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Full text of "A commentary on the Confession of faith : with questions for theological students and Bible classes"

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CAVEN LIBRARY 
KNOX COLLEGE 

TORONTO 



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COMMENTARY 



ON 



The Confession of Faith. 



WITH QUESTIONS FOR THEOLOGICAL STUDENTS 
AND BIBLE CLASSES 



KEV. ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER HODGE, B.i;.. 

AUTHOR OF 

*• The Atonement," and Proiessor op. Didactic and Polemicai, Theoloot in lai 
Western Theological Seminary op Allegheny, Pa 



PHILADELPHIA j 
PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION, 

1334 CHESTNUT STREET. 



CAVPMLffiRARY 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in th« year 1869, by 

THE TRUSTEES OP THB 

PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OP PUBLICATION, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern 

District of Pennsylvania. 




PREFAOJi 



During the sessions of the General Assembly of 1868 in Al- 
bany, the Author was honored with an invitation from the Rev. 
G. C. Heckman, D. D., pastor of the State Street Church in 
that city, to visit a large and intelligent class held every Sunday 
afternoon in the body of the church, and instructed in the Con- 
fession of Faith by the admirable elder and fellow-labourer in the 
gospel, E. P. Durant, Esq. In both design and success this 
exercise appeared worthy of universal emulation. Its design 
was to diffuse throughout the entire congregation a higher 
knowledge of divine things, and a more earnest and intelligent 
appreciation of the doctrines and doctrinal Standards of our own 
denomination, and to educate its best elements of every age in 
preparation for the inestimably import.ant offices of ruling elder, 
Sabbath-school and Bible-class teacher, and lay-preacher, etc. 
Its success, as evidenced by the number, the character, the intel- 
ligent interest and the regular attendance of the members, was 
and is to the present time as astonishing as it is gratifying. 

At that time the design of this "Commentary" on the Con- 
fession of Faith was conceived. It consists of an analysis of its 
Chapters and Sections, with proofs and illustrations of its teach- 
ings — with Questions appended for the convenience of both the 
learner and teacher. It is in no sense controversial. It aims to 



4 PREFACE. 

bring out into fiiU relief the natural, obvious and generally-ad- 
mitted sense of the text. Its design is simply to stimulate and 
facilitate the study of this eminent embodiment of Christian 
truth, among Bible-class scholars, theological students, ruling 
elders and ministers. To all of these classes it is respectfully 
commended. 

Great honour has recently been put upon the common Stand- 
ards of the great Presbyterian family of churches. At the pres- 
ent time two great denominations, having discarded all defining 
clauses, seem likely to unite upon the basis of these " Standards, 
pure and simple." We hail this with pleasure, and gratefully 
anticipate a largely increased interest in and study of these Stand- 
ards on every side. This humble " Commentary " is not designed 
to forestall this study by partial interpretations in the interests of 
a party. It has been written with a sincere desire to promote 
such study in an impartial spirit, and to set forth these Stand- 
ards in their plain, native sense before the eyes and for the admi- 
ration of all those of every name who so cordially love them, 
and are now so enthusiastically rallying around them. 

A. A. H. 

All^iqheny City, Pa., April 30, 1869. 



CONTENTS 



INTEODUCTION. 



CHAPTER I. 

A SHOKT HISTORY OF CREEDS AND CONFESSIONS. 

FAGI 
1'he Scriptures the only Standard of faith and practice. — Man's 
part in the matter of interpretation. — The origin of Creeds. — The 
true use of Creeds and Confessions. — Different conditions imposed 
upon private members and upon office-bearers. — The "Adopting 
Act" of the original Synod. — The final adoption of our Standards in 
their present form, A.D. 1788. — I. The ancient Creeds which ex- 
press the faith of the whole Church, viz.: the Apostles', the Nicene, 
the Athanasian Creeds, and those of the Councils of Ephesus and 
Chalcedon. — II. The Creeds and Confessions of the different branches 
of the Church since the Keformation : 1. The Doctrinal Standards 
of the Church of Rome. — 2. The Doctrinal Standards of the Greek 
Church. — 3. The Confessions of the Lutheran Church.— 4. The Con- 
fessions of the Reformed or Calvinistic Churches. — The adoption 
of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms by the Presbyterians 
and Congregationalists of America 29 

CHAPTER II. 

SOME ACCOUNT OF THE ORIGIN OF THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION 
AND CATECHISMS. 

The usual mode in which the Protestant Confessions were produced. — 
The origin of the " Canons of the Synod of Dort" and the " West- 
minster Confession." — The Reformation in Scotland, its origin, 
character and political effects. — The " National Covenant," A.D. 
1638, and the " Solemn League and Covenant," A.D. 1643.— The 
Reformation in England, its origin, character and effects. — The 
tyranny of the Stuxrts. — The Long Parliament. — The ordinance 
calling an Assemblj of Divines at Westminster -The composition 
I* 5 



6 CONTENTS. 

PAOS 

of the Assembly. — Its organization. — The different parlies repre- 
sented. — The preparation of a "Directory of Worship, Government 
and Discipline." — The preparation of the Confession of Faith and 
Catechisms. — The establishment by Parliament of the Presbyterian 
Church. — The ratificat'on of the Confession by the Parliament and 
by the Scotch Assembly. — The Dissolution of the Long Parliament. 
— The adoption of the Westminster Standards by the original Pres- 
byterian Synod in America, A.D. 1729. — The passages relating to 
the civil magistrate excepted to and altered , 41 



COMMENTARY ON THE CONFESSION OF 
FAITH. 

CHAPTEK I. 

OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURE. 

Section I. teaches — (1.) The light of nature suflScient to leave men 
without excuse. (2.) Not sufficient to enable any to attain salva- 
tion. (3.) Hence God has at different times made a supernatural 
revelation of himself to some favored portion of the race. (4.) This 
revelation, having been committed to writing, is exclusively em- 
braced in the Holy Scriptures. 

Sections II. and III. teach — (1.) That these Holy Scriptures include 
the Old and the New Testaments and all the particular books named. 
(2.) The books called "Apocrypha" form no part of the Sacred 
Canon. (3.) All the canonical books were divinely inspired, and 
hence are an infallible and authoritative rule of faith and practice. 

Sections IV. and V. teach — (1.) The authority of Scripture rests not 
on the Church, but immediately upon God. (2.) Their internal 
characteristics prove the Scriptures to be divine. (3.) Their high- 
est evidence is the direct work of the Spirit on the heart. 

Section VI. teaches— (1.) The Scriptures are a complete rule of faith 
and practice. (2.) Nothing in the present dispensation is to be 
added to them or to take their place. (3.) Yet the spiritual illumi- 
nation of each person by the Holy Ghost is necessary. (4.) Men 
are left to apply the principles revealed to practical details accord- 
ing to the leadings of Providence. 

Section VII. affirms that the Scriptures are perspicuous. 

Sections VIII. teaches— (1.) That the absolute rule of faith is the 
Scripture in the original tongues. (2.) That we possess an essen- 
tially pure and reliable text. (3.) That they ought to be trans- 
lated into the languages of all people. 



CONTENTS. 7 

PAGE 

Sections IX. and X. teach — (1.) The only infallible rule for the in- 
terpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself. (2.) The Scriptures 
are the supreme judge in all controversies respecting religion 67 

CHAPTER II. 

OF GOD AND OF THE HOLY TRINITY. 

Sections I. and II. teach — (1.) There is but one living and true God. 
(2.) This God is a free personal Spirit, without bodily parts or pas- 
sions. (3.) He possesses all absolute perfections in himself. (4.) 
He possesses all relative perfections with respect to his creatures. 
(5.) He is the self-existent and absolutely independent Supporter, 
Proprietor and Disposer of all his creatures. 

Section III. teaches — (1.) That Father, Son and Holy Spirit are each 
equally that one God, and possess in common all the divine perfec- 
tions. (2.) That they are three distinct persons although one sub- 
stance. (3.) That they are distinguished from one another by cer- 
tain personal properties and modes of operation and of manifesta- 
tion — as follows, etc 89 

CHAPTER III. 
OF god's eternal decree. 

Sections I. and II. teach — (1.) God has from eternity followed an 
unchangeable plan in all his works. (2.) This plan comprehends 
all things and events whatsoever that come to pass. (3.) This plan, 
as a whole, and in all its parts, is an absolutely sovereign purpose. 
(4.) This purpose is in reference to all its objects certainly eflS- 
cacious. (5.) It is in all its parts consistent with his own perfec- 
tions. (6.) It is in all things perfectly consistent with the nature 
of the creatures severally affected by it. 

Sections III., IV. and V. afiSrm — (1.) Tha.t God's eternal purpose 
determines what individuals shall be effectually called through faith 
unto salvation, and that the rest shall be condemned for their sin. 
(2.) This determination is unchangeable. (3.) It is not conditioned 
upon foreseen faith or obedience, but is sovereignly determined by 
fhe wise counsel of his own will. (4.) The ultimate end of his 
election is the praise of his glorious grace. 

Section VI. affirms — (1.) That God's all comprehensive purpose de- 
termines all the means and conditions as well as all the ends he has 
chosen to effect, and that in the logical order the end takes prece- 
dence of the means. (2.) That in the matter of human redemption 
the "end" is the salvation of the elect — the "means" are redemp- 
tion by Christ, regereration, sanctification, etc. (3.) That hence the 



8 CONTENTS. 

PAGK 

"means" are only intended to be applied to those for whom the 

*• end" is intended; i. e., no-.e but the elect are redeemed by Christ, 

effectually called, etc., etc. 
Section VII. affirms — (1.) That the sovereign destination of some to 

grace involves the sovereign determination to withhold grace from 

the non-elect. (2.) That God treats the non-elect upon principles 

of strict justice, and condemns them for their sins. 
Section VIII. teaches that this doctrine is a great mystery, and should 

be handled with special care Ill 

CHAPTER IV. 

OP CREATION. 

Section I. teaches — (1.) Neither the elementary substance nor the 
form of the universe nor of any of its parts is self-existent or eternal. 
(2.) The triune God originally created the elementary substances of 
the universe out of nothing, and arranged all the forms they as- 
sume, and reconstructed this earth into its present condition in the 
space of six days. (3.) When finished all God's works were very 
good, each after its kind. (4.) The final end of God in his creation 
was the manifestation of his own glory. 

Section II. teaches — (1.) Man was created immediately by God, and 
last of all the creatures. (2.) The whole human family has de- 
scended from one pair. (3.) God originally created man in his own 
image — (a) a personal spirit {b) an intelligent, righteous and holy 
spirit, with dominion over the creatures. (4.) God furnished Adam 
with a moral nature in a perfect state, and a positive revelation of 
his will. (5.) But while capable of obedience, Adam was left, under 
a special test, capable of falling 127 

CHAPTER V. 

OF PROVIDENCE. 

Section I. teaches — (1.) God continues to uphold all his creatures in 
being, and in the possession and exercise of the qualities and active 
powers with which he endowed them. (2.) God directs all the ac- 
tions of his creatures according to their respective properties and 
relations. (3.) This providential control extends to all his crea- 
tures and all their actions. (4.) It is the consistent execution in time 
of his eternal purpose, (5.) Its final end is the manifestation of his 
own glory. 

Sections II. and III. teach— (1.) God's providential control over 
every being and event is certainly efficacious. (2.) As to manner, it 
is in every case perfectly consistent with the nature of the agent 
subject to it. (3.) God ordinarily effects his purposes through the 



CONTENTS. 9 

PAGK 

agency of second causes. (4.) At times, however, immediately by 
the direct energy of his power. 

Section IV. teaches — (1.) God not only permits sinful acts, but he 
directs and controls them. (2.) Yet the sinfulness of these actions 
is only from the sinning agent, and God in no case is either the 
author or approver of sin. 

Sections V., VI. and VII. teach — (1.) The general providence of God 
comprehends several distinct systems. (2.) These are subordinated 
to each other in a certain order — the general to the special, the physi- 
cal to the moral, and the moral to the spiritual. (.3.) The relation 
of providence to the gracious influences of the Spirit, and of " com- 
mon " to " eflScacious " grace. (4.) The discipline of God's people. 
(5.) The judicial abandonment of the reprobate 144 



CHAPTER VI. 

OF THE FALL OF MAN, OP SIN AND OF THE PUNISHMENT 
THEREOF. 

Section I. teaches — (1.) Our first parents being created holy, and en- 
dowed with sufficient knowledge, sinned. (2.) Their sin was eating 
the forbidden fruit. (3.) They were seduced thereto by Satan. (4.) 
This sin was, by way of permission, embraced in the divine plan. 
(5.) God designed to order it to his own glory. The twofold mys- 
tery involved in the origin of sin stated and considered. 

Section II. teaches — (1.) By this sin they were immediately cut oflffrom 
communion with God. (2.) And consequently lost all original right- 
eousness. (3.) And became dead in sin and wholly defiled. (4.) 
This moral corruption extends to all faculties and parts of soul 
and body. 

Sections III. and IV. teach — (1.) Adam was both the natural and 
federal head of all mankind. (2.) The penal consequences of his 
sin are at birth actually inflicted upon all his descendants. (3.) 
Hence they all inherit his moral corruption. (4.) This innate de- 
pravity is total, involving disinclination and inability for all good, 
and inclination to all evil. (5.) From this inward state all actual 
transgressions proceed. 

Sections III. and IV. teach — (1.) Innate moral corruption remains 
in the regenerate as long as they live. (2.) In them it is pardoned 
for Christ's sake. (3.) It is gradually brought into subjection by 
the Holy Ghost. (4.) All that remains of it is intrinsically of 
the nature of sin. (5.) Original sin {i. e., a corrupt habit of soul) 
is as much a violation of God's law as actual transgression. (6,) 
All sin whether original or actual, deserves punishment. (7.) All 
ein is death, unless grace prevent 164 



10 COJSIEKTS. 

CHAPTER VII. 
OP god's covenant with man. 

PAQB 

Sections I. and XL teach — (1.) Every creature is under an essential 
and unlimited debt to his Creator. (2.) But the fruition of the 
Creator by the creature is a matter of sovereign grace. (3.) God 
has graciously pleased to offer men and angels a reward upon con- 
dition they render an obedience to which they are previously bound. 
(4.) In this covenant Adam is the representative of his descendants. 
(5.) The promise of their covenant was life — the condition, perfect 
obedience. 

Sections III. and IV. — The Arminian and Calvinistic views of the 
Covenant of Grace contrasted. The Calvinistic view stated and sup- 
ported with proof. 

Sections V. and VI. — (1.) This covenant, although variously admin- 
istered, is one. (2.) Its manner of administration under the Old 
Testament stated. (3.) Its manner of administration under the 
New Testament stated 183 

CHAPTER VIII. 

OF CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 

Section I. teaches — (1.) The covenanted Head of the Church is the 
God-man. (2.) His mediatorial office embraces the three functions 
of prophet, priest and king. (3.) As Mediator, Christ is Head of 
his Church, Heir of all things and Judge of the world. 

Section II. teaches — (1.) Christ was true man. (2.) He was abso- 
lutely sinless. (3.) He was very God, the second Person of the 
Trinity. (4.) The God-man was one single person. (6.) This 
single personality was that of the Eternal Son of the Father. (6.) 
The two natures in him continue distinct. 

Sections III. and IV. teach — (1.) The human nature of Christ was 
greatly exalted by the incarnation. (2.) Christ performs all media- 
torial actions as God-man. (3.) He acts in virtue of his appoint- 
ment by the Father. (4.) He assumed it voluntarily. (5.) He acts as 
Mediator in his estate of exaltation, and (6) in his estate of hu- 
miliation. 

Sections V. and VI. teach— (1.) Christ satisfied for his people (a) by 
his obedience, (6) by his sufferings. (2.) Hq fully satisfied for them 
in strict jusb.ce. (3.) He secured for them (a) remission of sins, 
(5) an everlasting inheritance. (4.) The benefits of this redemption 
are applied to his people by the Holy Ghost. 

Section VIL teaches— (1.) The properties of each nature of Christ are 



CONTENTS. 11 

PAQB 

exercised in all his actions as Mediator. (2.) The Person is indif- 
ferently designated in the style of either nature, and the properties 
of either nature are indifferently predicated of the Person. 
Section VIII. teaches — (1.) Christ as mediatorial King applies his re- 
demption to those for whom he purchased it. (2.) He applies it (a) 
by intercession, (6) revelation, (c) effectual calling, {d) providences. 
(3.) He certainly applies it to "all those for whom he hath pur- 
chased it" 218 



CHAPTER IX. 

OF FREE WILL. 

Section I. teaches that man is endowed with a rational and moral 
power of self-determination. 

Sections IL, III., IV. and V. teach the peculiar conditions of human 
liberty. (1.) In the estate of original innocence. (2.) In the pres- 
ent estate of sin. (3.) In the estate of imperfectly sanctified saints 
on earth. (4.) In the estate of glory 230 



CHAPTER X. 

OP EFFECTUAL CALLING. 

Sections I. and IL teach — (1.) That there is an internal as well as an 
external call necessary to save men. (2.) Its subjects are the elect 
only. (3.) The Holy Ghost is sole agent, who effects it by the in- 
strumentality of the truth. (4.) It consists in an effectual act of 
divine power. (5.) It effects a radical change in the moral condition 
of the whole man. 

Section III. teaches that infants and others incapable of knowing the 
truth are regenerated by the Spirit without it. 

Section IV. teaches — (1.) The non-elect will perish certainly, but only 
because they freely reject Christ. (2.) Men can be saved only by 
Christ. (3.) In the case of sane adults the knowledge of Christ and 
his work is necessary 244 

CJHAPTER XL 

OP JUSTIFICATION. 

Sections I. and IL teach — (L) All and only those effectually called 
are justified. (2.) Justification is a judicial act of God, and is a 
declaration that the person justified is right in the eye of law. (3.) 
It proceeds upon the imputation of Christ's righteousness. (4.) This 



12 CONTENTS. 

PAOI 

imputation is conditioned on faith. (5.) This faith is the gift of 
God. (6.) Faith alone, but not faith which is alone, justifies. 

Section III. teaches — (1.) That justification proceeds upon the full 
legal satisfaction rendered by Christ. (2.) It is nevertheless a stu- 
pendous exercise of free grace. 

Section IV. teaches that the elect are never justified until they believe 
in Christ. 

Sections V. and VI. teach — (1.) That justified men, although they 
may temporarily fall under God's displeasure because of sin, will 
never be finally abandoned. (2.) The Old Testament believers were 
justified upon the same principles as modern believers 249 

CHAPTER XII. 

OF ADOPTION. 

The relation of regeneration, faith, justification, sanetification and 
adoption. The elements and consequences of adoption 263 

CHAPTER XIII. 

OF SANCTIFICATION. 

This Chapter teaches — (1.) The gracious principle implanted in re- 
generation is gradually developed in sanetification. (2.) Sanetifica- 
tion is both negative and positive. (3.) It involves the entire man. 
(4.) It is never perfect in this life. (5.) Nevertheless, through 
grace it shall never fail 274 



CHAPTER XIV. 

OP SAVING FAITH. 

Saving faith defined. Section I. teaches — (1) That saving faith is 
the work of the Holy Ghost (2) by means of the Word, (3) and 
strengthened by the use of the sacraments and prayer. 

Section II. teaches — (1.) Saving faith rests upon the truth of God 
speaking in the Word. (2.) It embraces all the contents of the 
Tl crd. (3.) It is a complex state of mind varying with its objects. 
(4.) The specific act of faith which justifies includes (a) assent, 
(6) trust. 

Section III. teaches — (1.) True faith varies in different persons in 
degree, and in the same person at diff"erent times. (2.) It is assailed 
and often enfeebled, but always gains the victory. (3.) In time it 
grows up to the measure of full assurance 284 



CONTENTS. 13 



CHAPTER XV. 

OP REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE. 

PAQB 

Sections I. and II. teach — (1.) True repentance rests on (a) sense of 
guilt and pollution, (b) apprehension of mercy in Christ. (2.) It 
consists in (a) hatred of sin, (6) turning unto God, (c) an endeavour 
after new obedience. (3.) It is both a duty and a grace. (4.) It 
should be faithfully preached. 

Sections III., IV. and V. teach — (1.) There is no merit in repentance. 
(2.) The greatest sin when repented of will be forgiven. (3.) We 
should repent of the sinfulness of our nature, and of every sinful act 
in particular. 

Section VI. teaches — (1.) That every man should make private con- 
fession of sin to God. (2.) Should confess injuries to the person 
injured, and public oflFences to the Church. (3.) Christians should 
forgive all repentant offenders 297 



CHAPTEE XVI. 

OF GOOD WORKS. 

Sections I. and II. teach — (1.) Every work in order to be good must 
(o) be commanded; (6) must spring from a good motive. (2.) The 
effects of good works are various and as follow. 

Section III. teaches — (1.) The ability to produce good works is wholly 
from God. (2.) Continuous sanctifying as well as regenerative grace 
is needed. (3.) Nevertheless we must exert ourselves and use means 
thereto. 

Sections IV., V. and VI. teach — (1.) Works of " supererogation " are 
impossible. (2.) The best works of believers imperfect. (3.) They 
are nevertheless accepted through Christ and rewarded for his sake. 

Section VII. teaches — (1.) Works of unregenerate men may be good 
relatively to their fellows. (2.) But relatively to God they are all 
irreligious and unacceptable 313 

CHAPTER XVII. 

OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS. 

This Chapter teaches — (1.) The true believer can never finally fall 
away. (2.) The ground of this certain perseverance is not in the 
believer, but in th? purpose, promise and grace of God. (3.) The 
true believer may, however, fall temporarily, the occasions and effects 

of irhich falls are as follow 321 

2 



14 CONTENTS. 



CHAPTEK XVIII. 

OP ASSURANCE OF GRACE AND SALVATION. 

Sections I. and II. teach — (1.) There is a false assurance which dis- 
appoints. (2.) There is a true assurance atoounting to an infallible 
certainty. (3.) It rests (a) upon the divine truth of the promises, 
(6) upon the inward evidence of grace, (c) upon the witness of the 
Spirit. 

Sections III. and IV. teach — (1.) This assurance is not of the essence 
of faith. (2.) It is attainable, and should be sought as a great ad- 
vantage. (3.) May be lost in divers ways. (4.) The true believer 
is never allowed finally to fall into despair, and assurance once lost 
may be revived 33S 

CHAPTEE XIX. 

OF THE LAW OP GOD. 

Sections I. and II. teach — (1.) Man was created a moral agent, sub- 
ject to a moral law of absolute perfection. (2.) God put Adam, the 
natural head of the human race, under trial of obedience for a spe- 
cial probationary period. (3.) This law since the fall is not the 
condition of salvation, but continues the standard of life and cha» 
racter. (4.) It is summarily comprehended in the Ten Command- 
ments. 

Sections III., IV, and V. teach — (1.) God gave the Jews also a cere- 
monial law. (2.) Also a system of judicial laws. (3.) Both these 
have ceased to be in force in the Christian dispensation. (4.) On 
the other hand, the moral law continues in unabated force. 

Sections VI. and VII. teach — (1.) Since the fall no man can be saved 
by the law. (2.) Believers are not under the law as a condition of 
salvation. (3.) Nevertheless, the law is of manifold uses under the 
gospel, as follows 357 



CHAPTER XX. 

OP CHRISTIAN LIBERTY AND LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE. 

Section I. teaches — (1) Christian liberty is common to all believers in 
all ages, and includes (a) deliverance from the guilt of sin, (6) and 
from the bondage of corruption, (c) peace with God, (d) deliver- 
ance from the bondage of Satan, (e) and of afflictions and death, 
(/) and of the grave. (2.) This liberty is greater under the new 
than under the old dispensation. 



CONTENTS. 16 

PAOB 

Sections II., III. anj) IV. teach — (1.) God alone is Lord of the con- 
science. (2.) His will is revealed only in Scripture. (3.) Hence 
either to require or to yield belief to the doctrines of men is treason 
to God. (4.) Christian liberty has, however, its due end and limits. 
(5.) God has established both Church and State, and requires obe- 
dience to each. (6.) The Church has a divine right of exercising 
government and discipline 365 

CHAPTER XXL 

JOF EELIGIOUS WORSHIP AND THE SABBATH DAY. 

Sections I. and II. teach — (1.) The obligation of worship is a dictate 
of nature. (2.) Scripture prescribes how we should worship God, 
and all man-prescribed methods are sinful. (3.) The Father, Son 
and Holy Ghost the only proper object of worship, and all worship 
must be offered through Christ. (4.) Worship of saints and angels 
unlawful. 

Sections III. and IV. teach — (1.) Prayer is a principal part of wor- 
ship. (2.) It should be offered for all men. (3.) The conditions of 
acceptable prayer as follow. (4.) The object of prayer as follows. 

Sections V. and VI. teach of public, family and private worship, etc. 

Sections VII. and VIII. teach of the law of the Sabbath and the 
proper method of its observance 887 

CHAPTER XXII. 

OP LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS. 

Sections I., II., III. and IV. teach — (1.) The nature of a lawful oath. 
(2.) The only Name in which it is lawful to swear. (3.) The pro- 
priety of taking oaths upon lawful occasions. (4.) The sense in 
which an oath is to be interpreted. (5.) The extent and grounds 
of its obligation. 

Sections V., VI. and VII. teach of the nature and obligations of a 
vow » ~ 397 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

OF THE CIVIL MAGISTKATE. 

Sections I. and II. teach — (1.) Civil government originates not with 
the people, but with God; this proved. (2.) The proximate end the 
good of the community; the ultimate end the glory of God. (3.) 
Christian magistrates should promote piety, etc. (4.) It is lawful 
for Christians to be magistrates. (5.) Justifiable war is lawful. 



16 CONTENTS. 

PACW 

Sections III. and IV. teach, in opposition to Rcaiish and Erastian 
error, that the State and Church are not to interfere with one 
another 408 

CHAPTEE XXIV. 

OF MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE. 

Sections L, II. and III. teach — (1.) Marriage is a divine institution, 
and a religious as well as a civil contract. (2.) The ends of the 
institution are as follow. (3.) Lawful only between one woman and 
one man at a time. (4.) Marriage lawful for all men, and good. 
(6.) Persons of diflferent religions should not intermarry. 

Sections IV., V. and VI. teach — (1.) The divine law as to incest. 
(2.) As to DIVORCE 420 

CHAPTER XXV. 

OF THE CHURCH. 

Sections I., II. and III. teach — (1.) The scriptural doctrine as to the 
invisible catholic Church. (2.) As to the visible catholic Church. 
(3.) That this catholic visible Church is endowed with the means 
of grace. (4.) That out of it is no ordinary possibility of salvation. 

Sections IV., V. and VI. teach — (1.) That the visible catholic Church 
varies in purity and visibility at different times and places. (2.) 
That it can never fail. (3.) That Christ is the only Head of the 
Church 435 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

OF COMMUNION OF SAINTS. 

This Chapter teaches — (1.) Of the union of Christ and his people. 
(2.) Of his consequent fellowship with them. (3.) Of their union 
with one another. (4.) Their consequent fellowship. (6.) Their 
mutual duties 444 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

OF THE SACRAMENTS. 

Sections I. and II. teach — (1.) A sacrament is an ordinance instituted 
by Christ. (2.) It consists of (a) a visible sign ; (b) an inward 
spiritual grace signified by it. (3.) The nature and consequents of 
the sacramental union between the sign and the grace. (4.) They 
are designed to "represent, seal and apply" the benefits of Christ 
to believers. (5.) And to be badges of our profession. 



CONTENTS. 17 

PAOS 

Section III. teaches — (1.) That the virtue of the sacrament is not in- 
herent. (2.) That it does not depend upon the piety or "intention" 
of the administrator. (3.) But upon (a) the divine appointment, 
(6) the sovereign grace of the Holy Ghost. 

Section IV. teaches that there are only two sacraments. 

Section V. teaches that the sacraments of the old and the new dis- 
pensations were substantially the same 459 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

OF BAPTISM. 

Sections I., II. and III. teach— (1.) Baptism is a New Testament 
sacrament. (2.) It is a washing with water in the name of the 
Trinity. (3.) Its design is to signify and seal our engrafting into 
Christ and our engagement to be his. 

Section IV. teaches that not only professors of religion, " but also the 
infants of one or both believing parents, are to be baptized." 

Sections V., VI. and VII. teach — (1.) Baptism is not essential to sal- 
vation. (2.) Its observance, however, a duty. (3.) Its efficacy is 
not tied down to the moment of application. (4.) To be adminis- 
tered but once .' 481 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

OP THE lord's supper. 

Section I. teaches — (1.) Of the time and the Person by whom this or- 
dinance was instituted. (2.) Of its perpetual obligation. (3.) Of 
its design and effect. 

Sections IL, III., IV., V. and VI. teach the true doctrine in opposition 
to the following errors: (1.) Transubstantiation. (2.) Sacrifice of 
the mass. (3.) The elevation and worship of the elements. (4.) 
Denying the cup to the laity. (5.) Private communion. 

Sections VII. and VIII. tea3h — (1.) The relation between the bread 
and wine and the flesh and blood of Christ only moral. (2.) Christ's 
body is present only virtually. (3.) Believers feed on him only 
through faith, (5) precisely as they do at other times 495 



CHAPTER XXX. 

OF CHURCH CENSURES. 

Section I. teaches — (1.) Christ has appointed a government for tho 
Church, (2) which is distinct from that of the State, 



18 CONTENTS. 

PAOB 

Sections II., III. and IV. teach — (1.) As to the nature and extent of 
church power. (2.) As to the ends of discipline. (3.) As to the 
methods through which it should he administered 504 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

OF SYNODS AND COUNCILS. 

Section I. teaches of synods and councils, and the right of church 
oflBcers to call them. 

Sections II., III. and IV. teach — (1.) The classes of subjects falling 
under the jurisdiction of synods and councils. (2.) The grounds of 
their binding power. (3.) The extent to which submission to their 
decisions is a duty 514 

CHAPTER XXXII. 

OF THE STATE OF MEN AFTER DEATH, AND OF THE RESURREC* 
TION OF THE DEAD. 

Section I. teaches — (1.) Man consists of soul and body. (2.) In death 
the body decomposes, and the soul of the believer (a) is at once made 
perfect, (6) continues conscious and happy, (c) is with Christ, (d.) 
The souls of the wicked are in conscious misery with the devil, (e.) 
These conditions are irreversible. (/.) Romish doctrine as to pur- 
gatory, etc., disproved. 

Sections II. and III. teach — (1.) There is to be a simultaneous resur- 
rection of the just and of the unjust. (2.) Those then living are to 
be changed. (3.) The identical bodies laid in the grave to be raised. 
(4.) The animal bodies of the saints to be made " spiritual." (5.) 
The bodies of the unjust to be raised to dishonour 626 

CHAPTER XXXIII. 

OF THE LAST JUDGMENT. 

Sections I. and IT. teach — (1.) God has appointed a day of general 
judgment. (2.) He has committed the judgment to the Mediator. 
(3.) The persons to be judged include angels and the whole human 
race. (4.) It is to reach to thoughts and feelings as well as words 
and deeds. (5.) It will vindicate the justice and display the grace 
of God. (6.) The righteous are to be exalted to eternal honour and 
felicity. (7.) The ungodly are to be remanded to conscious misery 
and dishonour for all eternity. 

Section III. teaches— (1.) Of the certainty of the fact, (2) but of the 
uncertainty of the tine of the judgment, and of the designed effect 
of this uncertainty 538 



INTRODUOTIOK 



CHAPTER I. 

A SHORT HISTORY OF CREEDS AND CONFESSIONS. 

It is asserted in the first chapter of this Confession, and vin- 
dicated in this exposition that the Scriptures of the Old and 
New Testaments, having been given by inspiration of God, are 
for man in his present state the only and the all-sufficient rule of 
faith and practice. All that man is to believe concerning God, 
and the entire duty which God requires of man, are revealed 
therein, and are to be believed and obeyed because contained 
therein, because it is the word of God. This divine word, there- 
fore, is the only standard of doctrine which has intrinsic authority 
binding the conscience of men. And all other standards are of 
value or authority only in proportion as they teacb what the 
Scriptures teach. 

While, however, the Scriptures are from God, the understand- 
ing of them belongs to the part of men. Men must interpret to 
the best of their ability each particular part of Scripture sepa- 
rately, and then combine all that the Scriptures teach upon every 
subject into a consistent whole, and then adjust their teachings 
upon diflferent subjects in mutual consistency as parts of a har- 
monious system. Every student of the Bible must do this, and 
all make it obvious that they do it by the terms they use in their 
prayers and religious discourse, whether they admit or deny the 
propriety of human creeds and confessions. If they refuse the 
assistance afforded by the statements of doctrine slowly elabo- 

19 



20 INTRODUCTION. 

rated and defined by the Churcli, they must make out their own 
creed by their own unaided wisdom. The real question is not, 
as often pretended, between the word of God and the creed of 
man, but between the tried and proved faith of the collective 
body of God's people, and the private judgment and the un- 
assisted wisdom of the repudiator of creeds. 

As we would have anticipated, it is a matter of fact that the 
Church has advanced very gradually in this work of the accurate 
interpretation of Scripture and definition of the great doctrines 
which compose the system of truth it reveals. The attention of 
the Church has been specially directed to the study of one doc- 
trine in one age, and of another doctrine in another age. And as 
she has thus gradually advanced in the clear discrimination of 
gospel truth, she has at different periods set down an accurate 
statement of the results of her new attainments in a Creed or 
Confession of Faith, for the purpose of preservation and popular 
instruction. In the mean time, heretics spring up on all occa- 
sions, who pervert the Scriptures, who exaggerate certain aspects 
of the truth and deny others equally essential, and thus in effect 
turn the truth of God into a lie. The Church is forced, there- 
fore, on the great principle of self-preservation, to form such ac- 
curate definitions of every particular doctrine misrepresented as 
shall include the whole truth and exclude all error, and to make 
such comprehensive exhibitions of the system of revealed truth 
as a whole that no one part shall be either unduly diminished or 
exaggerated, but the true proportion of the whole be preserved. 
At the same time, provision must be made for ecclesiastical dis- 
cipline, and to secure the real co-operation of those who profess 
to work together in the same cause, so that public teachers in the 
same communion may not contradict one another, and the one 
pull down what the other is striving to build up. Formularies 
must also be prepared, representing as far as possible the com- 
mon consent, and clothed with public authority, for the instruc- 
tion of the members of the Church, and especially of the children. 

Creeds and Confessions, therefore, have been found necessary 
in all ages and branches of the Church, and, when not abused, 
have been useful for the following purposes: (1.) To mark, 
disseminate and preserve the attainments made in the knowledge 



HISTORY OF CREEDS. 21 

of Christian truth by any branch of the Church in any crisis of 
its development. (2.) To discriminate the truth from the glosses 
of false teachers, and to present it in its integrity and due pro- 
portions. (3.) To act as the basis of ecclesiastical fellowship 
among those so nearly agreed as to be able to labor together in 
harmony. (4. ) To be used as instruments in the great work of 
popular instruction. 

It must be remembered, however, that the matter of these 
Creeds and Confessions binds the consciences of men only so far 
as it is purely scriptural, and because it is so ; and as to the 
form in which that matter is stated, they bind those only who 
have voluntarily subscribed the Confession, and because of that 
subscription. 

In all churches a distinction is made between the terms upon 
which private members are admitted to membership, and the 
terms upon which office-bearers are admitted to their sacred trusts 
of teaching and ruling. A Church has no right to make anything 
a condition of membership which Christ has not made a condi- 
tion of salvation. The Church is Christ's fold. The sacraments 
are the seals of his covenant. All have a right to claim admit- 
tance who make a credible profession of the true religion — that is, 
who are presumptively the people of Christ. This credible pro- 
fession of course involves a competent knowledge of the funda- 
mental doctrine of Christianity — a declaration of personal faith in 
Christ and consecration to his service, and a temper of mind and 
habit consistent therewith. On the other hand, no man can Tbe 
inducted into any office in any Church who does not profess to 
believe in the truth and wisdom of the constitution and laws 
which it will be his duty to conserve and administer. Otherwise 
all harmony of sentiment and all efficient co-operation in action 
would be impossible. 

The original Synod of our American Presbyterian Church in 
the year 1729 solemnly adopted the Westminster Confession of 
Faith and Catechisms as the doctrinal standards of the Church. 
The record is as follows : 

"All the ministers of the Synod now present, which were 
eighteen in number, except one, that declared himself not pre- 
pared, [but who gave his assent at the next meeting], after propoa- 



22 INTRODUCTION. 

ing all the scruples any of them had to make against any articles 
and expressions in the Confession of Faith, and Larger and Shorter 
Catechisms of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, have 
unanimously agreed in the solution of those scruples, and in de- 
claring the said Confession and Catechisms to be the Confession 
of their Faith, except only some clauses in the twentieth and 
twenty- third chapters, ' Concerning the Civil Magistrate.* " 

Again, in the year 1788, preparatory to the formation of the 
General Assembly, "the Synod, having fully considered the 
draught of the Form of Government and Discipline, did, on 
review of the whole, and hereby do, ratify and adopt the same, 
as now altered and amended, as the Constitution of the Presby- 
terian Church in America, and order the same to be considered 
and strictly observed as the rule of their proceedings, by all the 
inferior judicatories belonging to the body. 

"The Synod, having now revised and corrected the draught of 
a Directory for Worship, did approve and ratify the same, and do 
hereby appoint the same Directory, as now amended, to be the 
Directory for the worship of God in the Presbyterian Church in 
the United States of America. They also took into consideration 
the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and, having 
made a small amendment of the Larger, did approve and do 
hereby approve and ratify the said Catechisms, as now agreed 
on, as the Catechisms of the Presbyterian Church in the United 
States. And the Synod order that the Directory and Catechisms 
be printed and bound up in the same volume with the Confession 
of Faith and the Form of Government and Discipline ; that the 
whole be considered as the standard of our doctrine, government, 
discipline and worship, agreeably to the resolutions of the Synod 
at their present session." 

What follows is a very brief and general history of the princi- 
pal Creeds and Confessions of the several branches of the Chris- 
tian Church. In this statement they are grouped according to 
the order of time and the churches which adhere to them : 

I. The ancient Creeds, which express the common faith of the 
V)hole Church. 

The Creeds formed before the Reformation are very few, relate 



HISTORY OF CREEDS. 23 

to the fundamental principles of Christianity, especially the Trin- 
ity and the Person of the God-man, and are the common heritage 
of the whole Church. 

1st. The Apostlf^ Creed. This was not written by the apostles, 
but was gradually formed, by common consent, out of the Con- 
fessions adopted severally by particular churches, and used in 
the reception of its members. It reached its present form, and 
universal use among all the churches, about the close of the 
second century. This Creed was appended to the Shorter Cate- 
chism, together with the Lord's Prayer and Ten Commandments, 
in the first edition published by order of Parliament, "not as 
though it were composed by the apostles, or ought to be esteemed 
canonical Scripture, . . . but because it is a brief sum of Chris- 
tian faith, agreeable to the Word of God, and anciently received 
in the churches of Christ. ' ' It was retained by the framers of 
our Constitution as part of the Catechism.* It is as follows : 

" I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and 
earth ; and 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; he de- 
scended into hell (Hades) ; the third day he rose again from the 
dead, he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of 
God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge 
the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost ; the Holy 
Catholic Church ; the communion of saints, the forgiveness of 
sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. 
Amen." 

2d. The Nicene Creed. This Creed is formed on the basis of 
the Apostles' Creed, the clauses relating to the consubstantial 
divinity of Christ being contributed by the great Council held in 
Nice in Bithynia, A. D. 325, and those relating to the divinity 
and personality of the Holy Ghost added by the Second (Ecu- 
menical Council, held at Constantinople, A. D, 381 ; and the 
"filioque" clause added by the Council of the Western Church, 
held at Toledo, Spain, A. D. 569. In its present form it is the 
Creed of the whole Christian Church, the Greek Church reject- 
ing only the last added clause. It is as follows : 
♦Assembly's Digest, p. 11, 



24 INTRODUCTION. 

"I believe in one God, Maker of heaven and earth, and ali 
things visible and invisible ; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the 
Only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all 
worlds ; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, 
begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father ; by 
whom all things were made ; who, for us men and for our salva- 
tion, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy 
Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified 
also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried ; 
and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and 
ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the 
Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the 
quick and the dead ; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I 
believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord the Giver of life, who pro- 
ceedeth from the Father and the Son (filioque), who with the 
Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified ; who 
spake by the prophets. And I believe in one Catholic and Apos- 
tolic Church ; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of 
sins ; and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of 
the world to come." 

3d. As subsequently heretical opinions sprang up in its bosom 
with respect to the constitution of the person of Christ, the 
Church was forced to provide additional definitions and muni- 
ments of the truth. One heretical tendency culminated in Nes- 
torianism, which maintains that the divine and human natures in 
Christ constitute two persons. This was condemned by the Creed 
of the Council of Ephesus, A. D. 43L The opposite heretical 
tendency culminated in Eutychianism, which maintains that the 
divine and human natures are so united in Christ as to form but 
one nature. This was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon, 
A. D. 451. These Creeds, defining the faith of the Church as 
embracing two natures in one person, are received and approved 
by the entire Church. They are sufl&ciently quoted in the body 
of the following "Commentary." 

4th. The Athanasian Creed. This Creed was evidently com- 
posed long after the death of the great theologian whose name it 
bears, and after the controversies closed and the definitions estab- 
lished by the above-mentioned Councils of Ephesus and Chalce- 



HISTORY OF CREEDS. 25 

don. It is a grand and unique monument of the unchangeable 
faith of tlie whole Church as to the great mysteries of godhness, 
the Trinity of Persons in the one God and the duaUty of natures 
in the one Christ. It is too long to quote here in full. What 
relates to the Person of the God-man is as follows : 

"27. But it is necessary to eternal salvation that he should 
also faithfully believe in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
28. It is therefore true faith that we believe and confess that our 
Lord Jesus Christ is both God and man. 29. He is God ; gene- 
rated from eternity from the substance of the Father ; man born 
in time from the substance of his Mother. 30. Perfect God, 
perfect man, subsisting of a rational soul and human flesh. 3L 
Equal to the Father in respect to his divinity, less than the 
Father in respect to his humanity. 32. Who, although he is 
God and man, is not two, but one Christ. 33. But two not from 
the conversion of divinity into flesh, but from the assumption of 
his humanity into God. 34. One not at all from confusion of 
substance, but from unity of Person. 35. For as rational soul 
and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ," etc. 

II. 21ie Creeds and Confessions of the different branches of the 
Church since jhe Reformation. 

1st. The Doctrinal Standards of the Church of Rome. 

In order to oppose the progress of the Reformation, Pope Paul 
III. called the last great (Ecumenical Council at Trent (1545- 
1563). The deliverances of this Council, entitled Canons and 
Decrees of the Council of Trent, form the highest doctrinal rule 
known to that Church. The decrees contain the positive state- 
ments of doctrine. The canons explain the decrees, distribute 
the matter under brief heads and condemn the opposing of Prot- 
estant doctrine on each point. 

The Roman Catechism, which explains and enforces the canons 
of the Council of Trent, was prepared and promulgated by the 
authority of Pope Pius IV., A.D. 1556. 

The Tridentine Confession of Faith was also imposed upon all 
the priests and candidates of the Romish Church and converts 
from other churches. 

In addition to these, diflercnt papal bulls and some private 
3 



26 INTRODUCTION. 

writings have been authoritatively set up as standards of the true 
faith by the authority of popes ; e. g.^ the Catechism of Bellar- 
inine, A.D. 1603, and the bull Unigenitus of Clement XL, 1711. 

The theology taught in all these papal standards is Arminianism. 

2d. The Doctrinal Standards of the Greek Church. 

The ancient Church divided from causes primarily political 
and ecclesiastical, secondarily doctrinal and ritual, into two great 
sections — the Eastern or Greek Church, and the Western or 
Latin Church. This division began to culminate in the seventh, 
and was consummated in the eleventh century. The Greek 
Church embraces Greece, the majority of the Christians of the 
Turkish Empire and the great mass of the civilized inhabitants 
of Russia. All the Protestant churches have originated through 
the Reformation from the Western or Roman Church. 

This Church arrogates to herself pre-eminently the title of the 
"orthodox," because the original creeds defining the doctrine of 
the Trinity and the Person of Christ, which have been mentioned 
above, were produced in the Eastern half of the ancient Church, 
and hence are in a peculiar sense her inheritance. Greek the- 
ology is very imperfectly developed beyond the ground covered 
by these ancient creeds, which that Church magnifies and main- 
tains with singular tenacity. 

They possess also a few confessions of more modern date, as 
"The Orthodox Confession" of Peter Mogilas, A.D. 1642, me- 
tropolitan bishop of Kiew, the Confession of Gennadius, A.D. 
1453. 

3d. The Confessions of the Lutheran Church. 

The entire Protestant world from the time of the Reformation 
lias been divided into two great families of churches — the Lu- 
theran, including all those which received their characteristic 
impress from the great man whose name they bear; the Re- 
formed, including all those, on the other hand, which derived 
their character from Calvin. 

The Lutheran family of churches embraces all those Protestants 
of Germany and the Baltic provinces of Russia who adhere to 
the Augsburg Confession, together with the national churches 
of Denmark, of Norway and Sweden, and the large denomination 
of that name in America. 



HISTORY OF CREEDS. 27 

Their Symbolical Books are: (1.) The Augsburg Confession, 
the joint authors of which were Luther and Melancthon. Hav- 
ing been signed by the Protestant princes and leaders, it was pre- 
sented to the emperor and imperial Diet in Augsburg A.D. 1530. 
It is the oldest Protestant confession, the ultimate basis of Lu- 
theran theology, and the only universally accepted standard of 
the Lutheran churches. 

(2.) The Apology (Defence) of the Augsburg Confession, pre- 
pared by Melancthon A.D. 1530, and subscribed by the Protest- 
ant theologians A.D. 1537 at Smalcald. 

(3.) The Larger and Smaller Catechisms, prepared by Luther 
A.D. 1529, "the first for the use of preachers and teachers, the 
last as a guide in the instruction of youth." 

(4.) The Articles of Smalcald, drawn up by Luther A.D. 
1536, and subscribed by the evangelical theologians in February, 
A.D. 1537, at the place whose name they bear. 

(5.) The Formula Concordiae (Form of Concord), prepared in 
A.D. 1577 by Andre'a and others for the purpose of settling cer- 
tain controversies which had sprung up in the Lutheran Church, 
especially (a) concerning the relative activities of divine grace 
and the human will in regeneration, (&) concerning the nature 
of the Lord's presence in the Eucharist. This confession con- 
tains a more scientific and thoroughly developed statement of 
the Lutheran doctrine than can be found in any other of their 
public symbols. Its authority is, however, acknowledged only 
by the high Lutheran party ; that is, by that party in the Church 
which consistently carries the peculiarities of Lutheran theology 
out to the most complete logical development. 

4th. The Confessions of the Reformed or Calvinistic churches. 

The Reformed churches embrace all those churches of Ger- 
many which subscribe the Heidelberg Catechism ; the Protestant 
churches of Switzerland, France, Holland, England and Scot- 
land : the Independents and Baptists of England and America, 
and the various branches of the Presbyterian Church in England 
and America. 

The Reformed Confessions are very numerous, although they 
all substantially agree as to the system of doctrine they teach. 
Those most generally received, and regarded as of the highest 



28 IJ^TRODUCTIO-N. 

symbolical authority as standards of the common system, are the 
following : 

(1.) The Second Helvetic Confession, prepared by Bullinger, 
A. D. 15G4. '' It was adopted by all the Reformed churches in 
Switzerland, with the exception of Basle (which was content with 
its old symbol, the First Helvetic), and by the Reformed churches 
in Poland, Hungary, Scotland and France,"* and has always 
been regarded as of the highest authority by all the Reformed 
churches. 

(2. ) The Heidelberg Catechism, prepared by Ursinus and Ole- 
vianus, A. D. 1562. It was established by civil authority, the 
doctrinal standard, as well as instrument of religious instruction 
for the churches of the Palatinate, a German State at that time 
including both banks of the Rhine. It was endorsed by the Sy- 
nod of Dort, and is the Confession of Faith of the Reformed 
churches of Germany and Holland, and of the German and 
[Dutch] Reformed churches in America. 

(3. ) The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. These 
were originally drawn up by Cranmer and Ridley, A. D. 1551, 
and revised and reduced to the present number by the bishops, 
at the order of Queen Elizabeth, A. D. 1562. These Articles 
are Calvinistic in doctrine, and constitute the doctrinal standard 
of the Episcopal churches in England, Scotland, America and 
the Colonies. 

(4. ) The Canons of the Synod of Dort. This famous Synod 
was convened in Dort, Holland, by the authority of the States 
General, for the purpose of settling the questions brought into 
controversy by the disciples of Arminius. It held its sessions 
from November 13, A. D. 1618, to May 9, A. D. 1619. It con- 
sisted of* pastors, elders and theological professors from the 
churches of Holland, and deputies from the churche-s of Eng- 
land, Scotland, Hesse, Bremen, the Palatinate and Switzerland ; 
the French delegates having been prevented from being present 
by order of their king. The Canons of this Synod were received 
by all the Reformed churches as a true, accurate and eminently 
autht ritative exhibition of the Calvinistic System of Theology. 
They constitute, in connection with the Heidelberg Catechism, 

* Shcdd's Hist, of Christian Doctrine. 



HISTORY OF CREEDS. ZU 

the doctrinal Confession of the Reformed Church of Holland, 
and of the [Dutch] Reformed Church of America. 

(5. ) The Confession and Catechisms of the Westminster As- 
sembly. A short account of the origin and constitution of this 
Assembly, and of the production and reception of its doctrinal 
deliverances, is presented in the next chapter. This is the com- 
mon doctrinal standard of all the Presbyterian churches in the 
world of English and Scotch derivation. It is also of all Creeds 
the one most highly approved by all the bodies of Congregation- 
alists in England and America. The Congregational Convention 
called by Cromwell to meet at Savoy, in London, A. D. 1658, de- 
clared their approval of the doctrinal part of the Confession and 
Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly, and conformed their 
own deliverance, the Savoy Confession, very nearly to it. Indeed, 
"the difference between these two Confessions is so very small, 
that the modern Independents have in a manner laid aside the 
use of it (Savoy Conf.) in their families, and agreed with the 
Presbyterians in the use of the Assembly's Catechisms."* 

All the Assemblies convened in New England for the purpose 
of settling the doctrinal basis of their churches have either en- 
dorsed or explicitly adopted this Confession and these Catechisms 
as accurate expositions of their own faith. This was done by the 
Synod which met at Cambridge, Massachusetts, June, 1647, and 
again August, 1648, and prepared the Cambridge Platform. 
And again by the Synod which sat in Boston, September, 1679, 
and May, 1680, and produced the Boston Confession. And again 
by the Synod which met at Say brook, Connecticut, 1708, and 
produced the Say brook Platform, f 

QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the only absolute and essentially authoritative 
standard of faith ? 

2. Whence do all human Creeds derive their authority? 

3. Upon whom rests the necessity and obligation of gathering 
together all the Scripture teaches on any subject, and of adjutowns 

* Neal : Puritans, II. 178. 

f Shedd's Hist, of Christian Doctrine. 



30 INTRODUCTION. 

their teaching on one subject with all the other elements of the 
system of truth? 

4. Is it better for a man to form these opinions without or with 
the assistance of the great body of his fellow-Christians ? 

5. In what form have the opinions of the great mass of the 
Christian Church on these subjects been expressed and preserved? 

6. What then is the first great purpose for which Creeds and 
Confessions are useful ? 

7. What is the second great end? 

8. What is the third? 

9. ^Yhiit is the fourth? 

10. On what ground, and how far does the matter of these 
Confessions bind the consciences of men? 

11. Whom and on what ground does the form of these Con- 
fessions bind? 

12. What are the terms upon which private members are ad- 
mitted to the Church ? 

13. What are the terms upon which preachers and rulers are 
admitted to office in the Church ? 

14. Why should the terms be so far different in the two cases? 

15. When, and by what representative body of our Church, 
were the Westminster Confession and Catechisms first adopted 
as our standard of faith ? 

16. Read the adopting act. 

17. Read the action of the General Synod, passed A. D. 1788. 

18. To what class of topics do all the Creeds before the Refor- 
mation relate ? 

19. What is the origin of what is commonly called the Apos- 
tles' Creed? 

20. Has it always had a place in our Catechism? 

21. Read it. 

22. When and by what Councils was the Nicene Creed pro- 
duced ? 

23. Read it. 

24. What opposite heretical tendencies, respecting the Person 
of Christ, subsequently sprang up in the Church ? 

25. What was the date and design of the Creed of the Councfl 
of Ephcsus? 



HISTORY OF CREEDS. 31 

26 What was the date and design of the Creed of the Council 
of Chalcedon? 

27. What was the origin of the Creed falsely attributed to the 
great Athanasius ? 

28. Read that portion of it which relates to the Person of 
Christ. 

29. What are the doctrinal standards of the Church of Rome ? 

30. What is the character of the theology they teach ? 

31. When, wliy, and into what divisions did the Church of the 
Middle Ages separate ? 

32. What countries are embraced in the bounds of the Greek 
Church? 

33. What are the doctrinal standards of the Greek Church? 

34. Into what two great divisions did the churches of the 
Reformation separate ? 

35. What is the common characteristic of the Lutheran 
churches ? 

36. What is the common characteristic of the Reformed 
churches ? 

37. What churches belong to the Lutheran family ? 

38. What is the name, date and origin of their principal and 
universally-received standard of faith ? 

39. What are their other symbolical books ? 

40. What is the origin, purpose and character of the Form of 
Concord, and in what estimation is it held ? 

41. What churches are embraced in the Reformed or Calvin- 
istic family ? 

42. What account is here given of the Second Helvetic Con- 
fession ? 

43. What account is here given of the Heidelberg Catechism? 

44. Of what churches is it the accredited standard ? 

45. What is here said of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church 
of England? 

46. By whom, where, when and for what purpose was the 
Synod of Dort convened ? 

47. Of what parties was it composed? 

48. In what estimation have its "Canons" been held, and of 
what churches are they the standard? 



32 INTRODUCTION. 

49. Of what churches are the Westminster Confession and 
Catechisms the standard of faith ? 

50. How far have they been adopted by the Congregationahsts 
of England? 

51. Upon what occasions and to what extent have they been 
adopted by the Congregationalists of New England? 



CHAPTER II. 

SOME ACCOUNT OF THE ORIGIN OF THE WESTMINSTER 
CONFESSION AND CATECHISMS. 

Most of the Confessions of the Reformed and Lutheran 
churches were composed by single authors, or by a small 
group of theologians to whom the task of drawing up a standard 
of doctrine had been committed. Thus, Luther and Melancthon 
were the principal authors of the Augsburg Confession, the 
common standard of faith and bond of union' of the Lutheran 
churches. The Second Helvetic Confession was composed by 
Bullinger, to whom the work was entrusted by a number of 
Swiss theologians; and the celebrated Heidelberg Catechism 
was composed by Ursinus and Olcvianus, who had been ap- 
pointed thereto by Frederick III., Crown Prince of the Palatinate. 
The Old Scotch Confession, which was the standard of the Pres- 
byterian Church of Scotland for nearly one hundred years before 
the adoption of the Westminster Confession, was composed by a 
committee of six theologians, at the head of whom was John 
Knox, appointed by the Scottish Parliament. The Thirty-nine 
Articles of the Church of England and of the Episcopal Church 
of America were prepared by the bishops of that Church in 
1562, as the result of the revision of "The Forty-two Articles of 
Edward Sixth, ' which had been drawn up by Archbishop Cran- 
mer and Bishop Ridley in 1551. 

The "Canons of the Synod of Port," of high authority among 
all the Reformed churches, and the Standard of the Church of 
Holland, were on the other hand drawn up by a great international 
Synod convened in Port by the States General of the Nether- 
lands, and composed of representatives of all the Reformed 
churches except that of France. And the Confession of Faith 

»3 



Si INTRODUCTION. 

and Catechisms of our Church were drawn up by a large and 
illustrious national assembly of divines and civilians convened in 
Westminster, England, by the Long Parliament from July 1, 
1643, to February 22, 1648 ; a very brief account of which it is 
the design of this chapter to give. 

The Reformation in Scotland had received its first impulse from 
the return of the illustrious Patrick Hamilton, in 1528, from the 
Continent, where he had enjoyed the instructions of Luther and 
Melancthon. It was in no degree a political revolution, nor did 
it originate with the governing classes. It was purely a religious 
revolution, wrought among the masses of the people and the body 
of the Church itself, under the direction at different times of 
several very eminent leaders, the chief of whom were John Knox 
and Andrew Melville. ' ' The Church of Scotland framed its Con- 
fession of Faith and its First Book of Discipline, and met in its 
first General Assembly for its own government, seven years before 
it had even received the sanction of the legislature. Its first 
General Assembly was held in 1560, while the first Act of Par- 
liament recognizing it as the National Church was passed in 
1567."* It continued to maintain in a good degree its indepen- 
dence of civil dictation and its integrity as a Presbyterian Church 
until after King James assumed the throne of England. After 
that time, through English influence and the increased power of 
the throne, the independence of the Church of Scotland was often 
temporarily destroyed. In resistance to this invasion of their 
religious liberties, the friends of liberty and of the Reformed 
religion among the Scotch nobility, clergy and people, signed the 
ever-memorable National Covenant at Sterling, February 28, 
1638, and the Solemn League and Covenant between the king- 
doms of England and Scotland in 1643. "This Solemn League 
and Covenant (subscribed by the Scotch General Assembly, the 
English Parliament and Westminster Assembly) bound the 
united kingdoms to endeavour the preservation of the Reformed 
religion in the Church of Scotland, in doctrine, worship, discipline 
and government, and the reformation of religion in the kingdoms 
of England and Ireland, according to the Word of God and the 

• Hetherington's "History of the Westminster Assembly/* p. 88. 



WESTMINSTER CONFESSION. 35 

example of the best Reformed churches. "* It was in furtherance 
of the same design of securing in both kingdoms religious liberty, 
a more perfect reformation and ecclesiastical uniformity, that the 
Scotch people gave the effective support of their sympathy to the 
English Parliament in their struggle with Charles I. , and that 
the Scottish Church sent her most eminent sons as delegates to 
the Westminster Assembly. 

The Reformation in England presents two distinct phases- ~ 
that of a genuine work of grace, and that of a political and eccle- 
siastical revolution. In the former character it was introduced 
by the publication of the Word of Grod, the Greek Testament of 
Erasmus, published in Oxford, 1517, and the English translation 
of the Bible by Tyndal, which was sent over from Worms to 
England in 1526. By the English Bible, together with the 
labours of many truly pious men both among the clergy and 
laity, a thoroughly popular revolution was wrought in the relig- 
ion of the nation, and its heart rendered permanently Protestant. 
The real Reformers of England, such as Cranmer, Ridley, 
Hooper, Latimer and Jewell, were truly evangelical and tho- 
roughly Calvinistic, in full sympathy and constant correspondence 
with the great theologians and preachers of Switzerland and 
Germany. This is illustrated in their writings, in the Forty-two 
Articles of Edward VI., 1551, the present doctrinal Articles of 
the Church of England, prepared in 1562, and even in the 
Lambeth Articles, drawn up by Archbishop Whitgift as late 
as 1595. 

Although this work of genuine reformation was in the first 
instance materially aided by the politico-ecclesiastical revolution 
introduced by Henry VIII. and confirmed by his daughter. Queen 
Elizabeth, it was nevertheless greatly impeded and prematurely 
arrested by it. " The Act of Supremacy," which n ade the sov- 
ereign the earthly head of the Church, and subjected all questions 
of doctrine, church order and discipline to his absolute control, 
enabled Elizabeth to arrest the constitutional changes in the 
Church set up by the process of reform at that precise point 
which was determined by her worldly taste and her lust of power. 
An aristocratic hierarchy naturally sided with the Court, and 

* Hetherington's "History of the Church of Scotland," p. 187. 



36 INTRODUCTION. 

became the lacile instrument of the Crown in repressing both the 
religious and civil liberties of the people. Gradually' the struggle 
between the party called Puritan and the repressive Court party 
became more intense and more bitter during the whole period of 
the reigns of James I. and Charles I. A new element of conflict 
was introduced in the fact that the despotic Court parly naturally 
abandoned the Calvinism of the founders of the Church, and 
adopted that Arminianism which has always prevailed among 
the parasites of arbitrary power and the votaries of a churchly 
and sacramental religion. 

The denial of all reform, and the unrelenting execution of the 
"Act of Uniformity," repressing all dissent while robbing the 
people of every trace of religious liberty, necessarily led to such 
an extension of the royal prerogative, and such constant resort to 
arbitrary measures and acts of violence, that the civil liberties of 
the subject were equally trampled under foot. At last, after hav- 
ing for an interval of eleven years attempted to govern the nation 
through the Star Chamber and Court of High Commission, and 
having prorogued the refractory Parliament which met in the 
spring of that year, the king was forced to appeal again to the 
country, which sent up in November, 1640, that illustrious body 
subsequently known as the Long Parliament. In the May of 
the next year this body rendered itself practically independent 
of the king's caprice by passing an act, providing that it should 
be dissolved only at its own consent, and at the same time all 
the members of both houses, except two of the peers, subscribed 
a bond binding them to persevere in the defence of their liberties 
and of the Protestant religion. In the same year Parliament 
abolished the Court of High Commission and the Star Chamber ; 
and in November, 1642, it was ordained that after November 5, 
1 643, the office of archbishop and bishop, and the whole framework 
of prelate government, should be abolished. 

In June 12, 1643, the Parliament passed an act entitled "An 
ordinance of the Lords and Commons in Parliament, for the call- 
ing of an Assembly of Divines and others, to be consulted with 
by the Parliament for the settling of the government and liturgy 
of the Church of England, and clearing of the Doctrine of said 
Church from false aspersions and interpretations." As the 



WESTMINSTER CONFESSION. 37 

pre-existing government of the Church by bishops had ceased 
to exist, and yet the Church of Christ in England remained, the 
only universally recognized authority which could convene the 
representatives of the Church in Ceneral Assembly was the 
National Legislature. The persons who were to constitute this 
Assembly were named in the ordinance, and comprised the flower 
of the Church of that age ; subsequently about twenty-one clergy- 
men were superadded to make up for the absence of others. The 
original list embraced the names of ten lords and twenty com- 
moners as lay-members, and one hundred and twenty-one divines. 
Men of all shades of opinion as to Church government were em- 
braced in this illustrious company — Episcopalians, Presbyterians, 
Independents and Erastians. "In the original ordinance four 
bishops were named, one of whom actually attended on the first 
day, and another excused his absence on the ground of necessary 
duty ; of the others called, five became bishops afterward, and 
about twenty -five declined attending, partly because it was not 
a regular convocation called by the king, and partly because the 
Solemn League and Covenant was expressly condemned by his 
majesty."* The Scotch General Assembly also sent as delegates 
to Westminster the best and ablest men she had — ministers Alex- 
ander Henderson, the author of the Covenant, George Gillespie, 
Samuel Rutherford and Robert Baillie ; and elders Lord John 
Maitland and Sir Archibald Johnston. 

Only sixty appeared the first day, and the average attendance 
during the protracted sittings of the Assembly ranged between 
sixty and eighty. Of these the vast majority were Presbyterians, 
after the Episcopalians had withdrawn subsequently to the sign- 
ing of the Solemn League and Covenant. The vast majority of 
the Puritan clergy, after the example of all the Reformed churches 
of the Continent, were inclined to Presbyterianism, and in many 
places, especially in the city of London and its neighbourhood, 
had erected presbyteries. 

There were only five prominent Independents in the Assembly, 

headed by Dr. Thomas Goodwin and Rev. Philip Nye. These 

were called, from the attitude of opposition to the majority which 

they occupied, " The Five Dissenting Brethren." In spite of the 

* Hetherington's " History of the Westminster Assembly," p. 99. 

4 



38 INTRODUCTION. 

smallness of their number, they possessed considerable influence 
in hindering, and finally preventing, the Assembly in its work of 
national ecclesiastical construction, and their influence was due 
to the support they received from politicians without the Assem- 
bly, in the Long Parliament, in the army, and, above all, from 
the great Cromwell himself. 

The Erastians, who held that Christian pastors are simply 
teachers and not rulers in the Church, and that all ecclesiastical 
as well as all civil power rests exclusively with the civil magis- 
trate, were represented in the Assembly by only two ministers — 
Thomas Coleman and John Lightfoot, assisted actively by the 
learned layman, John Selden. Their influence was due to the 
fact that the Parliament sympathized with them, and as a matter 
of course all worldly politicians. 

The prolocutor, or moderator, appointed by the Parliament, 
was Dr. Twisse, and after his death he was succeeded by Mr. 
Herle. On the 1st of July, 1643, the Assembly, after hearing a 
sermon from the prolocutor in the Abbey Church, Westminster, 
was organized in Henry the VII. 's Chapel. After the weather 
grew cold they met in the Jerusalem Chamber, "a fair room in 
the Abbey of Westminster." When the whole Assembly had 
been divided for despatch of business into three equal committees, 
they took up the w^ork which was first assigned to them by Par- 
liament — namely, the revision of the " Thirty-nine Articles," the 
already existing Creed of the English Church. But on the 12th 
of October, shortly after subscribing the Solemn League and Cove- 
nant, Parliament directed the Assembly "to consider among 
themselves of such a discipline and government as may be most 
agreeable to God's holy word." They consequently entered im- 
mediately upon the work of preparing a Directory of Govern- 
ment, Worship and Discipline. Being delayed by constant con- 
troversies with the Independent and Erastian factions, they did 
not complete this department of their work until near the close 
of 1644. Then they began to prepare for the composition of a 
Confession of Faith, and a committee was appointed to prepare 
and arrange the main propositions to be embraced in it. This 
committee consisted of the following persons: Dr. Hoyle, Dr. 



WESTMINSTER CONFESSION. 39 

Gouge and Messrs. Herle, Gataker, Tuckney, Reynolds and 
Vines. 

The committee at first wrought at the work of preparing the 
Confession and Catechisms simultaneously. "After some prog- 
ress had been made with both, the Assembly resolved to finish 
the Confession first, and then to construct the Catechism on its 
model." They presented in a body the finished Confession to 
Parliament, December 3, 1646, when it was recommitted, that 
the "Assembly should attach their marginal notes, to prove 
every part of it by Scripture." They finally reported it as 
finished, with full Scripture proofs of each separate proposition 
attached, April 29, 1647. 

The Shorter Catechism was finished and reported to Par- 
liament November 5, 1647, and the Larger Catechism April 14, 
1648. On the 22d of March, 1648, a conference was held between 
the two Houses, to compare their opinions respecting the Confes- 
sion of Faith, the result of which is thus stated by Rushworth : 

"The Commons this day (March 22d), at a conference, pre- 
sented the Lords with a Confession of Faith passed by them, 
with some alterations (especially concerning questions of disci- 
pline), viz. : That they do agree with their Lordships, and so 
with the Assembly, in the doctrinal part, and desire the same 
may be made public, that this kingdom, and all the Reformed 
churches of Christendom, may see the Parliament of England 
differ not in doctrine."* 

The Confession of Faith, Directory of Public Worship and 
the Larger and Shorter Catechisms were all ratified by the Scotch 
General Assembly as soon as the several parts of the work were 
concluded at Westminster. 

On October 13, 1647, the Long Parliament established the 
Presbyterian Church in England experimentally, "until the end 
of the next session of Parliament, which was to be a year aftei 
that date." But before that date the Parliament had become 
subservient to the power of the army under Cromwell. Presby- 
teries and synods were soon superseded by his Committee of 
Triers, while the Presbyterian ministers were ejected in mass b> 
Charles II. in 1662. 

* Hetherington's " Hist. Westminster Assembly," p. 245. 



40 INTKODUCTION. 

After the completion of the Catechisms, many of the members 
quietly dispersed and returned to their homes. "Those that 
remained in London were chiefly engaged in the examination of 
such ministers as presented themselves for ordination or induc- 
tion into vacant charges. They continued to maintain their 
formal existence until the 22d of February, 1649, about three 
weeks after the king's decapitation, having sat five years, six 
months and twenty-two days, in which time they had held one 
thousand one hundred and sixty-three sessions. They were the» 
changed into a committee for conducting the trial and examina 
tion of ministers, and continued to hold meetings for this pur- 
pose, every Thursday morning, until March 25, 1652, when, 
Oliver Cromwell having forcibly dissolved the Long Parliamentr 
by whose authority the Assembly had been at first called together, 
that committee also broke up, and separated without any formal 
dissolution, and as a matter of necessity." 

The Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechisms 
of the Westminster Assembly were adopted by the original Synod 
in North America, A. D. 1729, as the "Confession of Faith of 
this Church," and it has been received as the standard of faith 
by all the branches of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, 
England, Ireland and America ; and it is highly reverenced, and 
its Catechisms used as means of public instruction, by all the 
Congregational bodies of Puritan stock in the world. 

Although the Westminster Assembly resolutely excluded from 
their Confession all that they recognized as savouring of Erastian 
error, yet their opinions as to church establishments led to views 
concerning the powers of civil magistrates, concerning religious 
things {circa sacra), which have always been rejected in this 
country. Hence, in the original "Adopting Act," the Synod 
declared that it did not receive the passages relating to this point 
in the Confession "in any such sense as to suppose the civil 
magistrate hath a controlling power over synods with respect to 
the exercise of their ministerial authority ; or power to persecute 
any for their religion, or in any sense contrary to the Protestant 
succession to the throne of Great Britain." 

And again, when the Synod revised and amended its stand- 
ards in 1787, in preparation for the organization of the General 



WESTMINSTER CONFESSION. 41 

Assembly in 1789, it "took into consideration the last paragraph 
of the twentieth chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith ; 
the third paragraph of the twenty-third chapter, and the first 
paragraph of the thirty-first chapter; and, having made some 
alterations, agreed that the said paragraphs as now altered be 
printed for consideration." As thus altered and amended, this 
Confession and these Catechisms were adopted as the doctrinal 
part of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America 
in 1788, and so stand to this day. 

The original Articles of the Westminster Confession as to the 
civil magistrate which are altered in our Confession are as follow: 

Westm. Conf , chap. 20, I 4, of certain offenders it is said : 
" They may be proceeded against by the censures of the Church 
and by the power of the civil magistrate." Chap. 23, § 3: "The 
civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of 
the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the king- 
dom of heaven ; yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take 
order that unity and peace be preserved in the Church; that the 
truth of God be kept pure and entire ; that all blasphemies and 
heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and 
discipline prevented or reformed, and all ordinances of God duly 
settled, administered and observed. For the better effecting 
whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and 
to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to 
the mind of God." Chap. 31, | 2: "As magistrates may law- 
fully call a synod of ministers and other fit persons to consult and 
advise with about matters of religion, so, if magistrates be open 
enemies to the Church, the ministers of Christ of themselves, bv 
virtue of their office, or they with other fit persons upon delega- 
tion from their churches, may meet together in such assemblies." 



QUESTIONS. 

1. How were most of the Confessions of the Lutheran and 
Reformed churches composed ? 

2. What is peculiar in the case of the Canons of the Synod oi 
Dort and the Confession and Catechisms of Westminster ? 

3. State the general character of the Reformation in Scotland. 
4* 



42 INTRODUCTION. 

4. What were the character and design of the Solemn League 
and Covenant, and by what parties was it contracted? 

5. What was the general character of the Reformation in 
England? 

6. What was the principal instrumentality by which the work 
was effected ? 

7. What was the character of the theology, and what the direc- 
tion of the sympathies, of the early English Reformers ? 

8. What was the character of the influence exerted upon the 
English Reformation by her first Protestant sovereigns? 

9. What proved to be the civil effects of the attempt upon the 
part of the Crown to repress religious liberty ? 

10. State sgjQC of the first acts of the Long Parliament. 

11. When and for what purpose was the Assembly of Divines 
called at Westminster? 

12. What was the number and what was the character of the 
persons composing that Assembly ? 

13. Who were the representatives of the Scotch Church? 

14. Into what three principal parties were the members of this 
Assembly divided? and to which party did the vast majority of 
the Assembly belong? 

15. How was the Assembly organized? 

16. What was the first work performed by the Assembly? 

17. When and how did they proceed to frame a Confession of 
Faith? 

18. How did they proceed to frame the Catechisms? 

19. What was the action of the Long Parliament touching the 
work of the Assembly? 

20. What the action of the Scotch General Assembly as to 
the same? 

21. What was the ultimate fate of the Presbyterian establish- 
ment in England? 

22. Of what churches is the Westminster Confession the Con- 
stitutional Standard of Doctrine? 

23. When and with what exceptions was this Confession 
adopted by the Presbyterian Church in America ? 

24. When and why and in what sections was it amended? 



Confession of Faith. 



CHAPTER I, 



OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURE. 



Section I. — Although the light of nature, and the works of 
creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, 
and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable ;^ yet they are not 
sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which 
is necessary unto salvation \^ therefore it pleased the Lord, afc 
sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to 
declare that his will unto his Church ;' and afterward, for the 
better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more 
sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corrup- 
tion of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to 
commit the same wholly unto writing ;* which maketh the Holy 
Scripture to be most necessary ;^ those former ways of God's re- 
vealing his will unto his people being now ceased.* 

1 Rom. ii. 14, 15 ; i. 19, 20 ; Ps. xix. 1-3 j Rom. i. 32 ; ii. 1.— 2 1 Cor. i. 
21 ; ii. 13, 14.—-' Hebrews i. 1.—* Prov. xxii. 19-21 ; Luke i. 3, 4 ; Rom. 
XV. 4; Matt. iv. 4, 7, 10; Isa. viii. 19, 20.— * 2 Tim. iii. 15; 2 Pet. i. la 
— ^ Hebrews i. 1, 2. 

This section affirms the following propositions : 
1st. That the light of nature, and the works of crea- 
tion and providence are sufficient to makt, known the 
feet tl at there is a God, and somewhat of his nature and 

43 



44 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

character, so as to leave the disobedience of men without 
excuse. 

2d. That nevertheless the amount and kind of know- 
ledge thus attainable is not sufficient to enable any to 
secure salvation. 

3d. That consequently it has pleased God, of his 
sovereign grace, to make in various ways and at differ- 
ent times a supernatural revelation of himself and of 
his purposes to a chosen portion of the human family. 

4th. And that subsequently God has been pleased to 
commit that revelation to writing, and that it is now 
exclusively embraced in the Sacred Scriptures. 

1st. The light of nature and the works of creation 
and providence are sufficient to enable men to ascertain 
the fact that there is a God and somewhat of his nature 
and character, and thus render them inexcusable. 

Three generically distinct false opinions have been en- 
tertained with respect to the capacity of men in their 
present circumstances to attain to any positive know- 
ledge of the being and character of God. 

(1.) There is the assumption of all those extreme 
rationalists who deny the existence of any world beyond 
the natural one discoverable by our senses, and especially 
of that school of Positive Philosophy inaugurated by 
Auguste Comte in France, and represented by John 
Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer in England, who 
affirm that all possible human knowledge is confined to 
the facts of our experience and the uniform laws which 
regulate the succession of those facts; that it is not 
possible for the human mind in its present state to go 
beyond the simple order of nature to the knowledge of 
an absolute first cause, or to a designing and disposing 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 46 

supreme intelligence, even though such an one actually 
exists; that whether there be a God or not, yet as a 
matter of fact he is not revealed, and as a matter of 
principle could not, even if revealed, be recognized by 
man in the present state of his faculties. 

This assumption is disproved: (a.) By the fact that 
men of all nations, ages and degrees of culture have 
discerned the evidences of the presence of a God in the 
works of nature and providence, and in the inward 
workings of their own souls. This has been true, not 
only of individuals, communities or generations unen- 
lightened by science, but pre-eminently of some of the 
very first teachers of positive science in the modern 
scientific age, such as Sir Isaac Newton, Sir David 
Brewster, Dr. Faraday, etc. (6.) By the fact that the 
works of nature and providence are full of the manifest 
traces of design, and that they can be scientifically ex- 
plained, and as a matter of fact are explained by these 
very skeptics themselves, only by the recognition and 
accurate tracing out of the evident " intention^' which 
each of these works is adapted to subserve in their 
mutual relations, (c.) The same is disproved from the 
fact that conscience, which is a universal and indestruct- 
ible element of human nature, necessarily implies our 
accountability to a personal moral governor, and as a 
matter of fact has uniformly led men to a recognition 
of his existence and of their relation to him. 

(2.) An extreme opinion on this subject has been held 
by some Christians, to the effect that no true and certain 
knowledge of God can be derived by man, in his present 
condition, from the light of nature in the entire absence 
of a supernatural revelation ; that we are altogether de- 



46 CONFESSION CF FAITH. 

pendent upon such a revelation for any certain know- 
ledge that God exists, as well as for all knowledge of 
his nature and his purposes. 

This opinion is disproved : (a.) By the direct testi- 
mony of Scripture. Kom. i. 20-24; ii. 14, 15. (6.) By 
the fact that many conclusive arguments for the exist- 
ence of a great first Cause, who is at the same time an 
intelligent personal Spirit and righteous moral Governor, 
have been drawn by a strict induction from the facts of 
nature alone, as they lie open to the natural understand- 
ing. The fact that this argument remains unanswerable 
shows that the process by which the conclusions are 
drawn from purely natural sources is legitimate, (c.) All 
nations, however de;r'i>tute of a supernatural revelation 
they may have been, have yet possessed some knowledge 
of a God. And in the case of the most enlightened of 
the heathen, natural religion has given birth to a con- 
siderable natural theology. We must, however, distin- 
guish between that knowledge of the divine character 
which may be obtained by men from the works of 
nature and providence in the exercise of their natural 
powers alone, without any suggestions or assistance 
derived from a supernatural revelation — as is illustrated 
in the theological writings of some most eminent of the 
heathen who lived before Christ — and that knowledge 
which men in this age, under the clear light of a super- 
natural revelation, are competent to deduce from a study 
of nature. The natural theology of the modern ration- 
alists demonstrably owes all its special excellences to 
that Christian revelation it is intended to supersede. 

(3.) The third erroneous opinion which has been en- 
tertained on this subject is that of deists and theistic 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 47 

rationalists, viz. : that the light of nature, when legiti- 
mately used, is perfectly sufficient of itself to lead men 
to all necessary knowledge of God's being, nature and 
purposes. Some German rationalists, while admitting 
that a supernatural revelation has been given in the 
Christian Scriptures, yet insist that its only office is to 
illustrate and enforce the truths already given through 
the light of nature, which are sufficient in themselves, 
and need re-enforcement only because they are ordinarily 
not properly attended to by men. But, in opposition to 
this, the Confession teaches — 

2d. That the amount of knowledge attainable by the 
light of nature is not sufficient to enable any to secure 
salvation. 

This is proved to be true: [a.) From Scripture. 
1 Cor. i. 21 ; ii. 13, 14. (6.) From the fact that man's 
moral relations to God have been disturbed by sin ; 
and while the natural light of reason may teach an 
anfallen being spontaneously how he should approach 
and serve God, and while it may teach a fallen being 
what the nature of God may demand as to the punish- 
ment of sin, it can teach nothing by way of anticipation 
as to what God may be sovereignly disposed to do in 
the way of remission, substitution, sanctification, resto- 
ration, etc. (c.) From the facts presented in the past 
history of all nations destitute of the light of revelation, 
both before and since Christ. The truths they have 
held have been incomplete and mixed with fundamental 
error ; their faith has been uncertain ; their religious 
rites have been degrading and their lives immoral. 
The only apparent exception to this fact is found in the 
case of sonie rationalists in Christian lands, and their 



48 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

exceptional superiority to others of their creed is due tc 
the secondary influences of that system of supernatural 
religion which they deny, but the power of which they 
cannot exclude. 

Hence, the Confession teaches in this section — 

3d. That, consequently, it has pleased God of his 
sovereign grace to make, in various ways and at differ- 
ent times, a supernatural revelation of himself and of 
his purposes to a chosen portion of the human family. 
And that — 

4th. God has been pleased subsequently to commit 
that revelation to writing, and it is now exclusively 
embraced in the Sacred Scriptures. 

Since, as above shown, the light of nature is insuffi- 
cient to enable men to attain such a knowledge of God 
and his will as is necessary for salvation, it follows (a) 
that a supernatural revelation is absolutely necessary for 
man; and (6) from what natural religion alone teaches 
us of the character of God, it follows that the giving of 
such a revelation is in the highest degree antecedently 
probable on his part. Man is essentially a moral agent 
and needs a clearly revealed rule of duty, and a religious 
being craving communion with God. In his natural 
state these are both unsatisfied. But God is the author 
of human nature. His intelligence leads us to believe 
that he will complete all his works and crown a relig- 
ious nature with "the gift of a religion practically 
adequate to its wants. The benevolence of God leads 
us to anticipate that he will not leave his creatures in 
bewilderment and ruin for the want of light as to their 
condition and duties. And his righteousness occasions 
the presumption that he will at some lime speak in 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 49 

definite and authoritative tones to the conscience of his 
subjects. 

(c.) As a matter of fact, God has given such a revela- 
tioL. Indeed he has in no period of human history left 
himself without a witness. His communications to 
mankind through the first three thousand years were 
made in very "diverse manners," by theophanies and 
audible voices, dreams, visions, the Urim and Thummim, 
and prophetic inspiration ; and the results of these com- 
munications were diifused and perpetuated by means of 
tradition. 

The fact that such a revelation has been made, and 
that we have it in the Christian Scriptures, is fully sub- 
stantiated l)y that mass of proof styh?d the *^ evidences 
of Christianity.'^ The main departments of this evi- 
dence are the following : 

(a.) The Old and New Testaments, whether the word 
of God or not, bear all the marks of genuine and authen- 
tic historical records. 

(6.) The miracles recorded in these Scriptures are 
established as facts by abundant testimony, and when 
admitted as facts they demonstrate the religion they 
accompany to be from God. 

(c.) The same is true in all respects with regard to 
the many explicit prophecies already fulfilled which are 
contained in the Scriptures. 

(d.) The unparalleled perfection of the moral sys- 
tem they teach, and the supernatural intelligence they 
discover in adaptation to all human characters and con- 
ditions in all ages. 

(e.) The absolutely perfect excellence of its Founder. 

(/.) The spiritual power of Christianity, as shown 



50 



CONFESSION OF FAITH. 



in the religious experience of individuals, and also ir. 
the wider influence it exerts over communities and na- 
tions in successive generations. 

For the questions concerning the Holy Scriptures as 
containing the whole of this revelation now made by 
God to men, see below. 

Section II. — Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the word 
of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and 
New Testaments, which are these : 

OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. 



Genesis. 


I. Kings. 


Ecclesiastes, 


Amos. 


Exodus. 


II. Kings. 


The Song of Solo- 


Obadiah. 


Leviticus. 


I. Chronicles. 


mon. 


Jonah. 


Numbers. 


II. Chronicles. 


Isaiah. 


Micah. 


Deuteronomy. 


Ezra. 


Jeremiah. 


Nahum. 


Joshua. 


Nehemiah. 


Lamentations. 


Habakkuk. 


Judges. 


Esther. 


Ezekiel. 


Zeplianiah. 


Ruth. 


Job. 


Daniel. 


Haggai. 


L Samuel. 


Psalms, 


Rosea. 


Zechariah. 


II. Samuel. 


Proverbs. 

OF THE NEW 1 


Joel. 
TESTAMENT. 


Malachi. 


Matthew. 


I. Corinthians. 


I. Timothy. 


I. Poter. 


Mark. 


II, Corinthians. 


II. Timothy. 


II. Peter. 


Luke. 


Galatians. 


Titus. 


I. John. 


John. 


Ephesians. 


Philemon. 


II. John. 


Acta of the Apostles. 


Philippians. 


Epistle to the He- 


III. John. 


Epistle to the Ro- 


Colossians. 


brews. 


Jude. 


mans. 


I. Thessalonians. 

II. Thessalonians. 


Epistle of James. 


The Revelation. 



All which are given by inspiration of God to be th« rule of faith 
and Ufe.' 

Section III. — The books commonly called Apocrypha, not 
being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scrip- 
ture, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, 
HOT to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other hu- 
man writings.' 

f Luke xiv. 29, 31; Eph. ii. 20; Rev. xxii. 18, 19; 2 Tim. iii. 16.— « Luke 
xxiv. 27, 44 ; Rom. iii. 2 ; 2 Pet. i. 21. 



These sections afftrm the following propositions : 
1st. That the complete canon of Scripture embraces 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 61 

in the two great divisions of the Old and the New Tes- 
taments all the particular books here named. 

2d. That the books commonly called Apocrypha form 
no part of that canon, and are to be regarded as of no 
more authority than any other human writings. 

3d. That all the canonical books were divinely in- 
spired, and are thus given to us as an authoritative rule 
of faith and practice. 

1st. The complete canon of Scripture embraces in the 
two great divisions of the Old and New Testaments all 
the particular books here named. 

The Old Testament is the collection of inspired writ- 
ings given by God to his Church during the Old Dis- 
pensation of the Covenant of Grace, and the New Tes- 
tament is the collection of those inspired writings which 
he gave during the New or Christian Dispensation of 
that Covenant. 

We determine what books have a place in this canon 
or divine rule by an examination of the evidences which 
show that each of them, severally, was written by the 
inspired prophet or apostle whose name it bears, or, as 
in the case, of the gospels of Mark and Luke, written 
under the superintendence and published by the author- 
ity of an apostle. This evidence in the case of the Sa- 
cred Scriptures is of the same kind of historical and 
critical proof as is relied upon by all literary men to 
establish the genuineness and authenticity of any other 
ancient writings, such as the Odes of Horace or the 
works of Herodotus. In general this evidence is (a) 
Internal, such as language, style and the character of 
the matter they contain ; (b) External, such as the testi- 
mony of contemporaneous writers, the universal consent 



52 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

of contemporary readers, and corroborating history drawn 
from independent credible sources. 

The genuineness of the books constituting the Old 
Testament canon as now received by all Protestants is 
established as follows : 

(1.) Christ and his apostles endorse as genuine and 
authentic the canon of Jewish Scriptures as it existed in 
their time, (a.) Christ often quotes as the word of God 
the separate books and the several divisions embraced 
in the Jewish Scriptures, viz. : the Law, the Prophets, 
and the Holy Writings or Psalms. Mark xiv. 49 ; Luke 
xxiv. 44 ; John v. 39. (6.) The apostles also quote them 
as the word of God; 2 Tim. iii. 15, 16; Acts i. 16. (c.) 
Christ often rel)uked the Jews for disobeying, but never 
for forging or corrupting their Scriptures, Matt. xxii. 29. 
(2.) The Jewish canon thus endorsed by Christ and 
his apostles is the same as that we now have, (a.) The 
New Testament writers quote as Scripture almost every 
one of the books we recognize, and no others. (6.) The 
Septuagint, or Greek translation of the Hebrew Scrip- 
tures, made in Egypt B. C. 285, which was itself fre- 
quently quoted by Christ and his apostles, embraced 
every book (contained in our copies, (c.) Joseph us, born 
A. D. 37, enumerates as Hebrew Scriptures the same 
books by their classes, {d.) The testimony of the early 
Christian writers uniformly agrees with that of the an- 
cient Jews as to every book, (e.) Ever since the time 
of Christ, both Jews and Christians, while rival and 
hostile parties, have separately kept the same canon, 
and agree perfectly as to the genuineness and authen- 
ticity of every book. 

The evidence which establishes the canonical author- 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 63 

ity of several books of the New Testamenf. may be gene- 
rally stated as follows: {a.) The early Christian writers 
in all parts of the world agree in quoting as of apostoli- 
cal authority the books we receive, while they quote all 
other contemporaneous writings only for illustration. 
1 6.) The early Church Fathers furnish a number of 
catalogues of the books received by them as apostolical, 
all of which agree perfectly as to most of the books, and 
differ only in a slight degree with reference to some last 
written or least generally circulated, (c.) The earliest 
translations of tlie Scriptures prove that, at the time 
they were made, the books they contain were recognized 
as Scripture. The Peshito, or early Syriac translation, 
agrees almost entirely with ours, and the Vulgate, pre- 
pared by Jerome A. D. 385, was based on the Italic or 
early Latin version, and agrees entirely with ours. 
(d.) The internal evidence corroborates the external 
testimony in* the case of all the books. This consists 
of the language and idiom in which they are written ; 
the harmony in all essentials in the midst of great vari- 
ety in form and circumstantials; the elevated spirituality 
and doctrinal consistency of all the books, and their 
practical power over the consciences and hearts of men. 

2d. But the books called Apocrypha form no part of 
the sacred Canon, and are to be regarded as of no more 
authority than any other human writings. 

The word apocryplia (anything hidden) has been 
applied to certain ancient writings whose authorship is 
not manifest, and for which unfounded claims have been 
set up for a place in the canon. Some of these have 
been associated with the Old and some with the New 
Testament. In this se<",tion of the Confession, however, 

5» 



54 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the name is applied principally to those spurious Scrip- 
tures for which a place is claimed in the Old Testament 
canon by the Roman Church. These are Tohit, Wisdom, 
Judith^ EccledasticuSy Baruch and the two })ooks of 
Maccabees. They also prefix to the book of Daniel the 
History of Susannah, and insert in the third chapter the 
Song of the Three Children, and add to the end of the 
book the History of Bel and the Dragon. 

That these books have no right to a place in the 
canon is proved by the following facts : (a.) They 
never formed a part of the Hebrew Scriptures. They 
have always been rejected by the Jews, to whose guar- 
dianship the Old Testament Scriptures were committed, 
(6.) None of them were ever quoted by Christ or the 
apostles, (c.) They were never embraced in the list of 
the canonic-al books by the early Fathers ; and even in 
the Roman Church their authority was not accepted by 
the most learned and candid men until after it was 
made an article of faith by the Council of Trent, late in 
the sixteenth century, {d.) The internal evidence pre- 
sented by their contents disproves their claims. None 
of them make any claim to inspiration, while the best 
of them disclaim it. Some of them consist in childish 
fables, and inculcate bad morals. 

And this section teaches — 

3d. That all the canonical Scriptures were divinely 
inspired, and are thus given us as an authoritative rvle 
of faith and practice. 

The books of Scripture were written by the instru- 
mentality of men, and the national and personal pecu- 
liarities of their authors have been evidently as freely 
expressed in their writing, and their natural faculti(«i, 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 66 

intellectual and moral, as freely exercised in their pro- 
duction, as those of the authors of any other writings. 
Nevertheless, these books are, one and all, in thought 
and verbal expression, in substance and form, wholly 
the Word of God, conveying, with absolute accuracy 
and divine authority, all that God meant them to 
convey, without any human additions or admixtures. 
This was accomplished by a supernatural influence of 
the Spirit of God acting upon the spirits of the sacred 
writers, called 'inspiration," which accompanied them 
uniformly in what they wrote, and which, without vio- 
lating the free operation of their faculties, yet directed 
them in all they wrote and secured the infallible expres- 
sion of it in words. The nature of this divine influence 
we, of course, can no more understand than we can in 
the case of any other miracle. But the eifects are plain 
and certain, viz.: that all written under it is the very 
Word of God, of infallible truth and of divine author- 
ity ; and this infallibility and authority attach as well 
to the verbal expression in which the revelation is con- 
veyed as to the matter of the revelation itself. 

The fact that the Scriptures are thus inspired is 
proved, because they assert it of themselves; and be- 
cause they must either be credited as true in this respect, 
or rejected as false in all respects ; and because God 
authenticated the claims of their writers by accompany* 
ing their teaching with *^ signs and wonders and divers 
miracles." Heb. ii. 4. Wherever God sends his "sign," 
there he commands belief, but it is impossible that he 
could unconditionally command belief except to truth 
infallibly conveyed. 

(a.) The Old Testament writers claimed to be in- 



66 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

spired. Deut. xxxi. 19-22, xxxiv. 10; Num. xvi. 28, 
29; 2 Sam. xxiii. 2. As a characteristic fact, they speak 
in the name of God, prefacaug their messages with a 
''Thus saith the Lord," "The mouth of the Lord hath 
spoken it." Dent, xviii. 21, 22; 1 Kings xxi. 20; Jer. 
ix. 12, etc. 

(6.) The New Testament writers introduce their quo- 
tations from the Old Testament with such formulas as 
" The Holy Ghost saith," Heh. iii. 7 ; " The Holy Ghost 
this signifying," Heb. ix. 8 ; " Saith God," Acts ii. 17 ; 
1 Cor. ix. 9, 10 ; " The Lord by the mouth of his ser- 
vant David saith," Acts iv. 25 ; " The Lord limiteth in 
David a certain time, saying," Heb. iv. 7. 

(c.) The inspiration of the Old Testament is expressly 
affirmed in the New Testament. Luke i. 70; Heb. i. 
1 ; 2 Tim. iii. 16 ; 1 Pet. i. 10-12 ; 2 Pet. i. 21. 

(d.) Christ and his apostles constantly quote the Old 
Testament as infallible, as that which must be fulfilled. 
Matt. V. 18; John vii. 2,3; Luke xxiv. 44; Matt. ii. 
15-23, etc. 

(e.) Inspiration was promised the apostles. Matt. x. 
19; xxviii. 19, 20; Luke xii. 12; John xiii. 20; xiv.' 
26; XV. 26. 27; xvi. 13. 

(/.) They claimed to have the Spirit in fulfilment of 
the promise of Christ. Acts ii. 33 ; xv. 28 ; 1 Thess. 
i. 5. To speak as the prophets of God. 1 Cor. iv. 1 ; 
1 Thess. iv. 8. To speak with plenary authority. 1 
Cor. ii. 13; 2 Cor. xiii. 2-4; Gal. i. 8, 9. They put 
their writings on a level with the Old Testament Scrip- 
tures. 2 Pet. iii. 16 ; 1 Thess. v. 27. 

Section IV.— The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which 
it oiiirht to be believed and obeyed, depcndeth not upon the testi- 



IIOI.Y SCRIPTURE. 57 

mony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth 
itself), the author thereof; and, therefore, is to be received, 
because it is the word of God. ® 

Section V. — We may be moved and induced by the testimony 
of the Church to an high and reverend esteem of the Holy Scrip- 
ture,^" ani the heavenliness of the matter, the efiicacy of the 
doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, 
the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the 
full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the 
many other incomparable excellences, and the entire perfection 
thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence 
itself to be the word of God ; yet notwithstanding our full per- 
suasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority 
thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing wit- 
ness by and with the word in our hearts.'^ 

9 2 Pet. i. 19-21 ; 2 Tim. iii. 16; 1 John v. 9 ; 1 Thess. ii. 13.— "> 1 Tim. 
iii. 15.— n 1 John ii. 20-27; John xvi. 13, 14; 1 Cor. ii. 10-12; Isa. lix. 21. 

This section teaches the following propositions : 
1st. That the authority of the inspired Scriptures does 
not rest upon the testimony of the Church, but directly 
upon God. 

This proposition is designed to deny the Romish 
heresy that the inspired Church is the ultimate source 
of all divine knowledge, and that the written Scripture 
and ecclesiastical tradition alike depend upon theauthori- 
tative seal of the Church for their credibility. They 
thus make the S(Tiptures a product of the Spirit through 
the Church, while in fact the Church is a product of the 
Spirit through the instrumentality of the word. It is 
true that the testimony of the early Church to the 
apostolic authorship of the several books is of funda- 
mental importance, just as a subject may bear witness 
to the identity of an heir to the crown, but the au- 
thority of the Scriptures is no more derived from the 



58 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Church, than that of the king from the subject who 
proves the fact that he is the legal heir. 

2d. That the internal evidences of a divine origin 
contained in and inseparable from the Scriptures them- 
selves are conclusive. 

This is a part of the evidences of Christianity con- 
sidered under Section 1st. The internal marks of a 
divine origin in the Bible are such as — (a.) The phe- 
nomena it presents of a supernatural intelligence; in 
unity of design developed through its entire structure, 
although it is composed of sixty-six separate books, by 
forty different authors, writing at intervals through six- 
teen centuries ; in its perfect freedom from all the errors 
incident to the ages of its production with regard to 
facts or opinions of whatever kind ; in the marvellous 
knowledge it exhibits of human nature under all pos- 
sible relations and conditions ; in the original and lumi- 
nous solution it affords of many of the darkest problems 
of human history and destiny. (6.) The unparalleled 
perfection of its moral system ; in the exalted view it 
gives of God, his law and moral government ; in its ex- 
alted yet practical and beneficent system of morality, set 
forth and effectively enforced; in its wondrous power 
over the human conscience; and in the unrivalled extent 
and persistence of its influence over communities of men. 

3d. Yet that the higl/cst and most influential faith 
in the truth and authority of the Scriptures is the direct 
work of the Holy Spirit on our hearts. 

The Scriptures to the unregenerate man are like light 
to the blind. They may be felt as the rays of the sun 
are felt by the blind, but they cannot be fully seen 
The Holy Spirit opens the blinded eyes and gives due 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 59 

sensibility to the diseased heart, and thus assurance 
comes with the evidence of spiritual experience. When 
first regenerated, he begins to set the Scriptures to the 
test of experience, and the more he advances the more 
he proves them true, and the more he discovers of their 
limitless breadth and fulness, and their evidently de- 
signed adaptation to all human wants under all possible 
conditions. 

Section VI. — The whole counsel of God, concerning all things 
necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is 
either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary 
consequence may be deduced from Scripture : unto which noth- 
ing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the 
Spirit or traditions of men. ^^ Nevertheless, we acknowledge the 
inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the 
saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the word ;^' 
and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of 
God and government of the Church, common to human actions 
and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and 
Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the word, 
which are always to be observed.^* 

" 2 Tim. iii. 15-17; Gal. i. 8, 9 ; 2 Thess. ii. 2.— 13 John vi. 45; 1 Cor. 
ii. 9-12.— 1* 1 Cor. xi. 13, 14; 1 Cor. xiv. 26, 40. 

This section teaches the following propositions : 
1st. The inspired Scriptures of the Old and New 
Testament are a complete rule of faith and practice ; they 
embrace the whole of whatever supernatural revelation 
God now makes to men, and are abundantly sufficient 
for all the practical necessities of men or communities. 

This is proved (a) from the design of Scripture. 
It professes to lead us to God. Whatever is necessary 
to that end it must teach us. If any supplementary 
knowledge is necessary, it must refer to it. Incom- 



60 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

pleteness in such an undertaking would be falsehood. 
But (6) while Christ and his apostles constantly refer 
to Scripture as an authoritative rule, neither they nor 
the Scriptures themselves ever refer to any other source 
of divine revelation whatsoever. They therefore assume 
all the awful prerogatives of completeness. John xx. 31 ; 
2 Tim. iii. 15—17. And (c), as a matter of fact, the 
Scriptures do teach a perfect system of doctrine, and all 
the principles which are necessary for the practical regu- 
lation of the lives of individuals, communities and 
churches. The more diligent men have been in the 
study of the Bil>le, and the more assiduous they have 
been in carrying out its instructions into practice, the 
less has it been possible for them to believe that it is 
incomplete in any element of a perfect rule of all that 
which man is to believe concerning God, and of all that 
duty which God requires of man. 

2d. Nothing during the present dispensation is to be 
added to this complete rule of faith, either by new reve- 
lations of the Spirit or traditions of men. 

No new revelations of the Spirit are to be expected 
now, because (a) he has already given us a complete and 
all-sufficient rule; (6) because, while the Old Testament 
foretells the new dispensation, the New Testament does 
not refer to any further revelation to be expected before 
the second advent of Christ. They always refer to the 
*' coming'' or "appearance" of Christ as the very next 
supernatural event to be anticipated, (c.) As a matter 
of fact, no pretended revelations of the Spirit since the 
days of the apostles have borne the marks or been 
accompanied with the "signs" of a supernatural revela- 
tion. On the contrary, all that have been made public — 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. dl 

as those of Swedenborg and the Mormons — are incon- 
sistent with Scripture truth, directly oppose the author- 
ity of Scripture and teach bad morals; while private 
revelations have been professed only by vain enthusiasts, 
and are incapable of verification. 

Traditions of men cannot be allowed to supplement 
Scripture as a rule of faith, because {a) the Scriptures, 
while undertaking to lead men to a saving knowledge 
of God, never once ascribe authority to any such a sup- 
plementary rule. (6.) Christ rebukes the practical ob- 
Bcrvance of it in the Pharisees. Matt. xv. 3-6 ; Mark 
vii. 7. (c.) Tradition cannot supplement Scripture, be- 
cause, while the latter is definite, complete and perspicu- 
ous, the former is essentially indeterminate, obscure and 
fragmentary, (d,) The only system of ecclesiastical 
tradition which pretends to rival the Scriptures as a 
rule of faith is that of the Roman Church, and her 
traditions are, many of them, demonstrably of modern 
origin ; none can be traced to the apostolic age, much 
less to an apostolic origin ; they are inconsistent with 
the clear teaching of Scripture and with the opinions of 
many of the highest authorities in that Church itself in 
past ages. 

3d. Nevertheless, a personal spiritual illumination by 
the power of the Holy Ghost is necessary in every case 
for the practical and saving knowledge of the truth 
embraced in the Scriptures. This necessity does not 
result from any want of either completeness or clearness 
in the revelation, but from the fact that man, in a state 
of nature, is carnal, and unable to discern the things of 
the Spirit of God. Spiritual illumination differs from 
inspiration, therefore, (a) in that it conveys no new 



62 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

truths to the understanding, but simply opens the mind 
and heart of the subject to the spiritual discernment 
and appreciation of the truth already objectively pre- 
sented in the Scriptures, and (6) in that it is an element 
in regeneration common to all the children of God, and 
not peculiar to prophets or apostles ; (c) and hence, in 
that it is private and personal in its use, and not public. 

4th. That, while the Scriptures are a complete rule 
of feith and practice, and while nothing is to be re- 
garded as an article of faith to be believed, or a religious 
duty obligatory upon the conscience, which is not ex- 
plicitly or implicitly taught in Scripture, nevertheless 
they do not descend in practical matters into details, 
but, laying down general principles, leave men to apply 
them, in the exercise of their natural judgment, in the 
light of experience and in adaptation to changing cir- 
cumstances, as they are guided by the sanctifying influ- 
ences of the Holy Spirit. 

This liberty, of course, is allowed only within the 
limits of the strict interpretation of the principles taught 
in the Word, and in the legitimate application of those 
principles, and applies to the regulation of the practical 
life of the individual and of the Church in detailed 
adjustments to changing circumstances. 

Section VII. — All things in Scripture are not alike plain in 
themselves, nor alike clear unto iall ;^* yet those things which are 
necessary to be known, believed and observed, for salvation, are 
so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or 
othtsr, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due 
use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient under- 
standing of them. ^^ 

»2 Pet. iii. 16.— 16 Pi. oiix. 105, 130. 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 63 

This section affirms that the Scriptures are in such a 
sense 'perspicuous that all that is necessary for man to 
know, in order to his salvation or for his practical 
guidance in duty, may be learned therefrom, and that 
they are designed for the personal use and are adapted 
to the instruction of the unlearned as well as the 
learned. 

Protestants admit that many of the truths revealed in 
the Scriptures in their own nature transcend human 
understanding, and that many prophecies remain inten- 
tionally obscure until explained by their fulfilment in 
the developments of history. Nevertheless, Protestants 
affirm and Romanists deny {a) that every essential article 
of faith and rule of practice may be clearly learned 
from Scripture; and (6) that private and unlearned 
Christians may be safely allowed to interpret Scripture 
for themselves. On the other hand, it is true that, with 
the advance of historical and critical knowledge, and by 
means of controversies, the Church as a community has 
made progress in the accurate interpretation of Scripture 
and in the full comprehension of the entire system of 
truth revealed therein. 

That the Protestant doctrine on this subject is true, is 
proved (a) from the fact that all Christians promiscu- 
ously are commanded to search the Scriptures. 2 Tim. 
iii. 15-17 ; Acts xvii. 11 ; John v. 39. 

(6.) From the fact that the Scriptures are addressed 
either to all men or to the whole body of believers. 
Deut. vi. 4-9 ; Luke i. 3 ; Eom. i. 7 ; 1 Cor. i. 2 ; 2 
Cor. i. 1. And the salutations of all the Epistles except 
tkose to Timothy and Titus. 

(c.) The Scriptures are affirmed to be perspicuous. 



