In his fine Brief Declaration, Bishop Ridley begins citing the church fathers for support that the doctrine did not exist in the early church. He begins with Origen, and moves on to Chrysostom, Theodoret, Tertullian, Augustine, and Gelasius. He also briefly mentions Hilary, Ambrose, Basil, and Nazianzen.
He quotes Chrysostom’s 11 homily on Matthew where he says, “If it be a fault (saith he) to translate the holy vessels (in the which is contained not the true body of Christ, but the mystery of the body) to private uses; how much more offence is it to abuse and defile the vessels of our body?” (pg. 32-33).
Notice that the “true body” is not the same as the “mystery of the body.”
Ridley also quotes Chrysostom’s ad Caearium monachum, in which he states, “Before the bread be hallowed, we call it bread: but, the grace of God sanctifying it by the means of the priest, it is delivered now from the name of bread and esteemed worthy to be called Christ’s body, although the nature of the bread tarry in it still” (34) Continue reading →
While going through that on which faith is grounded, Reynolds lists the free love of God, the example of other sinners saved, and then the free offer. He writes:
Because there is a generality and unlimitedness in the invitation unto Christ, “Come unto me, all that are weary.– Let every one that will, come.” There is in Christ erected an office of salvation, a heavenly chancery of equity and mercy, not only to moderate the rigour, but to reverse and revoke the very acts of the law. Christ is ‘set forth,’ or proposed openly as a sanctuary and ensign for the nations to fly unto; and he hath sent his ambassadors abroad to warn, and to invite every man. As a fountain is open for any man to drink, and a school for any man to learn, and the gate fo a city for any man to enter, and a court of equity for any man to relieve himself;– so Christ is publicly and universally set forth as a general refuge from the wrath to come, upon no other condition than such a will as is not only desirous to enjoy his mercy, but to submit to his kingdom, and glorify the power of his spirit and grace in new obedience.
Life of Christ, pg. 454-455 in The Whole Works of the Edward Reynolds Vol. 1 (Soli Deo Gloria)
Reynolds goes on to add the priority of grace in the conversion of the sinner, as well as our duty to faith. These are the reasons we are to believe and the grounds upon which faith builds.
It is certainly true that when children of believers reach the age of discernment [and have never repented or believed] they will have alienated themselves from God and destroyed utterly the truth of baptism. But this is not to say that our Lord has not elected them and separated them from others in order to grant them His salvation. Otherwise, it would be in vain for Saint Paul to say that a child of a believing father or mother is sanctified, who would be impure if he were born of and descended from unbelievers (1 Cor. 7:14).
John Calvin, Treatises Against the Anabaptists and Against the Libertines pg. 52
In Genesis 31, Jacob (soon to be named Israel), steals away from his oppressive task-master under cover of secrecy. Rachel takes Laban’s riches with her as spoils, and the whole house of Israel begins its trek back to the land of Canaan.
Laban, realizing how much money he’s going to lose in all of this, decides to pursue Jacob, perhaps to win him back, but God intervenes, warning him to do Jacob no harm.
When Laban sees that he has no claim on Jacob or his house, he asks for a covenant of peace. The process involves stones, oaths, and a sacrifice on the mountain.
From there angels of God lead Jacob’s camp along the way back to the land. They cross a river as they enter Canaan (Gen. 32:22).
Certain covenant theologians need to read this over again:
“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life,” (Rom. 6:23). Why, as he contrasts life with death, does he not also contrast righteousness with sin? Why, when setting down sin as the cause of death, does he not also set down righteousness as the cause of life? The antithesis which would otherwise be complete is somewhat marred by this variation; but the Apostle employed the comparison to express the fact, that death is due to the deserts of men, but that life was treasured up solely in the mercy of God. In short, by these expressions, the order rather than the cause is noted. The Lord adding grace to grace, takes occasion from a former to add a subsequent, so that he may omit no means of enriching his servants. Still, in following out his liberality, he would have us always look to free election as its source and beginning. For although he loves the gifts which he daily bestows upon us, inasmuch as they proceed from that fountain, still our duty is to hold fast by that gratuitous acceptance, which alone can support our souls; and so to connect the gifts of the Spirit, which he afterwards bestows, with their primary cause, as in no degree to detract from it.
~ John Calvin Institutes Book 3, Chapt. 14.21
Calvin, agreeing with Paul, shows an important way in which the work of Christ was not like the work of Adam. Death is earned. Life is graced.
Laban’s statement to Jacob in Gen. 29:15 literally reads, “Is it because you are my brother that you have served me for nothing? Tell me what should your wages should be.”
This, despite numerous mistranslations, is a rejection of Jacob’s status as brother. Continue reading →
Genesis 29:1-14 exudes Edenic imagery right from the beginning. Jacob has just left “the house of God,” where he saw heaven and earth united, and he proceeds east-ward. This is the direction of the garden (Gen. 2:8), and it should come as no surprise that Jacob encounters water, livestock, and of course, a woman who will be his bride.
This story is a clear parallel to the earlier account of Isaac’s servant meeting Rebekah (which is also a new Adam and Eve story), but this time Laban (who we have also met before) is no longer a friend. Like the Pharaohs and Emperors who always forget the good guys, so too does Laban turn on Jacob. Our new Eden becomes a new Egypt, and an Exodus will be required.