by origin, intellect, science, and virtue, you are unlike the cruel torture of the Spanish fury.

Your weapons were words, the power of Holy Scripture, the sharp sword of the Spirit, and the shield of endurance.

You have contended falsehood by truth, hatred by love.

Popish strong-arm tactics must make way for reason’s gentle power.23

Three Major Works

Junius’s three most influential writings were his Theological Theses, the Eirenicum, and True Theology. The Theological Theses, composed during his time at Leiden, cover in short, numbered paragraphs the principal topics of theology. Consisting of fifty-seven heads of doctrine, these theses deal with theology, Scripture, tradition, God, predestination, the Trinity, creation, sin, law, gospel, covenant, Christ, faith, the Christian life, the church, sacraments, and the state of the soul after death. At the end of the Leiden theses, the editor of the first volume of Junius’s Opera Theologica added several sets of theological theses that had been disputed under Junius at the University of Heidelberg—fifteen disputations referred to as the Heidelberg Theses.24 Both sets of theological theses belong to the genre of the disputatio, the most celebrated genre of academic discourse since the middle of the thirteenth century. The academic background to this disputatio genre was the scholastic method. Both in his Heidelberg and Leiden theses Junius fully participated in this tradition, demonstrating an increasing precision in determining the context and content of theological concepts and terms by means of logical analysis.

A second important work published shortly after Junius’s arrival at Leiden was his Eirenicum on the Peace of the Catholic Church among Christians (1593).25 This work appeared almost simultaneously in both French and Latin editions. The French edition was addressed to the Catholic clergy in France (â Messiers du Clergé, qui sont au Royaume de France). According to Cuno, this French edition must have been published before July 1593, the month of King Henry IV’s conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. As Junius expressed hope that the Gallican Catholic Church in France would free itself from the Holy See in Rome, a dedication of this kind to the French Catholic clergy after July 1593 would have been meaningless. As can be further verified from Junius’s correspondence with H. Smetius, the Eirenicum was indeed published before Henry IV’s transition in March of 1593.26 The Latin edition was addressed to Maurice, landgrave of Hesse, who was deeply involved in the Lutheran and Reformed disputes in his county.

In short, the Eirenicum consists of meditations on Psalms 122 and 133 in which Junius warmly urges cultivating a spirit of peace and unity in the churches, especially in Germany and France. For this reason Junius is often considered a representative of the so-called Reformed irenicism. While the religious scene in Europe grew more and more polarized as a result of confessionalization, Junius called for ecclesiastical peace. If resolution could not be immediately reached over theological disputes, Junius called on Christians to at least join forces. His irenic attitude emphasized how much common ground confessional enemies actually shared. He expressed appreciation for this by saying that although no confessions were equal, all were forms of Christianity with a common belief in the same Savior; likewise, those who professed Christ were all Christians. If they as brothers (fratres) would engage in constructive dialogue, abandoning all ambition to rule over one another, he was sure they could one day unite as members of a church that was catholic in the original meaning of the word: a universal church.

In this respect Junius was one of the first Reformed theologians who hoped that the disputes plaguing European Christendom might be resolved through serious dialogue. In the following decades, eminent scholars of every confession—such as George Cassander (Roman Catholic), George Callixtus (Lutheran), Hugo Grotius (Remonstrant), and David Pareus and John Dury (Reformed)—adopted the same approach.

Junius’s mediation was further sought on the local level. He was frequently asked by church governments and city magistrates to mediate between conflicting religious parties. Thus, for example, the Utrecht magistrate requested him to mediate in a conflict involving one of Utrecht’s parish churches, the Jacobskerk. The conflict was between the Reformed consistory and the followers of the “liberal” pastor Huibert Duifhuis (1531–1581), who rejected any form of ecclesiastical discipline introduced by the local government. Although Junius did not agree with an Erastian model of church government, he counseled against separation of the Jacobi parish because right doctrine was not at stake.27 At the request of Arminius and Jean Taffin, then ministers of the Walloon church in Amsterdam, Junius also became involved in the English separatist movement of the Brownists in Middelburg and Amsterdam led by Francis Johnson and Henry Ainsworth. In 1598 these English separatists published a confession of faith (Confessio Fidei Anglorum in Belgio exulantium) both to express their theological convictions shared with the Reformed churches but also to enumerate their objections against the Anglican Church. This confession was sent to the universities of Leiden, St. Andrews, Heidelberg, and Geneva, and the authors invited each theological faculty to respond with feedback. Junius felt forced to intervene, and by means of several letters he responded saying that this consensus was not reason for the crafting of a new confession of faith, and their separation was not warranted due to the deviating doctrines they listed. Therefore, the accusations directed against the Anglican Church (and the Amsterdam congregation) were unnecessary. Consequently, Junius argued their separated congregation was unnecessary and even illegitimate.28 In both cases—Utrecht and Amsterdam—Junius strove to uphold the peace of the churches (pax ecclesiarum) as he had in his Eirenicum.

A Treatise on True Theology: Its Historical Context, Genre, and Purpose

Junius’s most influential Latin work, A Treatise on True Theology, was first published in 1594. Junius dedicated this work to the curators of Leiden University and consuls of the city of Leiden. The full force of this treatise can be correctly determined only when it is considered together with his Eirenicum, published one year earlier. The historical value of True Theology is most evident when it is considered as a demonstration of the connection between humanist scholarship and the Reformed tradition in Junius’s thought. It also demonstrates his attempt to establish a well-defined confessional identity of Reformed theology, one that at the same time was open to points of conversation with representatives of other confessions.29

In this respect True Theology must be placed in the context of the confessional debates of the late sixteenth century. In Junius’s estimation, the primary cause of these confessional conflicts was the imperfect nature of every human being, which indicated that this was not simply the fault of theologians and believers of other confessions but also of those in the Reformed church. What mattered most was not the issue of labeling something as orthodox as opposed to heresy, but the inadequacy of theological thinking. Junius did not expect a complete consensus in theology, for no theologian can claim that he has fully understood and grasped theology in an absolute sense (theologia absoluta). In this life theological knowledge remains imperfect pilgrim theology (theologia viatorum). Junius thus expected humility of his colleagues, urging them to be aware of their own imperfections and limitations when doing theology. Echoing his Eirenicum, in the last chapter of True Theology Junius outlines the two main concerns of this work: “The goal set before us in this life is the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. We all must strive together for this unity in the communion of the saints and stretch every muscle, to the utmost of our ability, to lay hold of the fruit of that unity.”30

In the preface to True Theology, Junius noted that this work was written due to the request of some of his “good men and my most devoted colleagues” (bonorum et amantissimorum collegarum meorum postulatione). His main goal in writing this treatise was to explain both what theology and a theologian are in order to inform all Christians about the value of theology in Jesus Christ (de dignitate sua in Christo Iesu) and to convince them of the seriousness of their task (de sui muneris gravitate), “avoiding other concerns as though they were sheer cliffs and the most treacherous Syrtes.”31 Junius thus expressed his hope that his expositions on true theology would help Christians to “spend their time in these duties day and night with utmost zeal in the presence of the Lord (who through the Spirit instructs those who reflect upon and read these works).”32 In this preface he also expressed his gratitude that the curators of the university had called him to Leiden, as he could now entirely devote himself to private study and public lectures. Leiden was for him “like Sparta”; here he was free from other all other occupations and troubles, things he had abhorred for so many years.

During his teaching years at Heidelberg, Junius had already addressed the question of the nature of theology. At the end of the first volume of his Opera Theologica is a set of twenty-seven theses, with the first one entitled “On the Definition of Theology.”33 Moreover, during his teaching period at Leiden, Junius also discussed the topic, which is evident from the Leiden theses also printed in his Opera Theologica.34 The question of the nature of theology was also included in the cycle of disputations at Leiden University presided over by Junius, Gomarus, and Trelcatius (published as Compendium Theologiae). Its first disputation, presided over by Junius and defended by Antonius Walaeus, consisted of twelve theses and was entitled De vera theologia (1597).35 A final indication of Junius’s longstanding reflections on the nature of theology can be found in a three-volume dogmatic handbook entitled Sum of several commonplaces of Sacred Theology, printed in the Genevan 1613 edition of his Opera Theologica.36

Although comparison of these publications does not reveal any novel insights on the part of Junius, Donald Sinnema is of the opinion that Junius’s various reflections on the nature of true theology reveal a developing position that came to maturation in True Theology. While Sinnema notes some areas where divergent formulations appear, a detailed comparison of these, though certainly worthwhile, exceeds the purpose of this introduction. It is sufficient to say here that Sinnema has shown that in some respects the Leiden reflections mark a change in Junius’s thinking regarding the genus of true theology. Whereas in the Leiden theses Junius defined theology’s genus as “the divine wisdom of things,” in the earlier Heidelberg theses he distinguished theology as scientia for the following reason: “[Theology] alone has a just knowledge (cognitionem) of demonstrative conclusions concerning God and divine things, which conclusions are necessary, and they cannot be otherwise. It renders the mind of the knower steadfast and is content with contemplation of the truth by itself.”37 Sinnema further argues that the Heidelberg formulations reflect the arguments of Thomas Aquinas on this subject.38

True Theology is comprised of thirty-eight chapters and is preceded by thirty-nine theses in which Junius defines his terms and essential theological concern for understanding the task of theology. The work belongs to the so-called locus of prolegomena in which a rationale for the systematic organization of doctrine was presented. This organization became necessary in the later institutional and academic setting of Reformed theology.39 It was only when Reformed academies and universities were established that formal discussion of the status and task of theology as well as its connection with other disciplines (especially philosophy) became urgent. These prolegomena set out the premises, presuppositions, or principles of their system of thought, providing an interpretative paradigm. One of the fundamental issues in the prolegomena of the Reformed orthodox systems was the meaning and usage of the term theology; considered as part of prolegomena were theology’s parts and divisions, genus, subject, and object. For this reason Junius’s teaching on this topic is of considerable interest. As will become clear when reading this piece, the importance of this treatise is that it clarifies the Reformed concept of Christian theology as fundamentally a relational enterprise, determined by and determinative of the divine–human relationship. In what follows I present a short overview of the main issues and arguments of True Theology.40

The Existence of True Theology

The presentation of theology according to its origin, nature, forms, and parts occupies a central position in early orthodox prolegomena. In his presentation of the subject matter, Junius follows the standard scholastic pattern of argumentation as given in the following three questions: An sit? (Whether it is?), Quid sit? (What is it?), Qualis sit? (Of what sort is it?). Junius answers the first question in the affirmative: theology does exist. According to Junius, the existence of theology can be demonstrated not only from the etymology of the word theology but also from natural light (naturae lux), the consensus of all people (consensus omnium populorum), and the subject matter of theology itself (res ipsa).41 If God is the principle of all good things, then the conclusion can be made that all mankind has some knowledge of God and consequently knows the possibility and existence of theology.

Junius’s affirmation of the existence of theology leads him to consider the second question concerning the nature of theology. Before answering this question, however, Junius desires that the reader know the distinction between false and true theology:

Thesis 3: Even if all believe that theology exists, nevertheless it is commonly spoken of in two ways. For one theology is true, the other is false and subject to opinion.

The truth of the matter has produced this equivocation which we have here established, when compared with our own vitiated and erroneous judgment and perception. For indeed it arises from the truth of the subject that the wisdom of divine matters exists, whatever in the final analysis it is and of what sort, and is also said to be true. But as a consequence of the perversion of our judgment and, with the sediment of our senses, so to speak, removing spiritual tastes from our minds, it happens that in this very serious matter also (as in other things) we embrace something false in place of what is true.42

While Junius is of the opinion that a full discussion of false theology is not useful for Christian theology, he does provide a short definition and classification of it. False theology, he says, is duplex: it can be either common (vulgaris) or philosophical (philosophica). False theology that is vulgar subsists in the imperfect principles of our nature, whereas philosophical false theology—the root of the three branches of mythical, physical, and political theology—is comprised of false conclusions made by erroneous arguments. This division is essentially an assimilation of the distinction made by Stoic philosopher Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 BC), one that is generally followed by most Reformed scholastics. According to Junius, it was Augustine who transmitted this threefold division to the Christian tradition.43 Nevertheless, Junius bypasses a thorough discussion of this paradigm because he wants to concentrate on the truth of theology as it leads to salvation. Since Junius’s object is limited at this point—that is, true theology—pagan or natural theology does not play a role in his treatise on true theology. This is also true for much of later Reformed orthodoxy.

True Theology as Sapientia

As Junius’s audience does not deny the existence of true theology, he proceeds immediately to answer the question, What is theology? (Quid sit?) Determinative of Junius’s answer to this question are his answers to two other questions: first, whether our theology is a science and, second, whether this theology is theoretical (contemplative) or practical.44 First, Junius asks whether theology is intelligentia, scientia, ars, prudentia, or sapientia—namely, intelligence, knowledge, art, prudence, or wisdom. This fivefold classification comes from an important discussion in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics; from the early thirteenth century onward the medieval doctors assimilated this paradigm, using it in their discussions of the genus of theology.45 Because it was not specifically addressed in the theology of the Reformers, the Reformed scholastics drew upon this Aristotelian classification in order to identify their view of the genus of theology. According to the Aristotelian paradigm, academic disciplines are intellectual dispositions (habitus intellectuales) that are included within the basic disposition for knowing (habitus sciendi). Using Aristotle’s five basic ways of knowing (intelligentia, scientia, ars, prudentia, and sapientia), Junius next asks whether true theology can be best correlated with any of the recognized genus of academic discipline. Theology, he argues, is unlike intelligentia since intelligentia is identified as knowledge of principles but not of conclusions; theology, however, consists both in principles and conclusions drawn from them. Junius further argues that theology cannot be identified with scientia (discipline of drawing conclusions), nor is theology best identified with ars, which proceeds from intelligentia and scientia and terminates in some external work. Thus, Junius makes the case that theology must be viewed as sapientia. As seen in the following quotation, theology is wisdom in the sense that it combines theoretical and moral dispositions or capacities:

But our definition of theology encompasses all of these simultaneously. It includes the intellection of first principles, the knowledge of conclusions and ends, and it is the most beneficial skill of our work, by which we strive toward God. Clearly there is nothing that can pass judgment on all these matters with reliability except for wisdom, nothing else that can arrange them appropriately or set them forth in a saving manner. Now since this is the case, there is no other genus that can be established for theology than wisdom, since it makes judgments about the first principles of the sciences in the understanding and about the conclusions from these, as well as embracing by its power all things that are necessary for the perfection of every good, and making use of them all most wisely.46

From this discussion it appears that Junius was profoundly aware of the importance of the medieval debate over this issue. Although he did not cite the medieval theologians directly, it is apparent that he drew substantively upon them. Moreover, his words seem to suggest that this debate originated in Augustine’s distinction of sapientia from scientia according to which sciences dealt with temporal things and wisdom with eternal things.47

The second question Junius discusses under the section Quid sit theologia? is whether theology is contemplative or practical. Although he believes the issue is important, he deals with it briefly because his conclusions concerning the genus of theology entail the position that theology must be viewed as both theoretical and practical—that is, theology consists of things to be believed and things to be done. Theology defined as wisdom is “the most reliable indicator of principles, the most complete starting point of all sciences both theoretical and practical, and the wisest judge of all actions and reasons, greater than every limitation.”48

The Divisions of True Theology

Having discussed the definition of theology, including the possibility or existence of true theology and its demarcation from false theology (including the discussion of the genus of true theology), Junius proceeds to elaborate the third question, Qualis sit? In his answer Junius was the first Reformed theologian to use the influential and basic division of theologia archetypa and theologia ectypa.49 This division is perhaps best clarified by quoting theses 6 through 10 (theses that immediately follow his discussion of true theology as sapientia as expressed in thesis 5):

5. [True] theology is wisdom concerning divine matters (chapter 2).

6. This theology is either archetypal, undoubtedly the wisdom of God Himself, or it is ectypal, having been fashioned by God (chapter 3).

7. Archetypal theology is the divine wisdom of divine matters. Indeed, we stand in awe before this and do not seek to trace it out (chapter 4).

8. Ectypal theology, whether taken in itself, as they say, or relatively in relation to something else, is the wisdom of divine matters, fashioned by God from the archetype of Himself, through the communication of grace for His own glory (chapter 5).

9. And so this so-called theology taken in itself, in fact, is the whole wisdom of divine matters, communicable with what has been created according to the capacity of the one communicating it.

10. But the theology that is relative is the wisdom of divine matters communicated to things created, according to the capacity of the created things themselves. It is, moreover, communicated by union, vision, or revelation.50

Archetypal and Ectypal Theology

In his comments on thesis 7, Junius introduces the distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology. He defines archetypal theology as the theology of God in Himself. It is the theology according to which the triune God knows Himself and everything that is outside Him by an indivisible act of knowing. It is God’s eternal and essential wisdom and therefore God’s essence itself in which all things are present without being the result of a discursive process.51 Because the topic de theologia was not methodologically treated by Luther, Calvin, or their contemporaries, later generations of Protestant theologians like Junius fell back on the theological prolegomena of the medieval scholastics.52 According to Junius, the concept of archetypal and ectypal theology can be traced back to the medieval scholastic distinction between divine self-knowledge and human knowledge of God. Junius’s use of this distinction is a good example of the critical reception of the Christian tradition by Reformed theology. He refers to the orthodox fathers who used the term archetypos to indicate a theologia exemplaris of divine and immutable character, and the term ectypa to distinguish a theology that God accommodated to human understanding. More recent theologians (recentiores) call the first theology secundum se, or absolute, the latter theology secundum quid, or theology in relation to human creatures. Archetypal theology, however, is theology in its proper sense; that is, it is the infinite wisdom of God concerning Himself and His works ad intra as they are necessary to Him and ordered by Him in a perpetual relationship according to His infinite reason. On the other hand, ectypal theology is the wisdom creatures have concerning God and about the things that are ordered toward God, all communicated by Him. The two are so disparate that it is impossible to subsume them under one common chapter. Therefore, for Junius archetypal and ectypal theology cannot be placed under one genus since archetypal theology is identical with the divine essence, which by definition cannot be shared with anything else.53 There is then a radical disjunction between God’s own infinite and necessary (Trinitarian) wisdom and knowledge of Himself and man’s finite and contingent wisdom and knowledge of God.

According to Junius’s contemporary Amandus Polanus (1561–1610), professor of theology in Basel, the distinction between divine and human knowledge can be traced back to Scotus’s commentary on the Sententiae, where he introduced the concepts of theologia in se and theologia nostra.54 In his own systematic formulation of Reformed theology, Polanus references this medieval author’s definition. Not surprisingly, Junius’s discussion of archetypal and ectypal theology is reminiscent of Scotus’s definition of theology.55 Arguably, the distinction of archetypal and ectypal theology also stands in continuity with early Protestant thought. According to Muller, traces of it can be found in Luther’s distinction between theologia gloriae and theologia crucis and in Calvin’s distinction between the eternal word of God and the revealed Word of God.56

For Junius, archetypal theology is uncreated and identical with the divine being itself. It is essential to God, and thus it is most simple, eternal, intuitive, nondiscursive, absolute, incommunicable, infinite, and most perfect.57 It is infinite because as principle of all things it pertains to every universal and particular; before God nothing is hidden, but all things are open and laid bare to His eyes (Heb. 4:13). It is incommunicable for it belongs to God alone (propria Dei); as such it cannot be comprehended by any creature, and so we are not called to search it out, but to adore it.58

Although similar statements are found in later Reformed scholastics, this use of the term theology for divine knowledge was not supported unanimously. According to Muller, Lucas Trelcatius (1573–1603) and Franciscus Turrettinus (1623–1678) developed a simpler division of theology, limiting the proper use of the term theology to human knowledge of God. Junius, however, does not hesitate to use the term theology both for God’s knowledge of Himself and for human knowledge of God.59 Nevertheless, Junius stressed that God’s uncreated and essential archetypal theology differs entirely from ectypal theology, the latter being accidental and finite and a sort of outflow and efflux (aporroè) of the former. Junius explains:

Thesis 8: Ectypal theology, whether taken in itself, as they say, or relatively in relation to something else, is the wisdom of divine matters, fashioned by God from the archetype of Himself, through the communication of grace for His own glory.60

With this definition Junius clarifies the different causes of ectypal theology. Although theology is preeminently in the mind of God Himself, this divine self-knowledge is the causal basis for human theology. Ectypal theology is thus created by God, its efficient cause. Just as the moon receives its light from the sun, so God, in ectypal theology, communicates His true light to creatures.61 But not only is God the efficient cause (causa efficiens) of ectypal theology, He is at the same time its final cause (causa finalis) because theology is meant to glorify God. Junius further explains that the material cause (or subject matter) of ectypal theology concerns the res divinae, and the formal cause is indicated by the phrase “[Ectypal theology] is fashioned from the archetypal one through the communication of grace (ex archetypo illa informatam per communicationem gratiae).”62

Junius’s use of Aristotelian aetiology raises the issue of the Protestant scholastic use of causal language. The popular response has been that this language is symptomatic of an excessive Aristotelianism and, in the case of the Reformed orthodox, is evidence of a betrayal of the more biblical approaches to theology as given by the Reformers. Some have claimed this is evidence of a Protestant scholastic metaphysical and deterministic interest. But Junius introduces the causal terminology of Aristotle simply to explain the origin of ectypal theology. In this way he formalized and nuanced the discussion, providing a context within which the arguments concerning the distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology could be understood. As evident in this work, Junius used causal language not as an overarching pattern, but as a heuristic tool designed to ground a whole series of issues explaining his theological epistemology.63 This especially becomes clear when we note Junius’s distinction regarding the causes of ectypal theology; he differentiates between the internal concept of ectypal theology in the mind of God and the external form in which God communicates this concept to human beings. The internal concept in the mind of God is His divine will and grace; the external form is the body of knowledge that God decided to reveal to mankind. Junius compares God’s internal concept of ectypal knowledge to a source (fons), whereas the external form he likens to a lake (lacus) derived from the source.64

Furthermore, the concept of ectypal knowledge existing in the mind of God must be distinguished from archetypal theology. Junius calls the former theologia simpliciter dicta or theology absolutely considered; this differs from archetypal theology in that the latter is incommunicable while the former is communicable. When communication of ectypal knowledge takes place then theologia simpliciter dicta becomes theologia secundum quid (i.e., relational theology), for it depends upon God’s gracious accommodation of Himself to a form that finite beings are capable of understanding. Junius calls this accommodated theology a second-order theology, whereas he considered theologia simpliciter dicta to be a first-order theology.

This does not mean, however, that for Junius the identity of archetypal theology with the divine essence of God renders Him incapable of communicating to the created order. God Himself bridges the gap by graciously revealing ectypal theology to His creatures by an act of His free and contingent will ad extra. At the same time, the distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology underscores the fact that human beings do not have direct access to the knowledge of God. Thus, humans are dependent on God’s external self-disclosure. In other words, there is no way of access from man to God, but only from God to man.

Finally, Junius stresses that both forms of ectypal theology (theologia simpliciter dicta and secundum quid) equal the distinction between theologia in se and theologia in subjectis, namely, theology in itself and theology in finite knowing subjects. While the former (theologia in se) is communicable by God—but cannot be grasped by human effort—ectypal theology in subjectis is a mediated and communicated theology. It is an act of God’s will without which He would remain unknown and unknowable. Therefore, the main interest of theologians, Junius comments, should not be focused on ectypal theology that is theologia in se, but on the theology secundum quid or in subjectis (that is, the relational and communicated form of ectypal theology). Junius concludes this section emphasizing that “this theology is particularly ours, the one by the communication of which we drink from the abundance of God in Christ Jesus (John 1:16).”65

Three Kinds of Ectypal Theology

Having discussed the fundamental distinctions between archetypal and ectypal theology, Junius discusses next the three genera of ectypal theology (in subjecto), each distinguished from the next as it can be communicated in different ways and to different subjects: by union (unione) to Christ, by vision (visione) to the beatified, and by revelation (revelatione) to the pilgrim or viator. In descending order, ectypal theology can thus be communicated to Jesus Christ, to the spirits in heaven, and to people on earth. When ectypal theology is communicated by union, the result is the theology of Christ as the God-man (theanthropos) or the theology of the Mediator (theologia unionis in Christo); when communicated to the blessed in heaven, the result is theologia visionis; and when communicated to men on earth it results in theologia revelationis. Junius’s discussion of this threefold communication of ectypal theology is worth quoting at length:

The first theology is the highest and most complete of them all, from which we all draw (John 1:16). And it exists in Christ according to His humanity. The second theology is perfect, by which blessed spirits acquire in the heavens the glorious vision of God and by which we ourselves will, in the same way, see God (1 John 3:2). The third, finally, is not perfect in its own right, but rather through the revelation of faith it has been so endowed with the principles of the same truth that it can conveniently be called full and complete from our perspective. Yet it is incomplete if it should be compared with that heavenly theology for which we hope, as the apostle taught the Corinthians (1 Cor. 13:12). And so this, in sum, is our theology.66

It is particularly interesting that Junius’s subdivisions of ectypal theology in subjecto are dominated by a christological emphasis. This christological framework is unmistakably present as Junius makes the point that the theology of union in Christ is the principle of the two other forms of ectypal theology—the theology of vision and revelation. Whereas archetypal theology is the matrix of all forms of theology, the theology of union is the mother (mater) of the two other forms of ectypal theology, that is, the theology of vision and revealed theology. Junius concludes:

The archetypal is the fount of them all, but the ectypal is, as it were, the common reservoir or storage vessel. From the divine fullness of this saving vessel, created things draw in two ways: One group of them by sight in God’s presence, the other by revelation, though they are of course absent and on pilgrimage away from the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6–7). From these two modalities the two other genera of ectypal theology have proceeded: One of these the orthodox fathers called the theology of the blessed, the other, that of pilgrims. Therefore the second form of the ectypal theology is the theology of the blessed, or the exalted theology. The third we can call that of pilgrims or the humble type. And so Christ sanctified both these types of theology in His own person, since He both experienced the humble theology in the humiliation of the flesh, and now enjoys the exalted type in that very exaltation by which He now has been exalted above every name, evidently so that He might show that the common principle of each theology resides in Himself.67

The conclusion seems to be justified that in True Theology Christology undergirds the presuppositions and approach to the nature of true theology.

Pilgrim Theology

The last category of ectypal theology is that of pilgrims on earth or theologia viatorum—a theology preceding the theology of the beatified in heaven. Here Junius draws upon the traditional distinction between pilgrims and blessed, along with the corresponding in via and in patria, a concept that dates back to at least Augustine and was used extensively by medieval theologians.68 Commenting on 1 Corinthians 13:8–9, Junius declares that in contrast to the perfection and permanence of both the theology of union and vision, the theology of the “viator” is “mixed with our weakness and imperfection because it comprehends only the basic principles of that most perfect theology in heaven. By these principles that are indeed perfect in and of themselves but rendered imperfect in a certain way [they] are carried up to heavenly perfection.”69 The language of in via and in patria further indicate a strong teleological and eschatological orientation of theology. Theology on earth is thus always a pilgrim theology and, therefore, an imperfect theology.70

According to Junius, nature and grace are the two basic forms for the communication of revealed or pilgrim theology. Nature represents an internal or immanent ground for the communication of divine knowledge, whereas grace represents an external ground for its communication. On the basis of the former a natural (revealed) theology is constructed, and on the basis of the latter is built a supernatural (also revealed) theology.71

A final comment should also be made about Junius’s identification of theology as a mixed discipline (i.e., that it is both speculative/contemplative and practical). Although Junius’s distinctions between archetypal and ectypal theology can be traced back to Scotist origins, this does not mean he held the Scotist view of theology as an essentially practical discipline. Like most of the Reformed orthodox, Junius assumed that theology was a mixed discipline in its approach to the knowledge of God; it is both contemplative and practical.72

The Significance of Junius’s True Theology for Reformed Dogmatics

After its introduction by Junius, the distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology (along with its subdivisions) became commonplace in Protestant orthodoxy and was treated in every systematic work of note. Whereas Junius offered a thorough and at times original investigation of the fundamental meaning of theology and its scientific foundations, his successors primarily presented a summary of his main results. This is true not only of the Reformed theologians but also of Lutheran dogmaticians. Thus Johannes Gerhard (1582–1637), generally considered to be the most prominent orthodox Lutheran theologian after Luther, followed (at times verbatim) the order of Junius’s discussions.73 In fact, there is little difference between the Lutheran and Reformed orthodox on these points, except on the matter of the theologia unionis.

According to Junius and his Reformed colleagues, and contrary to most Lutheran scholastics, the theology of union did not involve the communication of archetypal theology to Christ’s human nature. While Gerhard simply stated that the theology of union was, by virtue of the personal union, a perfect knowledge of God and divine things, the Wittenberg professor Abraham Calov (1612–1686) went a step further, asserting that Christ, according to His human nature, possessed archetypal theology by virtue of the exchange of properties between the two natures of Christ (communicatio idiomatum). According to Calov, this rested on the supposition that the unity of the two natures in Christ’s person demanded a real communication or sharing of attributes.74 Consequently the Lutherans stated that Christ was in possession of the archetypal knowledge of God as it was communicated to His human nature. Junius and the Reformed scholastics emphatically denied this, arguing that the finitude of the human nature cannot grasp the infinity of God (finitum non capax infiniti). Furthermore, they argued Christ’s humanity did not get lost in His divinity. Christ was like us in all things—also with respect to knowledge—and because His human nature has certain limitations, there was room for it to develop (cf. Luke 2:52). Thus, for Junius and the Reformed, Christ could not possess archetypal theology; the theology of union did not involve the communication of archetypal theology to Christ’s human nature. Secondly, against the Lutheran doctrine of the genus majestaticum—a doctrine stating that the human nature of Christ participates in the divine glory and majesty—Junius and his Reformed colleagues argued that this would imply a change in God’s essence.75 Rather, they argued the properties or attributes of each of the two natures coincide in the one person of Christ and could only be predicated of Him personally. The exchange of properties, therefore, exists from the two natures to the person, and not between the two natures. Because the communicatio idiomatum does not take place in the abstract (i.e., between the natures), but in the concrete (i.e., at the level of the person), Jesus Christ does not possess archetypal theology. Although a detailed description of this debate exceeds the limits of this introduction, arguably the results of Reformed and Lutheran Christology played a signifcant role in shaping the form and contents of Reformed prolegomena.

As indicated earlier, during the first half of the seventeenth century the distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology was assumed by nearly every Reformed author. To give only a few examples: Amandus Polanus concisely summarized Junius’s paradigm in his Syntagma (1609); Johannes Alsted, professor of philosophy and theology at Herborn (Germany) and later in Weissenburg (Transylvania), used Junius’s distinctions in his Methodus Sacrosanctae Theologiae (1614); Johannes Polyander addressed the topic in the Synopsis purioris theologiae (1625), an influential compendium of the period; and Johannes Wollebius cited Junius’s distinctions almost verbatim in his Christianae Theologiae Compendium (1626).76

During the second half of the seventeenth century, Junius’s classification became normative for many Reformed theologians in their study of theology as a discipline. It is found not only in the high orthodox systems of Gisbertus Voetius (1589–1676), Melchior Leydecker (1642–1721), Petrus van Mastricht (1630–1706), and Francis Turrettin (1623–1687) but also in the prolegomena of federal systems like those of Johannes Cocceius (1603–1669), Franciscus Burman (1628–1679), Johann Heinrich Heidegger (1633–1698), Abraham Heidanus (1597–1678), and Johannes Braun (1628–1708).77 It is important to note the great variety of theologians who followed Junius’s divisions and classification of theology as found in his True Theology. This should warn us against making a facile juxtaposition of federal–biblical theology with scholastic–dogmatic theology, an error found in many of the discussions of federal theology.78

Furthermore, the archetypal/ectypal distinction was not confined to Continental Reformed theology, but can also be found in English Puritan theologians such as John Owen and Richard Baxter.79 Jacobus Arminius also endorsed Junius’s distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology, but later Arminian theologians like Simon Episcopius (1583–1643) and Philippus van Limborch (1633–1712) vehemently rejected this distinction as “vain subleties without solidity and utility.”80 By giving up this distinction, however, their theological systems proved to be more open to seventeenth-century rationalism, whereas the Reformed system—due to its archetypal and ectypal paradigm—presented a vital opposition to it.

The divisions and classifications of True Theology were still prominent into the eighteenth century, evident in the prolegomena of late orthodox theologians. Johannes à Marck (1656–1731) and Bernardinus de Moor (1709–1780) carefully worked through Junius’s classifications.81 De Moor emphasized that the archetypa–ectypa distinction is founded on biblical grounds (e.g., Matt. 11: 27; 1 Cor. 2:10–11) and that it is conducive for thoughtful meditation on God’s revelation in conjunction with the practice of piety.82

Finally, some nineteenth- and twentieth-century authors, such as Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, Louis Berkhof, and Wolfhart Pannenberg, commented on Junius’s arrangement of theology.83 It is somewhat ironic that at the end of his career Karl Barth—more than once a severe critic of early modern Reformed theology—highlighted the importance of Junius’s distinction by stating in his Einführung in die evangelische Theologie (1962) that the history of Neo-Protestant theology would have been quite different and much better “if these seemingly abstruse distinctions [theologia archetypa and ectypa] were not qualified as a ‘dogmatische Antiquität’ by the theologians of the fateful turn (‘verhängnisvollen Wende) around the eighteenth century.”84

Concluding Remarks

From this survey it becomes clear that Junius and early modern Reformed theologians utilized the insights of patristic, medieval, and Reformation theologians when framing their concept of theology. This is especially evident in True Theology. The use of the archetypal/ectypal distinction and the crucial significance of the theology of union in its relation to the two other forms of ectypal theology was, for the Reformed orthodox, a means of developing the principles and task of theology, a discipline to be determined by a strong Trinitarian and christological framework. In this context it is important to note here that natural theology is seen by the Reformed as a category of revealed theology; it is not an autonomous and independent source of knowledge. What is more, the archetypal/ectypal paradigm clearly differentiates between two entirely different forms of natural theology, forms often confused in contemporary literature: a pagan form and a Christian form. As Junius makes clear, the first form of natural theology belongs to the category of false theology, whereas the latter is designated as true theology (placed under the category of ectypal theology with its clear christological orientation).

This further indicates that the Reformed orthodox never used the term Deus (as the principium essendi of theology) in a neutral or unqualified sense in order to construe a rationalistic natural theology. From the very outset the prolegomena of the Reformed orthodox envisaged the triune God, or Deus foederatus in Christo, as the object of theology.85 Christian theology, they argued, deals with God as covenanted in Christ not only in order to know Him but, first and foremost, to worship Him.

This contradicts the thesis of nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship that argued that post-Reformation Reformed theology was instrumental in the rise of Enlightenment rationalism. According to this argument, post-Reformation Reformed theologians came to view special revelation as simply a completion of our natural knowledge of God, and thus Christian knowledge is able to fit well with a rationally based knowledge.86

Junius’s True Theology gives enough evidence to falsify the claim that post-Reformation Reformed theology presented a doctrine of a distant and unknowable God (the Deus nudus absconditus) as the axiomatic governing principle of the entire theological enterprise. Instead, as evident in this work, the overarching paradigm for understanding the principles and task of theology was the archetypal/ectypal distinction, and the parallel distinction between the essential or ad intra dimension and the contingent or ad extra dimension of divine agency. Furthermore, True Theology is an excellent example that early modern Reformed theology was not a rationalistic, deterministic, or decretal system, but rather a relational enterprise, determined by and determinative of the divine–human relationship.87 The important role Junius played in helping shape this Reformed tradition and the significance of his True Theology for the development of Reformed dogmatics cannot be overestimated.


1. Originally published as De theologia vera, ortu, natura, formis, partibus, et modo illiu: libellus recens, quo omnes Christiani de sua dignitate, et Theologi de gravitate sui ministerii secundum Deum admonentur (Lugduni Batavorum [Leiden]: ex officina Plantiniana, 1594). See also Opera Theologica Francisci Junii Biturgis sacrarum literarum professoris eximii. Quorum nonuula nunc primimum publicantur. Praefixa est vita autoris. Omnia cum indicibus VII acuratissimus ([Heidelbergae], in officina Sanctandreana, 1608), 1:1370–1424 (two volumes, henceforth cited as OT, 1 and OT, 2); Abraham Kuyper, ed., D. Francisci Junii opuscula theologica selecta, Bibliotheca Reformata 1 (Amsterdam: F. Muller and J. H. Kruyt, 1882), 45–101 (henceforth cited as Kuyper, ed.).

2. See Willem J. van Asselt et al., Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011), 122–125.

3. P. Merula, Vita nobilis et eruditi viri Francisci Junii…(Leiden: Lugduni Batavorum, 1595). In 1961 this autobiograpy was translated into German by Gustav Adolf Benrath and published in Beiträge zur Badischen Kirchengeschichte (Karlsruhe [Baden]: Verlag Evang. Presseverband, 1962), 37–70. For more on Junius’s life see J. Reitsma, Franciscus Junius, een levensbeeld uit den eersten tijd der kerkhervorming (Groningen: Huber, 1864); A. Davaine, Francois du Jon (Junius), pasteur et professeur en théologie 1545–1602: étude historique (Paris: impr. de C. Noblet, 1882; repr., Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1970); F. W. Cuno, Franciscus Junius der Ältere, Professor der Theologie und Pastor (1545–1662) (Amsterdam, 1891); W. Geesink, Calvinisten in Holland (Rotterdam: Arnhem, 1887), 1–51; B. A. Venemans, Franciscus Junius en zijn Eirenicum de pace ecclesiae catholicae (Leiden: Elve/Labor Vincit, 1977); Christiaan de Jonge, De irenische ecclesiologie van Franciscus Junius (1545–1602), Bibliotheca Humanistica & Reformatorica, Book 30 (Leiden: Brill—Hes & De Graaf, 1980); Biografisch Lexicon voor de geschiedenis van het Nederalandse protestantisme (Kampen: Kok, 1983), 2:275–278; Tobias Sarx, Franciscus Junius d. Ä. (1545–1602): Ein Reformierter Theologe im Spannungsfeld zwischen späthumanistischer Irenik und reformierter Konfessionaliierung (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007); Todd Rester, “A Brief Overview of Junius’ Life,” Journal of Markets and Morality 14/1 (2011): 237–241.

4. Sacra Biblia sive Testamentum Vetus ab Imman. Tremellio et Francisco Junio ex Hebraeo Latine redditum. Et Testamentum Novum a Theodoro Beza è Graeco in Latinum versum (Amsterdam: Bleau, Willem Jansz, 1639); Sacra Biblia…Graeco in Latinum versum (Amsterdam: apud Joannem Janssonium, 1648); Sacra Biblia…Graeco in Latinum versum (Hannover: sumptibus Nicolai Fösteri, 1715).

5. See Karin Maag, Seminary or University? The Genevan Academy and Reformed Higher Education, 1560–1620, St. Andrew’s Studies in Reformation History (Aldershot, England: Scolar Press, 1995), 75.

6. Although Junius (the younger) had Remonstrant sympathies, he subscribed to the “Acte of Stilstand,” a formula of submission by which ministers who were prepared to recant Remonstrant opinions could remain within the public church. In 1621 he left for England, where he became librarian in the service of Thomas Howard, Count of Arundel. He became an expert in ancient painting and sculpture and published an influential book on this subject that was translated into English. He was also well versed in linguistic studies, especially Gothic and Frisian languages. For more on Junius (the younger) see Franciscus Junius F.F., De Pictura Veterum libri tres (Amsterdam: apud Johannem Blaeu, 1637); Franciscus Junius F.F., De Pictura Veterum libri tres (Rotterdam, 1694) (including his biography by J. C. Graevius). This work was translated into Dutch and saw three editions (1641, 1659, and 1675). A German edition was published in 1770 in Breslau. The English translation appeared in 1638 as The Painting of the Ancients (London: Richard Hodgkinson, 1638).

7. Unless specified by date, in this introduction I used the 1608 edition of the OT. References to Kuyper’s edition are also generally included.

8. “Ubique Iunius docuit. In Gallia, in Helvetia, in Germania, in Belgia, apud nostrates.” See Kuyper, ed., ix.

9. Sarx, Franciscus Junius d. Ä, 282ff. See also Hans Peterse, “Franciscus Junius (1545–1602) in Leiden: Sein Einfluss auf die protestantische Irenik in den Niederlanden des 16. und 17. Jahrhundert,” in Reformierte Spuren: Vorträge der Vierten Emder Tagung zur Geschichte des Reformierten Protestantismus, ed. Jan Marius Lange van Ravenswaay and Herman J. Selderhuis, Emder Beiträge zum reformierten Protestantismus, Bd. 8 (Wuppertal: Foedus, 2004), 97–102.

10. Animadversiones VII. in Roberti Bellarmini controversiam primam christianae fidei…quam Rob. Bellarminus Politianus societas Jesu (ut vocant) disputationum suarum libris exaravit adversus huius temporis haereticos, in OT, 2:406–1747. For their contents see Venemans, Franciscus Junius, 114–116; Sarx, Franciscus Junius d. Ä., 288.

11. Venemans, Franciscus Junius, 46–47. Junius equated the Socinians with the followers of Paul of Samosata; this is made explicit in the titles of his Heidelberg publications of 1590 and 1591: Defensio Catholicae doctrinae de S. Trinitate personarum in unitate essentiae Dei, adversus Samosatenicos errores specie inanis philosophiae in Polonia exundantes as found in OT, 2:2–23.

12. Junius’s two Heidelberg orations are as follows: Francisci Junii Biturgis De promissione et federe gratioso Dei cum Ecclesia. Oratio prima, in OT (Geneva, 1613), 1:13–22; Francisci Junii Biturgis De foedere et testamento Dei in Ecclesia vetere. Oratio secunda, in OT (Geneva, 1613), 1:22–30. The Leiden theological theses were entitled Theses theologicae quae in incluta Academia Lugdunobatava ad exercitia publicarum Disputationum, praeside D. Francesco Iunio variis temporibus a Theologiae Candidatis adversus oppugnantes propugnatae sunt, in OT, 1:1592–1752. For the two theses on divine covenants see OT (1608), 1:1661–1669; Kuyper, ed., 183–191.

13. OT, 1:1663: “…dispositio gratuita & unica salutis via, sine qua nullus unquam hominum in gratiam cum Deo rediit, aut redibit” (Theses theologicae, XXV, 14).

14. See Sarx, Franciscus Junius d. Ä., 258–270.

15. See C. Malandrino, “Politische Theorie und Föderaltheologie,” in Jurisprudenz, politische Theorie und politische Theologie: Beiträge des Herborner Symposiums zum 400. Jahrestag des Politica des Johannes Althuhusius 1603–2003, ed. Frederick S. Carney, Heinz Schilling, and Dieter Wyduckel (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2004), 123–142.

16. Venemans, Franciscus Junius, 50n188.

17. Christiaan Sepp, Het godgeleerd onderwijs in Nederland: Gedurende de 16e en 17e eeuw (Leiden: De Breuk en Smits, 1873), 1:89–99.

18. “Te moerens scola flet suum magistrum / orba ecclesia te suum parentem / Doctorem gemit orbis universus.” See Sepp, Het godgeleerd, 1:99. The Latin quotation is taken from the praefatio of Kuyper, ed., IX. See also Venemans, Franciscus Junius, 4.

19. See Sarx, Franciscus Junius d. Ä., 98–99.

20. For more details of the correspondence between Junius and Arminius see Carl Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation (Grand Rapids: Francis Asbury Press, 1971), 199–203; Venemans, Franciscus Junius, 47–49.

21. Posthumously published in Leiden as Amica cum D. Francisco Junio de praedestinatione per litteras habita collatio (Lugduni Batavorum: apud Godefridum Basson, 1613).

22. See G. P. van Itterzon, Franciscus Gomarus (’s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1930), 81–82; and Keith D. Stanglin, Arminius on the Assurance of Salvation: The Context, Roots, and Shape of the Leiden Debates, 1603–1609 (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 24.

23. See Geeraert Brandt, Historie der Reformatie en andre Kerkelyke Geschiedenissen, in en ontrent de Nederlanden (Amsterdam: Jan Rieuwertsz, Hendrik en Dirk Boom, 1674), 2:30–42. The poem is printed on page 778 in the first volume of Brandt’s two-volume work underneath the portrait of Junius.

24. Theses aliquot Theologiae in Heidelbergense Academia disputatae in OT, 1:1752–1784; Kuyper, ed., 289–338.

25. Junius, Eirenicum de pace Ecclesiae Catholicae inter Christianos, quamvis diversos sententiis, religiose procuranda, colenda, atque continenda: In Psalmos Davidis CXXII & CXXXIII Meditatio (Leiden: Fr. Raphelingius, 1593).

26. Cuno, Franciscus Junius, 141.

27. Francisci Junii ad Ecclesiam Dei quae Ultrajecti est, de communione sanctorum in pietate sanctimonia, charitate et oace per unitatem Spiritus colenda paraenesis (Trajecti ad Rhenum: apud Salomonem Rodium, 1595). See Benjamin Kaplan, Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), 131–132.

28. See Cuno, Franciscus Junius, 82–187; Venemans, Franciscus Junius, 43–45. At the Synod of North Holland in 1601 the Brownists were convicted as schismatics. See J. Reitsma and S. D. van Veen, eds., Acta der Provinciale en Particuliere Synoden (Groningen: J. B. Wolters, 1892), 1:306–308.

29. See Sarx, Franciscus Junius d. Ä, 236–241.

30. See page 232 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1423 (Kuyper, ed., 100).

31. See page 83 below.

32. See page 83 below.

33. De theologiae definitione,thesis 1, as found in OT, 1:1752–1754.

34. Theses Theologicae de variis doctrinae Christianae capitibus as found in OT, 1:1592–1752.

35. Antonius Walaeus defended the twelve theses entitled De vera theologia under the presidency of Junius: Disputationum theologicarum repetitarum prima: de vera theologia. Quam…preside…D. Francisco Junio…: Sustinere adnitur Antonius Walaeus Gandensis. (Lugduni Batav.: ex officina Ioannis Patij, Die X. Decembris Anno, 1597).

36. Junius, Summa Aliquot Locorum Communium SS. Theologiae tribus libris comprehensa, in OT (Geneva 1613), 2:1809–1886.

37. Junius, Theses Theologicae Heidelbergenses, thesis 5, in OT, 1:1752: “Genus Theologiae scientia esse dicitur: quia haec sola iustam conclusionum apodictarum de Deo et divinis rebus cognitionem habet, quae conclusiones sunt necessariae, neque aliter se habere possunt; animum scientis immotum efficit; et veri contemplatione per se contenta est.”

38. See Donald Sinnema, “Reflections on the Nature and Method of Theology at the University of Leiden before the Synod of Dort” (MA thesis, Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, 1975), 67–78.

39. See Richard A Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy, ca. 1520 to ca. 1725, 2nd ed., 4 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), 1:53–55 (henceforth PRRD). According to Sinnema, the epistemological distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology reflects the influence of Thomas Aquinas so that Thomas is a direct source of Junius’s archetypal/ectypal scheme.

40. In the following sections I draw heavily on my article: Willem J. van Asselt, “The Fundamental Meaning of Theology: Archtypal and Ectypal Theology in Seventeenth-Century Reformed Thought,” Westminster Theological Journal 64 (2002): 319–335.

41. Thesis 2 states: “The subject itself as well as the agreement of all the nations demonstrates that theology exists. The subject shows it, for it is both true that God exists and that He is the principle of every good thing in the universe; and God both speaks and acts. The agreement of all nations shows it, for all by the light of nature acknowledge that theology exists.” See page 93 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1374 (Kuyper, ed., 46).

42. See page 95 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1375 (Kuyper, ed., 47).

43. See pages 96–97 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1376 (Kuyper, ed., 47): “From the time, moreover, that the trunk, as it were, begins to emerge from that root of common theology, this philosophic kind is immediately spread into those three branches which I have previously designated by their respective titles: I mean, superstitious, natural, and civil theology. This is in accordance with Augustine’s explanation from Varro and Seneca in The City of God 6.5. Those men said that mythical or superstitious theology is that which the poets especially employ for dramatic pleasure. The natural or physical type of theology is that which philosophers employ for understanding the world and searching out its true nature, in their own practices and academic pursuits. Finally, the political or civil theology is that which more powerful men employ, in order that they might establish certain laws of states and republics by the authority of religion.” Cf. Wolfhart Pannenberg, Theology and the Philosophy of Science, trans. Francis McDonagh (London: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976), 7–8, who points to Clement’s Stromata and to Aristotle.

44. It should be noted that the term scientia as used by Junius and other seventeenth-century theologians indicates a disciplined body of knowledge resting upon evident principles. The rise of modern science was certainly evident in the seventeenth century, but the term scientia had not been restricted to the empirical and inductive disciplines. See Muller, “Scholasticism Protestant and Catholic: Francis Turretin on the Object and Principles of Theology,” Church History 55 (1986): 193–205.

45. See Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, VI, chapter 3.

46. See page 101 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1375 (Kuyper, ed., 49).

47. See, e.g., Augustine, De doctrina christiana, trans. R. P. H. Green, Oxford Early Christian Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), I.8.17–19.

48. See page 100 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1375 (Kuyper, ed., 48).

49. See also Heinrich Schmid, Die Dogmatik der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche: dargestellt und aus den Quellen belegt (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, 1983), 25–30; Robert D. Preus, The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism: A Study of Theological Prolegomena (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1970), 1:114; 1:168–172; Muller, PRRD, 1:225–238; Van Asselt, “The Fundamental Meaning of Theology,” 322–324.

50. See pages 85–96 below.

51. See pages 108–109 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1377 (Kuyper, ed., 51): “[Divine] wisdom indeed is eternal, essential, and is even the essence of God. To it all things are most present, not from any principles, composition or division of the intellect, reasoning, conclusions, knowledge, judging, and sequence, but in the simplest way: by a simultaneous, unparalleled understanding of everything, and not in succession as happens with created things. It gives birth to these principles from itself. It is not born from them. This wisdom produces intellect, reason, conclusions, knowledge, and wisdom itself in others. It persists in itself immutable and without variation.”

52. See Joannes Altenstaig and Joannes Tytz, Lexicon Theologicum (Cologne, 1619; Hildesheim: Olms, 1974), 907–911. See also Sebastian Rehnman, Divine Discourse: The Theological Methodology of John Owen (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 57–63. According to Rehnman the concept of archetypal theology can de traced back to Aristotle’ s conception of a divine science that is most honorable and alone divine (Metaphysica I, ii, 14). Pseudo-Dionysius supposed a theology of God himself, a theology of created spirits, and a theology of pagans. Similar divisions can be found in the twelfth century.

53. See pages 104–105 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1376 (Kuyper, ed., 50): “And indeed this archetypal theology seems to me once to have been called by the orthodox fathers exemplary. God has fashioned the second kind of theology on the model of the divine and immutable exemplar, proportionally to the creatures’ capacity. More contemporary authorities have designated the former theology as in relation to itself, and the second one as relative. The one theology is the very same thing as unbounded wisdom, which God possesses concerning His own person and all other things, as they have been set in order with respect to Him necessarily, individually, and by an uninterrupted relation among themselves. This happens according to His own infinite reason. But the second theology is that wisdom which the creatures have concerning God according to their own manner, and concerning those things that are oriented toward God through His communication of Himself. Now indeed these two kinds of theology are so different that they cannot truthfully be related to some one, definite head and shared genus.”

54. Amandus Polanus von Polansdorf, Syntagma theologiae christianae, 2 vols. (Hannover: apud Claudium Marnium, 1609), 1:11–12.

55. Duns Scotus, Lectura librum primum sententiarum, in Opera Omnia (Civitas Vaticana: Typis polyglottis Vaticanis, 1950–), XVI, prol. q. III, lec.iv: “Sacra theologia, sive in se considerata, sive prout est in nobis, tum quoad veritates necessarias, tum quoad contingentes, habet pro objecto primo, & adaequato ipsum solum Deum: quatenus tamen est de contingentibus, & est in Deo, vel beatis, habet pro subjecto essentiam divinam, ut est haec.”

56. Muller, PRRD, 1:125.

57. Muller notes there existed a “minor point of disagreement” among the Reformed orthodox as to whether the distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology is parallel to the distinction between scientia necessaria and scientia libera in the divine attributes. Junius tended to identify theologia archetypa with the scientia necessaria. See Muller, PRRD, 1:234.

58. See page 107 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1377 (Kuyper, ed., 51): “Thesis 7: Archetypal theology is the divine wisdom of divine matters. Indeed, we stand in awe before this and do not seek to trace it out.”

59. For this debate among the Reformed scholastics see Muller, PRRD, 1:131.

60. See page 113 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1379 (Kuyper, ed., 53).

61. See pages 114–115 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1379 (Kuyper, ed., 54): “And indeed because God alone is true light and subsists through Himself, nor are there any shadows in Him…therefore, in the same way that the sun lends its light to the moon, so we have with certainty established from the words of his own apostles (Eph. 3:10; James 1:18) that God, in whom is light, and that true light which illuminates every person who comes into this world (John 1:9), is a light to created things, and that He shares His own light with them and makes His manifold wisdom known in heaven and on earth.”

62. See page 115 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1380 (Kuyper, ed., 54).

63. The work of Paul Kristeller, Charles Schmitt, and Heiko Oberman, and its application to Protestant scholasticism by Preus, Muller, and Trueman, have shown that this facile equation of scholasticism and Aristotelianism is no longer tenable. See Paul Kristeller, Renaissance Thought: The Classic, Scholastic, and Humanist Strains (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961); Charles B. Schmitt, “Towards a Reassessment of Renaissance Aristotelianism,” in Studies in Renaissance Philosophy and Science (London: Variorum Reprints, 1981); Preus, Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, 1:72; Muller, PRRD, 1:passim; PRRD, 2:232–235. In this regard the work of Carl Trueman is particularly helpful: see his The Claims of Truth: John Owen’s Trinitarian Theology (Carlisle, Pa.: Paternoster, 1998), 34–46.

64. See pages 115–116 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1380 (Kuyper, ed., 54): “For form, from whatever craftsman it arises, is properly constituted as twofold: The one exists in the mind of the craftsman, while the other is in his work. And thus inasmuch as internal and external action alike are contemplated in our affairs, so also is form twofold: internal and external. We designate the internal form that eternal concept, so to speak, of the divine will and grace contemplated in God Himself. But the external one is the effect of that eternal concept (as we would put it) on other things, made in its own time. God fashions this wisdom in two ways, internally by His most wise counsel, and externally by His most powerful work. But because this form is twofold, it subsists in God as in a fountain but is diverted into other things as into lakes.”

