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Is the Reformed Church the True Church?

Francis Turretin (1623-1687) - The Most Precise Theologian of the Reformation Era

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“Every decree of God is eternal; therefore it cannot depend upon a condition which takes place only in time. (2) God’s decrees depend on his good pleasure (eudokia) (Mt. 11:26; Eph. 1:5; Rom. 9:11). Therefore they are not suspended upon any condition outside of God. (3) Every decree of God is immutable (Is. 46:10; Rom. 9:11).”

Is the Reformed Church the True Church?

I. Since it is evident from what has been said in the preceding question that the Roman church of this day is not the true church of Christ, it cannot be less clear from the rule of opposites that this title cannot be denied to the Reformed and evangelical churches (which seceded from Rome, in communion with which therefore salvation can certainly be obtained), whatever our opponents may maintain in their most rash and iniquitous judgments.

II. Nor is it difficult to prove this further from what has been said before concerning the marks of the church. For since it has been shown that it only is a true church in which the pure preaching of the word and the religion instituted by Christ and the apostles obtain, it cannot be denied that our churches are rightly designated by this name, if it is true (as we maintain) that our faith and religion are no other than the faith and religion of Christ and the apostles.

III. That the matter is really so clear appears from an examination of the religion itself. For in whatever manner that is viewed, either as to faith or as to worship or as to government (which three things it is accustomed to embrace), there is nothing in it not founded upon the word of God and which was not instituted and delivered by Christ and the apostles; as can be seen from an examination of particular heads. And this is the primary foundation of our faith, to which we always have and do now appeal. And if anything is taught by us beyond or contrary to the word of God, by that very circumstance our churches should be considered false. But if, on the other hand, it is certain that nothing is delivered by us, whether as to faith or as to morals and worship, inconsistent with the doctrine delivered by Christ and the apostles in the word, no one can doubt that the truth of faith and religion necessarily draws after it the truth of the church professing it. If our opponents wish to deny or call this in question, we must come to an examination of doctrine (which they so zealously decline).

IV. I know that the Romanists carp at various doctrines of ours which they persuade themselves are opposed to truth as well as to piety and on account of which they are wont to brand us with the mark of heresy. But that this is a most unjust accusation can appear clearer than the midday sun from a discussion of the things themselves. From this, it appears (1) that some things are calumniously and most falsely charged against us, from which we are the furthest removed and which we utterly detest: as that we make God the author of sin because we assert his efficacious providence about sin; that we deny the omnipotence of God because we teach that God cannot make the body of Christ to be essentially present in many places at the same time; that we destroy the equality of the divine persons because to the Father we ascribe a preeminence (hyperochen) of divinity, while we hold that the Son is not autotheon (“God from himself”); that we impose from divine providence an absolute and fatal and Stoical necessity upon all things; that we make all sins equal because we maintain that all are mortal and none venial; that we deny the true humanity of Christ, taking from him personality; that we assert that Christ despaired on the cross; that we deny inherent righteousness and recognize no necessity of good works; and other similar things which one who knows our faith and has read our public confessions and symbolical books, cannot but know are most false and by sheer calumny charged against us (as has been shown by us in this whole work as to each head). (2) That others are falsely educed by most false consequences from our true principles; as that the doctrine of predestination (as taught by us) extinguishes in the souls of men all religion and is the mistress either of profaneness or of despair; that we take out of the way the moral law, the necessity of good works being removed; that in calling we make man a trunk and log, as holding himself (according to us) merely passive in the first moment of calling; that in justification we think man is not made just in himself, but remains an unjust and unclean sinner and is reckoned just alone in Christ; that men, however they may sin, ought to be none the less certain of their perseverance; that by our doctrine of the certainty of salvation and righteousness incapable of being lost, we corrupt the idea of true perseverance, abrogate the use of all fear and destroy the nature of the Christian virtues; and many other things of this kind which, if anyone will more attentively examine, he will find to be most foreign to our doctrine rightly understood, and which can be deduced only by violent and contorted consequences against the nature of the things themselves (as has been proved by us in the appropriate places). Or (3) that things which are in themselves most true and consistent with the word of God, have most unjustly been accused of falsity: such as what is taught by us against the invocation of saints and the worship of images; against purgatory and human satisfactions; transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the Mass; the primacy of the pope and other things with which we fight against papal errors. Or (4) that the harsher words of certain writers and the private opinions of teachers never received by the church are obtruded as its public and uniform faith.

