An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles

of the Church of England

By Robert Louis Cloquet.

J. Nisbet, 1885

[Spelling selectively modernized.  Bible citations converted to all Arabic numerals.  Notes moved into or near their places of citation.]



         A Protestant Exposition of our Protestant Articles, which shall fearlessly combat error from whatever quarter, and be at the same time sufficiently exhaustive for all ordinary purposes – such seems to be imperatively demanded in the present day of abounding Romish and Ritualistic encroachments.  And as such we dedicate the following work to the student and general reader.  A treatise, it is hoped, less or more complete in itself: adapted to the exact student who, preparing for examinations, shall be saved expense in the multiplication of books, and bewilderment in their selection; and to the general reader, who may be desirous of accurate information upon this portion of the Creed of the Church of England.

         We have based our exposition on Holy Scripture, the Fathers of the Primitive Church, and the Reformers.

         To specify all the earlier or modern writers from whom aid has been derived is needless.  Suffice it to say that we have freely availed ourselves of every source of information within our reach; and that leading authorities, for the most part, are named as we proceed.

         In conclusion we pray that our labour of love may be the humble means, under God’s blessing, of supplanting to some extent the too numerous treatises destructive of “the faith once delivered to the saints,” which have of late so insidiously crept into our seats of learning and theological halls.

         In the Master’s hands we leave the issue.  We owe all to Him, and to His servants.


         NOTE:  To save in some measure multiplicity of references, we beg here to state that we have followed Alford in the main for the exegesis of New Testament passages; Mosheim and Neander in like manner for the History; Burton and Cary for the Testimonies of the Fathers (and the former as well for the Heresies of the Apostolic age); Hardwick for the Sources and Objects, and Boultbee for the Notes on the Text of the Articles; Schaff for the Confessions; and Dr. Charles Elliott in many instances for the line of argument.


Article  I

Of Faith in the Holy Trinity. – There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things, both visible and invisible.  And in unity of this Godhead there be Three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

            De Fide in Sacrosanctam Trinitatem. – Unus est vivus et verus Deus, aeternus, incorporeus, impartibilis, impassibilis; immensae potentiae, sapientiae, ac bonitatis; Creator et conservator omnium, tum visibilium, tum invisibilium.  Et in unitate hujus divinae naturae, tres sunt Personae, ejusdem essentiae, potentiae, ac aeternitatis: Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.



         Two Subjects. – 1. The Existence, Nature, and Attributes of God.  2. The Trinity in Unity.


1.  The Existence, Nature, and Attributes God.

         There is, etc.]

         (1.) The Existence of God – the fundamental truth of all other truths.  Against Atheism.

         “He that cometh to God must believe that he is” (Heb. 11:6).

         (a) Revealed in Creation.

                           “Nature is but a name for an effect,

                           Whose cause is God.”

         “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead” (Rom. 1:20).

         (b) But only savingly declared by Christ in and through the Scriptures.

         “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him “(John 1:18).

         But one]

         (2.)  The Unity of God.  Against Polytheism – the exoteric, or grosser form of Gentile worship, with its outcome of Arianism and Tritheism.

         (a) Demonstrated by Reason.  An effect argues a cause.  There cannot be two or more First Causes.  There cannot be two or more Infinite Beings.

         (b) Expressly taught in Scripture.

         “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one God” (Deut. 6:4).  “Besides me there is no God” (Is. 44:6).  “God is one” (Gal. 3:20).

         Living and true God]

         (3.)  The Personality of God.  Against Pantheism – the esoteric, or more refined form of Gentile worship.

         “Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true [αληφινός = verus: very, real, genuine.] God” (1 Thess. 1:9).  “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exod. 3:6).  “I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exod. 3:14).  “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4:8).


         (4.)  God’s Eternity – that essential attribute of His nature, whereby He exists, without beginning, succession, or end of time.

         “The everlasting God” (Gen. 21:23).  “Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psa. 90:2).  “His eternal power and Godhead.” (Rom. 1:20).

         Without body, parts, or passions]

         (5.)  God’s spirituality – that essential attribute of His nature, whereby He is an intelligent uncreated substance; incorporeal, impassible, and unchangeable.  Against all merely anthropomorphic ideas of God in a literal sense.

         “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24).  “Whom no man hath seen nor can see” (1 Tim. 6:16).  “God is not a man, that he should lie” (Num. 23:19).  “For I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6).  “The Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

         Of Infinite power]

         (b) God’s Omnipotence – that essential attribute of His nature, whereby He effects all things, and which is only limited by His sovereign will.

         “I am the Almighty God” (Gen. 17:1).  “With God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).  “And he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth” (Dan. 4:35).

         (a) Manifested in Creation.

         “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth “(Gen. 1:1).  “I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself” (Isa. 44:24).

         (b) In Providence.

         “Upholding all things by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3).  “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps” (Prov. 16:9).  “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

         (c) In Redemption.

         “Christ, the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).  “The man of thy right hand ... the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself” (Psa. 53:17).


         (7.)  God’s Omniscience – that essential attribute of His nature, whereby he knows all things, by an eternal act of the Divine mind.

         “His understanding is infinite “ (Psa. 147:5).  “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13).

         (a) Seen in creation: its beauty, order, and harmony; the subservience of parts one to another, and of all to wise and beneficial ends.

         “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge” (Psa. 19:1–2).  “I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel “ (Hos. 2:21–22).  “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all” (Psa. 104:24).

         (b) In Providence.

         “The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to naught; he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.  The counsel of the Lord standeth forever; the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psa. 33:10–11).  “For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me, and many such things are with him” (Job 23:14).

         (c) In Redemption.

         “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:29–30).  “Christ, the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).

         And goodness]

         (8.)  God’s Goodness – that essential attribute of His nature, whereby He is infinitely good in Himself, and the Fountain of all that is good in the universe.

         (a) Absolute.

         “None is good, save one, that is, God” (Luke 23:19).

         (b) Relative.

         “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exod. 34:6).

         (c) Displayed in Creation.

         “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).

         (d) In Providence.

         “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”  “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season” (Psa. 145:9, 15).

         (e) In Redemption.

         “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should, not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

         The Maker and Preserver of all things, both visible and invisible]

         (9.)  God’s Essential and Universal Sovereignty, as displayed in the works of Creation and Providence.  Against all atheistic notions of the eternity of anything apart from God, and all stoic and unworthy views of indifference.

         (a) Demonstrable by reason, and confirmed by experience.

         Matter is non-intelligent, and therefore could not have projected the laws which govern it: much less exist, and from all eternity, with these self-constituted laws.

         Its laws also are, as we see, uniformly sustained; and therefore bespeak a Preserver as well as a Creator.

         Life or spirit too, in all its varied finite forms, is equally amenable to law, imposed ab extra; and therefore at least equally to be predicated of as created and upheld.

         Nor does the theory of evolution help the argument.  For the phenomena adduced are but illustrations of the graduated scale of creation; or of varieties of species, of no value to the contention.

         (b) Clearly the doctrine of Scripture.

         “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1; and see the chapter throughout).  “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7).  “The Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh” (Num. 27:16).  “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all” (Neh. 9:6).  “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1:16–17).  “Upholding all things by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3).  “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

         2. The Trinity in Unity.

         In opposition to Arians, Sabellians, Macedonians, Socinians, Tritheists, and all Polytheists.

         And in unity of this Godhead there be Three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost]

         (1.)  There is One God.

         “There is one God; and there is none other but be” (Mark 12:32).  And see above.

         (2.)  The Father is God.

         “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true (άληφινον) God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (our Lord addressing the Father, John 17:3).  “One God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:6).

         (3.)  The Son is God.

         “They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matt. 1:23.  Cf. Isa. 7:14).  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).  Read Isa. 9:1–7 with Matt. 4:12–16.  “In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God” (John 1:1).  “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:8).  “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).  And we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true (άληθινος) God, and the Eternal Life (ηζωη)” (1 John 5:20).

         (4.)  The Holy Ghost is God.

         “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).  “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? ... Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:3–4).  “The Eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14).

         (5.)  And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God, or Divine Essence.

         (a) The Father is One with the Son.

         “I and my Father are one  –  εγω και ο πατηρ εν εσμεν” (John 10:30). [“What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a One in essence, not person.  Εν not εις.  The words presuppose the homoousian doctrine.  As Bengel, after St. Augustine, remarks: “Per sumus refutatur Sabellius, per unum, Arius.”  See Bishops Wordsworth and Alford.]  “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

         (b) The Holy Ghost is One with the Father.

         “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him?  Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11).

         (c) The Son and the Holy Ghost are One.

         “Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son” (Matt. 11:27).  “The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11).

         (6.)  Finally, the Three are not one Person under different Names, but distinct Personal Agents.

         (a) The Father sends the Son, and bears witness of Him.

         “The Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me” (John 5:37).  “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Psa. 2:7).  “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (the Baptism, Matt. 4:17).  “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him” (the Transfiguration, Matt. 17:6).  “God sent his only begotten [Only-begotten – μονογενηςμόνος εκ μόνου, as St. Cyril explains it: “only” referring to the Father, as well as to the Son.] Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).  Read also Isa. 42:1–4 with Matt. 12:14–21.

         (b) The Son proceeds from, and returns to, the Father.

         “I proceeded forth and came from God” (John 8:42).  “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father” (John 16:28).

         (c) The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.  “The Spirit of your Father” (Matt. 10:20).  ‘The Spirit of his Son” (Gal. 4:6).  “The Holy Ghost whom the Father will send” (John 14:26).  “Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father” (John 15:26).

         (d) The Son intercedes with the Father.

         “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).  “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).  And see our Lord’s Parting Prayer, John 17.

         (e) The Holy Ghost intercedes with the Father.

         “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26).  “Another Comforter [Παράκλητος.  Better rendered Intercessor or “Advocate,” as in 1 John 2:1, of Christ.  Used by St. John alone: four times in his Gospel, of the Holy Ghost, and once as above of Christ.] ... even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16–17).

         (f) Again, in the forms of Baptism and Blessing, we have the Names of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost joined, but plainly distinguished (by the article in each case in the original).  [In the Blessing, the literal rendering of our “and the love of God” is, “and the love of the God” (or “our God”) – του θεου.]  And at the Baptism of Christ the Three acted jointly, but yet took distinct personal parts, and thus declared by sensible sighs a Trinity in Unity.  The Son being in the baptized Jesus: the Holy Ghost descending in the form of a dove, and lighting upon Him: and the Father by a voice from heaven audibly “sealing” His Beloved Son.


         The foregoing line of argument, in the main that of the Athanasian Creed, and adopted by Bishop Browne and others, contains some of the more indisputable proofs of the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity.  As the following, however, drawn out more after the model of the old Scottish divines, [See especially Erskine & Fisher’s Shorter Catechism Explained: to which the writer is here and elsewhere much indebted.] may be equally acceptable, if not indeed somewhat clearer and more compact, it may be well to give it a place, though necessarily involving some repetitions of the above.  Should further Scripture proofs be wanted, they may be collected from those already quoted, or from parallel passages.

         (1.)  There is but One God.

         (a) Declared by Scripture.

         “There is one God, and there is none other but he” (Mark 12:32).

         (b) Demonstrated by Reason.

         The phenomena or effects of Nature argue a cause.  There can only be one First Cause.  There can only be one omnipotent Being.

         (c) Proved from the government of the world.

         The unity of design observable in the works of creation and providence, argues the unity of the Designer.

         (d) Indicated by some of the Divine perfections being expressed in Scripture in the abstract.

         “God is Light” (1 John 1:5).  “God is Love” (ch. 4:8).  “The Strength of Israel” (1 Sam. 15:29).

         (2.)  In the Godhead, or Divine Essence, there are Three Persons, or Individual Subsistences, distinguished, but not separated, by personal properties; which personal properties or acts, are incommunicable to each other of these Persons: the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost; to whom the terms First, Second, and Third are applied, merely as terms of order, and not as implying any priority of nature or excellence.

         (a) The personal property of the Father is to beget the Son, and that from all eternity.

         “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psa. 2:7).

         (b) The personal property of the Son is to be eternally begotten of the Father.

         “We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14).

         (c) The personal property of the Holy Ghost is to proceed eternally from the Father and the Son.

         “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).

         (3.)  Each of these Three Persons is truly and properly God – the Divine Essence, or Deity, or Godhead, being indivisible, and common to all.

         Which proposition neither asserts nor implies, as has been alleged, that there are three Gods.  But, on the contrary, simply declares, that the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all One.

         (a) The Father is God. [Such expressions as Cause, Author, Fountain of Deity, applied to the Father, though used by the ancients, and adopted by many moderns, are perhaps best avoided.  They have no warrant in God’s Word.  They have been perverted by adversaries.  And they seem to exclude the self-existence of the Son and the Holy Ghost.]

         “To us there is but one God, the Father” (1 Cor. 8:6).

         (b) The Son is God.

         The same NAMES are ascribed to Him, as to the Father:

         God. –“The Word was God” (John 1:1).

         The great God. – “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).  Better read: The glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

         The mighty God. – “And His name shall be called, The mighty God” (Isa. 9:6).

         The true God. – “And we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God, and the Eternal Life” (1 John 5:20).

         The only wise God. – “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen” (Jude 25).

         Jehovah; a name not given to any, but the living and true God, – “The Lord (Jehovah) our righteousness” (Jer. 23:6).

         The same ATTRIBUTES:

         Eternity. – “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

         Unchangeableness. – “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

         Omniscience. – “Lord, thou knowest all things” (John 21:17).

         Omnipotence. – “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord (Jesus Christ), which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty”(Rev. 1:8).

         Omnipresence. – “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20).

         Universal Sovereignty. – “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5).

         The same WORKS:

         Creation. – “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Col. 1:16).

         Preservation of all things. – “By him all things consist” (Col. 1:17).

         Redemption. – “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:12).

         Miracles. – “Tabitha eumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise” (Mark 5:41).

         Forgiving of  Sins. – “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mark 2:5).

         Raising the Dead at the Last Day. – “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28–29).

         Judging the World. – “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10).

         The same WORSHIP:

         “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father” (John 5:23).  “Again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb. 1:6).

         (c) The Holy Ghost is God.  Proved by the same arguments which establish the Supreme Deity of the Son.

         He is expressly called God.

         “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? ... Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:3–4).

         Plainly also Jehovah.

         “When Moses went in before the Lord (Jehovah) to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out” (Exod. 34:34).  “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty “(2 Cor. 3:15–17).

         DIVINE ATTRIBUTES are ascribed to Him:

         Eternity. – “The Eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:24).

         Omniscience. – “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10).

         Omnipotence. – “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).  “The same Spirit ... dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Cor. 12:4, 11).

         Omnipresence. – “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit’!” (Psa. 139:7).  “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?” (1 Cor. 6:19).

         Divine WORKS:

         Creation. – “And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2).  “By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens “ (Job 26:13).  “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4).

         Sanctification. – “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13).

         Miracles. – “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matt. 12:28).

         Inspiration. – “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21).

         Resurrection. – “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:11).

         Divine WORSHIP:

         “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:19).  “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.  Amen” (2 Cor. 13:14).

         (4)  Further and direct proof of the Distinct Personal Agency of the Three Persons of the Godhead (especially against Sabellians).

         (a) The Father ordains, the Son purchases, and the Holy Ghost applies Eternal Redemption.

         “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the bleed of Jesus Christ “ (1 Peter 1:2).

         (b) Three Distinct Persons are revealed –

         In the Institution of Baptism (as above).

         In the Apostolic Blessing (as above).

         At the Baptism of Christ (as above).

         (c) Distinct personal acts are ascribed to each of the Three Persons.

         The Father sends the Son.  The Son proceeds from, and returns to, the Father.  The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.  And the Son and the Holy Ghost intercede, each with the Father.  (See the proofs as above.)


Article  II.

Doctrine and Scriptural Proof.

         Of the Word, or Son of God, which was made very Man. – The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.

            De Verbo, sive Filio Dei, qui verus Homo factus est. – Filius, qui est Verbum Patris, ab aeterno a Patre genitus, verus et aeternus Deus, ac Patri consubstantialis, in utero beatae Virginis, et illius substantia naturam humanam assumpsit: ita ut duae naturae divina et humana, integre atque perfecte in unitate personae fuerint inseparabiliter conjunctae, et quibus est unus Christus, verus Deus et verus Homo; qui vere passus est, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, ut Patrem nobis reconciliaret, essetque hostia, non tantum pro culpa originis, verum etiam pro omnibus actualibus hominum peccatis.



Two Subjects. – 1. The Person of Christ.  2. The Atonement.


1.  The Person of Christ.

         Or the Hypostatical Union of the two distinct Natures of our Lord Jesus Christ, God and Man, in one Person, forever.

         Against Arians, Eunomians, Photinians, and Socinians.

         The Son]

         (1.)  The Sonship of Christ, as distinguished from His Mediatorial office.

         “Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father” (2 John 3).  “But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me” (John 7:29).  “From” – as to generation, “Sent” – as to office.

         Which is the Word of the Father]

         (a) Mode or nature of Christ’s Sonship, in relation to the Father.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).  The ην or “was” showing a continued state of existence from “the beginning,” or everlasting.

         (b) The “Word,” or Logos, not an attribute, or a personification, or the conceived (λόγος ενδιάθετος) or spoken word (λόγος προφορικος) merely of God, but a distinct Divine Personal Being.

         “The Word was with God, and the word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1–2); “With” – προς.  Not here simply in – ιν (as ch. 10:38, etc.), but in reality both.  “With because of “in”: and “in” because of “with”.  God the Son, Personally “with,” because Essentially “in,” God the Father “in the beginning” εν αρχη, a “beginning” without beginning itself.  “All things made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:3–4).  The Creator of all things, and the Source of all life, must be a Divine Person.

         Begotten from everlasting of the Father]

         (c) His Eternal Generation.

         “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psa. 2:7).  “This day” – the nunc stans, as it has been called, of eternity.  Cf. Heb. 1:5–12.  “The only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14).  Only-begotten of only-One: in which sense the term (μονογενης) is exclusive of all other sons; and cannot be applied to men or angels.  “The firstborn of every creature” (Col. 1:15).  First-begotten, in dignity and precedence, of all creation.  The term, so far from being derogatory to, is a strong proof of Christ’s Divinity; the Jews being accustomed to call God the Father, “The Firstborn of all the whole world.”

         The very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father]

         (d) His Essential Unity with God.

         “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).  That is, of one and the same Godhead, essence, or substance, with the Father.  εν – one Essence: not εις; – one Person (see above).  “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).  The Divine Son is the only and true Exponent of the Divine Father.  “The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” – or substance, υποστάσεως (Heb. 1:3); αταύγασμα της δόξης; – the effulgence or expression of the Father’s glory: begotten of and emanating from the essence of the Father; distinct from, but coeternal with, the Father.  And the χαρακτηρ της υποστάσεως αυτου – the exact impression of the Father’s Essential Being.  In the language of Philio: “The closest copy of him who alone truly is, since there is no separating interval between.”

         Took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance]

         (2.)  The Incarnation of Christ, or the Assumption of Human Nature by the Son of God.

         Against Gnostics, Arians, Apollinarians, Nestorians, Monophysites, Monothelites, and Socinians.

         (a) Foretold under a variety of names, such as:

         The Seed of the Woman. – “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt braise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).

         The Seed of Abraham. – “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession” (Gen. 17:8.  See also ch. 13:15).  Thus explained by St. Paul of “Christ”: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.  He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one.  And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16).  And in the fuller spirit of the prophecy, though perhaps not supplying the exact quotation of the Apostle: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:18).

         Shiloh, or the Peace-Maker. – “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen. 49:10).

         Immanuel, or God with us. – “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).  Expanded, ch. 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

         Messiah, or the Anointed. – “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks” (Dan. 9:25).

         The Branch, or exalted Descendant from the tree of David’s Royal Line.– “Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH” (Zech. 6:12).  Probably contracted from Jer. 23:5–6: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is the name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

         The Messenger of the Covenant. – “And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in” (Mal. 3:1).

         (b) Abundantly testified and plainly asserted in the history and epistles of the New Testament.

         Especially by St. John, as the keynote and ultimate design of his Gospel.

         “The Word was made flesh” (John 1:14).  “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name” (John 20:31).

         And in the Epistle to the Hebrews – a demonstration throughout that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, or Messiah of God.

         (c) Satisfactorily proved to Christians by this one argument of Christ Himself – that in Him, the suffering, crucified, but now risen Saviour, all the prophecies and promises concerning the Messiah, or Incarnate Son of God, were fully and exactly accomplished.

         “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luke 24:44).

         (d) Fully proved as against the Jew, thus –

         The scepter of civil government has departed from Judah: therefore the Messiah has come in the flesh.

         “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come” (Gen. 49:10).

         The second temple, into which the Messiah was to come, is destroyed: therefore its “greater glory” can never be caused by the personal appearance of another Messiah.

         “And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple” (Mal. 3:1).  “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts” (Hag. 2:9).  “And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Dan. 9:26).

         The sacrifice and oblation have ceased: therefore the Messiah has been “cut off.”

         “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks. ... And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off. ... And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (Dan. 9:25–27).

         The family of David is extinct; therefore another Messiah can never be born.

         So that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man]

         (3.)  The Nature of the Person of the Incarnate Son.

         (a) The Hypostatical Union of Godhead and Manhood.

         “Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.  Amen” (Rom. 9:5).  “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim. 3:16).

         (b) The human nature and the Divine were united at the moment of conception or incarnation in the Person of the Son.

         “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).  “Shall be called” – κληθήσεται, be in fact and reality the Son of God.  “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4).  Not through a woman, but of her; and therefore “bone of her bones, and flesh of her flesh:” one with our common humanity.

         (c) The human nature was thus assumed unto the Divine, but not a human person.

         “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed (σπέρματος – the semen) of Abraham” (Heb. 2:16).

         (d) Yet each nature retains its own essential properties.

         Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and, became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5–8).  “Christ Jesus” – as truly God, as truly Man.  As truly subsisting in the Divine nature as in the nature of man.  The potentiality of the glory of the Godhead, which was in the preexistent Son, was that alone which enabled him to veil it (εαυτον εχένωσεν –  empty Himself” of its manifested possession) by becoming Man.

         (e) Though the acts or properties of either nature are to be ascribed by a communication of attributes or idioms (communicatio idiomatum) to the whole Person of Christ.

         “Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28).  Though God has no blood, and cannot die.  “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13).  And yet the Omnipresent Son of Man was then also on earth.  “Though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God” (2 Cor. 13:4).  And yet again we read, that men “crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8).

         Hence Hooker: “As oft as we attribute to God what the manhood of Christ claimeth, or to man what his Deity hath a right unto, we understand by the name of God and the name of Man, neither the one nor the other nature, but the whole Person of Christ, in whom both natures are.” (Eccl. Pol.)

         (f.) Wherefore we conclude that Christ is the Messiah of God, uniting, in His One Anointed Person, true Godhead and true Manhood.

         “Very God.”  As has been sufficiently shown under this and the preceding Article.  “Very Man.”  He had a human Body.  He was born, grew, was subject to hunger, thirst, weariness, had flesh and bones, was wounded, lacerated, crucified, dead, buried, and rose again – He had a human Soul.  He increased in wisdom; it was possible for Him to be ignorant; He was tempted; He felt sorrow for “the city, and wept over it” (Luke 19:41); He felt sympathy for the bereaved sisters at Bethany, and “Jesus wept” (Luke 19:41); yea we read, “My soul (ηψυκή μου – the human soul, the seat of the affections and passions) is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (Matt. 26:38); and lastly, His soul was separated from His body at death (“His soul was not left in Hades,” Acts 2:31).

         (g) And as a corollary from the nature of the case, and the purpose of the hypostatic union, these two natures, thus joined together in the Person of the Son, are “never to be divided”.

         “The nature of the case.”  The human nature, and not a human having been assumed unto the Person of the Son, if that nature were to be separated therefrom, there must of necessity be a new person brought into existence, or else Christ’s Body and Soul suffer annihilation.  “The purpose of the union,” being not only to reunite God and men, but also to be the continued bond of connection between them, it plainly follows that the union must remain forever indissolvable.

         Plainly revealed in Scripture:

         “Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).  “An high priest forever” (Heb. 6:20).  “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12).  “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:14).  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? ... Neither death, nor life, ... nor things present, nor things to come “ (Rom. 8:35, 38).


2.  The Atonement.

         Who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried]

         (1)  The Reality of Christ’s Sacrifice and Sufferings.

         Against all Gnostic notions of an impassible or putatively suffering Christ.

         (a) Begun at the moment of His Incarnation.

         “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me ... Lo, I come to do thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:5, 7).

         (b) Continued throughout the whole of His life.

         “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isa. 53:3–4).

         (c) Completed on the cross and in the grave.

         “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost ... One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came these out blood and water” (John 19:30, 34).  “Blood and water”: if not indeed the separation already of the blood into placenta and serum, yet showing at all events a real body and a real death.  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth” (Isa. 53:9).

         (d) The crucifixion, death, and burial of Christ, not only historically attested in the closing chapters of the four Evangelists (with which all will be familiar); but both historically attested and doctrinally appealed to in the discourses and letters of the Apostles.

         “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).  “And killed the Prince of life” (Acts 3:15).  “And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulcher” (Acts 13:29).  “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Cor. 4:10).  “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:21–24).

         (2.)  How, or in what, Christ suffered.

         (a) Not in His Divine nature, because it is impassible and immutable.  (See above).  And since, moreover, that Divine nature is common to the Father and the Holy Ghost, then must also the Father and the Holy Ghost have suffered with the Son.

         (b) And although we are to hold that all the sufferings of Christ were limited to, and confined by, Christ’s Manhood, yet we may not detach that Manhood from the Person of the Son, and thus say that it was the nature of man which suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, any more than we may detach that Manhood, and say that it was the nature of man which was born of the Virgin.  For birth, suffering, and death are all personal predicates; and the human nature of Christ had not personality.  And so Hooker quotes Paschasius: “There is a twofold substance (Divine and human), not a twofold Person (Person of God and Person of Man), because one Person extinguishes another, whereas one nature cannot in another become extinct.”

         (c) But it is more proper to say that, as He who was born of the Virgin was not a human Person, but a Person both Divine and Human, so Christ suffered in His whole Incarnate Person of the Mediatorial Son of God.  The Person of the Divine Christ it was which assumed human nature in the womb of the Virgin, and by that assumption of Manhood unto Godhead, was made capable to be born, to suffer, to be crucified, to die, to be buried: and yet neither the Godhead, in that Person of the Son, losing its potentiality, or suffering any diminution of its fullness; nor the Manhood losing its natural properties, or suffering any diminution of their distinctiveness in that union with God: but each Nature, in the one Person, “without any change, mixture, or confusion,” and still withal “indivisibly and inseparably”.

         Hence, though the human soul of Christ was separated from His human body in death, yet neither was separated from His Deity; nor “was his soul left in Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:31).  Hence, too, though the essential properties of Christ’s Manhood remained consubstantially human, yet it was endowed with all supernatural gifts and graces within the measure of the economy of redemption.  And hence also, the infinite value of the sacrifice of the Incarnate Son of God.

         Thus Scripture calls “that Holy Thing” which was “being born,” or “being begotten” (γεννώμενον), of the Virgin, “the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

         And thus the claims of our Lord, of the Apostles in their preaching, and in fact of Christianity itself, all center on the great cardinal doctrine, best formulated in the confession of Peter: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).  Which, in the full light of prophecy and accomplished prediction, we may now paraphrase –

         Thou, Jesus of Nazareth, art He “of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write” (John 1:45); “the mighty God” (Isa. 9:6), coequal with the Father; the Anointed One, “set up from everlasting” (Prov. 8:23), and thus “fore-ordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20), but solemnly inaugurated into the Mediatorial Office, by the Father, with the unction of “the Holy Ghost and with power” (Acts 10:38).  At baptism, when “Lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and to a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:16–17); and again and again accredited by the Father “by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you” (Acts 2:22); the one thing (τοέν) to which the Spirit, and the water, and the blood bear witness (1 John 5:8): “GOD MANIFEST IN FLESH” (1 Tim. 3:16): and in that manifested Person of the Anointed and Incarnate and coequal Son, “Jesus Christ, evidently set forth, crucified for the sins of the whole world” (Gal. 3:1; 1 John 2:2).

         And thus, finally, the infinite value and efficacy of the sacrifice of our Redeemer, being no less than “THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS SON” (1 John 1:7).

         It is the Ego, the I, the Person which ennobles: “the altar that sanctifieth the gift.”  It is human nature lifted up by and unto the Divine Person of the Son of God which makes the sacrifice of infinite value.  The human nature may not be, is not, changed.  The Divine nature may not be, cannot be, changed.  The offering, in all its essentials, is not changed.  The offerer, in all His essentials, cannot be changed.  But the offering is infinitely enhanced, because of the Person by and unto whom it is assumed – by whom and through whom it is offered.

         To reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men]

         (3.)  The Purpose of the Atonement of Christ.

         Against Socinians and all other Humanitarian Heretics who, denying the proper Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, are led of necessity to deny the reality and value of His Propitiatory Sufferings and Death.

         And here we shall best and more fully see the bearings of the subject, by examining the Scriptural usage of the word Atonement, and by tracing the Historic or Ecclesiastical Development of Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice.


Scriptural Usage of Atone.

         (a) Expiation for sin – from a verb to cover כֶּפר.  [See Kitto’s Cyc. Bib. Lit., S. V. Atonement.  Also Smith’s Dict., S. V. Sacrifice, etc.]

         “Moses said unto the people, Ye have shined a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin” (Exod. 32:30).

         And the effect of that expiation: not only the removal or transference of the guilt of the offender, and his consequent exemption from punishment, but the appeasing of the offended.

         “He shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him” (Lev. 1:4).  “But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him (rather, to be atoned for – that the atoned for iniquities of the Israelites might be laid upon him). ... And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat … And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited “ (Lev. 16:10, 21–22).  “I will appease him (lit, cover his face, or make atonement before him) with the present that goeth before me” (Gen. 32:20).  That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth anymore because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God” (Ezek. 16:63).

         (b) But around this primary idea of At-one-ment, thus combining in itself both expiation and restoration to favour, we have ranged a whole group of other explanatory or complementary words, bringing out, in their several aspects, the great moments of the central truth. [See French’s “Synonyms of the New Testament,” sect. 77.]

         Redemptionαπολύτρωσις, and its cognates.  In its full sense, complete deliverance from sin, in its guilt, absolute dominion, and final power, by means of a ransom or price paid – the sacrifice of the Son of God.

         From the guilt of sin.  “His dear Son, in whom we have redemption (απολύτρωσις – complete deliverance by price) through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14).

         From the absolute dominion of sin.  “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed (λυτρουν – deliverance by price) with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation ... but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18–19).

         From the final power of sin.  “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption (απολύτρωσις) of the purchased possession” (Ephes. 1:14).  “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption (αιωνιαλύτρωσις – everlasting deliverance by price) for us” (Heb. 9:12).

         The Vicarious Nature of the Price.  “Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom (λύτρον – price of person) for (αντι – clearly marking the vicarious nature of the λύτρον) many” (Matt. 20:28).  “Who gave himself a ransom (αντίλυτρον – vicarious price) for all” (1 Tim. 2:6).

         Other words: are bought (αγοράζειν – purchase in the market, and here from bondage) with a price” (1 Cor. 7:23).  “The church of God, which he hath purchased (περιποιεισθαι – acquired for himself) with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

         Reconciliationκαταλλαγή, and its cognates.  The reconciliation of God to man, and of man to God.  Once translated “atonement” in the New Testament (margin, “reconciliation”); and in the other three places where it occurs, by its equivalent “reconciliation” (2 Cor. 1:18–19), and “reconciling” (Rom. 11:15).  “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement,” – καταλλαγή in its two sides, as drawn out in the context, Reconciliation and Life (Rom. 5:11).

         Its two sides – objective and subjective.

         First, the objective side – God reconciled to us, by the expiatory sacrifice of His Son.  “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling (καταλλάσσειν) the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Cor. 5:19).  God being the offended party, and man the offending, the very first notion of reconciliation implies the appeasing of the offended – of God’s wrath against sin.  And if any shade of doubt could arise on the matter, it is at once cleared up by the clause, “not imputing their trespasses unto them.”  Thus this side of the atonement it is that “justifieth the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5).  And thus God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

         Second, the subjective side – man reconciled to God.  “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God (του θεουthis God, this Christ-revealed and Christ-reconciled God) did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled (καταλλάσσεσθαι) to (this) God” (2 Cor 5:20).

         Hence we read: “And that He might reconcile (αποκαταλλάσσειν – thoroughly reconcile) both (Jews and Gentiles) unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity (έχθρα   – the real ground of separation between man and God, also, perhaps, and as a result of it, the separation of Jew and Gentile) thereby” (Eph. 2:16).  “And, having made peace (ειρηνοποιήσας    – a very word-picture of the Work of Redemption) through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile (αποκαταλλάσσειν) all things unto himself “ (Col. 1:20).

         Propitiationιλασμός, and its cognates.  Christ, in and by his one merciful sacrifice of love, as a righteous satisfaction to Divine justice, Himself the Reconciler.

         “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation (ιλασμός – the reconciling sin offering Himself) for our sins” (1 John 2:1–2).  And again: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (ιλασμός) for our sins” (1 John 4:10).  Here is the whole Plan of Redemption.  God’s “Love.”  Christ “the Righteous.”  Christ the “Propitiatory Offering for sin.”  Christ the all-prevailing “Intercessor”.  “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (ιλαστήριον – a propitiatory sacrifice) through faith in his blood “ (Rom. 3:25).  “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation (ιλάσκεσθαι – to make propitiation by the offering of Himself) for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17).  Here we have at once and expressly both the High Priest (αρχιερεύς) and the Propitiatory Offering (represented by ιλάσκεσθα) meeting in Christ; as indeed less or more in the whole language of the Epistle to the Hebrews: “The two functions of priest and sacrifice, which were divided, and of necessity divided, in the typical sacrifices of the law, meeting and being united in Him, the sin offering by and through whom the just anger of God against our sins was appeased, and God, without compromising His righteousness, enabled to show Himself propitious to us once more” (Abp. Trench).


Ecclesiastical Development of the Atonement.

         (a) The sacrifice of Christ was typified in various ways under the Old Testament Dispensation, especially by the sacred persons, places, things, and seasons of the Ceremonial Law.

         Persons, as:

         The ordinary priests.  “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:11–12).

         The High Priest.  See the Epistle to the Hebrews throughout, the central idea of which is the infinite superiority of “the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus,” in His Dignity, Sufficiency, and the Perpetuity of His Mediatorial Office.

         Places, as:

         The Tabernacle and Temple, planned and devised by God himself, typified Christ’s human nature, “prepared” by God (Heb. 10:5) – “fitted” (as in the margin) unto the Divine Person of the Sun, for the great Self-offering.  “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. ... But he spake of the temple of his body” (John 2:19, 21).

         Things, as:

         The Brazen Altar, or Altar of Burnt Offering, typified the Divine nature of Christ in the Personal Union, which gave infinite worth and efficacy to His sacrifice the altar thus sanctifying the gift.  “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14).

         The Ark of the Covenant, with its Mercy Seat covering the two Tables of the Law, foreshadowed the merits of the Redeemer, whereby God is rendered propitious unto sinners; the demands of the Law being covered by the perfect obedience of Christ, and the penalty of its breach satisfied by His death: so that “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

         The Expiatory Sacrifices or Burnt Offerings.  Being without blemish, typified “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). – The sins of the offerer being laid upon the head of the victim, typified the guilt of the world expiated by Him upon whom “the Lord hath laid the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). – Being slain, typified the blood of Christ “shed for many, for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). – And being consumed, wholly or in part, with fire, typified the wrath of God, due to sin, as endured by Him whose “soul the Lord made an offering for sin” (Isa. 53:10); even “as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour” (Eph. 5:2).

         Seasons, as:

         The Passover.  The lamb itself typified “Christ our passover sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7).  “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isa. 53:7).  Being without blemish, typified (as in all other sacrifices) Him who in himself was “holy, harmless, undefiled” (Heb. 7:26); “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19).  The sprinkling of the blood upon the lintel and side posts, symbolized that “redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness” (Rom. 3:24–25).  “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  “Justified by his blood” (Rom. 5:9).  “Made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 13).  “Through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2).  And thus Moses through faith “kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them” (Heb. 11:28). – Slain, roast with fire, its flesh eaten wholly (for the Passover was a feast as well as a sacrifice) without reserve, and not a bone of it broken, typified the blood-shedding and exquisite sufferings of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in His one and complete offering for sin on the Cross, who, received whole and undivided by faith, “is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

         The Day of Atonement.  As the Jewish high priest entered alone into the most holy place, so Christ “trod the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with him” (Isa. 63:3). – Again, the high priest entered, “not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Ghost this signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present. ... But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:7–9, 11–12). – And lastly the two goats, one “for Jehovah,” and the other “for Azazel,” or “for complete sending away”.  The former being slain as a sin offering for the people, plainly represented “him whom God hath made to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (1 Cor. 5:21).  The latter, or scapegoat, with the high priest laying his hands upon its head, confessing over it the sins of the people, and sending it away by a fit man into the wilderness, bearing upon it all their iniquities, shadowed forth the atoned-for iniquities of God’s true Israel carried away by Christ’s infinite sacrifice, and cast into the depths of God’s forgetfulness.  “And thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Mic. 7:19).  “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:34).

         (b) The sufferings of Christ were foretold by the Prophets.

         “Searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.”(1 Peter 1:11).

         Especially, the Psalmist, as:

         “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” (Psa. 41:9). [Christ omits (John 13:18) “mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted.”  He knew what was in Judas, and therefore did not trust him.  See Perowne in loca.]  “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? ... But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.  All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. ... Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.  Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. ... My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.  For dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. ... They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” (Psa. 22:1, 6–8, 11–12, 15, 16, 18).  “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psa. 69:21).  “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” (Psa. 34:20).

         Isaiah, as:

         “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; ... he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. ... He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken” (Isa. 3, 5, 7–8).  “I gave my back to the snifters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isa. 50:6).  “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death “ (Isa. 53:9).

         Zechariah, as:

         “So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.  And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them.  And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord” (Zech. 11:12–13).  “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:10).

         Christ Himself, as:

         “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed” (Matt. 16:22).  Behold we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him” (Matt. 20:18–19).  “And he shall be spitefully entreated and spitted on” (Luke 18:32).


Sum of the Argument

         (1.) Scriptural usage of “Atonement” and its cognates.  (2.) Acted type, at the command and institution of God.  (3.) Prophetic foreshadowings.  All dovetailed, so to speak, by the inspiring Spirit of God into the actual and historic sufferings of our Lord, give us the true meaning and only legitimate theological sense to be attached to the atonement of Christ – MAKING PEACE BETWEEN GOD AND MAN.  The appeasing of God’s “wrath,” or moral sentiment of displeasure against sin; and the reinstating of man in the favour of God.  In other words, a reconciliation involving a satisfaction.  Or, as our article has it, “To reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice.”

         And this is in perfect accordance with the three great aspects of the Atonement, as derived from the language of our Lord Himself:

         Ransomλύτρον.  “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for (λύτρον αντι – a vicarious price paid, definitely instead of) many” (Matt. 20:28).  Christ’s life given as a price, satisfaction, or sacrifice, to redeem from the captivity of sin into the liberty of the sons of God.

         Remission, or entire abolition of sin – άφεσις.  The effect and mode of the λύτρον.  “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission (άφεσις – not merely pretermission or passing by, πάρεσις, as Rom. 3:25, wrongly rendered in our English version, “remission” – but complete release and discharge, as in the Jubilee or Year of Release, έτος της αφέσεως) of sins” (Matt. 26:28).  Redemption from the cause of God’s wrath – the guilt and power of sin – by the expiatory and cleansing Blood of Christ.

         Intercessionερώτησις.  The continued prevalence or extension of the λύτρον.  Not petition, but request, as grounded not only upon the consciousness of equal dignity, but upon the right of Oblation.  With its central object of sanctification, leading to perfection or “oneness” with God.  “I pray (εγω ερωτω – I, even I, request) for them ... Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. ... I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. ... Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. ... And for their sakes I sanctify myself that they also might be sanctified through the truth.  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us ... I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one” (John 17:9, 11, 13, 17, 19–21, 23).  “And for their sakes I sanctify myself.”  That is, for this great end, I offer myself an oblation.

         But here, as in all teaching and thinking upon the Atonement of Christ, we must ever bear in mind that it is the One Sacrifice of the One Will of the One God.  While in the Economy of Redemption, the Father ordains, the Son purchases, and the Spirit applies, yet salvation is still thus of the Trinity in Unity: unity of eternal design (as to the object); unity of external purpose (as to the means); unity of Eternal Love, as to the cause, the means, the end.  “God is light,” and hates the darkness of sin.  “God is love,” and offers salvation to the sinner, through the mediation of the Son, in and by the sanctification of the Spirit.  But in all this Divine and Glorious work of Redemption, as elsewhere, we shall be in danger, if, too closely reading human analogies, whether employed by ourselves, or graciously adopted in Holy Writ for our help and understanding, we fail to feel that “God – is One.”

         (4.)  The Extent of the Atonement.

         (a) The wording of our Article – “a sacrifice not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men” – has been taken to refer to a possible or developed error of admitting the Atonement to cover original guilt, but denying it to extend to actual sins.  And here Scripture has been easily found to sustain the twofold expression of the Article, “original guilt” and “actual sins,” as comprehending, and equivalent to, ALL sin – that is, every species of sin (except the sin against the Ho1y Ghost).

         “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity” (Titus 2:14).  “Christ died for Our sins (υπερ των αμαρτιων – a vicarious atonement on behalf of all the failings and missings of our chief end) according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3).  “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins (παραπτώμασι και αμαρτίαις – sin in its outcome, and sin in its spring: sins of thought, word, and deed) ... and were by nature (φύσει – originally, inherently, and not merely by example or influence) the children of wrath, even as others ... even when we were dead in sins (παραπτώμασι – the whole death, not simply of ‘nature’ or original, but of actual and mortal sin) hath God quickened us” (Eph. 2:1, 3, 5).  “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

         (b) But if we compare the analogous and indeed almost synonymous words of the Thirty-first Article, where it is said that “the Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual, we shall find it difficult to confine the meaning of this second Article within the limit exactly as above.  And verily, unless we adjust Scripture teaching to our own narrow theories, we must conclude that Christ’s Death was an Atonement for the sins of all mankind – sufficient for all, efficient for some.

         “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14–15).  Here we have plainly set out the objective universality of Christ’s death or atonement, in “that he died for all;” and the subjective individuality of the living power of that death, in “they which live unto him which died for them.”  “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.  Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle” (1 Tim. 2:5–7).  The One Mediator, and the Universality of His Mediation, were the great truths to proclaim which the Apostle was commissioned by God.  The Divine note in which the whole scale of Christianity is written, and to which all the modulation of its expression are to be referred.  “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

         (c) Yet this assertion of Scriptural doctrine in no way shuts us up to the conclusion that all men will eventually be saved.  God has given us a Revelation, which we are bound neither to add to, nor diminish from.  And to the question, If Christ died for all, and all are not saved, cui bono? we can only answer with St. Paul, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?”  We may, indeed, add that the good to the wicked has been great.  If they have not accepted of the full salvation of that Death, yet all they enjoy of good on earth, flows from that “redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction”.

         “The LORD (that is Jehovah, the Redemption or Covenant God) is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. … The eyes of all wait upon thee, and thou givest them their meat in due season.  Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing” (Psa. 145:9, 15–16).

         (d) There is yet another view of what has generally been considered the extent of the Atonement, not indeed touched upon here, but of which Scripture gives us something of a glimpse.  Thus we read, for example, in Col. 1:19–20: “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in heaven, or things in earth.”  Strange, if not crude, and various have been the explanations offered here.  But perhaps no more consistent and acceptable solution of this difficult yet most interesting subject could be given than the following – consistent, as it preserves the harmony of other and more fully revealed truth, and acceptable as it affords us a very precious and exalted view of the character and work of Christ: –

         “Regarding Col. 1:20 and Eph. 1:10, my belief is this, that the apostle is not looking specially at what Christ accomplished by His death upon the cross.  ‘The things in heaven’ may refer to the redeemed who have gone before, and the ‘things on earth’ to those now being or to be gathered; but the solution appears to me to be a feeble one.  I prefer here, as in all cases, to look at the general scope of the passages, and it seems to me that St. Paul has just Christ in his view; not Christ as the Saviour of sinners merely, but Christ in his wondrous, infinite, and inexhaustible totality, the first and the last, the embodiment and the exemplification of the upholder of the universe, the revealer of the love of God to men.  Of course he could not have been anything of this unless he had been all of it.  Had any portion of his work failed, the whole must have broken down.  And therefore the work of reconciliation, the recovery of the fallen race of Adam through the blood of the cross, may well be spoken of as if it were inclusive of everything else.  It was part and parcel of the marvelous ‘goings forth from everlasting,’ by which the Son of God and Son of man obtained and exercises the right of headship over all creatures and things, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, and which in the fulness of times be shall gather together in one.  We have only, I think, to notice some of the expressions he applies to Christ in order to see that he had something far more, comprehensive in his mind than Christ’s taking away of sin by the sacrifice of himself, unspeakably important as that aspect of his character and work is to us.  He is described as ‘the firstborn of every creature’ (Col. 1:15).  ‘All things in heaven and earth, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, visible and invisible, were created by him and for him’ (verse 16).  He was ‘before all things, and by him all things consist,’ or stand together (verse 17).  The ‘things in heaven,’ then, I take to mean those superior orders of being, who equally with us owe their existence and preservation to the creating and sustaining power of Christ; and in that sense are upheld in the presence of God by him, as sinners saved by his death are upheld, and so both may be spoken of as reconciled or kept near to God by him.  Atonement implies sin, and therefore the unfallen angels had no need of the sacrifice of Christ.  Some of the angels indeed sinned, or, as Jude expresses it, ‘kept not their first estate,’ but the Scriptures afford us no warrant for supposing that the benefits of the death of Christ were meant to extend, to them.  ‘Verily, he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham’ (Heb. 3:16).

         “How precious is the thought of the perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus!  Equally precious is the thought of his perfect divinity.  Both are equally revealed in God’s holy Word, but the point at which they meet and harmonize belongs to the mystery of godliness which it is not for us to fathom.  When we hear him saying, ‘I and my Father are one’; when we read that he ‘thought it not robbery to be equal with God’; and then learn that he wept, that he groaned, that he hungered and was weary, we can but bow our heads and acknowledge that this thing is too wonderful and excellent for us, we cannot attain unto it.’

         “There is one scene in the Saviour’s life that brings the reality of his manhood before us in a very touching way.  It is the scene in the garden of Gethsemane, on the night of his betrayal by Judas Iscariot.  He went into the Mount of Olives to pray, taking his disciples with him.  Three out of the number he chose to be nearer to him than the rest, and from these three he withdrew about a stone’s cast, charging them in his absence to ‘watch and pray’.  The importance which he attached to this watching and praying may be judged from the disappointment he expressed when he thrice returned and found them overcome with sleep.  ‘What!  Could ye not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray.’  May we not fairly conclude that the praying as well as the watching was for him?  Watch with me and pray.  Did he then need, their prayers?  His own words supply the answer – ‘The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’  Ordinarily these words are understood as referring to the condition of the disciples.  But so applied they assume the character of a calm moral reflection, very little in accordance with the feelings of our blessed Lord at that moment.  What were those feelings?

‘Oh! never, never canst thou know

            What then for thee the Saviour bore,

The depth of that mysterious woe

            That rent his bosom’s inmost core.’

         “The whole scene was unlike anything else in the entire course of his life.  It seems to have been the climax of his sufferings.  We read that ‘being in an agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’  This was not a time for moralizing.  ‘Being in an agony,’ he cried to God.  Knowing the power of prayer, he besought his disciples to do so likewise.  The flesh was weak: ‘O my Father! let this cup pass from me.’  The spirit indeed was willing: ‘Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.’  This was the conflict in which he was engaged.  The Prince of this world had come, and his soul was troubled.  A horrible dread had overwhelmed him at the prospect of the load of human guilt which he had to bear; and in the struggle to overcome the shrinking of his pure spirit from the hateful burden – a shrinking which Satan was doubtless present to encourage – be felt his need of help.  He received it not from man.  But ‘there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.’

         “We delight in the thought of Jesus praying for us.  Is there not also something delightful in the thought that he partook so truly of the weakness of our nature as to ask his disciples to pray for him?  Does it not seem to bring him still more close to us?  We know he could be wounded by human unkindness.  ‘Will ye also go away?’  Might he not also be cheered by human sympathy?  And in reliance on the truth he had himself taught – ‘If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven’ – might he not look for aid in human cooperation when engaged in offering up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death?  And what a testimony has he thus left us as to the duty and efficacy of intercessory prayer!  ‘In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren,’ and the brethren ‘pray one for another’.  We have the example of Abraham to encourage us to believe in one another’s prayers; we have the example of Moses; we have the example of Paul.  But best of all is the example of Jesus.

         “But when it is said to the disciples, ‘Pray, lest ye enter into temptation,’ does not this imply that they were to pray for themselves?  Not necessarily so, I think.  There is a similar expression in Gal. 6:1, which may help us to a right apprehension of the meaning here.  ‘Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.’  The liability to temptation on the part of the persons addressed is here made use of as an argument for the fulfillment of a Christian duty.  Receive an offending brother with kindness, seeing the time may come when you shall yourselves offend, and need the forbearance to be shown towards you which you are now called upon to exercise towards him.  So in the passage we have been considering.  This, says the Saviour, is the hour of my temptation.  Watch with me and pray, lest ye enter into temptation; in other words, lest your hour come, and you need the help from others which I am now asking from you.”  (Charles Tinling, Esquire – communicated).



Article  III.

History and Doctrine, With Spiritual Proof.

         Of the going clown of Christ into Hell. – As Christ died for us, and was buried, so also it is to be believed that He went down into Hell.

