PART ONE PERSONAL RELIGION.
IN the following pages an attempt is made to present the reader with an abstract of the plan of Salvation. They are divided into chapters, each devoted to some important branch of truth, and these into paragraphs in every one of which some weighty doctrine is succinctly stated, and proved from the Word of God.
At the onset it may be desirable to give a resume of the views which it is here sought to unfold and enforce. The following may, therefore, be acceptable as a brief, but clear and comprehensive condensation of those momentous facts in which it is our highest happiness to be vitally interested :
"The principles upon which I go, and by which I hope by the grace of God eternally to abide are That the triune Jehovah, having made all things for Himself, and having an undoubted right to do what He wills with His own creatures, governed them all according to His predetermined plan. (a) That as to mankind, He hath chosen a remnant, whom He hath loved with an everlasting love, (b) which love and choice was not made on account of any seen or foreseen excellence in the objects of it; who were chosen, not because they were, or because they would be, but that they might be holy. (c) That all mankind falling in Adam, the rest were left in this ruin; and, being utterly unable to extricate themselves out of it, the non-elect are for acts of willful sin condemned and perish. (d)
(a) 1 John 5:. 7; Prov 16: 4 ; Rom. 9: 21; Eph. 1: 11. (b) Rom. 2: 5 ; Jer.31: 3. (c) Deut. 7: 7, and 9: 5, 6; Eph. 1: 4. (d) Rom. 5:12,19, and 11:.7; John 10: 26, and 6: 37.
But God's elect alone are delivered from the curse due to all men, by their God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who entered into covenant with the Father and the Spirit for them ; wherein He gave His word and oath, that He would be their Head and Surety ; and, taking upon Him their nature, would make satisfaction to the injured justice and purity of God, by both obeying and suffering in their stead ; that thus He might not only procure them a free pardon, but bring in an everlasting righteousness, in which they shall be presented before God, with exceeding joy, and without spot. (e) All which He finished in the fullness of time, being born of a virgin, made under the law, and at length not only died the cruel and cursed death of the cross, but His soul being made an offering for sin, He was made sin and a curse for us. (f) After which He testified the perfection of His satisfaction, by rising from the dead, and ascending to the right hand of God, where He ever liveth to make intercession for His people (g) That all mankind are utterly abominable in the sight, of God, not only as the sin of their first father is justly imputed to them, but as they derive from him, and bring into the world with them, a sinful nature, whereby they are inclined to evil alone, and to all evil, and are the subjects of a total contrariety and enmity to holiness (h); which enmity nothing can subdue, which depravity nothing can change, or produce in the heart a contrary principle thereto, but the almighty, sovereign, free operations of God the Spirit, who will in His own time work certainly, powerfully, (i) effectually, and lastingly, upon each of His elect, creating them anew, giving them a new heart and a new spirit ; producing in their understanding a perception of the evil of sin, the beauty of holiness, and the fitness of Christ to save them; and, in their will and affections, an inclination to holiness ; and a disposition to take Christ for their own, and that as Prophet and King, as well as a Priest (j)
(E) Psa. 74: 2, 8; 2 Sam. 23: 5; Isa. 42: 6; Jer. 31, 32, 33, Heb. 9: 15; Isa. 53: 11, 12; Heb.10: 5,7, 10, and 13, 20; Dan. 9: 24; Jude 24; John 17: 4 ; (F) Gal. 4: 4 ; Phil. 2: 8 ; Isa. 53: 10; 2 Cor. 5: 21; Gal. 3: 13. , (G) Acts 2: 24; 1 Pet. I. 3: 18-21; Heb. 7: 25; (H) Rom. 3: 10-20, and 5: 12; Gen. 5: 3 ; Psa. 51: 5 and 58: 3; Rom.8:7.(I) I Cor 2: 4; John 6: 44-65; Jer. 13: 23; Eph. 2:1; Psa. 110: 3 ; John 6: 63, and 1: 13. (J) I These.2: 13; Rom.11: 18; Eph. 2: 8; Acts 5: 31; Psa. 51:10 ; John 16: 8; 1 Kings 8:38.
That all who are thus wrought upon were elect, and then (but not till then) have a plead able right to Christ (l); or ground and authority to look upon themselves as interested in Him, in His everlasting love, in His blood, His righteousness, and every blessing, which through Him flows to His people. All who think well of Christ, who would gladly take a whole Christ for their own (by a whole Christ, I mean Christ as King to rule over them, as well as Priest to atone for them) may and ought to be encouraged to believe Him to be their own, (m) without being set to get such or such a measure of legal repentance and fitness for Christ (as some talk) before they may come to Him ; seeing Christ alone can give repentance, and the only good repentance is produced by a sense of His dying love. (n) True believers, after calling, though they have the habit of faith, may often want the lively acts thereof; yet is assurance a blessing that many are favoured with, and the more true comfort a Christian hath, the more holiness will he have; (o) but absolute perfection is not attainable by any one in this life (p); yea, the elect, after calling, may fall foully, though never shall one fail finally, or even totally. (q) If this could happen, Christ would be an eternal loser, for who could pay back, not gold, or silver, or worlds, but blood and soul-rending pangs, occasioned by the wrath of an infinite God ! And therefore, wherever in consequence of His eternal love, the Lord hath given grace in the least degree, He will carry on His work, and crown all with glory." (r) (John Ryland, D.D., 1771.)
Such is the system of Theology, which in its details, now claims the reader's attention. It is commended on the following grounds.
1 . Its scripturalness. It appeals alone to the Word of God, "king but that each proof verse adduced should be understood in its plain, obvious, and grammatical meaning, and in connection with its surroundings.
2.Its coherency and harmonious character. A contradictory creed must strike every intelligent person as involving what is fatal to its divine authenticity. That here unfolded is a connected and consistent whole.
