This little volume is of humble pretensions. It aims to lay the foundations of a firm belief in the Christian religion, and in particular to furnish young people with the chief grounds of their faith.
Compendiums of infidelity and false doctrine are circulating through every class of community, especially among our youth, and thousands are thereby being drawn into fatal snares.
Such hostile attempts should be met with publications calculated to fortify the youthful mind, by concise and plain statements of the principal arguments in favor of Christianity.
Many excellent treatises of this kind have already been published; yet it is obvious there is something wanting on this subject that is shorter, cheaper, and in a more familiar form.
With this view, the author's chief object has been to collect together, and compress in a narrow compass, the most forcible arguments which are to be found in our best writers, with such additional remarks of his own as might be found necessary.
To these writers this little work is, therefore, much indebted; and its author would here, once for all, tender to each of them his frank acknowledgments.
The work is designed principally for the instruction of youth; yet, considered as a kind of recapitulation of the evidences, doctrines, and duties of Christianity, it may be found of some use to persons of a more mature age.
With this view the matter is thrown into short, clear, and distinct sentences; an arrangement most convenient for the instruction of youth, best calculated to assist their memories, to make strong and durable impressions on their understandings, and to render the important truths of religion most easy to be comprehended and retained in their minds.
The great truths of religion are clearly and concisely stated, and properly arranged, so that their mutual connection and dependence may be readily seen, and, what is of more consequence, they are supported at every step by quotations from the unerring word of God.
To render the work still more entertaining and useful, the questions in the margin are very abundant, so that no important truth can well escape the attention and recollection of the student.
In preparing this little volume, the Divine assistance has been asked; in sending it abroad, the Divine blessing is now implored.
May the Spirit of inspiration accept this feeble effort to manifest his glory and promote his cause! June 1, 1839
A special note from the editor. Binny had questions at the bottom of each page in his orginal work. We inserted those questions in parentheses and italics in the general area where they appeared in book. Each set of questions are numbered on this page.
By divine revelation is meant a supernatural communication of truth from God to man. By supernatural is meant beyond the light of nature or reason.
All who believe in a God of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness, must admit the possibility of his revealing himself to men in the manner he pleases, in order to convince and assure them that such communication is from himself.
The probability of divine revelation appears when we consider, first, that mankind have in every age confessed their need of it, and, secondly, that he is a very unnatural father who never speaks to his children. Some of the wisest philosophers, as Socrates, have expressed their hope of such a revelation, while the more ignorant have given credit to pretended ones. This proves that the human soul has a natural and unappeasable appetite for a book revelation of religious truth. Most of the forms of paganism express themselves through books. (Begin questions. 1. What is meant by a divine revelation? Is revelation impossible? Give two reasons for its probability.)
The necessity of this revelation is manifest from various considerations.
a.) Human opinions are not a sufficient guide of life and the rule of conduct, as they are various and contradictory.
(b.) Human reason is insufficient; for among those who profess to be guided by it, some worship the true God, some his works, some their own works, and some no God at all, though all ages have the same book of nature and the same power from which to derive moral rules. Though a few philosophers have arrived at sublime views of God, yet the mass of pagans have been sunken in moral character, even in the most splendid eras of Grecian and Roman civilization. Acts 17:18-23; Rom. 1:18-23.
c.) The law of God, which is the only sufficient rule, can be perfectly known only by revelation. (2. What is said of philosphers? Of the masses? Of the highest civilizations?) Hence revelation is needed to furnish adequate motives to virtue and piety.
d.) The moral character of God, the model of all moral excellence, cannot be fully disclosed through the material wor1d any more than that of the mechanic can be clearly revealed by the machine which he has made.
c.) The moral condition of the ancient heathens is proof of this necessity. To this the sacred writers, considered merely as historians, bear testimony. Rom. 1:21-31; 3:9-18; I Cor 6:9, 10; Eph. 2:2,3.
Heathen writers themselves testify that the greatest crimes were countenanced by the arguments and examples of their moralists and philosophers. Infanticide, theft, and crimes against nature, the detail of which modesty forbids, were not only tolerated, but even enjoined, by their legislators and praised by their poets. This would not have been had not public opinion consented to and, in some measure, invited them.
(3. Of God's law? Of his moral character? Illustrate. What is the moral character of the ancient heathens? What is the only suffcient rule of human conduct? How can this be know? What do you learn from the moral condition of the ancient heathen? What is the testimony of sacred writers on this subject? Of heathen writers? What crimes are tolerated? What of public opinion?)
Even their religions sanctioned gross vices. In Corinth was a temple of Venus with a thousand female votaries bringing to her treasury the gains of their impurity. The Babylonians had a temple to which every virgin was religiously taught to resort for unchaste purposes.
SOCRATES made morality the only subject of his philosophy, yet he recommended divination, and was himself addicted to fornication.
PLATO, the great disciple of Socrates, taught that to lie was honorable.
CICERO, as favorable a specimen of heathen excellence as can be found, pleads for fornication, and commends, and at length practices, suicide.
CATO, extolled as a perfect model of virtue, was guilty of prostitution and drunkenness, and advocated, and finally practiced, self-murder.
Such was the moral condition of the ancient heathen; from which we argue the necessity of something superior to the religion of nature.
The moral condition of MODERN HEATHEN is further proof of this necessity. The inhabitants of CEYLON worship devils.
The HINDUS acknowledge one Supreme Being, but never worship him. Their writings encourage self-murder, human sacrifices, and the burning of widows, to an alarming extent. (4. Of their religions? Of Socrates? Plato? Cicero? Cato? What further proof of this necessity? What of the inhabitants of Ceylon?)
The CHINESE burn gold paper before their idols, supposing it will become money in an other world, and help the departed spirits of the poor to pay their way to heaven.
The inhabitants of BENGAL acknowledge three hundred and thirty millions of gods, among which are the monkey, the serpent, logs of wood, etc., etc. They believe that when a man dies he will rise again in the form of a cat, dog, worm, etc.
The Thugs of INDIA waylay and murder strangers as acts of religious duty. Their impurity surpasses description. In slander and deception they are adepts. Their females are despised as soon as born; among some tribes immediately put to death.
They are never allowed an education, or cultivation of any kind. When the husband dies the wife is either buried alive or burns on the funeral pile.
The NEW ZEALANDERS glory in war. They kill and eat their prisoners, and consider the Supreme Being as a great invisible man-eater. (5. Hindus? Chinese? Inhabitants of Bengal? India? Their impurity, etc.? Females? New Zealand?)
In some parts they suspend themselves in the air by large hooks thrust through their backs. Others Cast themselves from a stage upon open knives inserted in packs of cotton.
Now it is the Bible alone which makes us to differ from all these nations. Without it we should soon be like them-ignorant, superstitious, impure, and cruel. Ps. 29:7-1l; 129:9; Prov. 6:20-23.
We prove this from the characters of those among us who have, as far as possible, extricated themselves from the influence of the Bible. See lives of Herbert, Hobbes, Bolingbroke, Hume, Rousseau, and Paine.
2. REVELATION, ORAL AND WRITTEN.
Revelation is distinguished into ORAL and WRITTEN. By oral is meant traditional, or such as is transmitted by word of mouth from one age to another.
Such were the revelations made to the patriarchs, and the longevity peculiar to the age served to preserve them from being corrupted.
These original truths were thus handed down to Moses, who, by the direction of God on Sinai finally wrote them in five books, called the Pentateuch. (6. Some other parts? What makes us to differ from them? How do you prove this? What is meant by oral revelation? Where is an instance?)
The leading facts of the Pentateuch are, the creation of the world; of man; of primeval happiness; his fall; promise of a Savior; the deluge; preservation of a few; Babel; the call of Abraham; the bondage of Israel in Egypt; the exodus; and the giving of the law.
These are all supported by the combined testimony of universal tradition, history, and modern science.
A large portion of what Moses records fell under his personal observation.
Of those facts which preceded his time he had ample means of information in the longevity of the ancients. Moses was contemporary with the contemporaries of Abraham; Abraham with Noah; and Noah with the contemporaries of Adam.
In this way, under the divine guidance, the important facts of the antediluvian world were probably gathered by Moses. Respecting those which took place prior to man's Creation, there must have been direct communication from God. (7. Who finally wrote these revelations? What are the leading facts of the Pentateuch? How are these supported? Was Moses a personal witness of what he relates? How could he know concerning the facts that preceded him? With whom was Moses contemporary? Abraham? Noah?)
3. GENUINENESS AND AUTHENTICITY.
A genuine book is one that is written by its professed authors
. We have ocular demonstration that the Bible exists. It must have been written by some one; if not by those whose names it bears, it is difficult to know who did write it.
Wicked men would not be likely to produce a book like the Bible, which continually condemns them. Job 20:4-7, 29; Ps. 7:11; 9:17; 11:5,6; 50:16-22; Isa. 57:20, 21; Phil. 3:19; II Thess. I:8, 9; II Pet. 2: 1-19; Rev. 22:12, 19.
GOOD men could not be guilty of imposing their own works on the world as the work of God.
The records of the Church uniformly declare that the prophets and apostles wrote the Scriptures. And the Christian Church has the same evidence of the existence of her fathers that we have of the existence of our ancestors. (8. What of those facts which took place prior to man's creation? Is it likely that wicked men, or good men uninspired, would write such a book as the Bible? How do you prove that the Scriptures were written by the prophets and the apostles? What evidence has the Christian Church of the existence of her fathers?)
An AUTHENTIC book is one in which matters-of-fact are related as they really occurred.
The sacred writers repeatedly assert that they wrote by inspiration from God. Isa. 8:1; Jer. 2:1; Ezek. 1:3. Paul, by specifying passages in his epistles " written not by commandment," implies their inspiration. I Cor. 7: 6; IICor 8:8;9:17; and claims it in Rom. 9:1
To prove the truth of their assertion they pointed to MIRACLES, which were publicly wrought, and universally acknowledged, at the time as real. II Pet. 1:16-18.
For this they also suffered every thing, even death itself. This they would not have done to support what they knew to be false.
4. MODE OF INSPIRATION.
Respecting the particular MANNER of divine inspiration there are two opinions extant: -1. That the Spirit of God inspired the thoughts; but that the writers were left to express themselves in their own words and phrases, but they were so guided that they were kept from theological errors. (9. What is an authentic book? Do the sacred writers assert their inspiration? How did they attest the truth of their assertions? What further evidence did they give? What of those facts which took place prior to man's creation? Is there more than one opinion concerning the manner of inspiration? What is the first?)
2. That every WORD was suggested to them by the Spirit of God, and that the writers did nothing but write. This is verbal inspiration.
The following texts seem to favor the latter opinion: "The Holy Ghost by the month of David spake." Acts 1:16. "Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet." Acts 28:25. "Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." II Pet. 1:21. "The Spirit speaketh expressly," (in express words.) I Tim. 4:1.
Both views secure the Scriptures from all error.
A UNIFORMITY OF STYLE AND MANNER in the different writers was by no means essential to this kind of inspiration, which is called plenary; that is, full. God may speak in as great a variety of styles as the thirty-five or more different writers of the sixty-six books of the Bible.
The peculiar style of each writer, instead of being removed, was probably enriched, and appropriated to his own design by the Holy Ghost. (10. Second? What opinion does Scripture seem to favor? Repeat a few passages. What is this kind of inspiration called? Why? Is uniformity of style essential?)
The word Bible signifies book. Scripture is a term which in its primary sense includes all writings. THE Bible and THE Scriptures are so called by way of eminence, as the most important of all books and writings.
The Bible consists of two parts, the Old and the New Testaments, that is, Covenants or Agreements. In the New Testament the Term Oracles signifies truths supernaturally revealed, and is another name for the Holy Scriptures. Rom. 3:2. In the Old Testament Oracle signifies the place where Jehovah made known his will-usually the holy of holies. II Sam. 16:23.
The several books of the Old Testament were written by different Inspired men at different times, and were collected into one volume by Ezra, a famous high-priest and scribe. (11. What is the meaning of the word Bible? Scripture? Oracles? Oracle? Testament? Were all the Books of the Old Testament written by one man? At the same time? Who collected them into one volume? What of their order?)
The Order of the collection of both Testaments has less respect to the Period of their writing than to the Subjects on which the several books treat. The books of the Old Testament were written between 1490 B. C., the date of the five books of Moses, and 420 B. C., the date of Malachi, the last of the prophets. The New Testament was written between A. D. 38, the probable date of St. Matthew's Gospel, and A. D. 96, the date of the Revelation, so that it was completed within sixty years after the crucifixion of Christ, The first Gospel seems to have been written within two or three years after that event. The word Canon signifies a straight rod, hence a Rule or Standard. All the books which come up to the standard are called Canonical. Those which fall below are called Apocryphal or spurious. What the Sacred Canon is may be inferred from the points in which the Apocryphal books fail. 1. They do not claim to be inspired. 2. The Jews never acknowledged them as such. 3. They are never quoted by Christ and his apostles. 4. They were universally rejected by the early Christians. 5. They neither agree with themselves nor with the Holy Scriptures. The Apocryphal books of the New Testament were never acknowledged by the Church as inspired, and were early branded as spurious. (12. Date of the Old Testament? Of the New? Meaning of Canon and Canonical? Of Apocryphal? In what points does the Apocrypha fail?)
The Bible was originally written in capital letters, without any division into chapters and verses, without any punctuation or spaces between the words, thus The Book of The Generation. Matt. 1:1. These divisions are the recent invention of uninspired men, for the purpose of facilitating study, though in many instances the editors have not been so judicious as could be desired. Very often the chapter concludes before the narrative, so that we lose the connection if we stop with the chapter. Isa. 8:22; 9:1-7; 10:1-4; Matt. 19:30; 20:1-16; Mark 8: 38; 9:1; Luke 20:45-47; 21:1-4; II Cor. 4:18; 5:1.
The division into verses is equally improper, and should not govern the sense at all, as this is often injured, if not destroyed, by it. I Peter 1:4,5; I Cor. 2:9,10.
The Subscriptions annexed to the epistles of the New Testament are no part of inspiration, but were added by some grossly ignorant or wicked person; for they contradict both chronology and history. (13. Who made the chapters and verses? Show where it is not well done. What of the subscriptions.)
The Summaries at the beginning of the chapters are uninspired. Hence they may contain errors in doctrine.
The Spelling of Names in the New Testament often differs from that of the Old. This is owing to the fact that the latter was first written in the Hebrew, and the former in the Greek.
The apparent Imprecations found in I Cor. 17:22, and II Tim. 4:14, and in many other parts of Scripture, especially the Psalms, are either so many predictions, rather than anathemas, or they are declarations of the divine will made in the interests of order and justice.
The Imperfections related of certain eminent Scripture characters, such as Noah's intoxication, Abraham's dissimulation, Jacob's lying, Aaron's idolatry, David's adultery and murder, Solomon's idolatry and lewdness, are merely stated as facts of history. They are recorded, not for our imitation, but for admonition. The record proves the disinterestedness and impartiality of the writers. (14 Of the summaries? Do you discover a difference between the orthography of the Old Testaments? How do you account for this? Repeat instances of apparent imprecations. What is said of these? What instances of imperfection in Scripture characters do you discover? Why are they recorded?)
The Destruction of the Egyptians, Canaanites, and other nations, are historical facts, recorded to show the perfection of the divine government. They were chastisements, and were no more inconsistent with the attribute of mercy than are pestilence and famine.
The apparent Indelicacies of the Bible disappear when we consider the change in the use of language. Words which we consider immodest were not so formerly.
Thus we find the Scriptures have their difficulties. But these are by no means peculiar to them; all ancient writings are full of them.
These difficulties are generally in proportion to the antiquity of the writing, as the customs, manners, and language of mankind are constantly changing.
A little skill in the original language of the Scriptures, and in the times, occasions, and scope of the several books, as well as the customs of those countries which were the scenes of the transactions recorded, will generally remove all difficulties. (15 What of the destruction of apparent indelicacies? Have the Scriptures any difficulties? Are these peculiar to the Scriptures? To what are these difficulties proportioned? What is calculated to remove them?)
Historical Circumstances are an important help to the correct understanding of the sacred writers. By these we mean the Order, the Title, the Author, the Date, and Place of writing.
Sacred Geography and books of travel in the lands of the Bible are useful to elucidate the Holy Scriptures, and to impart to the mind a sense of reality.
The consideration of the Scope or design of any author will especially facilitate the study of the Bible.
Another important assistance is the consideration of the Context, or the comparison of the preceding and subsequent parts of a discourse.
The comparison of Parallel Passages is another great help for interpreting Scripture.
Whenever a doctrine is manifest, either from the whole tenor of Scripture or from its scope, it must not be weakened or set aside by a few passages. (16 What is meant by historical circumstances? Of what benefit are they? What is meant by the scope of an author? Is a knowledge of this important? What is said of sacred geography? Or the context? What of paralle passages? When a doctrine is manifest from the whole tenor of Scripture?)
As every essential principle of religion is manifest from more than one text, no doctrine should be founded on a single text, or sentence.
When two passages appear to contradict each other, if the sense of one can he clearly ascertained, that may regulate the interpretation of the other.
An obscure, ambiguous, or figurative text must never be interpreted so as to make it contradict a plain one.
Figurative language, which had its rise in the first ages of mankind, was frequently employed by the sacred writers. Some knowledge of this is an important help in ascertaining the sense of Scripture.
The metaphor, of all the figures of speech, is that which is most frequently employed in Scripture, and in every language. See Matt. 5:13, 14.
The allegory, which is a metaphor continued or extended, is another figure of Scripture use. See Psa. 18.
The hyperbole consists in magnifying or diminishing an object beyond its natural bounds. It is of frequent occurrence in the Scripture. See Gen. 13:16; Deut. 1:28; Num. 13:33; John 21: 25. (17 What is said of every essential principle of religion? When two passages appear to contradict? Of texts that are obscure? Figurative language? Metaphor? Instances. Allegory? Instances. Hyperbole?)
An irony is another figure used, in which one thing is spoken and another designed, in order to give the greater force and vehemence to the meaning. I Kings 18:27; 22:15; Job 12:2.
The synecdoche, where the whole is put for a part. As the world for the Roman empire, in Acts 24:5; Rev. 3:10. For the earth, II Pet. 3:6; Rom. 1:8.
Sometimes a part is put for the whole. As the evening and morning for the entire day, Gen. 1:5, 8, etc.; the soul for the entire man, Acts 27:37.
The word hate, when employed in reference to individuals or communities, frequently signifies nothing more than less love. Gen. 29:30-31; Mal. 1:2, 3; Luke 16:26; Rom. 9:13.
Events which will certainly take place are sometimes spoken of as already realized. Isa. 9:6; 60:1, 8; 65:1. (18. Instances. Irony? Instances. Synecdoche? Instances. What of the word hate? Instances. Future events that are certain?)
2. ENGLISH VERSIONS-KING JAMES'.
The translations of the Scriptures into the different languages, both ancient and modern, are very numerous. It is the only world-book that was ever written.
The translations most interesting to us are those which have been executed in our vernacular tongue.
The earliest English translation of the Scriptures known to be extant, was made by an unknown hand, near the close of the thirteenth century. This is still in manuscript.
The first printed edition of any part of the Bible in English was of the New Testament, by William Tindal, in 1526.
The last English version of the entire Bible was executed under the direction of James I., king of England.
He appointed for this purpose fifty-four men of distinguished talents and piety. Only forty-seven of these actually engaged. This was in 1607, and in 1611 it was finished.
Of all modern versions, this, upon the whole, is considered the most accurate and faithful. Use has made it familiar, and time has rendered it sacred. (19. What is said of the different translations of the Scriptures? What of the earliest English translation? Is this printed? When did the first printed copy appear? By whom? By whose direction was the last, or present English version, excuted? How did he effect this? When?)
Yet the translation in some points is defective and greatly needs revision. There are wrong meanings given to some words in the original, while peculiar idioms have been overlooked; verbs are translated in the wrong tenses; some numbers are translated too large; different English words are used to translate one word, and one English word stands for several different ones; some of the words and expressions are obsolete in the sense intended by the translators furnishing objections which are urged by skeptics; some words have been left untranslated, as halleluia, hosanna, etc.
3. THE VALUE OF THE BIBLE.
Even as a literary composition, the sacred Scriptures form the most remarkable book the world has ever seen. They are of all writings the most ancient, and contain a record of the deepest interest. The history of their influence is the history of civilization and progress. Scarcely can we fix our eyes upon a single passage in this wonderful book which has not afforded instruction or comfort to thousands. On this ground alone the Bible has strong claims upon our attentive and reverential regard. (20. How is this version regarded? Show the value of the Bible?)
Each Testament enhances the value of the other. As an evidence of the close connection of the two dispensations, and of the sanction given in the New Testament to the Old, the former has two hundred and sixty DIRECT QUOTATIONS from the allusions are even more numerous, being upwards of three hundred and fifty.
The two Testaments contain but one scheme of religion; neither part can be understood without the other. It has but one subject from the beginning to the end; but our view grows clearer by progressive revelation. The truths of God are, in themselves, incapable of progress, but not the revelation; the progress is not in the truth, but in the clearness and impressiveness with which the Scriptures unfold it.
There may be passages in them the full meaning of which is not discovered, and which are perhaps reserved to extinguish some future heresy, or some yet unformed doubt, or to prove, by fresh fulfillment of prophecy, that the Bible came from God. Scripture is like the deep sea, beautifully clear, but unfathomably profound. It seems to say to its millions of students, "My treasures shall never be exhausted; put me not to the rack, but question me incessantly." (21. Of the two textaments. What is the use of dark passages?)
The richest treasures of God's Word will not be discovered unless the Holy Spirit himself become the revealer. Ps. 119:18; Luke 24:45; John 16:13; I Cor. 2:9-16. The last reference. contains, in the original, the words, "which the Holy Ghost teacheth, explaining spiritual things to spiritual men." It is by his light that we become sure of the truth of the Bible or of the true meaning of particular passages. John 7:17; I Cor. 2:13. The Interpreter, in whose house Bunyan's Pilgrim saw so many wonders, is the Holy Spirit. Moreover, Scripture interprets Scripture. There is not an obscure passage, containing any important truth, which is not elsewhere explained.
The harmony and perfection of the Holy Scriptures are rendered more peculiarly evident by the constant reference of all their writers to our Lord Jesus Christ. Take him out of the Sacred Oracles and they become a jargon of unintelligible and discordant voices. Luke 24:27, 44; John 1:45; Acts 3:20-24; 10:43; 13:23-37; 17:23. (22. Who is the indispensable Interpreter? To whom do all the Scripturespoint?)
The Holy Scriptures, indited under the influence of Him to whom all hearts are known and all events foreknown, are adapted to profit mankind in every way and for all time. Rom. 15: 4; I Cor. 10:11; II Tim. 3:15-17. They will always lead human progress. The fairest productions of wit, after a few perusals, like gathered flowers, wither in our hands and lose their fragrance; but these undying flowers of Divine truth become still more beautiful beneath our gaze, daily emitting fresh odors and yielding new sweets, which he who tastes will desire to taste again, and he who tastes oftenest will relish the most. Ps. 1:2; 11911, 97; Job 23:12; Jer. 15:16. In this respect the Scriptures resemble the garden of Eden, in which is found every tree that is pleasant to the sight or good for spiritual food, including the Tree of Life, given for the healing of the nations. Prov. 3:13-18; Rev. 22:2.
Little do those who neglect their Bibles think what refined delights they lose by this turning away their eyes from the most sublime and entrancing object of contemplation that the whole universe affords. (23. Show the durability of the Bible. How is its study illustrated?)
