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BR 45 .H36 v.2A 

Dickson, David, 15837-1663. 

The sum of saving knowledge 

















TOttJ KntrotJuction antr Notes, 

/ BY 




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'-: JUL \ ,c',5 -^ 





I. Our Condition by Nature — 

§1. Preliminary. The Mystery of the Godhead, 
§ 2. Doctrine of Creation and Covenant of Works, 
§ 3. The Beginnings of Human Sin, 

II. The Remedy Provided in Jesus Christ— 

§ I. The Counsels of Eternity, . . . , 

§ 2. Covenant of Redemption — Election and Incarna- 
tion, ...... 

§ 3. Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, 

III. Means toward Partaking of the Covenant— 

§1. The Means of Grace, . . . . 

§ 2. Substantial Agreement of Old and New Dis- 
pensations, . . . . . 

IV. Blessings conveyed to the Elect by those 

Means — 
§ I. Spirit's Work on the Persons of the Elect, 
§ 2, Spirit's Work in changing the State of the Elect, . 







The authorship of this short treatise on Christian doctrine, 
which is made the basis of the following notes, is ascribed to the 
celebrated Scottish divine, Mr. David Dickson. This able theo- 
logian and valiant defender of the faith was born in Glasgow in 
1583. After passing through the regular course of study in 
Glasgow University, he was licensed, and in 161 8 ordained as 
minister at Irvine. Sentenced four years later, because of his 
opposition to Episcopacy, and especially his bold denunciation of 
the erastianism of the attempt to impose any form of Church 
government against the will of the people, to deprivation of his 
ministerial charge and to exile to Turriff, in Aberdeenshire, he 
continued his useful labours, aided by the testimony of a good 
conscience. Returning in 1623, he resumed his labours in Irvine, 
and much blessing attended his ministry there. In 1641 he was 
appointed Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow, and 
about 1650 he was transferred to occupy a similar chair in Edin- 
burgh. He continued to hold the Professorship of Divinity until 
his death in 1662. Thus for twenty-one years he was actively 
engaged in the systematic study of theology. He was a ripe 
theologian and a cultured scholar, according to the learning of 
his day. At the time when the Westminster Assembly met, in 
1643, Dickson, along with David Calderwood and Alexander 
Henderson, drew up by command of the General Assembly that 
Directory of Public Worship which is bound up with the West- 
minster Confession and Catechisms among the Subordinate 



Standards of the Church of Scotland. In this volume we also 
find the Sum of Saving Knowledge. In the Act and Declaration 
anent the publication of the Subordinate Standards of the Church 
of Scotland in 1851, in the enumeration of documents, this one is 
described as ' a practical application of the doctrine of the Confes- 
sion,' as * a valuable treatise which, though without any express 
Act of Assembly, has for ages had its place among them.' It is 
understood that Dickson and Durham consulted together in 
drawing up this summary. For those who may be somewhat 
doubtful as to the effect of strictly doctrinal summaries on the 
spiritual condition of our youth, it may be interesting to learn 
that M'Cheyne attributes his first clear perception of the way of 
salvation to the reading of this treatise. His diary of March 11, 
1 834, has this entry : ' Read in the Sum of Saving Knowledge, 
the work which I think first of all wrought a saving change in me.' 
[See Scots Worthies on David Dickson, edited by Mr. Carslaw ; 
and editor's note on p. 294.] 

The type of doctrine here presented is precisely the same as 
that set forth in the Westminster Confession. The editor has in 
his notes entered into detailed exposition of the earlier sections, 
where historical references are helpful ; while in the later sections, 
which did not seem to call for such treatment, he has confined 
himself to short, and purely explanatory notes. 



§ r. The almighty and eternal God,, the Father,, the Son, and 
the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons in one and the same 
tmdivided Godhead, equally infinite in all perfections, did, 
before time, most wisely decree, for his own glory, whatsoever 
C07neth to pass in time; and doth most holily and infallibly 
execute all his decrees, without being partaker of the sin of 
any creature. 

Preliminary. — The subject brought before us in this first 
section is the doctrine of God, the mystery of the Godhead. 
Before proceeding to explain the doctrines expressly stated, it 
is necessary that we should glance at certain truths that are 
presupposed in the above statement. It is evidently assumed 
that God is, and that God is knowable. 

Behef in God is the first indispensable condition of all religion. 
This must appear if we consider what religion is. To be religious 
is to be under a powerful sense of obligation, to be conscious and 
to make acknowledgment of certain relations which we bear to a 
higher Being. In worship we approach this Being with whom we 
have to do. This Being, other than ourselves and higher than 
ourselves, we call God. He who cometh unto God must believe 
that He is. No rehgious act, no act of worship is possible until 


we have the conviction that there is One really existing to whom 
such acts are due from us, and who is able and willing to receive 
homage at our hands. In Christian countries, where the light of 
revelation has been shed abroad, almost all, even those who are 
but little under the influence of religious principle, make profes- 
sion of belief in the existence of God. There cannot be even the 
form of religion, either in an individual life or in the life of a 
community, without the assumption that God is. 

To say explicitly, There is no God, is pronounced to be folly 
not only by Scripture, but also by sceptical and critical philosophy. 
It is an assertion, and not a simple expression of ignorance or 
doubt. A declaration so positively made is dogmatic Atheism. 
To say, There is, or there may be, a God, but He is unknowable, 
is also to make a thoroughly dog^natic statement. The Agnostic 
may say that after careful search he has failed to discover God, 
and that so God remains to him unknown : he makes a very 
sweeping and reckless generalization, when he lays down the 
dogma that God is unknowable. Before we can affirm that God 
is unknowable, — not merely unknown, but such as cannot be 
known,— we must already have a knowledge not only that God 
is, but also a knowledge in some measure of what He is. Those 
who hold this doctrine as a theological belief (such as Dean 
Mansel) not only say, God is, but also, God is the Absolute or 
Infinite. This is a definition of God, but it is not the Christian 
idea of God. We say not that He is the Infinite in the abstract, 
but that He is infinite in all perfections. The Infinite in the 
abstract we cannot know ; it — we do not say He — is unknowable. 
To identify God with this unknowable Infinite is irreligious. The 
only religious conception of God is that which regards Him as the 
infinitely Good, to whom our goodness does not reach, but out of 
whom our goodness springs. While thus we cannot comprehejid 
His perfections, we apprehendhoih. His being and His nature. If 
we seek Him, we shall find Him to be not far from any one 
of us. 

The doctrine of the existence of God lies at the root of all 


religion, — not only of revealed, but also of natural religion. Certain 
proofs of reason apart from revelation have been wrought out 
with great ingenuity in various forms. There are five principal 
methods of proving the divine existence, — the Cosmological, the 
Teleological, the Ontological, the Moral, and the Historical. 
(a) The Cosmological argument starts from the contingency of 
the world. Nothing that we see is self-existent or independent. 
If there be nothing higher, no infinite as opposed to the finite 
existences around us, then we can only think of an endless 
succession of these things. The idea of the Infinite is absolutely 
necessary to supply a beginning, ip) The Teleological argument 
starts from adaptations observed among finite existences and in 
their several parts. The fact of nice adjustment of parts in natural 
objects and of fitness in particular agents for the accomplishment 
of certain results, the evidence in the objects around us of 
adaptation between means and end, demands the assumption of 
a supreme Contriver as the author of this prearranged plan. This 
argument from design receives illustrations from all departments 
of science, and from investigations in the history of nature and 
man. The best and most apt illustration is that afi"orded by the 
growth of the vegetable and animal organisms, which from the 
first have in themselves the principle of all that is afterward 
evolved, {c) The Ontological argument starts from the presence 
in our minds of an idea of God. Anselm (1033-1109) argues that 
God's existence follows from the very idea we have of Him. We 
think of Him as the greatest possible Being, and as such He must 
exist in the sphere of reality as well as in that of thought. Accord- 
ing to Descartes, we have an idea of infinite perfection which 
must have its origin in an infinitely perfect One really existing. 
{d) The Moral argument starts from the facts of the moral law 
and moral life, and holds that these necessarily imply the exist- 
ence of a supremely holy, just, and true Lawgiver. This argument 
proceeds on lines similar to the ontological ; as the idea of infinite 
perfection in man, who lives in a finite and imperfect world; 
implies the existence of One in whom such an idea is realized, so 


the presence of moral ideas and a moral law in a society where 
such ideals are never reached, necessitates the assumption that 
a Being exists in whom the ideal moral standard is attained. 
{e) The Historical argument starts from the fact of the universal 
spread of religious belief. There is no well-authenticated instance 
of any utterly atheistic tribe. Various travellers have reported that 
among certain races no appearance of religion and worship was to 
be found : but in all such cases we discover on investigation either 
that the traveller had no opportunity or time fora satisfactory inquiry, 
or that low forms of religion were disregarded and a higher mani- 
festation of religious sentiment looked for than could reasonably be 
expected. — Not one of these five proofs, viewed by itself, can be 
regarded as satisfactory or convincing. Their force is cumulative. 
The inability to rest in mere finitude, evidence of design which 
no theory but that of an all-wise Contriver can account for, the 
actual presence of an idea in man's mind of an infinite cause for 
finite things, the existence of a moral standard above any empirical 
attainment in this world, and finally the apparently universal 
belief among the races of mankind in a superhuman Being, — 
these together constitute a proof as strong as the nature of the 
subject will admit. These are precisely the kind of proofs to 
which Scripture makes appeal in addressing the reason and 
natural conscience of men. The creation, — the world of finite 
things from which the Cosmological argument starts, — shows forth 
the glory of God (Ps. xix. xxix. civ.) ; and especially man, 
insignificant in himself, yet great in his destiny (Ps. viii. 5, 6), — 
an argument along the lines of the Teleological proof,— witnesses 
to the existence of an all-wise God. According to the teaching 
of the New Testament, there can be no true conception of nature 
and of human life apart from the assumption of the divine exist- 
ence. Thus nature teaches the being of God : Rom. i. 19, 20 ; 
Acts xiv. 17. Then the Moral proof is recognised in the assertion 
that man as a natural being has the law of God written in his 
heart : Rom. ii. 14. Scripture, however, regards the witness of 
the divine Spirit in the spirit of the child of God as the principal 


and most satisfactory proof of the divine existence : Rom. viii. 16 ; 
Gal. iv. 6 ; Eph. i. 14. 

Starting, then, with these assumptions that God is, and that 
God can be known, the first section of this Summary treats of the 
Mystery of the Godhead. We have first of all. The Mystery of 
God's Being — three Persons, but One undivided Deity. We 
have secondly. The Mystery of God^s Wilt, — decreeing and 
determining in eternity all that takes place in time. And we 
have thirdly, The Mystery of God's Holiness, — carrying out His 
decrees, yet not partaking in the sin of any creature. 

I. The Mystery of God's Being. — The al?7iighty and eternal 
God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three distinct 
persons in o?ie and the same undivided Godhead, equally infijiite 
in all His perfections, (a) The God in whom the Christian 
believes is described first of all as a Person. In much of our 
popular literature there is a tendency to indulge in a dreamy 
vague style of talk regarding the divine in nature and in man. 
There is a sense in which such statements are strictly true. 
Nature is divine, — earth and sea and sky — because the hand that 
made them is divine. And if we study the wonders and beauties 
by which we are surrounded in the world in a reverent spirit, 
recognising in them the wonderful works of God the Creator, 
nothing will be more helpful to us in illustrating the truths 
concerning God told us in His holy word. The Bible is full of 
references to the displays of God's glory in the works which He 
has made. But this is the very opposite of that which those do 
who, while they study nature, never seek to rise to nature's God. 
Those who either deny or ignore the existence of a spiritual or 
super-sensuous world are called Materialists. But there are 
others who speak of God and spirit, finding these, however, only 
in nature. Nature is their God. Those who think and write in 
this way are called Pantheists, which means that they profess to 
find God in everything, and that they do not believe that God has 
any separate existence in and by himself. They do not believe 


that God was before all things, and that by Him all things were 
made. But this is what every Christian does believe. In modern 
scientific theology the distinction referred to is indicated by the 
use of the terms immanence and transcendence. The Pantheist 
thinks of God as immanent, present in nature and only thus 
existent. Others again, among whom may be reckoned many of 
the English deists of last century, think of God as transcendent, 
outside of and not present in His creation. The Christian view 
recognises at once the immanence and the transcendence of God. 
God is in every place and in every thing, but before there was any 
place or any thing, from everlasting to everlasting He is God. The 
Creator is distinct from His creation. He is a Person^ not a mere 
force, or influence, or power. 

{b) This divine Person is equally infinite in all perfectio7is. 
Described in the Bible as a person, God is necessarily represented 
as thinking, feeling, and willing. But we must not suppose that, 
in the exercise of these personal attributes, He is like one of 
ourselves. In Him all these personal properties are present in just 
proportion and in relation to one another, — nothing in excess 
and nothing in defect. What we distinguish in the characters of 
men as quahties of the head and qualities of the heart are in them 
disproportionately developed, but in God they are perfectly 
balanced. He is equally infinite in all perfections, for one does 
not encroach upon and so render imperfect any of the others. 
Here arise many popular misconceptions of God. Some regard 
Him from the intellectual point of view only. They picture Him 
as Righteousness, the God of Judgment, cold and unattractive, 
because the qualities of the heart are left out. Righteousness, — 
or what they conceive to be righteousness, which is something 
very different from the Bible idea of righteousness, — is magnified 
at the expense of Grace. Others view God under the emotional 
aspect only. They picture Him as Goodness, as the God of Grace 
in whom is no severity, but the representation is one of weakness, 
where the qualities of the head are left out. If God's goodness is 
described in terms which lead to the notion of such weak fondness 


as allows Him to disregard His own holy law and never mind 
though it be broken, there is evidently given an encouragement 
and licence to sin. The Christian doctrine of the divine attributes 
is not open to the charge either of Stoical or of Epicurean excess. 
The Christian's God is a Just God and a Saviour : His perfections 
are equally infinite. 

{c) There can be but one such God : the almighty and eternal 
God. The gods of heathenism were not regarded as equally 
infinite in all perfections ; rather each leading perfection was 
personified in the life and character of one particular deity. 
Hence arises the Polytheism of heathen religions. The ancient 
Eranians in Media and Persia, springing from an old Indian 
stock, made a new departure in religion. Starting evidently from 
a primitive Monotheistic tradition, of which faint traces remain 
in the oldest Vedic literature, they stumbled over the seeming 
contradiction of blessing and cursing, good and evil coming from 
the one Supreme Being, and so their Magi devised a Dualistic 
religion, recognising two supreme and eternal divine principles, 
which manifested themselves in the form of good and evil spirits. 
Zoroaster's own doctrine admitted only one supreme creator 
from whom both good and evil proceeded. The popular Parsee 
doctrine is dualistic, naming the good spirit Ormazd and the evil 
spirit Ahriman. Among historical religions the first that is 
consistently in principle and development Monotheistic is the 
religion of Israel. The unity of God was the central doctrine of 
the Old Testament (Deut. vi. 4). This truth, as there set forth, 
springs directly from the doctrine of the absolute perfection of 
God. Jehovah is thus contrasted with the gods many and lords 
many of heathenism. Their power and jurisdiction were limited : — 
Gods of the hills, of the valleys, of the sea, of the winds. They 
were distinguished as male and female, partly to express the 
inability of their worshippers to combine perfectly in one being 
the ideas of power and grace, firmness and tenderness. Now if 
this heathen notion had been true, the worshipper would be in 
constant danger. Seeking protection from one deity, he might 



arouse the enmity of another. Or through ignorance, he might ' 
go to one for that which another alone could give. It is for us ' 
a glorious and blessed doctrine that there is but one God, in 
whom all grace and power are centred. If there had been many- 
there would have been uncertainty : because there is but one, j 
there is confidence. What He is once He is for ever. He changes i 
not, therefore the children of men are not consumed. 

(d) This one God exists and reveals Himself under three 
personal forms. Tke almighty and eternal God^ the Father, 
the Sojt, and the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons in one and \ 
the sa?ne undivided Godhead. This mysterious doctrine is clearly i 
a revelation of Scripture. As one might expect, there is no i 
special passage in which it is expressly announced. It is not | 
according to God's manner of revealing truth to state the full : 
doctrine in the form of a proposition. The Bible gives us in \ 
history, and prophecy, and the record of human experience, the j 
materials out of which exact doctrinal propositions may be con- | 
structed. No other doctrine of God than the Trinitarian fits in I 
with the various representations of God throughout the Scriptures. ■ 
Not resting on any one text, but taking one with another, the ; 
following may be mentioned as affording Scripture proof for the | 
doctrine of the Trinity :— Matt. iii. 13-17 ; Matt, xxviii. 19 ; 2 Cor. i 
xiii. 14 (cf. Num. vi. 24-26) ; John xiv. 11-20 ; John xv. 26. This, 
then, is a doctrine of faith. We cannot say that it is contrary to ' 
reason, for it is certainly above reason. It comes to us and can ' 
only come from immediate revelation. ' 

There are two ways in which we may view and state this i 
doctrine of three persons in the one Godhead, the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost. We speak of the essential and of the i 
oeco7t077iic Trinity. By the essential Trinity we mean the doctrine j 
that before creation and apart from redemption, there are still \ 
three divine persons. There was no time when either the Son or I 
the Spirit was not. To each person the name is equally due— ■ 
the almighty and eternal God. The Arians thought that the ; 
Son was created before the world, the first-begotten Son of God, j 


the Creator of the world, but not eternal. The Council of Niccea 
(a.d. 325) condemned this heresy, and declared it to be the true 
doctrine that the Son is of the substance of the Father, very God 
of very God, begotten, not made. By the oeconomic Trinity we 
mean the doctrine that each person of the Godhead is specially 
prominent in different parts or economies of the work of man's 
redemption. The Father plans and sends, the Son comes and 
suffers and leaves us an example, the Spirit descends and applies 
Christ's work and sanctifies. These two ways of stating the 
doctrine of the Trinity are true together, not apart from one 
another. It is the heresy of Sabellianism that it confounds the 
persons with the essence, and that, in the endeavour to avoid 
Tritheis7n (a doctrine of three Gods), it falls into the error of 
denying the separate and distinct personality of Father, Son, and 
Spirit. Sabellians in ancient and modern times have always 
professed to be Trinitarians. It is, however, the doctrine of the 
oeconomic Trinity which they hold, while they deny that of the 
essential Trinity. They represent the One divine person as 
appearing in certain operations of Creation, Redemption, and 
Grace, as Father, Son, and Spirit. Our doctrine maintains unity 
of essence and trinity of persons in the Godhead. 

II. The Mystery of God's Will. — The almighty and eternal 
God . . . did^ before tiine^ most wisely decree, for his owjt glory , 
whatsoever cometh to pass in time. This is the doctrine of the 
decrees of God. To say that before all time God wisely decreed 
is only another way of saying that the eternal God had a plan 
for His work. Every thought and purpose of the eternal God 
must be eternal, must be before time. The thing which is thought 
of and purposed does not exist in eternity. It has yet to come 
into existence in time. But that it is to exist, and the manner of 
its existence, have been determined before time by God. When 
this doctrine, as the doctrine of the divine sovereignty, is applied 
to the lives and doings of rational and responsible creatures such 
as man, there is another truth of God's word, the doctrine of 



man's freedom, that must also be kept in remembrance. God 
decrees in eternity not only that man is to be, but also that he is 
to be free to choose. His eternal decree regarding the individual 
likewise takes into account that individual's hberty of will. The 
following sentence from Martensen's Dogmatics (p. 169) should 
be carefully studied : ' It is not only a decree determined from 
eternity, but it is also determinable by the freedom of the creature; 
it is not a perfected decree, concluded already for all time, but 
one continually coming into existence, and being realized.' For 
the Scripture statement of the doctrine see Eph. i. 1 1 ; Acts 
iv. 23. This latter passage illustrates the harmony of man's 
free responsible action and God's absolute sovereignty in His 
eternal decree. 

The ratige of this decree is necessarily universal. Both the 
attributes of God referred to — almighty and eternal — involve the 
application of His decree to everything that comes to pass. On 
the part of men many things happen unexpectedly. It can never 
be so with God. Nothing can happen without His knowledge and 
will, and as His attributes of knowledge and will are eternal, and 
His decree gives expression to these, this decree cannot relate to 
some things only, but to all things. His decree is before time, 
for it embraces the resolve to make a beginning of time. There 
is no time but only eternity until there are created finite things 
by which time can be measured. God's creating marks a 
beginning. Now the eternal decree of God, made before this 
beginning, embraces everything that comes to pass from that 
beginning up to the very end. 

This decree again has a 7noral character : it is most wise. The 
wisdom that characterizes this decree cannot be fully understood 
or appreciated by one whose standpoint is time and not eternity. 
It is as an eternal decree that it is most wise. It is often 
misunderstood by creatures who, having finite minds, and being 
able to view only little portions of time, cannot see how it stands 
in relation to eternity. Part of the divine counsels is published 
and known. All this is seen to be most wise, and in regard to 



the imrevealed and as yet unknown part of the divine counsels, 
we must consider that as the decree of the ever wise God it is 
in thorough harmony with all that is revealed. So Paul celebrates 
the wisdom and knowledge of those judgments and ways that are 
unsearchable and past finding out (Rom. xi. 33). 

The end or ai7n of the divine decree is God^s own glory. For 
any creature to resolve and plan simply for his own glory would 
be immoral. Self-love, self-seeking, self-aggrandizement, where 
self is finite, implies a disregard of other finite beings. To 
every creature, to every finite being, the admonition of the 
Apostle applies : ' He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.' 
Again, we must be careful in forming our conception of God, 
before assigning to Him this attribute. The Pantheist says that 
God aims at and realizes His own glory, but this is reached by 
crushing or ignoring the individual life and wellbeing. The 
Jesuits sought sanction for their inhuman and immoral procedure, 
by assigning as the end of all ' the greater glory of God ; ' but 
their God was not the God of righteousness and love. The God 
who can make His own glory the end and purpose of all His 
designs and doings, and can claim at the same time the 
approbation of His intelligent creatures, must be infinite in all 
perfections and most wise. In human systems of theology and 
of religious philosophy there has been a tendency to run to one or 
other extreme. Systems which lay special stress on the divine 
sovereignty have too often overlooked the love and tenderness of 
the divine character : the error to which such views tend is 
Fatalism. Systems, on the other hand, which lay special stress 
upon man's happiness and wellbeing, urging false views of 
human liberty, overlook the claims of the divine righteous- 
ness and sovereignty : the error to which such views tend is 
Antinomian lice7ice. God has Himself shown what His own 
glory is. Christ is the brightness of the Father's glory (Heb. i. 3) ; 
Christ's glory is full of grace and truth (John i. 14) ; those who 
trust in Christ contribute to the praise of God's glory (Eph. i. 12), 
because they are brought together into one in Christ (Eph. i. 10), 


Thus it appears that Christ is the manifestation of God's glory, 
and all who are in Him contribute to God's glory ; and hence 
when God sets His own glory as the end of all His designs and 
works, the realization of this glory, which is full of grace, 
embraces as its most characteristic feature the salvation and 
wellbeing of mankind. 

ni. The Mystery of God's Holiness. — The almighty and eternal 
God . . . doth most holily and infallibly exectite all his decrees, 
without being partaker of the sin of any creature. It is of 
the Almighty God that we are speaking. Hence what He 
wills He can accomplish ; what He is pleased to decree He can 
execute. But further, as the Eternal God He is unchangeable, 
and consequently, He will infallibly execute what He decrees. 
When anything is made a subject of the divine decree, its 
execution is ensured. If this were not so, God would not be 
unchangeable. Now God is unchangeable, because He is 
Almighty and All-wise. There is no need of change, because, 
on the one hand, there is no want of power to carry out, and on 
the other hand, there is no call for correcting and improving, 
what was purposed. The All-wise and Almighty God changes 
not, and so what He decrees is infallibly executed. 

But further, when rightly understood, perfect wisdom implies 
Holiness. In God's language regarding man, folly and sin, 
wisdom and holiness, are identified. God's decree, as the result 
of perfect wisdom, does not need to be repented of. It is 
executed holily. There is no contradiction between that which is 
executed in accordance with the divine decree and God's own 
holy nature. 

But just here one of the most puzzling questions in theology 
makes its appearance, to crop up again and again under almost 
every subsequent division. How may we describe the origin of 
evil so as to avoid representing it as something for which God is 
responsible ? When it is said that God is not partaker in the sin 
of any creature, we start with the assumption that any theory 


that requires or allows the notion that God is the author of sin, 
is thereby shown to be false. Sometimes theologians have 
expressed themselves incautiously so as to give some excuse to 
their adversaries for the reproach that they make God the author 
of sin. Several of the old Church Fathers, notably Augustine, 
carried away by their desire to glorify the cross of Christ and 
to praise the riches of divine grace shown in redemption, used 
extravagant language, and spoke of sin as a happy fault inasmuch 
as it was the occasion of so glorious a salvation. Closely 
allied to this — though the connection, perhaps, was not generally 
perceived — is the theory called Supralapsarianism^ according to 
which man's fall into sin for the manifestatiott [of God^s grace 
and glory i?t redemption^ formed part of the divine decree. 
Bellarmine (1542-1621) was extremely anxious to fasten upon 
Luther (1483-1546), Calvin (i 509-1 564), and the Protestant 
divines generally, the charge of making God the author of sin. 
Now it was evidently not the intention of Supralapsarians to teach 
any such doctrine. They abhorred and repudiated it. Still it 
seems as if their theory when logically carried out involved this 
dreadful result, and this forms the best refutation of their theory. 
The leading divines of the Reformation, certainly those of the 
sixteenth century, held no such doctrine, nor do orthodox 
theologians of the present day. There is a distinction that ought 
to be carefully made between \hQ foreknowledge and the decree of 
God. The divine foreknowledge is much wider, more com- 
prehensive than the divine decree. When we say that anything 
has been decreed by God, we mean that He has actually willed it. 
All that He wills He must have foreknown ; but it does not follow 
that He wills all that He foreknows. But, it may be asked, does 
not such a statement imply that something happens or may 
happen against God's will ? What He foreknows as something 
that is to take place, although He does not will it, cannot will it, 
seems a contradiction to His Almightiness and Eternity. When 
put in this way, it seems as if God were not supreme. Can we 
say without profanity ; Something happens against God's will ? 


To answer this we must consider what God did in executing His 
decree. He created the world, and He created angels and men. 
We have to speak in detail of creation further on. Here we note 
the fact that God decreed to call into being creatures endowed 
with reason and will — intelligent and moral creatures. What 
then the divine decree is responsible for, is the calling of such 
creatures into being. God has decreed that creatures should 
exist possessed of the power of saying whether they will do any 
particular thing or not. It was God's decree to people His world 
with beings who should be capable, not merely of mechanical, 
but of moral, action. Obedience in a creature who could do 
nothing else than obey, would be nothing better than the 
indication of time by a correctly made and well regulated watch. 
God executed His decree, and made moral and responsible 
creatures, — man endowed with free will, the power of choosing 
for himself. With this arose the possibility of disobedience, that 
is, sin. The possibility of sin, then, was a result of the divine 
decree, according to which man — a moral agent — was created ; the 
committing of sin on the part of the creature, though necessarily 
foreknown by God, had no place in His decree. Any attempt to 
illustrate a profound truth like this is dangerous, and cannot, 
from the very nature of the case, be perfectly applicable. Upon 
the whole, however, the matter is well put by Archbishop Ussher. 
' God,' He says, ^ is the author of every action, as it is a mere 
action, but the devil and our concupiscence are the authors of 
the evil in it ; as he that rideth upon a lame horse causeth him 
to stir, but is not the cause of his halting.' This only, says the 
preacher, have I found, that God hath made man upright ; but 
they have sought out many inventions. 


