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Antinomianism and Antinomian Controversies
ANTINOMIANISM AND ANTINOMIAN CONTROVERSIES.
I. Antinomianism in General.
New Testament Antinomianism (§ 1).
Gnostic Antinomianism (§ 2).
Antinomianism of the Middle Ages (§ 3).
Of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (§ 4).
In England (§ 5).
The Ranters (§ 6).
Later Phases of Antinomianism (§ 7).
II. Antinomian Controversies.
1. Of the German Reformation.
Luther’s Earlier Teachings About the Law (§ 1).
Agricola’s Controversy with Melanchthon, 1527 (§ 2).
Agricola’s Controversy with Luther, 1537 sqq. (§ 3).
Jakob Schenk (§ 4).
Later Controversies (§ 5).
Settlement of the Controversy (§ 6).
2. The Antinomian Controversy in New England.
I. Antinomianism in General:
1. New Testament Antinomianism.
The name antinomianism is a comparatively modern designation of several types of ethical thought in which hostility to the Mosaic law (including the decalogue) and to the principles therein embodied has led to immoral teaching and practise. Traces of such thought are evident in the New Testament. The spiritualization of the law into the one precept of love to God taught and exemplified by Jesus encouraged some overenthusiastic devotees to believe that they had been exalted to such a height of spirituality and such an overmastering love to God that they needed to have no regard to moral precepts or to outward conduct; while Paul’s insistence on the goodness, holiness, and spirituality of the law did not suffice to convince all of those who considered themselves his disciples that, as being utterly ineffectual for human salvation and as occasioning and inciting to sin, it was not itself sin and worthy to be treated with abhorrence. Paul’s sharp conflict with Judaizers in regard to the observance of Jewish ceremonies could hardly fail to convince his more radical anti-Judaistic followers that the effort to keep the law perfectly was not only vain but involved the setting at naught of the gospel of free grace in Christ Jesus. Some such perversion of Paul’s teaching was probably in the mind of the writer of II Pet. iii. 16. The members of the Corinthian Church who were puffed up and did not mourn over the incestuous person, as well as the parties guilty of the abominable union (I Cor. v. 1-6), were probably antinomian, and of like tendency were doubtless the Nicolaitans (Rev. ii. 2, 15; see Nicolaitans), those that held the teaching of Balaam (Rev. ii. 14), and those that suffered the woman Jezebel (Rev. ii. 20).
2. Gnostic Antinomianism.
Many Gnostics objected to the Mosaic law as being too formal and not sufficiently spiritual, on the one hand, and as giving too much place to carnal indulgence, on the other (see Gnosticism). Holding the flesh in contempt as an evil product of the 197 demiurge, some thought it their duty to practise a rigorous asceticism, while others are represented by their Christian assailants as thinking it right to destroy the body by vicious practises. The Cainites regarded with approval Cain, Esau, Korah, the Sodomites, and all other characters reprobated in the Old Testament, and presumably supposed that they were doing God service in themselves defying the authority of Jehovah (the demiurge) and doing the things forbidden in the law. Carpocrates and Epiphanes appear to have disseminated antinomian teachings. The followers of Marcion and the Manicheans were antinomian in the sense that they rejected the Mosaic law because of its permission of marriage and even polygamy and concubinage, of capital punishment, etc.; but did not, so far as appears, make repudiation of the law an excuse for fleshly indulgence. The followers of Priscillian, a strong ascetic party in Spain with Gnostic tendencies (fourth and fifth centuries), were tortured into confessing the most immoral practises; but there is no good reason for crediting the calumnies of their persecutors. The Messalians, a mystical sect that flourished in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Armenia from the fourth century onward, are said to have practised a squalid kind of asceticism, mendicancy, promiscuous sleeping together of men and women, and prayer to the devil. On account of the last named practise they were sometimes called Satanites. It seems probable that they were antinomian. Of like character, or worse, were the Adamites referred to by Epiphanius, and the same may be said of medieval parties known by this name (see Adamites).