            De Descensu Christi ad Inferos. – Quemadmodum Christus pro nobis mortuus est, et sepultus, ita est etiam credendus ad Inferos descendisse.



Two Subjects. – 1. Hell.  2. Christ’s Descent into hell.


1.  Hell.

         (1.)  The Meaning and History of the word.

         (a) Our old Saxon word “hell” (from helan, to hide, or conceal), now generally used to denote the place or state of punishment for the wicked after death, and the abode of evil spirits, had formerly a wider signification, in accordance with its etymology, as the covered or concealed place, and therefore has been used, though somewhat unfortunately, in our English Version of the Scriptures, frequently to represent two perfectly distinct words – Sheol or Hades, and Gehenna.

         (b) With the Hebrews, as represented by the Old Testament, Sheol (שָעַל – the hollow or subterranean pit, from שְאוׄל, to be hollow) meant the general receptacle of the disembodied departed.

         “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave (sheol)?” (Psa. 89:43).  Where “death” and “sheol” are evidently of the same universal meaning, and in parallelism.

         This receptacle, however, they divided into two parts.  The abode of the righteous: “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave (sheol); for he shall receive me” (Psa. 49:15).  And the abode of the wicked: “They (Korah, Dathan, and Abiram) went down alive into the pit (sheol)” (Num. 16:33).  “The wicked shall be turned into hell (sheol)” (Psa. 9:17).

         (c) With the Greek-speaking Christians, as represented by the New Testament, Hades (Αδης, most probably from ά privative and ιδειν to see – the argument against which derivation, from the aspirate in the Attic, not being tenable) is also the receptacle of the dead, with its separate abodes of the righteous and wicked more clearly defined, as Paradise and Gehenna.

         “O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55).  Where “grave” literally is Hades, and being in parallelism with “death” (as “death” and “sheol” in Psa. 89:48, above), clearly intends the general receptacle of departed spirits, without reference to their condition of happiness or misery.  “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise – εν τω παραδείσω” (Luke 23:43).  The abode of the righteous.  “It is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell (Gehenna)” (Matt. 5:29–30).  The abode of the wicked.

         (d) Other expressions used by the Jews to denote that part of Hades inhabited by the blessed dead; and which are less or more sustained in the New Testament.

         “The garden of Eden,” which, according to the Hebrews, was in the upper part of Hades.  The phrase without doubt is sanctioned in the “Paradise” of Luke 23:43: a word of Armenian origin, Pardes, applied to a park or garden adjoining the house, and replenished for use and ornament, but which had now passed, in the language of the Jewish schools, and so to the current phraseology of the day, to signify the abode of the faithful after death.  “Under the Throne of Glory.”  Perhaps parallel with “under the Altar” of Rev. 6:9, as the Hebrews considered the altar God’s throne.  “In Abraham’s bosom.”  This figurative expression, taken from the practice of accubation at meals, to indicate blissful rest and enjoyment with Abraham, is expressly used by our Lord Himself in the parable of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16:22).  [Lightfoot, Horae Hebraicae.  Kitto, Cyc. Bib. Lit., S.VV. Paradise and Abraham’s bosom.]

         (e) With Latin Christians, as represented by Jerome’s version, or the Vulgate, Sheol is for the most part translated by Infernus, and in the other instances by Inferus, with a preference for the plural Inferi (which Latin forms are most probably variations of digamated ένϜερος – that which is situate or dwells beneath or under the earth).  And in the New Testament, Hades is everywhere translated Infernus, except Matt. 16:18, where for πύλαι άδου, the gates of Hades, we have portae inferi, the infernal gates.  While Gehenna is simply used throughout for its equivalent Greek, Γέενα.

         (f) In our English Version Sheol equally is represented by “grave” and “hell,” thirty-one times each, and three times by “pit”.  Whereas “hell” in the New Testament is the uniform rendering both of Hades and Gehenna, wherever they occur (probably twelve times each) in the original.  [See Kitto’s Cyc. Bib. Lit., S. V. Hell.]

         (g) And in accordance with this idea of the invisible state or place of departed spirits, were the mythologies of the heathen world; which, however simple and instructive amongst the early Egyptians, soon became overloaded with fiction by the Greeks and Romans; but were never able wholly to efface the broad marks of what we must conclude to have been the original impress of truth, derived from patriarchal and Divine sources.

         Thus the ancient Greeks spoke of a “common Hades,” with its two receptacles, one for the souls of the good, and the other for the souls of the wicked.  And Virgil, in the sixth book of his Aeneid, says: “This is the place where the path divides in two: the right, which heads to great Pluto’s walls; by this our way to Elysium lies: but the left carries on the punishment of the wicked, and conveys to cursed Tartarus.”

         (h) It is interesting to compare the descriptions given us of Sheol and Hades in holy Scripture with those in early heathen tradition.

         Thus the Homeric Hades (including Tartarus) is the general receptacle of the manes of the departed.  And Sheol is “the congregation of the dead” (Prov. 21:16).  And see above.

         The Homeric Hades is subterranean.  And the Scripture Sheol and Hades are also beneath.  “He that goeth down to the grave (sheol) shall come up no more” (Job 7:9).  “Thou, Capernaum. which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell (hades)” (Matt. 11:23).

         The great poet’s Hades is a place of darkness, deep and spacious.  And Sheol is “a land of darkness, as darkness itself” (Job 10:23).  High as heaven ... deeper than hell (sheol)” (Job 11:8).  While “Tophat” – which we may take as the parallel of Tartarus – “is ordained of old; he hath made it deep and large” (Isa. 30:33).

         Homer speaks of Hades having strong gates.  And Christ Himself of “the gates of hell – πύλαι άδου” (Matt. 16:18).

         Homer peoples it, among others, especially with Giants and Titans.  And the great prophet of the Hebrews says: “Hell (sheol) from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones (lit, the Rephaim or Giants) of the earth” (Isa. 14:9).

         In the recesses of the infernal regions lay Tartarus, “where is an abyss most deep beneath ... as far below Hades as heaven is from earth” (Hom. Il. 8).  “Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell (sheol)” (Psa. 86:13).

         This terrible prison is surrounded by the waters of Phlegethou, which emit continual flames, and its custody given to the furies, at once the gaolers and executioners; or by some traditions, to one fury, the avenger of all sin.  “The lake of fire and brimstone” (Rev. 20:10).  “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44).

         And St. Peter uses the very word “Tartarus,” and in the single line of his description, whichever reading be adopted, we have an allusion, at all events, not at variance with ancient mythology.

         For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus (so the original), and delivered them into chains (σειραις – others read ‘dens,’ σειροις) of darkness” (2 Peter 2:4).

         (i) The Romish view divides Hades into three different receptacles.  (1) The most loathsome and dark prison, in which the souls of the damned, together with the unclean spirits, are tortured in eternal and inextinguishable fire.”  (2) “The fire of purgatory, in which the souls of the just are purified by punishment for a stated time.”  (3) “The receptacle (commonly called Limbus Patrum) in which were received the souls of the saints who died before the coming of Christ our Lord” (Catechism of the Council of Trent).  The discussion of the distinctive features of this view will come before us under the Twenty-second Article.

         ii.) Thus, then, all these views, except the last – Jewish, Christian, and Heathen, agree in their main and great features: A future state, immediately after death, with separate abodes, for the righteous and the wicked.  In other words, the New Testament picture is a copy of the Old Testament picture, with somewhat of more definite outline; while the Heathen picture traces out that of the Old Testament in the very outline of the New.  What stronger proof could be wanted of a common origin?  Of the fact of a Revelation, and of the original unity of the human race? that the Heathen Hades is not an invention outside and independent of Scripture revelation; and that the Sheol of the Old Testament is more than modern criticism would accord it – not simply the vague notions of Hebrew sages, derived from some indefinite source, but the truth of God originally conveyed to the one and common family of mankind?

         (2.)  The Place or Design of Hades in the Economy of Revelation.

         (a) We are naturally prone to forget that the Bible only fully unveils the human family in their origin and probation, with a needful but partial note of their angel surroundings, and a mere glimpse at all or anything beyond.  What that all beyond may be, in the hands of the Infinite Good, it must take eternity to scan, as it reads out the harmonies of Creation’s Universal Song of Praise.

         The Bible is neither more nor less than a special revelation, disclosing a gradually unfolded economy, or perhaps we should rather say, a series of closely interlinked economies, as “parts of God’s ways,” in a portion of His universe: concentric circles with man as their point of attraction, ever widening, and widening on, until they reach, without fully embracing, the unseen world.

         It is often, we believe weakly, conceded by Christian commentators, that the early Israelites had dim – comparatively very imperfect notions of Sheol.  But how account for the fact, as above, that time Elysium and Tartarus of ancient heathen mythology are, in their groundwork, the very facsimiles of the New Testament Hades?  At all events, we feel assured, that even in the primeval and patriarchal ages, the fathers of the Old Testament saw enough of God’s truth, for their Economy.  And even yet we ourselves are not permitted to dogmatize; and know little beyond the broad outlines of the world beyond the grave.

         A Paradise and a Gehenna, issuing in a heaven and a Hell, are affirmed.  But the veil is not fully lifted.  Curiosity is not gratified.  But enough is revealed, to woo and to win us to the one, and to deter and save us from the other: as the first footfall or entrance, in either case, upon our eternal state.

         (b) The Place or Design of Hades, therefore, in the Economy of Revelation, is not Probationary.  “Where the tree falleth, there it shall be,” here, above anywhere else, is unexceptionally true; the whole bearing of Scripture being explicit and uniform on the subject.

         “As the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice” (Heb. 3:7; Psa. 95:7).  “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2; cf. Isa. 49:8).  “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave (sheol), whither thou goest” (Eccles. 9:10).

         (c) But Hades, nevertheless, is a Transitional, and not a Terminal, State or Abode, with a fixed temporal function.

         In the natural order of things, it could not be otherwise.  The body and the soul together, have obeyed (in Christ and spirit) or violated (in Satan and the flesh) God’s laws.  And so long as the former sleeps in the dust and is unconscious, it is clear there cannot be a full and final award.

         “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28–29).  “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53).  “And it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Rev. 6:11).  “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 their works.  And death and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death” (Rev. 20:13–14).

         (d) Paradise, therefore, is not the perfect Heaven; nor Gehenna, the proper Hell.

         “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).  But Christ did not go to Heaven till after His resurrection.

         “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).  But these words are spoken, on the day of the great Assize, to all the wicked of earth, “the quick and the dead,” and therefore to all who had been already in Gehenna.  So that Gehenna clearly cannot be the final or proper Hell of the wicked.

         (e) Yet in this transitional state or abode, the soul does not “die nor sleep idly,” but is in a state of activity – of blissful rest and enjoyment, or painful restraint and torment.

         Hence the fortieth Article of Edward, somewhat unhappily expunged by Convocation in 1562, ran: – “The souls of them that depart this life do neither die with the bodies nor sleep idly.  They which say that the souls of such as depart hence do sleep, being without all sense, feeling, or perceiving, until the day of judgment, or affirm that the souls die with the bodies, and at the last day shall he raised up with the same, do utterly dissent from the right belief declared to us in Holy Scripture.”

         Though the soul of man is not absolutely immortal, “God only having immortality” (1 Tim. 6:16), yet being a spiritual and immaterial substance, without composition of parts, it cannot suffer dissolution; and therefore having no innate or constituent principle of corruption, must remain in a state of activity, even when separated from the body.  Hence we read –

         “And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.  The rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell (hades [The general term Hades is here restricted by “in torments” (έν βασάνοις).]) he lifted up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:22–23).  “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).  “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” – το πνευμα μου – my individual Personality (Acts 17:59).  The human soul in union with the spirit: the πνευμα proper, or the responsible faculty, receptive of the Holy Spirit – the human highest nature, the principle or breath of ever active undying life breathed into man by God; and the responsive ennobled outcome of heavenly desires, the sanctified ψυχή – the creation afresh unto Christ Jesus.

         And again – “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).  “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:23).  “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. ... And white robes were given unto every one of them” (Rev. 6:9, 11).


2.  The Descent into Hell.

         (1.)  Sketch of History of Opinions.

         (a) As might be expected, the doctrine of the Descent into Hell was early and very generally maintained.

         St. Jude, according to Eusebius, delivered it to the people of Edessa.

         Irenaeus says: “Our Lord departed into the middle of the shadow of death, where the souls of the dead were.”

         Clemens Alexandrinus: “Our Lord went down into Hades – είς άδου.”

         Tertullian: “Christ underwent the form of human death in Hades – apud inferos – nor did He ascend to the higher parts of heaven, before He had descended into the lower parts of the earth – in inferiora terrarum” (de Anima, c. 55).  Where apud inferos – whether we take it for Hades, as generally rendered, or for the inhabitants of Hades, as the older use will allow – is evidently synonymous, so far at least as local reference is concerned, with in inferiora terrarum, “the lower parts of the earth,” or underworld.

         Origen: “The region of Hades – τα του άδου χωρία – whither God himself, the Word, alone descended and passed through.”

         Cyril: “Christ descended to the lower parts of the earth – είς τα καταχθόνια.”

         Epiphanius: “Christ’s divine nature descended with His holy soul to the lower parts of the earth – είς τα καταχαθόνια.”

         The Third Sirmian or Dated Creed, put forward by the Arians at the Council of Ariminum, 359: “Was crucified, and died, and descended to the lower parts of the earth – είς τα καταχθόνια – and ordered things there.”  To this may be added the two cotemporary Acacian Creeds of Nice in Thrace and of Constantinople: both of which have the Burial as well as the Descent; and what is here chiefly to be noted, the Descent in the exact words as above, where the Burial is omitted – είς τα καταχθόνια.

         (b) The first orthodox creed of the Church in which the Descent is found is that of Aquileia, as cited by Ruffinus, about 400.

         “Crucified under Pontius Pilate, He descended into the lower parts – Crucifixus sub Pontio Pilato, descendit in inferna.”

         Here a somewhat important discussion meets us.  Bishop Pearson and others quote Ruffinus as the first writer who mentions the Descent as forming part of any creed.  But if we may credit Eusebius, as above, it was in the exposition of faith delivered to the people of Edessa by St. Jude: it is expressly stated by the earlier fathers as quoted, with others of their age which shows that it must have been generally received: and it was plainly inserted, as we have seen, in three Acacian Creeds, at the middle of the fourth century.  It is clear, however, that Pearson falls into a confusion of dates as to these Arian Symbols.

         But a more important point is that Ruffinus expressly states that the words “He descended into the lower parts” (descendit in inferna), in the Creed of the Church of Aquileia, signify the Burial of Christ, or the descent simply of His body into the grave (“vis verbi videtur, esse in eo quod sepultus est”).  Now if we only bear in mind that the period of Ruffinus is about 400, and that the authorities which we have quoted above, all date before Ruffinus wrote – ranging in fact over the first four centuries; and declare by the Descent, expressed too in the identical or equivalent words of the Aquileian Creed, that they understood not that of the body of our Lord, but of His soul, we can hardly accept the exposition of Ruffinus, supported though it be by Bishop Pearson and later writers who follow him, as the meaning of the Aquileian Church.

         It scarcely concerns us to know, save as a sort of circumstantial proof of our argument, what Pearson tells us: “Ruffinus, who first mentioned this article, did interpret it of the grave; but yet he did believe a descent distinct from that, in the Exposition of the Creed.”  If so, why so? And why interpret the Descent in the Aquileian Creed of the Burial?

         But further light is thrown on this subject by Cary: – “When Ruffinus first quotes this article of the creed of the Church of Aquileia, he omits the word ‘buried,’ and gives it thus – ‘crucifixus sub Pontio Pilato, descendit in inferna,’ and afterwards he says that the force of the words ‘descendit in inferna,’ seems in the Roman creed to be contained in the word ‘sepultus’.  If, therefore, the above is the original reading of the creed of Aquileia, it seems extremely probable that the descent in inferna was contained in that creed from the earliest times, possibly meaning something more than ‘burial,’ though occupying the same place that ‘burial’ did in other creeds.  It must be observed, however, that the word sepultus also is in the Aquileian Creed, and is given by Ruffinus as part of the creed expounded; so in Bingham it is thus – ‘sepultus et descendit ad inferna.’  Unless, therefore, we come to the conclusion that ‘sepultus’ was inserted in the time of Ruffinus, it seems difficult to reconcile what he has said of its taking the place of the descent in inferna in other creeds, with the only version of the creed of Aquileia now extant.”

         (c) The Roman or Apostles’ Creed, before the time of Ruffinus, had the Burial (et sepultus), but after his time added the Descent, and that too in the very words of the Aquileian Creed as cited by Bingham – descendit ad inferna: a strong corroboration of our view of the Aquileian Creed; and at the same time clearly teaching that the soul of Christ did descend into the receptacle of the dead.

         (d) Modern opinions, as quoted by Pearson –

         Durandus, a schoolman, held the Descent, not as signifying local motion or real presence, but only including a virtual motion, and an efficacious presence.  This is met on the ground of its being inconsistent with the Scripture, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell”; and that, if the efficacy of Christ’s death were His descent, then is He descended still.

         Calvin and others held that the Descent into hell was the suffering of the torments of hell.  But remorse, despair, and alienation from God, were far from Christ.  And besides, all the sufferings of our Saviour were antecedent to His death; whereas the Descent was subsequent.

         Others, in the words “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,” taking “soul” to mean body, and “hell” grave, as the same words in the original are elsewhere sometimes so used, have explained “He descended into hell,” in the creed to be no more than this, that Christ in His body was laid into the grave.  But since, in the gradual formation of the Apostles’ Creed, the Descent was inserted after the burial was expressed, such interpretation cannot be accepted at least as the sense of that Creed.

         And again, some have held the Descent to Hades to mean continuance for a time in the state of the dead.  But Hades never means, either amongst the ancient Greeks or ancient fathers, the condition of the dead, but a place.  And besides, Christ’s death is expressly delivered before, and separately mentioned in the Creed (“was dead”).

         (e) But the general opinion of the Church in all ages has been that the rational and immortal soul of Christ, after a true separation from His body, was really carried into those parts below, where the souls of men before departed were detained.  Nor is there any point in which the ancient fathers agree more than in this, which they urged against the Apollinarians – who denied that Christ had a human soul, affirming that the Word or Logos was to Him in the place of a soul – to show that as “this Descent was not made by Christ’s Divinity, or by His body, but by the motion and presence of His soul, therefore that Christ had a soul, distinct both from His flesh and from the Word.”  [See Bishop Pearson’s “Exposition of the Creed,” pp. 360–374, for these opinions.]

         (2)  The Purpose of the Descent.

         (a) Here the opinions of the early Church were various and widely different; but it may suffice to notice the leading varieties.

         Two lines of thought especially seems to have divided the ancient fathers.  That Christ descended to the faithful dead – that He descended only to the abode of the wicked.

         Amongst those who inclined to the first, many believed that the condition of the souls of the saints was altered by their removal to a better and more glorious place; that Christ in fact thus opened the gate of the kingdom of heaven to all believers.  Whilst others, and perhaps most of the fathers, for the first 500 years, held that our Lord did not so remove the departed saints, but descended to assure them of their completed redemption.

         Those who looked upon the Descent as to hell in its proper sense, seem to have viewed the matter chiefly as another offer of salvation; which some of the damned, it was widely held, accepted, and were consequently loosed from the pains of hell, and translated to a place of happiness.  But to believe, as a few did, that all in the torments of hell accepted this offer, and were delivered, was generally reckoned heretical.

         (b) In the middle ages, the prevalent opinion coincided in the main with that of the fathers who believed in the translation of the just; but was delivered as an indisputable article of faith, and elaborated with the technicalities of the schools: so that it was held an infallible certainty that at the Descent of our Lord, all the souls of all the saved, from Abel downwards, were delivered from the Limbus Patrum, and instated in essential beatitude and the immediate vision of God.

         (c) At the Reformation, in the Edwardine Formulary, the Third Article agreed upon in Convocation ran as follows: –

         “As Christ died and was buried for us, so also it is to be believed that he went down into hell.  For the body lay in the sepulcher until the resurrection; but His spirit departing from Him was with the spirits that were in prison or in hell (incarcare sive in inferno), and did preach (praedicavit) to the same, as the place of St. Peter doth testify” (1 Peter 3:19).

         But in ten years afterwards, in the Elizabethan Formulary, the reference to St Peter was withdrawn, and the Article reduced to its present limits.  Some think, owing to the violent controversies to which the final clause had given rise, especially in the diocese of Exeter [Hardwick]; others, in deference to Calvin [Hey]; but more probably, according to Bishop Hursley, “this change of opinion, I fear, is to be ascribed to an undue reliance of the divines of that time on the authority of St. Augustine; for St. Augustine was, I think, the first who doubted of the literal sense of this passage of St. Peter.  He perplexes himself with some questions, which seemed to him to arise out of it, of too great subtlety perhaps to be solved by man; and then he had recourse to the usual but dangerous expedient of abandoning the plain meaning of the passage, for some loose, figurative interpretation, which presents a proposition of no sort of difficulty to the understanding of the critic, because in truth it is a proposition of his own making” (Sermon 20).

         It is to be particularly noted, that the MS. copy of the Edwardine Articles, in the State-Paper Office, signed by six royal chaplains, to whom they were submitted before their final publication, has the following sentence added to the Third Article as above.  “But Christ the Lord by His descent liberated none from their prisons or torments – At suo ad inferos descensu nullos a carceribus aut tormentis liberanit Christus Dominus.”  [Hardwick’s “History of the Articles,” Appendix III.]

         (d) At present there is still very considerable diversity of opinion.  While all who have given any serious attention to the subject conclude that our Lord descended into Hades, yet many think that, as the dying thief was to be with Him the same day in Paradise, the part of Hades to which He descended must have been the place where the souls of His people await the resurrection; and that He so descended, himself to herald the finished work of salvation.  Some would strongly incline to the belief that our Lord first descended to Gehenna, to proclaim and assert His victory over death and hell, and then passed on to Paradise, to assure His expectant redeemed of the triumphs of His love.  And not a few, unwilling to push their inquiries beyond what they suppose is fully revealed, are content to believe that our Lord’s descent to hell was simply to undergo the condition of the dead, and thus satisfy the law of our common humanity in death.  While the Church of Rome holds, that “Christ descended into hell in order that, having seized the spoils of the devil, He might conduct into heaven those holy fathers (who died before the coming of Christ our Lord, and who in the bosom of Abraham were expecting the Saviour) and the other just souls liberated from prison.  His august presence at once brought a glorious luster upon the captives, and filled their souls with boundless joy and gladness.  Unto them He also imparted that supreme happiness which consists in the vision of God” (Catechism of the Council of Trent).

         (3.)  What saith the Scripture?

         The Descent is not mentioned in the Gospels, expressly and as part of the historic record; but is clearly implied in Luke 23:43: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

         In Eph. 4:8–10, we read “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts, τα κατώτερα, of the earth verse 9).  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.”  Verse 9, and “the lower parts of the earth,” have, we think, been too often read detached, and the meaning more resolved into what the isolated “lower parts” might possibly in the whole range of Christology otherwise include than they seem fairly to do – as the incarnation, the descent on earth, the death, the burial.  But we conceive, if it is possible to rescue any passage of Scripture from weak and erroneous gloss, this is one.

         First.  The Ascension is confessedly in contrast with the Descension.  Therefore, we submit that whatever the height or nature of the one, must be the measure of the depth or nature of the other.

         Second.  In the Ascent Christ “led captivity captive” – Satan and his hosts.  The warfare therefore must have reached, and conquered, Gehenna.

         Third.  This interpretation alone satisfies “that he might fill all things.”  Christ’s Ascension could not “fill all things,” make the whole universe feel His now won Mediatorial Sovereignty, in its power and presence, unless He had first asserted it in and over the habitation of devils.

         Fourth.  Our argument is also strengthened by “he that ascended up far above all heavens.”  He who ascended into the highest heaven, the same also descended into the lowest hell.

         Fifth.  All, or nearly all, the ancient fathers thus read the passage; and accordingly the earliest creeds adopt the words of the Apostle, or words similar to them, to express the doctrine of the Descent into Hades.  The Apostle’s words are: τα κατώτερα μέρη της γης – “the lower parts of the earth”; or as the Septuagint gives the force of the superlative to “lower” (for example, Psa. 63:9 – είς τα κατωτατα της γης), we may translate, “the lowest parts of the earth”.  And the words of the earliest creeds are: τα κατώτατα – “the lowest”; τα καταχθόνια – “the lower parts” or “underworld”; and inferna, equal in the ancient Greek translation of it, τα κατώτατα.  And although later on the creedal formula for the Descent settled down into ad inferos and εις άδου, yet we must remember that inferi is used not only for the souls of men in the earth, but also and most frequently for the underworld itself; and that Hades is simply another term, in the language of the Greeks, for the lower or unseen abode of the spirits of the dead: and therefore that, in fact, the whole three forms, ad inferna, ad inferos, and εις άδου, are synonymous.  [See Pearson’s illustrations in his notes under Article 5 of the Creed.]

         But the Scripture, upon which many divines mainly rely for the Descent, is that contained in Acts 2:25–31, where St. Peter on the day of Pentecost or rather the Holy Ghost by St. Peter, quotes the 16th Psalm, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” (scil. Hades or Sheol), and expressly applies it to Christ.  And the plain argument is this, that since at the resurrection of Christ His soul was not left in Hades, therefore it must have been there at some period between His death and resurrection.  Hence, as St. Augustine remarks here, “Who but an infidel will deny that Christ was in hell?”

         Lastly, we come to the important passage (1 Peter 3:18:20): “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, which sometime were disobedient when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few – that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

         As Alford remarks, “the literature of this passage is almost a library in itself.”  We shall, therefore, content ourselves by exhibiting some of the more reliable results of criticism, with the opinions of one or two leading expositors.

         In the first place, then, the words “flesh” and “spirit” are, in the original, without preposition and article; therefore “spirit” cannot apply to the Holy Spirit.  The Received Text has the article τω (“the”) before πνεύματι (“spirit”), but it is not found in the best MSS.  And even its retention would not indicate the Holy Spirit, unless a preposition also were prefixed, as εν τω πνεύματι.  Moreover, as “flesh” is in antithesis with “spirit,” the latter must evidently mean Christ’s own spirit or soul.  “Quickened” (ζωοποίθεις) means to keep alive as much as to resuscitate to life.  “Went” (πορευθεις) is local transference, an actual journey.  “Preached” (εκήρυξεν), to be a herald, elsewhere predicated of Christ or His apostles, is to proclaim good news.  The word for “spirits” (πνεύμασιν) always means departed souls.  And “in prison” (εν φυλακη) means simply in ward or safe keeping.  The reading, therefore, of the unenclosed portion as above will stand.  “Being put to death in (or as to) the flesh, but alive in (or as to) the soul: in which (everliving soul) also he went and preached good news to the souls of men in ward (Syriac, in Hades or Sheol).”

         If this rending is correct, and it is based, we think, upon unanswerable arguments, it renders it altogether unnecessary to examine the views of those who have interpreted the apostle’s words otherwise than with reference to the Descent.  But as we have before had occasion to speak of St. Augustine in connection with this passage, and as he has been followed in his unhappy perversion of it, less or more, by such men as Pearson and Barrow, we may again advert to him for a moment here.  The preaching of the text, he thinks, was the preaching of Noah, inspired by the Spirit of Christ to his contemporaries.  And the “prison” was that of their flesh and the darkness of ignorance.  But the order of time followed by the apostle – Christ suffered, Christ put to death, Christ quickened – must surely keep the preaching of Christ in the same historical sequence.  And as our Lord preached, not in the flesh, but in the spirit (πνεύματι), so also did He preach, not to men in the flesh, but to spirits (πνεύμασιν).  Had the preaching been to the antediluvians, as men in the body, St. Peter would most probably have used the word ψυχαις here instead of πνεύμασιν, as he does in the phrase “eight souls” (οκτω ψυχαί).

         Bishop Horsley writes: “The souls in custody, to whom our Saviour went in His disembodied soul and preached, were those ‘which sometime were disobedient.’  The expression ‘sometime were,’ or ‘one while had been disobedient,’ implies that they were recovered, however, from that disobedience, and, before their death, had been brought to repentance and faith in the Redeemer to come.  To such souls He went and preached.  But what did He preach to departed souls, and what could be the end of His preaching?  Certainly He preached neither repentance nor faith; for the preaching of either comes too late to the departed soul. ... But if He went to proclaim to them (and to proclaim or publish is the true sense of the word ‘to preach’) the glad tidings, that He had actually offered the sacrifice of their redemption, and was about to appear before the Father as their intercessor in the merit of His own blood, this was a preaching fit to be addressed to departed souls, and would give new animation and assurance to their hope of the consummation in due season of their bliss. ... But the great difficulty, of which perhaps I may be unable to give any adequate solution, is this: For what reason should the proclamation of the finishing of the great work of redemption be addressed exclusively to the souls of these antediluvian penitents?  Were not the souls of the penitents of later ages equally interested in the joyful tidings?  To this I can only answer that I think I have observed in some parts of Scripture an anxiety, if the expression may be allowed, of the sacred writers to convey distinct intimations that the antediluvian race is not uninterested in the redemption and the final retribution. ... It may be conceived that the souls of those who died in that dreadful visitation (the general deluge) might from that circumstance have peculiar apprehensions of themselves as the marked victims of Divine vengeance, and might peculiarly need the consolation which the preaching of our Lord in the subterranean regions afforded to these prisoners of hope. ... And a particular conference with one class might be the means, and certainly would be no obstruction, to a general communication with all.  If the clear assertions of holy writ are to be discredited, on account of difficulties which may seem to the human mind to arise out of them, little will remain to be believed in revealed or even in what is called natural religion” (Sermon 20).

         Bishop Wordsworth writes: “Christ then went in His human spirit, and preached (εκήροξε) to those spirits in prison which were disobedient formerly, and did not hearken to the preaching of Noah, when the long-suffering of God was waiting for the space of one hundred and twenty years, in the days of Noe, when the Ark was preparing, into which only eight persons entered, and were saved by water; and the rest perished in the flood. ... The apostle states the fact, but he does not declare the subject of the preaching, nor its result.  Our duty therefore here is to receive with reverence what is revealed, and not to aspire ‘to be wise above what is written.’ ... It is a comfortable thing to know that the disembodied spirit of our adorable Redeemer was full of tenderness to men.  That love extended even to bygone generations, whose names are unknown to us.  He went and preached – preached to spirits in prison, to those spirits which had been disobedient formerly, when the Ark was preparing, and which had not entered into the Ark, and which were now in a place of confinement. ... Let it not, however, be imagined that the Holy Spirit here gives any ground for presumption, that, if we do not do well, and are not ready to suffer for Christ, and if we die in disobedience and impenitence, there remains for us any message of comfort after death. ... The men of Noah’s age had only the example of a single godly family, and, as far as appears, Noah alone and his house had a direct invitation to come into the Ark. ... Thus the circumstances of the generation of those who perished in the Flood, differed widely from those of all generations since the coming of Christ even to the end of the world.  There appears, therefore, to be special reasons for special mercy to them. ... St. Peter does not say, that when the Ark had been prepared, and when the Ark was shut, and when the Flood came, and it was too late for them to reach it, they all remained impenitent.  Perhaps some were penitent at the eleventh hour, like the thief on the cross.  Everyone will be justly dealt with by God.  There are degrees of punishment as there are of reward.  God does not quench the smoking flax.  And St. Peter by saying that they did not hearken formerly, while the Ark was preparing, almost seems to suggest the inference that they did hearken now when One, greater than Noah, came in His human spirit, into the abysses of the deep of the lower world; and that a happy change was wrought in the condition of some among them by His coming” (Greek Testament in loco).

         Dean Alford writes: – “From all then which has been said, it will he gathered that with the great majority of commentators, ancient and modern, I understand these words to say that our Lord, in His disembodied state, did go to the place of detention of departed spirits, and did there announce His work of redemption, preach salvation, in fact, to the disembodied spirits of those who refused to obey the voice of God when the judgment of the flood was hanging over them.  Why these rather than others are mentioned – whether merely as a sample of the like gracious work on others, or for some special reason unimaginable by us – we cannot say.  It is ours to deal with the plain words of Scripture, and to accept its revelations as far as vouchsafed to us.  And they are vouchsafed to us to the utmost limit of legitimate inference from revealed facts.  That inference every intelligent reader will draw from the fact here announced: it is not purgatory; it is not universal restitution; but it is one which throws blessed light on one of the darkest enigmas of the divine justice: the cases where the final doom seems infinitely out of proportion to the lapse which has incurred it.  And as we cannot say to what other cases this κήρυγμα may have applied, so it would be presumption in us to limit its occurrence or its efficacy.  The reason of mentioning here these sinners, above other sinners, appears to be their connection with the type of baptism which follows.  If so, who shall say that the blessed act was confined to them?” (Greek Testament in loco).



         Upon a review then of the whole subject we find – (1) That Christ, in the interval between his death and resurrection, did really descend to Hades, as is clear and unquestionable from Acts 2:25–31.  (2) That in that descent He entered Gehenna, which we think is equally clear from Eph. 4:8–10; and probably to proclaim and assert His triumph over death and hell.  (3) And most certainly did also graciously visit the souls of the penitents who perished in the Flood, to assure them, as we may only infer, and perhaps through them also all the faithful, of their completed redemption.  But we must discard in toto the notion that offers of mercy as such were made to antediluvian or other souls in this descent to Hades, as being utterly at variance with the whole tone and teaching of Scripture besides; and as bordering upon, if not indeed directly encouraging and holding out, the dangerous view of a yet still possible repentance and salvation after death.  And in arriving at these conclusions we have also seen that the intermediate state between death and judgment is to the righteous one of sensible and unspeakable gain in the blessed presence of the Saviour; yet incomplete, so far as the soul is waiting for the resurrection body.  And a state to the wicked of restraint and misery.  “There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest” (Job 3:17).


Article  IV.

Doctrine and Scriptural Proof.

         Of the Resurrection of Christ. – Christ did truly arise again from death, and took again His body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith He ascended into heaven, and there sitteth, until He returns to judge all men at the last day.

            De Resurrectione Christi. – Christus vere a mortuis resurrexit suumque corpus eum carne, ossibus, omnibusque ad integritatem humanae naturae pertinentibus, recepit: cum quibus in coelum ascendit, ibique residet, quoad extremo die ad judicandos homines reversurus sit.



         Four Subjects. – 1. Christ’s Resurrection.  2. His Ascension.  3. His Session at God’s Right hand.  4. His Return to Judgment.

         1.  Christ’s Resurrection.

         Against the ancient heresies of the Sadducees, Essenes, Docetae, Manichees, and Eutychians, as well as the docetic notions of Anabaptists.

         Christ did truly arise again from death]

         (1)  The Fact and Importance of Christ’s Resurrection.

         (a) The Resurrection of Christ is in one sense the very keystone of Christianity.  Take it away and the whole fabric crumbles to pieces.  Then is Christianity simply to be weighed as a political and perhaps hygienic institution against its competitors.  And if so, we are free to admit, even with all its historic and general advantages, that its individual experiences, the idiosyncrasy of its life – its endurances, its negations, its intensity of love and disappointment of hope, must pronounce it one of the very worst of all possible superstitions for the human family at large.  Even as the Apostle teaches: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ” – if the hope of our lives is to end there, then “we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).  “But” – blessed be God, and as the Apostle continues – “now (νυνι – as matters or facts stand) is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept” (verse 20).

         (b) It is therefore of the utmost importance to show the reality of Christ’s resurrection.  And we hold that it is possible to do this, to actual demonstration, equal to, if not indeed above, any other fact of recorded history.

         We know nothing of the past, but from historical evidence – Monumental or Written.

         First.  The Monumental Evidence of Christ’s Resurrection.

         Here (1) Christianity is at least on a par with its competitors, and that in reality is all, from the nature of the case, that our argument requires.  Christianity has its Church, its Polity, its Sacraments, ab initio; ALL FOUNDED UPON THE ALLEGED FACT OF THE RESURRECTION.

         But (2) it is more than on a par.  Whilst many superstitions have passed away, and are forgotten as living realities, and whilst others are waning, Christianity is covering, here more slowly, there more rapidly, the face of the globe: conquering, by its appeal to the human mind, all the families of the earth.  And its universal text is – A RISEN SAVIOUR.

         Now all this must, with fair and candid minds, go far to prove, over and beyond the actual requirements of the argument – not merely the fact but what gives immense force to the fact, the Vitality of the Monumental Evidence of Christianity as founded upon the Resurrection of our Lord.  It means, sift the Resurrection as you will, and as full eighteen centuries have done and are doing, it stands out and progresses from age to age, clear and clearer still, as a LIVING REALITY.

         Second.  The Written Evidence of the Resurrection of Christ ranges itself under the following heads –


Argument From Prophecy.

         “My flesh also shall rest in hope.  For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psa. 16:9–10).  Claimed by St. Peter for our Lord (Acts 2), and inapplicable to any besides.  A prophecy penned probably some 1060 years before Christ.

         “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.  Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead (Isa. 26:19).  To be studied with: “When thon shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days” (Isa. 53:10).  Prophecies some 712 years before Christ.

         “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Matt. 16:21).  Words spoken, unless we can otherwise damage the credit of the Gospel narrative, and “openly” (περρησία, Mark 11) – close upon a year before the crucifixion.


Argument From Type.

         The restoration of Isaac to his father on Mount Moriah was, we are willing to believe with the majority of commentators, symbolical of the resurrection of our race; but it was we think still more even of the raising up of Him who is the Resurrection and the Life.  If God vouchsafed to Abraham in that wonderful hour a revelation of His will and purpose to raise the dead, it is not assuredly too much to suppose that He revealed to him the procuring ground and connecting link upon which that revelation rests – even the actual sacrifice of a dearer Son by a higher Father, and the restoration of that Son again unto life as the glorious First Fruits from the grave.  And this we think only fully explains the language of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac ... accounting that God is able to raise even from the dead, from whence he also received him back in a parable” [So the exact rendering of the original; and not, as our Authorized Version – “accounting that God was able to raise him up.” There is no “him” here in the Greek, and no past tense, or single case as of Isaac merely, indicated.] (εν παραβολη, Heb. 11:17, 19).  A parable, or allegorical teaching, as we take it, of the Resurrection of our race in Christ.  And thus in that Coming One of his line, slain and risen again, did the father of the faithful see the glimmer of the day whereof he was glad.  And such a “parable” too, we speak with reverence, could, we think, alone justify the mysterious trial of the friend of God, contained in the command: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Gen. 22:2).  And this type was some 1872 years before Christ.

         Again we read: “And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17).  A type appropriated and explained by Christ Himself: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40).  And a type some 862 years before Christ.


Evidence of Professed Witnesses.

         Not less than four historians, in five separate histories, attest the resurrection of Christ, as a fact, at Jerusalem, seen and known by men and women whose names are given; four of these histories (Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts) published probably within some thirty years after the alleged event; the fifth (John) at a period sufficiently late to warn of the danger of further imposition, but which relates the story of the resurrection substantially in the same manner as the others, and that too without a note of defense, which shows that there existed no formal impugnment of the record: and all these histories put forth the very country, though happily at different centers throughout it, where the fact is said to have happened, or at some outside center of concourse and learning, such as Rome.  While, on the opposite side, and as the late date of St. John’s Gospel, probably towards the close of the first century, is of peculiar value as a witness, we have not one historical document of the age, even pretending to show that these widespread accounts of the Resurrection were a fabrication.  Add, that one of these histories (the Acts) gives us all the details of Resurrection sermons preached at Jerusalem before the representatives of “every nation under heaven,” as on the day of Pentecost, bare fifty days since the event; in the temple; before the Sanhedrim; throughout Asia Minor; on the Continent of Europe; and even for something more than three years at Rome: and yet neither bigoted Jew, nor prejudiced heathen, even with the matter thus brought home to them, have attempted, on the part of their religion, their name, or posterity, to join issue on the main question.


Argument From Martyrdom.

         These missionaries attested the truth of the Resurrection of Christ as the basis of their preaching, in face of persecution, and at the risk of the loss of all things.  “He that liveth and was dead, and behold he is alive for evermore,” is the great text of Apostolic Sermons and Epistles.  And the heralds of the risen Nazarene truly suffered.  Their lot was persecution; martyrdom, in many, if not most instances, their crown.


Argument From Contemporary History.

         In addition to the five histories above, we have the First Epistle to the Corinthians, the genuineness of which has never been disputed, written probably within twenty-four years after the alleged event; and the fifteenth chapter of which may be denominated an abstract of the preaching of St. Paul on the history and gospel of the Resurrection of Christ, with the heads of the general philosophic argument.  The first of these here concerns us, and this is the testimony: “For I delivered unto you how that Christ rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; after that, he was seen of above FIVE HUNDRED BRETHREN at once, of whom the GREATER PART REMAIN UNTO THIS PRESENT, but some are fallen asleep; after that, he was seen of James; then of all the Apostles; and last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”  One of two theories alone can account for this preaching.  Either that St. Paul was “beside himself,” or that he had really seen the risen Jesus, and so “spake forth the words of truth and soberness.”  But madmen do not write as the Apostle wrote – with the same logic, the same coherence, the same diversity, the same definite appeal (as here), the same overwhelming powers of persuasion: whom even the heathen critic Longinus ranks among the greatest orators of ancient times.  “Let the following men be taken as the summit of all eloquence and Grecian intellect – Demosthenes – Paul.”


Argument From Standing Miracle.

         By Standing Miracle here we mean that in some seven weeks after the death of Christ, His disciples, a small band for the most part of peasants, begin to deliver to the world, and in the face of their enemies, a system of theology grounded upon the alleged fact of Christ’s Resurrection, and upon the ancient Scriptures, so matured and complete, that eighteen centuries have only been able to illustrate it: and this without its friends being able to add to it: and without its foes being able to invalidate it.  Verily, there is nothing like this in the whole range of the world’s history.  Let us examine it.  Twelve men, ignorant all along of the meaning of the death and resurrection of Christ; cowards who forsook their Master; cold, if we may not indeed add scornful, unbelievers at the outset, who treated the account of the Magdalene and her sisters about the angels and the rolling away of the stone and the risen Lord as “idle tales”; despised, and in danger of their lives as having been associated with the crucified Nazarene; poor and without means to secure followers or command respect in a venal age; illiterate fishermen.  For such a miserable band – miserable in number – miserable in courage – miserable in education – miserable in Scriptural knowledge heretofore, to beard their bloodthirsty victorious enemies, the rulers of the people and elders of Israel, in their homes; and above all, to elaborate a system of doctrine, in a day, which harmonizes God and man: all this, we say, is what the world has never besides witnessed: all this, we submit, implies a miracle: and that miracle is the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with the consequent shedding forth of the Holy Ghost.  And all this demolishes the “mythic accretions” of Strauss; for accretions do not grow on pure and virgin soil, nor myths in seven weeks.

         And took again His body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature]

         (2)  The Nature of Christ’s Resurrection Body.

         Probably against the Ubiquitarians of Romish and Lutheran schools.

         (a) A veritable human body, as before.

         “Handle me, and see; fora spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).  “And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.  And he took it, and did eat before them” (Luke 24:42–43).

         (b) The identical body.

         “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself” (Luke 24:39).  “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27).

         (c) Endowed with the same rational and intellectual soul, as evinced by His discoursing with His disciples.

         “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luke 24:44).

         (d) Yet at the same time, a glorified and “spiritual” body; that is, invested with certain supernatural qualities and attributes, so as to fit it for its incorruptible and heavenly habitation.

         “The same day at evening, when the doors were shut, came Jesus and stood in the midst” (John 20:29).  “And their eyes were opened, and they knew him, and he vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:31).  “He appeared in another form unto two of them” (Mark 16:12).

         (e) And still in the same conjunction with the Divinity.

         Hence, in the plenitude of His Divine power, He “opened the understanding” of His disciples (Luke 24:45), and breathed on them the Holy Ghost (John 20:22).


2.  Christ’s Ascension.

         Against the various heresies of the Apellitae, Selenciani, Heroniani, Manicheans, etc.

         Wherewith He ascended into heaven]

         (a) The Ascension of Christ was typified by the High Priest entering into the holiest of all on the day of Atonement.

         “But into the second (tabernacle) went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Ghost thus signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing. ... But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:7–8, 11–12).

         (b) Foretold by the Psalmist:

         “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive; thou hast received gifts for men” (Psa. 68:18).  Cf. Eph. 4:8.

         By Micah:

         “The breaker [“Breaker-up,” a Jewish title of the Messiah.] is come up before them: they have broken up and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them” (Micah 2:13).

         By our Lord Himself:

         “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” (John 6:62).  “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascended unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17).

         (c) Related in two of the Gospels:

         “ So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven” (Mark 16:19).  “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:51).

         And in the Acts:

         “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).

         (d) Witnessed by the eleven apostles, as seen in foregoing quotations.

         (e) Testified by angels:

         “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10–11).

         (f) Although it was the person of Christ that ascended, yet since the Divine nature is everywhere present, ascension can only be properly predicated of Christ’s human nature.

         “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13).

         (g) And the great end of the ascension of Christ into heaven was to carry in thither the merits of His oblation, and as forerunner to take possession of and prepare for His people the many mansions that are there; and make continual intercession for them.

         “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession” (Heb. 4:14).  “Within the veil: whither the Forerunner (πρόδρομος; [πρόδρομος being without the article, is a predicate, and should be translated as forerunner.]) is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever” (Heb. 6:19–20).  “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2–3).  “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).


3.  Christ’s Session.

         And there sitteth]

         (a) By the Session of Christ at God’s Right Hand is meant, not necessarily any corporeal posture or position, but the full and formal investiture of the Messiah with Mediatorial power and authority, as the reward of His obedience, sufferings, and victory.

         While we are to believe that the ascended body of our Lord hath a local habitation, yet the Session of our Article mainly refers to the judiciary power with which the Divine Person of Christ, as “head over all things to the Church,” was now invested.

         This Mediatory authority, the Son, as the Second Person of the glorious Trinity, and the delegate of the Father, had exercised all along since the Fall; but it was only, and from the nature of the case, could only be, when the Divine Person of the Incarnate Saviour “through death had overcome him who had the power of death, even the devil,” that “all things were put under his feet.”

         According to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:19–22).  “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour” (Heb. 2:9).  “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him; and given him a name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:8–9).

         (b.) And this Session at the Right Hand of God was foretold by the Psalmist:

         “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa. 110:1).  Cf. Luke 20:42.

         By Zechariah:

         “Behold the man whose name is The Branch ... he shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne” (Zech. 6:12–13).

         By our Lord Himself:

         “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power” (Matt. 26:64).

         Recorded in one Gospel:

         “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).

         In the Acts:

         “Being by the right hand of God exalted. ... For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool” (Acts 2:33–35).  “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

         And expressly also, as will have been seen in the Epistles.  Other examples:

         “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God” (Rom. 8:34).  “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1 Peter 3:22).

         (c) The purpose of Christ’s Session at the Right Hand of the Father, is (as will have been gathered) twofold: to be the glorious Head of His Church, and to make His enemies His footstool.

         “And gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22).  “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa. 110:1).  “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Psa. 45:7).  See the whole Psalm: The King – his Beauty – His Manhood – His Godhead – His Conquest – His Scepter of Righteousness – His Queen Consort, on the day of His espousals – Her Trousseau – the Issue of “the marriage of the Lamb.”

         (d.) And this Session, or Kingdom of the God-Man Christ, is forever.  Against the heresy of the Marcellians and Photinians.

         “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (Psa. 45:6).  “Whose kingdom shall have no end” (Nicene Creed).

         (e) But its present economy will be modified.  On earth it is now administered by the dispensation of His word and sacraments, and by ruling over His Church in the midst of enemies; but in heaven hereafter, when all opposition shall have been subdued, and when the Church triumphant shall no longer see through the glass of ordinances darkly, but face to face, the present mediatorial service must of necessity cease, but only to assume a new and mending phase – the final and eternal economy of sustaining and developing the won kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and of the clearer display of the glory of the Three One God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

         “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. ... And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:24, 28).  “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9–10).  “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17).  “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor. 13:12).  “We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

4.  Christ’s Return to Judgment.

         Against Gnostic and Anabaptist sects, whose docetic notions evidently sprang from the Sadducean heresy; and which has tainted, in modern times, the Swedenborgian school, so far at least as to deny the literal interpretation of Scripture concerning the Judgment, limiting it to a present church and dispensation.

         Until He return to judge all men at the last day]

         (a) A general judgment is necessary, on the ground of Divine justice.

         Confessedly, as the world is ordered, universal justice does not reign.  The wicked prosper, and the righteous frequently are oppressed.  We have only to turn to the book of Job, and such Psalms as the 73d, to see how hard holy men of old found it to reconcile the government of the world as it is with the love and the wisdom of God.  Nor have the further disclosures of Revelation much lessened, but in not a few cases perhaps have increased, the perplexity.  Their main value and intention would only seem to be to give certain and future, though as to precise date necessarily indefinite, fixity to the words of the Preacher: “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Eccles. 12:14).  They shift the Throne of Judgment from the general Hebrew conception – this world and in this life – to “the clouds” of heaven and the end of time; to that “Great Day” when “the earth and the heaven shall flee away, and there shall be found no place for them.”

         (b) Believed in by the ancient Gentile world, and generally acknowledged by their writers.  As may be seen in their mythologies, and as shown less or more at length by Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Eusebius, and Theodoret.

         Thus, as Pearson remarks, the principle of a judgment to come, as confessed by the heathen, was Justin Martyr’s great encouragement in his apology for the Christian religion; Tertullian quotes even their common conversation in proof – Deus videt, Deo commendo, Deus mihi reddet; and Theodoret, after citing several places, concludes – ούτως ακριβως επίστευεν ο Πλάτων ειναι τα εν άδου κριτήρια.

         And thus –

         “Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled” (Acts 24:25).

         (c) Fully and explicitly asserted in Holy Scripture, but especially in the New Testament.