§ II. This God^ in six days, made all things of nothing, very 
good in their own kind : in special, he made all the angels 
holy J and he made our first paretits, Adam a?td Eve, the 
root of manki7td, both upright and able to keep the law 
writte7t in their heart. Which law they were 7iaturally 
bou7id to obey imder pain of death j but God was not bound 
to I'eward their service, till he entered into a covenant or 
contract with them, and their posterity in them, to give them 
eternal life, upon condition of perfect personal obediences 
withal threatening death in case they should fail. This is 
the covenant of works. 

In this section we have the doctrine of creation set forth, — the 
creation of the world, of angels, and of man, — and then the story 
of the covenant made with man immediately upon his creation. 

I. The Creation of the World. — ' This God, in six days, 7nade all 
things of nothing, very good in their own kind? 

In regard to the universe of the world and man, this short state- 
ment supplies us with four particulars, (i) The Creator — this 
God : (2) the period of the creative operations — six days • (3) the 
absoluteness of the beginning in creation — all made of nothing : 
and (4) the quality of the creation in all its parts — all very good. 

(i.) The Creator. — This God made all things. The author of 
creation is here indicated with admirable precision : this God. 
The reference clearly is to the preceding section, which speaks 
of the Almighty and Eternal God, the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost. The three-one God is creator of the universe. 
Scripture enables us to assign special parts to each of the three 
divine persons in the work of creation. John and Paul speak of 
the world as made by Christ (John i. 3, 10 ; Col. i. 16). So, too, 
.the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (ch. i. 2) speaks of Christ 
as the Son by whom God made the worlds. These passages do 
not entitle us to speak of the Second Person of the Godhead as 


the creator. It should be observed that in all these passages, the 
object which the writers have in view is to prove the dignity of 
Christ the Son. God assigns Him a place which none could fill 
who was not equal to God. The work of creation was a work of 
the Godhead : Christ is God, and, as a divine person, had a direct 
efficiency in the work of creation. When, however, creation is 
referred to apart from the argument for the divinity of Christ, it 
is directly spoken of as the work of the Father, as in some sense 
the first in order of the divine persons. 

The statement before us may be regarded as a declaration that 
the world was the work of the supreme God. Some early Christian 
teachers were infected with speculative error, which they had 
inherited from pagan philosophy. Taught to look upon matter 
and the world generally as necessarily tainted with evil, they 
hesitated to attribute creation to God. They did not see how 
they could affirm that God was not the author of sin, if they admitted 
that He was the creator of the finite world. Hence the Gnostic 
teachers (that is, knowing ones, who professed to have knowledge 
of profound mysteries) produced out of their own imaginations an 
inferior sort of deity, whom they called the Demiurge, the crafts- 
man or artificer. The theory that absolutely separates between 
matter and spirit is Manichceism. It is called a dualistic theory 
because it recognises two original principles. Of these, the one 
is good, and originates all that is good ; the other is bad, and 
originates all that is bad. Whatever is finite and material is con- 
sidered to issue from the bad principle. In all the sects and 
denominations of Gnosticism, — and these were very numerous, — 
there was more or less of a Manichaean element, a tendency to 
assign the origin of matter and finite being to some other power 
than the good and supreme God. One of these Gnostics was 
Marcion (who lived early in the second century), and he main- 
tained the curious notion that the God of the Old Testament was 
inferior to the God of the New Testament, who is the Father of 
Jesus Christ, and that this inferior Old Testament God was the 
Creator. Scripture, on the contrary, claims for God — the one 


living and true God — the origination of all that exists. ' I form 
the light, and create darkness ; I make peace, and create evil : I 
the Lord do all these things ' (Isa. xlv. 7). 

The truth that is here specially emphasized is that of an 
immediate creation by a personal God, as distinguished from an 
infinite series of processes. This latter view is really equivalent 
to a belief in the eternity of matter. Pagan philosophy never 
really transcended this point of view. Though Plato declines to 
call matter eternal, he nevertheless fails to reach any distinct idea 
of its creation in time. When we come down to the Christian era, 
we find opposing systems of pagan philosophy, and those strange 
blendings of that philosophy with certain elements of Christian 
truth, which is called Gnosticism, still carefully avoiding the idea 
of creation. There is a strange mixture here of pantheistic and 
materialistic views. Things that are appear as emanations or new 
forms of things that were before. It is curious to see how, under 
the name of modern science, these old attempts to evade the idea 
of creation by a personal God are, under various forms, revived. 
German materialists like Buchner and Hosckel boldly deny 
creation. As, according to them, there is nothing but matter, 
they quite consistently regard matter as eternal, and affirm 
spontaneous evolution of one form of being from another. Such 
thoroughgoing materialists are avowed atheists. It is not so 
with Darwin and EngHsh Darwinians. They trace back the 
present varieties in the organic world to a few primary forms. 
But whether they actually postulate a personal self-conscious deity 
as the creator of these primary forms or not, they certainly do not 
maintain the doctrine of the eternity of matter. Besides, they 
admit that there is no proof of spontaneous generation, no case 
known of a living organism (however low) originating from some- 
thing without life. Hence the evolutionist has not been able to 
avoid a break in the continuity when the lowest form of life is 
reached. There is a gulf between the organic and inorganic 
kingdoms. The evolutionist that acknowledges this leaves the 
lowest member of the organic kingdom, as well as the simplest 


element or elements in the inorganic kingdom, unaccounted for, 
except on a hypothesis equivalent to that of creation. The evolu- 
tionist who maintains his belief in a personal God, and so remains 
untainted by materiahstic or pantheistic tendencies of thought, 
will always clearly distinguish evolution from creation. It is 
upon created things— whether these be many or comparatively 
few — that his evolution theory must operate. Science must 
decide whether this sort of evolution is such a theory as accounts 
for discovered scientific facts. Scripture has nothing to say about 
it good or bad, but simply affirms the antecedent truth that the 
Almighty and Eternal God is the creator of all things. 

(2.) The Period of the Creative Operations. — This God^ in six 
days, 7nade all things. This statement has been objected to 
by certain men of science, and regarded by timid believers with 
considerable misgivings. There are several different ways in which 
this account of Genesis has been interpreted, {a) The six days of 
the Mosaic narrative have been understood by many to mean 
six literal days. In support of this view, the account of the 
institution of the Sabbath, as a period immediately following 
creation, is supposed to imply that the day which designates 
its duration must be the same as the days which mark the 
various stages of creation. If the seventh day be a day of 
twenty-four hours, so also must each of the other six. {b) The 
use of the expression day in the primitive record was understood by 
some as a merely figurative way of describing the manifoldness of 
creation, which yet was the simultaneous and instantaneous work 
of the divine Creator. This was the prevalent view of early and 
mediaeval times. All the great Fathers and Schoolmen main- 
tained that successive production was an idea unworthy of 
God. {c) Then again, many, influenced by comparatively recent 
geological discoveries, have supposed that the Mosaic days 
indicated indefinitely long periods. This last theory has, 
perhaps, been most generally accepted, but it has the difficulty 
of the seventh day Sabbath to overcome, {d) Another view 
of this whole subject is presented by Dr. Dods in his Hand- 


book on Genesis^ in the present series. See especially, Introd. 
pp. xvii.-xxi. 

What has been called the Vision hypothesis seems most 
successfully to avoid difficulties, while answering the require- 
ments of an honest exegesis of the Scripture statements. A 
series of pictures are presented before the writer of Genesis ; 
each represents a distinct scene ; and the order of their repre- 
sentation accurately sets forth the order of succession in the 
production of the divine works. Modern science is in thorough 
agreement with Moses as to the order in which the various forms 
of being made their appearance. That there should be light 
sufficient for vegetable life before the sun, was at one time thought 
a fatal objection to the Mosaic account. Light appears on 
the first day ; the sun, as ruling and central influence in our 
system, on the fourth. Science now shows that light, as the 
vibration of the ether, is independent of the sun, that the sun 
really presupposes the existence of light. It is curious to notice 
that in the creation narrative of the Zendavesta (the sacred book 
of the Parsees), the creation of the sun is put before that of hght, 
apparently intended as a correction. Further, science shows that 
the earliest strata were deposited in water, which presupposes the 
state of matters described as existing during the second day : then 
the vegetable productions of the third, and the two separate 
developments of animal life of the fifth and sixth days (of which 
the sunlight and heat called forth on the fourth day are con- 
ditions), are represented in the succession required by science. 
The six pictures, then, set forth the actual succession in God's 
creative working, while it leaves the question of the duration of 
these successive operations to be discovered and determined by 
scientific research. 

(3.) The Absoluteness of the Beginning made in Creation. — This 
God made all things of nothing. The substance of this statement 
has been already discussed. The material universe is not eternal. 
This world was not formed out of the wreck of former worlds ; 
but by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the 


word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of 
things that do appear (Heb. xi. 3). According to the Mosaic 
account, the formless mass, which we call chaos, out of which God 
produced the orderly universe (the cos7tios)^ was itself the creation 
of God. It is said that the earth was without form, but even of 
this earth it is said God created it. It is not only said that it was 
formless, but also that it was empty : new beings had to be made 
to people it. Scripture tells us nothing about the first calling into 
existence of this chaos ; but, as each successive operation upon it 
is attributed to the powerful action of the divine word as express- 
ing the divine will, we must assign the origination of the formless 
mass to the same influence. It is evidently in regard to this chaos 
that it is affirmed that God made it of nothing. This chaos is 
absolutely primeval. 

The expression 'made of nothing,' though it accurately states 
a biblical doctrine, is not itself a biblical phrase. The Apostles, 
indeed, speak of God as caUing those things that be not as though 
they were (Rom. iv. 17), and making things that are seen of things 
that do not appear (Heb. xi. 3). But these statements are not so 
explicit as the one before us, and are to be viewed rather as 
general declarations of God's unlimited power. In an apocryphal 
book, written somewhere between the years 100 B.C. and 50 B.C., 
the words are used by the mother who exhorts her son to constancy 
under torture, ' Look upon the heaven, and the earth, and all that 
is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were 
not^ (2 Mace. vii. 28). The Vulgate renders this phrase by the 
Latin word ex nihilo, out of nothing. The contrary view, that 
nothing can come from nothing (familiarly known under the 
equivalent Latin phrase, ex nihilo nihil fit) ^ was maintained by 
Epicurus (B.C. 341-270), and it is curious to observe that the 
philosopher was driven to this opinion, because no one could 
satisfy him as to the origin of that chaos of which the ancient 
Greek poets had sung. Though the exact phrase before us is not 
found in Scripture, the doctrine that God created the world out of 
nothing is strictly scriptural. No other theory satisfies the pre- 



suppositions and the fundamental point of view of the Bible. The 
Scripture doctrine of the divine perfections requires us to main- 
tain that nothing outside of God has necessary, and therefore 
eternal, being. 

(4.) The Quality of the Creation in all its Parts. — This God made 
all things very good in their kind. This is plainly the doctrine 
of the Old and the New Testaments. The record of each day's 
work in Genesis is closed by the declaration that it was found to 
be very good. Paul (i Tim. iv. 4) says every creature of God (or 
rather everything made by God) is good. Thus Scripture every- 
where (as in Deut. xxxii. 4) declares God's work perfect. At the 
same time, the biblical view of creation indicates certain restric- 
tions and limitations which show that absolute perfection was not 
claimed for the original work of the Creator. Perfection was the 
goal which could be reached only by overcoming those restrictions 
and limitations in a legitimate way. All things were very good 
in their kind. 

There are two contrasted philosophical theories which en- 
deavour to account for the world as it is. Optimism, with 
which the name of Leibnitz (1646-17 16) is commonly associated, 
says of the world that it is the best of all possible worlds. 
This we could maintain only if prepared to regard sin as 
something desirable, or at least indispensable for the ultimate 
attainment of a higher good. Pessimism, with which is usually 
joined the name of Schopenhauer (1788-1860), maintains that 
this world is the worst of all possible worlds, and that had it 
been worse, it could not have secured existence. Hartmann, 
again, says that it is the best of possible worlds, but it is not 
good, and it would have been better had there been none. As 
a consequence of the prevalence of pessimist views, the question 
has been much agitated of late, whether life be worth living. 

In contrast to these extreme and intemperate statements, the one 
given above commends itself for its sobriety. There is nothing 
originally made evil. All parts of creation, however, have not the 
same office or rank, and are therefore not equally developed and 


endowed. Each in its kind, like the members of the body in their 
several offices, is very good. 

n. The Creation of Angels. — In special^ this God made all the 
angels holy. 

This is a point on which Scripture says little. Nowhere, 
indeed, have we any account of the creation of angels. Through- 
out the Old and the New Testaments, however, there are constantly 
recurring references to angelic beings and their operations. They 
are represented, as their name indicates, as the messengers of 
God. As the Bible is the revelation of God's relations to man, 
wherever mention is made of angels in the Scripture history, they 
are found to be bearers of messages from God to man, or agents 
for God acting in the affairs of men. The earlier references to the 
angelic order in Genesis are indefinite. Then in a large number 
of passages in which allusions to angels are made the language is 
evidently highly poetic. In other Old Testament passages the 
angel seems to be the Son of God Himself anticipating His 
incarnate work. The remaining references in earlier Hebrew 
hterature are sufficient to show the existence .of angels as God's 
messengers, but give us scarcely any further information. It is 
only when we come to a late book like Daniel (written probably 
about B.C. 530) that we find particular angels named, and 
accounts given of their doings as individuals. We read of 
Gabriel (Dan. ix. 16, x. 21) as God's messenger sent to comfort 
and strengthen His servant. We read, also, of Michael (Dan. 
X. 13, xii. i), the great prince, whose office it is to oppose and 
restrain the enemies of the saints. In the same attitude Michael 
reappears in a curious passage in the New Testament (Jude 9). 
In the New Testament history angels play important parts, and 
especially in the course of our Saviour's life. The personality of 
those ministering spirits is everywhere assumed. And they are 
holy — faithful in service and loving in their obedience. 

On the other hand, they are represented as beings capable of 
moral and spiritual development. Paul speaks of them (Eph. iii. 


10) as coming to a knowledge of the divine wisdom which they 
had not before by means of the historical redemption ; and Peter 
describes the angels as possessed of a desire to look into those 
things made known to man in the gospel (i Pet. i. 12). Capacity 
for such development is proof of creaturely and dependent being. 
Besides, this view of the angel-nature as one capable of moral 
development allows us, or even requires us, to assume a testing 
experience similar to that through which man passed. The 
intense devotion of the holy angels can be best accounted for on 
the hypothesis that they had deliberately refused to render unto 
the creature — that is, to lavish upon self — what was due to the 
Creator. With a view to the realization of such holiness they 
were created, and their actions show that they have reached the 
end of their being. 

III. The Creation of Man. — This God made our first parents^ 
Adam and Eve ^ the root of tnankmd^ both upright a7id able to keep 
the law written in their hearts. 

(i.) Here we notice, first of all, that Scripture recognises and 
requires the hypothesis of the unity of the human race. Adam 
and Eve are made the root of mankiiid. The narrative of Genesis 
certainly leaves the impression that what is told is intended to 
afford an account of the first appearance of man on the earth. 
We should find it difficult to reconcile the Mosaic story of man's 
creation with the idea that there had been earlier races of men 
than that beginning with Adam, or that, in different parts of the 
world, other human pairs had been placed coeval with Adam and 
Eve. Yet this unscriptural view of the plurality of the human 
race, in both of these forms, has been held. In 1655, a French 
writer, de la Peyrere (Pererius), founding upon early traditions 
and speculations, set forth the curious doctrine that other races 
of men had lived on the earth before Adam, and that these were 
the progenitors of various existing races ; but that Adam is alone 
mentioned in Scripture, because he was the progenitor of the Jews. 
These ancestors of the other races were called Pre-Adamites. 


The opinion that the races of mankind sprang from several quite 
distinct and separate stocks, whether these originated earlier than 
or coeval with Adam, was eagerly insisted upon by those interested 
in maintaining the institution of negro slavery. It was thus 
that many endeavoured to excuse their subjection and degrada- 
tion of the coloured races. The negro was, according to their 
view, a member of a race physically, morally, and spiritually inferior 
to that of those whom he served. In creation there was set 
before him another destiny, and no system of education or 
civiHzing processes ever could or should be expected to qualify 
him for discharging the functions of the white population. This 
theory, and not that of the tenacity of a father's curse (that of 
Noah against Ham and Canaan), could alone supply anything 
like a feasible argument in favour of slavery. This same notion 
of plurality in the origin of the human race was subsequently 
taken up by men of science, who supposed that human remains, 
or at least signs of the presence of man, had been discovered in 
formations, which were proved to be long anterior to the creation 
of Adam. But this idea of the human race having sprung from 
several centres rather than one is now generally discredited as a 
scientific hypothesis. The Darwinian theory of development 
insists upon a single progenitor for all the varieties of mankind, 
and refuses to see in these varieties separate species owing 
their origin to differently constituted ancestors. 

The natural interpretation of the record of Genesis is borne out 
by subsequent parts of divine revelation. Paul declares, in 
opposition to pagan theories that separate the interests of the 
various nationalities, that all the nations are of one (Acts xvii. 26), 
and he can explain the universality of sin only on the hypothesis 
of one human centre through which it entered into the world 
(Rom. V. 12). There is thus a moral and a theological interest 
in the question as to the unity of the human race. Christian 
ethics bases its doctrine of the brotherhood of man and the 
obligation of man's love to man on the fact of their common 
parentage. With the Latin poet the Christian says, *I am a 



man, nothing that concerns man can be no concern of mine.' 
Christianity traced the common parentage back to God Himself, 
but it did so through the one human ancestor. Then chiefly, 
this doctrine is of interest theologically as an essential presup- 
position of the Christian doctrines of sin and redemption. If our 
first parents, Adam and Eve, be viewed as the ancestors of the 
whole race of men, then, and only then, can they be regarded as 
the root of mankind. The oneness of the human race in respect 
of sin and of redemption (often now spoken of as the solidarity 
of the race) is the central postulate of the theology of the Apostle 

(2.) We have, in the next place, a statement regarding man's 
original condition : — This God made our first parents both upright 
and able to keep the law written in their hearts; which law they 
were naturally bound to obey under pain of death. The upright- 
ness describes the original condition ; ability to keep the law is 
the result of that condition ; and the appearance of death is 
contingent upon the breaking of that law. 

{a) God hath made man upright (Eccles. vii. 29). The term 
used indicates that man's will was originally straight in reference 
to the divine law. God's idea was realized in him. He was in 
his beginning what God intended that in his beginning he should 
be. Man did not occupy a position of indifference toward good 
and evil, but had his place within the range of the good. Pelagians 
and Rationalists, who make as little as possible of human sin, 
represent primitive man as not yet moral, and so in equilibrium 
between good and evil. The original bias of the will was, how- 
ever, toward good, and this gave to our first parents a signal 
advantage. They were not only experiencing, but also exercising 
the love of God, and to them God said, ' Continue ye in my love.' 
Man's original righteousness may be regarded as a phrase more or 
less equivalent to the divine image in man, and corresponding to 
the state described as upright. In describing this original state 
of man two different termj are used (Gen. i. 26), image and like- 
ness. These have been commonly regarded as synonymous 


expressions. Augustine, however, following earlier Fathers, and 
followed by Roman Catholic theologians and several Protestant 
divines, distinguished these : the image of God designates those 
natural endowments which are never wholly lost to men ; the 
likeness of God indicates those higher spiritual qualities which 
were lost by the fall. The divine image is not lost by the fall : 
for in Gen. ix. this is given as a reason why he who sheds man's 
blood must be capitally punished— that men were created in the 
image of God. If this attribute of the first man did not apply to 
his descendants, there would be no argumentative force in the 
statement. There is a decided advantage in appropriating terms 
like image and likeness to indicate respectively, what is continued, 
and what is lost, of the original endowments of men. Human per- 
sonality, which consists in consciousness (of God, the world, and 
self) and self-determination, is not lost. Original righteousness is 
lost, which embraced sufficient knowledge of God, and conformity 
in will and feehng to the will of God. The original words, how- 
ever, do not imply any such distinction. What both together 
describe is a conformity that is perfect. On the spiritual side, 
there is maturity and strength of understanding (Gen. ii. 19; 
Col. iii. 10), and of will (Eph. iv. 24). On the sentient and bodily 
side there is freedom from suffering and death. As a consequence 
of the possession of such natural and spiritual endowments, there 
is granted to man dominion over the other creatures. Man thus 
endowed is upright, and he is straight as concerns God's holy law, 
as concerns what is good — if his attitude toward the good changes, 
it must be through the surrender of God-bestowed endowments. 
The seeking out of many inventions is making crooked what was 
straight. Man's ceasing to be upright is the loss to him of his 
original righteousness. 

iV) Our first parents were able to keep the law written in their 
hearts because of the original bias of their wills toward that 
which is good. This statement implies that the first man had 
a competent knowledge of God's will. He was endowed with a 
conscience, a moral faculty which enabled him to distinguish 


right and wrong. Though our first parents had not the ten com- 
mandments written on tables, which they could handle, that 
written in their hearts corresponded to the sum of these, — the 
duty of love to God and to others. This law written in the heart 
said simply, Do the right : and Adam could read the writing of 
this law. Primitive man, therefore, had an intelligence and a 
moral sense sufficiently formed to be serviceable. He was neither 
a rude savage nor a weakly child. It is a favourite hypothesis 
with the savants of our day, that man's social, intellectual, and 
moral development begins with a savage condition scarcely dis- 
tinguishable from that of the lower animals. Thoroughgoing 
materialists, who maintain the theory that man's descent is to be 
traced from the brute creation, necessarily hold that mind, which 
they say is but a function of the brain, gradually advances with 
the rest of the animal organism. Man thus derived, when first 
he has gained possession of limbs that can be called human, 
appears as a creature with only the hidden germ of moral and 
intellectual faculties. The first man, according to this theory, is 
a savage of a lower type than any to be found now among the 
most barbarous hordes. It used to be very confidently asserted 
that among savage races no trace could be found of earlier 
civilization. It is now admitted by many eminent ethnologists 
that no proof has been offered for this statement. Within the 
historical period and among the historical races we find such de- 
terioration from a position of high culture to the very borders of 
the savage state, that we should find no difficulty in supposing that 
tribes outside the historical circle may exhibit in their present 
condition the wreck of prehistoric forms of culture, — a wreck so 
complete as almost to destroy all traces of the past. This 
hypothesis alone will satisfy the requirements of the biblical 
narrative, and ethnological science has advanced nothing, in the 
form of proved statements, to render it improbable. But while 
firmly maintaining this position, we must be careful not to rush 
to an opposite extreme. A famous English preacher. Dr. South, 
was guilty of an exaggeration when he said, — An Aristotle was 


but the rubbish of an Adam. There is nothing in the Scripture 
narrative to warrant such a saying. Man's primitive condition 
should not be regarded certainly as one of childishness. His was 
rather a beautiful childlike nature of holy simplicity. The intel- 
lectual and moral powers had not yet had any extensive means of 
exercise. Conscience and understanding, however, mind and 
will, were in harmony. Primitive man knew and could perform 
the good, which the will of God revealed to him. 

{c) Death of the body was not an element in man's original 
condition ; its entrance into human history was contingent upon 
our first parents' breaking the law written in their hearts : — 
which law they were naturally bound to obey under pain of death. 
In his original condition man was not subject to bodily infirmities 
and that death of the body of which they are the prelude. It may 
be, as geologists think they can prove, that there was death in the 
animal creation before the appearance of man. But, according 
to the Scripture account, the distinction between man and the 
beasts of the field, — he being capable of exercising dominion over 
them,— was of such a kind as would lead us to expect exemption 
as concerned him from that law of animal life. This exemption, 
however, could only hold when man's whole complex nature was 
in harmony. Let discord appear, dissolution would follow. We 
may gather from the whole narrative that it is regarded as a law of 
nature that what is from the dust returns to dust. The Apocryphal 
writer Jesus, son of Sirach, describes God's works in creation, and 
says (Ecclus. xvi. 29, 30) : * After this the Lord looked upon the 
earth and filled it with Hisblessings; withall manner of living things 
hath He covered the face thereof, and they shall return into it again.' 
And further, to show that where earth is the substance from which 
anything is made a return to earth may be expected, he adds : 
'The Lord created man of the earth, and turned him into it again,' 
But, so long as the spiritual faculties of man wrought in harmony, 
their harmonious action kept off this dissolution of the bodily 
substance. The declaration of God to Adam, that in the day he 
should eat of the forbidden tree he should die, clearly requires us 


to believe that should this disobedience never occur, it would 
never be said of man's body, ' Dust thou art, and unto dust thou 
shalt return.' Man's death is spoken of in Scripture, not according 
to its physical, but according to its moral and spiritual aspect 
It is never spoken of as natural (a debt of nature) but as penaL 
It is indeed universal, but it is so because all have sinned, — 
because our first parents who sinned were the root of mankind. 
The keeping of the law written in their hearts was simply main • 
taining the equipoise of their nature and its powers. This would 
be continuing to live. Such was man's natural immortality : he 
need not die. His moral freedom, however, introduced a con- 
trary possibility : he might die. Death cannot be called natural, 
nor yet unnatural, to man. It is the threatening addressed to 
the creature placed under law, to strengthen the resolution of 
his will to keep that law. It is the doom of the law-breaker, 
coming not from without, but actually consisting in the confusion, 
distortion, disunion of the spiritual elements in man's being. 

rv. The Covenant of Works, — But God was not bound to reward 
their service till he entered into a covenant or co7itract with thetn^ 
a?id their posterity ift them^ to give them eternal life, upon conditio fi 
of perfect perso7ial obedience; withal threateni7ig death in case 
they should fail. This is the covcna7it of works. 

(i.) We have here, first of all, the covenant form under which 
this obligation was expressed. Some people object to the mode 
of expression here adopted. They say that there is no mention of 
any covenant arrangement entered into by God with man. The 
thing, however, which we mean by a covenant is there, and it is 
foolish to dispute over a word. The term covenant, though not 
used in Scripture to describe the relations of God and man, as 
respectively lawgiver and subject of law in the primaeval state, is 
a very convenient one. In the same way the words Trinity and 
Sacraments are extremely useful in theology, and the theologian 
is surely entitled to employ them, though they are not found in 
Scripture, to give convenient and exact descriptions of scriptural 


truths and ordinances. By a covenant we mean a contract 
entered into between two parties with the free consent of both, 
wherein mutual obligations are recognised and mutual assurances 
given, confirmed by solemn sanctions. The general terms of 
God's covenant with man are through all ages the same ; God 
saying, I will be your God, and man saying, I will be Thy subject, 
servant, son. The obligations are, on God's part, His continued 
exercise of rule and government over man, and, on man's part, 
his yielding obedience to God's law. Reward and punishment 
are the sanctions by which the fulfilment of covenant engage- 
ments is enforced ; death is threatened as the doom of those who 
break the covenant. Though the reward of faithfulness is not 
explicitly stated, it is legitimately inferred that, when once the 
temptation to disobedience has been successfully met, the mere 
negative attitude toward death (thou shalt not die) will be 
exchanged for a positive attitude toward life (thou shalt live). 

