A definition of this word Reprobation.

Reprobation is the most wise purpose of God, whereby he has before all eternity constantly decreed without any injustice, not to have mercy on those whom he has not loved, but have overhipped* that by their just condemnation, he might declare his wrath towards sinners and also his glory.                                                     Pet. Mar. upon the Rom. fol. 293.

How the just cause of reprobation is hid unto us?

We say not that God’s ordinance is the cause of reprobation, but we affirm that the just causes of reprobation are to be hid in the eternal counsel of God, and known to his godly wisdom alone, but the causes of sin of death and damnation are evident and manifestly declared to us in the Scriptures, to wit, man’s free will, consenting to the deceivable persuasion of the devil, willful sin, and voluntary rebellion, by which entered death into this world, the contempt of the graces and God’s mercies offered, with the heaping up of sin upon to sin, till damnation justly came. The causes I say of sin, death and damnation, are plainly noted unto us in God’s Holy Scriptures. But why it pleased God to show mercy to some, and deny the same to others, because the judgments of God, are a devouring depth, we enter not in reasoning with him, but with all humility render thanks to is Majesty, for the grace and mercy, which we doubt not but of his free grace, we have received in Christ Jesus our only head.                                                                 Knox.

Iohn Marbeck, A Book of Notes and Common Places, collected and gathered out of the works of diuers singular Witers, and brought Alphabetically in order (Imprinted at London by Thomas East, 1581), 906-907. [Some spelling modernized.] [* Overhipped: past tense of overhip: to pass over, to pass by.]


Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1563) On Hebrews 10:29

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in Hebrews 10:26 & 29

Peter Martyr Vermigli:

Further also, seeing by the mercy of God, through the death of Christ, we are so steadfastly placed; we must take heed, that through wicked and shameful acts, we throw not ourselves down headlong from thence. For they, which after they have been once reconciled, persist in defiling themselves with vices, do not only fall headlong from their most excellent state and condition; but also (as it is written unto the Hebrews) do tread under foot the Son of God (Heb. 10:29), and pollute his blood, which was shed for them. By this place also we are taught to love our enemies, not after that ordinary manner; as when men are wont to say, that it is enough to wish well unto their enemy, they will put no endeavor, either to amend him, or to bring him to salvation. And that, which is more grievous, they not only are not beneficial towards their enemies; but also through their slothfulness, they suffer the weak brethren to perish. They wink at their faults, neither do they use their admonitions and reprehensions to amend them.

Peter Martyr, The Common Places, trans., and compiled by Anthonie Martin, 1583, part 2, p., 611.


“They [the anti-predestinarians] also grant that “Christ died for us all” and infer from this that his benefits are common to everyone. We gladly grant this, too, if we are considering only the worthiness of the death of Christ, for it might be sufficient for all the world’s sinners. Yet even if in itself it is enough, yet it did not have, nor has, nor will have effect in all men. The Scholastics also acknowledge the same thing when they affirm that Christ redeemed all men sufficiently but not effectually.” Peter Martyr Vermigli, Predestination and Justification, trans., by Frank A. James, (Kirksville, Missouri: Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies, 2003), 8:62.

[Note: It may be objected that because the translation reads that the death might be sufficient for all, Vermigli was speaking merely of a hypothetical sufficiency. However, the following things need to be considered. 1), “might” in old English more often denoted ‘should.’ For example, to cite the KJV John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. The original Geneva translation: GNV John 3:17 For God sent not his Sonne into the world, that he should condemne the world, but that the world through him might be saued. In the original translation of the Common Places of Vermigli, many times “might” has this signification. Thus, when the ideas are brought together, Vermigli is granting that Christ did die for all with regard to the sufficiency of his death so that the death of Christ should be sufficient for all sinners. 2), from within the quotation itself, it is not all that credible that Vermigli would identify this alleged hypothetical sufficiency with the Scholastic doctrine that Christ had actually redeemed all men sufficiently. 3), the allegation also ignores Vermigli’s clear affirmations of universal redemption and ransom. 4), It has already been conceded by Cunningham, AA Hodge, et al, that it was not until the time Dort, and after, that the formula underwent its fundamental revision. It would be anachronistic to retroject the later revision into Vermigli.]