         Eccles. 21:14 (as above).

         “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery name, and his wheels as burning fire.  A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (Dan. 7:9–10).  “God hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31).  “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men” (Rom. 2:16).  “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Rev. 20:12).

         (d) The God Man, Christ Jesus, the Judge.

         So far as regards all essential or legislative power and authority, a Three One God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is Judge; but in the Divine economy, the special exercise, or executive of that power, is delegated to Christ, the Mediator; and this not only as part of His exaltation, but also because of His peculiar fitness as the Son of man.

         “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22).  “The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt. 16:27).  “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10).  “And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man” (John 5:27).

         (e) The Objects of the Judgment – all men, “quick and dead;” and the fallen angels.

         “And before him shall be gathered all nations” (Matt. 25:32).  “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with 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 Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:16–17).  “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead” (Acts 10:42).  “And 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” (Jude 6).

         (f) The Subject matter of the Judgment.

         Thoughts.  “Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts” (1 Cor. 4:5).

         Words.  “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:37).

         Works.  “For we must all appear 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” (2 Cor. 5:10).

         (g) The Books of the Judgment.

         The Book of God’s Remembrance, or Omniscience.

         “Lord, thou knowest all things” (John 21:17).  “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name” (Mal. 3:16).

         Without attempting to confound the omniscience of God with the laws and revelations of physical science, or in any way limit it thereby, we may remark that, according to the doctrine of mechanical reaction, it would appear that our words and actions are imprinted on the material universe forever; and not only so, but according to the doctrine of electric reaction our very thoughts are telegraphed to every part of the universe, and remain there woven into its texture for all future time: and that it needs only the neuter perceptions of higher beings to see all those actions thus recorded there, and to read all the thoughts of the heart of man.  And it may be that Scripture itself refers to this wonderful law of nature in such passages as the following: “Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but with recompense, even recompense into their bosoms” (Isa. 65:6) – “Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among in treasures?” (Deut. 32:34).  “My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity” (Job 14:17).  “For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God” (Jer. 2:23).

         The Book of Conscience, with its appeal on the one hand to the light of nature, and on the other hand to God’s written law.

         “As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law. ... For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also hearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another” (Rom. 2:12, 14–15).

         The Book of Life.

         “And another book was opened, which is the book of life” (Rev. 20:12).  “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).  “And there shall in no wise enter into it ... but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27).  “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).


Article  V.

History and Doctrine, With Scriptural Proof.

         Of the Holy Ghost. – The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

            De Spiritu Sancto. – Spiritus Sanctus, a Patre et Filio procedens, ejusdem est cum Patre et Filio essentiae, majestatis, et gloriae, verus ac aeternus Deus.


         This Article, evidently inserted by Archbishop Parker to complete the dogmatic assertion of the Church’s faith concerning the Holy Trinity, embraces two subjects – the Procession and the Divinity of the Holy Ghost: the latter of which, having been necessarily treated under the first Article, need not be again taken up.

         We have, however, always considered it an oversight on the part of the compilers of our Articles that no formal mention whatever is here or elsewhere made of the work or Office of the Holy Ghost.  We have the Son’s work, or the Atonement, distinctly set forth even in this dogma of the Trinity.  Why should we not also have the Spirit’s, and, especially since this is the era of His Pentecostal mission on earth

         It may be that owing to this omission it comes to pass that our pulpits are unconsciously Unitarian, and Englishmen, to a large extent, Materialists.  These, we feel, are serious charges.  But let the reader ask himself, how often has he heard a sermon on The Present Administration of the Holy Spirit, or how many Churchmen has he met alive to the fact that the Holy Ghost is now on earth, in the extraordinary effusion of His power, just as verily, and to the eye of well-informed faith as sensibly, as the Saviour was for some thirty-three years; and the answer in each case will only too seriously sustain these solemn charges.

         And this is a matter to which we would earnestly call the attention of Convocation.  It needs no alteration whatever of the present wording of the Article, but simply an addition, such as that of the Nicene Creed, “The Lord and the Giver of Life,” at the end of the Article, or of “The Sanctifier,” after the words, “The Holy Ghost,” at the beginning, or otherwise as might be agreed upon.

         We shall therefore add a section on this proposed supplemental part, and our subjects consequently will stand thus: (1) the Procession of the Holy Ghost; (2) the Office of the Holy Ghost.


1.  The Procession of the Holy Ghost.

         The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son]

         It is a sad instance of the frailty of man that the nature of the Spirit who is Truth, and Peace, and Love, should have become the fierce battlefield, and been finally made the ostensible ground of separation between the Eastern and Western Churches; and that this rent in Christendom has now continued so many centuries.

         Whatever may have been the origin of the Procession, it is clear that ultimately lust for power and aggrandizement, not zeal for doctrine, carried the schism.  If we follow Pagi, the dispute “and from the Son” came to light in the counter-charges between the Latins and Greeks in the Iconoclastic war; the former accusing the latter of heresy for opposing images, and the latter retaliating by the cry of Filioque.  But this at best only aims to date the contention, and tells us nothing how or when the faith “from the Father and the Son” came to life.

         For our own part we are disposed to think that the doctrine gradually developed itself as the unity of the Christian consciousness of God permeated the Church.  And this perhaps will be sufficiently clear if we look for a moment at the history of the completed conception of the Divine essence in the Trinity.

         Thus Hilary of Poictiers, in the fourth century, while acknowledging, in an address to God, “Nulla te, nisi res tua, penetrat” – that nothing could be foreign from God’s essence which penetrates into its depths, yet was but able to see that the apostles and prophets affirm expressly of the Holy Ghost, only that He exists.  And Gregory Nazianzen could write in 380: “Some of our theologians consider the Holy Spirit to be a certain mode of the divine agency; others, a creature of God; others, God Himself.  Others say, that they do not know themselves which of the two opinions they ought to adopt, out of reverence for the Holy Scriptures, which have not clearly explained this point.”

         On the other hand, Dionysius of Alexandria, in the third century, was able somewhat strongly to assert the Procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son: “Each of the two names mentioned by me is inseparable and indivisible from the other.  If I mentioned the Father, I also signified the Son in the Father, even before I introduced the name of the Son.  Did I introduce the Son – although I had not spoken of the Father before, He would certainly have had His name anticipated in the Son.  If I added the Holy Ghost, I at the same time subjoined both from whence and by whom He came (άμα και πόθεν και δια τινος ηκεν).  But these persons are not aware that the Father, in His relation of Father, is not separated from the Son, for the name implies union; nor is the Son removed from the Father, for the appellation Father signifies community.  In their hands also is the Spirit, which can neither be separated from the person sending nor from the person conveying (το Πνευμα, μήτε του πέμποντος, μήτετου θέροντος δυνάμενον στέρεσθαι).  How then, while I make use of these names, can I conceive that these are divided and altogether distinct from each other? ... Thus we expand the Unity into the indivisible Trinity; and again we sum up the undiminished Trinity in the Unity.”

         Still from all this, and from the fact that discussion as yet had not ripened on the Nature of the Third Person of the Trinity, but hinged, as will be gathered from the preceding extract, on the Divinity of the Son, we may see how it came to pass that the Nicene Creed, in 325, only expressed the doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit in the very loose and timid terms – “And in the Holy Ghost.”

         The Macedonian heresy brought out and advanced the truth by an important stage.  While the Pneumatomachi, or “Fighters against the Spirit,” were able to accept the feeble utterance of the Nicene Creed, they held that the Holy Ghost was a creation of God – an emanation from God, as the servant or minister of God, and not a Divine Person.  Lamentable as was this blasphemy, it gave a healthy stimulus to the orthodox fathers, and ended in the adoption of a more distinct and definite formula into the Nicene Creed, at the Council of Constantinople, 381: “And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and the Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets.”

         Thus Christendom was committed to another development of the faith.  But a further question still was now naturally opened: If time Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, what is His relation to the Son?

         The Greeks used two words to express themselves upon the Nature of the Spirit – εκπορεύομαι and λαμβάνω, and said the Holy Ghost “proceeds” from the Father, and “receives” of the Son.  Here taking their stand upon two passages of Scripture which we shall afterwards examine: “The Spirit of truth, which proceedeth (εκπορεύεται) from the Father” (John 15:26), and “He shall receive (λήψεται) of mine” (John 16:14).  In other words, the Greek mind, persistently clinging to the idea that time Father is the sole Root (ρίξα), Cause (αιτία), and Fountain ) of Deity, could not admit the Procession or Issuing Forth (εκπόρευσις) of the Holy Ghost from, but only by or through, the Son – thus guarding against the accusation of holding a second Fountain of Deity in the Son.

         The Latins, on the other hand, only used the word procedo (“proceeds”), and concluded that to receive of the Son, and to proceed from the Father, are one and the same thing: since all things which the Father hath are the Son’s and therefore all things which the Son receiveth, He receiveth not from the Father alone, but also from the Son.

         As Fulgentius expressly writes, that all things which the Father hath, and which the Spirit receiveth, are the Son’s, and therefore the Spirit proceeds neither from the Father alone, nor from the Son alone, but at the same time from both:

         “De Filio ergo accepit, et omnia quae habet Pater Fulii sunt, quae Spiritus Sanctus accepit: quia non de solo Patre, nec de solo Filio, sed simul de utroque procedit” (De Spiritu Sancto).

         And Hilary before him, that since there is no difference between receiving of the Son and proceeding from the Father, certainly it is to be accounted one and the same thing to receive of the Son and to receive of the Father:

         “Quod si nihil differre credetur inter accipere a Filio, et a Patre procedere; certe id ipsum atque nuum esse existimabitur, a Filio accipere, quod sit accipere a Patre” (De Trin, l. 8, c. 20).

         And Ambrose, that in the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, there is no separation from the Father nor from the Son; that He is not the Son, because He is not begotten, nor the Father, because He proceeds from both:

         “Spiritus quoque Sanctus cum procedit a Patre et Filio, non separatur a Patre, non separatur a Filio. ... Sed non est ipse Filius, quia non generatur, neque Pater, quia procedit ab utroque” (De Spiritu Sancto, et De Symb.).

         But it had remained for Augustine to give full and logical force to the argument, insomuch so that modern Greeks charge him with having invented the Procession from the Son.  Thus he writes that inasmuch as the Holy Ghost is called in Scripture sometimes the Spirit of the Father and sometimes the Spirit of the Son, it cannot but be that He, the Spirit of both [not two different Spirits, one of the Father and the other of the Son], proceeds from both:

         “Nec possumus dicere quod Spiritus Sanctus et a Filio non procedat, neque enim frustra idem Spiritus et Patris et Filii Spiritus dicitur” (De Trin., l. 4, c. 20).

         And that, as the Son of God is in all respects identical in essence with the Father, and as the Father had eternally communicated all to the Son, who is therefore God of God, so likewise does the Holy Ghost proceed as well from the Son as from the Father:

         A quo autem habet Filius, ut sit Deus (est enim de Deo Deus), ab illo habet utiqiie, ut etiam de illo precedat Spiritus Sanctus, ac per hoc Spiritus Sanctus, ut etiam de Filio procedat, sicut procedit de Patre ab ipso habet Patre” (Tract 100).

         Hence we are not unprepared to find the Double Procession passing into the synodal articles of the Latin Church.

         Thus in the Third Council of Toledo, in Spain, 589, the Western doctrine was asserted by the addition of Filioque, without any record of a dissentient voice.

         At Heathfield, in 680, an English Synod, convened by Archbishop Theodore, and numerously attended, declared their belief in “the Holy Ghost proceeding in an inexpressible manner (inenarrabiliter) from the Father and the Son.”

         At the great (general?) Council, of Frankfort, 794, convened by Charlemagne, 300 bishops present, representatives of Italy, Spain, Britain, Germany, and Gaul, the Double Procession was once and again less or more emphatically stated.

         The Council of Frinli, 796, assembled by Paulinus of Aguileia, at once the most influential and probably most learned bishop of Europe, net only adopted the Filioque; but Paulinus defended the adoption at large in a vigorous letter to the king, which he sums up thus: “If, therefore, the Father is inseparably and substantially in the Son, and the Son in the Father, how can it be believed that the Holy Ghost, who is consubstantial with the Father and the Son, does not always proceed essentially and inseparably from the Father and the Son?”

         The famous Council of Aquis-Grani (now Aix-la-Chapelle), 816, held by the emperor, not only of course affirmed the Procession from the Son, but has a history of its own which is too frequently half told, if we are to be faithful historians.  It resulted in an embassy from the emperor to the Pope, Leo III, to obtain his authority in support of the doctrine.  Now it is only for the most part narrated that the Pope protested against the insertion of the Filioque in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Confession, and ordered that creed to be engraved on two silver shields – one in Greek, the ether in Latin – and fixed in the Basilica of St. Peter.  But it is not generally told that Leo admitted the truth of the doctrine in question, and strongly advised it to be inculcated.

         But half a century passed away, and the equivocal tables of Leo were forgotten.  Pope Nicholas I inserted the Filioque in the Roman Creed; and under Benedict VIII, in the eleventh century, it was sung in the Mass Service at Rome.

         Thus we see how the conception of the Third Person in the Trinity advanced in the Church from the feeble embryo of Hilary – “exists”; and from the vague formula of the Nicene Creed – “And in the Holy Ghost,” to the more definite Niceno-Constantinopolitan dogma – “The Lord and the Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets;” and on in the whole Western Church to the Double Procession – “From the Father and the Son”.

         We need not trace at any length the battle of the Filioque.  Suffice it to say that the first stage in the conflict probably proceeded front personal “animosity between two bishops of the fifth century – Cyril of Alexandria, and Theodoret of Cyrus: the former having anathematized those who denied the Holy Ghost to be ίδιον το Πνευμα του Χριστου (“own Spirit of Christ”); and the latter retaliating that if Cyril meant that the Spirit derived His being either from or through the Son, the saying was blasphemous and profane.  Slumbering for a time, we find the clause brought out into relief in the eighth century, when Leo the Isaurian and his son Constantine Copronymus punished the Roman pontiffs (Gregory II and III) for their image worship by loss of revenue and possessions.  And again, in the ninth century, the continued fight for territory between the Greek and Roman patriarchs, Photius and Nicholas, the Filioque was used as a pretext for the spoliation.  But it remained for Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, and Leo IX, Bishop of Rome, in the eleventh century, to carry the war of earthly ambition and temporal aggrandizement, begun under cover of zeal for the truth, to the bitter end – when, in 1054, these heads of the two great Churches of Christendom solemnly excommunicated each other – the Western his antagonist upon the altar of God, and the Eastern his inhuman foe in public council, each thus wickedly rending the Body of Christ.

         Can the schism be effectually healed?  And on which side of the Filioque controversy does the truth lie?

         We do not believe in compromise.  It is neither more nor less than a drawn battle which time and circumstances are almost sure to renew.  Of this we have a memorable instance in the Council of Florence, 1439, composed of Greeks and Latins, when this lamentable schism was relegated to the most distinguished individuals on both sides in order to reconcile their “two aspects of the same truth,” with the following result:

         “The Latins and Greeks, meeting in that holy ecumenical synod, diligently laboured mutually that the Article of the Procession of the Holy Ghost should be most diligently and carefully discussed.  Bringing forward testimonies from the Holy Scriptures, and very many authorities of doctors, both Eastern and Western, in some of which it was said that the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son, in others from the Father by the Son, two aspects of the same truth; the Greeks asserted that when they said the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father, they say it not to exclude the Son, but because as they say it seems to them that the Latins argue that the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son, as from two principles and by two operations; therefore they abstained from saying the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son.  But the Latins asserted that it was not with this mind that they said that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and the Son, to exclude the Father from being the Fount and Principle of all Deity – that is, of the Son and Holy Ghost; or this, that the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Son, the Son hath not of the Father; or that these are two principles or spirations.  They assert, as they have always asserted, that there is one principle and one spiration of the Holy Ghost.  When one and the same sense of the truth has thus been arrived at, they agreed in the following confession: That the Holy Ghost is eternally from the Father and the Son, and hath His essence and subsistent being from the Father and the Son together (simul et Filio), and eternally from Both, as from one principle and one spiration, proceedeth.  Declaring that what the holy doctors and fathers say, that the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father by the Son, leads to this understanding: that by it is signified that the Son also, according to the Greek, is a cause, according to the Latin, a principle of the substance of the Holy Spirit, as in the Father; and since all things which are of the Father, He gave to His only-begotten Son, in begetting, save paternity; this also that the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Son, the Son hath eternally from the Father, by whom from all eternity He is begotten.”

         The decree is of value.  It presents in the main the question between the Greek and the Latin.  It is an example of what bare argument can do to effect a reconciliation, and therefore at the same time an example of perhaps inevitable ambiguity.  Thus it affirms that the Son as well as the Father is the Cause and Origin of the Holy Ghost, and yet it professes not to exclude the Father from being the Fount and Principle of all Deity.”

         But, however, no sooner had the Greeks returned to Constantinople than they found means to reopen the sore and build again the wall of partition.

         Neither can we believe in the panacea here of the doctrine of double intention – that is, that when we Englishmen and Westerns recite the Nicene and the Athanasian Creed, or say the Litany, we are to use the word “proceeds” in the clause “the Holy Ghost, who proceedeth (or proceeding) from the Father and the Son,” in two senses: (1) In the sense of proceeding from the Father as a Fountain; and (2) in the sense of proceeding from the Son as from a stream from the Fountain: that we are to use “proceeds” in the first instance, as “issuing forth” from the Father as a stream from its source, or a first link in a chain from its origin; and that we are to use the same identical word “proceeds” in the second instance, by some strange process of mental and double attachment, in a much wider signification, not as a stream from its source, but as a successive link from a previous link.  In other words, that when we say, “I believe ill the Holy Ghost, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,” we are to conceive of the Holy Ghost as flowing out of God the Father, and yet not out of, but through, God the Son.  This doctrine, which we shall presently discuss, has, we regret to say, been lately advocated by the truly great and good Bishop Wordsworth, not only in a sermon preached in Lincoln Cathedral, but in the Upper House of Convocation.

         The question then recurs, On which side in the Filioque Controversy does the truth lie, or can the schism be effectually healed.

         Now the solution of this important and, so far at least as the interests of peace and unity are concerned, momentous question, depends, we think, altogether upon a calm, truthful, and correct view of the special development of the doctrine of the Triad in the Oriental Church.  Here confessedly theology was too speculative; and while it laboured to throw off the grosser forms of emanative Gnosticism and Sabellianism, yet could not rid itself entirely of the incubus of Subordination.  Nursed by Platonism in the Alexandrian school, and tutored by the religious metaphysics of Origen, we need not wonder that intellectualism rather than the realism of faith marked the Greek mind; that the main strain was to define as axiomatically clear what, after all, eternity must leave infinitely undefinable, the Essence of the Godhead, rather than to embrace what is revealed – the work and the history of Redemption.  Hence the labour and the zeal about one efficient cause (μία αρχή) and Fountain of Deity (πηγη θεοτήτος) in the Father; and hence the ingenuity to explain, or fence – since the Son is consubstantial with the Father – the Issuing Forth (εκπόρευσις) or Procession of the Holy Ghost from that sole Fountain of the Father as a simple, and not a compound, act of production.

         Now, in the first place, we submit that the Scripture knows nothing of these philosophical distinctions, or epithets of man’s ingenuity.  They are simply remnants of Gnostic speculation, worked out into finer and more specious threads, plain elements of the subordination theory, only removed, or aimed to be removed, from its temporal and sensuous anthropopathic representations.

         The chief Scripture upon which they affect to stand, so far as they relate to the main question before us, the Procession of the Holy Spirit, are the two passages already quoted, “The Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father,” and “He shall receive of mine.”

         Let us take the passages in their entirety:

         First.  “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).  Now, we think it is clear that two radically different things are here spoken of:  (1) The Dispensation of the Spirit, or His Official Procession – “the Comforter, whom I will send unto you from the Father, he shall testify of me.”  A future Procession from the Father and glorified Son, to be the Paraclete, and to testify of Christ and of God.  And (2) the Essential Procession of the Spirit – “which proceedeth from the Father.”  Here we have the verb εκπορεύεται, “proceedeth,” as an indefinite present, regard being had to the act (of the communication of the Divine essence) itself, rather than to the time – the Eternal Now of the Procession of the Holy Ghost.  Otherwise “proceedeth from the Father” will be official also, and we shall lose the main Scripture for the ontological Procession, as Alford, following Luthardt, seems inclined to do.  But if official, is it not a tautological Procession, devoid of force, coming immediately as it does after “whom I will send unto you from the Father”?

         Second.  “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come ... be shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you” (John 16:13–14).  Here manifestly the Procession is not ontologically at all, but strictly and only economically; and yet this is the key and the stronghold of the Greek position and controversy.  “He shall receive of mine” is, without doubt, expressly and officially, that “he shall show it unto you.”  Otherwise, and if Essential Procession were at all meant, as the Eastern Church so emphatically would have us believe, it could only be that the Holy Ghost had not yet received, but was about to receive – in the Greek phraseology – His mediate Essence through the Son.  In other words, that His Godhead was not yet complete!

         Let us add the complemental verse: “All things that the Father hath are mine therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, And shall show it unto you” (John 16:15).  Here we have a Trinity in Unity, and at the same time, and as an outcome of it, the Official Work of the Holy Ghost.  “All things that the Father hath are mine” – the Son is Homoousian with the Father; and by plain inference the Spirit with the Father and the Son, for as a consequent of that oneness of Godhead, He officially “takes” of the things of Christ and shows them, just as Christ, through the same oneness, had officially taken of the things of the Father and revealed Him.

         Demonstrably, therefore, the “shall receive (λήψεται) of chap. 16:14 can only refer to the then impending and official mission of the Holy Ghost; and the “receiveth” or taketh (λαμβάνει) – not as our English Version following Elz., “shall take”), of verse 15, to the continuation (so far here indefinite) of that Mission and Testimony.  And demonstrably also, since “all things that the Father hath are the Son’s,” the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father, of chap. 15:20, must be the Procession also from the Son.  But here Revelation closes.  All beyond is vainly wise.

         Hence we are not called upon to explain, If the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is consubstantial with them both, does He not therefore proceed from Himself further, perhaps, than we may say, that the very same argument would apply to His Procession from the Father alone, and would equally affect the Eternal Generation of the Son.  Neither are we called upon to explain whether the Procession is a simple or compound act of production, with numberless like fruitless if not impious questionings.  Here and along such lines is just where philosophy has shown its weakness, and without gaining a single atom of strength or of light, has enfeebled for a decade and a half of centuries, and darkened by its counsels, the Church of the living God.  The revelations of the Bible were never meant to feed the futile theories and morbid cravings of the human mind, but are at once above as well as beyond philosophy.  And the great duty of the Christian is to bring up his faith simply to the level of God’s revelations, as it is his greatest folly to try to bring down those revelations to the level of his finite understanding.

         Again, the doctrine of double intention, – an adaptation of the teaching of time Greeks to explain away, and avowedly so, the obvious sense of our Creeds and Litany, – leads at once – to say nothing of its whole un-English aspect and bearing – into some of the most dangerous pitfalls of subordinationism.  In proof, we have only to quote Bishop Wordsworth in his argument to induce us to attach to the word “proceeds” the restricted sense on the one hand, as he will have it, of the Greek εκπορεύομαι, to issue forth, and “the much larger signification,” on the other hand, of the Latin word procedo, to proceed.  He says: –

         “Let us illustrate this statement by reference to the case of an epistle – St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.  That Epistle issued forth from the mind of the Apostle St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Ghost.  It issued forth from that source, and from that source alone.  But it proceeded not only from the mind of St. Paul, who dictated it, but from the pen of Tertius, who ‘wrote the Epistle’ at St. Paul’s dictation (Rom. 16:22), and it also proceeded to the Romans from the hand of Phoebe, the servant of the Church at Cenchreae,’ who was commissioned by St. Paul to deliver it to the Church at Rome (Rom. 16:1).

         “So, again, in a chain it is the first link alone which issues forth from its origin; but any successive link in the chain may be said to proceed from the previous links in the series” [“Dr. Johnson defines the word proceed as meaning ‘to pass from one person or place to another’” (Bishop’s Note).] (Sermon on the Procession of the Holy Spirit preached in Lincoln Cathedral on Whitsunday, 1872, by the Bishop of Lincoln: Rivingtons).

         Now we think it is difficult, if not indeed altogether impossible, honestly and legitimately to apply this mode of reasoning and illustration to the great doctrine before us, without arriving at the conclusion, if not that the Second Person in the Trinity is inferior to the First, yet that the Third is inferior to the other Two.  And it is just such human analogies, as St. Paul, Tertius, and Phebe, or the first and successive links in a chain, that show the vanity of all men’s philosophy, to explain what God has not explained – to reveal to our finite understandings the infinite depths of the Essence of the Godhead.

         Nor is Bishop Wordsworth unhappily altogether consistent with himself.  For on the very same page where he states that the Greek Fathers taught the procession of the Spirit through the Son (δια του υίου), but not from or out of the Son (εκ του υίου), he quotes Cyril of Alexandria as speaking of the Holy Spirit εκ της ουσίας του πατρος και του υιου (“from or out of the Essence of the Father and the Son”).  The fact is, the Greek mind, like all other minds, if it retained its orthodoxy of a Divine Trinity, was sure at times philosophically to stumble at the stumbling stone of the Procession.

         We do not care to comment on these passages in his sermon where the good Bishop expressly speaks of “God the Father being the only original Fountain of Deity,” and “God the Son being mediately and derivatively a fountain of the Holy Spirit.”  But we rather turn to the more truthful – yet how different? – language of the Bishop’s Greek Testament (6th ed. 1868) on John 15:26, το Πνευμα της αληθείας, ο παρα του Πατρος εκπορεύεται. –

         “The Spirit of truth who proceedeth from the Father.  Someone may inquire whether the Spirit proceeds also [The italics throughout are the Bishop’s.] from the Son?  The Son is the Son of the Father, and the Father is the Father of the Son alone.  But the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of both Father and Son.  Hence our Lord says, ‘It is the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you’ (Matt. 10:20); and yet the Apostle says (Gal. 4:6) God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts.’  And if the Spirit did not proceed from the Son, Christ would not have breathed on His Apostles and said, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost’ (John 20:22).  Why then did He say, ‘The Spirit of Truth that proceedeth from the Father?’  Because He ascribes what is His own to the Father, from whom He, the Son, Himself is; as when He says, ‘My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me’ (John 7:16).

         “The Son is of the Father alone; but the Holy Spirit is of the Father and the Son.”

         In summing up then our argument, while we have no desire to endorse all that the Western Church and Fathers have written – or been led to write, either on the relations of the Trinity, or on the particular subject of the Procession of the Holy Ghost, yet we are free to confess that their symbol of that Procession has the clear balance of scriptural truth on its side; as it is, unquestionably, more in accordance with the great and cardinal doctrine of the Trinity in Unity.  For, the question once opened, and et Filis, “from the Son,” is but the consistent and natural complement of a Patre, “from the Father”; if the Son is consubstantial with the Father.

         And to our mind, the healing of the schism between the East and the un-Romanized West, can only be effected – not by hollow or ambiguous compromise, as at the Council of Florence, nor by the wresting of words from their historical, plain, and obvious meaning, as the Bishop of Lincoln so unhappily suggests, but by the cessation on both sides of merely philosophical speculation in matters of faith, and by a devoted attachment to the central point of Christianity – the redemption of a lost world by the Saviour.  Let each Church, for the present at least, retain its own dogmatic assertion of the Procession – in the text thereof, and the legitimate exegesis of Scripture, as against the bewildering and unsatisfactory margin and exegesis of wisdom above that which written; but let them both unite, forgetting the animosities of the past, on the broad ground of a free and open Bible, and a common salvation, to extend the kingdom of the Redeemer on earth.  And this united front of consecration to God will gather round it strength from within and without – bringing down a fresh Pentecostal blessing of “tongues of fire sitting upon each of them,” to purify the incense of their own worship, and to evangelize the world.  And will at the same time be at once both the only safe and lasting Irenicon of the churches that have not “denied the faith,” and the best practical protest against the apostate and pseudo-Catholic Church of Rome.


2.  The Office of the Holy Ghost.

Against Pelagians and Socinians.

         (1.)  A Present Work.

         While we are to believe that the Holy Spirit hath ever taken part in the work of human redemption, “striving with man” (Gen. 6:3), and “holy men of old speaking as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21), yet we are to remember that ever since the departure of our risen Lord, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity hath been specially and officially present on this earth, in the fullness of His power, revealing and applying that redemption.  In other words, that over and besides His universal presence as God, we are living in the era of His special mission and veritable presence in our world – the Pentecostal Theocracy of the Holy Ghost.

         “That he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16).

         Looking back along the whole line of the history of the Christian Church since the days of the apostles and their immediate successors, this is a truth which seems strangely, if not indeed almost unaccountably to have been widely forgotten, or at best only confusedly remembered.  Not but that the Church in some measure at least has formally embodied it in her creeds and confessions, and expanded it in her theology; and individual souls once and again have been impressed with the bliss of its reality.  Yet still the broad fact remains, that Christians are not, and have not been, alive to the Spirit’s Actual Presence on Earth.

         Could we bring the Churches and Christians in general to the full recognition and sense of this solemn yet glorious truth, what might not be the glorious results!  Surely strife and contention, and the wars of brothers, would cease.  For who could fight in the presence of God?  Surely we should soon cover the earth with the knowledge of the Lord.  For who would not go forth into the wastes of sin, at home and abroad, a missionary at the side of God?  With what glad and holy purposes and results would the Eastern Church and the Western Church embrace each other to join in this Procession of the Holy Ghost!

         It may be we have forgotten the Holy Spirit, because of the withdrawal of His manifest and miraculous gifts.  Or perhaps rather it is that Satan, true to his character of Deceiver, has imitated the work and the power of God the Holy Ghost, and blinded man by a counterfeit – the power of human reason.  Thus infidel “reason” was the weapon with which the devil carried the Fall – ”Yea, hath God said?”  And as we have seen in the former section, “vain philosophy” soon marred the fair face of Christendom.  And, as we have often painfully felt, the pride of human reason it is today, which not only feeds the antagonisms of the faith, but to which we often virtually trust as our talisman for progress.  Look practically at the case as it stands: we have Universities for science, and Colleges for theology, multiplied and multiplying in every land; but we have not a School of the Prophets for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost in all the world.

         Need we wonder that “the fruit of the Spirit” is not so abundant – “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance?” (Gal. 5:22–23).

         (2.)  A Work in the “World” – κόσμος.  The unconverted world.  (See John 16:8–11.)

         (a) To “reprove” it – ελέγχειν τον κόσμον.  To convince and convict the world.  The Punitive Office of the Holy Ghost.

         This έλεγχος of the world consists not only in the reputation of the sinner, but in bringing home to his conscience the conviction of wrong.  It is punitive, inasmuch as it entails the sense of guilt; but it has a merciful side – to redeem the world.

         And this έλεγχος extends even to the heathen world.  Hence in Romans 2:15 we read: “Their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.”  In other words, the law of God is written by the Spirit less or more plainly on the heart of man, as the conscience of every nation under heaven testifies.

         Cui bono?  Who has benefited?  The answer is twofold.  The Gentile world itself has benefited.  Its conscience has contributed its ethics, whether written or oral; and its ethics has been its life.  And Christianity has benefited.  For the conscience of the heathen world has been the first foothold of the Gospel.

         (b) To “reprove it of sin” – αμαρτία.  The missing of the true end of life – the knowledge of God.  But especially does the Spirit “reprove” the gospel world of unbelief: convincing unto Life those who hear; and convicting unto Death those who neglect and despise His message.

         “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.  But he that believeth not is condemned already, because be hath not believed (μη πεπίστευχεν – deliberately chosen not to believe) in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (See John 3:36 and 18.)

         And thus the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost, “filled” the apostles with His power, and Peter stood up with the eleven, and testified of a risen Saviour, declaring salvation in His name.  “And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2).  But when the proto-martyr Stephen, “full” also of the Holy Ghost, testified of the same Saviour, “standing on the right hand of God,” his murderers “stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord” (Acts 7).

         Here we have a marked instance of the έλεγχος of the Spirit – and as it ever goes on – proving “to the one the savour of life unto life, and to the other the savour of death unto death” (2 Cor. 2:16).

         (c) To “reprove it of righteousness” – δικαιοσμνη.

         Whose “righteousness”?  First, the world’s own, demonstrating that it is but “filthy ways”.  Second, Christ’s “righteousness” – His to-God, in-God, and for-God love; the value and acceptance of which was proved by the fact of his ascension and reception into glory – “because I go to the Father.”  Third, the saint’s “righteousness” through faith in Christ – “because ye see me no more.”

         (d) To “reprove it of judgment” – κρίσις.

         At once the world’s “judgment” and God’s – “because the Prince of this world, is judged.”  The estimate which the world forms under subjection to and the bondage of the devil is at once and clearly refuted by the very fact that its “Prince” himself is cast out and condemned.  And so the polemical έλεγχος of the Spirit, as it reveals the condemnation and devices of Satan, ever points to the progressive judgment of God, in its summation for the final phrase of the Judgment to Come.

         (3.)  A Work in the Church.

         No greater proof could well be wanted or given of the presence of the Lord the Spirit on earth, than the Church of the living God presents.

         It is the Church of God Christ “purchased with His own blood,” of which as a flock the Holy Ghost taketh charge, and over which He setteth “overseers” (Acts 20:28).

         Let us examine its polity, or Theocratic Regime (1 Cor. 12:13).

         First of all its members confess “that Jesus is the Lord, by the Holy Ghost.”  Here the first step towards visible churchmanship confession – illustrates the first step of initiation into the invisible Church, or covenant relationship with Jehovah Jesus – “that Jesus is the Lord.”  Christ is thus made the great Foundation Stone – “The spirit of truth shall glorify me” (John 16:14).

         Then by this “one Spirit are we all baptized into one body; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”  Here again the outward rite of baptism typifies the inward washing and watering (εποτίσθημεν), or enlightenment (εφωτίσθημεν) – the gracious and abiding influence of the Spirit.  Alford’s comment that the aorist of the Greek verb (denoting a fact gone by) is fatal to this interpretation, is singularly weak; for it is a self-evident and recognized canon of sound criticism that typical language must not be interpreted in minuteness of detail.  Baptism is once, and indeed so is the seal of the Spirit; but the influence of that seal is “unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).

         Next we have the “Manifestation of the Spirit” – His modus operandi:

         “Diversities of Gifts, but the same Spirit” – varieties of Endowments in the members, but bestowed or consecrated by the Holy Ghost.

         “Differences of Administrations, but the same Lord” – varieties of Ministries, or channels of the gifts, ordained by Christ, the Founder of the Church, when on earth – “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19), and so perpetuated in His name.

         “Diversities of Operations, but it is the same God, which worketh all in all.”  If we read this 6th verse of 1 Cor. 12, with verse 11 of the same chapter, “But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit,” and with the “Lord,” or Christ of the “Administrations” of verse 5, we have clearly a Trinity “working” in Unity.  The Father, the Divine Architect of the Church, the Son the Ordainer of its varied Ministries, and the Holy Ghost the Builder of this Temple of God.

         “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1–2).

         Then we have the detail –

         “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom” – whether of the intellect or the heart, “sanctified in Christ Jesus.”

         “To another the word of knowledge” – to discern what is the truth of God.

         “To another faith” – in its varied practical workings energized by love.

         And all these are “through” (δία – as to their medium) “according to” (κατά – as to their disposal), and “in” (εν – as their element, life, and power) “that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”

         Finally, passing over the temporary miraculous dispensation of the Spirit in the early Church, we come to the ever-abiding graces – implanted here, and bringing forth fruit, some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundredfold, but to bloom with ever-increased and perpetual vigour in the Church triumphant: “Faith, Hope, Charity.”  Trust, with its outcome of confident Expectation of Good, and, as the root of all, Eternal Love.

         And this Theocracy immeasurably surpasses the former, or Jewish theocracy.

         (a) As to the grasp and nature of its Revelations.  The Jewish was imperfect, and its “law a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” (Gal. 3:24).  The Christian is the revelation of “all truth,” that its subjects “might receive the adoption of sons “ (Gal. 4:5).

         Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).  Not all knowledge, not infallibility, but “all truth” adapted to human need and conception, as necessary to salvation.  This promise was graciously fulfilled to the Apostles, in the inspiration of them by the Holy Ghost to unfold the doctrine and law of the Church, but like all God’s gracious promises, it has an ever-widening, undying circle.  And therefore thus, and thus alone, can we account for the great truths of the Gospel being preserved in the Church, notwithstanding man’s sin and the world’s opposition.

         (b) As to its Duration – Forever.

         “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29).  “And I will pray the Father, and be shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:16–17).  This promise is parallel with, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20).  After which end, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory” (John 17:24).  The Theocracy of the Spirit is the result of the ever-present Emmanuel; and the abiding Presence of our God-Man Elder Brother is the result of the good will of the Father: and this Triune God and Economy remains to all eternity.

         “Another Comforter “ – Παράκλητος.  Here, in this one word, we have all the manifold gifts and offices of the Spirit comprised.  As Bishop Wordsworth beautifully narrates them: “Sanctifier, Teacher, Comforter, Exhorter, Remembrancer, Inspirer, Enlightener, Counsellor, Guide, Helper, and Advocate of the Church.”  Or, as they may be reduced to two classes – Comforter and Intercessor.  And these again to one – the Giver of Life.  The Eternal Function of the Eternal Spirit.

         (4.)  A Work in the Individual Soul.

         Here the lines of the Spirit’s Work in the Church are in many cases parallel.  But an example gives us better the detail.

         (a) To “sanctify” means to make sanctus or holy – separate from sin, and sharing in the purity of God.  And for this reason the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity is called in Scripture the Holy Spirit – not but that the other Persons of the Trinity are also Holy Spirits, but because the special office of the Third Person is to impart holiness or transfuse spiritual life into the souls of men.

         “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 16:11).  “Because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13).

         (b) Sanctification, then, or the working of the Spirit in the human soul, is a creation afresh, after the image of God.  It is not, like justification, something done for us (propter – on our account), but something done in us.  It is not therefore a work of merit in any way on our part or “on our account” before God, but a work altogether of grace.  And this is a point which should be carefully kept in mind to guard, on the one hand, against the Scholastic and Romish doctrine of merit de condigno, and, on the other hand, against the widely spread practical error of confounding justification and sanctification.

         The Romish doctrine of condignity, though the Tridentine divines avoided the term, stands thus:

         “Whosoever shall say that the good works of a justified man are in such a sense the gifts of God that they are not good merits of the justified man himself, or that a justified man by good works which are done by him through the grace of God, and the merits of Jesus Christ, of whom he is a living member, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the actual attainment of eternal life; if he die in grace, together with increase of glory, let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Session 6, Canon 32).

         This at once flatly contradicts the force of our Saviour’s own words: “When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants” (Luke 17:10).

         And the practical error of confounding justification and sanctification is that the Christian fails to feel the blessedness of, and consequently to live up to his true position before God – that of a “purged worshipper” (Heb. 10:2), and son and heir with Christ.  And therefore, instead of living in the atmosphere of perfect acceptance before God, even as God’s own eternal and well-beloved Son, and intimate communion with God, he is overwhelmed with a sense of guilt – guilt which was utterly taken away on justification, or the day of his closing in with the offer of the Gospel; and this sense of guilt prevents him going forth and doing service unto the Lord.

         Save sheer infidelity itself, we know of no more effective weapon of the armory of Satan – retailed and burnished, alas! as it is in too many pulpits – to eat out and destroy the life of Christendom, than this negation of the birthright of the child of God.  As on the other hand, we know of no greater incentive to further and higher holiness and to increased good works, than to know and to feel that we are the accepted sons and daughters of the Holy and Almighty Lord God.

         “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13).  “Created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph. 2:10).

         “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all blessing of the Spirit (πνευματικός – not merely as the English version ‘spiritual,’ but the actual working of the Spirit) in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).  Here is an epitome of the whole of Salvation – of the “new heavens and the new earth,” of the creation of the Holy Ghost.  God the Father blessing “according to the good pleasure of his will.”  God the Spirit working the ευλογία – all the blessings of His gracious influences.  God the Son the connecting Personal God-Man link between us and the Godhead.  And Heaven, the state to which we belong, and our final home.

         “Where is boasting then” on the part of man?

         Yet still, blessed be God, “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. ... For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. ... And if children, then heirs – heirs of God, mid joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:1–2, 15–16).  “As he (the Eternal Son) is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).

         (c) Justification, or the righteousness of Christ imputed to the sinner, and in the order of nature preceding sanctification, alone gives a title, as such, to heaven; whereas sanctification, being the righteousness of a sinful creature, and imperfect in degree, though inwrought by the aid and grace of the Spirit, is powerless, and indeed not needed, to give a (second) title to heaven, but is only meant and needed to give a meetness for heaven – the plain and natural proof and evidence of our sonship.  The former respects the whole person, the latter affects the whole man – “spirit, soul, and body” (1 Thess. 5:23).  The one is God’s love to us, the other is our love to God.  “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).  The one is a judicial act complete at once, freeing the soul from the law as a covenant of works; the other is a spiritual change, enabling the believer to “delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom. 7:22), gradual and progressive, yet never here completed –  “a light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18).  The one, in the Economy of Redemption, is the act of the Father, on the basis of the righteousness of his Son; the other is the work of the Spirit, “renewing” the whole man – the powers of the soul and the members of the body – “after the image of him that created him” (Col. 3:10).  [For the Scriptural proof, and full consideration of Justification, see under Art. XI.]

         As Hooker well says: “Now, concerning the righteousness of sanctification, we deny it not to be inherent: we grant that, unless we work, we have it not: only we distinguish it as a thing different in nature from the righteousness of justification: we are righteous the one way, by the faith of Abraham: the other way, except we do the works of Abraham, we are not righteous.  Of the one, St. Paul: ‘To him that worketh not, but believeth, faith is counted for righteousness’ (Rom. 4:5).  Of the other, St. John: ‘He is righteous which worketh righteousness.’  Of the one St. Paul doth prove, by Abraham’s example, that we have it of faith without works.  Of the other, St. James, by Abraham’s example, that by works we have it, and not only by faith.  St. Paul doth plainly sever these two parts of Christian righteousness one from the other.  For in the sixth to the Romans thus he writeth: ‘Being freed from sin, and made servants to God, ye have your fruit in holiness, and the end everlasting life.’  Ye are made free from sin, and made servants unto God: this is the righteousness of justification.  Ye have your fruit in holiness: this is the righteousness of sanctification.  By the one we are interested in the right of inheriting; by the other we are brought to the actual possession of eternal bliss.  And so the end of both is everlasting life” (Discourse on Justification).

         (d) Finally, sanctification is the Holy Ghost’s new creation of the invisible Church on earth – the restoration of the soul, through the varied means of ordinances, providences, and intercommunion, to the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, by uniting us by faith to Christ, “till we all come unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” in the church triumphant.

         “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:11).  Here the whole life of the redeemed, from their quickening from spiritual death, even unto their new and glorious resurrection bodies, is covered by the agency of the Πνευμα ξωοποιουν – the Life-Giving Spirit.  And in all this we are directly reminded of our everliving and mystic Head – “Christ.”  The One Spirit who dwelleth in all his members, raising them up in and with Him.

         And this agency of the Spirit “helpeth our infirmities.”  For example, in the chief ordinance of prayer.  “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26).  And extends into the detail of all circumstances and events that can possibly befall us.  For “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (verse 28).

         And thus being “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:2), we enjoy the “fellowship of the Spirit” (Phil. 2:1), and “put on the new man, which after God is created in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24, Col. 3:10).

         All which blessings are summed up in the Apostolic Benediction:

         “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.  Amen” (2 Cor. 13:14).


Article  VI.

History and Doctrine, With Patristic and Scriptural Proof.

         Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for salvation. – Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an Article of the Faith, or be thought requisite necessary to salvation.

         In the name of Holy Scripture we do understand those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

Of the names and number of the Canonical Books.

Genesis.  Exodus.  Leviticus.  Numbers.  Deuteronomy.  Joshua.  Judges.  Ruth.  The First Book of Samuel.  The Second Book of Samuel.  The First Book of Kings.  The Second Book of Kings.  The First Book of Chronicles.  The Second Book of Chronicles.  The First Book of Esdras.  The Second Book of Esdras.  The Book of Esther.  The Book of Job.  The Psalms.  The Proverbs.  Ecclesiastes, or Preacher.  Canticles, or Songs of Solomon.  Four Prophets the Greater.  Twelve Prophets the Less.

         And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.  Such are these following:

         The Third Book of Esdras.  The Fourth Book of Esdras.  The Book of Tobias.  The Book of Judith.  Rest of the Book of Esther.  The Book of Wisdom.  Jesus the Son of Sirach.  Baruch the Prophet.  The Song of the Three Children.  The Story of Susanna.  Of Bel and the Dragon.  The Prayer of Manasses.  The First Book of Maccabees.  The Second Book of Maccabees.

         All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.


            De Divinis Scripturis; quod sufficient ad salutem. – Scriptura sacra continet omnia, quae ad salutem sunt necessaria, ita ut quicquid in ea probari potest, non sit a quoquam exigendum, ut tanquam Articulus Fidei credatur, aut ad salutis necessitatem requiri patetur.

            Sacrae Scripturae nomine, eos Canonicos libros Veteris et Novi Testamenti intelligimus, de quorum auctoritate, in Ecclesia nunquam dubilatum est.

De nominibus et Numero librorum sacrae Canonical Scripturae Veteris Testamenti.

Genesis.  Exodus.  Leviticus.  Numeri.  Deuteronomium.  Josuae.  Judicum.  Ruth.  Prior Liber Samuelis.  Secundus Liber Samuelis.  Prior Liber Regum.  Secundus Liber Regum.  Prior Liber Paralipomenon.  Secundus Liber Paralipomenon.  Primus Liber Esdrae.  Secundus Liber Esdrae.  Liber Hester.  Liber Job.  Psalmi.  Proverbia.  Ecclesiastes vel Concionator. Cantica Solomonis.  IV. Prophetae Majores.  XII. Prophetae Minores.

            Alios autem libros (ut ait Hieronymus) legit quidem Ecclesia, ad exempla vitae, et formandos mores; illos tamen ed dogmata confirmanda non adhibet – ut sunt;

            Tertius Liber Esdrae.  Quartus Liber Esdrae.  Liber Tobiae.  Liber Judith.  Reliquum Libri Hester.  Liber Sapientiae.  Liber Jesu filii Sirach.  Baruch Propheta.  Canticum trium Puerorum.  Historia Susannae.  De Bel et Dracone.  Oratio Manassis.  Prior Liber Machabeorum.  Secundus Liber Machabeorum.

            Novi Testamenti omnes libros, ut vulgo recepti sunt, recipimus, et habemus pro Canonicis.


         We here pass from the Catholic dogma of the Church to her polemical and Protestant teaching.  In other words, while the preceding five articles cover the battleground of earlier Christianity, we are here brought, in this Sixth Article, into direct antagonism with the Church of Rome, and which appears less or more in sharpened detail as we proceed.

         There is, therefore, no question about the true Protestant character of the Articles of the Church of England.  We cannot explain them away.  If the firm and decided wording of this Creed of the Church of England has any grammatical and historic meaning at all, Doctor Pusey and his school are simply dishonest and trifling when they attempt to read Romanism between the lines.  There the Articles stand, unmistakably Protestant, either to be condemned and rejected, or proved by Holy Scripture and maintained.

         And it is well in the present day that we should he alive to all this.  If Popery be a development of the truth of God, why then let us by all means heartily embrace it.  But we must cease to be English Churchmen.  So long as our Articles remain in the front, or form any part of the formularies of the Church of England, the plain issue is the Bible and Protestantism against Tradition and the Papacy – the Queen of this Realm of England versus the Bishop of Rome.  We are not for the moment here arguing this issue – that will be abundantly brought before us in the sequel.  We are simply pointing to the two hostile camps – to say, no honest man can profess to belong to the one and hold parley with the other.

         Of course, if stratagem is lawful in religion there is at once a plea for eating the bread of the Church and undoing the work of the Reformation.  But surely intrigue is as far from the spirit of the New Testament as it should be repugnant to the nature of an Englishman.  If the triumph of our Christ is only to be won by Jesuitism, the sooner we cease to be Christians the better.

         But the Church of England is first Catholic, then Protestant, which accounts for this Sixth Article, defining the Rule of Faith, having its place here, and not as in the Helvetic Confession, and the Irish Articles of 1615, at the outset.  The latter clearly is the more natural place, as the basis of all religious truth is the Word of God.  But the present order has this advantage, that it links us, in the very threshold of our Confession, to primitive and Catholic Christianity; and then proceeds, as by an historical protest, to pronounce against the great breach of Catholic faith and unity by the Church of Rome.



         Three Subjects. – 1. The Sufficiency of Holy Scripture for Salvation.  2. The Canon of Scripture.  3. The Apocrypha.


1.  The Sufficiency of Holy Scripture for Salvation.

         Against Romanists and the Illuminati.

         (1.)  What the Church of England teaches.

         “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an Article of the Faith, or be thought requisite necessary to salvation” (Art. VI.).

         “Although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce anything to be believed for necessity of salvation” (Art. XX.).

         “Are you persuaded that the Holy Scriptures contain sufficiently all Doctrine required of necessity for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? ... I am so persuaded” (Ordering of Priests; and Consecration of Bishops).

         (2.)  What the Church of Rome teaches.

         “The most Holy Ecumenical and General Council of Trent, legitimately assembled in the Holy Ghost ... perceiving that the truth and discipline (as promulgated by Christ and his Apostles) are contained in the written books, and in the unwritten traditions, which having been received by the Apostles, at the mouth of Christ Himself, or at the dictation of the Holy Spirit, have come down to us, transmitted as it were by hand ... receives and venerates, with equal pious affection and reverence, all the books of the Old and New Testament, since one God is the Author of them both, and also the Traditions, whether pertaining to faith or morals, as having been dictated, either by the mouth of Christ Himself, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved continuous succession in the Catholic Church” (Council of Trent, Session IV, Can. 1, A.D. 1546).

         (3.)  To these direct and authoritative statements we may add the following as semi-authoritative or corroboratory.

         (a) Church of England:

         “Unto a Christian man there can be nothing either mere necessary or profitable than the knowledge of Holy Scripture; forasmuch as in it is contained God’s true Word, setting forth His glory, and also man’s duty.  And there is no truth nor doctrine necessary for our justification and everlasting salvation, but that is (or may be) drawn out of that fountain and well of truth ... Let us diligently search for the well of life [John 4:14] in the books of the Old and New Testament, and not run to this stinking puddles of men’s traditions (devised by man’s imagination) for our justification and salvation.  For, in Holy Scripture is fully contained what we ought to do, and what to eschew, what to believe, what to love, and what to look for at God’s hands at length” (Homily the First, Part First).

         “The Popes, in not hearing Christ’s voice as they ought to do, but preferring their own decrees before the express Word of God, do plainly argue to the world, that they are not of Christ, nor yet possessed with His Spirit ... It is not then the duty and part of any Christian, under pretense of the Holy Ghost, to bring in his own dreams and fancies into the Church: but he must diligently provide that his doctrine and decrees be agreeable to Christ’s holy Testament: otherwise, in making the Holy Ghost the author thereof, he doth blaspheme and belie the Holy Ghost, to his own condemnation” (Homily the Twenty-eighth, Part Second).

         “That the Holy Scriptures should be interpreted by their (the Fathers’) decisions, we do not allow.  For the Holy Scriptures ought to be to us both the rules and judges of all Christian doctrine.  Nay, moreover, the Fathers themselves refused to be so honoured, frequently admonishing the reader, that he should only admit their interpretations and determinations as far as he should see that they were agreeable to the Holy Scripture” (Reformatio Legum).

         “M.  Dost thou then affirm that all things necessary to godliness and salvation are contained in the written Word of God? – S.  Yea: for it were a point of intolerable ungodliness and madness to think, either that God had left an imperfect doctrine, or that men were able to make that perfect which God left imperfect” (Nowell’s Catechism).

         “We receive and embrace all the Canonical Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament; and we give our gracious God most hearty thanks, that He hath set up this light for us, which we ever fix our eyes upon, lest by human fraud or the snares of the devil we should be reduced to errors or fables ... They are the very might and power of God unto salvation; they are the foundations of the Apostles and Prophets, upon which the Church of God is built; they are the most certain and infallible rule by which the Church may be reduced if she happen to stagger, slip, or err by which all ecclesiastical doctrines ought to be tried” (Jewell’s Apology).

         “We are sure that what is so written and so transmitted is God’s word; whereas, concerning other things, which were not written, we have no certain records, no evident proof, no sufficient conviction, and therefore it is not capable of being owned as the Rule of Faith or Life, because we do not know it to be the Word of God” (Taylor’s Dissuasive).

         (b) Church of Rome.

         “The controversy between us and the heretics consists in two things.  The first is that we assert, that in Scripture is not expressly contained all necessary doctrine, whether of faith or morals; and therefore that, besides the written Word of God, there is also required the unwritten Word of God, that is Divine and Apostolical Traditions.  But they (the heretics) teach that all things necessary for faith and morals are contained in the Scriptures, and that therefore there is no need of any unwritten Word” Bellarmine, De Verbo Dei non Scripto).        (1.)  What Reason teaches.

         (a) Since “the world by wisdom knew not God,” if, therefore, and on that very account, God condescends to make a written Revelation of His will, that Revelation must, and only can, supply what, and all, that is needed to impart a saving knowledge of God.  Otherwise, that Revelation is not only imperfect, and so unworthy of God, but fails in limine and de facto in the very purpose for which it was given and intended.

         (b) If Scripture is incomplete, and Tradition incomplete, Salvation, or the Christian Faith, depends for its perfection upon two standards of acknowledged imperfection!

         (c) In the early ages of the world, the life of man extended over many hundreds of years so that not only were the grandchildren of Adam contemporary with Noah, but Methuselah lived with Adam 243 years, and with Noah 600 years.  Here then Tradition had a fair field.  It could not be lost.  It had only to travel, as it were, the family circle.  But yet Tradition failed even to save that family circle.  For we read that in the days of Noah – and 120 years we may observe before the death of Methuselah – “God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Gen. 6:22).  Shall Tradition be more powerful in the greatly altered, and infinitely more adverse circumstances of our race now?

         (d) Precisely analogous in principle to the oral and so-called divine traditions, claimed by the Church of Rome, as handed down from the days of the Apostles, were the oral traditions of the Jewish Church, also accounted divine, and handed down through the Great Synagogue, from the time of Ezra.  Both proceed upon the same avowed principle of the incompleteness of God’s Written word.  If the only effect of the Jewish traditions was to “make the Word of God of none effect,” is that not likely to be the precise effect of the Romish traditions?  Besides, if our Saviour had intended to supplant the Jewish traditions by Christian traditions, would He have condemned the former in terms which savour so very strongly of attacking the whole general principle of traditions?  “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders? ... Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men. ... Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition” (Mark 7:5, 7–8, 13).

         (e) Not only is it fair, but imperative to ask, Where are those Romish Traditions contained? where are they to be collected? or how developed and transmitted?  And when ascertained, where lies the authority to pronounce upon them to distinguish between the possible and very probable – yea, the actually acknowledged accretions and alloy of the lapse of centuries, and the pure virgin gold of the deposit of Christ and his Apostles?

         Now to the first of those questions – Where are these oral Traditions to be found? – Rome has no distinct, definite, or worthy answer.  It is trifling to tell us that her Traditions are floating about in the bosom of her own Church. That is an answer which would at once damage business credit in the world; and religious credit should be at least just as tender.  A floating capital of merchandise at sea, incapable of being reduced to any reliable figures, passes for very little in sound commerce.  True, it sometimes gains currency on Change; but in the long run only ends in disaster.

         Then as to their development and transmission.  Who is conscious of it?  Do they come en masse, and are they sensibly transmitted from popedom  to popedom?  Or do they lie as a dead and unknown treasure somewhere, to be drawn upon when exigency requires?  What, in all earnestness, do the words of the Tridentine Canon – “The unwritten traditions, which have come down to us, transmitted, as it were, by hand, and, preserved in continuous succession in the Catholic Church” – explicitly and historically mean?

         It is true we are told that there is an infallible authority vested in the Church of Rome, by which the truth or falsehood of Tradition may be tested; and an anathema is pronounced against those who dispute that authority.  But without here anticipating argument upon Papal Infallibility, may we not ask, Is not this begging the whole question?  The very claim, on the face of it, acknowledges, as we have said, the alloy of Romish Tradition.  But there is a higher point.  Does it look honest to claim a capital of Tradition and then, to enhance its value, set up a plea of Infallibility of the part of the owner, and anathematize all those who are unable and unwilling to endorse that plea and method of valuation?

         It is true also that when pressed, Romanists and Tractarians tell us the inspired communications delivered by Christ and his apostles over and beyond the Word written, and orally conveyed from generation to generation in the Church Catholic, i.e., in the succession of au Infallible Church, were ultimately enshrined in the tomes of the early Fathers.  But if so, this at once clearly stamps out the special claim of Home, or any other branch of the Catholic Church, to all manner and mode of tradition.  To oral tradition, for we are concerned no longer with a Revelation handed down by word of mouth, but a professed tangible record – a second New Testament, or Third Scripture.  And as obviously no longer with an additional New Testament belonging to Rome, but to the world.

         And even when we approach this venerable storehouse of Christian antiquity, what do we find?  Why, that the great bulk of its treasures have been swept away!  And not only so, but the Benedictine editors, themselves Romish, frankly acknowledge that Patristic Tradition has been largely adulterated and interpolated.  And as a proof at once of this their own confession, and against Papal Infallibility, we may mention that they have declared passages even in the Romish Breviary, calling the Virgin “the sinner’s only hope,” to be spurious, as “read under the name of Augustine!” (Tom. v. 323, App).

         Indeed, if the mass of matter in the writings of the Fathers – the conceded shrine be it remembered of Romish Tradition – which these candid and painstaking scholars have marked “Doubtful or Falsely Ascribed” – that is, vitiated or forged by the Roman Catholic Church – be so, what, in all fairness, becomes of her honesty? what, in all honesty of argument or common sense, becomes of her boasted Infallibility? where existed, or how exercised – “talking, or pursuing, or in a journey, or peradventure sleeping” – was that Infallible Authority claimed by the Church of Rome, by which the truth or falsehood of Tradition may be tested?  What becomes even of the canon of Vicentius – “Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus?”  Since we have only fragments of the Fathers, and if these have been mutilated, what portion of Tradition can we say was always? what are we sure was everywhere? and has the universal whole which Rome or Doctor Pusey would claim, the consent of all the known and unknown writings of all the Fathers?  We say “unknown,” for however absurd the factor, it is of vital importance to the Canon.  Never perhaps has argument been put forward, more vulnerable along the whole line, than this line of Romish Tradition.

         (f) But the fact is, Rome has but vague notions as to what she herself actually means by, and should include under, her “Divine add Apostolical Traditions”.  As the Fathers are accessible to the world, the Hearsay Doctrines of Priests must be added to the Fathers!  But Hearsay and the Fathers, and the Fathers and Hearsay – for such is reality Rome’s mode of argument in this slipping circle – is a Rule, not of any rational or well-informed Faith, but of Fantasy, at once absurd, impractical, inaccessible, yet viciously convenient.

         The Bible, including the Apocrypha; written traditions, comprising one hundred and thirty-five folio volumes of bulls of Popes, decretals, acts of councils, acts of saints, and time writings of the Greek and Latin Fathers for one thousand two hundred years, to be interpreted by some living infallible judge, who has not yet been definitely pointed out in the Church of Rome, and about whom four conflicting opinions obtain to this day among Romanists; and the unwritten traditions or hearsay doctrines among the Romish clergy” [Crompton’s Questions on the Thirty-nine Articles.] – this, assuredly, is more than a safe and tangible “standard and beam to try the weight of truth and falsehood”: the Word of God mixed up with the inventions of man and the devices of Satan.

         (g) The claim of Tradition therefore ceases, whether as a Rule of Faith or of Practice.  It cannot lead us to Christ.  That alone is the province of Holy Scripture.  Nor indeed is even any ceremony to be contended for, beyond certain limits, which is not directly probable or fairly deducible from the Revealed Word.  “The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible,” must be the Document of Appeal, and the sole Authoritative Teacher of Christians.  The right use of Tradition then is wholly subordinate – that of a witness to the truth.  Whenever and wherever it reflects the light of God’s Word Written, and just in proportion as it reflects that light, is it valuable.

         (h) And this as will have been less or more fully seen, is the plain and unmistakable doctrine of the Church of England throughout her standards.

         In the face of this Sixth Article, that “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation, so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an Article of the Faith” – it is simply unblushing perversion of plain language, on the part of Tractarians to say that while the Church may pronounce Scripture to be the Rule of Faith, yet she does not assert it to be the only Rule of Faith!

         Even the Three Creeds are only “to be received and believed,” because “they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.”

         Again, our Twenty-seventh Article declares that “the Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church.”  But why?  Because it is “most agreeable with the institution of Christ.”

         And the Church of England holds, in her Preface to the Ordination Service, “that from the Apostles’ time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church; Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.”  Why?  Primarily, because “it is evident unto all men diligently reading the Holy Scripture,” and secondarily and as confirmatory, “ancient authors”.

         Here, and here only, is the true place and legitimate province of Tradition and the Fathers.

         (5.)  What the Fathers themselves teach.

         Ignatius. – “The Gospel is the perfection of incorruptness.”

         Irenaeus. – “We know most assuredly that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, because they are dictated by the Word of God and His Spirit.”

         “And indeed we have received the economy our salvation by no other but by those by whom the Gospel came to us; which truly they then preached, but afterwards, by the will of God, delivered to us in the Scriptures, to be the pillar and ground of our faith.”

         “We following the one and sole true God as our teacher, and having His words for the Rule of Faith, say always the same things concerning the same subjects.”

         Clement of Alexandria – “We should not simply attend to the words of men, which it is lawful for us to gainsay.  But if it be not sufficient only to say what we think, but what is said ought to be confirmed, let us not wait for testimony from men, but let us confirm what is questioned by the voice of God, which is more certain than all demonstrations, or rather is itself the only demonstration.”

         “Perfectly demonstrating out of the Scriptures themselves, concerning themselves, we speak or persuade demonstratively of the faith.  Although even they that go after heresies, do dare to use the Scriptures of the Prophets.  But first they use not all, neither them that are perfect, nor as the whole body and contexture of the prophecy does dictate; but choosing out those things which are spoken ambiguously, they draw them to their own opinion.”

         Tertullian – “Let the shop of Hermogenes [who held that matter was coeternal with God] show that it is written.  If it is not written, let him fear the woe destined for those who add to or take from (the Word of God).”

         But it is not lawful for us to bring in anything of our own will, nor to choose anything that other men bring in of their own will.  We have the Apostles for our authors, who neither themselves chose to bring in anything of their own will; but the discipline (‘disciplinam,’ here = ‘doctrine,’ Hooker),which they received of Christ, they delivered faithfully unto the people.”

         “But they (the heretics) will believe without the Scriptures, so that they may believe against the Scriptures.”

         “Wherever a diversity in the doctrine is found, there it must be concluded that the Scriptures, and the expositions of Scripture, have been corrupted.  They who purposed to teach otherwise, must needs have made another disposition of those instruments whence the doctrine is to be derived.  For they could not else teach any other doctrine, unless they had wherewithal to teach otherwise.  As the corruption of the doctrine could not succeed with them without the corruption of the instruments of proof; so with us also, the integrity of our doctrine could not be ascertained, without the integrity of those things by means of which the doctrine is arrived at.  For what have we that is contrary to our Scriptures? what have we inserted of our own, so that we should remedy, by taking away, or adding, or changing anything that can be discovered in it contrary to the Scriptures?  What we are, that the Scriptures are from the first.  We are from them, before there was anything otherwise than we are.”

         Notwithstanding these definite statements as to Scripture being the ultimate and only authoritative document of appeal, Romanists claim Tertullian especially as favouring their doctrine of Traditions; and accordingly glean from his writings passages which at first sight, but only by a very cursory reader, might seem to be on their side.

         Thus in his book De Corona Militis, he says: “If you demand a law taken from the Scriptures for these and other matters of discipline of the same sort, you will find none; we must answer, tradition has established it, custom has confirmed it, and faith has caused it to be observed.”  And again: “Even in civil affairs custom is admitted as a law, where the law fails” (Ibid.).

         But it must be borne in mind that our argument here with Rome is not about “customs” of ritual and “matters of discipline,” but about Doctrine, as sanctioned by Tradition: things just as widely apart, as that which may be convenient is from that which is vital.  And the argument of Tertullian in these and like passages does not exceed the argument of our own Thirty-fourth Article.  Indeed it is fairly open to question whether even he goes so far: –

         “If no Scripture has determined this observance, custom certainly has confirmed it, as having, without doubt, emanated from tradition.  For how can any practice be observed, if it has not been first handed down?  But you say, a written authority must be required to support a tradition.  Let us ask, therefore, whether a tradition which is not written ought to be received.  We must altogether deny that it is to be received, unless we can adduce examples of other observances, which without the sanction of any Scripture, on the ground of tradition alone, we vindicate on the authority of custom.”

         Hippolytus – There is one God, whom, my brethren, we do not otherwise fully know (επιγινώσκομεν), but from the Holy Scriptures. ... Whosoever of us would exercise ourselves in piety towards God, can exercise ourselves in it from no other source, than from the Oracles of God.  Whatsoever things, therefore, the Holy Scriptures declare, let us know; and whatsoever things they teach, let us clearly learn. ... Not according to our own will, nor our own mind, neither do violence to those things, which have been given to us by God; but as He by the Holy Scriptures hath vouchsafed to teach us, so let us understand.”

         Origen – “The two Testaments – in which every word that appertains to God may be sought out and discussed. ... But if there remaineth anything which the Holy Scripture doth not determine, no third Scripture ought to be recognized as of authority in knowledge. ... But that which remaineth, we must commit to the fire, that is, reserve it unto God.  For God would not have us know all things in the present life.”

         Cyprian – “Let nothing be innovated but that is delivered.  Whence is that Tradition?  Does it descend from the authority of our Lord and the Gospel, or does it come from the commands and Epistles of the Apostles?  For that those things are to be done, which are written, God testifies and propounds to Joshua, saying, ‘The Book of this Law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate in it day and night, and thou shalt observe all these things that are written in it to do them.’  The Lord, also, sending His Apostles, commands that ‘all nations should be baptized and taught, that they should observe all things whatsoever He commanded.’  If, therefore, it be either commanded in the Gospel, or in the Epistles of the Apostles, that they that come from any heresy should not be baptized, but that hands should be imposed upon them unto repentance, then let even this holy Tradition be observed.”

         No wonder that Bellarmine pronounces these views “one of the errors of Cyprian”!

         Constantine – Though not of course in the list of the Fathers, gives us most valuable testimony; whether we regard it in its completeness, or as the opinion of an Emperor, and that the first Christian and greatest of the early age, or as delivered before the Council of Nice: –

         “The Evangelical and Apostolical books, and the divine oracles of the ancient Prophets, do clearly teach us whatsoever we are to believe concerning God. ... Let us take the solution of those things that are questioned from the divinely inspired Oracles; certainly accounting nothing as an Article of Faith, but what may be proved from thence.”

         Athanasius – “The holy and divinely inspired Scriptures are of themselves sufficient to the enunciation of the truth.”

         “Those are the fountains of salvation, that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the oracles contained in them.  In them alone is the doctrine of godliness set forth.  Let no man add to them, nor take from them.”

         Cyril of Jerusalem – For nothing at all ought to be delivered concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, without the holy Scriptures: nor ought we to be at all influenced by probabilities or prepared arguments.  Nor in anywise believe me that say these things to you, unless you take the demonstration of the things that are declared, out of the Holy Scriptures.”

         “Hold fast to that faith alone which is now delivered to you by the Church, and which is fortified by all Scripture.  For since all cannot read the Scriptures; but some, incapacity, others, want of leisure, hinders from attaining knowledge; in order that poor souls may not perish through ignorance, we include the whole doctrine of the faith in a few lines, which I wish you to remember when read to you – engraving the memory of them in your hearts. ... But on a fitting opportunity, draw from the holy Scriptures the proof of everything that is laid down. … Take heed, therefore, brethren, that ye observe the traditions which ye have now received, and write them in the breadth of your hearts.”

         As an instance of their readiness to grasp at the shadow of an argument, Romanists will have Cyril’s memorial lines to make for their Traditions!  And consequently, as Cary informs us, here “in the old Paris editions, amongst the marginal notes, which stand as fingerposts to guide the reader to the true meaning of the author,” are the following: “Fides ecclesiae sola servanda,” which he somewhat ironically translates, “The Pope is Infallible!”  And: “Traditiones suas servare jubet,” which we suppose he would likewise read, “Cyril’s memoria technica means Catholic Tradition.”

         Basil – “Every word and action ought to be confirmed by the testimony of the divinely inspired Scriptures, to the full confirmation of the good, and the confusion of the evil.”

         “Believe those things which are written; the things which are not written seek not.”

         “It is a manifest falling away from the faith, and a proof of arrogance, either to reject any of the things that are written, or to introduce any of the things that are not written.”

         Ambrose – “How can we use those things which we find not in the Holy Scriptures?”

         Theophilus of Alexandria – “It is an instinct of the devil to follow the sophisms of human minds, and to think anything divine without the authority of the Scriptures.”

         Jerome – “As we do not deny those things which are written, so we reject those things that are not written.  That God was born of a Virgin we believe, because we read it.  That Mary was married after her delivery, we do not believe, because we do not read it.”

         Augustine – “In those things which are plainly laid down in Scripture, all things are found, which embrace faith and morals.”

         “When our Lord Jesus had done many things, they were not all written, as the same holy Evangelist testifies, that the Lord Christ had both said and done many things which were not written; but those things were chosen out to be written, which seemed sufficient for the salvation of believers.”

         “Whether it be a question concerning Christ, or whether it be a question concerning His Church, or of what other matter soever the question be, which appertains to faith, or our life; I will not say if we, but – If an angel from heaven shall preach unto you anything besides that you have received in the Scriptures, under the Law and the Gospel, let him be accursed.”

         “If it be established, by the clear authority of the Divine Scriptures, those I mean that are called Canonical in the Church, it is to be believed without any doubt.  But other witnesses or testimonies which are used to persuade you to believe anything, you may believe or not, just as you shall see that they have or have not any weight giving them a just claim to your confidence.”

         Theodoret – “Bring me not human reasonings and syllogisms; I rely on the Divine Scripture alone.”

         Vicentius Lirenensis – “The Canon of Scripture is perfect, and most abundantly sufficient in itself for all things.”

         John Damascene – “All things, that are delivered to us by the Law, and the Prophets, and the Apostles, and the Evangelists, we receive, and acknowledge, and reverence, seeking for nothing beyond these.”

         Here then is a Catena of the Fathers down even to the eighth century, valuable not only for its distinctness, but also for its instinctiveness.  Had the claims of the later Church of Rome and the Council of Trent been set up, we could not have had fuller Protestant testimony.  The plain historical fact is, Christendom knew nothing of a Doctrina Tradita, independent of and equal in authority with Scripture, till the exigencies of Rome created it, to support her pretensions.  And yet the early Fathers especially were wondrously sensitive, and providentially so, about the Sufficiency of Holy Scripture.

         It only remains under this head to note two exceptions which Rome takes against our argument.

         The first is that some of the Fathers speak of a Rule, outside of and distinct from the Scriptures, by which they are to be interpreted.  Thus Irenaeus speaks of “a Canon of Truth” (κανων της άληθείας); Tertullian “a Rule of Faith” (Regula Fidei); Clement of Alexandria “a Canon of Truth,” or “Ecclesiastical Canon” (κανων εκκλησιαστικός); and Vicentius Lirinensis of “the Rule of Ecclesiastical and Catholic sense.”

         But the Rule of Irenaeus and Tertullian was simply the Baptismal Creed – an epitome of doctrine founded on Scripture, not a traditional Revelation.  The Rule of Clement was in his own words “the argument and harmony of the Law and the Prophets with the Covenant of our Lord.”  And the Rule of Vicentius was neither more nor less than the received and orthodox collective judgment of Christians, as against “the turnings and twinings” of heretics – the Hermeneutics of the Church.  All guards and guides, necessary and imperative; but by no means independent and authoritative parallels with Scripture.

         Secondly, Romanists adduce instances where the Fathers preferred to argue from Tradition, in preference to Scripture.  Thus Tertullian says: “No appeal must be made to the Scriptures, no contest must be founded on them, in which victory is uncertain. ... The grand question is, To whom does the Rule of Faith itself appertain? in whose keeping are the Scriptures?  From whom, and through whom, and when, and to whom was delivered the discipline, by which Christians are made Christians?  For where it shall appear that the truth of the Christian discipline and faith is, there will be the truth of the Scriptures, and of their meaning, and of all Christian traditions.

         But we must remember that this appeal to Tradition was the only possible argument which the Fathers could use against their adversaries, the heretics.  These had not only mutilated the Scriptures, rejecting whatever portion was opposed to them, but had also perverted those portions they did receive to support their own doctrines.  This is clear from Tertullian’s own words.  “That heresy does not receive certain Scriptures, and what it does receive, by adding and taking away, it perverts to support its own doctrine.  If it does receive them, it does not receive them entire.”  No other course therefore, under such circumstances, was open to the Fathers, but to appeal to the received doctrines and living voice of the Apostolic Churches.  But this assuredly is a different thing altogether from that for which the Church of Rome contends – a new Revelation independent of Scripture.  It is merely the historical argument; always legitimate, but of special value and force in the early age of the Church.  It is the ever-laudable confirmation of Scripture: but not the awful venture and sin of adding to it.

         (6.)  What the Bible teaches.

         (a) Its own Sufficiency as based upon its Divine Authority.

         “And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them” (Exod. 24:12).  “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes, and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live. ... Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deut. 4:1–2).  “Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deut. 5:32).  “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites.  And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God” (Deut. 17:18–19).  “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psa. 19:7).  “Every word of God is pure. ... Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5–6).  “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccles. 12:13).  “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).  “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29).  “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).  “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).  “From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:15–17).

         Now while it is true that all these passages refer primarily to Old Testament Scriptures, yet obviously in their wider and more complete meaning they include retrospectively and prospectively the whole Written word of God, as gradually revealed.  For by restricting them to their primary reference – the Old Testament or portions of it – we thereby argue that such portions or the whole are sufficient for salvation; and that therefore no additional revelation was required.  Each portion, indeed, was sufficient for its own Economy of the Church; and if so, the argument is abundantly enhanced, and beyond question conclusive, for the full sufficiency of the Completed Canon.

         (b) The following passages stamp the New Testament Scriptures as part of God’s all-sufficient Word Written:

         “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).  “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (ch. 14:26).  “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (ch. 20:31).

         Here we have the all-important reason why St. John was led to write, and not to leave to Tradition, “signs which Jesus did in the presence of his disciples” – “that ye might believe, and have life through his name.”  But we have more.  If we admit the inspiration of the Apostles, here indeed directly asserted, and the Canonicity of their Books, here also virtually proclaimed, these passages cover not only the Gospel of St. John, but the whole Scriptures of the New Testament as the Recorded Christ Words of Spirit and of Life.  And if we have His Life Words thus secured to us in Writing, it is absurd, as well as blasphemous, to add to them by Tradition.

         “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book.  If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.  And, if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 12:18–19).

         (c) St. Paul’s “Traditions.”

         “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15).

         From this and like passages, it is argued, that besides the Christian Scriptures, there was evidently an Apostolic deposit to be guarded in perpetuity – an oral tradition of the Church for all ages.  But the argument at once breaks down, if we call to mind the actual circumstances of the case.  For the fact is, the Christian Scriptures were not, when the Apostle wrote, either collected or completed, and therefore could not form at the time a standard of reference and appeal.  The “word,” or oral sermons and inspired teaching of the Apostle, together with his “Epistle,” constituted the “traditions,” that is doctrines (παραδόσεις) in question; and were in reality all that existed to mold the faith, for example, of the Thessalonians, and so in other cases.  It was thus a phase of the infant Church, miraculously provided for a temporary need, supplied by men under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and which only could be supplied by such.  The argument, to be of any permanent force, must produce continuous successors of the Apostles, “full of the Holy Ghost,” and of miraculous power; or, failing this, find us the traditions of St. Paul!  To tell us that the Apostles left us traditions, a rule of faith and morals, and yet to be able to give us no catalogue of those traditions, is more than suspicious; it is an open and deliberate imposition upon the credulity of mankind – upon the weakness of men and women who have not courage or strength to think for themselves.  The veil is so transparent, and the demand upon belief so gross, that one does wonder at the slavery of the human mind in the Church of Rome – at men not thinking, and at a priesthood “damning doubt”.  But, above all, we wonder that the Oxford Divines, in the face of the enlightenment of the nineteenth century and the lessons of history, should attempt to unprotestantize our country, and seek to impose a yoke of tradition upon our necks, which Reason, and the Fathers, and the Bible, thus alike condemn.

         Is it the Nemesis of wrong, or the naked impotency of the argument, that leads Dr. Keble and other eminent writers of the Rome-ward school, to build on the foundation of sand – “Traditions, if they can be anyhow authenticated, must necessarily demand the same reverence from us as Holy Scripture?”  Yes! “if they can be anyhow authenticated,” then Rome and the Tractarians are right.  But if they can’t! the battle of Tradition is lost, and God’s Word Written wins, all along the line!


2.  The Canon of Holy Scripture.

         (1.)  The word Canon (κανων), originally used in classic Greek to signify a straight rod, or measuring rule; and so a standard; and in the New Testament, an apportioned line of life (2 Cor. 10:13–16), or rule of conduct (Gal. 6:16), came in the first three centuries to be applied in an ecclesiastical sense, as designating the Creedal Law of the Church, or traditional Rule of Faith, and then passed to denote decisions of discipline.

         The transfer to Scripture itself was therefore easy: the sacred Books being first spoken of as canonized or canonical (“Canonical Scriptures,” “Canonized Books,” Origen), that is, admitted by rule; and then ultimately as setting forth the rule.  Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium, in the fourth century, was the first who applied the word to a list of the Books of the Bible, though still more definitively in the proper sense of a measure, rather than a catalogue: “This will be the most truthful Canon (i.e., testing Rule) of the Inspired Scriptures, which if you shall obey you will escape the snares of the world.”  But the meaning of the word was thus extended to the collection or catalogue of books forming the Bible of the Christian Church.

         (2.)  Among the names of the Revealed Word, may be noted: –

         (a) In Holy Writ.

         “The Law,” “The Book of the Law,” “The Law of the Lord,” “The Law and the Prophets,” “The Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms”.  The latter being the equivalent of “The Law, the Prophets, and the (Holy) Writings” – the threefold division of the Hebrew title of the Bible: Torah, Nebiim, Cethubim (Gr. Hagiographa).

         “The Covenant,” “The Book of the Covenant,” “The Covenant of the Lord God,” “The Old Testament” (or “Covenant”).

         “The Scriptures” (the general form of quotation employed in the New Testament), “The Holy Scriptures.” The singular – “Scripture” – being used with reference to a particular passage.

         “The word,” “The Word of God” (perhaps the most complete title), “The Oracles of God.”  “Oracle” – in the singular – being used to denote the place where God was graciously pleased, under the old dispensation, to reveal His will.

         So early as the days of St. Peter, the term “Scriptures,” as applied to the recognized Divine Word, would seem to have been given to St. Paul’s Epistles, as he wrote them (2 Peter 3:15–16).  An important evidence to show that the writings of the Apostles were at once acknowledged by those to whom they came as the Inspired Word of God.

         (b) In Christian Literature.

         From the foregoing paragraph we may see how, in the sub-Apostolic Church, the New Testament writings, and those of the Old Testament, were incorporated into one common whole, under the appellation of “Scripture”: the writings of the New Testament being grafted, as it were, on those of the Old, and thus both becoming one growth; while, as in nature, the graft determined the kind of fruit.

         The Christian Scriptures were thus received as Divine, and with the Law and the Prophets on which they were built, were read in the religious assemblies; and so the entire Record of God’s Revelation –  the writings of the Old and New Testaments – were accounted, and received a collective title, in the early Church, as “The Whole Scripture,” “The Two Testaments,” “The Divine Instrument”.

         Passing to the fourth century, we find Jerome applying time term, “The Divine Library,” to the whole Bible – but not, as Dr. Westcott states, “the first collective title given”.  For Tertullian long before had used in the very same collective sense the titles just quoted – Whole Scripture,” “Two Testaments,” “Divine instrument”.  And the use of these terms by Tertullian was simply an embodiment of the thought and language of his own, and even of a still previous, age.

         In this century also the Greeks adopted the title, “The Books,” τα βιβλία, plural (“The Holy Books,” Chrysostom), which the barbarism of the thirteenth century read in the Western or Latin Church, as a singular noun, biblia, “The Book,” or Bible.  Strange that the confusion of language, indorsed by the common consent of Europe, should thus at last give us one of the most expressive titles to show the preeminence of God’s Word Written.

         (3.)  The Canon of the Old Testament.

         (a) As a preliminary remark we may observe, that the historical evidence as such of Holy Writ is, and must necessarily be, identically the same in principle as the historical evidence of any other writings of a bygone age, while its very fullness demands the attention of every intelligent man.  It is not a waif on the stream of time, it is an important stream itself –

“Though deep, yet clear –

Without overflowing, full”

Obviously, it might have pleased Almighty God, by a continuous extension or display of miracle, to support the authority of the books of the Bible, just as it pleased Him, by the miraculous inspiration of his Holy Spirit, to write them.  But if we may reason from analogy, this “overflow” of evidence might have been attended with no more marked results than the visible and continuous puttings forth of Divine power in nature.  What a very small proportion, even of those who professedly believe in a God, are struck with the proofs of His actual Presence in any one of the many fields of creation.  But it does seem wisely ordained to foreclose, as it were, all objection, and so leave His rational creatures without excuse; that in nature on the one hand, and in grace on the other, these two great elements of moral evidence should be respectively vouchsafed to us – the “material work of His fingers,” and the human testimony of history.  Even thus is man raised to be a “worker together with God.”

         (b) And this leads us at once briefly to state the grounds upon which the Canonicity of the Bible is based.  We receive the Old Testament, or Jewish Scriptures, upon the authority of the recorded testimony of Christ and His Apostles – supplemented and aided by secular evidence.  And we receive the recorded testimony of Christ and His Apostles, or the Christian Scriptures, upon the authority of the Primitive Church – the evidence of that Church being handed down to us in documents, customs, and institutions.

         (c) Our Lord and his Apostles continually cite or refer to, as authoritative and Divine, a collection of sacred writings known in their days as “The Scriptures,” “The Law,” “The Law and the Prophets,” etc.  The simple question, therefore, is, Of what was that collection of Scripture made up?  What were the Books of the Jewish Bible?  Now the first step in any such inquiry evidently is to take –

         The Evidence of Contemporary Authority.

         Philo, a contemporary of our Lord, and the representative of the Jewish Church at Alexandria on the Egyptian Dispersion, while laying particular stress on the Pentateuch, from its intrinsic and accidental value – being the keynote of Revelation, and, the first local biblical Greek volume – yet quotes almost every book of the Old Testament, as Divine or authoritative; but does not quote even one Apocryphal writing.

         Josephus the historian, born A.D. 37, and surviving the destruction of Jerusalem, and therefore a contemporary of the Apostles, and who may be taken as the representative of the Jewish Church in Palestine, if not indeed a fair and legitimate representative of the whole Jewish Church, includes in his description of the Canon ALL the Books of the Old Testament, under an artificial arrangement of twenty-two, corresponding to the number of letters in the Hebrew Alphabet – but yet really in virtual and exact coincidence with our own list of thirty-nine.  While he explicitly excludes the Apocrypha in these words: “Books written since the time of Artaxerxes have not the same credit as those before that time, because the succession of prophets has failed.”

         He divides the sacred Books into three classes, thus: “We have twenty-two books, containing the record of all time, which have been justly believed to be Divine.  Of these, five are the books of Moses, containing the laws and tradition of the creation of man up to Moses’ death – a period little less than 3000 years.  Next, the prophets wrote the acts of their times, from Moses to the reign of Artaxerxes [B.C. 450–410], the successor of Xerxes, king of Persia, in thirteen books.  The remaining four books embrace hymns to God and admonitions to men for the conduct of their lives.”

         Now, if we carefully mark these definitions, we have the following detail: –

         Books of Moses – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy – five books.

         The Prophets. – Joshua, Judges with Ruth, 1st and 2d Samuel (one book), 1st and 2d Kings (one book), Isaiah, Jeremiah with Lamentations, Ezekiel, the Twelve Minor Prophets (one book), Daniel, Job, Ezra, and Nehemiah (one book), Esther, 1st and 2d Chronicles (one book) – thirteen books.

         Hymns and Admonitions.  – The Psalter, Canticles, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, four books – in all twenty-two books, counted differently with us, but including precisely the books of our present Canon.

         This evidence is conclusive, and our argument strictly requires little beyond.  But still on each side of this contemporary testimony there lies most important corroborative evidence, which it is therefore of value to trace.  Thus, ANTERIOR TO THE CHRISTIAN ERA, we have –


The Evidence of the Apocrypha.

         In the Prologue to Ecclesiasticus, written by the grandson of the author of the Book, probably about 130 B.C., in the reign of Energetes II, we read: “And not only these things, but the Law itself, and the Prophets, and the rest of the Books have no small difference, when they are spoken in their own language.”

         Elsewhere we find “The Law,” “The Law and the Prophets,” “The Book of the Testament,” “The Book of the Commandments of God,” “The Book of the Covenant of the Most High God, even the Law which Moses commanded for an heritage unto the congregations of Jacob,” “The Holy Books of Scripture in our hands,” etc.

         Now, from all this it is clear that at a date considerably prior to the days of Christ and his Apostles, the Jewish Church had a sacred Code or canon of Scripture accounted Divine; and from the well-known tenacity and reverential care of the Jews in clinging to and guarding the oracles of God, we cannot but conclude that these early Scriptures were identical with the Scriptures quoted and referred to in the New Testament, and set forth and defined in our Article.


The Evidence of the Septuagint.

         Bishop Browne, in his Exposition of the Articles, falls into the common error of dating this Alexandrian Greek Version in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus; and assumes that “the Apocryphal books, when written, were in all probability inserted into the Septuagint”; and that our Lord and His Apostles thus cite from a volume containing the Old Testament and “all the Apocryphal books”; and so contends that, if the Apocrypha “were so mischievous, or so to be rejected, as some argue, it is scarcely to be accounted for that neither our Lord nor any of His Apostles gave any warning against them.”

         Dr. Westcott also, in one part of his Bible in the Church, would incline to the opinion that in the time of Philo (contemporary of our Lord) the Septuagint at Alexandria “was already enlarged beyond the limits of the original Hebrew,” and that “the notion of a definite Bible was obscured” by the addition of “other books – for instance, 1st Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus,” etc.  But he evades the conclusion of Bishop Browne as to our Lord’s sanction of a volume containing the true Scriptures and the Apocrypha, by assuming the existence of a Septuagint at Palestine, which threw out the Apocrypha – “a Palestinian Septuagint, revised by the Hebrew, the Greek Bible which was used by our Lord and the Apostles.”  While in another part of the same work he distinctly states there is no indication that the enlargement of the Septuagint took place before the Christian era (see pp. 31–35, 124, and Appendix A).

         But the truth is, the incorporation of the Apocrypha is one of the most obscure points in the whole range of biblical literature, which must excuse these seemingly negligent statements.

         Now, in the first place, the difference of style in the Septuagint proves that it could not have been written in any one period; and critical research tends to show that the Pentateuch was translated first, probably about 285 B.C., in the reign of Philadelphus, and the rest of the Old Testament at successive but uncertain intervals.  If, however, we may credit Aristobulus, in the second century before Christ, and the first writer who mentions a Greek version of the Scriptures, the Pentateuch was translated as early as the time of Plato, who he alleges was indebted to it; and Demetrius Phalereus, the librarian of Philadelphus, promoted the translation of the remainder of the Old Testament during that king’s reign.

         But, from the “all of the Apocryphal books” which Bishop Browne would insert in the Septuagint in the time of our Lord, we must certainly exclude at least the Second Book of Esdras, which was probably not written, and certainly not completed as it stands, much before the close of the first century of the Christian era.

         Then again, as to the existence of a Palestinian Septuagint revised by the Hebrew, we must freely confess that it is one of those hypotheses which are sometimes framed to bridge over a difficulty – the difficulty in this case being of course the Apocrypha and our Lord’s sanction of them – without the shadow of a proof.  For we need scarcely say there is no record of a revised Septuagint, no trace whatever of it in history.  Melito’s testimony, which we shall presently discuss, and upon which Dr. Westcott relies, is indeed valuable, but as a link in a higher chain of evidence to show that “the notion of a definite Bible” was never “obscured” by any section of the Jewish Church.

         We are thus brought face to face with the inquiry, What were the contents of the Septuagint prior and up to the Christian period?  The evidence is circumstantial, but we think nevertheless complete and overwhelming to show that the Septuagint contained, only and as Scripture, the books of the Old Testament.  Let us not be misunderstood.  We are not here inquiring into the value of the Apocrypha – that will come before us hereafter; nor when or how these writings first appeared and were circulated – an interesting subject, but not within the scope of our Article.  We are simply affirming that the Canon of the Jewish Church, up to and during the time of our Lord and His Apostles, and as represented by the Septuagint, included, according to the evidence, only the true Scriptures, and excluded all Apocryphal pieces.  And indeed, unless in the presence of the clearest and most direct proof, we do hold it to be most unjust to the Jew to insinuate even in the slightest degree his unfaithfulness to the trust committed him – that of “The Oracles of God”.

         Our circumstantial evidence in order is as follows: –

         The author of the second Prologue to Ecclesiasticus wrote that preface in Egypt – the birthplace of the Septuagint and its alleged corruption – where he translated into Greek and published his grandfather’s work, Ecclesiasticus – an expression pure and simple, without any extraneous influence, of Palestinian theology.  But here assuredly was an opening for Alexandrine influence and interpolation; or if filial faith and duty were too strong for this, here at all events was a temptation for a note or turn of expression to show the greater fidelity of the writer’s fathers of Palestine.  Yet this man, writing under these circumstances, deviates neither to the right hand nor the left, but keeps, as we believe, to the simple path of history, and apparently knows of no “enlargement of the Greek Bible beyond the limits of the original Hebrew Bible” – no other standard but “The Law and the Prophets”.  This brings us to 130 B.C.

         Philo follows, the great representative of the Alexandrian Church, and he brings the evidence down to the very lifetime of our Lord.  Now he must have been acquainted with all, if any, incorporations of the Apocryphal books in his own Bible.  He never mentions them: never makes a single quotation from them.  It is difficult, if not impossible, from his writings to show even that he was aware of the existence of the books in question.  But this negative evidence is rendered still more cogent by what we must call his all but direct formal testimony on the point before us.  He lived at Alexandria actually “in the midst of the confusion,” and “surrounded by the disturbing influences,” which Dr. Westcott is pleased to assume prevailed there as to the Word of God.  Yet, instead of being moved by those “disturbing influences,” he meets, and prophetically as it were, anticipates all unworthy imputations by most emphatic and, as we think, silencing words.  For he declares that such was the intense veneration of the Jews for their Bible, that nothing would induce them “to alter one word of their Scriptures, and that they would rather die ten thousand deaths than suffer any alteration in their laws and statutes.”

         In the face of all this, we cannot but strongly protest against the language of Dr. Westcott, who first imagines he can “easily see” in Philo “a tendency to break down the boundaries of the Old Testament, by an undue exaltation of the Pentateuch in comparison with the other books,” and then goes on bluntly to assert that “this tendency was restrained by a familiarity with the opinions of his countrymen in Palestine!”  Philo, it is true, drew the bulk of his illustrations from the Pentateuch, and for the very natural reason that the Pentateuch formed the subject of his great work; but he by no means neglects the other portions of the Canon.  And he had strength enough of mind distinctly to formulate and stand by his own opinion.

         Let us now turn to what should ever be the central figures of every Christian picture – Christ and His Apostles; and see what Bible they read, and whether it is possible there was aught between the lines.  The Bible of Christ and His Apostles, then, clearly, we think, was Greek – the Septuagint, Philo’s Bible.  Greek was the language spoken by the communities addressed.  And the Old Testament quotations agree generally with the Septuagint, less or more closely.  The Septuagint therefore most probably was not only the common Bible of Palestine, but occupied, though perhaps without any formal enactment, much of the precise place among all Greek-speaking Jews which our Authorized Version does among us; while the Hebrew copies of the Canon, and above all the Temple Copy at Jerusalem, would serve valuable purposes of reference and verification in the same way as our Hebrew Bible and Greek Testament.  Now our Lord and His Apostles quote as authoritative and repeatedly every one of the three great Sections of the original Canon, and so in reality cover the whole in detail, and every separate book in our different arrangement of Thirty-nine – except six, Judges, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Solomon’s Song – but they do not quote, either as authoritative or direct, one single book or sentence from the Apocrypha.  Yea, moreover, it cannot be shown, except on the very slenderest evidence, that our Lord (humanly) or His Apostles were even so much as acquainted with the Apocrypha.

         Again, our Lord and his Apostles, as they rebuke no Jew for tampering with the true Scriptures, or “obscuring the notion of a definite Bible,” so neither do they applaud any section of the Jewish Church for purging those Scriptures of Apocryphal pieces – for a revised Septuagint.  Here they neither praise nor blame, counsel faithfulness, nor denounce unfaithfulness.  If anything, the New Testament is on the side of Philo and, as we shall see, Josephus, who both declare the unalterable attachment of the Jews even to the letters of the law, and the oracles of God.  “Ye do search the Scriptures” (Christ).  The Bereans were “noble, in that they searched the Scriptures daily” (St. Luke).

         Lastly, at the beginning of the Christian era, the Alexandrian Jews, though in great measure politically divided from the Palestinian party, and though long oppressed by their own taxes, still contributed to the temple service at Jerusalem.  Jerusalem, “the Vision of Peace,” was still, though Grecized, “the Holy city” of the Jewish people.  And the Alexandrians had a synagogue there, whose zeal for “Moses and God” stoned the protomartyr Stephen.  Add, Apollos; born at Alexandria, an eloquent [or learned] man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus” about, 54 A.D., and proceeded, as the loving “brother” of St. Paul, to water what the Apostles had planted.  Now, all this looks very like a common faith, and, as the bond of it, a common Bible.  On the other hand, if the Alexandrians had an interpolated Bible, and the Palestinians an expurgated Bible, on what rational principle can we suppose that nobody knew it?  How explain that our Lord and His Apostles never once refer to it? that Stephen, in his life-defense, does not see that here is a main and triumphant charge against his murderers? that Apollos forgets it? that there was not internecine war.

         Take then, at random, any one of these facts in connection with our Lord and the New Testament – and they are or must be universally admitted facts – take them all, and is not the individual and cumulative evidence a demonstration that the Jewish Church had but one faith – but one Canon – but one definite Bible – a Septuagint unobscured by the Apocrypha?

         Two important witnesses remain, Josephus and Melito.

         Josephus carries the evidence over the destruction of Jerusalem.  His devoted attention to all the concerns of his faith and Church is proverbial.  Not only is he the great historian of the Jewish people, but what is valuable in the present case, the minute historian of Jewish details.  Now he never speaks a word, nor throws out a single hint, either about the strange doings and innovations at Alexandria, or about any sacred revise at Palestine.  Granted that he had in his eye, and does actually refer to, the Apocrypha, in the brief and incidental words – “our history written since Artaxerxes” – it is only as we have seen to pronounce against the Divine authority of all such books; and the adjudication, be it observed, as in juxtaposition with the recital of the sacred Canon.  If, then, the Apocrypha had been, to any extent, or in any way, incorporated with that Canon, is it at all likely that a circumstance of such moment could have escaped the notice of Josephus?

         Then again, as in the case of Philo, the following testimony of Josephus is invaluable, as showing not only the improbability, but what we must rather call the utter impossibility of change, at any time, or in any quarter, in the Jewish mind with regard to the sacred writings: “That firm faith we have placed in those books [the twenty-two recounted above] of one nation, is manifest by our conduct.  For during so many ages as have already passed, no one has dared to presume either to add anything to them, or to take anything from them, or to alter anything in them.  But it becomes natural to all Jews, immediately and from their very birth, to esteem those books as the oracles of God, and to remain constant to them, and if occasion be, willingly to die for them.  For it is no new thing for our captive countrymen, many of them in number, and frequently in time, to be seen to endure racks and deaths of all kinds upon the theatres, rather than utter one word against our laws, and the records that contain them.”

         Melito, Bishop of Sardis, supposed by some to have been the Angel of that Church addressed in Rev. 3:1, but who most probably lived later on, in the latter half of the second century, is the earliest Christian writer who furnishes a catalogue of the Old Testament Scriptures, having expressly visited the East accurately to learn the number and order of the books; and he reports our present Canon.  His words are: –

         “Melito to Onesimus, his brother, greeting.  Since you have often, from your zeal for the Word of God, begged of me to make selections for you from the Law and the Prophets concerning the Saviour and our whole faith; and as you, moreover, wished to learn accurately of the old books, how many they are in number and in what order they are written, I have taken great pains to do it, well knowing your zeal for the faith, and your great desire to learn of the Word of God; and that, through your earliest love towards God, you desire these more than all things, striving for your eternal safety.  I went accordingly to the East, and coming to the very place where these things were preached and transacted, and having accurately learnt the books of the Old Testament, I have sent to you the subjoined list.  Their names are as follows: Five Books of Moses, viz., Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy; Joshua, Nane, Judges, Ruth, four Books of Kings, two of Paralipomena, a Book of the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon – which is also called Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Job, the Books of the Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Twelve one Book, Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras.”

         Note. – “Four Books of Kings” = our 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings.  “Two of Paralipomena “(or “things omitted”) = our 1 and 2 Chronicles.  “Esdras” = Ezra; to which was commonly attached Nehemiah, and probably Esther.  While Lamentations was joined with Jeremiah.

         Now an all-important point in this testimony is that Melito’s list is taken from the Septuagint – without, of course, one trace of the Apocrypha.  Our evidence thus at last ceases to be merely circumstantial, and becomes instead positive and direct.  Whether Melito lived in the days of St. John or of Marcus Antoninus, he gives us the Table of Contents of the Jewish Canon, as he found it – a facsimile in outline of the Septuagint of his day, handed down without a single Apocryphal piece to mar or obscure it.  Somewhat long and anxious therefore as our inquiry has been, it is satisfactory to arrive at this unmistakable result, and that all the lines of evidence converge to it.  Dr. Westcott does not fail to notice this “important feature” of Melito’s list – “evident from the names, the number, and the order of the books” – but to meet the difficulty in which he finds himself he unhappily invents, as we have seen, with pious purpose we doubt not, a Palestinian Septuagint revised by the Hebrews.  We can only add – painfully, but imperatively as a Christian duty – that the interests of truth are not served in this instance at least by fiction; as indeed they seldom are by unwarranted deviation from the landmarks, the plain path and leadings of history.  For granted there was a Palestinian revise, and we are inevitably driven to this very humbling conclusion, among others, that our Lord and Apostles, so the abrogators of the Jewish, and the founders and heralds of the Christian Dispensation, were, either ignorant of the spiritual and ecclesiastical status of an important section of the Jewish Church – of Alexandria and its Septuagint – or, connived at its corruption!

         The value then of the subject of our argument – an uncorrupted Septuagint of the Jewish Church – is immense.  It relegates the Apocrypha to their proper place.  It vindicates our Lord and His Apostles.  It is an unanswerable historical protest against Rome and the Council of Trent.  It stops the sneer of the skeptic anent all human accretions.

