A Treatise on True Theology
With the Life of Franciscus Junius
Translated by David C. Noe
Introduced by Willem J. van Asselt
Foreword by Richard A. Muller
Reformation Heritage Books
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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:
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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].
Ken Bratt magistro collegae amico quo melior concipi animo vix potest.
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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,
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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)
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
The conclusion seems to be justified that in True Theology Christology undergirds the presuppositions and approach to the nature of true 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
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
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
(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
As indicated earlier, during
the first half of the seventeenth century the distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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
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
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.
addition to the comments I make throughout the work on particular construals and concepts, it
appropriate to set out briefly my overall approach to the task of translation, so that readers
may wish to compare (as I hope they will) Junius’s Latin to my rendering will be better equipped
find points of disagreement and even consent. As Junius himself would no doubt be careful to
translation derives from the combination of the Latin verb fero, “to carry or to bear,”
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.
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
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
(1) ensuring that the author’s thought is truly conveyed, not an admixture of the author’s
with the translator’s understanding; and (2) conveying in the target language puns and other
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
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.
Not long ago the thought entered my
mind, most Christian gentlemen, that it is shameful and unworthy of any man whom God has made
to aid others and also his own country, that he know the deeds wrought by Romans, Greeks, and
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
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
pertained to the war which is being waged, partly from published sources and partly from public
private writings. My intention then was to read through what I had collected
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
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
following the pattern of M. Aemilius Scaurus and great men of a more remote time. When he
that I wanted to see it and skim through it, so kind is he, he brought it out. The beginning of
work so delighted me that I got his permission to look over it for a few days. I read it, reread
I evaluated it with no little care. I was amazed that the life of one man was
Children from this publication will
learn to submit themselves willingly to their parents’ judgment, by a kind of love and respect
them. They will learn to show them obedience and gratitude and that their blemishes and
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
with fixed limits, and they become accustomed
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,
in speech, friendliness, and other things. From all these one can note how much difference there
between the publication of the life of a man who always acted privately, and one on whom God
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
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.
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 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.
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
At this point the common people suddenly rose up. They took possession of the
courthouse, the marketplaces, and the gates of the village.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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).
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.
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,
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
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;
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
While there, I first taught at the church of Schönau until 1573.
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
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,
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.
5. There is a play on words here between impudentem and pudorem.
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.
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.
26. I.e., Epicureanism.
29. τὸ ἐπέχειν.
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.
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.
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.
69. Junius puns here on the martyr’s name, Peregrinus, and the peregrinatio which he concluded.
70. Another pun, fabricasti…ad fabricam.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.2
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
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
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;
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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.
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
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
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;
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
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
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
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
5. Hac sapientia duce; cf. Cicero De Natura Deorum 1.i: duce natura.
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
8. οὐσία ὑπερούσιος.
9. ὃσον οὐρανὸς ἐσ’ ἀπὸ γαιής.
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
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
8. I.e., ectypal theology.
9. I.e., theology.
10. I am using “method,” “measure,” and “capacity” somewhat interchangeably for various instances of modus.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
6. I.e., in the heavens.
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
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
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
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.
From the foregoing remarks, we observe that the whole of theology is
marked off by two modes:
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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).
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,
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
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
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
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
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.”
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
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
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,
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
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
1. Priore loco, i.e., the first two paragraphs of the Apostles’ Creed.
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).
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
Finally, since that condition of perfection which we were just
describing is necessary for all these,
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.
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
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
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
Now we call Him indeed the author
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
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
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
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.”
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
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
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
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
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
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
We conclude, therefore, that it is not possible
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.
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.
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
For there are some who, from the time when first they have swallowed
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
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
(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
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
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
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
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
Yet Paul’s example seems to be weightier, inasmuch as no righteous
person has decided in his own mind something different than that the
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
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.
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, expug–naturae, 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.
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
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
that by which we grasp Christ with our will and most reverent zeal, and through which
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
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.