3. Antinomianism of the Middle Ages.
The Bogomiles and kindred sects (see New Manicheans) are accused by their enemies of the most immoral practises. Amalric of Bena (d. 1204) carried pantheistic ideas so far as to maintain that “to those constituted in love no sin is imputed” (see Amalric of Bena). His followers are said to have maintained that harlotry and other carnal vices are not sinful for the spiritual man, because the spirit in him, which is God, is not affected by the flesh and can not sin, and because the man, who is nothing, can not sin so long as the spirit, which is God, is in him. Such teachings were carried to the most immoral consequences by the Brethren of the Free Spirit and the Beghards, if the inquisitorial records of the fifteenth century can be believed. Johann Hartmann in the diocese of Mainz claimed that by contemplation he had become so completely one with God and God so completely one with him that an angel could not tell the difference; that a man free in spirit is rendered impeccable and can do whatever he will and whatever pleases him. He carried these doctrines to the most extreme and revolting consequences (cf. the documents in Döllinger, Beiträge zur Sektengeschichte des Mittelalters, ii., Munich, 1890, pp. 384 sqq.). This type of antinomianism seems to have been widespread during the later Middle Ages and was perpetuated in some of the parties of the Reformation time.
4. Of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.
The pantheistic sect of the “Libertines,” who appeared in the Netherlands about 1525 and thence spread into France and were combated by Calvin (see Libertines, 3; Loists) were Antinomians. They disregarded the Mosaic law and law in general as inapplicable to the spiritual man and felt free to lie, steal, and indulge the passions. David Joris, the mystic, was accused by his opponents of antinomian teachings, but apparently without sufficient reason. It would be easy to point out antinomian tendencies in a number of continental parties of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries not commonly reckoned among Antinomians. The hyper-Calvinistic (supralapsarian) teaching of men like Piscator (d. 1625) and Gomar (d. 1641) in the Netherlands, as that “sins take place, God procuring and himself willing that they take place, nay, absolutely so willing” and that in giving the law and commanding its observance He made its observance absolutely impossible, really struck at the root of human responsibility and discouraged any effort to control the natural impulses. So, too, the Jesuit casuists of the more reckless type in substituting for the Mosaic law the Canon Law and in making the violation of the latter easy by their doctrines of “philosophical sin,” “direction of attention,” “mental reservation,” and “probabilism,” etc., were constructively antinomian. Mystics of the later time, so far as they pantheistically identified themselves with God and supposed that by virtue of such spiritual exaltation they were subject to no ordinances human or divine, were antinomian in the sense in which the Brethren of the Free Spirit were.
5. In England.
Of special importance in this connection, because of the wide-spread influence exerted by his teachings on English and American thought and life, is Hendrik Niklaes, founder of the Familists. In 1577 several of his works were published in English and called forth a considerable body of polemical literature. At this time there are said to have been one thousand Familists in England, and they were making an active and successful propaganda. To counteract their influence the privy council issued a form of abjuration to be applied to members of the party arraigned for heresy. Their principles were too nearly identical with those of the Brethren of the Free Spirit not to be subversive of morality as well as of Scriptural authority and historical Christianity, and their errors were all the more insidious because of the fact that they allowed themselves to conform outwardly to any required ecclesiastical or civil usages, and by the use of ambiguous language to profess the acceptance of any doctrine.
During the Civil War and Commonwealth times almost every imaginable type of religious propagandism went forward with astonishing zeal and success. Familism (with other important influences) produced a relatively pure and evangelical mysticism in the Society of Friends and a grosser 198 form of antinomianism in the Ranters (see below). The first, as far as known, to propagate distinctively antinomian principles in England at this time was John Eaton, who wrote The Honeycomb of Free Justification by Christ Alone (London, 1642). He distinguished the time of the law, the time of John the Baptist, and the Christian dispensation, as glorious, more glorious, and most glorious. Under the Mosaic law “sin was severely taken hold of, and punished sharply in God’s children. . . . John laid open their sins, and the danger of them, yet we read not of any punishment inflicted on God’s children. . . . The third time, the most glorious, is since Christ groaned out his blood and life upon the cross, by which sin itself, and guilt, and punishment are so utterly and infinitely abolished that there is no sin in the Church of God, and that now God sees no sin in us; and whosoever believeth not this point is undoubtedly damned” (quoted by E. Pagitt, Heresiography, London, 1662, p. 122). The following summary of teachings of seventeenth-century Antinomians from Thomas Gataker’s Antinomianism Discovered and Confuted (London, 1652; quoted by Pagitt, p. 123) may be accepted as substantially trustworthy:
1. That the Moral Law is of no use at all to a believer, nor a rule for him to walk in, nor to examine his life by, and that Christians are free from the mandatory power of it: whence one of them [Antinomians] cried out in the pulpit, “Away with the Law, which cuts off a mans legs and then bids him walk.” 2. That it is as possible for Christ to sin as for a child of God to sin. 3. That the child of God need not nor ought not to ask pardon for sin, and that it is no less than blasphemy for him so to do. 4. That God doth not chasten any of his children for sin, nor is it for the sins of God’s people that the land is punished. 5. That if a man know himself to be in a state of grace, though he be drunk, or commit murder, God sees no sin in him. 6. That when Abraham denied his wife, and in outward appearance seemed to lie in his distrust, lying, dissembling, and equivocating that his wife was his sister, yea, then all his thoughts, words, and deeds were perfectly holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the eyes of God.