Peter Martyr Vermigli on Faith as Assured Assent

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in Faith and Assurance


Introductory Note: Vermigli’s Common Places were originally compiled from all his writings and organised to form a body of divinity. From this work, I have gleaned a few interesting remarks on the nature of the faith. The intent here is that these few comments encourage us to dig more deeply into the primary sources of the early Reformers.

1) But we must now declare, what is the chief thing, whereunto our faith is directed; which (to speak briefly) is the promise of God, whereunto by believing we assent. And this promise is chiefly that, wherein he promises, that he will through Christ be favourable and merciful unto us. And although the Holy Scriptures are read and offered unto us very many promises of God, yet this one is the chief, for whose sake the rest are performed unto us; unto which also all other promises are to be referred. This promise (as we have before said) is that, wherein God promises, that he will be merciful unto us for Christ his sake. And although there be very many things, which we ought to believe; as are threatenings, histories, exhortations, praises of God, and such other like: yet ought all these tings be referred to the persuading of this promise only. Peter Martyr, “Of Faith,” in The Common Places, trans., and compiled by Anthonie Martin, 1583, part 3, p., 58.

2) There are moreover in the church some proschairoi, that is, which believe but for a time, and in the time of temptation step back, as did Judas; and they which in time of persecutions deny Christ: wherefore for these also we have great cause to be afraid. As touching those which sincerely believe in Christ, although they have a confidence of their salvation, and are assured thereof; yet as long as we live here, there be many falls even ready at hand with us, and those great: as it is manifest by that which peter and David did. Wherefore they have whereof to be afraid, although they be not afraid, that they shall eternally be damned; but assuredly hope, that either they shall be defended by God, or that if they do fall, they shall be restored again. As we also do trust of them which be excommunicated; for they are not cast out of the church, to the intent that they should perish; but that their spirit might at length be saved. And therefore the elect also, and they which sincerely believe, ought continually to be afraid of falling; though it be but for a time. And of this restitution of them that have fallen, is also mention made in Jeremiah, in the third chapter, “Thou hast played the harlot with thy lovers; howbeit return again.” All these things declare unto us, that this exhortation of Paul unto fear, is not unprofitable; seeing we ought so many ways be careful both for ourselves, and also for other. Further Chrysostom adds hereunto; that the abuse of the grace of God, which reigns among us, ought to be unto us a great fear and horror, so often as we consider it.

Whereunto belongs that, which is written both unto the Romans, and unto the Corinthians; to wit, that “The godly stand by faith.” Neither is that hereunto repugnant, which is written in the self same chapter of the epistle to the Corinthians, that “They stood in the Gospel;” because faith is referred unto the Gospel, as unto his own object: yea rather it springs hereof after a sort, as we have heard before. Neither is there any speech made in this place of men particularly, but of the whole congregation and body of the believers; and therefore he admonishes up upon just cause, that “We should not be high minded, but should fear.” For even as the church of the Jews is now extinguished, and Africa likewise, and Greece, and Asia have lost many churches which seem to stand: wherefore, let them not advance themselves. But none of the number of the faithful ought to be in doubt about his own salvation; for the nature of faith is to make men assured of the promises of God. Howbeit, this must be understood, that it is not possible to shake off all care, so long as we live in this life: for we be continually tossed between two cogitations; one as touching the goodness, faith and constancy of God; the other as touching our corruption, infirmity, and proneness to evil. Peter Martyr, “Of Faith and Fear,” in The Common Places, trans., and compiled by Anthonie Martin, 1583, part 3, p., 64.

3) But now let us propound three things to be required; the first, whether true faith may be severed from charity, as our adversaries persuade themselves that it may; another is, whether charity be formed of faith, according as the Schoolmen teach; lastly, let us see wherein charity is more excellent than faith, and likewise how faith does excel charity. Concerning the first, it shall be convenient before all things, that we by some certain definition set forth the nature of faith: for then we may easily discern how much it is joined with charity. Let us rip up the matter thoroughly; & First let us make a difference between supposing and believing. When any man does give his assent unto one side of a controversy, he is said to suppose or have opinion: which thing is not without suspicion, and a doubtful mind; least peradventure the matter should be otherwise. But we are not said to believe, unless we do already give a firm and assured assent unto the one side, so that we suspect nothing at all of the truth of the other side. Wherefore to believe, according as serves our purpose, is by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, to give a firm assent to the word of God, and that by the authority of God himself. We say, that the inspiration of God is required because human reasons in those things do fail, and “The natural man perceives not those things which be of God;” for he things them to be but foolishness, and he cannot give credit unto them.

And that a firm assent is required in a true faith, Augustine, declares, in his 109 treatise upon John; when he says, We must believe immovably, firmly, steadfastly, and courageously, least a man wander about his own affairs, and abandon Christ. And we must give our assent unto the word of God, which is of two sorts: written, and not written. For those things, which God spoke unto the prophets, the prophets believed: & yet were not those things written by others before them. Abraham believed that he should be blessed, so as all nations should obtain blessing in his seed: also he believed God was to be obeyed, when his son was demanded for sacrifice; and yet had he not read any thing written thereof. Wherefore that which we have spoken of faith, makes nothing against them which say, that faith is an assent given to the Gospel of Christ; or else offered unto us by him, for the remission of sins. For so much as these be the most high and principal things in the word of God, unto which, the law, the prophets, the threatenings, promises, and histories, how many soever be found in the Holy Scriptures, be directed. Wherefore I agree with them, and what they embraced in the Gospel: but as touching remission of sins through Christ, I also do affirm to be contained in the word of God.

Peter Martyr Vermigli, “Of Faith and Charity,” in The Common Places, trans., and compiled by Anthonie Martin, 1583, part 3, p., 69-70.


Vermigli on Hebrews 2:9 and 14

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in Hebrews 2:9 & 14


1) Ambrose writes in his On Faith to Gratian, book 2, chapter 4: “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death so that he might without God taste death for all men,” and so forth (Heb 2:9). Ambrose seems to have read “without God” [chariti theou] for what is written in Greek as “by the grace of God” [choris tou theon]. In fact, Vigilius in his second book against Eutyches read the passage the same way as Ambrose, “that he might without God taste death:” so that we would not think that his suffering referred to his divinity and not his flesh . Therefore, death is not communicated to the Godhead. Peter Martyr Vermigli, Dialogue on the Two Natures in Christ, by John Patrick Donnelly, (Kirksville, Missouri: Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies, 1994), 2:70.

2) But I return to Cyril. In his Exposition of the Nicene Creed, which was part of the Council of Ephesus, he says on page 546, “We will find the divine Baptist saying, ‘After me comes a man who was ranked above me, because he was before me’ (John 1:30). How then was he before him if he was after him? Because Christ came later than John according to the time of the flesh; is not that clear to every one? Has any one something to say to this problem? Our Savior gives us the answer when asked. He said, speaking to the Jews, ‘before Abraham was, I am,’ (John 8:58). For he did indeed exist even before Abraham, in a divine way,” and so forth. Here also bear in mind that that property in no way is communicated to the human nature. He adds, “How then did he become the first born of the dead?A nd the first fruits of them that sleep? (Col 1:18; 1 Cor 15:20). Because by God’s grace he made his own the flesh that was subject to death, for as Paul says most wisely, he tasted death for all men in the flesh (Heb. 2:9), in which he could suffer but without discarding that by which he himself was life. So even if it were said that he suffered in the flesh. the nature of the Godhead did not undergo suffering but, as I already said, it is his own flesh which undergoes and so forth. From this vou can understand how suffering was communicated to the Word, not because the Word suffered itself but because the flesh that the Word had made its own underwent suffering. Peter Martyr Vermigli, Dialogue on the Two Natures in Christ, by John Patrick Donnelly, (Kirksville, Missouri: Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies, 1994), 2:73.