65. See page 116 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1380 (Kuyper, ed., 54).

66. See pages 119–120 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1383 (Kuyper, ed., 56).

67. See pages 129–130 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1387 (Kuyper, ed., 59).

68. See, for example, Augustine, De doctrina christiana, I.5.10; I.11.22; I.17.34. For late medieval theology, see Altenstaig and Tytz, Lexicon Theologicum, 908–909. See also Heiko Oberman, The Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Biel and Late Medieval Nominalism (Durham, N.C.: Labyrinth Press, 1983), 62–63, 77.

69. See page 136 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1388 (Kuyper, ed., 61).

70. See also Johann Heinrich Heidegger, Corpus theologiae christianae, 2 vols. (Zurich: J. H. Bodmer, 1700), I.1.lxvii: “Theologia viae, seu tradita in Systemate, seu, ut habitus mentem occupans, quamdiu peregrinamur a Domino, imperfecta semper est, & continuo profectu de die in diem perfici debet. In omnibus enim & singulis imperfectior, quam in via cognosci poterat. Quis enim vel Prophetarum vel Apostolorum omnia mysteria, quae in verbo Dei continentur, perfecte intellexit?”

71. See pages 141–143 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1390 (Kuyper, ed., 63–64). “Thesis 14: The mode, moreover, of communicating theology is twofold, by nature and by grace. The former happens as an internal principle of communication. The latter, by an external principle of the first one. Thus it happens that the one theology is termed natural and the second supernatural…. When we say natural, we do not want it in this passage to be understood by the same meaning as we showed in the first chapter above from Varro and Augustine, but rather by its own sense and taken in itself as we will soon (if God wills) define it.”

72. See page 114 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1379 (Kuyper, ed., 53): “In this category of wisdom [theologia ectypa] doubtless it was proper that both of these should be set: the theoretical and the practical [τò θεωρητικòν, καί τò πρακτικòν]. The one is situated in the contemplation of what is true; the other in the useful knowledge of what is just and unjust.”

73. For Gerhard’s dependence on Junius, see Preus, Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, 1:114. See also Carl Heinz Ratschow, Lutherische Dogmatik zwischen Reformation und Aufklärung, Teil I (Gütersloh: Verlaghaus Gerd Mohn, 1964), 27–29 (on Johann Friedrich König’s Theologia positiva acroamatica [Rostock: Richterus, 1699]).

74. For a detailed discussion on Calov’s reflections on archetypal and ectypal theology, see Preus, Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, 1:167–173.

75. See pages 122–123 below. Cf. De Theologia, OT, 1:1384 (Kuyper, ed., 56–57): “Therefore the human nature does not contain in itself that divine and archetypal knowledge because it is a mark of divine perfection that it cannot be communicated and of human weakness that it cannot contain those things which belong to divine perfection. Then the very personal union of the two natures in Christ also demonstrates by absolute necessity that the matter is as I have described. For the union of persons does not bring about either a confusion or a transfusion of the properties that pertain to the one nature or the other. But instead it requires that the saving properties of each nature be preserved in the common subject and its operations…. Whoever does not think that the knowledge of Christ as a man should be distinguished from the knowledge of that same one as God, such men for sure, though unawares, will slip little by little into the camp of Apollinaris.”

76. Polanus, Syntagma theologiae christianae, Synopsis Libri I; J. H. Alsted, Methodus sacrosanctae theologiae octo libri tradita (Hanau: Conradi Eifridi, 1623), I, iv; Synopsis purioris theologiae, disputationibus quinquaginta duabus comprehensa ac conscripta per Johannem Polyandrum, Andream Rivetum, Antonium Walaeum, Antonium Thysium, S.S. Theologiae doctores et professores in Academia Leidensi, ed. Herman Bavinck (Leiden: Donner, 1881), I.i.3–9; Johannes Wollebius, Christianae Theologiae Compendium (Basel, 1626), Praecognita, I.i.

77. See Gisbertus Voetius, Diatribe de Theologia, Philologia, Historia et Philosophia Sacra. Cum indice locorum quorundam Script. et syllabo mater. ac quaestionum Philosophico-theologicarum (Utrecht: S. de Vries, 1668), 2–23; Voetius, Syllabus problematum theologicorum: Quae pro re nata proponi aut perstringi solent in iprivatis publicicis disputationum, examinim, collationum, consultationum exercitiis (Utrecht; ex officina Aegidii Roman, 1643), A1r–A2r; Melchior Leydecker, De Verborgentheid des Geloofs eenmaal den heiligen overgeleverd of het Kort Begrip der ware Godsgeleerdheid (Rotterdam: Adrianus van Dyk, 1700), I.i.4–6; Petrus van Mastricht, Theoretico-practica theologia, 2 vols. (Utrecht: Thomae Appels, 1699), I.i.15; Heidegger, Corpus theologiae christianae, I.i.1; Franciscus Turrettinus, Institutio theologiae elencticae in tres partes distributa, 3 vols. (Geneva: Samuelem De Tournes, 1688), I.ii. 5–8; Johannes Cocceius, Aphorismi per universam theologiam breviores and Aphorismi per universam theolgiam prolixiores in Opera omnia, 8 vols. (Amsterdam: Someren, 1673–1675), VII: §2 and §3; Cocceius, Summa theologiae ex Scripturis repetita in Opera omnia, 8 vols. (Amsterdam: Someren, 1673–1675), VI: cap. 1 §3; Franciscus Burman, Synopsis theolgiae & speciatim oeconomiae foederum Dei, ab initio saeculorum usque ad consummationem eorum, 2 vols. (Utrecht, 1681), I.ii.36–37; Abraham Heidanus, Corpus theologiae christianae, 2 vols. (Leiden: Luchtmans, 1686), 1:1–2; Johannes Braunius, Doctrina foederum, sive systema theologiae didacticae & elencticae (Amsterdam, 1702), I.i.5.

78. See for example, C. S. McCoy, “The Covenant Theology of Johannes Cocceius” (PhD diss., Yale University, 1956), 89–90, 236; H. Faulenbach, Weg und Ziel der Erkenntnis Christi: Eine Untersuchung zur Theologie des Johannes Coccejus (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1973), 46–47.

79. See Trueman, Claims of Truth, 54–64; Rehnman, Divine Discourse, 57–71; Simon Burton, The Hallowing of Logic: The Trinitarian Method of Richard Baxter’s Methodus Theologiae (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 32–33.

80. For Arminius’s use of the distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology, see Richard Muller, God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius: Sources and Directions of Scholastic Protestantism in the Era of Early Orthodoxy (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1991), 60–62. For Simon Episcopius, see his Institutiones theologicae in Opera Theologica, 2 vols. (Amsterdam: Ioannis Blaev, 1650), I.1.4: “Nec dicam operose de Theologia, quas vocant, speciebus, in quas Theologiam analogice dividere quidam solent, videlicet de Archetypo & Ectypo, sive ut barbare quidam loquuntur, Archetypa & Ectypa…quae vanitatis plus habent quam utilitatis, & subtilitatis plus quam soliditatis, imo quae etiam falsa sunt.” For Philippus van Limborch, see his Theologia christiana. Ad praxin pietatis ac promotionem pacis christianae unice directa (Amsterdam: apud Henricum Wetstenium, 1686), I.i.1: “Solet vulgo Theologia dividi in Archetypam, qua Deus se ipsum novit & omnia divina; & Ectypam, quae expressa sit ad illam ideam, & communicata tripliciter: 1. per unionem hypostaticam, Jesu Christo; 2. per visionem, Angelis; 3. per revelationem, hominibus. Sed vitiose. Theologia enim revelata non est expressa ad ideam cognitionis illius, qua Deus seipsum cognoscit naturaliter.”

81. Johannes à Marck, Compendium theologiae christianae didactico-elencticum (Amsterdam: R. & G. Wetstenii, 1722).

82. Bernardinus de Moor, Commentarius perpetuus in Johannis Marckii compendium theologiae christianae didactico-elencticum. 7 vols. (Leiden: Johannes Hasebroek, 1761–1778), I.i.7–11: “Atqui haec [theologia ectypa] est illa de rebus divinis notitia ex Dei decreto nobis revelata, ad quam nostra theologia subjevtiva efformata esse debet: ut adeo haec theologiae divisio etiam cum phrasi Scripturae non male conveniat. Utilis tandem erit haec distinctio ad id, ut Theologus quivis pie discat versari in meditandis rebus divinis, atque ita a Deo sapere in iis quae ad Deum spectant, ut in sua de Deo cognitione non deviet ab illa, quae Dei est atque a Deo creaturae revelata.”

83. Abraham Kuyper, Encyclopedie der heilige godgeleerdheid, 3 vols. (Amsterdam: J. A. Wormser, 1894), 2:196–207; Kuyper, Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology: Its Principles, trans. J. H. de Vries (New York: Charles Scribner’s, 1898), 242–243; 248–250; 252–256; Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, ed. John Bolt, trans. John Vriend, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 1:184–186; 2:107–110; Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949), 35; Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematische Theologie (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1988), 1:12–13.

84. Karl Barth, Einführung in die evangelische Theologie (München: Siebenstern Taschenbuch Verlag, 1968), 90–91.

85. See Theses theologicae, XXV, 47: “Nam et hodie Deus, qui ex Filii sui Testamento nos regno coelorum donat, etiam per modum foederis se piorum et seminis eorum Deum fore spondet, et stipulatur a nobis, ut in praeceptis suis ambulemus.”

86. For example, see Otto Weber, Foundations of Dogmatics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), 1:118: “The question of natural theology, already raised by biblical texts, was now set forth as a result of the interior structure of theological thought itself.”

87. See Willem J. van Asselt and Eef Dekker, Reformation and Scholasticism: An Ecumenical Enterprise (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 205–226. Willem J. van Asselt, J. Martin Bac, and Roelf T. te Velde, Reformed Thought on Freedom: The Concept of Free Choice in Early Modern Reformed Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), esp. 33–43.

Translator’s Preface

When in May of 2013 I began working in earnest on this translation of Junius, I was largely unaware not only of the great joy that would accrue to me through the task of rendering his dense and stylized prose into manageable English, but also of the prominent position that Junius holds in the development of Reformed thought. Though I counted myself as having good familiarity with the theological and philosophical currents of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries for someone trained as a classicist, I soon realized how far deficient was my knowledge when I began to survey the literature surrounding the figure of Franciscus Junius and the events of his life and work. The many narrows through which Junius providentially squeezed himself, the close scrapes with death, the political intrigue and conspiracies—all of these were surprising to read from the pen of a man known, if at all, for developing the Leiden theology as a synthesis of medieval and Protestant exegetical and philosophical concerns. As I read more broadly, moreover, I began to see the wide-ranging influence that Junius exercised on subsequent generations of Reformed theologians and how his formulations were crucial to the work of Arminius and other Remonstrants, as well as to Francis Turretin, John Owen, and other Reformed scholars.

Before discussing briefly the translation and acknowledging those who helped me, I would like to comment on two aspects of Junius’s writing that were, as a translator, quite pleasing to encounter. First, his Latin style is thoroughly Ciceronian, bearing all the marks of the late Renaissance obsession with rhetorical argumentation. It shows deep knowledge of Cicero’s philosophical works (especially De Officiis, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, and De Natura Deorum) and familiarity with his letters. In addition, Junius borrows phrases from the classical authors Caesar, Horace, Livy, Lucretius, Pliny, Terence, and Vergil, as well as the fathers Augustine and Tertullian. On the Greek side, he is grounded in Aristotle, of course, and alludes to Plato and Plutarch as well. It is impossible to know, except in the case of Cicero (whose works he mentions reading in the Life), whether Junius knew all these authors directly or via florilegia (i.e., handbooks) and as commonplaces learned from his own teachers (primarily, it would seem, in childhood and early youth). In addition, it is somewhat surprising that there are no allusions to the philosophical writings of Seneca, with which Calvin himself, and presumably other Reformers, was deeply familiar. The only reference to Seneca is in the definition of theology that Junius cites Augustine as having borrowed from him and Varro.

The second observation I would like to make is that, despite the incredibly dense and difficult prose arguments that Junius at times constructs (with commendable consistency)—necessitated, no doubt, by the complexity of his subject—it is evident that he is working diligently to edify his readers and even to allure them with metaphors, examples, and illustrations. Junius’s use of analogies is not quite deft, in my estimation, but it is nevertheless a welcome respite to the packed scholastic reasoning, and winsome in its own way. His careful weaving together of biblical citations also adds a level of piety to the work that, while not like reading Calvin’s Institutes, is genuinely pastoral and engaging.

In addition to the comments I make throughout the work on particular construals and concepts, it seems appropriate to set out briefly my overall approach to the task of translation, so that readers who may wish to compare (as I hope they will) Junius’s Latin to my rendering will be better equipped to find points of disagreement and even consent. As Junius himself would no doubt be careful to assert, translation derives from the combination of the Latin verb fero, “to carry or to bear,” with the prefix trans-, most easily rendered as “across.” Though seldom considered, we must ask ourselves what is being “carried across” in any given translation.

Certainly it is not merely the words, for such would yield not a translation but a transliteration. For example “baptism” is not a translation of the Greek word βάπτισμα but a transliteration, in which the Greek letter beta is represented by English b, alpha by a, pi by p, etc. Sometimes transliteration can be very helpful, especially when the word in question is a term of art. Thus, I have retained archetypal and ectypal as transliterations of their Greek originals, as Junius himself does when bringing them into Latin.

Other terms of art, specifically the important trio of concepts secundum se, secundum quid, and simpliciter, as well as in obiecto and in subiecto, I have translated, thanks to Willem van Asselt’s guidance, as follows. Secundum se has been rendered “in relation to itself” or “in relation to themselves” as the context requires; secundum quid has been construed as “according to something else” and “relative”; and simpliciter, composed of no parts, I have taken as “in itself.” In obiecto stands as “in the object” or “in an object” and in subiecto as “in the subject” or “in a subject.” Van Asselt also suggested “specifying characteristic” for differentia, which I have adopted throughout.

But transliteration, or word-for-word representation, of an author in another language is not truly translation. Rather, the goal of the translator is to convey unaltered and without comment the thought of the author as he has represented it in his own words, for it is the thought that one seeks to “carry across.” This usually means not searching for a single English word to stand for one Latin word, nor seeking to retain the order of the original clauses in an artificial or strained fashion in the target language. Instead, the translator must strive to capture the thought of the author and present it with utmost accuracy in English. The most difficult aspects of this task are (1) ensuring that the author’s thought is truly conveyed, not an admixture of the author’s thought with the translator’s understanding; and (2) conveying in the target language puns and other artful structures that are more pleasing in the original. Examples of this would be figura etymologica (various plays on words) and the preference Latin shows for dense repetition as a mark of precision and good style, whereas English favors variety sometimes to the detriment of clarity. In translating Junius, I am more confident that I have succeeded in overcoming the first difficulty than the second, though the reader must judge for himself.

In closing, I wish to acknowledge the many individuals who contributed to the success of this work. First, I thank my friend Jonathon Beeke who originally suggested that I consider translating Junius and put me in contact with Jay Collier. Richard Muller provided generous early encouragement and clarification of some important concepts and also graciously agreed to write the foreword. I owe a large debt to Willem van Asselt as well, whose 2002 essay on Junius both sparked my interest in the author and taught me much. That his introduction would also grace this volume was good news indeed. Calvin College supported this project by granting me a Calvin Research Fellowship as a Diekema Fellow and a one-course release in the fall of 2013 to work on the translation. My colleagues in the classics department, Young Kim, Mark Williams, and Jeff Winkle, offered helpful suggestions, as did Frans and Kate van Liere from the history department. Todd Rester also provided encouragement and helpful review. Lastly, Lia Gelder, as a Calvin College McGregor Research Fellow, helped considerably with the final edits and suggested the subject headings for the Vita.

The lion’s share of thanks, however, is owed to my emeritus colleague Ken Bratt, who generously read every word of both the Vita and Tractatus with great care, providing meticulous and copious comments. His efforts not only improved the style and readability of the work considerably, but also helped to identify a few errors in my own construals. With much gratitude, this work is dedicated to him.

May God grant spiritual fruit from this endeavor to my wife, Tara, whose wit and wisdom are to me a constant source of joy and instruction, and to my four loving children, Freddie, Jillian, Lucius, and Sophia, whose graces and service to me are clear evidence of God’s unfailing mercy. And may He continue to secure His church militant in that true and heavenly theology that will in His time bring all His children to maturity. Soli Deo gloria.

The Life of the Noble and Learned
Franciscus Junius, Doctor of Sacred Theology and
Distinguished Professor
at Leiden University
as written by himself and published by
Paullus G. F. P. N. Merula, Esq.,
who is also the chronicler of the events in Leiden.

I, Paullus G.F.P.N. Merula,1 Esq.,2 send greetings
to the French churches of Jesus Christ throughout Belgium.


Not long ago the thought entered my mind, most Christian gentlemen, that it is shameful and unworthy of any man whom God has made both to aid others and also his own country, that he know the deeds wrought by Romans, Greeks, and other nations many centuries past down to the last sliver. But when it comes to those deeds which were wrought at home and in his own country very recently, that he should not only display a deplorable ignorance, but even hold them in disregard and contemptuously turn aside his face. Lest I seem marred by that stain that afflicts many others, two years ago I conceived the desire to gather up from every source all of the events that had to do with the condition of our commonwealth and which pertained to the war which is being waged, partly from published sources and partly from public and private writings. My intention then was to read through what I had collected and very carefully enter what I had read into the Public Register3 with a few well-chosen yet vigorous words, once I had noted the proper order of events. This was the goal I set for such great expense and trouble, and it will become evident with God’s help in the passage of time. My talent, however (which as I freely confess, for this should not be considered a fault), has always been so disposed that it would never, and in no way, match my prayers and what I had begun. I had read very broadly from many authors (the total was seven thousand and climbing). I had made endless notes from such a great storehouse of principals and authors. Already I lay really overwhelmed beneath such a mountain of annotations, for I could barely recognize the actual sources of the waves of public events by which we have been inundated for almost thirty years to an incredible extent. This reason compelled me to approach various men whose forays into these topics I had remembered were very precisely executed, and who I had heard had taken a great part—since they were equipped with a unique authority—in the completion of those tasks. I sought their advice, to ask that they kindly make clear to me whatever they knew about the beginning of these disturbances. Without a doubt the foremost of this group was the worthy and noble man, our revered4 Franciscus Junius. For as many asserted, he had stood at the very sources of these perturbations and had recorded very carefully how great were the storms and how extensive and treacherous was the sea on which the ship of state had been cast, and on which we are now borne peacefully and a little separated from all hazard we now coast, while that most experienced Helmsman keeps watch over the rudder, his eyes fixed on all dangers. I appealed, I urged, I prayed that he would, to the extent that his memory afforded, explain something of those times. Without difficulty I obtained from that man what I sought, so learned is he and indeed born for the task of instructing others. The great man explained faithfully and without pretense the true and chief cause of this most destructive war: (1) about the birth of the Inquisition in Spain when Ferdinand was in power; (2) the expansion of that same effort (the work of Pope Sixtus IV); (3) Sixtus’s unbending domination of freedom, privilege, the common people, the nobles, and even the king himself; and, finally, Sixtus’s propagation of the Inquisition beyond the sizable borders of the Iberians. He explained many details of the virulent bitterness of the Edicts against those who were confessing the Reformed faith: about the publication of the Edicts without waiting for the approval of the states-general, as well as their violent enforcement, which took from many poor men their fortunes, tortured consciences, stripped civil governments of their privileges, and with scarcely any consideration for age nor sex hauled off all levels of society, to the slaughterhouse, chopping block, and torture chambers. This enforcement, in a monstrous fashion, raged against all kinds of persons with prison, chains, the rack, the sword, the cross, fire, burial, and drowning, with no stated charge, on any day whatsoever, often even during the dark of night. Junius recalled countless crimes of these new bishops who, as Inquisitors of the Faith, were wielding and exercising the power of the sword under the specious excuse of preserving the Catholic religion. This was done without the government or king’s knowledge, or certainly without him giving it his attention, against all the traditions and customs of our ancestors, against the charters of the ancient monasteries, against the legal claims of the rest of the bishoprics. All this was done through the treacherous craft of Granvelle (there was nothing he was unwilling or unable to do for the destruction of the Belgians). Junius also explained that the leading citizens had finally intervened in all these affairs to some extent, as they saw by clear signs that if these first starts were not opposed and quickly guarded against, the people, who in other respects were very long-suffering and very loyal to their ruler, could not be held any longer in their place and that some sure disaster was threatening all of Belgium.

The people had attempted nothing by violence, nothing by wicked device (though they were, quite unfairly, charged with such actions). The Baron à Montigny5 was dispatched to Spain to seek relief from the severity of the edicts. He returned shortly thereafter, his mission a failure when the mind of the good prince6 was beset by the Inquisitors and torn in two directions. Thereupon he called down curses on the treachery toward the most peaceful king, the deceit perpetrated against the nobility, the contempt and outrages shown to the free states, the cruelty toward a people obedient and submissive to his rule, and finally, the conspiracy of a few not only to crush Belgium, but even to snuff out all the remnants of the peace and tranquility of the rest of the Christian world. Junius explained further that, since Granvelle was more and more producing his offspring7 of new bishops, the Spaniard Armenter was sent to Spain again by the design of the governess and of the nobles, to explain to the prince that the people could not be held to their duty any longer, that the leading citizens after that were no longer willing to guard his place in the management of the state unless Granvelle’s unbridled boldness were checked. Junius was saying that the embassage had these powers so that the man, incredibly good at insinuating his wiles, would be recalled from Belgium by the prince. He was predicting that the Belgians would indeed catch their breath a little with the departure of this man who was engineering such awful tragedies. But, when scarcely a few months had passed, this very good prince had again been compelled to impose the yoke of the Inquisition on his own citizens. He forced upon them the bishops, edicts, and even the Council of Trent. For those who had been dedicated to the Evangelical teaching he decreed forms of barbaric torture. Everyone had foreseen in these punishments a severe uprising of the people, and the complete destruction of all Belgium. In order to avert this catastrophe, the Count of Egmont was dispatched to Spain in the name of the prefect and leading citizens to try to calm the mind of the prince, to lessen a little the bitterness of the edicts, in a word to remove the Inquisition. The prince responded mildly through Egmont: he had promised everything for the sake of Belgium; he had demanded that the sovereigns of the whole province make it their business to see to it carefully that no harm come to the Republic and set down some plan by which it might be possible to avoid such great dangers while keeping the Catholic religion intact. When Egmont returned to Belgium, the task of putting together this plan had been entrusted to three bishops and to the same number of theologians, likewise to three experts in canon law, and to an equal number of those skilled in civil law. At this point, all these plans had been thrown into confusion by the partisans of the pope, of Granvelle, and of the Inquisitors. Afterward, letters had been obtained from the king by force, in which the Inquisition was given reign, as though by his supreme will, throughout all Belgium; the obeying of the edicts was imposed down to the tiniest point; the rule of the bishops was inaugurated in all the states, and the declaration and publication of the Decrees of the Council of Trent were ordered.

As Junius came to the end of his discourse, he added that so many tears had arisen especially for this reason; from this thread had begun the greatest dismay of everyone, the overwhelming sorrow of individuals, and the public grief of the provinces. From this had resulted the many different meetings of the nobles, their alliances, the suppliant books, and finally those wars most deadly, and more than civil.8

He was detailing these and other events which it would be tedious to record while I gazed at him with my eyes fixed. As I asked which of these events he had in his writings, he said there were none. Never­theless, he nodded toward something noted in a certain brief little commentary which he had once written about his own life, following the pattern of M. Aemilius Scaurus and great men of a more remote time. When he realized that I wanted to see it and skim through it, so kind is he, he brought it out. The beginning of the work so delighted me that I got his permission to look over it for a few days. I read it, reread it; I evaluated it with no little care. I was amazed that the life of one man was so varied. I was astounded by the difficult origins of so great a man, of a childhood disturbed by so many woes, an adolescence spent so dangerously, even an atheism9 that attacked him from the Devil in his schemes. I stood amazed at a youth almost given up to public life, consecrated by God and set apart for His church—a man called to the arena; so faithfully and with such a keen mind had he conducted himself, suffusing the minds of the young with knowledge of true doctrine concerning God and glittering with his own examples of all the virtues for his listeners. Finally, in fact, I was astounded at a man who had wrestled through the most arduous contests and had been snatched miraculously from an ocean of countless very savage tumults. I grieved that the knowledge of such great kindnesses of God, which had been conferred upon one man, would lie hidden with that one man and should be unknown to so many. I asked to get back the work that I had already returned, not with any other purpose than to make a copy for others to read. Concerning this publication, he shared not even one word when he was writing the account of his own life. If he had denied my request, the Christian church, which has a very keen interest in not disregarding these events, would have been compelled to suffer this loss. Or if he had agreed, those who wished him ill would have objected that this great man was hunting for his own glory. Surely different people will be instructed in different ways from this. The governing authorities, the protectors of our bodies, the caretakers of our possessions, will discover how great were the dangers when the foundations of this very beautiful building were laid, a building to which they are applying all their effort to preserve now that its roof is restored. They will learn with how much blood the roof peak that was going to be demolished now stands fast; they will find out how much effort was employed stirring up almost all the components for the destruction and eradication of the craftsmen. The shepherds of souls will see how numerous are the difficulties to which ministers of the church will be led. They will see how many crises, how many sorrows, how many slanders accompany all forms of leadership, even in the church. Here they will see, as in a mirror,10 that the unique quality of ministers is faithfulness; that of this there are so to speak three jewels: true acknowledgment of God, which is the font and measure of all virtues, constancy, and diligence in executing one’s office. They will see that these three are aided by the highest zeal for God’s glory and by a most burning desire for that glory to be promoted. Parents will understand what their duty is in training their children: that they must be taught true religion and equipped above all for divine worship, so that they might both honor religion and learn from their earliest years to speak of God; that they must be kept from the habit of taking oaths, and guarded from indecent speech and action, prevented from the company of the wicked, that they be filled with good habits through habituation, warning, training, and in examples. They will understand that when, at a more advanced age, they will have to be dedicated to a particular vocation, the inborn nature of these same children must be discerned and their talents carefully recognized wherever their minds more incline them. They will understand at what age boys should be put to the task of learning literature, how much they should be burdened with the labor of learning, and to what kinds of tutors and teachers they should be entrusted to be educated.

Children from this publication will learn to submit themselves willingly to their parents’ judgment, by a kind of love and respect for them. They will learn to show them obedience and gratitude and that their blemishes and weaknesses must be borne with patience. Teachers will understand that those whom they have received as entrusted to their care must be attended with all care and love; that consistency is necessary in imparting these skills, in order for doctrine and the knowledge of different subjects to be carefully poured into tender little minds more deeply and with greater fruit. Repetition and examinations must be carefully supervised, so that the students’ judgment may be shaped and strengthened, their talents sharpened, their memory supported, the course of their studies confined with fixed limits, and they become accustomed to learning, leaving aside useless interests, to learn useful things. They will come to understand that everything must be done with moderation, lest, weighed down by the load of studies, they be ruined. Teachers will see that they must refrain from applying the rod; that there should be no blazing anger, no raging like Orbilius.11 For students’ vices are hardened by the brutality which is typically meted out for a fault, while their virtues grow weak and are destroyed. A more harsh form of instruction should be taken away. The students’ mistakes, especially those of the rather gentle-minded, should more often be ignored or mildly corrected and pointed out with a calm expression, so that a harsher rebuke may not reduce their love for literature and produce in them both a hopelessness for arriving where their nature was raising them and a hatred of that subject for which earlier they burned with the highest love. From this workshop, as it were, the students will come to share their instructors’ love of literature and devotion, their precision, their industry; they will show obedience and gratitude finally toward their instructors, by whose effort and loyalty they have become better scholars, and have received instruction.

In this Life the duties of spouses are also observed: love, faithfulness, companionship, and so forth. From here all will drink in for themselves, to speak briefly, instances of the chief virtues, i.e., piety, justice, perseverance, sobriety, propriety, gratitude, long-suffering, courage, sincerity, kindness, chastity, decency, moderation, carefulness in speech, friendliness, and other things. From all these one can note how much difference there is between the publication of the life of a man who always acted privately, and one on whom God placed a public office either in the church or in political life. Some of the first group12 conducted themselves in such a way, and do now, that their actions are worth being noted by many. But the second group were the kind of persons that it was necessary to know almost anything they did: either to imitate it, if it was something good, if it was evident, if it was consistent with justice and noble character; or otherwise to avoid it. God is at work in one way in private matters and in another in public, and He wishes the deeds of public officials to affect everyone. And if only more writings of this kind were brought to light, we certainly would see greater proofs of God’s divine kindness toward His church, though we do notice these very great indications everywhere.

Now I commit this work to you, most Christian gentlemen, of one who is your countryman, who was born in your midst, who was to you a guide and shepherd when you were in the greatest danger, whose work that great Shepherd made famous and brilliant in the reformation of His church and in cleansing it of all human filth. Exercise sound judgment, good gentlemen, and hold before God in your prayers both the one who is thus committed, and He who does the committing. Farewell.


Leiden, the Netherlands, December 13, 1594


1. From George Crabb’s Universal Historical Dictionary (London, 1833): “Merula, Paul, or Van Merle…was born at Dort in 1558, and died in 1607, leaving, 1. ‘Q. Ennii Annalium Librorum XVIII Fragmenta collecta et Commentariis illustrata,’ 4to. Lugd. Bat. 1595. 2. ‘Eutropii Historiae Romanae Libri X,’ 8vo. 1592; and with the Notes of Glareanus and Merula, 8vo. Lugd. Bat. 1494. 3. ‘Urbis Romae Delineatio et Methodica ex variis autoribus Descriptio, 1599. 4. ‘Cosmographiae Generalis Libri tres,’ 4to. 1605. 5. ‘Desiderii Erasmi ex ipsius Manu fideliter representat,’ &c. 4to. 1607; besides other works mentioned by Foppen and Niceron.”

2. IC, i.e., iuris consultus.

3. Annalium Codicem.

4. The Latin abbreviations V. (Venerablis) N. (Noster) are used here before Junius’s name.

5. Floris de Montmorency (1528–1570), the younger brother of Philip de Montmorency (France) (Count of Horn), was sent to Spain in April 1566 to negotiate for peace. After Floris de Montmorency returned from Spain unsuccessful, Philip II (king of Spain from 1556 to 1598) had him strangled when the latter invaded the Netherlands.

6. I.e., Philip II.

7. Enitente…foetum Granvellano; this is an odd expression to be sure, but Merula seems to present Granvelle as a sort of reptilian beast that is spawning monsters.

8. Merula means wars that were internecine but were also more than, i.e., worse than “civil” in the sense of how citizens ought to behave toward one another. The phrase and sentiment is an allusion to the Roman poet Lucan’s epic Pharsalia, 1.1: Bella per Emathios plusquam civilia campos.

9. ἀθείαν.

10. The metaphor Paullus uses here is a common one from antiquity, whereby a mirror is used to explain the process of self-knowledge. See, for example, Seneca’s De Clementia, in Moral Essays, trans. John W. Basore (London: William Heinemann, Ltd., 1928), 1:356; and James 1:23.

11. Lucius Orbilius Pupilus (c. 112–c. 17 BC) was a grammarian, famous as the schoolmaster at Rome of Horace, who calls him plagosus (“whacker”) from beatings inflicted during lessons. See M. C. Howatson, ed., The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 411.

12. I.e., those who led only private lives.

The Life of Franciscus Junius

The Lord’s mercies I shall relate, when I give an account of my poor life, that the Lord who made me may be glorified in me. Yet Thou, O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may proclaim Thy praise. Guide my spirit, that now and in my whole life I may make known Thy faithfulness and truth. In Thy presence, O Lord, I shall speak of myself. And I would rather speak of Thee, O Lord, at work within me; so I will proclaim the truth which by Thy careful providence Thou didst want to be revealed in me by Thine endless mercy. Thus my friends, when they inquire, may see, and the children, whom Thou hast granted me, may remember that truth of Thine displayed toward me; and all the righteous who seek Thy mercy, by which Thou hast reached me, may be led along with me to the innermost places of Thy truth. So I shall weave together, starting with my ancestors, the origin of my life. And to the warp of the present hour I shall draw out its woof, while Thou who seest all things look on, that a unique proof of Thy kindness and glory may be shown in the presence of Thy children.

Family History1

My grandfather was William, the son of John and the grandson of William. He was Lord of Boffardiniere at Vayrac (Sigebertus calls it Issoudun, as do the common people).2 He served in the guard and livery of King Louis the Twelfth, the most Christian King of France, and in the Navarre War eighty-one years past he gave distinguished service, when Ferdinand the King of Spain, supported by the condemnation of that openly volatile Pope Julius II, had taken over the greater part of the rule of Navarre, which had been wrested from John d’Albret. In view of these services, the title of the nobility itself was bestowed upon my grandfather and our family by the King. As a boy, moreover, I saw the trophies of my grandfather’s exploits that he had dedicated in the great church at Vayrac, named for St. Cyrus. He had three sons and two daughters. The eldest of these sons was named John. He was groomed for life in the army, a career which he fulfilled though not very happily. The second son, Francis, was pledged to the church, while the third, Denys, was bound to the pursuits of scholarship and public life. All this was in accordance with the custom at the time whereby in larger families the parents typically exercised a great deal of influence over their sons.

Denys was my father, and he studied law at the best known academies of France, namely at Bourges, Poitiers, and Toulouse. He was under no compulsion in this study but discharged it carelessly nevertheless, through the fault of others. For because he was a man unmatched in courage, and physically very strong, and exceptionally fast with his fists, there was hardly any tussle among the boys that he did not get foolishly dragged into, even against his will. Now one group would enlist him as an ally for their battles on their side, then another group for their side. I often heard my father complaining bitterly about this particular injustice. From that time there is a letter from my grandfather which he sent to his son Denys with a sober and yet witty salutation, namely, “To my dear son Denys, whom I sent there to study.” He wrote this for Denys instead of what others commonly write, namely, “to him as he studies there.”3 Finally, my father earned at Toulouse the degree of Licentiate (as they call it), and when he had returned home he was drawn quite to his surprise, though by the most remarkable providence of God, into public service. I will explain the details of this event as an indicator of that divine providence which by this development equally disturbed my father and greatly exalted him.

There is in one of the outlying towns of Vayrac (this is the name of the second-most famous town near Bourges for production of wine and wool) a Franciscan monastery. The abbot over this monastery was a certain friar named Hémard (as he is commonly called) Toussaint, a man known for the great foulness of his speech and body, and most eager to do anything disgraceful. That man had not shrunk from even publicly haranguing Marguerite the Queen of Navarre and sister of Francis the First (she was also Duchess of Bourges) on the ground that she was a Lutheran, that she deserved to be wrapped up in a sack and cast into the sewer, and other things of that sort. When this Hémard continued making these charges for quite some time, although he had been warned not to, the local authority was unable in good conscience to cover up the affair. An investigation was opened, witnesses were adduced, and the matter was referred to the king. At this point the king was offended and directly required the very punishment that Hémard had prescribed for the king’s sister. The case was sent back to the local magistrate for the offender to be arrested and brought to the king as soon as possible.

Then the queen intervened with her mercy and succeeded in having a less severe punishment leveled against the man who had treated her so abysmally. But no one was found who would dare to take the man from the royal locked garrison to the king, evidently because the townspeople were madly approving the monk’s folly. And thus in vain was the magistrate repeatedly summoned by the king’s attendants and with weighty entreaties. My father, who by chance at that time was newly arrived from the schools, was neither inexperienced in arms nor unaware of the things that had taken place before he arrived. He boldly promised the king’s attendants that he himself would take care of the matter if an order of the king could be sent to him by name. When this matter was conveyed to the king, a decree was put into effect for this purpose, and it was sent to Vayrac. When it reached the monastery, the Franciscan priest was arrested, and with difficulty he was extracted from the clutches of the raging townspeople (who were stirring up mob action and a hail of stones at the worst possible time), so that he could serve two years, by the king’s decree, on a prison barge on the Mediterranean Sea.

So this was the first official act that brought my father into the good graces of the king and his sister the queen. But among that untutored rabble and the Franciscan order, he earned unending animosity. They brought forward against my father crass slanders, threats, false charges, harassments, slights, and, finally, cruel death. It would certainly have been more profitable and useful, when about to embark upon a public career and involvement in the care of the state if, after so bold an undertaking, he had looked to his own interests by an honorable and wise change of residence. This sort of plan the Queen of Navarre and some of the leading citizens often desired, so that my father might provide service to the commonwealth somewhere else.

He married Jacoba Hugalda, a very upright young woman from a devout family and with a character completely dedicated to tranquility. With her he fathered nine children, four sons and five daughters. When only two of the daughters had been born, Father harvested the bitterest fruit of that bold deed of his. For he was attacked partly by the craft of the Franciscans, and partly by the recklessness and extreme hatred of the common people, and brought up on the charge of Lutheran religion (as they designated it at the time). The maid who had served our home was enlisted for the plot. She gave false testimony, as I have often heard my mother affirm, that she had witnessed Father consuming meat on days that it was forbidden. My father went into exile at this charge, lest he be compelled to plead his case from prison in the midst of so many hostile townspeople. He was supported by the Queen of Navarre herself for almost an entire year. Meanwhile there was a general rush on my father’s property, and certain men, especially from his relatives, stole from him on the pretext of reclaiming the money that they had supplied to him as he fled. In this they acted with the greatest diligence, looking much to their own advantage and not at all to my father’s. While he was absent, the Franciscan monk returned from the sea after his two-year term was completed. He was received into town with the heartiest applause and welcome of his order and of the common people. A crowd gathered together at the doors of our family home. My mother, pregnant at the time, was terrified and overcome, especially when many began to shout into her ears, as though in competition, “Our sainted hero has returned, has returned! The devil has carried off the wicked ones who arose in opposition.” This was the gist of their shouting. A second hardship arose at that time which grieved my mother in no small measure. For my exiled father had secretly returned to mother once. She conceived on this occasion and was violently derided by the mob as though her chastity had been prostituted. This devout woman’s heart was assailed by both of these insults, since so many were both wickedly throwing in her face the return of that Franciscan and they were faulting her for (as they said) her licentious pregnancy.

In due time she gave birth to a son in February, and he was given the name Jean. At that time, by the help of the Queen of Navarre, my father’s case was taken up by King Francis the First. Father was acquitted of the charge by the king’s authority, regained his ancestral property, and emigrated to the metropolis of Bourges. There, to the end of his life, he served with distinction as royal conciliar and military tribune, and was decorated with honors by the king. This is not to mention all the other commendations which he had received from the queen, the king’s sister, and from the Duke of Bourges.


Born to these parents, I first saw the light of day in that well-known city of Bourges on the first of May. I was born around seven in the evening in the year 1545. I was the unhealthy child of an ailing mother, and there seemed to be no hope that I would survive for more than an hour. And so suddenly and with great commotion they conducted a baptism for a dying infant (so it was thought). Immediately two sponsors4 (the name commonly given them are Compatres) were summoned to present me for the baptismal rite. The first was Francois de L’Aubespine, who had long before claimed this right for himself in return for his exceptional friendship toward my parents, and Francis Behaldus Chantillius. The first of these spent his life in distinguished service to the French king, until he sadly died in that notorious butcher shop of the year 1572, along with very many other good men. Chantillius ended his very pleasant life in rest and honest peace among our fellow countrymen. While these men stood as witnesses and sponsors, I was baptized in the church of St. Medard that same evening.

Skin lesions caused me great pain as I advanced into boyhood. At the age of three, these had become so serious that for a long time neither my ears nor my eyes would function properly, and these had caused me the greatest discomfort in my daily sleep. Then my nursemaids employed in my case a perverse and injurious pity. For while my skin lesions were still forming scabs, they carried me out rather carelessly into the open air. When this was done and the lesions became chafed and damaged by the chilled air, a serious weeping wound formed on my left foot. From that oozing sore there arose a harmful wound in the middle of my calf that was barely healed in six months. And throughout the rest of my life, if any illness afflicted me, it spilled over generally onto that same foot.

I began my primary studies, as soon as I had reached my fifth year, under the very genial tutelage of my father. This happened as often as he had time to return home to care for my illness, for I was now much stronger. At the age of six I began to write and to demonstrate to some important degree the natural bent of my gifts and disposition. For I naturally possessed a certain joyful cheerfulness, and so as a boy would very often refresh my father with words to distract him from his weighty concerns. But my careful training, the mass of obligations I have, my daily concerns and duties, have obviously dulled this cheerfulness so much that even when it is proper that I should indulge in something lighthearted, I seem to myself to be acting in an inappropriately childish way. I had a truly remarkable desire for distinction. My spirit was quite prone to anger, my judgment quite censorious in proportion to my years. My mother sometimes grew impatient and playfully reproached me with this, alleging that I wanted to be another wise Socrates. I demonstrated as well an excessive appetite for food, as though believing (as our household servants sometimes suggested) that by taking in more food I would cure my body’s weakness. I was also very bashful, and this has so burdened me to this very day that altogether I can more rightly be considered a simpleton than a sophisticated city-dweller. For in matters both public and private, even in those areas where intimates typically conduct themselves with the greatest familiarity, that bashfulness of mine is equally annoying to myself and others. And it not infrequently prevents me from fulfilling those very obligations which the same modesty usually arouses one to fulfill.

I was so overcome by this excessive reticence as a boy that I could never feel entirely at ease even with my own mother, but rather I always interacted with her with a certain reserved respect. Mother found this hurtful, and afterward she quite often had wished in vain to treat it with the ready examples of my brothers and sisters. At last she was brought to the point that she believed for some time that I did not love her, until later at my wedding (which was in the year 1567) she realized that this was simply part of my nature, and both excused and faulted that weakness of mine (of this I was as ashamed as anyone else). What should I say, except that my bashfulness was almost rude,5 and it rendered me so entirely handicapped that I could barely discuss everyday affairs with my wife without a sense of shame, could scarcely give orders to the household staff? Of the several consequences of this shyness that began in boyhood one was that I was always distrustful of myself and was eager to hear of the deeds of others, to mark their conversations, and to take careful notice for my own use. I benefited more from listening to others than I contributed to them in my speech. When my opinion was settled, I was slow to share it unless some rash irritation of the mind caught me off guard. In short, although I longed for distinction, still I always willingly yielded to others the first rank in conversation or any other activity. I would prefer that others judge to what extent this condition helped me toward learning, though I have now clumsily suggested that prospect. I speak, however, more openly about this weakness of mine for this reason, that youth might draw a lesson of meekness and humility from my example, that they might pursue the sure fruit of knowledge with sure judgment. For I testify that nothing has so equipped me for every circumstance, according to God’s blessing, than that strong sense of self-distrust arising from a knowledge of my weakness and bashfulness, and a zealous observation of those others with whom I spent my time.

Youth and Studies

In grammar school I both studied under classroom tutors and then was always instructed privately and individually at home until I reached the age of twelve. At that point I began to attend the public recitations. In grammar school, the following teachers are those who helped me the most and to whom it is fair that gratitude be repaid by a grateful student: Johannes Popardinus, Johannes Morellus, and Henricus Pampulfurius, a German by birth, a man of unique learning and gifted with the greatest mercy in his teaching. At home I was taught by Petrus Galerandus, Dionysius Burgensis (who I understand was later made Canonicus), and Petrus Barba. Barba was elevated to the post of Royal Advocate at Molinna among the Bourbons on my father’s recommendation after he left us. These and other tutors instructed my older brother, named Jean, and me. And by the goodness of God I happily advanced in my pursuit of education, both as these men demonstrated faithfulness in their teaching and as nature led me as a boy to a more than adequate desire for praise and distinction. For that wicked root of the love of honor6 was growing up in me so that in my sinfulness I could not endure with a calm heart, even at that age, to have someone else praised. Nor could I be at peace with that self-evaluation which I was achieving by the most focused effort. And so God in His far-reaching wisdom made use of these wicked motives for my benefit, as He pitied me. In addition to my studies at school as well as those that took place at home, there were constant matters of business that concerned my father as a very important man of the highest judgment. At my tender age, he also helped me by these responsibilities to combine a knowledge of human affairs with my pursuit of learning. For whenever I had free time from my studies, Father used my labor in hearing cases, copying out investigations, putting together capital charges, reviewing strategies face to face, and studying the proper disposition both of all manner of cases and indeed of capital ones as well. Father also employed me as a scribe in confidential cases, lest the details should be publicly divulged. Of course I was very glad that my father so wholly approved of my trustworthiness and diligence, both in my studies and in looking after these other tasks. And when I heard myself praised by other important men, my self-confidence grew even more, and I began very passionately day by day to strive for more responsibility.

There were, however, two obstacles that lay in the path of my studies thus begun. On one side there was a very pronounced bitterness toward what I perceived as certain injustices against me, and on the other, the hope of attaining the very highest honors in France was more clearly displayed. For on several occasions, the expectation in the eyes of many of the leading citizens was fanning in me those little inborn sparks of ambition that had thus been kindled. These were the men who at the time in the kingdom of France had the most influence and authority. They were quite often insisting that my father assign me to more serious cases, and allow me to be trained for them at this young age. The leaders among this group of men were the three de L’Aubespine brothers, men very dear to my family and quite closely acquainted with my parents. They held forth the hope of higher offices and guaranteed it if only my father should go along with the plan they were constantly advancing. Once I was prepared under their guidance to go to Germany, that while still a boy I might learn that language. At another time they urged that I should visit Rhaetia.7 On two occasions I was prepared to travel to Constantinople to serve in the diplomatic retinue of the royal ambassador, who had put this plan quite often to my father. Quite often I was also counseled to devote myself to some service in the court or to learning and mastering the operation of the kingdom, and to attend regularly at the Golden Camera (as it is commonly called), which is in Paris. Among the sundry persuasions of these men’s schemes, I remember that François de L’Aubespine, while I was listening, quoted the following saying, which is very popular in France: “The road to learning is very long.”8 De L’Aubespine explained that axiom in this manner: that it showed how all other skills, disciplines, and tasks could be learned in a short amount of time and retained from youth, but that in scholarship most men grow old or even die before they can harvest the desired fruit of their studies themselves or bestow them, as is proper, on others. To this, indeed, my father nodded and agreed, then he disagreed and yielded a little bit to the influence, wisdom, and promises of these great men; and then again later he refused, until finally, when my inborn bashfulness and that rather simpleminded nature of mine which cherished simplicity had been considered, even though it was disinclined to the life of the court and political maneuverings, my father decided that this ought to be done so that I should not be deterred from the course of my studies which had already begun. For these pleased Father a good deal. But it is hard to believe how much these affairs summoned and drove me all the more to cultivating and advancing in these studies, even beyond what those men were expecting. For I thought that it was proper for a noble life combined with leisure to be preferred to the burdens of these transactions, aware as I was of my own character and weakness. Now my nature was drawn to sincerity, and hated disguise and dishonesty. This trait has rendered me unwelcome and hateful in nearly all human undertakings in which I have been engaged, because, rejecting all favoritism, I decided that it is proper for plain boldness to be the evidence of my trustworthiness in such situations. Indeed, that weakness, held in check by the shyness that I mentioned above, was afraid of the glamour of the princely court both then, and even especially now.9 And so the influence of my father, whom I respected a good deal, very greatly aided this plan of mine. For he decided that I would be devoted to the studies I had begun, and that all distractions, however numerous and appealing, would be ignored. He did not cease, so long as he was at home, from exhorting me and my older brother with the most serious admonitions, arguments, examples, and influence to pursue our studies most fervently.

My father was in the habit while he sat at the table and we stood around, of admonishing us in our duty, whenever the occasion arose. This was especially the case if he noticed that something which he judged we were able to grasp had been done contrary to law and to reason in the governing of public affairs. He used to explain with an almost prophetic insight (as indeed it seems to me now) that France had been filled with injustice; moreover, that it was not possible for those who desire to maintain law and equity with a clear conscience to achieve public offices in France; that there was a certain widespread infection and (as he used to say indignantly) a most sordid pestilence that was consuming the kingdom. And he maintained that this could not happen without the most severe and bitter judgments of God following. Consequently, there was no reason, he said, why we should console ourselves with the abundance of possessions that he would accumulate for us in a land whose terrible destruction he could foresee. Nor, he said, should we think about the distinctions we would gain in such a place. It would be fitting, rather, that my brother and I flee as far as possible from such offices if we wished to keep intact the sanctity of a clear conscience. He advised us to embark on a wholly different plan: we should be careful to acquire a legacy of knowledge, for this would provide us a sure future and become the most reliable and noble guide and mistress of our lives. Endowed with such an inheritance we could go wherever we wanted freely and unhindered. If the particular condition of any ruler or government did not suit us, it would be a simple matter for us to be received elsewhere, with honor and favor among all persons of good repute, while this inheritance traveled with us. I could scarcely ever listen without tears to my father discussing these matters in grave tones. The topic of the conversation and the regard in which I held the speaker moved me so deeply. Indeed all these considerations were goading my heart quite successfully toward the study of the humanities, as I loved the noble leisure and peace that my father was holding before me.

But the unbelievable harshness of certain teachers and their excessive brutality (I will spare their names) was almost dragging me in the opposite direction and dissuading me from the studies I had begun. For quite often, on one and the same day, this situation was breaking my heart and lessening my love for literature. I did not think that my body deserved to be rent by undeserved blows for seven or eight consecutive days, to be beaten by rods, and to be dragged naked on the ground in a barbaric fashion. Several times under duress I falsely confessed that I had done some deed that had not even come into my mind. It was appropriate that I should pay the penalty for dishonesty, since Orbilius10 used to say, and afterward said truly, that he should beat me not for what I had done, but because I had lied. However many times the diagrams of the arguments in the Dialectic of Trebizond were placed before me, they became the arguments of his despotic violence. If it was “B,” he was concluding that I had drunk more than enough at table. He charged me with bullying in school, that I had fought with one of my classmates. If the answer was “C,” that I was causing a disturbance. If “D,” that I had said this or that. In this way my innocence bore the brunt of that man’s outrageous foolishness. Countless were his contrivances on this score, by which day and night my wretched body became a plaything and a toy for that man. He exercised his own body by beating on mine, and fed his soul most reprehensibly on my suffering. These outrages so broke my brother’s spirit that on one occasion he was nearly out of his mind with excessive misery; later he would abandon his studies altogether.

These same hardships would have also dragged me sideways had not the sure fear of God and of my father, whose example weighed on me most of all, restrained me. And so by the grace of God I wrestled through these most difficult contests. Indeed these were so great that I would scarcely have believed they had been placed upon any child in my recollection. And I was routinely concealing my pain and not revealing it even to my very affectionate mother or my most loving sister by any word or indication. Let parents examine to whose keeping they hand over their sons. Let teachers examine by what zeal, what skill, what fairness and temperance of soul they shape the youth that has been entrusted to them. Indeed I never would have thought that childhood and such a tender age could be beset by so many dangers, if they had not trained me so brutally when I was naive and undeserving.

When I had reached the age of thirteen, I developed a taste for the study of the law when, during the holidays set aside for gathering grapes, Hugues Doneau11 took up for translation by the scholarly youth a chapter on lawsuits from the Institutes of Justinian. This he had published a few years before. The study was not displeasing, and thus I perceived that I, who thought that no or very little profit would come to me from private instruction, saw an easier path lying open to me for undertaking this study, because I had pursued both a practice at home and a sort of progymnasma12 for more than five years with my father in political and capital cases. And so I spent nearly two years in that study, since François Douaren,13 Hugues Doneau, and Antonius Concius, the latter’s equal, Ludwig Russard,14 and other men renowned in that profession were teaching in the academy.

At length I began to realize just how much I still lacked in the knowledge of the more refined arts, languages, and especially history. These subjects, I understood, were relevant both for a true understanding of the law and for other studies as well. While I was reflecting on these matters, to my surprise an unexpected messenger came to my father from Lyons concerning a new embassy that was to set forth from the king to the Turk at Constantinople. The message stated that I had to present myself in Lyons as soon as possible, since I would be undertaking the journey with the ambassador who desired my attendance. The scholar Barthélemy Aneau,15 who at that time presided over the gymnasium in my city, urged my father very insistently. He was very closely allied with my father and intimately acquainted with the ambassador. So I then headed for Lyons at my father’s wish, but arrived later than the ambassador, Aneau, or my father expected. Of course the ambassador had already left for Italy. And so I was told that I should wait in Lyons until some opportune moment should present itself for my departure. This respite, however, proved to be well suited to my pursuit of certain studies and a welcome delay. Since I enjoyed a large supply of books there, I vigorously devoted myself without hindrance to those different studies for which my mind was burning. There, while I was directing my insatiable mind to different kinds of reading, an excellent and very timely thing happened (I am using here the expression of a young man): a scholar who had noticed my talent asked me about the whole plan of my education. He said that he had seen how many and varied readings I was attempting without a set method or goal. He also said that he was experienced with this bad habit, and that he could be my guide so that I would not develop it myself; that surely my studies would not be aided by this approach, but rather completely confused, and my natural gifts ruined. He advised instead that I should be careful to set before my gaze some definite objective for my studies, toward which always and unwaveringly I should look. Since neither length of life nor the human mind is equal to all areas of knowledge at the same time, I should rather pursue different studies and books of diverse opinion in such a way that they would help me as I headed toward my goal. In truth I have found this warning very useful in all of life.

Temptations of the City and Departure from the Faith

And yet, at these beginning stages, two very steep and treacherous cliffs threatened my youth. The first of these was a sore trial, and the second almost overwhelmed me. For several women and girls, enthralled by promiscuity (the wantonness of that city is great and almost unbelievable), kept assailing me in a kind of competition to ensnare my youth. And this happened by the set plan of those very persons whom my father was trusting to give me the best counsel. The clear leader among these was a certain young man who made no pretense but was daily and openly scolding me. He argued that I would never be a good or sophisticated friend until I began to pay attention (as he put it) to love. With many speeches and schemes he tempted my mind toward destruction. Thus day and night those she-dogs16 were shamelessly hunting me, though I had no idea what they wanted, as I kept recalling to mind that discipline and chastity which I had witnessed in my father’s house. They did not set upon me one at a time and individually, but rather in groups of three or four at the same time; with hands joined, they assailed me with the utmost shamelessness. Thus if my mind were drawn away to their degradation they might boast in the trophies won from my innocence. At last I became so irked at their effrontery that when one of them, with a crowd of onlookers present, tried to put her hand on me flirtatiously, I landed a heavy blow on her. The girl hesitated as to how she should take it, then with downcast eyes looked back attentively at me, watching for a little while for some indication of my intention. When she saw, however, that I took the matter seriously, she filled the house with shouts and shrieks and unwisely aroused the scorn of everyone else against herself and the hatred of the fools toward me. And so these constant trials so fatigued me that I often contemplated withdrawing myself secretly from that unwholesome guesthouse, and returning to my father’s home. But other considerations kept me there against my will. Especially because, when other plans I had in mind were rejected and proved futile, I thought it would happen that those very lodgers (who had my father’s approval, and one of them also had much influence), by making excuses for their own acts of wickedness with a thousand tricks would earn me my father’s dislike. For my father would be more inclined to trust their judgment than my immaturity, or they would for sure set his mind at odds with mine.