6. The Ranters.
By far the most unattractive of the sectaries of this time are the Ranters, who seem to have been almost identical in doctrine and practise with the Brethren of the Free Spirit and who, by their enthusiastic propagandism, seduced multitudes from the fellowship of the evangelical denominations. According to Samuel Fisher (Baby Baptism Mere Babism, London, 1653), “Some Ranters are not ashamed to say that they are Christ and God, and there is no other God than they, and what’s in them, and such like blasphemies.” They denied the existence of the devil, heaven, and hell. Moses they declared to be a conjurer and Christ a deceiver of the people. Prayer is useless. Preaching and lying are all one. The Scriptures they regarded as cast-off fables, and when they condescended to use them at all they practised the most absurd allegorizing. They claimed that nothing is sin but what a man thinks to be so. Their practise is represented as corresponding with their immoral teaching.
7. Later Phases of Antinomianism.
A large proportion of the Particular Baptists of England during the latter half of the eighteenth century, by way of reaction against Socinianism and the missionary movement, became involved in a hyper-Calvinistic (supralapsarian) type of thought that involved making God responsible for evil, complete denial of human initiative or part in salvation and conduct, renunciation of the law as a rule of life, and the disowning of human agency and responsibility in the extension of the kingdom of Christ. This Baptist antinomianism was combated in England by Andrew Fuller, John Ryland, and others. A still more virulent type of antinomianism appeared among American Baptists in the nineteenth century by way of reaction against the missionary and educational work of the denomination. Here as in England leaders and led were illiterate and deeply prejudiced against human institutions and agencies, which they regarded as an impertinent interference with God’s sovereignty. These antinomian Baptist parties are still extant. See Baptists, I., 4, §§ 4-5; II., 3, §§ 3, 4.
II. Antinomian Controversies:
1. Of the German Reformation:
1. Luther’s Earlier Teachings about the Law.
Antinomian doctrines were vigorously discussed in Germany
during the Reformation period until the Formula
of Concord made a final adjustment of the matter
in 1577. Luther had held that the Mosaic law,
as an ancient code devised under special conditions
for a particular people, was superseded by the
civil law of modern states, and no longer possessed
for Christians a juridical or ceremonial force.33 In combating the legalistic element in medieval Roman
Catholic teaching and in the radical religious parties of the
early Reformation time, Luther allowed himself to use language in disparagement of the Mosaic law so strong and
unqualified as to give great encouragement to those that
were eager for fleshly freedom. A few sentences should be
quoted: “Christ is not harsh, severe, biting as Moses. . . .
Therefore, away with Moses forever, who shall not terrify
deluded hearts.” Again: “The gospel is heavenly and
divine, the law earthly and human; the righteousness of
the gospel is just as distinct from that of the law as heaven
from earth, as light from darkness. The gospel is light and
day, the law darkness and night.” In his polemic “against
the Heavenly Prophets” (Erl. ed., xxix. 150) he says: “We
will take our stand on the right ground and say that these
sin-teachers and Mosaic prophets shall leave us unconfounded by Moses; we will neither see nor hear Moses. How
does this please you, dear revolutionists? And we say
further that all such Mosaic teachers [i.e., the Zwickau
prophets] deny the gospel, banish Christ, and overthrow the whole New Testament. I speak now as a Christian and for Christians, since
Moses was given to the
Jewish people alone and has nothing to do with us Gentiles and Christians. We have our gospel and New
Testament; if they will prove from this that pictures are to be
done away with, we will gladly follow them. But if they
wish by means of Moses to make Jews of us, we will not
suffer it.” Of course, he did not mean utterly to repudiate
Moses, but rather by a tour de force to repudiate what he
considered an unauthorized use of Moses.
