by A. Strong

(a) In this Section we treat of Election and Calling, Section Second being
devoted to the Application of Christ’s Redemption in its Actual Beginning,
namely, in Union with Christ, Regeneration, Conversion, and Justification.
Section Third has for its subject the Application of Christ’s Redemption in
its Continuation, namely, in Sanctification and Perseverance.
The arrangement of tonics, in the treatment of the reconciliation of man to
God, is taken from Julius Muller, Proof-texts, 35. “Revelation to us aims
to bring about revelation in us. In any being absolutely perfect, God’s
intercourse with us by faculty, and by direct teaching, would absolutely
coalesce and the former be just as much God’s voice as the latter’’
(Hutton, Essays).
(b) In treating Election and Calling as applications of Christ’s redemption,
we imply that they are, in God’s decree, logically subsequent to that
redemption. In this we hold the Supralapsarian view, as distinguished from
the Supralapsarianism of Beza and other hyper-Calvinists, which regarded
the decree of individual salvation as preceding, in the order of thought, the
decree to permit the Fall. In this latter scheme, the order of decrees is as
1. The decree to save certain ones and to reprobate others.
2. The decree to create both those who are to be saved and those who are
to be reprobated..3
3. The decree to permit both the former and the latter to fall.
4. The decree to provide salvation only for the former, that is, for the elect.
Richards, Theology, 302-307, shows that Calvin, while in his early work,
the Institutes, he avoided definite statements of his position with regard to
the extent of the atonement, yet in his latter works, the Commentaries,
acceded to the theory of universal atonement. Supralapsarianism is
therefore hyper-Calvinistic, rather than Calvinistic. Supralapsarianism
was adopted by the Synod of Port (1618, 1619). By Supralapsarian is
meant that form of doctrine which holds the decree of individual salvation
as preceding the decree to permit the Fall; Supralapsarian designates that
form of doctrine which holds that the decree of individual salvation is
subsequent to the decree to permit the Fall.
By comparing some of his earlier statements with those of his later
utterances, the progress in Calvin’s thought may be seen. Institutes,
2:23:5 — “I say, with Augustine, that the Lord created those who, as he
certainly foreknew, were to go to destruction and he did so because he so
willed.” But even then in the Institutes, 3:23:8, he affirms that “the
perdition of the wicked depends upon the divine predestination in such a
manner that the cause and matter of it are found in themselves. Man falls
by the appointment of divine providence, but he falls by his own fault.”
God’s blinding, hardening and turning the sinner he describes as the
consequence of the divine desertion, not the divine causation. The relation
of God to the origin of sin is not efficient, but permissive. In later days
Calvin wrote in his Commentary on

1 John 2:2 — “he is the
propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the whole
world.” Calvin goes on to say, “Christ suffered for the sins of the whole
world, and in the goodness of God is offered unto all men without
distinction, his blood being shed not for a part of the world only, but for
the whole human race. For although in the world nothing is found worthy
of the favor of God, yet he holds out the propitiation to the whole world,
since without exception he summons all to the faith of Christ, which is
nothing else than the door unto hope.”
Although other passages, such as Institutes, 3:21:5, and 3:23:1, assert the
harsher view, we must give Calvin credit for modifying his doctrine with a
more mature reflection and advancing years. Much that is called
Calvinism would have been repudiated by Calvin himself even at the
beginning of his career and is really the exaggeration of his teaching by
more scholastic and less religious successors. Renan calls Calvin “the
most Christian man of his generation.” Dorner describes him as “equally.4
great in intellect and character, lovely in social life, full of tender
sympathy and faithfulness to his friends, yielding and forgiving toward
personal offenses.” The device upon his seal is a flaming heart from
which is stretched forth a helping hand.
Calvin’s share in the burning of Servetus must be explained by his
mistaken zeal for God’s truth and by the universal belief of his time that
this truth was to be defended by the civil power. The following is the
inscription on the expiatory monument which European Calvinists raised
to Servetus: “On October 27, 1553, died at the stake at Champel, Michael
Servetus, of Villeneuve d’Aragon, born September 29, 1511. Reverent
and grateful sons of Calvin, our great Reformer, but condemning an error
which was that of his age, and steadfastly adhering to liberty of
conscience according to the true principles of the Reformation and of the
gospel, we have erected this expiatory monument, on the 27th of October,
John Dewitt, in Princeton Theol. Rev., Jan. 1904:95 — “Take John
Calvin. That fruitful conception — more fruitful in church and state than
any other conception, which has held the English speaking world — of the
absolute and universal sovereignty of the holy God. As a revolt from the
conception then prevailing of the sovereignty of the human head of an
earthly church, was historically the mediator and instaurator of his
spiritual career.” On Calvin’s theological position, see Shedd, Dogmatic
Theology, 1:409, note.
(c) But the Scriptures teach that men as sinners, and not men irrespective
of their sins, are the objects of God’s saving grace in Christ (

John 15:9;

Romans 11:5, 7;

Ephesians 1:4-6;

1 Peter 1:2). Condemnation,
moreover, is an act, not of sovereignty, but of justice, and is grounded in
the guilt of the condemned (

Romans 2:6-11; 2Thess. 1:5-10). The true
order of the decrees is therefore as follows:
1. The decree to create.
2. The decree to permit the Fall.
3. The decree to provide a salvation in Christ sufficient for the needs of all.
4. The decree to secure the actual acceptance of this salvation on the part
of some, or, in other words, the decree of Election.
That saving grace presupposes the Fall, and that men as sinners are the
objects of it, appears from

John 15:19 — “If ye were of the world, the.5
world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I chose
you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

Romans 11:5-7
— “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to
the election of grace. But if it is by grace, it is no more of works:
otherwise grace is no more grace. What then? That which Israel seeketh
for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained is and the rest were

Ephesians 1:4-6 — “even as he chose us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish
before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through
Jesus Christ unto himself, according to ‘the good pleasure of his will, to
the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the

1 Peter 1:2 — elect, “according to the foreknowledge of
God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and
sprinkling of the blood of Jesus: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”
That condemnation is not an act of sovereignty, but of justice, appears

Romans 2:5-9 — “who will render to every man according to his
works…wrath and indignation…upon every soul of man that worketh
evil.” 2Thess. 1:6-9 — “a righteous thing with God to recompense
affliction to them that afflict you… rendering vengeance to them that know
not God and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus: who shall
suffer punishment” Particular persons are elected, not to have Christ die
for them, but to have special influences of the Spirit bestowed upon them.
(d) Those Supralapsarians who hold to the Anselmic view of a limited
Atonement, make the decrees #3 and #4 just mentioned, exchange places,
the decree of election thus preceding the decree to provide redemption.
The Scriptural reasons for preferring the order here given have been
already indicated in our treatment of the extent of the Atonement (pages
When #3 and #4 thus change places, #3 should be made to read: “The
decree to provide in Christ a salvation sufficient for the elect” and #4
should read: “The decree that a certain number should be saved or, in
other words, the decree of Election.” Supralapsarianism of the first sort
may be found in Turretin, loc. 4, quæs. 9; Cunningham, Hist. Theol.,
416-439. A. J. F. Behrends: “The divine decree is our last word in
theology, not our first word. It represents the terminus ad quern, not the
terminus a quo. Whatever comes about in the exercise of human freedom
and of divine grace — that God has decreed.” Yet we must grant that
Calvinism needs to be supplemented by a more express statement of
God’s love for the world. Herrick Johnson: “Across the Westminster
Confession could justly be written: ‘The Gospel for the elect only.’ That.6
Confession was written under the absolute dominion of one idea, the
doctrine of predestination. It does not contain one of three truths: God’s
love for a lost world, Christ’s compassion for a lost world and the gospel
universal for a lost world.”
Election is that eternal act of God. It is by which in his sovereign pleasure
and on account of no foreseen merit in them, he chooses certain out of the
number of sinful men to be the recipients of the special grace of his Spirit
and so to be made voluntary partakers of Christ’s salvation.
1. Proof of the Doctrine of Election.
A. From Scripture.
We here adopt the words of Dr. Hovey: “The Scriptures forbid us to find
the reasons for election in the moral action of man before the new birth,
and refer us merely to the sovereign will and mercy of God, that is, they
teach the doctrine of personal election.” Before advancing to the proof of
the doctrine itself, we may claim Scriptural warrant for three preliminary
statements (which we also quote from Dr. Hovey), namely:
First, that “God has a sovereign right to bestow more grace upon one
subject than upon another, grace being unmerited favor to sinners.”

Matthew 20:12-15 — “These last have spent but one hour, and thou
hast made them equal unto us…Friend, I do thee no wrong…Is it not
lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”

Romans 9:20, 21 —
“Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make
me thus? Or hath not the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump
to make one pan a vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?”
Secondly, that “God has been pleased to exercise this right in dealing with

Psalm 147:20 — “He hath not dealt so with any nation; And as for his
ordinances, they have not known them”;

Romans 3:1, 2 — “What
advantage then hath the Jew? or what is the profit of circumcision? Much
every way: first of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God”;

John 15:16 — “Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed
you, that ye should go and bear fruit”;

Acts 9:15 — “he is a chosen
vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the
children of Israel.”.7
Thirdly, that “God has some other reason than that of saving as many as
possible for the way in which he distributes his grace.”

Matthew 11:21 — Tyre and Sidon “would have repented,” if they had
had the grace bestowed upon Chorazin and Bethsaida;

Romans 9:22-
25 — “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power
known, endured with much longsuffering vessels of wrath fitted unto
destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory upon
vessels of mercy, which he afore prepared unto glory?”
The Scripture passages, which directly or indirectly support the doctrine of
a particular election of individual men to salvation, may be arranged as
(a) Direct statements of God’s purpose to save certain individuals:
Jesus speaks of God’s elect, as for example in

Mark 13:27 — “then
shall he send forth the angels, and shall gather together his elect”;

Luke 18:7 — “shall not God avenge his elect, that cry to him day and

Acts 13:48 — “as many as were ordained tetagmenoi to eternal life
believed” — here Whedon translates: “disposed unto eternal life,”
referring to kathrtisme>na in verse 23, where “fitted” “fitted
themselves.” The only instance, however, where ta>ssw is used in a
middle sense is in

1 Corinthians 16:15 — set themselves”; but there
the object, eJautou>v, is expressed. Here we must compare

13:1 — “the powers that be are ordained tetagme>nai of God “; see also

Acts 10:42 — “this is he who is ordained wJrisme>nov of God to be
the Judge of the living and the dead.”

Romans 9:11-16 — “for the children being not yet born, neither
having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to
election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth…I will have
mercy upon whom I have mercy…So then it is not of him that willeth, nor
of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy”;

Ephesians 1:4, 5, 9,
11 — “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, [not because
we were, or were to be, holy, but] that we should be holy and without
blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons
through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his
will…the mystery of his will, according to ha good pleasure…in whom
also we were made a heritage having been foreordained according to the
purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will”;

Colossians 3:12 — “Gods elect”; 2Thess. 2:13 — “God chose you.8
from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief
of the truth.”
(b) In connection with the declaration of God’s foreknowledge of these
persons, or choice to make them objects of his special attention and care:

Romans 8:27-30 — “called according to his purpose. For whom he
foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son”

1 Peter 1:1, 2 — “elect … according to the foreknowledge of God the
Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the
blood of Jesus Christ.” On the passage in Romans, Shedd, in his
Commentary, remarks that “foreknow,” in the Hebraic use, “is more than
simple prescience and something more also than simply ‘to fix the eye
upon,’ or to ‘select.’ It is this latter, but with the additional notion of a
benignant and kindly feeling toward the object.” In

Romans 8:27-30,
Paul is emphasizing the divine sovereignty. The Christian life is
considered from the side of the divine care and ordering, and not from the
side of human choice and volition. Alexander, Theories of the Will, 87, 88
— “If Paul is here advocating indeterminism, it is strange that in chanter
9 he should be at pains to answer objections to determinism. The apostle’s
protest in chapter 9 is not against pre — destination and determination,
but against the man who regards such a theory as impugning the
righteousness of God.”
That the word “know,” in Scripture, frequently means not merely to
“apprehend intellectually,” but to “regard with favor,” to “make an object
of care,” is evident from

Gen. 18:19 — “I have known him, to the end
that he may command his children and his household after him, that they
may keep thy way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice”;

Exodus 2:25 — “And God saw the children of Israel, and God took
knowledge of them” cf. verse 24 — “God heard their groaning, and God
remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob”;

Psalm 1:6 — “For Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous; But the
way of the wicked snail perish”; 101:4, margin — “I will know no evil

Hosea 13:5 — “I did know thee in the wilderness in the land
of great drought. According to their pasture, so were they filled”;

Nahum 1:7 — “he knoweth them that take revenge in him”;

3:2 — “You only have I known of all the families of the earth”;

Matthew 7:23 — “then will I profess unto them, I never knew you”;

Romans 7:15 — “For that which I do I know not”;

1 Corinthians
8:3 — “if any man loveth God, the same is known by him”;

4:9 — “now that ye have come to know God, or rather, to he known by
God”; 1 Thess. 5:12,13 — “we beseech you, brethren, to know them that.9
labor among you, and are over you n the Lord, and admonish you; and to
esteem them exceeding highly in love for their work’s sake.” So the word

Romans 11:2 — “God did not cast off his people whom
he foreknew”;

1 Peter 1:20 — Christ, “who was foreknown indeed
before the foundation of the world.”
Broadus on

Matthew 7:23 — “I never knew you” — says; “Not in all
the passages quoted above nor elsewhere, is there occasion for the oft-repeated
arbitrary notion, derived from the Fathers, that ‘know’ conveys
the additional idea of approve or regard. It denotes acquaintance with all
its pleasures and advantages; ‘knew,’ i.e., as mine, as my people.”
But this last admission seems to grant what Broadus had before denied.
See Thayer, Lex. N. T., on ginw>skw: “With acc. of person, to recognize
as worthy of intimacy and love; so those whom God has judged worthy of
the blessings of the gospel are said uJposkesqai (

Corinthians 8:3;

Galatians 4:9); negatively in the sentence of Christ:
oujde>pote e]gnwn uJmav, “I never knew you,” “never had any
acquaintance with you.” On proginw>skw,

Romans 8:29 — ou}v
proe>gnw, “whom he foreknew,” see Denney, in Expositor’s Greek
Testament, in loco: “Those whom he foreknew — in what sense? As
persons who would answer his love with love? This is at least irrelevant
and alien to Paul’s general method of thought. That salvation begins with
God and begins in eternity are fundamental ideas with him, which he here
applies to Christians without raising any of the problems involved in the
relation of the human will to the divine. Yet we may be sure that
proe>gnw has the pregnant sense that ginw>skw often has in Scripture.
e.g., in

Psalm 1:6;

Amos 3:2; hence we may render: ‘those of
whom God took knowledge from eternity (Ephesiansl:4).’”

Romans 8:28-30, quoted above, “foreknew” = elected — that is,
made certain individuals, in the future, the objects of his love and care;
“foreordained” describes God’s designation of these same individuals to
receive the special gift of salvation. In other words, “foreknowledge” is of
persons and “foreordination” is of blessings to be bestowed upon them.
Hooker, Eccl. Pol., appendix to book v, (vol. 2:751) — “‘whom he did
foreknow’ (know before as his own, with determination to be forever
merciful to them) ‘he also predestinated to be conformed to the image of
his son’ — predestinated, not to opportunity of conformation, but to
conformation itself.” So, for substance, Calvin, Ruckert, DeWette, Stuart,
Jowett, Vaughan. On

1 Peter 1:1, 2 see Com. of Plumptre. The
Arminian interpretation of “whom he foreknew” (

Romans 8:29) would
require the phrase “as conformed to the image of his Son” to be conjoined.10
with it. Paul, however, makes conformity to Christ to be the result, not the
foreseen condition, of God’s foreordination; see Commentaries of Hodge
and Lange
(c) With assertions that this choice is matter of grace, or unmerited favor,
bestowed in eternity past:

Ephesians 1:5-8 — “foreordained…according to the good pleasure of
his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed
on us in the Beloved… according to the riches of his grace”; 2:8 — “by
grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is
the gift of God” — here “and that” (neuter tou~to, verse 8) refers, not to
“fall” but to “salvation.” But faith is elsewhere represented as having its
source in God, see page 782, (k).

2 Timothy 1:9 — “his own purpose
and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal.”
Election is not because of our merit. McLaren: “God’s own mercy, which
is spontaneous, undeserved and condescending, moved him. God is his
own motive. His love is not drawn out by our “loveableness” but wells up,
like an artesian Spring, from the depths of his nature.’’
(d) That the Father has given certain persons to the Son, to be his peculiar

John 6:37 — “All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto
me”; 17:2 — “that whatsoever thou hast given him, to them he should
give eternal life”; 6 — “I manifested thy name unto the men whom thou
gavest me out of the ‘world: thine they were, and thou gave them to me”;
9 — “I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou but given me;

Ephesians 1:14 — “unto the redemption of God’s own possession”;

1 Peter 2:9 — “a people for God’s own possession.”
(e) That the fact of believers being united thus to Christ is due wholly to

John 6:44 — “No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me
draw him”; 10:26 “ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep”:

Corinthians 1:30 — “of him [God] are ye in Christ Jesus” = your being,
as Christians, in union with Christ, is due wholly to God.
(f) That those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and they only,
shall be saved:

Philippians 4:3 — “the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in
the book of life”; Revelations 20:15 — “And if any was not found written.11
in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire”; 21:27 — “there shall
in no wise enter into it anything unclean…but only they that are written in
the Lamb’s book of life” God’s decrees of electing grace in Christ.
(g) That these are allotted, as disciples, to certain of God’s servants:

Acts 17:4 (literally) — “some of them were persuaded, and were
allotted [by God] to Paul and Silas” — as disciples (so Meyer and
Grimm); 18:9, 10 — “Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace: for
I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee: for I have much
people in this city.”
(h) Are made the recipients of a special call of God:

Romans 8:28, 30 — “called according to his purpose whom he
foreordained, them he also called”; 9:23, 24 — “vessels of mercy, which
he afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he also called, not from the
Jews only, but also from the Gentiles”; 11:29 — “for the gifts and the
calling of God are not repented of”;

1 Corinthians 1:24-29 — “unto
them that are called…Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of
God…For behold your calling, brethren…the things that are despised, did
God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to naught
the things that are: that no flesh should glory before God”;

1:15, 16 — “when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me,
even from my mothers womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal
his Son in me”; cf.

James 2:23 — “and he [Abraham] was called [to
be] the friend of God.”
(i) Are born into God’s kingdom, not by virtue of man’s will, but of God’s

John 1:13 — “born, not of Wood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of
the will of man, but of God”;

James 1:18 — “Of his own will he
brought us forth by the word of truth”

1 John 4:10 — “Herein is love,
not that we loved God, but that he loved us.” SS Times, Oct. 14, 1899 —
“The law of love is the expression of God’s loving nature, and it is only
by our participation of the divine nature that we are enabled to render it
obedience. ‘Loving God,’ says Bushnell, ‘is but letting God love us.’ So
John’s great saying may be rendered in the present tense: ‘not that we love
God, but that he loves us.’ Or, as Madame Guyon sings: ‘I love my God,
but with no love of mine, For I have none to give; I love thee, Lord, but all
the love is thine, For by thy life I live’.”
(j) Receiving repentance, as the gift of God:.12

Acts 5:31 — “Him did God exalt with his right hand to be a Prince
and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins”; 11:18
— “Then to the Gentiles also hath God granted repentance unto life”;

2 Timothy 2:25 — “correcting them that oppose themselves; if
peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the
truth.” Of course it is true that God might give repentance simply by
inducing man to repent by the agency of his word, his providence and his
Spirit. But more than this seems to be meant when the Psalmist prays:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me”

Psalm 51:10).
(k) Faith, as the gift of God:

John 6:65 — “no man can come unto me, except it be given unto him
of the Father”;

Acts 15:8, 9 — “God…giving them the Holy
Spirit…cleansing their hearts by faith”; Romans l2:3 — “according as
God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith”;

1 Corinthians 12:9 —
“to another faith, in the same Spirit”;

Galatians 5:22 — “the fruit of
the Spirit is…faith” (A.V.);

Philippians 2:13 In all faith, “it is God
who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure”;

Ephesians 6:23 — “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from
God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”

John 3:8 — “The Spirit
breatheth where he wills, and thou [as a consequence] hearest his voice”
(so Bengel); see A. J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 166;

Corinthians 12:3 — “No man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy
Spirit — but calling Jesus “Lord” is an essential part of faith and faith,
therefore, is the work of the Holy Spirit;

Titus 1:1 — “the faith of
God’s elect” = election is not in consequence of faith, but faith is in
consequence of election (Ellicott). If they get their faith of themselves,
then salvation is not due to grace. If God gave the faith, then it was in his
purpose, and this is election.
(1) Holiness and good works, as the gift of God:

Ephesians 1:4 — “chose us in him before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy”; 2:9, 10 — “not of works, that no man should
glory. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good
works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them”;

Peter 1:2 — elect “unto obedience.” On Scripture testimony, see Hovey,
Manual of Theol. and Ethics, 258-261; also art. on Predestination, by
Warfield, in Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible..13
These passages furnish an abundant and conclusive refutation, on the one
hand, of the Lutheran view that election is simply God’s determination
from eternity to provide an objective salvation for universal humanity and,
on the other hand, of the Arminian view that election is God’s
determination from eternity to save certain individuals upon the ground of
their foreseen faith.
Roughly stated, we may say that Schleiermacher elects all men
subjectively, Lutherans elect all men objectively, Arminians elect all
believers, Augustinians elect all foreknown as God’s own. Schleiermacher
held that decree logically precedes foreknowledge and that election is
individual, not national. But he made election to include all men, the only
difference between them being that of earlier or of later conversion. Thus,
in his system, Calvinism and Restorationism go hand in hand. Murray, in
Hastings’ Bible Dictionary, seems to take this view.
Lutheranism is the assertion that original grace preceded original sin and
that the Quia Voluit of Tertullian and of Calvin was based on wisdom in
Christ. The Lutheran holds that the believer is simply the non-resistant
subject of common grace while the Arminian holds that the believer is the
cooperant subject of common grace. Lutheranism enters more fully than
Calvinism into the nature of faith. It thinks more of the human agency,
while Calvinism thinks more of the divine purpose. It thinks more of the
church, while Calvinism thinks more of Scripture. The Arminian
conception is that God has appointed men to salvation, just as he has
appointed them to condemnation, in view of their dispositions and acts. As
Justification is in view of present faith, so the Arminian regards Election
as taking place in view of future faith. Arminianism must reject the
doctrine of regeneration as well as that of election, and must in both cases
make the act of man precede the act of God.
All varieties of view may be found upon this subject among theologians.
John Milton, in his Christian Doctrine, holds that “there is no particular
predestination or election, but only general…here can be no reprobation of
individuals from all eternity.” Archbishop Sumner: “Election is
predestination of communities and nations to external knowledge and to
the privileges of the gospel.” Archbishop Whately: “Election is the choice
of individual men to membership in the external church and the means of
grace.” Gore, in Lux Mundi, 320 — “The elect represent not the special
purpose of God for a few, but the universal purpose which under the
circumstances can only be realized through a few.” R. V. Foster, a
Cumberland Presbyterian opposed to absolute predestination, says in his.14
Systematic Theology that the divine decree “is unconditional in its origin
and conditional in its application.”
B. From Reason.
(a) What God does, he has eternally purposed to do. Since he bestows
special regenerating grace on some, he must have eternally purposed to
bestow it, in other words, must have chosen them to eternal life. Thus the
doctrine of election is only a special application of the doctrine of decrees.
The New Haven views are essentially Arminian. See Fitch, on
Predestination and Election, in Christian Spectator, 3:622 — “God’s
foreknowledge of what would be the results of his present works of grace
preceded in the order of nature the purpose to pursue those works and
presented the grounds of that purpose. Whom he foreknew — as the
people who would be guided to his kingdom by his present works of
grace, in which result lay the whole objective motive for undertaking those
works — he did also, by resolving on those works, predestinate.” Here
God is very erroneously said to foreknow what is as yet included in a
merely possible plan. As we have seen in our discussion of Decrees, there
can be no foreknowledge, unless there is something fixed, in the future, to
be foreknown and this fixity can be due only to God’s predetermination.
So, in the present case, election must precede prescience.
The New Haven views are also given in N. W. Taylor, Revealed
Theology, 373-444; for criticism upon them, see Tyler, Letters on New
Haven Theology, 172-180. If God desired the salvation of Judas as much
as of Peter, how was Peter elected in distinction from Judas? To the
question, “Who made thee to differ?” the answer must be, “Not God, but
my own will.” See Finney, in Bibliotheca Sacra, 1877:711 — “God must
have foreknown whom he could wisely save, prior in the order of nature
to his determining to save them. But his knowing who would be saved
must have been, in the order of nature, subsequent to his election or
determination to save them and dependent upon that determination.”
Foster, Christian Life and Theology, 70 — “The doctrine of elections the
consistent formulation, sub specie eternitatis, of prevenient grace… 86 —
With the doctrine of prevenient grace, the evangelical doctrine stands or
(b) This purpose cannot be conditioned upon any merit or faith of those
who are chosen, since there is no such merit, faith, itself being God’s gift
and foreordained by him. Since man’s faith is foreseen only as the result of
God’s work of grace, election proceeds rather upon foreseen unbelief..15
Faith, as the effect of election, cannot at the same time be the cause of
There is an analogy between prayer and its answer, on the one hand and
faith and salvation on the other. God has decreed answer in connection
with prayer and salvation in connection with faith. But he does not change
his mind when men pray or when they believe. As he fulfills his purpose
by inspiring true prayer so he fulfills his purpose by giving faith.
Augustine: “He chooses us, not because we believe, but that we may
believe: lest we should say that we first chose him.” (

John 15:16 —
“Ye did not choose me, but I chose you”;

Romans 9:21 — “from the
same lump; 16 — “not of him that willeth”).
Here see the valuable discussion of Wardlaw, Systematic Theol., 2:485-
549 — “Election and salvation on the ground of works foreseen are not
different in principle from election and salvation on the ground of works
performed.” Cf.

Proverbs 21:1 — “The kings heart is in the hand of
Jehovah as the watercourses; He turneth it whithersoever he will” — as
easily as the rivulets of the eastern fields are turned by the slightest
motion of the hand or the foot of the husbandman

Psalm 110:3 —
“Thy people offer themselves willingly In the day of thy power.”
(c) The depravity of the human will is such that, without this decree to
bestow special divine influences upon some, all, without exception, would
have rejected Christ’s salvation after it was offered to them and so all, with
out exception, must have perished. Election, therefore, may be viewed as a
necessary consequence of God’s decree to provide an objective
redemption, if that redemption is to have any subjective result in human
Before the prodigal son seeks the father, the father must first seek him, a
truth brought out in the preceding parables of the lost money and the lost
sheep (Luke 15). Without election, all are lost. Newman Smyth, Orthodox
Theology of Today, 56 — “The worst doctrine of election, today, is
taught by our natural science. The scientific doctrine of natural selection
is the doctrine of election, robbed of all hope, and without a single touch
of human pity in it.”
Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:335 — “Suppose the deistic view be true:
God created men and left them; surely no man could complain of the
results. But now suppose God, forseeing these very results of creation,
should create. Would it make any difference, if God’s purpose, as to the.16
futurition of such a world, should precede it? Augustine supposes that
God did purpose such a world as the deist supposes, with two exceptions:
(1) He interposes to restrain evil.
(2) He intervenes, by providence, by Christ, and by the Holy Spirit, to save
some from destruction.” Election is simply God’s determination that the
sufferings of Christ shall not be in vain, that all men shall not be lost that
some shall be led to accept Christ, that to this end special influences of his
Spirit shall be given.
At first sight it might appear that God’s appointing men to salvation was
simply permissive, as was his appointment to condemnation (

1 Peter
2:8), and that this appointment was merely indirect by creating them with
foresight of their faith or their disobedience. But the decree of salvation is
not simply permissive, it is efficient also. It is a decree to use special
means for the salvation of some. A. A. Hodge, Popular Lectures, 143 —
“The dead man cannot spontaneously originate his own quickening nor the
creature his own creating nor the infant his own begetting. Whatever man
may do after regeneration, the first quickening of the dead must originate
with God.”
Hovey, Manual of Theology, 257 — “Calvinism, reduced to its lowest
terms, is election of believers. It is not on account of any foreseen conduct
of theirs, either before or in the act of conversion, which would be
spiritually better than that of others influenced by the same grace. It is on
account of their foreseen greater usefulness in manifesting the glory of
God to moral beings and of their foreseen non-commission of the sin
against the Holy Spirit.” But even here we must attribute the greater
usefulness and the abstention from fatal sin, not to man’s unaided powers
but to the divine decree: see

Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore
prepared that we should walk in them.”
(d) The doctrine of election becomes more acceptable to reason when we
remember first, that God’s decree is eternal, and in a certain sense is
contemporaneous with man’s belief in Christ. Secondly, that God’s decree
to create involves the decree of all that in the exercise of man’s freedom
will follow. Thirdly, that God’s decree is the decree of him who is all in all,
so that our willing and doing is at the same time the working of him who
decrees our willing and doing. The whole question turns upon the initiative
in human salvation; if this belongs to God, then in spite of difficulties we
must accept the doctrine of election..17
The timeless existence of God may be the source of many of our
difficulties with regard to election, and with a proper view of God’s
eternity these difficulties might be removed. Mason, Faith of the Gospel,
349-351 — “Eternity is commonly thought of as if it were a state or series
anterior to time and to be resumed again when time comes to an end. This,
however, only reduces eternity to time again, and puts the life of God in
the same line with our own, only coming from further back. At present we
do not see how time and eternity meet.
Royce, World and Individual, 2:374 — “God does not temporally
foreknow anything, except so far as he is expressed in us finite beings.
The knowledge that exists in time is the knowledge that finite beings
possess, in so far as they are finite beings. And no such foreknowledge
can predict the special features of individual deeds precisely so far as they
are unique. Foreknowledge of time is possible only of the general, and of
the causally predetermined, and not of the unique and free. Hence neither
God nor man can foreknow perfectly, at any temporal moment, what a
free will agent is yet to do. On the other hand, the Absolute possesses a
perfect knowledge at one glance of the whole of the temporal order, past,
present and future. This knowledge is ill called foreknowledge. It is
eternal knowledge. And as there is an eternal knowledge of all
individuality and of all freedom, free acts are known as occurring, like the
chords in the musical succession, precisely when and how they actually
occur.” While we see much truth its the preceding statement, we find in it
no bar to our faith that God can translate his eternal knowledge into finite
knowledge and can thus put it for special purposes in possession of his
E. H. Johnson, Theology, 2d ed., 250 — “Foreknowing what his creatures
would do, God decreed their destiny when he decreed their creation and
this would still be the case, although every man had the partial control
over his destiny that Arminians aver, or even the complete control that
Pelagians claim. The decree is as absolute as if there were no freedom,
but it leaves them as free as if there were no decree.” A. H. Strong, Christ
in Creation, 40, 42 — “As the Logos or divine Reason, Christ dwells in
humanity everywhere and constitutes the principle of its being. Humanity
shares with Christ in the image of God. That image is never wholly lost. It
is completely restored in sinners when the Spirit of Christ secures control
of their wills and leads them to merge their life in his. If Christ is the
principle and life of all things, then divine sovereignty and human
freedom, if they are not absolutely reconciled, at least lose their ancient
antagonism. We can rationally ‘work out our own salvation’ for the very.18
reason that ‘it is God that worketh in us, both to will and to work, for his
good pleasure’ (

Philippians 2:12, 13).”
2. Objections to the Doctrine of Election
(a) It is unjust to those who are not included in this purpose of salvation.
Answer: Election deals, not simply with creatures, but with sinful, guilty
and condemned creatures. That any should be saved, is matter of pure
grace, and those who are not included in this purpose of salvation suffer
only the due reward of their deeds. There is, therefore, no injustice in
God’s election. We may better praise God that he saves any, than charge
him with injustice because he saves so few.
God can say to all men, saved or unsaved, “Friend, I do thee no wrong…Is
it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?” (

20:13, 15). The question is not whether a father will treat his children
alike, but whether a sovereign must treat condemned rebels alike. It is not
true that, because the Governor pardons one convict from the penitentiary,
he must therefore pardon all. When he pardons one, no injury is done to
those who are left. But, in God’s government, there is still less reason for
objection for God offers pardon to all. Nothing prevents men from being
pardoned but their unwillingness to accept his pardon. Election is simply
God’s determination to make certain persons willing to accept in. Because
justice cannot save all, shall it therefore save none?
Augustine, De Predest. Sanct., 8 — “Why does not God teach all?
Because it is in mercy that he teaches all whom he does teach, while it is
in judgment that he does not teach those whom he does not teach.” In his
Manual of Theology and Ethics, 260, Hovey remarks that

9:20 — “who art thou that repliest against God?” — teaches not that
might makes right but that God is morally entitled to glorify either his
righteousness or his mercy in disposing of a guilty race. It is not that he
chooses to save only a few shipwrecked and drowning creatures but that
he chooses to save only a part of a great company who are bent on
committing suicide.

Proverbs 8:36 — “he that sinneth against me
wrongeth his own soul: All they that hate me love death.” It is best for the
universe at large that some should be permitted to have their own way and
show how dreadful a thing is opposition to God. See Shedd, Dogmatic
Theology, 1:455.
(b) It represents God as partial in his dealings and a respecter of persons.
Answer: Since there is nothing in men that determines God’s choice of one
rather than another, the objection is invalid. It would equally apply to.19
God’s selection of certain nations, as Israel, and certain individuals, as
Cyrus, to be recipients of special temporal gifts. If God is not to be
regarded as partial in not providing a salvation for fallen angels, he cannot
be regarded as partial in not providing regenerating influences of his Spirit
for the whole race of fallen men.

Psalm 44:3 — “For they got not the land in possession by their own
sword, Neither did their own arm save them; But thy right hand, and thine
arm, and the light of thy countenance, Because thou wast favorable unto

Isaiah 45:1, 4, 5 — “Thus saith Jehovah to his anointed, to
Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him…For
Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel my chosen, I have called thee by thy
name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me”;

4:25 — “There were many widows in Israel…and unto none of them was
Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, unto a woman that
was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel…and none of them
was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian”;

1 Corinthians 4:7 —
“For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not
receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst
not received it?”

2 Peter 2:4 — “God spared not angels when they
sinned, but cast them down to hell”;

Hebrews 2:16 — “For verily not
to angels doth he give help, but he giveth help to the seed of Abraham.”
Is God partial, in choosing Israel, Cyrus, Naaman? Is God partial, in
bestowing upon some of his servants special ministerial gifts? Is God
partial, in not providing a salvation for fallen angels? In God’s
providence, one man is born in a Christian land, the son of a noble family
is endowed with beauty of person, splendid talents, exalted opportunities
and immense wealth. Another is born at the Five Points, or among the
Hottentots, amid the degradation and depravity of actual or practical
heathenism. We feel that it is irreverent to complain of God’s dealings in
providence. What rights have sinners to complain of God’s dealings in the
distribution of his grace? Hovey: “We have no reason to think that God
treats all moral beings alike. We should be glad to hear that other races
are treated better than we.”
Divine election is only the ethical side and interpretation of natural
selection. In the latter God chooses certain forms of the vegetable and
animal kingdom without merit of’ theirs. They are preserved while others
die. In the matter of individual health, talent or property, one is taken and
the other left. If we call all this the result of system, the reply is that God
chose the system, knowing precisely what would come of it. Bruce,
Apologetics, 201 — “Election to distinction in philosophy or art is not.20
incomprehensible, for these are not matters of vital concern but election to
holiness on the part of some, and to that which is unholy on the part of
others, would be inconsistent with God’s own holiness.” But there is no
such election, to that which is unholy, except on the part of man himself.
God’s election secures only the good. See (c) below.
J. J. Murphy, Natural Selection and Spiritual Freedom, 73 — “The world
is ordered on a basis of inequality. In the organic world, as Darwin has
shown, it is of inequality — of favored races — that all progress comes;
history shows the same to be true of the human and spiritual world. All
human progress is due to elect human individuals, elect not only to be a
blessing to themselves, but still more to be a blessing to multitudes of
others. Any superiority, whether in the natural or in the mental and
spiritual world, becomes a vantage-ground for gaining a greater
superiority. It is the method of the divine government, acting in the
provinces both of nature and of grace, that all benefit should come to the
many through the elect few.”
(c) It represents God as arbitrary. Answer: It represents God, not as
arbitrary, but as exercising the free choice of a wise and sovereign will, in
ways and for reasons which are inscrutable to us. To deny the possibility of
such a choice is to deny God’s personality. To deny that God has reasons
for his choice is to deny his wisdom. The doctrine of election finds these
reasons, not in men, but in God.
When a regiment is decimated for insubordination, the fact that every
tenth man is chosen for death is for reasons, but the reasons are not in the
men. In one case, the reason for God’s choice seems revealed:

Timothy 1:16 — “howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as
chief might Jesus Christ show forth all his longsuffering” for an ensample
of them that should thereafter believe on him unto eternal life” — here
Paul indicates that the reason why God chose him was that he was so
great a sinner: verse 15 — “Christ Jesus came into the world to save
sinners; of whom I am chief.” Hovey remarks that “the uses to which God
can put men, as vessels of grace may determine his selection of them.”
But since the naturally weak are saved, as well as the naturally strong, we
cannot draw any general conclusion, or discern any general rule, in Gods
dealings. In election, God seeks to illustrate the greatness and the variety
of his grace, the reasons lying, therefore, not in men, but in God. We must
remember that God’s sovereignty is the sovereignty of God — the
infinitely wise, holy and loving God, in whose hands the destinies of men
can be left more safely than in the hands of the wisest, most just and most
kind of his creatures..21
We must believe in the grace of sovereignty as well as in the sovereignty
of grace. Election and reprobation are not matters of arbitrary will. God
saves all of those he can wisely save. He will show benevolence in the
salvation of mankind just so far as he can without prejudice to holiness.
No man can be saved without God, but it is also true that there is no man
whom God is not willing to save. H. B. Smith, System, 511 — “It may be
that many of the finally impenitent resist more light than many of the
saved.” Harris, Moral Evolution, 401 (for substance) — “Sovereignty is
not lost in Fatherhood, but is recovered as the divine law of righteous
love. Doubtless thou art our Father, though Augustine be ignorant of us
and Calvin acknowledge us not.” Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity, 1:2 —
“They err who think that of God’s will there is no reason except his will.”
T. Erskine, The Brazen Serpent, 259 — Sovereignty is “just a name for
what is unrevealed of God.”
We do not know all of God’s reasons for saving particular men, but we do
know some of time reasons, for he has revealed them to us. These reasons
are not men’s merits or works. We have mentioned the first of these
(1) Men’s greater sin and need

1 Timothy 1:16 — “that in me as chief
might Jesus Christ show forth all his longsuffering.” We may add to this:
(2) The fact that men have not sinned against the Holy Spirit and made
themselves unreceptive to Christ’s salvation;

1 Timothy 1:13 — “I
obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” = the fact that Paul
had not sinned with full knowledge of what he did was a reason why God
could choose him.
(3) Men’s ability by the help of Christ to be witnesses and martyrs for
their Lord.

Acts 9:15, 16 — “he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear
my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel: for I
will show him how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” As
Paul’s mission to the Gentiles may have determined God’s choice, so
Augustine’s mission to the sensual and abandoned may have had the same
influence. If Paul’s sins, as foreseen, constituted one reason why God
chose to save him, why might not his ability to serve the kingdom have
constituted another reason? We add therefore:
(4) Men’s foreseen ability to serve Christ’s kingdom in bringing others to the
knowledge of the truth.

John 15:16 — “I chose you and appointed you,
that ye should go and bear fruit.” Notice however that this is choice to service
and not simply choice on account of service. In all these cases the reasons do.22
not lie in the men themselves, for what these men are and what they possess is
due to God’s providence and grace.
(d) It tends to immorality, by representing men’s salvation as independent
of their own obedience. Answer: The objection ignores the fact that the
salvation of believers is ordained only in connection with their
regeneration and sanctification, as means and that the certainty of final
triumph is the strongest incentive to strenuous conflict with sin.
Plutarch: “God is the brave man’s hope and not the coward’s excuse.”
The purposes of God are an anchor to the storm-tossed spirit. But a ship
needs engine, as well as anchor. God does not elect to save any without
repentance and faith. Some hold the doctrine of election but the doctrine
of election does not hold them. Such should ponder

1 Peter 1:2, in
which Christians are said to be elect, “in sanctification of the Spirit, unto
obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
Augustine: “He loved her [the church] foul, that he might make her fair”
Dr. John Watson (Ian McLaren): “The greatest reinforcement religion
could have in our time would be a return to the ancient belief in time
sovereignty of God.” This is because there is lack of a strong conviction
of sin, guilt and helplessness, still remaining pride and unwillingness to
submit to God, imperfect faith in God’s trustworthiness and goodness. We
must not exclude Arminians from our fellowship — there are too many
good Methodists for that. But we may maintain that they hold but half the
truth and that absence of the doctrine of election from their creed makes
preaching less serious and character less secure.
(e) It inspires pride in those who think themselves elect. Answer: This is
possible only in the case of those who pervert the doctrine. On the
contrary, its proper influence is to humble men. Those who exalt
themselves above others, upon the ground that they are special favorites of
God, have reason to question their election.
In the novel, there was great effectiveness in the lover’s plea to the object
of his affection; he had loved since he had first set his eves upon her in her
childhood. But God’s love for us is of longer standing than that. It dates
back to a time before we were born, aye, even to eternity past. It is a love,
which was fastened upon us although God knew the worst of us. It is
unchanging, because founded upon his infinite eternal love to Christ.

Jeremiah 31:3 — “Jehovah appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I
have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness
have I drawn thee”;

Romans 8:31-39 — “If God is for us, who is.23
against us?….Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” And the
answer is, that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This eternal love subdues and

Psalm 115:1 — “Not unto us, O Jehovah, not unto us, But
unto thy name give glory For thy loving kindness, and for thy truth’s
Of the effect of the doctrine of election, Calvin, in his Institutes, 3:22:1,
remarks that “when the human mind hears of it, its irritation breaks all
restraint, and it discovers as serious and violent agitation as if alarmed by
the sound of a martial trumpet.” The cause of this agitation is the
apprehension of the fact that one is an enemy of God and yet absolutely
dependent upon his mercy. This apprehension leads normally to
submission. But the conquered rebel can give no thanks to himself, all
thanks are due to God who has chosen and renewed him. The affections
elicited are not those of pride and self-complacency but of gratitude and
Christian hymnology witnesses to these effects. Isaac Watts (1748):
“Why was I made to hear thy voice And enter while there’s room, When
thousands make a wretched choice, And rather starve than come. ‘T was
time same love that spread the feast That sweetly forced me in; Else I had
still refused to taste, And perished in my sin. Pity the nations, O our God!
Constrain the earth to come; Send thy victorious word abroad. And bring
the wanderers home.” Josiah Conder (1855): “‘T is not that I did choose
thee, For, Lord, that could not be; This heart would still refuse thee; But
thou hast chosen me; — Hast, from the sin that stained me, Washed me
and set me free, And to this end ordained me That I should live to thee. ‘T
was sovereign mercy called me, And taught my opening mind; The world
had else enthralled me, To heavenly glories blind. My heart owns none
above thee: For thy rich grace I thirst; This knowing, — if I love thee,
Thou must have loved me first.”
(f) It discourages effort for the salvation of the impenitent, whether on his
own part or on the part of others. Answer: Since it is a secret decree, it
cannot hinder or discourage such effort. On the other hand, it is a ground
of encouragement, and so a stimulus to effort; for without election, it is
certain that all would be lost (cf.

Acts 18:10). “While it humbles the
sinner, so that he is willing to cry for mercy, it encourages him also by
showing him that some will be saved and (since election and faith are
inseparably connected) that he will be saved, if he will only believe. While
it makes the Christian feel entirely dependent on God’s power in his efforts.24
for the impenitent, it leads him to say with Paul that he “endures all things
for the elects’ sake, that they also may attain the salvation that is in Christ
Jesus with eternal glory” (

2 Timothy 2:10).
God’s decree that Paul’s ship’s company should be saved (

Acts 27:24)
did not obviate the necessity of their abiding in the ship (verse 31). In
marriage, man’s election does not exclude woman’s election and so God’s
election does not exclude man’s. There is just as much need of effort as if
there were no election. Hence the question for the sinner is not “Am I one
of the elect” but rather “What shall I do to be saved?” Milton represents
the spirits of hell as debating foreknowledge and free will, in wandering
mazes lost.
No man is saved until he ceases to debate, and begins to act. And yet no
man will thus begin to act, unless God’s Spirit moves him. The Lord
encouraged Paul by saying to him: “I have much people in this city”

Acts 18:10) — people whom I will bring in through thy word. “Old
Adam is too strong for young Melanchthon.” If God does not regenerate,
there is no hope of success in preaching: “God stands powerless before
the majesty of man’s lordly will. Sinners have the glory of their own
salvation. To pray God to convert a man is absurd. God elects the man
because he foresees that the man will elect himself” (see S. R. Mason,
Truth Unfolded, 298-307). The doctrine of election does indeed cut off the
hopes of those who place confidence in themselves, but it is best that such
hopes should be destroyed and that in place of them should he put a hope
in the sovereign grace of God. The doctrine of election does teach man’s
absolute dependence upon God and the impossibility of any
disappointment or disarrangement of the divine plans arising from the
disobedience of the sinner, and it humbles human pride until it is willing
to take the place of a suppliant for mercy.
Rowland Hill was criticized for preaching election and yet exhorting
sinners to repent and was told that be should preach only to the elect. He
replied that, if his critic would put a chalk-mark on all the elect, he would
preach only to them. But this is not the whole truth. We are not only
ignorant of those who are God’s elect but, we are set to preach to both the
elect and non-elect. (

Ezekiel 2:7 — “Thou shalt speak my words unto
them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.”) We preach
with the certainty that to the former our preaching will make a higher
heaven, to the latter a deeper hell. (2 Corinthians 15, 16 — “For we are a
sweet savor of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that
perish; to the one a savor from death unto death; to the other a savor from
life unto life”; cf.

Luke 2:34 — “this child is set for the falling and the.25
rising of may in Israel” = for the falling of some and for the rising up of
Jesus’ own thanksgiving in

Matthew 11:25, 26 — “I thank thee, O
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from
the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes: yea, Father,
for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight” — is immediately followed by his
invitation in verse 28 — “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest.” There is no contradiction in his mind
between sovereign grace and the free invitations of the gospel.
G. W. Northrup, in The Standard, Sept. 19, 1889 —
“1. God will save every one that he can of the human race and remain
2. Every member of the race has a full and fair probation, so that all
might be saved and would be saved were they to use aright the light which
they already have.”…(Private letter): “Limitations of God in the
bestowment of salvation:
1. In the power of God in relation to free will.
2. In the benevolence of God which requires the greatest good of creation,
or the greatest aggregate good of the greatest number.
3.In the purpose of God to make the most perfect self-limitation.
4. In the sovereignty of God, as a prerogative absolutely optional in its
5. In the holiness of God, which involves immutable limitations on his
part in dealing with moral agents. Nothing but some absolute
impossibility, metaphysical or moral, could have prevented him ‘whose
nature and whose name is love’ from decreeing and securing the
confirmation of all moral agents in holiness and blessedness forever.”
(g) The decree of election implies a decree of reprobation. Answer: The
decree of reprobation is not a positive decree like that of election but a
permissive decree to leave the sinner to his self-chosen rebellion and its
natural consequences of punishment.
Election and sovereignty are only sources of good. Election is not a decree
to destroy; it is a decree only to save. When we elect a President we do
not need to hold a second election to determine that the remaining millions.26
shall be non-Presidents. It is needless to apply contrivance or force.
Sinners, if simply let alone will, like water, run down hill to ruin. The
decree of reprobation is simply a decree to do nothing — a decree to leave
the sinner to himself. The natural result of this judicial forsaking, on the
part of God, is the hardening and destruction of the sinner. But it must not
be forgotten that this hardening and destruction are not due to any positive
efficiency of God, they are a self-hardening and a self-destruction and
God’s judicial forsaking is only the just penalty of the sinner’s guilty
rejection of offered mercy.

Hosea 11:8 — “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?…my heart is
turned within me, my compassions are kindled together”; 4:17 —
“Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone”;

Romans 9:22, 23 —
“What if God, willing to show his wrath and to make his power known,
endured with much longsuffering vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction:
and that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of
mercy, which he afore prepared unto glory” — here notice that “which he
afore prepared” declares a positive divine efficiency, in the case of the
vessels of mercy, while “fitted unto destruction” intimates no such
positive agency of God, the vessels of wrath fitted themselves for

2 Timothy 2:20 — “vessels…some unto honor, and some
unto dishonor”;

1 Peter 2:8 — “they stumble at the word, being
disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed”; Jude 4 — “who were
of old set forth [‘written of beforehand’ — Am. Rev.] unto this

Matthew 25:34, 41 — “the kingdom prepared for
you…the eternal fire which is prepared [not for you nor for men, but] for
the devil and his angels” = there is an election to life, but no reprobation
to death; a “book of life “(Revelations 21:27), but no book of death.
E. G. Robinson, Christian Theology, 313 — “Reprobation, in the sense of
absolute predestination to sin and eternal damnation, is neither a sequence
of the doctrine of election, nor the teaching of the Scriptures.” Men are
not “appointed” to disobedience and stumbling in the same way that they
are “appointed” to salvation. God uses positive means to save, but not to
destroy. Henry Ward Beecher: “The elect are whosoever will, the non-elect
are whosoever won’t” George A. Gordon, New Epoch for Faith, 44
— “Election understood would have been the saving strength of Israel;
election misunderstood was its ruin. The nation felt that the election of it
meant the rejection of other nations. The Christian church has repeated
Israel’s mistake.”
The Westminster Confession reads: “By the decree of God, for the
manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto.27
everlasting life and others to everlasting death. These angels and men,
thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably
designed and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either
increased or diminished. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according
to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or
withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power
over his creatures, to pass by and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath
for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.” This reads as if both the
saved and the lost were made originally for their respective final estates
without respect to character. It is Supralapsarianism. It is certain that the
Supralapsarians were in the majority in the Westminster Assembly and
that they determined the form of the statement, although there were many
Supralapsarians who objected that it was only on account of their
foreseen wickedness that any were reprobated. In its later short statement
of doctrine the Presbyterian body in America has made it plain that God’s
decree of reprobation is a permissive decree and that it places no barrier
in the way of any man’s salvation.
On the general subject of Election, see Mozley, Predestination; Payne,
Divine Sovereignty; Ridgeley, Works, 1:261-324, esp. 322; Edwards,
Works, 2:527 sq.; Van Oosterzee, Dogmatics, 446-458; Martensen,
Dogmatics, 362-382; and especially Wardlaw, Systematic Theology, 485-
549; H. B. Smith, Syst. of Christian Theology, 502-514; Maule, Outlines
of Christian Doctrine, 36-56; Peck, in Bapt. Quar. Rev., Oct. 1891:689-
706. On objections to election, and Spurgeon’s answers to them, see
Williams, Reminiscences of Spurgeon, 189. On the homiletical uses of the
doctrine of election, see Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan. 1893:79-92.
Calling is that act of God by which men are invited to accept, by faith, the
salvation provided by Christ. The Scriptures distinguish between
(a) The general or external call to all men through God’s providence,
word and Spirit.

Isaiah 45:22 — “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the
earth; for I am God, and there is none else”; 55:6 — “Seek ye Jehovah
while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near”; 65:12 —
“when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but ye
did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted

Exodus 33:11 — “As I live saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no
pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way.28
and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O
house of Israel?”

Matthew 11:28 — “Come unto me, all ye that labor
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”; 22:3 — “sent forth his
servants to call them that were bidden to the marriage feast: and they
would not come”;

Mark 16:15 — “Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to the whole creation”;

John 12:32 — “And I, if I be
lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself” — draw, not
drag; Revelations 3:20 — “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any
man hear my voice and open the door; I will come in to him, and will sup
with him, and he with me.”
(b) The special, efficacious call of the Holy Spirit to the elect.