Though I remained unconquered by this particular affliction of adolescence through the grace of God, I completely submitted to a second evil, and settled down in it, until such time as our very great heavenly Father pitied me, He who chose me in Christ before all time according to the good pleasure of His own will. That wickedness is godlessness,17 and it is the most serious evil. I was perceptibly drawn toward succumbing to and approving this vice by another’s boldness and by my own foolishness. I remember that I was reading M. Tullius’s De Legibus then, with Aneau (whom I mentioned before) as my guide and counselor, and I was collating some notes and observations on that work. A man came to me and was asserting with the greatest precision and by many proofs the words of Epicurus which appear in the first book, namely that God had no care for him nor for anyone else. To these remarks I made reply without reason and firm conviction. Instead, showing agreement a little at a time, I perceived that a creeping poison which I had swallowed was growing stronger within me. And both by the persuasiveness of this man and by the sophistication of his words, I was carried away headlong toward the point where my soul was growing hard, stuck in that evil, and becoming wholly incapable of feeling.18

Return to Faith

Thou hast remembered, O Lord my God, Thy servant, and Thou hast rescued me freely and by Thy own mercy, while I was perishing wretchedly by my own action. Every day the table was set with that frightening impiety, the house echoed with it, all around it roared in my ears so much that I was becoming deaf to everything else. For when at all hours we see something awful happening, or we hear about it (as Tullius says), even though we may be constitutionally very mild, we lose from our minds all perception of decency through the repetition of things noxious. So when we perceive something wicked happening or being discussed, we lose our perception of piety. But from that boundless pit of destruction God miraculously rescued me, after I had indulged in these most destructive pleasures for more than a year. For when civil unrest sprang up at Lyons at the feast of St. Nicasius,19 on the holy day (as they call it) of the Lord’s body or sacrament, then slaughter was breaking out here and there and indeed indiscriminately in that part of the city which is situated at the confluence of the Rhone and the Saône. The enraged mob began to attack people in their homes and surrounded with closest ranks the very house where I was lodging at the time. The crowd had been provoked by the words of a certain bread-carrying little priest20 who was falsely claiming that a man who had left from the same house21 had done violence to him, and had broken the shrine of the sacrament he was administering. But the priest was concealing his own carelessness by this subterfuge: for he had done it himself. He had been terrified by the numbers of those from the mob that had arisen elsewhere and were rushing to arms, and he was thinking that these men were his enemies. So he had broken into the first house he saw open, and the little shrine or tabernacle that he was carrying in his hands he had smashed against the door of the house in his great haste. This lie persisted at a great cost to many: B. Aneau lost his life, as did several others. His wife barely escaped being hurled into the Saône by the mob only because she was rescued and tucked away in prison through the intervention of Jean Catharine, the magistrate and commander of the Angiers’22 cavalry.

Our home was surrounded by armed guards and besieged, as though in time of war. A certain ruffian23 peering from the wall threatened me. He said that he knew me, and proclaimed that I would not escape from his clutches. At the very top of the wall where he was standing, he hesitated with his spear, debating whether he could easily leap into the yard using his spear as a support. He was so enraged at me that he could not wait while the ladder was being fetched for him. I, meanwhile, had already tried three times to escape through the old back gate. When I saw this lunatic man plotting to throw himself recklessly at me, I ran again to the old gate. At the time, those madmen were paying it scant attention since they were trusting in their ranks of armed men. These ones, crammed very tightly together, were blanketing the sides of that entire village (they call it New Lyons). So that gate was my escape: running through the middle of the ranks of soldiers, beaten, knocked down, driven out of several private lodgings, and thrown from the courthouse,24 I finally made it across the Saône to the other part of the town where everything was calm, free from the turmoil and shouts. A distinguished nobleman from the Piedmont region, Leonardus Pornasus, happened to be outside of the city at that time. My plan was to go to him about these pressing matters. He was conducting business in that region, unsure, when he heard what happened, whether it would be a safe location for his affairs and for me during that time. He furnished me with a borrowed cloak and saw to it that I was led off to the priest25 of St. Irenaeus, a decent and generous man.

After he charged me to wait for one or two hours, I was led outside the town by a certain guide named George Colin. I then looked around to see whether I could find any of my friends in the countryside. After I had wandered long enough, hungry and with no success, I came to the home of some farmer not far from the island which is in the Saône above Lyons. I asked that some food be served us. That country fellow received us very hospitably. In this place (how wonderful is God’s wisdom!), my Lord had prepared for me the best school of Christianity. The farmer asked what was happening in Lyons. We told him. He inquired further as to the cause of these riots. We said it was religion, disputes over religion and disagreements. Then that man questioned us with the keenest mind and inquired what the papal authorities said about these matters, and what the Huguenots had ruled. I answered every single question as well as I could, since I knew about these matters only from others and did not know them by heart. Thus God amazingly arranged it that this good farmer poured into me, so to speak, the most righteous zeal which he himself possessed, as the Lord worked in him. And this despite the fact that I was a wicked Christian, if a Christian at all, yet I outshone the farmer in knowledge.

In one and the same hour, God unfolded and demonstrated His grace to both of us: in the farmer, He produced knowledge with my help, and in me some seeds of true zeal with the farmer’s help. And so, changed for the better somehow by one another, we departed. Even if true zeal was not right then strong enough in me that I was planning to do much or excel in the pursuit of religion, yet the indelible memory of that farmer and his evident piety were fastened in my mind. Often they called me back from the wickedness that I had been swallowing for so long,26 until God called me back to my parents, my home, and a new situation.

I returned to Lyons that very day and recovered my belongings and whatever the thieves’ hands had left me intact. Several weeks later I packed my belongings, said good-bye to my friends and returned home. It just so happened, however (and that by God’s wonderful providence), that several months earlier my father, compelled by royal authority, was leading to Paris certain men of the nobility who had been arrested from the estate of the Duke of Burgundy. Father had learned from them, as they were talking back and forth along that route, of the most reprehensible godlessness27 of those to whom he had entrusted my adolescence. This news made him very anxious and tortured him considerably. So he began to work very hard over a reliable plan by which he might both honorably rescue me from that pestilential company and free my mind from their deadly poison, if perhaps they had poured any into me by their craftiness.

Before Father had brought me back home, yet after the Lord had shown His power, Father began trying to see if he could manage in any way to understand my thinking and my perspective on the subject of piety and religion, then to care for me, gently and without my noticing, if any of that most destructive filth had clung to me. He began to consult books, to review his studies, to observe the associations of those whom he thought were my companions. He made an effort to learn from them what my perspective was, especially since he realized that I was prevented by that inborn shyness from saying anything too freely while he himself was present or listening. At last it came to the point that he simply challenged me to a kind of boldness. He considered me as being at that age when it was necessary to abandon some of that simple-minded shyness. He said that if any discussions were held at the table, it was time that I now and then politely share something from my studies and observations. I could not be silent on all occasions. If I did that, both from his own perspective and that of others I would become recognized for the progress of my studies, and would gain a better status for myself day by day in the proper use of those studies and activities in which the praise of virtue consisted.

Led by his frequent and very loving admonitions, I resolved myself that I would sometimes sprinkle my father’s table with some conversation, but only a little. In a short time Father accomplished what he wanted. For I did not restrain myself for long from spewing out some discourse from the most putrid dregs of that atheism28 as a show of empty knowledge. Here truly, O good God, by what grace, by what influence my father checked my heedless speech. Not by threatening or browbeating me or by debating the issue, but in a manner pious, holy, learned, and gentle he taught me restraint29 in those matters which I had not yet satisfactorily understood or examined. He explained that the judgments of learned men should be heeded before rashly displaying one’s ignorance.

Father so deeply affected me, that from that time forward I almost always made it a rule to suspend judgment30 in all my conversations and judgments until I had understood the subject deeply. They say that Demosthenes, when a certain young man at a drinking party was telling tales and would not be quiet, had replied very pointedly, “Now listen here, boy, how have you not learned to be quiet from him who has taught you to speak?”31 Father, by this plan, was teaching me both skills very well. But my father faced yet another and more urgent task, namely that he should cure that very serious evil that had been uncovered and found in me. God, in a truly remarkable way, comforted me as I was thinking very carefully about my father’s care, yet behaving quite differently. For when in that same year public assemblies began to be held in France, it happened that the famous jurist Jacques Cujas32 (whose lectures I had been in the habit of eagerly attending) on a certain day was prevented by prior commitments from delivering his usual talk. As I was returning home from school, however, I had to travel to those buildings in which the assembly was usually held.33 I entered the assembly and I listened34 rather casually, nor did I do anything then. I went back home, unsure what I should do. What should I read? With what study should I fill my time? I thoughtlessly alighted on the New Testament that my father was often reading and that he had set before my eyes in that room so that I might read it (if by some chance God should show His grace in that way). Father was very wisely concealing his intention and desire from me, for he had noticed the deadly seeds of that atheism which earlier had driven their roots into me. As a very wise man, in fact, he understood that true piety cannot be forcibly introduced but must be gently instilled in minds. It cannot be compelled but must be insinuated; not commanded but taught; coercion is not desired, but persuasion. And in addition, with silence and unbelievable craft he was making ready all the paths by which he might lead me to a true understanding of devout religion and right worship. Here, then, I opened that New Testament which was divinely offered. As I did that, the book displayed to me at first glance that very majestic chapter of the evangelist and apostle John, “In the beginning was the Word, etc.” I read part of the chapter, and I was so moved as I read35 that immediately I perceived that the divinity of the argument and the grandeur and authority of the writing surpassed by a great margin all streams of human eloquence. My body shuddered, my mind was dumbfounded, and throughout that whole day I was so overwhelmed that I seemed to myself unsure who I even was.

Time in Geneva

Thou hast remembered me, O Lord my God, by Thy boundless compassion, and Thou tookest this lost sheep into Thy fold. From that time on, when God so powerfully broke into me by the strength of His Spirit, I began to read and consider other matters more coolly and with more detachment. But I began to ponder more thoroughly such things as touched upon piety, and to be engaged in them more passionately. And so as my father noticed this zeal of mine, he derived from it no small pleasure. He congratulated himself as much on my return to piety as he had grieved over my departure and desertion to impiety. But the good man, nevertheless, was always breathing out literary learning and eager that I aspire to it in my own study of literature. I indicated through my friends, whose mediation my father employed in order to learn my intentions, that it was my intention to devote myself wholly to the acquisition of languages and other ancillary studies before I turned to some other more serious pursuit. Father approved of my plan and gave me the choice of whether I wanted to go to Paris or Geneva. Some time was taken up in deciding this question, while he yielded the whole matter to my judgment and I, as I should have, deferred the entire decision to him. There were many people urging and persuading in each direction: some were proclaiming as fervently as possible the advantages of Paris’s position, while others were doing the same for Geneva. A residence in Paris appealed to me the most at the time for two reasons: first, because there the path toward knowledge, reputation, and distinction seemed to me both broad and smooth;36 and second, because the lights of literary learning were assembled there, the men who were by far the most educated. From their lectures and very refined company, my own mind could be more fully developed than at Geneva or anywhere else. The leader in this plan was more or less the lawyer Master Ludwig Russard, with whom I shared a very close friendship. Sometimes he tried to persuade me, when reviewing the very many names of the most famous men and explaining the contentious debates37 in which the scholars at Paris were then embroiled that Paris was the center of the universe,38 and her learned and great men its stars. Their debates, he said, were indeed the endless showers of more profound learning, in which a young man could soak with the greatest advantage. A residency in Geneva was likewise commended by others. But the speeches made to me on her behalf were not as rich in skill nor in the piling up of such constant advantages and helps.

While these things were going on at home and my father was eager to know my plan and I to submit to his decision, for personal reasons he suddenly headed to Paris by horse in great haste.39 This was after he had charged my mother with allowing me to leave for either city, whatever my decision should be. So with March approaching, and when I had found a traveling company suitable to my needs going from home to Geneva before Paris,40 with my mother’s assent and approval, I left my father’s house that I might have the opportunity of learning languages at Geneva, since I had from boyhood burned with such intense desire for them. My mother had given me as I left almost nothing more than food for one day, saying that it would only be a day before father returned home and would send to me as much money as he thought would be necessary. But as soon as I arrived in Lyons, I came upon the first printed placard of the Prince of Condé41 and of his allies who were issuing a call to arms. They were complaining very bitterly about the unjust and armed violence and most savage slaughters that the Duke of Guise’s42 party had recently perpetrated. This incident, for a little while, bothered me so much that I was not far from giving up completely the journey I had just begun. Nevertheless, I pressed on with the Lord as my counsel and guide, and on March 1743 arrived in Geneva unharmed.

After I had made provision for my room and board, I purchased four books for my general use. For then I was not able to buy anymore, since I was limited by the meagerness of my paltry funds. I planned to purchase other items in addition when Father got home from Paris and sent me the right amount of money. But that greatest, best, and most wise Father God had ordained this circumstance for my benefit by His own boundless providence. I who had wandered aimlessly through a surplus of books and in a surplus of funds, had also acquired an abundance of books without good judgment. Yet my lack of money compelled me to use those four books only, and not any other, very carefully for more than a year. At that very moment the furies of war burned through all France; the cities were besieged, the highways were blockaded, messengers could not get through; massacres broke out, fields were laid waste, and all manner of bloodshed appeared. New rumors therefore were brought to Geneva daily, but very few of them proved reliable. No money at all came, not even the money that had been entrusted by my parents or other friends to persons who were to deliver it to me. In this situation a very heavy trial, namely the poverty that weighed on me in dire straits, attacked on my left, while quite different temptations, which I explained before, had broken out from the right.44 Two complicating factors made this poverty more troubling for me, as I was foolish. The one issue was that, at a time so dangerous and deadly, I was inconveniently invited and persuaded by the other reputable youth with whom I associated to join them in visiting the region of Switzerland, although I was almost impoverished. The other problem was that, for the sake of the brotherly friendship which I had formed with a certain man of Dauphine, a very good and pious man who took his name from Saint-Ferréol, I shared with him very generously whatever coins I had, until only one or two crowns remained. I reluctantly agreed to go with them, and so began our Swiss expedition. It was embarrassing to refuse, especially as these close friends of mine were pledging all their support, loyalty, and help with as much kindness as possible. We spent about three weeks on this planned trip and visited Wolfgang Müslin45 and Wolfgang Haller46 in Bern; Peter Martyr, Heinrich Bullinger, and Rudolf Gwalther in Zurich; and Farel47 at Neuchâtel. We brought greetings to other men in different places, since at this time messages were arriving about the surrender of Tours and Poitiers, and the siege of my own city. Then we returned to our residence with the greatest eagerness, weary of the traveling and the expenses, which had exceeded our expectations.

At this point, with those four lamps, I mean the books, I shone a light into my darkness and alleviated my poverty by reading and evaluating them with as much care as I could. I read the Bible several times. I likewise compared Calvin’s Institutes48 with his commentaries and sermons repeatedly. From the Institutes I excerpted for my own use the portions that conflicted with the commentaries and made a sort of summary from the sermons. This afterward I gave to the faithful servant of God Master Michael Niger (who, I hear, is now active in Switzerland) as a gift when he was about to depart from me. I was regularly using Beza’s Confession as a kind of index to Calvin’s works.49 Whenever my teacher was absent, on my own initiative I pressed on in Chevalier’s Hebrew Grammar,50 for Chevalier at that time was teaching this pub­licly.51 But afterward Philippe Birgan, sieur de Bignon,52 an Armorican53 by birth (he now lives in La Rochelle) began to teach me Hebrew privately, along with other candidates. I was trying to cheat time in these studies, to eat away the weariness of my poverty, the public disaster, and my personal anguish for my parents and our entire family. Finally I reached such a tight spot that in the month of October (which was then unseasonably cool) I was left with no useable clothing, no money, nothing at all in the way of coins except seventeen Genevan solidi, and all other paths for getting out of this emergency seemed closed. It was embarrassing to ask anyone for help in that indigence of mine. I would never have dared as a stranger to knock on strangers’ doors. It was more distasteful to me to approach those who were my parents’ acquaintances and friends, or at least went by that name, because I was noticing that some of them were avoiding my company. For sometimes one of them or another would ask me as I was leaving church, “Any news about your father?” or “Anything from your father?” When I would say that nothing had been brought to me, “That’s surprising,” the person would say, and quickly duck into the crowd. Meanwhile I stood there silent, not complaining about the troubles I was facing by even the slightest indication of my voice or expression. I saw this happen very often, and I realized that I could not endure the very bitter cold dressed only in a linen shirt, and wrapped in a thin coat. I made a clear and definite choice that in the next week following, since every human source of aid had failed (I concluded from indications like the foregoing that they were silently refused), I would spend alternate days on digging in the city’s ditch and expend my effort on my studies following Cleanthes’s54 example, in order to lessen my destitution. But God looked down upon me and my weakness in the most providential fashion and unexpectedly sent a very loyal caretaker of my well-being. Through His effort all my plans and counsels were changed in a completely different direction. He was a very distinguished youth by the name of William Burdo. This young man Burdo was from Bourges, thus my fellow citizen, and risen from very humble parents. His mother, long since a widow and burdened by many children, was living in some little alley next to the ancestral home along with several other widows. To these ladies, his mother, a very devout and generous-hearted woman, would customarily send from her daily lunch some soup or a little cake, bread, or meat, whatever was at hand. She also alleviated the poverty of those widows and their little ones by hand-me-downs from her own home. Her son had learned tailoring and had taken up residence in Geneva for two years at his own expense for that trade. When civil war arose in France, the young man in that same year had looked for military service. But when this went awry for him at Mâcon, a city in Burgundy lying on the Saône, he had gotten himself back from that disaster to Geneva again to his earlier occupation. And so as I was rolling over these options in my mind, by God’s singular providence (beyond a doubt) it happened that this William and I, unexpectedly,55 met while I was leaving a meeting through a little back door of a building called St. Peter’s. I immediately recognized his face, but he did not know me, although he studied me with downcast eyes.56 So being surprised to see me and unsure whether he should dare for this reason to ask who I was, he immediately turned and went back to the opposite exit of that same building as quickly as possible, that he might be able to meet me face to face and form a more sure judgment about me from my appearance. Thus he again approached, drew near, and walked right up to me.57 Having made some excuse, he said that it seemed to him that he had seen me once before. But I was ashamed of my poverty and threadbare appearance.58 I tried therefore to divert the man with conversation, as much as I could, lest I give some indication of who I was or where I came from. While I was retreating and dissembling further, he called out my name and asked whether or not I was he to whom this name belonged, whom he knew from Bourges. I nodded yes. Then he showed great surprise at my miserable state, which I had still hidden from everyone out of excessive shame, pledged me all his support, and very freely offered me the money he had on him at the time. He promised to provide me with clothes, help in finding food, and a place to sleep at his residence, that he might by these small expenses be able to lessen my hardships, and at little cost to himself. I steadfastly and stubbornly refused. He more steadfastly and more stubbornly insisted. He pointed out that he would make enough profit to support both of us in a frugal and parsimonious way, acknowledged his own obligation toward me in light of the past kindnesses of my family, and said that he knew that I would pay him back for everything. Though embarrassed, I gave in to his very timely urging and with the trifling little bag of my worldly possessions entrusted myself to him, a son mindful of his widow mother’s kindness, someone whom the Lord had prepared for me as a host. So for almost seven months I was educated at his expense, until peace was established in France, and I repaid to Burdo the money which Father had provided.

While he was taking care of these matters for me with such loyal and solicitous concern, different struggles were plaguing me. I was hiding these very carefully both in the presence of everyone else and even from this host of mine: poor health, the association of a certain roommate59 who was not very agreeable for his filthiness, the unsuitability of the residence for study and private devotion, and many other things that it is wise deliberately to omit. But of all these concerns, this was causing my mind the greatest agony: that I not lay upon my host, so devoted and kind to me, a heavier burden.

And so when I had thought often and carefully about this very bashful fear of mine and about a suitable plan for my studies, I voluntarily decreed for myself a four-month fast during which I spent the noon mealtime walking, reading and cultivating my memory, meditating, and praying. In the evening I enjoyed a sparse meal, generally taking in two eggs and drinking a medium-sized goblet of wine. But from this daily and stubborn starvation, little by little, consumption overtook me and ate away at me so completely that all strength left my exhausted body. Then at last I realized how bad it was, when my friends would approach and notice the consumption from my countenance. I began to eat more food, and resolved to live more freely. For my shoulders seemed quite burdened even by the weight of that one undershirt. Yet after a time God strengthened me and slowly restored the health that I had foolishly damaged through a slow consumption. Meanwhile, because my father was afraid that I would completely attach my mind to the study of sacred literature, when peace was achieved in the kingdom of France and affairs of state returned to normal to some extent, he arranged to have me given some money in Geneva and ordered me through firm correspondence to gather what was left of my belongings when my debts were paid and to return home to him as soon as possible; for he wanted me to have only enough money left for trip expenses. Indeed it was very pleasing to my father that I had such religious affection. But that I should teach this and profess it as my sure calling, he would not have allowed so long as he lived, as afterward I learned from my mother; especially because he said that if I should undertake an occupation of that kind he would never receive any pleasure from me. I, however, whose mind the divine hand had taught by the aforementioned hardships,60 the wickedness of this age, the contempt of the world, and the usefulness of the cross, the gospel, and the companionship of Christian minds, was evidently of a quite different opinion from that of my father. But what should I do? The instructions and authority of my father were pulling me in one direction; my desire and a certain understanding of the will of God in another it seemed. Nor was any easy path opening up to me by which I could satisfy both my own desire and my father’s order. Conveniently, Claude Prevost was at that time setting off toward our country. He was a very learned man and long ago an acquaintance of my father. Now he was about to take up the ministry of the word in Vayrac. I gave him some letters for my father, in which I was excusing myself to him by the advantage to be gained from my studies. I asked him not to be too upset about my longer stay in Geneva, but to indulge it as the plan of my studies and as a very necessary request on my part. I also said that Master Prevost would be a very reliable witness to my claim. But to my surprise, Prevost left there, and before he had reached the borders of Bourges, Father had died a bloody death.

Father’s Death

This was the occasion of his murder: in Vayrac, on a day when the feast of the Lord’s body (as they call it) was being celebrated, after the public prayer, commonly called the Procession, the hatred of certain Papists who were observing the holiday improperly burned so hot that, when a riot was wickedly incited against the laws of the recent peace, they broke into our ecclesiasterium or oratory, and were throwing everything into chaos with sword and fire. When this crime was reported to the king, he and his council decreed that an investigation be held and that he be informed about it by my father, and that Father’s decision concerning the instigators be confirmed as an example with full royal power and authority. Father received a royal warrant for the execution of this decision. He concealed his intention and did not even explain this matter to my frightened and anxious mother but came to Vayrac with his retinue, as he had often done. He dispatched his attendants from outside the village here and there, as though about to conduct some business. He himself stopped at an inn as if awaiting some reply, keeping only three members of his company with him.

At this point the common people suddenly rose up. They took possession of the courthouse, the marketplaces, and the gates of the village. They laid siege to the inn. On the third day, assassins with daggers were let into the inn by treachery and butchered my father altogether undeservedly. They dragged his half-dead body, after tossing it out a window,61 throughout the whole village. Then they threw it to the dogs to be torn apart, and forbade it public burial. Nevertheless, this last duty of human decency, which no man dared to undertake, a woman provided, and when his body had been gathered up at night, she buried it in a family shrine which is in the Franciscans’ cemetery under our name.

This murder greatly provoked the King’s Council. A decree was issued that the walls of the entire town be undermined because of the viciousness of the crime and as a very potent warning against such. But later the whole plan of the council for dealing with the factions changed, both because of the hardened hatred of the governor of Cipières and of some leaders of the nobility, and also because of the zeal of the Papist religion. They were charging that my father had burned incessantly with hatred for that religion from more than twenty-four years prior.62 And so in the King’s Council, his mother considered it necessary to prosecute the murder then. When this was done, she both stirred up many people’s hatred against herself and also gained for herself almost all the advantages in this persecution which remained from the excesses of war, theft, plundering, and bloodshed. But when I received this sad news, I was so freed from that previous worry which I mentioned that other more serious ones entered my mind. Then in fact I was so angry that I almost renounced my undeserving fatherland and abandoned any intention of seeing it again, a land which consumed its good men and cherished the wicked in her bosom. I decided in my heart to foresee how I could avoid being a burden to my mother, especially since I was assessing properly and truthfully how much of a burden my wounded mother would receive and how many expenses she would have to bear.

Renewed Studies and Teaching in Geneva

And so I set my foot firmly toward Geneva. I asked Mother through letters not to work on my behalf, and I preferred to make an effort privately to instruct youth rather than to withdraw from my situation and from the studies I had begun. In this arrangement I lived for twenty-two months with a man outstanding for his piety and learning, Master Ludwig Enoch, a very faithful minister of the word. I taught him Latin, Greek, and Hebrew most every day, and I trained myself in the study of sacred literature and languages with as much diligence as I could. At that time Stephan Grosse63 of Geneva was living in the same building with me as he was tutoring the youth. I shared a very cordial relationship with him, both because of the piety and guileless64 simplicity of his character, and because of his unbelievable and tireless diligence in studying. I remember that we made an agreement between ourselves then to take turns sharing a common office at night. He would be awake at his studies from early evening until midnight, or until the first hour immediately following it; then I would replace him for my studies as he began to look for a place to sleep, when he had passed the lamp over to me. We used to banter that we were playing Castor and Pollux. This pact of ours we faithfully maintained until that very severe winter intervened and ordered a halt to these nighttime study vigils.

Yet the harshness of the cold could not keep me from my plan. I stayed awake into the wee hours and so developed my mind and improved it through my studies that my neglected body, by the time spring arrived, had succumbed to many ailments. I should wish that youth be taught hard work from my example, if they desire its true fruit. But I deplore the evil labor from which a kind of poor health was produced in my body, and tension in my soul toward my tasks. My soul became gloomy toward others and burdensome to myself, whenever I examined myself. But it is quite important to form good habits from our youth;65 in fact, it seems to me that this is the whole of success.

Now it happened about that time that the headmaster of the Geneva Academy died. When another man, who had provided service in the Genevan hospital, was appointed to this post, the ministers and councilmen of the church respectfully arranged through Master Enoch, my host, that it be discussed with me, in light of the present emergency, that I should replace him in that role at the hospital for six weeks, until a proper decision could be made about a permanent replacement. I thanked them for this honor and for their confidence, but excused myself on the basis of my planned course of studies, which I wanted to finish first. In fact, however, there was another, underlying reason: for I was thinking that it would become not only the entrance but rather a chain and bond for undertaking the function of this office for an extended period; once I set out on this path I would not be able to retreat.

Ministry in Antwerp

In addition, I was bringing upon myself some kind of illness by my very persistent work. All of this I attributed to the Genevan weather, as though it were opposed to my nature, rather than to my own actions. And so I had decided, once my affairs were in order, to leave that place. Shortly thereafter, in April, a messenger arrived from Belgium to secure a minister of the divine word for the French church which met in Antwerp.66 He was explaining, and quite passionately,67 how great the scarcity and the need were for ministers who could speak French in such a large region, among such a great mass of the righteous, and with such great zeal. The very best men were encouraging me toward this enterprise, Jean Crespin,68 Etienne Marmier, and other worthy persons. Still the need at that time moved me to commit my labor to the church at Antwerp, which used French, and to alleviate the need that I heard was very severe—if I should be judged suitable by the company of God’s faithful servants which met in the city. They approved. The matter was decided.

We left Geneva with a warm sendoff, I for Antwerp, Peregrin de la Grange for Dauphiné. He went to minister the holy Word of God in the Walloon churches that were, at that time, meeting in secret, and he ended the pilgrimage69 of this life by most holy martyrdom. For this mission, O Lord my God, Thou hast fashioned me by Thy providence in many different ways, that Thou might use me, a weak servant, for the building70 of Thy house, according to Thy wisdom and special grace toward me. Along our journey we brought greetings to the church in Metz and observed with the greatest pleasure the sound discipline that the faithful servants of God were maintaining there with utmost devotion. These were Jean Garnier, Jean Taffin,71 Pierre de Cologne,72 and others notable for their piety and learning. At that time, a messenger had by chance come from Malmedy (a district in Ardennes) asking in the name of the pious townspeople that the brothers in Metz send someone there from their company who could comfort them through the preaching of the Word, and collect an assembly to the purer standards of Christ Jesus. At this point, the brothers of Metz, when the scarcity of those who were serving their own church was explained, asked us to journey to Malmedy, seeing that they had understood we had to pass not far from that town. And they asked us to bring help to the people of that place who were thirsting for the preaching of the gospel, as it would seem appropriate.

As soon as we arrived there, we were received with every kindness; and because the people were strongly insisting, we held two open meetings in private homes,73 one in the evening, the other in the afternoon. We were compelled to do this by the clamoring people as they eagerly assembled, although we tried with greatest care to dissuade and warn them from the danger that would come from this. And so a little after these events, things happened entirely as we had warned them: the abbot and lord of the place was harassing the wretched commoners because of what happened. As a result, an emigrant community left for a monastery of the Palatinate which they call St. Lambrecht, located in the mountains not far from Neustadt. We passed by Liège and arrived unharmed by God’s kindness in Antwerp. At that time, a fleet was just putting off to head for Lusitania74 and to convey a new bride to Alessandro Farnese, the Duke of Parma.75 There were, moreover, during that same time in Brabant and Flanders, every kind of celebration and festival, and hearts were stirred up with the greatest hope for their own fortunes because of the recent arrival of the Count of Egmont.76 He had been sent to Spain, where the king had welcomed him with every courtesy, had satisfied all his demands as lavishly as possible, and had satisfied him and all his princes (who had previously assembled around that very shrewd man Cardinal Granvelle)77 with the most generous and splendid promises. He had also glutted them with the most elaborate tokens of his goodwill and kindness. These men the king of course would kill off quite conveniently according to his own schedule, like birds fattened through forced feeding.

The moment that we arrived in Antwerp, a variety of weighty matters overtook me. For in the first place, the memory of the wars fought once against the French was clinging to most people’s minds. This was so affecting the uneducated that, although I had been sent to the sacred ministry for the good of these very people and furnished with suitable yoke mates, they kept watching me no differently than if I had come to spy on them, or possessed no clear permits (as the emperor calls them) or sure recommendations written out by the church.

For this reason I was often compelled, if any defense of the nation was left out (which I heard being faulted from time to time rather stridently—though without any deserving on my part), to break forth into these words quite passionately:78 “This is certainly amazing! How much hold Satan has on people’s minds that he could, through the lunacy of kings and princes, instill such bitter hatred in them. Now indeed, when we are all gathered in one accord for the preaching of the gospel of salvation, that the blood of Christ, which cleanses us from every sin, should not be strong enough among us to drive out such hatreds, and to bind us together in the holy unity of the Spirit!” So all grew quiet at my speech, and the Lord worked it out that I overcame with patience and faith that evil which was fastened on me by the looks and conversation of many of them.

But this evil had not yet been settled when other burdens took its place. These were referred over to me by my most loving associates Charles de Nielles79 and Etienne Marmier, and at these men’s request by the church herself, then also by the neighboring churches, and others as well. I declined them both for my own conscience and also from the memory of the aforementioned trials, and I was vigorously seeking to escape these burdens. But the number of people’s opinions which condemned me to these labors of wiring and making replies, from which before they had considered me excused, finally won out.

In September the wickedness of the times compounded matters, when at the arrival of that Portuguese bride a great host of Inquisitors from Spain, and edicts of King Philip about establishing inexorably80 the Inquisition in Belgium had arrived at the same time. The minds of everyone who had been struggling for their own safety and for freedom from the yoke of the Inquisition were most violently disturbed and wounded by this event. Indeed in the sight of all, a very few men from the nobility, anxious for the cause of religion and the public good, had agreed upon a day on which they would take common counsel concerning the whole matter. That day, moreover, was in the coming October, the very day when the wedding of the Duke of Parma to the Portuguese woman was to be celebrated.

I was summoned from Antwerp to Brussels for that very day.81 I came to a very small conference, where twenty of the chief nobles were assembled. I held an assembly and commenced the prayers. The subject turned from prayer to counsel. A decision was reached on forming domestic and foreign treaties against that ruthless and savage tyranny of the Inquisition, while I was silent and listening. These foundations against the Inquisition were first laid in the buildings of Culemborg at the horse market of Brussels. As a consequence of these actions, two years later the two Coki brothers, the nobles who lived in that building, were decapitated, their whole house was razed to the ground, and the area around it was sprinkled with salt while dreadful curses were uttered, at the command of the Duke of Alba.82 After three days I returned to Antwerp, pleased with myself for finishing those deliberations into which I had come unawares.

But from that time on far greater concerns weighed me down, though I tried to avoid them. For there were also many letters brought to the church and to me every day, and in addition to the responses, I had to issue many reports, as seemed appropriate. I and another man, a citizen of Antwerp named Johannes de Lalbois, were generally the only ones aware of these reports (for they were written in my hand). He was popularly called Trelonus after his hometown.83 I came to appreciate the loyalty of this excellent man in many very weighty matters.

Persecution of Junius as a Frenchman

There were several matters of political advice among these reports, illustrated by literary reasoning and examples drawn from history. We saw to it that these were delivered to the Curia in Brussels and secretly presented to the High Council, so that the princes who were in the council could deliberate about matters that affected the peace and tranquility of the republic. This could happen once the investigation of minds and consciences was removed,84 for by it the people’s tranquility was being torn up by the roots. All the princes overwhelmingly approved and were influenced by this type of writing. The very man whom I mentioned before, the Count of Egmont, was praising me until, that is, he learned that the author was French. Therefore I was often sought by the magistrate, often summoned by edict; often I was denounced by the herald before the Curia in Antwerp; often perils arose. Only God’s providence, which best and most faithfully guards His own people, was rescuing me from these perils. Several times while I was listening, an order was given and published before the Curia that whoever recognized the author of one short piece, which was in my hand, should inform the magistrate. And in return for this information 340 florins85 were promised. Finally, however, this plan was accomplished through spies and agents.

Louis the Count of Nassau86 had come to Antwerp near the end of the year and had secretly conferred with us about a certain speech I had written to the king of Spain advocating liberty and the abolition of the Edict of Inquisition. The bloodhound agents got wind of it and thought up a very convenient plan to discover my identity with certainty. For a certain painter of Brussels, who made a very convincing show of zeal for religion, was summoned and came to Antwerp to join our company. This man discharged his assignments with the greatest possible care. For he saw me at meetings several times and watched me with supreme attention and also traced my movements so precisely that he found out where I lived. Then my likeness was delivered by this man to Margaret of Parma87 in Brussels, who ruled Belgium, and to her council. From there it was sent to the Marquis of Antwerp, so he could arrest me. The case was entrusted to the Praetor, who, in order to get more definite information, summoned to himself a maid of the house in which I was living; for not long before this she had served the Praetor. Though he baited her with flattery, promises, and threats, he got nothing from her. And so as he was about to do what he had received in his orders, he sought permission from the burgomaster (in order to nullify the laws against private entry) to search the home of a citizen and sought for me at that citizen’s home where I was staying.

But God’s most amazing providence had anticipated him and protected my host and me in a very timely manner. For His providence arranged that I left the house on a visit to the church at Breda,88 almost half an hour before the Praetor had arrived to search it. Likewise, Providence arranged that my host, at the very moment of my own departure, was informed about the whole plot through a certain friend, and with some difficulty saw to the concealing and removing of my belongings. When, however, through that distinguished crown of the Belgian nobility89 my suppliant pamphlet with requests and a careful explanation of grievances had been sent for and delivered to the king right before Easter, then the troubles grew more severe and the problems more difficult day by day. These would force me to suffer more than the others in Belgium for one very obvious reason: I was not a native. For the other brothers, my fellow servants of God and ministers of the gospel, were permitted to move about more safely, and to busy themselves with whatever tasks related to their sacred office. But my previous writings were always inciting the Governess of Parma against my life, while secret assemblies were held. Consequently a new trick was stitched together to capture me, this time at Lille (a famous town of Flanders); the people of Flanders had dared to hold assemblies in very many villages, openly, and with great crowds, for a long time before this happened in Brabant. Whether the people trusted in their numbers or because their hearts were so zealous, they ran to the assemblies unbidden, as we also experienced in Antwerp. On this occasion, a plan was contrived for arresting me when I had foolishly been drawn into the public. A certain nobleman from Rassenguien, who had served under the Count of Egmont, was presiding over the city. This man, in a discussion with another noble active in the region whose name was Caubekius, pretended very convincingly that he wanted to learn about our religion, to listen to a discussion of any minister with his own priest, so as to learn about the truth with all sincerity. If he could learn this truth, he said that no authority, not even that of the king, would dissuade him from reverencing it. He made many comments like that. At this point, Caubekius began to have good hopes for him and promised that he would do what the man wanted. Right away a messenger flew off with letters to Antwerp, because the church there more than the others seemed to have an abundant supply of ministers. When the matter was conveyed to the council, the church decided that I should head there, although I was warning them that it would not turn out so well (as in fact happened). Meanwhile, the noble of Rassenguien learned of these events and made all his preparations. On the pretext of baptizing an infant which he had, he summoned the Bishop of Tornac,90 so that in this way a more serious debate could be held.

As soon as I arrived in Lille, the guide for our trip led me to some wine seller as a ruse, since foreign travelers typically seek rest from the weariness of the road. We had not yet touched the wine when our host rushed in from outside and told us that six lictors were near and coming for us. He ordered us to leave through another rear door, and to make plans for our safety. I was led from house to house here and there in such a way that I escaped the deceits of these men and their wicked violence. These things happened right before Pentecost, when our people were still holding assemblies secretly in almost the whole of Brabant. Many were protesting and denouncing the cowardice, the hostility to the public good, the empty fear, and the distrust unworthy of any Christian.

But when Viglio Zuichemo presided over the Council of Burgundy as its chief advisor and mastermind, after that request of the Belgian nobility which I mentioned before, then new laws were forged against the faithful and devout folk who loved the truth. This was done under the attractive guise of promoting moderation, though these laws clearly did nothing about the savagery except as a show. Then when the very serious threat this posed to the pious and indeed to the churches was recognized everywhere, and when it had been considered carefully at several meetings (Philip Marnix of Saint-Aldegonde91 was present at these also twice during that time in Antwerp) it seemed necessary for averting more serious threats to the churches, as for instance they had done in Flanders for a long time, that we should gather the church together publicly and hold our meetings in the open air. This would be done both at Antwerp and wherever there would be good opportunity for gathering the churches through the gospel of Christ.

At that time I sent the Confession of the Synod of the Belgian Churches, which had been held at the start of May, to the brothers in Geneva for review. Thus they might grant it their approval to be printed, if it seemed helpful, and to commit this undertaking of ours to God by their prayers. Thus also, the Resolution of Moderation was overturned in June and the churches began to expand miraculously. Even though the lives and entire activity of the other brothers who were serving the Lord in Belgium seemed safe then from the shafts of the enemy, nevertheless to me all seemed treacherous. For that woman of Parma was governess, and she wrongly thought that I was manipulating everything through the French church which then met in Antwerp.92 For even when, longing to break up our public meetings by a new stratagem, she was harassing the churches with promises and threats, so that for at least six months our meetings were suspended until some good answer93 could arrive from Spain (if the king’s heart was softened), she kept sending to Antwerp for me, thinking that the rest would accept without argument whatever was settled with my agreement. The effort of Francis de Hames, a somewhat learned man, experienced, and very persuasive in speech, was several times misused for this delegation. There was a pretext for this unusual persecution I endured, and it received this designation: I was a foreigner. Thus almost everywhere I was in danger: at Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, and several more places beside.

In July I was at Ghent at the request of the church there, when some Iconoclasts whom I did not know were sent throughout the villages and districts of Flanders without my approval by some foolish (as I believe) or even spiteful persons, and were attacking the churches and all their images. I call as witnesses those who at that time were serving on the High Council (as they call it) of Flanders, as to what loyalty I showed in political matters, because by the influence and command of that Council several men from our ranks were sent off to rebuke those Iconoclasts and to learn about their plan. Indeed I never approved violent actions and anarchy94 of this kind. Nor has there ever been anyone in my presence to whom I showed by even the slightest indication that I approved of actions of this sort. By this testimony, I want both my loyalty and that of my pious associates to receive public affirmation (for I have no time for undisciplined anarchists).95

Afterward, I returned to Antwerp, where a synod was being held at the end of the same month. At this meeting, when a short document on the faith had been etched out96 from the eloquent words of Scripture, the assembly decided that two of us should go to a town of the Centrones97 (they call it Sint-Truiden), where an assembly had been appointed of several princes and members of the Belgian nobility. Peregrin de la Grange, that very holy and calm soul, and I were selected to go—though we were both refusing and unwilling. We went, we saw, we accomplished nothing,98 due to the vexing interference of a certain person (may the Lord forgive him).

I was barely permitted to plant my first step back toward Antwerp when I was brought back by the brothers in Ghent. As soon as I reached them, behold immediately a message from Antwerp was delivered to me that all the images in the churches of that town had been destroyed. And throughout the whole night the streets were echoing with the trumpets carried in from Antwerp. Several groups of the commoners assembled and in the confusion formed a plan for destroying the images. A meeting place was announced for the following day—the fish market. From there they would go about searching through the churches and smashing the images by a fixed plan.

While these things were happening, at the third hour before the work grew hot, by chance that man Levin who is mentioned in the Gallic Martyrology came to me. He asked me for advice as to whether he himself should intervene or not, while the common people of Ghent were ruining the images as they followed the example of the residents of Antwerp. I answered on the spot that we should do nothing except what was in keeping with our responsibility.99 Moreover, I said, he himself had no proper responsibility, since he was not of the magistracy, nor had he been endowed with proper authority; I said that his responsibility was also not exceptional, since he was asking me for advice, and demonstrating by that very fact that he himself had not been called beyond his rank. Thus I talked him out of it; and he—relying upon my answer—while he wanted to prevent I don’t know what kind of public calamity, destroyed himself.100 Although I was publicly dissuading the people from those very actions (and not without some risk), nevertheless, by almost all my opponents I was considered and named as their instigator; so much so, in fact, that four days after the images had been cast down from the temples a certain minor priest of Ghent, brazenly asking me for a largish silver figurine of St. John, did not hesitate to hurl this charge in my face. Thus partly by the hatred of my nationality and office, partly by the false charges and suspicions concerning me, I was becoming overwhelmed. Constant dangers threatened me, and all things, as though by some conspiracy, were breaking in against me, particularly from the time when that assembly of nobles at Sint-Truiden had reached a consensus, at the governess’s prompting, that no foreign minister should be tolerated in Belgium. Had they not agreed to this arrangement, there was the very real fear that they would be charged with having met with a foreign enemy, especially with a Frenchman, for a long time already the most hated kind (as they were saying). Evidently, it was as if either I were executing the plans of foreign princes (which plans I always most scrupulously avoided, mindful of my calling) and were sent into Belgium as a spy and arsonist, or that they, for defending my solitary life, could have been convicted of that charge. But Satan so drives asunder even good men that among all pious folks he breaks up the union of Christ that is being acquired from any nation whatsoever. This trick of his we slow-minded or even envious people generally do not even notice.

At that time the chief prefect of Flanders, a nobleman from Wackenheim, entered my place of lodging once around evening time to arrest me secretly, although scarcely an hour before I had left that place to set off for Brussels. Another time when that same prefect was plotting my arrest outside a meeting and crowd of people, he ordered it publicly announced that no one could leave by boat to Kartuize (this is a place outside the city where assemblies are customarily held). He gave as the ostensible reason for this prohibition that no weapons should by chance be carried to this meeting place on this pretext. This order, moreover, was published at an unusual hour, at a time when I was eating the noonday meal at the home of Peter de Rijck, a legal counselor from Ghent. When a vessel had been made ready for departure, some word of the prohibition was relayed to me. Here that good man101 said that this was not the customary time for declaring prohibitions. And so by this assurance that this was the standard practice among the people of Ghent, I was urged to embark. We proceeded all the way up to the edge of the city, making ready to head for the district of Kartuize. Meanwhile that prefect was watching from a bridge at the gate of the town, ready with a large armed escort. When he spotted us at a distance he came down to the riverbank to meet us. All of our company, shocked at this development, was whispering about me, as to what wretched fate I would meet and what they themselves should do. But I, relying on the help of God, bid them to be of good cheer, to do what they would be commanded, to take no pains for me, nor let anyone have regard for me. Finally, I told them that each man should act just as though I were not even there.

As we came nearer, the prefect strained in a loud voice to ask whether or not we had heard about the prohibition. Why then were we traveling by boat? And the next moment he ordered us to disembark. We all got off the boat (there were twenty-five of us in all) and I passed through the escort in the middle, as it were, of my own rank, greeting the prefect. He meanwhile, letting himself down from the horse he was sitting on, began to look in all directions very carefully, that no one else should lay hidden in that boat (for it was covered). Trust in the providence of the Lord, you who serve the Lord, and rest easy in His most sure truth and faithfulness. For the Lord is faithful, the guardian of Israel.

What happened at Bruges? What I am about to tell concerning my affairs is quite amusing, since I had passed through Bruges unwillingly, while the church there was requesting I stay, and the church at Ghent was also urging and persuading me. A faithful servant of God named John of Monteux had come to Ghent from Bruges. Just a little before, several Spanish residents of Bruges had wretchedly torn this man limb from limb after he was snatched from an assembly. There had been an eyewitness to this event in the crowd (from a certain outlying town that was home to some of the brothers of Ghent), when God had willed that this severe wound to the church of Ghent, wrought through ignorance, be cared for in some way by our skill, wisdom, and effort. This man, when the troubles at Bruges were revealed, requested that he be given a companion who could comfort the French church at Bruges by the Word, and help them with his labor. Since the brothers in Ghent were excusing themselves due to their scarcity of ministers and I was insisting that I go back to the believers in Antwerp, both decided that I should make the trip to Bruges and loan that church several days of work. I refused to do it. But this man of Monteux, armed with I know not what authority, right then rebuked me, such that I marveled at the man’s brazen language and voluntarily submitted myself to their will. So we visited the church in Bruges.

Interim Ministry in Bruges and Damme

Two of us held an assembly near the city: one spoke in the tongue of Flanders, and I in French. It was the understanding of the citizens (though I did not share it) that we could easily go back into the city in the evening. And several Englishmen, who were helping me, were saying that it could be done for sure. When the citizens were about to enter the city, the magistrate came to the gate and let them in. He stopped my companion, whom I had told to go forward with sure purpose, and ordered him to go back. When I had seen this happen from a ways off (for my companion was so tall that he stood almost a whole head above everyone), I said good-bye to the several Englishmen who had followed me closely, and I went no nearer to the city. Then we were given guides who could go ahead on the road and seek out a place to stay for the night nearby, especially since the next day was the Lord’s Day, when an assembly was to be held again in that place. But for whatever lodging they arranged, we wandered around more than half the night while the moon shone upon us. And this delay was greater because some individuals were afraid to offer us hospitality. So we rested for the remainder of the night in a little hut that we acquired by entreaty.

On the following day, after assemblies were held in the city, we were led from the joint meeting of the Bruges church to a nearby town named Damme. It was famous long ago for some sort of torture (as they call it). There we rested for two days and were welcomed decently. On the second day, the governor of Flanders, Count Egmont, was set to arrive in Bruges to put back together in the city what seemed shattered on account of religion. Consequently, the day before his arrival (that day was Monday), a decree was issued at his command for my head: if someone handed me over alive, that man would receive eight hundred florins, but four hundred (if I remember correctly) if dead.102

At the arrival of the count in the city, our people began to work, unsure what approach they should take with him, the more so because there was at that time no one present whose effort they could employ fruitfully in this matter (as they were thinking). And so when counsel was taken with the men of Ghent, whom I had helped just a few short days before in a similar situation, everyone agreed that I should be recalled to the city, if it were at all possible, to themselves. A messenger was dispatched. Meanwhile, as this was happening in Bruges, the magistrate of Damme summoned us to appear before him in the Curia. First they questioned my companion as to his identity and nationality. When they learned he was from Brabant, they let him go free. In my case, they dragged out the questioning much further. I answered everything plainly, in line with the truth and my own understanding of the circumstances. Then after they had conferred amongst themselves for a long time, they addressed me very decently in the following way: They said that they did not want me to fall into danger because of their own action, and that they were mutually confident that I would not be of a different mind toward themselves and their republic and state. It was impossible to hide me, they said, since the decree had been issued against me by royal authority the day before at Bruges—in their own metropolis. They said that they were responsible for me, as men zealous for me and also for the common good, and that I should leave the city within that very day. The following day, they said, they would publish that edict. But if the Bruges council should rebuke them for being slow, they would excuse themselves on the basis of the fact that the edict was brought to them late, and therefore they hadn’t been able to issue it in a more timely fashion.

I promised them that I would leave and thanked them for their display of sympathy. But my mind was quite seriously distressed at that point, since I neither was expert in the language, nor did I have a guide for a journey in unfamiliar territory. So troubled was I that I considered spending the night in the nearby swamp where I had been the day before. While I mulled these things over, behold the messenger arrived from Bruges, asking whether I would come to the city at the general invitation of the church, and explaining the reasons for their request.

But I was considering, on the contrary, a certain other route, such that I might avoid going to Bruges. Yet the messenger was quite insistent and kept entreating me by God’s name as the author of this calling. Overwhelmed by the man’s persistence, I answered that I knew the danger which he was most steadfastly denying. If, however, some suitable plan were found for concealing me and entering the city, that I would rather commit myself to the journey than do anything that would leave the public good destitute because of my absence. He was thrilled with the promise and began to search all around, now heading in this direction, now that, so that he could, if possible, open up some route. At last, with a stonemason who was cutting stones nearby, he made an agreement that I would leave my clothes in place at the hostel and would then take his garments on loan. Dressed in this fashion, with that man as my guide for the journey, I sped off toward Bruges with the utmost care (for evening was beginning to fall). And once I was admitted into the city by a small gate, I passed right by each guard, intending to serve the building project103 of the Lord’s church.

Truly, God very helpfully looked out for me so that I might get past those guards without questioning or confrontation. A certain craftsman (so I think), a citizen of Bruges who was foolishly waiting alongside the road, because he thought that I was someone else—his neighbor I believe or some commoner well known to him—he hailed me with a very loud Flanders expression: “Good evening, old man!”104 Thus mistaken in his assumption and careless, he deceived the guards, to the great blessing of the church. So I arrived to help my brothers, resolute in their hopes for me, and I advised them in their troubles as much as God lavished grace on us.

Exile from Antwerp

When several days had been spent in Bruges, I said good-bye to the brothers and returned to Antwerp. There I found, quite to my surprise, that I had been shut out from the ministry of that church. For because the fear of rebellion and mob violence was looming since the month of August when the Iconoclasts had broken out indiscriminately, an order had been given to the individual governors to ensure the public peace with suitable action. The Prince of Orange, Burggraf (as they called him) or the Viscount of Antwerp, was the leader in this plan. He had arranged for there to be certain leaders of the assembly from among the citizens on both sides, and for a deal to be reached. A full account of this settlement is contained in the Gallic Martyrology. For from that time on, our church in Antwerp was not allowed to have more than two ministers; and these must be native-born, or supplied from some other municipality in Belgium, and men who had pledged allegiance to the prince, who set the terms. By this same law, those men who were in the region at the time before I had returned from Bruges, upon being summoned to the prince had sworn a loyalty oath according to the terms of the settlement. And so when I had lived for several days in that place at leisure, I could not in good conscience continue a leisurely stay (which is what they were asking for). Yet because the church was requesting that I at least not leave Belgium altogether, as was their fear, in October I went to the region of Limburg on the counsel of the brothers in Antwerp. But all my furniture, books, and clothing were kept there with them. In the end it happened that I lost every last bit of those things.

It was the fourteenth of October when I left Antwerp. The next day I reached the region of Limburg, where all manner of turmoil welcomed me. For as soon as we set foot in Herve (this town is famous in Belgium and Germany due to its fine cheeses) a riot broke out in the village. But I kept myself out of the commotion and held in check all who were at our lodging. The day after that I was whisked away to Limburg, where the magistrate there said that my position could not be taken up while he was in charge. Although the good people were displeased, I turned back to a village which is called Summanium.

On Friday the eighteenth of October105 I held our first assembly among the residents of Limburg in a field not far from Herve, along the road that leads to Liège. The crowd was large enough. There a certain man positioned himself behind me, armed with a hunting spear and having sworn before that he would kill me if he could get within a spear’s length of me. God shattered that man, though leaving his spear intact, to such an extent that he listened calmly and with a peaceful mind to the Word of the Lord.

We left the assembly for Herve to have the noonday meal, about 130 men. Now the ambassador of Limburg was racing toward the same place with an armed escort to arrest me, if possible. He ordered a sign to be given from the house,106 that the public be called to arms, and that the townsfolk from nearby villages hurry to help. Our men, still hungry, pressed forward after leaving the table where we had just started to sit down. A great commotion was raised; the people stood under arms in front of the doors and fortified the entrances all around lest I suffer any harm or the house be forcibly entered.

Indeed, I urged some of the good men who were taking turns guarding me inside the house that if any other means could be found, they should take care to refrain from a fight that would give rise to the most serious evils for all involved. Rather, I said, let them take pains that we might leave the area with honor before the matter came to violence. First one man then another approved of this plan. They went out a small side door, broke through a fence, and as we were leaving called others who were armed for a fight. They showed us the quickest route to reach Limburg, and explained that it would be more prudent for them to follow me in a crowd.

And so they all followed after me from there and led me off safely to Limburg, where in church on the Lord’s Day, which was the twentieth of October, I began to hold assemblies. The Papists were astonished and the Anabaptists were also snarling (for these had thrown into turmoil very many devout hearts in that place). After an assembly was held in the church in the morning, I immediately went almost two miles outside the city, in the direction of Liège, to a place which the people call the High Mountain of God, so that an assembly could again be held there. As a place to hold an assembly that day, however, it had been a rash choice, made without my input or approval. It was said that the people were going to assemble in an enormous crowd from the whole area (as they did), so although I was informed of the coming danger, I did not want my office to be deserted, nor that I be stained with the shame of a cowardice that would redound on the ministry of the gospel which had been entrusted to me.