(A. H. N.) Furthermore, the whole law, even the decalogue included, was in no wise to be employed by Christians in the spirit of justification by works, since that involved a superficial and mercenary idea of divine justice. There was, however, need to preach the law from a spiritual standpoint, emphasizing a realization of sin by which the conscience should be humbled before the divine wrath; though the preaching of the law exclusively led to 199either hypocrisy or despair. In his emphasis on justification by faith, Luther asserted that true repentance proceeded from a realizing sense of the work of Christ. The preaching of faith was to take precedence of all else, since, faith having been attained, contrition and consolation spontaneously followed. Nevertheless, more frequently and in entire consistency with the formal definition of his position in 1520, the process of salvation was described by him as beginning with the operation of the law upon the soul, which in repentance casts about for aid and is met with the promise of remission of sins through Christ.
2. Agricola’s Controversy with Melanchthon, 1527.
The antinomian controversy was preluded by the complaints preferred in Bohemia in 1524 against one Dominicus Beyer, who strictly adhered to Luther’s doctrine, but was accused by some of reversion to the Roman view in preaching, as it was said, the approach to faith through works of merit. Luther, Melanchthon, and Bugenhagen completely exonerated Beyer and clearly enunciated the Wittenberg position. Later Melanchthon’s Articuli de quibus egerunt per visitatores (1527; CR, xxvi. 7 sqq.) placed the preaching of the law at the portal of Christian instruction, asserting that it led to repentance, which was the antecedent of faith, and without which the preaching of the gospel was unintelligible. Johann Agricola, who had eagerly emphasized Luther’s earlier statements of repentance as a consequence of the gospel of divine grace, chose to regard Melanchthon’s declaration as a personal affront. After addressing to Luther several memorials on the subject, he made specific complaints and circulated in manuscript a censure of Melanchthon’s teaching. In a conference at Torgau (Nov. 26-28, 1527) an adjustment was finally effected by Luther, who distinguished between faith in the general sense (fides generalis), as indeed antedating repentance, and the justifying faith which, impelled by conscience, apprehends divine grace.
3. Agricola’s Controversy with Luther, 1537 sqq.
Agricola, though professing satisfaction, nevertheless continued in his antinomian position; repentance, consciousness of
sin, and the fear of God
were to be based upon the gospel and not upon the
law. He began even to gather a party about
himself as the Paul of the Reformation, who must
set right Peter (Luther). Reports to this effect
having gained currency, three published discourses
of his were examined and found to contain antinomian views. In July, 1537, and again in September, Luther preached against
though without mention of Agricola,
declaring in the latter instance that
the gospel could no more be preached
independently of the law than could
the law independently of the gospel.
At the close of October, Agricola came
to an agreement with Luther whereby unanimity
was recognized in the substance of doctrine. But
now Agricola undertook to publish his Summarien
über die Evangelien, the imprimatur of the rector
being dispensed with on the ground that Luther
had already seen and approved of the work. Luther
thereupon forbade its completion, and determined
upon an unsparing conflict. He published some
antinomian theses of Agricola which had been
privately circulated, and on Dec. 18 held his first
disputation against them.44 The more important of Agricola’s eighteen propositions
are: i. Repentance is to be taught not from the decalogue
or any law of Moses, but from the suffering and death of
the Son through the gospel. ii. For Christ says in the last
chapter of Luke: “Thus it behooved Christ to die and in
this manner to enter into his glory, that repentance and
remission of sins might be preached in his name.” iii. And
Christ, in John, says that the Spirit, not the law, convicts
the world of sin. iv. The last discourse of Christ teaches
the same thing: “Go, preach the gospel to every creature.” vii. Without anything whatever the Holy Spirit is given
and men are justified: this thing [the law] is not necessary
to be taught either for the beginning, the middle, or the end
of justification. viii. But the Holy Spirit having been
given of old is also given perpetually, and men are justified
without the law through the gospel concerning Christ alone.
xiii. Wherefore, for conserving purity of doctrine we must
resist those who teach that the gospel is not to be preached
except to those who have been crushed and made contrite
through the law. xvi. The law only convicts of sin and that,
too, without the Holy Spirit; therefore it convicts unto
damnation. xvii. But there is need of a doctrine that not
only with great efficacy condemns, but also at the same
time saves: but that is the gospel, which teaches conjointly
repentance and remission of sins. xviii. For the gospel of
Christ teaches the wrath from heaven and at the same time
the justice of God, Rom. i. For it is the preaching of repentance joined to a promise which reason does not naturally
apprehend, but which comes through divine revelation.