(2.) It is here said, further, that, under the covenant, God binds 
himself, but not man, to do more than under the terms of the law 
simply could be required. The obligations of man as under law 
are not enhanced by the terms of the covenant. It was perfect 
personal obedience that was required of him from the first. The 
penalty for any breach of the law written in the heart was death, 
just as in the case of the breach of the covenant. But God places 
himself under a new obligation by attaching a promise of reward 
to the obedient. The law written in the heart corresponded, as we 
have said, to the sum of the ten commandments. It was moral, 
and so the apprehension of its injunctions as right belonged to the 
very constitution of man's being. It spread out into multitudinous 
details, but the principle underlying all was the obligation of 
obedience to the holy and wise will of the Creator. If the period 
of trial and probation were to be extended without limit, then no 
other revelation of law would be necessary. But God graciously 
resolved to restrict the term of man's temptation. When the 
appointed days of sifting were over, if man should stand the test 
and prove faithful, the trial would end, and he would enter upon 


a State of confirmed holiness. This resolve of the Creator was 
altogether in favour of man. But in order to carry it out, the 
substance of the law written in the heart, the moral law, must be 
expressed by means of a positive command. We mean by a 
positive command a simple, unexplained utterance of the superior 
will. That God wills it is the sanction or authority of His positive 
laws ; that it is right is the sanction of the moral law. Now, as 
we have seen, the substance of the moral law is obedience to God's 
will. The presentation, therefore, of a positive command will test 
once and for all man's attitude toward the moral law. God forbids 
eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, a thing indifferent, 
neither good nor bad in itself. This not only shortens, but it 
simplifies man's task, yet the principle of the trial — obedience to 
God's will — is ever the same. On the other hand, while no new 
obligation is laid on man, God places Himself under a new 
obligation. This he does in shortening man's probation, which 
involves the new promise of eternal life — that is, the possession of 
life beyond the possibility of danger — as the reward of faithfulness. 
This covenant is therefore called the covenant of life, because the 
promise of life is the one really new provision in it. Outside the 
covenant there is death threatened to the disobedient : only under 
the covenant is there any promise of assured and perpetuated life. 
(3.) We have to consider, in the next place, the parties and their 
obligations under the covenant of works. As to the parties, we 
have seen throughout that these are God on the one hand, and 
man on the other. God makes the covenant with man, for man's 
advantage ; and for this reason, besides those mentioned, that he 
may be able to deal with Adam as the root of mankind. Had 
no covenant, with its positive command, been entered into, the 
test resulting from the keeping or breaking of the law written 
in the heart, must from the very seat of that law have been 
individual and not radical. Under the covenant only could God 
deal with the first man as representative of mankind. Adam 
in his probation was the covenant head of the race, or fcederal 
head (from foedus, a covenant). That the trial should be made 


thus, and not in the several hves of individuals, was a decree of 
divine wisdom. We cannot fathom or explain it. This at least 
appears, that only in the case of a sin-fall taking place under a 
covenant arrangement could such a redemption as that wrought 
for sinful man have been accomplished. Consider the case of the 
angels. Created in number, so as at once to present the whole 
extent of the race, not increasing by addition of successive 
generations, each individual angel stands the trial for himself. 
Certain of these fall, like so many units, by their own act. They 
are not a fallen race : theirs is not a fallen nature. There is no 
fallen angel race into which a redeemer can be born. Mysterious 
as the subject is, we seem to see in man's trial under the provisions 
of a covenant the foundations of a possible redemption, laid in 
case man under his trial should fail. Then as to the obligations 
under the covenant, we have seen that God's obligations were the 
rewarding and punishing of the faithful and the unfaithful. The 
obligation laid upon man was the rendering Qi perfect persotial 
obedience. The test applied by the imposition of a positive law 
clearly did not admit of degrees in the enduring of it. The 
result must either be utter failure or complete success, disobedience 
or obedience, with no intervening gradations more or less. 
During the period of probation the one under trial had before 
him the forbidden object. In such circumstances we could 
conceive of the fluctuations of feeling ; an alternating approach 
toward and retreat from that which was not to be touched. Such 
motions of feelings did not become sin, until the deed was con- 
sciously resolved upon with the prohibition in full view and 
distinctly understood. An evil suggestion resisted and put from 
us is not sin : the putting away is the victory by which sin is 
barred out. Had Adam decided to obey, when the issue of 
obedience or disobedience had been distinctly set before him, his 
act of will would have been perfect personal obedience, whatever 
swayings of feeling might have preceded that decision. The 
crisis was reached when the serpent counselled the rejection of 
the expressed will of God. There was no doubt entertained as 


to the Lernis of the divine command (Gen. iii. 3, 4) ; the act of 
eating the fruit, therefore, was one of defiance. Man dared the ' 
consequence of disobedience. His act was one of thorough 
personal disobedience. 

(4.) We have still further in this paragraph — God's purpose 
concerning man under this covenant. The question is often put : 
Why did not God set down man in a position where no tempta- 
tion to disobedience would assail him ? This has been already 
answered when we described man as a moral being. The reason 
why God could not do what is suggested was that perfect personal 
obedience could not be rendered apart from temptation. If no 
opportunity were ever given of disobeying the divine will, man's 
doing of the divine will (we cannot rightly call it obedience) 
would not be a moral act or course of conduct. An act is moral 
only when a man might have done otherwise and yet does what 
is good. The innocence of our first parents in Eden was that of 
childhood, which implies ignorance. They knew the good only 
in a half-conscious way, because they did not know or know about 
its opposite. Until they knew the good in full consciousness by 
contrasting it with and choosing it before the evil, they could not 
be said to have reached the position of positive and confirmed 
holiness. Only two classes of beings are exempt from temptation, 
— the divine and the irrational. God, because of His positive 
holiness, the irrational creatures, because incapable of moral dis- 
tinction, cannot be tempted. For man, however, the temptation 
struggle is inevitable if he is to outgrow his original moral 
childhood. The truth has been generally recognised in the more 
earnest and spiritual ethical systems of antiquity. Admirable ex- 
pression was given to it in the myth of Hercules at the cross roads 
by Prodicus the Sophist (nearly 500 B.C.). He who was to be 
the typical example of human strength, is represented as put under 
a probationary trial. He is shown the way of pleasure, and none 
of its immediate attractiveness is concealed, and the way of duty, 
and none of its immediate hardness is hidden. His choice of 
virtue is a moral triumph, and a condition of the development of 


moral strength in character. There is no character, in the proper 
sense, till such an ordeal has been passed through. What 
Hercules, as an individual, is represented to have endured, Adam 
passed through as the root of mankind. The necessity of such a 
moral struggle on the part of man is symbolically set forth by the 
trees of the garden. The benefit of the tree of life — that is, the 
attainment of life in the true moral and spiritual sense — was 
possible only to those who walked round and round, but did not 
taste of the tree that was forbidden. Wisdom, says Solomon, is 
a tree of hfe to them that lay hold upon her (Prov. iii. i8). But 
those who fail in the temptation struggle, who eat of the forbidden 
fruit, find, that by reason of the Cherubim and their flaming 
sword, they cannot lay hold upon the tree of life. Only the holy 
who have conquered temptation can enjoy life ; for Hfe has its 
source and being in holiness. 

§ III. Both angels and men were subject to the change of their 
own free willj as experience proved {God having reserved 
to himself the inconununicable property of being naturally 
unchangeable) : for ma7ty angels of their own accord fell 
by sin from their first estate^ and became devils. Our first 
pare?tts, being enticed by Satan, one of these devils, speaking 
in a serpent, did break the covenant of works, in eating the 
forbidden fruit; whereby they, and their posterity, beitig in 
their loins, as branches in the root, and cojnprehended in the 
same covenant with them, became not only liable to eternal 
death, but also lost all ability to please Godj yea, did beco?ne 
by nature e?te?nies of God, and to all spiritual good, and 
iftc lined only to evil continually. This is our original sin, 
the bitter root of all our actual transgressions in thous^ht, 
word, and deed. 

This section treats of the beginning of human sin There are 
certain presuppositions, which must be taken into account before 


any conception can be formed of the origin of sin in man. 
We must postulate the existence, and understand in some 
measure the nature, of real freedom. In the previous fall of 
angelic creatures, we get a superhuman source of temptation. In 
the first sin of a responsible and representative man, as head of 
the race, we have an explanation of mankind's universal sinful- 
ness in the doctrine of original sin. 

I. The intelligent and moral creatures of God — angels and 
men — are changeable, whereas God is Himself alone unchange- 
able. This statement concerning God is quite equivalent to that 
of James (i. 13), God cannot be tempted with evil. It is a notable 
quality of God that He is not subject to change. 

(i.) Unchangeableness is a property of God. When we speak 
of divine properties, we mean those characteristics by which 
God is distinguished from all other beings. These properties 
(so, e.g., Amesius and other divines) tell us how great {qiiantus) 
and of what kind (gualis) God is. Under the divine qualities 
we have God's faculties and virtues. The faculties are two, — 
intellect and will. In regard to each of these it is affirmed that 
God is unchangeable. His knowledge and His purpose are the 
same in all ages (Acts xv. 18; Ps. xxxiii. 11). Nothing outside 
of God can cause Him to change, for He is absolutely indepen- 
dent of the world. There is no imperfection or incompleteness 
in His nature that could allow of development or call for 
modification. It is, however, no mere dead, uniform changeless- 
ness that we attribute to God. Although no need of His being 
requires change, there is yet inner movement. His eternal 
knowledge and will, too, are manifested at sundry times and in 
divers manners. 

(2.) The divine property of unchangeableness is incomtmrnkabie. 
Properly speaking, no divine property is communicable inasmuch 
as it it is a manifestation of the divine nature. Instead of 
speaking of certain attributes of God as communicable, and 
others as incommunicable, we would rather say, that some are 


imitable and others iniimtable. All God's moral attributes — 
goodness, truth, etc. — are imitable by man and are revealed and 
manifested in order that they may be imitated. His meta- 
physical and psychological attributes — omnipresence, omnisci- 
ence, omnipotence, absolute freedom — are inimitable. The 
quality in each of these which man cannot imitate is unchange- 
ableness. Thus, for instance, man can relate himself to space, 
but his presence in various portions of space can only be 
successive, and implies change on his part ; when God relates 
Himself to space, His omnipresence secures the simultaneous and 
continuous occupation of all portions of space, and implies no 
change on the divine being. God's omnipotence is power which 
no opposition or hindrance can invalidate. Take away the 
quality of unchangeableness and these attributes of God would 
be distinguished from the properties of man, it may be in degree, 
but certainly no longer in kind. It is therefore rightly said that 
as respects His nature God has specially reserved to Himself 
this property of unchangeableness. Yet, although this property 
cannot belong 7iaturally to any other being than God, it may be 
the gift of grace to angels and men who have stood their trial, and 
are, by a gracious covenant arrangement, confirmed in holiness. 

II. In the history of the angels, as beings who are not un- 
changeable, we meet with the incidents of a trial and a fall : — 
Many angels of their own accord fell by sin from their first 
estate^ and became devils. 

(i.) It is here said that many atigels fell. The fall of the 
angels is certainly a presupposition of Scripture history, but is 
not very prominently or explicitly referred to. The reason of 
this is that man, and not the angels, is the subject of revelation. 
In the earlier books of the Bible, and indeed throughout the 
Old Testament, we have no clear statement regarding a fall in 
the angel world. One, indeed, bearing the name of Satan 
appears in the Book of Job and in the Book of Zechariah (ch. iii.), 
but he is the minister of God, bent upon testing the sincerity and 


purity of motive in God's professed servants. In the New Testa- 
ment, however, light is shed upon obscurer passages in the 
earher Scriptures. The serpent that tempted Eve is identified 
with the Devil and Satan (2 Cor. xi. 3 ; Rev. xii. 9, xx. 2). Then 
we are told by the Saviour (John viii. 44) that the devil abode 
not in the truth ; while the Apostle John declares (i John iii. 8) 
that by the devil a beginning of sin was made. In two of the 
catholic Epistles very definite reference is made to the fall of 
angels. Peter says that God spared not the angels that sinned 
but cast them down to hell (2 Pet. ii. 4). Jude says that God 
has reserved in everlasting chains the angels which kept not 
their first estate, but left their own habitation (ver. 6). 

(2.) Their fall is described as resulting from an act of will : — 
Many angels of their ow?i accord fell. The main thing to be 
observed here is that the angel world is regarded as consisting, 
not in a race of angelic beings, but in a multitude of individual 
angels. There may be grades and orders among them, but there 
is no federal union. What one of their number does can affect 
tlie rest only as example and stimulus. Each one acts for himself, 
and secures praise or incurs blame for his own particular action. 
It would have been so with men had they been created in numbers, 
and not as a single pair. The whole number of the angels must 
have been created at once, for no addition was to be made to 
their ranks. Many of them fell, the higher and more powerful 
no doubt exercising a mighty influence over others. Whether 
the passage in Rev. xii. 3, 4 refers to Satan's original fall, as 
Milton assumes {Par. Lost., ii. 691-695), or not, it may serve for 
an illustration of what we say. The mighty rebel inspires a 
multitude of other spirits with rebellious thoughts. But they do 
not sin in him and fall with him in his transgression, but each 
one through his own act. 

(3.) The occasion of this fall of angels is said to be sin : — 
Many angels fell by sin from their first estate^ and becajne 
devils. How sin could originate in a pure creation of God is an 
unsolved and unsolvable mystery. We must, however^ postulate 


an absolute beginning of sin in the angel world, and nothing else 
but sin can be conceived of as sufficient to account for a fall of 
angels. As to the particular form of that first sin, Scripture 
speaks only in one passage. Paul warns Timothy against 
ordaining to the office of the ministry any very recent convert, 
lest such a one should be lifted up into pride, and so fall into 
the condemnation of the devil (i Tim. iii. 6). The apostle here 
evidently assumes that pride was the occasion of the devil's fall, 
that it was this that brought condemnation upon him. Many of 
the Fathers and the Schoolmen thought that the occasion on 
which this pride showed itself was the declaration of the divine 
counsel to set up a kingdom under Christ, the Son of God, which 
was to embrace all angels and men. That refusal of submission 
to the dominion of the Son, saying we will not have Him to rule 
over us, was the angels' sin, seems supported by the 6th verse of 
Jude, in which the significant words occur (as literally rendered 
in the Revised Version), the ' angels kept not their own princi- 
pality, but left their proper habitation.' They refused subjection 
to the Son, and strove to set up a rival kingdom. They would 
themselves be as gods. Here, too, we get a view of the extent 
of the fall. The angel fallen becomes the devil. The strength 
and intensity of self-originating wickedness show themselves in 
the whole course of diabolical actings. 

m. Man in the possession of free will is naturally changeable : 
— Men were subject to the change of their own free will. This 
statement indicates that man's original position was in the realm 
of good. In this he might continue, or he might possibly change 
and enter into fellowship with evil. In either case, he must 
exercise his free will, and this would give a moral character to 
the result. An important distinction is made between real and 
formal freedom. [See especially Miiller, Doctr. of Sin, vol. ii. 
pp. 6-21.] Real freedom means the harmony that exists between 
man's will and man's moral ideal. As the creature of God his 
end is the fulfilment of God's will. Man exercises his real freedom 


by refusing to depart from the doing of God's will, and resolving 
to carry out the purpose of his being. Formal freedom means 
simply the power to choose between good and evil. This formal 
freedom, this liberty of choice, is absolutely necessary in order to 
the exercise of real freedom. Adam could not have freely willed to 
obey God, and thus in the exercise of real freedom attain to his 
chief end, unless he had formal freedom, the power to determine 
whether he could yield this obedience or disobey. The will of 
man has a law. As free, it can determine whether or not it will 
observe this law. If it does so, its freedom is maintained ; if it 
does not, its freedom is lost. In the exercise of his free will man 
first sins, but in doing so he forfeits his freedom and becomes the 
bond-slave of sin. The service of sin is slavery, because it implies 
change and deviation from man's own ideal ; the service of God 
is freedom, because it involves no change, but the attainment of 
the purpose of man's creation. 

IV. Man as possessed of the power of free will is subjected to 
temptation: — Our Jirst parefits, being enticed by Satan, one of 
these devils, speakirig in a serpent, did break the covenant of 
works. The point which is here to be attended to is the origina- 
tion of sin in man as the result of suggestion and enticement 
coming, in the first instance, from without. The Scripture record 
affords a most instructive account of the several stages in man's 
temptation. Man is represented as consciously observing the 
positive command of God, which forbade his eating the fruit of a 
particular tree. He knew this to be God's will, and he knew that 
obedience to God's will was the ideal rule of his life. In the 
exercise of his free will, however, as we have seen, he might 
persevere in this natural obedience till through victorious conflict 
it had become moral, or he might change and refuse to continue 
this natural obedience, and thus, failing to render perfect personal 
obedience, break the covenant of works. Neither alternative 
could be gained unless a fuL presentation of the one side as well 
as of the other had been made. So the tempter appears to 


contradict the word that God had spoken. He begins subtly to 
inquire whether the prohibition is actually admitted to be God's 
word. This does not at once awaken doubt : the command was 
certainly from God. This was Christ's reply in His temptation, 
and His victory was won by adhering to what God had enjoined. 
But when man had shown full acquaintance with God's word 
and will (Gen. iii. 2, 3), the serpent was allowed without contra- 
diction to deny the truth and the love of that word. Sin, on the 
part of men, begins here in the absence of zeal and jealousy for 
God's honour and glory. It is not liability to temptation, but 
yielding to it, that marks the entrance of sin into our world. The 
subject of any real temptation must feel its force, understand the 
advantage offered, but only when the suggestion is so received as 
to determine thought and feeling does it become sin. 

V. The nature of man's sin : — Our first parejits did break the 
covenant of works in eating the forbidden f'uit. The first sin of 
man is described as disobedience. The act of eating the fruit 
of that particular tree viewed in itself was not moral ; it was 
neither good nor bad. It can be regarded as bad only when 
viewed as disobedience to a divine command. The law of God 
is the most comprehensive expression for the will of God, which, 
however it may be uttered, ought to be obeyed. It may express 
itself in conscience (the law written in the heart), or in a positive 
command (as to Adam), or in the moral law (as given by Moses 
and expounded by Christ), or in the hfe and example of our Saviour 
Himself. God's law under any mode of expression is the rule of 
our obedience ; and sin is the transgression of the law (i John 
iii. 4). This then is the most comprehensive description of human 
sin : it is disobedience. Another question here presents itself : — 
What, looking upon man's inner nature, is the inmost root of sin ? 
Has it a spiritual or a sensuous origin? It is evidently possible, 
in a being like man, consisting of flesh and spirit, that sin may 
have its source in one or other of these constituent elements. 
Looking to the record in Genesis of the first sin, we find (Gen. 


iii. 6) that the eating of the forbidden fruit commended itself to 
our first parents on a threefold ground : the fruit seemed good for 
food, it was pleasant to the eyes, and also somehow desirable as 
hkely to make the eater wise. Here it would seem that we have 
the sensuous, under a lower and higher form, and also the spiritual, 
element in Adam's first sin. An exactly similar account of sin 
among the generations of fallen man is given in i John ii. 16, 
where the world that is the contradiction of God is described as 
comprising the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride 
of life. This, again, agrees with the order of the three temptations 
of our Lord as given by the third evangelist (Luke iv. 1-13). 
But flesh and spirit in man constitute one individual being. No 
act of man can be absolutely sensual to the exclusion of the spirit, 
nor can it be absolutely spiritual to the exclusion of sense. Sin is 
an act of the whole man. As disobedience to God's will, it is the 
setting of man's own will against, instead of along with that of 
God. This is selfishness on the part of man. There is here self- 
assertion. Man would be as God : he would subordinate all to 
self. Pride, says an apocryphal writer (Ecclus. x. 13), is the 
beginning of sin ; but he had just said, " The beginning of pride 
is when one departeth from God, and his heart is turned away 
from his Maker." Man's sin therefore, in its beginning and in its 
consummation (2 Thess. ii. 3, 4), is the setting self in the place of 

VI. The consequences of man's sin : — Our first parents did 
break the covenant of works, whereby they and their posterity, 
being in their loins, as branches in the root, and comprehended in 
the same covenant with them, becafue not only liable to eternal 
death, btct also lost all ability to please God; yea, did become by 
nattc?'e enemies to God and to all spiritual good, and inclined 
only to evil continually. This is our original sin, the bitter root 
of all our actual transgressions, in thought, word, and deed. 

(i.) We have here, first of all, the mysterious yet undoubted 
truth set forth, that mankind is involved in Adam's sin. The 



posterity of our first parents is described as being in their loinSy 
as branches in the roof, and coinprehended in the same covenant 
with them. Adam is not one individual among many, but he is 
the starting-point of a race. What he does in terms of the 
covenant he does as representative of mankind. This is what the 
older divines mean by calling him a coi7imon person. The first 
sin, therefore, as an act under the covenant, exerts a disturbing 
influence on the development of the whole human race. With 
this, however, the federal relation of Adam to his posterity ended. 
The covenant was thereby broken. Whenever Adam disobeyed, 
he ceased to be head and representative of man. What affects 
his posterity is this one sin of eating the forbidden fruit. Had 
not the covenant of works ended with the first transgression, then 
all Adam's subsequent transgressions would have been trans- 
mitted, and those of the fathers to the sons through all generations. 
Original sin is not our parents' sins, but our first parents' sin. 
Hence the prophet says (Ezek. xviii. 20), the son shall not bear 
the iniquity of the father ; and the apostle says (Rom. v. 19), by 
one man's disobedience many were made sinners. 

(2.) We have here, in the next place, the statement that Adam's 
sin has rendered mankind liable to death: — Our first parents 
and their posterity became liable to eternal death. Throughout 
Scripture death is always spoken of as the wages of sin and the 
common doom of all men. The penalty announced for any breach 
of the covenant was death (Gen. ii. 17). Paul most explicitly 
asserts (Rom. v. 12), that death entered the world by the sin of 
one, and became universal in its sway over man just as sin did. 
The only question requiring consideration is as to the meaning of 
this death. We distinguish in some sort death physical, spiritual, 
and eternal. But the distinction is not thoroughgoing. We 
have here rather spiritual death as the proper doom of sin, the 
immediate effect of sin upon man, leading on to physical death, 
and this again opening the way to eternal death. In the day 
thou eatest thereof, said God, thou shalt die. Disobedience 
meant the derangement of man's inner being and the breaking up 


of his fellowship with God, and this is spiritual death. The 
commission of sin and the subjection of man to this death 
were precisely simultaneous. Physical decay, betokened by the 
removal of man from the presence of the tree of life, immediately 
set in, and the death of the body became henceforth a necessity. 
The dissolution of the body, however, did not put any limit to 
the dominion of death over the man. Apart from a redemption 
throi gh grace, the penalty of sin was death eternal. 

(3.) The next point to be observed here is that Adam's sin has 
rendered man incapable of doing good: — Our first par etits and 
their posterity lost all ability to please God. The inability of 
fallen man to do good so as to please God is an element in 
spiritual death. Man by reason of sin has lost all ability to 
please God. It is total inability that is spoken of. By theologians 
it is called natural and moral inability. It is natural., not as 
characterizing man's original nature, but as a property of certain 
faculties of his fallen sinful nature, apart from the will, such as 
the understanding, bodily powers, etc. It is moral., as consisting 
in the want of inclination, or the presence and power of a contrary 
inclination. [See Jonathan Edwards, Inquiry into the F?'eedo?n 
of the PVill, Pt. i. § 4.] This loss came upon man just through 
the entrance of sin, which, we have seen, is selfishness. Love, we 
are told, is the fulfilling of the law. Man transgressed the law by 
withdrawing his love from God and squandering it on self. This 
love of God, which is just another name for harmony between 
our will and God's, is the one indispensable condition for pleasing 
Him. Enoch walked with God, and so he has won this testimony, 
that he pleased God. But without this agreement it is impossible 
to please Him. By reason of the fall this harmony with God's 
will, and the consequent pleasing of Him, are to man naturally 

(4.) But we are called to observe, further, that Adam's sin has 
produced in man an actual aversion from the good and a bias 
toward the evil : — Our first pare7its and their posterity did become 
by nature enemies to God., and to all spiritual good, ajid inclined 


only to evil contmually. It is true of all fallen men that they are 
not subject to God's law, and want of subjection constitutes 
enmity. This is regarded by many in our day as a hard saying. 
It is customary, and in accordance with approved forms of modern 
culture, to extol the excellences of human nature. Scripture says, 
and conscience bears witness to its truth, that the mind of the 
flesh — that is, the unregenerate nature of man, present in remnant 
even in the children of God — is enmity against God. Consider 
Rom. V. lo, viii. 7; Eph. ii. 15, 16; Col. i. 21; Jas. iv. 4. 
Nothing so signally shows the intensity of the sinner's hatred of 
God, as the display of bitterness awakened in one obdurately 
impenitent by any special manifestation of divine grace, or by the 
sight of one faithfully witnessing for God. Men hated Jesus just 
because they could not convict Him of sin. The Athenian mob 
voted Aristides' condemnation because wearied by hearing him 
called the Just. It does certainly seem hard to say of such a one 
as the noble pagan just named, and of unbelievers in Christian 
lands and ages of beautiful natural character, that they are inclined 
to evil continually. It simply means that where love to God is 
wanting as the motive, nothing can be good before God, but all 
is evil. 

(5.) Finally, we learn that the sinful nature inherited from 
Adam is the source of all particular acts of sin : — This is our 
original sin, the bitter root of all our actual transgressions, in 
thought, word, and deed. This is the interpretation which the 
Church has put on the teaching of Scripture. The doctrine of 
original sin is expressed with no uncertain sound in the Old 
and in the New Testaments (Ps. li. 5 ; Eph. ii. 3). Augustine 
(354-430) gave full and accurate expression to the doctrine in his 
controversy with the British monk Pelagius (fl. 410). According 
to Pelagianism, children are born innocent as Adam, but like him 
unconfirmed in holiness, and under evil influences they fall into 
sin. According to Augustinianism, children are born with a sinful 
and perverted nature, which is the root and spring of actual 
transgressions. The Church Councils decided in favour of the 


Augustinian doctrine, but gradually the corrupt Church of Rome 
drifted toward the Pelagian view. The Jansenists of Port Royal 
(Pascal, 1623-1662, and others) were Augustinians in conflict with 
the Jesuits, who were more or less Pelagians. Luther (1483- 
1546), Calvin (i 509-1 564), Knox (i 505-1 572), and other leading 
Reformers were vigorous maintainers of the doctrine of original 
sin. Only on the basis of this doctrine can this universality of 
sin, which is a historical fact, be philosophically explained. 
Apart from its unscripturalism, the view of Pelagius completely 
fails to account for facts. Adam's children are (Gen. v. 3) in his 
own likeness as a fallen man. 



§ I. Albeit 7}ia7i^ having brought himself ijito this woeful co7iditioii^ 
be 7ieither able to help himself ttor willitig to be helped by 
God out oj it, but 7'ather i7icli7ted to lie stilly i7tse7tsible of 
it, till he perish J yet God, for the glory of his 7'ich grace, 
hath revealed i7i his word a way to save si7t7iers, viz. by 
faith i7i Jesus Christ, the eter7ial So7i of God, by virtue of 
aiid accordi7ig to the te7ior of the cove7ia7tt of rede)7iptio7i, 
77iade a7id agreed up07i betwee7i God the Father a7id God the 
So?t, i7t the cotmcil of the Tri7iity before the world begaTt. 

In this section we have brought before us the remedy provided 
by God for our fallen and lost condition of sin and misery, viewed 
as the subject of God's thought in eternity. It is His eternal plan 
that arranges the terms and conditions according to which 
deliverance may be wrought for the sinner. Here we necessarily 
fall back upon the statements of the last section in order to 
enforce the doctrine of men's inability, and to make it the basis 
of the doctrine of redemption. Principal Cunningham calls 
attention to the unique importance of this doctrine of human 
depravity, on account of its close connection with the mainten- 
ance of spiritual life. During certain periods of the Church's 
history other fundamental doctrines have been more or less 
imperfectly appreciated without the warmth of the Christian life 



being thereby destroyed ; but any failure to estimate aright the 
indispensable necessity and sole efficiency of divine grace, and, 
consequently, the utter inadequacy and unsuitability of man's 
natural powers to contribute anything to his salvation, has always 
resulted from and been a proof of a low degree of spirituality in 
the Church. Hence the importance of connecting closely a deep 
consciousness of man's unworthiness and weakness with a pro- 
found realization of the sovereignty of God's grace in the salvation 
of the sinner. 