Luke 14:23 — “Go out into the highways and hedges, and constrain
them to come in, that my house may he filled”

Romans 1:17 — “to all
that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and
peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”; 3:30 — “whom he
foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also
justified”; 11:29 — “For the gifts and the calling of God are not repented

1 Corinthians 1:23, 24 — “but we preach Christ crucified, unto
Jews a stumbling block, and unto Gentiles foolishness; but unto them that
are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the
wisdom of God”; 26 — “For behold your calling, brethren, that not many
wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called”;

Philippians 3:14 — “I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the
high [margin ‘upward’] calling of God in Christ Jesus”;

1:18 — “that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches
of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”; 1Thess. 2:12 — “to the end
that ye should walk worthily of God, who calleth you into his own
kingdom and glory”; 2Thess. 2:14 — “whereunto he called you through
our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”;

Timothy 1:9 — “who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not
according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace,
which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal”;

Hebrews 3:1
— “holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling”;

2 Peter 1:10 —
“Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and
election sure.”
Two questions only need special consideration:
A. Is God’s general call sincere?.29
This is denied, upon the ground that such sincerity is incompatible, first,
with the inability of the sinner to obey and secondly, with the design of
God to bestow only upon the elect the special grace without which they
will not obey.
(a) To the first objection we reply that, since this inability is not a physical
but a moral inability, consisting simply in the settled perversity of an evil
will, there can be no insincerity in offering salvation to all, especially when
the offer is in itself a proper motive to obedience.
God’s call to all men to repent and to believe the gospel is no more
insincere than his command to all men to love him with all the heart.
There is no obstacle in the way of men’s obedience to the gospel that does
not exist to prevent their obedience to the law. If it is proper to publish the
commands of the law, it is proper to publish the invitations of the gospel.
A human being may be perfectly sincere in giving an invitation which he
knows will be refused. He may desire to have the invitation accepted,
while yet he may, for certain reasons of justice or personal dignity, be
unwilling to put forth special efforts, aside from the invitation itself, to
secure the acceptance of it on the part of those to whom it is offered. So
God’s desires that certain men should be saved may not be accompanied
by his will to exert special influences to save them.
These desires were meant by the phrase “revealed will” in the old
theologians, his purpose to bestow special grace, by the phrase “secret
will.” It is of the former that Paul speaks, in

1 Timothy 2:4 — “who
would have all men to be saved.” Here we have, not the active sw~sai,
but the passive swqh~nai. The meaning is, not that God purposes to save
all men but that he desires all men to be saved through repenting and
believing the gospel. Hence God’s revealed will, or desire, that all men
should be saved, is perfectly consistent with his secret will or purpose and
to bestow special grace only upon a certain number (see, on

Timothy 2:4, Fairbairn’s Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles).
The sincerity of God’s call is shown, not only in the fact that the only
obstacle to compliance on the sinner’s part is the sinner’s own evil will
but also in the fact that God has, at infinite cost, made a complete external
provision upon the ground of which “he that will” may “come” and “take
the water of life freely” (

Revelations 22:17); so that God can truly
say: “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not
done in it?” (

Isaiah 5:4). Broadus, Com. on

Matthew 6:10 — “Thy
will be done” — distinguishes between God’s will of purpose, of desire,
and of command. H. B. Smith, Systematic Theology, 521 — “Common.30
grace passes over into effectual grace in proportion as the sinner yields to
the divine influence. Effectual grace is that which effects what common
grace tends to effect.” See also Studien und Kritiken, 1857:7 sq.
(b) To the second, we reply that the objection, if true, would equally hold
against God’s foreknowledge. The sincerity of God’s general call is no
more inconsistent with his determination that some shall be permitted to
reject it, than it is with foreknowledge that some will reject it.
Hodge. Systematic Theology, 2:643 — “Predestination concerns only the
purpose of God to render effectual, in particular cases a call addressed to
all. A sovereign may offer general amnesty on certain conditions to
rebellious subjects. Although he knows that through pride or malice many
will refuse to accept it and even though, for wise reasons, he should
determine nor to constrain their assent, supposing that such influence over
their minds were within his power. It is evident, from the nature of the
call, that it has nothing to do with the secret purpose of God to grant his
effectual grace to some and not to others. According to the Augustinian
scheme, the non-elect have all the advantages and opportunities of
securing their salvation, which, according to any other scheme, are
granted to mankind indiscriminately. God designed, in its adoption, to
save his own people but he consistently offers its benefits to all who are
willing to receive them.” See also H. B. Smith, System of Christian
Theology, 515-521.
B. Is God’s special call irresistible?
We prefer to say that this special call is efficacious, that is, that it infallibly
accomplishes its purpose of leading the sinner to the acceptance of
salvation. This implies two things:
(a) That the operation of’ God is not an outward constraint upon the
human will but that it accords with the laws of our mental constitution. We
reject the term ‘irresistible,’ as implying a coercion and compulsion, which
is foreign to the nature of God’s working in the soul.

Psalm 110:3 — “Thy people are freewill-offerings In the day of thy
power: in holy array, Out of the womb of the morning of thy youth” — i.
e., youthful recruits to thy standard, as numberless and as bright as the
drops of morning dew;

Philippians 2:12, 13 — “Work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who worketh in you both
to will and to work, for his good pleasure” — i. e., the result of God’s
working is our own working. The Lutheran Formula of Concord properly.31
condemns the view that before, in and after conversion, the will only
resists the Holy Spirit, for this, it declares, is the very nature of
conversion that out of the non-willing, God makes willing persons (F. C.,
60, 581, 582, 673).

Hosea 4:16 — “Israel hath behaved himself stubbornly, like a
stubborn heifer,” or “or as a heifer that slideth back” = when the
sacrificial offering is brought forward to be slain, it holds back, settling
on its haunches so that it has to be pushed and forced before it can be
brought to the altar. These are not “the sacrifices of God” which are “a
broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart” (

Psalm 51:17). E. H.
Johnson, Theology, 2d ed., 250 — “The N. T. nowhere declares, or even
intimates…that the general call of the holy Spirit is insufficient. And
furthermore it never states that the efficient call is irresistible.
Psychologically, to speak of irresistible influence upon the faculty of self-determination
in man is express contradiction in terms. No harm can come
from acknowledging that we do not know God’s unrevealed reasons for
electing one individual rather than another to eternal life.” Dr. Johnson
goes on to argue that if, without disparagement to grace, faith can be a
condition of justification and faith might also be a condition of election.
Inasmuch as salvation is received as a gift only on condition of faith
exercised, it is in purpose a gift, even if only on condition of faith
foreseen. This seems to us to ignore the abundant Scripture testimony that
faith itself is God’s gift, and therefore the initiative must be wholly with
(b) That the operation of God is the originating cause of that new
disposition of the affections, and that new activity of the will, by which the
sinner accepts Christ. The cause is not in the response of the will to the
presentation by God of motives nor is it in any mere cooperation of the will
of man with the will of God. It is an almighty act of God in the will of man,
by which its freedom to choose God as its end is restored and rightly
exercised (

John 1:12, 13). For further discussion of the subject, see, in
the next section, the remarks on Regeneration, with which this efficacious
call is identical.

John 1:12, 13 — “But as many as received him, to them gave he the
right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:
who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of
man but of God.” God’s saving grace and effectual calling are irresistible,
not in the sense that they are never resisted, but in the sense that they are.32
never successfully resisted. See Andrew Fuller, Works, 2:373, 513, and
3:807; Gill, Body of Divinity, 2:121-130: Robert Hall, Works, 3:75.
Matheson, Moments on the Mount. 128, 129 — “Thy love to Him is to
his love to thee what the sunlight on the sea is to the sunshine in the sky
— a reflex, a mirror, a diffusion; thou art giving back the glory that has
been cast upon the waters. In the attraction of thy life to him, in the
cleaving of thy heart to him, in the soaring of thy spirit to him, thou art
told that he is near thee, thou hearest the beating of his pulse for thee.”
Upton, Hibbert Lectures, 302 — “In regard to our reason and to the
essence of our ideals, there is no real dualism between man and God but
in the case of the will which constitutes the essence of each man’s
individuality, there is a real dualism. Therefore, a possible antagonism
between the will of the dependent spirit, man and the will of the absolute
and universal spirit, God exists. Such real duality of will, and not the
appearance of duality, as F. H. Bradley put it, is the essential condition
of ethics and religion.”.33
Under this head we treat of Union with Christ, Regeneration, Conversion
(embracing Repentance and Faith), and Justification. Much confusion and
error have arisen from conceiving these as occurring in chronological
order. The order is logical, not chronological. As it is only “in Christ” that
man is “anew creature” (

2 Corinthians 5:17) or is “justified” (

13:39). Union with Christ logically precedes both regeneration and
justification and yet, chronologically, the moment of our union with Christ
is also the moment when we are regenerated and justified. So, too,
regeneration and conversion are but the divine and human sides or aspects
of the same fact, although regeneration has logical precedence and man
turns only as God turns him.
Dorner, Glaubenslehre, 3:694 (Syst. Poet., 4:159), gives at this point an
account of the work of the Holy Spirit in general. The Holy Spirit’s work,
he says, presupposes the historical work of Christ and prepares the way
for Christ’s return. “As the Holy Spirit is the principle of union between
the Father and the Son, so he is the principle of union between God and
man. Only through the Holy Spirit does Christ secure for himself those
who will love him as distinct and free personalities.” Regeneration and
conversion are not chronologically separate. Which of the spokes of a
wheel starts first. The ray of light and the ray of heat enter at the same
moment. Sensation and perception are not separated in time, although the
former is the cause of the latter.
“Suppose a non-elastic tube extending across the Atlantic. Suppose that
the tube is completely filled with an incompressible fluid. Then there
would be no interval of time between the impulse given to the fluid at this
end of the tube and the effect upon the fluid at the other end.” See Hazard,
Causation and Freedom in Willing, 33-38, who argues that cause and
effect are always simultaneous else, in the intervening time, there would
be a cause that had no effect, that is, a cause that caused nothing, that is,
a cause that was not a cause. “A potential cause may exist for an
unlimited period without producing any effect and, of course, may precede
its effect by any length of time. But actual, effective cause being the
exercise of a sufficient power, its effect cannot be delayed for, in that
case, there would be the exercise of a sufficient power to produce the.34
effect, without producing it, involving the absurdity of its being both
sufficient and insufficient at the same time.
“A difficulty may here be suggested in regard to the flow or progress of
events in time, if they are all simultaneous with their causes. This
difficulty cannot arise as intelligent effort; periods of non-action may
continually intervene. If there are series of events and material
phenomena, each of which is in turn effect and cause, it may be difficult
to see how any time could elapse between the first and the last of the
series. If, however, as I suppose, these series of events, or material
changes, are always effected through the medium of motion, it need not
trouble us. There is precisely the same difficulty in regard to our
conception of the motion of matter from point to point, there being no
space or length between any two consecutive points, and yet the body in
motion gets from one end of a long line to the other. In this case this
difficulty just neutralizes the other. So, even if we cannot conceive how
motion involves the idea of time, we may perceive that, if it does so, it
may be a means of conveying events, which depend upon it through time
Martineau, Study, 1:148-150 — “Simultaneity does not exclude duration”
since each cause has duration and each effect has duration also Bowne,
Metaphysics, 106 — “In the system, the complete ground of an event
never lies in any one thing but only in a complex of things. If a single
thing were the sufficient ground of an effect, the effect would coexist with
the thing, and all effects would be instantaneously given. Hence all events
in the system must be viewed as the result of the interaction of two or
more things.”
The first manifestation of life in an infant may be in the lungs or heart or
brain, but that which makes any and all of these manifestations possible is
the antecedent life. We may not be able to tell which comes first but
having the life we have all the rest. When the wheel goes, all the spokes
will go. The soul that is born again will show it in faith and hope and love
and holy living. Regeneration will involve repentance and faith and
justification and sanctification. But the one life which makes regeneration
and all these consequent blessings possible is the life of Christ who join
himself to us in order that we may join ourselves to him. Anne Reeve
Aldrich, The Meaning: “I lost my life in losing love. This blurred my
spring and killed its dove. Along my path the dying roses Fell, and
disclosed the thorns thereof. I found my life in finding God. In ecstasy I
kiss the rod; For who that wins the goal, but lightly Thinks of the thorns
whereon he trod?”.35
See A. A. Hodge, on the Ordo Salutis, in Princeton Rev., March,
1888:304-321. “Union with Christ,” says Dr. Hodge, “is effected by the
Holy Ghost in effectual calling. Of this calling the parts are two:
(a) the offering of Christ to the sinner, externally by the gospel and internally
by the illumination of the Holy Ghost.
(b) On our part the reception of Christ is both passive and active. The passive
reception is that whereby a spiritual principle is ingenerated into the human
will, whence issues the active reception, which is an act of faith with which
repentance is always conjoined. The communion of benefits, which results
from this union, involves a change of state or relation, called justification and
a change of subjective moral character, commenced in regeneration and
completed through sanctification.” See also Dr. Hodge’s Popular Lectures on
Theological Themes, 340, and Outlines of Theology, 333-429.
H. B. Smith, however, in his System of Christian Theology, is clearer in
the putting of Union with Christ before Regeneration. On page 502, he
begins his treatment of the Application of Redemption with the title: “The
Union between Christ and the individual believer as effected by the Holy
Spirit. This embraces the subjects of Justification, Regeneration and
Sanctification. In the underlying topic of which comes first, Election is to
be considered.” He therefore treats Union with Christ (531-539) before
Regeneration (553-569). He says Calvin defines regeneration as coming
to us by participation in Christ and apparently agrees with this view
“This union [with Christ] is at the ground of regeneration and
justification” (534). “The great difference of theological systems comes
out here. Since Christianity is redemption through Christ, our mode of
conceiving that will determine the character of our whole theological
system” (536). “The union with Christ is mediated by his Spirit, whence
we are both renewed and justified. The great fact of objective Christianity
is incarnation in order to atonement; the great fact of subjective
Christianity is union with Christ, whereby we receive the atonement”
(537). We may add that this union with Christ, in view of which God
elects and to which God calls the sinner, is begun in regeneration,
completed in conversion, declared in justification and proved in
sanctification and perseverance..36
The Scriptures declare that, through the operation of God, there is
constituted a union of the soul with Christ different in kind from God’s
natural and providential concursus with all spirits, as well as from all
unions of mere association or sympathy, moral likeness, or moral influence.
A union of life, in which the human spirit, while then most truly possessing
its own individuality and personal distinctness, is interpenetrated and
energized by the Spirit of Christ. It is made inscrutably but indestructibly
one with him and so becomes a member and partaker of that regenerated,
believing, and justified humanity of which he is the head.
Union with Christ is not union with a system of doctrine nor with external
religious influences nor with an organized church nor with an ideal man,
but rather, with a personal, risen, living, omnipresent Lord (J. W. A.
Stewart). Dr. J. W. Alexander well calls this doctrine of the Union of the
Believer with Christ “the central truth of all theology and of all religion.”
Yet it receives little of formal recognition, either in dogmatic treatises or
in common religious experience. Quenstedt, 886-912, has devoted a
section to it; A. A. Hodge gives to it a chapter, in his Outlines of
Theology, 369 sq., to which we are indebted for valuable suggestions. H.
B. Smith treats of it, not however, as a separate topic but under the head
of Justification (System, 531-539).
The majority of printed systems of doctrine, however, contain no chapter
or section on Union within Christ and the majority of Christians much
more frequently think of Christ as a Savior outside of them than as a
Savior who dwells within. This comparative neglect of the doctrine is
doubtless a reaction from the exaggerations of a false mysticism. But
there is great need of rescuing the doctrine from neglect. For this we rely
wholly upon Scripture. Doctrines, which reason can neither discover nor
prove, need large support from the Bible. It is a mark of divine wisdom
that the doctrine of the Trinity, for example, is so inwoven with the whole
fabric of the New Testament, that the rejection of the former is the virtual
rejection of the latter. The doctrine of Union within Christ, in like manner,
is taught so variously and abundantly, that to deny it is to deny inspiration
itself. See Kahnis, Luth. Dogmatik-, 3:447-450.
1. Scripture Representations of this Union.
A. Figurative teaching. It is illustrated:
(a) From the union of a building and its foundation..37

Ephesians 2:20:22 — “being built upon the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; in whom
each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in
the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in
the Spirit”;

Colossians 2:7 — “builded up in him” — grounded in
Christ as our foundation;

1 Peter 2:4, 5 — “unto whom coming, a
living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect precious, ye also,
as living stones, are built up a spiritual house” — each living stone in the
Christian temple is kept in proper relation to every other, and is made to
do its part in furnishing a habitation for God, only by being built upon
and permanently connected with Christ, the chief corner-stone. Cf.

Psalm 118:22 — “The stone, which the builders rejected, is become
the head of the corner”;

Isaiah 28:16 — “Behold, I lay in Zion for a
foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone of sure
foundation: he that believeth shall not be in haste.”
(b) From the union between husband and wife.

Romans 7:4 — “ye also were made dead to the law through the body
of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised
from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God” — here union
with Christ is illustrated by the indestructible bond that connects husband
and wife and makes them legally and organically one;

2 Corinthians
11:2 — “I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you
to one husband that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ”;

Ephesians 5:31, 32 — “For this cause shall a man leave his father and
mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.
This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church.”
Meyer refers (verse 31) wholly to Christ, and says that Christ leaves
father and mother (the right hand of God) and is joined to the church as
his wife, the two constituting thenceforth one moral person. He makes the
union future, however, — “For this cause shalt a man leave his father and
mother” — the consummation is at Christ’s second coming. But the
Fathers, as Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Jerome, referred it more properly
to the incarnation.

Revelation 19:7 — “the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife
hath made herself ready”; 17 — “And the Spirit and the bride say,
Come”; cf.

Isaiah 54:5 — “For thy Maker is thine husband”;

Jeremiah 3:20 — “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her
husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith

Hosea 2:2-5 — “for their mother hath played the harlot” —
departure from God is adultery. The Song of Solomon, as Jewish.38
interpreters have always maintained, is an allegorical poem describing,
under the figure of marriage, the union between Jehovah and his people.
Paul only adopts the Old Testament figure and applies it more precisely to
the union of God with the church in Jesus Christ.
(c) From the union between the vine and its branches.

John 15:1-10 — “I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abideth
in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can
do nothing.” As God’s natural life is in the vine, that it may give life to its
natural branches, so God’s spiritual life is in the vine, Christ, that he may
give life to his spiritual branches. The roots of this new vine are planted in
heaven, not on earth, and into it the half-withered branches of the old
humanity are to be grafted, that they may have life divine. Yet our Lord
does not say “I am the root.” The branch is not something outside, which
has to get nourishment out of the root but rather, it is a part of the vine.

Romans 6:5 — “if we have become united with him [su>mfutoi —
‘grown together’ — used of the man and horse in the Centaur, Xen.,
Cyrop. 4:3:18], in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness
of his resurrection”; 11:24 — “thou wast cut out of that which is by
nature a wild olive tree, and wast grafted contrary to nature into a good
olive tree”;

Colossians 2:6, 7 — “As therefore ye received Christ
Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and builded up in him” — not only
grounded in Christ as our foundation, but thrusting down roots into him
as the deep, rich, all-sustaining soil. This union with Christ is consistent
with individuality, for the graft brings forth fruit after its kind, though
modified by the tree into which it is grafted.
Bishop H. W. Warren, in S. S. Tunes, Oct. 17, 1891 — “The lessons of
the vine are intimacy, likeness of nature, continuous impartation of life,
fruit. Between friends there is intimacy by means of media, such as food,
presents, care, words and soul looking from the eyes. The mother gives
her liquid flesh to the babe, but such intimacy soon ceases. The mother is
not rich enough in life continuously to feed the ever-enlarging nature of
the growing man. This is not so within the vine, which continuously feeds.
Its rivers crowd all the banks. They burst out in leaf with blossom,
clinging tendrils and fruit everywhere. In nature a thorn grafted on a pear
tree bears only thorn. There is not pear-life enough to compel change of
its nature. But a wild olive, typical of depraved nature, grafted on a good
olive tree finds, contrary to nature, that there is force enough in the
growing stock to change the nature of the wild scion.”
(d) From the union between the members and the head of the body..39

1 Corinthians 6:15, 19 — “Know ye not that your bodies are members
of Christ?…know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit
which is in you, which ye have from God?” 12:12 — “For as the body is
one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being
many, are one body; so also is Christ” — here Christ is identified with the
church of which he is the head;

Ephesians 1:22, 23 — “he put all
things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things
to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all”
— as the members of the human body are united to the head, the source of
their activity and the power that controls their movements, so all believers
are members of an invisible body whose head is Christ. Shall we tie a
string round the finger to keep for it its own blood? No, for all the blood
of the body is needed to nourish one finger. So Christ is “head over a
things to [for the benefit of] the church” (Tyler, Theol. Greek Poets,
preface, ii). “The church is the fullness plh>rwma of Christ. As it was not
good for the first man, Adam, to be alone, no more was it good for the
second man, Christ” (C. H. M.).

Ephesians 4:15, 16 — “grow up in
all things into him, who is the head, even Christ; from whom all the
body…maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in
love”; 5:29, 30 — “for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth
and cherish it, even as Christ also the church; because we are members of
his body.”
(e) From the union of the race with the source of its life in Adam.

Romans 5:12, 21 — “as through one man sin entered into the world,
and death through sin…that, as sin reigned in death, even so might grace
reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our

1 Corinthians 15:22, 45, 49 — “as in Adam all die, so also in
Christ shall all be made alive…The first man Adam became a living soul.
The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. As we have borne the image of
the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” As the whole
race is one with the first man Adam, in whom it fell and from whom it has
derived a corrupted and guilty nature, so the whole race of believers
constitutes a new and restored humanity, whose justified and purified
nature is derived from Christ, the second Adam. Cf. Gen. 2:23 — “This is
now bone of my hones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.” C. H. M. remarks here that, as man
is first created and then woman is viewed in and formed out of him, so it
is with Christ and the church. “We are members of Christ’s body, because
in Christ we have the principle of our origin; from him our life arose, just
as the life of Eve was derived from Adam. The church is Christ’s.40
helpmeet, formed out of Christ in his deep sleep of death, as Eve out of
Adam. The church will be nearest to Christ, as Eve was to Adam.”
Because Christ is the source of all spiritual life for his people, he is called,

Isaiah 9:6, “Everlasting Father,” and it is said, in

Isaiah 53:10,
that “he shall see his seed” (see page 680).
B. Direct statements.
(a) The believer is said to be in Christ.
Lest we should regard the figures mentioned above as merely Oriental
metaphors, the fact of the believer’s union with Christ is asserted in the
most direct and prosaic manner.

John 14:20 — “ye in me”;

Romans 6:11 — “alive unto God in Christ Jesus”; 8:1 — “no
condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus”;

2 Corinthians 5:17 —
“if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature”;

Ephesians 1:4 —
“chose us in him before the foundation of the world”; 2:13 — “now in
Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of
Christ.” Thus the believer is said to be “in Christ” as the element or
atmosphere, which surrounds him with its perpetual presence and which
constitutes his vital breath. In fact, this phrase “in Christ” is always
meaning “in union with Christ,” is the very key to Paul’s epistles and to
the whole New Testament. The fact that the believer is in Christ is
symbolized in baptism — we are “baptized into Christ” (

(b) Christ is said to be in the believer.

John 14:20 “I in you”;

Romans 8:9 — “are not in the flesh but in
the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man
hath not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” That this Spirit of Christ is
Christ himself, is shown from verse 10 — “And if Christ is in you, the
body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of

Galatians 2:20 — “I have been crucified with Christ;
and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me.” Christ is said here
to be in the believer, and so to live his life within the believer, that the
latter can point to this as the dominating fact of his experience. It is not so
much that he lives, as it is Christ that lives in him. The fact that Christ is
in the believer is symbol in the Lord’s supper. “The bread which we
break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (

1 Corinthians
(c) The Father and the Son dwell in the believer..41

John 14:23 — “If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my
Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode
with him”; Cf. 10 — “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the
Father in me? the words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but
the Father abiding in me doeth his works.” The Father and the Son dwell
in the believer, for where the Son is, there always the Father must be also.
If the union between the believer and Christ in

John 14:23 is to be
interpreted as one of mere moral influence, then the union of Christ and
the Father in

John 14:10 must also be interpreted as a union of mere
moral influence.

Ephesians 3:17 — “that Christ may dwell in your
hearts through faith”;

1 John 4:16 — “he that abideth in love abideth
in God, and God abideth in him.”
(d) The believer has life by partaking of Christ, as Christ has life by
partaking of the Father.

John 6:53, 56, 57 — “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and
drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves…He that eateth my flesh
and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father
sent me and I live because of the Father, so he that eateth me, he also shall
live because of me.” The believer has life by partaking of Christ in a way
that may most inappropriately be compared with Christ’s having life by
partaking of the Father.

1 Corinthians 10:16, 17 — “The cup of
blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ?
The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ?”
It is here intimated that the Lord’s Supper sets forth, in the language of
symbol, the soul’s actual participation in the life of Christ; and the margin
properly translates the word koinwni>a, not “communion,” but
“participation.” Cf.

1 John 1:3 — “our fellowship koinwni>a is with
the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Foster, Christian Life and
Theology, 216 — “In John 6, the phrases call to mind the ancient form of
sacrifice and the participation therein by the one who offers at the
sacrificial meal — as at the Passover.”
(e) All believers are one in Christ.

John 17:21-23 — “that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art
in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may
believe that thou didst send me. And the glory which thou hast given me I
have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them,
and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one.” All believers are one
in Christ, to whom they are severally and collectively united, as Christ
himself is one with God..42
(f) The believer is made partaker of the divine nature.

2 Peter 1:4 — “that through these [promises] ye may become
partakers of the divine nature.” Not by having the essence of your
humanity changed into the essence of divinity, but by having Christ the
divine Savior continually dwelling within and indestructibly joined to your
human souls.
(g) The believer is made one spirit with the Lord.

1 Corinthians 6:17 — “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
Human nature is so interpenetrated and energized by the divine that the
two move and act as one. cf. 19 — “know ye not that your body is a
temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God?”;

Romans 8:26 — “the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know
not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession
for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.” The Spirit is so near to us,
and so one with us that our prayer is called his, or rather, his prayer
becomes ours. Weiss, in his Life of Jesus, says that, in the view of
Scripture, human greatness does not consist in a man’s producing
everything in a natural way out of himself, but in possessing perfect
receptivity for God’s greatest gift. Therefore God’s Son receives the Spirit
without measure and we may add that the believer in like manner receives
2. Nature of this Union.
We have here to do not only with a fact of life but with a unique relation
between the finite and the infinite. Our descriptions must therefore be
inadequate. Yet in many respects we know what this union is not; in
certain respects we can positively characterize it.
It should not surprise us if we find it far more difficult to give a scientific
definition of this union, than to determine the fact of its existence. It is a
fact of life, with which we have to deal and the secret of life, ‘even in its
lowest forms, no philosopher has ever vet discovered. The tiniest flower
witnesses to two facts: first, that of its own relative independence, as an
individual organism and secondly, that of its ultimate dependence upon a
life and power not its own. So every human soul has its proper powers of
intellect, affection, and will and yet it lives, moves and has its being in
God (

Acts 17:28).
Starting out from the truth of God’s omnipresence, it might seem as if
God’s indwelling in the granite boulder was the last limit of his union with.43
the finite. But we see the divine intelligence and goodness drawing nearer
to us, by successive stages, in vegetable life, in the animal creation and in
the moral nature of man. And yet there are two stages beyond all these:
first, in Christ’s union with the believer and secondly, in God’s union with
Christ. If this union of God with the believer be only one of several
approximations of God to his finite creation, the fact that it is, equally
with the others, not wholly comprehensible to reason, should not blind us
either to its truth or to its importance.
It is easier today than at any other previous period of history to believe in
the union of the believer with Christ. That God is immanent in the
universe, and that there is a divine element in man, is familiar to our
generation. All men are naturally one with Christ, the immanent God, and
this natural union prepares the way for that spiritual union in which
Christ joins himself to our faith. Campbell, The Indwelling Christ, 131 —
“In the immanence of Christ in nature we find the ground of his
immanence in human nature. A man may be out of Christ but Christ is
never out of him. Those who banish him he does not abandon.” John
Caird, Fund. Ideas of Christianity, 2:233-256 — “God is united with
nature, in the atoms, in the trees, in the planets. Science is seeing nature
full of the life of God. God is united to man in body and soul; the beating
of his heart and the voice of conscience witness to God within. God sleeps
in the stone, dreams in the animal, wakes in man.”
A. Negatively. It is not:
(a) A merely natural union, like that of God with all human spirits, as held
by rationalists.
In our physical life we are conscious of another life within us which is not
subject to our wills. The heart beats involuntarily, whether we sleep or
wake but, in our spiritual life we are still more conscious of a life within
our life. Even the heathen said: “Est Deus in nobis; agitante calescimus
illo,” and the Egyptians held to the identification of the departed with
Osiris (Renouf, Hibbert Lectures, 185). But Paul urges us to work out
our salvation, upon the very ground that “it is God that worketh” in us,
“both to will and to work, far be good pleasure” (

Philippians 2:12,
13). This life of God in the soul is the life of Christ.
The movement of the electric car cannot be explained simply from the
working of its own motor apparatus. The electric current throbbing
through the wire and the dynamo, from which that energy proceeds are
needed to explain the result. In like manner we need a spiritual Christ to
explain the spiritual activity of the Christian. A. H. Strong, Sermon.44
before the Baptist World Congress in London, 1905 — “We had in
America some years ago a steam engine all whose working parts were
made of glass. The steam came from without but being hot enough to
move machinery. This steam was itself invisible and there was presented
the curious spectacle of an engine, transparent, moving and doing
important work, while yet no cause for this activity was perceptible. So
the church, humanity and the universe are all in constant and progressive
movement but the Christ who moves them is invisible. Faith comes to
believe where it cannot see. It joins itself to this invisible Christ and
knows him as its very life.”
(b) A merely moral union, or union of love and sympathy, like that
between teacher and scholar, friend and friend, as held by Socinians and
There is a moral union between different souls:

1 Samuel 13:1 — “the
soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him
as his own soul.” The Vulgate here has: “Anima Jonathæ agglutinata
Davidi.” Aristotle calls friends, “one soul.” So in a higher sense, in

Acts 4:32, the early believers are said to have been “of one heart and
soul.” But in

John 17:21, 26, Christ’s union with his people is
distinguished from any mere union of love and sympathy: “that they may
all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also
maybe in us; …that the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them,
and I in them.” Jesus’ aim, in the whole of his last discourse, is to show
that no mere union of love and sympathy will be sufficient: “apart from
me,” he says, “ye can do nothing” (

John 15:5). That his disciples may
be vitally joined to himself, is therefore the subject of his last prayer.
Dorner says well, that Arminianism (and with this doctrine Roman
Catholics and the advocates of New School views substantially agree)
makes human a mere tangent to the circle of the divine nature. It has no
idea of the inter-penetration of the one by the other. But the Lutheran
Formula of Concord says much more correctly: “Damnamus sententiam
quod non Deus ipse, sed dona Dei duntaxat, in credentibus habitent.”
Ritschl presents to us a historical Christ and Pfleiderer presents to us an
ideal Christ, but neither one gives us the living Christ who is the present
spiritual life of the believer. Wendt, in his Teaching of Jesus, 2:310,
comes equally far short of a serious interpretation of our Lord’s promise,
when he says: “This union to his person, as to its contents, is nothing else
than adherence to the message of the kingdom of God brought by him.” It
is not enough for me to be merely in touch with Christ. He must come to.45
be “not so far as even to be near.” Tennyson, The Higher Pantheism:
“Closer is he than breathing, and nearer than hands or feet.” William
Watson, The Unknown God: “Yea, in my flesh his Spirit doth flow, Too
near, too far, for me to know.”
(c) A union of essence, which destroys the distinct personality and
subsistence of either Christ or the human spirit, as held by many of the
Many of the mystics, as Schwenkfeld, Weigel, Sebastian Frank, held to an
essential union between Christ and the believer. One of Weigel’s
followers, therefore, could say to another: “I am Christ Jesus, the living
Word of God; I have redeemed thee by my sinless sufferings.” We are
ever to remember that the indwelling of Christ only puts the believer more
completely in possession of himself, and makes him more conscious of his
own personality and power. Union with Christ must be taken in
connection with the other truth of the personality and activity of the
Christian otherwise it tends to pantheism. Martineau, Study, 2:190 — “In
nature it is God’s immanent life, in morals it is God’s transcendent life,
with which we commune.”
Angelus Silesius, a German philosophical poet (1624-1677), audaciously
wrote: “I know God cannot live an instant without me; He must give up
the ghost, if I should cease to be.” Lowde, a disciple of Malebranche, used
the phrase “‘Godded’ with God, and ‘Christed’ with Christ,” and
Jonathan Edwards, in his Religious Affections, quotes it with
disapprobation, saying that “the saints do not become actually partakers
of the divine essence, as would be inferred from this abominable and
blasphemous language of heretics” (Allen, Jonathan Edwards, 224). “Self
is not a mode of the divine: it is a principle of isolation. In order to
religion, I must have a will to surrender…’wills are ours, to make them
thine.’ Though the self is, in knowledge, a principle of unification; in
existence, or metaphysically, it is a principle of isolation” (Seth).
Inge, Christian 24 mysticism, 30 — “Some of the mystics went astray by
teaching a real substitution of the divine for human nature, thus
depersonalizing man — a fatal mistake, for without human personality we
cannot conceive of divine personality.” Lyman Abbott: “in Christ, God
and man are united, not as the river is united with the sea, losing its
personality therein, but as the child is united with the father or the wife
with the husband whose personality and individuality are strengthened and
increased by the union.” Here Dr. Abbott’s view comes as far short of the
truth as that of the mystics go beyond the truth. As we shall see, the union.46
of the believer with Christ is a vital union, surpassing in its intimacy any
union of souls that we know. The union of child with father, or of wife
with husband, is only a pointer, which hints very imperfectly at the
interpenetrating and energizing of the human spirit by the divine.
(d) A union mediated and conditioned by participation of the sacraments of
the church, as held by Romanists, Lutherans, and High-Church
Perhaps the most pernicious misinterpretation of the nature of this union
is that which conceives of it as a physical and material one and which
rears upon this basis the fabric of a sacramental and external Christianity.
It is sufficient here to say that this union cannot be mediated by
sacraments, since sacraments presuppose it as already existing; both
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are designed only for believers. Only faith
receives and retains Christ and faith is the act of the soul grasping what is
purely invisible and supersensible, not the act of the body submitting to
Baptism or partaking of the Supper.
William Lincoln: “The only way for the believer, if he wants to go rightly,
is to remember that truth is always two-sided. If there is any truth that the
Holy Spirit has specially pressed upon your heart, if you do not want to
push it to the extreme, ask what is the counter-truth, and lean a little of
your weight upon that. Otherwise, if you bear so very much on one side of
the truth, there is a danger of pushing it into a heresy. Heresy means
selected truth; it does not mean error. Heresy and error are very different
things. Heresy is truth, but truth pushed into undue importance to the
disparagement of the truth upon the other side” Heresy ai[resiv = an act
of choice, the picking and choosing of a part, instead of comprehensively
embracing the whole of truth. Sacramentarians substitute the symbol for
the thing symbolized.
B. Positively, It is:
(a) An organic union, in which we become members of Christ and
partakers of his humanity.
Kant defines an organism, as that whose parts are reciprocally means and
end. The body is an organism. Since the limbs exist for the heart and the
heart for the limbs, so each member of Christ’s body lives for him who is
the head and Christ, the head, equally lives for his members.

Ephesians 5:29, 30 — “no man ever hated his own flesh; but
nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church because we
are members of his body.” The train-dispatcher is a symbol of the.47
concentration of energy, the switchmen and conductors who receive his
orders are symbols of the localization of force but it is all one organic
(b) A vital union, in which Christ’s life becomes the dominating principle
within us.
This union is a vital one, in distinction from any union of mere
juxtaposition or external influence. Christ does not work upon us from
without, as one separated from us, but from within, as the very heart from
which the life-blood of our spirits flows. See

Galatians 2:20 — “it is
no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live
in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved
me, and gave himself up for me;”

Colossians 3:3, 4 — “For ye died,
and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall
be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory.”
Christ’s life is not corrupted by the corruption of his members, any more
than the ray of light is defiled by the filth with which it comes in contact.
We may be unconscious of this union with Christ as we often are of the
circulation of the blood, yet it may be the very source and condition of our
(c) A spiritual union, that is, a union whose source and author is the Holy
By a spiritual union we mean a union not of body but of spirit, a union,
therefore, which only the Holy Spirit originates and maintains.

Romans 8:9, 10 — “ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be
that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit
of Christ he is none of his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead
because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.” The
indwelling of Christ involves a continual exercise of efficient power. In

Ephesians 3:16, 17 — “strengthened with power through his Spirit in
the inward man” is immediately followed by “that Christ may dwell in
your hearts through faith.”
(d) An indestructible union, that is, a union which, consistently with
Christ’s promise and grace, can never be dissolved.

Matthew 28:20 — “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the

John 10:28 — “they shall never perish, and no one shall
snatch them out of my hand”;

Romans 8:35, 39 — “Who shall
separate us from the love of Christ?…nor height, nor depth, nor any other
creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in.48
Christ Jesus our Lord”; 1 Thess. 4:14, 17 — “them also that are fallen
asleep in Jesus will God bring with him…then we that are alive, that are
left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord
in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Christ’s omnipresence makes it possible for him to be united to, and to be
present in, each believer, as perfectly and fully as if that believer were the
only one to receive Christ’s fullness. As Christ’s omnipresence makes the
whole Christ present in every place, each believer has the whole Christ
with him, as his source of strength, purity, life so that each may say that
Christ gives all his time and wisdom and care to me. Such a union as this
lacks every element of instability. Once formed, the union is indissoluble.
Many of the ties of earth are rudely broken but not so with our union with
Christ because that endures forever.
Since there is now an unchangeable and divine element in us, our
salvation depends no longer upon our unstable wills but upon Christ’s
purpose and power. By temporary declension from duty, or by our
causeless unbelief, we may banish Christ to the barest and most remote
room of the soul’s house but he does not suffer us wholly to exclude him.
When we are willing to unbar the doors, he is still there, ready to fill the
whole mansion with his light and love.
(e) An inscrutable union, mystical, however, only in the sense of surpassing
in its intimacy and value any other union of souls which we know.
This union is inscrutable, indeed but it is not mystical, in the sense of
being unintelligible to the Christian or beyond the reach of his experience.
If we call it mystical at all, it should be only because, in the intimacy of
its communion and in the transforming power of its influence, it surpasses
any other union of souls that we know and so cannot be fully described or
understood by earthly analogies.

Ephesians 5:32 — “This mystery is
great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church”;

1:27 — “the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which
is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
See Diman, Theistic Argument, 380 — “As physical science has brought
us to the conclusion that back of all the phenomena of the material
universe there lies an invisible universe of forces and that these forces
may ultimately be reduced to one all-pervading force in which the unity of
the physical universe consists and philosophy has advanced the rational
conjecture that this ultimate all-pervading force is simply will-force. The
great Teacher holds up to us the spiritual universe as pervaded by one
omnipotent life — a life which was revealed in him as its highest.49
manifestation, but which is shared by all of whom, by faith become
partakers of his nature. He was Son of God; they too had power to
become sons of God. The incarnation is wholly within the natural course
and tendency of things. It was prepared for and it came in the fullness of
time. Christ’s life is not something sporadic and individual, baying its
source in the personal conviction of each disciple, it implies a real
connection with Christ, the head. Behind all nature there is one force,
behind all varieties of Christian life and character there is one spiritual
power. All nature is not inert matter, it is pervaded by a living presence.
So all the body of believers live by virtue of the all-working Spirit of
Christ, the Holy Ghost.” An epitaph at Silton, in Dorsetshire, reads:
“Here lies a piece of Christ — a star in dust, A vein of gold, a china dish,
that must Be used in heaven when God shall feed the just.”
A.H. Strong, in Examiner, 1880 — “Such is the nature of union with
Christ, such I mean, is the nature of every believer’s union with Christ.
For, whether he knows it or not, every Christian has entered into just such
a partnership as this. It is this and this only which constitutes him a
Christian, and which makes possible a Christian church. We may, indeed,
be thus united to Christ, without being fully conscious of the real nature
of our relation to him. We may actually possess the kernel, while as yet
we have regard only to the shell; we may seem to ourselves to be united to
Christ only by an external bond, while after all it is an inward and
spiritual bond that makes us his. God often reveals to the Christian the
mystery of the gospel, which is Christ in him the hope of glory, at the very
time that he is seeking only some nearer access to a Redeemer outside of
him. Trying to find a union of cooperation or of sympathy, he is amazed
to learn that there is already established a union with Christ more glorious
and blessed, namely, a union of life. Like the miners in the Rocky
Mountains, while he is looking only for silver, he finds gold. Christ and
the believer have the same life. They are not separate persons linked
together by some temporary bond of friendship. They are united with a
tie, which is as close and as indestructible, as having the same blood
running through their veins. Yet the Christian may never have suspected
how intimate a union he has with his Savior and the first understanding of
this truth may be the gateway through which he passes into a holier and
happier stage of the Christian life.”
So the Way leads, through the Truth, to the Life (

John 14:6).
Apprehension of an external Savior prepares for the reception and
experience of the internal Savior. Christ is first the Door of the sheep, but
in him, after they have once entered in, they find pasture (

John 10:7-
9). On the nature of this union, see H. B. Smith, System of Christian.50
Theology, 531-539; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 601; Wilberforce,
Incarnation, 208-272, and New Birth of Man’s Nature, 1-30. Per contra,
see Park, Discourses, 117-136.
3. Consequences of this Union as respects the Believer.
We have seen that Christ’s union with humanity, at the incarnation,
involved him in all the legal liabilities of the race to which he united
himself. This union enabled him so to assume the penalty of its sin as to
make for all men a full satisfaction to the divine justice, and to remove all
external obstacles to man’s return to God. An internal obstacle, however,
still remains — the evil affections and will, and the consequent guilt, of the
individual soul. This last obstacle also Christ removes, in the case of all his
people, by uniting himself to them in a closer and more perfect manner than
that in which he is united to humanity at large. As Christ’s union with the
race secures the objective reconciliation of the race to God, so Christ’s
union with believers secures the subjective reconciliation of believers to
In Baird, Elohim Revealed, 607-610, in Owen, on Justification, chap. 8,
in Boston, Covenant of Grace, chap. 2, and in Dale, Atonement, 265-440,
the union of the believer with Christ is made to explain the bearing of our
sins by Christ. As we have seen in our discussion of the Atonement,
however (page 759), this explains the cause by the effect and implies that
Christ died only for the elect (see review of Dale, in Brit. Quar. Rev.,
Apr. 1876:221-225). It is not the union of Christ with the believer, but the
union of Christ with humanity at large that explains his taking upon him
human guilt and penalty.
Amnesty offered to a rebellious city may be complete, yet it may avail
only for those who surrender. Pardon secured from a Governor, upon the
ground of the services of an Advocate, may be effectual only when the
convict accepts it, there is no hope for him when he tears up the pardon.
Dr. H. E. Robins: “The judicial declaration of acquittal on the ground of
the death of Christ, which comes to all men (

Romans 5:13), and into
the benefits of which they are introduced by natural birth, is inchoate
justification. Inchoate justification will become perfected justification
through the new birth of the Holy Spirit, unless the working of this divine
agent is resisted by the personal moral action of those who are lost.” What
Dr. Robins calls ‘ inchoate justification” we prefer to call “ideal
justification” or “attainable justification.” Humanity in Christ is justified,
and every member of the race who joins himself to Christ by faith.51
participates in Christ’s justification. H. B. Dudley: “Adam’s sin holds us
all down just as gravity holds all, while Christ s righteousness, though
secured for all and accessible to all, involves an effort of will in climbing
and grasping which not all will make.” Justification in Christ is the
birthright of humanity but, in order to possess and enjoy it, each of us
must claim and appropriate it by faith.
R. W. Dale, Fellowship with Christ, 7 — “When we were created in
Christ, the fortunes of the human race for good or evil became his. The
Incarnation revealed and fulfilled the relations, which already existed
between the Son of God and mankind. From the beginning Christ had
entered into fellowship with us. When we sinned, he remained in
fellowship with us still. Our miseries” [we would add: our guilt] “were
his, by his own choice. His fellowship with us is the foundation of our
fellowship with him. When I have discovered that by the very constitution
of my nature I am to achieve perfection in the power of the life of
Another, who is yet not Another but the very ground of my being. It
ceases to be incredible to me that Another, who is yet not Another, should
be the Atonement for my sin, and that his relation to God should
determine mine.
A tract entitled “The Seven Togethers” sums up the Scripture testimony
with regard to the Consequences of the believer’s Union with Christ:
1. Crucified together with Christ —

Galatians 2:20 —
2. Died together with Christ —

Colossians 2:20 — ajpeqa>nete.
3. Buried together with Christ —

Romans 6:4 — suneta>fhmen.
4. Quickened together with Christ —

Ephesians 2:5 —
5. Raised together with Christ —

Colossians 3:1 — sunhge>rqhte
6. Sufferers together with Christ —

Romans 8:17 — sumpa>scomen.
7. Glorified together with Christ —

Romans 8:17 —
sunoxasqw~men. Union with Christ results in common son-ship, relation
to God, character, influence and destiny.
Imperfect apprehension of the believer’s union with Christ works to the
great injury of Christian doctrine. An experience of union with Christ first
enables us to understand the death of sin and separation from God, which
has befallen the race sprung from the first Adam. The life and liberty of
the children of God in Christ Jesus shows us by contrast how far astray
we had gone. The vital and organic unity of the new race sprung from the
second Adam reveals the depravity and disintegration, which we had.52
inherited from our first father. We see that as there is one source of
spiritual life in Christ, so there was one source of corrupt life in Adam.
As we are justified by reason of our oneness with the justified Christ, so
we are condemned by reason of our oneness with the condemned Adam.
A. H. Strong, Christ in Creation, 175 — “If it is consistent with evolution
that the physical and natural life of the race should be derived from a
single source, it is then, equally consistent with evolution that the moral
and spiritual life of the race should be derived from a single source.
Scripture is stating only scientific fact when it sets the second Adam, the
head of redeemed humanity, over against the first Adam, the head of
fallen humanity. We are told that evolution should give us many Christs.
We reply that evolution has not given us many Adams. Evolution, as it
assigns to the natural head of the race a supreme and unique position,
must be consistent with that of self and must assign a supreme and unique
position to Jesus Christ, the spiritual head of the race. As there was but
one Adam from whom all the natural life of the race was derived, so there
can be but one Christ from whom all the spiritual life of the race is
The consequences of union with Christ may be summarily stated as
(a) Union with Christ involves a change in the dominant affection of the
soul. Christ’s entrance into the soul makes it a new creature, in the sense
that the ruling disposition, which before was sinful, now becomes holy.
This change we call Regeneration.

Romans 8:2 — “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made
me free from the law of sin and of death”;

2 Corinthians 5:17 — “if
any man is in Christ he is a new creature” (margin — “there is a new

Galatians 1:15, 16 — “it was the good pleasure of God…to
reveal his Son in me”;

Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” As we derive our
old nature from the first man Adam, by birth, so we derive a new nature
from the second man Christ, by the new birth. Union with Christ is the
true “transfusion of blood.” “The death-struck sinner, like the wan,
anemic, dying invalid, is saved by having poured into his veins the
healthier blood of Christ” (Drummond, Nat. Law in the Spir. World). God
regenerates the soul by uniting it to Jesus Christ.
In the Johnston Harvester Works at Batavia, when they paint their
machinery, they do it by immersing part after part in a great tank of paint,.53
so the painting is instantaneous and complete. Our baptism into Christ is
the outward picture of an inward immersion of the soul not only into his
love and fellowship but also into his very life, so that in him we become
new creatures (

2 Corinthians 5:17). As Miss Sullivan surrounded
Helen Kellar with the influence of her strong personality, by intelligence
and sympathy and determination striving to awaken the blind and dumb
soul and give it light and love, so Jesus envelops us. But his Spirit is more
encompassing and more penetrating than that of any human influence
however powerful, because his life is the very ground and principle of our
Tennyson: “O for a man to arise in me, That the man that I am may cease
to be!” Emerson: “Himself from God he could not free; He builded better
than he knew.” Religion is not the adding of a new department of activity
as an adjunct to our own life or the grafting of a new method of
manifestation upon the old. It is rather the grafting of our souls into
Christ, so that his life dominates and manifests itself in ad our activities.
The magnet, which alone, can lift only a weight of three pounds but when
it is attached to the electric dynamo, it will lift three hundred pounds.
Expositor’s Greek Testament on

1 Corinthians 15:45, 46 — “The
action of Jesus in ‘breathing’ upon his disciples while he said, ‘Receive
the Holy Spirit’ (

John 20:22 sq.) symbolized the vitalizing relationship
which at this epoch he assumed towards mankind. This act raised to a
higher potency the original ‘breathing’ of God by which ‘man became a
living soul’ (Gen. 2:7).”
(b) Union with Christ involves a new exercise of the soul’s powers in
repentance and faith. Faith, indeed, is the act of the soul under the
operation of God by means of which Christ is received. This new exercise
of the soul’s powers we call conversion (Repentance and Faith). It is the
obverse or human side of Regeneration.

Ephesians 3:17 — “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through

2 Timothy 3:15 — “the sacred writings which are able to make
thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Faith is
the soul’s laying hold of Christ as its only source of life, pardon, and
salvation. And so we see what true religion is. It is not a moral life, it is
not a determination to be religious nor is it is faith, if by faith we mean an
external trust that somehow Christ will save us. It is nothing less than the
life of the soul in God, through Christ his Son. To Christ then we are to
look for the origin, continuance and increase of our faith (

Luke 17:5
— said into the Lord, Increase our faith”). Our faith is but a part of “his
fullness” of which “we all received, and grace for grace” (

John 1:161)..54
A.H. Strong, Sermon before the Baptist World Congress, London, 1905
— “Christianity is summed up in the two facts; Christ for us, and Christ
in us. Christ for us (upon the Cross) reveals the eternal opposition of
holiness to sin, and yet, through God’s eternal suffering for sin making
objective atonement for us. Christ in us (by his Spirit) renewing in us the
lost image of God, and abiding in us as the all-sufficient source of purity
and power. Here are the two foci of the Christian ellipse: Christ for us,
who redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us
and Christ in us, the hope of glory, whom the apostle calls the mystery of
the gospel.
“We need Christ in us as well as Christ for us. How shall I, how shall
society, find healing and purification within? Let me answer by reminding
you of what they did at Chicago. There was in the world, no river more
stagnant and fetid than was Chicago River.
Its sluggish stream received the sweepings of the watercraft and the offal
of the city, and there was no current to carry the detritus away. There it
settled and bred miasma and fever. At last it was suggested that, by
cutting through the low ridge between the city and the Desplaines River,
the current could be set running in the opposite direction and drainage
could be secured into the Illinois River and the great Mississippi. At a
cost of fifteen millions of dollars the cut was made, and now all the water
of Lake Michigan can be relied upon to cleanse that turbid stream. What
Chicago River could never do for itself, the Great Lake now does for it.
So no human soul can purge itself of its sin and what the individual
cannot do, humanity at large is powerless to accomplish. Sin has
dominion over us and we are foul to the very depths of our being, until
with the help of God we break through the barrier of our self-will, and let
the floods of Christ’s purifying life flow into us. Then, in an hour, more is
done to renew than all our efforts for years had effected. Thus humanity is
saved, individual by individual, not by philosophy or philanthropy or self-development
or self-reformation, but simply by joining itself to Jesus
Christ and by being filled in Him with all the fullness of God.”
(c) Union with Christ gives to the believer the legal standing and rights of
Christ. As Christ’s union with the race involves atonement, so the
believer’s union with Christ involves Justification. The believer is entitled
to take for his own all that Christ is, and all that Christ has done. This,
because he has within him that new life of humanity which suffered in
Christ’s death and rose from the grave in Christ’s resurrection. In other.55
words, because he is virtually one person with the Redeemer. In Christ the
believer is prophet, priest, and king.

Acts 13:39 — “by him [lit.: ‘in him’ = in union with him] every one
that believeth is justified”;

Romans 6:7, 8 — “he that hath died is
justified from sin…we died with Christ”; 7:4 — “dead to the law through
the body of Christ”; 8:1 — “no condemnation to them that are in Christ
Jesus”; 17 “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ”;

1 Corinthians
1:30 — “But of him ye are in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us
wisdom from God and righteousness [justification]”; 3:21, 23 — “all
things are yours…and ye are Christ’s”; 6:11 — “ye were justified in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God”;

Corinthians 5:14 — “we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all
died”; 21 — “Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that
we might become the righteousness [justification] of God in him” = God’s
justified persons, in union with Christ (see pages 760, 761).

