Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Reformed Irenicism

“What Is the Reason for Certainty in Christian Doctrine?” (Part 3)

Herewith the next several sequentia testimonia that confirm Christian doctrine: the kind of doctrine it is, for example, revealing things unknown to human reason. There are some interesting ones in this portion of the list. Chytraeus has a kind of succession (series) from the early church, but it is a succession of teaching and of restoration of Christian doctrine–a bit of semper reformanda here, perhaps. He also calls to witness the continual preservation of the church over all the rolling years. This must temper, then, the way we see “restoration”; it is not the case that the church has been begun over and over again, but that teaching and restoration have gone on within the church, whose existence is continuous and unbroken. He also notes the Christian teaching on marriage and chastity as a witness of the truth of Christian doctrine, a point not irrelevant to our own day. The last item included here is a deeply traditional one: the victory of the church over persecutors was considered at length, for instance, in the wake of the Great Persecution of the early fourth century by Lactantius in De mortibus persecutorum.

[V.] Ipsum genus doctrinae, patefaciens arcana & ignota humanae rationi.

[VI.]Miranda conservatio Ecclesiae.

[VII.] Odium Diaboli adversus hanc doctrinam.

[VIII.] Series doctorum & instauratorum doctrinae continua, inde usque ab initio Ecclesiae.

[IX.] Series annorum mundi continua, quae nusquam alibi conservata est.

[X.] Noticia Legis Dei integra.

[XI.] Doctrina de Coniugio & castitate, quae in sola etiam Christiana religione illibata permansit.

[XII.] Sanguis omnium Martyrum.

[XIII.] Poena blasphemorum & persecutorum.

[V.] The very character of the doctrine, revealing things secret and unknown to human reason.

[VI.] The wondrous preservation of the church.

[VII.] The hatred of the devil against this doctrine.

[VIII.] The continuous train of teachers and restorers of the doctrine, all the way from the beginning of the church.

[IX.] The continuous train of years of the world, which has never been preserved elsewhere.

[X.] The whole knowledge of the Law of God.

[XI.] The doctrine concerning marriage and chastity, which has remained inviolate1 in the Christian religion alone even now.2

[XII.] The blood of all the martyrs.

[XIII.] The punishment of blasphemers and persecutors.

  1. One wonders whether Chytraeus is being clever here, since the adjective illibatus can be used to modify a noun like virginitas and also those having to do with covenants or treaties.
  2. The force of etiam may be affirmative rather than temporal, i.e., “indeed.”

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.