3. It refers all difficulties to God Himself. Every scheme of Divinity must admit the existence of mysteries, which no ingenuity of explanation can remove. The introduction of moral evil, and its dire results confront all who give attention to Theology, whatever may be the sentiments they are led to adopt. These difficulties we neither deny nor seek to explain. We admit their existence, and confess our present inability to cope with them. We, however, leave them with God, considering them to be necessarily enshrouded in the mystery that must ever attach to the doings of an inscrutable Being of infinite goodness and wisdom.
4.Its practical usefulness. It is friendly to morality; to benevolence; to Christian fraternization; and to the spread of the gospel, by all legitimate means at home and abroad. It commands all at once to abandon what they know to be wrong; while it affords all possible help to any to whom sin is burdensome and bitter. It affords the fullest scope to every preacher to address all within sound of his voice. It bids him instruct the ignorant, warn the sinner, direct the acquirer, and invite the anxious one. It gives him matter with which to encourage the tried believer, to comfort the faint-hearted, and to seek the restoration of the wanderer.
Lastly. Its Christ-exalting character. God has so simplified the vast business of salvation as to comprise and comprehend all its essentials in the one glorious person of Emmanuel ; and surely the Theologian's task is but imperfectly performed, until he has matured an harmonious scheme, in which the Master is presented as the sum, the centre, the substances "the all and in alt" This, it is submitted, is the excellence of the system of Divinity here briefly presented, and they to whom Christ is dear will find " Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end."
We can but pray that it may command the attention; Inform the understanding; and, through all-enriching grace, prove of spiritual profit to the souls of many of the brotherhood of faith.
L. 1 Pet. 2: 7; 1 John 5: 1; 1 Cor. 12: 3; Rom. 7: 22; John 1: 12; M. 1 Pet. 2: 7; 1 Cor. 12: 3; Mat. 5: 6; N. Acts 5: 31; Zech. 12: 10; Ezek. 36: 31, and 20: 43, and 16:63.O. Rom. 14: 17; Neh. 8: 10; P.. Psa. 119: 96; Rom. 7; Dan 11: 35; 2 Chron. 42: 31; Q. Phil. 1: 6; John 10: 28, 29; 1 Pet. 1: 18-19; Isa. 53: 10,11; Jer. 31: 3; John 6: 37, 39; Psa. 74: 11.
CHAPTER 1. THE WORD OF GOD.
The Bible, its inspiration, authority, and sufficiency.
We acknowledge the Word of God, as contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, to be verbally inspired (A), and the sole, supreme, and all sufficient directory of our Faith and Practice (B).
A. John 10: 35; 2 Tim. 3:16, and 2 Pet. 1: 20, 21. B. 2 Tim. 3: 16-17, and Psa. 19: 7, and Psa. 119, whole Psalm.
"a glory gilds the sacred page,
Majestic, like the sun,
It gives a light to every age;
It gives, but borrows none.
"The hand that gave it still supplies
The gracious light and heat
Its truths upon the nations rise
They rise, but never set.
Let everlasting thanks be Thine.,
For such a bright display,
As makes a world of darkness shine
With beams of heavenly day."
The Bible never contradicts itself
Since truth is evermore consistent with itself, it follows that two contradictory statements, however high the authority that may be pleaded in their favour, cannot both be in accordance with fact. We therefore hold that to represent that the Bible in one place asserts what is elsewhere denies, is to invalidates its authority as the pure truth of God, and we repudiate all systems of interpretation which admit that contradictions are contained therein.*
2 Cor. 1:19 ; 2 Tim. 2: 13.
"How well those blessed truths agree
I How wise and holy Thy commands I
Thy promises how Arm they be !
How Arm our hope and comfort stands I
" Should all the forms that men devise
Assault my faith with treacherous art,
I'd call them vanity and lies,
And bind the gospel to my heart."
God’s Word reveals many mysteries
While we hold that the Bible contains no
contradictions or absurdities (A), we yet admit that it reveals many
mysteries (B) or divine facts, which man's natural reason on neither
discover nor explain (C), and which can only be apprehended by the
understanding imparted by God to His own people (D).
A. 1 Cor. 2: 6; B. 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 5: 32; 1 Tim. 3:16. C. John, 3: 3; 1 Cor. 2:14; D. Mark 4: 11; Eph. 3: 4; Col. 2: 2; 1 Tim. 3:9; 1 John 5:20..
"Say. Christian, wonld'st thou thrive
In knowledge of the Lord !
Against no Scripture ever strive,
But tremble at His word.
Revere the stared page;
To Injure any Part
Betrays, with blind and feeble rage,
A hard and haughty heart.
"If ought there dark
Bewail thy want sight;
No imperfections can be there
For all God's words are right.
"The thoughts of man are lies,
The Word of God is true.
To bow to Iced is to be wise;
Then hear, and fear, and do."
The Bible its own interpreter
We hold that the Scriptures so explain themselves, that an unlearned person may from them alone become " wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ;" and that none that prayerfully seek to know the mind of God from His Word will fail to obtain all needed light.
Isa. 35: 8. 1 John 2: 27.
"Sea the fair way His hand hath raised;
How holy, and how plain I
Nor shall the simplest traveller err,
Nor ask the track in vain."
*Christianity involves many paradoxes, but no contradictions. - Bishop Horsby.
The Spirit’s help essential to the understanding of the Word of God.
We hold that the supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit is essential to the profitable spiritual reception of the truths of the divine word (A) ; and that He stands engaged to afford such aid to all the people of God (B).
A. Psa. 119: 18; 2 Pet. 3:16; B. Isa. 54: 13; John 16: 13.
"Come Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire,
Let Us Mine influence prove,
Source of the old prophetic fire,
Fountain of light and love.
"Come, Holy Ghost, (for moved b The
The prophets wrote and spoke ) .
Unlock the troth, Thyself the key,
Unseal the sacred book."
2.-THE SUPREME BEING.
The Unity of God.
We believe that there is one true, living, and self-existent God (A); who is the only proper object of Christian worship (B).
. Deut. 6: 4; Psa. 42:2; 1 Cor. 8: 4-6; B. John 4: 23; and 17: 3; Phil. 3:3; Rev. 22: 8-9.
