Sunday, August 15, 2010

Arminius on the Perfection of the Scriptures

From his private dispositions


1. We denominate that which comprehends all things necessary for the church to know, to believe, to do and to hope, in order to salvation, "THE PERFECTION OF THE SACRED SCRIPTURES."

2. As we are about to engage in the defense of this perfection, against inspirations, visions, dreams and other novel enthusiastic things, we assert, that, since the time when Christ and his apostles sojourned on earth, no inspiration of any thing necessary for the salvation of any individual man, or of the church, has been given to any single person or to any congregation of men whatsoever, which thing is not in a full and most perfect manner comprised in the sacred Scriptures.

3. We likewise affirm, that in the latter ages no doctrine necessary to salvation has been deduced from these Scriptures which was not explicitly known and believed from the very commencement of the Christian church.

For, from the time of Christ's ascent into heaven, the church of God was in an adult state, being capable indeed of increasing in the knowledge and belief of things necessary to salvation, but not capable of receiving accessions of new articles; that is, she was capable of increase in that faith by which the articles of religion are believed, but not in that faith which is the subject of belief.

4. Whatever additions have since been made, they obtain only the rank of interpretations and proofs, which ought themselves not to be at variance with the Scriptures, but to be deduced from them; otherwise, no authority is due to them, but they should rather be considered as allied to error; for the perfection, not only of the propositions, but likewise of the explanations and proofs which are comprised in the Scriptures, is very great.

5. But the most compendious way of forming a judgment about any enunciation or proposition, is, to discern whether its subject and predicate be either expressly or with equal force contained in them, that proposition may be rejected at least as not necessary to salvation, without any detriment to one's salvation. But the predicate may be of such a kind, that, when ascribed to this subject, it cannot be received without detriment to the salvation. For instance, "The Roman pontiff is the head of the church." "The virgin Mary is the mediatrix of grace."