I. Our attention is, first of all, called to the doctrine of the 
sinner's resp07isibility for his state : — Man brought hmiself into 
this woeful conditioti. It is necessary to keep this very carefully 
in mind, that the inability to good and the proneness to evil which 
characterize the natural man are wholly consequences of the fall. 
There are theories of human nature widely prevalent in these 
days which regard man's present state as the result of limitations 
imposed originally in his creation. Finite creatures, it is said, 
are necessarily imperfect. According to this view, imperfection 
belongs to the very notion of creaturely existence. All admit, of 
course, that finitude means limitation ; but are we to identify 
limitation and human sin ? This is what the theory in question 
does. It says. What you call sin is nothing else than the limita- 
tion, which is a characteristic attribute of the finite creature. 
There is no room here for any conception of guilt. If carried out 
consistently, the conclusion would be that man was no more 
responsible for what is called sin than for the colour of his hair. 
It results from the imperfect constitution of his being. Scripture, 
however, supported by the universal conscience of the human 
race, maintains that man is what he is by his own fault. Not 
against our will, as Augustine says {non inviti tales sumus), do 
we become sinners. 

II. In the next place, we are reminded of the helplessness and 
insensibility of the sinner in his sinful condition : — Mati is 7ieither 


able to help himself nor willing to be helped by God out of it^ 
but is rather inclined to lie still, insensible of it, till he perish. 
That spiritual death, which has been shown to be the penalty 
which followed the breaking of the covenant of works, involves 
not only the enfeeblement of man's faculties, but their complete 
destruction or effacement in the direction of any spiritual good. 
Life, in respect of the exercise of its functions, is extinct, since 
the numbness, which indicates death's presence and reign, is 
already felt. We must be on our guard here against extreme 
views. It ought to be remembered, and to be emphatically stated, 
that all the powers which belong to man as a creature of God are 
continued to him since the fall, not merely in name, but distinctly 
as powers. And not only is there no diminution in the faculties 
of man, but there is no addition to their number. There is, 
further, no withdrawal of any substance belonging to man's 
nature, and the substitution of some other in its place. It was a 
grievous error of Flacius (i 520-1 575), one of a band of violent and 
one-sided Lutherans that rose up immediately after Luther's 
death, when he maintained that original sin was a substance, just 
as holiness is a substance, and that the soul of fallen man is a 
mirror or image of Satan, and that, in effect, the soul is itself, as 
to its substance, original sin. This is a reintroduction of 
Manichaeism, which gives substantial form to evil as well as to 
good. This is the one extreme, which springs out of a denial of 
human freedom, with the intention of exalting the divine sove- 
reignty, but ends in a denial of man's responsibility for his conduct 
and his belief. On the other hand, the contrary extreme, which 
exaggerates the capabilities of the natural powers of man in a 
sinful condition, must be met by calm, well-balanced statements 
of Scripture truth concerning man's helplessness and insensibility 
under sin. The sinner does not draw near to the Saviour, but 
is drawn by the Father (John vi. 44). This does not mean that 
men are treated as stocks and stones, for they are drawn by 
influences that work upon their intelligence and will. The 
opposition of fallen human nature is recognised. The powers of 


man are there ; misapplied, yet active. He must be spoken to 
and dealt with through these ; but with these nothing spiritual 
can originate. The natural man refuses to acknowledge his sin, 
but the Spirit C07ivinces him of it (John xvi. 8). His inclination 
toward God, as well as his perception of what separates him from 
God, man owes to the teachings of the Divine Spirit, to the work- 
ings of God's grace. The first faint trace of a desire after God 
is the Holy Spirit's work. Even those movements toward good, 
which are not followed up, and do not lead to decision for God, 
are to be attributed to God's Spirit. There is a preparing grace 
{gratia prcBveniens) which moves and affects man, who is in 
himself insensible to spiritual things. We owe convictions, which 
are silenced by our own sinful wills, as well as conversion, where 
our wills are conquered and brought into captivity to the obedience 
of Christ, to the awakening power of God's grace. 

in. We are shown, in the next place, how God provides a 
remedy for the breach of the covenant of works by making a new 
covenant of redemption : — God, for the glory of His rich grace^ 
hath revealed in His word a way to save sinners^ viz. by faith 
in Jesus Christy the eternal Son of God, by virtue of a7id 
according to the tenor of the covenajit of redeinption, made and 
agreed upon between God the Father and God the Son^ in the 
Council of the Tritiity, before the world began. Here it is to be 
observed that in many particulars the covenants of works and 
of grace correspond. Of both, the author is God, the moving 
cause His grace, the end the manifestation of His glory, the 
parties God and man, the condition perfect obedience, and the 
promise everlasting life. There are also various differences 
between these two covenants, resulting from the fact that the fall 
of man and his enmity against God introduce modifying con- 
ditions into the new covenant arrangement. The covenant of 
redemption is with Christ, the second Adam, on behalf of those 
of fallen mankind represented by Him. Throughout the Sjiin of 
Saving Knowledge^ it will be observed, the covenant agreement 


with Christ in eternity, and the covenant made with elect indivi- 
duals in time, are distinguished by name, and are referred to 
respectively as the covenant of redemption and the covenant of 
grace. This distinction is undoubtedly a real one, and when 
consistently carried out, as in the following section of the 
formulary before us, will be very helpful in securing clearness 
of statement and definition. Turretin (i 623-1 687) and Witsius 
(1636- 1 708), together with those divines who followed the 
covenant scheme in the distribution of theology, and Dr. Hodge 
(1797- 1 878), who largely sympathized with that school, approve 
of this distinction in the use of these terms. Certainly it is only 
Christ who can redeem^ and it is only finite creatures who can be 
said to be the recipients of grace. On the other hand, we find 
the term covenant of grace ordinarily employed to designate the 
new covenant generally, in contrast to the covenant of works. It 
is thus used in a wider and less exact sense, and also in a way 
more particular and limited. Boston (1676-1732) and the West- 
minster divines in the Larger Catechism (1648), while recognising 
the distinction indicated, refuse to speak of two covenants, and 
give to the new covenant the name of the Covenant of Grace. 
Thus {Larger Cat. Qu. 31) the covenant of grace was made with 
Christ as the second Adam, and in Him with all the elect as His 
seed — referring to Gal. iii. 16. We should remember, too, that 
the covenant of works also is properly a covenant of grace. 

(i.) We speak here of the Father's covenant with the Son in 
eternity: — The covenant of redemption.^ ?nade and agreed upon 
between God the Father and God the Son, in the Council of the 
Trinity^ before the world began. As we have already seen, 
though God, in decreeing the creation of moral and responsible 
creatures, willed the possibility of sin, He simply foreknew, with- 
out willing man's actual fall into sin. In the councils of eternity, 
however, provision was made for the foreknown consequences 
of man's probation. The covenant made with the Son, and the 
decree to create man as a moral being, are thoughts of eternity ; 
but, as ideas presented to our minds, the covenant with the Son 


appears as a consequence of the decree to create man, and of 
the impending fall of man as foreknown of God. Of such a 
covenant transaction in eternity we have ample Scripture proof. 
God hath saved us according to His own purpose and grace, 
which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 
Tim. i. 9). That eternal life which is our hope God promised 
before the world began (Tit. i. 2) ; and this is but the sum of 
those promises that are yea and amen in Christ (2 Cor. i. 20). 
The redeeming blood of Christ is called the blood of the ever- 
lasting covenant (Heb. xiii. 20) ; and the gospel of salvation 
is the everlasting gospel (Rev. xiv. 6). Christ Himself and the 
evangelists who record His earthly life always go on the assump- 
tion, often giving to it express statement, that the Son came 
into the world in fulfilment of the eternal counsel of the Father. 
We should notice, further, that this covenant is made by the 
Father. There are certainly abundant proofs of the willingness 
of the Son. The plan of redemption, however, is ascribed to 
the Father. He is not reluctant, unsympathetic, or indifferent, 
urged by the warm, compassionate eagerness of the Son to 
permit Him to become the Saviour of sinners. A Moravian 
system of theology, which inclines to recognise as the originator 
of any redemptive process no person of the Godhead but the 
second, necessarily gives an impression of God the Father that 
is, to say the least of it, unattractive. On the contrary, God 
essentially^ that is, as Father, Son, and Spirit alike, is love. The 
plan is by the Father, which is wrought in the Son and applied 
by the Spirit. Again, the Son, as the party with whom the 
covenant is made by the Father, is the second Adam, the 
representative Head of redeemed humanity. Like the first Adam, 
Christ is viewed as a public person under the covenant. He 
says to the Father, when speaking as a party in the covenant : 
Behold I and the children whom Thou hast given me (Heb. ii. 
13). He puts Himself under the covenant of works when He 
becomes man. In this way He becomes subject to the curse of 
the law, and that for the purpose of redeeming them that are 


under the law. For this reason, that is, in view of its purpose, 
the covenant with the Son is called the Covenant of Re- 

(2.) In the next place, we speak here of God's gracious purpose 
regarding fallen men: — God^for the glory of His rich grace ^ hath 
revealed iji His word a way to save sinners^ viz. by faith in 
Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. {a) The way of salvation 
under the covenant of grace is here described as the subject of 
divine revelation. There are many things regarding his own 
nature, condition, and responsibilities, and also regarding God, 
which man may know from the light of nature and the exercise 
of his reasoning faculties ; but the way of salvation can only 
be made known to us directly by Him who devised it. If we 
turn to the Scripture history of redemption, we find that God 
Himself made the first announcement of His purpose of grace 
to fallen man (Gen. iii. 8-15). In gospel times, too, the pro- 
clamation is from God regarding that which had been hid until 
He, through His messengers, made it known (Eph. iii. 3-5). 
And, again, the revealing of this gospel of salvation to the 
hearts of those who are being saved is described as immediately 
of God (Matt. xi. 25, xiii. 11). {b) This way of salvation is by 
faith in Jesus Christ. We here meet with one of the most 
important differences between the covenant of works and the 
covenant of grace. Under the first covenant it was said : This 
do, and thou shalt live. There was no mediator between God 
and man : for the covenant was one between friends, and so 
was naturally an arrangement made directly between the parties. 
But the parties on whose account the covenant of grace was 
devised were at enmity with God, who devised the covenant, 
and that covenant was designed to bring about their reconcilia- 
tion. Since the unalterable condition of a covenant is obedience 
on the part of those on whose behalf it is contracted, and 
those who are in a state of enmity cannot render this, it 
becomes necessaiy to have a surety or substitute appointed, 
who is able to yield perfect obedience. The new covenant 


which demands perfect obedience, is made by God with Christ, 
and faith in Him exercised by the individual man secures that 
he as a believer is reckoned in Christ. The eternal Son of God^ 
with whom the covenant in eternity is made, is Jesus Christ, 
the appointed Saviour, who, as the Head of redeemed humanity, 
the second Adam, represents and secures acceptance before God 
for all who are bound together into one in Him. To this Christ 
are all the promises made. Faith unites the sinner to Him ; 
and union with Him is salvation. The exercise of such 
uniting faith is essential to salvation, and nothing more can 
be required as a condition under the new covenant. ' It was 
by no accident that union with Christ exalted and transfigured 
the whole spiritual nature of man, and raised him to diviner 
levels of life. Man was made for this : " before the foundation 
of the world " God has determined that in Christ man should 
find God, and God find him ' (Dale, Ephes. p. 34). Seeing, 
then, that the whole transaction takes place in Christ, the 
moving and efficient cause is God's rich grace, and the end is His 
glory. Whatever God works in grace must yield Him glory as its 
end. Each manifestation of divine grace is a contribution to the 
divine glory : and the fulness of God's grace is the consummation 
of His glory. Christ is seen in His glory when full of grace. 

§ II. The sum of the covenant of redemption is this : God having 
freely chosen unto life a certain number of lost mankind, for the 
glory of his rich grace, did give them, before the world began, 
unto God the Son, appointed Redeemer, that, upoji condition 
he would humble himself so far as to assume the hicmaji nature, 
of a soul and a body, unto personal tmion with his divine nature, 
and submit himself to the law, as surety for the?n, and satisfy 
justice for the/n, by giving obedience in their na7ne, even unto 
the sufferi7ig of the cursed death of the cross, he should ransom 
and redeem them all from sin and death, and picrchase unto 
them righteousness and eternal life, with all saving graces 


leading fhereu?ito^ to be effectually^ by means of his own ap- 
pointment, applied in due time to every one of them. This 
condition the Son of God (who is Jesus Christ our Lord) did 
accept before the world began, a?td in thefuhiess of time cajne 
into the worlds was born of the Virgin Mary, subjected him- 
self to the law, and completely paid the ratisom on the cross. 
But by virtue of the aforesaid bargain, made before the wo7'ld 
began, he is in all ages, since the fall of Adam, still upon the 
work of applying actually the purchased benefits unto the 
elect J and that he doth by way of entertaining a covenant of 
free grace and reconciliation with the?n, through faith in 
himself; by which covenant he makes over to every believer 
a right and interest to himself and to all his blessings. 

This section treats in detail of that covenant of redemption 
which was spoken of in the previous section as the eternal con- 
dition of man's salvation. Here we distinguish two main topics 
under which the contents of the section may be grouped. We 
are shown, first of all, how in God's electing love the covenant of 
redemption with His Son becomes a covenant of grace in respect 
of man ; and secondly, what the conditions are to which the Son 
must submit in order that this purpose of grace may be realized. 
Here then we have to treat of two leading doctrines of the 
Christian faith : the doctrine of Election, and the doctrine of the 
Humiliation of Christ. 

I. God has sovereignly chosen certain from among the fallen 
sons of Adam unto life in Christ : — God, having freely chosen unto 
life a certain number of lost ma7ikind,for the glory of His rich 
grace, did give thein, before the world began, unto God the Son, 
appointed Redeemer. In the controversies about election, dis- 
putants have been found to assume one or other of three possible 
positions. The Socinian denies altogether the divine foreknow- 
ledge as well as the divine foreordination of what takes place in 
time. He is thoroughly self-consistent in refusing any place in 


his theology to the doctrine of the decrees of God. The Arminian 
maintains that God did not elect particular persons to eternal 
life, thereby securing to them the faith and other graces necessary 
to their attaining unto salvation, but that at most He foresaw in cer- 
tain individuals the presence of faith, and such perseverance therein 
as would entitle them to be included in His purpose of grace. 
The Calvinist, on the other hand, holds that the decree of God 
depends not upon, but itself provides, the grace needed for securing 
the end of election ; that men are not chosen for their faith, but 
that upon the chosen is bestowed the gift of faith. The sentence 
upon which we are commenting expresses in the plainest and 
most unmistakable terms the Calvinistic doctrine. Principal 
Cunningham has given {Refor?ners and Theology of the Reforma- 
tiojt, Essay viii. • Calvinism and Arminianism, p. 433) a most 
admirable condensed statement of the Calvinistic doctrine of elec- 
tion, which, in every phrase contained in it, deserves careful study : 
'The Calvinistic doctrine is this, that God from eternity chose or 
elected some men, certain definite individuals of the human race, 
to everlasting life, — that He determined certainly and infallibly to 
bring these persons to salvation by a Redeemer, that in making 
this selection of some men and in resolving to save them. He was 
not influenced by anything existing in them, or foreseen in them, 
by which they were distinguished from other men, or by any 
reason known to or comprehensible by us, but only by His own 
sovereign good pleasure, by the counsel of His own will, — and that 
this eternal decree or purpose He certainly and infallibly executes 
in time in regard to each and every one included under it.' This 
doctrine was first carefullyformulatedbyAugustine in the beginning 
of the fifth century : the views of earlier Church Fathers on this 
question are vacillating and not self-consistent. It was reaffirmed 
in a very rigid and precise dogmatic form at the Synod of Dort 
(1618). Theopinions of Arminius(i 560-1 609) had been vigorously 
controverted by Gomarus(i 563-1641), and a defence under the title 
of a Remonstrance was s^ ibmitted by the followers of Arminius in 
1610 to the States of Holland. The tenets of the Remonstrants 


were condemned at the Synod, and the principles of Calvinism 
reaffirmed and very carefully formulated in its published Acts. 
Calvinism was now recognised as the legal and orthodox doctrine 
of the Reformed Church. The Westminster Assembly (1643- 
1649) gives in its Confession and Catechisms perhaps the very best 
and the most carefully defined expositions of the doctrine that have 
ever been given from the standpoint of Calvinism. It is pointed 
out by Principal Cunningham that among those who reject the 
Socinian doctrine, the only alternative lies between Calvinism and 
Arminianism. The rejection of the one necessarily involves the 
adoption of the other. 

From this general description of that type of doctrine set forth 
in the section under review, we now pass to consider a few points 
of detail which seem to call for special consideration. 

([.) It is important that special prominence should be given to 
the statement that the election spoken of is an election to life : 
God hath freely chosejt unto life. What has occasioned by far 
the most serious objection to the doctrine of election, is the idea 
that its acceptance necessarily leads to the belief in a doctrine of 
divine reprobation. Unguarded and rash statements have given 
a colour to such objections. If we speak simply of an absolute 
decree, according to which some are chosen of God, there seems a 
logical necessity for proceeding to the declaration that equally by 
a divine decree the rest are rejected. There is a decree of 
election, but no decree of reprobation. We must not forget, or 
leave out of sight, the solemn and stern utterances of Scripture 
(Rom. ix. 22 ; Eph. ii. 3). It is to be noted that the vessels of 
wrath who are fitted, that is, destined, to destruction are not said 
to have this destiny from God ; while, on the other hand, it is said 
that glory was afore-prepared for the vessels of mercy; and those 
called children of wrath are those who cease to be such by being 
called to participate in the blessings of the elect. God's choosing 
is unto life. We ought to be very careful always to bear with us 
the Scripture truth, all-important as a safeguard alike against 
fatalistic and antinomian error, — God is not the author of sin. 


Now death eternal as the consummation of death spiritual is to be 
viewed only as the consequence, the wages of sin. If, then, we 
refuse to say that God is the author of sin, we must with equal 
determination maintain that He is not the author of death. The 
decree of God, as the definite expression of His will, embraces not 
the reality, but only the possibility, of sin ; so this decree embraces, 
not the absolute assignment, but only the possible self-abandon- 
ment, of man to death. God has to do with holiness and life. 
What God wills is that man should live ; and if any man misses 
life, it can only be because his will thwarts the will of God. P^or 
man there is no exclusion but self-exclusion. It is man, not God, 
that has to do with death. He loves and chooses death who 
hates and rejects Christ, the wisdom of God. What is all-im- 
portant for us to know has been duly revealed : God wills and 
decrees the absolute association of sin and death. 

It is an unalterable law of His kingdom : the soul that sinneth, 
it shall die. There is certainly a profound mystery here in 
regard to God's passing over some. This is a mystery stated but 
not explained in revelation, and we ought not to attempt or insist 
upon an explanation. We can only advance to the limit which 
Scripture fixes. If, then, we listen to Scripture and follow its 
example, we shall reflect adoringly and thankfully upon an 
election by God unto life, and not speak or speculate about a 
decree of reprobation, which human reason may suppose to be 
its logical complement. This we know, that a decree is an ex- 
pression of will, and Scripture explicitly assures us, as does also 
the experience of all who know Him, that God has no pleasure in 
the death of him that dieth, that He wills not that any should 
perish, but that all should come to repentance (Ezek. xviii. 32 ; 
2 Pet. iii. 9). 

(2.) This election unto life is an eternal and free act of divine 
grace : — God hath freely chosen . . a certain number of lost 
mankind for the glory of His rich grace. The practical use of 
the doctrine of election ib the humbling of man before God. In 
any measure of reconciliation and recovery, it was necessary that 



some safeguard against the entertaining of proud thoughts should 
be provided. Under the covenant of works none was needed, for 
the keeping of that covenant would have secured man against the 
entrance of pride into his heart. If he had rendered perfect 
personal obedience to the divine law, he would not have been 
boastful, for innocence would have continued unbroken, and he 
would have known by experience no other power than the love ol 
God. But under the covenant of grace, God was dealing with a 
corrupt nature where selfishness and pride were already present. 
When faith was introduced in place of works as the condition of 
the covenant on man's side, there would be a danger of man's 
regarding faith as a work of his own upon which he might pride 
himself. It was necessary, therefore, in order to exclude boasting, 
to show those who are children of God by faith, and to make 
them remember that their faith was no work of their own, but a 
gift of God. Now, this is just another way of stating the doctrine 
of election. Those on whom God bestows the gift of faith are 
the chosen. It is His sovereign good pleasure alone that deter- 
mines who are to receive this gift. It is the divine election 
which is the condition of our receiving His gift of faith. At the 
same time, so far as we are concerned, God's choice of us in His 
electing love, can become known only through our possession of 
that grace of faith which is the gift from God by which all His 
chosen are distinguished. In bestowing this gift He showeth 
mercy unto whom He will have mercy (Ex. xxxiii. 19; Rom. ix. 15). 
That there is a certain number freely chosen of God as recipients 
of this grace is a necessary consequence of the fact of the divine 
sovereignty. This we can only affirm, but we cannot comment 
upon it. Alongside of it we must place the doctrine of man's 
full responsibility, and, in keeping therewith, the universal gospel 
invitation. The one as well as the other — the doctrine of God's 
sovereignty as well as of the free call addressed to man — is a 
doctrine of divine revelation. Each must be held with equal 
persistence, but the unrestricted call to believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ is what v/e have to do with as sinners. When we have 


believed, then God shows us that our believing is not of ourselves 
but of His grace. 

(3.) This election unto life is in Christ, and, viewed in terms of 
the covenant of redemption, the chosen from among men are a 
gift of God to the Son : — God having chosen unto life a certaitt 
nmnber . . . did give them, before the world began, unto God the 
So7i, appoi7ited Redeemer. This is repeatedly affirmed by our 
Lord and Saviour Himself. Those who come unto Him are 
those given Him of the Father (John vi. 37). As the Father's 
possession they are made over to the Son, and are kept by Him 
in time and for eternity (John xvii. 6, 12, 24). 'The Elect, being 
the Father's property, are not entrusted with that happiness to 
be conferred upon them, but are given over to Christ, and 
committed to Him in the covenant of redemption, that He may 
die to satisfy justice and obtain eternal redemption for them, and 
may apply His purchase in converting them and preserving them 
and their furniture till they come to obtain everlasting life' 
(Hutcheson Ott Joht, publ. 1657). The grand benefit secured 
unto the chosen in Christ is that they have God's word declared 
unto them by Christ ; and the immediate effect of that declaration 
of the word with power, which is made unto those given of God 
to Christ, is that they keep His word. Chosen unto life in Christ, 
having their life hid with Christ in God, it is true of them that 
because Christ lives they live also. 

When all this has been said, much still remains mysterious. It 
is very frequently objected to Calvinism, that it undertakes to 
solve and definitively answer all difficulties in connection with 
this subject. This is a pure calumny, and those who circulate it, 
like most calumniators, seem utterly ignorant of the system and 
its authoritative expounders of which they so confidently and 
offensively affirm. So far as I have been able to discover, no 
Calvinistic divine has ever pretended to fathom the mystery or to 
explain how the two sides, which to human reason seem irrecon- 
cilable, are brought into harmony. What the Calvinist does 
affirm is that divine sovereignty and human freedom and 


responsibility, implying a real and honest offer of the gospel 
unto all, are two Scripture truths, each of which finds corrobora- 
tion in the fact of man's own consciousness. That they are both 
true, on the evidence of Scripture and of his own conscience, he 
believes : how they are to be reconciled he does not know, and 
a scheme for their reconcilement he has never attempted or 

II. We are next shown what the conditions are to which the Son 
must submit, in order that this purpose of grace may be realized. 
Man by his disobedience had fallen under the curse of the broken 
law. In order that this curse might be removed, divine justice 
must be satisfied, and the honour of the law and of the lawgiver 
must be upheld. Further, sin had entered by a personal act, so 
also a person must perform the work of redemption. This 
personal redeemer must be man, in relation to the race as truly 
representative as the first man had been. The Son of God, 
therefore, appointed Redeejner, must become man. That this 
may be. He must humble Himself by resigning His heavenly 
form of being. It is the incarnate Son of God who renders 
obedience on man's behalf in fulfilment of the law's demands, 
and suffers the penalty due to them who had broken the divine 
law. He is the only Redeemer of God's elect, and therefore all 
who are saved in all the ages owe their salvation to Him. 

I. We are to consider, first of all, what the Son was called to 
surrender when He undertook to redeem man : — Upon co7iditio7t 
that He would humble Hi?nself. The classical passage on the 
doctrine of the humiliation of Christ is Philippians ii. 5-8. Christ 
Jesus had His being from all eternity as God, yet He resigned 
the glories of His heavenly state, and stripped Himself of 
the outward marks of divinity. The phrase ^made Himself 
of no reputation' is in the Greek one word {ekenosen), which 
literally means ' emptied.' There has been a long-continued dis- 
cussion in German theology on this subject, in which one side 
spoke of the humiliation of Christ as a kenosis, an emptying, and 


the Other side preferred to speak of it as a krypsis, a concealing. 
This controversy is in part interesting, in part very drear}^ John 
Brenz (i 499-1 570), the head of what is known as the Swabian 
school, in the interests of the Lutheran doctrine of the ubiquity or 
omnipresence of the body of Christ, taught that Christ's humanity 
possessed from the first all that it has as exalted at God's right 
hand. As has been well said by Dr. Bruce {HwniL of Christy 
p. 120): 'In the system of Brenz, the two states of exaltation 
and humiliation are not successive, but rather simultaneous and 
co-existent.' The human nature of Christ was endowed with 
majesty, which was simply concealed during the period of suffering 
and death. This gave to Christ's humiliation an appearance of 
unreality. Those, again, in the Lutheran Church who were 
anxious to preserve the doctrine of Christ's humiliation in its 
fulness, were charged with surrendering the Lutheran doctrine of 
the ubiquity of Christ's body, on which Luther's doctrine of the 
Supper rested. What distinguished the Lutheran Christology, 
and occasioned much difficulty, was what is called the doctrine of 
the co7mnunicatio idiomattwi, the communication of divine pro- 
perties to the humanity of Christ. The Reformed theologians, 
that is, those who accepted the Calvinistic system, maintained the 
integrity of Christ's human nature, undisturbed by the infusion of 
divine properties. When endeavours were being made during 
the first half of the present century to bring about the union of 
the Lutheran and Reformed Churches in Germany, various 
schemes were proposed to explain the humiliation or self- 
depotentiation of the Son of God. The self-emptying or kenosis, 
to use St. Paul's phrase, corresponded literally to the exinanitio 
of the Reformed theologians. The latter, however, wisely con- 
fined themselves to the statement of Scripture facts, while the 
Lutherans had indulged in rash theorizings. The nineteenth 
century theologians clearly perceived that the attempt made in 
the sixteenth century to explain the incarnation as a raising of 
finite humanity by the infusion of divine properties, had failed 
by destroying the integ'-ity of Christ's human nature. Modern 


modes of thought demanded that the humanity be preserved 
entire. So the endeavour is made to explain the incarnation 
as a descent of the infinite into the region and within the limits 
of the finite. All the elaborate Christological theories of 
Thomasius, Gess, Ebrard, and Martensen, are just so many 
attempts to show how two natures, the divine and the human, 
can be conceived as coexisting in the one person of the God- 
man. According to the old Lutheran view, the incarnation was 
a deification of the humanity of Jesus ; according to the point 
of view of these recent theories, the incarnation was, as Scripture 
and, in accordance with Scripture, Calvinistic theologians affirm, 
a self-emptying of divine properties on the part of the Son of 
God in assuming the form of man. In their attempts to explain 
this mysterious subject, those German theologians referred to 
either fail to appreciate the unity of the person, that is, assume 
a twofold life, divine and human, alongside of one another, or 
confuse the natures, that is, make the divine nature take the 
place of a human soul. That human speculation on such a 
theme should thus result is inevitable. It must end in one or 
other of these erroneous conclusions, in which one side of the 
truth is emphasized, while the other is ignored. Just as in 
regard to the doctrine of election, we are assured from Scripture 
and our own spiritual experience that God's grace is sovereign, 
and that yet all men have the gospel call honestly and freely 
addressed them, — we know the facts, but cannot explain their 
harmony ; even so, the revelations of Scripture plainly teach that 
our Saviour is true God and true man, that as God He humbled 
Himself to assume the form of man, but how the two natures 
coexist together we are not told, probably because we could not 
comprehend the telling of it ; and, therefore, in vain and at our 
peril, are speculations attempted on this theme. 