And so while our folks were holding an assembly, the whole crowd twice got up to flee, although I called them back earnestly. Twice I got them to come back: First, when they had been stirred up by a shaky rumor and a childish message. Next, they were completely terrified because they noticed that a sizable number of cavalry (reports had the total at about eighty), sent under arms by the Bishop of Liège to arrest me, was now coming down into the valley right beneath us. On that day God strengthened me greatly; greatly He strengthened the heart of that people who looked back toward me, resolute as I was. He helped us so much that when a knight had gotten close to my back with a good opportunity of wounding me, every one of our men that was armed stood against him, forming a wall of resistance. Many women were also threatening a hail of stones (for the path was narrow and steep for the cavalry) and would have done it had not the influence of some nobleman or another who was there at the time held them back. So the armed company left us without getting what they came for, and I went home to my lodging in Limburg, where with the greatest pleasure I built the house of the Lord for almost two years.

Ministry to the Widow Woman

About two weeks later God, through His amazing providence, also provided another seal to confirm this holy ministry. In a village of the Liège territory (I believe), which was named after the Vale of Dionysus, there was a certain old woman who had a very large family. She was tortured by the most terrible despair, and kept foretelling that she and her children had been condemned by God to the everlasting curse. Moreover, she had now been drowned in this despair for more than thirteen years. And so quite often she had been tested by these priestlings through exorcisms and baptisteries as though she were demon possessed, and often she had been tortured with chains and whips by her neighbors. The woman was in the habit of wandering through the woods with the wild beasts, and fled everyone’s company. She kept breaking the chains. Finally she conducted herself in such a way that everyone was convinced she was being most severely harassed by a demon.

Now on a certain evening, when several good men from a village of Verviers who were going to Limburg had seen the woman hiding, they called to her with kind words and calmed her down so gently that she allowed them to bring her to me. When she first entered, she was groaning and mumbling and would not answer my questions at all. Instead, the woman cast her eyes around in silence at the men who stood nearby. After I had watched this, I arose and explained into the ears of one or two of the men that I was going to have no success with the woman with so many witnesses present. So I asked them to leave one at a time, and to come back again after an hour or two. As soon as I said this, they complied. Then the woman shortly collected her mind, and when I asked, answered that she had been afflicted like this for more than thirteen years. The words of her tormenting neighbors, she said, were to blame, the women who had been reproaching her for a long time and claiming that she was indeed condemned because she had lost her husband just when she became responsible for her ninth child, and all of them very young. She was so distraught, she said, that she had no spare time to serve God, that is (so she was saying), to attend the office of the Mass, as they call it. The same judgment was also pronounced by her upon her children: for serpents are born from serpents. Thus she had shrunk from their sight.

When I had learned about the whole matter and tested its truth with as much care as I could, I gave the woman a few words of instruction. I told her that the service of God (as they call it) is not what the women in her neighborhood had judged it to be; that she herself had truly performed her pious service to God, according to His will, when as a mother she had provided for her own orphans, just as James had described true religion.107 The woman was put at ease within a short time, and that same evening, calm of heart, she left us, while we gave thanks to God and all of us were astounded. And so from that time forth there was greater respect in that region for the Word of God, and the fame of the church also grew—to such a degree that many people brought me their sick for healing (to my great sorrow), though I was teaching the very opposite and scolding them because of their ignorance.

There were two obstacles that affected me at the time, hindering the advance of gospel preaching,108 namely the Anabaptists and Papists. Several times I approached the foolish Anabaptists and dealt with them in a friendly manner. By some plan, God checked their hoped-for and once-almost-certain advances; He lessened their number, their influence, and their favor.

From the Papists there first came empty insults while I was absent, then later specious attacks. They were filling the churches of the city of Liège with their loud threats: The effect of these, however, was more to increase than diminish my audience. One Franciscan, who was giving public lectures among the residents of Verviers, driven by the insolence of some of our people, withdrew in order to go to a place designated for public disputation. But after he had set out on the way, he got himself out of it by saying he had forgotten something and beat a retreat home.

Cloven Feet

What I am going to relate is absurd, but nevertheless is evidence of the simplemindedness of the townsfolk and of the very deceptive effrontery of the Papists.109 When we were in the field, waiting for the arrival of that Franciscan, a certain old man broke through the very large crowd which was then gathered and asked that he be granted an opportunity to see me. When I heard the commotion, I asked what was happening. Upon learning that the man wanted to see me, I gave instructions that space be cleared for him to approach. Then he, looking down, surveyed me very carefully from my feet all the way up to the top of my head, and burst out in these words: “Well then, now I see that what I had been told about you is not true.” To which I replied, “So what was that?” “That you,” he said, “have cloven feet.” After we left that place with the work unfinished, there followed a second foolish deed by some superstitious person. For he dug out some turf or clod of that soil on which my feet had stood while waiting for the Franciscan to arrive for the debate.

Lies of the Papists

But when after quite a long time they realized that these shrill cries of theirs accomplished nothing, then two of the Papists attacked me by a set strategy, especially when they heard that the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper would be administered in the Limburg church a few short days later. One of these was a Franciscan and the other a Jesuit. These men had coordinated their plans and agreed upon a day to arrive in Limburg near evening, so that they could on the following day challenge me to a debate on their own terms, that is, unequal ones.

Therefore, at the following dawn, the ambassador, who was in charge of the citadel, went to the Curia. He explained to the council that these men had come to hold a colloquy on the topic of religion. The council decided to summon me to the Curia. The ambassador resisted, wanting instead that someone from the council be sent to me. The Praetor explained it all to me in person: I answered that this was agreeable to me and that I would not try to escape, and that they themselves should seek to find some place, time, and format. My two opponents answered through the ambassador that they themselves would also do it, provided that the debate between us would be held in the citadel. With regard to this requirement, I explained to the magistrate when he asked me that I had taught openly; that I was willing and waiting for all comers, so that I might openly defend that doctrine which I openly taught. Finally, after weighing everything, the city’s magistrate replied that I would not enter the citadel with his permission. When my opponents objected that they were risking harm from the people if the debate were held in the city, I promised them that if anyone tried anything against them, that I would willingly place my body in front of theirs to absorb the people’s attacks. They asked, finally, that the colloquy be held at the fifth mile marker from Liège. I gave them one answer to this: since they were already in a place that gave them an advantage, they were unfairly troubling themselves over a second and disadvantageous location.

And so both the Franciscan and the Jesuit returned to their former posts and announced to their followers that I, vanquished by them, had fled in order to escape the danger to my life to which I had overconfidently exposed myself. So when this rumor became widespread (for they had gone into a number of places), far more people than before came running to our assemblies at Limburg. And when the Papists’ lie was revealed, the people put on a holy zeal for embracing the truth of God in Christ.

Now when April arrived and it was the week before Easter, some mounted troops were dispatched from this side of Maastricht by the command of the governess of Parma, to catch me and to harass the people of Limburg. The magistrate thought it would be more beneficial both for me and for the Republic if I would conveniently withdraw elsewhere rather than stay stubbornly and with disregard for the circumstances. After the council had met on that issue, one of the aldermen spoke to me in a friendly manner while we were walking one evening, and explained the whole affair. And so that same night, when it was almost 11:00 p.m., I left the city with the magistrate’s permission during a most drenching downpour.

I was led away outside the borders of the territory of Limburg, so that I could freely head for Germany or wherever I wanted. After a good mule was sent to me by the people of Limburg at the estate of the Count of Gerolstein, I reached Heidelberg. There I was graciously welcomed by Frederick the Count of the Palatinate and stayed for some time. To the church at Schönau, which had been gathered in the mountains near Heidelberg, I very gladly brought greetings.

At this point, while I was on my way to my mother at Bourges, the church at Schönau sent a representative with instructions to bring me back, though I was unaware of it and actually unwilling. This man, as he had been instructed, followed me to my home without my consent. Thereupon I spotted him from my horse and was forced to incur greater expenses along the journey.110 I stayed with my mother in Bourges for a month and a half. Then leaving Mother, I set off to Paris and visited François de L’Aubespine (whom I mentioned previously), Silvanectus or Samlisius (as he is called). From Paris I headed to Sedan, from Sedan to Metz, where I stayed for almost two months. Then my younger brother, whom I had brought with me for the sake of his studies, died from disease.

Time in the Army

I went back to Heidelberg and filled the office of minister of the gospel among the people of Schönau starting in October. A year later, a plague struck that thriving church heavily, at which time Frederick the Elector withdrew me from there, though I objected and resisted. He sent me to the camp of the Prince of Orange, when that man undertook his calamitous campaign (I believe that there was none more wretched than this in our era) against Belgium. There were internal betrayals; in the field everything was disaster and defeat. Everyone fled from the approach of our troops. There were no supplies; all the provisions from the grain mills were stolen away; the enemy, watching from a distance, destroyed them and never gave us an opportunity for battle; cold and starvation decimated our ranks; rain spoiled everything. I lived like this for almost three days without food or meat, and finally on the third evening I ingested some green grass.

In Champagne I froze with cold. In Lorraine the horse was stolen that I was attending to on behalf of a soldier so that I should not displease his commander by its remaining unshod any longer. In short, every disadvantage surrounded me. For these reasons, I had altogether decided to leave the camp, and to rush through any danger whatsoever to reach Germany. But the Prince of Orange stopped me while I was getting ready to leave, so that I might be present with him at assemblies. I stayed there quite unwillingly until I neared Germany with the troops. Elizabeth de Merode, the widow of Baron Malberg, welcomed me hospitably as I was returning to Argentin. She very kindly wanted to provide me with whatever I needed, for I had arrived worn out and nearly naked.

But I did not want to abuse her kindness; rather, when I had learned from her words about the various hardships that the church at Schönau had fallen into at my departure, I immediately and voluntarily threw myself back on the road, so that I could run to the aid of that struggling church. I did not even say farewell to the Prince of Orange, for he had gone to Zweibrücken in Bergzabern. God supplied His favor to that church, so that the divisions which had rent that body while I was gone subsided at my arrival.

I was then summoned by the elector several times, and commanded to go back to the Prince of Orange; nor would he listen to my excuses or complaints. God looked out for me though, and exempted me from seeing war again. For when on the next day I was hurrying away from Schönau, going to excuse myself to the prince, a dog bit me badly on the right foot when I was not far from the Heidelberg bridge. Thus God, our most wise Father, to everyone’s surprise and against the wishes of that very fine prince, claimed me for the Palatinate until the year 1592.

Scholarly Work

While there, I first taught at the church of Schönau until 1573. That year I moved at the summons of Frederick the Elector to Heidelberg, to work on a translation of the Old Testament with Master Emmanuele Tremellio. In 1578 Neustadt welcomed me, where I taught for fourteen months in St. Lambrecht. Then, sent to Otterberg at the prince’s command to establish a new settlement there,111 I watched over112 the church of Otterberg for a year and a half. When May arrived, I was called back to Neustadt and taught in the Academy there as a professor, until Count John Casimir Palatine, Guardian and Regent of the Elector,113 summoned me to Heidelberg to work for the university. In that post, which the Lord had entrusted to me, I remained until the need to visit France was forced upon me.

The arrival of the Duke of Bouillon occasioned this. He contrived at his pleasure and influence to have me led back to France, entirely against my will. I was suffering very much because of the recent passing of my most beloved wife, my own poor health, the care of our little children, and the zeal I had for my position and the common well-being. This I knew had been neglected for a long time due to war. Nevertheless I went, and paid my respects to the king; and when at his command I had returned to Germany, with the prince’s permission, I resigned from the university and left the Palatinate, my second fatherland. As I desire the best for her, may God thus treat her very well.

When I was on my way to the king, I had decided to travel to Belgium for two reasons: both because the needs of my children required it, and because the route seemed to me more reliable and convenient, either for going to the king or for learning his will as soon as possible. And so a month after I had left Heidelberg, I arrived with my family at Leiden in the Netherlands on the twentieth of July and was welcomed by the magistrate, the university, and my friends.

They were insisting, moreover, that I stop there and pledge my effort to the university. I told them how the situation stood: that I had left Germany on the king’s order, and was intending to go over to France because those were his instructions. I thanked them for the regard which they had shown me several times before, and indeed were still showing. I must not, I told them, do anything against my conscience and duty before learning from the king’s ambassador (who was involved in these matters) whether he had any instructions from the king about me. Perhaps he had some instructions from the king about my case; and if he did not, to learn his own judgment of my affair. Everyone expressed their approval and discussed with the ambassador their request, and I likewise spoke to him about my obligation. Since the decisions of all were in accord, I remained at the University of Leiden. May the Lord bless this school and me as I serve at it to the best of my slender ability for the common good.


Before concluding, I must discuss two separate matters: my marriages and my publications, of which several good men have requested from me a review. In my marriages, the Lord trained me in many ways and sternly. For I have had four wives up to this point. Thus the Lord has chastised me—I who used to recoil from women because of the crimes of those wicked she-dogs114 and fled marriage most stubbornly in the pursuit of my office. He quietly vetoed my absurd judgment and overcame my sin, as well as my unworthy attitude toward the whole female sex, through the most pleasing companionship of these wonderful and very faithful wives.

My first wife was named Agnes, and she was the daughter of William Champion, the Secretary of the city of Liège and member of the council. The second was named Elizabeth, and her father was John Cornput, the secretary and burgomaster of Breda. The third, Joanna, was the daughter of Simon l’Hermite, a nobleman in Betinsart and alderman of the Republic of Antwerp. The fourth, Maria, is the daughter of John Glaser, who was at one time a well-known jeweler in Antwerp.

My first wife died due to the poor treatment of the midwife, when her uterus had been so damaged during delivery that for seven years she suffered and was worn out by an incessant issuance of blood. This was an unbelievable suffering for her and toil for me. The second died while pregnant after burning with fever for five days. The third succumbed to dropsy. These three are asleep in the Lord most righteously and left behind a most righteous memory for me who survived. From my first wife were born twins who barely lived a day; from my second, four children were brought forth into the world: my son Jon Casimir survived, and two daughters, Maria and Elisabeth. From my third wife were born two children, Joanna and Francis.115

Remember me, O Lord my God, in Thy mercy,116 and guide my steps in Thy truth, that I may teach and do what Thou commandest, and that Thy church may be built through our meager ministry, with Thy most abundant blessing in our Lord Jesus Christ.


1. All subheadings have been added by the translator and are not part of Junius’s original composition.

2. Puy d’Issould. In 1736, Mr. Peter Bayle’s The Dictionary Historical and Critical went through a second edition, “revised, corrected, and enlarged by Mr. Des Maizeaux” and issued in London for J. J. and P. Knapton. On pages 623–28, Bayle gives a brief synopsis of Junius’s life based on the Vita and short excerpts translated for a few passages. I have consulted these on occasion for matters of geography or spelling, and I also borrowed a word or two.

3. There is a nice pun here in the Latin on the difference between the dative participle studenti and the gerund of purpose, ad studendum. Some of the wit is lost when it comes into English, of course.

4. σύντεκνοι.

5. There is a play on words here between impudentem and pudorem.

6. Φιλοτιμίας.

7. This region lies in what is today known as southwestern Bavaria.

8. Viam scholae esse longissimam.

9. This is quite a vexing bit of Latin: Infirmitas vero pudore illo quem ante dixi, constricta, a Sole aulico sibi iam tum, ut cum maxime metuebat. A. Kuyper, Opuscula Theologia Selecta (Amsterdam: Frederick Muller, 1882), 13. All references to Kuyper hereafter are to this 1882 edition of Junius’s works.

10. For Orbilius, see above. Junius charitably conceals the man’s true identity by this pseudonym. Cf. Horace, Epistles, 2.1.70–71.

11. Hugo Donellus.

12. Junius includes the Greek here, best translated as perhaps “apprenticeship.”

13. Franciscus Duarenus.

14. Ludovicus Russardus.

15. Bartholemaeus Anulus.

16. Canes illae; Junius’s phrase is reminiscent of Homer’s κύνωπις (dog face). Cf. Odyssey, 11.424, inter alia.

17. ἀθεότης.

18. ἀναισθητός.

19. Sc. (scilicet [evidently]), December 14, 1561.

20. ποπανοφόρου; this is a Greek word that Junius seems to have coined from πόπανον—meaning a cake or bread used in sacrifice, and φόρος, which means one who bears or carries. Frederick D. Noe assisted in this identification.

21. I.e., the one Junius was lodging in.

22. The Latin is Angariorum, though this is so far from Lyons it is hard to believe he would have been in the city at the time. Perhaps it was a purely bureaucratic post officed in Lyons.

23. It is impossible to know whether Junius means mōlītor, “ruffian” or molitor, a miller. Since I am assuming he did not know the identity of the attacker, the man’s occupation is probably not in view.

24. The Latin is curia. As it seems quite unlikely that Junius went to the court of the magistrate in the midst of this mob action, it is not clear what he means here by the term.

25. Curio.

26. I.e., Epicureanism.

27. ἀθεότητα.

28. ἀθεότητος.

29. τὸ ἐπέχειν.

30. ἐποχῆς.

31. This saying was a commonplace in sixteenth-century pedagogy, presumably from Plutarch, as demonstrated by its occurrence in the anonymous reply to Jeanne Morély, most likely written by Antoine de la Roche Chandieu, entitled La Confirmation de la discipline ecclesiastique, etc. See Robert Kingdon, Geneva and the Consolidation of the French Protestant Movement, 1564–1572 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1967), 81, 82.

32. 1520–1590.

33. Apparently, Junius did not know until he arrived that the concio had been canceled because Cujas was busy.

34. Junius either listened to the other people who had gathered for the concio not knowing Cujas would not appear, or to whoever was Cujas’s replacement if there were one.

35. This entire section is written in historical present.

36. A via in Latin can be both expedita and munita; Junius’s Latin is remarkable for its frequent and (mostly) skillful use of metaphors and images.

37. ἐριστικούς ἀγῶνας.

38. τ’ οἰκουμένης ἐπιτόμην.

39. Celeribus equis, i.e., by “swift horses,” a series of express mounts stationed along the journey that may be ridden and then exchanged for fresh animals along the way. Bourges to Paris is a distance of about 155 miles.

40. This detail seems meant to highlight the fact that the comitatus or traveling retinue was also going to Paris after stopping at Geneva, so Junius could have continued on had he aspired, providentially, to the stars and showers of doctrinae reconditioris.

41. Louis, Prince of Condé (1530–1569).

42. François de Lorraine, duc de Guise; February 17, 1519–February 24, 1563.

43. The scholia, perhaps Junius’s own notes, indicate this was 1562.

44. Junius refers to the sexual temptations he had earlier faced in Lyons.

45. 1497–1563; Latinized as Musculus.

46. 1519–1586; Latinized as Hallerus; Gwalther became Antistes at Zurich after Bullinger.

47. Guillame Farel, 1489–1565. Farel left Geneva in 1538 and as twenty years Calvin’s senior, retired to this town.

48. Institutionem Calvini. Presumably this is the 1559 edition.

49. The Latin is sg., opus, but I believe Junius means Calvin’s collected works, his ouevre.

50. This is probably an early form of Rudimenta Hebraicae linguae eorundem rudimentorum praxis de Hebraica syntaxi canones generales which Chevalier, Latinized to Antonius Rodolphus Cevallerius, published in 1574.

51. Antoine Raoul Chevalier, 1507–1572.

52. See Douglas Judisch, A Translation and Edition of the Sacrorum Parallelorum Liber Primus of Franciscus Junius: A Study in Sixteenth Century Hermeneutics (Saint Andrews: University of St. Andrews, 1979), 1:6.

53. This is a northern province of Gaul, consisting of Bretagne and a portion of Normandy.

54. The Stoic philosopher, 330–230 BC; Junius probably found this anecdote in Plutarch.

55. Insperatus insperato.

56. Defixis oculis; a very common idiom from Caesar, Horace, and others.

57. The conventions of personal introduction between strangers from different segments of society were apparently quite other than our own.

58. Nuditatis meae; Junius obviously was not completely nude.

59. σύγκοιτυου. We must assume Junius does not mean Burdo, for it would be a very ill use of his benefactor to record such afterward.

60. I.e., what he had suffered from poverty, hunger, etc.

61. The famous leader of the Huguenot military forces, the Admiral Gaspard II de Coligny, had suffered a similar fate on August 24, 1572, at the beginning of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. See Kingdon, Geneva and the Consolidation of the French Protestant Movement, 200.

62. I.e., when he faced persecution for bringing in Hémard, the reviler of Marguerite of Navarre.

63. Grosse was an instructor at the Geneva Academy.

64. ἄδολον.

65. This is an adaptation of a famous Vergilian dictum, quoted by Quintilian in Institutiones Oratoriae 1.3, from Georgics 2.273: adeo in teneris consuescere multum est. Because Junius has substituted assuescere for consuescere, it is likely he is working from memory, but impossible to know whether he quotes Vergil or Quintilian.

66. For the Protestant church in Antwerp, see Guido Marnef, “Calvinism in Antwerp, 1558–1585” in Calvinism in Europe 1540–1620, ed. A. Pettegree, A. Duke, and G. Lewis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

67. καὶ μάλα πειθητικῶς.

68. 1520–1572.

69. Junius puns here on the martyr’s name, Peregrinus, and the peregrinatio which he concluded.

70. Another pun, fabricasti…ad fabricam.

71. 1529–1602.

72. Also known as Peter van Keulen of Ghent.

73. Junius means that the invitation was open (palam) but not to a public place (in privatis aedibus). This would appear to be a compromise between the uncomfortable secrecy of select invitations and the perils of meeting in some public location.

74. I.e., modern-day Portugal.

75. He was married to Maria of Portugal on November 11, 1565.

76. Lamoral, Count of Egmont, Prince of Gavere, 1522–1568.

77. Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, 1517–1586.

78. Παθητικώτερον.

79. From Tournai, died 1604 in Hanau; his more famous son was a Remonstrant.

80. ἀπαραιτήτως; from the adjective meaning “not to be influenced by prayer.” Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon (Irvine: University of California, 2009), 179. Hereafter, this will be abbreviated as LSJ.

81. Junius here reverts to the historical present, though I have maintained the past tense for consistency.

82. Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel (1507–1582). The executions to which Junius refers took place in June 1568.

83. Trélon in the region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

84. I believe Junius means the end of the Inquisition.

85. This is approximately $50,000 in 2014 terms.

86. Louis II of Nassau-Weilburg, born August 9, 1565, died November 8, 1627.

87. 1522–1586, daughter of Emperor Charles V and Johanna von der Gheynst.

88. In the province of Brabant near Utrecht, approximately thirty-five miles from Antwerp.

89. Sc., Margaret of Parma.

90. This is in southern France, a long way from Antwerp. The noble of Rassenguien summons, on false pretenses, a more capable advocate of the Papacy than whoever was the local priest.

91. 1540–1598.

92. There is either an error here in Junius’s Latin, namely that he first wanted omnia as subject of commoveri and then later changed his mind to Ecclesiam, or the latter is being used as a Greek accusative of respect. I think it more likely he simply made an error.

93. Sc., good for Margaret of Parma.

94. ἄτακτα.

95. ἀτακτοῦντας αὐτοκράτορας.

96. Brevi scripto…exarato.

97. Junius uses an appellation from Caesar’s De Bello Gallico, 1.10.

98. Venimus, vidimus, nihil effecimus. This is an obvious play on Caesar’s famous triumphal placard: veni vidi vici. Cf. Plutarch, Life of Caesar, 50.

99. Nihil nisi ex vocatione a nobis faciendum esse. It appears that Junius wrongly uses the preposition a here. To express agency with the gerundive a dative is used.

100. Sc. at some later date beyond the scope of the current story.

101. Sc. Peter de Rijck.

102. This is approximately $113,000 and $56,000, respectively, in 2014 terms.

103. Junius puns here on structurae—building—and the garments of his disguise, namely caementario structore.

104. Bonam vesperam, compater.

105. Sc. 1566.

106. Sc. where Junius had planned to eat lunch.

107. James 1:27.

108. Kuyper has erroneously transcribed here (31) praedicationes (nominative or accusative, neither of which will construe) for the praedicationis (genitive, and obviously modified by Evangelicae) that Merula published.

109. Bayle says of this: “I have a hundred times heard such sort of stories, but never saw them before supported by a printed and authentic testimony.” Dictionary Historical and Critical, 626.

110. Sc., Junius paid the man’s travel expenses, though apparently unwillingly.

111. According to Kuyper (x), this was November 1580.

112. The verb Junius uses is inservo, which may indicate something other than serving as minister, which he has heretofore expressed as fungi ministerio Evangelii.

113. I.e., Elector Palatine Frederick IV.

114. I.e., the women he encountered as a young man in Lyons.

115. Merula’s edition of the Vita contains at this point a full list of Junius’s works, though Kuyper extracts it from this point and includes it in his introduction, xi–xvi.

116. The Latin here is remarkably similar to what Junius said above, when describing how the Lord rescued him from the Epicurean atheism he briefly adopted in Lyons (Kuyper, 15–16).

There Follows a Short Account of
the Illness and Peaceful Death
of Franciscus Junius1

What can be more happy for a Christian than that his righteous life should at last come to a righteous departure to the next, by whatsoever kind of accident or illness? For:

The road to death for all is marked the same,
Yet not all have one way to live and die.

And as different diseases advance at different rates, it is well known—O the sorrow!—how far and wide the plague, wherever it creeps and rages with its contagion, how unexpectedly and severely it attacks anyone at all. With this, the greatest and most powerful God both strikes the wicked, that He might justly scourge them, and He chastises the righteous that He either might correct them or (when He has rescued them from punishment of the world’s ingratitude and evil assaults) that He might lead them across to a better life. And I think that there is hardly anyone from the natives or inhabitants of Leiden but has felt some loss from this contagion to himself or his loved ones. So much so that we have before us a detailed picture of those times in which Cyprian lived, when many thousands of the righteous were destroyed by this pestilence.

It is no wonder that the most noble, most gracious matron wife of Junius was also taken by this disease (both David and Ezekiel long ago were touched by this hardship),3 before she even recognized the signs of this deceptive evil. On account of her piety, she always considered prudence for herself and unparalleled love for her dear ones of the highest value. From that time as fires unknown and disregarded take on strength,4 the contagion of the disease overtook her husband before he sufficiently understood the extent of the danger. And after two weeks around midday on the twentieth of October (according to the modern reckoning),5 which was the Lord’s Day, as though at the nod and beckon of the heavenly Lord, he was quite obviously invited to his Lord’s rest. With no sense of fear, he recognized the merciful hand of the Lord; and as he endured the illness of his most beloved wife with fortitude, so he persevered through his own sickness with his usual, unbowed firmness of heart. For, not to mention his very noble fellow-citizen and neighbor Fabian, and myself, who from love and duty visited Junius on the same day, his esteemed colleagues recognized this strength of mind. I mean the scholars von dem Vorst,6 de Bondt,7 and Pieter Pauw.8 I heard the sick man commending with a grateful heart the kindness and loyalty of these men in hardships, and he praised his wife. Thus I cannot, nor should I, pass over these things in silence.

The memory of his courage also helps me. By this memory I can describe with a composed and calm countenance my compassion9 for Junius, in the presence of his son, my dearest brother, John Casimir. “It is good,” he said, “that we submit our hand with a grateful heart to the rod of our father God. He10 sees and troubles over us; this is our salvation.” On the next day (it was a Monday) the disease, which had revealed itself the day before with a swelling blister,11 began to bother him more severely both inside and out with burning and lassitude, to such an extent that it confined him to lie sick in bed without reprieve. But the disease did not dislodge nor diminish his soul, held fast by the anchor of his faith and hope. Yet as a storm tests a helmsman and the battle-line a soldier, so the illness proved him brave and unconquered. The servants12 and others who attended him noticed this. For both morning and evening the insolence of the disease prevented my fellow minister, the most dear man Trelcatius, and me from approaching him and attending to him. Instead we left there and together went to see the respected and aged pastor of the church, Thomas Spranchusius (now in fact he is blessed in the heavens, but then he was battling the same disease). The servants, as I mentioned, and several others noticed with how much peace, with how much disregard for earthly cares he held himself together for that whole day, looking to the life of heaven. They noticed that the most renowned young men from the whole of France (I say nothing of our own people, his fellow citizens), kindled by Junius’s fame and love for him, crowded together in streams to this university, as though to a merchant of fine literature. And as showing love to a second father, they gave proof of their own reverence and faith with their condolences and presence. The next day, Tuesday, he began to struggle more mightily and to feel the affliction more as the disease raged on. The severity of the pestilence stubbornly rejected all the resources of medicine.

Nevertheless, our most brave athlete was not defeated in this hard struggle, but rather showed his worth. Indulging in no complaints or sign of agitation, he stood undaunted like a cliff while the waves of disease broke against him. He rested easily in his God and Savior. For when I visited him about noon that very day and sought to comfort him with a few words, he said, “I am resting in God, the God that is my salvation; He will mercifully perfect me for His glory.” For he knew that the golden saying of that ancient and righteous doctor is most true: “This mortality, as it is a scourge to Jews, Gentiles, and the enemies of Christ, so to the servants of God it is but a saving departure.”13

Junius knew, by his own wisdom and remarkable piety, that there is nothing more foolish, nothing more unworthy, than not to run toward heavenly rewards with obedience of the will, but to be dragged toward them unwillingly through the bond of necessity. Therefore, enjoying that same calm of heart and constancy of faith, he endured those fevers till the end of the next day, Wednesday, while the disease grew more and more strong. He resisted the disease, sleepless, partly by the sword of the divine Word: He arranged that Samuel Riverius, a most noble and faithful young man, should draw forth the sword of the Word for him from the armory of the Psalms and from the first letter to the Corinthians. He contended through that whole night partly by the intensity of his prayers, which he declared with his hands joined, his face raised toward heaven, and with deep sighs.

Some difficulty had befallen me at that time, because I was compelled to remain at home on Wednesday after taking some medicine (for on the day before, Tuesday, I had been summoned in the middle of the night at the request of a man whose wife was suffering to console her as the disease raged more, although she was steadfast in faith and hope; and thus I was exposed to the chilly night air). But lest I fail in my duty, I summoned Lucas Trelcatius (because we were close acquaintances) and asked him in view of his steadfastness and kindness to take my place at the side of our badly ailing friend. And I asked him to pay that distinguished man, who had served the French church so very well, my last respects. He agreed readily and willingly went to him in that same mind. But he was advised that it was not a good time to visit, partly because one who is ill cherishes rest and is kept from it by the words of a faithful and pious comforter so long as he is there. Partly this was because both Trelcatius and his wife were always extremely careful that the contagion not spread further by unnecessary visitation, especially to the men of the church who were so needed. When this message was relayed to me, I was set ablaze with a sense of my duty and with love, and I preferred to expose myself to the threats of foul and stormy weather than abandon at the last such a fine man and one who had treated me so well, just because I knew there was risk.

So I went and was admitted by his son. I found him free from visitors and possessed of a serene countenance; but his strength was devastated. I advised him that there was no need for many words, because I knew that he had within himself his own hidden and well-equipped supply of consolations. Then, I urged him to apply to himself those things which he had so often given others, and to encourage himself in these hardships. I said that he should remember that he had God in heaven as a kind father, Christ as his Savior, heaven as his homeland and inheritance, and as a deposit of that inheritance, the Holy Spirit in his heart; that death is the road to heaven and everlasting life. By this faith, by this hope, I urged him, he should sustain himself. Then with the greatest steadiness the man answered: “I am remembering and looking to those things which I have rightly taught others. I am resting entirely on the grace of God. God will make perfect whatever belongs to my salvation.” Thus happily and by the same principles of comfort that he had repeated on various occasions, he prepared himself for death; no, for a better life.

When I asked him whether there was anything he wanted arranged or instructions he wanted given about his children or other matters, he said the following. “I am thinking very little now about these perishable matters. One thing only do I want to commend, that I have directed all my efforts to the public welfare. I see that our faculty is going to have the most serious struggles, and so I should fulfill my duty carefully and loyally. If I am asked for my counsel by the distinguished trustees or curators of the university, or if there is need of warning them, I would express my judgment honestly and devoutly, and ask them to have regard for the highest advantage and honor of the university, for the benefit both of our faculty and the university. The rest I would entrust to divine providence.” Thus, as a patriot of the Republic, he did not even at the end of his life fail in his care for the university. So that it could rightly be said—if that line of the comic playwright is true, “that living for oneself alone is not really living”14—that Junius, while he lived, truly lived.

When these things were finished and his duty was fulfilled, with respect toward his ancestors and loyalty toward the public, I let go of his now limp and cold hand. I was sad (because I could tell that the poison had gone into the innermost recesses of his heart) and said good-bye just before noon and, taking some medicine, returned home. A little bit later, drawing in his breath gently two or three times, in the fifty-seventh year of his life, he very gently gave up the ghost and willingly returned to the hand of the God who called him to his everlasting rest.


D. François Gomar wrote these things. Junius passed on to Christ, October 13, 1602.


1. Kuyper’s footnote reads: “This was taken from the Funeral Oration delivered by François Gomar on October 26, 1602, in the public lecture hall of Leiden.”

2. Gomar quotes an elegiac couplet of Maximian from the sixth century: omnibus est eadem lethi uia, non tamen unus, est uitae cunctis exitiique modus.

3. I.e., their wives died before they did.

4. Gomar quotes from Epistle I.18.85 of Horace: et neglecta solent incendia sumere vires.

5. Novo stilo; Gomar seems to include this here as an indication that he is using contemporary calendation rather than the Roman style, e.g., VII Kalendas Novembris, etc.

6. This is probably Conradus Vorstius the Remonstrant and successor to Arminius in the chair of theology, 1569–1622. As, however, he was not called to Leiden until 1610, eight years after Junius’s death, he must have traveled from Heidelberg for the occasion.

7. Though several de Bondts (Bontii) served on the faculty at Leiden, this is undoubtedly Gerard, professor of medicine. The more famous doctor, Gerard’s son Jacob, who went on to found the United East Indies Company, was not born until 1592 and thus would not have been old enough to attend Junius. Another son, Willem, was a professor of law at Leiden, and yet another, Reiner, served as Maurice of Nassau’s court physician. See G. W. Bruyn and Charles M. Poser, The History of Tropical Neurology: Nutritional Disorders (Canton, Mass.: Science History Publications, 2003), 1–3.

8. Pauw, a professor of anatomy and botany, was a native of Leiden, 1564–1617, and the first to build a theater in the Netherlands for observing dissections. See
C. C. Barfoot and Richard Todd, The Great Emporium: The Low Countries as a Cultural Crossroads in the Renaissance and the Eighteenth Century (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1992), 92–96.

9. Gomar uses συμπαθείαν.

10. Kuyper (35) has here the mistaken form itle [sic] for ille.

11. Gomar writes: se bubone patefecerat. The bubo is the sign of the plague.

12. Kuyper (35) has here the mistaken form domistici [sic] for domestici, as is proved by the correct spelling five lines below.

13. This is from Cyprian’s De Mortalitate, 15.

14. τοῦτ᾽ ἐστὶ τὸ ζεῖν οὐχ ἑαυτῷ ζεῖν μόνον, from a fragment of the Philadelphoi of the Attic comedian Menander (c. 340–290 BC). See Menander, the Principal Fragments with an English Translation, trans. Francis G. Allison (London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1921), 456.

A Treatise on True Theology
A Handbook concerning True Theology:
Its Origin, Nature, Forms, Parts, and Mode, by which
All Christians Are Reminded of Their Own Worth,
and Theologians of the Importance of Their Service to God
The second edition, revised and corrected
by the author himself before his death.

To the Most Distinguished and August Gentlemen,
the Trustees and Guardians of the University, and to the
Consulars of the City of Leiden, the Netherlands,
Franciscus Junius Sends his Greetings


Exactly two years have passed, most distinguished and august gentlemen, esteemed trustees, since our most great and mighty God, while I was engaged in other business and thinking that I was intended for another purpose by the will and command of His previous dispensation, established me here by His astonishing purpose in this your most thriving university, and willed that here my labor be spent. At the same time, the authority of the states-general and your decision coincided with that purpose, when you ordered me to stay the foot that I was raising to leave for good, while en route1 and planning only to brush against the borders of your territory. You ordered me to settle in this port on the sea, where with my family I was already cast by necessity. This most wise plan of God, this most gracious will of the states-general and of you all toward me I surely acknowledge and proclaim, gladly and rightly. And if in this mortal life I can fulfill any duty by which I may return some gratitude to all of you, I will take pains that my labors, as the offspring of my soul, may be proportionate to your expectation, or at least to my sense of obligation and ability. For I am not unaware that sometimes people have many empty hopes, and an expectation is easily engendered both by the facile persuasion of others and by the vain presumption of the many Thrasos2 and idle chatterers.3 For my part, I shall approve neither of these behaviors, nor have I ever. Those who promise on my behalf what is not within my power wrong me; and while they suppose that they mean well, they silently reproach me for my ignorance and weakness. But if in claiming this for myself I shall have said too much, I will have done both myself and all of you a more serious wrong, as if I did not know how to measure myself by my own rule and standard,4 or how to discover the extent of my obligation toward persons of your rank. Your opinion of me, nevertheless, and that external persuasion (whatever its source may be) caused you to long for my effort while I was absent and to use it while I was present. My readiness in assenting to your request received your readiness in conceiving this opinion of me as both refined and noble. This is not because I trusted that I was able to fulfill the expectation of your desire, but rather because I solemnly determined that my obedience (however slight) ought to testify to my good intention and will, although this may be very far from your expectation, judgment, and bidding.

And so, finding myself established by your decision in this your very famous and thriving university, both in private studies and writing compositions and in public lectures and exercises I have not stopped “dwelling in the Sparta”5 which I obtained by God’s will and your decision. I occupy myself in “Sparta” the more readily since I learned many years ago to avoid rather carefully other occupations.6 My mind recoils from those other occupations, especially since I am aware that I have been called to some and not to others, and that perhaps my talent is more suited to these than to the other ones. I call you as witnesses of this fact, as well as the university and the young people who, to the present, have not infrequently attended my lectures. What else? I call as a witness before you this little volume, I who am guilty of promising to deliver it for nearly two years at the request of certain good men and my most devoted colleagues. For in this treatise I explain what theology is (whose priests we are) and what a theologian is. I do this in such an order, and trace it out by a path such that I can barely keep from shouting—when I consider again its argument and importance—“And who indeed is sufficient for these topics?”7 This is the common treasure8 of all Christians, this the peculiar privilege of the ministers of divine wisdom, this the grandeur of things divine on display, a grandeur that God willed should be stored in the weakness of earthen9 and clay vessels. I desire that all Christians stand firm on their own worth in Christ Jesus, and all theologians and ministers stand firm on the importance of their office. Thus the former may strive in accordance with that dignity, and the latter pay full heed to the task which has been entrusted to them, avoiding other concerns as though they were sheer cliffs and the most treacherous Syrtes,10 and spend their time in these duties day and night with utmost zeal in the presence of the Lord (who through the Spirit instructs those who reflect upon and read these works). I pray that you, most distinguished and august gentlemen, just as you have been my authorities and leaders in producing this work, so also may you accept this, the foundation of my teaching, delivered and offered to you in the same school. Accept it charitably as a pledge of my loyalty, and as proof of my very ready zeal toward you and your university (of which you have wanted me to be a part). Farewell, most distinguished and august gentlemen, and may you continue to cherish true holiness, the university—that training ground11 of holiness—and all learned men and myself, the adopted sons of righteousness, truth, and culture.


Leiden, the Netherlands, July 18, 1594


1. ἐν παρόδῳ.

2. Thraso is the archetypal braggart, immortalized by the Roman comedian Terence in his comedy Eunuchus.

3. ἀφεταλόγων; this seems to be a coinage of Junius. Both Kuyper (40) and Merula (1369) appear to have ἀφεταλόγων, though the constituent elements are spelled differently: ἄφετος, “empty,” and λόγος, “speech.”

4. The phrase metiri modulo ac pede meo is borrowed from Horace’s pede suo se metiri. Cf. Epistles 1.7.98.

5. Junius is quoting a proverb familiar from Cicero’s correspondence, i.e., Σπάρταν ἔλαχες, ταύταν κόσμει—“Sparta’s your lot; get used to it.” See Cicero Ad Atticum, 4.6.2.

6. Though this may sound awkward in English, “occupy…occupations,” it faithfully reflects Junius’s Latin pun.

7. The allusion is to 2 Corinthians 2:16, and the wording is nearly identical to the Vulgate, except that Junius has omitted tam from between quis and idoneus. The omission arguably makes his rendering more true to the Greek.

8. This and several additional terms are translations of dignitas; i.e., “treasure,” “privilege,” “worth.”

9. χοικῶν; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:7.

10. These were famous mythological shoals off the coast of Libya on which ships were thought to founder. See Vergil, Aeneid 1.108ff.

11. ἀσκητήριον.

Thirty-Nine Theses Are Demonstrated in This Treatise

1. Theology means either the discourse of God Himself, or discourse or reasoning concerning things divine. For this definition we use Augustine’s words from The City of God 8.1. We will also speak about the second meaning (chapter 1).


2. The subject itself as well as the agreement of all the nations demonstrates that theology exists. The subject shows it, for it is both true that God exists and that He is the principle of every good thing in the universe; and God both speaks and acts. The agreement of all nations shows it, for all by the light of nature acknowledge that theology exists.


3. Even if all believe that theology exists, nevertheless it is commonly spoken of in two ways. For one theology is true, the other is false and subject to opinion.


4. There are two kinds of false theology. One is common, while the other is philosophical. The common kind is that which, resting in the incomplete principles of our nature, does not rise any higher through reasoning. The philosophical kind is that which through an error in reasoning has dissipated into false conclusions and has given birth to superstitious, natural, and civil theology from those principles.


5. Theology is wisdom concerning divine matters (chapter 2).


6. This theology is either archetypal,1 undoubtedly the wisdom of God Himself, or it is ectypal, having been fashioned by God (chapter 3).


7. Archetypal theology is the divine wisdom of divine matters. Indeed, we stand in awe before this and do not seek to trace it out (chapter 4).


8. Ectypal theology, whether taken in itself, as they say, or relatively in relation to something else, is the wisdom of divine matters, fashioned by God from the archetype of Himself, through the communication of grace for His own glory (chapter 5).


9. And so this so-called theology taken in itself, in fact, is the whole wisdom of divine matters, communicable with what has been created according to the capacity of the one communicating it.


10. But the theology that is relative is the wisdom of divine matters communicated to things created, according to the capacity of the created things themselves. It is, moreover, communicated by union, vision, or revelation.


11. The theology, which we call that of union, is the whole wisdom of divine matters, communicated to Christ as God-man,2 that is, as the Word made flesh, according to His humanity (chapter 6).


12. The theology of vision is that which has been communicated with the angels, and with the spirits of the saints made holy or perfect in heaven (chapter 7).


13. The theology of revelation is that which is communicated here with the human race. This is the kind that you also might not unhelpfully label our theology (chapter 8).


14. The mode, moreover, of communicating this theology is twofold, by nature and by grace. The former happens as an internal principle of communication. The latter, by an external principle of the first one. Thus it happens that the one theology is termed natural and the other supernatural (chapter 9).


15. Natural theology is that which proceeds from principles that are known in relation to itself by the natural light of the human understanding, in proportion to the method of human reason (chapter 10).


16. The conception of this natural theology in the human understanding deals with things that are common, and it is both veiled and imperfect. All the more then is there need for it to derive its perfection from supernatural theology.


17. This was the state of natural theology in Adam, when nature was intact: that from principles shared, veiled, and imperfect, it had to be nurtured and caused to grow by reasoning, and then perfected by grace.


18. After this nature, however, was corrupted, those first principles yet remained in individuals. They were still shared, veiled, and imperfect. But now they were completely compromised in themselves and quite confused among themselves,3 as though mere broken fragments of our nature, because of our depravity.


19. And so this theology can lead nothing at all to perfection, nor does it ever do so. And it is not even able, in and of itself, to contain the perfection that is added by grace.


20. Consequently, it was necessary that inspired theology come to man’s aid. We call this theology supernatural because of its origin, and a theology of revelation from its mode of communication (chapter 11).


21. Supernatural theology, moreover, is the wisdom of divine matters, which proceeds from first principles that are known in relation to itself by the light of a superior knowledge, beyond the mode of human reason.


22. The reasoning of this supernatural theology is twofold: for it is either absolute and in relation to itself, according to the method of the one communicating it. Or it is relative, according to the meager measure of those to whom that communication comes.


23. Our theology stated absolutely is the wisdom of divine matters inspired by God according to divine truth. It has been entrusted to His servants through the word pronounced in Christ, and sealed both in the Old and New Testaments through the prophets, apostles, and evangelists, as much as is fitting to be revealed to us here for His own glory and the good of the elect (chapter 12).


24. The material4 of this theology consists of divine matters: of course God, and whatsoever topics have been arranged with respect to Him, as was proper for instruction to be given concerning the nature, works, and law of God Himself (chapter 13).


25. The form of theology is divine truth. In theology, this is considered in two ways. For either it is considered as a whole, or some part of the whole as it is in itself. Or, certain parts are considered along with others mutually when they admit of an appropriate comparison (chapter 14).


26. This truth is holy, just, and perfect. Without a doubt it teaches nothing that is profane, unjust, and imperfect, and it does not fail to teach anything that is holy, just, and perfect, that we may be guided as perfectly as possible toward holiness in ourselves, justice toward everyone else, and perfection in all things.


27. And so this theology is one, eternal, and immutable. For that which is necessarily true, the same is necessarily one; that which is just and holy cannot ever cease to be just and holy. Finally, that which is perfect with respect to God, the same is completely and always immutable.


28. We posit that the efficient cause of our theology is twofold: one part is principal, the other instrumental (chapter 15).


29. The principal efficient and absolute cause of our theology is God the Father in the Son through His own Spirit breathing life into it, as He is the sole author and highest and most perfect creator of this wisdom in His own servants.


30. The instrumental cause of this wisdom is the λόγος προφορικός,5 or the enunciative discourse of God: it is spoken both spiritually, and when it is corporeal, then corporeally.


31. The final cause of theology is twofold: for one is distant or very exalted. The other indeed is secondary and follows from the first, and is (as they say) subordinate to it (chapter 16).


32. The primary or highest end of theology is the glory of God, for theology shows this glory for all to behold, and also all good men by a right use of this wisdom render that glory confirmed, just as wisdom is justified by her children.6


33. The secondary or subordinate end of our theology is the present and future good of the elect. For promises for this life and the one to come have been made with reference to their righteousness. This theology, moreover, is the wisdom of true righteousness.


34. Our relative theology, or the theology called in the subject, is that same wisdom of divine matters, altered in accordance with the reasoning of those persons in whom it is present, and as a consequence of which they are called theologians (chapter 17).


35. The method of this theology in the subject cannot be delimited, both because it varies in each person and because it is very different among all men.


36. The method varies in each man, because in each a twofold principle is present, nature and grace. The former must be diminished, the latter increased, from glory to glory7 by the power of the Spirit and the effective communication of theology.


37. It varies among all men, because nature is lessened and grace increased more in some than in others, even if at present not one man comprehends perfectly the whole form of our theology in every respect.


38. And indeed the prophets and apostles perceived the whole and complete form of this theology, but not perfectly in themselves; and by the unique power of the Spirit all the others handed down that whole theology,8 though neither whole nor perfectly.


39. And so the form of our theology is indeed in itself one, as we have said before, but among us it is manifold in its mode, and it will remain so, until attaining the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, we together become a mature man and are brought to the measure of the stature of the church, which is the fullness of Christ (chapter 18).


1. ἀρχέτυπος.

2. θεανθρώπῳ.

3. The gradations here are fine, namely between in sese corruptissima and inter se conturbatissima.

4. Junius uses here the noun materia, and in 25 will treat of forma, then caussa efficiens in 28 and 29, and instrumentalis caussa in 30. He clearly has in mind Aristotelian aetiology from Metaphysics 5.

5. I.e., the spoken word. This is a term with important precedents in Patristic literature.

6. In chapter 16 Junius will cite Matthew 11:19 after this thesis. It is also found in Luke 7:35.

7. Cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

8. I.e., they handed down the whole of what they had received, though they did not themselves possess the whole perfectly, even though they had received it as a whole.

Chapter 1

Whether True Theology Exists

As we are about to discuss theology, that shared storehouse1 of divine and saving wisdom, let us first humbly beseech our most great and most wonderful God,2 from whom all wisdom and warm generosity proceeds, that He may condescend by the light of His own everlasting Spirit to illuminate us in this most holy undertaking and to lead us into all truth,3 in accordance with His own promise in Christ Jesus. Next, if in this project we, by God’s blessing, produce anything useful and sound, may He display that same blessing of His own as saving to those who are going to read our late-night musing. By this, His glory in us all can be more firmly established, and we in turn can grow in Him, until we attain to that proper stature of the mature man, and reach the fullness of Christ.4

Truly in every subject that is treated, we must first take care to provide definitions for the topics being discussed as well as the ideas that are indicated by those definitions, lest somehow the argument accidentally wander from its planned course. Thus before we proceed to talk about the main thesis, we are going to examine both the definitions and the ideas they indicate in a few words in this chapter. For by this, as it were, paved road and open, convenient entrance to those matters which we are going to discuss, we are sure that all will become far more clear to the reader.

Now, concerning the term theology, we posit the following definition:

Thesis 1: Theology means either the discourse of God Himself, or discourse or reasoning concerning things divine. For this definition we use Augustine’s words from The City of God 8.1. We will also speak about the second meaning.5

Consequently, the meaning of this term is twofold, if we note its actual etymology. Both portions of the word are derived from common usage in the Greek language. For just as θεοπρόπιον means the divine word that God proclaims, and θεοσημεία is the divine sign that God gives, so also theology is the speech that God Himself proclaims in all things created. And yet the second meaning always seems to have been more in use in the Greek language, namely that by the term theology we should understand the actual discourse which is pronounced concerning God, or the reasoning about divine matters. This is similar to the way in which θεοσοφία was called the Wisdom concerning divine matters in the orthodox fathers. Moreover, these two meanings indeed not only can correspond to the proper character of theology but they must also be self-consistent and at the same time not subject to division.6 But because both definitions cannot correctly be assigned to this term in the same passage and, as the saying goes, be confined by the force of the word, we have decided to explain the second meaning straightaway, especially since God has said before this, or could say afterward, many things which have in fact little to do with the main subject of theology. For theology, like all knowledge, pertains to common matters, but the discourse of God usually concerns matters that are particular.

Therefore, on this question of theology, the first point that it seems we must untangle is this: whether that which we commonly call theology exists. For when it comes to those topics that we treat in everyday speech, some exist in the created realm, while others do not. And some can be known while others cannot. Thus we would discuss in vain concerning something which neither itself exists, nor can be known by man.

Thesis 2: The subject itself as well as the agreement of all the nations demonstrates that theology exists. The subject shows it, for it is both true that God exists and that He is the principle of every good thing in the universe; and God both speaks and acts. The agreement of all nations shows it, for all by the light of nature acknowledge that theology exists.

Certainly it can be shown from manifold proofs of nature, and those quite splendid, that theology exists as a consequence of that truth whose meaning we just now described. But these two meanings seem able to suit our intended discourse at present; the others are best left, if God wills, for another occasion.

The first proof is the actual subjects: i.e., the subject of theology itself; secondly, there is the agreement of all peoples, and the natural knowledge of that subject, as far as that subject is able to come under the inspection of human knowledge. Quite clearly, theology should be considered a knowledge of those things that exist, and it is knowledge of such matters in those who know them, in accordance with their own mode of being and their apprehension of these very items. If, therefore, God exists, and also knows things, then it is necessary for us to say that God without doubt knows Himself relative to His own mode of being. This is, moreover, limitless, and so He knows the boundlessness of Himself and does so evidently by divine knowledge. If God is the principle of all that is good in the universe, we very correctly conclude from this that all created things, which possess the good of knowing and understanding from that universal principle, have been endowed with at least some knowledge of God and theology. By this they come to know individually that very principle of their own whence they arose. If God speaks, He also speaks things that are not only specific but also that relate commonly to a true knowledge of Himself; and if, finally, He acts as God toward all His creatures and has stamped on some of these vague marks of His majesty while to others He has granted His sure image in their very nature, then it is altogether necessary that theology exist. Created things may perceive theology by His communicating it, and God may keep it to Himself so completely that it can be neither comprehended nor explained in proportion to His worth, but only touched upon in proportion to the little measure of our weakness. Inasmuch, moreover, as we affirm that the proof of that remarkable subject is theology, so we also all acknowledge from the proof of ourselves and of our nature that theology is a certain kind of thing. For if you examine nature according to that common understanding of the universe, this indeed proclaims the glory of God and so to speak shouts with its voice, and with outstretched finger it points out that discourse and reasoning concerning the divine which we name theology. Or if you look at the shared nature of the human race, so great is the light of nature in it, and so familiar is inborn knowledge that, as it has taught all men that there is such a thing as theology and divine wisdom, so it teaches that there is a God. Or if we ourselves examine our own persons, and so to speak track to its utter depths those twisted inner recesses and most hidden recesses of our mind, there will be nothing in us which does not show that theology exists, and very obviously overwhelms those who say otherwise. So great is the power of nature, so great that of truth.

And so these things are quite familiar to all and have been shown by God to individuals in such a way that no man, however rude or untrained he might be, and removed from all learning, can be unaware that the theology which we are discussing indeed exists. Yet the lessons we are taught in common by that inborn light of nature, these have been darkened in particular men by the blindness and weakness of their own nature. And the keenness of our mind is snuffed out in a certain manner, lest any particular individual correctly comprehend in each of us the very thing which common nature teaches. As a consequence, it happens that we see something of the truth as though distantly through the gloom. But through these inborn shadows that surround us, we do not see, except in a false fashion, that very truth of God which we do see.7

This we now explain in the following manner:

Thesis 3: Even if all believe that theology exists, nevertheless it is commonly spoken of in two ways.8 For one theology is true, the other is false and subject to opinion.

The truth of the matter has produced this equivocation which we have here established, when compared with our own vitiated and erroneous judgment and perception. For indeed it arises from the truth of the subject that the wisdom of divine matters exists, whatever in the final analysis it is and of what sort, and is also said to be true. But as a consequence of the perversion of our judgment and, with the sediment of our senses, so to speak, removing spiritual tastes from our minds, it happens that in this very serious matter also (as in other things) we embrace something false in place of what is true. And so according to the truth of the matter, something altogether true is said to be theology, named without equivocation. But according to human opinion, something which we have arrived at by our debased and bewildered judgment is also named theology by equivocation. This we name false theology, subject to opinion. It is false, because it is removed “by the whole sky” (as they say) from the truth of the subject that belongs properly to theology. It is subject to opinion, because it rests on opinion alone (if indeed such is properly “resting”) in our mind and imagination, fashioning unalloyed dreams and games in place of the truth, and idols and tragelaphs9 in place of the true God.

Now indeed it is not my intention to say very much about the theology that is false and subject to opinion, inasmuch as the labor spent in pursuing the true one is very beneficial, and error is very dangerous. Labor in searching out false theology is pointless, and a mistake in this regard10 is far removed from serious consequence. Nevertheless, in order that I might say something summarily about the latter, as much as pertains to the elucidation of that similarity of name,11 we posit the following:

Thesis 4: There are two kinds of false theology. One is common, while the other is philosophical. The common kind is that which, resting in the incomplete principles of our nature, does not rise any higher through reasoning. The philosophical kind is that which through an error in reasoning has dissipated into false conclusions and has given birth to superstitious, natural, and civil theology from those same principles.

In these few remarks, we believe both that the one body, as it were, of false theology can be encompassed, and that its individual parts and limbs can be separately shown. For its root (as we would put it) and the crown is what we call popular theology. Its trunk is situated in philosophical theology, which from that point has run riot into three very large and overgrown branches. We call popular theology that which is common to all, as its principles and intuitions and preconceptions are commonly sketched out in our minds. And it is neither disciplined (as we would put it) by the cultivation of reasoning nor grows when support is added from another source. But it remains inactive in its own state and in its incomplete ideas, and as though in the mire of its own imperfection and natural corruption it settles down.

But we name that theology the philosophical one which, when the development of reason and other helps have been added to the common one both within and without, raises itself up through a mistake of reasoning and, so to speak, wandering of our mind to conclusions about divine matters that are entirely false. These conclusions likewise are both removed from the truth of divine matters, and from the obligation of our piety toward God. From the time, moreover, that the trunk, as it were, begins to emerge from that root of common theology, this philosophic kind is immediately spread into those three branches which I have previously designated by their respective titles: I mean, superstitious, natural, and civil theology. This is in accordance with Augustine’s explanation from Varro and Seneca in The City of God 6.5. Those men said that mythical or superstitious theology is that which the poets especially employ for dramatic pleasure. The natural or physical type of theology is that which philosophers employ for understanding the world and searching out its true nature, in their own practices and academic pursuits. Finally, the political or civil theology is that which more powerful men employ, in order that they might establish certain laws of states and republics by the authority of religion.12 Pleasure has produced the first kind of theology. The second, the study of nature. The third comes from public utility in establishing human society.

It cannot be believed how many and how diverse are the kinds of errors in every time and place which these three types of theology have disseminated, until God graciously revealed His own truth. But because we have determined to deal very little in this place with what is false, it is rather my intention to explain the truth of that saving theology, especially since a whole host of authors have dealt very diligently with that entire forest of false theology. Also because Augustine in three books of The City of God, the sixth, seventh, and eighth, has overturned it in a most edifying and careful fashion. Thus passing by a discussion of false theology, which is nothing other than opinion and the shadow of wisdom grasping at something or another in place of divine matters, passing by, I say, what is false, we will proceed to the definition and investigation of the truth, with God to guide us.


1. Later Junius will use as a synonym of thesaurus the more uncommon penus.

2. Deum optimum maximum is reminiscent of the Roman title Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Cf. Cicero, Pro Sexto Roscio Amerino 130.

3. Cf. John 16:13.

4. Cf. Ephesians 4:13.

5. Augustine: Neque enim hoc opere omnes omnium philosophorum vanas opiniones refutare suscepi, sed eas tantum, quae ad theologiam pertinent, quo verbo Graeco significari intellegimus de divinitate rationem sive sermonem.

6. ἀχωρίζως.

7. The Latin here is as paradoxical in sense as the English: non nisi falso videamus illam ipsam quam videmus veritatem Dei.

8. ὁμωνύμως—that is, homonymously, i.e., by means of a homonym.

9. Tragelaphos, i.e., “sacred cow.” This is a mythological half goat creature.

10. I.e., pursuing false theology.

11. homonymiae—unlike before, where Junius uses the Greek itself, here he employs a Latinized version of the Greek form.

12. There is an error in the Latin here, as both Kuyper (47) and Merula (1376) have noted: “ut civitatum rerumque publicarum leges quaedam [sic] Religionis auctoritate stabilirent.” Most naturally we take potentiores from the preceding clause as subject of stabilirent and leges as object. Quaedam, however, cannot be feminine accusative and thus may not modify leges. If we take leges as subject, the transitive verb stabilio has no object. Therefore, Junius is either taking stabilio intransitively—for which there is no precedent of which I am aware—or quaedam should be either quasdam, with leges, or quadam, with auctoritate. I have opted for the former.

Chapter 2

What Theology Is

True theology, therefore, because it is the highest wisdom and marked by the greatest importance and value in itself, and the greatest usefulness for us, if only we would receive it from the Lord with humility of mind and acknowledgment of our weakness, can be defined (as many have done) in a variety of ways. But because it seems that, from so many definitions, one must finally be especially approved which expresses truthfully the whole reason and nature of the subject by the simplest rules of the art, it seemed good to us to define theology here according to its genus and specifying characteristic.1 I will do this in very few words as to their number (if it is possible), but nevertheless very significant in their argument. For since the best authors recommend that its own definition be applied to every simple question which is treated according to its genus and species (as they call it), we conclude that both of these can most conveniently be related in the following manner.

Thesis 5: Theology is wisdom concerning divine matters.

For wisdom is the true genus of true theology. But the specifying characteristic we establish by the designation of divine matters, those that are indeed truly divine. And indeed in the first place we call theology wisdom for this reason, because it altogether embraces in itself, in a way evidently most excellent, all qualities that relate to intellect, knowledge, and saving experience, from nature and surpassing nature. It is, as it were, the most reliable indicator of principles, the most complete starting point of all sciences both theoretical and practical,2 and the wisest judge of all actions and reasons, greater than every limitation. For these simple principles (whatever you wish to call them) have either been produced in us by nature, or are breathed into us by the grace of God; and indeed they teach us3 to grasp things that are unmediated (as they are commonly called), unmoved, and necessary. They also instruct us to put together and take apart what has been grasped. At the same time, they teach us to reason in a divine manner about the results of these compositions and divisions. Finally, they instruct us by means of these careful reasonings to rise up to the very knowledge that is absolutely essential, most sure, and satisfied with only the contemplation of the eternal truth that is immutable and most constant. For why would a wise man not rest assured in that divine certitude which is present in those very subjects which theology has passed along as they are, to the actual mind of the one who knows, just as he knows them divinely through theology? And so all these virtues, which I just mentioned, being situated in intelligence tend to be generally fitted to those areas of knowledge which are commonly called contemplative. This same intelligence very ably shows the necessary manner of true holiness, and the sure manner (I say) and sufficiency4 of our justice. For it reveals in our sight the uppermost limit both in the nature of things, and above them. The limit, in fact, that is set upon nature is only the supernatural; or (if perhaps it is agreeable to set other limits above it) it should be called the limit that is by far the most excellent. Within these limits lies all the glory of the sciences which are commonly called active. Finally, this is the genuine mother and queen of the sciences, such things as are indeed sciences and named such. Now of principles, and reasonings, and the conclusions that come from them, and of experience, and actions, and all judgments, of the whole of reason that extends to all things, this is the highest perfection: most perfectly adjudicating and most wisely arranging whatsoever things exist by intelligence, reason, and knowledge. Consequently, those who define theology only by the designation of intellect, or of knowledge, or of skill, harm true theology, since intellect, provided that it is situated in principles, lays the groundwork for reason, and practices the very function of reason, which we call reasoning. And knowledge from those principles draws its own conclusions through proper reason. Now skill, proceeding from intellect and knowledge, is restricted to some task. But our definition of theology encompasses all of these simultaneously. It includes the intellection of first principles, the knowledge of conclusions and ends, and it is the most beneficial skill of our work, by which we strive toward God. Clearly there is nothing that can pass judgment on all these matters with reliability except for wisdom, nothing else that can arrange them appropriately or set them forth in a saving manner. Now since this is the case, there is no other genus that can be established for theology than wisdom, since it makes judgments about the first principles of the sciences in the understanding and about the conclusions from these, as well as embracing by its power all things that are necessary for the perfection of every good, and making use of them all most wisely.

But to this genus we certainly seem to apply a peculiar and most appropriate (as we would put it) distinction when we say that theology is wisdom of divine matters. When we call them divine matters, we include in them a threefold (as we would put it) virtue and amazing quality: first, because the object with which theology concerns itself is divine; next, because the method of that wisdom is divine; then finally, because its goal is also divine and most perfect. It is necessary that these three virtues or qualities likewise correspond to the proper reasoning both of all the theoretical and practical sciences, and of this wisdom, the simple starting point of them all. For whether you examine the object or material of this wisdom, God exists, and whatever is of God exists, and whatever is from God exists, and is disposed toward God. Or if you look to its method, it is divine in origin, in execution, and in its effect. Not only does it infinitely surpass all things human, but it also soars as much as possible beyond every aspect of nature. Or if you look to the goal itself, God is wisdom’s goal, and that glimpse of God Himself is saving and filled with glory, toward which we strive with this wisdom as our guide.5 Toward this goal we run, however many of us as have been marked by the Spirit of promise through God’s grace, in such a way that we do not run toward something unsure. So we train our limbs in boxing, such that we do not beat the air (1 Cor. 9:26). Finally, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching earnestly toward those which are before us, we are carried unceasingly toward the goal, to the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus our Savior (Phil. 3:14).


1. In A Latin Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879), Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short cite Cicero, Topica 7.31 and Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 4.1.10 for differentia in this sense with genus. For the former, “genus est notio ad pluris differentias pertinens.” And the latter, “nam hoc quidem pervolgatum est definitionem omnem ex genere et differentia consistere.”

2. θεωρητικῶν καὶ πρακτικῶν.

3. Both Kuyper (48) and Merula (1375) have the impossible docet when docent is wanted. The former is a problem because it would require Junius to have switched subjects from principia to natura in the midst of this phrase: “Haec enim simplicia quaevis principia nobis sive ingenerata a Natura, sive per Dei gratiam inspirata, & quidem immediata (ut dicuntur vulgo) immota, atque necessaria docet nos apprehendere….” Not only would this be a very unusual practice in terms of Latin style, it also gives a meaning inconsistent with Junius’s thought elsewhere, as though nature were “inspired by the grace of God” rather than simply an original endowment. Whether this mistake is Junius’s or Merula’s is impossible to know, but Kuyper has repeated it.

4. αὐταρκέστατον.

5. Hac sapientia duce; cf. Cicero De Natura Deorum 1.i: duce natura.

Chapter 3

How Many Parts Theology Contains

Even if the meaning of true theology (which we have decided to discuss in this passage) seems to have been shaped as it were by a pattern1 from those matters which we have just shown, nevertheless a certain equivocation still attaches to that very narrow term theology and its definition which we just now employed. We must first make a distinction before we come to a more complete explanation of this theology with which we are dealing. For the significance of this distinction is so great that these very discrepant topics cannot be suitably enough differentiated with the same term, nor can these quite disparate ideas, which we designate with one word, be contained in one genus. Therefore, as those ideas which are explained under the designation theology differ in their whole genus according to nature and their own quality, but fittingly share some qualities by a certain analogy, so also the consonance2 of the term, or equivocation (as it is commonly called) must be established. Nevertheless, we must first also explain in this passage what this equivocation is, because it is not a pure equivocation but an analogical one, as it is popularly named in the schools. We call that a pure equivocation in which there is obviously and completely a differing meaning of those things which are said equivocally. For thus we may speak in the manner of the scholastics. But an analogical equivocation is one in which, of those things which are said equivocally, the meaning is the same in one respect or relatively, and at the same time differs in another respect. Equivocation of this kind quite generally occurs in explaining the terms for divine and human matters.

According to this homonymy, therefore, which we call analogical, we establish the method of theology as twofold in these words:

Thesis 6: This theology is either archetypal, undoubtedly the wisdom of God Himself, or it is ectypal, having been fashioned by God.

First we must set out the signification of this analogical division, then indeed demonstrate its necessity. Its signification is as follows: theology, which is talked about in our discourse, is one, οὐσιώδη καὶ ἄκτιζον, that is, essential and uncreated.3 For the sake of instruction then, we will call this theology in our brief essay archetypal or prototypical.4 But the other kind we designate συμβεβηκυῖαν καὶ κτιζήν, that is, nonessential and created, or dispositional; this you might also conveniently call ectypal, as a certain copy and, rather, shadowy image of the formal, divine, and essential theological image. And indeed this archetypal theology seems to me once to have been called by the orthodox fathers exemplary. God has fashioned the second kind of theology on the model of the divine and immutable exemplar, proportionally to the creatures’ capacity. More contemporary authorities have designated the former theology as in relation to itself, and the second one as relative. The one theology is the very same thing as unbounded wisdom,5 which God possesses concerning His own person and all other things, as they have been set in order with respect to Him necessarily, individually, and by an uninterrupted relation among themselves. This happens according to His own infinite reason. But the second theology is that wisdom which the creatures have concerning God according to their own manner, and concerning those things that are oriented toward God through His communication of Himself.

Now indeed these two kinds of theology are so different that they cannot truthfully be related to some one, definite head and shared genus. Of course the first kind of theology, which we have named divine and a prototype,6 does not belong to the one genus nor indeed to the other. The nature of the first kind of theology and of the second kind makes clear that its genus is not common with this created theology. For that essential, archetypal theology is a characteristic of the nature of God, and part (as we would put it) of that infinite knowledge which in God is essential. Whatever is essential, moreover, it is agreed that this is properly assigned to the same genus, together with the actual essence of which that thing is essential; so we speak of part for whole, and limb for body of the same kind,7 and sharing in the genus. God, however, is above every genus, essence beyond essence,8 as the holy fathers very aptly called Him. This theology in fact does not belong to the essence of those things to which it pertains, but attaches to them like a garment, as it were, enrobing their essence so to speak. And hence it is as far removed from that essence (so that I may use a common expression) as is heaven from earth.9 That it is not a part of that genus which we were discussing in the second passage, nature itself and reason show with all possible clarity. For if in fact it is essential, as it is, and in that respect of the same kind10 as the nature of God, certainly its reason will be the same and of the divine essence. But since that divine essence or nature is truly beyond essence11 and is limited by nothing shared with any other genus whether properly or improperly, that is, simply or by reduction, we claim most properly and certainly that this theology is beyond essence.12

But this created theology of ours and the one that is a communicated emanation13 of the former kind, since it is nothing other than a kind of relief image stamped by the essential theology, is not altogether part of the former theology’s genus, nor can it be contained in it, but it only has some analogy to it and with it just as a painted image of a person is not of the same kind14 as the person, but only through analogical reasoning does it acquire by equivocation the title “person.” Therefore the apostle says, correctly comparing this theology with the previous one (1 Corinthians 3): “Let no man deceive himself. If anyone seems to himself to be wise in this age, let him become a fool so that he might become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, ‘He took away the wise in their cleverness’; and again, ‘God knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.’” Therefore that necessarily stands which we stated before: that it is only by equivocation, which they deem analogy,15 that we name both at the same time theology.


1. ὥσπερ ἐν τύπῳ.

2. homonym.

3. I have typically translated Junius’s Greek and then included it in the footnotes. Here, however, Junius gives his own gloss of the Greek so I have retained it in the body of the text. The first word, οὐσιώδη, is attested in the third-century fathers.

4. ἀρχέτυπον and πρωτότυπον, respectively.

5. Both Kuyper (50) and Merula (1377) capitalize this instance of sapientia, while the next instance, which I also have translated “wisdom,” is presented as minuscule.

6. πρωτότυπον.

7. ὁμογενές.

8. οὐσία ὑπερούσιος.

9. ὃσον οὐρανὸς ἐσ’ ἀπὸ γαιής.

10. ὁμογενές.

11. ὑπερούσιος.

12. ὑπερούσιος.

13. ἀπορ’ῥοὴ.

14. ὁμογενὴς.

15. ἀνάλογον.

Chapter 4

Archetypal Theology

Now that we have untangled ourselves from that homonymy of sacred theology, at last it is proper that those things which pertain to our project be relayed concerning each kind of theology separately. And indeed first we will say about the archetypal theology a few words that seem appropriate at this juncture. But then we will lay out more freely the account of that other kind of theology, the ectypal one. As we begin to talk about archetypal theology, however, we summarize briefly in thesis 7 what can and likewise cannot be said:

Thesis 7: Archetypal theology is the divine wisdom of divine matters. Indeed, we stand in awe before this and do not seek to trace it out.

In an earlier section, we reverently separated out what we could say about it. In a later one, we will do the same with what we cannot say about it.

What, therefore, can be said about this matter we show one way or another (for the infinite cannot be completely defined) by the particular description of the common things which nature and Scripture teaches by proclamation, since we say that the archetypal or prototypical theology is nothing other than the divine wisdom of divine matters. By these words we are not establishing a definition, but a loose definition or a certain analogous description based on an example from our own affairs, and with a sort of figure of our own speech applied to divine matters. For the genus of this theology is not wisdom, but for the sake of explanation it is posited as though it were a genus. Unless perhaps (as suits the scholastics—and that is altogether most correct), we should say that wisdom is predicated of God univocally but of ourselves equivocally. Wisdom is not by this reasoning, however, a genus; but it is made equal to one (as they say), unique and in the highest degree properly attributed to God. The genus then by our speech is transferred equivocally to created things. In a similar way, that which from our perspective is a distinction, this neither exists in God nor does it cause any distinction. For how could some specifying characteristic be attributed to that most simple essence, one as removed as possible from every composition? This is so because distinction establishes a reason for its own appearance, as form does for its material.1 But God is so completely simple in His essence that not even by a plausible thought experiment can any composition be attributed to Him: not of material and form, not of parts, not of essence and being, nor of subject and accidents. Because whatever exists in God is God.

And so this is the reason why, for the sake of restriction, or in place of a particular specifying characteristic (as it is commonly called), we added that this wisdom is divine so that we might explain that we are here treating the essential and preeminent wisdom of God which is borne above and beyond every genus. For it is not wisdom such as the philosophers distinguish the genus of wisdom: that human wisdom has a starting point from somewhere else, as something accidental. It is a disposition.2 It is born from principles. It is nourished by the intellect as it puts things together and takes them apart. It constructs chains of reasoning. From these it binds together conclusions. It produces knowledge. Human wisdom is an eyewitness and judge of all of these. And it has established parts and the sequence of those parts that are in subjection to human wisdom. The other wisdom indeed is eternal, essential, and is even the essence of God. To it all things are most present, not from any principles, composition or division of the intellect, reasoning, conclusions, knowledge, judging, and sequence, but in the simplest way: by a simultaneous, unparalleled understanding of everything, and not in succession as happens with created things. It gives birth to these principles from itself. It is not born from them. This wisdom produces intellect, reason, conclusions, knowledge, and wisdom itself in others. It persists in itself immutable and without variation. Finally, this wisdom in other things outside itself, causing all variations in parts, order, and succession, is as it were the universal and unmoved principle of all principles, intellects, reasons, conclusions, and all types of knowledge. Wisdom is the mother of all wisdom.

About it you could very truly say with Job in the twenty-eighth chapter, “There is indeed a mine for silver and a place for the gold that metalworkers liquefy. Iron is drawn from the sand, and bronze is wrought from stone, etc. But whence is this wisdom found? And where in fact is the place of understanding? The mortal does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. The abyss says, ‘It is not in me.’ And the sea says, ‘It is not with me’; etc. God alone understands its way, and He Himself knows its location. For He Himself guards the ends of the earth; he sees all things under heaven, and what transpires.”3 Hence if we will arrive at this distinction (if indeed it can be called a distinction), not only will we recognize that divine matters are known, judged, and set in order by the object, method, and limit of God Himself with this wisdom. But by this very subject (for let it be granted that we may call God a subject for the sake of explanation, although He is most simple) we also notice that wisdom is divine. It ceaselessly comprehends in one all divine and individual things by its peculiar and boundless insight, without parts of these things, without an order of the parts, without any motion and succession of times (to use an expression of the scholastics). It comprehends the whole at the same time, and wholly. For this reason, we proclaim that this wisdom is also divine, with its special and nonfigurative meaning, so that we may always, when this wisdom is discussed, raise our minds above all things that are human, temporary, and created.

Now so that this might be understood better, let us proceed to bring forward certain attributes of this theology, by which its distinctiveness from our own created theology can be identified. Therefore this theology is archetypal;4 it is uncreated wisdom, essential, absolute, infinite, in all aspects simultaneously present. Incommunicable, it also communicates to created things only images of itself or even traces. It is uncreated, for it does not have a principle in anything else, or any manner of a principle or creation; indeed, it does not even have any appearance of a principle. For it is itself the principle of principles, extending powerfully from one limit to the other, and suitably putting all things in their place (Wisdom, 8).5 It is essential: for this theology is an essential characteristic of the divine essence or of deity, and so it is the very essence of God, just as God is most simple in all respects, whose being and understanding and knowing is the same thing, although we distinguish these in our own minds according to reason. This theology is absolute and most perfect, lacking nothing, wasting nothing, containing no variation, but devoid of all defect in itself, of all development or growth, and change. It is infinite, for it extends to all things both generally and particularly, as the principle of all things. Nor is there anything (to use the words of the apostle in Hebrews 4:13) which is hidden from this very theology; before its eyes all things are open and laid bare. It is in all aspects simultaneously present, as the reason of that spiritual συνεχείας or continuity that Aristotle himself also identified in book 2 of On the Soul. For this theology is not present in God by parts nor successively, nor does it vary in itself, but exists in proportion to God Himself. It exists with His essence simultaneously, indivisible and immutable.6 By the same evident reason, His eternal wisdom is devoid of parts, and succession, and of all motion. It is incommunicable, for it is a unique characteristic of deity, and accordingly cannot be shared with any created thing, or communicated to anything afterward7 that is something different from God. For to be sure neither of these can ever happen, either that God himself should surrender His own glory to another, just as He spoke long ago through His own prophets, or that another should take up His glory, and possess it for Himself. Afterward this theology is communicated, not of His own being properly, but precisely8 of His own image the most. For of that unapproachable, infinite, and incomprehensible9 wisdom (which no creature is able even to sustain, much less contain), the image of it, I say, is transmitted to created things and is impressed upon them; the emanation10 is derived, its eternal radiance11 shines forth, and a fragment,12 as it were, is drawn out as an illustration of these very things. And yet that supreme original, and source, and sun, and stem (as we would put it) or trunk endures intact. For wisdom is with God (as Job says in 12:3), and power. His is the counsel and understanding. Therefore about this infinite and amazing wisdom of God, what more shall we say? We said it before with one assertion: that we should not seek to trace it out but rather stand in awe. Whatever we can say about this wisdom is nothing in comparison to it. Whatever it is, it is infinite; it cannot be expressed. It is in itself amazing, and we ought to behold it with the highest reverence. By this argument, the wise man13 bears witness that the honor of God has been placed in this: that He should conceal a matter and make our weakness evident14 by this very argument. Because our gracious Father, by hiding wisdom from His children, is mindful of our weakness (Prov. 25:2). The apostle, consequently, caught up in the wonder of this wisdom, exclaimed very enthusiastically: “O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and recognition or knowledge of God” (Rom. 11:33). And we also halt our advance here, overcome with holy fear.15 For because that abyss is one of wisdom, it is better that we should now come to the rivers that are communicated through it and flow from it, lest its magnitude should swallow up our weakness if we should plunge ourselves into that ocean.


1. Junius’s highly technical language here is based upon Aristotle’s Metaphysics 5. Cf. 88n4 on Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

2. Junius uses habitus again, which previously, given its concatenation with circumvestiens, meant “garment.”

3. Job 28:2, 12–13, 23–24.

4. ἀρχέτυπος.

5. This appears to be a citation of the Apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon, chapter 8. The King James Version reads: “Wisdom reacheth from one end to another mightily: and sweetly doth she order all things.”

6. ἀμέριστος καὶ ἀναλλοίωτος; for the former, the LSJ cites, inter alios, Plato Theaetetus 205c; and for the latter, Aristotle, Metaphysics, Λ.1073a11 and De Caelo 270a14.

7. Ex facto, i.e., neither at the time of creation nor certainly thereafter.

8. Sed cum maxime, a phrase Junius likely got from Cicero, De Oratore 1.18.

9. ἀκαταλήπτου.

10. ἀποῤῥοὴ.

11. ἀπαύγασμα; cf. Hebrews 1:3.

12. ἀποσπασμάτιον; cf. Cicero, Att. 2.1.3.

13. Sc., the author of Wisdom, i.e., Solomon.

14. There is a play on words here between Sapiens testatur… and testatam faciat.

15. πτοηθέντες, a word found only in Luke 24:37.

Chapter 5

What Ectypal Theology Is, and in How Many Parts It Consists

Of that primary theology, which, as we said before, we must worship rather than seek to trace out, there is a secondary offspring, that theology which we name ectypal.1 The field of this theology is very broad and fertile, yet we will run through it as briefly as will be possible, merely defining the surrounding limits. We judge that the definition of this theology can be related suitably as follows:

Thesis 8: Ectypal theology, whether taken in itself, as they say, or relatively in relation to something else, is the wisdom of divine matters, fashioned by God from the archetype of Himself, through the communication of grace for His own glory.

For by this definition, both the antecedent genus and the specifying characteristic are exhibited as well as the causes themselves which pertain to the proper establishment of theology. For the genus is wisdom, in which at the same time we include all principles both natural and supernatural, the capacity of reasoning itself both in composing and dividing, and the conclusions and determinations that proceed from that process, as well as the knowledge of all the foregoing, and their use as moderated by judgment and proper regulation. Its specifying characteristic and species are established, as stated before, by the designation of divine matters. By the designation of divine matters, moreover, we include both the truth of those things that exist and ought to be known, and the law of those things that must be done or avoided.2 For since this knowledge in all respects is complete in itself, in keeping with the true perfection and goodness of this divine image, both what is true and what is just would be necessary. In this category of wisdom doubtless it was proper that both of these should be set: the theoretical and the practical.3 The one is situated in the contemplation of what is true; the other in the useful knowledge of what is just and unjust. This type of knowledge has nothing in common with the false and unjust, nor could it have. And indeed we recognize that all these things, as they are unfolded in theology, are divine, not only by their object and mode (the contemplative sciences of men seem to creep along in such matters), but also by their limit and use. And these two functions are typically noticed by the wise in the active genus of the sciences, as we showed before in chapter 2. These comments suffice concerning the common genus and specifying characteristic of theology.

Now let us come to the causes that are represented by the definition. Therefore, our predication—that this theology is fashioned by God—holds in our definition the principal place of the causes. For God Himself alone, not however any created thing, is the efficient cause of that disposition which we call theology. And indeed because God alone is true light and subsists through Himself, nor are there any shadows in him, as St. John says so very fittingly (1 John 1:5); and finally because God Himself is self-illuminated,4 as the orthodox fathers among the Greeks so artfully explained, it would be absurd if anyone should believe that the light which arises from that One who is Himself very light5 should fall upon created things from some other source. Therefore, in the same way that the sun lends its light to the moon, so we have with certainty established from the words of his own apostles (Eph. 3:10; James 1:18) that God, in whom is light, and that true light which illuminates every person who comes into this world (John 1:9), is a light to created things, and that He shares His own light with them and makes His manifold6 wisdom known in heaven and on earth. With this efficient cause there is also conjoined a second one, which we commonly call the final cause. Indeed we expressed this in that previous definition, saying that “It was done by God for the glory of Himself.” For as God Himself is the beginning and most powerful efficient cause, so also is He self-sufficient.7 As a consequence it happens that He never establishes outside of Himself a limit to His own plans and actions in the nature of things or in the dispensation of His grace, because He is in need of nothing outside of Himself. Instead all things are set in order toward Him, as though lacking Him. For from Him and through and in Himself also are all things, the apostle says: to Him be glory forever. Amen (Rom. 11:36).

Indeed, we explained the material cause of that wisdom sufficiently as a principle just a little bit before, when we related that those things with which theology deals are divine, or things divine. Therefore, a very serious topic remains concerning its form and manner. These two concepts in our definition we touched upon separately in a few words when we said that this theology8 was fashioned from the archetypal one through the communication of grace. For form, from whatever craftsman it arises, is properly constituted as twofold: The one exists in the mind of the craftsman, while the other is in his work. And thus inasmuch as internal and external action alike are contemplated in our affairs, so also is form twofold: internal and external. We designate the internal form that eternal concept, so to speak, of the divine will and grace contemplated in God Himself.

But the external one is the effect of that eternal concept (as we would put it) on other things, made in its own time. God fashions this wisdom in two ways, internally by His most wise counsel, and externally by His most powerful work. But because this form is twofold, it subsists in God as in a fountain but is diverted into other things as into lakes. From this, something else follows, namely that the twofold reason of this wisdom has always been correctly and suitably marked by learned men: The one, in an absolute sense or in the very font of wisdom, is that which the crowd of scholastics call theology in itself. The other, in a relative sense or as though resting in lakes and reservoirs of Himself, is that which they name relative theology. This distinction, in fact, ought to be most carefully noted in every field of study, but in this one9 especially, in which wandering away from the truth is very dangerous.

But in this investigation we are going to consider the reason, not so much of that theology termed as theology in itself as the relative theology, because this theology is particularly ours, the one by the communication of which we drink from the abundance of God in Christ Jesus (John 1:16). For if anyone should ask, concerning that theology called theology in itself, which indeed is ectypal, what in fact that theology is, I would answer him wholly by following the traces of that foregoing definition:

Thesis 9: And so this so-called theology taken in itself, in fact, is the whole wisdom of divine matters, communicable with what has been created according to the capacity of the one communicating it.

What person can contain this theology in their mind, or give an account of it in their speech? For this theology in a certain manner closely corresponds to that archetypal one which we described in chapter 4. And there is nothing more clear than that the whole internal form and concept which God has in Himself about communicating His own wisdom does not exist according to the measure of this or that creature, but according to God who communicates it and directs from His own abundance the method10 of His own communication by His own gracious will. And so this is the reason why when giving a definition for this theology we called it rather communicable than communicated, because by this designation we want included to be not only whatever has once been communicated with created things in the past, but also whatever can be communicated to created things in this age and the one to come. To be precise: archetypal11 theology is as communicable of His whole divine wisdom as His characteristic and incommunicable wisdom is infinite. This theology is, as it were, a very full storehouse of all spiritual wisdom and understanding,12 drawn from its stored-up infinitude in the presence of God. From this supply and abundance treasures are brought forth to be communicated by God through grace to His creatures. And these treasures, while they are in the storehouse, are called communicable. When they are in creatures, they are called communicated. Consequently, we must also define the relative theology according to the same mode.

Thesis 10: But the theology that is relative is the wisdom of divine matters communicated to things created, according to the capacity of the created things themselves. It is, moreover, communicated by union, vision, or revelation.

In this definition, moreover, I do not in the first place add “the whole,”13 because this theology is always partial (as they say), except that which is in Christ our Savior. Furthermore, I do not say, as I did before, that it is communicable, but since it is accomplished, it is communicated; because then at last there is a conclusion of that relative theology when it has been communicated by the Lord. Finally, I do not add that phrase, according to the mode of the one communicating it, but only according to the capacity of the created things themselves, which receive His communication. And how large, I ask, is this capacity, if it should be compared with that infinitude, I do not say of deity itself and of that archetypal theology, but even of that divine storehouse which we just touched upon? And so for the sake of perspicuity, we will designate these two genera successively by fixed names: calling the first, indeed, theology in itself, but later, theology in the subject.

Common to all these is the fact that we acknowledge that wisdom is divinely either communicable or communicated. By these words we mark that its principle is in God, it arose from God, and its development is in its own subjects, according to the communication of divine grace. For the nature of the subject neither pours forth this wisdom actually (speaking after the fashion of the scholastics), nor does it possess this wisdom virtually (how much less does it possess it formally?). Nor does it grasp it potentially by its own natural illumination, but God Himself imparts and inspires it by His own supernatural light, and draws it out by grace to His own glory. Finally, He claims its rising, progress, and completion entirely for Himself, so that each person who boasts may boast in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:31). But the attributes of this theology are very different from those which we assigned previously to that archetypal theology. For this one is created, it is dispositional;14 nor is it absolute except in its own mode, but rather finite, discrete, and divinely communicated. It is, as it were, a true and definite image of that theology which we have explained is uncreated, essential or formal, most absolute, infinite, at once complete, and incommunicable. It is created, for it is not of the Creator in Himself, but it is from the Creator in the subject which He Himself created. It is dispositional, for it can come near the entire subject through the grace of God and deviate from the same through an absence of that grace. Likewise, it is absolute with relation to itself and with respect to the method of that subject in which it is present. It is not, however, absolute with respect to that perfection of God who surpasses all things in every way by a very great length. For wisdom, understanding, and all knowledge are not otherwise present to anyone who recognizes and knows something than according to the capacity of the very one understanding and knowing. It is finite, since it does not extend to all things and reach them equally as would something divine; but instead it has been completely restricted within its own limits and boundaries. Nor is it at once complete but actually separated into parts and disturbed by a sequence of things, so to speak, coming and going on this side and that and liable to changes and motion. And thence (as we will note in the following passage) the whole is communicable through parts, and in the past was also communicated through parts, just as God wants His own gracious light to be kindled in His own creatures bit by bit, successively, and mutually.15

Let us see what the ectypal theology is in its known genus, as well as how many parts it has. Even if we have explained that before, we would want the readers to be properly mindful of that distinction which we set out just a bit before: that a twofold reasoning must be applied in considering this theology. For both the theology in itself and the theology in the subject must be contemplated, determined, and modified, as it were, according to the capacity of the subject in which this wisdom is present. Concerning theology in itself, we will not add more. The following will apply to theology in the subject. So then we separate this theology into three genera according to the category of the subjects, or of the shared and of the individual manner by which God communicates it with the subjects. The first is the theology of Christ as God-man16 and our mediator. The second is the theology of the spiritual beings in the heavens. The third, finally, is the theology of human beings on earth. These three types are named for the condition of the manner employed by the author in the communicating of all wisdom; they are also called by three other names through an equal designation. For the first was named by some the theology of union; the second, the theology of vision; and the third, the theology of revelation. The first theology is the highest and most complete of them all, from which we all draw (John 1:16). And it exists in Christ according to His humanity. The second theology is perfect, by which blessed spirits acquire in the heavens the glorious vision of God and by which we ourselves will, in the same way, see God (1 John 3:2). The third, finally, is not perfect in its own right, but rather through the revelation of faith it has been so endowed with the principles of the same truth that it can conveniently be called full and complete from our perspective. Yet it is incomplete if it should be compared with that heavenly theology for which we hope, as the apostle taught the Corinthians (1 Cor. 13:12). And so this, in sum, is our theology. Thus, we will next speak about these types of theology in their proper order.


1. ἔκτυπος.

2. The Latin is facienda & fugienda, but this is clearly a disjunction, so translating as “and” does not make sense in English.

3. τὸ θεωρητικὸν, καὶ τὸ πρακτικπόν.

4. Both Merula and Kuyper have αὐτοφώης, but the only form I can locate is αὐτοφώς, John 12:46. Could this be an error of Junius or, more likely, the publisher/typesetter that Kuyper then repeated? This seems likely as αὐτοφώς appears two lines below. It is possible that by αὐτοφώης a genitive of characteristic is meant. This is problematic, however, in that the genitive of φώς is φώτος, and I find no other attestations. Another possibility, suggested by Ken Bratt, is that Junius intends it as a third declension adjective, of αὐτοφώς, though that is also unattested.

5. αὐτοφὼς.

6. πολυποίκιλον.

7. αὐταρκιστάτη.

8. I.e., ectypal theology.

9. I.e., theology.

10. I am using “method,” “measure,” and “capacity” somewhat interchangeably for various instances of modus.

11. ἀρχέτυπος.

12. Kuyper (55) has the unintelligible Inlligentiae [sic], while Merula (1380) reads Intelligentiae.

13. Totam; i.e., Junius is not claiming that this defines the whole of wisdom.

14. Habitualis when applied to grace is an important Thomist concept; see Summa Theologiae, 3.

15. Membratim, successive, and mutabiliter respectively.

16. θεανθρώπου.

Chapter 6

The Theology of Union in Christ

The first genus of the ectypal theology, which is uniquely that of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, is the most full and perfect one of all those things which are able to come to something created. For even by its own status, this genus is closest to the archetype and most joined to it in unity of subject, that is the person of Christ. And in Him it subsists as in its own inseparable principle:

Thesis 11: The theology, which we call that of union, is the whole wisdom of divine matters, communicated to Christ as God-man,1 that is, as the Word made flesh, according to His humanity.

And so it can be shown by three proofs that this theology indeed is in Christ Jesus our mediator, and ought to be distinguished from that archetypal theology which is in Him in a shared way with the Father and the Holy Spirit according to His own divine nature in the unity of His essence. First, by reason of both natures in the person of Christ; then by reason of the personal union of these natures in Christ, and last by reason of our salvation. For if you should consider His divine nature, which is completely simple,2 that is the same as knowing what belongs to the divine nature. The fact that, moreover, we distinguish things that are one in themselves and most simple, we distinguish only by reason. But the being of the divine nature is obviously incommunicable, and therefore it is necessary for us to say that knowledge of it is incommunicable.3 Yet to know this divine thing, as God divinely knows divine matters, or to know this (I say) according to the manner of His own infinite perfection, is that essential and prototype4 theology itself, which we were talking about before. Furthermore, if you should cross over to His human nature, that is certainly no more able to contain in itself the divine knowledge than divine being. The human nature is contained, moreover, by the divine being, but its being does not contain the infinite because it is narrow in itself, nor is the proportion of the finite to the infinite able to be given. Therefore the human nature does not contain in itself that divine and archetypal knowledge because it is a mark of divine perfection that it cannot be communicated and of human weakness that it cannot contain those things which belong to divine perfection.

Then the very personal union of the two natures in Christ also demonstrates by absolute necessity that the matter is as I have described. For the union of persons does not bring about either a confusion or a transfusion of the properties that pertain to the one nature or the other. But instead it requires that the saving properties of each nature be preserved in the common subject5 and its operations. So too the human mind, not the body, exercises understanding in the person. The body serves the mind instrumentally, and not the mind the body. Indeed commonly, and intelligently, and at the same time instrumentally, the human subject made up of body and mind, which we call the person, acts.

But if a property of the mind persists intact in the mind, then it cannot be a property of the body and be the same. The same explanation holds for corporeal properties (for if it were constituted some other way, it would not be a property); what should we determine about divinity, or about that essential knowledge which is absolutely unique to the divine essence, or about any other property whatsoever? After all, the matter itself cannot be posited otherwise if we want the design of our salvation to remain intact. For no salvation can affect a person from Jesus Christ unless that voluntary dispensation is posited according to which Christ Himself (to use substantially the words of the apostle from Philippians 2:7 and Hebrews 2:14 and 4:15) emptied Himself, assuming the form of a servant, made like human beings, even like His brothers in all things and tempted in all things likewise, but without sin. If He is “like human beings in all things,” then we must also say He is like us in knowledge, although He is in other respects unlike us and far above our knowledge of all things. What more should we say? Whoever does not think that the knowledge of Christ as a man should be distinguished from the knowledge of that same one as God, such men for sure, though unawares, will slip little by little into the camp of Apollinaris. For as the substance of the divine person does not take away the truth of the human mind in our Savior (as Apollinaris thought), so that divine knowledge, which is an essential property of deity in the person of Christ, does not remove that knowledge which is a property of His humanity. But both types of knowledge come together in the unity of the subject, and each preserves its own truth in the same Christ.

The divine knowledge in Christ is incommunicable, but nevertheless it is expressive of His own eternal radiance.6 This radiance or resplendence is present in Christ’s human nature most fully and perfectly. Therefore it is said that all the fullness of deity dwells in Him bodily, and the apostle declares with great weightiness that it follows from that fullness that we are complete in Him who is the head of all power and authority, etc. (Col. 1 & 2).

Therefore this theology, which we call that of union, exists in Christ. What it is, moreover, is almost known from the preceding arguments, to the extent that it can be known in our weakness. For this theology is entirely equal to that one which we said just now in the preceding chapter was called theology as such or theology in itself. The theology called theology in itself, which is created (I say) and communicated or shared, extends as far as the theology of Christ our Savior according to His humanity. No account of God7 exists in created reality by any reason except by this theology of Christ. He received this theology from the Father for our sakes, and we received it from Him. He is full of grace and truth, and we all have received from His abundance (John 1:16). The proper comparison of both kinds of theology according to their definitions makes clear what we are saying. For we said concerning the first kind of theology in the preceding chapter, that theology called unconditioned is the whole wisdom of divine matters, communicable with what has been created according to the mode of the one communicating it. Now turn your eyes and the power of your thought toward this: You will plainly see all the same things in each, if you except the conclusion of the action and of the subject, when we say the theology of union is the whole wisdom of divine matters, communicated with Christ as God-man,8 that is, as the Word made flesh, according to His humanity. For to represent that thing called the communicable, no doubt “potentiality” (as we would put it) was used indeterminately; here it is called communicated since the action is already completed. At that time, to represent that thing which was missing a subject in its definition, it was for that reason considered unconditioned and in itself. Here a very complete and incomparable subject is employed, by saying that this theology has been communicated with Christ as God-man. This is just as if you should say that this theology was considered in itself in its potentiality, and the same theology, all of it, finally was in Christ determined by its actuation.

And yet if anyone should perhaps want something different, come, let us try to define this theology of union according to its causes. This theology, then, is the wisdom of divine matters in the Spirit of God without measure and communicated divinely with a human being, for the illumination of all those who have been created according to God’s image. This is the theology in se, which if it is discerned in the subject (as it must be), is the same theology of Christ our only Savior according to His humanity. It is not that of any angel in the heavens, or of any other person whatsoever. For because the knowledge of the divine is an unapproachable fountain and great abyss, it was definitely necessary that wisdom be supplied to that humanity which God assumed, like a most abounding stream but adjusted to created things. From this we all will drink, just as water-masters offer to those who thirst water flowing from an unapproachable fountain or drawn from a reservoir or lake.

In this definition, moreover, the genus is, as it was before, wisdom. Its differentiae are posited through its causes. The material cause is of divine things, at least to the extent that they can be communicated, and must be set forth to us all in Christ. The formal cause is the Spirit of God given9 without measure. For, as John used to answer his own people (John 3:34), the Son whom God sent speaks the words of God. Indeed God does not just measure out His Spirit to Him. The Father loves the Son, and gives all things into His hand. The efficient cause is the divine communication, both as God the Father communicates the Spirit with the Son who is emptied10 according to His divine humanity,11 and when He communicates the Spirit with His own humanity through the grace of union, as the scholastics call it, and the working of grace. For the same Christ is anointing and anointed: anointing, according to His divinity; anointed according to His own humanity, in the unity of His person. The final cause is the illumination of those who have been created according to God’s image. For the angels and the blessed in the heavens receive this illumination by the present vision of God. The faithful here on earth receive it by revelation of the same vision, as those who are absent from God, although He is not far away from each one of us, as Paul makes very clear (Acts 17:27). But nevertheless, while we tarry here in the body, absent from the Lord and far from home, each one of us goes forward by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).

And so in Christ our Redeemer the mode of communicating theological wisdom is twofold: One is divine, according to His deity. The other is quasi-divine according to His humanity. This quasi-divine mode, moreover, is on the one hand divine in its own eternal foundation and remaining eternal in the unity of his person. And on the other hand it is quasi-divine or very close to the divine, according to its own manner. For both had to exist simultaneously in Christ our Mediator, so that by this arrangement He could reconcile and unite divine with things human, reconcile God to men, and lead men to God. He is without doubt the only Immanuel, the Word made flesh, and God made manifest in the flesh, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and who became for us wisdom from God, as the apostle teaches (Isa. 17:14; John 1:14; 1 Tim. 3:16; Col. 2:9: 1 Cor. 1:30).

And so this theology, just as it is held to be most absolute in Christ himself, is also distinguished from the archetypal theology, about which we spoke first, in the very same ways which we established in chapter 4. For if in fact there is one common subject or suppositum of each theology, as they say, evidently it is the person of Christ. The archetypal theology, however, is uncreated from eternity: it is essential or formal, one and the same as that of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is most absolute in itself, such that all things which it possesses in itself are from its own light. It is infinite, at once complete, and incommunicable. This ectypal theology, on the other hand, is created and has a beginning in time. It is dispositional and most absolute according to the mode of a created nature, such that what things it possesses in its person are united personally from the light of one of the two natures, as from its own most simple and absolute principle. The same theology is as it were infinite and approximately infinite, so much that you could say not unhelpfully that it is in different respects both finite and infinite: infinite, if you compare it to our measured and meager knowledge, but finite if to that essential and infinite wisdom of God. Nor is this one12 at once complete, but it partakes of alterations, changes, and succession. Nor is it incommunicable with created things, and in the past has been communicated13 according to the dispensing of his gifts. These observations conclude our explanation of the theology of union in Christ our Savior, for the salvation of all.


1. θεανθρώπῳ.

2. I.e., compromised of no parts.

3. Todd Rester contributed to the clarification of this passage.

4. This is to be understood as synonymous with archetype. See chapter 2, thesis 6.

5. This term, suppositum, has a long history in Boethius, Aquinas, Scotus, and others. See Richard Cross, The Metaphysics of the Incarnation: Thomas Aquinas to Duns Scotus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 202, and especially 245 and following.

6. ἀπαύγασμα; cf. Hebrews 1:3.

7. Nihil…θεόλογον. This is a perplexing sentence. Junius seems to be saying that there is no cognizance of God or reasoning about Him outside the Triune God, i.e., in rebus creatis, except by Christ. It is problematic somewhat grammatically because we would expect either nullum…θεόλογον or nihil…θεολόγου. Perhaps when using Latin and Greek together he feels free to improvise on the typical rules of grammar.

8. θεανθρώπῳ.

9. Junius uses here the phrase Spiritus Dei sine mensura datus, whereas above it was Sapientia…in spiritu Dei sine mensura cum homine communicata divinitus. This strongly suggests, inter alia, that communicatus and datus in this context are to be understood synonymously.

10. Exinanito; this is an important concept in the history of christological debate. Cf. Philippians 2:7.

11. Secundum humanitatem divinam ipsius.

12. I.e., ectypal theology.

13. There is an error here in Kuyper (59), which reads communicato. Merula’s original (1387) has the only possible reading grammatically, communicata.

Chapter 7

The Theology of Vision in the Heavens

Just as it is now plainly granted that a characteristic of that created and dispositional wisdom of Christ, which we call the theology of union, is that it be unique, nevertheless the common principle is that prototype and essential wisdom of God which we set down in the first passage. Thus also the ectypal theology of union in Christ our Savior is the common principle of the rest of theology, both that which is perceived by those blessed spirits in heaven, and here on earth by wretched men. That archetypal is the matrix1 of them all, but the ectypal in Christ is the mother of the remaining types of theology. The archetypal is the fount of them all, but the ectypal is, as it were, the common reservoir or storage vessel. From the divine fullness of this saving vessel, created things draw in two ways: One group of them by sight in God’s presence, the other by revelation, though they are of course absent and on pilgrimage away from the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6–7). From these two modalities the two other genera of ectypal theology have proceeded: One of these the orthodox fathers called the theology of the blessed, the other, that of pilgrims. Therefore the second form of the ectypal theology is the theology of the blessed, or the exalted theology. The third we can call that of pilgrims or the humble type. And so Christ sanctified both these types of theology in His own person, since He both experienced the humble theology in the humiliation of the flesh, and now enjoys2 the exalted type in that very exaltation by which He now has been exalted above every name, evidently so that He might show that the common principle of each theology resides in Himself.

Thesis 12: The theology of vision is that which has been communicated with the angels, and with the spirits of the saints made holy or perfect in heaven.

In this definition, we have quite deliberately left out the genus and shared differentia, because both of them were explained already in the most recent thesis above: I mean that this is the wisdom of divine matters. And so it remains for us to investigate the proper and specific (as they say) specifying characteristic of this theology. Indeed we have marked it out in these words of our definition, when we stipulated that it was communicated with the angels, and with the spirits of the righteous3 made holy or perfect in heaven. For in these very few words we have established a unique boundary of this theology by a threefold argument. The first is in respect of its mode, because we say that it has been communicated by vision. The second is in respect to subject, because we say that it has been communicated with the angels, and with the spirits of the righteous. The third, finally, is in respect to circumstances and especially of place, because we say it has been communicated in heaven. By these categories this theology is most clearly distinguished both from the preceding one, which we call that of union, and from the following one, that of revelation. Now indeed in the first place in the manner of communication a very great distinction is found, namely that this theology is communicated by vision. For since the communication of spiritual matters is not possible except it be spiritual, nor can spiritual things be seen by spiritual things except in a spiritual way (because spiritual things are altogether most simple in their own essence, power, works, and sufferings),4 therefore we have established that this mode of theological communication is spiritual and most simple. From this it follows that this theology is light: intellectual, enduring, and perfect, communicated through the mode of an infused condition. By this light those heavenly creatures behold their own Creator as He is, by the vision that has been communicated with them from Christ’s fullness, which we touched on briefly in the previous chapter.

Even if this theology cannot by any account be compared with the preceding one, because the theology of Christ is a state of intellectual light, enduring and perfect by itself and in itself, as it is His person as the God-man,5 yet it subsists in the archetypal and divine theology and is the dispositional and essential fullness from that infinite fullness of Deity that took on flesh in the unity of His person. This theology of vision, moreover, even if it is an enduring state of intellectual light and in its own way perfect, nevertheless it is not enduring, nor is it perfect and does not even have its origin from itself. Instead, it takes the principle of its origin and of its whole nature from Christ our Savior. And it does not receive the preservation of itself from any other source than from the power of Christ our Savior. The fact that two subjects are predicated of this theology, namely the angels and the spirits of the righteous, very powerfully confirms our opinion. For neither do the angels in heaven have their own theology, nor the spirits who have been received into glory with the angels, except according to that manner of communication which we defined a moment ago. Nor does anything prevent the angels from obtaining that divine light through simple vision. But people are carried to that point at last, as though through many detours and byways of principles, reasonings, conclusions, and shifting knowledge. Yet this has no bearing on the specifying characteristic of the matter, because in both kinds the disposition is intellectual, enduring, and perfect in its own manner, with the communication of the grace and glory accomplished by the Lord. For we are not discussing here the manner of something imperfect and straining toward perfection (since that concerns the reason of theology considered in its subject, which we will discuss in its proper order).

But rather we are treating of its perfected state, as the circumstance of the location6 itself demonstrates that it is perfected. Because things which are in heaven individually attain perfection in their own way and are very far removed from every imperfection. Therefore the apostle to the Hebrews also called the spirits of the just “made perfect,”7 that is, “made holy,” as it is commonly explained, or (what will be perhaps more fitting) “carried along to perfection by the kindness of God” (Heb. 12:23). For that meaning is suitably conveyed by the Greek expression.

The fact that we have established that this theology exists in heaven only and not on earth perfectly shows its worth. For heaven is the dwelling place of God our Father and the inheritance of His sons. For as long as we are here we are absent from the Father, or (as Paul said) we are away from the Lord. By faith and not by sight we walk, and we strive toward the place of our inheritance (2 Cor. 5:6–7). Therefore as the condition of that person who is among delights in the presence of the Father and enjoys his own abode and inheritance is far more excellent, and as the same one’s knowledge is far greater than his who is very far removed and barely grasps these things with his mind’s imagination and thought alone, so in the midst of these divine and spiritual matters the theology which is in heaven must be preferred to this theology which is on earth. But if someone should desire a more full definition of this theology, we will now also adduce another definition according to its causes in this fashion: The theology of the blessed or the exalted theology is the wisdom of divine matters communicated in the Spirit of God according to the measure of Christ with those who dwell in heaven; according to this theology they enjoy the eternal, gracious, and glorious vision of God for His glory. Here we have joined together briefly all the causes that relate to the definition of this theology. And indeed these three are common with that preceding theology of Christ, namely the wisdom, the of divine matters, and that it is communicated, just as we established generally in the fifth chapter. But all the other modifications fix more narrowly the species of this theology. For we made note of the efficient cause quite clearly, explaining that this is communicated in the Spirit of God, that is, by the power of the eternal Spirit, communicating spiritual gifts with His elect. And we gave proof that this is the most evident effect of the efficient cause, but that it is far inferior to its own cause and not at all equal to it, when we said that this is communicated according to the measure of Christ. For to him God does not mete out His Spirit according to a measure (John 3:34). But Christ offers Him to us by the measure of His gift, and graciously grants what, to whom, when, and how much He wills (Eph. 4:16).

The material cause or (as it is typically designated in spiritual matters) the subject of this theology is indicated in these words, with those who dwell in heaven. One should have in mind either angels or people who have been brought there by His grace, as we made clear in our previous definition. Now the formal cause is explained in the following words when we add according to this wisdom, heavenly souls enjoy the eternal and glorious vision of God. That is, to explain it in a way suitable for understanding: the essential form of this theology has been placed in the relating, arranging, and applying of heavenly things to God, as its own principle and most absolute pattern. From Him all light, grace, and glory are shed abroad to created things, and He is also the end of those things and of every created thing. This end we only touched upon in our definition, when we said for His glory. This, then, is the theology of vision which we hope for, which we rely upon, and on which through faith we rest. And yet we strive toward it, desiring to be released and to live with Christ, who is our light, life, and glory and with whom, when He shall be revealed at His second coming, we shall also be revealed most completely in glory.


1. Matrix, “a mother in respect to propagation”; cf. Lewis and Short, v. sub.

2. Both “experienced” and “enjoys” in this section are forms of utor in different tenses.

3. Deliberately or not, Junius has used here iustorum instead of the sanctorum that he employed in both prior uses of this definition, namely in the setting out of theses at the work’s introduction and in this chapter.

4. Perpessionibus, cf. Cicero De Inventione 2.163, and more especially Aquinas, Summa 2a2ae, 123.2.

5. θεάνθρωπος.

6. I.e., in the heavens.

7. τετελειωμένων.

Chapter 8

The Theology of Revelation in This Life

Up to this point we have spoken about the intellectual light of theology, a light that is enduring and perfect in those individuals whose theology it is. For that essential theology of God which we have named archetypal is also enduring and complete in its infinite perfection. And likewise the dispositional theology of Christ, which we name the theology of union, is also enduring and complete in its quasi-infinite perfection. Finally, also perfect and enduring is that theology of vision which the angels in heaven and the spirits of the just acquire, by the most complete perfection according to their mode. Therefore, since the enduring forms of true theology have been explained, we must now come to that theology which is true although not enduring, so that we might be better able to follow the manner of our wisdom by some delimitation. For the apostle writing to the Corinthians said most correctly:

Prophecies will come to nothing, and tongues will cease, and knowledge itself. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but after that which is perfect shall come, then that which is in part will be destroyed. When I was an infant, I spoke as an infant, I thought as an infant, I perceived as an infant. But after I became a man I put away the useless things which were of an infant. For we see now through a glass and a riddle, but then we will behold face to face. Now I know in part, then I will know truly just as I am known. (1 Cor. 13:8, 9, etc.)

Let us not judge that this theology of ours about which we are next going to speak labors under any imperfection with respect to itself.1 For in that very thing which it has, whatever it does have, it is most perfect. But its perfection is mixed with our weakness and imperfection, because it comprehends only the basic principles of that most perfect theology in heaven. By these principles that are indeed perfect in and of themselves but rendered imperfect in a certain way are carried up to heavenly perfection. For just as principles are present in our nature which, by the advance of time and development of reason, rise up to conclusions and determinations of proper knowledge according to the mode of human nature, so also in the work of grace, God imitates the order of nature2 as He begins from the principles of grace and that wisdom. These principles, infused into us in this life by grace, are watered and grow by that same power, until by the glorious vision and communion of God, we acquire in the heavens all fullness. These are the principles or seeds,3 therefore, the argument of that theology which we call the theology of revelation.

Thesis 13: The theology of revelation is that which is communicated here with the human race. This is the kind that you also might not unhelpfully label our theology.

When we say the theology of revelation, we are without obscurity pointing out the same thing that we were saying just a little before. For this theology typically comes upon a person in this life by reflection upon saving grace, just as befalls the gaze of our eyes when we perceive things. Far removed objects, although they may be very large, our eye does not see, because the power of the eyes is weak and sluggish when the space between things is too great. As they come nearer, the objects still seem blurry and are not differentiated. But when the objects are moved very close and are near the operation of our vision, then they are plainly recognized.

The same reason is at work in the contemplation and communication of grace. For no one of us can see that grace and light of divine matters, as it is something placed as far as possible above us and all things. Especially since the blindness of our mind has reached such a point that we are hindered in contemplating these divine matters, even if in and of themselves they could be grasped by our contemplation. But when it seemed good to God to move these supernatural objects nearer to the eyes of our mind through this theology which we call that of revelation, then as though from a distance these benefits of grace are seen, and God is beheld as the author of such great benefits. Yet we still see, in a way indiscriminate, vague, and incomplete, like those are accustomed to see who come gradually nearer to something set before their eyes. But when we shall have measured out the course of this life in which we sojourn away from the Lord, and with the torch of revelation which this theology teaches illuminating that course, then we shall see right up close. And we shall gain the perfection of knowledge in Christ, which is called the theology of vision. But this theology of revelation, which is called ours, we define clearly in the same order as we did the preceding theology. For its genus and specifying characteristic are shared, namely the wisdom of divine matters.

These meanings we did not repeat therefore, because they are plainly understood from the preceding ones. But the specifying characteristic of this theology that separates it from the others that we sketched out before, we made clear in these words: which is communicated here with the human race. The mode is of communication: the subject to which this communication pertains is established as the human race. The place and time are defined by the word here, that is, at this present station and age. As a result of these factors, that conclusion which we mentioned before necessarily comes to pass, namely that the intellectual light of this theology is not permanent but transient, not perfect in itself, but can only be called perfect and absolute in relation to something else. For if we should examine the mode of communication, it is revelation, by which God does not lay open the whole object of theology as it is but as it can be understood by the human being in this station and in his weakness. Or if you should consider the subject itself, certainly this is nothing compared to the infinite greatness of that object, something of which cannot enter a person’s mind even by a dream. Or if, at last, you should contemplate in your mind and thought this station of ours, so very separated from God, as well as the brevity and folly of this our current age, indeed we must acknowledge the weakness of these principles so far removed from the highest perfection of that heavenly theology. Thus we must strive all the more zealously by these slender proofs of divine grace to those very heights, and each of us individually mount up with greatest diligence.

But if anyone, nevertheless, should demand another definition of this theology by means of its causes, as we did before in a very similar argument, I am not at all sure whether this will be helpful: Our theology is the wisdom of divine matters, communicated by revelation through the Spirit of God by the kindness of His nature or grace with those who dwell on earth; according to which theology they contemplate God and His divine matters by intellectual light, though by a transient and incomplete reason, through their own advances, until they attain a perfect vision of Him unto His glory. In setting out this definition, with its shared genus and specifying characteristic that pertain to the proper definition, the individual causes are relayed in the same order as we followed before. For in the first place, the efficient cause is named God communicating by revelation through the Spirit, and indeed by the kindness of this our4 nature or of grace toward those persons who dwell on earth, called saints and heirs of the saving promises in Christ Jesus. Then the material cause is displayed, or the object, which theology presents to us to be grasped by faith. This is of course God and His divine matters. The formal cause is set forth, that according to this wisdom by the intellectual light kindled in us through grace, natural or supernatural, we contemplate that object of ours, but by a transient and incomplete light. Then (as Paul says) at that time by the passing away of time at last, when that which is perfect shall have come. As the righteous await this perfection, indeed, they grow up through their advances into the perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the full-grown Christ, and they rise up to the perfect vision of Him (Eph. 4:13). And last, the final cause of this whole wisdom is the glory of God. Here first the glory of our faith, that is of us who believe, is fully set forth; but afterward, however, in the heavens it will be a glory to be enjoyed as completely as possible in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.



1. Junius here uses secundum seipsam, adding the emphatic adjective ipsam to his usual secundum se construction.

2. Deus naturae ordinem imitatus.

3. I.e., semina, an important term in Augustine; cf. De Genesi ad Litteram, 6.18.11.

4. Though above Junius wrote naturae huius aut gratiae beneficio, he now has naturae nostrae [sic] huius aut gratiae beneficio. Either nostrae was omitted in the first instance or simply understood, as he does not seem to intend the introduction of a new idea.

Chapter 9

In How Many Parts the Mode of Communicating Theology Exists

From the foregoing remarks, we observe that the whole of theology is marked off by two modes: for one must be called infinite, and the other finite. Now we believe in fact that the infinite one exists properly and in itself; it is the archetype and belongs essentially to God. But we hold that the infinite theology in relation to something else (as they say) and with respect to ourselves is that dispositional wisdom of Christ, which embraces all the treasures of wisdom and of saving knowledge. The finite, likewise, we believe is that theology named in a strict sense theology in itself which is communicated to created reality, either that which is perfect in heavenly glory, or imperfect in this earthly race. In which Christ our Lord and Savior shines upon us by the light of His grace. But because this theology is ours, just as the heavenly one also pertains to created things, it is communicated by God by a definite method and reason. Before we speak more precisely about the revelation of theology, we must see to it that we distinguish as plainly as possible between the modes of communicating theology with created things.

Thesis 14: The mode, moreover, of communicating this theology is twofold, by nature and by grace. The former happens as an internal principle of communication. The latter, by an external principle of the first one. Thus it happens that the one theology is termed natural and the other supernatural.

This way of distinguishing between the types of communication Paul taught us so plainly when he wrote Romans 1 that no wise person can deny it. For when he proclaims that all men have been endowed with a certain knowledge of God and of themselves,1 first indeed by the light of nature, then afterward by the authority of Scripture, and that even one of these proofs is enough for taking all excuse away from sinners, he establishes an entirely twofold mode of communication. And by this communication we become sharers in this theology. Therefore the principle of that communication is twofold, and from it likewise proceeds a twofold mode of communication. One of these principles is what we call nature; the other, what we name grace.

Now in fact the shared principle of nature equally as of grace is God, the author of all good in the universe, whether that good exists according to nature or above it. But because it seemed gracious to the Lord at the very moment of creation to bestow on some of his own creatures a certain natural theology and to implant the principles of it in their understanding, then certainly if we should ignore this grace, although it is natural, we will be ungrateful to God. And yet it is fitting that we should remember that this grace, by the very fact that it is natural, is opposed to that grace of revelation from which our theology of revelation is named. From this shared principle that internal and unique principle that we call the image of God has been implanted by nature. Adam, formed according to that image in this life, by a proper and internal impulse looked to God as his pattern. God had implanted the shared principle of that impulse in Adam’s unique nature and in the shared nature of all human beings. It is fitting, moreover, that the second mode of communicating theology always corresponds to this internal principle established in the nature of the human person (which we call natural grace). This mode the orthodox fathers called supernatural grace, because the natural principle was intact in us at that time, when it was attached to the supernatural and external principle. But when first it turned itself away from that principle, it was corrupted and most wretched. As a consequence of this, it happened that a duplex theology is established analogically: one of which is called natural and the other supernatural. When we say natural, we do not want it in this passage to be understood by the same meaning as we showed in the first chapter above from Varro and Augustine, but rather by its own sense and taken in itself as we will soon (if God wills) define it.

Now we set this theology analogically in our division against that supernatural and revealed theology, but not appropriately, because they are truly different from one another in their whole genus. For inasmuch as that supernatural principle, God, cannot be included in any shared genus with the natural principle, that is, with our intellect, so also we cannot force the actions particularly flowing out from each principle into some shared genus. They are plainly quite unalike, and (as they say) differ by a whole sky. Since this is how these relate to one another, they cannot be divided through logical distinctions.2 But one is superior to the other in all respects, nor can it be made equal with the other by reason of any shared genus, nor by that of species.


1. Cf. Calvin, Institutes, 1.1., where Calvin uses cognitio also, not notitia or scientia. Joannis Calvini Opera Selecta, ed. P. Barth and W. Niesel (Munich: C. Kaiser, 1957), 3:31.

2. Junius uses the Greek adverb ἀντιδιῃρημένως here, which I take to be from the verb ἀντιδιαιρέω.

Chapter 10

Natural Theology

Thesis 15: Natural theology is that which proceeds from principles that are known in relation to itself by the natural light of the human understanding, in proportion to the method of human reason.

In this definition of ours, we posit neither a genus, nor a differentia, lest perchance this type of theology should seem to communicate by genus or specifying characteristic with the preceding ones. Nor can this theology be called wisdom according to its genus except equivocally. And divine matters, from which the specifying characteristic of this theology must be established, cannot be applied to this theology in a strict sense or taken in themselves, but by an equal homonymy. Perhaps you might put knowledge in its place, or even (if it seems good) an acknowledgment of the genus, but wisdom least of all. Truly, divine matters, the rationale of which establishes the specifying characteristic of true theology, are named by conjecture at this point partly properly, and partly improperly.1 Allow me, nevertheless, to call it knowledge of divine matters, so that some genus of this theology, although equivocal, can take its place among all the others. But the specific boundary of that theology with respect to its causes was established in the preceding definition we gave. For the efficient cause of this theology is nature itself, and the natural light of our understanding. The material cause is the principles of divine matters known in relation to themselves. Natural theology takes its place among these principles and is concerned with them. The formal cause is that this theology proceeds from those principles according to the mode of human reason. We have not attempted to set a limit to this, because the capacity is fixed when nature is our teacher, and yet this does not seem to be very relevant to our definition. Therefore, the efficient cause of this theology is not skill, not chance, or anything else at all, but nature itself, which the philosophers have handed down as the principle and cause of the motion and rest of that thing in which it consists primarily and per se. This is the common principle from which natural theology has been uniquely stamped on each individual person. But because that common starting point acts in individuals in such a way that it applies to its own individual functions certain definite tools, just as though supplying parts to the whole of nature, for this reason human intellect as the proper subject of this theology is subordinate. By its natural light2 both these principles are discerned, and also processes follow from these principles in the proper order of nature.

We call principles those things which are known per se by the light of nature, which are known immediately, and which are unmoved or immutable, such that from them at last definite knowledge arises. From these principles the faculty of reason deduces fixed processes, like rivulets from springs. It compares the principles of nature with the truth of reality or separates them from one another. It joins causes with effects and from these forms conclusions. It decides which things are common and which unique. Finally, it so orders everything that it acquires knowledge of all those things which the reason of a person can trace down and follow.

But because the mode of human reason is quite constrained due to the weakness of our intellect—which is oriented to the most obvious phenomena of nature no differently than the eye to the light of the midnight sun,3 as that most renowned philosopher Aristotle recognized in his Metaphysics—so it seemed right to delimit the form of this whole knowledge in these words: according to the mode of human reason. And so from this we conclude, by necessity, the following: if human reason is so unreliable not only in human affairs but even in things of nature, then much more narrow limits must be imposed on our faculty of reasoning in those areas which go beyond nature. Lest, perhaps, the natural man should dare to gratify and humor himself among topics so lofty that the glory of God shines forth most brilliantly in their hiddenness (as the wise man once taught).4 And this saying is universally true such that no one equipped with even an average understanding will deny it, because both our shared precepts, generated by nature, teach it, and the experience of all men of every age proves it fully.

However, in order, that we might place this idea more suitably before everyone’s eyes, it seems we must explain three aspects of this question. First we must examine what these principles are, and what kind they are, that are present in us by nature. Then next, what is the design of this nature in which, as in its own subject, these principles have been formed. Finally, we must see what is the work, and what are the effects of that nature and its principles, or what they might become afterward, both in the investigation and comprehension of things human and natural, and also of things divine, by the help of our human reason.

We describe, therefore, the benefit of the principles which reside in us in these few words:

Thesis 16: The conception of this natural theology in the human understanding deals with things that are common, and it is both veiled and imperfect. All the more then is there need for it to derive its perfection from supernatural theology.

Now even if, in keeping with the plan of the argument which we have decided must be explained at this point, we deal properly with the ordering of our reason toward divine matters according to the power of nature, nevertheless those subjects that are here predicated concerning the principles of our nature can be generally adapted in some fashion to all manner of human experience, indeed especially to moral affairs. Thus we may by this path learn about the cognitive power of our nature, at least as much as pertains to the present argument. And so we express those principles that we are dealing with by the term intuition. Cicero referred to them as such in very many places, while the Greeks named them ἐννοίης and καταλήψεις. This is indeed a good choice. For because the understanding of our mind as it is contrasted with reason by the natural philosophers is the pure, unspoiled seat of those natural principles which so abide in the intellect of each and every person that, in themselves, they are lacking the contemplation of those things which are outside it, these principles are correctly (I say) called intuitions or preconceptions. Indeed this simple intuitive knowledge5 of our intellect is so internal by nature that it usually anticipates every other instance of intuitive knowledge. And so it underlies that intuitive knowledge as a sort of common foundation.

Now we have marked off the benefit of this intuition and of these principles in three respects by these words of ours when we called these intuitions shared, veiled, and imperfect in our discussion of theology. For three things are necessary for an accurate understanding of the world: that we comprehend the subject under consideration truly, clearly, and completely. If we should take something false or conjectural as a true subject, as it generally happens that we indeed acknowledge the truth in something common but stray from the truth in some particular, it is a false application of principles. If by the light of these principles we should not see well enough the subject or the qualities that pertain to it, the intuition is veiled. But if we are not able to examine except in a partial way those things which we must consider, the intuition is imperfect.

For example, it is a natural principle that one’s own should be allotted to each.6 But here we are generally deceived in three respects when employing this principle. For that which nature commands indiscriminately in each and every case we destroy with exceptions, and we obscure both those principles and shared intuitions by our individual conclusions, by the obscurity of our methods, and by the imperfection of our judgment. Finally (that we might plant a foot on the very question which we introduced) a natural principle commands whomever you will that God is to be worshiped. But this principle is shared in each individual, and veiled, and imperfect. It is shared, because it does not explain God on a case-by-case basis as if pointing out with a finger that this is God Himself. It is veiled, because the very thing which it points out to us it does not, nevertheless, show clearly. And last, it is imperfect, because it does not show Him fully. The apostle, moreover, shows with greatest clarity that this is the case when he said to the residents of Lystra who wanted to offer sacrifice to him, “Why are you doing these things? We are men also, subject to the same passions as you, proclaiming that you must turn from these empty ways to the living God who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that is in them. And in previous ages he permitted all nations to walk in their own ways, although he did not leave himself devoid of testimony by granting them good things, giving us rains from heaven, and times suitable for eating grains, filling our hearts with food and joy” (Acts 14:15–17). For by their action, the inhabitants of Lystra themselves show and Paul argues that a shared intuition concerning God had been impressed upon them all, and not an individual one by which they might recognize that this is the true God. His arguments show that the intuition is veiled, because the apostle produces nothing except the evidences of nature, or things done in nature by God, to show forth the truth of worshiping that God in the highest degree. These evidences from nature, however, are no more than the most slender traces of the true and living God, which give witness not to the fact that God is in relationship with the human race from the beginning, but rather that these gifts are of God. By the same reason these principles are also imperfect. If they testify to anything concerning God (as indeed they do), they testify very imperfectly and are very far removed from His perfection. This is the sort of thing that the apostle was explaining when he called the Athenians from idolatry: “Passing through,” he said, “and considering your ritual objects, I even found an altar on which was inscribed ‘To the unknown God.’ The one, therefore, whom you worship in ignorance, I make known to you. He is the God who made the world and all things in it. Since He is Lord of heaven and earth, He does not dwell in temples made by human hands, etc.” (Acts 17:23–24). The apostle makes most brilliantly clear in these words the condition of these natural principles, since they neither knew God individually, whom the shared principles taught must be worshiped by all. Nor did they know Him in a clear way, since they were those who lived in times concealed in ignorance. Nor did they, finally, know Him perfectly, since God is said to give life to all, and breath, and all things; and He had made from one blood the whole race of man, that they might merely seek the Lord, if perhaps they might find Him by groping after Him. Paul brings forward other very weighty arguments here as well. Therefore the same apostle very properly affirms that “the anger of God is revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and injustice of men, who hold back the truth unjustly. Since that which can be known about God” by the faculty and order of nature, “is evident in themselves. For God has made it known, inasmuch as His invisible aspects were seen from the foundation of the world, understood from what has been made, namely his eternal power and divine nature,” of course in that shared, veiled, and imperfect way from the very principles of nature (Rom. 1:19–20).

Moreover, just as the shared reasoning of these principles, again also veiled and imperfect, is recognized in the investigation of the truth of reality, especially of matters divine, so if any of the truth about God is searched out through reason, it is known only by a few, and after a long time, and comes to man with an admixture7 of multiple errors. This happens also in an investigation of that law which the apostle in the same passage named the righteousness of God.8 For whether you look to law and the divine ordering of all things both in themselves and with respect to one another, or if you consider the moral law that applies to the creatures that He has made in His own image, there is absolutely nothing that cannot easily be proven by the same damaged reasoning. So when all of this has been very carefully weighed, we conclude that these principles and intuitions possess neither a perfection that can contain divine matters nor any aptitude or ability in any way to undertake an investigation of such subjects. But it is plain that they must receive from supernatural grace both that perfection (if it is going to receive any) and an ability suitable for receiving it;9 that is, an ability suitable for receiving its perfection. Indeed, this is how ill-suited is the acumen of our whole nature for surveying and perceiving those things that God has set above nature.

This concludes our discussion of principles. Now let us look at that very nature in which, as in its own subject, those principles have been generated. Consequently, we must note that the design of our nature, in which these principles and common intuitions are present, is twofold. For either this nature is considered in relation to itself, as it was created by God, or according to the sin that besets it and the corruption that followed the fall of our first parents. We explain in the following manner the previous state and condition of our original nature, and of the principles that were contained in it:

Thesis 17: This was the state of natural theology in Adam, when nature was intact: that from principles shared, veiled, and imperfect, it had to be nurtured and caused to grow by reasoning, and then perfected by grace.

Indeed I am not unaware that what we are now explaining may seem to very many people strange and unfamiliar: Namely, that when nature was intact, just as it was in Adam from his creation, it was provided with these, so to speak, limits to its own theology, and that theology has not advanced further according to nature. But whoever shall, with the same effort, weigh carefully these two points that we are about to mention will, I suppose, stop marveling. The one is that, by the very fact that it is called natural theology, supernatural wisdom is excluded, as it is different in its entire genus. Nor can the one10 be confused with the other,11 as if an opposite were placed in an opposite (as the scholastics express it),12 so that the drawing together of two different parts is very obvious, which is completely foreign to all knowledge. The second consideration is that the means of that development which man would have accomplished from the principles when his nature was intact, until it was perfected by supernatural grace and he was conveyed to its apex, was not therefore removed. For since the nature of a person is composed in such a way that he indeed possesses these principles in himself, truly he would pursue their improvement through reasoning and study until he could arrive at real knowledge. No one can doubt that the whole shared rationality of nature was also in Adam, and would have been present in his heirs, if they had themselves remained in that original integrity. Adam therefore possessed these principles uncorrupted, just as they belong to nature. At that time he was able by comparing these principles with his reality and with signs to assemble in order the works of reasoning, to take them apart, to draw conclusions, and to decide, also according to nature, whatever nature could accomplish in divine matters by its ability. Finally, he was able to acquire some knowledge of divine matters according to the limit of his intact nature. But he could not mount up beyond nature, because there was a particular limit to his individual13 abilities. Adam would in fact have soared beyond that limit, but by the kindness of supernatural grace, not, however, by the strength of his own nature. For all things in him were then intact and uncorrupted but restricted by the limits of nature, not stepping out beyond nature. Therefore these principles in him were shared. For if they had been unique to him, they would not have been principles, but conclusions and determinations of his reason working toward true and proper knowledge. The same principles were in him veiled. For if they had been both clear and plainly evident, they would no longer have been principles only, or even deservedly called that, but would have also been mediated to him. These mediated things do not properly correspond to the understanding, as to the fixed abode of principles, but, by the agreement of all, to reason. Lastly, these same principles were imperfect, not because their perfection had been vitiated or because of some imperfection of nature (for that would mean he was retaining some imperfection of nature from creation), but by a relative imperfection (as they call it), that is, when compared to that infinite perfection of God and of divine matters. No created thing can reach this perfection by the strength of its own nature, and no creature can comprehend it by themselves. These principles, moreover, deposited in the furrow of human understanding like seeds, had to be likewise nurtured and caused to grow, with the work of nature contributing to the principles.

Reason indeed is nature’s workman in the human being created in God’s image. By the cultivation of that reason, these principles had to advance from their shared character to individual works, from obscurity into light, from imperfection to a kind of perfection according to the capacity of their natural ability. Thus knowledge would be produced in the human mind from the seed of these principles and from the cultivation of reason.

What then? Was knowledge of divine matters able to be perfected in the unspoiled man by these, so to speak, tools of nature? By no means. For reason itself could not but work from obscurity and imperfection, since it possessed the material for producing knowledge from no other source than these principles. This is because in these principles (as the more recent philosophers typically say) all things are present by their quality generally, which are comprehended by human reason and knowledge individually. From this it immediately follows that reason could not, even in the intact state of human nature, have ascended to a higher apex of human knowledge than it could build upon these principles and from them.

Now that these ideas have been established, we correctly conclude that even in the actual unspoiled human nature, theology could not have been perfected according to the perfection of human nature taken in itself, but that theology was to be perfected by God’s supernatural grace, or rather to be abolished, as it were, by a perfection that would enter into its place.14 As a result, man would continue on after he was enriched by supernatural theology, and by supernatural virtue he would be translated to that blessed condition through grace. To the living hope of this grace we have been given new birth by the Lord (1 Peter 1:3). Nor is there any reason why someone should be surprised that we say natural theology was to be abolished by the supernatural. For so the apostle teaches us to say when he proclaims about this theology of ours and about the one that is to come in the heavens: “For we know in part,” he says, “and we prophesy in part. But when perfection shall have come, then what is ‘in part’ will be abolished, etc.” (1 Cor. 13:9).15 This replacement16 is not only of a different form, but also of a different and most perfect genus. It will swallow up, so to speak, this form of our theology and carry it into its perfection.

And so these comments on the uncorrupted state of natural theology in human nature will suffice. Let us examine the state of that man by whose viciousness nature was corrupted.

Thesis 18: After this nature, however, was corrupted, those first principles yet remained in individuals. They were still shared, veiled, and imperfect. But now they were completely compromised in themselves and quite confused among themselves, as though mere broken fragments of our nature, because of our depravity.

It is not our intention here to deal in any detail with the corruption of our nature, or the origin and manner of that corruption. At present we will only deal with it so that we might recognize the manner or condition of that natural theology from which man wretchedly fell into sin. Moreover, what the orthodox fathers and the scholastics who followed their steps handed down very well was commonly known: namely that the natural gifts have been corrupted and the supernatural ones lost. So from this statement we establish that supernatural theology, which by the sin of man had been, as it were, rejected and most undeservedly spurned, retreated from here to the heavens; and natural theology, as all the other things which arise from nature, was corrupted. For how could it have remained uncorrupted in a subject that was corrupted in every part?

Now we must note that the manner of this corruption is twofold. The first consists in the constitution of the subject itself and of its individual parts. The second lies in the arrangement of the subject and its parts among themselves and toward everything else. In the subject, therefore, the following were present (as we were saying before): In the intellect were principles and in the mind reason, whence the natural man was able to acquire some knowledge. But because those principles in man’s unspoiled nature labored under their own disadvantages and human reason likewise, in keeping with the condition of the principles was not free from mutability, the supervening corruption of man was certainly not able to remedy those disadvantages. It could not maintain them in the same state, nor, finally, protect them from any decline.

And so, if previously the principles were shared in individual things, they still remained shared but were attacked by vice. If they had been veiled, they were rendered even far more veiled. If, finally, they were imperfect, they collapsed altogether into a far more serious imperfection. And from that point on human reason was not able to be brought to a worse state, and to be damaged most seriously and disgracefully. Therefore, this can with the greatest truth be predicated about human nature: that the whole of nature, so also all its principles, have been entirely corrupted in themselves. But especially those have been corrupted which have to do with theology, whose subject is beyond the entire nature of all created things. Nor can this subject be grasped by unspoiled nature itself in any other way than according to the capacity of its own nature. And these very things were not only most corrupted in themselves, but (what is more serious) were very far removed from all proper order and suitable relationship to one another. For what can be considered more chaotic17 or disorderly than if someone should observe the necessary order neither in his whole person, nor in the parts of that whole, nor with other things outside his whole person?

Those very principles, furthermore, were immediately found to be of the same type in fallen man. For the principles remained the same in their foundation but very diffuse in manner, because they were able to retain their mode neither in themselves, nor among one another, nor with other things. And so this is the reason why we say that these very principles became so confused, like the broken fragments of an underlying nature, a nature laid wretchedly low by our weighty fall. Just as the shape of a graceful house is ruined if it is struck by some very heavy blow and falls with great violence in a single moment, and as its parts, although they were expertly made and beautiful beyond measure, now lie broken and ruined and lie buried in piles of broken pieces, so too, whatever in human nature was graceful has passed away and now lies buried in the jumbled and disorganized mass of our viciousness.18

Now it remains at last for us to examine the work and effects of that fallen nature and of the natural principles in it. Certainly if the function of these principles and of our whole nature is now so feeble, even in those things toward which nature can rise up, much more must the weakness and frailty of nature and of its principles be maintained in natural theology. For the subject of theology cannot be comprehended by this nature, but as it is infinite, it surpasses the whole of nature and not only that of each man.

And so about natural theology, if we should look to its function and effects, we draw the following conclusion from the previous remarks:

Thesis 19: And so this theology can lead nothing at all to perfection, nor does it ever do so. And it is not even able, in and of itself, to contain the perfection that is added by grace.

In this passage, we have briefly expressed three things about natural theology. Just as those skilled in the sciences have taught that three issues must be weighed in regard to the essence of those things that they discuss: δύναμιν, ἔργον, καὶ πάθος, or potency, actuality, and persistence.

Now about the potency of this theology we make these statements: this theology can lead nothing at all to perfection. Nor is that cause for surprise: Since that theology itself cannot arrive at perfection, how could it convey others to a sound perfection? Concerning its function or actuality, we say that this theology does not ever lead anything to perfection. This observation will be beyond all controversy among all those endowed with reason and judgment, especially if they consider that it is not possible that any other than imperfect effects arise from an imperfect cause, and in fact one so very imperfect. For otherwise (and this is most ridiculous), an imperfect tree could be said to produce perfect fruits.

But the third topic which we affirm concerning this natural theology will perhaps seem to some weightier and more difficult to believe, for those who cannot bear that all things should be subtracted from our nature and added to God’s glorious grace.19 For we claim that this natural theology is not even able, in and of itself, to contain the perfection that is added by grace. That is, it possesses no inclination in and of itself by its nature or character, or ordered relation, or disposition (as they say) by which it might receive that perfection which is poured out by heavenly grace. In like manner, whatever it receives in nature and from nature according to the genus of its potency which they call passive, comes from the aptitude and disposition of our nature. Nevertheless, if you look to the enjoyment and perception of those heavenly and spiritual gifts that God communicates with men by His special revelation, then this theology possesses no potency that is passive per se, nor receptive, nor (as the scholastics call it)20 obediential; nor, finally, is there a disposition which natural theology shares with supernatural theology. To be sure the subject with which they deal is common to both. But each of these wisdoms differ from the other (so we would say) in the totality of their nature. For the sharing of the same subject does not produce instances of knowledge that share a genus, but the mode of each does. In the same way, music and arithmetic are jointly concerned with numbers but differ in their mode of treatment. This is shown by even one proof when these things themselves are compared, for nature does not draw out a disposition except from a preexisting matter, but the Spirit of God works all things in all. And so with regard to natural theology, nature both applies understanding and takes the seeds of the principles for its disposition. But with regard to supernatural theology, the Spirit of God claims all the parts for itself entirely, so that it is with all justice called supernatural.


1. Proprie…improprie; the meaning is partly by a peculiar quality and partly not.

2. I.e., of theology, not human intellect.

3. Junius does not want to say simply luna (moon), but rather employs a more poetic circumlocution: noctuae ad lumen solis.

4. Junius has Sapiens, i.e., the author of Proverbs. The allusion is to 25:2.

5. Junius now shifts to notitia from notio.

6. This very old principle of natural law, the right to private property, can be found in Plato (Republic, 4.443a), Cicero (De Natura Deorum, 3.38 and De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, 5.67), and Justinian (Institutes, 1.1.3–4), inter alios. Junius could have derived the phrase from either of the last two, as we know he read them both. The notion had been a commonplace since the time of Cicero.

7. Mistura; this is a word known from Lucretius (De Rerum Natura 2.978) and Varro. Junius probably learned it, if not from a teacher or handbook, from the former, given that he says in the Vita that he was learning Epicureanism while in Lyons. The Tractatus as a whole is very conversant in philosophical terminology from the Roman Republican era, primarily Cicero—whether mediated through Augustine or directly. But it also shows heavy phraseological influence from Lucretius.

8. τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ.

9. δεκτικὴν.

10. I.e., supernatural wisdom.

11. Sc. natural theology.

12. Oppositum in opposito; as the rendering of a phrase in Aristotle’s Topica 7.3, this notion has a long history in Boethius, Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, Savonarola, and authors after Junius as well. See esp. Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, 1, qu. 4, art. 2, arg. 2.

13. “Particular” and “individual” are singularis and singulis, respectively.

14. I.e., the perfection of supernatural theology would replace natural theology.

15. Junius again is probably paraphrasing from memory, as the Vulgate has “Ex parte enim cognoscimus, et ex parte prophetamus. Cum autem venerit quod perfectum est, evacuabitur quod ex parte est.”

16. In the New Testament, this word ἐπεισαγωγή occurs in Hebrews 7:19 only. The LSJ has “bringing in besides, especially of a second wife,” v. sub 614–15, 9th ed.

17. ἄτακτον.

18. The language here, in mole indigesta, is strongly reminiscent of the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses, 1.7: quem dixere chaos: rudis indigestaque moles. Significant of Junius’s comfort with pagan sources of knowledge, he is borrowing here not just the language but also, I would argue, the thought of the passage, as Ovid is discussing the state of the universe before the creative intervention of a deus.

19. These are derogentur and arrogentur, respectively.

20. See John I. Jenkins, Knowledge and Faith in Thomas Aquinas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 141ff.

Chapter 11

Supernatural Theology

Since the weakness of this nature of ours has been explained, from which the mode of natural theology can be discerned with certainty, we must now examine what it is that nature seeks, and whence the method of attaining that thing which it seeks can come to be. We see that our nature, therefore, is always carried to such a point that it seeks its own good and flees the opposite. This is so whether you look at this nature as common, by which we all generally seek the good, or even as particular, by which particular persons are led to seek this or that thing according to their own condition. And this pursuit of nature usually shines forth so much even in the most trivial affairs that no one, even a very inexperienced man, does not feel that the good must be sought with nature as his guide.1 Although, however, in everything that exists there seems to be nothing of such great need, advantage, and value as that man, established in this universe as the sovereign of it all, should be led to his own good, he cannot rise up to this good by any ability of nature, nor human skill, nor by the help of any created thing. For this reason it was necessary either for man himself to search through every means to see if in some way he might be able to acquire the way and reason of that good, or to be led by the kindness of the one who could bestow that good to a recognition and apprehension of that way by which he could attain that good. It never really could have happened, however, that man should come to know the very author of his own good and the path to Him and the way to receive that good by the strength of his own nature, or by any skill or support of something created. For how would a creature, ruined in himself and under the sentence of a just judgment by the author of his own good, arrive at that good? How would a blind creature see something invisible? How would a dead creature both perceive and start down that path by which it might be able to head toward the good (which indeed is truly good)?

Thesis 20: Consequently, it was necessary that inspired theology come to man’s aid. We call this theology supernatural because of its origin, and a theology of revelation from its gracious2 mode of communication.

It would never have happened otherwise that the mind of man, emerging from the perception of its own evil, should reach a clear hope and apprehension of the good. Thus the Author of Good needed to approach man, wretched and degraded, since man could not mount up to Him by any reason.

God, however, the Author of all Good, came near to men in different ways, through a diverse manner of working. But if any manner of God’s working for us while we pass through this life is salvific, surely it is the gift of thought by which we learn to think upon God, just as we are thought about by Him. This is that good which we call inspired theology. For we learn it by inspiration, or rather God testifies that we are known to Him. Indeed we know God by the theology which He breathes into us. And indeed we say that this salvific inspiration and recognition of God, communicated with us by His kindness, comes to our aid for this reason: because neither in us, nor with us, nor with those things which surround us, nor in the whole universe of things can any principle or seed of that exist, efficacious for men’s salvation. But it is necessary that this God, the Author of Good who resides in all things and through all things and above all things, pour out that saving grace, and that it comes to our aid from Him. This is so that we who were not even trusting someone speaking of earthly matters may be able to trust one who speaks of heavenly things. It was necessary that the origin, nature, and mode of this whole mystery be worked out above. Thence that was born which we called inspired theology, supernatural from its origin, a theology of revelation from its gracious way of working; for it shows most powerfully by its origin, its nature, and its mode of communication that in this matter there is nothing that does not come from God and is wrought by divine virtue. Nevertheless, we must note that when this is called a theology of revelation, it is said with respect to its prominence3 and with a somewhat narrower application than was set out in chapters 8 and 9. For in that passage we were saying that this is a theology of revelation which God communicates with man here below, whether by natural or supernatural grace. But here, comparing the revelation of supernatural grace with nature and the goods of nature, and establishing the contrast between them, we have decided to speak only about supernatural revelation and its gracious method of communication.

Thesis 21: Supernatural theology, moreover, is the wisdom of divine matters, which proceeds from first principles that are known in relation to itself by the light of a superior knowledge, beyond the mode of human reason.

Now following in the steps of the definition which we related before concerning natural theology, we define supernatural theology in these few words. And indeed everyone easily understands the genus and specifying characteristic of this theology from the foregoing statements. For its genus is wisdom. It is not indeed that archetypal one which we were speaking of in the beginning (for that is a universal principle, and so can be contained in no genus). But it is wisdom stated equivocally, flowing down from that universal principle through Christ Jesus, in whom all the riches of wisdom and understanding are hidden. The specifying characteristic is explained by its causes in a definite order: for the efficient cause of this theology is God infusing the light of His superior knowledge. The material cause is of the principles known in relation to itself in divine matters.

Finally, the formal cause: it is that which proceeds from those principles by that superior light beyond the mode of human reason. And indeed, in this place we posit God as the efficient cause who infuses into these principles that light of superior knowledge or wisdom. Because (as we said before) there is one involved in the communicating of this grace, only the Spirit, who works all things in all ways just as He wills, and communicates the light of that superior and heavenly knowledge by the illumination of His own power. For although all types of knowledge are obtained in such a way that they have their own light per se by nature or they are borrowed from that other superior knowledge; this knowledge, on the contrary, surpasses all the other types of knowledge which are known and can be known in all respects. It seems best, furthermore, to call it a superior knowledge by comparison, that we might show that this is a heavenly knowledge, one superior to all knowledge of this earth or of the whole universe. Or (if you prefer), this knowledge is the highest of all those kinds which can ever be known and apprehended by a man. So why4 do we claim by this very appellation that this remarkable knowledge is not only superior to other types of knowledge, but also to our selves, and to our own nature, and to the universe of reality? Thus it happens that, drawn away as far as possible from experience with and knowledge of these matters, we hurry past all that exists among created things, and we fly up to that inextinguishable light, immune to all changes and shadows, that is, to God Himself. From this light, therefore, which God by His particular grace willed to share with us, we have the chance to comprehend the material of supernatural theology, obviously divine matters, that is, God Himself and whatsoever things exist insofar as they have been ordained with respect to God. We may grasp them, I say, as the most proper and most holy subject of this wisdom. And internally we may hold onto those heavenly principles that are known through themselves, by which God illuminates us here, as the tools necessary for the comprehension of divine matters. The form of this theology and of divine wisdom follows from this, a form placed in the actuation of our knowledge, since we have established that this theology, supernatural in its cognition of divine matters, proceeds from divinely endowed principles, beyond the mode of human reason, and so of all created intelligence. For if the light of superior knowledge, if the principles of that light, if its progress are all from God, then our progress or procession in the apprehension of those divine things that lie beyond the grasp of our reason must be attributed to that same One.

Thesis 22: The reasoning of this supernatural theology is twofold: for it is either absolute and in relation to itself, according to the method of the one communicating it. Or it is relative, according to the meager measure of those to whom that communication comes.

The fact that we say it is disposed in this manner, whatsoever knowledge or wisdom comes under question, this is considered either as it is by nature and in its own genus, taken in itself; or as it is not by nature and in its own genus, taken in itself, or as it is not by nature and genus but by a certain concrete manner, compositely. That which is by nature and that which is in a genus is called abstract. That which is apart from them is called concrete. For example: Justice is said to be by nature. The just man, in whom justice inheres with subject, is not by nature because it is not properly and per se one thing. Moreover, everything that exists, by the very reason that it exists, is one. But that which is by nature and in a genus is more remarkable than that which is concrete, because whatsoever things remain unchanged by their own simple and absolute nature exist by nature and in a genus. And they do not possess anything commingled and concrete, anything unlike and different from themselves. For justice is always one and the same, subject to change in no persons, times, nor places. The just man has a nature that is subject to change and indeed undergoes change, something from which justice is entirely free.

As we are going to speak about this theology, we must examine it in the following way, lest the form of theology according to its nature and genus, as it is most complete and most corrupted,5 be misshapen and debased by admixing of anything concrete, or become (as I would say) counterfeit.6 For if you should confuse that which belongs to the subject or is in accord with its subject with the most holy and undefiled mother and proof of our salvation (if I may call it that), then for sure you will correctly obtain neither of these: neither the worth of theology, nor the truth of the subject that this theology generates and by which that theology is communicated by God. Thus we must establish that the reason of theology is altogether twofold, since it is observed differently in itself from nature and from its own essence than in the feeble and weak subject of people who are called theologians from the perception and comprehension of this theology. We delimit the former mode of theology both within its own terms and by a fixed limit, saying that this theology is absolute, and in relation to itself, according to the method of the one communicating it. For when we call it absolute, we show that our intention is to discuss theology considered absolutely and in itself, without regard to the admixture of something else, whether the subject or other things that are added to it, from whatever source they may arise. Therefore this theology is also7 typically called according to, that is according to its natural condition and its particular essence (as they call it)—in such a way that it contains nothing that is foreign to it, and nothing not its own, just as it was fashioned by God. But we have determined this theology in these few words, according to the mode of the one communicating it. For although the mode of those things which proceed from a foreign and efficacious virtue has been set by their author, theology, on the contrary, the most valuable proof in created things and above all created things, could not have been conveyed to us by chance or accidentally. Whoever, then, understands theology’s method from its author acts in every way properly and wisely. But the mode of whatever things a foreign power effects is twofold: the one is equivalent to the power of an efficient cause in the same way that a person is generated by a person. The other is lesser and not at all equal to an efficient cause, as happens in a great many objects. For neither do the works of craftsmen equal their creators, nor do their external works prove equal to the internal patterns that are fashioned by the craftsman’s desire and plan in his mind. Now God is the originator and author of our theology, who graciously shares this with the human race and does so according to His own mode. And yet this is not by an equal mode; that is, it is not equal to the mode of His essence, which is infinite, but it is done by an unequal mode, that is, according to the mode of His own will, accommodating His revelations8 to what our condition can handle. For that wisdom is equal which we have termed the archetypal or prototypical theology, to which the theology of union in Christ Jesus most closely approximates. The theology of vision among the heavenly saints holds a position next to this; and our theology, finally, holds the third position. If the latter should not at all be compared with the theology of the saints in heaven, it would indeed be far more unsuitable if someone should compare it with the theology of union and most unsuitable if he were to desire to combine it with that archetypal and essential theology. Therefore the mode of this absolute theology has been provided by the One communicating it, according to the mode of its own wisdom and goodness, by His definite will and plan by which He tempered His revelations to our condition and accommodated Himself voluntarily to human reason and to the salvation of His own church.

This is that absolute theology, embracing perfectly the whole, perfect pattern of theology which it pleased God to reveal generally, to the praise of His own glorious grace in Christ Jesus. Moreover, from this obviously divine and perfect theology that was exhibited through God’s grace to human society, that second reasoning of theology flowed forth which we call relative. Yet it should not be thought that we wish to detract in any way at all from its truth when we declare that this divine theology is modified. For we honor that theology and cherish it most reverently, and we grieve over our weakness and the narrowness of our mind rather than detract even a little bit from that most holy and most perfect theology. But because all virtues (as we said before) are by nature far more excellent in themselves than in any of their subjects—just as justice is one thing in itself, but the justice of a person is another by the stated restriction—so it happens that the theology which we name relative, which is in man and according to man and whose form is simple, we have called absolute theology. Therefore the former theology is absolute, as its most pure form. But the relative theology, as form superadded to matter, has been more narrowly determined and made finite in keeping with the condition of its own matter. It is evident, moreover, that the more limited and base the material is, the more limited the form which applies to it is made. And so because man is the subject of this theology, who from his comprehension of it is called a theologian, and because he completely inundates this theology with his vanity and weakness, it is certainly of great importance that relative theology be most accurately distinguished from absolute theology, both in the interest of divine truth and of our instruction. For absolute theology is a kind of concept offered by God as pure. But relative theology is a concept apprehended by man but rendered impure and imperfect by his condition. All the more then do those seem to be unfair to the church of God who now recognize no other theology than the one which is according to men and is from men? And those likewise are unfair who depend in this instance on the judgment and authority of men, as if that pure concept and divine form of theology which we call absolute either would have utterly disappeared or descended into the clutches and power of men by the right of possession. For absolute theology is the form and is the enduring concept; it is not subject to change, moreover, according to the will of men. To it all men should yield, and it should not yield to ignorant and weak men.

Now the definition (as they call it) or determination of this theology which we have named relative we express in these words, according to the lesser mode of those to whom that communication comes. There is one mode for the one giving, another for the one receiving. For the One who gives and supplies the theology is God; we receive it when it has been supplied by God. He who gives very wisely tempers His gift, that is, our absolute theology in such a way that He very graciously pours out for the common good of His church whatever is necessary and exhibits it for the common good of men. But those who receive it are very far from perceiving that which God has bestowed for the common good. For there is both a lesser mode that belongs to each one and belonging to the whole church in every age; this mode is most imperfect due to the ignorance, weakness, and feebleness of all men. Therefore the affront against God of those men who think that the abundance of that amazing treasure can be stored in vessels so weak and foolish in this wretched mortal life is clear and intolerable; and their attack on His church is the more atrocious. These remarks concerning the genus of supernatural theology will suffice. Now, with God as our guide, let us move on to its definition and particular exposition.



1. Junius again uses the term natura duce, a bedrock principle of natural theology known in the Western tradition from Cicero. In De Natura Deorum 1, the concept is represented as nature’s benevolent hand, leading philosophers naturally to the conclusion deos esse.

2. Junius here includes the adjective gratioso with modo, though not in the statement of the thesis at the work’s head. Gratioso is attested there in neither Kuyper (42) nor Merula (1373).

3. κὰτ᾽ ἐξοχὴν.

4. Junius imitates here a famous passage from Cicero’s De Natura Deorum, 1.38, where the author begins a series of rhetorical questions with Quid, quod.

5. Both Kuyper (72) and Merula (1399) have integerrima & corruptissima. The latter is perplexing.

6. ὑπόχαλκος; i.e., some higher metal like gold or silver mixed with copper to be passed off as pure.

7. Kuyper’s text (73) has the erroneous form ‘eiam’ (sic), a corruption of Junius’s “etiam” as recorded in Merula (1399).

8. Kuyper (73) has here reuelatioues [sic] for reuelationes (Merula, 1399).

Chapter 12

What Theology Stated Absolutely Is

Thesis 23: Our theology stated absolutely is the wisdom of divine matters inspired by God according to divine truth. It has been entrusted to His servants through the word pronounced in Christ, and sealed both in the Old and New Testaments through the prophets, apostles, and evangelists, as much as is fitting to be revealed to us here for His own glory and the good of the elect.

Now even if some definition of our theology taken in its absolute sense could be derived from the preceding remarks, nevertheless it seemed necessary to supply at this point a little more complete and accurate definition, so that a more convenient place may present itself for explaining the particular matters that relate to its essence and true nature. For just as the essence of something under discussion must be contained in a proper definition, so also for a proper definition the individual seeds, so to speak, of the thing defined must be sought. From these, detail by detail, the definitions of a topic are unfolded. But before we proceed to talk about the parts of this definition, for the sake of good order we must explain the limits, as it were, by which our theology stated absolutely is excluded from that other theology, the one we have said is called a relative theology. Let us next examine each in their proper order, using the argument and method I have established, as the nature of each demands. Therefore we will set the end terms of each kind of theology, for the sake of brevity, as twofold. From these in some way at least we may recognize their nature. For the end terms of theology taken absolutely (which God provides to the human race as a gift most pure and uncorrupted and entrusts to His own church) are properly two. One concerns the subject with which our theology deals. The other concerns the mode that pertains to this theology and the divine wisdom, according to the capacity of nature and the way of our salvation. When these two are explained, we will go on to establish also the end terms of the theology called relative. The subject, therefore, concerning which men are instructed by the lessons of this theology of ours is the most complete and indeed infinite one, namely God. He is the universal principle, pattern, and goal of all those things which have existed up to this point, or are at the present time, or ever shall be. He is infinite in Himself and gives testimony in all things to His own infinite nature by the most complete demonstrations of His essence, His power, and His works both common and particular. Plainly no creature, not even a heavenly one, can perceive these things to perfection by its own effort after the fact, or express it in speech, or embrace it with its understanding.

Therefore, because no method can be found or devised by created things of comprehending that infinite essence and grandeur and defining it, as it were, through the narrow passages of the mind, speech, and this nature, indeed no knowledge of our God (as He is infinite) or any comprehension would have existed in created things unless that greatest and almighty God, although infinite, had voluntarily determined in a certain way that knowledge of Him and sure wisdom concerning Him would come to created things. Thus God provided first that He would be comprehended by Christ our Savior in the grace of union according to His human nature, indeed as much as a created nature, carried up to the highest and unparalleled pinnacle of wisdom, is able to contain through that singular theology which we for that reason have called one of union. So by the same providence, He further made sure that He was perceived by angelic and spiritual intelligences, as present by those in His presence, by means of a certain vision. According to which these heavenly essences were able to enjoy the glorious vision of God as present. From this, likewise, it has been called a theology of vision. So finally also by the same providence, but through a mercy all complete and never sufficiently praised, the most wise Father of mercies foresaw and predetermined that in the eyes of the human race a certain unique mirror and unique form, communicated by God, would arise. By this form, God Himself, although infinite in every respect, showed Himself to inferior creatures as in a finite mode to be seen, known, understood, and tasted (we would say) through the theology of revelation that we also call our theology. Therefore since the mode of that subject, as it is infinite, cannot be contained by anyone, we must look at the mode of theology, that is, of that wisdom by which the infinite desired to be seen as if defined. And reason itself teaches, and our own nature demands it as well, that in fact the mode of this wisdom, which we call our theology or that of revelation, is not at all equal to its subject, or ever can be achieved. For what follows more from reason than that we should understand that the One is infinite, and that nothing can be compared or made equal with the One that is infinite? Otherwise it would be necessary that the nature of each perish from the collision, so to speak, of the two; and the infinite would cease to be because the one would be limited by the other. But whoever does not know that our nature has not been composed in such a way that it comprehends the infinite God, or even things that are nearly infinite, does not know common nature and does not know himself. This is especially true if we should consider this, that God willed His own wisdom and goodness to be shared with the human race. The method for accomplishing this would never have become evident, unless God had by that same wisdom and goodness, supplied a mode tempered to the small capacity1 of nature, our condition, and His own church. Certainly there will be no man who would not judge that the means, though far below and not at all equal to His infinite nature, was communicated by God’s wisdom and was to be supplied to us for our advantage. And this is also the reason why God established that communication of His wisdom in that very manner and mode, altogether accommodated to the capacity of men and His elect, and of His church. For in this way, He announced whatever things are needful to know. But whatever He saw either was not necessary or could not usefully be communicated with us, these things He very wisely concealed. In that way, indeed, He made His own grace remarkable when He enrobed (as we would say) divine, spiritual, and heavenly matters in a human, corporal, and earthly fashion, so that nothing of those things which it was profitable for us to know would escape us. In the first place, it is quite noteworthy in the mode of this divine communication that He conformed the instruction of saving grace to the order of the natural sciences2 and disciplines, and accommodated to our nature the doctrine of grace. For just as principles are necessary for the acquisition of each human discipline—and the process of a middle kind of reasoning, as it were, rises up from those principles, conclusions, and determinations that pertain to the proper understanding of those disciplines which exist among men—so also in communicating that heavenly discipline with the human race, the great and almighty God made provision concerning those principles that were established by that superior light of grace as though by a heavenly torch. From these principles, He endowed our minds with a divine reasoning process and made open a way to the conclusions and determinations that are conducive to heavenly knowledge, and that outline savingly on earth that heavenly wisdom according to the condition of His elect church. Indeed it is true that the perfection of those heavenly matters which this wisdom teaches is infinite. Nor could it happen that a perfection of words, whatever those finally are, could attain to the perfection of the facts themselves. But nevertheless, God most graciously and most wisely saw to it that nothing perfect which it was necessary for us to know was not expressed, and nothing imperfect was contained in the truth of that theology which was communicated through God’s grace. By the communication of this theology, God showed forth the perfection, I say, of those things which He prepared for those who fear Him (which indeed would be sufficient). In this He was most wisely providing that the individual and necessary main elements of that most perfect matter would be maintained by the most perfect communication of divine theology. The subject, therefore, is most perfect, but infinite in its perfection. It is a wisdom most perfect, but finite in its perfection. Finally the mode of this wisdom is most perfect, but by a perfection analogous with the truth of that wisdom which we designate “our theology” absolutely.

And so indeed, those very qualities from which we have demonstrated that absolute theology is excluded are, according to reason, truly common with that other genus of theology, the one we have designated a relative theology. For the subject is common, and the mode of wisdom and of its knowledge is substantially the same. For theology is not able to be more than one according to its essence and the truth of the matter in and of itself. But because that other theology, which we call relative, contains something mingled and conjoined and that is (if we want to speak precisely) something quasi-material3 in its own subject, for this reason there are two limits that apply to the reason of the theology called relative. Without these limits, theology stated absolutely can never be profitably transmitted or advantageously received. For the theology stated absolutely is truly an essential form that applies to the church of God by divine communication. But this one that is relative is as quasi-material, and that essential form cannot attach to it without regard to its limits.

The first end term of this relation concerns the subject, in which this theology rests by divine communication. The second concerns the mode in which the theology taken absolutely is glued together with this subject, although this subject in itself is completely incompetent. This subject (lest we get stuck here for too long)4 is man, an animate being adorned indeed with the most abundant gifts of nature by God’s kindness, but these have been corrupted by man’s viciousness. These gifts nevertheless (even in his state of innocence) would never have carried man up to the pinnacle of salvation and heavenly glory unless the singular and supernatural grace of God were at work. And so in that subject according to his nature there were his own tools, suited to acquiring the various areas of study. But these tools always depended upon natural elements and rested upon them. These principles were partly perceived externally by sensation, and partly attached to our intellect and inwardly produced. There was a process of reasoning that was gathering, comparing, and setting in order the thoughts arising from these principles. These were conclusions and determinations dug up from these principles by a definite process of reasoning. Finally there was knowledge, but it was natural, earthly, carnal, and so constituted from natural and most imperfect means that it could rise up to nothing supernatural and to nothing perfect. And indeed it was not even affected by any sense of things supernatural and perfect. For as the apostle says, the animate man is not able to grasp what belongs to the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he understand them (1 Cor. 2:14). Therefore, what similarity would there be between this limit, set so far from divine things, and that most holy theology stated absolutely? Or what between this most unblemished theology and that most impure and most foolish human being, unless the most good heavenly Father, who had supplied the mode of communicating that theology stated absolutely, had likewise most graciously prepared for us the method of applying that relative theology?