V. These things will shine forth more clearly, if we mentally conceive the true and genuine idea of our religion, as opposed to the false and fallacious which our opponents through sheer calumny or ignorance and blind prejudice are wont to invent to traduce it, not only as absurd and a mere skeleton without moisture and unction, destitute of all ornaments; but also as impious and impure, worthy of the hatred and indignation of all; while nevertheless nothing can be conceived more sacred and pure, nothing more worthy of the love and veneration of men. Our religion is that which is wholly occupied with knowing the one and triune God, the Creator, preserver and Redeemer, and rightly worshipping him according to his command. It gives the entire glory of our salvation to God alone and writes against man alone the true cause of his sin and destruction. It is our religion which recognizes no other rule of faith and practice besides the sacred Scriptures; no other Mediator and head of the church than Christ; no other propitiatory sacrifice than his death; no other purgatory than his blood; no other merit than his obedience; no other intercession than his prayers. It is our religion which teaches that God alone is to be adored and invoked and does not allow the glory and the religious worship due to him to be transferred to creatures. It is our religion which depresses man as much as possible by taking away from him all presumption of his own strength and merits; and raises him to the highest point by preaching that the grace and mercy of God is the one only cause of salvation, both as to acquisition and as to application. It is our religion which proclaims war against all vices, recommends all virtues and presses the necessity of holiness and good works unto salvation; places piety and worship, not in bodily exercises, which are of little advantage (for instance the distinction of food, the observance of festivals, fasts, pilgrimages, flagellations and other external ceremonies and will-worships [ethelothreskeiais], which God has nowhere enjoined), but in worship in spirit and in truth, consisting in a pure heart, a good conscience, faith unfeigned, love and the practice of good works. It is our religion which brings solid peace and consolation to the soul of the believer in life and in death by the true confidence which it orders him to place, not in the uncertainty and vanity of his own righteousness or human satisfactions, but in the sole mercy of God and most perfect righteousness of Christ, which, applied to the heart by faith, takes away doubt and distrust and ingenerates a vivid persuasion of salvation after this life. It is our religion which not only does not forbid the reading of the sacred Scriptures as dangerous, but commands it as most useful and highly necessary; which does not wish sacred things to be gone through with a foreign tongue by which the wretched people do not understand God speaking and are held in ignorance the furthest removed from the mysteries; but commends the use of the common tongue known to all that she may consult for the edification and instruction of all. It is our religion which imposes upon all the obedience due to superior powers and thinks that not without great wickedness and sacrilegious audacity can any moral person arrogate to himself the power of deposing kings and absolving subjects from their oath of fidelity. It is our religion which, content with the two sacraments instituted by Christ (baptism and the Supper), rejects all others as the inventions of human genius. It recognizes the true, spiritual and sole saving presence of Christ in the Supper and cannot admit the bodily and Capernaitic presence by which God is believed to be not only made by man but also to be eaten, as opposed to sense, reason and faith and full of ten thousand contradictions. Now what falsity or impiety can be discovered in all these things? On the other hand what can be found which does not breathe truth and sincerity and agree with the word of God and the spirit of Christianity? Can there be anyone so shameless as to dare to say that those who truly believe and sincerely observe such things ought to be consigned to eternal flames and condemned without the hope of salvation?

VI. If one would be pleased to institute a parallelism of the Roman religion with ours, it could easily be gathered which is the more holy and worthier of the desire and veneration of men and which the more impure and shameless. The Roman, which transfers the worship due to the Creator alone (God blessed forever) to creatures and orders rational man to prostrate himself before mute and inanimate pictures and statues? Or ours, which orders the ever living and true God alone to be adored and worshipped? The Roman, which divides the glory of our redemption, conversion and salvation between God and man; or ours, which ascribes it solely to God? The Roman, which acknowledges and venerates a weak man, a sinner and a mortal, as head of the church and as the supreme judge of controversies and of consciences; or ours, which subjects neither the mystical body of Christ, nor its individual members to another than Christ alone, the consubstantial (homoousio) Son of the blessed God? The Roman, which still seeks Christ on earth under the species of a perishable thing against the testimony of the senses, reason and Scripture; or ours, which seeks him only in heaven sitting on the throne of the Father and uses the sacrament, not for creating, but honoring Christ; not for sending his body into our hearts, but for raising our hearts to him? The Roman, which, in order the more easily to reign in darkness, places the candle under a bushel, prohibiting the reading of the Scripture and testament of our Father, enjoining the use of a foreign tongue in sacred things, and maintains that faith should be defined by ignorance and blind obedience rather than by science and knowledge? Or ours, which exhorts all to read and study the Scriptures, commends itself by a manifestation of the truth and places faith in the knowledge of sacred mysteries? The Roman, which equates human traditions with the word of God, corrupts the precepts of the law and mutilates the sacrament in one of its parts? Or ours, which, content with the divinely inspired (theopneusto) word of God, suffers nothing to be added to or taken away from it. From these (not to mention others) everyone sees what is to be judged concerning the truth or falsity of each religion and church.

