Vol. II of a New Translation of the Loci Communes (1576)

Paperback. 125 pp. $14.95

Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562) was a forgotten giant of the Protestant Reformation. Born in Florence, Italy, and rising quickly to leadership within the Augustinian Order in Italy, Vermigli discovered the gospel of justification and embarked on a reforming career that would take him to Naples, Lucca, Zurich, Strasbourg, Oxford, and finally back to Strasbourg and Zurich again, as he worked shoulder-to-shoulder with other leading Protestant Reformers Heinrich Bullinger, Martin Bucer, and Thomas Cranmer. He left behind him voluminous biblical commentaries and treatises, and a band of faithful disciples who collected his writings into the massive theological compendium, the Loci Communes.

Appearing now in English for the first time since 1583, "On Free Will and the Law" represents Part II, Ch. 2 and 3 of the Loci Communes of Peter Martyr Vermigli. Presented here in a clear, readable, and learned translation, we first have Vermigli's deft treatment of the thorny issue of free will. Demonstrating clearly his peerless erudition and subtle mind, Vermigli simultaneously upholds the the fallen will's enslavement to sin and freedom to act. Likewise, Vermigli's considerably more brief exposition of the catholic doctrine of the Law alongside his criticisms of Manichean and Pelagian errors is a helpful summary of Protestant teaching on this issue. With the Scriptures as his final authority, the Church Fathers as his guides, and philosophy as his handmaid, Vermigli produced Loci that withstand the rigors of time and remain a helpful guide to Protestants everywhere.

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Dr. Joseph A. Tipton (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) researches early modern literature, focusing primarily on the Reformers’ use of classical Greek and Latin literature to represent and advance their project of reform. Dr. Tipton has published on the German Neo-Latin poets Petrus, Lotichius, and Simon Stenius, and his current project is a translation of Samuel Rutherford’s Dictates on the Doctrine of Scripture. Dr. Tipton lives in Orlando, Florida, where he teaches Greek and Latin at The Geneva School.


Kirk Summers (Ph.D, University of Illinois) is the General Editor of the Vermigli Common Places Project, and served as translator for this first volume. Dr. Summers is Director of the Classics Program at the University of Alabama, and has done extensive research and translation in neo-Latin, with a particular focus on 16th-century Reformed works. He is the author of Morality After Calvin: Theodore Beza’s Christian Censor and Reformed Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2016).


The Vermigli Common Places Project is a multi-year initiative that aims to make available for the first time since 1583 the magnum opus of the great Reformed theologian Peter Martyr Vermigli. Vermigli’s Loci Communes or Common Places, originally published in Latin in 1576, offers a four-volume summation of key doctrines in Christian theology and disputed issues in the Protestant Reformation, and was for many decades considered one of the essential textbooks of Protestant theology, especially in England. Our project will proceed in short installments of one or two loci apiece, beginning with the crucial Vol. II of the Loci, with the eventual aim of combining these into a complete set of the Common Places in modern English.


“Vermigli was one of the most important theologians of the sixteenth century. His Loci Communes is a collated summary of his theology and I am delighted to see this part of it made accessible in a new translation to an English speaking readership."

—Dr. Robert Letham

Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology
Union School of Theology, UK

“Legend has it that Peter Martyr Vermigli descended out of the Italian Alps as the ‘ready-made Reformer,’ and his Common Places certainly confirm both his reputation and why so many esteemed his work. His Common Places were posthumously extracted from his biblical commentaries, which means that they are insightfully exegetical and theological. Students of the Reformation would do well to pick up this book and see for themselves the deep currents that run through his work. Students of Scripture will also greatly profit from one who knows the Bible so well.”

—Dr. J.V. Fesko

Harriet Barbour Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology
Reformed Theological Seminary
Jackson, Mississippi

“Peter Martyr Vermigli is undoubtedly one of the most significant Reformed theologians of the sixteenth century and his Common Places is the crown jewel of his collected works. The rendering of this work into contemporary English is a great service to the understanding of Reformation thought and will be enriching for scholars and pastors alike. Vermigli’s theological training and acumen are on full display here and the results are rightly esteemed as a masterwork of Reformed theology.”

—Dr. Jordan J. Ballor

The Acton Institute and Junius Institute
Author of "Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus"


Volume Introduction, Joseph A. Tipton ii
Second Chapter: On Free Will
1 Free Will 2
2 The States of the Will 4
3 Necessity and Coercion Distinguished 11
4 A Critique of Congruous and Condign Merit 16
5 The Case of Cornelius 21
6 Augustine’s Dynamic View of Grace & Its Bearing on the Cornelius Case 26
7 Chrysostom on the Case of Cornelius 32
8 Virtuous Deeds Outside of Christ Are Sins 35
9 The Value of Deeds Instrumental to Salvation 40
10 Characteristics of a Good Work 46
11 Concluding Remarks 55
12 The Freer Will of the Regenerate 57
13 Is the Inborn Propensity to Sin Sin? 61
14 Classes of Sin & What Constitutes Actual Sin 65
15 Implications of This Position 70
16 Freedom Of Will and God’s Foreknowledge 76
Third Chapter: On the Law 89
1 The Law Defined 90
2 The Manicheans’ Error 93
3 The Pelagians’ Error 96
Select Bibliography 106
Index 107


The Davenant Institute endeavors to restore wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build friendships and facilitate collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness.
Below are some of the works we've published towards that end.