Luther added to these acknowledged articles of Agricola several other statements of doubtful authenticity which Agricola was supposed to have made: The law is not worthy to be called the word of God. Art thou a harlot, a knave, an adulterer, or any other sort of sinner if thou believest thou art in the way of salvation. The decalogue belongs to the town hall, and not to the pulpit. All who go about with Moses must go to the devil. To the gallows with Moses! To hear the word and live accordingly is the consequence of the law. To hear the word and feel it in the heart is the proper consequence of the gospel. Peter knew nothing about Christian freedom. His declaration “making your calling sure through good works” is good for nothing. As soon as thou thinkest it must go thus and so in Christendom, everybody is to be refined, honorable, discreet, holy, and chaste, thou hast already prostituted the gospel. Agricola disowned the most manifestly immoral of these propositions, and there is no reason to believe that he practised or approved of the immorality that seems involved in his teachings.
A. H. N. Agricola did not put in an appearance, and Luther accordingly challenged him to a second disputation (Jan. 12, 1538), at which a solemn reconciliation took place. Agricola even authorized Luther to draw up a retraction in his name, which the latter did in damaging fashion in a letter to Caspar Güttel of Eisleben. The conflict seemed over, and in Feb., 1539, Agricola was appointed to the Wittenberg consistory. The dispute was, however, revived through reflections made against Luther by Agricola in a disputation at the University. Luther responded, and proceeded to vigorous attacks on the antinomians. He considered even the excommunication of Agricola. The latter, on his side, thought himself calumniated and collected material for his justification. In Mar., 1540, he submitted his complaints to the Elector. To these complaints Luther responded that what Agricola termed calumnies were but conclusions inevitably to be drawn from the latter’s propositions. The Elector instituted formal proceedings against Agricola, who, though under pledge not to leave Wittenberg, withdrew 200in August to Berlin. From there he recalled his complaints and at Luther’s demand prepared a letter of retraction. For a time he modified his views to some extent so that they approximated in a measure to those of Luther; but Luther’s distrust was not removed, nor was Agricola really convinced of error.
4. Jakob Schenk.
After Agricola it was especially Jakob Schenk, court-preacher of Duke Henry and the Reformer of Freiberg, who came under suspicion of Antinomianism; he is said to have declared that “all who preached the law were possessed with the devil; . . . do what you will, if you only believe, you are saved,” and “to the gallows with Moses!” An inquiry instituted against him (June, 1538) ended in his being called by the Elector to Weimar as court-preacher. In 1541 Duke Henry summoned him to Leipsic as preacher and university lecturer, but council, clergy, and theological faculty were all strongly opposed to him. Objection was made to the publication of his sermons, and they were found in several points to be at variance with the Augsburg Confession. In the indictment appears the old charge of antinomian doctrine, resting, indeed, on very slight foundations. In 1543 he finally left the duchy. The contents of his published writings furnish no adequate basis for calling him an Antinomian. But there is no doubt that his sermons erred repeatedly in that direction.
5. Later Controversies.
In connection with the Majoristic dispute over the necessity of good works, Luther’s pupils, Andreas Poach of Erfurt and Anton Otho (Otto) of Nordhausen denied that the law had any significance whatever for believers, and thus arose the dispute de tertio usu legis. Otho directed his contention immediately against Melanchthon, though the latter had merely repeated Luther’s statements. Against Otho and those of similar views arose several leaders, in particular Mörlin and Wigand. On the other hand, Melanchthon and his more immediate school was accused of antinomian doctrine in declaring the gospel to be the proclamation of repentance.