VII. But to come into closer quarters with our opponents, from their confession we gather the truth of our religion and church. For since we believe nothing as to articles merely affirmative (which contain things to be believed, whether as to faith or as to morals and worship, which they themselves do not profess to believe with us as most true), they ought to confess either that our faith is true or that theirs, which they hold in common with us, is false. It is confirmed from this—that our whole controversy with the Romanists is not about these affirmative articles, which the Catholic church in all ages has constantly taught and Rome herself also now receives and professes; but about negative and exclusive articles which she thrusts forth to us as necessary to be believed—we, however, constantly reject them as false and erroneous. For example, the question between us is not whether the Scripture is the divinely inspired (theopneuston) word of God, the rule of faith and practice (which is our belief and which they themselves also admit); but whether besides the Scriptures there are unwritten (agraphoi) traditions to be received with equal affection of piety and reverence as a rule of faith (which they maintain and we deny). It is not disputed whether Christ is our Mediator with God and his death a propitiatory (/lilostilcon) sacrifice for our sins (which is confessed on both sides); but whether besides Christ there are other mediators, whether of redemption or of intercession, and whether besides the sacrifice of the cross, any other truly propitiatory sacrifice must be admitted (which they hold and we reject). It is not controverted whether God is to be worshipped and adored (concerning which we both agree); but whether besides God we lawfully may and ought to worship and invoke creatures. The question is not whether Christ is the head of the church (which is asserted on both sides); but whether besides Christ the pope is also a secondary head (which is their error, to which we are opposed). Finally, not to mention more heads, it is not disputed whether we are justified by faith apprehending the merit of Christ (which we hold with the Scriptures); but whether we are justified also by works (which they urge and we repudiate). Since it thus plainly appears that these heads of our faith do not come into controversy with our opponents, it cannot be denied that our religion, which is contained in these heads, is true and, consequently, the church which professes it is true. Nor can it be said that its falsity is gathered as to the negative articles because we are unwilling to receive and believe whatever they obtrude upon us to be believed. It is one thing not to believe whatever is imposed to be believed; another to believe what is false. The former the Romanists can reproach us with, but not the latter. Nor can the want of that faith be turned against us as a fault, unless it can be shown beforehand that such articles (obtruded for our belief) are necessary and delivered in the Scriptures (which they will never be able to do).

VIII. However, because they endeavor by various prejudices to overthrow the truth of our religion and church, their worthlessness must be shown briefly. The first is (1) the crime of schism—that we seceded from the church of Rome and thus have been separated from the true church. But various replies can be given, (a) Every secession is not evil and schismatical, but only that which is made rashly and unjustly. Since this cannot be said of ours (which had the most weighty and highly necessary causes), schism cannot be charged upon us (as has been proved by us elsewhere, Disputation 1, “De Necessaria Secessione,” Opera [1848], 4:3-27). (b) It is gratuitously supposed that to secede from the church of Rome and to secede from the true church are the same thing. Yet they differ greatly from each other. We seceded indeed from the Roman and papal church, but we did not on that account secede from the true church of Christ; nay, for this reason we left the Roman communion—that we might retain the communion of Christ, with which that was incompatible (asystatos). (c) Since the privilege of infallibility was granted neither to Rome, nor to any particular visible church (as we have already proved), no one can pretend that secession from her communion is unjust, unless she has shown beforehand that the truth of doctrine is with her. For if it is true that some church is heretical or idolatrous, who can doubt that the believer ought necessarily to secede from her if he wishes to provide for his salvation (as he is altogether bound indispensably)? For I do not think anyone in his senses would wish to adopt that crude and impious paradox of the author of the book de praejudi. cap. 7+ (to wit, “One ought never to secede from the church of Rome; nay, even though she should be heretical and idolatrous”), as if heresy and idolatry were not incompatible (asystatoi) with salvation and Paul had falsely said there was no fellowship of Christ with Belial, of light with darkness, of the temple of God with idols, and that idolators would be excluded from the kingdom of heaven.

