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§ 6. Doctrine of the Reformed Churches.

At the time of the Reformation the Reformed adhered strictly to the doctrine of the early Church. This is apparent from the different Confessions adopted by the several Reformed bodies, especially from the Second Helvetic Confession, which, as will be seen, reviews and rejects all the ancient heresies on this subjects and repeats and adopts the language of the ancient creeds. In this Confession it is said:316316XI.; Niemeyer, Collectio Confessionum, pp. 483-485.Credimus præterea et docemus filium Dei Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum ab æterno prædestinatum vel 406præordinatum esse, a Patre, salvatorem mundi: credimusque hunc esse genitum, non tantum, cum ex virgine Maria carnem assumsit, nec tantum ante jacta fundamenta mundi, sed ante omnem æternitatem, et quidem, a Patre, ineffabiliter. . . . . Proinde Filius est Patri juxta divinitatem coæqualis et consubstantialis, Deus verus non nuncupatione, aut adoptione, aut ulla dignatione, sed substantia atque natura. . . . . Abominamur ergo Arii et omnium Arianorum impiam contra filium Dei doctrinam. . . . . Eundem quoque æterni Dei æternum filium credimus et docemus hominis factum esse filium, ex semine Abrahæ atque Davidis, non ex viri coitu, quod Hebion dixit, sed conceptum purissime ex Spiritn Sancto, et natum ex Maria semper virgine: . . . . Caro ergo Christi, nec phantastica fuit, nec cœlitus allata, sicuti Valentinus et Martion somniabant. Præterea anima fuit Domino nostro non absque sensu et ratione, ut Apollinaris sentiebat, neque caro absque anima, ut Eunomius docebat, sed anima cum ratione sua, et caro cum sensibus suis, per quos sensus, veros dolores tempore passionis suæ sustinuit. . . . . Agnoscimus ergo in uno atque eodem Domino nostro Jesu Christo, duas naturas [vel substantias, as it is in several editions], divinam et humanam: et has ita dicimus conjunctas et unitas esse, ut absorptæ, aut confusæ, aut immixtæ non sint: sed salvis potius et permanentibus naturarum proprietatibus, in una persona, unitæ et conjunctæ: ita ut unum Christum Dominum, non duos veneremur: unum inquam verum Deum et hominem, juxta divinam naturam Patri, juxta humanam vero nobis hominibus consubstantialem, et per omnia similem, peccato excepto. Etenim, ut Nestorianum dogma ex uno Christo duos faciens, et unionem personæ dissolvens, abominamur: ita Eutychetis et Monothelitarum vel Monophysicorum vesaniam, expungentem naturæ humanæ proprietatem execramur penitus. Ergo minime docemus naturam in Christo divinam passam esse, aut Christum secundum humanam naturam adhuc esse in hoc mundo, adeoque esse ubique. Neque enim vel sentimus, vel docemus veritatem corporis Christi a clarificatione desiisse, aut deificatam, adeoque sic deificatam esse, ut suas proprietates, quoad corpus et animam, deposuerit, ac prorsus in naturam divinam abierat, unaque duntaxat substantia esse cœperit. . . . . Præterea credimus Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, vere passum et mortuum esse pro nobis. . . . . Interim non negamus et Dominum gloriæ, juxta verba Pauli, crucifixum esse pro nobis. Nam communicationem idiomatum, ex scripturis petitam, et ab universa vetustate in explicandis componendisque scripturarum locis in speciem pugnantibus usurpatam, religiose et reverenter recipimus et usurpamus.

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It thus appears that the Reformed distinctly rejected all the errors concerning the person of Christ, condemned in the early Church; the Arian, the Ebionitic, the Gnostic, the Apollinarian, the Nestorian, the Eutychian, and the Monothelite, as well as the peculiar Lutheran doctrine introduced at the time of the Reformation. The Reformed taught what the first six general councils taught, and what the Church universal received, — neither more nor less. With this agrees the beautifully clear and precise statement of the Westminster Confession: “The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature, and all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin: being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.”317317Chap. viii. § 2.


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