Galatians 2:20 — “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no
longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me”;

Ephesians 1:4, 6 — “chose
us in him…to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely
bestowed on us in the Beloved”; 2:5, 6 — “even when we were dead
through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…made us to sit
with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”;

Philippians 3:8, 9 —
“that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness
of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith
in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith”;

2 Timothy
2:11 — “Faithful is the saying: For if we died with him, we shall also live
with him.” Prophet:

Luke 12:12 — “the Holy Spirit shall teach you in
that very hour what ye ought to say;

1 John 2:20 — “ye have an
anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” Priest:

1 Peter
2:5 — “a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to
God through Jesus Christ”; Revelations 20:6 — “they shall be priests of
God and of Christ”;

1 Peter 2:9 — “a royal priesthood.” King:
Revelations 3:21 — “He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down
with me in my throne”; 5:10 — “madest them to be unto our God a
kingdom and priests.” The connection of justification and union with
Christ delivers the former from the charge of being a mechanical and
arbitrary procedure. As Jonathan Edwards has said: “The justification of
the believer is no other than his being admitted to communion in, or
participation of, this head and surety of all believers.”
(d) Union with Christ secures to the believer the continuously
transforming, assimilating power of Christ’s life first, for the soul and.56
secondly, for the body, consecrating it in the present and, in the future,
raising it up m the likeness of Christ’s glorified body. This continuous
influence, so far as it is exerted in the present life, we call Sanctification,
the human side or aspect of which is Perseverance.
For the soul:

John 1:16 — “of his fullness we all received, and grace
for grace” — successive and increasing measures of grace, corresponding
to the soul’s successive and increasing needs;

Romans 8:10 — “if
Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life
because of righteousness;

1 Corinthians 15:45 — “The last Adam
became a life-giving spirit”;

Philippians 2:5 — “Have this mind in
you, which was also in Christ Jesus”;

1 John 3:2 — if he shall be
manifested we shall be like him.” “Can Christ let the believer fall out of
his hands? No, for the believer is his hands.”
For the body:

1 Corinthians 6:17-20 — “he that is joined unto the
Lord is one spirit… know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy
Spirit which is in you… glorify God therefore in your body”; 1Thess. 5:23
— “And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your
spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ”;

Romans 8:11 — “shall give life also to
your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you”;

Corinthians 15:49 — “as we have borne the image of the earthy [man]’
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [man]”;

Philippians 3:20,
21 — “For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we wait far a
Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall fashion anew the body of our
humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according
to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself.”
Is there a physical miracle wrought for the drunkard in his regeneration?
Mr. Moody says, Yes; Mr. Gough says, No. We prefer to say that the
change is a spiritual one but that the “expulsive power of a new affection”
indirectly affects the body, so that old appetites sometimes disappear in a
moment and that often, in the course of years, great changes take place
even in the believer’s body. Tennyson, Idylls: “Have ye looked at Edyrn?
Have ye seen how nobly changed? This work of his is great and
wonderful; His very face with change of heart is changed.” “Christ in the
soul fashions the germinal man into his own likeness, this is the
embryology of the new life. The cardinal error in religious life is the
attempt to live without proper environment” (see Drummond, Natural
Law in Spiritual World, 253-284). Human life from Adam does not stand
the test, only divine-human life in Christ can secure us from falling. This
is the work of Christ, now that he has ascended and taken to himself his.57
power, namely, to give his life more and more fully to the church, until it
shall grow up in all things into him, the Head, and shall fitly express his
glory to the world.
As the accomplished organist discloses unsuspected capabilities of his
instrument, so Christ brings into activity all the latent powers of the
human soul. “I was five years in the ministry,” said an American
preacher, “before I realized that my Savior is alive.” Dr. R. W. Dale has
left on record the almost unutterable feelings that stirred his soul when he
first realized this truth; see Walker, The Spirit and the Incarnation,
preface, v. Many have struggled in vain against sin until they have
admitted Christ to their hearts, then they could say, “this is the victory
that hath overcome the world, even our faith” (

1 John 5:4). “Go out,
God will go in; Die thou, and let him live; Be not, and he will be; Wait,
and he’ll all things give.” The best way to get air out of a vessel is to pour
water in. Only in Christ can we find our pardon, peace, purity and power.
He is “made unto us wisdom from God and justification and
sanctification, and redemption” (

1 Corinthians 1:30). A medical man
says, “The only radical remedy for dipsomania is ‘religiomania’” (quoted
in William James, Varieties of Religious Experience, 268). It is easy to
break into an empty house; the spirit cast out returns, finds the house
empty, brings seven others, and “the last state of that man becometh
worse than the first” (

Matthew 12:45). There is no safety in simply
expelling sin. We need also to bring in Christ, in fact only he can enable
us to expel not only actual sin but the love of it.
Alexander McLaren: “If we are ‘in Christ’ we are like a diver in his
crystal bell. We have a solid though invisible wall around us, which keeps
all sea-monsters off us and communicates with the upper air whence we
draw the breath of calm life and can work in security though in the ocean
depths.” John Caird, Fund. Ideas, 2:08 — “How do we know that the life
of God has not departed from nature? Because every spring we witness
the annual miracle of nature’s revival and every summer and autumn we
witness the waving corn. How no we know that Christ has not departed
from the world? Because he imparts to the soul that trusts him a power, a
purity, a peace, which are beyond all that nature can give.”
(e) Union with Christ brings about a fellowship of Christ with the believer.
Christ takes part in all the labors, temptations and sufferings of his people,
a fellowship of the believer with Christ, so that Christ’s whole experience
on earth is in some measure reproduced in him. It is a fellowship of all
believers with one another, furnishing a basis for the spiritual unity of
Christ’s people on earth, and for the eternal communion of heaven. The.58
doctrine of Union with Christ is therefore the indispensable preparation for
Ecclesiology, and for Eschatology.
Fellowship of Christ with the believer:

Philippians 4:13 — “I can do
all things in him that strengtheneth me”;

Hebrews 4:15 — “For we
have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our
infirmities”; cf. Isaiah 83:9 — “In all their affliction he was afflicted.”

Hebrews 2:18 — “in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is
able to succor them that are tempted” = are being tempted, are under
temptation. Bp. Wordsworth: “By his passion he acquired compassion.”

2 Corinthians 2:14 — “thanks be unto God, who always leadeth us in
triumph in Christ” — Christ leads us in triumph, but his triumph is ours,
even if it be a triumph over us. One with him, we participate in his joy
and in his sovereignty. Revelations 3:21 — “He that overcometh, I will
give to him to sit down with me in my throne.” W. F. Taylor on

Romans 8:9 — “The Spirit of God dwelleth in you….if any man hath
not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” — “Christ dwells in us, says the
apostle. But do we accept him as a resident, or as a ruler? England was
first represented by her resident at King Thebau’s court. This official
could rebuke and even threaten but nothing more; Thebau was sovereign.
Burma knew no peace till England ruled. So Christ does not consent to be
represented by a mere resident. He must himself dwell within the soul and
he must reign.” Christina Rossetti, Thee Only: “Lord, we are rivers
running to thy sea, Our waves and ripples all derived from thee; A nothing
we should have, a nothing be, Except for thee. Sweet are the waters of thy
shoreless sea; Make sweet our waters that make haste to thee; Pour in thy
sweetness, that ourselves may be Sweetness to thee!”
Of the believer with Christ:

Philippians 3:10 — “that I may know him,
and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings,
becoming conformed unto his death”;

Colossians 1:24 — “fill up on
my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for
his body’s sake, which is the church” —

1 Peter 4:13 — “partakers of
Christ’s sufferings.” The Christian reproduces Christ’s life in miniature
and, in a true sense loves it over again. Only upon the principle of union
with Christ can we explain how the Christian instinctively applies to
himself the prophecies and promises which originally and primarily were
uttered with reference to Christ. “Thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol;
Neither wilt thou suffer Thy holy one to see corruption” (

Psalm 16:10,
11). This fellowship is the ground of the promises made to believing

John 14:13 — “whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I
do”; Wescott, Bib. Com., in loco: “The meaning of the phrase [‘in my.59
name’] is ‘as being one with me even as I am revealed to you.’ Its two
correlatives are ‘in me’ and the Pauline ‘in Christ.’” “All things are
yours” (

1 Corinthians 3:21), because Christ is universal King and all
believers are exalted to fellowship with him. After the battle of Sedan,
King William asked a wounded Prussian officer whether it were well with
him. “All is well where your majesty leads!” was the reply.

Philippians 1:21 — “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Paul indeed uses the words ‘Christ’ and church’ as interchangeable terms:
1Cor 12:12 — as the body is one, and hath many members…so also is
Christ.” Denney, Studies in Theology, 171 — “There is not in the N. T.
from beginning to end, in the record of the original and genuine Christian
life, a single word of despondency or gloom. It is the most buoyant,
exhilarating and joyful book in the world.” This is due to the fact that the
writers believe in a living and exalted Christ and that they know they are
one with him. They descend crowned into the arena. In the Soudan, every
morning for half an hour before General Gordon’s tent there lay a white
handkerchief. The most pressing message, even on matters of life and
death, waited till that handkerchief was withdrawn. It was the signal that
Christ and Gordon were in communion with each other.
Of all believers with one another:

John 17:21 — “that they may all be

1 Corinthians 10:17 — “we, who are many, are one bread, one
body: for we all partake of the one bread”;

Ephesians 2:15 — “create
in himself of the two one new man, so making peace”;

1 John 1:3 —
“that ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with
the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” — here the word koinwni>a is
used. Fellowship with each other is the effect and result of the fellowship
of each with God in Christ. Compare

John 10:16 — “they shall
become one flock, one shepherd”; Westcott, Bib. Com., in loco: “The
bond of fellowship is shown to lie in the common relation to one
Lord…Nothing is said of one ‘fold’ under the new dispensation.” Here is a
unity, not of external organization, but of common life. Of this the visible
church is the consequence and expression. But this communion is not
limited to earth, it is perpetuated beyond death: 1Thess. 4:17 — “so shall
we ever be with the Lord”;

Hebrews 12:23 — “to the general
assembly and church at the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to
God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect”;
Revelations 21 and 22 — the city of God, the new Jerusalem, is the image
of perfect society, as well as of intensity and fullness of life in Christ. The
ordinances express the essence of Ecclesiology — union with Christ —
for Baptism symbolizes the incorporation of the believer in Christ, while
the Lord’s Supper symbolizes the incorporation of Christ in the believer..60
Christianity is a social matter and the true Christian feels the need of
being with and among his brethren. The Romans could not understand
why “this new sect” must hold meetings all the time — even daily
meetings. Why could they not go alone or in families to the temples, and
make offerings to their God, and then come away, as the pagans did? It
was this meeting together which exposed them to persecution and
martyrdom. It was the natural and inevitable expression of their union
with Christ and so of their union with one another.
The consciousness of union with Christ gives assurance of salvation. It is
a great stimulus to believing prayer and to patient labor. It is a duty to
“know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his
inheritance in the saints and what the exceeding greatness of his power to
us-ward who believe” (

Ephesians 1:18, 19). Christ’s command,
“Abide in me, and I in you” (

John 15:4), implies that we are both to
realize and to confirm this union, by active exertion of our own wills. We
are to abide in him by an entire consecration, and to let him abide in us by
an appropriating faith. We are to give ourselves to Christ and to take in
return the Christ who gives himself to us, in other words, we are to
believe Christ’s promises and to act upon them. All sin consists in the
sundering of man’s life from God, and most systems of falsehood in
religion are attempts to save man without merging his life in God’s once
more. The only religion that can save mankind is the religion that fills the
whole heart and the whole life with God and that aims to interpenetrate
universal humanity with that same living Christ who has already made
himself one with the believer. This consciousness of union with Christ
gives “boldness” (parrhsi>a — 4:13;

1 John 5:14) toward men and
toward God. The word belongs to the Greek democracies. Freemen are
bold. Demosthenes boasts of his frankness. Christ frees us from the hide-bound,
introspective, self-conscious spirit. In him we become free,
demonstrative, outspoken. So we find, in John’s epistles, that boldness in
prayer is spoken of as a virtue, and the author of the Epistle to the
Hebrews urges us to “draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace”

Hebrews 4:16). An engagement of marriage is not the same as
marriage. The parties may be still distant from each other. Many
Christians get just near enough to Christ to be engaged to him. This seems
to be the experience of Christian in the Pilgrim’s Progress. But our
privilege is to have a present Christ, and to do our work not only for him,
but also in him. “Since Christ and we are one, Why should we doubt or
fear?” “We two are so joined, He’ll not be in heaven, And leave me
We append a few statements with regard to this union and its
consequences, from noted names in theology and the church. Luther: “By
faith thou art so glued to Christ that of thee and him there becomes as it
were one person, so that with confidence thou canst say: ‘I am Christ, that
is, Christ’s righteousness, victory, etc., are mine and Christ in turn can
say: ‘I am that sinner. That is, his sins, his death, etc. are mine, because
he clings to me and I to him, for we have been joined through faith into
one flesh and bone.’” Calvin: “I attribute the highest importance to the
connection between the head and the members, to the inhabitation of
Christ in our hearts. In a word, to the mystical union by which we enjoy
him, so that, being made ours, he makes us partakers of the blessings with
which he is furnished.” John Bunyan: “The Lord led me into the
knowledge of the mystery of union with Christ, that I was joined to him,
that I was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. By this also my faith in
him as my righteousness was the more confirmed for if he and I were one,
then his righteousness was mine, his merits mine, his victory also mine.
Now could I see myself in heaven and on earth at once — in heaven by
my Christ, my risen head, my righteousness and life, though on earth by
my body or person.” Edwards: “Faith is the soul’s active uniting with
Christ. God sees fit that, in order to a union’s being established between
two intelligent active beings, there should be the mutual act of both, that
each should receive the other, as entirely joining themselves to one
another.” Andrew Fuller: “I have no doubt that the imputation of Christ’s
righteousness presupposes a union with him since there is no perceivable
fitness in bestowing benefits on one for another’s sake, where there is no
union or relation between.”
See Luther, quoted, with other references, in Thomasius, Christi Person
und Werk 3:325. See also Calvin, Institutes, 1:660; Edwards, Works,
4:66, 69, 70; Andrew Fuller, Works, 2:685; Pascal, Thoughts, Eng.
trans., 429; Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity, book 5, ch. 56; Tillotson,
Sermons, 3:307; Trench, Studies in Gospels, 284, and Christ the True
Vine, in Hulsean Lectures; Schoberlein, in Studien und Kritiken. 1847:7-
69; Caird, on Union with God, in Scotch Sermons, sermon 2; Godet, on
the intimate Design of Man, In Princeton Rev., Nov. 1880 — the design is
“God in man, and man in God “; Baird. Elohim Revealed, 590-617;
Upham, Divine Union, Interior Life, Life of Madame Guyon and Fenelon;
A. J. Gordon, In Christ; McDuff, In Christo; J. Denham Smith,
Lifetruths, 25-98; A. H. Strong, Philosophy and Religion, 220-225;
Bishop Hall’s Treatise on The Church Mystical; Andrew Murray, Abide
in Christ; Stearns, Evidence of Christian Experience, 145, 174, 179; F. B.
Meyer, Christian Living — essay on Appropriation of Christ, vs. mere.62
Imitation of Christ; Sanday, Epistle to the Romans, supplementary essay
on the Mystic Union; H. B. Smith, System of Theology, 531; J. M.
Campbell, The Indwelling Christ
Regeneration is that act of God by which the governing disposition of the
soul is made holy, and by which, through the truth as a means, the first
holy exercise of this disposition is secured.
Regeneration, or the new birth, is the divine side of that change of heart or
which we call conversion if viewed from the human side. It is God’s
turning the soul to himself, conversion being the soul’s turning itself to
God; God’s turning it is both the accompaniment and cause. It will be
observed from the above definition, that there are two aspects of
regeneration, in the first of which the soul is passive, in the second of
which the soul is active. God changes the governing disposition, in this
change the soul is simply acted upon. God secures the initial exercise of
this disposition in view of the truth, in this change the soul itself acts. Yet
these two parts of God’s operation are simultaneous. At the same moment
that he makes the soul sensitive, he pours in the light of his truth and
induces the exercise of the holy disposition he has imparted.
This distinction between the passive and the active aspects of regeneration
is necessitated, as we shall see, by the twofold method of representing the
change in Scripture. In many passages the change is ascribed wholly to
the power of God; the change is a change in the fundamental disposition
of the soul. There is no use of means. In other passages we find truth
referred to as an agency employed by the Holy Spirit, and the mind acts in
view of this truth. The distinction between these two aspects of
regeneration seems to be intimated in

Ephesians 2:5, 6 — “made us
alive together with Christ” and “raised us up with him.” Lazarus must
first be made alive, and in this he could not cooperate but he must also
come forth from the tomb, and in this he could be active. In the old
photography, the plate was first made sensitive, and in this the plate was
passive, then it was exposed to the object and now the plate actively
seized upon the rays of light which the object emitted.
By availing ourselves of the illustration from photography, we may
compare God’s initial work in the soul to the sensitizing of the plate, his
next work to the pouring in of the light and the production of the picture.
The soul is first made receptive to the truth then it is enabled actually to.63
receive the truth. But the illustration fails in one respect; it represents the
two aspects of regeneration as successive. In regeneration there is no
chronological succession. At the same instant that God makes the soul
sensitive, he also draws out its new sensibility in view of the truth. Let us
notice also that, as in photography, the picture however perfect needs to
be developed and this development takes time, so regeneration is only the
beginning of God’s work. Not all the dispositions, but only the governing
disposition, is made holy. There is still need that sanctification should
follow regeneration and sanctification is a work of God, which lasts for a
whole lifetime. We may add that “heredity affects regeneration as the
quality of the film affects photography, and environment affects
regeneration as the focus affects photography.” (W. T. Thayer).
Sacramentarianism has so obscured the doctrine of Scripture that many
persons who gave no evidence of being regenerate are quite convinced that
they are Christians. Uncle John Vassar therefore never asked: “Are you a
Christian?” but always: “Have you ever been born again?” E. G.
Robinson: “The doctrine of regeneration, aside from sacramentarianism,
was not apprehended by Luther or the Reformers, was not indeed wrought
out till Wesley taught that God instantaneously renewed the affections and
the will.” We get the doctrine of regeneration mainly from the apostle
John, as we get the doctrine of justification mainly from the apostle Paul.
Stevens, Johannine Theology, 366 — “Paul’s great words are justification
and righteousness; John’s are, birth from God and life. But, for both Paul
and John, faith is life-union with Christ.”
Stearns, Evidence of Christian Experience, 134 — “The sinful nature is
not gone, but its power is broken, sin no longer dominates the life. It has
been thrust from the center to the circumference; it has the sentence of
death in itself. the man is freed, at least in potency and promise. 218 —
An activity may be immediate, yet not unmediated. God’s action on the
soul may be through the sense, yet still be immediate, as when finite
spirits communicate with each other.” Dubois, in Century Magazine, Dec.
1894:233 — “Man has made his way up from physical conditions to the
consciousness of spiritual needs. Heredity and environment fetter him. He
needs spiritual help. God provides a spiritual environment in regeneration.
As science is the verification of the ideal in nature, so religion is the
verification of the spiritual in human life.” Last sermon of Seth K.
Mitchell on Revelations 21:5 — “Behold, I make all things new” — “God
first makes a new man, then gives him a new heart, then a new
commandment. He also gives a new body, a new name, a new robe, a new
song, and a new home.”.64
1. Scripture Representations.
(a) Regeneration is a change indispensable to the salvation of the sinner.

John 3:7 — “Ye must be born anew”;

Galatians 6:15 — “neither
is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (margin
— “creation”); cf.

Hebrews 12:14 — “the sanctification without
which no man shall see the Lord” — regeneration, therefore, is yet more
necessary to salvation;

Ephesians 2:3 — “by nature children of wrath,
even as the rest “;

Romans 3:11 — “There is none that understandeth,
There is none that seeketh after God”;

John 6:44, 65 — “No man can
come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him…no man can come
unto me, except it be given unto him of the Father”;

Jeremiah 13:23
— “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may
ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil”
(b) It is a change in the inmost principle of life.

John 3:3 — “Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of
God”; 5:21 — “as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even
so the Son also giveth life to whom he will “;

Romans 6:13 —
“present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead”;

Ephesians 2:1
— “And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your
trespasses and sins”;

Ephesians 5:14 — “Awake thou that sleepest,
and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee.” In

6:44, 65 — “born anew” = not, “altered,” “influenced,” “reinvigorated,”
“reformed”, but a new beginning, a new stamp or character, a new family
likeness to God and to his children. “So is every one that is born of the
Spirit” (

John 3:8) =
1. Secrecy of process,
2. Independence of the will of man,
3. Evidence given in results of conduct and life. It is a good thing to
remove the means of gratifying an evil appetite but how much better it is
to remove the appetite itself. It is a good thing to save men from
frequenting dangerous resorts by furnishing safe places of recreation and
entertainment but far better is it to implant within the man such a love for
all that is pure and good, that he will instinctively shun the impure and
evil. Christianity aims to purify the springs of action.
(c) It is a change in the heart, or governing disposition..65

Matthew 12:33, 35 — “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good;
or make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its
fruit…The good man out of his good treasure bringeth forth good things:
and the evil man out of his evil treasure bringeth forth evil things”; 15:19
— “For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornication, thefts, false witness, railings”;

Acts 16:14 — “And a
certain woman named Lydia…heard us: whose heart the Lord opened to
give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul”;

Romans 6:17
— “But thanks be to God, that whereas ye were servants of sin, ye
became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye
were delivered”; 10:10 — “with the heart man believeth unto
righteousness”; cf.

Psalm 51:10 — “Create in me a clean heart O
God; And renew a right spirit within me”;

Jeremiah 31:33 — “I will
put my law in their inward parts, and in their hearts will I write it”;

Ezekiel 11:19 — “and, I will give them one heart and I will put a new
spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and will
give them a heart of flesh.”
Horace Mann: “One former is worth a hundred reformers.” It is often said
that the redemption of society is as important as the regeneration of the
individual. Yes, we reply, but the regeneration of society can never be
accomplished except through the regeneration of the individual.
Reformers try in vain to construct a stable and happy community from
persons who are selfish, weak, and miserable. The first cry of such
reformers is: “Get your circumstances changed!” Christ’s first call is:
“Get yourselves changed and then the things around you will be changed.”
Many college settlements, temperance societies and self-reformations
begin at the wrong end. They are like kindling a coal-fire by lighting
kindling at the top. The fire soon goes out. We need God’s work at the
very basis of character and not on the outer edge at the very beginning and
not simply at the end.

Matthew 6:33 — “seek ye first his kingdom,
and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
(d) It is a change in the moral relations of the soul.

Ephesians 2:5 — “when we were dead through our trespasses, made
us alive us together with Christ”; 4:23, 24 — “that ye be renewed in the
spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God hath been
created in righteousness and holiness of truth “;

Colossians 1:13 —
“who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the
kingdom of the Son of his love.” William James, Varieties of Religious
Experience, 508, finds the features belonging to all religions are an
uneasiness and its solution. The uneasiness, reduced to its simplest terms,.66
is a sense as we naturally stand that there is something wrong about us.
The solution is a sense that we are saved from the “wrongness” by making
proper connection with the higher powers.
(e) It is a change thought in connection with the use of truth as a means.

James 1:18 — “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of
truth” — here in connection with the special agency of God (not of mere
natural law) the truth is spoken of as a means;

1 Peter 1:23 —
“having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
through the word of God, which liveth and abideth”;

2 Peter 1:4 —
“his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may
become partakers of the divine nature”; cf.

Jeremiah 23:29 — “Is not
my word like fire? saith Jehovah; and like a hammer that breaketh the
rock in pieces?”

John 15:3 — “Already ye are clean because of the
word which I have spoken unto you”;

Ephesians 6:17 — “the sword of
the Spirit which is the word of God”;

Hebrews 4:12 — “For the word
of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and
piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit of both joints and marrow,
and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart”;

1 Peter 2:9
— “called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” An advertising
sign reads: “For spaces and ideas, apply to Johnson and Smith.” In
regeneration, we need both the open mind and the truth to instruct it, and
we may apply to God for both.
(f) It is a change instantaneous, secretly thought, and known only in its

John 5:24 — “He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent
me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment but hath passed out of
death into life”; cf.

Matthew 6:24 — “No man can serve two masters:
for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to
one, and despise the other.”

John 3:8 — “The wind bloweth where it
will, and thou hearest the voice thereof but knowest not whence it cometh,
and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit”; cf.

Philippians 2:12, 13 — “work out your own salvation with fear and
trembling; for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for
his good pleasure”;

2 Peter 1:10 — “Wherefore, brethren give the
more diligence to make your calling and election sure.”
(g) It is a change wrought by God.

John 1:13 — “who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the
flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”; 3:5 — “Except one be born of.67
water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”; 3:8,
margin — “The Spirit breatheth where it will “;

Ephesians 1:19, 20 —
“the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according
to that working of the strength of his might which he thought in Christ
when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in
the heavenly places”; 2:10 — “For we are his workmanship, created in
Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should
walk in them”;

1 Peter 1:3 — “Blessed be the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great merry begat us again unto a
living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”; cf.

Corinthians 3:6, 7 — “I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the
increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that
watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
We have seen that we are “begotten again…through the word” (

1 Peter
1:23). In the revealed truth with regard to the person and work of Christ
there is a divine adaptation to the work of renewing our hearts. But truth
in itself is powerless to regenerate and sanctify, unless the Holy Spirit
uses it — “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”

Ephesians 6:17). Hence regeneration is ascribed preeminently to the
Holy Spirit, and men are said to be “born of the Spirit” (

John 3:8).
When Robert Morrison started for China, an incredulous American said
to him: “Mr. Morrison, do you think you can make any impression on the
Chinese?” “No,” was the reply, “but I think the Lord can.”
(h) It is a change accomplished through the union of the soul with Christ.

Romans 8:2 — “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made
me free from the law of sin and death”;

2 Corinthians 5:17 — “if any
man is in Christ he is a new creature” (margin — “there is a new
creation”); Galatians L:15, 16 — “it was the good pleasure of God…to
reveal his Son in me”;

Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good work” On the Scriptural
representations, see E. D. Griffin, Divine Efficiency, 117-164; H. B.
Smith, System of Theology, 553-569 — “Regeneration involves union
with Christ, and not a change of heart without relation to him.”

Ephesians 3:14, 15 — “the Father, from whom every fatherhood in
heaven and on earth is named.” But even here God works through Christ,
and Christ himself is called “Everlasting Father” (

Isaiah 9:6). The real
basis of our son-ship and unity is in Christ, our Creator and Upholder. Sin
is repudiation of this filial relationship. Regeneration by the Spirit restores
our son-ship by joining us once more, ethically and spiritually to Christ.68
the Son and so adopting us again into God’s family. Hence the Holy Spirit
does not reveal himself but Christ. The Spirit is light, and light does not
reveal itself, but all other things. I may know that the Holy Spirit is
working within me whenever I more clearly perceive Christ. Son-ship in
Christ makes us not only individually children of God, but also members
of a commonwealth.

Psalm 87:4 — “Yea, of Zion it shall be said, This
one and that one was born in her” = “the most glorious thing to be said
about them is not something pertaining to their separate history, but that
they have become members, by adoption, of the city of God” (Perowne).
The Psalm speaks of the adoption of nations, but it is equally true of
2. Necessity of Regeneration.
That all men without exception need to be changed in moral character is
manifest, not only from Scripture passages already cited, but from the
following rational considerations:
(a) Holiness, or conformity to the fundamental moral attribute of God, is
the indispensable condition of securing the divine favor, of attaining peace
of conscience, and of preparing the soul for the associations and
employment of the blest.
Phillips Brooks seems to have taught that regeneration is merely a natural
forward step in man’s development. See his Life, 2:353 — “The entrance
into this deeper consciousness of son-ship to God and into the motive
power, which it exercises, is Regeneration, the new birth, not merely with
reference to time but with reference also to profoundness. Because man
has something sinful to cast away in order to enter this higher life,
therefore regeneration must begin with repentance. But that is an incident.
It is not essential to the idea. A man simply imperfect and not sinful
would still have to be born again. The presentation of sin as guilt, of
release as forgiveness, of consequence as punishment, have their true
meaning as the most personal expressions of man’s moral condition as
always measured by, and man’s moral changes as always dependent upon,
God.” Here imperfection seems to mean depraved condition as
distinguished from conscious transgression; it is not regarded as sinful
and it needs not to be repented of. Yet it does require regeneration. In
Phillips Brooks’s creed there is no article devoted to sin. Baptism he calls
“the declaration of the universal fact of the son-ship of man to God. The
Lord’s Supper is the declaration of the universal fact of man’s dependence
upon God for supply of life. It is associated with the death of Jesus,.69
because in that the truth of God giving himself to man found its most
complete manifestation.”
Others seem to teach regeneration by education. Here too there is no
recognition of inborn sin or guilt. Man’s imperfection of nature is
innocent. He needs training in order to fit him for association with higher
intelligences and with God. In the evolution of his powers there comes a
natural crisis, like that of graduation of the scholar and this crisis may be
called conversion. This educational theory of regeneration is represented
by Starbuck, Psychology of Religion, and by Coe, The Spiritual Life.
What human nature needs however is not evolution, but involution and
revolution. Involution is the communication of a new life and revolution
or the change of direction is a result from that life. Human nature, as we
have seen in our treatment of sin, is not a green apple to be perfected by
mere growth but an apple with a worm at the core, which if left alone, will
surely rot and perish.
President G. Stanley Hall, in his essay on The Religious Affirmations of
Psychology, says that the total depravity of man is an ascertained fact
apart from the teachings of the Bible. There had come into his hands for
inspection several thousands of letters written to a medical man who
advertised that he would give confidential advice and treatment to all,
secretly. On the strength of these letters Dr. Hall was prepared to say that
John Calvin had not told the half of what is true. He declared that the
necessity of regeneration in order to the development of character was
clearly established from psychological investigation.
A.H. Strong, Cleveland Sermon, 1904 — “Here is the danger of some
modern theories of Christian education. They give us statistics, to show
that the age of puberty is the age of strongest religious impressions and
the inference is drawn that conversion is nothing but a natural
phenomenon, a regular stage of development. The free will and the evil
bent of that will are forgotten and the absolute dependence of perverse
human nature upon the regenerating spirit of God. The age of puberty is
the age of the strongest religious impressions? Yes, but it is also the age
of the strongest artistic and social and sensuous impressions and only a
new birth from above can lead the soul to seek first the kingdom of God.”
(b) The condition of universal humanity as by nature depraved and, when
arrived at moral consciousness as guilty of actual transgression, is precisely
the opposite of that holiness without which the soul cannot exist in normal
relation to God, to self or to holy beings..70
Plutarch has a parable of a man who tried to make a dead body stand
upright, but who finished his labors saying: “Deest aliquid intus” —
“There’s something lacking inside.” Ribot, Diseases of the Will, 53 — “In
the vicious man the moral elements are lacking. If the idea of amendment
arises, it is involuntary. But if a first element is not given by nature and
with it a potential energy, nothing results. The theological dogma of grace
as a free gift appears to us therefore founded upon a much more exact
psychology than the contrary opinion.” “Thou art chained to the wheel of
the foe By links which a world cannot sever: With thy tyrant through
storm and through calm thou shall go, And thy sentence is bondage
Martensen, Christian Ethics: “When Kant treats of the radical evil of
human nature, he makes the remarkable statement that, if a good will is to
appear in us, this cannot happen through a partial improvement, nor
through any reform, but only through a revolution, a total overturn within
us, that is to be compared to a new creation.” Those who hold that man
may attain perfection by mere natural growth deny this radical evil of
human nature, and assume that our nature is a good seed, which needs
only favorable external influences of moisture and sunshine to bring forth
good fruit. But human nature is a damaged seed and what comes of it will
be aborted and stunted like itself. The doctrine of mere development
denies God’s holiness, man’s sin, the need of Christ, the necessity of
atonement, the work of the Holy Spirit and the justice of penalty. Kant’s
doctrine of the radical evil of human nature, like Aristotle’s doctrine that
man is born on an inclined plane and subject to a downward gravitation, is
not matched by a corresponding doctrine of regeneration. Only the apostle
Paul can tell us how we came to be in this dreadful predicament and
where is the power that can deliver us. See Stearns, Evidence of Christian
Experience, 274.
Dean Swift’s worthy sought many years for a method of extracting
sunbeams from cucumbers. We cannot cure the barren tree by giving it
new bark or new branches, it must have new sap. Healing snakebites is
not killing the snake. Poetry and music, the uplifting power of culture, the
inherent nobility of man, the general mercy of God — not one of these
will save the soul. Horace Bushnell: “The soul of all improvement is the
improvement of the soul.” Frost cannot be removed from a window pane
simply by scratching it away, you must raise the temperature of the room.
It is as impossible to get regeneration out of reformation as to get a
harvest out of a field by mere plowing. Reformation is plucking bitter
apples from a tree and in their place, tying good apples on with a string
(Dr. Pentecost). It is regeneration or degradation, the beginning of an.71
upward movement by a power not man’s own or the continuance and
increase of a downward movement that can end only in ruin.
Kidd, Social Evolution, shows that in humanity itself there resides no
power of progress. The ocean steamship that has burned its last pound of
coal may proceed on its course by virtue of its momentum but it is only a
question of the clock how soon it will cease to move, except as tossed
about by the wind and the waves. Not only is there a power lacking for
the good but, apart from God’s grace, the evil tendencies constantly
became more aggravated. The settled states of the affections and of the
will practically dominate the life. Charles H. Spurgeon: “If a thief should
get into heaven unchanged, he would begin by picking the angels’
pockets.” The land is full of examples of the descent of man, not from the
brute, but to the brute. The tare is not degenerate wheat that, by
cultivation, will become good wheat. It is not only useless but also
noxious and it must be rooted out and burned. “Society never will be
better than the individuals who compose it. A sound ship can never be
made of rotten timber. Individual reformation must precede social
reconstruction.” Socialism will always be a failure until it becomes
Christian. We must be born from above as truly as we have been begotten
by our fathers upon earth or we cannot see the kingdom of God.
(c) A radical internal change is therefore requisite in every human soul — a
change in that which constitutes its character. Holiness cannot be attained,
as the pantheist claims, by a merely natural growth or development, since
man’s natural tendencies are wholly in the direction of selfishness. There
must be a reversal of his inmost dispositions and principles of action, if he
is to see the kingdom of God.
Men’s good deeds and reformation may be illustrated by eddies in a
stream whose general current is downward, by walking westward in a
railway car while the train is going east or by Capt. Parry’s traveling
north, while the ice-flow on which he walked was moving southward at a
rate much more rapid than his walking. It is possible to be “ever learning,
and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (

2 Timothy 3:7).
Better never have been born, than not be born again. But the necessity of
regeneration implies its possibility:

John 3:7 — “Ye must be born
new” = ye may be born anew, the text is not merely a warning and a
command, it is also a promise. Every sinner has the chance of making a
new start and of beginning a new life.
J. D. Robertson, The Holy Spirit and Christian Service, 57 — “Emerson
says that the gate of gifts closes at birth. After a man emerges from his.72
mother’s womb he can have no new endowments, no fresh increments of
strength and wisdom, joy and grace within. The only grace is the grace of
creation. But this view is deistic and not Christian.” Emerson’s saying is
true of natural gifts, but not of spiritual gifts. He forgot Pentecost. He
forgot the all-encompassing atmosphere of the divine personality and love,
and its readiness to enter in at every chink and crevice of our voluntary
being. The longing men have to turn over a new leaf in life’s book, to
break with the past, to assert their better selves, is a preliminary impulse
of God’s Spirit and an evidence of prevenient grace preparing the way for
regeneration. Thus interpreted and yielded to, these impulses warrant
unbounded hope for the future. “No star is ever lost we once have seen;
We always may be what we might have been; The hopes that lost in some
far distance seem May be the truer life, and this the dream.”
The greatest minds feel, at least at times, their need of help from above.
Although Cicero uses the term ‘regeneration’ to signify what we should
call naturalization, yet he recognizes man’s dependence upon God: “Nemo
vir magnus, sine aliquo divino afflatu, unquam fuit.” Seneca: “Bonus vir
sine illo nemo est.” Aristotle: “Wickedness perverts the judgment and
makes men err with respect to practical principles, so that no man can be
wise and judicious who is not good.” Goethe: “Who ne’er his bread in
sorrow ate, Who ne’er the mournful midnight hours Weeping upon his
bed has sate, He knows you not, ye heavenly Powers.” Shakespeare, King
Lear: “Is there a reason in nature for these hard hearts?” Robert
Browning, in Halbert and Hob, replies: “O Lear, That a reason out of
nature must turn them soft, seems clear.”
John Stuart Mill (see Autobiography, 132-142) knew that the feeling of
interest in others’ welfare would make him happy, but the knowledge of
this fact did not give him the feeling. The “enthusiasm of humanity” —
unselfish love, of which we read in “Ecce Homo” — is easy to talk about
but how to produce it, that is the question. Drummond, Natural Law in
the Spiritual World, 61-94 — “There is no abiogenesis in the spiritual,
more than in the natural, world. Can the stone grow more and more living
until it enters the organic world? No, Christianity is a new life, it is Christ
in you.” As natural life comes to us mediately, through Adam, so spiritual
life comes to us mediately, through Christ. See Bushnell, Nature and the
Supernatural, 220-249; Anderson, Regeneration, 51-88; Rennet Tyler,
Memoir and Lectures, 340-354.
3. The Efficient Cause of Regeneration..73
Three views only need be considered, all others are modifications of these.
The first view puts the efficient cause of regeneration in the human will, the
second view in the truth is considered as a system of motives and the third
is in the immediate agency of the Holy Spirit.
John Stuart Mill regarded cause as embracing all the antecedents to an
event. Hazard, Man a Creative First Cause, 12-15, shows that, as at any
given instant the whole past is everywhere the same, the effects must,
upon this view, at each instant be everywhere one and the same. ‘The
theory that, of every successive event, the real cause is the whole of the
antecedents, does not distinguish between the passive conditions acted
upon and changed, and the active agencies which act upon and change
them, does not distinguish what produces, from what merely precedes,
We prefer the definition given by Porter, Human Intellect, 592 — Cause
is “the most conspicuous and prominent of the agencies, or conditions,
that produce a result” or that of Dr. Mark Hopkins: “Any exertion or
manifestation of energy that produces a change is a cause, and nothing
else is. We must distinguish cause from occasion, or material. Cause is
not to be defined as ‘everything without which the effect could not be
realized.’” Better still, perhaps, may we say that efficient cause is the
competent producing power by which the effect is secured. James
Martineau, Types, 1: preface, xiii — “A cause is that which determines
the indeterminate.” Not the light, but the photographer is the cause of the
picture; light is but the photographer’s servant. So the “word of God” is
the “sword of the Spirit” (

Ephesians 6:17); the Spirit uses the word as
his instrument but the Spirit himself is the cause of regeneration.
A. The human will, as the efficient cause of regeneration.
This view takes two forms, according as the will is regarded as acting apart
from or in conjunction with, special influences of the truth applied by God.
Pelagians hold the former and Arminians the latter.
(a) To the Pelagian view, that regeneration is solely the act of man and is
identical with self-reformation, we object that the sinner’s depravity, since
it consists in a fixed state of the affections which determines the settled
character of the volition, amounts to a moral inability. Without a renewal
of the affections from which all moral action springs, man will not choose
holiness nor accept salvation..74
Man’s volition is practically the shadow of his affections. It is as useless
to think of a man’s volition separating itself from his affections, and
drawing him towards God, as it is to think of a man’s shadow separating
itself from him and leading him in the opposite direction to that in which
he is going. Man’s affections, to use Calvin’s words, are like horses that
have thrown off the charioteer and are running wildly, they need a new
hand to direct them. Disease requires administration by a physician. We
do not stop a locomotive engine by applying force to the wheels, but by
reversing the lever. So the change in man must be, not in the transient
volition, but in the deeper springs of action — the fundamental bent of the
affections and will. See Henslow, Evolution, 134. Shakespeare, All’s Well
that Ends Well, 2:1:149 — “It is not so with Him that all things knows,
As ‘t is with us that square our guess with shows; But most it is
presumption in us when The help of heaven we count the act of men.”
Henry Clay said that he did not know for himself personally what the
change of heart spoken of by Christians meant but he had seen Kentucky
family feuds of long standing healed by religious revivals and that
whatever could heal a Kentucky family feud was more than human. Mr.
Peter Harvey was a lifelong friend of Daniel Webster. He wrote a most
interesting volume of reminiscenses of the great man. He tells how one
John Colby married the oldest sister of Mr. Webster. Said Mr. Webster of
John Colby: “Finally he went up to Andover, New Hampshire, and bought
a farm and the only recollection I have about him is that he was called the
wickedest man in the neighborhood, so far as swearing and impiety went.
I used to wonder how my sister could marry so profane a man as John
Colby.” Years afterwards news comes to Mr. Webster that a wonderful
change has passed upon John Colby. Mr. Harvey and Mr. Webster
journeyed together to visit John Colby. As Mr. Webster enters John
Colby’s house, he sees open before him a large-print Bible, which he has
just been reading. When greetings have been interchanged, the first
question John Colby asks of Mr. Webster is, “Are you a Christian?” And
then, at John Colby’s suggestion, the two men kneel and pray together.
When the visit is done, this is what Mr. Webster says to Mr. Harvey as
they ride away: “I should like to know what the enemies of religion would
say to John Colby’s conversion. There was a man as unlikely, humanly
speaking, to become a Christian as any man I ever saw. He was reckless,
heedless, wicked, never attended church, never experienced the good
influence of associating with religious people. And here he has been living
on in that reckless way until he has got to be an old man, until a period of
life when you naturally would not expect his habits to change. And yet he
has been brought into the condition in which we have seen him today, a.75
penitent, trusting, humble believer.” “Whatever people may say,” added
Mr. Webster, “nothing can convince me that anything short of the grace
of Almighty God could make such a change as I, with my own eyes, have
witnessed in the life of John Colby.” When they got back to Franklin,
New Hampshire, in the evening, they met another lifelong friend of Mr.
Webster’s, John Taylor, standing at his door. Mr. Webster called out:
“Well, John Taylor, miracles happen in these latter days as well as in the
days of old.” “What now, Squire?” asked John Taylor. “Why,” replied
Mr. Webster, “John Colby has become a Christian. If that is not a
miracle, what is?”
(b) To the Arminian view, that regeneration is the act of man, cooperating
with divine influences applied through the truth (synergistic theory), we
object that no beginning of holiness is in this way conceivable. For, so long
as man’s selfish and perverse affections are unchanged, not choosing God
is possible but such as proceeds from supreme desire for one s own interest
and happiness. But the man thus supremely bent on self-gratification
cannot see in God, or his service, anything productive at happiness. If he
could see in them anything of advantage, his choice of God and his service
from such a motive would not be a holy choice, and therefore could not be
a beginning of holiness.
Although Melanchthon (1497-1560) preceded Arminius (1560-1609), his
view was substantially the same with that of the Dutch theologian.
Melanchthon never experienced the throes and travails of a new spiritual
life as Luther did. His external and internal development was peculiarly
placid and serene. This Præceptor Germaniæ had the modesty of the
genuine scholar. He was not a dogmatist and he never entered the ranks of
the ministry. He never could be persuaded to accept the degree of Doctor
of Theology though he lectured on theological subjects to audiences of
thousands. Dorner says of Melanchthon: “He held at first that the Spirit of
God is the primary and the word of God the secondary, or instrumental,
agency in conversion while the human will allows their action and freely
yields to it.” Later, he held that “conversion is the result of the combined
action (copulatio) of three causes, the truth of God, the Holy Spirit and
the will of man.” This synergistic view in his last years involved the
theologian of the German Reformation in serious trouble. Luthardt: “He
made a facultas out of a mere capacitas.” Dorner says again: “Man’s
causality is not to be coordinated with that of God, however small the
influence ascribed to it. It is a purely receptive, not a productive, agency.
The opposite is the fundamental Romanist error.” Self-love will never
induce a man to give up self-love. Selfishness will not throttle and cast out.76
selfishness. “Such a choice from a selfish motive would be unholy when
judged by God’s standard. It is absurd to make salvation depend upon the
exercises of a wholly unspiritual power”; see Dorner, Glaubenslehre,
2:716-720 (Syst. Doct., 4:179-183). Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:505
— “Sin does not first stop, and then holiness come in place of sin but
holiness positively expels sin. Darkness does not first cease and then light
enter but light drives out darkness.” On the Arminian view, see
Bibliotheca Sacra, 19:265, 266.
John Wesley’s theology was a modified Arminianism yet it was John
Wesley who did most to establish the doctrine of regeneration. He asserted
that the Holy Spirit acts through the truth, in distinction from the doctrine
that the Holy Spirit works solely through the ministers and sacraments of
the church. But in asserting the work of the Holy Spirit in the individual
soul, he went too far to the opposite extreme of emphasizing the ability of
man to choose God’s service when, without love to God, there was
nothing in God’s service to attract. A. H. Bradford, Age of Faith: “It is as
if Jesus had said: if a sailor will properly set his rudder the wind will fill
his sails. The will is the rudder of the character; if it is turned in the right
direction, all the winds of heaven will favor but if it is turned in the wrong
direction, they will oppose.” The question returns: What shall move the
man to set his rudder aright, if he has no desire to reach the proper haven?
Here is the need of divine power, not merely to cooperate with man, after
man’s will is set in the right direction but to set it in the right direction in
the first place.

Philippians 2:13 — “it is God who worketh in you both
to will and to work, for his good pleasure.”
Still another modification of Arminian doctrine is found in the Revealed
Theology of N. W. Taylor of New Haven, who maintained that,
antecedently to regeneration, the selfish principle is suspended in the
sinner’s heart. Then, prompted by self-love, he uses the means of
regeneration from motives that are neither sinful nor holy. He held that all
men, saints and sinners, have their own happiness for their ultimate end.
Regeneration involves no change in this principle or motive but only a
change in the governing purpose to seek this happiness in God rather than
in the world. Dr. Taylor said that man could turn to God, whatever the
Spirit did or did not do. He could turn to God if he would but he could
also turn to God if he wouldn’t. In other words, he maintained the power
of contrary choice while yet affirming the certainty that, without the Holy
Spirit’s influences, man would always choose wrongly. These doctrines
caused a division in the Congregational body. Those who opposed Taylor
withdrew their support from New Haven and founded the East Windsor.77
Seminary in 1834. For Taylor’s view, see N. W. Taylor, Revealed
Theology, 369-406, and in The Christian Spectator for 1829.
The chief opponent of Dr. Taylor was Dr. Bennet Tyler. He replied to Dr.
Taylor that moral character has its seat, not in the purpose, but in the
affections back of the purpose. Otherwise every Christian must be in a
state of sinless perfection, for his governing purpose is to serve God. But
we know that there are affections and desires not under control of this
purpose — dispositions not in conformity with the predominant
disposition. How, Dr. Tyler asked, can a sinner, completely selfish, from
a selfish motive, resolve not to be selfish and so suspend his selfishness?
“Antecedently to regeneration, there can be no suspension of the selfish
principle. It is said that, in suspending it, the sinner is actuated by self-love.
But is it possible that the sinner, while destitute of love to God and
every particle of genuine benevolence, should love himself at all and not
love himself supremely? He loves nothing more than self. He does not
regard God or the universe except, as they tend to promote his ultimate
end, his own happiness. No sinner ever suspended this selfishness until
subdued by divine grace. We can not become regenerate by preferring
God to the world merely from regard to our own interest. There is no
necessity of the Holy Spirit to renew the heart, if self-love prompts men to
turn from the world to God. On the view thus combated, depravity
consists simply in ignorance. All men need is enlightenment as to the best
means of securing their own happiness. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit
is, therefore, not necessary.” See Bennet Tyler, Memoir and Lectures,
316-381, esp. 334, 370, 371; Letters on the New Haven Theology, 21-72,
143-163; review of Taylor and Fitch, by E. D. Griffin, Divine Efficiency,
13-54; Martineau, Study, 2:9 — “By making it a man’s interest to be
disinterested, do you cause him to forget himself and put any love into his
heart? Or do you only break him in and cause him to turn this way and
that by the bit and lash of a driving necessity?” The sinner, apart from the
grace of God, cannot see the truth. Wilberforce took Pitt to hear Cecil
preach, but Pitt declared that he did not understand a word that Cecil said.
Apart from the grace of God, the sinner, even when made to see the truth,
resists it the more, the more clearly he sees it. Then the Holy Spirit
overcomes his Opposition and makes him willing in the day of God’s
power (

Psalm 110:3).
B. The truth, as the efficient cause of regeneration.
According to this view, the truth as a system of motives is the direct and
immediate cause of the change from unholiness to holiness. This view is
objectionable for two reasons:.78
(a) It erroneously regards motives as wholly external to the mind that is
influenced by them. This is to conceive of them as mechanically
constraining the will, and is indistinguishable from necessitarianism. On the
contrary, motives are compounded of external presentations and internal
dispositions. It is the soul’s affections, which render certain suggestions
attractive and others repugnant to us. In brief, the heart makes the motive.
(b) Only as truth is loved, therefore, can it be a motive to holiness. But we
have seen that the aversion of the sinner to God is such that the truth is
hated instead of loved, and a thing that is hated, is hated more intensely,
the more distinctly it is seen. Hence no mere power of the truth can be
regarded as the efficient cause of regeneration. The contrary view implies
that it is not the truth, which the sinner hates, but rather some element of
error, which is mingled with it.
Lyman Beecher and Charles G. Finney held this view. The influence of
the Holy Spirit differs from that of the preacher only in degree, both use
only moral suasion, both do nothing more than to present the truth, both
work upon the soul from without.
“Were I as eloquent as the Holy Ghost, I could convert sinners as well as
he,” said a popular preacher of this school (see Bennet Tyler, Letters on
New Haven Theology, 164-171). On this view, it would be absurd to pray
to God to regenerate, for that is more than he can do; regeneration is
simply the effect of truth.
Miley, in Methodist Quarterly, July, 1881:484-462, holds that the will
cannot rationally act without motive but that it has always power to
suspend action, or defer it, for the purpose of rational examination of the
motive or end and to consider the opposite motive or end. Putting the old
end or motive out of view will temporarily break its power and the new
truth considered will furnish motive for right action. Thus, by using our
faculty of suspending choice and of fixing attention, we can realize the
permanent eligibility of the good and choose it against the evil. This is,
however, not the realization of a new spiritual life in regeneration, but the
election of its attainment. Power to do this suspending is of grace [grace,
however, given equally to all]. Without this power, life would be a
spontaneous and irresponsible development of evil.” The view of Miley,
thus substantially given, resembles that of Dr. Taylor, upon which we
have already commented but, unlike that, it makes truth itself, apart from
the affections, a determining agency in the change from sin to holiness.
Our one reply is that, without a change in the affections, the truth can.79
neither be known nor obeyed. Seeing cannot be the means of being born
again, for one must first be born again in order to see the kingdom of God

John 3:3). The mind will not choose God until God appears to be the
greatest good.
Edwards, quoted by Griffin, Divine Efficiency, 64 — “Let the sinner
apply his rational powers to the contemplation of divine things, and let his
belief be speculatively correct; still he is in such a state that those objects
of contemplation will excite in him no holy affections.” The Scriptures
declare (

Romans 8:7) that “the mind of the flesh is enmity” — not
against some error or mistaken notion of God — but “is enmity against
God.” It is God’s holiness, mandatory and punitive, that is hated. A
clearer view of that holiness will only increase the hatred. A woman’s
hatred of spiders will never be changed to love by bringing them close to
her. Magnifying them with a compound oxy-hydrogen microscope will not
help the matter. Tyler: “All the light of the last day will not subdue the
sinners heart.” The mere presence of God and seeing God face to face will
be hell to him, if his hatred be not first changed to love. See E. D. Griffin,
Divine Efficiency, 105-116, 203-221; and review of Griffin, by S. R.
Mason, Truth Unfolded, 383-407.
Bradford, Heredity and Christian Problems, 229 — “Christianity puts
three motives before men: love, self-love, and fear.” True, but the last two
are only preliminary motives, not essentially Christian. The soul that is
moved only by self-love or by fear has not yet entered into the Christian
life at all. And any attention to the truth of God, which originates in these
motives, has no absolute moral value and cannot be regarded as even a
beginning of salvation. Nothing but holiness and love are entitled to be
called Christianity and these the truth of itself cannot summon up. The
Spirit of God must go with the truth to impart right desires and to make
the truth effective. E. G. Robinson: “The glory of our salvation can no
more be attributed to the word of God only, than the glory of a Praxiteles
or a Canova can be ascribed to the chisel or the mallet with which he
wrought into beauty his immortal creations.”
C. The immediate agency of the Holy Spirit, as the efficient cause of
In ascribing to the Holy Spirit the authorship of regeneration, we do not
affirm that the divine Spirit accomplishes his work without any
accompanying instrumentality. We simply assert that the power, which
regenerates, is the power of God and that although conjoined with the use
of means, there is a direct operation of this power upon the sinner’s heart,.80
which changes its moral character. We add two remarks by way of further
(a) The Scriptural assertions of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and of his
mighty power in the soul forbid us to regard the divine Spirit in
regeneration as coming in contact, not with the soul, but only with the
truth. The phrases, “to energize the truth,” “to intensify the truth,” “to
illuminate the truth,” have no proper meaning since even God cannot make
the truth more true. If any change is wrought, it must be wrought, not in
the truth, but in the soul.
The maxim, “Truth is mighty and will prevail,” is very untrue, if God is
left out of the account. Truth without God is an abstraction and not a
power. It is a mere instrument, useless without an agent. “The sword of
the Spirit which is the word of God” (

Ephesians 6:17), must be
wielded by the Holy Spirit himself. And the Holy Spirit comes in contact,
not simply with the instrument, but with the soul. To all moral, and
especially to all religious truth, there is an inward insusceptibility, arising
from the perversity of the affections and the will. This blindness and
hardness of heart must be removed, before the soul can perceive or be
moved by the truth. Hence the Spirit must deal directly with the soul.
Denovan: “Our natural hearts are hearts of stone. The word of God is
good seed sown on the hard, trodden, macadamized highway, which the
horses of passion, the asses of self-will, the wagons of imaginary treasure
have made impenetrable. Only the Holy Spirit can soften and pulverize
this soil.”
The Psalmist prays: “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies” (

119:36), while of Lydia it is said: “whose heart the Lord opened to give
heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul” (

Acts 16:14). We
may say of the Holy Spirit: “He freezes and then melts the soil, He breaks
the hard, cold stone, Kills out the rooted weeds so vile, All this he does
alone; And every virtue we possess. And every victory won, And every
thought of holiness, Are his, and his alone.” Hence, in

Psalm 90:16,
17, the Psalmist says, first: “Let thy work appear unto thy servants then
“establish thou the work of our hands upon us” — God’s work is first to
appear, then man’s work, which is God’s work carried out by human
instruments. At Jericho, the force was not applied to the rams’ horns but
to the walls. When Jesus healed the blind man, his power was applied, not
to the spittle, but to the eyes. The impression is prepared, not by heating
the seal, but by softening the wax. So God’s power acts, not upon the
truth, but upon the sinner..81

Psalm 59:10 — “My God with his loving kindness will meet me”;
A.V. — “The God of my mercy shall prevent me,” i. e., go before me.
Augustine urges this text as proof that the grace of God precedes all merit
of man: “What didst thou find in me but only sins? Before I do anything
good, his mercy will go before me. What will unhappy Pelagius answer
here?” Calvin however says this may be a pious, but it is not a fair, use of
the passage. The passage does teach dependence upon God but God’s
anticipation of our action, or in other words, the doctrine of prevenient
grace, must be derived from other portions of Scripture, such as

1:13, and

Ephesians 2:10. “The enthusiasm of humanity” to which J.
R. Seeley, the author of Ecce Homo, exhorts us, is doubtless the secret of
happiness and usefulness. Unfortunately he does not tell us whence it may
come. John Stuart Mill felt the need of it, but he did not get it. Arthur
Hugh Clough, Clergyman’s First Tale: “Would I could wish my wishes
all to rest, And know to wish the wish that were the best.” Bradford,
Heredity, 228 — “God is the environment of the soul, yet man has free
will. Light fills the spaces, yet a man from ignorance may remain in a
cave, or from choice may dwell in darkness.” Man needs therefore a
divine influence, which will beget in him a disposition to use his
opportunities aright.
We may illustrate the philosophy of revivals by the canal boat, which lies
before the gate of a lock. No power on earth can open the lock. But soon
the lock begins to fill, and when the water has reached the proper level,
the gate can be opened almost at a touch. Or, a steamer runs into a
sandbar. Tugs fail to pull the vessel off. Her own engines cannot
accomplish it. But when the tide comes in, she swings free without effort.
So what we need in religion is an influx of spiritual influence, which will
make easy what before is difficult if not impossible. The Superintendent
of a New York State Prison tells us that the common schools furnish 83
per cent and the colleges and academies over 4 per cent of the inmates of
Auburn and Sing Sing. Truth without the Holy Spirit to apply it is like
sunshine without the actinic ray, which alone can give it vitalizing energy.
(b) Even if truth could be energized, intensified, illuminated, there would
still be needed a change in the moral disposition, before the soul could
recognize its beauty or be affected by it. No mere increase of light can
enable a blind man to see; the disease of the eye must first be cured before
external objects are visible. So God’s work in regeneration must be
performed within the soul itself. Over and above all influence of the truth,
there must be a direct influence of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. Although.82
wrought in conjunction with the presentation of truth to the intellect,
regeneration differs from moral suasion in being an immediate act of God.
Before regeneration, man’s knowledge of God is the blind man’s
knowledge of color. The Scriptures call such knowledge “ignorance”

Ephesians 4:18). The heart does not appreciate God’s mercy.
Regeneration gives an experimental or heart knowledge. See Shedd,
Dogmatic Theology, 2:495;

Isaiah 50:4 — God “wakeneth mine ear to
hear.” It is false to say that soul can come in contact with soul only
through the influence of truth. In the intercourse of dear friends, or in the
discourse of the orator, there is a personal influence, distinct from the
word spoken, which persuades the heart and conquers the will. We
sometimes call it “magnetism,” — but we mean simply that soul reaches
soul, in ways apart from the use of physical intermediaries. Compare the
facts, imperfectly known as yet, of second sight, mind reading,
clairvoyance. But whether these be accepted or not, it still is true that God
has not made the human soul so that it is inaccessible to himself. The
omnipresent Spirit penetrates and pervades all spirits that have been made
by him. See Lotze, Outlines of Psychology (Ladd), 142, 143.
In the primary change of disposition, which is the most essential feature of
regeneration, the Spirit of God acts directly upon the spirit of man. In the
securing of the initial exercise of this new disposition — which constitutes
the secondary feature of God’s work of regeneration — the truth is used
as a means. Hence, perhaps, in

James 1:18, we read: “Of his own will
he brought us forth by the word of truth” instead of “he begat us by the
word of truth,” — the reference being to the secondary, not to the
primary, feature of regeneration. The advocates of the opposite view —
the view that God works only through the truth as a means, and that his
only influence upon the soul is a moral influence — very naturally deny
the mystical union of the soul with Christ. Squier, for example, in his
Autobiography, 343-378, esp. 360, on the Spirit’s influences, quotes

John 16:8 — he “will convict the world in respect of sin” — to show
that God regenerates by applying truth to men’s minds, so far as to
convince them, by fair and sufficient arguments, that they are sinners.
Christ, opening blind eyes and unstopping deaf ears, illustrates the nature
of God’s operation in regeneration, in the case of the blind, there is plenty
of light, — what is wanted is sight. The Negro convert said that his
conversion was due to himself and God: he fought against God with all his
might, and God did the rest. So our moral successes are due to ourselves
and God, we have done only the fighting against God, and God has done
the rest. The sand of Sahara would not bring forth flowers and fruit, even.83
if you turned into it a hundred rivers like the Nile. Man may hear sermons
for a lifetime, and still be barren of all spiritual growths. The soil of the
heart needs to be changed, and the good seed of the kingdom needs to be
planted there.
For the view that truth is “energized” or “intensified” by the Holy Spirit,
see Phelps, New Birth, 61, 121; Walker, Philosophy of Plan of Salvation,
chap. 18. Per Contra, see Wardlaw, Systematic Theology, 3:24, 25; E.
D. Griffin, Divine Efficiency, 73-116; Anderson, Regeneration, 123-168;
Edwards, Works, 2:547-597; Chalmers, Lectures on Romans, chap. 1;
Payne, Divine Sovereignty, lect. 23:363-367; Hodge, Systematic
Theology, 3:3-37, 466-485. On the whole subject of the Efficient Cause
of Regeneration, see Hopkins, Works, 454; Dwight, Theology, 2:418-429;
John Owen, Works, 3:282-297, 366-538; Robert Hall, Sermon on the
Cause, Agent, and Purpose of Regeneration.
4. The Instrumentality used in Regeneration.
A. The Roman, English and Lutheran churches hold that regeneration is
accomplished through the instrumentality of baptism. The Disciples,
followers of Alexander Campbell, make regeneration include baptism, as
well as repentance and faith. To the view that baptism is a. means of
regeneration we urge the following objections:
(a) The Scriptures represent baptism to be not the means but only the sign
of regeneration, and therefore to presuppose and follow regeneration. For
this reason only, believers — that is, persons giving credible evidence of
being regenerated — were baptized (

Acts 8:12). Not external baptism,
but the conscientious turning of the soul to God which baptism symbolizes,
saves us

1 Peter 3:21 — suneidh>sewv ajgaqh~v, ejperw>thma). Texts

John 3:5,

Acts 2:38,

Colossians 2:12,

Titus 3:5, are to be
explained upon the principle that regeneration, the inward change, and
baptism, the outward sign of that change, were regarded as only different
sides or aspects of the same fact. Either side or aspect might therefore be
described in terms derived from the other.
(b) Upon this view, there is a striking incongruity between the nature of
the change to be wrought and the means employed to produce it. The
change is a spiritual one, but the means are physical. It is far more rational
to suppose that, in changing the character of intelligent beings, God uses
means, which have relation to their intelligence. The view we are
considering is part and parcel of a general scheme of mechanical rather.84
than moral salvation, and is more consistent with a materialistic than with a
spiritual philosophy.

