James Ussher On Hard Texts

From Dr. Curt Daniel:

James Ussher (1581-1656). Anglican. Archbishop. Irish. Invited to be divine at Westminster Assembly, but did not attend. His Irish Articles were the basis for the Westminster Confession. One of the leading scholars of the century. A prolific writer: A Body of Divinity; a work on Gottschalk and predestination; Bible chronology (his date for Creation at 4004 BC is still popular); others. A moderate Calvinist similar to Davenant, ‘4 ½ Point Calvinist’.

From James Ussher’s A Body Of Divinity: Being the Sum and Substance of the Christian Religion (not a blanket-endorsement of Ussher as a true Christian):

Why did God leave some places obscure in the Scriptures?

First, That we might know that the understanding of God’s Word is the gift of God; and therefore might beg it of Him by continual prayer.

Secondly, Lest we should flatter our own wits too much, if all things could presently be understood by us.

Thirdly, That the Word, for the high and heavenly mysteries contained therein, might be accounted of; which for the plainness possibly might be less esteemed.

Fourthly, That profane dogs might be driven away from these holy mysteries; which are pearls prized highly by the elect alone (Matthew 13:45), but would be trodden underfoot by swine (Matthew 7:6).

Fifthly, That we might be stirred up to a more diligent search of the same.

Sixthly, That we might esteem more of the ministry which God hath placed in the Church, that by the means thereof we might profit in the knowledge of these mysteries.

Advertisements