"Before Jehovah's awful throne,
Ye nations, bow with sacred Joy;
Know that the Lord is God alone ;
He can create, and He destroy."
The Spirituality and Perfections of God.
We believe that God Is a Spirit (A) ; infinite (B) ; eternal (C) ; and unchangeable (D) ; in His being (E) ; wisdom (F); power (G) ; holiness (H) ; justice (I); goodness (J) ; and truth (K).
A. John 4: 24; B. Job. 11: 7; C. Pas. 90: 2; and 1 Tim. 1: 17; D. James 1: 17. E. Exod. 3: 14. F. Isa. 40: 28. G. Psa. 147: 5. and Dan. 4: 35. H. Rev. 4: 8; I. Psa. 145: 17. J. Nahum 1: 7, and Exod. 34: 6-7. K. 2 Tim. 2: 13, and Titus 1:2.
" Great God i how Infinite art Then!
What worthless worms are we !
Let the whole race of creatures bow,
And pay their praise to Thee.
" Thy throne eternal ages stood,
Ere seas or stars were made ;
Then art the ever-living God,
Were all the nations dead.
"Eternity, with all its years,
Stands present in Thy view;
To Thee there's nothing old appears
Great God I there's nothing new."
The Mystery of The Holy Trinity
We believe that in the One God the Holy Trinity whom we adore there subsist three Persons-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (a), who alike possess Divine attributes (b), and are entitled to be worshipped with all Divine honours (c).
A. Lake 3:21, 22; Matt. 28: 19; 2 Cor. 13: 14; Rev. 1: 4, 5. B. Matt. 6: 13; Col.2: 9; 1 Cor.6:19; 2 Cor. 3: 17. C. Matt. 6: 9; Acts 7: 69; and 1 Cor. 1: 2 ; Canticles 4: 16, and Ezek 37: 9.
"Thus God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit; we adore ;
The sea of life and love unknown,
Without a bottom or a shore.".
The Complex Person of Jesus Christ
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ our
Saviour, the eternal Word, Christ became a partaker of our flesh and blood (a),
and was and continueth to be God and man in two die. duct natures, but one
person for evermore (b).
A. John 1: 14 and Heb. 2: 14. B. Eph. 4: 10, and Rev. I: 8.
" Amazing depth and height of grace !
Who can the solemn mystery trace!
The fist-born Son of God,
The Ancient of eternal days,
Beginning of Jehovah's ways,
Takes human flesh and blood.
" The Godhead is not laid aside,
His manhood is not deified,
In Him they both combine;
Flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone,
He's David's Lord and David's Son,
Both human and divine.
"In vain may human reason try
To comprehend the mystery
Of God and man in one;
The eye of faith alone can see,
The glory and the majesty
Of Mary s infant Son.'
The Miraculous conception of the Lord Jesus.
We believe that the Human Nature of conception of the the Lord Jesus was produced miraculously, and out of the ordinary course of generation, by the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit on the womb of the Virgin Mary (a), and that He thus avoided the taint and contamination of humanity (b) though He was born of the substance, and nourished from the breast of a .sinful mother (c).*
*"The human body of our Lord was in different respects both of the Holy Spirit and of Mary; of her substantially, of Him formatively. -- John Stevens.
A. Matt, l: 18-26 ; Luke l: 36: Isa. 7: l4; Jer. 31: 22; B. Isa.53: 9; John 14: 30; Heb. 4: 15; and 7: 26; I Pet. 2: 22; I Joha 3: 5; C. Luke 2: 22-24; compared with Lev. 12.
Note. The fact that Mary was a sinner appears from her rejoicing in her Saviour, and offering a sacrifice, according to the law. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has no countenance in the Word of God.
"Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies ;
With th' angelic hosts proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem.
"Christ, by highest Heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of the Virgin's womb.
" Veiled in flesh the Godhead see ;
Hail th' incarnate Deity.
Pleased as man with man t' appear,
Jesus, our Immanuel has.
"Mild, He lays His glories by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth."
The Spirit’s anointing of the Lord Jesus
'We believe that the Holy Spirit not only formed the Human Nature of the Lord Jesus in the Virgin's womb, but also anointed it; (a) filling it with grace (b), and endowing it with all the qualifications, which ps man the Lord required for the discharge of His momentous work (c).
A. Psa. 2: 2, compared with Acts 4: 25, 26 ; Isa. 61: 1; Luke 4: 18; John 3: 34. B. Psa. 45: 2; Luke 4: 22. C. Lute 4: 1, 14; Heb. 9: 14.
Note. -Christ, the Anointed one, is the official appellation of the Saviour.
" Hark I the glad sound, the Saviour comes,
The Saviour promised long ;
Let every heart prepare a throne,
And every voice a song.
On Him the Spirit largely poured,
Exerts His sacred fire ;
Wisdom, and might, and seal, and love,
His holy breast inspire."
The Son-ship of the Lord Jesus
We believe that the Son ship of the Lord Jesus
does not stand in His divine nature, abstractedly considered ; as we deem it
derogatory to, His essential glory to conceive of His Deity's being generated or
begotten, and therefore derived from and subsidiary and inferior to that of the
Father : but we hold that His son Ship-subsists in His complexity, and that as
the God-man He is the only begotten Son of God.*
Luke 1: 36; John 1: 14 ; Rom.1: 4 ; 1 Tim. 3: 16.
Note. Jesus Christ' is never called the Son of God previously to His incarnation unless it be with a prospective reference to that event.-See Psa. 2: 7 ; Isa. 9: 6. The idea of a derived or begotten God is absurd and self-contradictory.
* The Personality of Christ stands In His Divine Nature, but His. Sonhip stands in His complexity. His Personality stands in His Divinity, without beginning, unoriginated and positively and properly eternal. He owes his personality to none, but possesses it in Himself as one of the eternal Three. If you adopt the idea of His being begotten in His personality, as descriptive of His origination, you most admit that in Him, case there was a begetter. This begetter must of necessity, in the order of things be before the begotten, and in such order the begotten owes His personality to the begetter. This is so contrary to the essential glory of the Redeemer, that we cannot possibly receivet it and, we believe in the originality of Christ, in His divine personality with the Father. I adore Him as the Father's equal, as un-originated, as eternally existing, as one of the great Sacred Three.
"Thee we adore, eternal Word,
God's well beloved son;
By Heaven's obedient hosts adored,
Ere time its course began.
" The first creation has displayed,
Thine en divine;
For not a sing a thing was made
By other hands than Thins.
"But ransom'd sinners with delight,
Sublimer facts survey;
The all-creating Word unites
Himself to dust and Clay.
"Jesus-the God-man, The, we sing,
God's true and glorious Son
The heavens with Thy fame shall ring,
When time its course hath run."
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is not an influence, or emanation, but a Person in every sense as essentially and truly Divine as the Father and the Lord Jesus.
1 Cor. 6: 19, and 12: 3; 2 Cor. 3: 17; Heb. 9: 14; 1 Pet. 4: 14.
"Almighty Spirit, we
Thy Godhead now adore;
We bring our praise to Thee,
And thanks for evermore;
For once we slept in darkness deep,
But Thou bast raised us from our sleep."
Note: The Son-ship of Christ stands in the complexity of His person as God and man. Hence He Is represented under the Character of the Son of God as possessing all divine and human perfection. Both natures are discovered the human and divine, in the person of Christ. He could be weary and require rest, yet by a word could calm the raging elements and stormy waters, He could weep, yet recall the dead to life. The Maker and the made, the Infinite and she finite ; the mighty and the feeble meet In Him. As He was man He could obey and suffer, bleed and die. As He was God, there was validity and real worth In the actions of the man, derived from His personality as one of the Eternal Three. So that His blood is the blood of God, His righteousness the righteousness of God. His atonement was worthy of the acceptance of the God of Justice, and thus avails for ever in the Certain salvation of His chosen people.- George Murrell.
CHAPTER 3.-CREATION AND PROVIDENCE.
We believe that the Three-one God in the person of Christ, and for His sake, made and upholds all things.
Isa.154: 5 ; Col. 1: 16,17; Heb. 1: 2, 8, and 11: 8.
" I sing th' Almighty power of God,
That made the mountains rise;
That pread the flowing sees abroad
And built the lofty skies.
"I sing the wisdom that ordained
The sun to rule the day
The moon shines forth at his command,
And all the stars obey.
" I sing the goodness of the
. That filled the earth with i
He formed the creatures by His Word,
And then pronounced them good.
The End of all Things.
We believe that the world, as at present constituted, exists for the sake of Christ and His Church ; (A), and that when the covenant purposes of God are accomplished Time will be no more: (B) that the heavens will then pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat : and that the earth and the works that are therein will be burned up (C).
A. Rom. 11: 36; 2Cor. 4:15; B.Rev. 10"6; C. 1Peter 4:7; 2 Pet. 3: 10-12.
" Great God, what do I see and hear !
The end of things crested.
The Judge of mankind Both appear
On clouds of glory seated.
The trumpet sounds, the graves restore
The dead which they contained before !
Prepare, my soul, to meet Him."
Providence, general and particular
We hold that all creatures are under the government and control of the glorified Redeemer (A), who, while he preserves man and beast (B), and restrains evil within the bounds that His pleasure appoints (C) ; causes all things to work together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to His purpose (D).
A.Matt. 28:18; John 17: 2; 1 Pet, 3: 22; Rev. 1: 5, and 3: 7; B. Psalm 36: 6; 1 Tim. 4: 10; C. Psalm 76: 10; D. Rom. 8: 28.
"Up to the Lord that reigns on high,
And views the nations from afar,
Let everlasting prsises fly.
And tell how large his bounties are.
" God that must stoop to view the skies,
And bow to see what angels do,
Down to our earth He casts His eyes
And bends His footsteps downward too.
" He over-rules all mortal things,
And manages our mean aflairs;
On humble souls the King of kings,
Bestows His counsels and His cares.
" Oh could our thankful hearts devise
A tribute equal to Thy grace,
To the third heaven our songs should rise.
And teach the golden harps Thy praise.
CHAPTER 4.-MANKIND AB UNDER THE
COVENANT OF WORKS.
The Unity of The Human Race
We believe that God created the the human race seminally in one pair (A); and thus " made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth " (B).
A Gen. 1: 26-27; B. Acts 17: 26.
Adam created upright
We believe that the first man, Adam, was created holy, upright, and pure, and in the image of his Maker (A), but in a condition of moral equipoise : so that while he was sufficiently strong to maintain his original innocence, he was not too strong to fall by his transgression. (B)
A. Gen. 1: 26 – 31; Ecc. 7: 29. B. 1 Tim. 2: 14.
" On man in His own image made,
How much did God bestow !
The whole creation homage paid,
And own'd him lord below.
" He dwelt In Eden's garden,
stored With sweets for every sense ;
And there with his descending Lord,
He wal'ed in confidence."
The Covenant of obedience with Adam
We believe that the continuance of obedience with Adam's happiness was conditional upon his observance of a most just and equitable compact made with him by his Creator, and ordinarily known as the Covenant of Works.
Gen. 3: 8
"He stood, the monarch uncontrolled,
Of all that he surveyed,
And his was happiness untold
While he the Lord obeyed."
Adam’s transgressions voluntary
We believe that the first man, Adam, being left to the freedom of his own will, and with no impulsive coercion from God, transgressed the covenant under which he wall made, and fell into a state of condemnation and guilt.
Gen. 3:17; Job 31: 33; Hos. 6: 7, , where read, "But they, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant," i.e., as Adam broke the covenant of obedience, Ephraim and Judah had broken the covenant which had been made with them, and on which their national prosperity depended.
"But oh, by sin, how quickly change.
His honour forfeited;
His heart from God and truth estranged ,
His conscience filled with dread !
"Now from his Maker's voice he flees,
Which was before his joy,
And thinks to hide, amidst the trees,
From an all-seeing eye.
