...any seventeenth-century doctrine must be examined within a nexus of theological opinions and articulations (and doctrinal solidarity may vary from issue to issue) in order to understand the motivations and intentions of various English divines.
The [17th century] Antinomians of this period tended to collapse everything either into the eternal decrees or the work of Christ (we could say pactum salutis and historia salutis), giving short shrift to the necessity for the Christian to walk in and strive for holiness (tending to see the Christian as passive in all the parts of the ordo salutis).
[God] does, of course, voluntarily enter covenants with creatures, and in these covenants he binds himself to fulfill promises and threats. He is obligated to keep these covenants. But the obligations are self-imposed, not imposed by creatures.
For people who are using a concept of authority where the confession is the supreme authority, and any appeal to scripture is some kind of biblicistic movement toward innovation and novelty... is in practice preparing the way... towards the full blown absolutizing of authoring and tradition that you find in Rome.
In addition to the moral law, the ceremonial law also provides evidence that the old covenant was part of the covenant of grace. Burgess makes the point that all divines reduce the ceremonial law to the moral law, "so that Sacrifices were commanded by vertue of the second Commandment."48 The sacrifices, according to Burgess, did not oppose Christ, or the grace of God, but included them, a point that carried a lot of significance for confirming him in his opinion. Moreover, the ceremonial law foreshadowed Christ's person and work; "it typically pointed further [ ... ] to Christ."
With an analytical method, one first considers the building itself in general; the point of departure is the whole. From there each element is considered, brick by brick, in order finally to arrive at the foundation. The synthetic method, on the other hand, implies that one first consider the foundation. Then all the other parts follow until one finally has an impression of the entire building.
After an initial preference for the analytical method, over the course of time few Reformed theologians—certainly in comparison to the Lutherans—chose to follow it. This led to the remarkable situation in which Lutheran theologians oriented themselves after the Heidelberg Catechism, which has an analytical structure, while the majority of Reformed theologians—who had an analytical catechism in their background—followed the synthetic method.
It may well be that Reformed thought holding up the salvation of mankind as the end of theology went too far. Theology ought, after all, to be concerned with God.
For who is so devoid of intellect as not to understand that God, in so speaking, lisps with us as nurses are wont to do with little children? Such modes of expression, therefore, do not so much express what kind of a being God is, as accommodate the knowledge of him to our feebleness. In doing so, he must, of course, stoop far below his proper height.
Fourth, if, on account of the union the divine properties are communicated to the flesh, then the properties of the flesh ought in turn to be communicated to the Logos (Logo). The union is reciprocal. However, they are unwilling to admit this. Nor can the distinction of the nature assuming and assumed remedy this difficulty. The foundation of a reciprocal communication is not assumption, but the union itself, which is reciprocal (as the divine is united to the human nature, so the human is united to the divine). Thus also it would demand a reciprocal communication, not in the concrete only, but also in the abstract. Nor can a difference be derived from this-that the human nature indeed needed the communication of these attributes, but not the divine nature. The human nature did indeed need exalted gifts for the performance of its own work, but not attributes of God (which would rather have destroyed the human nature and transformed it into deity).
Here is a call, not only not to worship any other God, but not to worship the true God in the wrong way.
To find an application for this passage we need look no further than the monks, for though they are all completely unlearned asses, yet solely on account of their long robes and hoods they have the reputation of being learned men .... The excessively insolent pride of the monks comes chiefly from the fact that they measure themselves by themselves, and since in their cloisters there is nothing but barbarism, it is no wonder if the one-eyed man is king in the country of the blind.