6. Settlement of the Controversy.
The Formula of Concord fixed the terminology of the whole matter by deciding that the law was a special revelation teaching what is just and pleasing in the sight of God, and refuting whatever is opposed to the divine will; while the gospel, on the other hand, taught what it was necessary to believe, especially the doctrine of forgiveness of sin through Christ. All that pertained to the punishment of sin belonged to the preaching of the law, though it was conceded that it might be said the gospel discoursed of repentance and the remission of sin, if gospel were understood to mean the sum of Christian doctrine. The preaching of the law became effective to a consciousness of sin only when the law was spiritually expounded by Christ.
2. The Antinomian Controversy in New England:
The Puritans of New England, following in the footsteps of Calvin and Knox, were theocratic in their ideas of Christianity and were inclined to make the legalistic system of the Old Testament their model. The enforcement of rigorous regulations pertaining to every department of life (strict observance of Sunday as Sabbath, regular attendance at church, avoidance of every form of frivolity in dress or demeanor) provoked reaction here as it had done in Geneva. Mrs. Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson (b. in Lincolnshire 1590 or 1591; married about 1612 to William Hutchinson of Alford, Lincolnshire), who had been under the ministry of John Cotton at Boston, Lincolnshire, had imbibed antinomian views, probably from Familists, and, on her arrival in New England (whither she followed her eldest son, Edward, arriving in Sept., 1634), while she continued to enjoy the ministrations of Cotton, now pastor of the Boston (Mass.) church, soon began to express in strong language her aversion to the preaching of a “covenant of works” in contradistinction to a “covenant of grace,” by most of the Massachusetts preachers. She regarded Cotton as a preacher of a “covenant of grace,” and he was no doubt considerably influenced by her views; when the agitation of the question seemed likely to wreck the colony, he found difficulty in convincing the dominant party of the soundness of his opinions. Rev. John Wheelwright, Mrs. Hutchinson’s brother-in-law, a Cambridge graduate (arrived in New England May, 1636), accepted her views. Sir Henry Vane (arrived Oct., 1635; chosen governor May, 1636; see Vane, Sir Henry) became a zealous advocate of the “covenant of grace.” Mrs. Hutchinson expounded her views to large gatherings of women, who twice a week resorted to her house, and thus propagated them widely. She claimed that after a year of prayer it had been revealed to her that she had trusted in a covenant of works; under like divine impulse she had come to New England, there being no one in England that she durst hear. She was the daughter of an English clergyman and combined considerable theological information and argumentative effectiveness with a steadfastness and persistence worthy of a better cause. Like most religious reformers of the time she had wrought herself into the conviction that the few dogmas she held represented the whole truth and that all other teaching was diabolical and abominable. The chief opponents of Mrs. Hutchinson were John Wilson, pastor of the Charlestown church, Hugh Peters, pastor of the Salem church, and John Winthrop. In Dec., 1636, the ministers censured Vane as responsible for the hurtful agitation, and sought to convince Mrs. Hutchinson of her errors. The Boston church of which Vane was a member undertook to censure Wilson, but could not secure the required unanimity, and Cotton was content publicly to admonish him. In Jan., 1637, Wheelwright, in a sermon, denounced the “covenant of works” people as “antichrists” and thus added fuel to the flames. In March the Court by a majority vote censured Wheelwright, and, in the gubernatorial election in May, Vane was defeated and Winthrop was elected. Coercive measures soon removed the disturbing element from Massachusetts. Vane returned to England. Wheelwright founded the town of 201 Exeter in New Hampshire. The Hutchinsons went to Rhode Island (1638), and most of the party ultimately settled near Newport. After the death of her husband in 1642, Mrs. Hutchinson moved into Dutch territory in Westchester County, New York, and was murdered there by Indians in August or September, 1643.