IX. (2) The newness of the Reformation is urged as showing the newness of the religion. But religion is here falsely confounded with the Reformation. Religion is the body of doctrine delivered by Christ containing what ever is either to be believed or done by us for salvation. Reformation is nothing else than the purging of the errors and corruptions brought by the papacy into the doctrine of faith and practice delivered by Christ. The Reformation is indeed new (i.e., recently made, as supposing the preceding state of the church to have been corrupt), but not on this account by this Reformation was a new religion or church instituted which had not existed before; rather that which existed already was made better by the ancient rule (to wit, the word of God). But it is not a new thing for the truth to be accused of novelty and for a lie to hold up before itself a sacred and venerable antiquity. The Jews objected this newness against Christ and boasted that they were the lovers and followers of antiquity (Mk. 7:5; Mt. 15:2). The Gentiles, under the pretext of newness, brought the first Christians into hatred and no less proudly than falsely displayed the monuments of their own antiquity. But as Christ beat down the falsity of this charge by citing the Scriptures which gave testimony concerning him (Jn. 5:39) and confirmed the doctrine delivered by him (as the Christians defended themselves against the Gentiles with the same weapons), so the same method ought to avail to clear us and remove the charge urged. We demand that the antiquity not of persons, but of doctrine should be considered (which we maintain stands rightly with us).

X. (3) Another prejudice is the defect of our calling and mission, that we are self-called (autoldetoi), having no authority or right to reform the church, and on this account are to be condemned even unheard. But (a) this is gratuitously supposed, not proved. For we assert that neither did our Reformers lack a lawful call, nor do we lack it (as will be demonstrated when we discuss the calling of pastors), (b) It is again falsely supposed that an ordinary call is always necessary for the exercise of the ministry and the reformation of the church because there is one rule for the church instituted and to be conserved, another for it to be restored and reformed. As in a well-ordered state, it is not lawful for anyone to rise against the ordinary commanders-in-chief and if anyone should attempt it, he would be guilty of sedition and treason; but if that should take place in a disturbed state for the purpose of averting any treachery excited against the king and kingdom, it would not now be considered a crime worthy of punishment, but an action heroic and deserving praise. Thus if anyone in contempt of the order well established in the church, should wish to invade the sacred office without a call (which was done by the Anabaptists and similar disturbers), he would be deservedly condemned. But when the ministry itself is corrupt, when all things are disturbed in the church and the most immediate danger of destruction threatens, if anyone should wish to provide for his own and his neighbor’s salvation, he would not need a peculiar call, nor would he want any other authority than zeal for the glory of God and a desire for his own salvation (to procure which each one is bound from a general call). Now we contend that this was the state of the church of Rome and we are prepared to prove it from the highest corruption of religion which prevailed in it. If we assert that falsely, we must be considered guilty of rashness and insolence. But if it has been proved to be so, who can blame us if we wished in time to provide for our salvation by the rejection of falsehood and error and the public profession of the truth? (c) They most unjustly maintain that we (even unheard) can be condemned from a defect of mission, since the laws themselves constantly forbid this. Hence Nicodemus: “Doth our law,” said he, “judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” (Jn. 7:51). For how without the greatest rashness can that be condemned which is not known? And how can that be known which is not examined? Besides, since the truth conciliates a hearing for itself by whomsoever it is brought to us, if our doctrine is true, we are to be heard although we might not have an external mission; but if it is false, although we might have a mission, we should be detested and not heard and on this account the more that the mission is to be proved from the doctrine and not the doctrine from the mission.

XI. (4) Disagreements are a prejudice under which the evangelical churches labor. But they cannot hinder them from retaining the name of true church, because they agree as to the foundation. And if any differences exist (which God wished to permit in order to prove our faith), they are about articles less necessary, in which there can be a disagreement without touching the essence of saving religion: as the apostolic churches formerly had their differences and stains, as is evident from the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline epistles; nor were the eastern and western churches, the Latin and the Greek, the African and Italian churches free from them, which did not on that account cease to be true churches. Again, the contentions and differences of the evangelicals are far less than those which are agitated among the Romanists, who, as was seen before, frequently charge each other with heresy. Nor do we notice here the more rigid judgments of some of those who take their name from the great Luther, who, carried away by sinister prejudices, are accustomed to attack us. For however harshly they may have treated us, we do not cease to honor them with brotherly affection. And if, their prejudices and private affections being laid aside, they would seriously examine the thing itself by the law of love, truth and Christian prudence, they would not be so much averse to a pious syncretism and reconciliation with us, or at least a mutual toleration, to which not a few of the more moderate among them are not indisposed.