         And the force of the evidence of the Septuagint itself as regards the Canon of the Old Testament is this, that it carries that Canon a marked stage higher in antiquity and value.  For a long period before Christianity – wherever the Greek language was spoken, wherever Jews were resident, or Gentiles attracted to their history, there existed and was circulated the Septuagint Translation.  Now what is the full bearing of this fact?  This, that the Canon of Josephus, the Canon of Christ’s Bible and of the Jewish Dispersion, existed as a Written Published Book, long before the actual date of the Septuagint.  A translation of course implies an original copy.  And an original copy in this instance must have had a lengthened previous public existence, of acknowledged Divine authority.  A nation does not accept a Rule of Faith in a day.  And no nation, however anxious for a place in history, would have accepted the lowly pilgrim and slave-stained origin, and the stiff-necked character assigned to the Jews in the Old Testament, unless it had been convinced of the supernatural claims of the Book.

         Evidence from the Old Testament itself.

         On the threshold lies the question, If the Jewish Scriptures were not written and published as they stand in their entirety, and at periods somewhat such as assigned, how account for them – how were they handed down, or how came they to be accepted by the Jewish nation?

         This is a question of vast importance, for we conceive it has no fitting answer but one which carries us back with our Canon, as a completed whole, to the period of the Return; and down to that terminus, in successive and recognized stages of growth, from the days of Moses.  Poetical and many historical pieces might be transmitted from generation to generation by memory.  But the Old Testament is honeycombed with a very large amount of detail of personal names, numbers, places, and things which you cannot detach without hopeless confusion; and which no rational mind could memorize in their varied and intricate connection.  Analysts and duly appointed historiographers there may and must have been, but publicity and popular instruction are indispensable factors in any rational solution of the problem.  The law must have been an open book; and the Prophets could have had no mission unless known to the people.  Nor is it possible to believe that the Jews would endorse as a whole a production like the Old Testament, even if it was possible on any reasonable grounds to suppose it appearing at once, and offered as their history and for their guidance.

         And when we examine the book itself, we find abundant evidence of our argument.  Once and again do we meet “The Book of the Law,” “The Book of Moses,” and explicit commands or references concerning the words of the Lord as written in an accessible (?) book.  Daniel “understood by the books [the article is in the original] the number of the years.”  And the burden of the Prophets is “Hear”.  While the office of the Scribe – the index to the genius and character of the religions system of the Jews – in its great ideal was, “to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments” (Ezra 7:10).  Nor must we forget that a Psalter is a Book for the Public Service of God.  How strikingly corroborative of these features are the words of our Lord: “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me.  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the [published and popular?] Scriptures” (Luke 24:44–45).  And the words of St. Paul: “From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures” (2 Tim. 3:15).  And of St. James: “Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day” (Acts 15:21).

         But again, POSTERIOR TO THE CHRISTIAN ERA, we have –


The Evidence of the Talmud.

         This written judgment of the Babylonian Dispersion is invaluable, inasmuch as it reflects and embodies the opinion of the Jews on the Canon from, probably, a very high antiquity down to 500 years after Christ; and indeed, as it may be said, to the present day.

         It consists of two Parts.  (1) The Text, Mishna (repetition, or “second law,” δευτέρωσις), a digest of oral ritual law handed down, as the tradition is, from Moses on the mount, through the Sanhedrim, and ultimately to Rabbis of the second century (notably R. Judah, the Holy), or later, by whom, to guard against loss in the now unsettled state of the people, it was arranged and, completed; and so remains, an object of the highest veneration.  (2) The Gemara (supplement or perfection), consisting of two commentaries – one compiled at Jerusalem between the third and fifth centuries, but little esteemed by the Jews; and the other at Babylon, in the fifth century, and most highly valued.  The Mishna with the commentary of Jerusalem is styled the Jerusalem Talmud; with the commentary of Babylon, the Babylonish Talmud; while the word “Talmud” alone is generally used to denote the Mishna with both Gemaras.

         Now a very valuable passage in the Talmud, Babylonish Gemara, is to the following effect: –

         “Who wrote [that is, composed or redacted, as the case may be] the Books of the Bible?  Moses wrote the Pentateuch and Job.  Joshua his own Book, and the last eight verses of Deuteronomy.  Samuel his own Book, and the Books of Judges and Ruth.  David the Book of Psalms, but some were composed by the ten venerable Elders – Adam, Melchizedek, Abraham, Moses, Haman, Jeluthun, Asaph, and the three sons of Korah.  Jeremiah his own Book, and the Books of Kings and Lamentations.  Hezekiah and his college, the memorial Book Jamshak – that is, Isaiah, Proverbs, Solomon’s Song, and Ecclesiastes.  The men of the Great Synagogue, the memorial Book Kandag – that is, Ezekiel, the twelve Minor Prophets, Daniel, and Esther.  Ezra his own Book, and the Chronicles down to his time.  But who completed the Chronicles?  Nehemiah, the son of Hachaliah.”

         It is only necessary to remark here that the Book of Nehemiah was commonly reckoned by the Jews, as noted above, with that of Ezra; and that both indeed formed an Appendix to the Chronicles.

         Nothing therefore could be more satisfactory.  Not only are the whole books, and only the books, of the present Canon included; but the tradition is one of the very highest possible antiquity – a landmark most probably just between the actual completion of the Canon and the development of the Synagogue.  For there is no reference whatever to the usual threefold division of the Old Testament Scriptures – Law, Prophets, and Holy Writings – which there is every reason to conclude the Synagogue adopted for greater convenience in the services.

         Finally, with the New Testament in our hands, it is unnecessary to examine in any detail the Testimony of our Lord and His Apostles to the Jewish Scriptures, as set forth in our present Canon of the Old Testament.  Some of the chief heads have been already noticed.  And it may suffice to add, that our Great Exemplar and His Inspired Followers ever refer to the Scriptures of that Canon, just as we refer to our own Bible – as a Book sui generis and Divine; that the quotations, references, and allusions, in the New Testament, in proof or illustration, are immense; and that if we could possibly cut away and extract the Old Testament from the New, we should have little or nothing left as a basis – a permanent way of Christianity.

         Such then are the Contents of Christ’s Bible.  Such the Canon of the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament; received by the Jewish Church, and endorsed by our Lord and His Apostles, as of God.  And such the trust handed over to the Christian Church.  How that Church has kept the sacred deposit is an inquiry belonging more properly to the Section which treats of the use and abuses of the Apocrypha.

         (4.)  The Canon of the New Testament.

         (a) We have already briefly adverted to the fact that the writings of St. Paul – and by fair and reasonable inference, the other books of the New Testament? – were accepted as authoritative amid Divine, when first published [see above]: that is generally by those to whom they were addressed, and among whom their circulation was directed.  But a fact is simply an effect with a cause.  Now the question which we think lies at the root so to speak of the Canon, and which has been too much lost sight of is, How account for the reception of the books?  We confess we cannot, unless on the lines of a supernatural influence.

         Take the case as it stands.  These books appealed on the one hand to the Jew, but blasted his earthly hopes; gave him the Nazarene for his Messiah and justification by faith instead of a covenant of works.  And they appealed in like to the Gentile, but denounced his idols; gave him a Spirit to worship, Unseen as against his tangible gods, and One to replace an innumerable host.

         No human process could carry conviction here.

         Of course it may and must be alleged that the Gospel was first oral at the mouths of the Apostles, and then written and circulated by their hands.  But this is just part, though not the whole; of the supernatural influence we contend for.  It would in great measure secure the reception of the genuine writings in the East; but it could scarcely carry them, in plenary power and broadcast, to the West.  Apostolic miracle would procure a certain amount of reverence for Apostolic teaching; and Apostolic teaching would procure a certain amount of reverence for Apostolic books.  But the Apostolic area was limited, in time as well as in extent.  And beyond it, as to extent, Apostolic power would be little of a vital force; and as to time, would decrease in a ratio rapid enough to leave, not an equal field for the genuine and the spurious writings, but a vantage ground for the latter, inasmuch as they pandered to prejudice and prevailing corruptions.  Thus in the Apocryphal Gospels we have, besides evident heretical omissions, accretions, and divergences, Miracle not infrequently prostrated to selfish purposes; Prophecy and Parabolic Teaching alike ignored; history as a sort of stiffened corpse, without a single pulse of spiritual life connecting it with the past or typically with the future; and the pure atmosphere of the Morality of the Synoptic Gospels, and the Divine Wisdom of St. John’s, clouded by the natural darkness and the wild or empty dreams of unregenerate man.  The platform of the Canonical Gospels is that of the Spirit of Life in a Christ both God and Man; the role of the Apocryphal it is true takes in the main the same historic platform, but with a motley admixture of earthly characteristics – now frivolous, now fabulous, often immoral.

         At this exact stage of our argument, we have little or nothing to do with the after judgment of Christendom.  Its Homologoumena and Antilegomena had no place in the Apostolic Church.  Nay rather, the very distinction itself and its date is plain proof, (1) that there was handed down to the sub-Apostolic Church what we may call, and with little anachronism even of language, a definite and detailed list of New Testament Scriptures – the very Canon we possess; and (2) that the supernatural influence which first carried that Canon was now, comparatively, on the wane.

         The full supernatural influence then which we claim alike for Apostolic oral and written teaching was the special “mighty power” of the Holy Ghost, working not only in and through, but with the Apostles – as One of them.

         “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matt. 10:20).  “For he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” – “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:17, 26).  “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.  And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26–27).

         No words more fully could show the joint and actual Agency of the Holy Ghost on the Apostolic Mission Field.

         Here then, we conceive, we have the only and true key to the Formation of the New Testament Canon – a Divine influence which at once overcame Jewish antagonism, healed Gentile blindness, gave the Church of God an accepted and additional Revelation, and so bound up the New Testament in one volume with the Old.

         (b) With this calculus we are enabled to pass to the post-Apostolic age, prepared on the one hand to find, as we have intimated, this supernatural influence relatively on the wane; and unshaken on the other hand by any ecclesiastical development.  God designs, completes, and offers His gifts, but leaves man to test, accept, or reject them.  Not that his guiding and gracious influence is ever taken away from the whole body of the Church of Christ, for that were to deny Himself, and forget His promise sealed in the Mediatorial Person of Emmanuel.  “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matt. 28:20); but the withdrawal in measure of the extraordinary operation of Divine power is necessary – as God is pleased to administer the general government of the world – to enlist man as an intelligent coworker, and constitute him a rational recipient of Divine grace and goodness.

         We use the qualifying coincident terms “comparatively,” “relatively,” “in measure,” advisedly.  For we are free to confess our belief, that the Bible – notwithstanding all its external and internal evidence, and as matter of argument the overwhelming force thereof – could not, because of its sharp and searching antagonism to the human heart, hold its way, even today, were it not for the still less or more sustained “energy of the might of the power” (Eph. 1:19) of God the Holy Ghost.  This, we must ever bear in mind, is, in the Economy of Redemption, the New Covenant Dispensation of the Spirit – “The Spirit of Life,” breathing and brooding on the Church of God.

         (c) The formation or ratification then of the Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, was the work directly of God, not only in and through, but with His chosen and appointed servants: on the Divine side, of the Holy Spirit’s special “mighty energy”; and on the human side of men under His inspiration.  The final and formal settlement of the Old Testament Canon being the work, most probably of Ezra, in the lifetime of the last of the prophets, at the end of the fourth century before Christ; and of the New Testament Canon, doubtlessly of St. John, towards the close of his career, as chief pastor of the Asiatic Churches.

         It is a low view – and the fruitful parent of much of the neology of our day – to suppose that it was left for the post-Apostolic age to dig out of the Apostolic churches and depositories our five histories and twenty-two epistles, and with varying vote pronounce them authoritative and Divine – the Canon of the New Testament – the perfection of God’s Work, and even still more were it possible, the perfection of God’s Word, is of God, and not of man.

         The “documents of the primitive Church,” therefore, which we claim as part of our evidence of Christianity, are, first and especially, the Books of the New Testament themselves.  The judgments and decisions of the Fathers and of Councils are valuable, but only of a secondary, and, as we shall see in some cases, feeble importance.  Here as elsewhere these venerable representatives of Christian antiquity are indeed valuable as witnesses, generally agreeing; but their very doubts, though not perhaps on the canonicity of any of the books, yet on the genuineness even of a few, clearly stamps them as unfit to be judges of Holy Writ.  Right willingly and thankfully do we accept their testimony, so far as it goes, and rejoice that it is so uniform in the main; but we cannot accept them as authorities.  There must be an infallible standard, infallibly ratified, above the fluctuations of fallible men and “councils liable to err”.  And, that standard we hold to be neither less nor more than the Canon settled and completed by St. John, and finally sealed by the anathema of the closing verses of Revelation.

         If we are asked for proof positive or probable that St. John affixes his seal to every book of the New Testament, we answer: (1) that the aged Apostle must have been intimately acquainted with the books which his Church handed down, and their pretensions; (2) that these books must have been before him in their entirety not less than thirty years before his death; (3) that as matter of fact, the post-Apostolic Church had no other books handed down for its acceptance but our Canon, as witness its Homologoumena and Antilegomena – its Notha, or unauthentic and apocryphal books, being of later date, or rejected by all except heretics; and (4) that as matter of fact also, open to verification by anyone who pleases to undertake the task, St. John in his last great work distinctly quotes or refers to almost every book in detail of the Canon, but does not once quote any spurious unapostolic writing that may have been extant in his time.

         We must therefore protest not only against Rome’s dogma, that the Canon was first fixed by the Church, in its plenary authority, at the end of the fourth century; but also against the like erroneous, though somewhat diluted view, that the formation of a New Testament was “an intuitive act” of post-Apostolic Christianity.  The one is the gross form of the proposition that the Church is the Judge of Holy Writ, and superior to the Scriptures, which we have already throughout sufficiently controverted; the other is a more subtle affirmation of the same doctrine, and needs some separate consideration.

         Thus Dr. Westcott writes: “The Apostolic Fathers did not recognize a New Testament, but prepared the way for it.”  And: “The formation of a New Testament was an intuitive act of the Christian Body, derived from no reasoning, but realized in the course of its natural growth, as one of the first results of its self-consciousness.”

         This account differs only from that of the Church of Rome in this, that in the one case we are on the somewhat tangible ground of decretal judgment, however erring we may consider that judgment to be, and in the other case, in the at least theologically slippery domain of assumption without reasoning.  But it is Man in both cases: Fallibility bringing forth Infallibility, or – nothing.  For it is clear, as we have just seen, that the Canon of the New Testament, equally with that of the Old, must be stamped with Infallible – that is, as we are bound to hold, Divine authority, otherwise it has no shadow of a claim to acceptance by the Church of God.

         In the ninth chapter of his “Evidences of Christianity,” Foley arranges the historical testimony to the reception of the Canon of the New Testament under eleven sections, summarized from Lerdner.  An outline of the whole is not necessary to our argument, and would unduly swell our pages; but the following selections, in clear refutation of Dr. Westcott’s theory, may be sufficient for the student, and interesting as well to the general reader.  The “allegations” are quoted entire; the proof is considerably, but it is hoped not overmuch compressed, and follows with only some slight verbal or structural alterations the exact words of the Author.

         I.  The historical books of the New Testament, meaning thereby the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, are quoted, or alluded to, by a series of Christian writers, beginning with those who were contemporary with the Apostles, or who immediately followed them, and proceeding in close and regular succession from their time to the present.

         Barnabas was the companion of St. Paul.  In an Epistle ascribed to him, and bearing his name – which purports to have been written soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, and which bears the character of the age to which it professes to belong – we have the following remarkable passage:  –

         “Let us, therefore, beware lest it come upon us, as it is written, There are many called, few chosen.”

         From the expression, “as it is written,” we infer with certainty, that at the time when the author of this epistle lived, there was a book extant, well known to Christians, and of authority amongst them, containing these words, “Many were called, few chosen.”  Such a book is our present Gospel of St. Matthew, in which this text is twice found, and is found in no other book now known.

         Further, the writer of the epistle vas a Jew.  And the phrase “it is written,” was the very form in which the Jews quoted their Scriptures.

         Clement, bishop of Rome, whom ancient writers, without any doubt or scruple, assert to have been the Clement whom St. Paul mentions, Phil. 4:3, in an epistle addressed by him to the Church of Corinth, and acknowledged by all the ancients, has the following valuable passage: –

         “Especially remembering the words of the Lord Jesus which He spoke, teaching gentleness and long-suffering, for thus he said: Be ye merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven unto you,” etc.

         Again: “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, for he said, woe to that mam by whom offences come; it were better for him that he had not been born, than that he should offend one of my elect; it were better for him that a millstone should be tied about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the sea, than that he should offend one of my little ones.”

         In both these passages we perceive the high respect paid to the words of Christ as recorded by the evangelists, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus; – by this command, and by these rules, let us establish ourselves, that we may always walk obediently to his holy words.”

         We perceive also in Clement a total unconsciousness of doubt, whether these were the real words of Christ, which are read as such in the Gospels.  This observation indeed belongs to the whole series of testimony, and especially to the most ancient part of it.

         It is to be observed also that, as this epistle was written in the name of the Church of Rome, and addressed to the Church of Corinth, it ought to be taken as exhibiting the judgment not only of Clement, who drew up the letter, but of these Churches themselves, at least as to the authority of the books referred to.

         It may be, and indeed has been said that, as Clement had not used words of quotation, it is not certain that he refers to any book whatever.  But that no such inference can be drawn is proved thus: First, Clement, in the very same manner, without any mark of reference, uses a passage now found in the Epistle to the Romans (ch. 1:29), which, from the peculiarity of the words and from their order, it is manifest he must have taken from the book.  The same remark may he repeated of some very singular sentiments in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Secondly, there are many sentences of St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians standing in Clement’s epistle without any sign of quotation, which yet certainly are quotations; because it appears that Clement had St. Paul’s Epistle before him, inasmuch as in one place he mentions it in terms too express to leave us in any doubt: – “Take into your hands the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul.”  Thirdly, this method of adopting words of Scripture without reference or acknowledgment, was a method in general use amongst the most ancient Christian writers.  These analogies not only repel the objection, but cast the presumption on the other side, and afford a considerable degree of positive proof that the words in question have been borrowed from the places of Scripture in which we now find them.

         Hermas appears in the catalogue of Roman Christians saluted by St. Paul (Rom. 16:14).  A work bearing his name, and in all likelihood rightly, is still remaining, called the Shepherd, or Pastor if Hermas.  In this piece are tacit allusions to St. Matthew’s, St. Luke’s, and St. John’s Gospels: that is, applications of thoughts and expressions found in these Gospels, without the place or writer from which they are taken being cited.  There is also a probable allusion to Acts 5:32.

         Ignatius became Bishop of Antioch about thirty-seven years after Christ’s Ascension.  In his smaller Epistles – generally deemed to be those which were read by Irenaeus, Origen, and Eusebius – are various undoubted allusions to the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. John; yet so far of the same form with those in the preceding articles, that, like them, they are not accompanied with marks of quotation.

         In one place also Ignatius quotes St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians by name; while, in several other places, he borrows words and sentiments from the same epistle without mentioning it; which shows, that this was his general manlier of using and applying writings then extant, and then of high authority.

         Polycarp had been taught by the Apostles, and was by them appointed Bishop of Smyrna.  We have one undoubted Epistle of his remaining.  And this, though a short letter, contains nearly forty clear allusions to books of the New Testament; more frequently to the writings of St. Paul, but copiously also to the Gospels of St. Matthew and. St. Luke.  The following is a decisive, though what we call a tacit, reference to St. Peter’s speech in the Acts of the Apostles “Whom God hath raised, having loosed the pains of death.”

         Papias, a hearer of St. John, and companion of Polycarp, expressly ascribes the respective Gospels to St. Matthew and St. Mark; and in a manner which proves that these Gospels must have publicly borne the names of these authors at that time, and probably long before.

         The writers hitherto alleged had all lived and conversed with some of the Apostles.  The works of theirs which remain are in general very short pieces, yet rendered extremely valuable by their antiquity; and none, short as they are, but contain some important testimony to our historical Scriptures.

         Justin Martyr follows not much more than twenty years after Papias.  Although the nature of his two principal writings – one addressed to heathens, and the other a conference with a Jew – did not lead him to much frequent appeals to Christian books, as in a discourse for Christian readers; we nevertheless reckon up in them between twenty and thirty quotations of the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, certain, distinct, and copious; if each verse be counted separately, a much greater number; if each expression, a very great one.  [“He cites our present Canon and particularly our four Gospels, continually; I dare say, above two hundred times” (Jones’s New and Full Method).]

         Moreover, what seems extremely material to be observed is that in all Justin’s works, from which might be extracted almost a complete life of Christ, there are but two instances, in which he refers to anything as said or done by Christ, which is not related concerning Him in our present Gospels: which shows, that these Gospels, and these, we may say, alone, were the authorities from which the Christians of that day drew the information upon which they depended.

         All the references in Justin, too, are made without mentioning the author; which proves that these books were perfectly notorious.  But although he mentions not the author’s name, he calls the books, “Memoirs composed by the Apostles and their companions”: which descriptions, the latter especially, exactly agree with the titles which the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles now bear.

         Hegesippus came about thirty years after Justin.  He relates that travelling from Palestine to Rome, he visited, on his journey, many Bishops; and that, “in every succession, and in every city, the same doctrine is taught, which the Law, and the Prophets, and the Lord teacheth.”  This is an important attestation.  It is generally understood, that by the word “Lord,” Hegesippus intended some writing or writings, containing the teachings of Christ, in which sense alone the term combines with the other terms “Law and Prophets,” which denote writings; and together with them admit of the verb “teacheth” in the present tense.  Then, that these writings were some or all of the books of the New Testament is rendered probable from other passages in the fragment of his works.

         Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, had been a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John.  He says: “We have not received the knowledge of the way of salvation by any others than those by whom the Gospel has been brought to us.  Which Gospel they first preached and afterwards, by the will of God, committed to writing, that it might be for time to come the foundation and pillar of our faith.  Matthew, among the Jews, wrote a Gospel in their own language; and afterwards, Mark also, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, delivered to us in writing the things that had been preached by Peter; and Luke, the companion of Paul, put down in a book the Gospel preached by Paul.  Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned upon His breast, he likewise published a Gospel while he dwelt at Ephesus in Asia.”  If any modern divine should write a book upon the genuineness of the Gospels, he could not assert it more expressly, or state their original more distinctly, than Irenaeus hath done within little more than a hundred years after they were published.

         To the book of the Acts of the Apostles, its author, and credit, the testimony of Irenaeus is no less explicit.

         Observe also the broad line of distinction between our sacred books, and the pretensions of all others: in an author abounding with references and allusions to the Scriptures, there is not one to any apocryphal Christian writings whatever.

         The force of the testimony of the period which we have considered, is greatly strengthened by the observation, that it is the testimony, and the concurring testimony, of writers who lived in countries remote from one another.  Clement flourished at Rome, Ignatius at Antioch, Polycarp at Smyrna, Justin Martyr in Syria, and Irenaeus in France.

         II.  The Scriptures were in very early times collected into a distinct volume.

         Ignatius, who had lived and conversed with the Apostles, speaks of “the Gospel” and of “the Apostles” in terms which render it very probable that he meant by “the Gospel,” the book or volume of the Gospels, and by “the Apostles,” the book or volume of their Epistles.  His words are: “Fleeing to the Gospel as the flesh of Jesus, and to the Apostles as the presbytery of the Church.”  That is, as Le Clerc interprets, “In order to understand the will of God, he fled to the Gospels, which he believed no less than if Christ in the flesh had been speaking to him; and to the writings of the Apostles, whom he esteemed as the presbytery of the whole Christian Church.”  It must he observed, that about eighty years after this, we have direct proof in the writings of Clement of Alexandria, that these two names, “Gospel” and “Apostles,” were the names by which the writings of the New Testament, and the division of these writings, were usually expressed.

         Quadratus and some others, who were the immediate successors of the Apostles, traveling abroad to preach Christ, as Eusebius relates, carried the Gospels with them, and delivered them to their converts.  “Then travelling abroad, they performed the work of Evangelists, being ambitious to preach Christ, and deliver the Scripture of the Divine Gospels.”  What is thus recorded of the Gospels took place within sixty, or, at the most seventy years after they were published: and it is evident that they must, before this time (and, it is probable, long before this time) have been in general use, and in high esteem in the churches planted by the Apostles; and the immediate successors of the Apostles, they who preached the religion of Christ to those who had not already heard it, carried the volume with them, and delivered it to their converts.

         Irenaeus puts the evangelic and apostolic writings in connection with the Law and the Prophets, manifestly intending by the one a Code or collection of Christian sacred writings, as the other expressed the Code or collection of Jewish sacred writings.

         Melito, at this time Bishop of Sardis, writes to Onesimus that he had procured an accurate account of the books of the Old Testament; which term certainly proves that there was then a volume or collection of writings called the New Testament.

         III.  Our Scriptures were publicly read and expounded in the religious assemblies of the early Christians.

         Justin Martyr, who wrote in the year 140, which was seventy or eighty years after some, and less, probably, after others of the Gospels were published, giving in his first Apology an account to the emperor of the Christian worship, has this remarkable passage: –

         “The Memoirs of the Apostles, or the Writings of the Prophets, are read according as the time allows: and, when the reader has ended, the president makes a discourse, exhorting to the imitation of so excellent things.”

         A few short observations will show the value of this testimony.

         (1.)  The “Memoirs of the Apostles,” Justin in another place expressly tells us, are what are called Gospels: “and that they were the Gospels which are now use, is made certain by Justin’s numerous quotations from them, and his silence about any others.

         (2.)  Justin describes the general usage of the Christian Church.

         (3.)  Justin does not speak of it as recent or newly instituted, but in the terms in which men speak of established customs.

         Tertullian follows in about fifty years, and in his account of the religious assemblies as they were conducted says: “We come together to recollect the Divine Scriptures; we nourish our faith, raise our hope, confirm our trust, by the Sacred Word.”

         This writer also divides the Christian Scriptures into two parts, the “Gospels and Apostles,” as does his contemporary Clement of Alexandria in many allusions, and Ignatius, eighty years before; and calls the whole volume, the “New Testament”.


         Who can rise up from the candid perusal of this masterly argument, curtailed and in outline though it be, and say that the Apostolic Fathers did not recognize a New Testament, or that the formation of our sacred Canon was left to the fitful and intuitive impulse of the post-Apostolic Church – the “intuition without reasoning” of Christians?

         It remains for us only to trace in a few brief lines the fluctuations of the early Fathers and Councils – the feebleness of man on the one hand, and the grace of Divine guidance on the other.

         Taking as round dates 200 A.D. to 400 A.D., the following catalogues may be enumerated: –


Deficient or Hesitating.

         Caius (196?) – omits James, 2 Peter, 3 John, and Hebrews.

         Origen (230) – omits James and Jude, but elsewhere owns them.  Origen’s is the first regular Catalogue.

         Eusebius (315) – marks James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation, as doubted by some.  He himself received Revelation, and considered it Canonical.  Eusebius divides all the writings which claimed in his day to be Apostolic into three distinct classes: ομολογούμενα, Books universally Acknowledged, viz., the 4 Gospels, 14 Epistles of St. Paul, 1 John, 1 Peter, and Revelation (if its authenticity is admitted).

         αντιλεγόμενα, books generally Received, but controverted by some, viz., James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John.

         νόθα, Spurious Books, that is to say, those wanting in Authenticity or Apostolicity, as the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Teachings of the Apostles.  To these he adds Apocryphal or Heretical Books, “which no one of the succession of ecclesiastical writers has anywhere deigned to quote,” as the Gospels of Peter, Thomas, and Matthias, the Acts of Andrew, John, and the other Apostles.

         Cyril of Jerusalem (340), the Council of Laodicea (364), and Gregory Nazianzen (375) – omit Revelation.

         Philaster of Brescia (380) – omits Hebrews and Revelation, but elsewhere acknowledges them.

         Jerome (392) – speaks of Hebrews as doubtful, but elsewhere receives it.

         Amphilochius (395) – marks the Antilegomena.



         Athanasius (315), Epiphanius (370), Ruffinus (390), Augustine (394) and the Third Council of Carthage (397) – all give Catalogues exactly corresponding with our present Canon of the New Testament.

         Of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.]

         These words, which our Article applies to the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, we need scarcely say, can only refer, primarily at least, to the Catholic or Universal Church; for, as we have seen, doubts were entertained in particular churches as to several books of the New Testament, viz., the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude, the second Epistle of St. Peter, the second and third Epistles of St. John, and Revelation.  But the words, if we mistake not, have a deeper meaning, or are worthy of it.  The “authority” of the books of the Bible is, as we have endeavoured to show, the authority of the Holy Ghost and of the “holy men” of old who wrote them under His immediate inspiration, and handed them over as a deposit to the Church of God.  The office of the Church therefore is simply that of a witness and keeper of Holy Writ.  “Hence,” as it has been well said, “the historical demonstration of the Canon of Scripture consists, in point of fact, of a collection of the testimony of individual divines and Churches to the reception of the several books from the first age of Christianity downwards.”  Or, as another late writer equally well puts it: “With respect to the Canonicity of the Sacred Books, the Church acted as a witness, not as a judge.  It received the books from those who committed the words to writing under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost, on the authority of the inspired writers themselves.  It kept them, jealously excluding all writings which could not be traced to inspired men, and handed them down as of Divine authority to the next generation.  Thus the inspired books have descended to our own time.  The Church never decided what books should be Canonical, but what were and had been from the beginning, according to the historical evidence of their having been written by inspired men.”  Of course in this excellent passage, by “the Church,” we must understand also, as in the Article, the Catholic or Universal Church.


3.  The Apocrypha.

         (1.)  The word Apocrypha (απόκρυφα, pl., scil. βιβλία), primarily meaning hidden or concealed, seems to have been applied to the secret books containing the esoteric knowledge of the Greek mysteries and Gnostic sects; and in the early Christian Church to anonymous writings.  In the time of Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria, however, it had passed into a secondary and bad sense of spurious, or forged, being by these fathers used of heretical writings, which claimed to be authoritative.

         With the exception of Cyril of Jerusalem and Jerome, the word does not appear to have been freely applied by leading writers to noncanonical books till the era of the Reformation, ecclesiastical being the term ordinarily used instead, whereas apocryphal denoted only such books as might not be publicly read.  Thus the classification of Ruffinus runs: I. Canonical: II. Ecclesiastical; III. Apocryphal.  And though he speaks of “Apocryphal Scriptures,” in deference probably to Jerome, yet he tells us that these were called “Ecclesiastical by most.”  (Libriqui non canonici sed Ecclesiastici a majoribus appellati sunt.)

         (2.)  The Non-canonicity of the Apocryphal Books is clearly proved as follows: –

         First, By External Evidence –

         (a) Not one of them is extant in Hebrew, which language, it is admitted by all, was the Canonical language of the Old Testament.

         (b) They were posterior in time to the cessation of the Prophetic Spirit in the Jewish Church.

         (c) They were never received into the Canon by the Jews.

         (d) They are not once quoted by Philo, Josephus, our Lord, or His Apostles – at least, as Canonical.

         Second.  By Internal Evidence against their Inspiration –

         (a) They nowhere claim, in direct terms, to be the word of the Lord.  On the contrary, they sometimes acknowledge the departure (1 Macc. 9:27), or hope for the return (ch. 4:46), of the prophetic gift.  And even when they simulate the prophetic tone, the solemnity and grandeur of the message of the Lord of Hosts is lost in the feeble and fallen cadence of the voice of man.

         (b) They contradict the Canonical Scriptures –

         In History:

         Thus, the Story of Del and the Dragon contradicts the account of Daniel’s being cast into the den of lions.  In the Scripture account we are told that Daniel was cast into the den, because of continuing his usual practice of praying to God, against the Decree of Darius the Median, but was taken up out of the den early the following morning.  In the Apocrypha we read that, because he had “destroyed Bel, slain the Dragon, and put the priests to death,” he was cast into the den by (permission of) Cyrus the Persian, “where he was six days.”  Now, while we may reconcile the apparent contradiction as to Cyrus the Persian and Darius the Mede by concluding, as we are probably warranted, that the former appointed the latter as his viceroy over Babylon; we cannot on any rational grounds suppose that the author of Bel and the Dragon means the deputy Darius throughout his letter when he speaks of Cyrus and the close intimacy subsisting between him and Daniel, for no possible extension of the principle “Qui facit per alium, facit per se,” could apply.  Nor can we at all adjust the strangely opposite statements of the cause of Daniel’s being cast into the den – to say nothing of some of the ludicrous elements imported into the pseudo-history.  But, above all, we cannot fit “six days” into one.

         Again, Baruch is said to have been carried to Babylon at the very time when Jeremiah tells us he was carried by Johanan into Egypt.

         “And these are the words of the book, which Baruch the son of Nerias wrote in Babylon, what time as the Chaldeans took Jerusalem, and burnt it with fire” (Baruch 1:1–2).  “But Johanan took all the remnant of Judah, and every person that Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah.  So they came into the land of Egypt” (Jer. 43:5–7).

         It is also alleged that no prophet was living at the time of the Babylonish Captivity.

         “Neither is there at this time prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place to sacrifice before thee to find mercy” (Song of the Three Children, 15).

         In Doctrine:

         The Efficacy of Prayers for the Dead is taught.

         “And when he (Judas Maccabeus) had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachmas of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection.  For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead.  And also in that he perceived that there was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought.  Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin” (2 Macc. 12:43–45).

         The Efficacy of Prayers by the Dead is taught.

         “O Lord Almighty, thou God of Israel, bear now the prayers of the dead Israelites, and of their children, which have sinned before thee, and not hearkened unto the voice of thee their God: for the which cause these plagues cleave unto us” (Baruch 3:4).

         The Transmigration of souls is taught.

         “For I (Solomon) was a witty child, and had a good spirit.  Yea rather, being good, I came into a body undefiled” (Wisdom 8:19–20).

         Justification by Works is taught.

         “Alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin” (Tobit 12:9).  “Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins” (Ecclus. 3:3).  “To forsake unrighteousness is a propitiation” (Eccles. 35:3).

         (c) They contradict well-known ancient History.

         Thus we read that the Romans had but a single magistrate yearly.

         “And that they committed their government to one man every year, who ruled over all their country, and that all were obedient to that one, and that there was neither envy nor emulation among them” (1 Macc. 8:16).  True, it is only said that Judas had heard these things.  But their relation in Maccabeus is equal to an historical statement, for it is asserted that Judas sent Eupolemus and Jason to Rome, and that the senate made a league with the people of the Jews, “written in tables of brass,” and the articles of which are given.

         Again, Daniel is said to have destroyed the temple of Belus (Bel and the Dragon), whereas it was pulled down by Xerxes; and the Babylonians are represented as worshippers of living animals (ibid.), which they never were at any period of their history – their idolatry being invariable, astral, and heroic.

         (d) They contradict themselves.

         Thus no less than three widely different accounts, and each with a considerable amount of detail, are given of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes.  In the 1st Book of Maccabees (ch. 6:1–16) he is said to have died of grief in Babylon.  In the 2d Book (ch. 1:13–16) he is said to have been slain in Persia.  And afterwards, in the very same Book a whole chapter (2 Macc. 9) is devoted to a description of his death from a loathsome disease “in a strange country in the mountains”.

         (e) They approvingly narrate, or strongly commend, gross Immorality, on the part not only of man, but of an Archangel of God.

         Lying.  Some seven of the fourteen chapters of Tobit are devoted to the exploits and in most instances unwholesome counsels of Raphael, who declares himself at the outset to be “Azarias the son of Ananias,” and at the winding up, to be “one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the holy One.”

         Magical Incantation.  The same angel of God is reported as teaching Tobias to drive the Devil away with the smoke of the ashes of perfume, and the heart and liver of a fish (Tobit 6:7, 16–17).

         Assassination, cold-blooded Murder, and Deceit.  Judith is painted a heroine to be adored, at once beautiful and bold, ritualistic and heartless, of ferocious courage and deceitful lips, who enters upon her own murderous task with a player to God justifying the assassination of the Shechemites, which is condemned in Genesis (Judith 8:16, Gen. 34, and 49:5–7).

         Suicide.  Razis is highly praised, and said to have died “manfully,” for destroying himself in a manner the most determined, and revolting beyond precedent (2 Macc. 14:41–46).

         (3.)  The Use of the Apocrypha.

         (a) If these (specimen) charges are true – and the proof is patent – we honestly confess it does seem strange to teach that the Apocryphal Books are to be read in the Church “for example of life and instruction of manners (as Hierome saith).”  If we must plead antiquity, let us go back some centuries further than Jerome: to Justin Martyr and his “Memoirs of the Apostles and Writings of the Prophets”; but above all, and any merely human precedent, let us go back to Christ and His Apostles, and if we cannot find our Great Teacher and His Disciples reading the Apocrypha in the Church, then, we submit, the sooner we set aside the plea of any subsequent antiquity the better.

         Again, we cannot but consider it weak to plead for the reading of Apocryphal Books, which do contain error, because we allow sermons, etc., which may be erroneous – to argue from that which is possible, for that which is positive!  There is no analogy.  Moreover, pulpits and hymns which run counter to the teaching of Scripture, sooner or later find their level with Christians.  And you see them all: there is nothing dangerous in the background, to tempt curiosity: they are whole wags, as a rule, or no wags.

         Nor does it much strengthen the case that the more objectionable portions of the Apocrypha are not read of late: that Tobit and its superstitions; Judith and its admixture of impieties; Susanna and its detail of indelicacies; and Bel and the Dragon and its direct contradictions of Scripture, are at present suppressed.  It is humiliating to cull, for a Lectionary of the House of God, passages from writings which – to say the least – as a whole you cannot endorse.  It is dangerous and unprofitable to read them to the people.  It places the minister in a false, if not a ludicrous position, to call that the Apocrypha at the reading desk, which the Homilies oblige him to call the Scripture of the Holy Ghost in the pulpit.  If Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation,” it is not wise to tamper in the Church of God with Books which may not be “applied to establish any doctrine,” and which in any part of them are directly contrary to the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament.  No truth can contradict another truth,” saith Hooker, whose “judiciousness” yet fails him, but perhaps only in his strong advocacy of the Apocrypha, and especially as read in his time.  How strong is prejudice – how feeble is the strength of man.

         Here as elsewhere we would write not from the stand point of party, but of truth.  And we think we can see something of the leaven of our argument at work in the Church of England.  At all events, our present Lectionary contains considerably fewer lessons from the Apocrypha than the last; and has thrown out the more objectionable ones.

         (b) The real use of the Apocryphal Books consists in this, that they form an important link in the history of the Jews – in all their fortunes ever dear to Christians.  They display the current of Jewish thought between the close of Old Testament prophecy and the coming of Christ.  In them we have, if not the absolute decay, yet the impaired tone and loss of the robustness of the national mind, when the scribe of the letter of the law, and not the prophet of its spirit, guided Israel.  And though the contact with idolatry in Babylon failed to bow down the people of God again to “stocks and stones,” and the heart of the masses of the post-exilians was so far sound, as witness the spirit of resistance which led to the Maccabean victories, and the establishment of synagogues to preserve the purity of the faith; yet, superstition – emasculated idolatry – prevailed in high places, and laxity in all but the “jots and tittles” of God’s Revelation ruled in Palestine as well as in Alexandria.

         True, the Apocryphal Books contain some ennobling thoughts, and proverbial precepts for the conduct of life; but they are grains of gold, embedded in reprobate silver.

         (4.)  The general history of the Abuse of the Apocrypha is lengthened, but must be briefly sketched.

         (a) The early Christian Church, through its ignorance and neglect of the study of Hebrew – pardonable perhaps at the outset in its long unsettled state, and in the cradle of frequent and fiery persecutions – admitted in many instances the Apocrypha as Scripture.  And not only so, but in the case of the New Testament Canon, where a knowledge of Hebrew was in no way required, read not infrequently as Scripture uncanonical books – a “stubborn fact” and unanswerable argument against the value of Dr. Westcott’s “intuitive” guide.

         (b) A well-defined stream of Christian evidence takes up the Canon of the Old Testament (with which we are here more immediately concerned), and carries it down to the Council of Carthage; but far from intact.

         Thus Melito (second century), Origen (third century), Athanasius, Hilary of Poictiers, Cyril of Jerusalem, the Council of Laodicea, Gregory Nazianzen, Amphilochius, Epiphanius, Ruffinus, and Jerome (fourth century) – all substantially report the books of the Hebrew Bible, except Esther, which is (probably) omitted by Gregory (but may be included in Ezra), placed among the Apocrypha by Athanasius, and only inserted in the catalogue of Amphilochius under the doubtful phrase “some add Esther.”  While Baruch and the Letter are admitted by Cyril, the Council of Laodicea, Epiphanius, and (perhaps) Athanasius.

         But this list is barely an index to the divergences.  Irenaeus quotes as Scripture – Baruch, Wisdom, and the Apocryphal Additions to Daniel.  Clement of Alexandria – Baruch, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Judith, and 2 Esdras.  Tertullian – Baruch, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus.  Methodius, the same.  Chrysostom the same.  And innumerable instances occur where the Fathers of the first four centuries casually, but nevertheless explicitly and really, do quote Apocryphal Books as Scripture, however safe we may be in saying in opposition to their more deliberate judgment, as indicated by the fact that when pressed, or discussion arose, appeal was made to our Canon.

         But here, notably, Augustine wavered: at one time admitting into his Canon Apocryphal Books; and at another, disparaging oven some of the Books thus admitted.  And if with this renowned Father of the Church we enter the boasted Councils of Carthage, 397 and 419, we find Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Judith, 2 Esdras, and 1 and 2 Maccabees, ratified as “Canonical Scriptures” – in exact keeping, as may be shown, with Augustine’s own general Canon.  So much, alas! for the plenary authority of the Church, at the close of the fourth century, as advocated by Rome.  So much for the theory of development and “intuition”.  The very Council which, as the result of Dr. Westcott’s “intuitive act of the Christian Body without reasoning,” pronounced for the unadulterated Canon of the New Testament, thus pronounced for a grossly adulterated Canon of the Old.

         But it is pleasing on this the eve of Christendom’s long night of unfaithfulness to the Word of God, which culminated in the Council of Trent – the darkest hour of her judicial blindness before the dawn of the blessed Reformation – to find one man asking for the Old Paths, and standing for the Law and the Testimony of Jehovah.  Jerome devoted himself to the study of the Holy Scriptures and their original languages, and laid on the altar of God and of Europe the noble fruits of his labours in the Vulgate – his New Translation of the Old Testament, prefaced and fenced by its “Helmed Prologue”: “following, by no means, the custom of this time, but the authority of ancient writers,” in telling off, distinctly, the Apocrypha from the Pure Word of God.

         Would to God he had gone one step further, and instead of conniving at the Church in her reading of Apocryphal Books for the so-phrased “edification of the people, though not for the authoritative confirmation of doctrine,” he had raised his manly and scholarly voice against Apocryphal Writings altogether, and consigned them to their own place – the library of the student.

         (c) The sin of the Council of Trent is soon told.  In its Fourth Session, 1546, the dominant party, without one scholar of note amongst them, carried, in blind and ignorant deference to former suspicious Papal decrees – the probably unauthentic lists of Innocent I and Gelasius, repeated by Eugenius IV – the Canon of Augustine and of the Council of Carthage, with the exception of 2 Esdras and the addition of Baruch, against the Canon of Jerome and the Hebrew Bible: thus impiously and authoritatively adding Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, and 1 and 2 Maccabees to God’s Word. [Dr. Westcott unaccountably omits Baruch in his list of the Tridentine Council; and Bishop Browne omits 2 Esdras in his list of Carthage.]  “The most Holy Ecumenical and General Council of Trent ... following the examples of the orthodox fathers, receives and venerates, with equal pious affection and reverence, all the books of the Old and New Testament [including the above], and also the Traditions, whether pertaining to faith or morals. ... If, however, any one does not receive, as sacred and canonical, the entire Books with all their parts, as they are accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church, and in the Old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and wittingly despises the aforesaid Traditions, let him be Anathema.”

         Let not our strictures, under this Article, on Dr. Westcott’s teaching, be misunderstood.  That teaching, from his position, is the main supply, in its kind, of our two universities of Cambridge and Oxford; and it is adopted elsewhere in quarters where we should have least expected.  Painfully, but firmly in the interests of truth, we condemn it.  It is but a step removed from Neology and from Rome.  It weakly and foolishly, though ingeniously, builds our most Holy Faith on the perilous sand of intuition and human authority, and not on the sure foundation of God.  If the intuition of the post-Apostolic Church resulted in pronouncing clara voce for the New Testament at Carthage, how is it that it did not result in pronouncing in like manner for the Old?  What if the still more enlightened nineteenth century Church should pronounce in its turn against the post-Apostolic Church both as regards the New Testament and the Old?  And the Divines of Germany have! – mutilated not only the New Testament, but the whole Bible.  Demonstrably, intuition has failed to save Christendom.  And it is just this anchor, neither sure nor steadfast, of Human Wisdom, whether weak and intuitive, or more philosophic, or arrogant and presumptuous, that is wrecking the churches of God.


Article  VII.

History and Doctrine with Scriptural Proof

         Of the Old Testament. – The Old Testament is not contrary to the New, for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man.  Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises.  Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil Precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

            De Veteri Testamento – Testamentum Vetus Novo contrarium non est, quando quidem tam in Veteri, quam in Novo, per Christum, qui unicus est Mediator Dei et hominum, Deus et Homo, aeterna vita humano generi est proposita.  Quare male sentiunt, qui veteres tantum in promissiones temporarias sperasse confingunt.  Quanquam Lex a Deo data per Mosen, quoad Ceremonios et Ritus, Christianos non astringat, neque civilia ejus praecepta in aliqua republica necessario recipi debeant; nihilominus tamen ab obedientia mandatorum quae Moralia vocantur, nullus quantumvis Christianis est solutus.



         The Article, as it now stands, is made up, with some modifications, of the Sixth and Nineteenth of the Forty-two Articles of Edward VI.  We subjoin these, as they tend to illustrate the history and nature of the controversy in which our Reformers were involved.


Article VI, 1552.

         The Old Testament is not to be refused. – The Old Testament is not to be put away, as though it were contrary to the New, but to be kept still; for both in the Old and New Testaments everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man.  Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises.


Article XIX, 1552.

         All men are bound to keep the Moral Commandments of the Law. – The Law, which was given of God by Moses, although it bind not Christian men as concerning the Ceremonies and Rites of the same; neither is it required that the Civil Precepts and Orders of it should of necessity be received in any commonweal: yet no man, be he never so perfect a Christian, is exempt and loose from the obedience of those Commandments which are called Moral.  Wherefore they are not to be hearkened unto, who affirm that Holy Scripture is given only to the weak, and do boast themselves continually of the Spirit, of whom (they say) they have learned such things as they teach, although the same be most evidently repugnant to the Holy Scripture.


         Ever since God revealed Himself to man, Satan has countermined against God by the power of infidel reason.  “Yea, hath God said?” is, in one shape or other, the virtual text with which the Destroyer has wooed and won the pride and heart of his captives.  In Eden, with the Patriarch, the Jew, this Gentile Christian, these subtle words have, in life or faith, worked ruin of our race.  They are Satan’s chief and greatest strength; and so, you have only to look down the stream of the Church’s history to see that wherever God more fully and graciously vouchsafes His blessing, there Satan again and more vigorously sinks and works this “countermine.”  It was so in the first age of Christianity, when “oppositions of science falsely so called” corrupted the infant Church.  It was so at the Reformation, when Anabaptist lawlessness and contempt of the Word Written embarrassed the all-important movement.  It has been so of late years, when Rationalism and a lifeless or carnal Ritualism threaten to displace the Evangelical revival of Christendom – that fuller tide and outcome of Reformation attainments.  And it is just here, as we may appeal to the inner consciousness of every intelligent believer, gathers the cloud that not infrequently chills and darkens the phases of his love and light and joy.

         But we must not unduly diverge from the historic limits of our Article.  Its wording, “The Old Testament is not contrary to the New,” reminds us, however, of the Gnostic terminology; and we may not be altogether wrong in concluding that the compilers thus, in the first instance, had reference to Gnostic speculations – Satan’s formula in the early Christian age.  In any case, a brief review of these heresies will enable us better to understand that against which the Article certainly does protest.

         Gnosticism (γνωσις, science, or the so-called true knowledge of God) soon came to disturb and to mar the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  Whether we hold with Tiltmann that Gnosticism as such had no existence in the first century; or with Lewald, that notwithstanding many points of resemblance can be traced, it is essentially different from any system of either Grecian or Oriental philosophy: still, we think it apparent that the seeds of a false philosophy in direct opposition to the Gospel were sown in the days of the Apostles; and that that philosophy, whether formally coincident with previous or existent systems, contained and was contaminated with the virus of heathen theosophy, as well as the virtual germs of the future and historic Gnosis.

         We must go back for a moment to Plato and to the Orientals.  The former held not only the unity of God, but that He is careful of the government of the world, and administers it as an independent, powerful, and intelligent Being.  He also believed in a future state, and in the immortality of the soul.  But with these sound and invaluable doctrines he mixed up many fanciful and erroneous opinions; such as that matter was coeternal with God; and that to its native intractability or malignity was owing the origin of evil.  The Oriental Philosophy, on the other hand, held the eternal existence of two opposite Principles, the Supreme God, the author of good; and the Demiurge, or Creator of the world, the author of evil.  And thus the origin of evil was the stumbling stone at once of Platonism and Orientalism.  Evil is the contrary of good, and therefore if contrary to and independent of the Supreme Good, must in one way or other be eternal.