2. We have to consider, in the next place, that this self-limita- 
tion of the Son of God was in order to this assumption of our 
nature :— the condition of His acceptance as party in the covenant 
was that He would himible Himself so far as to assume the humari 


nature^ of a soul and a body, unto personal union with His 
divine nature. This statement places before us all that Scripture 
makes known as to the nature of the incarnation. It falls 
naturally into two divisions. We are told, in the first place, that 
in the God-man there are two distinct natures ; and, in the second 
place, that these two natures are brought together in personal 

(i.) In the God-man there are two distinct natures : — God the 
Son humbles Himself so far as to assume the human nature of 
a soul and a body. In the very earliest ages of Christianity 
errors arose over the nature or natures of the God-man. Confu- 
sion entered into men's thoughts about Christ just because they 
allowed one or other of the natures to gain undue or exaggerated 
importance. What they required to do was to say He is very 
man, and at the same time, and with equal emphasis, He is 
very God. Whenever they began to call out boldly the one, 
and to whisper timidly and doubtfully the other, error made its 

{a) Some began to speak almost exclusively of His human 
nature. This was the form of error into which early Jewish 
Christians were most liable to fall. There were two reasons for 
this. On the one hand, the very purity of the idea of God in 
which they had been educated made it difficult for them to say of 
a man he is God. They had learned to know God as a spirit, 
and a spirit hath not flesh and bones as Jesus had. On the other 
hand, the traditions of His everyday life were fresh among them. 
His relatives and the descendants of those who had talked with 
Him and familiarly known Him continued with them. The 
Apostles, and those who received the Apostles' doctrine, found in 
all these reminiscences an aid to their faith in Jesus as the Son of 
the living God. Yet we find, even in New Testament times, that 
among the Jewish followers of Christ there was a tendency to 
make too much of the types and shadows of the ceremonial law. 
It is very evident that if such leanings were encouraged, the im- 
portance of the person of Christ, amid such a crowd of rites and 


ceremonies, would be seriously compromised. Hence Paul and 
the other Apostles, in order to maintain sound doctrine, emphati- 
cally denied the necessity for salvation of any thing or any being 
save Christ alone. Jewish customs were permitted, and their 
continued observance even recommended to Christians of Jewish 
origin, especially if living in Jerusalem ; but thc) were duly warned 
against the danger of allowing such practices to obscure or depre- 
ciate the supreme significance of Christ. During the period 
covered by the Pauline Epistles — and that brings us down to 
about the year 68 — Judaism is not quite formally a heresy, but a 
dangerous tendency in that direction within the Church. After 
the destruction of Jerusalem, however, Christians in Palestine 
more or less escaped trouble by making the difference between 
themselves and Jews as distinct and marked as possible. In 
Aelia Capitolina, for example, which was built by Hadrian in 
A.D. 134 on the site of Jerusalem, no Jew was allowed to settle, 
but quiet and orderly Christians of Jewish nationality were free 
from all restriction or molestation. Many Jewish Christians now 
cleared themselves of every vestige of Judaism, and were hence- 
forth thoroughly assimilated in doctrine and practice with Gentile 
Christians. Those who were not prepared to take this step fell 
back more and more into Judaism, until the person of Christ as 
divine became not merely imperilled, but utterly destroyed. 
Those who remained Jewish, after all excuse for doing so had 
been, by the destruction of the temple, removed, ceased to be 
regarded as orthodox Christians. The Jewish Christians gene- 
rally had been usually distinguished by the name of Nazarenes, 
and this designation was long reserved for those small Palestinian 
communities, which continued to follow the faith and practice of 
James and the elders of Jerusalem. To those who so far fell 
back into Judaism as to speak of Jesus simply as a great Jewish 
prophet and teacher, the name of Ebionites was given. The 
word ebion means poor ; and this word, and not the name of a 
leader, is the origin of the designation. Some have supposed 
that it was applied to the heretical sect, because of the poor and 


low views entertained of the nature of Christ. It seems rather to 
have been given first of all to Christians generally, because of 
their prevailing poverty ; then to the Jerusalem Christians, who 
were poor even among the poor ; and finally, to those who had 
further suffered loss through the destruction of the nation, to 
whose fortunes they fanatically adhered. In course of time it 
was undoubtedly applied and restricted to those who held poor 
and unworthy views of Christ. To the Ebionites^ properly so 
called, Jesus was simply the son of Joseph and Mary, a wise 
teacher, and a noble Jew, but nothing more than a man. This 
is htimanitarianisjn in its baldest form. It recognises only the 
human nature, and fails to discern the presence of the Son of God. 
Arianism, Socinianism, modern Unitarianism, are all modifica- 
tions of this thoroughgoing humanitarian heresy. In accordance 
with Scripture, we say with them all that they can say as to the 
perfection of Christ's humanity, but we also call attention to the 
singular omission of that part of His being which renders Him 
unique among men. He is the Son of God. Even in the days 
of His flesh, when His glory was veiled, Peter saw that He was 
the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. xvi. 16). Unto Paul, 
who had apparently not seen Him during His life on earth, He 
was declared to be the Son of God with power (Rom. i. 4). In 
accordance with this witness regarding the historical Jesus of 
Nazareth and regarding the risen and exalted Saviour, the 
doctrine of the Church has emphasized the truth of Christ's 
divinity alongside of its assertion of His full and perfect 
humanity. In modern times attempts have been made from the 
purely naturalistic standpoint (Strauss), and from the sentimental 
standpoint (Renan), and from the purely moral standpoint {Ecce 
Hoind)^ to account for the Hfe of Christ, without any assumption 
that we have more to deal with than simple human nature. For 
the most part we find in these valuable contributions toward the 
understanding of one side of Christ's person ; but even Christ's 
humanity can be studied successfully only under the light of His 
divine nature. He is not perfect man unless He is also much 


more than man. It is evidently impossible for us to appreciate 
the beauty of His humility as man, unless we know Him to be the 
Son of God. 

{b) While some gave attention to the human nature of Jesus in 
such a way as to lose sight of His divinity, others formed such 
views of the divine Christ that they were inclined to explain 
away the reahty of His human nature. Those who entertained 
such views did so in connection with other religious notions. 
They were distributed over a great variety of more or less 
heretical sects, which were all embraced under the general 
designation of Gnostics, because they professed to know and 
ventured to speculate about mysteries. Among these were found 
great diversity of views regarding Christ. Some of them, like 
Cerinthus (about A.D. loo), were Ebionites and viewed Christ 
simply as a great prophet ; but most of them thought that to 
attribute to Him an ordinary human body of flesh and blood was 
unworthy and unsuitable. Such views are called Doketic^ because 
they explain Christ's humanity as a mere appearance or sem- 
blance, not a reality. Doketisin is thus the theory that seeks to 
preserve Christ's divinity, by supposing that what His contem- 
poraries took for a human nature of soul and body was only the 
appearance of such, which the divine Logos or Word of God 
assumed that He might be visible among men. This was an 
opposite tendency to that which led to Ebionisin. It made its 
way most rapidly among non-Jewish but Eastern Christians, 
especially in Syria and Alexandria. Generally the systems in 
which it appeared were distinguished by their vigorous opposi- 
tion to Judaism, and doketic views were often called forth by 
antagonism to the merely human conception of Christ prevail- 
ing among the more reactionary Jewish Christians. But even 
where the individual remained devotedly attached to the Church 
and in general sympathy with Church doctrine, the tendency 
often made its appearance, especially during the earlier centuries. 
The apostles looked upon this error as no less dangerous than 
that which overlooked or depreciated the doctrine of their Lord's 


divinity. If He was not very man, a real member of our race, 
He would be no more fit to be our Mediator than if He had 
been a man and nothing more. Hence Paul, who had put the 
doctrine of our Lord's divinity in the forefront of every Epistle, 
is equally emphatic in his assertion of the reality of His 
humanity. Especially in his later Epistles — those addressed to 
Timothy — we find the Apostle enforcing with special earnestness 
the doctrine of the completeness and reality of the Lord's human 
nature, evidently in order to oppose and correct certain doketic 
tendencies which were making their appearance in the churches 
of Asia Minor (i Tim. ii. 5, iii. 16 ; 2 Tim. ii. 8). It is as man, 
as manifested in the flesh, as sprung of the seed of David, that 
the Son of God is quaUfied to be Mediator between God and man. 
When we pass from the later writings of Paul to the later writings 
of John, we find that the thirty intervening years had wrought 
a material change in those heretical tendencies. Towards the 
end of the first century heretical teachers were boldly preaching 
a mere phantom Christ, who had not actually assumed flesh and 
blood ; they shrank not from denying that the Son of God had 
come in the flesh, or that the man Jesus was actually the Son of 
God. This John opposed by a direct counter statement of the 
truth. He advances the evidence of his own experience as that 
of one who had heard, seen, looked upon, and handled the Word 
of life (i John i. i). It is the one decisive proof of being taught 
of God, if we confess that Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ 
come in the flesh (i John iv. 2, 15). There is no other productive 
faith, such as can secure victory over the world, save that which 
consists essentially in believing that Jesus is the Son of God 
(i John V. 5). Whoever denies this truth is a liar and a deceiver 
(i John ii. 22 ; 2 John 7). The same truths are enforced, less 
controversially, but rather by way of simple doctrinal statement, 
in the prologue of John's Gospel. In the opening verses of this 
Gospel, which is occupied in an eminent degree with unfolding 
the fulness of the divine nature of Christ, we are told that 
the Word, which was God, was made flesh and dwelt among 


US (John i. I, 14) ; and in its closing verses, the object of 
the entire history is declared to be to persuade men to beheve 
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (John xx. 31). The 
earlier and more simply narrative accounts of our Lord's 
life on earth in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 
assume throughout the reality and integrity of His human 
nature. From another point of view, as partaker with us of all 
our human sensibilities and emotions, the writer of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews (especially ch. ii. 9-18) lays much stress on the 
pure humanity of Jesus. In the creeds and confessions of the 
Church, the doctrine of our Lord's humanity is emphasized just 
as strongly as that of His divinity. The so-called Apostles' 
Creed (which, as based on the baptismal formula, is no doubt 
very ancient), in its simple and objective style, as opposed to the 
elaborate and doctrinal style of later creeds, gives a very clear 
statement of the doctrine of the twofold nature of Christ : — I 
believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was con- 
ceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered 
under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. Even the 
Creed of the Nicene Council (a.d. 325), which was drawn up for 
the purpose of giving a strong and explicit statement of the 
doctrine of Christ's full divinity, fails not to describe this divine 
being, very God of very God, as very man who ' came down from 
heaven, was incarnate, was made man, suffered, rose again the 
third day,' etc. In our Scottish Confession (a.d. 1560), in the 
XXXIX. Articles of the Church of England (A.D. 1562), and in the 
Westminster Confession (a.d. 1649), ample expression is given to 
the truth of our Lord's humanity. The brief statement before us 
is equally satisfactory. It has, however, been commonly charged 
against ordinary Christian orthodoxy, that it gave preponderating 
attention to the divine aspect of Christ's person, and did but 
scanty justice to the human side. Perhaps the general tendency 
of Christian thought has been somewhat one-sided ; and in so 
far as this may have been the case, the modern tendency to 
minute study of every trait of His human character, though in 


most instances showing itself in thoroughly one-sided discussions, 
will afford an important and desirable corrective. 

{c) It ought further to be observed, that it is the human nature, 
not simply a human body, that the Son of God humbled Himself 
to assume. The earher Church Fathers simply used scriptural 
or synonymous phrases to describe the relation of the human and 
the divine in Christ. But it was always humanity or the flesh 
which they spoke of as joined with the divine nature. During 
the first three centuries, it seems to have been assumed that the 
flesh or humanity of the Lord meant ordinary human nature of 
soul and body. No need had yet arisen for giving an explicit 
statement of this truth. It was only after an attempt had been 
made to represent this humanity of Christ as only part of a 
human nature, that Church teachers began to say that Christ had 
a true body and a reasonable soul. About the middle of the 
fourth century, Apollinaris, a very learned and pious Syrian 
bishop, in endeavouring to describe the union of divine and 
human natures in Christ, made room for the divine by impairing 
the human. Accepting from Plato a thoroughgoing trichotomy 
of man's nature, as consisting of body, soul, and spirit, he ex- 
plained the person of Christ as comprising a human body and 
soul, and the divine Logos in place of the human spirit. The 
great Church leaders, Athanasius (299-373), Gregory Nazianzen 
(330-390), and Gregory of Nyssa (322-396), all perceived the 
danger of thus interfering with the true and perfect manhood of 
the Redeemer. They saw clearly that unless Christ is man, with 
all the powers and faculties that belong to man, He cannot be the 
God-man. What is meant by * soul,' in the statement before us 
is that which Apollinaris distinguished as soul and spirit. It is 
more particularly and exactly described in our Shorter Catechism 
as a reasonable soul : all in man, in short, that is not body. It is 
not a body that constitutes man, but, along with that, all his 
intellectual, moral, and spiritual powers. Our Lord assumes 
man's moral and religious consciousness. He takes our nature, 
— not merely part of it, 


(2.) In the God-man, the two distinct natures of God and man 
are joined together in the unity of one person : — He assumes the 
human nature unto personal imiojt with the divine iiature. While 
the two natures in Christ are distinct from one another, and each 
uncurtailed and perfectly complete, they form together not two, 
but only one person. It is not therefore proper to speak of 
certain experiences of the life of the Redeemer in the world as 
belonging to the one nature, and certain experiences as belonging 
to the other nature. Everything that He said and everything 
that He did, are to be attributed to His divine-human person. 
It is the God-man, and not the God or the man in Him, that 
speaks, and works, and suffers. In the early Church some 
erred in this way. There were two opposite extreme tendencies 
which caused excessive annoyance and trouble during the first 
half of the fifth century. On the one hand, there were some 
who completely distinguished and separated the two natures in 
Christ, so that, while they continued to speak of one person, 
they made the divine and human practically two complete 
persons bound together only by a common name. There were 
not only two natures, but two persons. Those holding such views 
came to be called Nestorians^ from Nestorius, who had been 
educated under Theodore of Mopsuestia, deriving his doctrinal 
views mainly from the teaching of this celebrated master. Nes- 
torius was consecrated Bishop of Constantinople in A.D. 428 ; he 
had for his principal opponent the well-known Cyril of Alexan- 
dria ; and he was finally condemned and deposed in A.D. 431, at 
the third OEcumenical Council held at Ephesus. Considerable 
misunderstanding of one another's position seems to haVe pre- 
vailed, and exaggerated statements occur on both sides. Nes- 
torius objected to such expressions as these : God was born, God 
suffered, Mary was the bearer of God. The use of such terms is 
certainly objectionable. We should not speak of God, but of the 
God-man, as being born, and as suffering. At the same time, it 
is equa'ly erroneous to attribute such experiences simply to the 
human nature of Christ. God in Himself cannot suffer or be 


subject to change — this is the truth emphasized by Nestorius : 
God the Son incarnate, having assumed human nature, subjects 
Himself, not merely His human nature, to suffering and change of 
being, — this is the truth emphasized by Cyril. This last state- 
ment is the accepted doctrine of the Church regarding the wnion 
of the two natures in one person in Christ. On the other hand, 
there were some who confounded and mixed up the natures with 
one another, so as to have not merely one person in Christ, but 
only one nature. These were called generally Monophy sites, 
maintainers of the doctrine of one nature, while the orthodox 
were called Dyophysites, maintainers of the doctrine of two 
natures. Those who keenly opposed the heretical tendency of 
the Nestorians, which threatened the unity of Christ's personality, 
were in danger of overlooking the completeness of each nature, 
the divine and human, in the God-man. This, indeed, was made 
a charge against Cyril (Bp. of Alexandria, A.D. 412-444) by the 
followers of Nestorius ; but whatever exaggerations of language 
he may have indulged in, he explained away in an orthodox 
sense. Others did not show this moderation, and Monophysit- 
ism spread in many quarters. Those under the influence of such 
tendencies revelled in the use of the very phrases which had 
given offence to Nestorius ; and cunningly charged moderate, 
that is, orthodox men, with Nestorian leanings. This party was 
headed by Eutyches, who had before been a zealous opponent of 
Nestorius. He was head of a large monastery near Constanti- 
nople, and was, in the year A.D. 448, already an old man of 
seventy years, when he was first called before the Synod of Con- 
stantinople to answer the charge of heresy. After a good deal 
of what looks extremely like prevarication, Eutyches explained 
his behef in these words : I confess that before the union of the 
Godhood and manhood He was of two natures ; but, after the 
union, I confess only one nature. The Synod proceeded to 
depose Eutyches, and a most emphatic condemnation of Mono- 
physitism in every form was pronounced by the CEcumenical 
Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451. It will be seen that this 


heresy is simply a development of that one-sided tendency which 
appeared earlier in Apollinarianism. From the middle of the 
fifth century onwards, the doctrine of the two natures united in 
one person in Christ has continued without dispute as the 
orthodox Church doctrine. Any subsequent discussions on such 
questions were only in regard to details — like that of Mono- 
theletistn and Dyotheletism^ in the seventh century, where the 
doctrine of the completeness of the two natures, and their union 
in one person, was not disputed, but it was simply asked whether 
this required us to speak of two wills, or only of one will, in the 
God -man. The details of all such controversies now seem 
insufferably tedious, and many of the points raised appear, from 
our point of view, extremely frivolous. Reflection, however, 
shows that these discussions were absolutely necessary. Until 
all possible difficulties had been stated, and all possible modes of 
answering the question had been sifted, the Christian Church 
could never have framed those admirable statements of Scripture 
truth regarding the nature and person of Christ, which are so 
conveniently expressed in the words before us, and in our Shorter 

3. We have brought before us in the next place, the relations 
which the Mediator, as God-man, bears directly to God and His 
holy law : — He htmibles Himself to submit Himself to the law, as 
surety for them [the elect'], and to satisfy justice for thetn, by 
giving obedience in their name, eveii unto the stiffering of the 
cursed death of the cross. Christology is generally divided into 
two great divisions, in which we treat respectively of the Person 
and of the Work of Christ. In the two preceding sections we 
have had before us the questions affecting Christ's person, and 
the conclusion reached sets before us the Redeemer as the Son of 
God, who has assumed our nature of soul and body into personal 
union with His divine nature. In this and the following sections, 
we are required to consider the reason that led the Son of God to 
assume our nature. It is the question that is answered by the 
doctrine of the Atonement. Cur Deics Homo ? Why does God 


become man ? The Sum of Saving Knowledge, construing doc- 
trine from the point of view of the eternal divine covenant, 
answers that, in order to be accepted as party in the covenant 
transaction with God the Father, the Son had to submit Himself 
to law, had to yield satisfaction for those whose place He took, 
and had in all things to render perfect personal obedience to 

(i.) The God-man sudnn'ts Himself to the lazv, as surety for the 
elect. As Son of God He was lawgiver, rather than subject to 
the law; but as Redeemer He places Himself under its sanction. 
It is, however, only as Redeemer that He is thus under law ; He 
is born under law simply for the purpose of redeeming those who 
were already under it (Gal. iv. 4, 5). This statement of the doc- 
trine by the apostle calls our attention to the important point that 
His position under law was that of the law-breakers. Had He 
simply appeared as an example of the perfectly sinless man, to 
influence us by an exhibition of holiness. He would not have been 
subject to a law which was not made for a righteous man (i Tim. 
i. 9). Personally observing the precepts of the law throughout 
His spotlessly holy hfe, the curse of a broken law lay upon Him 
on account of those breakers of the law whose place He had 
assumed. Submitting to the law as man's substitute, means 
submitting to the sufferings and penalties which constituted the 
curse of the broken law. To be born under law was for Christ 
equivalent to being made a curse for us. Here we already reap 
the benefit of previous discussions about Christ's person. We 
can distinguish between what is true of Christ in Himself as Son 
of God, and what is true only of the God-man, the Son of God 
after assuming our human nature. It is only as surety for His 
people that the penal expressions of Scripture can be applied to 
Him. As the Word made flesh, He is our substitute, made sin for 
us, whereas otherwise he had nothing to do with sin. 

(2.) The God-man makes full satisfaction for the elect : — He 
htcmbles Himself to satisfy pestice for them. No calm, patient, 
fair-minded student of the New Testament can fail to see that 


Christ and all the Apostles set forth, under various modes of 
expression, the one truth that our Lord's death was for our sins. 
The wages of sin is death. Scripture knows of no other death 
than that which follows sin. The death of Christ is no excep- 
tion to this ; He dies for sins, but not His own. As surety for us 
He has to pay our debt, and in doing this, nothing less and 
nothing more, He satisfies divine justice. The law delivets over 
guilty man — man lying under God's wrath — to death. This is 
the curse of the law, and from it only the death of our surety can 
deliver the guilty. His death, looked at from man's point of 
view, is Redemption ; looked at from God's point of view, it is 
Satisfaction. It is God's law that is broken ; it is His claim that 
must be met. The doctrine of Christ's death as an expiatory 
sacrifice, a satisfaction rendered to God, is most thoroughly 
treated by Paul, and his most elaborate expositions are given in 
the Epistles to the Romans and to the Galatians. It is there 
shown that God might have exhibited His righteousness by 
judging the guilty and pronouncing and executing the sentence 
of death. He shows His favour or grace in passing over the 
guilty. But when He exacts the penalty of our surety. He at 
once shows His grace to us, and receives satisfaction to His 
righteousness. Hence we are justified freely by His grace, and 
it is God's love toward us that is commended ; but this is brought 
about by a propitiation in Christ's blood, by Christ dying for us 
sinners, which declares God's righteousness (Rom. iii. 24-26, 
v. 8-10). God regarded us as His enemies, that is, because of 
our sin we were objects of His wrath ; and only propitiation in 
Christ's blood, satisfaction to His claims by the shedding of the 
blood of our surety, could turn that wrath away. 

The Church doctrine of satisfaction was matured by very slow 
stages. From Paul to Anselm marks a period of a thousand 
years. The theologians of the early Church in the East and in the 
West were occupied with other problems. In the Eastern division 
of the Church, as we have seen, Christological questions occupied 
the attention of the most influential and thoughtful divines; and 


in the West, the principal interest of the leaders and scholars of 
the Church was given to anthropological questions, such as 
emerged in the Pelagian controversy. Soteriological questions, 
that is, discussions leading to the formulating of the doctrine 
of the work of Christ, to the establishing of a Church doctrine 
of the Atonement, were reserved, or at least did not secure any 
prominent place. Undoubtedly the early Fathers have much to 
say about the work of Christ, but their modes of expression are 
inexact, vague, and unsystematic. They were unable to present 
a well-balanced doctrine of the Atonement, because of their 
defective and one-sided view of sin. Themselves recently 
rescued from heathenism, and directly engaged in the contest 
with heathenish practices and modes of life, it was the power, 
rather than the guilt, of sin that occupied the most prominent 
place in their thoughts. They had much to say about human 
weakness and ignorance, much to say about the strength of the 
evil principle in man's corrupt nature, and in demoniacal powers 
which had access to those hearts already prone to evil. This was 
all true and important : it was not in the least inconsistent with a 
strongly-expressed doctrine of the sinner's guilt before God ; but 
where undue prominence was given to the idea of the dominion of 
sin, that of its guilt became obscured. For want of a strongly- 
accentuated idea of the guilt of human sin, a strict and systematic 
statement of satisfaction for sin rendered to God, redemption 
from guilt by the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, could not be set 
forth. Anselm (1033-1109) of Canterbury made the first con- 
siderable scientific attempt to elaborate a doctrine of the Atone- 
ment. In a short treatise, entitled Cur Deus Homo? Why did 
God become man ? of which the first part was published in 1094, 
and the second part in 1098, he cleared the way by repudiating 
the old patristic notion that Christ's death was a ransom-price 
paid to Satan. Some of the Fathers stated this notion at length, 
supposing that Satan was deceived or disappointed of his expected 
prize when Christ burst the bonds of death. Anselm was able 
to overcome this crude conception, by means of the idea of the 


importance of human personality which had been gradually rising 
into prominence. An illustration of the growth of the sense of 
individual responsibility may be found in the fact, that in the 
Western Creeds the expression ' we believe,' with which the earlier 
Eastern Creeds open, is changed into the more direct ' I beUeve.' 
On the basis of such a conception of human personality rests the 
true conception of the guilt of sin. Previously, the idea of the 
value of Christ's work for conferring on sinful men a right of grace 
for the conquest of sin, had been enforced, while the equally true 
idea of the value of Christ's work for the satisfying of the divine 
justice in regard to its sentence already pronounced against sinful 
man, had been overlooked. When the sense of man's individual, 
personal responsibility before God — his answerableness for his 
conduct as an intelligent moral and spiritual being — was more 
clearly realized, the idea of satisfaction in connection with Christ's 
death, claimed in the scheme of doctrine its rightful place. This 
doctrine of satisfaction by the vicarious sacrifice of Christ is, as 
we have seen, a doctrine prominently and clearly expressed in 
Scripture. Anselm performed a distinguished service to theology, 
— and won a place for himself with Augustine and Calvin among 
the very greatest of theologians, — by securing for this doctrine of 
satisfaction by atonement its proper place in the theology of the 
Church. The only objection that can be brought against the 
position of Anselm by one who accepts in their natural sense the 
statements of the New Testament regarding Christ's work, is one 
that concerns his pecuHar way of stating the doctrine, not the 
doctrine itself. Anselm speaks of the honour of God as demand- 
ing satisfaction for sin, and the work, and especially the death, of 
Christ as reparation offered for what we might call a personal 
injury or wrong done to God. Calvin and his modern followers 
prefer to regard sin as an offence against the holiness and right- 
eousness of God, and the work of Christ, especially His death, as 
the satisfaction rendered to the divine holiness and righteousness, 
which makes it possible for the Righteous One, after He has 
exacted the penalty of sin from the sinner's surety, to be reconciled 


to the sinner that believes in Christ Jesus. The doctrine of a real 
satisfaction rendered to God by the work of Christ as an atone- 
ment to reconcile God to us, alongside of the doctrine of the 
effective influence of that work upon the believer's heart in recon- 
ciling him to God, is an essential and indispensable doctrine of 
scriptural Christianity. Any departure from it inevitably leads 
in the direction either of Mysticism or of Socinianism. 

(3.) This work of the God-man, which was wrought by Him as a 
subject under law, and as a surety yielding satisfaction to divine 
justice, was obedience rendered in doing and in suffering even unto 
death : — He submits to law and satisfies justice for His people, 
by giving obedience in their ncwie, even unto the suffering of the 
ctcrsed death of the c?'oss. This constitutes a comprehensive 
description of the whole work of Christ for man. As man's 
substitute, He requires to render that perfect personal obedience 
which was the condition of the first covenant. This is what is 
called the active obedience of Christ. It was accomplished in that 
life of holy service in which He did the will and the work of Him 
that sent Him. Under this must be included all observances of 
the details of the divine law (Matt. iii. 15, v. 17, etc.) which He 
rendered as man's representative ; and the whole range of that 
obedience rendered by the Second Adam, which is set over 
against the disobedience of the First Adam (Rom. v. 19). This 
active obedience involved at every step an element of suffering. 
With the development of the active life of service, this element 
of suffering also developed. From time to time, the element of 
suffering became more and more prominent, till at last it assumed 
a greatly enhanced and intensified form. It culminated in the 
death of the cross. This yielding to suffering, viewed as the penal 
suffering of the sinner's surety, constitutes ih.^ passive obediejice of 
Christ. The whole obedience of Christ, under the two aspects of 
active and passive obedience, and not merely under one of these, 
constitutes the ground of the sinner's justification before God. 
The one really cannot be viewed apart from the other, any more 
than the divine and human natures in Christ can be viewed as 


operating separately. Christ^s holy life, His active obedience, 
gives value to His suffering, His passive obedience. Unlike 
priests taken from among men, He did not need first to offer for 
His own sins. Suffering unto death was just the extreme Hmit 
short of which His obedience did not stop. The reaching of this 
limit was claimed as satisfaction by God's righteousness, and the 
obedience of the Son did not fail to attain unto it. Inasmuch as 
the God-man gave Himself to death, the cUmax of His suffering 
was His own act. His active and His passive obedience alike 
culminated in His sacrificial death upon the cross. 

