Archive Civic Polity Nota Bene Simon Kennedy Uncategorized

King James I and the Godly Prince

Basilicon Doron (1598) was King James I of England’s (also James VI of Scotland) heartfelt appeal to his son, Henry. It contained instructions for him should he succeed James to the throne. At the beginning James placed a sonnet summarising the argument of the work. It is rather charming and contains a simple statement of the divine right […]

Archive Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Simon Kennedy The Two Kingdoms

Bucer on the Reformation of the Kingdom

In his De Regno Christi (1550), Martin Bucer advises King Edward VI of England to reestablish the Kingdom of Christ not just through edicts and decrees, but through persuasion. This is a good demonstration of magisterial reformers’ understanding of belief and faith, and the way that one comes to these. Outward conformity is not enough. One must […]

Archive Natural Law Simon Kennedy

Sir Edward Coke on the Natural Law

Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634) was an eminent English jurist. The excerpt below comes from a famous report of Calvin’s Case (1608). Robert Calvin was a Scottish born freeholder who inherited land in England. His right to inherit was challenged on the grounds that he was not a natural born Englishman, but a Scot. The historical context […]

Archive Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine Simon Kennedy

William Perkins on the begotten Son

William Perkins (1558-1602) wrote this pithy summary of the Jesus Christ the Son as the second person of the Trinity in his A Golden Chain. I am not, strictly speaking, a theologian, so this strikes me as a very helpful and simple explanation of the Son’s trinitarian relationship to the Father in amongst all of the […]

Archive Civic Polity Nota Bene Philosophy Simon Kennedy

Vermigli on Idolatry (again)

Further to my previous post on Hobbes and Vermigli, the latter wrote in 1555 following on from his denunciation of those who understand Naaman the Syrian’s example to allow for attendance at Mass and so on: Neither did Eliseus [Elisha], as our men do think, grant Naaman licence or liberty to do so as he had […]

Archive Civic Polity Philosophy Reformed Irenicism Simon Kennedy

Vermigli vs Hobbes on Idolatry

In his massive chapter on ecclesiastical power in Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes argues that people can rightly bow before idols, or deny belief in Christ as Messiah. He writes that if a civil magistrate forbids one to believe in Christ, it does not matter: To this I answer, that such a forbidding is of no effect, […]

Archive Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Simon Kennedy

Augustine on Justice and the Individual

In De Civitate Dei, book XIX chapter 27, Augustine of Hippo makes the following statement about the attainment of peace for individuals, and the justice that comes with this. The key is the obedience of man to God’s commands. In this life, therefore, justice in each individual exists when God rules and man obeys, and when […]

Archive Nota Bene Simon Kennedy The Natural Family

Douthat on the Family Policy Vacuum

Over at the New York Times Ross Douthat has penned a tongue-in-cheek column about what could be if Donald Trump was a domestic policy wonk. The point he makes about family policy, one he has been making for some time now, is a good one. There is a family policy vacuum at the top end of town. The questions […]

Archive Philosophy Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine Simon Kennedy

Thomas Hobbes’s Reformed Soteriology

In Leviathan Thomas Hobbes writes that faith in Jesus Christ is not attainable, except by the sovereign gift of God. He says the following, in the context of a discussion about the role of the Christian person in a Christian commonwealth: It is the doctrine of St. Paul concerning Christian faith in general, “Faith cometh by hearing,” […]

Archive Civic Polity Reformed Irenicism Simon Kennedy

James I and the Will of the King

In his recent book, The Watershed of Modern Politics (Yale, 2015), the eminent historian of ideas Francis Oakley makes the case that the theory of the divine right of kings is a constant and central one for a large part of the history of western political thought. In short, the prominence of ‘sacral kingship’ in western […]