64 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Ps.cxix. 105, 130;2Cor. iii. 14; 2 Pet. i. 18,19; 2 
Tim. iii. 15-17. 

[d.) The Scriptures address men as a divine law to be 
obeyed and as a guide to salvation. If for all prac- 
tical purposes they are not perspicuous they must mis- 
lead, and so falsify their pretensions. 

(e.) Experience has uniformly proved the truth of the 
Protestant doctrine. Those churches which have most 
faithfully disseminated the Scriptures in the vernacular 
among the mass of the people have conformed most 
entirely to the plain and certain sense of their teaching 
in faith and practice ; while those churches which have 
locked them up in the hands of a priesthood have to the 
greatest degree departed from them both in letter and 
spirit. 

Section VIII. — ^The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was 
the native language of the people of Grod of old), and the New 
Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was 
most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired 
by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all 
ages, are therefore authentical ;" so as in all controversies of re- 
ligion the Church is finally to appeal unto them.^^ But because 
these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, 
who have right unto and interest in the Scriptures, and are com- 
manded, in the fear of God, to read and search them,^' therefore 
they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation 
unto which they come,^ that the word of God dwelling plenti- 
fully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner," 
and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have 
hope.'*^ 

" Matt. V. 18.— 18 Isa. viii. 20 ; Acts xv. 15; John v. 39, 46.— !» John v. 
39.— » 1 Cor. xiv. 6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 27, 28.— ^i Col. iii. 16.— 22 Rom. xv. 4. 

This section teaches : 

1st. That the Old Tastament having been originally 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 65 

written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, 
which were the common languages of the large body of 
the Church in their respective periods, the Scriptures in 
those languages are the absolute rule of faith, and ulti- 
mate appeal in all controversies. 2d. That the original 
sacred text has come down to us in a state of essential 
purity. 3d. That the Scriptures should be translated 
into the vernacular languages of all people, and copies 
put into the hands of all capable of reading them. 

The true text of the ancient Scriptures is ascertained 
by means of a careful collation and comparison of the 
following : 1st. Ancient manuscripts. The oldest ex- 
isting Hebrew manuscripts date from the ninth or tenth 
century. The oldest Greek manuscripts date from the 
fourth to the sixth century. Many hundreds of these 
have been collated by eminent scholars in forming the 
text of modern Hebrew and Greek Testaments. The 
differences are found to be unimportant, and the essen- 
tial integrity of our text is established. 2d. Quotations 
from the apostolic Scriptures found in the writings of 
the early Christians. These are so numerous that the 
whole New Testament might be gathered from the works 
of writers dating before the seventh century, and they 
prove the exact state of the text at the time in which 
they were made. 

3d. Early translations into other languages. The 
principal of these are the Samaritan Pentateuch, which 
the Samaritans inherited from the ten tribes ; the Greek 
Septuagint, B. C. 285 ; the Peshito or ancient Syriac 
version, A. D. 100 ; the Latin Vulgate of Jerome, A. D. 
385 ; the Coptic of the fifth century, and others of less 
critical value. 



66 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Section IX. — The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture 
is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question 
about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not man- 
ifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places 
that speak more clearly.'^ 

Section X. — The supreme Judge, by which all controversies 
of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opin- 
ions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are 
to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no 
other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.'^* 

23 2 Pet. i. 20, 21; Acts xv. 15, 16.— 2* Matt. xxii. 29, 31 j Eph. ii. 20 j 
Acts xxviii. 25. 

These sections teach : 

1st. That the infallible and only true "rule'' for the 
interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself. 2d. That 
the Scriptures are the supreme "judge'' in all contro- 
versies concerning religion. 

The authority of the Scriptures as the ultimate rule 
of faith rests alone in the fact that they are the word 
of God. Since all these writings are one revelation, 
and the only revelation of his will concerning religion 
given by God to men, it follows : 1st. That they are 
complete as a revelation in themselves, and are not to 
be supplemented or explained by light drawn from any 
other source. 2d. That the different sections of this 
revelation mutually supplement and explain one an- 
other. The Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures 
is the only adequate expounder of his own words, and 
he is promised to all the children of God as a Spirit 
of light and truth. In dependance upon his guidance, 
Christians are of course to study the Scriptures, using 
all the helps of true learning to ascertain their meaning ; 
but this meaning is to be sought in the light of the 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 67 

Scriptuies themselves taken as a whole, and not in the 
light either of tradition or of philosophy. 

^' A i^ule is a standard of judgment ; a judge is the 
expounder and applier of that rule to the decision of 
particular cases." 

The Romish doctrine is, that the Papal Church is the 
infallible teacher of men in religion; that, consequently, 
the Church authoritatively determines, (1) what is 
Scripture; (2) what is tradition; (3) what is the true 
sense of Scripture and of tradition ; and (4) what is the 
true application of that rule to every particular question 
of faith or practice. 

The Protestant doctrine is, 1st. That the Scriptures 
are the only rule of faith and practice ; 2d. (a) nega- 
tively, that there is no body of men qualified or author- 
ized to interpret the Scriptures or to apply their teach- 
ings to the decision of particular questions in a sense 
binding upon their fellow-Christians; (6) positively, 
that the Scriptures are the only authoritative voice in 
the Church, which is to be interpreted and applied by 
every individual for himself, with the assistance, though 
not by the authority, of his fellow-Christians. Creeds 
and confessions, as to form, bind those only who volun- 
tarily profess them ; and as to matter, they bind only so 
far as they affirm truly what the Bible teaches, and 
because the Bible does so teach. 

This must be true, 1st. Because the Scriptures, which 
profess to teach us the way of salvation, refer us to no 
standard or judge in matters of religion beyond or above 
themselves, and because no body of men since the apos- 
tles have ever existed with the qualifications or with the 
authority to act in the office of judge for their fellows. 



68 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

2d. Because, as we have seen, the Scriptures are them- 
selves complete and perspicuous. 

3d. Because all Christians are commanded to search 
the Scriptures, and to judge both doctrines and professed 
teachers themselves. John v. 39; 1 John ii. 20, 27; iv. 
1, 2 ; Acts xvii. 11 ; Gal. i. 8 ; 1 Thess. v. 21. 

4th. Because all Christians are promised the Holy- 
Spirit to guide them in the understanding and practical 
use of the truth. Rom. viii. 9 ; 1 John ii. 20, 27. 

QUESTIONS. 

1. What propositions are affirmed in the first section ? 

2. What is the first stated false opinion as to the capacity of 
men to attain to a knowledge of God ? 

3. How is it proved to be false ? 

4. What is the second false opinion stated ? 

5. How is it proved to be false ? 

6. What is the third false opinion stated ? 

7. How is it proved to be false? 

8. How can it be shown that a supernatural revelation from 
God to man is antecedently probable? 

9. By what means was such a revelation at first given ? 

10. How has it since been embodied and transmitted ? 

11. How may the fact that the Christian Scriptures contain 
such a revelation be proved ? 

12. What propositions are taught in the second and third 
sections ? 

13. What is the Old Testament? 

14. What is the New Testament? 

15. By what principles are we to determine whether or not a 
book has a right to a place in the canon of Scripture ? 

16. How is the genuineness of all the books received by Prot- 
estants in the Old Testament established ? 

17. How is the genuineness of the books of the New Testament 
proved ? 



HOLY SCRIPTURE. 69 

18. What are the Apocrypha? 

19. How can it be proved that they are no part of Sacred 
Scripture ? 

20. What is inspiration? 

21. What are the effects of inspiration, and how far do they 
extend in the case of the Scriptures ? 

22. State the evidence that the Scriptures are inspired. 

23. Show that the authority of Scripture does not rest upon 
the testimony of the Church. 

24. What are the internal evidences which authenticate the 
claims of Scripture ? 

25. How does the Holy Ghost bear witness to the Scriptures? 

26. What is meant by the affirmation that the Scriptures as a 
rule of faith and practice are complete ? 

27. How may it be proved ? 

28. Prove that no additional revelations of the Spirit are to be 
expected during the present dispensation. 

29. Prove that traditions of men are not to be admitted. 
80. How does spiritual illumination differ from inspiration? 

31. What liberty of action do the Scriptures allow for the 
reason and choice of men in prudentially ordering matters that 
concern religion ? 

32. What is meant by affirming that the Scriptures are per- 
spicuous ? 

33. What do Protestants admit and what do they affirm on 
this subject? 

34. Prove that the Scriptures are perspicuous. 

35. What propositions are affirmed in the eighth section ? 

36. By what means is the integrity of the text of our modern 
copies of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures established? 

37. What propositions do the ninth and tenth sections affirm ? 

38. Show that Scripture must be interpreted by Scripture. 

39. What is the Romish doctrine as to the authority of the 
Church in questions of faith and practice? 

40. What is the difference between a "rule" and a "judge?" 

41. What is the Protestant doctrine as to the true judge of 
controversies? 

42. Prove the truth of the Protestant doctrine. 



CHAPTER II. 

OF GOD AND OF THE HOLY TRINITY. 

Section I. — ^There is but one only^ living and true God,' who 
is infinite in being and perfection,' a most pure spirit,* invisible,* 
without body, parts,* or passions,' immutable,® immense," eter- 
nal,^" incomprehensible," almighty,^^ most wise,^* most holy,^* 
most free,^^ most absolute,^® working all thiugs according to the 
counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will," for his 
own glory;** most loving,** gracious, merciful, long-suffering, 
abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression 
and sin f° the re warder of them that diligently seek him f^ and 
withal most just and terrible in his judgments ;" hating all sin,^ 
and who will by no means clear the guilty.'^* 

Section II, — God hath all life,^ glory,^ goodness," blessed- 
ness,^* in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all- 
suflBicient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath 
made,'® not deriving any glory from them,*" but only manifest- 
ing his own glory, in, by, unto and upon them : he is the alone 
fountain of all being, of whom, through whom and to whom, 
are all things ;" and hath most sovereign dominion over them, 
to do by them, for them, or vtpom them, whatsoever himself 
pleaseth." In his sight all things are open and manifest;" his 
knowledge is infinite, infallible and independent upon the crea- 
ture,** so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain.** He is 
most holy in all his counsels, in all his works and in all his com- 
mands."* To him is due from angels and men, and every other 
creature, whatsoever worship, service or obedience, he is pleased 
to require of them." 

1 Deut. vi. 4 ; 1 Cor. viii. 4, 6.-2 1 Thess. i. 9 ; Jer. x. 10.— s Job xi. 7- 
9 ; xxvi. 14.—* John iv. 24.—* 1 Tim. i. 17.-8 Deut. iv. 15, 16 ; John iv. 
24 j Luke xxiv. 39.—' Acts xiv. 11, 15.— 8 James i. 17; Mai. iii. 6.—* 1 
70 



GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY. 71 

Kings viii. 27 ; Jer. xxiii. 23, 24.— ^ Ps. xc. 2 ; 1 Tim. i. 17.— ^^ Ps. cxlv. 
3.— J2 Gen. xvii. 1 ; Eev. iv. 8.— 13 Rom. xvi. 27.— i* Isa. vi. 3 ; Rev. iv. 
8.— 15 Ps. cxv. 3.-16 Ex. iii. 14.—" Eph. i. 11.— 18 Prov. xvi. 4; Rom. xi. 
36.— 1» 1 John iv. 8, 16.— 20 Ex. xxxiv. 6, 7.— 21 Heb. xi. 6.-22 jjeh. ix. 32, 
33.-23 Ps. V. 5^ 6.-2* Neh. i. 2, 3 ; Ex. xxxiv. 7.—^ John v. 26.-26 Acts 
vii. 2.— 2' Ps. cxix. 68.-28 1 Tim, yi. 15 j Rom. ix. 5.-29 Acts xvii. 24, 
25.— 30 Job xxii. 2, 3.-31 Rom. xi. 36.-32 Rev. iv. 11 ; 1 Tim. vi. 15 ; Dan. 
iv. 25, 35.-33 Heb. iv. 13.— 3* Rom. xi. 33, 34 ; Ps. cxlvii. 5.-36 Acts xv. 
18,- Ezek. xi. 6.-36 pg. cxlv. 17 3 Rom. vii. 12.— 37 Rev. v. 12, 14. 

These sections teach the following propositions : 

1st. There is but one living and true God . 

2d. This God is a free personal Spirit, without bodily 
parts or pa ssions. 

3d. He possesses all absolute perfections in and of 
himself. 

4th. He possesses all relative perfections with respect 
to his creatures. 

5th. He is self-existent and absolutely independent, 
the sole support, proprietor and sovereign disposer of 
all his creatures. 

1st. There is but one living and true God. 

There have been false gods innumerable, and the 
title god has been applied to angels (Ps. xcvii. 7), be- 
cause of their spirituality and exalted excellence, and to 
magistrates (Ps. Ixxxii. 6), because of their authority; 
and Satan is called *Hhe god of this world" (2 Cor. iv. 
4), because of his usurped dominion over the wicked. 
In opposition, therefore, to the claims of all false gods, 
and in exclusion of all figurative use of the term, it is 
affirmed that there is but one true God, one living God. 

This affirmation includes two propositions : (a.) There 
is but one God. (b.) Th is on e God is an ab solute unit. 
Incapable of division. 



72 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

That there is but one God is proved — (1) From the 
fact that every argument that establishes the being of 
God, suggests the existence of but one. There must be 
one first cause, but there is no evidence of more than 
one. There must be one designing intelligence and one 
moral governor, but neither the argument from design 
nor from conscience suggests more than one. (2.) The 
creation throughout its whole extent is one system pre- 
senting absolute unity of design, and hence evidently 
emanating from one designing intelligence. (3.) The 
same is true of the system of providential government. 
(4.) The sense of moral accountability innate in man 
witnesses to the unity of the source of all absolute 
authority. (5.) All the instincts and cultivated habits 
of reason lead us to refer the multiplicity of the phe- 
nomenal world backward and upward to a ground of 
absolute unity, which being infinite and absolute, ne- 
cessarily excludes division and rivalry. (6.) The Scrip- 
tures constantly affirm this truth. Deut. vi. 4 ; 1 Cor. 
viii. 4. 

The indivisible unity of this one God is proved by 
the same arguments. For an essential division in the 
one Godhead would in efi*ect constitute two Gods ; be- 
sides, the Scriptures teach us that the Christian Trinity 
is one undivided God : " I and my Father are one." 
John X. 30. 

2d. This God is a free personal Spirit, without bodily 
parts or passions. 

There is a very ancient prevalent and persistent mode 
of thought which pervades a great deal of our literature 
in the present day, which tends to compound God with 
the world, and to identify him with the laws of nature. 



GOD AND THE HOLY TIUNITY. 73 

the ordc'i* and beauty of creation. In one way or another 
he is considered as sustaining to the phenomena ol 
nature the relation of soul to body, or of whole to parts, 
or of permanent substance to transient modes. Now all 
the arguments that establish the being of a God agree 
with the Scriptures in setting him forth as a personal 
spirit distinct from the world. 
fy By spirit we mean the subject to which the attributes 
of intelligence, feeling nnd ^"^'^^ K^lnng t^g qnfUrp prnp- 
frt,yj; Where these unite there is distinct personality- 
The argument from design proves that the great first 
cause to whom the system of the universe is to be re- 
fprrpdj2nc;spc;fips bo^h inH^ig encej benevoleuce and will 
in jel ectin^ ends, and in choosing and adapting means 
to effect those ends. Therefore he is a personal spirit. 
The argument from the sense of moral accountability 
innate in all men proves that we are subject to a 
supreme Lawgiver, exterior and superior to the persons 
he governs, one who takes knowledge of us, and will 
hold us to a strict personal account. Therefore he is a 
personal spirit distinct from — though intimately asso- 
ciated with — the subjects he governs. 

We know spirit by self-consciousness, and in affirm- 
in g that God is a spirit we (1) affirm that he possesses 
in infinite perfection all those properties which belong 
to our spirits, (a) because the Scriptures affirm that we 
were created in his image, (6) because they attribute all 
these properties severally to him, (c) because our religious 
nature demands that we recognize them in him, (d) be- 
cause their exercise is evidenced in his works of creation 
and providence, {e) because they were possessed by the 
divine nature in Christ. And (2) we deny that the 



74 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

properties of matter, such as bodily parts and passions, 
belong to him. We make this denial, (a) because there 
is no evidence that he does possess any such properties, 
and, (6) because, from the very nature of matter and its 
affections, it is inconsistent with those infinite and abso- 
lute perfections which are of his essence, such as sim- 
plicity, unchangfeal)leness, unity, omnipresence, etc. 

When the Scriptures, in condescension to our weak- 
ness, express the fact that God hears by saying that he 
has an ear, or that he exerts power by attributing to Jiim 
a hand, they evidently speak metaphorically, because in 
the case of men spiritual faculties are exercised through 
bodily organs. And when they speak of his repenting, 
of his being grieved or jealous, they use metaphorical 
language also, teaching us that he acts toward us as a 
man would when agitated by such passions. Such me- 
taphors are characteristic rather of the Old than of the 
New Testament, and occur for the most part in highly 
rhetorical passages of the poetical and prophetical 
books, 

3(1. He possesses all absolute perfections in and of 
himself. 

4th. He possesses all relative perfections with respect 
to his creatures. 

The attributes of God are the properties of his all- 
perfect nature. Those are absolute which belong to 
God, considered in himself alone — as self-existence, 
immensity, eternity, intelligence, etc. Those are rela- 
tive which characterize him in his relation to his crea- 
tures — as omnipresence, omniscience, etc. • 

It is evident that we can know only such properties 
of God as he has condescended to reveal to us, and only 



GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY. 75 

SO much of these as he has revealed. The question, 
then, is, What has God revealed to us of his perfections 
in his word ? 

(1.) God is declared t ^ ht^ infim'tp in ,his hpjnp^. 
Hencg he can exist under none of the limitations of 
time or space. He must be eternal and he must fill all 
immensity. These three, therefore, must be the com- 
mon perfections of all the properties that belong to his 
essence. He is infinite, eternal, omnipresent in his 
being ; infinite, eternal, omnipresent in his wisdom, in 
his power, in his justice, etc. When God is said to be 
infinite in his knowledge or his power, we mean that he 
knows all things, and that he can effect all that he wills, 
without any limit. When we say that he is infinite in 
his truth, or his justice, or his goodness, we mean that 
he possesses these properties in absolute perfection. 

(2.) His immensity . When we attribute this perfec- 
tion to God, we mean that his essence fills all space. 
This cannot be effected through multiplication of his 
essence, since he is ever one and indivisible; nor through 
its extension or diffusion, like ether, through the inter- 
planetary spaces, because it is pure spirit. The Spirit 
of God, like the spiri t of a man, must be an absolute 
unit, without extension or dimensions. Therefore, the 
entire indivisible Godhead must^ in the totality of his 
being, be simultaneously present every rno rripnt, nf time, 
at every point of space. He is immense absolutely and 
from eternity. He has been omnipresent, in his essence 
and in all the properties thereof, ever since the creation, 
to every atom and element of which it consists. Al- 
though God is essentially equally omnipresent to all 
creatures at all times, yet, as he variously manifests 



76 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

himself at different times and places to his intelligent 
creatures, so he is said to be peculiarly present to them 
under such conditions. Thus, God was present to 
Moses in the burning bush. Ex. iii. 2-6. _ And Christ 
promises to be in the midst of two or three met together 
in his name. Matt, xviii. 20. 

(3.) pis eternity . By affirming that God is eternal, 
we mean that his duration has no limit and that his 
existence in infinite duration is absolutely perfect. He 
co uld have had no beginning, he can have no end, a nd 
in his existence there can be no succession of thoughts, 
feelings or purposes. There can be no increase to his 
knowledge, no change as to his purpose. Hence the 
past and the future must be as immediately and as im- 
mutably present with him as the present. Hence his 
existence is an ever-abiding, all-embracing present, 
which is always contemporaneous with the ever-flowing 
times of his creatures. His knowledge, which never 
can change, eternally recognizes his creatures and their 
actions in their se veral places in time, and his actions 
upon his creatures pass from him at the precise moments 
I)redetermined in his unchanging purpose. 

Hence God is absolutely unchangeable in his being 
and in all the modes and states thereof. In his know- 
ledge, his feelings, his purposes, and hence in his en- 
gagements to his creatures, he is the same yesterday, 
to-day and for ever. " The counsel of the Lord stand- 
eth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations." 
Ps. xxxiii. 11. 

(4.) The infinite intelligence of God,^ including om- 
niscience and absolutely perfect wisdom, is clearly 
tauglit in Scripture. God's knowledge is infinite, not 



GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY. 77 

only as to the range of objects it embraces, but also as 
to its perfection, (a.) We know things only asj hey 
st and related to our organs of perception, and only in 
their properties. God knows them immediately, in the 
light of his ON^n intelligence and in their essential 
nature. (6.) Wc know things successively as they are 
present to us, or as we pass inferentially from the known 
to the before unknown. God knows all things eternally 
by one direct, all-comprehensive intuition, (c.) Ouj: 
knowledge is dependen t ; God's is independ ent. Ourg. 
is fragmentary : God's total and complete. Om-p is in_ 
^eat measure transient : God's is permanent. 

God knows himself, the depths of his own infinite 
and eternal being, the constitution of his nature, the 
ideas of his reason, the resources of his power, the pur- 
poses of his will. In knowing the resources of his 
power he knows all things possible. In knowing the 
immutable purposes of his will he knows all that has 
^^'^^^. existed or that will exist, because of that purpose. 

^;^ Wisdom presupposes knowledge, and is tliat excellent 
S^ ^ practical use which the absolutely perfect intelligence 
yj/' V'and will of God make of his infinite knowledge. It- is 
qT exercised in the election of ends, general and special, 
and in the selection of means in order to the accom- 
plishment of those ends, and is illustrated gloriously in 
the perfect system of God's works of creation, provi- 
dence and grace. 

(5.) The omnipnfenfR of God is t he infinite efflciency 
resident in and inseparable from the divine essence to 
effect whatsoever he wills without any limitation soever, 
except such as lies in the absolute and immutable per- 
fections of hit owi nature. The power of God is both 



78 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

unlimited in its range and infinitely perfect in its mode 
of action. (1.) We are oopscions that the powers inhe- 
rent in our wills are very limitprl. Our wills can act 
directly only upon the course of our thoughts and a few 
bodily actions, and can only very imperfectly control 
these. The power inherent in God's will acts directly 
upon its objects, and effects absolutely and uncondition- 
ally all he intends. (2.) We work through means ; the 
effect often follows only remotely, and our action is 
conditioned by external circumstances. Go d acts imme- 
di ately with or without means as he pleases. When he 
acts through means it is a condescension, because the 
means receive all their efficiency from his power, not 
his power from the means. And the power of God is 
absolutely independent of all that is exterior to his own 
all-perfect nature. 

The power of God is the power of his all-perfect, self- 
existent essence. He has absolutely unlimited power to 
do whatsoever his nature determines him to will. But 
this power cannot be directed against his nature. The 
ultimate principles of reason and of moral right and 
wrong are not products of the divine power, but are 
principles of the divine nature. God cannot change the 
nature of right and wrong, etc., because he did not make 
himself, and these have their determination in his own 
eternal perfections. He cannot act unwisely or unright- 
eously, not for want of the power as respects the act, but 
for want of will, since God is eternally, immutably and 
most freely and spontaneously wise and righteous. 

God's omnipotence is illustrated, but never exhausted, 
in his works of creation and providence. God's power 
is exercised at his will, but there ever remains an infinite 



GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY. 79 

reserve of possibility lying back of the actual exercise 
of power, since the Creator always infinitely transcends 
his creation. 

(6.) The absolutely perfect goodness of (rod. The 
moral perfection of God is one absolutely perfect right- 
eousness. Relatively to his creatures his infinite moral 
perfection always presents that aspect which his infinite 
wisdom decides to be appropriate to the case. He is 
not alternately merciful and just, nor partially merciful 
and partially just, but eternally and perfectly merciful 
and just. Both are right ; both are equally and spon- 
taneously in his nature, and both are perfectly and freely 
harmonized by the infinite wisdom of that nature. 

His p^oodness includ es {a) Benevolence^ or goodness 
viewed as a disposition to promote the happiness of his 
sensitive creatures ; (6) Love, or goodness viewed as a 
disposition to promote the happiness of intelligent crea- 
tures, and to regard with complacency their excellences; 

(c) Mfijxj^ or goodness exercised toward the miserable ; 

(d) Grace, or goodness exercised toward the undeserving. 
The grace of God toward the undeserving evidently 

rests upon his sovereign will (Matt. xi. 26 ; Rom. ix. 
15), and can be assured to us only by means of a posi- 
tive revelation. Neither reason nor conscience nor ob- 
servation o f nature can assure us« independently of his 
own special revelation, that he will be gracious to the 
guilty. Our duty is to forgive injuries; we as individ- 
uals have nothing to do with either forgiving or pardon- 
ing sin. That God's goodness is absolutely perfect and 
inexhaustible is proved from universal experience, as 
well as from Scripture. James iii. 17; v. 11. It is 
exercised, however, not in making the happiness of his 



80 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

creatures ir.discriminately and unconditionally a chief 
end, but is regulated by his wisdom in order to the 
accomplishment of the supreme ends of his own glory 
and their excellence. 

' (7.) God is absolutely true. This is a common prop- 
erty of all the divine perfections and actions. His 
knowledge is absolutely accurate ; his wisdom infallible ; 
his goodness and justice perfectly true to the standard 
of his own nature. In the exercise of all his properties 
God is always self-consistent. He is also always abso- 
lutely true to his creatures in all his communications, 
sincere in his promises and threatenings, and faithful in 
their fulfilment. 

This lays the foundation for all rational confidence in 
the constitution of our own natures and in the order of 
the external world, as well as in a divinely-accredited, 
supernatural revelation. It guarantees the validity of 
the information of our senses, the truth of the intuitions 
of reason and conscience, the correctness of the inferences 
of the understanding, and the general credibility of hu- 
man testimony, and pre-eminently the reliability of 
every word of the inspired Scriptures. 

(8.) The infinite ju stice of God. This, viewed abso- 
lutely, is the all-perfect righteousness of God's being 
considered in himself. Viewed relatively, it is his infi- 
nitely righteous nature exercised, as the moral governor 
of his intelligent creatures, in the imposition of right- 
eous laws, and in their righteous execution. It appears 
in the general administration of his government viewed 
as a whol i, and distributively in his dealing to individ- 
uals that treatment which righteously belongs to them, 
according to liis own covenants and their own deserts. 



GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY. 81 

God is most willingly just, but his justice is no more an 
optional product of his will than is his self-existent 
being. It is an immutable principle of his divine con- 
stitution. He is ^^ of purer eyes than to behold evil, 
and cannot look on iniquity.^^ Heb. i. 13. " He cannot 
deny himself." 2 Tim. ii. 13. God does not make his 
demands just by willing them, but he wills them be- 
cause they are just. 

The infinite righteousness of his immutable being 
determines him to regard and to treat all sin as intrin- 
sically hateful and deserving of punishment. The pun- 
ishment of sin and its consequent discouragement is an 
obvious benefit to the subjects of his government in 
general. It is a revelation of righteousness in God, 
and a powerful stimulant to moral excellence in them. 
But God hates sin because it is intrinsically hateful, 
and punishes it because such punishment is intrinsically 
righteou s. This is proved — 

(a.) From the direct assertions of Scripture: "To 
me belongeth vengeance and recompensed' Deut. xxxii. 
35. " According to their deeds, accordingly he will 
repayJ' Isa. lix. 18. "Seeing it is a righteous thing 
with God to recompense tribulation to them which trou- 
bt^ you." 2 Thess. i. 6. " Knowing the judgment of 
God, that they which commit such things are worthy of 
death." Rom. i. 32. 

(b.) The Scriptures teach that the vicarious suffering 
of the penalty due to his people by Christ as their sub- 
stitute was absolutely necessary to enable God to con- 
tinue just and at the same time the justifier of him 
that believeth in Jesus. Rom. iii. 26. " If righteous- 
ness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Gal. 



82 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

ii. 21. "If there had been a law that could have given 
life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." 
Gal. iii. 21. That is, if God could have in consistency 
with justice pardoned sinners without an expiation, 
*• verily" he would not have sacrificed his own Son "in 
vain." 

I (c.) It is a universal judgment of awakened sinners 
that their sin deserves punishment and that im- 
mutable righteousness demands it. And this is the 
sentence universally pronounced by the moral sense of 
enlightened men with regard to all crime. 

(c?.) The same changeless principle of righteousness 
was inculcated by all the divinely-appointed sacrifices 
of the Mosaic dispensation : " Almost all things by the 
law are purged with blood, and without the shedding 
of blood is no remission." Heb. ix. 22. It has also 
been illustrated in the sacrificial rites of all heathen 
nations, and in all human laws and penalties. 

(9.) The infinite hol iness of God. Sometimes this 
term is applied to God to express his perfect purity: 
" Sanctify yourselves and be ye holy, for I am holy." 
Lev. xi. 44. In that case it is an element of his per- 
fect righteousness. " The Lord is righteous in all his 
ways, and holy in all his works." Ps. cxlv. 17. Sonie- 
times it expresses his transcendently august and vener* 
able majesty, which is the result of all his harmonious 
and blended perfections in one perfection of absolute 
and infinite excellence. "And one cried to another, 
Holy ! holy ! holy ! is the Lord of Hosts, the whole 
earth is full of his glory." Isa. vi. 3. 

5th. God is self-existent and absolutely independent, 
the so e support, proprietor and sovereign disposer of 



GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY. 83 

his creatures. Since God is eternal and the Creator out 
of nothing of all things that exist besides himself, it 
follows (a) that his own being must have the cause of 
its existence in itself — that is, that he is self-existent; (6) 
that he is absolutely independent in his being, purposes 
and actions of all other beings ; and (c) that all other 
beings of right belong to him, and in fact are absolutely 
dependent upon him in their being, and subject to him 
in their actions and destinies. 

Tne sovereignty of God is his absolute right to 
govern and dispose of the work of his own hands 
according to his own good pleasure. This sovereignty 
restts not in his will abstractly, but in his adorable per- 
son. Hence it is an infinitely wise, righteous, benevo- 
lent and powerful sovereignty, unlimited by anything 
outside of his own perfections. 

The grounds of his sovereignty are — (a) His infinite 
superiority. (6.) His absolute ownership of all things 
as created by him. (c.) The perpetual and absolute 
dependence of all things upon him for being, and of all 
intelligent creatures for blessedness. Dan. iv. 25, 35; 
Rev. iv. 11. 

Section III. — In the unity of the Godhead there be three 
persons, of one substance, power and eternity ; God the Father, 
God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.^ The Father is of none, 
neither begotten nor proceeding ; the Son is eternally begotten 
of the Father ;** the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the 
Father and the Son.*" 

M 1 John V. 7; Matt. iii. 16, 17; xxviii. 19; 2 Cor. xiii. 14.— 39 John L 
14, 18.— «> John XV. 26; Gal. iv. 6. 

Having before ^hown that there is but one living and 



84 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

true God, and that his essential properties embrace all 
perfections, this Section asserts in addition — 

1st. That Father, Son and Holy Ghost are each 
equally that one God, and that the indivisible divine 
essence and all divine perfections and prerogatives be- 
long to each in the same sense and degree. 

2d. That these titles. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, 
are not different names of the same person in different 
relations, but of different persons. 

3d. That these three divine persons are distinguished 
from one another by certain personal properties, and 
are revealed in a certain order of subsistence and of 
operation. 

These propositions embrace the Christian doctrine 
of the Trinity (three in unity), which is no part of nat- 
ural religion, though most clearly revealed in the in- 
spired Scriptures — indistinctly, perhaps, in the Old 
Testament, but with especial definiteness in the New 
Testament. 

1st. Father, Son and Holy Ghost are each equally 
the one God, and the indivisible divine essence, and all 
divine perfections and prerogatives belong to each in 
the same sense and degree. 

Since there is but one God, the infinite and the abso- 
lute First Cause, his essence, being spiritual, cannot be 
divided. If then Father, Son and Holy Ghost are that 
one God, they must each equally consist of that same 
essence. And since the attributes of God are the in- 
herent properties of his essence, they are inseparable 
from that essence ; and it follows that if Father, Son 
and Holy Ghost consist of the same numerical essence, 
they must have the same identical attributes in common ; 



GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY. 85 

that is, there is common to them the one intelligence and 
the one will, etc. 

The Scriptures are full of the evidences of this fun- 
damental truth. It has never been questioned whether 
the Father is God. That the Son is the true God is 
proved by the following considerations : 

(1.) Christ existed before he was born of the Virgin. 
'(a.) He was with the Father before the world was. 
John viii. 58 ; xvii. 5. (6.) ^* He came into the 
world." ^' He came down from heaven." John iii. 
31 ; xvi. 28. 

■ (2.) All the names and titles of God are (constantly 
applied to Christ, and to none others except to the 
Father and the Spirit : as Jehovah, Jer. xxiii. 6 ; 
mighty God, everlasting Father, Isa. ix. 6 ; God, John 
i. 1 ; Heb. i. 8 ; God over all, Ilom. ix. 5 ; the true 
God and everlasting life, 1 John v. 20 ; the Alpha and 
the Omega, the Almighty, Rev. i. 8. 

(3.) All divine attributes are })redicated of him 
Eternity, John viii. 58 ; xvii. 5 ; Rev. i. 8 ; xxii. 13 
immutability, Heb. i. 10, 11; xiii. 8; omnipresence 
Matt, xviii. 20 ; John iii. 13 ; omniscience. Matt. xi. 27 
John ii. 25; Rev. ii. 23; omnipotence, John v. 17 
Heb. i. 3. 

(4.) The Scriptures attribute all divine works to 
Christ: Creation, John i. 3-10; Col. i. 16, 17; preser- 
vation and providential government, Heb. i. 3; Col. i. 
17; Matt, xxviii. 18; the final judgment, John v. 22; 
Matt. XXV. 31, 32; 2 Cor. v. 10; giving eternal life, 
John X. 28; sending the Holy Ghost, John xvi. 7; 
sanctification, Eph. v. 25-27. 

(5.) The Scriptures declare that divine worship should 



Z' 



^^ CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

be paid to him : Heb. i. 6 ; Rev. i. 5, 6 ; v. 11, 12 ; 1 
Cor. i. 2 ; John v. 23. Men are to be baptized into the 
name of Jesus, as well as into the name of the Father 
and the Holy Ghost. The grace of Jesus is invoked 
in the apostolical benediction. 

That the Holy Ghost is the true God is proved in a 
similar manner. 

(1.) He is called God. What the Spirit says Jehovah 
says. Compare Isa. vi. 8, 9 with Acts xxviii. 25, and 
Jer. xxxi. 33 with Heb. x. 15, 16. To lie to the Holy 
Ghost is to lie to God. Acts v. 3, 4. 

(2.) Divine perfections are ascribed to him : Omnis.- 
cience, 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11; omnipresence, Ps. cxxxix. 7; 
omnipotence, Luke i. 35 ; Rom. viii. 11. 

(3.) Divine works are attributed to him : Creation, 
Job xxvi. 13; Ps. civ. 30; miracles, 1 Cor. xii. 9-11 ; 
regeneration, John iii. 6 ; Titus iii. 5. 

(4.) Divine worship is to be paid to him. His gra- 
cious influences are invoked in the apostolical benedic- 
tion. 2 Cor. xiii. 4. We are baptized into his name. 
Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is never forgiven. 
Matt. xii. 31, 32. 

2d. These titles. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, are 
not the names of the same pers n in different relations, 
but of different persons. 

Since there is but one indivisible and inalienable spir- 
itual essence which is common to Father, Son and Holy 
Ghost, and since they have in common one infinite 
intelligence, power, will, etc., when we say they are 
distinct persons we do not mean that one is as separate 
from the other a^ one human person is from every other. 
Their mode of subsistence in the one substance must 



GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY. 87 

ever continue to us a profound mystery, as it trans( ends 
all analogy. All that is revealed to us is, that the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost stand so distinguished and 
related that, Ist^^hey use mutually the personal pro- 
nouns I, thoj^ he, when speaking to or about each 
other. Thus Christ continually addresses the Father, 
and speaks of the Father and of the Holy Ghost: 
*' And I will pray the Father and he will give you an- 
other Comforter,'' John xiv. 16; "And now, O Father, 
glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory I 
had with thee before the world was," John xvii. 5. 
Thus Christ speaks of the Holy Ghost : " I will send 
him ;" " He will testify of me ;" " Whom the Father 
will send in my name," John xiv. 26, and xv. 26. 2^^^ 
That they mutually love one another, act upon and 
through one another, and counsel together. The Father 
sends the Son, John xvii. 6, and the Father and Son 
send the Spirit, Ps. civ. 30 ; the Father giveth com- 
mandment to the Son, John x. 18 ; the Spirit " speaks 
not of himself" — "he testifies of" and "glorifies" Christ. 
John xvi. 13-15. 3d/ That they are eternally mutually 
related as Father-^nd Son and Spirit. That is, the 
Father is the Father of the Son, and the Son the Son 
of the Father, and the Spirit the Spirit of the Fathei 
and of the Son. 4th,xThat they work together in a^ 
perfectly harmonious economy of operations upon the 
creation — the Father creating and sitting supreme in 
the general administration ; the Son becoming incarnate 
in human nature, and, as the theanthropos, discharging 
the functions of mediatorial prophet, priest and king ; 
the Holy Ghost making his grace omnipresent, and ap- 
plying it to the souls and bodies of his members: the 



r 



88 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Father the absolute origin and source of life and law; 
the Son the Revealer ; the Holy Ghost the Executor. 

There are a number of Scripture passages in which 
all the three persons are set forth as distinct and yet 
as divine: Matt, xxviii. 19; 2 Cor. xiii. 14; Matt. iii. 
13-17; John xv. 26, etc.; 1 John i. 7. 

3d. These three divine persons are distinguished from 
one another by certain personal properties, and are re- 
vealed in a certain order of subsistence and of operation. 

The '* attributes" of God are the properties of the 
divine essence, and therefore common to each of the 
three persons, who are " the same in substance," and 
therefore " equal i power and glory." The " proper- 
ties" of each divine person, on the other hand, are those 
peculiar modes of personal subsistence, and that pecu- 
liar order of operation, which distinguishes each from 
the other, and determines the relation of each to the 
other. This is chiefly expressed to us by the personal 
names by which they are revealed. The peculiar per- 
sonal property of the first Person is expressed by the 
title Father. As a person he is eternally the Father 
of his only begotten Son. The peculiar j)ersonal pro- 
perty of the second Person is expressed by the title Son. 
As a person he is eternally the only begotten Son of the 
Father, and hence the ex])ress image of his person, and the 
eternal Word in the beginning with God. The peculiar 
property of the third {)erson is expressed by the title 
Spirit. This cannot express his essence, because his 
essence is also the essence of the Father and the Son. 
It must express his eternal personal relation to the 
other divine persons, because he is as a person constantly 
designated as the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of 



GOD AND THE HOLY THINITY. 89 

the Son. They are all spoken of in Scrij)ture in a con- 
stant order ; the Father first, the Son second, the Spirit 
third. The Father sends and operates through both 
the Son and Spirit. The Son sends and operates 
through the Spirit. Never the reverse in either case. 
The Son is sent by, acts for and reveals the Father. 
The Spirit is sent by, acts for and reveals both the 
Father and the Son. The persons are as eternal as the 
essence, equal in honour, power and glory. Three Per- 
sons, they are one God, being identical in essence and 
divine perfections. " I and my Father are one." John 
X. 30. " The Father is in me and I in him." John x. 
38. " He that hath seen the Son, hath seen the Father." 
John xiv. 9-11. 

The most ancient and universally accepted statement 
of all the points involved in the doctrine of the Trinity, 
is to be found in the Creed of the Council of Nice, A. D. 
325, as amended by the Council of Constantinople, 
A. D. 381, and is given in full in the first Chapter of 
the Introduction to this volume. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What propositions are taught in the first and second Sec- 
tions ? 

2. To whom has the title God been applied? 

3. What two propositions are involved in the affirmation thai 
there is but one living and true God ? 

4. How may the truth that there is but one God be proved ? 

5. How may the indivisible unity of that one God be proved ? 

6. How may it be proved that God is a personal spirit ? 

7. What do we mean when we say that God is a spirit? 

8. How can the fact that the Scriptures attribute bodily parts 
and passions to God be explained ? 

8* 



90 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

9. How may it be proved that bodily parts and passions do not 
belong to God. 

1 0. What is the distinction between the absolute and the rela- 
tive perfections of God ? 

11. What is meant when we affirm that God is infinite? 

12. What is the difference between the immensity and the om- 
nipresence of God ? 

13. In what sense is God omnipresent? 

14. In what different ways is he present to his creatures? 

15. How does the eternity of God differ from the temporal 
existence of his creatures ? 

16. What is involved in the affirmation that he is eternal? 

17. In what sense is God unchangeable ? and prove that he 
is so. 

18. What two principal divisions does the infinite intelligence 
of God embrace ? 

19. How does God's mode of knowing differ from ours? 

20. What are the objects embraced by God's knowledge ? 

21. What is wisdom, and how is the wisdom of God exercised, 
and in what departments is it illustrated ? 

22. What is included in the affirmation that God's power is 
infinite ? 

23. How does the exercise of his power differ from ours ? 

24. What are the limitations of God's power? And why can- 
not God do that which is unwise or unrighteous? 

25. Does the moral character of God include inconsistent ele- 
ments ? 

26. What does the absolute goodness of God include ? 

27. How can it be proved that grace is based on sovereign 
will? 

28. How can the absolute goodness of God be proved ? 

29. What is the grand end which that goodness proposes to 
itself? 

30. What is included in the affirmation that God is absolutely 
true? 

31. For what does this divine attribute lay the foundation? 

32. What is the distinction between the absolute and relative 
justice of God ? 



GOD A^D THE HOLY TRINITY. 91 

33. How is the relative justice of God exercised ? 

34. Show that the justice of God is an immutable principle of 
his nature ? 

35. Why does God punish sin ? 

36. State the proofs of the above answer. 

37. What is meant by the infinite holiness of God? 

38. W^hat is included in the absolute sovereignty of God? 
Prove that he possesses that attribute. 

39. What propositions are taught m Section III. ? 

40. What is meant by the term "Trinity," and from what 
source do we derive our knowledge of the truths expressed by it? 

41. If there is but one God, and if Father, Son and Holy 
Ghost are that one God, what relation must they severally sustain 
to the divine essence? 

42. State the proof that the Son is the true God. 

43. State the proof that the Holy Ghost is the true God. 

44. How may it be proved that Father, Son and Holy Ghost 
are distinct Persons ? 

45. W^hat is the distinction between the attributes of God and 
the personal properties of Father, Son and Holy Ghost ? 

46. What are the personal properties of the Father ? 

47. What are the personal properties of the Son ? 

48. What are the personal properties of the Holy Ghost? 

49. How is this doctrine defined in the Nicene Creed ? 



CHAPTER III. 
OF god's eternal decree. 

Section I. — God from all eternity did, by the meet wise and 
holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain 
whatsoever comes to pass:^ yet so as thereby neither is God the 
author of sin,'^ nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, 
nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, 
but rather estabHshed.^ 

Section IL — Although God knows whatsoever may or can 
come to pass upon all supposed conditions,* yet hath he not 
decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which 
would come to pass upon such conditions.* 

1 Eph. i. 11 ; Horn. xi. 33 ; Heb. vi. 17 ; Rom. ix. 15, 18.— ^ James i. 13, 
17 ; 1 John i. 6.-3 Acts ii. 23 ; Matt. xvii. 12 ; Acts iv. 27, 28 ; John xix. 
11; Prov. xvi. 33.—* Acts xv. 18; 1 Sam. xxiii, 11, 12; Matt. xi. 21, 23.— 
6 Rom. ix. II, 13, 16, 18. 

These Sections aflSrm the folio vsring propositions : 

1st. God has had from eternity an unchangeable plan 
with reference to his creation, 

2d. This plan comprehends and determines all things 
and events of every kind that come to pass. 

3d. This all-comprehensive purpose is not, as a whole 
nor in any of its constituent elements, conditional. It 
in no respect depends upon his foresight of events not 
embraced in and determined by his purpose. It is an 
absolutely sovereign purpose, depending only on "the 
wise and holy counsel of his own will." 

92 



93 

4th. This purpose is, in relation to all the objects 
embraced within it, certainly efficacious. 

5th. It is in all things consistent with his own most 
wise, benevolent and holy nature. 

6th. It is in all things perfectly consistent with the 
nature and mode of action of the creatures severally 
embraced within it. 

1st. God has had from eternity an unchangeable plan 
with reference to his creatures. 

As an infinitely intelligent Creator and providential 
Ruler, God must have had a definite purpose with 
reference to the being and destination of all that he has 
created, comprehending in one all-perfect system his 
chief end therein, and all subordinate ends and means 
in reference to that chief end. And since he is an 
eternal and unchangeable being, his plan must have 
existed in all its elements, perfect and unchangeable, 
from eternity. Since he is an infinite, eternal, unchange- 
able and absolutely wise, powerful and sovereign Per- 
son, his purposes must partake of the essential attributes 
of his own being. And since God's intelligence is abso- 
lutely perfect and his plan is eternal, since his ultimate 
end is revealed to be the single one of his own glory, 
and the whole work of creation and providence is 
observed to form one system, it follows that his plan is 
also single — one all-comprehensive intention, providing 
for all the means and conditions as well as the ends 
selected. 

2d. The plan of God comprehends and determines all 
things and events of every kind that come to pass. 

(1.) This is rendered certain from the fact that all 
God's works of creation and providence constitute one 



$4 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

system. No event is isolated, either in the physical or 
moral world, either in heaven or on earth. All of 
God's supernatural revelations and every advance of 
human science conspire to make this truth conspicu- 
ously luminous. Hence the original intention which 
determines one event must also determine every other 
event related to it as cause, condition or consequent, 
direct and indirect, immediate and remote. Hence, the 
plan which determines general ends must also determine 
even the minutest element comprehended in the system 
of which those ends are parts. The free actions of free 
agents constitute an eminently important and effective 
element in the system of things. If the plan of God 
did not determine events of this class, he could make 
nothing certain, and his government of the world would 
be made contingent and dependent, and all his purposes 
fallible and mutable. 

(2.) The Scriptures expressly declare this truth. 

(a.) Of the whole system in general. He "worketh 
all things after the counsel of his own will." Eph. i. 11. 

(b.) Of fortuitous events. Prov. xvi. 33; Matt. x. 
29, 30. 

(c.) Of the free actions of men. " The king's heart 
is in the hands of the Lord ; as rivers of water, he turn- 
eth it whithersoever he will.'' Prov. xxi. 1. "We are 
his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good 
works, which God hath before ordained that we should 
walk in them." Eph. ii. 10. "It is God that worketh 
in us to will and to do of his good pleasure." Phil. ii. 
13. 

(d.) Of the sinful actions of men. " Him, being de- 
livered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge 



god's eteknal decree. 95 

of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have cruci- 
fied and slain." Acts ii. 23. *' For of a truth against 
thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both 
Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the 
people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do what- 
soever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to 
be done.'' Acts iv. 27, 28. Compare Gen. xxxvii. 28 
with Gen. xlv. 7, 8 ; Isa. x. 5. 

It must be remembered, however, that the purpose 
of God with respect to the sinful acts of men and wicked 
angels is in no degree to cause the evil, nor to approve 
it, but only to permit the wicked agent to perform it, 
and then to overrule it for his own most wise and holy 
ends. The same infinitely perfect and self-consistent 
decree ordains the moral law which forbids and punishes 
all sin, and at the same time permits its occurrence, 
limiting and determining the precise channel to which 
it shall be confined, the precise end to which it shall be 
directed, and overruling its consequences for good. " But 
as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God jneant 
it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save 
much people alive." Gen. 1. 20. 

3d. This all-comprehensive purpose is not, as a whole 
nor in any of its constituent elements, conditional. It 
in no respect depends upon his foresight of events not 
embraced in and determined by his purpose. It is abso- 
lutely sovereign, depending only on the " wise and holy 
counsel of his own will." 

A very obvious distinction must always be kept in 
mind between an event being conditioned on other events, 
and the decree of God with reference to that event 
being conditioned. Calvinists believe, as all men must, 



96 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

that all events in the system of things depend upon 
their causes, and are suspended on conditions. That is, 
if a man does not sow seed, he will not reap; if he does 
sow, and all the favorable climatic influences are present, 
he will reap. If a man believes, he shall be saved; if 
he does not believe, he will not be saved. But the all- 
comprehensive purpose of God embraces and determines 
the cause and the conditions, as well as the event sus- 
pended upon them. The decree, instead of altering, de- 
termines the nature of events, and their mutual relations. 
It makes free actions free in relation to their agents, and 
contingent events contingent in relation to their condi- 
tions, while, at the same time, it makes the entire system 
of events, and every element embraced in it, certainly 
future. An absolute decree is one which, while it may 
determine many conditional events by determining their 
conditions, is itself suspended on no condition. A con- 
ditional decree is one which determines that a certain 
event shall happen on condition that some other unde- 
creed event happens, upon which undecreed event the 
decree itself, as well as tlie event decreed, is suspended. 

The Confession in this Section teaches that all the 
decrees of God are unconditional. 

All who believe in a divine government agree with 
Calvinists that the decrees of God relating to events 
produced by necessary causes are unconditional. The 
only debate relates to those decrees which are concerned 
with the free actions of men and of angels. The 
Socinians and Rationalists maintain that God cannot 
certainly foresee free actions, because from their very 
nature they are uncertain until they are performed. 
Arminians admit that he certainly foresees them, but 



god's eternal decree. 97 

deny that he determines them. Calvinists affirm that 
he foresees them to be certainly future because he has 
determined them to be so. 

The truth of the Culvinistic view is proved — (1.) 
From the fact that, as shown above, the decrees of God 
determine all classes of events. If every event that 
comes to pass is foreordained, it is evident that there is 
nothing left undetermined upon which the decree can 
be conditioned. 

(2.) Because the decrees of God are sovereign. This 
is evident, {a) because God is the eternal and absolute 
Creator of all things. All creatures exist, and are what 
they are, and possess the })roperties peculiar to them, 
and act under the very conditions in which they act, 
because of God's plan. (6.) It is directly affinued in 
Scripture. Dan. iv. 35; Isa. xl. 13, 14; Rom. ix. 15- 
18; Eph. i. 5. 

(3.) God's decree includes and determines the means 
and conditions upon which events depend, as well as the 
events themselves : "According as he has chosen us in 
him before the foundation of the world, that we should 
be holy.'' Eph. i. 4. " By grace ye are saved through 
faithy and that not of yourselves : it is the gift of God,'* 
Eph ii. 8. " God has from the beginning chosen you 
to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and 
belief of the truth." 2 Thess. ii. 13. In the case of 
Paul's shipwreck, God first promised Paul absolutely 
that not a life should be lost. Acts xxvii. 24. But 
Paul said, verse 31 : " Except these men abide in the 
ship, ye cannot be saved." 

(4.) The Scriptures declare that the salvation of in- 
dividuals is conditional upon the personal act of faith, 



98 Confession of faith. 

and at the same time that the decree of God with regard 
to the salvation of individuals rests solely upon ** the 
counsel of his own will," " his own good pleasure." 
" For the children being not yet born, neither having 
done any good or evil, that the purpose of God accord - 
ing to election might stand, not of works, but of him 
that calleth, etc." Rom. ix. 11. "Having predestinated 
us according to the purpose of him who worketh all 
things after the counsel of his own will." Eph. i. 11 ; 
i. 5; Matt. xi. 25, 26. 

4th. The purpose of God is, with reference to all the 
objects embraced within it, certainly efficacious. 

The decree of God is merely a purpose which he exe- 
cutes in his works of creation and providence. When 
it is said that all the decrees of God are certainly effica- 
cious, it is not meant that they are the proximate causes 
of events, but that they render, under the subsequent 
economy of creation and providence, every event em- 
braced in them absolutely certain. This is evident — (1) 
From the nature of God as an infinitely wise and power- 
ful person and absolute sovereign. 

(2.) From the fact that the decrees relate to all events 
without exception, and are sovereign and unconditional. 

(3.) The Scriptures declare, with reference to such 
events, that there is a needs-he that they should happen 
as it was determined. Matt. xvi. 21 ; Luke xxiv. 44 ; 
xxii. 22. 

5th. This purpose must in all things be perfectly con- 
sistent with his own most wise, benevolent and holy 
nature. 

This is a self-eyident truth from the nature of God 
as an eternal, absolutely perfect and unchangeable being. 



His decrees must be absolutely perfect in wisdom and 
righteousness. 

The problem of the permission of sin is to us insol- 
uble, because unexplained. The fact is certain, the rea- 
son beyond discovery. If God be infinitely wise and 
powerful, he might have prevented it. It is evident 
that it is consistent with absolute righteousness to per- 
mit it and to overrule it. The Arminian admits that 
God foresaw that sin and misery would certainly eventu- 
ate upon the conditions of creation he established. He 
is therefore as unable as the CaJvinist is to explain why 
God, notwithstanding that certain knowledge, did not 
change those conditions. 

It remains, however, certain (1) that God is not the 
cause of sin, (a) because he is absolutely holy; (b) be- 
cause sin is in its essence di^ofica (violation of God's 
will) ; (c) because man as a free agent is the responsible 
cause of his own actions : (2) that God has permitted 
sin for the purpose of overruling it in the interests of 
righteousness and benevolence, the highest glory of God 
and excellence of the moral creation. 

6th. The purpose of God is in all things perfectly 
consistent with the nature and the mode of action of the 
creatures severally embraced within it. 

This is certain, (1) because the one eternal, self-con- 
sistent, all-comprehensive purpose of God at the same 
time determines the nature of the agent, his proper mode 
of action and each action that shall eventuate. As God's 
purpose cannot be inconsistent with itself, the element 
of it determining the nature of the agent cannot be in- 
consistent with the element of it determining any par- 
ticular action of the agent. 



100 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

(2.) Because the decTees of God are not the proximate 
causes of events ; they only make a given event certainly 
future. It provides that free agents shall be free agents, 
and free actions free actions, and that a given free agent 
shall exist, and that he shall freely perform a certain 
free action under certain conditions. 

Now, that a given free action is certainly future, is 
obviously not inconsistent with the perfect freedom of 
the agent in that act: (1.) Because all admit that God 
certainly foreknows the free actions of free agents, and 
if so, they must be certainly future, although free. (2.) 
God^s actions are certainly holy, though free, and the 
same is true of all glorified spirits in heaven. (3.) The 
actions of the devil, and finally reprobate men and an- 
gels, will for ever be certainly wicked, yet free and 
responsible. 

Section III. — By the decree of God, for the manifestation of 
his glory, some men and angels* arc predestinated unto everlast- 
ing life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.'' 

Section IV. — These angels and men, thus predestinated and 
foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and 
their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either 
increased or diminished.* 

Section V. — Those of mankind that are predestinated unto 
life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according 
to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and 
good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting 
glory,' out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight 
of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any 
other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him 
thereunto ;^° and all to the praise of his glorious grace." 

6 1 Tim. V. 21 J Matt. xxv. 41.—' Rom. ix. 22, 23; Eph. i. 5, 6; Pror. 
xvi. 4.-8 2 Tim. ii. I?,- John xiii. 18.— » Eph. i. 4, 9, 11; Rom. viii. 30; 
2 Tim. i. 9; 1 Thcss /. 9.— lo Rom. ix. 11, 13, 16; Eph. i. 4, 9.—" Eph. 
i. 6, 12. 



god's eternal decree. 101 

The preceding Sections having affirmed that the eter- 
nal, sovereign, immutable, unconditional decree of God 
determines all events of every class that come to pass, 
these Sections proceed to affirm, by way of specification, 
the following propositions : 

]st. The decree of God determines that, out of the 
mass of fallen humanity, certain individuals shall attain 
to eternal salvation, and that the rest shall be left to be 
dealt with justly for their sins. 

2d. That this determination is unchangeable. 

3d. That it is not conditioned upon foreseen faith or 
good works or perseverance, but that in each case it 
rests upon sovereign grace and personal love according 
to the secret counsel of his will. 

4th. That the ultimate end or motive in his election 
is the manifestation of his own glory, the praise of his 
glorious grace. 

1st. The decree of God determines that out of the 
mass of fallen humanity certain individuals shall attain 
to eternal salvation, and that the rest shall be left to be 
dealt with justly for their sins. 

The Socinian holds that the free acts of men, being in 
their nature uncertain, cannot be foreknown as certainly 
future. Since, therefore, God does not foreknow who will 
repent and believe, his election amounts to no more than 
his general purpose to save all believers as a class. 

The Arminian holds that God, foreseeing from all 
eternity who will repent and believe, elects those indi- 
viduals to eternal life on that condition of faith and 
repentance, thus certainly foreknown. 

The Calvinist holds that God has elected certain indi- 
viduals to eternal life, and all the means and conditions 

9* 



102 CONCESSION OF FAITH. 

thereof, on the ground of his sovereign good pleasure. 
He chooses them to faith and repentance, and not be- 
cause of their faith and repentance. That God does 
choose individuals to eternal life is certain. (1.) The 
subjects are always spoken of in Scripture as individ- 
uals : "As many as were ordained to eternal life be- 
lieved." Acts xiii. 48 ; 2 Thess. iii. 13; Eph. i. 4. (2.) 
The names of the elect are said to be " written in heaven," 
and to be " in the book of life." Phil. iv. 3 ; Heb. xii. 
23. (3.) The blessings to* which men are elected are 
such as pertain to individuals not to communities, and 
they are represented as elected to these spiritnal qualifi- 
cations, and not because they belong to the class which 
possesses them. They are elected " to salvation," " to the 
adoption of sons," " to be holy and without blame before 
him in love." 

2d. This election is unchangeable. This is self- 
evident. 

3d. It is not conditioned upon foreseen faith or re- 
pentance, but in each case upon sovereign grace and 
personal love, according to the secret counsel of his will. 

(1.) It is expressly declared not to rest upon works ; 
but foreseen faith and repentance are works. Rom. xi, 
4-7; 2Tim. i. 9. 

(2.) Faith and repentance are expressly said to be the 
fruits of election, and consequently cannot be its condi- 
tions. They are also declared to be the gifts of God, and 
cannot be, therefore, the conditions upon which he sus- 
pends his purpose. Eph. ii. 10; i. 4; 1 Pet. i. 2; Eph. ii. 8; 
Acts v. 31 ; 1 Cor. iv. 7. "All that the Father giveth 
me shall come to me ; . . . and this is the Father's will, 
that of all that he hath given me I should lo«e nothing." 



god's eternal decree. 103 

John vi. 37, 39. " But ye believe not, because ye are 
not my sheep." John x. 26. *' And as many as were 
ordained to eternal life believed." Acts xiii. 48. 

(3.) The Scriptures represent men by nature as " dea'l 
in trespasses and sins," and faith and repentance as the 
exercise of regenerated souls, and regeneration as the 
work of God — a " new birth," a " new creation," a 
"quickening from the dead." Faith and repentance, 
therefore, must be conditioned upon God's purpose, and 
cannot condition it. 

(4.) The Scriptures expressly say that election is con- 
ditioned on the " good pleasure of God's will." " Hav- 
ing predestinated us unto the adoption of children by 
Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure 
of his willy to the praise of his glorious grace. ... In 
whom we have obtained an inheritance, being predesti- 
nated according to the purpose of him who worketh all 
things acxjording to the counsel of his own will." Eph. 
i. 5, 11 ; Matt. xi. 25, 26 ; John xv. 16, 19. 

(6.) God claims the right of sovereign, unconditional 
election as his prerogative. " Hath not the potter power 
over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel to 
honour and another to dishonour?'' Rom. ix. 4. If of 
the same lump, the difference is not in the clay. " So, 
then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that run- 
neth, but of God that showeth mercy." Rom. ix. 16. 

4th. The ultimate end or motive of God in election 
is the praise of his glorious grace. 

This is expressly asserted in Eph. i. 15. In the 
Chapter on Creation it will be shown that the final end 
of God in all his works, a^ a whole, is the manifesta- 
tion of his own glory. If it be the final end of the 



104 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

whole, it must be the end also of the special destination 
of all the parts. 

8ection VI. — As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so 
hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreor- 
dained all the means thereunto.''^ Wherefore they who are elected 
being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ;^' are effectually 
called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season ; 
are justitied, adopted, sanctified,^* and kept by his power through 
faith unto salvation. ^^ Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, 
effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified and saved, but the 
elect only.^® 

12 1 Pet. i. 2; Eph, i. 4, 6; ii. 10 j 2 Thess. ii. 13.— 13 1 Thess. v. 9, 10; 
Tit. ii. 14.— 1* Rom. viii. 30 j Eph, i. 6 ; 2 Thess. ii. 13.— 16 1 Pet. i. 6.— 
18 John xvii. 9,- Rom. viii. 28; John vi. 64, 65; viii. 47; x. 26; 1 John 
ii. 19. 

This section affirms : 

1st. That although the decree of God is one eternal, 
all comprehensive intention, the several elements em- 
braced within it necessarily sustain the relation to one 
another of means to ends. In determining the ends he 
intends to accomplish, God at the same time determines 
the means by which he intends to accomplish them. 
And God's purpose with respect to the end necessarily, 
in the logical order, takes precedence of and gives direc- 
tion to his purpose with respect to the means. 

2d. That, in the matter of the redemption of men, 
the end which God determined was the salvation of 
certain individuals, called " the elect," and that he ap- 
pointed, as means to that end, redemption by Christ, 
effectual calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, 
perseverance in grace unto death. 

3d. That as the means are intended to effect the end, 
so they are not to be exorcised in the case of any wliose 



god's kternal decree. 105 

salvation has not been adopted as that end. None but 
the elect are redeemed by Christ, or eifectually called, 
or justified, or adopted, or sanctified. 

1st. That the purposes of God do sustain the relation 
to one another of means to ends is evident — (1.) From 
the fact that his purposes are the product of an infinite 
intelligence, the very office of which is to co-ordinate a 
great system of means in the accomplishment of a great 
design. (2.) God accomplishes his eternal purposes in 
his works of creation and providence, and in the economy 
of both he habitually uses systems of means in subordi- 
nation to predetermined ends. (3.) All the events de- 
creed as a matter of fact eventuate in the relation of 
means in subordination to ends. They must therefore 
have been embraced in the same order in the divine 
decree. (4.) God explicitly tells us that he determines 
one thing in order to accomplish another. He predesti- 
nates men to salvation, through sanctification of the 
Spirit and belief of the truth, to the praise of the glory 
of his grace. 2 Thess. ii. 13 ; Eph. i. 6. 

2d. That the gift of Christ to make atonement for 
sin, and of the Holy Ghost to regenerate and sanctify, 
are in the divine intention designed as means to accom- 
plish his purpose to secure the salvation of the elect, 
has been doubted by some theologians, but is explicitly 
affirmed both positively and negatively in this Section 
of the Confession. In the time that this Confession 
was written, the phrase "to redeem'' was used in the 
same sense in which we now use the phrase " to make 
atonement for." The Confession affirms, first, posi- 
tively, that Christ was eternally appointed to make 
atonement as a means of executing the purpose to save 



106 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the elect; and second, negatively, that he has mAde 
atonement for none others. 

The class of theologians who do not agree with the 
Confession at this point, view the purposes of God, with 
respect to man's salvation and the gift of Christ to be a 
Saviour, as sustaining respectively the following order : 
Out of infinite pity and universal benevolence, God 
determined to give his Son to die for the redemption 
from the curse of the law of all mankind, ruined by the 
fall ; but, foreseeing that if left to themselves all men 
would certainly reject Christ and be lost, God, in order 
to carry out and apply his plan of human redemption, 
and moved by a special love to certain persons, elected 
them out of the masa of mankind to be recipients of the 
special effectual grace of the Holy Ghost, and thus to 
salvation. The doctrine taught in the Confession and 
held by the great body of the Reformed churches is, 
that God, moved by a special personal love, elected cer- 
tain men out of the mass of the fallen race to salvation, 
and in order to accomplish that purpose he determined 
to send Christ to die for them and the Holy Ghost to 
renew and sanctify them. 

That the view of the Confession is the true one is 
plain — (1.) From the very statement of the case. The 
gift of Christ to die for the elect is a very adequate 
means to accomplish the decree of their salvation. But, 
on the other hand, the decree to give the efficacious 
influences of the Holy Ghost only to the elect is a very 
inadequate means of accomplishing the purpose of 
redeeming all men by the sacrifice of Christ. A pur- 
pose to save all and a purpose to save only some could 
not coexist in the divine mind. 



god's eternal deckee. 107 

(2.) All the purposes of God, being unchangeable, 
self-consistent and certainly efficacious, must perfectly 
correspond to the events which come to pass in time. 
He must have predestinated to salvation those and 
those only who are as a matter of fact saved; and he 
must have intended that Christ should redeem those 
and those only who are redeemed. God's purpose in 
the gift of Christ cannot be in any respect in vain. 

(3.) Christ says explicitly, " I lay down my life for 
my sheep." John x. 15. 

3d. None but the elect are redeemed by Christ, or 
effectually called, or justified, or adopted, or sanctified. 

This is only the negative statement of the same truth, 
designed to make the positive affirmation of it the more 
explicit and emphatic. 

Tlie doctrine as to the design of God in the sacrifice 
of Christ is stated again in Chapter VIII., Section viii. 
of the Confession, and will be more appropriately stated 
and discussed in that place. 

Section VII. — ^The rest of mankind, God was pleased, accord- 
ing to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he ex- 
tendeth or withholdeth mercy as he please th, for the glory of his 
sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain 
them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his 
glorious justice." 

" Matt. xi. 25, 26; Rom. ix. 17, 18, 21, 22; 2 Tim. ii. 19, 20; Jude 4; 
1 Pet. ii. 8. 

This Section teaches the following propositions : 

1st. That as God has sovereignly destinated certain 

persons, called the elect, through grace to salvation, so 

he has sovereignly decreed to withhold his grace from 

the rest; and that this withholding rests upon the un- 



108 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

searchable counsel of his own will, and is for the glory 
of his sovereign power. 

2d. That God has consequently determined to treat 
all those left in their sins with exact justice according 
to their own deserts, to the praise of his justice, which 
demands the punishment of all unexpiated sin. 

This decree of reprobation, as it is called, is the aspect 
which God^s eternal purpose presents in its relation to 
that portion of the human family which shall be finally 
condemned for their sins. 

It consists of two elements: (1.) Negative, inasmuch 
as it involves a determination to pass over these, and to 
refuse to elect them to life. (2.) Positive, inasmuch as 
it involves a determination to treat them on the princi- 
ples of strict justice precisely as they deserve. In its 
negative aspect, reprobation is simply not election, and 
is absolutely sovereign, resting upon his good pleasure 
alone, since those passed over are no worse than those 
elected. In respect to its positive element, reprobation 
is not in the least sovereign, but purely judicial, be- 
cause God has determined to treat the reprobate pre- 
cisely according to their deserts in the view of absolute 
justice. Our Standards are very careful to guard this 
point explicitly. This Section says that God has or- 
dained the non-elect ^' to dishonour and wrath for 
their s'm, to the praise of his glorious justice J^ The 
same is repeated in almost identical language in the 
answer to the thirteenth question of the Larger Cat- 
echism. 

This doctrine, instead of being inconsistent with the 
principles of absolute justice, necessarily follows from 
the application of those principles to the case in hand. 



109 

(1.) All men alike are *' by nature the children of 
wrath/^ and justly obnoxious to the penalty of the law 
antecedently to the gift of Christ to be their Saviour. 
It is because they are in this condition that vicarious 
satisfaction of divine justice was absolutely necessary in 
order to the salvation of any, otherwise, the Apostle 
says, " Christ is dead in vain." Hence if any are to 
be saved, justice itself demands that their salvation shall 
be recognized as not their right, but a sovereign conces- 
sion on the part of God. None have a natural right to 
salvation. And the salvation of one cannot give a right 
to salvation to another. (2.) Salvation is declared to be 
in its very essence a matter of grace, and if of grace, the 
the selection of its subjects is inalienably a matter of 
divine discretion. Lam. iii. 22 ; Rom. iv. 4 ; xi. 6 ; 
Eph. i. 6, 7 ; John iii. 16 ; 1 John iii. 16 ; iv. 10. 

This doctrine as above stated is true, (I) because it is 
necessarily involved in the scriptural doctrine of elec- 
tion taught in the preceding Sections. 

(2.) It is expressly taught in Scripture : " Therefore 
he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom 
he will he hardeneth." Rom. ix. 18 ; 1 Pet. ii. 8 ; Rev 
xiii. 8 ; Jude 4. 

(3.) God asserts the right involved as his righteous 
prerogative : " Thou wilt say then unto me. Why doth 
he yet find fault ? Who art thou that repliest against 
God ? Hath not the potter power over the clay of the 
same lump, to make one vessel to honour and another 
to dishonour ? What if God, willing to show his wrath, 
and to make his power known, endured with much long 
suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction : and 
that he might make known the riches of his glory on 

10 



110 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto 
glorj." Kom. ix. 19-23. 

Section VIII. — ^The doctrine of this high mystery of predes- 
tination is to be handled with special prudence and care,*^ that 
men attending the will of Grod revealed in his word, and yielding 
obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual 
vocation, be assured of their eternal election.^' So shall this 
doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence and admiration of 
God,'* and of humility, diligence and abundant consolation, to all 
that sincerely obey the gospel.** 

18 Romans ix. 20; xi. 33; Deut. xxix. 29.—" 2 Pet. i. 10.— » Eph. i. 6; 
Rom. xi. 33.— 21 Rom. xi. 6, 6, 20; 2 Pet. i. 10; Rom. viii. 33; Luke x. 20. 

This Section teaches that the high mystery of predes- 
tination is to be handled with special prudence and care. 
This necessity arises from the fact that it is often abused, 
and that its proper use is in the highest degree im- 
portant. 

The principle of divine sovereignty in the distribu- 
tion of grace is certainly revealed in Scripture, is not 
difficult of comprehension, and is of great practical use 
to convince men of the greatness and independence of 
God, of the certain efficacy of his grace and security of 
his promises, and of their own sin and absolute depend- 
ence. But the philosophy of the relation of his sov- 
ereign purpose to the free agency of the creature, and to 
the permission of moral evil, is not revealed in the 
Scriptures, and cannot be discovered by human reason, 
and therefore ought not to be rashly meddled with. 
This truth ought not, moreover, to be obtruded out of 
its due place in the system, which includes the equally 
certain truths of the freedom of man and the free offi^rs 
of the gospel to all. 



in 

While the principle of sovereign election as lying at 
the foundation of all grace is thus clearly revealed, the 
election or non-election of particular persons is not re- 
vealed in the Scriptures. The preceptive and not the 
decretive will of God is the rule of human duty. Elec- 
tion is first with God, and grace consequent upon it. 
But with man duty and grace are first, and the inference 
of personal election only consequent upon the possession 
of grace. The command to repent and believe is ad- 
dressed to all men indiscriminately, and the obligation 
rests equally upon all. The concern of the inquirer is 
simply with the fact that the grace is offered, and as- 
sured to him upon condition of acceptance, and with 
his duty to accept and improve it. Afterward it is the 
great privilege of the believer to make the fact of his 
eternal calling and election sure, by adding to faith 
virtue, and to virtue knowledge, etc., for if he do these 
things he shall never fall. 2 Pet. i. 5-10. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the first proposition taught in the first and second 
Sections ? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught? 

3. What is the third? 

4. What is the fourth f 
6. What is the fifth ? 

6. What is the sixth ? 

7. How can it be shown that God must have had from eternity 
a definite plan in his works ? 

8. What must have been the general attributes of that plan? 

9. What is meant when we say the decrees of God are one 



10. Show from the relation in which all things stand to each 



112 CONFESSION OP FAITH. 

Other, that the purposes of God must relate to and determine all 
events of every kind ? 

11. Prove the same from Scripture. 

12. What relation does the eternal purpose of Grod sustain to 
the sinful acts of men ? 

13. What is the difference between an event being conditional, 
and the decree of God with reference to it being conditional ? 

14. What is an unconditional, and what a conditional decree ? 

15. With respect to what class of events do Arminians con- 
tend that God's decrees are conditional? 

16. Prove that none of the purposes of God are conditional. 

17. What do you mean when you say that all the decrees of 
God are certainly efficacious ? 

18. Prove that they are so. 

19. Prove that all the purposes of God must be consistent with 
his own perfections. 

20. Prove that God cannot be the author of sin. 

21. Prove that the decrees of God are not inconsistent with 
the liberty of free agents. 

22. Show that the certainty of a free act is not inconsistent 
with the liberty of the agent in the act. 

23. What is the first proposition taught in the third, fourth 
and fifth Sections ? 

. 24. What is the second proposition there taught? 

25. What is the ^^irc?.? 

26. What is the /oM7'«A f 

27. State respectively the Socinian, the Arminian and the Cal- 
vinistic doctrines as to the election of individuals to salvation. 

28. Show from Scripture that God has chosen individuals, not 
classes, to eternal life. 

29. Show from Scripture that this election is not conditioned 
upon the foreseen faith and repentance of the person elected. 

30. Show that it is grounded alone upon the good pleasure of 
God. 

31. What is God's ultimate end in election? 

32. What is the ^rs^ proposition affirmed in the sixth Section? 

33. What is the secowfZ proposition? 

34. Whatisthe</MV<^.^ 



god's eternai. decree. 113 

35. How can you prove that God does purpose one thing in 
order to another thing ? 

36. What according to this Section is the relation which God*s 
purpose to give Christ sustains to his purpose to secure the sal- 
vation of the elect? 

37. State the two different views which have heen entertained 
on this subject. 

38. How is this matter stated in this Section, (1) negatively, (2) 
positively ? 

39. Show that the order of God's purposes set forth in this 
section is both the natural one and the true one. 

40. What is the Jirst proposition taught in the seventh Section? 

41. What is the second proposition there taught? 

42. State the negative element involved in God's reprobation 
of the wicked. 

43. State the positive element involved. 

44. Show that the Confession and Catechism carefully mark 
the distinction. 

45. Show that this doctrine is eminently just. 

46. Show that it is true. 

47. What is taught in the eighth Section? 

48. Why should this doctrine be carefully handled? 

49. What are the practical uses of it? 

50. What is the rule of human duty ? 

51. What is the great concernment of the rehgious inquirer. 

52. How is the fact of a man's personal election to be asoer* 
tained ? 

10* 



CHAPTER lY. 

OP CREATION. 

Section L— It pleased God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,* 
for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom 
and goodness,^ in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, 
the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in 
the space of six days, and all very good.' 

1 Heb. i. 2; John i. 2, 3j Gen. i. 2; Job xxvi. 13; xxxiii. 4. — ' Horn. i. 
20; Jer. x. 12; Ps. civ. 24; xxxiii. 5, 6. — ^ Gen. i. ], to end; Heb. xi. 3; 
CoL i. 16 ; Acts xvii. 24. 

Compare with this Section, Larger Catechism ques- 
tions 15 and 16. 

This Section teaches : 

1st. That neither the world (the visible universe) nor 
anything therein is either, as to substance or form, self- 
existent or eternal. 

2d. That the one God, who is Father, Son and Holy 
Ghost, in the beginning created the elements of the world 
out of nothing, and brought them to their present form, 
and that the particular stages of this work which are 
recorded in Genesis were accomplished in the space of 
six days. 

3d. That when finished by God all things were very 
good, after their kind. 

4th. That the design of God in creation was the man- 
ifestation of his own glory. 



CREATION. 115 

There is a very obvious distinction between the sub- 
stances of things and the forms into which those sub- 
stances are disposed. In our experience the elementary 
substances which constitute things are permanent, as 
oxygen, hydrogen and the like, while the organic and 
Inorganic forms in which they are combined are con- 
stantly changing. That personal spirits and the various 
forms in which the material elements of the universe 
are disposed are not self-existent or eternal is self-evi- 
dent, and the universality, the constancy and the rapidity 
of the changes of the latter are rendered more obvious 
and certain with every advance of science. That the 
elementary substances of things were created out of 
nothing was never believed by the ancient heathen 
philosophers, but is a fundamental principle of Chris- 
tian theism. This is proved by the following consider- 
ations : 

(1st.) The Scriptures speak of a time when the world 
was absolutely nonexistent. Christ speaks of the glory 
" which I had with thee before the world was." John 
xvii. 5, 24. " Before thou hadst formed the earth atid 
the world, from everlasting to everlasting, thou ai*t 
God." Ps. xc. 2. 

(2d.) The Hebrew word translated " to create," and 
used by Moses to reveal the fact that God created the 
world, is the very best afforded by any human language 
anterior to revelation to express the idea of absolute 
making. It is introduced at the beginning of an ac- 
count of the genesis of the heavens and of the earth. 
In the beginning — in the absolute beginning — God 
created all things (heaven and earth). After that there 
was chaos, and subsequently the Spirit of God, brood- 



116 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

ing over the deep, brought the ordered world into being. 
The creation came before chaos, as chaos before the 
bringing of things into their present form. Therefore 
the substances of things must have had a beginning as 
well as their present forms. 

(3d.) The Scriptures always attribute the existence of 
things purely to the " will," " word," " breath" of God, 
and never, even indirectly, imply the presence of any 
other element or condition of their being, such as pre- 
existing matter. "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 which do ap- 
pear." Heb. xi. 3 ; Ps. xxxiii. 6 ; cxlviii. 5. 

(4th.) If God be not the creator of substance ex nihilo, 
as well as the former of worlds and of things, he cannot 
be absolutely sovereign in his decrees or in his works of 
creation, providence or grace. On every hand he would 
be limited and conditioned by the self-existent qualities 
of pre-existent substance, and their endless consequences. 
But the Scriptures always represent God as the absolute 
sovereign and proprietor of all things. Rom. xi. 36 ; 1 
Cor. viii. 6 ; Col. i. 16 ; Rev. iv. 11 ; Neh. ix. 6. 

(5th.) The same traces of designed and precalculated 
correspondences may be clearly observed in the element- 
ary and essential properties and laws of matter that are 
observed in the adjustments of matter in the existing 
forms of the world. If the traces of design observed 
in the existing forms of the world prove the existence 
of an intelligent former, for the same reason the traces 
of design in the elementary constitution of matter proves 
the existence of an intt^lligent creator of those elements 
out of nothing. 



CKEATION. 117 

2d. Hence theologians have distinguished between 
the areatio prima or first creation of the elementary 
substance of things ex nihilo, and the creatio secunda or 
second creation or combination of the elements and the 
formation of things, and their mutual adjustments in 
the system of the universe. This Section attributes 
creation in both of these senses to the one true God, 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost. 

The Scriptures attribute creation — (a.) To God abso- 
lutely without distinction of person. Gen. i. 1, 26. (6.) 
To the Father. 1 Cor. viii. 6. (c.) To the Father 
through the Son. Heb. i. 2. (d) To the Father through 
the Spirit. Ps. civ. 30. (e,) To the Son. John i. 2, 3. 
(/.) To the Spirit. Gen. i. 2 ; Job xxxiii. 4. 

This Section, using the precise words of Scripture, 
Ex. XX. 11, declares that God performed the work of 
creation in the sense of formation and adjustment of 
the universe in its present order " in the space of six 
days." Since the Confession was written the science of 
geology has come into existence, and has brought to 
light many facts before unknown as to the various con- 
ditions through which this world, and probably the 
stellar universe, have passed previously to the establish- 
ment of the present order. These facts remain in their 
general character unquestionable, and indicate a pro- 
cess of divinely regulated development consuming vast 
periods of time. In order to adjust the conclusions of 
that science with the inspired record found in the first 
chapter of Genesis, some suppose that the first verse 
relates to the creation of the elements of things at the 
absolute beginning, and then, after a vast interval, dur- 
ing which the changes discovered by science took place, 



118 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the second and subsequent verses narrate how God in 
six successive days reconstructed and prepared the world 
and its inhabitants for the residence of man. Others 
have -supposed that the days spoken of are not natural 
days, but cycles of vast duration. No adjustment thus 
far suggested has been found to remove all difficulty. 
The facts which are certain are: (1.) The record in 
Genesis has been given by divine revelation, and there- 
fore is infallibly true. (2.) The book of revelation 
and the book of nature are both from God, and will be 
found, when both are adequately interpreted, to coincide 
perfectly. (3.) The facts upon which the science of 
geology is based are as yet very imperfectly collected 
and much more imperfectly understood. The time has 
not come yet in which a profitable comparison and 
adjustment of the two records can be attempted. (4.) 
The record in Genesis, brief and general as it is, was 
designed and is admirably adapted to lay the foundation 
of an intelligent faith in Jehovah as the absolute creator 
and the immediate former and providential ruler of all 
things. But it was not designed either to prevent or to 
take the place of a scientific interpretation of all exist- 
ing phenomena, and of all traces of the past history of 
the world which God allows men to discover. Appa- 
rent discrepancies in established truths can have their 
ground only in imperfect knowledge. God requires us 
both to believe and to learn. He imposes upon us at 
present the necessity of humility and patience. 

3d. God himself pronounced all the works of his 
hands when completed very good. Gen. i. 31. This 
does not mean that finite and material things possessed 
an absolute perfection, nor even that they possessed the 



CREATION. 119 

highest excellence consistent with their nature. But it 
means — (1.) That all things in this world were at that 
time excellent according to their respective kinds — the 
human souls morally excellent after the law of moral 
agents, and the world and all its organized inhabitants 
excellent according to their several natures and rela- 
tions. (2.) That each and the whole was perfectly good 
with reference to the general and special design of God 
in their creation. 

4th. With respect to the final end of God in the 
creation of the universe two distinct opinions have been 
entertained by theologians: (1.) That God proposed for 
himself as his ultimate end the promotion of the happi- 
ness, or as others say the excellence, of his creatures, 
(2.) That God proposed for hin .elf the manifestation of 
his own glory. 

This is obviously a question of the highest import- 
ance. Since the chief end of every system of means and 
agencies must govern and give character to the whole 
system, so our view of the chief end of God in his 
works must give character to all our views as to his 
creative, providential and gracious dispensations. Our 
Confession very explicitly takes the position that the 
chief end of God in his eternal purposes, and in their 
temporal execution in creation and providence is the 
manifestation of his own glory. Chapter iii., §§ 3, 5, 7 ; 
iv., § 1 ; v., § 1 ; vi., § 1 ; xxxiii., § 2; Larger Cate- 
chism, Qs. 12 and 18 ; Shorter Catechism, Q. 7. That 
this opinion is true is proved — 

(1.) The Scriptures explicitly assert that this is the 
chief end of God in cTcation, Col. i. 16; Prov. xvi. 4; 
and of things as created. Rev. iv. 11 ; Rom. xi. 36. 



120 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

(2.) They teach that the same is the chief end of God 
in his eternal decrees. Eph. i. 5, 6, 12. 

(3.) Also of God's providential and gracious govern- 
ing and disposing of his creatures. Kom. ix. 17, 22, 23 j 
Eph. iii. 10. 

(4.) It is made the duty of all moral agents to 
adopt the same as their personal ends in all things. 
1 Cor. X. 31; 1 Pet. iv. 11. 

(5.) The manifestation of his own glory is intrin- 
sically the highest and worthiest end that God could 
propose to himself. 

(6.) The highest atla,inment of this supreme end car- 
ries wdth it the largest possible measure of good to the 
creature. 

(7.) God as the absolute creator and sovereign can- 
not have the final ends or motives of his action exterior 
to himself Otherwise all God's actions would be sub- 
ordinated to the finite and created ends he had adopted 
as his ultimate objects. 

Section II. — After God had made all other creatures, he 
created man, male and female,* with reasonable and immortal 
souls,^ endued with knowledge, righteousness and true holiness, 
after his own image,* having the law of God written in their 
hearts,' and power to fulfil it f and yet under a possibility of 
transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which 
was subject unto change.' Besides this law written in their 
hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil ;^" which while they kept, they were 
happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the 
creatures." 

* Gen. i. 27.-5 Gen. ii. 7 ; Eccles. xii. 7 ; Luke xxiii. 43 ; Matt. x. 28.— 

• Gen. i. 26 ; Col. iii. 10 ; Eph. iv. 24.— ^ Kom. ii. 14, 15.-8 Eccles. vii. 29.— 

• Gen. iii. 6 ; Eccles. vii. 29.— ^ Gen. ii. 17 ; iii. 8-11, 23.—" Gen. i. 26, 28. 



CREATION. 121 

CoQipare tliis Section with chapter vi., §§ 1 and 3, and 
L. Cat., Q. 17, and S. Cat., Q. 10. 

This Section teaches : 

1st. That, last of all the inhabitants of this earth, man 
was created immediately by God. 

2d. That God created one human pair, from whom 
the entire human race has descended by generation. 

3d. That God created men in his own image, (a) as 
possessing reasonable and immortal souls, (6) as endued 
with knowledge, righteousness and true holiness, and 
holding dominion over the lower creation. 

4th. Tliat God furnished Adam with sufficient know- 
ledge for his guidance, a law written on his heart and 
a special external revelation of his will. 

5th. That while creating Adam holy and capable of 
obedience, and subjecting him to a special test of that 
obedience in forbidding him to eat of the tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil, God also left him capable 
of falling. 

1st. Man was created immediately by God, and last 
of the creatures. According to God's plan of successive 
creation, and of progressive advance in complexity and 
excellence of organization and endowment, man's true 
place is last in order as the immediate end and crown 
of this lower creation. The scientific advocates of the 
hypothesis of organic development have denied that 
man was created immediately by God, and have held 
that the higher and more complex living organisms 
were developed gradually and by successive stages from 
the lower and more simple as the physical condition of 
the world became gradually favourable to their existence, 
and that man at the proi)er time came last of all from 
11 



122 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the last link in the order of being immediately below 
him. That man on the contrary was immediately 
created by God. his body out of earthly materials pre- 
viously created and his soul out of nothing, is rendered 
certain by the following evidence: 

(1.) The hypothesis of development is a mere dream 
of unsanctified reason, utterly unsupported by facts. 
Not one single individual specimen of an organized 
being passing in transition from a lower species to a 
higher has been found among the myriads of existing 
species, nor among the fossil remains of past species 
preserved in the record of the rocks. The hypothesis is 
also rejected by the highest scientific authorities, as 
Hugh Miller, Agassiz, Lyell, Owen, etc. 

(2.) The Scriptures expressly affirm the fact of man's 
immediate creation. Gen. i. 26, 27 ; ii. 7. 

(3.) This truth is rendered obvious, also, by the im- 
mense distance which separates man from the nearest of 
the lower animals ; from the incomparable superiority 
of man in kind as well as degree ; and from the revealed 
and experienced fact that " God is the Father of our 
spirits,'^ and that we are immortal, '^joint heirs with 
-Christ." 

2d. That God created one human pair, from whom 
the entire race in all its varieties has descended by 
generation, is a iundamental truth of the Christian reve- 
lation. 

One class of scientists, as Sir Charles Lyell, have 
concluded from the positions and associations in which 
human remains have been found, that man has existed 
upon the earth thousands of years before Adam, who is 
regarded as the ancestor only of a particular variety of 



CREATION. 123 

the race. All this weighs nothing against the positive 
teaching of the Scriptures, since the facts upon which 
the conclusion is based are not all certainly substanti- 
ated, and have not been thoroughly digested; and in any 
event can prove nothing as to the relation of Adam to 
the race, but only that he was created longer ago than 
we supposed. 

Another class, of which the leader is Professor Agassiz, 
maintain that the differences between the different vari- 
eties of the human race are so great and so persistent 
that it is impossible that they could have been generated 
from the same parents, and that the progenitors of each 
variety were created separately, each in their appropriate 
geographical centre. This conclusion of science may be 
fairly balanced by the extreme opposite one above 
stated. If, in view of all the facts of the case, it is pos- 
sible for one class of philosophers to conclude that men, 
monkeys and dogs, etc., have descended, under the modi- 
fying influence of different conditions, from like progeni- 
tors, surely it is folly for another class to affirm that it 
is impossible that all the varieties of men have sprung 
from the same parents. That the doctrine of this Sec- 
tion is true is proved — 

(1.) The differences between the varieties of the 
human family are no greater than have been effected by 
differences of condition and training among individuals 
of some of the lower orders of animals of known com- 
mon descent. 

(2.) The human family form one and not different 
species, (a.) Because the races freely intermix and pro- 
duce permanently fertile offspring. (6.) Because their 
mental, moral and spiritual natures are identical. 



124 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

(3.) Archaeological, historical and philological inves- 
tigations all indicate a common origin to all nations. 

(4.) The Scriptnres directly assert this fact. Acts 
xvii. 26 ; Gen. x. And the scriptural doctrines of 
original sin and of redemption presuppose it as a fun- 
damental and essential condition. 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22 ; 
Kom. V. 12-19. 

3d. God created man in his own image. This propo- 
sition includes the following elements : 

(1.) Man was created like God, as to the physical 
constitution of his nature — a rational, moral, free, per- 
sonal spirit. This fact is the essential condition upon 
which our ability to know God, as well as our capacity 
to be subjects of moral government, depends. And in 
this respect the likeness is indestructible. 

(2.) He was created like God as to the perfection and 
integrity of his nature. This includes (a) knowledge 
(Col. iii. 10), or a capacity for the right apprehension 
of spiritual things. This is restored when the sinner is 
regenerated in the grace of spiritual illumination. 

(b.) Righteousness and true holiness (Eph. iv. 24), the 
perfect moral condition of the soul, and eminently of 
the character of the governing affections and will. 

(3.) In respect to the dignity and authority delegated 
to him as the head of this department of creation. Gen. 
i. 28. 

Pelagians have held that a created holiness is an 
absurdity; that, in order that a permanent disposition 
or habit of the soul should have a moral character, it 
must be self-decided — i e.y formed by a previous un- 
biassed choice of the will itself They therefore hold 
that God created xVlam simply a moral agent, with all 



CREATION. 125 

the constitutional faculties prerequisite for mora] action, 
and perfectly unbiassed by any tendency of his nature 
either to good or evil, and left him to form his own 
moral character — to determine his own tendencies by his 
own volition. But this view is not true, because — 
(1.) It is absurd. A state of moral indifference in an 
intelligent adult moral agent is an impossibility. Such 
indifference is itself sin. It is of the essence of moral 
good that it brings the will and all the affections of the 
soul under obligation. 

(2.) If God did not endow man with a positive moral 
character, he could never have acquired a good one. 
The goodness of a volition arises wholly from the posi- 
tive goodness of the disposition or motive which prompts 
it. But if Adam was created without a positive holy 
disposition of soul, his first volition must have either 
been sinful from defect of inherent goodness, or at best 
indifferent. But it is evident that neither a sinful nor 
an indifferent volition can give a holy moral character 
to whatever dispositions or habits may be consequent 
upon it. 

(3.) The Scriptures teach that Adam was created " in 
righteousness and true holiness." (a.) God proclaimed 
all his works *' very good.'' But the "goodness" of a 
moral agent essentially involves a holy character. 

(6.) Eccles. vii. 29: "God made man upright, but 
they have sought out many inventions." 

(c.) In Genesis it is declared that man was created in 
"the image of God." In Eph. iv. 24 and Col. iii. 10, 
men in regeneration are declared to be recreated in "the 
image of God." Regeneration is the restoration of 
human nature to its pristine condition, not a transmuta- 
11 * 



126 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

tion of that nature into a new form. The likeness to 
God which was lost by the fall must therefore be the 
same as that to which we are restored in the new birth. 
But the latter is said to consist in "knowledge, right- 
eousness and true holiness.'^ 

(4.) Christ is the model man (1 Cor. xv. 45, 47), pro- 
duced by immediate divine power in the womb of the 
Virgin, not only without sin, but positively predeter- 
mined to holiness. In his mother's womb he was 
called 'Hhat holy thing." Luke i. 35. 

4th. That God should have furnished Adam with 
sufficient knowledge for his guidance is necessarily im- 
plied in the fact that Adam was a holy moral agent and 
God a righteous moral governor. Even his corrupt and 
degenerate descendants are declared to have in the law 
written upon the heart a light sufficient to leave them 
"without excuse." Rom. i. 20; ii. 14, 15. Adam 
moreover enjoyed special and direct revelation from 
God, and was particularly directed as to the divine will 
with respect to his use of the fruit of the tree of know- 
ledge of good and evil, concerning which we shall have 
occasion to speak more particularly under Chapter vi., 
§ 1, and vii., § 2. 

5th. That Adam, although created holy and capable of 
obedience, was at the same time capable of falling, is 
evident from the event. This appears to have been the 
moral condition in which both angels and men were 
created. It evidently was never intended to be the per- 
manent condition of any creature. It is one, also, of the 
special elements of which we can have no knowledge, 
either from experience or observation. God, angels and 
saints in glory are free, but with natures certainly and 



CREATION. 127 

infallibly prompting them to holiness. Devils and 
fallen men are free, with natures infallibly prompting 
them to evil. The imperfectly sanctified Christian is 
the subject of two conflicting inherent tendencies, the 
law in the members and the law of the Spirit ; and his 
only security is that he is " kept by the power of God 
through faith unto salvation.^' This point will come 
up again under Chapter vi., § 5. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the /Irst proposition taught in the first Section? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught ? 

3. What is the third ? 

4. What IS the fourth? 

5. What obvious distinction is to be made as to the two stages 
of creation ? 

6. State the different proofs that God created the elements of 
which all things are composed out of nothing. 

7. To whom do the Scriptures refer the work of creation ? 

8. Show that the Scriptures refer it to the Father; to the Son ; 
to the Holy Ghost. 

9. What does the first chapter of Genesis teach as to the time 
occupied in bringing the world and its inhabitants to their present 
form? 

10. What in general are the indications of the science of 
geology on the subject ? 

11. What adjusttnents between the inspired record and the con- 
clusions of that science have been proposed? 

12. What is the present duty of Christians in respect to this 
question ? 

13. In what sense were all things pronounced to be "very 
g>od?" 

14. What two distinct opinions have been entertained with 
respect to the final end of God in creation ? 

1 5. Show the great importance of this question. 



128 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

16. What is the doctrine of the Confession on this subject, and 
In what passages and connections is it taught? 

17. Prove that God's chief end in all his purposes, and in the 
execution thereof, is his own glory. 

18. What is the^rs^ proposition taught in the second Section? 

19. What is the second proposition there taught? 

20. What is the third ? 

21. What is the fourth f 

22. Whatis the^/i^/i.? 

23. What different opinions have been entertained as to the 
production of man ? 

24. State the evidence that man was immediately created by 
God. 

25. What different opinions have been entertained as to the 
fact of the propagation of the whole race from one pair? 

26. Refute the false theories. 

27. State the evidence for the generic unity of the human race 
and its descent from Adam and Eve. 

28. Show why this fact is of fundamental importance. 

29. What elements are included in the proposition that " God 
created man in his own image?" 

30. What is the Pelagian doctrine as to the moral condition in 
which Adam was created ? 

31. Show that this doctrine involves an absurdity. 

32. Prove that Adam was created positively holy. 

33. Show that Adam was furnished with sufficient knowledge 
for his guidance. 

34. What was the special characteristic in Adam's condition 
as a moral agent? And how did his condition differ from that 
of all moral agents at present of whose case we have any know- 
ledge? 



CHAPTER V. 



OF PROVIDENCE. 



Section I. — God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold,* 
direct, dispose and govern all creatures, actions and things,' from 
the greatest even to the least, ^ by his most wise and holy provi- 
dence,* according to his infallible foreknowledge,* and the free 
and immutable counsel of his own will,* to the praise of the glory 
of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness and mercy.' 

1 Heb. i. 3.-2 Dan. iv. 34, 35; Ps. cxxxv. 6: Acts xvii. 2b, 26, 28; Job 
xxxviii., xxxix., xl., xli.— 3 Matt. x. 29-31.— * Prov. xv. 3; Ps. civ. 24; 
cxlv. 17.— 5 Acts XV. 18 ; Ps. xciv. 8-11.— « Eph. i. 11 : Ps. xxxiii. 10, 11.— 
' Isa. Ixiii. 14; Eph. iii. 10 ; Rom. ix. 17; Gen. xlv. 7; Ps. cxlv. 7. 

Since the eternal and immutable purpose of God has 
certainly predetermined whatsoever comes to pass, it 
follows that he must execute his own purpose not only' 
in his works of creation, but likewise in his continual 
control of all his creatures and all their actions. This 
Section therefore teaches — 

1st. That God having created the substances of 
which all things are composed out of nothing, having 
endued these substances with their respective properties 
and powers, and having out of them formed all things 
organic and inorganic, and endowed them severally with 
their respective properties and faculties, he continues to 
sustain them in being and in the possession and exercise 
of those properties during the entire period of theii 
existence. 

129 



130 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

2d. That God directs all tlie ac^tions of his creatures 
according to their respective properties and relations. 

3d. That his providential control extends to all his 
creatures and all their actions of every Kind. 

4th. That his providential control is in all respects 
the consistent execution of his eternal, immutable and 
sovereign purpose. 

5th. That the final end of his providence is the mani- 
festation of his own glory. 

1st. With regard to the question how God is concerned 
in upholding and preserving the things he has made, 
three different classes of opinion have prevailed : 

(1.) Deists and Rationalists generally regard God as 
sustaining no other relation to his works than that of 
the first of a series of causes and effects. He is sup- 
posed to touch the creation only at its commencement, 
and having given to things a permanent independent 
being exterior to himself, he leaves them to the unmodi- 
fied exercise of their own faculties. 

(2.) Pantheists regard all the phenomena of the uni- 
verse of every kind as merely the various modes of one 
universal absolute substance. The substance is one, the 
modes many ; the substance abides, the modes rapidly 
succeed each other; the substance is God, the modes 
we call things. Some true Christian theologians have 
taken a view of the relation of God to the world which 
comes perilously near, if it does not coincide with, this 
great pantheistic heresy. This view is that God's 
power is constantly exerted in continually creating every 
individual thing again and again every fraction of dura- 
tion ; that created things have no real being of their 
own, and exist only as thus they are each moment the 



PROVIDENCE. ^ 131 

product of creative energy ; and hence that the imme- 
diate cause of the state or action of any creature one 
moment of time is not its state or action the previous 
moment, but the direct act of divine creative power. 

If this be so, it is plain that God is the only real 
agent in the universe ; that he is the immediate cause 
of all things, including all evil passions and wicked 
thoughts and acts; that consciousness is a thorough 
delusion, and the free agency and moral accountability 
of man vain imaginations. 

(3.) The third view is the true one, and it stands 
intermediate between the two ^bove stated extremes. It 
may be stated as follows: (a.) God gave to all sub- 
stances, both material and spiritual, a real and per- 
manent existence as entities. 

(6.) They really possess all such active and passive 
properties as God has severally endued them with. 

(c.) These properties have a real and not merely an 
apparent efficiency as second causes in producing the 
effects proper to them. 

(d.) But these created substances, although possessing 
a real existence exterior to God, and exerting real effi- 
ciency as causes, are not self-existent; that is, the ground 
of their continued existence is in God and not in them. 
Though not to be confounded with God, they are not to 
be separated from him, but "m hiin live and move, and 
have all their being.'' 

(e.) The precise nature of the exercise of divine 
energy whereby God interpenetrates the universe with 
his presen(;e, embraces it and all things therein in his 
power and upholds them in being, is not revealed, and 
of course is indiscoverable. 



132 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

That God always continues to exert his almighty 
power in upholding in being and in the possession and use 
of their endowments all things he has made is proved — 

(1.) From the fact that continued dependence is in- 
separable from the idea of a creature. The abiding 
cause of the creature's continued existence must ever be 
in God, as it is not in itself. 

(2.) The relation of the creation to God cannot be 
analogous to that of a product of human skill to its 
maker. The one is exterior to his work. The intelli- 
gence and the power of the other is eternally omnipres- 
ent to every element of his work. 

(3.) A sense of absolute dependence for continued 
being, power and blessedness is involved in the religious 
consciousness of all men. 

(4.) It is explicitly taught in Scripture: "By him 
all things consist.'' Col. i. 17; Heb. i. 3. **He upholds 
all things by the word of his power." Heb. i. 3. " In 
him we live and move and have our being." Acts xxvii. 
28. "Oh bless our God, which holdeth our soul in life.'' 
Ps. Ixvi. 8, 9; Ixiii. 8; xxxvi. 6. 

2d. That God governs the actions of his creatures; and 

3d. That his irovernment extends to all his creatures 
and all their actions, is proved : 

(1.) By the fact that the religious nature of man de- 
mands the re^'ognition of this truth. It is involved in 
the sense of dependence and of subjection to a moral 
government wiiich is involved in all religious feeling, 
and is recognized in all religions. 

(2.) It is evidenced in the indications of intelligence 
everywhere present in the operations of external nature. 
The harmony, the due proportion and the exquisite con- 



PROVIDENCE. 133 

currence in action which continue among so many ele- 
ments throughout ceaseless changes prove beyond ques- 
tion the presence of an intelligence embracing all and 
directing each. 

(3.) The same is likewise indicated in the intelligent 
design evidently pursued in the developments of human 
history during long periods and throughout vast areas, 
and embracing myriads of agents. "That God is in 
history" is a conclusion of just science as well as a dic- 
tate of true religion. 

(4.) The Scriptures abound in prophesies fulfilled and 
unfulfilled, and promises and threatenings. Many of 
these are not mere enunciations of general principles, 
but specific declarations of purpose with reference to 
his treatment of individuals conditioned upon their con- 
duct. The fulfilment of these could not be left to the 
ordinary course of nature, since there is often no natural 
connection between what is threatened or promised an<l 
the conditions on which they are suspended. God must 
therefore, by a constant providential regulation of the 
system of things, execute his own word to his creatures. 

(5.) The Scriptures explicitly declare that such a 
providential control is exerted (a) over the physical 
world [a] in general. Job xxxvii. 6-13; Ps. civ. 14; 
cxxxv. 6,7; cxlvii. 15-18. [6] Individual events in 
the natural world, however trivial. Matt. x. 29. (6.) 
Over fortuitous events. Job v. 6 ; Prov. xvi. 33. [c ) 
Over the brute creation. Ps. civ. 21-27; cxlvii. 9. (rJ.) 
Over the general affairs of men. Job xii. 23 ; Isa. x. 12 
-15 ; Dan. ii. 21 ; iv. 25. (e.) Over the circumstances 
of individuals. 1 Sam. ii. 6, 7, 8 ; Prov. xvi. 9 : 
James iv. 13-15. (/.) Over the free actions of men. Ex. 

12 



134 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

xii. 36 ; Ps. xxxiii. 14, 15 ; Prov. xix. 21 ; xxi. 1 ; Phil, 
ii. 13. (g.) Over the sinful actions of men. 2 Sam. xvi. 
10; Ps. Ixxvi. 10; Acts iv. 27, 28. (h.) Especially all 
that is good in man, in principle or action, is attributed 
to God's constant gracious control. Phil. ii. 13; iv. 13; 
2 Cor. xii. 9, 10; Eph. ii. 10; Ps. cxix. 36; Gal. v. 
22-25. 

4th. That the providential control of all things by God 
is the consistent execution in time of his eternal and 
immutable purpose is evident (1) from the statement of 
the case. Since God's eternal purpose relates to and 
determines all that comes to pass, and since it is immu- 
table, his providential control of all things must be in 
execution of his purpose. And since his purpose is in- 
finitely wise, righteous and benevolent, and absolutely 
sovereign (as shown above), his providential execution 
of the decree must possess the same characteristics. (2.) 
The same is explicitly declared in Scripture : " He 
worketh all things after the council of his own will." 
Eph. i. 11 ; Isa. xxviii. 29 ; Acts xv. 18. 

5th. It is evident that the chief design of God in his 
eternal purpose and in his works of creation must also 
be his chief end in all his providential dispensations. 
This has been shown above to be the manifestation of 
his own glory. It is also directly asserted as the final 
end of his providence. Rom. ix. 17 xi. 36. 

Section II. — Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and 
decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably 
and infallibly ;^ yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to 
fall out according to the nature of second causes, either neces- 
sarilj', freely or contingently.* 

Section III.— God in his ordinary providence maketh use of 



PROVIDENCE. 135 

means.*® yet is free to work without," above," and against them," 
at his pleasure. 