4. The work of Christ has not only this Godward aspect as 
the reconciliation by satisfactory obedience of God to man, but it 
has also a manward aspect as the means of man's deliverance 
from sin and death, and of his obtaining righteousness and life. 
God did give a people unto Christ, that He should ransom and 
redeem thejn from all sin and death, and purchase unto them 
righteousness and eternal life, with all saving grace leadi?tg there- 
unto, to be effectually, by means of His own appointmeiit applied 
in due time unto every one of thejn. Here we have three different 
points, which may be separately treated in order, (i) The work 
of Christ accomplishes man's deliverance from sin and death ; 
(2) The work of Christ secures to man possession of righteousness 
and eternal life ; and (3) This deliverance wrought and possession 
secured by Christ's work, are by Himself made effectual to His 
chosen ones individually. 

(i.) One important element in God's purpose in giving His Son 
as the sinner's surety, and in giving a people to His Son, was, 
that he should ransom and redeem thejnfrom all sijt and death. 
Man is viewed not only as guilty before God, but as under the 
power of sin, and consequently of death. That work of Christ, 
His Hfe and death, which renders satisfaction to God's justice, and 
so delivers man from his guilt, also gives to man power over 
sin, that otherwise has power over him, and so frees him from 
bondage. Christ's righteousness sets the believer free from sin. 
Our surety covers our disobedience against God by His own 


obedience, so that the guilt of our disobedience is forgiven ; but 
He also wins our hearts from disobedience, and delivers us from 
the dominion that sin had gained over us. It was for this purpose 
that Christ gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all 
iniquity (Tit. ii. 14), that He might redeem us from our vain 
conversation or evil manner of life, which we live after the precepts 
and examples of men (i Pet. i. 18), and this redemption is by the 
precious blood of Christ. The righteousness of Christ that atones 
for sin before God, and delivers the conscience from the power of 
sin, necessarily secures deliverance from death, which is the wages 
of sin. Death cannot be visited upon those whose sins are for- 
given, and for whom sin, in respect of guilt and dominion, is no 
more. This is the first stage, or negative result of Christ's work 
in the believer, — deliverance from sin and death. 

(2) Christ's work not lonly has this negative effect on the 
believer in respect of sin, it has also a positive effect in respect 
of righteousness. God gave a people to His Son that He should 
purchase unto them righteousness and eternal life. Everywhere 
throughout the New Testament that righteousness which charac- 
terizes the believer, as sin had characterized his natural state, is 
described as the purchased gift of Christ to His own. Our 
righteousness is spoken of as the gift of righteousness (Rom. 
V. 17), and is always ascribed to Christ as its source. Just as 
death follows sin, so hfe follows righteousness (Rom. v. 20, 21). 
Life as a possession at Christ's disposal is obtained by Him as 
wages for His righteousness, as death was secured by us as 
wages of sin. Our receiving of righteousness is as a gift from 
Christ (Rom. vi. 23). The bestowing upon us life through 
righteousness was the end for which God gave His Son (John iii. 
16, vi. 40, xvii. 2), and for which the Son declares that He gave 
Himself (John iii. 14, v. 24, vi. 47, 51, x. 27, 28). It is because 
this righteousness is Christ's righteousness that it stops not short 
of eternal life. The value of Christ's work is infinite. 'The 
merit of this His obedience is so great, as it shall never be recorded 
to the full ; the saints shall not learn to eternity the full worth 


of it out in glory ' (Goodwin). The idea of purchase ought never 
to be pressed so as to present a notion of exact equivalence between 
the sufferings of Christ and the blessedness of believers. We 
only say Christ's work was adequate to this result. 

(3.) Christ Himself in His own way renders His work effectual 
to every believer, in delivering from sin and conferring righteous- 
ness ; so God gave to His Son a people to redeem and make 
righteous, and also for this end to endow with all saving 
grace leading thereunto, to be effectually^ by means of His own 
appointment^ applied in due time to every one of the7n. Christ's 
work is saving grace. It does not consist simply in something 
which lies outside of man, which he may take and apply to 
himself or leave alone. He who works for us works in us. All 
those manifold influences by which the power of sin is shaken 
and the power of righteousness enhanced, — by which, therefore, 
movement in the direction of salvation is secured, — are not 
simply divine influences, but are such as issue from the mediatorial 
work of Christ. All that helps to salvation, as well as that 
salvation itself, is from Christ, either directly, or by some means 
appointed by Him. This embraces all providential occur- 
rences and combinations, consequences of our social relations and 
what is often regarded as the merely fortuitous association of 
ideas. Whatsoever maybe the means, He makes these effectual, 
so that His righteousness might for us actually become ours unto 
eternal life. This personal application of His abundantly sufficient 
work is secured for all who were given Him of the Father 
(John vi. 37). But though the provision is made at once and 
once for all, each of the chosen ones has his own due time, his 
day of salvation, when the means of grace are made, by the opera- 
tion of God's Spirit, effectual to him individually in conversion. 

5. In the somewhat lengthy statement which concludes the 
present section, it is shown how Christ, as party with the Father in 
the covenant of redemption, becomes party with the elect in the 
covenant of grace, and how, in the terms of this covenant, the bless- 
ings of 5,a.lvation have been conferred to all ages throughout the 


history of fallen man. The idea that runs through the whole sen- 
tence is that of Christ as the centre or middle point of all history. 
The covenant theolog}', of which the sum of saving knowledge may 
be regarded as an example, is in the best sense Christocentric. 
The engagement of the Son with the Father in the covenant of 
redemption, being an eternal act, has a bearing upon, and an 
efficacy in regard to, the whole course of the history of that race 
which it concerned. He assumes the garb of flesh, indeed, only 
when the fulness of the times had come ; but so soon as sin and 
death, which His redemption work has undertaken to remedy and 
remove, make their appearance in our world, the practical activity of 
the Saviour begins. For those before Christ's incarnation, as well 
as for all who have lived since, there is no salvation by any other, 
but by Christ alone. By the merit of His obedience unto death, the 
chosen of God in all ages have been saved. Expression was given 
to this truth from age to age in language of ever-increasing clear- 
ness, as the gradual advance of the dispensations would allow. The 
promise that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the 
serpent (Gen. iii. 15), given on the day of the fall, is usually called 
the Protevangelimn, or earliest announcement of the gospel. 
In a striking manner the promise of blessing was renewed to 
Abraham and his seed, to be perfectly realized in Him who is 
the seed of men, summing up in Himself all that is genuinely 
human to the rejection of all else (Gal. iii. 16), To all alike, 
whatever the characteristics of the age or the special circum- 
stances of the individual life, salvation consists in the appropriating 
of Christ by faith ; a right to and enjoyment of the blessing of 
His grace are dependent upon vital personal union with Himself. 
This relationship of the believer and the Saviour is described 
under terms of the covenant. It was simply the Father's will 
expressed in the eternal covenant of redemption that the Son 
carried out. To raise up in the last day and give eternal 
life to those given Him, was the Father's will (John vi. 38-40), 
but these blessings are to be enjoyed only by those who are in 


§ IIL For the accomplishment of this covenant of redemption^ ana 
maki7ig the elect partakers of the benefits thereof itt the covenant 
of grace, Christ Jesus came clad with the threefold office of 
Prophet, Priest, and King : made a Prophet, to reveal all 
saving knowledge to his people, and to persuade thein to 
believe and obey the sainej made a Priest, to offer up himself 
a sacrifice once for them all, a7id to ijitercede cotitinually with 
the Father, for makijtg their persons and services acceptable 
to him; aftd made a King, to subdue them to himself, to feed 
and rule them by his own appointed ordinances, and to defend 
them from their enemies. 

In the covenant of works there were but two parties : God 
and man. In the new covenant there are three : God, and man, 
and the mediator between God and man. This new covenant 
embraces the covenant of redemption, under which there are 
two parties, God the Father and God the Son, and the covenant 
of grace, under which there are two parties, Christ and man. 
By reason of sin, the parties in the covenant, God and man, are 
kept apart, and the covenant arrangements can be brought about 
only by means of a mediator. The mediatorial work of Christ, 
the Son of God incarnate, is described as executed by Him under 
the offices of a Prophet, of a Priest, and of a King. This distribu- 
tion of the work of Christ is thoroughly scriptural. The division 
is nowhere expressly made in the Old or New Testament, but 
His work is viewed under all these aspects. Moses is directed to 
promise to the people of Israel their Messiah as a Prophet (Deut. 
xviii. 15), while Isaiah, in oft-repeated utterances, foretells His 
prophetic activity (Isaiah xli. and onward) ; as a Prophet, Christ 
Himself declares that it is at Jerusalem that He must suffer (Luke 
xiii. 33), and the people recognise in Him a great Prophet, the 
Prophet of Nazareth (Luke vii. 16; Matt. xxi. 11). He is 
described as a Priest of the order of Melchizedec (Psalm ex.), 
and this idea is elaborately developed in a doctrinal form in the 


Epistle to the Hebrews ; He is represented as Priest upon His 
throne (Zech. vi. 13), to whom is owing the existence and glory of 
the temple (comp. Heb. iii. 1-6); and Christ speaks of sanctifying 
Himself that He may sanctify His people (John xvii. 19), which is 
the language applied to the action of a priest. The kingly office 
is set forth especially in the Psalms (Ps. ii., Ixxii., ex.) ; in the 
parables of the kingdom, and before Pilate, our Lord Himself 
assumes the title (Luke xix. 12; John xviii. 33-36). The three 
offices are bound together, though with no dogmatic intention, in 
Rev. i. 5, — Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-begotten of 
the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Use was made 
in theology of this threefold distinction in the work of Christ by 
Eusebius, as early as the beginning of the fourth century. All the 
greater theologians, such as Augustine and Aquinas, show their 
acquaintance with it by occasional references. Calvin first used 
it {Institutes^ ii. 15) as a principle of division, employing it, 
exactly as it is employed in the Sum of Saving Knowledge^ to 
explain in detail how Christ accomplishes His mediatorial work 
on our behalf. 

We shall now consider in order the three offices which Christ 
executes as Mediator of the New Covenant, in terms of the 
covenant to bring together God and man. 

I. Christ the mediator is a prophet : — made a Prophet^ to reveal 
all saving kfio%u ledge to His people^ and to persuade them to believe 
a7id obey the sa7ne. The Word is the name given to the pre- 
existent Christ, and when the Son of God became man it is said 
the Word was made flesh. This name marks out the Sou as 
from all eternity in idea, and then through all time in reality, the 
instrument of communication between God and His creation. 
He is the revealer of God, — in a state of holiness as the Word, 
and in a state of sinfulness as the Word made flesh. Not only 
is He with God, but He is sent of God. Thus He is called the 
Apostle (Heb. iii. i), as sent by God with a message to men. 
Being entrusted with such a mission, He is a prophet, a revealer 


in His person and work of God's will. By Him all saving know- 
ledge is made known to His people. It is not otherwise attain- 
able. The appearance of a great prophet marks an epoch. The 
arrival of each of the great Old Testament prophets proclaimed 
in a sinful world the advancing fulfilment of God's word of truth. 
Their messages were ever being spoken more and more plainly ; 
but of this prophet it was said, Never man spake like this man. 
He does not make known anything altogether new. There is not 
a single doctrine of Christ which we do not find in the Old Testa- 
ment. But He is Himself personally the embodiment of them 
all. Other prophets were with God, and spoke on behalf of God ; 
but Christ as prophet was God, and when He spoke on behalf of 
God, He spoke in His own name, for He and the Father are one. 
His position as prophet is quite unique. No man knoweth the 
Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son shall reveal Him. 
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which 
is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. The great 
work of the prophet is to reveal God. Christ had therefore to 
show Himself in word and deed ; and then He said, he that hath 
seen Me hath seen the Father also. Thus He executed the office 
of a prophet, especially in the training of the twelve, — manifesting 
and declaring unto them the Father's name, and giving them the 
words which the Father had given Him (John xvii. 6, 8, 26). He 
felt it to be His mission to preach the gospel to all the people of 
Israel as the children of the promise, and to make known God's 
saving will. In performing this work He makes bold claims. 
His self-assertion is such as only His divine nature and divine 
commission can justify. He speaks with personal, not delegated, 
authority. Impressively, and with strong emphasis. He says, 
Verily, verily, I say. Christ's prophetic office, however, is not 
limited to His state of humiliation. The risen Saviour continues 
to execute this office by means of His Holy Spirit in the Church. 
As He was leaving the world, as He protested before the Father 
His faithfulness to His commission. He said not only I have 
declared, but also I will declare Thy name to those whom 


Thou hast given Me. The Spirit's work is rightly regarded as 
that of the glorified Christ ; and the work of the Spirit in 
persuading men to faith and obedience, may fitly be reckoned 
under the prophetic office of the Redeemer. 

II. Christ the mediator is a priest : made a Priest^ to o^er tip 
Himself a sacrifice 07ice for them all, and to intercede contijitcally 
with the Father, for making their persojts and services acceptable 
to Him. The prophet represents God to man ; the priest repre- 
sents man to God. The mediator of the New Covenant must 
be at once a prophet and a priest, reconciling man to God by 
revealing God in a loving and attractive aspect, and reconciling 
God to man by removing, by means of expiation, that which 
prevents God having any dealing or intercourse with men. 
What Christ proclaimed as prophet. He procured as priest. 
The priestly office consists of two main parts, — sacrifice and 

I. Christ as a priest offers Himself a sacrifice once for thciii 
all. It is evident that no earthly type, either Melchizedec or 
Aaron, can adequately represent the idea of Christ's priesthood. 
While throughout the Old and New Testament the work of 
Christ is very frequently referred to in terms and under figures 
borrowed from sacrificial rites and priestly actions, it is in the 
Epistle to the Hebrews that the doctrine of Christ's priesthood 
is thoroughly elaborated. There a careful comparison is insti- 
tuted between Christ as priest, on the one hand, and Aaron 
and Melchizedec as priests, on the other hand. All the parti- 
culars in which these two types of priesthood foreshadowed the 
priestly office of the Mediator, are brought together and constitute 
the perfected New Testament doctrine of Christ's work as con- 
ceived under the head of priesthood. According to the writer 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the mediator as priest must 
satisfy three demands, (i) He must be appointed of God. No 
one assumes such an office of himself. There is, indeed, no 
temptation to do so. Any attempt rashly to arrogate such an 


office would indicate unfitness, ignorance of the serious and onerous 
nature of the undertaking. God alone can judge of qualification, 
and determine when His requirements are satisfied, — and Christ 
is called of God (Heb. v. 4). (2) He must be taken from among 
men to act in things pertaining to God. The most essential 
feature in the priestly office is its representative character. 
The priest stands before God for men, and therefore he must 
be taken from among them. He does officially what God's law 
demands of every man. Those who nailed Christ to the cross 
represented man in his sinfulness ; but also the crucified repre- 
sented mankind. The sanctifier and the sanctified are all of 
one. (3) He must have somewhat to offer. The offering of 
earthly priests could never be perfect, because it was something 
external to themselves. They had nothing to offer; therefore, 
something had to be given them to provide a sacrifice first for 
their own sins, and then for the sins of the people. Christ, 
as Himself sinless, had in Himself that which He could offer. 
Christ was Himself priest, sacrifice, and altar {^Ameshis' Medulla^ 
I. cxix. 19). He was priest in His two natures as God and 
man ; sacrifice, specially as viewed in His human nature, hence 
the reference is not so much to His person as to His body, 
His blood, etc. ; and altar, in respect more immediately of His 
divine nature, and thus the altar sanctified the gift. As Amesius 
further admirably says : Christ the Mediator was necessarily 
God and man, for unless He had been man He would have 
been no fit sacrifice, and unless He had been God this sacrifice 
would not have been of sufficient worth. 

2. Christ as a priest intercedes coiitmually luith the Father. 
This function of the mediatorial office is executed by Christ, partly 
in His earthly, partly in His heavenly state. As exercised on 
earth, it may be regarded as an anticipation of the functions of 
the glorified Redeemer, just as the redemption of those saved 
before the crucifixion of Christ was accomplished in anticipation 
of that sacrifice. Christ's priestly intercession consists in His 
apoearing before God as our representative, and presenting in His 


presence the works of satisfaction and merit which He had wrought 
on earth. This intercession is practically the continuation of 
Christ's sacrifice, and so is to be regarded as the continued cause 
of our justification. We have had access into the grace of God by 
the death of Jesus Christ (Rom. v. 2), and by Him too, through His 
intercession, we are kept standing in that grace. The continuance 
of our standing in grace depends upon the continuance of His 
intercession. God has determined that access to Him can never 
be, save by a mediator. Hence the mediator whose priestly 
offering of himself reconciles enemies unto God, must as a living 
Saviour by his intercession secure continued salvation unto those 
who are reconciled (Rom. v. 10). The death of Christ was an all- 
satisfying atonement for man's guilt and the perfectly sufficient 
means for procuring salvation {medm7n impetratioiiis) ; the inter- 
cession of Christ is simply the means of applying salvation {^mediiiui 
applicationis)^ adding nothing in supplement of the sacrificial work, 
but securing the effectual application thereof. As thus understood, 
intercession forms an essential function of Christ's priestly office. 
His office would have been imperfect had He remained on earth 
(Heb. viii. 4). Just as the Jewish High Priest with the blood 
entered into the Holiest of all to make intercession, so Christ in 
the exercise of His priestly function enters heaven as intercessor, 
and He realizes the ideal of priestly intercession by continuing it 
for ever. (See an admirable exposition of this doctrine in Good- 
win, Works, iv. pp. 56-91.) This intercession of Christ precedes 
our prayers and anticipates our temptations. Christ says to Peter, 
while foretelling his fall, that He had already interceded for him 
so that his fall should not be final. It may be defined simply as 
the expression of the Saviour's will (John xvii. 24). It should also 
be observed that the same name, Paraclete^ is given to Christ 
and to the Spirit. This word means 'one called upon,' and 
is translated 'advocate' as applied to Christ (i John ii. i), and 
'comforter' as applied to the Spirit (John xiv. 16, etc.). The in- 
tercession of Christ as our priest is to be distinguished from the 
intercession of the Spirit. Christ's intercession is apart from us, 


on our behalf ; we can take no share in it, for it is something done 
for us that we cannot do for ourselves (i John ii. i ; Rom. viii. 
34 ; Heb. vii. 24, 25 ; Heb. xii. 24) ; the Spirit's intercession is, 
along with and in our spirits, teaching and moving us to approach 
God (Rom. viii. 15, 26, 27). This doctrine of the eternal inter- 
cession of Christ enforces, in a very striking way, the great truth 
that God's favour toward us is wholly and for ever dependent upon 
the satisfaction that He has in Christ. It is the presence of 
Christ before God that secures a continuation of the divine good- 
ness to us, and it is the eternity of Christ's presence as intercessor 
that assures us of eternal salvation from God. 

111. Christ the mediator is a king : — Made a King to subdue them 
to Himself^ to feed a?id rule them by His own appointed ordinances^ 
a?id to defeftd them fro?n their eneinies. In virtue of His divine 
being, Christ is king. In the exercise of this personal right. He 
has dominion over all things that exist and over all intelligent 
beings. As mediator. He is king of saints, and has this office 
conferred upon Him by His Father. He is by the Father set 
king in Zion (Ps. ii. 6), the government is put upon His shoulder 
(Isa. ix. 6), and the Father hath put all things into His hand 
(John iii. 35). The universal sovereignty which He exercises as 
mediator is exercised by Him on behalf of His own people : He 
is head over all things to the Church (Eph. i. 22). In dealing with 
those who belong to His mediatorial kingdom, that is, with those 
whom God has given Him out of the world, Christ, in the execution 
of His kingly office, exercises a threefold activity, (i) He reduces 
them to subjection, that they may acknowledge His sovereignty : 
He is made a king to subdue the7n to Hi7nself. This He does by 
His Word and Spirit, seeking them out, convincing them of sin, 
enlightening their minds in the knowledge of the truth, and 
renewing their wills. It is as king that the mediator sends His 
Spirit into our hearts to accomplish these gracious results. (2) 
He supplies nourishment and the means of growth to those who 
are thus actually brought under His kingly authority : He is made 


a king to feed and rule them by His own appointed ordinances. 
The king is lawgiver. His laws are at once authoritative com- 
mands and means of spiritual nutriment to His people (Ps. cxix. 
4, 93). Besides the word, which under the Spirit is the means by 
which the mediator subdues and then feeds His people, He 
employs special means, granted only to those who have been 
brought into subjection, and devoted to providing them with their 
necessary food, the sacraments, and especially the sacrament of 
the Lord's Supper. In the life of faith, and in believing reception 
of the Supper, He gives us His flesh to eat, and we find that 
His flesh is meat indeed, and His blood is drink indeed (John vi. 
51, 55). His rule is spiritual, and results from the indwelling of 
His Spirit. In spiritual matters this rule is sovereign. Unless 
we resist all hierarchical and papal pretensions on the one hand, 
and all Erastian encroachments on the other hand, we shall be 
guilty of breaking our allegiance to our king. The relation of 
Christ the king to the Church universal is set forth in the name 
which He assumes : He that holdeth the seven stars in His right 
hand (Rev. ii. i). Chastisement and the manifold discipline of 
life are forms of the exercise of His regal authority over His 
people. (3) He wards off hostile attacks, and makes the evil 
designs of His people's foes to work out good to them : He is made 
a king to defend them from their enemies. The believer's worst 
enemy is the plague of his own heart. While the guilt or con- 
demning power of sin is removed, and its dominion is broken, it 
continues to exist, but under sentence of utter destruction. Satan 
also seeks to overthrow and destroy, but Christ promises His 
Church that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. 
xvi. 18). He now restrains the enemy of His people, and shall 
bruise him under their feet shortly (Rom. xvi. 20). In the exe- 
cution of these three offices the Mediator of the New Covenant 
effects such a communion between Himself and His people, that 
they are brought into eternal relations with the Father in the bonds 
of the covenant of peace. 



§ I . The outward means and ordinances, for inaking men partakers 
of the covenant of grace, are so wisely dispensed, as that the 
elect shall be infallibly converted and saved by them; and the 
reprobate, among whom they are, not to be justly stunibled. 
The means are specially these four — (i) The Word of God j 
(2) The Sacrainents J (3J Kirk-government j (4) Prayer. 
In the Word of God, preached by sent messengers, the Lord 
makes offer of grace to all sinners, upon condition of faith in 
Jesus Christ; and whosoever do confess their sins, accept of 
Christ offered, and submit themselves to his ordinances, he 
will have both them and their children received into the honour 
and privileges of the covenant of grace. By the Sacrajnents, 
God will have the covenant sealed for confirnmig the bargaijt 
on the foresaid condition. By Kirk-govern7?ient, he will have 
them hedged in, and helped forward unto the keeping of the 
covena7it. And by Prayer, he will have his own glorious 
grace, promised in the covenant, to be daily drawn forth, 
acknowledged, and employed. All which means are followed 
either really, or in profession only, according to the quality 
of the covenanters, as they are true or counterfeit believers. 

This section deals with the quebtlon of the means of grace, 


defining precisely what is meant by the term, showing what 
particulars are included under it, and how these means are used 
really or in appearance only. 

I. We have here, first of all, a careful statement as to what may 
be expected from the use of the outward means, and what ends 
these are fitted and intended to serve: — The outward mea?is ajid 
ordinances f for making men partakers of the covenafit of grace, 
are so wisely dispensed, as that the elect shall be infallibly con- 
verted and saved by them; and the reprobate^ among whom they 
are, not to be justly stumbled. The general statement is here 
made, that outward means of grace have been ordained of God 
for the conversion of sinners, and in order to secure for the con- 
verted the blessings of the covenant. This results from the 
Scripture revelation of God, which declares Him to be the author 
not of confusion but of peace (i Cor. xiv. 33). To the Jews had 
been committed the oracles of God (Rom. iii. 2), and to them 
pertained the covenants, the giving of the law, and the service 
of God (Rom. ix. 4). This constituted their peculiar privilege. 
According to the Apostle, the same privilege is open now to all 
in the spiritual use of ordinances in which Christ is set forth as 
crucified for us. This Scripture doctrine of the means of grace 
has been faithfully maintained in the Church. It was necessary 
to insist upon the doctrine of the means of grace in its scriptural 
simplicity, and to guard against extravagances leading to 
dangerous errors, which had been favoured by superstition and 
fanaticism. Ever and anon the tendency to fall away from the 
Biblical and Church doctrine made its appearance, at one time 
in the direction of an over-estimation and magical conception of 
the ordinances, as though they had, sensuously or materially, 
some power for effecting the end in view, and at another time, 
in the direction of an under-estimation and hyper-spiritualistic 
depreciation of all outward means, as though what is in form 
outward and sensible, codld never have any place in the accom- 
plishing of a spiritual work. We have the Romanizing tendency, 


on the one hand, and the mystical tendency, in its various forms, 
on the other hand. 

I. Very early in the history of the Church there arose that 
erroneous doctrinal tendency which consists in confounding the 
means with the efficient cause, and regarding the use of such 
means as necessarily securing salvation. Many unguarded and 
exaggerated expressions may be collected from the writings of the 
earliest of the Fathers, in which it is only too evident that the 
Church and its ordinances receive an honour and authority 
which belong to Christ Himself alone. Through the early 
centuries we can trace the growth of High Church and 
Sacramentarian views. Particular aspects of the truth were 
dwelt upon in a one-sided manner, — the ministry, the sacraments, 
public worship, were considered as in themselves possessed of 
grace, rather than as simply channels of grace. The outward 
ordinances were supposed to confer grace by something in them- 
selves. This is the Romish doctrine ex opere operatum. This 
regards the power in the outward means of grace as magical and 
not spiritual. Belief in such a conception is superstition. It 
regards the outward and sensible ordinance, or the elements in the 
ordinance, as endowed substantially with the power of accom- 
plishing supernatural results. There is in this, on the one hand, 
a Jewish element, in so far as it interjects something of a mere 
outward nature between God and man ; and, on the other hand, 
there is a heathenish element, in so far as it ascribes a saving 
power to that which is of the creature and not of God. Illustra- 
tions of this tendency may be found in all ages, and under the 
most varied conditions of society. It appears wherever there is a 
form of godliness without the power. Not only the Buddhist, 
with his written prayers rotating on a wheel, and the Jewish 
Pharisee thinking to be heard by his much speaking, and the 
Romanist who pays for others to perform religious rites on his 
behalf, but also all who go to Church and outwardly conform to 
religious observances without the love of God in their heart, have 
latent in their minds an idea, more or less definite, that some 


benefit will accrue to them from the mechanical, purely external 
use of those ordinances. This is to attribute a magical influence 
to the means of grace. In superstitious ages, and among super- 
stitious people, this tendency is specially noticeable. Under the 
influence of superstition, the most immoral and reckless sometimes 
betake themselves to the utterance of words of prayer and to the 
reading of Scripture, using prayer and the word of God simply 
as charms to ward off danger or secure deliverance. Such use 
of holy things, the holiness of which is really not in themselves 
but in the Holy Spirit's presence in them, is no better than the 
endeavours of Simon Magus and the sons of Sceva (Acts viii. 19, 
xix. 13), who would use the name of Jesus for magical ends. 