3) Now my remaining task is to answer your questions about our communion with Christ. I pass over the judgment on that subject by John a’ Lasco, a gentleman equally renowned in letters and endowed with godliness. I will only make clear in a few words what I believe about this mystery. I strive for brevity, especially since your learning and acumen are such that you understand from a few words what I am after. The conjunction of the same nature that we share with Christ from his incarnation is not nothing, seeing that it is mentioned in the second chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, where it is written, “Since therefore the children share in the flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature,” (Heb 2:14). But this is not restricted to Christians, for Jews, Turks, and everyone included in a census of human beings are joined with Christ in this way. Peter Martyr Vermigli, “Letter No. 114: To Beza at Lausanne,” in Life, Letters and Sermons, trans., by John Patrick Donnelly, (Kirksville, Missouri: Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies, 1999), 5:135.

4) For in the body which suffered was God, who could not suffer. We understand his death in a similar way. God the Word was naturally immortal and incorruptible; he was both life and the giver of life. But because his own proper body by the grace of God, in Paul’s phrase, tasted death for all men (Heb. 2:9), he therefore is said to have suffered death for us, not that he himself experienced death as regards his nature (it would be madness to think or say that) but that, as we said, his own true flesh tasted death…

The Lord of glory is said to have been crucified (1 Cor. 2:8) because the Word of God had united to it that nature that underwent suffering and death on the cross. God redeemed his church in his blood (Eph. 1:7), because he assumed that nature from which the blood was shed for all of us. Christ is called our brother (Mark 3:35), clearly because he has assumed the flesh of our race. Then there is that sentence which sounds most sweetly in the church, “Christ is the only begotten son of God born of the Father before all ages” (From the Nicene Creed), surely because in him was the divine person and hypostasis which came forth from the Father before all eternity. Peter Martyr Vermigli, Dialogue on the Two Natures in Christ, by John Patrick Donnelly, (Kirksville, Missouri: Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies, 1994), 2:74.

5) But while I write to you like this about N. N., something else occurs to me about which there is reason enough urging me to write you, both by way of inquiry and also to state my own opinion. As I do this with all freedom, so will it be up to you whenever you have leisure to indicate your own opinion. I do not press for an answer, being well aware that you are overwhelmed by important matters.

Men do not all agree concerning the communion which we have with the body of Christ and the substance of his nature; for what reason, I suppose you will hear. It is so important that he that is Christ’s should understand the mode (ratio) of his union with him.

First, it seems to me that he was pleased (as is said in the Epistle to the Hebrews [2.14] to communicate with us, in flesh and blood, by the benefit of his incarnation. ‘Since the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same’.

But unless some other kind of communion were offered us, this would be very general and feeble; for the whole human race already has communion with Christ in this manner. They are in fact men, as he was man.

So besides that communion this is added, that in due season faith is breathed into the elect whereby they may believe in Christ. Thus are they not only forgiven their sins and reconciled to God (in which the true and solid method of justification consists) but further there is added a renewing power of the spirit, by which our bodies also–flesh, blood and nature–are made capable of immortality, and become daily more and more in Christ’s form (Christiformia) as I may say. Not that they cast aside the substance of their own nature and pass into the very body and flesh of Christ, but that they no less approach him in spiritual gifts and properties than at birth they naturally communicated with him in body, flesh and blood.

Here, then, we have two communions with Christ (duas communiones cum Christo), the one natural, which we draw from our parents at birth, while the other comes to us by the Spirit of Christ. At the very time of regeneration we are by him made new according to the image of his glory.

I believe that between these two communions there is an intermediate one which is fount and origin of all the heavenly and spiritual likeness which we have with Christ. It is that by which, as soon as we believe, we obtain Christ himself our true Head, and are made his members. Whence, from the Head himself as Paul says [Eph. 4.16] his Spirit flows and is derived through the joints and ligaments into ourselves as his true and legitimate members. Wherefore this communion with our Head is prior, in nature at least though perhaps not in time, to that later communion which is introduced through regeneration. And here, it seems to me, natural reason helps us. We are taught that in things engendered the heart itself is formed first in infants. From it by a certain vein a spirit flows from the heart and in some way pierces the prepared matter of the living creature and there shapes the head. Thus by that vein through which spirit proceeds from heart, the head is joined to the heart. Again, by another vein spirit flows from the head and afterwards forms the liver, an organ that communicates with head and heart, by the arteries or veins which knit together. From the liver, moreover, and the other principal members there are other arteries or veins reaching to the other parts of the whole, by which the same engendering spirit passing through, fashions the other members. Thus it happens that they all communicate together, and are joined especially to the heart, that is to the fountain of life-not indeed in place or immediate contact (as they call it) but because from thence they draw the quickening spirit and life, by the wondrous workmanship of the highest artificer. Peter Martyr, “Calvin, Strasbourg 8 March 1555,” in The Life, Early Letters & Eucharistic Writings of Peter Martyr, ed., by J.C. McLelland and G.E. Duffield (Sutton Courtney Press, 1989), pp., 345-347.