Acts 8:12 — “when they believed Philip preaching good tidings
concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ they were

1 Peter 3:21 — “which also after a true likeness doth now
save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but
the interrogation [margin — ‘inquiry’, ‘appeal’] of a good conscience
toward God” = the inquiry of the soul after God, the conscientious turning
of the soul to God.
Plumptre, however, makes ejperw>thma a forensic term equivalent to
“examination,” and including both question and answer. It means, then,
the open answer of allegiance to Christ, given by the new convert to the
constituted officers of the church. “That which is of the essence of the
saving power of baptism is the confession and the profession which
precede it. If this comes from a conscience that really renounces sin and
believes on Christ, then baptism, as the channel through which the grace
of the new birth is conveyed and the convert admitted into the church of
Christ. ‘saves us,’ but not otherwise.” We may adopt this statement from
Plumptre’s Commentary with the alteration of the word “conveyed” into
“symbolized” or “manifested.” Plumptre’s interpretation is, as he seems to
admit, in its obvious meaning inconsistent with infant baptism; to us it
seems equally inconsistent with any doctrine of baptismal regeneration.
Scriptural regeneration is God’s (1) changing man’s disposition, and (2)
securing its first exercise. Regeneration, according to the Disciples, is
man’s (1) repentance and faith, and (2) submission to baptism. Alexander
Campbell, Christianity Restored:
“We plead that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is exhibited in
the divine Record.” Address of Disciples to Ohio Baptist State
Convention, 1871: “With us regeneration includes all that is
comprehended in faith, repentance, and baptism, and so far as it is
expressive of birth, it belongs more properly to the last of these than to
either of the former.” But if baptism be the instrument of regeneration, it
is difficult to see how the patriarchs, or the penitent thief, could have been

Luke 23:43 — “This day shalt thou be with me in
Paradise.” Bossuet: “‘This day’ what promptitude! ‘With me’ — what
companionship! ‘In Paradise’ — what rest!” Bersier: “‘This day — what
then? no flames of Purgatory? no long period of mournful expiation?
‘This day’ — pardon and heaven!”.85
Baptism is a condition of being outwardly in the kingdom; it is not a
condition at being inwardly in the kingdom. The confounding of these two
led many in the early church to dread dying without having been baptized,
rather than dying unsaved. Even Pascal, in later times, held that
participation in outward ceremonies might lead to real conversion. He
probably meant that an initial act of holy will would tend to draw others
in its train. Similarly we urge unconverted people to take some step that
will manifest religious interest. We hope that in taking this step a new
decision of the will, inwrought by she Spirit of God may reveal itself. But
a religion, which consists only in such outward performances is justly
denominated a coetaneous religion, for it is only skin deep. On

3:5 — “Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into
the kingdom of God”;

Acts 2:38 — “Repent ye, and be baptized every
one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins”;

Colossians 2:12 — “buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also
raised with him through faith”;

Titus 3:5 — “saved us, through the
washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” — see further
discussion and exposition in our chapter on the Ordinances. Adkins,
Disciples and Baptists, a booklet published by the Am. Bap. Pub. Society,
is the best statement of the Baptist position, as distinguished from that of
the Disciples. It claims that Disciples overrate the externals of
Christianity and underrate the work of the Holy Spirit. Per contra, see
Gates, Disciples and Baptists.
B. The Scriptural view is that regeneration, so far as it secures an activity
of man, is accomplished through the instrumentality of the truth. Although
the Holy Spirit does not in any way illuminate the truth, he does illuminate
the mind, so that it can perceive the truth. In conjunction with the change
of man’s inner disposition, there is an appeal to man’s rational nature
through the truth. Two inferences may be drawn:
(a) Man is not wholly passive at the time of his regeneration. He is passive
only with respect to the change of his ruling disposition. With respect to
the exercise of this disposition, he is active. Although the efficient power
which secures this exercise of the new disposition is the power of God, yet
man is not therefore unconscious, nor is he a mere machine worked by
God’s fingers. On the other hand, his whole moral nature under God’s
working is alive and active. We reject the “exercise-system,” which regards
God as the direct author of all man’s thoughts, feelings, and volition, not
only in its general tenor, but also in its special application to regeneration..86
Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:503 — “A dead man cannot assist in his
own resurrection.” This is true so far as the giving of life is concerned.
But once made alive, man can, like Lazarus, obey Christ’s command and
“come forth” (

John 11:43). In fact, if he does not obey, there is no
evidence that there is spiritual life. “In us is God; we burn but as he
moves” — “Est deus in nobis; agitante calescimus illo.” Wireless
telegraphy requires an attuned receiver; regeneration attunes the soul so
that it vibrates responsively to God and receives the communications of
his truth. When a convert came to Rowland Hill and claimed that she had
been converted in a dream, he replied: “We will see how you walk, now
that you are awake.”
Lord Bacon said he would open every one of Argus’s hundred eyes,
before he opened one of Briareus’s hundred hands. If God did not renew
men’s hearts in connection with our preaching of the truth, we might well
give up our ministry. E. G. Robinson: “The conversion of a soul is just as
much according to law as the raising of a crop of turnips.” Simon,
Reconciliation, 377 — “Though the mere preaching of the gospel is not
the cause of the conversion and revivification of men, it is a necessary
condition. It is as necessary as the action of light and heat, or other
physical agencies, are on a germ, if it is to develop, grow, and bear its
proper fruit.”
(b) The activity of man’s mind in regeneration is activity in view of the
truth. God secures the initial exercise of the new disposition, which he has
wrought in man’s heart in connection with the use of truth as a means.
Here we perceive the link between the efficiency of God and the activity of
man. Only as the sinner’s mind is brought into contact with the truth, does
God complete his regenerating work. And as the change of inward
disposition and the initial exercise of it are never, so far as we know,
separated by any interval of time, we can say, in general, that Christian
work is successful only as it commends the truth to every man’s conscience
in the sight of God (

2 Corinthians 4:2).

Ephesians 1:17, 18, there is recognized the divine illumination of
the mind to behold the truth — “may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your heart
enlightened, That ye may know what is the hope of his calling.” On truth
as a means of regeneration, see Hovey, Outlines, 192, who quotes
Cunningham, Historical Theology, 1:617 — “Regeneration may be taken
in a limited sense as including only the first impartation of spiritual life. It
may also be taken in a wider sense as comprehending the whole of that.87
process by which he is renewed or made over again in the whole man after
the image of God, i. e., as including the production of saving faith and
union to Christ. Only in the first sense did the Reformers maintain that
man in the process was wholly passive and not active. They did not
dispute that, before the process in the second and more enlarged sense was
completed, man was spiritually alive and active, and continued so ever
after during the whole process of his sanctification.”
Dr. Hovey suggests an apt illustration of these two parts of the Holy
Spirit’s work and their union in regeneration. At the same time that God
makes the photographic plate sensitive, he pours in the light of truth
whereby the image of Christ is formed in the soul. Without the
“sensitizing” of the plate, it would never fix the rays of light so as to
retain the image. In the process of “sensitizing,” the plate is passive and
under the influence of light, it is active. In both the “sensitizing” and the
taking of the picture, the real agent is not the plate nor the light, but the
photographer. The photographer cannot perform both operations at the
same moment. God can. He gives the new affection and at the same
instant he secures its exercise in view of the truth.
For denial of the instrumentality of truth in regeneration, see Pierce, in
Bap. Quar., Jan. 1872:52. Per contra, see Anderson, Regeneration, 89-
122. H. B. Smith holds middle ground. He says: “In adults it
[regeneration] is wrought most frequently by the word of God as the
instrument. Believing that infants may be regenerated, we cannot assert
that it is tied to the word of God absolutely.” We prefer to say that, if
infants are regenerated, they also are regenerated in conjunction with
some influence of truth upon the mind, dim as the recognition of it may
be. Otherwise we break the Scriptural connection between regeneration
and conversion, and open the way for faith in a physical, magical,
sacramental salvation. Squier, Autobiography, 368, says well, of the
theory of regeneration which makes man purely passive, that it has a
benumbing effect upon preaching: “The lack of expectation unnerves the
efforts of the preacher; an impression of the fortuitous presence
neutralizes his “engagedness”. This antinomian dependence on the Spirit
extracts all vitality from the pulpit and sense of responsibility from the
hearer, and makes preaching an opus operatum, like the baptismal
regeneration of the formalist.” Only of the first element in regeneration are
Shedd’s words true: “A dead man cannot assist in his own resurrection”
(Dogmatic Theology, 2:503).
Squier goes to the opposite extreme of regarding the truth alone as the
cause of regeneration. His words are, none the less, a valuable protest.88
against the view that regeneration is so entirely due to God that in no part
of it is man active. It was with a better view that Luther cried: “O that we
might multiply living books, that is, preachers!” And the preacher is
successful only as he possesses and unfolds the truth. John took the little
book from the Covenant angel’s hand and ate it (Revelations 10:8-11). So
he who is to preach God’s truth must feed upon it, until it has become his
own. For the Exercise-system, see Emmons, Works, 4:339-411;
Hagenbach, Hist. Doct., 2:439.
5. The Nature of the Change wrought in Regeneration.
A. It is a change in which the governing disposition is made holy. This
implies that:
(a) It is not a change in the substance of either body or soul. Regeneration
is not a physical change. There is no physical seed or germ implanted in
man’s nature. Regeneration does not add to, or subtract from, the number
of man’s intellectual, emotional or voluntary faculties. But regeneration is
the giving of a new direction or tendency to powers of affection which man
possessed before. Man had the faculty of love before but his love was
supremely set on self. In regeneration the direction of that faculty is
changed and his love is now set supremely upon God.

Ephesians 2:10 — “created in Christ Jesus for good works” — does
not imply that the old soul is annihilated, and a new soul created. The “old
man” which is “crucified” — (

Romans 6:6) and “put

Ephesians 4:22) is simply the sinful bent of the affections and
will. When this direction of the dispositions is changed, and becomes holy,
we can call the change a new birth of the old nature, because the same
faculties that acted before are acting now, the only difference being that
now these faculties are set toward God and purity. Or, regarding the
change from another point of view, we may speak of man as having a
“new nature,” as being “recreated,” as being a “new creature.” Because
this direction of the affection and will, which ensures a different life from
what was led before, it is something totally new, and due wholly to the
regenerating act of God. In

1 Peter 1:23 — “begot-ten again, not of
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible” — all materialistic inferences from
the word “seed,” as if it implied the implantation of a physical germ, are
prevented by the following explanatory words: “through the word of God,
which liveth and abideth.”
So, too, when we describe regeneration as the communication of a new
life to the soul, we should not conceive of this new life as a substance.89
imparted or infused into us. The new life is rather a new direction and
activity of our own affections and will. There is indeed a union of the soul
with Christ; Christ dwells in the renewed heart. Christ’s entrance into the
soul is the cause and accompaniment of its regeneration. But this
entrance of Christ into the soul is not itself regeneration. We must
distinguish the effect from the cause; otherwise we shall be in danger of a
pantheistic confounding of our own personality and life with the
personality and life of Christ. Christ is indeed our life, in the sense of
being the cause and supporter of our life, but he is not our life in the sense
that, after our union with him, our individuality ceases. The effect of
union with Christ is rather that our individuality is enlarged and exalted

John 10:10 — “I came that they may have life, and may have it
abundantly.” See page 799, (c).
We must therefore take with a grain of allowance the generally excellent
words of A. J. Gordon, Twofold Life, 22 — “Regeneration is the
communication of the divine nature to man by the operation of the Holy
Spirit through the word (

2 Peter 1:4). As Christ was made partaker of
human nature by incarnation, that so he might enter into truest fellowship
with us, we are made partakers of the divine nature, by regeneration, that
we may enter into truest fellowship with God. Regeneration is not a
change of nature, i. e., a natural heart bettered. Eternal life is not natural
life prolonged into endless duration. It is the divine life imparted to us, the
very life of God communicated to the human soul and bringing forth there
its proper fruit.” Dr. Gordon’s view that regeneration adds a new
substance or faculty to the soul is the result of making literal the Scripture
metaphors of creation and life. This turning of symbol into fact accounts
for his tendency toward annihilation doctrine in the case of the
unregenerate, toward faith cure and the belief that prayer can removed all
physical evils. E. H. Johnson, The Holy Spirit: “Regeneration is a change,
not in the quantity, but in the quality, of the soul.” E. G. Robinson,
Christian Theology, 320 — “Regeneration consists in a divinely wrought
change in the moral affections.”
So, too, we would criticize the doctrine of Drummond, Nat. Law in the
Spir. World: “People forget the persistence of force. Instead of
transforming energy, they try to create it. We must either depend on
environment, or be self-sufficient. The ‘cannot bear fruit of itself’

John 15:4) is the ‘cannot’ of natural law. Natural fruit flourishes with
air and sunshine. The difference between the Christian and the non-Christian
is the difference between the organic and the inorganic. The
Christian has all the characteristics of life: assimilation, waste,
reproduction and spontaneous action.” See criticism of Drummond, by.90
Murphy, in Brit. Quar., 1884:118-125 — “As in resurrection there is a
physical connection with the old body, so in regeneration there is a natural
connection with the old soul.” Also, Brit. Quar., July, 1880, art.:
Evolution Viewed in Relation to Theology — “The regenerating agency of
the Spirit of God is symbolized, not by the vitalization of dead matter, but
by the agency of the organizing intelligence which guides the evolution of
living beings.” Murphy’s answer to Drummond is republished. Murphy’s
Natural Selection and Spiritual Freedom, 1-33 — “The will can no more
create force, either muscular or mental, than it can create matter. And it is
equally true that for our spiritual nourishment and spiritual force we are
altogether dependent on our spiritual environment, which is God.” In
“dead matter” there is no sin.
Drummond would imply that, as matter has no promise or potency of life
and is not responsible for being without life (or “dead,” to use his
misleading word) and, if it ever is to live must wait for the life giving
influence to come unsought, so the human soul is not responsible for
being spiritually dead. It cannot seek for life so it must passively wait for
the Spirit. Plymouth Brethren generally hold the same view with
Drummond, that regeneration adds something — as vitality — to the
substance of the soul. Christ is transubstantiated into the soul’s
substance; or, the pneu~ma is added. But we have given over talking of
vitality as if it were a substance or faculty. We regard it as merely a mode
of action. Evolution, moreover, uses what already exists, so far as it will
go, instead of creating new as in the miracle of the loaves, and as in the
original creation of man, so in his recreation or regeneration. Dr. Charles
Hodge also makes the same mistake in calling regeneration an
“origination of the principle of the spirit of life, just as literal and real a
creation as the origination of the principle of natural life.” This, too,
makes Scripture metaphor literal and ignores the fact that the change
accomplished in regeneration is an exclusively moral one. There is indeed
a new entrance of Christ into the soul, or a new exercise of his spiritual
power within the soul. But the effect of Christ’s working is not to add any
new faculty or substance, but only to give new direction to already
existing powers.
(b) Regeneration involves an enlightenment of the understanding and a
rectification of the volition. But it seems most consonant with Scripture
and with a correct psychology to regard these changes as immediate and
necessary consequences of the change of disposition already mentioned,
rather than as the primary and central facts in regeneration. The taste for
truth logically precedes perception of the truth, and love for God logically.91
precedes obedience to God indeed, without love no obedience is possible.
Reverse the lever of affection and this moral locomotive, without further
change, will move away from sin and toward truth and God.
Texts which seem to imply that a right taste, disposition, affection,
logically precedes both knowledge of God and obedience to God, are the

Psalm 34:8 — “Oh taste and see that Jehovah is good”;
119:36 — “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies”;

Jeremiah 24:7 —
“I will give them a heart to know me”;

Matthew 5:8 — “Blessed are
the pure in heart: for they shall see God”;

John 7:17 — “If any man
willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God”;

Acts 16:14 — of Lydia it is said: “whose heart the Lord opened to
give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul”;

Ephesians 1:18
— “having the eyes of your heart enlightened.” “Change the center of a
circle and you change the place and direction of all its radii.”
The text

John 1:12, 13 — “But as many as received him, to them gave
him the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his
name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the
will of man, but of God seems at first sight to imply that faith is the
condition of regeneration, and therefore prior to it. “But if ejxousi>an here
signifies the ‘right’ or ‘privilege’ of son-ship, it is a right which may
presuppose faith as the work of the Spirit in regeneration — a work apart
from which no genuine faith exists in the soul. But it is possible that John
means to say that, in the case of all who received Christ, their power to
believe was given to them by him. In the original the emphasis is on
‘gave,’ and this is shown by the order of the words.” See Hovey, Manual
of Theology, 345, and Com. on

John 1:12, 13 — “The meaning would
then be this: ‘Many did not receive him but some did. As to all who
received him, he gave them grace by which they were enabled to do this,
and so to become God’s children,”’
Ruskin: “The first and last and closest trial question to any living creature
is, ‘What do you like?’ Go out into the street and ask the first man you
meet what his taste is, and, if he answers candidly, you know him body
and soul. What we like determines what we are, and is the sign of what we
are and to teach taste is inevitably to form character.” If the taste here
spoken of is moral and spiritual taste, the words of Ruskin are sober truth.
Regeneration is essentially a changing of the fundamental taste of the
soul. But, by taste we mean the direction of man’s love, the bent of his
affections, the trend of his will. And to alter that taste is not to impart a
new faculty or to create a new substance but simply to set toward God the
affections, which hitherto have been set upon self and sin. We may.92
illustrate by the engineer who climbs over the cab into a runaway
locomotive and who changes its course, not by adding any new rod or cog
to the machine, but simply by reversing the lever. The engine slows up
and soon moves in an opposite direction to that in which it has been going.
Man needs no new faculty of love; he needs only to have his love set in a
new and holy direction. This is virtually to give him a new birth, to make
him a new creature, to impart to him a new life. But being born again,
created anew, made alive from the dead, are physical metaphors, to be
interpreted not literally but spiritually.
(c) It is objected, indeed, that we know only of mental substance and of
mental acts and that the new disposition or state just mentioned, since it is
not an act, must be regarded as a new substance and so they lack all moral
quality. But we reply that, besides substance and acts, there are habits,
tendencies and proclivities (some of them native and some of them
acquired). They are voluntary and have moral character. If we can by
repeated acts originate sinful tendencies, God can surely originate in us
holy tendencies. Such holy tendencies formed a part of the nature of Adam,
as he came from the hand of God. As the result of the Fall, we are born
with tendencies toward evil for which we are responsible. Regeneration is a
restoration of the original tendencies toward God, which were lost by the
Fall. Such holy tendencies (tastes, dispositions and affections) are not only
not immoral — they are the only possible springs of right moral action.
Only in the restoration of them does man become truly free.

Matthew 12:33 — “Make the tree good, and its fruit good”;

Ephesians 2:10 — “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” The tree
is first made good — the character renewed in its fundamental principle,
love to God — in the certainty that when this is done the fruit will be good
also. Good works are the necessary result of regeneration by union with
Christ. Regeneration introduces a new force into humanity, the force of a
new love. The work of the preacher is that of cooperation with God in the
impartation of a new life. This is a work far more radical and is more
noble than that of moral reform, by as much as the origination of a new
force is more radical and more noble than the guidance of that force after
it has been originated. Does regeneration cure disease and remove
physical ills? Primarily, no it does not.

Matthew 1:21 — “thou shalt
call his name Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins.”
Salvation from sin is Christ’s first and main work. He performed physical
healing only to illustrate and further the healing of the soul. Hence in the
case of the paralytic, when he was expected to cure the body, he said first:
“thy sins are forgiven” (

Matthew 9:2); but, that they who stood by.93
might not doubt his power to forgive, he added the raising up of the
palsied man. And ultimately in every redeemed man the holy heart will
bring in its train the perfected body:

Romans 8:23 — “we ourselves
groan within ourselves waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of
our body.”
On holy affection as the spring of holy action, see especially Edwards,
Religious Affections, in Works, 3:1-21. This treatise is Jonathan
Edwards’s Confessions, as much as if it were directly addressed to the
Deity. Allen, his biographer, calls it “a work, which will not suffer by
comparison with the work of great teachers in theology, whether ancient
or modern.” President Timothy Dwight regarded it as most worthy of
preservation next to the Bible. See also Hodge, Essays and Reviews, 1:48;
Owen n the Holy Spirit, in Works, 3:297-336; Charnock on Regeneration;
Andrew Fuller, Works, 2:461-471, 512-560, and 3:796; Bellamy, Works,
2:502; Dwight, Works, 2:418; Woods, Works, 3:1-21; Anderson,
Regeneration, 21-50.
B. It is an instantaneous change, in a region of the soul below
consciousness, and is therefore known only in its results.
(a) It is an instantaneous change. Regeneration is not a gradual work.
Although there may be a gradual work of God’s providence and Spirit
preparing the change and a gradual recognition of it after it has taken
place. There must be an instant of time when, under the influence of God’s
Spirit, the disposition of the soul, just before hostile to God, is changed to
love. Any other view assumes an intermediate state of indecision, which
has no moral character at all and confounds regeneration either with
conviction or with sanctification.
Conviction of sin is an ordinary, if not an invariable, antecedent of
regeneration. It results from the contemplation of truth. It is often
accompanied by fear, remorse and cries for mercy. But these desires and
fears are not signs of regeneration. They are selfish. They are quite
consistent with manifest and dreadful enmity to God.
They have a hopeful aspect, simply because they are evidence that the
Holy Spirit is striving with the soul. But this work of the Spirit is not yet
regeneration. At most, it is preparation for regeneration. So far as the
sinner is concerned, he is more of a sinner than ever before. Because,
under more light, than has ever before been given him, he is still rejecting
Christ and resisting the Spirit. The word of God and the Holy Spirit
appeal to lower as well as appeal to higher motives. Most men’s concern.94
about religion is determined, at the outset, by hope or fear. See Shedd,
Dogmatic Theology, 2:512.
All these motives, though they are not the highest, are yet proper motives
to influence the soul; it is right to seek God from motives of self-interest
and because we desire heaven. But the seeking, which not only begins but
ends upon this lower plane, is never successful. Until the soul gives itself
to God from motives of love, it is never saved. And so long as these
preliminary motives rule, regeneration has not yet taken place. Bible
reading and prayers, and church attendance and partial reformations are
certainly better than apathy or out breaking sin. They may be signs that
God is working in the soul. But without complete surrender to God, they
may be accompanied with the greatest guilt and the greatest danger.
Simply because, under such influences, the withholding of submission
implies the most active hatred to God and opposition to his will. Instance
cases of outward reformation that preceded regeneration, like that of John
Bunyan, who left off swearing before his conversion. Park: “The soul is a
monad and must turn all at once. If we are standing on the line, we are yet
unregenerate. We are regenerate only when we cross it.” There is a
prevenient grace as well as a regenerating grace. Wendelius indeed
distinguished five kinds of grace, namely, prevenient, preparatory,
operant, cooperative and perfecting.
While in some cases God’s preparatory work occupies a long time, there
are many cases in which he cuts short his work in righteousness

Romans 9:28). Some persons are regenerated in infancy or childhood
cannot remember a time when they did not love Christ and yet take long to
learn that they are regenerate. Others are convicted and converted
suddenly in mature years. The best proof of regeneration is not the
memory of a past experience, however vivid and startling, but rather a
present inward love for Christ, his holiness, his servants, his work and his
word. Much sympathy should be given to those who have been early
converted, but who, from timidity, self-distrust, or the faults of
inconsistent church members, have been deterred from joining themselves
with Christian people and so have lost all hope and joy in their religious
lives. Instance the man who, though converted in a revival of religion, was
injured by a professed Christian. He became a recluse but cherished the
memory of his dead wife and child, kept the playthings of the one and the
clothing of the other and left directions to have them buried with him.
As there is danger of confounding regeneration with preparatory
influences of God’s Spirit, so there is danger of confounding regeneration
with sanctification. Sanctification, as the development of the new.95
affection, is gradual and progressive. But no beginning is progressive or
gradual and regeneration is a beginning of the new affection. We may
gradually come to the knowledge that a new affection exists, but the
knowledge of a beginning is one thing, the beginning itself is another
thing. Luther had experienced a change of heart, long before he knew its
meaning or could express his new feelings in scientific form. It is not in
the sense of a gradual regeneration, but in the sense of a gradual
recognition of the fact of regeneration and a progressive enjoyment of its
results that “the path of the righteous” is said to be “as the dawning light”
— the morning-dawn that begins in faintness, but — “that shineth more
and more unto the perfect day” (

Proverbs 4:18). Cf.

2 Corinthians
4:4 — “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving,
that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God,
should not dawn upon them.” Here the recognition of God’s work is
described as gradual; that the work itself is instantaneous, appears from
the following verse 6 — “Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out
of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of
the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”
Illustrate by the unconscious crossing of the line, which separates one
State of the Federal Union from another. From this doctrine of
instantaneous regeneration, we may infer the duty of reaping as well as of
sowing: John4:38 — “Is onto you to reap.” “It is a mistaken notion that it
takes God a long time to give increase to the seed planted in a sinner’s
heart. This grows out of the idea that regeneration is a matter of being
trained because a soul must be educated from a lost state into a state of
salvation. Let us remember that three thousand, whom in the morning
Peter called murderers of Christ, were before night regenerated and
baptized members of his church.” Drummond, in his Nat. Law in the Spir.
World, remarks upon the “humaness” of sudden conversion. As self-limitation,
self-mortification, suicide of the old nature, it is well to have it
at once done and over with and not to die by degrees.
(b) This change takes place in the region of the soul below consciousness.
It is by no means true that, in regeneration, the subject of it always
recognizes God’s work but, on the other hand, it is never directly
perceived at all. The working of God in the human soul, since it
contravenes no law of man’s being, but rather puts him in the full and
normal possession of his own powers, is secret and inscrutable. Although
man is conscious, he is not conscious of God’s regenerating agency..96
We know our own natural existence only through the phenomena of
thought and sense. So we know our own spiritual existence, as new
creatures in Christ, only through the new feelings and experiences of the
soul. “The will does not need to act solitarily, in order to act freely.” God
acts on the will, and the resulting holiness is true freedom.

John 8:38
— “If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” We
have the consciousness of freedom but the act of God in giving us this
freedom is beyond or beneath our consciousness.
Both Luther and Calvin used the word regeneration in a loose way,
confounding it with sanctification. After the Federalists made a distinct
doctrine of it, Calvinists in general came to treat it separately. And John
Wesley rescued it from identification with sacraments by showing its
connection with the truth. E. G. Robinson: “Regeneration is, in one sense
instantaneous, in another sense not. There is necessity of some sort of
knowledge in regeneration. The doctrine of Christ crucified is the fit
instrument. The object of religion is to produce a sound rather than an
emotional experience. Revivals of religion are valuable in just the
proportion in which they produce rational conviction and permanently
righteous action.” But none are left unaffected by them. “An arm of the
magnetic needle must be attracted to the magnetic pole of the earth, or it
must be repelled; there is no such thing as indifference. Modern
materialism, refusing to say that the fear of God is the beginning of
wisdom, is led to declare that the hate of God is the beginning of wisdom”
(Diesselhoff, Die klassische Poesie, 8).
(c) This change, however, is recognized indirectly in its results. At the
moment of regeneration, the soul is conscious only of the truth and of its
own exercises with reference to it. That God is the author of its new
affection is an inference from the new character of the exercises, which it
prompts. The human side or aspect of regeneration is Conversion. This and
the Sanctification (including the special gifts of the Holy Spirit) which
follows it are the sole evidences in any particular case that regeneration is
an accomplished fact.
Regeneration, though it is the birth of a perfect child, is still the birth of a
child. The child is to grow, and the growth is sanctification. In other
words, sanctification, as we shall see, is simply the strengthening and
development of the holy affection which begins its existence in
regeneration. Hence the subject of the epistle to the Romans — salvation
by faith — includes not only justification by faith (chapters 1-7) but
sanctification by faith (chapters 8-16). On evidences of regeneration, see.97
Anderson, Regeneration, 169-214, 227-295; Woods, Works, 44-55. The
transition from justification by faith to sanctification by faith is in chapter
8 of the epistle to the Romans. That begins by declaring that there is no
condemnation in Christ, and ends by declaring that there is no separation
from Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit follows upon the work of Christ.
See Godet on the epistle.
The doctrine of Alexander Campbell was a protest against laying an
unscriptural emphasis on emotional states as evidences of regeneration —
a protest which certain mystical and antinomian exaggerations of
evangelical teaching very justly provoked. But Campbell went to the
opposite extreme of practically excluding emotion from religion and of
confining the work of the Holy Spirit to the conscious influence of the
truth. Disciples need to recognize a power of the Holy Spirit exerted
below consciousness in order to explain the conscious acceptance of
Christ and of his salvation.
William James, Varieties of Religious Experience, 271 — “If we should
conceive that the human mind, with its different possibilities of
equilibrium, might be like a many sided solid with different surfaces on
which it could lie flat, we might liken mental revolutions to the spatial
revolutions of such a body. As it is pried up by a lever, which lies on
surface A, it will linger for a time unstably half way up. Should the lever
cease to urge it, it will tumble back or relapse, under the continued pull of
gravity. But if at last it rotate far enough for its center of gravity to pass
beyond the surface A altogether, the body will fall over, on surface B and
will abide there permanently. The pulls of gravity towards A have
vanished and may now be disregarded. The polyhedron has become
immune against further attraction from this direction.”
Conversion is that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner, in which he
turns, on the one hand, from sin, and on the other hand, to Christ. The
former or negative element in conversion, namely, the turning from sin, we
denominate repentance. The Latter or positive element in conversion,
namely, the turning to Christ, we denominate faith.
For account of repentance and faith as elements of conversion, see
Andrew Fuller, Works, 1:666; Luthardt, Compendium der Dogmatik, 3d
ed., 201-206. The two elements of conversion seem to be in the mind of
Paul, when he writes in

Romans 6:11 — “reckon ye also yourselves to
be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus”;

Colossians 3:3.98
— “ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God Cf. ajpostre>fw, in

Acts 3:26 — “in turning away every one of you from your iniquities,”
with ejpistre>fw in

Acts 11:21 — “believed” and “turned unto the
Lord.” A candidate for ordination was once asked which came first:
regeneration or conversion. He replied very correctly: “Regeneration and
conversion are like the cannonball and the hole — they both go through
together.” This is true however only as to their chronological relation.
Logically the ball is first and causes the hole, not the hole first and causes
the ball.
(a) Conversion is the human side or aspect of that fundamental spiritual
change which, as viewed from the divine side, we call regeneration. It is
simply man’s turning. The Scriptures recognize the voluntary activity of
the human soul in this change as distinctly as they recognize the causative
agency of God. While God turns men to himself (

Psalm 85:4; Song 1:4;

Jeremiah 31:18;

Lamentations 5:21), men are exhorted to turn
themselves to God (

Proverbs 1:23;

Isaiah 31:6; 59:20;

14:6; 18:32; 33:9, 11;

Joel 2:12-14). While God is represented as the
author of the new heart and the new spirit (

Psalm 51:10; Ezekial 11:19;
36:26), men are commanded to make for themselves a new heart and a new
spirit (

Ezekiel 18:31;

2 Corinthians 7:1; cf.

Philippians 2:12, 13;

Ephesians 5:14).

Psalm 85:4 — “Turn us, O God of our salvation”; Song 1:4 — “Draw
me, we will run after thee”;

Jeremiah 31:18 — “turn thou me, and I
shall he turned”; Lam. 5:21 — “Turn thou us unto thee, O Jehovah, and
we shall he turned.”

Proverbs 1:23 — “Turn you at my reproof: Behold, I will pour out my
spirit unto you”;

Isaiah 31:6 — “Turn ye unto him from whom ye
have deeply revolted, O children of Israel”; 59:20 — “And a Redeemer
will come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob”;

Ezekiel 14:6 — “Return ye, and turn yourselves from your idols”;
18:32 — “turn yourselves and live”; 33:9 — “if thou warn the wicked of
his way to turn from it, and he turn not from his way, he shall die in his
iniquity”; 11 — “turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye
die, O house of Israel?”

Joel 2:12-14 — “turn ye unto me with all
your heart.”

Psalm 51:10 — “Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a
right spirit within me”;

Exodus 11:19 — “And I will give them one
heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony.99
heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh”; 36:26 — “A
new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.”

Ezekiel 18:31 — “Cast any from you all your transgressions, wherein
ye have transgressed; and make you anew heart and a new spirit: for why
will ye die, O house of Israel?”

2 Corinthians 7:1 — “Having
therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all
defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”; cf.

Philippians 2:12, 13 — “work out your own salvation with fear and
trembling; for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for
his good pleasure”:

Ephesians 5:14 — “Awake, thou that sleepest, and
arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee.”
When asked the way to heaven, Bishop Wilberforce replied: “Take the
first turn to the right, and go straight forward.” Phillips Brooks’s
conversion is described by Professor Allen, Life, 1:266, as consisting in
the resolve “to be true to himself, to renounce nothing which he knew to
be good, and yet bring all things captive to the obedience of God, the
absolute surrender of his will to God, in accordance with the example of
Christ: ‘Lo, I am come…to do thy will, O God’ (

Hebrews 10:7).”
(b) This twofold method of representation can be explained only when we
remember that man’s powers may be interpenetrated and quickened by the
divine, not only without destroying man’s freedom, but with the result of
making man for the first time truly free. Since the relation between the
divine and the human activity is not one of chronological succession, man
is never to wait for God’s working. If he is ever regenerated, it must be in
and through a movement of his own will, in which he turns to God as
unconstrained and with as little consciousness of God’s operation upon
him, as if no such operation of God were involved in the change. And in
preaching, we are to press upon men the claims of God and their duty of
immediate submission to Christ. It is with the certainty that they who do so
submit will subsequently recognize this new and holy activity of their own
wills as due to a working within them of divine power.

Psalm 110:3 — “Thy people offer themselves willingly in the day of
thy power.” The act of God is accompanied by an activity of man.
Dorner: “God’s act initiates action.” There is, indeed an original changing
of man’s tastes and of affections, and in this man is passive. But this is
only the first aspect of regeneration. In the second aspect of it — the
rousing of man’s powers — God’s action is accompanied by man’s
activity and regeneration is but the obverse side of conversion. Luther’s.100
word: “Man, in conversion, is purely passive” is true only of the first part
of the change. By “conversion,” Luther means “regeneration.”
Melanchthon said better: “Non est enim coactio, ut voluntas non possit
repugnare: trahit Deus, sed volentem trahit.” See Meyer on

8:14 — “led by the Spirit of God”: “The expression,” Meyer says, “is
passive, though without prejudice to the human will, as verse 13 proves:
‘by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body.”’
As, by a well known principle of hydrostatics, the water contained in a
little tube can balance the water of a whole ocean, so God’s grace can be
balanced by man’s will. As sunshine on the sand produces nothing unless
man sow the seed and as a fair breeze does not propel the vessel unless
man spread the sails, so the influences of God’s Spirit require human
agencies and work through them. The Holy Spirit is sovereign, he bloweth
where he listeth. Even though there be uniform human conditions, there
will not be uniform spiritual results. Results are often independent of
human conditions as such. This is the truth emphasized by Andrew Fuller.
But this does not prevent us from saying that, whenever God’s Spirit
works in regeneration, there is always accompanying it a voluntary
change in man, which we call conversion. This change is as free and as
really man’s own work, as if there were no divine influence upon him.
Jesus told the man with the withered hand to stretch forth his hand; it was
the man’s duty to stretch it forth, not to wait for strength from God to do
it. Jesus told the man sick of the palsy to take up his bed and walk. It was
that man’s duty to obey the command, not to pray for power to obey.
Depend wholly upon God? Yes, as you depend wholly upon wind when
you sail, yet need to keep your sails properly set. “Work out your own
salvation” comes first in the apostle’s exhortation. “For it is God who
worketh in you” follows (

Philippians 2:12, 13) which means that our
first business is to use our wills in obedience then, we shall find that God
has gone before us to prepare us to obey.

Matthew 11:12 — “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and
men of violence take it by force.” Conversion is like the invasion of a
kingdom. Men are not to wait for God’s time, but to act at once. Not
bodily exercises are required, but impassioned earnestness of soul. Wendt.
Teaching of Jesus, 2:49-56 — “Not injustice and violence, but energetic
laying hold of a good to which they can make no claim. It is of no avail to
wait idly or to seek laboriously to earn it but it is of avail to lay hold of it
and to retain it. It is ready as a gift of God for men, but men must direct
their desire and will toward it. The man who put on the wedding garment
did not earn his share of the feast thereby, yet he did show the disposition.101
without which he was not permitted to partake of it” James, Varieties of
Religious Experience, 12 — “The two main phenomena of religion, they
will say, are essentially phenomena of adolescence, and therefore
synchronous with the development of sexual life. To which the retort is
easy: Even were the asserted synchrony unrestrictedly true as a fact
(which it is not), it is not only the sexual life, but the entire higher mental
life, which awakens during adolescence. One might then as well set up the
thesis that the interest in mechanics, physics, chemistry, logic, physiology
and sociology, which springs up during adolescent years along with that
in poetry and religion, is also a perversion of the sexual instinct but this
would be too absurd. Moreover, if the argument from synchrony is to
decide, what is to be done with the fact that the religious age par
excellence would seem to be old age, when the uproar of the sexual life is
(c) From the fact that the word ‘conversion’ means simply ‘a turning,’
every turning of the Christian from sin, subsequent to the first, may, in a
subordinate sense, be denominated a conversion (

Luke 22:32). Since
regeneration is not complete sanctification and the change of governing
disposition is not identical with complete purification of the nature, such
subsequent turnings from sin are necessary consequences and evidences of
the first (cf.

John 13:10). But they do not, like the first, imply a change
in the governing disposition, they are rather new manifestations of a
disposition already changed. For this reason, conversion proper, like the
regeneration of which it is the obverse side, can occur but once. The phrase
‘second conversion,’ even if it does not imply radical misconception of the
nature of conversion, is misleading. We prefer, therefore, to describe these
subsequent experiences, not by the term ‘conversion,’ but by such phrases
as ‘breaking off, forsaking, returning from, neglects or transgressions,’ and
‘coming back to Christ, trusting anew in him.’ It is with repentance and
faith, as elements in that first and radical change by which the soul enters
upon a state of salvation, that we have now to do.

Luke 22:31, 32 — “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you,
that he might sift you as wheat: but I made supplication for thee, that thy
faith fail not; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again [A.V.: ‘art
converted’], establish thy brethren”;

John 13:10 — “He that is bathed
[has taken a full bath] needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every
whit [as a whole].” Notice that Jesus here announces that only one
regeneration is needed and that what follows is not conversion but
sanctification. Spurgeon said he believed in regeneration, but not in re-.102
regeneration. Second blessing? Yes, and a forty-second. The stages in the
Christian life are like ice, water, invisible vapor and steam, all successive
and natural results of increasing temperature, seemingly different from
one another, yet all forms of the same element.
On the relation between the divine and the human agencies, we quote a
different view from another writer: “God decrees to employ means which,
in every case is sufficient, and which in certain cases it is foreseen will be
effectual. Human action converts a sufficient means into an effectual
means. The result is not always according to the varying use of means.
The power is all of God. Man has power to resist only. There is a
universal influence of the Spirit, but the influences of the Spirit vary in
different cases, just as external opportunities do. The love of holiness is
blunted but it still lingers. The Holy Spirit quickens it. When this love is
wholly lost, sin against the Holy Ghost results. Before regeneration there
is a desire for holiness, an apprehension of its beauty, but this is
overborne by a greater love for sin. If the man does not quickly grow
worse, it is not because of positive action on his part, but only because
negatively he does not resist as he might ‘Behold, I stand at the door and
knock.’ God leads at first by a resistible influence. When man yields, God
leads by an irresistible influence. The second influence of the Holy Spirit
confirms the Christian’s choice. This second influence is called ‘sealing.’
There is no necessary interval of time between the two. Prevenient grace
comes first and conversion comes after.”
To this view, we would reply that a partial love for holiness, and an
ability to choose it before God works effectively upon the heart, seems to
contradict those Scriptures which assert that “the mind of the flesh is
enmity against God.” (

Romans 8:7), and that all good works are the
result of God’s new creation (

Ephesians 2:10). Conversion does not
precede regeneration. It chronologically accompanies regeneration, though
it logically follows it.
1. Repentance.
Repentance is that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner in which he
turns from sin. Being essentially a change of mind, it involves a change of
view, a change of feeling, and a change of purpose. We may therefore
analyze repentance into three constituents, each succeeding term of which
includes and implies the one preceding:
A. An intellectual element, change of view, recognition of sin as involving
personal guilt, defilement, and helplessness (

Psalm 51:3, 7, 11). If.103
unaccompanied by the following elements, this recognition may manifest
itself in fear of punishment although as yet there is no hatred of sin. This
element is indicated in the Scripture phrase eJpi>gnwsiv aJmarti>av

Romans 3:20; cf. 1:32).

Psalm 51:3, 11 — “For I know my transgressions; And my sin is ever
before me… Cast me not away from thy presence, And take not thy Holy
Spirit from me”;

Romans 3:20 — “through the law cometh the
knowledge of sin”; 32 — “who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they
that practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the sane, but
also consent with them that practice them.”
It is well to remember that God requires us to cherish no views or
emotions that contradict the truth, He wants of us no false humility.
Humility (humus) — “groundness” — a coming down to the hard pan of
facts, a facing of the truth. Repentance, therefore, is not a calling of
ourselves by hard names. It is not cringing or exaggerated self-contempt.
It is simple recognition of what we are. The “‘umble” Uriah Heep is the
arrant hypocrite. If we see ourselves as God sees us, we shall say with

Job 42:5, 6 — “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; But now
mine eye seeth thee: Wherefore I abhor myself(And repent in dust and
Apart from God’s working in the heart there is no proper recognition of
sin either in people of high or low degree. Lady Huntington invited the
Duchess of Buckingham to come and hear Whitefield, when the Duchess
answered: “It is monstrous to be told that you have a heart as sinful as the
common wretches that crawl on the earth, it is highly offensive and
insulting.” Mr. Moody, after preaching to the prisoners in the jail at
Chicago, visited them in their cells. In the first cell he found two, playing
cards. They said false witnesses had testified against them. In the second
cell, the convict said that the guilty man had escaped, but that he, a mere
accomplice, had been caught. In the last cell only Mr. Moody found a
man crying over his sins. Henry Drummond, after hearing the confessions
of inquirers, said: “I am sick of the sins of these men. How can God bear
Experience of sin does not teach us to recognize sin. We do not learn to
know chloroform by frequently inhaling it. The drunkard does not
understand the degrading effects of drink so well as his miserable wife and
children do. Even the natural conscience does not give the recognition of
sin that is needed in true repentance. The confession “I have sinned” is
made by hardened Pharaoh (

Exodus 9:27), double minded Balaam.104

Numbers 22:34), remorseful Achan (Josh. 7:20), insincere King Saul
(1Sam. 15:24), despairing Judas (

Matthew 27:4); but in no one of
these cases was there true repentance. True repentance takes God’s part
against ourselves, has sympathy with God, feels how unworthy the Ruler,
Father, Friend of men has been treated. It does not ask, “What will my sin
bring to me?” but “What does my sin mean to God?” It involves, in
addition to the mere recognition of sin:
B. An emotional element, change of feeling, sorrow for sin as committed
against goodness and justice and therefore hateful to God and hateful in
itself (

Psalm 51:1, 2, 10, 14). This element of repentance is indicated in
the Scripture word metame>lomai. If accompanied by the following
element, it is a lu>ph katan. If not so accompanied, it is a luph> tou~
ko>smou = remorse and despair (

Matthew 27:3;

Luke 18:23;

Corinthians 7:9, 10).

Psalm 51:1, 2, 10, 14 — “Have mercy upon me…blot out my
transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, And cleanse me
from my sin…Create in me a clean heart, O God…Deliver me from
bloodguiltiness, O God”;

Matthew 27:3 — “Then Judas, who betrayed
him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself and brought
back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I
have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood”;

Luke 18:23 — “when
he heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he was very

2 Corinthians 7:9, 10 — “I now rejoice, not that ye were made
sorry, but that ye were made sorry unto repentance; for ye were made
sorry after a godly sort…For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto
salvation, a repentance which bringeth no regret: but the sorrow of the
world worketh death.” We must distinguish sorrow for sin from shame on
account of it and fear of its consequences. These last are selfish, while
godly sorrow is disinterested. “A man may be angry with himself and may
despise himself without any humble prostration before God or confession
of his guilt” (Shedd, Dogm. Theol, 2:535, note).
True repentance, as illustrated in Psalm 51, does not think of 1.
consequences, 2. other men, 3. heredity, as an excuse; but it sees sin as
transgression against God, personal guilt and as defiling the inmost being.
Perowne on

Psalm 51:1 — “In all godly sorrow there is hope. Sorrow
without hope may be remorse or despair, but it is not repentance.” Much
so called repentance is illustrated by the little girl’s prayer: “O God, make
me good, not real good, but just good enough so that I won’t have to be
whipped!” Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, 2:3 — “‘T is meet so,.105
daughter; but lest you do repent As that the sin hath brought you to this
shame, Which sorrow is always towards ourselves, not heaven, Showing
we would not spare heaven as we love it, But as we stand in fear…I do
repent me as it is an evil, And take the shame with joy.” Tempest, 3:3 —
“For which foul deed, the Powers delaying, not forgetting, Have incensed
the seas, and shores, yea, all the creatures, Against your peace… Whose
wrath to guard you from… is nothing but heart’s sorrow And a clear life
Simon, Reconciliation, 195, 379 — “At the very bottom it is God whose
claims are advocated, whose part is taken, by that in us which, whilst
most truly our own, yea, our very selves, is also most truly his, and of
him. The divine energy and idea, which constitutes us, will not let its own
root and source suffer wrong unatoned . God intends for us to be givers as
well as receivers, givers even to him. We share in his image that we may
be creators and givers, not from compulsion, but in love.” Such
repentance as this is wrought only by the Holy Spirit. Conscience, indeed,
is present in every human heart, but only the Holy Spirit convinces of sin.
Why is the Holy Spirit needed? A. J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 189-
201 — “Conscience is the witness to the law and the Spirit is the witness
to grace. Conscience brings legal conviction but the Spirit brings
evangelical conviction. The one begets a conviction unto despair, the other
a conviction unto hope. Conscience convinces of sin committed, of
righteousness impossible, of judgment impending and the Comforter
convinces of sin committed, of righteousness imputed, of judgment
accomplished, in Christ. God alone can reveal the divine view of sin and
enable man to understand it.” But, however agonizing the sorrow, it will
not constitute true repentance unless it leads to, or is accompanied by:
C. A voluntary element, change of purpose, inward turning from sin and
disposition to seek pardon and cleansing (

Psalm 51:5, 7, 10;

Jeremiah 25:5). This includes and implies the two preceding elements,
and is therefore the most important aspect of repentance. It is indicated in
the Scripture term meta>noia (

Acts 2:38;

Romans 2:4).