absolute theology, 164–67
Acte of Stilstand, xivn6
Ainsworth, Henry, xxii
Albertus Magnus, 152n12
Alsted, Johannes, xliii
Althusius, Johannes, xvii
Aneau, B., 29
Anglican Church, xxii
Anulus, Bartholemaeus, 25–26
attributes, of truth, 187–90
Barth, Karl, xlv
Bavinck, Herman, xlv
Baxter, Richard, xliv
Bellarmine, Robert, xv–xvi
Berkhof, Louis, xlv
biblical chronology, xvii
Birgan, Philippe, 38
Black Death, xiv
Bondts, Gerard de, 74n7
Brandt, Geeraert, xix
Braun, Johannes, xliii
Bullinger, Heinrich, 37
Burdo, William, 39–40
Burgensis, Dionysius, 20
Burman, Franciscus, xliii
Callixtus, George, xxi
Calov, Abraham, xli
Cassander, George, xxi
Catharine, Jean, 29
Cato, Marcus Porcius, 226n23
causal language, xxxv–xxxvi
Champion, William, 71
Chantillius, Francis Behaldus, 18
Cevallerius, Antonius Rodolphus, 38
church, as body of Christ, 233
civil covenant, xvii
Clement of Alexandria, 184n4
cloven feet, 65–66
Cocceius, Johannes, xliii
Coligny, Gaspard II de, 43n61
Colin, George, 30
Cologne, Pierre de, 46
common sense, 218
communicatio idiomatum, xli–xlii
mode of, 141–43
Compendium Theologiae, xxiv
Concius, Antonius, 25
Confession of the Synod of the Belgian Churches, 53
Cornput, John, 71
corporeal discourse, 202–3
Council of Trent, 6–7
Crespin, Jean, 45
Cujas, Jacques, 33
d’Albret, John, 14
Deus nudus absconditus, xlvii
discourse, spiritual and corporeal, 200–203
disputatio genre, xx
divine promises, 211
Doneau, Hugues, 25
Duarenus, Franciscus, 25
Duifhuis, Huibert, xxii
Duke of Alba, 49
Dury, John, xxi
three genera of, xxxvii–xxxix
efficacy, of theology, 209
empty talk, theology as, 216
end, of theology, 205–12
English separatists, xxii
Enoch, Ludwig, 44–45
Episcopius, Simon, xliv
existence, and truth, 184
expressed truth, 185–86
departure from, 26–28
Jesus Christ on, 214
return to, 28–34
false judgment, 225
false testimony, 16
Farnese, Alessandro, 47
feast of St. Nicasius, 28
federal theology, xvi–xvii
finitum non capax infiniti, xlii
Frederick III, xiii
Galerandus, Petrus, 20
Garnier, Jean, 46
Gellius, Aulus, 99n1
genus majestaticum, xlii
Gerhard, Johannes, xli
Glaser, John, 71
accommodation of, 165
as author of all good, 160–61
as author of theology, 198–99
essence of, 110
incomprehensibility of, 111
power of, 233
promises of, 227–28
wisdom of, 108
works of, 180
efficacy of, 219–20
state of, 215
Grosse, Stephan, 44
Gwalther, Rudolf, 37
Haller, Wolfgang, 37
Hames, Francis de, 54
Heidannus, Abraham, xliii
Heidegger, Johann Heinrich, xliii
discourse from, 202–3
endowment of, 220
Howard, Thomas, xivn6
Hugalda, Jacoba (mother), 16–17
corruption of, 154–56
wisdom of, 108–9
individual nature, 219–20
innocence, state of, 173
Jacobsdochter, Geertje, xviii
on faith, 214
as head, 233
knowledge of, 123
as mediator, 126
natures of, 121–27
John of Monteux, 57
Johnson, Francis, xxii
John the Baptist, 221
Julius II (Pope), 14
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, William (grandfather), 13–14
of Christ, 123
divine vs. human, xxxii–xxxvii
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
Lewis, Charlton T., 99n1
Leydecker, Melchior, xliii
l’Hermite, Simon, 71
Lipsius, Justus, xviii
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
Marck, Johannes à, xlv
Margaret of Parma, 50–51
Marguerite, Queen of Navarre, 15–17
Marnix, Philip, 53
Martyr, Peter, 37
Mediator, Christ as, 126
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
Montmorency, Floris de, 5–6
Moor, Bernardinus de, xlv
Müslin, Wolfgang, 37
natural cause, 196
communication of, 141–43
as mutable, 218
ordering of, 206
power of, 94
weakness of, 219
New Lyons, 30
Nielles, Charles de, 48
Niger, Michael, 37
Noahic covenant, xvii
Oberman, Heiko, xxxvin63
Ostorodt, Christophorus, xvi
Owen, John, xliv
Palatine, John Casimir, 69–70
Pannenberg, Wolfhart, xlv
Pareus, David, xxi
Paul of Samosata, xvin11
Pauw, Pieter, 74
peace, of the church, xxi–xxii
of prophets and apostles, 221
state of, 131–32
physical theology, xxviii
Polanus, Amandus, xxxiii
Polyander, Johannes, xliii
popular theology, 96
Pornasus, Leonardus, 30
Preus, Robert D., xxxvin63
Prevost, Claude, 42
Prince of Orange, 68–69
principal cause, 196–99
principles, of natural theology, 145–56
Protestant theology, xv
Reformed irenicism, xxi
relational theology, xxxvi–xxxvii
relative imperfection, 153
Republic of Letters, xviii
Resolution of Moderation, 53
Rijck, Peter de, 56
Riverius, Samuel, 76
Robinson, A., 201n10
Sacra Biblia, xiii
sapientia, theology as, xxix–xxx
Scaliger, Joseph Justus, xvii–xviii
Scaurus, M. Aemilius, 7
Schmitt, Charles, xxxvin63
scholarly work, 69–71
necessaria and libera, xxxiv
Sepp, Christiaan, xviii
Short, Charles, 99n1
singular cause, 197
Sinnema, Donald, xxv
Sixtus IV (Pope), 5
skin lesions, 18
Smetius, H., xxi
spiritual discourse, 202–3
spiritual fruits, 209
Spranchusius, Thomas, 75
St. Andrews, xxii
St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, 43n61
theologia crucis, xxxiv
theologia gloriae, xxxiv
theologia in subjectis, xxxvii. See also theology in the subject
Theological Theses (Junius), xx
end of, 205–12
existence of, 93
nature of, xxiv–xxv
reason of, 164
Toussaint, Hémard, 15
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
Tullius, M., 28
Ursinus, Zacharias, xiii
van Limborch, Philippus, xliv
van Mastricht, Petrus, xliii
Voetius, Gisbertus, xliii
Voidovius, Andreas, xvi
Vorstius, Conradus, 74n6
Walaeus, Antonius, xxiv–xxvn35
widow woman, 63–65
Wollebius, Johannes, xliii
Zuichemo, Viglio, 52–53