Now this is the other limit necessary for perceiving the relative theology which we previously established, namely the mode of applying that knowledge usefully to the weak and wretched subject, about whom we dealt briefly just now. God established a mode for applying that most perfect knowledge to the most imperfect subject, and in accord with His own infinite mercy showed to human beings the divine light of His heavenly grace, so that by that light and through the power of His Spirit in every way He might perfect all things which are necessary for this saving application and guarantee. And therefore whatever has been implanted in human nature for the reception of these things, God by the power of His own Spirit so laid hold of it that He joined together the gifts of grace with the individual goods of nature which correspond to them. For He affixed the principles of grace to the principles placed in the understanding by nature. On the reason that arises from these principles, He built the additional portions of His own divine light. To the conclusions and determinations which reason acquired by the most imperfect light of nature, He supplied additionally the supernatural and most perfect demonstrations. From these, a heavenly knowledge could be established in the minds of the righteous. Finally, He both set forward heavenly objects for our mind and a will to sense in a heavenly way and stirred up that same will to the apprehension of those objects. These, therefore, are the two modes that God’s wisdom determined should be individually employed, in addition to those things which we explained concerning theology stated absolutely, so that this other theology (which we term relative) could advantageously dwell among men and be usefully understood by them. Otherwise no subject so foreign as man is would have been able to grasp that heavenly wisdom; nor would that heavenly wisdom by such a slender trace ever reach men so ill-suited to it.

Now that the considerations which pertain to distinguishing the reason of the one theology from the other have been established, we must take care next to lay out in an orderly fashion—according to our plan of instruction—the topics that at present seem relevant to each. Therefore, we made clear at the beginning of the chapter the definition of our theology stated absolutely, setting out its genus (as in the previous discussions) and its specifying characteristic through its causes. Of course its genus is wisdom, and indeed wisdom truly named so—not, however, analogically5 and from human opinion (as generally happens). But the individual loci of the causes that pertain to the specifying characteristic of theology are treated in their usual order. For we proved first the efficient cause and whatsoever pertains to it, explaining that this theology was inspired by God and entrusted to His servants through the word pronounced in Christ and sealed both in the Old and New Testaments through the prophets, apostles, and evangelists. The material cause we enclosed within the name of divine matters. The formal cause was of truth. And lastly the final cause was however much was fitting to be revealed to us for His own glory and the good of the elect. And so let us sum up this locus in a few words: the genus and specifying characteristic of this theology, which is called (as before) the wisdom of divine matters, is common. But the individual specifying characteristic is explained through its causes in the following remarks. Therefore, let us proceed to examine them in the same order; and leaving out the common genus and differentia, let us advance to an account of its causes.


1. “Means” and “small capacity” here are modum and modulo, respectively.

2. This does not mean only things like biology, physics, etc., but all types of knowledge that are not supernatural.

3. I.e., materiatum; its distinction from materialis in Junius is unclear.

4. Junius is here punning on the different meanings of haereo, i.e., to glue together and to be stuck in a place.

5. I.e., καταχρηστικῶς, given by LSJ as “by a misuse of language.”

Chapter 13

The Material Cause of Our Theology

Although we have set out accurately in our definition, by the sure and accessible order of nature, all the causes that are necessary for a proper definition of our theology stated absolutely, nevertheless it was helpful for sound instruction to speak about the internal and essential causes of theology before dealing with those that are outside it or joined with it extrinsically. We call internal those causes that establish the essence of that item which is under discussion. Material and formal causes belong to this class in all instances. But external causes, whatever they may be, attach like something external to the item once it is established. They do this either for the generation of that thing, as an efficient cause, or for its function and completion, as a final cause. The logic of instruction more requires this order, and nature follows it. Consequently, we will deal with the internal causes first and postpone the external ones to a later passage.

Therefore, in order to look first at the material of sacred theology, we explain it in this manner, following on the tracks of Scripture and also of nature itself:

Thesis 24: The material of this theology consists of divine matters: of course God, and whatsoever topics have been arranged with respect to Him, as was proper for instruction to be given concerning the nature, works, and law of God Himself.

Thus, whether we designate it material, subject, or object—as in different respects these terms can be predicated of theology in an argument—we define it by the appellation of divine things. But we want divine things in this instance to be understood as those things that are really and truly divine. Or, if they pertain to the nature of the created world, they nevertheless in some fashion are ordered with respect to God. Wishing to explain this fact, some of the orthodox fathers defined the material of theology in such a way that they claimed the whole of that which can be said to be either “God” in its direct case (as the grammarians say) or what which is in an oblique case, “of God,” “for God,” “toward God,” or “by God” must be considered the subject matter of theology. To sum up, that which is according to all the cases (as they are named by the grammarians) has its own sure relation and ordering with respect to God.

And indeed, properly and simply, God is the subject matter of theology, inasmuch as for each individual kind of knowledge either some one certain and defined subject of study or material must be considered. For just as the subject in each kind of knowledge is related to knowledge, so the object is related to a natural potency or to our disposition. It is rightly understood, moreover, that the object of the potency or of the human disposition is designated under that by reason of which all things are referred to its potency or disposition; as, for example, an articulated word and a noise are referred to hearing, as they are productive of sound. Because a sound or the sounding thing by which it makes sound is the proper object of our hearing. Similarly man and beast are referred to sight, as they have color, because color or a thing that is colored is the object of our sight. But all things, nevertheless, are treated in this sacred theology with respect to God, as though of the proper subject matter which is discussed in theology. Because either it is God Himself that is the subject, or things that are ordered with respect to God, as to the universal principle and end of those things. And so the holy apostles or the apostolic men nearest in time to them also recognized this very reason in the holy creed, when they posited that God is the subject of those principles in which the whole of knowledge is contained by virtue. To the articles that dealt with God, they subjoined sure statements on the church, and His divine kindnesses toward her, so that the principles placed in the first paragraphs1 might show that which is the subject of our theology per se; but in the later paragraph would be contained things which are related to the subject in a particular way and have been affected by it.

Now of those things which are called divine, it follows that a twofold order of those items which we have just mentioned must be established. The one is concerning God, whom we must enjoy.2 The other concerns the things which we must use with respect to God, as Augustine abundantly explained in book 1 of On Christian Doctrine. These two considerations, moreover, pertain to the topic of God as such: the aspect of His nature and will. This holds concerning the aspect of His nature whether you regard it according to the essence that subsists in three persons, or according to the distinction of persons in the unity of essence. But concerning the aspect of His will, we must consider both the will which relates in a certain way universally to all created things, and then the will which concerns all men and is generally exposed in the human race, and finally the will which is set forth in His church with particular respect to grace.

Now with regard to the second topic concerning those things that are ordered with respect to God, there are more or less three relevant considerations set forth in the sacred Scriptures. I mean, of course,
(1) the nature of reality by which it is ordered with respect to God;
(2) God’s work in them; and (3) the law that has been assigned to them by God. We say, moreover, that the nature of created things is explained by the teaching of sacred theology, not indeed as they are in themselves. For this is the responsibility of those natural scientists, doctors, and philosophers who plunge themselves without limit or end into the close examination and review of the works of nature, to investigate meticulously, review, and then report their findings. Instead, sacred theology explains the nature of created things only according to that aspect by which they3 have their own relationship and reference toward God by the necessity of their nature, and God’s relation to them by the freedom of His own will. For theology does not explain the nature of angels, as those engaged in metaphysics do. Nor does it explain the nature of living or elementary things, as natural scientists do; nor the nature of the concept of subtraction,4 as the mathematicians do. But they recount the nature and condition of the individual topics which pertain to that discipline as they are related to God and are ordered toward Him alone by their own inclination.

The same judgment also holds concerning His works. For when the torch of divine theology shines forth, the works of God in all created things are observed in such a way that those things which God shows forth in them do not come into consideration in themselves and universally. But instead, only those things are considered in accord with this ordering that we just now explained: either God acts in them, or they act according to God. He, moreover, very freely acts by His most free will either universally, both in the ordinary fashion according to nature and outside of that order according to His providence. Either He acts commonly, according to the general calling of His saving grace set forth to all; or, finally, He acts particularly, according to the special calling of His saving grace bestowed upon His elect through the Spirit of sanctification unto eternal life. From that diversity, moreover, these created things act by attending to the ordering of God, either universally, by the instinct of a universal nature, obeying the common law both of nature and of His providence; or they act commonly, looking to that general calling set forth to all in a common manner; or, finally, they act individually, following with all honor and obedience, as is suitable, His manifold and amazing wisdom, which is most efficacious for their salvation.

But because all the praise of virtue rests in action, as Cicero used to say,5 that indeed is alone true praise which does not proceed from men deceived in their judgment and unreliable in their zeal, but from God Himself. Furthermore, the most obvious locus of material where sacred theology customarily consists is that which Paul several times called “the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 1:32).6 For a set law has been imposed by God upon nature, and a set law upon grace. This law is planted by God both in the principles of nature communicated here and in the principles of grace communicated above. For moral uprightness is twofold, as an action7 and duty established for the human race by God. The one, the common part, is largely shared with other things which are in this universe. I mean the law of nature that we are taught by its instinct. The other is unique to the human race, inasmuch as only that race has been created in God’s image. It is the law of morals, or the moral command. From the former law, things are judged as good and bad according to nature, while from the latter, they are reckoned good and bad according to morals, that is, as virtues and vices. The former set of judgments proceed from a common principle, what they call the instinct of nature or the natural will. The latter proceed from a unique and internal principle which they say is the mind, that is, the source of reason and will. Indeed, sacred theology explains most perfectly this law of morals, by which it is fitting that men approach God and be conformed, as much as is possible, to His holy will. These natural principles, buried8 in us by our viciousness, sacred theology, so to speak, digs out again and bestows with perfection. And it lays before our eyes supernatural glory with such great light, fidelity, and excellence that other things become as nothing when compared to this wisdom. This, then, is the most sure subject matter with which our theology deals with God as author and guide. And in this, if we will concern ourselves with it, it will truly happen9 that, gazing with face uncovered upon the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, we will be transformed into the same image as though by the Lord’s Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18).


1. Priore loco, i.e., the first two paragraphs of the Apostles’ Creed.

2. frui.

3. Kuyper (79) has quod, but Merula’s reading (1404) is somewhat ambiguous. The difficulty is that quod cannot be the subject of the later habent as they do not agree in number. Nor can it be the object, as these are relationem and respectum. I think the solution is that quod should be read quo (either Kuyper has misread or Junius nodded). This suggestion solves the grammatical problem by construing quo instrumentally.

4. ἀφαιρέσεως, from ἀφαίρεσις.

5. Junius seems to be paraphrasing from memory as the word order is altered. The quotation is from De Officiis 3.19: Virtutis enim laus omnis in actione consistit.

6. τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ.

7. κατόρθωμα, cf. Cicero, De Officiis, 1.8 (4).

8. Kuyper (80) has wrongly transcribed obrura for obruta (Merula, 1404).

9. Kuyper (80) has wrongly transcribed fururum for futurum (Merula, 1404).

Chapter 14

The Formal Cause of Our Theology

Now that we have reached a conclusion concerning the material cause of our theology, we must go on to review its second internal cause so that we might grasp its essential composition clearly. This is, moreover, a form without which all matter is, so to speak, infinite, and incomprehensible.1 And by virtue of this form being added to matter, the nature of the subject is both established in its own identity and in fact perceived by our intellect. Therefore, we delimit the form of theology stated absolutely in a few words as follows:

Thesis 25: The form of theology is divine truth. In theology, this is considered in two ways. For either it is considered as a whole, or some part of the whole as it is in itself. Or, certain parts are considered along with others mutually when they admit of an appropriate comparison.

Now in these words we briefly set out the two issues that are the most important for this project.

The one regards the question of what is the reason of this form in and of itself. The second, what is the method2 of our explaining and perceiving this same form according to the saving instruction which God through His grace wanted conferred upon men? The reason, therefore, of this essential form we define when we say the formal cause is divine truth. The second locus we explain in the following words. For indeed no pious man will doubt that the truth of theology stated absolutely is its essential form, if indeed he trusts in Christ as the greatest prophet and our teacher, who says, “Sanctify them in your truth: your word is truth” (John 17:17). But because the term truth, which is popularly talked about in a careless fashion, is not really so much understood with the mind as it is bandied about in everyone’s mouth, we will now provide a clear statement of it in a few words. The older authors, therefore, declared very well that the truth is translated and likened to Being3 (as they call it), that is, with that which exists. For whatever exists, by the very fact that it exists, is true. And on the other hand, whatever is true exists by the very fact that it is true. These propositions necessarily depend upon one another in such a way, are so interrelated, and mingled together that obviously nothing can be asserted of the nature of what exists or is above nature that is not constrained by both of these common laws. And yet, even though these two laws are in all things lasting and are applied to all things constantly, nevertheless each is stated by a different rationale. For if we say that anything exists, we are contemplating it in re; but if we assert that it is true, we are contemplating that which exists in intellectu. Therefore, there is truth of those things which exist and also of the signs by which the things that exist are said to exist. Either (so that we may speak more briefly and perhaps more plainly) it is the truth of things that are or of the speech articulated concerning those things. But the underlying structure of the things which exist is twofold: for some exist in re, others in intellectu. In re are the things taken separately,4 that is, things singular and individuated, as things perceived through the senses. But what is in intellectu are the forms, both of those things which we perceive one by one with our sense and of all the rest which we perceive in some other way. And likewise the truth of things that are intelligible (as they are commonly called) or which impact our intellect is far more valuable and important than is the truth of those things which are perceived in re externally. For it is both more important in this respect, because it embraces within it equally both things singular and common. And it is more valuable because universals5 are more valuable than those that are singular, and forms that have been abstracted and purged from matter are more valuable than those things that are bound by matter. Their generation and condition, composed of principles that differ from one another, evidently proclaims that the truth in the strict sense and in and of itself does not exist with them.

But even though the truth thus presents itself so it can be comprehended by the human intellect, nevertheless that truth which we term divine raises itself very high above this truth that all nature teaches. For by this singular title “divine,” we separate the essential truth of theology from all the change and changeability of nature, and we raise it above the nature of this universe and of all the things which exist in the universe. For divine truth is not only that which takes its origin from the God of truth (for the truth of nature and of the natural intellect also arose from God); but in fact we call divine truth (by its own definite, proper, and singular law) that which is divine, without qualification, and by reason of itself, in all ways, in itself and in all its parts, and in whatsoever its arrangement.

Since, however, divine truth exists in two modalities—infinitely, by virtue of its being essential in God, and finitely, by virtue of the fact that God has communicated it with creatures—we must note both with the greatest care in our theology taken in its absolute sense. For we acknowledge the infinite truth as an immutable archetype and the first form of truth in it; and we most devoutly worship the truth that has been communicated as a sort of mirror, an expressed image of that archetype. Consequently, in the definition of this theology, we did not simply stipulate that theology was the wisdom of divine things or the wisdom of divine truth. Rather, we expressed both conjointly: this is the wisdom of divine matters inspired by God according to divine truth, etc. For by this reasoning, we expressed a certain necessary relationship which obtains between the truth as it expresses itself and the truth once it has been expressed. The truth expressing itself is that concept and immutable form in God that we reverently adore. But the expressed truth is nothing other than a kind of image and mirror of that primary and eternal truth. God communicated with us what kind, how much, and how, to testify to the praise of His glorious grace and set forth our salvation. This latter truth6 is to the former7 a perfect river flowing from a perfect fountain and the perfect ray from the perfect sun of truth. Finally, it is the perfect, expressed image of truth in the mirror of the Word, an image that will shine brightly until such time as we all arrive at the very principle of truth in the heavens.

Now what we were saying about the rationale of this truth, that in our theology it is regarded as twofold, is in and of itself very clear. For we have been prepared by our nature in such a way that, wherever our mind and thought turns itself, we contemplate the object of our intellection, that is, the truth, either universally and totally taken in itself, or we establish a comparison of this whole with something else—just as, for the sake of example, if someone should consider the universal church absolutely or compare it to the rest of the world; or if someone should wish to evaluate the whole of divine truth as expressed in this theology of ours separately in itself, or to join it with the truth of our nature according to its arrangement and the augmentation of divine grace. But again, the parts of that very thing whose truth is being considered as a whole are set forth before us in the same way; and once they have been revealed, we search them out just as if each individual part of that whole were establishing something by itself: as if someone were undertaking to examine the church of the Corinthians or the Philippians or any other one in particular (as they say). When, moreover, there is a comparison of the parts which are considered by our intellect, and we search out their mutual relation according to the system of the unique whole, or even of different things, then the truth and the proper reason of these things that are to be compared to one another is also shown by the same theology, lest anyone be able to stray from the divine truth which alone is the saving and sure truth. This is as if someone, for example, in order to search out and pursue the truth more and more, should compare the goodness of creation with providence in the created realm, or natural goods with the goods that proceed from grace.

There are, moreover, certain attributes of this truth which is divinely expressed in our theology that God has especially sealed on that theology, so that He might very effectively separate it from participation with the rest of the truth which is observed in the created realm. Now, although a great many examples of that genus can be adduced, nevertheless from them we have included some particular and most important points in one or another thesis. From these, pious and wise minds will very easily arrive at that genus from the doctrine of God by another route, if there is any. For we have established it in a few words like this:

Thesis 26: This truth is holy, just, and perfect. Without a doubt it teaches nothing that is profane, unjust, and imperfect, and it does not fail to teach anything that is holy, just, and perfect, that we may be guided as perfectly as possible toward holiness in ourselves, justice toward everyone else, and perfection in all things.

It seemed good to set out in these few words several essential properties of divine truth before we spoke about the qualities of the same truth that follow thereafter, since we will do that next in the following thesis. There are three attributes, therefore, which we predicate concerning this truth, namely that it is holy, just, and perfect. For if it seems properly worthwhile to explore the correct composition of any doctrine, then these three issues must be altogether observed: (1) that it is good in itself; (2) that it is good toward others; (3) that it is good in every respect. For if one of these will be lacking in any doctrine, then its composition cannot deservedly be pronounced correct. Therefore, with these duties in mind we assigned the same number of attributes to divine truth when we said that it is holy in itself, just toward all others, and perfect in every respect. For what can be holy, just, and perfect among things that are human and created, I ask, except that truth which is from God and according to God? For if you examine archetypal truth, it is the everlasting fountain of purity and perfection. Or if you should look at that truth which has been communicated and presented by God to the human race, it is the most holy, most just, and most perfect bulwark of that fountain (to adopt the speech of craftsmen), or the reservoir of the saving water whence we all drink the most sure doctrine of purity, justice, and perfection. To it let us devoutly conform ourselves, waiting for the reward of our faith, that is, the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9).

We show and understand, moreover, that there is a twofold mode of those attributes which we have most deservedly assigned to divine truth, namely in the substance of that truth and in its effect. In order to demonstrate among men the substance of divine truth according to these attributes two things are necessary: One is that whatever is contrary to these attributes must clearly be removed. The second is that whatever of these attributes arises from reason must plainly be confirmed from divine truth. Earlier we expressed this idea in these words: divine truth teaches nothing that is profane, unjust, and imperfect. And later, we expressed it in these words: it does not fail to teach anything that is holy, just and perfect, i.e., with respect to what can indeed be taught, learned, and known.8 And so these attributes of divine truth are present in such a way that clearly nothing among created things and what can be perceived by them with the intellect can be compared with this truth. For if you look at the holiness of any doctrine in itself, what purity in the end can proceed from things profane? If you regard justice, what justice can come from things unjust? If you examine perfection, what perfection can arise from very imperfect things? As we read in the book of Job, “Who brings forth something clean from that which is unclean? Not even one” (Job 14:4). Certainly the particular nature of individual causes is recognized from the quality of their power, and their power from their effects. Nor can it ever happen that causes are surpassed by their own effects, unless other superior causes arise in addition whose effect is only ascribed improperly to lesser causes. Since, moreover, every human doctrine is the product of a profane, unjust, and imperfect human being, we rightly judge that any other doctrine lacks these attributes.9 Only this doctrine which has the most holy, just, and perfect God as its author is honored by these words of praise. All other doctrines, even if they are from God, nevertheless arise from means that have been polluted by some taint of profanity, injustice, and imperfection. On the contrary, they teach nothing so holy, just, or perfect but that some vice always clings to them from their author, from the nature of the doctrine, from its reasoning, or some other mode. But this doctrine of truth derives its purity from God, and it teaches that holiness is found in God in such a way that, denying that it comes from any created things and thus also from man himself, it shows holiness can be obtained in God alone. Truly no doctrine handed down by men teaches justice (giving to each what he is owed—to God according to piety, to men according to nature and their rights both common and particular) in such a way but that the right of God and duty owed Him is largely diminished. And under whatever guise this occurs, there is a deviation from the proper conception of human law, whether something just is not understood that should have been, or something unjust is set in place that should have been avoided. For this reason, also, any human doctrine whatsoever is always full and overflowing with its own imperfection. Because neither by the reason of its holiness, nor of its justice, nor of all those things which are necessary for the perfection of holiness, justice, or order and consistency of all these mutually, does human doctrine exhibit that perfection which God, nature, and order desire. Truly nothing of that kind can emerge in this doctrine, for it depends upon a holy, just, and perfect author and is in accordance with a holy, just, and perfect author. And that author is always present in it as an example: He who is Himself holiness, justice, and perfection. Consequently it happens that there is nothing evil in it. And nothing good at all is missing from that doctrine which, like a mirror of himself, God’s eternal holiness, justice, and perfection unceasingly represents in the human race. Let us, with our eyes fixed upon it, cling to it most attentively and reverently.

Now certain effects naturally follow from gazing upon this divine and saving mirror among the people before whose eyes it is set; and these effects correspond to its attributes. For because this doctrine of truth is holy, just, and perfect,10 it is necessary for a good cause to produce good fruits and indeed to produce them in that soil in which the good cause, planted by the will of God, takes root. This doctrine, moreover, was conveyed in a heavenly fashion to men, who are called the field of God, His building, and His planting (1 Cor. 3:9). We have thus set forth these effects when we say in addition that this doctrine has been given and shaped by God, so that we may be guided as perfectly as possible toward holiness in ourselves, justice toward everyone else, and perfection in all things. Quite clearly God has set this before our eyes like a torch so that by its blazing light we might ceaselessly walk in the way of His truth. For what could be as necessary for a man as to know God, if not as He really is, at least as He can be known? What could be as useful as that he be conformed to the God whom he knows insofar as a man knows Him, or rather insofar as God offers Himself to be known? What could be so glorious as that he hasten toward God by this salvific conformation, as toward the everlasting fountain of His own purity, justice, and perfection? For this reason, in the explanation of these effects there three things are briefly included: the genus, method, and duration. The genus of its effects is threefold: (1) holiness in ourselves, manifested by God through the Spirit of sanctification; (2) justice toward everyone else that assigns to God what He is owed and likewise to each individual what they are owed; and (3) a suitable perfection of the subject and of the effects in the subject. This perfection we indeed can desire at present and can hope for in the future. But we will not actually attain it in full before we have gone on to our Lord, the author of our holiness, justice, and perfection. The method is this: that we are most perfectly guided by that most perfect torch of divine truth to these effects and are led by the power of God who works all things in all ways (1 Cor. 12:11). But the duration and permanence of these virtues are shown in this, that we say these attributes and effects are taught in all ways by this theology of ours, which truly is the sole wisdom.

But we will speak about this topic in the following passage in thesis 27.11 The proposition goes like this:

Thesis 27: And so this theology is one, eternal, and immutable. For that which is necessarily true, the same is necessarily one; that which is just and holy cannot ever cease to be just and holy. Finally, that which is perfect with respect to God, the same is completely and always immutable.

We have woven this conclusion into the question concerning the form of our theology, therefore, because these three attributes are necessarily suited to its nature and condition. First, because this theology is unique, there are not therefore multiple forms of it. Second, because it is eternal in duration, it is not therefore temporary (as generally befalls any human understanding and knowledge). Third, because it is immutable both in itself and in all its own parts and in its individual aspects, it is therefore not susceptible to changes arising from some accident. For, as we were saying before, things that are composite and constructed of some mixture vary in their number, temporality, and by a thousand other changes. But things that are abstract or the forms of things stated abstractly are borne aloft very far above all change. For a true man changes, but never the truth. And a theologian changes, but never theology. When a man is called true or a theologian, or just, or holy, as a human being he possesses the design of mutable matter. But he only possesses the accidental form of truth, theology, holiness, justice, etc. But those pure forms from which men are named true, and theologians, and holy, and just stand uncorrupted by all vice. The individual forms are one substance in and of themselves; as individual forms they are eternal and immutable. The reason for our affirmation must be sought from the nature of that form which we have ascribed to theology and from the conditions which are joined to it. We designate the form of our theology, as we said before, as divine truth. We have added three necessary conditions of this truth, namely justice, holiness, and perfection. From these individual attributes are derived the arguments by which the unity, eternity, and immutability of this theology are confirmed. The argument from truth is derived in this way: that which is necessarily true is likewise necessarily one and belongs to eternal and immutable truth. The truth, moreover, is necessarily true. Therefore it is one, eternal, and immutable. For what is more true than truth? Or what by necessity is as true as the truth? By necessity we say, to use Aristotle’s words, that it is that which always is as it is nor can present itself otherwise or be contingent. For it is necessarily opposed to something contingent.12 We call true, moreover, whatever is as it were in our intellect either understood on its own or (as we would say) intelligible. But since we are dealing here not with that truth which can be perceived by the human intellect but by divine truth which infinitely surpasses the small measure of our understanding, truly things divine, since they are divine, have in themselves all the necessity of divine truth. Far more surely do they claim for themselves that which is established concerning the nature of truth or created truth. This means, no doubt, that what by necessity is found in this genus of divine and supernatural truth, the same by necessity is one, and eternal, and immutable in its unity, eternity, and most simple immutability because it is divine. Just as this structure of our theology is confirmed by the argument of divine truth, so also it is by the argument of justice and holiness. For what is absolutely just and holy can never fail to be just and holy: justice and just holiness are just and holy absolutely. Therefore it can never be but that the just and holy is, accordingly, the same as the one, eternal, and immutable. But if there is any true justice and holiness, that must finally be called true which is the justice and holiness of divine truth. This is supernatural in itself and in all its attributes, and is the divine form which God has expressed as one, eternal, and immutable in our theology.

Finally, since that condition of perfection which we were just describing is necessary for all these, I indeed conclude that the sure unity, eternity, and immutability of that perfection which is not human or humanly formed but divinely expressed in the truth of theology is definitively demonstrated by that perfection which we assign to our theology. For that which is perfect according to God, the same is wholly and always one, eternal, and immutable, especially since this theology of ours is nothing other than that certain expressed delineation of that unique, eternal, and immutable perfection by which God is most perfect. God, moreover, is not only perfect but essential perfection itself, and the cause of all perfection, and its standard and most reliable end. It remains, therefore, for us to conclude from the statements just made that this theology is one, eternal, and immutable, and it is the most perfect proof of just, holy, and perfect truth. God willed that this pattern of His own truth be communicated with the human race for His own glory and for the salvation of our souls in Christ Jesus.


1. ἀκατάληπτος.

2. Both “reason” in the previous sentence and “method” in this one are translations of ratio.

3. cum Ente.

4. I.e., τὰ κὰθ᾽ ἕκαστα; cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics B, 996a; and Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, 8.

5. res communiores.

6. I.e., the expressed truth.

7. I.e., the truth as it expresses itself.

8. διδακτὸν καὶ μαθητόν. Though Junius expresses the same idea twice, first in Greek, then in Latin, I have compressed it into one English phrase.

9. This portion of Junius’s argument is, if I have understood it correctly, uncharacteristically opaque. I believe he means that only a teaching that is not human in origin will lack the attributes of profanity, injustice, and imperfection.

10. Kuyper (83) wrongly has fit for Merula’s sit (1407).

11. Both Kuyper (84) and Merula (1408) read 32, but clearly the wording is that of Thesis 27. Either Junius or Merula made an error, which Kuyper has repeated.

12. τῷ ἐνδεχομένῳ; cf. Aristotle’s On Interpretation, 13.

Chapter 15

The Efficient Cause of Our Theology

We have spoken up to this point about the essential parts (as they are commonly called)1 and the internal causes of our theology. Now we must come to those causes which are usually called external or extrinsic. These are the efficient and final causes that we will treat in their proper order as briefly as possible.

Thesis 28: We posit that the efficient cause of our theology is twofold: one part is principal, the other instrumental.

Whenever the efficient cause of anything is discussed, we customarily note one thing in particular, namely whether or not the efficient cause produces its effect by its own power. Does it effect the whole, or only part? Finally, does it produce an effect on something essentially or just accidentally? It is appropriate that we make note of these considerations in all things natural and human so that we may acquire a true knowledge of those things which their own causes effect. So because the discussion here concerns theology, that is, the wisdom of divine truth which no creature and not even the universe itself can comprehend or trace out, surely this same method in reviewing our theology must be very carefully heeded. And we must see what produces that theology by its own power, either the whole of it or just part, essentially or accidentally; and what assistance is added for effecting it. When, moreover, we call this wisdom with which we are now dealing our theology, the first of these words2 is the name of the genus, the latter distinguishes the genus and establishes its species. This, in sum, would seem to be the most sure strategy for investigating the efficient cause, if it can be discovered from the pattern of its genus and species. The genus is theology; that is, the wisdom or reasoning of things divine. Things divine, moreover, surpass in all respects our nature and that of this entire universe. Therefore although these divine things cannot be contained by us nor by nature and the entirety of nature, certainly the efficient cause of theology should be sought neither in man, nor in any created thing, nor even in this whole universe. For why seek for it in something of that kind where it neither is nor ever can be present by an internal force nor by some ability of that thing? Its genus is supernatural; therefore, it cannot proceed from a natural cause, nor even from nature itself. But it is always supernatural in such a way that it can be produced from God alone, as from an efficient cause and principle, because God alone brings forth supernatural forms, not one from another. And so when we must speak about theology according to genus, its efficient cause is unique and singular. But because we are looking for the delimited species of theology and its efficient cause, as we call this theology of ours, so we say indeed that one cause of our absolute theology is principal, but the other is instrumental; for our theology is surely effected as by an instrument by that theology which proceeds purely from God and passes over to the family, as it were, of the human race. Thus we affirm that the efficient cause of our theology is twofold: The one is the principal cause that alone has formed theology by its own power. The other is the instrumental cause, which has suited and accommodated that divinely formed wisdom according to our capacity. Consequently we will next treat of each in their own order.

Thesis 29: The principal efficient and absolute cause of our theology is God the Father in the Son through His own Spirit breathing life into it, as He is the sole author and highest and most perfect creator of this wisdom in His own servants.

Whenever causes of things that are effected are explained in order (and order must be observed among several things causing effects simultaneously), it is always necessary that the rationale of that cause which is the principal one be principally considered, as well as what are the causes, finally, that are contributing to one effect. But because it generally happens in the case of created things that, when several causes are functioning in coordination, there are singular causes (as they are called) and these function to the best of their ability in the common effect, then on the contrary those causes which alone are sufficient in and of themselves and productive of effects are called absolute. Therefore, as we are going to speak about divine things, which differ in their whole genus and mode from the effection of created things, we have at the same time conjoined two attributes when we said simultaneously the principal efficient and absolute cause of our theology. We call it principal or distinctive for this reason because a comparison arises of the one cause with the other that pertains to the same effect. But we call it absolute because, without any other supporting cause, it shows forth its effect by its power and its own ability. Even if, moreover, these two attributes cannot easily coincide in created things, nevertheless in divine things we join both together at the same time for this reason: both because we believe that God produces the efficient absolute cause in all things (even in subordinate causes), and because if He employs some causes more fully He always maintains the principal cause among all the others that He uses most wisely and justly to accomplish His will. If there is anything which has need of a cause both astounding and very powerful, that is definitely theology, which men can attain not from nature but only from the communication of grace. As a consequence of this, theology has been named ours, that is, human. For if no one has known the things which are of man except the spirit of man that is in him,3 certainly no man would have known this wisdom—which is the wisdom of the divine Spirit—unless revelation had arrived among men from some other source. Therefore we have established that the efficient cause of this theology is God the Father in His Son through His own Spirit, that is, the one true and eternal God, even three persons in the unity of essence, working in common in this communication of grace. For who would reveal the things that are of God, even the most hidden things, except the Spirit of God? And in whom or by whom would the Spirit reveal the same thing except in the Son our mediator, and by the Father who gave the Son as the prophet and unique teacher of His own church?

Now the divine mode of this communication is inspiration. For even if the mode of teaching which God uses toward created things is manifold and all things are created in accordance with God, nevertheless in the communication of this heavenly and spiritual grace, a spiritual method had to be maintained. This was both because of the nature of the matter which is being dealt with and also because of the nature of the One who is communicating this matter. For no communication except a spiritual one was suitable for this spiritual good that proceeds from a spiritual author. But just as nature does not4 permit something corporeal to be communicated except in a corporeal fashion, so grace bids that something spiritual be communicated through the mode of the spirit. But this fact demonstrates, in the first place, that there was a need for spiritual communication, which we call inspiration, because God is the author of this communication, and because He claims for Himself alone its highest and perfect effection, as the distinctive work of His own divine glory. For who except God as its unique author could have bestowed something spiritual and so great? And who, when He was about to bring forth that greatest thing of all—which by its own worth surpasses the nature of the universe—would have through His grace caused it to overflow except the very author and protector of nature? Who would ever have explained this perfect communication and indeed the saving proof of all heavenly perfection if not the Most Perfect One? He, therefore, is that author of our theology and of the heavenly wisdom which He effects and engenders in His own servants in proportion to the measure of His own gift in such a way that individuals indeed receive their own portions from God as the author of theology, but God nevertheless sets forth the perfect form of this theology to all commonly.

Now we call Him indeed the author and accomplisher of this wisdom since we realize that He is the same one who applies the intermediate causes to this communication of grace. We affirm that He truly is the sole and perfect author and accomplisher, because He is the same one who works all things in all ways both in us, His elect, and in the means that have been appropriated for our calling. But if He works all things, the same God therefore works perfectly. Or, if perfection is not in God and from God, then we must confess that it exists nowhere. But piety prevents us from making such a statement. The apostle, warning against this opinion, wrote to the Corinthians that even very slender rudiments of this heavenly wisdom are to be considered valuable and as it were cherished and cultivated by all as divine: “I make known to you that no one speaking through the Spirit of God says that Jesus is accursed. And no one can say that Jesus is Lord except through the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3–4, etc.). Then, truly, rising up from these very simple principles to greater ones, he rather applies his point to all things universally: There are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of offices but the same Lord. And there are varieties of works, but it is the same God working all these things in everyone.5 And a little bit later, he says that the one and the same Spirit accomplishes all these things, apportioning these gifts individually to each just as He wills. Just as earlier Christ had also said, when He was rejoicing in the Spirit, “All things have been given to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father; and no one knows who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son has willed to reveal Him.” And by that name he had ascribed glory to His God and Father (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:21).

Now let us examine the second cause, the one they call instrumental.

Thesis 30: The instrumental cause of this wisdom is the λόγος προφορικός, or the enunciative discourse of God: it is spoken both spiritually, and when it is corporeal, then corporeally.

I am indeed not unaware that that is properly named by craftsmen the instrumental cause which the principal agent (as they call him) applies as a sort of instrument externally to produce the effect which will proceed from the determined action. And so the enunciative discourse, if ever God should commandeer it without mediation, cannot properly be called an instrumental cause. But because there is a kind of analogy of spiritual matters with those that are corporeal, according to this analogy even spiritual matters are named analogically by the terms that pertain properly to things that are corporeal. For convenience we refer both (i.e., spiritual and corporal discourse) to the genus of instrumental cause. For these particulars by analogy participate in one another, and with respect to this analogy God employs discourse with us both spiritually and corporally, as seems good to Him, for our instruction. And the instrumental cause is for convenience predicated of both of them as a certain analogical genus. Nor is it really an impediment to our explanation that the corporal discourse applies externally those instruments by reason of which it seems to be called an instrumental cause. For the same discourse also makes use of its own instruments internally, and from these it is also equally instrumental, and so named. Now of the instruments that we typically use for completing actions, some are joined to a principal cause while others are separated, just as in acting the hand is a conjoined instrument while a cane is a separated one.6 In speaking, the tongue, palate, and teeth are conjoined instruments,7 but the air which we cause to vibrate is a separated instrument. God makes use, moreover, of each mode in His own spiritual discourse analogically: either He only uses His own speech as an analogical instrument,8 or He will have willed9 to employ internally the speech of angels or of ourselves. Therefore this axiom stands firm: The instrumental cause of this wisdom is the discourse of God, just as the instrumental cause of wisdom in human affairs is the discourse of one man teaching and instructing another. The discourse of a man, moreover, is manifold. One type is innate, which the orthodox fathers called ἔμφυτον or φυσικόν; and this is the discourse of our intellection with itself. A second kind is discourse that has been bestowed, which the Fathers dubbed ἐνδιάθετον.10 Reason conceives this kind of discourse from the conjunction, division, and rationalization of things perceived externally, and from the conclusions that result from this. The third kind, finally, is enunciative discourse, commonly called προφορικός. By this a person communicates with others the concept11 of his own mind, or something that was engendered in his intellect, or what was perceived by reason externally.

The first of these types of discourse is natural, and for this reason it always exists in its own subject by actuation. The second kind is effected in the subject by something else. The third produces an effect in something else. And so because the question here concerns that discourse, which is the efficient and as it were instrumental cause, or (as we said just now) the cause which is instrumental analogically, certainly it was not appropriate for the ἔμφυτον discourse to be understood as relevant at this point—for the ἔμφυτον is immanent (as the scholastics say) and does not pass over to another. Nor should the ἐνδιάθετον be taken as a discourse, since it is a passive discourse rather than an active one, nor can it ever truly be attributed to God. For obviously nothing affects God, least of all the passion which is most unworthy of God’s majesty. Therefore it remains for us to define the discourse of God, which we call the instrumental cause of this wisdom, as πορφορικόν or enunciative, as we posited before in our thesis. This was done indeed rightly. For if no one knows what belongs to man except the Spirit of man within him and anyone to whom a man should wish to explain himself by his own enunciative discourse or some sign, how much more did we need the discourse of God that we might somehow or other lay hold of matters divine, heavenly, and supernatural—things that a human being, the earth, and the entire nature of the universe cannot contain? Therefore this προφορικός discourse flows from God Himself, and through a sort of effluence or procession from it (as we would say) produces its own effect in those who hear.

This enunciative discourse of God, moreover, is divided into two genera by its reason and method. For the discourse God uses is either spiritual or, even, corporeal. We call spiritual discourse that which is enunciated without the instrumentality of the body. We call that discourse corporal which makes a noise when the instrument of the body is set in motion. These two genera of discourse are distinguished from one another in three ways: in their principle, object, and mode. In their principle: for the spiritual discourse flows out only from the spiritual essence. But the corporeal discourse flows from the body, or even from the Spirit12 through the body, as through its instrument—whether conjoined, as the body of a person which is the individual musical instrument of the breath itself; or separated, like air, a pipe, and similar things as we showed before. They are distinguished in their object: for spiritual discourse is related to the spirit; nor can it ever be perceived by any essence other than a spiritual one. Corporal discourse is perceived by the body, or even by the spirit through the body as its own vessel, absorbing the things that are infused and injected into it from elsewhere. Finally, they are distinguished by mode: because spiritual discourse is not uttered by the one who holds conversation unless spiritually, and it is perceived spiritually by the one who hears it. But corporeal discourse, although it flows forth from the spirit as from the principal agent, is not considered and comprehended except corporeally, so that it is diverted through the instrument of the body, just as through a funnel, into the recesses and innermost parts of the spirit. God took possession of both of these methods in a most holy way when it seemed good to Him to pour down this heavenly wisdom on the human race from above. For He spoke to the fathers in various places and various times13 through the Spirit, through apparitions, through many other instruments, and through His prophets. But now in these times through His own Son He has displayed and communicated the fullness of that wisdom which afterward was sealed with the most definite credibility by the apostles and evangelists through the monuments of their writings. But we will speak about these topics in their own time if the Lord helps us.


1. De partibus essentialibus; this may be a reference to a work of Giles of Rome (1243–1316) entitled De Partibus Philosophiae Essentialibus.

2. I.e., sapientia and theologia.

3. Cf. 2 Corinthians 2:11 and following verses.

4. Kuyper (87) erroneusly has nom [sic] for Merula’s correct non (1410).

5. This is a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 12:4–6.

6. Kuyper (88) wrongly has saparatum [sic] for Merula’s separatum (1411).

7. Junius means they are conjoined not to each other, but to the principal cause; i.e., the person speaking.

8. Kuyper (88) wrongly has instrumeno [sic] for Merula’s instrumento (1411).

9. Kuyper (88) wrongly has volueris [sic] for Merula’s voluerit (1411). The former, as a second person singular, makes no sense in this context.

10. This term is attested in Irenaeus in a discussion of the Son’s presence with the Father. Cf. On the Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, trans. A. Robinson (New York: Macmillan, 1920), 2.10. Robinson suggests that this language is inspired by Psalm 45:1. It is in Athanasius as well, De Synodis, sections 5 and 6 from the Creed of the Long Lines, along with λόγος προφορικός. Cf. J. P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca (Paris: Imprimerie Catholique, 1857), vol. 26, col. 728ff.

11. Conceptum; cf. Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 1.30.3.

12. In this passage, when I have understood the use of the word “spirit” to refer to the Holy Spirit, the word has been capitalized. In other instances, when Junius uses the word to represent either a person’s breath or his human spirit, i.e., his soul, the word is lowercased. As spiritus bears both meanings in Latin, Junius is able to develop his argument while retaining this ambiguity.

13. Multifariam atque multoties; this is a paraphrase of Jerome’s rendering in the Vulgate of Hebrews 1:1: “Multifariam, multisque modis olim Deus loquens patribus in prophetis.”

Chapter 16

The End of Our Theology

Up to this point we have presented the aspects of the material, formal, and efficient causes of our theology that seem to pertain to our project. We have deliberately delayed the investigation of the final cause until this juncture, however, for this reason: because we supposed that the most convenient transition to the other mode of theology, the one commonly called relative, would be along this path. For since the nature of those things which are ordered to some fixed end2 is such that the greater the similarity and analogy they have with that end, the greater is their quality and worth, so it is necessary that we prefer this theology of ours stated absolutely to all wisdom and knowledge, because through the kindness of divine grace it has the most perfect congruence with its own end and orders all its instruction most perfectly to that divine end. Yet it is not so congruent that it unfolds the whole divine perfection of divine wisdom according to its own mode and condition. Rather, it sets forth an account tempered in some way for our feeble condition, according to as much of that truth and wisdom as it was expedient to be revealed to us here for God’s glory and the good of His elect (as we established previously in chapter 12). Concerning the final cause, therefore, let us conclude with the few sure and fundamental principles which are needed, so that we may finally bring this investigation to its close.

The first axiom is like this:

Thesis 31: The final cause of theology is twofold: for one is distant or very exalted. The other indeed is secondary and follows from the first, and is (as they say) subordinate to it.

Nature very plainly teaches this order of distinguishing ends. For in all situations and actions something both of nature and of will always is maintained, such that it is aimed toward some end. Nature resolutely places this one end before itself; will selects it in a mutable fashion. Now indeed, of those things which are accomplished only by the instinct of nature apart from some motion of the will, the reasoning is such that these never stray or are in and of themselves alienated from the end that nature has established. They customarily are aimed toward several ends, according to the principles by which they are governed. So it happens that individual things arising from nature pursue a natural end, while those arising from will pursue a willed end, whether one that has been carefully considered or one that has not. They pursue the considered end by a proper ordering of nature and will acting in harmony. But they pursue the unconsidered end when an improper confusion of these has occurred.

At this juncture, however, because we determined to speak about the end of our theology apart from the aspect of the subject, we are considering that end3 in such a way that it suits only the nature of theology to be equipped with its own proper end or ends. This particular end pertains to the nature of theology. And so this theology, because it is supernatural, also requires a supernatural end and one that is consistent with its own nature. By necessity we must attribute to this theology a single end, or two at most, because it does not dissolve in different end terms as if it were an uncertain or unstable sort of wisdom. But either that theology establishes its own unique4 end in its own subject with which it deals; or if another end must also be added, this one—and never more—nevertheless, will be5 the end most consistently among all the other things that are arranged with respect to its proper subject. The same subject of all of them, moreover, is common and proper to our theology, namely God. Toward God Himself human beings, the foster-children of theology, are ordered by His nature.6 But a far different conclusion must be drawn concerning human beings who have been called by God’s special kindness to share in this theology. This is because they head toward the end set out for them not only by nature or with a will that is natural and reformed through grace; but they also do so with a will considered and unconsidered indiscriminately, as we will discuss in its place. Therefore two ends (if you will permit it) are proposed for theology: the first and primary one that looks to God, and the other, secondary one that looks to us and the human race in its entirety. We must next deal with each of these in turn.

Now this axiom pertains to the first end:

Thesis 32: The primary or highest end of theology is the glory of God, for theology shows this glory for all to behold, and also all good men by a right use of this wisdom render that glory confirmed, just as wisdom is justified by her children7 (Matt. 11:19).

For no one can doubt (as we said before) that the ends of things are more valuable in proportion to the value of the objects toward which, as toward a proper end, one properly aims—especially since the certainty of the end corresponds to its value. In these two categories the excellence and authority of all kinds of knowledge and actions have been placed.

Moreover, the object of theology here is God, so it is called theology8 for that reason. And indeed it is the true God; so for that reason it is called a revealed or inspired theology, just as we showed before that the same theology is one of revelation and thus “ours.” And so because that object with which our theology is concerned is most great, we correctly state that its primary or highest end is the glory of God, because we can add nothing to it from some other source, but it can only become conspicuous to us by its glory and be illumined among created things by the revelation of this wisdom.

We show as plainly as possible by two arguments that these things are so. One of these arguments is derived from the nature of theology itself; the other comes from the effects that follow in those whom it pleased God to sprinkle with the communication of this theology. For it arises from theology’s nature that it shows as its end the glory of God for all to behold, and it is like the sun from the height of heaven surveying this lower realm of ours. Thus it shows forth that glory before the face and eyes of all, so that if any do not believe, what the apostle says about such persons is fittingly applied (2 Cor. 4:3–4): “If theology is concealed, it is concealed to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age has blinded their minds, lest truly the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God or (as the same person9 says elsewhere in Hebrews 1:3) the splendor of His glory, shine among the unbelieving.” If it happens naturally that color and light are not at all perceived by the blind, nor sound by the deaf, nor smell by one who has perished (though these conditions are natural) because they lack the ability of nature for perceiving them, certainly by the same10 argument, and in fact a better one, it must be acknowledged that men are unable and ill-suited to obtaining divine and supernatural truths. Not only do they themselves lack all ability, but they also lack the whole actual nature of things. And it is by that ability that those things11 that are divine and surpass the universe of nature are grasped.

But the second argument shines forth in the human race far more clearly, the one that we explained is derived from effects. For indeed those supernatural and divine realities can be seen by men neither according to those things themselves nor according to their communication through grace among the elect. But in fact those things that the human eye does not perceive, once they have taken root within, through God’s grace send out their spiritual fruits externally, and they display, as it were, the shining torches of their works so that those who see them may glorify our Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:16). Then truly is the proof of that theology which is most efficaciously living and active in the elect most impressive. For then those very people who have secured participation in this theology are both aware in their minds of that light kindled within by the power of the Spirit,12 and by their ungrudging and manifest enjoyment of and submission to that same light they rouse and illuminate the consciences of their watching brothers.13 Consequently their brothers contemplate the work of God in them, both the efficacy of that theology in its operation and God Himself in the efficacy of that theology. For the work of God is most sure, and by far the most abundant of all the works which can be exhibited here below, because by the communication of this theology the blind see, the deaf hear, and even those dead are brought to life again at the voice of the Son of God and attain true and eternal life in fellowship with Him (John 5:15). The efficacy of that most holy theology in this work is beyond compare, because from a cadaver, as it were from a block of wood absolutely dead and destined for the fire (for thus is the natural or ψυχικός14 man), it sends forth living works, the richest fruits of that life—even among such great masses of impediments that the flesh, sin, the world, and Satan throw up, and in such great weakness.

Finally, the proof of God’s presence and assistance in this work is completely evident, because He accomplishes all these things in those who belong to Him by the communication of His Spirit, and bestows His grace upon the righteous so that in fear and trembling they work out their own salvation (Phil. 2:12). For it is God who works in us so that we will and act in accord with His own gracious goodwill. By this goodwill He makes His own glory known to all so powerfully that His manifold wisdom is justified by her sons, as Christ said in Matthew 11:19. For it pleased our God and Father that these unsearchable riches of Christ—riches supplied from the treasury of that theology—be preached among men. And it pleased Him to bring in to the light for all to see what is the fellowship15 of the mystery which had been hidden for all ages in God, who stored up all these things through Jesus Christ, in order that the varied wisdom of God might be made known through the church to the powers and principalities that are in the heavens, according to the eternal plan which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. And He purposed to make it known to the apostle of our confession, which we have drawn from the fullness of that theology to God’s glory (Eph. 3:9–11). Now another end follows, which we have called secondary and subordinate. But for the sake of simplicity of argument we will just touch on it briefly.

Thesis 33: The secondary or subordinate end of our theology is the present and future good of the elect. For promises for this life and the one to come have been made with reference to their righteousness. This theology, moreover, is the wisdom of true righteousness.

After we have spoken about the final and highest end, which surpasses the condition of all created things and shall last forever, we now at length come to the conjoined end, the one that will remain among us unceasingly for our supreme good. Therefore, just as nature properly and in and of itself always seeks things that are good—common nature seeks them in common while individual nature seeks them individually—so the natural order of that seeking has been composed in such a way that individuals seek their own good as it is closest and the common good as highest (in which the common good of individuals consists). Thus also God in His account of saving grace has demonstrated by the light of theology the common good and the individual good as consisting in the common good. The common good is God’s glory. Truly in this common good, our individual good is located, namely that we are to be made glorious in the glory of God and are to perceive all good as both from His glory and to His glory. So as the glory of God remains steadfast in this age and the one to come, and as it is the perpetual16 font of the good that comes to all created things, so also we must establish that the effect of that always active, supernatural cause is always present in our souls; that cause is most free and never hindered, and it will never perish by anyone’s action.

We conclude, therefore, that it is not possible for the good of created things, which God as the sole author of salvation has effectively called to participation in His glory, ever to perish. And because these creatures come from no other source than God’s election and the purpose of His definite grace, we have established that the good of the elect is eternal and immortal, whether that of the angels in heaven or of men on earth (since it has its foundation in God’s glory and there it rests). In this way, by striving toward the common good, that is, to God’s glory, we are led to the individual good, that is, our salvation. Why and how does this happen? Surely through the promises of grace and the revelation of theology. For in this instance, the grace of God and the promises of grace are the only reason why we should be led to both of these goods. But the same grace exhibits this method to all by communicating theology with us. When the apostle, furthermore, conveyed the cause to us, explaining in 2 Timothy 4:8 that the promises of this and the coming life were made to righteousness, he was declaring that two effects would come from these divine promises. One of these is that God Himself graciously forms us in the proper pattern which befits His heirs. The second is that He distributes the goods that belong to heirs. The proper pattern of heirs consists in true righteousness—a righteousness that love defines as a pure heart, a good conscience, and a faith unfeigned (1 Tim. 1:5). Truly those hereditary goods indeed exist in the life to come, but nevertheless they are actually communicated already in this present life and are perceived through faith until we attain full possession of them in the future life. God is the author of each: both of piety in us His heirs and of the inheritance in heaven for the sake of those who will be the heirs of His salvation. I add that He is also the author of the timely aids which are needed for obtaining this inheritance, so long as we are heading on this journey toward the Lord. But there can be no saving means of offering and obtaining17 this cause other than the revelation of that divine wisdom, which is not the wisdom of this age, nor of the princes of this age who are perishing; rather, it is the wisdom of God in a mystery, that hidden wisdom which God had determined for our glory before all ages, and which no prince of this age recognized, but God alone revealed by His Spirit (1 Cor. 2:7–8). This is that one wisdom which begets righteousness in us as heirs of the coming heavenly kingdom, teaches the righteous the promises of every good thing, and displays to the faith of those heirs all the goods of inheritance and eternal salvation for God’s glory. And so God has exhibited these things concerning our theology in relation to itself by the uncorrupted form, as it were, of heavenly wisdom. What is left is for us to bring together a few remarks, using the same order and method, concerning the theology that exists in respect to us—what some term a relative theology and others a theology in the subject.


1. Junius uses here De Fine instead of De Finali Caussa vel sim. which would be more in keeping with the titles of previous chapters and their aetiological bent.

2. Each instance of “end” in this section is a translation of some form of finis and thus corresponds to “final cause.”

3. Kuyper (90) wrongly has the feminine substantive eam for Merula’s eum (1413). The feminine has no logically proper antecedent, and thus Kuyper’s reading is erroneous.

4. Both this and “single” in the previous sentence are translations of the adjective unicus, -a, -um.

5. Kuyper (90) has the erroneous fururus for the correct futurus that Merula attests (1413).

6. Kuyper (90) has omitted the crucial word natura between ordinantur and ipsius that Merula attests (1413).

7. K. Bratt notes that Junius translates a variation of Matthew 11, whereas Nestle-Aland 27 has ἔργων.

8. I have added this emphasis to clarify in English Junius’s point that is lucid in Latin.

9. Junius apparently believes that Paul is the author of the letter to the Hebrews.

10. Kuyper (90) wrongly has eadem for Merula’s eodem (1414). The former is impossible because, as the context plainly shows, it must modify the neuter noun argumento.

11. Kuyper (90) wrongly has illa for Merula’s illae (1414).

12. This genitive is capitalized neither in Kuyper nor Merula, but it seems to refer to the Holy Spirit rather than to an internal consciousness or impulse in the person.

13. Kuyper (91) has circumspectautium [sic] for Merula’s correct circumspectantium (1414).

14. Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14 and 15:44 and 46; also James 3:15, and Jude 19.

