Skip to content

Jeremias Bastingius (1551-1595) on the Sufficiency and Efficiency of Christ’s Death

June 19, 2009

Bastingius, on the Heidelberg Catechism:

20. Is salvation then restored by Christ to all men that perished in Adam?

Answer.

Not to all, but only to those who are en-grafted into him by true faith, and do lay hold upon all his benefits.

Here he prevents an abjection : for seeing it confessed that Christ is the redeemer of mankind, as the Gospel does teach, some man may ask the question also to salvation in Christ; and if not so, who then are restored unto salvation? To which question the answer is plain; namely, that not all, nor every man is restored to salvation by Christ, but only those who believe in him.

And that all are not saved by Christ the Mediator, is so true and so well known out of the Scriptures, as nothing more, Christ himself bearing witness: “Not everyone that says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”: and “Narrow is the gate, and straight is the way that leads unto life, and few there be that find it” [Mat. 7:13, 14; Mat. 25:34; Mat. 22:14.]; to this may be added the description of the last judgment, and that which he says elsewhere, “Many are called, but few are chosen,” [Mat. 22:14.].

Although nevertheless that abides true, which John affirms, that “Christ is the Propitiation for our sins, and not for ours alone, but for the sins of the whole world,” [1. Joh. 2:2.]: because Christ’s death is indeed sufficient for all mankind, but effectual only for the elect, who shall believe in his Name, to whom also he reveals the will of his Father, and whom he regenerates by his Holy Spirit, whom he preserves; and in the end shall crown with everlasting glory [Joh. 17:20; Mat. 11:27; Joh. 15:15; Joh. 6:45; Rom. 8:30.]. For John had no other purpose, but to make the sacrifice of Christ common to the whole church” [Joh. 11:52.], so that under the name (all) he comprehends not the reprobate, but notes out of those, who (as I said) should also believe, and were scattered throughout divers coasts of the world.   Jeremias Bastingius, An Exposition or Commentary Vpon the Catechisme of Christian Religion, which is taught in the Schooles and Churches both of the Low Countries, and of the Dominions of the Countie Palatine (Printed at London by Iohn Legatt, Printer to the University of Cambridge, 1614), 68-69.

[Some spelling modernized, italics original, marginal references cited inline, and underlining mine.]

[Notes:

1) I am using the later 1614 edition because the text is more often than not clearer than the 1595 edition, and the pagination is more regular. However, there are some severe defects to this edition. The reader should compare those sections which are unreadable with the 1595 edition.

2) From the “Admonition to the Reader,” Bastingius says:

Moreover, I have always been delighted with reading of Calvin’s Institutions, and that which Fabius says of Cicero, that I have always applied to that writer: Let him know that he has profited who is very much delighted with Calvin; therefore it is, that where the matter gave leave, I expressed the meaning of our Catechist rather in his words then in mine own, partly top prick thee also forward to read that Book of the Institutions, partly becauseI did see that it did not hinder but rather further my purpose.

Jeremias Bastingius, An Exposition or Commentary Vpon the Catechisme of Christian Religion, which is taught in the Schooles and Churches both of the Low Countries, and of the Dominions of the Countie Palatine (Printed at London by Iohn Legatt, Printer to the University of Cambridge, 1614), 2 (pages from front matter numbered manually.)

This comment actually helps us to understand Bastingius’ comments above regarding his interpretation of John’s on 1 John 2:2.: he is following Calvin. It should not be thought, as Jonathan Moore[1] does, that Bastingius’ held to a limited expiation because of his exegetical position on 1 John 2:2. Rather, there is good evidence that Bastingius held to an unlimited expiation.  This is a reasonable assumption given that we know that both Zanchi and Kimedoncius also held to a restrictive reading of 1 John 2:2, and yet maintained what Richard Muller calls, “a non-Amyraldian hypothetical universalism,” or if we use the words by which Kimedoncius himself describes his position, they held to “universal redemption.” The mere fact that all these men adopted a restrictive reading of 1 John 2:2, as had Calvin (and Augustine before them), does not entail that these same men adopted the strict view of limited expiation and redemption. One should make that jump as Moore does.

3) Biographical note:

By far the most celebrated, and the only one which maintains its place  as a doctrinal symbol down to the present day, is the Heidelberg Catechism.  It was drafted at the suggestion of the Elector Frederick the Pious by two theologians, Caspar Olevianus and Zacharias Ursinus , who were able to express in a really remarkable degree the thoughts of German Protestants who could not accept the hard and fast Lutheranism of the opponents of Melanchthon . It speedily found favour in many parts of Germany, although  its strongest supporters belonged to the Rhine provinces. It was in use  both as a means of instruction and as a doctrinal symbol in most of the German Reformed Churches along with their own symbolical books. Its use spread to Holland and beyond it. Two separate translations appeared in Scotland. The earlier is contained in (Dunlop’s) Collection of Confessions of Faith. . . . of public authority in the Church of Scotland, under the title, A Catechism of the Christian Religion, composed by Zachary Ursinus, approved  by Frederick III. Elector Palatine, the Reformed Church in the Palatinate, and by other Reformed Churches in Germany ; and taught in their schools and churches ; examined and approved, without any alteration, by the Synod of Dort, and appointed to be taught in the reformed churches and schools in the Netherlands : translated and printed Anno 1591 by public authority for the use of Scotland, with the arguments and use of the several doctrines therein contained, by Jeremias Bastingius; sometimes printed with the Book of Common Order and Psalm Book.   Thomas M. Lindsey, A History of the Reformation, (Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1923), 2:4, (Introduction).]

______________________

[1] Jonathan Moore, English Hypothetical Universalism: John Preston and the Softening of Reformed Theology, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2007), 67. Moore does cite other references from Bastingius to support his claims, but as I read these other pages I do not see what Moore thinks buttress’s his claims.

Advertisements
2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2009 2:39 pm

    Here’s Beeke’s biographical entry on Bastingius from The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation.

  2. Josh permalink
    June 21, 2009 2:38 pm

    I really enjoy these quotes, and the majority of them I research for accuracy and the greater context

    The more I read the more I see how I was purposely theologically blind.

    Keep em coming, I would rather stand alone on truth than with a the world at my side in dishonesty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: