The Abridgement of Christian Divinitie

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The Abridgment of Christian Divinitie (1660)
by John Wollebius, translated by Alexander Ross
John Wollebius1472503The Abridgment of Christian Divinitie1660Alexander Ross (1591-1654)





Christian Divinitie:

So exactly and Methodically compiled, that it leads us, as it were by the hand

To the. Reading of the Holy Scriptures.
Ordering of Common-Places.
Understanding of Controversies.
Clearing of some Cases of Conscience.

By John Wollebius, Doctor of Divinity & Ordinary professor in the University of Basil.

Faithfully translated into English, and in some obscure places cleared and enlarged,

By Alexander Ross.

The Third Edition.

To which is adjoyned, after the Alphabeticall Table

The ANATOMY of the Whole Body of DIVINITY,

Delineated in XIV. short Tables, for the help of weak memories.


Printed by T. Mabb, for Joseph Nevill, and are to be sold at his Shop at the signe of the Plough in the New-Buildings in Paules Churchyard, 1660.


To the Right Honourable,



My Lord,

I Have been long indebted both to your Lordship, your noble Lady, and your hopeful Son Mr. Watson for your favours and good will towards me, I have therefore adventured (not by way of requital, but of acknowledgment) to present this Theological Epitome to You, which is the most exact and compendious of any that hath been yet done by Protestant Writers: I may say of this Edition, as Philosophers speak of Nature that, It is neither deficient in necessaries, nor Abundant in superfluities: What was in the Latin Copy dark, I have cleared; and what was contracted, I have unfolded. How needful Epitomies are in all Sciences, chiefly in Divinity, I need not write, if either we consider the shortnesse of our time, or the largenesse and multitude of Volumes, which have been written of this Subject, or the weaknesse of our memories, or the fastidiousnesse that is begot in us by reading tedious and voluminous Discourses, God who knows what is best for us, hath epitomized all Practical Divinity into X Precepts, and our Saviour hath reduced those ten into two, and all that we can pray for, or against, into six heads or Petitions. The Traveller that desiers to be soon at his journeys end, will seek out the most compendious way: He is an unwise Traveller that will clog himself with silver, if he can epitomize it into Gold, surely a weak Stomack wil better retain the smal quantity of an extract than the large draught of a nauseating potion: He that with judgment doth contract the vast body of Divinity into an Abridgment, doth imitate God, who having the first day diffused the light through the whole Hemisphere, contracted it, and as it were epitomized the fourth day within the body of the Sun: Be that will condemn Epitomies, condemn himself for man is the epitomie of the World, But I must avoid prolixity in commending this Epitomie, left my practise thwart my words. My Lord, This Book is the Epitome of Divinity; and this Epistle, the Epitomie of my true affection, and many thanks I owe you and yours: on whom I wish the influence of all happinesse, which is the hearty desire of

Your Lordships

Humble Servant

Alexander Ross


The Preface of Iohn

Wollebius D.D. to the Reader.

THE blessed Apostle, in his second Epistle to Timothy, cap. i vers. 13, writes thus; Hold fast the form of good words which thou hast heard of me in faith and love. An excellent admonition and worthy to be pressed upon all Christians; but chiefly on those who have wholly devoted themselves to the study of Divinity. For as it concernes every Christian to be skilled in the chief Chatechistical heads at least, that by their help and guide they may with the greater profite heare and read Gods Word; so it becomes all Students in Divinity, before all things to imprint in their memories the Anatomie of the Body of Theologie that in the Common places, in the definitions and Divisions of heavenly doctrine, they may be exact and perfect. Now in this kind divers eminent men, furnished with a far greater measure of Spiritual Unction than my self, have afforded such helps to young Students, that he, who goes about to adde any thing to these, will seem to light a Candle at noon-day,or to garnish the Firmament with more Stares: Yet notwithstanding, whereas it is consistant with the conscience and callings of all Gods servants, to advance what they can the publike benefit; I being called to be chief Pastor in this place, was enjoyned by the Reverend Colledge of Divines to expound the Old Testament , which by Gods help and their command I so undertook that besides my Lectures on the Text, I proposed to my hearers a short form of wholsom and good words, taken out of other mens lucubrations, and reduced into this brief Epitome. Now although I perceived that many did very wel like my paines and purpose in this kind; yet I professe, the divulging of this Piece was least in my thoughts. Therefore, in that at last this Child, of which I have been in labour these seven years, is now born and brought out to light I earnestly intreat the friendly Reader to impute this, not to any itching humour I have of writing, but to the often sollicitations of my Friends, who have extorted it from me, I beseech God that he will be pleased graciously to preserve the remaining companies of Teachers & Schollers, and that for his mercies sake, whereof we have daily fresh testimonies, as in many things, so in this, that we are not all destroyed: And as for those who are dispersed that he would graciously recollct and settle them, even for his onely begotten Sons sake our Lord Jesus Christ Amen.





Reverendissimo Clarissimo Viro,


Antistite & Professore dignissimo, bono

Publico editam.

INstituit multos discentes atque docentes
  Calvinus, laudem hanc ut ferat ille Liber:
Præter Aposulicas post Christi tempora Chartas;
  Huie peperere Libro secula nuffa parem.
Polanus Methodo illustrat syntagma celebre:
  Mortuus ut vivens agmina nosra docet,
Quicquid uterque docet, doctâ hic brevitate docebit
  Wollebius, paucis dicere multa potis.
Tu, qui Pastores, Doctores, atque Prophetas
  Largiris, cœtum pascere pergetuum.

Johan. Grossius

Basis Pastor Eccles.



Upon the EPITOME


Christian Divinity,

Publsht for the common benefit,

by the moft reverend and famous Doctor

John Wollebius,

chief Chair-man and Professor of


CAlvin, great Key of th'Scriptures as'tis clear,

In's Books, instructed many far and near:

Whose learned Institutions next those known

Grand Euangelick truths give place to none:

Next Calvin, did Polanus so Comprize

Divinity, as't will live when th'Author dies.

Both these, Wollebius surpassed, such

Was his great skill, in little to seak much.

Go on, the Fathers Oracles thus t'unlock,

And be the Father of thine own poor flock.



Auea fælices dedis Compendia in auras,

Et vera Mensas instruis Eusebia

Orthodoxa tuo solidè comprensa lebello

Doctrina, egregiis serviet ingeniis.

Jehova tibi vitam viresque atrnet, & usqne

Tejubeat longa dexteritate frui.

Sentiat optatam dispersa Ecclesia pacem,

Et repetant miseri pasena læta greges.

Joan. Jac. Grasserus
Eccl. Minister.



THus dost thou feast thy Friends, divide, and cut

Theoligie like Iliac in a Nut.

Where Truths so orthodox, in each short Page

May serve the solid'st Judgments of this age.

Heaven lengthen out thy days, and may those powers

Be still propitious to thy well-spent houres,

Which may thy Flock to their old Fields invite,

And the disperst Church-Members reunite.



Order of the Chapters

of the first Book.

Concerning the knowledge of GOD.

I. Of the Essence of GOD 14
II. Concerning the Persons of the Deity. 21
III. Concerning the works of God, and the Decrees of God in general. 30
IV. Of Predestination. 38
V. Of the Creation. 46
VI. Of Gods actual Providence: 56
VII. Of the Government of Angels. 61
VIII. Of the Government of Man in the state of Innocency. 67
IX. Of the fall of our first Parents, the beginning of Mans misery, 71
X. Of Original Sinne, and Free will. 77
XI. Of Actual Sinne. 83
XII. Of the miseries which follow Sinne. 86
XIII. Of the Moral Law. 89
XIV. Of the Ceremonial and Judicial Law. 97
XV. Of the Gospel, and how it agrees with, and differs from the Law. 108
XVI. Of the Person of Christ God and Man. 112
XVII. Of the Office of Christ the Mediator. 130
XVIII. Of the Humiliation of Christ. 135
XIX. Of Christ's exaltation. 157
XX. Of the the Common vocation to the state of Grace. 166
XXI. Of the Covenant of Grace. 169
XXII. Of the Seals or Sacraments of the Covenant of Grace in general. 175
XXIII. Of Baptisme. 190
XXIV. Of the Lords Supper. 197
XXV. Of the nature of the visible Church. 203
XVI. Of the outward administration of the church. 214
XXVII. Of the False church. 231
XXV. Of Vocation in special. 243
XXIX. Of saving Faith. 251
XXX. Of Justification. 256
XXXI. Of Sanctification. 269
XXXII. Of the Perseverance of the Saints. 274
XXXIII. Of Christian Liberty. 279
XXXIV. Of the coming of Christ, and the Resurrection of the flesh, which go before the last Judgment. 282
XXXV. Of the Last Judgment. 295
XXXVI. Of the end of the World, and the Life eternal, the consequents of the Judgment. 301

The Order of the

Chapters of the second Book,

Concerning the Worship of God.

I. Of the Nature of Good-works. 311
II. Of Vertues and works apperteining to the whole worship of God, and to the Decalogue. 317
III. Of the Vertues or works belonging to the first commandment. 322
IV. Of the Vertues and works belonging in general to the II. III. and IV. Commandments. 329
V. Of the Vertues and works belonging in special to the second commandments. 334
VI. Of the Vertues and works beolonging to the third commandment. 355
VI. Of the Vertues and works belonging to the fourth commandment. 366
VIII. Of the Vertues and works belonging in general to the commandments of the second Table. 371
IX. Of the Vertues and works belonging to the fifth commandment. 381
X. Of the Vertues and works belonging to the sixth commandment. 388
IX. Of the Vertues and works belonging to the seventh commandment. 393
XI. Of the Vertues and works belonging to the eighth commandment. 406
XII. Of the Vertues and works belonging to the ninth commandment. 415
XIII. Of the Vertues and works belonging to the tenth commandment. 423

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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