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Zanchius on the Gospel

October 3, 2007

1) II. The grace of redemption and salvation is offered unto all men, but indeed is not communicated but to the elect, who are made one with Christ.

For we beleeve that, although the grace of redemption, salvation and eternall life, which God bestoweth, be earnestly propounded and offered unto all men by the preaching of the gospell (for, that very manie are not made partakers of the same, it is through their owne fault), yet is it not indeed communicated but unto those, who (beeing from the beginning chosen and predestinate unto it in Christ as in the head of all the elect, that they should bee his members and so made partakers of salvation) were afterwards in their time called by the gospell, indued with faith and so grafted into Christ and made one with him.

Source: Girolamo Zanchi De religione christiana FidesConfession of Christian Religion, Edited by Luca Baschera and Christian Moser, (London: Brill, 2007), 231.



[a]. Seeing first the gospell and then the sacraments, baptisme and the Lords supper, are the outward instrumentes, whereby our redeemer the Lord Iesus Christ useth to offer and bestowe the grace of redemption and remission of sinnes uppon the worlde, and to communicate himselfe unto us his elect and to incorporate us likewise into himselfe, and so to make us indeed partakers of that salvation and life, which we have in him; therefore wee have purposed briefly and plainely to declare unto Gods church, what our faith is concerning the same.

I. The gospell, what it is.

Concerning the gospell therefore, according to the signification received and used in the church, we beleeve that it is nothing else but the heavenly doctrine concerning Christ, preached by Christ himselfe and the apostles, and contained in the bookes of the Newe testament, bringing the best and most gladsome tidings to the world, namely, that mankinde is redeemed by the death of Iesus Christ, the onely, begotten Sonne of God. So that there is prepared for al men, if they repent and beleeve in Iesus Christ, a free remission of a1 their sinns, salvation, and eternall life. Wherefore it is fitlie called of the Apostle: ‘The gospel of our salvation’.

II. The gospell was promised by the prophets, but published by the apostle.

fir, albeit that this misterie even from the first beginning of the world was revealed unto the fathers and that the prophetes spake of the same, yet that which they preached was rather evangelical promises, and those reserved among the Iewes, then the gospele it selfe, which was to be published to all nations; sith [seeing] they foretold of a thing which was to come, but did not declare the thing present or that was past, as the Apostle teacheth to the Romans and Peter in his first epistle. 

III. As well the fathers were saved by faith, which they had in the promises concerning Christ the redeemel; as wee which beleeve in the gospell.

Meane while we doubt not but as well the fathers, who beleeved in those evangelicall promises of Christ, which was to come and should bruise the serpents head, were saved, as we also by our faith in the gospell, telling us that Christ is come and that he hath redeemed the world, are saved. As the Apostle both in other places and in the epistle to the Romaines doth largely teach us concerning Abraham, and to the Hebrues concerning all the other; so that it is a foule blasphemy to say that only earthly matters were promised to the fathers and that they received onely such and not heavenlie, as remission of sinnes and eternall life. For looke what the gospell is unto us, properly received, the same were the evangelicall promises to them, namely, the power of Rom. 1.16 God to salvation unto everie beleever.

IV The doctrine of the gospell, touching the substance, is most auncient and eternall.

Whereby wee knowe that the doctrine of the gospell, touching the substance thereof, is not new, but most auncient and preached unto the fathers even from the worlds creation, so as Iohn not unfitly called the gospell: ‘An eyerlasting gospell’.  

V. The parts of the gospell, how many and what.

Furthermore, there are three especial points in the gospell, which wee are called uppon to perform: repentance towardes God, faith in our Lord Iesus Christ and a care to observe whatsoever Iesus Christ hath willed and commaunded.

VI. A declaration of the former opinion.

The gospell, therefore, which setteth out unto us Christ with the whole favour and mercy of God with the purging and forgivenes of sinnes and with the whole salvation and eternall life laid up in him, requireth onely these three things. First, that being touched with an earnest griefe of our whole life ledd amisse, wee might desire from our heart to have our mindes and so all our affections chaunged and renued into the obedience of the divine will, and that we might earnestly pray and doe our best endevour that it might be so. Secondlie, that embracing Christ by a true faith with all his treasures, wee might beleeve firmely and without any wavering that all our sinnes are for ever pardoned of the fa.our and mercie of God through Christ alone and we received into grace, made the children of God and heires of everlasting life. Lastly; that beeing thus perswaded of the free and eternall salvation through Iesus Christ, wee should thence foreward labour by all meanes to obseme whatsoever Christ hath commaunded to the glorie of God and profite of our neighbour; so, as faith do evermore accompanie us to the ende, whereby we beleeve that, howsoever in this new obedience we err or do offend, yet for Christs sake it shall not be imputed to us, but contrariewise by the perfect obedience, iustice and holinesse of Christ imputed unto us our imperfect obedience shalbe perfected and shalbe taken and reputed for most perfect in the sight of God. And to three thinges are all the preceptes of Christ referred, namely that, renouncing all ungodlines and worldly desires, wee should live in this world (in respect of our selves) soberlie, (in respect of our neighbor) iustly, (in respect of God) godlie, looking for that blessed  hope and the comming of the glorie of the great God. This wee beleeve to bee the summe of those thinges, which Christ requireth of us, in the doctrine of the gospell and therefore that they bee true gospel- lers and christians indeede, that bende their whole studie and care hereunto.

VII. In what thinges especially the gospell differeth frorn the law

And nowe of that, which is alreadie said, it appeareth that we do not confound the law with the gospell. For, albeit wee confesse that God is author aswel of the law as of the gospell and that of it selfe it is as well. holie, iust and good as the gospel, yet we hold that ther is no smale difference betwixt them both. Not onely because the lawe was delivered to the Israelites alone and the gospell pertaineth to a1 people and nations, and also not onely because that was for a time and to continue but till Christ and the gospell is everlasting, and also not onely because that was delivered by Moses and declared by the prophets and the gospell was brought by Christ and published to the whole world by the apostles, but indeed and most especially for these causes: first, because the matter of the law is onely commandementes with irrevocable curses thereunto ioyned, if they bee broken never so little. It hath also promises not onely of earthlie but also of heavenly blessings, but al of them with the condition of perfect obedience and none merely free. But the gospell is properly a happie message, setting before us gratis Christ the redeemer, forgiving sinnes and saving us; yea, and requiring nothing at our handes for the obtaining of life everlasting, but a true faith in Christ, which faith cannot bee without true repentance, nor without a care to doe the will of God, that is, to live soberly, iusly, and godly, as is above declared. Moreover because the law did not performe that which it required, nether had it power whereby to save and therefore was unsuficient, and a killing letter, the minister of wrath and death, more provoking then taking away sin. But the goslpel, what  it requireth, the same it performeth and therefore, whatsoever it offereth, the same also it truely imparteth unto us, forasmuch as the Holy ghost is by it powerful in the elect at the preaching of the gospell, stirring up in them that true faith, whereby they apprehend Christ offered and with him eternall life. For faith is by hearing of the gospell, but obedience is not by hearing of the lawe, because the Holie spirite giveth no man strength to the hearing of the lawe, by which hee might observe the same, as he stirreth up faith in the elect to the hearing of the gospell. For which cause as the law is called a killing letter, so is the gospell called a quickning spirite, and therefore is a true and forcible instrument to salvation unto everie beleever. Whereon also followeth the third difference, namely, that the law was not written in their hearts, but remained written onely in tables and therfore did not chaunge men. But the gospell is written by the Holie ghost in the hearts of the elect and therefore it chaungeth and renueth them, because it is the instrument of the Holie ghost to sanctifie and to save us.

VIII. The law of Moses is party taken away and partb not taken away by the gospell. 

Of this which we have said, it also plainelie appeareth, what our faith is of the abrogation of the law by the gospell. First wee beleeve that in the gospell (so farre forth as it declareth all things, which in the Old testament did figuratively foreshew of Christ to bee fulfilled in this Iesus, as is saide before in the 11. chapter) we are taught that the law of Moses concerning ceremonies, sacrifices and all Moses outward worship are simply abrogated, according to that saying of the Apostle: ‘That all these things were inioyned untill the time of reformation’, and that: ‘The law was given by Moses, but the trueth came by Iesus Christ’. Moreover so farre forth as the gospell is the instrument of the Holy spirit, whereby we are ingrafted and united to Christ and made partakers of redemption and salvation (as is said before in the 12. chapter), so far also we confesse that the morall law, touching the cursse against the transgressors, is abrogated by the gospell of Christ, according to that of the Apostle: ‘There is no condemnation to them that are in Iesus Christ’, whereof this is a token: ‘That they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’. But now so farre forth as the doc- trine of the gospell requireth our repentance and the holinesse of life and that we live soberly, righteously and godly, therein it taketh not away the law concerning manners, for it is wholy consonant and agreeable with the doctrine of the gospel of eschewing vices and following vertue. Lastlye, in as much as Christ in his gospel did not take away the politicke lawes of the nations, which were not contrarie to the law of nature, therefore, we think it lawfull and free for any governors to bringe among their subiectes such politick lawes as were delivered to the people of Israell and by the same (then which none are more iust) to rule and gocrerne the people. Therefore they do exceeding and great iniurie to the gospell of Christ, that saye it troubleth or overthroweth common-wealthes. This is our faith concerning the gospell of our Lord Iesus Christ.  

IX. Errors. 

We condemne therefore the Antinomi and whosoever disallow the morall law and cast the same out of their churches as contrarie to the gospell or nothing appertaining to christians, and do reprove those magistrats, which labour to bring in Moses politicall precepts among their people.

Source: Girolamo Zanchi De religione christiana FidesConfession of Christian Religion, Edited by Luca Baschera and Christian Moser, (London: Brill, 2007), 253, 255, 257, 259, 261, and 263.

Text: The Latin text is printed on the even numbered pages and the English translation is on the odd page numbers. The spelling is original, barring some editing errors on my part. At this stage I am not able to determine in how he is, or is mostly likely is using the term, “mankind.”

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