A BODY OF DIVINITY: Being the Sum and Substance of the Christian Religion
Archbishop James Ussher, New Introduction by Dr. Crawford Gribben
"Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656) was a leader par excellence among the Irish Puritans. His colorful history is inseparable from that of Irish Christianity and from major events transpiring simultaneously in England and Scotland. Ussher's range of achievements are outstanding, including ancient languages, patristics, ancient and Irish history, theology, and chronology. Though he is best known for his biblical chronology, I believe that his Body of Divinity is his most valuable legacy. This volume, long overdue to be reprinted, was once regarded as a classic in the field of Reformed systematic theology and deserves to be so regarded again. Here is pristine Irish Puritan theology, presented to us in a captivating question and answer format." --Joel R. Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"Raised in a Bible-believing Calvinistic environment, Dr. Ussher soaked himself in the Holy Scriptures without ceasing. He also read the Early Church Fathers - systematically, every day, for eighteen years. Head of Ireland's foremost Theological Faculty, Ussher was internationally the greatest Anglican antiquarian and theologian of his age - if not of all time." -Dr. Francis Nigel Lee, Professor-Emeritus of the Queensland Presbyterian Theological College
"Among those volumes that are most useful for understanding British Reformed theology of the 17th century and especially that of the Westminster Assembly few are as valuable and therefore welcome in republication as Ussher's Body of Divinity." -R. Scott Clark, D.Phil., Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Westminster Seminary California
"Archbishop Ussher remains a theological giant upon whose shoulders many Reformed believers have unkowingly stood. Ussher penned the Irish Articles published in 1615. The terms and theology of that confession are found in the Westminster family of confessions. Westminsterian Presbyterians, Congregationalists who look to the Savoy Declaration and confessional Reformed Baptists all owe their theological heritage to Ussher, humanly speaking. Publishing the The Body of Divinity will help many in our generation to recover or reaffirm the faith of the Reformation--the greatest revival of true religion ever." - Dr. Mike Renihan, Heritage Baptist Church, Worcester, MA
Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656), author of the newly reprinted "Annals of the World," wrote his Body of Divinity in a way that would make it useful to the family. Long out of print, used copies regularly bring $400.00 and more on the used market. This edition is newly typeset and has a new Introduction by Dr. Crawford Gribben and a complete Bibliography on Ussher make this the most valuable edition ever produced.
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A New Introduction
Table of Contents
To the Christian Reader:
Christian Reader, I do here present and commend unto thee a book of great worth and singular use, which was written and finished above thirty years since: the Author whereof is well known to be so universally eminent in all Learning, and of that deep knowledge and judgement in sacred Divinity; that he transcends all eulogies and praises which I can give him. I commend it unto thee (Christian Reader) under a two-fold notion.
The first respects the subject matter of this whole Work, which is of greatest excellency; as being The sum and substance of Christian Religion, upon which as a most sure foundation we build our faith, ground all our hopes, and from which we reap, and retain all our joy and comfort in the assurance of our salvation. Which as at all times it is most profitable to be read, studied, and known, so now (if ever) most necessary in these our days, wherein men never more neglected these fundamental principles, as being but common and ordinary truths, and spend their whole time, study, and discourse about Discipline, Ceremonies and circumstantial points; and herein also not contenting themselves with those common rules, and that clear light which shines in the Word; they are only led by their own fantasies, daily creating unto themselves diversities of new opinions : and so falling into sects and schisms they break the bond of love, and fall off from the communion of Saints, as though it were no Article of their Creed; and being in love with their own new Tenets, as being the conception and birth of their own brains, they contend for them more then for any fundamental truths; and not only so, but also hate, malign, and most bitterly and uncharitably censure all those that differ from them in their opinions, though never so conscientious and religious, as though they professed not the same faith, yea, served not the same God, nor believed in the same Christ; but remain still aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and in comparison of themselves no better then Papists, or at the best but carnal Gospellers.
The second notion under which I commend it respects the Work it self, or the manner of the Authors handling it, which is done so soundly and solidly, so judiciously and exactly, so methodically and orderly, and with that familiar plainness, perspicuity and clearness, that it gives place to no other in this kind either ancient or modern, either in our own, or any other Language which ever yet came to my view; in which regard I may say of it, as it is said of the virtuous woman; Many have done excellently, but this our Author exceeds them all. I will add no more in the deserved praises of this Work, but leave it (Christian Reader) to they self to peruse and judge of it, commending thee to the Word of Gods grace and the good guidance of his holy Spirit, who is able to build thee up in fruitful knowledge, to lead thee into all truth, to direct and support thee in the ways of godliness, and to give thee an everlasting inheritance among the blessed.
Yours in the Lord Jesus Christ,