         It is easy to see how Judaism first, and Judaic and Gentile Christianity afterwards, won by Satan and the pride of the human heart to loose reasoning on the plain letters of Genesis – now swayed at Alexandria by the Platonic theory, and anon in Asia by the Oriental theory – begat and fostered vain and hybrid speculations, neither true Platonic nor Oriental, but a mixture at once of Platonism, Orientalism, and Revelation; embellished with extraneous notions from the heathen, or the fancies of individual founders.  And accordingly we find at Alexandria the doctrine of “emanations,” or Eons – orders of intermediate agents, proceeding from or developed by the Deity, and varying in number according to the fancy of the several sects.  While in Asia, we have the dualism of God and Matter – two hostile and eternal Principles or Personalities.  But in each quarter, as might be expected, a jumble not infrequently of both systems; and invariably, in all subdivisions, a medley of crude philosophy, grossest or anile fiction, and obscured Revelation.  And this we take it is the veritable Gnosticism unquestionably alluded to and reprobated in the New Testament – as yet we grant in embryo, but which soon, and in many forms, was so detrimental to the early Church.

         It is needless to follow in detail the development of Gnosticism.  Let it suffice to note a representative of Alexandria and Asia, respectively, with a glance at the Manichean heresy, the new forum in which Gnosticism seems to have perpetuated itself.

         Simon Magus was a Samaritan by birth, but studied philosophy at Alexandria, where he became imbued with the eclectic Gnostic notions.  Returning to his native country, a fit place for the exercise of his powers, the Samaritans believing in uncreated angelic emanations from God, and Dositheus his master having preceded him as a teacher of Gnosticism there, he “bewitched the people of Samaria with sorceries,” and was recognized as an incarnation of “the power of God which is called (καλουμένη – improperly omitted in the Received Version) great” (Acts 8:9–11).  Matter, with his class, was considered eternally animated, and to have produced, by its inherent energies, an evil Deity who presided over it, surrounded by numerous attendants.  Hence we may naturally infer that he held the consequent doctrines of the impurity of matter, the indifference of human actions, and the non-resurrection of the body.  He also rejected the Law of Moses, and declared himself the Christ who had come to abolish it.  But his crowning wickedness was the mode of his embodiment of the dualistic element of two original principles; the pretense that the greatest and most powerful of the Eons – the δυνάμεις, or untreated emanations – resided in himself, while a corresponding Eon of the female sex resided in his mistress Helena – a former prostitute of Tyre.  Thus in his hands the Magian theurgy passed into the most blasphemous egotism: “giving out that himself was” the Word of God, the Perfection, the Paraclete, the Omnipotent, the All of Deity.

         Marcion, son of the Bishop of Sinope, in Pontus, came to settle at Rome in the reign of Antoninus Pius, in the second century, there to propagate his opinions in a larger and more important field – Rome being the capital of the world, and as Facitus says, “everything that was bad upon earth finding its way to Rome.”  Various and conflicting accounts are given of his opinions.  But we may conclude that, like the Orientals, he held the eternal existence of two first causes – the Supreme Good and the Demiurge; that the latter was the God and Lawgiver of the Jews, therefore the Old Testament and all parts of the New founded upon it, were to be rejected, as incapable of bestowing sanctification; that Christ was the manifestation of the Supreme God, and sent by him to destroy the work of the Demiurge, yet that he had the appearance (δόκησις) only of a body, and consequently the Jews were unable to hurt him; that matter being intrinsically evil, we are to mortify our bodies by fasting, abstinence from marriage, and deny ourselves the use of wine, flesh, and whatever is grateful and pleasing to the body; and that whoever will thus abstract the mind from all sensible objects, and obey these principles, renouncing the Old Testament Scriptures, shall after death ascend to the celestial mansions.  To these general principles he added many peculiarities, as the administration of the cup with water only; baptism in the name of the Son, excluding the Father and the Holy Ghost, and the living to be baptized for friends who had died unbaptized.

         Towards the close of the third century, when Gnosticism proper was on the wane, thanks to the labours of Tertullian, the investigations and lucid confutations of the Jewish notions by Dionysius of Alexandria and Dorotheus of Antioch, and even perhaps the allegorical and tropological mode of expounding Scripture by Origen, a new and still more dangerous heresy appeared, which, despite persecutions, imperial edicts, and exterminating laws, spread over Europe, Asia, and most parts of the world.  Manes, or Manichaeus, one of the Persian Magi, was born about the year 240, in the reign of Probus.  Of much ingenuity, considerable talent, and versed in all the learning of his country, he combined the Magian philosophy with Christianity and some of the more popular tenets of Gnosticism, so as to present a system sufficiently luring not only to absorb the still remaining Gnostics, but also to secure at one time even the mind of Augustine.  He threw aside the doctrine of emanations, and inculcated the simple belief that God was the cause of good, and Matter the cause of evil.  There are two first principles of all things, a subtle and very pure substance or Light, and a gross and corrupt substance or Darkness; and over each of these a Lord has reigned from all eternity – two opposing Spirits, with numerous progenies, out of whose contexts arose the mundane confusion of good and evil.  To relieve souls the creation of God imprisoned in bodies of vicious matter, God sent forth two majestic beings, Christ (the Mithras of the Persians) and the Holy Ghost.  Christ explained to men their true origin, the cause of their captivity, and the means of their recovery, viz., ceasing to worship the God of the Jews, obeying Christ’s laws as expounded by Manes, and resisting lust.  His body necessarily was in appearance only; but his mystical crucifixion taught mankind how to mortify the flesh; and his mystical resurrection and ascension, that death destroys not man but only his prison, and restores to purified souls the liberty of returning to heaven.  The Holy Ghost, diffused throughout the atmosphere, enlightens and assists the souls of men, pouring over them his salutary influences.  Manes, in fulfillment of the promise made by Jesus Christ, that the Paraclete should communicate to the world a fuller and clearer revelation, now explained by command of God the whole doctrine of salvation perfectly, without any concealment or ambiguity.  As human souls cannot acquire complete purity in this life, there is, after death, for all those who have obeyed Christ, a purgatory of a twofold nature – first by sacred water, then by sacred fire; and for others, a transmigration of souls, to work out their salvation in new bodies – those who ultimately and utterly fail being handed over to the powers of darkness.  The Old Testament was the work of the Prince of darkness, whom the Jews worshipped in place of the true God.  The four Gospels were either not genuine, or interpolated, and stuffed with Jewish fables.  The Acts of the Apostles was to be wholly rejected.  The Epistles of St. Paul were genuine, but not authentic.  A book, called Erteng, or Arzeng, i.e., the Gospel composed by Manes in a cave, where he spent a whole year, was dictated by God Himself.  The body being the work of the evil spirit, is to be subjected to the most rigid mortification; all the propensities and instincts of our nature are to be subdued; marriage is to be rejected; and there is no resurrection.  While hearers or imperfect Christians might possess property, and have sparing indulgences, the elect or perfect Christians were to adhere most rigorously to all the severe rules of the system – to drag out an inactive life of celibacy on bread and water, and to be devoid both of hatred and love.  Though without temple or altar, the ecclesiastical polity of the Manichees was framed on the lines of Christ and His Disciples – a president, representing the Saviour; twelve rulers the twelve Apostles; and seventy-two bishops the seventy-two Disciples.  Such was the system which replaced Gnosticism, caricatured the Gospel, and lived and lingered on to disturb the Church of God, till at last it gave birth to some of the more obnoxious tenets of Popery, and to the Anabaptism of the sixteenth century.

         Here then we find in Gnosticism and Manicheism, as we shall find in Anabaptism, and as we may also find in the Rationalism and Ritualism of our own day, a frivolous overlaying and superseding, or impious despising and questioning of God’s Word Written: in each a phase of Satan’s counterwork against God; and each precisely and cunningly adapted to the era of its development.  And it is well for the student to see this.  Hitherto the histories of heresies have been too much rendered as separate individualities, and not, as they are veritable pieces, each shaped and fashioned to its purpose and age, of the great though complicated machinery of Satan in opposition to God and His Christ.  God in History brings us more lovingly, and in more filial trust, to our Heavenly Father.  Satan in History, if rightly written and wisely read, would put us more keenly on our guard.  A pen fully and judiciously to portray both would be of infinite service to the Church and the world.

         Now to these and cognate heresies, some partly developed, and others only budding in the Apostles’ time, we should expect to find, and we do find, considerable allusions in the New Testament.  Take the following examples: –

         St. Paul anticipates the rise of heresies at Ephesus. “For I know this, that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29–30).  And in his Epistles subsequently addressed to Timothy at Ephesus, the Apostle prophesies, through the present agency and power of the Spirit (το πνευμα λέγει), the future success of Gnostic and allied heresies in after times (εν υστέροις καιροις), and points to their incipient budding.  “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in after times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.  Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.  Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.  For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.  If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things [suggesting the coming Apostasy and the means of avoiding it], thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.  But refuse profane and anile fables (μύθους pointing, with the “endless genealogies” of chapter 1, most probably to the transitional state of heretical speculation between Judaism and Gnosticism proper), and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.  For bodily exercise (σωματικη λυμνασία – understood by Ambrose, Calvin, Grotius, and others, of corporal austerities for religion’s sake; by Chrysostom, Bengel, etc., of mere gymnastic training) profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things [bodily and spiritual, temporal and eternal], having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Tim. 4:1–8).  “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called (ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως – a counterfeit of the true Christian γνωσις, and already at work), which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1 Tim. 6:20).  “And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already [consisting in a moral change – a denial of the resurrection was one of the errors of Gnostics subsequently]; and overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:17–18).

         And this false philosophy abounded also at Colossae.  “Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit [the vain and deceitful mixture of Judaic and Oriental philosophy which was so soon to ripen into the developed Gnosis], after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ [the only true gauge and measure of all philosophy].  For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (παν το πλήρωμα της θεότητος σωματιλως), all the Pleroma – the essential and personal Being of God in the incarnate and glorified Christ.  He is therefore not an Eon).  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power [united to Christ, you want no supplement of vain philosophy; and your Pleroma is not to be confounded with Emanation figments, for He Himself is the Head of all created existences]. ... Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink [condemn you from his standpoint of selfish asceticism], or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.  Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels [a superstition afterwards variously embodied in Gnosticism], intruding into those things which he hath not seen [how graphically descriptive of the whole future dreamland of Eons], vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God [a Divine anatomy of the Body of Christ, the Church, and the individual soul, tracing all Life to God, the only First Cause.  And a prophetic rebuke of Papal Mariolatry].  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of time world [the weak and beggarly elements of a sensuous Jewish and Gentile cultus], why, as though living in the world, do ye suffer yourselves to be dogmatized (Touch not, taste not, handle not [as the ascetics dogmatize]; which all are to perish with the using [all meats are given us by the Creator for our consumption]), after time commandments and systems (διδασκαλίας) of men?  Which things have indeed a show of wisdom (σοφίας – the higher and only true γνωσις) in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh [what an inspired word painting of and warning against Asceticism and Superstition – two of the main features of the coming Gnosticism] (Col. 2:8–10, 16–23).

         In Crete too Titus was cautioned.  “Not giving heed to Jewish fables [probably the germinating seeds of the Gnostic Mythology of Eons, in its abuse of Judaism], and commandments of men [as to meats and other ascetic injunctions], that turn from the truth.  [For] Unto the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:14–15).  “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law [in idle fables about supernatural generations as grafted on the Law of Moses – most probably the mediate, if not the proximate cause of Gnostic doubt about its Divine authority]; for they are unprofitable and vain” (Titus 3:9).

         Let us now turn to the heresies against which our Article is definitely set.  The Anabaptism of the sixteenth century (including under this general designation, for the sake of convenience, the various lawless and fanatical sects of the Reformation period) was in the main neither more nor less than the natural outcome of the heresies we have sketched – adapted to the age.  Thus a leading tenet of most Gnostic sects of Manicheism was that Christ had an unreal body – docetic, ethereal, or emanative.  And many of the Anabaptists of Munster, as well as the Mennonites, denied that Christ received from the Virgin Mary that human body which He assumed, and held that it was a divine and celestial body produced out of nothing in the Virgin’s womb by the Holy Ghost.  Again, Gnosticism and Manicheism rejected the Old Testament Scriptures as the work of the Demiurge.  And this heresy, stripped of some of its fantastic fiction, repeated itself among the Anabaptist sects.  “Here I note only one thing, which is [the] temerity, ignorance, and blasphemy of certain fantastic heads, which hold that the prophets do write only to the people of the old Testament, and that their doctrine did pertain only to their time; and would seclude all the fathers that lived under the law from the hope of eternal salvation.  And here is also a note to be gathered against them which utterly reject the old Testament, as a book nothing necessary to the Christians which live under the Gospel.  But as I have said before, there is no difference between the Old Testament and the New, but only in circumstance and nothing in substance.  And therefore the One is as well to be allowed and received as the other” (Bishop Alley, “Poore Man’s Librerie,” ii. 97).  Thus the ten commandments were easily antiquated, and adultery was no sin.  Even the dualistic quasi-Manichean distinction between the flesh and the spirit was introduced by one of the schools, who held that in the very act of the grossest bodily sin, the soul was free and uncontaminated before God.  And if the Anabaptists could not like Manes literally forge upon the world a Gospel of their own, yet they followed closely in his lines, and declared that the Sacred Volume had become so corrupted in its transmission that it was unworthy of credence, so that their preachers were at liberty to treat it, which in fact they often did, as “mere dead letter”.

         Hooper writing to Bullinger, 1549, gives the following awful picture of Anabaptism in England.  “The Anabaptists flock to the place [of my lecture], and give me much trouble with their opinions respecting the Incarnation of our Lord; for they deny altogether that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary according to the flesh.  They contend that a man who is reconciled to God is without sin, and free from all stain of concupiscence, and that nothing of the old Adam remains in his nature; and a man, they say, who is thus regenerate, cannot sin.  They add that all hope of pardon is taken away from those who, after having received the Holy Ghost, fall into sin.  They maintain a fatal necessity, and that beyond and besides that will of His, which He has revealed to us in the Scriptures, God hath another will by which He altogether acts under some kind of necessity.  How dangerously our England is affected by heresies of this kind, God only knows: I am unable indeed, from sorrow of heart, to express to your piety.  There are some who deny that man is endued with a soul different from that of a beast, and subject to decay.  Alas! not only are these heresies reviving among us which were formerly dead and buried, but new ones are springing up every day.  There are such libertines and wretches who are daring enough in their conventicles, not only to deny that Christ is the Messiah and Savour of the world, but also to call that blessed Seed a mischievous fellow, and deceiver of the world.  On the other hand, a great portion of the kingdom so adheres to the popish faction as altogether to set at naught God and the lawful authority of the magistrates; so that I am greatly afraid of a rebellion and civil discord” (Original Letters, ed. P.S. pp. 65, 66).

         Hardwick thus accounts for the (immediate) rise of the Anabaptists, and briefly delineates some of their deadly errors.  “The ramifications of these varied misbelievers may be traced, in many cases, to the scene of the original collisions between the ‘old’ and ‘new learning’.  One of their distinctive errors, though not the grand characteristic of their system, was the absolute rejection of infant baptism; and from this peculiarity came the title ‘Anabaptists’.  Mistaking or perverting what was urged by Luther, as to the necessity of active, conscious faith in all partakers of the sacraments, they soon proceeded to postpone the ministration of the initiatory rite until the subjects of it had complied with all the requisite preconditions.

         “But the points at which they had departed from the ground of the Reformers were not limited to infant Baptism.  They proceeded to assail the Lutheran formula in which salvation was attributed to ‘faith only,’ and in agitating this, they fell into a further question respecting the two natures of our blessed Lord and His essential Divinity.  John Denk, and others, now affirmed that man may earn salvation by his own virtuous actions, and regarded the Founder of Christianity chiefly in His character of Teacher and Exemplar.  In Him, as one of the most spotless of our race, the Father was peculiarly manifested to the world, but to assert that Christ is the Redeemer, in the ordinary meaning of the term, was to convert him into an idol.  He was held to be a Saviour of His people, because He was the leader and forerunner of all who would be saved.

         “While notions of this kind were spreading rapidly on every side, a second school of Anabaptists were devising a very different creed.  The tone of thought prevailing in the former school was strongly rationalistic: in the latter it was more entirely mystical.  They introduced a dualistic (quasi-Manichean) distinction between the ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’; and instead of holding, like the former sect, that man, though fallen, may be rescued by his natural powers, they alleged that the ‘flesh’ alone participated in the fall, and further that when the material element in him was most of all obnoxious to the indignation of God, the spirit still continued free and uncontaminated by the vilest of the outward actions.  They attributed the restoration of harmony between these elements of our nature to the intervention of the Logos, but maintained that His humanity was peculiar, not consisting of flesh and blood which He derived from the substance of the Virgin.  Not a few of these same Anabaptists afterwards abandoned every semblance of belief in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and so passed over to the Arian and Socinian schools, then rising up in Switzerland, in Italy, and in Poland” (History of the Articles, pp. 85–87).

         If to all this we add the flesh or peculiar errors incorporated by the Anabaptists from the times, or which still lingered in the Church and were elaborated by them – such as the theory of universalism, or terminability of future punishment, the mystical and morbid interpretation of Scripture, the sleep of the soul between death and judgment, the community of goods, the unlawfulness of military service and judicial oaths – we shall see the nature of the opposition which the Reformers had to encounter, and better understand many references in the Articles.

         One other most important circumstance must not be omitted in connection with this sketch, which may be of use in putting the student on his guard, and that is the seemingly antagonistic yet complementary relation, as might be expected from their broad common heathen origin, which existed between Anabaptism and Romanism.  The monstrous evils of the former caused a decided reaction in favour of the latter while, at the same time, incredible as it may seem, and infamous as it was on the part of Holy Mother Church, the Anabaptist errors would appear to have been promoted by Popish agents!  Thus a letter dated Delft, May 12, 1549, was addressed to Gardiner, advising him that the best means of preventing the organization of the Reformers would be the preaching up of the Anabaptist doctrines – an advice which there is some considerable evidence to show was actually taken, just as a like policy was adopted by the Jesuits and Dominicans in the reign of Elizabeth under the garb of Puritanism, and is probably reenacted in our own day by the partisans of Rome under the cloak of ritual zeal and primitive Christianity.

          “History,” at least in heresy, priestcraft, and sin, “repeats itself.”



         Two Subjects – 1. One Condition of Salvation under the Old Testament and the New.  2. How far the Mosaic Law is Binding.


1.  One Condition of Salvation under the Old Testament and the New.

         The Old Testament is not contrary to the New]

         The Revelation of God is an organic whole of which the several and varied parts are reciprocally means and ends, and so intimately and closely united that if you take away one part you stultify and destroy another.  And this is true even if we dissect the Bible into its multiplied sections; but still more strikingly true of its great and leading divisions.

         Thus to take the Old Testament and its three familiar Jewish classes of writings, the Law would be a wearisome detail of sacrificial prescriptions, unmeaning ordinances, and dead genealogies, altogether unworthy of a Divine and intelligent Being, were it not for the Prophets that point us to the Lamb of God, bearing our griefs, carrying our sorrows, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and voluntarily pouring out His soul an offering for sin, to make intercession for the transgressors; and were it not for the Psalms that tell us, “I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings to have been continually before me.  Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High: and call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”  Again, the Prophets and the Psalms would be utterly unintelligible without the Pentateuch for our guide.  Line after line and page after page of the former recall and are set upon the latter.  Not only as a Divine revelation are they mutually inwrought, but the prophet and the hymnist of the Lord appeal to the spiritual faculty of man, and weave into the else colour-blind rites and ceremonies of the Law the eye and organ of faith.  To suppose, if we could, the existence of the Law without the Prophets, is to cut out the woof of a web, and of the Prophets without the Law is to strike out its warp.  Or if we take the four elements into which moderns have resolved the Old Testament, we shall find the same interdependence – the historic, prophetic, poetic, and legal, all wondrously and harmoniously interchanging, and beautifully interlaced.  Moses, David, Hezekiah, and Ezra symbolizing and representing the national life and sacred literature of the Jews, unifying and completing this first cycle of God’s Revelation.

         Then again if we take the New Testament, in the Gospels we find the announcement of a new kingdom, in the Acts its foundation stone laid and superstructure vigorously begun, and in the Epistles a detail of the doctrinal and practical law – the working life of the kingdom.  Cut off the Epistles from the Historical Books of the New Testament, and you have a building without cement, left for anyone to “daub with untempered mortar”.  Cut off the History from the Epistles, and you have all the “joints and bands” of a body, but without a definite organism, and therefore ready to be “knit together,” at the will and “sleight of men,” under any “Head”.

         But all these relations also exist between the Old Testament and the New, only if possible still more closely and virtually drawn.  The types, prophecies, and sweet songs of the one find, as an historic fact, their ideal in the other; and this ideal would be an abrupt, and unnatural, unaccountable creation without them.  True the rites and ceremonies of the Old Testament have ceased to be sacraments, but they have nevertheless become symbols of deepest spiritual meaning and everlasting importance.  Thus “if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh” no longer, by it we are taught, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”  If after every commandment according to the Law had been rehearsed by Moses, “he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, and the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry” – if thus “without shedding of blood there is no remission,” we are taught the deep and solemn truth, that “therefore it was necessary that the heavenly things themselves should be purified with better sacrifices than these”: that the untreated and eternal, heavenly tabernacle of God needed, because of man’s sin, a καθαρίζεσθαι by the all-prevailing sacrifice and blood of Christ!  If the High Priest has passed away, his consecration with a plentiful effusion of the holy oil typified under the Old Testament Economy, but now symbolizes what the theology of our day would seem to forget, the ever-continued communication of the Spirit “without measure” by the Father unto the Mediatorial Person of Christ.  If a perpetual function of the Chief Priest was to bear the names of the children of Israel “upon his two shoulders, and in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he went into the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually,” it symbolizes the ascended Saviour passed into the heavens, upon the palms of whose hands the names of His people are graven, and sealed upon His heart for evermore.  And even the very fact of the “many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death,” brings out to the mind of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews the glorious triumphant truth that “this Man, because he continueth for everlasting (εις τον αιωνα), hath an unchangeable priesthood.  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”  Then again, all the leading doctrines concerning the nature and being of God – His unity, existence in more Persons than one, His spotless Holiness, His infinite Love, His Mightiness to Save, all lie in embryo and germ in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, but find their full and wondrous development in the Gospel.  And lastly, the Prophecies of the Old Testament are the standing miracles of the New Dispensation: only to be read, and ever increasing in value, in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

         And even as a negative argument, if the Old Testament is the work of the true God, there is no evading of the proposition that it is “not contrary to the New,” unless indeed we return to the blasphemy of a Demiurge, and so debase all philosophy, natural and Divine, by the absurdity of two First Causes.

         To quote Scriptural proof under this head would be to transcribe the Bible.  But one or two suggestive passages may be selected.  In passing, however, we would impress upon the student that the most profitable way of reading God’s Holy Word is prayerfully and carefully to compare Scripture with Scripture – not only, after the sense of Chrysostom, explaining and proving difficult spiritual truths of the New Testament by testimonies of the Old, but systematically comparing Bible History with Bible evolution of Doctrine: above all, taking Christ as the central figure, to Whom and from Whom all converges and flows.  “Bene orasse est bene studuisse” (Luther).  “Pectus est quod facit theologum” (Neander).  Πνευματικοις πνευματκα συγκρίνοντες (St. Paul).

         “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:17–18).  We cannot refrain from quoting at length the valuable comment of Alford on this passage.  “It is important to observe in these days how the Lord here includes the Old Testament and all its unfolding of the Divine purposes regarding Himself, in his teaching of the citizens of the kingdom of heaven.  I say this, because it is always in contempt and setting aside of the Old Testament that rationalism has begun.  First, its historical truth – then its theocratic dispensation, and the types and prophecies connected with it, are swept away; so that Christ came to fulfill nothing, and becomes only a teacher or a martyr: and thus the way is paved for a similar rejection of the New Testament, – beginning with the narratives of the birth and infancy, as theocratic myths – advancing to the denial of His miracles – then attacking the truthfulness of His own sayings which are grounded on the Old Testament as a revelation from God – and so finally leaving us nothing in the Scriptures but, as a German writer of this school has expressed it, ‘a mythology not so attractive as that of Greece.’  That this is the course which unbelief has run in Germany, should be a pregnant warning to the decriers of the Old Testament among ourselves.  It should be a maxim for every expositor and every student, that Scripture is a whole, and stands or falls together.  That this is now beginning to be deeply felt in Germany, we have cheering testimonies in the later editions of their best Commentators, and in the valuable work of Stier on the discourses of our Lord.  [Since, however, these words were first written, we have had lamentable proof in England, that their warnings were not unneeded.  The course of unbelief which induced the publication of the volume entitled ‘Essays and Reviews,’ was, in character and progress, exactly that above described: and owing to the injudicious treatment which multiplied tenfold the circulation of that otherwise contemptible work, its fallacies are now in the hands and mouths of thousands, who, from the low standard of intelligent Scriptural knowledge among us, will never have the means of answering them]” (Greek Testament in loco, 6th Ed.).

         “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever” (Is. 40:8).  “The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:24–25).  Here the Apostle seizes upon the imagery of the Prophet, and interwreathes the Old Testament with the New into an imperishable coronal.

         “Search the (Old Testament) Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify (from first to last) of me” (John 5:39).  A command certainly addressed at the outset to the Jews, but applying with even stronger force to Christians, who, having both Testaments, a double testimony to the office and work of Christ, may yet be in danger of the condemnation of the following verse, ‘And ye will not come to me (in personal knowledge and identity), that ye might have life.”

         “For if ye believed Moses, ye would believe me: for he wrote of me” (John 5:46).  The Pentateuch was written by Moses: and the Pentateuch leads to Christ.

         “From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures (of the Old Testament), which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  [Here again we have the Divine unity of the Law and the Gospel expressly stated.]  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:15–17).  “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture (Isa. 53:7–8), and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35).  “He (St. Paul) mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the (Old Testament) Scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:28).

         Both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man]

         Upon the head and front of the Law is written the Need of Intercession, as well as of Redemption.  No other feeling could have bowed the Jew into its observance.  And that conviction was and is universal in our race.  We know not how, given a sinful world unable to recover itself, you are to bring it back to God, without fear and trembling, until you convince it of a Mediator, and thus teach it the doctrine of Propitiation and Substitution.  Now herein lies the whole function of the Mosaic Institute.  “Wherefore the law was our Schoolmaster (παιδαγωγος ημων – our pedagogue or tutor, true frequently a superior slave, and therefore inferior in rank, but with the recognized duty of enforcing discipline) to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24).  It gathered up probably the known rituals of families and peoples – undoubtedly that of Egypt; purified them of their abominations – for instance the element of human sacrifice; appointed a reformed Code, stringent or if you will severe, but requisite; and on that inscribed Holiness to the Lord.  It marked off and finally separated an already chosen race; placed it in the center of the nations; and by the ceremonial cleansing of the blood of bulls and goats, taught it the lustration of the soul by the Blood of Christ.

         If it is objected, and it has been more or less, that this is wisdom after the event – that the Christian account is sickly prophecy after the history, we reply, in the first place, Given the conditions, and let infidelity find a better solution.  Take, at the present day, any tribe of heathens, with the avowed object of turning them from idols – and the children of Israel were gross idolaters to begin with – to serve the living God, and you will utterly fail until you bring them step by step to see the love, and the power, and the verity of the Atonement.

         But in time second place, we distinctly maintain that the Law did verily point to the Sacrifice of Christ, or in the broader statement of our Article, that the Mediator of the Old Testament and of the New is one and the same Saviour.  Not only are the rites of the Law types and figures of “good things to come,” and its sacrifices a purposed foreshadowing of “Christ our Passover” and “set forth (προέθετο – historically manifested) Propitiation through Faith in His Blood,” as once and again asserted and implied throughout the New Testament, and amply demonstrated in time Epistle to the Hebrews – an indigenous argument of a Jew to Jews in favour of Christianity; but, we are to remember that alongside the Law, and contemporary with it, were the Prophets, time Evangelists of the Law.  Even before the Law, and for the first representative family of the Israelites, as well as for Gentiles within his circle, Abraham was a prophet, and an Intercessor before Jehovah.  And though shortsighted commentators would so restrict as almost to nullify the prophetic gift of Abraham, interpreting it simply in the sense of a friend of God, or confining it to time vision and dream at Mamre, yet our Lord Himself expressly declares that “Abraham rejoiced to see my Day (την ημέραν την εμήν – my appearance in the Flesh): and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56).  “Which the Patriarch could only do, in the full blessing of full prophetic power, by a prophetic realizing faith in the Atonement.  But there were also prophets under the Law, from Moses, Aaron, and Samuel downward – thousands of prophets probably before, and hundreds contemporary with each of the sixteen prophets, the essence of whose teaching is recorded in the Canon.  No sooner indeed was the priesthood defined by Moses, than a prophetic ministry was appoined in the Seventy Elders, “upon whom when the Spirit rested, they prophesied, and did not cease” (Num. 11).  In the time of the Judges too, prophecy exercised a most powerful, though fitful influence.  But at its close, Samuel gathered up the scattered embers of this fire of the Lord, and organized Schools of the Prophets, so that a due supply of these inspired men was never wanting till the close of the Old Testament Canon.  Now whatever else may have been the employment or attainments of the Prophets of the Lord, their great and chief function was to be in advance of the Law, and lead it on to the Gospel – Evangelical Teachers of, and Evangelical Intercessors for the Old Testament Church.  Reformers they were in the true sense of the word; but destroyers of the Law they were not.  Impressed with its Divine sanction, and saturated as it were with the sacredness of its every detail, by their communion with God they were enabled to read deep withal into its inner meaning, and thus bring it home, in all its spirit, vital in every part, to the hearts of the people.  So that when Christianity came, its Founder could historically appeal to the all things, written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me” (Luke 24:44).  And Moses, Elias, and Christ could talk on the Holy Mount of the “decease which He should accomplish (πληρουν – fulfill in accordance with Divine appointment and prophecy) at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:30–31): most cogent proof that “Moses with Elias,” the Law with the Prophets, ever pointed to a Coming Redeemer – the only Mediator between God and Man, now about to suffer – the Transfigured Christ.

         But another line of proof is equally striking.  Thus if we examine some of the more fundamental truths of the Covenant of Redemption, we shall find the Old Testament equally explicit and assuring with the New.  Take the following: –


The Reality of Christ’s Priesthood, and of the Atonement.

Old Testament.

         “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. ... The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psa. 110:1, 4).  Jesus Christ a King and a Priest upon His Father’s Throne.  And as such seen, our Lord Himself assures us in the Gospel (‘David said by the Holy Ghost’) by the Royal Psalmist – over a thousand years before the Incarnation.  “It was a prophecy of Christ, and in Him it was fulfilled.  The idea went forth necessarily from the spirit of the Old Dispensation, and from the organic connection of events in the Old Theocracy; it was the blossom of a history and a religion that were in their very essence prophetical” (Neander).

         “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong: because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors: and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:12).  “The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you” (Deut. 7:7–8).

         “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit [consequently?] there is no guile” [the inner cleansing of the heart, as the fruit and evidence of the remission of sin] (Psa. 32:1–2).  If St. Paul’s interpretation of this passage, as applied (Rom. 4) to “Abraham the father of us all” is correct, then the non-imputing of sin, and the imputation of righteousness by faith, are convertible terms.  But as we know of no righteousness that saves but the righteousness of Christ, we must conclude, notwithstanding all that Dean Alford and others have written to the contrary, that the saving Person and Work of the Coming Saviour was apprehended by Abraham, as well as by David, the writer of the Psalm.  To speak of the implicit trust of Abraham, or the patriarchs, in God’s word, without the realization of the ο ’Ερχόμενος, as the ground of their justification or righteousness, is clearly to invent a righteousness outside the Covenant of Redemption.

         “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit within you. ... And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezek. 36:25–28).  “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zech. 13:1).


New Testament.

         “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17).  “But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come ... by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:11–12).  “Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).  “I am the Good Shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. ... And I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:11, 15).


Christ endured the Curse of the Law, as a Substitute for His People.


Old Testament.

         “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” [Heb. hath made the iniquity of us all to meet on him] (Isa. 53:5–6).  “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.  And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself” (Dan. 9:24–26).


New Testament.

         “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the (Old Testament) Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3).  “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).  “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7).


Christ’s Righteousness is the Plea of his People.


Old Testament.

         “The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable” (Isa. 42:21).  “Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength” (Isa. 45:24).  “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels” (Isa. 61:10).  “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness” (Jer. 23:6).


New Testament.

         “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. ... That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:19, 21).  “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written (Jer. 9:23–24), He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:30–31).  “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him “ (2 Cor. 5:21).


Faith is the Instrument by which we lay hold of the Salvation purchased by Christ.


Old Testament.

         “And he (Abraham) believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).  “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25–27).  “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me and he shall make peace with me” (Isa. 27:5).  “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isa. 28:16).


New Testament.

         “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36).  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).  “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).  “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (1 Peter 1:5).


Good works therefore are excluded as the Ground of the Sinner’s Justification.


Old Testament.

         “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isa. 43:25).  “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” (Isa. 44:22).  “In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory” (Isa. 45:25).  “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for, he shall bear their iniquities” (Isa. 53:11).  “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me” (Jer. 33:8).  “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:34).


New Testament.

         “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses” (Acts 13:38–39).  “Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  Where is boasting then?  It is excluded.  By what law?  Of works?  Nay: but by the law of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:24–30).  “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4).  Is the law then against the promises of God?  God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. ... Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:11, 21, 24).

         “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.  Whereof the Holy Ghost is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them (Jer. 31, 33 – He further says, verse 34), And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  Now, where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin” (Heb. 10:14–18).

         Many other quotations might be adduced in proof of the spiritual identity of the two Dispensations, and other arguments advanced; but enough perhaps has been said to show the Oneness of the Mediatorship of each.

         We would only add two statements.  First, not only was the Prophetic Function the corrector of abuses, and the avenger of the Law, but it actually grew out of it, “a different thing from it, yet not foreign to it – diverse, not contrary” (Tertullian) – the natural and necessary link between Judaism and Christianity.

         Second.  Some theologians are accustomed to speak of the Patriarchal economy in its comparative liberty, and the Mosaic economy in its commandment, as designed by God to prove man’s inability to save himself.  We would have higher views of God than to endorse such teaching.  We dare not say that our loving Father thus experimented with generation after generation of his children.  We believe the true state of the case to be that each economy was the best fitted for its age – that the freedom of the one, and the tutelage of the other, were graciously adopted for purposes of good to each people, as well as wisely adapted to the circumstances and exigencies of each period.  And only thus, by taking this higher ground, may we attempt to “vindicate the ways of God to man.”

         Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises]

         (1.)  Bishop Warburton, in his Divine Legation of Moses, commits himself to the strange hypothesis, that the Divine authority of the Pentateuch rests, for one of its main arguments, upon the groundless if not irreverent assumption that the Hebrew Lawgiver studiously concealed the knowledge of a future state from the Israelites.

         But, first, it is not the province of national legislation to propose future rewards and punishments.

         Second.  The whole essence of the Jewish theocracy connected the present with the future in God.  It was a politico-religious institution, with the Divine King for its center and head, drawing man into close communion with God here, and therefore infallibly impressing upon the devout Israelite the sense and the bliss of eternal happiness with God hereafter.  And this indisputable tendency and aim of the Theocracy will be abundantly manifest if we reflect upon the intimate relationship subsisting between the Divine Being and His people therein.  Jehovah was not only their Creator, and therefore the director of their conscience; their God, and they His peculiar people; but He was also their Royal Sovereign, and Fountain of their civil life.  The Palace of the Eternal One, the Tabernacle His Presence, the Shekinah; and the Oracle, His audible living Voice, enacting and promulgating all their laws, ordering and guiding all the conditions of their being.  It was impossible to be a Jew under the Theocracy, and not live in the atmosphere of a world to come.

         Third.  The doctrine of a future state was one of the prominent features of the theology of Egypt, and therefore it is absurd – a plain historical blunder to speak of Moses concealing from the Israelites a doctrine with which they must have been so recently and familiarly acquainted.

         (2.)  We are thus in some measure prepared for the broader question, whether the doctrine of a future state is revealed in the Old Testament.  Did the old Fathers look only for transitory Promises?

         (a) Innumerable pages have been written by all classes of theologians to show that the faith of a future life had but a dim and fitful, if any, existence till the New Testament times.  It is even contended that the inferential argument used by our Saviour against the Sadducees was not only “the most cogent text in the Law” (sic – why this playing into the hands of adversaries, by minimizing the defenses?) He could produce; but that “it must be deemed probable that the Sadducees, as they did not acknowledge the divine authority of Christ, denied even the logical validity of the inference, and argued that the expression that Jehovah was the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, did not necessarily mean more than that Jehovah had been the God of those patriarchs while they lived on earth, without conveying a suggestion, one way or another, as to whether they were or were not still living elsewhere” (Hon. Edward T. B. Twisleton, Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, Article Sadducees).  But in all such arguments there is, if we mistake not, a narrowness of view and survey which cramps the truth.  In the one we have quoted, there is in addition a total misapprehension of the facts of the case.  Good pleading certainly it might have been for the Sadducees, had they been able to appreciate it, or on any historic basis to advance it.  Pitiable pleading, we must say, for Christ and His Bible.

         Granted, but only for argument’s sake, that the text quoted by our Saviour is the most cogent in the Law, it is not the most cogent in the Old Testament Scriptures; and there is no proof, even as acknowledged by the writer, and notwithstanding the opinion of Bishop Wordsworth, following Jerome, to the contrary, that the Sadducees rejected any portion of the Old Testament however highly with other Jews they may have naturally or justly esteemed the Pentateuch.  And if we carefully read St. Luke with the other synoptic Gospels, the argument of our Saviour is an open challenge to other Scripture, though based on the Books of Moses, which His opponents had quoted – an argumentum ad ignorantiam, as well as an argumentum ad hominem.  “Ye do err, not knowing the whole Scripture (τας γραφας – Matthew and Mark), and even Moses (και Μωυσης – Luke) confutes you.”  While, again, to write, “it must be deemed probable that the Sadducees denied even the logical validity of the inference,” is most clearly and unquestionably against the evidence; for we read that “the Sadducees were put to silence!”  And not only this, but so completely did our Lord’s answer to the Sadducees, and then immediately to the Pharisees, confound and overcome both, that, as we are told, after that there was an end to “questioning” the Saviour.

         But the fact is that all these loose arguments and conclusions, with reference to the doctrine of a future life as contained in the Old Testament, would seem to be based in great measure on a weak rendering or misapprehension of certain passages in the New Testament, and especially of words of St. Paul.  Thus in 2 Tim. 1:10, we have an oft-quoted passage, as it runs in the Authorized Version, “Jesus Christ hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”; and which is accordingly made to convey the sense that Christ first revealed the Resurrection.  But the “life” here referred to is clearly the new life which the saints ever possessed in God; “the immortality,” its incorruptibility (α _θαρσία); and the “brought to light,” certainly not the discovery of these glorious truths, but the additional and reassuring light thrown upon them by the historic manifestation of Christ, and the Economy of His Spirit.

         (b) Our contention then is, startling as it may appear to theologians who have of late been led away, however unconsciously, by Neologic schools, that the doctrine of a future life was axiomatic with the old Fathers, just as the existence or being of God was “axiomatic”; and therefore the Holy Spirit, in the Old Testament, essays no elaborate proof of the one more than the other.  What is brought out on either side is incidental.  Furthermore, since these two truths – the existence of God and a future life – had a prominent and fixed place in almost all the theologies of the world it would have stultified the very nature of a communication from God to prove them.  The Bible we must remember is a Revelation and a Witness – two distinct features, which we are liable to confound; and which our so-called systems of theology do less or more confound.  The Bible may witness to, but does not in any way assume to reveal, what is already known.  It reveals the Origin of Evil (transgression in man, pride in Satan), Christ, and a Triune God.  It witnesses to the Being of God, and a Life to Come.  Its Divine Author, if we may put the phrase without profanity, never troubles Himself unnecessarily.

         If in the New Testament, the Witness of a Resurrection is liable to be mistaken for a Revelation, and has been very widely mistaken, it is only because the Witness becomes so strong.  And there was need for this.  Heresy had sprung up and denied it.  And indeed the very same may be affirmed of the other doctrine of general, if not universal, knowledge – the existence of a God.  The truth is, the enemy, under guise of philosophy and boast of wisdom, had begun to “come in like a flood,” and “the Spirit of the Lord lifted up a standard” of pronounced and guiding testimony “against him”.

         (c) What then is the Evidence of the Old Testament to a Future State?  The question is one for a volume; but we must examine a few of the more salient passages.  As a preliminary observation, however, and important confirmation of our argument that the whole evidence is incidental, we may remark that in the account of the creation of man there is no explicit statement, nor even any implied assertion whatever of his immortality – just the place where most of all, if the demonstration had not been wholly superfluous, we should have expected to find it.  The account runs: “And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness. ... And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living animal” (Gen. 1:26, 2:7).  Here we have the Organic Life נפשחיה – the “living creature,” as Gen. 1:24, etc., – and not as our Authorized Version, living soul”); “in the image and likeness of God” – righteousness and holiness, with knowledge, wisdom, and power.  But that is all.  The existence of an immaterial and immortal spirit, however presupposed, forms no part of the Revelation.  “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Gen. 5:24).  The very brevity of the account shows that it was fully understood at the time – and understood too, all along, for there is no subsequent attempt to expand or elucidate it, as the “Jewish” author of the Epistle to the Hebrews understood it, of translation to heaven.  In other words, the old Fathers must have lived in the full familiar conviction of a life hereafter; and further, so far from looking only for transitory promises, must have felt that eternal life with God gloriously compensated for Enoch’s comparatively short life on earth.  Here then, in the first age of mankind, we have an historic witness not only to the possibility of a resurrection of the body, but also to the certainty of a true human existence in heaven.

         “Then Abraham died and was gathered to his people” (Gen. 25:8).  Abraham was buried in the cave of Machpelah (verse 9); but his fathers in Chaldea and Mesopotamia.  The expression therefore can only mean that his soul passed into the invisible world to join the congenial society of the blessed.  See parallels in Job 27:19 – “The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered”; Psa. 26:9 –  “Gather not my soul with sinners”; and Isa. 49:5 – “Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.”

         “For I will go down unto Sheol unto my son mourning” (Gen. 37:35).  It could not be Joseph’s grave that Jacob meant, for he believed that “an evil beast had devoured him” (verse 33).  Then in Num. 16:30,we read that Korah, Dathan, and Abiram “went down alive unto Sheol.”  And thus in like manner, Sheol or Hades, in its two “compartments,” is witnessed to in the language of Inspiration down through the Old Testament; and endorsed by the New.  Proof in itself sufficient that the doctrine of a life beyond the grave was a doctrine of the witness of God from the outset in the Jewish Church.  See also under Article III.

         “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord” (Gen. 49:18).  Jacob could not have meant the coming of the Shiloh, for that glad event he declares was to transpire “in the last days”.  The expression therefore could have no other meaning but the obvious one – the salvation of his soul.

         “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exod. 3:6).  Our Saviour’s comment on this passage brings out in a few words its meaning: “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto Him.”  “No one is dead, to Him, or in His sight” (Wordsworth).  “Meyer, in reply to Strauss and Hase, finely says, ‘Our Lord here testifies of the conscious intent of God in speaking the words.  God uttered them, He tells us, to Moses, in the consciousness of the still enduring existence of his peculiar relation to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’  The groundwork of His argument seems to me to be this: – the words ‘I am thy God’ imply a covenant; there is another side to them: ‘Thou art Mine’ follows upon ‘I am Thine.’  When God therefore declares that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He declares their continuance, as the other parties in this covenant.  It is an assertion which could not be made of an annihilated being of the past.  And notice also (with Bengel), that Abraham’s (etc.) body, having had upon it the seal of the covenant, is included in this.  Stier (after Lavater) remarks that this is a weighty testimony against the so-called ‘sleep of the soul,’ in the intermediate state. ... Thus the burden of the Law, ‘I AM THE LORD THY GOD,’ contains in it the seed of immortality and the hope of the resurrection” (Alford, Greek Testament in loco).  We would only add, that the pregnant reasoning here of our Saviour, “For all live to Him,” contains an irrefragable argument against the lately revived theory of the Annihilation of the wicked.  The gloss, all the Patriarchs live to Him, is as weak as to interpret the words of the Apostle, “For in him we live and move and have our being,” of believers only.

         “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his” (Numb. 23:10).  This testimony in the mouth of Balaam, the prophet-king from Mesopotamia, is of great value, for it is a Scriptural proof that the belief in a blessed immortality awaiting the just, was held (also) by the heathen.

         “And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11).  This public event, and we may so call it, inasmuch as it was witnessed by the sons of the prophets who “stood in sight” (2 Kings 2:7 – Heb.), and Elisha, and seems to have been well known at the time by the idolaters at Bethel (2 Kings 2:23), transfused itself into the whole national mind down even to the Galilean peasant for centuries.”

         “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever!  For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in say flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:23–27).  Notwithstanding all the criticism that has been brought to bear on the translation of this passage, we may safely say that the Authorized Version here is correct.  Nothing but personal identity in his flesh on the part of Job, and a personal manifestation on the part of his Redeeming God, at the latter day upon the earth, and after that worms shall have destroyed the present body of the outward man, can fully or fairly satisfy this declaration of Job’s conviction.  And to add to the value of the testimony is the antiquity of the book.  For whether Moses was the author or not, there is little reason to doubt, from its language, its grand yet bold abrupt archaic and lapidary style, and from the simplicity of its subject, the external evidences of God’s providence, that it is one of the oldest, if not indeed the oldest Book of the Canon.

         “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.  For then wilt not leave my soul in Hades; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One [better thy Beloved – “The word חׇמִיד never means ‘holy,’” Perowne] to see corruption.  Thou wilt show me the path of life; fullness of joy in thy presence, pleasures at thy right hand for evermore” (Psa. 16:8–11).  We have St. Peter’s testimony that this was a conscious prediction on the part of David of a resurrection – the Resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:30–31 – προφήτηςειδωςπροϊδών).  But the patriarch’s foresight of the Messiah was just that which gave gladness to his heart, rapture to his soul, yea and hope also to his flesh, for in the Life and Resurrection alone of his Son and Lord could he see his own blessed immortality.

         “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.  Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isa. 26:19).  Strong resurrection imagery; which must have been familiar to and well understood by those among whom the prophet exercised his ministry.

         “... Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.  Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.  And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord” (Ezek. 37:1–14).  The Resurrection of Dry Bones, so vividly and minutely traced in the fourteen verses of this solemn grand glorious prediction, could only have cheered a people well versed in the faith of the resurrection.

         “And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.  And many of them that sleep the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:1–3).  Clear and distinct, though brief, is this final Old Testament trumpet sound of the general Resurrection and last Judgment, as any in the New Testament itself.

         Now if to all this abundant testimony we may add that of the inspired author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, we may safely conclude of the saints of the Old Testament: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of then, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek after a home ... a better home, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”  The Old Fathers looked beyond “transitory promises,” and God for that eye of faith hath given them the permanent and eternal “city which hath the foundations (τους θεμελίους), whose Architect and Master builder is God.”

         (d) Finally, we are not here concerned with what has been too frequently pointed at as the doubts and fears par signe on mépris of the “Old Fathers”.  The same doubts and fears – we appeal to the consciences of our readers – exist, in our own more desponding moments, under the Gospel.  Faith, our hearts know full well, hath its phases.  Now we feel with the Psalmist that “When we awake we shall be satisfied with thy likeness”; and anon we ask, Who shall praise thee in the grave?  Or with holy Job “we know that our Redeemer liveth”; and yet withal at evening time we often trill the plaintive dirge, “So man lieth down, and riseth not; till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”  To preach immortality is one thing: to live immortals is another.  Dogma and Faith, whether under the Old Dispensation or the New, are not parallels.


2.  How far the Mosaic Law is Binding.

         Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind, etc. (to the end of the Article)]

         We need only have recourse to a few very simple and obvious first principles of theology and of reason to see the truth of this proposition.

         Holiness, and the will of God, are synonymous terms.  What therefore God wills under any dispensation, must be conducive to holiness, however economical and temporary may be the means.  Thus even in the Christian dispensation, we have “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace” – the one economical and temporary, the other conducive to “the will of God, even our sanctification.”

         A ceremony therefore in the very nature of it is for a time and transitional.  That time may be a day, or an age; but it passes sooner or later away.  Baptism is once.  The Sacrament of the Supper may be once, or often repeated; but neither our modal administration nor participation of it can possibly and fully obtain even in the next and millennial development of the Father’s kingdom.”  While the husk therefore of the Law given of God by Moses was doomed necessarily to perish, the kernel as necessarily endureth forever.  The holiness of God impressed on the Law was a part or reflex of Himself, and consequently unchangeable; but its economical surroundings, like Baptism and the Supper, had only an economical value.  They were not part of God’s essential nature.

         Again we are to remember that the holiness of the Law, founded in the holiness of God, existed, relatively to man, antecedently to any Divine precept, being originally inscribed on the heart of man; and therefore, as the law of nature, is of immutable obligation.

         Thus then we have only to distinguish between what is positive and what is natural in God’s revealed laws to see what is alterable and changeable by God, and what of necessity abideth forever.  To take for example the fourth commandment, its naturally moral element, founded in the nature of God, originally written on the heart of our first parents, and still in some measure engraved on the minds of men, even where no written law exists, is that it appoints God to be worshipped; but its positively moral element, founded only in the will of God, and not universally engrained in man’s nature, is that it enjoins that worship on a particular day – the seventh, or Sabbath day.

         And the same remarks apply to the Judicial Law, in its distinctive Jewish character.  Its Sabbatical Year; its Jubilee and great liberation of service and of lands; its Cities of Refuge; and its tri-yearly Male Feasts at Jerusalem, have all passed away and are abrogated: but the Law of God and of nature which underlay the whole – love to and unity with Man as flowing from love to and unity with God – is of perpetual force.  “Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 25:17).