6) Third, whenever they say that we communicate with Christ ‘carnally’, so that the body also is nourished in the eucharist, we should take it in the same way as we understand that when he was conceived of a virgin and assumed human nature, the Son of God communicated with us carnally. Moreover we abide in him and he in us, when we believe his words and receive the sacraments with faith, because in so communicating the spirit is given us, and our flesh and body which were already of the same nature with Christ, are made of the same qualities (earundem conditionum) with him: they become capable of immortality and resurrection, and when they obey and serve the spirit, are truly nourished to eternal life. So in the eucharist our body is fed in two ways. First it is fed by symbols, second by this renewal to eternal life, and thus Christ is said to abide in us through this sacrament. Of the first communication that we have with him through nativity and incarnation, you have witness from the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 2: ‘Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature.’ Peter Martyr “The Oxford Disputation and Treatise, 1549,” in The Life, Early Letters & Eucharistic Writings of Peter Martyr, ed., by J.C. McLelland and G.E. Duffield (Sutton Courtney Press, 1989), p., 228.

7) The heretics added that we have no union with Christ except by consent and will, and from this inferred that between the Son of God and the Father no other union occurs than this. Hilary therefore had to demonstrate that we are united to Christ naturally in order to conclude that the Son also if naturally joined to the Father. His proof is as follows, If the Word of God truly assumed human nature, he communicates naturally with us in his flesh, and we are said to abide in him, because he himself has our nature in him. And in turn, in the Lord’s supper, if we truly receive his flesh, we participate in him naturally, and he truly abides in us. And so Hilary argues from the truth of sacraments, which we do not deny. Peter Martyr “The Oxford Disputation and Treatise, 1549,” in The Life, Early Letters & Eucharistic Writings of Peter Martyr, ed., by J.C. McLelland and G.E. Duffield (Sutton Courtney Press, 1989), pp., 240-241.

8) They have mentioned two unions with Christ: one by faith when we apprehend his body nailed to the cross and his blood shed for our salvation. The other is the fact that the Son of God himself took our true nature and so there is a natural communion between us and Christ, of which mention is made in Hebrews 2. But there is a third kind of union, on which we enter with Christ by eating him spiritually. Peter Martyr “The Oxford Disputation and Treatise, 1549,” in The Life, Early Letters & Eucharistic Writings of Peter Martyr, ed., by J.C. McLelland and G.E. Duffield (Sutton Courtney Press, 1989), pp., 274-275.

9) 12. Through the incarnation of the Son of God we communicate with him in flesh and blood, inasmuch as we believe that through it he assumed our nature. On the other hand, when we communicate and embrace through faith its body and blood given to death for us, we become partakers of them spiritually. Peter Martyr “Epitome of the Book Against Gardiner, 1,” in The Life, Early Letters & Eucharistic Writings of Peter Martyr, ed., by J.C. McLelland and G.E. Duffield (Sutton Courtney Press, 1989), p., 294.

10) Now must we see, what it is to be in Christ. First comes in place, that which is common unto all mortal men: for the Son of God, because he took upon him the nature of man, is joined with all men. For seeing they have fellowship with flesh and blood, as testified in the epistle to the Hebrews, he also was made partaker of flesh and blood. But this conjunction is general, and weak, and only (as I may term it) according to the matter: for the nature of man far differs from that nature which took upon him. For the human nature in Christ, is both immortal, and exempted from sin, and adorned with all pureness: but our nature is impure, corruptible, and miserably polluted with sin: but if the same be indued with the Spirit of Christ, it is so repaired, as it differs not much from the nature of Christ. Peter Martyr, “The Union with Christ,” in The Common Places, trans., and compiled by Anthonie Martin, 1583, part 3, pp., 77-78.