15. K. Bratt notes that Junius has communio while the Greek is οἰκονομία and the Vulgate has dispensatio.

16. Kuyper (91) has the incorrect peremnis while Merula (1414) has the correct perennis.

17. Praestandae & percipiendae; my translation attempts to retain Junius’s use of alliteration.

Chapter 17

Theology in the Subject

This theology of ours which is present in the human subject is a certain imperfect form of that theology that God perfectly exhibits to us by His gracious communication. By our imperfect theology, the perfect type can be present in this subject. For just as all those actions of God which proceed from Him in a pure state obtain their perfect form and constitution in that one instant of their origin, so on the other hand whatever actions proceed commonly from God and men, and in which God willed that men should be in some way co-workers1 with Himself, these actions are present in their subjects in a certain imperfect form so long as we are in this life, and do not obtain their own perfection in this age. And just as nature, beginning from a very imperfect position, advances a little bit toward the perfection of itself, so these actions also, from a very slender and imperfect principle, are led along by God’s power, little by little by their own steps and small advances, toward some image of their own perfection. Therefore, in fact, this theology called in the subject can never be defined according to the degrees of its perfection or imperfection because it is as various as the subjects in which it is present by the grace of God, according to the individual degrees of their imperfection. Even so, this very theology, in whatever way it exists in each subject, is not more theology in one subject than in another, but is only counted greater or lesser in proportion to the capacities of the individuals. Just as, for example, we say that a short oak tree is not “less of an oak” but a “lesser oak” than another that is tall, so it is permissible somehow or other to define theology in the subject according to its essence, apart from a comparison with this distinguishing imperfection. For Christ also taught us that faith, which has a necessary connection with this theology, is not more or less a faith but is greater or lesser according to the capacity of the subjects, when He said to His apostles, “If you should have faith the size of a grain of mustard, you will say to this mountain, ‘be moved from here to there,’ and it will move away, etc.” (Matt. 17:20). So wisely marking this explanation, we define our theology (which is called theology in the subject) in the following manner:

Thesis 34: Our relative theology, or the theology called in the subject, is that same wisdom2 of divine matters, altered in accordance with the reasoning of those persons in whom it is present, and as a consequence of which they are called theologians.

From this definition it can easily be understood what this theology has in common with that theology of ours stated absolutely, and in what way it differs from it. For two shared3 qualities are posited: the genus and the common differentia, as they call it. The genus is wisdom, which we have already discussed in the second chapter. The shared specifying characteristic is that it is the wisdom of divine things. In chapter 13 we touched very briefly on the nature, structure, forms, and order of these topics to the extent that it seemed relevant to our project.

So now we must come to the specifying characteristic that is not shared. For the sake of clarity, we are setting out this specifying characteristic in two ways: according to its nature or essence and according to its sign. These words pertain to the specifying characteristic of this theology with respect to its essence: that it is said to be altered in accordance with the capacity of those persons in whom it is present. We have truly denoted its specifying characteristic by these words: as a consequence of which they are called theologians. In order to mark out correctly the essential specifying characteristic (as we would put it) of our theology, these two points must necessarily coincide: (1) the subject and its capacity; and (2) the gift of wisdom that inheres in the subject. For because the nature of this subject is always imperfect, it is not able in and of itself to contain anything which is truly perfect. Or if by God’s grace (as He works) it lays hold of anything perfect, it cannot, nevertheless, contain it perfectly. This indeed is the pattern which we want always to be observed in the subject, so that we might judge suitably concerning the gift or grace that is added to it. For the subject is twofold according to its capacity and condition: the one consists in nature and the other in grace. The subject, moreover, in its own nature cannot contain something perfect or even perfectly in its actuation, or its potentiality, or in any disposition to potentiality. But the same subject when considered in grace or (as they say) in a state of grace, while it is in that condition perceives indeed the perfect gift and good donations as it comes from God (as James says in 1:17). But because it is always mired in some imperfection of nature and is dealing only with the beginning of grace, it cannot perfectly grasp that perfect gift and good donation that proceeds from God—although sometimes it happens by particular grace that a person lays hold of that perfect gift of God. Thus a modification of our theology proceeds from this capacity of the subject, because even if theology is perfect in itself, nevertheless (however perfect it is) it is disfigured in the subject by some imperfection of the subject. So then the form of theology is perfect in itself, but in the subject the form of theology is imperfect because this is the form of only a pure beginning in us by grace. Now the evidence of this modification comes from the sign that we have attached to the end of the definition. For just as people want there to be a quality from which we are said to be of such a sort,4 so likewise it is appropriate that theology is identified as that from which people are called theologians. The condition, moreover, of theologians is of this kind: namely that insofar as they are humans they are indeed suited to the subject in themselves, but differ generally in their capacity, because we see that more theology is present in some while less in others. For if anyone should suppose that a mere novice understands with precision the theology which John or Paul have crafted, or that the same person can show himself to be just as much a theologian when he is learning the ABCs of theology as when he has his senses trained through long habit to discern between good and evil from the canon of true theology, such a man indeed should be committed by the judgment of good men5 to the care of his family and kinsmen (as they say). It was appropriate, then, that a few little notes and remarks concerning the method and causes of this theology be added to the preceding definition, so that by a confirmed reverence and prudence we should guard against two contrasting faults; for the untrained easily sink into the second of these faults.

For there are some who, from the time when first they have swallowed even the smallest taste of this wisdom, suppose that they are genuine and unadulterated theologians and boast that they are a complete theologian. Such persons you would more accurately dub “enthusiasts”6 in keeping with what they deserve. There are others, by contrast, who when they notice the meagerness of this theology of ours in its subject, and the arrogance of many theologians (for shame!), think that theology is nothing but empty talk.7 Such men rush eagerly8 toward an abominable godlessness,9 while they vanish in their own imaginations.10 In order to address these problems in an appropriate and pious manner, it seemed necessary to insert a few points about the method of this theology, so that the truth of divine reality, however obscure it is, may be protected from the lies of men. The first of these points is as follows in thesis 35.

Thesis 35: The method of this theology in the subject cannot be delimited, both because it varies in each person and because it is very different among all men.

Here we call it the method, not the form of the matter under consideration (for the form of theology is always divine in all its degrees). We do not call it the path of its comprehension and perception (for this also is a divine work and a seal of divine grace). But it is the quantity (as we would say) of that comprehension and perception which reaches the person. For just as more or less liquid is poured into containers in proportion to their size, so also men’s souls are enlarged to a greater or lesser extent by the power of God, such that they become capable of holding other spiritual gifts as well as this very wisdom. Therefore we correctly assert that the mode of this theology cannot be defined, or rather the mode of being of those who participate in this theology. For since there is a knowledge of universals, but the mode of being is that of indivisible particulars (as they call them), you could more easily drain the ocean with a sieve than acquire any sure knowledge of this topic.

First, the causes of this variety must be recognized as innumerable; then a few minor points must be proven if possible, by which at least some rationale of the topic can be demonstrated for the benefit of our project. Now indeed the causes do not at all reside in theology itself, since it is obviously uniform in and of itself, nor can it exist in different modes. We must, therefore, discover the causes in the subject itself, whatsoever they may be. There are, moreover, two causes altogether that proceed from the condition of the subject. The one cause is that the subject is unique—that is, each person differs in himself as much as possible, and each person is susceptible to innumerable alterations. The other cause is that some subjects are exceedingly different from others. For since there is such variety and multiplicity of subjects both in themselves, and also their capacity varies among them, the method of this wisdom by necessity also varies completely according to subjects so variable within themselves and according to the inherent differences between them. Regarding the first type of change alteration, we posit the following in thesis 36.

Thesis 36: The method varies in each man, because in each a twofold principle is present, nature and grace. The former must be diminished, the latter increased, from glory to glory11 by the power of the Spirit and the effective communication of theology.

Common experience bears witness in the clearest way that everybody undergoes internal changes, and so in the same person the mode of theology is changed. All see this even by the testimony of common sense, but the causes they do not equally see. For since the causes of the change are found in the principles of this wisdom—and from these principles men are established as knowledgeable in theology—there are two genera of these principles. One of these, nature of course, is the principle by which people exist. The other, grace of course, is the principle by which they have been endowed with this wisdom beyond the capacity of their own nature. Certainly there is no way that this can happen except that they be drawn by different kinds of changes and through degrees of changes to a comprehension of this wisdom. Because it is the common principle of all men, all perceive that nature is mutable, and as it were tossed about by endless spirals and changes. But none properly observe grace working in men by degrees of changes, other than those whose eyes God has illuminated by His grace. Truly, sometimes even people very far removed from that grace can observe its signs. But the effect of those principles that come together at the same time in one and the same subject is plainly variable. For just as the nature of the subject is carried along by itself toward its dissolution, so it is necessary that the natural man or our outer man be diminished and waste away; but the inner man, on whom grace is acting, is increased and renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). So it happens that all of us whom God has graciously made the foster children of His theology, with face unveiled beholding God’s glory as in a mirror, shall be transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18). Thus the weakness of nature, in and of itself, day by day grows weaker as the efficacy of grace grows stronger. The author of that grace is the Spirit by His power: that Spirit of God, I say, who works all these things in all ways, distributing individually to each His own gifts as He wills
(1 Cor. 12:11). And He communicates most efficaciously this theology or divine wisdom not only commonly but also separately and individually with each and every heir of divine grace.

Now in the same way that the measure of theology in each and every member of Christ, who shares in this heavenly wisdom, cannot be given with certainty, so we must establish that the measure, clearly, is also uncertain, if we compare among themselves the capacity of so many men whom God has made sharers in His theology. It seemed good to explain this matter in this next thesis.

Thesis 37: It varies among all men, because nature is lessened and grace increased more in some than in others, even if at present not one man comprehends perfectly the whole form of our theology in every respect.

The argument of this proposition is so obvious that is seems to need very little elaboration. For just as individuals undergo a change in themselves resulting from these two principles which we set out before, so also it is a consequence of the same principles that the measure of this wisdom is most variable among all men. For, as we might say about our explanation of nature in the previous passage, so we must consider it under two heads, both as it is common to all and as it is singular and proprietary for each, or (as the Fathers termed it) χαρακτηρισική. Because if each and every person maintained their own nature as proprietary, χαρακτηρισικήν, and singular, who would not readily see from this that by a common nature all have some congruence with one another, but that by their individual and proprietary nature a distinction arises among them from the necessity of nature? Therefore, as all men, in accordance with the changes of a common nature, are commonly subject to the laws of change, so also each person endures his own changes individually according to the rule of his particular and individual nature. And as the nature of each person in matters that concern the body is gradually diminished as it encounters the different changes and vicissitudes of circumstance and finally perishes, so by a similar law in matters that concern our souls we recognize the change and diminishment of nature. As we must consider, moreover, the instance of an individual nature heading toward its own diminishment and dissolution, so in contrast we must contemplate the instance of a grace that increases in the servants of God and all the righteous and happily rises up to its own perfection: because the decrease of the former is the increase of the latter.12 There is this great difference between them: Those decreases and diminishments of nature proceed from the power of an opposing grace that will finally conquer13 and overwhelm nature. But only the power and efficacy of grace accomplish the increases. From this fact a second difference also follows, or rather (if one is pleased to say it like this), an effect that arises from the preceding difference. Because just as grace is produced and rises up in righteous minds, so in an equal measure and in opposing degrees (as they say) nature14 is suppressed. These happen at the same rate: As the latter weakens, the former strengthens, just as if someone should fill a jar from above—one punctured on both sides and so emptying from below—with a second liquid that would displace the liquid beneath or would dislodge some polluted liquid lying below when the pure Spirit is introduced from above.15

But yet, no matter how far men endowed by the Spirit of God advance in the sharing of that grace, this has always happened among all good people and those who love the truth: that not one of them all in the whole history of mankind has perfectly comprehended the whole form of our theology in all its aspects, or is now comprehending it in this life; nor in any age shall anyone comprehend it, so long as we walk by faith in this wretched state, and do not by sight obtain the goal of this theology and our faith. For (as the apostle says, 1 Cor. 13:12): “We peer now through a glass and a riddle, but then we shall see face to face. Now we understand in part, yet then we shall know even as we shall be known.” And in the same manner, the degrees in the measure of our theology are innumerable. How great a space and difference in levels intervenes between its lowest step, which approaches the point of nonexistence, and that highest degree, which no human being can ever attain. But nevertheless, not even that person in whom nature has been exceedingly diminished (whoever there is who can be cited from the number of such persons) and whom grace has increased and strengthened as much as possible—not even that very person, therefore, who has been carried by God’s grace to such a point has so pursued the whole form of this our theology that he has perceived in a perfect manner according to the proper standard of comprehension, or in all respects, and according to all the parts of our theology with that perfection which is congruent with the divine form of our theology. For in fact if there are any such (for we are not at all discussing the person of Christ in this passage, whose particular theology is that of union, like an inexhaustible font whence our theology flows), certainly it is fitting for such a person to have been among the ranks of the prophets or apostles upon whom the Lord bestowed His special gifts by His special calling and dispensation for the revelation of that Spirit and divine wisdom. But if we should look to Elijah or Elisha from the chorus of prophets, if we look to John the Baptist, whom Christ Himself proclaimed greater than the prophets, if we look to Peter, James, John, or Paul, not even among these or any other men of God should that perfection be said to have existed. Rather, just as God willed that His grace should suffice in the course of life, so let it be established that in our weakness His power is made perfect; so also that it was His plan that, for the sake of our faith, His grace should suffice for each person and His truth should rest peacefully in the weakness of His servants.

We have summarized the matter in a few words like this:

Thesis 38: And indeed the prophets and apostles perceived the whole and complete form of this theology, but not perfectly in themselves; and by the unique power of the Spirit all the others handed down that whole theology,16 though neither whole nor perfectly.

We call the whole form of theology that which embraces all its essential (as we would say) parts. But the perfect theology is that which contains the true and proper measure and one lacking imperfection with respect to itself and in all its individual parts. We deny, consequently, that our theology called whole and perfect in this sense was whole or perfectly comprehended by most people. But if there were any who understood it, they have been only the prophets and apostles to whom the perfect communication of our theology came by special inspiration and revelation. So this must be understood: We grant that these most holy servants of God, the prophets and apostles, obtained the whole form of this theology according to the principles of theology itself; just as we believe that Moses, the faithful servant of God in his whole house,17 received this whole form handed down by God, that it was perfect as he had received it from the Lord, that he sealed it in his writings, and handed it down to the ancient18 church as the divine canon. For the entire nature of theology is contained with power in these principles, and these exalted men grasped these principles by a kind of peculiar and exceptional power bestowed upon them by the Spirit. And we do not at all retreat from this consideration, that these men attained the whole and perfect form of this theology. Nevertheless, we have asserted that they in themselves did not at all obtain it perfectly, but rather in their own fashion and the way in which the revelation was delivered to them. These two considerations are sufficient for making clear the imperfection of this communication. For if we examine the capacity of these men, they were humans susceptible to the same weaknesses as we are and hemmed in by the same constraints of weakness that attend the human lot. This lot indeed is so imperfect during this pilgrimage here apart from our Lord that it cannot perfectly lay hold of anything perfect. For how, I ask, could an imperfect efficient cause ever produce effects which are perfect, or would be considered perfect in their own right? It is certainly quite bizarre if anyone judges that perfect effects could arise or result from an imperfect cause. If anyone should make such a claim, not that they themselves indeed demonstrated perfection in their own manner but that God had worked this perfection in them, we answered this also in another section, when we said that they had not even understood this theology perfectly in the mode of revelation. For indeed God, the author of this revelation, is perfect, and His work within Himself is perfect, just as the revelation of God which He produced is perfect in relation to itself. But the pattern of divine revelation is something far different in itself than it is in a very weak and frail object;19 just as (so we would say) the pattern of the light from the sun in itself is different in a little night owl, or in someone who cannot see at night,20 or a bat and someone purblind who can only take in a little bit of that light. But, if by the power of the divine Spirit, the mind of the prophets and apostles was as it were expanded and more fully illumined above our standard measure and its usual reason (which it certainly was), still it cannot be concluded from this that their mind was expanded infinitely or by some infinite perfection so that they could perfectly contain the perfection of this wisdom. Indeed we believe that they received it whole and perfect and free of all imperfection.21 But we do not at all affirm that they did so perfectly and with such great perfection that they even rendered the perfection of this wisdom in itself equal to that in themselves; nor would it be reverent to affirm that. For why should we either feel within our minds or proclaim in the presence of others anything about those chosen instruments of God other than what they expressed about themselves with divine truth and proper humility? For Paul spoke for them all when he said of himself: “We know in part, and we prophesy in part. For we see now through a glass and a riddle, but then we will behold face to face” (1 Cor. 13:9, 12). And when he wrote to Timothy, his own true son in the faith, he commended to him the reading of the sacred Scriptures several times for no other reason than so that he might show that our weakness is not equal to grasping the perfection of divine things in our holy reading, prayers, and meditations; and that our weakness must be assailed in the whole course of this life until, by a happy exodus to the Lord, we shall obtain the full victory over our own selves and our infirmity.

Now just as those men received this whole wisdom, so also the Lord provided for His church that the same whole and perfect wisdom should be handed down by the special power of the Spirit. He did not use only the work of one man for transmitting this whole and perfect doctrine in the church, but from the whole and perfect teaching of them all brought it about that we should have the perfect body of theology in the sacred Scriptures, authenticated by the labor of all those servants of God, and the perfect form of this wisdom all perfectly set forth. Thus it happens that the apostle most rightly says that the whole Scripture has been divinely breathed, so that the man of God would be perfectly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16–17); for the Scripture is the perfect instrument which God has provided us, although we are individually imperfect workmen in every respect.

Here truly a question arises that might perhaps bother the less experienced as they labor at the sacred Scripture. For when we say that the Scripture is the perfect instrument of theology, but we see that sometimes the prophets and apostles said and wrote certain things that differ from the truth which God reveals, how could it be that we say this Scripture is a perfect instrument? For example: Samuel said, when he saw Eliab, David’s oldest brother, that surely the anointed of Jehovah was before him (1 Sam. 16:6). Likewise, Nathan said to the king when he was thinking about the building of the sacred dwelling, “Do whatever you have in mind, for Jehovah is with you” (2 Sam. 7:3). Paul wrote that he would head to Spain and that on that journey he would visit those in Rome (Rom. 15:24). He said the same thing to the Corinthians and those in Thessalonica. Since, therefore, those men said or even wrote something that was false, how (someone might say) can the Scripture be called a perfect instrument, when answers and promises in it have been found to be false?22 Whoever wants to understand the solution to this uncertainty can find it in the actual definition of our theology, if he will give it his careful attention. Nevertheless, so that who are less skillful will not have to wait, we will explain it in a few words as follows. The knowledge of divine matters is one thing, while the knowledge of the intentions, will, or judgment of us human beings is another. In the number of things divine, we count not only things that God makes, but also those which He testifies to in His own discourse, whether by way of a shared word, or through His special revelation. On the other hand, among human intentions or judgments, we include all those things which are produced by men apart from the common or peculiar testimony of God or by any human judgment whatsoever, although such persons and their intentions be very holy. The aforementioned judgments of Samuel and Nathan fall into that class, since without consulting God they determined according to their own expectation something contrary to what God in His own secret judgment had determined, though nothing at all evil. For they had not ceased to be men simply because they were prophets, but they were rather engaging in both kinds of actions: a human action according to their human nature, but a prophetic one according to their interaction with the grace that had been added to nature. Thus the Scripture truthfully relates this false judgment of theirs that the reliability of the historical record requires.

Yet Paul’s example seems to be weightier, inasmuch as no righteous person has decided in his own mind something different than that the letters of the holy apostles were written by the sure dictation of the Holy Spirit, letters then transferred to the canon of Christ’s church. And yet Paul was promising one thing in his speech, while something else followed by the determined outcome of God. If we look into it more deeply, however, we will see that it makes little difference whether they said or wrote things that they thought applied to the function of their own ministry. For it is certain that the power of the Spirit ruled over them and regulated all things equally in their spoken words as in their writings, by which indeed they fulfilled the ministry of the apostolic office. And so not even in their letters can any blame be found on this charge, nor does it seem that one could be found justifiably. For in the first place, nothing that relates to the teaching or method of faith can ever be censured. Nor indeed does it necessarily follow that the authority of those divine matters which are related is destroyed if something human is spoken or written which conflicts very little with righteousness or the truth of faith and holiness, because that very portion which is said humanly is not a part of theology. Nor is it more strange for a theologian to speak or write humanly than it is strange for a human to reflect upon this wisdom which we call theology. No, in fact, it seems to be more consistent. For as by nature he is a human being, so by nature he does that which belongs to the nature of a human being. But as he is a theologian by grace, he does not do that which is characteristic of a theologian except by the uniqueness of grace. But it even seemed good to the wisdom of God to make it known openly in this way that the human opinions, judgments, and desires which pertain to righteousness and love have been tested and rendered holy by Him, although their effect is going to follow variously according to the hidden will of God. But even if there were no surviving examples of such things, it would not at all be doubtful that the boldness of some superstitious men and the ignorance of many others would judge this class of writers and their intentions unfairly. For who of those Catoes23 would not have found fault with those charming and pleasant greetings that the apostles attached to the end of their letters, or that affectionate recommendation of Onesimus in the letter to Philemon, unless he thought that the apostles, and Paul in particular, had written that way and that God by His sovereignty had stored these ordinary demonstrations of simple courtesy in the treasury of His church? Therefore in this manner, that is from an interest in simple courtesy and an awareness of the particularity of revelation, Paul had promised that he would come to the Romans, the Corinthians, and the Thessalonians because of his sure confidence in divine grace, which makes good on all these human promises—even if it does not ensure that they are fulfilled. For God alone makes promises with the certainty of truth, while a man promises what he thinks is true, while granting the certainty of the whole matter to God. Thus James warns in his letter (4:15) and Paul expresses this idea in some detail when writing to the Romans (15:32). And this is the reason why Paul claims the promises of God in Christ with such great zeal against all such uncertainty (2 Cor. 1:17–20, etc.). But he shows that the human promises made by others and himself are always joined with the kind of uncertainty that in no way whatsoever attaches to God’s promises. For that is how Paul discusses the topic in that passage when he is seeking to justify the fact that he had created the hope of his coming, but then had not come. “For this is our boast,” he says, “the testimony of our conscience, that with the simplicity and sincerity of God and above all toward you we conducted ourselves in the world, not with the wisdom of the flesh but with God’s grace.”24 Then, “And so in this confidence I wanted to come to you before” (for he had explained in his letters that he wanted to), “so that you might have a second grace, and to pass through you into Macedonia, and come back to you again from Macedonia, and have you conduct me to Judea. Therefore when I was considering this, was I behaving with inconstancy (surely when I made the promise, was I actually promising without consideration)? Or when I weigh options, do I do so according to the flesh (I don’t mean right now, but when I am undertaking another plan), so that I say both ‘yes’ and ‘no’? In short, was I inconstant then, or am I inconstant even now?” Paul answers: “Definitely not! but the God who is trustworthy made you trust me,25 so that my speech among you was not ‘yes’ and ‘no’; that is, I was always consistent in my words.”26 For there are two kinds of discourse from the apostle: one kind when he speaks as God’s ambassador and one when he speaks as a human being, humanly, without the sure and explicit command of God. Therefore he treats each distinctly. For first he marvelously declares about the ministering speech of his apostolate: “For Jesus Christ the son of God, who was preached among you through us—through me, Silas, and Timothy, was not ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ but in Him was ‘yes.’”27 He affirms this declaration by a universal proclamation when he says “for however many are the promises of God, in Christ they are ‘yes’ and ‘Amen,’ in Him that God may be glorified through us.”28 A twofold confirmation is added: (1) “It is God, moreover, who strengthens and bears us up with you in Christ”; (2) “It is He who also sealed us and has implanted the deposit of the Spirit in our hearts.”29 After that, he moves to the second kind of discourse when he excuses himself based on a pious appeal to the calling of God, saying, “So I call God as a witness to my own intention, that I did not come back to Corinth in order that I may spare you.”30 Other such comments follow in the same chapter and in part of the second chapter.

In light of these considerations, then, we have thoroughly established that the apostles were ministers of the heavenly wisdom in such a way that they handed it down perfectly to the church of God. Moreover, they were not prevented by the duty of charity from making statements and writing about their intentions as considered from a human perspective, even when the outcome was different. Yet it is not possible to attribute any fault to them for not knowing everything that God knows, or because they simply willed things that God does not will by His absolute will. Because to know a thing and to will it is a characteristic of divinity. But it is characteristic of humanity not to know about or to will things with a definite will more fully than has been revealed by God through His Spirit for His own glory.


1. συνεργούς.

2. Kuyper (93) has sapienta for Merula’s correct sapientia (1416).

3. Throughout this section, both “shared” and “common” are translations of the adjective communis in its various forms.

4. Junius’s qualitas in this sentence, which I have translated “quality,” is a derivative of quales, which I have construed as “of such a sort.”

5. Junius is adapting here a commonplace from the Roman historian Varro, De Re Rustica, 1.2.8: mente est captus adque adgnatos et gentiles est deducendus. In the context, the individual is adjudged insane, and the discrepancy in wording makes it clear that Junius is paraphrasing from memory.

6. ἐνθουσιαστάς.

7. ματαιόλογον; cf. Titus 1:10.

8. Merula (1417) wrongly has certatem, which Kuyper (94) has corrected to certatim.

9. Merula (1417) is nearly illegible at this point, but clearly shows at least ἀθεόθ-. Kuyper (94) has unfortunately followed this impossible reading, when the correct form should be ἀθεότητα.

10. Cf. Romans 1:21.

11. Cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

12. Sc., nature and grace, respectively.

13. Junius manages to include a pun on nature here, expugnaturae, in the future active participle.

14. Kuyper (96) has the impossible form naturo [sic] for Merula’s correct natura (1418).

15. Junius puns again.

16. I.e., they handed down the whole of what they had received, though they did not themselves understand the whole perfectly, even though they had received it as a whole.

17. See Hebrews 3:2.

18. I believe that Junius means by the priscae ecclesiae the people of Israel to whom Moses delivered the Pentateuch, and then by extension of course the church of apostolic times.

19. Kuyper (97) has here accidentally omitted two entire lines that appear in Merula (1419): Alia in obiecto infirmissimo ac tenuissimo. Quemadmodum alia est (vt ita dicamus) lucis solaris in seipsa ratio. Without these the passage makes little sense.

20. This unusual word, nyctalops, is fairly rare, and Junius probably got it from Pliny if not from a handbook or lexicon. It is obviously of Greek origin.

21. Junius employs an elaborate figura etymologica here: perfectam omnisque imperfectionis expertem.

22. The phrase in both Kuyper (98) and Merula (1420) is in qua responsa & promissa falsi [sic] comperta sint. I see no way that falsi can be correct, as falsa is wanted. Therefore, as it is not Kuyper’s mistake nor present in the printed version from which he worked, the error must have originated either with Junius himself, or more likely (as it is a very amateur error) with whoever transcribed Junius’s manuscript for the printer.

23. Marcus Porcius Cato (c. 234–149 BC) was elected to the office of censor in 184, a position from which he sought to enforce Rome’s sumptuary laws and earned some scorn for his extremely critical nature. Thus a censorious person, proverbially, is dubbed a “Cato.”

24. See 2 Corinthians 1:12 and following. Because Junius’s Latin does not track in all particulars precisely with any English translation I am aware of, I have simply translated this all anew, though consulting the English Standard Version, King James Version, etc.

25. There is a correspondence of words here in Junius’s Latin, fidelis Deus mihi fidem facit, that I have sought to represent in English.

26. Junius is here conflating portions of 2 Corinthians 1:18 and 21.

27. I have followed the same practice as before of translating afresh Junius’s Latin rendering here of 2 Corinthians 1:19.

28. 2 Corinthians 1:20.

29. See 2 Corinthians 1:21 and 22.

30. See 2 Corinthians 1:23.

Chapter 18

The Conclusion of the Work

From all that has previously been stated, we sum up this entire argument in a certain, as it were, corollary like this:

Thesis 39: And so the form of our theology is indeed in itself one, as we have said before, but among us it is manifold in its mode, and it will remain so, until attaining the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, we together become a mature man and are brought to the measure of the stature of the church, which is the fullness of Christ.1

For in these words we first established the nature of our theology, then its end from the words of the apostle himself. For it is natural (as was previously explained) that we demonstrate that our theology, which God graciously reveals to us, is so disposed that in itself—perfectly contained by the Spirit of God in the instrument of His sacred Scripture—this theology has one essential form, wholly perfect, set forth perfectly as a whole, and the whole in itself and in all its parts constant and immutable.2 But in us, who are being transformed day by day by the Spirit of the Lord, neither the whole mode nor the perfect mode of that whole form exist or dwell perfectly. But we only perceive parts of it imperfectly, and those parts are themselves imperfect, as God tempers the method of His revelations to the mode of our weakness, for the telling forth of His amazing light and the praise of His glorious grace. Even if the communication of this wisdom at present is of the kind that proceeds by degrees and incrementally, nevertheless it should not be inferred that it is ever possible for us to mount up to its apex so long as we remain in this mortal life. Nor ought we to suppose that the perfection of this wisdom will ever reach us. Instead we should think that, just as our infirmity and ignorance are lessened through the whole course of this life by the steps that it takes, so in contrast this wisdom grows in us in its own order and degree. Nor, truly, can it otherwise happen to us. For because our theology, which indeed can be present in us, is a tiny bit of that theology which God expresses perfectly in His Scriptures—since in fact it has been revealed in the Scriptures as the symbol and mystery of the wisdom that we shall obtain in heaven by the vision of God face to face—certainly it cannot but happen that, the more we are carried along in the whole course of this our miserable life, the more we feel our own ignorance and weakness. May this weakness of ours so disgust us that with true humility, which occupies the first and most important place3 in theology, we rise up to the loftiness of heavenly and divine matters, and fix the whole gaze of our minds on that end with utmost zeal.

Now we have two very closely conjoined goals (for we will say nothing here about the highest end).4 One of these we reach in this age somehow or other; the other we will reach most perfectly in the age to come. The goal set before us in this life is the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. We all must come together to this unity in the communion of the saints5 and stretch every muscle, to the utmost of our ability, to lay hold of the fruit of that unity.

Faith6 is that by which we grasp Christ with our will and most reverent zeal, and through which we are carried to Him by every impulse. Knowledge is that by which Christ offers Himself to us so to be seen, and dwells internally in our minds. The unity of these gifts among us all, however many of us are Christians, is the nearest and closest goal toward which we must strive in this life, so that through knowledge we may perceive Christ; and so that by faith, that most holy impulse, we may be moved, carried, and hurried off toward Him; so that the famous saying of Christ might prove true of us, that “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent forcefully take it ” (Matt. 11:12).

From this proximate goal toward which righteous service to God commands each of us to strive, that other goal common to all cannot fail to arise in the coming age by the power of God. Of course I mean that we all together are made a mature man in Christ Jesus (Eph. 4:13). For since Christ is our head—in whom we must grow up in all things, and from whom the whole body, harmoniously joined together through every joint of its supplies, takes its nourishment congruent with this body, according to the power working in the measure of each individual member for the building up of itself in love—certainly what God willed to be offered to the natural body by nature He will likewise offer to this mystical body that was established through His own amazing grace according to His purpose. And furthermore, we must believe that we will gain this benefit in Christ our head. And indeed during the whole time of our mortal life we must make use of the holy preaching of the gospel in such a way that we contribute all things to this union of the saints, to this work of ministry, and to the building up of the body of Christ until we are brought together to the proper measure of the spiritual stature which God has prepared most glorious for His church in Christ. For with reference to this, the whole church, which is the body of Christ, is called his abundance or fullness (Ephesians 1 and 4). Now indeed that glory is most complete which God revealed to us by the word of His theology and will consummate by the power of His Spirit: that Christ is the eternal Son of God, in whom the Father willed that all the fullness of Deity dwell bodily.7 He condescended to establish such great communion with us by His own divine kindness, that we might be filled in Him who is the head of all power and authority, and that He Himself in turn might obtain His fullness in that glory which He will preserve eternally for Himself, and for us in Him.

In light of these considerations, this saving wisdom, which we call theology, must be of the greatest importance among us, and the noted example of the apostle be placed unceasingly before our eyes, so that we all may say together with him by the sure testimony of the Spirit: “Whatever things were my gain, these I have called ‘loss’ for the sake of Christ. Even more than that, I consider all things a loss compared to the greatness of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I forfeit all these concerns which the world pursues; and I consider them as dung, that I may profit from Christ and be found in Him, not having my righteousness which comes from works, but that which comes through faith in Christ—a righteousness,” I say, “which is from God in faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and share in his suffering until I become conformed to this death, if somehow I may attain to the resurrection of the dead, for which Christ has gone before us for our justification” (Phil. 3:7, 8, etc.).8

May our most great and wonderful God, who begat His own eternal Son Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, by eternal generation and sanctifies Him to us by eternal predestination, that He may be our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption—may that same God also bestow upon us the spirit of wisdom, that growing stronger by His power we may increase in the saving treasures of this knowledge and wisdom unto the unity of faith and recognition of Him, until we become a complete man according to the proper measure of the stature which is fitting for that most distinguished and glorious body in Christ Jesus our head and Savior, for His glory. Amen.


1. Cf. Ephesians 4:13.

2. The Latin in this sentence is somehow hopelessly corrupted, though the readings of Kuyper (100) and Merula (1422) agree. The problem is that attinet either needs to have a nominative subject, which is altogether lacking, or the clause which is its subject should be subjunctive, whereas demonstramus is indicative. Or it should pattern with an accusative and infinitive. For the former we have theologiam nostram, but no infinitive.

3. The phrase in Latin is plural: primas adeoque singulas partes in theologia. This is not an English idiom, however.

4. Junius uses here a form of the expression finis summus, which is not to be confused with the more familiar summum bonum.

5. Junius makes reference here to the third stanza of the Apostles’ Creed.

6. Junius is defining the terms of Thesis 39.

7. Cf. Colossians 2:9.

8. Junius’s summation extends through verse 11.

Scripture Index
Old Testament
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
New Testament
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
1 Peter
1 John
Wisdom of Solomon
Subject Index

ability, of nature, 151–53, 159, 208

absolute cause, 89, 196–97

absolute theology, 164–67

accommodation, xxxv–xxxvii, 165

Acte of Stilstand, xivn6

actuality, 157

actuation, 124, 201, 215

Adam, 142, 151–52

Ainsworth, Henry, xxii

Albertus Magnus, 152n12

Alsted, Johannes, xliii

Althusius, Johannes, xvii

Amsterdam, xxii

Anabaptists, 62, 65

analogy, l, 103, 106, 200

anarchy, 54

Aneau, B., 29

angels, 86, 130–33, 170, 180, 200, 211

Anglican Church, xxii

Antwerp, 45–49, 60–63

Anulus, Bartholemaeus, 25–26

Apollinaris, xliin75, 123

apostles, 90, 221, 222, 223, 228–29

archetypal theology, xxxi–xxxvii, 86, 104–5, 107–12, 126

Aristotle, xxix, xxxiin52, xxxv, l, 108n1, 110, 146, 152n12, 184n4, 192

Arminius, Jacobus, xviii–xix, xxii, xliv

army, 68–69

ars, xxix

art, xxix

Athanasius, 201n10

atheism, 8, 32, 33

attributes, of truth, 187–90

Augustine, xv, xxviii, xxx, xxxix, xl, l, 85, 92, 97, 136n3, 143, 150n7, 179

awe, xxxi, xxxivn57, 86, 107, 111


Barth, Karl, xlv

Bavinck, Herman, xlv

Baxter, Richard, xliv

Bayle, Peter, 13–14n2, 65n109

being, 184

Bellarmine, Robert, xv–xvi

Berkhof, Louis, xlv

Beza, Theodore, xiii, xiv, xix, 37

biblical chronology, xvii

Birgan, Philippe, 38

Black Death, xiv

blessed, theology of, xxxix, 129, 132

blindness, 94, 137, 160, 208

Boethius, 122n5, 152n12

Bondts, Gerard de, 74n7

Bourges, xii, 40, 54, 67–68

Brandt, Geeraert, xix

Braun, Johannes, xliii

Breda, xiii

Brownists, xxii

Bruges, 57–60

Brussels, 49

brutality, 24–25

Bullinger, Heinrich, 37

Burdo, William, 39–40

Burgensis, Dionysius, 20

Burman, Franciscus, xliii


Caesar, l, 39n56 

Callixtus, George, xxi

Calov, Abraham, xli

Calvin, John, xii, xv, xxii, xxxiv, l, 37

canon, 222

capacity, 171, 215, 217, 219

Casimir, John, xiii, 71, 75

Cassander, George, xxi

Catharine, Jean, 29

Cato, Marcus Porcius, 226n23

Caubekius, 52

causal language, xxxv–xxxvi

cause, 89, 114

certainty, 227

Champion, William, 71

change, 191, 218, 219

Chantillius, Francis Behaldus, 18

characteristic, 108

Cevallerius, Antonius Rodolphus, 38

childhood, 17–20

children, 9

Christology, xxxix, xlii

church, as body of Christ, 233

Cicero, xlix–l, 82n5, 99n1, 111n8, 148, 150n7, 159n1, 162n4, 181

civil covenant, xvii

civil theology, xxviiin43, 85, 96–97

Cleanthes, 39

Clement of Alexandria, 184n4

cloven feet, 65–66

Cocceius, Johannes, xliii

Coligny, Gaspard II de, 43n61

Colin, George, 30

Cologne, Pierre de, 46

common good, 167, 211

common sense, 218

communicatio idiomatum, xli–xlii


of grace, 115, 137, 197–99

mode of, 141–43

of theology, 86–88, 116–19, 222

communion of saints, xxiii, 232

Compendium Theologiae, xxiv

Concius, Antonius, 25

confessionalization, xii, xv, xxi, xxiii

Confession of the Synod of the Belgian Churches, 53

Constantinople, 21

contingency, 192

Cornput, John, 71

corporeal discourse, 202–3

corruption, of man, 154–56, 164, 173

Council of Trent, 6–7

Count of Egmont, 6–7, 47, 50, 58

covenant, xvi–xvii

creatures, xxxii–xxxiii, 104, 117, 131, 142, 171

credibility, 203

Crespin, Jean, 45

Cujas, Jacques, 33


d’Albret, John, 14

Damme, 58–60

David, 224

definitions, 91–92

depravity, 87, 154–56

Deus nudus absconditus, xlvii

dialogue, xii, xxi

diligence, 21

disciplines, 172

discourse, spiritual and corporeal, 200–203

dishonesty, 22, 24

disputatio genre, xx

divine matters, 99–101, 107, 177–79

divine promises, 211

divine truth, 88, 183–93

Doneau, Hugues, 25

Duarenus, Franciscus, 25

Duifhuis, Huibert, xxii

Duke of Alba, 49

duration, 190–91

Dury, John, xxi


ectypal theology, xxi–xxxix, 86, 104–5, 112–20, 126

three genera of, xxxvii–xxxix

efficacy, of theology, 209

efficient cause, xxxv, 114–15, 125, 132–33, 138, 162, 165, 196–203

Eirenicum (Junius), xiv, xx–xxii

election, xviii, 133, 171, 180, 199, 205, 209, 211

Eliab, 224

Elijah, 221

Elisha, 221

empty talk, theology as, 216

end, of theology, 205–12

English separatists, xxii

Enlightenment, xlvii

Enoch, Ludwig, 44–45

“enthusiasts,” 216

enunciative discourse, 99, 199–202

Epicureanism, 150n7

Epicurus, 28

Episcopius, Simon, xliv

epistemology, xxxvi

equivocation, 95, 103–4, 106

Erastianism, xxii

essence, 105, 108, 110, 214

eternity, 191–93

exile, 60–63

existence, and truth, 184

expressed truth, 185–86



departure from, 26–28

goal of, 220–21, 232–33

Jesus Christ on, 214

return to, 28–34

faithfulness, 10

fall, 154–56

false judgment, 225

false testimony, 16

false theology, xxvii–xxviii, xxx, xlvi, 85, 95–96, 97

Farnese, Alessandro, 47

feast of St. Nicasius, 28

federal theology, xvi–xvii

Ferdinand, 5, 14

figura etymologica, li, 223n21

finitum non capax infiniti, xlii

final cause, xxxv, 139, 175, 205–12

finite, ectypal theology as, xxiv, xxvii, 119, 126, 141, 166, 171, 173

formal cause, 138, 175, 183–93

Franciscans, 15–17, 65, 66–67

Frederick III, xiii

fruits, 190, 209


Galerandus, Petrus, 20

Gallic Martyrology, 55, 61

Garnier, Jean, 46

Gellius, Aulus, 99n1

Geneva, xii, xv, xxii, 34–42, 44–45

genus of theology, xxix–xxx, 99, 101

genus majestaticum, xlii

Gerhard, Johannes, xli

Ghent, xiii, 54, 55, 57

gifts, 199, 215

Glaser, John, 71

glory, 89, 94, 115, 133, 139, 208, 211

goal, 102


as absolute cause, 89, 196–97

accommodation of, 165

as author of all good, 160–61

as author of theology, 198–99

as efficient cause, xxxv, 162

essence of, 110

existence of, 93, 102

glory of, 89, 94, 115, 133, 139, 208, 211

incomprehensibility of, 111

infinity of, xlii, 170–71

nature and will of, 179, 229

as object of theology, xlvi, 178, 207

perfection of, 118, 122, 223, 153

power of, 233

promises of, 227–28

and truth, 88, 183–93

wisdom of, 108

works of, 180

godlessness, 27–28, 216

Gomarus, Franciscus, xiii, xvii, xviii, xix, xxiv, 73–78

good, 159–61, 167, 211

grace, xl, 90, 117, 118, 136, 154, 172

communication of, 115, 137, 141–43, 197–99

efficacy of, 219–20

state of, 215

Grange, Peregrin de la, 46, 54

Granvelle, Antoine Perrenot de, 5–7, 47

Grosse, Stephan, 44

Grotius, Hugo, xv, xviii, xxi

Gwalther, Rudolf, 37


Haller, Wolfgang, 37

Hames, Francis de, 54

heaven, 129–33

heavenly knowledge, 162, 172, 175

heavenly wisdom, 172, 175, 198, 203, 212, 219, 228

Heidannus, Abraham, xliii

Heidegger, Johann Heinrich, xliii

Heidelberg, xv, xx, xxii, xxiv, 67, 70

Henry IV (King), xiii, xx

holiness, 88, 100, 187–90, 192

Holy Spirit

discourse from, 202–3

endowment of, 220

gifts of, 199, 219

power of, 174, 209, 223, 224, 226

wisdom of, 197, 234

work of, 158, 162

Horace, l, 10n11, 39n56, 74n4, 82n4

Howard, Thomas, xivn6

Hugalda, Jacoba (mother), 16–17

Huguenots, 30

humanists, xv

human nature

communication to, 86, 136–37, 172, 188

corruption of, 154–56

and grace, 225, 226

knowledge of, 122, 136

wisdom of, 108–9

human reason, 87–88, 145–47, 153, 155, 161–63

humility, xxiii, 20, 224, 232


Iconoclasts, 54

idolatry, 149–50

ignorance, 65, 82, 150, 232

illumination, 114–15, 118, 125, 162, 223

image of God, 142, 151, 153, 181

imagination, 95, 216

immutability, 191–93, 231

imperfection, 136, 149, 153, 157, 189, 213, 223

incommunicable, archetypal theology as, xxxiv, 110–11, 117, 120–21, 126

individual nature, 219–20

infinite, archetypal theology as, xxxiii–xxxiv, 110–11, 126, 135, 141

inheritance, 77, 132, 211–12

injustice, 189

innocence, state of, 173

Inquisition, 4–7, 48–49

inspiration, 198, 22

inspired theology, 160–61, 207–8

instrumental cause, 89, 196, 199–203

intellect, 108–9, 146, 184

intelligence, xxix, 100, 101

intuition, 148–49, 151

Irenaeus, 201n10


Jacobsdochter, Geertje, xviii

James, 221, 227

Jesuits, 66–67

Jesus Christ

exaltation of, xxxix, 129–30

on faith, 214

as head, 233

humiliation of, xxxix, 129

knowledge of, 123

as mediator, 126

natures of, 121–27

John, 221

John of Monteux, 57

Johnson, Francis, xxii

John the Baptist, 221

Julius II (Pope), 14

Junius, Denys (father), 14, 31–33, 42–43

Junius, Franciscus

biographical sketch of, xii–xiv

childhood and education of, 17–26

family history of, 13–17

illness and death of, 73–78

marriages of, 71–72

persecution of, 49–58

as scholar, xiv–xix

Junius, Franciscus (the younger), xiv

Junius, Jean (brother), 20, 24

Junius, William (grandfather), 13–14

justice, 10, 100, 163, 166, 187–90, 192


kindness, 10

knowledge, xxix, 93, 101

of Christ, 123

divine vs. human, xxxii–xxxvii

heavenly, 162

Kristeller, Paul, xxxvin63

Kuyper, Abraham, xv, xlv, 22n9, 65n108, 69n111, 71n115, 73n1, 75n10, 75n12, 82n3, 97n12, 100n3, 104n5, 114n4, 117n12, 127n13, 160n2, 164n5, 164n7, 165n8, 179n3, 181n8, 182n9, 190n10, 191n11, 198n4, 200n6, 200nn8–9, 206n3, 207nn5–6, 208nn10–11, 209nn12–13, 211n16, 214n2, 216nn8–9, 220n14, 223n19, 225n22, 231n2

Lalbois, Johannes de, 49

Lamoral. See Count of Egmont

L’Aubespine, François de, 18, 22, 68

law, 181, 189

Leiden University, xii, xvi, xvii–xix, xxii, xxiv, 70, 81–84

Lewis, Charlton T., 99n1

Leydecker, Melchior, xliii

l’Hermite, Simon, 71

Liège, 62–63

lies, 66–68

light, 131

light of nature, 85, 94, 146, 175

Lille, 51–52

Limburg, 61–63, 67


of nature, 101, 147, 152

of theology, 169, 173

Lipsius, Justus, xviii

Livy, l

Lord’s Supper, 66

Lorraine, François de (Duke of Guise), 36

Louis, Prince of Condé, 36

Louis IV, xiii

Louis the Count of Nassau, 50

love, 233

Lucan, 7n8

Lucretius, l, 150n7

Luther, Martin, xxxii, xxxiv

Lutherans, xli–xlii, 16

Lyons, xii, 25–31, 36, 71n114, 72n116, 150n7

Lystra, 149


Marck, Johannes à, xlv

Margaret of Parma, 50–51

Marguerite, Queen of Navarre, 15–17

Marmier, Etienne, 45, 48

Marnix, Philip, 53

martyrdom, 46

Martyr, Peter, 37

material cause, 133, 177–82

mathematicians, 180

mediation, 153, 200

Mediator, Christ as, 126

meekness, 20

Merode, Elizabeth de, 68–69

Merula, Paul, xii, 3–11, 65n108, 69n111, 71n115, 82n3, 97n12, 100n3, 104n5, 114n4, 117n12, 127n13, 160n2, 164n5, 164n7, 165n8, 179n3, 181n8, 182n9, 190n10, 191n11, 198n4, 200n6, 200nn8–9, 206n3, 207nn5–6, 208nn10–11, 209nn12–13, 211n16, 214n2, 216nn8–9, 220n14, 223n19, 225n22, 231n2

metaphysics, 180

Metz, 46, 68

Middelburg, xxii

mirror, 9, 185–86, 189–90

Montmorency, Floris de, 5–6

Moor, Bernardinus de, xlv

moral law, 150–51, 181

Moses, 222

Muller, Richard, xxxiv, xxxvin63

Müslin, Wolfgang, 37

mystery, 212, 232

mythical theology, xxviii, 97


Nathan, 224–25

nationality, 55–56, 59

natural cause, 196

natural light, xxvii, 87, 145–46. See also light of nature

natural theology, xviiin43, xlvi, 96–97, 145–58

nature, xl, 90, 94, 171, 210, 219

communication of, 141–43

as mutable, 218

ordering of, 206

power of, 94

weakness of, 219

Neustadt, 69

New Lyons, 30

Nielles, Charles de, 48

Niger, Michael, 37

Noahic covenant, xvii


obedience, 76, 180

Oberman, Heiko, xxxvin63

Onesimus, 227

Opera Theologica (Junius), xv, xx

opinion, xxvii, 85, 95, 97, 226

Orbilius, 10n11, 24

Ostorodt, Christophorus, xvi

“our theology,” xxxiii, 173

Ovid, 156n18

Owen, John, xliv


Palatine, John Casimir, 69–70

Pannenberg, Wolfhart, xlv

Papists, 42–43, 62, 65, 66–68

Pareus, David, xxi

Paris, xiii, 34–35, 68

Paul, 74, 149, 174, 221, 225–28

Paul of Samosata, xvin11

Pauw, Pieter, 74

peace, of the church, xxi–xxii

perception, 95, 217


of God, 122, 193

and grace, 87, 172–73

vs. imperfection, 136, 157, 213

of prophets and apostles, 221

state of, 131–32

truth as, 88, 187–90

permanence, 190–91

persecution, 49–58

persuasion, 33, 82

perversion, of judgment, xxvii, 95

Peter, 221

Philemon, 227

philosophical theology, xxviii, 96

physical theology, xxviii

piety, l, 10, 28, 31, 34, 199, 212

pilgrim theology, xxxix–xl, 129

plague, 68

Plato, l

pleasure, 97

Pliny, l

Plutarch, l, 33n31

Polanus, Amandus, xxxiii

political theology, xxviii, 97

Polyander, Johannes, xliii

popular theology, 96

Pornasus, Leonardus, 30

potency, 157, 178

potentiality, 124, 215

poverty, 36–40

preconceptions, 96, 148

predestination, xviii, xx, 234

Preus, Robert D., xxxvin63

Prevost, Claude, 42

Prince of Orange, 68–69

principal cause, 196–99

principles, of natural theology, 145–56

profanity, 189

prolegomena, xxvi

promiscuity, 26

promises, 211, 225, 227–28

prophets, 90, 221, 222, 223

Protestant theology, xv

prototype, 104–5, 122, 129. See also archetypal theology

providence, 180

prudence, xxix

purity, 187–90


quasi-material, 173


radiance, 111, 123

rationalism, xlvii

rationalization, 201

reality, 179

reason, 96, 101, 108–9, 146–47, 153, 163

Reformed irenicism, xxi

relational theology, xxxvi–xxxvii

relative imperfection, 153

relative theology, 116, 117, 166, 169, 173–74

Remonstrants, xiv

Republic of Letters, xviii

Resolution of Moderation, 53

revelation, to the pilgrim, xxxviii, 86, 119, 135–39, 161, 171, 207–8, 223

reverence, 111–12

Rhaetia, 21

righteousness, 89, 211–12

Rijck, Peter de, 56

Riverius, Samuel, 76

Robinson, A., 201n10

Roman Catholics, xx–xxi, 5, 42–43, 62, 66–68

Russardus, Ludovicus, 25, 35


Sacra Biblia, xiii

saints in heaven, 86, 130, 165

salvation, xvi, 122–23, 165, 173, 210, 211

Samuel, 224

sanctification, 180, 190

sapientia, theology as, xxix–xxx

Satan, 48, 56, 209

Savonarola, 152n12

Scaliger, Joseph Justus, xvii–xviii

Scaurus, M. Aemilius, 7

Schmitt, Charles, xxxvin63

scholarly work, 69–71

scholastics, xx, xxvi, xxviii, xxix, xxxii–xxxvi, 103, 107–8, 109, 118, 125, 158, 201

Schönau, xiii, 69


necessaria and libera, xxxiv

theology as, xxv, xxviii, xxix–xxx

Scotus, xxxiii, xl

Scripture, 224–25, 231–232

Sedan, 68

self-knowledge, 9n10

self-sufficiency, 115

Seneca, xxviiin43, l, 97

Sepp, Christiaan, xviii

Short, Charles, 99n1

sin, 154–56

singular cause, 197

Sinnema, Donald, xxv

Sixtus IV (Pope), 5

skill, 101, 146

skin lesions, 18

Smetius, H., xxi

Socinians, xvi

sound, 178

Sparta, 82

special revelation, xlvii, 158, 225

spirits, 130–33, 170

spiritual discourse, 202–3

spiritual fruits, 209

Spranchusius, Thomas, 75

St. Andrews, xxii

St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, 43n61

subject, of theology, 92–93, 156, 170

supernatural grace, 142–43, 152

supernatural theology, 87–88, 147, 154, 155, 158, 159–67

superstition, xxviiin43, 85, 96–97

supralapsarianism, xix

Syrtes, 83


Taffin, Jean, xxii, 46

temporary, 109, 191

Terence, l, 82n1

Tertullian, l

theologia crucis, xxxiv

theologia gloriae, xxxiv

theologia in se, xxxii, xxxvii. See also theology in itself

theologia in subjectis, xxxvii. See also theology in the subject

theologians, 214–16, 226

Theological Theses (Junius), xx


definition of, 92, 99–101

end of, 205–12

existence of, 93

mode of, 164, 171, 205, 218

nature of, xxiv–xxv

reason of, 164

subject of, 92–93, 156, 170

theology in itself, xxxvii, 116, 118, 119, 123, 141

theology in the subject, 90, 118, 119, 212, 213–29

Thomas Aquinas, xxv, xxvin39, 122n5, 130n4, 152n12

Toussaint, Hémard, 15

transliteration, li

Trelcatius, Lucas Sr., xvii, xxiv, xxxiv, 75, 76–77

Tremellius, Immanuel, xiii, 69

Trueman, Carl, xxxvin63

true theology, xxvii–xxviii

True Theology (Junius)

context of, xxiii–xxvi

divisions of, xxx–xxxi

and reformed dogmatics, xli–xlvi

as sapientia, xxviii–xxx

truth, 88, 148, 175, 183–93

Tullius, M., 28

Turrettinus, Franciscus, xxxiv, xliii


uncertainty, 225, 227

union in Christ, xxxvii–xxxviii, xli, 86, 119, 121–27

unity of the faith, xxi, xxiii, 90, 231–33

universals, 185, 217

Ursinus, Zacharias, xiii


van Limborch, Philippus, xliv

van Mastricht, Petrus, xliii

variety, in theology, 217–18, 219

Varro, Marcus Terentius, xxviii, xln71, l, 97, 143, 150n7, 216n5

Vergil, l, 44–45n65, 83n10

viator, xxxiii, xxxix. See also pilgrim theology

virtues, 10, 166, 190–91

vision, to the beatified, xxxviii, 86, 119, 129–33, 170

vocation, 9

Voetius, Gisbertus, xliii

Voidovius, Andreas, xvi

Vorstius, Conradus, 74n6

Vossius, Gerardus Johannes, xiv, xviii


Walaeus, Antonius, xxiv–xxvn35

weakness, 82, 94, 111–12, 122, 136, 219, 222–23, 232

widow woman, 63–65

will, 175, 179–81, 206–7, 229, 233

wisdom, xxix–xxx, 85–86, 99–102, 104, 108–9

Wollebius, Johannes, xliii

works, 209


Zuichemo, Viglio, 52–53