         Besides, the whole Civil Polity of the Jews, whether in its embodiments of the patriarchal law, or in its new and circumstantial growths, was founded on a theocratic basis, and adapted to the past condition of an isolated people.  And although we are free to hold that much of it adumbrated the Laws of Persons of Things in the coming Kingdom of Christ, yet we are to remember that our Lord’s express declaration for the present is, “My kingdom is not of this world”; and that St. Paul, in conformity with that declaration, teaches us in the meantime: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no [established] power but of God: the powers that be are ordained (or ordered with reference to a definite end – τεταγμένοι) of God” (Rom. 13:1).


Scriptural Proof.

         (1.)  Of the Abrogation of the Ceremonial Law.

         “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt” (Jer. 31:31–32).

         “And the people of the Prince that shall come (or, Messiah’s future people) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. ... And he shall confirm the (or, a) covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate (or, and upon the battlements shall be the idols of the desolator), even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (or, upon the desolator)” (Dan. 9:26–27).  We have included the marginal readings, well worthy of consideration, of this marvelous passage, written some five centuries and a half before Christ.  But however translated, it clearly foretells the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, the cessation of the sacrifice and oblation, which could alone be lawfully offered there and, consequently, the abolition of the whole Ceremonial Law.

         It is hardly necessary to adduce passages from the New Testament, inasmuch as all the typical Ceremonies of the Law had their full accomplishment in the death and satisfaction of the Great Antitype; and no less than three of the most closely reasoned Epistles – Galatians, Romans, and Hebrews – have, for their leading subject, Justification by Faith, without the Law.  But a few of the more pointed texts are subjoined.  It is most important however to observe that at the First Christian Council, held at Jerusalem probably A.D. 50, it was decided by the Apostles and Elders and Brethren, guided by and acting under the immediate and express influence of God (“it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us”), that the Gentile converts should be wholly unburdened by the Rites and Ceremonies of the Mosaic Law. (Acts 15.)

         “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.  For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.  But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead).  [In other words, Let not the man who sighs for deliverance from his own sinfulness suppose that the accomplishment of some impossible task is required of him in order to enjoy the blessings of the Gospel.  Let him not think that the personal presence of the Messiah is necessary to ensure his salvation.  Christ needs not to be brought down from heaven, or up from the abyss, to impart to him forgiveness and holiness.  Our Christian message contains no impossibilities.  “We tell the sinner that Christ’s word is near to him: so near, that he may speak of it with his mouth and meditate on it with his heart. ... Is there anything above human power in such a confession and in such a belief?  Surely not.  It is graciously adapted to the necessity of the very weakest and most sinful of God’s creatures.” – Ewbank, Comm. Ep. Rom.]  But what saith it?  The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. ... For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich onto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10).

         “There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Seythian (‘barbaris barbariores’), bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:11).  “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.  For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but Faith which worketh by Love” (Gal. 5:1–6).  “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. ... Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days (‘i.e., yearly, monthly, or weekly celebrations,’ Alford), which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ” (Col. 2:14, 16–17).  “For he is our peace, who hath made both (Jew and Gentile) one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us (the whole legal system and condemnatory law of the Mosaic economy); having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in (His) one (mystical) body (the Church) by the cross, having slain the enmity (between God and man, with its resultant of separation between Jew and Gentile) thereby” (Eph. 2:14–16).  “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. ... Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances imposed on them until the time of reformation” (Heb. 7:12, 9:10).  “Wherefore then serveth the law?  It was added (to the promise, propaedeutically) because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made. ... Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by Faith” (Gal. 3:19, 24).  “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by Faith without the deeds of the Law” (Rom. 3:28).

         (2.)  Of the Perpetual Obligation of the Moral Law.

         (a) Being a copy of the will of the all-perfect and righteous God, and adapted to and based on the nature of man, it is unchangeable.

         “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.  The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the Lord (another name for Law) is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psa. 19:7–9).

         (b) Fulfilled by Christ, both in spirit and letter, in the room and stead of His people.

         “The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake: he will magnify the law, and make it (or, him) honourable” (Isa. 42:21).  “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.  Then he suffered him” (Matt. 3:15).  “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17).  “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. ... That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 5:13–14).  “Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.  Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.  And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever” (Isa. 32:15–17).  See also Isa. 44:3, Jer. 31:33, etc.  “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1–5).

         (c) Summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments, which are again reduced by our Lord to Love to God and Love to Man.

         “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40).

         (d) Yet consists moreover in a corresponding quality of Divine teaching imprinted less or more distinctly on the heart of mankind.

         “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are the law (God’s law) unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another” (Rom. 2:14–15).

         (e) A rule of duty and obedience to believers, but not a covenant of works.

         “His delight is in the law of the Lord: and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psa. 1:2).  “I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom. 7:22).  “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).  “Being not without law to God, but under law to Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21).


Article  VIII.


         Of the Three Creeds. – The three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius’s Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed, for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.

            De Tribus Symbolis. – Symbola tria, Nicaenum, Athanasii, et quod vulgo Apostolorum appellatur, omnino recipienda sunt, et crendenda, nam firmissinis Scripturarum testimoniis probari possunt.


         (1.)  The sixth Article being the enunciation of the Rule of Faith, we may take the seventh as a corollary – that the two parts of that Rule are not contrary the one to the other, with a necessary note touching the Ceremonial and the Moral Law; while our present Article must be viewed as a supplement, to the effect that the Creeds are to be received, not merely because they are the voice of the Church, but inasmuch as they derive their authority from the Bible.

         The Holy Scriptures therefore are the gauge of faith, independent of the authority of the Church; by which the Church is to measure all doctrine: and so in the exercise of a free and impartial judgment, accept or reject the decisions of all Councils.

         The truly Protestant character moreover of this eighth Article will be further apparent, if we remember that the Ten Articles of Henry VIII – the result of a compromise between the Romish and the Reforming party – included the Creeds with Scripture as the Rule of Faith.

         (2.)  The word Creed (Credo, I believe) or Belief, means simply a definite summary of the more important parts of our religion, as deduced from the Bible.

         In the early Church the Creed was described by a variety of names.

         Among the Greeks

         η πίστις, ο κάνων της αληθείας, ο πιστεως αρχαίας κάνων, το κήρυγμα το αποστολικον, η ευαγγελικη και αποστολικη παράδοσις, το μάθημα, η γραφή, το σύμβολον.

         Among the Latins –

         Fides, regula fidei, fides apostolica, fidei clavis, tessera fidei unanimis, signaculum cordis, sacramentum fidei, symbolum.

         But the name which, first mentioned by Cyprian, became commonest, was Symbol (σύμβολον, Symbolum).  A designation which has given rise to various conjectures, and been explained in one or other of the following senses: –

         1.  A Collation, because each of the Apostles contributed one Article to the Creed.  “Conferendo in unum quod sentiebat unusynisque” (Ruffinus).  But the tradition only dates from the 4th century.

         2.  Like the Tessera Militaris of the Roman soldiers – the square tablet on which the watchword was written – a sign or watchword by which Christians were distinguished.  “A symbol is, as much as to say, a sign, mark, privy token, or watchword, whereby the soldiers of the same camp are known from their enemies” (Catechism of Edward VI).  The most probable origin of the appellation.

         3.  The Sacramentum, or military oath of allegiance by which the Roman troops were bound to their general.  “Symbolum eordis signaculum, et nostrae militae sacramentum” (Ambrose).  A deeply significant and spiritual explanation, but not ranking perhaps in historic value with the foregoing.

         4.  The Password of the initiated into the ancient heathen mysteries.  A far-fetched and seemingly unnatural suggestion.

         5.  An Epitome of Christian doctrine.  Which rather describes the Symbol, than interprets the word.

         (3.)  Creeds are necessary as a bond of union and as a safeguard against error.  It would seem a self-evident proposition that the continuity and wellbeing of any, and especially an antagonistic, society must depend in great measure upon a common and tangible basis of opinion.  And it is at the same time a matter of historic evidence that creeds originated in the antagonism of Christianity, and were expanded pari passu with the development of heresy.  And yet notwithstanding there exists at the present day a widespread prejudice against the principle of dogma – a rebound from the safe and time honoured lines of the definite, to the lawless and dangerous region of the indefinite.  Is not the key, that Faith is less on the earth? (Luke 18:8.)

         (4.)  Dogma, unhappily, thanks to the Church of Rome, has acquired in our language a somewhat repulsive sense; but perhaps if we could strip it of the idea of undue assumption, and associate it simply with that of definite belief, the word might still pass not unprofitable muster.

         If we follow the exact idea of the Greek primitive (δοκειν = videri), dogma would express the subjective estimate which we form of things without any approach to the alien notion of overbearing or self-assertion.  Nor indeed can the word well exceed in the Christian Church the meaning we usually attach to “decree” or “judgment”.  Hence our Authorized Version reads, Acts 15:28, “It seemed good (έδοξε) to the Holy Ghost, and to us”; and at ch. 16:4, well translates the derivative word for those decisions arrived at in the First Christian Council, as “decrees” (δόγματα).

         (5.)  To the New Testament and Baptism we must look for the Origin of Creeds.

         (a) “Go ye therefore, and teach (μαθητεύσατε – make Disciples or Christians of) all nations, baptizing them for (εις) 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” (Matt. 28:19–20).  With all due deference to Dean Alford, and Bishop Wordsworth who substantially agrees with him, we would just reverse his comment on this passage, that “the μαθητεύειν consists of two parts – the initiatory, admissory rite, and the subsequent teaching.”  This mode of interpretation may be convenient to cover the present practice of the Church; but infant baptism does not require such straining of words and history.  There is no evidence whatever in the New Testament – except by inference, the value or strength of which we would not in any way dispute – but that they were adults who were baptized.  And there is no evidence in all history, that instruction, as preparatory to a Creed, has not preceded baptism.  And indeed it is upon this very principle that the Church ever demands, in the case of infants, sponsorial vows and confessions.  And therefore the plain argument we build upon this text is, that our Lord’s language in the institution of baptism implies a baptismal profession – the first origin of and only legitimate authority for Creeds; and had respect unto discipleship, as the rule, not, as Alford alleges, “from baptism to instruction,” but from instruction to baptism.  “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you,” may be extended, and rightly does extend, to the continued catechetical office of the Church among the baptized; but extension supposes previous existence, and has a retrospective, as well as a prospective side.  Granted, as we willingly do, that infants were baptized in the Apostolic Church, our clear contention is, that they were not baptized until their parents or representatives had believed, or accepted Christianity – in other words, had professed a Creed; and thus brought their households and children into a federal covenant with the Lord.  The Church of Rome may and does busy herself to snatch the children of “heretics “ and heathens to baptism, but the practice has no warrant or precedent in Scripture or in the records of the Churches of Christ.  And these views we shall find fully borne out as we proceed.

         (b) Baptism and the Creed in the Acts.  Christian Baptism begins properly in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, after the Ascension of our Lord; and here we are, therefore, to look for the first historic traces of a Creed.  Previous to the formal institution of baptism by Christ, it is true we find His disciples baptizing; but what formula was used by them, or what expression of faith they required on the part of the baptized, we are not informed, but may safely conclude that converts were baptized into the Name and Faith of Jesus as the Messiah.

         Now the first baptism recorded in the Acts was that on the day of Pentecost, by St. Peter; and we have a clear enough account of the manner of its administration from the Apostle’s exhortation: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38–39).  Here the rendering should unquestionably be “On the Name of Jesus Christ” (επι τω ονόματι); the preposition επι, elsewhere εν, specifying the ground on which baptism rests – the Confession of His Name; just as the preposition εις (εις άφεσιν αμαρτιων) specifies the purpose for which baptism was administered – a participation in the blessings which that name implies – “the remission of sins”.  In other words, the first Christian Baptism was administered after a Creedal Confession (by “every one” of the “three thousand” probably en masse) of Christ as the Messiah and Saviour.  Instruction, Confession, Baptism.  And this is the character of all the other baptisms recorded in the Book, so far as any detail is given.

         (c) The Creed in the Epistles – in the probable order of their publication.


The Epistle to the Romans, A.D. 57 or 58.

         τύπον διδαχης – “that form of doctrine which was delivered you (Rom. 6:17).

         κατα την αναλογίαν της πίστεως – “according to the proportion of faith” (lit. the analogy of the faith) (Rom. 12:6).

         την διδαχην – “the doctrine which ye have learned” (Rom. 16:17).

         Without entering into the various glosses with which certain schools have read these allusions, we think we may safely say that their fair and unbiassed interpretation points to some definite formulary of belief already well known in the Christian Church, even at Rome, and within 27 years from the foundation of that Church.  And that this was a Baptismal Symbol would appear evident from the careful wording of the Apostle, “the doctrine which ye learned” (εμάθετε, Aorist, one act); and from the fact that the first quotation is found in close connection with a solemn passage upon baptism “for Jesus Christ and His death.”


The Epistle to the Philippians, A.D. 62 or 63.

         τω αυτω κανόνι – “let us walk by the same rule” (Phil. 3:16).  κανόνι is omitted by some MSS.; but if we follow the analogy of Gal. 6:16, “as many as walk according to this rule” (τω κανόνι τούτω), it is evidently the proper word to supply.  And this keyword of both passages can only be taken from a baptismal rule or Canon of Faith, history knowing of no other.


The Epistle to the Hebrews, A.D. 63 or 64.

         τα στοιχεια της αρχης των λογίων του θεου – “the first principles of the oracles of God” (Heb. 5:12).  And what some of these were, we are told in the beginning of the next chapter:–

         τον της αρχης του Χριστου λόγον – “the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ” (lit. the Word of the Beginning [of the Doctrine] of Christ).  Or, θεμέλιον – “the Foundation” of Christianity.  “Wherefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Heb. 6:1–2).

         την ομολογίαν της ελπίδος – “the profession of our faith” (Heb. 10:23).  That the Creedal Confession of Baptism is here meant, is indubitable from the context: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (λελουμένοι το σωμα ύδατι καθαρω – veritable Christian baptism, and so not to be spiritualized away, with Calvin, Owen, and others).  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.”


The Two Epistles to Timothy, A.D. 64 or 65, and 65 or 66, Respectively.

         την παραθήκην – “the deposit”.   “O Timothy, keep in safety (φύλαξον – guard) that which is committed to thy trust [the deposit], avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1 Tim. 5:20–21).  Here Timothy is solemnly reminded of the Creed as that which would most effectually guard him against the errors of false teachers.

         υποτύπωσιν υγιαινόντων λόγωντην καλην παραθήκην – “the form of sound words” – “that good deposit”.  “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard (ήκουσας, heardest, Aorist) of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  That good deposit guard, by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us” (2 Tim. 1:13–14).  Here the “good, deposit” is in direct parallelism with “the form of sound words” – the Baptismal Creedal Confession.



         From all this we gather: –

         1.  That the Formula of Baptism ran: “I baptize thee for the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

         2.  That Instruction preceded Baptism.

         3.  That fully within 35 years after the Ascension, there existed some such well-known Symbol, as the following –


Apostolic Creed.

         I renounce my own righteousness, and submit to the righteousness of God, in faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.  [“Repentance from dead works, and faith toward God.”]

         I accordingly renounce the doctrine of Jewish washings, and imposition of hands as practiced under the Law.  [“The doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands.”]

         I believe in the Resurrection of the Dead, and in Eternal Judgment.

         (d) We have omitted, as will be noticed, from the above inquiry, two passages which are frequently set down as traces of a Creed: –

         1 Cor. 15:3–8: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures: and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the Apostles.  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

         1 Tim. 3:16: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

         In the first of these passages we can see little more than a detail of the heads of St. Paul’s preaching at Corinth, as it centered in the Resurrection of Christ – far too lengthened and minute to form a portion of any Creed in the Apostolic Church.  In the second, we have it is true a remarkable parallelism and concinnity (the latter very beautiful in the Greek, all the verbs ending in -θη, etc.); but the sentences, we think, are too rhetorical, and perhaps too majestic for a Confession; and their apparent abruptness and insulation from the context, urged by some commentators, would seem to be in reality only an example among others of impassioned sequence and expansion of thought on the part of the Apostle.  Thus we have a similar instance in Rom. 8:38–39: “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

         (6.)  The Creed in the Post-Apostolic Church.

         It is essential here to remark that no one certain form of a Creed would seem to have been prescribed by Christ and His Apostles for adoption by the Church at large.  Hence we find the early churches in different parts of the world framing their own creeds as well as their own liturgies; which they would evidently be at liberty to do, so long as they kept to the analogy of the faith.  It is interesting therefore to exhibit those early creeds, so far as they are traceable; and necessary also in order intelligibly to understand the basis and cast of the creeds of our Article.  But as the earliest of these ancient creeds only dates from the end of the second century, there is thus left a break in the History of the Creed, which we cannot sufficiently explain.  That a Creed existed in the Apostolic Church before the historical books of the New Testament were written, is clear from the quotations already given; and we have been able to approximate to something of its form.  Nor is it to be supposed that the Church would remain till the days of Irenaeus without some definite elaborations of that Creed.  Still the fact remains, as is widely attested by the Fathers, down to the fifth century, that the Creed was, as a rule, jealously guarded as a secret.  “The Sacrament of Faith (sacramentum fidei) is not to be profaned” (Cyprian, † 238).  “Whatever you hear in the Creed may not be written” (Augustine, † 430).  “Let the mind hold and the memory guard this pledge of hope, this decree of salvation, this symbol of life, this safeguard of faith, lest vile paper depreciate the precious gift of the Divinity, lest black ink obscure the mystery of light, lest an unworthy and profane hearer hold the secret of God” (Peter Chrysologus, † 456).  The origin of this secrecy has been attributed by some to the language of St. Paul, “Keep in safety that which is committed to thy trust,” etc.  But we are inclined to think that such words rather indicate a secret guardianship already in existence than created it.  And if so, the question is only rendered more intricate and obscure.  Again it has been alleged that the period between the close of the New Testament history and the appearance of the first dated Creed was the age of Apologies, and that the battle of the Creeds had afterwards to be fought.  There is much truth in this.  But it does not help us to account for the “deposit” and secret guardianship of the Pauline Epistles – the age, as must be allowed, peculiarly and especially of doctrine.



The Creed of St. Irenaeus, A.D. 180.

Bishop of Lyons.

         I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them.

         And in one Christ Jesus our Lord, the Son of God, who was born of a Virgin for our salvation: suffered under Pontius Pilate: rose from the dead: ascended into heaven: and who will come again the glory of His Father to raise the dead, and for the consummation of all things.

         And I believe in the Holy Ghost, who preached through the prophets.


         In setting forth the above as the (probable) Creed of Irenaeus, culled from his work against Heresies, we are sorry to differ from Dr. Lumby, who quotes this Father’s exposition of the Creed for the Creed itself.  Actual early Creeds must ever have been short; nor can we suppose that Irenaeus would so soon forget, or ignore, the secret guardianship of the Creed, as to give its formal and precise ipsissimia verba.  Even two centuries later, St. Augustine writes of his own treatise of the Creed: ‘‘The Dissertation is of such a form, that the combination of words which is given to catechumens to commit to memory does not occur.”



Creed of Tertullian, Before A.D. 200.

Presbyter of Carthage.

         We believe in one God the Creator of the world, who made all things out of nothing.

         And in His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary: crucified under Pontius Pilate: rose again the third day from the dead: taken into heaven: now sits at the right hand of the Father: and will come with glory to judge the quick and the dead.

         And in the Holy Ghost.

         Add –

Creed of St. Cyprian, † 258.

Bishop of Carthage.

         I believe in God the Father.

         In Christ the Son.

         And in the Holy Ghost.

         I believe in the remission of sins and eternal life through the Holy Church.



Creed of Novatian, A.D. 250.


         I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things.

         And in Christ Jesus, our Lord God, the Son of God.

         And in the Holy Ghost.



Creed of Origen, † 254.

Master of the Catechetical School at Alexandria.

         We believe in one God, the Creator of all things: the God of the Old and New Testament.

         And in Jesus Christ, born of the Father before every creature: who though God became Incarnate of the Virgin and the Holy Ghost: He truly suffered and died: truly rose from the dead: and was taken up.

         And in the Holy Ghost, of honour and dignity with the Father and the Son.



Creed of Gregory Thaumaturgus, † 270.

Bishop of Neocaesarea.

         I believe in one God the Father.

         And in one Lord, the only begotten Son of the Father, One of One, God of God.

         And in one Holy Ghost, perfect of perfect, Life of all living.

         Perfect Trinity undivided and untreated, ever the same in glory, eternity, and power, unvarying and unchangeable.



Creed of Lucian, the Martyr, † 311.


         We believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of all things.

         And in one Lord Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, begotten of the Father before all ages, God of God, One of One: by whom all things were made: who was born of a Virgin according to the Scriptures, and became man: who suffered for us, and rose again the third day: and ascended into heaven: and sitteth on the right hand of the Father: and is coming again with glory and power to judge the quick and the dead.

         And in the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete and Sanctifier of them that believe.

         Three persons, but agreeing in One.


         We have thus endeavoured to trace the Creeds of the leading ante-Nicene Churches, so far as we are able to glean them from the expositions and writings of men on the spot.  Of course they are only to be taken as approximate Symbols.  But we are not aware of overlooking any point of importance; and we have carefully avoided adding anything.

         It may be objected that we have studied brevity too much.  But brevity here is, we feel assured, just one of the best guides to historic truth.

         On reviewing these Creeds, we have the following main features.  The true Western type is the briefest – little more than the words used by our Lord at the Institution of Baptism; while the Eastern type shows traces of conflict with philosophic subtleties.  They all recognize the great central doctrine of the Trinity in Unity – more sharply defined at Alexandria, Neocaesarea, and Antioch.  Each article is couched in the exact words of Scripture, or what is readily deducible therefrom.  And their similarity, amounting almost to sameness (except the self-evident expansions against Docetic and other like errors), and this without any Synodical authority whatever, argues a common Apostolic basis – the Rule of Faith “come down from the commencement of the Gospel.”  As Irenaeus says: “For the Church though scattered throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, yet having received from the Apostles and their disciples that faith which is in One God the Father Almighty, who made heaven and earth and the seas and all that is in them; and in one Christ Jesus the Son of God, who was made flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy Ghost who preached through the prophets the Economies and the Advents, and the birth [of Christ] of a Virgin, and his suffering, and His rising from the dead, and the ascension into heaven, in the flesh of our beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His coming again from heaven in the glory of the Father, for the consummation of all things, and to raise all flesh of the whole human race from the dead; that according to the good pleasure of the Father invisible, every knee of things in heaven and on earth and under the earth may bow to Christ Jesus our Lord and God and Saviour and King, and every tongue may confess to Him, and He may execute just judgment on all; that He may send into eternal fire the spiritual powers of wickedness, and the angels who have transgressed and become apostate, and the impious and unjust and lawless and blasphemous among men: but, graciously bestowing life on the just and holy who have both kept His commandments and continued in His love, some from the beginning and some from the time of their repentance, He may confer on them incorruption, and make them partakers of eternal glory.  Having received this doctrine and this faith, as we said before, the Church, though scattered through all the world, carefully keeps it as though dwelling in one house; and believers in like manner as though she had but one heart and one soul; and in accord therewith she preaches and teaches and delivers as though she had but one mouth.  For the languages of the world are dissimilar, but the power of the doctrine is one and the same.  And in no otherwise have either the Churches established in Germany believed and delivered, nor those in Spain, nor among the Celts, nor in the East, nor in Egypt, nor in Libya, nor those established in the middle of the world.  But as the sun, God’s creature, is one and the same in all the world, so too the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men who wish to come to the full knowledge of the truth.  And neither will he who is very powerful in language among those who preside over the Churches say other than this (for the disciple is not above his Master), nor will he who is weak in speech impair the doctrine.  For as the faith is one and the same, neither he who is very able to speak of it adds thereto, nor does he who is less powerful diminish therefrom” (Contr. Haer. i. 10).  [The above polemic exposition is that which Mr. Lumby rather loosely calls the Creed of St. Irenaeus.  See above.]

         (7.)  The Three Creeds of our Article.



commonly called

The Nicene Creed (A.D. 325),

as it stands in our Service Books.

         I believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all 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 salvation 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 mid the dead.  Whose kingdom shall have no end.

         And I believe in the holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of life: who proceedeth from the Father and the Son: who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified: who spake by the prophets.  And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic 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.  Amen.



as it stands

in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451.

         Πιστεύομεν εις ένα θεον Πατέρα, παντοκράτορα πάντων ορατων τε και αορατων ποιητήν.  Και εις ένα Κύριον ’Ιησουν Χριστον, τον υιον του θεου, γεννηθέντα εκ του πατρος, μονογενη, τουτέστιν εκ της ουσίας του πατρός, θεον εκ θεου, φως εκ φωτος, θεον αληθινον εκ θεου αληθινου, γεννηθέντα ου ποιηθέντα, ομοούσιου τω πατρί.  Λι ου τα πάντα εγένετο, τάτε εν τω ουρανω και τα εν τη γη·  τονδι’ ημας τους ανθρώπους, και δια την ημετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα, και σαρκωθέντα, και ενανθρωπήσαντα·  παθόντα, και αναστάντα τη τριτη ημέρα ανελθόντα εις τους ουράνους·  και πάλιν ερχόμενον κριναι ζωντας και νεκρούς.  Τους δε λέγοντας·  ήν ποτε ότε ουκ ήν, και πριν γεννηθηναι ουκ ήν, και ότε εξ ουκ όντων εγένετο, η εξ ετερας υποστάσεως η ουσίας φάσκοντας ειναι, η τρεπτον η αλλοιωτον τον υιον του θεου, τούτους αναθεμάτιζει η καθολικη και αποστολικη εκκλησία.


         We believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible.

         And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only begotten, that is of the substance of the Father: God of God: Light of Light: very God of very God: begotten, not made: consubstantial with the Father.  By whom all things were made both in heaven and earth.  Who for us men and for our salvation came down, and was Incarnate, and was made Man.  He suffered, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven: and shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.

         And in the Holy Ghost.

         And for them that say [concerning the Son of God], There was a time when He was not; and, He was not before He was begotten; and, He was made of things that are not; and, He is of another substance or essence, or that the Son of God is subject to conversion or mutation: these men the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes.


The Constantinopolitan Creed as it Stands in the

Acts of the Council of Chalcedon.

         Πιστεύομεν εις ένα θεον Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, ποιητην ουρανου και γης, ορατων τε πάντων και αοράτων.  Και εις ένα Κύριον ’Ιησουν Χρίστον, τον Υιον του θεου τον μονογενη, τον εκ του Πατρος γεννηθέντα προ πάντων των αιώνων·  φως εκ φωτος, θεον αληθινον εκ θεου αληθινου·  γεννηθέντα, ου ποιηθέντα, ομοούσιον τω Πατρι·  δι’ ου τα πάντα εγένετο, τον δι’ ημας τους ανθρώπους, και δια την ημέτεραν σωτηρίαν, κατελθόντα εκ των ουρανων, και σαρκωθέντα εκ Πνεύματος αγίου, και Μαρίας της παρθένου, και ενανθρωπήσαντα·  σταυρωθέντα τε υπέρ ημων επι Ποντίου Πιλάτου, και παθόντα, και ταφεντα, και αναστάντα τη τρίτη ημέρα κατα τας γραφάς·  και ανελθόντα εις τους ουρανους, και καθεζόμενον εκ δεξιων του Πατρός· και πάλιν ερχόμενον μετα δόξης κριναι ζωντας και νεκρούς·  ου της βασιλείας ουκ έσται τελος.  Και εις το άγιον, το Κύριον, και το ζωοποιον, το εκ του Πατρος εκπορευομενον, το συν Πατρι και Υιω συμπροσκυνούμενον, και συν δοξοζόμενον, το λαλησαν δια των προφητων.  Εις μίαν αγίαν καθολικην και αποστολικην εκκλησίαν·  ομολογουμεν έν βαπτίσμα εις άφεστιν αμαρτιων, προσδοκωμεν ανάστασιν νεκρων, και ζωην του μελλοντος αιωνος.  Αμίν.


         We believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

         And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds: 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 salvation came down from heaven: and was Incarnate of the Holy Ghost and 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 in the Holy Ghost, the Lord; and the Giver of life: who proceedeth from the Father: who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified: who spake by the prophets.  In one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.  We look for the Resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.  Amen.


The Constantinopolitan Creed

As It Was Said in the Medieval English Church.

         Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem coeli et terrae, visibililium omnium et invisibililium.  Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula.  Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero.  Genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt.  Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutenr descendit de coelis.  Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine.  Et homo factus est.  Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato: passus et sepultus est.  Et resurrexit tertia die secundum Scripturas.  Et ascendit in coelum: sedet ad dexteram Patris.  Et iterum venturus est cum gloria judieare vivos et mortuos.  Cujus regni non erit finis.  Et in Spiritum Sanctum Dominum et vivificantem.  Qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.  Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: Qui locutus est per prophetas.  Et unam sanctam catholicam et apostolieam ecclesiam.  Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum.  Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum.  Et vitam venturi saeculi.  Amen.


         I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

         And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all worlds: God of God: Light of Light: very God of very God: begotten not made: of one substance with the Father: by whom all things were made.  Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven: and was incarnate from the Holy Ghost out of the Virgin Mary: and was made Man.  Was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate: He suffered and was buried: and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and ascended into heaven: sits at the right hand of the Father: and will come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead.  Whose kingdom shall have no end.

         And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Life-giver: who proceedeth from the Father and the Son: who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified: who spake by the prophets.  And one Holy Catholic and Apostolic 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.  Amen.


         It will thus be observed that our English text follows the Medieval Use; that we recite after the Western form, “I believe,” instead of the Eastern, “We believe”; that the clause, θεον εκ θεου, Deum de Deo, “God of God,” was omitted in the Constantinopolitan Creed; that the original Nicene Creed ended with “And in the Holy Ghost;” that the additions (excepting of course the Filioque) are first found in the Constantinopolitan Creed; that the Holy Ghost is described as το Κύριον, και το ζωοποιον, Dominum et vivificantem =The Lord, and the Life-Giver, and should be pointed and read “The Lord; and Giver of Life”; that the Greek only has “in” (εις) before “one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”; that the English only omits “Holy”; and follows the Latin, incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, rather than the Greek, σαρκωθέντα εκ Πνεύματος Αγίου, και Μαρίας της παρθένου.


The Athanasian Creed.

Fides Sancti Athanasii.

         Σύμβολον της πίστεως του αγίου ’Αθανασίου.

         1.  Whosoever will be saved [is desirous of being saved], before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.

         Quicunque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est ut teneat catholicam fidem.

         Όστις βούλεται σωθηναι προ πάντων χρη αυτω την Καθολικην κρατησαι Πίστην.

         2.  Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

         Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit.

         ην ει μη τις σώαν και άμωμον τηρήσειν, άνευ δισταγμου εις τον αιωνα απολειται.

         3.  And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.

         Fides autem Catholica haec est, ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in Unitate veneremur.

         Πίστι δε Καθολικη αύτη εστιν ίνα ένα Θεον εν Τρίαδι και Τρίαδι εν Μονάδι σεβώμεθα.

         4.  Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.

         Neque confundentes Personas, neque Substantiam separantes.

         μήτε συγχέοντες τας υποστάσεις μήτε την ουσίαν μερίζοντες.

         5.  For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.

         Alia est enim Persona Patris, alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti.

         άλλη γάρ εστιν η του Πατρος υπόστασις, άλλη του Υίου, και άλλη τουΑγίου Πνεύματος.

         6.  But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal.

         Sed Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, una est Divinitas, aequalis Gloria, coeterna Majestas.

         αλλα Πατρος και Υιου και Αγίου Πνεύματος μία εστι θεότης, ίση δόξα, συαιδιος η μεγαλειότης.

         7.  Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.

         Qualis Pater, talis Filius, talis et Spiritus Sanctus.

         οιος ο Πατηρ, τοιουτος και ο Υιος, τοιου το και το Πνευμα το Άγιον.

         8.  The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.

         Increatus Pater, increatus Filius, increatus et Spiritus Sanctus.

         άκτιστος ο Πατηρ, άκτιστος ο Υιος, άκτιστον και το Άγιον Πνευμα.

         9.  The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.

         Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, immensus et Spiritus Sanctus.

         ακατάληπτος ο Πατηρ ακατάληπτος ο Υιος, ακατάληπτον και το Πνευμα το Άγιον.

         10.  The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.

         AEternus Pater, aeternus Filius, aeturnus, et Spiritus Sanctus.

         αιώνιος ο Πατηρ, αιώνιος ο Υιος, αιώνιον και το Άγιον Πνευμα.

         11.  And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.

         Et tamen non tres aeterni, scd unus aeturnus.

         πλην ου τρεις αιώνιοι, αλλ’ εις αιώνιος.

         12.  As also there are not three incomprehensibles, not three uncreated, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.

         Sicut non tres increati, nee tres immensi, sed unus increatus, et unus immensus.

         ώσπερ ουδε τρεις άκτιστοι ουδε τρεις ακατάληπτοι αλλ’ εις άκτιστος και εις ακατάληπτος.

         13.  So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty.

         Similiter, Omnipotens Pater, Omnipotens Filius, Omnipotens et Spiritus Sanctus.

         ομοίως παντοκράτωρ ο Πατηρ, παντοκράτωρ ο Υιος, παντοκράτωρ το Πνευμα το Άγιον.

         14.  And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.

         Et tamen non tres Omnipotentes, sed unus Omnipoteus.

         πλην οι τρεις παντοκράτορες αλλ’ εις παντοκράτωρ.

         15.  So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.

         Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus et Spiritus Sanctus.

         Ούτω θεος ο Πατηρ, θεος ο Υιος, θεος και το Πνευμα το Άγιον.

         16.  And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

         Et tamen non tres Dii, sed unus est Deus.

         πλην ου τρεις Θεοι, αλλ’ εις Θεός.

         17.  So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.

         Ita Dominus Pater, Dominus Filius, Dominus et Spiritus Sanctus.

         ωσαύτως Κύριος ο Πατηρ, Κύριος ο Υιος, Κύριον και το Πνευματο το Άγιον.

         18.  And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.

         Et tamen non tres Domini, sed unus est Dominus.

         πλην ου τρεις Κύριοι, αλλ’ εις έστι Κύριος.

         19.  For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.

         Quia sicut singillatim unamquamque Personam, Deum et Dominum confiteri Christiana veritate compellimur; ita tres Deos aut Dominos dicere Catholica religione prohibemur.

         ότι ώσπερ μοναδικως εκάστην υπόστασιν Θεον και Κύριον ομολογειν Χριστιανικη αληθεία αναγκαζόμεθα ούτω τρεις Θεους η τρεις Κυρίους λέγειν Καθολικη ευσεβεία κωλυόμεθα.

         20.  The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten.

         Pater a nullo est factus, nec creatus, nec genitus.

         ο Πατηρ απ’ ουδενός ερτι πεποιημένος, ούτε δεδημιουργημένος, ούτε γεγεννημένος.

         21.  The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.

         Filius a Patre solo est, non factus, nec creatus, sed genitus.

         ο Υιος απο μόνον του Πατρός εστιν ου πεποιημένος ουδε δεδημιουργημένος, αλλα γεγεννημένος.

         22.  The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

         Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio, non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus est, sed procedens.

         το Πνευμα το Άγιον απο του Πατρός και του Υιόυ ου πεποιημένον ούτε δεδημιουργημένον ούτε γεγεννημένον, αλλεκπορευτόν.

         23.  So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.

         Unus ergo Pater, non tres Patres; unus Filius, non tres Filii; unus Spiritus Sanctus, non tres Spiritus Sancti.

         εις ουν εστι Πατηρ οι τρεις Πατέρες, εις Υιος ου τρεις Υιοί, εν Πνευμα Άγιον ου τρία Πνεύματα Άγια.

         24.  And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other, none is greater, or less than another; but the whole three Persons are coeternal together, and coequal.

         Et in hac Trinitate nihil Arius aut posterius, nihil majus aut minus, sed totae tres Personae co-aeternae sibi sunt, et co-aequales.

         και εν ταύτη τη Τριάδι ουδεν πρωτον η ύστερον, ουδεν μειζον η έλαττον, αλλ’ όλαι αι τρεις υποστάσεις συνδιαιωνίζουσαι εαυταις ειδι και ίσαι.

         25.  So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped.

         Ita ut per omnia, sicut jam supra dictum est, et Unitas in Trinitate, et Trinitas in Unitate veneranda sit.

         ωστε κατα πάντα, ως είρηται, και Τριας εν Μονάδι και Μονας εν Τριάδι λατρεύεται.

         26.  He therefore that will be saved [is desirous of being saved], must thus think of the Trinity.

         Qui vult ergo salvus esse, ita de Trinitate sentiat.

         ο θέλων ουν σωθηναι ούτω περι της αγίας Τριάδος φρονείτω.

         27.  Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

         Sed necessarium est ad aeternam Salutem, ut Incarnationem quoque Domini nostri Jesu Christi fideliter credat.

         πλην αναγκαιον έτι εστι προς αιωνίαν σωτηρίαν όπως και την ενανθρώπησιν του Κυρίον ημωνΙησου Χριστου ορθως πιστεύη.

         28.  For the right Faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

         Est ergo Fides recta, ut credamus et confiteamur, quia Dominus noster Jesus Christus, Dei Filius, Deus periter et Homo est.

         έστιν ουν Πίστις ορθη ίνα πιστεύωμεν και ομολογωμεν ότι ο Κύριος ημων ’Ιησους Χριστος ο του Θεου Υιος Θεος και ’Ανθρωπός εστι.

         29.  God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Substance of His mother, born in the world.

         Deus est ex substantia Patris ante saecula genitas: Homo, ex substantia matris in saeculo natus.

         Θεός εστιν εκ της ουσίας του Πατρος προ αιώνων γεννηθείς, και Άνθρωπος εστιν εκ της ουσίας της μητρος εν χρόνω γεννηθείς.

         30.  Perfect God, and perfect Man of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

         Perfectus Deus, perfectus Homo ex anima rationali et humana carne subsistens.

         τελειος Θεος και τέλειος Άνθρωπος εκ ψυχης λογικης και ανθρωπίνης σαρκος υποστάς.

         31.  Equal to the Father, as touching His Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching His Manhood.

         AEqualis Patri secundum Divinitatem, minor Patri secundum Humanitatem.

         ισος τω Πατρι κατα την Θεότητα, ελάττωντου Πατρος κατα την ανθρωπότητα.

         32.  Who although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.

         Qui licet Deus sit et Hero, non duo tamen, sed unus est Christus.

         ος ει και Θεος υπάρχει και  Άνθρωπος όμως ου δύο αλλ’ εις εστι Χριστός.

         33.  One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God.

         Unus autem, non conversione Divinitatis in carnem, sed assumptione Humanitatis in Deum.

         εις δε ου τροπη Θεότητος εις σάρκα αλλα προσλήψει ανθσωπότητος εις Θεότητα.

         34.  One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person.

         Unus omnino, non confusione Substantiae, sed unitate Personae.

         εις πάντως ου συγχύσει φύσεως αλλ’ ενώσει ύποστάσεως.

         35.  For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ.

         Nam sicut anima rationalis et caro unus est homo, ita Deus et Homo unus est Christus.

         ώσπερ γαρ ψυχη λογικη και σαρξ εις εστιν άνθρωπος, ούτω Θεος και Άνθρωπος εις εστι Χριστος.

         36.  Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.

         Qui passus est pro salute nostra, descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis.

         ο παθων δια την ημετέραν σωτηρίαν, και κατελθων εις τον Αίδην, και τη πρίτη ημέρα αναστας εκ των νεκρων.

         37.  He ascended into heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

         Ascendit ad coelos, sedet ad dexteram Patris; inde venturus judicare vivos et mortuos. [4 MSS.: Dexteram Dei P. Omnipotentis.]

         και ανελθων εις τους ουρανους, και καθήμενος εκ δεξιων του Θεου και Πατρος του παντοκράτορος, όθεν ελεύσεται κριναι ζωντας και νεκρούς.

         38.  At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works.

         Ad cujus adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis, et reddituri sunt de factis propriis rationem.

         ου τη παρουσία πάντες άνθρωποι αναστήσονται συν τοις εαυτων σώμασιν αποδωσοντες περι των ιδίων έργων λόγον.

         39.  And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

         Et qui bona egerunt ibunt in vitam aeternam; qui vero mala, in ignem aeternum.

         και οι μεν τα αγαθα πράξαντες πορεύσονται εις ζωην αιώνιον, οι δε τα φαυλα εις το πυρ το αιώνιον.

         40.  This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.

         Haec est Fides Catholica, quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit, salvus esse non poterit.

         αύτη εστιν η Καθολικη Πίστις, ην ει μή τις πιστως τε και βεβαίως πιστεύση, σωθηναι ου δυνήσεται.


The Apostles’ Creed.

Symbolum Apostolorum.

         Σύμβολον των Αποστόλων.

         1.  I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

         Credo in Deum Patrem Omnipotentem, Creatorem coeli et terrae.

         Πιστεύω εις τον Θεον Πατέρα παντοκράτορα ποιητην ουρανου και γης.

         2.  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

         Et in Jesum Christum, Filium ejus unicum, Dominum nostrum.

         και ’Ιησουν Χριστον Υιον αυτου τον μονογενη τον Κύριον ημων.

         3.  Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.

         Qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancti, natus ex Maria Virgine.

         τον συλληφθέντα εκ Πνεύματος ’Αγίου, γεννηθέντα εκ Μαρίας της παρθένου.

         4.  Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.

         Passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus.

         παθόντα επι Ποντίου Πιλάτου, σταυρωθέντα, θανόντα, και ταφέντα.

         5.  He descended into Hell, the third day He rose again from the dead.

         Descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis.

         κατελθόντα εις άδου, τη τρίτη ημέρα ανασάντα απο των νεκρων.

         6.  He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.

         Ascendit ad coelos, redet ad dexteram Dei Patris Omnipotentis.

         ανελθόντα εις τους ουρανούς, καθεζόμενον εν δεξια Θεου Πατρος παντοδυνάμου.

         7.  From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

         Inde venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos.

         εκειθεν ερχόμενον κριναι ζωντας και νεκρούς.

         8.  I believe in the Holy Ghost.

         Credo in Spiritum Sanctum.

         πιστεύω εις το Πνευμα το Άγιον.

         9.  The Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints.

         Sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam, Sanctorum communionem.

         αγίαν καθολικην εκκλησίαν, αγίων κοινωνίαν.

         10.  The Forgiveness of Sins.

         Remissionem peccatorum.

         άφεσιν αμαρτιων.

         11.  The Resurrection of the Body.

         Carnis resurrectionem.

         σαρκος ανάστασιν.

         12.  And the Life everlasting.  Amen.

         Vitam aeternam.  Amen.

         ζωην αιώνιον.  ’Αμήν.


         In order not unduly to swell the text of this Article, and for the sake of fuller discussion, we refer the reader to the Appendix for the historic details of the Three Creeds; and for their analysis also, as this will more clearly come out in connection with their history. – We would strongly advise the student who is preparing for theological examinations to make himself master of the Greek especially of the Creeds, as set forth above.  This, with due attention to the notes and details of the Appendix, may prove of very material advantage.

         As the Scriptural Proof of the main clauses of the Creeds is fully drawn out under other Articles, it is unnecessary to adduce it here.


Article  IX.

Doctrine and History.

         Of Original, or Birth Sin. – Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk); but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit, and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation.  And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek φρόνημα σαρκος, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the law of God.  And, although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.

            De Peccato Originali. – Peccatum Originis non est (ut fabulantur Pelagiani) in imitatione Adami situm, sed est vitium, et depravatio naturae, cujuslibet hominis ex Adamo naturaliter propagati: qua fit, ut ab originali justitia quam longissime distet, ad malum ma natura propendeat, et caro semper adversus Spiritum concupiscat, unde in unoquoque nascentium, iram Dei atque damnationem meretur.  Manet etiam in renatis haec naturae depravatio.  Qua fit, ut affectus carnis, Graece φρόνημα σαρκος (quod alii sapientiam, alii sensum, alii affectum, alii studiam carnis interpretantur), legi Dei non subjiciatur.  Et quanquam renatis et credentibus nulla propter Christum est condemnatio, peccati tamen in sese rationem habere concupiscentiam, fatetur Apostolus.


         We here pass from the Rule of Faith to what that Rule teaches us concerning Sin and the Saviour, Arts. 9–18.  It is well thus to notice, as we proceed, the structural composition of the Articles.  It shows us not only the systematic lines upon which they are based, but the clear grasp of Scriptural truth which our Reformers possessed.

         Leaving the profitless and vain speculations of heathen philosophy as to the origin of evil, and without also entering on the argument in proof of this innate corruption deducible from the death and sufferings of infants, we propose – 1. To examine the Development of the Doctrine of Original Sin in the Old and in the New Testament; 2. To trace the Progress of heresy in the Christian Church; and 3. Briefly to analyze the Theses and Wording of the Article.  This is a departure from our usual arrangement; but we think the gain upon the whole will be apparent.  We shall thus have a more connected view of the subject in its twofold bearings – the mind of the Spirit as revealed to the Churches, and the spread of error; and so be enabled more fully to appreciate the doctrinal positions assumed by the Reformers, and the better understand their somewhat scholastic phraseology.


1.  The Scriptural Development of the Doctrine of Original Sin.

In the Old Testament.

         “So God created man in his own image. ... And the Lord God said unto Adam, Because thou hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for unto dust shalt thou return. ... And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat [as before] in his own [sinful] likeness, after his [changed] image” (Gen. 1:27, 3:17, 19; 5:3).

         “And God saw [before the Flood] that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5.).  Or rather, according to the Hebrew, The whole imagination – the purposes and desires, every day.

         “And the Lord said in his heart [after the Flood], I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for (or, though) the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21).

         “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?  Not one” (Job 14:4).  “What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?” (Job 15:14.)

         “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psa. 51:5).  “Sin is now regarded in its source.  From my very earliest being, from the hour when I was conceived, sin has been with me.  Sinfulness consists not merely in so many several sinful acts, but in a sinful and corrupt nature.” – Perowne.  “He lays on himself the blame of a tainted nature, instead of that of a single fault: not a murder only, but of a murderous nature.”  ‘Conceived in sin.’  From first moments up till then, he saw sin – sin – sin: nothing but sin.” – Robertson.  “If a man will speak and teach aright of sin, he must consider it in its depth, and show from what root it and all that is godless springs, and not apply the term merely to sins that have been committed. ... According to this Psalm then, we must say that all is sin which is born of father and mother, and from so evil a root nothing good can grow before God.” – Luther.  “Here at length he confesses himself guilty, not of one sin only or of many, but he rises to the fountainhead, (acknowledging) that from his mother’s womb he has brought nothing with him but sin, and that by nature he is altogether corrupt and as it were smeared over with vices. ... And of a truth we do not thoroughly acknowledge our sins unless we condemn our whole nature as corrupt.” – Calvin.  “Men may say what they will, the doctrine of original sin is contained in this passage.” – Stier. (See Perowne, under Psa. 51:5.)

         “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies” (Psa. 58:3).  Their whole life and habit of sin dates from their native depravity.

         “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Eccles. 7:29).  “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.  From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores” (Isa. 1:5–6).  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (אָבֻשׁ – morally corrupted and depraved): who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).

         In these Old Testament Scriptures, therefore, whether couched in the direct words of Jehovah Himself, or spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, or uttered as the heartfelt experience of the authors, we are clearly taught that man is born in a state of alienation from God; that this birth sin is propagated by natural generation in consequence of the Fall; and that it runs throughout the whole being – body and soul, the members of the one, and the faculties of the others.

         “And this infection of nature doth remain,” moreover, “yea, in them that are regenerated”: –

         “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from sin?” (Prov. 20:9).  “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isa. 66:6).  “If thy people sin against thee – for there is no man that sinneth not” (1 Kings 8:46).  “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccles. 7:20).

         Finally, “concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin”: –

         “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s” (Exod. 20:17).  “Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds” (Micah 2:1).  “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house” (Hab. 2:9).


In the New Testament.

         Here, and especially in the Epistles, as might be expected, we have the teaching set out more fully and systematically; and it may be fitly arranged under the various and consecutive heads of the Article.

         (a) Original Sin infects all men, naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam, that is to say, Christ alone excepted.

         “There is none good but One, that is God” (Matt. 19:17).  “Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:24–25).

         “Jesus answered (Nicodemus), Verily, verily, I say unto thee [a form of words not only signifying the firm certainty of what is about to be said, but used by our Lord, as Stier remarks, in his coequality with the Father], Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That (το, neuter) which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye (υμας) must be born again (or, from aboveάνωθεν)” (John 3:5–7).  This most solemn passage stamps the stain and guilt of Original Sin upon all flesh.  As Alford writes: “6.]  The neuter denotes not only the universal application of this truth, but (see Luke 1:35) the very first beginnings of life in the embryo, before sex can be predicated.  So Bengel: ‘notal ipsa prima stamina vitae.’  The Lord here answers Nicodemus’s hypothetical question of verse 4, by telling him that even could it be so, it would not accomplish the birth of which he speaks.  In this σαρξ (‘flesh’) is included every part of that which is born after the ordinary method of generation: even the spirit of man, which, receptive as it is of the Spirit of God, is yet in the natural birth dead, sunk in trespasses and sins, and in a state of wrath.  Such ‘flesh and blood’ cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 15:50.  But when the man is born again of the Spirit (the water does not appear any more, being merely the outward form of reception the less included in the greater), then just as flesh generates flesh, so spirit generates spirit, after its own image, see 2 Cor. 3:18 fin.; and since the Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, such only who are so born can enter into it.  7.] The weightiest word here is υμας (‘ye’).  The Lord did not, could not, say this of Himself.  Why? – Because in the full sense in which the flesh is incapacitated from entering the kingdom of God, He was not born of the flesh.  He inherited the weakness of the flesh, but His spirit was not, like that of sinful man, alien from holiness and God; and therefore on Him no second birth passed; when the Holy Spirit descended on Him at His baptism, the words spoken by the Father were indicative of past approval, not of renewal.  His obedience was accepted as perfect, and the good pleasure of the Father rested on him.  Therefore he includes not Himself in this necessity for the new birth” (Greek Testament, in loco).

