Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A True Theologian

Herman Witsius, On the Character of a True Theologian, pp. 46-47 (1994 RAP ed.):

Show me a man who, intently meditating on sacred realities, does not simulate gravity by his beard or dress but, panting after the things which are above and eternal, holds in low estimation the sumptuous halls of the rich and the whole earth itself, with its gold and silver; who, satisfied with the grace of Christ the Saviour and the fellowship of the Divine Spirit inhabiting his breast, looks down as from a lofty eminence upon all the vanities and allurements of the world, coveting neither pleasures, nor wealth, nor honors; who, devoting himself wholly to the care of souls, and the defense, promotion, and enlargement of the kingdom of Christ, does not give himself up to secular business or politics, watches for no office, is no demagogue, does not pay court to the great, does not cringe to his ecclesiastical superiors, nor lord it over God's heritage, and, accurately assigning to the church, the college, and the civil power their proper relative places, confines himself to his own church or chair; who, the farther he advances in the contemplation of the things which are above and in the practice of chair; who, the farther he advances in the contemplation of the things which are above and in the practice of virtue, is the less disposed to tarnish the glory of his neighbor, measuring himself not by himself, but with those who are more perfect, and above all, with the perfect law of God; who, whensoever the cause of God, the salvation of souls, the defense of the Church, and the guardianship of the heavenly doctrine call for exertion, is all on fire with zeal for God and would rather die a hundred deaths than that one jot should be yielded to the enemy in that cause which is not his, but his Lord's; who, at the same time, would seek no revenge for personal injuries, would bear with moderation reproaches directed against himself, and in doubtful matters not insist upon his own opinion; who, as was said of Athanasius by the ancients, stands firm as a rock against the assaults of the violent, but as a magnetic center of attraction and union to those at variance; who, always exercising prudence, attempts nothing rashly, exerting himself unobtrusively even in the most difficult undertaking; who in fine, not feignedly nor lightly, but with the most unaffected simplicity, is ready to throw himself at the feet of all, preferring himself to no one, but everyone to himself, is forward to give honor to all, esteeming his neighbor more than himself -- show me, I say, such a man, and I will salute him as A TRUE THEOLOGIAN; him will I revere, him will I embrace, acknowledging that he is, and that in him is, the glory of Christ.

1 comment: