An abridgement of the whole body of divinity extracted from the learned works of that ever-famous and reverend divine, Mr. William Perkins
Perkins, William, 1558-1602., Nicols, Thomas.
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OF THEOLOGIE.

THeology is the science of living blessedly for ever.

Blessed life ariseth from the knowledge of God and of our selves.*

The parts of the Theologie are:

  • 1. Of God.
  • 2. Of Gods works.

That there is a God is evident.

  • 1. By the course of Nature.
  • 2. By the nature of the Soul of man.
  • 3. By the distinction of things ho∣nest and dishonest.
  • 4. By the terrour of Conscience.
  • 5. By the regiment of civil socie∣ties.
  • 6. By the order of all causes which have ever recourse to some for∣mer beginning.
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  • 7. By the determination of all things to their several ends.
  • 8. By the consent of all men.

The Names of God.

The Names of God, are.

  • Jehova.
  • Elohim, Exod. 6. 2. 3.
  • Jehova declareth Gods Nature.
  • Elohim his Persons.

The Nature of God.

The Nature of God is his most lively, and most perfect essence.

The perfection of the Nature of God is that, where by he is whole∣ly compleat in him self, Exod. 3. 13. Act. 17. 24.

The perfection of Gods Nature is the simpleness and infinitnes thereof.

The simpleness of Gods Nature* is that, whereby he is void of all Logical relation in Arguments. That is,* God hath not in himself either Subject, or Adjunct, Joh. 5. 26. and 14. 6.

Page  3 In God to be, and to be just, and mighty, are all one; But in the minde of man, it is not all one to be, and to be mighty, or just: For the minde may be destitute of these virtues and yet a minde.

The Nature of God is immuta∣ble and Spiritual.*

Gods immutability of Nature is that by which he is void of all com∣position, division and change,*Jam. 1. 17. Malach. 3. 6.

Gods Nature is Spiritual, in that it is incorporal, and therefore in∣visible, Joh. 4. 24. Colos. 1. 15. 1 Tim. 1. 17.

So much for the simpleness of Gods Nature.

The infinitness of Gods Nature is either his Eternity,* or his exceed∣ing greatness.

Gods Eternity is that by which he is without beginning, and end∣ing, Ps. 90. 2. Rev. 1. 8.

His exceeding greatness is that, by which his incomprehensible Na∣ture is every where present, both Page  4 within and without the World, Ps 145. 3. 1 King. 8. 27. Jer. 23. 24.

Of the life of God.

By this it doth plainly appear. 1. That God is one, and indivisible and not many, as Ephes. 4. 5. 1 Cor. 8. 4.

2. That God is the knower of the heart: For nothing is hidden from that Nature which is within all things, & without all things, which is included in nothing, nor exclu∣ded from any thing, as 1 King. 8. 32. Psal. 139. 1. 2.

The life of God is that by which the Devine in Nature is in perpe∣tual action, living and moving with it self, Psal. 42. 2. 2 Heb. 3. 12. These three following Attributes do manifest the operation of the Divine Nature towards the Crea∣tures.

  • 1. Gods wisdom.
  • 2. Gods will.
  • 3. Gods omnipotency.

The wisdom and knowledge of*Page  5 God is that, by which God doth by one Eternal and immutable Act of understanding, distinctly and perfectly know himself, and all o∣ther things though infinite whether they have been, or not, Matth. 11. 27. Heb. 4. 13. Psal. 347 5.

Gods wisdom is his foreknow∣ledge and his Counsel.

Gods foreknowledge is that, by which he most assuredly foreseeth things that are to come, Act. 2. 23. Rom. 8. 29.

Gods counsel is that, by which he doth most rightly perceive the best reason of all things that are done, Prov. 8. 14.

So much of the wisdom of God. The will of God is that,* by which he doth most freely and justly will all things with one Act, Rom. 9. 18. Epb. 1. 5. Jam. 4. 15.

In God there are two wills.

1. A will whereby God determi∣neth what shall be done concern∣ing us, or in us.*

2. A will whereby God deter∣mineth*Page  6 what shall be done off us.

The first of these wills is called Predestination: And therefore it is,* that Predestination is commonly defined to be the preparation of the blessing of God, whereby they are delivered which are delivered.

The second of these wills is the Gospel.

Predestination determines, who who, and how many are to be saved, and hereupon Christ saith, I know whom I have choosed, John 13. 18.

The Gospel which is the second will of God, determines what kinde of ones they are that shall be saved, and how they must be qualified. Predestination which is the first will of God, is Gods Decree it self.

The Gospel which is the second will of God, is an outward means of the execution of this Decree of Predestination.

In the will of God there are three Actions.

Page  7* 1. An Action whereby God doth absolutely will any thing, and delight in it.

2. An Action whereby he doth wholely,* and absolutely nill a thing.

3. A remiss Action,* which is as a mean between the two former Actions, as when a thing is remisse∣ly, or in part both willed and nil∣led.

God willeth good by approving it.

God willeth evil, because it is good that there should be evil.

For this cause God doth volun∣tarily permit evil. But as it is abso∣lutely evil he wills it not; But doth dissalowe and forsake it, Act. 14. 16. Psal. 81. 12.

The will of God in respect of di∣vers objects, is called diversly by divers names, as by the Names of Love,

  • Hatred, or of
  • Grace,
  • Justice.

Page  8 The love of God is that, where∣by he approveth, first himself; and then all his Creatures as they are good without their desert, and doth take delight in them, 1 Joh. 4. 16. Joh. 3. 16. Rom. 5. 8.