* Acts ii. 23. — 9 Gen. viii. 22 ; Jer. xxxi. 35 ; Ex. xxi. 13 ; Deut. six. 
6; 1 Kings xxii. 28, 34 j Isa. x. 6, 7.— »» Acts xxvii. 31, 44; Isa. Iv. 10, 11; 
Hos. ii. 21, 22.— 11 Hos. i. 7; Matt. iv. 4; Job xxxiv. 10.—" Rom. iv. 19- 
21.— 13 2 Kings vi. 6 ; Dan. iii. 27. 

These Sections teach : 

1st. That as the execution of an eternal and sovereign 
purpose, God's providential control is in the case of 
every being and event certainly efficacious. 

2d. That the manner in which he controls his crea- 
tures and their actions, and effects his purposes through 
them, is in every case perfectly consistent with the 
nature of the creature and of his action. 

3d. That God ordinarily effects his purposes through 
means ; that is, through the agency of second causes sub- 
ject to his control. 

4th. But that he possesses, and at times at his sover- 
eign pleasure exercises, the power of effecting his pur- 
pose immediately by the direct energy of his power. 

1st. That the providential control which God exer- 
cises over all his creatures and all their actions is 
always certainly efficacious, plainly follows: (1.) From 
his own infinite wisdom and power. (2.) From the fact, 
before proved, that his eternal purpose determines the 
occurrence of all that comes to pass, and is immutable 
and certainly efficacious, (3.) The fact is expressly de- 
clared in Scripture. Job xxiii. 13; Ps. xxxiii. 11 ; Lam. 
ii. 17. 

2d. That the manner in which God controls his crea- 
tures and their actions, and effects his purposes through 
them, is in every case perfectly consistent with the 



136 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

nature of the creature and of his mode of action, is 
certain — 

(1.) From the fact that God executes the different parts 
of the same eternal, self-consistent purpose in his works 
of creation and providence. It is in the execution of 
the same unchangeable plan that God first created every- 
thing, endowed it with its properties, determined its 
mode of action and its mutual relations to all other 
things, and ever afterward continues to preserve it in 
the possession of its properties and to guide it in the 
exercise of them. As God must always be consistent 
to his own plan, so his mode of action upon the crea* 
tures whose existence and constitution has been deter- 
mined by that plan must always be consistent with their 
natures and mode of action so determined. 

(2.) The same fact is proved by our uniform expc 
rience and observation. We are conscious of acting 
freely according to the law of our constitution as free 
agents. Even in the writings of the prophets and apos- 
tles, who wrote under the control of a specific divine 
influence, rendering even their selection of words infal- 
libly accurate, we can plainly see that the spontaneous 
exercise of the faculties of the writers was neither super- 
seded nor coerced. Every agent in the material and 
brute creations, also, is observed constantly to act, under 
all changing conditions, according to the uniform law 
of its nature. 

(3.) In perfect consistency with this, we see every- 
where in the material world, in the lives of individual 
men and in all human history plain evidences of adjust- 
ments and combinations of elements and agents in the 
order of contrivance to effect purpose. This in princi- 



I 



PROVIDENCE. 137 

pie IS analogous to, though in many ways infinitely 
more perfect than, the methods by which man controls 
natural agents to effect his purpose. If the laws of 
nature and the properties of things, when imperfectly 
understood, can be brought subject to the providence 
of man, there certainly can be no difficulty in believing 
^ tbat they are infinitely more under the control of that 
God who not only understands them perfectly, but made 
them originally that they might subserve his purpose. 
It is just the perfection of God's adjustments that every 
event, as well as general results, are determined by his 
intention. Even the human soul, in the exercise of free 
agency, acts according to a law of its own, excluding 
necessity, but not excluding certainty. The springs of 
free action are within the soul itself. And yet, as these 
are modified without interfering with the liberty of the 
agent by the influence of other men, they certainly can- 
not lie beyond the control of the infinite intelligence 
who created the soul itself, and has determined all the 
conditions under which its character has been formed 
and its activities exercised. 

3d. That God ordinarily effects his purposes through 
means — that is, through the agency of second causes sub- 
ject to his control — is also evident — 

(1.) From the fact that he originally gave them their 
being and properties, and adjusted their relations in the 
execution of these very purposes. The same design is 
pursued in creation and in providence. The instru- 
ments furnished and the methods of procedure inaugu- 
rated in creation must, therefore, be consistently pursued 
in the subsequent dispensations of providence. 

(2.) Universal experience and observation teach us 

12* 



138 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the same fact. In ordinary providence and in the ad- 
ministration of a supernatural economy of grace, in the 
sphere of material nature and in the moral government 
of ' intelligent and responsible agents, in the government 
of the finished world as we find it and in all the history 
of the formation of the earth and the worlds in the 
past, God universally accomplishes his purposes through 
the agency of second causes, adjusted, combined, sup- 
ported and rendered efficient by his omnipresent Spirit 
for this very end. 

(3.) A system involving an established order of na- 
ture, and proceeding in wise adaptation of means to 
ends, is necessary as a means of communication between 
the Creator and the intelligent creation, and to accom- 
plish the intellectual and moral education of the latter. 
Thus only can the divine attributes of wisdom, right- 
eousness or goodness be exercised or manifested, and 
thus only can angel or man understand the character, 
anticipate the will or intelligently and voluntarily co- 
operate with the plan of God. 

4th. That God possesses the power of effecting his 
ends immediately, without the intervention of second 
causes, is self-evident, and that he at times at his sov- 
ereign pleasure exercises this power, is a matter of clear 
and satisfactory evidence. 

(1.) Since God created all second causes and endowed 
them with their properties and continues to uphold them 
in being, that they might be the instruments of his will, 
all their efficiency is derived from him, and he must 
be able to do directly without them what he does 
with them, and limit, modify or supersede them a^ hla. 
pleasure. 



PROVIDENCE. 139 

(2.) The power f God does indeed work in all the 
ordinary processes of nature, and his will is expressed 
in what is called natural law. But it does not follow 
that his whole power is exhausted in those processes, 
nor his whole will expressed in those laws. God re- 
mains infinitely greater than his works, in the execution 
of his eternal immutable purposes using the system of 
second causes as his constant instrument after its kind, 
and meanwhile manifesting his transcendent preroga- 
tives and powers by the free exercises of his energies and 
utterances of his will. 

(3.) Occasional direct exercises of God's power in con- 
nection with a general system of means and laws appears 
to be necessary not only " in the beginning" to create 
second causes and inaugurate their agency, but also sub- 
sequently in order to make to the subjects of his moral 
government the revelation of his free personality, and of 
his immediate interest in their affairs. At any rate 
such occasional direct action and revelation is certainly 
necessary for the education of such beings as man is in 
his present estate. It has been objected that miracles, 
or direct acts of divine power, interfering with the 
natural action of second causes, is inconsistent with the 
infinite perfections of God, since it is claimed that they 
indicate either a vacillation of purpose upon his part, 
or some insufficiency in his creation to effect completely 
the ends he originally intended it to accomplish. It 
must be remembered, however, that the eternal and 
immutable plan of God comprehended the miracle from 
the beginning as well as the ordinary course of nature. 
A miracle, although effected by divine power without 
means, is itself a means to an end and part of a plan. 



140 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

All natural law has its birth in the divine reason, an<l 
is an expression of will to effect a purpose.* In this 
highest, all-comprehensive sense of the word, miracles 
also are according to law — they are fixed in their occur- 
rence by God's eternal plan, and they serve definite ends 
as his means of communicating with and educating 
finite spirits. They are in no proper sense a violation 
of the order of nature, but only the occasional and eter- 
nally pre-calculated interpolation of a new power, the 
immediate energy of the divine will. The order of 
nature is only an instrument of the divine will, and an 
instrument used subserviently to that higher moral gov- 
ernment in the interests of which miracles are wrought. 
Thus the order of nature and miracles, instead of being 
in conflict, are the intimately correlated elements of 
one comprehensive system. 

Section IV. — The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom and 
infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his provi- 
dence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other 
sins of angels and men,^* and that not by a bare permission,^* but 
such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding,^* 
and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold 
dispensation, to his own holy ends;" yet so as the sinfulness 
thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God ; 
who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the 
author or approver of sin.*' 

1* Rom. xi. 32-34 ; 2 Sam. xxiv. 1 ; 1 Chron. xxi. 1 ; 1 Kings xxii. 22, 
23 ; 1 Chron. x. 4, 13, 14 ; 2 Sam. xvi. 10 ; Acts ii. 23; iv. 27, 28.— i^ Acts 
xiv. 16.— 1« Ps. Ixxvi. 10 ; 2 Kings xix. 28.—" Gen. i. 20 ; Isa. x. 6, 7, 
12.— 18 James i. 13, 14, 17; 1 John ii. 16; Ps. 1. 21. 

This Section makes no attempt to explain the nature 
of those providential actions of God which are con- 
* "Reign of Law," by Dnke of Argyk, chapter ii. 



PROVIDENCE. 141 

cerned in the origin of sin in the moral universe, and in 
the control of the sinful actions of his creatures in the 
execution of his purposes. It simply states the import- 
ant facts with respect to the relation of his providence 
to the sins of his creatures which are revealed in Scrip- 
ture. These points are : 1st. God not only permits sin- 
ful acts, but he directs and controls them to the deter- 
mination of his own purposes. 

2d. Yet the sinfulness of these actions is only from 
the sinning agent, and God in no case is either the 
author or approver of sin. 

1st. Sinful actions, like all others, are declared in 
Scripture to occur only by God's permission, and 
according to his purpose, so that what men wickedly do 
God is said to ordain. Gen. xlv. 4, 5; Ex. vii. 13; 
xiv. 17 ; Acts ii. 23 ; iii. 18 ; iv. 27, 28. And he con- 
stantly restrains and controls men in their sins. Ps. 
Ixxvi. 10; 2 Kings xix. 28; Isa. x. 15; and overrules 
their sins for good. Acts iii. 13 ; Gen. 1. 20. 

2d. The providence of God, instead of causing sin or 
approving it, is constantly concerned in forbidding it by 
positive law, in discouraging it by threatenings and actual 
punishments, in restraining it and in overruling it 
against its own nature to good. 

Section V. — The most wise, righteous and gracious God, 
doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold 
temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise 
them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden 
strength of corruption and deceitfuhiess of their hearts, that 
they may be humbled ;^' and to raise them to a more close and 
constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make 
them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for 
sundry other just and holy ends.'*' 



142 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Section VI. — As for those wicked and ungodly men whom 
G-od, as a righteous judge, for former sins doth bhnd and 
harden, ^^ from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby 
they might have been enlightened in their understandings and 
wrought upon in their hearts, ^^ but sometimes also withdraweth 
the gifts which they had,'^ and exposeth them to such objects as 
their corruption makes occasion of sin,^* and withal, gives them 
over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world and the 
power of Satan \^ whereby it comes to pass that they harden 
themselves, even under those means which God useth for the 
softening of others.^ 

Section VII. —As the providence of God doth, in general, 
reach to all creatures ; so after a most special manner, it taketh 
care of his Church and disposeth all things to the good thereof" 

i» 2 Chron. xxxii. 25, 26, 31 ; 2 Sam. xxiv. 1.— «> 2 Cor. xii. 7-9 ; Ps. 
Ixxiii. ; Ixxvii. 1, 10, 12; Mark xiv. 66, to end; John xxi. 15, 17. — ^i Rom. 
i. 24, 26, 28 ; xi. 7, 8.-22 Deut. xxix. 4.-23 Matt. xiii. 12; xxv. 29.-2* peut. 
ii. 30 ; 2 Kings viii. 12, 13.-25 Ps. Ixxxi. 11, 12 ; 2 Thess. ii. 10-12.— 26 Ex. 
•vii. 3; viii. 15, 32; 2 Cor. ii. 15, 16; Isa. viii. 14; 1 Pet. ii. 7,8; Isa. vi. 
9, 10; Acts xxviii. 26, 27.-27 Amos ix. 8, 9; Rom. viii. 28. 

We have seen that the providential government of 
God, as the execution through time of his eternal and 
immutable purpose, forms one connected system, and 
comprehends all created things and all their actions. 
In perfect consistency with this, these Sections proceed 
to teach — 

1st. That the general providence of God, embracing 
and dealing with every creature according to its nature, 
consequently, although one system, embraces several 
subordinate systems intimately related as parts of one 
whole, yet also distinct in their respective methods of 
administration and in the immediate ends designed. 
The principal of these are the providence of God over 
the material universe ; the general moral government of 
God over the intelligent universe ; the moral govern- 



i 



PllOVlDENOE. 143 

ment of God over the human family in general in this 
world ; and the special gracious dispensation of God's 
providence toward his Church, 

2d. These Sections teach also that there is a relation 
of subordination subsisting between these several sys- 
tems of providence as means to ends in the wider 
system which comprehends them all. Thus the provi- 
dential government of the material universe is subord- 
inate as a means to an end to the moral government 
which God exercises over his intelligent creatures, for 
whose residence, instruction and development the physi- 
cal universe was created. Thus also the providential 
government of God over mankind in general is sub- 
ordinate as a means to an end to his gracious providence 
toward his Church, whereby he gathers it out of every 
people and nation, and makes all things work together 
for good to those who are called according to his pur- 
pose (Rom. viii. 28), and of course for the highest 
development and glory of the whole body. The history 
of redemption through all its dispensations, Patriarchal, 
Abrahamic, Mosaic and Christian, is the key to the 
philosophy of human history in general. The race is 
preserved, continents and islands are settled with inhabi- 
tants, nations are elevated to empire, philosophy and 
the practical arts, civilization and liberty are advanced, 
that the Church, the Lamb's bride, may be perfected in 
all her members and adorned for her Husband. 

3(1. The moral government of God over all men, and 
especially his government of his Church, includes also, 
besides an external providence ordering the outward 
circumstances of individuals, an internal spiritual provi- 
dence, consisting of the influences of his Spirit upon 



144 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

their hearts. As " common grace/' this spiritual in- 
fluence extends to all men without exception, though in 
various degrees of power, restraining the corruption of 
their nature, and impressing their hearts and consciences 
with the truths revealed in the light of nature or of 
revelation, and it is either exercised or judicially with- 
held by God at his sovereign pleasure. As ^'efficacious" 
and "saving grace," this spiritual influence extends only 
to the elect, is exerted upon them at such times and in 
such degrees as God has determined from the beginning. 

4th. Hence in the way of discipline for their own 
good, to mortify their sins and to strengthen their 
graces, God does often wisely and graciously, though 
never finally, for a season and to a degree, withdraw his 
spiritual influences from his own children, and " leave 
them to the manifold temptations and corruptions of 
their own hearts." 

5th. Hence also God often, as a just punishment of 
their sins, judicially withdraws the restraints of his 
Spirit, and consequently whatever superficial gifts his 
presence may have conferred, from ungodly men, and 
thus leaves them to the influence of temptations, the 
unrestrained control of their lusts and the power of 
Satan. And hence it comes to pass that the truths of the 
gospel and the ordinances of the Church, which are a 
savour of life unto them to whom they are graciously 
blessed, become a savour of death and of increased con- 
demnation unto them who for their sins have been left 
to themselves. 



PROVIDENCE. 145 

QUESTIONS. 

1. How does Grod execute his decrees? 

2. What is the Jirst proposition taught in the first Section ? 

3. What is the second there taught? 

4. What is the third ? 

5. What is the fourth f 

6. Wh'dt is the Jlfthf 

7. What is the rationaHstic view as to the relation which Grod 
sustains to the world ? 

8. What is the pantheistic view of the same? 

9. What danirerous statements have been made by some Chris- 
tian theologians? 

10 State the objections to the view they represent. 

11. What several points are involved in the true view of this 
matter? 

12. State the evidence that God continues to uphold all his 
creatures in being. 

13. State the proof that God exerts a providential control over 
his creatures and their actions. 

14. Prove from Scripture that the providential control of God 
reaches to the physical creation in general, and to each event in 
particular, and to the brute creation. 

1 5. Do the same as to the general afikirs of men and the cir- 
cumstances of individuals. 

16. Do the same as to the free actions of men, and their sinful 
and good actions, 

17. Prove that the providential government of God is the ex- 
ecution of his eternal purpose. 

1 8. Prove that the chief end of God in providence is the mani- 
festation of his own glory. 

19. What is the Jirst proposition taught in the second and third 
Sections ? 

20. What is the second proposition there taught? 

21. What is the third? 

22. What is the fourth f 

23. Prove that the providential control of all things by God is 
always certainly efiica/ciou.s. 

13 



146 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

24. Prove from the relation that providence sustains to creation 
that the manner in which God controls any creature must be con- 
sistent with its nature. 

25. The same from universal experience and observation. 

26. What general evidence of such control do we see ? 

27. Is it possible that the free actions of the human will can be 
controlled without destroying their freedom ? 

28. State the evidence for believing that God usually effects 
his purposes through the use of means. 

29. Can you assign a reason why God should adopt such a 
system ? 

30. Prove that God can effect his ends when he pleases with- 
out the use of means, by the direct power of his will. 

31. Why should we expect God at times to act in that manner? 

32. On what two grounds has it been insisted that it is deroga- 
tory to the divine perfections to attribute miracles to God ? 

33. In what sense do miracles occur according to law ? 

34. Show the fallacy of the above objections. 

35. Is it possible to explain fully the manner in which God 
controls the sinful actions of men ? 

36. What points do the Scriptures make certain as to the re- 
lation of God to the sins of men? 

37. Prove from Scripture that he does control according to his 
purpose all sinful actions. 

38. Prove that he restrains them and overrules them for 
good. 

39. Show that divine providence cannot be charged with either 
causing or approving sin. 

40. What is the first truth taught in the fifth, sixth and 
seventh Sections? 

41. What is the second truth there taught? 

42. Whatisthe</^iV<^f 

43. What is the /owr<^.^ 

44. What is the ^/ifA? 



CHAPTER VI. 

OP THE FALL OF MAN, OF SIN AND OF THE PUNISHMENT 
THEREOF. 

Section I. — Our first parents being seduced by the subtilty 
and temptation of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit.* 
This their sin God was pleased according to his wise and holy 
counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.' 

1 Gen. iii. 13; 2 Cor. xi. 3.-2 Rom. xi. 32. 

God having brought the souls of Adam and Eve into 
being by immediate creation holy, and with sufficient 
knowledge as to his will, capable of obedience yet fal- 
lible, this Section proceeds to teach : 

1st. That they sinned. 

2d. That the particular sin they committed was their 
eating the forbidden fruit. 

3d. That they were seduced thereto by the subtlety 
and temptation of Satan. 

4th. That this sin was permissively embraced in the 
sovereign purpose of God. 

6th. That in so doing God designed to order it to his 
own glory. 

1st. Our first parents sinned. 

2d. The particular sin they committed was their eat- 
ing the forbidden fruit. 

It appears to be God^s general plan, and one emi- 
nently wise and righteous, to introduce all the new- 

147 



148 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

created subje(;ts of moral government into a state of 
probation for a time, in which he makes their perma- 
nent character and destiny depend upon their own 
action. He creates them holy, yet capable of falling. 
In this state he subjects them to a moral test for a time. 
If tliey stand the test, the reward is that their moral 
characters are confirmed and rendered infallible, and they 
are introduced into an inalienable blessedness for ever. 
If they fail, they are judicially excluded from God's 
favour and communion for ever, and hence morally and 
eternally dead. This certainly has been his method of 
dealing with new-created angels and men. In the case 
of mankind the specific test to which our first parents 
were subjected was their abstaining from eating of the 
fruit of a single tree. As this was a matter in itself 
morally indifferent, it was admirably adapted to be a 
test of their implicit allegiance to God of their absolute 
faith and submission. 

The dreadful sin which they committed in eating this 
fruit appears from the indications afforded in the record 
in Genesis to have been — (1.) Unbelief. They were in- 
duced to doubt the wisdom of the divine prohibition 
and the certainty of the divine threatening. (2.) Disobe- 
dience. They set their will in opposition to God's will. 

In respect to the origin of sin in this world, there are 
two questions which men constantly ask, and which it is 
impossible to answer : 

A, How could sinful desires or volitions '>riginate in 
the soul of moral agents created holy like Adam and 
Eve? Men exercise choice according to their prevailing 
desires and affections. If these are holy, the:r wills are 
holy And the character of their prevailing i^e<'tioas 



L 



FALL OF MAN, SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT. 149 

and desires is determined by tlie moral state of their 
souls. If their souls are holy, these are holy ; if their 
souls are sinful, these are sinful. Christ says, "a good 
man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth 
good things ; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, 
l>ringeth forth evil things." " Either make the tree 
good, and his fruit good ; or else make the tree corrupt, 
and his fruit corrupt." Matt. xii. 33, 36. But Adam's 
heart had been created holy; how then could his action 
be sinful ? 

All our experience conspires to make the question 
more difficult. The sinful souls of fallen men never 
can give birth to holy volitions until they are regen- 
erated by divine grace. The holy spirits of angels and 
glorified men in heaven are for ever removed from all 
liability to sinful affections or actions. In both these 
cases the stream continues as the fountain. 

Now, although we cannot explain precisely the origin 
of sin in the holy soul of Adam, it is plain that the 
difficulty lies only in our ignorance. (1.) We have 
none of us experienced the same conditions of free 
agency as those which give character to the case of 
Adam. We have always been under the bondage of 
corruption, except in so far as we are momentarily 
assisted against nature by supernatural grace. Now, in 
order that a volition shall be holy, it must spring from 
a positively holy affection or disposition, and as these 
are not native to our hearts, we cannot exercise holy 
volitions without grace. But Adam was in a state of 
probation, holy yet fallible. Saints and angels are holy 
and infallible, yet their infallibility is not essential to 
their natures, but is a superaddei divine grace sustained 

13 » 



160 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

by the direct power of God. While holiness must 
always be positive, rooting itself in divine love, it is 
plain that sin may originate in defect ; not in positive 
alienation, but in want of watchfulness, in the temporary 
ascendency of the natural and innocent appetites of the 
body or constitutional tendencies of the soul over the 
higher powers of conscience. 

The motives which appear to have led to this dread- 
ful sin in the case of our first parents were not intrin- 
sically sinful, but became so when dwelt upon and 
allowed gradually to occupy the mind and sway the will 
in despite of the divine prohibition. They were — (1.) 
Natural appetite for the attractive fruit. (2.) Natural 
desire for knowledge. (3.) The persuasive power of 
the superior mind and will of Satan. In this last fact, 
that, 3d, they were seduced thereto by the subtlety and 
temptation of Satan, much of the solution of this mys- 
tery lies. To the fall of Satan and his angels in the 
remote past, and under conditions of which we have no 
knowledge, the true origin of sin is to be referred. 

B. The other element of mystery with regard to the 
origin of sin relates to the permission of God. This 
Section affirms, 4th, That this sin was permissively em- 
braced in the eternal purpose of God. 

About the facts of the case there can be no doubt. 
(1.) God did certainly foreknow that if such a being as 
Adam was put in such conditions as he was, he would 
sin as he sinned. Yet, in spite of this certain know- 
ledge, God created that very being and put him in those 
very conditions, and having determined to overrule the 
sin for good, he so\ ereignly decreed not to intervene to 
prevent, and so he made it certainly future. (2.) On 



I 



FALL. OF MAN, SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT. 151 

the other hand, God did neither cause nor approve 
Adam's sin. He forbade it, and presented motives 
which should have deterred from it. He created Adam 
holy and fully capable of obedience, and with sufficient 
knowledge of his duty, and then left him alone to his 
trial. If it be asked why God, who abhors sin, and who 
benevolently desires the excellence and happiness of his 
creatures, shonld sovereignly determine to permit such a 
fountain of pollution, degradation and misery to be 
opened, we can only say, with profound reverence, "Even 
so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight !'' 

5th. That God from the beginning designed to order 
the sin of Adam to his own glory is included in what 
we have already proved in the Chapters on Creation and 
Providence — (a.) That God overrules the sins of his 
creatures for good. (6.) That the chief end of all God's 
purposes and works is the manifestation of his own 
glory. 

Section II. — By this sin they fell from their original righteous- 
ness and communion with God,' and so became dead in sin,* and 
wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.* 

» Gen. iii. 6-8; Eccles. xii. 29; Rom. iii. 23.— ♦ Gen. ii. 17; Eph. ii. 1. 
—6 Tit. i. 16; Gen. vi. 6; Jer. xvii. 9; Rom. iii. 10-18. 

This Section teaches what w^ere the consequences of 
this first sin upon its immediate authors. In doing so 
it affirms — 

1st. That by this sin they were immediately cut off 
from communion with God. 

2d. That consequently they lost their original right- 
eousness. 

3d. At the same time they became dead in sin and 
ivholly defiled. 



152 C()NFESSIO^' OF FAITH. 

4th. That this moral corruption extended to all the 
faculties and parts of soul and body. 

As a natural being man depends upon the same sus- 
taining power of God that providentially sustains all 
things in being. But as a moral and religious being he 
depends upon the intimate and loving communion of 
God's Spirit for spiritual life, and consequently for a 
right moral state and action. Hence — 

1st. By this sin man must have instantly been cut 
off from this loving communion of the divine Spirit. 
This must have been under any constitution the natural 
effect of sin. And under (see Chap, vii., § 2) that cove- 
nant relation into which man had been introduced in 
the gracious providence of God at his creation, it was 
specifically prov^ided that the commission of the forbid- 
den act should be followed by instant death ; that is, 
instant penal exclusion from the source of all moral and 
spiritual life. Gen. ii. 17. Hence — 

2d. The principle of spiritual life having been with- 
drawn as the punishment of that first sin, our first 
parents must have instantly lost their original right- 
eousness, their allegiance had been violated, their faith 
broken, and love could no longer dominate in their 
hearts. And hence — 

♦3d. They must at once become dead in sins and 
wholly corrupt. And 4th, This corruption must extend 
to all the faculties. It is not meant that Adam by this 
one sin became as bad as a man can be or as he himself 
became afterward. But as death at the heart involves 
death in all the members, so the favour and communion 
of God being lost, (a) original righteousness, the neces- 
sary principle of obedience, i.s lost. (6.) Adam's apes- 



FALL OF MAN, SIX AM» ITS PUNISHMENT. 153 

tasy from God is complete. God demands perfect 
obedience, and Adam is now a rebel, (c.) A schism 
was introduced into his soul. Conscience uttered its 
condemning voice. This leads to fear, distrust, prevari- 
cation and an endless series of sins, (d.) Thus his entire 
nature became depraved. The will being at war with 
the conscience, the understanding became darkened, the 
passions roused, the affections alienated, the conscience 
callous or deceitful, the appetites of the body inordinate, 
and its members instruments of unrighteousness. 

Section III. — Thej^ being the root of all mankind, the guilt 
of this sin was imputed," and the same death in sin and corrupted 
nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by 
ordinary generation.' 

Section IV. — From this original corruption, whereby we are 
utterly indisposed, disabled and made opposite to all good,® and 
wholly inclined to all evil,^ do proceed all actual transgressions.^* 

« Gen. i. 27, 28; iii. 16, 17; Acts xvii. 26; Rom. v. 12, 15-19; 1 Cor. xv. 
21, 22, 45, 49.-7 pg, h. 5j Gen. v. 3; Job xiv. 4; xv. 14.— » Rom. v. 6; 
viii. 7 ; vii. 18 ; Col. i. 21.— » Gen. vi. 5 ; viii. 21; Rom. iii. 10-12.— lo James 
i. 14, 15; Eph. ii. 2, 3; Matt. xv. 19. 

These Sections teach us what were the consequences 
of the first sin to the descendants of its authors. In 
doing so our standards affirm — 

1st. That Adam was both the natural and federal 
head of all mankind. Conf. Faith, ch. vii., § 2, and L. 
Cat., Qs. 22, 25, and S. Cat., Qs. 16, 18. 

2d. That consequently the guilt or liability to the 
penal consequences of that sin was imputed, charged 
to the account of, and at their birth actually inflicted 
upon all men. 

3d. That consequenMy the moral corruption which 



154 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

results from the penal withdrawing of God's Holy Spirit 
in the case of our first parents, is necessarily conveyed 
to all those of their descendants who are produced through 
ordinary generation. 

4th. This innate hereditary depravity of soul is total, 
for by it we are utterly indisposed, disabled and made 
opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to evil. 

5th. From this innate moral depravity proceed all 
subsequent actual transgressions. 

1st. Adam was both the natural and federal head of 
all mankind, Christ of course excepted. 

The nature and provisions of that covenant which 
God made with Adam will be considered in its ap- 
propriate place. Chapter viii., § 2. The point which 
demands our attention here is, that, in making that cov- 
enant with Adam, God constituted him and treated with 
him as the moral representative of all his natural de- 
scendants. This is very explicitly taught in our stand- 
ards. Conf. Faith, ch. viii., § 2 : " The first covenant 
made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life 
was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon 
condition of perfect and personal obedience." L. Cat., 
Q. 22 : " The covenant being made with Adam as a 
public person, not for himself only, but for all his poster- 
ity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary gen- 
eration sinned in him and fell with him, in his first trans- 
gression.'' S. Cat., Q. 16 : ''The covenant being made 
with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity, all 
mankind descending from him by ordinary generation 
sinned in him and fell with him in his first transgression.'* 

As we have seen, it is God's general method of deal- 
ing with new-created moral agents to create them holy, 



FALL OF MAN, SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT. 155 

yet capable of falling, and then to put them on trial for 
a time, making their confirmed and permanent moral 
character and destiny to depend upon their own action. 
In the case of the angels, who were severally created 
independent individuals, they appear to have stood their 
trial severally, each in his own person. Some fell, and 
some were confirmed in holiness and blessedness. But 
in the case of a race to be propagated in a series, each 
individual to come into existence an unintelligent infant, 
thence to develop gradually into moral agency, like that 
of mankind, it is obvious that one of three plans must 
be adopted : (a.) The whole race must be confirmed in 
holiness and happiness without any probation. (6.) 
Each individual must stand his own probation while 
groping his way from infancy into childhood, (c.) Or 
the whole race must have their trial in their natural 
head and root, Adam. We are not in a condition to 
judge of the propriety of the first of these plans, but 
we can easily see that the third is incomparably more 
rational, righteous and merciful than the second. 

As a matter of fact, God did make our character and 
destiny to depend upon the conduct of Adam in his 
probation. This was right — (a.) Because, as sovereign 
Creator and infinitely wise, righteous and merciful Guar- 
dian of the interests of all his creatures, it seemed right 
in his eyes. (6.) Because it was more to oui* advantage 
than any other plan that can be imagined. Adam was 
most advantageously constituted and circumstanced in 
order that he should stand the trial safely. Incalculable 
benefits as well as risks were suspended upon his ju-tion. 
If he had maintained his integrity for a limited [)criod, 
all his race would have been born into an indefeasible 



156 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

inheritance of glory, (c.) Because the covenant head- 
ship of Adam is part of a glorious constitution which 
culminates in the covenant headship of Christ. 

That Adam was, as our standards say, "a public 
person," and that the covenant was made with him 
" not only for himself, but for all his posterity," is 
proved from the facts — 

(1.) That he was called by a generic name, Adam — 
the Man. 

(2.) That everything that God commanded, promised 
or threatened him related to his descendants as much as 
to himself personally. Thus, '^obedience," "a cursed 
earth,'' " the reign of death," painful child-bearing," and 
the subsequent promise of redemption through the seed 
of the woman, were spoken with reference to us as much 
as with reference to our first parents. 

(3.) As a matter of fact, the very penalty denounced 
and executed upon Adam has been executed upon all of 
his descendants, from birth upward. All are born 
spiritually dead, "by nature children of wrath." Also, 
from the fact that — 

2d. The guilt of that sin is imputed to all his de- 
scendants, and the penalty executed upon them at their 
birth. 

By the word "guilt" is meant, not the personal dis- 
position which prompted the act, nor the personal moral 
])ollution which resulted from it, but simply the just 
liability to the punishment which that sin deserved. 

By the term " impute " is meant to lay to the charge 
or credit of any one as a ground of judicial punishment 
or justification. This is the sense in which the phrase 
"to impute sin or righteousness" is used in the Bible. 



FALL OF MAN, SIN AND ITS PUJSI&HMENT. 157 

" David describeth the blessedness of the man to whom 
the Lord imputeth righteousness without works, ... to 
whom the Lord will not impute sin. Faith was im- 
puted to Abraham for righteousness/' Rom. iv. 3-9. 
" God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, 
not imputing their trespasses unto them.'' 2 Cor. v. 19. 
Our standards expressly affirm that the " guilt," or 
just liability to the penalty, of Adam's apostatizing act 
is by God " imputed" or judicially laid to the charge of 
each of his natural descendants. Conf. Faith, ch. vi., 
§3: "This sin was imputed . . . to all their posterity." 
In L. Cat., Q. 26, and S. Cat., Q. 17, "the sinfulness 
of that estate into which the fall brought mankind" is 
declared to include each of the following elements : 
**(a) the guilt of Adam^ s first sin, (b) the want of original 
righteousness, (c) the corruption of the whole nature, 
which is commonly called original sin, together with all 
actual transgressions which proceed from it." The 
reason which our standards give for this judicial charg- 
ing the punishableness of Adam's first sin to all his 
posterity is, that they really ^^ sinned in him in his first 
transgression,'' L. Cat., Q. 22; S. Cat., Q. 16; since he 
acted as " a public person," and the covenant was made 
with him " not for himself alone, but for all his poster- 
ity." L. Cat., Q. 22 ; S. Cat., Q. 16. That is, Adam, 
by a divine constitution, so represented and acted for all 
his posterity that they are fairly responsible for his 
s|3tion, and are worthy of punishment on account of it. 
Since their destiny, as well as his ow-n, was suspended 
upon Adam's action, since they were justly to have part 
in his reward if he was faithful, so they justly have part 
in his punishment for his unfaithfulnesd. 

14 



158 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

The Articles of the Synod of Dort affirm that moral 
depravity is inflicted upon all the descendants of Adam 
at birth "6y the just judgment of God.^' Ch. iii., § 2. This 
is also explicitly taught in Scripture. Paul teaches in 
Rom. V. 12-21, (o) that the law of death, spiritual and 
physical, under which we are born, is a consequent of 
Adam's public disobedience ; and (6) that it is a "judg^ 
mentj^ a " condemnation " — that is, a penal consequent of 
Adam's sin. " Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment 
came upon all men to condemnation^' (c.) That the pun- 
ishment of Adam's sin comes upon us upon the same prin- 
ciple upon which the righteousness of Christ is charged 
to the account of those who believe on him : " There- 
fore, as by the oifence of one judgment came upon alJ 
men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of 
one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of 
life.'' But the righteousness of Christ is imputed with- 
out works," Rom. iv. 6, before, and as the necessary 
condition of, good dispositions or actions upon our part. 
So the guilt of Adam's sin is imputed to his posterity 
without personal works of their own, before, and as the 
cause of, their loss of original righteousness and acqui- 
sition of original sin. The only sin of Adam which 
the Confession says was "imputed" to his descendants, 
and the sin of his which they assert we "sinned in him," 
was his first sin or apostatizing act. The manifest reason 
of this is that he represented us, and we are responsible 
for him only in his trial for character and destiny. His 
first sin, by incurring the penalty, necessarily and in- 
stantly closed his probation and ours, and he immedi- 
ately became a private person. 

The penalty denounced upon Adam and those whom 



FALL OF MAN, SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT. 159 

he represented in his trial was the judicial withdraw- 
ment of the life-giving influences of the Holy Ghost, 
and the inevitably consequent moral and physical death. 
Hence every new-created soul comes into existence judi- 
cially excluded from the life-giving influences of the 
Holy Spirit, and hence morally and spiritually dead. 
Other actual sins and miseries in time occur as the nat- 
ural consequence of this birth-punishment. But the 
Scriptures and our own consciousness also affirm that 
these actual transgressions are our own personal sins, 
and that all the temporal and eternal punishments we 
suffer are on account of them. 

3d. It hence follows, that if the guilt of Adam's 
apostasy is charged to all his natural descendants, and 
the Holy Spirit consequently judicially withdrawn 
from them at their birth, the same moral corruption 
which ensued from the same cause in the case of our 
first parents must, from their birth, follow in their de- 
scendants also. Of this "corrupted nature" this Sec- 
tion proceeds to say : 

4th. That " by it we are utterly indisposed, disabled 
and made opposite to all good and inclined to all evil ;" 
and, 

5th. From this original corruption of nature proceed 
all actual transgressions. 

It is here taught (1) that all men sin from the com- 
mencement of moral agency. 

(2.) That back of this their nature is morally cor- 
rupt, indisposed to all good and inclined to all evil. 

(3.) That this moral corruption is so radical and in- 
veterate that men are by nature " disabled" with respect 
to right moral action. 



100 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

(4.) That this condition is innate from birth and by 
nature. 

This representation agrees (1) with universal ex- 
perience. All the children of men, of all ages, nations 
and circumstances, and however educated, invariably 
sin as soon as they become capable of moral action. A 
universal fact must have a cause universally present. 
This can only be found in the common depravity of our 
natures. 

(2.) With all the teachings of Scripture, (a.) It de- 
clares that all men are sinners. Rom. i, ii, and iii. 1-19. 
(b.) That sinful actions proceed from sinful hearts or dis- 
positions. Matt. XV. 19 ; Luke vi. 43-45. (c.) That 
the disposition which prompts to sinful action is " sin," 
a moral corruption. Kom. vi. 12, 14, 17 ; vii. 5-17; Gal. 
v. 17, 24; Eph. iv. 18, 19. (d.) That this corruption 
involves moral and spiritual blindness of mind, as well 
as hardness of heart and vile affections. 1 Cor. ii. 14, 
15 ; Eph. iv. 18. (e.) That this moral corruption and 
prevailing tendency to sin is in our nature from birth. 
Ps. Ii. 5; Eph. ii. 3; John iii. 6. (/.) That men in 
their natural state are ^'dead" in trespasses and sins. 
Eph. ii. 1 ; John iii. 14. And (g) that consequently 
they can be restored by no ^'change of purpose'^ nor 
" moral reformation'^ upon their part, but only by an 
act of almighty power called " a new birth," " a new 
creation," "a begetting," "a quickening from the dead." 
Eph. iv. 24; ii. 5, 10; John iii. 3 ; 1 John v. 18. 

What the Confession teaches of man's sinful inabil- 
ity to do right, in consequence of the depravity of his 
nature, will be considered under its appropriate head, in 
Chapter ix. 



SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT. 161 

Section V. — This corruption of nature, during this life, doth 
remain in those that are regenerated," and although it be through 
Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions 
thereof, are truly and properly sin.*' 

Section VI. — Every sin, both original and natural, being a 
transgresvsion of the righteous law of God, and contrary there- 
unto," doth in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner," 
whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God,** and curse of the 
law,** and so made subject to death," with all miseries spiritual," 
temporal," and eternal.** 

" 1 John i. 8, 10 ; Rom. vii. 14, 17, 18, 23 ; James iii. 2 ; Prov. xx. 9 j 
Eooles. vii. 20.—" Rom. vii. 5, 7, 8, 25; Gal. v. 17.—" 1 John iii. 4.— 
" Rom. ii. 15 ; iii. 9, 19.— 15 Eph. ii. .3.-16 (jal. iii. 10.—" Rom. vi. 23.— 
" Eph. iv. 18.— w Rom. viii. 20 ; Lam. iii. 39.-20 Matt. xxv. 41 ; 2 Thess. i. 9. 

These Sections speak of the corruption that remains 
in the regenerated, and of the guilt or just liability to 
punishment which attaches to all sin, and of the punish- 
ments God inflicts upon them. 

I. Of the first, it is taught — 

1st. Original sin, or innate moral corruption, remains 
in the regenerate as long as they live. 

2d. That it is pardoned through the merits of Christ. 

3d. That it is gradually brought into subjection, and 
mortified by the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifica- 
tion. 

4th. That nevertheless all that remains of it, and all 
the feelings and actions to which it prompts, are truly 
of the nature of sin. 

All of these points will be more appropriately treated 
under the heads of Justification, Conf. Faith, ch. xi., 
and of Sanctification, Conf. Faith, ch. xiii. 

II. Of the second, it is taught — 

Ist. That "original sin" — that is, the native corrupt 
14* 



162 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

tendencies and affections of the soul — is as truly a viola* 
tion of God's law as actual trangression. 

2d. That sins of both classes are of their own nature 
guilt ; that is, deserving of punishment. 

3d. That consequently the sinner (the person guilty 
of either or of both) is, unless grace intervene, made sub- 
ject to " death," including spiritual, temporal and eter- 
nal miseries. 

1st. Original as well as actual sin is a violation of 
God's law. 

The Catechisms (L. Cat., Q. 24 ; S. Cat., Q. 14) define 
sin to be "any want of conformity unto, or transgres- 
sion of, the law of God." 

This corresponds exactly with what the Apostle 
teaches (1 John iii. 4): "Sin is dvo/i/a" — any discrep- 
ancy of the creature or his acts with God's law. This is 
evident — (1.) Because from its very essence the moral 
law demands absolute perfection of character and dispo- 
sition as well as action. Whatever is right is essentially 
obligatory; whatever is wrong is essentially worthy of 
condemnation. God requires us to be holy as well as to 
act rightly. God proclaims himself as " he which searcheth 
the reins and the heart." Rev. ii. 23. (2.) The native 
corrupt tendencies which constitute original sin are 
called sin in Scripture. Sin and its lusts are said to 
reign in our mortal bodies ; sin is said to have 
dominion ; the unregenerate are called the servants of 
sin. Rom. vi. 12-17; vii. 5-17; Gal.v. 17, 24; Eph. 
iv. 18, 19. (3.) God condemns men for their corrupt 
natural dispositions, for their hardness of heart, spiritual 
blindness of mind. Mark xvi. 14; Eph. ii. 3. (4.) In 
all genuine conviction of sin, the great burden of pollution 



FALL OF MAN, SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT. 163 

and guilt is felt to consist not in what we have done, 
but in what we are — our permanent moral condition 
rather than our actual transgressions. The great cry 
is to be forgiven and delivered from " the wicked heart 
of unbelief," " deadness to divine things, alienation from 
God as a permanent habit of soul." " O wretched man 
that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death?" Rom. vii. 24; Ps. li. 5, 6. 

2d. It hence necessarily follows that original sin, as 
well as actual transgressions, deserves the curse of the 
law. Everything which is condemned by the law is 
under its curse. This is evident (1) from what we 
learned of the justice of God in Chapter ii., §§ 1 and 2. 
(2.) From the fact that it is the universal judgment of 
men that sin is intrinsically ill-desert — all that ought not 
to be is worthy of condemnation. (3.) From the fact 
that the Holy Ghost, in convincing men of sin, always 
likewise convinceth them of a judgment. John xvi. 8. 
(4.) Men are hy nature children of wrath. Eph. ii. 3. 
(5.) Even infants are redeemed by Christ. And in their 
case, as in all others, he redeemed them from the curse 
of the law J being made a curse for them. Gal. iii. 13. 

3d. Consequently, the sinner guilty of original and 
of actual transgressions is, unless grace intervene, made 
subject to death, including temporal, spiritual and eter- 
nal miseries. 

The temporal miseries inflicted upon men in the just 
displeasure of God for their sin are summarily set forth 
in the Larger Catechism. Q. 28, as " the curse of God 
upon the creatures for our sakes, and all other evils that 
befal us in our bodies, names, estates, relations and 
employments; together with death itself." This of 



164 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

course applies only to the still unbelieving, unjustified 
sinner. For all the tribulations which are suffered by 
the justified believer in this life are chastisements 
designed for his benefit, and expressive of his heavenly 
Father's love — not penal evils expressive of his wrath 
and unsatisfied justice. 

The spiritual miseries which sin brings upon the 
unforgiven in this life arc set forth " as blindness of 
mind, a reprobate sense, strong delusions, hardness of 
heart, horror of conscience and vile affections." Rom. i. 
28; ii. 5; 2 Thess. ii. 11 ; Larger Catechism, Q. 28. 

The eternal miseries which are consequent upon un- 
forgiven sin are set forth as "everlasting separation 
from the comfortable presence of God, and most griev- 
ous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in 
hell-fire for ever." Larger Catechism, Q. 29. 

QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the first proposition taught in the first Section ? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught? 

3. What is the third? 

4. What is the /o?tr«A ? 

5. What is the fifth f 

6. What appears to be God's general plan of dealing with all 
new-created moral agents ? 

7. With what two orders of beings has he so dealt? 

8. What was made the " test" in the case of man? and why 
was it admirably fitted for that purpose ? 

9. What appears to have been the nature of the sin committed 
by our first parents ? 

10. What is the first element of mystery involved in the 
"origin of sin?" 

11. Why is it difficult to conceive how a holy being can begin 
to sin? 



SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT. 165 

12. In what respects did Adam's state as a moral agent diflfer 
from ours? 

13. Why cannot a sinful agent originate a holy volition? 

14. Is sin in its origin a positive disposition or a defect? 

15. What appear to have been the motives influencing our 
first parents ? 

16. To whose action is the true origin of sin to be referred ? 

17. What is the second element of mystery in the origin of 
sin? 

18. Prove that Adam's sin was permissively embraced in the 
divine decrees. 

19. Prove that God did neither cause nor approve it. 

20. Prove that God purposed to order it for his own glory. 

21. What is the first proposition taught in the second 
Section? 

22. What is the second proposition there taught? 

23. Whatisthe</izV(Z.^ 

24. What is the /owr«/i f 

25. Upon what does the human soul depend for spiritual 
life? 

26. Show that the life-sustaining influences of the Holy Spirit 
were immediately withdrawn in punishment of sin. 

27. What was the immediate consequent of that withdrawal ? 

28. To what extent was the moral and spiritual character of 
our first parents afi'ected ? 

29. What is ihe first proposition taught in the third and fourth 
Sections? 

30. What is the second proposition there taught? 

31. What is the ^Hrcf f 

32. What is the /owr^^ ? 

33. What is the fifth f 

34. In what Sections and in what words do our Standards ex- 
plicitly teach that in the covenant of works Adam represented 
all his descendants ? 

35. W^hat three plans were possible with regard to the moral 
probation of the individual members of the human family. 

36. Show why the plan of giving us our probation in Adam's 
was both wise and benevolent. 



166 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

37. Prove the fact that Adam was our federal representa"- 
tive. 

38. What is the precise sense in which our Standards use the 
term "guilt?" 

39. In what sense do they use the term " to impute?" 

40. In what Sections and in what words do our Standards 
affirm that the guilt of Adam's first sin is charged to the account 
of his children ? 

41. What reason dc they assign for this imputation of his sin 
to us? 

42. Prove from the Scriptures that Adam's sin is so imputed. 

43. Why is Adam's first sin alone imputed ? 

44. How is that sin punished in us? 

45. What is the necessary effect of that punishment? 

46. What do these Sections teach as to the moral state of man 
by nature? 

47. What are the several points involved in their teaching. 

48. Prove that the doctrine here taught agrees with the univer- 
sal experience of men. 

49. State and prove the several points taught in Scripture as 
to the nature, extent and time of commencement of human 
depravity. 

60. What subjects are treated of in the fifth and sixth Sec- 
tions? 

51. What is taught as to the continuance and character of 
corruption in the regenerate ? 

52. Prove that the innate and permanent tendency of the soul 
to sin is as truly a violation of God's law as actual transgression. 

53. Prove that this "tendency to sin" and actual transgression 
are alike worthy of punishment. 

54. What temporal miseries are inflicted because of sin ? 

55. What relation do temporal afflictions sustain to the justified 
believer ? 

66. What spiritual miseries are inflicted because of sin ? 

67. What eternal miseries are inflicted on the same account ? 



CHAPTER VII. 

OF god's covenant with man. 

Section I. — The distance between God and the creature is so 
great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto 
him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of 
him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary con- 
descension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express 
by way of covenant.^ 

Section II. — ^The first covenant made with man was a cove- 
nant of works, ^ wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him 
to his posterity,' upon condition of perfect and personal obe- 
dience.* 

1 Isa. xl. 13-17; Job ix. 32, 33; 1 Sam. ii. 26; Ps. cxiii. 5, 0; o. 2, 3; 
Job xxii. 2, 3 ; xxxv. 7, 8 ; Luke xvii. 10 ; Acts xvii. 24, 25.—' Gal. iii 
12.— » Rom, X. 5 ; v. 12-20.—* Gen. ii. 17 ; Gal. iii. 10. 

These Sections teach the following propositions : 

1st. The duty which an intelligent creature owes its 
Creator is essential and inalienable from its being. 

2d. The enjoyment of the Creator's fulness and love 
by the creature, however, is a matter of free and sove- 
reign grace, depending solely on the will of the Creator. 

3d. In the case of men and angels, God has been 
pleased to promise this transcendent benefit upon certain 
conditions, which conditional promise is called a cove- 
nant. 

4th. In the first covenant that concerned mankind, 

167 



168 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

God dealt with Adam as the representative of all his 
descendants. 

5th. The promise of this covenant was life ; the con- 
dition of it perfect and personal obedience. 

1st. The duty which an intelligent creature owes to 
its Creator is inalienable, and springs necessarily (1) 
from the absolute imperative obligation which is of the 
essence of all that is morally right — which exercises 
authority over the will, but does not receive authority 
from it ; and (2) from the relation of dependence and 
obligation involved in the very fact of being created. 
To be a created, intelligent, moral agent is to be under 
all the obligation of obeying the will and of living for 
the glory of the absolute Owner and Governor. 

2d. That, on the other hand, the enjoyment of the 
Creator's fulness and love by the creature is a matter of 
sovereign grace, depending alone upon the will of the 
Creator, is also self-evident. The very act of creation 
brings the creature under obligation to the Creator, but 
it cannot bring the Creator into obligation to the crea- 
ture. Creation itself, being a signal act of grace, cannot 
endow the beneficiary with a claim for more grace. If 
God, for instance, has created a man with an eye, it may 
be eminently consistent with the divine attributes, and a 
ground of fair anticipation, that at some time he who 
has given eyes will also give light; but, surely, the 
creation of the first can lay the foundation of no right 
upon the part of man for the gift of the second. And, 
of course, far less can the fact that in creation God 
endowed men with a religious nature lay the foundation 
of any right on their part for the infinitely more pre- 
cious gift of the personal communications of his own 



god's cuv^enant with r»lAN. 169 

ineffable love and grace. God cannot be bound to take 
all creatures naturally capable of it into the intimacies 
of his own society. If he does so, it is a matter of 
infinite condescension and sovereign will. 

3d. In the case of men and angels, God has been 
])leased to promise "^his transcendent benefit upon cer- 
tain conditions, which conditional promise is called a 
covenant. There can be no doubt that this amazing 
gift of God's personal love and life-giving society had 
been offered to angels, and at the beginning was offered 
to the first human pair, upon conditions. Some object 
that the conditional promise made to Adam in the gar- 
den is not explicitly called a covenant, and that it does 
not possess all the essential elements of a covenant, 
since it was a constitution sovereignly ordained by the 
Creator without consulting the will of the creature. It 
is a sufficient answer to these objections (1) that although 
Adam's will was not consulted, yet his will was unques- 
tionably cordially consenting to this divine constitution 
and all the terms thereof, and hence the transaction did 
embrace all the elements of a covenant. (2.) That sev- 
eral instances of analogous transactions between God 
and men are expressly styled covenants in the Bible. 
If God's transactions with Noah (Gen. ix. 11, 12) and 
with Abraham (Gen. xvii. 1-21) were covenants, then 
was his transaction with Adam in the garden a cove- 
nant. 

The analysis of a covenant always gives the following 
elements : (a.) Its parties. (6.) Its promise, (c.) Its 
conditions, (d.) Its penalty. As to its parties, our 
standards teach — 

4th. In tlie first covenant that concerned mankind, 



170 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

God dealt with Adam as the representative of all hisi 
descendants. The parties, therefore, are God and Adam, 
the latter representing the human race. That Adam 
did so act as the representative of his descendants, in 
such a sense that they were equally interested with him 
self in all the merit or demerit, the reward or the 
penalty, attaching to his action during the period of 
probation, has already been proved to be the doctrine 
both of our standards and of Scripture (Chapter vi., 
§§ 3, 4). As to the further nature of this covenant, 
our standards teach — 

5th. The promise of it was life, the condition of it 
perfect obedience, and the penalty of it death. L. Cat., 
Q. 20; S. Cat., Q. 12. 

This covenant is variously styled, from one or other 
of these several elements. Thus, it is called the " cov- 
enant of works," because perfect obedience was its con- 
dition, and to distinguish it from the covenant of grace, 
which rests our salvation on a different basis altogether. 
It is also called the "covenant of life," because life was 
promised on condition of the obedience. It is also 
called a " legal covenant," because it demanded the lite- 
ral fulfilment of the claims of the moral law as the 
condition of God's favour. This covenant was also in 
its essence a covenant of grace, in that it graciously 
promised life in the society of God as the freely-granted 
reward of an obedience already unconditionally due. 
Nevertheless it was a covenant of works and of law 
with respect to its demands and conditions. 

(1.) That the proniise of the covenant was life is 
proved — (a.) From the nature of the penalty, which is 
recorded in terms. If disobedience was linked to death, 



171 

obedience must have been linked to life. (6.) It is taught 
expressly in many passages of Scripture. Paul says, 
Rom. X. 5 : " Moses describeth the righteousness which 
is of the law, that he which doeth these things shall 
live by them." Matt. xix. 16, 17; Gal. iii. 12; Lev. 
xviii. 6 ; Neh. ix. 29. 

That the life promised was not mere continuance of 
existence is plain — (a.) From the fact that the death 
threatened was not the mere extinction of existence. 
Adam experienced that death the very day he ate the 
forbidden fruit. The death threatened was exclusion 
from the communion of God. The life promised, there- 
fore, must consist in the divine fellowship and the ex- 
cellence and happiness thence resulting. (6.) From the 
fact that mere existence was not in jeopardy. It is the 
character, not the fact, of continued existence which 
God suspended upon obedience, (c.) Because the terms 
life and death are used in the Scriptures constantly to 
define two opposite spiritual conditions, which depend 
upon the relation of the soul to God. John v. 24 ; vi. 
47; Rom. vi. 13; xi. 15; Eph. ii. 1-3; v. 14; Rev. 
iii. 1. 

(2.) That the condition of the covenant was perfect 
obedience is plain from the fact (a) that the divine law 
can demand no less. It is of the essence of all that is 
right that it is obligatory. James says, that " whosoever 
shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is 
guilty of all." James ii. 10 ; Gal. iii. 10 ; Deut. xxvii. 
26. (6.) That the command not to eat of the fruit of 
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, relating to 
a thing indifferent in itself, was plainly designed to be a 
naked test of obedience, absolute and without limit. 



172 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

(3.) That the penalty of this covenant was death is 
distinctly stated. '^In the day thou eatest thereof, dying 
thou shalt die." Gen. ii. 17. This denoted a most lam- 
entable state of existence, physical and moral, and not 
the cessation of existence or the dissolution of the union 
between soul and body, because (a) it took effect in our 
first parents hundreds of years before the dissolution of 
that union. (6.) Because the Scrij)tures constantly de- 
scribe the moral and spiritual condition into which their 
descendants are born, and from which they are delivered 
by Christ, as a state of death. Rev. iii. 1 ; Eph. ii. 1-5; 
V. 14; John v. 24. 

This death is a condition of increasing sin and mis- 
ery, resulting from excision from the only source of life. 
It involves the entire person, soul and body, and con- 
tinues as long as the cause continues. 

Section III,— Man, by his fall, having made himself incapa- 
ble of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a 
second,* commonly called the covenant of grace, whereby he 
freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, 
requiring of them faith in him, that they might be saved f and 
promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life his 
Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.'' 

Section IV. — This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in 
the Scripture, by the name of a testament, in reference to the 
death of Jesus Christ the testator, and to the everlasting inherit- 
ance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed." 

5 Gal. iii. 21 ; Rom. viii. 3 ; iii. 20, 21 ; Gen. iii. xv.; Isa. xlii. 6.— « Mark 
«vi. 15, 16: John iii. 16; Rom. x. 6, 9 ; Gal. iii. 11.— 7 Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27; 
John vi. 44, 45.-8 Heb. ix. 15-17; vii. 22; Luke xxii. 20; 1 Cor. xi. 25. 

Since Adam forfeited for himself and his entire race 
the original promise of life upon the condition of per- 
fect obedience, ai.d incurred the penalty of death at- 



god's COVENAN'l ,yiTH MAN. 173 

tached io disobedience, it follows that, if the old con- 
stitution is left without supplement or modification, 
man is lost. If mankind is to be saved, there must be 
a new and gracious intervention on the part of God. 
And if God intervenes to save men, it must be upon a 
definite plan, and upon certain definitely proclaimed and 
accurately fulfilled conditions. That is, a new covenant 
must be introduced, rendering life available to those 
who are to be saved on conditions different from those 
offered in the preceding constitution. The question, 
then, relates to what is revealed in the Scriptures as to 
the parties to whom the promise is made, and the con- 
ditions upon which it is suspended. 

The Arminian view is, that Adam having lost the 
promise and incurred the penalty of the covenant 
which demanded perfect obedience, Christ's death hav- 
ing made it consistent with the claims of absolute jus- 
tice, God for Christ's sake introduces a new covenant, 
styled the covenant of grace, offering to all men ind i- 
vidu ally the eternal life forfeited by Adam on the low- 
ered and g raciously possible conditions of faith and 
evangelical obedience. According to this view, the new 
covenant is just as much a covenant of works as the old 
one was; the only difference is that the works demanded 
are far less difficult, and we are graciously aided in 
our endeavours to accomplish them. According to this 
view, also, faith and evangelical obedience secure eternal 
life in the new covenant in the same way that perfect 
obedience did in the old covenant. 

This view is plainly inconsistent with the nature of 
the gospel. The method of salvation presented in the 
gospel is no compromise of principle, no lowering of 
15 » 



174 CONFESSION OF FAl ^H. 

terms. Christ fulfils the old legal covenant absolutely, 
and then, on the foundation of what he has done, we 
exercise faith or trust, and through that trust we are 
made sharers in his righteousness and beneficiaries of his 
grace. Faith is not a work which Christ condescends 
in the gospel to accept instead of perfect obedience as 
the ground of salvation — it is only the hand whereby 
we clasp the person and work of our Redeemer, which is 
the true ground of salvation. 

The Calvinistic view, therefore, is, that God having 
determined to save the elect out of the mass of the race 
fallen in Adam, appointed his Son to become incarnate 
in our nature, and as the Christ or God-man Mediator, 
he appointed him to be the second Adam and representa- 
tive head of redeemed humanity, and as such entered 
into a covenant with him and with his seed in him. 
In this covenant the Mediator assumes in behalf of 
his elect seed the broken conditions of the old cove- 
nant of works precisely as Adam left them. Adam 
had failed to obey, and therefore forfeited life ; he had 
sinned, and therefore incurred the endless penalty of 
death. Christ therefore suffered the penalty and extin- 
/ guished in behalf of all whom he represented the claims 
\ of the old covenant, and at the same time he rendered a 
\ perfect vicarious obedience, which was the very condi- 
tion upon which eternal life had been originally offered. 
All this Christ does as a principal party with God to 
the covenant, in acting as the representative of his own 
people. 

Subsequently, in the administration and gracious ap- 
plication of this covenant, Christ the Mediator offers 
the blessings secured by it to all men on the condition 



god's covenant with man. 175 

of faith ; that is, he bids all men to lay hold of these 
blessings by the instrumentality of faith, and he promises 
that if they do so they shall certainly enjoy them ; and 
he, as the mediatorial surety of his people, ensures for 
them that their faith and obedience shall not fail. 

For the sake of simplicity, some Calvinistic theolo- 
gians have set forth the divine method of human re- 
demption as embraced in two covenants. The firsts 
styled the covenant of redemption, formed in eternity 
between the Father and Christ as principal, providing 
for the salvation of the elect; the second, styled the 
covenant of grace, wherein life is offered to all men on 
the condition of faith, and secured to the elect through 
the agency of Him who as "surety of the new covenant" 
ensures the fulfilment of the condition in their case. 

Our Standards say nothing of two covenants. They 
do not mention the covenant of redemption as distinct 
from the covenant of grace. But evidently the several 
passages which treat of this subject (Conf. Faith, ch. vii., 
§ 3; L. Cat., Q. 31 ; S. Cat., Q. 20) assume that there is 
but one covenant contracted by Christ in behalf of the 
elect with God in eternity, and administered by him to 
the elect in the offers and ordinances of the gospel and 
in the gracious influences of his Spirit. The Larger 
Catechism in the place referred to teaches how the cove- 
nant of grace was contracted with Christ /or his people. 
The Confession of Faith in these Sections teaches how 
that same covenant is administered by Christ to his 
people. 

The doctrine of our Standards and of Scripture may 
be stated in the following propositions : 

1st. At the basis of human redemption there is an 



176 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

eternal covenant or personal counsel between the Father, 
representing the entire Godhead, and the Son, who is to 
assume in the fulness of time a human element into his 
peTBon, and to represent all his elect as their Mediator 
and Surety. The Scriptures make it very plain that 
the Father and Son had a definite understanding (a) as 
to who were to be saved, (6) as to what Christ must do 
in order to save them, (c) as to how their personal salva- 
tion was to be accomplished, and (cZ) as to all the bless- 
ings and advantages involved in their salvation, (e) as 
to certain official rewards w^hich were to accrue to the 
Mediator in consequence of his obedience. 

(1.) The Scriptures expressly declare that the Father 
has promised the Mediator tlie salvation of his seed on 
condition of the travail of his soul. Isa. liii. 10, 11, 
42 ; vi. 7 ; Ps. Ixxxix. 3, 4. 

(2.) Christ makes constant reference to a previous 
commission he had received of his Father (John x. 
18; Luke xxii. 29), and claims a reward conditioned 
upon the fulfilment of that commission. John xvii. 4, 5. 

(3.) Christ as Mediator constantly asserts that his 
people and his expected glory are given him as a reward 
by his Father. 

2d. The promise of this covenant was — (1.) All need- 
ful preparation of Christ for his work. Heb. x. 5 ; Isa. 
xlii. 1-7. (2.) Support in his work. Luke xxii. 43. (3.) 
A glorious reward {a) in his own theanthropic person as 
Mediator. John v. 22 ; Ps. ex. 1. (6.) In committing to 
his hand the universal administration of all the precious 
graces and blessings of the covenant. Matt. xiii. 18; 
John i. 12 ; vii. 39 ; xvii. 2 ; Acts ii. 33. (c.) In the 
salvation of the elect, including all general and special 



god's covenant with man. 177 

provisions of grace, such as regeneration, justification, 
sanctification, perseverance and glory. Tit. iii. 5, 6 ; 
Jer. xxxi. 33; xxxii. 40; Isa. xxxv. 10; liii. 10, 11. 

3d. The condition of this covenant was (1) that he 
should be born of a woman, made under the law. Gal. 
iv. 4, 5. (2.) That he should assume and discharge in 
behalf of his elect, all the broken conditions and incurred 
liabilities of the covenant of works (Matt. v. 17, 18), 
(a) rendering that perfect obedience which is the condi- 
tion of the promise of the old covenant (Ps. xl. 8; Isa. 
xlii. 21 ; John viii. 29; ix. 4, 5; Matt. xix. 17), and (6) 
suffering the penalty of death incurred by the breaking 
of the old covenant. Isa. liii. ; 2 Cor. v. 21 ; Gal. iii. 
13 ; Eph. v. 2. 

4th. Christ as mediatorial King, administers to his 
people the benefits of his covenant, and by his }>rovi- 
dence, his word and his Spirit he causes them to become 
severally recipients of these blessings according to his 
will. These benefits he offers to all men in the gospel. 
He promises to grant them on the condition they are 
received. In the case of his own people he works faith 
in them, and as their surety engages for them and makes 
good all that is suspended upon or conveyed through 
their agency. In the whole sphere of our experience 
every Christian duty is a Christian grace, for we can 
fulfil the conditions of repentance and faith only as it is 
given to us by our surety. All Christian graces also in- 
volve Christian duties. So that Christ at once purchases 
salvation for us, and applies salvation to us ; commands 
us to do, and works in us to obey; offers us grace and 
eternal life on conditions, and gives us the conditions 
and the grace and the eternal life. What he gives us 



178 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

lie expects us to exercise. What he demands of us he 
at once gives us. Viewed on God's side, faith and re- 
pentance are the gifts of the Son. Viewed on our side, 
tliey are duties and gracious experiences, the first symp- 
toms of salvation bfegun — instruments wherewith further 
grace may be attained. Viewed in connection with the 
covenant of grace, they are elements of the promise of 
the Father to the Son, conditioned upon his mediatorial 
work. Viewed in relation to salvation, they are indices 
of its commencement and conditions siiie qua non of its 
completion. 

The present administration of this covenant by Christ 
in one aspect evidently bears a near analogy to a testa- 
ment or will executed only consequent upon the death 
of the testator. And so in one passage our translators 
were correct in so translating the word dcaOi^xrj, Heb. 
ix. 16, 17. But since Christ is an ever-living and con- 
stantly-acting Mediator, the same yesterday, to-day and 
for ever, this word, which expresses his present adminis- 
tration, should in every other instance have been trans- 
lated dispensation, instead of testament. 2 Cor. iii. 6, 
14; Gal. iii. 15; Heb. vii. 22; xii. 24; xiii. 20. 

Section V. — This covenant was differently administered in the 
time of the law, and in the time of the gospel :* under the law it 
was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, 
the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the 
people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come,^" which 
were for that time sufl&cient and efficacious, through the opera- 
tion of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the 
promised Messiah," by whom they had full remission of sins, and 
eternal salvation ; and is called the Old Testament." 

Section VI. — Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance," 
was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed 



179 

are, the preaching of the word, and the administration of the 
sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper ;" which, though 
fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity and lesf 
outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fulness, evi- 
dence and spiritual efficacy,^^ to all nations, both Jews and Gen- 
tiles ;^* and is called the New Testament." There are not, there- 
fore, two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and 
the same under various dispensations.^* 

» 2 Cor. iii. 6-9.— 10 Heb. viii., U.,x; Rom. iv. 11 ; Col. ii. 11, 12; 1 Cor. 
V. 7.— 11 1 Cor. X. 1-4 ; Heb. xi. 13 ; John viii. 56.— 12 Gal. iii. 7-9, 14. 
—13 Col. ii. 17.-1* Matt, xxviii. 19, 20 j 1 Cor. xi. 23-25.-15 Heb. xii. 22- 
27 ; Jer. xxxi. 33, 34.— i* Matt, xxviii. 19 ; Eph. ii. 15-19.—" Luke xxii. 
20.— 18 Gal. iii. 14, 16; Acts xv. 11; Rom. iii. 21-23,30; Ps. xxxii. 1; 
Rom. iv. 3, 6, 16, 17, 23, 24; Heb. xiii. 8. 

These Sections teach — 

1st. That the covenant of grace has from the begin- 
ning remained in all essential respects the same, in spite 
of all outward changes in the mode of its administra- 
tion. 

2d. That under the old dispensation, this covenant 
was administered chiefly by types and symbolical ordin- 
ances, signifying beforehand a Christ to come, and this 
administration was almost exclusively confined to the 
Jewish nation. 

3d. That the new dispensation of this covenant is 
characterized by its superior simplicity, clearness, fulness, 
certainty, spiritual power and range of application. 

1st. The covenant administered in both dispensations 
is in all essential respects the same. (1.) Christ was 
the Saviour of men before his advent, and he saved 
them on the same principles then as now. He was 
" the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," 
Rom. iii. 25 ; "A propitiation for the sins that are past," 
Heb. ix. 15, He was promised to Adam and to Abra- 



180 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

ham as the Saviour of the world. Gen. iii. 15 ; xvli. 7 ; 
xxii. 18. He was symbolically exhibited and typically 
prophesied by all the ceremonial and especially by the 
sacrificial system of the temple. Col. ii. 17 ; Heb. x. 
1-10. He was especially witnessed to as the Saviour 
from sin by all the prophets. Acts x. 43. (2.) Faith 
was the condition of salvation under the old dispensa- 
tion in the same sense it is now. Heb. ii. 4; Ps. ii. 12. 
The Old Testament believers are set up for an example 
to those who are called to exercise faith under the New 
Testament. Rom. iv. ; Heb. xi. (3.) The same gracious 
promises of spiritual grace and eternal blessedness were 
administered then as now. Compare Gen. xvii. 7 with 
Matt. xxii. 32, and Gen. xxii. 18 with Gal. iii. 16. See, 
also, Isa. xliii. 25 ; Ps. xvi. 51 ; Ixxiii. 24-26 ; Ezek. 
xxxvi. 27 ; Job xix. 25-27 ; Dan. xii. 2, 3. 

2d. Under the old dispensation the covenant of grace 
was administered with constantly increasing fulness and 
clearness (a) from Adam to Abraham, in the promise to 
the woman, Gen. iii. 15; the institution of bloody sac- 
rifices, and the constant visible appearance and audible 
converse of Jehovah with his people. (6.) From Abra- 
ham to Moses the more definite promise given to Abra- 
ham (Gen. xvii. 7; xxii. 18), in the Church separated 
from the world, embraced in a special covenant, and 
sealed with the sacrament of circumcision, (c.) From 
Moses to Christ, the simple primitive rite of sacrifice 
developed into the elaborate ceremonial and significant 
symbolism of the temple service, the covenant enriched 
with new promises, the Church separated from the world 
by new barriers and sealed with the additional sacra- 
ment of the Passover. 



god's covenant with man. 181 

3d, The present dispensation of the covenant is supe- 
rior to the former one — (a.) Because, while it was for- 
merly administered by Moses, a servant, it is now 
administered visibly and immediately by Christ, a son 
in his own house. Heb. iii. 5, 6. (6.) The truth was 
then partly hid, partly revealed, in the types and sym- 
bols. Now it is revealed in clear history and didactic 
teaching, (c.) That revelation has been vastly increased, 
as well as rendered more clear, by the incarnation of> 
Christ and the mission of the Holy Ghost, [d.) That 
dispensation was so encumbered with ceremonies as to 
be comparatively carnal. The present dispensation is 
spiritual, (e.) That was confined to one people. The 
present dispensation, disembarrassed from all national 
organizations, embraces the whole earth. (/.) That 
method of administration was preparatory. The pres- 
ent is final, as far as the present order of the world is 
concerned. It will give way only to that eternal ad- 
ministration of the covenant which shall be executed 
by the Lamb in the new heavens and the new earth, 
when there shall " be gathered together in one all things 
in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on 
earth.'' Eph. i. 10. More than this is not yet made 
known. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the Jirst proposition taught in the first and socond 
Sections? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught? 

3. What is the third ? 

4. What is the fourth f 

5. What is the ^/<A? 



182 CONFESSION OF FaITH. 

6. Prove that the duty which an intelligent creature owes to 
its Creator is essential and inalienable. 

7. Prove that the enjoyment of the Creator by the creature is 
pot a natural right, but a gracious privilege. 

8. What arrangement did God in the beginning make with 
men in this respect ? 

9. Prove that this arrangement is properly called a covenant. 

10. What are the several elements of a covenant? 

11. Who were the parties of the original covenant? 

12. How is this covenant variously styled? 

13. Prove that the promise of the covenant was life. 

14. What was involved in the life promised? 

15. Prove the last answer. 

16. What was the condition of the covenant? and prove it. 

17. What was its penalty? and prove it. 

18. If God purposes to save fallen men, what is certain to 
characterize his method of doing so ? 

19. What is the Arminian view as to the conditions upon which 
salvation is offered to fallen men ? 

20. State the fatal objections to that view. 

21. What is the Calvinistic view of the condition of human 
salvation ? 

22. What distinction do some Calvinists make between the 
"covenant of redemption" and the "covenant of grace?" 

23. In what Section and in what words is the doctrine of our 
standards upon this point stated ? 

24. What is the point chiefly set forth by the Larger Catechism, 
Q. 31, and what point is chiefly set forth by the Conf Faith, ch. 
vii., §3, andS. Cat., Q. 20? 

25. On what points is it evident that the Father and Son had 
a definite understanding? 

26. Prove from Scripture that there was such a covenant be- 
tween the Father and the Son. 

27. Show from Scripture what was the promise of that cove- 
nant. 

28. Show from Scripture what were its conditions. 

29. What relation does the covenant of grace sustain to the 
covenant of works ? 



GOD 3 COVENANT WITH MAN. 183 

30. By whom is the covenant of grace administered? 

31. How does Christ administer its blessings to his people? 

32. Where and why is his present administration likened to a 
testament ? 

33. What is the first proposition taught in the fifth and sixth 
Sections? 

34. What is the second proposition there taught? 

35. What is the third f 

36. Prove that the covenant of grace is essentially the same 
under all changes of administration. 

37. How was it administered under the Old Testament dis- 
pensation ? 

38. In what respects does the new differ from and excel the 
old dispensation ? 



CHAPTER YIII. 



OF CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 



Section I. — It pleased G-od, in his eternal purpose, to chooss. 
and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, to be the 
Mediator between God and man;^ the Prophet,^ Priest' and 
King ;* the Head and Saviour of his Church f the Heir of all 
things;* and Judge of the world :'^ unto whom he did from all 
eternity give a people to be his seed,® and to be by him in time 
redeemed, called, justified, sanctified and glorified.^ 

1 Isa, xlii.; 1 Pet. i. 19, 20; John iii. 16; 1 Tim. ii. 5.— 2 Acts iii. 22.— 
» Heb. V. 5, 6.—* Ps. ii. 6 ; Luke i. 33.— ^Eph. v. 23.-6 Heb. i. 2.—^ Acts 
xvii. 31.— 8 John xvii. 6; Ps. xxii. 30; Isa. liii. 10.— 9 1 Tim. ii. 6; Isa. 
Iv. 4, 5 ; 1 Cor. i. 30. 

We have already learned — 

1st. That God has from eternity sovereignly chosen a 
definite number out of the fallen human race to be saved 
by means of the redemptive work of Christ. Conf. Faith, 
ch. iii., §§ 3-6. 

2d. That God has from eternity formed a covenant 
of grace vi^ith his Son, in which the Father gave the 
Son a people to be his seed, and promised their salva- 
tion as his reward, and in which the Son engaged to 
perform and suffer all that was necessary to that end. 
Conf. Faith, oh. vii., §§ 3, 4. 

While reaffirming these truths, this Section teaches, 
in addition — 

1st. That the covenanted Head of the redeemed 

* 184 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 185 

Church is not the divine Word, absolutely considered, 
but the incarnate God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ, who 
has received a divine appointment to be Mediator be- 
tween God and man. 

2d. That the mediatorial office, in the exercise of 
which Christ accomplishes our redemption, embraces 
three distinct functions, viz.: those of a Prophet, of a 
Priest and of a King. 

3d. That, as Mediator, Christ is Head and Saviour 
of his Church, Heir of all things and Judge of the 
world. 

A mediator is one who intervenes between contesting 
parties for the sake of making reconciliation. The term 
is sometimes applied to independent and disinterested 
parties called in to arbitrate a difficulty ; sometimes to 
a dependent messenger or agent of one of the parties to 
the contest employed to carry overtures to the other 
party. In this sense Moses was a mediator between 
God and the people of Israel. Deut. v. 5; Gal. iii. 19. 
Sometimes it is applied to an intercessor employed by 
the weaker party to influence the stronger. 

The Scriptures apply the term, in a higher sense than 
any of these, to Christ. They teach that he intervenes 
between God and man, not merely to sue for peace and 
to persuade to it, but, armed with plenipotentiary power, 
efficiently to make peace and to do all that is necessary 
to that end. 

The things necessary in order to this great end fall 
into two classes — (a) those that respect God, and (b) those 
that respect men. 

As it respects God, it is absolutely necessary, in order 
to reconciliation, that the Mediator should pi'opitiate 

16* 



186 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the just displeasure of God by expiating the guilt of 
sin, and that he should supplicate in our behalf, and 
that he should actually introduce our persons and ser- 
vices to the acceptance of the Father. 

As it respects men, it is absolutely necessary that the 
Mediator should reveal to them the truth concerning 
God and their relations to him, and the conditions of 
acceptable service ; that he should persuade and enable 
them to receive and obey the truth so revealed; and that 
he should so direct and sustain them and so control all 
the outward influences to which they are subjected that 
their deliverance from sin and from the powers of an 
evil world shall be perfected. 

Hence the mediatorial office involves all the three 
great functions of prophet, priest and king, and Christ 
discharged them all, both in his estate of humiliation 
and exaltation. These are not three distinct offices 
meeting accidentally in one office, but three functions 
inhering essentially in the one office of mediator. And 
they each so belong to the very essence of the office thnt 
the quality peculiar to each gives character to evei y 
mediatorial action. When he teaches, he is always a 
priestly and kingly prophet. When he offers sacrific e 
or intercession for sin, he is always a prophetical ai.d 
royal priest. 

(1.) Christ is a prophet. A prophet is a spokesman; 
one sent from God to man to make known the divine 
will. In this sense Moses and all inspired men were 
prophets. But Christ was the personal "Word of God'' 
incarnate, he who had eternally been " in the bosom of 
God" and " known the Father," and consequently as 
mediatorial prophet is that original fountain of revela- 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 187 

tion of which all other prophets are the streams. He 
is the Prophet of all prophets, the Teacher of all teachers. 

" He executeth the office of a prophet in his reveal- 
ing to the Church in all ages, by his Spirit and word, 
in divers ways of administration, the whole will of God, 
in all things concerning their edification and salvation." 
L. Cat., Q. 43. That this representation is true is 
proved from the fact that the Scriptures (a) explicitly 
call him a prophet. Compare Deut. xviii. 15, 18 and 
Acts iii. 22 ; vii. 37 ; Heb. i. 2. (6.) Teach that he exe- 
cuted the functions of a prophet before his incarnation. 
Isa. ix. 6 ; Mai. iii. 1 ; Job xxxiii. 23 ; 1 Pet. i. 11. (c.) 
Teach that he executes the office of a prophet since his 
incarnation. Matt. xi. 27 ; John iii. 2 ; vi. 68 ; Rev. 
vii. 17 ; xxi. 23. 

(2.) Christ is a priest. A priest is (a) one taken from 
among men, (6) to appear in the presence of God and to 
treat in behalf of men, and (c) in order thereto to make 
propitiation and intercession. It is declared to be essen- 
tial to the priest (a) that he be a man chosen to represent 
men before God. Aaron always bore before the Lord 
for a memorial a breastplate with the names of all the 
tribes of Israel engraved upon it. Ex. xxviii. 9, 12, 21, 
29. (6.) He must be chosen of God as his special elec- 
tion and property. Num. xvi. 5 ; Heb. v. 4. (c.) He 
must be holy and consecrated to the Lord. Lev. xxi. 6- 
8; Ex. xxxix. 30, 31 ; Ps. cvi. 16. (d) They have a 
right both to draw near to Jehovah and to bring near — 
i. e.y to offer sacrifices and intercessions. Lev. xvi. 3-1 5. 
(e.) He must have an acceptable sacrifice to offer. Heb. 
viii. 3. Christ is in this sense a true priest, and he 
executeth this office "in his once offering himself a 



1S8 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

sacrifice without spot to God, to be a reconciliation for 
the sins of his people, and in making continual inter- 
cession for them." L. Cat., Q. 44. That this is true is 
proved from the fact that the Scriptures declare (a) 
that Christ possessed all the characteristic marks and 
qualifications of a priest. He became a man for this 
purpose. Heb. ii. 16; iv. 15. He was chosen of God, 
as was Aaron. Heb. v. 5, 6. He was perfectly holy, 
and had right of immediate approach to the Father. 
(6.) He is declared to be a priest in the Old Testament. 
The entire order of priests and the ceremonial of sacri- 
fice was typical of him. Zech. vi. 13; Isa. liii. 10; Dan. 
ix. 24, 25. (c.) The gospel history declares that he 
actually discharged all the functions of a priest. He 
has made propitiation by a sacrificial bearing of the 
penalty due to sin. Eph. v. 2; Heb. ix. 26; 1 John i. 
2. He has made intercession and he ever lives to inter- 
cede. Rom. viii. 34 ; Heb. vii. 25. The work of Christ 
was the substance of which the entire ceremonial of the 
temple was the shadow. Col. ii. 17. 

His priesthood is said not to have been of the 
order of Aaron, because, although Aaron and his priest- 
hood were types of Christ, and existed simply for the 
purpose of showing forth his work, yet they were in- 
adequate to represent him fully and in all relations. 
They were inadequate chiefly (a) with respect to the 
incomparable dignity and excellence of his person. (6.) 
The infinite value of his sacrifice. Heb. x. 1. (c.) The 
manner of their consecration. Heb. vii. 20-22. (d.) 
They were constantly succeeding each other as dying 
men. Heb. vii. 23, 24. (e.) He was a minister of a 
greater and more perfect tabernacle. Heb. ix. 11, 24. 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 189 

(/.) They were made priests — he was a royal and pro- 
phetical priest. Zech. vi. 13; Rom. viii. 34; Heb. viii. 
1,2. 

His priesthood is said to have been of the order of 
Melchisedec, because (a) like him he was a royal 
priest. (6.) Like him, he had no predecessors or suc- 
cessors in office. He was the only one of his line, (c.) 
Because he was an eternal priest ; " Thou art a priest for 
ever of the order of Melchisedec.'^ Heb. vii. 17. 

(3.) Christ is sovereign Head over all things to his 
Church. Eph. i. 22; iv. 15; Col. i. 18; ii. 19. He 
executeth the office of a king (a) in calling out of the 
world a people to himself, and giving them offices, laws 
and discipline, by which he visibly governs them ; (6) 
in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding 
their obedience and correcting them for their sins, pre- 
serving and supporting them under all their temptations 
and sufferings ; (c) restraining and overcoming all their 
enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own 
glory and their good ; and also (d) in taking vengeance 
on the rest, who know not God and obey not the gospel. 

This lordship differs from that which belongs essen- 
tially to the Godhead : (a.) Because it is given to him 
by the Father as the reward of his obedience and suffer- 
ing. Phil. ii. 6-11. (6.) The object and design of this 
mediatorial kingship has special reference to the up- 
building and glory of the redeemed Church, (c.) The 
dignity and authority belong not to his deity abstractly, 
but to his entire person as God-man. This power and 
lordship Christ already possesses, and it extends over 
all creatures in all worlds. Matt, xxviii. 18; Eph. i. 
17-23; Phil. ii. 9-11; Jer. xxiii. 6; Isa. ix. 6; Ps. ii. 



190 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

6 ; Acts ii. 29-33. And of this kingdom there shall 
be no end. Dan. ii. 44 ; Isa. ix. 7. 

Thus Christ has been shown, as Mediator, to be — 
5th. Head and Saviour of his Church, and Heir of all 
things, that is, sovereign ruler and disposer of all things 
throughout all worlds. Eph. i. 10. That element of 
Christ^s dominion which shall be exercised in his judg- 
ing men and angels at the end will be considered under 
Chapter xxxiii. 

Section II. — ^The Son of Grod, the second person in the 
Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal 
with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take 
upon him man's nature, ^° with all the essential properties and 
common infirmities thereof, yet without sin ;" being conceived 
by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin 
Mary, of her substance. ^^ So that two whole, perfect and dis- 
tinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably 
joined together in one person, without conversion, composition 
or confusion.^' Which person is very God and very man, yet one 
Christ, the only Mediator between God and man." 

10 John i. 1, 14 ; 1 John v. 20; Phil. ii. 6 j Gal. iv. 4.—" Heb. ii. 14, 16, 
17 J iv. 16.— »2 Luke i. 27, 31, 35; Gal. iv. 4.— 1» Luke i. 35; CoL ii. 9; 
Rom. ix. 6; 1 Pet. iii. 18; 1 Tim. iii. 16.— i* Rom. i. 3, 4; 1 Tim. ii. 6. 

The subject of this Section is the constitution of the 
Person of the Mediator as the God-man. Having 
proved before (Chapter ii.,§ 3) that Jesus Christ is the 
one God, and that he is the second Person of the ador- 
able Trinity, of one substance and equal with the Father, 
this Section proceeds to assert: 

1st. Jesus of Nazareth was a true man, possessing all 
the essential properties of humanity, conceived by the 
power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin 
Mary, of her substance. 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 191 

2d. That he was absolutely without sin. 

3d. That he was no less very God, the eternal Son 
of the Father. 

4th. That nevertheless this God and this man is one 
single person. 

5th. That this personality is the eternal Person of the 
divine Son, who in time took a human soul and body 
into personal union with himself. 

6th. That although one person, the divine and human 
nature in Christ are not mixed or confounded in one, 
but remain two pure and distinct natures, divine and 
human, constituting one person for ever. 

The most ancient and universally accepted statement 
of the Church doctrine as to the Person of Christ is 
that which was formed by the fourth General Council, 
consisting of " six hundred and thirty holy and blessed 
fathers,'' who were convened in Chalcedon, A.D. 451 : 
" We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one 
consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our 
Lord Jesus Christ ; the same perfect in Godhead, and 
also perfect in manhood ; truly God and truly man, of 
a reasonable soul and body ; consubstantial with the 
Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial 
with us according to the manhood ; in all things like 
unto us without sin ; begotten before all ages of the 
Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter 
days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary, the 
Virgin Mother of God, according to the manhood ; one 
and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only begotten, to be 
acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchange- 
ably, indi visibly, inseparably, the distinction of natures 
being by no means taken away by the union, but rather 



192 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the property of each nature being preserved and con- 
curring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted 
or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son 
and Only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus 
Christ, as the prophets have from the beginning de- 
clared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ him- 
self has taught us, and the creed of the holy Fathers has 
delivered to us." For the statements on this subject 
of the Athanasian Creed, see Chapter I. of the Intro- 
duction. 

1st. Jesus of Nazareth was a true man, possessing all 
the essential properties of humanity, conceived by the 
power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin 
Mary, of her substance. This includes two constituent 
propositions: (1.) Jesus Christ was a true and proper 
man, possessing all the essential properties of humanity. 
He is constantly and characteristically called the Man 
Christ Jesus and the Son of Man, Matt. viii. 20 ; Tim. 
ii. 5. He had a true body, for he ate, drank, slept and 
increased in stature. Luke ii. 52. Through his whole 
life he was in all public and private association recog- 
nized as a true man. He died in agony on the cross, 
was buried, rose again and" proved his identity by phy- 
sical signs. Luke xxiv. 36-44. He had a reasonable 
soul, for he increased in wisdom, loved, sympathized, 
wept and shrank from suffering as a man. John xi. 33- 
35; Matt. xxvi. 36-46. (2.) The human nature of 
Jesus is not an independent creation merely, like ours, 
but it was generated out of the common life of our race, 
of the very substance of the Virgin Mary, by the power 
of the Holy Ghost. The angels do not constitute a race 
produced by generation, but only a collection of indi- 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 193 

viduals. Tins distinction is emphasized when it is 
declared of Christ, " He took not on him the nature of 
angels, but h \ took on him the seed of Abraham." Heb. 
ii. 16. He is the seed of Eve. Gen. iii. 15 ; the seed of 
David. Rom. i. 3. He was made of a woman (Gal. iv\ 
4), conceived by her in her womb. Luke i. 31 ; ii. 5-7. 

2d. That Jesus, although tempted in all points like 
as we are, was yet absolutely without sin, is expressly 
declared in Scripture. Heb. iv. 15. Peter testifies of him 
that he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. 
1 Pet. ii. 22. John testifies that in him is no sin. 1 John 
iii. 5 ; Heb. vii. 26 ; Luke i. 35. The same is evident 
from the origin and constitution of his Person as the 
Incarnate Word ; from the nature of the work he came 
to perform as the deliverer of men from sin ; and fi-om 
the record of his holy life preserved by the evangelists, 
which remains, in the constrained acknowledgements of 
infidels as well as the faith of Christians, the great moral 
miracle of all ages. 

3d. That he was no less very God, the eternal Son of 
the Father, has been already proved. Chapter ii., § 3. 

4th. That, nevertheless, this God and this man is one 
single person, is proved in every way that such a truth 
can be verified. (1.) In all the record of his life there 
is no word spoken of him, no action performed by him, 
no attribute predicated of him, that suggests the idea 
that he is not one single, indivisible person. (2.) The 
personal pronouns are always used by him and applied 
to him as if he was a single person. Of the same sub- 
ject and in the same connection divine attributes and 
actions and human attributes and actions are predicated. 
(3.) To make the matter more certain and evident, there 

IT 



194 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

are passages Id which the Person is designated b/ a title 
proper to his divine nature, while the attribute or action 
predicated of him is proper to his human nature ; e. g,^ 
" The Church of God, which he hath purchased with his 
own blood," Acts xx. 28 ; " Crucified the Lord of 
glory," 1 Cor. ii. 8. (4.) There are other passages in 
which the Person is designated by a title proper to the 
human nature, while the attribute or action predicated 
of it is proper to the divine nature: " The Son of Man, 
who is in heaven/^ John iii. 13 ; " If ye shall see the 
Son of Man ascend up where he was before." John vi. 
62. (5.) There are other passages in which divine and 
human attributes and actions are indiscriminately predi- 
cated of the same Person : " Who hath translated us 
into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have 
redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of 
sins : who is the image of the invisible God, the first- 
born of every creature, . . . and having made peace 
through the blood of his cross," etc. Col. i. 13-20 ; Heb. 
i. 3. 

5th. This personality is that of the eternal Son of 
God, who in time took a human soul and body into 
personal union with himself. This remarkable Person 
did not begin to exist, and therefore was not constitute^!, 
when he was conceived in the womb of the Virgin. 
" Before Abraham was I am^^ he says. " The Word 
was made flesh." " God sent his only begotten Son into 
the world." " The Son was made of a woman, made 
under the law." Gal. iv. 4. " Forasmuch as the chil- 
dren were partakers of flesh and blood, he likewise took 
part of the same." Heb. ii. 14; Phil. ii. 6-11. Hence 
it is evident that the person of Christ is divine and not 



CHRIST THE MEDIAaOR. 195 

human, eternal and not formed in time. But in time 
this eternal divine Person took a human nature (soul 
and body) into its personality. Just as the body, with 
its wonderful constitution of organs, nerves, senses and 
passions, has no personality of its own, but, during its 
entire life in the womb, grows into the personality of 
the soul, so the human nature of Christ never for an 
instant had a separate personal existence of its own, 
but, from the instant of its conception, grew into the 
eternal personality of the Son of God. There are in 
Christ, therefore, two natures, but one person ; a human 
as well as a divine nature, but only a divine person. 
His humanity began to exist in the womb of the Virgin, 
but his person existed from eternity. His divinity is 
personal, his humanity impersonal, and his divine na- 
ture and his human nature one Person. 

6th. Although but one Person, the divine and human 
natures in Christ are not mixed or confused in one, but 
remain two pure and distinct natures, divine and human, 
constituting one person for ever. 

It is impossible for us to explain philosophically how 
two self-conscious intelligences, how two self-determined 
free agents, can constitute one person. Yet this is the 
precise character of the phenomenon revealed in the 
history of Jesus. In order to simplify the matter, some 
error ists have supposed that in the person of Christ 
there was no human soul, but that his divine Spirit 
took the place of the human soul in his human body. 
Others have so far separated the two natures as to make 
him two persons — a God and a man intimately united. 
Others have so pressed the natures together that neither 
pure divinity nor pure humanity is left, but a new 



196 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

nature resulting from the mixing of both. In opposi- 
tion to this, we have proved above (a) ihat Christ had a 
true human soul as well as a human body, and (6) that 
he, although both a God and a Man, is only one single 
Person. The third point, viz., that Christ's two natures 
remain separate and unconfused, is self-evident. The 
very point proved in Scripture is that Christ always 
continued a true God and a true Man — not something 
else between the two. Now, the essential properties of 
divinity cannot be communicated to humanity; that is, 
humanity cannot be made to be infinite, self-existent, 
eternal and absolutely perfect. Because, if it possessed 
these, it would cease to be human and because even 
God himself cannot create divinity, and therefore can- 
not make humanity divine. The same is true with 
respect to Christ's divinity. If that should take on the 
limitations of humanity, it would cease to be divine, and 
even God is not able to destroy divinity. Hence, since 
Christ is both God and man, it follows that he cannot 
be a mixture of both, which is neither. Hence, while 
the Scriptures constantly affirm (as we have seen) of the 
one Person whatsoever is true, without exception, of 
either nature, they never affirm of either nature that 
which belongs to the other. It is said that God — i. e., 
the Person who is a God — gave his blood for his Church ; 
but it is never said that his divinity died, or that his 
humanity came down from heaven. 

Section III. — The Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus 
united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy 
Spirit above measure ;^^ having in him all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowledge,^* in whom it pleased the Father that all fulnesp 
ahould dwell," to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOfl. 197 

and full of grace and truth, ^^ he might be thoroughly furnished 
to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety ;^^ which office he 
took not unto himself, but was thereunto called by his Father,^ 
who put all power and judgment into his hand and gave him com- 
mandment to execute the same,^^ 

Section IV. — This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly un- 
dertake ;" which that he might discharge, he was made under the 
law,^ and did perfectly fulfil it;^* endured most grievous torments 
immediately in his soul^ and most painful sufferings in his body i'^^ 
was crucified and died;^^ was buried, and remained under the 
power of death, yet saw no corruption.^ On the third day he 
arose from the dead,^ with the same body in which he suffered;^ 
with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the 
right hand of his Father,^^ making intercession f^ and shall return 
to judge men and angels at the end of the world. ^^ 

15 Ps. xlv. 7; John iii. 34.— 16 Col. ii. 3.—" Col. i. 19.— is Heb. vii. 26; 
John i. 14.-19 Acts x. 38 ; Heb. xii. 24 ; vii. 22.-20 Heb. v. 4, 5.— 21 John 
V. 22, 27; Matt, xxviii. 18; Acts ii. 36.-22 Pg. xl. 7, 8 ; Heb. x. 5-10 ; John 
X. 18; Phil, ii, 8.-23 Qal. iv. 4.-2* Matt. iii. 15; v. 17.— 25 Matt. xxvi. 37, 
38; Luke xxii. 44; Matt, xxvii. 46.-26 Matt, xxvi., xxvii.— 27 Phil. ii. 8.— 
28 Acts ii. 23, 24, 27 ; Acts xiii. 37 ; Rom. vi. 9—29 1 Cor. xv. 3-5.— «» John 
XX. 25-27.— 81 Mark xvi. 19.— 32 Rom. viii. 34; Heb. ix. 24; vii. 25.— 
83 Rom. xiv. 9, 10; Acts i. 11; x. 42; Matt. xiii. 40-42; Judo 6; 2 Pet. 
ii. 4. 

These Sections proceed to teach — 

1st. That the effect of this hypostatical union upon 
the human nature of Christ, although not deification, is 
an incomparable exaltation and glorification. 

2d. That Christ is Mediator, and discharges all the 
functions of that office, not as Lord nor as man, but as 
God-man. 

3d. That he was appointed to this office by the Father, 
and acts in it upon an authority derived from the Father. 

4th. That nevertheless he took this office upon him- 
self, and all involved in it, voluntarily. 

5th. That he discharged its functions in his estate of 
17* 



198 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

humiliation, which consisted (a) in his being born, and 
that in a low condition ; (6) his being made under the 
law and rendering perfect obedience to it; (c) under- 
going the miseries of this life, the wrath of God and 
the cursed death of the cross ; (d) in his being buried 
and continuing under the power of death for a time. 

6th. He discharged the functions of the mediatorial 
office, also, in his estate of exaltation, which consisted in 
(a) his rising from the dead on the third day, (6) in his 
ascending up into heaven, (c) in his sitting at the right 
hand of God the Father, where he intercedes for and 
reigns over all things in behalf of his people, and {d) 
in his coming to judge the world at the last day. 

1st. The effect of this hypostatical union upon the 
human nature of Christ was not to deify it, since, as we 
saw above, the human nature as well as the divine na- 
ture remains pure, separate and unchanged after as 
before. But the effect of this union was (1) to exalt 
the human nature of Christ to a degree of dignity and 
honour greatly beyond that attained by any other crea- 
ture. (2.) To fill it with a perfection of intellectual and 
moral excellence beyond that of any other creature. The 
Father gave not the Spirit by measure unto him. John 
iii. 34. It pleased the Father that in him should all 
fulness dwell. Col. i. 19. 

His person, therefore, possessed all the properties be- 
longing to absolute divinity, and an all-perfect and 
incomparably exalted manhood, and was thoroughly 
furnished to execute the office of Mediator and Surety. 

2d. Hence Christ was Mediator, and discharged all 
the functions of that office, not as God, nor as man, but 
as God-man. As this point is more directly called up 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 199 

by the seventh Section of this Chapter, it will be con- 
sidered in that place. 

3d. That Christ was appointed to this office by the 
Father, and acts in it upon an authority derived from the 
Father, is very prominently as well as clearly set forth 
in Scripture : " As no man taketh this honour upon him- 
self, but he that was called of God as was Aaron, so 
also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high 
priest, but he was called of God a high priest after the 
order of Melchizedec." Heb. v. 4-10. Christ constantly 
affirms that he was "sent by the Father;" that the 
Father has given in him " a commandment ;" that the 
** works" which he performed and the "words" which 
he spoke were not his, but the Father's that sent him. 
" I can of mine own self do nothing. As I hear I 
judge; and ray judgment is just, because I seek not 
mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath 
sent me." John v. 30. " Jesus answered and said, My 
doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." John vii. 16. 
" If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go 
unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I." John 
xiv. 24, 28, 31 ; x. 18 ; xii, 49 ; iv. 34. 

The Eternal Word is of the same identical substance 
with and equal to the Father in power and glory. But 
the God-man, in his official relations and works, is offi- 
cially, and as far as concerns these relations and actions 
alone, inferior to the Father — sent by his authority, 
acting for him, returning and accounting to him. 

4th. That nevertheless Christ took this office and all 
it involved upon himself voluntarily is very evident, 
because (1) otherwise being absolute God it could never 
have been imposed upon him. (2.) Because otherwise 



200 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

his obedience and suffering could not have vicariously 
availed for us. (3.) Because otherwise the execution 
of the law upon him would have been outrageously 
unjust. (4.) Because it is expressly declared. Speak- 
ing of his life, he said, " No man taketh it from me, 
but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it 
down, and I have power to take it again.'' John x. 18. 
The motive which impelled him to the self-sacrificing 
undertaking was a personal love for his people '• that 
passeth knowledge.'' Gal. ii. 20 ; Eph. iii. 19 ; v. 2. 

5th. Christ discharged the functions of the mediato- 
rial office in his estate of humiliation, which consists — 
(1.) In his being born and that in a low condition. It 
is evident that nothing could be added to the divine 
perfections by the assumption of a human nature into a 
personal relation. On the other hand it is an act of 
infinite condescension on the part of the Godhead of 
Jesus, and of transcendent and permanent benefit to the 
whole intelligent creation, that all the fulness of the 
Godhead should be contained in him bodily, and so 
revealed under the limitations of a finite nature. For 
it is only thus that the infinite can be "seen and known," 
"' tasted and handled," and that of its " fulness we may 
all receive, and grace for grace." John i. 16, 18 ; 1 
John i. 1. 

(2.) In his being made under the law, and rendering 
perfect obedience to it. The law lays its claims not 
upon natures, but upon persons. The person of Christ 
was eternal and divine. Personally, therefore, he was 
the norm, the Author and Lord of the law, his divine 
perfections being the necessary and supreme law to him- 
eelf and to the universe he had made. Therefore he 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 201 

owed Dothing to the law, since the law was conformed 
to him, not he to the law. 

But, as we have seen chap, vii., § 3, in the covenant 
of grace the Mediator assumes in behalf of his elect 
seed the broken conditions of the old covenant of works 
precisely as Adam left them. In that covenant punish- 
ment was conditioned upon disobedience, and life and 
blessedness upon obedience. Therefore it was necessary 
that the "second Adam" should render vicarious obedi- 
ence in order to secure for his people the promised reward, 
as M^ell as that he should suffer the penalty in order 
to secure for them the remission of sins. By Christ's 
suffering (passive obedience), our Confession teaches, he 
purchases for us reconciliation, while by his fulfilling 
the precepts of the law (active obedience) he purchases 
for us "an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of 
heaven." Chap, viii., § 5. 

Christ, therefore, was " made under the law," Gal. iv. 
4, 5, {a) not as a rule of righteousness but as a condi- 
tion of blessedness, "to redeem them that are under the 
law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." (b.) 
Not for himself, but officially as our representative, (c.) 
His whole obedience of that law was vicarious — instead 
of our obedience and for our sakes. " By the obedience 
of one shall many be made righteous." Rom. v. 19. 

(3.) His undergoing the miseries of this life, the 
wrath of God and the cursed death of the cross. Christ 
was the representative of his people, and all his obedi- 
ence and suffering was vicarious from his birth until all 
the conditions of the covenant of life were fulfilled. 
All his earthly career was in one aspect suffering, in 
another aspect obedience. As suffering, it was a vicari- 



202 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

ous endurance of the penalty of sin. As obedience, if 
was the discharge in the stead and behalf of his people 
of that condition upon which their eternal inheritance 
is suspended. The two were never separated in fact. 
They are only the two legal aspects presented by the 
same life of suffering obedience. The essence of the 
penalty vicariously borne by Christ was the " wrath of 
God." The incidents of it were " the miseries of this 
life." The culmination of it was " the cursed death of 
the cross." Gen. ii. 17 ; Heb. ix. 22. 

(4.) In his being buried and continuing under the 
power of death for a time. In the Creed commonly- 
called the Apostles' Creed, and adopted by all the 
churches, this last stage of the humiliation of Christ 
is expressed by the phrase, *^ He descended into hell" 
(Hades, the invisible world). This means precisely 
what our Confession affirms, that while the body of 
Jesus remained buried in the sepulchre his soul re- 
mained temporarily divorced from it in the unseen 
world of spirits. 

Some (as Pearson on the Creed, pp. 333-371), have* 
held that as Christ died vicariously as a sinner, so, in 
order to fulfil the law of death, his soul went tem- 
porarily to the place where the souls of those who die 
for their own sins die the second death for ever. 

The Lutherans teach that the descent of the God-man 
into hell, in order to triumph over Satan and his angels 
in the very citadel of his kingdom, was the first step in 
his exaltation. Form, of Concord, Part II., chap. ix. 

The Romanists teach that Christ went, while his 
body was in the grave, to that department of Hades 
(invisible world) which they call the Limhus Fatrun, 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 203 

where the believers under the old dispensation were 
gathered, to preach the gospel to them, and to take 
them with him to the heaven he had prepared for them. 
Cat. of the Coun. of Trent, Part I., art. 5. 

6th. He executed the functions of his mediatorial 
office, also, in his estate of exaltation, which consisted — 
(1.) In his rising from the dead on the third day. The 
fact of his resurrection is proved, (a.) Predicted in 
Old Testament. Compare Ps. xvi. 10; Acts ii. 24-31. 
(6.) Christ himself predicted it. Matt. xx. 19 ; John x. 
18. (c.) The witness of the eleven apostles. Acts i. 3. 
(d.) The separate testimony of Paul. 1 Cor. xv. 8; Gal. 
i. 12; Acts ix. 3-8. (e.) He was seen by five hundred 
brethren at once. 1 Cor. xv. 6. (/.) The miracles 
wrought by the apostles in attestation of the fact. Heb. 
ii. 4. (g.) The witness of the Holy Ghost. Acts v. 32. 
(h.) The change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the 
first day of the week. 

The importance of the fact is proved to be funda- 
mental, (a.) The resurrection of Christ is the pledge 
for the fulfilment of all the prophecies and promises of 
both Testaments. (6.) It proved him to be the Son of 
God, because it authenticated his claims, and because he 
rose by his own power. John ii. 19 ; x. 17. (c.) It was 
a public acceptance of this mediatorial work in our be- 
half by the Father. Rom. vi. 25. (d.) Hence we have 
an advocate with the Father. Rom. viii. 34. (e.) "If 
Christ lives, we shall live also.'' John xiv. 19; 1 Pet. i. 
3-5 ; 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22. (/.) His resurrection secures 
ours. Rom. viii. 11; 1 Cor. vi. 15; xv. 49; Phil. iii. 
21 ; 1 John iii. 2.* 

* Dr. Charles Hodge. 



204 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

(2.) In his ascending up into heaven. This took place 
forty days after his resurrection, from a portion of the 
Mount of Olives near to Bethany, in the presence of the 
eleven apostles and possibly other disciples. He as- 
cended as Mediator, triumphing over his enemies and 
giving gifts to his friends (Eph. iv. 8-12) to complete 
his mediatorial work, as the forerunner of his people 
(John xiv. 2, 3 ; Heb. vi. 20), to fill the universe with 
the manifestations of his power and glory. Eph. iv. 10. 

(3.) In his sitting at the right hand of God the 
Father, where he intercedes for, and reigns over all 
things in the behalf of, his people. The passages which 
speak of this session of the Mediator at the right hand 
of the Father are, Ps. xvi. 11 ; ex. 1 ; Dan. vii. 13, 14 ; 
Matt. xxvi. 64; Mark xvi. 19; John v. 22; Rom. viii. 
34; Eph. i. 20, 22; Phil. ii. 9-11 ; Col. iii. 1 ; Heb. i. 
3, 4 ; ii. 9 ; x. 12 ; 1 Pet. iii. 22 ; Rev. v. 6. This right 
hand of God denotes the official exaltation of the Me- 
diator to supreme glory, felicity and dominion over 
every name that is named. It is, moreover, a definite 
place, since the finite soul and body of Christ must be 
in a definite place, and there his glory is revealed and 
his authority exercised. There he intercedes for his 
people, a priest upon his throne (Zech. vi. 13); and 
hence he effectually applies to his people, by his Spirit, 
that salvation which he had previously achieved for 
them in his estate of humiliation. 

With the presentation of "his own blood" (Heb. ix. 
12, 24) he pleads for those who are embraced in his cov- 
enant, and for those blessings in their behalf which, in 
that covenant, were conditioned upon his obedience and 
suffering. John xvii. 9; Luke xxii. 32; see John xvii. 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 205 

His intercession is always prevalent, and successful. 
John ii. 42 ; Ps. xxi. 2. 

(4.) In his coming to judge the world at the last day 
This will be discussed in its proper place under Chapter 
x:xxiii. 

Section V. — The Lord Jesus, by bis perfect obedience and 
sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once of- 
fered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of his Father, ** 
and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inherit- 
ance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father 
hath given unto him.^ 

Section VI. — Although the work of redemption was not ac- 
tually wrought by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, 
efficacy and benefits thereof were communicated unto the elect in 
all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by 
those promises, types and sacrifices wherein he was revealed and 
signified to be the Seed of the woman which should bruise the 
serpent's head, and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the 
world, being yesterday and to-day the same, and for ever.^ 

w Rom. V. 19 J Heb. ix. 14, 16; x. 14; Eph. v. 2; Rom. iii. 25, 26.— 
» Dan. ix. 24, 26 ; Col. i. 19, 20; Eph. i. 11, 14 ; John xvii. 2; Heb. ix. 12, 
15.— 8« Gal. iv. 4, 5; Gen. iii. 15; Rev. xiii. 8; Heb. xiii. 8. 

Compare Chapter xi., § 3 : " Christ, by his obedience 
and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that 
are thus justified, and did make a proper, real and full 
satisfaction to his Father's justice in their behalf." 

These Sections teach us of the effects of Christ's me- 
diatorial work on earth : 

1st. That Christ made satisfaction in behalf of those 
whom he represented (a) by his obedience, (6) by his 
sacrifice of himself. 

2d. That Christ has in strict rigour /ttZ/y satisfied all 
the demands of divine justice upon those whom he 
represents. 

18 



206 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

3d. That thus he has, according to the terms of the 
eternal covenant, not only secured, in behalf of those 
whom he represented, remission of sins and propitiation 
of divine wrath, but also an everlasting inheritance in 
the kingdom of heaven. 

4th. That although this perfect satisfaction was ren- 
dered in his obedience and suffering only subsequently 
to his incarnation, yet the full benefits thereof had been 
applied to each of the elect severally in their successive 
generations by the Holy Ghost, through the varying 
forms of truth to them made known. 

1st. That Christ made satisfaction for those whom he 
represented, both by his obedience and by his sacrifice 
of himself, has been shown above, Chapter vii., § 3, and 
viii., § 4. This truth is taught in the Confessions of all 
the churches, Lutheran and Reformed. The Heidel- 
berg Catechism, one of the most generally adopted of all 
the Reformed Confessions, says, Question 60 : " God, 
without any merit of mine, but only of mere grace, 
grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, right- 
eousness and holiness of Christ, ... as if I had fully 
accomplished all that obedience which Christ hath ac- 
complished for me." 

The Formula of Concord, a Lutheran Confession, 
says : " Since Christ was not only man, but God and 
man in one undivided person, so he was not subject to 
the law, nor obnoxious lo suffering and death, because 
he was Lord of the law. On which account his obe- 
dience is imputed to us ; so that God on account of that 
whole obedience (which Christ by his acting and by his 
suffering, in his life and in his death, for our sake ren- 
dered to his Father who is in heaven) remits our sins, 



CHRIST THE MEDl vTOR. 207 

reputes us as good and just and gives us eternal salva* 
tion." 

2d. Christ thus has, in strict rigour, fully satisfied all 
the demands of divine justice upon those whom he 
represents. As we saw (Chapter ii., §§ 1, 2) the essen- 
tial justice of the divine nature demands the punish- 
ment of sin. It demands also that the condition of the 
original covenant of works should be fulfilled before the 
reward is granted. The latter, Christ does by his obe- 
dience. The former, he suffers in the sorrows of his 
life and death. Christ suffered as the representative of 
sinners. Our sins were laid upon him. He redeemed 
us from the curse of the law by being made a curse 
for us. He died the just for the unjust. He is the 
propitiation (expiation) for our sins. He gave his life 
a ransom for many. We are bought with a price. Gal. 
iii. 13; 1 Pet. iii. 18; 1 John ii. 2; Matt. xx. 28; 1 
Tim. ii. 6. Christ suffered only in his single human 
soul and body, and only for a time. Nevertheless, his 
person was the infinite and transcendently glorious per- 
son of the eternal Son of God. Consequently his suffer- 
ings were precisely both in kind and degree what the 
infinite righteous wisdom of God saw to be in strict 
rigour a full equivalent in respect to the demands of 
legal justice, for the eternal sufferings of all for whom 
he suffered. This is the doctrine of the whole Christian 
Church. The "Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of 
England," say. Art. 31 : " The offering of Christ, once 
made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation and satis- 
faction for all the sins of the whole world, both original 
and actual." 

The Catechism of the Council of Trent, 2. 5-63: 



208 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

" Whatever is due by us to God on account of* our sins 
has been paid aliundantlj, although he should deal with 

us according to the strictest rigour of his justice 

For it we are indebted to Christ alone, who having paid 
the price of our sins on the cross, most fully satisfied 
God." 

3d. That thus he has, according to the terms of the 
everlasting covenant, not only secured in behalf of those 
whom he represented remission of sins and propitiation 
of divine wrath, but also an everlasting inheritance in 
the kingdom of glory. The sufferings of Christ secure 
the remission of the penalty, and by his active obedience, 
according to the terms of the covenant made with Adam 
and assumed by Christ, he purchases a right to life and 
eternal blessedness. That he has so purchased eternal 
life for all those in whose stead he rendered obedience, 
is proved from the fact that the Scriptures habitually 
set forth the truth that "the adoption of sons" and 
"eternal life" are given to the believer freely for 
Christ's sake, as elements of that pu7'chased possession 
of which the Holy Spirit is the earnest. Eph. i. 11-13; 
Rom. viii. 15, 17 ; Gal. i. 4 ; iii. 13, 14; iv. 4, 5; Eph. 
V. 25-27 ; Tit. iii. 5, 6 ; Eev. i. 5, 6 ; v. 9, 10. 

This proves therefore (1) that Christ did not die 
simply to make the salvation of those for whom he died 
possible — i. e., to remove legal obstructions to their sal- 
vation — but he died with the design and effect of 
actually securing their salvation and of endowing them 
gratuitously with an inalienable title to heaven. (2.) 
It proves in the second place that the vicarious sufferings 
of Christ must have been in design And effect, personal 
and defii ite as to their object. Salvation must be ap- 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 209 

plied to all those for whom it was purchased. Since 
not the possibility or opportunity for reconciliation, but 
actual reconciliation itself was purchased ; since not 
only reconciliation, but a title to an eternal inheritance 
was purchased, it follows (a) that "to all those for 
whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth cer- 
tainly and effectually apply and communicate the same." 
Conf. Faith, ch. viii. § 8. And (6) that he who never 
receives the inheritance, and to whom the purchased 
grace is never applied, is not one of the persons for 
whom it was purchased. 

4th. That although this satisfaction was rendered by 
Christ only after his incarnation, yet the full benefits 
thereof had been applied to each of the elect severally 
in their successive generations from the beginning, by 
the Holy Ghost, through the various forms of truth to 
them made known. This has been at length proved 
and illustrated. Chapter vii. §§ 5, 6. 

Section VII. — Christ in the work of mediation, acteth accord- 
ing to both natures ; by each nature doing that which is proper 
to itself;" yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is 
proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the 
person denominated by the other nature.*® 

w Heb. ix. U; 1 Pet. iii. 18.— 38 Acts xx. 28; John iii. 13 j 1 John iii. 16. 

Under Section ii. we saw that (a) Jesus of Nazareth 
was a true man. (6.) That he was true God. (c.) That 
he was nevertheless one single Person, (d.) That his 
personality is eternal and divine, his human nature 
having been generated into the pre-existent person of 
the Son. (e.) That these two natures remain one Per- 
son, yet distinct and unchanged divinity and humanity, 

18* 



210 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

without mixture or confusion. This Section proceeds 
to state — 

1st. That all Christ's mediatorial actions involve the 
concurrent activities of both natures, each nature con- 
tributing that which is proper to itself. 

Thus the divine nature of Christ is that fountain 
from which his revelation as prophet is derived. Other 
prophets reflect his light, or transmit what they receive 
from him. He is the original source of all divine 
knowledge. At the same time his humanity is the. 
form through which his Godhead is revealed, his flesh 
the veil through which its glory is transmitted. His 
person as incarnate God is the focus of all revelations — 
the subject as well as the organ of all prophetical teach- 
ing. 

Thus, also, the human nature of Christ was necessary 
in order that his person should be "made under the 
law ;" and it is the subject of his vicarious sufferings, 
and the organ of his vicarious obedience and intercession 
as our representative Priest and Intercessor. At the 
same time, it is only the supreme dignity of his divine 
person which renders his obedience supererogatory and 
therefore vicarious, and the temporary and finite suffer- 
ings of his humanity a full equivalent in justice-satisfy- 
ing eflScacy for the eternal sufferings of all the elect. 
Thus, also, the activities of his divinity and humanity 
are constantly and beautifully blended in all his admin- 
istrative acts as King. The last Adam, the second man, 
the Head of a redeemed and glorified race, the First- 
born among many brethren, he has dominion over all 
creatures ; and, with a human heart acting out through 
the energies of divine wisdom and power, he makes all 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 211 

things work together for the accomplishment of his 
purposes of love. 

All mediatorial acts are therefore to be attributed to 
the entire person of the Theanthropos — God-man. And 
in the whole of his glorious Person is he to be obeyed 
and worshipped by angels and men. 

This Section teaches — 2d. That, because of the unity 
of both natures in one Person, that which is proper to 
either nature belongs of course to that one Person ; and 
sometimes in Scripture that which is proper to one 
nature is attributed to the Person denominated by the 
other nature. Thus, as shown above under Section ii., 
the Scriptures often say that God shed his blood for his 
Church, or that the Son of Man came down from 
heaven, while they never say that the human nature of 
Christ came down from heaven, or that his divine nature 
suffered for his Church. 

Section VIII. — To all those for whom Christ hath purchased 
redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and commu- 
nicate the same ;** making intercession for them ;** and revealing 
unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation ;*^ 
effectually persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey ; 
and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit ;** overcoming 
all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such 
manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and 
unsearchable dispensation. ** 

» John vi. 37, 39 ; x. 15, 16.— «> 1 John ii. 1, 2 ; Rom. viii. 34.— « John 
XV. 13, 16 J Eph. i. 7-9; John xvii. 6.— « John xiv. 16; Heb. xii. 2; 2 Cor. 
ir. 13; Rom. viii. 9, 14; xv. 18, 19; John xvii. 17.— *»Ps. ox. 1; 1 Cor. 
xv. 26, 26; Mai. iv. 2, 3; Col. ii. 15. 

This Section teaches — 

Ist. That Christ, as mediatorial King, seated at the 



212 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

right hand of God, applies the redemption he had 
effected as Priest to the proper subjects of it. This 
point has been already discussed under Chapter vii., § 4, 
and Chapter viii., §§ 1, 4, when we were treating of 
Christ, the Head and Surety of the covenant and media- 
torial King, and of his session at the right hand of God. 

2d. That he proceeds in the effectual application of 
redemption in the use of each of the four following 
methods : (a.) By making intercession for the persons 
concerned. (6.) By the revelation of the mysteries of 
salvation to them in his Word, (c.) By the effectual 
operation of his Spirit on their hearts, (d) By all 
necessary dispensations of his providence. The discus- 
sion of these points must be looked for under the several 
heads of "The Holy Scripture,^' "Providence,'^ "God's 
Covenant with Man," "Christ the Mediator," "Effectual 
Calling," "Justification," etc. 

3d. That Christ doth certainly and effectually apply 
and communicate redemption to ALL those for whom 
he hath purchased it. 

Our Standards, it will be observed, very explicitly 
teach that Christ, as mediatorial Priest, made expiation 
and purchased salvation for certain definite persons. 
Thus, in Chapter iii., § 6, it is said: "As God hath 
appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal 
and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the 
means thereunto. Wherefore they that are elected, being 
fallen in Adam, ave redeemed by Christ. . . . Neither 
are any other redeemed by Christ, . . . but the elect 
only." Here it is expressly affirmed (a) that Christ 
died upon the cross on purpose to carry out the eternal 
purpose of God in the election of certain individuals to 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 213 

eternal life. (6.) That Christ died for the purpose of 
saving no other than the elect. 

In Chapter viii., § 5 : " The Lord Jesus, by his per- 
fect obedience and sacrifice of himself, .... purchased 
not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance 
in the kingdom of heaven for all those whom the Father 
hath given unto him." Here it is expressly taught — 
(a.) That the design of Christ in dying was not simply 
to make the salvation of all men possible, but actually 
to purchase reconciliation for those given to him by the 
Father. (6.) That for the same persons Christ actually 
purchases, and consequently infallibly secures, an eternal 
inheritance in heaven. 

In Chapter viii., § 8, it is said : " To all. those for 
whom Christ hath purchased redemption he doth cer- 
tainly and effectually apply and communicate the same." 
L. Cat., Q. 59 : " Redemption is certainly applied and 
effectually communicated to all those for whom Christ 
hath purchased it." When this Confession was written, 
the phrase " to purchase redemption" was used in the 
sense in which we use the phrase " make atonement for 
sin." So it was so used by Baxter in his work, " Uni- 
versal Redemption of Mankind by the Lord Jesus 
Christ," and by Dr. Isaac Barrow in his sermon entitled 
"The Doctrine of Universal Redemption Asserted and 
Explained." Dr. Henry B. Smith, in his edition of 
Hagenbach, vol. ii., pp. 356, 357, says that our Confes- 
sion uses the phrase in the same sense. 

The entire truth upon this subject, as set forth in our 
Standards, may be stated summarily in the following 
propositions : 

Ist. God has acted from the beginning in all his 



214 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

works according to one changeless, all-comprehensive 
plan. Being infinitely wise and powerful, his design is 
always fully executed, and therefore is fully revealed in 
the event. God therefore intended to accomplish by 
Ae vicarious obedience and sufferings of Christ pre- 
:isely what he does accomplish — nothing more and 
nothing less. 

2d. The satisfaction rendered by Christ is amply 
sufficient for all men who can possibly be created. 

3d. It is exactly adapted to the legal relations and 
wants of every man — of one man as well as of another. 

4th. Hence it has for ever removed out of the way 
all legal obstacles to God^s saving any man he wills to 
save. 

5th. That it is freely, authoritatively and in good 
faith offered to every man to whom the gospel comes. 

6th. Hence it follows — (a.) This redemption is right- 
fully the possession of any man whatsoever who accepts. 
(6.) It is objectively available to one hearer of the 
gospel as much as to another, upon the single condition 
of acceptance. 

7th. But, since all men are dead in tresspasses and 
sins, no man accepts it except those to whom it is effect- 
ually applied by the Holy Ghost. 

8th. It is effectually applied precisely to those per- 
sons to whom the Father and Son will to apply it. 

9th. Since God's purposes are all eternal and immu- 
table, the Father and Son will to apply it now precisely 
to those to whom they designed to apply it when Christ 
hung upon the cross, and they willed to apply it then 
precisely to those to whom they had designed to apply 
it from eternity. 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 215 

10th. Hence it follows — (a.) Christ died with the 
purpose of executing the decree of election, (b.) His 
design in making atonement was definite, having respect 
to certain definite persons — the elect and none others, 
(c.) He designed to secure the salvation of those for 
whose sake he rendered satisfaction, not merely to make 
their salvation possible, but to purchase for them in- 
alienably faith and repentance, actual reconciliation and 
the adoption of sons, etc., etc. (d.) He in time applies it 
effectually and certainly to all those for whom he pur- 
chased it. 

QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the Jirst truth before taught which is reaflirmed 
in the first Section ? 

2. What is the second truth before taught which is here re- 
affirmed ? 

3. What is the Jirst additional proposition taught in this 
Section ? 

4. What is the second here taught ? 

5. What is the third? 

6. What is a Mediator, and in what sense is the title applied 
to Christ? 

7. What is it necessary as respects God that the Mediator 
should eflfect? 

8. What is it necessary as respects man ? 

9. What great functions are necessarily embraced in the media- 
torial office ? 

10. What relation do these functions sustain to one another? 

11. What is a prophet, and what were the special character- 
istics of Christ as a prophet ? 

12. How did he execute the functions of a prophet? 

13. Prove the last answer. 

14. What were the essential characteristics of a priest? 

15. IIow did Christ execute this function? 



216 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

16. State the proof that Christ was a true priest. 

17. In what respects was his priesthood superior to that of 
Aaron ? 

.18. In what sense was he a priest after the order of Mel- 
chisedec ? 

19. How does Christ execute the function of a king? 

20. How does his sovereignty as mediatorial King differ from 
his authoritj^ as God ? 

21. Prove that he possesses and exercises this universal media- 
torial dominion now. 

22. What is the subject of the third Section? 

23. What is the first proposition which it teaches? 

24. What is the second proposition here taught? 

25. What is the third? 

26. What is the /owr^/i f 

27. What is the fifth f 

28. What is the siir^A .^ 

29. How is this doctrine stated in the Nicene Creed? 

30. How is it stated in the Athanasian Creed ? 

31. Prove that Jesus was a true man. 

32. Show that he was born of the substance of his mother. 

33. Prove that he was absolutely without sin. 

34. Prove that he was one single person. 

35. How do the Scriptures apply divine and human titles and 
predicates to Christ ? 

36. Is the personality of Christ divine or human ? 

37. Prove that his person is divine and eternal. 

38. What relation does his humanity sustain to the Person ? 

39. In what different ways have heretics striven to explain the 
relation of the two natures in the one person of Christ ? 

40. Prove that the natures always remain unmixed and un- 
changed. 

41. What is \\ie first proposition taught in the third and fourth 
Sections ? 

42. What is the second proposition taught? 

43. What is the ^^iirc/ .^ 

44. What is the /owr«A f 

45. What is the fifth ? 



CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. 217 

46. What is the sixth proposition taught ? 

47. What was the effect of the hypostatical union upon the 
human nature of Christ? 

48. Was Christ Mediator as God or man ? 

49. Who appointed Christ to this office, and by what authority 
does lie act ? 

50. In what sense is Christ subordinate to the Father ? 

51. Prove that Christ took this office upon himself voluntarily. 

52. In what two different estates did Christ execute the office 
of Mediator? 

53. Why was his being born an act of humiliation? 

54. In what sense was he made under the law, and in what 
sense did he render perfect obedience to it ? 

55. What was the design and significance of his undergoing 
the miseries of this life, the wrath of God and the cursed death 
of the cross? 

56. What different explanations have been given of the phrase 
in the Creed, " He descended into hell?" 

57. What is the explanation given in the Confession? 

58. How is the fact of Christ's resurrection proved? 

59. Show why this fact is of fundamental importance. 

60. When, how and for what purpose did he ascend to 
heaven ? 

61. What is meant by saying he sits at the right hand of 
God? 

62. For what great purpose does he assume and exercise this 
authority and power? 

63. In what manner, for whom, for what and with what effect 
does he intercede ? 

64. What is the Jirst proposition taught in Sections v. and vi. ? 

65. What is the second proposition there taught ? 

66. What is the third f 

67. What is the fourth? 

68. In what two ways did Christ make satisfaction for us ? 

69. How is this truth stated in the Ileidelburg Catechism and 
I<'ormuIa of Concord ? 

70. Prove that Christ has in strict ligour fully satisfied the 
justice of God. 

^4 



218 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

71 . How is this stated in the Articles of the Church of Eng- 
land and in the Catechism of the Council of Trent ? 

72. Prove that Christ died to purchase not only reconciliation, 
but an eternal inheritance, for those for whom he acted. 

73. Show that Christ did 'not die to make salvation possible, 
but actually to save. 

74. Show that Christ died with the intention of saving certain 
definite persons. 

75. Prove that the satisfaction of Christ avails for those who 
died before his advent. 

76. Prove that both the humanity and the divinity of Christ 
are necessarily exercised in all his mediatorial functions — pro- 
phetical, priestly and kingly. 

77. To what subject, therefore, are all mediatorial actions to be 
ascribed ? 

78. What is the first point taught in Section viii. ? 

79. What is the second point there taught? 

80. What is the third point there taught ? 

81. In what three places and in what three forms do our 
standards teach that Christ suffered with the design of saving 
certain definite persons ? 

82. What do our Standards teach as to the sufficiency, the 
adaptability and the universal offer and availability of the re- 
demption of Christ? 

83. What do they teach as to the design of the Father and the 
Son in the act of redemption ? 

84. What do they teach of the certainty of its application to 
all for whom it was originally designed ? 



CHAPTER IX. 



OF FREE WILL. 



Section I. — God hath endued the will of man with that 
natural liberty that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute ne- 
cessity of nature determined, to good or evil.^ 

1 Matt. xvii. 12 ; James i. 14 ; Deut. xxx. 19. 

This Section teaches the great fundamental truth of 
consciousness and revelation, which renders moral gov- 
ernment possible ; that man, in virtue of his creation, is 
endowed with an inalienable faculty of self-determina- 
tion, the power of acting or not acting, and of acting 
in the way which the man himself, upon the whole 
view of the case, desires at the time. There are only 
three generically different views upon this subject pos- 
sible : 

1st. That which regards the actions of men as caused 
directly by outward circumstances and occasions, under 
the same great law of necessity which governs the move- 
ments of all material agents. 

2d. That affected by the Arminians and others, which 
regards the will in man, or his bare faculty of volition, 
as possessing a mysterious f^apacity of self-determination, 
irrespective of all the judgments of the understanding 
and the affections of the heart and the entire state of 
the man's soul at the time. 

219 



220 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

3d. That which is taught in this Section — namely, 
that the human soul, including all its instincts, ideas, 
judp^ments. aft'ections and tendencies, has the power of 
self-decision ; that is, the soul decides in every case as , 
upon the whole, it pleases. 

That the first-stated view is not true is proved — (1.) 
From the universal consciousness of men with respect 
to their OAvn action, and observation of the action of 
other men. We are all conscious of possessing the 
power of determining our own action irrespective of any 
or of all external influences. In every case of delibe- 
rate choice we are conscious that we might have chosen 
the opposite if we had wished to do so, all outward 
circumstances remaining unchanged. We see that all 
material substances act only as they are acted upon, and 
in the same conditions invariably act in the same way. 
But, on the other hand, we see that our fellow-men, like 
ourselves, possess, without exception, the power of orig- 
inating action, and that, if they i)lease, they act very 
variously under the same circumstances. Circum- 
stances, including the sum total of conditions and rela- 
tions, control the action of all material agents, while 
)ersonal agents control circumstances. (2.) The same 
is proved by the fact that man is held responsible alike 
by his own conscience and by God for his own action. 
This evidently could not be the case if his action was 
caused by circumstances, and not freely by the man 
Jiimself. 

That the second view, which supposes that a man 
possesses the j)ower to choose without respect to his 
judgments or inclinations, is not true; and that the 
ihird view, which sup[)Oses that a man possesses the 



FREE WILL. 221 

inalienable faculty of choosing as upon the whole he 
judges right or desirable, is true, are proved — 

(1.) From the consideration that while we are con- 
scious in every deliberate act of choice that we might 
have chosen otherwise, all the external conditions being 
the same, we always feel that our choice was determined 
by the sum-total of our views, feelings and tendencies 
at the time. A man freely cho_o s£§_wiiaLJj£-Jfl^xlts^to 
choogg. He would not choose freely if he chose in any 
other way. But his desire in the premises is deter- 
mined by his whole intellectual and emotio nal state at 
the^time. 

(2.) It is plain that if the human will decided in any 
given case in oppositio n to all the views of the reasoja 
and all the desires of the heart, however free the will 
might be, the man would be a most pitiful slave to a 
mere irrational and immoral power of willing. 

(3.) All men judge that the rational and. m,Qral cha- 
racter of any act results from the purpose or desire^ the 
i nternal statQ of mind or heart, which prom})ted the act. 
If the man wills in any given case in opposition to all 
his judgments and to all his inclinations of every kind, 
his act in that case would obviously be neither rational 
nor moral, and the man himself, in respect to that act, 
would be neither free nor responsible. 

(4.) If the human soul had the power to ac^t thus irre- 
spective of its entire interior intellectual ami emotional 
condition at the time, su(.'h action could neither be fore- 
seen nor controlled by God, nor influenced by men, and 
such exercise of volitional power would be absolutely 
fortuitous. It would sustain no certain relation to the 
character of the agent. Christ taught, in opposition to 

19* 



222 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

this, that human action is determined by the character 
of the agent as certainly as the nature of the fruit is 
determined by the nature of the tree from which it 
springs ; and that the only way to change the character 
of the action is to change the pc. manent character or 
moral tendency and habit of tlic heart of the agent. 
Matt. vii. 16-20; xii. 33-35. 

Section II. — Man, in his state of innocenc}^ had freedom and 
power to will and to do that which is good and well-pleasing to 
God,^ but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it.' 

Section III.— Man, by his fall and state of sin, hath wholly 
lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salva- 
tion ;* so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that 
good,^ and dead in sin,^ is not able, by his own strength, to con- 
vert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.'^ 

Section IV. — When God converts a sinner and translates him 
into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage 
under sin,® and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and 
to do that which is spiritually good f yet so as that, by reason of 
his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly nor only will that 
which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.^° 

Section V. — The will of man is made perfectly and immutably 
free to do good alone in the state of glory only.^^ 

2 Eccles. vii. 29; Gen. i. 26.-3 Gen. ii. 16, 17; iii. 6.—* Rom. v. 6; viii. 
7; John XV. 5.-6 Rom. iii. 10, 12.— 6 Eph. ii. 1, 5; Col. ii. 13.— ^ John 
vi. 44, 65 ; Eph. ii. 2-5 ; 1 Cor. ii. 14 ; Tit. iii. 3-5.-8 Col. i. 13 ; John viii. 
34, 36.— » Phil. ii. 13; Rom. vi. 18, 22.— lo Gal. v. 17; Rom. vii. 15, 18, 19, 
21, 23.—" Eph. iv. 13; Heb. xii. 23; 1 John iii. 2; Jude 24. 

These Sections briefly state and contrast the various 
conditions which characterize the free agency of man in 
his four different estates of innocency, hereditary sin, 
grace and glory. In all these estates man is unchange- 
ably a free, responsible agent, and in all cases choosi^ig 
or refusing as, upon the whole, he prefers to do. A. 



FREE WILL. 223 

man's volition is as his desires are in the given case. 
His desires in any given case are as they are determined 
to be by the general and permanent tastes, tendencies 
and habitudes of his character. He is responsible for 
his desires, because they are determined by th^ nn,tnrf> 
a nd permanent characteristics of his o^n roilL . He is 
responsible for these, because they are the tendencies 
and qualities of his oion nature. If these are immoral, 
he and his actions are immoral. If these are holy, he 
and his actions are holy. 

When we say that man is a free agent, we mean (1) 
that he has the power of originating action ; that he is 
self-moved, and does not only move as he is moved upon 
from without. (2.) That he always wills that which, 
upon the whole view of the case presented by his under- 
standing at the time, he desires to will. (3.) That man 
is furnished with a reason to distinguish between the 
true and the false, and a conscience to distinguish be- 
tween the right and the wrong, in order that his desires 
and consequent volitions may be both rational and 
righteous ; and yet his desires are not necessarily either 
rational or righteous, but they are formed under the 
light of reason and conscience, either conformable or 
contrary to them, according to the permanent habitual 
disposition or moral character of the soul itself. 

1st. Adam in his estate of innocency was a free agent 
created with holy affections and moral tendencies, ^et 
with a <^bnrn^'^M' '-^^y^'^ iiiifMuf^rmpdj fvip^ibl^ ^)f pK^rlmnr.Q^ 
vet liable t o b^ s^diicpd by PY ter»a.l tem ptfitioiyajad by 
th e inordinate excitement of t^f^ propp.ns ions of his anirp a 1 
nature, such as in their proper degree and due subordina- 
tion are innocent. Of this state of a holy yet fallible 



224 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

nature we have no experience, and consequently very 
imperfect comprehension. 

2d. As to man's present estate, our Standards teach 
(1.) that man is still a free agent, and able to will as upon 
the whole he desires to will. (2.) That he has likewise 
ability to discharge many of the natural obligations 
which spring out of his relations to his fellow-men. (3.) 
That his soul by reason of the fall being morally cor- 
rupted and spiritually dead, his understanding being 
spiritually blind and his affections perverted, he is 
" utterly indisposed, disabled and made opposite to all 
good, and wholly inclined to evil'' (Conf. Faith, ch. vi., 
§ 4, and ch. xvi., § 3 ; L. Cat. Q. 25) ; and hence he 
"hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual 
good accompanying salvation," so that he "is not able 
of his own strength to convert himself," or even " to 
prepare himself thereunto." Conf. Faith, ch. ix., § 3. 
The same view is taught in all the Protestant Confes- 
sions, Lutheran and Reformed. 

Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, Art. 
10: "The condition of man after the fall of Adam is 
such that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own 
natural strength and good works to faith and calling 
upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good 
works pleasing and acceptable to God, w^ithout the grace 
of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a 
good will, and working with us when we have a good 
will." 

Articles of Synod of Dort, chap, iii. Art. 3: "All 
men are conceived in sin, and born childrt^n of wrath, 
indisposed to all saving good, })repense to evil, dead in 
sins and the slaves of sin, and without the grace of the 



FREE WILL. 225 

regenerating Holy Spirit they are neither willing nor 
able to return to God, to correct their depraved nature, 
or to dispose themselves to the correction of itJ^ 

Form, of Concord, p. 579, Hase's Collection (Lutheran): 
" Therefore we believe that as it is impossible for a dead 
body to revive itself, or to communicate animal life to 
itself, in the same degree is it impossible for a man, 
spiritually dead by reason of sin, to recal spiritual life 
within himself lb. p. 653: "We believe that neither 
the intellect, heart nor will of the unregenerate man is 
able of its own natural strength either to understand, 
believe, embrace, will, begin, perfect, perform, operate 
or co-operate anything in things divine and spiritual ; 
but man is so far dead and corrupt in respect to good 
that in the nature of man since the fall, and before re- 
generation, there is not even a scintilla of spiritual 
strength remaining whereby he can prepare himself for 
the grace of God, or apprehend that grace when offered, 
or is able in whole or in half, or in the least part, to 
apply or accommodate himself to that grace, or to confer 
or to act, or to operate or to co-operate anything for 
his own conversion.'' 

By liberty we mean the inalienable prerogative of the 
human soul of exercising volition as it pleases. In this 
sense man is as fvee now as before the fall. By ability 
we mean the capacity either to will in opposition to the 
desires and affections of the soul at the time, or by a 
bare exercise of volition to make oneself desire and love 
that which one does not spontaneously desire or love. 
We affirm that liberty is, and that ability in this sense 
is not, an element of the constitution of the soul. A man 
always wills as upon the whole he pleases, but he can- 



226 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

not will himself to please differently from wl at he does 
please. The moral condition of the heart determines 
the act of the will, bnt the act of the will cannot change 
the moral condition of the heart. 

This inability is (1) absolute. Man has no power, 
direct or indirect, to fulfil the moral law, or to accept 
Christ, or to change his nature so as to increase his 
power, and so can neither do his duty without grace, 
nor prepare himself by himself for grace. (2.) It is 
purely moral, because man possesses since the fall as 
much as before all the constitutional faculties requisite 
to moral agency, and his inability has its ground solely 
in the wrong moral state of those faculties. It is simply 
the evil moral disposition of the soul. (3.) It is natural, 
because it is not accidental, but innate and inheres in 
the universal and radical moral state of our souls by 
nature ; that is, as that nature is naturally propagated 
since the fall. (4.) It is not natural in the sense of be- 
longing to the nature of man as originally formed by God, 
or as resulting from any constitutional deficiency, or 
development of our natural moral faculties as originally 
given by God. 

That this doctrine is true is proved (1) from direct 
declarations of Scripture. " Can the Ethiopian change 
his skin or the leopard his spots ? then may ye also do 
good that are accustomed to do evil." Jer. xiii. 23. 
"No man can come unto me except the Father who 
hath sent me draw him. . . . No man can come unto 
me except it be given him of my Father." John vi. 
44, 65; Rom. ix. 16; 1 Cor. ii. 14. (2.) From what 
Scriptures say of man's state by nature. It is declared 
to be a state of " blindness " and " darkness " and of 



FREE WILL. 227 

"spiritual death." Eph. iv. 18; Col. ii. 13. The un- 
regenerate are the " servants of sin " and " subject to 
Satan.'' Rom. vi. 20; v. 6; 2 Tim. ii. 26; Matt. xxii. 
33-35 (3.) From what the Scriptures say of the nature 
and the universal and absolute necessity of regeneration : 
" Except a man be born again he cannot enter the king- 
dom of heaven." John iii. 3. It is called "a new 
birth/^ " a new creation/^ " a begetting anew/' " a giving 
a new heart.'' In this work God is the agent, man is 
the subject. It is so great that it requires the " mighty 
power of God." Eph. i. 18-20. All Christian duties 
are declared to be the fruits of the Spirit. Gal. v. 22, 
23. (4.) From the experience of every true Christian. 
(5.) From the consciousness of every convinced sinner. 
The great burden of all true conviction is not chiefly 
the sins committed, but the sinful deadness of heart and 
aversion to divine things which is the root of actual trans- 
gression, and which remains immovable in spite of all 
we do. (6.) From the universal experience of the hu- 
man race. If any man has ever naturally possessed 
ability to perform his spiritual duties, it is certain that 
no one has ever exercised it. 

3d. As to the estate into which the regenerate are 
introduced by grace, our Standards affirm — (1.) The 
regenerated Christian remains, as before, a free agent, 
willing always as upon the whole he desires to will. 
(2.) In^ the act of regeneration the Holy Spirit has 
implanted a new spiritual principle, habit or tendency 
in the affections of the soul, whicli, being subsequently 
nourished and directed by the ind welling Spirit^irees 
the man from his natural bondage under sin,-and enables 
him prevailingly to will freely that which is spiritually 



228 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

good. And yet, because of the lingering remains of his 
old corrupt moral habit of soul, there remains a conflict 
of tendencies, so that the Christian does not perfectly 
nor only will that which is good, but doth also will that 
which is evil. These points will be discussed under 
Chapters x. and xiii. 

4th. As to the estate of glorified men in heaven, our 
Confession teaches that they continue, as before, free 
agents, but that all the remains of their old corrupt 
moral tendencies being extirpated for ever, and the 
gracious dispositions implanted in regeneration being 
perfected, and the whole man being brought to the 
measure of the stature of perfect manhood in the like- 
ness of Christ's glorified humanity, they remain for ever 
perfectly free and immutably disposed to perfect holi- 
ness. Adam was holy and unstable. Unregenerate men 
are unholy and stable; that is, fixed in unholiness. 
Eegenerate men have two opposite moral tendencies 
contesting for empire in their hearts. They are cast 
about between them, yet the tendency graciously im- 
planted gradually in the end perfectly prevails. Glori- 
fied men are holy and stable. All are free, and there- 
fore responsible. 

QUESTIONS. 

1. What is taught in the first Section? 

2. What view as to the nature of human agency is first stated 
above? 

3. What is the second view stated above? 

4. What is the true view? 

5. Prove that the first stated view is not true. 

6. In what sense and under what limitations are we conscious 
of the power of contrary choice? 



FREE WILL. 229 

7. Does consciousness teach that the will of man or the man 
himself is free when he acts? How does this bear upon the 
question in hand? 

8. Whence do volitions derive their rational and moral cha- 
racter ? 

9. What would be the inevitable results if the volitions of men 
were decided irrespectively of all their mental and emotional 
states at the time? 

10. What do the second, third, fourth and fifth Sections teach? 

11. When is a man a free agent? 

12. Why is a man responsible for his volitions? Why for his 
desires? Why for the permanent moral state of his soul? 

13. What elements mast meet together to constitute a man a 
free agent? 

14. What were the peculiar characteristics of Adam's free 
agency ? 

15. What do our standards teach as to the state of man's moral 
freedom since the fall ? 

16. In what words and passages is the doctrine of our Stand- 
ards stated? 

17. What doctrine is taught in the Thirty-nine Articles of the 
Church of England, in the Articles of the Synod of Dort, and in 
the Lutheran Form, of Concord ? 

18. What is the distinction between "liberty" and "ability?" 
and which is affirmed and which denied of man in his present 
state? 

19. Why is this inability said to be "absolute?" 

20. Why is it said to be "moral?" 

21. In what sense is it natural, and in what sense is it not 
natural ? 

22. Prove this doctrine from the direct statements of Scripture. 

23. Do the same from what Scripture teaches of man's estate 
by nature. 

24. The same from what Scripture teaches of the nature and 
the necessity of regeneration. 

25. The same from the consciousness of every convicted 
sinner. 

26. The same from the experience of every converted man. 
20 



230 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

27. The same from the universal experience of mankind. 

28. What do our Standards teach of the characteristics of 
that moral freedom into which the believer is introduced by 
regeneration ? 

29. What do they teach of the characteristics of that moral 
freedom into which the glorified man is introduced after death? 



CHAPTER X. 

OF EFFECTUAL CALLING. 

Section I. — All those whom God hath predestinated unto 
life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted 
time, effectually to calV by his word and Spirit,'' out of that 
state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and 
salvation by Jesus Christ ;' enlightening their minds spiritually 
and savingly to understand the things of God ;* taking away their 
heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh ;^ renew- 
ing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them 
to that which is good,* and effectually drawing them to Jesus 
Christ ;' yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by 
his grace. ^ 

Section II. — ^This effectual call is of God's free and special 
grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man ;' who is 
altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed 
by the Holy Spirit," he is thereby enabled to answer this call, 
and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it." 

1 Rom. viii. 30; xi. 7; Eph. i. 10, 11.— 2 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14; 2 Cor. iii. 3, 
6.— « Rom. viii. 2; Eph. ii. 1-5; 2 Tim. i. 9, 10.—* Acts xxvi. 18; 1 Cor. 
ii. 10, 12 ; Eph. i. 17, 18.— 6 Ezek. xxxvi. 26.-6 Ezek. xi. 19 ; Phil. ii. 13 ; 
Deut. XXX. 6; Ezek. xxxvi. 27.— ^ Eph. i. 19; John vi. 44, 45.-8 Cant. 1. 
4 ; Ps. ex. 3 ; John vi. 37 ; Rom. vi. 16-18.— 9 2 Tim. i. 9 ; Tit. iii. 4, 5 ; 
Eph. ii. 4, 6, 8, 9; Rom. ix. 11.— ^ 1 Cor. ii. 14; Rom. viii. 7; Eph. ii. 
6.— 11 John vi. 37 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 27 ; John v. 25. 

There is an outward call of God's word extended to 
all men to whom the gospel is preached, which is con- 
sidered under the fourth Section of this chapter. The 
first and second Sections treat of the internal effectual 

231 



232 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

call of God's Spirit which effects regeneration and which 
is experienced only by the elect. Of this internal call 
it is affirmed — 

' 1st. That there is such an internal call, and that it is 
necessary to salvation. 

2d. As to the subjects of it, that they embrace all the 
elect and only the elect. 

3d. As to the agent of it — [a) That the sole agent of 
it is the Holy Ghost, who uses (6) the revealed truth of 
the gospel as his instrument ; (c) that the subjects of it, 
while they have freely resisted all those common influ- 
ences of the Holy Ghost which they have experienced 
before regeneration, are entirely passive with respect to 
that special act of the Spirit whereby they are regene- 
rated; nevertheless, in consequence of the change wrought 
in them in regeneration, they obey the call and subse- 
quently more or less perfectly co-operate with grace. 

4th. As to the nature of it, it is taught that it is an 
exercise of the almighty and effectual power of the 
Holy Ghost acting immediately upon the soul of the 
subject, determining him and effectually drawing, yet 
in a manner perfectly congruous to his nature, so that he 
comes most freely, being made willing. 

5th. As to the effect of it, it is taught that it works 
a radical and permanent change in the entire moral 
nature of the subject, spiritually enlightening his mind, 
sanctifying his affections, renewing his will and giving 
a new direction to his action. 

1st. That there is such an internal call of the Spirit, 
distinct from the external call of the Word, and that it 
is necessary to salvation, are proved (1) from what the 
Sciiptures te:u-h concerning man's state by nature as a 



EFFECTUAL CALLING. 233 

state of spiritual death, blindness, insensibility and 
absolute inability with respect to all action spiritually 
good, as has been sufficiently shown under Chap, ix., § 3. 

(2.) The Scriptures distinguish between the Spirit's 
influence and that of the Word alone. 1 Cor. ii. 14, 15 ; 
iii. 6 ; 1 Thess. i. 5, 6. 

(3.) A spiritual influence is declared to be necessary 
to dispose and enable men to receive the truth. John vi. 
45; Acts xvi. 14; Eph. i. 17. 

(4.) All that is good in man is referred to God as its 
author. Eph. ii. 8 ; Phil. ii. 13 ; 2 Tim. ii. 25 ; Heb. 
xiii. 21. 

(5.) The working of the Spirit upon the hearts of 
the regenerated is represented as far more direct, power- 
ful and efficient than the mere moral influence of the 
truth upon the understanding and affections. Eph. i. 19; 
iii. 7. 

(6.) The result effected in regeneration is different 
from an effect proper to the simple truth. It is "a 
new birth,'' " a new creation," etc. John iii. 3, 7 ; Eph, 
iv. 24. 

(7.) The Scriptures explicitly distinguish between the 
two calls. Of the subjects of the one it is said, "Many 
are called, but few are chosen." Matt. xxii. 14. Of the 
subjects of the other it is said, " Whom he called, them 
he also justified." Rom. viii. 30. Comp. Prov. i. 24, 
and John vi. 45. 

All these arguments conspire to prove that this spirit- 
ual influence is essential to salvation. Whatever is the 
necessary condition of regeneration is the necessary con- 
dition of salvation, because "except a man be born 
again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John iii. 3. 

2»* v^. 



234 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

2d. That this spiritual call embraces all the elect, aud 
only the elect, is proved — (1.) From 'what has been 
already proved, (a) Chapter iii., §§ 3, 4, 5, that God has 
from eternity definitely and unchangeably determined 
who shall be saved ; and (6) Chapter iii., § 6, that God, 
having "appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by 
the eternal and most free purpose of his will, fore- 
ordained all the means thereunto." Effectual calling 
being the actual saving of a soul from the death of sin 
by the mighty power of God, it is obvious that it must 
be applied to all who are to be saved, and that it cannot 
be applied to any who are not to be saved. (2.) The 
same is proved from the fact that the Scriptures repre- 
sent the "called" as the "elect" and the "elect" as the 
"called." Kom. viii. 28, 30. "Those with Christ in 
heaven are called, elect and faithful." (3.) The Scrip- 
tures, moreover, declare that the "calling" is based upon 
the "election." 2 Tim. xix. " Who hath saved us and 
called us with an holy calling, not according to our 
works, but according to his own purpose and grace, 
which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world 
began." 2 Tim. i. 9; 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14; Rom. xi. 7. 

3d. That the sole agent in this effectual calling is the 
Holy Ghost ; that he uses Gospel truth as his instru- 
ment; and that, while all sinners are active in resisting 
the common influences of grace before regeneration, and 
all believers in co-operating with sanctifying grace after 
regeneration, nevertheless every new-created soul is 
passive with respect to^ that divine act of the Holy 
Spirit whereby he is regenerated, may all be proved 
under the following distinct heads : 

(1.) There are certain influences of the Spirit in the 



EFFECTUAL CALLING. 235 

present life which extend to all men in a greater or less 
degree; which tend to restrain or to persuade the soul; 
which are exerted in the way of heightening the natural 
moral eifect of the truth upon the understanding, the 
licart and the conscience. They involve no change of 
principle and permanent disposition, but only an in- 
crease of the natural emotions of the heart in view of 
sin, of duty and of self-interest. These influences, of 
course, may be resisted, and are habitually resisted, by 
the un regenerated. The fact that such resistible in- 
fluences are experienced by men is proved (a) from the 
fact that the Scriptures affirm that they ar^ resisted. 
Gen, vi. 3 ; Heb. x. 29. (6.) Every Christian is con- 
scious that anterior to his conversion he was the subject 
of influences impressing him with serious thoughts, 
convincing him of sin, tending to draw him to the 
obedience of Christ, which he for the time resisted. 
We observe the same to be true of many men who are 
never truly converted at all. 

(2.) The distinction between regeneration and conver- 
sion is obvious and necessary. Under Chapter ix. we 
saw that the voluntary acts of the human soul are 
determined by and derive their character from the afi^ec- 
tions and desires which prompt them ; and these affec- 
tions and desires derive their character from the perma- 
nent moral state of the soul in which they arise. In 
the unregenerate this permanent moral state and dispo- 
sition of the soul is evil, and lience the action is evil. 
Action positively holy is impossible except as the conse- 
quence of a positively holy disposition. The infusion 
of such a disposition must therefore precede any act of 
true spiritual obedience. Effectual calling, according tc 



236 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the usage of our Standards, is the act of the Holy Spirit 
effe(ting regeneration. Regeneration is the effect pro- 
duced by the Holy Spirit in effectual calling. The 
Holy Spirit, in the act of effectual calling, causes the 
30ul to become regenerate by implanting a new govern- 
ing principle or habit of spiritual affection and action. 
The soul itself, in conversion, immediately acts under 
the guidance of this new principle in turning from sin 
unto God through Christ. It is evident that the im- 
plantation of the gracious principle is different from the 
exercise of that principle, and that the making a man 
willing is different from his acting willingly. This first 
is the act of God solely ; the second is the consequent 
act of man, dependent upon the continued assistance of 
the Holy Ghost. 

That God is the sole agent in the act which effects 
regeneration is plain — (a.) From the nature of the case, 
as shown above. The making an unwilling man willing 
cannot be co-operated with by the man while unwilling. 
(6.) From what was proved under Chapter ix., § 3, as 
to man's absolute inability with respect to spiritual 
things, (c.) From what the Scriptures say as to the 
nature of the change. They call it ^'a. new birth," "a 
begetting," '^a quickening," "a new creation." ^'God 
begetteth, the Spirit quickeneth ;" " We are born again," 
"TFe are God's workmanship." See also Ezek. xi. 19; 
Ps. li. 10; Eph. iv. 23; Heb. viii. 10. That, after re- 
generation, the new-born soul at once begins and ever 
continues more or less perfectly to co-operate with sano 
tifying grace, is self-evident. Faith, repentance, love, 
good works, are one and all at the same time "fruits of 
the Spirit" and free actions of men. We are continually 



EFFECTUAL CALLING. 237 

conscious, moreover, that we are subject to divine influ- 
ences, which we are either resisting or obeying, and 
which we are free to resist or obey as we please, while 
through grace we do prevailingly please to obey. 

(3.) That the Holy Spirit uses the 'Hruth'' as his 
instrument in effectual calling is plain — (a.) Because he 
never acts in this way where the knowledge of the truth 
is entirely wanting, (b.) Because the Scriptures assert 
that we are begotten by the truth, sanctified by the 
truth, grow by it, etc. John xvii. 19 ; James i. 18. 

4th. That this divine action is in its nature at once 
omnipotent and certainly efficacious, and yet perfectly 
congruous to the rational and voluntary nature of man, 
follows certainly from the fact that it is the act of the 
all-wise and all-powerful God in executing his self-con- 
sistent and immutable decrees. What God does directly 
to accomplish his own changeless purposes must be cer- 
tainly efficacious and powerful. Eph. i. 18, 19. Besides, 
the very thing done is to make us willing, to work faith 
in us ; and that is indubitably connected with salvation. 
Phil. ii. 13. That it is effectual is also asserted. Eph. 
iii. 7, 20; iv. 16. 

That this divine influence is perfectly congruous to 
our nature is plain — (1.) From the fact that it is the 
influence of an all- wise Creator upon the work of his 
own hand. It is not conceivable either that God is un- 
able or indisposed to control the actions of his creatures 
in a manner perfectly consistent with their nature. (2.) 
The influence he exerts is called in Scripture " a draw- 
ing," "a teaching," "an enlightening," etc. John vi. 44, 
45 ; Eph. i. 18. (3.) By nature the mind is darkened 
and the affections perverted and the will enslaved by 



238 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

sin. Eegeneration restores these faculties to their proper 
condition. It cannot be inconsistent with a rational na- 
ture to let in the light, nor to a free will to deliver it from 
bondage. *' Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is 
liberty.'' 2 Cor. iii. 17 ; Phil. ii. 13; Ps. ex. 3. Every 
regenerated man is conscious (a) that no constraint has 
been laid upon the spontaneous movement of his facul- 
ties, and (6) that, on the other hand, none of his faculties 
ever acted so freely and consistently with the law of their 
nature before. 

5th. ^hat this change is radical is proved from the 
feet that, as shown above, it consists in the implantation 
of a new governing principle of life — from the fact that 
it is a " new birth," a " new creation," wrought by 
the mighty power of God in execution of his eternal 
purpose of salvation, and that it is as necessary for the 
most moral and amiable as for the morally abandoned. 

That this change is permanent will be shown under 
Chapter xvii., on the Perseverance of the Saints. 

That it affects the entire man — intellect, affections 
and will — is evident (1) from the essential unity of the 
soul. It is the one indivisible " I " which thinks, feels 
and wills. If the permanent moral state of the soul is 
corrupt, all its functions mast be perverted. We can 
have no desire for an object unless we perceive its love- 
liness ; nor can we perceive intellectually the loveliness 
of that which is wholly uncongenial to our inherent 
tastes and dispositions. (2.) The Scriptures expressly 
affirm that sin is essentially deceiving, that innate de- 
pravity involves moral blindness, and that the natural 
man cannot receive the things which are spiritually dis- 
cerned. 1 Cor. ii 4 ; 2 Cor. iv. 4 ; John xvi. 3. (3.) 



EFFECTUAL CALLING. 239 

The Scriptures expressly affirm that all the "new bom" 
are the subjects of a spiritual illumination of the under- 
standing as well as renewal of the affections. John xvii. 
3 ; 1 Cor. ii. 12, 13 ; 2 Cor. iv. 6 ; Eph. i. 18 ; 1 John 
iv. 7 ; V. 20. (4.) In the Bible the phrase " to give a 
new heart" is equivalent to effect regeneration, and the 
phrase "heart" is characteristically used for the entire 
interior man — intellect, affections and will. Observe 
such phrases as " counsels of the heart," 1 Cor. iv. 5 ; 
" imaginations of the heart," Luke i. 51 ; " thoughts and 
intents of the heart," Heb. iv. 1 2. 

Section III. — Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated 
and saved by Christ through the Spirit, ^'^ who worketh when and 
where and how he pleaseth.^' So also are all other elect persons, 
who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of 
the Word.** 

12 Luke xviii. 16 ; Acts ii. 38, 39 ; John ill. 3, 5 ; 1 John v. 12 ; Rom 
viii. 9.— 18 John iii. 8.— " 1 John v. 12 ; Acts iv. 12. 

The outward call of God's word and all the " means 
of grace" provided in the present dispensation of course 
presuppose intelligence upon the part of those who re- 
ceive them. The will of God, also, is revealed only as 
far as it concerns those capable of understanding and 
profiting by the revelation. His purposes with respect 
either to persons or classes not thus addressed are not 
explicitly revealed. 

If infants and others not capable of being called by 
the Gospel are to be saved, they must be regenerated 
and sanctified immediately by God without the use of 
means. If God could create Adam holy without means, 
and if he can new-cieate believers in righteousness and 
true holiness by tht use of means which a large part 



240 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

of men use without profit, he can certainly make infants 
and others regenerate without means. Indeed, the nat- 
ural depravity of infants lies before moral action in the 
judicial deprivation of the Holy Ghost. The evil is 
rectified, at that stage, therefore, by the gracious restora- 
tion of the soul to its moral relation to the Spirit of God. 
The phrase "elect infants" is precise and fit for its pur- 
pose. It is not intended to suggest that there are any 
infants not elect, but simply to point out the facts (a) 
that all infants are born under righteous condemnation, 
and (b) that no infant has any claim in itself to salva- 
tion; and hence (c) the salvation of each infant, pre- 
cisely as the salvation of every adult, must have its 
absolute ground in the sovereign election of God. This 
would be just as true if all adults were elected as it is 
now that only some adults are elected. It is, therefore, 
just as true, although we have good reason to believe 
that all infants are elected. The Confession adheres in 
this place accurately to the facts revealed. It is cer- 
tainly revealed that none, either adult or infant, are 
saved except on the ground of a sovereign election ; 
that is, all salvation for the human race is pure grace. 
It is not positively revealed that all infants are elect, 
but we are left, for many reasons, to indulge a highly 
probable hope that such is the fact. The Confession 
affirms what is certainly revealed, and leaves that which 
revelation has not decided to remain, without the sug- 
gestion of a positive opinion upon one side or the other. 

Section IV. — Others not elected, although they may be called 
by the ministry of the word/^ and may have some common ope- 
rations of the Spirit ;^^ yet they never truly come unto Christ, and 
therefore cannot be saved ;" much less can men not professing 



EFFECTUAL CALLING. 241 

the Christian religion be saved in any other way whatsoever, be 
they ever so diligent to frame their Uves according to the light 
of nature and the law of that religion they do profess;^* and to 
assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be 
detested. ^^ 

15 Matt. xxii. 14.— 16 Matt. vii. 22; xiii. 20, 21 ; Heb. vi. 4, 6.—" John 
vi. 64-66; viii. 24.— i^ Acts iv. 12; John xiv. 6; Eph. ii. 12; John iv. 22; 
xvii. 3.— 19 2 John 9-11; 1 Cor. xvi. 22; Gal. i. 6-8. ' 

This Section, taken in connection with the parallel 
passage in L. Cat., Q. 60, teaches the following propo- 
sitions : 

1st, That the non-elect will certainly fail of salva- 
tion, not because a free salvation is not made available 
to them if they accept Christ, but because they never 
accept Christ; and they all refuse to accept him, because, 
although they may be persuaded by some of the common 
influences of the Holy Ghost, their radical aversion to 
God is never overcome by effectual calling. It has 
already been proved under §§ 1 and 2 that the grace of 
effectual calling extends to all the elect and only to 
the elect, hence the truth of this proposition follows. 

2d. That the diligent profession and honest practice 
of neither natural religion nor of any other religion than 
pure Christianity can in the least avail to promote the 
salvation of the soul, is evident from the essential prin- 
ciples of the gospel. If any person perfectly conformed 
to the amount of spiritual truth known to him in every 
thought and act from birth upward, however little that 
knowledge might be, he would of course need no salva- 
tion. But all men, as we have seen, are bcrn under 
condemnation, and begin to act as moral agents with 
natures already corrupt. "All have sinned and come 

21 



242 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

short of the glory of God." Hence it follows that ai. 
atonement is absolutely necessary, and consequently a 
personal interest in the redemption of Christ is abso- 
lutely necessary to salvation; for if a law, conformity 
to which could have given life, could have been given, 
Christ is dead in vain. Gal. ii. 21 ; iii. 21. To admit 
that men may be saved irrespectively of Christ, is vir- 
tually to deny Christ. 

3d. That in the case of sane adult persons a knowledge 
of Christ and a voluntary acceptance of him is essential 
in order to a personal interest in his salvation is proved 
— (1.) Paul argues this point explicitly : If men call 
upon the Lord they shall be saved; but in order to call 
upon him they must believe; and in order to believe 
they must hear ; and that they should hear, the gospel 
must be preached unto them. Thus the established 
order is. Salvation cometh by faith, faith cometh by 
hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Rom. x. 14— 
17 ; Matt. xi. 27 ; John xiv. 6 ; xvii. 3 ; Acts iv. 12. 

(2.) God has certainly revealed no purpose to save 
any except those who, hearing the gospel, obey; and he 
requires that his people, as custodians of the gospel, 
should be diligent in disseminating it as the appointed 
means of saving souls. Whatever lies beyond this circle 
of sanctified means is unrevealed, unpromised, uncove- 
nauted. 

(3.) The heathen in mass, with no single definite 
and unquestionable exception on record, are evidently 
strangers to God, and going down to death in an un- 
saved condition. The presumed possibility of being saved 
without a knowledge of Christ remains, after eighteen 
hundred years, a possibility illustrated by no example. 



EFFECTUAL CALLING. 243 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What two "calls" are spoken of in the Scriptures? 

2. Which "call" is treated of in the first and second Sections? 

3. What is the first proposition here affirmed on the subject 
of the internal call bj' the Holy Ghost ? 

4. What is affirmed here as to the subjects of it? 

5. What is affirmed as to the agent of it ? 

6. What is affirmed as to the effect of it? 

7. What is affirmed as to the nature of it? 

8. How may it be proved that there is such an internal spirit>- 
ualcall? 

9. How may it be proved that this call is essential to salvation? 

10. Prove that it embraces all the elect and only the elect. 

11. How far do the effects of the common resistible influences 
of the Holy Ghost upon the hearts of men in general extend ? 

12. Prove that there are certain " common " and "resistible " 
influences of the Holy Spirit experienced by all men. 

13. State the distinction between regeneration and conversion ; 
and in which is the believer passive, and in which is he active ? 

14. Show that regeneration necessarily must precede con- 
version. 

15. Prove that with respect to the act of God which regene- 
rates God alone is the agent, and that the subject is passive. 

16. Prove that instantly upon his regeneration the new-born 
soul begins to co-operate with the influences of the Spirit. 

17. Prove that the Holy Spirit uses " the truth " as his in- 
strument in regeneration ? 

18. Prove that the spiritual influence exerted in regeneration 
is in every case certainly efficacious. 

19. Prove that it is exerted in a manner perfectly consistent 
with the nature of man as a free agent. 

20. Show that it efl'ects a- " radical" moral change in the 
believer. 

21. Show that this change involves the whole man intellect 
and will as well as the affections. 



244 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

22. What is presupposed upon the part of all to whom the 
" outward call'' and the means of grace are addressed ; 

23. To whom and in whose behalf are the revelations of God's 
will in the Scriptures made ? 

24. Show that infants and others incapable of receiving the 
outward call are regenerated by God without the use of the means 
which are necessary in the case of intelligent adults. 

25. Explain and justify the use of the phrase " elect infants" 
in the third Section. 

26. What is the Jirst proposition taught in the fourth Section? 

27. What is the second proposition taught there? 

28. What is the third proposition there taught ? 

29. Why do the non-elect fail of salvation ? 

30. Prove that they will infallibly do so. 

31. Prove that the honest and diligent profession of natural 
religion or of any other than the Christian religion cannot avail 
to save men. 

32. Prove that in the case of all intelligent adults a knowledge 
and voluntary acceptance of Christ is essential to salvation. 



CHAPTER XI. 

OF JUSTIFICATION. 

Section I.— Those whom God effectually calleth he also freely 
justifieth ;^ not by infusing righteousness into them, but by par- 
doning their sins and by accounting and accepting their persons 
as righteous : not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, 
but for Christ's sake alone ; not by imputing faith itself, the act 
of believing, or any other evangelical obedience, to them as their 
righteousness ; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction 
of Christ unto them,' they receiving and resting on him and his 
righteousness by faith : which faith they have not of themselves ; 
it is the gift of Grod.' 

Section II, — Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and 
his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification ;* yet is 
it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with 
all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by 
love.*^ 

1 Rom. viii. 30 ; iii. 24.-2 Rom. iv. 5-8 ; 2 Cor. v. 19, 21 ; Rom. iii. 22, 
24, 25, 27, 28; Tit. iii. 5, 7; Eph. i. 7 ; Jer. xxiii. 6,- 1 Cor. i. 30, 31 ; Rom. 
V. 17-19.— 8 Acts X. 44; Gal. ii. 16 ; Phil. iii. 9; Acts xiii. 38, 39; Eph. ii. 
7, 8.—* John i. 12; Rom. iii. 28; v. 1.-6 James ii. 17, 22, 26; Gal. v. 6. 

These Sections teach the following propositions : 
1st. All those and only those whom God has eifectu- 

ally called he also freely justifies. 

2d. This justification is a purely judicial act of God 

as Judge, whereby he pardons all the sins of a believer, 

and accounts, accepts and treats him as a person righteous 

in the eye of the divine law. 

21 * 245 



246 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

3d. That this justifying act proceeds upon the im- 
putation or crediting to the believer by God of the 
righteousness of his great Eepresentative and Surety, 
Jesus Christ. 

4th. That the essential and sole condition upon which 
this righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer is, 
that he exercises faith in or on Christ as his righteous- 
ness. 

5th. That this faith is itself a gracious gift of God. 

6th. That no other grace, neither love nor hope nor 
obedience, sustains the same relation to justification that 
faith does as its essential condition or instrument; yet 
this faith is never alone in the justified person, but is 
always, when genuine, accompanied with all other Chris- 
tian graces, all of which have their root in faith. 

1st. That God justifies all those and only those whom 
he has effectually called or regenerated by his grace is 
proved — (1.) From the express declarations of Scripture : 
"Whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and 
whom he called, them he also justified." (2.) From th e 
fact that effectual callinfy and justification are both 
necessary in order ^^ snlvatinnj nn d are both essentia l 
steps in th e exenntion by God of his own immntal^^je 
and infallibly efficacious decree of election. (3.) From 
the fact that only those who truly believe are justified, 
and only those who are regenerate can truly believe. 

2d. As to its nature, this justification is a purely 
judicial act of God as Judge, whereby he pardons all 
the sins of a believer, and accounts, accepts and treats 
him as a person righteous in the eye of the divine law. 
This includes two subordinate propositions : 

(1.) Justification is a jud icial act of God, whereby hp 



JUSTIFICATION. 247 

declares us to be conformed to the demands of the law 
as the condition of our life ; iji" n^t ^n ^'^'^ ^^ granlnnc 
power, making us holj or conform ed to the Inw as a 
standard of moral character. JThe Romanists use the 
term justification in a vague and general sense, as in- 
cluding at once the forgiveness of sins and the infusion 
of grace. Socinians, and those who teach the moral-in- 
fluence theory of the atonement, regard justification as 
meaning the same as sanctification ; that is, the making a 
man personally holy. The true sense of justification 
stated above is, when taken in its connection with faith, 
the grand central principle of the Reformation, brought 
out and triumphantly vindicated by Luther. That it 
is true is proved (a) from the universal meaning of the 
English word to justify, and of the equivalent Greek 
word used in the New Testament. They both are alike 
always used to express an act declaring a man to be 
square with the demands of law, never to express an act 
making him holy. Gal. ii. 16; iii. 11. 

(6.) In Scripture, justification is always set forth as 
the opposite of condemnation. The opposite of ^' to 
sanctify" is "to pollute," but the opposite of "to justify" 
is "to condemn." Rom. viii. 30-34; John iii. 18. 

(c.) The true sense of the phrase "to justify" is clearly 
proved by the terms used in Scripture as equivalent to 
it. For example : " To impute rightpousnpss withnnf. 
w orks;" '*To forgive iniquities;" "To cover sin s/' 
Rom. iv. 6-8. " Not to i mpute transg^e^^ion un^ 
them." 2 Cor. v. 19. "Not to bring into condemnaj^ 
tion." John v. 24. 

{d.) In many passages it would produce the most 
obvious nonsense to substitute sanctification (the making 



248 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

holy) for juijtification (the declarhig legally just); as, 
for instance: ^' For by the deeds of the law shall no 
flesh be sanctified f' or, *' Christ is become of no effect 
ur>to you, whosoever of you arc sanctified by the law ; 
ye are fallen from grace." Gal. ii. 16 ; v. 4. 

(e.) Justification and sanctification are set forth in 

Scripture as distinct graces, inseparable, alike necessary, 

yet distinct in their nature, grounds and ends. 1 Cor. 

vi. 11. 

^^ (2.) Justification is not mere pardon ; it includes 

I pardon of sin, and in addition the declaration that all 

J the claims of law are satisfied with respect to the person 

X justified, and that consequently he has a right to all the 

/ immunities and rewards which in the covenant of life 

/ are suspended upon perfect conformity to the demands 

V^of law. 

Pardon (a) relaxes the claims of law, or waives their 
exaction in a given case. (6.) It is an act of a sovereign 
in the exercise of pure prerogative, (c.) It is free, 
resting upon considerations of mercy or of public policy, 
(d) It simply remits the penalty of sin; it secures 
neither honours nor rewards. 

On the other hand, justification (a) is the act of a 
judge, not a sovereign. (6.) It rests purely upon the 
state of the law and of the facts, and is impossible 
where there is not a perfect righteousness, (c.) It pro- 
nounces the law not relaxed, but fulfilled in its strictest 
sense, (d) It declares the person justified to be justly 
entitled to all the honours and advantages suspended 
upon perfect conformity to all the demands of law. 

The truth of this proposition is proved (a) from the 
•auiform and obvious meaning of the words "to justify." 



JUSTIFICATION. 249 

No one ever confounds the justification of a person 
with his pardon, (b.) As we saw under Chapter viii., 
§ 5, " The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and 
sacrifice of himself, . . . hath fully satisfied the justice 
of the Father, and purchased not only reconciliation, 
but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heavon 
for all those whom the Father hath given unto him." 
Justification, therefore, rests upon this " full satisfaction 
of divine justice." It is a judicial declaration that the 
law is satisfied — not a sovereign waiving of the penalty. 

(c.) The Scriptures declare that our justification pro- 
ceeds upon the ground of a perfect righteousness. 
Christ ^' is the end of the law for righteousness to every 
one that believeth." Rom, x. 3-6 ;' 1 Cor, i. 30 . The 
essence of pardon is that a man is forgiven without 
righteousness. The essence of justification is that a 
man is pronounced to be possessed of righteousness, 
which satisfies the law. We are ^' made t ^^f^ |-|jpi|Vifof»no- 
ne ss of God in him ." 2 Cor. v. 21. Justification is 
paraphrased as "not imputing sin;" as "imputing 
righteousness without works." Rom. iv. 6-8. 

(d.) The effects of justification are much more than 
those of pardon. The justified have " peace with God," 
"assurance of salvation," Rom. v. 1-10; "inheritance 
among them tliat are sanctified," Acts xxvi. 18. 

3d. Justification proceeds upon the imputation or 
crediting to the believer by God of the righteousness of 
his great Representative and Surety, Jesus Christ. Ij. 
Cat., Q. 70 : " Justification is an act of God's free grace 
unto sinners, wherein he pardoneth all their sin, accept- 
eth and accounteth their persons righteous in his sight ; 
not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but 



250 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of 
Christ, hy God imputed to thenij and received by faith 
alone." Compare also Ij. Cat., Q. 77, and S. Cat., 
Q.83. 

Arminiaus hold that for Christ's sake the demands of 
the law are graciously lowered, and faith and evangelical 
obedience accepted in the place of perfect obedience as 
the ground of justification. Our Standards and all the 
Reformed and Lutheran Confessions teach that the tru e 
ground of justification is the perfect righteQ.asjieas 
(active and passive) of Christy imputed to the beljev er 

m^ rftPPivAri hy faifli alnnP R Df^f,^ Q. 33. ThJS ^S 

proved -r- 

(1.) Because the Scriptures insist everywhere that we 
are not justified by works. This is affirmed of works 
in general — of all kinds of works, natural or gracious, 
without distinction. Rom. iv. 4 ; xi. 6. 

(2.) Because the Scriptures declare that good works, 
of whatever kind, instead of being the ground of justi- 
fication, are possible only as its consequences : ** For sin 
shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under 
the law, but under grace;" "But now we are delivered 
from the law, that being dead wherein we were held ; 
that we should serve in newness of the Spirit, and not 
in oldness of the letter." Rom. vi. 14; vii. 6. 

(3.) Because the Scriptures declare that the obedience 
and suffering — i. e., perfect righteousness or fulfilment 
of the law — by Christ, our Representative, is the true 
ground of justification : " Therefore, as by the offence 
of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, 
even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came 
upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one 



JUSTIFICATION. 251 

man's disobedience mai.y were made sinners, so by the 
obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Rom. 
V. 18, 19 ; X. 4 ; 1 Cor. i. 30 ; 2 Cor. v. 21 ; Phil. iii. 9. 

(4.) Because the Scriptures affirm that this righteous- 
ness is imputed to the believer in the act of justifica- 
tion, nrhp. ph'^^^P ^^ i"^p il^^ «'" ^^ rig^l^tponqnog^- in ifa 
scriptural usage sign i%s simply t.a_sftt to nnp's account, 
to lay to onP^^ ph^rgP, nr nrfidit ns thp ground of jnf| jcial 
process^. Our sins are said to have been laid upon 
Christ (Isa. liii. 6, 12 ; Gal. iii. 13; Heb. ix. 28 ; 1 Pet. 
ii. 24), because their guilt was so charged to his account 
that they were justly punished in him. In like manner 
Christ's righteousness is imputed or its rewardableness 
is so credited to the believer that all the covenanted hon- 
ours and rewards of a perfect righteousness henceforth 
rightly belong to him. Rom. iv. 4-8; 2 Cor. v. 19-21. 
For the usage of the Hebrew and Greek equivalents of 
"imputation," see Gen. xxxi. 15; Lev. vii. 18; Num. 
xviii. 27-30 ; Mark xv. 28 ; Luke xxii. 37 ; Rom. ii. 
26; iv. 3-9; 2 Cor. v. 19. 

This doctrine of our Standards is that of the whole 
Protestant body of the Reformed and Lutheran Churches. 

Calvin says in his Institutes, B. 3, chap, xi., § 2 : "A 
man will be justified by faith when, ex olndpd f fom Ji ip 
ri p:htcousness of works, h f; ^ by faith 1a.ys h old ^^ th^ 
^ig^_9 ^"^^ Q^ Chri st, and^ clothed in it, apppars in 
the sight of God, n ot as a sinner, but as righ teous." 

The Heidelberg Cat., Q. 60: "How art thou justi- 
fied in the sight of God? Only by a true faith in 
Jesus Christ ; so that, though my conscience accuse me 
that I have grossly transgressed all the commandments 
of God, and kept none of them, and am still inclined 



252 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

to all evil, notwithstanding, God, without any merit of 
mine, but only of mere grace, grants and imputes to 
me, the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness 
of .Christ.'' .... 

Lutheran Form, of Concord: "That righteousness 
which before God is of mere grace imputed to faith, or 
to the believer, is the obedience, suffering and resurrec- 
tion of Christ, by which he for our sakes satisfied the 

law and expiated our sins On which account his 

obedience .... is imputed to us; so that God, on 
account of that whole obedience, .... remits our 
sins, reputes us as good and just, and gives us eternal 
salvation." 

4th. That the essential and sole condition upon which 
this gracious imputation of the righteousness of Christ 
to the believer proceeds is that he exercise faith in or 
on Christ as his righteousness or ground of acceptance 
and justification. Faith is here called the "condition" 
of justification, because it is an essential requisite, and 
necessary instrument whereby the soul, always treated 
as a free agent, appropriates the righteousness of Christ, 
which is the legal ground of justification. 

That faith in or on Christ, and no other grace, is 
always represented in Scripture as the necessary instru- 
ment or means of justification, is proved. Gal. ii. 16; 
Kom. iv. 9 ; Acts xvi. 31. 

That faith is the instrument whereby the soul appre- 
hends the true ground of justification in the righteous- 
ness of Christ, and is not itself, as Arrainians pretend, 
that ground, is proved — 

(1.) Because, as above shown, the vicarious obedience 
ftnd suffering of Christ is that ground. 



JUSTIFICATIOIS'. 253 

(2.) Because faith is " a work," and Paul asserts that 
justification on the ground of works is impossible. 

(3.) Because faith in or on Christ evidently rests 
upon that which is without itself, and from its very 
nature is incapable of laying the foundation for a legal 
justification. 

(4.) Because the Scriptures constantly affirm that we 
are justified " through'' or ^^ mpmnsi gf fajfh^ hut n^^pr 

on account nf or /nr thji nakp. (^ faith Rnm v. 1; Gal. 

ii. 16. 

5th. This faith itself is not our own, but a gracious 
gift of God. Eph. ii. 7, 8 ; Acts x. 44. 

6th. While it is faith alone, unassociated with any 
other grace, which is the sole instrument of justification, 
yet it is never alone in the justified person, but when 
genuine is always accompanied with all other Christian 
graces. To our doctrine of justification the famous 
passage in James ii. 14 is often objected. But Paul 
and James are speaking of different things. Paul 
teaches that faith alone justifies. He is arguing against 
Pharisees and legalists. James teaches that a faith 
which is alone — that is, a dead faith — will not justify. 
He is arguing against nominal Christians who would 
hold the truth in unrighteousness. Paul uses the word 
"justify" in the sense of God's justification of the 
sinner, to which faith and not works is prerequisite. 
James uses the word to justify in the sense of prove 
true, or real, in which sense faith is justified or proved 
genuine by works. Consequently orthodox theologians 
have always acknowledged that while faith alone justi- 
fies, a faith which is alone, or unassociated with other 
graces and fruitless in good works, will not justify. 

22 



j54 cokfessiox of faith. 

" Works/' says Luther, " are not taken into considera- 
tion when the question respects justification. But true 
faith will no more fail to produce them than the sun 
can cease to give light." 

Section III. — Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully 
discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did 
make a proper, real and full satisfaction, to his Father's justice 
in their behalf^ Yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father 
for them,' and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their 
stead,® and both freely, not for anything in them, their justifica- 
tion is only of free grace ;* that both the exact justice and rich 
grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.^® 

« Rom. V. 8-10, 19; 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6; Heb. x. 10, 14; Dan. ix. 24, 26; 
Isa. liii. 4-6, 10-12.—' Rom. viii. 32.-8 2 Cor. v. 21 ,• Matt. iii. 17 ; Eph. v. 
2.—» Rom. iii. 24 ; Eph. i. 7.— ^^ Rom. iii. 26 ; Eph. ii. 7. 

The first truth asserted in this Section is, that Christ, 
by his obedience and death, has fully paid the debt of 
those who are justified, and that he made for them a 
proper, real and full satisfaction to his Father's justice. 
This point we have considered under Chapter viii., § 5. 

In connection with the above, the second truth that is 
taught here is, that this justification is, as it respects the 
persons justified, from beginning to end, a stupendous 
manifestation of the free grace of God. 

The fact that Christ's righteousness is the ground of 
justification, and that his righteousness in strict rigour 
fully satisfies all the demands of the divine law, instead 
of being inconsistent with the perfect freedom and gra- 
ciousness of justification, vastly enhances its grace. It 
ils evident that God miLst either sacrifice his law, his elect 
for his Son. Gal. ii. 21 ; iii. 21. It is no less plain that 
it is a far greater expression of love and free grace to 



JUSTIFICATION. 255 

save the elect at the expense of such a sacrifice than it 
would be to save them either at the sacrifice of principle 
or in case no sacrifice of any kind was needed. The 
cross of Christ is the focus in which the most intense 
rays alike of divine grace and justice meet together, 
and in which they are perfectly reconciled. This is the 
highest reach of justice, and at the same time and for 
the same cause the highest reach of grace the universe 
can ever see^ The self-assumption of the penalty upon the 
part of the eternal Son of God is the highest conceivable 
vindication of the absolute inviolability of justice, and 
at the same time the highest conceivable expression of 
infinite love. Justice is vindicated in the vicarious suf- 
fering of the very penalty in strict rigour. Free grace 
is manifested — (1.) In the admittance of a vicarious 
sufferer. (2.) In the gift of God's beloved Son for that 
service. (3.) In the sovereign election of the persons 
to be represented by him. (4.) In the glorious rewards 
which accrue to them on condition of that represent- 
ation. 

Section IY. — God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all 
the elect ;" and Christ did, in the fulness of time, die for -.heir 
sins, and rise again for their justification. ^'^ Nevertheless, they 
are not justified until the Holy Spirit doth in due time actually 
apply Christ unto them." 

11 Gal. iii. 8j 1 Pet. i. 2, 19, 20; Rom. viii. 30.—" Gal. iv. 4; 1 Tim. ii. 
6; Rom. iv. 25.— is Col. i. 21, 22; Gal. ii. 16; Tit. iii. 4-7. 

It has been objected to our doctrine by some Armin- 
ians, and held as a part of it by some Antinomians, that 
if Christ literally paid the debt of his elect in his obe- 
dience and suffering when on earth, it must follow that 



256 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the elect have been justified from the moment that debt 
was paid. The Scriptures, on the contrary, as well as 
all Christian experience, make it certain that no one is 
justified until the moment that God gives him saving 
faith in Chris* 

Christ paid the penal not the money debt of his 
people. It is a matter of free grace that his substitu- 
tion was admitted. The satisfaction, therefore, does not 
liberate, ipso facto, like the payment of a money debt, 
but sets the real criminal free only on such conditions 
and at such times as had been previously agreed upon 
between God, the gracious sovereign, on the one hand, 
and Christ, their representative and substitute, on the 
other hand. Christ died for his people in execution of 
a covenant between himself and his Father, entered into 
in eternity. The eifects of his death, therefore, event- 
uate precisely as and when it is provided in the covenant 
that it should do so. 

Section Y. — God doth continue to forgive the sins of those 
that are justified ;^* and although they can never fall from the 
state of justification,** yet they may by their sins fall under God's 
fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of his countenance 
restored unto them until they humble themselves, confess their 
sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.** 

1* Matt. vi. 12; 1 John i. 1, 9; ii. 1, 2.— '5 Luke xxii. 32; John x. 28; 
Heb. X. 14.— 16 Pa. Ixxxix. 31-33; li. 7-12; xxxii. 6; Matt. xxvi. 75; 1 
Cor. xi. 30, 32 ; Luke i. 20. 

This Section teaches that justification changes radi- 
cally and permanently the relation which the subject of 
it sustains both to God and to the demands of the divine 
law, viewed as a condition of favour. Before justifica- 
tion, God is an angry Judge, holding the sentence of the 



JUSTIFICATION. 257 

condemning law for a season in suspense. After justifi- 
cation, the law instead of condemning acquits, and de- 
mands that the subject be regarded and treated like a 
son, as i provided in the eternal covenant, and God, as 
a loving Father, proceeds to execute all the kind offices 
which belong to the new relation. This requires, of 
course, discipline and correction, as well as instruction 
and consolation. 

All suffering is either mere calamity, when viewed 
aside from all intentional relation to human character; 
or penalty, when designed to satisfy justice for sin; or 
chastisement, when designed to correct and improve the 
offender. Irrespective of the economy of redemption, 
all suffering is to the reprobate instalments of the eter- 
nal penalty. After justification, all suffering, of what- 
ever kind, is fatherly chastisement, designed to correct 
their faults and improve their graces. And as they 
came, in the first instance, to God in the exercise of re- 
pentance and faith in Christ, so must they always con- 
tinue to return to him after every partial wandering and 
loss of his sensible favour in the exercise of the same 
repentance and faith ; and thus only can they hope to 
have his pardon sensibly renewed to them. Examine 
the proof-texts appended above to the text of this Sec- 
tion of the Confession. 

Section VI.— The justification of believers under the OljJ 
Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the 
justification of believers under the New Testament." 

IT Gal. iii. 9, 13, 14; Rom. iv. 22-24; Heb. xiii. 8. 

The truth taught in this Section has already been 
fully proved above, under Chapter vii., §§ 4, 5 and 6 ; 
and Chapter viii., § 6. 

22* 



258 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the first proposition taught in the first and 
second Sections? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught? 

3. What is the third ? 

4. Whatis the/owr^^f 

5. Whatisthe>/i5Af 

6. What is the S2ic«^ f 

7. How can you prove that God justifies all those and only 
those whom he has regenerated ? 

8. What is t]ie first proposition laid down as to the nature of 
justification? 

9. What is the Romanist view as to this matter ? 

10. What is the view of those who hold the moral-influence 
theory of the atonement ? 

11. When and by whom was this truth first clearly defined and 
vindicated ? 

12. State the proof that justification is a judicial act of God 
declaring a person legally righteous, and not an act of gracious 
power making him morally pure. 

13. What is the second proposition laid down as to the nature 
of justification ? 

14 State the nature, grounds and effect of mere pardon. 

15. State in contrast the nature, grounds and eff'ect of justifi- 
cation. 

16. Prove that justification is not mere pardon. 

17. Upon what ground does justification proceed ? 

18. What is the Arminian view as to the nature and ground 
of justification ? 

19. State in contrast the true view. 

20. State the proofs that the righteousness of Christ, ioputed 
and received by faith alone, is the true ground of justification. 

21. What is the scriptural usage of the phrase, "to impute 
sin or righteousness ?" 

22. What does Calvin teach is the ground of justification ? 

23. What is taught on this head in the Heidelberg Catecl Ism ^ 



JUSTIFICATION. 259 

24. What is taught in the Lutheran Form, of Concord ? 

25. What relation does faith sustain to justification ? 

26. Prove that only faith, and faith alone, is the instrument of 
justification. 

27. What special act of faith is the sole means of justification? 

28. Prove that faith is not the ground of justification. 

29. Prove that this faith is the gift of God. 

30. If it is faith only that is the means of justification, is true 
faith ever alone in the experience of the person justified ? 

31. How can the doctrine taught by James in the second 
chapter of his Epistle be reconciled with that taught by Paul on 
this subject ? 

32. What does Luther say on the subject? 

33. What is the first truth taught in the third Section ? and 
where has it been previously considered ? 

34. What is the second great principle here maintained in con- 
nection with the former? 

35. Prove that the literal satisfaction of divine justice by 
Christ enhances instead of detracts from the free grace of the 
gospel. 

36. What is taught in the fourth Section ? 

37. What have some Arminians objected to our doctrine at 
this point? 

38. Show that the fact that Christ paid our penal debts before 
we were born does not eflfect our justification before we actually 
believe. 

39. What is taught in the fifth Section ? 

40. What change does justification effect in the relations of the 
person justified? 

41. Into what three classes can all sufferings jf any kind bo 
distributed ? 

42. Of what kind is all the suffering of the reprobate ? 

43. Of what kind is all the suffering of the justified ? 

44. What is taught in the sixth Section, and where rjas it 
been previoasly considered ? 



CHAPTER XII. 

OF ADOPTION. 

All those that are justified, GTod vouchsafeth, in and for his 
only Son, Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adop- 
tion:^ by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the 
Hberties and privileges of the children of God ;^ have his name 
put upon them,' receive the spirit of adoption ;* have access to 
the throne of grace with boldness ;^ are enabled to cry, Abba, 
Father;* are pitied,^ protected,® provided for,® and chastened by 
him as by a father ;^° yet never cast off," but sealed to the day of 
redemption,^^ and inherit the promises," as heirs of everlasting 
salvation." 

1 Eph. i. 5 ; Gal. iv. 4, 5.-2 Rom. viii. 17 ; John i. 12.— 3 Jer. xxv. 9 ; 2 
Cor. vi. 18; Rev. iii. 12.— * Rom. viii. 15.— 5 Eph. iii. 12; Rom. v. 2.— 
» Gal. iv. 6.— T Ps. ciii. 13.-8 Prov. xiv. 26.-9 Matt. vi. 30, 32 ; 1 Pet. v. 
r.— 10 Heb. xii. 6.— 11 Lam. iii. 31.— 12 Eph. iv. 30.— i' Heb. vi. 12.— i^ 1 Pet. 
..3,4; Heb. i. 14. 

The instant a believer is united to Christ in the ex- 
ercise of faith, there is accomplished in him simulta- 
neously and inseparably two things : {!.) A total 
change of relation to God, and to the law as a covenant 
of life; and (2) a change of his inward spiritual nature. 
The change of relaiion is represented by justification — 
the change of nature by regeneration. Regeneration 
is an act of God, originating, by a new creation, a new 
spiritual life in the heart of the subject. The first and 
'nstant act of that new creatui?, consequent upon his 

260 



ADOPTION. 261 

regeneration, is Faith, or a believing, trusting embrace 
of the person and work of Christ. Upon the exercise 
of faith by the regenerated soul, justification is the 
instant act of God, on the ground of that perfect right- 
eousness which the sinner's faith has apprehended, de- 
claring him to be free from all condemnation, and to 
have a legal right to the relations and benefits secured 
by the covenant which Christ has fulfilled in his be- 
half. Sanctification is the progressive growth to- 
ward the perfect maturity of that new life which was 
implanted in regeneration. Adoption presents the new 
creature in his new relations — his new relations entered 
upon with a congenial heart, and his new life develop- 
ing in a congenial home, and surrounded with those 
relations which foster its growth and crown it with 
blessedness. Justification efiects only a change of re- 
lations. Regeneration and sanctification effect only 
inherent moral and spiritual states of soul. Adoption 
includes both. As set forth in Scripture, it embraces in 
one complex view the newly-regenerated creature in the 
new relations into which he is introduced by justifica- 
tion. 

This divine sonship, into which the believer is intro- 
duced by adoption, includes the following principal 
elements and advantages : 

1st. Derivation of spiritual nature from God : " That 
ye might be partakers of the divine nature." 2 Pet. i. 
4; John i. 13; James i. 18; 1 John v. 18. 

2d. The being born in the image of God, the bearing 
his likeness : " And have put on the new man, which is 
renewed in knowledge, after the image of liim that 
created him.'' Col. iii. 10; Rom. viii. 29; 2 Cor. iii. 18. 



262 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

3d. The bearing his name. 1 John iii. 1 ; Rev. ii. 17 
iii. 12. 

4th. The being made the objects of his peculiar love 
" That the world may know that thou hast sent me, and 
hast loved them as thou hast loved me." John xvii. 23 
E-om. V. 5-8. 

5th. The indwelling of the Spirit of his Son (Gal. iv. 
6), who forms in us a filial spirit, or a spirit becoming 
the children of God; obedient (1 Pet. i. 14; 2 John 6), 
free from sense of guilty legal bondage and fear of death 
(Rom. viii. 15-21 ; Gal. v. 1 ; Heb. ii. 15), and elevated 
with a holy boldness and royal dignity (Heb. x. 19, 22 ; 
1 Pet. ii. 9 ; iv. 14). 

6th. Present protection, consolation and abundant 
supplies. Ps. cxxv. 2; Isa. Ixvi. 13; Luke xii. 27-32; 
John xiv. 18 ; 1 Cor. iii. 21-23 ; 2 Cor. i. 4. 

7th. Present fatherly chastisements for our good, in- 
cluding both spiritual and temporal af&ictions. Ps. Ii. 
11, 12 ; Heb. xii. 5-11. 

8th. The certain inheritance of the riches of our 
Father's glory as heirs of God and joint heirs with 
Christ (Rom. viii. 17 ; James ii. 5 ; 1 Pet. i. 4 ; iii. 7), 
including the exaltation of our bodies in fellowship with 
the Lord. Rom. viii. 23 ; Phil. iii. 21. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the subject of this Chapter? 

2. What two changes take effect instantly upon the act of 
(kith ? 

3. What is regeneration ? 

4. What is faith and its relation to regeneration? 



ADOPTION. 263 

5. What is justification and its relation to faith ? 

6. What is adoption and its relation to regeneration and justi- 
fication ? 

7. What are the principal elements embraced in this divine 
eonship ? 

8. What are the principal advantages which attend it? 



CHAPTER XIII 



OP SANCTIFICATION. 



Section I. — ^They who are effectually called and regenerated, 
having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are further 
sanctified really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's 
death and resurrection,^ by his Word and Spirit dwelling in 
them ;* the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed,' and 
the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mor- 
tified,* and they more and more quickened and strengthened in 
all saving graces,* to the practice of true holiness, without which 
no man shall see the Lord.* 

Section II. — This sanctification is throughout in the whole 
man,' yet imperfect in this life : there abide still some remnants 
of corruption in every part :® whence ariseth a continual and 
irreconcilable war ; the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the 
Spirit against the flesh.* 

Section III. — In which war, although the remaining corrup- 
tion for a time may much prevail yet, through the continual 
supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the re- 
generate part doth overcome :" and so the saints grow in grace," 
perfecting holiness in the fear of God.^' 

1 1 Cor. vi. 11; Acts xx. 32; Phil. iii. 10; Rom. vi. 5, 6.-2 John xvii. 
17; Eph. V. 26; 2 Thess. ii. 13.— » Rom. vi. 6, 14.—* Gal. v. 24; Rom. viii. 
13.— 5 Col. i. 11; Eph. iii. 16-19.— 6 2 Cor. vii. 1; Heb. xii. 14.— if I Thess. 
/. 23.— 8lJohn i. 10; Rom. vii. 18, 23; Phil. iii. 12.— » Gal. v. 17; 1 Pet. 
ii. 11.— w Rom. vii. 23.—" Rom. vi. 14; 1 John v. 4; Eph. iv. "15, 16.— 
^ 2 Pet. iii. 18 ; 2 Cor. iii. 18.—" 2 Cor. vii. 1. 

This Chapter teaches the following propositions : 
1st. All of those in whom God has by regeneration 
264 



sanctification. 2Qb 

created a new spiritual nature continue under his gra- 
cious influence, his Word and Spirit dwelling in them, 
and thus have the grace implanted in them developed 
more and more. 

2d. This work of sanctification involves both the 
gradual destruction of the old body of sin and the 
quickening and strengthening of all the graces of the 
new man, and the inward purification of the heart and 
mind, as well as all those holy actions which proceed 
from them. 

3d. This work of sanctification involves the entire 
man — intellect, affections and will, soul and body. 

4th. It is never perfect in this life, but in every case, 
as in that of Paul, there remains more or less of the 
old "law in our members," warring against the law of 
our mind. 

5th. That nevertheless, from a constant supply of 
strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the gra- 
cious element in the believer's nature prevails, and he 
gradually advances in holiness until he is made perfect 
at dea.h. 

1st. God, having implanted in regeneration a new 
spiritual nature in the subject of his grace, always con- 
tinues to foster and develop that principle by the in- 
dwelling of his Word and Spirit until it attains full 
j)crfecti()n. 

The word "to sanctify'' is used in two different 
Senses in Scripture: (1.) To consecrate, or set aj)art 
from a common to a sacred use. John x. 36 ; Matt, 
xxiii. 17. (2.) To render morally pure or holy. 1 Cor. 
vi. 11 ; Heb. xiii. 12. In the latter sense of the word, 
regenerati-)n is the commencement of sanctification, and 

23 



266 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

sanctification is the completion of the work ccramenced 
ill regeneration. As regeneration is an act of God's 
free grace, so sanctification is a gracious work of God, 
and eminently of the Holy Spirit. It is attributed to 
God absolutely (1 Thess. v. 23) : to the Son (Eph. v. 
25, 26), and pre-eminently to the Holy Spirit, whose 
especial office in the economy of redemption it is to 
apply the grace secured through the mediation of the 
Son. 

The means of sanctification are of two distinct orders . 
ia\ inward and (h\ oiitwnrd. 

Thejmwgxd means of sanctification is Faith. Faith 
is the instrument of our justification, and hence of our 
deliverance from condemnation and communion with 
God, the organ of our union with Christ and fellowship 
with his Spirit. Faith, moreover, is that act of the re- 
generated soul whereby it embraces and experiences the 
power of the truth, and whereby the inward experi- 
ences of the heart and the outward actions of the life are 
brought into obedience to the truth. 

The outward means of sanctification are — 

(1.) The truth as revealed in the inspired Scriptures: 
" Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.^' 
John xvii. 17, 19. '^As new-born babes desire the 
sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." 
1 Pet. i. 22 ; ii. 2. The truth, as the outward means 
of sanctification, stands in correlation to faith, the in- 
ward means of it. Conf. Faith, chap, xiv., § 2 : This faith 
"acteth differently upon that which every passage thereof 
containeth ; yielding obedience to the commands, trem- 
bling at the threatenings and embracing the promises 
of God for this life and that which is to come." By 



SANCTIFICATION. 267 

this means the truth nourishes and exercises the princi- 
ples of grace implanted in the soul. 

(2.) The sacraments. Matt. iii. 11; 1 Cor. xii. 13; 
1 Pet. iii. 21. 

(3.) Prayer is a means of sanctification, {a) as the act 
in which the soul engages in communion with God, and 
(5) since God has promised to answer believing prayer 
with the donation of spiritual gifts. John xiv. 13, 14. 

(4.) The gracious discipline of God's providence. 
John XV. 2; Rom. v. 3, 4 ; Heb. xii. 5-11. 

It must be remembered that while the subject is pas- 
sive with respect to that divine act of grace whereby he 
is regenerated, after he is regenerated he co-operates with 
th e Holy Ghost in the work of sanctifica tion. The Holy 
Ghost gives the grace and prompts and directs in its 
exercise, and the soul exercises it. Thus, while sancti- 
fication is a grace, it is also a duty. And the soul is 
both bound and encouraged to use with diligence, in 
dependence upon the Holy Spirit, all the means for its 
spiritual renovation, and to form those habits of resist- 
ing evil and of right action in which sanctification so 
largely consists. The fruits of sanctification are good 
works. An action to be good must have its origin in a 
holy principle in the heart, and must be conformed to 
the law of God. Although not the ground of our 
acceptance, good works are absolutely essential to sal- 
vation as the necessary consequences of a gracious state 
of soul and perpetual requirements of the divine law. 
Gal. V. 22; Eph. ii. 10; John xiv. 21. 

2d. This work of sanctification involves the destruc- 
tion of the old body of sin, as well as the develop- 
ment of the grace implanted in regeneration ; it is 



208 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

also first inward and spiritual, and then outward and 
practical. 

That the whole body of death is not immediately 
destroyed in the instant of regeneration is plainly taught 
in the sixth and seventh chapters of Romans, in the 
recorded experience of many biblical characters, and in 
the universal experience of Christians in modern times. 
It hence necessarily follows that the tendencies graciously 
implanted and sustained must come in conflict with the 
tendencies to evil which remain. They can co-exist 
only in a state of active antagonism, and as the one 
gains in prevalence the other must lose. " They that 
are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections 
and lusts." Gal. v. 24. "Mortify, therefore, your mem- 
bers which are upon the earth.'' CoL iii. 5. 

That this work begins in the state of the heart and 
governs the life by previously governing the heart, is 
evident (a) from the known fact of human nature that 
the moral character of all actions is derived from the 
inward moral dispositions and affections which prompt 
to them. (6.) The same is asserted in the Scriptures. 
Luke vi. 45. As the character of the fruit is determined 
by the character of the tree which produces it, so the 
moral character of actions depends upon the heart from 
which they proceed. Either make the tree good and its 
fruit good, or else the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt, 
(c.) Truly good works can be produced only by a heart in 
living union with Christ: "As the branch cannot bear 
fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can 
ye, except ye abide in me." John xv. 4. 

3d. This work of sanctification involves the entire 
man— intellect, affections and will, soul and body. This 



SANCTIFICATION. 269 

is proved (1) from the necessity of the case. Our nat- 
ural sinful condition involves blindness of mind, as well 
as hardness or perverseness of heart. (2.) From the fact 
that we are sanctified by means of the truth. (3.) It is 
explicitly asserted in Scripture that sanctification in- 
volves spiritual illumination : ^^ That the God of o ur 
Lord Jesus Christ may giv p nnto von the spirit of wis- 
dom and revelation in the knowIedp!;e of him^ th^ f^ vps 
of your understandi ng- being; enli^ b|tt^rird , tb"^ y^ ^"y 
kll^/' etc. Eph. 1. IV, 18; Col. iii. 10; 2 Cor. iv. 6 ; 
1 Thess. V. 23. 

As our bodies are integral parts of our persons, their 
instincts and appetites act immediately upon the pas- 
sions of our souls, and hence they must be brought 
subject to the control of the sanctified will, and all the 
members of the body, as organs of the soul, made in- 
struments of righteousness unto God. Rom. vi. 13; 1 
Thess. iv. 4. 

4th. This work of sanctification is never perfected in 
this life. 

Different parties of Perfectionists maintain that per- 
fection is possible in this life in different senses. 

Pelagians maintain (1) that the law of God respects 
only the voluntary exercises and actions, and not the 
states of the soul. (2.) That obligation is always limited 
by ability — that the law of God can demand no more 
than its subject is fully able to render. Hence from 
the very limits of moral obligation it follows that every 
man is always perfectly able to do all that is required 
of him. Hence he can be perfect whenever he pleases. 

Arminian and Papist Perfectionists hold (1) that men 
can do nothing morally right without divine grace, anc" 

2.S * 



270 CONFESSION C: FAITH. 

(2) that even with this grace no man is able perfectly to 
keep the original Adaraic law of absolute perfection. 
They maintain, however, that God for Christ's merits' 
sake has graciously lowered the demands of the law in 
the case of believers from absolute perfection to faith 
and evangelical obedience. They hold that it is the 
[)rivilege and duty of all men in this life to attain to a 
state of perfect love and sincere obedience to the gospel 
lav), which they o'lll gracious or Christian perfection. 

The Papists make a distinction between voluntary 
transgressions of known law, and concupiscence or the 
involuntary first movements of the remains of corrup- 
tion within the regenerate. The latter they deny to be 
properly of the nature of sin. John Wesley teaches 
the same. Methodist Doctrinal Tracts, pp. 294-312. 

But that concupiscence, or the first movement and ten- 
dencies of evil desire in the hearts of regenerated men, is 
of the nature of sin is distinctly affirmed in our Stand- 
ards. Confession of Faith, chap, vii., § 5. That this is 
true is proved — 

(1.) All men judge that the moral state of the soul 
which determines, or tends to determine, evil action is 
itself essentially evil, and indeed the true source of the 
evil in the action. 

(2.) All genuine Christian experience involves the 
same practical judgment. The main element in all 
genuine conviction of sin is, not simply that the thoughts, 
words and feelings are wrong, but that, lying far below 
all exercises or volitions, the nature is morally corrupt. 
It is his deadness to divine things, blindness, hardness, 
aversion to God, which he is helpless to change, that 
chiefly oppresses the truly convicted man with a sense 



SANCTIFICATION. 271 

of sin. And in some degree the same conviction re- 
mains until death. 

(3.) It is of the essence of the moral law that it de- 
mands all that ought to be. Every even the least de- 
ficiency from the whole measure of moral excellence that 
ought to be is of the nature of sin. Therefore nothing 
short of absolute conformity to the Adamic law of 
absolute holiness is of the nature of sinless perfection, 
or ought to be called by that name. 

(4.) All the prayers and hymns and devotional litera- 
ture of the Wesleyan, and other evangelical churches 
whii'h profess a sort of perfectionism, acknowledge sin in 
the believer. Dr. Peck (Christian Doct. of Perfection) 
admits that the workings of concupiscence, or remain- 
ing spontaneous tendency to evil in the heart of the 
perfect Christian, are an occasion for self-abhorrence and 
confession, that they need forgiveness, and the constant 
application of the atoning blood of Christ. We agree 
with this, and maintain therefore that these remains of 
corruption in all Christians are of the nature of sin, 
and that consequently the Christians in whom they 
remain are not perfect. 

(5.) Paul expressly calls concupiscence, sin : " I had 
not known sin, but by the law, for I had not known 
concupiscence, except the law had said, Thou shalt not 
experience concupiscence.'' Rom. vii. 7. The sin rhat 
dwelt in Paul wrouo^ht in him ao-ainst his will, and 
wrought in him all manner of concupiscence. Rom. vii. 
14-25. And yet this evil tendency, this law in his mem- 
bers wari-ing against the law of his spirit, is expressly 
called ** sin ;" and in other passages called " old man," 
'•body of sin." Col. ii. 11; iii. 9. 



272 CONFESS. DN OF FAITH. 

(6.) The biographies and recorded testimonies of all 
the Scripture saints make it impossible to attribute sin- 
less perfection to any one of them. Paul disclaims it. 
Rom. vii. 14-25; Phil. iii. 12-14. John disclaims it 
in his own behalf and that of all Christians. 1 John 
i. 8. 

The word ^'perfect" is applied to some men in Scrip- 
ture either to mark comparative excellence, or to assert 
genuine sincerity in profession and service. But the 
inspired biographies of the men themselves, such as of 
David, Acts xiii. 22; Noah, Gen. vi. 9, and Job, Job i. 
1, prove very clearly that the perfection intended was 
not a sinless one. 

(7.) Perfectionism is in conflict with the universal 
experience and observation of God's people. The per- 
sonal profession of it is generally judged to be just 
ground for serious suspicions as to the claimant's 
mental soundness or moral sincerity. 

5th. Nevertheless, from a constant supply of strength 
from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the gracious ele- 
ment in the believer's nature, upon the whole, prevails, 
and he gradually advances in holiness until he is ren- 
dered perfect at death. This precious truth follows 
necessarily from the fact, already shown, that sanctifica- 
tion is a work of God's free grace in execution of his 
eternal purposes of salvation. Wherefore we are "con- 
fident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a 
good work in us will perform it to the day of Jesus 
Christ," Phil. i. 6 ; the certainty of which will be fur- 
*^her discussed under Chapter xvii. 



SANCTIFICATION. 273 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the Jirst proposition taught in this Chapter? 

2. What is the second proposition liere taught? 

3. What is the third f 

4. What is the fourth? 

5. Whatisthejlft^^ 

6. In what different senses is the term "to sanctify" used in 
Scripture ? 

7. What is the relation of the work of sanctification to that of 
regeneration ? 

8. Who is the Author of sanctification ? 

9. What is the inward means of sanctification ? 

10. What are the outward means of sanctification? 

11. In what sense is sanctification a duty as well as a grace? 

12. What are the fruits of sanctification ? 

13. Show that the work of sanctification involves the gradual 
"mortification" of the "old man," as well as the development 
of the graces implanted in regeneration. 

14. Show that the work of sanctification involves a change in 
the permanent inward state of the soul, as the only adequate 
source from which holy actions can proceed. 

15. Prove that this work of sanctification involves all the fac- 
ulties of the soul. 

16. In what sense are the bodies of believers said to be sanc- 
tified? 

17. What is the Pelagian doctrine as to the nature and ground 
of that perfection which is attainable in this life ? 

18. What is the Arminian and Papist view of ^he same subject? 

19. What is the Arminian and Papist view as to the moral 
character of concupiscence? 

20. What is meant by concupiscence? 

21. What is the doctrine of our standards on the subject? 

22. State the proofs of the truth of our view derived from the 
common judgments of men and from religious experience. 

23. State the proof derived from a consideration of the essential 
nature of virti e and the moral law. 



274 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

24. The same from the devotional literature and admissions of 
evangelical Armenians. 

25. The same from the declarations of Scripture and from th^ 
biographies of scriptural characters. 

26. In what sense is the epithet "perfect" applied to men in 
the Scriptures? 

27. To what is Perfectionism opposed ? 

28. What is the certain issue of this warfare between the "law 
iw the members" and the " law of the mind?" 

29. What is the ground of this certainty as to the result? 



CHAPTER XIV. 



OF SAVING FAITH. 



Section I. — The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled 
to beHeve to the saving of their souls, ^ is the work of the Spirit 
of Christ in their hearts,^ and is ordinarily wrought by the 
ministry of the word;' by which also, and by the adminis- 
tration of the sacraments and prayer, it is increased and strength- 
ened.* 

1 Heb. X. 39.-2 2 Cor. iv. 13 ; Eph. i. 17-19 ; ii. 8.-3 Rom. x. 14, 17.— 
* 1 Pet. ii. 2; Acts xx. 32; Rom. iv. 11; Luke xvii. 5 ; Rom. i. 16, 17. 

Faith, in the most general sense of the word, is the 
assent of the mind to the truth of that of which we have 
not an immediate cognition; knowledge is the percep- 
tion of the truth of that of which we have an immediate 
cognition. Yet faith demands and rests upon evidence 
just as absolutely as does knowledge. It does not diifer 
from reason as rational differs from irrational, nor from 
knowledge as the conviction of that which is proved 
differs from the presumption of that which is unproved. 
Faith, like knowledge itself, demands evidence, and differs 
in accordance with the evidence in different cases from 
the barest probability up to the most assured certainty. 
We have direct knowledge that the book we have in our 
hands fills a certain portion of space ; we have faith 
that space still stretches illimitable beyond the most 
distant telescopic star. The one is knowledge and the 

275 



276 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

other faith, but the faith is just as certain as the know- 
ledge. We know the existence and attributes of the city 
in which we dwell ; we believe the existence and attri- 
butes of ancient Athens or modern Yeddo from the testi- 
mony of men. We know the properties of human 
nature; we believe the properties of the several persons 
of the Trinity on the testimony of God. In euch case 
the faith is just as rational and as certain as the know- 
ledge. Faith in many thousands of its forms is spon- 
taneously exercised by all men. The commonest pro- 
cesses of thought and of human action, individual or 
associated, would be impossible without it. When 
grounded on legitimate evidence, it leads to absolute 
assurance. It has its root in the reason, to which it 
always, when legitimate, conforms. But it reaches be- 
yond reason, and elevates the mind to the contemplation 
of the highest and most ennobling truths. 

Religious faith, in the most general sense of that 
word, is the assent of the mind to the general truths of 
religion, such as the being and attributes of God, and 
the religious obligations of men, such as is common to 
all religions, true or false. This religious faith has its 
ground in our common religious nature, while on the 
other hand that SAVING FAITH which is the subject of 
this Chapter of the Confession is that spiritual discern- 
ment of the exceiledce o-iid beauty of dicine tr^uth, and that 
cordial embrace and acceptance of it, which are mr ought in 
our hearts by the Holy Ghost. 

Of this saving faith it is affirmed in this Section — 

1st. That it is wrought in our hearts by the Holy 
Ghost. 

2d. That it is ordinarily wrought by the means of 



SAVING FAITH. 277 

the word of Gocl. or through the instrumentality of 
divine truth. 

3d. That it is strengthened by the use of the sacra- 
ments and prayer. 

1st. That faith is the work of the Holy Ghost has 
been proved already under the head of Effectual Calling. 
In addition it may be argued — (1.) Saving faith must 
be a moral act, and must have its ground in the spirit- 
ual congeniality of the believer with the truth. Unbe- 
lief is always denounced as a sin, and not as the 
consequence of intellectual weakness. The Scriptures 
unconditionally demand instant faith alike of the igno- 
rant and of the intelligent. (2.) By nature, men are 
spiritually blind, incapable of discerning spiritual things. 
2 Cor. iii. 14 ; iv. 4. That form of spiritual apprehen- 
sion which is an essential element in saving faith must 
be wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit. (3.) Men 
believe because they are taught of God (John vi. 44, 
45), as they are enlightened to discern the things of the 
Spirit. Acts xiii. 48; 2 Cor. iv. 6; Eph. i. 17, 18. 
Faith is the gift of God. Eph. ii. 8. 

2d. That faith is ordinarily wrought by the Spirit 
through the ministry of the Word is plain (1) from 
the direct assertion of Scripture: *' How shall they be- 
lieve in Him of whom they have not heard, and how 
shall they hear without a preacher. ... So then faith 
Cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." 
Rom. X. 12, 17. (2.) The preaching of the gospel is 
the ordinary way in which its truth is most ejBPectually 
brought to bear upon the hearts and consciences of men. 
Faith is the act of the regenerated soul, and as we have 
seen (Chapter x., §§ 1, 2 and 4) the Spirit uses the re- 

24 



278 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

vealed truth of God as his instrument in regeii-e ration 
and sanctification, and sane adult men never come tc 
the experience of the benefits of Christ's salvation who 
are ' destitute of some knowledge of his person and 
work. 

3d. We have seen above, under Chapter xiii., that 
sanctification is a progressive work of the Holy Spirit, 
and that the inward means whereby it is advanced is 
faith, and the outward means are the truth, prayer, the 
sacraments and the gracious discipline of divine provi- 
dence. Whatever tends to promote sanctification must 
promote the strength of faith, which is its main root. 
Therefore, faith must be nourished by the truth, prayer, 
the sacraments and every means of grace. 

Section II. — By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true 
whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God him- 
self speaking therein,* and acteth difi'erently upon that which 
each particular passage thereof containeth ; yielding obedience 
to the commands,^ trembling at the threatenings,' and embracing 
the promises of God for this life and for that which is to come." 
But the principal acts of saving faith are, accepting, receiving and 
resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification and eter- 
nal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.* 

6 John iv. 42; 1 Thess. ii. 13; 1 John v. 10 ; Acts xxiv. 14. — ^ Rom. xvi. 
26.— f Isa. Ixvi. 2.-8 Heb. xi. 13 ; 1 Tim. iv. 8.— » John i. 12 ; Acts xvi. 
31 ; Gal. ii. 20 ; Acts xv. 11. 

This Section teaches — 

1st. That saving faith rests upon the truth of the 
testimony of God speaking in his word. 

2d. That it respects as its object all the contents of 
God's word, without exception. 

3d. That the complex state of mind to which the 
epithet faith is applied in Scripture varies with the 



SAVING FAITH. 279 

nature of the particular passage of God's word which 
is its object. 

4th, That the specific act of saving faith which unites 
us to Christ, and is the sole condition or instrument of 
justification, involves two essential elements : {a.) As- 
sent to what the Scriptures reveal to us concerning the 
person, offices and work of Christ; and (6) trust or 
implicit reliance upon Christ, and upon Christ alone, 
for all that is involved in a complete salvation. 

1st. Saving faith rests upon the truth of the testi- 
mony of God speaking in his word. The Scriptures 
of the Old and New Testament, having been given by 
'inspiration, are in the strictest and most direct sense 
God's word to us. They are absolutely divine, both as 
to their infallible truth and supreme authority. Christ 
when on earth rested his claims to recognition as Mes- 
siah upon the testimony borne to him by the Father. 
John V. 31-37. " He that hath received the testimony 
(of Christ) hath set to his seal that God is true." John 
iii. 33. " He that believeth not God hath made him a 
liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave 
of his Son.'' 1 John v. 10. *^ This is the witness of God 
which he has testified of his Son." 1 John v. 9. The 
gospel which Paul preached to the Corinthians he calls 
" the testimony of God." 1 Cor. ii. 1. God corroborated 
the truths of the apostle's preaching, "bearing them wit- 
ness both with signs and wonders," etc. Heb. ii. 4. The 
Holy Ghost bears direct witness to the soul of the be- 
liever. Rom. viii. 16 ; Heb. x. 15. 

2d. Saving faith receives as true all the contents of 
God's word, without exception. After we have settled 
the preliminary questions as to what books belong to the 



280 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

inspired canon of Scripture, and as to what is the orig- 
inal text of those books, then the whole must be received 
as equally the word of God, and must in all its parts be 
accepted with equal faith. The same illumination of 
the understanding and renewal of the affections which 
lays the foundation for the soul's acting faith in any one 
portion of God's testimony, lays the same foundation 
for its acting faith in every other portion. The whole 
word of God, therefore, as far as known to be individ- 
ual, to the exclusion of all traditions, doctrines of men 
or pretended private revelations, is the object of saving 
faith. 

3d. The complex state of mind to which the epithet 
faith is applied in Scripture varies with the nature of 
every particular passage of God's word which i its 
object. The common quality which is the reason of the 
application of the same term to all these various states 
of mind is cordial, realizing assent to the truth pre- 
sented. But the state of mind which fully realizes the 
truth of a threatening must, in some respects, be differ- 
ent from that which realizes the truth of a promise. 
The realization of the truth of God's glory as it shines 
in the face of Jesus Christ cannot be an experience in 
all respects the same with the believing recognition of a 
duty or of the truth of a fact of history. 

It was debated largely between the Romanists and the 
Reformers whether saving faith included trust or not. 
The true answer is, that trust is an integral and insep- 
arable element of every act of saving faith in which 
crust is appropriate to the nature of the object believed, 
it is plain that many of the propositions of Scripture 
are not the proper objects of trust. In all such cases 



SAVING FAITH. 281 

faith includes recognition, assent, acquiescenvje, submis* 
sion, as the case may be. But in all cases in which the 
nature of the truth believed renders the exercise of trust 
legitimate, and especially in that specific act of saving 
faith called justifying faith, which unites to Christ and 
is the root and organ of the whole spiritual life, trust is 
certainly an element of the very essence of that state of 
mind called in Scripture faith. This will be proved 
under the next head. 

4th. That specific act of saving faith which unites to 
Christ, and is the sole condition and instrument of jus- 
tification, involves two essential elements. 

(1.) Assent to whatever the Scriptures reveal to us 
as to the person, offices and work of Christ, (a.) The 
Scriptures expressly say that we are justified by that 
faith of which Christ is the object. Rom. iii. 22, 25 ; 
Gal. ii. 16 ; Phil. iii. 9. (6.) Rejection of Christ in 
Scripture is declared to be the ground of reprobation. 
John iii. 18, 19 ; viii. 24. Assent includes an intellec- 
tual recognition and a cordial embrace of the object at 
the same time. It is an act of the whole man — intel- 
lect, affection and will — embracing the truth. This 
especial act of faith in Christ, which secures salvation, 
is constantly paraphrased by such phrases as " coming 
to Christ," John vi. 35 ; "looking to him,'' Isa. xlv. 22; 
" receiving him,'' John i. 12 ; " flving to him for refuge," 
Heb. vi. 18 ; all of which manifestly involve, an active 
assent to and cordial embrace, as well as an intellectual 
recognition of the truth. 

(2.) The second element included in that act of faith 
that saves the soul is trust, or implicit reliance upon 
Christ, and upon Chris alone, for all that is involved 

24* 



282 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

in a complete salvation, (a.) The single condition of 
salvation demanded in the Scriptures is that we should 
"believe m" or "on" Christ Jesus. And salvation is 
promised absolutely and certainly if this command is 
obeyed. John vii. 38 ; Acts ix. 42; xvi. 31; Gal. ii. 16. 
To believe in or on a person implies trust as well as 
credence. (6.) We are constantly said to be saved "by 
faith in'' or ''on Christ." Acts xxvi. 18; Gal. iii. 26; 
2 Tim. iii. 16 ; Heb. xi. 1. " Faith is the substance of 
things hoped for." Trust rests upon the foundation 
upon which expectation is based. Hope reaches for- 
ward to the object upon which desire and expectation 
meet. Hope, therefore, rests upon trust, and trust 
gives birth to hope, and faith must include trust in 
order to give reality or substance to the things hoped 
for. (c.) The same is proved by what are said to be the 
effects or fruits of faith. By faith the Christian is said 
to be " persuaded of the promises ;" " to obtain them ;" 
" to embrace them ;" " to subdue kingdoms ;" " to work 
righteousness ;" " to stop the mouths of lions." Heb, 
xi. All this plainly presupposes that faith is not a bare 
intellectual conviction of the truth of truths revealed in 
the Scriptures, but that it includes a hearty embrace of 
and a confident reliance upon Christ, his meritorious 
work and his gracious promises. 

Section III. — This faith is different in degrees, weak or 
strong ;^° may be often and many ways assailed and weakened, 
but gets the victory :^^ growing up in many to the attainment of 
a full assurance through Christ,^^ who is both the author and 
finisher of our faith. ^' 

10 Heb. V. 13, U; Rom. iv. 19, 20; Matt. vi. 30; viii. 10.—" Luke xxii. 
-51, 32; Eph. vi. 16; 1 John v. 4, 5.— 12 Heb. vi. H, 12; x. 22; Col. ii. 2.— 
18 Heb. xii. 2. 



SAVING FAITH. 283 

111 this Section it is affirmed — 

1st. That this faith, although always as to essence the 
same, is often different in degrees in different persons, 
and in the same person at different times. 

2d. That it is exposed to many enemies, and may be 
often and in many ways assailed and weakened, but 
that, through divine grace, it always in the end gains 
the victory. 

3d. That in many it grows up to the measure of a 
full assurance through Christ. 

As all the points made in this Section are taken up 
again and discussed at length in Chapter xviii., on 
"Assurance of Grace and Salvation," we will defer 
what we have to say upon the subject until we come to 
that place. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the most general sense of the word "faith?" 

2. What is knowledge, and how does it differ from faith ? 

3. Prove that faith is not irrational, and that it rests upon 
appropriate evidence. 

4. Show that faith is exercised by all men, and that its exercise 
is necessary to human thought and to social life. 

5. What is religious faith ? 

6. What is "saving faith." and how does it differ from the 
former ? 

7. State the first truth assorted of saving faith in this Section 

8. State the second truth asserted. 

9. State the third. 

10. Prove that saving faith is the work of the Holy Sph-it 

11. Prove that it is ordinarily wrought by the Spirit through 
the ministry of the Word. 

12. Prove that it continues to increase and is strengthened by 
the use of the sacraments and prayer. 



284 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

13. What is the first truth taught of saving faith in the third 
Section ? 

14. What is the second truth taught? 

15. Whatisthe^/iiVcZF 

16. Whatisthe/owr^/i.? 

17. Prove that saving faith rests upon the truth of the testi- 
mony which God bears in his word. 

18. Prove that saving faith receives all the contents of God's 
word, without exception. 

19. Prove that the complex state of mind to which the term 
"faith" is applied in the Scriptures varies in some of its elements 
with the nature of the particular passage of God's word which 
is its object. 

20. Is truth an integral element of saving faith ? 

21. What is the object of that special act of saving faith which 
is the sole instrument of justification and hence the sole condition 
of salvation? 

22. What is the first element that special faith always in- 
cludes ? 

23. What is the second element it always contains ? 

24. Prove that it essentially involves assent. 

25. Prove that it essentially involves trust. 

26. What relation do faith, hope and trust mutually sustain to 
one another ? 

27. What is the first truth taught of saving faith in the third 
Section ? 

28. What is the second taught? 

29. What is the third taught? 



CHAPTER XV. 

OP REPENTANCE UNTO LIPE. 

Section I. — Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace,* the 
doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the gos- 
pel, as well as that of faith in Christ.'^ 

Section II. — By it a sinner, out of the sight and sense, not 
only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of 
his sins, as contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God, 
and upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are 
penitent, so grieves for and hates his sins, as to turn from them 
all unto God,' purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all 
the ways of his commandments.* 

1 Zech. xii. 10 ; Acts xi. 18.— 2 Luke xxiv. 47 ; Mark i. 15 ; Acts xx. 21, 
— » Ezek. xviii. 30, 31; xxxvi. 31; Isa. xxx. 22; Ps. li. 4; Jer. xxxi. 18, 
19 ; Joel ii. 12, 13 ; Amos v. 15 ; Ps. cxix. 128 ; 2 Cor. vii. 11.—* Ps. cxix. 
6, 69, 106 ; Luke i. 6; 2 Kings xxiii. 25. 

These Sections teach the following truths : 
1st. That as to the grounds of it, true evangelical 
repentance rests upon (a) a true sense of the guilt, pollu- 
tion and power of his own sinfulness, and of his own 
sinful deeds ; and (6) a true apprehension of the mercy 
of God in Christ. 

2d. That as to the essence of it repentance consists (a) 
in true hatred of sin and sorrow for his own sin ; (6) in 
an actual turning from them all unto God ; (c) in a sin- 
cere purpose and practical endeavour to walk with God 
in the way of his commandments. 

2^5 



286 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

3d. That as thus defined this true repentance is an 
evangelical grace, like faith freely given to us by God 
for Christ's sake, as well as a duty obligatory upon 
us. 

4th. It should therefore be diligently proclaimed 
from the pulj^it by every minister of the gospel. 

1st. The grounds of repentance are (1) a true sense 
of sin. That spiritual illumination and renewal of the 
affections which are effected in regeneration brings the 
believer to see and appreciate the holiness of God as 
revealed alike in the law and in the gospel (Rom. iii. 
20; Job xlii. 5, 6); and in that light to see and feel the 
exceeding sinfulness of all sin, and the utter sinfulness 
of his own nature and conduct. This sense of sin cor- 
responds precisely to the actual facts of the case, and 
the man apprehends himself to be just as God has 
always seen him to be. It includes (a) consciousness of 
guilt — L e.y exposure to merited punishment, as opposed 
to the justice of God. Ps. li. 4, 9. {b.) Consciousness 
of pollution, as opposed to the holiness of God. Ps. li. 
5, 7, 10. And (c) consciousness of helplessness. Ps. li. 
11; cix. 21,22. 

The grounds of repentance are (2) a bright apprehen- 
sion of the mercy of God in Christ. This is necessary 
in order to true repentance : (a.) Because the awakened 
conscience echoes God's law, and can be appeased by no 
less a propitiation than that demanded by divine jus- 
tice itself; and until this is realized in a believing appli- 
cation to the merits of Christ, either indifference will 
stupefy or remorse will torment the soul. (6.) Because 
out of Christ, God is a consuming fire, and an inextin- 
guishable dread of his wrath repels the soul. Deut. iv. 



REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE. 287 

24 ; Heb. xii. 29. (c.) A sense of the amazing good- 
ness of God to us in the gift of his Son, and of our 
ungrateful requital of it, is the most powerful means of 
bringing the soul to genuine repentance for sin as com- 
mitted against God. Ps. li. 4. (d) This is proved by 
the examples of repentance recorded in Scripture. Ps. 
li. 1 ; cxxx. 4, and by the universal experience of Chris- 
tians in modern times. 

2d. As to its essence true repentance consists (1) in a 
sincere hatred of sin (Ps. cxix. 128, 136), and sorrow 
for our own sin. Sin is seen to be exceeding sinful in 
the light of the divine holiness, the law of God, and 
especially of the cross of Christ. The more we see of 
God in the face of Christ, the more we abhor ourselves 
and repent in dust and ashes. Job xlii. 5 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 
31. Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not 
to be repented of. 2 Cor. vii. 10. "By the law is the 
knowledge of sin" (Rom. iii. 20), and hence " the law 
is our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ." Gal. 
iii. 24. 

The essence of repentance consists (2) in our actual 
turning from all sin unto God. This is that practical 
turning or " conversion" from sin unto God which is 
the instant and necessary consequence of regeneration. 
It is a voluntary forsaking of sin as evil and hateful, 
with sincere sorrow, humiliation and confession, and a 
turning unto God as our reconciled Father in the exer- 
cise of implicit faith in the merits and assisting grace 
of Christ. This is marked by the meaning of the 
Greek word used by the Holy Spirit to express the idea 
of repentance, namely, " a change of mind," including 
evidently a change of thought, feeling and purpose, 



288 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

corresponding to our new character as the children of 
God. If this be sincere, it will of course lead to the 
(3) element of practical repentance, namely, a sincere 
purpose of, and a persevering endeavour after, new obedi- 
ence. Acts xxvi. 20. 

By these marks it may be seen that repentance unto 
life can only be exercised by a soul after and in conse- 
quence of its regeneration by the Holy Spirit. God 
regenerates, and we, in the exercise of the new gracious 
ability thus given, repent. Repentance and conversion, 
therefore, are terms applying often to the same gracious 
experience. The scriptural usage of the two words 
differs in two respects: (1.) Conversion is the more 
general term, including all the various experiences in- 
volved in our commencing the divine life. It especially 
emphasizes that experience as a turning unto God. Re- 
pentance is more specific, giving prominence to the work 
of the law upon the conscience, and especially empha- 
sizing the experiences attending the new birth as a 
turning from sin. (2.) Conversion is generally used to 
designate only the first actings of the new nature at the 
commencement of a religious life, or the first steps of a 
return to God after a notable backsliding (Luke xxii. 
32) ; while repentance is a daily experience of the 
Christian as long as the struggle with sin continues in 
his heart and life. Ps. xix. 12, 13; Luke ix. 32; Gal. 
vi. 14 ; V. 24. 

There is a false repentance experienced before regen- 
eration, and by those never regenerated, which arises 
simply from the common operations of the truth and 
Spirit upon the natural conscience, exciting simply a 
sense of guilt and pollution, leading neither to the 



REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE. 289 

hatred of sin, nor to the apprehension of the mercy 
of God in Christ, nor to the practical turning from sin 
unto God. The genuineness of true repentance is 
proved (a) by its being conformed perfectly to the re- 
quirements and teachings of Scripture, and (6) by its 
fruits. If genuine, it infallibly springs from regenera- 
tion and leads to eternal life. 

3d. As thus defined, repentance is, like faith, an 
evangelical grace, given to us for Christ's sake, as well 
as a duty obligatory upon us. What is here said of re- 
pentance is equally true of every characteristic expe- 
rience of the subject of regeneration and sanctification. 
Christ is the Vine ; we are the branches. But we are 
also free, accountable agents. Every Christian du'y is, 
therefore, a grace, " for without him we can do nothing.'' 
And equally every Christian grace is a duty ; because 
the grace is given to us to exercise, and it finds its true 
result and expression only in the duty. 

That it is thus a gift of God is evident — (1.) From 
its nature. It involves true conviction of sin ; a holy 
hatred of sin ; faith in the Lord Jesus and his work, 
which faith is God's gift. Gal. v. 22; Eph. ii. 8. (2.) 
It is directly affirmed in Scripture. Zech. xii. 10; Acts 
V. 31; xi. 18; 2 Tim. ii. 25. 

4th. That it should be diligently preached by every 
minister of the gospel is (1) self-evident from the es- 
sential nature of the duty. (2.) Because such preaching 
was included in the commission Christ gave to the apos- 
tles. Luke xxiv. 47, 48. (3.) Because of the example 
of the apostles. Acts xx. 21. 

Section III. — Althougli repentance be not to be rested in, as 
Rny satisfaction for sin or an^' cause of the pardon thereof',* which 
25 



290 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

is the act of God's free grace in Christ,^ yet is it of sucli necessity 
to all sinners that none may expect pardon without it.^ 

Section IV, — As there is no sin so small but it deserves dam- 
nation, * so there is no sin so great that it can bring damnation 
upon those who truly repent.* 

Section V. — Men ought not to content themselves with a gen- 
i;ral repentance, but it is every man's duty to endeavour to repent 
of his particular sins particularly.-^" 

6 Ezek. xxxvi. 31, 32 5 xvi. 61-63.— 6 Hos. xiv. 2, 4; Rom. iii. 24; Eph. 
i. 7.—' Luke xiii. 3, 5 ; Acts xvii. 30, 31.— » Rom. vi. 23 ; v. 12 ; Matt. xii. 
36.-9 Isa. Iv. 7; Rom. viii. 1 ; Isa. i. 16, 18.— w Ps. xix. 13 ; Luke xix. 8 j 
1 Tim. i. 13, 15. 

ThesQ Sections teach the following propositions : 

1st. That repentance is not to be rested in, as any 
satisfaction for sin or any cause of the pardon thereof. 

2d. That, nevertheless, it is of such necessity that it is 
inseparable from pardon, so that none who are non- 
repentant are pardoned. 

3d. That while the least sin deserves condemnation, 
the same grace of Christ which bringeth repentance 
avails to extinguish the guilt of the greatest sin. 

4th. That, as men ought to repent of their sinful dis- 
position by nature and the general sinfulness of their 
lives, so they ought also to repent of every particular sin 
known to them. 

1st. Repentance is not to be rested in as any satisfac- 
tion for sin or any cause of the pardon thereof. This 
directly contradicts the opinion of Socinians, the advo- 
cates of the moral-influence theory of the atonement, and 
Rationalists generally, to the effect that the repentance 
of the sinner is the only satisfaction the law requires, 
and hence the only condition God demands, as prere 
quisite to full pardon and restoration to divine favour. 



, REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE. 291 

It also contradicts the Romish doctrine of penance. 
They distinguish penance — (1.) As a virtue, which is 
internal, including sorrow for sin and a turning from 
sin unto God. (2.) As a sacrament, which is the exter- 
nal expression of the internal state. This sacrament 
consists (a) of contrition — i. e., sorrow and detestation of 
past sins, with a purpose of sinning no more ; (6) con- 
fession or self-accusation to a priest having jurisdiction 
and the power of the keys ; (c) satisfaction or some pain- 
ful work, imposed by the priest and performed by the 
penitent, to satisfy divine justice for sins committed; 
and {d) absolution, pronounced by the priest judicially 
and not merely declaratively. They hold that the ele- 
ment of satisfaction included in this sacrament makes a 
real satisfaction for sin, and is an efficient cause of par- 
don, absolutely essential — the only means whereby the 
pardon of sins committed after baptism can be secured.* 

That repentance is no cause whatever of the pardon 
of sin is proved by all that the Scriptures teach us (a) 
as to the justice of God, which inexorably demands the 
punishment of every sin ; {b) as to the necessity for the 
satisfaction rendered to the law and justice of God by 
the obedience and suffering of Christ ; (c) as to the fact 
that he has rendered a full satisfaction in behalf of all 
for whom he died ; (d) as to the impossibility of any 
man^s securing justification by works of any kind; and 
{e) as to the fact that the believer is justified solely on 
the ground of the righteousness of Christ imputed to 
hira and received by faith alone. All these points have 
already been discussed under their appropriate heads; 
and they are more than sufficient to prove (1) that par- 
* Cat. Rom., Part, ii., chap, v., Qs. 12 and 13. 



CX)NFESSION OF FAITH. 

don is secured entirely on a different basis ; (2) that the 
external penance of the Romanist is an impertinent 
attempt to supplement the perfect satisfaction of Christ; 
and (3) that internal repentance, when genuine, is itself 
a gracious gift of God, without merit in itself, and of 
value only because it springs from the application of 
Christ's grace to the soul and leads to the application 
by the soul to Christ's grace. 

2d. Nevertheless, repentance is of such necessity to all 
sinners that none may expect pardon without it. This 
is evident — (1) Because the giving of pardon to a non- 
repentant sinner would be in effect to sanction his sin, 
to confirm him in his sinful state, and to encourage 
others therein. Although Scripture and the moral 
sense of men teach that repentance is no adequate satis- 
faction for sin nor an equivalent for the penalty, they 
just as clearly teach that it would be inconsistent in 
every sense with good morals to pardon a person cher- 
ishing an unrepentant spirit. (2.) Repentance is the 
natural and instant sequence of the grace of regenera- 
tion. It also embraces an element of faith in Christ, 
and that faith is, as we have seen, the instrument of 
justification. He that repents believes. He that does 
not repent does not believe. He that does not believe 
is not justified. Regeneration and justification are never 
separated. (3.) The design of Christ's work is to save 
his people frora their sins. He frees them from the 
guilt of their sins by pardon, and he brings them clear 
from the power of their sins through repentance. " Him 
hath God exalted, .... to give repentance to Israel and 
forgiveness of sins." Acts v. 31. (4.) Repentance, like 
faith, is a duty as well as a grace, and ministers are com- 



REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE. 293 

manded to preach it as essential to forgiveness. Luke 
xxiv. 47 ; Acts xx. 21. 

3d. That the least sin deserves punishment is obvi- 
ous. The moral law is moral in every element, and it 
is of the essence of that which is moral that it is obliga- 
tory, and that its violation is deserving of reprobation. 
Hence " whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet 
ofiend in one point, is guilty of all." James ii. 10. That 
there is no sin so great that it can bring condemnation 
upon those that truly repent is also evident, because 
true repentance, as we have seen, is the fruit of regene- 
ration, and no man is regenerated who is not also justi- 
fied. Besides, true repentance includes faith, and faith 
unites to Christ and secures the imputation of his right- 
eousness, and the righteousness of Christ of course can- 
cels all possible sin. Rom. viii. 1 ; v. 20. 

4th. That men ought to repent not only in general 
of the corruption of their hearts and sinfulness of their 
lives, but also of every particular sinful action of which 
they are conscious and that when possible they should 
redress the wrong done by their actions, is a dictate alike 
of natural conscience and Scripture. Luke xix. 8; 1 John 
i. 9. No man has any right to presume that he hates 
sin in general unless he practically hates every sin in 
particular ; and no man has any right to presume that 
he is sorry for and ready to renounce his own sins in 
general unless he is conscious of practically renouncing 
and grieving for each particular sin into which he falls. 

Section VI. — As every man is bound to make private confes- 
sion of his sins to Grod, praying for the pardon thereof;" upon 
which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy ;^^ so he 
that scandalizeth his brother, or the Church of Christ, ought to 

25 « 



294 CX)NFESSION OF FAITH. 

be willing, by a private or public confession and sorrow for his 
pin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended ;^' who 
are thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive 
hirn.^* 

" Ps. li. 4, 5, 7, 9, U; xxxii. 5, 6.— 12 Prov. xxviii. 13; 1 John i. 9.— 
^' James v. 16 ; Luke xvii. 3, 4 ; Josh. vii. 19 ; Ps. li.— " 2 Cor. ii. 8. 

This Section teaches — 

1st. That every man should make private confession 
of all his sins to God, and that God will certainly par- 
don him when his sorrow and his renunciation of his 
sins are sincere. This is all included in what has 
already been said as to the nature and effects of genuine 
repentance; and it is expressly declared in Scripture: 
" If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just to 
forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unright- 
eousness." 1 John i. 9. 

2d. That when a Christian has personally injured a 
brother, or scandalized by his unchristian conduct the 
Church of Christ, he ought to be willing, by a public or 
a private confession, as the case may be, to declare his 
repentance to those that are offended, is also a dictate 
alike of natural reason and Scripture. If we have done 
wrong, we stand in the position of one maintaining a 
wrong until, by an expressed repentance and, where pos- 
sible, redress of the wrong, we place ourselves on the 
side of the right. The wrong-doer is plainly in debt to 
the man he has injured to make every possible restitu- 
tion to his feelings and interests, and the same principle 
holds true in relation to the general interests of the 
Christian community. The duty is expressly com- 
manded in Scripture. Matt. v. 23, 24; James v. 16; 
Matt, xviii. 15-18. 



REPENTAKCE UNTO LIFE. 295 

3d. That it is the duty of the brethren or of the 
Church, when offended, to forgive the offending party 
and restore him fully to favour upon his repentance, is 
also a dictate of natural conscience and of Scripture. 
All lionourable men feel themselves bound to act upon 
this principle. The Christian is, in addition, brought 
under obligations to forgive others by his own infinite 
obligations to his Lord, who not only forgave us upon 
repentance, but died to redeem us while we were unre- 
pentant. As to public scandals, the Church is bound to 
forgive them when the Lord has done so. As genuine 
repentance is the gift of Christ, its evident exercise is a 
certain indication that the person exercising it is for- 
given by Christ and a Christian brother. liuke xvii. 3, 
4; 2 Cor. ii. 7, 8; Matt. vi. 7. 

The E-omish Church teaches that, as an element of 
penance and evidence of true repentance, the Christian 
must confess all his sins without reserve, in all their 
details and qualifying circumstances, to a priest having 
jurisdiction ; and that if any mortal sin is unconfessed 
it is not forgiven ; and if the omission is wilful, it is 
sacrilege, and greater guilt is incurred.* And they 
maintain that the priest absolves judicially, not merely 
declaratively, from all the penal consequences of the 
sins confessed, by the authority of Jesus Christ. 

This is an obvious perversion of the scriptural com- 
mand to confess. They bid us simply to confess our 
faults one to another. There is not a word said about 
confession to a priest in the Bible. The believer, on the 
contrary, has immediate access to Christ, and to God 
through Christ (1 Tim. ii. 5 ; John xiv. 6 ; v. 40 ; Matt. 
* Cat. B >m., Part ii., ch. v., Qs. 33, 34, 42. 



296 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

xi. 28), and is commanded to confess his sins imme- 
diately to God. 1 John i. 9. No priestly function is 
ever ascribed to the Christian ministry in the New 
Testament. The power of absolute forgiveness of sin 
belongs to God alone (Matt. ix. 2-6), is incommunicable 
in its very nature, and has never been granted to any 
class of men as a matter of fact. The authority to bind 
or loose which Christ committed to his Church was 
understood by the apostles, as is evident from their 
practice, as simply conveying the power of declaring 
the conditions on which God pardons sin, and, in ac- 
cordance with that declaration, of admitting or of ex- 
cluding men from sealing ordinances. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the first truth taught in the first and second Sec- 
tions ? 

2. What is the second taught ? 

3. What is the third ? 

4. Whatis the/oMr^/i-f 

5. What does a true sense of sin include? 

6. Show how it leads to repentance. 

7. Show that an apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ 
is necessary to lead to true repentance. 

8. What three elements enter into genuine repentance ? 

9. Show that it includes a true hatred of sin and sorrow for 
Dur own sin. 

10. Show that it includes an actual turning from all sin unto 
God. 

11. Show that it includes a sincere purpose of, and a persever- 
ing endeavour after, new obedience. 

12. What distinction is maintained in the usage of the words 
"conversion" and "repentance" in Scripture? 



REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE. 297 

1 3. Wliat is a false repentance, and how may a genuine repent- 
ance be discriminated from it? 

14. What is meant when it is affirmed that every Christian 
duty is a Christian grace ? 

15. Prove that repentance is an evangelical grace. 

1 6. Why should it be diligently preached ? 

1 7. What two propositions are taught in Section iii. ? 

18. What is taught in Section iv. ? 

19. What in Section v. ? 

20. What is the Socinian or Rationalistic doctrine as to the 
relation of repentance to pardon ? 

21. What is the Romish doctrine of penance? 

22. Of what three elements do they teach that external pen- 
ance consists? 

23. Prove that repentance is no cause whatever of the pardon 
of sin. 

24. Prove that none are ever pardoned without repentance. 

25. Prove that the least sin deserves condemnation. 

26. Pi'ove that no sin will secure condemnation in the case of 
the truly penitent. 

27. Prove that men ought to repent of their particular sinful 
actions, as well as of their sinfulness in general. 

28. What is the firat point affirmed in the sixth Section? 

29. What is the seconc? point affirmed there? 

30. What is the third point affirmed there ? 

31. What does the Romish Church teach as to confession of 
sins? 

32. What does she teach as to absolution from sin ? 

33. Prove that she is wrong as to her doctrine of confession. 

34. Prove that she is wrong as to priestly absolution. 



CHAPTER XVI, 



OF GOOD WORKS. 



Section I. — G-ood works are only such as God hath com- 
manded in his holy word/ and not such as, without the warrant 
thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pre- 
tence of good intention.^ 

Section II. — These good works, done in obedience to Q-od's 
commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively 
faith;' and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,* 
strengthen their assurance,* edify their brethren,* adorn the pro- 
fession of the gospel,'' stop the mouths of the adversaries,® and 
glorify G-od,* whose workmanship they are, created in Christ 
Jesus thereunto ;^" that, having their fruit unto holiness, they 
may have the end, eternal life." 

1 Mic. vi. 8 ; Rom. xii. 2 ; Heb. xiii. 21.— 2 Matt. xv. 9 ; Isa. xxix. 13 ; 
1 Pet. i. 18; Rom, x. 2; John xvi. 2; 1 Sam. xv. 21-23.— 3 James ii. 18, 
22.—* Ps. cxvi. 12, 13 ; 1 Pet. ii. 9.-6 1 John ii. 3, 5 ; 2 Pet. i. 5-10.— « 2 
Cor. ix. 2; Matt. v. 16.— ^ Tit. ii. 5, 9-12; 1 Tim. vi. 1.-8 1 Pet. ii. 15.— 
» 1 Pet. ii. 12 ; Phil. i. 11 ; John xv. 8.— w Eph. ii. 10.— n Rom. vi. 22. 

These Sections teach the following propositions : 
1st. In order that any human action should be truly 
a good work, it must have the following essential cha- 
racteristics : (1.) It must be something directly or im- 
plicitly commanded by God. (2.) It must spring from 
an inward principle of faith and love in the heart. 
Works not commanded by God, but invented and 
gratuitously performed by men, are utterly destitute 

298 



GOOD WORKS. 299 

of moral character, and, if offered in the place of the 
obedience required, they are offensive. 

2d. The effects and uses of good works in the Chris- 
tian life are manifold, and are such as — (1.) They ex- 
press the gratitude, manifest the grace of God in the 
believer, and so adorn the profession of the gospel. (2.) 
They glorify God. (3.) They develop grace by exercise, 
and so strengthen the believer's assurance. (4.) They 
edify the brethren. (5.) They stop the mouths of 
adversaries. (6.) They are necessary to the attainment 
of eternal life. 

1st. In order that a work may be good, it must be 
an act performed in conformity to God's rev^ealed will. 
The law of absolute moral perfection to which we are 
held in subjection is not the law of our own reasons or 
consciences, but it is an all-perfect rule of righteousness, 
having its ground In the eternal nature of God, and its 
expression and obliging authority to us in the divine 
will. Not self-development, not the realization of an 
ideal end, but obedience to a personal authority without 
and above us, is precisely what reason, conscience and 
Scripture require. The good man is the obedient man. 
The sinner in every transgression of virtue is conscious 
that he is guilty of disobedience to the supreme Law- 
giver. David says in his repentance, " Against thee^ 
thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy 
sight.'^ Ps. li. 4. God has given in the inspired Scrip- 
tures a perfect rule of faith and practice. Every prin- 
ciple, every motive and every end of right action, accord- 
ing to the will of God, may there be easily learned by 
the devout inquirer. God says to his Church : " What 
thing soever I command you, observe to do it; thou 



300 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

shalt ncit add thereunto nor diminish from it." Deut. 
xii. 32 ; Kev. xxii. 18, 19. And God very energetically 
declares his abhorrence of uncoramanded services, of 
" voluntary humility" and "will-worship." Isa. i. 11, 
12; Col. ii. 16,23. 

2d. In order that a work may be truly good, it must 
spring from a principle of faith and love in the heart. 
All men recognize that the moral character of an act 
always is determined by the moral character of the prin- 
ciple or affection which prompts to it. Unregenerate 
men perform many actions, good so far as their external 
relations to their fellow-men are concerned. But love 
to God is the foundation-principle upon which all moral 
duties rest, just as our relation to God is the funda- 
mental relation upon which all our other relations rest. 
If a man is alienated from God, if he is not in the 
present exercise of trust in him and love for him, any 
action he can perform will lack the essential element 
which makes it a true obedience. Good works accord- 
ing to the Scriptures are the fruits of sanctification, 
having their root in regeneration. " For we are his 
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, 
which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in 
them." Eph. ii. 10. James says that faith is shown by 
works, which of course implies that the kind of works 
of which he speaks spring only from a believing heart. 
James ii. 18, 22. 

3d. The effects and uses of good works in the Chris- 
tian life are manifold, and are such as — (1.) They ex- 
press the gratitude and manifest the grace of God in 
the believer, and so adorn the profession of the gospel. 
Faith works by love. Gal. v. 6. Christ says that we 



GOOD WORKS. 301 

t 
are to express our love for him by keeping liis com- 
mandments. John xiv. 15, 23. As they are the fruits 
of the Spirit, they render manifest the excellent work- 
ing of the Spirit. 1 Tim. ii. 10; Tit. ii. 10. (2.) They 
glorify God. Since God is their author (Eph. ii. 10), 
they manifest the excellency of his grace, and excite all 
who behold them to appreciate and proclaim his glory. 
Matt. V. 16; 1 Pet. ii. 12. (3.) As they spring from 
grace, so the performance of them exercises grace in 
general, and each grace severally according to the nature 
of the work performed. Thus by the universal law of 
habit grace grows by its exercise. And the assurance 
as to our own gracious state naturally increases with the 
strength and evidence of those graces unto which the 
promise of salvation is attached. (4.) They edify the 
brethren. Good works edify others, both as confirma- 
tory evidence of the truth of Christianity and the power 
of divine grace, and by the force of example inducing 
men to practice the same. 1 Thess. i. 7 ; 1 Tim. iv. 12; 
1 Pet. V. 3. (5.) For the same reasons good works 
disprove the cavils and render nugatory the opposition 
of wicked men. 1 Pet. ii. 15. (6.) They are necessary 
to the attainment of salvation, not in any sense as a 
prerequisite to justification, nor as in any stage of the 
believer's progress meriting the divine favour, but as 
essential elements of that salvation, the consubstantial 
fruits and means of sanctification and glorification. A 
saved soul is a holy soul, and a holy soul is one whose 
faculties are all engaged in works of loving obedi- 
ence. Grace in the heart cannot exist without good 
works as its consequent. Good works cannot exist 
without the increase of the graces which are exercised 

26 



302 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

in them. Heaven could not exist except as a society of 
holy souls mutually obeying the law of love in all the 
good works that law requires. Eph. v. 25-27 ; 1 The«s. 
iV. 6, 7 ; Rev. xxi. 27. 

Section III. — ^Their ability to do good works is not at all of 
themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. ^^ And that 
they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have 
already received, there is required an actual influence of the 
same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of his 
good pleasure :^' yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as 
if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special 
motion of the Spirit ; but they ought to be diligent in stirring 
up the grace of God that is in them." 

12 John XV. 4-6 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27.— 13 Phil. ii. 13 ; iv. 13 ; 2 Cor. iii. 
6.— 1* Phil. ii. 12; Heb. vi. 11, 12; 2 Pet. i. 3, 5, 10, 11; Isa. Ixiv. 7; 2 
Tim. i. 6 ; Acts xxvi. 6, 7 ; Jude 20, 21. 

As we have seen under Chapter x., in regeneration 
the Holy Spirit implants a permanent holy principle or 
habit in the soul which ever continues the germ or seed 
from which all gracious affections and holy exercises do 
proceed. In respect to the implantation of this per- 
manent holy principle by the Holy Spirit the soul is 
passive. But the instant this new moral disposition or 
tendency is implanted in the soul, as a matter of course 
the moral character of its exercises is changed, and the 
soul becomes active in good works, as before it had been 
in evil ones. But, as we also saw under Chapter xiii., 
sanctifi cation is a work of God's free grace, wherein 
he continues graciously to sustain, nourish and guide 
the exercise of the permanent habit of grace which he 
had implanted in regeneration. The regenerated man 
depends upon the continuecP indwelling, the prompting 



GOOD WOEKS. 303 

and the sustaining and the enabling power of the Holy 
Spirit in every act of obedience in the exercise of grace; 
nevertheless as the acts of obedience to the performance 
of which the Spirit prompts and enables him are his 
own acts, it follows that he, while seeking the guidance 
and support of grace, must actively co-operate with it, 
acting like every free agent under the influence of mo- 
tives and a sense of personal responsibility. Hence 
this Section asserts — 

1st. That the ability of the Christian to do good 
works is not at all from himself, but wholly from the 
Spirit of Christ. 

2d. That in order thereto, in addition to the grace 
implanted in regeneration, there is needed a continual 
influence of the Holy Ghost upon all the faculties of 
the renewed soul, w^hereby the Christian is enabled to 
will and to do of his good pleasure. 

3d. That this doctrine of the absolute dependence of 
the soul is not to be perverted into an occasion to indo- 
lence, or to abate in any degree our sense of personal 
obligation. God^s will is exhibited to us objectively in 
the written word. The obligation to voluntary obedi- 
ence binds our consciences. The Holy Spirit does not 
work independently of the Word, but through the Word, 
nor does he work irrespectively of our constitutional 
faculties of reason, conscience and free will, but through 
them. It hence follows that we can never honour the 
Holy Spirit by waiting for his special motions, but that 
we always yield to and co-work with him when we, 
while seeking his guidance and assistance, use all means 
of grace and all our own best energies in being and 
doing all that the law of God requires. It is never the 



304 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

waiters for grace, but always the active seekers for grace 
and doers of his word, whom God approves. Luke xi. 
"9-13; James i. 22, 23. 

Section IV. — They who in their obedience attain to the great- 
est height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able 
to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they 
fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.^^ 

Section Y. — We cannot, by our best works, merit pardon of 
sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, by reason of the great 
disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and 
the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them 
we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former 
sins ;^* but when we have done all we can, we have done but our 
duty, and are unprofitable servants;" and because, as they are 
good, they proceed from his Spirit ;^^ and, as they are wrought 
by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and 
imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's 
judgment.^' 

Section VI. — Yet, notwithstanding, the persons of believers 
being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted 
in him ;* not as though they were in this life wholly unblam- 
able and unreprovable in God's sight ;^^ but that he, looking upon 
them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is 
sincere, although accc:rr^T)anied with many weaknesses and imper- 
fections.'" 

15 Luke xvii. 10; Neh. xiii. 22; Job ix. 2, 3; Gal. v. 17.—^^ Rom. iii. 
20; iv. 2, 4, 6; Eph. ii. 8, 9; Tit. iii. 6-7; Rom. viii. 18; Ps. xvi. 2; Job 
xxii. 2, 3; xxxv. 7, 8.—" Luke xvii. 10.— is Gal. v. 22, 23.— 19 Isa. Ixiv. 
6; Gal. v. 17; Rom. vii. 15, 18; Ps. cxliii. 2; cxxx. 3.— 20 Eph. i. 6; 1 
Pet. ii. 5 ; Ex. xxviii. 38 ; Gen. iv. 4 ; Heb. xi. 4.-21 job ix. 20 ; Ps. cxliii. 
2.-22 Heb. xiii. 20, 21; 2 Cor. viii. 12; Heb. vi. 10; Matt. xxv. 21, 23. 

These Sections teach — 

1st. That works of supererogation are so far from 
being possible, even for the most eminent saint, that in 
this life it is not possible for the most thoroughly sanc- 
tified one fully to discharge all his positive obligations. 



GOOD WORKS. 305 

2d. That, for several reasons assigned, the best works 
of believers, so far from meriting either the pardon of 
sin or eternal life at the hands of God, cannot even 
endure the scrutiny of his holy judgment. 

3d. That, nevertheless, the works of sincere believers 
are, like their persons, in spite of their imperfections, 
accepted because of their union with Christ Jesus, and 
rewarded for his sake. 

1st. The phrase "supererogation" means "more than 
is demanded." Works of supererogation are in their 
own nature impossible under the moral law of God. In 
man's present state even the most eminent saint is inca- 
pable of fully discharging all his obligations — much 
more, of course, of surpassing them. The Komish 
Church teaches the ordinary Arminian theory of perfec- 
tionism. In addition to this error, it teaches (a) that 
good works subsequent to baptism merit increase of 
grace and eternal felicity;* and (6) it distinguishes 
between the commands and counsels of Christ. The 
former are binding upon all classes of the people, and 
their observance necessary in order to salvation. The 
latter, consisting of advice, not of commands — such as 
celibacy, voluntary poverty, obedience to monastic rule, 
etc. — are binding only on those who voluntarily assume 
them, seeking a higher degree of perfection and a more 
exalted reward. 

We have already, under Chapter xiii., seen that a 
state of sinless perfection is never attained by Christians 
in this life, and it of course follows that much less is it 
possible for any to do more than is commanded. 

That works of supererogation are always and essen- 

* Council of Trent, Sess. vi ch. xvi., Canon 24, 32. 
26* 



306 CONFESSION OF FAIIH. 

tially impossible to all creatures in all worlds is also 
evident — (1.) From the very nature of the moral law. 
That which is right under any relation is intrinsically 
obligatory upon the moral agent standing in that rela- 
tion. If it be moral it is obligatory. If it be not 
obligatory, it is not moral. If it is not moral, it is, of 
course, of no moral value or merit. If it is obligatory, 
it is not supererogatory. When men do what it is their 
duty to do they are to claim nothing for it. Luke xvii. 
10. (2.) The doing of that which God has not made 
it men's duty to do — all manner of will-worship and 
commandments of men — God declares is an abomination 
to him. Col. ii. 18-22; 1 Tim. iv. 3; Matt. xv. 9. 
(3.) Christ has given no "counsels," as distinct from his 
commands. His absolute and universal command to 
love God with the whole soul, and our neighbour as 
ourselves, covers the whole ground of possible ability or 
opportunity on earth or in heaven. Matt. xxii. 37-40. 
(4.) Increase of grace and eternal felicity, and all else 
which the believer needs or is capable of, are secured for 
him by the purchase of Christ's blood, and either given 
freely now without price, or reserved for him in that 
eternal inheritance which he is to receive as a joint heir 
with Christ. (5.) The working of the Romish system 
of celibacy, voluntary poverty and monastic vows, has 
produced such fruits that prove the principle on which 
they rest radically immoral and false. 

2d. The best works of believers, instead of meriting 
pardon of sit^,and eternal life, cannot endure the scrutiny 
of his holy judgment. The reasons for this assertion 
are — (1.) As above shown, from the nature of the moral 
law. What is not obligatory is not m ral, and what is 



GOOD WORKS. 307 

not moral can have no moral desert. (2.) The best 
works possible for man are infinitely unworthy to be 
compared in value with God's favour, and the rewards 
which men who trust to works seek to obtain through 
them. (3.) God's infinite superiority to us, his absolute 
proprietorship in us as our Maker, and sovereignty over 
us as our moral Governor, necessarily exclude the pos- 
sibility of our actions deserving any reward at his hand. 
No action of ours can profit God or lay him under obli- 
gation to us. All that is possible to us is already a debt 
we owe him as our Creator and Preserver. When we 
have done our utmost we are only unprofitable servants. 
Much less, then, can any possible obedience at one 
moment atone for any disobedience in another moment. 
(4.) As already proved under Chapter xiii., on Sanctifi- 
cation, our works, which could merit nothing even if 
perfect, are in this life, because of remaining imperfec- 
tions, most imperfect. They therefore, the best of them, 
need to be atoned for by the blood, and presented through 
the mediation, of Christ, before they can find acceptance 
with the Father. 

3d. Nevertheless, the good works of sincere believers 
are, like their persons, in spite of their imperfections, 
iccepted, because of their union with Christ Jesus, and 
rewarded for his sake. All our approaches to God are 
made through Christ. It is only through him that we 
have access to the Father by the Spirit. Eph. ii. 18. 
" Whatever we do, in word or deed," Ave are com- 
manded to "do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." Col. 
iii. 17. 

As to the relation of good works to rewards, it may 
be observed — (1.) The word merit, in the strict sense 



308 CONFESSION »F FAITH. 

of the term, means that common quality of all actions 
or services to which a reward is due in strict justice on 
account of their intrinsic value or worthiness. It is 
evident that, in this strict sense, no work of any crea- 
ture can in itself merit any reward from God, because 
(a) all the faculties he possesses were originally granted 
and are continuously sustained by God, so that he is 
already so far in debt to God that he can never bring 
God in debt to him. (6.) Nothing the creature can do 
can be a just equivalent for the incomparable favour of 
God and its consequences. 

There is another sense of the word, however, in which 
it may be affirmed that if Adam had in his original 
probation yielded the obedience required, he would have 
" merited" the reward conditioned upon it, not because 
of the intrinsic value of that obedience, but because of 
the terms of the covenant which God had graciously 
condescended to form with him. By nature, the crea- 
ture owed the Creator obedience, while the Creator 
owed the creature nothing. But by covenant the Cre- 
ator voluntarily bound himself to owe the creature 
eternal life, upon the condition of perfect obedience. 

It is evident that in this life the works of God's 
people can have no merit in either of the senses above 
noticed. They can have no merit intrinsically, because 
they are all imperfect, and therefore themselves wor- 
thy of punishment rather than of reward. They can 
have no merit by covenant concession on God's part, 
because we are not now standing in God's sight in 
the covenant of works, but of grace, and the righteous- 
ness of Christ, received by faith alone, constitutes 
the sole meritorious ground upon which our salva- 



GOOD WORKS. 309 

tion, in all of its stages, rests. See Chapter xi., on 
Justification. 

In the dispensation of the gospel, the gracious work 
of the believer and the gracious reward he receives from 
God are branches from the same gracious root. The 
same covenant of grace provides at once for the infusion 
of grace in the heart, the exercise of grace in the life 
and the reward of the grace so exercised. It is all of 
grace — a grace called a reward added to a grace called a 
work. The one grace is set opposite to the other grace 
as a reward, for these reasons : (a.) To act upon us as a 
suitable stimulus to duty. God promises to reward the 
Christian just as a father promises to reward his child 
for doing what is its duty, and what is for its own ben- 
efit alone. (6.) Because a certain gracious proportion 
has been established between the grace given in the 
reward and the grace given in the holy exercises of the 
heart and life, but both are alike given for Christ's saJse. 
This proportion has been established — the more grace 
of obedience, the more grace of reward ; the more grace 
on earth, the more glory in heaven — because God so 
wills it, and because the grace given and exercised in 
obedience prepares the soul for the reception of the fur- 
ther grace given in the reward. Matt. xvi. 27 ; 1 Cor. 
iii. 8 ; 2 Cor. iv. 17. 

Section VII. — Works done bj^ unregenerate men, although, 
for the matter of them, they may be things which God com- 
mands, and of good use both to themselves and others,^ yet, be- 
cause they proceed not from a heart purified by faith, '^ nor are 
done in a right manner, according to the Word,^ nor to a right 
end, the glory of God,'^ they are therefore sinful, and cannot 
please God or make a man meet to receive grace from God." 



310 CONFESSION OP FAITH. 

And yet their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto 

God.^« 

23 2 Kings X. 30, 31 ; 1 Kings xxi. 27, 29 ; Phil. i. 15, 16, 18.— 2* Gen. iv. 
6 ; Heb. xi. 4, 6.—^ 1 Cor. xiii. 3 ; Isa. i. 12.— 26 Matt. vi. 2, 5, 16.— 27 Hag. 
ii. 14 J Tit. i. 15; Amos v. 21, 22; Hos. i. 4; Kom. ix. 16; Tit. iii. 5.-- 
28 Ps. xiv. 4 : xxxvi. 3 ; Job xxi. 14, 15 ; Matt. xxv. 41-43, 45 ; xxiii. 23. 

This Section teaches — 

1st. That uuregenerate men may perform many ac- 
tions which, for the matter of them, are such as God 
commands, and are of good use both to themselves and 
others. The truth of this is verified in the experience 
and observation of all men, and we believe it is not 
called in question by any party. 

2d. Nevertheless, they are at best, all of them, not 
only imperfect works morally considered, but ungodly 
works religiously considered. They are, therefore, not 
in the scriptural sense good works, nor can they satisfy 
the requirements of God, nor merit grace, nor make the 
soul fit for the reception of grace. 

The distinction is plain between an action in itself 
considered, and considered in its motives and object. A 
truly good work is one which springs from a principle 
of divine love, and has the glory of God as its object 
and the revealed will of God as its rule. None of the 
actions of an uuregenerate man are of this character. 

There is also an obvious distinction between an act 
viewed in itself abstractly, and the same action viewed 
in relation to the person performing it and his personal 
relations. A rebel against sovereign authority may do 
many amiable things and many 'acts of real virtue as far 
as his relations to his fellow-rebels are concerned. It is 
nevertheless true that a rebel during the whole period 
of his rebellion is in every moment of time and every 



GOOD WORKS. 311 

action of his life a rebel with reference to that su- 
preme authority which through all he continues to defy. 
In this sense the ploughing of the wicked is said to 
be sin. Prov. xxi. 4. And thus as long as men stay 
away from Christ, and refuse to submit to the righteous- 
ness of God, all their use of the means of grace and all 
their natural virtues are sins in God's sight. 

3d. Nevertheless God is more displeased with their 
neglecting to do these commanded duties at all than he 
is with their doing them sinfully as sinners. These 
works done by unregenerate men are commanded by 
God, and hence are their bounden duties. Their sin 
lies not in the doing them, but in their personal attitude 
of rebellion and in the absence of the proper motives 
and objects. If they neglect to do them, the neglect 
would be added to the other grounds of condemnation, 
which would remain all the same. These ought they 
to do, but not to leave the weightier matters of the law 
undone. The amiable acts of a rebel must involve ele- 
ments of rebellion, and yet he would be more to be con- 
demned without them than with them. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What are taught in the first and second Sections to be the 
essential characteristics of every truly good work ? 

2. What is there taught us as to the effects and uses of good 
works? 

3. State the proof derived from the nature of the moral law 
itself, that every work in order to be truly good must be wrought 
in obedience to the revealed will of God. 

4. Show tlf at all virtue is obedience, and all sin disobedience. 



312 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

5. Prove that God abhors all "will-worship" and uncom 
manded service. 

6. Prove that a work in order to be truly good must spring 
from a principle of faith and love in the heart. 

7. Show that good works express gratitude, manifest grace 
and adorn the Christian profession. 

8. Prove that they glorify God. 

9. Prove that they tend to increase the grace from which they 
spring, and to strengthen the assurance of hope on the part of 
those who perform them. 

] 0. Show that they edify the brethren. 

11. Show that they stop the mouths of adversaries. 

12. Show that they are necessary to the attainment of salva- 
tion, and on what grounds. 

13. What is the Jirst proposition taught in Section iii. ? 

14. What is the second proposition there taught ? 

] 5. Prove that, besides the grace granted in regeneration, the 
believer needs, in order to good works, the constant prompting, 
sustaining and enabling influences of the Holy Ghost. 

16. What is the third proposition there taught? 

17. Show that the Christian is not to wait for special influ- 
ences of the Spirit to prompt hira to duty, but in reliance on 
the constant assistance of the Spirit, and in obedience to 
God's will revealed in his word, to use with diligence the grace 
he already has, looking for and expecting more as the necessity 
occnrs. 

18. What is the first proposition taught in the fourth, fifth and 
sixth Sections? 

19. What is the second proposition there taught? 

20. What is the third taught? 

21. What are works of "supererogation?" 

22. What is the Romish doctrine as to the merit of good 
works, and of works of supererogation ? 

23. Prove from the nature of the moral law, from the word of 
God and from the practical effects of the Romish system that 
their doctrine as to works of supererogation is immoral. 

24. Prove that the best works of Christians are incapable of 
sustaining the severity of God's just judgment. 



GOOD WORKS. 313 

25. On what grounds are the good works of believers accepted 
by God? 

26. What is the strict sense of the word " merit?" 

27 Show that in that sense no works of any creature can pos- 
sibly merit anything at the hands of the Creator. 

28. What is the secondary sense in which the word is used ? 

29. Show that the term in neither of these senses can be ap- 
plied justly to the works of Christians in this life. 

30. What, then, is the relation which the Scriptures teach sub- 
sist between good works and rewards ? 

31. Why are any of God's purely gracious gifts called rewards? 

32. What is the first proposition taught in the seventh Sec- 
tion? 

33. Prove that the best works of the unregenerate are not 
only imperfect morally, but religiously ungodly. 

34. Prove that nevertheless they commit greater sin in neglect- 
ing than in performing these duties. 

35. What is the first and absolutely binding duty cif every 
rebel against God and his Christ ? 

27 



CHAPTER XVII. 

OF THE PERSEVERANCE OP THE SAINTS. 

Section I. —They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, 
effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally 
nor finally fall away from the state of grace ; but shall certainly 
persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved. ^ 

Section II. — This perseverance of the saints depends not 
upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree 
of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God 
the Father ;^ upon the efl&cacy of the merit and intercession of 
Jesus Christ ;' the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God 
within them ;* and the nature of the covenant of grace f from all 
which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof* 

Section III. — Nevertheless they may through the tempta- 
tions of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption 
remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their pre- 
servation, fall into grievous sins ;'' and for a time continue there- 
in :® whereby they incur God's displeasure,^ and grieve his Holy 
Spirit ;^° come to be deprived of some measure of their graces 
and comforts ;" have their hearts hardened, ^^ and their con- 
sciences wounded ;" hurt and scandalize others," and bring tem- 
poral judgments upon themselves.^* 

1 Phil. i. 6 ; 2 Pet. i. 10 ; John x. 28, 29 ; 1 John iii. 9 ; 1 Pet. i. 6, 9.-2 2 
Tim. ii. 18, 19; Jer. xxxi. 3.-8 Heb. x. 10, U; xiii. 20, 21; ix. 12-15; 
Kom, viii. 33-39 ; John xvii. 11, 24 ; Luke xxii. 32 ; Heb. vii. 25.—* John 
xiv. 16, 17 ; 1 John ii. 27 ; iii. 9.-5 Jer. xxxii. 40.— « John x. 28 ; 2 Thess. 
iii. 3; 1 John ii. 19,—'' Matt. xxvi. 70, 72, 74.-8 pg. jj, i4._9 iga. ]xiv. 5, 
7, 9; 2 Sam. xi. 27.— lo Eph. iv. 30.—" Ps. Ii. 8, 10, 12 ; Rev. ii. 4; Cant. 
V. 2-4, 6.— 12 Isa. Ixiii. 17; Mark vi. 52, xvi. 14.— 13 Ps. xxxii. 3, 4; Ii. 8. 
— 1* 2 Sam. xii. 14.— ^5 1 <. Ixxxix. 31, 32; 1 Cor. xi. 32. 
314 



PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS. 315 

This Chapter teaches the following propositions : 

1st. The true believer, having been once regenerated 
and justified by God, can never afterward totally nor 
finally fall away from grace, but shall certainly per- 
severe therein to the end. 

2d. That the principle of this certain perseverance is 
not in any degree in the free will of the saints, but alto- 
gether (1) in the inherent immutability of the eternal 
decree of election ; (2) in the provisions of the eternal 
covenant of grace; (3) in the merits and intercession 
of Christ ; and (4) in the constant indwelling and pre- 
serving power of the Holy Ghost. 

3d. The true believer may nevertheless fall into 
grievous sins, and for a time continue therein, the occa- 
sions of which falls are — (1) the temptations of the 
world ; (2) the seductions of Satan ; (3) the remaining 
corruptions of their own nature ; (4) the neglect of the 
means of grace. The effects of which falls are — (1) God 
is displeased and the Holy Ghost grieved ; (2) they are 
themselves to a degree deprived of their graces and com- 
forts, their hearts being hardened and their consciences 
wounded, and their persons visited with temporal judg- 
ments; (3) their conduct is a stumbling-block to all 
who see them, and an occasion of sorrow to their fellow- 
Christians. 

It is obvious that adherents of the Arminian and 
Calvinistic systems must take opposite sides on this 
question. The Arminian, as we have seen, holds — (1.) 
That God elects persons to eternal life only on condition 
of their voluntary rece})tion of grace and perseverance 
therein till death, as foreseen by him. (2.) That Christ 
died to render the salvation of all men indifferently 



316 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

possible, and not as the substitute of uertain persons 
definitely to discjharge all their legal obligations, and to 
secure for them all the rewards of the covenant. (3.) That 
air men have the same gracious influence of the Holy 
Ghost operating upon them, and that the reason why 
one believes and is regenerated, and that another con- 
tinues reprobate, is that the former voluntarily co-oper- 
ates with grace and that the other resists it. Thus in 
the personal application of redemption the Arminian 
makes everything to depend upon the free will of the 
creature. Since, then, neither the decree of God, nor the 
atonement of Christ, nor the grace of the Holy Ghost 
determines the certain salvation of any individual — 
since the application and effect of the atonement and 
of the renewing and sanctifying influences of the Spirit 
depend, in their view, upon the free will of every man 
in his own case — it necessarily follows that the persever- 
ance of any man in the grace once received must also 
depend entirely upon his own will. And since the 
human will is essentially fallible and capable of change, 
and in this life exposed to seduction, it follows of course 
that the believer is at all times liable to total apostasy, 
and, dying in that state, to final perdition. Hence the 
Romish Church, whose doctrine is purel}^ Arminian, 
declares in her authoritative Standards : " If any one 
maintain that a man once justified cannot lose grace, 
and, therefore, that he who falls and sins never -vas 
truly justified, let him be accursed.'' * 

The Protestant Arminians also hold that it is not 
nly possible, but also a frequent fact, that persons truly 
regenerate, by neglecting grace and grieving the Holy 
* Council of Trent, Sess. vi., Canon 23. 



PERSEVERANCii. OF THE SAINTS. 317 

Spirit with sin, fall away totally, and at length finally, 
from grace into eternal reprobation.* 

The Calvinistic doctrine, as stated in this Chapter of 
our Confession, is that God has revealed his gracious 
purpose to cause every true believer to persevere in his 
faith and obedienc-e till death ; that he will never be 
allowed to fall away totally from grace, and therefore he 
never can fall away finally. 

It is obvious, from this statement, that this doctrine 
is not open to the objections which are often brought 
against it. (1.) It is absurd to say that it is inconsistent 
with man's free will. As God does not make a man 
come to Christ, so he does not constrain him to continue 
in Christ irrespective of his will. God graciously causes 
a man to persevere in willing. That is the whole truth. 
It is a precious truth, clearly revealed, which the Ar- 
minian Christian can no more afford to give up than the 
Calvinist, that God can and does control the free wills 
of his people without limiting their liberty, making them 
" willing in the day of his power,'' and " working in them 
both to will and to do of his good pleasure. ' Ps. ex. 3 ; 
Phil. ii. 13. The Arminians themselves believe that 
the saints will be rendered secure from falling from 
grace when they go to heaven, and yet that they will be 
none the less perfectly free as to their wills. If the two 
are consistent conditions in heaven, they can be none the 
less so on earth. (2.) This doctrine is not liable to the 
charge of fostering a spirit of carnal security, on the 
ground that if we are once in grace we cannot lose 
grace or be lost, do what we please. Let it be observed 
(a) that the true doctrine is imt that salvation is certain 

* Confession of the Remonstrants, xi. 7. 

27* 



318 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

if we have once believed, but that perseverance in holi- 
ness is certain if we have truly believed. (6.) The cer- 
tainty, nay, the probability, of an individual's salvation 
i& known to him only through the fact of his persever- 
ance in holiness. A tendency to relax watchful effort 
to grow in grace, because true Christians will not be 
allowed to fall away totally, is a direct evidence that we 
are not in a gracious state, and hence that the threaten- 
Jngs of the law and the invitations of the gospel, and 
not the perseverance of the saints, is the special truth 
applicable to our case, (c.) This doctrine teaches not 
that persistent effort on our part is not necessary in 
order to secure perseverance in grace to the end, but 
that in this effort we are certain of success, " for it is 
God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his 
good pleasure." Phil. ii. 13. 

1st. The /ac^ of this certain perseverance is distinctly 
asserted in Scripture. Believers are said to be " kept 
by the power of God through faith unto salvation." 1 
Pet. i. 5. Paul was confident " that he who had begun 
a good work in them (Philippians) will perform it (finish 
completely) until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil. i. 6. 
Jesus said, " I will give unto them (my sheep) eternal 
life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man 
pluck them out of my hand." John x. 28 ; K-om. xi. 29. 

2d. The ground of this certain perseverance is not at 
all in the free will of the saints, but altogether (1) in 
the inherent immutability of the eternal decree of elec- 
tion. We saw under Chapter iii. that God's decree of 
election (a) respects individuals, (6) chooses tbem to sal- 
vation and all the means thereof, (c) is not conditioned 
on the use he foresees they will make of grace, but is 



PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS. 319 

founded on " the counsel of his own will," (c?) is immu- 
table and certainly efficacious. Hence those elected to sal- 
vation through grace must persevere in grace unto salva- 
tion. (2.) The ground of the certainty of the perseverance 
of saints is also laid in the provisions of the eternal cove- 
nant of grace. We saw under Chapter vii. that the Scrip- 
tures teach that there was a covenant or personal counsel 
from eternity between the Father and the Son, as the 
Surety of the elect, determining explicitly (a) who were 
to be saved, (6) what Christ was to do and suffer in order 
to save them, (c) as to how and when the redemption of 
Christ was to be personally applied to them, (d) as to 
all the advantages embraced in their salvation, etc. 
Hence it follows necessarily that those embraced in this 
covenant cannot fail of the benefits provided for them. 
" My Father which gave them me is greater than all, 
and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's 
hand." John x. 29. (3.) This certainty is grounded in 
the merits and intercession of Christ. We saw under 
Chapter viii. that the Scriptures teach that Christ, by 
his vicarious obedience and suffering as their federal 
representative, wrought out a perfect righteousness in 
the stead of his people, which people were all individ- 
ually and certainly designated in the eternal covenant in 
pursuance of which he acted, and that he makes effec- 
tual intercession in heaven for all those, and for those 
only, for whom he hath purchased redemption. Since, 
therefore, neither Christ's redemption nor his interces- 
sion can fail of the ends for which it is designed, it 
is evidently impossible that those for whom he was sub- 
stituted, and for whom he acquired a perfect righteous- 
ness, and for whom he offers an effectual intercession, 



320 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

can fail of salvation. (4.) The certainty of the perse- 
verance of the saints in grace is secured by the constant 
indwelling of the Holy Ghost. He acts upon the soul 
in perfect accordance with the laws of its constitution 
as a rational and moral agent, and yet so as to secure 
the ultimate victory of the new spiritual principles and 
"tendencies implanted in regeneration. John xiv. 16, 17; 
I John iii. 9. 

3d. The contents of the third proposition taught in 
this Chapter should be examined carefully in connection 
with the proof-texts annexed to the several clauses. 
They need not be furtlier illustrated by us, since all 
therein contained is a matter of plain meaning and of 
universal experience. Observe the cases of David (2 
Sam. xi. 2-4 ; Ps. li.) and Peter (Luke xxii. 61, 62). 
The perseverance of believers in grace is wrought by 
the Holy Ghost, not irrespective of, but through, the 
free will of the man himself Therefore it is a duty as 
well as a grace. The grace of^it should be preached for 
the encouragement of the diligent. The duty, and ab- 
solute necessity of it to salvation, should be preached 
to quicken the slothful and to increase the sense of obli- 
gation felt by all. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. Wliat is the first proposition taught in this Chapter? 

2. What is the difference between falling totally and finallj'? 

3. Why must Arminians and Calvinists take opposite sides on 
this question ? 

4. What IS the Arminians' doctrine as to election ? 

5. What is their doctrine as to the design of Christ's death? 
*). What is th ir doctrine as to the relation of the free will of 



PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS. 321 

the sinner to the gracious influences of the Holy Ghost in regen- 
eration ? 

7. Show that their position on all these points renders the con- 
clusion inevitable that the true believer may totally and therefore 
may finally fall from grace. 

8. State the doctrine of the Romish Church on this point. 

9. Do the same of the Protestant Arminians. 

10. State the Calvinistic doctrine of this subject. 

11. Show that doctrine does not involve any denial of the free- 
dom of the human will. 

12. Show that this doctrine is not open to the charge of foster- 
ing among those who think themselves believers a spirit of carnal 
security, 

13. Show that the Scriptures explicitly teach the fact that true 
believers will not be allowed totally and finally to fall from grace. 

14. Show that the ground of this certainty does not consist at 
all in the free will of the believer. 

15. Show that it necessarily follows from what the Scriptures 
teach as to the decree of election. 

16. The same from what they teach as to the eternal covenant 
of grace. 

17. The same from what they teach as to the design of Christ's 
death, and the relation which his merits and intercession sustain 
to individuals. 

18. The same from what they teach as to the indwelling of the 
Holy Ghost. 

19. What is the third proposition taught in this Chapter? 

20. What are the principal sources and occasions of falling to 
which a true believer is liable ? 

21 . What are the principal effects to which they give rise ? 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

OV ASSURANCE OF GRACE AND SALVATION. 

Section I. — Although hypocrites, and other unregenerate men, 
may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal pre- 
sumptions of being in the favour of God and estate of salva- 
tion ;^ which hope of theirs shall perish ;^ yet such as truly 
believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavour- 
ing to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be 
certainly assured that they are in the state of grace,* and may 
rejoice in the hope of the glory of Grod ; which hope shall never 
make them ashamed.* 

Section II. — ^This certainly is not a bare conjectural and pro- 
bable persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope ;* but an infallible 
assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises 
of salvation,® the inward evidence of those graces unto which 
these promises are made,'^ the testimony of the Spirit of adop- 
tion witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God ;® 
which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are 
sealed to the day of redemption.* 

1 Job viii. 13, 14; Mic. iii. 11; Deut. xxix. 19; John viii. 41.— 2 Matt. 
vii. 22, 23.— » 1 John ii. 3; iii. 14, 18, 19, 21, 24; v. 13.—* Rom. v. 2, 5.— 
6 Heb. vi. 11, 19.— « Heb. vi. 17, 18.— » 2 Pet. 1, 4, 6, 10, 11 ; 1 John ii. 3 ; 
iii. 14; 2 Cor. i. 12.-8 Rom. viii. 15, 16.— » Eph. i. 13, 14; iv. 30; 2 Cor. 
i. 21, 22. 

These Sections teach the following propositions : 
1st. There is a false assurance of salvation which 
unregenerate men sometimes indulge, in which they are 
deceived and which shall be finally disappointed. 

322 



ASSURANCE OF GRACE AXD SALVATION. 323 

2d. There is, on the other hand, a true assurance, 
amounting to ?ji infallible certainty, which sincere be- 
lievers may entertain as to their own personal salvation, 
which shall not be confounded. 

3d. This infallible assurance of faith rests — (1.) Upon 
the divine truth of the promises of salvation. (2.) Upon 
the inward evidence of those graces unto which those 
promises are made. (3.) The testimony of the Spirit of 
adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the 
children of God. 

1st. That unregenerate men, beguiled by the natural 
desire for happiness, flattered by self-love, and betrayed 
by a spirit of self-righteousness and self-confidence, 
should frequently indulge an unfounded assurance of 
their own gracious condition, is rendered antecedently 
probable from what we know of human nature, and 
rendered certain as a fac t from common observation and 
from the declarations of Scripture. Mic. iii. 11 ; Job 
viii. 13, 14. 

True assurance, however, may be distinguished from 
that which is false by the following tests: (1.) True 
assurance begets unfeigned humility; false assurance 
begets spiritual pride. 1 Cor. xv. 10 ; Gal. vi. 14. (2.) 
The true leads to increased diligence in the practice of 
holiness; the false leads to sloth and self-indulgence. 
Ps. li. 12, 13, 19. (3.) The true leads to candid self- 
examination and to a desire to be searched and corrected 
by God ; the false leads to a disposition to be satisfied 
with appearance and to avoid accurate investigation. 
Ps. cxxxix. 23, 24. (4.) The true leads to constant 
aspirations after more intimate fellowship with God. 
1 John iii. 2, 3. 



324 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

2d. That true believers may in this life attain to a 
certainty with regard to their own personal relations tc 
Christ, and that this certainty is not a bare conjectural 
and probable persuasion founded on a fallible hope, but 
an infallible assurance of faith, is proved from the fact 
(1) that it is directly affirmed in Scripture: "The Spirit 
itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the 
children of God." Kom. viii. 16. "Hereby we know 
that we know him, if we keep his commandments." 1 
John ii. 3. " We know that we have passed from death 
unto life, because we love the brethren." 1 John iii. 14. 
(2.) The attainment of it is commanded as a duty in 
Scripture. We are exhorted " to show the same dili- 
gence to the full assurance of hope unto the end" (Heb. 
vi. 11), and to " give diligence to make our calling and 
election sure, for if we do these things we shall never 
fall." 2 Pet. i. 10. (3.) There are examples of its attainment 
by ancient believers recorded in Scripture. Thus Paul : 
" I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that 
he is able," etc. " I have fought a good fight, I have 
kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a 
crown of righteousness," etc. 2 Tim. i. 12; iv. 7, 8 ; 
and John : 1 John ii. 3 ; xiv. 14. (4.) There have been 
unquestionable instances in modern times in which 
sincere Christians have enjoyed a full assurance of their 
personal salvation, and in which their entire lives have 
vindicated the genuineness of their faith. The Pro- 
testant Reformers as a class were eminent examples of 
the possession of this assurance. God had qualified 
them for their great work with an extraordinary mea- 
sure of this grace. Their controversy with the Homan- 
ists also led them to lay great stress upon the duty of 



ASSUKANCE OF GRACE AND SALVATION. 325 

this attainment, even going so far as to identify assu- 
rance and faith, making it essential to salvation. The 
Romanists held that faith is mere intellectual assent to 
the truth, not involving trust, and that hence faith has 
nothing to do with the judgment any one makes of his 
own personal salvation, and hence that no one could 
attain to any certainty upon that point in this life with- 
out an extraordinary revelation.* The Reformers, on the 
other hand, went so far as to teach that the special object 
of justifying faith is the favour of God toward us for 
Christ's sake. Therefore to believe is to be assured of 
our own personal salvation. Thus Luther, Melancthon 
and Calvin taught. This is the doctrine taught in the 
Augsburg Confession and Heidelberg Catechism. It is 
not, however, taught in any other of the Reformed Con- 
fessions, and, as will be seen below, is not the doctrine 
of our Standards. 

3d. This infallible assurance of faith rests (1) upon 
the divine truth of the promises of salvation. Although 
it is one thing to be assured that the promise is true, and 
another thing to be assured of our own personal interest 
in it, yet assurance of the truth of the promise tends, in 
connection with a sense of our personal reliance upon it, 
directly to strengthen our assured hope that it will 
be fulfilled in our case also. Therefore God confirmed 
his promise by an oath, " That by two immutable things 
(his promise and his oath), in which it is impossible for 
God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have 
fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us in 
the gospel." Heb. vi. 18. Thus faith includes trust. 
Trust rests upon the divine truth of the promises, and 

* Council of Trent, Sess. vi., ch. ix. 
28 



326 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

in turn supports hope. And the fulness of hope is assu 
ranee. This assurance rests (2) upon the inward evi- 
dence of those graces unto which the promises are made 
Thus the Scriptures promise that whosoever believes 
shall have everlasting life. The believer whose faith is 
vigorous and intelligent has a distinct evidence in his 
own consciousness that he for one does believe. Hence 
the conclusion is obvious that he shall have everlasting 
life. The same promise is given to all who love God, 
to all who love the brethren, to all who keep his com- 
mandments, to the pure in heart, to those who hunger 
and thirst after righteousness, etc. Hence when these 
graces are possessed in such a degree, strength and 
purity that we are conscious of their genuineness, then 
the conclusion is immediate and irresistible that we are 
in union with Christ and have a right to appropriate 
the promises to ourselves. This assurance rests (3) 
upon the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing 
with our spirits that we are the children of God. This 
language is taken from Rom. viii. 16. The sense in 
which this witnessing of the Holy Spirit to our spirits 
is to be understood has been much debated among 
theologians. 

Some have maintained that the passage teaches that 
the Holy Spirit in some mysterious way directly reveals 
to our spirits the fact that we are the children of God, 
as one man immediately conveys information to another 
man. The objections to this view are, that Christians 
are not and cannot be conscious of any such injection of 
information from without into the mind, and that, as far 
as such testimony alone is concerned, we would be un- 
able to distinguish certainly the testimony of the Spirit 



ASSURANCE OF GRACE AND SALVATION. 327 

from the conclusions of our own reasons or the sugges- 
tions of our own hearts. An ex^^ectation of such direct 
communications would be likely to generate enthusiasm 
and presumption. Some have maintained, on the oppo- 
site extreme, that the Spirit witnesses with our spirits 
only indirectly through the evidence afforded by the 
graces he has formed within us. The true view appears 
to be that the witness of the Spirit to our spirits that 
we are the children of God comprehends a number of 
particulars, ail of which are combined by the Spirit to 
this end : (1.) The Spirit is the Author of the promises 
of Scripture, and of the marks of character indicating 
the persons to which the promises belong. (2.) The 
Spirit is the Author of the graces of the saints, corre- 
sponding to the marks of character which are associated 
with these promises in the Scripture. (3.) The Spirit 
gives to the true believer, especially to the Christian 
eminent for diligence and faithfulness, the grace of 
spiritual illumination, that he may possess a keen insight 
into his own character, that he may judge truly of the 
genuineness of his own gi aces, that he may rightly inter- 
pret the promises and the characters to which they are 
limited in the Scriptures ; so that, comparicg the out- 
ward standard with the inward experience, he may draw 
correct and unquestionable conclusions. (4.) The Holy 
Spirit is the direct Author of faith in all its degrees, as 
also of love and hope. Full assurance, therefore, which 
is the fulness of hope resting on the fulness of faith, is 
a state of mind which it is the office of the Holy Ghost 
to induce in our minds in connection with the evidence 
of our gracious character above stated. In whatever 
way he works in us to will and to do of his own good 



328 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

pleasure, or sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts 
(Rom. V. 5), or begets us again to a lively hope, in 
that way he gives origin to the grace of full assurance — 
not as a blind and fortuitous feeling, but as a legitimate 
and undoubting conclusion from appropriate evidence. 
(5.) The presence of the Holy Spirit is the first instal- 
ment of the benefits of Christ's redemption, granted to 
those for whom they were purchased, and therefore the 
pledge and earnest of the completion of that redemption 
in due time. Thus Paul says of the Ephesians, " In 
whom also (Christ), after that ye believed, ye were 
sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the 
earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the 
purchased possession.^' Eph. i. 13, 14; iv. 30; 1 John 
ii. 20, 27 ; 2 Cor. i. 22 ; v. 5.* 

Section III. — This infallible assurance doth not so belong to 
the essence of faith, but that a 'true believer may wait long, and 
conflict with many difficulties, before he be partaker of it:^*' yet, 
being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely 
given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in 
the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto." And, there- 
fore, it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his 
calling and election sure ;^^ that thereby his heart may be enlarged 
in peace and "^'oy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to 
God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedi- 
ence,^^ the proper fruits of this assurance : so far is it from in- 
clining men to looseness.^* 

Section IV. — True believers may have the assurance of their 
salvation in divers ways shaken, diminished and intermitted; as, 
by negligence in preserving of it; by falling into some special 
sin, which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit ; by 
some sudden or vehement temptation ; by God's withdrawing the 
'ight of his countenance, and suffering even such as fear him to 

* See Chalmers' Lee. on Rom., vol. iii., pp. 64-68. 



ASSURANCE OF GRA.CE AND SALVATION. 32t) 

walk in darkness, and to have no light ;^* j^et are they never 
utterly destitute of that seed of Grod, and life of faith, that love 
of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience 
of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assur- 
ance may in due time be revived,^^ and by the which, in the mean- 
time, they are supported from utter despair." 

10 1 John V. 13; Isa. 1. 10; Mark ix. 24; Ps. Ixxxviii.; Ixxvii. 1-12.—" 
1 Cor. ii. 12; 1 John iv. 13; Heb. vi. 11, 12; Eph. in. 17-19.— 12 2 Pet. i. 
10.— 13 Rom. V. 1, 2, 5; xiv. 17; xv. 13; Eph. i. 3, 4; Ps. iv. 6, 7; cxix. 
32.-1* 1 John ii. 1, 2; Eom. vi. 1, 2; Tit. ii. 11, 12, 14; 2 Cor. vii. 1; Rom. 
viii. 1, 12 ; 1 John iii. 2, 3 ; Ps. cxxx. 4 ; 1 John i. 6, 7.-15 Cant. v. 2, 3, 
6; Ps. Ii. 8, 12, 14; Eph. iv. 30, 31; Ps. Ixxvji. 1-10; Matt. xxvi. 69-72; 
Ps. xxxi. 22; Ixxxviii. ; Isa. 1. 10.— 1« 1 John iii. 9 ; Luke xxii. 32; Job 
xiii. 15; Ps. Ixxiii. 15; Ii. 8, 12; Isa. 1. 10.— i^ Mic. vii. 7-9; Jer. xxxii. 
40; Isa. liv. 7-10; Ps. xxii. 1; Ixxxviii. 

These Sections teach — 

1st. That this infallible assurance is not of the essence 
of faith — that on the contrary a man may be a true be- 
liever and yet destitute of this assurance. 

2d. That being, nevertheless, as taught in the preced- 
ing Sections, attainable in this life in the use of ordinary 
means, without extraordinary revelation, it is conse- 
quently the duty of every one to give all diligence to 
make his calling and election sure, because this assur- 
ance, instead of inclining men to negligence, tends 
properly to increase (a) spiritual peace and joy, (6) love 
and thankfulness to God, and (c) strength and cheerful- 
ness in the works of obedience. 

3d. True believers after having attained this assur- 
ance may have it shaken, diminished and intermitted, 
the cause or occasions of which are such as — (a) negli- 
gence in preserving this grace in full exercise; (6) falling 
into some special sin , (c) some sudden and vehement 
temptations; (d) God's temporary withdrawing of the 
light of his countenance. 

28* 



330 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

4th. Nevertheless, since, as was shown under Chapter 
xvii., no true believer is ever permitted totally to fall 
away from grace, he is never left entirely without any 
token of God's favour, and, the root of faith remaining, 
this assurance may in due time be revived. 

1st. That this infallible assurance is not of the essence 
of saving faith is affirmed over and over again in our 
Standards, and is true. Assurance, in one degree or an- 
other of it, is of the essence of faith, because just in 
proportion to the strength of our faith is our assurance 
of the truth of that which we believe. But since true 
faith exists in very various degrees of strength, and 
since its exercises are sometimes intermitted, it follows 
that the assurance which accompanies true faith is not 
always a /mZ^ assurance.* 

Besides this, the phrase " full or infallible assurance," 
in this Chapter, does not relate to the certainty of our 
faith or trust as to the truth of the object upon which 
the faith rests — that is, the divine promise of salvation 
in Christ — but to the certainty of our hope or belief as 
to our own personal relation to Christ and eternal sal- 
vation. Hence it follows that while assurance, in some 
degree of it, does belong to the essence of all real faith 
in the sufficiency of Christ and the truth of the prom- 
ises, it is not in any degree essential to a genuine faith 
that the believer should be persuaded of the truth of his 
own experience and the safety of his estate. Theolo- 
gians consequently have distinguished between the as- 
surance of faith (Heb. x. 22) — that is, a strong faith as 
to the truth of Christ — and the assurance of hope (Heb. 
vi. 11) — that is, a certain persuasion that we are tru^^ be- 
* Conf. Faith, ch. xiv. g 3; L. Cat., Q. 81. 



ASSURANCE OF GRACE AND SALVATION. 331 

lievers, aiivl therefore safe. This latter is also called 
the assurance of sense, because it rests upon the inward 
sense the soul has of the reality of its own spiritual ex- 
periences. The first is of the essence of faith, and ter- 
minates directly upon Christ and his promise^ and hence 
is called the direct act of faith. The latter is not of the 
essence of faith, but its fruit, and is called the reflex 
act of faith, because it is drawn as an inference from the 
experience of the graces of the Spirit which the soul 
discerns when it reflects upon its own consciousness. 
God says that whosoever believes is saved — That is the 
object of direct faith. I believe — That is the matter of 
conscious experience. Therefore I am saved — That is 
the matter of inference and the essence of full assur- 
ance.* 

That this full assurance of our own gracious state is 
not of the essence of saving faith is proved — (1.) From 
the form in which the offer of salvation in Christ, which 
is the object of saving faith, is set forth in the Scrip- 
tures. ^' Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou 
shalt be saved;" "Whosoever will, let him come;" 
" Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." 
The matter revealed, and therefore the truth accepted 
by faith, is not that God is reconciled to me in Christ, 
but that Christ is presented to me as the foundation of 
truth, and will save me if I do truly trust. It is evi- 
dent that trust itself is something diiferent from the 
certainty that we do trust, and that our trust is of tlie 
right kind. (2.) All the promises of the Bible are 
made to classes — to believers, to saints, etc. — and not to 

♦ Dr. William Cunningham's Reformers and Theology of the Ref- 
ormation, Essay iii. 



332 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

individuals. (3.) Paul appeared to doubt as tc the 
genuineness of his faith long after he was a true be- 
liever. (4.) As we saw above, the Bible contains many 
exhortations addressed to believers to go on to the grace 
of full assurance, as something beyond their present at- 
tainments. Heb. vi. 11 ; 2 Pet. i. 10. (5.) The expe- 
rience of the great body of God's people in modern 
times proves the same thing. 

2d. Since this infallible assurance is not of the essence 
of faith, but its fruit, and one of the highest attain- 
ments of the divine life, and since it may be attained in 
this life in the use of ordinary means, without extraor- 
dinary revelation, it follows necessarily that its attain- 
ment is a duty as well as a grace, that all that leads to 
it should be diligently sought, and that all that prevents 
it should be carefully avoided. Genuine assurance can- 
not lead to looseness and indifference in the cultivation 
of grace and the performance of religious duties, since 
its very existence depends (a) upon the evidence afforded 
by diligence in those duties, and by the strength of those 
graces, that we are true believers, and (6) upon the ap- 
proving witness of the Holy Spirit. As we have seen 
above, under Sections i. and ii., a false and presumptuous 
assurance is to be discriminated from a genuine assur- 
ance by certain clear, practical marks. On the contrary, 
genuine assurance naturally leads to a legitimate and 
abiding peace and joy, and to love and thankfulness to 
God, and these, from the very laws of our being, to 
greater buoyancy, strength and chterfuhiess in the prac- 
tice of obedience in every department of duty. It hence 
follows that every principle of self-interest and every 
obligation resting upon us as Christians conspire to 



ASSURANCE OF GRACE AND SALVATION. 333 

induce us to use all diligence in seeking the full attain- 
ment and the abiding enjoyment of this grace. 

3d. Since this assurance rests upon the consciousness 
of gracious experiences and the witness of the Holy 
Ghost, and, as we have seen under Chapters xiii. and 
xvii., that true Christians may temporarily, though 
never totally, fall from the exercise of grace, and since 
these exercises in this life are never perfect and unmixed 
with carnal elements, it necessarily follows that the as- 
surance which rests upon them must be subject to be 
shaken, diminished and intermitted in divers ways. 
(cR.) Since it is a duty as well as a grace, it must be im- 
pefilled by any want of diligence in preserving it in full 
exercise. (6.) Since it rests upon the consciousness of 
gracious exercises, it must be marred, if not intermitted, 
by any notable fall into sin which grieves the Holy Spirit 
and wounds the conscience, thus clouding the sense of for- 
giveness and diminishing the evidence of grace, (c.) The 
same may evidently be effected by some vehement temp- 
tation, (d.) The same effect may be produced by God's 
withdrawing the light of his countenance, in the way 
of fatherly discipline, for the purpose of trying our 
faith and convincing us of our entire dependence and 
of the all-sufficiency of his gracious help. 

4th. Since the true believer may fall into sin, but 
may never fall totally from grace, it is self-evident, as 
taught in these Sections, that he may lose the exercise 
of full assurance, but that he cannot lose the principle 
from which it springs; and that hence, through the 
blessing of God upon the diligent use of the appropriate 
means, it may be strengthened when weakened, and re- 
covered when lost. 



334 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 



QUESTIONS. 

J. What is the first proposition taught in Sections i. and ii. ? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught ? 

3. What is the ^^iVc?.? 

4. What reason have we for believing that a spurious assurance 
is possible to the unregenerated ? 

6. By what tests may spurious be distinguished from genuine 
assurance ? 

6. What is the degree of assurance attainable ? 

7. How can you prove that such an infallible assurance may be 
attained ? 

8. What was the experience and what the position of the Pfo- 
testant Reformers on this point? 

9. What position was maintained by their Romish antagonists? 

10. What is the ^7si-mentioned ground upon which this as- 
surance rests ? 

11. Show how it results from the divine truth of the promises 
of salvation. 

12. What is the second ground mentioned ? 

13. Show how it springs from the inward evidence of grace. 

14. What is the third ground mentioned ? 

15. What different opinions have been entertained as to the 
nature of the witness borne by the Holy Spirit to our spirits ? 

16. State all the ways in which the Holy Spirit bears witness 
with our spirits. 

17. What is the first proposition taught in Sections iii. and iv. ? 

18. What is the second there taught? 

19. What is the third? 

20. What is the /owr^^ .? 

21. In what sense does some degree of assurance belong to the 
very essence of faith ? 

22. To what subject does the assurance spoken of in this 
Chapter relate ? 

28. Explain the distinction between the assurance of faith and 
the assurance of hope. 
*24. Why is the latter called also the assurance of sense ? 



ASSURANCE OF GRACE AND SALVATION. 335 

25. "Why is it called also the reflex act of faith ? 

26. Prove that this full assurance of our own gracious state is 
not of the essence of saving faith. 

27. Show that the attainment of this assurance is a duty as 
well as a grace. 

28. Show that genuine assurance cannot lead to spiritual sloth- 
fulness or neglect of duty. 

29. Show, on the contrary, why its exercise must lead to joy, 
gratitude and diligence. 

30. State the various ways whereby this assurance may be 
diminished or lost. 

31. Show why it can never be lost beyond recovery. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

OF THE LAW OF GOD. 

Section I. — God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, 
by which he bound him, and all his posterity, to personal, entire, 
exact and perpetual obedience ; promised life upon the fulfilling, 
and threatened death upon the breach of it ; and endued him 
with power and ability to keep it.* 

Section II. — This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect 
rule of righteousness ; and, as such, was delivered by God upon 
Mount Sinai in ten commandments, and written in two tables;' 
the first four commandments containing our duty toward God, 
and the other six our duty to man.' 

1 Gen. i. 26, 27; ii. 17,: Rom. ii. 14, 15; x. 5; v. 12, 19; Gal. iii. 10, 12 j 
Eccles. vii. 29 ; Job xxviii. 28. — 2 James i. 25 ; ii. 8, 10-12 ; Rom. xiii. 8, 9 ; 
Deut. V. 32; x. 4; Ex. xxxiv. 1.— 3 Matt. xxii. 37-40. 

These Sections teach the follov^^ing propositions : 
1st. That God, as the supreme moral Governor of 
the universe, introduced the human race into existence 
as an order of moral creatures, under inalienable and 
perpetual subjection to an all- perfect moral law, which 
in all the elements thereof binds man's conscience and 
requires perfect obedience. 

2d. That God, as the Guardian of the human race, 
entered into a special covenant with Adam, as the nat- 
ural head of the race, constituting him also the federal 
head of all mankind, and requiring from him, during a 
period of probation, perfect obedience to the law above 

336 



THE LAW Ot GOD. 337 

named, promising to him and to his descendants in him 
confirmation in holiness and eternal felicity as the reward 
of obedience, and threatening both his wrath and cnrse 
as the punishment of disobedience. 

3d. This law after the fall, and the introduction of 
the dispensation of salvation through the Messiah, while 
it ceased to offer salvation on the ground of obedience, 
nevertheless continued to be the revealed expression of 
God's will, binding all human consciences as the rule 
of life. 

4th. That this moral law has for our instruction been 
summarily comprehended, as to its general principles, 
in their application to the main relations men sustain to 
God and to each other, in the Ten Commandments, 
" which were delivered by the voice of God upon Mount 
Sinai, and written by him on two tables of stone ; and 
are recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus. The 
first four Commandments containing our duty to God, 
and the other six our duty to man." L. Cat., Q. 98. 

1st. God introduced man at his creation as a moral 
agent under inalienable and perpetual subjection to an 
all-perfect moral law, which binds his conscience and 
requires perfect obedience. This follows self-evidently 
and necessarily from the very nature of God as a moral 
Governor, and from the nature of man as a moral agent. 

Of this law we remark — (1) that it has its ground in 
the all-perfect and unchangeable moral nature of God. 
When we affirm that God is holy, we do not mean that 
he makes right to be right by simply willing it, but 
that he wills it because it is right. There must there- 
fore be some absolute standard of righteousness. This 
absolute standard of righteousness is the divine nature. 

29 



338 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

The infallible judge of righteousness is the divine intel- 
ligence. The all-perfect executor and rule of righteous- 
ness among the creatures is the divine will. The form 
of our duties springs from our various relations to God 
and to man. But the invariable principle upon which 
all duty is grounded, and which gives it its binding 
moral obligation, is rooted in the changeless nature of 
God, of which his will is the outward expression. All 
the divine laws belong to one or other of four classes. 
They are either — 

(a.) Such as are grounded directly in the perfections 
of the divine nature, and are hence absolutely immutable 
and irrepealable even by God himself. These are such 
as the duty of love and obedience to God, and of love 
and truth in our relations to our fellow-creatures. 

(6.) Such as have their immediate ground in the per- 
manent nature and relations of men, as, for instance, the 
laws which protect the rights of property and regulate 
the relation of the sexes. These continue unchanged as 
long as the present constitution of nature continues, and 
are of universal binding obligation, alike because of their 
natural propriety as because of the will of God by which 
they are enforced; although God, who is the Author of 
nature, may in special instances waive the application 
of the law at his pleasure, as he did in the case of po- 
lygamy among the ancient Jews. 

(c.) Such as have their immediate ground in the 
changing relations of individuals and communities. Of 
this class is the great mass of the civil and judicial 
laws of the ancient Jews, which express the will of God 
for them in their peculiar circumst<mces, and which 
of course are intended to be binding only so long as 



THE LAW OF GOD. * 339 

the special conditions to which they are appropriate 
exist. 

(d.) Such as depend altogether for their binding obli- 
^•ation upon the positive command of God, which are 
neither universal nor perpetual, but bind those persons 
only to whom God has addressed them, and only so long 
as the positive enactment endures. This class includes 
all rites and ceremonies, etc. 

(2.) We remark in the second place that this moral 
law, at least in its essential principles, and as far as was 
necessary for the guidance of men in a state of innocency, 
was revealed in the very constitution of man's nature; 
and although it has been greatly obscured by sin, it 
remains sufficiently clear to render even the heathen 
without excuse. This is certain (a) because it is asserted 
and argued by Paul (Rom. i. 10, 20; ii. 14, 15), (6) 
from the fact that all heathen do possess and act upon 
such an innate sense of right and of moral account- 
ability, although they may in various degrees be ignorant 
of specific moral duties. This moral law written upon 
the heart was part of Adam's original endowment when 
he was created, as we saw under Chapter iv., § 2. 

(3.) We remark that the revelation of this moral law 
of God made in the human constitution, however suffi- 
cient it may have been for the guidance of man before 
he fell in the natural relations hp sustained to his Creator, 
is under his present circumstances altogether insufficient, 
as we saw under Chapter i., § 1. Hence God has been 
pleased to make a more full and explicit revelation of 
his law to man in the inspired Scriptures taken as a 
whole, which is the only and the all-sufficient rule of 
faith and practice, as we saw under Chajiter i. 



340 . CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

(4.^ We remark in the fourth place that the Scriptures 
being the only and a complete rule of faith and practice, 
whatever is revealed therein as the will of God is 
part of the moral law for Christian men, and whatever 
is not revealed therein as his will, either directly or by 
necessary implication, is no part of our moral obligation 
at all. See Chapter xvi., §§ 1 and 2. 

2d. That God introduced Adam, as the head and 
representative of the whole human family, at his crea- 
tion, into a covenant relation to the law, making perfect 
obedience to it for a probationary period the condition 
of his character and destiny for ever, we have already 
discussed. Chapter vii., §§ 1 and 2. After the fall of 
Adam, both he and all his race became incapable of 
satisfying that covenant themselves, and it pleased God 
to send forth his Son, made under the law, being born 
of a woman, to fulfil as the second Adam all the re- 
quirements of the legal covenant in behalf of his elect, 
and to secure for them all its benefits, as we saw under 
Chapter viii. 

3d. While the law in its relation of a covenant of 
works has been fulfilled by our Surety, so that they 
who are under grace are no more under the law in that 
capacity (Rom. vi. 14), nevertheless the law as a rule 
of action and standard of character is immutable, unre- 
laxable and inalienable in its personal relations. Christ 
fulfilled the law for us vicariously as the condition of 
salvation, and on that basis we are justified. But no 
one can be vicariously conformed to the law for us as a 
rule of conduct or of moral character. Therefore while 
Christ fulfilled the law for us, the Holy Spirit fulfils 
the law in us, by sanctifying us into complete conformity 



THE LAW OF GOD. * 341 

to it. And in obedience to this law the believer brings 
forth those good works which are the fruits though not 
the ground of our salvation. 

4th. That this moral law has been summarily com- 
prehended in the two tables of the law, called the Ten 
Commandments, is a fact not disputed. By this it is 
not meant that every duty which God now requires of 
Christian men may be directly derived from the deca- 
logue, but that the general principles of the infinite law 
of moral perfection, as adjusted to the general relations 
sustained by men to God and to one another, may be 
found there. This is certain, because — 

(1.) The two tables of the law were placed under the 
mercy-seat, which was God's throne, and were called the 
testimonies of God against the sins of the people ; and 
over them, upon the "covering'' or mercy-seat, the high 
priest sprinkled the blood of the sin-offering. Ex. xxx. 
6 ; xxxi. 18 ; Lev. xvi. 14, 15. They therefore repre- 
sented that all-perfect law of righteousness which is the 
foundation of God's throne, and which is the testimony 
of God against human sin, and which is propitiated by 
the atoning sacrifice of Christ. 

(2.) The Ten Commandments teach love to God and 
to man, and on these, the Saviour said, hang all the law 
and the prophets. Matt. xxii. 37-40. 

(3.) Christ said, that if a man keep this law he shall 
live. Luke x. 25-28. 

(4.) Every specific duty taught in any portion of the 
Scriptures may more or less directly be referred to one 
or other of the general precepts taught in the Decalogue. 

These commandments were originally written by the 
finger of God himself on two tables of stone. The first 

29 * 



342 • CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

four relate to the duties man owes to God, and the re- 
maining six relate to the duties we owe to our fellow- 
men. The Romish Church assigns only three com- 
iliandments to the first table and seven to the second. 
She unites the First and Second Commandments together, 
in order to make it appear that only the worship of 
false gods and images of tliem are forbidden, while the 
images of the true God and of saints are not excluded 
from the instruments of worship; and in order to keep 
up the number, she divides the Tenth into two — making 
the first clause the Ninth Commandment, and the re- 
maining clauses the Tenth. 

The great rule for interpreting the Decalogue is to 
keep constantly in mind that it is the law of God and 
not the law of man — that it respects and requires the 
conformity of the governing affections and dispositions 
of the heart as well as the outward actions. Every 
commandment involves a general moral principle, appli- 
cable to a wide variety of particular conditions, respect- 
ing the motives and ends of action, as well as action 
itself. The rules of interpretation laid down in the 
L. Cat., Q. 99, are in substance as follows : 

(1.) The law is perfect, requiring perfect obedience, 
and condemning the least shortcoming as sin. 

(2.) It is spiritual, respecting thoughts, feelings, 
motives and inward states of hearts, as well as actions. 

(3.) That every command implies a corresponding 
prohibition, and every prohibition a corresponding com- 
mand; and every promise a corresponding threatening, 
and every threatening a corresponding promise. 

(4.) That under one sin or duty all of the same kind 
are forbidden or commanded, together with all that 



THE LAW OF GOD. 343 

directly or indirectly, are the causes or occasions of 
them. 

(5.) That we are not only bound to fulfil the law 
ourselves, but also to help others to do so as far as we 
can. 

Section III. — Besides this law, commonly called moral, God 
was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a Church under age, 
ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances: partly 
of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, suiferings and 
benefits ;* and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral 
duties.^ All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the 
New Testament.* 

Section IV. — To them, also, as a body politic, he gave sundry 
judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that peo- 
ple, not obliging any other now, further than the general equity 
thereof may require.' 

Section V. — The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well 
justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;* and that 
not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect 
of the authority of Grod, the Creator, who gave it.* Neither doth 
Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this 
obligation.^® 

* Heb. ix. ; x. 1 ; Gal. iv. 1-3 ; Col. ii. 17.— ^ 1 Cor. v. 7 ,• 2 Cor. vi. 17 ; 
Jude23.— « Col. ii. 14, 16, 17; Dan. ix. 27; Eph. ii. 15, 16.— ^ Ex. xxi.; 
xxii. 1-29 ; Gen. xlix. 10; 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14; Matt. v. 17, 38, 39; 1 Cc. ix. 
8-10.— 8 Rom. xiii. 8-10 ; Eph. vi. 2; 1 John ii. 3, 4, 7, 8.— » James ii. 10, 
11.— 10 Matt. V. 17-19 ; James ii. 8; Rom. iii. 31. 

These Sections teach — 

1st. That besides the moral law summarily expressed 
in the Decalogue, God gave the Jews a ceremonial law, 
wherein, by means of types and symbols, {a) Christ and 
his work were set forth, and (6) certain moral truths in- 
culcated. 

2d. That he also gave to them as a body politic a 
sy?tem of judicial laws. 



344 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

3d. That both the ceremonial and judicial la\\^ of the 
Jews have ceased to have any binding force under the 
Christian economy. 

'4th. That on the other hand the moral law continues 
of unabated authority, not only because its elements are 
intrinsically binding, but because, also, of the authority 
of God, who still continues to enforce it. And Christ, 
instead of lessening, has greatly increased the obligation 
to fulfil it. 