"Compelled to answer to his name,
With stubbornness and pride,
He out on God Himself the blame,
Nor once for mercy cried."
Adam, The Federal Head of The Human Race
We believe that Adam sustained the position of a Representative or Head towards his descendants upon whom he entailed the penal and most woeful consequences of his transgression.
Romans 5: 12-21; 1 Cor. 15: 22.
"When Adam by transgression fell,
And conscious Red his Maker's face,
Linked in clandestine league with hell.
He rained all his future race.
The seeds of evil once brought in,
Increased and filled the world with sin.
"But to, the second Adam came,
The subtle serpent's head to bruise;
He cancels his malicious claim,
And disappoints his devilish views;
Ransoms poor sinners with His blood,
And brings His people back to God."
Consequences of Adam’s transgression
We believe that by his transgression Adam's the first man, brought his posterity into the same condition as himself ; the guilt of his sin being imputed, and a corrupt nature imparted, to all that descend from him.
Job 14: 4; Psa. 51: 5; John 3: 6; Rom. 5: 12.
" Backward with humble shame we look
On our original;
How is our nature dash’d and broke
In our first father's fall !
To all that's good averse and blind,
But press to all that's ill;
What dreadful darkness veils our mind !
How obstinate our will !
Conceiv’d in sin (oh wretched state !)
Before we draw our breath,
The ant young pulse begins to beat
Iniquity and death.
What mortal power from things unclean
Can pure productions bring !
Who can command a vital stream
' From an infected spring !"
Christ not included in the covenant of works
We believe that, in consequence of His miraculous conception, the humanity of the Lord Jesus sustained no covenant relationship to Adam, and consequently was not involved in the effects of his sin, and that therefore the curse of the first man's sin fell not on the Man Christ Jesus.
Isa. 7: 14; Jer, 31: 22; Luke 1: 35; Gal. 4: 4; Heb 7: 26.
"Jesus, as God and Man is dear
To those who know His name;
It charms away a sinner's fear,
And sets his heart on flame.
"Behold the Man, His wounds His smart;
See how He loved and die !
The sight will melt thy stony heart,
And crucify thy pride."
Chapter 5. The Law
The Moral Law.
The Moral Law-generally called The law in the New Testament- (A) we hold to be the formal and authentic proclamation of what is claimed by God of His intelligent creatures on the immutable ground of His eternal righteousness and truth.* (B)
A. Matt. 5: 17; Rom. 2: 15; 3: 28; 6: 14; 7: 12, 14, 16, 22; 10: 4; Gal. 2: 19; B. Exo. 20: 1-17; Mark 10: 17-22; 12: 30,33.
* The enactments of the moral law are not right merely because they are commanded; but they are commanded because they are right. The validity of the first commandment, for example (Ex. xx. 8), does not stand in its proclamation. It is essentially, necessarily, and immutably right that men should worship their Creator, and Him only. Again, lying is not wrong, simply because prohibited by the ninth commandment. It is sinful in its very nature.
The law commands, and makes us know,
What duties to the Lord we owe;
But 'tie the gospel must reveal,
Where lies our strength to do His will."
The Terms of The Law unchangeable
We believe that the claims, sanctions, Law and prohibitions of the Moral Law are able not arbitrary or mutable, since they depend on the eternal distinction between right and wrong-a distinction which we hold to be natural, necessary, and inviolable, since it flows from the being and character of our unchangingly holy God*.
*The ultimate foundation of moral obligation is the character of God."-Hodge. Moral distinctions are founded in the nature of God, not on the rights of Divine Sovereignty."-William Parlmer.
Exo. 20: 2; Jer. 44: 4; Hos. 13: 4; Zech. 8: 17; Matt. 22: 37 – 40.
"Go, ye that rest upon the law,
And toil and seek salvation there;
Look to the dames that Moses saw,
And shrink, and tremble, and despair.
"But I’ll retire beneath the cross;
Saviour, at Thy dear feet I'll lie !
And the keen sword that Justice draws,
Flaming and red, shall pass me by."
The Law where recorded
We believe that the Moral Law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments, the spirit of which, in the words of the Lord Jesus is, that we should " love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as our self."
Deut. 10: 4; Matt. 19: 17; and 22: 37-40.
"How can ye hope, deluded souls,
To see what none e'er saw !
Salvation by the works obtained,
Of Sinai's fiery law !
Of The law but makes your guilt abound,
Sad help (and what is worse),
All souls that under it are found,
By God Himself are cursed.
.This cures pertains to all who break
One precept o'er so small,
But where's the man, in thought and deed,
Who has not broken all!"
God as a Judge inexorable
We believe that the claims of the Law, though inflexibly rigorous, are so just and right, that God will never suffer them to be relaxed or diminished, but will demand of all that are judged by the law, the most perfect obedience, and punish transgressors with unmitigated severity for their evil deeds.
Ezek. 18: 4, 20; Rom. 6: 23; Gal. 3: 10.
"Curst be the man, for ever curst,
That does one willful sin commit;
Death and damnation for the first,
Without relief and Infinite."
God in showing mercy must respect His Law
We believe that in exercising His royal prerogative of mercy, Jehovah must respect the inviolable honours of His holy name, and that He cannot suffer His will to subvert the rights of His throne.
Psa. 85: 10; Psa. 89: 14; Isa. 45: 21; Acts 13: 38,39; Rom. 3: 26.
"So in the law Jehovah dwell.,
But Jesus is concealed ;
Whereas the gospel's nothing else
But Jesus Christ revealed.
"Both law and gospel here unite,
In righteousness and peace ,
While truth and mercy kindly meet,
In our Emmanuel's face."