         Gentiles and Jews included: –

         The Gentiles rejected the objective knowledge of God in creation, and so lost its internal or subjective teaching: –

         “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them [the testimony of nature conveyed to man’s heart by the senses]; for God hath showed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his Eternal Power and Divinity (θειότης – not θεότης, or “Godhead,” as A.V.; but His high and moral attributes, as displayed in Creation and Providence – the universal Fatherhood of God); so that they are without excuse.  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imagination, and their foolish heart was darkened. ... And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind (αδόκιμον νουν – not devoid of ‘knowledge’ or discernment, but judicially abandoned to its own natural and fostered depravity), to do those things which are not convenient” (Rom. 1:19, etc.)

         On the other hand, the Jews had the superadded knowledge of Revelation in the Law of Moses – the real reflection, so far as it went – the μόρφωσις of the holiness and character of God; and yet, by their breaking of the law not only was God dishonoured, but the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles through them (Rom. 2.)

         Hence the inevitable conclusion is that the inherent sinfulness of man is universal; and appertains to the whole human race individually.  “Jews and Gentiles are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3).  Well may Luther in commenting on the 14th Psalm (again appearing in the Elohistic 53d), from which this quotation is taken, say: “See how many words he uses that he may comprehend all, excluding none.  First he says all, then together, and then no, not one.”  And St. Paul, in his free quotation, would make the language if possible even still more emphatic – repeating none, no, not one.

         (2)  This universal depravity is not derived from imitation – “standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk)”; but is inherited by birth.

         Following up the argument of the Apostle as above in the Epistle to the Romans, we find that, having introduced reconciliation by Christ, or justification by faith, as the only ground of peace with God, he proceeds to explain the original source and spring of sin and condemnation by one of the strangest and strongest kaleidoscopic reiterations in any language: “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin – through the offence of one many be dead – the judgment was by one to condemnation – by one man’s offence death reigned by one – by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation – by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (Rom. 5).  And as if to meet the Pelagian objection, he inserts in the very middle of this statement the words: “Nevertheless [notwithstanding what I have said about sin not being fully reckoned where there is no Written Law] death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression” (5:14).  That is, the sin and condemnation must be universal, and inherited by birth, inasmuch as, in the interval between Adam and Moses, they died who had not broken any positive Revealed Law.  And this force of the reasoning remains, whether we thus interpret the words, or with Beza and others refer them to infants and idiots, or even (if not indeed more strongly) with Grotius, to those who lived pious lives.  Then further on, the Apostle still yet advances another and final step, and traces home – clearly and explicitly brings out the individuality, consequent on the generic oneness, of the seat and fountain of corruption.  “For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh. ... For to be carnally minded is death. ... BECAUSE THE CARNAL MIND IS ENMITY AGAINST GOD.  For it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:5–8).  The mind of the flesh (το φρόνημα της σαρκος) – the mind in a state of nature – the whole unconverted man – having its element in that which is opposed to the Spirit of Life, is, and cannot but be morally and spiritually Dead, and so alienated from God.  Hic locus maxime refutat Pelagianos et omnes qui imaginantur homines sine Spiritu Sancto legi obedire” (Melancthon).

         And precisely similar is the teaching of the New Testament elsewhere: –

         “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:6–7).  “In Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22).  “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).

         “From within, out of the heart (καρδία – the seat, center, and laboratory of the whole moral life) of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness, all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21–23).  All evil in its fountainhead and development of actual transgression proceeds from the innate corruption of the human heart; in other words, from Original Sin.

         “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of our flesh and of our thoughts (διανοιων, plural); and were by nature (φύσειbeing, not accessory influence of another, not acquired, but inherent state and inclination) the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:1–3).

         (3)  Original Sin in itself is deserving of the wrath of God.

         “In Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22).  “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, because (εφω – or, in whom [Adam]) all sinned” (ήμαρτον – Aorist) (Rom. 5:12).  “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).  “We were by nature the children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).

         (4)  This infection of original sin, or fleshly nature, remains even in the regenerate.

         “In many things we offend all” (James 3:2).  “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).  “I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but to perform that which is good, is not.  For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. ... I find then this law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man: but I see another law (έτερον ιόμον – a different law) in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. ... So then with my mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with my flesh [subjectively, though not energetically] the law of sin” (Rom. 7).

         (5)  Nevertheless, there is no condemnation for the true believer.

         This is expressly stated in so many words by the Apostle at the opening of the following chapter: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of Life hath made me free (ηλευθέρωσεν – Aorist, one past act – freed me, at my conversion), in Christ Jesus, from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:1–2).

         And elsewhere: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  I thank God [for deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 7:24–25).  “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory (διδόντιpresent, and therefore forever certain) through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:56–57).  “Being justified by Faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).

         And especially also by Christ: “He that believeth on the Son is not condemned (ου κρίνεταιenters not into the judgment of God” (John 3:18).  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (εις κρίσιν ουκ έρχεταιcomes not into the final judgment, as to the condemnatory part of it; but is passed (μεταβεβηκενPerfect, has already passed over) from death unto life” (John 5:24).

         (6)  “Concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.”

         “Evil concupiscence and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5).  “Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy” (James 4:5).  “The flesh lusteth against the spirit” (Gal. 5:17).  “I had not known sin but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Rom. 7:7).  “When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15).  “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:16–17).


2.  The Rise and Progress of Heresy.

         To the Gnostics in general, and especially the two great families of Marcionites and Manichees, in their attempts to reconcile Philosophy so-called and Revelation, we owe, as our readers will remember, erroneous views on the origin of evil; which alike with their other heresies tended materially to disturb and harass the Church.

         Florinus and Blastus, about the end of the second century, presbyters of Rome, seem to have been the first Christians of note or official standing who publicly identified themselves with the heterodox teaching.  At all events, both were excommunicated by Bishop Eleutherius; and it is certain that Florinus, though he had enjoyed the friendship of Irenaeus, and been a disciple of Polycarp’s, taught that God was the author of evil, as a letter remonstrating with him, from the pen of Irenaeus, is preserved by Eusebius.

         But error is hydra-headed; and the flagrance of heresy was soon evaded by baseless dreams of the imagination, modified figments of Gnosticism; and the subtleties of Creatiainism and Traducianism – that souls are created by God on their union with the body, or that souls are produced through generation by parents to their children.  Thus, notably, in the first half of the third century, the over-acute mind of Origen sought to conciliate an eternal philosophy, without if possible disturbing the unity of the faith; and taught the preexistence of human souls, and their present imprisonment in bodies more or less gross according to the offences committed in a former state: and so in reality removing, or attempting to remove, the question of the propagation of evil out of the category of practical and important Christian doctrine into that of comparatively unimportant speculation.

         Thus, and in like human elements, divorcing the mind of the Church from Christ and the simplicity of the Gospel, were laid the foundations of Pelagianism – a heresy that probably never will be wholly meted out.

         Pelagius (Brito) – a name Latinized from Morgan = Marigena, seaborn, in reference to the British Isles – was in all probability of Welsh extraction.  Trained and educated in a monastery (most likely the celebrated monastery of Bangor), it has been freely and perhaps truly alleged that be became indignant at the hypocrisy of the monks and their moral indolence, and so by his own earnest strivings after excellence, and his progress in supposed spiritual self-improvement, was led unduly to esteem the energy of the human will, and pride himself upon a sort of quantitative religion.  A recoil from the deadness of monkish profession and the slothfulness of Christian life – from the opus operatum of the Sacraments, landing him eventually in a like recoil not only from the prevalent repose upon the opus operatum of faith, but from justification by faith altogether.  At all events, he began his heretical career, by disputing, more covertly than in public, against the grace of God.  “We need no inward grace, for we have no inborn sin,” was the motto by which he sought, for himself and then for his friends and the world, to bridge over the gulf between Christianity and Paganism.  Coming to Rome about the year 400, by his earnestness and perhaps insinuating manners – coluber Britannus is an uncharitable epithet of Prosper’s – he gained the confidence of Coelestius, said to have been a co-islander, a man much younger than himself, of good parts and noble birth, with considerable dialectic abilities, a rising advocate, bold and outspoken.  This was just the spokesman which the timid precursor of modern Rationalism wanted – “Coelestius apertior, Pelagius occultior ... certi ille liberior, hic astutior” (Augustine).  When the Goths were laying waste Italy, the two friends retired to Sicily, and afterwards to Carthage.  Here first in 412, Pelagius having quietly departed, Coelestius was summoned before a Council on the two following charges of false doctrine.  That the sin of Adam had injured only himself; and that infants come into the world in the same sinless state as Adam was before the Fall.  The scapegoat was condemned, and banished from the fellowship of the African Church.  “Auditum, convictum, confessum, detestatumque ab Ecclesia, ex Africa profugisse” (Orosius).  We need not follow his fortunes, nor those of the heresiarch.  Suffice it to say, that after various successes and disasters, owing in some measure to personal influences, but chiefly to the ignorance or knowledge of the subjects in dispute on the part of their judges, they were both finally condemned at the Third General Council of Ephesus in 431; and so personally disappear from history.

         But it is of more importance to have a clear and correct view of the Pelagian system.  And it may fairly be reduced to one leading and original element – the Denial of the Need of Supernatural Grace.  In this the whole really centered; and from this blasphemous formula everything naturally followed.  It cut out the Mystery of Godliness and the New Creation; and fostered the pride of the human heart not only in Heathendom but in Christendom.  God had created man and left him to the development of his natural powers.  By these he is able, if he will, to merit eternal life.  The Fall is only hurtful from the possibility of imitating Adam’s sin: which explains all the passages in the New Testament bearing on the connection between the first transgression and the sins of our race.  Sin, being a thing not of nature but of the will, cannot be transmitted.  Moreover, the propagation of guilt conflicts with the justice of God.  All which is plain proof that there can be no such thing as derived and innate corruption.  As the word Grace could not be extirpated from the Bible, nor from the vocabulary of Christians, the term only meant the gifts bestowed on mankind and their preservation, or the revelation of our duty, or the forgiveness of actual transgression – anything in short but the internal, evangelical renewal by the Holy Ghost.  Christ too was a constant factor of Revelation, yet not a Redeemer from the captivity of sin and the curse of the law, but a higher Exemplar than any who had gone before – a sort of excelsior stimulus to the human will.  Baptism is commanded – a signatory pass into the kingdom: but there its efficacy begins and ends.

         Augustine was the chief and most successful opponent of Pelagianism.  Taking his stand upon the express declarations of Scripture, and the general belief of the Christian Church from the beginning, he vigorously and exhaustively vindicated the truth.  And though we may easily detect some shortcomings, owing to the age, his bent of mind and imperfections of Greek education, yet upon the whole his twelve books against the Pelagians, are a noble contribution to theological learning – a lasting monument of his systematic thought, patience, and industry.  His thesis is to the effect that the sinful condition of Adam, his death in body and soul, incurred by the Fall, is transmitted, through natural generation, to all his posterity; that we need the grace of God, not only to do, but to will, that which is good; and that this divine, regenerating life is freely communicated by God, through Christ, and shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost – an internal and constraining, creative energy of likeness and love.

         The following details, carefully gleaned and lucidly arranged by Professor Robertson, will well repay the diligent perusal of the student: –

         “The fundamental question between Pelagius and his opponents related to the idea of Free Will.  By this term, Pelagius understood an unbiassed power of choosing between good and evil; and such a faculty he maintained man has, since the power of choice is essential to responsibility, and there can be no sin or guilt unless where there is voluntary evil.  Augustine, on the other hand, taught that freedom must be distinguished from the power of choice.  God, he said, is free, although his nature excludes the possibility of his choosing or doing anything that is evil; hence a natural and necessary limitation to good is higher than a state of balance between good and evil; and such a balance cannot be, since the possibility of inclining to evil is a defect.  Man is not free to choose between good and evil, but is governed either by grace or by sin.  Our freewill, without grace, can do only evil; the direction of the will to good must be God’s gracious gift.  Grace does not take away freedom, but works with the will, whose true freedom is the love of that which is good.

         “Since Scripture undeniably refers all good to Grace, Pelagius acknowledged this in words; but he understood the term grace in senses of his own, as meaning merely external gifts and benefits – the being and constitution of man; freewill itself; the call to everlasting happiness; the forgiveness of [actual ?] sins in [adult ?] baptism, apart from any influence on the after spiritual course; the knowledge of God’s will, the Law and the Gospel, the example of the Saviour’s life; or, if he sometimes used the word to signify the influence of the Holy Spirit on the soul, he did not represent this influence as necessary to the work of salvation, but only as rendering it easier.  Pelagius laboured to exclude from the notion of grace anything that might be inconsistent with freewill; Augustine, everything that might savour of merit on the part of man.  Distinguishing three stages in good, – the capacity, the will, and the performance, – Pelagius referred the first to God’s gift, but regarded the others as within the power of human nature.  Augustine, on the contrary, refused to admit the idea of a grace bestowed according to the previous receptivity of the soul; because this, as he thought, placed the determination in human merit.  Grace must, by its very name, be gratuitous; the will to do good must be God’s gift, as well as the capacity.

         “While Augustine held that the Fall had injured man both spiritually and physically; that by communion with God Adam was enabled to live a higher life; that he might have avoided sin, and, if he had not sinned, would have been raised to perfection without tasting of death, even as the angels, after having borne their probation in a lower degree of grace, were endowed with that higher measure of it which lifts above the possibility of falling, and confers immortality: – Pelagius maintained that man’s original constitution was mortal; that Adam was originally placed as we are, and that we are not inferior to him.  The passages in which St. Paul speaks of death as the punishment of sin, he interpreted as meaning spiritual death only.  Augustine taught that in Adam all men sinned; that, in punishment of the first sin, sin is transmitted by generation to all mankind; that although under the guidance of grace directing his freewill, man might live without sin, this sinless life has never been actually realized.  Pelagius, on the contrary, supposed that Adam’s sin did not affect his posterity otherwise than as an example; that there is, indeed, a deterioration of the race through custom of sinning, even as an individual man becomes worse through indulgence in sinful habits; that this comes to affect us like a nature, and has required occasional interpositions of the Divine mercy by revelations and otherwise; but that man had all along been able to live without sin; that some men had in fact so lived; and that, if this had been possible under the earlier dispensations – nay, even in heathenism –  much more must it be possible for us under the Gospel, which gives additional motives, higher rules of righteousness, and the light of a brighter Example.  According to Pelagius, the saints of the Old Testament were justified by the Law; but Augustine held that in spirit they belonged to the New Testament; that they were justified through faith in Christ, and through his grace which was bestowed on them by anticipation.  Pelagius saw mainly in Christ nothing more than a teacher and a pattern.  His death, although it was allowed to be efficacious for sinners, could not (it was supposed) confer any benefit on those who had no sin; the living union of the faithful with Him was an idea as foreign to the system of this teacher as the union of the natural man with Adam in death.  Pelagius, however, did not deviate from the doctrine of the Church with respect to the Saviour’s Godhead.

         “The practice of infant baptism, which was by this time universally regarded as apostolical, was urged against Pelagius. his opponents argued from the baptismal rites – the exorcisms, the renunciation of the devil, the profession of belief in the remission of sins.  Why, they asked, should infants be baptized with such ceremonies for the washing away of sin, if they do not bring sin into the world with them?  The Pelagians answered that infants dying in their natural state would attain eternal life, which they supposed to be open to all, whether baptized or not; but that baptism was necessary for the higher blessedness of entrance into ‘the kingdom of heaven,’ which is the especial privilege of the Gospel; that, as baptism was for all the means of admission to the fullness of the Christian blessings, the baptismal remission of sins must, in the case of infants, have a view to their future life on earth. ... With respect to baptism, Augustine held that it conveys forgiveness of all past sins whatever, whether original or actual: that by it we receive regeneration, adoption, and redemption; but that there yet remains in us a weakness against which the regenerate must struggle here through God’s help, and which will not be done away with until that further ‘regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory.’  The doctrine of this remaining infirmity was represented by the Pelagians as disparaging the efficacy of the baptismal sacrament.

         “Pelagius supposed that God had furnished man naturally with all that is needed for living without sin and keeping the commandments, and that the use of these gifts depends on our own will; Augustine, that at every point man needs fresh supplies of Divine and supernatural aid.  Pelagius understood justification to be merely the outward act of forgiveness; whereas Augustine saw in it also an inward purification through the power of grace.  Grace, he held, does not constrain the will, but delivers it from bondage, and makes it truly free; he distinguished it into – (1) the preventing grace, which gives the first motions towards goodness; (2) the operating, which produces the free will to good; (3) the cooperating which supports the will in its struggles, and enables it to carry its desires into act; and lastly (4) the gift of perseverance.” – (History of the Christian Church, i. 438, etc.)

         Out of this conflict arose Semi-Pelagianism, at the head of which stood John Cassian, of Scythian extract, born at Athens 351, ordained presbyter at Rome, and finally settling at Marseilles in France – an illiterate and superstitious, but active and pious monk.  He adopted for the most part Augustine’s positions as to original corruption, etc. without his systematic development of doctrine, but eliminated the element of the constraining power of grace; or rather, in his inability to decide whether freewill depends on grace, or grace on freewill, seems to strike the balance in favour of the latter.

         “Until Pelagius, whose opinions he strongly reprobated, Cassian acknowledged that all men sinned in Adam; that all have both hereditary and actual sin; that we are naturally inclined to evil; and that for every good thing – the beginning, the continuance, and the ending – we need the aid of supernatural grace.  But, although he maintained that grace is gratuitous – although he admitted that, in the infinite varieties of God’s dealings with men, the first call to salvation sometimes proceeds from preventing grace, and takes effect even on the unwilling – he supposed that ordinarily the working of grace depends on the determination of man’s own will; that God is the receiver of the willing, as well as the Saviour of the unwilling.  As examples of those who are called without their own will, he referred to St. Matthew and St. Paul; for proof that in some cases the will precedes the call, he alleged Zacchaeus and the penitent thief, – as to whom he made the obvious mistake of regarding the visible part of their story as if it were the whole.  He held that God furnishes man’s nature with the seeds of virtue, although grace be needful to develop them; that Christ died for all men, and that grace is offered to all.  Faith and good works (it was said), although they do not deserve grace, are motives to the bestowal of it.  Grace must work with our own will and endeavour; it may be lust, and is to be retained by man’s free will – not by a gift of perseverance.  God’s purpose and calling, according to Cassian, bring men by baptism to salvation; yet the benefits of the Saviour’s death extend to persons who in this life were never made members of Him – their readiness to believe being discerned by God, and reckoned to their credit.  In like manner children who die in infancy are dealt with according to God’s foreknowledge of what they would have become if they had been allowed to live longer: those who would have used grace rightly are brought by baptism to salvation; the others die unbaptized.” – (Robertson, i. 445, etc.)

         Passing to the Scholastic doctrine of original sin, as expounded by Bellarmine, it may be sufficient to quote the following: – “The state of man after the fall of Adam differs from the state of Adam in what was purely natural to him (in puris naturalibus), no more than a man who is stripped differs from a naked man.  Nor is human nature worse, if you take away original sin, nor does it labour more with ignorance and infirmity, than it would be and would labour in what is purely natural as it was created.”  In other words, and as the Schoolmen abundantly and explicitly teach, Adam was created mortal, and spiritually naked.  He was then clothed with immortality and a superadded original righteousness – ornaments bestowed upon him, but not as parts of himself.  These he lost in the Fall, and was so reduced back to his primitive state and condition; but with this material add formidable difference: he was now, having trifled with and lost the precious gift of immortality and righteousness, an object of Divine displeasure; and so transmitted to his seed the poison or infection of his body fomes peccati, a fuel that might be kindled into sin, and the guilt by imputation of his soul.  Thus then original sin consists not in a positive quality of evil, but in an absence of original righteousness; in a defect of the soul, liable to pollution through the body, rather than in an inherent evil disposition, or direct power and dominion of sin.  Concupiscence, or man’s tendency to sin, has in it no necessary guilt, for man in this respect is precisely in the same predicament since the Fall as he was before, and consequently in a state of innocence.  Baptism therefore cannot, and does not, touch either concupiscence or mortality – these being two of the characteristics of the creature man; but it takes away original sin, inasmuch as it restores the spiritual adornment which was lost by the Fall – original righteousness.

         The Anabaptists follow in the order of time; and are referred to in the corresponding Article of Edward, 1552: “Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, as the Pelagians doe vainly talk, which also the Anabaptists do nowadays renew.”  The reader will find, under Article 7, the Pelagian errors which were “renewed” or expanded by the Anabaptists.  They may be briefly recounted here: It is possible for man to earn salvation by his own virtuous actions.  The Flesh alone participated in the Fall.  Or, even granting that man is fallen, he may be rescued, by his natural powers.  Christ was one of the most spotless of our race; a Teacher and Exemplar; a Saviour in the sense of our leader and forerunner; but to call Him the Redeemer, in the ordinary sense of that term, is to convert Him into an idol.  And as to concupiscence, a man who is reconciled to God, is without all stain thereof, nothing of the old Adam remaining in his nature.

         Finally, we come to the Council of Trent.  On the subject before us we find, as usual, truth mixed up with deadly error.  Our business however is with the points directly or inferentially opposed by our Article.  Thus we find it decreed in the Fifth Session: –

         “If any one denies that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in Baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted; or moreover asserts that the whole is not taken away of that which has the true and proper nature (ratio) of sin; but says that it is only cut down or not imputed.  Let him be Anathema.

         Nevertheless, this Holy Council doth confess and is of opinion that Concupiscence, or the fuel of sin, remaineth in the baptized; which being left for the purpose of trial, cannot hurt those who do not consent to it, but manfully through the grace of Christ resist it.

         “The Holy Council declares that the Catholic Church hath never understood that this concupiscence, which the Apostles sometimes call sin, is called sin because sin is truly and properly in the regenerate, but because it is of sin, and inclines to sin.  If anyone hold a contrary opinion, let him be Anathema.”

         It was also expounded and determined: That the perfection of Adam consisted in an infused quality, which adorned the soul, made it acceptable to God, and exempted the body from mortality.  That Original Sin consists in the deprivation of this Original Righteousness.  That in Baptism the soul is restored to purity, and the state of primeval innocence, though the punishments incurred by sin are not removed.  That the regenerating grace of baptism is accompanied by justifying grace, which worketh in some greater effects than original righteousness, though not on the body, to the removal of natural defects and mortality.  And that the decree concerning the transmission of sin by generation, from Adam to his posterity, “did not mean to comprehend the Blessed Virgin.”


3.  Analysis and Working of the Article.

         The construction is elaborate, careful, and for all necessary purposes, exhaustive.  The Article might easily be recast so as to compress its substance, but it would be difficult to reduce its wording into a smaller compass, and bring out at the same time all its valuable points.

         (1.)  Original Sin is defined (a) negatively – “standeth not in the following of Adam, in imitatione Adami (in the imitation of Adam), as the Pelagians do vainly talk”; (b) positively as to its nature and extent – “it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, vitium et depravatio naturae cujuslibet hominis (the fault and depravity of every member of the human family), that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam.”

         (2.)  The measure or degree of this fault and corruption of nature – “whereby man is very far gone, quam longissime distet (most far gone) from original righteousness, and is of his own nature, sua natura (radically and inborn), inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit.”

         (3.)  In deserving in itself of the wrath of God – “and therefore in every person born into this world, in unoquoque nascentium (at birth, not natorum, or after birth), it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation.”

         (4.)  Remains in the regenerate – “and this infection of nature, haec naturae depravatio (this depravity of nature), doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated, renatis; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek φρόνημα σαρκος [St. Paul’s expression, Rom. 8:7, for the enmity of the natural man against God, the unrestrained outcome of which he describes in Gal. 5:19–22], which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the law of God.”

         (5.)  Nevertheless there is no condemnation for the true believer – “there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, renatis et credentibus.”  Here we have renatis again, before translated regenerated, now baptized, but qualified by the word believe – a plain proof that the Reformers did not look upon adult baptism at least, per se, as equivalent to full spiritual birth.

         (6.)  Concupiscence has the nature of sin – “concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature, rationem (the fixed relation and reckoning), of sin.”

         The reader who has followed us in this Article will therefore, we think, clearly see not only the Scriptural positions assumed by our Reformers, but also the calm yet firm and uncompromising stand made by these noble men against error – whether Pelagian, Scholastic, Anabaptist, or Romish.  And it is just this twofold element – Scriptural truth and faithful protest against error, which chiefly and so highly enhances the value of the Thirty-nine Articles.  Quaint occasionally they may be in style, and not unfrequently and almost necessarily tinged with scholastic phraseology, yet nevertheless they are one of the very profoundest contributions to sound theology ever given, in a doctrinal formulary, to the world.

         Only a very few additional words are required in conclusion.  Our Article is a positive protest against the Pelagian doctrine of imitation.  It is a negative protest against Rome’s scholastic figment as to that in which original righteousness consisted.  It is a positive protest against the scholastic privatio, or mere lack of superadded righteousness, also endorsed by the Council of Trent.  It is a positive protest against Rome’s dogma of sinless concupiscence.  It is a constructive protest against Rome’s ex opere operato efficacy of Baptism, as well as against her feeble (Tridentine) dogma of an immaculate Virgin.  And lastly it is a negative protest against the very debatable doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s guilt, herein agreeing with the great Germanic Confession, as well as with the Helvetic, Saxon, and Belgic Confessions – a doctrine, however, plainly asserted by the Westminster Assembly of Divines.


Article  X.

History and Doctrine, With Scriptural Proof.

         Of Free Will. – 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, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

            De Libero Arbitrio. – Ea est hominis post lapsum Adae conditio, ut sese naturalibus suis viribus, et bonis operibus, ad fidem et invocationem Dei convertere ac praeparare non possit.  Quare absque gratia Dei (quae per Christum est), nos praeveniente, ut velimus, et cooperante, dum volumus, ad pietatis opera facienda, quae Deo grata sunt et accepta, nihil valemus.


         The title and the text of the Article introduce two Subjects: – 1. The Scientific View.  2. The Scriptural View.


1.  The Scientific View.

         (1.)  Demonstrative science, metaphysical science, and religious science, if indeed we may give them the same surname, have little affinity or sisterhood.  The notation of the first is human, yet absolutely fixed and certain, of constant value, and may be expressed in any medium; the notation of the second is vague and variable as language itself, and its assumed truths may well be rejected as sophisms or subtleties, if they must be confined to a given enunciation; the notation of the third is Divine, and hinges in toto on one grand axiom, namely, that GOD is LOVE – or, if you choose to express it in another formula, God, and not Man, is the Saviour.

         The first and the second, therefore, are at antipodes; as well as the second and the third.  If there is any affinity among them all, it is between the first and the third – between demonstrative, and religious, science.  They have the same fixity of notation; only that the principia of the one are miraculously revealed and documentary, the principia of the other are to be discovered.

         Again, the study of all physical science, or the laws of nature, is eminently if not chiefly conducive to our temporal well-being; metaphysical science, or the study of the laws of mind, is perhaps at most a profitable pastime; but the faithful study of the laws of God, “godliness, is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

         Moreover, it has to be affirmed that religious science differs from all human science in this respect – which must ever exist as an impassable gulf between them – that the former is designedly as well as necessarily fragmentary, segments of several circles or systems, now human, now angelic, now Divine, not one of which is or indeed could be completely described to our finite minds; whereas the latter is occupied with one system only, and left naturally to the feebleness and imperfections of its own calculus.

         If then the mental phenomena, and even those with which we are more immediately conversant, remain in and of themselves a mystery, in their very nature unfathomable, unstable, illusory, far above the mere world of external nature, and must needs so remain, the difficulty of the problem is only infinitely increased when, on the Bible platform, the human mind is brought into contact with other worlds of spirits, holy and unholy, Divine and Satanic.

         (2.)  It is difficult, and so difficult that for all practical purposes it may be assumed to be impossible, for man to think in any other groove than that to which he has been accustomed.  True, some men of patient and exalted genius are at home in humble phrase and illustration, as well as in the higher walks of abstract reasoning; but the duplex attainment is rare, rarer than we may at first imagine, and after all just resolves itself back into custom and training.  When Plato and the schools sent their students into the temple of Christianity, these naturally brought with them their philosophic modes of thought, and unhappily not a little of their philosophy also.  In other words, Satan used “the wisdom of the wise” to mar and counteract much of the simplicity of the Gospel.  And this blinding or emasculating process has been kept up and prevailed till almost our own day.  Change the phraseology, and you have till within a very late period, the alien spirit of so-called philosophic thought and metaphysical exposition which set in against the genius of the New Way in the second century.

         (3.)  A brief review of men and dates may be useful landmarks for the student, here and in following Articles.


The Apostolic Fathers.

         In the golden age of Christianity, if anywhere, we should expect to find the doctrines of grace taught by Christ and His Apostles, faithfully reflected.  Whatever may have been the errors which were creeping into the Church, or whatever human weaknesses may have been displayed by the Apostolic Fathers, theirs par excellence is the age to which above all that follow we are justified in looking for the strong vitality of the life of the Christian Faith.  Let us therefore hear St. Clement of Rome, the first Bishop of that See, whom St. Paul mentions as one of his “fellow labourers, whose names are in the Book of Life” (Phil. 4:3): –

         “God glorified his saints of old, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness that they themselves wrought, but through his will.  And we also being called by the same will in Jesus Christ, are not justified by ourselves, neither by our own wisdom, or knowledge, or piety, or the works which we have done in holiness of heart; but by that faith by which God Almighty has justified all men from the beginning.  To whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.  What shall we do, therefore, brethren? shall we be slothful in well-doing, and lay aside our love?  May God keep us, that such things be not wrought in us!  But rather let us give all diligence, that with earnestness and readiness of mind we may perfect every good work. ... How excellent, beloved, are the gifts of God.  Life in immortality! glory in righteousness! truth in confidence! faith in full assurance! continence in holiness!  All these are comprehensible to us.  But what shall those things be which he hath prepared for them that wait for him?  The Creator, the Everlasting Father, the All-Holy; he only knows their greatness and their beauty.  Let us then agonize that we may be found among the number of those that abide in him, that we may be made partakers of the free gifts he hath promised.  But how shall this be, beloved?  If, having our minds confirmed in faith towards God, we seek those things which are pleasing and acceptable unto him; fulfilling that which is agreeable to his holy will; and following the way of truth, we cast off from us all unrighteousness and iniquity.  This is the way, beloved, wherein we find our salvation, even Jesus Christ, the High Priest of all our offerings, the support and help of our infirmities.  By (faith in) him we gaze upon his pure and most exalted countenance, and behold therein, as in a glass, the heights of the heavenly felicities.  By him are the eyes of our hearts opened; by him our foolish and darkened understandings rejoice to behold his marvelous light” (1 ad Cor. 32–33).

         St. Barnabas, the companion of St. Paul (Acts), is frequently quoted by Clement of Alexandria and Origen, which with other evidence tends to establish the authority of his Epistle.  He unhappily retains many of the blemishes of Jewish writing, but the following passage, though perhaps inferior to Clement in diction, yet is equally satisfactory: –

         “Before that we believed in God, the habitation of our heart was frail and corruptible, even as a temple merely built with hands.  For it was a house full of idolatry, a house of demons; inasmuch as there was done in it whatsoever was contrary unto God.  By what means shall a house like this be gloriously rebuilt in the name of the Lord?  I will tell you.  Having received remission, of our sins through faith in the name of the Lord, we are made anew, being created as it were from the beginning.  Then God truly dwells in our house, that is, in us.  But how does he dwell in us?  By the word of his faith, by the calling of his promise, by the wisdom of his righteous judgments, by the commands of his doctrine: he himself speaks within us, he himself dwelleth in us, and openeth to us, who were in bondage of death, the gate of our temple, that is the mouth of wisdom, having given repentance unto us.  By this means he hath made us an indestructible temple.  He then that desireth to be saved must not look for help to man, but to him that dwelleth in his servants, and speaketh by them.  This is the spiritual temple that is built unto the Lord” (Epis. 16).

         St. Ignatius, the disciple of St. John, by whom probably he was appointed to the See of Antioch, thus writes: –

         “Nothing shall be hidden from you if ye have perfect faith and love to Jesus Christ, which is the beginning and the end of life.  For the beginning is faith, and the end is love, and these two joined together are of God; and all other things that concern a holy life are the effects of these.  No man professing a true faith sinneth; neither does he who hath love hate any.  The tree is made manifest by its fruit: so they who profess themselves Christians are to be judged by what they do.  For Christianity is not the work of an outward profession; but the power of faith enduring unto the end” (Ad Eph. 14).

         St. Polycarp, also the disciple of St. John, and by him appointed to the See of Smyrna, has the following meek and lovely passages: –

         “Brethren, watch unto prayer, and strengthen yourselves therein with fasting: with supplication beseeching the all-seeing God not to lead us into temptation; for the Lord himself hath said, ‘The Spirit is willing but the Flesh is weak!’  Let us, therefore, without ceasing, hold unto him who is our hope and the pledge of our righteousness, even Jesus Christ: ‘who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree’ ‘who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth’: but suffered all for us that we might live through him.  Let us, therefore, imitate his patience: and if we suffer for his name, let us glorify him; for this example he himself hath set before us, that believing in him we might follow it.  Wherefore, I exhort all of you, that obeying the word of his righteousness, ye exercise yourselves unto all the patience which ye yourselves have beheld, not only in the blessed Ignatius, and Zozimus, and Rufus, but in Paul also, and the rest of the Apostles; being confident of this, that all these have not run in vain, but in faith and righteousness; and are gone to the place which was prepared for them of the Lord, with whom also they suffered.  For they loved not this present world; but him who died and was raised again by God for us” (ad Philip. 8–9).  And again: “Polycarp and the presbyters that are with him in the church of God, which is at Philippi: mercy unto you, and peace from God Almighty, and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour, be multiplied.  I rejoiced greatly with you in the Lord Jesus Christ, that the root of the faith which was preached from the beginning remains firm in you, and brings forth fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered himself to be brought even to the death for our sins.  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death.’  ‘Whom having not seen ye love, in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,’ into which ye earnestly desire to enter; knowing that by grace ye are saved; not by works, but by the will of God through Jesus Christ” (Supra, 1).

         Here then is the unsophisticated Christianity of the New Testament as taught by the companions of the inspired Apostles – no metaphysics, but the whole ethics of the question of the Freedom of the Will – the whole ethics of Salvation drawn out, so to stimulate and win to the activities of Faith working by Love, as if the whole work of salvation depended upon man himself.


In the Second and Third Centuries.

         The discussion upon the Freedom of the Will had now long been as hotly debated by the Platonists and Stoics outside the pale of Christianity, as it was in the Church between Calvinists and Arminians at the Synod of Dort.  Whatever softening of the picture may be drawn from individual texts, such as Seneca’s, “Ille ipse omnium conditor et rector, scripsit quidem fata, sed sequitur.  Semper paret semel jussit” (De Providentia, 5), or whether we contend that the Stoical Fate was a physical or a moral necessity, as it touches the Supreme Being, yet it is abundantly clear that the philosophers of the Porch held the doctrine of an irrevocable fate, an inevitable necessity or destiny invincibly controlling the volitions of the human mind.  On the other hand, whether we read Plato as ascribing to God neither omnipotence, nor omnipresence, nor omniscience (Schlegel), or as acknowledging [inferentially and obscurely?] all the divine perfections (Maclaine), yet it is also abundantly evident that the philosophers of the Grove held the entire and perfect free agency not only of the Creator but of man.  For Stoicism and Platonism, read Calvinism and Arminianism, and you have mutatis mutandis, and these of no appreciable moment in the argument, the battle of the 17th century fought and fiercely, in the early period before us, at the schools of Athens – only with this difference of result, that Platonism triumphed, whereas between Calvinism and Arminianism the laurels were divided: Calvinism prevailing in Holland and other like Protestant countries, but ultimately in England, under Charles I and the Laudites, Arminianism was honoured with royal and prelatic favours.

         And thus Philosophy, with its chilling influence, steps, in the second century, upon the platform of Christianity.

         Justin Martyr became a convert to the Christian faith, but clung tenaciously to his philosopher’s cloak.  A rigid Platonist, of high repute in the schools, he brought with him the whole of his Platonism into the school of Christ; and so unhappily infected the divinity of the second century with his passion-theme – the το αυτεξύοσιον, or absolute freedom of the will of angels and men.  Here the enemy made a fatal breach in our walls, soon came in like a flood, and for seventeen long centuries, now with the Platonic element, and anon with the Stoic, has been trying to stifle the living and pure word of God, by engaging the human understanding in a sphere utterly beyond its present ken and cognizance – man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty.  Would to God that Christendom universally – in her halls of theology and seats of learning, as well as in her pulpits and her press – could be induced to return, with heart and soul, to the simple ethics of the Apostles and their immediate successors – “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure!”

         Here we cannot do better than quote Mr. Osburn, in his Doctrinal Errors of the Fathers (London, 1835) – a work that well deserves to be revised and reprinted, and which should be in the hands of every intelligent Churchman at the present day.  We have examined the references in the original; duly weighed the charges, and endorse them: –

         “The circumstance that of all others most powerfully contributed to the establishment of the Platonic theory regarding the Freedom of the Will, in the Christianity of the second century, was the conversion of Justin the philosopher.  This event probably took place at a period, when not many of the same standing and pretensions in literature had embraced the tenets of the then despised and persecuted sect of the Christians; and it is pretty certain that Justin was the first of the rank of a philosopher who set the seal of martyrdom to the sincerity of his profession.  These incidents conferred upon his writings an astonishing degree of authority and influence with his contemporaries and successors, for which we should scarcely find anything to account, in the intrinsic merits of those of them that remain. ...

         “The Freedom of the Will was a subject in which Justin’s feelings were already warmly interested, when he embraced Christianity; and upon which he was most probably fully committed in the schools.  It is on this account that he never once quotes scripture authority for the doctrine, nor does he even cite that or anything else in proof of it, but he invariably assumes it as an axiom antecedent to all proof.

         “Thus the example and authority of Justin, combined with other circumstances to identify this tenet of Platonism with Christianity, in the divinity of the second century.

         “Irenaeus dogmatizes upon the entire freedom of the will in the same style as his predecessor: and also endeavours to establish it from Scripture.  His mode of proof is sufficiently comprehensive: every hortative passage in the Sacred Volume which addresses man as a rational and accountable being, he conceives to be unanswerable demonstration of his unlimited free agency.  Nor does he at all scruple to carry the doctrine out to all the consequences of which it is capable.  Man is the author of his own faith; he accomplishes at the first his own election, and he achieves at the last his own salvation!

         “Tertullian did not allow his own antipathy to philosophy to prevent him, either embracing the doctrine of Plato, or availing himself of the argument by which that philosopher supported it.  He contends at great length for the freedom of the human will, on the ground that without it there can be no human responsibility: which is the Platonic argument.

         “Clement of Alexandria enforces the freedom of the will to the full extent in which it was maintained by the Platonists, and frequently upholds his opinion by the express sanction and authority of passages from the works of Plato. ...

         “What would be the fate, with these writers, of the portion of the Christian scheme which depends upon the solution of this question, and which, since the Reformation, has been comprehended under the technical expression doctrines of Grace, it is not very difficult to divine.  The large and liberal canon of scriptural interpretation then in use, or, in a case of emergency, the timely aid of the αμφιβολία (equivocation, or double meaning), could scarcely fail to remove all impediments from this quarter, to a system of divinity in entire harmony with the Platonic principle.  And such is certainly the fact of the case.  Upon these points, the Bible is only quoted to be disregarded, or explained away where it seems to oppose the doctrine to be proved; it is perfectly powerless against this their prepossession.  If we are saved by faith alone, faith is merely that assent of the understanding, which, by the express doctrine of both the Stoics and Platonists, is in our own power.  If the grace of God be needed at all, beyond the ordinary grace of baptism, it is only for those whose ambition, and whose nerve, have prompted and enabled them to climb to perilous elevations on the giddy eminences of gnosticism and martyrdom.  If there be anything like depravity in human nature, it is that which it is entirely within the power of the will to rectify; nor does it, in any one of the fathers of the second century, overstep the dimensions which the academic philosophy has assigned to it – namely, that man has a pure soul dwelling in an impure body.  We may, indeed, in our anxiety to apologize for the early representatives of the visible church, cite passages from the works of Justin, which apparently give some degree of countenance to these doctrines; but though I readily acknowledge that more of this phraseology will be found there than in the writings of his successors, yet I cannot help fearing that they will not admit of an orthodox interpretation, without doing considerable violence to the entire scope of the author’s meaning.  And I feel compelled to state, unhesitatingly, that upon this part of the great question between God and man, which constitutes religion, the fathers of the second century were the disciples, not of Christ, but of Plato: – nor are the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel to be found in their works, and for this most obvious reason, because they did not maintain them.

         “We have no difficulty in accounting for this circumstance.  Their mode of interpretation has already shown us that they regarded the Bible in the light of a mythology, revealing certain truths regarding the divine nature and worship, but concealing, under the semblance of moral maxims, twisted together in amphibologics, or enshrined in allegorical histories, the elemental germs of an ethical system, which it was the province of philosophy to develop.  And to what philosophy could they so naturally apply for this assistance, as to that from whence the proto-martyr of this phase of Christianity had stepped into the new religion; which had already been applied as the solvent of the Mosaic dispensation by the Hellenizing Jews; and the intellectual beauties of which project the shadow of an apology for those who have denominated its founder, the divine Plato? ...

         “It was inevitable to such a scheme that a large measure of value and efficiency should be ascribed to good works.  We have already laid before the reader their opinions of the power and prevalence with God of fasting, and the other ceremonies of religion; and that they would assign the same value to the fulfillment of the moral law of the New Testament, is a corollary too self-evident to require that we should work it out.

         “This was the doctrinal religion of the fathers of the second century.  If the tradition, either of the Apostles, or the Apostolical Fathers, is to be received, it was not Christianity.  If the works of Plato, and their own constant admissions are to be regarded it was Platonism” (ch. xv.).

         Origen works out, as might be expected, the problem of the Freedom of the Human Will, more elaborately and systematically than his preceptor, Clement of Alexandria; discussing the doctrine of grace and freewill as a sort of binomial equation, with, perhaps, eventually a preponderance in favour of the former: –

         “He builds the house, whosoever progresses, and he keeps the city, whosoever is perfect; but vain is the labour of the builder, and vain the watching of the watchman, except the Lord build, and the Lord keep.  The power of the Lord which assists in the building of him that buildeth, and which helps him to build who is not able of himself to complete the building, is a good beyond our own free choice: and the same must be thought about the city that is kept.  And as if I should that the good in agriculture, which causes the fruit to grow, is mixed of that freedom of choice which is in the art of the farmer, and of that which is not in his free choice but from Providence, that is to say, the temperature of the atmosphere, and the supply of sufficient rain; so the good of the reasonable creature is mixed, of his own free will, and the Divine power assisting with him that chooses the things that are most honest.  Therefore, in order to be honest and good, there is not only need of our own free choice, and the Divine assistance, which as far as we are concerned is not in our own choice; but this is also necessary, that he who has become honest and good, should persevere in virtue.  Since he that has been made perfect will fall again, if he is over-elated with his honesty, and claims the merit to himself, and does not pay the honour that is due to Him who has contributed much more to the acquirement and support of his virtue. … Perhaps the holy Apostle, seeing that our free will contributed much less than the power of God to the attainment of good things, said that the end is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God who has mercy.  Not as if God had pity on those who did not will or who did not run, but as if the willing and the running were nothing in comparison of the mercy of God, and therefore that it was fitting the good should be ascribed rather to the mercy of God, than to human willing or running” (Select. in Psalm).


In the Fourth and Fifth Centuries.

         It would be difficult to find in so few words a more complete summary of the prevalent teaching on the point before us than what Hilary gives us about the middle of the 4th century: –

         “Human weakness is incompetent to obtain anything of itself; and this only is the duty of its nature, that it should be willing to begin to form itself into the family of God.  It belongs to the mercy of God to assist those who are willing, to confirm those who begin, to receive those who come.  But the beginning is from ourselves, that he may perfect it” (Tr. in Psa. 117. lib. xvi. 10).

         In the beginning of the 5th century, as we have seen, Pelagians brought out into boldest relief the question of the Freedom of the Will, distinctly maintaining, “That man may be without sin, and keep the commandments of God, if he will”; and that, “Our victory proceeds not from the help of God, but from the freedom of the will.”  The Semi-Pelagians also afterwards taught, that while the grace of God is necessary to our perseverance in good works, yet it is not necessary as a prevenient power to produce the beginnings of true repentance, every individual possessing the natural strength to turn himself unto God.

         Augustine began life a Manichean; and then, when on the verge of absolute skepticism, threw himself into the arms of Neo-Platonism, ravished with its illusory charms.  But its ideals ever eluded his passionate grasp; and though his intellect was dazzled, his soul was at unrest and unsatisfied.  He had the shell of Christianity without the kernel.  Nor was it until he had passed over to the simple gospel of God – from the ideal, to the real, Christ – from the philosophy of the world, to the philosophy of faith rooted and grounded in humility and love, that he was able to throw off the shackles which bound him, and emerging from his Platonic intellectualism, spell out the innate beauty and dignity of Christianity to his own age, and to Luther and our Reformers – Fides Praecedit Intellectum!

         We do not endorse all that St. Augustine has written on the subject of Free Will, simply because we are not ready to endorse his contradictions.  Nor could we expect such a spirit to be altogether free from the idols of its den – to show no trace whatever of the impure and traditional elements which floated around him.  But while his contradictions just prove to us the main point for which we contend, namely, that the question of man’s Freedom and God’s Sovereignty is one altogether outside the sphere at least of our present understandings, yet it is refreshing to read the following selected from other like passages, inasmuch as it brings us back in a measure to the Divine realities of the Gospel: –

         “The will is then truly free, when it serves neither vice nor sin.  Such was given by God; and being lost by our own depravity, cannot be restored except by him who was able to give it.  Accordingly Truth says, ‘If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.’  But that is the same as if he said, ‘If the Son shall save you, then you shall be saved indeed’” (De Civitate Dei, I. xiv. 11).


The Middle Age.

         In the ninth century, through private animosity among the monks, a violent controversy arose on the kindred subjects of grace, predestination, and free will, which divided the councils and writers of the day.  Goteschalk, a monk of Orbais in France, was charged by his abbot and enemy, Rabanus Maurus, with “affirming that the predestination of God related to evil as well as to good; and that there are some in the world who cannot reclaim themselves from their errors and sins, on account of the predestination of God”; and with having “seduced many who are negligent of their salvation, and who say, What will it profit to exert myself in the service of God?”  He was defended by Ratramn, monk of Corby, Remigius, Bishop of Lyons, and many others.

         The second of the four articles agreed on in the Council of Chiersey, 853, which condemned him, runs thus: –

         “We lost freedom of will in the first man, which we recover by Christ our Lord; and we have free will to good when prevented and aided by grace; and have free will to evil when forsaken of grace.  That we have free will is because we are made free by grace and are healed of corruption by it.”

         The substance of one of the canons of the Council of Valence, 855, which defended him, is as follows: –

         “In regard to saving grace and ‘free will which was impaired by sin in the first man, but is recovered and made whole again by Jesus Christ in all believers in him’; this council holds with various councils and pontiffs; and rejects the trash vended by various persons.”

         Whether Stoic or Platonist, Calvinist or Arminian, Goteschalk was brutally treated by his judge, the arrogant Hincmar, Archbishop of Rheims, who ordered him to be “whipped with very severe stripes” (durissimis verberibus) till he should throw the statement of his doctrine made at Mentz into the flames; and committed him to prison in the monastery of Hautvilliers for life, where he lingered twenty years, firmly maintaining his opinions till the last.  It may be judicious as a rule for the historian to smother his own feelings, and let the picture speak; but here we cannot well help writing on the canvas – The Baptist of the Gospel of the Papacy.

         The cause of Goteschalk is espoused by the Benedictines, Augustinians, and Jansenists: the Jesuits say he was righteously condemned.

         The Schoolmen of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries ranged themselves into two hostile camps on the subject of Free Will – the Dominicans, or Thomists under Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, symbolizing with St. Augustine; and the Franciscans, or Scotists under Duns Scotus, the Subtle Doctor, approximating to Semi-Pelagianism.

         Now too was elaborated, in the course of discussion, the Scholastic Theology – a system of metaphysical and technical Divinity, originating with the Schoolmen of the eleventh century, and which gave us the names Predestination, Perseverance, Grace of Congruity (or fitness), Grace of Condignity (or desert), and the like; or frequently occurring under some of the following articles: and all which have done incalculable injury to the Church of God.  We need not here further anticipate ourselves than to explain, that the Grace of Congruity is theologically opposed to the Grace of Condignity – the former meaning that it is fit and agreeable to the nature and goodness of God, though not obligatory on His justice, to bestow grace on the unassisted efforts of man towards holiness; the latter, that after grace is received, man arrives at a state of merit, in which he deserves and can claim at the hands of God as a right, not only further grace, but eternal happiness, Circuitous Pelagianism – man virtually working out and ensuring his own salvation.


At the Reformation and Since.

         The master spirit of the Reformation, in his variations like Augustine on Free Will, is a further proof, if further proof is necessary, that the subject in its bearings is not to be grasped by our present understandings.  The more thoughtful language, however, of both Luther and Melancthon, may be seen in the 18th and 19th Articles of the Augsburg Confession, which in substance run: –

         “Men have some free will to live reputably, to choose among objects which their natural reason can comprehend; but without the gracious aids of the Holy Spirit they cannot please God nor truly fear him, exercise faith, or overcome their sinful propensities.  God. is not the cause and author of sin; but the perverse wills of ungodly men and devils are the sole cause of it.”

         Calvin on the other hand, through his extremely logical mind, clearly overstepped the legitimate boundary of argument on this and allied subjects; often unhappily couching his positions and conclusions in needlessly harsh and coarse phraseology: –