We have already stated, under the preceding Sections 
of this Chapter, the principles which distinguish the 
dijBferent classes of divine commands. 

Those commands which have their ground or reason 
either in the essential principles of the divine nature or in 
the permanent constitution of things, of course have not 
been abrogated by the introduction of the Christian dis- 
pensation. On the contrary, it was precisely the law 
of perfect moral rectitude tluit Christ vicariously ful- 
filled as our representative, and thus became the end of the 
law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Rom. 
X. 4. Christ also redeemed his people from iniquity, 
that they might be zealous of good works (Tit. ii. 4); 
and we have seen under Chapter xviii. that those only 
are good works which are done in obedience to the law. 
By redemption, also, Christ has brought his people 
under new and higher obligations to obedience; he fur- 
nishes new motives, and in the graces of regeneration 
and sanctification he communicates to the soul new 
powers and encouragements for the same. Some of 
these original laws, founded on the constitution of things, 
God was pleased under the Mosaic dispensation to relax 
to a degree, as in tlie case of marriuge and divorce ; but 



THE LAW OF GOD. ^ 345 

in every case the original law, instead of being abro- 
gated, has been restored to its pristine breadth and au- 
thority by Christ and his apostles. The Sermon on the 
Mount, recorded in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters 
of Matthew, is an example of the manner in which the 
spirit of Christianity exalts and expands the letter of 
the law beyond any revelation of it which had pre- 
viously been made. 

The principles by which we are to determine what 
element of the law enacted under the old dispensation 
is abrogated, and what element remains in full force 
under the new dispensation, are the following : (1.) 
When the continued obligation of any commandment is 
asserted or practically recognized in the New Testament, 
it is plain that the change of dispensations has made no 
change in the law. Thus the provisions of the moral law 
are constantly recognized in the New Testament. On 
the other hand, when the enactment is explicitly re- 
pealed, or its aorogation implied by what is taught in 
the New Tesiament, the case is also made plain. (2.) 
Where there is no direct information upon the question 
to be gathered from the New Testament, a careful ex- 
amination of the reason of the law will afford us good 
ground of judgment as to its perpetuity. If the original 
reason for its enactment is universal and permanent, and 
the law has never been explicitly repealed, then the law 
abides in force. If the reason of the law is transient^ 
its binding force is transient also. 

The Mosaic institute may be viewed in three different 
aspects : 

(1.) As a national and political covenant, whereby, 
under his theocratic government, the Israelites became 



J46 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the people of Jehovah and he became their King, and 
in which the Church and the State are identical. 

(2.) In another aspect it was a legal covenant, because 
the moral law, obedience to which was the condition of 
life in the Adamic covenant, was now prominently set 
forth in the Ten Commandments and made the basis of 
the new covenant of God with his people. Even the 
ceremonial system, in its merely literal and apart from 
»ts ceremonial aspect, was a rule of works : " For cursed 
was he that confirmed not all the words of the law to 
io them/' I)v3ut. xxvii. 26. 

(3.) It contained also an elaborate system of symbols, 
wherein spiritual truths were significantly set forth 
by outward visible signs, the vast majority of which 
were types, or prophetic symbols, setting forth the per- 
jon and work of Cbrict and the benefits of his re- 
demption. 

That the ceremonial law lutioduoed by Moses was 
typical of Christ and his woik is taught throughout the 
New Testament, and especially in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews. They were declared tc be a "shadow of 
things to come, but the body is of Christ ' The taber- 
nacle and its services were "patterns of things in the 
heavens," and figures, antitypes, of the " true tabernacle 
into which Christ has now entered for us." Col. ii. 17 ; 
Heb. ix. 23, 24. Christ is said to have effected our 
salvation by offering himself as a sacrifice and by acting 
as our High Priest. Eph. v. 2 ; Heb. ix. 28, 28 ; xiii. 
11, 12. That the coming of Christ has suptrseded and 
for ever done away with the ceremonial law \s also evi- 
dent from the very fact just stated — thaf ihese were 
types of him, that they were the shadows vf whi^h be 



THE LAW OF GOD. 347 

was the substance. Their whole purpose and design 
were evidently discharged as soon as his real work of 
satisfaction was accomplished ; and therefore it is not 
only a truth taught in Scripture (Heb. x. 1-14; Col. ii. 
14-17 ; Eph. ii. 15, 16), but an undeniable historical 
fact, that the priestly work of Christ immediately and 
definitely superseded the work of the Levitical priest. 
The instant of Christ's death, the veil separating the 
throne of God from the approach of men " was rent in 
twain from top to bottom'' (Matt, xxvii. 50, 51), thus 
throwing the way open to all, and dispensing with 
priests and their ceremonial for ever. 

That the judicial laws of the Jews have ceased to 
have binding obligation upon us follows plainly, from 
the fact that the peculiar relations of the people to God 
as theocratic King, and to one another as fellow-mem- 
bers of an Old Testament Church State, to which tliese 
laws were adjusted, now no longer exist. 

Section VI. — Although true believers be not under the law as 
a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned," yet 
is it of great use to them, as well as to others : in that, as a rule 
of life, informing them of the will of God and their duty, it 
directs and binds them to walk accordingly -^^^ discovering also 
the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts and lives;" so as, 
examining themselves thereby, they may come to further convic- 
tion of, humiliation fOr, and hatred against sin ;" together with a 
clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection 
of his obedience.^* It is likewise of use to the rogenv^rate, to 
restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin ;" and the threat- 
enings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve, and what 
afflictions in this life they may expect for them, although freed 
from the curse thereof threatened in the law." The promises of 
it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience, 
and what blessings they may expect upon the performance 



348 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

thereof/® although not as due to them by the law as a covenant 
of works ;^* so as a man's doing good, and refraining from evil, 
because the law encourageth to the one and deterreth from the 
other, is no evidence of his being under the law, and not under 
grace. ^ 

Section VII. — Neither are the forementioned uses of the law 
contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with 
it;'^^ the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man 
to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God revealed in 
the law requireth to be done.*^ 

" Rom. vi. 14; Gal. ii. 16; iii. 13; iv. 4, 6; Acts xiii. 39; Rom. viii. 1.— 
12 Rom. vii. 12, 22, 25; Ps. cxix. 4-6; 1 Cor. vii. 19; Gal. v. 14, 16, 18- 
2.3.— 13 Rom. vii. 7; iii. 20.— i* James i. 23-25; Rom. vii. 9, 14, 24.— 15 Gal. 
iii. 24; Rom. vii. 24, 25; viii. 3, 4.— 16 James ii. 11; Ps. cxix. 101, 104, 
128.— 1' Ezra ix. 13, 14; Ps. Ixxxix. 30-34.~i8 Lev. xxvi. 1-14; 2 Cor. vi. 
16; Eph. vi. 2, 3; Ps. xxxvii. 11; Matt. v. 5; Ps. xix. 11.— 1» Gal. ii. 16; 
Luke xvii. 10.— 20 Rom. vi. 12, 14; 1 Pet. iii. 8-12; Ps. xxxiv. 12-16; 
Heb. xii. 28, 29.-21 (jal. iii. 21.— 22 Ezek. xxxvi. 27; Heb. viii. 10; Jer. 
xxxi. 33. 

In these Sections it is affirmed — 

1st. That since the fall no man is able to attain to 
righteousness and eternal life through obedience to the 
law. This is beyond question, because all men have 
sinned ; because men's natures are depraved ; because 
the law demands perfect and perpetual obedience; and 
because, " If righteousness c^ome by the law, then Christ 
is dead in vnin." Gal. ii. 21. 

2d. That those who have embraced the Gospel of 
Christ are no longer under the law as a covenant of 
life, but grace. 

3d. That nevertheless, under the gospel dispensation 
and in perfect harmony with its principles, the law is of 
manifold uses for all classes of men, and especially in 
the following respects : 

(1.) To all men generally the law is a revelation of 



THE LAW OF GOD. 349 

the character and will of God, a standard of moral 
excellence and a rule for the regulation of action. 

(2.) To un regenerate men, considered in relation to 
the gospel, the law is of use to convince them of the 
holiness and justice of God, of their own guilt and pol- 
lution, of their utter inability to fulfil its requirements, 
and so to act as a, schoolmaster to bring them to Christ. 
Kom. vii. 7-13; Gal. iii. 24. 

(3.) With respect to incorrigible sinners, the law is 
of use to restrain the outbursts of their evil passions, 
to render their disobedience without excuse, to vindicate 
the justice of God in their condemnation, and to render 
their cases a warning to others. 1 Tim. i. 9; Rom. i. 20; 
ii. 15 ; John iii. 18, 36. 

(4.) In respect to regenerate men, the law continues 
to be indispensable as the instrument of the Holy Ghost 
in the work of their sanctification. It remains to them 
an inflexible standard of righteousness, to which their 
nature and their actions ought to correspond. It shows 
them the extent of their obligations to Christ, and how 
far short, as yet, they are from having apprehended that 
whereunto they were apprehended in Christ Jesus. It 
thus tends to set up in the regenerate the habit of con- 
viction of sin and of repentance and faith. Its threaten- 
ings and its promises present motives deterring from sin 
and as.^uring of grace, and thus leading the soul onward 
to that blissful attainment when the sovereignly im- 
posed law of God will become the spontaneous law of 
our spirits, and hence that royal law of liberty of which 
James speaks. James i. 25 ; ii. 8, 12. See L. Cat., Qs, 
94-97. 

30 



350 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 



QUESTIONS. 

^ 1. What is the^rs^ proposition taught in the first two Sections? 

2. What is the second pronosition there taught ? 

3. What is the third taught? 

4. What is the /owr^A taught? 

5. Why is it certain that at his creation God placed man under 
an inalienable and perpetual obligation to obey the moral law ? 

6. What is the ultimate ground and rule of all law ? 

7. What relation in this regard does the divine will sustain to 
the divine nature ? 

8. Into how many classes may all divine laws be distributed ? 

9. State the characteristics of the first class. 

10. Do the same of the second class. 

11. Do the same of the third class. 

12. Do the same of the fourth class. 

13. How was this moral law at first revealed? 

14. State proof of your answer. 

15. Is this law as thus revealed sufficient for man's needs since 
the fall? 

16. Where is the only complete revelation of the will of God 
made to man ? 

17. What practical conclusions follow from the fact that the 
Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice, and complete 
as such ? 

18. Into what special relation to the law was man introduced 
at his creation ? 

19. What was the issue of that arrangement? 

20. Who has taken Adam's forfeited place in that covenant? 

21. Have the elect been delivered from the claims which the 
law makes upon us in every relation, and if not, in what respect 
does the law remain binding? 

22. What is meant when it is asserted that the whole moral 
law is summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments? 

23. Prove that such is the fact. 

24. In what way and for what purpose has the Church of Rome 
tampered with the Decalogue? 



THE LAW OF GOD. 351 

25. What is the great principle we are to bear in mind in inter- 
preting the Decalogue ? 

26. What is the Jirst rule laid down in the L. Cat, Q. 99? 

27. What is the second rule there laid down ? What the thirds 
fourth and fifth ? 

28. What is the^rs^ proposition taught in the third, fourth and 
fifth Sections? 

29. What is the second proposition there taught? 

30. What is the third f 

31. What is the /owr^^f 

32. What laws were not abrogated by the introduction of the 
Christian dispensation ? 

33. Prove that the moral law was not abrogated. 

34. By what principles are we to determine what laws are of 
permanent and what are of temporary obligation ? 

35. In what different aspects may the Mosaic institute be 
viewed ? 

36. How can you prove that the ceremonial system introduced 
by Moses was typical of Christ and his work ? 

37. State the difference between a symbol and a type. 

38. Show that the ceremonial system was superseded by Christ. 

39. Show that the judicial laws of the Jews are no longer 
binding. 

40. What is theirs* proposition taught in the sixth and seventh 
Sections ? 

41. What is the second proposition there taught? 

42. What is the third ? 

43. What are the uses of the law to men in general under the 
Gospel dispensation ? 

44. What are its uses to unregenerate men in view of the offers 
of grace in the gospel? 

45. What are its uses with respect to incorrigible sinners ? 

46. What are its uses to the regenerate ? 



CHAPTER XX. 

OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY AND LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE. 

Section I. — ^The liberty which Christ hath purchased for 
beUevers under the gospel, consists in their freedom from the 
guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of Grod, the curse of the 
moral law ;^ and in their being delivered from this present evil 
world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin,^ from the evil of 
aflflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and ever- 
lasting damnation f as also in their free access to God,* and their 
yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a child- 
like love and willing mind.^ All which were common also to 
believers under the law;^ but under the New Testament, the 
liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from 
the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish Church was 
subjected,^ and in greater boldness of access to the throne of 
grace, * and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God 
than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of* 

1 Tit. ii. 14; 1 Thess. i. 10; Gal. iii. 13.— 2 Gal. i. 4; Col. i. 13; Acts 
xxvi. 18; Rom. vi. 14; » Rom viii. 28; Ps. cxix. 71; 1 Cor. xv. 54-67; 
Rom. viii. 1.— * Rom. v. 1, 2. — & Rom. viii. 14, 15 ; 1 John iv. 18.— « Gal. 
iii. 9, 14.— 7 Gal. iv. 1-3, 6, 7; v. 1; Acts xv. 10, 11.— 8 Heb. iv. 14, 16 : x. 
] 9-22.-9 John vii. 38, 39 ; 2 Cor. iii. 13, 17, 18. 

The subject of this Chapter is that liberty wherewith 
Christ makes his people free, which is very different 
from that freedom of the will which we discussed under 
Chapter ix. We there saw that freedom of the will is 
an inalienable constitutional faculty of the human soul, 
whereby it always exercises its volitions as upon the 
whole it pleases in any given case. This liberty of will 

352 



CHRISTIAN LIBERTY — LIBERTY OP CONSCIENCE. 353 

is essential to free agency, and is possessed by all free 
agents, good or bad, or they could not be held account- 
able. Christian liberty on the other hand implies two 
things ; (a) such an inward spiritual condition of soul 
that a man has full power through grace to desire and 
will as he ought to do in conformity to the law of God ; 
and (6) such relations to God that the person is deliv- 
pred from the constraining motives of fear, and brought 
under the ennobling impulses of love and hope, and 
such relations to Satan and evil men that he is delivered 
from their coercive influences, and such providential 
circumstances that he has knowledge of his privileges 
and gracious aid in availing himself of them. This 
liberty involves the change of nature effected in regen- 
eration and perfected in sanctification, and the change 
of relation involved in justification. It is a main element 
in the grace of adoption, and a privilege of all the chil- 
dren of God. Rom. viii. 24. It was purchased for us 
by Christ, and is therefore attributed to him (Gal. v. 1); 
it is applied and effectually wrought in us by the Holy 
Ghost, and therefore attributed to him. 2 Cor. iii. 17. 

This Section sets forth this precious and most com- 
prehensive Christian grace in two orders— ^rs^, as it is 
common to all believers at all times, and, second, as it is 
enjoyed pre-eminently in certain respects by believers 
under the new dispensation in contrast to believers 
under the old. 

1st. As this Christian liberty is common to all be- 
lievers in all ages, it consists mainly in the following 
particulars : 

(1.) They are delivered from the guilt of sin and the 
curae of the moral law. This is done, as we saw under 

30* 



354 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Chapter xi., when the believer is justified, his guilt in 
strict rigour of justice cancelled, and all the demands of 
the law satisfied by crediting to his account the perfect 
righteousness of Jesus Christ. The guilt of his sin hav- 
ing thus been actually extinguished, and the demands 
of the law having been perfectly satisfied, they can no 
longer hold him in bondage. " It is God that justifi- 
ETH: who is he that condemneth ?'' Rom viii. 33, 34. 

(2.) They are delivered also from the bondage of sin 
as an inherent principle of their nature. This deliver- 
ance is commenced in regeneration, and is carried on 
and perfected in sanctification, as we saw under Chapters 
X. and xiii. A law still remains in their members 
warring against the law of their mind, and bringing 
them into captivity to the law of sin which is in their 
members (Rom. vii. 23); nevertheless the indwelling 
Holy Spirit works with them to will and to do of his 
good pleasure, and thus secures them, upon the whole, 
the victory. See Chapter xvii. 

(3.) They thus have peace with God. This includes 
the two precious benefits of God's reconciliation to us 
through the propitiation of our High Priest, and our 
reconciliation to him through the work of the Holy 
Ghost. Thus we are delivered from that fear which 
hath torment and gendereth to bondage, and have that 
filial, submissive, confiding love shed abroad in our 
hearts which casteth out all fear. 1 John iv. 18. The 
Holy Ghost himself is the earnest of our inheritance, 
and mtnesseth with our spirits that we are the childrpu 
of God. Rom. viii. 16. Thus having a High Priest over 
the house of God, we have great confidence in entenng 
into the very holiest through the new and living wav 



CHRISTIAN LIBERTY — LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE. 355 

opened by Christ, where God makes the clearest revela- 
tions and fullest communications of his grace to his 
beloved. 

(4.) Tliey are delivered from the bondage of Satan 
and the dominating influence of this present evil world. 
The power of the " world'' and the " devil" depends 
upon the '^ flesh," or the corrupt state of the man's own 
heart. Christ " was in all points tempted like as we 
are, yet without sin." Heb. iv. 15. The act of justifica- 
tion has consecrated the believer to God. The work of 
sanctification breaks the power of temptation, God in 
every case either graciously enabling us to resist and 
come off conqueror, or providentially opening a way of 
escape for us. 1 Cor. x. 13. Tims Satan, too, is subject 
to his power; he helps us to resist Satan and put him to 
flight, and the excess of his malignant power he prevents 
and restrains. 

(5.) They are delivered from the evil of afflictions 
and the sting of death. The sting of death is sin, and 
the strength of sin is the law, but Christ has delivered 
them from the curse of the law, being made a curse for 
them. In justification the believer's relation to the law 
is permanently changed. It is no more the basis of his 
salvation. And death, and all the sorrows incident to 
this life, which are the consequences of sin, which to the 
reprobate are parts of the penalty of sin inflicted in 
pursuance of law, to the true believers are elements of 
God's chastening grace, designed for their 'mprovement. 
Heb. xii. 6-11. By the death of Christ believers are 
delivered from the fear of death. Heb. ii. 14, 15. 

(6.) They are also delivered from the victory of the 
grave and everlasting damnation. The first effect of 



356 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

his redemption which the true believer sensibly experi- 
ences is the forgiveness of his sins. If his sins are for- 
given, the penal consequences of them must be removed. 
" There is therefore now no condemnation to them whicli 
are in Christ Jesus." Rom. viii. 1. There can therefore 
be nothing to fear beyond death, which is the gate of 
heaven. Even our mortal bodies are members of Christ 
and temples of that Holy Ghost who will quicken them 
and transform them into the likeness of our glorious 
Redeemer. 1 Cor. vi. 15-19; Rom. viii. 11 ; Phil. iii. 21. 

2d. In certain respects, believers under the Gospel 
enjoy this Christian liberty in a higher degree than it 
was enjoyed by believers under the Old Testament. 

(1.) The New Testament believer is delivered from 
the obligation of the ceremonial law. This law was to 
the Old Testament believer the revelation of the Gospel 
of the Son of God, and therefore an inestimable bless- 
ing ; but it was comparatively so obscured with material 
symbols and ceremonies, and enforced obedience so 
largely by coercive measures, that the Apostle called the 
whole system " the elements of the world," under which 
the Jews were in bondage (Gal. iv. 3) ; "a yoke of 
bondage" (Gal. v. 1), and "carnal ordinances imposed 
on them until the time of reformation." Heb. ix. 10. 
And in contrast therewith he exhorts the Christian 
Galatians to " stand fast in that liberty wherewith Christ 
has made us free." Gal. v. 1. We enjoy the clear light 
slied from the person and work of our adorable Re- 
deemer in person. AVe have the direct instead of the 
reflected ray — immediate access to the Father instead of 
a constrained approach through the medium of priests 
and an outward sanctuary. 



CHRISTIAN LIBERTY — LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE. 357 

(2.) In connection with this, believers under the 
present dispensation have great boldness in approach- 
ing God and fuller communications of his Spirit. The 
greater boldness now enjoyed evidently results from the 
clearer and fuller revelation now enjoyed of the method 
and completeness of redemption and the greater fulness 
in the communications of the Holy Ghost. This divine 
Person, as we know, inspired the Old Testament prophets 
and sanctified the Old Testament saints ; nevertheless 
the new dispensation is pre-eminently characterized by 
the clearness with which the truth with respect to the 
of&ce of the Holy Ghost is revealed and the fulness 
with which his influence is dispensed. Christ promised 
the gift of the Holy Ghost in this pre-eminent measure 
of it after his ascension. John xv. 26. Previously it 
was said, " The Holy Ghost was not yet given, because 
that Jesus was not yet glorified." John vii. 39. After 
his ascension on the great day of Pentecost, Peter said 
that in fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecy (Isa. 
xliv. 3 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 27), and the promise of Christ, 
" he being by the right hand of God exalted, and having 
received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, 
hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." Acts 
ii. 17, 33. 

Section II. — God alone is Lord of the conscience,^" and hath 
left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which 
are in anything contrary to his word, or beside it, in matters of faith 
or worship." So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such 
commandments out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of con- 
science ;^' and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute 
and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and rea- 
son also." 

Section III. — ^They who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, 



S58 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the 
end of Christian liberty ; which is, that, being delivered out of 
the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, 
in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life." 
Section IV. — And because the powers which God hath or- 
dained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not 
intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve 
one another ; they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall 
oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it 
be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God.^^ And for 
their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such prac- 
tices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known prin- 
ciples of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship or con- 
versation ; or to the power of godliness ; or such erroneous 
opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the 
manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the 
external peace and order which Christ hath established in the 
Church ; they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded 
against by the censures of the Church.^* 

w James iv. 12 ; Rom. xiv. 4.—" Acts iv. 19 ; v. 29 ; 1 Cor. vii. 23 ; Matt. 
xxiii. 8-10 ; 2 Cor. i. 24 ; Matt. xv. 9.— i* Col. ii. 20, 22, 23 ; Gal. i. 10 ; ii. 
4, 5 ; V. 1. — 1* Rom. x. 17 ; Rom. xiv. 23 ; Isa. viii. 20 ; Acts xvii. 11 ; 
John iv. 22; Hos. v. 11; Rev. xiii. 12, 16, 17; Jer. viii. 9.— i* Gal. v. 13; 
1 Pet. ii. 16 ; 2 Pet. ii. 19 ; John viii. 34 ; Luke i. 74, 75.— 15 Matt. xii. 25 ; 
1 Pet. ii. 13, 14, 16 ; Rom. xiii. 1-8 ; Heb. xiii. 17.— 1« Rom. i. 32 ; 1 Cor. 
Y. 1, 6, 11, 13; 2 John 10, 11 ; 2 Thess. iii. 14 ; 1 Tim. vi. .3-5 ; Tit. i. 10, 
11, 13 J iii. 10 ; Matt, xviii. 15-17 ; 1 Tim. i. 19, 20 ; Rev. ii. 2, 14, 15, 20 ; 
iii. 9. 

These Sections teach the following propositions : 
1st. God alone is Lord of the human conscience, 
which is responsible only to his authority. 

2d. God has authoritatively addressed the human 
conscience only in his law, the only perfect revelation 
of which in this world is the inspired Scriptures. Hence 
God himself has set the human conscience free from all 
obligation to believe or obey any such doctrines or com- 



CHEISTIAN LIBERTY— LIBERTY OF CONSCIEKOE. 359 

mand merits of men as are either contrary to or aside 
from the teachings of that Word. 

3d. Hence to believe such doctrines, or to obey such 
commandments as a matter of conscience, is to be guilty 
of the sin of betraying the liberty of conscience and its 
loyalty to its only Lord ; and to require such an obe- 
dience of others is to be guilty of the sin of usurping 
the prerogative of God and attempting to destroy the 
most precious liberties of men. 

4th. This Christian liberty is not, however, absolute. 
It has its distinct end and limits. Its end is that every 
person, without hindrance of his fellow-men, should 
have opportunity to serve God according to his will. 
The limits of this liberty are of two kinds: (a.) The 
authority of God, the Lord of conscience. (6.) The 
equal liberties and rights of our fellow-men, with whom 
we dwell in organized societies. 

5th. Since God has established both the Church and 
the State, obedience to the legitimate authorities of 
either, acting within their rightful sphere, is an essential 
part of obedience to God. 

6th. The Church has the right from God of exercis- 
ing its discipline upon any who maintain or practice 
opinions or actions plainly contrary to the light of 
nature, the doctrines of the Scripture or the peace and 
welfare of the Christian community. 

1st. That, in the highest and only absolute sense, God 
alone is Lord of the human conscience, has never been 
denied. The real question raised by Romanists, and 
those in general who have claimed the authority of 
binding and loosing the consciences of their fellow-men, 
relates to the standard which God has given us of bi* 



360 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

"will, and the means he has chosen to enforce it. The 
Romanists maintain that the true standard and organ of 
the will of God in the world is the infallible inspired 
Church, or body of bishops ordained regularly in a 
direct line from the apostles and in communion with the 
See of Rome. They hold that this Church has power to 
define doctrines and enact laws in God's name, binding 
the consciences of men; and that it possesses, in the 
power .of the keys, the right, in execution of these laws, 
to absolve or condemn in God's name, to bind or loose 
the subject and open or shut the kingdom of heaven, 
and to impose ecclesiastical penalties.* By far the 
larger part of what the Church of Rome actually en- 
forces in the way of faith and practice is derived from 
ecclesiastical tradition and evidently perverted interpre- 
tations of Scripture. 

The Erastian State churches of Germany and Eng- 
land have often attempted to enforce outward uniformity 
in profession and worship, in spite of the conscientious 
scruples of multitudes of their best citizens, on the plea 
that the right and responsibility of regulating the eccle- 
siastical as well as the civil interests of the nation 
devolve upon the civil magistrate. 

In opposition to all this, Protestants insist — 
2d. That God has given only one, and that a perfect, 
rule of faith and practice in spiritual matters in the 
inspired Scriptures, and that he has hence set free the 
human conscience from all obligation to believe or obey 
any such doctrines or commandments of men as are con- 
trary to or aside from the teachings of that Word. 

* Catechism of the Council of Trent, i. 10, 18 ; Beilarmine Eccle 
Mil., ch. xiv. ; Catechism of the Council of Trent, i. 11, 4. 



CHRISTIAN LIBERTY — LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE. 361 

We have already proved, under Chapter i., §§ 6, 7, 9, 
10, that Scripture is at once a complete and perspicuous 
rule of faith and practice, and supreme judge of all 
controversies. It hence follows self-evidently (a) that 
nothing contrary to Scripture can be true, (b) that noth- 
ing in addition to what is revealed or commanded in 
Scripture can be binding upon the conscience, and (c) 
that, since the Scriptures are perspicuous, every believer 
is personally responsible for interpreting Scripture and 
judging of all human doctrines and commandments by 
Scripture for himself. This is further proved — 

(1.) Because the Scriptures are addressed immediately 
either to all men promiscuously, or else to the whole 
body of believers as such. Deut. vi. 4-9 ; Luke i. 3 ; 
Rom. i. 7 ; 1 Cor. i. 2 ; Gal. i. 2, etc. 

(2.) All Christians promiscuously are commanded to 
search the Scriptures (Acts xvii. 11 ; 2 Tim. iii. 15-17 ; 
John V. 39), and to give a reason for their faith (1 Pet. 
iii. 15), and to resist the authority even of legitimate 
church rulers when it is opposed to that of the Lord 
of conscience. Acts iv. 19, 20. 

(3.) The " Church" which Christ promises to guide 
into all truth and to pre«erve from fatal error is not a 
hierarchy or a body of officers, but the body of the 
"called'' or "elect" — the body of believers as such. 
1 John ii. 20, 27 ; 1 Tim. iii. 15 ; Matt. xvi. 18 ; Eph. 
V. 27 ; 1 Pet. ii. 5 ; Col. i. 18, 24. 

(4.) Those who claim, as the successors of the apostles, 
to exercise this authority, are utterly destitute of all tb.e 
"signs of an apostle." 2 Cor. xii. 12 ; 1 Cor. ix. 1 ; Gal. 
i. 1, 12; Acts i. 21, 22. While provision was made for 
the regular perpetuation of the offices of deacon and 

31 



362 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

presbyter (1 Tim. iii. 1-13), there was no direction given 
for the perpetuation of the apostolate. They are utterly 
without credentials. 

The question as to the right of the civil magistrate to 
impose religious articles of faith or rules of worship will 
recur again under Chapter xxiii., § 3. It hence follows — 

3d. That it is a great sin, involving at the same time 
sacrilege, and treason to the human race, for any man or 
set of men to arrogate the prerogative of God and to 
attempt to bind the consciences of their fellow-men by 
any obligation not certainly imposed by God and re- 
vealed in his word. At the same time it is a sin of 
disloyalty to God, and a violation of our own nature as 
moral and rational beings, to yield to any such imposi- 
tion, and to accept as a matter truly binding the con- 
science anything not authoritatively taught and imposed 
in the Scriptures. 

4th. It is of the highest importance, on the other 
hand, clearly to understand that Christian liberty is not 
an absolute liberty to do as we choose, but a regulated 
liberty to obey God without hindrance fi'om man. It is 
a freedom from usurped authority, in order that we may 
be the more perfectly subject to the only legitimate 
authority. It is hence absurd, as well as wicked, for a 
man to make his Christian liberty to obey only God a 
plea to disobey God, as he does whenever he violates 
any of the principles of natural right or of revealed 
truth which express at once the unchangeable nature 
and the all-perfect will of God. There can be no liberty 
which sets a man independent of that will ; and this is 
always the will of God concerning us, even our sanctifi- 
cation. 1 Thess. iv. 3. 



CHRISTIAN LIBERTY — LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE. 363 

Christian liberty is also further limited by the mutual 
duties we owe one another. The eating of meat offered 
to idols is in itself a thing indifferent, because not either 
commanded or forbidden. The Christian, therefore, is 
at liberty either to eat or not to eat. But Paul com- 
mands the Corinthians to " take hvod lest by any means 
this liberty of theirs becomes a stumbling-block to them 
that are weak." 1 Cor. viii. 9. To allow this would be 
a sin. The Christian, therefore, may be at liberty to eat 
or not to eat, but he is not at all at liberty so to use his 
liberty that his fellow-man is injured thereby. The lib- 
erty ceases to be liberty and becomes licentiousness when 
it transcends the law of God or infringes upon the rights 
of our fellows. 

5th and 6th. Since both the Church and the State are 
divine institutions, it follows necessarily that the author- 
ity of the officers of each, when acting legitimately within 
their respective spheres, represents the authority of God 
and binds the Christian to obedience for conscience' sake. 
It follows also that both the civil magistrate and the 
ecclesiastical courts must have the right of enforcing 
obedience by a mode of discipline appropriate to both 
spheres of authority. These matters, however, come up 
appropriately under Chapters xxiii., xxv. and xxx. 

QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the subject of this Chapter? 

2. How does it differ from that of Chapter ix. ? 

3. What is implied in Christian liberty ? 

4. In what two aspects is this liberty set forth in this Chapter? 

5. What several particulars are embraced in that libf j*ty which 
is common to all believers? 



364 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

6. How have Christians freedom from the guilt of sin and the 
curse of the moral law? 

7. How have they liberty from the bondage of sin ? 

8. In what sense have they peace with God ? 

9. How have they liberty from the dominion of Satan and the 
world ? 

10. How have they freedom from the evil of afflictions and the 
sting of death ? 

11. How are they delivered from the victory of the grave and 
the second death? 

12. In what respects do believers under the gospel enjoy this 
liberty more freely than did believers under the law? 

13. How is the believer under the present dispensation deliv- 
ered from the obligation to observe the ceremonial law, and why 
is that an advantage? 

14. Why have believers now greater boldness in approaching 
God and fuller communications of his Spirit? 

15. What is the first proposition taught in the second, third 
and fourth Sections? 

16. What is the second proposition there taught? 

17. What is the third there taught? 

18. What is the fourth there taught? 

19. What is the fifth there taught? 

20. What is the sixth there taught? 

21. Has it ever been denied by theists that in the absolute 
sense God is the only Lord of the conscience? 

22. What is the Romish position on this subject? 

23. What that of the Erastian State churches of Europe? 

24. What, on the contrary, is the common Protestant doctrine 
as to the true standard of God's will in all questions of conscience? 

25. In what part of this book is this question discussed? 

26. If the Scriptures are a complete and perspicuous rule of 
faith and practice, what follows? 

27. Show that the Scriptures are addressed directly to all men, 
or to Christians as such. 

28. Sliow that all believers are commanded to search the Scrip- 
tures and to judge of the truth of every doctrine by that standard. 

29. Show that the CI urch which Christ has promised to lead 



CHRISTIAN LIBERTY — LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE. 365 

to the knowledge of the truth is not the priesthood, but the entire 
company of the faithful, 

30. Show that the Romish hierarchy have no support for their 
claims. 

31. Where will the questions concerning the authority of the 
civil magistrate in matters of conscience be discussed? 

32. What is the natur^ of their sin who attempt to impose their 
authority upon the consciences of others? 

33. What is the nature of their sin who give up their con- 
sciences to the control of others? 

34. What is the Jirst limit to Christian liberty? 

35. What is the second limit to Christian liberty? 

36. Show that it must be limited in both these ways. 

37. Where will the questions relating to the authority of the 
civil magistrate and of the ecclesiastical courts be discussed ? 

31 • 



CHAPTER XXI. 

OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP AND THE SABBATH-DAY. 

Section I. —The light of nature showeth that there is a God, 
who hath lordship and sovereignty over ail; is good, and doeth 
good unto all ; and is, therefore, to be feared, loved, praised, 
called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with 
all the soul, and with all the might. ^ But the acceptable way of 
worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited 
by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped accord- 
ing to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions 
of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not 
prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.' 

Section II, — Religious worship is to be given to God, the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost ; and to him alone :' not to angels, 
saints, or any other creature : * and, since the fall, not without a 
Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ 
alone. ^ 

1 Rom. i. 20; Acts xvii. 24; Ps. cxix. 68; Jer. x. 7; Ps. xxxi. 23; xvii. 
3 ; Rom. x. 12; Ps. Ixii. 8; Josh. xxiv. 14 ; Mark xii. 33.-2 Deut. xii. 32; 
Matt. XV. 9; Acts xvii. 25; Matt. iv. 9, 10; Deut. xv. 1-20; Ex. xx. 4-6; 
Col. ii. 23.-3 Matt. iv. 10 ; John v. 23; 2 Cor. xiii. 14.—* Col. ii. 18; Rev. 
xix. 10; Rom. i. 25.-6 John xiv. 6; 1 Tim. ii. 5 ; Eph. ii. 18; Col. iii. 17. 

These Sections teach — 

1st. That the obligation to render supreme worship 
and devoted service to God is a dictate of nature as 
well as a doctrine of revelation. 

2d. That God in his word has prescribed for us how 
we may worship him acceptably, and that it is an offence 

366 



RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, A]SD THE SABBATH-DAY. 367 

to him and a sin in us either to neglect to worship and 
serve him in the way prescribed, or to attempt to serve 
him in any way not prescribed. 

3d. That the only proper objects of worship are the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and that since the fall 
these are to be approached only through a Mediator, 
and through the mediation of none other than Christ 
alone. 

4th. That religious worship is upon no pretence to be 
rendered to angels or to saints or to any other creature. 

1st. That it is a dictate of natural reason and con- 
science that a Being of infinite and absolute perfection, 
the Creator, Possessor and sovereign Lord, the Preserver 
and bountiful Benefactor of all creatures, and the abso- 
lute moral Governor of all moral agents, should be 
adored, praised, thanked, supplicated, obeyed and served, 
is self-evident, and is witnessed to by the common con- 
sent of all nations of all ages. The reasons for this are 
— (a.) His absolute perfection in himself. (6.) His in- 
finite superiority to us. (c.) His relation to us as Crea- 
tor, Preserver and moral Governor, (d.) Our absohite 
dependence upon him for every good, and our obliga- 
tions for his infinite goodness to us. [e.) His commands 
requiring this at our hands. (/.) The impulse of our 
nature as religious beings and morally responsible 
agents, (g.) The fact that our faculties find their high- 
est exercise, and our whole being its highest develop- 
ment and blessedness in this worship and service. 

2d. We have already seen, under Chapter i., that God 
has given us in the Holy Scriptures an infallible, au- 
thoritative, complete and perspicuous rule of faith and 
practice. That " the whole counsel of God, concerning all 



368 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

things necessary for his own glory and man's salvation, 
faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, 
or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced 
fropa Scripture." It hence necessarily follows that since 
God has prescribed the mode in which we are accept- 
ably to worship and serve him, it must be an oifence to 
him and a sin in us for us either to neglect his way, or 
^''1 preference to practice our own. It may well have 
been that in the natural state of man and in his moral 
relations to God in which he stood before the fall, his 
natural reason, conscience and religious instinct might 
have sufficed to direct him in his worship and service. 
But since man's moral nature is depraved, and his re- 
ligious instincts perverted, and his relations to God 
reversed by sin, it is self-evident that an explicit, posi- 
tive revelation is necessary not only to tell men that 
God will admit his worship at all, but also to prescribe 
the principles upon which, and the methods in which, 
that worship and service may be rendered. As before 
shown from Scripture, not only all teaching for doctrine 
the commandments of men, but all manner of will-worship, 
of self-chosen acts and forms of worship, are an abomina- 
tion to God. At the same time, of course, there are, as 
the Confession admits. Chapter i., § 6, some circumstances 
concerning the worshij) of God and the government of 
the (-hurch, common to human actions and societies, 
which are to be ordered by the light of nature and 
Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the 
word. These relate obviously to the application of the 
principles and " general rules" laid down in Scripture 
for our guidance in worship and ecclesiastical govern- 
ment to the varying times and circumstances of the 



RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, ANiJ THE SABBATH-DAY. 369 

case in hand. But we have in no case any right, npon 
the ground of taste, fashion or expediency, to go beyond 
the clear warrant of ScTipture. 

3d. That the divine worship is to be addressed equally 
to Father, Son and Holy Ghost follows necessarily from 
what we have proved under Chapter ii., § 3 — that Fa- 
ther, Son and Holy Ghost being distinct persons, ai-e 
yet each equally, in the same absolute sense, the one 
supreme God. That God can now be acceptably ap- 
proached only through a Mediator is proved by what 
we have already proved (a) as to the guilt of man by 
nature and in consequence of habitual transgression, 
(b) as to the justice of God, and (c) as to the fact that 
God has from eternity determined to deal with men, as 
the subjects of redemption, only through a Mediator. 
If Christ as our High Priest truly represents the elect 
before the Father, in obeying and suffering vicariously 
in their stead and in making intercession in their behalf, 
and if he is the medium through which all gracious 
benefits come to us from God, it follows that all our 
approaches to God should be made through him. That 
God is the only proper subject of worship, and that 
Christ is the only Mediator through whom we may 
approach God, will be shown under the next head. 

4th. Religious worship is upon no pretence to be of- 
fered to angels, nor to saints, nor to any other creature, 
nor to God through any other mediator save Christ 
alone. 

The most authoritative Standards of the Church of 
Rome teach — (a.) That the Virgin Mary, saints and 
angels are to receive true religious worship, in propor- 
tion to their respective ranks. (6.) That they are to be 



370 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

invoked to help us in our times of need.* (c.) That they 
are to be invoked to intercede with God or with Christ 
for us. (d) Some of their most authoritative books of 
worship teach that God is to be asked to save and help 
us on the ground of the merits of the saints ; (e) that 
the pictures, images and relics of saints and martyrs are 
to be retained in churches and worshipped.! 

To avoid the charge of idolatry made upon them for 
these practices, tliey distinguish between (a) Latvia, or 
the highest religious worship, which is due to God alone, 
and (6) Douliaj or that inferior religious worship which 
is due in various degrees to saints and angels, according 
to their rank. Some also mark a middle degree of wor- 
ship, which is due to the Virgin Mary alone, by the term 
Hyperdoulia, They also distinguish between (a) that di- 
rect worship which is due severally to God, to the Virgin 
or to the saints and angels, and (6) that indirect worship 
which terminates upon the picture or image which rep- 
resents to the worshipper the direct object of his worship. 

The objection to this entire system is — 

(1.) That it has, neither as a whole nor in any element 
(.>f it, a shadow of support in Scripture. 

(2.) That the reasons for worshipping God apply to 
the worship of no other being. That reason and revela- 
tion unite in teaching us that a Being of infinite and abso- 
lute perfection, our Creator, Preserver and moral Gov- 
ernor, stands apart from all other objects, and therefore is 
not to be classed as an object of worship with any other. 

* Council of Trent, Sess. 25 : " Bonum atque utile esse, .... ad 
eorum orationes, opetn, auxiliumque confugere." Cat. Rom., iii. 2, 
10; iv. 5, 8; and iii. 2, 8. 

t Council of Trent, Sess. 25 ; Cat. Rom. iii 2, 23. and iii. 2, 8. 



RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, AND THE SABBATH-DAY. 371 

(3.) The sin of worshipping other gods and angels is 
explicitly forbidden. Ex. xx. 3, 5; Col. ii. 18. When 
the people of Lystra proposed to worship Saint Paul 
and Saint Barnabas, " they rent their clothes and ran 
among the people, saying,^' "We also are men,'' "and 
preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities 
unto the living God." Acts xiv. 14, 15. 

(4.) The worship of images, or of God, Christ or 
samts by images, is forbidden in the Second Command- 
ment. Ex. XX. 4, 5. 

(5.) The distinctions they make between the different 
degrees of worship due to God and to holy creatures, 
and between the indirect worship which terminates upon 
the image or picture and the direct worship which ter- 
minates upon the person represented by it, are not their 
peculiar property, but, as every missionary to the hea- 
then knows, are common to them with the educated 
class among all idolaters. If the Romanists be not 
idolaters, the sins forbidden in the First and Second 
Commandments have never been committed. 

(6.) The invocation of the saints is a pure absurdity, 
for unless they are omnipresent and omniscient, they 
cannot hear us, and in many cases, unless they are om- 
nipotent, they cannot help us. The Romish explanation, 
that God may perhaps tell the saints what we pray, in 
order that the saints may in turn tell God, is worthy 
of the doctrine it explains. 

(7.) The saints and angels are not mediators between 
us and God or us and Christ, because (a) it is explicitly 
asserted that Christ is the only Mediator between God 
and man. 1 Tim. ii. 5. (6.) Christ has exhaustively 
•lischarged every requisite mediatorial function, both 



372 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

on earth and in heaven. Heb. ix. 12, 24; vii. 25; x. 
14. (c.) Because we are "complete" in Christ, and we 
are exhorted to come immediately to God through 
Christ, and to come with the utmost boldness and sense 
of liberty. Col. ii. 10; Eph. ii. 18; iii. 12; Heb. iv. 16; 
x. 19-21. The very suggestion of supplementing the 
work of Jesus Christ with that of other mediators is 
infinitely derogatory to him. (d) There can be no room 
for intercessors between us and Christ, because Christ is 
our tender Brother (Matt. xi. 28), and because it is the 
office of the Holy Ghost to draw men to Christ. John 
vi. 44; xvi. 13, 14. (e.) Even if there was need for 
other mediators, the saints would not be fit for the 
place. They are absent; they cannot hear when we 
cry. They are dependent ; they cannot help others. As 
we have seen, they have no supererogatory merits, and 
therefore cannot lay in our behalf a foundation for our 
acceptance with God. They are busy worshipping and 
enjoying Christ in person, and have neither the time, 
the opportunity nor the ability to manage the affairs 
of the world. 

Section III. — Prayer with thanksgiving, being one special 
part of rehgious worship,® is by God required of all men ;^ and, 
that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son," 
by the help of his Spirit,' according to his will," with under- 
standing, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love and persever 
ance ;" and, if vocal, in a known tongue. ^^ 

Section IV. — Prayer is to be made for things lawful, ^^ and 
for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter ;'* but not 
foi the dead,^^ nor for those of whom it may be known that they 
have sinned the sin unto death. ^* 

« Phil iv. 6.— T Ps. Ixv. 2.— 8 John xiv. 13, 14; 1 Pet. ii. 5.-9 Rom. viii. 
26.— w I John V. 14.—" Ps. xlvii. 7 ; Eccles. v. 1, 2 ; Heb. xii. 28 ; Gen. 
xviii. 27; James v. 16; i. 6, 7; Mark xi. 24; Matt. vi. 12, 14, 15; Col. iv. 



BELIGIOUS WORSHIP, AND THE SABBATH-DAY. 373 

2; Eph. vi. 18.—" 1 Cor. xiv. 14.—" 1 John v. 14.-1* i Tim. ii. 1, 2; 
John xvii. 20 ; 2 Sam. vii. 29 ; Ruth iv. 12.— 15 2 Sam. xii. 21-23 ; Luke 
xvi. 25, 26; Rev. xiv. 13.— 1« 1 John v. 16. 

Our Confession having established the general truth 
as to the object to whom religious worship is to be 
rendered, and as to the source of our knowledge of its 
nature and proper methods, now proceeds to state more 
particular^ what the Scriptures teach on this subject. 

These Sections teach — 

1st. That prayer is a principal part of religious wor- 
ship. The word " prayer'' is used constantly in a more 
general and a more specific sense. In its more specific 
sense it is equivalent to supplication, the act of the soul 
engaged in presenting its desires to God, and asking God 
to gratify them and to supply all the necessities of the 
supplicant. In its general sense, prayer is used to ex- 
press every act of the soul engaged in spiritual inter- 
course with God. In this sense the main elements it 
embraces are (a) adoration, (b) confession, (c) supplica- 
tion, (d) intercession, (e) thanksgiving. Thus prayer in 
its wide sense includes all direct acts of worship. And 
hymns^ and psalms of praise are in their essence only 
metrical and musically-uttered prayers. 

2d. The Confession here asserts that prayer is required 
of all men. This is absolutely true, even of the heathen 
who know not God, and of the unregenerate who are 
morally unable to pray in a manner pleasing to God, 
because neither our knowledge of moral truths nor our 
moral ability to do what is right is the measure of our 
responsibility. The duty of prayer is a natural duty 
growing out of our natural relations to God, manifested 
hy the natural conscience, and enjoined in the Scrip- 

32 



374 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

tures upon all men indiscriminately. 1 Thest v. 17; 
Acts viii. 22, 23 ; Luke xi. 9-13. We are told not 
only to pray after we receive the Holy Spirit, but to 
pray also that we may receive him. 

3d. In order that prayer may be acceptable to God and 
effectual, it is here taught that it is necessary (1) that it 
should be offered through the mediation of Christ. It 
has been shown above, under §§ 1 and 2, that all relig- 
ious worship must be presented through Christ — that is, 
relying upon his merits, and approaching God through 
his present personal intercession. Prayer is a kind of 
religious worship. What, therefore, is true of the class is 
true of all its elements. Besides, this truth follows from 
all that is revealed of our redemption through the merits 
of Clirist, and is directly taught in Scripture. John 
xiv. 13, 14; xvi. 23, 24. (2.) It must be made by 
the help of the Holy Ghost. The same word 'paraclete 
is applied to Christ and to the Holy Ghost; it is trans- 
lated when applied to Christ advocate (1 John ii. 1), and 
comforter when applied to the Holy Ghost. John xiv. 
16. Thus Christ as our Advocate makes intercession 
for us in heaven (Rom. viii. 34) ; the Holy Ghost as our 
Advocate makes intercession within us, inditing our 
prayers, kindling our desires for that which is according 
to the will of God, and thus maintaining harmony in 
the constant current of petition ascending from Christ 
the head in heaven and his members on earth. Rom. 
viii. 26, 27. (3.) It is essential to acceptable prayer 
that th^ heart of the worshipper should be in the proper 
state, and that his prayer be offered in reverence for the 
majesty and moral perfections of God; humility, because 
of our guilt and pollution ; submission to his will; con- 



RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, AND THE SABBATH-DAY. 375 

fidence in his ability and willingness to help us, and 
upon his covenanted grace ; intelligent apprehension of 
the relitions we sustain, the nature of the service we 
are engaged in, and the subject-matter of our prayer and 
objects of petition ; and real earnestness and fervency 
of heart, corresponding fully to all the words whereby 
our prayer is expressed, and with importunity and per- 
severance. Luke xviii. 1-8. And when the prayer is 
common between two or more persons, it is self-evident 
that it must be expressed in a language common to all ; 
otherwise, it must cease to be in any sense the prayer 
of those who fail to understand it. This point is aimed 
at the Romish custom of uttering many of her public 
prayers in Latin, which to the vast majority of her 
worshippers is an unknown tougue. This is explicitly 
forbidden. 1 Cor. xiv. 1-40. 

4th. As to the objects of petition, we are here taught 
that they cover the whole ground of things that are at 
once desirable and lawful. This is self-evident, be- 
cause we depend upon God for all things, and therefore 
should ask him for everything we need, yet of course 
giving a precedence in our desires for the "best things," 
" seeking ^rs^ the kingdom of heaven and God's right- 
eousness." Desires for unlawful things are of course 
unlawful desires, and should be laid aside and repented 
of. Even concerning those things which it is in general 
lawful for us to desire, there may be in many instances 
uncertainty whether it is the will of God that we should 
have them at the time and in the way we desire. In 
every such case we should, of course, make our petitions 
conditional upon God's will, as our blessed Lord did 
in Gethsemane. Luke xxii. 42; 1 John v. 14. 



376 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

As to the subjects of intercession, we are taught to pray 
for all men living or to live. 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2; John xvii. 
20. But not for those already dead, nor for those known 
to have committed the unpardonable sin. 

The doctrine of the Romish Church concerning prayers 
for the dead is a dependent part of their doctrine con- 
cerning the state of the souls of men after death. They 
hold that those who are perfect at the time of death go 
immediately to heaven. TJiose who are iniidels or die 
in mortal sin go immediately to hell. But the great 
mass of imperfect Christians go to purgatory^ where they 
must stay until they get fit for heaven. Concerning 
purgatory, the Council of Trent teaches — (a.) That there 
is a purifying fire through which imperfect Christian 
souls must pass, (b.) That the souls temporarily suffer- 
ing therein may be materially benefited by the prayers 
of their fellow-Christians and the masses offered up in 
their behalf on earth.* 

But if there is no purgatory, as will be shown under 
Chapter xxxii., there can be no prayers for the dead, 
since those in heaven need no intercession, and for those 
m hell none can avail. It is as presumptuous as it is 
futile to assail the throne of God with supplications 
" when once the master of the house has shut to the 
door." Luke xiii. 25. The Scriptures teach of only 
two states of existence beyond death, and a great, im- 
passable gulf fixed between. Luke xvi. 25, 26. Besides, 
the practice of praying for the dead has no warrant, 
direct or by remote implication, in Scripture. 

Section V. — The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear ;" 
the sound preaching/® and conscionable hearing of the Word, in 
^ Council i " Trent, Sess. 25. 



RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, AND THE SABBATH-DAY. 377 

obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence ;" 
singing of psalms with grace in the heart \^ as also the due ad- 
ministration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by 
Christ ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God :^^ 
besides rehgious oaths,'^^ and vows,^ solemn fastings,^ and thanks- 
givings upon special occasions,^ which are, in their several times 
and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.* 

Section VI. — Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious 
worship, is, now under the gospel, either tied unto, or made more 
acceptable by, any place in which it is performed, or toward 
which it is directed :" but God is to be worshipped everywhere,* 
in spirit and in truth ;^ as in private families,^ daily,^^ and in 
secret each one by himself;'^ so more solemnly in the public as- 
semblies, which are not carelessly or wilfully to be neglected or 
forsaken, when God, by his word or providence, calleth there- 
unto." 

"Acts XV. 21 J Rev. i. 3.— 18 2 Tim. iv. 2.— 19 James i. 22 j Acts x. 33; 
Matt. xiii. 19 j Heb. iv. 2; Isa. Ixvi. 2.— 2° Col. iii. 16; Eph. v. 19; James 
V. 13.— 21 Matt, xxviii, 19; 1 Cor. xi. 23-29: Acts ii. 42.— 22Deut. vi. 13; 
Neh. x. 29.-23 jga. xix. 21 ; Eccles. v. 4, 5.-2* Joel ii. 12 ; Esth. iv. 15 ; Matt. 
ix. 15 ; 1 Cor. vii. 5.-25 Ps. evii.; Esth. ix. 22.-26 Heb. xii. 28.— 27 John iv. 
21.— 28 Mai. i. 11 ; 1 Tim. ii. 8.-29 John iv. 23, 24.— 30 Jer. x. 25 ; Deut. xi. 
6, 7; Job i. 5 ; 2 Sam. vi. 18-20 ; 1 Pet. iii. 7 ; Acts x. 2.-31 Matt. vi. 11.— 
»2 Matt. vi. 6 ; Eph. vi. 18.-33 iga. ivi. 6, 7 ; Heb. x. 25 ; Prov. i. 20, 21, 24 ; 
viii. 34 ; Acts xiii. 42 ; Luke iv. 16 ; Acts ii. 42. 

These Sections proceed to particularize the different 
ways in which God requires us under the present dis- 
pensation to worship him. These are the regular and 
the occasional acts of worship. The regular worship of 
God is to be conducted in the public assembly, in the 
private family and personally in secret. The worship 
of God in the public assembly is to consist in the read- 
ing, preaching and hearing of the Word, prayer, singing 
of psalms and the administration and receiving of the 
sacraments instituted by him. In the Word, read or 
properly preached God speaks to us, and we worship 

•2* 



378 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

him by hearing with reverence, diligent attention and 
self-application and obedience. In prayer and the 
singing of praise we address to God the holy affections, 
desires and thanksgiving inspired in our hearts jy his 
Holy Spirit. In the sacraments God communes with 
and enters into covenant with our souls, and we com- 
mune with and enter into covenant with him. And the 
acceptability of this worship depends not at all, as 
Ritualists fondly imagine, upon the sanctity of the place 
in which it is rendered or the direction in which it is 
addressed. The dispensation in which worship was 
limited to holy places, persons and seasons has been 
done away with by our Lord, as we have seen under 
Chapters vii. and xix., and as Christ plainly teaches 
the woman of Samaria. John iv. 20-24. But its ac- 
ceptance depends upon (a) its being accompanied with 
and founded upon the pure, unadulterated truth of God's 
word ; (6) its being the fruit of the Holy Ghost, the re- 
sult of enlightened, reverent and fervent love ; (c) its 
being offered entirely through the mediation of the Lord 
Jesus. 

" Besides the public worship in congregations, it is 
the indispensable duty of each person, alone in secret, 
and of every family by itself in private, to pray to and 
worship God. 

^^ Secret worship is most plainly enjoined by our Lord. 
Matt. vi. 6 ; Eph. vi. 18. In this duty every one, 
apart by himself, is to spend some time in prayer, read- 
ing the Scriptures, holy meditation and serious self-ex- 
amination. The many advantages arising from a con- 
scientious discharge of these duties are best known to 
those who are found in the faithful discharge of them. 



RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, AND THE SABBATH-DAY. 379 

^^ Family worship, which ought to be performed by 
every family, ordinarily morning and evening, consists 
in prayer, reading the Scriptures and singing praises. 

" The head of the family, who is to lead in this ser- 
vice, ought to be careful that all the members of his 
household duly attend ; and that none withdraw them- 
selves unnecessarily from any part of family worship ; 
and that all refrain from their common business while 
the Scriptures are read^ and gravely attend to the same, 
no less than when prayer and praise is offered up. 

" Let the heads of families be careful to instruct their 
children and servants in the principles of religion. 
Every proper opportunity ought to be embraced for 
such instruction. But we are of opinion that the Sab- 
bath evenings, after public worship, should be sacredly 
preserved for this purpose. Therefore, we highly dis- 
approve of paying unnecessary private visits on the 
Lord's day ; admitting strangers into the families, ex- 
cept when necessity or charity requires it ; or any other 
practices, whatever plausible pretences may be offered 
in their favour, if they interfere with the above important 
and necessary duty." Directory for Worship, chap. xv. 

The occasional modes by which God may be in proper 
seasons worshipped are such as religious oaths, and 
vows, and fasting, and special thanksgiving. Of oaths 
and vows we will treat under Chapter xxii. Of the 
propriety and usefulness of special seasons of fasting 
and of thanksgiving, the examples of God's word (Ps. 
cvii; Matt. ix. 15) and the experience of the Christian 
Church in modern time leave no room for doubt. 

Section VII. — As it is of the law of nature that, in general, 
a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God ; 



380 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

80, in his word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual command- 
ment, binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly ap- 
pointed one day in seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto 
him ',^ which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrec- 
tion of Christ, was the last day of the week ; and, from the 
resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the 
week,''^ which in Scripture is called the Lord's day,^^ and is to be 
continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath." 

Section VIII.— This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the 
Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and 
ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe 
an holy rest all the day from their own works, words and thoughts 
about their worldly employments and recreations f^ but also are 
taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of 
his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy. '^ 

8* Ex. XX. 8, 10, 11; Isa. Ivi. 2, 4, 6, 7.-35 Gen. ii. 2, .3,- 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 
2; Acts XX. 7.-36 Rev. i.lO.— 37 Ex. xx. 8, 10; Matt. v. 17, 18.— 38 Ex. xx. 
8; xvi. 23, 25, 26, 29, 30; xxxi. 15-17; Isa. Iviii. 13; Neh. xiii. 15-19, 21, 
22.— 89 Isa. Iviii. 13; Matt. xii. 1-13. 

Under Chapter xix. we saw that the different laws of 
God, when classified according to their respective grounds 
or reasons, might be grouped as follows : (1 .) Those 
having their ground in the divine nature, and therefore 
universal and immutable. (2.) Those having their 
ground, as far as known to us, simply and purely in the 
divine will, hence called positive commandments, and 
binding only so far and so long as commanded. (3.) 
Those having their ground and reason in the temporary 
circumstances to which they were adapted, and to which 
alone they were intended to apply, so that they cease to 
be binding as soon as those circumstances cease to exist. 
(4.) Those which have their ground in the universal 
and permanent state and relations of men in this world, 
and hence are intended to be as universal and as per- 
manent as those rela^^ons. 



RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, AND THE SABBATH-DAY. 381 

It is evident that the scriptural law as to the Sabbath 
comes partly under the fourth and partly also under the 
second of these classes. 

1st. The law of the Sabbath in part has its ground 
in the universal and permanent needs of human nature, 
and especially of men embraced under an economy of 
redemption. It is designed — (a.) To keep in remem- 
brance the fact that God created the world and all its 
inhabitants (Gen. ii. 2, 3; Ex. xx. 11), which is the 
great fundamental fact in all religion, whether natural 
or revealed. (6.) As changed to the first day of the 
week it is designed to keep in remembrance the fact of 
the ascension of the crucified Redeemer and his session 
at the right hand of power, the great central fact in the 
religion of Christ, (c.) To be a perpetual type of the 
eternal Sabbath of the saints which remains. Heb. iv. 
3-11. (d.) To afford a suitable time for the public and 
private worship of God and the religious instruction of 
the people, (e.) To afford a suitable period of rest from 
the wear and tear of labour, which is rendered alike 
physically and morally necessary from the present con- 
stitution of human nature and from the condition of 
man in this world. 

All of these reasons for the institution of the Sabbath 
have their ground in human nature, and remain in full 
force among all men of all nations in all stages of intel- 
lectual and moral development. Hence the Sabbath 
was introduced as a divine institution at the creation of 
the race, and was then enjoined upon man as man, and 
hence upon the race generally and in perpetuity. Gen. 
ii. 2, 3. Hence we find that the Jews (Gen. vii. 10; 
viii. 10; xxix. 27, 28; Job ii. 18), and all Gentile na- 



382 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

tions also, as the Egyptians, Arabians, Indians, etc., 
divided their time by weeks, or periods of seven days, 
from the earliest ages. Hence before the giving of the 
law the Jews were required to observe the Sabbath. Ex. 
xvi. 23. Hence also the law with respect to the Sab- 
bath has been incorporated into the Decalogue, as one 
of the ten requirements in which the entire moral law, 
touching all our relations to God and to our fellow-men, 
is generalized and condensed. It was written by the 
finger of God on stone. It is put side by side with the 
commandments which require us to love God, to honour 
his name, and which forbid unchastity and murder. It 
was put as a part of the " testimonies of God" under 
the " mercy-seat" at the foundation of his throne. And 
hence, when the great commandment is uttered, God 
does not say, " I appoint to you a Sabbath-day," but 
" Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy," evidently 
implying that he was referring to a well-known and 
pre-existent institution common to the Jews with the 
Gentiles. And the reason annexed for the enactment 
of the law is not a fact peculiar to Jewish history, but 
a fact underlying all the relations God sustains to the 
entire race, and, as before shown, the fact out of which 
the Sabbatic institution had originated thousands of 
years before, " For in six days the Lord made heaven 
and earth, the sea," etc. So Christ says, '* The Sabbath 
was made for man," ^. 6., for mankind. Mark ii. 27. 

2d. The law of the Sabbath, in fact, is a positive 
commandment, having its ground in the will of God as 
supreme Lord. That a certain portion of time should 
be set apart for the worship of God and the religious 
instruction of men is a plain dictate of reason. That a 



RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, AND THE SABBATH-DAY. 383 

certain portion of time should be set apart for rest from 
labour is by experience found to be, on physiological and 
moral grounds, highly desirable. That some monument 
of the creation of the world and of the resurrection of 
Christ, and that some permanent and frequently-recur- 
ring type of the rest of heaven, should be instituted, is 
eminently desirable for man, considered as a religious 
being. But that all these ends should be combined and 
secured by one institution, and that precisely one whole 
day in seven should be allotted to that purpose, and 
that this one day in seven should be at one time the 
seventh and afterward the first day of the week, is evi- 
dently a matter of positive enactment, and binds us as 
long as the indications of the divine will in the matter 
remain unchanged. 

The time of observance was changed from the seventh 
to the first day of the week in the age of the apostles, 
and consequently with their sanction ; and that day, as 
"the Lord's day'' (Rev. i. 10), has ever since been ob- 
served in the stead of the ancient Sabbath in all por- 
tions and ages of the Christian Church. We accept 
this change as it comes to us, and believe it to be ac- 
cording to the will of God, because (a) of its apostolic 
origin, (6) of the transcendent importance of the resur- 
rection of Christ, which is thus associated with the 
creation of the world by God, as the foundation of the 
Christian religion, and (c) because of the universal con- 
sent of Christians of all generations and denominations, 
and the approbat<^on of the Holy Ghost that dwelleth 
in them that is implied thereby. 

As to the observance of the Christian Sabbath, the 
obvious general rule is, that it is to be observed, (1) not 



384 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

in the spirit of the law, which Christ condemns (Matt, 
xii. 1; Luke xiii. 15), but in the holy and free spirit 
of the gospel, (2) in accordance with the ends for which 
it is instituted, and which have been above enumerated. 
Since God has appointed the Sabbath to be one day 
in seven, we should consecrate the whole day, without 
curtailment or alienation, to the purpose designed — that 
is, rest from worldly labour, the worship of God and 
the religious instruction of our fellow-men. We should 
be diligent in using the whole day for these purposes, 
and to avoid, and, as far as lieth in us, lead our fellow- 
men to avoid, all that hinders the most profitable appli- 
cation of the day to its proper ends. And nothing is to 
be allowed to interfere with this consecration of the day 
except the evident and reasonable demands of necessity 
as far as our own interests are concerned, and of mercy 
as far as the necessities of our fellow-men and of de- 
pendent animals are concerned. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is thejirst proposition taught in the first and seoond 
Sections? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught? 

3. What is the third there taught? 

4. What is th.e fourth there taught? 

6. Show that it is a dictate of natural conscience that God 
should be worshipped. 

6. What are the grounds of the obligation? 

7. Show the reasons why we are shut up to worship God in 
those ways only which he has prescribed? 

8. How far, according to our Confession, is our manner of wor* 
ehipping God left open to our discretion? 

9. State the only proper object of worship. 



REI.IGIOUS WORSHIP, AND THE SABBATH-DAY. u85 

10. Prove that God can, since the fall, be approached b}' men 
only through a Mediator. 

11. What do the Standards of the Romish Church teach as to 
the worship and invocation of the Virgin and of saints and angels? 

12. What distinction do they make between the diflferent kinds 
of worship due to God and to creatures? 

13. What distinction do they make between the diflferent kinds 
of worship to be rendered to an image or picture and to the per- 
son thereby represented ? 

14. Show that the worship of saints and angels is not com- 
manded and is not approved by reason, and is forbidden. 

15. Do the same with respect to the worship of images. 

16. Show that the Romanists do not diflFer from other idolaters. 

17. Show why the invocation of saints is a pure absurdity. 

18. Prove that saints and angels are not mediators between us 
and God, or between us and Christ. 

19. To what does the Confession proceed in the thii-d and fourth 
Sections of this Chapter ? 

20. What is the^rs^ proposition here taught? 

21. In what two different degrees of latitude is the word prayer 
used ? 

22. What elements are embraced in the wider sense of the 
term? 

23. Who, according to the Confession, ought to pray ? 

24. Show why even the unregenerate ought to pray ? 

25. Show that in order to be acceptable prayer must be offered 
through Christ. 

26. Show that it must be offered with the help of the Holy 
Ghost. 

27. What state of mind is necessary on the part of one ap- 
proaching God in prayer ? 

28. Why should all social vocal prayer be offered in a known 
tongue ? 

29. What is said as to the objects for which we may pray? 

30. Of things lawful what is to have precedence in our prayers, 
and why ? 

31. What relation should our desires expressed ih prayer sus- 
tain to the will of God ? 

.33 



386 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

32. For whom ought we to intercede ? 

33. Prove that it is right to pray for those not yet born. 

34. What is the Romish doctrine as to the intermediate state 
an(i prayers for the dead? 

35. Prove that their doctrine is false. 

36. What two general classes of acts of worship are spoken of 
in the fifth and sixth Sections ? 

37. Into what two classes are the acts concerned in the regular 
worship of God subdivided ? 

38. Of what elements does the regular public worship of God 
consist ? 

39. Upon what does the acceptability of this worship not 
depend ? 

40. Upon what does it depend. 

41. What does our Directory of Worship teach as to secret 
worship ? 

42. What does it teach as to family worship? 

43. What as to the instruction of children and servants, as to 
the persons upon whom the obligation rests, and as to the proper 
time for the performance of the duty ? 

44. What are the kinds of action by which God may be occa- 
sionally worshipped ? 

45. How may the different laws of God be classified ? 

46. To which class does the law of the Sabbath belong ? 

47. State the different ends the Sabbath is designed to sub- 
serve. 

48. Show from the nature of these ends that it is designed to 
be perpetual and universal. 

49. Show that the Sabbath was originally enjoined upon man- 
kind in general, and that it is not an institution peculiar to the 
Jews. 

50. Show the same from the history of its subsequent promul- 
gation and observance. 

51. What elements of the law of the Sabbath are purely 
positive ? 

52. When and why was the time of observance changed from 
the seventh to the first day of the week ? 



RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, AND THE SABBATH DAY. 387 

53. State the reasons for our believing that this change cor- 
responds with the will of God. 

54. State the Jirst general principle which determines the man- 
ner in which the Sabbath is to be observed. 

55. State the second general principle which determines the 
same. 

56. Why should the whole day be devoted to the special ends 
of the Sabbath ? 

67. State the only exceptions allowed. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

OF LAWFUL OATHS AND VUW8. 

Section I. — A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, 
wherein, upon just occasion, the person swearing solemnly callett 
God to witness what he asserteth or proniiseth ; and to judge hiii; 
according to the truth or falsehood of what he .^weareth.'^ 

Section II. — The name of God only is tliat by which men 
ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with all holy fear and 
reverence :' therefore to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious 
and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, 
and to be abhorred.* Yet as, in matters of weight and moment, 
an oath is warranted by the word of God under the New Testa- 
ment as well as under the Old f so a lawful oath being imposed 
by a lawful authority, in such matters, ought to be taken.* 

Section III. — Whosoever taketh an oath, ought duly to con- 
sider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch 
nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth.' Neither 
may any man bind himself by oath to anything but what is good 
and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and 
resolved to perform.^ Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching 
anything that is good and just, being imposed by lawful authority.* 

Section IV. — Jin oath is to be taken in the plain and com- 
mon sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reserva- 
tion.^" It cannot oblige to sin ; but in anything not sinful, being 
taken, it binds to performance, although to a man's own hurt ;^^ 
nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics or infidels. ^^ 

1 Deut. X. 20.—' Ex. xx. 7; Lev. xix. 12; 2 Cor. i. 23 ; 2 Chron. vi. 
22, 23.-3 Deut. vi. 13.—* Ex. xx. 7 ; Jer. v. 7 ; Matt. v. 34, 37 ; James 
V. 12.— 5 Ileb. vi. 16; 2 Cor. i. 23 j Isa. Ixv. 16.-6 i Ki„g^ viii. 31; Neh. 
xiii. 25 ; Ezra x. 5.— ^ Ex. xx. 7 ; Jcr. iv. 2.-8 Gen. xxiv. 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9. 

38« 



LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS. 389 

— » Num. V. 19, 21; Neh. v. 12 ; Ex. xxii. 7-11.— ^o Jer. iv. 2; Ps. xxiv. 
4._ii 1 Sam. XXV. 22, 32-34; Ps. xv. 4.— 12 Ezek. xvii. 16, 18, 19; Josh. 
ix. 18, 19 ; 2 Sam. xxi. 1. 

The subjects treated of in these Sections are — (a.) 
The nature of a lawful oath. (6.) The only name in 
whi(;h it is lawful to swear, (c.) The propriety and duty 
of faking oaths upon the proper occasions, (d.) The 
sense in which an oath is to be interpreted. And (e) The 
extent and grounds of its binding obligation. 

1st. A. lawful oath consists in calling upon God, the 
occasion being of sufficient seriousness and importance, 
to witness the truth of what we affirm as true, or our 
voluntary assumption of an obligation to do something 
in the future — with an implied imprecation of God's 
disfavour if we lie or prove unfaithful to our engage- 
ments. This last is generally expressed by the phrase 
forming the concluding part of the formula of most 
oaths, " So help me God," i. e., Let God so help me as 
I have told the truth, or as I will keep my promise. 

Hence an oath is an act of supreme religious worship, 
since it recognizes the omnipresence, omniscience, abso- 
lute justice and sovereignty of the person whose august 
witness is invoked, and whose judgment is appealed to 
as final. 

2d. It hence follows that it is a sin equivalent to that 
of worshipping a false god if we swear by any other 
than the only true and living God, and a sin of idolatry 
if we swear by any thing or ])lace, although it be asso- 
ciated with the true God. Those who swear with up- 
lifted hand swear by the God who created, preserves and 
governs all things. Those who swear with hands upon 
or kissing the Bible, swear by the God who reveals him- 

33* 



390 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

self in the Bible — that is, by the true Cliristian God. 
It is evident that none who believe in the true God 
can, consistently with their integrity, swear by a false 
god. And it is no less evident that it is dishonest for an 
atheist to go through the form of swearing at all, or for 
an infidel to swear with his hand, uj)on the Christiaii 
Scriptures, tliereby professing to invoke a God in whose 
existence he does not believe. 

This principle is fully recognized in Scripture. We 
are told to swear by tiie true God : '^ Unto nie every 
knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear,'' Isa. xlv. 
23 ; " He that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the 
God of truth,'' Isa. Ixv. 16 ; " Thou shalt fear Jehovah 
thy God and serve him, and swear by his name," Deut. 
vi. 13. We are forbidden to swear by the name of 
false gods : ^^ How shall I pardon thee for this ? Thy 
children have forsaken me and sworn by them that are 
no gods." Jer. v. 7 ; Josh, xxiii. 7. 

3d. The literal meaning of the Third Commandment 
is, " Thou shalt not take the name of thy God in that 
which is false" — that is, to confirm an untruth. The 
command not to take a false oath or any oath upon a 
trifling occasion, by implication carries with it the per- 
mission to call upon the God of truth to confirm the 
truth upon all worthy occasions. Hence the oath is 
enjoined in the Old Testament as a recognized religious 
institution. Deut. vi. 13; x. 20, etc. Christ himself, 
when put upon oath in the form common among the 
Jews, did not hesitate to answer. Matt. xxvi. 63, 64. 
Paul often appeals to God for the truth of his state- 
ments — thus: *' God is my witness;" " I call God for 
a record upon my soul." Rom. i. 9 ; 2 Cor. i. 23. 7ti 



LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS. 391 

Hebrews (Heb. vi. 13-18) Paul declares that God, in 
order " to show unto the heirs of the promise the im- 
mutability of his counsel, confirms it by an oath ;'^ and, 
" because he could swear by no greater, he swears by 
himself." 

It is evident, therefore, that the words of our Saviour 
(Matt. V. 33-37), " Swear not at all,'^ cannot be intended 
to forbid swearing upon proper occasions in the name 
of the true God, but must be designed to forbid the 
calling upon his name in ordinary conversation on tri- 
fling occasions, and the swearing by that which is not 
God. 

The proper occasions upon which an oath may be 
taken are all those in which serious and perfectly lawful 
interests are involved, and in which an ap})eal to the 
witness of God is necessary to secure confidence and end 
strife (Heb. vi. 16), and also whenever the oath is im- 
posed by competent authority upon those subject to it. 
In the last case, our Confession says that the taking the 
oath is a duty and its refusal a sin. 

The oath of course, both because of its nature as an 
act of divine worship and because of the effect designed 
to be attained by it — namely, the establishment of con- 
fidence among men — ought always to be administered 
and taken in a reverent manner, and with whatever 
outward action — such as raising the hand, placing it 
upon the Scriptures or kissing them — as by common 
consent are generally understood, by all parties and 
witnesses, to signify that the God appealed to is the 
true God of creation, })rovidence and the Christian 
revelation. 

4th. The oath is always to be interpreted and kept 



392 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

sacred by the person taking it, in the sense in which he 
honestly believes that it is understood by the person 
who imposes it. It is evident that if the government, 
th^ judge, the magistrate or a private fellow-citizen 
require an oath from us for their satisfaction, and if we 
put a private sense upon the matter upon which we 
Invoke the wituess of God different from that which we 
know they understand by it, that we deceive them in- 
tentionally, and, by calling God to witness our truth 
while we are engaged in the very act of a lie, we commit 
the sin of perjury. 

5th. The obligation of the oath arises (a) out of the 
original and universal obligation to speak the truth and 
to keep faith in all engagements ; (b) and, in addition 
to this, our obligation to honour God, and to avoid dis- 
honouring him by invoking his witness to a falsehood. 
(c.) The profanity involved in suspending our hopes of 
God's favour upon the truth of that which we know and 
intend to be false. 

An oath cannot bind to that which is in itself unlaw- 
ful, because the obligation of the law is imposed upon 
us by the will of God, and therefore takes precedence 
of all obligations imposed upon us by the will of men 
or by ourselves ; and the lesser obligation cannot relieve 
from the greater. The sin is in taking the oath to do 
the unlawful thing, not in breid^ing it. Therefore 
Luther was right in breaking his monastic vows. 
Neitlier can an oath to do that which is impossible 
bind, for its impossibility is an expression of the will 
of God. 

But an oath to do what is in itself right and binding 
imposes an additional obligation to perform it — the ob- 



LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS. 393 

ligation imposed by the law, and the obligation volun- 
tarily assumed by ourselves. And an oath to do any- 
thing which is lawful binds both for truth's sake and 
for God's sake. And (1) this obligation evidently does not 
depend upon the goodness or badness of the persons im- 
posing the oath. An oath to an infidel or a heretic binds 
as much as an oath to a saint. The Romanists excuse 
the practice of their Church of releasing persons from 
the obligation of oaths to infidels or heretics, and of 
breaking faith generally with all with whom she has 
controversy, on the plea that an oath cannot bind to that 
which is unlawful or release from a prior obligation, 
and that the highest of all obligations is to subserve at 
all cost the interest of the Church. But they deliberately 
make the oath in order to break it, and therefore both 
lie and profane God's holy name in the making and the 
breaking. Besides, the interest of the Church is not the 
superior law which takes precedence of all oaths, but the 
clearly revealed will of God only. 

(2.) The obligation of the oath binds even when a 
man swears to his own disadvantage. Ps. xv. 4. 

(3.) Nor is the obligation impaired when the oath is 
extorted either by violence or fraud. Thus the oaths 
imposed by conquerors upon the vanquished bind, be- 
cause they are voluntarily assumed in preference to the 
alternatives presented. And thus Joshua kept the oath 
which the Gibeonites had induced him through deceit to 
swear in their behalf. Joshua ix. 3-29. * 

Section V. — A vow is of the like nature with a promissory 
oath, and ought to be made with the like religious care, and to 
be performed with the like faitlifulncssJ* 

* Dr. Charles Hodst-"''* Ijectures <m tlie Law. 



394 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Section VI. — It is not to be made to any creature, but to God 
alone ;^* and that it may be accepted, it is to be made voluntarily, 
out of faith and conscience of duty, in way of thankfulness foi 
mei;cy received, or for the obtaining of what we want ; whereby 
we more strictly bind ourselves to necessary duties, or to other 
things, so far and so long as they may fitly conduce thereunto. ^^ 

Section VII. — No man may vow to do anything forbidden in 
the word of Grod, or what would hinder any duty therein com- 
manded, or which is riot in his own power, and for the perform- 
ance whereof he hath no promise of ability from God.^^ In which 
respects popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed 
poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of 
higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, 
in which no Christian may entangle himself^'' 

13 Isa. xix. 21 ; Eccles. v. 4-6 ; Ps. Ixi. 8 ; Ixvi. 13, 14.— i* Ps. Ixxvi. 11 j 
Jer. xliv. 25, 26.— 15 Deut. xxiii. 21-23 ; Ps. 1. 14 ; Gen. xxviii. 20-22 ; 
1 Sam. i. 11 ; Ps. Ixvi. 13, 14; cxxxii. 2-5.— is Acts xxiii. 12, 14; Mark vi. 
26; Num. xxx. 6, 8, 12, 13.— " Matt. xix. 11, 12; 1 Cor. vii. 2, 9; Eph. 
iv. 28 ; 1 Pet. iv. 2 ; 1 Cor. vii. 23. 

The vow is a promise made to God. In the oath, the 
parties are both men, and God is invoked as a witness. 
In the vow, God is the party to whom the promise is 
made. It is of like nature with an oath, because we are 
bound to observe them on the same grounds, because of 
our obligation to truth, and because of our obligation to 
reverence God. Lightly to vow on a trifling occasion, 
or having vowed to fail to keep it, is an act of profanity 
to God. 

As in the case of the oath, we have abundant scrip- 
tural sanction for the vow. Eccles. v. 4; Ps. Ixxvi. 11 ; 
1 Sam. i. 11 ; and the case of Paul, Acts xviii. 18. Re- 
ception of either of the sacraments of baptism or the 
Lord's Supper involves very sacred and binding vows 
to God, and the same is repeated whenever in prayer. 



LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS. 395 

orally or in writing, we formally or informally renew 
our covenant promises to God. Thus a vow, as any 
other promise, may bind generally to loyal obedience or 
specially to some particular action. 

A vow cannot bind to do that which is unlawful or 
impossible, for reasons before explained in relation to an 
oath. Nor when made by a child or other person under 
authority and destitute of the right to bind themselves 
of their own will. Num. xxx. 1-8. Nor can it con- 
tinue to bind in cases in which its continued observance 
is found clearly to be inconsistent with our spiritual 
interests, for then it is certain that God does not wish it, 
and a promise can never bind when the party to whom 
it is made does not desire it kept. 

When the matter of the vow is not unlaw^ful, but 
morally indifferent, the vow is binding, but experience 
abundantly proves that to accumulate such obligations 
is very injurious. The word of God in the Scriptures 
imposes upon us by his authority all that it is his will 
or for our interest for us to observe. The multiplica- 
tion of self-imposed duties dishonours him, and greatly 
harasses us and endangers our safety. Vows had 
better be restricted to the voluntary assumption and 
promise to observe, with the help of divine grace, 
duties imposed by God and plainly revealed in the 
Scriptures. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What are the subjects treated of in the first four Sections 
of this Chapter ? 

2. What is a lawful oath ? 



396 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

3. What is implied in it, and how is this implioation generally 
expressed ? 

4. Show how the oath is an act of religious worship. 

5. In whose name must every lawful oath be taken ? and show 
why it is sinful to swear in any other name. 

6. Who may and who may not consistently swear by the true 
God? 

7. Prove from Scripture that it is wrong to swear by false gods. 

8. Prove from Scripture that it is right to swear by the true 
God on proper occasions. 

9. What was the example of Paul and of Christ on this point? 

10. In what sense are the words of our Saviour, "Swear not 
at all" (Matt. v. 33-39), to be taken? 

11. Upon what occasions and for what purpose is it proper to 
swear ? 

12. In what manner and with what forms is it right to 
fiwear ? 

13. In what sense is the matter of the oath to be interpreted 
and why? 

14. From what does the obligation to keep the oath arise ? 

15. Under what circumstances does the obligation of an oath 
fail to bind ? 

16. If the matter of the oath is in itself a duty, does the oath 
add to the obligation already existing, and why ? 

17. Does the obligation of the oath depend upon the character 
of those who impose it? 

18. On what principles do the Romanists defend the flagrant 
violations of oaths of which their Church is guilty, and her 
assumed right to absolve her members from the obligations of 
their oaths ? 

19. Is a man bound by an oath the execution of which would 
work his own disadvantage? 

20. Is a man bound by an oath extorted from him by violence 
or deceit, and why ? 

21. What is a vow, and how does it difi*er from an oath? 

22. Upon what principle does the obligation of a vow rest? 

23. Show from Scripture that it is right to vow upon proper 
occasions. 



LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS. 397 

24. When does a vow fail, and when does it cease to bind? 

25. What is the lesson experience teaches as to the wisdom of 
multiplying vows. 

26. Show, that as a general thing, our vows should relate to 
things indifferent, or to duties antecedently binding ; i., e. to mat- 
ters imposed upon us by the will of God, and not by our own will. 

M 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

OP THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE. 

Section 1 — Grod, the supreme Lord and King of all the 
world, hath )rdained civil magistrates to be under him over the 
people, for his own glory and the public good ; and to this end, 
hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence 
and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punish- 
ment of evil-doers.^ 

Section II. — It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute 
the ofl&ce of a magistrate, when called thereunto ;^ in the manag- 
ing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice 
and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each common- 
wealth ;' so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the New 
Testament, wage war upon just and necessary occasions.* 

1 Rom. xiii. 1-4; 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14.— 2 Prov. viii. 15, 16; Rom. xiii. 1, 2, 
4.-8 Ps. ii. 10-12; 1 Tim. ii. 2; Ps. Ixxii. 3, 4; 2 Sam. xxiii. 3; 1 Pet. 
ii. 13. — ^ Luke iii. 14; Rom. xiii. 4; Matt. viii. 9, 10; Acts x. 1, 2; Rev. 
xvii. 14, 16. 

These Sections teach as follows : 

1st. Civil government is a divine institution, and 
hence the duty of obedience to our legitimate rulers is a 
duty owed to God, as well as to our fellow-men. Some 
have supposed that the right or legitimate authority of 
human government has its foundation ultimately in 
"the consent of the governed," "the will of the ma- 
jority," or in some imaginary " social compact" entered 
into by the forefathers of the race at the origin of social 
life. It is self-evident, however, that the divine will is 



THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE. 399 

the source of all government, and the obligajion to obey 
that will resting upon all moral agents the ultimate ground 
of all obligation to obey human governments. This is 
('.ertain — [a.) Because God is the Creator and absolute 
Possessor of all men. (6.) Because he has formed their 
constitution as intelligent, morally responsible free agents, 
and is the Lord of the conscience, (c.) Because he is 
the supreme moral Governor of all moral agents, and 
because his all-embracing moral law of absolute perfec- 
tion requires all that is morally right of every kind, 
and forbids all that is morally wrong. Hence every 
moral obligation of every kind is a duty owed to God. 
(d.) Because God has constituted man a social being ii 
his creation, and has providentially organized him ii 
families and communities, and thus made civil govern • 
ment an absolute necessity, (e.) Because as a providen- 
tial Ruler of the world God uses civil government as his 
instrument in promoting the great ends of redemption 
in the upbuilding of his kingdom in the world. (/.) 
This is explicitly affirmed in Scripture : " There is no 
power but of God ; the powers that be are ordained of 
God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power resist- 
eth the ordinance of God." Rom. xiii. 1, 2. To the 
good the magistrate is "a minister of God for good," 
and to the evil he is *'a minister of God, an avenger to 
execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." Rom. xiii. 4. 
Of course God has not prescribed for all men any 
particular form or order of succession of civil govern- 
ment. He has laid the general foundation both for the 
duty and necessity of government ;n the consciences 
and in the social natures of all men and in the circum- 
stances of all communities, while he has left eveiy 



400 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

people free to choose their o vn form of government in 
their own way, according to their various degrees of 
civilization, their social and political condition, their 
hi&*torical antecedents, and as they are instructed by his 
word and led and sustained by his providence. 

In this sense God as Creator, as revealed in the light 
of nature, has established civil government among men 
from the beginning, and among all peoples and nations 
of all ages and generations. But in the development 
of the plan of redemption the God-man as mediatorial 
King has assumed the government of the universe. Matt, 
xxviii. 18; Phil. ii. 9-11; Eph. i. 17-23. As the 
universe constitutes one physical and moral system, it 
was necessary that his headship as Mediator should 
extend to the whole and to every department thereof, in 
order that all things should work together for good to 
his people and for his glory, that all his enemies should 
be subdued and finally judged and punished, and that 
all creatures should worship him, as his Father had 
determined. Rom. viii. 28; 1 Cor. xv. 25; Heb. x. 13; 
i. 6; Rev. v. 9-13. Hence the present providential 
Governor of the physical universe and *^ Ruler among 
the nations" is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, 
to whose will all law^s should be conformed, and whom 
all nations and all rulers of men should acknowledge 
and serve. " He hath on his vesture and on his thigh 
a name written, King of kings and Lord of v)rds." 
Rev. xix. 16. 

2d. The proximate end for which God has ordained 
magistrates is the promotion of the public good, and 
the ultimate end is the promotion of his own glory. 
This evidently follows from the revealed fact that the 



THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE. 401 

glory or manifested excellence of the Creator is the 
chief end he had in the general system of things, and 
hence the appointed chief end of each intelligent agent. 
Eom. ix. 22, 23 ; xi. 36 ; Col. i. 16 ; Eph. i. 5, 6 ; 1 Pet. 
iv. 11. If the glory of God is the chief end of every 
man, it must be the chief end equally of all nations and 
communities of men, and it ought to be made the gov- 
erning purpose of every individual in all his relations 
and actions, public and official, as well as private and 
personal. And if the glory of God is his chief end, it is 
that to which all other objects and designs are subordin- 
ated as ends. The specific way in which the civil mag- 
istrate is to endeavour to advance the glory of God is 
through the promotion of the good of the community 
(Rom. xiii. 4) in temporal concerns, including educa- 
tion, morals, physical prosperity and the protection of 
life and property, and the preservation of order; and 

3d. Christian magistrates should also seek in their 
influential positions to promote piety as well as order. 
2 Tim. ii. 1. This they are to do, not by assuming the 
functions of the Church, nor by attempting by endow- 
ments officially to patronize or control the Church, but 
personally by their example, and officially by giving im- 
partial protection and all due facility for the Church in 
its work, by. the explicit recognition of God and of Jesus 
Christ " as Rule» among the nations," and by the enact- 
ment and enforcement of all laws conceived in the true 
Spirit of the Gospel, touching all questions upon which 
the Scriptures indicate the will of God specifically or in 
general principle, and especially as touching questions 
of the Sabbath day, the oath, mar 'iage and divorce, 
capital punishments, etc., etc. 

34 •» 



402 CiONFESSION OF FAITH. 

4th. It is lawful for Christians to accept ai d execute 
the office of a magistrate. This is evident enough. 
Indeed in the highest sense it is lawful for none other 
than Christians to be magistrates or anything else, 
since it is a violation of God's will that any man is not 
a Christian. And the greater the number and the im- 
portance of the relations a man assumes, the greater be- 
comes his obligation to be a Christian, in order that he 
may be qualified to discharge them all for the glory of 
God and the good of all concerned. 

5th. Christian magistrates may lawfully, under the 
New Testament, wage war upon just and necessary oc- 
casions. The right and duty of self-defence is estab- 
lished by the inalienable instincts of nature, by reason, 
conscience, the word of God and the universal consent 
of mankind. If it is right for an individual to take 
life in self-defence, it must be equally right for a com- 
munity to do so on the same principle. 

It is very difficult to decide in particular cases when 
it is right for a Christian nation to go to war, and it is 
not our place to consider such questions. But the fol- 
lowing general j)rinciples are very plain and very cer- 
tain. War is an incalculable evil, because of the lives 
it destroys, the misery it occasions and the moral degra- 
dation it infallibly works on all sides — upon the van- 
quished and the victor, the party originally in the right 
and the party in the wrong. Jn every war one party 
at least must be in the wrong, involved in the tremen- 
dous guilt of unjustifiable war, and in the vast majority 
of cases both parties are thus in the wrong. No plea 
of honour, glory or aggrandizement, policy or profit can 
excuse, much less justify, wai-; nothing short of necessity 



THE CI\IL MAGISTRATE. 403 

to the end of the preservation of national existence. 
In order to make a war right in God's sight, it is not 
on^y necessary that onr enemy should aim to do us a 
wrong, but also (a) that the wrong he attempts should 
directly or remotely threaten the national life, and (b) that 
war be the only means to avert it. Evetn in this case 
every other means of securing justice and maintaining 
national safety should be exhausted before recourse is 
had to this last resort. A war may be purely defensive 
in spirit and intent while it is aggressive in the manner 
in which it is conducted. The question of right de- 
pends upon the former, not the latter — upon the purpose 
for which, and not upon the mere order in which, or 
theatre upon which, the attack is made. 

Section III. — Civil magisthates may not assume to themselves 
the administration of the word and sacraments ;^ or the power of 
the keys of the kingdom of heaven ;* or, in the least, interfere in 
matters of faith.'' Yet as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil 
magistrates to protect the Church of our common Lord, without 
giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the 
rest, in such a manner, that all ecclesiastical persons whatever 
shall enjoy the full, free and unquestioned liberty of discharging 
every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger.® 
And, as Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and 
discipHne in his Church, no law of any commonwealth should 
interfere with, let or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the 
voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according 
to their own profession and belief It is the duty of civil magi- 
strates to protect the person and good name of all their people, 
in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either 
upon pretence of rehgion or infidelity, to offer any indignity, vio- 
lence, abuse or injury to any other per.sou whatsoever : and to 
take order, that all rehgious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held 
without molestation or disturbance.^" 



404 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Section IV — It is the duty of people to praj^ for magistrates/- 
(0 honour their persons,^'^ to pay them tribute and other dues/' 
to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their au- 
thority, for conscience' sake.^* Infidelity, or difference in reli- 
gion, doth not make void the magistrate's just and legal authority, 
nor free the people from their due obedience to him ;^^ from which 
ecclesiastical persons are not exempted ;^^ much less hath the 
Pope any power or jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or 
over any of their people ; and least of all to deprive them of their 
dominions or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon 
any other pretence whatsoever." 

6 2 Chron. xxvi. 18.— 6 Matt. xvi. 19.— f John xviii. 36.-8 isa. xlix. 23. 
—9 Ps. cv. 15.— 10 2 Sam. xxiii. 3; 1 Tim. ii. 1; Rom. xiii. 4.— " 1 Tim. 
ii. 1, 2.— 12 1 Pet. ii. 17.— 13 Rom. xiii. 6, 7.— i* Rom. xiii. 5 ; Tit. iii. 1.— 
16 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14, 16.— 16 Rom. xiii. 1; 1 Kings ii. 35 ; Acts xxv. 9-11; 2 
Pet. ii. 1, 10, 11 J Jude 8-11.-17 2 Thess. ii. 4 ; Rev. xiii. 15-17. 

These Sections teach that the Church and the State are 
both divine institutions, having different objects and 
spheres of action, different governments and officers, and 
hence, while owing mutual good offices, are independent 
of each other. 

This is opposed — 

1st. To the Papal doctrine of the relation of the State 
to the Church. According to the strictly logical ultra- 
montane view, the whole nation being in all its members 
a portion of the Church universal, the civil organization 
is comprehended within the Church for certain ends 
subordinate to the great end for which the Church exists, 
and is therefore ultimately responsible to it for the ex- 
ercise of the authority delegated. Hen(;e, whenever the 
Pope has been in a condition to vindicate his authority, 
he has put kingdoms under interdict, released subjects 
^rom their vow of allegiance and deposed sovereigns be- 
cause of the assumed heresy or insubordination of the 



THE CIVrL MAGISTRATE. 405 

civil rulers of the land. Our Confession teaches that the 
State is in its sphere entirely independent of the Church, 
and that it has civil jurisdiction over all ecclesiastical 
persons, on the same principles and to the same extent 
it has over any other class of persons whatsoever. 

2d. The statements of these Sections are opposed also 
to the Erastian doctrine as to the relation of the State 
to the Church, which has prevailed in all the nations 
and national churches of Europe. This doctrine regards 
the State as a divine institution, designed to provide foi 
all the wants of men, spiritual as well as temporal, and 
that it is consequently charged with the duty of pro- 
viding for the dissemination of pure doctrine and for 
the proper administration of the sacraments and of dis- 
cipline. It is the duty of the civil magistrate therefore 
to support the Church, to appoint its officers, to define 
its laws and to superintend their administration. Thus 
in the State churches of Protestant Germany and Eng- 
land the sovereign is the supreme ruler of the Church 
as well as of the State, and the civil magistrate has 
chosen and imposed the confessions of faith, the system 
of government, the order of worship and the entire 
course of ecclesiastical administration. 

In opposition to this, our Confession teaches that re- 
ligious liberty is an inalienable prerogative of mankind 
(Chapter xx.), and that it involves the unlimited right 
upon the part of every man to worship God according 
to the dictates of his own conscience. Hence, ecclesias- 
tical rulers, although endowed with the power of the 
keys, are not allowed to apply any civil pains or dis- 
abilities to coerce men to obey the laws they administer. 
Hence, also, the civil magistrate, while bound to protect 



406 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

church membei's and ecclesiastical organizations in the 
peaceful enjoyment of their rights and discharge of their 
functions, is nevertheless allowed no official jurisdiction 
whatever in the affairs of the Church. The same per- 
son may be a civil magistrate and a church member. 
In the one case he is a ruler — in the other a subject. Or 
the same person may be a civil magistrate and a church 
officer, and rule at the same time in both spheres. But 
his jurisdiction in each case would have entirely inde- 
pendent grounds, objects, spheres, modes and subjects 
of operation. 

These Sections also teach that obedience to civil 
magistrates, when making or executing laws within the 
proper sphere of the State, is a duty binding upon all 
the subjects of government for conscience' sake by the 
authority of God. This follows directly from the fact, 
as before shown, that civil government is an ordinance 
of God — that the powers that be are ordained of God for 
certain ends ; hence obedience to them is obedience to 
God. It follows hence — (1.) That this obedience 
ought to be from the heart and for conscience' sake, and 
not of constraint. Hence we will pray for and volun- 
tarily assist our rulers, as well as render mere technical 
obedience. (2.) Rebellion is a grievous sin, since it is 
disobedience to God, and since it necessarily works such 
permanent physical ruin and social demoralization among 
our fellow-men. The limit of this obligation to obe- 
dience will be found only when we are commanded to 
do something contrary to the superior authority of God 
(Acts iv. 19 ; v. 29) ; and when the civil government has 
become so radically and incurably corrupt that it has 
ceased to accomplish the ends for which it was estal:»- 



THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE. 407 

lished. When that point has unquestionably been 
reached, when all means of redress have been exhausted 
without avail, when there appears no prospect of securing 
reform in the government itself, and some good prospect 
of securing it by revolution, then it is the privilege and 
duty of a Christian people to change their government 
— peacefully if they may, forcibly if they must. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the Jlrst proposition taught in the first and second 
Sections of this Chapter ? 

2. What has by some been presumed to be the ultimate 
foundation of civil government ? 

3. State the proof, from the general facts of God's relation to 
the world and its inhabitants, that civil government is really a 
divine ordinance. 

4. Prove the same from Scripture. 

5. To whom has Grod left the decision of the particular form 
of government to be adopted by any people ? 

6. What circumstances and what rule is to determine them in 
the choice ? 

7. Was civil government originally instituted by God as Cre- 
ator or as Redeemer ? 

8. What divine Person is now the supreme Ruler among the 
nations and head of all governments? 

9. Prove the answer you give. 

10. What is the ultimate end to promote which the civil magis- 
trate is appointed ? 

11. Prove your answer. 

12. What is the proximate end he is intended to promote? 

13. In what special sphere and by what means is he to promote 
the public good ? 

14. By what means is the civil magistrate to seek to promote 
piety as well as peace and justice? 



408 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

15. Show why it is lawful for Christians to accept civil ofl&ce. 

16. Upon what ground may the lawfulness of defensive wars 
be maintained ? 

17. What is the only proper excuse for war ? 

18. What ought in every case a Christian people to attempt 
before appealing to the arbitrament of war? 

19. What do the third and fourth Sections teach? 

20. What is the Papal doctrine as to the relation of the State 
to the Church? 

21. What does our Confession teach in opposition to it? 

22. What is the Erastian doctrine as to the relation of the 
Church to the State ? 

23. What churches are organized upon this principle ? 

24. What does our Confession teach in opposition to that doc- 
trine? 

25. What duty do the civil magistrates owe with respect to the 
Church? 

26. What is the duty of the Church with respect to the State? 

27. On what grounds do the subjects of civil government owe 
obedience to those in authority over them ? 

28. What kind of obedience do they owe ? 

29. Why is rebellion against legitimate authority a great sin? 

30. When is resistance to civil rulers lawful? 



CHAPTER XXIY. 

OP MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE. 

Section I. — Marriage is to be between one man and one wo- 
man : neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one 
wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the 
same time.^ 

Section II. — Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of 
husband and wife,'^ for the increase of mankind with a legitimate 
issue and of the Church with an holy seed,' and for preventing 
of unclean ness.* 

Section III. — It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry who 
are able with judgment to give their consent ;^ yet it is the duty 
of Christians to marry only in the Lord.* And therefore such 
as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infi- 
dels, Papists or other idolaters ; neither should such as are godly 
be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously 
wicked in their life or maintain damnable heresies.'' 

1 Gen. ii. 24; Matt. xix. 6, 7; Prov. ii. 17.-2 Gen. ii. 18.— » Mai. ii. 15. 
* 1 Cor. vii. 2, 9.— ^ Heb. xiii. 4; 1 Tim. iv. 3; 1 Cor. vii. 36-38,- Gen. xxiv. 
57, 58.— « 1 Cor. vii. 30.—' Gen. xxxiv. 14; Ex. xxxiv. 16; Deut. vii. 3 
4; 1 Kings xi. 4; Neh. iii. 25-27; Mai. ii. 11, 12; 2 Cor. vi. 14. 

It is taught in these Sections — 

1st. That marriage was ordained of God, and is there- 
fore a divine institution, involving a religious as well as 
a civil contract. 

2d. The ends designed to be promoted by marriage 
are specified. 

3d. It is affirmed that the law of marriage allows it 
to be contracted only between one man and one woman, 

35 409 



410 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

and that a man can have but one wife and a woman but 
one husband at the same time. 

4th. The pre-eminent sanctity of a life of celibacy is 
denied, and the lawfulness of marriage for all classes of 
men is affirmed. 

5th. It is taught that persons of different religions 
should not intermarry — that true believers should not 
be unequally yoked with the ungodly. 

1st. Marriage was ordained of God, and is therefore 
a divine institution. This is so — (1) because God created 
man male and female, and so constituted them, physic- 
ally and morally, that they are mutually adapted to each 
other and are mutually helpful to each other, under the 
law of marriage, and not otherwise ; and (2) because the 
law of marriage, the conditions of its contract, continu- 
ance and dissolution, are laid down in the word of God. 

Hence it follows that marriage is a religious as well 
as a civil contract. JSTo State has any right to change 
the law of marriage, or the conditions upon which it 
may be lawfully constituted or dissolved, as these have 
been ordained by God. Neither has any man or woman 
a right to contract any relation different in any respect, 
as to its character or duration, from that which God has 
ordained as marriage. Hence marriage is a human con- 
tract under the limits and sanctions of a divine consti- 
tution, and the parties contracting pledge their vows of 
truth and constancy to God as well as to each other and 
to society. 

But it is also a civil contract, because every State is 
bound to protect the foundations upon which social 
order reposes, and every marriage involves many ob- 
vious civil obligations and leads to many civil conse- 



MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE. 411 

quences, touching property, the custody of children, etc. 
The State must therefore define the nature and civil 
effects of marriage and prescribe conditions upon which 
and modes in which it shall be publicly acknowledged 
and ratified or dissolved. It is of the highest import- 
ance that the laws of the State do not contravene the 
laws of God upon this subject, but be made in all 
respects to conform to them. In all cases of such con- 
flict. Christians and Christian ministers must obey God 
rather than men. In Great Britain the civil authorities 
have transgressed the authority of God in this matter, 
chiefly by declaring marriages, really binding in God^s 
sight, to be null and void ah initio, because of some 
trivial illegality as to the time in which or the persons 
by whom it was solemnized. In this country the sin is 
chiefly committed in the matter of allowing the mar- 
riage-bond to be dissolved for many causes not recog- 
nized as valid in the word of God. The law of the 
land is to be obeyed for conscience' sake whenever it 
does not contravene the higher law of God. When it 
plainly does so, then Christian men and church sessions 
are to act 'themselves and to treat others just as if the 
ungodly human enactment had no existence, and then 
take the consequences. 

2d. The main ends designed to be promoted by mar- 
riage are stated to be — (1.) The mutual help of husband 
and wife. (2.) The increase of mankind witl a legiti- 
mate issue. (3.) The increase of the Church v.f Christ 
with a holy seed. (4.) The prevention of uncleanness. 

3d. The law of God makes marriage a contract for 
life between one man and one woman. The proof of 
this is as follows : 



412 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

(1.) God instituted marriage at first between one man 
and one woman. 

(2.) He has providentially preserved in all ages and 
among all nations an equal number of births of each 
se;?:. 

(3.) Experience shows that both physically, economi- 
cally and morally, polygamy defeats all the ends for 
which marriage was designed, and is inconsistent with 
human nature and the relations of the sexes, while 
monogamy proves in the highest degree adapted to 
effect those ends. 

(4.) This original law of God and of nature is of 
course dispensable in special cases and under peculiar 
conditions by the lawgiver, and whenever, and to what- 
soever extent it is thus dispensed it ceases to be binding, 
and its non-observance ceases to be sin. Thus Moses 
as God's agent allowed a dispensation of this law of 
monogamy which had been long disregarded among the 
ancestors of the Israelites, "but in the beginning it was 
not so." 

(5.) Christ expressly withdraws this dispensation, 
and restores the law of marriage to its original basis. 
" Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for 
fornication, and shall marry another, comroitteth adul- 
tery ; and whosoever marrieth her which is put away doth 
commit adultery.'^ Matt. xix. 9. It is obvious that it 
is not the putting away a wife improperly, but it is the 
marrying another before she is dead, that is the act of 
adultery. And on the woman's side the adultery can- 
not consist in being put away, but in marrying another 
man while her husband lives. Hence for a man to 
have two wives, or a woman two husbands, living at the 



MAREIAGE AND DIVORCE. 413 

same time, divorced or not, is adultery, with the sole 
exceptions noted below. 

(6.) Our Confession teaches that marriage is lawful 
for all sorts of people who have intelligence sufficient 
to consent. The Romish Church allows that marriage 
is lawful for the great mass of men as a concession to 
the weakness of the flesh, but maintain that a life of 
celibacy is both more meritorious and more conducive 
to spiritual elevation. Hence they say a life of celibacy 
is recommended by Christ (Matt. xix. 10-12) as one of 
his evangelical counsels, by the observance of which 
supererogatory merit may be attained, and hence the 
Romish Church imposes it as a universal and imperative 
obligation upon their clergy. 