2. While the exaggeration of the effect of ecclesiastical 
ordinances exercises a wonderful fascination over certain minds, 
there is another class, represented more or less largely in every 
age, which is just as easily moved on the other hand to an undue 
depreciation of all outward rites and ceremonies. The intensity 
of the protests made by such men against Church organization 
was often occasioned by the almost exclusive attention which 
leading Churchmen often gave to mere externals, to the outward 
framework of Christian institutions. Many who made such pro- 
tests in behalf of spiritual life, and against a barren formal 
Churchism, were thoroughly alive to the importance of outward 
ordinances, if only these were regarded as means and not as 
ends. Among the early so - called Christian Gnostics we find 
sometimes a tendency to underrate ordinances which were being 
overrated, or rather misplaced by the orthodox and recognised 
leaders of the Church. The first decided formal revolt against 
prevailing externalism in Church organization was that of 
Montanism. About the close of the second century this 
spiritualistic movement began, and for three or four centuries 
did much to moderate and hold in check the unspiritual in- 
fluence of ambitious and secular-minded Churchmen. During 
the Middle Ages isolated thinkers arose from time to time, who, 
disgusted with the grasping worldliness of ecclesiastics, and the 


Utter secularization of the Church, abandoned and even denounced 
Church observances, substituting for these a religion of the 
spirit in which the use of forms was treated as of no account. 
During the sixteenth century various sectaries and enthusiasts, 
generally embraced under the name of Anabaptists, occasioned 
great trouble to the Reformers by their arbitrary and lawless 
proceedings. The wilder spirits among them seemed determined 
to break away from all manner of restrictions, and refused to 
acknowledge any constituted authority. Pietism and Moravianism, 
in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, represented a revolt 
of a purely religious character ; the undue exaltation of external 
means was condemned, and their regular and orderly observance, 
though not expressly repudiated, was often unduly neglected. 
The Quakers, or Society of Friends, with George Fox (1624- 
1690) and Robert Barclay (1648- 1690) as their chief representa- 
tives, carried the revolt so far as to proscribe all outward forms, 
interpreting injunctions to the observance of ordinances as re- 
ferring to an inward and spiritual experience, and elevating 
what they call the internal light, or presence of the Spirit in the 
heart of the individual Christian, to so exclusive an authority 
that Scripture no longer is regarded as the supreme judge of 
controversies. It is worthy of notice that in all those more or 
less mystical movements referred to, as well as in the more 
recent Plymouthistic reaction against excessive externalism in 
the Church, the revolt against the use of means of grace 
is only partial. In certain movements one particular ordi- 
nance, in other movements some other ordinance, is rejected. 
They all agree in under-estimating the means of grace, and 
taking an inadequate view of the importance of organization in 

In opposition to these contrasted erroneous tendencies, the 
Slim of Saving Knowledge asserts the orthodox doctrine of the 
means of grace, in which the claims of the inward and the 
outward are equally admitted. It is the wisdom with which 
those means and ordinances are dispensed — that is, the opera- 


tion of the divine wisdom in and by them — that infalUbly 
secures conversion and salvation by them. This is made all 
the more evident by the Hmitation of the range within which 
the means are effectual to the elect, who alone use those means 
in a spiritual manner ; whereas the reprobate, from their un- 
spiritual use of those means, secure no profit, but are left 
without excuse. By the gift of grace bestowed on the elect, 
God enables them so to use His ordinances that they become 
channels of grace for conversion and edification. 

n. We have in the next place an enumeration of the principal 
means of grace : — The means are specially these four — (i) The 
Word of God; (2) The Sacraments j (3) Kirk-governmejit ; (4) 
Prayer. The Larger and Shorter Catechisms mention explicitly 
only three ordinances as worthy to be placed in the first rank 
as means of grace : the word, sacraments, and prayer. It is 
quite evident that the Westminster divines regarded Church 
discipline as a very important means of grace. The parts of 
religious worship, as given in the Westminster Confession, are 
prayer, with praise and thanksgiving, the reading and preaching 
of the word, and the dispensation of sacraments. In some of 
the Lutheran standards there are three means of grace named 
— the word, sacraments, and the power of the keys : prayer, 
as indicative of a spiritual condition, is regarded as a necessary 
presupposition of the effectual use of any of those means. A 
very generally received distribution is the twofold one, the 
word and sacraments. The immediate purpose of the treat- 
ment of the subject is sufficient to determine which of those 
arrangements should be adopted. No exhaustive distribution 
of the means of grace is attempted, because none is possible. 
God does not confine Himself within the limits of any number 
of enumerated means. Whether we name two, or three, or 
four, we speak only of ordinary means, of those which have 
been and are so regularly and statedly used by God that they 
are deserving of special mention. 


III. The first of the means of grace here named is the word 
of God : — In the word of God, preached by sent messengers, the 
Lord makes offer of grace to all sinners, upon condition of faith 
in Jesus Christ j and whosoever do confess their sins, accept of 
Christ offered, and submit themselves to his ordinances, he will 
have both them and their children received into the honour and 
privileges of the covenant of grace. The word of God as a means 
of grace is in contents the same as the word of God which 
constitutes the source of saving knowledge. It is Holy Scrip- 
ture, as presented in the Old and New Testament, which is the 
revelation of divine truth, and the means of conversion and 
spiritual edification. These, however, represent two different 
uses to which Scripture may be and ought to be put. It is 
possible to regard the word too exclusively as a source of 
instruction, as was done by the so-called orthodox theologians of 
the seventeenth century ; and it is possible to regard it too 
exclusively as a means of grace, as was done by the Pietists of 
the same age. Considering the word of God as a means of 
grace, we regard it as a channel for the communication of the 
Spirit of grace. The statement before us calls attention to the 
saving truth in the contents of the word : there is the offer of 
grace upon condition of faith in Christ. It is the word that 
makes this offer, and makes known to us the condition. The 
word is thus the organ of the Spirit, who again is the author of 
that faith which the word proclaims as the condition of salvation. 
The Spirit who works faith in the heart is also author of the 
word. It is the continued presence of the Spirit in the word 
which constitutes it a means of grace. ' As the corn of wheat, 
the fruit of a plant life, bears in itself the power of producing 
again a plant life of the same kind, so also the word of God, the 
fruit of the Holy Spirit, bears in itself the power of producing the 
Spirit' (Kahnis, Dogiiiatik, iii. § 14, p. 463). The New Testament 
doctrine of Scripture gives prominence to the spiritual efficiency 
of the word, as not merely originating from the Spirit, but as 
now containing and communicating the Spirit (John v. 39 ; Rom. 


i. 16 ; 2 Cor. iii. 3). Hence, as being in respect of authorship 
and actual contents immediately connected with the Spirit, the 
word of God, as the most adequate instrument of the Spirit, is 
rightly ranked first among the means of grace. This supreme 
position is given to the word by the Protestant Churches. Even 
among the Romanists many have nobly insisted upon the pre- 
eminent importance of Scripture as a means of grace. The 
Roman Catechism speaks of the word of God as ct'his miimae, 
the food of the soul. 

As a means of grace pre-eminence is given to the word 
preached. The Shorter Catechism says : The Spirit of God 
maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the word, 
an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of 
building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto 
salvation. This preference given to preaching as a means of 
grace over any other use of Scripture is in strict accordance 
with Apostolic doctrine. Preaching is necessary to hearing, and 
hearing to faith (Rom. x. 14-17). The simple hearing of the out- 
ward word might have a merely moral effect in the impression 
which its contents were naturally fitted to make upon the mind : 
but as a means of grace and instrument of the Spirit it has a 
supernatural effect in working faith in the heart. 

The word of God as a means of grace is usually described as 
consisting of law and gospel. This is not by any means the 
same as the division of the books of the Bible into the Old and 
New Testament. In the Old Testament we have the gospel as 
well as the law ; and in the New Testament we have the law as 
well as the gospel. The distinction is rather that implied in the 
description of faith negatively and positively, as confession of sin 
and acceptance of Christ offered. What the word as a means of 
grace aims at, is the conversion of sinners and the edification 
of saints. The law element and the gospel element in the word 
have both their part in the work of conversion and in the work of 
edification. In conversion, the word operates as law in con- 
vincing of sin and leading to the confession and forsaking of it, 


and as gospel in preaching Christ and offering His grace for our 
acceptance. In the edifying of the body of Christ, the word 
operates as law by affording a rule and standard of a life well- 
pleasing to God, and as gospel by yielding comfort and strength 
in promises of the divine favour and assurance of God's hearty 
acceptance of the reconciliation wrought for us by Christ. 

' The Spirit breathes upon the word, and brings the truth to sight ; 
Precepts and promises afford a sanctifying light.' 

IV. The Sacraments are fitly named after the word as means 
of grace : — By the Sacraments^ God will have the covenatit sealed 
for confir7ning the bargain on the foresaid condition. The name 
sacrament is not used in Scripture. Its use was probably 
suggested by the employment of the word sacramentum for the 
oath of fidelity and allegiance given by Roman soldiers. The 
Christian sacrament is an oath of fealty to Christ. The word 
used in the New Testament for the holy ordinances which we call 
sacraments is mystery^ implying that there is in the holy rite more 
than meets the eye in the visible element. As means of grace 
the sacraments are closely related to the word of God. The 
sacrament, indeed, has no independent existence, and cannot be 
administered apart from the word. It also teaches and imparts 
no new thing, but only presents in another form what has been 
already set forth in the word. The word has all that is essential 
to the sacrament, and the sacrament is, to use a phrase of the 
Reformers borrowed from Augustine, a verbum visibile, a visible 
word. ' Faith,' says Durham, ' takes Christ in the word, and 
strikes hands with Him in the sacrament.' The sacrament, 
therefore, comes after the word, as helping to secure the end for 
which the word is given. The Roman Catholic Church lost sight 
of this truth, and gave a pre-eminent position to the sacrament, 
completely subordinating the word, until in its ritual the chief 
means of grace was no longer conspicuous. The Lutheran 
Church co-ordinated word and sacrament, theoretically allowing 
pre-eminence to neither; but this position of equilibrium could not 


be maintained, and modern Lutherans have incUned more and 
more, in accordance with a Romanizing tendency, to exalt the 
sacrament over the word. To some extent the same may be said 
of the Church of England. The Reformed or Calvinistic Churches, 
represented by the Presbyterian Churches of the present day, 
subordinate the sacrament to the word. 

The very brief statement given above clearly sets forth the true 
Church doctrine of the sacraments. It is not to all and sundry 
symbolical actions that the name is to be given. In early 
Christian times the word was applied loosely to anything specially 
sacred, to creeds, doctrines, customs that were in accordance 
with the spirit of Christianity. From the time of Augustine, 
however, to that of Peter the Lombard, that is, from the fourth 
to the twelfth century, the use of the word was restricted, as in 
the statement before us, to ordinances, by means of which God 
willed to confirm to us the promises of the covenant, that is, to 
baptism and the Lord's Supper. Peter the Lombard applied the 
name of sacraments to seven holy actions which were regarded as 
possessed of a certain symbolical character : baptism, confirma- 
tion, the eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders, and mar- 
riage. Thomas Aquinas elaborated the doctrine of the Church, 
distinguishing baptism, confirmation, and orders as imparting 
an indelible character. This arrangement and enumeration of 
the sacraments, as well as the idea of their conveying grace by a 
power inherent in them, was adopted by the Church formally at 
the Council of Florence (1439), ^^^ ^^ the Council of Trent 
(1545 -1 563). Only baptism and the Lord's Supper answer the 
requirement of the definition of a sacrament by being ordinances 
instituted by the Lord. As symbolical rites, the Lord's Supper 
was instituted in immediate prospect of the sacrifice on the 
cross, and baptism, as the sacrament of regeneration by the 
Spirit, in immediate prospect of His ascension, which secured 
the descent of the Spirit. These two ordinances are actually 
conjoined in the New Testament as Christian institutions of the 
same order (i Cor. x. 2, 3, C ; i John v. 6 ; i Cor. xii. 13). These 


two symbolic ordinances also cover the entire domain of the 
Christian life, and so admit of no other as co-ordinate with them ; 
the one symbolizes entrance upon, the other the continuance in, 
the sphere of the new life of the Spirit. 

Baptism as the sign and seal of regeneration corresponds to 
the rite of circumcision in the Jewish Church. As symbolic of 
the new birth it is administered only once. In agreement with its 
Old Testament counterpart, baptism is administered to believers 
and their children. According to the previous section of the text, 
those who receive the word obtain the privileges of the covenant 
for their children as well as for themselves. Peter, speaking to 
those who had become hearers of the word, urging them to repent 
and be baptized, encourages them by the assurance that the 
promise, of which baptism is the seal, is to them and to their 
children (Acts ii. 38, 39). As circumcision was given in the 
beginning of the Jewish Church first to Abraham, an adult and 
a believer, and ever after in the household of the father of 
the faithful to children, so in the beginnings of the Christian 
Church baptism was administered first to adults on a profession 
of faith, and afterwards to the children of those who had believed 
and had been themselves baptized. Birth in a Christian family 
brings with it certain Christian privileges, which baptism sym- 
bolizes, and confers membership of the outward Christian 
community. Erroneous views of the meaning of baptism 
appeared early in the Church. The sacrament of regeneration 
was spoken of by some of the early Fathers in a way that 
was suitable only if used of regeneration itself. This tendency, 
developed into a dogma of Baptismal Regeneration, is current not 
only in the Romish Church, but also in the High Church section 
of the Church of England. The error results from confounding 
the sign with the thing signified, and thinking of the sacrament 
as conferring grace by some power in itself. While opposing this 
error, we must guard against the contrary extreme of the 
Socinians and others (perhaps Zwingli should be included), who 
look upon baptism as nothing more than an initiatory rite, for if this 


be all, it is then no means of grace. [See Confession of Faith, 
chap, xxviii. § i ; Author's Hajtdbook, p. 150.] 

The Lord's Supper as the sign and seal of fellowship with 
Christ in the victory of His death, corresponds to the Old Testa- 
ment ordinance of the Passover, the memorial of Israel's deliver- 
ance from death and bondage. The New Testament ordinance 
is distinctly associated with the Jewish rite — Christ our Passover 
is sacrificed for us (i Cor. v. 7). Christ is the Lamb slain, whose 
flesh is meat indeed, and His blood drink indeed (John vi. 55). 
The bread and wine are not the body and blood of Christ, but 
are symbols of His body and blood. The confusion of sign and 
thing signified in the understanding of this sacrament, led to the 
doctrine of Transubstantiation. If this idea of the change of the 
natural elements into the actual body and blood of the Lord were 
correct, some colour would be given to the notion that the 
sacrament of itself conferred grace. Scripture, especially the 
writings of Paul in i Cor. x., xi., regards the significance of the 
elements in the Supper as precisely analogous to that of the word 
as means of grace. The word is saving when it is the medium 
of the Spirit's communication ; the bread and wine, broken and 
poured out, when spiritually received, convey the benefits of the 
breaking of Christ's body and the shedding of His blood. The 
Lord's Supper is the sacrament of Hfe, and the communication of 
this, Christ says, is the work of the Spirit (John vi. 63). The 
Socinians and others who regard baptism as merely an initiatory 
rite, consider the Lord's Supper as a mere thanksgiving ceremony 
and profession of adherence to the Christian faith. It is a means 
of grace only if it is more than this, a seal of the covenant in 
confirming the benefits of Christ's death. 

V. After the word and sacraments, Church government is 
mentioned as a means of grace : — By Kirk-government He will 
have them hedged in, and helped forward unto the keeping of the 
covenant. As a means of grace Church government may be 
nearly identified with Church disciphne or the maintenance of 


Church order. This is always to be exercised and administered 
with a view to the edification of the individual concerned, and 
of the Church as a whole. The function of Church government 
consists in the administration of the laws of Christ concerning 
His Church. Christ has laid down in His word certain regula- 
tions for the admission of members into, and the exclusion of the 
unworthy from His Church, and also for the ordering of the 
conduct of those who are within its pale. It is the part of Church 
government to determine who are of the Church, and how those 
who are of it ought to behave. The terms and conditions of the 
covenant are to be observed, and Church government discharges 
a protective and a promotive function in respect of the keeping 
of that covenant. 

Christ Himself enjoins the exercise of discipline. He assigns 
to His disciples the power of the keys (Matt. xvi. i8), indicates 
the various steps to be taken in the process (Matt, xviii. 15-18), 
and grants the power of absolution (John xx. 21-23). This power 
was exercised in the Apostolic Church (2 Thess. iii. 6-14 ; i Cor. 
V. ; 2 Cor. ii., vii., x., xiii. ; i Tim. i. 19, v. 20; Tit. iii. 10). The 
end of all such proceedings is for edification, not destruction 
(2 Cor. X. 8) ; and the severest penalty, delivering unto Satan, was 
for the destruction only of the flesh and the salvation of the spirit 
(i Cor. V. 5). The treatment is not hostile but brotherly, that the 
faulty one may be ashamed of his fault and repent (2 Thess. iii. 14). 
As thus viewed. Church government is a means of grace, and 
stands in immediate relation to the word and sacraments. ' The 
ordinance of excommunication,' says Durham, 'is added, as 
divines say, to confirm God's threatenings, as sacraments do seal 
the promises. . . . No censure should be blindly or implicitly 
made use of, but, both in reference to the party and others, there 
should be instruction, exhortation, conviction, etc., by the word 
going before or alongst with the same. In which respect, though 
improperly, censures may be some way looked upon as sacra- 
ments, in a large sense, in these particular cases, because there 
is in them both some signifying and confirming use, — they being 


considered with respect to the end wherefore they are appointed.' 
What Church government has in common with the word and 
sacraments is its edifying tendency and purpose. It enforces both 
word and sacraments by solemn sanctions. In principle it rests 
upon the doctrine of the communion of saints. What Professor 
Bruce calls {Training of the Twelve^ p. 204) the hotel theory of 
Church fellowship, according to which one member takes no con- 
cern with the conduct and views of another, inasmuch as it pro- 
poses neither to hedge in nor to help forward, is a renunciation 
of true brotherly love. According to the true view of Church 
membership, all are brethren, solemnly bound to protect and 
promote the spiritual wellbeing of one another.* 

VI. As a means of grace, to the word, sacraments, and Church 
government, is added prayer : — And by Prayer^ he will have his 
own glorious grace, promised in the covenant, to be daily drawn 
forth, acknowledged, and employed. Prayer scarcely stands upon 
the same level as those other means of grace already enumerated. 
'We have only to examine these means to feel at once that 
Christian prayer is something different from all those other 
means, and at the same time something infinitely higher ; not a 
means among several, but the cofiditio sine qua non to the 
successful use of all' (Oosterzee, Dogmatics, § cxxxv. 5). It is 
evidently much more subjective in its nature than any of the rest. 
It consists in the formation and nurture of a spiritual disposition, 
rather than in the use of some objective, external instrument such 
as the written word, the sensible elements in the sacraments, and 
the forms and injunctions of Church order. It is to the man of a 
prayerful spirit that word, and sacraments, and Church forms are 
really channels of grace and blessing. Prayer is not to be restricted 
to petition. Bible prayers, such as those of David, overflow with 
thanksgiving and freely range over the wide realms of creation, 

* See this whole subject admirably and exliaustiveiy treated : Professor 
Bannerman's Chnrch of Christ, vol. ii. pp. 186-200. Edinburgh 1868. 
T. & T. Clark. 


providence, and grace, to find materials for adoring praise. These 
prayers are songs or overflowings of hearts in sympathy with God. 
Prayer is a devout soul's contemplations, in which the under- 
standing is exercised on the highest mysteries, the affections 
called forth toward Him who is altogether lovely, and the will 
moved in struggle against what is earthly, and in desire for the 
heavenly. It is, therefore, clearly the means of grace par excel- 
lence^ which finds means of sustenance in Church fellowship, the 
sacraments, and the word of God. Yet, as an important element 
in prayer, direct petition is not to be overlooked. To those under 
the covenant the promises of God's grace are given : but the 
bestowal of these must be asked (Matt. vii. 7), He will be inquired 
of by us to do these things for us (Ezek. xxxvi. 37). The disposi- 
tion of the prayerful spirit fits one for making definite requests; 
it renders us solicitous, and capacitates us for receiving new gifts 
of grace. Asking in faith is at once the consequence of close 
communion with God, and the condition and occasion of closer 
and more intimate fellowship. Prayer is pre-eminently a means 
for obtaining the use of grace. It lays hold of the covenant 
promises. But, as Matthew Henry says, ' promises are given not 
to supersede, but to quicken and encourage prayer.' With these 
it deals in a variety of ways. Apprehending a covenant right to 
the blessings of God's grace, prayer draws new supplies from day 
to day, makes thankful acknowledgment of what has been given, 
thus increasing the possession of grace, and actively employing 
that already granted. True prayer reflects the measure of grace 
received ; a man's spirituality is most clearly shown in his prayers. 
The more spiritual the prayer, the more largely is God's glorious 
grace drawn forth. 

Vn. The right use ot all these means depends upon the 
presence of true faith in the heart : — All zuhich means are 
followed either really, or in profession only, according to the 
quality of the covenanters, as they are true or coimterfeit 
believers. The possession of all the promises is conditioned 


upon faith. All things, in the way of obtaining spiritual gifts and 
graces, are possible to him that believeth (Mark v. 36, ix. 23). 
In regard to each of the means of grace enumerated it is evident 
that they can be effectual only when used and exercised in faith. 
It is to the prayer of faith that the promise is attached (Jas. i. 6 ; 
Mark xi. 24 ; i Tim. ii. 8). Church organization and discipline, 
all forms of ecclesiastical arrangements and modes of worship, 
are serviceable only in so far as engaged in by those to whom God 
has distributed in their several proportions the measure of faith 
(Rom. xii. 3 ; i Cor. xii. 7). The sacraments can be with profit 
partaken of only by those who believe, and the advantage and 
enjoyment derived from them is proportioned to the faith exer- 
cised ; Christ Himself explains eating and drinking as signifying 
coming to Him and believing on Him (John vi. 35). Faith is 
the thing signified by the sacramental action. Augustine says : 
Believe and thou hast eaten. Then again, the word preached 
is called the word of faith (Rom. x. 8), as well as that, the hear- 
ing of which produces faith (ver. 17). That faith which is the 
indispensable condition of the exercise of prayer and the use of 
other means of grace is simply real faith, be it weak or strong. 
Opportunities to use the means of grace are answers to the 
prayer of him who says. Lord, I believe, help Thou mine unbelief ; 
answers to those who cry. Lord, increase our faith. 

The covenant of grace^ set down in the Old Testament 
before Christ came, and in the New since he came, is one 
and the same in substance, albeit different in outward admini- 
stration : For the covenant in the Old Testament, being sealed 
with the sacraments of circu?ncision and the paschal lamb, 
did set forth Chris fs death to come, and the benefits purchased 
thereby under the shadow of bloody sacrifices and sundry 
ceremonies J but since Christ came, the covenant being sealed 
by the sacra?nents of baptism and the Lord^s Supper, doth 
clearly hold forth Christ already crucified before our eyes, 


victorious over death and the grave, and gloriously ruling 
heaven and earth for the good of his own people. 

(i.) It has to be remembered that the covenant of grace 
belongs to the Old Testament as well as to the New. The dis- 
tinction of law and gospel is not the same as that of the Old and 
New Testaments, nor again is the dispensation of the law to be 
identified with that of the covenant of works, and the dispensation 
of the gospel under the New Testament to be exclusively regarded 
as identical with that of the covenant of grace. The dispensation 
of the covenant of grace really begins with the gospel promise 
given in the day of Adam's fall. Every renewal or repetition of 
that promise throughout the Old Testament is a gospel proclama- 
tion. Between these earlier enunciations of gospel truth and 
the later declarations made when the fulness of the times had 
come, there is really no difference in kind, but only in intensity 
and degree. The first announcement of grace was made in 
general terms, and when repeated in Old Testament times few of 
those particulars were added, which seem to us almost indis- 
pensable to the clear understanding of the gospel ; yet the simple 
revelations of the primitive ages contain all that is really essential 
unto a practical and effectual knowledge of God's one way of 
salvation. ' The object of faith in these primitive times was, in 
substance, the same as now : God in His revealed character as 
just, and the Justifier of him that believeth ; — with this difference, 
that the Saviour was then promised as coming, but is now pro- 
claimed as having come.' (Buchanan, Doctrine of Justification, 
p. 28, Edin. 1867.) The substantial agreement of the presentation 
of the covenant of grace in the Old Testament and in the New 
appears in this, that in both records it is the same fact that is 
proclaimed, the salvation of the sinner through the gracious act 
of God in forgiving sin ; that in both records the ground of this 
salvation is clearly laid in God and not in us, it is of grace and 
not of works ; and finally, that in both records the means for 
securing this salvation is the same, for Abraham, as well as Paul 


the apostle, is justified by faith. (See Buchanan, pp 425, 426.) 
It is important to observe the difference between Israel and the 
Gentiles in the ages before the coming of Christ. The distinction 
according to the apostle (Rom. ix. 4, 5) lay in this, that to the 
chosen people pertained the covenants, the giving of the law, the 
service of God, and the promises. We do not, in emphasizing 
the peculiar relation of the Jews to the promises of grace, overlook 
the traces of divine influence evident in the lives of individuals 
outside of the borders of Israel. The Alexandrian school of 
Christian teachers did right when they claimed for Christ the 
praise of every ray of true light that shone forth among Gentile 
nations. Justin Martyr, the famous apologist of the second 
century, speaks of the Logos Spermattkos, by which he means the 
germ of divine truth present in men, as the origin of all that is 
true and good. Even outside the range of His direct revelation, 
God did not leave Himself without witnesses. The recognition 
of such fitful gleams, however, only renders more evident the 
special character of Israel's position. Israel alone had this in 
common with the members of the Christian Church, — the explicit 
proclamation of the divine promises. In outward administration 
the form of the covenant of grace differs in the Old Testament 
and in the New. The coming of Him who had been looked 
forward to, altered not the essential truth upon which the covenant 
of grace was based, seeing that He and His salvation remained 
the same ; but a new dispensation was now inaugurated, the 
Christian as distinguished from the Mosaic, in which modes of 
worship of a prophetic and symbolical order suited for ages of 
prospection were laid aside because He had come to whom those 
ceremonials pointed forward, and because He continued with the 
Church founded by Him during His stay on earth (Matt, xxviii. 
18-20), according to His promise, even to the end of the 

(2.) The outward difference in administration of the covenant 
under the Old and under the New Testament is illustrated by the 
characteristic difference which distinguishes Old Testament 


sacraments from those of the New Testament. It is very evident 
that the ordinances or means of grace of the Old Testament, 
though formally the same as the New, consisting as they do in 
both cases of word and sacraments, are distinguished in respect 
of the degree and measure of spirituahty in their dispensation. 
Nothing, perhaps, more significantly illustrates this than the 
elaborate inculcation of details in regard to the observance of 
the Old Testament ordinances, and the subsequent impression of 
externality which this leaves on the worshipper, as compared with 
the absence of detailed injunctions in the New Testament, and the 
prominence given to free spiritual service over that which is ritual 
and formal, or that savours of mere bodily service. The ceremonial 
service of Israel, even when not yet added to by Pharisaic tradi- 
tions, was very cumbrous and onerous ; the arrangements of the 
Christian service are few and simple, giving free scope to 
individual spiritual development, it being only enjoined that all 
things be done decently and in order. 