Psalm 51:5, 7, 10 — “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in
sin did my mother conceive me…Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be
clean: Wash me, and I shah be whiter than snow…Create in me a clean
heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me”;

Jeremiah 25:5 —
“Return ye now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your

Acts 2:33 — “And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ”;

Romans 2:4
— “despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and.106
longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to
Walden, The Great Meaning of Metanoia, brings out well the fact that
“repentance” is not the true translation of the word, but rather “change of
mind”; indeed, he would give up the word “repentance” altogether in the
N. T., except as the translation of metame>leia. The idea of meta>noia is
abandonment of sin rather than sorrow for sin, an act of the will rather
than a state of the sensibility. Repentance is participation in Christ’s
revulsion from sin and suffering on account of it. It is repentance from
sin, not of sin, nor for sin — always ajpo> and ejk, never peri> or ejpi>. The
true illustrations of repentance are found in Job (

42:6 — “I abhor
myself, And repent in dust and ashes”); in David (

Psalm 51:10 —
“Create in me a clean heart; and renew a right spirit within me”); in Peter

John 21:17 — “thou knowest that I love thee”); in the penitent thief

Luke 23:42 — “Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy
kingdom”) in the prodigal son (Luke l5:18 — “I will arise and go to my
Repentance implies free will. Hence Spinoza, who knows nothing of free
will, knows nothing of repentance. In book 4 of his Ethics, he says:
“Repentance is not a virtue, that is, it does not spring from reason so, on
the contrary, the man who repents of what he has done is doubly wretched
or impotent.” Still he urges that for the good of society it is not desirable
that vulgar minds should be enlightened as to this matter; see Upton,
Hibbert Lectures, 315. Determinism also renders it irrational to feel
righteous indignation either at the misconduct of other people or at our
own. Moral admiration is similarly irrational in the determinist. See
Balfour, Foundations of Belief, 24.
In broad distinction from the Scriptural doctrine, we find the Romanist
view, which regards the three elements of repentance as the following: (1)
contrition, (2) confession, (3) satisfaction. Of these, contrition is the only
element properly belonging to repentance yet from this contrition the
Romanist excludes all sorrow for sin of nature. Confession is confession to
the priest and satisfaction is the sinner’s own doing of outward penance, as
a temporal and symbolic submission and reparation to violated law. This
view is false and pernicious, in that it confounds repentance with its
outward fruits, conceives of it as exercised rather toward the church than
toward God and regards it as a meritorious ground instead of a mere
condition of pardon..107
On the Romanist doctrine of Penance, Thornwell (Collected Writings,
1:423) remarks: “The culpa may be remitted, they say, while the púna is
to some extent retained.” The priest absolves, not declaratively, but
judicially. Denying the greatness of the sin, it makes man able to become
his own Savior. Christ’s satisfaction, for sins after baptism, is not
sufficient and our satisfaction is sufficient. But performance of one duty,
we object, cannot make satisfaction for the violation of another.
We are required to confess one to another, and specially to those whom
we have wronged:

James 5:16 — “Confess therefore your sins one to
another, and pray one for another, that ye may he healed.” This puts the
hardest stress upon our natural pride. There are a hundred who will
confess to a priest or to God, where there is one who will make frank and
full confession to the aggrieved party. Confession to an official religious
superior is not penitence or a test of penitence. In the Confessional women
expose inmost desires to priests who are forbidden to marry. These priests
are sometimes, though gradually, corrupted to the core and at the same
time they are taught in the Confessional precisely to what women to
apply. In France many noble families will not permit their children to
confess, and their women are not permitted to incur the danger. Lord
Salisbury in the House of Lords said of auricular confession: “It has been
injurious to the moral independence and virility of the nation to an extent
to which probably it has been given to no other institution to affect the
character of mankind.” See Walsh, Secret History of the Oxford
Movement; A. J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, III — “Asceticism is an
absolute inversion of the divine order, since it seeks life through death,
instead of finding death through life. No degree of mortification can ever
bring us to sanctification.” Penance can never effect true repentance or
can it be anything other than a hindrance to the soul’s abandonment of
sin. Penance is something external to be done and it diverts attention from
the real inward need of the soul. The monk does penance by sleeping on
an iron bed and by wearing a hair shirt. When Anselm of Canterbury died,
his under garments were found alive with vermin, which the saint had
cultivated in order to mortify the flesh. Dr. Pusey always sat on a hard
chair, traveled as uncomfortably as possible, looked down when he
walked and whenever he saw a coal fire thought of hell. Thieves do
penance by giving a part of their ill-gotten wealth to charity. In all these
things there is no transformation of the inner life.
In further explanation of the Scripture representations, we remark:
(a) That repentance, in each and all of its aspects, is wholly an inward act,
not to be confounded with the change of life, which proceeds from it..108
True repentance is indeed manifested and evidenced by confession of sin
before God (

Luke 18:13), and by reparation for wrongs done to men

Luke 19:8). But these do not constitute repentance. They are rather
fruits of repentance. Between ‘repentance’ and ‘fruit worthy of
repentance,’ Scripture plainly distinguishes (

Matthew 3:8).

Luke 18:13 — “But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up
so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast saying God, be
thou merciful to me a sinner [‘be propitiated to me the sinner’]”; 19:8 —
“And Zacchæus stood, and said unto The Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of
my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wrongfully exacted ought of any
man, I restore fourfold”;

Matthew 3:8 — “Bring forth therefore fruit
worthy of repentance.” Fruit worthy of repentance, or fruits meet for
repentance are confession of sin, surrender to Christ, turning from sin
reparation for wrong doing, right moral conduct and profession of
Christian faith.

Luke 17:3 — “if thy brother sin, rebuke him; and if he repent
forgive him” — Dr. B. H. Carroll remarks that the law is uniform which
makes repentance indispensable to forgiveness. It applies to man’s
forgiveness of man, as well as to God’s forgiveness of man or the
church’s forgiveness of man. But I must be sure that I cherish toward the
offender the spirit of love, whether he repents or not. Freedom from all
malice toward him, however, and even loving prayerful labor to lead him
to repentance, is not forgiveness. This I can grant only when he actually
repents. If I do forgive him without repentance, then I impose my rule on
God when I pray: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgives our
debtors” (

Matthew 6:12).
On the question whether the requirement that we forgive without
atonement implies that God does, see Brit. and For. Evang. Rev., Oct.
1881:678-691 — “Answer:
1. The present constitution of things is based upon atonement.
Forgiveness on our part is required upon the ground of the Cross which,
without it, the world would be hell.
2. God is Judge. We forgive, as brethren. When he forgives, it is as Judge
of all the earth, of whom all earthly judges are representatives. If earthly
judges may exact justice than how much more God can. The argument
that would abolish atonement would abolish all civil government.
3. I should forgive my brother on the ground of God’s love and Christ’s
bearing of his sins..109
4. God, who requires atonement, is the same being that provides it. This is
‘handsome and generous.’ But I can never provide atonement for my
brother. I must, therefore, forgive freely, only upon the ground of what
Christ has done for him.”
(b) That repentance is only a negative condition and not a positive means
of salvation.
This is evident from the fact that repentance is no more than the sinner’s
present duty, and can furnish no offset to the claims of the law on account
of past transgression. The truly penitent man feels that his repentance has
no merit. Apart from the positive element of conversion, namely, faith in
Christ, it would be only sorrow for guilt not removed. This very sorrow,
moreover, is not the mere product of human will, but is the gift of God.

Acts 5:31 — “Him did God exalt with his right hand to be a Prince
and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins”; 11:18
— “Then to the Gentiles also hath God granted repentance unto life”;

2 Timothy 2:25 — “if peradventure God may give them repentance
unto the knowledge of the truth.” The truly penitent man recognizes the
fact that his sin deserves punishment. He never regards his penitence as
offsetting the demands of law and as making his punishment unjust.
Whitefield: “Our repentance needeth to be repented of and our very tears
to be washed in the blood of Christ.” Shakespeare, Henry V, 4:1 —
“More will I do: Though all that I can do is nothing worth, Since that my
penitence comes after all, Imploring pardon” — imploring pardon both for
the crime and for the imperfect repentance.
(c) That true repentance, however, never exists except in conjunction with
Sorrow for sin, not simply on account of its evil consequences to the
transgressor, but on account of its intrinsic hatefulness as opposed to
divine holiness and love is practically impossible without some confidence
in God’s mercy. It is the Cross, which first makes us truly penitent (cf.

John 12:32, 33). Hence all true preaching of repentance is implicitly a
preaching of faith (

Matthew 3:1-12; cf.

Acts 19:4), and repentance
toward God involves faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (

Acts 20:21;

Luke 15:10, 24; 19:8, 9; cf.

Galatians 3:7).

John 12:32, 33 — “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all
men unto myself. But this he said, signifying by what manner of death he
should die.”

Matthew 3:1-12 — John the Baptist’s preaching of.110
repentance was also a preaching of faith, as is shown by

Acts 19:4 —
“John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people
that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on
Jesus.” Repentance involves faith:

Acts 20:21 — “testifying both to
Jews and to Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord
Jesus Christ”;

Luke 15:10, 24 — “there is joy in the presence of the
angels of God over one sinner that repenteth…this my son was dead, and
is alive again; he was lost and is found”; 19:8, 9 — “the half of my goods
I give to the poor; and if I have wrongfully exacted aught of any man, I
restore fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, Today is salvation come to this
house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham” — the father of all
believers; cf.

Galatians 3:6, 7 — “Even as Abraham believed God,
and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Know therefore that they
that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham.”

Luke 3:18 says of John the Baptist: “he preached the gospel unto the
people,” and the gospel message, the glad tidings, is more than the
command to repent, it is also the offer of salvation through Christ; see
Prof. Wm. Arnold Stevens, on John the Baptist and his Gospel, in Studies
on the Gospel according to John. 2Chron. 34:19 — “And it came to pass,
when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.”
Moberly, Atonement and Personality, 44-46 — “Just in proportion as one
sins, does he render it impossible for him truly to repent. Repentance must
be the work of another in him. Is it not the Spirit of the Crucified which is
the reality of the penitence of the truly penitent?” If this be true, then it is
plain that there is no true repentance which is not accompanied by the
faith that unites us to Christ.
(d) That, conversely, wherever there is true faith, there is true repentance
Since repentance and faith are but different sides or aspects of the same act
of turning, faith is as inseparable from repentance as repentance is from
faith. That must be an unreal faith, where there is no repentance, just as
that must be an unreal repentance where there is no faith. Yet because the
one aspect of his change is more prominent in the mind of the convert than
the other, we are not hastily to conclude that the other is absent. Only that
degree of conviction of sin is essential to salvation, which carries with it a
forsaking of sin and a trustful surrender to Christ.
Bishop Hall: “Never will Christ enter into that soul where the herald of
repentance hath not been before him.”

2 Corinthians 7:10 —
“repentance unto salvation.” In consciousness, sensation and perception.111
are in inverse ratio to each other. Clear vision is hardly conscious of
sensation but inflamed eyes are hardly conscious of anything besides
sensation. So repentance and faith are seldom equally prominent in the
consciousness of the converted man but it is important to know that
neither can exist without the other. The truly penitent man will, sooner or
later, show that he has faith and the true believer will certainly show, in
due season, that he hates and renounces sin.
The question, how much conviction a man needs to insure his salvation,
may be answered by asking how much excitement one needs on a burning
steamer. As, in the latter case, just enough to prompt persistent effort to
escape so, in the former case, just enough remorseful feeling is needed, to
induce the sinner to betake himself, with belief, to Christ.
On the general subject of Repentance, see Anderson, Regeneration, 279-
288; Bp. Ossory, Nature and Effects of Faith, 40-48, 311-318; Woods,
Works, 3:68-78; Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 5:1-10, 208-246; Luthardt,
Compendium, 3d ed., 206-208; lodge, Outlines of Theology, 375-381;
Alexander, Evidences of Christianity, 47-60; Crawford, Atonement, 413-
2. Faith.
Faith is that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner in which he turns to
Christ. Being essentially a change of mind, it involves a change of view, a
change of feeling, and a change of purpose. We may therefore analyze faith
also into three constituents, each succeeding term of which includes and
A. An intellectual element (notitia, credere Deum), recognition of the truth
of God’s revelation, or of the objective reality of the salvation provided by
Christ. This includes not only a historical belief in the facts of the Scripture,
but an intellectual belief in the doctrine taught therein as to man’s
sinfulness and dependence upon Christ.

John 2:23, 24 — “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover,
during the feast, many believed on his name, beholding his signs which he
did. But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men”;
cf. 3:2 — Nicodemus has this external faith: “no one can do these signs
that thou doest, except God be with him.”

James 2:19 — “Thou
believest that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and
shudder.” Even this historical faith has its fruits. It is the spring of much
philanthropic work. There were no hospitals in ancient Rome. Much of.112
our modern progress is due to the leavening influence of Christianity, even
in the case of those who have not personally accepted Christ.
McLaren, S. S. Times Feb 22, 1902:107 — “Luke does not hesitate to
say, in

Acts 8:13, that ‘Simon Magnus also himself believed.’ But he
expects us to understand that Simon’s belief was not faith that saved but
mere credence in the gospel narrative as true history. It had no ethical or
spiritual worth. He was ‘amazed’ as the Samaritans had been at his
juggleries. It did not lead to repentance or confession or true trust. He was
only amazed’ at Philip’s miracles and there was no salvation in that.”
Merely historical faith, such as Disciples and Ritschlians hold to, lacks
the element of affection and besides this, lacks the present reality of Christ
himself. Faith that does not lay hold of a present Christ is not saving faith.
B. An emotional element (assensus, credere Deo), assent to the revelation
of God’s power and grace in Jesus Christ as applicable to the present needs
of the soul. Those in whom this awakening of the sensibilities is
unaccompanied by the fundamental decision of the will, which constitutes
the next element of faith, may seem to themselves, and for a time may
appear to others, to have accepted Christ.

Matthew 13:20, 21 — “he that was sown upon the rocky places, this
is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it; yet hath
he not root in himself but endureth for a while; and when tribulation or
persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth”; cf.

Psalm 106:12, 13 — “Then believed they his words; they sang his
praise. They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel”;

Ezekiel 33:31, 32 — “And they come unto thee as the people cometh,
and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but do
them not; for with their mouth they show much love, bit their heart goeth
after their gain. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song if one
that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they
hear thy words, but they do them not”

John 5:35 — Of John the
Baptist: “He was the lamp that burneth and shineth; and ye were willing
to rejoice for a season in his light”; 8:30, 31 — “As he spake these things,
many believed on him eijv aujto>n. Jesus therefore said to those Jews that
had believed him aujtw~|, If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my
disciples.” They believed him, but did not yet believe on him, that is,
make him the foundation of their faith and life. Yet Jesus graciously
recognizes this first faint foreshadowing of faith. It might lead to full and
saving faith..113
“Proselytes of the gate” were so called, because they contented themselves
with sitting in the gate, as it were, without going into the holy city.
“Proselytes of righteousness” were those who did their whole duty, by
joining themselves fully to the people of God. Not emotion, but devotion,
is the important thing. Temporary faith is as irrational and valueless as
temporary repentance. It perhaps gained temporary blessing in the way of
healing in the tune of Christ, but, if not followed by complete surrender of
the will, it might even aggravate one’s sin; see

John 5:14 — “Behold,
thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing befall thee.” The
special faith of miracles was not a high, but a low form of faith and it is
not to be sought in our day as indispensable to the progress of the
kingdom. Miracles have ceased, not because of decline in faith, but
because the Holy Spirit has changed the method of his manifestations, and
has Jed the church to seek more spiritual gifts.
Saving faith, however, includes also:
C. A voluntary element (fiducia, credere in Deum), trust in Christ is Lord
and Savior; or, in other words — to distinguish its two aspects:
(a) Surrender of the soul, as guilty and deified, to Christ’s governance.

Matthew 11:28, 29 — “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me”;

John 8:12 — “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall
not walk in the darkness”; 14:1 — “Let not your heart be troubled:
believe in God, believe also in me”;

Acts 16:31 — “Believe on the
Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.” Instances of the use of pisteu>w, in
the sense of trustful commitment or surrender, are:

John 2:24 — “But
Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men”;

Romans 3:2 — “they were instructed with oracles of God”;

Galatians 2:7 — “when they saw that I had been entrusted with the
gospel of the uncircumcision.” pi>stiv = “trustful self-surrender to God”
In this surrender of the soul to Christ’s governance we have the guarantee
that the gospel salvation is not an unmoral trust which permits
continuance in sin. Aside from the fact that saving faith is only the
obverse side of true repentance, the very nature of faith, as submission to
Christ, the embodied law of God and source of spiritual life makes a life
of obedience and virtue to be its natural and necessary result. Faith is not
only a declaration of dependence but it is also a vow of allegiance. The
sick man’s faith in his physician is shown not simply by trusting him but.114
by obeying him. Doing what the doctor says is the very proof of trust. No
physician will long care for a patient who refuses to obey his orders. Faith
is self-surrender to the great Physician and a leaving of our case in his
hands. But it is also the taking of his prescriptions and the active
following of his directions.
We need to emphasize this active element in saving faith, lest men get the
notion that mere indolent acquiescence in Christ’s plan will save them.
Faith is not simple receptiveness. It gives itself as well as receives Christ.
It is not mere passivity but it is also self-committal. As all reception of
knowledge is active and there must be attention if we would learn, so all
reception of Christ is active, and there must be intelligent giving as well as
taking. The Watchman, April 30, 1896 — “Faith is more than belief and
trust; it is the action of the soul going out toward its object. It is the
exercise of a spiritual faculty akin to that of sight because it establishes a
personal relation between the one who exercises faith and the one who is
its object. When the intellectual feature predominates, we call it belief;
when the emotional element predominates, we call it trust. This faith is at
once ‘An affirmation and an act which bids eternal truth be present fact.’”
There are great things received in faith but nothing is received by the man
who does not first give himself to Christ. A conquered general came into
the presence of his conqueror and held out to him his hand: “Your sword
first, sir!” was the response. But when General Lee offered his sword to
General Grant at Appomattox, the latter returned it, saying: “No, keep
your sword, and go to your home.” Jacobi said that “Faith is the reflection
of the divine knowing and willing in the finite spirit of man.” G. B. Foster,
in Indiana Baptist Outlook, June 19, 1902 — “Catholic orthodoxy is
wrong in holding that the authority for faith is the church; for that would
be an external authority. Protestant orthodoxy is wrong in holding that the
authority for faith is the book for that would be an external authority.
Liberalism is wrong in holding that the reason is the authority for faith.
The authority for faith is the revelation of God.” Faith in this revelation is
faith in Christ the Revealer. It puts the soul in connection with the source
of all knowledge and power. As the connection of a wire with the reservoir
of electric force makes it the channel of vast energies, so the smallest
measure of faith, any real connection of the soul with Christ, makes it the
recipient of divine resources.
While faith is the act of the whole man, and intellect, affection and will
are involved in it, will is the all-inclusive and most important of its
elements. No other exercise of will is such a revelation of our being and so
decisive of our destiny. The voluntary element in faith is illustrated in.115
marriage. Here one party pledges the future in permanent self-surrender,
commits one’s self to another person in confidence that this future, with
all its new revelations of character, will only justify the decision made.
Yet this is rational. See Holland, in Lux Mundi, 46-48. To put one’s hand
into molten iron, even though one knows of the “spheroidal state” that
gives impunity, requires an exertion of will and not all workmen in metals
are courageous enough to make the venture. The child who leaped into the
dark cellar, in confidence that her father’s arms would be open to receive
her, did not act irrationally because she had heard her father’s command
and trusted his promise. Though faith in Christ is a leap in the dark and
requires a mighty exercise of will, it is nevertheless the highest wisdom,
because Christ’s ward is pledged that “him that cometh to me will in no
wise cast out” (

John 6:37).
J. W. A. Stewart: “Faith is a bond between persons trust, confidence, it
makes ventures and takes much for granted, its security is the character
and power of him in whom we believe, not our faith, but his fidelity, is the
guarantee that our faith is rational.” Kant said that nothing in the world is
good but the good will, which freely obeys the law of the good. Pfleiderer
defines faith as the free surrender of the heart to the gracious will of God.
Kaftan, Dogmatik, 21, declares that the Christian religion is essentially
faith, and that this faith manifests itself as doctrine, worship and morality.
(b) Reception and appropriation of Christ as the source of pardon and
spiritual life.

John 1:12 — “as many as received him, to them gave he the right to
become children of God, even to them that believe on his name”; 4:14 —
“whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water
springing up unto eternal life”; 6:53 — “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son
of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves”; 20:31 —
“these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God; and that believing ye may have life in his name”;

Ephesians 3:17
— “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith”;

Hebrews 11:1
— “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not

Revelation 3:20 — “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if
any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will
sup with him, and he with me.”
The three constituents of faith may be illustrated from the thought, feeling
and action of a person who stands by a boat, upon a little island, which
the rising stream threatens to submerge. He first regards the boat from a.116
purely intellectual point of view, it is merely an actually existing boat. As
the stream rises, he looks at it, secondly, with some accession of emotion,
his prospective danger awakens in him the conviction that it is a good
boat for a time of need, though he is not yet ready to make use of it. But,
thirdly, when he feels that the rushing tide must otherwise sweep him
away, a volitional element is added — he gets into the boat, trusts himself
to it and accepts it as his present and only means of safety. Only this last
faith in the boat is faith that saves, although this last includes both the
preceding constituents. It is equally clear that the getting into the boat
may actually save a man, while at the same time he may be full of fears
that the boat will never bring him to shore. These fears may be removed
by the boatman’s word. So saving faith is not necessarily assurance of
faith but it becomes assurance of faith when the Holy Spirit “beareth
witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (

Romans 8:16).
On the nature of this assurance and on the distinction between it and
saving faith, see pages 844-846.
“Coming to Christ,” “looking to Christ,” “receiving Christ,” are all
descriptions of faith, as are also the phrases “surrender to Christ,”
“submission to Christ,” “closing in with Christ.” Paul refers to a
confession of faith in

Romans 10:9 — “if thou shalt confess with thy
mouth Jesus as Lord” faith then, is a taking of Christ as both Savior and
Lord and it includes both appropriation of Christ and consecration to
Christ. The voluntary element in faith however, is a giving as well as a
taking. The giving, or surrender, is illustrated in baptism by submergence
and the taking, or reception, by emergence. See further on the Symbolism
of Baptism. McCosh, Div. Government: “Saving faith is the consent of
the will to the assent of the understanding, and commonly accompanied
with emotion.” Pres. Hopkins, in Princeton Rev., Sept. 1878:511-540 —
“In its intellectual element, faith is receptive, and believes that God is. In
its affectionate element, faith is assimilative and believes that God is a
rewarder. In its voluntary element, faith is operative and actually comes
to God (

Hebrews 11:6).”
Where the element of surrender is emphasized and the element of
reception is not understood, the result is a legalistic experience, with little
hope or joy. Only as we appropriate Christ, in connection with our
consecration, do we realize the full blessing of the gospel. Light requires
two things: the sun to shine, and the eye to take in its shining. So we
cannot be saved without Christ to save and faith to take the Savior for
ours. Faith is the act by which we receive Christ. The woman who
touched the border of Jesus’ garment received his healing power. It is
better still to keep in touch with Christ so as to receive continually his.117
grace and life. But best of all is taking him into our inmost being, to be
the soul of our soul and the life of our life. This is the essence of faith,
though many Christians do not yet realize it. Dr. Curry said well that faith
can never be defined because it is a fact of life. It is a merging of our life
in the life of Christ, and a reception of Christ’s life to interpenetrate and
energize ours. In faith we must take Christ as well as give ourselves. It is
certainly true that surrender without trust will not make us possessors of
God’s peace. F. L. Anderson: “Faith is submissive reliance on Jesus
Christ for salvation. Reliance on Jesus Christ is not mere intellectual
belief. Reliance on him for salvation; we can never undo the past or atone
for our sins. Submissive reliance on Christ means that trust without
surrender will never save.”
The passages already referred to refute the view of the Romanist, that
saving faith is simply implicit assent to the doctrines of the church and the
view of the Disciple or Campbellite, that faith is merely intellectual belief in
the truth on the presentation of evidence.
The Romanist says that faith can coexist with mortal sin. The Disciple
holds that faith may and must exist before regeneration, regeneration
being completed in baptism. With these erroneous views, compare the
noble utterance of Luther, Com, on Galatians, 1:191, 247, quoted in
Thomasius, III, 2:18 — “True faith,” says Luther, “is that assured trust
and firm assent of heart, by which Christ is laid hold of, so that Christ is
the object of faith. Yet he is not merely the object of faith but in the very
faith, so to speak, Christ is present. Faith lays hold of Christ and grasps
him as a present possession just as the ring holds the jewel.” Edwards,
Works, 4:71-73; 2:601-641 — “Faith,” says Edwards, “includes the
whole act of unity to Christ as a Savior. The entire active uniting of the
soul, or the whole of what is called coming to Christ and receiving of him,
is called faith in the Scripture.” See also Belief, What Is It? 150-179,
Hatch, Hibbert Lectures, 530 — “Faith began by being a simple trust in
God and then there followed a simple expansion of that proposition into
the assent to the proposition that God is good and a simple acceptance of
the proposition that Jesus Christ was his Son. That was followed by
definition of terms and each definition of terms involved a new theory and
finally, the theories were gathered together into systems and the martyrs
and witnesses of Christ died for their faith, not outside but inside the
Christian sphere. Instead of a world of religious belief, which resembled
the world of actual fact in the sublime disproportion of its foliage and the
deep harmony of its discords, there prevailed assumption that the.118
symmetry of a system is the test of its truth and the proof thereof. This
was the most fatal assumption of all.” We regard this statement of Hatch
as erroneous, in that it attributes to the earliest disciples no larger faith
than that of their Jewish brethren. We claim that the earliest faith involved
an implicit acknowledgement of Jesus as Savior and Lord. This faith of
simple obedience and trust became explicit recognition of our Lord’s deity
and atonement just so soon is persecution and the Holy Spirit disclosed to
them the real contents of their own consciousness.
An illustration of the simplicity and saving power of faith is furnished by
Principal J. R. Andrews, of New London, Conn., Principal of the Bartlett
Grammar School. When the steamer Atlantic was wrecked off Fisher’s
Island, though Mr. Andrews could not swim, he determined to make a
desperate effort to save his life. Binding a life preserver about him, he
stood on the edge of the deck waiting his opportunity and when he saw a
wave moving shoreward, he jumped into the rough breakers and was
borne safely to land. He was saved by faith. He accepted the conditions of
salvation. Forty perished in a scene where he was saved. In one sense be
saved himself; in another sense he depended upon God. It was a
combination of personal activity and dependence upon God that resulted
in his salvation. If he had not used the life preserver, he would have
perished; if he had not cast himself into the sea, he would have perished.
So faith in Christ is reliance upon him for salvation but it is also our own
making of a new start in life and the showing of our trust by action. Tract
357, Am. Tract Society — “What is it to believe on Christ? It is to feel
your need of him, to believe that he is able and willing to save you and to
save you now and to cast yourself unreservedly upon his mercy and trust
in him alone for salvation.”
In further explanation of the Scripture representations, we remark:
(a) That faith is an act of the affections and will, as truly as it is an act a!
the intellect.
It has been claimed that faith and unbelief are purely intellectual states,
which are necessarily determined by the facts at any given time presented
to the mind. They are, for this reason, as destitute of moral quality and as
far from being matters of obligation, as are our instinctive feelings of
pleasure and pain. But this view unwarrantably isolates the intellect and
ignores the fact that, in all moral subjects, the state of the affections and
will affects the judgment of the mind with regard to truth. In the
intellectual act the whole moral nature expresses itself. Since the tastes.119
determine the opinions, faith is a moral act and men are responsible for not

John 3:18-20 — “He that believeth on him is not judged: he that
believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on
the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment that
the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than
the light; for their works were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the
light and cometh not to the light lest his works should be reproved” 5:40
— “ye will not come to me, that ye may have life”; 16:8, 9 — “And he,
when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin…of sin, because
they believe not on me”;

Revelation 2:21 — “she willeth not to
repent.” Notice that the Revised Version very frequently substitutes the
voluntary and active terms “disobedience” and “disobedient” for the
“unbelief” and “unbelieving” of the Authorized Version, as in


Hebrews 3:18; 4:6, 11; 11:31. See Park, Discourses, 45, 46.
Savages do not know that they are responsible for their physical appetites,
or that there is any right and wrong in matters of sense, until they come
under the influence of Christianity. In like manner, even men of science
can declare that the intellectual sphere has no part in man’s probation and
that we are no more responsible for our opinions and beliefs than we are
for the color of our skin. But faith is not a merely intellectual act, the
affections and will give it quality. There is no moral quality in the belief
that 2+2 = 4, because we can not help that belief. But in believing on
Christ there is moral quality because there is the element of choice. Indeed
it may be questioned whether, in every judgment upon moral things, there
is not an act of will.
Hence on

John 7:17 — “If any man willeth to do his will, he shall
know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from
myself.” F. L. Patton calls attention to the two common errors.
(1) That obedience will certify doctrine, which is untrue because obedience is
the result of faith, not vice versa.
(2) That personal experience is the ultimate test of faith, which is untrue,
because the Bible is the only rule of faith, and it is one thing to receive truth
through the feelings, but quite another to test truth by the feelings. The text
really means, that if any man is willing to do God’s will, he shall know
whether it be of God and there are two lessons to be drawn. (1) The gospel
needs no additional evidence and 2) the Holy Ghost is the hope of the world.
On responsibility for opinions and beliefs, see Mozley, on Blanco White, in.120
Essays Philos. and Historical, 2:142; T. T. Smith, Hulsean Lectures for 1839.
Wilfrid Ward, The Wish to Believe, quotes Shakespeare: “Thy wish was
father, Harry, to that thought”; and Thomas Arnold: “They dared not lightly
believe what they so much wished to be true.” -Pascal:
“Faith is an act of the will.” Emerson, Essay on Worship: “A man
bears beliefs as a tree bears apples. Man’s religious faith is the expression
of what he is.” Bain: “In its essential character, belief is a phase of our
active nature, otherwise called the will.” Nash, Ethics and Revelation, 257
— “Faith is the creative human answer to the creative divine offer. It is
not the passive acceptance of a divine favor. It is by faith, man laying
hold of the personality of God in Christ who becomes a true person. And
by the same faith he becomes, under God, a creator and founder of true
society.” Inge, Christian Mysticism, 52 — “Faith begins with an
experiment and ends with an experience. But even the power to make the
experiment is given from above. Eternal life is not gnw~siv, but the state
of acquiring knowledge — I[na gignw>skwsin. It is significant that John,
who is so fond of the verb ‘to know,’ never uses the substantive gnw~siv.”
Crane, Religion of Tomorrow, 148 — “‘I will not obey, because I do not
yet know’? But this is making the intellectual side the only side of faith,
whereas the most important side is the will side. Let a man follow what he
does believe and he shall be led on to larger faith. Faith is the reception of
the personal influence of a living Lord and a corresponding action.”
William James, Will to Believe, 61 — “This life is worth living, since it is
what we make it, from the moral point of view…Often enough our
faith…beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the
result come true…If your heart does not want a world of moral reality,
your head will assuredly never make you believe in one…Freedom to
believe covers only living options which the intellect cannot by Itself
resolve…We are not to put a stopper on our heart and meantime act as if
religion were not true”; Psychology, 2:282, 321 — “Belief is consent,
willingness, turning of our disposition. It is the mental state or function of
cognizing reality. We never disbelieve anything except for the reason that
we believe something else which contradicts the first thing. We give
higher reality to whatever things we select and emphasize and turn to with
a will. We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were real,
and keep acting as if it were real, and it will infallibly end by growing into
such a connection with our life that it will become real. Those to whom
God and duty are mere names, can make them much more than that, if
they make a little sacrifice to them every day.”.121
E. G. Robinson: “Campbellism makes intellectual belief to be saving
faith. But saving faith is consent of the heart as well as assent of the
intellect. On the one hand there is the intellectual element. Faith is belief
upon the ground of evidence; faith without evidence is credulity. But on
the other hand faith has an element of affection for the element of love is
always wrapped up in it. So Abraham’s faith made Abraham like God for
we always become like that which we trust.” Faith therefore is not
chronologically subsequent to regeneration but is its accompaniment. As
the soul’s appropriation of Christ and his salvation, it is not the result of
an accomplished renewal but rather the medium through which that
renewal is effected. Otherwise it would follow that one who had not yet
believed (i. e., received Christ) might still be regenerate, whereas the
Scripture represents the privilege of son-ship as granted only to believers.

John 1:12, 13 — “But as many as received him, to them gave he
the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his
name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the
will of man, but of God”; also 3:5, 6, 10-15;

Galatians 3:26;

Peter 1:3; cf.

1 John 5:1.
(b) The object of saving faith is, in general, the whole truth of God, so far
as it is objectively revealed or made known to the soul but in particular, the
person and work of Jesus Christ, which constitutes the center and
substance of God’s revelation. (

Acts 17:18;

1 Corinthians 1:23;

Colossians 1:27; Revelations 19:10).
Though they had no knowledge of a personal Christ and in so far as God
had revealed himself to them, the patriarchs were saved by believing in
God. In like manner, whoever among the heathen is saved must be saved
by casting themselves as helpless sinners upon God’s plan of mercy, dimly
shadowed forth in nature and providence. But such faith, even among the
patriarchs and heathen, is implicitly a faith in Christ and would become
explicit and conscious trust and submission, whenever Christ were made
known to them. (

Matthew 8:11, 12;

John 10:16;

Acts 4:12;
10:31, 34, 35, 44; 16:31).

Acts 17:18 — “he preached Jesus and the resurrection”;

Corinthians 1:23 — “we preach Christ crucified”;

Colossians 1:27 —
“this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of
glory: whom we proclaim”;

Revelation 19:10 — “the testimony of
Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Saving faith is not belief in a dogma but
personal trust in a personal Christ. It is, therefore, possible to a child.
Dorner: “The object of faith is the Christian revelation — God in Christ..122
Faith is union with objective Christianity — appropriation of the real
contents of Christianity.” Dr. Samuel Hopkins, the great uncle, defined
faith as “an understanding, cordial receiving of the divine testimony
concerning Jesus Christ and the way of salvation by him, in which the
heart accords and conforms to the gospel.” Dr. Mark Hopkins, the great
nephew, defined it as “confidence in a personal being.” Horace Bushnell:
“Faith rests on a person. Faith is that act by which one person, a sinner,
commits himself to another person, a Savior.” In

John 11:25 — “I am
the resurrection and the life” — Martha is led to substitute belief in a
person for belief in an abstract doctrine. Jesus is “the resurrection.”
because he is “the life.” All doctrine and all miracle are significant and
important only because they are the expression of the living Christ, the
Revealer of God.
The object of faith is sometimes represented in the N. T., as being God the

John 5:24 — “He that heareth my word, and believeth him that
sent me, hath eternal life”;

Romans 4:5 — “to him that worketh not,
but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for
righteousness.” We can explain these passages only when we remember
that Christ is God “manifested in the flesh” (

1 Timothy 3:16), and that
“he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John l4:9). Man may receive
a gift, without knowing, who it comes from or how much it has cost. So
the heathen, who casts himself as a sinner upon God’s mercy, may receive
salvation from the Crucified One, without knowing who is the giver or
that the gift was purchased by agony and blood. Denney, Studies in
Theology, 154 — “No N. T. writer ever remembered Christ. They never
thought of him as belonging to the past. Let us not preach about the
Historical Christ but rather, about the living Christ; nay, let us preach
him, present and omnipotent. Jesus could say: ‘Whither I go, ye know the
way’ (

John 14:4); for they knew him and he was both the end and the
Dr. Charles Hodge unduly restricts the operations of grace to the
preaching of the Incarnate Christ: Systematic Theology, 2:648 — “There
is no faith where the gospel is not heard and where there is no faith, there
is no salvation. This is indeed an awful doctrine.” And yet, in 2:668 he
says most inconsistently: “As God is everywhere present in the material
world, guiding its operations according to the laws of nature, so he is
everywhere present with the minds of men. As the Spirit of truth and
goodness, operating on them according to laws of their free moral agency,
inclining them to good and restraining them from evil.” This presence and
revelation of God we hold to be through Christ, the eternal Word. We
interpret the prophecy of Caiaphas as referring to the work of the personal.123

John 11:51, 52 — “he prophesied that Jesus should die for the
nation; and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together
into one the children of God that are scattered abroad.”
Since, Christ is the Word of God and the Truth of God, he may be
received even by those who have not heard of his manifestation in the
flesh. A proud and self-righteous morality is inconsistent with saving faith
but a humble and penitent reliance upon God, as a Savior from sin and a
guide of conduct, is an implicit faith in Christ. Such reliance casts itself
upon God, so far as God has revealed himself and the only Revealer of
God is Christ. We have, therefore, the hope that even among the heathen
there may be some, like Socrates, who, under the guidance of the Holy
Spirit working through the truth of nature and conscience, have found the
way of life and salvation.
The number of such is so small as in no degree to weaken the claims of
the missionary enterprise upon us. But that there are such seems to be
intimated in Scripture:

Matthew 8:11, 12 — “many shall come from
the east and the west and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac and
Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast
forth into the outer darkness”;

John 10:16 — “And other sheep I have,
which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my
voice; and they shall become one flock, one shepherd “;

Acts 4:12 —
“And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name
under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved “;
10:31, 34, 35, 44 — “Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are
had in remembrance in the sight of God…Of a truth I perceive that God is
no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and
worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him…While Peter yet spake these
words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard the word”; 16:31 —
“Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.”
And instances are found of apparently regenerated heathen; see in Godet

John 7:17, note (vol. 2:277) the account of the so-called “Chinese
hermit,” who accepted Christ, saying: “This is the only Buddha whom
men ought to worship!” Edwards, Life of Brainard, 173-175, gives an
account “of one who was a devout and zealous reformer, or rather
restorer, of what he supposed was the ancient religion of the Indians.”
After a period of distress, he says that God “comforted his heart and
showed him what he should do, and since that time he had known God and
tried to serve him; and loved all men, be they who they would, so as he
never did before.” See art, by Dr. Lucius E. Smith, in Bibliotheca Sacra,
Oct. 1881:622-645, on the question: “Is salvation possible without a.124
knowledge of the gospel?” H. B. Smith, System, 323, note, rightly bases
hope for the heathen, not on morality, but on sacrifice.
A chief, of the Cameroon in S. W. Africa, fishing with many of his tribe
long before the missionaries came, was overtaken by a storm and while
almost all the rest were drowned, he and a few others escaped. He
gathered his people together afterwards and told the story of disaster. He
said: “When the canoes upset and I found myself battling with the waves,
I thought: To whom shall I cry for help? I knew that the god of the hills
could not help me, I knew that the evil spirit would not help me. So I cried
to the Great Father, Lord, save me! At that moment my feet touched the
sand of the beach, and I was safe. Now let all my people honor the Great
Father and let no man speak a word against him, for he can help us.” This
chief afterwards used every effort to prevent strife and bloodshed and was
remembered by those who came after as a peacemaker. His son told this
story to Alfred Saker, the missionary, saying “Why did you not come
sooner? My father longed to know what you have told us; he thirsted for
the knowledge of God.” Mr. Saker told this in England in 1879.
John Fiske appends to his book, The Idea of God, 168, 169, the following
pathetic words of a Kafir named Sekese, in conversation with a French
traveler, M. Arbrouseille, on the subject of the Christian religion. “Your
tidings,” said this uncultured barbarian, “are what I want and I was
seeking before I knew you, as you shall hear and judge for yourself.
Twelve years ago I went to feed my flocks; the weather was hazy. I sat
down upon a rock and asked myself sorrowful questions, yes, sorrowful,
because I was unable to answer them. Who has touched the stars with his
hands — on what pillars do they rest? I asked myself. The waters never
weary, they know no other law than to flow without ceasing from morning
till night and from night till morning; but where do they stop, and who
makes them flow thus? The clouds also come and go, and burst in water
over the earth. Whence come they and who is it who sends them? The
diviners certainly do not give us rain, for how could they do it? And why
do I not see them with my own eyes, when they go up to heaven to fetch
it? I cannot see the wind but what is it? Who brings it and who makes it
blow and roar and terrify us? Do I know how the corn sprouts? Yesterday
there was not a blade in my field yet today I returned to my field and
found some. Who can have given to the earth the wisdom and the power
to produce it? Then I buried my head in both hands.”
On the question whether men are ever led to faith, with out intercourse
with living Christians or preachers, see Life of Judson, by his son, 84.
The British and Foreign Bible Society publish a statement. This was made.125
upon the authority of Sir Bartle Frere that he met with “a carefully
investigated instance. All the inhabitants of a remote village in the Deccan
had abjured idolatry and caste. They removed from their temples the idols
which had been worshiped there, time out of mind, and agreed to profess a
form of Christianity which they had deduced from the careful perusal of a
single Gospel and a few tracts.” Max Muller, Chips, 4:177-189,
apparently proves that Buddha is the original of St. Josaphat, who has a
day assigned to him in the calendar of both the Greek and the Roman
churches. “Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis.”
The Missionary Review of the World, July, 1896:519-523, tells the story
of Adiri, afterwards called John King, of Maripastoon in Dutch Guiana.
The Holy Spirit wrought in him mightily years before he heard of the
missionaries. He was a coal black Negro, a heathen and a fetish
worshiper. He was convicted of sin and apparently converted through
dreams and visions. Heaven and hell were revealed to him. He was sick
unto death, and One appeared to him declaring himself to be the Mediator
between God and man, and telling him to go to the missionaries for
instruction. He was persecuted, but he won his tribe from heathenism and
transformed them into a Christian community.
S. W. Hamblen, missionary to China, tells of a very earnest and
consistent believer who lived at rather an obscure town of about 2800
people. The evangelist went to visit him and found that he was a worthy
example to those around him. He had become a Christian before he had
seen a single believer, by reading a Chinese New Testament. By reading
the New Testament he had become not only a Christian but also a strong
Baptist in belief. A belief so strong that he could argue with the
missionary on the subject of baptism, although, till the evangelist went to
his house, he had never met a Baptist and did not know that there were
any Baptist churches in existence.
The Rev. K. E. Malm, a pioneer Baptist preacher in Sweden, on a journey
to the district as far north as Gestrikland, met a woman from Lapland
who was on her way to Upsala in order to visit Dr. Fjellstedt. She desired
to converse with him to learn how she might obtain peace with God and
get rid of her anxiety concerning her sins. She said she had traveled 60 ( =
240 English) miles and she had still far to go. Malm improved the
opportunity to speak to her concerning the crucified Christ and she found
peace in believing on his atonement. She became so happy that she
clapped her hands and for joy could not sleep that night. She said later:
“Now I will return home and tell the people what I have found.” This she.126
did, and did not care to continue her journey to Upsala, in order to get
comfort from Dr. Fjellstedt.
(c) The ground of faith is the external word of promise. The ground of
assurance, on the other hand, is the inward witness of the Spirit that we
fulfill the conditions of the promise (

Romans 4:20, 21; 8:16;

Ephesians 1:13; l

John 4:13; 5:10). This witness of the Spirit is not a
new revelation from God but a strengthening of faith so that it becomes
conscious and indubitable.
True faith is possible without assurance of salvation. But if Alexander’s
view were correct, that the object of saving faith is the proposition: “God,
for Christ’s sake, now looks with reconciling love on me, a sinner,” no one
could believe, without being at the same time assured that he was a saved
person. ‘Upon the true view, that the object of saving faith is not a
proposition, but a person, we can perceive not only the simplicity of faith,
but the possibility of faith even where the soul is destitute of assurance or
of joy. Hence those who already believe are urged to seek for assurance

Hebrews 6:11; 2 Peter l:10).

Romans 4:20, 21 — “looking unto the promise of God, he wavered
not through unbelief but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God,
and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to
perform”; 8:16 — “The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that
we are children of God”;

Ephesians 1:13 — “in whom, having also
believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”;

1 John 4:13
— “hereby we know that we abide in him, and he in us, because he hath
given us of his Spirit”; 5:10 — “He that believeth on the Son of God hath
the witness in him.” This assurance is not of the essence of faith, because
believers are exhorted to attain to it:

Hebrews 6:11 — “And we desire
that each one of you may show the same diligence unto the fullness of
hope [margin — ‘full assurance’] even to the end”;

2 Peter 1:10 —
“Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and
election sure.” Cf.

Proverbs 14:14 — “a good man shall be satisfied
from himself.”
There is need to guard the doctrine of assurance from mysticism. The
witness of the Spirit is not a new and direct revelation from God. It is a
strengthening of previously existing faith until he who possesses this faith
cannot any longer doubt that he possesses it. It is a general rule that all
our emotions, when they become exceedingly strong, also become
conscious. Instance affection between man and woman..127
Edwards, Religious Affections, in Works, 3:83-91, says the witness of the
Spirit is not a new word or suggestion from God, but an enlightening and
sanctifying influence so that the heart is drawn forth to embrace the truth
already revealed, and to perceive that it embraces it. “Bearing witness” is
not in this case to declare and assert a thing to be true but to hold forth
evidence from which a thing may be proved to be true. God “beareth
witness by signs and wonders” (

Hebrews 2:4). So the “seal of the
Spirit” is not a voice or suggestion, but a work or effect of the Spirit. It is
left, as a divine mark upon the soul to be an evidence by which God’s
children may be known. Seals had engraved upon them the image or name
of the persons to whom they belonged. The “seal of the Spirit,” the
“earnest of the Spirit,” the “witness of the Spirit,” are all one thing. The
childlike spirit, given by the Holy Spirit, is the Holy Spirit’s witness or
evidence in us.
See also illustration of faith and assurance, in C. S. Robinson’s Short
Studies for S. S. Teachers, 179, 180. Faith should be distinguished not
only from assurance, but also from feeling or joy. Instance Abraham’s
faith when he went to sacrifice Isaac and Madame Guyon’s faith, when
God’s face seemed hid from her. See, on the witness of the Spirit, Short,
Bampton Lectures for 1846; British and For. Evan. Rev., 1888:617-631.
For the view, which confounds faith with assurance, see Alexander,
Discourses on Faith, 63-118.
It is important to distinguish saving faith from assurance of faith, for the
reason that lack of assurance is taken by so many real Christians as
evidence that they know nothing of the grace of God. To use once more a
well-worn illustration: It is getting into the boat that saves us but not our
comfortable feelings about the boat. What saves us is faith in Christ, not
faith in our faith, or faith in the faith. The astronomer does not turn his
telescope to the reflection of the sun or moon in the water, when he can
turn it to the sun or moon itself. Why obscure our faith, when we can look
to Christ?
The faith in a distant Redeemer was the faith of Christian, in Bunyan’s
Pilgrim’s Progress. Only at the end of his journey does Christian have
Christ’s presence. This representation rests upon a wrong conception of
faith as laying hold of a promise or a doctrine, rather than as laying hold
of the living and present Christ. The old Scotch woman’s direction to the
inquirer to “grip the promise” is not so good as the direction to “grip
Christ.” Sir Francis Drake, the great English sailor, had for his crest an
anchor with a cable running up into the sky. A poor boy, taught in a.128
mission school in Ireland, when asked, what was meant by saving faith,
replied: “It is grasping God with the heart.”
The view of Charles Hodge, like that of Alexander, puts doctrine before
Christ, and makes the formal principle, the supremacy of Scripture,
superior to the material principle, justification by faith. The Shorter
Catechism is better: “Faith in Christ is a saving grace, whereby we
receive and rest on him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the
gospel.” If this relation of faith to the personal Christ had been kept in
mind, much religious despondency might have been avoided. Murphy,
Natural Selection and Spiritual Freedom, 80, 81, tells us that Frances
Ridley Havergal could never fix the date of her conversion. From the age
of six to that of fourteen she suffered from religions fears and did not
venture to call herself a Christian. It was the result of confounding being
at peace with God and being conscious of that peace. So the mother of
Frederick Denison Maurice, an admirable and deeply religious woman,
endured long and deep mental suffering from doubts as to her personal
There is a witness of the Spirit, with some sinners, that they are not
children of God and this witness is through the truth, though the sinner
does not know that it is the Spirit who reveals it to him. We call this work
of the Spirit conviction of sin. The witness of the Spirit that we are
children of God and the assurance of faith of which Scripture speaks are
one and the same thing, the former designation only emphasizing the
source from which the assurance springs. False assurance is destitute of
humility but true assurance is so absorbed in Christ that self is forgotten.
Self-consciousness, and desire to display one’s faith, are not marks of true
assurance. When we say: “That man has a great deal of assurance,” we
have in mind the false and self-centered assurance of the hypocrite or the
Allen, Jonathan Edwards, 231 — “It has been said that any one who can
read Edwards’s Religious Affections, and still believe in his own
conversion, may well have the highest assurance of its reality. But how
few there were in Edwards’s time who gained the assurance, may be
inferred from the circumstance that Dr. Hopkins and Dr. Emmons,
disciples of Edwards and religious leaders in New England, remained to
the last uncertain of their conversion.” He can attribute this only to the
semi-deistic spirit of the time, with its distant God and imperfect
apprehension of the omnipresence and omnipotence of Christ. Nothing so
clearly marks the practical progress of Christianity as the growing faith in
Jesus, the only Revealer of God in nature and history as well as in the.129
heart of the believer. As never before, faith comes directly to Christ,
abides in him and finds his promise true: “Lo, I am with you always, even
unto the end of the world” (

Matthew 28:20). “Nothing before, nothing
behind; The steps of faith Fall on the seeming void and find The Rock
(d) That faith necessarily leads to good works, since it embraces the whole
truth of God so far as made known, and appropriates Christ, not only as an
external Savior, but as an internal sanctifying power (

Hebrews 7:15, 16;

Galatians 5:6).
Good works are the proper evidence of faith. The faith, which does not
lead men to act upon the commands and promises of Christ or, in other
words, does not lead to obedience, is called in Scripture a “dead,” that is,
an unreal faith. Such faith is not saving since it lacks the voluntary element
— actual appropriation of Christ (

James 2:14-26).

Hebrews 7:15,16 — “another priest, who hath been made, not after
the law of a carnal commandment but after the power of an endless life”;

Galatians 5:6 — “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth
anything, nor uncircumcision; but with working through love”;

2:14, 26 — What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith,
but have not works? Can that faith save him?

For as the body apart from
the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.”
The best evidence that I believe a man’s word is that I act upon it.
Instance the bank cashier’s assurance to me that a sum of money is
deposited with him to my account. If I am a millionaire, the
communication may cause me no special joy. Just as my faith in the
cashier’s word is tested by my going for the money or not, so my faith in
Christ is evidenced by my acting upon his commands and promises. We
may illustrate also by the lifting of the trolley to the wire and the resulting
light and heat and motion to the car that before stood dark and cold and
motionless upon the track.
Salvation by works is like getting to one’s destination by pushing the car.
True faith depends upon God for energy but it results in activity of all our

Romans 3:28 — “We reckon therefore that a man is justified
by faith apart from the works of the law.” We are saved only by faith, yet
this faith will be sure to bring forth good works. see

Galatians 5:6 —
“faith working through love.” Dead faith might be illustrated by Abraham
Lincoln’s Mississippi steamboat, whose whistle was so big that, when it.130
sounded, the boat stopped. Confession exhausts the energy so that none is
left for action.
A. J. Gordon, The First Thing in the World, or The Primacy of Faith:
“David Brainard speaks with a kind of suppressed astonishment of what
he observed among the degraded North American Indians. Preaching to
them the good news of salvation through the atonement of Christ and
persuading them to accept it by faith and then hastening on in his rapid
missionary tours he found, on returning upon his track a year or two later,
that the fruits of righteousness, sobriety, virtue and brotherly love were
everywhere visible. It had been possible to impart to them only the
slightest moral or ethical teaching.”
(e) That faith, as characteristically the inward act of reception, is not to be
confounded with love or obedience, its fruit.
Faith is, in the Scriptures, called a work, only in the sense that man’s active
powers are engaged in it. It is a work which God requires yet which God
enables man to perform (

John 6:29 — ejrgon tou~ Qeou~ Cf.

1:17 — dikawsu>nh Qeou~). As the gift of God and as the mere taking of
undeserved mercy, it is expressly excluded from the category of works
upon the basis of which man may claim salvation (

Romans 3:28; 4:4, 5,
16). It is not the act of the full soul bestowing but the act of an empty soul
receiving. Although this reception is prompted by a drawing of heart
toward God inwrought by the Holy Spirit, this drawing of heart is not yet a
conscious and developed love because such love is the result of faith

Galatians 5:6). What precedes faith is an unconscious and undeveloped
tendency or disposition toward God. Conscious and developed affection
toward God, or love proper, must always follow faith and be the product
of faith. So, too, obedience can be rendered only after faith has laid hold of
Christ and with him has obtained the spirit of obedience (

Romans 1:5
— uJpakoh>n pi>stewv = “obedience resulting from faith”). Hence faith is
not the procuring cause of salvation but is only the instrumental cause. The
procuring cause is the Christ, whom faith embraces.

John 6:29 — “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom
he hath sent”; cf.

Romans 1:17 — “For therein is revealed a
righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the
righteous shall live by faith”;

Romans 3:28 — “We reckon therefore
that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law”; 4:4, 5,
16 — “Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace
but as of debt. But to him that worketh not but believeth on him that.131
justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness…For this
cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace”;

Galatians 5:6
— “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor
uncircumcision; but faith working through love”;

Romans 1:5 —
“through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith
among all the nations.”
Faith stands as an intermediate factor between the unconscious and
undeveloped tendency or disposition toward God inwrought in the soul by
God’s regenerating act, on the one hand, and the conscious and developed
affection toward God, which is one of the fruits and evidences of
conversion, on the other. Illustrate by the motherly instinct shown in a
little girl’s care for her doll, a motherly instinct which becomes a
developed mother’s love, only when a child of her own is born. This new
love of the Christian is an activity of his own soul, and yet it is a “fruit of
the Spirit” (

Galatians 5:22). To attribute it wholly to himself would be
like calling the walking and leaping of the lame man (

Acts 3:8) merely
a healthy activity of his own. For illustration of the priority of faith to
love, see Shedd, Dogm. Theol, 2:588, note; on the relation of faith to love,
see Julius Muller, Doct. Sin, 1:116, 117.
The logical order is therefore unconscious and undeveloped love, faith in
Christ and his truth, conscious and developed love and assurance of faith.
Faith and love act and react upon one another. Each advance in the one
leads to a corresponding advance in the other. But the source of all is in
God. God loves, and therefore, he gives love to us as well as receives love
from us. The unconscious and undeveloped love, which he imparts in
regeneration, is the root of all Christian faith. The Roman Catholic is
right in affirming the priority of love to faith, if he means by love only this
unconscious and undeveloped affection. But the Protestant is also right in
affirming the priority of faith to love, if he means by love a conscious and
developed affection. Stevens, Johannine Theology, 368 — “Faith is not a
mere passive receptivity. As the acceptance of a divine life, it involves the
possession of a new moral energy. Faith works by love. In faith a new life
force is received and new life-powers stir within the Christian man.”
We must not confound repentance with fruits meet for repentance or, faith
with fruits meet, for faith. A. J. Gordon, The First Thing in the World:
“Love is the greatest thing in the world but faith is the first. The tree is
greater than the root but let it not boast: ‘if thou gloriest, it is not thou that
bearest the root, but the root thee’ (

Romans 11:18). Love has no
power to branch out and bear fruit, except as, through faith, it is rooted in
Christ and draws nourishment from him.

1 Peter 1:5 — ‘who by the.132
power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be
revealed in the last time’;

1 Corinthians 13:13 — ‘now abideth faith,
hope, love’;

Hebrews 10:19-25 — ‘draw near…in fullness of
faith…hold fast the confession of our hope…provoke unto love and good

Romans 5:1-5 — ‘justified by faith… rejoice in hope…love of
God hath been shed abroad in our hearts’; 1Thess. 1:1, 2 — ‘work of
faith and labor of love and patience of hope.’ Faith is the actinic ray, hope
the luminiferous ray, love the calorific ray. But faith contains the principle
of the divine likeness, as the life of the parent given to the child contains
the principle of likeness to the father and will insure moral and physical
resemblance in due time.”
A.J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 112 — “‘The love of the Spirit’

Romans 15:30) is the love of the Spirit of Christ and it is given us for
overcoming the world. The divine life is the source of the divine love.
Therefore the love of God is ‘shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit
who is given unto us (

Romans 5:5). Because we are by nature so
wholly without heavenly affection, God, through the indwelling Spirit,
gives us his own love with which to love himself.” A. H. Strong, Christ in
Creation, 286, 287, points out that in

2 Corinthians 5:14 — “the love
of Christ constraineth us” — the love of Christ is “not our love to Christ,
for that is a very weak and uncertain thing nor even Christ’s love to us,
for that is still something external to us. Each of these leaves a separation
between Christ and us, and fails to act as a moving power within us. Not
simply our love to Christ or simply Christ’s love to us but rather Christ’s
love in us, is the love that constrains. This is the thought of the apostle.”
The first fruit of this love, in its still unconscious and undeveloped state,
is faith.
(f) That faith is susceptible of increase.
This is evident, whether we consider it from the human or from the divine
side. As an act of man, it has an intellectual, an emotional and a voluntary
element each, of which, is capable of growth. As a work of God in the soul
of man, it can receive through the presentation of the truth and the
quickening agency of the Holy Spirit, continually new accessions of
knowledge, sensibility and active energy. Such increase of faith, therefore,
we are to seek, both by resolute exercise of our own powers and above all,
by direct application to the source of faith in God (

Luke 17:5).

Luke 17:5 — “And the apostles said unto the Lord, increase our
faith.” The adult Christian has more faith than he had when a child;
evidently there has been increase.

1 Corinthians 12:8, 9 — “For to one.133
is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom…to another faith, in the
same Spirit.” In this latter passage, it seems to be intimated that for
special exigencies the Holy Spirit gives to his servants special faith, so
that they are enabled to lay hold of the general promise of God and make
special application of it.

Romans 8:26, 27 — “the Spirit also helpeth
our infirmity… maketh intercession for us…maketh intercession for the
saints according to the will of God”

1 John 5:14, 15 — “And this is
the boldness which we have toward him, that if we ask anything according
to his will, he heareth us: and if we knew that he heareth us whatsoever
we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him.”
Only when we begin to believe, do we appreciate our lack of faith, and the
great need of its increase. The little beginning of light makes known the
greatness of the surrounding darkness.

Mark 9:24 — “I believe; help
thou mine unbelief” was the utterance of one who recognized both the
need of faith and the true source of supply.
On the general subject of Faith, see Kostlin, Die Lehre von dem Glauben.
13-85, 301-341, and in Jahrbuch f. d. Theol., 4:177 sq.; Romaine on
Faith, 9-89; Bishop of Ossory Nature and Effects of Faith, 1-40; Venn,
Characteristics of Belief, Introduction, Nitzsch, System of Christ Doct.,
1. Definition of Justification.
By justification we mean that judicial act of God by which, on account of
Christ, to whom the sinner is united by faith, he declares that sinner to be
no longer exposed to the penalty of the law but to be restored to his favor.
Or, to give an alternative definition from which all metaphor is excluded:
Justification is the reversal of God’s attitude toward the sinner because of
the sinner’s new relation to Christ. God did condemn; he now acquits. He
did repel; he now admits to favor.
Justification, as thus defined, is therefore a declarative act, as distinguished
from an efficient act, an act of God external to the sinner, as distinguished
from an act within the sinner’s nature and changing that nature. It is a
judicial act as distinguished from a sovereign act, an act based upon and
logically presupposing the sinner’s union with Christ, as distinguished from
an act, which causes and is followed by that union with Christ.
The word ‘declarative’ does not imply a ‘spoken’ word on God’s part,
much less that the sinner hears God speak. That justification is sovereign.134
is held by Arminians, and by those who advocate a governmental theory
of the atonement. On any such theory, justification must be sovereign
since Christ bore not the penalty of the law but a substituted suffering,
which God graciously and with sovereignty accepts in place of our
suffering and obedience.
Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1100, wrote a tract for the
consolation of the dying, who were alarmed on account of sin. The
following is an extract from it: “Question: Dost thou believe that the Lord
Jesus died for thee? Answer. I believe it. Question: Dost thou thank him
for his passion and death? Ans. I do thank him. Question: Dost thou
believe that thou canst not be saved except by his death? Ans. I believe
it.” And then Anselm addresses the dying man: “Come then, while life
remaineth in thee; in his death alone place thy whole trust; in naught else
place any trust; to his death commit thyself wholly; with this alone cover
thyself wholly; and if the Lord thy God will to judge thee, say, ‘Lord,
between thy judgment and me I present the death of our Lord Jesus
Christ; no otherwise can I contend with thee.’ And if he shall say that thou
art a sinner, say thou: ‘Lord, I interpose the death of our Lord Jesus
Christ between my sins and thee.’ If he say that thou last deserved
condemnation, say: ‘Lord, I set the death of our Lord Jesus Christ
between my evil deserts and thee, and his merits I offer for those which I
ought to have and have not.’ If he say that he is wroth with thee say:
‘Lord, I oppose the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between thy wrath and
me.’ And when thou hast completed this, say again: ‘Lord, I set the death
of our Lord Jesus Christ between thee and me.’” See Anselm, Opera
(Migne), 1:686, 687. The above quotation gives us reason to believe that
the New Testament doctrine of justification by faith was implicitly, if not
explicitly, held by many pious souls through all the ages of papal
2. Proof of the Doctrine of Justification.
A. Scripture proofs of the doctrine as a whole are the following:

Romans 1:17 — “a righteousness of God from faith unto faith”; 3:24-
30 — “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus…the justifier of him that hash faith in Jesus…We reckon
therefore a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the
law…justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncirumcision through

Galatians 3:11 — “Now that no man is justified by the law
before God, is evident: for, the righteous shall live by faith; and the law is
not of faith; but, He that doeth them shall live in them”;

Ephesians 1:7.135
— “in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness
of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace”;

Hebrews 11:4,
7 — “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than
Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was
righteous…By faith Noah…moved with godly fear prepared an
ark…became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith”; cf.
Gen. 15:6 — “And he believed in Jehovah; and he reckoned it to him for

Isaiah 7:9 — “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall
not be established”; 28:18 — “he that believeth shall not be in haste”;

Habakkuk 2:4 — “the righteous shall live by his faith.”

Psalm 85:8 — “He will speak peace unto his people” God’s great
word of pardon includes all else. Peace with him implies all the covenant
privileges resulting therefrom.

1 Corinthians 3:21-23 — “all things are
yours,” because “ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” This is not
salvation by law or by ideals or by effort or by character, although
obedience to law, a loftier ideal, unremitting effort and a pure character
are consequences of justification. Justification is the change in God’s
attitude toward the sinner, which makes all these consequences possible.
The only condition of justification is the sinner’s faith in Jesus, which
merges the life of the sinner in the life of Christ. Paul expresses the truth

Galatians 2:16, 20 — “Knowing that a man is not justified by the
works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on
Christ Jesus that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the
works of the law…I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I
that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh
I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and
gave himself up for me.”
With these observations and qualifications we may assent to much that is
said by Whiton, Divine Satisfaction, 64, who distinguishes between
forgiveness and remission: “Forgiveness is the righting of disturbed
personal relations. Remission is removal of the consequences which in the
natural order of things have resulted from our fault God forgives all that
is strictly personal but remits nothing that is strictly natural in sin. He
imparts to the sinner the power to bear his burden and work off his debt of
consequences. Forgiveness is not remission. It is introductory to
remission, just as conversion is not salvation, but introductory to
salvation. The prodigal son, even though was received by his father, could
not recover his lost patrimony. He could, however, have been led by
penitence to work so hard that he earned more than he had lost..136
“Here is an element in justification which Protestantism has ignored, and
which Romanism has tried to retain. Debts must be paid to the uttermost
farthing. The scars of past sins must remain forever. Forgiveness converts
the persistent energy of past sin from a destructive to a constructive
power. There is a transformation of energy into a new form. Genuine
repentance spurs us up to do what we can to make up for time lost and for
wrong done. The sinner is clothed anew with moral power. We are all to
be judged by our works. That Paul had been a blasphemer was ever
stimulating him to Christian endeavor. The faith, which receives Christ, is
a peculiar spirit, a certain moral activity of love and obedience. it is not
mere reliance on what Christ was and did, but active endeavor to become
and to do like him. Human justice takes hold of deeds; divine
righteousness deals with character. Justification by faith is justification
by spirit and inward principle, apart from the merit of works or
performances, but never without these. God’s charity takes the will for the
deed. This is not justification by outward conduct, as the Judaizers
thought, but by the godly spirit” If this new spirit be the Spirit of Christ to
whom faith has united the soul, we can accept the statement. There is
danger however of conceiving this spirit as purely man’s own and
justification as not external to the sinner or as the work of God but as the
mere name for a subjective process by which man justifies himself.
B. Scripture use of the special words translated “justify” and “justification”
in the Septuagint and in the New Testament.
(a) dikaio>w — uniformly, or with only a single exception, signifies, not to
make righteous, but to declare just, or free from guilt and exposure to
punishment. The only O. T. passage, where this meaning is questionable is

Daniel 12:3. But even here the proper translation is, in all probability,
not ‘they that turn many to righteousness,’ but ‘they that justify many,’ i.
e., cause many to be justified. For the Hiphil force of the verb, see
Girdlestone, O. T. Syn., 257, 258, and Delitzsch on

Isaiah 53:11; cf.

James 5:19, 20.
O.T. texts:

Exodus 23:7 — “I will not justify the wicked”;

Deuteronomy 25:1 — “they [the judges] shall justify the righteous,
and condemn the wicked”;

Job 27:5 — “Far be it from me that I
should justify you”;

Psalm 143:2 — “in thy sight no man living is

Proverbs 17:15 — “He that justifieth the wicked, and he
that condemneth the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to

Isaiah 5:23 — “that justify the wicked for a bribe, and take
away the righteousness of the righteous from him”; 50:8 — “He is near.137
that justifieth me”; 53:11 — “by the knowledge of Himself shall my
righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities”;
Dan.12:3 — “and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for
ever and ever” (‘they that justify many,’ i. e., cause many to be justified);

James 5:19, 20 — “My brethren, if any among you err from the
truth, and one convert him, let him know, that he who converteth a sinner
from the error of his way shall cover soul from death, and shall cover a
multitude of sins.”
The Christian minister absolves from sin, only as he marries a couple: he
does not join them, he only declares them joined. So he declares men
forgiven, if they have complied with the appointed divine conditions.
Marriage may be invalid where these conditions are lacking but the
minister’s absolution is of no account where there is no repentance of sin
and faith in Christ. See G. D. Boardman, The Church, 178. We are ever
to remember that the term justification is a forensic term, which presents
the change of God’s attitude toward the sinner in a pictorial way derived
from the procedure of earthly tribunals. The fact is larger and more vital
than the figure used to describe it.
McConnell, Evolution of Immortality, 134, 135 — “Christ’s terms are
biological; those of many theologians are legal. It may be ages before we
recover from the misfortune of having had the truth of Christ interpreted
and fixed by jurists and logicians instead of by naturalists and men of
science. It is much like the rationale of the circulation of the blood that
had been wrought out by Sir Matthew Hale or the germ theory of disease
interpreted by Blackstone or the doctrine of evolution formulated by a
legislative council. The Christ is intimately and vitally concerned with the
eternal life of men but the question involved is of their living or perishing,
not of a system of judicial rewards and penalties.” We must remember
however that even biology gives us only one side of the truth. The forensic
conception of justification furnishes its complement and has its rights
also. The Scriptures represent both sides of the truth. Paul gives us the
judicial aspect, John the vital aspect of justification.

Romans 6:7 — oJ ga<r ajpoqanwwtai ajpo< th~v
aJmartiav = ‘he that once died with Christ was acquitted from the service
of sin considered as a penalty.’ In

1 Corinthians 4:4 — oujden ganoida. ajll oujk tou>tw| dedikai>wmai = ‘I am conscious of
no fault, but that does not in itself make certain God’s acquittal as respects
this particular charge.’ The usage of the epistle of James does not
contradict this; the doctrine of James is that we are justified only by such.138
faith as makes us faithful and brings forth good works. “He uses the word
exclusively in a judicial sense; he combats a mistaken view of pi>stiv, not a
mistaken view of dikaio>w”; see

James 2:21, 23, 24, and Cremer, N. T.
Lexicon, Eng. trans., 182, 183. The only N. T. passage where this meaning
is questionable is Revelations 22:11; but here Alford, with a, A and B,
reads dikaiosu>nhn poihsa>tw.
N. T. texts:

Matthew 12:37 — “For by thy words thou shalt be
justified, and by thy words thou shah be condemned”;

Luke 7:29 —
“And all the people…justified God, being baptized with the baptism of
John”; 10:29 — “But he, desiring to justify himself said unto Jesus, And
who is my neighbor?” 16:15 — “Ye are they that justify yourselves in the
sight of men; but God knoweth your hearts”; 18:14 — “This man went
down to his house justified rather than the other”; cf. 13 (lit.) “God, be
thou propitiated toward me the sinner”;

Romans 4:6-8 — “Even as
David also pronounceth blessing upon the man, unto whom God
reckoneth righteousness apart from works, saying, Blessed are they whose
iniquities are forgiven, And whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to
whom the Lord will not reckon sin”; cf.

Psalm 32:1, 2 — “Blessed is
he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the
man unto whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there
is no guile.”

Romans 5:18, 19 — “So then as through one trespass the judgment
came unto all men to condemnation: even so through one act of
righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life. For as
through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so
through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous”; 8:33,
34 — “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that
justifieth; who is he that condemneth?”

2 Corinthians 5:19, 21 —
“God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself not reckoning unto
them their trespasses…Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our
behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God [God’s justified
persons] in him”;

Romans 6:7 — “he that hath died is justified from

1 Corinthians 4:4 — For I know nothing against myself; yet am I
not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord” (on this last text,
see Expositor’s Greek Testament, in loco).

James 2:21, 23, 24 — “Was not Abraham our father justified by
works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the alter?…Abraham
believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness…Ye see
that by works.139
a man is justified, and not only by faith.” James is denouncing a dead
faith, while Paul is speaking of the necessity of a living faith or, rather,
James is describing the nature of faith, while Paul is describing the
instrument of justification. “They are like two men beset by a couple of
robbers. Back to back each strikes out against the robber opposite him,
each having a different enemy in his eye” (Wm. M. Taylor). Neander on

James 2:14-26 — “James is denouncing mere adhesion to an external
law, trust in intellectual possession of it. With him, law means an inward
principle of life. Paul, contrasting law as he does with faith, commonly
means by law a mere external divine requisition. James does not deny
salvation to him who has faith but only to him who falsely professes to
have. When he says that ‘by works a man is justified,’ he takes into
account the outward manifestation only, speaks from the point of view of
human consciousness. In works only does faith show itself as genuine and

Revelation 22:11 — “he that is righteous, let him do
righteousness still” — not, as the A. V. seemed to imply, “he that is just,
let him be justified still” — i. e., made subjectively holy.
Christ is the great Physician. The physician says: “If you wish to be
cured, you must trust me.” The patient replies: “I do trust you fully.” But
the physician continues: “If you wish to be cured, you must take my
medicines and do as I direct.” The patient objects: “But I thought I was to
be cured by trust in you. Why lay such stress on what 1 do?” The
physician answers: “You must show your trust in me by your action.
Trust in me, without action in proof of trust, amounts to nothing” (S. S.
Times). Doing without a physician is death hence, Paul says works cannot
save. Trust in the physician implies obedience hence, James says faith
without works is dead. Crane, Religion of Tomorrow, 152-155 — “Paul
insists on apple tree righteousness, and warns us against Christmas tree
righteousness.” Sagebeer, The Bible in Court, 77, 78 — “By works, Paul
means works of law; James means by works, works of faith.” Hovey, in
The Watchman, Aug. 27, 1891 — “A difference of emphasis, occasioned
chiefly by the different religious perils to which readers were at the time
(b) dikai>wsiv — is the act, in process, of declaring a man just, that is,
acquitted from guilt and restored to the divine favor (

Romans 4:25;

Romans 4:25 — “who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was
raised for our justification — unto all men to justification of life.”
Griffith-Jones, Ascent through Christ, 367, 368 — “Raised for our
justification” — Christ’s death made our justification possible but it did.140
not consummate it. Through his rising from the dead he was able to come
into that relationship to the believer which restores the lost or interrupted
son-ship. In the church the fact of the resurrection is perpetuated, and the
idea of the resurrection is realized.
(c) dikai>wma — is the act, as already accomplished, of declaring a man
just, that is, no longer exposed to penalty, but restored to God’s favor

Romans 5:16, 18; cf.

1 Timothy 3:16). Hence, in other connections,
dikai>wma has the meaning of statute, legal decision, act of justice

Luke 1:6;

Romans 2:26;

Hebrews 9:1).

Romans 5:16, 18 — “of many trespasses unto justification through
one act of righteousness”; cf.

1 Timothy 3:16 — “justified in the
spirit.” The distinction between dikai>wsiv and dikai>wma may be
illustrated by the distinction between poesy and poem, the former denoting
something in process, an ever-working spirit; the latter denoting
something fully accomplished, a completed work. Hence dikai>wma is
used in Luke l:6 — “ordinances of the Lord”.

Romans 2:26 —
“ordinances of the law”;

Hebrews 1:9 — “ordinances of divine
(d) dikaiosu>nh — is the state of one justified, or declared just

Romans 8:10;

1 Corinthians 1:30). In

Romans 10:3, Paul
inveighs against than dikaiosu>nhn as insufficient and false, and in
its place would put thnhn — that is, a
dikaiosu>nh which God not only requires, but provides, which is not only
acceptable to God, but proceeds from God and is appropriated by faith,
hence called dikaiosu>nh pi>stewv or ejk pi>stewv. “The primary
signification of the word, in Paul’s writings, is therefore that state of the
believer which is called forth by God’s act of acquittal, the state of the
believer as justified,” that is, freed from punishment and restored to the
divine favor.

Romans 8:10 — the spirit is life because of righteousness”

Corinthians 1:30 — “Christ Jesus, who was made unto us righteousness”;

Romans 10:3 — “being ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking
to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness
of God.” Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:542 — “The ‘righteousness of
God’ is the active and passive obedience of incarnate God.” See, on
dikaiosu>nh, Cremer, N. T. Lexicon, Eng. trans., 174; Meyer on
Romans, trans., 68-70 — “dikaiosu>nh Qeou~ (gen. of origin, emanation
from) = rightness which proceeds from God — the relation of being right.141
into which man is put by God (by an act of God declaring him
E. G. Robinson, Christian Theology, 304 — “When Paul addressed those
who trusted in their own righteousness, he presented salvation as
attainable only through faith in another; when he addressed Gentiles who
were conscious of their need of a helper, the forensic imagery is not
employed. Scarce a trace of it appears in his discourses as recorded in the
Acts and it is noticeably absent from all the epistles except the Romans
and the Galatians.”
Since this state of acquittal is accompanied by changes in the character and
conduct, dikaiosu>nh comes to mean, secondarily, the moral condition of
the believer as resulting from this acquittal and inseparably connected with
it (

Romans 14:17;

2 Corinthians 5:21). This righteousness arising
from justification becomes a principle of action (

Matthew 3:15;


Romans 6:13, 18). The term, however, never loses its
implication of a justifying act upon which this principle of action is based.

Romans 14:17 — “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but
righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”;

2 Corinthians
5:21 — ““that we might become the righteousness of God in him”;

Matthew 3:15 — “Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all

Acts 10:35 — “in every nation he that feareth him,
and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him”;

Romans 6:13 —
“present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members
as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Meyer on

Romans 3:23 —
“Every mode of conception which refers redemption and the forgiveness
of sins, not to a real atonement through the death of Christ, but
subjectively to the dying and reviving with him guaranteed and produced
by that death (Schleiermacher, Nitzsch, Hofmann), is opposed to the N.
T., a mixing up of justification and sanctification.”
On these Scripture terms, see Bp. of Ossory, Nature and Effects of Faith,
436-496; Lange, Com., on

Romans 3:24; Buchanan on Justification,
226-249. Versus Moehler, Symbolism, 102 — “The forgiveness of
sins…is undoubtedly a remission of the guilt and the punishment which
Christ hath taken and born upon himself. Likewise, it is the transfusion of
his Spirit into us”; Newman, Lectures on Justification, 68-143; Knox,
Remains; N. W. Taylor, Revealed Theology, 310-372.
It is a great mistake in method to derive the meaning of di>kaiov from
that of dikaiosu>nh and not vice versa. Wm. Arnold Stevens, in Am..142
Jour. Theology, April, 1897 — dikaiosu>nh, righteousness, in all its
meanings, whether ethical or forensic, has back of it the idea of law and
also the idea of violated law. It derives its forensic sense from the verb
dikaio>w and its cognate noun dikai>wsiv; dikaiosu>nh therefore is
legal acceptability, the status before the law of a pardoned sinner.”
Denney, in Expos. Gk. Test., 2:565 — “In truth, ‘sin,’’ the law,’ ‘the
curse of the law,’ ‘death,’ are names for something which belongs not to
the Jewish but to the human conscience and it is only because this is so
that the gospel of Paul is also a gospel for us. Before Christ came and
redeemed the world, all men were at bottom on the same footing:
Pharisaism, legalism, moralism or whatever it is called, is in the last
resort the attempt to be good without God. It is an attempt to achieve a
righteousness of our own, without an initial all-inclusive immeasurable
debt to him. In other words, without submitting, as sinful men must
submit, to be justified by faith apart from works of our own, and to find
in that justification, and in that only, the spring and impulse of all good.”
It is worthy of special observation that, in the passages cited above, the
terms, “justify” and “justification” are contrasted, not with the process at
depraving or corrupting but with the outward act of condemning. The
expressions used to explain and illustrate them are all derived not from the
inward operation of purifying the soul or infusing into it righteousness but
from the procedure of courts in their judgments, or of offended persons in
their forgiveness of offenders. We conclude that these terms, wherever
they have reference to the sinner’s relation to God, signify a declarative
and judicial act of God, external to the sinner and not an efficient and
sovereign act of God changing the sinner’s nature and making him
subjectively righteous.
In the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, session 8, chap. 9, is
devoted to the refutation of the “inanis hæreticorum fiducia”; and Canon
12 of the session anathematizes those who say, “fidem justificantem nihil
aliud esse quam fiduciam diviuæ misericordiæ, peccata remittentis propter
Christum” or that “justifying faith is nothing but trust in the divine mercy
which pardons sins for Christ’s sake.” The Roman Catholic doctrine, on
the contrary, maintains that the ground of justification is not simply the
faith by which the sinner appropriates Christ and his atoning work but is
also the new love and good works wrought within him by Christ’s Spirit.
This introduces a subjective element, which is foreign to the Scripture
doctrine of justification..143
Dr. E. G. Robinson taught that justification consists of three elements,
which are acquittal, restoration to favor and infusion of righteousness. In
this he accepted a fundamental error of Romanism. He says: “Justification
and sanctification are not to be distinguished as chronologically and
statically different. Justification and righteousness are the same thing from
different points of view. Pardon is not a mere declaration of forgiveness
— a merely arbitrary thing. Salvation introduces a new law into our sinful
nature, which annuls the law of sin and destroys its penal and destructive
consequences. Forgiveness of sins must be in itself a gradual process. The
final consequences of a man’s sins are written indelibly upon his nature
and remain forever. When Christ said: ‘Thy sins are forgiven thee’, it was
an objective statement of a subjective fact. The person was already in a
state of living relation to Christ. The gospel is damnation to the damnable
and invitation, love and mercy to those who feel their need of it. We are
saved through the enforcement of law on every one of us. Forgiveness
consists in the removal from consciousness of a sense of ill-desert.
Justification, aside from its forensic use, is a transformation and a
promotion. Sense of forgiveness is a sense of relief from a hated habit of
mind.” This seems to us dangerously near to a denial that justification is
an act of God and to an affirmation that it is simply a subjective change in
man’s condition.
E. H. Johnson: “If Dr. Robinson had been content to say that the divine
fiat of justification had the man-ward effect of regeneration, he would
have been correct for the verdict would be empty without this man-ward
efficacy. But unfortunately, he made the effect a part of the cause,
identifying the divine justification with its human fruition, the clearance of
the past with the provision for the future.” We must grant that the words,
inward and outward are misleading, for God is not under the law of space
and the soul itself is not in space. Justification takes place just as much in
man as outside of him. Justification and regeneration take place at the
same moment but logically God’s act of renewing is the cause and God’s
act of approving is the effect. Or we may say that regeneration and
justification are both of them effects of our union with Christ.

1:37 — “For no word from God shall be void of power.” Regeneration
and justification may be different aspects of God’s turning — of his
turning us and his turning himself. But it still is true that justification is a
change in God and not in the creature.
3. Elements of Justification.
These are two:.144
A. Remission of punishment.
(a) God acquits the ungodly ones who believe in Christ and declares them
just. This is not to declare them innocent for that would be a judgment
contrary to truth. It declares that the demands of the law have been
satisfied with regard to them, and that they are now free from its

Romans 4:5 — “But to him that worketh not but believeth on him that
justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness”; cf.

3:16 — “gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him
should not perish”; see page 856, (a), and Shedd, Dogmatic Theology,

Romans 5:1 — “Being therefore justified by faith, we ‘have
peace with God” — not subjective peace or quietness of mind, but
objective peace or reconciliation, the opposite of the state of war in which
we are subject to the divine wrath. Dale, Ephesians, 67 — “Forgiveness
may be defined in personal terms as a cessation of the anger or moral
resentment of God against sin, in ethical terms as a release from the guilt
of sin, which oppresses the conscience and in legal terms as a remission
of the punishment of sin, which is eternal death.”
(b) This acquittal, in so far as it is the act of God as judge or executive,
administering law, may be denominated pardon. In so far as it is the act of
God as a father personally injured and grieved by sin yet showing grace to
the sinner, it is denominated forgiveness.

Micah 7:18 — “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity,
and passeth over the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?”

Psalm 130:4 — “But there is forgiveness with thee, That thou mayst
be feared.” It is hard for us to understand God’s feeling toward sin.
Forgiveness seems easy to us, largely because we are indifferent toward
sin. But to the holy One, to whom sin is the abominable thing, which he
hates, forgiveness involves a fundamental change of relation and nothing
but Christ’s taking the penalty of sin upon him can make it possible. B.
Fay Mills: “A. tender spirited follower of Jesus Christ said to me, not long
ago, that it had taken him twelve years to forgive an injury that had been
committed against him.” How much harder for God to forgive, since he
can never become indifferent to the nature of the transgression!”
(c) In an earthly tribunal, there is no acquittal for those who are proved to
be transgressors, for such there is only conviction and punishment. But in
God’s government there is remission of punishment for believers, even.145
though they are confessedly offenders and, in justification, God declares
this remission.
There is no forgiveness in nature. F. W. Robertson preached this. But he
ignored the vis medicatrix of the gospel, in which forgiveness is offered to
all. The natural conscience says: “I must pay my debt.” But the believer
finds that “Jesus paid it all.” Illustrate by the poor man, who on coming to
pay his mortgage, finds that the owner at death had ordered it to be
burned so that now there is nothing to pay.

Psalm 34:22 — “Jehovah
redeemeth the soul of his servants, And none of them that take refuge in
him shall be condemned.”
A child disobeys his father and breaks his arm. His sin involves two
penalties, the alienation from his father and the broken arm. The father,
on repentance, may forgive his child. The personal relation is re-established
but the broken bone is not therefore at once healed. The
father’s forgiveness, however, will assure the father’s help toward
complete healing. So justification does not ensure the immediate removal
of all the natural consequences of our sins. It does ensure present
reconciliation and future perfection. Clarke, Christian Theology, 364 —
“Justification is not equivalent to acquittal, for acquittal declares that the
man has not done wrong. Justification is rather the acceptance of a man,
on sufficient grounds, although he has done wrong.” As the Plymouth
Brethren say: “It is not the sin-question, but the Son-question.” “Their
sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (

Hebrews 10:17).
The father did not allow the prodigal to complete the confession he had
prepared to make, but interrupted him, and dwelt only upon his return
home (

Luke 15:23).
(d) The declaration that the sinner is no longer exposed to the penalty of
law, has its ground, not in any satisfaction of the law’s demand on the part
of the sinner himself, but solely in the bearing of the penalty by Christ to
whom the sinner is united by faith. Justification, in its first element, is
therefore that act by which God, for the sake of Christ, acquits the
transgressor and suffers him to go free.

Acts 13:38, 39 — “Be it known unto you therefore, brethren, that
through this man is proclaimed unto you remission of sins: and by him
[lit.: ‘in him’] every one that believeth is justified from all things, from
which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses”;

Romans 3:24,
26 — “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus…that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that
hath faith in Jesus”;

1 Corinthians 6:11 — ““but ye were justified in.146
the name of the Lord Jesus”;

Ephesians 1:7 — “in whom we have our
redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according
to the riches of his grace.”
This acquittal is not to be conceived of as the sovereign act of a Governor
but rather as a judicial procedure. Christ secures a new trial for those
already condemned — a trial in which he appears for the guilty and sets
over against their sin his own righteousness or rather, shows them to be
righteous in him. C. H. M.: “When Balak seeks to curse the seed of
Abraham, it is said of Jehovah: ‘He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob,
Neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel’ (

Numbers 23:21). When
Satan stands forth to rebuke Joshua, the word is: ‘Jehovah rebuke thee, O
Satan…is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?’ (

Zechariah 3:2).
Thus he ever puts himself between his people and every tongue that would
accuse them. ‘Touch not mine anointed ones,’ he says, ‘and do my
prophets no harm’ (Psalm 405:15). ‘It is God that justifieth; who is he
that condemneth’?” (

Romans 8:33, 34).” It is not sin then that
condemns; it is the failure to ask pardon for sin, through Christ. Illustrate
by the ring presented by Queen Elizabeth to the Earl of Essex. Queen
Elizabeth did not forgive the penitent Countess of Nottingham for
withholding the ring of Essex, which would have purchased his pardon.
She shook the dying woman and cursed her even while she was imploring
forgiveness. There is no such failure of mercy in God’s administration.
Kaftan, in Am. Jour. Theology, 4:698 — “The peculiar characteristic of
Christian experience is the forgiveness of sins, or reconciliation — a
forgiveness which is conceived as an unmerited gift of God, which is
bestowed on man independently of his own moral worthiness. Other
religions have some measure of revelation but Christianity alone has the
clear revelation of this forgiveness and this is accepted by faith. And
forgiveness leads to a better ethics than any religion of works can show.”
B. Restoration to favor.
(a) Justification is more than remission or acquittal. These would leave the
sinner simply in the position of a discharged criminal, law requires a
positive righteousness also. Besides deliverance from punishment,
justification implies God’s treatment of the sinner as if he was and had
been, personally righteous. The justified person receives not only remission
of penalty but the rewards promised to obedience.

Luke 15:22-24 — “Bring forth quickly the best robe, and put it on
him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring the fatted.147
calf and kill it, and let us eat, and make merry: for this my son was dead,
and is alive again; he was lost, and is found”;

John 3:16 — “gave his
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should have eternal

Romans 5:1, 2 — “Being therefore justified by faith, we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we
have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we
rejoice in hope of the glory of God” — “this grace” being a permanent
state of divine favor;

1 Corinthians 1:30 — “But of him are ye in
Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness
and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that
glorieth, let him glory in the Lord”;

2 Corinthians 5:21 — “that we
might become the righteousness of God in him.”

Galatians 3:6 — “Ever’ as Abraham believed God, and it was
reckoned unto him for righteousness”;

Ephesians 2:7 — “the
exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”; 3:12
— “in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through our faith
in him”;

Philippians 3:8, 9 — “I count all things to be loss for the
excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…the righteousness
which is from God by faith”;

Colossians 1:22 — “reconciled in the
body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish
and unreprovable before him”;

Titus 3:4, 7 — “the kindness of God
our Savior…that being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs
according to the hope of eternal life”; Revelations 19:8 — “And it was
given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure:
for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
Justification is setting one right before law. But law requires not merely
freedom from offense negatively, but in all manner of obedience and
likeness to God positively. Since justification is in Christ and by virtue of
the believer’s union with Christ, it puts the believer on the same footing
before the law that Christ is on, namely, not only acquittal but also favor.

1 Timothy 3:16 — Christ was himself “justified in the spirit,” and the
believer partakes of his justification and of the whole of it i.e., not only
acquittal but favor. Acts l3:39 — “in him everyone that believeth is
justified” i.e., in Christ;

1 Corinthians 6:11 — “justified in the name
of the Lord Jesus Christ”;

Galatians 4:5 — “that we might receive the
adoption of sons” — a part of justification;

Romans 5:11 — “through
whom we have now received the reconciliation” — in justification;

Corinthians 5:21 — “that we might become the righteousness of God in

Philippians 3:9 — “the righteousness which is from God by

John 1:12 — “to them gave he the right to become children of.148
God” — emphasis on “gave” — intimation that the “becoming children”
is not subsequent to the justification, but is a part of it.
Ellicott on

Titus 3:7 — “dikaioqe>ntev, ‘justified,’ in the usual and
more strict theological sense not however, as implying only a mere
outward non-imputation of sin. It is involving a ‘mutationem status,’ an
acceptance into new privileges, and an enjoyment of the benefits thereof
(Waterland, Justif. vol. vi, p.5); in the words of the same writer:
‘Justification cannot be conceived without some work of the Spirit in
conferring a title to salvation.’” The prisoner who has simply served out
his term escapes without further punishment and that is all. But the
pardoned man receives back in his pardon the full rights of citizenship,
can again vote, serve on juries, testify in court and exercise all his
individual liberties as the discharged convict cannot. The Society of
Friends is so called, not because they are friends to one another but
because they regard themselves as friends of God. So, in the Middle Ages,
Master Eckart, John Tauler and Henry Suso, called themselves the friends
of God, after the pattern of Abraham. 2Chron. 20:7 — “Abraham thy

James 2:23 — “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned
unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God”, i.e., one
not merely acquitted from the charge of sin, but also admitted into favor
and intimacy with God.
(b) This restoration to favor, viewed in its aspect as the renewal of a
broken friendship, is denominated reconciliation; viewed in its aspect as a
renewal of the soul’s true relation to God as a father, it is denominated

John 1:12 — “But as many as received him, to them gave he the right
to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name”;

Romans 5:11 — “and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through
our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the

Galatians 4:4, 5 — “born under the law, that he might
redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption
of sons”;

Ephesians 1:5 — “having foreordained us unto adoption as
sons through Jesus Christ unto himself”; cf.

Romans 8:23 — “even we
ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the
redemption of our body” — that is, this adoption is completed, so far as
the body is concerned, at the resurrection.
Luther called Psalms 32, 51, 130, 143 “the Pauline Psalms,” because
these declare forgiveness to be granted to the believer without law and
without works.

Psalm 130:3, 4 — “If thou, Jehovah, shouldst mark.149
iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee,
That thou mayest be feared” is followed by verses 7, 8 — “O Israel, hope
in Jehovah; For with Jehovah there is loving kindness, And with him is
plenteous redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”
Whitefield was rebuked for declaring in a discourse that Christ would
receive even the devil’s castaways. That very day, while at dinner at Lady
Huntington’s, he was called out to meet two women who were sinners and
to whose broken hearts and blasted lives that remark gave hope and
(c) In an earthly pardon there are no special helps bestowed upon the
pardoned. There are no penalties but there are also no rewards; law cannot
claim anything of the discharged, but then they also can claim nothing of
the law. But what, though greatly needed, is left not provided for by human
government, God does provide. In justification, there is not only acquittal
but there is also approval and not only pardon but also promotion.
Remission is never separated from restoration.
After serving a term in the penitentiary, the convict goes out with a stigma
upon him and with no friends. His past conviction and disgrace follow
him. He cannot obtain employment, he cannot vote. Want often leads him
to commit crime again and then the old conviction is brought up as proof
of bad character and increases his punishment. There is a need of friendly
inns and refuges for discharged criminals. But the justified sinner is
differently treated. He is not only delivered from God’s wrath and eternal
death but he is admitted to God’s favor and eternal life. The discovery of
this is partly the cause of the convert’s joy. Expecting pardon, at most, he
is met with unmeasured favor. The prodigal finds the father’s house and
heart open to him, and more is done for him than if he had never
wandered. This overwhelms and subdues him. The two elements, acquittal
and restoration to favor, are never separated. Like the expulsion of
darkness and restoration of light, they always go together. No one can
have, even if he would have, an incomplete justification. Christ’s
justification is ours and, as Jesus’ own seamless tunic could not be
divided, so the robe of righteousness, which he provides, cannot be cut in
Failure to apprehend this positive aspect of justification as restoration to
favor is the reason why so many Christians have little joy and little
enthusiasm in their religious lives. The preaching of the magnanimity and
generosity of God makes the gospel “the power of God unto salvation”

Romans 1:16). Edwin N. Stanton had ridden roughshod over.150
Abraham Lincoln in the conduct of a case at law, which they had been
joint counsel, Stanton had become vindictive and even violent when
Lincoln was made President but Lincoln invited Stanton to be Secretary
of War, and he sent the invitation by Harding, who knew of all this former
trouble. When Stanton heard it, he said with streaming eyes: “Do you tell
me, Harding, that Mr. Lincoln sent this message to me? Tell him that such
magnanimity will make me work with him as man was never served
(d) The declaration that the sinner is restored to God’s favor has its
ground, not in the sinner’s personal character or conduct but solely in the
obedience and righteousness of Christ, to whom the sinner is united by
faith. Thus Christ’s work is the procuring cause of our justification in both
its elements. As we are acquitted on account of Christ’s suffering of the
penalty of the law, so on account of Christ’s obedience we receive the
rewards of law.
All this comes to us in Christ. We participate in the rewards promised to
his obedience.

John 20:31 — “that believing ye may have life in his

1 Corinthians 3:21-23 — “For all things are yours…all are
yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” Denovan, Toronto
Baptist, Dec. 1883, maintains that “grace operates for the rebel because it
provides a scheme of justification; it is judicial or is matter of debt and
for the child it provides pardon or a fatherly forgiveness or repentance.”

Hebrews 7:19 — “the law made nothing perfect…a bringing in
thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh unto God.” This
“better hope” is offered to us in Christ’s death and resurrection. The veil
of the temple was the symbol of separation from God. The rending of that
veil was the symbol on the one hand that sin had been atoned for and on
the other hand that unrestricted access to God was now permitted us in
Christ the great forerunner. Bonar’s hymn, “Jesus, whom angel hosts
adore,” has for its concluding stanza: “‘Tis finished all: the veil is rent,
The welcome sure, the access free: — Now then, we leave our
banishment, O Father, to return to thee!” See pages 749 (b), 770(h).
James Russell Lowell: “At the devil’s booth all things are sold. Each
ounce of dross costs its ounce of gold; For a cap and bells our lives we
pay: Bubbles we buy with a whole soul’s tasking; ‘Tis heaven alone that
is given away, ‘Tis only God may be had for the asking.” John G.
Whittier: “The hour draws near, howe’er delayed and late, When at the
Eternal Gate, We leave the words and works we call our own, And lift
void hands alone For love to fill. Our nakedness of soul Brings to that.151
gate no toll; Giftless we come to him who all things gives, And live
because he lives.”
H. B. Smith, System of Christian Doctrine, 523, 524 — “Justification and
pardon are not the same in Scripture. We object to the view of Emmons
(Works, vol.5), that ‘justification is no more nor less than pardon,’ and
that ‘God rewards men for their own, and not Christ’s, obedience,’ for the
reason that the words, as used in common life, relate to wholly different
things. If a man is declared just by a human tribunal, he is not pardoned,
he is acquitted; his own inherent righteousness, as respects the charge
against him, is recognized and declared. The gospel proclaims both
pardon and justification. There is no significance in the use of the word
‘justify,’ if pardon is all that is intended. “Justification involves what
pardon does not, a righteousness, which is the ground of the acquittal and
favor and not the mere favor of the sovereign but the merit of Christ is at
the basis of the righteousness, which is of God. The ends of the law are so
far satisfied by what Christ has done that the sinner can be pardoned. The
law is not merely set aside but its great ends are answered by what Christ
has done in our behalf. God might pardon as a sovereign, from mere
benevolence (as regard to happiness) but in the gospel he does more, he
pardons in consistency with his holiness, upholding that as the main end
of all his dealings and works. Justification involves acquittal from the
penalty of the law and the inheritance of all the blessings of the redeemed
state. The penalty of the law — spiritual, temporal, eternal death — is all
taken away and the opposite blessings are conferred, in and through
Christ, the resurrection to blessedness, the gift of the Spirit, and eternal
“If justification is forgiveness simply, it applies only to the past. If it is
also a title to life, it includes the future condition of the soul. The latter
alone is consistent with the plan and decrees of God respecting
redemption, which is his seeing the end from the beginning. The reason
why justification has been taken as pardon is twofold. First, it does
involve pardon, which is its negative side; the title to eternal life is its
positive side. Secondly, is the tendency to resolve the gospel into an
ethical system. Only our acts of choice as meritorious could procure a title
to favor or a positive reward. Christ might remove the obstacle but the
title to heaven is derived only from what we ourselves do.
“Justification is, therefore, not a merely governmental provision as it must
be on any scheme that denies that Christ’s work has direct respect to the
ends of the law. Views of the atonement determine the views on
justification, if logical sequence is observed. We have to do here, not with.152
views of natural justice, but with divine methods. If we regard the
atonement simply as answering the ends of a governmental scheme, our
view must be that justification merely removes an obstacle, and the end of
it is only pardon, and not eternal life.”
But upon the true view, that the atonement is a complete satisfaction to
the holiness of God, justification embraces not merely pardon or acquittal
from the punishments of law, but also restoration to favor or the rewards
promised to actual obedience. See also Quenstedt, 3:524; Philippi, Active
Obedience of Christ; Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:432, 433.
4. Relation of Justification to God’s Law and Holiness.
A. Justification has been shown to be a forensic term. A man may, indeed,
be conceived of as just, in either moral character, that is, absolutely holy in
nature, disposition, and conduct or as just, in relation to law free from his
obligation to suffer penalty and entitled to the rewards of obedience.
So, too a man may he conceived of as justified in either of made just in
moral character or made just in his relation to law. But the Scriptures
declare that there does not exist on earth a just man, in the first of these
senses (

Ecclesiastes 7:20). Even in those who are renewed in moral
character and united to Christ, there is a remnant of moral depravity.
If, therefore, there be any such thing as a just man, he must be just, not in
the sense of possessing an unspotted holiness but in the sense of being
delivered from the penalty of law and made partaker of its rewards. If there
be any such thing as justification, it must be, not an act of God, which
renders the sinner absolutely holy but an act of God, which declares the
sinner to be free from legal penalties and entitled to legal rewards.
Justus is derived from jus and suggests the idea of courts and legal
procedures. The fact that ‘justify’ is derived from justus and facio, and
might therefore seem to imply the making of a man subjectively righteous,
should not blind us to its forensic use. The phrases “sanctify the Holy One
of Jacob” (

Isaiah 29:23; cf.

1 Peter 3:15 — “sanctify in your
hearts Christ as Lord”) and “glorify God” (

1 Corinthians 6:20) do not
mean, to make God subjectively holy or glorious, for this he is. Whatever
we may do they mean rather, to declare, or show, him to be holy or
glorious. So justification is not making a man righteous, or even
pronouncing him righteous, for no man is subjectively righteous. It is
rather, to count him righteous so far as respects his relations to law, to
treat him as righteous, or to declare that God will, for reasons assigned, so.153
treat him (Payne). So long as any remnant of sin exists, no justification, in
the sense of making holy, can be attributed to man.

Ecclesiastes 7:20
— “Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good and
sinneth not.” If no man is just, in this sense, then God cannot pronounce
him just, for God cannot lie. Justification, therefore, must signify a
deliverance from legal penalties and an assignment of legal rewards. O. P.
Gifford: There is no such thing as “salvation by character”; what men
need is salvation from character. The only sense in which salvation by
character is rational or Scriptural is that suggested by George Harris,
Moral Evolution, 409 — “Salvation by character is not self-righteousness,
but Christ in us.” But even here it must be remembered that
Christ in us presupposes Christ for us. The objective atonement for sin
must come before the subjective purification of our natures. And
justification is upon the ground of that objective atonement and not upon
the ground of the subjective cleansing.
The Jews had a proverb that if only one man could perfectly keep the
whole law even for one day, the kingdom of Messiah would at once come
upon the earth. This is to state in another form the doctrine of Paul, in

Romans 7:9 — “When the commandment came, sin revived, and I
died.” To recognize the impossibility of being justified by Pharisaic works
was a preparation for the gospel. See Bruce, Apologetics, 419. The
Germans speak of Werk-, Parteigerechtigkeit, Lehre-, Buchstaben,
Negations- but all these are forms of self-righteousness. Berridge: “A man
may steal some gems from the crown of Jesus and be guilty only of petty
larceny. The man who would justify himself by his own works steals the
crown itself, puts it on his own head and proclaims himself, by his own
conquests, a king in Zion.”
B. The difficult feature of justification is the declaration on the part of God
that a sinner whose remaining sinfulness seems to necessitate the vindicated
reaction of God’s holiness against him, is yet free from such reaction of
holiness as is expressed in the penalties of the law.
The fact is to be accepted on the testimony of Scripture. If this testimony is
not accepted, there is no deliverance from the condemnation of law. But
the difficulty of conceiving of God’s declaring the sinner no longer exposed
to legal penalty is relieved, if not removed, by the three-fold consideration:
(a) Christ has endured the penalty of the law in the sinner’s stead.

Galatians 3:13 — “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law,
having become a curse for us.” Denovan: “We are justified by faith,.154
instrumentally in the same sense as a debt is paid by a good note or a
check on a substantial account in a distant bank. It is only the intelligent
and honest acceptance of justification already provided.”

Romans 8:3
— “God, sending his own Son….condemned sin in the flesh” = the
believer’s sins were judged and condemned on Calvary. The way of
pardon through Christ honors God’s justice as well as God’s mercy; cf.

Romans 3:26 — “that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him
that hath faith in Jesus.”
(b) The sinner is so united to Christ, that Christ’s life already constitutes
the dominating principle within him.

Galatians 2:20 — “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no
longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me:’ God does not justify any man
whom he does not foresee that he can and will sanctify. Some prophecies
produce their own fulfillment. Tell a man he is brave and you help him to
become so. So declaratory justification, when published in the heart by the
Holy Spirit, helps to make men just. Harris, God the Creator, 2:332 —
“The objection to the doctrine of justification by faith insists that
justification must be conditioned, not on faith, but on right character. But
justification by faith is itself the doctrine of a justification conditioned on
right character because faith in God is the only possible beginning of right
character, either in men or angels.” Gould, Bib. Theol. N. T., 67-79, in a
similar manner argues that Paul’s emphasis is on the spiritual effect of the
death of our Lord, rather than on its expiatory effect. The course of
thought in the Epistle to the Romans seems to us to contradict this view.
Sin and the objective atonement for sin are first treated; only after
justification comes the sanctification of the believer. Still it is true that
justification is never the sole work of God in the soul. The same Christ in
union with whom we are justified does at that same moment a work of
regeneration, which is followed by sanctification.
(c) This life of Christ is a power in the soul, which will gradually but
infallibly, extirpate all remaining depravity until the whole physical and
moral nature is perfectly conformed to the divine holiness.