XII. (5) The fifth prejudice is the life of the Reformers which, since it was defiled with so many vices, no one could readily believe that God willed to use such instruments for the accomplishment of so great a work. But many things demonstrate the falsehood of this prejudice, (a) It is supposed that the truth of religion depends upon the life and practice of pastors; while it is to be measured not from the life of sinful men (who are nothing else than instruments which God uses), but from the revelation and truth of God alone, its author, (b) By the same prejudice the Pharisees and Sadducees of old endeavored to overthrow Christ and his doctrine, accusing him of blasphemy, sedition, imposture, gluttony and diabolical arts. Nor was there any other way of dealing with the apostles and most pious servants of God, to whom for us to be similar in this respect, ought to be not only not disgraceful, but glorious, (c) Although we believe our Reformers were neither infallible nor incapable of sinning, but men of like passions (homoiopatheis) with others (to whom nothing human was foreign) and not without their stains and faults, still that they were the furthest removed from the crimes charged against them, their remarkable piety and the noted integrity of their lives and morals and the rare virtues by which they recommended themselves and obtained a testimony from their very opponents sufficiently declares. And these most offensive calumnies have been so often refuted and convicted of falsehood that they must have lost all shame who do not blush to bring them forward still. See the defenses of our divines for Zwingli, Luther, (Peter) Martyr, Calvin and Beza; by Rivet, Dumoulin, Drelincourt and others; and above the rest, the reply recently published, in which the author accurately pursues this argument (Jurieu, Histoire du Calvinisme 1.3, 4, 8, 15ff. [1683], pp. 74-95, 133-47, 199ff.). (d) If we were disposed to recriminate, with how much better right and more truly might vices and crimes be charged against them, with which the Roman court abounded at the time of the Reformation, whose most corrupt state many of the Romanists graphically describe (as has been seen already), on account of which reformation was sought with so great zeal so often in the head as well as in the members by emperors and kings?

XIII. (6) It is a calumny concerning the violence and cruelty which is charged upon our religion, as if it was established with the sword and blood and by force of arms, holy wars on that account being stirred up. Hence the most evil-speaking Maimbourg, struck with an insane fury, in the very beginning of his Histoire du Calvinisme (1682), written not so much with ink as with blood, most impotently rages against it and labors insatiably upon this one thing—to hold up to the ridicule of the world by the most unblushing falsehoods and base calumnies, not only the pious souls of the saints and those well deserving of the church of God, but especially exposes for the hatred and execration of all, the doctrine itself built upon the one only foundation both of the prophets and apostles, as the pregnant mother of impiety, disturbances and controversy, when he says that Calvinism renewed “whatever of fury and madness, rebellion, perfidy, avarice, ambition, cruelty and the most savage passions had inspired the most wicked persons formerly, in order to establish itself with the sword and fire.” But that nothing is more false than this most atrocious falsehood, the thing itself exclaims, nor can they be ignorant who know the history of the period in which the Reformation took place. The religion of Christ is always like itself; its weapons are not carnal, but powerful through God to the destruction of strongholds and reasonings (which are raised against the knowledge of God) and to bring every thought captive into obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4). As from the beginning, it was founded not with arms, but by the preaching of the word alone and by the blood of the apostles and the sufferings of the martyrs, so in no other way was it restored to its pristine splendor; not by an arm of flesh but by the arm of the Lord and the invincible scepter of the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. As the church was founded with blood, so it has increased with blood by bearing, not inflicting, injuries. “The armor of the church is faith; the armor of the church is prayer, which overcomes the adversary,” says Ambrose (Concerning Widows 8.49 [NPNF2,10:399; PL 16.263]). If any movements were made or wars excited by this occasion, they are to be ascribed not to religion (which persuades quite the opposite), but to the fury and cruelty of our adversaries, who endeavored to destroy by fire and the sword. Nor ought the civil wars often waged by princes for their own sakes (although under the pretext of religion) to be forthwith imputed to religion. See Jurieu, Histoire du Calvinisms, Pt. 2 (1683), pp. 271-557, where the author, tracing the history of the Reformation in Switzerland as well as in England, Scotland, France, Belgium and other places, most clearly demonstrates that it was furthest removed from the violence and cruelty ascribed to it; but that this might with the highest justice be retorted against the papacy, whose dreadful savageness and cruelty he proves by the most convincing arguments (“Historic du Papisme,” in Histoire du Caivinisme, Pt. 3 [1683]).

