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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 103 pages of information about Ten Reasons Proposed to His Adversaries for Disputation in the Name.

EIGHTH REASON

PARADOXES

For myself, most excellent Sirs, when, choosing out of many heresies, I think over in my mind certain portentous errors of self-opinionated men, errors that it will be incumbent on me to refute, I should condemn myself of want of spirit and discernment if in this trial of strength I were to be afraid of any man’s ability or powers.  Let him be able, let him be eloquent, let him be a practised disputant, let him be a devourer of all books, still his thought must dry up and his utterance fail him when he shall have to maintain such impossible positions as these.  For we shall dispute, if perchance they will allow us, on God, on Christ, on Man, on Sin, on Justice, on Sacraments, on Morals.  I shall see whether they will dare to speak out what they think, and what under the constraint of their situation they publish in their miserable writings.  I will take care that they know these maxims of their teachers:—­“God is the author and cause of evil, willing it, suggesting it, effecting it, commanding it, working it out, and guiding the guilty counsels of the wicked to this end.  As the call of Paul, so the adultery of David, and the wickedness of the traitor Judas, was God’s own work” (Calvin, Institut. i. 18; ii. 4; iii. 23, 24).  This monstrous doctrine, of which Philip Melanchthon was for once ashamed, Luther however, of whom Philip had learned it, extols as an oracle from heaven with wonderful praises, and on that score puts his foster-child all but on an equality, with the Apostle Paul (Luther, De servo arbitrio).  I will also enquire what was in Luther’s mind, whom the English Calvinists pronounce to be “a man given of God for the enlightenment of the world,” when he wished to take this versicle out of the Church’s prayers, “Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.”

I will proceed to the person of Christ.  I will ask what these words, “Christ the Son of God, God of God,” mean to Calvin, who says, “God of Himself” (Instit. i. 13); or to Beza, who says, “He is not begotten of the essence of the Father” (Beza in Josue, nn. 23, 24).  Again.  Let there be set up two hypostate unions in Christ, one of His soul with His flesh, the other of His Divinity with His Humanity (Beza, Contra Schmidel).  The passage in John x. 30, I and the Father are one, does not show Christ to be God, consubstantial with God the Father (Calvin on John x.), the fact is, says Luther, “my soul hates this word, homousion.” Go on.  Christ was not perfect in grace from His infancy, but grew in gifts of the soul like other men, and by experience daily became wiser, so that as a little child He laboured under ignorance (Melanchthon on the gospel for first Sunday after Epiphany).  Which is as much as to say that He was defiled with the stain and vice of original sin.  But observe still more direful utterances.  When Christ, praying in the Garden, was streaming with

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