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The Character of a Genuine Theologian
- Hermann Witsius (1636 1708) was a Dutch theologian. He was first a pastor, and then professor of theology at the universities of Franeker, Utrecht and Leiden. View all resources by Hermann Witsius
THE THEOLOGIAN, as I use the term, is one imbued with the knowledge of God and divine things, under the teaching of God himself; who celebrates his adorable perfections, not by words alone, but by the ordering of his life, and is thus entirely devoted to his Lord. Such, of old, were the holy patriarchs, the inspired prophets, the apostles by whom the world was enlightened, with some of those luminaries of the Primitive Church, whom we denominate the Fathers. Their knowledge consisted, not in the acute subtleties of curious questions, but in the devout contemplation of God and of his Christ. Their chaste and simple method of instruction did not gratify the itching ear, but by sealing the impression of sacred things on the heart, enkindled the soul with love of the truth. Their blameless life was apprehended even by their enemies, and being in correspondence with their profession, fortified their teaching with irrefragable evidence, and was a manifest token of intimate communion with the Most Holy God.
In contemplating the character of such a theologian, let us inquire, first, in what schools, under what teachers, by what methods, he attains to a wisdom so sublime; secondly, in what manner he may best communicate to others what he has thus acquired; and finally, with what habits of mind and excellence of life he may adorn his doctrine. Or, more concisely, let us view the genuine Theologian, with reference to his learning, his teaching, and his life. For no one teaches well, who has not first learned aright. No one has learned aright, who has not learned for the purpose of teaching others. And both are useless, unless reduced to practice.
To begin then, at that which is fundamental; the man who merits the honourable title of a genuine Theologian, must have the basis of his learning in the lower school of Nature, and must gather from the structure of the universe, and the wonders of divine providence, from the monuments of ancient and modern history, the recesses of the several arts, and the beauties of various tongues, those things which, deposited in the sacred treasury of memory, may become the foundation of a nobler edifice, when he advances to a higher school. It is not without design that God has impressed upon his works the visible tokens of his attributes; that he has introduced man endowed with sagacity of mind into the august theatre of the universe. It is not without design that all things in the government of the world, and the changes of human affairs, are conducted with so harmonious a variety, and so wise a choice. It is not without design that he hath so ordered the works of nature, as to afford some type of the works of grace and glory, and as it were, the rudiments of a better world. It is his will, that we should learn, from an attentive observation of these things, what and how great he is; Eternal, Infinite, most Almighty, most Wise, at once the greatest and the best, most fully sufficient for his own plenary happiness, since he gives to all life and breath and all things; most worthy, in short, to be served and imitated, and to be Supreme in our love and our fruition. It is his will, that we should contemplate his majesty diffusing the beams of its effulgence in our inmost hearts, there giving laws, awarding swift vengeance to sin, and to good works the mildest approbation, and the sweetest tranquillity of soul. He has chosen, that in view of the transitory, evanescent and glass-like frailty of the things which have been falsely deemed eternal, we should aspire to that which is heavenly, and thus to himself the Lord of heaven, who remaining unmoved is the cause of all motion.
Nor should the Theologian limit himself to the works of God, but labour to discover all that the industry of men has effected for leading the soul in pursuit of truth, and for so perfecting language as to render it the suitable interpreter of the mind. He should most assiduously consult the masters in logic, grammar, and rhetoric; using these as Israel used the Gibeonites, who were hewers of wood and drawers of water for the sanctuary. The first of these will deliver to him precepts for definition, division, and arrangement; the other will instruct him in the art of uttering his sentiments, purely, tersely, elegantly, and persuasively both herein ministering to the ministers of the sanctuary. He should glean precepts of virtue from the sayings of philosophers and examples from the records of history; these will condemn the baseness of languor and inaction, though they may not avail to incite him towards more sublime objects. He should sedulously acquire various languages, especially those in which God has chosen to convey his sacred oracles, so as to understand them in their own proper idiom, and that God may not need an interpreter with him whose office it is to interpret the divine will to others. All that is sound and reasonable in human arts, all that is elegant and graceful in the array refined literature, emanates from the Father of lights, the unwasted fountain of all reason and truth and beauty; this should therefore be collected from every source, and instantly be consecrated to God. Are these things minute and earthly? Minute and earthly as they are, they are the glasses by which the most refined images of supernatural things may be more clearly discovered by our renovated eyes. These are the rudiments of the future Theologian; if they are superciliously contemned, he will hardly find the desired fruit when called to higher walks, or answer to his title and his office. Yet these are merely the rudiments.
The Theologian is not to spend his life in these things. Let him ascend from these lower instructions of Nature to the higher school of revelation; and sitting at the feet of God his Master, learn from His mouth those hidden mysteries of salvation, which eye hath not seen nor ear heard; which none of the princes of this world have known; which no reason, however disciplined, can reach; which angelic choirs, even in contemplation of the face of God, desire to look into. In the secret books of the Scriptures, and no where else, at the present time, the mysteries of the more sacred wisdom are unfolded. Whatever is not derived from these, whatever is not founded on them, whatever does not exactly agree with them, is vain and futile; even though presenting a show of more sublime knowledge, or corroborated by antiquity of tradition, consent of doctors, and cogency of argument. "To the law and to the testimony." Whoso speaks not in accordance with this judgment shall never greet the brilliant dawn. These celestial oracles, the Theologian should embrace; these he should ply with daily, and with nightly toil. In these he should be conversant, from these he should learn; with these he should compare every sentiment, nor embrace aught in religion which is not to be there found.
Let his belief be dependent on no man, no prophet, no apostle, nor even on angelic teaching, as though the dictates of man or angel were to be his standard. In God, and God alone, must his faith be reposed. For the faith in which we are instructed, and which we inculcate, is not human but divine; and is so jealous of mistake, as to account no basis sufficiently firm, except that only foundation the authority of the infallible and ever true God. There is, moreover, in the assiduous study of the Scriptures a certain indescribable fascination. It fills the intellect with the brightest ideas of heavenly truth, which it teaches purely, soundly, with certainty, and without mixture of error. Soothing the mind with ineffable sweetness, it allays the craving of the soul as with streams of honey and of oil; penetrates the intimate seclusions of the heart with insuperable efficacy, and so firmly engraves its instructions on the mind, that the believer as confidently acquiesces in them, as if he had heard them uttered in the third heaven by the voice of God himself. It influences the affections, and everywhere exhaling the fragrance of holiness, breathes it forth upon the pious student, even in cases where he does not realize all that he learns.
No one can tell how much we impede our own progress by a preposterous method of study, which is too prevalent, and according to which we first form our conceptions of divine things from human writings, and then, in confirmation of them, seek for passages of Scripture, or, without further examination seize upon those suggested by others, as referring to the question in hand: whereas we should deduce our ideas of divine truth immediately from the Bible itself, using the compositions of men simply as indices, allotting these passages to the several topics of theology, from which we may learn the doctrine of the Lord.
And here, I cannot forbear adducing the opinion of the subtle Twiss, with reference to John Piscator, and his method of study. After having stated what was remarkable in his doctrine and religious science, he proceeds thus: "I shall only add, that I look with high regard upon the Theologian, who, professing sacred letters alone, and using the ordinary discipline of grammar, rhetoric, and logic, (in which he is a proficient) as merely subsidiary, has attained to such a method of treating theology, not in a popular but scholastic way, as leaves him without a superior, and almost without an equal among the schoolmen. As if, in this speculative age, so ambitious to blend secular with sacred erudition, it had pleased the Father of mercies to afford us an example of what we might attain of accurate and scholastic learning, in things pertaining to life, by the simple study of the Scriptures, assiduous meditation, and exposition with the total neglect of all the schoolmen, summists, and masters of sentences" (Vind. Grat. 254. col. i. c.). So thought, and so spake this undaunted champion, concerning the method of study which we commend. His words are not cited with the view of banishing the commentaries of the learned from the hands of the Theologian, and thus leaving him to learn from the worst of all teachers himself, that is, from mere presumption, with the Scriptures misunderstood as a cloak for his errors. Great men of the Church, raised above the cares of life and devoted wholly to God, loving him, and beloved by him, have discerned many things in Scripture, which they have extracted, and presented in the clearest light. Amidst the darkness of life, these things might have remained forever hidden from us; and we might never have discovered them, by our unassisted powers, in the depths of their concealment. And although, we may discover much by our own study of the Scriptures, it is, nevertheless, delightful, and corroborative of our faith, to see, that the manifestation of the same truth, from the same source, has been previously granted to others by the same Lord, who has vouchsafed to shed light on our difficulties. We admire the modesty of Jerome, who professes that, with regard to the sacred volume, he never confided in his own single abilities, nor formed an opinion from his own simple endeavours; but, that he was accustomed to take counsel, even on those passages which he supposed himself to understand, but especially on those of which he was dubious. And Athanasius, in the beginning of his Oration against the Gentiles, applauds a Christian friend to whom he is writing, because, though himself competent to discover in the Scriptures those doctrines about which he consults Athanasius, he still listened with modesty to the opinions of others. This one idea I would reiterate, that the asseveration of no mortal, as to the sense of Scripture, is to be believed, unless he fixes conviction on the mind from the Scripture itself, so that while man is the index, we may become wise unto salvation, from the teaching of God himself. This is loudly proclaimed by the most eminent expositors. "I would not," says Cyril of Jerusalem, "that you should give credence to my simple declarations of these things, unless you obtain from the Scriptures a demonstration of what I preach:" adding a sentiment which deserves to be perpetuated: "For, the saving efficacy of our faith arises not from any eloquence of ours, but from the demonstration of the Holy Scriptures. With this the remark of Justin Martyr is coincident, "I assent not to men, even though multitudes concur in their declarations; since we are taught by Christ himself, to yield our faith, not to the doctrines of men, but to those which were preached by the prophets, and revealed by Himself." It is wisely observed by Athanasius, who has been already quoted, that even the apostle Paul did not make use merely of his own authority, but confirmed his doctrine by the Scripture. And if this was done by one who was permitted to hear ineffable words, who was the interpreter of mysteries, and who had Christ speaking in him, how perilous, in this day, to rely on any authority but that of the Holy Scriptures! The sum of what has been said is this, that the genuine Theologian is an humble student of the word of God.
The Scriptures, then, are the sole standard of what is to be believed; but in order to a spiritual and saving understanding of their contents, the Theologian must commit himself to the inward teaching of the Holy Ghost. The student of the Bible must be at the same time the disciple of the Spirit. No one who regards heavenly things with the perverted eye of nature can perceive their native splendour and beauty; he contemplates only a mistaken image; for they differ greatly in themselves from the impression made on the minds of such as view them so obliquely. In order to apprehend spiritual things, there must be a spiritual mind. The mysteries of Scripture elude the perspicacity of the most penetrating human intellect; and the natural mind perceives them no more than one sense can receive the objects of a different sense. The Holy Spirit, the great Instructor of the soul, coming in aid of this infirmity, communicates to his disciples a new and heavenly mind, on which he pours a most clear illumination, so that celestial mysteries may be seen in their true light. Together with divine things, he bestows a mind to appreciate and comprehend them. He grants the things of Christ together with the mind of Christ. Taught in this spiritual and heavenly school, the Theologian not only learns to form correct ideas of divine objects, but is made to participate in these very objects, a treasure truly above all price. The teaching Spirit does not present mere words, and naked dogmas, nor vain dreams and empty phantasms: but, if I may use the expression, the solid and permanent substances of things; introducing them to the soul which truly comprehends them, and embraces them with every affection and every power of the heart. The pupil of this school does not merely know, nor merely believe, but sometimes realises what is meant by remission of sin, adoption, communion with God, the gracious indwelling of the Spirit, the love of God shed abroad in the heart, the hidden manna, the sweet tokens of Christ's love, and the pledge and earnest of perfect bliss. There are in this mysterious wisdom many things which you can never learn but by having, feeling, tasting them. The new name is known only by him who possesses it. And the spiritual Teacher causes his disciples to taste and see the preciousness of the Lord. He leads them into his banqueting house, his banner over them is love; he saith, eat my friends, yea drink my beloved; and then crowned, not with heathen garlands, but with those of the Redeemer, they acquire a clear vision of celestial things.
The truths which are thus learned by experience, are so deeply fixed in the soul, that no subtlety of argumentation, no assault of the tempter, shall avail to remove the impression of the seal. To all objections there is a triumphant reply at hand; for it is vain to dispute against experience. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, will such be able to say, when we have believed the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but have been eye-witnesses of his majesty; and we cannot but believe those things which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have handled of the Word of life. Since, then, it is only in the school of the Spirit that these things are learned so clearly, so purely, so happily, is it not evidently necessary above all things, that the Theologian should consign himself to the guidance of this Instructor? To be here received, he must renounce his own wisdom, and in his own estimation, become a fool that he may be wise. The world of Theology is created, like the natural world, out of nothing. By actual love draw near to God, and love will be followed by the communication of his counsels. "If a man love me, my Father will love him, and we will make our abode with him" is the promise made by the faithful Jesus to his disciples. Lay up the instructions of the Spirit in a retentive mind, and recall them again and again to view by frequent meditation. Pursue this study, not by reading only, but by prayer; by communion not merely with men in ordinary discourse, but with God in supplication, and with the soul in devout thought. The soul of the saint is like a little sanctuary, in which God dwells by his Spirit, and where the Spirit, when sought unto by ardent prayer, often reveals those things which the princes of this world, with all their efforts, are unable to attain. In a word, give all diligence to keep the minors of the soul untarnished, and spiritually pure, that it may be fitted to receive that pure Spirit, and his spiritual communication. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. By these several steps, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, the Theologian will at length reach such knowledge, that, in the light of God, he shall contemplate God, the fountain of light, and in God and the knowledge of him, shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
From this celestial teaching of the Spirit, the Theologian will acquire the happy art of instruction, which we have already noted as the second requisite. There is a marked difference between the veteran commander, who has led armies, possessed cities, disclosed the stratagems of the foe, and made himself an adept in all the tactics of war who has often forced his way through opposing hosts, and by long use has learned
Res gerere et captos ostendere civibus hostes
and the loud and swaggering Thraso, who, with an unstained shield, wages a war of words, but has beheld battles only in description. Such is the difference between the disciplined Theologian, who, like Paul, has traversed the course of Christianity, and, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report, is as dying, yet alive, as unknown, and yet well known, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing all things: and the scholastic pedant, and index-learned rhapsodist, who, feeble in mind and heart, but mighty in memory and words, deems himself the very Alpha of Theologians.
It is not enough for the Christian teacher to proclaim truths with which he is familiar, unless he does this with pure love. If he regards with affection the divine Giver of all wisdom, and those committed to his charge, as sons or brethren, and also the truth consigned to him, he cannot but strive with all his powers to gain many for God; that there may be many who, with him, shall adore that sole wisdom, which he can never alone glorify to his own satisfaction.
The same love will prevent him from declaring any thing except what may be sure, sound, solid, promotive of faith and hope, tending to piety, unity, and peace; avoiding all prejudice, abstaining from unfairness and perversion, most sedulously omitting novelties of expression, and unmeaning verbiage; and holding himself aloof from the odious strife of words, and from curious, idle, or irregular controversies, which disturb the minds of the simple, rend the Church, fill it with suspicions and surmisings, within, and present a delightful spectacle to enemies, and to Satan himself without. O man of God, flee these things, nor ever catch at the disgraceful reputation which springs from novelty of inventions! Through divine grace, we possess, in our churches and seminaries, a precious deposit of heavenly truth, so clearly demonstrated by Scripture, so ably defended against every adversary, approving itself to the conscience by so rich an exuberance of consolation, and so great power of promoting holiness, and confirmed by the blood of so many martyrs, beloved of God, that it cannot be doubted, that we have all which is necessary to conduct believers to salvation, and to perfect the man of God for all good works. The mind is ungrateful, and unobservant of its own good, which complains of darkness in the very midst of such evangelical light; and which, in our reformed Churches, trembles, as if the path lay through mansions unvisited by the sun,
Et loca senta situ, noctem que profundam.
What, then, shall we say of that unseasonable prurience of innovation, by which truths long since delivered to us safely, plainly, and cautiously, are sometimes destroyed, sometimes deadened, and sometimes implicated in strange and unprecedented forms of expression? We might exclaim to the actors in this work, as did Chrysostom to the innovators of his time: "Let them hear what Paul saith, that they who innovate in the smallest degree, pervert the Gospel" Let it not however be supposed that we desire to stand in the way of improvement. Nothing can be more delightful to the believing soul, nothing more advantageous to the Church, than to make daily increase of scriptural knowledge, to form more clear ideas of spiritual things, to descry more distinctly the concatenation of salutary doctrines in one chain of admirable wisdom, and with evident and ingenious arguments to corroborate the ancient truth; to shed light upon obscurities, to search with fear and trembling into prophetic mysteries, to apply to the conscience the powerful demonstrations of Christ and the apostles, to compare the symbols of ancient ceremonies with Christ the anti-type, and in this cause to act as a scribe well instructed in the kingdom of heaven, bringing forth from his treasury things new and old. On this point let us concentrate all that we possess, of erudition and diligence. Let this be done, and no good man will object, the Church will rejoice, Satan will be disappointed, the efforts of the saints will be prospered by God, who has predicted that in the latter time many shall investigate and knowledge shall be increased. Yet away with these idle, curious, rash, and perverse speculations, flattering some with the mere charm of novelty, and attempted by others from party zeal, which result in no profit, but rather engender strifes, than "Godly edifying which is in faith."
In seeking this edification, the Theologian should hold the truth in its purity, without the interposition of trifles from human philosophy, which disfigure the oracles of God. The great things of God need not swelling words, but rest on their own strength, and transcend all understanding: these should not be reduced to the categorical arrangements of the logicians, nor should the attempt be made to invest the Master with the livery of the servant. The things of God are best explained in the words of God. And he errs, who supposes that he can expound the secrets of theology more accurately, clearly, and efficaciously or intelligibly, than in those terms and phrases, which the Apostles (after the prophets) made use of; terms dictated by him who gave the faculty of language, who formed the hearts of all, and who therefore best knows, in what manner the heart should be instructed and moved. He that speaketh, let him speak all the oracles of God, not all the idle and repulsive barbarity of the schoolmen, but as the Holy Ghost giveth utterance. Let the man of God believe me, that it is neither for his own honour, nor that of the wisdom which he professes, to vex these august mysteries with the obscure forms of dialectic skirmishing, to bring in the tedious comments, the grandiloquence, the ludicrous expressions, and the sonorous emptiness of the schools, as the very vitals of Theology, and to bind the queen of sciences with pedantic fetters of clanking technicalities.
Speak simply, if you would duly maintain the honour which has been mentioned; not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Aim, in all your instructions, not to fill the minds of your hearers with vain fancies, but to edify them in faith, to excite them in love, that they may shine in holiness, and rise to the likeness of God. O that henceforth that holy method of theologising, longed for by so many saints, might prevail in the reformed Seminaries, which should not sink into servile musing, nor evaporate in litigious strife, but shine with vivid lustre in the mind, light up living fire in the heart, and transfuse our Nazarites into the mould of heavenly truth! But with what feelings, and with what success, will that man labour, who has not first framed his own life in a manner conformable to God? And this brings us to the last thing mentioned as requisite to complete the Theologian, an unblemished purity of morals answerable to his profession. It is the Lord's will to be sanctified in all that draw nigh unto him, and that his priests should be clothed with righteousness. Unless they are examples to believers in every Christian virtue, and can say with Paul, "Those things which ye have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:" and "Be ye followers of me, even as I also follow Christ," they destroy more by a bad life, than they build up by sound doctrine; they disgrace religion, insinuate a scepticism as to what they preach, and open a wide door to libertinism and atheism. And indeed I might ask, how is it possible for one who knows the truth as it is in Jesus, not to be inflamed with the love of Christ not be made holy in the truth? Surely he in whose tabernacle God vouchsafes communion, must needs walk with him, as did Enoch and Noah. He whose soul has experienced and tasted heavenly things must have his conversation in heaven. He who daily contemplates the attributes of God, shining in the face of Jesus Christ, and is surrounded on every side by the light of grace, cannot but be transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. So that I hesitate not to asseverate, that he is no genuine Theologian, and has seen no ray of the divine mysteries in any suitable manner, whose knowledge of truth has not led him to escape the pollutions of the world and the dominion of sin. For thus saith the Lord: ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Intellectum intelligendo omnia fieri, is an ancient axiom of the philosophers. It was this which the Platonists chiefly sought in the contemplation of the divine ideas, by the sublime knowledge of which man becomes a god, so far as man can be made participant of the divine condition, as Hierocles elegantly remarks. But that which philosophy could not accomplish for her followers, exhibiting the divine perfections only by the unfavourable light of nature, Theology richly furnishes to hers, displaying to their contemplation the glories of God and of his Christ in the refulgence of grace, and thus making them partakers of a divine nature; as the inspired apostle Peter speaks. For God is holiness. By holiness, I intend the sum of all virtues, which it would be here inappropriate to discuss particularly. Desire of heaven; contempt of the world; unfeigned sobriety; modesty, diligent in its own affairs, and not prying into those of others; a temper as studious of peace as of truth; fervent zeal, attempered with bland lenity; long suffering under rebuke and injury; prudent caution, as well with regard to times as actions; rigid self-inspection, with forbearing mildness towards brethren; and whatever else pertains to this sacred constellation these, these not only adorn, but constitute the Theologian. I figure to myself a man, who while intent on heavenly meditations, simulates no gravity of visage or garb, but panting for high and eternal things, holds in contempt the splendour of the rich, and the earth with all its gold and silver. Contented with the grace of Christ the Saviour, and the fellowship of the indwelling Spirit, he looks from an eminence down on all the blandishments of earthly vanity, and craves no wealth, nor pleasure, nor fame. Fully intent upon the care of souls, and the guarding, protecting and extending of Christ's spiritual kingdom, and on beautifying what is already possessed, he owes nothing to the forum, the camp, or the court. He looks for no office, preoccupies no rostrum, courts no patronage, seeks favour of no authority, plays no oratorical part, but justly discriminating between the church, the college, and the court, limits himself to the pulpit or the chair. The higher his flight in the contemplation of heavenly things and the practice of piety, the less does he seek to obscure a brother's honour; measuring himself not with himself, but with those who are above him, and especially with the perfect law of God. In all that concerns the cause of God, the salvation of souls, the defence of the church, and the protection of divine truth, he is all on fire with zeal for God, and would rather endure a hundred deaths, than concede one iota to an adversary in that which is not his own, but the Lord's. Yet for himself he avenges no wrongs, meekly bears the maledictions which are hurled at his head, and in the warmest contest, lays no stress on his own imaginations, but yields every thing for peace and concord. Such an one, to use the expression of the ancients respecting Athanasius, is, to those who strike, an adamant; to those who differ, a magnet. With prudence in counsel, he attempts nothing rashly, accomplishes nothing turbulently; and with a humility not feigned nor outward, but with all the simplicity of candour, casts himself at the feet of all, exalts himself above none, and prefers each to himself. Show me such an one, and I will salute him as the genuine Theologian, with veneration, with embraces, acknowledging that he is the glory of Christ, and that the glory of Christ is in him.
 This article first appeared in an English translation in the Biblical Repertory and Theological Review, Princeton, N. J., 1832. Preliminary Remarks from the BPTR: This article which follows is a translation from the Latin of Witsius. The elevated thought and ardent piety of the whole, together with the manifest importance of the subject, and the known wisdom of the author, will suggest themselves to the reader as sufficient reasons for its insertion. As the original discourse is an Inaugural Oration, pronounced when Witsius assumed the theological chair at Franeker, there are local allusions which are entirely omitted. A few paragraphs have been passed over for the sake of brevity. The date of the discourse is April 16, 1675.
 There is a figure in the original that can scarcely be admitted into grave discourse in our language: Attamen minuta ista acus sunt, quibus aurea veritatum cζlestium fila introducamus, et animis nostris firmiter insuamus.
 William Twisse, a leading English theologian who lived a generation before Witsius.
 A German theologian who lived a few generations prior to Witsius.
 Catech. iv. Cap. de Sp. Sancto.
 Dial. cum Tryph. p.63. edit. Steph.
 Latin translation: Undertake a campaign to show that the citizens of the enemy are actually their captives (adapted from google translate please let us know if you can improve it!).
 A swaggering but foolish soldier.
 Latin translation: And in this place the night is deep (adapted from google translate please let us know if you can improve it!).
 Chrys. ad Galat. I. v. 9.
 Latin translation: Through growth in understanding we grow in understanding of all things (adapted from google translate please let us know if you can improve it!).
 A legendary stone of impenetrable hardness.