Philippians 3:21 — “who shall fashion anew the body of our
humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according
to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself”;

Colossians 3:1-4 — “If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek
the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God.
Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon
the earth. For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When.155
Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be
manifested in glory.”
Truth of fact, and ideal truth, are not opposed to each other. F. W.
Robertson, Lectures and Addresses, 256 — “When the agriculturist sees a
small, white, almond-like thing rising from the ground, he calls that an
oak; but this is not a truth of fact, it is an ideal truth. The oak is a large
tree, with spreading branches and leaves and acorns but that is only a
thing an inch long, and imperceptible in all its development. Yet the
agriculturist sees in it the idea of what it shall be, and, if I may borrow a
Scriptural phrase, he imputes to it the majesty, and excellence and glory
that is to be hereafter.” This method of representation is effective and
unobjectionable so long as we remember that the force, which is to bring
about this future development and perfection, is not the force of
unassisted human nature but rather the force of Christ and his indwelling
Spirit. See Philippi, Glaubenslehre, v, 1:201-208.
Gore, Incarnation, 224 — “‘Looking at the mother,’ wrote George Eliot
of Mrs. Garth in The Mill on the Floss, ‘you might hope that the daughter
would become like her, which is a prospective advantage equal to a
dowry. The mother too often standing behind the daughter like a
malignant prophecy: Such as I am, she will shortly be.’ George Eliot
imputes by anticipation to the daughter the merits of the mother, because
her life is, so to speak, of the same piece. Now, by new birth and spiritual
union, our life is of the same piece with the life of Jesus. Thus he as our
elder brother stands behind us, his people, as a prophecy of all good. Thus
God accepts us, deals with us, ‘in the Beloved,’ rating us at something of
his value, imputing to us his merits, because in fact, except we be
reprobates, he himself is the most powerful and real force at work in us.”
5. Relation of Justification to Union with Christ and the Work of the
A. Since the sinner, at the moment of justification, is not yet completely
transformed in character, we have seen that God can declare him just, not
on account of what he is in himself, but only on account of what Christ is.
The ground of justification is therefore not, as the Romanists hold, a new
righteousness and love infused into us and now constituting our moral
character. It is not, as Osiander taught, the essential righteousness of
Christ’s divine nature, which has become ours by faith but rather, the
satisfaction and obedience of Christ, as the head of a new humanity and as
embracing in himself all believers as his members..156
Ritschl regarded justification as primarily an endowment of the church, in
which the individual participated only so far as he belonged to the church.
See Pfleiderer, Die Ritschl’sche Theologie, 70. Here Ritschl committed an
error like that of the Romanist — the church is the door to Christ instead
of Christ being the door to the church. Justification belongs primarily to
Christ and then to those who join themselves to Christ by faith and the
church is the natural and voluntary aggregation of those who in Christ are
thus justified. Hence, the necessity for the resurrection and ascension of
the Lord Jesus. “For as the ministry of Enoch was sealed by his reception
into heaven and as the ministry of Elijah was also abundantly proved by
his translation, so also the righteousness and innocence of Christ. But it
was necessary that the ascension of Christ should be more fully attested,
because upon his righteousness, so fully proved by his ascension, we must
depend for all our righteousness. For if God had not approved him after
his resurrection and he had not taken his seat at his right hand, we could
by no means be accepted of God” (Cartwright).
A.J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 46, 193, 195, 206 — “Christ must be
justified in the spirit and received up into glory, before he can be made
righteousness to us and we can become the righteousness of God in him.
Christ’s coronation is the indispensable condition of our justification.
Christ, the High Priest has entered the Holy of Holies in heaven for us.
Until he comes forth at the Second Advent, how can we be assured that
his sacrifice for us is accepted? We reply that it is by the gift of the Holy
Spirit. The presence of the Spirit in the church is the proof of the presence
of Christ before the throne. The Holy Spirit convinces of righteousness,
‘because I go unto the Father, and ye see me no more’ (

John 16:10).
We can only know that ‘we have a Paraclete with the Father, even Jesus
Christ the Righteous’ (

1 John 2:1), by that ‘other Paraclete’ sent forth
from the Father, even the Holy Spirit (

John 14:25, 26; 15:26). The
church, having the Spirit, reflects Christ to the world. As Christ manifests
the Father, so the church through the Spirit manifests Christ. So Christ
gives to us his name, ‘Christians.’ as the husband gives his name to the
As Adam’s sin is imputed to us, not because Adam is in us, but because we
were in Adam so Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us, not because
Christ is in us but because we are in Christ. We are joined by faith to one
whose righteousness and life are infinitely greater than our power to
appropriate or contain. In this sense, we may say that we are justified
through a Christ outside of us as we are sanctified through a Christ within
us. Edwards: “The justification of the believer is no other than his being.157
admitted to communion in or participation of this head and surety of all

1 Timothy 1:14 — “faith and love which is in Christ Jesus”; 3:16 —
“He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit”; Acts l3:39 —
“and by him [lit.: ‘in him’] everyone that believeth is justified from all
things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses”;

Romans 4:25 — “who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was
raised for our justification”;

Ephesians 1:6 — “accepted in the
Beloved” — Revised Version: “freely bestowed on us in the Beloved”;

1 Corinthians 6:11 — “justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“We in Christ” is the formula of our justification; “Christ in us” is the
formula of our sanctification. As the water, which the shell contains, is
little compared with the great ocean, which contains the shell so the actual
change wrought within us by God’s sanctifying grace is slight compared
with the boundless freedom from condemnation and the state of favor with
God into which we are introduced by justification.

Romans 5:1, 2 —
“Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we have had our access by faith
into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of
Here we have the third instance of imputation. The first was the
imputation of Adam’s sin to us and the second was the imputation of our
sins to Christ. The third is now the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to
us. In each of the former cases, we have sought to show that the legal
relation presupposes a natural relation. Adam’s sin is imputed to us
because we are one with Adam; our sins are imputed to Christ, because
Christ is one with humanity. So here, we must hold that Christ’s
righteousness is imputed to us, because we are one with Christ.
Justification is not an arbitrary transfer to us of the merits of another with
whom we have no real connection. This would make it merely a legal
fiction and there are no legal fictions in the divine government.
Instead of this external and mechanical method of conception, we should
first set before us the fact of Christ’s justification, after he had borne our
sins and risen from the dead. In him, humanity, for the first time, is
acquitted from punishment and restored to the divine favor. But Christ’s
new humanity is the germinal source of spiritual life for the race. He was
justified, not simply as a private person, but as our representative and
head. By becoming partakers of the new life in him, we share in all he is
and all he has done and, first of all, we share in his justification. So
Luther gives us, for substance, the formula: “We in Christ = justification,.158
Christ in us = sanctification.” And in harmony with this formula is the
statement quoted in the text above from Edwards, Works, 4:66.
See also H. B. Smith, Presb. Rev., July, 1881 — “Union with Adam and
with Christ is the ground of imputation. But the parallelism is incomplete.
While the sin of Adam is imputed to us because it is ours, the
righteousness of Christ is imputed to us simply because of our union with
him, not at all because of our personal righteousness. In the one case,
character is taken into the account and in the other it is not. In sin, our
demerits are included; in justification, our merits are excluded.” For
further statements of Dr. Smith, see his System of Christian Theology,
C. H. M. on Genesis, page 78 — “The question for every believer is not
‘What am I?’ but ‘What is Christ?’ Of Abel it is said: ‘God testified of his
gifts’ (

Hebrews 11:4, A. V.). So God testifies, not of the believer, but
of his gift, and his gift is Christ. Yet Cain was angry because he was not
received in his sins, while Abel was accepted in his gift. This was right if
Abel had been justified in himself but it was wrong, because Abel was
justified only in Christ.” See also Hodge, Outlines of Theology, 384-388,
392; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 448.
B. The relation of justification to regeneration and sanctification moreover,
delivers it from the charges of externality and immorality. God does not
justify ungodly men in their ungodliness. He pronounces them just only as
they are united to Christ who is absolutely just and who, by his Spirit, can
make them just, not only in the eye of the law, but in moral character. The
very faith by which the sinner receives Christ is an act in which he ratifies
all that Christ has done, and accepts God’s judgment against sin as his own

John 16:11).

John 16:11 — “of judgment, because the prince of this world hath
been judged” — the Holy Spirit leads the believer to ratify God’s
judgment against sin and Satan. Accepting Christ, the believer accepts
Christ’s death for sin and resurrection to life for his own. If it were
otherwise, the first act of the believer, after his discharge, might be a
repetition of his offenses. Such a justification would offend against the
fundamental principles of justice and the safety of government. It would
also fail to satisfy the conscience. This clamors not only for pardon but
also for renewal. Union with Christ has one legal fruit — justification but
it has also one moral fruit — sanctification..159
A really guilty man, when acquitted by judge and jury, does not cease to
be the victim of remorse and fear. Forgiveness of sin is not in itself a
deliverance from sin. The outward acquittal needs to be accompanied by
an inward change to be really effective. Pardon for sin without power to
overcome sin would be a mockery of the criminal. Justification for
Christ’s sake therefore goes into effect through regeneration by the Holy
Spirit. See E. H. Johnson, in Bibliotheca Sacra, July, 1892:362.
A Buddhist priest who had studied some years in England printed in
Shanghai not long ago a pamphlet entitled “Justification by Faith the only
true Basis of Morality.” It argues that any other foundation is nothing but
pure selfishness, but that morality, to have any merit, must be unselfish.
Justification by faith supplies an unselfish motive because we accept the
work done for us by another and we ourselves work from gratitude, which
is not a selfish motive. After laying down this Christian foundation, the
writer erects the structure of faith in the Amida incarnation of Buddha.
Buddhism opposes to the Christian doctrine of a creative Person, only a
creative process. Sin has relation only to the man sinning, and has no
relation to Amida Buddha or to the eternal law of causation. Salvation by
faith in Amida Buddha is faith in one who is the product of a process, and
a product may perish. Tennyson: “They are but broken lights of Thee,
And thou, O Christ, art more than they.”
Justification is possible therefore, because it is always accompanied by
regeneration and union with Christ and is followed by sanctification. But
this is a very different thing from the Romanist confounding of justification
and sanctification, as different stages of the same process of making the
sinner actually holy. It holds fast to the Scripture distinction between
justification as a declarative act of God, and regeneration and sanctification
as those efficient acts of God by which justification is accompanied and
Both history and our personal observation show that nothing can change
the life and make men moral, like the gospel of free pardon in Jesus
Christ. Mere preaching of morality will effect nothing of consequence.
There never has been more insistence upon morality than in the most
immoral times like those of Seneca and of the English deists. As to their
moral fruits, we can safely compare Protestant with Roman Catholic
systems and leaders and countries. We do not become right by doing right
for only those can do right who have become right. The prodigal son is
forgiven before he actually confesses and amends (

Luke 15:20, 21).
Justification is always accompanied by regeneration and is followed by.160
sanctification; all three are results of the death of Christ but the sin-offering
must precede the thank-offering. We must first be accepted
ourselves before we can offer gifts;

Hebrews 11:4 — “By faith Abel
offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he
had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in
respect of his gifts.”
Hence we read in Ephesians5:25, 26 — “Christ also loved the church, and
gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed = [after
he had cleansed] it by the washing of water with the word” [ —
regeneration 1; 1 Pet. 1:1, 2 — “elect… according to the foreknowledge of
God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit [regeneration], unto
obedience [conversion] and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ

1 John 1:7 — “if we walk in the light, as he is in the
light we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son
cleanseth us from all sin” — here the ‘cleansing’ refers primarily and
mainly to justification, not to sanctification for the apostle himself
declares in verse 8 — “If we may say we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
Quenstedt says it well that, “justification, since it is an act, outside of
man, in God, cannot produce an intrinsic change in us.” And yet, he says,
“although faith alone justifies, yet faith is not alone.” Melanchthon: “Sola
fides justificat; sed fides non est sola.” With faith go all manner of gifts of
the Spirit and internal graces of character. But we should let go all the
doctrinal gains of the Reformation if we did not insist that these gifts and
graces are accompaniments and consequences of justification, instead of
being a part or a ground of justification. See Girdlestone, O.T. Synonyms,
104, note — “Justification is God’s declaration that the individual sinner
on account of the faith, which unites him to Christ, is taken up into the
relation which Christ holds to the Father and has applied to him
personally the objective work accomplished for humanity by Christ.”
6. Relation of Justification to Faith.
A. We are justified by faith, rather than by love or by any other grace:
(a) not because faith is itself a work of obedience by which we merit
justification, for this would be a doctrine of justification by works,
(b) nor because faith is accepted as an equivalent of obedience, for there is
no equivalent except the perfect obedience of Christ,.161
(c) nor because faith is the germ from which obedience may spring
hereafter, for it is not the faith which accepts, but the Christ who is
accepted, that renders such obedience possible, but
(d) because faith, and not repentance or love or hope is the medium or
instrument by which we receive Christ and are united to him. Hence we are
never said to be justified diastin, = on account of faith, but only diastewv, = through faith, or ejk pi>stewv, = by faith. Or, to express the
same truth in other words, while the grace of God is the efficient cause of
justification and the obedience and sufferings of Christ are the meritorious
or procuring cause, faith is the mediate or instrumental cause.
Edwards, Works, 4:69-73 — “Faith justifies, because faith includes the
whole act of union to Christ as a Savior. It is not the nature of any other
graces or virtues directly to close with Christ as a mediator any further
than they enter into the constitution of justifying faith and do belong to its
nature.” Observations on Trinity 64-67 — “Salvation is not offered to us
upon any condition but freely and for nothing. We are to do nothing for it;
we are only to take it. This taking and receiving is faith.” H. B. Smith,
System, 524 — “An internal change is a sine qua non of justification but
not its meritorious ground.” Give a man a gold mine. It is his. He has not
to work for it; he has only to work it. Working for life is one thing;
working from life is quite another. The marriage of a poor girl to a
wealthy proprietor makes her possessor of his riches despite her former
poverty. Yet her acceptance has not purchased wealth. It is hers, not
because of what she is or has done, but because of what her husband is
and has done. So faith is the condition of justification, only because
through it Christ becomes ours, and with him his atonement and
righteousness. Salvation comes not because our faith saves us, but
because it links us to the Christ who saves and believing is only the link.
There is no more merit in it than in the beggar’s stretching forth his hand
to receive the offered purse or the drowning man’s grasping the rope that
is thrown to him.
The Wesleyan scheme is inclined to make faith a work. See Dabney,
Theology, 637. This is to make faith the cause and ground or at least to
add it to Christ’s work as a joint cause and ground of justification as if
justification were diastin, instead of diastewv or ejk pi>stewv.
Since faith is never perfect, this is to go back to the Roman Catholic
uncertainty of salvation. See Dorner, Glaubenslehre, 2:744, 745 (Syst.
Doct. 4:206, 207). C. H. M. on Gen. 3:7 — “They made themselves
aprons of fig leaves, before God made them coats of skin. Man ever tries.162
to clothe himself in garments of his own righteousness before he will take
the robe of Christ’s. But Adam felt himself naked when God visited him
even though he had his fig-leaves on him.”
We are justified efficiently by the grace of God, meritoriously by Christ,
instrumentally by faith and evidentially by works. Faith justifies, as roots
bring plant and soil together. Faith connects man with the source of life In
Christ. “When the boatman with his hook grapples the rock, he does not
pull the shore to the boat but the boat to the shore so, when we by faith
lay hold on Christ we do not pull Christ to us, but ourselves to him.”
Faith is a coupling; the train is drawn, not by the coupling, but by the
Locomotive and yet without the coupling it would not be drawn. Faith is
the trolley that reaches up to the electric wire; when the connection is
sundered, not only does the car cease to move but the heat dies and the
lights go out. Dr. John Duncan: “I have married the Merchant and all his
wealth is mine!”
H. C. Trumbull: “If a man wants to cross the ocean, he can either try
swimming, or he can trust the captain of a ship to carry him over in his
vessel. By or through his faith in that captain, the man is carried safely to
the other shore yet it is the ship’s captain, not the passenger’s faith, which
is to be praised for the carrying.” So the sick man trusts his case in the
hands of his physician, and his life is saved by the physician; yet by or
through the patient’s faith, this faith is indeed an inward act of allegiance
and no mere outward performance. Whiton, Divine Satisfaction, 92 —
“The Protestant Reformers saw that it was by an inward act, not by
penance or sacraments that men were justified. But they halted in the
crude notion of a legal court room process, a governmental procedure
external to us whereas it is an educational, inward process, the awakening
through Christ of the filial spirit in us, which in the midst of imperfections
strives for likeness more and more to the Son of God. Justification by
principle apart from performance makes Christianity the religion of the
spirit.” We would add that such justification excludes education and is an
act rather than a process, an act external to the sinner rather than internal,
an act of God rather than an act of man. The justified person can say to
Christ, as Ruth said to Boaz: “Why have I found favor in thy sight, that
thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a foreigner?” (

B. Since the ground of justification is only Christ, to whom we are united
by faith, the justified person has peace. If it were anything in us, our peace
must be proportioned to our holiness. The practical effect of the Romanist
mingling of works with faith, as a joint ground of justification, is to render.163
all assurance of salvation impossible. (Council of Trent, 9th chap.: “Every
man, by reason of his own weakness and defects, must be in fear and
anxiety about his state of grace. Nor can any one know, with infallible
certainty of faith that he has received forgiveness of God.”). But since
justification is an instantaneous act of God complete at the moment of the
sinner’s first faith; it has no degrees. Weak faith justifies as perfectly as
strong faith although, since justification is a secret act of God, weak faith
does not give so strong assurance of salvation.
Foundations of our Faith, 216 — “The Catholic doctrine declares that
justification is not dependent upon faith and the righteousness of Christ
imputed and granted thereto but on the actual condition of the man
himself. But there remain in the man an undeniable amount of fleshly lusts
or inclinations to sin even though the man is regenerate. The Catholic
doctrine is therefore, constrained to assert that these lusts are not in
themselves sinful or objects of the divine displeasure. They are allowed to
remain in the man, that he may struggle against them and, as they say,
Paul designates them as sinful only because they are derived from sin and
incite to sin but they only become sin by the positive concurrence of the
human will. But is not internal lust displeasing to God? Can we draw the
line between lust and will? The Catholic favors self here and makes many
things lust, which are really will. A Protestant is necessarily more earnest
in the work of salvation when he recognizes even the evil desire as sin,
according to Christ’s precept.”
All systems of religion of merely human origin tend to make salvation, in
larger or smaller degree, the effect of human works but only with the
result of leaving man in despair. See, in Ecclesiasticus 3:30, an
Apocryphal declaration that alms make atonement for sin. So Romanism
bids me doubt God’s grace and the forgiveness of sin.
See Dorner, Gesch. prot. Theol., 228, 229 and his quotations from
Luther. “But if the Romanist doctrine is true, that a man is justified only
in such measure as he is sanctified then:
1. Justification must be a matter of degrees and so the Council of Trent
declares it to be. The sacraments, which sanctify are therefore essential,
that one may be increasingly justified.
2. Since justification is a continuous process, the redeeming death of
Christ, on which it depends, must be a continuous process also hence, its
prolonged reiteration in the sacrifice by the Mass..164
3. Since sanctification is obviously never completed in this life, no man
ever dies completely justified hence, the doctrine of Purgatory.” For the
substance of Romanist doctrine, see Moehler, Symbolism, 79-190;
Newman, Lectures on Justification, 253-345; Ritschl, Christian Doctrine
of Justification, 121-226.
A better doctrine is that of the Puritan divine: “It is not the quantity of thy
faith that shall save thee. A drop of water is as true water as the whole
ocean. So a little faith is as true faith as the greatest. It is not the measure
of thy faith that saves thee; it is the blood that it grips to that saves thee.
The weak hand of the child that leads the spoon to the mouth will feed as
well as the strong arm of a man for it is not the hand that feeds, but the
meat. So, if thou canst grip Christ ever so weakly, he will not let thee
perish.” I am troubled about the money I owe in New York until I find
that a friend has paid my debt there. When I find that the objective
account against me is cancelled then and only then do I have subjective
A child may be heir to a vast estate, even while he does not know it and a
child of God may be an heir of glory even while through the weakness of
his faith, he is oppressed with painful doubts and fears. No man is lost
simply because of the greatness of his sins, however ill-deserving he may
be, faith in Christ will save him. Luther’s climbing the steps of St. John
Lateran and the voice of thunder: “The just shall live by faith,” are not
certain as historical facts but they express the substance of Luther’s
experience. Not obeying but receiving is the substance of the gospel. A
man cannot merit salvation nor he cannot buy it but, the one thing he must
do, he must take it. And the least faith makes salvation ours, because it
makes Christ ours.
Augustine conceived of justification as a continuous process, proceeding
until love and all Christian virtues fill the heart. There is his chief
difference from Paul. Augustine believes in sin and grace. But he has not
the freedom of the children of God, as Paul has. The influence of
Augustine upon Roman Catholic theology has not been wholly salutary.
The Roman Catholic, mixing man’s subjective condition with God’s grace
as a ground of justification, continually wavers between self-righteousness
and uncertainty of acceptance with God, each of these being fatal to a
healthful and stable religious life. High-Church Episcopalians and
Sacramentalists generally, are afflicted with this distemper of the
Romanists. Dr. R. W. Dale remarks with regard to Dr. Pusey: “The
absence of joy in his religious life was only the inevitable effect of his
conception of God’s method of saving men; in parting with the Lutheran.165
truth concerning justification, he parted with the springs of gladness.”
Spurgeon said that a man might get from London to New York provided
he took a steamer but it made much difference in his comfort whether he
had a first class or a second class ticket. A new realization of the meaning
of justification in our churches would change much of our singing from
the minor to the major key, it would lead us to pray, not for the presence
of Christ, but from the presence of Christ. It would abolish the mournful
upward inflections at the end of sentences, which give such unreality to
our preaching and would replace the pessimistic element in our modern
work and worship with the notes of praise and triumph. In the Pilgrim’s
Progress, the justification of the believer is symbolized by Christian’s
lodging in the Palace Beautiful where window opened toward the sun
Even Luther did not fully apprehend and apply his favorite doctrine of
justification by faith. Harnack, Wesen des Christenthums, 168 sq., states
the fundamental principles of Protestantism as:
“1. The Christian religion is wholly given in the word of God and in the
inner experience, which answers to that word.
2. The assured belief that the Christian has a gracious God. ‘Nun weisz
und glaub’ ich’s feste, Ich ruhm’s auch ohne Scheu, Dasz Gott, der
hochst’ und beste, Mein Freund und Vater sei; Und dasz in allen Fallen Er
mir zur Rechten steh’, Und dampfe Sturm und Wellen, Und was mir
bringet Weh’.’
3. Restoration of simple and believing worship, both public and private.
But Luther took too much dogma into Christianity, insisted too much on
the authority of the written word, cared too much for the means of grace
(such as the Lord’s Supper) and identified the church too much with the
organized body.”
Yet Luther talked of beating the heads of the Wittenbergers with the Bible
so as to get the great doctrine of justification by faith into their brains.
“Why do you teach your child the same thing twenty times?” he said.
“Because I find that nineteen times is not sufficient”
C. Justification is instantaneous, complete and final; instantaneous, since
otherwise there would be an interval during which the soul was neither
approved nor condemned by God (

Matthew 6:24). It is complete, since
the soul, united to Christ by faith, becomes partaker of his complete
satisfaction to the demands of law (

Colossians 2:9, 10). It becomes final
since the union with Christ is indissoluble (

John 10:28, 29). As there are.166
many acts of sin in the life of the Christian so there are many acts of pardon
following them. But all these acts of pardon are virtually implied in that
first act by which he was finally and forever justified as also successive acts
of repentance and faith, after such sins, are virtually implied in that first
repentance and faith which logically preceded justification.

Matthew 6:24 — “No man can serve two masters”;

2:9, 10 — “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and in
him ye are made, full, who is the head of all principality and power”;

John 10:28, 29 — “they shall never perish and no one shall snatch
them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater
than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
Plymouth Brethren say truly that the Christian has sin in him, but not on
him because Christ had sin on him but not in him. The Christian has sin
but not guilt, because Christ had guilt but not sin. All our sins are buried
in the grave with Christ and Christ’s resurrection is our resurrection.
Toplady: “From whence this fear and unbelief? Hast thou, O Father, put
to grief Thy spotless Son for me? And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin, Which, Lord, was laid on thee? If thou
hast my discharge procured, And freely in my room endured The whole of
wrath divine, Payment God cannot twice demand, First at my bleeding
Surety’s hand, And then again at mine. Complete atonement thou hast
made, And to the utmost farthing paid Whate’er thy people owed; How
then can wrath on me take place, If sheltered in thy righteousness And
sprinkled with thy blood? Turn, then, my soul, unto thy rest; The merits of
thy great High Priest Speak peace and liberty; Trust in his efficacious
blood, Nor fear thy banishment from God, Since Jesus died for thee!”
Justification, however, is not eternal in the past. We are to repent unto the
remission of our sins (

Acts 2:38). Remission comes after repentance.
Sin is not pardoned before it is committed. In justification God grants us
actual pardon for past sin, but virtual pardon for future sin. Edwards,
Works, 4:104 — “Future sins are respected, in that first justification,
none otherwise than as future faith and repentance are respected in it.
Future faith and repentance are looked upon by him that justifies as
virtually implied in that first repentance and faith in the same manner that
justification from future sins is implied in that first justification.”
A man is not justified from his sins before he has committed them nor is
he saved before he is born. A remarkable illustration of the extreme to
which hyper-Calvinism may go is found in Tobias Crisp, Sermons, 1:358
— “The Lord hath no more to lay to the charge of an elect person, yet in.167
the height of iniquity, and in the excess of riot, and committing all the
abomination that can be committed…than he has to the charge of the saint
triumphant in glory.” A far better statement is found in Moberly,
Atonement and Personality, 61 — “As there is upon earth no
consummated penitence, so neither is there any forgiveness
consummated…Forgiveness is the recognition, by anticipation, of
something which is to be, something toward which it is itself a mighty
quickening of possibilities but something which is not, or at least is not
perfectly, yet…Present forgiveness is inchoate, is educational…It reaches
its final and perfect consummation only when the forgiven penitent has
become at last personally and completely righteous. If the consummation
is not reached but reversed, then forgiveness is forfeited (Matthew .18:32-
35).” This last exception, however, as we shall see in our discussion of
Perseverance, is only a hypothetical one. The truly forgiven do not finally
fall away.
7. Advice to Inquirers demanded by a Scriptural View of Justification.
(a) Where conviction of sin is yet lacking, our aim should be to show the
sinner that he is under God’s condemnation for his past sins and that no
future obedience can ever secure his justification. Since this obedience,
even though perfect, could not atone for the past and even if it could, he is
unable, without God’s help, to render it.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, conviction of sin may be roused by
presentation of the claims of God’s perfect law and by drawing attention
first to particular overt transgressions. Attention then must be drawn to
the manifold omissions of duty, the general lack of supreme and all-pervading
love to God and the guilty rejection of Christ’s offers and
commands. “Even if the next page of the copy book had no blots or
erasures, its cleanness would not alter the smudges and misshapen letters
on the earlier pages.” God takes no notice of the promise “Have patience
with me, and I will pay thee” (

Matthew 18:29), for he knows it can
never be fulfilled.
(b) Where conviction of sin already exists, our aim should be, not, in the
first instance, to secure the performance of external religious duties, such
as prayer, or Scripture reading or uniting with the church. We should first
induce the sinner, as his first and all-inclusive duty, to accept Christ as his
only and sufficient sacrifice and Savior. The sinner then, committing
himself and the matter of his salvation entirely to the hands of Christ.168
manifests this trust and submission by entering at once upon a life of
obedience to Christ’s commands.
A convicted sinner should be exhorted, not first to prayer and then to
faith, but first to faith and then to the immediate expression of that faith in
prayer and Christian activity, he should pray, not for faith but in faith. It
should not be forgotten that the sinner never sins against so much light,
and never is in so great danger, as when he is convicted but not converted,
when he is moved to turn but yet refuses to turn. No such sinner should be
allowed to think that he has the right to do any other thing whatever
before accepting Christ. This accepting Christ is not an outward act but
an inward act of mind and heart and will, although believing is naturally
evidenced by immediate outward action. To teach the sinner, however
apparently well disposed, how to believe on Christ, is beyond the power of
man. God is the only giver of faith. But Scripture instances of faith and
illustrations drawn from the child’s taking the father at his word and
acting upon it have often been used by the Holy Spirit as means of leading
men themselves to put faith in Christ.
Bengel: “Those who are secure Jesus refers to the law; those who are
contrite he consoles with the gospel.” A man left work and came home.
His wife asked why. “Because I am a sinner.” “Let me send for the
preacher.” “I am too far gone for preachers. If the Lord Jesus Christ does
not save me I am lost.” That man needed only to be pointed to the Cross.
There he found reason for believing that there was salvation for him. In
surrendering himself to Christ he was justified. On the general subject of
Justification, see Edwards, Works, 4:64-132; Buchanan on Justification,
250-411; Owen on Justification, in Works, vol. 5; Bp. of Ossory, Nature
and Effects of Faith, 48-152; Hodge, Systematic Theology, 3:114-212;
Thomasius, Christi Person und Werk, 3:133-200; Hersog, Encyclopadie,
art.: Rechtfertigung; Bushnell, Vicarious Sacrifice, 416-420, 435..169
Under this head we treat of Sanctification and of Perseverance. These two
are but the divine and the human sides of the same fact and they bear to
each other a relation similar to that, which exists between Regeneration
and Conversion.
1. Definition of Sanctification.
Sanctification is that continuous operation of the Holy Spirit, by which the
holy disposition imparted in regeneration is maintained and strengthened.
Godet: “The work of Jesus in the world is twofold. It is a work
accomplished for us, destined to effect reconciliation between God and
man; it is a work accomplished in us, with the object of effecting our
sanctification. By the one, a right relation is established between God and
us and by the other the fruit, of the re-established order is secured. By the
former, the condemned sinner is received into the state of grace; by the
latter, the pardoned sinner is associated with the life of God. How many
will express themselves when forgiveness with the peace, which it
procures has been once obtained, all is finished and the work of salvation
is complete! They seem to have no suspicion that salvation consists in the
health of the soul, and that the health of the soul consists in holiness.
Forgiveness is not the re-establishment of health; it is the crisis of
convalescence. If God thinks fit to declare the sinner righteous, it is in
order that he may by that means restore him to holiness.” O. P. Gifford:
“The steamship whose machinery is broken may be brought into port and
made fast to the dock. She is safe, but not sound. Repairs may last a long
time. Christ designs to make us both safe and sound. Justification gives
safety first and then sanctification gives soundness.”
Bradford, Heredity and Christian Problems, 220 — “To be conscious that
one is forgiven and yet, at the same time to know he is so polluted that he
cannot beget a child without handing on to that child a nature, which will
be as bad as if his father had never been forgiven, is not salvation in any
real sense.” We would say that this is not salvation in any complete
sense. Justification needs sanctification to follow it. Man needs God to
continue and preserve his spiritual life, just as much as he needed God to.170
begin it at the first. Creation in the spiritual, as well as in the natural
world, needs to be supplemented by preservation. See quotation from
Jonathan Edwards, In Allen’s biography of him, 371.
Regeneration is instantaneous but sanctification takes time. The
“developing” of the photographer’s picture may illustrate God’s process
of sanctifying the regenerate soul. But it is development by new access of
truth or light, while the photographer’s picture is usually developed in the
dark. This development cannot be accomplished in a moment. “We try in
our religious lives to practice instantaneous photography. One minute for
prayer will give us a vision of God and we think that is enough. Our
pictures are poor because our negatives are weak. We do not give God a
long enough sitting to get a good likeness.”
Salvation is something past, something present and something future;
justification is a past fact, sanctification is a present process and
redemption and glory are a future consummation. David, in

51:1, 2, prays not only that God will blot out his transgressions
(justification) but that God will wash him thoroughly from his iniquity
(sanctification). E. G. Robinson: “Sanctification consists negatively in the
removal of the penal consequences of sin from the moral nature and
positively, in the progressive implanting and growth of a new principle of
life. The Christian church is a succession of copies of the character of
Christ. Paul never says: ‘be ye imitators of me’ (

1 Corinthians 4:16),
except when writing to those who had no copies of the New Testament or
of the Gospels.”
Clarke, Christian Theology, 366 — “Sanctification does not mean
perfection reached, but the progress of the divine life toward perfection.
Sanctification is the Christianizing of the Christian.” It is not simply
deliverance from the penalty of sin, but the development of a divine life
that conquers sin. A. A. Hodge, Popular Lectures, 343 — “Any man who
thinks he is a Christian and that he has accepted Christ for justification
when he did not at the same time accept him for sanctification, is
miserably deluded in that very experience.”
This definition implies:
(a) Although in regeneration the governing disposition of the soul is made
holy, there still remain tendencies to evil, which are not subdued.

John 13:10 — “He that is bathed needeth not save to wash his feet,
but is clean everywhit [i. e., as a whole]”;

Romans 6:12 — “Let not
sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts.171
thereof” — sin dwells in a believer, but it reigns in an unbeliever (C. H.
M.). Subordinate volition in the Christian are not always determined in
character by the fundamental choice; eddies in the stream sometimes run
counter to the general course of the current.
This doctrine is the opposite of that expressed in the phrase: “the essential
divinity of the human.” Not culture but crucifixion is what the Holy Spirit
prescribes for the natural man. There are two natures in the Christian, as
Paul shows in Romans 7. The one flourishes at the other’s expense. The
vine-dresser has to cut the rank shoots from self so that all our force may
be thrown into growing fruit. Deadwood must be cut out and living wood
must be cut back (

John 15:2). Sanctification is not a matter of course,
which will go on whatever we do, or do not do. It requires a direct
superintendence and surgery on the one hand and, on the other hand, a
practical hatred of evil on our part that cooperates with the husbandry of
(b) The existence in the believer of these two opposing principles gives rise
to a conflict which lasts through life.

Galatians 5:17 — “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the
Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye
may not do the things that ye would” — not, as the A. V. had it, “so that
ye cannot do the things that ye would’; the Spirit who dwells in believers
is represented as enabling them successfully to resist those tendencies to
evil which naturally exist within them;

James 4:5 (the marginal and
better reading) — “That spirit which he made to dwell in us yearneth for
us even unto jealous envy” — i. e., God’s love, like all true love, longs to
have its objects wholly for its own. The Christian is two men in one but he
is to “put away the old man” and “put on the new man” (

4:22, 23). Compare Ecclesiasticus 2:1 — “My son, if thou dost set out to
serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation.”

1 Timothy 6:12 — “Fight the good fight of the faith” — ajgwni>zou
to<n kalostewv = the beautiful, honorable, glorious
fight since it has a noble helper, incentive, and reward. It is the
commonest of all struggles but the issue determines our destiny. An Indian
received as a gift some tobacco in which he found a half of a dollar
hidden. He brought it back the next day saying that the good Indian had
fought all night with the bad Indian, one telling him to keep it and the
other telling him to return it..172
(c) In this conflict the Holy Spirit enables the Christian, through increasing
faith, more fully and consciously to appropriate Christ, and thus
progressively to make conquest of the remaining sinfulness of his nature.

Romans 8:13, 14 — “for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if
by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as
many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”;

Corinthians 6:11 — “but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye
were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of
our God”;

James 1:26 — “If any man thinketh himself to be religious,
while he bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his heart, this man’s religion
is vain. See Com. of Neander, in loco — “That religion is merely
imaginary, seeming, unreal, which allows the continuance of the moral
defects originally predominant in the character.” The Christian is
“crucified with Christ” (

Galatians 2:20) but the crucified man does
not die at once. Yet he is as good as dead. Even after the old man is
crucified we are still to mortify him or put him to death (

Romans 8:13;

Colossians 3:5). We are to cut down the old rosebush and cultivate
only the new shoot that is grafted into it. Here is our probation as
Christians. So “die Scene wird zum Tribunal” — the play of life becomes
God’s judgment.
Dr. Hastings: “When Bourdaloue was probing the conscience of Louis
XIV, applying to him the words of St. Paul and intending to paraphrase
them: ‘For the good which I would, I do not, but the evil which I would
not that I do.’ ‘I find two men in me,’ the King interrupted the great
preacher with the memorable exclamation: ‘Ah, these two men, I know
them well!’ Bourdaloue answered: ‘It is already something to know them,
Sire, but it is not enough. One of the two must perish.’” And, in the
genuine believer, the old does little by little die and the new takes its place,
as “David waxed stronger and stronger, but the house of Saul waxed
weaker and weaker” (

2 Samuel 3:1). As the Welsh minister found
himself, after awhile thinking and dreaming in English, so the language of
Canaan becomes to the Christian his native and only speech.
2. Explanations and Scripture Proof.
(a) Sanctification is the work of God.

1 Thess. 5:23 — “And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly.”
Much of our modern literature ignores man’s dependence upon God and
some of it seems distinctly intended to teach.173
The opposite doctrine. Auerbach’s “On the Heights,” for example, teaches
that man can make his own atonement and “The Villa on the Rhine,” by
the same author, teaches that man can sanctify himself. The proper
inscription for many modern French novels is: “Entertainment here for
man and beast.” The Tendenznovelle of Germany has its imitators in the
skeptical novels of England. And no doctrine in these novels is so common
as the doctrine that man needs no Savior but himself.
(b) It is a continuous process.

Philippians 1:6 — “being confident of this very thing, that he who
began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ”;
3:15 — “Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded: and if
in anything ye are otherwise minded, this also shall God reveal unto you”;

Colossians 3:9, 10 — “lie not one to another; seeing that ye have put
off the old man with his doing; and have put on the new man, that is being
renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him”; cf.

Acts 2:47 — “those that were being saved”;

1 Corinthians 1:18 —
“unto us who are being saved”; 2 Corinthians2:15 — “in them that are
being saved”;

1 Thess. 2:12 — “God, who calleth you into his own
kingdom and glory.”
C. H. Parkhurst: “The yeast does not strike through the whole lump of
dough at a flash. We keep finding unsuspected lumps of meal that the
yeast has not yet seized upon. We surrender to God in installments. We
may not mean to do it, but we do it. Conversion has got to be brought
down to date.” A student asked the President of Oberlin College whether
he could not take a shorter course than the one prescribed. “Oh yes,”
replied the President, “but then it depends on what you want to make of
yourself. When God wants to make an oak, he takes a hundred years but
when he wants to make a squash, he takes six months.”
(c) It is distinguished from regeneration as growth from birth, or as the
strengthening of a holy disposition from the original impartation of it.

Ephesians 4:15 — “speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all
things into him, who is the head, even Christ”;

1 Thess. 3:12 — “the
Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and
toward all men”;

2 Peter 3:18 — “But grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”; cf.

1 Peter 1:23 —
“begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the
word of God, which liveth and abideth”;

1 John 3:9 — “Whosoever is
begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he
cannot sin, because he is begotten of God.” Not sin only, but holiness.174
also, is a germ whose nature is to grow. The new love in the believer’s
heart follows the law of all life, in developing and extending itself under
God’s husbandry. George Eliot: “The reward of one duty done is the
power to do another.” J. W. A. Stewart: “When the 21st of March has
come, we say ‘The back of the winter is broken.’ There will still be
alternations of frost but the progress will be towards heat. The coming of
summer is sure, in germ the summer is already here.” Regeneration is the
crisis of a disease, sanctification is the progress of convalescence.
Yet growth is not a uniform thing in the tree or in the Christian. In some
single months there is more growth than in all the year besides. During the
rest of the year, however, there is solidification, without which the green
timber would be useless. The period of rapid growth, when woody fiber is
actually deposited between the bark and the trunk, occupies but four to
six weeks in May, June and July.

2 Peter 1:5 — “adding on your part
all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge” =
adding to the central grace all those that are complementary and
subordinate, till they attain the harmony of a chorus ejpicorhgh>sate.
(d) The operation of God reveals itself in, and is accompanied by,
intelligent and voluntary activity of the believer in the discovery and
mortification of sinful desires and in the bringing of the whole being into
obedience to Christ and conformity to the standards of his word.

John 17:17 — “Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth”; 2
Cor.10:5 — “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is
exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into
captivity to the obedience of Christ”;

Philippians 2:12, 13 — “work
out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who worketh
in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure”;

1 Peter 2:2 —
“as new-born babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile,
that ye may grow thereby unto salvation.”

John 15:3 — “Already ye
are clean because of the word which I have spoken unto you.”
Regeneration through the word is followed by sanctification through the

Ephesians 5:1 — “Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved
children.” Imitation is at first a painful effort of will, as in learning the
piano; afterwards it becomes pleasurable and even unconscious. Children
unconsciously imitate the handwriting of their parents. Charles Lamb sees
in the minor, as he is shaving, the apparition of his dead father. So our
likeness to God comes out as we advance in years. (

Colossians 3:4 —
“When Christ who is our life shall be manifested, then shall ye also with
him be manifested in glory.”.175
Horace Bushnell said that, if the stars did not move, they would rot in the
sky. The man who rides the bicycle must either go on or go off. A large
part of sanctification consists in the formation of proper habits, such as
the habit of Scripture reading, of secret prayer, of church going, of efforts
to convert and benefit others. Baxter: “Every man must grow, as trees
grow, downward and upward at once. The visible outward growth must
be accompanied by an invisible inward growth.” Drummond: “The
spiritual man having passed from death to life, the natural man must pass
from life to death.” There must be increasing sense of sin: “My sins gave
sharpness to the nails, And pointed every thorn.” There must be a
bringing of new and yet newer regions of thought, feeling and action under
the sway of Christ and his truth. There is a grain of truth even in
Macaulay’s jest about “essentially Christian cookery.”
A. J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 63, 109-111 — “The church is
Christian no more than as it is the organ of the continuous passion of
Christ. We must suffer with sinning and lost humanity, and so ‘fill
up…that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ (

Colossians 1:24).
Christ’s crucifixion must be prolonged side by side with his resurrection.
There are three deaths. There is death in sin, which is our natural
condition, death for sin, which is our judicial condition and death to sin,
which is our sanctified condition. As the ascending sap in the tree crowds
off the dead leaves which in spite of storm and frost cling to the branches
all the winter long, so does the Holy Spirit within us, when allowed full
sway, subdue and expel the remnants of our sinful nature.”
(e) The agency through which God effects the sanctification of the believer
is the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

John 14:17, 18 — “the Spirit of truth…he abideth with you, and shall
be in you. I will not leave you desolate I come unto you”; 15:3-5 —
“Already ye are clean…Abide in me…apart from me ye can do nothing”

Romans 8:9, 10 — “the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man
hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, And if Christ is in you, the
body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of

1 Corinthians 1:2, 30 — “sanctified in Christ
Jesus…Christ Jesus, who was made unto us…sanctification”; 6:19 —
“know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in
you, which ye have from God?”

Galatians 5:16 — “Walk by the
Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”;

Ephesians 5:18 —
“And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot but be filled with the

Colossians 1:27-29 — “the riches of the glory of this mystery
among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we.176
proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom,
that we may present every man perfect in Christ; whereunto I labor also,
striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily”;

Timothy 1:14 — “That good thing which was committed unto thee guard
through the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us.”
Christianity substitutes for the old sources of excitement the power of the
Holy Spirit. Here is a source of comfort, energy, and joy, infinitely
superior to any which the sinner knows. God does not leave the soul to
fall back upon itself. The higher up we get in the scale of being, the more
does the new life need nursing and tending, compare the, sapling and the
babe. God gives to the Christian therefore, an abiding presence and work
of the Holy Spirit, not only regeneration but also sanctification. C. E.
Smith, Baptism of Fire: “The soul needs the latter as well as the former
rain, the sealing as well as the renewing of the Spirit, the baptism of fire
as well as the baptism of water. Sealing gives something additional to the
document, an evidence plainer than the writing within, both to one’s self
and to others.”
“Few flowers yield more honey than serves the bee for its daily food.” So
we must first live ourselves off from our spiritual diet; only what is over
can be given to nourish others. Thomas • Kempis, Imitation of Christ:
“Have peace in thine own heart; else thou wilt never be able to
communicate peace to others.” Godet: “Man is a vessel destined to receive
God, a vessel which must be enlarged in proportion as it is filled, and
filled in proportion as it is enlarged.” Matthew Arnold, Morality: “We
cannot kindle when we will The fire which in the heart resides; The Spirit
bloweth and is still; In mystery our soul abides. But tasks in hours of
insight willed Can be in hours of gloom fulfilled. With aching hands and
bleeding feet, We dig and heap, lay stone on stone; We bear the burden
and the heat Of the long day, and wish ‘t were done. Not kill the hours of
light return All we have built do we discern.”
(f) The mediate or instrumental cause of sanctification, as of justification, is

Acts 15:9 — “cleansing their hearts by faith”;

Romans 1:17 —
“For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it
is written, But the righteous shall live from faith.” The righteousness
includes’ sanctification as well as justification and the subject of the
epistle to the Romans is not simply justification by faith but rather
righteousness by faith or salvation by faith. Justification by faith is the
subject of chapters 1-7 and sanctification by faith is the subject of.177
chapters 8-16. We are not sanctified by efforts of our own, any more than
we are justified by efforts of our own.
God does not share with us the glory of sanctification any more than he
shares with us the glory of justification. He must do all, or nothing.
William Law: “A root set in the finest soil, in the best climate and blessed
with all that sun, air and rain can do for it, is not in so sure a way of its
growth to perfection, as every man may be whose spirit aspires after all
that, which God is ready and infinitely desirous to give him. For the sun
meets not the springing bud that stretches toward him with half that
certainty as God, the source of all good, communicates himself to the soul
that longs to partake of him.”
(g) The object of this faith is Christ himself, as the head of a new humanity
and the source of truth and life to those united to him.

2 Corinthians 3:18 — “we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a
mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from
glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit”;

Ephesians 4:13 —
“till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the
Son of God, unto a full grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the
fullness of Christ.” Faith here is of course much more than intellectual
faith, it is the reception of Christ himself. As Christianity furnishes a new
source of life and energy in the Holy Spirit, so it gives a new object of
attention and regard in the Lord Jesus Christ. As we get air out of a vessel
by pouring in water so we can drive sin out only by bringing Christ in.
See Chalmers’ Sermon on The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.
Drummond, Nat. Law in the Spir. World, 123-140 — “Man does not
grow by making efforts to grow, but by putting himself into the conditions
of growth by living in Christ.”

1 John 3:3 — “every one that hath this hope set on him ejp aujtw~|
purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Sanctification does not begin from
within. The objective Savior must come first. The hope based on him
must give the motive and the standard of self-purification. Likeness comes
from liking. We grow to be like that, which we like. Hence we use the
phrase “I like,” as a synonym for “I love.” We cannot remove frost from
our window by rubbing the pane; we need to kindle a fire. Growth is not
the product of effort, but of life. “Taking thought” or “being anxious”

Matthew 6:27), is not the way to grow. Only take the hindrances out
of the way and we grow without care, as the tree does. The moon makes
no effort to shine nor has it any power of its own to shine. It is only a
burned out cinder in the sky. It shines only as it reflects the light of the.178
sun. So we can shine “as lights in the world” (

Philippians 2:15), only
as we reflect Christ, who is “the Sun of Righteousness” (

Malachi 4:2)
and “the Light of the world” (

John 8:12).
(h) Though the weakest faith perfectly justifies, the degree of sanctification
is measured by the strength of the Christian’s faith and the persistence with
which he apprehends Christ in the various relations which the Scriptures
declare him to sustain to us.

Matthew 9:29 — “According to your faith be it done unto you”;

Luke 17:5 — “Lord, increase our faith”;

Romans 12:2 — “be not
fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing
of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and
perfect will of God”; 13:14 — “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and
make not prevision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof”;

4:24 — “put on the new man, that after God hath been created in
righteousness and holiness of truth”;

1 Timothy 4:7 — “exercise
thyself unto godliness.” Leighton: “None of the children of God are born
dumb.” Milton: “Good, the more communicated, the more abundant
grows.” Faith can neither be stationary nor complete (Westcott, Bible
Com. on

John 15:8 — “so shall ye become my disciples”). Luther:
“He who is a Christian is no Christian”; “Christianus non in esse, sed in
fieri.” In a Bible that belonged to Oliver Cromwell is this inscription: “O.
C. 1644. Qui cessat esse melior cessat ease bonus” — “He who ceases to
be better ceases to be good.” Story, the sculptor, when asked which of his
works he valued most, replied: “My next.” The greatest work of the Holy
Spirit is the perfecting of Christian character.

Colossians 1:10 — “Increasing by the knowledge of God” — here the
instrumental dative represents the knowledge of God as the dew or rain
which nurtures the growth of the plant (Lightfoot). Mr. Gladstone had the
habit of reading the Bible every Sunday afternoon to old Women on his
estate. Tholuck: “I have but one passion, and that is Christ.” This is an
echo of Paul’s words: “to me to live is Christ” (

Philippians 1:21). But
Paul is far from thinking that he has already obtained or is already made
perfect. He prays “that I may gain Christ, that I may know him.”

Philippians 3:8, 10).
(i) From the lack of persistence in using the means appointed for Christian
growth — such as the word of God, prayer, association with other
believers and personal effort for the conversion of the ungodly.
Sanctification does not always proceed in regular and unbroken course,
and it is never completed in this life..179

Philippians 3:12 — “Not that I have already obtained, or am already
made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which
also I was laid hold on by Jesus Christ”;

1 John 1:8 — “If we say that
we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Carlyle,
in his Life of John Sterling, chap. 8, says of Coleridge that, “whenever
natural obligation or voluntary undertaking made it his duty to do
anything, the fact seemed a sufficient reason for his not doing it.” A
regular, advancing sanctification is marked, on the other hand, by a
growing habit of instant and joyful obedience. The intermittent spring
depends upon the reservoir in the mountain cave, only when the rain fills
the latter full, does the spring begin to flow. So to secure unbroken
Christian activity, there must be constant reception of the word and Spirit
of God.
Galen: “If diseases take hold of the body, there is nothing so certain to
drive them out as diligent exercise.” Williams, Principles of Medicine:
“Want of exercise and sedentary habits not only predispose to, but
actually cause, disease.” The little girl who fell out of bed at night was
asked how it happened. She replied that she went to sleep too near where
she got in. Some Christians lose the joy of their religion by ceasing their
Christian activities too soon after conversion. Yet others cultivate their
spiritual lives from mere selfishness. Selfishness follows the line of least
resistance. It is easier to pray in public and to attend meetings for prayer,
than to go out into the unsympathetic world and engage in the work of
winning souls. This is the fault of monasticism. Those who grow the most
forget themselves in their work for others. The discipline of life is
ordained in God’s providence to correct tendencies to indolence. Even this
discipline is often received in a rebellious spirit. The result is delay in the
process of sanctification. Bengel: “Deus habet horas et moran” — “God
has his hours and his delays.” German proverb: “Gut Ding will Weile
haben” — “A good thing requires time.”
(j) Sanctification, both of the soul and of the body of the believer, is
completed in the life to come, that of the former at death, that of the latter
at the resurrection.

Philippians 3:21 — “who shall fashion anew the body of our
humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according
to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself”;

Colossians 3:4 — “When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested,
then shall we also with him he manifested in glory”;

Hebrews 12:14,
23 — “Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without
which no man shall see the Lord…spirits of just men made perfect”;

John 3:2 — “Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made
manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we
shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is”;

Jude 24 — “able
to guard you from stumbling, and to set you before the presence of his
glory without blemish in exceeding joy”;

Revelation 14:5 — “And in
their mouth was found no lie: they are without blemish.”
A. J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 121, puts the completion of our
sanctification, not at death but at the appearing of the Lord “a second
time, apart from… unto salvation.” (

Hebrews 9:28; 1Thess. 3:13;
5:23). When we shall see him as he is, instantaneous photographing of his
image in our souls will take the place of the present slow progress from
glory to glory (

2 Corinthians 3:18;

1 John 3:2). If by sanctification
we mean, not a sloughing off of remaining depravity but by an ever
increasing purity and perfection, then we may hold that the process of
sanctification goes on forever. Our relation to Christ must always be that
of the imperfect to the perfect, of the finite to the infinite; and for finite
spirits, progress must always be possible. Clarke, Christian Theology,
373 — “Not even at death can sanctification end…The goal lies far
beyond deliverance from sin… There is no such thing as bringing the
divine life to such completion that no further progress is possible to
it…Indeed, free and unhampered progress can scarcely begin until sin is
left behind.” “O snows so pure, O peaks so high! I shall not reach you till
I die!” As Jesus’ resurrection was prepared by holiness of life, so the
Christian’s resurrection is prepared by sanctification. When our souls are
freed from the last remains of sin, then it will not be possible for us to be
holden by death (cf.

Acts 2:24). See Gordon, The Twofold Life, or
Christ’s Work for us and in us; Brit. and For. Evang. Rev., April,
1884:205-229; Van Oosterzee, Christian Dogmatics, 657-662.
3. Erroneous Views refuted by these Scripture Passages.
A. The Antinomian, which holds that, since Christ’s obedience and
sufferings have satisfied the demands of the law, the believer is free from
obligation to observe it.
The Antinomian view rests upon a misinterpretation of

Romans 6:14
— “Ye are not under law, but under grace.” Agricola and Amsdorf
(1559) were representatives of this view. Amsdorf said that, “good works
are hurtful to salvation.” But Melanchthon’s words furnish the reply:
“Sola tides justificat, sed fides non est sola.” F. W. Robertson states it:
“Faith alone justifies, but not the faith that is alone.” And he illustrates:
“Lightning alone strikes, but not the lightning which is without thunder;.181
for that is summer lightning and harmless.” See Browning’s poem,
Johannes Agricola in Meditation, in Dramatis Personæ, 300 — “I have
God’s warrant, Could I blend All hideous sins as in a cup, To drink the
mingled venom up, Secure my nature will convert The draught to
blossoming gladness.” Agricola said that Moses ought to be hanged. This
is Sanctification without Perseverance.
Sandeman, the founder of the sect called Sandemanians, asserted as his
fundamental principle the deadliness of all doings, the necessity for
inactivity to let God do his work in the soul. See his essay, Theron and
Aspasia, referred to by Alien, in his Life of Jonathan Edwards, 114. Anne
Hutchinson was excommunicated and banished by the Puritans from
Massachusetts, in 1637, for holding “two dangerous errors:
1. The Holy Spirit personally dwells in a justified person and
2. no sanctification can evidence to us our justification.” Here the latter
error almost destroyed the influence of the former truth. There is a little
Antinomianism in the popular hymn: “Lay your deadly doings down,
Down at Jesus’ feet; Doing is a deadly thing; Doing ends in death.” The
colored preacher’s poetry only presented the doctrine in the concrete:
“You may rip and te-yar, You may cuss and swe-yar, But you ‘re jess as
sure of heaven, ‘S if you ‘d done gone de-yar.” Plain Andrew Fuller in
England (1754-1815) did excellent service in overthrowing popular
To this view we urge the following objections;
(a) Since the law is a transcript of the holiness of God, its demands as a
moral rule are unchanging. Only as a system of penalty and a method of
salvation is the law abolished in Christ’s death.

Matthew 5:17-19 — “Think not that I came to destroy the law or the
prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. Far verily I say unto you,
Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass
away from the law, till all things be accomplished. Whosoever therefore
shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so,
shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and
teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”; 48 — “Ye
therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”;

1 Peter
1:16 — “Ye shall be holy; for I am holy”;

Romans 10:4 — “For
Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that

Galatians 2:20 — “I have been crucified with Christ”; 3:13
— “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse.182
for us”;

Colossians 2:14 — “having blotted out the bond written in
ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath
taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross”;

Hebrews 2:15 —
“deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject
to bondage.”
(b) The union between Christ and the believer secures not only the bearing
of the penalty of the law by Christ, but also the impartation of Christ’s
spirit of obedience to the believer. In other words, brings him into
communion with Christ’s work, and leads him to ratify it in his own

Romans 8:9, 10, 15 — “ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so
be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. Until any man hath not the
Spirit of Christ he is none of his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead
because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness…For ye
received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear but ye received the spirit
of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”;

Galatians 5:22-25 —
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no
law. And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the
passions and the lusts thereof”;

1 John 1:6 — “If we say that we have
fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the
truth”; 3:6 — “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth
hath not seen him, neither knoweth him.”
(c) The freedom from the law of which the Scriptures speak, is therefore
simply that freedom from the constraint and bondage of the law, which
characterizes those who have become one with Christ by faith.