His hatred is that, whereby he disliketh and detesteth his Creature offending for his fault, 1 Cor. 10. 5. Psal. 5. 5. and 45. 7.

Gods Grace is that, whereby he freely declareth his favour to his Creatures, Rom. 11. 6. Tit. 2. 11.

The Grace of God is his good∣ness, or his mercie.

Gods goodness is that, by which he being also absolutely good, doth freely exercise his liberality upon his creatures, Matt. 19. 17. & 5. 45.

Gods mercie is that, whereby he freely assisteth all his Creatures in their miseries, Esai 30. 18. Lament. 3. 22. Exod. 33. 19.

Gods justice is that, by which he in all things willeth that which is just, as Psal. 11. 7. and 5. 4.

Gods justice is either in word, or deed.

Page  9 Gods justice in word is that truth, by which he constantly, and indeed willeth that which he sayeth, or hath said, (Rom. 3. 4. Matth. 24. 35.)

This is the justice of God in keep∣ing his promise, 2 Tim. 4. 8. 1 John 4. 9.

Gods justice indeed is that, by which he disposeth, or rewardeth

Gods disposing justice is that, by which he as a free Lord, ordereth all things rightly in his Actions, Psal. 145. 17.

His rewarding justice is that, by which he rendereth to his Creature according to his work, 2 Thes. 1. 6. 1 Pet. 1. 17. Jer. 51. 56.

Again, the justice of God is ei∣ther his, Gentlenes, or his Anger.

Gods Gentlenes is that, where∣by he freely rewardeth the righte∣ousness of his Creature, 2 Thes. 1. 5. Matth. 10. 41. 42.

Gods Anger is that, by which he willeth the punishment of the Crea∣ture offending, Rom. 1. 8. Joh. 3. 36.

Page  10 So much concerning the will of God.

Gods omnipotency is that,* where∣by he is most able to perform every work, Matth. 19. 26.

Gods power is either absolute, or Actual.

Gods absolute power is that, by which he can do more than he ei∣ther doth, or will do, Matth. 3. 9. Phil. 3. 21.

Gods Actual power is that, by which he causeth all things to be which he freely willeth, Ps. 135. 6.

Of the Glorie, and blessedness of God.

Gods glorie and Majesty,* is the infinite excellencie of his most sim∣ple, and most holy Divine Nature, Heb. 1. 3. Nehem. 9. 5.

In which we may see that God can onely know him self perfectly, Joh 6. 46. 1 Tim. 6. 16. Exo. 33. 20.

The manifestation of Gods glo∣rie is either obscure as here on earth, or apparent as in Heaven.

Page  11 The obscure manifestation of Gods glorie, is the Vision of Gods Majesty in this life, by the eys of the minde, through the help of things perceived by the outward senses, as Isai 6. 1. Exod. 33. 22. 1 Cor. 13. 12.

The apparent manifestation of God, is the contemplation of him in Heaven, face to face.

This concerning his glorie.

Gods blessedness is that,* by which God is in himself, and off himself all sufficient, Genes. 17. 1. Collos. 2. 9. 1 Tim. 6. 15.

Of the Persons of the God-head.

The Persons of the God-head are they, which subsisting in one God-head, are distinguisht by in∣communicable properties, 1 John 5. 7 Genes. 19. 24. John. 1. 1.

The Persons are coequal, and distinguisht not by degree, but by order: There is a Trinity of Per∣sons, but a Unity in Essence, for the three Persons are but one infinite essence.

Page  12 The Communion of the Per∣sons, or rather the Union of the Persons; is that by which one of them is in the rest, and with the rest, by reason of the Unity of the God-head; and therefore every each one doth possess, Love, and glorifie another, and work the same thing, Joh. 14. 10. and 1. 1. and 5. 19. Prov. 8. 22. 30.

The Persons of the God-head are three, Matth. 3. 16. 17.

The Father is a Person without beginning, from all Eternity beget∣ting the Son, Joh. 1. 3. 10.

In the generation of the Son we must note these properties.

1. That he that begetteth, and he that is begotten are together, and not one before another in time.

2. He that begetteth, doth com∣municate with him that is begot∣ten, not some one part of his es∣sence, but his whole essence, so that this Communion is not a Commu∣nion, but a Union.

Page  13 3. The Father begot the Son not out of himself, but in himself; The incommunicable property of the father is to be unbegotten, to be a Father, and to beget. The Father is the beginning of Actions, and beginneth every Action of himself, And effecteth every Action by the Son, and by the Holy spirit, 1 Cor. 8. 6. Rom. 11. 36.

The Son is the second Person be∣gotten of the Father from all Eter∣nity, Joh. 1. 3. 10. 1 Joh. 1. 1. 2. The Son in regard of his essence is of and by himself* very God.

But in regard of his filiation and Sonship, as he is a Person, and the Son of the Father, he is not of him∣self, but from another, for he is the Eternal Son of his Father; And thus is he truely said to be very God, of very God.

For this cause he is said to be sent from the Father, Joh. 8. 42.

And this sending taketh not away the equality of Essence, and power, but declareth the order of Page  14 the Persons, Joh. 5. 18. Phil. 2. 6.

The property of the Son is to be begotten; His proper manner of working is to execute actions from the Father by the Holy Ghost, Joh. 5. 19. 1 Cor. 8. 6.

The Holy Ghost is the third Per∣son, proceeding from the Father and the Son, Joh. 15. 26. Rom. 8. 9. Job. 16. 13, 14.

The incommunicable property of the Holy Ghost is to proceed.

The Holy Ghosts proper man∣ner of working is to finish an action, Effecting it as from the Fa∣ther and the Son.