The Law maintained and magnified by Jesus Christ
We believe that the unalterable majesty of the Law of God appears most nifled by Jesus. resplendent in the finished work of the Lord Jesus,*
* "The Gospel maintains the majesty of the Law."-Charles Hill..
by whose obedience unto death for us it was most fully maintained and magnified, to the glory of the immutable righteousness of the ever blessed God of our salvation.*
* "When our saving and delivering Lord came, He did not require an alteration in the law, or in the moral government of God. He did not desire His Father to change His character ; but delighted to see His determinations fixed, His throne established, and the dignity of the great Judge of all upheld. He came, not to bring God down to us; but " He died, the just for the unjust, to bring no to God." The Law was not changed to lessen the burden He bore; but He worked, said wept, and prayed, and suffered and bled, until He had wrought out an obedience commensurate wit& its a claims and the Father expressed His perfect and unalterable satisfaction with the righteousness which He had produced."-John Hazelton.
Isa. 42: 21; Matt. 5: 17; Rom. 10: 4; the fulfilling, not the destroying end of the law; Gal. 3: 13.
"The piercing eye of perfect law,
And justice cannot see
One spot in all the Saviours work,
Which sets me sweetly free.
" Come saints, and see what Jesus wrought,
To make a worm His friend ;
See how He then fulfilled the law.
And thus became its end."
The Terms of The Covenant of works unchanged
We believe that man’s sin has in no way changed the character of God's holy and inflexible Law; and that it is the duty of all men to be and do all that was incumbent on Adam before his first and fatal transgresion.+
+" Infinite perfection can never give an imperfect law, and a Perfect law requires perfect holiness, and can allow of no defects or imperfections." -John Brine.
+ "Since, therefore, the Law demands perfection, and un-fallen Adam was perfect, the Law demands that all men should be as he was, and do all that was incumbent on him to perform. "The Law of works is the standard of the natural mans penal obligations to God, according to the Aden covenant; and by that law it was, and is every man's duty to be naturally pure and sinless as Adam and all in him, were, and had power to be at first."-John Foreman.
Deut. 6: 4,5; Mark 12: 29,31; Rom. 3: 19’ and 10: 6.
"Unchanging is our God,
Who reigns in light above;
Firm as the mountains stands His word,
His purpose none can move.
Unchanging is His Law,
Unalterably just ;
And unrelated its holy claims,
Though we are sinful dust. .
" Unchanged, it still demands,
Of all of humankind,
That they in deed and thought shall be,
Like Adam are he sinned.
"Unchanged, its curses rest,
On every guilty soul,
And waves of never-ending woe,
Must o'er the sinner roll."
The Claims of the Law over all natural obligations.
We believe that all natural duty, (or all that is Due by us as creatures to God, our Creator), is exacted by the Moral Law, and that whatsoever is not demanded therein should not be proclaimed to men as a natural and legal requirement, by preachers of the gospel.*
Luke 10: 28; Rom. 10: 6.
"The law was never designed to give
New strength to mans lost race:
"We cannot act before we live,
And life proceeds from grace.
Legal obedience were complete,
Could we the law fulfill;
But no man ever did so yet,
And no man ever will."
We believe that men as intelligent creatures are accountable to God for their worldly possession, social benefits, and natural endowments ; and that the way in which these are used or abused will be most strictly investigated at the Day of Judgment.
Ecc. 11: 9; and 12: 14; Acts 17: 31; Rom. 2: 6-11; 2 Cor. 5: 10; Gal. 6: 7-8; Rev. 20: 11-13.
All that we are, all that we have,
Unto the Lord we owe;
Our health, our wealth, our friends, our powers,
It pleased Him to bestow.
* For example.-The law does not require that men should believe spiritually, Faith, therefore, is not a natural duty.-See the Chapter on Things which accompany Salvation.
"We may abuse these gifts divine,
To us in kindness given
And live forgetful that this life
Must end in Hell or Heaven.
" But oh, the solemn hour will come,
When all account must give,
Of how, u moments hurried on,
We tried on earth to live..
"The trump shall sound, to summon men
Before the Great White Throne;
And in the searching light of God,,
All secrets will be known."
Justification by deeds of the law inpossible
We hold that man, being legally guilty (A), morally defiled (B), and spiritually dead (C), can never meet the claims of God's most holy and righteous Law; so that "by the deeds of the law there shall be no flesh justified in His sight) (D) *
*The assertion that life is a time of probation-though pleasing to the pride of man-has no support in the Bible. Man's probation began and ended in the garden of Eden. All who are where the fall left that, and their sins have brought them, are "condemned already."
A. Rom. 3: 19; B Rom. 3: 10-19.; Titus 1: 15; C. Eph. 2: 1; D. Rom. 3: 20; Gal. 3: 10-11.
"Raise thoughtless sinner ! raise thin eye;
Behold the balance lifted high:
There shall God's lushes be displa'd,
And there thy hope and life be weigh'd.
" See, in one scale, His perfect law I
Mark with what force its precepts draw;
Would'st thou the awful test sustain,
Thy works, how light-thy thoughts how vain !
" Behold I the hand of God appears
To trace those dreadful character;
Teke ! thy soul is wanting found,
And wrath shall smite thee to the ground! "
The Law convinces sinners of their helpness and hopeless state.
We believe that the Law of God is employed by the Spirit as the means whereby sinners are convinced of their guilt and helplessness, and induced to enquire for salvation through the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom. 7: 9,13; Gal. 3: 23,24.
"Lord, how secure my conscience was,
And felt no inward dread!
I was alive without the law,
And thought my sins were dead.
"My guilt appear’d but small before,
Till terribly I saw
How perfect, holy, just and pare,
Was Thine eternal law.
"Then felt my soul the heavy load,
My sins revi'd again,
I had provok'd a dreadful God,
And all my hopes were slain.
"I'm like a helpless captive sold
Under the power of sin;
I cannot do the good I would,
Nor keep my conscience clean."
The Law should be proclaimed to sinners
We hold that the proclamation of the nature, claims, and penalty of the Law is an essential part of the work of those who have to declare the salvation of Good to their fellow sinners.
Acts 13: 39; Rom. 3: 19; Gal. 3: 10; 1 John 3: 4
" Vain are the hopes the sons of men,
On their own works have built;
Their hearts by nature all unclean,
And all their actions guilt.
"Let Jew and Gentile stop their mouths
Without a murmuring word,
And the whole race of Adam stand
Guilty before the Lord.