XIV. (7) It is a calumny concerning the confusion and manifold disorders (ataxia) which are said to have sprung up in the world out of the Reformation. But neither ought this most false accusation to move us. Thus Elijah of old was accused of being a disturber of Israel (1 K. 18:17). And to the first Christians were imputed all the evils and calamities which happened to the Roman Empire. But as Elijah did not disturb Israel, nor was Christianity the cause of the miseries of the Empire, so neither can our religion (which agrees with that purer Christianity) be called the cause of the confusion which reigns in the world. It breathes nothing but peace and concord; believes that nothing is more dangerous and more to be avoided than confusion and anarchy; commends nothing more efficaciously than good order (eutaxian) and good laws. And if any confusion has arisen by its cause, it does not follow per se from its doctrine, but accidentally only on account of the contumacy and rebellion of men who, not able to bear that light, have endeavored to extinguish it in every way. Just as Christ professes, “I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword and fire” (Mt. 10:34).

XV. (8) Next is the calumny concerning independency, in the church as well as in the state, which causes us to recognize no authority in the church and to be hostile to superior powers. But nothing could be said more unjustly and be more foreign to our religion. For who, that has saluted it even from the threshold, can be ignorant of how little it favors independency; with how great zeal it strives against it that all things may be done decently and in order (kata taxin) in the church by the institution of legitimate authority and government? Nor is it unknown that among the principal heads of our faith is numbered the obedience due to the superior powers, whom we are bound to obey not only on account of wrath, but also on account of conscience. Thus it wishes these two things to be always connected by an indissoluble bond: “To fear God and to honor the king; to render to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and to God the things which are God’s.” We leave independency to those who withdraw themselves from the jurisdiction of the magistrate and think they are raised so far above kings that their crowns depend upon them, which they can confer or take away at pleasure.

XVI. (9) To the calumny concerning fanaticism and libertinism which the opponents wish to be the offspring of our Reformation because we have shaken off the yoke of the pope and bring in a private spirit. But that our Reformation has nothing in common with sectaries of this kind, the thing itself (even if we were still) would clearly prove. So that in truth nothing is more op-posed to fanaticism and libertinism than the spirit of the Reformation, which does not urge anything more strongly than the desire of holiness and the well’ settled method of living according to the word of God. And it opposes nothing more than that furious and fanatical sect of impure men and projectors of all lust. Who fought against them more powerfully than our Calvin? Who disclosed more clearly the impiety and impurity of its doctrines? And since it is the primary foundation of our faith to adhere to Scripture alone, all secret and immediate in spirations and revelations being disregarded, who does not see how alien it is to fanaticism, which continually boasts of its new revelations and inspirations? Nor, if we wish each believer with the spirit of discretion to be able to judge of a proposed doctrine according to the rule of the word, do we on that account introduce a private and fanatical spirit. Nor if we shook off the tyrannical yoke of the papacy did we wish to remove the believer from every yoke that he might rush headlong into all crimes; but our intention was thus the more rightly to place him under the law of Christ and his easy yoke. But what they rashly and falsely charge upon our Reformation, that we most truly and justly retort against the church of Rome, who as if it were the throne and empire of fanaticism, all fanatics have come out of her bosom (where every day they recur to new inspirations and visions, if any new doctrine or worship is to be instituted or miracle to be confirmed or a religious order to be established). This is evident even from the founders of orders ([St.] Dominic, [St.] Francis, Ignatius and others, who continually boast of revelations and visions to conciliate belief in themselves), as has been demonstrated fully by Stillingfleet (A Discourse Concerning the Idolatry Practiced in the Church of Rome [1676], Question 1, passim) and by Jurieu (Histoire du Calvinism:, Pt. 1.6 [1683], pp. 106-20).

Bible Verse:

“I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless,” (Gen. 17:1).

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