This all Protestants deny for the following reasons : 

(1.) God created man, male and female, and consti- 
tuted the relation of the sexes, and ordained marriage 
in Paradise when man was innocent. Marriage, there- 
fore, must be purely good, and a means of good in itself, 
except when abused by man. 

(2.) The relation is honored in being selected as the 
highest earthly type of the grandest heavenly fact — 
namely, the mystical union of the eternal Word with 
his Bride the Church. Eph. v. 23-33. 

(3.) Reason and experience unite in showing that the 
relation is the best conceivable condition for the bring- 
ing out and educating the noblest moral instincts and 
faculties of human nature. The best and noblest men 
of the Old World and the New have been formed in 
the family. 

(4.) The vast experiment of celibacy on the part of 
the priesthood and of the monastic houses of the Roman 
35 * 



414 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Church proves our position by showing the impoverish- 
ing and degrading tendency of the opposite system. 
The true meaning of what is taught by our Saviour 
(Matt. xix. 10-12), and by Paul (1 Cor. vii. 1-40), is 
that the unmarried are exposed to less worldly care than 
the married; therefore, that in times of persecution and 
public danger, and with reference to some special kind 
of service to which God providentially calls a man, it 
may be both his interest and his duty not to marry. It 
appears evident that even in the present age some kinds 
of missionary service both at home and abroad might 
be more efficiently accomplished for the glory of God 
and the good of men if our younger ministers would 
consent to regard marriage as less than absolutely essen- 
tial, and in this respect also to "seek first the kingdom 
of God and his righteousness.'' 

4th. The principle that professors of the true should 
not intermarry with professors of a false religion, and 
that true believers should not intermarry with the un- 
godly, touches not that which is essential to the validity 
of marriage, but that which belongs to its perfection, 
and brings in question not the reality of the marriage 
when formed, but the propriety of forming it. Paul 
teaches that if one of the parties of a previous marriage 
becomes a Christian, the other remaining a heathen, the 
Christian brother or sister remains bound by the mar- 
riage-tie as before, unless the heathen party voluntarily 
abandon them, and so dissolve the relation, when the 
Christian is no longer bound. 1 Cor. vii. 12, 13. On 
the same principle, the marriages at present so common 
between the converted and unconverted arc unquestion- 
ably valid, and to be respected as such. 



MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE. 415 

It nevertheless remains true that true Christians owe 
it both to Christ and to their own souls not to contract 
such alliances. For how can one who possesses the 
mind and the spirit of Christ, whose affections are as a 
practical fact set upon things above, whose motives, 
aims and inspirations are heavenly, become one flesh 
and heart, dwell in the most intimate of all possible 
communion, with a soul dead in trespasses and sins (see 
2 Cor. vi. 14, 18)? If such a union is formed, it must 
follow either that the sacred ordinance of marriage is 
desecrated by a union of bodies where there is no union 
of hearts, or in the intimate fellowship of soul with 
soul the believer will be greatly depressed in his inward 
spiritual life and greatly hindered in his attempts to 
serve his Master in the world. 1 Cor. vii. 39. 

Section IV. — Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of 
consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the Word f nor can such 
incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or 
consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man 
and wife.* The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred 
nearer in blood than he may of his own/" nor the woman of her 
husband's kindred nearer in blood than of her own. 

Section V. — Adultery or fornication committed after a con- 
tract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the 
innocent party to dissolve that contract.'* In the case of adul- 
tery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out 
a divorce," and after the divorce to marry another, as if the of- 
fending party were dead.*' 

Section VI. — Although the corruption of.man be such as is 
apt to study arguments unduly to put asunder those whom God 
hath joined together in marriage, yet nothing but adultery or 
such wilful desertion as can in no way be remedied by the Church 
or civil magistrate is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of 
marriage ;** wherein a public and orderly course of proceeding is 



416 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

to be observed, and the persons concerned in it not left to theii 
own wills and discretion in their own case.^* 

8 Lev. xviii. ; 1 Cor. v. 1 ; Amos ii. 7. — ^ Mark vi. 18 ; Lev. xviii. 24-28. 
— ^^ Lev. XX. 19-21.— 11 Matt. i. 18-20.— " Matt. v. 31, 32.— « Matt. xix. 
9 : Rom. vii. 2, 3.— i* Matt. xix. 8, 9; 1 Cor. vii. 15 ; Matt. xix. 6.— 15 Deut. 
xxiv. 1-4. 

These Sections teach the divine law of marriage as to 
incest and as to divorce. 

1st. Incest consists of sexual intercourse between 
parties forbidden by the divine law to marry, because 
of their relationship. Marriage between these parties 
is impossible; and no matter what may be the provisions 
of human laws or the decisions of human courts, such 
pretended marriages are void ab initio — invalid in es- 
sence as well as improper and injurious. Since the 
degrees of relationship within which marriage is ex- 
cluded differ in nearness, so the crime of incest differs, 
according to these varying degrees, from the highest to 
the least measure of criminality. The obligation to 
avoid intermarriage between near blood-relations is a 
dictate of nature as well as of the word of God. 

The only law on this subject in the Scriptures is the 
Levitical law recorded in Lev. xx. 10-21. If this law 
is still binding, it carries with it the principle that it is 
incest for a man to cohabit with any one of his deceased 
wife^s relations nearer in blood than it is lawful for him 
to do of his own. If this law is not binding now, there 
is no other law of God remaining on the subject of incest 
except the law of nature. 

The Greek and Roman Catholic churches agreed in 
holding that this law is still binding, since the reason 
of the law rests upon permanent relationships, and not 



MAERIAGE AND DIVORCE. 417 

upon any special circumstances peculiar to society among 
the Jews. All branches of the Protestant Church — 
Episcopal, Lutheran and Presbyterian — have main- 
tained the same principle in their Confessions of Faith 
or canons of discipline. It is asserted in these Sections 
of our Confession. But a great diversity of sentiment 
and practice prevails in different parts of our Church 
on this subject, and for the most part the enforcement 
of this rule has been left to the discretion of the major- 
ity of each local church court. Several efforts have been 
made, in 1826 and 1827 and 1843, 1845 and 1847,* to 
have this Section of this Chapter changed, but with- 
out effect. 

2d. The divine law as to divorce is, that marriage 
is a contract for life between one man and one woman, 
and that it is, ipso facto , dissolved only by death (Rom. 
vii. 2, 3), and that the only causes upon which any civil 
authority can dissolve the union of those whom God 
has joined together are (a) adultery, (6) wilful, causeless 
and incurable desertion. 

(1.) The only causes upon which it is lawful to grant 
a divorce are — (a) adultery ; this is explicitly allowed 
by Christ (Matt. v. 31, 32 ; xix. 9) ; and (6) wilful, 
causeless and incurable desertion. This is allowed by 
Paul to the Christian husband or wife deserted by their 
heathen partner. 1 Cor. vii. 15. The reason in the case 
is also self-evident, since such desertion, being total and 
incurable, makes the marriage an empty name, void of 
all reality, and, being causeless, leaves the deserting 
party without remaining rights to be defended. 

(2.) Such causes, however, do not, ipso facto y dissolve 
* See Baird's Digest, pp. 163-168. 



418 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the marriage bond, but only give the right to the in- 
nocent party, if they so elect, to demand that it shall be 
dissolved by competent authority. And if they do de- 
mand the dissolution, they are not left to their own dis- 
cretion in the case, but they must seek for the vindication 
of their rights at the hands of the public authorities and 
according to the law of the land. 

(3.) The civil law, however, has no authority to grant 
divorces upon any other grounds than those above 
defined as allowed by the law of God. Whenever they 
do so, as is constantly done in fact, the civil authorities 
put themselves into direct conflict with the law of God 
in the case. Hence all Christians and church courts 
are bound in such cases to disregard the judgment of the 
civil authority, and to regard and treat such unlawful 
divorces as null and void. And if the parties to a mar- 
riage unrighteously dissolved marry again, they are to be 
regarded and treated by those who fear God as living 
in those new marriages in the sin of adultery. Matt. xix. 
8,9; Actsiv. 19; v. 29. 

QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the first proposition taught in the first three 
Sections of this Chapter? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught? 

3. What is the third there taught? 

4. What is the fourth there taught? 

5. What is the fifth there taught? 

6. Prove that marriage is a divine institution. 

7. What is involved in saying that it is a religious as well as a 
civil contract, and what consequences follow therefrom ? 

8. What is involved in saying that it is also a civil contract, 
and what consequences follow therefrom ? 



MAREIAGE AND DIVORCE. 419 

9. Which should control the other — the divine law or the hu- 
man law of marriage? and in cases of conflict which should tak(^ 
precedence ? 

10. In what respects have the civil laws of marriage in Eng- 
land for the most part erred ? 

11. In what respect have they chiefly erred in this country? 

12. What are the main ends designed to be promoted by mar- 
riage? 

13. Prove that polygamy is not lawful according to the orig- 
inal law of marriage. 

14. How could it have been right in patriarchs to practice 
polygamy? 

15. Show that Christ explicitly withdrew the permission. 

16. On what ground do the Romanists maintain the superior 
sanctity of a life of celibacy, and enjoin it upon all their priests? 

17. Upon what grounds do all Protestants maintain an oppo- 
site opinion ? 

18. What is the true meaning of the teachings of Christ (Matt. 
xix. 10-12) and of Paul (1 Cor. vii. 1-40) ? 

19. What practical bearing have these teachings upon the 
duties of Christians in these days ? 

20. Does difibrence of religion invalidate the marriage bond ? 

21. Prove that true believers ought not to be unequally yoked 
with the ungodly. 

22. What is the subject of the fourth Section ? 

23. What is incest? 

24. Show that marriage within the forbidden relationship is 
impossible. 

25. Where is the biblical law of incest to be found ? 

26. What does that law teach as to the prohibited degrees of 
affinity as well as relationship ? 

27. What has been historically the judgment of the Christian 
Church as to the continued obligation of the Levitical law? 

28. What is the prevailing opinion and practice of our Church 
in recent times? 

29. What event alone, ipso facto, dissolves a marriage ? 

30. What causes alone justify the dissolution of a marriage by 
human tribunals? 



420 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

31. Prove that no other causes justify divorce. 

32. How must a divorce upon these justifiable grounds be ob- 
tained ? 

.33. How ought Christian and church courts to act in cases in 
which the civil authorities have granted divorces, and permitted 
new marriages not allowed by the law of God ? 

34. Prove the truth of your answer. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

OF THE CHURCH. 

Section I. — ^The catholic or universal Church, which is in* 
visible, consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, 
are, or shall be, gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; 
and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that filleth all 
in all.i 

Section II. — The visible Church, which is also catholic or 
universal under the Grospel (not confined to one nation, as be- 
fore, under the law), consists of all those throughout the world 
that profess the true religion,'* together with their children ;' and 
is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,* the house and family 
of God,^ out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.* 

Section III. — Unto this catholic visible Church Christ hath 
given the ministry, oracles and ordinances of God. for the gather- 
ing and perfecting of the saints in this life to the end of the world ; 
and doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his pro- 
mise, make them eiTectual thereunto.^ 

1 Eph. i. 10, 22, 23 ; v. 23, 27, 32 ; Col. i. 18.— 2 1 Cor. i. 2 ; xii. 12, 13 ; 
Ps. ii. 8 ; Rev. vii. 9 ; Rom. xv. 9-12.— 3 1 Cor. vii. 14 ; Acts ii. 39 ; Ezek. 
xvi. 20, 21 ; Rom. xi. 16 ; Gen. iii. 15 ; xvii. 7.—* Matt. xiii. 47 ; Isa. ix. 
7.—* Eph. ii. 19; iii. 15.— « Acts ii. 47.—'^ 1 Cor. xii. 28; Eph. iv. 11-13 j 
Matt, xxviii. 19, 20 ; Isa. lix. 21. 

The word cailiolie means universal, and therefore is 
the proper title of the true Church of Christ, viewed as 
one body, composed of many members, existing in dif- 
ferent places and at different times, and is consequently 
very improperly applied to that corrupt and schismati- 
cal body, the Church of Rome. 

86 421 



422 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

The word in the New Testament corresponding to the 
English word church is ecelesia (ixx^cria); this is de- 
rived from the word calein {xalecv), to call, to call out, 
and thus constitute a separate body, which word is used 
to express the effectual call of the Holy Spirit, whereby 
he brings dead souls to life in the work of regeneration. 
Rom. viii. 28-30 ; 1 Pet. ii. 9; v. 10. The word church, 
therefore, is a collective terra including the whole body 
of the "called" [xX-/]Tot) or the "elect" {sxXexToe) or of 
"believers." Rev. xvii. 14; 1 Cor. i. 2, 24. 

To this Church, or collective body of the "effectually 
called," all the promises of the Gospel are addressed. 
It is said to be the " pillar and ground of the truth" 
(1 Tim. iii. 15) ; the body and fulness of Christ (Eph. i. 
22, 23) ; the Bride, the Lamb's wife (Rev. xxi. 2, 9) ; and 
it is affirmed that the gates of hell shall not prevail 
against it. Matt. xvi. 18. 

As every part of this entire body possesses the com- 
mon nature of the whole, the common term Church is 
naturally applied sometimes to the entire body of all 
nations and ages conceived of as a unit (Col. i. 18); and 
sometimes to the church of a particular province or city, 
as "' the Church of the Thessalonians " or " the Church of 
Ephesus" (2 Thess. i. 1 ; Rev. ii. 1) ; or in the plural for 
the several individual churches of a province, as "the 
churches in Asia " or " the churches of Macedonia " oi 
of " Galatia" (1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2 ; 2 Cor. viii. 1 ; Rev. i. 4) ; 
and sometimes the word is applied to designate some 
Christian family, as " the Church in the house of Pris- 
nilla and Aquila." Rom. xvi. 5; Col. iv. 15; Philem. 2. 

Our Confession teaches in these Sections — 

1st. That there is such a collective body, comprising 



THE CHURCH. 423 

all the elect of God of all nations and generations, called 
the Church invisible. The fact that there is such a 
body must be believed by every person who believes 
that all men, of every age and nation since Adam, who 
received Christ and experienced the power of his re- 
demption, are to be saved, and tliat all who reject him 
will be lost. That this entire body in its ideal com- 
pleteness, not one true member wanting, not one false 
member marring its symmetry, has been constantly pres- 
ent to the mind of God from eternity, must be believed 
by all persons who acknowledge either or both the divine 
foreknowledge and foreordination. 

This body, thus seen in its absolute fulness and per- 
fection by God from eternity, will be at last revealed to 
the universe in all its completeness and glory, so that it 
will transcend all the other works of God in its visible 
excellences. And it is seen in part by us now in the 
successive ages as it is gathered in, because every mem- 
ber of it is a man or woman living and acting in the 
world, and the spiritual life whereby they are constituted 
members of the Church makes itself manifest by its 
fruits. This Church is called invisible, however, because 
(a) the portions of it at any time or place visible ^re im- 
measurably small in comparison with the body as a 
whole in its full complement of saints of all nations and 
generations, and (6) because even in the sections of this 
body visible to us its outlines are very uncertain. Mai y 
who appear as parts of it do not really belong to it, and 
many may really belong to it whose union with it is not 
manifest. The lines are not to human eye drawn with 
any degree of accuracy between the Church and the 
world. In the mean time, the true Church, not yet per- 



424 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

fectly developed and manifested, lurks in the phenom- 
enal Church, as the grain of the growing corn lurks ic 
the ear, and in this sense it is invisible. For that which 
constitutes the essence of this Church is not the visible 
profession or fruitfulness, but that invisible indwelling 
divine life, from which the profession and the fruitful- 
ness proceed. 

2d. These Sections teach that there is also a catholic 
or universal visible Church, consisting of those of every 
nation who profess the true religion, together with their 
children. This proposition involves — (1.) The truth 
that the true Church, consisting of persons, a part of 
whom are always living, and, with more or less faithful- 
ness, bringing forth visible fruits of holiness on the 
earth, of course is itself always in part, and with greater 
or less clearness, visible. The universal visible Church 
is therefore not a diiferent Church from that which has 
just been described as invisible. It is the same body, 
as its successive generations pass in their order and are 
imperfectly discriminated from the rest of mankind by 
the eye of man. (2.) The truth that God has com- 
manded his people to organize themselves into distinct 
visible ecclesiastical communities, with constitutions, 
laws and officers, badges, ordinances and discipline, for 
the great purpose of giving visibility to his kingdom, 
of making known the gospel of that kingdom, and of 
gathering in all its elect subjects. Each one of these 
distinct organized communities which is faithful to the 
great King is an integral part of the visible Church, and 
all together, of all names and nations, constitute tlie 
catholic or universal visible Church. The conditions 
of human life, physical, political and social, and the 



THE CHUECH. 425 

imperfections of Christians, render impossible a practical 
organic union of all these organized bodies ; yet that they 
all are one visible Church is self-evident, from the fact 
that they are all visible parts of the true spiritual or in- 
visible Church, which, being '^the body of Christ," can 
never be divided. (3.) The truth also that since the 
Church is rendered visible by the profession and out- 
ward obedience of its members, and since no class of 
men are ever endowed with the power of discriminating 
with absolute accuracy the genuineness of Christian cha- 
racteristics, it necessarily follows that a credible pro- 
fession, as presumptiv^e evidence of real religion, consti- 
tutes a person a member of the visible Church. By a 
credible profession is meant a profession of the true reli- 
gion sufficiently intelligent and sufficiently corroborated 
by the daily life of the professor to be credited as genuine. 
Every such profession is ground for the pres!imption that 
the person is a member of the true Church, and conse- 
quently constitutes him a member of the visible Church, 
and lays an obligation upon all other Christians to regard 
and treat him accordingly. This visible Church is called 
*^ the kingdom of heaven" in the earth, and its nature 
and progress are set forth in the parables of the " sower 
of the seed," the " field and the tares," the "mustard 
seed," the " leaven," the " net which was cast into the 
sea and gathered fish of every kind," etc. Matt. xiii. 
(4.) Also the truth that the children of all professors of 
the true religion are, on that account^ fellow-members 
with their parents of the visible Church. This import- 
ant principle will properly come up for discussion and 
proof under Chapter xxviii. § 4. 

3d. These Sections teach that God has given to this 

36* 



426 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

universal visible Church, in all its branches and con- 
stituent elements (a) the inspired Scriptures as an 
infallible oracle and rule of faith and practice ; (6) the 
Gospel ministry — an order not qualified and indicated 
by manual contact, but by the gifts and graces of the 
Holy Ghost ; (c) the ordinances, such as i)reaching. 
prayer, singing of praise and the holy sacraments of 
Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and discipline. And 
(d) that the great end designed to be accomplished by 
this grant is (1) the gathering in oi the elect from the 
children of the Church or from the world, and (2) the 
perfecting of the saints when thus gathered. Eph. iv. 
11-13. And (e) that the success of these agencies in 
attaining this end is secured beyond peradventure by 
the promise of Christ to be with them and to ren- 
der them effectual until the end of the world. Matt, 
xxviii. 20. 

4th. These Sections teach that out of the bounds of 
this universal visible Church there is no ordinary possi- 
bility of salvation. This proposition is believed by 
our Church and by all other evangelical Christians to 
apply only to adults who are out of the pale of the visi- 
ble Church. All the members of the human race dying 
in infancy are believed to be saved through the merits 
of Christ. Since, then, the universal visible Church 
consists of all the professors of the true religion in the 
world, to say that out of it there is ordinarily no possi- 
bility of salvation is only saying — {a.) That God has 
never in any way revealed his intention of saving any 
sane adult destitute of the personal knowledge of Christ. 
(6.) That an unexceptional experience in heathen lands 
leads us to the conviction that no?£ in such a condition 



THE CHURCH. 427 

are saved, (c.) That God has very emphatically de- 
clared that those who deny his Son before men shall 
not be saved. Matt. x. 33. (d.) That every man who 
hears the gospel is commanded to confess Christ before 
men — that is, to become a public visible professor of the 
true religion. Matt. x. 32. The conditions of salvation 
laid down in Rom. x. 9, 10 are — "If thou shalt con- 
fess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe 
with thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, 
thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man belie veth 
unto righteousness ; and with the mouth confession is 
made unto salvation.'^ There are obviously various 
ways in which Christ may be publicly acknowledged 
and confessed. In some way every person having the 
love of Christ in his heart will confess him. But our 
Confession intends in these Sections to teach further 
that ordinarily, where there is the knowledge and oppor- 
tunity, God requires every one who loves Christ to con- 
fess him in the regular way of joining the community 
of his people and of taking the sacramental badges of 
his discipleship. That this is commanded will be shown 
under Chapters xxvii.-xxix. And that when providen- 
tially possible every Christian heart will be prompt to 
obey in this matter, is self-evident. When shame or 
fear of persecution be the preventing considerations, 
then the failure to obey is equivalent to the positive 
rejection of Christ, since the rejection of him will have 
to be publicly pretended in such case in order to avoid 
the consequences attending upon the public acknowledg- 
ment of him. 

Section IV. — ^This catholic Church hath been sometimes 
more, sometimes less visible.® And particular churches, which 



428 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the 
doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinaroes ad- 
ministered, and public worship performed more or less purely in 
them.® 

Section V. — The purest churches under heaven are subject 
both to mixture and error ;^" and some have so degenerated as to 
become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan." 
Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to wor- 
ship God according to his will.^^ 

Section VI. — There is no other head of the Church but the 
•^^ord Jesus Christ :^' nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be 
the head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and 
son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against 
Christ, and all that is called God.'* 

8 Rom. xi. 3, 4; Rev. xii. 6, 14.— 9 Rev. ii., iii ; 1 Cor. v. 6, 7.— ^^ 1 Cor. 
xiii. 12; Rev. ii., iii: Matt. xiii. 24-30,47. — ^i Rev. xviii. 2; Rom. xi. 
18-22.— 12 Matt. xvi. 18; Ps. Ixxii. 17; cii. 28: Matt, xxviii. 19, 20.— 
13 Col. i. 18 ; Eph. i. 22.— i* Matt, xxiii. 8-10 ; 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4, 8, 9 ; Rer. 
xiii. 6. 

All that is tauglit in these Sections necessarily follows 
from what we have above ascertained as to the nature 
of the visible Church : 

1st. Since the catholic or universal visible Church 
consists of all the professors of the true religion in the 
world, and of all the particular ecclesiastical organiza- 
tions which continue loyal to the Head, and maintain 
doctrines essentially sound, it must necessarily follow 
that the Church as a whole is in any age more or less 
visible, and any particular constituent church more or 
less pure in proportion — (a) to the purity of the doc- 
trine they profess and the worship they maintain ; (6) 
tc their zeal and spiritual character and energy; and (c) 
to the purity of their membership maintained by disci- 
pline. In proportion as these are all advanced in per- 
fection, and prevail generally throughout the whole 



THE CHURCH. 429 

body, in the same degree will the entin? Church appear 
more visibly discriminated from the world and mani- 
fest in her entire outline. In the same measure also 
will every individual ecclesiastical organization be pure 
— that is, free from heterogeneous elements — and conse- 
crated to the accomplishment of the ends for which it is 
designed. 

2d. It follows, also, from the very nature of the vis- 
ible Church and its condition in this world, that its 
purity is a matter of degree, varying at different times 
and in different sections. The teaching of Scripture as 
to the nature of the kingdom under the present dispen- 
sation (Matt, xiii.), the nature of man yet imperfectly 
sanctified, and the universal experience of the churches, 
lead us to the conclusion that the very purest churches 
are yet very imperfect, and will continue so to the end, 
and that some will become so corrupt as to lose their 
character as true churches of Christ altogether. This 
was the case witli the ancient Church under the reign 
of Ahab, when the children of Israel had apostatized 
from the service of the true God to such an extent that 
Elijah thought he was the only one left faithful. Even 
in that state of affairs the Lord declared, " Yet have I 
left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have 
not bowed unto Baal.'' 1 Kings xix. 18. Even more 
entire deterioration has happened to the ancient churches 
founded by the apostles in the East and by their successors 
in Northern Africa. The churches which acknowledge 
the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome have abandoned 
the faith and obscured the glory of their Lord in one 
direction, while many professedly Protestant churches — 
as the English and American Socinians and the Ger- 



430 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

man Rationalists — have made an equal apostasy in an- 
other. 

The Church of Rome maintains that the promise of 
Christ secures the infallible orthodoxy and purity of the 
visible organization, in subjection to apostolical ly-or- 
dained bishops, to the end of the world. But the 
Church whose infallible orthodoxy and purity is guar- 
anteed by the divine promise is no outward visible 
organization or succession of bishops or priests ; it is 
the particular Church of no nation or generation, but it 
is the true invisible body of the elect or of true believ- 
ers of all nations and ages. That it is so is proved — 
(1.) From the fact that for eighteen hundred years the 
promise has been fulfilled in the sense we have defined, 
but has never been fulfilled in the sense the Romish 
Church demands. They have themselves led the defec- 
tion from the faith and practice of the apostolic Church. 
And among Romanists and Protestants alike, visible 
ecclesiastical organizations are continually changing 
their character and relations to the truth. (2.) The 
Epistles are addressed to " the Church," and the salu- 
tations explain that phrase by the equivalents " the 
called," " the saints," etc. See the salutations of First 
and Second Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, First 
and Second Peter, and Jude. The same attributes are. 
ascribed to the members of the true Church in the body 
of the Epistles. 1 Cor. i. 30; iii. 16; vi. 11 ; Eph. ii. 
3-8, 19-22 ; Col. i. 21 ; ii. 10 ; 1 Pet. ii. 9. (3.) The 
attributes ascribed to the true Church prove it to be 
spiritual, and, in the sense explained, invisible, and not 
an outward organized succession. Eph. v. 27 ; 1 Pet. ii. 
5; Johnx. V ; Col. i. 18,24. 



THE CHURCH. 431 

3d. It follows, nevertheless, from the relation which 
the visible Church sustains to the invisible Church, that 
since, according to divine promise, the latter can never 
entirely fail from the earth (Matt. xvi. 18), so likewise^ 
however the former may be obscured by heresies or 
lessened by defection, it can never be entirely wanting. 
Wherever the true Church is, it will be more or less 
visible ; not in proportion, however, to the size or 
pretension of the organization wdth which it may be 
associated, but in proportion to the purity of its faith 
and the spiritual activity and fruitfulness of its mem- 
bership. 

4th. That the Lord Jesus Christ is the only absolute 
and supreme Head of the Church is self-evident, is 
abundantly asserted in Scripture (Col. i. 18, and Eph. 
i. 20-23), and has never been denied by any Christians. 

Many have, however, maintained that, as the visible 
Church on earth has a government and laws, and since 
these must be administered by a visible authority, so 
the Church must have an earthly visible head, acting 
upon authority delegated by Christ and as his represent- 
ative. The Church of E-ome claims this for the pope. 
" So has Christ — the Head and Spouse — placed over his 
Church, which he governs by his most inward Spirit, a 
man to be the vicar and minister of his power; for as a 
visible church requires a visible head, our Saviour ap- 
pointed Peter head and pastor of all the faithful."* 

The Erastian State churches of Germany and Great 

Britain have acknowledged their respective sovereigns 

as supreme heads of the Church as well as of the State. 

Henry VIII. was recognized as "supreme head of the 

♦ Cat. Bom., Part i., ch. x., Q. 11. 



432 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Church of England;" and it was enacted "that the 
king, his heirs, etc., shall be taken, accepted and re- 
puted the only supreme head on earth of the Church of 
England, called Angllcana Ecclesia; and shall have and 
enjoy, annexed and united to the imperial crown of this 
realm, as well the style and title thereof, as all honours, 
dignities, immunities, profits and commodities to the 
said dignity of supreme head of the said Church belong- 
ing and appertaining." * This supremacy of the reign- 
ing sovereign over the Church is even made an article 
of faith, being incorporated into the Thirty-seventh 
Article of the Church of England : " The queen's maj- 
esty has the chief power in this realm of England, and 
other her dominions ; unto whom the chief govern- 
ment of all estates of this realm, whether they be ecelesi- 
astical or civil, in all causes, doth appertain." 

In both these cases, and in all cases of like claims to 
ecclesiastical supremacy, it is a mere question of fact and 
evidence. If, as a matter of fact, Christ delegated his 
authority either to the pope or to national sovereigns, 
and made them, as his vicars, visible heads of his Church, 
then we ought to obey them, and our disobedience is 
treason to Christ. On the contrary, if they have no 
such authority, and are unable to prove their claims by 
unquestionable credentials, then their assumption of such 
power is a blasphemous intrusion upon divine preroga- 
tives and treason to the human race. It is obvious that 
neither party c^n show any plausible foundation for 
their claims, and that upon the slightest interrogation 
they fall of their own weight. 

In the absence of any duly-accredited visible head of 
* Tk^ 26 Henry VIII., cap. i. 



THE CHURCH. 433 

the Church, we are forced back to direct dependence for 
law and its administration, as well as for redemption, 
upon the great invisible Head. He presides over and 
governs his Church (1) through his inspired word, 
which is, as we have seen, an infallible, complete and per- 
spicuous rule of faith and practice. (2.) Through the 
apostolical institutions transmitted to us, as the min- 
istry, the sacraments, the ordinances, etc. Eph. iv. 11. 
And (3) through his own spiritual presence, which 
extends to all his members, and endures to the end of 
the world. Matt, xviii. 20; xxviii. 20. 

The word Antichrist occurs in the New Testament in 

1 John ii. 18, 22 ; iv. 3 ; 2 John 7. The coming of 
the "man of sin," the "son of perdition," is predicted m 

2 Thess. ii. 3, 4. Interpreters have differed as to 
whether these phrases were intended to designate a 
personal opponent of the Lord, or principles and sys- 
tems antagonistic to him and his cause. The authors of 
our Confession can hardly have intended to declare that 
each individual pope of the long succession is the per- 
sonal Antichrist, and they probably meant that the 
papal system is in spirit, form and effect wholly anti- 
christian, and that it marked a defection from apos- 
tolical Christianity foreseen and foretold -in Scripture. 
All of which was true in their day, and is true in ours. 
We have need, however, to remember that as the forms 
of evil change, and the complications of the kingdom of 
Christ with that of Satan vary with the progress of 
e'/ents, "even now are there many Antichrists." 1 
John ii. 18. 

37 



434 CONFESSION OP FAITH. 



QUESTIONS. 

». ■ 

1. What is the true sense and right applicaticn of the word 
"cathoHc?" 

2. What is the etymology and usage of the word translated 
*' church" in the New Testament? 

3. Prove that it is the invisible spiritual Church to which the 
promises of the Gospel are addressed. 

4. In what more general and more particular senses are the 
words "church" and "churches" used? 

5. What does our Confession teach as to the universal invisible 
Church? 

6. Why is this Church called "invisible?" 

7. When will it be seen in its completeness and unveiled glory? 

8. What relation does the universal visible Church sustain to 
the invisible Church ? 

9. How does the fact of organization affect the visibility of the 
Church? 

10. How can you prove that all the various ecclesiastical 
organizations extant constitute but one Church ? 

11. Who are members of the visible Church? 

12. Why does the mere fact of 'profession of the true religion 
constitute a person a member of the visible Church ? 

13. What constitutes a credible profession? 

14. By what figures is the visible Church — its nature and 
growth — set forth in Scripture ? 

15. Who besides professors of the true religion are members 
of the visible Church ? 

10. With what gifts has God specially endowed the visible 
Church? 

17. To effect what ends were these gifts given? 

18. What is meant by the assertion that outside of the bounds 
of the visible Church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation. 

19. What are the conditions of salvation set down in Rem. x. 
9, 10? 

20. How are men to confess Christ? 



THE CHURCH. 435 

21. In what sense is it necessary for salvation for men to con- 
fess Christ by communion with the visible Church ? 

22. What is the first proposition taught in the fourth, fifth 
and sixth Sections ? 

23. How does the truth of this proposition result from what 
has been taught above as to the nature and relations of the visible 
Church? 

24. How can it be shown that the purity of the visible Church 
varies in different ages and sections ? 

25. State some historical instances of ecclesiastical deterior- 
ation. 

26. On what ground does the Church of Rome maintain that 
she is incapable of doctrinal or moral deterioration ? 

27. How can you show that these promises of Scripture are 
not addressed to any visible organization or succession, but to the 
great company of God's elect of all ages and nations? 

28. How may the perpetual continuance of the visible Church 
in some form on the earth be argued ? 

29. Who acknowledge the Lord Jesus as the supreme Head of 
the Church? 

30. What does the Romish Church teach as to the headship 
of the pope ? 

31. What is the doctrine of the Church of England as to the 
headship of the sovereign ? 

32. Upon what grounds are all such claims to be decided? 

33. What is the nature of such claims if they fail to be 
proved ? 

34. Upon which party — the claimants, or those denying their 
claims — does the burden of proof lie ? 

35. In the absence of a visible head, how does Christ act as the 
true Head of the whole Church ? 

36. In what passages of Scripture is the doctrine of Anti- 
christ taught? 

37. What is meant by the declaration that the pope is Anti- 
christ? 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

OF COMMUNION OF SAINTS. 

Section I. — All saints that are united to Jesus Christ, their 
L2ad, by his Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with him in his 
graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory.* And being 
united to one another in love, they have communion in each 
other's gifts and graces ;' and are obliged to the performance of 
such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual 
good, both in the inward and outward man.' 

Section II. — Saints, by profession, are bound to maintain an 
holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in 
performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual 
edification ;* as also in relieving each other in outward things, 
according to their several abilities and necessities. Which com- 
munion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all 
those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.* 

Section III. — This communion which the saints have with 
Christ, doth not make them in any wise partakers of the sub- 
stance of his Godhead, or to be equal with Christ in any respect : 
either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous.* Nor doth 
their communion one with another, as saints, take away or in- 
fringe the title or property which each man hath in his goods and 
possessions.'' 

n John i. 3; Eph. iii. 16-19 ; John i. 16; Eph. ii. 5, 6; Phil. Hi. 10; 
Rom. vi. 5, 6; 2 Tim. ii. 12.— 2 Eph. iv. 15, 16; 1 Cor. xii. 7; iii. 21-23; 
Col. ii. 19.— 5 1 Thess. v. 11, 14 .: Rom. i. 11, 12, 14 ; 1 John iii. 16-18 ; Gal. vi. 
10.— *Heb. X. 24, 25; Acts ii. 42, 46; Isa. ii. 3; 1 Cor. xi. 20.— 5 Acts ii. 44, 
46; 1 John iii. 17; 2 Cor. viii., ix.; Acts xi. 29, 30.— « Col. i. 18, 19; 1 Cor. 
riii. 6; Isa. xlii. 8; 1 Tim. vi. 16; 16; Ps. xlv.7; Heb. i. 8, 9.— '' Ex. xx. 
'l5; Eph. iv '8; Acts v. 4, 
136 



COMMUNION OF SAINTS. 437 

Communion is a mutual interchange of offices between 
parties which flows from a common principle in which 
they are united. The nature and degree of the com- 
munion will depend upon the nature and intimacy of 
the union from which it proceeds. 

This Chapter teaches — 

1st. Of the union of Christ and his people. 

2d. The fellowship between him and them resulting 
therefrom. 

3d. The union between the true people of Christ 
growing out of their union with him. 

4th. The communion of saints growing out of their 
union with each other. 

5th. The mutual duties of all who profess to be saints 
with regard to all their fellow-professors. 

1st. All saints are united to the Lord Jesus. We 
need to know what is the foundation and what is the 
nature of this union, and how it is established. 

(1.) As to the foundation of the union subsisting be- 
tween the true believer and the Lord Jesus, the Scrip- 
tures teach that it rests in the eternal purpose of the 
triune God, expressed in the decree of election (*' We were 
chosen in him before the foundation of the world,'^ Eph. 
i. 4), and the eternal covenant of grace formed between 
the Father and his w^ord as the mediatorial Head of his 
l)eople, treating with the Head for the members, and with 
the members in the Head, and providing for their salva- 
tion in him. John xvii. 2, 6. 

(2.) As to the nature of this union of the believer with 
Christ, the Scriptures teach — (a.) That it is federal and 
representative, whereby Christ acts in all things as our 
federal Head, in our stead and for our benefit. Hence, 

37* 



438 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

our legal status is determined by his, and his rights, 
honours, relations, all are made ours in copartnership 
with him. (b.) That it is a vital and spiritual union. 
Its actuating source and bond is the Spirit of the Head, 
who dwells and works in the members. 1 Cor. vi. 17 ; 
xii. 13; 1 John iii. 24; iv. 13. Hence our spiritual 
life is derived from him and sustained and determined 
by his life, which we share. Gal. ii. 20. (c.) It is a 
union between our entire persons and Christ, and there- 
fore one involving our bodies through our souls. 1 Cor. 
vi. 15, 19. 

(3.) As to the manner in which this union is estab- 
lished, the Scriptures teach that the elect, having been 
m the divine idea comprehended under the headship of 
Christ from eternity, are in time actually united to him 
(a) by the powerful operation of his Spirit, whereby 
they " are quickened together with Christ/' which Spirit 
evermore dwells in them as the organ of Christ's pres- 
ence with them, the infinite medium through which the 
fulness of his love and life, and all the benefits purchased 
by his blood, pass over freely from the Head to the 
members. (6.) By the actings of faith upon their part, 
whereby they grasp Christ and appropriate him and his 
grace to themselves, and whereby they ever continue to 
live in him and to draw their resources from him. Eph. 
iii. 17. 

This union is illustrated in Scripture by the relation 
subsisting between a foundation and its superstructure 
(1 Pet. ii. 4-6) ; a tree and its branches (John xv. 5) ; the 
members of the body and the head (Eph. iv. 15, 16); 
a husband and wife (Eph. v. 31, 32) ; Adam and his 
descendants. Rom. v. 12-19. 



COMMUNION OF SAINTS. 439 

This union has been called by theologians a " mysti- 
cal" union, because it never could have been known 
unless revealed by the Lord himself, and because it is 
so incomparably intimate and excellent that it transcends 
all other unions of which we have experience. Never- 
theless, it is not mysterious in the sense of involving 
any confusion between Christ's personality and ours, 
nor does it make us in any wise partakers of his God- 
head or to be equal with him in any respect. It is a 
union between persons, in which each retains his separate 
identity, and in which the believer, although immeasur- 
ably exalted and blessed, nevertheless is entirely sub- 
ordinated to and continued dependent upon his Lord. 

2d. On the basis of this union a most intimate fel- 
lowship or interchange of mutual offices ever continues 
to be sustained between believers and Christ. 

(1.) They have fellowship with Christ (a) in all the 
covenant merits of his active and passive obedience. 
Forensically they are " complete in him." His Father, 
his inheritance, his throne, his crown, are theirs. Av 
their mediatorial Head he acts as prophet, priest and 
king. In union with him they are also prophets, priests 
and kings. 1 John ii. 27 ; 1 Pet. ii. 5 ; Rev. iii. 21 ; v. 
10. (6.) They have fellowship with Christ also in the 
transforming, assimilating power of his life. " Of his 
fulness have we all received, and grace for grace." 
Thus they have the ''spirit" and "the mind" of Christ, 
and bear his "likeness" or "image." Rom. viii. 9; Phil, 
ii. 5 ; 1 John iii. 2. This includes the bodies also, 
making them temples of the Holy Ghost, and in the 
resurrection our glorified bodies are to be like his. 1 
Cor. XV. 43, 49. (c.) They have fellowship with Christ 



440 CONFESSION 01 FAITH. 

in all their experiences, inwaro and outward, in their 
joys and victories, in their labours, sufferings, tempta- 
tions and death. Rom. viii. 37 ; 2 Cor. xii. 9 ; Gal. vi. 
17; Phil. iii. 10; Heb. xii. 3; 1 Pet. iv. 13. 

(2.) Christ has fellowship with them. They belong 
to him as the purchase of his blood. They are devoted 
to his service. They are co-workers together with him 
in building up his kingdom. They bear fruit to his 
praise and shine as stars in his throne. Their hearts, 
their lives, their possessions, are all consecrated to him, 
and are held by them in trust for him. Prov. xix. 17; 
Rom. xiv. 8 ; 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. 

3d. Since all true believers are thus intimately united 
to Christ as the common Head of the whole body, and 
the Source of a common life, it follows that they must 
be intimately united together. If they have but one 
Head and are all members of one body, they must have 
one common life, and be all members one of another. 

The Romish and Ritualistic view is that individuals 
are united to the Church through the sacraments and 
through the Church to Christ. The true view is that 
the individual is united to Christ Jhe Head by the Holy 
Ghost and by faith, and by being united to Christ he is, 
ipso fadOy united to all Christ's members, the Church. 
The holy catholic Church is the product of the Holy 
Ghost. Wherever the Spirit is, there the Church is. 
The presence of the Spirit is known by his fruits, which 
are " love, joy, peace," etc. Gal. v. 22, 23. All be- 
lievers receiving the same Spirit are by him baptized 
into '^ one body," and thus they all become, " though 
many members," but " one body," " the body of Christ" 
and "members in particular." 1 Cor. xii. 13-27. 



COMMUNION OF SAINTS. 441 

4tli. Hence true believers, all being united in one liv- 
ing body, sustain many intimate relations, and discharge 
many important offices for one another, which are sum- 
marily expressed by the general phrase "the communion 
of the saints." 

(1.) They have a common Head, and common duties 
with respect to him, a common profession, a common 
system of faith to maintain, a common gospel to preach, 
a common worship and service to maintain. 

(2.) They have a common life, and one Holy Ghost 
dwelling in and binding together in one the whole body. 
Hence they are involved in the ties of sympathy and 
identity of interest. One cannot prosper without all 
prospering with him — one cannot suffer without all suf- 
fering with him. 

(3.) As they constitute one body in the eyes of the 
world, they have a common reputation, and are all 
severally and collectively honoured or dishonoured with 
each other. Hence all schisms in the body, injurious 
controversies, malignant misrepresentations of Christian 
by Christian, are self-defaming as well as wicked. 

(4.) The body of saints is like the natural body in 
this also, that, altliough one body, each several member 
is an organ of the Holy Ghost for a special function, 
and has his own individual difference of qualification, 
and consequently of duty. Hence, in the economy of 
the body, each member is to contribute his special func- 
tion and his special grace or beauty, and has in his turn 
fellowship in the gifts and complementary graces of all 
the rest. Eph. iv. 11-16 ; 1 Cor. xii. 4-21. This shall 
be perfectly realized in heaven. John x. 16 ; xvii. 22. 

5th. Since this is the union of all true believers with 



442 CONFESSION OF FAriH. 

the Lord and with each other, and since, consequently, 
a "communion of saints" so intimate necessarily flour- 
ishes among true believers in proportion to their intelli- 
gence and their advancement in grace, it follows that 
all branches of the visible Church, and all the individ- 
ual members thereof, should do all within their power 
to act upon the principles of the "communion of saints" 
in their intercourse with all who profess the true re- 
ligion. If the Church is one, the churches are one. 
If all saints are one, and are embraced in this holy 
"communion,'' then all who profess to be saints should 
regard and treat all their fellow-professors on the pre- 
sumption that they are saints and " heirs together with 
them of the grace of life." Think of it ! In spite of 
all controversies and jealousies, one in the eternal elect- 
ing love of God ! — one in the purchase of Christ's sacri- 
ficial blood ! — one in the beautifying indwelling of the 
Holy Ghost ! — one in the eternal inheritance of glory ! 
Surely, we should be also one in all the charities, sym- 
pathies and helpful offices possible in these short and 
evil days of earthly pilgrimage. These mutual duties 
are, of course, some of them public — as between differ- 
ent evangelical churches — and many of them private 
and personal. Many of them relate to the souls, and 
many also to the bodies of the saints. The rule is the 
law of love in the heart, and the principles and exam- 
ples of saints recorded in Scripture applied to the spe- 
cial circumstances of every individual case. But while 
these mutual relations and offices of the saints sanctify, 
they are not designed to supersede the fundamental prin- 
ciples of human society, as the rights of property and 
the family tie. 



COMMUNION OF SAINTS. 443 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is communion, and what does it presuppose? 

2. What is t\ie Jirst subject taught in these Sections? 

3. What is the second subject here taught? 

4. What is the third f 

5. What is the fourth? 

6. Whatisthe^/i^Af 

7. What is the foundation of the union of the believer and 
Christ? 

8. What three points are here taught as to the nature of that 
union? 

9. What do you mean by saying that it is federal ? 

10. What by saying that it is vital and spiritual? 

11. What by saying that it involves the entire person? 

12. How is this union accomphshed? 

13. What is the office of the Holy Spirit in respect to it? 

14. What is the office of faith in respect to it? 

15. By what similitudes is this union illustrated? 

16. Why has this union been called " mystical?" 

17. In what sense is it not mysterious, and what is not involved 
in it? 

18. What is the great practical consequence of our union with 
Christ? 

19. In what respects does the believer have fellowship with 
Christ? 

20. In what respects does. Christ have fellowship with the be- 
liever ? 

21. What follows if all believers are united to the one Christ? 

22. What is the Romish and Ritualistic and what the true 
view as to the way in which the individual members are united 
to Christ and to the world ? 

23. How can the presence of the Holy Spirit be determined ? 

24. What is the great practical consequent which flows from 
the union of all saints in " one body?" 

25. State the principal particulars which are involved in the 
*' communion of saints." 



444 CX)NFESSION OF FAITH. 

26. What practical duties hence belong to every branch of thu 
visible Church with reference to every other branch ? 

27. What practical duties hence belong to every professor of 
the true religion with reference to all his fellow-professors? 

28. What is the rule for our guidance in such matters? 

29. To what consequences doe.«s fhis doctrine not lead ? 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

OP THE SACRAMENTS. 

Section I. — Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the cove- 
nant of grace,^ immediately instituted by God,^ to represent 
Christ and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him ;' a8 
also to put a visible difi*erence between those that belong unto the 
Church and the rest of the world,* and solemnly to engage them 
to the service of God in Christ, according to his word.* 

Section II. — There is in every sacrament a spiritual relation 
or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified ; 
whence it comes to pass that the names and efi"ects of the one are 
attributed to the other.* 

Larger Catechism, Q. 163. — What are the parts of a sacra- 
ment ? — The parts of a sacrament are two : the one, an outward 
and sensible sign used according to Christ's own appointment; 
the other, an inward and spiritual grace thereby signified.' 

1 Rom. iv. 11; Gen. xvii. 7, 10.— 2 Matt, xxviii. 19; 1 Cor. xi. 23.— 
« 1 Cor. X. 16 ; xi. 25, 26 ; Gal. iii. 27.—* Rom. xv. 8 ; Ex. xii. 48 ; Gen. 
xxxiv. 14.— 5 Rom. vi. 3, 4; 1 Cor. x. 16, 21.— « Gen. xvii. 10 ; Matt. xxri. 
27, 28 ; Tit. iii. 6.—' Matt. iii. 11 ; 1 Pet. iii. 21. 

The word sacrament does not occur in the Scriptures. 
In its classical usage it designated anything which binds 
or brings under obligations, as a sum of money given 
in pledge, or an oath, and especially the oath of mili- 
tary allegiance. 

In its ecclesiastical usage, the word while retaining its 
general sense of something binding as sacred, was at 
an early period used as the Latin equivalent of the 
38 445 



446 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Greek word mysterion (jiiJ(TT7^peop)j that which is unknown 
until revealed, and hence any symbol, type or rite having 
a latent spiritual meaning. Hence the word naturally 
came to be applied in a general and vague sense to the 
Christian ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, 
and with them also to many other religious doctrines 
and ordinances. 

It is plainly, therefore, impossible to determine the 
nature or the number of the sacraments from either the 
etymology or the usage of the word sacrament. We 
want a thorough definition of the thing, not of the name. 
This we can get only by taking baptism and the Lord's 
Supper, which all men acknowledge to be genuine sac- 
raments, and, by a strict examination of their origin, 
nature and uses, determine (a) the true character of the 
class of ordinances to which they belong, and (6) 
whether any other ordinances belong to the same class 
or not. In this way the definition of a sacrament given 
in our Standards was formed. This definition involves 
the following points : 

1st. A sacrament is an ordinance immediately insti- 
tuted by Christ. L. Cat., Q. 162, and S. Cat., Q. 92. 

2d. A sacrament always consists of two elements — (a) 
an outward sensible sign, and (6) an inward spiritual 
grace thereby signified. 

3d. The sign in every sacrament is sacramentally 
united to the grace which it signifies ; and out of this 
union the scriptural usage has arisen of ascribing to the 
sign whatever is true of that which the sign signifies. 

4th. The sacraments were designed to " represent, seal 
and apply the benefits of Christ and the new covenant 
to believers." S. Cat., Q. 92. 



THE SACRAMENTS. 447 

5fcli. They were designed to be pledges of our fidelity 
to Christ, binding us to his service, and at the same 
time badges of our profession, visibly marking the body 
of professors and distinguishing them from the world. 

1st. The first Section of this Chapter says that a sac- 
rament is an ordinance " immediately instituted by God 
to represent Christ," etc. This is true if the word sac- 
rament is used in its general sense to include also the 
Old Testament sacraments of circumcision and the pass- 
over. But it is an important distinction of the New 
Testament sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Sup- 
per that they were both immediately instituted by 
Christ himself. Therefore, both the Larger (Q. 162) 
and Shorter (Q. 92) Catechisms have it, " A sacrament 
is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his Church." 
This should be remembered, because it serves to exclude 
most of the pretended sacraments of the Church of Rome 
from any right to a place in tlAs class of Christian or- 
dinances. 

2d. Every sacrament consists of two elements — (a) 
an outward sensible sign, and (6) an inward spiritual grace 
thereby signified. In baptism the outward sensible 
sign is (a) water, and (6) the water applied in the name 
of the Triune God to the person of the subject baptized. 
The inward spiritual grace thereby signified is (a) pri- 
marily spiritual purification by the immediate personal 
power of the Holy Ghost in the soul, and (6) hence, 
secondarily, the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, hence 
the union of the baptized with Christ, hence regenera- 
tion, justificatioji, sanctification, perseverance to the end, 
glorification, etc. — i. e., all the benefits of the new cove- 
nant. In the Lord's Supper, the outward sensible signs 



448 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

are — (a) bread and wine, and (6) the consecration and the 
bread broken, and the wine poured out, distributed to, 
and received and eaten and drunk by, the communicants. 
The inward spiritual grace thereby signified is (a) pri- 
mal ily Christ crucified (his flesh torn and blood shed) 
for us, and giving himself to us to be spiritually re- 
ceived and assimilated as the principle of a new life, 
and (6) hence, secondarily, union with Christ, the in- 
dwelling of the Spirit, regeneration, justification, sancti- 
cation, etc. — ^. e., all the benefits secured by the sacrificial 
death of Christ. 

3d. " There is in every sacrament a spiritual relation 
or sacramental union between the sign and the thing 
signified." This sacramental union between the sign and 
the grace which it signifies, the Romish and Lutheran 
churches understand to be, at least in the case of the 
Lord's Supper, a literal identity. Thus when Christ 
took the bread and said, " This is my body," they insist 
that it means that the bread is his body. All other 
Christians understand the phrase to mean, " This bread 
represents sacramentally my body." 

This sacramental union, therefore, between the sign 
and the thing signified is (a) symbolical and representa- 
tive — the one symbolizes and so represents the other ; 
and (6) instrumental because by divine appointment, 
through the right use of tjie sign, the grace signified is 
really conveyed. 

The grounds of this sacramental union are — (a.) The 
natural fitness of the sign to symbolize the grace signi- 
fied, as washing with water to symbolize spiritual puri- 
fication by the Holy Ghost. (6.) The authoritative 
aD2)ointment of Christ that these signs rightly used 



I 



\ 



THE SACRAMENTS. 449 

shall truly represent and convey the grace they signify, 
(c.) The spiritual faith of the believing recipient, a gift 
of the Spirit of Christ, whereby in the proper use of the 
sign, he is enabled to discern " the Lord's body." 1 Cor. 
xi. 29. 

Out of this spiritual relation, or sacramental union 
between the sign and the grace signified, which we have 
thus explained by a natural and legitimate use of lan- 
guage, the one is put for the other, and whatever is true 
of the grace signified is asserted of the sign which signi- 
fies it. Thus, to eat the bread and drink the wine in 
the Lord's Supper is to eat the flesh and drink the 
blood of Christ ; that is, to participate in the sacrificial 
virtue of his death. And whatever is true of baptism 
with the Holy Ghost is attributed to baptism with 
water. Ananias said to Paul, " Arise and be baptized, 
and wash away your sins." Acts xxii. 16. " Christ 
gave himself for the Church, that he might sanctify and 
cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word." 
Eph. v. 26. " Repent and be baptized, every one of 
you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of 
sins." Acts ii. 38. Hence Romanists and Ritualists 
have inferred that the sign is inseparable from the 
gi-ace signified, and that these spiritual effects are due 
to the outward ordinance. Hence the doctrine of bap- 
tism^l regen eration. But it must be observed that tne 
Scriptures do not assert these spiritual attributes oi 
water baptism in itself considered, but of water baptism 
as the sign or emblem of baptism by the Holy Ghost. 
These spiritual attributes belong only to baptism by the 
Spirit, and they accompany the sign only when the sign 
is accompanied by that which it signifies. It does not 



450 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

follow, however, that the sign is inseparable from the 
grace. The grace is sovereign ; and experience teaches 
u§ that it is often absent from the sign, and that the sign 
is least frequently honoured by the presence of the grace 
when it is itself most implicitly relied upon. 

4th, The sacraments were designed (1) to represent the 
benefits of Christ and the new covenant. They are as 
signs or pictures of the truths they represent, and hence 
present those truths to the eyes and other senses of the 
recipients in a manner analogous to that in which they 
are presented to the ears in the preaching of the Word. 
This follows from what has just been shown as to their 
being outward, sensible signs, signifying inward and 
spiritual graces. (2.) They were designed to be "seals'' 
of the benefits of tlie new covenant. The gospel is pre- 
sented under the form of a covenant. Salvation and all 
the benefits of Christ's redemption are offered upon the 
condition of faith. In the sacrament God sensibly and 
authoritatively pledges himself to invest us with this 
grace if we believe and obey. In receiving the sacra- 
ment we actively assume all the obligations implied in 
the gospel, and bind ourselves to fulfil them. Circum- 
cision, Paul says, " is the seal of the righteousness of 
faith," E,om. iv. 11 ; and baptism is declared to be the 
circumcision of Christ. Col. ii. 11, 12. We are said to 
be actually buried with Christ in baptism ; i. e., united 
to him in his death. Jesus says, " This cup is the new 
covenant in ray blood ;" that is. This cup represents my 
blood, by which the new covenant was ratified ; and 
therefore it is a visible confirmation of the covenant, 
since it is a visible representative of the blood. If a 
man was circumcised, he was a debtor to do the whole 



/ 



THE SACRAMENTS. 451 

law. Gal. V. 3. As many as are baptized unto Christ 
have put on Christ. Gal. iii. 27. 

(3.) The sacraments were designed to "apply" — i. e., 
actually to convey — to believers the benefits of the new 
covenant. If they are " seals " of the covenant, they 
must of course, as a legal form of investiture, actually 
convey the grace represented to those to whom it belongs. 
T il us a d ^ed_ conveys an^estate^ or the key handed over 
in the presence of witnesses the possession of a house 
from the owner to the renter. Our Confession is ex- 
plicit and emphatic on this subject. The old English 
word "exhibit," there used, does not mean to show forth; 
but in the sense of the Latin exhibere, from which it is 
derived, to administerj to apply. Compare the follow- 
ing: "A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by 
Christ ; wherein, by sensible signs, Christ and the ben- 
efits of the new covenant are represented, sealed and 
applied to believers." L. Cat., Q. 92. "A sacrament is 
a holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his Church, to 
signify, seal and exhibit unto those that are within the 
covenant of grace the benefits of his mediation." L. Cat., 
Q. 162. "The grace which is exhibited in or by the 
sacraments, rightly used, is not conferred by any power 
in themJ^ Conf. Faith, chap, xxvii., § 3. "The efficacy of 
baptism is not tied to the moment of time wherein it is 
administered ; yet notwithstanding, by the right use of 
this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, 
but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost," 
etc. Conf. Faith, chap, xxviii., § 6. This the Confession 
carefully guards in the third Section of this Chapter, 
showing that the sacraments have no inherent power or 
virtue at all, but that the right use of the sacrament ia 



452 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

by divine appointment the occasion upon which the 
Holy Ghost conveys the grace to those to whom it be- 
longs. So that this grace-conferring virtue depends 
upon two things: {a.) The sovereign will and power 
of the Holy Spirit. (6.) The lively faith of the recipient. 
The sacrament is a mere instrument ; but it is an in- 
strument OF DIVINE APPOINTMENT. 

5th. The sacraments being seals of the covenant of 
grace — at once pledges of God's faithfulness to us and 
of our obligation to him — they of course (a) mark us as 
the divine property, and bind us to the performance of 
our duty, (6) and hence are badges of our profession, and, 
putting a visible difference between those who belong 
to the Church and the rest of the world, give visibility 
to the Church, and separate its members from the world. 

Section III. — ^The grace which is exhibited in or by the 
sacraments, rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them : 
neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety 
or intention of him that doth administer it,'' but upon the work 
of the Spirit,' and the word of institution ; which contains, to- 
gether with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of 
benefit to worthy receivers.* 

7 Rom. ii. 28, 29; 1 Pet. iii. 21.— » Matt. iii. 11; 1 Cor. xii. 13.— » Matt. 
xxvi. 27, 28; xxviii. 19, 20. 

Having asserted that the sacraments actually confer 
the grace which they represent to worthy recipients, our 
Confession in this Section proceeds to guard this im- 
portant truth from abuse, by carefully showing upon 
what this grace-conveying efficacy of the sacraments 
does not, and upon what it does, depend. 

1st. This grace is not contained in the sacraments 
themselves, nor " is it conferred by any power in them." 



THE SACRAMENTS. 453 

According to the Romish and Ritualistic view, the grace 
signified is contained in the sacrament itself, as qualities 
inhere in substances, and it is together with the outward 
sign presented as a real objective sense to every recipient, 
whether believer or unbeliever. They hold also that 
the sacrament confers this grace upon every recipient 
who does not positively resist, as an ojpus operatum — by 
the sole force of. the sacramental action, as hot iron 
burns.* 

This whole view is explicitly rejected as false by our 
Confession. And the whole efficacy of the sacrament 
is said to depend not upon any part of it separately, 
nor upon the whole together, but upon the sovereign 
power of the Holy Ghost, who is always present and 
uses the sacrament as his instrument and medium. 

2d. The efficacy of the sacraments does not depend 
upon either the personal piety or the *' intention" of 
the person who administers them. 

The Romanists admit that the efficacy of the sacra- 
ments does not depend upon the personal piety of the 
administrator, but they insist that it depends (a) upon 
the fact that the administrator is canonically authorized; 
(b) upon the fact that the administrator exercises at 
the moment of administration the secret " intention" of 
doing thereby what the Church intends in the definition 
of the sacrament.f The priest may outwardly pro- 
nounce every word and perform every action prescribed 
in the ritual, and the recipient may fulfil every condi- 
tion required of him, and yet if the priest fails in the 
secret intention of conferring the grace through the 

* Cone. Trident., Sess. vii., Cans. 6 and 8. 

t Ibid., Sess. vii.. Can. 11. Dens, vol. v. p. 127. 



454 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

sacrament then and there, the recipient goes away 
destitute of the grace he supposes himself to have re- 
ceived, and which the priest has ostensibly professed to 
confer, 

3d. But the efficacy of the sacraments depends — (a.) 
Upon their divine appointment as means and channels 
of grace. They were not devised by man as suitable in 
themselves to produce a moral impression. But they 
were appointed by God, and we are commanded to use 
them as means of grace, and hence God virtually pro- 
mises to meet every soul who uses them rightly in the 
sacrament. Christ seals his gracious covenant by them, 
and hence in their use invests with the grace of that 
covenant every soul to which it belongs. (6.) The effi- 
cacy of the sacrament resides in the sovereign and ever- 
present personal agency of the Holy Ghost, who uses the 
sacraments as his instruments and media of operation. 
The Spirit is the executive of God. He takes of the 
things of Christ and shows them unto us. Through 
him even the humanity of Jesus is virtually omni- 
present, and all the benefits secured by his sacrifice are 
revealed and applied. 

Section IV. — There be only two sacraments ordained by 
Christ our Lord in the gospel ; that is to say, baptism and the 
supper of the Lord ; neither of which may be dispensed by any 
but a minister of the Word, lawfully ordained.^" 

W Matt, xxviii. 19 ; 1 Cor. xi. 20, 23 ; iv. 1 ; Heb. v. 4. 

As we have seen, the word sacrament was used very 
indefinitely in the early Church to include any religious 
rite which had a latent spiritual meaning. A pre- 
eminence was always awarded to Baptism and the Lord's 



THE SACRAMENTS. 455 

Supper as forming a class by themselves, but the num- 
ber of ordinances to which the term sacrament was 
applied varied at different times and in different places 
from two to twelve. At last the number seven was 
suggested during the twelfth century, and determined 
authoritatively by the Council of Florence, 1439, and 
by the Council of Trent, 1562. These are baptism, 
confirmation, the Lord's Supper, penance, extreme unc- 
tion, orders, marriage. In order to prove that " there 
be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in 
the gospel — that is to say, baptism and the supper of 
the Lord" — we have only to show that the other five so- 
called sacraments claimed by the Romanists do not 
belong to the same class of ordinances wdth Baptism 
and the Lord's Supper. And we do this by applying 
the definition of a sacrament above given. Thus — 

Penance, confirmation and eytreme unction are not 
divine institutions in any sense. 

Marriage was instituted not by Christ, but by God, 
and orders were instituted by Christ, but neither of 
these ordinances (a) consists of an outward visible sign 
signifying an inward spiritual grace, nor (6) does either 
of them " represent, seal or confer Christ and the ben- 
efits of the new covenant." 

Our Confession also adds that no one has a right to 
administer the sacraments save a lawfully-ordained 
minister. This is not said in the interest of any 
priestly theory of the ministry, as if there were any 
grace or grace-conferring virtue transmitted by ordina- 
tion in succession from the apostles to the person or- 
dained. But since the Church is an organized society 
under laws executed by regularly-appointed officers, it 



456 CONFiJSSlO^ Oi^' f AllH. 

is evident that ordinances, which are badges of churcl 
membership, the gates of the fold, the instruments of 
discipline and seals of tlie covenant formed by the great 
Head of the Church with his living members, can prop- 
erly be administered only by the highest legal officers 
of the Church, those who are commissioned as ambassa- 
dors for Christ to treat in his name with men. 1 Cor. iv. 
1 ; 2 Cor. V. 20. 

Section Y. — The sacraments of the Old Testament, in regard 
of the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for 
substance, the same with those of the New." 
" 1 Cor. X. 1-4. 

We saw, under Chapter vii., §§ 5 and 6, that the old 
and new dispensations were only two different modes in 
which the one changeless covenant of grace was admin- 
istered and its blessings dispensed. The sacramental 
seals of the covenant must, therefore, be essentially the 
same then and now. The difference is — (a) that they 
were more prospective and typical then, and that they 
are more commemorative now. They signified a grace 
to be revealed then; they signify a grace already re- 
vealed now. (6.) They were, as to form, more gross 
and carnal then, and more spiritual now. 

Thus baptism has taken the place of circumcision as 
the rite of initiation. They both signify spiritual re- 
generation. Deut. X. 16 ; xxx. 6. Circumcision was 
Jewish baptism, and baptism is Christian circumcision. 
Gal. iii. 27, 29; Col. ii. 10-12. 

Thus the Lord's Supper grew out of the Passover. 
He took the old bread and the old cup and gave them 
a new consecration and a new meaning. Matt. xxvi. 



THE SACRAMENTS. 457 

26-29. "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." 1 
Cor. V. 7. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What was the classical usage of the word sacrament? 

2. What was the early ecclesiastical usage of the word ? 

3. On what principles, therefore, are we to form our definition 
of a sacrament? 

4. What is the Ji7-st point involved in the definition of a sacra- 
ment given in our Standards? 

6. What is the second point involved therein ? 

6. What is the third point involved ? 

7. What is the fourth point involved? 

8. What is the fifth point involved ? 

9. What does our Confession teach as to the person by whom 
our New Testament sacraments were immediately ordained? 

10. Of what two parts does every sacrament consist? 

11. In the case of baptism, what is the outward visible sign? 

12. In the case of baptism, what is the inward spiritual grace 
signified ? 

13. In the case of the Lord's Supper what is the sensible sign? 

14. In that case what is the inward spiritual grace signified ? 

15. What do the Romish and Lutheran churches regard as the 
nature of the " sacramental union" subsisting between the sign 
and the grace signified ? 

16. What, according to the true doctrine, is involved in the 
sacramental union or relation between the sign and the grace sig- 
nified? 

17. What are the true grounds upon which that relation rests? 

18. What manner of speaking of the sign or visible part of the 
sacraments has grown out of this relation which the sign sustains 
to the grace signified ? 

19. Quote instances of this manner of speaking in the Scrip- 
tures in the case of each of the sacraments. 

20. What false inferences do Romanists and Ritualists deduce 
from this manner of speaking? 

39 



458 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

21. What, on the contrary, is the true explanation of the 
usage ? 

22. What is the design of the sacraments? 

.23. How do they " represent" the benefits of Christ and the 
new covenant ? 

24. What is meant by saying they are "seals" of the covenant 
of grace ? 

25. Prove that they are so. 

26. In what sense do our Standards use the word "exhibit" 
in this connection ? 

27. Prove that our Standards teach that the sacraments do 
really convey the grace they signify. 

28. In what sense do they affirm this, and upon what do they 
teach this grace-conveying efficacy depends ? 

29. How do the sacraments become badges of our pro- 
fession? 

30. What is the object of the third Section of this Chapter ? 

31. What is the Romish doctrine as to the manner in which 
the sacraments "contain" and "confer" grace? 

32. What does this Section teach in opposition to this ? 

33. What do the Romanists teach are the conditions on the 
part of the administrator upon which the efficacy of the sacra- 
ments depends ? 

34. How dees the efficacy of the sacrament depend upon its 
divine appointment ? 

35. How does it depend upon the sovereign will and power of 
the Holy Ghost? 

36. What was taught in the early Church as to the number of 
the sacraments? 

37. When was the number seven authoritatively established? 

38. What are the seven sacraments acknowledged by the Ro- 
manists ? 

39. How can it be proved that baptism and the Lord's Supper 
form a class by themselves? 

40. Show that the definition of a sacrament will not apply to 
the rest. 

41. Why can the sacraments be administered only by a lawfully- 
ordained minister ? 



THE SACRAMENTS. 469 

42. What were the sacramental seals of the covenant of grace 
under the old dispensation ? 

43. Which corresponds to baptism and which to the Lord's 
Supper? 

44. In what respects do they differ ? And show that they are 
virtually the same. 



CHAPTER XXVIIl. 

OF BAPTISM. 

Section I. — ^Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, 
ordained by Jesus Christ/ not only for the solemn admission of 
the party baptized into the visible Church,^ but also to be unto 
him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, ^ of his ingrafting 
into Christ,* of regeneration,^ of remission of sins,® and of his 
giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness 
of life :'' which sacrament is by Christ's own appointment to be 
continued in his Church until the end of the world.® 

Section II. — The outward element to be used in this sacra- 
ment is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized in the name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a min- 
ister of the gospel, lawfully called thereunto.* 

Section III. — Dipping of the person into the water is not 
necessary ; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or 
sprinkling water upon the person.^" 

Smaller Catechism, Q. 94. — Baptism is a sacrament, wherein 
the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the 
Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting 
into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of 
grace, and our engagement to be the Lord's. L. Cat., Q. 165. 

1 Matt, xxviii. 19 ; Mark xvi. 16.— « 1 Cor. xii. 13 ; Gal. iii. 27, 28.-3 Rom. 
iv. 11 J Col. ii. 11, 12.— 4 Gal. iii. 27; Rom. vi. 5.-6 Tit. iii. 5.— « Acts ii. 
38; xxii. 16; Mark i. 4,— t Rom. vi. 3, 4.-8 Matt, xxviii. 19, 20.— » Acts 
Tiii. 36, 38; x. 47; Matt, xxiii. 19.— lo Acts ii. 41; xvi. 33; Mark vii. 4 ,• 
Heb. X. 10-21. 

In thefe Sections we are taught the following pro2)o- 
sitions : 

460 



BAPTISM. 461 

1st. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, 
instituted immediately by Christ, and by his authority 
to continue in the Church until the end of the world. 

2d. As to the action which constitutes baptism, it is 
a washing of the subject with water (the manner of the 
washing not being essential), in the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a lawfully- 
ordained minister. 

3d. It is done with the design and effect of signifying 
and sealing our ingrafting into Christ, our partaking of 
the benefits of his covenant, and our engagement to be 
his. 

1st. Christian baptism is an ordinance immediately 
instituted by Christ himself, and designed to be observed 
in the Church until the end of the world. Washing the 
body with water to represent spiritual purification and 
consecration was a natural symbol which prevailed 
among all ancient Eastern nations, as the Persians, 
Brahmins, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and pre- 
eminently among the Jews. Paul summarily describes 
the ancient ceremonial as consisting " in meats and 
drinks and divers baptisms." Heb. ix. 10. John, the 
forerunner of Jesus, came baptizing also. But this was 
not Christian baptism. Because (a) John was the last 
Old Testament prophet, and not a New Testament 
apostle. Luke i. 17. (6.) He did not baptize in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost, (c.) His baptism was unto repentance, not into 
the faith of Christ, (d.) He did not by baptism in- 
troduce men into the fellowship of the Christian Church, 
as the apostles did at Pentecost. Acts ii. 41, 47. (e.) 
Those baptized by John were baptized over again by 

89* 



462 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the apostles when they were admitted to the Christian 
Church. Acts xviii. 24; xix. 7. For analogous rea- 
sons we believe that the baptism performed by his 
disciples previous to the crucifixion of the Lord (John 
iii. 22 j iv. 1, 2) was not the permanent Christian sac- 
rameit of baptism, binding its subjects to the faith and 
obedience of the Trinity, and initiating them into the 
Christian Church, but that, on the contrary, like the 
baptism of John, it was a purifying rite, binding to re- 
pentance and preparing the way for the coming king- 
dom. 

It is certain that we have the true warrant of the 
Christian sacrament of baptism from the lips of the 
great Head of the Church in person, in Matt, xxviii. 18- 
20: " All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 
Go ye, therefore, and disciple all nations, baptizing 
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost ; teaching them to observe all things 
whatsoever I have commanded you ; and lo, I am 
with you always, even unto the end of the world. 
Amen." 

Some, as the Quakers, have not understood that this 
command imposes the obligation of the perpetual ob- 
servance of this ordinance. That the observance is to 
endure until the second coming of Christ, is plain — (a.) 
From the universal maxim that every law continues 
binding until it is abrogated, or until the reason for it 
has ceased. But this command has never been recalled, 
and the reason for its observance remains precisely what 
it was when the command was given, (b.) The plain 
terms of th3 command reaches (1) to all nations, and (2) 
until the end of this world (accop). (c.) The example 



BAPTISM. 463 

of tie apostles. Acts ii. 38; xvi. 33. {d.) The con- 
stant practice of all branches of the Christian Church 
from the beginning to the present time. 

2d. As to the action which constitutes it, baptism is 
a washing with water (the manner of washing being in- 
diiferent) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost, by a lawfully-ordained minister. 
The reason that baptism should be administered only 
by a lawfully-ordained minister has been considered 
under the last Chapter. 

The Confession teaches that the command to baptize 
is a command to wash with water in the name of the 
Trinity. It is often, but erroneously supposed that the 
controversy between our Baptist brethren and the rest 
of the Christian Church with respect to baptism is a 
q^uestion of mode ; they affirming that the only right 
mode is to immerse — we affirming that the best mode is 
to sprinkle. This is a great mistake. The real Bap- 
tist position, as stated by Dr. Alexander Carson (p. 65), 
is that the command to baptize is a simple and single 
command to immerse, in order to symbolize the death, 
burial and resurrection of the believer with Christ. 
The true position maintained by other Christians is, that 
baptism is a simple and single command to wash with 
water, in order to symbolize the purification wrought by 
the Holy Ghost. Hence the mode of washing has 
nothing to do with it. It is necessarily perfectly in- 
different, so that it be decent. According to our view, 
the essential matter is the water, and the application of 
the water in the name of the Trinity. According to 
their view, the essential matter is the burial, total im- 
mersion, in water or sand as the case may be. The 



464 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

evidence of the truth of the view entertained by the 
vast majority of Christ's Church is as follows : 

(1.) The word Banzc^o) (baptizo) in its classical usage 
means, to dip, to moisten, to wet, to purify, to wash. Dr. 
Carson admits that he has all the lexicons against 
him. 

(2.) In the Septuagint, BaTzzo) and Banzc^co occur five 
times. Thus, Dan. iv. 33, Nebuchadnezzar is said to have 
been wet {baptized) with the dew of heaven. Ecclesias- 
ticus xxxiv. 25 : " He that baptizeth himself after the 
touching of a dead body," but this purification was per- 
formed by sprinkling. Num. xix. 9, 13, 20. See also 
2 Kings V. 14, and Judith xii. 7. 

(3.) In the New Testament, BaizzcCo^ is used inter- 
changeably with vmzco, which only means to wash. 
Compare Mark vii. 3, 4; Luke xi. 38; Matt. xv. 2-20; 
and observe (a) that to baptize is there used interchange- 
ably with to wash. (6.) The washing was to effect 
purification, for the unbaptized hands are called the un- 
washed and unclean hands, (c.) The common mode of 
washing hands in those countries is to pour water upon 
them. The rich have servants to pour the water on 
their hands. The poor pour the water on their own 
hands. 

(4.) When John's disciples disputed about baptism, it 
is expressly said to have been a dispute about purifica- 
tion. John iii. 22; iv. 3. 

(5.) The same idea is uniformly expressed by the 
word baptism or baptisms in the New Testament. In 
Mark vii. 2-8 we read of the baptisms of cups, pots, 
brazen vessels and tables (couches upon which several 
persons reclined at table). These things could not be, 



BAPTISM. 465 

ana were not, immersed. The whole object of the ser- 
vice was not burial, but 'purification. In Heb. ix. 10, 
Paul says that the first tabernacle " stood only in meats 
and drinks and diverse baptisms;" and below, in verses 
13, 19, 21, he specifies some of these diverse baptisms: 
" For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of 
an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the puri- 
fying of the flesh," and " Moses sprinkled both the book 
and all the people, and the tabernacle and all the vessels 
of the ministry." 

(6.) Baptism with water is emblematical of baptism 
by the Holy Ghost, the object of which is spiritual puri- 
fication. Luke iii. 16; Matt. iii. 11; Mark i. 8; John 
i. 26, 33; Acts i. 5; xi. 16. Spiritual baptism is called 
" the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy 
Ghost." Titus iii. 5. Baptism with water symbolizes 
baptism by the Holy Ghost. But baptism by the Holy 
Ghost unites us to Christ, and makes us one with him in 
his death, in his resurrection, in his new life unto God, 
his righteousness, his inheritance, etc., etc. Spiritual 
baptism carries all these consequences, and water bap- 
tism represents spiritual baptism ; therefore we are said 
to be baptized into Christ, into his death, into one body, 
to be buried with him, to rise with him, so as to walk 
with him in newness of life ; to put on Christ (as a gar- 
ment), to be planted together with him (as a tree), etc. 
None of these have anything to do with the mode of 
baptism, because it is simply absurd to suppose that 
the same action can at the same time symbolize things 
so different as burial, putting on clothe§ and planting 
trees. The real order is, washing witli water represents 
washing of the Spirit. Washing of the Spirit unites to 



466 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Christ — union with Christ involves all the consequences 
above meptioned. 

(7.) Baptism of the Holy Ghost, of which water bap- 
tism is the emblem, is never set forth in Scripture as an 
"immersion," but always as a ^'pouring^^ and ^'sprink- 
ling:' Acts ii. 1-4, 32, 33; x. 44-48; xi. 15, 16. Of the 
gift of the Holy Ghost it is said he " came from heaven," 
was ''poured out," "shed forth," "fell on them." "I 
will pour my Spirit upon thy seed." Isa. lii. 15: "So 
shall he sprinkle many nations." Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27 : 
" Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye 
shall be clean," etc. Joel ii. 28, 29 : " I will pour out my 
Spirit upon all flesh." 

(8.) The universally prevalent manner of effecting the 
rite of purification among the Jews, from the analogy of 
which Christian baptism was taken, was by sprinkling, 
and not by immersion. The hands and feet of the 
priests were to be washed at the brazen laver, from 
which water poured out through spouts or cocks. Ex. 
XXX. 18, 21 ; 2 Chron. iv. 6 ; 1 Kings vii. 27-39. See 
also Lev. viii. 30 ; xiv. 7, 51 ; Ex. xxiv. 5-8 ; Num. viii. 
6, 7;Heb. ix. 12-22. 

(9.) In 1 Cor. x. 1, 2, the Israelites are said to have 
been "baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." 
Compare Ex. xiv 19-31. But the Egyptians who were 
immersed were not baptized ; and the Israelites who were 
baptized were not immersed. Dr. Carson (p. 413) says 
Moses got "a dry dipT In 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21, it is said 
that baptism was the antitype of the salvation of the 
eight souls in the ark. Yet the very gist of their salva- 
tion consisted in their not being immersed. 

(10.) ji.mong all the recorded instances of baptism per- 



BAPTISM. 467 

formed by John the Baptist and the apostles, there is 
not one in which immersion is asserted, while there are 
many in which it was highly improbable — (a.) Because 
the apostles baptizing and the early converts baptized 
were all Jews, accustomed to purify by pouring and 
sprinkling. (6.) Because of the vast multitudes bap- 
tized at one time, and the known scarcity of water in 
Jerusalem and generally in the situations spoken of. 
The eunuch was baptized on the roadside in a desert 
country. Three thousand were baptized in one day in 
the dry city of Jerusalem, which depends upon rain- 
water stored in tanks and cisterns. The vast multitudes 
swarming to John. The jailor baptized in prison at 
midnight. Paul was baptized by Ananias right at his 
bedside. Ananias said, ^^ standing up he be baptized/* 
and ^'standing up he was baptized^' Acts ix. 18; xxii. 16. 
(c.) The earliest pictorial representations of baptism, dat- 
ing from the second or third century, all indicate that the 
manner of applying the water to the body of the bap- 
tized was by pouring, (d.) It is done in the same way 
universally by Eastern Christians at the present time. 

That it is essential that this baptismal washing should 
be done in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of 
the Holy Ghost is plain (1) from the explicit command 
to that effect expressed in the words of institution. (2.) 
From the fact that baptism, as a seal of the covenant of 
grace, and as the divinely-appointed rite of initiation 
into the Christian Church, introduces the baptized into 
covenant with, and the public profession of, the true 
God, who is none other than the Father and the Son 
and the Holy Ghost. 

3d. The design of baptism is (1) to signify, seal and 



468 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

confer to those to whom they belong the benefits ol 
Christ's redemption. Thus (a) it signifies or symbolizes 
the " washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy 
Ghost," whereby we are united to Christ and made par- 
ticipants in all his redemptive grace. (6.) Christ herein 
seals the truth of his covenant, and thereby conveys to 
all the beneficiaries of that covenant the grace intended 
for them. 

(2.) The design of baptism is, that it be a visible sign 
of our covenant to be the Lord\s and devoted to his ser- 
vice, and hence it is a public profession of our faith and 
badge of our allegiance, and hence of our formal initia- 
tion into the Christian Church, and a symbol of our 
union with our fellow-Christians. 1 Cor. xii. 13. 

Section TV. — Not only those that do actually profess faith in 
and obedience unto Christ," but also the infants of one or both 
believing parents, are to be baptized. ^^ 

"Mark xvi. 15, 16; Acts viii. 37, 38.— 12 Gen. xvii. 7, 9; Gal. iii. 9, 
14; Col. ii. 11, 12; Acts ii. 38, 39; Rom. iv. 11, 12; 1 Cor. vii. 14; Matt, 
xxviii. 19; Mark x. 13-16; Luke xviii. 15. 

As to the subjects of baptism, our Standards teach — 
1st. As to adults, "Baptism is not to be administered 
to any that are out of the visible Church, and so strangers 
from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith 
in Christ and obedience to him.'' L. Cat., Q. 166, and 
S. Cat. Q. 95. 

This is of course self-evident, since the intelligent and 
honest reception of baptism itself obviously involves 
precisely this profession of faith in Christ and obedience 
to him. And in order to secure this, the usage of the 
Presbyterian Church requires that the pastors and church 
session should inform the applicant that only a person 



BAPTISM. 469 

who has experienced the grace of regeneration, and who 
has consequently truly repented of sin and exercised 
faith in Christ, can honestly do what all necessarily 
profess to do when they are baptized. And to this end 
the pastor and session must require of the applicant the 
evidence (a) of a competent knowledge of the funda- 
mental truths of Christianity, and of the nature and 
binding obligation of baptism ; (6) of the fact that he 
makes a consistent profession of a personal experimental 
faith and promise of obedience to the Lord, and of due 
subjection to the constituted authorities of the Church ; 
(c) of the fact that his outward walk and conversation 
do not belie his profession. After this, the entire re- 
sponsibility of the step must lie upon the person making 
it. The church officers have no authority to sit in judg- 
ment upon the genuineness of his Christian character, 
because God has given to no class of men the ability to 
judge aright of such matters. Some churches, as, for 
instance, our Covenanting Presbyterian brethren, de- 
mand, as a condition of adult bai)tism — or, what is the 
same thing, admission to the Church — in addition to 
the profession of faith in the fundamental truths of the 
gospel, adherence to certain "testimonies" embodying 
non-fundamental denominational peculiarities. This 
we believe to be entirely unauthorized. The Church is 
Christ's fold, designed for all his sheep. Baptism and 
the Lord's Supper are the common rights of all the Lord's 
])eople. If any man holds the fundamentals of the gos- 
pel and professes allegiance to our common Lord, and 
acts consistently therewith, we have no right to exclude 
him from his Father's house. It is just as presump- 
tuous to make terms of communion which Christ has 

40 



470 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

not made as it would be to make terms of salvation 
which he does not require. 

2d. As to infants, our Standards teach that an infant, 
one or both of whose parents is a believer (Conf. Faith, 
chap, xxviii., § 4) — i. e., one or both of whose parents 
profess faith in Christ and obedience to him (L. Cat., 
Q. 166) — is to be baptized. A bare outline of the abun- 
dant scriptural evidence of this truth may be stated as 
follows : 

(1.) In constituting human nature and ordaining the 
propagation of infant children from parents, God has in 
all respects made the standing of the child while an 
infant to depend upon that of the parent. The sin of 
the parent carries away the infant from God ; so the faith 
of the parent brings the infant near to God. 

(2.) Every covenant God has ever formed with man- 
kind has included the child with the parent — e. r/., the 
covenants fornjed with Adam, Noah (Gen. viii. 9-17), 
Abraham (Gen. xii. 2, 3 ; xvii. 7), with Israel through 
Moses (Ex. XX. 5), and again (Deut. xxix. 10-13); and 
in the opening sermon of the New Testament dispensa- 
tion men are exhorted to repent and believe, because the 
" promise (covenant) is to you and to your children,^^ etc. 
Acts ii. 38, 39. 

(3.) The Old Testament Church i& the same as the 
New Testament Christian Church, (a.) Paul says (Gal. 
iii. 8) that the covenant made with Abraham (Gen. 
xvii. 7) is the '* gospel ;" and in the whole Epistle to 
the Hebrews he shows that the Old Testament ritual 
was a setting forth of the person and work of Christ. 
See above, under Chapter vii. (6.) Faith was the con- 
dition of salvation then as well as now. Abraham 



/ BAPTISM. 471 

believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteous- 
ness (Rom. iv. 3), so that he was the great typical be- 
liever, " the father of all them that believe" (Rom. iv. 
11), and all who believe in Christ '^ are Abraham's seed 
and heirs according to the promise." Gal. iii. 29. See 
also the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. All the Israel- 
ites, even those only ''according to the flesh," professed 
to believe. And all " true" Israelites did believe. " He 
is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that cir- 
cumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a 
Jew that is one inwardly ; and circumcision is that of 
the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter." Rom. ii. 

28, 29. (c.) Circumcision, precisely in the same sense 
and to the same extent as baptism, represented a spirit- 
ual grace and bound to a spiritual profession. This is 
taught in the Old Testament, as witness Deut. xiv. 16 ; 
XXX. 6. It was the seal of the Abrahamic covenant, 
which Paul says is the gospel. It was the seal of the 
righteousness of faith. Rom. ii. 28, 29; iv. 11. True 
circumcision unites to Christ and secures all the benefits 
of his redemption. Col. ii. 10, 11. And baptism has 
now taken the precise place of circumcision : " For as 
many of you as have been baptized unto Christ have put 
on Christ, and if ye be Christ's, then ye are Abraham's 
seed and heirs, according to the promise." Gal. iii. 27, 

29. (d) This Church is identically the same with the 
New Testament Church. It has the same foundation, 
the same condition of membership, faith and obedi- 
ence, sacraments of the same spiritual significancy 
and binding force. The ancient prophecies declare that 
the same old Church is to be enlarged, not changed. 
Isa. xlix. 13-23; Ix. 1-14. The ancient covenant which 



472 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

was the fundamental charter of the Church included 
"many nations" (Gen. xvii. 4: Kom. iv. 17, 18; Gal. 
iii. 8), which was never fulfilled until after the expan- 
sion of the Church in the New Testament dispensation. 
And Paul says that the Jewish Church, instead of being 
abrogated, remains the same through all change — the 
Jewish branches being cut off, the Gentile branches 
being grafted in, and hereafter the Jews are to be re- 
stored, not to a new Church, but "tn^o their own olive 
tree:' Kom. xi. 18-24. See also Eph. ii. 11-22. 

(4.) Infants were members of the Church under the 
Old Testament from the beginning, being circumcised 
upon the faith of their parents. Now as the Churrli is 
the same Church ; as the conditions of membership 
were the same then as now ; as circumcision signified 
and bound to precisely what baptism does ; and since 
baptism has taken precisely the place of circumcision, 
it follows that the church membership of the children 
of professors should be recognized now as it was then, 
and that they should be baptized. The only ground upon 
which this conclusion could be obviated would be that 
Christ in the gospel explicitly turns them out of their 
ancient birth-right in the Church. 

(5.) On the contrary, Christ and his apostles uniformly, 
without exception, speak of and treat children on the 
assumption that they remain in the same church rela- 
tion they have always occupied. Christ, speaking to 
Jewish apostles, who had all their lives never heard of 
any other than the old Psedobaptist Church, into which 
they had been themselves born and circumcised (and 
their infant circumcision was the only baptism they 
ever received), never once warns them that he had 



BAPTISM. 473 

changed this relation. On the contrary, he says, " Of 
such is the kingdom of heaven" [i. c, new dispensation 
of the old Church). Matt. xix. 14; Luke xviii. 16. 
He commissioned Peter to feed the lambs as well as the 
sheep of the flock fJohn xxi. 15-17), and all the apos- 
tles to disciple " all nations/' by first baptizing and then 
teaching them. Matt, xxviii. 18, 19. If only one of 
the parents is a Christian, the children are said to be 
" holy," or ^' saints," which is a common designation of 
church members in the New Testament. 1 Cor. vii. 14. 
In the old Jewish Church every proselyte from the 
heathen brought his children into the Church with him. 
So the Jewish apostles write the brief history of their 
missionary labors precisely as all modern paedobaptist 
missionaries write theirs, and as no Baptist missionary 
ever wrote from the first rise of their denomination. 
There are only eleven cases of baptism recorded in the 
Acts and the Epistles. In the case of two of these, 
Paul and the Ethiopian eunuch, there were no children 
to be baptized. Five of the cases were large crowds. 
After Stephanas was baptized with the crowd among 
"the many Corinthians," Paul baptized his household. 
Also were the households of Lydia, of the jailer, of 
Crispus, and probably of Cornelius, baptized. Th^s in 
every case in which the household existed it was bap- 
tized. The faith of the head of the household is men- 
tioned, but not that of the household itself, except in one 
case, and that as a general fact. The apostles also address 
children as members of the Church. Compare Eph. i. 
1 with Eph. vi. 1-3, and Col. i. 1, 2 with Col. iii. 20. 

(6.) This has been the belief and practice of a vast 
majority of God's people from the first. The early 

40* 



474 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Church, in unbroken continuity from the days of the 
apostles, testify to their custom on this subject. The 
Greek and Roman, and all branches of the Lutheran 
and Reformed churches, agree in this fundamental point. 
The Baptist denomination, which opposes the whole 
Christian world in this matter, is a very modern party, 
dating from the Anabaptists of Germany, A. D. 1637. 

Our Standards teach that precisely the same require- 
ments are made the condition on the part of the parent 
of having his child baptized that are made the condi- 
tion of approach to the Lord's table. S. Cat., Q. 95 : 
"Infants of such as are members of the visible Church 
are to be baptized.'^ This is explained, L. Cat., Q. 
166 : infants " of parents, one or both of them profess- 
ing faith in Christ;" and Conf. Faith, ch. xxviii., § 4: 
" infants of one or both believing parents." In the 
Directory for Worship, ch. vii., the minister is to re- 
quire of the parents, among other things, " that they 
pray with and for (the child) ; that they set an example 
of piety and godliness before it, and endeavour by all 
means of God's appointment to bring up their child in 
the nurture and admonition of the Lord." The Gen- 
eral Assembly in 1794, in answer to an overture on the 
subject, declared that the above passage in the Direc- 
tory is to be understood as bringing the parent under 
an express engagement to do as there required by the 
minister.* 

Some have supposed, since the church-membership 

of the child follows from that of the parent, that 

every person who was himself introduced into the 

Church by baptism in infancy has an indefeasible right 

* Baird's Digest, p. 81. 



BAPTISM. 475 

to have his children baptized, whether he professes per- 
sonal faith in Christ or not. But this is manifestly 
absurd — (a.) Because all members of the Church have 
not a right to all privileges of church-membership. 
Thus baptized members have no right to come to the 
communion until they make a profession of personal 
faith. Until they do this they are like citizens under 
age, with their rights held in suspension, as a just pun- 
ishment for their refusal to believe. These suspended 
rights are those of communing and having their chil- 
dren baptized. (6.) A person destitute of personal 
faith can only commit perjury and sacrilege by making 
the solemn professions and taking the obligations in- 
volved in the baptismal covenant. It is a sin for them 
to do it, and a sin for the minister to help them to do it. 

Section V. — Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect 
this ordinance,^' yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably 
annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or saved 
without it,^* or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regen- 
erated.^^ 

Section VI. — The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that mo- 
ment of time wherein it is administered ;^^ yet notwithstanding, 
by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only 
offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost to 
such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, 
according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed 
time." 

Section VII. — The sacrament of baptism is but once to be 
administered to any person.^® 

13 Luke vii. 30; Ex. iv. 24-26.— i* Rom. iv. 11; Acts x. 2, 4, 22, 31, »5, 
47.-1!^ Acts viii. 13, 23.— 16 John iii. 5, 8.—" Qal. iii. 27; Tit. iii 5; Eph. 
V. 25, 26; Acta ii. 38, 41.-18 Tit. iii. 6. 

These Sections teach — 



476 CONFESSION OF FAirH. 

1st. That grace and salvation are not so inseparably 
united to baptism that only the baptized are saved, or 
that all the baptized are saved. 

2d. That, nevertheless, it is a great sin to contemn or 
neglect this ordinance, for that its observance is com- 
manded, and, in the right use of it, the grace promised 
is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred 
by the Holy Ghost to such (whether of age or infants) 
as the grace belongeth unto. 

3d. That the efficacy of baptism, even in cases in 
which the grace signified is really conveyed, is not tied 
down to the moment of time wherein the sacrament is 
administered, but is conveyed to the recipient according 
to the counsel of God^s own will, in his appointed time. 

4th. The sacrament of baptism is to be administered 
but once to any person. 

The ground taken here is intermediate between two 
opposite extremes — (1.) The extreme held by Papists 
and Ritualists of baptismal regeneration, (a.) This is 
not taught in Scripture. The language relied upon to 
prove it (John iii. 5 ; Acts ii. 38) is easily explained, on 
the principle that, in virtue of the sacramental union 
between the sign and the grace signified, what is true of 
the one is metaphorically predicated of the other. There 
is nothing said of the efficacy of baptism which is not 
likewise said of the efficacy of the truth. James i. 18; 
John xvii. 19 ; Pet. i. 23. But the mere hearing of the 
truth saves no one. (b.) Baptism cannot be the only or 
ordinary means of regeneration, because faith and re- 
pentance are the fruits of regeneration, but the pre- 
requisites of baptism. Acts ii. 38 ; viii. 37 ; xi. 47. 
'c.) Universal experience in Romanist and Ritualistic 



BAPTISM. 477 

communities prove that the baptized are not generally 
regenerated. Our Saviour says, " By their fruits ye 
shall know them." Matt. vii. 20. 

(2.) Our Standards oppose the other extreme, that 
baptism is a mere sign of grace and badge of Christian 
profession. Their doctrine is — 

(a.) That baptism does not only signify, but really 
and truly seal and convey, grace to those to whom it 
belongs according to covenant — that is, to the elect. 

(6.) But that this actual conveyance of the grace 
sealed is not tied to the moment in which the sacrament 
is administered, but is made according to the precise 
provisions as to time and circumstance predetermined 
in the eternal covenant of grace. So property may be 
sealed and conveyed in a deed to a minor, but the 
minor may not actually enter into the fruition of it until 
such time and upon such conditions as are predeter- 
mined in his father's will. 

(c.) The efficacy of the sacrament is not due to any 
spiritual or magical quality communicated to the water. 

{d.) But this efficacy does result (1) from the moral 
power of the truth which the rite symbolizes. (2.) From 
the fact that it is a seal of the covenant of grace, and a 
legal form of investing those persons embraced in the 
covenant with the graces promised therein. (3.) From 
the personal presence and sovereignly gracious opera- 
tion of the Holy Spirit, who uses the sacrament as his 
instrument and medium. 

(e.) That through these channels the grace signified 
is really conveyed to the persons to whom, according to 
the divine counsel, it truly belongs, yet this grace and 
the influences of the Holy Ghost are not so tied to the 



478 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

sacramsnt that they are never, or even infrequently, con- 
veyed in any other way. The very grace conveyed by 
the sacrament must be possessed by the adult as a pre- 
requisite to baptism, and is often subsequently experi* 
enced through other channels. 

(/.) Hence the necessity for being baptized arises (1) 
from the divine command. Obedience is of course ne- 
cessary where there is knowledge. (2.) It is the proper 
and only efficient method of making a profession of faith 
and allegiance to Christ. (3.) It is eminently helpful 
as a means of grace. 

That baptism is never to be administered more than 
once to any person appears (1) from the symbolical 
significance of the rite. It signifies spiritual regener- 
tion — the inauguration of the divine life. Of coui-se it 
can have but one commencement. (2.) It is the rite of 
initiation into the Christian Church, and as there is no 
provision made for getting out of the Church when 
once in, so there is no provision made for coming in 
more than once. (3.) The apostles baptized each in- 
dividual but once. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the first proposition taught in the first three 
Sections of this Chapter? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught? 

3. What is the third proposition there taught ? 

4. What was the origin of ceremonial washing, and the extent 
to which its observance was diflfused ? 

5. State the evidence that the baptism of John was 'not Chris- 
tian baptism ? 

6. Give your reason for believing that the baptisms performed 



BAPTISM. 479 

by the disciples of Christ, previous to his resurrection, were 
not the same with the permanent Christian sacrament of that 
name. 

7. Where do we find the true act of institution and warrant 
for this sacrament? 

8. State the proof that it is designed to be perpetually observed 
until the second coming of our Lord. 

9. What is the precise action indicated in the command to 
baptize ? 

10. Why may only lawfully-ordained ministers baptize ? 

11. What is the true statement of the Baptist position with 
respect to the act intended in the command to baptize ? 

12. What is the precise statement of our view of the subject? 

13. What is essential according to their view, and what accord- 
ing to our view ? 

14. What is the classical usage of the word haptizo ? 

15. How often does it occur in the Septuagint translation of the 
Old Testament, and in what sense ? 

16. In what sense is haptizo used in the New Testament? 

17. In what sense was the term baptism used by the disciples 
of John? 

18. In what sense is the term " baptism" or " baptisms'' used 
generally in the New Testament ? 

19. Of what is water baptism emblematical? 

20. What consequences does baptism by the Holy Ghost carry 
with it? 

21. Why are we said to be "buried with Christ in baptism," 
etc., etc.? 

22. In what terms is baptism by the Holy Ghost expressed in 
Scripture? as an immersion or as "a pouring" and "a sprink- 
ling?" 

23. What was the generally prevalent mode of efi'ecting the 
rite of purification among the Jews ? 

24. What hght do 1 Cor. x. 12, and 1 Pet. iii. 20,. throw upon 
this subject? 

25. Is it ever said that John the Baptist or the apostles of 
Christ baptized by immersion? 

26. Taking all the recorded circumstances of the several bap- 



480 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

tisras into account, on which side and to what degree is the bal- 
ance of probabihty? 

27. Why is it essential that the rite should be performed in tho 
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost? 

28. What was the Jirst design of baptism? 

29. What is the second design of baptism ? 

30. What do our Standards teach are the prerequisites for bap- 
tism on the part of adults ? 

31. What are the pastor and church session competent to 
require and to judge ? 

32. Upon whom ultimately must the responsibility rest? 

33. What do some churches require of applicants for baptism, 
in addition to a credible profession of Christianity? 

34. How can you show that such requirements are unwarrant- 
able? 

35. What do our Standards teach as to the rights of infants to 
baptism ? 

36. State the argument derived from the constitution of human 
nature and the ordinary providence of God. 

37. Do the same from the fact that all God's covenants with 
mankind include the children with the parents. 

38. Prove that the gospel Church existed under the Old Tes- 
tament. 

39. Prove that faith was the condition of salvation then a& 
now. 

40. Prove that circumcision had the same spiritual meaning 
that baptism now has. 

41. Prove that baptism has taken the precise place of circum- 
cision. 

42. Prove that the Church under the new is identically the 
same with the Church under the old dispensation. 

43. Prove that infants were recognized as members of the an- 
cient Church from its very beginning, and show how infant bap- 
tism follows as a necessary consequent. 

44. Show that Christ and his apostles always spoke of and 
treated children on the assumption of their church membership. 

45. Show from the record that the apostles always baptized 
the households of believers wherever they existed. 



BAPTISM. 481 

46. Wliat has been the faith and practice of the Christian 
Church, and what is the force of that argument? 

47. Whose children, according to our Standards, are to be bap- 
tized? 

48. What does the Directory of Worship require of parents 
bringing their children forward for baptism, and what conclusion 
follows ? 

49. What is the position and what the rights of those adults 
who, having been baptized in infancy, have never professed per- 
sonal faith in Christ ? 

50. Why ought such parties to be denied the privilege of hav- 
ing their children baptized ? 

51. What is the Jirst proposition taught in the iSfth, sixth and 
seventh Sections? 

52. What is the second proposition there taught? 

53. What is the third proposition ? 

54. What is the fourth f 

55. Between what two extremes is the doctrine as to the effi- 
cacy of the sacraments held by our Church ? 

56. What is the Romish and Ritualistic doctrine on the point? 

57. Show that the doctrine of baptismal regeneration cannot 
be true. 

58. State the different points involved in the doctrine of our 
Standards as to the efficacy of the sacraments. 

59. From what sources does this efficacy result? 

60. Show that baptism presupposes as well as conveys grace, 
and draw the necessary inference. 

61. On what ground and to what extent is baptism necessary? 

62. Show that it is to be administered to the same person but 
once. 

41 



CHAPTEK XXIX. 

OP THE lord's supper. 

Section I. — Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein he was be- 
trayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the 
Lord's Supper, to be observed in his Church unto the end of the 
world, for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself 
in his death, the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, 
their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further en- 
gagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him, and to 
be a bond and pledge of their communion with him and with 
each other, as members of his mystical body.^ 

1 1 Cor. xi. 23-26 J x. 16, 17, 21; xii. 13. 

This Section teaches us — (a.) Of the time in which, 
and the person by whom, the Lord's Sapper was insti- 
tuted. (6.) Of its perpetual obligation, (c.) Of its 
design and effect. 

1st. Of the fact that it was instituted by our Lord in 
person on the night in which he was betrayed there can 
be no doubt. The fact is explicitly declared by three 
of the evangelists (Matt. xxvi. 26, 29; Mark xiv. 22-25; 
Luke xxii. 19, 20) and by Paul (1 Cor. xi. 23, 25), and 
it remains to this day a monument of the truth of the 
gospel history with which it is associated. 

2d. That it was designed to be observed perpetually 
to the end of the world is evident — (1.) From the words 
of the institution, "Do this in remembrance of me;'' 
and again, " This do ye as oft as ye drink it, in remem- 

482 



483 

brance of me." (2.) The apostolic example. Acts ii. 
42. (3.) The frequent references to this ordinance 
which occur in the apostolic writings, and which all 
imply that it is of perpetual obligation. (4.) The uni- 
form and universal practice of the Christian Church in 
all its branches from the beginning. 

3d. As to the design of the Lord's Supper, the teach- 
ing of our Standards may be exhibited under the follow- 
ing heads : 

(1.) The Lord's Supper is a commemoration of the 
death of Christ. This is evident — (a.) From the fact 
that the bread is an emblem of his body broken, and the 
wine of his blood shed upon the cross for us. Matt. xxvi. 
28; Luke xxii. 19. (6.) From the fact that the act 
of eating the bread and of drinking the wine is declared 
both by Christ and by Paul, to be done " in remem- 
brance" of Christ, and "to show forth his death till he 
come." 

(2.) It is a seal of the gospel covenant wherein all the 
benefits of the new covenant are signified, sealed and 
applied to believers. Conf. Faith, chap, xxix., § 1 ; L. 
Cat., Q. 162; S. Cat., Q. 92. Christ says, " This cup is 
the New Testament (covenant) of my blood, which is 
shed for you " (Luke xxii. 20) ; i. e,, my blood is the 
seal of the covenant of grace, and this cup is the symbol 
of my blood, and as such is offered to you. In its use 
Christ ratifies his promise to save us on the condition of 
faith, and to endow us with all the benefits of his re- 
demption. We, in taking this pledge, solemnly bind 
ourselves to entire self-consecration and to all that is 
involved in the requirements of the gospel of Christ, not 
as we understand them, but as he intends them. It is a 



484 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

universal principle that all oaths bind in the sense in 
which they are understood by the persons who impose 
them. 

(3.) Hence it is a badge of Christian profession — a 
mark of allegiance of a citizen of the kingdom of 
heaven. 

(4.) It was designed to signify and effect our com- 
munion with Christ, in his person, in his offices and in 
their precious fruits. Paul says (1 Cor. x. 10), " The 
cup which we drink, is it not the communion {xoci^covia) 
of the blood of Christ? and the bread which we break, 
is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?" L. Cat., 
Q. 170: " So that they that worthily communicate in the 
sacrament of the Ijord's Supper, do therein feed upon 
the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal or 
carnal, but in a spiritual manner ; yet truly and really, 
while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves 
Christ crucified and all the benefits of his death. The 
bread represents the flesh and the wine represents his 
blood. We receive the symbol with the mouth cor- 
porally, we receive the flesh and blood symbolized by 
faith, yet really. " Whoso eateth and drinketh my blood 
hath eternal life, ... for my flesh is meat indeed, and 
my blood is drink indeed." 

(5.) It was designed to show forth and to effect the 
mutual communion of believers with each other as 
members of one body and of one blood. 1 Cor. x. 17: 
" For we being many are one bread and one body, for 
we are all partakers of that one bread." Union with a 
common Head necessarily implies communion with e^cb 
>ther in that Head. 