" In vain we ask God's righteous law
To justify as now,
Since to convince and to condemn
Is all the law can do."
We hold that all that are the subjects of a
work of grace are led to renounce all reliance on the Law as the ground of their
acceptance with God; and to draw nigh to Him for mercy as law-wrecked sinners,
justly condemned to death for disobedience to its precepts.
Rom. 4: 4; and 11: 6; Phi. 3: 3,9
" How awful the state I was in,
When Satan's proud vassal I stood,
Past bound in the fetters of sin,
Rejecting atonement by blood !
"On self my dependence was laid,
I thought myself holy and free,
Till Sinai its terrors displayed,
And drove me, dear Jesus, to Thee.
" From which, this conclusion I draw,
With gospel assurance-that he
Whose heart was ne'er broke by the law,
No sweets In the gospel can see."
We believe that the finally lost will be consigned to punishment for their sins, on the ground of the condemnation of the law which they have broken ; and not, as is frequently asserted, because they have declined to become religious, and accept what is styled the offered grace of the gospe !*
Mattt 25: 31,46; John 5: 29, were for "damnation" read "judgement" 1 John 3: 4; Rev. 20: 11,14, and 21: 8.
"The Lord shall come ! the earth shall quake,
The mountains to their centre shake,
And, withering from the vault of night,
The stars shall pale their feeble light.
" While sinners in despair shall call,
' Rocks, hide us; mountains, on us fall,'
The saints ascending from the tomb,
Shall joyful cry, ' The Lord has come.'"
*" The reader Is entreated to notice that in none of the scriptural predictions of the occurrences of the Judgment Day Is there the slightest support for the popular notion that men will be damned, not for sin, but for rejecting Christ. In every case the testimony is most explicit that sin is the sole ground on which sinners will be condemned. It may be noticed that the words "fearful" and "unbelieving" in Rev. 21: 8, do not imply the absence of the spiritual graces of confidence and faith, but moral blemishes in human character. They might, so sound scholars believe, be rendered " cowardly " and " faithless " or " false."
The Plymouth Brethren assert that the Law was binding on the Jews only, and that with it Gentiles have nothing whatever to do. This, however confounds the "law of commandments contained in ordinances," (Eph. 2: 16), with the Moral Lw, i.e., the authoritative proclamation 'God, of His principles and requirements as the Moral Governor of all men. A lawless ruler is an unprincipled tyrant, and to assert that God rules over the whole Gentile world, claiming their obedience, and purposing to punish their offences-on no define principle, is to cast a slight upon His legislative character which demands refutation at the hands of His friends. His law is in force. wherever men are to be found.
If the phrase " the law" invariably meant the law of Moses-if Jews only were under the law-then (to cite but one instance), Jews only were redeemed by Christ's blood, and Jews only "receive the adoption of sons." (Gal. 4: 4, 5.)
1 John 3: 4, teaches that " whoever doeth sin, doeth" not only what is wrong in man's judgment, but "also lawlessness -" and " that sin,"-however light, venial, and amiable it may appear-" IS lawlessness." The latter assertion is added, in Johns characteristic manner, to emphasize the fast that in addition to all other considerations, sin must receive legal investigation and condemnation at God's hands.
CHAPTER 6. MORALITY AND GODLINESS.
Virtue to be commended, yet Holiness is required by God
While we admit the high moral commended, yet holiness of many natural men (A), and hold the vast importance of human goodness, we believe that the imperfect obedience of. creatures essentially sinful, can in no case meet the requirements of God ; since virtue is not that Holiness "without which, no man shall see the Lord." (B).
A.Maik 10: 21; B. Matt. 5: 8; Heb. 12: 14, were for "holiness" read "sanctification" as in the Revised Version -compare John 3: 6, and Romans 8: 7-8; James 4: 4.
" When Cain of old acceptance sought,
An offering of fruit he brought.
To make his peace with heaven
In vain : no sacred fire came down !
He stood before Jehovah's frown,
A sinner unforgiven.
" But Abel, pardon to obtain,
Came with a lamb that he had slain,
To offer to his God.
And all was well; for then, as now,
No access could the Lord allow,
But by atoning blood.
Nought that to man as man belongs
Love, kindness, patience under wrongs,
Virtue, however bright,
Avails to cancel- human sin;
Or ever can acceptance win
In God's most holy sight.'
SOVEREIGNTY IN SALVATION : EQUITY IN RETRIBUTION.
Most firmly do we hold the doctrine of Divers
Sovereignty, or the supreme, absolute, and unquestionable right of Jehovah to
create, rule, and dispose of His creatures as may seem good to Himself alone.
Psa.115: 3; Psa. 135: 6; Isa.40:13 – 14; Dan.4: 35; Matt. 11: 25 – 26; Rom.9: 20 – 21.
"Behold, the Potter and the clay
He forms the vessels as he please ;
Such is our God, and such are we,
,The subjects of His high decrees.
"May not the sovereign Lord on high
Dispense His favour as He will ;
Choose some to live, while others die,
And yet be wise and gracious still I
'' Shall man reply spinet the Lord,
And call his Maker's ways unjust,
the thunder of whose awful word
Can crush a thousand worlds to dust?
"But, 0 my soul, if truths so bright
Should dazzle and confound thy sight,
Yet still His written Word obey,
And wait the great decisive day."
God was under no obligation to shew mercy
We hold that Jehovah was under no obligation to show mercy to any of the show mercy to any of the human race, and that He might with perfect justice have consigned all to the doom that their :rebellion and sin deserved.
Romans 3: 5.
"My lips with shame my sin confess,
A ainet Thy law, against Thy grace;
should Thy judgment grow severer
I am condemned, but Thou art clear.
"Should sudden vengeance seize my breath,
I most pronounce Thee Justin death ;
And it my soul was sent to hell
Thy righteous law approves it well."
Sovereignty in Salvation
We believe that Divine sovereignty is, the
source of the salvation of sinners (A), and that the gracious conduct of
God toward His people is solely prompted by His own will and pleasure (B).