The character of this movement may best be set forth by quoting a contemporary summary of Mrs. Hutchinson’s teachings:
1. That the Law, and the preaching of it, is of no use at all to drive a man to Christ. 2. That a man is united to Christ and justified without faith, yea from eternity. 3. That faith is not a receiving of Christ, but a man’s discerning that he hath received him already. 4. That a man is united to Christ only by the work of the Spirit upon him, without any act of his. 5. That a man is never effectually Christ’s till he hath assurance. 6. This assurance is only from the witness of the Spirit. 7. This witness of the Spirit is merely immediate, without any respect of the Word, or any concurrence with it. 8. When a man hath once this witness, he never doubts more. 9. To question my assurance, though I fall into murder or adultery, proves that I never had true assurance. 10. Sanctification can be no evidence of a man’s good estate. 11. No comfort can be had from any conditional promise. 12. Poverty in spirit . . . is only this, to see I have no grace at all. 13. To see I have no grace in me will give me comfort; but to take comfort from sight or grace is legal [legalistic]. 14. An hypocrite may have Adam’s graces that he had in innocency. 15. The graces of saints and hypocrites differ not. 16. All graces are in Christ, as in the subject, and none in us, so that Christ believes, Christ loves, etc. 17. Christ is the new creature. 18. God loves a man never the better for any holiness in him, and never the less be he never so unholy. 19. Sin in a child of God must never trouble him. 20. Trouble in conscience for sins of commission, or for neglect of duty, shows a man to be under a covenant of works. 21. All covenants of God expressed in works are legal works. 22. A Christian is not bound to the Law as the rule of his conversation. 23. A Christian is not bound to pray, except the Spirit moves him. 24. A minister that hath not this (new) light is not able to edify others that have it. 25. The whole letter of the Scripture is a covenant of works. 26. No Christian must be pressed to duties of holiness. 27 No Christian must be exhorted to faith, love, and prayer etc., except we know he hath the Spirit. 28. A man may have all graces and yet want Christ. 29. All a believer’s activity is only to act sin. (Pagitt, ut sup., 124-126.) The following utterances ascribed to Mrs. Hutchinson and her followers are also significant: “In the saving conversion of a sinner the faculties of the soul and working thereof are destroyed and made to cease; and the Holy Ghost agitates instead of them. . . . That God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost may give themselves to the soul, and that the soul may have true union with Christ, true remission of sins, . . . true sanctification from the blood of Christ, and yet be an hypocrite. . . . That the Spirit doth work in hypocrites by gifts and graces, but in God’s children immediately. . . . That it is a soul-damning error to make sanctification an evidence of justification. . . . That the devil and nature may be the cause of good works."
Bibliography: The subject of early Antinomianism is treated in such works on N. T. Theology as that of W. Beyschlag, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1894-96, and in treatises on Gnosticism. Consult Neander, Christian Church, i. 447-454 et passim, ii. 769, iii. 588; KL, i. 357-358, 928-940, v. 1527, ix. 1187 (covers the whole subject); C. Schlusselburg, Catalogus hereticorum, Frankfort, 1597.
On the German Antinomian Controversy consult: G. J. Planck, Geschichte der Entstehung . . . des protestantischen Lehrbegriffs, vo. iv., 6 vols., Leipsic, 1791-1800; J. J. I. Döllinger, Die Reformation, iii. 387 sqq., Regensburg, 1846; F. H. R. Frank, Die Theologie der Concordienformel, ii. 243 sqq., Erlangen, 1861; J. K. Seidemann, Dr. Jacob Schenk, Leipsic, 1875; G. Müller, Paul Lindenau, ib. 1880; K. R. Hagenbach, History of Christian Doctrines, ii. 418, iii. 67, Edinburgh, 1880-81; G. Kawerau, Agricola, Berlin, 1881; J. Seehawer, Zur Lehre vom Gebrauch des Gesetzes und zur Geschichte des späteren Antinomismus, Rostock, 1887; T. Kolde, Martin Luther, ii. 463 sqq., Gotha, 1893; F. Loofs, Dogmengeschichte, Halle, 1893; J. Köstlin, Martin Luther, ii. 125, 134, 413, 438, 448-452 et passim, Berlin, 1903.
On the later English and American Antinomianism consult: Story of the Rise, Reign, and Ruine of the Antinomians, Familists and Libertines that infected the Churches of New England, London, 1644; Tobias Crisp, Works, ib. 1690; John Fletcher, Checks to Antinomianism, in Works, vols. ii.-vi., 8 vols., ib. 1803; D. Bogue, History of Dissenters, 4 vols., ib. 1808-12; W. Orme, Life of Baxter, ii. 232 and chap. ix., ib. 1830; D. Neal, History of Puritans, 2 vols., New York, 1848; C. F. Adams, Three Episodes of Massachusetts . . . History, . . . the Antinomian Controversy, Boston, 1892; B. Adams, The Emancipation of Massachusetts, ib. 1887 (on Puritanism and the various conflicts of New England); and further the works of Wesley and Andrew Fuller.
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