THE lord's supper. 485 

Section II. — In this sacrament Christ is not offered up to his 
Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sins of 
the quick or dead f but only a commemoration of that one offer- 
ing up of himself by himself, Upon the cross, once for all, and a 
spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same ;' 
so that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most 
abominably injurious to Christ's one only sacrifice, the alone pro- 
pitiation for all the sins of the elect* 

Section III.— The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, ap- 
pointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the 
people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and 
thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use ; and to 
take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communi- 
cating also themselves) to give both to the communicants ;^ but 
to none who are not then present in the congregation.* 

Section IV. — Private masses, or receiving this sacrament by 
a priest, or any other alone ;'' as likewise the denial of the cup to 
the people ;^ worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or 
carrying them about for adoration, and the reserving them for 
any pretended religious use ; are all contrary to the nature of this 
sacrament, and to the institution of Christ.® 

Section V. — The outward elements in this sacrament, duly 
set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such a relation to 
hiui crucified, as that truly, yet sacramentally only, they are 
sometimes called by the name of the things they represent, to 
wit : the body and blood of Christ ;^° albeit, ,m substance and 
nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they 
were before." 

Section VI. — That doctrine which maintains a enange of the 
substance of bread and wine into the substance of Christ's body 
and blood (commonly called transubstantiation), by consecration 
of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture 
alone, but even to common sense and reason ; overthroweth the 
nature of the sacrament ; and hath been, and is, the cause of 
manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.'^ 

» Heb. ix. 22, 25, 26, 28.-3 i Cor. xi. 24-26 ; Matt. xxvi. 26, 27.—* lleb. 
vii. 23, 24, 27 ; x. 11, 12, 14, 18.— 5 Matt. xxvi. 26-28 j Mark xiv. 22-24j 
Luke xxii. 19, 20 j 1 Cor. xi. 23-26.— » Acts xx. 7; 1 Cor. xi. 20.- M Cor. 
41 * 



486 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

X. 6.-8 Mark xiv. 23 ; 1 Cor. xi. 25-29.-9 Matt. xv. 9.— ^ Matt, xx ri. 26- 
28.— 11 1 Cor. xi. 26-28; Matt. xxvi. 29.— "Acts iii. 21; 1 Cor. xi. 24-26 j 
Luke xxiv. 6, 39. 

The form in which the statements made in these Sec- 
tions are put is rather negative than positive — rather de- 
signed to oppose certain Romish and Ritualistic errors 
than to make a simple statement of the true doctrine of 
the sacrament. The errors which are here opposed are 
— (1.) The doctrine of transubstantiation, or the change 
of the entire substance of the bread and wine into the 
body, blood, soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus. (2.) 
The sacrifice of the mass. (3.) The worshipping and 
reservation of the elements for any pretended religious 
use. (4.) Denying the cup to the laity. (5.) Private 
communion of the priest alone, or the sending of the 
elements to persons not present at the administration 
of the ordinance. 

In order to make the statements of these Sections 
plain, we will first state the true doctrine (1) as to what 
elements and actions are essential to the sacrament, and 
(2) as to the true relation between the sign and the 
grace signified ; and secondly j present the opposing papal 
errors upon the points above stated. 

1st. The true doctrine (1) as to the elements. These 
are — (a.) Bread. This is essential, because it is in the 
command, and because bread as the staff of life for the 
body is the proper symbol of that spiritual food that 
nourishes the soul. Christ instituted the supper at the 
passover, when the only bread at hand was unleavened. 
The early Church always used the common bread 
of daily life. The? Romish and Lutheran churches 
hold that unleavened bread should be used ; the Re- 



THE lord's supper. 487 

formed churches have uniformly held that the bread 
intended, and that best fulfils the conditions of tne sym- 
bol, is the common bread of daily life — not the swe^st 
cake used in so many of our old churches. (6.) Wine — 
that is, oivo^^ the fermented juice of the grape. Matt. 
ix. 17; John ii. 3-10; Kom. xiv. 21; Eph. v. 18; 1 
Tim. iii. 8; v. 23; Titus ii. 3. This is made essential 
by the command and example of Christ, and by the 
uniform custom of the Christian Church from the 
beginning, 

(2.) As to the sacramental actions which are essential 
to this ordinance, (a.) The consecration. This in- 
cludes the repetition of the words of Christ used in the 
institution, together with a prayer in which the divine 
blessing is invoked upon the worshippers in the use of 
the ordinance, and so much of the elements as shall be 
used in the sacrament set apart from a common to a 
sacred use. (See § iii. of this Chapter). The words which 
express this in the Scripture are ko-^aptazio) (Luke xxii. 
19), and iuXoyio) (Matt. xxvi. 36), and (1 Cor. x. 16). 
(b.) The breaking of bread. This is symbolical of the 
rending of Christ's body on the cross, and of all the com- 
municants being many feeding upon one Christ, as upon 
one bread. It is particularly mentioned in every ac- 
count given of the institution by the evangelists. Matt. 
xxvi. 26; Mark xiv. 22; Luke xxii. 19; 1 Cor. xi. 24. 
See 1 Cor. x. 16. In Acts ii. 42 the whole ordinance 
is designated from this constituent action. 

(c.) The distribution and reception of the elements 
This is an essential part of i,ne ordinance, which is not 
completed when the minister consecrates the elements, 
nor until they are actually received and eaten and drunk 



488 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

by the people. Christ says : " This do ye, in remem- 
brance of me." Paul adds, " For as oft as ye eat this 
bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death 
till he comes." So that the essence of the sacrament 
consists in the eating and the drinking. 

2d. The papal errors condemned in these Sections are 
(1) their doctrine of transnbstantiation or conversion of 
substance. The Council of Trent teaches, sess. xiii. 
cans. 1-4, that the whole substance of the bread is 
changed into the literal body, and the whole sub- 
stance of the wine is changed into the literal blood of 
Christ, so that only the appearance or sensible proper- 
ties of the bread and wine remain, and the only sub- 
stances present are the true body and blood, soul and 
divinity of our Lord. And thus he is objectively pre- 
sented to and is eaten and drunk by every recipient, 
believer and unbeliever indifferently, and thus he re- 
mains before and after the communion, his very body 
and blood. Godhead and manhood shut up in a vessel, 
carried about, elevated, worshipped, etc. 

The Lutherans hold that while the bread and the 
wine remain, nevertheless at the words of consecration 
the real body and blood of Christ, though invisible, are 
really present in, with and under the bread and wine. 

The only ground of this doctrine is the word of our 
Lord, " This is my body." They hold the word " is " 
is literal; all the Reformed churches hold it must mean 
" represents," " symbolizes." This is a frequent usage 
of the word in Scripture. " The seven good kine are 
the seven years, and the seven good ears ar^e tlie seven 
years." Gen. xli. 26, 27; Ezek. xxxvii. 11; Dan. vii. 
21; Luke xii. 1 ; Rev. i. 20. Besides, when our Lord 



THE lord's supper. 489 

said this and gave them the bread to eat, he was sitting 
by them in his sound, undivided flesh, eating and drink- 
ing with them. 

This doctrine, then, is false — (a) because it is not taught 
in Scripture ; (6) because it confounds the very idea of 
sacrament, making the sign identical with the thing it sig- 
nifies, (c.) It contradicts our senses, since we see, smell, 
taste and feel bread and wine, and do never either see 
or smell or taste or feel flesh and blood, {d.) It con- 
tradicts reason, for reason teaches that qualities cannot 
exist except as they inhere in some substance, and that 
substance cannot be known and cannot act except by 
its qualities. But this doctrine supposes that the quali- 
ties of bread and wine remain without any substance, 
and that the substance of flesh and blood remains with- 
out any qualities, (e.) It is absurd and impossible, 
because Christ's glorified body is still material, and 
therefore finite, and therefore not omnipresent in all 
places on earth, but absent at the right hand of God in 
heaven. 

(2.) Their doctrine as to the mass as a sacrifice. The 
Council of Trent teaches (sess. xxii., cans. 1-3) that the 
Eucharist is both a sacrament and a sacrifice. As a 
sacrament, the soul of the recipient is nourished by the 
real body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, which he 
eats in the form of a wafer. As a sacrifice, it is " an 
external oblation of the body and blood of Christ offered 
to God in recognition of his supreme lordship under 
the appearance of bread and wine visibly exhibited 
by a legitimate minister, with the addition of certain 
prayers and ceremonies pn scribed by the Church, for 
the greater worship of God \nd edification of the peo- 



490 CONFESSION OP FAITH. 

pie."* This IS not a mere act in commemoration of the 
one sacrifice upon the cross, but a constantly-repeated 
real, although bloodless, expiatory sacrifice, atoning for 
fclih and propitiating God.f 

This doctrine is false, because (a) it is nowhere taught 
in Scripture. (6.) The Christian ministry are never 
called or spoken of as priests, but as " teachers " and 
'^ rulers." (c.) The one sacrifice of Christ on the cross 
was perfect, and excludes all others. Heb. ix. 25-28 ; 
X. 10-27. (d.) The same ordinance cannot be both a 
sacrament and a sacrifice. Christ says that by eating 
and drinking we are "to show forth his death," and "to 
do this in remembrance of him." The same act cannot 
be a commemoration of one sacrifice, and itself an actual 
sacrifice having intrinsic sin-expiating efficacy. 

(3.) Since the Papists hold that the entire substance 
of the bread and wine is permanently changed into the 
body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, they conse- 
quently maintain that the principal intention of the 
ordinance is accomplished when the words of consecra- 
tion are pronounced and the change effected. Hence 
they preserve the host carefully shut up in the pyx, 
elevate and adore and carry it about in their processions. 

All this stands or falls with the doctrine of transub- 
stantiation, before refuted. 

(4.) After the establishment of the doctrine of tran- 
substantiation, there arose the natural fear lest some of 
the august person of the Lord should be spilt or lost 
from the crumbling of the bread or the spilling of the 
wine. Hence the bread is prepared in little wafers which 

* Dens, vol. v., p. 358. 

t Council Trent, sess. xxii., can. 3. 



491 

cannot crumble, and the cup is denied to the laity and 
confined to the priests. To comfort the laity they teach 
as the blood is in the flesh, and as the soul is in the 
body, and as the divinity is in the soul of Christ, that 
the whole person — body, blood, soul and divinity— of 
Christ is equally in every particle of the bread, so that 
he who receives the bread receives all.* 

(5.) In opposition to the manifold abuses of this 
ordinance which prevail among the Romanists, our 
Standards, in common with the general judgment of 
the Reformed churches, teach that the Lord's Supper is 
essentially a communion, in which the fellowship of the 
believer with Christ and with his fellow-believers is set 
forth by their eating and drinking of the same bread 
and the same cup. It follows that it should not be sent 
to persons not present at the administration, nor admin- 
istered by the officiating priest to himself alone. In 
particular cases, however, it may be administered in 
private houses for the benefit of Christians long confined 
by sickness, provided that the officers and a sufficient 
number of the members of the church be present to pre- 
serve the true character of the ordinance as a communion. 

Section VII. — ^Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the 
visible elements in this sacrament,^' do then also inwardly by 
faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but 
spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all bene- 
fits of his death ; the body and blood of Christ being then not 
corporally or carnally in, with or under the bread and wine; yet 
as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that 
ordinance as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.** 

Section VIII. — Although ignorant and wicked men receive 
the outward elements in this sacrament, yet they receive not the 
* Council of Trent, sess. xxi., cans. 1-3. 



492 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

thing signified thereby, but by their unworthy coming thereunto 
are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord to their own dam- 
nation. Wherefore all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are 
unfit to enjoy communion with him, so are they unworthy of the 
Lord's table, and cannot, without great sin against Christ, while 
they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries,^^ or be admit- 
ted thereunto.^® 

13 I Cor. xi. 28.— 14 1 Cor. x. 16.— « 1 Cor. xi. 27-29; 2 Cor. vi. 14-16— 
i« 1 Cor. V. 6, 7, ]3; 2 Thess. iii. 6, 14, 15; Matt. vii. 6. 

These Sections teach the Reformed doctrine as to the 
relation which in the Lord's Supper subsists between 
the sign and the grace signified — that is, as to the 
nature of the presence of Christ in the sacrament, and 
the sense in which, consequently, the worthy recipient 
is said to feed upon the body and blood of the Lord. 
This Reformed doctrine may be stated as follows : 

1st. The bread and wine — always remaining mere 
bread and wine, without change — represent, by the 
divine appointment, the flesh and blood of the Re- 
deemer offered as a sacrifice for sin. The relation 
between the bread and wine and the body and blood is 
purely moral or representative. 

2d. The body and blood are present, therefore, only 
virtually — that is, the virtues and effects of the sacri- 
fice of the body of the Redeemer on the cross are made 
present and are actually conveyed in the sacrament to 
the worthy receiver by the power of the Holy Ghost, 
who uses the sacrament as his instrument according to 
his sovereign will. 

3d. When it is said, therefore, that believers receive 
and feed upon the body and blood of Christ, it is meant 
that they receive not by the mouth, but through faith, 
the benefits secured by Christ s sacrificial death upon 



493 

the cross — that this feeding upon Christ is purely spir- 
itual, accomplished through the free and sovereign 
agency of the Holy Ghost, and through the instrumen- 
tality and in the exercise of faith alone. So that in no 
case is it ever done by the unbeliever. The unbeliever 
therefore, receiving the outward sign with his mouth 
while he fails to receive the inward grace in his soul, 
only increases his own condemnation and hardens his 
own heart by the exercise. All, therefore, who are 
known to be unbelievers, and whose unbelief is made 
manifest either by their ignorance or their ungodliness, 
should be prevented, both for their own sake and for 
the Church's sake, from coming to the Lord's table 
until they are able to make a credible profession of their 
faith. 

4th. Hence, also, it follows that believers do in the 
same sense receive and feed upon the body and blood of 
Christ at other times without the use of the sacrament, 
and in the use of other meaus of grace — as prayer, med- 
itation on the Word, etc.* 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What are the subjects treated of in the first Section? 

2. State the evidence that this ordinance was instituted imme- 
diately by the Lord in person. 

3. State the proof that it was designed to be perpetually ob- 
served in the Church until the second coming of Christ. 

4. What is the first point taught in our Standards as to the 
design of the Lord's Supper? 

6. State the proof upon which that position rests. 

* Dr. Charles Hodge's Lectures. The Consensus Tigurinus of Cal- 
vin, caps. 19-26, inclusive. 
42 



491 CONFESSION OP FAITH. 

6. What is the second point taught as to its design 

7. Prove the correctness of that position. 

8. What is the third point taught as to the design of this ordi- 
nance ? 

9. What is the fourth point taught? 

10. Prove the correctness of that position. 

11. What is the fifth point taught as to the design of the 
Lord's Supper? 

12. In what/orm are the statements involved in second, third, 
fourth, fifth and sixth Sections of this Chapter presented? 

13. What are the five Romish errors with respect to the Lord's 
Supper there denied ? 

14. What, according to the true doctrine, are the elements 
essential to this ordinance? 

15. What kind of bread is proper? and assign the reason. 

16. Prove that bread is essential to the ordinance, and assign 
the reason. 

17. Prove that the "wine" intended is the fermented juice of 
the grape, and assign the reason that its use is essential. 

18. How are the elements consecrated, and what is intended 
by that term in this application of it? 

19. What is the sjanbohcal import of the "breaking of bread?" 
And prove that it is one of the essential sacramental actions. 

20. Prove that the distribution of the elements to and their 
reception by the communicants are integral and essential parts of 
the ordinance. 

21. What does the word " transubstantiation " mean? 

22. State the Romish doctrine as to the change of the bread 
and wine into the flesh, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. 

23. What is the Lutheran doctrine upon the subject, and how 
far does it agree with and how far differ from the Romish doc- 
trine? 

24. What is their only biblical ground for this doctrine ? 

25. What is the true meaning of the word "is" in the words 
of institution, "This is my body" ? and prove your answer. 

26. Show that this doctrine is unsupported by Scripture, and 
Bhow how it contradicts the senses and reason. 

27. Show why it is absurd and impossible. 



THE lord's supper. 495 

28. What distinction do they make in regard to the pretended 
twofold character of the Eucharist? 

29. What is their doctrine as to the sacrifice of the mass ? 

30. Prove that this doctrine is radically false and injurious. 

31. What are the serious objections to calling the communion- 
table an altar, and the minister a priest ? 

32. Why do Romanists hold that the distribution and recep- 
tion of the elements are not essential parts of this ordinance, and 
how do they treat the consecrated elements ? 

33. Why do they withhold the cup from the laity, and on 
what grounds do they pretend that the cup is not necessary as 
well as the bread to valid communion ? 

34. What papal and Ritualistic error as to private communion 
is opposed in these Sections, and on what grounds ? 

35. Under what circumstances, and in what manner may the 
communion be properly administered in private houses ? 

36. What are the subjects treated of in the seventh and eighth 
Sections of this Chapter ? 

37. What is the ^r5f proposition taught? 

38. What is the true nature of the relation subsisting between 
the sign and the grace signified? 

39. In what sense are the body and blood of Christ present in 
the sacrament ? 

40. In what sense is the believer said to feed upon " the body 
and blood of Christ" ? 

41. By whose agency is this alone accomplished? 

42. What is the relation of the Holy Spirit to the sacrament, 
and the blessing it conveys ? 

43. What relation does the faith of the recipient sustain to the 
blessing signified and conveyed ? 

44. What effect has this ordinance upon the unbeliever? 

45. How are those known to be ignorant or unworthy to be 
treated in this regard ? 

46. Do believers ever receive the same grace without the use 
of the sacrament, and how ? 



CHAPTER XXX 



OF CHURCH CENSURES. 



Section I. — The Lord Jesus, as King and Head of his Church, 
hath therein appointed a government in the hand of church 
officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.* 

1 Isa. ix. 6, 7; 1 Tim. v. 17; 1 Thess. v. 12; Acts xx. 17, 18; Heb. 
xiii. 7, 17, 24; 1 Cor. xii. 28; Matt, xxviii. 18-20. 

The principle designated Erastianism, which has 
been practically embodied in all the State churches of 
the Old World, includes the following elements: (1.) 
That the Church is an organ of the State to accomplish 
one of its general functions, and consequently that there 
is no government of the Church independent of that of 
the State, but that its officers, its laws and their admin- 
istration are in all things subject to the civil govern- 
ment. (2.) That all the subjects of the State are, ipso 
facto, members of the Church, and entitled to all its 
ordinances. (3.) That the duties and prerogatives of 
(rhurch officers include simply the functions of teaching 
and administering the ordinances, and do not include 
discipline, because, according to this view, to exclude 
a man from Church ordinances is to deny him his civil 
rights as a citizen. 

In opposition to this doctrine, our Confession in this 
Section teaches — 

496 



CHURCH CENSURES. 497 

1st. That our Lord Jesus Christ, as meditatorial King, 
has appointed a government for his Church ; and, 

2d. That this church government is distinct in all 
respects from the civil government. 

1st. Christ the God-man, as mediatorial King, by his 
inspired apostles and their writings, appointed a govern- 
ment for his Church, and by his providence and Spirit 
he continues graciously to administer it to the end of 
time. Hence the Church is a theocratic kingdom. All 
authority and power descends, and does not ascend. 
Pastors and elders teach and rule in the name of God, 
and not of man. It is the commission of Christ, and not 
of the Churchy that the minister carries with him, and 
by authority of which he acts. The Church only wit- 
nesses to the genuineness of this commission, and sees that 
it is faithfully discharged by the bearer of it. Hence 
all the power of church officers, either in their several 
or collective capacity, is ministerial and declarative. 
They have only to define what . Christ has taught, to 
carry that teaching to all men, and to execute the laws 
he has given, and to administer the penalties he has 
designated according to his will and in his name. 

2d. This theocratic government of the Church which 
Christ has established is entirely independent of the civil 
government. To very many in Europe it appeared im- 
possible that two independent governments should exer- 
cise jurisdiction at the same time over the same subjects 
without constant collision. But the experience of the 
dissenting bodies and free churches of Great Britain, 
and of all the churches in America, abundantly proves 
that there is no danger of interference whatever when 
both the Church and the State confine themselves to 

42 * 



498 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

their respective provinces. The persons subject to the 
juiisdiction of the government of the Church are also 
subject to the jurisdiction of the government of the State, 
but the ends, the laws, the methods and the sanctions 
of the two are so different that the one never can any 
more interfere with the other than waves of colour can 
interfere with vibrations of sound. 

While all Christians, with the exception of the Eras- 
tians, agree with the two principles taught in this Sec- 
tion as thus generally stated, they differ very much as 
to the human agents with whom Christ has deposited 
this power, and whom he uses as his instruments in 
administering it. There are four radically different 
theories on this subject: 

" 1st. The popish theory, which assumes that Christ, 
the apostles and believers constituted the Church while 
our Saviour was on earth, and this organization was 
designed to be perpetual. After the ascension of our 
Lord, Peter became his vicar, and took his place as the 
visible head of the Church. This primacy of Peter, as 
the universal bishop, is continued in liis successors, the 
bishops of Rome ; and the apostleship is perpetuated in 
the order of prelates. As in the primitive Church no 
one could be an apostle who was not subject to Christ, 
so now no one can be a prelate who is not subject to the 
pope. And as then no one could be a Christian who 
was not subject to Christ and the apostles, so now no 
one can be a Christian who is not subject to the pope 
and the prelates. This is the Romish theory of the 
Church. A vicar of Christ, a perpetual college of apos- 
Jes, and the people subject to their infallible control. 

** 2d. The prelatical theory assumes the perpetuity of 



CHURCH CENSURES. 499 

the apostleship as the governing power in the Church, 
which therefore consists of those who profess the true 
religion and are subject to apostle-bishops. This is the 
Anglican or High-Church form of this theory. In its 
Low-Church form, the prelatical theory simply teaches 
that there was originally a threefold order in the minis- 
try, and that there should be now. But it does not 
affirm that mode of organization to be essential. 

" 3d. The Independent or Congregational theory in- 
cludes two principles : first, that the governing and ex- 
ecutive power in the Church is in the brotherhood ; and 
secondly, that the church organization is complete in 
each worshipping assembly, which is independent of - 
every other. 

"4th. The fourth theory is the Presbyterian. , . . 
This includes the following affirmative statement : (1.) 
The people have a right to a substantive part in the 
government of the Church. (2.) Presbyters who labour 
in word and doctrine are the highest permanent officers 
of the Church, and all belong to the same order. (3.) 
The outward and visible Church is, or should be, one, 
in the sense that a smaller part is subject to a larger, 
and a larger to the whole. It is not holding one oi* 
these principles that makes a man a Presbyterian, but 
his holding them all.^'* 

Christ has in fact vested all ecclesiastical power in the 
Church as a whole, none of its members being excluded; 
yet not in the Church as a mob, but as an organized 
body consisting of members, their representatives ruling 
elders, and ministers or bishops. Elders or bishops 

* " What is Presbyterianism ?" Rev. C. Hodge, D.D. : Pres. Board 
of PuU 



500 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

were ordained by the apostles, have always continued 
in the Church, and were designed to be perpetuated as 
the. highest class of officers in the Church. 1 Tim. iii. 1; 
Eph. iv. 11, 12. All Church power vests, then, jointly 
in the lay and clerical element, in the ministers together 
with the people. 

" Ruling elders are properly the repeesentatives 
OF THE PEOPLE, chosen by them for the purpose of ex- 
ercising government and discipline in conjunction with 
pastors or ministers.^'* *^ The powers, therefore, exercised 
by our ruling elders are powers which belong to the lay 
members of the Church.'' "They are chosen by them to 
act in their name in the government of the Church. 
A representative is one chosen by others to do in their 
name what they are entitled to do in their own persons; 
or rather to exercise the powers which radically inhere 
in those for whom they act. The members of a State 
Legislature or of Congress, for example, can exercise 
only those powers which are inherent in the people.''t 

Section II.— To these officers the keys of the kingdom of 
heaven are committed ; by virtue whereof they have power 
respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom 
against the impenitent, both by the Word and censures ; and to 
open it unto penitent sinners by the ministry of the gospel and 
by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require.^ 

Section III. — Church censures are necessary for the reclaim- 
ing and gaining of offending brethren : for deterring of others 
from the Uke offences; for purging out of that leaven which 
might infect the whole lump ; for vindicating the honour of 
Christ and the holy profession of the gospel, and for preventing 
the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the Church if 

* "Form of Government," chap, iii., § 2; chap. v. 
t •' What is Presbyterianism?" Rev. C. Hodge, D.D. 



CHURCH CENSURES. 601 

they should suiFer his covenant and the seals thereof U be pro- 
faned by notorious and obstinate offenders.' 

Section IV. — For the better attaining of these ends, the ofiS- 
cers of the Church are to proceed by admonition, suspension from 
the sacrament of the Jjord's Supper for a season, and by excom- 
munication from the Church, according to the nature of the 
crime and demerit of the person.* 

2 Matt. xvi. 19 ; xviii. 17, 18 ; John xx. 21-23 ; 2 Cor. ii. 6-8.-3 i Qor. 
V ; 1 Tim. v. 20 ; Matt. vii. 6 ; 1 Tim. i. 20 ; 1 Cor. xi. 27 ; Jude 23.— * 1 
Thess. V. 12; 2 Thess. iii. 6, 14, 15 j 1 Cor. v. 4, 5, 13; Matt, xviii. 17; 
Tit. iii. 10. 

These Sections teach — 

1st. As to the nature and extent of the power con- 
ferred upon the Church of admitting and excluding from 
the fold, and of disciplining its members. 

2d. As to the ends of this discipline. 

3d. As to the methods through which it should be 
administered. 

All Church power must be exercised in an orderly 
manner through the officers spoken of above, freely 
chosen for this purpose by the brethren ; and it re- 
lates — " 1. To matters of doctrine. She has a right to 
set forth a public declaration of the truths which she 
believes, and which are to be acknowledged by dll who 
enter her communion. That is, she has a right to frame 
creeds or confessions of faith, as her testimony for the 
truth and her protest against error. And as she has 
been commissioned to teach all nations, she has the right 
of selecting teachers, of judging of their fitness, of 
ordaining and sending them forth into the field, and of 
recalling and deposing them when unfaithful. 2. The 
Church has pow<^r to set down rules for the ordering of 
public worship 3. She has power to make rules for 



502 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

her own government; such as every Church has in its 
book of discipline, constitution or canons, etc. 4. She 
ha^ power to receive into fellowship, and to exclude the 
unworthy from her own communion." * 

This last power is commonly styled " the power of 
the keys ;'^ i. e. of opening and closing the doors of the 
Church, of admitting or excluding from sealing ordi- 
nances. Matt. xvi. 19. In view of two unquestionable 
facts — (a) to forgive sin is an incommunicable attribute 
of God and Christ ; (b) God has given to no class of 
men the faculty of absolutely discriminating the good 
from the bad — it follows that the Church power of open- 
ing and shutting, of binding and loosing, spoken of in 
Matt. xvi. 19 and in the second Section of this Chapter, 
is purely ministerial and declarative. Church censures 
declare simply what is, to the best of their knowledge, in 
the opinion of the church officers pronouncing them, the 
mind and will of Christ in the case. And they have 
direct binding effect only in so far as the relations of the 
person censured to the visible Church is concerned. 
They can have effect upon the relations of the censured 
to God and to Christ only in so far as they represent 
the will of Christ in the case, and because they do. 

The ends of Church discipline are declared to be — 
(a.) The purity of the Church, and hence the glory and 
approbation of God. (6.) The recovery of the erring 
brother himself (c.) The force of example to deter 
others from like sin. (d.) The exhibition of righteous- 
•less and fidelity to principle presented to the world 
vithout. 

The better to attain all these ends, for which the dis- 
* " What is Presbyterianism?" Rev. C. Hodge, D. D. 



CHURCH CENSURES. 503 

cipline is intended, the church officers should — (1.) Pro- 
ceed in a regular order to administer discipline, using, 
according to their character, first all means of moral re- 
clamation before they proceed to absolute exclusion. 
The proper method of procedure, under all circum- 
stances, is plainly stated in the " Book of Discipline," 
which forms part of the Confession of Faith of our 
Church. The successive stages of discipline there un- 
folded are — (a) private admonition, (6) public admoni- 
tion, (c) suspension, (d) excommunication, 

(2.) The discipline should be wisely and justly pro- 
portioned " to the nature of the crime and demerit of the 
person." 

QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the Jirst point involved in the Erastian doctrine as 
to the relation of the Church to the State ? 

2. What is the second, point involved ? 

3. What is the third? 

4. What is the Jirst point in opposition to this heresy taught in 
the first Section of this Chapter? 

5. What is the second point here taught? 

6. What is the source of all Church power? 

7. What, then, is the nature of all Church power as exercised by 
human agents? 

8. What has been the ground of the jealousy with which the 
independent self-government of the Church has always been re- 
garded in Europe ? 

9. How has this jealousy been shown to be groundless? 

10. Why, and upon what conditions, is there no danger of 
interference between the two orders of government? 

11. What diiference of opinion has prevailed as to the human 
agents with whom Christ has vested this power ? 

12. State the main elements of the Popish theory. 



504 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

13. State the main elements of the Prelatical theory. 

14. Do the same with regard to the Congregational or Inde 
pendent theory'. 

15. Do the same with regard to the Presbyterian theory. 

16. What are the two orders of church officers to whom the 
government of the Church is committed ? 

17. What are elders or bishops? 

18. What is the character of the office of the ruling elders? 

19. Whom do they represent, and what parties exercise their 
inherent powers through them ? 

20. What are the three subjects set forth in the second, third 
and fourth Sections ? 

21. How must all Church power be exercised ? 

22. What is the^rs^ principal province of Church power? 

23. What is the second province ? 

24. What is the third f 

25. What is the fourth? 

26. What is the power of discipline called ? 

27. What do you mean by saying that it is simply ministerial 
and declarative ? 

28. Prove that it is so. 

29. State what are the several ends which Church discipline is 
designed to effect. 

30. What is the^rs^ thing that must be observed in the due 
administration of discipline ? 

31. Where are the rules regulating discipline in the Presbyte- 
rian Church laid down ? 

32. What is the second thing that must be observed ? 



CHAPTEH XXXI. 

OF SYNODS AND COUNCILS. 

ii^ECTiON I. — For the better government and further edification 
of the Church, there ought to be such assemblies as are com- 
monly called synods or councils ;^ and it belongeth to the over- 
seers and other rulers of the particular churches, by virtue of 
their office and the power which Christ hath given them for edi- 
fication, and not for destruction, to appoint such assemblies,^ and 
to convene together in them as often as they shall judge it expe- 
dient for the good of the Church." 

1 Acts XV. 2, 4, 8.-2 Acts xv.— 3 Acts xv. 22, 23, 25. 

Ab we have seen in the last Chapter, all Church 
power is vested by Christ in the Church as a whole, not 
as a n^ob, but as an organized body. As organized, the 
Church consists of presbyters or bishops and the people, 
and tht people as represented by lay or ruling elders. 
This necessarily gives origin to the session or parochial 
presbytery, consisting of the bishop or pastor and the 
ruling elders or representatives of the people. In this 
body the entire ecclesiastical power of the whole con- 
gregation is vested. It admits candidates to sealing 
ordinances, exercises pastoral care and discipline over 
the members and provides for the instruction of the 
flock and regulates public worship. 

In the Episcopal Church this governing power vests 
with the rector. In the Congregational churches it is 

43 505 



606 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

exercised immediately by the whole body of the bi other- 
hood in person. In the Presbyterian Church it vests 
with pastor and people — the people, however, acting 
only through their permanent representatives, the ruling 
elders. 

But the third great principle of Presbyterianism, as 
stated in the preceding Chapter, is that the whole 
Church of Christ on earth " is one in such a sense that 
a smaller part is subject to a larger, and a larger to the 
whole. It has one Lord, one faith, one baptism. The 
principles of government laid down in the Scriptures 
bind the whole Church. The terms of admission and 
the legitimate grounds of exclusion are everywhere the 
same. The same qualifications are everywhere to be 
demanded for admission to the sacred office, and the 
same grounds for deposition. Every man who is prop- 
erly received as a member of a particular church becomes 
a member of the Church universal; every one rightfully 
excluded from a particular church is excluded from the 
whole Church ; every one rightfully ordained to the 
ministry in one church is a minister of the universal 
Church, and when rightfully deposed in one he ceases 
to be a minister in any. Hence, while every particular 
church has a right to manage its own affairs and admin- 
ister its own discipline, it cannot be independent and 
irresponsible in the exercise of that right. As its mem- 
bers are the members of the Church universal, and those 
whom it excommunicates are, according to the scriptural 
theory, delivered unto Satan and cut off from the com- 
munion of the saints, the acts of a particular church 
become the acts of the whole Church, and therefc^re the 
whole has a right to see that they are performed accord- 



SYNODS AND COUNCILS. 507 

Ing to the law of Christ. Hence, on the one hand, the 
right of appeal, and on the other the right of review 
and control.^^* 

The principle contained in the above statement was 
certainly acted upon in the apostolic age, and it has 
been practically recognized and acted, upon with more 
or less fidelity in all branches of the Christian Church 
ever since. 

" A controversy having arisen in the Church at An- 
tioch, concerning the Mosaic law, instead of settling it 
among themselves as an independent body, they referred 
the case to the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, and there 
it was authoritatively decided (not by the apostles alone, 
but ' by the apostles and elders and the whole Church,' 
Acts XV. 22) — not for that church (Antioch) only, but 
for all others. Paul, therefore, in his next missionary 
journey, as ' he passed through the cities, delivered to 
them,' it is said, ' the decrees for to keep, which were 
ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jeru- 
salem.' Acts xvi. 4."t 

Hence, in carrying these principles into effect, the con- 
stitution of the Presbyterian Church (see Book I. of 
Government), provides for the erection and operation of 
a regularly-graduated series of ecclesiastical councils. 

(1.) Every particular congregation is governed, as we 
have seen, by a session or parochial presbytery, consist- 
ing of its pastor and the ruling elders as the representa- 
tives of the people. The whole govermental power of 
that particular church vests in that session, and all 
trials for the discipline of any of its members must 
originate there. Its decisions are final with respect to 
* " What is Presby terianisra ?" Dr. C. Hodge. f Ibid. 



508 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the matters subject to its jurisdiction, except wben, after 
liaving been regularly carried up by appeal, they have 
been reversed by a superior court. 

(2.) There is the classical Presbytery, which consists 
of all the pastors or bishops and the churches in a city 
or neighbourhood who can conveniently meet together 
and unite in the exercise of ecclesiastical government. 
The churches appear in the Presbytery by representa- 
tives from the sessions of particular churches, so regu- 
lated that the number of lay representatives shall exactly 
equal the number of pastors ; and these representatives 
of the people in all respects exercise equal power with 
the pastors. All the powers of these bodies vest in 
them as bodies, and not in the members severally. 
Whatever they are competent to decide or to execute, 
can be done only by the members jointly while in ses- 
sion, and not at all by them separately or even jointly 
in any other capacity. Ordained ministers are not 
members of particular churches, but belong in the first 
ifistance to the Presbytery. The Presbytery, therefore, 
in the first instance, examines and decides upon the 
qualifications of candidates, licenses and ordains them, 
and in the case of the discipline of a minister the pro- 
cess originates in the Presbytery to which alone the 
pastor is directly responsible. A licentiate is in no 
sense or degree a minister. He is purely a layman — 
i. e.j a private member of a particular church — taken 
under care of Presbytery experimentally, and as a part 
of his trials or tests temporarily allowed to preach be- 
fore the people, that they may pass their final judgment 
upon his qualifications and acceptability as a candidate 
fir the ministry. 



SYNODS AND COUNCILS. 509 

(3.) Synods are only large Presbyteries, consisting of 
all the Presbyteries in full of a province. 

(4.) The General Assembly of the whole Church, 
which, like all the other bodies, consists of an equal 
number of pastors and of the representatives of the peo- 
ple, of necessity is composed of the representatives of 
the constituent Presbyteries, instead of the Presbyteries 
themselves in full. 

In virtue of the principle of appeal, any question 
rriginating in a church session, or any other subordinate 
court, may be carried up in succession through all the 
series to the General Assembly, whose decisions when 
once made are final. 

In virtue of the principle of review and control, 
each church court of every grade above a church ses- 
sion has the right and is under obligation to review 
" the records of the proceedings of the j udicatory next 
below," and of course to judge of those proceedings, and 
secure their correction when wrong. And each court, 
including the church session, is an executive as well as 
a judicial body, and therefore has an inherent right of 
supervision and of governmental control over the entire 
field subject to their jurisdiction. Hence a superior 
judicatory, in default of the proper action of the inferior 
judicatory to which the case more immediately belongs, 
may inaugurate investigation and apply discipline im- 
mediately in the case of any person within its legiti- 
mate bounds. 

Sectioi^ II. — It belongeth to synods and councils ministerially 

to determine controversies of faith and cases of conscience ; to set 

down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public 

worship of God and government of his Church ; to receive com- 

43* 



510 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

plaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to de 
termine the same ; which decrees and determinations, if conso- 
nant to the word of Grod, are to be received with reverence and 
submission not only for their agreement with the Word, but also 
for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of 
God, appointed thereunto in his word.* 

Section III. — All synods or councils since the apostles' times, 
whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred ; 
therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, 
but to be used as a help in both.^ 

Section IY. — Synods and councils are to handle nothing but 
that which is ecclesiastical ; and are not to intermeddle with civil 
affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of hum- 
ble petition in cases extraordinary ; or by way of advice for satis- 
faction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil 
magistrate.* 

* Acts XV. 15, 19, 24, 27-31; xvi. 4; Matt, xviii. 17-20.— ^Acts xvii. 11; 
1 Cor. ii. 6 ; 2 Cor. i. 24; Eph. ii. 20.— « Luke xii. 13, 14; John xviii. 36. 

These Sections state — (1.) The different subjects which 
come before these church courts for decision. (2.) The 
grounds upon which, and the conditions under which, 
their decisions are to be regarded as requiring submission, 
and the extent to which that submission is to be carried. 

1st. Negatively. Synods and councils have no right 
whatever to intermeddle with any affair which concerns 
the commonwealth, and they have no right to presume 
to give advice to, or to attempt to, influence the officers 
of the civil government in their action as civil officers, 
except (a) in extraordinary cases, where the interests of 
the Church are immediately concerned, by the way of 
humble petition, or (6) by way of advice for satis- 
faction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by 
the civil magistrate. 

2d. Negatively. The powers of synods and councils 



SYNODS AND COUNCILS. 51 1 

are purely ministerial and declarative ; i. e., relate simply 
to the declaration and execution of the will of Christ. 
They are therefore wholly judicial and executive, and in 
no instance legislative. 

3d. Positively. It belongs to synods and councils (a) 
at proper times to form creeds and confessions of faith, 
and to adopt a constitution for the government of the 
Church. (6.) To determine particular controversies of 
faith and cases of conscience, (c.) To prescribe regula- 
tions for the public worship of God, and for the govern- 
ment of the Church, (d.) To take up and issue all cases 
of discipline, and, in the case of the superior courts, to 
receive appeals and complaints in all cases of maladmin- 
istration in the case of individual officers or subordinate 
courts, and authoritatively to determine the same. 

4th. Positively. While ecclesiastical courts have no 
right to handle or advise upon matters which belong to 
the jurisdiction of the civil magistrate, they, on the other 
hand, evidently possess an inalienable right of teaching 
church members their duty with respect to the civil 
powers, and of enforcing the performance of it as a re- 
ligious obligation. " The powers that be are ordained 
of God. . . . Wherefore ye must need be subject not 
only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake." Rom. xiii. 
1-7. That is, obedience to the civil authorities is a re- 
ligious duty, and may be taught and enforced by Church 
courts upon church members. 

5th. Negatively. All synods and councils since the 
apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err, 
and many have erred ; therefore they are not to be made 
the rule of faith or practice; but to be used as a help in 
both. Thit is, these synods and councils, consisting of 



512 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

uninspired men, have no power to bind the conscience, 
and their authority cannot exclude the right, nor excuse 
the obligation, of private judgment. If their judgments 
are unwise, but not directly opposed to the will of God, 
the private member should submit for peace' sake. If 
their decisions are opposed plainly to the word of God, 
the private member should disregard them and take the 
penalty. 

6th. Positively. But in every case in which the de- 
crees of these ecclesiastical courts are consonant to the 
word of God, they are to be received by all subject to 
the jurisdiction of said court, not only because of the 
fact that they do agreee with the word of God, but also 
because of the proper authority of the court itself as a 
court of Jesus Christ, appointed by him, and therefore 
ministerially representing him in all of its legitimate 
actions. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. In whom has Christ vested all Church power ? 

2. Through whose agency do the people exercise the powers 
inherent in them ? 

3. To what body does this necessarily give rise ? 

4. In whom does the governing power in each congregation 
vest according to the Episcopal system? 

5. In whom does this power vest according to the Congrega- 
tional system? 

6. In what body does it vest according to the Presbyterian 
system ? 

7. What is the third fundamental principle of Presbyterianism, 
!iccording to the statement made under the last Chapter? 

8. In what sense ought the unit}' of the Church to be ex- 
pressed in its outward organization? 



SYKODS AND COUNCILS. 613 

9. Why should each smaller part of the Church be subject to 
a larger, and each larger part be subject to the whole ? 

10. Prove that this principle was acted on in the apostolio 
age. 

] 1. Prove that it is, with greater or less consistency, acted upon 
in all churches. 

12. What is the lowest church court according to the Presby- 
terian system? 

13. Of what members does the church session consist, and 
what are its functions ? 

14. Of what members does a classical Presbytery consist, and 
what are its functions? 

15. In what sense are all the powers of the members of these 
church courts joint, and not several? 

16. To which body does a minister immediately belong, and to 
which is he immediately responsible ? 

17. Which body, therefore, judges of and decides upon the 
qualifications of ministers and admits them to or deposes them 
from office ? 

18. What is the precise standing of licentiates? 

19. Under the jurisdiction of what body do licentiates immedi- 
ately stand as professing Christians ? 

20. Who compose a provincial Synod, and what are its func- 
tions? 

21. Who compose the General Assembly, and what are its 
functions ? 

22. To what extent may the right of appeal be carried in the 
Presbyterian Church at present? 

23. What is the principle of "review and control," and how 
is it practically carried out by the church courts ? 

24. What subjects are defined in the second, third and fourth 
Sections of this Chapter ? 

25. What rights are denied synods and councils with respect to 
matters belonging to the jurisdiction of the civil magistrate ? 

26. What exceptions to that prohibition are made? 

27. What relations do all church courts sustain to Christ, and 
to what special functions must their governmental agency bo 
confined ? 



514 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

28. State the several classes of matters which may be legiti- 
mately considered and determined by church courts. 

29. Prove that it is the duty of church courts to instruct those 
uilder their jurisdiction with respect to the duties which Chris- 
tians owe to the civil magistrate, and to enforce by proper eccle- 
siastical means due compliance. 

30. What do our standards teach with regard to the liability 
of church courts to err ? 

31. What practical consequent follows necessarily from that 
fact? 

32. What is the true sphere of private judgment in the case? 

33. What should the Christian do in case the decision of the 
council be unwise, but not positively opposed to the revealed will 
of Christ? 

34. What is he to do in case the decision is directly opposed 
to the word of Christ ? 

35. Upon what grounds does every Christian owe submission to 
and compliance with those decisions of the courts of God's house 
which are consonant to his word ? 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

OF THE STATE OF MEN AFTER DEATH, AND OF THE 
RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD. 

Section I. — The bodies of men after death return to dust, 
and see corruption,^ but their souls (which neither die nor sleep), 
having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to Grod who 
gave them.'* The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect 
in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they 
behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full 
redemption of their bodies ;' and the souls of the wicked are cast 
into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, re- 
served to the judgment of the great day.* Besides these two 
places for souls separated from their bodies the Scripture ac- 
knowledgeth none. 

1 Gen. iii. 19; Acts xiii. 36.— * Luke xxiii. 43 j Eccles. xii. 7.— » Heb. 
xii. 23 ; 2 Cor. v. 1, 6, 8 ; Phil. i. 23 ; Acts iii. 21 ; Eph. iv. 10.—* Luke 
xvi. 23, 24; Acts i. 25; Jude 6, 7; 1 Pet. iii. 19. 

This Section teaches — 

1st. That man consists of two distinct elements, a 
soul and a body, and that death consists in their tempo- 
rary separation. 

2d. That while the body is resolved into its constitu- 
ent chemical elements, the soul of the believer is (a) 
immediately made perfect in holiness, (6) during all the 
intermediate state from death until the resurrection, 
continuas conscious, active and happy, and (c) is in the 

615 



516 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

presence of Christ, who, after his ascension, has sat down 
at the right hand of God. 

, 3d. That the souls of the wicked also continue, dur- 
ing this intermediate state, conscious and active, but in 
a state of penal torment, reserved to the judgment of 
the great day. 

4th. These conditions, though not final, are irreversi- 
ble — i. e.y none of those with Christ will be ever lost, 
and none of those in torment will be ever saved. 

5th. The Scriptures afford no ground whatever for 
the Romish doctrine that there are other places or con- 
ditions occupied by deceased men than the two above 
mentioned. 

1st. The duality of human nature, as consisting of 
two separable elements — a soul and a body — having dis- 
tinct and independent attributes and subsistence, is 
taken for granted and constantly implied in the lan- 
guage of Scripture. Thus God made the body out of 
the dust of the earth and breathed into it the breath of 
life, and so man became a living soul. Gen. ii. 7. Christ 
bids us not to " fear them which kill the body, but are 
not able to kill the soul/' Matt. x. 28. And death is 
defined in Eccles. xii. 7, a dissolution of the personal 
union of these two elements ; for '^ then shall the dust 
return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return 
unto God who gave it." In like manner Paul (2 Cor. 
V. 8 ; Phil. i. 22-24) defines it as a departing, a being 
with Christ, a ceasing to abide in the flesh, a being 
absent from the body on the part of the conscious per- 
sonal soul. 

2d. We know that when the soul leaves it the body 
is resolved into its original chemical elements, which 



«TATE OF MEN AFTER DEATH — RESURRECTION. 517 

are gradually incorporated with the shifting currents of 
matter on the surface of the earth. The Scriptures 
teach us, however, that, in spite of this flux of their 
material constituents, the real identity of our bodies is 
preserved, and that, as members of Christ, all that is 
essential to them will be ultimately preserved and 
brought to a glorious resurrection. 

As to the condition and location of the souls of men 
during the interval which elapses between the death of 
each individual and the general and simultaneous resur- 
rection of the bodies of all, what the Scriptures teach 
us may be summed up under the following heads : 

(1.) The souls of both believers and the reprobate 

continue after death conscious and active, although they 

remain until the resurrection separate from their bodies. 

(2.) The souls of believers are at their death made 

perfect in holiness. 

(3.) The souls of believers, thus perfected, are imme- 
diately introduced into the presence of Christ and con- 
tinue to enjoy bright revelations of God and the society 
of the holy angels. 

(4.) The souls of the reprobate are at once introduced 
into the place provided for the devil and his angels, and 
continue in unutterable misery. 

(5.) This state of both classes admits of no exchange 
or transfer, but their present condition is the commence- 
ment of an inevitable progression in opposite directions. 
Nevertheless, it is intermediate in the sense (a) that th^ 
persons of men continue incomplete while their souls 
and bodies are separate. (6.) That neither the redemp- 
tion of the saved nor the perdition of the lost has yet 
reached its final stage, (c.) That possibly, in the case 

44 



518 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

of the last, and very probably in the ca&e of the re 
deemed, the localities in which they are at present are 
not the same as those in which they are to dwell per- 
manently after the final award. 

(6.) As to the location of the place in which the souls 
of the reprobate suffer, the Scriptures give us no clue. 
In Jude, verse 7, it is said, " The angels which kept not 
their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath 
reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the 
judgment of the great day.'^ In Matt. xxv. 41, the 
Judge at the last day says to those ^' on the left hand, 
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, pre- 
pared for the devil and his angels." The rich man 
(Luke xvi. 23) lifted up his eyes in hell, being in tor- 
ment, while his brethren were still alive on earth. But 
where these places are situated, and whether the locality 
of torment now is identical with the locality of torment 
after the judgment, no man can tell, because God has 
not revealed it. Of course, the terms ^'up'' or 'Mown,'' 
^' under" or "above," applied to such a subject, must 
be simply metaphorical, and cannot indicate absolute 
direction when addressed promiscuously to the inhabit- 
ants of a revolving and rotating sphere. 

(7.) As to the location of the place where the re- 
deemed are now gathered, absolutely nothing is revealed, 
except that it is wherever the glorified humanity of 
Christ is. They are with Mm^ and behold his glory. 2 
Cor. v. 1-8. See, also, all the scenes opened in the 
Apocalypse. And Christ at his ascension, sat down at 
" the right hand of God," " the right hand of the Maj- 
esty on high." Mark xvi. 19 ; Rom. viii. 34 ; Heb. i. 3; 
X. 12, etc. This must be a locality, because, the human- 



STATE OF MEN AFTER DEAl'H — RESURRECTION. 519 

ity of Christ being finite, his presence marks a definik- 
place; yet the phrase "right hand of God" evidently 
marks rather the condition of honour and power to 
which Christ is raised as mediatorial King. As to the 
location of the place in which Christ and his glorified 
spouse will hold their central home throughout eternity, 
a strong probability is raised that it will be our present 
earth, first burned with fire and then gloriously replen- 
ished. See Rom. viii. 19-23; 2 Pet. iii. 5-13; Rev. 
xxi. 1. 

The proof of the main propositions above stated — viz. : 
that the intermediate state of souls is one of conscious 
activity, the redeemed being perfectly holy and happy 
with Christ, and the reprobate being with the devil and 
his angels in torment, and that these conditions are for 
ever irreversible — can be better presented collectively 
than distributively. It is as follows : The reappear- 
ance of Samuel in a conscious state, in the use of all his 
faculties, at the call of Saul and the witch of Endor 
(1 Sam. xxviii. 7-20) ; the appearance of Moses and 
Elias at the transfiguration of Christ on the mount 
(Matt. xvii. 3); Christ's address to the thief on the 
cross — " To-day thou shalt be with me in paradise" 
(Luke xxiii. 43) ; the parable of the rich man and 
Lazarus (Luke xvi. 23, 24) : Lazarus is conscious and 
active in Abraham's bosom; the rich man is in con- 
scious torment in hell (Hades), while his brethren are 
still living in the flesh. Of dying Stephen it is de- 
clared (Acts vii. 55-59) that, being full of the Holy 
Ghost, he saw the heavens opened, and Jesus Christ 
sitting at the right hand of God, and so seeing he cried, 
" Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ! and so died." 



520 CONFESSIOK OF FAITH. 

In 2 Cor. v. 1-8, Paul declares that to be at home 
ill the body is to be absent from the Lord ; and to be 
.ibsent from tlie body is to the believer to be present 
with the Lord ; and hence he says (in Phil. i. 21-24) 
that for him to die is gain, and that he was in "a strait 
betwixt two ; having a desire to depart and be with 
Christ which is far better; nevertheless to abide in the 
flesh is more needful for you." In 1 Thess. v. 10, Paul 
declares that the sleep of death is "a living together 
with Christ." In Eph. iii. 15, the Church is declared 
to be one whole family, of which at present part is in 
heaven and part on earth. In Heb. vi. 12-20, it is 
declared that after Abraham (and other ancient saints) 
had patiently endured, "Ae obtained the promises;" 
which promises, we know, were in their true meaning 
spiritual and heavenly. In Acts i. 25, Judas is said 
to have gone to his own place. In Jude 6, 7, the lost 
angels are said to be reserved in everlasting chains, 
under darkness, unto the judgment of the last day, 
suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. In Heb. vii. 
23, the spirits of the just are represented as made per- 
fect and happy with the angels in heaven. In Rev. vi. 
9-11, the souls of the martyrs are represented as under 
the altar in heaven, praying for the punishment of their 
f )rmer persecutors on earth, which of course must be 
before the resurrection. In Rev. v. 9; vii. 9; xiv. 1,3, 
the souls of believers are represented as being now with 
Christ and the holy angels. 

3d. Our Standards declare that there is no foundation 
whatever, in Scripture, for the Romish doctrine as to 
the intermediate state of deceased men. The Papists 
aold that hades or the under world embraces several 



STATE OF MEN AFTER DEATH — RESURRECTION. 521 

distinct regions, to which different classes of human 
souls are destined : (1.) The souls of unbaptized infants 
go to the " Limbus Infantum,^^ where they remain with- 
out suffering, and yet without the vision of God. (2.) 
Old Testament believers were gathered in the ** Limbus 
Patrum/' where, without suffering and yet without the 
vision of God, they remained the "spirits in prison'' 
until Christ, during the three days he continued under 
the power of death, came and released them. 1 Pet. iii. 
19, 20. (3.) All unbaptized adults, and those who have 
subsequently lost the grace of baptism, and die unre- 
conciled to the Church, go immediately to the perma- 
nent hell. (4.) All Christians who have attained a 
state of Christian perfection go immediately to heaven. 
(5.) The great mass of partially-sanctified Christians, 
dying in communion with the Church, still cumbered 
with imperfections, go to purgatory.* 

Concerning purgatory, the Council of Trent teaches — 
(a.) That there is a purifying fire through which im- 
perfect Christians must pass. (6.) That souls in purga- 
tory may be benefited by the prayers and masses offered 
in their behalf on earth. f 

This doctrine is false, because (1) it is nowhere taught 
in Scripture. (2.) It is opposed to the teaching of 
Scripture as to the intermediate state, as above shown. 
(3.) It rests upon Antichristian principles as to the 
efficacy of the atonement of Christ, as to the sin-expiat- 
ing and soul-purifying efficacy of temporary suffering, 
as to the sacrifice of the mass, and as to prayers for the 
dead, etc. 

* Cat. Kom., Pt. I., ch. vi. 
t Council of Tr^nt, sess. xxv. 
44 •» ^ 



522 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

Section II. — At the last day, such as are found ali^ e shall not 
die, but be changed ;^ and all the dead shall be raised up with the 
.selfsame bodies, and none other, although with different quali- 
ties, which shall be united again to their souls for ever.^ 

Section III. — The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power 
of Christ, be raised to dishonour ; the bodies of the just, by his 
Spirit, unto honour, and be made conformable to his own glorious 
body.' 

6 1 Thess. iv. 17; 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52.-6 job xix. 26, 27; 1 Cor. xv. 42- 
44.—'' Acts xxiv. 15 ; John v. 28, 29 ; 1 Cor. xv. 43 ; Phil. iii. 21, 

These Sections teach — 

1st. That at the last day there will be a simulta- 
neous resurrection of all the dead, both of the just and of 
the unjust. 

2d. That those who then remain living on the earth 
shall not die, but be changed. 

3d. That the very same bodies that are buried in the 
earth shall be raised and reunited to their souls, their 
identity preserved, although their qualities will be 
changed. 

4th. That the bodies of believers shall be made like 
Christ's glorious body — " a spiritual body." 

5th. That the bodies of the reprobate shall be raised 
"to dishonour. 

1st. At the last day there will be a simultaneous 
resurrection of all the dead, both of the just and the un- 
just. " And many of them that sleep in the dust of the 
earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to 
shame and everlasting contempt." Dan. xii. 2. " Marvel 
not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all 
who are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall 
come forth ; they that have done good unto the resur- 
rection of life, and thej^ that have done evil unto the 



STATE OF MEN AFTER DEATH — RESURRECTION. 523 

resurrection of damnation." John v. 28, 29. The two 
classes are to be judged simultaneously, immediately 
after their resurrection upon the second coming of the 
Lord. The sheep shall stand on the right side and the 
goats upon the left. '* And these shall go away into 
everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life 
eternal.'' Matt. xxv. 31-46 ; Rom. ii. 6-16 ; 2 Tim. i. 
6-10; Rev. xx. 11-15. 

2d. Those who are alive and remain unto the com- 
ing of the Lord shall not outstrip them which are asleep. 
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a 
shout, with the voice of an archangel and the trump of 
God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we 
which are alive and remain shall be caught up together 
with them in the clouds, to meet the I^ord in the air : 
and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thess. iv. 15-17. 
" We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in 
a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump : 
for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised 
incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Cor. xv. 
51, 52. 

3d. The very same bodies that are buried in the earth 
shall be raised and reunited to their souls, their identity 
preserved, although their qualities are changed. This 
is explicitly declared in Scripture : " Our vile body is to 
be changed." Phil. iii. 21. "This corruptible is to put 
on incorruption." 1 Cor. xv. 53, 54. "All who are in 
their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth." 
John V. 28. "They who are asleep, . . . the deaa in 
Christ shall rise." 1 Thess. iv. 13-17. Our bodies are 
now members of Christ, and they are to be raised in a 
manner analogous to his resurrect 'on, which we know 



624 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

to have been of his identical body, by the print of the 
nails and of the spear. It was seen and handled for the 
space of forty days in order to establish this very fact, 
liuke xxiv. 39 ; Acts i. 3 ; 1 Cor. xv. 4. 

There are many changes in the material elements and 
form of the human body between birth and death, and 
yet no one can for a moment doubt that the body re- 
mains one and the same throughout all. There is no 
difficulty in believing, upon the authority of God's word, 
that, in spite of the lapse of time and of all the changes, 
whether of matter or of form, it undergoes, the body of 
the resurrection will be in the same sense and to the 
same degree one with the body of death as the body of 
death is one with the body of birth. 

4th. These changes will doubtless be very great. The 
body of the believer is to be made like unto Christ's 
glorious body. Phil. iii. 21. The body of man now is 
"an animal body'' (1 Cor. xv. 44), unhappily translated 
" a natural body." It is suited to the present wants of 
man, to his present stage of development, intellectual, 
moral, social and spiritual, and to the physical conditions 
of the world he inhabits. But " flesh and blood," bone, 
muscle and nerve, ^' cannot inherit the kingdom of God; 
neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." 1 Cor. xv. 
50. But this shall be " changed." Not a new body 
substituted for the old, but the old changed into the 
new. As the seed gives birth to a new organism, so the 
corruptible will give birth to the incorruptible. For 
" there is an animal body, and there is a spiritual body." 
The spiritual body will be still material and identical 
with the body which was once animal, but it will be 
suited to the new wants of the spirits of just men made 



STATE OI' MEN AFTER DEATH — RESURRECTION. 525 

perfect — to their new stage of development, intellectual 
and spiritual — to their social relations, and to the 
physical conditions of the " new heavens and the new 
earth' wherein dwelleth righteousness." 2 Pet. iii. 12, 13. 
5th, The bodies of the reprobate shall be raised to 
dishonour. "All that are in their graves shall hear his 
voice, and shall come forth, . . . they that have done 
evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John v. 5-29. 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the firsit proposition taught in the first Section? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught ? 

3. What is the third proposition there taught? 

4. What is the fourth? 

5. Whatisthe7i/)!Af 

6. Prove that Scripture takes the duality of human nature for 
granted. 

7. How do they define death? 

8. What becomes of the body after death? 

9. What do the Scriptures reveal on the subject? 

10. What great change is wrought in the souls of believers im- 
mediately upon their death ? 

11. In what state do the souls both of believers and of the 
reprobate continue between death and the resurrection ? 

12. What is taught us as to the place to which believers go 
immediately upon death ? 

13. What is taught us as to the place to which the reprobate 
are introduced after death ? 

14. Will the conditions of either of these classes be reversed or 
interchanged ? 

15. In what respect are these states not final, but inter- 
mediate ? 

1 6. State the proof given in Scripture that the souls of be- 
lievers are conscious, active, happy and with Christ between 
death and the resurrection. 



626 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

17. State tlie proof that the souls of the reprobate are con 
scious, active, in torment and with the devils in hell immediately 
after death ? 

.18. What do the Scriptures teach as to the absolute location 
of the place of suffering ? 

19. What is to be understood by the words " up " and ' ' down, 
"under" and "above," in this relation? 

20. What do they teach as to the present location in which 
Christ and the blessed dead are gathered? 

21. What do they teach as to the future locality of that scene 
of bliss ? and state the passages which relate to the subject. 

22. What does the Romish Church teach as to the Idmhus 
Patrum and the Limbus Infantum? 

23. Who do they teach go immediately to hell, and who imme- 
diately to heaven ? 

24. What do they teach about purgatory ? 

25. State the reasons which disprove their doctrine upon this 
subject? 

26. What is {he first proposition taught in Sections ii. and iii. ? 

27. What is the second proposition there taught? 

28. What is the third proposition ? 

29. What is t\iQ fourth f 

30. What is the fifth? 

31. Prove from Scripture that the resurrection of the just and 
of the unjust will be simultaneous. 

32. Prove that those found living at the time of the second 
coming of Christ will not die, but will be " changed." 

33. Prove from Scripture that the very same body that is 
placed in the earth shall rise again. 

34. Prove that Christ rOse with the very same body. 

35. Prove that changes as to the form and as to the material 
elements of the body do not impair its real identity. 

36. What will be the nature of the resurrection body? 

37. Prove that it will be made like Christ's glorified body. 

38. What is meant by the terms " natural body " and "spirit- 
ual body?" 

39. Prove that the bodies of the reprobate will be raised to 
dishonour? 



CHAPTER XXXITI. 

OF THE LAST JUDGMENT. 

Section I.— God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge 
the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ,^ to whom all power 
and judgment is given of the Father.^ In which day not only 
the apostate angels shall be judged,' but likewise all persons that 
have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, 
to give an account of their thoughts, words and deeds, and to 
receive according to what they have done in the body, whether 
good or evil.* 

Section II.— The end of God's appointing this day is for the 
manifestation of the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation 
of the elect, and of his justice in the damnation of the reprobate, 
who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous 
go into everlasting Ufe, and receive that fulness of joy and refresh- 
ing which shall come from the presence of the Lord ; but the 
wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesua 
Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with 
everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from 
the glory of his power.^ 

1 Acts xvii. 31.— 2 John v. 22, 27.-3 1 Cor. vi. .3; Jude 6; 2 Pet. ii. 4.— 
* 2 Cor. V. 10; Eccles. xii. 14; Rom. ii. 16; xiv. 10, 12; Matt. xii. 36, 37 — 
6 Matt. XXV. 31-46; Rom. ii. 5, 6; ix. 22, 23; Matt. xxv. 21 ; Acts iii. 19; 
2 Thess. i. 7-10. 

These Sections teach — 

1st. That God has appointed a day ot general judg- 
ment. 

2d. That he has committed this judgment into the 
hands of the God-man in his character as Medii\tor. 

t?7 



628 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

3d. That the persons to be judged include apostate 
angels and the whole human race, good and bad. 

4th. That these persons are to be judged as to all 
their thoughts, words and deeds. 

5th. That the great end of God in the appointment 
of this day is the manifestation of his glorious justice in 
the condemnation of the reprobate, and of his glorious 
grace in the glorification of believers. 

6th. That the righteous are to be awarded admission 
to the presence of the Lord, which is to be consciously 
enjoyed by them in a state of unending holiness, happi- 
ness and honor. 

7th. That the reprobate are to be awarded a place 
with the devil and his angels, to be endured with con- 
scious torment and shame through a ceaseless eternity. 

1st. It is a dictate of natural reason and conscience 
that in some way, formally or informally, severally or 
collectively, God will call all the subjects of his moral 
government to an exact account for their character and 
actions. It is obvious, as the author of tlie seventy- 
third Psalm declares, and as many other perplexed souls 
have thought, that justice is not executed upon men in 
this world. All this suggests the probability that God 
will at a future time adjust the disturbed balances and 
call all men to a strict account. This presumption of 
reason and conscience is confirmed and declared to be a 
fact in the word of God ; and the additional informa- 
tion is conveyed that this judgment of men and angels 
shall be general and simultaneous, and shall be con- 
ducted on a certain predetermined day in the future. 
"The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now 
commandeth all men everywhere to repent; because he 



THE LAST JUDGMENT. 529 

hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world 
in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained ; 
whereof he hath given assurance to all men, iu that he 
hath raised him from the dead." Acts xvii. 30, 31 ; 
Kom. ii. 16 ; Matt. xxv. 31-46. 

2d. The Judge on this great occasion is to be not God 
absolutely considered, but the God-man in his office as 
mediatorial King. All judgment is said to be not in- 
herently his, but committed to him by the Father. John 
V. 22, 27. As Judge he is called the " Son of man" 
and the "man ordained by God." Matt. xxv. 31, 32; 
Acts xvii. 31. He conducts the judgment as " the King" 
and as Head of his members who have lived on earth. 
" For I was an hungered and ye gave me meat ; I was 
thirsty and ye gave me drink, etc. . . . And the King 
shall answer and say unto them. Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of 
these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matt. 
xxv. 35-40. And thus, as mediatorial King, he will 
consummate his work in the destruction of his enemies, 
the complete redemption of his friends, and " the resti- 
tution of all things." 2 Thess. i. 7-10; Rev. i. 7; Acts 
iii. 21. 

3d. The subjects of the judgment will embrace the 
entire human race of ever;- generation, each individual 
appearing immediately after his resurrection, in the 
completeness of his reintegrated person, both soul and 
body. All the generations of the dead are to be raised 
and the then living "changed." "Before him shall be 
gathered all nations." " We shall not all sleep, but we 
must all be changed ; . . . the trumpet shall sound, 
and the dead shall bfe raised incorruptible, and we shall 

45 



b60 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

be changed." "We must all appear before the judg 
»\ient-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the 
*.hings done in his body according to that he hath done, 
whether it be good or bad." "And I saw the dead, 
small and great, stand before God. . . . And the sea 
gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell 
(Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them : and 
they were judged, every man according to his works." 
^latt. XXV. 31-46; 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52; 2 Cor. v. 10; 1 
Thess. iv. 16; Rev. xx. 11-15. All evil angels are 
also to be arraigned in this judgment. "The angels 
which kept not their first estate ... he hath reserved 
in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment 
of the great day." Jude 6 ; 2 Pet. ii. 4. Good angels 
will be concerned in it as attendants and ministers. 
Matt. xiii. 41, 42; 2 Thess. i. 7, 8. 

4th. The judgment will not rest upon appearances, 
nor testimony, nor any partial knowledge of the facts, 
nor upon technical grounds of law, nor specific actions 
dissociated from the state of the heart and the motives 
which prompted them. The heathen who has sinned 
without the law "shall be judged without the law" — 
that is, without the law supernaturally revealed, but by 
the law written upon the heart, which made him a law 
unto himself. Luke xii. 47, 48; Rom. ii. 12-15. The 
Jew who "sinned in the law shall be judged by the law." 
Rom. ii. 12. Every man who has lived under the dis- 
pensation of the gospel shall be judged by the gospel. 
Heb. ii. 2, 3; x. 28, 29. We are told not to judge 
according to the appearance (John vii. 24), and there- 
fore to "judge nothing before the time, until the Lord 
come, who both will bring to light the hidden things 



THE LAST JUDGMENT. 531 

of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the 
hearts." 1 Cor. iv. 5 ; Eccles. xii. 14. " There is noth- 
ing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that 
shall not be known. Therefore, what^^oever ye have 
spoken in dOifkness shall be heard in the light, and that 
which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be pro- 
claimed upon the housetops." Luke viii. 17; xii. 2, 3; 
Mark iv. 22. This shall be done to manifest the right- 
eousness of God in the condemnation of his enemies, 
and his glorious grace in the sanctification of his people. 

The saints will not be acquitted in the day of judg- 
ment on the ground of their wvn good deeds, but be- 
cause their names are found written in '* the book of 
life," or the book of God's electing love, and on the 
ground of their participation in the righteousness of 
Christ. Their good deeds will be publicly cited as the 
evidences of their union with Christ. Their union with 
Christ is the ground of their justification. Their faith 
is the instrument of their union with Christ ; and their 
faith, as the Apostle James says, is shown by their works. 
Phil. iv. 3 ; Rev. iii. 5 ; xiii. 8 ; xx. 12, 15. 

5th. The great end of God in this public unveiling 
of secrets and manifestation of character in connection 
with his final disposition of his creatures is of course 
the manifestation of his own glorious excellences as 
moral Governor and Redeemer. The redeemed are 
for ever "vessels of his mercy" prepared beforehand, in 
order that in them might be " made known the riches 
of his glory." And the reprobate in like manner are 
exhibited as the " vessels of wrath," to show his right- 
eous wrath and make his power known. Rom. ix. 22, 23. 
\t has already been proved, under Chapter i v., § 1, that 



532 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

the chief end of God in the original creation was 
the manifestation of his own glorious perfections. If 
this was his end in the original creation, it of course 
must be so in every subsequent step consequent upon 
it. 

6th. Immediately upon the close of the judgment, the 
righteous, being honourably acquitted, are to be awarded 
admission to the presence of the Lord, with whom they 
are ever to continue in a state of conscious and exalted 
happiness, excellence and honour for an absolutely un- 
ending eternity. Of the blessed estate of the saints, 
the Scriptures teach — (1.) Their blessedness flows from 
their perfect freedom from sin, and from their being 
with God and Christ, and their sharing the glory of 
Christ as joint heirs with him. John xvii. 24 ; Rom. 
viii. 17; 1 Thess. iv. 17; Kev. xxi. 3. (2.) It shall 
be perfectly free from all evil of every kind (Rev. xxi. 
4), and it shall involve every form of blessedness in an 
inconceivably great degree (1 Cor. ii. 9) and exalted in 
kind (Col. i. 12). (3.) It is to endure for an absolutely 
unending eternity. It is called "eternal life" and 
"everlasting life," an "eternal weight of glory," ^'eter- 
nal salvation," an " everlasting kingdom," an " eternal 
inheritance." Matt. xix. 16, 29 ; xxv. 46 ; Rom. ii. 7 ; 
2 Cor. iv. 17; Heb. v. 9; 2 Pet. i. 11; 1 Pet. i. 4; 
Heb. ix. 15. 

From such passages as Rom. viii. 19-23; 2 Pet. iil. 
5-13, and Rev. xxi. 1, it appears not improbable that 
after the great conflagration of the earth and all that in- 
habits its surface, which the Scriptures reveal shall ac- 
company the judgment, this world will be reconstituted, 
and as the " new heaven " and the " new earth " be glc>* 



THE LAST TUDGMEM. 533 

riously adapted to be the permanent residence of Christ 
and his Church. 

7th. The reprobate will be immediately conveyed to 
the place prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 
XXV. 41), and are there to continue in the conscious en- 
durance of torment and shame for an absolutely unend- 
ing eternity. 

The strongest terms which the Greek language affords 
are employed in the New Testament to express the un- 
ending duration of the penal torments of the lost. The 
same words [dccoVj aicovco^ and ac6co(:) are used to express 
the eternal existence of God (1 Tim. i. 17 ; Rom. i. 20 ; 
xvi. 26), of Christ (Rev. i. 1 8), of the Holy Ghost (Heb. ix. 
14), and the endless duration of the happiness of the saints 
(John vi. 58 ; Matt. xix. 29 ; Matt. xxv. 46, etc., etc.), 
and the endless duration of the sufferings of the lost. 
Matt. xxv. 46 ; Jude 6. Besides, their condition is con- 
stantly set forth by such terms as, the " fire that shall 
not be quenched," " fire unquenchable,'^ " the worm that 
never dies," "bottomless pit," the necessity of paying 
"the uttermost farthing," "the smoke of their torment 
ascending up for ever and ever." Luke iii. 17; Mark ix. 
45,46; Rev. xiv. 10, 11. Of the unpardonable sin, 
Christ says that it shall never be pardoned, " neither 
in this world nor in that which is to come." Matt, 
xii. 32. 

The entire Christian Church, Greek and Roman, 
Lutheran and Reformed, have agreed in holding this 
truth that the penal sufferings of the lost are to last for 
ever. Certain individuals and heretical societies, how- 
ever, have denied it, and substituted in its place one or 
other of the following hypotheses : 

45* 



534 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

(1.) That the "second death " spoken of in Eev. xx. 
14, to which the wicked shall be subjected after their 
condemnation in the judgment, involves the total and 
a"bsolute destruction of their being — i. e., annihilation. 
But the Scriptures always consistently speak of the fu- 
ture of the lost as a state of conscious suffering enduring 
forever. The "worm dieth not," " everlasting fire,'^ 
" unquenchable fire/' " weeping and gnashing of teeth," 
" the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and 
ever, and they have no rest day nor night." 

(2.) The other hypothesis supposes that, sooner oi 
later, God will secure the repentance and consequent 
reformation and restoration of all sinners, even of the 
devil himself. This is to result either through the atoning 
and purifying efficacy of protracted though temporary 
suffering, or through other moral influences which God 
will bring to bear upon them in another world. But 
remember — (a.) That suffering per se, while it may ex- 
piate guilt, has no tendency to purify the soul from 
pollution or to enkindle spiritual life. (6.) The atone- 
ment of Christ and the sanctifying povAcr of his Spirit 
are the only appointed means of bringing men to repent- 
ance, and indeed the highest possible means to that end. 
In the case of the reprobate these have been finally re- 
jected, and hence " there remaineth no more sacrifice for 
sms, but a certain fearful looking-for of judgment and 
fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." 
Heb. vi. 26, 27. (c.) There is not the slightest trace in 
Scripture of such an ultimate restoration, either in the 
design of it, or the means of it, or the results of it. On 
the contrary, as we have seen, the Scriptures positively 
affirm the precise reverse to be true. 



THE LAST JUDGMENT. 535 

Section III. — As Christ would have us to b: certainly per- 
suaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all 
men from sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly in 
their adversity ;® so will he have that day unknown to men, that 
they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, 
because they kno^ not at what hour the Lord will come ; and may 
be ever prepared to say, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. 
Amen.' 

«2 Pet. iii. 11, 14; 2 Cor. v. 10, 11; 2 Thess. i. 5-7; Luke xxi. 21, 28; 
Kom. viii. 23-25.—' Matt. xxiv. 36, 42-44; Mark xiii. 35-37; Luke xii. 35, 
36; Rev. xxii. 20. 

This Section teaches — 

1st. That God has made the fact absolutely certain that 
there will be a future judgment, in order that this know- 
ledge may act upon all men as a wholesome motive deter- 
ring them from sin, and, at the same time, that it may 
console the godly in the midst of their adversity. With 
reference to i\iQ first object, Paul says, " We must all ap- 
pear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one 
may receive the things done in his body, according to 
that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Know- 
ing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." 
2 Cor. V. 10, 11. And Peter says, ^'Seeing, then, that 
all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of per- 
sons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godli- 
ness, looking for and hastening unto the coming of the 
day of God?" 2 Pet. iii. 12. With reference to the 
second object, Paul says, " Seeing it is a righteous thing 
with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble 
you ; and to you that are troubled, rest with us, when 
the liord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his 
mighty angels." 2 Thess. i. 7. 

2d. That on the other hand, God has left us in abso- 



636 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

lute uncertainty with respect to the time at which thi? 
great event shall occur, in order to prevent carnal se- 
curity and to keep his people ever on the alert and con- 
stantly prepared. That the time is intentionally left 
unknown is expressly ajfifirmed again and again in Scrip- 
ture: '^But of that day and that hour knoweth no 
man ; no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither 
the Son, but the Father." Mark xiii. 32; Matt. xxiv. 
36. " Be ye, therefore, ready also ; for the Son of man 
cometh at an hour when ye think not." Luke xii. 40. 
" It is not for you to know the times or the seasons 
which the Father has put in his own power." Acts i. 7. 
" The day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night." 
1 Thess. i. 2; 2 Pet. iii. 10. "Behold I come as a 
thief. Blessed is he that watch eth and keepeth his 
garments." Kev. xvi. 15. 

The designed effect of the attitude of uncertainty 
with regard to the time of the second advent and general 
judgment in which the saints are placed is, that they 
should regard it as always immediately impending; that 
they should look forward to it with solemn awe, and yet 
with joyful confidence; and hence in view of it, be incited 
to the performance of duty and the attainment of holi- 
ness, and comforted in sorrow. Phil. iii. 20; Col. iii. 
4, 5 ; James v. 7. It is their duty also to love, watehy 
wait for and hasten unto the coming of our Lord. Luke 
xii. 35-37 ; 1 Cor. i. 7, 8 ; 1 Thess. i. 9, 10; 2 Tin:, iv. 
8; 2 Pet. iii. 12; Rev. xxii. 20. 



THE LAST JUDGMENT. 537 



QUESTIONS. 

1. What is the^7*s^ proposition taught in the first and second 
Sections of this Chapter ? 

2. What is the second proposition there taught? 

3. What is the third proposition there taught? 

4. What is the fourth proposition ? 

5. Wh2it is the fifth? 

6. What is the sixth? 

7. What is the seventh ? 

8. Show that reason and conscience lead us to anticipate a 
future judgment as highly probable. 

9. Prove from Scripture that Grod has appointed a certain 
fixed day for the general judgment of men and angels. 

10. Who is to be the Judge, and in what character? 

11. Prove the above answer. 

12. Who are to be the subjects of the judgment? 

13. Prove your answer. 

14. How are good angels to be concerned in the transaction? 

15. By what law are men to be judged ? 

16. How far is the investigation and judgment of that day to 
extend ? — to overt actions only, or also to motives, feelings and 
thoughts? 

17. Prove your answer. 

18. Upon what ground will the saints be acquitted? 

19. What is the "book of life?" 

20. What is God's great end in his dealings with the repro- 
bate and in his dealings with his saints? 

21. Prove your answer. 

22. Where are the righteous to go immediately after the judg- 
ment. 

23. Prove that they are ever to be with Christ. 

24. What is to be the character and degree of their blessed- 
less ? 

25. Prove that it is to endure for ever. 

26. Where is it probable Christ and his people will be finally 
located ? 



638 CONFESSION OF FAITH. 

27. Prove that immediately after death the reprobate are to 
go to the place prepared for the devil and his angels. 

28. Prove that the same words are used to express the con- 
tinuance of the conscious sufferings of the lost that are used to 
express the eternity of God or the everlasting happiness of the 
saints. 

29. State other scriptural proof that the condition of the lost 
is to be that of conscious suffering and shame for an absolutely 
unending eternity. 

30. How generally has this doctrine been held in the Church ? 

31. State the opposing hypothesis of annihilation. 

32. Disprove it. 

33. State the opposing hypothesis of restitution. 

34. Disprove it. 

35. For what purpose has God made known the certain fact 
of a future judgment? 

36. Illustrate the truth of your answer by passages of Scripture. 

37. Prove from Scripture that the time of the future judg- 
ment is intentionally left unrevealed. 

38. For what purpose are men left uncertain on this subject? 

39. How should believers regard that day? how should its 
constant pendency effect them ? and how should they look for- 
ward to it? 



INDEX 



Ability as distinguished from liberty, 225. 

Act of Supremacy, 3,">. 

Uniformity, 36. 

Adam, created immediately by God, 121, 122. The root of the wnole 
human race, 122-124. Created in the image of God, 124-126. En- 
dowed with suflBcient knowledge, 126. Fallible, 126. The fall of, 
147-153. The fall of, permitted by God and overruled for his own 
glory. The effects of their sin upon our first parents, 151-153. Is 
the federal as well as the natural head of all mankind, 153, 156. 
The federal headship of, proved to be the doctrine of our Standards, 
154, 155, 170. The federal headship of, proved from Scripture, 156. 
The sin of, imniediately imputed to all his descendants, 156-159. 
This imputation proved to be the doctrine of our Standards, 157. And 
proved to be the doctrine of Scripture, 158, 159. 

Adopting Act, 21. 

Adoption, doctrine of, 260-263. Relation of, to justification, regeneration, 
etc., 260, 261. Elements and effects of, 261, 262, 

Annihilationists, 534. 

Antichrist, 433. 

Apology for Augsburg Confession, 27. 

Apocrypha, 53, 54. 

Arminian view of God's decrees, 96-101. View of justification, 250. View 
of Christian perfection, 269, 270. View of perseverance, 315, 316. 

Articles of Smalcald, 27. 

Assurance, doctrine of, 322-333. False, discriminated from true, 323. 
The attainment of, possible, 324, 325. The grounds and evidences of, 
shown, 325-328. Witness of the Holy Spirit, 326-328. Not of the 
essence of faitli, 330, 332. May be temporarily lost, 333. 

Attributes of God, 74-83. How distinguished from personal properties, 
88, 89. 

Augsburg Confession, 21. 

639 



540 INDEX. 

Baptism, doctrine of, 460-478. Immediately instituted by Christ, 461, 462. 

Of perpetual obligation, 462. Its nature, emblematic import and 

mode, 463-467. Its design, 468. What adults subjects of, 468, 469. 

Infant, 472-475. Whose infants should be baptized, 474, 475. The 

eflScacy and necessity of, 476-478. 
Bull Unigenitus of Clement XI., 26. 

Call, external and internal. See Effectual Calling. 

Calling. See Effectual Calling. 

Calvin doctrine of justification, 251. 

Canon of Scripture. See Scripture. 

Canons and decrees of Council of Trent, 25, 305, 316, 370, 376, 453, 455 
489, 490, 491, 521. Of Synod of Dort, 28, 33, 224. 

Catechisms of Westminster Assembly adopted by the original Synod, 21, 22 
Of Bellarmine, 26. Roman, 25, 202, 203, 207, 291, 431, 521. Of Lu 
ther, 27. Of Heidelberg, 28. 

Censures. See Church Censures. 

Certainty of an event not inconsistent with the freedom of the agent in 
effecting it, 100. 

Christ, divinity of, 85-88. Pre-existence of, 85. Distinct Person from 
the Father, 86, 87. Personal properties of, 88, 89. Eternal relation 
to the Father, 88, 89. Given to carry into effect the decree of election, 
104-106. Designed to secure the salvation of the elect only, 104-106. As 
mediatorial King contracts and administers the covenant of grace, 176, 
178. Mediatorial office of, 184-215. A prophet, a priest and a king, 
185-190. Head over all things to his Church, 189, 190. True God 
and true man in one person, 190-196. His person eternal and divine, 
his humanity impersonal, 194, 195. Absolutely sinless, 193. The 
constitution of his person a mystery, 195. The natures not mixed, 195, 
196. His humanity exalted but not deified, 198. Is Mediator as God- 
man, 198, 199. Appointed to his office by his Father, 199. Assumed 
the office voluntarily, 199, 200. Functions discharged by him in his 
estate of humiliation, 200-203. In his estate of exaltation, 203-205. 
His "descent into hell" (Hades) — different opinions of, 202, 203. His 
resurrection, ascension and session at the right hand of God, 203, 204. 
Satisfaction of, includes both his active and passive obedience, 206. 
Made satisfaction in strict rigour of justice, 207,208. It secures the salva- 
tion of all those for whom offered, 208, 209. Benefits of, applied by the 
Holy Ghost. 209. Mediatorial actions of, involve both natures, and 
are to be attributed to the entire Person, 210, 211. He applies his 
redemption to all for whom he purchased it, 212-215. Its infinite 
sufficiency, its adaptability, its universal offer and its intended effects, 



INDEX. 641 

213-215. The union and communion of Christ with saints, 437-440. 
To judge the quick and the dead, 529. 

Christianity, evidences of, 49, 50. A knowledge and profession of, neces* 
sary to salvation, 241, 242. 

Christian liberty. See Liberty. 

Church, doctrine of, 421-423. Catholic, 421. Etymology and scriptural 
usage of the word, 422. Invisible, 422-424. Visible, 424, 425. En- 
dowed with the word and ordinances, 426. Without the bounds of, no 
salvation, 426, 427. Varies in purity, 428-430. In what sense infal- 
lible, 430, 431. The Lord Jesus the only Head of, 431-433, 497. Papal 
asid Erastian errors concerning, refuted, 431, 432, 496. 

Church censures, doctrine of, 496-503. 

Church and State, relation of, 404, 406. 

Church government. Popish theory of, 498. Prelatical theory of, 498,499. 
Independent theory of, 499. Presbyterian theory of, 499, 600, 505- 
512. Power of, its nature and extent, 501, 502. End of discipline, 
502, 503. 

Civil magistrate, doctrine of, 398-407. A divine institution, 398-400. 
Ends of institution of, 400, 401. Should promote piety, 401. Should 
be Christians, 402. Defensive war lawful, 402, 403. No jurisdiction 
in ecclesiastical affairs, 405, 406. Obedience to, a religious duty, 406. 

Communion of saints, the doctrine of, 436-442. Founded on their union 
with Christ, 437-439. With the Lord, 439, 440. With each other, 
440—442. The universality and glory of, 442. 

Concupiscence, its sin and guilt, 271. 

Conditions of ministerial communion and of church membership, 21.- 

Confession of Faith adopted by the original Synod, 21, 22. Tridentine, 26. 
Orthodox, 26. Of Grenadius, 26. Of Augsburg, and apology for, 27. 
Helvetic 2d, 28, 30. Of Westminster, adopted by English and Ameri- 
can Congregationalists, 29. Of Westminster, history of origin of, 33— 
44. Old Scotch, and First Book of Discipline, 33, 34. Of Westminster, 
prepared, 38, 39. Finished and ratified by Parliament and by Scotch 
General Assembly, 39. Ratified by original Synod, 40. Revised in 
chapters and sections relating to civil magistrates, 40, 41. 

Confession of sin, true doctrine of, 294-296. Romish doctrine of, 296. 

Conscience, liberty of. See Liberty. 

Councils. See Synods and Councils. 

Covenant of Grace, doctrine of, 172-181. Arminian view of, 173, 174. 
Calvinistic view of, 174-178. Proof that such a covenant was con- 
tracted between the Father and Son, 176. The promise and condition 
of, 176, 177. Administered and its blessings applied by Christ as 
mediatorial King, 177, 178. Various dispensations of, 179-181. 

• National, 34. Solemn League and, 34. 

46 

\ 



542 INDEX. 

Covenant of works, doctrine of, 167-172. Contracted with Adam as the rep. 
resentative of the race, 153-156, 169, 170. The elements of, 169. A 
gracious, rational and favourable constitution, 168, 169. The promise, 
the condition, and the penalty of, 170-172. 

Creation, doctrine of, 113-127. Greatio prima and creatio secunda, 115-117, 
Elements created out of nothing, as well as all things formed by God, 
115-119. Absolute creation out of nothing proved, 115, 116. Account 
of, in Genesis, 117, 118. Attributed to all the divine persons, 117. The 
final end of, the glory of God, 119, 120. All God's works of, he pro- 
nounced very good, 118, 119. Of man, 121-127. Of man, last of the 
organized inhabitants of the earth, 121, 122. Of man immediately by 
God, 121, 122. Of entire race in one pair, 122-124. Of man in a state 
of moral perfection in image of God, 124, 126; yet fallible, 126, 127. 

Creeds and Confessions, short history of, 19-29. Origin of, 20. Necessity 
and proper use of, 20, 21. Apostles', 23. Nicene, 23, 24, 89. Of 
Council of Ephesus, 24. Of Council of Chalcedon, 24, 191. Athana- 
sian, 24, 25. Of the Lutheran churches, 26, 27. Of the Reformed 
churches, 27, 28. Consensus Tigurinus of Calvin, 493. 

Death, 516. 

Decrees of God, doctrine of, 92-111. Comprehend all events of every kind, 
93-95. Are none of them conditional, 95, 98. Are always certainly 
efficacious, 98. Are all consistent with his own perfections, 98, 99, 
And with the nature and modes of action of the creature, 99,100. Are 
all one purpose, 92, 94. Determine means and conditions as well as 
ends, 97. Determine free actions of men, 94. And the sinful actions 
of men, 94, 95, 150, 151. Are not the proximate causes of any event, 
100. Predestinate individuals to salvation, 101-104. See Predestina- 
tion. Include the reprobation of the wicked, 104-107. See Reproha- 
tion. Doctrine of, to be handled carefully, 110, 111. Not revealed, and 
not the rule of man's duty. 111. 

Design of the Atonement, 104-107, 212-215. 

Development, theory of organic, 122. 

Directory of Worship adopted, 22. Formed, 38. Ratified by Scotch Gen- 
eral Assembly, 39. 

Dispensations of covenant of grace, various, 179-181. 

Divorce, 417, 418. 

Doctrinal Standards of the Church of Rome, 25, 26. Of Greek Church, 26, 
27. Of Lutheran Church, 26, 27. Of Reformed churches, 27, 28. 

Dort, Synod of, and Canons of. See Synod and Canons. 

Effectual calling, doctrine of, 230-242. An internal and spiritual call 
proved necessary to salvation, 232, 233. Embraces all the elect and 



INDEX. 543 

only the elect, 234. The sole agent in effecting, the Holy Ghost, 234, 

237. Common and eflScacious grace distinguished. How related to 
the activities of the soul, 235, 236. Regeneration and conversion dis- 
tinguished, 235, 236. Wrought by the Spirit through the truth, 237. 
Certainly efficacious, 237. Perfectly congruous to our nature, 237, 

238. EflFects embrace the entire man, 238, 239. 
Election. See Predestination and Decrees, 
Erastians, 38, 405, 431, 496. 

Eternal punishments, 533, 534. 
Eucharist. See Lord's Supper. 

Faith, relation of, to justification, 252-254. Relation of, to works, 258. 
Saving, the doctrine of, 275-283. General sense of the term, 275, 276. 
Religious, 276. Saving, defined, 276. Wrought in the soul by the 
Holy Ghost through the truth, 277. Strengthened by the use of means, 
278. Rests on the testimony of God, 279. Embraces all revealed truth, 
280, 281. Varies with the nature of the truth revealed, 280, 281. In- 
cludes trust, 280. The specific act of justifying faith includes assent 
and trust, and terminates upon Christ as its object, 281, 282. Varies 
in degree, is indestructible, grows to full assurance, 283. Assurance 
not of the essence of, 330-333. 

Form of Government adopted, 22. 

Formula of Concord, 27, 202, 206, 207, 225, 252. 

Free will, doctrine of 219-228. Different theories of, 219, 220. Self-deter- 
mining power of man proved, 220, 221. State of, in the several con- 
ditions of innocency, sin, grace and glory, 222-228. Distinction be- 
tween liberty and ability, 225. Total inability, 224r-227. 

Full assurance. See Assurance. 

God, unity of, 71, 72, 84. A personal Spirit, 72, 74. Poi fesses all abso- 
lute perfections, 74-83. Attributes of, 74-83. Attributes of, common 
to all the Persons of the Godhead, 75. His infinity, 75. His immen- 
sity, 75. His eternity, 76. His infinite intelligence, 76. His omnip- 
otence, 77. His absolute goodness and grace, 79. His absolute truth, 
80. His infinite justice, 80, 82. His infinite holiness, 82. His abso- 
lute sovereignty, 82, 83. The decrees of, 92-111. From eternity pos- 
sesses an unchangeable plan, 92, 93. His own glory his ultimate end 
in purpose and action, 103, 119, 120, 134. The order of decrees of, 
stated, 106. 

Good works, doctrine of, 298-311. Essential elements of, 299, 300. Effects 
and uses of, 300, 301. The fruits of grace alone, 303. Diligent effort 
necessary to the production of, 303, 304. Of supererogation impossible, 
305, 307. RoH-lsh doctrine of, 305. Relation of, to rewards, 307-309. 



644 INDEX. 

In what sense impossible for the unregenerate, 310,311. In what 

sense not impossible to him, 310. 
Grace. See God. Common and efficacious, distinguished, 234, 235. 
Government. See Civil Magistrate. 

Heaven, 518, 519. Eternal happiness and honour, 532. 

Heidelberg Catechism, 28, 206, 251, 252. 

Hell, 518. Conscious misery absolutely unending, 533, 634. 

Holy Scripture. See Scripture. 

Holy Spirit, divinity of, 86. Personality of, 86-88. The gift of a means 

to effect the end of sovereign election, 105. Regenerates and sanctifies 

only the elect. The witness of, 326-328. 

Imputation, meaning of term, 156. Of Adam's sin to each of his descend- 
ants proved to be the doctrine of our Standards, 157, and proved to 
be the doctrine of Scripture, 158, 159. Of sin and the moral conse- 
quences thereof, 159, 160. Of Christ's righteousness to believers, 249- 
252. 

Inability of man total, 224-227. Absolute, 226. Moral, 226. Natural, 
226. Liberty and ability distinguished, 225. 

Incest, 416. 

Independents, 37. Theory of Church government of, 499. 

Infallibility, Papal doctrine of, 430. 

Infants, regeneration of, 239, 240. Baptism of, 472-475, 

Inspiration, 54. Doctrine proved, 54-56. 

Intercession of Christ, 204, 205. 

Intermediate state of men, 521. 

Judgment, day of, 527-536. Time of, appointed by God, 528. To be con- 
ducted by Christ, 529. All men and evil angels to be arraigned, 529, 
530. The secrets of all hearts to be tried, 530, 531. The time uncer- 
tain, 535, 536. 

Justice. See God. 

Justification, doctrine of, 245-257. A judicial act of God, 246-249. Ex- 
perienced by all the eff"ectually called, 246. Not mere pardon, 248, 
249. Proceeds upon the imputation of Christ's righteousness, 249-252. 
Faith in ox on Christ being the instrument of, 252, 253. A stupendous 
act of grace, 254, 255. Not eternal, takes effect only upon the exer- 
cise of faith, 255-259. The justified never totally fall from grace — their 
lapses repented of and forgiven, 256, 257. Of both New and Old Tes- 
tament believers on the same principle, 257. Relation of, to regener- 
tion, sanctification and adoption, 260, 261. 



INDEX. 545 

Law of God, doctrine of, 336-349. Man created under, 337. Has its 
ground in the nature of God, 337. Different classes of, 338. Kevealed 
ir the moral nature of man, 339. The Scriptures the only perfect 
standard of, 340. The federal relation of, temporary, 340. The natu- 
ral relation of, permanent, 340. Summarily comprehended in the Ten 
Commandments, 341, 342. Ceremonial and judicial, of the Jews, 343- 
347. The uses of, to different classes of men stated, 348, 349. 

Liberty, Christian and of conscience, doctrine of, 353-363. How differs 
from liberty of will, 352. What consists in, 353-356. As enjoyed 
under the law and under the gospel, 356, 357. God alone Lord of the 
conscience, 359-362. Not absolute, but regulated and limited, 362, 
363. 

Liberty of will not inconsistent with the certainty of an event, 100. See 
Free will, 219, etc. As distinguished from ability, 225, 226. 

Light of nature sufficient to render man responsible, 44. But not sufficient 
to lead to salvation, 45, 47. 

Long Parliament. See Parliament. 

Lord's Supper, doctrine of, 482-493. Instituted by Christ, 482. Of per- 
petual obligation, 482. Design and effect of, 483, 484. Komish errors 
refuted, 485-491. Essential elements and sacramental actions, 486- 
488. Not to be administered privately, 491. Relation between the 
sign and the grace signified, 492, 493. 

Luther's Larger and Smaller Catechisms, 27. 

Lutheran churches, geographical distribution of, 26. 

Magistrate. See Civil Magistrate. 

Marriage, doctrine of, 409-418. A divine institution, 410, 411. Ends of 
institution, 411. Polygamy unlawful, 411, 412. Celibacy not merito- 
rious, 412. Not to be contracted with unbelievers, 414, 415. Incest, 
416. Divorce, Bible law of, 417, 418. 

Mediator, 185. Doctrine of, 185-215. 

Mediatorial office includes the functions of prophet, priest and king, 186- 
190. 

Merit, different senses of word, 307, 308. In strict sense impossible to any 
creature, 308, 309. See Good WorH. 

Miracles, possible, 138-140. 

Oaths, doctrine of, 388-393. Their nature, 389. Lawful only when in the 
name of the true God, 389, 390. Literal meaning of the third com- 
mandment, 390. Rule of interpretation of, 392. Their obligstion, 
392, 393. 

Original sin. See Sin, pee Adam and see Imputation. 
46* 



546 INDEX 

Pantheism, 72. 130. 

Papal doctrine of confession. Of Church and State, 404. Of celibacy, 412. 
Of infallibility of Church, 430, 431. Of headship of Pope, 431, 432. 
Of number of the sacraments, 456. Of Lord's Supper and sacrifice 
' of the Mass, 488-491. Of government of the Church, 498. Of pur- 
gatory and the intermediate state, 520, 621. 

Pardon, how distinguished from justification, 248, 249. 

Parliament, Long, convened, 36. Dissolved, 40. 

Pelagian view of perfection, 269. 

Pearson on the Creed, 202. 

Perfection not attainable in this life, 269-272. Pelagian, Arminian and 
Papist view of, 269, 270. Should be sought for, 272. 

Perseverance of the saints, doctrine of, 314-321. Not inconsistent with 
free agency, 317. Does not foster carnal security, 317. The fact of, 
proved, 318. The grounds of, shown, 318. 

Preceptive and not the decretive will of God the rule of duty, 111. 

Predestination. See Decrees. Of individuals to salvation, 101-104. De- 
cree of, contemplates man as already created and fallen, 102. Relates 
to persons, not classes, 102. Is unchangeable, 102. Is sovereign and 
unconditional, 102, 103. Its ultimate motive is the glory of God. The 
purpose of, precedes and determines the purpose to give Christ to die 
for the elect, 105-107. Includes all the means necessary to efi'ect the 
ends intended, as well as the ends themselves, 105-110. Doctrine of, 
to be carefully handled, 110-111. 

Prelatical theory of church government, 498, 499. 

Presbyterian theory of church government, 499, 500. 

Preservation of all things by God, different theories of, 130, 132. 

Priest, 186,487. 

Profession of religion, and how necessary to salvation, 427. 

Properties peculiar to each Person of the Trinity, 88. How distinguished 
from attributes, 88. 

Prophet, 187-189. 

Providence, doctrine of, 129-144. Execution by God of his eternal pur- 
pose, 134. Includes preservation of all things, 130-132. Controls all 
the actions of his creatures, 132-134. Even the free and the sinful 
actions, 133, 134. The design of this government is the promotion of 
his own glory, 134. The control of, certainly eflBcacious, 135. Mode 
of operation always consistent with the nature of the creatures subject 
to it, 135-137. The purpose of God in, usually efi"ected through the 
agency of second causes, 137, 138. Also at times carried on thrpugh 
the immediate intervention of God, 138. Controls the sinful actions 
of men, 140, 141. Perfectly holy, 141. Embraces the universe, and 
includes the special providential government of the Chmch, and th» 



INDEX. 647 

gracious dispensation of the Spirit, 142, 143. It provides for the dis- 
cipline of God's children and the judgment of his enemies, 144. 
Purgatory, Romish doctrine of, 376, 520, 621. 

Reformed Churches, geographical distribution of, 27. 

Reformation in Scotland, 34. In England, 35. 

^.egeneration, 232-239. As distinguished from conversion, 235, 236. See 
Effectual Calling. Radical and thorough, affects the whole man, 238. 
239. Of infants and imbecile adults, 239, 240. Relation of, to justifi- 
cation, sanctification, adoption, 260, 261. 

Repentance, doctrine of, 185-296. The grounds of, 286, 287. The con- 
stituent elements of, 287-289. Is both a grace and a duty, 289. 
Should be diligently preached, 289. Has no merit — does not satisfy for 
sin, 290, 292. Romish doctrine of, 291. Necessary to salvation, 292. 
Certainly leads to salvation, 293. Of sin in general and of sins in par- 
ticular, 293. Should be followed by confession and restitution, 294. 
Christians should forgive repentant offenders, 295. Romish doctrine 
of confession, 295, 296. 

Reprobation, doctrine of, 107-110. Includes a negative element which is 
sovereign, and a positive element which is judicial, 108. Men are to 
be condemned only for their sins, 108. Perfectly consistent with just- 
ice, 108, 109. Taught in Scripture, 109. Doctrine of, to be carefully 
handled, 110, 111. 

Restorationists, doctrine of, 534. 

Resurrection of Christ, 203, 204. 

Resurrection of the dead, 522-525. General and simultaneous, 622, 623. 
Of these identical bodies, 523, 524. Spiritual body, 524, 525. 

Revelation, absolutely necessary for man, 44-48. God has granted such 
in different times and ways, 44-50. At present exclusively embraced 
in Scripture, 49, 50. The evidences of, 49. 

Revelations, modern and private, to be rejected, 60. 

Right hand of God, Christ's session at, 204. 

Sabbath-day, doctrine of, 380-384. Reason of institution permanent, 381, 
382. Also a positive institution, 382, 383. How Christian, differs 
from Jewish, 382-384. 

Sacraments, doctrine of, 445-457. Biblical and ecclesiastical usage of tho 
word, 445, 446. Definition of, 446, 447. Instituted by Christ, 447. 
Relation of sign to grace signified, 447-450. Design and effect of, 450, 
452. Do not contain grace, 452, 453. EflBcacy of, real, though only 
instrumental, 453, 454. Papal doctrine as to number of, 454-456. Of 
old and new dis])ensation8 the same, 456. See also Baptitm and 
Lord'a Supper. 



648 INDEX. I 

Sacrifice of the Mass, 488-491. 

Saints. See Communion of Sainta. 

Sanctification, doctrine of, 264-272. Kelation of, to adoption, justification, 

etc., 260, 261. Twofold meaning of the word, 265. A work of God, 

,265. Inward and outward means of, 266, 267. Includes mortificatioi. 

of sin and vivification of grace, 267, 268. Embraces the whole man, 

268, 269. Never perfected in this life, 269, 272. 

Satisfaction of Christ. See Christ. 

Scripture, the only rule of faith and practice, 19. Must be interpreted by 
man, 19. Doctrine of, 43-68. Contains the only revelation God now 
makes to man, 48-50. Canon of, 50, 51. Embraces Old and New 
Testaments, 51. Inspired, 51, 54, 56. Internal evidences of, 51, 58. 
External, 51. Proof of the genuineness of the canon of, 52-54. Does 
not include Apocrypha, 53, 54. Inspiration of, proved, 54-56. Au- 
thority of, does not rest upon Church, but immediately upon God, 57, 
58. And established by direct witness of Holy Ghost, 58, 59. The 
perfection of, 58. A complete rule of faith and practice, 59, 60. No- 
thing to be added, 60. Teach general principles — man left to his own 
judgment in applying them to details of life, 52. In what sense they 
are perspicuous, 63. That they are so proved, 63, 64. The original 
Hebrew and Greek, the true standard, 64, 65. Text of, essentially 
pure, 65. Should be translated into every vernacular, 65. Scripture 
to be interpreted by Scripture, 66, 67. The supreme judge in all con- 
troversies. 

Sin, origin of, a mystery, 148-151. Nature of, Adam's, 148. Permission 
of, how related to God, 150, 151. Of Adam, its efiects upon himself, 
151, 153. And upon his descendants, 153-154. Original, propagation 
and extent of, 159, 160. Original, as well as actual, involves guilt, 
162-164. Remains of, in the regenerate still guilt, 161. All kinds of, 
leads to just judgment of God, 163, 164. Concupiscence in the sancti- 
fied still sin, 269-272. 

Sinfulness of man by nature and from birth total, 160. 

Smalcald, Articles of, 27. 

Socinian view of decrees, 96, 101. 

Spiritual illumination necessary, 61, 62. 

State of man after death. Intermediate, 515-521. Final, 532-534. 

Supererogation, works of, impossible, 305, 307. Romish doctrine of, 305. 

Synod of Dort, Canons of, 28, 33. 

Synods and Councils, doctrine of, 505-512. Presbyterian principles con- 
cerning, 505-509. Sphere, limits and binding power of, f 09-512. 

Thirty-nine Articles of Church of England, 28, 33, 207. 
Total depravity. See Sin. 



INDEX. 549 

Tradition, of no authority in matters of faith, 61. 

Transubstantiation, 488, 489. 

Trinity, doctrine of, 70-89. Doctrine of, stated, 83-89. As stated in the 

Nicene Creed, 23. Persons of, how distinguished, 88, 89. 
Trust, an essential element of saving faith, 280, 282. 
Truth, knowledge of, essential to salvation, 242. 

Ursinus, 33. 

Vow, doctrine of, 394, 396. 

Wab, defensive, lawful, 402, 403. 

Westminster Assembly, history of, 33-41. Convened by Parliament, 36. 
Confession and Catechisms of. See GonfeaBion. Scotch delegates to, 
37. Different parties in, 37, 38. Organized, 38. Dissolved, 40. 

Will. See Free will. 

Witness of the Spirit, 326-328. 

Works. See Good Workt. 

Worship, religious, doctrine of, 366-379. A dictate of natural religion, 367 
Scripture the only rule of, 368. All will-worship forbidden, 368. Due 
equally to Father, Son and Holy Ghost, 369. Not to be offered to 
saints or angels, 369. Romish idolatry, 370-372. Prayer, its nature 
and objects, 373-376. Through Christ by the Holy Ghost, 374. Prayers 
for the dead not allowed, 376. Romish doctrine of, 376. Public, 
leoret, family, and occasional, 377-379. 



THB END, 



CAVeN LIBRARY 

KNGX COOEGE 
TORONTO