We are here specially called to observe that the sacraments of 
circumcision and the passover were bloody sacrifices, as pointing 
to the great sacrifice promised but not yet offered ; whereas the 
sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper are unbloody, as 
being simply reminders of the sacrifice once for all made and 
never to be repeated. The sign of the covenant in circumcision 
was in blood, with a blood penalty threatened in case of neglect 
(Gen. xvii. 14 ; Ex. iv. 24). Still more distinctly the shedding 
of blood appears as an essential part of the symbolism of the 
Passover. The ordinance was not only a sacramental meal, but 
it embraced the slaying of the lamb as a sacrifice, the blood of 
which, as on the occasion of its institution, was the immediate 
symbol of expiation. ' In Num. ix. 7, the Paschal lamb is 
expressly called a sacrifice ; it was slain in a holy place (Deut. 
xvi. 5) ; its blood was sprinkled on the altar ; and the fat was 
burnt upon the altar (2 Chron. xxx. 16, 17, xxxv. 11, 12).' 
(Kurtz, History of Old Covenajit^ vol. ii. p. 298, Edin. 1859.) 
The change in the character of the sacred ordinances in the 


Christian Church is very significant. The shedding of blood 
which was suitable in ordinances that were prophetic and 
anticipatory of the great sacrifice on the Cross, was no longer 
suitable in ordinances which were not only commemorative of the 
sacrifice accomplished, but also intended to emphasize the truth 
that there remained no more sacrifice for sin. 



§ I. By those outward ordinances^ as our Lord makes the reprobate 
inexcusable, so, by the power of his Spirit, he applies mito 
the elect, effectually, all saving graces purchased to them in 
the covettant of redemption, a?td maketh a change in their 
persojzs. In particular^ (i) He doth convert or regenerate 
thein, by giving spiritual life to thefn, in opening their undei-- 
standings, renewing their wills, affections, and faculties, for 
giviiig spiritual obedience to his commands. (2) He gives 
them saving faith, by making the7n, in the se?tse of deserved 
condemnation, to give their consent heartily to the cove7ia7it 
of grace, and to embrace Jesus Christ unfeignedly. (3) He 
gives thein repentance, by 77iaking the7n, with godly sorrow, i7i 
the hatred of sin and love of righteousness, turn from all 
iniquity to the service of God. And (4) He sanctifies them, 
by 7uaki7ig the7n go 07i and persevere in faith and spiritual 
obedie7ice to the law of God, 7na7iifested by fruitfulness in all 
duties, afid doi7tg good works, as God offer eth occasion. 

This section speaks first of all of Effectual Calling. The Lord 
by His Spirit effectually applies unto the elect all saving graces 


purchased to them. We have seen that, in the covenant, Christ 
obtained a right to bestow upon His own certain benefits for which 
in His substitutionary work He had paid the price. There is a 
distinction marked between common grace^ which all have who 
have the gospel message, and which renders them inexcusable 
when they refuse to accept it, and efficacious grace^ which is God's 
gift in Christ to those who are chosen of Him unto life. What 
has to be noted here is that the accomplishment of the salvation 
of the individual, no less than the universal plan and its execution, 
is attributed to divine grace. This doctrine is a necessary part 
of the system distinguished as Augustinian and Calvinistic, and 
necessarily follows from the view which we have taken of man's 
condition as a sinner in regard of guilt and inability. 

The effectual working of divine grace upon the elect changes 
their persons : and this again is the condition of a change in the 
state of those thus changed. The next section details the par- 
ticulars of the change of state secured for the elect by the 
operation of efficacious grace. Here we have to attend to the 
changes wrought in the persons of the elect, which are enumerated 
under four heads : — (i) Conversion or Regeneration ; (2) The 
accepting of Christ by Faith ; (3) Repentance unto Life ; (4) 
Perfection through Sanctification and Perseverance in Holiness 
unto the end. 

I. The Spirit of Christ working effectually changes the person 
of the elect in conversion or regeneration : — He doth convert or 
regenerate them, by giving spiritual life to them, ijt openijig their 
understandings, renewing their wills, affections, and faculties, for 
giving spiriitial obedience to His commands. The word conver- 
sion is here loosely used as synonymous with regeneration, but 
ought rather to be employed as describing another aspect of 
repentance. We shall therefore speak here simply of regenera- 
tion. The classical passage in the New Testament on regeneration 
is John iii. 1-18, with which ought also to be read i John v. 1-6. 
It is described as the imparting of a new life. The old nature 
can only produce its hke : the Spirit Himself alone can create 


spirit in man as a life altogether new. The change accomplished 
in regeneration is called renewing, not as implying a mere 
reviving, requickening of the old, not as indicating moral improve- 
ment such as culture in most excellent and approved working can 
effect, but the implantation of a new power of life, which makes 
all things new. This spiritual power affects and fundamentally 
changes all the faculties of men, giving them a new direction and 
assigning to them again the end determined at their creation. 
Regeneration gives again the true direction to man's life in setting 
before him the end of spiritual obedience to God's commands. 
With a view to securing the attainment of this end for man, the 
Spirit opens man's understanding. In a state of nature man 
knows the gospe message according to its letter, and this is 
sufficient to leave him without excuse ; but there is a knowledge 
even of this which only those know who are taught of God and 
have their understandings opened by Him. There is a knowledge 
which is yet no knowledge (i Cor. viii. i, 2). 'Take any man 
that hath never so much knowledge both in law and gospel, and 
if God turn this man to Him, you shall hear him say, that all 
things he knew before are known anew by him ; he that had all 
knowledge before, he now professeth he had none as he ought to 
have had. And therefore, by the way, will you know what it is 
to be converted .-^ It is to know over all anew, that you knew by 
education.' (Goodwin, Works^ iv. 296.) The will, again, is the 
very centre of man's nature ; it is the seat of government. This 
the regenerating spirit occupies and controls : it renews, makes 
anew this will. Therewith the will ceases to be fleshly and 
becomes spiritual : the purposes and resolutions of the heart are 
unto obedience toward God. Obedience, to be acceptable unto 
God, must be willing, and such only the will renewed by the 
Divine Spirit can render. Then, again, a renewed will implies 
right affections. Willing service can be given only after the heart 
has been won. But it is only the new heart — the heart made new 
by the regenerating Spirit — that turns to God and clings to Him, 
that seeks to influence will and understanding on behalf of God. 


Out of the renewed heart are the issues of this new spiritual life. 
From the centre it wells forth and circulates through every power 
and every member, so that the whole man is made new. [See 
Wotherspoon, On Regeneration^ for practical treatment of the 
subject; and Delitzsch, Psychology (Edin. 1869), especially 
pp. 393-407, for an elaborate, speculative discussion.] 

2. The Spirit of Christ working effectually changes the person 
of the elect by leading them to embrace Jesus Christ by faith : — 
He gives them saving faith ^ by making them, in the sense of deserved 
condemnation, to give their consent heartily to the covenant of 
grace f and to embrace Jesus Christ unfeignedly. The possession 
of this grace of faith is the condition of that new obedience which 
the regenerate render. He who believes in Christ is born again, 
and by his faith he overcomes the world (i John v. i, 4). Faith 
is the gift of God (Eph. ii. 8). The Spirit is indeed the real 
author of faith in the heart, but the means whereby it is wrought 
is the preaching of the word (Rom. x. 17; i Cor. i. 21). Man, 
however, can interfere with this operation of the Spirit by cherish- 
ing dispositions contrary to the divine mind (John v. 44). As in 
all the operations of the Spirit in man's renewal, there is in faith 
a real co-operating of the human will. Man may frustrate the 
grace of God : the will to do so must be overcome ere faith can 
rule. This faith has as its initial element a recognition of per- 
sonal demerit. It is based upon a sense of deserved condemnatio7i. 
Faith can arise only in a heart so humbled, and this self-humbling 
is itself the primary act of faith. Christ's call is to sinners, lost 
ones (Matt. ix. 13, etc.). Acknowledgment from the heart of 
guilt and helplessness is the first indication of an awakening to 
faith in one outside of ourselves, the sent of God. Where there 
is the spirit of faith there is belief in the record which God has 
given that in His Son is life, and outside of Him no life (i John 
V. II, 12). The man who is operated upon by the Spirit believes 
the righteousness of his own condemnation in order to believe in 
Christ who delivers from condemnation. Faith is an assent first 
with the heart, then with the understanding and will, to all the 


terms and provisions of the covenant of grace, — an assent to the 
account there of our natural state as well as to the plan devised 
for deliverance therefrom. The essence of saving faith consists 
in the embracing of Jesus Christ. It is the possession of Christ 
that constitutes salvation, and is simply the grasping of Him who 
is our life. This is what entitles faith to be called saving. It 
joins us to the Saviour. Now the term faith has been employed 
in the Church to mean the truth which we receive from God's 
revelation. The catholic faith is the whole body of catholic 
doctrine. Misled by this application of the word, it soon became 
usual to think of faith as an intellectual assent to the set of 
propositions which constitute the creed of the Church. It was 
by and by seen that mere intellectual assent could not be repre- 
sented as the means of salvation. Hence a distinction was made 
between fides inforjjtis^ this mere intellectual assent, and fides 
formata, which was faith filled out and made complete by 
love and its operations. This was the Romish doctrine that man 
was not saved by faith alone, but by faith and love. The proper 
way to correct this error is to correct the definition of faith. It is 
not mere assent to doctrine, but it is reliance upon and surrender 
to Christ. [Consult : Halyburton's Essay concerning the Nature 
of Faithi Works, pp. 505-546, Glasgow 1833. O'Brien, The 
Nature and the Effects of Faith, London 1 863. Also, very valuable, 
though somewhat prolix : Goodwin's The Object attd Acts of 
Justifying Faith, Works, vol. viii.] 

3. A further change wrought in the persons of the elect by the 
Spirit is Repentance, with which we associate the term Conver- 
sion : — He gives them repentance, by makiftg them, with godly 
sorrow, in the hatred of sin and love of righteousness, turn from 
all iniquity to the service of God. The terms repentance and 
conversion, as we have said when speaking of regeneration, ought 
to go together, as two aspects of one and the same thing. The 
former word might be used, as equivalent to the Greek word 
metanoia, to mean the inward change ; and the latter might be 
used, corresponding to the Greek word epistrophei to mean that 


altered course of life which manifests outwardly the real existence 
of the other. The two words which are properly rendered by 
us respectively conversion and repentance, occur in Luke xvii. 4, 
where an offending brother is described as turning {epistrephd) 
seven times a day, saying I repent {metatioo). His turning to 
him he had offended is proof of the presence of penitent feelings 
in his heart. Repentance embraces three distinct elements which 
may be gathered from a comparison and combination of those two 
passages, Ezek. xviii. 31 and 2 Cor. vii. 9-1 1, which together 
may be regarded as the classical passage on this subject. We 
have first of all true sorrow of heart for sin, — this, in the theology 
of the Church, was called co?itritio, as distinguished from attritio, 
a superficial feeling occasioned simply by fear of the consequences 
of sin. A good example of the difference is seen in the repent- 
ance of Peter and of Judas, — the one was godly sorrow, the other 
the sorrow of the world. If it is to be an element in true 
repentance, the sorrow must be over sin itself as transgression 
against God. This leads to the forsaking in heart and life of that 
sin which is sorrowed over. This may be identified with the 
confessio of the Church doctrine. According to its true concep- 
tion, confession means the repudiation of sympathy with and 
propriety in that which is the subject of confession. When we 
confess sin, in the proper sense of the term, we mark it as some- 
thing separable from us, which we desire to put away. The 
auricular confession of the Romish system is an emphasizing of a 
mere accidental, and the ignoring of an essential element in con- 
fession, — the substituting of an external, uttered acknowledgment 
of sin for the profound feeling of the heart. In the same way, 
penance, as a payment of penalties in an outward manner* 
usurped the place of penitence or true repentance as an enuncia- 
tion from the heart of all evil. The third element in true 
repentance is the surrender of the whole life in new obedience. 
This may be regarded as equivalent to the satisfactio of the old 
Church doctrine. Repentance completes itself in return to that 
attitude of service from which man had fallen away. The satis- 


faction which testifies to the reality of the repentance consists 
not in acts of penance rendered, nor in payment of penahies 
imposed, but in the turning to the service of God, which as holy 
service is now attractive to those who hate sin and love righteous- 
ness. It is to be observed that repentance is defined not merely 
as a forsaking of evil, but a turning to good. It is, indeed, only 
by turning to the good that we turn away from the evil. Dr. 
Chalmers speaks of the expulsive power of a new affection : we 
are to cease to do evil by learning to do well ; walk in the Spirit 
so as not to fulfil the lusts of the flesh (Gal. v. i6). 

4. Once more the work of the Spirit upon the persons of the 
elect is described as a process of moral cleansing which secures 
to them perfection at length: — He sanctifies them, by making 
them go on and persevere in faith and spiritual obedience to the 
law of God, manifested by fruitfuhiess in all duties, and doing 
good works, as God offereth occasion. Sanctification is continued 
regeneration, the seed of the new birth remaining in us, and 
presenting a constant opposition to sin (i John iii. 9). The 
fellowship with Christ, which is the vital principle in regenera- 
tion, implies sanctification from the earliest dawning of spiritual 
life. It is an expansion and daily exercise of that living germ 
implanted in the new nature, a continuously advancing appro- 
priation of that divine fulness opened to us \xi the day of regenera- 
tion. It is emphatically represented as the Spirit's work. This 
is in accordance with our Lord's instruction regarding the new 
birth : that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which 
is born of the Spirit is spirit. What owes its origin to the 
Spirit must be carried on by Him : but it is by the Spirit in us, 
or by that begotten in us by the Spirit, that this new life is 
carried out. We, as born again, born of the Spirit, are called 
upon to sanctify ourselves, and to work out our own salvation. 
The life of sanctification is described as a persevering in faith 
and obedience. This implies conflict. So long as the remnants 
of sin exist in any part of man's nature, there is necessarily 
conflict between it and the renewed nature. In the struggle the 


power of the new man is increased. The law of God presents 
the standard for our aim and imitation, and by comparison with 
it that which is evil in us is recognised. [Consult : Professor 
Candlish's recent handbook, chapter vii., The Work of the 
Spirit in Sanctification ; also Howe's Office and Work of the 
Spirit on the Individtial and on the Christian Church j Owen's 
and Goodwin's well-known treatises ; and Dr. James Buchanan's 
and Professor Smeaton's more recent works.] 

§ n. Together with this inward change of their persons^ God 
changes also their state; for^ so soon as they are brought 
by faith into the covenant of grace., ( i ) he justifies them, by 
imputing wito them that perfect obedience which Christ gave 
to the law, a?td the satisfaction also which upon the cross 
Christ gave unto justice in their name. (2) He reconciles 
them, and makes thetn friends to God, who were before 
enemies to God. (3) He adopts them, that they shall be no 
more children of Satajt, but children of God, enriched with 
all spiritual privileges of his so7is. And last of all, after 
their warfare in this life is ended, he perfects the holitiess 
and blessedness, first, of their souls at their death, and then 
both of their souls and their bodies, being joyfully joined 
together again in the resurrection at the day of his glorious 
C07ni7ig to judgment, whejt all the wicked shall be sent away 
to hell, with Satan whom they have served; but Chris fs 
ozvn chosen and redeemed oftes, true believers, studmts of 
holiness, shall re7nain with hi77tself for ever, i7i the state of 

The previous section dealt with the change wrought in the 
persons of the elect in conversion ; they received a new life, 
became possessed of the spirit of faith, a disposition that turned 
from sin to righteousness, and a mind that urged them to follow 
after holiness. As converted persons in whom this inward 


change was wrought, they occupy a new position in the sight of 
God : as born again and beheving in Christ Jesus they are 
justified before God and reconciled to Him ; as penitents re- 
nouncing sin and turning to God they are adopted into God's 
family ; and as saints striving after further attainments in holi- 
ness, they are destined to have God's promises of glory, honour, 
and immortality fulfilled unto them in the state of glorification. 
These changes, it is to be observed, are not described as following 
in succession to the changes of nature referred to before, nor 
yet as following one another in order of time. They must be 
distinguished and discussed separately ; the succession is logical 
and not temporal. In time they are simultaneous, only in order 
of thought are they successive. 

I. In logical order the first aspect of that altered state into 
which we are brought by believing in Jesus Christ according to 
the terms of the covenant of grace is justification : — He justifies 
them, by imparting unto them that perfect obedience which Christ 
gave to the law, and the satisfaction also which upon the cross 
Christ gave unto justice in their na7ne. Justification is a declara- 
tion on the part of God that the sinner who believes in Jesus is 
no longer regarded or treated by Him as guilty, that he is no 
longer subject to sin's penalty, that for him there is no con- 
demnation. Hence justification is rightly called a forensic act; 
it is a declaration that man's state as a believer is one of accept- 
ance before God. In so doing God acts judicially, and is not 
regarded as infusing righteousness into the person of the saved 
individual. When Roman Catholic theology defines justification 
as the infusion of righteousness, there is evidently a confusion 
of justification, which is an act, with sanctification, which is a 
continued work or process. The Romish doctrine makes man's 
acceptance with God depend on the essential holiness of the new 
nature, whereas God justifies sinners, and then by His Spirit 
sanctifies those whom He has already justified. In the era of the 
Reformation, Osiander (1498-1552) propounded a doctrine of 
infused or essential righteousness in his theory of justification, 


which though strongly anti- Pelagian, was in some respects very 
similar to the Romish view. According to this way of viewing 
the matter, justification was regarded as consisting in essential 
righteousness, so that the beHever's personal condition and cha- 
racter rather than his state as one of forgiveness before God is 
made the primary fact in the account given of the new life. 
Justification then should rank under the previous section as a 
change in the person rather than here as a change of state. In 
opposition to this, we define justification as a declaration by God 
of the forgiveness of the sins of those who believe in Jesus. 
Those who have undergone Xh^ personal change by receiving into 
their hearts the spirit of faith, being now believers are justified in 
God's sight, stand before Him as accepted. 

The doctrine of Imputatioji^ set forth in the words on which 
we are commenting, involves the rejection of that theory of 
infusion of righteousness to which we have referred. The term 
imputation, as used in theology, does not mean simply a charge 
upon or against one, but rather the making of such a charge in 
terms of law and justice. We speak of the imputation of Adam's 
sin to his posterity, the imputation of man's sin to the second 
Adam, the imputation of Christ's righteousness to those who 
believe, — the imputation in each case being made in terms of 
the covenant of grace. Under the express conditions of that 
covenant, sin and righteousness respectively are regarded as of 
right belonging to the parties referred to therein. The ground 
of the sinner's justification is the work of Christ, the merit of 
which is attributed to us on condition of our believing in Him. 
The friend of another man's debtor says to his friend's creditor, 
put that debt to my account ; when this proposal is accepted, 
the debt is imputed to me, who before this imputation was not 
chargeable with it, and he who was before a debtor is now in 
the state of one against whom the creditor can no longer advance 
a charge. Thus by the imputation of the sinner's guilt to Christ, 
the sinner who believes is justified. 

That which is imputed to the sinner for his justification is 


described as Christ's perfect obedience to the law and satisfaction 
on the cross unto justice. This embraces the whole work of 
Christ, His active and passive obedience, His doing and 
suffering, His life and death. Like the changes of state in the 
behever enumerated in this section, these distinctions in regard 
to the work of Christ are not to be viewed as successive and 
temporally separable parts of Christ's life, but as two aspects 
illustrated throughout its entire course. He suffered in doing 
and He did in suffering. In His passion, which began in the 
first stages of His humiliation and was only consummated on 
the cross. He was not passive in the sense of merely sub- 
mitting to a superior power : no man took His life from Him, 
but He laid it down, — not merely suffered it to be taken, for 
He had power to lay it down (John x. i8). The ground of our 
justification lies not in the death of Christ upon the cross alone. 
Christ's whole life of obedience unto death is that upon which 
we must depend for our justification. 

2. Not only the guilt of sin, but also the enmity of sin is 
removed. The term justification may be reserved for the state 
that results from forgiveness, and the term reconciliation may 
be used to describe the state that results from the removal of 
the enmity. The Su7n of Saving Knowledge employs the terms 
in this manner. This whole section deals with the effects of 
Christ's life and death for us. The Spirit reconciles the elect 
and makes them friends to God^ who were before enemies to God. 
This might have been more conveniently joined with the former 
division: — He justifies and He reconciles them. It is quite 
correct to say that the active obedience of Christ or His perfect 
righteousness of life is more particularly the ground of our 
acceptance and title to blessedness, that is, of our reconciliation 
to God ; and that Christ's passive obedience or vicarious suffer- 
ings are the more immediate ground of our forgiveness, that is, 
of our justification before God. The term justification is com- 
monly used to include all that is here expressed by justification 
and reconciliation. This is approved, and indeed insisted upon 


by Principal Cunningham. In some places Calvin seems to restrict 
the terms in the same way as is done in our text. If we do dis- 
tinguish them, we must ever remember how very closely they are 
related together. The imputation of Christ's righteousness, His 
active and passive obedience, is the condition of the remission 
of our sins and our acceptance before God, — the whole ground, 
therefore, of our justification and reconciliation. The Apostle 
speaks of reconciliation in this sense (Rom. v. 9, 10), — as sinners 
we are justified by Christ's blood, and as enemies we are recon- 
ciled by the death of the Son. The term reconciliation might 
indeed be applied to the change in the persons of the elect as the 
removal of that enmity which they had originally entertained 
toward God. The word, however, is employed by Paul to 
describe the removal of the divine wrath or displeasure against 
sin ; and with him reconciliation, or peace with God, follows 
justification, or the freedom from sin, as a joint result of believing 
in Jesus Christ. 

3. Those who are thus justified and reconciled unto God are 
further treated by Him as occupying a position of peculiar privi- 
lege, into which the Spirit introduces them : — He adopts thetn, 
that they shall be no inore childre7i of Satan, but children of God, 
enriched with all spiritual privileges of His sons. The state of 
believers in the Lord Jesus is not only that of justified and recon- 
ciled persons, who are simply not guilty and not liable, but it is 
also described as a more positive relation of sonship ; they are 
not only not enemies, but actually sons ; God not only removes 
His anger, but reveals His fatherly love. Here again we dis- 
tinguish the state of adoption and the spirit of adoption ; the 
latter is an element in the regenerate nature, developed in the 
progress of sanctification ; the former is a consequence of justi- 
fication, and is implied in the new mutual relations of God and 
the justified sinner (comp. Rom. viii. 15 and Gal. iv. 6, 7). 
This is a blessing enjoyed in the covenant of grace, where pro- 
vision is made for bestowing it. * It is a state of membership in 
the family of God,' says the late Dr. Candlish, 'the blessed 


result of union and communion with the Lord Jesus in His Son- 
ship. As justification is union and communion with Christ in 
His righteousness, and sanctification is union and communion 
with Christ in His hoHness, or His holy character and nature, so, 
by parity of reasoning, adoption must be held to be union and com- 
munion with Christ in His Sonship : surely the highest and best 
union and communion of the three.' Justification is the ground of 
adoption. The declaration of the state of adoption implies the 
actual presence of the image of God in regeneration. The new 
birth gives to those who pass through it the right or power to 
become sons of God (John i. 12). The adoption is the divine 
recognition of filial relationship. 

4. There might properly be distinguished only two states after 
that of nature and condemnation ; the state of grace and the 
state of glory. The three states of justification, reconciUation, and 
adoption, of which we have spoken, might be grouped together 
under the general designation of the state of grace. There 
remains then as co-ordinate with this first group the state of 
glorification. We have seen that justification, reconciliation, and 
adqption, like regeneration, believing, repenting, and beginning 
the life of sanctification are simultaneous — distinguished in order 
of thought, not of time. But the state of glory is successive to 
the state of grace. After their warfare in this life is ended, He 
petfects the holiness and blessedness. During this life the justified 
do not fully appropriate the benefits and enjoy the blessedness 
to which they are called. They are not perfect in holiness, and 
therefore they are not perfect in blessedness. The imperfectness 
of their personal change renders their state imperfect. When 
the personal change is complete, when the germ of the new life 
brought by the new birth has through the life of sanctification 
been brought to full maturity, then shall everything that militated 
against the blessedness of the justified be removed, and grace 
shall give way to glory. There is a true sense in which 
Christians may be called perfect even now in this life. Thus 
Paul speaks of those who are perfect— that is, all who have the 


right end of their being set before them. This is true of all 
regenerate ones who Uke Paul are pressing to the mark ; but in 
respect of state no one does in this life perfectly attain unto the 
end of perfection. 

We have further to treat in order of the Last Things, or the 
doctrine of Christian Eschatology. Perfection in holiness and 
blessedness is reached in respect— 3/frj/ of their souls at death. 
This is a clear statement of the Christian doctrine of the immor- 
tality of the soul. The souls of believers not only exist after the 
death of the body, but it is only then that they reach their true 
perfection. Not that the body as material is viewed as necessarily 
evil. This was a thoroughly pagan notion, fostered by such 
systems of morality as that of Stoicism. A false spiritualism 
that depreciates the body, and the hfe in the body, has often 
appeared within the limits of Christianity ; but its teaching is 
utterly opposed to the fundamental principles of the Christian 
doctrine of man. Indeed, the perfection of the soul apart from 
the body is not its ultimate perfection ; it is only as perfect as a 
separately existing soul can be. The statement before us affirms 
the immediateness of the transition of the soul into a higher life 
in the hour of death. This is a repudiation of the notion of the 
sleep of the soul. In the third century some entertained the belief 
that the soul slept with the body till the resurrection, when they 
were raised together. In the Middle Ages this idea found cur- 
rency in Arabia, and during the Reformation it was adopted by 
the Anabaptists. Calvin wrote in the year 1534 a treatise 
entitled Psychopannychia directed against this idea. The Scrip- 
tures represent the justified as after death passing in among the 
spirits of the just made perfect. He that is holy, when death 
overtakes him, is issued into eternity a soul made perfectly 

Then in the resurrection this perfection is shared in by the 
body as well as the soul, when they are joyfully joined together. 
The fact of a resurrection of the body is a doctrine of Christian 
revelation. It was unknown to heathenism : even those who had 


some belief in the immortality of the soul could not dream of 
the rising again of the body (Acts xvii. 32). It is not explicitly 
stated in the Old Testament, but the figurative use of the idea of 
a bodily resurrection by the prophets (Isa. xxvi. 19 ; Ezek. 
xxxvii. 1-14, etc.) showed that the conception was not foreign to 
them as to the sages of the Gentile world. The fact stated is 
further for the Christian made yet more sure by the pledge 
afforded him in the resurrection of Christ. We are not told, 
however, how the dead are raised up, and with what body they shall 
come. Some characteristics of Christ's risen body are given, and 
Paul says that the body of our humiliation shall be fashioned so 
as to be conformed to the body of His glory (Phil. iii. 21). All 
that Scripture affirms is the essential identity of the resurrection 
body with the body laid down in death, which itself during life 
had been the subject of continuous change. It is not constructed 
of particles of corruptible matter ; for it is incorruptible. Each 
soul shall have its own body, and that a spiritual body (i Cor. 
XV. 36, 42, 44). By this redemption of the body (Rom. viii. 23) 
the perfection of the whole man in holiness and blessedness is 

The day of the resurrection of the body will also be the day of 
final decision, — the day of judgment, when a complete separation 
will be made between the righteous and the wicked. Death 
really marks the end of probation for man : from the hour of 
death the destiny of the individual for eternity is fixed. Some 
think that the abodes of the righteous and wicked between death 
and the final judgment are temporary or intermediate. The one, 
however, is in glory, though it may be not the highest and 
ultimate state of glory ; and the others are shut out, though it 
may not be in the place appointed as their eternal abode. 
Hence Protestants, relying on Scripture, ought not only to 
reject the idea of Purgatory, but also that of prayers for the 
dead. ' As the tree falleth so it lies,' as regards its position in 
eternity for weal or woe. The position of true believers is one 
of perfect blessedness, in which the assurance of absolute per- 


manence is an important, an essential element. They are ever 
with the Lord. 

'Tis but a little while and He shall come again, 

Who died that we might live, who lives that we with Him might reign ; 
Then, O my Lord, prepare my soul for that glad day ; 

Oh, wash me in Thy precious blood, and take my sins away. 


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