A. Eph. 1: 5,9; B. Matt. 11: 26; John 1: 13; 1Cor. 12: 11; Heb. 2: 14; James 1: 18.
"How free, bow glorious was the grace,
How wonderful the sovereign
That chose our souls, our time, and place,
Before He bade the planets move.
"No claim had we, who now enjoy
The smiles and favours of our God
He only knows who chose us, why
Our hearts are His divine abode.''
Divine Equity reigns in Retribution
While (as above stated) we believe that God acts in sovereignty in communicating undeserved good, we hold that in the infliction of deserved evil His Equity alone reigns; and that Divine punishment will be visited on the ungodly in. strict accordance with their deserts, and the requirements of unerring justice.
Psa.7: 11; Luke 12: 47; Heb. 12: 9; 10: 26 – 31.
"In songs of sublime adoration and praise,
Ye pilgrims for Zion who press,
Break forth, and extol the great Ancient of Days,
His rich and distinguishing grace.
" What was there in you that could merit esteem
Or give the Creator delight ?
'Twas ' even so, Father,' you ever must sing,
' Because it seemed good in Thy sight.,
"'Twas all of Thy grace we were brought to obey,
While others were suffered to go
The road which by nature we chose as our way
Which leads to the regions of woe."
Sovereign love to un deservering sinners, and righteous anger toward the guilty.
While we contend that Sovereignty is the source of the gracious conduct of God towards sinners ; we repudiate the idea of its, under any circumstances, giving rise to His hatred; as we believe that His most just and holy anger is excited towards any of His creatures, solely on account of their sins. *
* Mal 1.3; Rom. 9:13. These weighty passages may at first seem to contradict the above statement. On comparing them, however, with other verses in which the word " hate" occurs, its force here may be ascertained. It merely implies the negation of love. Jacob personally, and his descendants nationally, was loved with a love which was never manifested to Esau and the Edomites. The verses are simply designed to teach that God directs the course of His favours, in accordance with the immediate choice of His own sovereign will. Compare Gen.. 29: 31 ; Luke 14: 40.
Prov. 8:13; Hos.9:15; Mal. 1:3; Rom.2:9; 9:13; Rev. 2:6,15.
Hail, sovereign love, that First began
The scheme to rescue fallen man :
Hail, matchless, free, eternal grace,
That gave my soul a hiding-place !
"Should storms of seven-fold thunder Roll,
And shake the globe from pole to pole,
I rest secure, for sovereign grace
Hath shut me in my hiding-place."
CHAPTER 8. THE PLAN OF SALVATION.
Salvation a Divine Certainty.
The Will of God regulates all His Works
We believe that the ever blessed God regulates all His worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (A) ; so that by the acts of His power in time, His purposes before time are made known (B).
A.Isa.14:24 – 27; and 46:10 – 11; Eph. 1:11; B. Acts 15:18.
'Twas fixed in God's eternal mind,
When His dear son, should mercy find;
From everlasting He decreed,
When every good should be conveyed. .
" Determined was the manner bow
Eternal favour He'd bestow;
Yes, He decreed the very place
Where he would show triumphing grace.
"Also the means. were fix'd upon,
Through which His sovereign love should ran;
So time, and place; yes, means and mode,
Were all determined by our God."
The covenant of Grace
We believe that the salvation of sinners was the subject of divine consideration before the foundation of the world (A) ; and that the three Persons in the adorable Trinity took counsel together (B), and entered into that holy compact or agreement known as the Covenant of Grace ((C), by which the saving office that each should sustain was determined (D), in accordance with their gracious undertakings on behalf of the objects of mercy (E).
A. Psa. 92:5; Psa, 99: 89; Psa. 139: 17; Rom. 9: 11; Eph. 3: 11; 2 Tim. 1: 9 ; Titus 1: 2; 1 Pet 1: 20; B. Psa. 33: 11; Prov. 19: 21; Isa.40: 13; Isa. 46: 10; Zech. 6:13; C. 2 Sam. 23: 5; Heb. 8: 6; 12: 24, and 13: 20; D. Psa. 89: 3; Jer. 24: 7; John 10: 29, and 14: 31;Eph. 1: 22; Isa.58: 16, and 49: 1 – 8; Heb. 5: 4 – 5; Pet. 1: 20; Rev. 43: 8. E. John 17: 4; Heb. 10: 7 – 9.
" With David', Lord, and ours,
A covenant once was made,
Whose bonds are firm and sure,
Whose glories ne'er shall fade:
Signed by the sacred Three in One,
In mutual love are time began.
Christ the Mediator of The Covenant of Grace
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was constituted the Mediator between God and man (A); that by Him the inscrutable character of God might be revealed (B) His purposes of grace made known; (C) and His love displayed (D); and that by His achievements the elect might finally be brought to know, love and glorify the triune God of their salvation in heaven for ever (E).
A.John 17: 3; I Tim. 2: 5; Heb. 8: 6. B. John 1: 18; Col.1: 16; Heb. 1: 3; C. Eph. 1: 9, and 3: 11; 1 John 5:11. D. John 3:16, and 17:17: 26; 1 John 4: 9. . E I Pet. 3: 18; 1 John 4: 10, 16.
"Jesus, we bless Thy Father's name !
Thy God and ours are both the same:
What heavenly blessings from His throne,
Flow down to sinners through His Son.
"Christ, be my first elect,' He said ;
Then chose our souls in Christ our Head,
Before He gave the mountains birth,
Or laid foundations for the earth."
We believe that election was an act of God, whereby of His sovereign pleasure before the foundations of the world were laid, He chose out of mankind a number whom no man can number, to be the objects of His special love and favour.
Eph. 1: 4.
"Saved from the damning power of sin,
The law's tremendous curse ;
Let us the sacred song begin
Where God began with us.
"We'll sing the vast, unmeasured grace,
Which from the days of old,
Did all the Son's elect embrace,
As sheep within His fold."
Election and Predestination inseparable yet distinguishable.