In a museum in Dresden, among many other gems and treasures, may be seen a silver egg, which, when you touch a spring, opens and reveals a golden yolk. Within this is hid a chicken, whose wing being pressed, it also flies open, disclosing a splendid golden crown studded with jewels. Nor is this all; another secret spring being touched, hidden in the center is found a magnificent diamond ring. So it is with every truth and promise of God's word-a treasure within a treasure. The more we examine it the richer it becomes. But how few, comparatively, care to touch the springs as did the Psalmist. Ps. 119:96-100
These are usually considered of two classes: external or historical, and internal.
To these some have added a third class, called experimental, and a fourth, the collateral.
Christianity was introduced among men under very remarkable circumstances. Miracles were performed, and future events foretold, in attestation of its Divine origin. These constitute the historical evidence. (24. What constitutes the historical evidence?)
When we examine the book itself, its truths, its doctrines, its spirit, we find it exactly such, in its nature and tendency, as we should expect a message from Jehovah to us would be. This is called the internal evidence.
And when we look at the effects which the Bible produces in the hearts and characters of believers, we find it answers the purposes for which it was sent. This is the experimental evidence.
The wonderful spread of Christianity, by so feeble an agency as a few unlearned men, destitute of power and wealth, conquering the hostility of both Jews and Pagans, together with the high civilization and power of Christian nations, and the admissions of skeptics, constitutes the collateral evidence.
The first three kinds of evidence are entirely distinct in their nature, and may be illustrated as follows: You have a substance which you suppose is phosphorus, because, in the first place, a boy, in whom you place confidence, brought it for you from the chemist's, who said it was phosphorus. This is the historical evidence.
In the second place you examine, and it looks like phosphorus; its color, consistence, and form, all agree. This is the internal evidence. (25. Internal? Experimental? Are the three kinds distinct in their nature? What illustration is given? Give the historical evidence of the article. Internal.)
In the third place you try. It burns with a most bright and vivid flame, etc. This is the experimental evidence.
If it should be found to be a preventive of the cholera, yellow fever, plague , and small-pox, and the nations which use it should be nearly or entirely freed from these pestilences, so that its use is rapidly tending to universality against the opposition of all the established medical schools, this would be a branch of the collateral evidence.
The last two are the best of the four. No matter what grounds of doubt and hesitation there may be in regard to the first and second kinds of evidence if the article prove its properties on trial, and is, by virtue of its acknowledged excellence, benefitting mankind and becoming universal.
If any one should say to you, "I suspect your messenger's honesty: he may have brought something else;" or, "this does not look exactly like phosphorus; it is too dark, or too hard;" your reply would be: "Sir, there can be no doubt; see how it burns " " See also its medicinal effects." (25 Experimental. Which is the best? How many kinds are there of external evidence?)
1. EXTERNAL OR HISTORICAL EVIDENCE.
a. MIRACLES. A miracle is an event varying from the established course of nature, wrought by the interposition of God himself, in attestation of some Divine truth, or of the authority of some Divine messenger or teacher. It is generally accompanied with a previous notice that it is performed according to the purpose and power of God.
He who has power to establish the laws of nature, can, by the same power, suspend them at pleasure. Common events are called natural. Uncommon events are called miracles.
It appears reasonable that a revelation from Deity should be supported by miracles. They are his seal by which he proves his communications Divine. I Kings 17:21-24; John 9:29-33; 10:37, 38.
The miracles recorded in the Bible are MATTERS OF FACT, capable of being proved by proper evidence, as any other historical facts are.
1. "These things were NOT DONE IN A CORNER," but PUBLICLY, sometimes before thousands of witnesses. Instance the plagues of Egypt and the destruction of Pharaoh's host, in the Old Testament; (Exod. 7:19; 10:20; 12:29,30; 14:27, 28;) the conversion of water into wine, (John 2:1-11,) and the feeding of more than five thousand, in the New Testament. Matt. 14:17-21. (26. What is a miracle? Why should a Divine revelation be supported by miracles? Can the miracles of the Bible be supported? Were they public or private?)
2. They were NEVER DISPUTED by those among whom they were performed, who were surely the best judges: not so stupid as not to know when the dumb spake, the blind saw, and the dead were raised. They were even ADMITTED by those who rejected the revelation which they authenticated. John 9:24; 11: 47; 12:9-11; Matt. 12:24.
3. Their NUMBER was very great. The Gospel history is full of them. Forty of Christ's miracles are narrated at large; and St. John informs us that he performed a great many of which there is no record. John 21:25.
4. Their VARIETY is great. They were performed in behalf of the blind, deaf, dumb, maimed, sick, insane, dead, and through a series of years, so that they might be examined and re-examined, as many of them actually were. Luke 8:2; Matt. 4:23, 24; John 12:1-2, 9-11. (27. What intances are given? Were they not disputed at the time? Were those beheld them proper judges? What is said of the number? Variety?)
5. They were performed by persons known to be poor, unlearned, of low condition, and destitute of great friends and powerful patrons Acts 3:6-7; 4:13-16.
6. They were declared beforehand, wrought, and appealed to; and that in the presence of the great and noble of a learned age, who, consequently, were not easily deluded.
As, therefore, miracles, being very extraordinary events, require more than ordinary proof, so those of the Bible have this very strong and extra evidence.
b. MIRACLES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
The principal miracles recorded in the Old Testament are fifty-four in number, embracing a vast variety in the display of omnipotent power. They were not wrought on trivial occasions, like the prodigies of Greek and Roman mythology, but on occasions worthy of Divine interposition. They are absolutely necessary to account for the existence of the Jewish nation, so intimately are they interwoven with their origin and history. (28. Of those by whom they were performed? Were they declared beforehand? Why do miracles require extraordinary proof? Have they this proof? How do they differ from the prodigies of mythology? How related to Jewish history?)
c. MIRACLES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
The principal miracles recorded in the New Testament are fifty-one, besides many not specified but spoken of in the mass. Though wrought to certify a revelation, nearly all of them are works of mercy and kindness to suffering humanity.
They are so interwoven with the Gospel narrative that they cannot be separated from it and leave any remainder of Christian truth. It is plain that we have an historic and supernatural Savior, or none at all.
The miracles of the Bible, in the aggregate, sustain the test of Leslie in his "Short and Easy Method with the Deists." His celebrated four rules for determining the truth of matters of fact in general are: " 1. That the fact be such as that men's outward senses-their eyes and ears-may be judges of it. 2. That it be done publicly in the face of the world. 3. That not only public monuments be kept up in memory of it, but some outward action be performed. 4. That such monuments and such actions and observances be instituted, and do commence from the time that the matter of fact was done." Judaism with its ritual, and Christianity and its sacraments, are such facts and monuments and observances. (29. How many miracles in the New Testament? What of their connection with the Gospel history? What of Leslie's four rules? Do the miracles of the Bible accord with them?)
d. RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.
The most remarkable of all miracles is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It, therefore, is entitled to a distinct examination.
The following facts in the case are acknowledged by friends and foes: 1. Jesus Christ frequently predicted the circumstances of his death. John 2:19-21; Matt. 20:18, 19. He actually died. Mark 15:37, 44, 45; John 20:33. 3. Was buried. John 29:41, 42. 4. Was missing from the tomb, after it had been guarded to keep the disciples honest, and sealed to keep the guard honest. Matt. 28:6-13; 27:62-66.
Now there are but three conceivable ways by which the body could be removed from the sepulcher. By his ENEMIES, by his FRIENDS, or by HIMSELF, as he had predicted. Matt. 27:63. (30. What is said of Judaism and Christianity? What is the most remarkable of all miracles? What facts are acknowledged by friends and foes? In how many ways could the body be removed?)
If by his ENEMIES, their motive must have been to produce the body, and thereby confront the apostles, and convince them of fraud in their Master. But the body was not produced by them.
If by his FRIENDS, we cannot tell for what purpose. The dead body could not prove to them or others that he was risen; but, on the contrary, be a standing and visible proof against them.
It is true, his enemies reported that his friend had "stole him away." Matt. 28:11-15. But when their report is examined it will appear false.
1. So manifestly improbable is the report, that Matthew, though he faithfully records the whole, does not offer a syllable to refute it.
2. The disciples were few in number, and destitute of natural courage.
They were generally dismayed and terrified at the fate of their Master. (31. If by his enemies, what could be their motive? Was this effected? If by his friends, what absurdity. What did his enemies report? Where is this recorded? Will it bear examination? Does Matthew refute it? Why? Do the number and fortitude of the disciples favor the report? How did the fate of their Master affect them?)
Hence, when he was apprehended, they all forsook him and fled. Peter followed him afar off, and when accused of being a disciple, denied it three times with vehemence and oaths. Matt 26:56-58, 69-74. Not one attended him in the judgment hall. And when he was crucified, the only persons that ventured to stand near his cross were his mother, with two or three other women, and John. John 19:25-26. It is not, therefore, probable that they would be found at such a work, especially at such a season; for,
3. It was the occasion of the great festival-the Passover-when Jerusalem was full of people. It is also said to have been a time of the full moon.
4. It is not probable that a guard of sixty men would fall asleep at once, especially as they were in the open air.
5. If they were all asleep, they could not depose to any thing that passed meantime, except that the tomb was vacated in some unknown manner. Sleeping witnesses! They could not know that it was stolen; or, if it was, by whom.
6. It was certain death to Roman soldiers to be found sleeping upon guard. Hence, if they had been asleep, they would not have voluntarily confessed it. If their report had been believed, the rulers would have punished them. This they never did. Matt. 28:12-15. (
32. Does the consideration of the season render the report favorable? What was the season? Would all the guard be likely to sleep at once? Is it proper to admit sleeping witnesses? What law would serve to keep them awake?)
7. If the soldiers had believed their own story, they ever after would have reproached the disciples with it. This they were never known to do.
If, therefore, the body could be removed in no other way, it must have been BY HIS OWN POWER, as he had previously foretold. John 10:7, 18.
The more DIRECT evidence of this great miracle is contained in the following particulars:
(a). There were twelve distinct appearances of Christ after his burial-five on the first day, and five more before the ascension, and once to Saul at his conversion, and once to John on Patmos. I Cor. 15:5-9; Acts 9:5; Rev. 1:9-18. These were at different hours of the day, at different places, and, on one occasion, to above five hundred persons.
(b). He did not appear to them silently, but talked and ate with them, showed his hands and feet, made them handle him, etc.; held several long conversations with them, and at last ascended up to heaven in their sight. Luke 24:13-51; John 20:19-29; 21:4-23; Acts 1:3-11. (33. Does it appear that the rulers themselves believed this report? That the soldiers believed it? What then is the only alternative? Is there any evidence of this great miracle that is more direct? Related the first particular. Second.)
(c). The witnesses, being a class of unlearned and despised men, were unequal to the task of imposition.
(d). They were by no means credulous, but slow to believe in the resurrection of their Master. "Some doubted," that we might never doubt. Matt. 28:17; John 20:25-29.
(e). There is a most remarkable change in the disposition and conduct of the disciples; from being the most timid of men, they suddenly became courageous and undaunted.
They boldly preach that very Jesus whom, but a short time before, they had deserted in the greatest distress, and that, too, in the synagogues of Jerusalem, where he was crucified only a few days before. Mark 16:20; Acts 2:14; 9:20, etc.
And, although his crucifixion was fresh before their eyes, and they had reason to expect a similar fate, they still avow his resurrection. Acts 2:22-36. (34. Third particular. Fourth. Fifth. How do you prove this change in the disciples?)
(f). The LORD'S SUPPER was instituted as a perpetual memorial of his death, and the festival of the LORD'S DAY to commemorate his resurrection. Matt. 24:26, etc.; I Cor. 9:23-26. These memorials were instituted at the very time when the circumstances to which they relate took place, and have been observed in the Christian world ever since, fulfilling Leslie's four requirements respecting miracles.
The resurrection of our Lord is thus established, and is proof sufficient of his Divine mission. Rom. 1:4.
The Savior often appealed to his resurrection as the grand proof of his being sent from heaven, and his disciples constantly referred to it as the foundation of their faith. Mark 8:31; John 2:19-21; Acts. 17:31; I Cor. 15:20; I Pet. 1:3.
Finally, this great event contains in itself the evidence both of miracle and prophecy. The prophecies herein completed are recorded in Psalm xvi, 10; John ii, 19, 22; Acts ii, 25-36. (35. What of the Lord's Supper and Lord's day? At what time were these instituted? Have they never been abandoned? Did the Savior ever appeal to his resurrection? Why? What account did his disciples make of it? What does this great event contain in itself? What prophecies are herein completed?)
e. HISTORICAL EVIDENCE, CONTINUED.
PROPHECY is a miracle of knowledge, a declaration of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to calculate. The prophecies of the Bible form a regular system, and may be classified as follows, namely, Prophecies relating to the JEWISH NATION.
(a). Concerning the posterity of Abraham. Prophecy: Gen. 12:1-3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:2,4-6;22:17-18; 28:14; 32:12.
Fulfillment, as respects the Jews alone: Exod. 1:7-12; Num. 23:10; Deut. 1:10-11 Heb. 11:12.
In less than five hundred years after the first of these predictions the number of the Israelites alone amounted to eight hundred thousand men, besides women and children. II Sam. 24:9.
(b). Concerning Ishmael. Compare Gen. 16:1-12. From him descended the various tribes of Arabs, whose numbers and manner of living have ever since been a verification of the texts. (36. What is the second kind of external evidence? What is prophecy? How may the prophecies be classified? Repeat some concerning the posterity of Abraham. Their fulfillment. Concerning Ishmael.)
(c). Concerning the Jews. Deut. 28. Fulfillment, in three particulars:(1.) Their subjection, by Shishak, king of Egypt; Shalmanezer, king of Assyria; Nebuchadnezzar, and several others. (2.) Their famines six hundred years after Moses, among the Israelites. Again, nine hundred years after, among the Jews. And finally, fifteen hundred years after. (3.) Their reduction, witnessed by all nations where they have been dispersed. Yet they continued a separate people, and have become "a by-word among all nations," "To jew signifies 'to cheat or defraud.' "-N. Webster.
A king of England asked his chaplain, "What is the most convincing proof of the truth of the Bible?" "The Jews, your Majesty," who, without a country for eighteen hundred years, have fulfilled the prophecies by retaining their distinct nationality, resisting all tendencies to assimilation and absorption.
PROPHECIES relating to OTHER NATIONS. Tyre, Ezek. 26; Egypt, Isa. 19; Jer. 43; 49; Ezek. 29; 30. Ethiopia, Isa. 18:1-6; 20:3-5; Ezek. 30:4. Nineveh, Nahum 1;2;3. Babylon, Isaiah 13; Jer. 50; 51. The four great empires of antiquity, the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman. (37. The Jews. How is this prophecy fufilled? How does their existence prove the truth of the Bible? Repeat the prophecy concerning Tyre. Egypt. Ethiopia. Nineveh.)
PROPHECIES: Dan. 2:39-40; 7; 8. All history shows their literal fulfillment.
PROPHECIES relating to the MESSIAH and THAT HE SHOULD COME. (1.) Prophecy: Gen. 3:15; Deut. 18:15, 18; Isa. 9:6; Ps 1:7; Haggai 2:7. Fulfillment. Luke 2:11; John 1:14; Gal. 4:4; I John 3:8. THE TIME WHEN HE SHOULD COME. (2.) Prophecy: Gen. 49:10; Haggai 2:6-9; Dan. 9:23-25; Mal. 3:1. Fulfillment: Compare Matt. 22:20-21; Luke 2:1-5; John 19:10-15. For the expectation of the Jews, see Matt. 2:46; Luke 2:25, 38. FROM WHOM HE WAS TO DESCEND. (3.) Prophecy: Gen. 3:15; 12:3; 18:18; 49:10; Isa. 7:14; 9:6, 7; 11:1; Jer. 23:5-6. Fulfillment: Matt. 1:1, 23; Luke 1:32-33; John 7:42; Gal. 4:4; Acts 3:25-26; 13:32-33; Rom. 15: 8-12. (38. Babylon. The four great empires. What shows their literal fulfillment? What prophecy relates to the coming of the Messiah? Fulfillment. The time of his coming? Fulfillment? From whom he was to descend? Fulfillment?) TO BE BORN OF A VIRGIN. (4.) Prophecy: Isa. 7:14; Jer 31:22. Fulfillment: Matt. 1:22-25; Luke 1:26-35. THE PLACE OF HIS BIRTH. (5.) Prophecy: Micah 5:2. Fulfillment: Luke 2:4-7; Matt. 2:4-8, etc. CONCERNING HIS FORERUNNER. (6.) Prophecy: Mal. 3:1; 4:5; Isa. 40:3. Fulfillment: Matt. 3:1-3; Luke 1:13-17. WAS TO PREACH FIRST IN GALILEE. (7.) Prophecy: Isa. 9:1-2. Fulfillment: Matt. 4:12-17. WAS TO PERFORM MIRACLES. (8.) Prophecy: Isa. 35:5-6. Fulfillment: Matt. 9:5. HIS KINGLY ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM. (9.) Prophecy: Zech. 9:9. Fulfillment: Matt. 21:5-11.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF SUFFERING AND DEATH. (aa.) Prophecy: Isa. 53:3; Psa. 41:9; 55:12-14; Zech. 11:12-13. Fulfillment: Luke8:53; 16:14; Matt. 26:14-15; 27:3. (39. Of whom to be born? Fulfillment? Place of his birth? Fulfillment? His forerunner? Fulfilment? Place of his first preaching? Fulfillment? His miracles? Fulfillment? His entry into Jerusalem? Fulfillment? Circumstances of his suffering and death? Repeat the six classes in order?) (bb.) Prophecy: Isa. 1:6; 53:5-8. Fulfillment: Matt. 27:30; Luke 23:34; John 19:1-2; I Pet. 2:23-24. (cc.) Prophecy: Ps. 22:7-8. Fulfillment: Matt. 27:39, etc.; Luke 23:35, etc. (dd.) Prophecy: Ps. 69:21; 22:18. Fulfillment: Matt. 27:34; Mark 15:36; John 29:23-39. (ee.) Prophecy: Ps. 34:20; Zech. 12:10. Fulfillment: John 19:32, 36. (ff.) Prophecy: Isa. 53:9. Fulfillment: Matt. 27:57, 60.
RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION. Prophecy: Ps. 16:9-10. By Christ himself. Mark 8:31; 10:34; Luke 9:22; John 2:19, 21; 10:17. Fulfillment: Matt. 28:5-6; Acts 1:3; 2:25-36; 13:34-37; Luke 24:5-7, 51; Acts 1:9-11; I Tim. 3:16. JESUS WAS TO SEND THE HOLY SPIRIT. Prophecy: Joel 2:28. By himself. John 7:38-39; 14:16; 15:26; 16:7,13. Fulfillment: Acts 2:1-4, 33; 4:31; 10:44, etc.
SALVATION ONLY THROUGH CHRIST. Prophecy: Zech. 13:1; Mal. 4:2; Isa. 53:11; 59:20; Ps. 118:22. Fulfillment: Matt. 1:21 Luke 1:76-78; 2:27-32; 24:47; Acts 4:10-12; x10:43; 13:38; I Tim. 2:4-6; 4:10. (40. Fulfillment. Resurrection and ascension. Fulfillment. The sending of the Holy Spirit. Fulfillment.)
IMPORTANCE OF FAITH IN HIM. Prophecy: Deut. 13:18-19. Fulfillment: Matt. 17:5; Acts 3:22-23; John 3:18, 36; II Thess. 1:7-8.
PROPHECIES by CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES. 1. Christ foretells the circumstances of his own death. Matt. 16:21; 26:23, 31. 2. Resurrection: Matt. 16:21; 26:32. 3. Descent of the Holy Spirit: Luke 24:49; John 14:16-17, 26; 16:7, 13. Fulfillment: Acts 2:1-4; 10:44. 4. Destruction of Jerusalem, with all its preceding signs and concomitant circumstances: Matt. 24:1-26; Mark 13:1-23; Luke 21:5-24.
The very generation that heard the predictions lived to be the miserable witnesses of their accomplishment.
The wonderful preservation of the Scriptures is further external evidence of their heavenly origin. (41. His salvation. Fulfillment. Importance of faith in him. Fulfillment. Repeat Christ's prophecies concerning his own death. Resurrection. Descent of the Holy Spirit. Fulfillment. Destruction of Jerusalem. Fulfillment.)
The Jews, from the beginning, have preserved the Old Testament with sacred diligence.
The entire tribe of Levi was charged with the custody of the book of the Law. Deut. 31:25,26.
Besides the copies in use in the synagogues, extra copies were carefully kept in the archives of the temple, to which no person was admitted. II Kings 22:8; Acts 15:21.
The manuscripts were transcribed with great caution and exactness. The alteration of a letter would condemn the copy to the flames. The Jews recorded the number of words and letters in each manuscript, and marked the middle letter as a safeguard against corruption.
The whole of the Old Testament was translated from its Hebrew and Chaldee into Greek, at Alexandria, nearly three hundred years before the Christian era. This translation is called the Septuagint, and is still extant. (42. What is a third kind of external evidence? What have the Jews done to preserve the old Testament? What is said of extra copies? The manuscripts? When and where was the Old Testament first translated into Greek? What is this translation called? What has become of this?)
The Samaritan Pentateuch, still extant, is also very ancient, and agrees essentially with that of the Jews.
When we consider the enmity between the Jews and Samaritans, this agreement of their copies is a strong confirmation of their genuineness. The autograph MSS. of the Hebrew Scriptures are all lost. The oldest extant belong to the eighth and ninth centuries. Yet there are circumstances attending their preservation and transmission, which prove their genuineness with nearly as much certainty as if the first copies were still in existence; such as, (1) The agreement of widely-scattered copies; (2) Of early versions; (3) Of quotations by early writers. The invention of printing is a great safeguard of the text: (I) By greatly multiplying copies; (2) By the difficulty in altering print with a pen. (43. What is said of the Samaritan Pentateuch? Do the Samaritan and Jewish copies agree? What does this prove? What is said of the autograph MSS? What of the oldest MSS?)
The oldest MSS. of the New Testament, and of the Septuagint or Greek versions of the Old, are nearly fifteen hundred years old. Of these, the Alexandrian is now in the British Museum, the Vatican is in the Vatican library at Rome, and the Sinaitic, discovered at Mount Sinai, (1859,) is in St. Petersburgh. Eminent scholars have spent their lives in the critical examination of these and hundreds of later MSS., and have found many minute variations, but a substantial agreement. No doctrine of the Church is in the least shaken by all the various readings. For instance, the important Epistle to the Romans, containing four hundred and thirty three verses, has but four various readings worthy of note, as follows: Chapter 7:6, "that being dead" read, "we being dead to that;" the difference in the Greek is between o and e. In chapter 11:6, the latter half of the verse is omitted. In chapter 12:11," time" should be read for "Lord "-the mistake of one letter. In chapter 16:5, "Asia" should be read for Achaia."
When, therefore, we read of one hundred and twenty thousand various readings noted by Dr. Kennicott in the New Testament, we are to understand that they are of no significance, so far as the meaning is concerned, and we are to remember that in the writings of Terence (six pieces only) there are three thousand variations, though they have been copied many times less frequently. (44. Do They substantially agree? What does Bengel say?) Says Bengel to his scholar, "Eat the Scripture bread in simplicity, just as you have it, and do not be disturbed if here and there you find a grain of sand which the millstone may have suffered to pass. If the Holy Scriptures, which have been so often copied, were absolutely without variations, this would be so great a miracle that faith in them would be no longer faith. I am astonished, on the contrary, that from all these transcriptions there has not resulted a greater number of various readings."
If the Jews had tampered with their Scriptures, they would have erased the record of their own crimes, idolatries, and rebellions against Jehovah.
There is scarcely a passage of the New Testament which is not quoted by the fathers, and by other writers of the first three centuries. The primitive Christians were divided into different sects. These would, of course, prevent one another from making any alteration in the text.
Observe the wakeful jealousy between the Jews and Samaritans; between the Essenes, Sadducees, and Pharisees, and different Christian sects in all ages. (45. What is said of the fathers, etc? Of the primitive Christians? How did the existence of different sects tend to preserve the original text?)
It would not be possible for a Calvinist, or a Baptist, or a Methodist, or a Unitarian, to alter the Bible in the least to suit his sect, without being detected and exposed.
Copies of the New Testament were early distributed in various parts of the world. Many of these manuscripts are still extant, and essentially agree with each other.
During the first and second centuries, as was predicted, false Christs, false gospels, and false epistles, every-where abounded. Mark 13:22; Luke 1:1; Gal. 1:69; II Thess. 2:2-12; I John 2:18. These were all of short existence.
The integrity of the Holy Scriptures is substantiated by evidence tenfold more various, copious, and conclusive than that which can be adduced in support of any other ancient book, even the most highly prized Greek and Latin classics. If; therefore, the facts relating to the origin, nature, and progress of Christianity are not established, nothing in human history can be believed. (46. Is it so at the present day? What of the different copies of the New Testament that were early distributed? What predications were to take place during the second and third centuries? Of what duration were they? What is said of the integrity of the Scriptures?)
While millions of learned volumes, which promised immortality to their authors, have sunk into oblivion, the Bible has survived even against opposition such as no other book ever knew.
The loftiest pretensions of learning, science, and philosophy; the most malignant arts of wit, satire, and scurrility, have been employed against the Bible in vain.
Thousands of times it has been condemned, banished, burned. Still it survives, and will survive the dissolution of worlds. I Pet. 1:24, 25.
2. INTERNAL EVIDENCE.
This kind of evidence is found in the con tents of the Bible itself. Such evidence should be examined with great caution; for, if the book is really from God, it should be received whatever it may be found to contain.
A. Consider the harmony of its several parts. The Bible is more properly a library than a book. It consists of several distinct books bound up together. (47. What contrast between the Bible and all other learned volumes? What has been employed against the Bible? What further ill treatment of it? What success has this opposition had? In what does the internal evidence of the Bible consist? How should we examine such evidence of the Bible consist? How should we examine such evidence? What is the first evidence of this kind?)
It was written by at least forty different men, of a great variety of talents, genius, and learning, in various parts of the earth, without concert, and in different periods of time, occupying a space between the extremes of fifteen hundred years. And yet an entire harmony of sentiment pervades the whole. How unlike all other writings in this respect!
B. The simplicity of its whole design. It has one simple and single object from the beginning to the end-a history of the redemption of our race by Jesus Christ. This golden thread binds up all the books into unity.
This uniform object is the more remarkable when we consider the great number of writers, and the distance between the periods in which they wrote.
In one of the very first chapters of the Bible the coming of the Savior is foretold. And from that time sacred history marks out and follows the line of succession which conducts to Christ. Gen. 3:15; Luke 24:27, 44. (48. What is said of the different writers, etc., of the Bible? Is this, their agreement, any thing peculiar? What is the second kind of evidence? What is this uniform design? What renders this remarkable? What is said of the Savior's coming? What of other nations while the Israelites were in Egypt?)
At the time the Israelites were in Egypt many other nations existed, at least in embryo, whose history is far more important, in every respect but one, than is the history of the Jews.
There were the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Persians. The sacred history neglects them all, and confines its whole attention to a body of Egyptian slaves; and why? Because among these slaves there is the ancestor of the coming Messiah.
The numerous sacrifices among the Jews were all instituted, and uniformly observed, with the same simple design-to familiarize the minds of men to the idea of something more than penitence to atone for sin. They all point to Christ, the Lamb of God. John 1:29.
The nation from which the promised Savior is to come is followed in its various difficulties and adventures, until it becomes finally established in the country where the Messiah is to appear, and then it is left.
There could be no stronger proof that the Bible has the history of Christ for its one great object. (49. What nations were there? Does sacred history make any distinction? Why? What future remarkable? What design is found in the Jewish sacrifices? To whom do they point? What of the nation from whom the Messiah was to come? What does all this prove?)
C. The Bible is in harmony with the light of nature. This is a fundamental point, and should be well observed.
It is unanswerably proved by Bishop Butler in his Analogy, that all the objections against Christianity may be just as strongly urged against the constitution and course of nature, which all, except the Atheists, admit proceeds from God.
The Bible is not the only source of religious knowledge. Nature and Providence have a voice on this subject. Ps. 19; Rom. 1:20.
The light of nature, however, when compared with that of revelation, is like the light of the moon or a star, when compared with that of the sun.
The Bible never eclipses interior lights, except by its superior luster. Instead of closing our eyes to the manifestations of God, as given us in nature, it makes us see them more clearly. Ps. 19:1-8. (50. What is the third kind of evidence? What is said of Butler's Analogy? What other source is there of there of religious knowledge? What Scripture proves this? How may the different lights be compared? Does the Bible oppose or aid the light of nature?)
Nature suggests that the Author of our being is most benevolent in his character. The Bible corresponds-"God is love." I John 4:8, 16.
All nature represents him as most decided and efficient in his government; frowning upon sin with an awful severity of judgment. The Bible corresponds-"God is a consuming fire," is as a consuming fire to the wicked. Heb. 12:29; 10:27; II Thes. 2:8. Compare Dent. 4:24; 9:3.
"The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice." "The Lord reigneth, let the people tremble." Ps. 97:1; 99:1.
Thus the Bible reveals the same principles of moral government that are revealed by nature, only in a stronger light.
And, in addition, it discloses other truths, still more valuable to us. It teaches us that God is 1ove, that man is immortal, that sin is an infinite evil which can be forgiven only through faith in Jesus Christ. (51. In what instance do nature and the Bible correspond? Another? What texts of Scripture illustrate these tow doctrines? How does the Bible differ from nature as to the principles of moral government? Does the Bible disclose any important truths that nature does not?)
3. EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE.
This kind of evidence is the most convincing of all. It is found in its moral power over the human heart. The Bible is known by its fruits.
To illustrate: Suppose a dreadful plague should break out in the city of New York, and spread throughout the United States, carrying consternation and death into thousands of families.
After raging for several months, intelligence is brought from China of a certain plant that has there been found, and proved to be a remedy for this disease.
Our government concludes to send a ship for a supply of the article, and our citizens everywhere are waiting with anxiety the ship's return; at length she arrives, and the article is in full circulation.
Now, the question is, What will interest our people most? Will it be an examination of the evidence there may be that the ship has actually been to China, or that her lading consists of the identical article for which she was sent? Will they not be more anxious to know whether this medicine will cure? (52. What is the third class of evidence? In what does it consist? Of what importance is it? What illustration is given?)
Suppose an individual interested in the continuance of the disease should pronounce it all an imposition. "Stop," he might say, "how do you know that this is a real remedy? That ship never came from China. The officers and crew have united in a deception. Examine her papers, and you will find it a delusion."
Now, would the mass be influenced by such objections? No. Their reply would be, "We leave all this with the custom-house officers. At present we have no time to inquire into these matters. This medicine has cured thousands. It is now curing thousands more. Nay, we were sick, and it has cured us. Our neighbors and friends are dying, and there is nothing else to try."
Thus, we rely upon the evidence we have. It is direct. It is sufficient. We have reason to believe the medicine will cure. This would be the substance of their reply, and they who would be saved from sin should do the same.
Wherever we open the sacred volume we find some direction, which, if properly observed, would make us good citizens, good neighbors, good friends, and good men. (53. In examining this subject how should we proceed, if we should be saved? What useful directions does the Bible contain?)
Wherever it has been received and obeyed, the most beneficial effects have followed.
Every nation, of every age through which it has descended to us, has been blessed by it.
The brightest spots upon the globe, in every view, intellectual, social, civil, moral, and religious, have ever been those where the Bible has been most honored and obeyed.
Wherever Christian missionaries have gone, the most barbarous nations have become civilized and saved.
The ancient inhabitants of Germany, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Britain, and Ireland, as also those of North and South America, the East and West Indies, Greenland, South and West Africa, etc., are all illustrious monuments of the blessed effects of the Bible.
Another effect which the Scriptures produce wherever they are duly respected, is resignation and peace in view of death. This is an honest hour.
While the most noted unbelievers often renounce their systems of infidelity, and thereby show their insincerity, the Christian believer is more than ever attached to the book that reveals to him eternal life. (54. Has this been realized where the Bible has been received? What is said of every nation, etc.? Which are the brightest spots on the globe? Of what benefit have Christian missionaries been? What monuments exist of the good effects of the Bible? What effect does it produce in view of death? What contrast between the believer and unbeliever?)
Another manifestation of the good effects of the Bible is the treatment it receives from immoral men.
Where do we hear the Bible contemned, and its authority spurned? It is among the ignorant and vicious.
Where does it receive unmeasured insult and scorn, but in gambling houses, tippling houses, and other vile places? Who are they that sneer about the indelicacies of the Bible, but those whose imagination and heart are found disposed to such things?
As, therefore, all unbelief has a moral cause in the depraved heart rather than intellectual cause in not satisfying the human reason, it is wiser to apply the pungent truths of Christianity to the hearts of unbelievers than to dispute about its evidences. Ps. 14:1; John 9:27. (56. What other proof of the good effects of the Bible? Where do we hear the Bible contemned? Where does it receive insult, etc.? Who sneer about its indelicacies? Should we be inclined to dispute with unbelievers? Why? In examining the evidences of Christianity, what question should be asked?)
In examining the subject of its evidences ourselves, we should, first of all, ask the question, "Am I willing to become all that Christianity requires, provided it can be proved to be from heaven?" Whoever can answer this question in the affirmative will find every obstruction to the fullest faith removed.
Our confidence in the truths of revealed religion is almost exactly proportioned to the fidelity with which we do our duty. John 7:17.
If we lay aside our duties, darkness and doubt will be our experience. Return to duty, and light for the intellect and peace for the heart will come back together.
Finally, there is not in all the world a par tide of evidence against the claim of the Scriptures to Divine inspiration.
What none but had men wish exploded must."
4. COLLATERAL EVIDENCES.
a. The influence of the Bible in the formation of the noblest characters in the world's annals. Examples: "I have read the Bible morning, noon, and night, and have ever since been the happier and better man for such reading." -EDMUND BURKE. (56. What would be the result? Should we consent? To what is our confidence in the Bible proportioned? What is the result of neglecting duty? Of returning to it? Is there any evidence against the scriptural claim to Divine inspiration? What says the poet? What influence has the Bible in forming noble characters?)
"The Bible is the best book in the world. It contains more of my little philosophy than all the libraries I have seen." -JOHN ADAMS, the second President of the United States, to THOMAS JEFFERSON, the third President.
"There is no book like the Bible for excellent learning, wisdom, and use." -Sir MATTHEW HALE, Chief-Justice of England.
"Read the Bible, read the Bible " -The dying words of WILLIAM WILBERFORCE.
"The Bible is equally adapted to the wants and infirmities of every human being. No other book ever addressed itself so authoritatively and so pathetically to the judgment and moral sense of mankind." -Chancellor JAMES KENT.
"A stream where alike the elephant may swim and the lamb may wade."-GREGORY the Great.
"I gratefully receive and rejoice in the light of revelation, which has set me at rest in many things, the manner whereof of my poor reason can by no means make out to me." - JOHN LOCKE, the Philosopher. (57. What examples?)
"The Bible is indeed among books, what the diamond is among stones-the preciousest, and the sparklingest; the most apt to scatter light, and yet the solidest and the most proper to make impressions." -ROBERT BOYLE, the Christian Philosopher.
"The most learned, acute, and diligent student cannot, in the longest life, obtain an entire knowledge of this one volume. The more deeply he works this mine, the richer and more abundant he finds the ore. There is but one book - the Bible." - Sir WALTER SCOTT.
"I have regularly and attentively read the Holy Scriptures, and am of the opinion that this volume, independently of its Divine origin, contains more true sublimity, more exquisite beauty, more pure morality, more important history, and finer strains both of poetry and eloquence, than could be collected from all other books." -Sir WILLIAM JONES, the great Oriental scholar.
"The most wonderful volume in existence is, beyond doubt, the Bible." -Professor O. M. MITCHELL, LL.D., the Astronomer and patriotic General.
"Tell the prince that this (a costly copy of the Bible) is the secret of England's greatness. "-QUEEN VICTORIA'S message to an African prince who sent an embassy to learn the secret of Britain's power.
b. The homage of eminent persons to the Bible: "It is the Bible, the Bible itself, which combats and triumphs most efficaciously in the war between incredulity and belief." -Monsieur F. P. G. GUIZOT, the Statesman and Historian.
"I call that, apart from all theories about it, one of the grandest things ever written with pen. A noble book! All men's book! T HOMAS CARLYLE on the Book of Job.
"Above all, the pure and benign light of REVELATION has had a meliorating influence on mankind, and increased the blessings of society." -GEORGE WASHINGTON.
"I do not believe human society, including not merely a few persons in any state, but whole masses of men, ever has attained, or ever can attain, a high state of intelligence, virtue, security, liberty, or happiness without the Holy Scriptures." -WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
"I have read it through many times. I now make a practice of going through it once a year. It is a book of all others for lawyers as well as divines. I pity the man who cannot find in it a rich supply of thought and rules of Conduct." -DANIEL WEBSTER. (58. What instances of the homage of eminent men?)
"I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever. " -Sir ISAAC NEWTON, the Philosopher and Astronomer.
"I know the Bible is inspired, because it finds me at greater depths of my being than any other book." -S. T. COLERIDGE.
"Thy creatures have been my books, but thy Scriptures much more." -LORD BACON.
"Christ proved that he was the Son of the Eternal by his disregard of time. All his doctrines signify only, and the same thing, eternity." -NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.
c. The admissions of skeptics respecting the Bible:- "I confess to you that the majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admiration, as the purity of the Gospel hath its influence on my heart." -JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU.
"I have always said, and always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands." -THOMAS JEFFERSON.
"I defy you all, as many as are here, to prepare a tale so simple and so touching as the tale of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, whose influence will be the same after so many centuries." - DENIS DIDEROT, the French Atheist. (59. Admissions of skeptics?)
"View it in what light we may, the Bible is a very surpassing phenomenon. Men rest on this their dearest hopes. It tells them of God and of his blessed Son, of earthly duties and heavenly rest." -THEODORE PARKER, the Pantheist.
d. The remarkable spread of Christianity against the opposition of all the world by so weak an agency as a few unlearned disciples, without the prestige of rank, the influence of wealth, or the aid of the civil power.
e. The present fundamental relation of Christianity to the world's arts, sciences, liberties, laws, and progress, especially the fact that the most Christian nations are the most advanced in intelligence and power, demonstrates that the system is adapted to secure man's highest happiness in this world. (60. What of the spread of Christianity? What relation to human progress?)
The doctrine which the first sentence of the Bible unfolds is, that THERE IS A GOD, THE CREATOR of all things. Gen. 1:1. The belief of this doctrine is the first and FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE of all true religion, and therefore demands our earliest consideration. Heb. 11:6.
The inspired writers ASSUME THIS DOCTRINE as a truth known and admitted. Hence they do not enter into any formal proof of it. (61. With what purpose should we next examine the scriptures? What doctrine is first taught? Do the inspired writers enter into any formality in teaching this doctrine? Why?)
The existence of God is proved by OUR OWN EXISTENCE, and the existence of what is seen around us, as well as from what the Scriptures declare.
All things which are seen BEGAN TO EXIST. Now, they either created themselves, came into existence by mere chance, or were created by some other being.
But SELF-CREATION is a contradiction, for it supposes that a being can act before it exists, or that an effect is the cause of itself. Hence to write matter with a capital M and call it God relieves no difficulty, while it raises many.
CREATION BY CHANCE is absurd; for to say that a thing is produced, and yet that there is no cause of its production, is to say that something is effected when it is effected by nothing; that is, not effected at all.
All things, then, which do appear, must have been created by some other Being-THAT BEING IS GOD. Gen. 1:1; Acts 14:15; 17:24; Heb. 3:4; 11:3.
The DESIGN, also, discoverable in the constitution, harmony, and government of the visible universe, proves the being of God. (62. How is the existence of God proved, aside from the Scriptures? What is said of that existence? Of self creation? Of creation by chance? What then? What of design?)
The marks of design are too obvious to be denied. Design implies a designer; and the designer must exist prior to the things designed. THIS DESIGNER IS CALLED GOD.
If the modern theory of the EVOLUTION of men and animals from some germ were true, there must be a Creator of this germ. Evolution implies an Evolver. THIS MUST BE GOD.
Hence the WORKS OF CREATION prove the existence of God. Ps. 19:1; 95:3-5; 100:3; Isa. 11:12; Zech . 12:1; Acts 17:24 Rom. 1:20.
The existence of LIFE on the earth is proof of an intelligent Creator. Geology carries us back to a period when this earth, just cooled from its condition of a molten mass, had not the first trace of life. No such trace can be found in the oldest or fire-made rocks. But in the water-deposited rocks just above them the first traces of organic life is found. The gulf between dead matter and organic life is infinitely broad. It can be bridged, not by any natural law, but only by the intervention of an act of omnipotent power in creation. In the geologic epochs there are several such points where old races are destroyed and new ones introduced so different from the former that they (63. Of the theory of evolution? What of works of creation? Existence of life? What of geology?) could not be derived from them, and hence they must have been direct creations.
This doctrine has further evidence of its truth in what are called the EVENTS OF PROVIDENCE. Exod. 5:1; 7:12; 8:16, 22; 14:3, 29; 18:10; 20:18, 22; 29:46; Deut. 4:32-39; Ps. 9:16.
The name of God signifies THE GOOD BEING, and is applicable, in a subordinate sense, to other beings. Deut. 10:17; Ps. 97:7; Isa. 41:23; John 10:35; I Cor. 8:5.
This name, however, is given to the Author of our existence by way of eminence; and he only is entitled to the name. Deut. vi, 4; I Cor. viii, 46. His most appropriate name is JEHOVAH, which is not an accidental name, destitute of significance, but a name adopted by God himself, and "set in Israel" to express the mystery of his being. It is usually translated LORD in the Old Testament, so that the memorial name is not noticed by the English reader. Exod. 3: 14, 15; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 26:4. It denotes eternal existence. The Hebrews had it in such reverence that they did not pronounce it. Rev. 1:8; 4:8; 11:17. (64. Of Providence? Texts. What does the term God signify? Is it applicable to other beings? What of his name Jehovah? Word Lord? How did the Hebrew regard it?)
Believers in a personal God, the Author of revelation, distinct from the natural world, over which he presides, are called THEISTS.(1) Believers in a personal God, who has not spoken to man by a supernatural revelation, are called DEISTS. They who deny the distinct personality of God and identify him with the universe are PANTHEISTS. Some of these hold that matter is the only substance which exists, and are MATERIALIST PANTHEISTS. Others deny the existence of matter, and resolve all things into ideas. These are IDEALIST PANTHEISTS. With the Pantheist human personality and moral accountability are illusions. If man is only a part of God, he cannot sin. Those who deny the existence of God are called ATHEISTS. All who are not Theists reject the Bible as God's revealed will. Deism, Pantheism, and Atheism are each of them a credulity of the greatest kind, however they may be disguised in the garb of philosophy, equally degrading to the under-standing and to the heart. Ps. 14:1; 10:4 , 82:5; Job 21:14-15. (65. Who are called Theists? Deists? Pantheists? Materialists? Idealist? Atheists?)
The attributes of God are the several qualities or perfections of the Divine nature; or, in other words, the different parts of his character. These are called attributes because God attributes them to himself, and perfections because they are the several representations of that one perfection, which is himself.
These attributes are divided into two classes, the NATURAL and the MORAL.
The NATURAL attributes are those qualities which do not immediately include the notion of moral action, being independent of the will.
The MORAL attributes are those which give worthiness to all his perfections, rendering him infinitely lovely. They involve an exercise of the will. As a man does not will to be six feet high, but does will to be honest, so God does not will to be eternal, but he does will to be just. If this is not so, God has only natural attributes, and is destitute of a moral character.
1. NATURAL ATTRIBUTES.
As to the nature or substance of God the testimony of Scripture is most definite. John 4: 24; II Cor. 3:17. (66. What are the attributes of God? Why so called? How classified? What of the Natural?)
a. His UNITY stands first among his natural attributes. God is one. Deut. 4:35; 6:4; 32:39; I Sam. 7:22; II Kings 19:15; Isa. 44:6, 8; 45:5; John 17:3; I Cor. 8:4, 6; Eph. 4:6; I Tim. 1:17; James 2:19.
DUALISM is the belief that there are two antagonistic and eternal deities, one good and the other evil. Their worship involves the confusion of all moral distinctions.
POLYTHEISM, or a plurality of gods, is a most dangerous error, since it involves the worship of bloody and impure conceptions of the imagination, which by a law of our nature assimilates the worshiper to the object worshiped.
b. ETERNITY, past and future existence without end. Dent. 33:27; Ps. 90:2; 93:2; 103:24, 27; Isa. 94:6; 57:15; Heb. 1:12; I Tim. 1:17; Rev. 1:4, 8.
c. OMNIPRESENCE, existence every-where, not by an extension of parts, but by his essential being. I Kings 8:27; Ps. 139:7-10; Jer. 23:23-24; Eph. 1:23. "Tell me where is God," said an atheist to a child. "I will," said the child, "if you will tell me where he is not." (67. What texts prove his Unity? What is Dualism? Polytheism? What texts prove his eternity? Omnipresence?)
d. OMNISCIENCE, or the knowledge of all things and all events. II Chron. 16:9; Job 34:21, 22; 37:16; Ps. 139:1-6; 147:5; Prov. 15:3, 11; 29:11, 12; Isa. 40:28; 42:9; Ezek. 9:5; Dan. 2:22; John 21:17; Acts 1:24; 15:18; Heb. 4:13; I John 3:20. This attribute includes what has been called the prescience or foreknowledge of God. These terms, however, as applied to God, are improper. They are applicable only to finite intelligences. With Jehovah nothing, strictly speaking, is future or past, but what he knows he knows as it is and not as it will be. Duration, past and future, is a framework within which all human thinking must be done. There is no such limitation to God's intelligence. There is no succession of thought, nor logical processes with him. He sees all truths intuitively. Heb. 4:13.
The mere knowledge of God influences nothing, nor changes the nature of things in any wise; for the plain reason, that it is KNOWLEDGE, and NOT INFLUENCE, NOR CAUSATION.
Some actions are necessary, such as breathing and sleeping, and others are free, and as such they are known of God. Had any thing been otherwise than it is, his knowledge of it would have been otherwise. Knowledge takes its form from the act, and not the act from the knowledge, as the impression from the seal and not the seal from the impression. How God knows the future decisions of a free agent is to us a mystery, as are all the perceptions of the Infinite mind. Job 5:9; 26:14; Isa. 55:8, 9; Ps. 139:6; Rom. 11:33, 34. (68. Omniscience? What is said of prescience? Of Divine knowledge? Has his knowledge any influence on our actions? What of necessity and free actions?)
e. OMNIPOTENCE, or power to do any thing which is not in its nature absurd or repugnant to his nature. Gen. 17:I; Job 9:12; Isa. 26:4; 43:13; Jer. 27:5; 32:17; Dan. 4:35; Matt. 19:26; Rev. 1:8; 19:6.
This attribute is represented in a variety of ways, for the twofold purpose of awing and controlling the wicked, and of affording strength and consolation to the righteous. Ps. 1:21-22; Rom. 4:20-21; 8:31.
f. IMMUTABILITY. This attribute is indicated in his august and awful title, "I Am." Exod. 3:14; John 8:58. Compare Num, 23:19; I Sam. 15:29; Job 23:13; Ps. 102:27; Isa. 26:4. (The Hebrew reads ROCK OF AGES.) Mal. 3:6; James 1:17. (69. Difference between Divine and human knowledge? Omnipotence? How is this attribute represented? For what purpose? How is God's immutability indicated?)
His Immutability is also inferred from the general order of nature: the revolution of the heavenly bodies, the succession of seasons, the laws of animal and vegetable production, and the perpetuation of every species of being. This attribute is not to be so interpreted as to signify that his OPERATIONS admit of no change or contrariety under any circumstances whatever. Exod. 32:14; Ezek. 18:20-30.
He creates and he destroys; he loves and he hates, etc. These are the proofs, not of change in God, but of unchanging PRINCIPLES.
His Immutability qualifies him as the Supreme Ruler of all, as all things in the kingdoms of nature and grace are governed by FIXED LAWS. Were it otherwise, there would be no security for any thing, nor any uniform course of nature.
This attribute in God is the grand source of terror to the impenitent, and of encouragement to such as are of contrite hearts. Ps. 1:21-22; Rom. 2:2-11; 4:20-21; I Thess. 5: 24. (70. From what is this attribute inferred? How should it be interpreted? How proved? How does God govern all things? Of what is this attributed the grand source? Invisibility? Incomprehensibility?)
g. INVISIBILITY. Exod. 33: 2-23; John 1:18; Col. 1:15; I Tim. 6:16; Heb. 9:27.
h. INCOMPREHENSIBILITY. He cannot be grasped by any finite conception. Job 9:7-8; 26:14; 36:26; 37:23; Ps. 145:3; Rom. 11:33.
2. MORAL ATTRIBUTES.
a. The WISDOM of God. This stands first among his moral attributes. It is partly natural and partly moral, being a compound of knowledge and benevolence.
This perfection is proved from the works of creation, providence, and redemption, and from express declarations of Scripture. Exod. 34:6; Ps. 54:24; Prov. 3:19; 8:14; Jer. 10:12; Dan. 2:20; Rom. 11:33; I Cor. 3:19; Col. 2:3; Jude 25; Rev. 5:12.
b. GOODNESS, or benevolence, is God's disposition to communicate the highest happiness. It is proved in the same manner as wisdom. Exod. 34:5; Ps. 33:5; 52:1; 107: 8; 119: 68; 145:7, 9; Matt. 19:17; James 1:17.
c. HOLINESS, or his perfect absolute purity and rectitude of nature. The evidence of this is found in uniform treatment of all moral beings, and also in his word. Exod. 15:11; (71. What is God's wisdom? How proved? Goodness? Proof? Holiness? Proof?) Lev. 11:44; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 22:3; 111:9; 145:17; Isa. 6:3; I Pet. 1:15, 16; Rev. 15:4.
d. JUSTICE, the expression of holiness by actions, or his disposition to render unto all their dues. This is proved from its display in the moral world, and from the Bible. Exod. 34: 6; Deut. 32:4; Neh. 9:13; Job 8:3; Ps. 89:14; Isa. 45:21; Rev. 15:3.
e. MERCY denotes his disposition to pity the miserable, and especially to forgive those who have done him wrong. Since it depends upon the existence of sin, it is not an essential attribute, but a stream flowing from goodness. It is argued from the gift of his Son, the provision of the means of grace, and the Scriptures. Exod. 34:6-7; Num. 14:18; Deut. 4:31; Psa. 62:12; 86:15; 100:5; 103:8; 116:5; 138:8; Lam. 3:22; Jonah 4:2; Micah 7:18; Rom. 8:32; II Cor. 1:3; Eph. 2:4.
f. TRUTH, or perfect veracity. His faithfulness in accomplishing his predictions, in fulfilling his promises, and in executing his threatenings, is evidence of this perfection. It is also declared in his word. Exod. 34:6; Num. 23:19; Deut. 32:4; Ps. 100:5; 146:6; Isa. 25:1; II Tim. 2:13; Titus 1: 2; Rev. 15:3. (72. What is God's justic? Proof? His mercy? How argued? Truth? Proof?)
By the Trinity is meant the union of three persons in one Godhead; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Matt. 3:16,17; 28:19, John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; II Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 9:14; I Pet. 1:2.
Nearly all the pagan nations of antiquity acknowledged a trinity, which is no mean evidence in favor of the truth of this doctrine.
Almost the whole Christian world agree here, however they may differ in other points-the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Independents, Congregationalists, Moravians, Waldenses, and many other smaller sects, together with the extensive Churches of Greece and Rome.
The chief, if not the only, objection brought against this doctrine is, that it is absurd and contradictory. But it is not so, any more than the doctrine is which teaches His eternal existence.
It is, indeed, a mystery, and must necessarily remain such to us. Its incomprehensibility, however, proves nothing but that we are finite beings, and not God. (73. What is meant by the Trinity? What is no mean evidence of this? How do Christians agree here? The objection? Is this doctrine a mystery? What does it prove?)
The doctrine involves no absurdity or contradiction; for, independent of the Scriptures, it has reason and analogy on its side.
Take, for instance, the sun in the firmament, and you will find that it is three in one. There is the round orb, the light, and the heat. Each of these we call the sun.
When you say the sun is almost nine hundred thousand miles in diameter, you speak of the round orb; when you say that the sun is bright, you mean the light; when you say that the sun is warm, you mean the heat.
The orb is the sun, the light is the sun, and the heat is the sun; they all mean different things, and still there is but one sun.
Again, let us look into ourselves, and we shall find further illustration of the same truth. Every man living is an example of a trinity and unity in his own person. He has a soul, a rational mind, and a body, and we call each by the same name, man.
When we say man is immortal, we mean his soul; when we say the man is learned, we mean his mind; when we say the man is sick, or dead, we mean his body. Each of these we call the man. They are all different from each other, and yet there are not three men, but one man. (74. Has it any analogy? Repeat a few of these.)
Even in the very mind itself we discover a kind of trinity. There is the judgment, the memory, and the imagination; three faculties, each of which we call mind. The office of each is distinct; the imagination invents ideas , the memory retains them, and the judgment compares and decides. Now each is called mind, yet there are not three minds, but one mind.
Further proof of the Trinity is to be found in a remarkable peculiarity in the Hebrew language, which peculiarity has not its parallel in any other language.
The very first and most usual appellation of Deity in the original Scriptures is Elohim. That this word is plural is certain not only from its form, but also by its being often joined with other words in the plural number.
The first instance occurs in the very first sentence of the Bible, and in at least two thousand five hundred other places.
This peculiarity of idiom is supposed to have originated in a design to intimate a plurality in the nature of Deity, and thus excite and prepare the minds of men for the full declaration of this mystery which God intended to make. (75. What further proof? What of the word Elohim? Where does this word occur? In what is this peculiar idiom supposed to have originated?)
No other reason of this peculiarity can be given; and, although it is not relied on as sufficient proof, yet, as the doctrine appears elsewhere, it is at least an important auxiliary.
Although the strongest temptation of the patriarchs and of the Hebrews was to embrace the prevailing polytheism, yet God revealed himself to them by a plural name, when the singular name JEHOVAH was better befitting monotheism. Hence we infer that the plural name was chosen in order to foreshadow the future revelation of the Trinity, of which Jehovah is one of the persons. There must have been some weighty reason for so great a risk to faith in the unity of the Godhead.
The form of the priestly blessing (Num. 6:24-26) is threefold, like the apostolic benediction. II Cor. 13:14.
The three persons in the Godhead, though distinct, are not separate. This is the case with the body and soul of man while he lives in this world, as it is also with the faculties of the mind.
As in the material sun, the light and the heat (76. Is this sufficient proof of the doctrine? What is said of the priestly blessing? Are the Three persons in the Godhead both distinct and separate? How do you illustrate?) proceed from the orb, yet the three are of the same duration; so in the Deity, the Son and the Spirit proceed from the Father, yet they are all of the same duration.
The same ATTRIBUTES and ACTS, in the Scriptures, are ascribed to each of the three persons, without distinction. ETERNITY. Deut. 33:27; Heb. 1:8; 9:14. OMNIPRESENCE. Jer. 23:24; Ps. 139:7; Matt. 18:20. OMNISCIENCE. Acts 15:18; John 21:17; I Cor. 2:10. OMNIPOTENCE. Gen. 17:1; Matt. 28:18; Rev. 11:11. WISDOM. Dan. 2:20; Col. 2:3; Eph. 1: 17. INSPIRATION. II Tim. 3:16; I Pet. 1:11; II Pet. 1:21. SANCTIFICATION. I Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:12; I Pet. 1:2. The act of CREATION. Gen. 1:27; Job 33:4; John 1:3. GIFT OF LIFE. Acts 17:25; II Cor. 3:6; Col. 3:4.
In a word, all divine operations are attributed to the same adorable Trinity. See I Cor. 12: 6; Col. 3:11.
The word "trinity" does not occur in the Scriptures any more than the words omnipresence, ubiquity, etc. The doctrines, however, (77. Are the same things in Scripture attributed to the several persons? What texts attribute eternity to each? Omnipresence? Omniscience? Omnipotence? Wisdom? Are not all attributed to the three? Does the word trinity occur in the Bible?) which these terms express are none the less scriptural on this account.
In theology, the five books of Moses are called the Pentateuch, and the ten commandments the Decalogue. These books and laws are no less real because the terms by which they are known are not scriptural.
The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch, A. D. 42 or 43. But they were certainly as real Christians long before this name was given them as they were afterward.
The principal errors respecting the Trinity are:
a. SABELLIANISM, that there is but one Person manifesting himself in three influences, operations or offices. This doctrine preserves the divinity of the Son and the Holy Ghost at the expense of their personality.
b. SWEDENBORGIANISM, that there are three essences in one Person-Jesus Christ. This asserts the Supreme Deity of the Son at the expense of the personality of the Father and the Spirit.
c. ARIANISM denies the Trinity by making the Son and Spirit exalted creatures of God. Their personality is preserved at the expense (78. Is it then proper to use the term? Illustrate. What three errors respecting the Trinity?) of their divinity. Modern Unitarianism, or so-called liberal Christianity, regards the Holy Spirit as an influence, and Jesus Christ as a mere man, the son of Joseph, of high moral excellence, which it is possible for us to equal, or even excel.
Although the Scriptures which treat of the character of Jesus Christ have not the form of regular system, yet, when collected, they present us with three particular classes, each of which supports its corresponding proposition:
I. The first class sustains the following proposition, namely, Jesus Christ is verily and truly man.
The following are a few of the passages of this class: The Son of man, eighty times; made flesh, John 1:4; made of woman, Gal. 4:4; likeness of man, Phil. 2:7-8; child born, Isa. 9:6; 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; grew, Luke 2:52; man of sorrows, Isa. 53:3; Matt. 26:38; hungered, Matt. 4:2; wearied, John 4:6; tempted, Matt. 4:2; sweat, Luke 22:44; wept, John 11:35; ignorant, Mark 13: 32; angry and (79. How is the character of Jesus Christ presented in the Scriptures? What proposition does the first class sustain? What are the texts?) grieved, Mark 3:5; died, John 19:33; buried, John 19:42.
Finally, all those Scriptures which speak of his sufferings and death, or indicate his inferiority, in any sense, are predicated of and prove his real humanity.
They do not prove him to be a mere man, as some have supposed, neither do they prove him an angel or an arch angel as others have supposed; but they prove him to have been a real man, possessed, like other men, of a human body and a human soul.
II. The second class of Scriptures sustains the following proposition, namely, Jesus Christ is the very unoriginated God. The following are a few of those passages:
a. Those which speak of him as God. John 1:1; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Col. 1:9; Phil. 2:6; I Tim. 3:16; Titus 3:10; Heb. 1:8; I John 5:20.
b. Those which speak of his ATTRIBUTES. His ETERNITY: Isa. 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:1; 8:58; Col. 1:17; Heb. 7:3; 13: 8; Rev. 1:8.
DIVINE TITLES. Alpha and Omega: Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13 Emanuel: Matt. 1:23. (80. What are the tests? What do these prove? What does the second class sustain? What tests speak of him as God? His eternity? His titles?) First and Last: Rev. 1:17. Everlasting Father: Isa. 9:6. Mighty God: Isa. 9:6. Governor Matt. 2:6. Holy One: Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14. Just One: Acts 7:52, King Everlasting: Luke 1:33. King of kings and Lord of lords: I Tim. 6:15. Lord of Glory: I Cor. 2:8. Prince of Life: Acts 3:15. Savior: Luke 2:11. Son of the Highest: Luke 1:32. Son of God: Matt. 16:16, and many other passages.
Divine Attributes. OMNIPRESENCE: Matt. 18:20; John 3:13. OMNISCIENCE: Matt. 9:4; Mark 2:8; John 2:24; 6:64; 16:30; 21:17; Acts 1:24. OMNIPOTENCE: Isa. 9:6; Matt. 28:18; John 3:31; 10:18; Rom. 9:5; Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16-18; 2:10; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 1:8. WISDOM: Col. 2:3. HOLINESS: Mark 1:24. JUSTICE: Acts 22:14. TRUTH: John 14:6. GOODNESS: Acts 10:38.
c. Those which speak of his acts. CREATION: John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16; I Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2. INSPIRATION: I Pet . 1:11, John 14:26 , 18:37. SALVATION: Compare Isa. 45:21-22, and I Tim. 4:10; Acts 4:12; Heb. 5:9; 7:25. (81. Of his attributes? Of his acts?) RESURRECTION: John 5:21, 28-29; 6:40 11:25. JUDGMENT: Matt. 24:30; 25:31; Acts 17: 31; Rom. 14:10; II Cor. 5:10; II Tim 4:1.
4. Those which speak of his honors.
WORSHIP: Compare Matt. 2:11; 14:33; Luke 24:52; Heb. 1:6; John 5:23; Rev. 5:12-13. The word worship generally denotes supreme homage; as such it is applied fifteen times in the New Testament to Jesus Christ, and in no instance is any reproof given as there is when worship is offered to a Creature. Acts 14:13-18; Rev. 19:10. Since ninety-nine hundredths of all Christians, in all ages, have rendered divine worship to Christ, it follows that he is either entitled to receive worship, or he has, as a religious teacher, so failed in his mission as to lead nearly all his pupils into the idolatry of Creature worship. The ambassador of God to a sinful race has so perverted his office as to secure allegiance to himself, and not to the supreme Authority by which he was commissioned. In other words, if Jesus is not worthy of divine honors, he is a successful rival to God in securing the love and homage of mankind. Such a conclusion destroys his moral integrity. (82. Of his honors? Of his teachings?)
III. The third class of Scriptures sustains the following proposition, namely: Substantial divinity and real humanity are combined in the person of Jesus Christ.
a. The very name of Jesus Christ is a sufficient proof. JESUS, Savior, being the human appellation, and CHRIST, My Anointed, being the official title. "Immanuel:" Matt. 1:23. Compare also I Tim. 3:16; John 1:14.
b. Again: "Of whom concerning the flesh Christ came, [here is his humanity,] who is God over all, blessed forever," [here is the divinity.] Rom. 9:5. A similar distinction is found in Rom. 1:3-4: "According to the flesh," (humanity,) "according to the spirit of holiness," or spirit whose attribute is holiness, (divinity.)
c. As God, he is the root source, or origin of David's family and kingdom. As man he has descended from David's loins. Rev. 22:16.
d. As man, he weeps over the grave of Lazarus. As God, he raises him from the dead. John 11:35, 43, 44.
e. As man, he himself suffers and dies. Mark 14:34-35; 15:34, 37. But as God, he is able to raise his own body from the grave. John 10:18. (83. What proposition does the third class sustain? Repeat the first class of texts. Second. Third. Fourth. Fifth.)
There is no more propriety in denying the divinity of Christ, because there are so many texts which speak of his humanity, than there is in denying his humanity, because there are so many texts which treat of his divinity.
As those two natures are united in him, he has of course a double mode of speaking of himself. Nor is this without analogy as to ourselves; for instance:
When you say, I am sick, you speak of your body; and when you say, I am happy, you speak of your soul, etc.
What should you think of one who should take one half of your words, and make no account of the rest, and thus attempt to prove that you were not both mortal and immortal? This is just the error men fall into concerning Jesus Christ.
Jesus manifestly claims supreme divinity when he says to Philip, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." John 14:9. That is, seen the Father so far as he can be seen by mortals. Jesus was the human personation of the invisible God. As the soul, which is not discerned in itself, is discovered by what it (84. May not his humanity be denied with equal propriety? Why does Christ speak of himself with a double mode? What is the error men fall into concerning Christ?) does through the body, so he sees the Father only as he sees him in the Son. John 1:18. He incidentally assumes equal rank with the Father by the use of the pronouns WE and US, which it would be the height of presumption for a creature to use. John 14:23; 17:21-22.
The scriptures urged against this doctrine are John 14:28, "My Father is greater than I." In his mediatorial office, being sent, he was inferior to the Father, who sent him. Jesus refers not to his nature but to his office. Jesus in these very words implies that there is, in some sense, a divine equality, for what man would say, "God is greater than I."?
Another scripture is Mark 10:18. Here the Unitarian is in this dilemma-either, "There is none good, but God; Christ is good: therefore he Is GOD;" or, "There is none good but God: Christ is not God; therefore he IS NOT GOOD." In view of Christ's many claims to be God, he either is God or not a good man. Hence they who begin by denying Christ's supreme Deity, logically end by assaulting his moral integrity.
In Mark 13:32, his ignorance of the day and hour of the coming of the Son of man does not disprove his Divinity, since it may have been (85. Explain three scriptural.) a part of his humiliation in his mediatorial office that this matter was hidden from him. His prayers to the Father do not argue an essential inferiority. He could not be a perfect example for us without piety, and he could not evince his piety without prayer, praise, and worship to his heavenly Father.
PRINCIPAL ERRORS respecting the Person of Jesus Christ:
a. The DOCETAI, "the Seemers," taught that the humanity of Jesus was not real but only a seeming, and that he suffered and died only in appearance.
b. Apollinaris taught that Jesus had only a human body endowed with a sensitive but not with a rational soul, and that Divinity supplied the place of the intellect in man.
c. The Monothelites taught that Jesus had but one will in his two natures.
d. They who deny the eternal Sonship teach that the Logos, or Word, (John 1:1, 14,) was not the Son of God until he was the Son of Mary. This opinion has never been accepted as orthodox, nor has the following:
e. That the Logos became the Son of God by uniting himself with a pre-existent human soul ages before he became incarnate, from which (86. What five other errors?) sou1 he will ultimately separate himself. The pre-existence of human souls is not taught in the Scriptures, but is a part of the transmigration of souls found in ancient mythology.
MEDIATION. The union of two whole and perfect natures, Divinity and Humanity, qualify Jesus Christ to be the Mediator, that is, perfectly to represent God to sinful man and fallen man to God, and to provide, through his shed blood and the agency of the Holy Spirit, for a reconciliation between them. I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24.
There are three principal and fundamental errors extant respecting the Holy Ghost:
1. It is simply another name for the Father.
2. It is a mere figure of speech for the influence of the Deity.
The author of "Ecce Homo" regards the Holy Ghost as the esprit de corps, or the enthusiasm of the Society of Christians. The various forms of Rationalism regard him as an energy of God and not as a person, that is, a thinking and intelligent being. (87. What is said of his mediation? What errors extant respecting the Holy Ghost? How are these confuted?)
3. It is a mere creature.
In confutation of the first two errors, our attention is arrested by the important fact that this Spirit is frequently associated in the Scriptures with the Father and Son, the distinct personality of both of which is not denied. See the arguments under Trinity.
His personality is shown not only by baptizing and blessing in his NAME, Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14, but also from his feeling love, Rom. 15:30, and grief, Eph. 4:30; from his act of permitting, Acts 14:16; abiding, John 14:16; teaching, verse 26, and I John 2:27; appointing, Acts 13:2; sending, verse 4; interceding, Rom. 8:26; convincing of sin John 16:8; regenerating, John 6:63; Titus 3:5; witnessing, Rom. 8:16; sanctifying, I Cor. 6:11; inspiring, II Pet. 1:21; and especially by the fact that sin against him is unpardonable Matt. 12:31.
In confutation of the third heresy, the third person in the association has all the names, perfections, and works, peculiar to the Godhead, ascribed to him, and is, therefore, essentially Divine.
The Holy Ghost is called God, Acts 5:3-4; (88. What acts show that he is a person? What scriptures ascribe to him the name of Deity?) Lord, II Cor. 3:17. He is eternal Heb. 9:14; omnipresent, Ps. 139:7; I Cor. 3:16; omniscient , I Cor. 2:10; omnipotent, I Cor. 12:4-11.
To him is ascribed wisdom, Eph. 1:17; goodness, Ps. 143:10; creation, Job 26:13; 33:4; especially of the human nature of Christ, Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:35; inspiration, II Pet. 1:21; resurrection of Christ, Rom. 8:11; I Pet. 3:18.
Both the divinity and personality of the Holy Ghost are proved by showing that JEHOVAH of the Old Testament, (LORD, in the English version,) and the Holy Spirit of the New, are the same. Compare Acts 28:25-27, with Isa. 6:8-9; also Heb. 3:7, with Exod. 17:7; also Heb. 10:15, 16, with Jer. 31:31-34.
But as the divinity of the Spirit is inseparably connected with the subject of the Trinity, to extend this evidence further would be superfluous.
The Greek Church denies the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son, (filioque,) and teaches that he proceeds from the Father only. Refuted in John 15:26; 20:22; Rom. 8:9. (89. Attributes? Acts? With what doctrines is this essentially connected? Doctrine of the Greek Church?)
These are spiritual intelligences, the first in rank and point of time among created beings . Job 37:7; Ps. 8:5; Heb. 2:5, 7; II Pet. 2:11. People of all ages, nations, and religions have believed in their existence. In the Scriptures they are called by various names, such as angels or ministering spirits, Heb. 1:7, 14; Sons of God or morning stars, Job 38:7; Seraphim, Isaiah 6:2-6; Cherubim, Ezekiel 9:22; Watchers, Dan. 4:13, 17; Principalities and powers, Rom..8:38; Eph.1: 21; 6:12. They are represented as innumerable. Heb. 12:22; Matt. 26:53; Ps. 68:17. As being employed of God in behalf of the righteous on earth. Gen. 19:15-22; Ps. 34:7; 53:20-21; Dan. 6: 22; 9:21-22; Acts 12:7; 28:23; Luke 16:22; Heb. 1:14; 12:22. To execute his judgments against the wicked, and hence called evil angels. Ps. 78:49; Isa. 37:36; Acts 12:23; Rev 15:6. They were divinely appointed to proclaim the Messiah's advent, Luke 2:9-14; to worship him, Heb. 1:6; to minister unto him in his trials, Matt. 4:11; 26:53; Luke 22: 43; (90. What is said of angels? Has their existence been generally believed? What are they called in the scripture? What of their number? Employment?) to attend his ascension and announce his second advent, Acts 1:9- 11; when they will accompany and serve him as his agents at the general judgment, Dan. 7:9-10; Matt. 13:39,41,49; 16:27; 24:31; II Thess. 1:7, etc.
Some angels are called the elect, that is, holy angels, I Tim. 5:21, as distinguished from the reprobate, that is, sinning, angels. II Pet. 2:4; Jude 6. The chief or prince of angels is called the archangel and is applied to Michael, whose position and offices are such as to indicate that the Messiah is meant. Compare Dan. 10:13, 21; Rev. 12:7-1l; I Thess. 4:16. He is thought by some to be the same with Gabriel. Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26.
They are not to be worshiped. Judges 13:16; Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; 22:9.
The Scriptures favor the Opinion of their existence prior to the formation of our solar system. Job 38:4-7. The angels were constituted probationers , and the rule of their conduct was probably the same in substance as that given to man in his innocence. Ps.53:19-20; Matt. 6:10; Jude 6. (91. What of the elect and reprobate? Archangel? Are they to be worshiped? How long have they existed? Where they constituted probationers?)
In the New Testament the word devils is frequently and erroneously used for demons, that is, evil angels. Ps. 78:49; Matt. 4:24; Luke 8:27, etc. Hence the phrase, The devil and his angels, Matt. 25: 41; Rev. 12:7,9, the former denoting the chief or prince of devils. Matt. 12:24.
The general belief of the Church has always been that these are apostate angels who were expelled from heaven, or some probationary state, for rebellion against God. The tradition of their fall is in all countries and in all religions, and is clearly taught in the Scriptures. Job 4:18; John 8:44; I John 3:8; II Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Rev. 12:7-12.
Those who reject this opinion are not uniform in their faith on this point. Some suppose that by the devil is meant a personified principle of evil; others, the wicked dispositions of men; and others, any enemy.
These three errors conflict with and destroy each other, and this very warfare is no mean (92. What do the Scriptures say of devils and demons? What has been the belief of the Church respecting them? What of the tradition of their fall? What of those who reject this opinion? What of these errors?) evidence in favor of the scriptural account of a real, personal devil. Let us consider:
1. Some persons were tempted who had no propensity to evil, namely , Adam, Gen. 3: 13; Christ, Matt. 4:1.
2. Some have possessed many demons. Luke 8:2, 30. And these were transferred from men to beasts. Luke 8:33.
3. Acts, attributes. and passions are ascribed to the devil and to demons. I Sam. 16:14, 23; Luke 8:31; 22:3; James 2:19; I Pet. 5:8.
As to their names, they are usually called demons; the head or chief of whom is distinguished by other titles, such as Satan and Abaddon, in the Hebrew, and Devil and Apollyon, in the Greek. He is also called the angel of the bottomless pit. Rev. 9:11. Accuser. Rev. 12:10. Belial. II Cor. 6:15. Adversary. I Pet. 5:8. Beast. Rev. 19:19. Beelzebub. Matt. 12:24 . Deceiver. Rev. 12:9. Dragon. Rev. 12:7. God of this world. II Cor. 4:4. Liar and murderer. John 8:44. Prince of this world. John 12:31. Prince of the power of the air. Eph. 2: 2. Serpent. Rev. 12:9. Tempter. I Thess. 3:5. And Wicked One Matt. 13:19, 38. (93. What is the testimony of Scripture? What particulars of this? Their names?)
Some of the devil's devices used to ruin men are noted. Gen. 3:1-13; II Cor. 2:11; 9: 3,14; Job 1:6, etc.; Matt. 13:19-39; John 8:44; 13:2; Acts 5:3; II Thess. 2:9; I Tim. 4:1-3; Rev. 16:14.
Since all mankind are tempted of the devil, it is made their duty to watch, and so resist his devices as not to be overcome of him. I Cor. 10:12-13; II Cor. 11:3; Eph. 4:27; 6:11-18; II Tim. 2:26; James 4:7; I Pet. 5:8-9.
Christ himself being manifested to destroy the works of the devil, I John 3:8, was tempted in all points as we are, and has given us an example of successfully resisting him, Matt. 4:1-11, and will help those to like resistance who seek it of him. I Cor. 10:13; II Cor. 12:7-9, Heb. 2:18; 4:15-16; Rev. 12:9-11.
All that is said of their numbers represents them as very great. Eph. 2:2. They are so many that a legion, 6,000, were in possession of one person. Mark 5:9. Hence we may suppose that they outnumber the human family on the earth. This explains the apparent omnipresence of the tempter.
Their names denote their nature, and their employment corresponds. Rev. 20:2; Matt. 4: 1; (94. What are some of the devil's devices? What is our duty respecting them? Numbers? What do their names denote?) Matt. 13:38; Luke 8:12 , 22:31, John 13:27, Acts v:3; II Cor. 4: 4; Eph. 2:2; I Tim. 4:1; I John 3:8; Rev. 12:9. They can do nothing without God's permission. Judges 9:23; I Kings 22:22; Job 1:12; Matt. 10:1; II Thess. 2:11.
They will be restrained during the millennium, but afterward, for a short time, released, and then finally punished. Rev. 20:1-10; Matt. 25:41.
The mediatorial work of Christ does not include them. Matt. 25:41.
The same principles of interpretation which eliminate a personal devil from the Bible would lead to the denial of the existence of any invisible being, not excepting that of God, and also to the rejection of the main truths of the Bible. Exod. 5:2; Job 21:14, 15; Ps. 14:1; Jude 4; II Pet. 2:1; 3:3-5.
This generic term includes the whole race or species of human beings, as descended from Adam and Eve. That the race has a common origin, and all the varieties of man have (95. Will they ever be restrained? What would the principle of interpretation lead to that denies the existence of a devil?) oneness of nature is taught in the following texts. Gen. 1:27-28; 2:7, 18, 21-24; 3:20; Mal. 2:10; Acts 17:26; Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15:22, 45.
Man is a compound being, having a mortal body and a spirit which is devoid of all material qualities, and is immortal, continuing to live after separation from the body in a state of conscious existence. Eccl. 3:21; I Kings 17:21-22; Luke 8:55; 16:22-23; 23:43; Matt. 10:28; 22:32; Acts 7:59; II Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; Rev. 6:9-11; 14:13 The body is formed of the dust of the earth, with the senses of feeling, tasting, smelling, hearing, and seeing. The spirit is rational, having understanding, affections, and will. Gen. 22:7; Eccl. 11:7.
Paul speaks of a third element, the soul. I Thess. 5:23. By this he means the psyche, the lower or animal soul, containing the passions and desires which we have in common with the brutes, Eccl. 3:19-21; but this in Christians is ennobled and spiritualized. The spirit is that part whereby we are receptive of the Holy Spirit. In the unbeliever it is crushed down and subordinated to the animal soul, and hence he is called a natural or merely animal man. I Cor. 2:14; Jude 19.
Man was made upright, Eccl. 7:29; that is, (96. What of man? Body? Spirit? Soul?) in a moral sense, by nature conformed to God, or moral rectitude; called the image of God, Gen. 1:27; as explained Eph. 4:24. Yet a free responsible agent and probationer, placed under Divine law, by breaking which, he incurred its death penalty, both temporal and spiritual. Gen. 2:16, 17; Rom. 5:12; 6:23; Heb. 2:14.
The first sin of the first man changed his whole moral nature, from a holy to a sinful state; which changed condition, being hereditary, has entered into all his descendants. Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15:22; Eph. 2:3, 5; Job 15:14; Ps. 14:2, 3; 51:5; 58:3. Yet every one is responsible for his own sin. Deut. 24:16; II Kings 14:6; Prov. 11:19; Ezek. 18:4, 20; Jer. 31:30; Rom. 1:20-21; John 3:19-20.
Though man is fallen and sadly depraved, so that there is in his nature a strong tendency toward sin, yet does he retain the God-like attribute of freedom. In every volition of a moral nature he is free to will the opposite. No (97. In what image was man made? Was he a free agent? What law did he break? What penalty incurred? What text? Did this sin change his moral nature? Did his changed condition become hereditary? What texts prove it? Is every one responsible for his own sin?) decree of God, no chain of causation behind his will, no combination of elements in his constitution, compels his moral acts. The gracious aid of the Holy Spirit is only suasive, not necessitating. Acts 7:51; Eph. 4:30; I Thess. 5:19. The free will is a self-determining, original cause, itself uncaused in its volitions. It is a new and responsible fountain of causation in the universe.
1. Consciousness: "I know I am free, and that's the end of it."Dr. Samuel Johnson.
2. Such freedom is involved in the feeling of moral obligation, and in the sense of guilt for our misdeeds. "If man be punished in the future state, God must be the punished. If God be the punished, the punishment must be just. If the punishment be just, the punished might have done otherwise. If the punished might have done otherwise they were free agents. Therefore, if men are to be punished in the future world, they must be free in this."
3. The Scriptures every-where assume that men are free to obey God's law and to comply with the conditions of salvation. Prov. 1:23-31; Matt. 23:37; John 7:17.
4. If men's moral acts are the effects of causes arranged by God, then God is either the author of sin, or, His own acts being the effects of some necessitating cause, such as the strongest motive, or the constitution of His nature, the universe is under the iron law of Fate, and sin is an illusion and an impossibility.
By redemption is meant the recovery of mankind from sin and death by the obedience and msacrifice of Jesus Christ, who, on this account, is called the Redeemer. Isa. 59:20; 60:16; Rom. 3:24-26; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; I Pet 1:18-19.
The guilt of original sin is covered by the atonement, and is not imputed to any of the offspring of Adam until its remedy is willfully rejected. Hence all who die in infancy are saved through Christ, the second Adam, from all the penal consequence of the sin of the first Adam. Rom. 5:18-19; I Cor. 15:22. The atonement arrested the extinction of the human race, and its propagation after the fall is under the provisions of grace. Gen. 3:15; Heb. 2:14. (98. What is redemption? How are infants saved?)
The moving cause of redemption is the love of God. John 3:16; I John 4:9.
The procuring cause, the substitutional death of Christ. Matt. 20:28; II Cor. 5:21; I Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 2:9-10; 9:12-15; I Pet. 1:18-19.
The ends of redemption are the delivery of man from the curse of the law, sin, death, and hell, and the bestowment of everlasting blessedness. Job 19:25, etc.; Ps. 16: 9-1l; John 3:15, 36; 10:10; 17:2-3.
By the atonement is meant the satisfaction offered to divine justice by Jesus Christ, who underwent, by his suffering and death, the penalty due to our sins. Isa. 53:4-8; Gal. 3:13; 4:4-5.
The Hebrew word signifies covering, and intimates that our offenses are, by a proper atonement, covered from the avenging justice of God. Ps. 32:1-2; Rom. 4:7-8. The passages that follow plainly and distinctly set forth this doctrine. Matt. 20:28; John 1:29; Rom. 3:25-26; I Cor. 15:3; II Cor. 5:18-21; I Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 2:10-14; I John 2:2; 4:10.
The atonement was necessary, that God (99. What is its moving cause? The procuring cause? The ends? What is the atonement? What is the significance of the Hebrew word? What texts of Scripture prove this doctrine?) might show his hatred to sin, and love to holiness, and that he might be honorable and just, and still be merciful. Rom. 3:25-26. It was designed to be satisfactory to God and influential with man, removing all obstacles in regard to both in the way of a complete reconciliation of the penitent believer. John 14:6; Eph. 2:15-16; Col. 2:13-15.
If the atonement had not been necessary, neither the Father nor the Son would have consented to the death of the latter to effect it. Matt. 26:39; Heb. 2:10; 9:22, 28; Rev. 5:9; 7:14.
Repentance, though attended with present and future obedience, cannot atone for past sin, any more than past obedience can atone for present and future sins. Job 22:3; Ps. 25:7; Luke 17:10.
The atonement is universal and not particular; that is, it extends in its conditional efficiency to all the sins of all mankind, and not the sins of a few called the elect.
This appears from the character of Christ; a person of infinite dignity. Hence his suffering and death are of infinite value and efficacy. (100. Why is the atonement necessary? How soes this appear? What effect has repentance on our sins? Present and future obedience? Is the atonement general? What is meant by this?) To conclude otherwise would be derogatory to the glorious character of the divine Redeemer.
This is further evident from the commands, invitations, and exhortations of Scripture. God is sincere, and could not tantalize his creatures. Mark 16:15-16; Acts 17:30; Isa. 45:22; 55: 1; Rev. 17:17; Acts 2:21; I Tim. 2:1.
The Scriptures teach this doctrine by express declarations. I John 2:2; Heb. 2:9; I Tim. 2: 6; II Cor. 5:14-15; John 1:29.
Among all the variety of beings in the universe, Christ only is qualified to make atonement, he being both divine and human. John 1:18; I Tim. 2:5-6; 3:16; Heb. 2:9-18.
There is a difference between atonement and redemption. Atonement is for sin; redemption is from sin and suffering. We may distinguish between atonement and the application of atonement, but not between redemption and the application of redemption. We may pray for redemption, but not for atonement.
It is very important that this distinction be observed: not to do it lays the foundation for (101. How does this appear? What further evidence? What do the Scriptures teach? Is Christ alone qualified to make atonement? How? Is there any difference between redemption and atonement? What is it? What else respecting this difference?) great errors. Make this distinction, and none would ever infer the doctrine of universal salvation from the universal extent of the atonement.
There is a wide difference between an entertainment being made, and the partaking of this entertainment. So there is a wide difference between the sufficiency of the atonement and its efficiency. It is sufficient for the whole world, but it is efficient to the salvation of those only who repent and believe. Luke 13:3; Mark 16:16; John 1:11-12; 3:14-18; 5:38, 40; Rom. 3:22-26; I Tim. 2: 4-6; 4:10.
The atonement is a fundamental doctrine of the Gospel. Christ crucified is the theme and glory of the Gospel. Rom. 1:15-16; I Cor. 1:23-24; 2:2; Gal. 6:14.
The doctrine of atonement is derived wholly from the sacred Scriptures. It is this which distinguishes Christianity from Deism, Mohammedanism, Paganism, and all other religions.
Errors respecting the atonement:
1. That the Father's wrath against sinners is appeased by the sufferings of Christ, (102. Is it important that this distinction be observed? What illustration? Is this doctrine fundamental? Is it scriptural? What distinguishes Christianity from Desim etc.?) who shed his blood to satisfy the Father's personal claim. Refutation: The atonement originated with the Father. John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Titus 2:11.
2. That there is in the atonement no satisfaction, but only an exhibition of the Father's mercy as a strong moral suasive to draw the sinner from his sins, couched in the figurative language of the sacrificial system of the Hebrews. Refuted in John 1:29; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:12, 14; I John 1:7: 2:2; Rev. 1:5; 5:9. "The doctrine of the Epistle to the Hebrews, then, plainly is, that the legal sacrifices were allusions to the great and final atonement to be made by the blood of Christ, and not that this was an allusion to those." Bishop Butler.
3. That the sufferings of Christ are exactly equal to the eternal misery of all the sinners of the human family, and, therefore, that it is unjust to punish both the sinner and his substitute. Refutation: There is no algebraic equation between Christ's sufferings and the world's sins. (103. What three errors? How refuted?) The atonement was the establishment of a new principle under the reign of law, the demonstration of the fact that God could "be just and the justifier of him which believeth." Rom. 3:26. The same suffering would be required to redeem one sinner as to redeem a thousand million.
BENEFITS OF THE ATONEMENT.
Man having forfeited good of every kind, even life itself, by his transgression, all that remains to him, more than evil in the natural and providential world, as well as all spiritual blessings, are to be considered as the fruit of the death and intercession of Christ, and ought to be acknowledged as such. Rom. 5:6, 10; 8:32; II Cor. 9:15.
The most important of these, however, are those which relate to, or which constitute, what, in Scripture, is called our salvation. By which term is meant man's deliverance from the penalty, dominion, and pollution of his sins, his introduction into the divine favor in this life, and his eternal felicity in another. Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:68-74, 77; 2:11, 30; John 4:42; Acts 4:12; 5: 31; 13:23, 26, 47; I Tim. 1:15-16; Tit. 2:11-14; 3:4-7; Heb. 5:9; 9:28; I Pet. 1:4, 10; Rev. 12:10, 11; 21:24.
In a theological sense, is either legal or evangelical. It is important that this distinction be observed.
Legal justification is justification according to the strict demands of the law. Holy angels are justified in this way, as mankind might now be had they never sinned. Every attempt in sinners at justification by law is vain. Ps. 103:3-4; 143:2; Rom. 3:20, 28.
Nevertheless, the believer, who has already been forgiven, or justified, through faith in Christ, is said to be justified by works when God approves of his works as evincing the genuineness of his faith. James 2:14-26.
That justification about which the Scriptures principally treat, and which reaches the case of the sinner, is called evangelical justification or pardon; by which is meant the acceptance of one, by God, who is, and who confesses himself to be guilty, and who repents and believes in Jesus Christ. Mark 1:14-15; 16:16; Rom. 1:16-17; 4:3-7; 5:1; Gal. 2:16-17. (104. What is justification? Is there any distinction of importance? What is legal justification? Who are justified in this way? Can sinners be justified by the law? When are they said to be justified by faith? What is said of evangelical justification?)
As to the method of justification, three things are to be considered: the originating, the meritorious, and the instrumental causes. The originating cause is the grace of God, which disposed him when we were exposed to death, as the penalty of our offense, to provide a substitute in his Son. Rom. 3:24-26; II Cor. 5:18-21; Gal. 2:16-20; Eph. 2:4-8, 15-16; 5:2; Tit. 3:4-7.
This substitute is the meritorious cause of our justification. What Jesus Christ did in obedience to the precepts of the law, and what he suffered in satisfaction of its penalty, constitute the ground of our forgiveness or justification before God. Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 3:21, 22.
As to the instrumental cause of our justification, the merit of Christ does not operate so as to produce pardon as a necessary and unavoidable effect, but through the instrumentality of faith.
The faith by which we are justified is present faith; faith actually existing and exercised. John 1:12; 3:18, 36. (105. What is the method of justification? What three things are to be considered? What is the origination cause? Meritorious? Instrumental? What is the faith by which we are justified?)
We are not justified by to-morrow's faith foreseen, for that would imply justification from eternity. Neither are we justified by yesterday's faith recorded and remembered, for that would imply justification that is irreversible. Ezek. 18:24; 33:12-13
The acts of this faith are three. They are distinct, yet concurrent exercises of the mind.
1. The assent of the understanding to the truth of God in the Gospel, especially that part of it which relates to the death of Christ as a sacrifice for sin.
2. The consent of the will and of the affections to this plan of salvation; such an approbation and choice of it as implies a renunciation of every other refuge.
3. From this assent of the enlightened understanding, and consent of the rectified will, result actual trust in the Savior, and personal appropriation of his merits. This must necessarily be preceded by true repentance. Mark 1:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 20:20-21.
Errors respecting saving faith:
1. That it is not the act of a graciously aided (106. Is it the faith of to-morrow? Of yesterday? What is the first act of this faith? Second? Third? What errors respecting saving faith?) penitent, but the gift of God, sovereignly bestowed, when and to whom he wills. Refuted in Mark 16:16; II Thess, 2:12; Heb. 3:18. In I Cor. 12:9 faith is not a grace, but a miraculous endowment. In Eph. 2:8, the gift is not faith but salvation by grace.
2. That the unregenerate are incapable of the act of saving faith, and that it does not precede regeneration as a condition, but follows it as a result. Refuted in John 3:18, 36; Acts 10: 43; Rom. 1:16; 3:26; Eph. 1:13.
This, according to the original word in Scripture, means change of mind; an earnest wishing that something were undone that we have done. When repentance has respect only to the consequences of sin, as when a malefactor, who still loves his sin, repents, because it exposes him to punishment, it is sometimes called worldly or legal repentance, as distinguished from godly or evangelical repentance. II Cor. 7:9-1l.
Evangelical repentance is called a "repentance toward God," because it consists in turning from sin to holiness; implying a sense and hatred of sin, and a love of holiness. (107. What is repentance? Worldly, or legal repentance? What is said of evangelical repentance?)
The evidences of true saving repentance include a consciousness and confession of sin; as well as deep sorrow for and hearty renunciation of sin. Lev. 26:40; Num. 5:7; II Chron. 7:14; II Kings 22:19; Ezra 9:5-7; Ps. 32:5; 34:18; 38:4,18; 51:3-4, 17; Prov. 28:13; Isa. 55:7; 57:15; 66: 2; Jer. 3:12-13, 22; 7:3; Ezek. 20:43; 36:31; Dan. 9:5-8; Joel 2:12-13; Zech. 1:3; Matt. 3:2, 8; 4: 17; 26:75; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3; 15:18, 21; 18:13; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; II Cor. 7:9-11; I John 1:9; Rev. 2:5.
This is that work of the Holy Spirit by which we experience a change of heart; the recovery upon the heart of the moral image of God. Eph. iv, 23, 24. This work, in Scripture, is variously. expressed. Deut. 30:6; Ps. 51:10; Jer. 24:7; 31:33; Ezek. 11:19; 36:25-26; John 1:12, 13; 3:5-8; Acts 3:19; Rom. 12:2; 13:14; II Cor. 5:17; 3:18; Col. 1:12-15; 3:10; I Pet. 1:22-23; II Pet. 1:4.
That there can be no salvation independent of regeneration will appear, when we consider, (106. Give the evidences of saving repentance in their order? What is regeneration? How is it expressed in Scripture?)
1. All men are sinners by nature and by practice, and they cannot restore themselves to innocence. Ps. 51:5-10; Jer. 13:23; Rom. 3:19; 8:7-8; 11:32; II Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:10-22; 5:19-24; Eph. 2:1-5; 4:22-24; I Pet. 1:23; I John 4:7; 5:4.
2. God is holy, and cannot look upon unholy beings with approbation or delight. Hab. 1: 13; I Pet. 1:15-16.
3. Heaven is a holy place, and none but holy beings are capacitated for either its employments or enjoyments. Ps. 24:3-4; Heb. 12:14.
4. The Scriptures declare that none but the regenerate can possibly be saved. Matt. 18: 3; John 3:3, 7 , Rom . 8:7-8 , Gal. 6:15; Heb. 12:14.
Errors respecting regeneration:
1. That it is identical with water baptism by an apostolically ordained ministry. Refuted in Acts 13:38-39; 16:31; Rom. 5:1; 10:9; Eph. 2:8; I John 5:10.
2. That it is a change of the controlling purpose made by the human will. Refutation: Gen. 5:3; 6:5; Job 14:4; Ps 51:5; Isa. 1:5-6; Jer. 13:23; John 3:5, 8. (107. Can we be saved without this? Prove it. What errors respecting it?)
This is an act by which one takes another into his family, owns him for his son, and appoints him his heir.
In a theological sense, it is that act of God's free grace by which, upon our being justified and renewed through faith in Christ, we are received into the family of God, called his children, and made heirs to the heavenly inheritance. Eph. 1:3-14; I Pet. 1:2-5.
WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT.
It is the privilege and right of every such adopted child to have a certain knowledge of this his new relation to God, as the only foundation of truth, peace, comfort, and hope. Isa. 24: 3; 32:17-18; Ps. 119:165; Rom. 5:1-5; 8:1; Phil. 4:7; Eph. 1:3-14; I Thess. 1:4-5; I Pet. 1:2-9; I John 2:20, 27.
This blessing consists in the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the spirit of believers of their sonship and acceptance with God. I John 5:10. It is called the Spirit of adoption, Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:6; the earnest and sealing of (108. What is adoption? In a theological sense? What is the witness of the Spirit? In what does it consist? What is it called?) the Spirit, II Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; and full assurance, Col. 2:2; I Thess. 1:5; Heb. 4:11; 10:22. This inward testimony is sometimes called the direct witness of the Spirit, as distinguished from the indirect, or outward testimony, called the fruit of the Spirit. Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:9.
The two kinds of witness must go together. The first as a safeguard against distressing doubt, and the second to keep from delusion and presumption. Isa. 26:3; Rom. 8:14.
This earnest and sealing of the Spirit implies absolute assurance of present salvation: for though this efficacy of the Spirit is, in itself, sufficient to insure eternal salvation, yet every believer is left free to retain or to so grieve this sealing Spirit, as to cause his withdrawal finally and forever. Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 3:7-19; 6:4-6; 10:26-29; II Pet. 2:20.
This term, in its strict sense, describes the human part of that change called regeneration, by which the sinner is brought into the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 18:3. In a broader (109. What are meant by the direct and the indirect witness? Does this insure final salvation? What is conversion? Its human part?) sense, conversion is that change in the thoughts, desires, dispositions, and life of the sinner which is brought about when he is renewed by the Holy Ghost, as a result of his turning from sin to God, through faith in Jesus Christ. Ezek. 18:21-23, 30-32; Acts 9:35; 11:21; 15:3, 19; 26:20; I Thess. 1:9. This work is also described as being brought about by the agency of others. Ps 51:10-13; Luke 1:16; James 5:20.
This state is variously expressed in the Scriptures, so that we need not be tenacious of any particular phrase by which to designate it. It is called holiness, sanctification, purity, perfection, fullness of God, and of Christ, and of the Holy Ghost, and full assurance of faith.
What is meant by these expressions is, that participation of the Divine nature which excludes all original depravity or inbred sin from the heart, and fills it with perfect love to God and man-perfect love, the unction of the Holy One, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Holiness begins when the principle of purity, (110. Is it ever caused by the agency of others? How is the doctrine of sanctification expressed in the Bible? What do these expressions What is said of holiness?) namely, love to God, is shed abroad in the heart in the new birth. But entire sanctification is that act of the Holy Ghost whereby the justified soul is made holy. This instantaneous work of the Sanctifier is usually preceded and followed by a gradual growth in grace. The Spirit certifies this purification. I Cor. 2:12. It is the incoming of the abiding Comforter into the consciousness of the believer bringing his own light. John 14:16-17 We do not need a lantern to see the sunrise. Its chief inferential evidences are oneness with Christ, easy victory over sin, rejoicing nevermore, praying without ceasing, and in every thing giving thanks.
Profession without examination and assurance of these evidences is not recommended. I Thess. 5:21; I John 4:1. After this it is required. Matt. 5:16; Rom. 10:10; II Cor. 1:4.
Purity is to be distinguished from maturity. When inbred sin is destroyed there can be no increase of purity, but there may be an eternal increase in love and in all the fruits of the Spirit. Sanctification is not the same with justification. Justification is a change of our state from guilt to pardon; sanctification is a change of nature from sin to holiness. It (111. What is said of profession? What of purity? Is sanctification the same with justification?) sustains to regeneration the relation of a whole to a part.
This doctrine is by no means involved in obscurity, though it has been the subject of much controversy and skepticism in the Christian Church.
The attainableness of this state, however, is not so much the matter of debate among Christians as the time when we are authorized to seek and expect it.
While some hold to the doctrine of purgatory, that is, it is necessary for the souls of all who do not merit eternal punishment, in order to purification, to go into a supposed place or state after death; others contend that this state of purity is attainable and required in this present life. Luke 1:74-75; Titus 2:12; I John 4:17.
1. The doctrine of immediate entire sanctification is supported by those Scripture texts which express the will of God. John 7:17; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 5:17-18; Col. 4:12; I Thess. 4:3; Heb. 10:9-10.
2. Those which express his command. (112. What relation does sanctification sustain to regeneration? What is the point of debate among Christians? Is purity attainable before death? What is said of purgatory? Give the several classes of evidence for the doctrine of entire sanctification in their order.) Gen. 17:1; Exod. 19:6; Lev. 11:44; 19:2; 20:7, 26; Deut. 7:5; 18:13; I Kings 8:61; Matt. 5:48; 22:37; John 5:14; Rom. 12:1-2; II Cor. 7:1; 13:11; Eph. 5:17, 18; Heb. 6:1; James 1:4; I Pet. 1:15-16.
3. Those which express his promise. Ps. 119:1-3; Isa. 1:18; Jer. 33:8; Heb. 7:25; 10:16-22; I John 1:7, 9.
4. Those in which the blessing is sought by prayer. Ps. 51:2, 7, 9; Hos. 14:2; Matt. 5:10; John 17:17; I Thess. 5:23.
5. Those which record examples; though if there were no examples it would not prove the doctrine false, since it is clearly revealed and divinely enjoined. Gen. 6:9; II Kings 20:3; 23:25; Job 1:1; Ps. 37:37; Luke 1:6; I Cor. 2:6; Phil. 3:15; I Thess. 2:10; Heb. 12:23.
6. Those which imply the doctrine. Prov. 11:5; Eph. 3:16-19; 4:12-16, 22-24; 5:26, 27; Col. 1:28; Titus 2:14; Heb. 12:14; James 3:2; I Pet. 1:22; 2:9; II Pet. 1:4, etc.; I John 3:3, 9; 4:12, 16-18; 5:18; Rev. 7:14.
The following texts are often quoted to show that there is no redemption from all sin in this life; that no man can live without committing it. I Kings 8:46; Job 25:4; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:20, 23; I John 1:8, 10. (113. Would the absence of example prove the doctrine false? What texts are quoted to refute the doctrine?) But a little attention to the original texts, and the contexts, will clearly prove that they teach simply that all have sinned, and that all are liable to sin. This is consistent with the design of Jesus, who came to save his people from their sins, (Matt. 1:21,) that is, from the dominion and pollution of sin, so that, henceforth, they should be free from the service of sin, and become servants to God, and have their fruit unto holiness. Rom. 6:1-22; 8:1-2; I Pet. 2:24; I John 1:7-9; 3:5-9; 5:18.
Errors of judgment, infirmities of body, fears occasioned by surprise, unpleasant dreams, wandering thoughts in prayer, times when there is no joy, a sense of inefficiency in Christian labor, and strong temptations, are by no means inconsistent with perfect love. Yet errors need the atonement. Heb. 11:7.
There is no such state of Christian maturity in this life as will not admit of advancement. Job 17:9; Ps. 84:7; Prov. 4:18; Mal. 4:2; Eph. 4:15-16; Phil. 3:13-17; Heb. 6:1; I Pet. 2:2-5; II Pet. 3:18.
All persevering believers are advancing toward entire sanctification. Such will attain (114. How are the texts thus quoted to be explained? What is said of errors of judgment, etc.?) this grace before death, inasmuch as the promise of eternal life carries with it the pledge on God's part to bestow all needed grace. Eph. 5:27; Phil. 1:6; Jude 24.
The fact that many Christians have not till near death experienced this grace only proves the weakness of their faith or their imperfect apprehension of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. We should be careful not to measure the possible by the actual . "It is therefore undoubtedly your duty to pray and look for full salvation every day, every hour, every moment, without waiting till we have either done or suffered more."-John Wesley. Entire sanctification is the great safeguard against backsliding.
Errors respecting entire sanctification:
1. That this cannot take place till death releases the soul from the body, the assumed seat of sin. Refutation: See the commands, promises, etc., above.
2. The mistake of Dr. Chalmers, that it is by works and not by the blood of Christ applied by the Holy Ghost through faith. Refuted by Acts 15:9; II Thess. 2:13; Heb. 9:14; I Pet. 1:2; I John 1:7, 9. (115. What is said further of this state of grace? What five errors are held respecting this doctrine? How refuted?)
3. The doctrine of Count Zinzendorf, that it is identical with the new birth. Refuted in John 15:2; I Cor. 3:1-3; II Cor. 7:1; Gal. 5:17; I Thess. 5:23.
4. That original or inbred sin in a believer can be imperceptibly outgrown without a conscious operation of the Holy Spirit. Refuted by texts under No.2 above, also by the identity of entire cleansing with the fullness or baptism of the Spirit, which is always given instantaneously.
5. That entire sanctification can never be certified by the consciousness because the soul's nature lies below its gaze, and that it cannot be attested by the Sanctified himself because he is the witness of adoption. Refutation: I Cor. 2:11-12; I John 2: 20, 27.
It is the birthright of every child of God not only to be cleansed from all sin in this life, but to keep himself unspotted from the world, and so to live as never more to offend his Maker. Ps. 37:37; Heb. 11:5; 7:25; I Pet. 1:5; I John 3:9; 4:17; 5:18; Jude 24.
Yet the best of believers are liable to so far apostatize as finally to perish. (116. What is meant by perseverance? How may every believer persevere in faith and obedience?) This is evident from the history, (1.) Of certain angels. Job 4:18; II Pet. 2:4; Jude 6. (2.) Of Adam. Gen. 1: 27, 31; 3:6-10; Eccl. 7:29. (3.) Of the Jews. I Cor. 10:1-12; Heb. 3:17-19; Jude (5.) 4. Of Saul. I Sam. 10:9-10; 15:23-24; 16:14. 5. Of Judas. Ps. 41:9; John 13:18; Matt. 26:24-25; John 17:12; Acts 1:25.
The numerous commands and exhortations to perseverance, and the many warnings against apostasy, are further proof of this doctrine I Chron. 28:9; Ezek. 18:24; 33:12-13,18; Matt. 5:13; Luke 9:62; John 15:1-6; Rom. 11:20-22; I Cor. 9:27; 10:12; I Tim. 1:19-20; 5:12,15; II Tim. 1:14-15; Heb. 4:1, 11; 6:4-6; 10:26-29, 38, 39; 12:14-15; II Pet. 1:3-10-11, 18-22, Rev. 2:4-5, 3:10-11.
This is the extinction of animal life, and the separation of soul and body. It is the effect of (117. Is it possible for Christians to apostatize? What historical proof from Scripture? What other proof? What is death?) a widely desolating cause-that cause is sin. Rom. 5:12; Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 7:2; 8:8; Job 8:9; 14:1-2; 14:22; 33:23; Ps. 89:48; 90:10; Heb. 9:27; James 4:14.
We find on record two exceptions to this general calamity. These were removed from the earth by translation. II Kings 2:11; Heb. 11:5.
The soul neither dies nor sleeps with the body. Eccl. 33:21; 12:7.
Since every man's earthly life is the gift of God, (Gen. 2:7; Job 33:4; Acts 17:25,) all murder is forbidden under penalty of a forfeiture of life both temporal and eternal. Gen. 9:6; Lev. 24:17, 21; Matt. 19:18; I John 3:15; Rev. 21:8.
As this life is short and the time of death is left uncertain, (Job 8:9; 9:25; Eccl 9:12,) and as death terminates our probationary state, it is highly important that we be always duly prepared. Eccl. 9:10; Rev. 22:11; Ps. 90:12; Matt. 24:44; Luke 12:35-37; Rom. 13:11, etc.; Titus 2:12-13; I Pet. 4:7; II Pet. 3:11. (118. What is the cause of death? What exceptions? Does the soul die or sleep with the body? Have we any right to take away life in any way? What penalty? What is our duty in view of death?)
2. INTERMEDIATE STATE.
The term future state is used in relation to man's existence in a future life, including the soul's separate existence after the death of the body, and its ultimate and eternal re-union with the body in its resurrection state. That state in which the soul exists between the death and resurrection of the body is called the intermediate state.
(a.) INTERMEDIATE STATE OF THE RIGHTEOUS.
Sometimes called paradise, an Asiatic word used to describe the parks and pleasure grounds of Oriental monarchs. It is used also in the Greek version of the Old Testament, of the Garden of Eden, (Gen. 2:8, etc.,) and hence in time it came to be used to designate heaven. Luke 23:43; II Cor. 22:2-4; Rev. 2:7.
It is commonly thought to represent what is called the intermediate state of the righteous between death and the resurrection, (Luke 23:43,) as does the phrase Abraham's bosom. Luke 16:22. The Scriptures, however, whatever they may say respecting such a state, do not teach any intermediate place; that is, a place short of and distinctive from heaven, the (119. What is the intermediate state?) abode of Christ. Compare Mark 16:19; Heb 10:24; Acts 7:55, 59; II Cor. 5:1-8; Phil 1: 23.
The souls of the righteous dead enter upon this state immediately. Luke 16:22; Rev. 14: 13. This is distinctly taught by Christ. Luke 23:43. Those who teach the non-immortality of the soul have wrested these words of Christ so as to make him say, What I say to you I say to-day. This is quite as absurd as it would be to pervert in the same way the following passages: Luke 19:9; Heb. 3:7; 4:7; James 4:13; Exod. 9:5.
(b.) INTERMEDIATE STATE OF THE WICKED.
The souls of the wicked are not cast into the lake of fire until after the resurrection and general judgment. Matt. 25:41; II Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 14:10-11; 20:10-15.
But they are in a state of conscious suffering as the consequence of their guilt. Luke 16: 22-28.
This will consist in remorse for their misdeeds, and in a separation from those sensual objects on which their hearts have been fixed, (Luke 12:19-21,) and in a conscious loss of the (120. What will be the condition of the souls of the righteous? What will be the intermediate state of the wicked?) smiles of God and the joys of paradise. Luke 13:28; 16:26.
The desires, passions, and sinful propensities all remaining but no longer finding gratification will naturally become more inflamed and tormenting before the infliction of positive penalties in the day of judgment. Prov. 14:32; Luke 16:24; Rev.20:11-12.
3. MESSIAH'S KINGDOM-ITS PROGRESS AND ULTIMATE TRIUMPH.
The doctrine respecting this glorious achievement is found in the Divine promises:
(a.) As directly revealed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Gen. 12:3; 13:14-16; 15:1-5; 18:18; 22:17-18; 26:3-4; 28:13-14. That this promise relates to Abraham's spiritual seed is seen by comparing Rom. 4:13-25; Gal. 3:6-29.
(b.) As expressed by the inspired prophets of the Old Testament. Gen. 49:10; Num. 14: 21; 24:17-19; Ps. 2:7-8; 22:27-28; 72:8, 11,17,19; Isa. 2:2-4; 9:6-7; 49:6; 52:10; Hab. 2:14; Zech. 9:9-10; Ezek. 47:1-12; Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14, 27; Joel 2:28-29; Micah 4:1-7; Mal. 1:11. (121. What is said of Messiah's kingdom? How proved?)
(c.) As expressed in those prophecies which distinctly relate to the final restoration of the Jews by their conversion to Christianity. Deut. 30:3-6; Isa. 1:24-27; 49:5-26; 60:15-22; 62:4-12; Jer. 3:12-18; 23:5-8; 31:10-12, 31-34; 32:37-44; 31:7-16; Ezek. 20:34,40-42; 28:25-26; 36:24-29; 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4,5; Amos 9:11-15; Micah 7:18-20; Zeph. 3:19-20; Zech. 8:1-9. That these prophecies relate to their salvation through Christ is seen by comparing Rom. 11:26; Gal. 3:7-1 6.
(d.) The Christian Church is the appointed and appropriate instrumentality of this work. By her prayer as taught of Christ. Matt. 6:10. By her example. Matt. 5:14, 16; Phil. 2:15. By the universal spread of the Gospel. Matt. 28:19-20; 24:14; Acts 1:8; Rev. 14:6; 22:17. However small and discouraging the commencement of this work, and slow and imperceptible its progress, it is to be crowned with ultimate and universal success. Compare Isa, 60:22; Dan. 2:35- 45; Ezek. 47:3-5; Matt. 13:31-33.
This glorious period is called the millennium, a word used to denote the thousand (122. What is the instrumentality? Its method of action? What is said of the millennium?) years mentioned Rev. 20:4-6, during which Satan is bound, and Christ reigns in his spiritual presence on earth with his saints. But by the thousand years is probably meant, not exactly ten hundred years, but an indefinitely long period, as this is the Scripture usage of the phrase. Deut. 7:9; Ps. 84:10; 90:4; Isa. 60:22; Eccl. 6:6; II Pet. 3:8.
4. THE SECOND ADVENT OF CHRIST.
The coming of Christ to judge the world in his human form will be his second appearance, answering to his first appearance on earth in his human nature. Matt. 25:31; Acts 1: 11; I Thess. 4:16; II Thess. 1: 7-8; Heb. 9:27-28. It will be a bodily and visible coming, (Rev. 1: 7,) suddenly bursting upon the human race when engaged in their daily pursuits and pleasures. Matt. 24:36-51; 24:1-14. The time of the second coming of Christ was, during his incarnation, as a part of his humiliation, unknown to him, but it was a secret in the bosom of the Father. Mark 13:32. The purpose of his coming will be to raise the dead, to judge the human family, to sentence the wicked to everlasting punishment, and to gather the righteous to the eternal reward (123. What is said of the second advent of Christ?) of heaven. Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Acts 17:31; II Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 22:10-15; 21:8.
It is the duty of believers to live in daily expectation of this great event , (Mark 13:33-37) and to love the appearing of their Lord. Rom. 8:23; I Thess. 1:10; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; II Pet. 3:11-14; Rev. 22:20.
5. THE GENERAL RESURRECTION.
By this is meant the raising to life from the dead the bodies of all mankind, incorruptible, and the reuniting of them to their souls. The bodies raised must be substantially the same bodies, or the term resurrection is absurd; and for God to give an entirely new body would be rather a new creation. This doctrine , though above reason, is not contrary to it, and, therefore, no more incredible, than is that of its creation at first. Gen. 2:7; Acts 27:8; I Cor. 15:12-23, 45-58.
It is no more difficult for God to change our vile bodies from the corruption of death into forms of angelic purity and beauty, than it is to transform charcoal into the sparkling diamond; (124. What is the duty of believers? What is meant by the general resurrection? Will the bodies be the same? Is not this incredible? By what examples are its possibility and probability proved?) for the latter differs from the former only in the crystalline arrangement of its atoms. There are also examples which indicate a resurrection in insects, vegetables, and trees, from year to year. While these each the possibility and probability of man's resurrection the Bible explicitly declares the doctrine. Job 14:12-15; 19:25-27; Ps. 16:9-1l; Isa 26:19; Dan. 12:2; Hos. 13:14; Matt 22:28-32; John 5:28-29; Acts 17:31-32; 24:14-15; 26:8; I Cor. 15:12-55; II Cor. 5:1-10; Phil. 3:20-21; I Thess 4:13-18. Rev. 20:12-13.
The doctrine of the resurrection is fundamental to Christianity, as the whole Gospel stands or falls with the truth of it, especially that of Christ. Acts 2:23-36; 13:30-37; Rom. 1: 4; I Cor. 15:12, etc.
The term resurrection is also used in a symbolical sense to denote the raising of souls from a state of sin to a state of life and true holiness. Ezek. 37:1-14; John 5:21, 25; Rom.6:1-7; Eph. 2:1, 5-6. But the resurrection of the body is always represented as future, that of the soul, as in the present time. (125. What texts explicitly prove the doctrine? Is this of importance to Christianity? What is said of the term as used symbolically? How is the literal distinguished from the symbolical?)
6. GENERAL JUDGMENT.
By this is meant that important period which is to terminate the present state of existence, and in which there is to be a general trial of angels and men, holy and unholy. Acts 17:31; 24:15; Jude 6, 7, 14, 15.
The evidences of such a day are,
1. The justice of God requires it, as this attribute is not clearly and fully displayed in the present life. Ezra 9:13; Ps. 103:10; 73:1-19; 92:7; Job 21:7-34; Eccl 8:11, 14; Luke 6:24, 25; 17:25; Rom. 9:22.
2. The dictates of conscience and reason suggest this. Acts 24:25; Rom. 2:15-16.
3. The resurrection of Christ is a certain proof of it. Acts 17:31; Rom. 14:9; Phil. 3:10-11.
4. Those texts which limit the judgment to a future and definite time. Eccl. 9:9; 12:14; Mal. 3:16-18; 4:1; Matt. 12:36; 13:38-43; 16:27; 15:31, etc.; John 5:28-29; 12:48; Acts 17:31; 24:25; Rom. 2:5-16; I Cor. 3:13; 4:5; II Cor. 5:10; II Tim. 4:1; II Pet. 2:9; 3:7; Jude 6; Rev. 20: 12-13.
5. Those which speak of former generations (126. What is meant by the general judgment? Give the evidences in their order.) being reserved unto the judgment. Matt. 10:15; 21:23-24; Luke 11:31-32; Jude 6, 7,14, 15.
The judgment day should be considered as the most sublime, solemn, and interesting of all events. Then time and human probation will close. Rev. 10:6; 22:11-12. The material world will be changed, and men and devils receive their irrevocable sentence from the righteous Judge. II Pet. 3:7-12; Jude 6, 14, 15; Rev. 20:10-15.
The Scriptures use this word in three different senses: (1.) For the atmosphere around us, where the clouds and fowls are seen. Gen 1:7-8, 20; Matt. 24:30. (2.) For that immeasurable space in which the sun and stars have their position. Gen. 1:14, etc.; 15:5; Josh. 10:13. (3.) For that glorious abode, where the omnipresent God more immediately dwells, called the third heaven. II Cor. 12:2; the heaven of heavens. Deut. 10:14; I Kings 8:27; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 68:33; the state and place of blessedness to which the saints attain after the present life. II Kings 2:1, 11; II Cor. 5:1-2; Heb. 10:34; 11:16. (127. How should the judgment day be regarded? Why? In what three senses is the word heaven used?)
Respecting the exact locality of this place Scripture is silent, and human conjectures are various and conflicting. It is generally represented as being somewhere away from this earth, and therefore up in the strictest sense of the word. Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; John 3:13; 6:62; Acts 1:9-11; Eph. 4:10; I Thess. 4:16-17; I Tim. 3:16; Heb. 9:24.
Of this heavenly world nothing is revealed to gratify our curiosity in the present life; even departed spirits, on returning to earth, have not been allowed to reveal what has been made known to them. Compare Matt. 17:3; 27:52-53; Luke 7:15; John 11:44; II Cor. 12:4; yet quite enough is known to call out our earnest desires and preparation for this heavenly state. II Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 1:21-23; Heb. 11:13-16; I John 3:2-3.
The prominent features of this blessed life are its holiness, its happiness, and the presence of the Lord. Psa. 16:11; 17:15; Job 19:26-27; John 14:1-3; 17:24; I Cor. 13:9-12; II Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 1:21-23; I Thess. 4:16-17; Heb. 12:14; I John 3:2-3; Rev. 3:21; 21:3-4, 7, 22-27; 22:1-5.
Heaven was prepared for the righteous from (128. What is said of the locality of heaven? What of its nature is revealed? What are its prominent features?) the beginning, Matt. 25:34; and Jesus has gone to perfect it and to prepare the way to it by his mediation for all such as come to him. John 14:1-3, 6; Heb. 7:25.
There are various degrees of glory in heaven-called mansions, John xiv, 1- suited to the different capacities and moral attainments of the faithful. Dan. 12:2; Matt. 18:4; 20:23; I Cor. 15:41.
John Newton once said that if he ever entered heaven, he might, probably, meet three great wonders: ( 1.) In finding some there whom he had supposed would not be there. (2.) In not finding some there whom he had expected would be there. (3.) Most of all in finding himself there. "The Lord seeth not as man seeth." I Sam. 16:6-7; Mal. 3:17-18; II Tim. 2:19.
This word, translated from the Hebrew sheol and the Greek hades, originally means the concealed place, the state or condition of all departed spirits, whether righteous or the wicked, and, therefore, does not necessarily (129. When and for whom was heaven prepared? Are there different degrees? What id John Newton say? What is the original meaning of the word hell?) denote a place of torment. Compare Acts 2:27, 31; Luke 17:23.
When the place of final punishment is designated other words are used, such as gehenna, Matt. 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6; and tartarus. II Pet. 2:4. (Greek.).
Though many of the Scripture terms and phrases used to describe this punishment are metaphorical, yet they represent a dreadful reality, and are designed to convey the idea of the greatest and most terrible torments possible. Ps. 9:17; 50:22; Mal. 4:1; Matt. 3:12; 8:12; 13:42; 25:41,46; Mark 9:43-44; Luke 13:28; 16:24, 28; Rom. 2:8-9; II Thess. 1:8-9; Jude 13-15; Rev. 6:15-17; 14:10-11; 20:14-15; 21:8.
The strongest possible terms are used to express the endless duration of this punishment. Matt. 25:41,46; Mark 3:29; 9:43-48; Luke 16:26; II Thess. 1:9; Jude 7, 13; Rev. 20:10.
The same terms are sometimes applied in a limited sense to such things as must certainly (130. What other terms are used to designate the place of final punishment? Is this state of punishment ever described metaphorically? What does such language represent? How is its endless duration expressed? Are ther same terms ever applied to be in a limited sense?) have an end; as appears by a comparison of the following texts: Gen. 49:26; Hab. 3:6; II Pet. 3:10; Rev. 6:14; 16:20.
The representation of the punishment of the wicked is so connected with the happiness of the righteous in point of time and duration as prove it to be future and eternal. Dan. 12:2; Isa. 55:16-17; Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29; Rom. 2:5-l1; Rev. 22:11-12.
The great solicitude of Christ and his apostles for the salvation of men implies that the wicked are exposed to eternal punishment Deut. 30:15-19; 32:29; Jer. 8:18-22; 9:1-2; Ezek. 18:30-32; Luke 13:24-28, 34; Acts 20:17-31; 21:13; Rom. 9:1-3; II Cor. 6:1-9; 8:9; I Pet. 2:21-24; 3:17-18; Rev. 6:9-11.
Socrates and Plato, the exponents of the highest uninspired human reason, taught the doctrine of the endless suffering of all incurable souls. In this they agreed with the ancient mythology. Hence the tenet is not unreasonable, since it is a principle of natural religion and of moral philosophy resulting from a perversion of free agency. Compare Prov. 1:31-32; Gal.6: 7-8; Rev. 22:11, 12. (131. Are the same terms applied alike to represent the duration of both hell and heaven? What does the great solicitude of Christ and others for the salvation of men imply? What did Socrates and Plato teach?)
The infliction of suffering as a penalty for sin is not inconsistent with the Divine mercy, but rather such a display of that mercy as calls for appropriate praise. Exod. 15:1-21; 34:6-7; Ps. 58:10-11; 62:12; 136:1, 10, 15, etc.; 149:5-9.
If, then, through all time the Divine mercy has in fact not only permitted, but actually inflicted suffering as a punishment of sinners, as well as for disciplinary and salutary purposes, why may not eternal punishment be consistent with the Divine mercy? Lev. 24:10-16; Num. xv, 30-36; Josh. 7:1-9; Isa. 66:24; I Cor. 10:5-1l; II Pet. 2:6; Jude 7; Rev. 9:1-6.
Future punishment cannot mean annihilation, extinction, or non-existence-for what ceases to be ceases to suffer, whereas suffering implies continued conscious existence: hence called everlasting punishment. Matt. 25:46; II Thess. 1:9; Jude 7.
Of annihilation there can be neither more nor less; it is therefore inconsistent with the scriptural doctrine of different degrees of punishment. (132. Is punishment consistent with divine mercy? Does it exhibit that mercy? How? If temporal infliction for sin illustrates the divine mercy, why may not eternal punishment equally demonstrate bot the divine love and justice?) Matt. 10:15, 11:22-24; 12: 41, 42; 23:14; Luke 12:47-48; Heb. 10:26-29.
The annihilationists of the present day assert that the soul dies with the holy; that this death constitutes the punishment of sin; and that this is the state of all the dead, a state of non-being. That the only difference between the righteous and the wicked is, that the righteous are consigned to this punishment, some of them for thousands of years, until Christ shall raise them to immortality; while the wicked are left in eternal death. This doctrine is contrary to the Scriptures in general especially the following Ps. 16:10; Dan 12:2; Luke 16:22-28, 23:43, John 5:28-29, Acts 7:55, 59, II Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 1:21-23, Rev. 14:10-13, Matt. 22:32.
It is contended by some that the punishment of sin consists, for the most part, in remorse of conscience, and that every sinner suffers this in proportion to his guilt, and at the time of transgression.
This doctrine cannot be true, 1. Because conscience in every individual is not the same; while it condemns some for doing what is right (133. What is said of the doctrine of annihilation? Does it admit of degrees of punishment? Does that doctrine conflict with Scripture? Does not the punishment of sin consist in part in remorse of conscience?) in itself; it acquits others for doing what is actually wrong. Acts 26:9, etc.; I Tim. 1:13.
2. Because progress in sin is attended with increasing insensibility; while the first deviation from duty is attended with a keen sense of guilt, on the second offense the conscience feels less, and so on until she is lulled to sleep. Eph. 4:19; I Tim. 4:2; Titus 1:15.
If there is no punishment beyond this life, and all who die become immediately happy, then it might be inferred, from his administration, that God is the friend of sinners rather than of the righteous. Thus the antediluvians and Sodomites were taken in their crimes immediately to heaven, while righteous Noah and Lot were left to endure the further trials and sufferings of this life. But compare II Pet. 2:4-9.
If punishment is followed by admittance to the rewards of heaven, then there can be salvation without the blood of Christ, and his cross is made of none effect. John 14:6; Heb. 9: 12-28; Rev. 1:5. (134. Give some proof that this is not a sufficient punishment. If there is no future punishment, what may we infer? If heaven follows a limited punishment what is the inference?)
THIS is that revelation of the divine will which relates to the duties men owe both to their Maker and to their fellow-men, or neighbors, as explained Luke 10:33-37.
This law is spiritual and perfect, extending to all the inward creations and outward actions of men, and can never be changed or annulled. Ps. 19:7-8; Prov. 30:5-6; Rom. 7:12, 14; Rev. 22:18-19.
This law was first written on the hearts and consciences of men, so that by a proper use of their rational and moral faculties they might attain to a knowledge of their whole duty. John 1:9; 3:19-20; Rom. 1:19-20; 2:14-15.
"Two things there are which, the oftener and the more steadfastly we consider them, fill the mind with an ever new, an ever rising admiration (135. What of the moral law? When and where was this law first written?) and reverence: the STARRY HEAVEN above; the MORAL LAW within." Immanuel Kant.
To confirm this original law of nature, it was written by the finger of God in the form of ten commandments, and delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai. Exod. 20:1-17; 24:12; 31:18; 32:15-16.
The summary of this law, as explained by Christ and his Apostles, is supreme love to God and impartial love to man. Matt. 22:36-40; Luke 10:35-37; Rom. 13:9-10; James 2:8.
To love our God with all our heart;
That we should love our neighbor too,
And what we wish from him, should do."
'Tis short and sweet, 'tis good and plain,
Easy to learn, and to retain:
May grace divine our souls renew,
And 't will he sweet to practice too."
These duties are both internal and external; that is, there are those which relate to our inward principles and disposition, and those (146. What quotation from Immanuel Kant? Where was this law given, and how, to Moses? Where else does it appear in the Old Testament? In the New? What further is said of it? By the poet?) which relate to our outward actions, whether public or private.
1. The Internal duties are, (1.) Submission to God. I Sam. 3:18; Job 1:21, 22; Ps. 9; Isa. 45:9, 23; James 4:7,15. (2.) Love to God. Deut. 6:5; Josh. 22:5; Prov. 8:17; John 14:21; Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1: 4; Jude 21. (3.) Trust in God. Ps. 4:5; 37:3; 55:22; 62:8; Prov. 3:5; 16:3; 29:25; Isa. 26:4; I Pet. 4:19. (4.) Fear of God. Deut. 6:24; 10:12; Josh. 24:14; Ps. 33:8; 89:7; 96:4, 9; Prov. 23:17; Eccl. 12:13; Matt. 10:28.
2. The External duties include all the appointed means of promoting his religion. Such as the public and social worship of God, including the reading and preaching of his word, exhortation, mutual converse, the sacrament, singing, and prayer. Neh . 8:1-12 , Ps. 100:1-4 , 150:3-6; Mal. 3:16 Matt 18:20, 28:19-20; Luke 4:15-21; Acts 16:13; 17:1-3, I Cor. 11:23-27 , Col. 3:16 , Heb. 10:25 , I Tim. 4:11-16. (147. How are our duties to God expressed? What are these? What is the first of the internal class? Second? Third? Fourth? What are the external duties?)
These means of grace are all indispensable; more especially prayer, by which is meant the offering up of our desires to God for things agreeable to his will. Ezek. 36:37; Jer. 29:12-13; I John 5:14, 15.
The importance of this duty is manifest from the express commands and promises of God. Isa. 62:6-7; 65:24; Jer. 33:3; Ezek. 36:37; Joel 2:32; Matt. 6:9-13; 7:7-11; Luke 18:1-8; Rom. 10:12-13; Phil. 4:6 , Col. 4:2-3; James 1:5; 5:13-16.
The general duty of prayer includes four kinds, or classes:
(a.) Mental prayer, called the prayer of the soul and of the heart, as distinguished from that which is vocal. I Sam. 1:12-13, 15; Ps. 62:8.
The chief importance of this kind of prayer is that it can be performed at all times, in all places, and by all persons. It is especially referred to in Luke 18:1, 7; Acts 10:2; Rom 12:12; Eph. 7:18; I Thess. 5:17.
No particular posture of body is enjoined as essential to acceptable prayer. Both sitting and standing were practiced by the Jews. (148. Are they all useful? Which is the most important? How many particular kinds of prayer? What of mental prayer? Its chief importance? What postures are mentioned?) II Sam. 7:18; Judg. 20:28; Matt. 6:5; Luke 18:11; except on occasions of deep concern, when kneeling or prostration was common. Job 1:20; II Chron. 6:13; Ezra 9:5; Ps. 95:6; Dan. 7:10. This was also the usage of Christ and the early Christians. Matt. 26:39; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 20:36; 21:5; Eph. 3:14.
(b.) Private prayer; the particular value of which consists in being able to approach God with more freedom, and unbosom ourselves more fully, than in any other way. Between us and God there are private, personal interests; sins to confess, and wants to be supplied, which it would be improper to disclose to the world. This duty is enforced by the example of good men in all ages. Gen. 32:25, etc.; II Kings 4:33; Acts 10:2, 9, 30; and especially by the teaching and example of Jesus. Matt. 6:6; 14:23; 26:36, etc.; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16.
(c.) Family prayer. The absence of an express precept for family worship has been urged against our obligations to perform it. But for such a precept there is no necessity, since the duty is clearly included in the general (149. What is most common? What of private prayer? Its chief importance? Family prayer; what has been urged against it?) command to inculcate household religion, which has been the practice of the Church in all ages. Gen. 18:19; Deut. 6:6-7; Acts 10:2; 16:31-33; Eph. 6:4.
(d.) Public and social prayer; an important part of public worship. See on External duties to God The prayers of impenitent sinners are contemned of God. Ps. l:16-17; Prov. 1:28-29; 28:9; Isa. 1:15; John 9:31; James 4:3. He hears the penitent. Luke 15:17, etc.; 18: 9-14.
By the beautiful parable of the good Samaritan we are taught that the term neighbor comprehends every child of man. Luke 10:25-37. This relation is independent of nation, vicinity of residence, configuration, complexion, condition, or religion. Mal. 2:10; Prov. 22:2; Acts 17: 26; Gal. 3:28.
The whole of our duty toward our neighbor is summed up in what has been very properly called the royal law. James 2:8; and our Savior's golden rule. Matt. 7:12.
The obvious import of this rule is, being guided by justice and mercy, to do unto others as you would have others do to you were your circumstances and theirs reversed. This law, therefore, both in a positive and negative point of view, is exceeding broad. Ps. 119:96.
1. This law of universal love forbids the indulgence of any unholy temper or disposition toward our neighbor, such as: Hatred, Lev, 19:17; I John 3:14-15; 4:20. Envy, Prov. 24:1; Ps. 37:1; Rom. 13:13; I Pet. 1. Malice, I Cor. 5:8; 14:20; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8. Anger; Eccl. 7:9; Matt. 5:22; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8 . Wrath, Rom. 12:19; Eph. 4:26, 31; James 1:19. Revenge Lev. 19:18; Prov. 24:29; Zech. 7:10; Rom. 12:19. Covetousness, Exod. 20:17; Luke 12:15; Eph. 5 :3; Col. 3:5.
2. It prohibits all sinful conduct toward our neighbor , such as: Murder; Exod. 20:13; Matt. 5:21, 22; 19:18. Lying and false witness, Exod. 20:16; Prov. 24:28; Zech. 8:16-17; (150 What is the sum of our duty toward our neighbor called? What is the import of this rule? Is this law extensive? What does it forbid in our tempers? What in our conduct?) Mal. 3:5; Eph. 4:25; Col. 3:9. Theft, Exod. 20:15; Lev. 19:11; Matt. 19:18; Eph. 4:28. Strife and contentions, Gen. 13:8; Prov. 20:3; 25:8; Rom. 13:8; Col. 3:13; Titus 3:9. Lewdness and drunkenness; Exod. 20:14; Job 31:1; Prov. 6:25, 29, 32; 23:20, 31-33; Isa. 5:11, 22; Hab. 2:15-16; Matt. 5:27-28; Rom. 13:13; 14:21; I Pet. 2:11. Evil speaking and reviling, Acts 23:5; Eph. 4:31: James 4:11. Oppression, Ps. 12:5; Prov. 24:11-12; Isa. 1:17; 58:6; Mal. 3:5; Amos 4:1; Zech. 7:10; James 5: 4. Retaliation, Lev. 19:18; Prov. 24:29; I Thess. 5:15; Matt. 5:39-44.
3. It enjoins the cultivation of all holy tempers and dispositions toward our neighbors; such as: Love, Lev. 19:18, 34; Matt. 5:44; John 13:34; Rom . 12:10; 13:8; I Cor. 13:1-8; Gal. 5: 13-14; Col. 3:14; Heb. 10:24; 13:1; I Pet. 2:17; I John 3:18; 4:7-8, 20-21. Forbearance, Prov. 19:11; I Cor. 13:4-7; Eph. 4: 2; Col. 3:13; I Pet 2:19-23. Forgiveness, Luke 6:37; Matt. 18:21- 22; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13.
4. It requires the practice of all good deeds toward our neighbors, such as: Good example, Neh. 5:9; Matt. 5:16; Col. 4:5; I Tim. 4:12; (151. What is enjoined respecting our tempers, etc? What are we required to practice?) Titus 2:7-8. Honor, Rom. 12:10; 13:7; Phil. 2:3; I Pet. 2:17. Mercy, Dan. 4:27; Micah 6:8; Luke 6:36; Col. 3:12. Pity an compassion, Luke 10:33-37; I Peter 3:8; I John 3:17.
5. It especially designates our deportment toward certain particular classes of our neighbors. such as: Rulers, Acts 23:5; Rom. 13:1-7; Heb. 13:7; I Thess. 5:12-13; I Tim. 2:1-3; Titus 3:1; I Pet. 2:13-17. Masters and servants, Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22; 4:1. Parents and children, Eph. 6:1-4; Col 3:20-21. Husbands and wives, Eph. 5:22-25; Col. 3:18-19. Aged, Lev. 19:32; I Tim. 5:1-2; I Pet. 5:5. Widows and fatherless, Exod. 22:22-24; I Tim. 5:3; James 1:27. Sick, James 1:27; 5:14; Strangers, Exod. 22:21; Heb. 13:2. Enemies, Matt. 5:44; Rom. 12:20. Wicked, Lev. 19:17; I Sam. 12:20, 23. Heathen, Matt. 9:38; 28:19-20.
1. SELF-DEFENSE against the destructive forces of nature, ravenous beasts, or malicious men, even to the extent of taking life to save our own. Num. 35:22-24. (152. What is that especially designated? What is said concerning self-defense?)
2. SELF-PRESERSVATION. We should refrain from maiming ourselves, except to preserve life, and from self-destruction. Lev. 19:28; Jer. 14:6-7; 47:5. It is our duty to endure all the ills of life as disciplinary and corrective of our spiritual natures. Heb. 12:5-11; Rev. 3:19. We are bound to refrain from self-torture and rigid austerities, and fasts detrimental to health of body or mind. I Tim. 4:1-5.
3. SELF-CONTROL. We are morally bound to restrain our natural and lawful appetites within the limits of reason and conscience. The desire for food and drink is to be indulged only so far as promotive of health. The sexual impulse may be gratified only within lawful marriage; and, even then, not to the detriment of the body, mind, and spiritual nature. I Cor. 6:19; 9:27.
The law of self-control forbids the creation and indulgence of enslaving and debasing artificial appetites, such as those entailed by the use of opium, tobacco, and intoxicating drinks.
The imperious nature of these appetites brings them into direct collision with the law of purity, which demands that the lower parts of our (153. What is said concerning self presevation? What of self-control?) nature be in subjection to the higher. Rom. 6:12-13; 12:1-2; I Cor. 6:9-13; Phil. 3:19; I Pet. 2:5.
No mention is made in the Bible of distilled or alcoholic spirits, for these are a later invention. The strong drink frequently mentioned is the intoxicating cider and beer of modern times. This, together with intoxicating wine, as a beverage is always condemned either positively or by implication: Lev. 10:9; Num. 6:3-4; Deut. 29: 6; 32:33; Judg. 13: 4, 7, 14; I Sam. 1:13-15; 25:36-38; II Sam. 13:28; Esther 1:10; 7:7; Prov. 20:1; 23:29-32; 31: 4-5; Isa. 5:11, 22; 24:9; 28:1, 7; 56:12; Jer. 35:5-6; Ezek. 44:21; Dan. 1:8; 5:1-4; Hosea 3:1; Joel 1:5; 3:2; Micah 2: 11; 6:15; Hab. 2:5, 15-16; Luke 1:15; 29:34; Rom. 13:13; I Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:18; I Tim. 3:3, 8.
That certain wines were used in Scripture times which were not intoxicating or injurious, but simply cheering and promotive of health, appears, first, from being designated by a different Hebrew word; and secondly, from the favorable reference to such wine, Judg. 9:13; Ps. 104:15; Sol. Song 8:2; Isa. 55:1; and (154. What is said about the use of intoxicating liquors, including wines? Of certain other wines?) particularly from its being commended to the infirm as an occasional tonic or for some sanative purpose, not as a common drink I Tim 5:23.
The use of wine as a beverage is, by some, defended by the act of Jesus in sanctioning the practice by miraculously providing a supply at the marriage in Cana. John 2:1-11. But it does not appear that the wine first used at that feast was intoxicating; much less that which Jesus supplied, called the good wine. It was, far more likely, a sample like that which the God of nature makes in the vine, called the pure juice of the grape. Deut. 32:14.
The duty of total abstinence from all intoxicants is founded, not on the law of absolute morality, but on the requirements of prudential morality. This inhibits acts not in themselves sinful, but becoming sinful when habitually practiced by ourselves, or by others following ourexample. Rom. 14:21; I Cor. 8:9-13; 10:31-33.
The use of tobacco and opium, as a mode of self-indulgence, is condemned by all the Scriptures which require physical as well as spiritual sanctification or purity, and that we (155. How is the use of wine defended by some? How is this refuted? What of other intoxicants?) should eat and drink to the glory of God. Rom. 12:1-2; I Cor. 10:31; II Cor. 7:1; Eph. 5:4; James 1:21.
The duty of self-control requires the suppression of inordinate ambition or lust for honor or power; also the extinction of covetousness, or the desire to amass wealth from selfish motives. Exod. 20:17; Josh. 7:21; Luke 12:15; Col. 3:5.
This duty also requires the perfect mastery of our passions and tempers as derogatory to spiritual excellence. Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; James 3:14; II Peter 1:6.
4. SELF-CULTURE. This embraces the proper care and exercise of the body, as the abode of the soul; and by proper attention to diet, dress, cleanliness, and sleep, and to the education of the intellectual faculties, thus enlarging our capacities for usefulness and enjoyment. On moral nature or conscience must be developed, both in its discriminating and impelling power, by right doing, and by the study and imitation of the best examples; while our spiritual nature is to be developed and purified by the abiding of the Holy Spirit within us. I Thess. 5:23; Heb. 5:14. (156. What further is required by the duty of self-control? What is said of self-culture as a duty?)
WHEN God had made man he said, "it is not good that he should be alone," and, accordingly, he made a "help meet" for him; that is, man's counterpart, one exactly adapted to him both in body and mind; not a separate being, but made out of a part of man himself; so that, when presented to him, he saw the person to be a second self, having the same nature, the same physical powers, mental faculties, and inalienable rights. Gen. 2:7, 18, 21-24. Adam accordingly called his counterpart woman, she differing from man in sex only, not in nature or quality. Both bear in common the name Adam, or man. Gen. 1:26-27; 5:2.
We find in this arrangement the cause and origin of marriage: 1. God pronounced the state of celibacy not a good one. Gen. 2:18. (156. Is marriage a divine institution? What was its cause and origin?) 2. He made the woman out of the man, that man might ever consider and treat her as a part of himself. Gen. 2:23-24; Eph. 5:28-29, 33. 3. Marriage is therefore pronounced a good thing, Prov. 18:22; and honorable in all. Heb. 13:4.
To teach and practice otherwise is to give heed to seducing spirits, and the doctrine of devils. I Tim. 4:1-3. There may be, with some, good reasons for abstaining from marriage; these are exceptions to the general rule. Matt. 19:1-12; I Cor. 7:2,7-9, 28.
God has not prohibited the intermarriage of any of the human family on account of race, rank, or complexion; but, on the contrary, he has signally denounced all prejudice against the practice. Num. 12; Deut. 24:9. Christianity places all on a level. Col. 3:11.
The prohibition of the intermarriage of very near kindred in Lev. 18:6-18, grounded as it is on universal and permanent principles, was not repealed by Christ. All that is moral in the Levitical law is still in force. Luke 16:17. This prohibition is somewhat moral. (157. Is marriage therefore good and honorable? What is said of those who teach and practice otherwise? Are there any exceptions to the general rule? Is intermarriage, on account of race, etc., divinely prohibited? Is the intermarriage of near kindred forbidden?)
Marriage is limited to one man and one woman, that is, at the same time, Matt. xix, 5; Eph. 5:31; I Tim. 3:2, 12; and polygamy, of course, is strictly forbidden, Deut. 17:17; I Kings 11: 1-4; as is divorce, except for one cause only, Matt. 5:32; 19:6-9; Rom. 7:2-3; yet separation without re-marriage, in certain extreme cases, is allowed. I Cor. 7:10-17; Prov. 21:19; Amos 3:3.
By this is meant, 1. The day appointed of God, at the close of creation, to be observed by man as a day of rest from all secular employment, because that in it God himself had rested from his work. Gen. 2:1-3. Not that God's rest was necessitated by fatigue, Isa. 40:28; but he rested, that is, ceased to work, on the seventh day as an example to man; hence assigned it as a reason why men should rest on that day. Exod. 20:11; 31:17. God's blessing and sanctifying the day, meant that he separated it from a common to a religious use, to be a perpetual (158. What is said of polygamy? Of separation? Is the Sabbath a divine institution? When appointed? For what reason? What is meant by God's sanctifying it?) memorial or sign that all who thus observed it would show themselves to be the worshipers of that God who made the world in six days and rested on the seventh Exod. 20:8, 11; 31:16-17; Isa. 56:6, 7.
2. The Sabbath is indispensable to man, being promotive of his highest good, physically, intellectually, socially, spiritually, and eternally. Hence its observance is connected with the best of promises, and its violation with the severest penalties. Exod. 23:12; 31:12-18; Neh. 13:15-22; Isa. 56:2-7; 58:13, 14; Jer. 17:21-27; Ezek. 20:12-13; 22:26-31. Its sanctity was very distinctly marked in the gathering of the manna. Exod. 16:22-30.
3. The original law of the Sabbath was renewed and made a prominent part of the moral law, or ten commandments, given through Moses at Sinai. Exod. 20:8-11.
4. This seventh-day Sabbath was strictly observed by Christ and his apostles previous to his crucifixion. Mark. 4:2; Luke 4:16, 31; 13:10; Acts 1:12-14; 13:14, 42, 44; 17:2; 18:4. (159. Is the observance of the Sabbath promotive of man's highest good? What are some of the promises and penalties connected with its observance? Where was this law renewed and written? Was the original Sabbath ever observed by Christ and his apostles?)
5. Jesus, after his resurrection, changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week; thus showing his authority as Lord even of the Sabbath, Matt. 12:8; not to abrogate or break it, but to preside over and modify, or give new form to it, so as to have it commemorate his resurrection, when he ceased from his redeeming work as God did from his creation work. Heb.4:10.
When Jesus gave instructions for this change we are not told, but very likely during the time when he spake to his apostles of the things pertaining to his kingdom. Acts 1:3. This is probably one of the many unrecorded things which Jesus did. John 20:30; 21:25.
6. That the Sabbath was actually changed from the seventh to the first day of the week appears from the example of the apostles, who, after the resurrection of Christ, celebrated the first day as a Sabbath . John 20:19, 26; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:2. Hence this is called The Lord's day. Rev. 1:10.
On this day Jesus appeared to his apostles a week from his resurrection.
The Holy Spirit was given on this day at the Feast of Pentecost. The Lord's Supper was celebrated on this day. I Cor. 11:20; 16:1-2; Acts 20:6-11. (160. Where and why did he change the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week? What other evidences?)
In Col. 2:16-17, Paul plainly declares that the disciples of Jesus are not under obligation to observe the seventh day, or Jewish Sabbath. Yet this did not release them from keeping a Sabbath, since this is a divine institution given to the human race in the persons of Adam and Eve. The Lord's day is the only holy day of the early Christian Church.
7. We are nowhere told what time of the day the Sabbath shall commence, for the obvious reason that the same day does not commence at the same time in all parts of the earth. Under such circumstances it is safe and expedient for us to conform our reckoning of the days to that which prevails in the country where we live. Rom. 14:5-6.
8. All works of mercy and necessity, such as administering to the relief of the suffering of man or beast, when such works cannot be properly deferred, are consistent with the right observance of the Sabbath. Mark 2:23-27; 3:2-5; Luke 13:10-17; John 5:16-20; 7:22-23. (161. Was the Jewish sabbath ever after observed by the Christ Church as the Sabbath? What other evidence of the Jewish Sabbath being kept as holy time? Is the exact time of day for the Sabbath to commence anywhere required? What is said respecting works of mercy on the Sabbath?)
The Sabbath, as a day of rest and holy service, is a type of heaven, into which none but the truly faithful and holy can enter. Heb. 4:1-l1; 12:14; Rev. 14:13; 22:14-15.
It is the duty of the civil power to protect Christians against disturbance in their Sabbath worship. But the power is intruding into the divine prerogative when it assumes the right to compel the subject to worship God, or to refrain from those pursuits which do not disturb others. The keeping of the Sabbath is eminently a moral duty, and hence it must be a voluntary service rendered under the pressure of moral suasives only.
As the Sabbath is of vast utility in preserving the knowledge and worship of God, and thereby promoting the temporal and spiritual welfare, the present and future happiness of mankind, it is our duty to make every exertion to prevent its violation, by inculcating those moral principles which underlie its acceptable observance. (162. What is said of the civil power? Of what is the Sabbath a type? What is our duty in view of its utility? What to those who regard less its sacredness? Why?)
At the same time we should avoid an uncharitable condemnation of those who have been educated in Christian countries where Puritanic strictness in regard to the Sabbath does not prevail. On no other moral question is there ground for so much forbearance and exercise of charitable judgment.
The Church of God, in its distinctive character, is to be regarded as general or particular, visible or invisible, militant or triumphant. The general Church denotes the entire body of Christian believers in every period of time, on earth and in heaven. Eph. 3:15.
By a particular Church is meant an assembly of Christians of any particular denomination, united together for the worship of God, in accordance with their distinct views. I Cor. 12:12, 25,27.
By the visible Church is intended all those who have openly and freely professed Christianity, and have entered into covenant with God and his people accordingly. I Cor. 1:2; 16:1-19. (163. How is the Church of God to be regarded? What is the general Church? What is a particular Church? The visible? Invisible?)
By the invisible Church is understood all those who are known of Christ as belonging to him, whether they have joined the visible Church or not. II Tim. 23:19. The people of God on earth are called the Church militant, and those in heaven the Church triumphant. Eph. 3:15; Heb. 12:22-24. The true Church, both on earth and in heaven, is composed only of true Christians, those who are fully conformed to Christ. Eph. 4:12-13; 5:26-27; Heb. 12:22-24; I John 3:2-3; Rev. 19:7-8.
Those connected with the militant Church, who are merely nominal Christians, will be excluded from the Church triumphant. Matt. 13:36-43, 47-50; 22:1-14. The design of the Church is the promotion of the Christian religion in all the world, through the holy example of believers and preaching of the Gospel.
The foundation and head of the Church is Christ. Matt. 16:18; I Cor. 3:11; Eph. 1: 22; 2: 20-22; 5:23-24. His apostles were foundations in a secondary sense, Rev. 21:14; (164. What of the Church militant? Triumphant? What are the qualifications for the true Church on earth and in heaven? Of what design is this institution on earth? Who is the foundation of the Church? In what sense are the apostles and others such?) as are all the prophets; that is, every class of Christian teachers. Eph. 2:20; 4:11. These constitute the true Church, which is the pillar and ground of the truth, I Tim. 3:15; that is, the appointed means of upholding and propagating Christian truth throughout the world Matt. 28:19-20; 5:13-16; I Cor. 3:9-10; Eph. 4:11-16; Rom. 10:14-17; Rev. 22:17.
By this is meant the application of water to a person as a sacrament or religious ceremony. A kind of baptism or ablution was practiced among the Jews as a symbol of purification. II Kings 5:1-14. This was especially required of those who were inducted into the priestly office. Exod. 29:4; Lev. 8:5-6; Num. 8:5-7.
It was in conformity to this law that Jesus was baptized, Matt. 3:13-15; hence not till he was thirty years of age. Compare Num. 4:3,47; Luke 3:21, 23.
John's baptism by water was introductory to the higher baptism of the Spirit, instituted by Christ. Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:5; 19:3-5. (165. What is baptism? What is said of Jewish baptisms? Of the baptism of Christ? John's baptism?) He was called the Baptist, or baptizer, because specially sent for this purpose. John 1:33.
Christ, very early in his ministry, baptized by water through his apostles, John 3:22, 26; 4:1-2; and just before his ascension, commanded them to make disciples in all nations baptizing them in the name of the Holy Trinity. Matt. 28:19-20.
Thenceforth the practice ever prevailed as a rite or ceremony of initiation into the visible Church of Christ. Acts 2:38, 41; 8:36-38; 10:47-48; I Cor. 12:13.
It is the duty, therefore, of all who have true faith in Christ to unite with his visible Church and, by so doing, make that "confession before men" on which Christ, the head of the Church, has laid so much stress. Matt. 10:32, 33.
Moreover, by attending to this duty we are enabled to share in the outward ordinances of the Gospel which Christ has commanded his disciples to receive, and are accelerating the fulfillment of those promises which relate to the final destination of the Church. Isa. 2:1-4; Matt. 16:18; Ps. 2:8, etc. (166. Did Christ personally baptize by water? Did he authorize his ministers to do it? Did it ever after prevail as a rite of initiation into the church? Of what is it the sign or symbol?)
By entering the Church through baptism we are contributing to make Christianity a visible institution on earth, as it was designed to be by its Divine Founder. Matt. 5:14-16; 18:17; Acts 2:41-47; Phil. 2:15-16.
As to the subjects of baptism, infants and all believing adults who have not been baptized before are considered proper candidates.
That adults must believe in order to baptism is evident from the fact that the Scriptures require faith in such, and that such as did believe were baptized. Mark. 16:16; Acts 2:41; 8:12, 37; 16:31-33. When the Scriptures speak of faith as necessary to baptism, or salvation, they refer solely to adults, or those who are capable of believing. Mark 16:16.
That the requirement of faith cannot refer to infants is evident from the fact, that a want of true faith, which disqualifies for baptism, excludes also from salvation. Mark 16:16; John 3:18, 36.
That infants are proper subjects of baptism is evident, because,- a. The Christian Church is a continuation of the Jewish Church, and the covenant remains the same, though the seal, or token of it, is changed. Heb. 8:6-13. (167. Who are the subjects of baptism? Why must adults believe in order to be baptized? Does this faith refer solely to adults? Why? How is infant baptism proved as scriptural?)
b. The token of the covenant in the former Church was circumcision. This was, by Divine command, administered to infants, and thereby they were constituted members of the Church Gen. 17:9-14.
c. Baptism is now substituted for circumcision; and as the right of infants to Church membership was never taken away, it is argued that they should still receive the token of the covenant. Col. 2:10-12. If the children of believing Jews had been excluded from the new covenant, so great a curtailment of rights would have awakened discussion; but though matters of minor importance were discussed, this great question never arose, Acts 21:20; hence the inference that children were not excluded from the new covenant.
d. That infants are to be received into the Church, and as such baptized, is also inferred from the following Scriptures: Isa. 44:3; 59:21; Joel 2:28; Matt. 18:1-4; 19:13-14; Acts 2:38-39; I Cor. 7:14.
e. The practice of the Apostles is further proof, as appears from the record of their baptisms-not less than four households or families are recorded as baptized: that of Cornelius, of Lydia, of the Jailer, and of Stephanas. (168. First proof? Second? Third? Fourth? Fifth?) When we consider that old people are not easily converted, there is a strong probability that those we have enumerated were comparatively young, and that there were infants in their families. Acts 16:15, 33; I Cor. 1:16.
f. All ancient writers of distinction refer to its practice by the apostles; nor was it denied or controverted by any till the twelfth century after Christ, when the sect called Waldenses denied the rite to infants, on the belief that all such were damned-a doctrine not of Christ surely, Luke xviii, 15-17, but of devils, I Tim. iv, 1; 2 Pet. ii, 1.
g. Only one hundred and fifty years after the death of St. John, a council of sixty-six bishops unanimously decided that "the baptism of infants was not to be delayed to the eighth day after the birth, as circumcision had been, but might be given them at any time before." The question they decided was, not whether infants should be baptized, but whether they should be baptized before they were eight days old.
h. It is true there is no positive command for infant baptism, nor is there any against it, as there should have been if Christ intended to abridge the rights of Jewish parents under the Abrahamic covenant. (169. Sixth proof? Seventh? Eight?)Nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week, or for family devotion, or for women to receive the Lord's Supper. The reasons are obvious; there was no controversy in either case that called for it.
i. All who thus dedicate their children to God, either in circumcision or in baptism, are supposed to take upon them the requisite obligation of training them to the service of God, by teaching them in all the doctrines and duties of the true religion. Deut. 6:7; Gen. 18:19; Eph. 6:1, 4.
The mode of baptism is nowhere in Scripture particularly specified. The command is to baptize, without designating the mode. The mode, therefore, is not essential, or, if it be essential, it would seem that pouring or sprinkling is the proper mode, since water baptism is the symbol of spiritual baptism, which is uniformly expressed by the terms sprinkling or pouring. Isa. 44:3; Ezek. 36: 25; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:18, 33; I Cor. 10:1-2; Titus 3:5-6; Heb. 10:22; 12:24. (170. What is expected of those who thus dedicate their children? Is any particular mode of baptism enjoined? What mode seems most proper?)
The mode of immersion is unfavorable to universal practice, while the other modes can be performed in any place, at any time or season of the year, and to any person: in the desert waste, or in the city full; by the side of Jordan, at the house of Cornelius, in Phi1ippi's prison, by the penitent's cross, or on the bed of sickness and death. Besides, baptism by affusion or sprinkling may always take place with decency, modesty, and safety, which is not true of immersion, as thousands could testify.
It is said (Matt. 3:6) that John baptized "in Jordan;" but the Greek word here rendered in is often and more properly rendered at and by, especially when used in connection with a river, as here. I Kings 17:3, 5; II Kings 26-7; 23:6. The words therefore indicate, not the mode, but the place only of baptizing, namely, one of the banks of Jordan, of which there were several. Joshua 3:15; 4:18; I Chron. 12:15.
The phrases "went down into," and "came up out of, the water," (Acts 8:38, 39,) are no proof of immersion, for the expressions apply alike to the eunuch and Philip, the baptized and the baptizer. So also in the case of Christ's baptism. Matt. 3:16. (171. Why should immersion not be practiced? What is said respecting John's baptizing in Jordan? Of the baptism of the eunuch?)
The phrase "buried with Christ by baptism" is figurative, as are the expressions "planted" and "crucified" with him, all denoting simply the completeness of the believer's spiritual union with Christ, in which he is made a partaker of the benefit of his suffering, death , and resurrection. Romans 6:3-8; Phil. 3:10-11; Col. 2:12.
B. THE LORD'S SUPPER
Is that holy ordinance in which the sufferings and death of Christ are commemorated; instituted by Christ himself on that memorable night in which he was betrayed. I Cor. 11:23, etc.
The elements used in this institution are bread and wine, which are designed to represent the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ in behalf of sinful man. I Cor. 11:23, etc.
The special design of this institution is, to preserve a grateful and affectionate remembrance of the blessed Savior. (172. What is meant by being buried with Christ by baptism? What is the Lord's Supper? When was it instituted? What are the proper elements? What do they represent? What is the special design of this sacrament?) It is a memorial of his death, and it expresses the guilt and wretchedness of man, and the grace of God in his salvation.
The obligations to observe this institution are gratitude, personal benefit, the honor and command of Christ, and the practice of the apostles and primitive Christians. Ps. 116:12-13; Matt. 10:32-33; Luke 22:19.
This sacrament should be administered by regularly constituted ministers of the Gospel, who are to perform it in their official capacity.
This ordinance is designed only for visible Christians in regular Church standing, of whatever denomination.
That we may worthily partake of this supper, it is proper there should be suitable meditations, not only before, but at and after partaking of it. I Cor. 5:7-8; 10:21; 11:28; II Cor. 13:5.
To partake of this supper "unworthily" is to do it as the Corinthians did, without making any distinction between that and their ordinary meals; and more especially by an excessive intemperate use of the elements. I Cor. 12:20-22, 27-30. (173. What are the obligations to observe the sacrament of the Lord's Supper? By whom is it to be administered? For what is it designed? What is meant by partaking unworthily?)
The fact that the Corinthians were drunken on these occasions, shows that the wine they used was intoxicating; and not that such wine was commonly used, or considered suitable to a proper observance of this sacrament. Their being rebuked rather implies that theirs was an exception to the general practice, they not having been fully converted from their former drunken revels and other heathen practices I Cor. 8:7; 5:1, 7-8.
The wine used at the supper by Christ he calls the fruit of the vine, Matt. 26:29; evidently referring to what is called the pure blood of the grape. Deut. 32:14. The idea that he used fermented or intoxicating wine is inconsistent with the prohibition of leavened or fermented bread at the sacrament. Compare Matt. 26:17, with Exod. 12:18-20.
The time of the day for celebrating this ordinance is not material, and the posture of the body in receiving it is, of itself, indifferent. The Scriptures lay no stress on these points. Our choice and convenience must determine. (174. Why were the Corinthians made drunk? Does not this prove that intoxicating wine should not be used? What of the wine used by Christ? What time of day, and in what posture, should we receive it?)
The doctrine of transubstantiation, or that the bread and wine are literally converted into the body and blood of Christ, is one of the gross absurdities of the Romish Church, since the bread is called bread after as well as before consecration. I Cor. 11:27-28.
It supposes that Christ partook of his own body and blood, and that the identical human body of the crucified is present on all sacramental occasions.
The doctrine of consubstantiation, or the actual, substantial presence of the body of Christ with the bread and wine, so that the communicant partakes of that body and is benefitted by the material elements, is an error and delusion, destructive of spirituality.
The doctrine of the ritualists, that Jesus Christ's spiritual presence so pervades the bread and the wine as to impart to them a saving efficacy and to render them worthy of worship, is an abominable perversion of the simple symbolism of the holy Eucharist designed to be an impressive memorial of the broken body and shed blood of the adorable Savior. (175. What is said of transubstantiation? What is said of Consubstantiation? What of the doctrine of the ritualists?)
By the government and discipline of the Church are meant the form and order by which its spiritual concerns are managed.
The exact form of ecclesiastical government and discipline, in all particulars and for all occasions, is to be determined by Christians from the general rules and principles established in the word of God, and from considerations of expediency.
Any particular form of ecclesiastical government, agreed on by the governors of the Church, consonant to the general rules of Scripture, may be considered as scriptural. Hence, though one form of government be agreeable to the word, it does not follow that another is not, or, because one is lawful, another is unlawful.
In all cases that form of government is to be settled which is best calculated to promote the welfare of the Church in its present state. (176. What are meant by the government and discipline of the Church? How are we to determine the exact from of ecclesiastical government and discipline? What of any particular form? If one form is lawful, does it follow that all others are unlawful? What from of government is to be settled in all cases?)
The proper officers of the Church are called in the Scriptures by different names, probably for the purpose of representing the various and important duties of their office.
They are called bishops or elders, from the oversight they are to take, and from the grave and prudent example they are to set; pastors from the spiritual food they are to administer; ministers, from the service they are to render; watchmen, from the vigilance they are to exercise; teachers, from the instructions they are to give; ambassadors, from the treaty of reconciliation and peace they are sent to effect. I Tim. 3:1 . Acts 20:28; Jer. 3:15; I Cor. 4:1; Ezek. 3:17; I Peter 5:1; Eph. 4:11; II Cor. 5:20.
Paul recognizes but two orders in the Christian ministry after the apostles: that of Deacon, and that of Elder or Bishop. I Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-7; Phil. 1:1.
These officers are to be invested with their office by ordination, or by prayer and imposition of hands from regular ministers of the Gospel. I Tim. 4:14; Acts 13:2-3. (177. What are the officers of the Church called? Why so? Define the different terms? How are these officers to be invested?)
The officers of the Church can, from among themselves, constitute an officer, who, as an officer, shall be superior to any of those by whom he was constituted.
The officers of the Church are entitled to a maintenance from the people who share in their labors. This should not be viewed as a matter of alms and free gift, but as a debt justly and honorably due. Matt. 10:9-10; I Cor. 9:7, 11, 14; I Tim. 5:18; Gal. 6:6.
The power of executing the temporal economy of the Church belongs either to the Church as a body, or to those whom the Church shall delegate for that purpose. Acts 6:2-6.
The proper discipline of the Church is to be gathered from those passages of Scripture relating to this subject which are found scattered throughout the sacred volume.
Every particular Church should collect, arrange, and explain these texts in written form, for the purpose of informing its members, and also that there may be uniformity in administration. (178. Can these officers create yet others? Are they entitled to maintenance? How should this be viewed? Who should attend to the temporal economy of the Church? Whence should the proper discipline of the Church be gathered? What is the duty of each particular Church? Why?)
The design of Church discipline is, the reclaiming of offenders, delivering the Church from reproach, and inspiring all with the fear of offense. Every Church should judge of the qualifications of those who offer themselves for membership, and should admit or reject, as they may think proper. Matt. 16:19.
All persons, before admittance to the Church, should be examined in respect to their doctrinal views and religious experience. And none should be admitted but such as are found evangelical in both respects. Nevertheless , genuine believers in Christ holding erroneous opinions not manifestly detrimental to the spiritual life should not be denied membership in the Church. The rule should be: "In non-essentials, liberty; in essentials, unity; and in all things, charity."
The duty of Church members toward each other is, to watch over one another for good; and, when occasion requires, to reprove, rebuke, and admonish. I Timothy 5:20; Galatians 6:1. (179. What is the design of Church discipline? Who should judge of qualifications for Church membership? Should all candidates be examined before the Church? In what? What is the duty of Church members toward each other?)
Church members are subject to discipline and excommunication for immoralities and heresy in doctrine. I Cor. 5:11; Titus 3:10. Our Savior has given a particular rule of proceeding in Church discipline, which should he strictly observed in all cases. Matt. 18:15-17. Offenders in the Church, upon suitable confession and reformation, should be restored to the fellowship of the Church. Matt. 18:21-22; Luke 17:3-4; II Cor. 2:6-8.
Excommunication consists in cutting off a member from all Church rights and privileges. This should be viewed as a very solemn act, both by the Church which performs it, and by the individual expelled. It should never be done without much deliberation and prayer.
As communion is with the Church as a body, and not with individuals, no person can be justified in absenting himself from communion because of existing offenses between him self and another Church member. (180. For what are Church members subject to discipline? What particular rule has Christ given? Should this be observed? How are offenders to be restored? What is excommunication? How should this be viewed? Should offended members abstain from the communion? To what is this analogous?)
In all decisions of the Church, though unanimity is very desirable, yet the majority should govern, and the minority dissent with love, meekness, and a disposition to acquiesce. Such course is Christian, and has a tendency to prevent many evils. Acts 15:1-31.
This is not limited to the duties of the family or household, since she is often by nature and grace pre-eminently adapted for a wider service. Hence women were employed as prophets, that is, in the sense of public religious teachers, including the higher ministerial duties, as appears from the rank next after apostles . I Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11. Compare Acts 2:17-18; 21:9; Rom. 16:1-2. So in the Old Testament. Exod. 15:20; Judg. 4:4; II Kings 22:14; Num. 11:29.
Compare also Ps. 68:11, where the true rendering is, of the women preachers there was a great host; which accords with the wish of Moses, Num. 11:29, and of Paul, I Cor. 14:5. (181. Who should govern in the decisions of the Church? What is the duty of the minority? What benefit will result? What is said of woman's sphere? Of their service as prophets or teachers? Did Paul condemn the practice?)
Some have understood Paul as prohibiting women teaching. I Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2: 11-12. But he evidently refers to such only as prayed and prophesied unvailed, as appears 1 Cor. 11:5-13. Paul in this had respect simply to the usage of society, as was his custom in matters of indifference. I Cor. 9:19-23. To say that his prohibition applies alike to all times and conditions of society, is to say that the prudential regulations of a degraded heathen people, eighteen hundred years ago, are universally binding, and that Christianity in this respect has wrought no change in the world it came to reform. Paul surely had a different estimate of woman service. Rom. 16:1-7, 12-15. His first public discourse in Europe was at a meeting of women, and his first convert and host was a woman. Acts 16:9-15.
There is indisputable scriptural and historical proof that subordinate official position was accorded to women in the apostolic Church:-
1. The correct translation of Rom. 16:1-2, shows that Phebe was a deacon of the Church and a patron of many-the original of patron being radically the same as is rendered, he that ruleth, in chap. 12:8. (182. What is said of his estimate of women? Was offical position accorded to her? What is said of Phebe? What exposition of Rom. 16:1-2?) of Deacons not only minister to the sick and needy, but from Phil. 1:1, and I Tim. 3:2, 8, we infer that they preached and discharged other spiritual functions subordinate to the elders or bishops, who correspond to the pastors of modern times.
2.The rules of conduct laid down for women in I Tim. 3:11, and Titus 2:3, have been referred to the deaconesses by a series of eminent commentators from Chrysostom to Alford.
3. Dr. Schaff and other scholars interpret the words, "let not a widow be taken into the number," I Tim.5:9. Let not a widow be elected and ordained under threescore years old.
4. From Titus 2:3-4, we learn that women were employed as teachers in the direct personal application of Christian truth.
5. Pliny, a few years later, speaks of the order of deaconesses as exercising, in relation to their own sex, functions analogous to those of the deacons.
The history of the early Christian Church confirms this statement, and adds, also, that women baptized. (183. What exposition of I Tim. 3:11; 5:9? Of Titus 2:3? What is said of the history of the early Church?)
Signal honors are recorded of woman's devotion to Christ and his cause. Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 10:38-42. She was first to preach the actual advent of the promised Messiah, both to the Jews and to the Samaritans. Luke 2:36-38; John 4:28, etc.; and first to preach the risen Savior to his doubting apostles. Matt. 28:7-9, 17.
Not she denied him with unholy tongue; Matt. 26:69-75.
She, while apostles shrank, could danger brave: Matt. 26:56
Last at the cross, and earliest at his grave." Matt. 27:55-56 28:1.
1. The words Theism and Deism are radically the same, but a practical distinction has arisen. Theism is properly the faith of Reason preceding revelation; while Deism is faith in Reason, contesting revelation.