Richard Baxter on Theology and Order
Methodus Theologiae Christianae [...] (London, 1681), pg. 3
Capitis primi Elucidationes
Elucidations of the first Chapter
1. Theologia est nomen aequivocum, et sumitur I. Objective; idque 1. Metonymice, et rarissime, pro rebus ipsis, Theologiae subjectis. 2. Frequentius, pro scientia objectiva, vel notionibus objectivis, id est, Doctrina Theologica objectiva, ut in verbis, scriptis, seu signis quibuscunque scientificis. II. Pro scientia Theologica subjectiva, seu activa; Et 1. Rarius, pro scientia ipsarum rerum intuitiva, vel immediata. 2. Frequentius, pro scientia abstractiva. 1. Ut in Ideis seu ipsis speciebus. 2. In verbis Mentis formata. 3. In verbis prolatis expressa.
1. Theology is an ambiguous word, and is understood either: I. Objectively; and that either: 1. Metonymically and very rarely, for things themselves, the subjects of theology. Or 2. Frequently, for objective knowledge, or objective notions, that is, objective theological doctrine, as in words, writings, or in whatever scientific signs. II. For subjective or active theological knowledge; and 1. Rarely, for intuitive or immediate knowledge of the things themselves. 2. Frequently, for abstract knowledge. 1. As in ideas or in forms themselves. 2. In the formed words of the mind. 3. In the clearly defined words advanced.
2. Quod ad ordinem, Theologia est primo Eminenter, et Causaliter in Mente Divina. 2. In rebus ipsis objectivis, significatis. 3. In rerum signis scientificis ut a Deo, in creaturis, scriptis; visione, voce, naturaliter aut supernaturaliter nobis traditis. 4. Ut in Mente primorum discentium. 5. Ut in doctrina horum Docentium. 6. Ut in Mente eorum discipulorum, (& in praxi.)
With respect to order, theology is first eminently and causally in the Divine mind. 2. signified in the objective things themselves. 3. In the scientific signs of things as from God, in creatures, writings; naturally and supernaturally delivered to us in a voice or vision. 4. As in the minds of the first hearers. 5. As in the teaching of these teachers. 6. As in the mind of their disciples, (and in practice).
3. Verba (et mentis et oris) et notiones organicae Rebus sunt aptandae: Et Deus Maximus, Sapientissimus, Optimus, rerum prima Causa, est ORDINIS itidem et Methodi prima Causa; Confusionis autem author non est, 1 Cor. 14.33. Jac. 3. 15,16. Et Methodum Divinam perfectissimam, et pulcherrimam scire, sapientis est, et vere Theologi.
3. Words (both of the mind and of speech) and instrumental notions should be applied to things: And the greatest, wisest, and most good God is the first cause of things in the same way as he is the first cause of ORDER and method. But he is not the author of confusion, 1. Cor. 14:33. Ja. 3:15,16. And to know the most perfect and most beautiful divine method is the office of a wise and true theologian.
4. Quamvis res eodem Ordine in Mente Discentis quo et Docentis collocandae sunt, et ad hoc Docentis verba sunt aptanda; quia tamen ad modum recipientis recipiuntur, a proximis et notissimis plerumque incipiendum est, juxta Ordinem Evidentiae, non autem juxta Ordinem aut Essendi aut Causandi.
4. Although things ought to be ordered by the same order in the mind of a learner and teacher, and the words of the teacher adapted to this order; yet because the words are received according to the mode of the recipient, one should generally begin from the most proximate and well-known things, according to the order of evidence, and not according to the order of either being or cause.
 Cf. Augustine's definition; see Junius, True Theology, 92.