Psalm 119:97 — “O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the

Romans 3:8, 31 — “and why not (as we are slanderously
reported, and as some affirm that we say), Let us do evil, that good may
come? whose condemnation us…Do we then make the law of none effect
through faith? God forbid: nay, we establish the law”; 6:14, 15, 22 —
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but
under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but
under grace? God forbid…now being made free from sin and become
servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal
life”; 7:6 — “But now we have been discharged from the law, having died
to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit,
and not in oldness of the letter”; 8:4 — “that the ordinance of the law
might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”;.183

1 Corinthians 7:22 — “he that was called in the Lord being a
bondservant, is the Lord’s freedman”;

Galatians 5:1 — “For freedom
did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a
yoke of bondage;

1 Timothy 1:9 — “law is not made for a righteous
man, but for the lawless and unruly”;

James 1:25 — “the perfect law,
the law of liberty.”
To sum up the doctrine of Christian freedom as opposed to
Antinomianism, we may say that Christ does not free us, as the Antinomian
believes, from the law as a rule of life. But he does free us from the law as
a system of curse and penalty. This he does by bearing the curse and
penalty himself. Christ frees us from the law with its claims as a method of
salvation. He does this by making his obedience and his merit ours. Christ
frees us from the law as an outward and foreign compulsion by giving to us
the spirit of obedience and son-ship, by which the law is progressively
realized within.
Christ, then, does not free us, as the Antinomian believes, from the law as
a rule of life. But he does free us from the law as a system of curse and
penalty. This he does by bearing the curse and penalty himself. Just as
law can do nothing with a man after it has executed its death penalty upon
him, so law can do nothing with us, now that its death penalty has been
executed upon Christ. There are some insects that expire in the act of
planting their sting and so, when the law gathered itself up and planted its
sting in the heart of Christ, it expended all its power as a judge and
avenger over us who believe. In the Cross, the law as a system of curse
and penalty exhausted itself so we were set free.
Christ frees us from the law with its claims as a method of salvation. In
other words, he frees us from the necessity of trusting our salvation to an
impossible future obedience. As the sufferings of Christ, apart from any
sufferings of ours, deliver us from eternal death, so the merits of Christ,
apart from any merit of ours, give us a title to eternal life. By faith in
what Christ has done and simple acceptance of his work for us, we secure
a right to heaven. Obedience on our part is no longer rendered painfully,
as if our salvation depended on it, but freely and gladly, in gratitude for
what Christ has done for us. Illustrate by the English nobleman’s
invitation to his park and the regulations he causes to be posted up.
Christ frees us from the law as an outward and foreign compulsion. In
putting an end to legalism, he provides against license. This he does by
giving the spirit of obedience and son-ship. He puts love in the place of
fear and this secures obedience more intelligent, more thorough and.184
heartier than could have been secured by mere law. So he frees us from
the burden and compulsion of the law, by realizing the law within us by
his Spirit. The freedom of the Christian is freedom in the law, such as the
musician experiences when the scales and exercises have become easy and
work has turned to play. See John Owen, Works, 3:366-651; 6:1-313;
Campbell, The Indwelling Christ, 73-81.
Gould, Bib. Theol. N. T., 195 — “The supremacy of those books which
contain the words of Jesus himself [i. e., the Synoptic Gospels] is that
they incorporate, with the other elements of the religious life, the
regulative will. Here for instance [in John] is the gospel of the
contemplative life, which, ‘beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord
is changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the
Lord’ (

2 Corinthians 3:18). The belief is that, with this beholding, life
will take care of itself. Life will never take care of itself. Among other
things, after the most perfect vision, it has to ask what aspirations,
principles and affections belong to life and then to cultivate the will to
embody these things. Here is the common defect of all religions. They fail
to marry religion to the common life. Christ did not stop short of this final
word but if we leave him for even the greatest of his disciples, we are in
danger of missing it.” This utterance of Gould is surprising in several
ways. It attributes to John alone the contemplative attitude of mind, which
the quotation given shows to belong also to Paul. It ignores the constant
appeals in John to the will: “He that hath my commandments and keepeth
them, he it is that loveth me” (

John 14:21). It also forgets that “life” in
John is the whole being, including intellect, affection and will and that to
have Christ for one’s life is absolutely to exclude Antinomianism.
B. The Perfectionist, which holds that the Christian may, in this life,
become perfectly free from sin. John Wesley held this view in England and
Mahan and Finney held it in America.
Finney, Systematic Theology, 500, declares regeneration to be “an
instantaneous change from entire sinfulness to entire holiness.” The claims
of Perfectionists, however, have been modified from “freedom from all
sin,” to “freedom from all known sin,” then to “entire consecration,” and
finally to “Christian assurance.” H. W. Webb — Peploe, in S. S. Times,
June 25, 1898 — “The Keswick teaching is that no true Christian need
willfully or knowingly sin. Yet this is not sinless perfection. It is simply
according to our faith that we receive, and faith only draws from God
according to our present possibilities. These are limited by the presence of
indwelling corruption. While never needing to sin, within the sphere of the
light we possess, there are to the last hour of our life upon the earth,.185
powers of corruption within every man. These powers defile his best
deeds and give to even his holiest efforts that ‘nature of sin,’ of which the
9th Article in the Church of England Prayer Book speaks so strongly.”
Yet it is evident that this corruption is not regarded as real sin and is
called ‘nature of sin’ only in some non-natural sense.
Dr. George Peck says: “In the life of the most perfect Christian there is
every day renewed occasion for self-abhorrence, for repentance, for
renewed application of the blood of Christ, for application of the
rekindling of the Holy Spirit.” But why call this a state of perfection? F.
B. Meyer: “We never say that self is dead. Were we to do so, self would
be laughing at us round the corner. The teaching of Romans 6 is not that
self is dead but that the renewed will is dead to self, the man’s will saying
‘Yes’ to Christ and ‘No’ to self, through the Spirit’s grace it constantly
repudiates and mortifies the power of the flesh.” For statements of the
Perfectionist view, see John Wesley’s Christian Theology, edited by
Thoruley Smith, 265-273; Mahan, Christian Perfection, and art, in Bib.
Repos. 2d Series, vol. iv, Oct. 1840:408-428; Finney, Systematic
Theology, 586-766; Peck, Christian Perfection; Ritschl, Bibliotheca
Sacra, Oct 1878:656; A. T. Pierson, The Keswick Movement.
In reply, it will be sufficient to observe:
(a) The theory rests upon false conceptions. The first misconception of the
law, is a sliding scale of requirement graduated to the moral condition of
creatures, instead of being the unchangeable reflection of God’s holiness.
The second misconception of sin is that it consists only in voluntary acts
instead of embracing also those dispositions and states of the soul, which
are not conformed to the divine holiness. The third misconception of the
human will, is able to choose God supremely and persistently at every
moment of life and to fulfill at every moment the obligations resting upon
it, instead of being corrupted and enslaved by the Fall.
This view reduces the debt to the debtor’s ability to pay a short and easy
method of discharging obligations. I can leap over a church steeple, if I
am only permitted to make the church steeple low enough and I can touch
the stars, if the stars will only come down to my hand. The Philistines are
quite equal to Samson if they may only cut off Samson’s locks. So I can
obey God’s law, if I may only make God’s law what I want it to be. The
fundamental error of perfectionism is its low view of God’s law and the
second is its narrow conception of sin. John Wesley: “I believe a person
filled with love of God is still liable to involuntary transgressions. Such
transgressions you may call sins, if you please. I do not.” The third error.186
of perfectionism is its exaggerated estimate of man’s power of contrary
choice. To say that, whatever may have been the habits of the past and
whatever may be the evil affections of the present a man is perfectly able
at any moment to obey the whole law of God, is to deny that there are
such things as character and depravity. Finney, Gospel Themes, 383,
indeed, disclaimed “all expectations of attaining this state ourselves and
by our own independent, unaided efforts.” On the Law of God, see pages
Augustine: “Every lesser good has an essential element of sin.” Anything
less than the perfection that belongs normally to my present stage of
development is a coming short of the law’s demand. R. W. Dale,
Fellowship with Christ, 359 — “For us and in this world, the divine is
always the impossible. Give me a law for individual conduct, which
requires a perfection, that is within my reach and I am sure that the law
does not represent the divine thought. ‘Not that I have already obtained or
am already made perfect but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on
that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus’ (

3:12) — this, from the beginning, has been the confession of saints.” The
Perfectionist is apt to say that we must “take Christ twice, once for
justification and once for sanctification.” But no one can take Christ for
justification without at the same time taking him for sanctification. Dr. A.
A. Hodge calls this doctrine ‘Neonomianism,” because it holds not to one
unchanging, ideal, and perfect law of God but to a second law given to
human weakness when the first law has failed to secure obedience.
(1) The law of God demands perfection. It is a transcript of God’s nature.
Its object is to reveal God. Anything less than the demand of perfection
would misrepresent God. God could not give a law, which a sinner could
obey. In the very nature of the case there can be no sinless capacity in this
life for those who have once sinned. Sin brings incapacity as well as guilt.
All men have squandered a part of the talent entrusted to them by God and
therefore, no man can come up to the demands of that law which requires
all that God gave to humanity at its creation together with interest on the
(2) Even the best Christian comes short of perfection. Regeneration makes
only the dominant disposition holy. Much affection still remains unholy and
there remains the requirement to be cleansed. Only by lowering the demands
of the law, making shallow our conceptions of sin and mistaking temporary
volition for permanent bent of the will, can we count ourselves to be perfect..187
(3) Absolute perfection is attained not in this world but in the world to come.
The best Christians count themselves still sinners, strive most earnestly for
holiness have imputed but not inherent sanctification, are saved by hope.
(b) The theory finds no support in, nor rather is distinctly contradicted by,
First, the Scriptures never assert or imply that the Christian may in this life
live without sin. Passages like

1 John 3:6, 9, if interpreted consistently
with the context, set forth either the ideal standard of Christian living or
the actual state of the believer so far as respects his new nature.

1 John 3:6 — “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever
sinneth hath not seen him, neither knoweth him”; 9 — “Whosoever is
begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he
cannot sin, because he is begotten of God.” Ann. Par. Bible, in loco —
“John is contrasting the states in which sin and grace severally
predominate, without reference to degrees in either, showing that all men
are in one or the other.” Neander: “John recognizes no intermediate state,
no gradations. He seizes upon the radical point of difference. He contrasts
the two states in their essential nature and principle. Either it is love or
hate, light or darkness, truth or a lie. The Christian life in its essential
nature is the opposite of all sin. If there be sin, it must be the after
working of the old nature.” Yet all Christians are required in Scripture to
advance, to confess sin, to ask forgiveness, to maintain warfare, to
assume the attitude of ill desert in prayer, to receive chastisement for the
removal of imperfections, to regard full salvation as matter of hope, not of
present experience.
John paints only in black and white; there are no intermediate tints or
colors. Take the words In

1 John 3:6 literally, and there never was and
never can be a regenerate person. The words are hyperbolical, as Paul’s
words in

Romans 6:2 — “We who died to sin, how shall we any
longer live therein” — are metaphorical; see E. H. Johnson, in Bibliotheca
Sacra, 1892:375, note. The Emperor William refused the request for an
audience prepared by a German-American, saying that Germans born in
Germany but naturalized in America became Americans: “Ich kenne
Amerikaner, Ich kenne Deutsche, aber Deutsch-Amerikaner kenne Ich
nicht” — “I know Americans, I know Germans, but German-Americans I
do not know.”
Lowrie, Doctrine of St. John, 110 — “St. John uses the noun sin and the
verb to sin is two senses: to denote the power or principle of sin or to.188
denote concrete acts of sin. The latter sense he generally expresses by the
plural sins. The Christian is guilty of particular acts of sin for which
confession and forgiveness are required but as, he has been freed from the
bondage of sin, he cannot habitually practice it nor abide in it. Still less,
can he be guilty of sin in its superlative form by denial of Christ.”
Secondly, the apostolic admonitions to the Christians and Hebrews show
that no such state of complete sanctification had been generally attained by
the Christians of the first century.

Romans 8:24 — “For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is
not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth?’ The party feeling,
selfishness and immorality found among the members of the Corinthian
church are evidence that they were far from a state of entire sanctification.
Thirdly, there is express record of sin committed by the most perfect
characters of Scripture, i.e. Noah, Abraham, Job, David and Peter.
Perfectionists urge us “to keep up the standard.” We do this, not by
calling certain men perfect but by calling Jesus Christ perfect. In
proportion to our sanctification, we are absorbed in Christ, not in
ourselves. Self-consciousness and display are a poor evidence of
sanctification. The best characters of Scripture put their trust in a
standard higher than they have ever realized in their own persons, even in
the righteousness of God.
Fourthly, the word te>lewv, as applied to spiritual conditions already
attained can fairly be held to signify only a relative perfection, equivalent to
sincere piety or maturity of Christian judgment.

1 Corinthians 2:6 — “We speak wisdom, however, among the perfect”
or, as the Am. Revisers have it, “among them that are full-grown”;

Philippians 3:15 — “Let us therefore, as many as are perfect be thus
minded.” Men are often called perfect when free from any fault, which
strikes the eyes of the world. See

Genesis 6:9 — “Noah was a
righteous man, and perfect”;

Job 1:1 — “that man was perfect and
upright.” On te>leiov, see Trench, Syn. N. T., 1:110.
The te>leioi are described in Reb.5:14 — “Solid food is for the mature
telei>wn who on account of habit have their perceptions disciplined for
the discriminating of good and evil” (Dr. Kendrick’s translation), The
same word “perfect” is used of Jacob in Gen. 25:27 — “Jacob was a quiet
man, dwelling in tents” = a harmless man, exemplary and well balanced,
as a man of business. Genung, Epic of the Inner Life, 132 — “‘Perfect’ in.189
Job = Horace’s ‘integer vitæ,’ being the adjective of which ‘integrity’ is
the substantive.”
Fifthly, the Scriptures distinctly deny that any man on earth lives without

1 Kings 8:46 — “there is no man that sinneth not”;

7:20 — “Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good,
and sinneth not”;

James 3:2 — “For in many things we all stumble. If
any stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the
whole body also”;

1 John 1:8 — “If we say that we have no sin, we
deceive ourselves, and the truth is not an us.”
T. T. Eaton, Sanctification:
“1. Some mistake regeneration for sanctification; they have been
unconverted church members. When led to faith in Christ and finding
peace and joy, they think they are sanctified when they are simply
2. Some mistake assurance of faith for sanctification but joy is not
3. Some mistake the baptism of the Holy Spirit for sanctification. Peter
sinned grievously at Antioch, after he had received that baptism.
4. Some think that doing the best one can is sanctification. But he who
measures by inches for feet can measure up well.
5. Some regard sin as only a voluntary act whereas, the sinful nature is
the fountain, stripping off the leaves of the Upas tree does not answer. 6.
Some mistake the power of the human will and fancy that an act, of will,
can free a man from sin. They ignore the settled bent of the will, which the
act of will does not change.”
Sixthly, the declaration: “ye were sanctified” (

1 Corinthians 6:11) and
the designation: “saints” (

1 Corinthians 1:2), applied to early believers
are, as the whole epistle shows, expressive of a holiness existing in germ
and anticipation. The expressions deriving their meaning not so much from
what these early believers were, as from what Christ was, to whom they
were united by faith.
When N.T. believers are said to be “sanctified,” we must remember the
O.T. use of the word. ‘Sanctify’ may have either the meaning ‘to make
holy outwardly,’ or ‘to make holy inwardly.’ The people of Israel and the.190
vessels of the tabernacle were made holy in the former sense; their
sanctification was a setting apart to the sacred use.

Numbers 8:17 —
“all the firstborn among the children of Israel are mine…I sanctified them
for myself”;

Deuteronomy 33:3 — “Yea, he loveth the people; all his
saints are in thy hand”; 2Chron. 29:19 — “all the vessels…have we
prepared and sanctified.” The vessels mentioned were first immersed and
then sprinkled from day to day according to need. So the Christian, by his
regeneration, is set apart for God’s service and in this sense is a “saint”
and “sanctified.” More than this, he has in him the beginnings of purity,
he is “clean as a whole,” though he yet needs “to wash his feet” (

13:10) — that is, to be cleansed from the recurring defilement of his daily
life. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:551 — “The error of the Perfectionist
is that of confounding imputed sanctification with inherent sanctification.
It is the latter which is mentioned in

1 Corinthians 1:30 — “‘Christ
Jesus who was made unto us…sanctification.’”
Water from the Jordan is turbid but it settles in the bottle and seems pure
until it is shaken. Some Christians seem very free from sin, until you
shake them, then they get “riled.” Clarke, Christian Theology, 371 — “Is
there not a higher Christian life? Yes, and a higher life beyond it and a
higher still beyond. The Christian life is ever higher and higher. It must
pass through all stages between its beginning and its perfection.” C. D.
Case: “The great objection to [this theory of] complete sanctification is
that, if possessed at all, it is not a development of our own character.”
(c) The theory is disapproved by the testimony of Christian experience. In
exact proportion to the soul’s advance in holiness does it shrink from
claiming that holiness has been already attained and humble itself before
God for its remaining apathy, ingratitude and unbelief.

Philippians 3:12-14 — “Not that I have already obtained, or am
already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that
for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus.” Some of the greatest
advocates of perfectionism have been furthest from claiming any such
perfection although many of their less instructed followers claimed it for
them and even professed to have attained it themselves.

Luke 7:1-10, the centurion does not think himself worthy to go to
Jesus or to have him come under his roof, yet the elders of the Jews say:
“He is worthy that thou shouldest do this.” Jesus himself says of him: “I
have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” “Holy to Jehovah” was
inscribed upon the mitre of the high priest (

Exodus 28:36). Others saw
it, but he saw it not. Moses knew not that his face shone (

34:29). The truest holiness is that of which the possessor is least
conscious yet it is his real diadem and beauty (A. J. Gordon). “The nearer
men are to being sinless, the less they talk about it” (Dwight L. Moody).
“Always strive for perfection; never believe you have reached it” (Arnold
of Rugby). Compare with this, Ernest Renan’s declaration that he had
nothing to alter in his life. “I have not sinned for some time,” said a
woman to Mr. Spurgeon. “Then you must be very proud of it,” he replied.
“Indeed I am I” said she. A pastor says: “No one can attain the ‘Higher
Life,’ and escape making mischief.” John Wesley lamented that not one in
thirty retained the blessing.
Perfectionism is best met by proper statements of the nature of the law and
of sin (

Psalm 119:96). While we thus rebuke spiritual pride, however,
we should be equally careful to point out the inseparable connection
between justification and sanctification and their equal importance as
together making up the Biblical idea of salvation.
While we show no favor to those who would make sanctification a sudden
and paroxysmal act of the human will, we should hold forth the holiness of
God as the standard of attainment. The faith in a Christ of infinite fullness
is the medium through which that standard is to be gradually but certainly
realized in us (

2 Corinthians 3:18).
We should imitate Lyman Beecher’s method of Opposing perfectionism
by searching expositions of God’s law. When men know what the law is,
they will say with the Psalmist: “I have seen an end of all perfection; thy
commandment is exceeding broad” (

Psalm 119:96). And yet we are
earnestly and hopefully to seek in Christ for a continually increasing
measure of sanctification:

1 Corinthians 1:30 — “Christ Jesus, who
was made unto us…sanctification”;

2 Corinthians 3:18 — “But we all,
with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are
transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the
Lord the Spirit.” Arnold of Rugby: “Always expect to succeed and never
think you have succeeded.”
Mr. Finney meant by entire sanctification only that it is possible for
Christians in this life by the grace of God to be consecrated so
unreservedly to his service as to live without conscious and willful
disobedience to the divine commands. He did not claim himself to have
reached this point; he made at times very impressive confessions of his
own sinfulness. He did not encourage others to make for themselves the
claim to have lived without conscious fault. He held however that such a
state is attainable and therefore that its pursuit is rational. He also.192
admitted that such a state is one, not of absolute, but only of relative,
sinlessness. His error was in calling it a state of entire sanctification. See
A. H. Strong, Christ in Creation, 377-384.
A. J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 116 — “It is possible that one may
experience a great crisis in his spiritual life that there is such a total
surrender of self to God and such an in-filling of the Holy Spirit that he is
freed from the bondage of sinful appetites and habits. He is enabled to
have constant victory over self instead of suffering constant defeat. If the
doctrine of sinless perfection is a heresy, the doctrine of contentment with
sinful imperfection is a greater heresy. It is not an edifying spectacle to
see a Christian worldling throwing stones at a Christian perfectionist.”
Caird, Evolution of Religion, 1:138 — “If, according to the German
proverb, it is provided that the trees shall not grow into the sky. It is
equally provided that they shall always grow toward it and the sinking of
the roots into the soil is inevitably accompanied by a further expansion of
the branches.”
See Hovey, Doctrine of the Higher Christian Life, Compared with
Scripture, also Hovey, Higher Christian Life Examined, in Studies in
Ethics and Theology, 344-427; Snodgrass, Scriptural Doctrine of
Sanctification; Princeton Essays, 1:335-365; Hodge, Systematic
Theology. 3:213-258; Calvin, Institutes, III, 11:6; Bib. Repos., 2d Series.
1:44-58; 2:143-166; Woods, Works, 4:465-523; H. A. Boardman, The
“Higher Life” Doctrine or Sanctification; William Law, Practical Treatise
on Christian Perfection; E. H. Johnson, The Highest Life.
The Scriptures declare that, in virtue of the original purpose and
continuous operation of God, all who are united to Christ by faith will
infallibly continue in a state of grace and will finally attain to everlasting
life. This voluntary continuance, on the part of the Christian, in faith and
well doing we call perseverance. Perseverance is, therefore, the human
side, or aspect of that spiritual process which, as viewed from the divine
side we call sanctification. It is not a mere natural consequence of
conversion but involves a constant activity, of the human will from the
moment of conversion to the end of life.
Adam’s holiness was mutable; God did not determine to keep him. It is
otherwise with believers in Christ; God has determined to give them the
kingdom (

Luke 12:32). Yet this keeping by God, which we call
sanctification, is accompanied and followed by a keeping of himself on the.193
part of the believer, which we call perseverance. The former is alluded to

John 17:11, 12 — “keep them in thy name. I kept them in thy name.
I guarded them and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition”;
the latter is alluded to in

1 John 5:18 — “he that was begotten of God
keepeth himself.” Both are expressed In Jude 21, 24 — “Keep yourselves
in the love of God…Now unto him that is able to guard you from
A German treatise on Pastoral Theology is entitled: “Keep What Thou
Hast” — an allusion to

2 Timothy 1:14 — “That good thing which
was committed unto thee guard through the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in
us.” Not only the pastor, but every believer, has a charge to keep and the
keeping of ourselves is as important a point of Christian doctrine as is the
keeping of God. Both are expressed In the motto: Teneo, Teneor — the
motto on the front of the Y. M. C. A. building in Boston, underneath a
stone cross, firmly clasped by two hands. The colored preacher said that
“Perseverance means: 1. Take hold, 2. Hold on, 3. Never let go.”
Physically, intellectually, morally, spiritually, there is need that we
persevere. Paul, in

1 Corinthians 9:27, declares that he smites his
body under the eye and makes a slave of it, lest after having preached to
others he himself should be rejected; and in

2 Timothy 4:7, at the end
of his career, he rejoices that he has “kept the faith.” A. J. Gordon,
Ministry of the Spirit, 115 — “The Christian is as ‘a tree planted by the
streams of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in its season’ (

1:3). To conclude that his growth will be as irresistible as that of the tree,
coming as a matter of course simply because he has by regeneration been
planted in Christ, is a grave mistake. The disciple is required to be
consciously and intelligently active in his own growth, as the tree is not,
‘to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure’ (

2 Peter
1:10) by surrendering himself to the divine action.” Clarke, Christian
Theology, 879 — “Man is able to fall and God is able to keep him from
falling and through the various experiences of life God will so save his
child out of all evil that he will be morally incapable of falling.”
1. Proof of the Doctrine of Perseverance.
A. From Scripture.

John 10:28, 29 — “they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch
them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater
than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand”;

Romans 11:29 — “For the gifts and the calling of God are without

1 Corinthians 13:7 — “endureth all things”; cf. 13 —.194
“But now abideth faith, hope, love”;

Philippians 1:6 — “being
confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will
perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ”;

2 Thess. 3:3 — “But the Lord
is faithful, who shall establish you, and guard you from the evil one”;

2 Timothy 1:12 — “I know him whom I have believed, and I am
persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him
against that day”;

1 Peter 1:5 — “who by the power of God are
guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last

Revelation 3:10 — “Because thou didst keep the word of my
patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to
come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

2 Timothy 1:12 — thkhn mou — Ellicott translates: “the
trust committed to me,” or “my deposit” = the office of preaching the
gospel, the stewardship entrusted to the apostle; cf.

1 Timothy 6:20 —
“O Timothy, keep thy deposit” — thkhn; and

2 Timothy
1:14 — “Keep the good deposit” — where the deposit seems to be the
faith or doctrine delivered to him to preach. Nicoll, The Church’s One
Foundation, 211 — “Some Christians waken each morning with a creed
of fewer articles and those that remain they are ready to surrender to a
process of argument that convinces them. But it is a duty to keep. ‘Ye
have an anointing from the Holy One; and ye know’ (

1 John
2:20)…Ezra gave to his men a treasure of gold and silver and sacrificial
vessels, and he charged them: ‘Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh
them…in thy chambers of the house of Jehovah’ (

Ezra 8:29).” See in
the Autobiography of C. H. Spurgeon, 1:225, 256, the outline of a sermon

John 6:37 — “All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto
me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise east out” Mr. Spurgeon
remarks that this text can give us no comfort unless we see that:
1. God has given us his Holy Spirit,
2. we have given ourselves to him. Christ will not cast us out because of
our great sins, our long delays, our trying other saviors, our hardness of
heart, our little faith, our poor dull prayers, our unbelief, our inveterate
corruption, our frequent backsliding nor finally because every one else
passes us by.
B. From Reason.
(a) It is a necessary inference from other doctrines, such as election, union
with Christ, regeneration, justification and sanctification..195
Election of certain individuals to salvation is election to bestow upon them
such influences of the Spirit as will lead them not only to accept Christ
but also to persevere and be saved. Union with Christ is indissoluble;
regeneration is the beginning of a work of new creation, which is declared
in justification and completed in sanctification. All these doctrines are
parts of a general scheme, which would come to naught if any single
Christian were permitted to fall away.
(b) It accords with analogy, God’s preserving care being needed by and
being granted to his spiritual, as well as his natural, creation.
As natural life cannot uphold itself, but we “live and move and have our
being” in God (

Acts 17:28), so spiritual life cannot uphold itself and
God maintains the faith, love and holy activity, which he has originated. If
he preserves our natural life, much more may we expect him to preserve
the spiritual.

1 Timothy 6:13 — “I charge thee before God who
preserveth all things alive” (R. V. margin) — zwogonou~ntov tanta
— the great Preserver of all enables us to persist in our Christian course.
(c) It is implied in all assurance of salvation since this assurance is given by
the Holy Spirit and is based not upon the known strength of human
resolution but upon the purpose and operation of God.
S. R. Mason: “If Satan and Adam both fell away from perfect holiness, it
is a million to one that, in a world full of temptations and with all
appetites and habits against me, I shall fall away from imperfect holiness,
unless God by his almighty power keep me.” It is in the power and
purpose of God then, that the believer puts his trust. But since this trust is
awakened by the Holy Spirit, it must be that there is a divine fact
corresponding to it namely, God’s purpose to exert his power in such a
way that the Christian shall persevere. See Wardlaw, Syst, Theol., 2:550-
578; N. W. Taylor, Revealed Theology, 445-460.

Job 6:11 — “What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is
mine end, that I should be patient?” “Here is a note of self-distrust. To be
patient without any outlook, to endure without divine support — Job does
not promise it and he trembles at the prospect but, none the less, he sets
his feet on the toilsome way” (Genung). Dr. Lyman Beecher was asked
whether he believed in the perseverance of the saints. He replied: “I do,
except when the wind is from the East.” But the value of the doctrine is
that we can believe it even when the wind is from the East, It is well to
hold on to God’s hand, but it is better to have God’s hand hold on to us.
When we are weak and forgetful and asleep, we need to be sure of God’s.196
care. Like the child who thought he was driving but who found, after the
trouble was over, that his father after all had been holding the reins, we
too find when danger comes, that behind our hands, are the hands of God.
The Perseverance of the Saints, looked at from the divine side, is the
Preservation of the Saints and the hymn that expresses the Christian’s
faith is the hymn: “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid
for your faith in his excellent word!”
2. Objections to the Doctrine of Perseverance.
These objections are urged chiefly by Arminians and by Romanists.
A. It is inconsistent with human freedom. Answer: It is no more so than is
the doctrine of Election or the doctrine of Decrees.
The doctrine is simply that God will bring to bear such influences upon all
true believers and they will freely persevere. Moule, Outlines of Christian
Doctrine, 47 — “Is grace, in any sense of the word, ever finally
withdrawn? Yes, if by grace is meant any free gift of God tending to
salvation or, more specially, any action of the Holy Spirit tending in its
nature thither. But if by grace be meant the dwelling and working of
Christ in the truly regenerate, there is no indication in Scripture of the
withdrawal of it.”
B. It tends to immorality. Answer: This cannot be, since the doctrine
declares that God will save men by securing their perseverance in holiness.

2 Timothy 2:19 — “Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth,
having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every on
that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness”; that is,
the temple of Christian character has upon its foundation two significant
inscriptions. The one declares God’s power, wisdom and purpose of
salvation and the other declaring the purity and holy activity, on the part
of the believer, through which God’s purpose is to be fulfilled;

1 Peter 1:1, 2 — “elect…according to the foreknowledge of God the
Father in sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the
blood of Jesus Christ “;

2 Peter 1:10, 11 — “Wherefore, brethren,
give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do
these things, ye shall never stumble: for thus shall be richly supplied unto
you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus
C. It leads to indolence. Answer: This is a perversion of the doctrine,
continuously possible only to the unregenerate since, to the regenerate,
certainty of success is the strongest incentive to activity in the conflict with

1 John 5:4 — “For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the
world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our
faith.” It is notoriously untrue that confidence of success inspires timidity
or indolence. Thomas Fuller: “Your salvation is his business; his service
your business.” The only prayers God will answer are those we ourselves
cannot answer. For the very reason that “it is God who worketh in you
both to will and to work, for his good pleasure,” the apostle exhorts:
“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (

2:12, 13).
D. The Scripture commands to persevere and warnings against apostasy
show that certain, even of the regenerate, will fall away. Answer:
(a) They show that some are apparently regenerate and will fall away.

Matthew 18:7 — “Woe unto the world because of occasions of
stumbling! for it must needs be that the occasions come but woe to that
man through whom the occasion cometh”;

1 Corinthians 11:19 —
“For there must be also factions [lit. ‘heresies’] among you, that they that
are approved may be made manifest among you”;

1 John 2:19 —
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of
us, they would have continued with us: but they went out, that they might
be made manifest that they all are not of us.” Judas probably experienced
strong emotions and received strong impulses toward good under the
influence of Christ. The only falling from grace, which is recognized in
Scripture, is not the falling of the regenerate but the falling of the
unregenerate from influences tending to lead them to Christ. The Rabbins
said that a drop of water will suffice to purify a man who has accidentally
touched a creeping thing but an ocean will not suffice for his cleansing so
long as he purposely keeps the creeping thing in his hand.
(b) They show that the truly regenerate, and those who are only apparently
so, are not certainly distinguishable in this life.

Galatians 3:18 — “men shall ye return and discern between the
righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that
serveth him not”;

Matthew 13:25, 47 — “while men slept, his enemy
came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away…Again, the.198
kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and
gathered of every kind”;

1 Kings 9:6, 7 — “For they are not all Israel,
that are of Israel: neither, because they are Abraham’s seed, are they all

Revelation 3:1 — “I know thy works, that thou hast a name
that thou livest, and thou art dead.” The tares that were never wheat and
the bad fish never were good, in spite of the fact that their true nature was
not for a while recognized.
(c) They show the fearful consequences of rejecting Christ to those who
have enjoyed special divine influences but who are only apparently

Hebrews 10:26-29 — “For if we sin willfully after that we have
received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice
for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of
fire which shall devour the adversaries. A man that hath set at nought
Moses’ law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three
witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged
worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the
blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and
hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Here “sanctified” = external
sanctification, like that of the ancient Israelites, by outward connection
with God’s people; cf.

1 Corinthians 7:14 — “the unbelieving husband
is sanctified in the wife.”
In considering these and the following Scripture passages, much will
depend upon our view of inspiration. If we hold that Christ’s promise was
fulfilled and that his apostles were led into all the truth, we shall assume
that there is unity in their teaching, and shall recognize in their variations
only aspects and applications of the teaching of our Lord. In other words,
Christ’s doctrine in

John 10:28, 29 will be the norm for the
interpretation of seemingly diverse and at first sight inconsistent passages.
There was a “faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints,” and
for this primitive faith we are exhorted “to contend earnestly” (Jude 3).
(d) They show what the fate of the truly regenerate would be, in case they
should not persevere.

Hebrews 6:4-6 — “For as touching those who were once enlightened
and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy
Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to
come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto
repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and.199
put him to an open shame.” This is to be understood as a hypothetical
case, as is clear from verse 9 which follows: “But, beloved, we are
persuaded better things of you, and things which accompany salvation,
though we thus speak.” Dr. A. C. Kendrick, Com. in loco: “In the phrase
‘once enlightened,’ the ‘once’ is a]pax = once for all. The text describes a
condition subjectively possible, and therefore needing to be held up in
earnest warning to the believer, while objectively and in the absolute
purpose of God, it never occurs. If passages like this teach the possibility
of falling from grace, they teach also the Impossibility of restoration to it.
The saint who once apostatizes has apostatized forever.” So

18:24 — “when the righteous turneth any from his righteousness, and
committeth iniquity…in them shall he die”;

2 Peter 2:20 — “For if,
after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge
of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and
overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first.” So, in

Matthew 5:13 — “if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be
salted?” If this teaches that the regenerate may lose their religion, it also
teaches that they can never recover it. It really shows only that Christians
who do not perform their proper functions as Christians become harmful
and contemptible (Broadus, in loco).
(e) They show that the perseverance of the truly regenerate may be secured
by these very commands and warnings.

1 Corinthians 9:27 — “I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage:
lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be
rejected” or, to bring out the meaning more fully: “I beat my body blue
[or, ‘strike it under the eye’], and make it a slave, lest after having been a
herald to others, I myself should be rejected” (‘unapproved,’ ‘counted
unworthy of the prize’); 10:12 — “Wherefore let him that thinketh he
standeth take heed lest he fall” Quarles, Emblems: “The way to be safe is
never to be secure.” Wrightnour: “Warning a traveler to keep a certain
path, and by this means keeping him in that path, is no evidence that he
will ever fall into a pit by the side of the path simply because he is warned
of it.”
(f) They do not show that it is certain, or possible, that any truly regenerate
person will fall away.
The Christian is like a man making his way up-hill, who occasionally
slips back, yet always has his face set toward the summit. The
unregenerate man has his face turned downwards, and he is slipping all.200
the way. C. H. Spurgeon: “The believer, like a man on shipboard, may
fall again and again on the deck, but he will never fall overboard.”
E. We have actual examples of such apostasy. We answer:
(a) Such are either men once outwardly reformed, like Judas and Ananias,
but never renewed in heart.
But, per contra, instance the experience of a man in typhoid fever, who
apparently repented, but who never remembered it when he was restored
to health. Sickbed and deathbed conversions are not the best. There was
one penitent thief, that none might despair, there was but one penitent
thief, that none might presume. The hypocrite is like the wire that gets
secondhand electricity from the live wire running parallel with it. This
secondhand electricity is effective only within narrow limits and its
efficacy is soon exhausted. The live wire has connection with the source
of power in the dynamo.
(b) Or they are regenerate men, who, like David and Peter, have fallen into
temporary sin, from which they will, before death, be reclaimed by God’s
Instance the young profligate who, in a moment of apparent drowning,
repented was then rescued, and afterward lived a long life as a Christian.
If he had not been rescued, his repentance would never have been known
nor the answer to his mother’s prayers. So, in the moment of a
backslider’s death, God can renew repentance and faith. Cromwell on his
deathbed questioned his Chaplain as to the doctrine of final perseverance,
and, on being assured that it was a certain truth, said: “Then I am happy,
for I am sure that I was once in a state of grace.” But reliance upon a past
experience is like trusting in the value of a policy of life insurance upon
which several years’ premiums have been unpaid. If the policy has not
lapsed, it is because of extreme grace. The only conclusive evidence of
perseverance is a present experience of Christ’s presence and indwelling,
corroborated by active service and purity of life.
On the general subject, see Edwards, Works, 3:509-532, and 4:104;
Ridgeley, Body of Divinity, 2:161-194; John Owen, Works, vol. 11,
Woods, Works, 3:211-246; Van Oosterzee, Christian Dogmatics, 662-
(a) The church of Christ, in its largest signification, is the whole company
of regenerate persons in all times and ages, in heaven and on earth

Matthew 16:18;

Ephesians 1:22, 23; 3:10; 5:24, 25; Colossians

Hebrews 12:23). In this sense, the church is identical with the
spiritual kingdom of God; both signify that redeemed humanity in which
God in Christ exercises actual spiritual dominion (

John 3:3, 5).

Matthew 16:18 — “thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my
church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”;

1:22, 23“and he put all things in subjection under his feet and gave him to
be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of
him that filleth all in all”; 3:10 — “to the intent that now unto the
principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known
through the church the manifold wisdom of God”; 5:24, 25 — “But as the
church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in
everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the
church, and gave himself up for it”;

Colossians 1:18 — “And he is the
head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the
dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence”;

12:23 — “the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are
enrolled in heaven”;

John 3:3, 5 — “Except one be born anew, he
cannot see the kingdom of God…Except one be born of water and the
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Cicero’s words apply here: “Una navis est jam bonorum omnium” — all
good men are in one boat. Cicero speaks of the state but it is still truer of
the church invisible. Andrews, in Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan. 1883:14,.202
mentions the following differences between the church and kingdom or, as
we prefer to say, between the visible church and the invisible church:
(1) the church began with Christ, the kingdom began earlier,
(2) the church is confined to believers in the historic Christ, the kingdom
includes all God’s children,
(3) the church belongs wholly to this world, not so the kingdom,
(4) the church is visible, not so the kingdom,
(5) the church has quasi organic character, and leads out into local churches,
not so with the kingdom. On the universal or invisible church, see Cremer,
Lexicon N. T., transl., 113, 114, 331; Jacob, Ecclesiastical Polity of N. T.,
H. C. Vedder: “The church is a spiritual body, consisting only of those
regenerated by the Spirit of God.” Yet the Westminster Confession
affirms that the church consists of all those throughout the world that
profess the true religion, together with their children.” This definition
includes in the church a multitude who not only give no evidence of
regeneration but who plainly show themselves to be unregenerate. In
many lands it practically identifies the church with the world. Augustine
indeed thought that “the field,” In

Matthew 13:38, is the church,
whereas Jesus says very distinctly that it “is the world.” Augustine held
that good and bad alike were to be permitted to dwell together in the
church without attempt to separate them. See Broadus, Com. in loco. But
the parable gives a reason, not why we should not try to put the wicked
out of the church, but why God does not immediately put them out of the
world; the tares being separated from the wheat only at the final judgment
of mankind.
Yet the universal church includes all true believers. It fulfills the promise
of God to Abraham in

Genesis 15:5 — “Look now toward heaven and
number the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him,
So shall thy seed be.” The church shall be immortal, since it draws its life
from Christ:

Isaiah 65:22 — “as the days of a tree shall be the days of
my people”;

Zechariah 4:2, 3 — “a candlestick all of gold and two
olive trees by it.” Dean Stanley, Life and Letters, 2:242, 243 — “A
Spanish Roman Catholic, Cervantes, said: ‘Many are the roads by which
God carries his own to heaven.’ Dollinger: ‘Theology must become a
science not, as heretofore for making war, but for making peace and thus
bringing about that reconciliation of churches for which the whole.203
civilized world is longing.’ In their loftiest moods of inspiration, the
Catholic Thomas • Kempis, the Puritan Milton, the Anglican Keble, rose
above their peculiar tenets, and above the limits that divide
denominations, into the higher regions of a common Christianity. It was
the Baptist Bunyan who taught the world that there was ‘a common
ground of communion, which no difference of external rites could efface.’
It was the Moravian Gambold who wrote: ‘The man That could surround
the sum of things, and spy The heart of God and secrets of his empire,
Would speak but love. With love, the bright result Would change the hue
of intermediate things, And make one thing of all theology.”’
(b) The church, in this large sense, is nothing less than the body of Christ,
the organism to which he gives spiritual life and through which he
manifests the fullness of his power and grace. The church therefore cannot
be defined in merely human terms, as an aggregate of individuals associated
for social, benevolent or even spiritual purposes. There is a transcendent
element in the church. It is the great company of persons whom Christ has
saved, in whom he dwells, to whom and through whom he reveals God

Ephesians 1:22, 23).

Ephesians 1:22, 33 — “the church, which is his body, the fullness of
him that filleth all in all.” He who is the life of nature and of humanity
reveals himself most fully in the great company of those who have joined
themselves to him by faith. Union with Christ is the presupposition of the
church. This alone transforms the sinner into a Christian and this alone
makes possible that vital and spiritual fellowship between individuals,
which constitutes the organizing principle of the church. The same divine
life, which ensures the pardon and the perseverance of the believer, unites
him to all other believers. The indwelling Christ makes the church
superior to and more permanent than all humanitarian organizations; they
die but because Christ lives, the church lives also. Without a proper
conception of this sublime relation of the church to Christ, we cannot
properly appreciate our dignity as church members or our high calling as
shepherds of the flock. Not “ubi ecclesia, ibi Christus,” but “ubi Christus,
ibi ecclesia,” should be our motto, Because Christ is omnipresent and
omnipotent, “the same yesterday, and today, yea and forever”

Hebrews 13:8). What Burke said of the nation is true of the church: It
is “indeed a partnership, but a partnership not only between those who are
living but between those who are living, those who are dead and those
who are yet to be born.”.204
McGiffert, Apostolic Church, 501 — “Paul’s conception of the church as
the body of Christ was first emphasized and developed by Ignatius. He
reproduces in his writings the substance of all the Paulinism that the
church at large made permanently its own. The conception is the
preexistence and deity of Christ, the union of the believer with Christ
without which the Christian life is impossible, the importance of Christ’s
death, the church the body of Christ. Rome never fully recognized Paul’s
teachings, but her system rests upon his doctrine of the church the body of
Christ. The modern doctrine however makes the kingdom to be not
spiritual or future but a reality of this world.” The redemption of the
body, the redemption of institutions, the redemption of nations is indeed,
all purposed by Christ. Christians should not only strive to rescue
individual men from the slough of vice but they should devise measures
for draining that slough and making that vice impossible. In other words,
they should labor for the coming of the kingdom of God in society. But
this is not to identify the church with polities, prohibition, libraries or
athletics. The spiritual fellowship is to be the fountain from which all
these activities spring, while at the same time Christ’s “kingdom is not of
this world” (

John 18:36).
A. J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 24, 25, 207 — “As Christ is the
temple of God, so the church is the temple of the Holy Spirit. As God
could be seen only through Christ, so the Holy Spirit can be seen only
through the church. As Christ was the image of the invisible God, so the
church is appointed to be the image of the invisible Christ, and the
members of Christ, when they are glorified with him, shall be the express
image of his person. The church and the kingdom are not identical terms,
if we mean by the kingdom the visible reign and government of Jesus
Christ on earth. In another sense they are identical. As is the king, so is
the kingdom. The king is present now in the world, only invisibly and by
the Holy Spirit, so the kingdom is now present invisibly and spiritually in
the hearts of believers. The king is to come again visibly and gloriously,
so shall the kingdom appear visibly and gloriously. In other words, the
kingdom is already here in mystery; it is to be here in manifestation. Now
the spiritual kingdom, which extends from Pentecost to Parousia is being
administered by the Holy Spirit. At the Parousia — the appearing of the
Son of man in glory — when he shall take unto himself his great power
and reign (

Revelation 11:17), when he who has now gone into a far
country to be invested with a kingdom shall return and enter upon his
government (

Luke 19:15). At that time, the invisible shall give way to
the visible, the kingdom in mystery shall emerge into the kingdom in.205
manifestation and the Holy Spirit’s administration shall yield to that of
(c) The Scriptures, however, distinguish between this invisible or universal
church and the individual church, in which the universal church takes a
local and temporal form and in which the idea of the church as a whole is
concretely exhibited.

Matthew 10:32 — “Every one therefore, who shall Confess me before
men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven” 12:34, 35
“out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. The good man out
of his good treasure bringeth forth good things”;

Romans 10:10 — “if
thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy
heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt he saved: for with the
heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is
made unto salvation”;

James 1:18 — “Of his own will he brought us
forth by the word of truth, that we should he a kind of first fruits of his
creatures” — we were saved, not for ourselves only, but as parts and
beginnings of an organic kingdom of God; believers arc called “first
fruits,” because from them the blessing shall spread until the whole world
shall be pervaded with the new life; Pentecost, as the feast of first-fruits,
was bit the beginning of a stream that shall continue to flow until the
whole race of man as gathered in.
R. S. Storrs: “When any truth becomes central and vital, there comes the
desire to utter it,” and we may add, not only in words, but in organization.
So beliefs crystallize into institutions. But Christian faith is something
more vital than the common beliefs of the world. Linking the soul to
Christ, it brings Christians into living fellowship with one another before
any bonds of outward organization exist; outward organization, indeed,
only expresses and symbolizes this inward union of spirit to Christ and to
one another. Horatius Bonar: “Thou must be true thyself, If thou the truth
wouldst teach; Thy soul must overflow, if thou Another’s soul wouldst
reach; It needs the overflow of heart To give the lips full speech. Think
truly, and thy thoughts Shall the world’s famine feed; Speak truly, and
each word of thine Shall be a fruitful seed; Live truly, and thy life shall be
A great and noble creed.”
Contentio Veritatis, 128, 129 — “The kingdom of God is first a state of
the individual soul, and then, secondly, a society made up of those who
enjoy that state.” Dr. F. L. Patton: “The best way for a man to serve the
church at large is to serve the church to which he belongs.” Herbert Stead:
“The kingdom is not to be narrowed down to the church nor the church.206
evaporated into the kingdom.” To do the first is to set up a monstrous
ecclesiasticism; to do the second is to destroy the organism through which
the kingdom manifests itself and does its work in the world (W. R.
Taylor). Prof. Dalman, in his work on The Words of Jesus in the Light of
Post-biblical Writing and the Aramaic Language, contends that the Greek
phrase translated “kingdom of God” should be rendered “the sovereignty
of God.” He thinks that it points to the reign of God rather than to the
realm over which he reigns. This rendering, if accepted, takes away
entirely the support from the Ritschlian conception of the kingdom of God
as an earthly and outward organization.
(d) The individual church may be defined as that smaller company of
regenerate persons, who, in any given community unite themselves
voluntarily together in accordance with Christ’s laws, for the purpose of
securing the complete establishment of his kingdom in themselves and in
the world.

Matthew 18:17 — “And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the
church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the
Gentile and the publican;

Acts 14:23 — “appointed for them elders in
every church”;

Romans 16:5 — “salute the church that is in their

1 Corinthians 1:2 — “the church of God which is at Corinth”;
4:17 — “even as I teach everywhere in every church”;

1 Thess. 2:14
— “the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus.”
We do not define the church as a body of “baptized believers,” because
baptism is but one of “Christ’s laws,” in accordance with which believers
unite themselves. Since these laws are the laws of church organization
contained in the New Testament, no Sunday School, Temperance Society
or Young Men’s Christian Association, is properly a church. These
organizations lack the transcendent element (they are instituted and
managed by man only). They are not confined to the regenerate or to those
alone who give credible evidence of regeneration, they presuppose and
require no particular form of doctrine. They observe no ordinances, they
are at best mere adjuncts and instruments of the church, but are not
themselves churches and their decisions therefore are devoid of the divine
authority and obligation which belong to the decisions of the church.
The laws of Christ, in accordance with which believers unite themselves
into churches, may be summarized as follows:
(1) The sufficiency and sole authority of Scripture as the rule both of
doctrine and polity..207
(2) Credible evidence of regeneration and conversion as prerequisite to
church membership.
(3) Immersion only, as answering to Christ’s command of baptism and to
the symbolic meaning of the ordinance.
(4) The order of the ordinances, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, as of
divine appointment as well as the ordinances themselves.
(5) The right of each member of the church to a voice in its government
and discipline.
(6) Each church, while holding fellowship with other churches, solely
responsible to Christ.
(7) The freedom of the individual conscience and the total independence of
church and state.
Hovey in his Restatement of Denominational Principles (Am. Bap. Pub.
Society) gives these principles as follows:
1. The supreme authority of the Scriptures in matters of religion.
2. Personal accountability to God in religion.
3. Union with Christ essential to salvation.
4. A new life the only evidence of that union.
5. The new life, one of unqualified obedience to Christ. The most concise
statement of Baptist doctrine and history is that of Vedder, in Jackson’s
Dictionary of Religious Knowledge. 1:74-85.
With the lax views of Scripture, which are becoming common among us
there is a tendency in our day to lose sight of the transcendent element in
the church. Let us remember that the church is not a humanitarian
organization resting upon common human brotherhood but a supernatural
body, which traces its descent from the second, not the first, Adam and
which manifests the power of the divine Christ. Mazzini in Italy claimed
Jesus but repudiated his church. So modern socialists cry: “Liberty,
Equality, Fraternity,” and deny that there is need of anything more than
human unity, development, and culture. But God has made the church to
sit with Christ “in the heavenly places” (

Ephesians 2:6). It is the
regeneration, which comes about through union with Christ, which
constitutes the primary and most essential element in ecclesiology. “We
do not stand, first of all, for restricted communion nor for immersion as.208
the only valid form of baptism nor for any particular theory of Scripture
but rather for a regenerate church membership. The essence of the gospel
is a new life in Christ, of which Christian experience is the outworking,
and Christian consciousness is the witness. Christian life is as important
as conversion. Faith must show itself by works. We must seek the
temporal as well as spiritual salvation of men and the salvation of society
also” (Leighton Williams).
E. G. Robinson: “Christ founded a church only proleptically. In

Matthew 18:17, ejkklhsi>a is not used technically. The church is an
outgrowth of the Jewish synagogue, though its method and economy are
different. There was little or no organization at first. Christ himself did
not organize the church. This was the work of the apostles after Pentecost.
The germ however existed before. Three persons may constitute a church,
and may administer the ordinances. Councils have only advisory
authority. Diocesan episcopacy is anti-scriptural and anti- Christian.”
The principles mentioned above are the essential principles of Baptist
churches, although other bodies of Christians have come to recognize a
portion of them. Bodies of Christians which refuse to accept these
principles we may, in a somewhat loose and modified sense, call churches
but we cannot regard them as churches organized in all respects according
to Christ’s laws or as completely answering to the New Testament model
of church organization. We follow common usage when we address a
Lieutenant Colonel as “Colonel,” and a Lieutenant Governor as
“Governor.” It is only a courtesy to speak of pseudo-Baptist organizations
as “churches,” although we do not regard these churches as organized in
full accordance with Christ’s laws as they are indicated to us in the New
Testament. To refuse thus to recognize them would be a discourtesy like
that of the British Commander in Chief, when he addressed General
Washington as “Mr. Washington.”
As Luther, having found the doctrine of justification by faith, could not
recognize that doctrine as Christian which taught justification by works
but denounced the church, which held it as Antichrist, saying, “Here I
stand; I cannot do otherwise, God help me.” So we, in matters not
indifferent, as feet washing but vitally affecting the existence of the
church, as regenerate church membership, must stand by the New
Testament and refuse to call any other body of Christians a regular
church, that is not organized according to Christ’s laws. The English
word ‘church’ like the Scotch ‘kirk’ and the German ‘Kirche,’ is derived
from the Greek kuriakh>, and means ‘belonging to the Lord.’ The term.209
itself should teach us to regard only Christ’s laws as our rule of
(e) Besides these two signification of the term ‘church,’ there are properly
in the New Testament no others. The word ejkklhsi>a is indeed used in

Acts 7:38; 19 32, 39;

Hebrews 2:12, to designate a popular
assembly but since this is a secular use of the term, it does not here concern
us. In certain passages, as for example

Acts 9:31 (ejkklhsi>a, sing., a

1 Corinthians 12:28,

Philippians 3:6, and

1 Timothy 3:15,
ejkklhsi>a appears to be used either as a generic or as a collective term, to
denote simply the body of independent local churches existing in a given
region or at a given epoch. But since there is no evidence that these
churches were bound together in any outward organization, this use of the
term ejkklhsi>a cannot be regarded as adding any new sense to those of
‘the universal church’ and ‘the local church’ already mentioned.

Acts 7:38 — “the church [margin ‘congregation] in the wilderness” =
the whole body of the people of Israel; 19:32 — the assembly was in
confusion — the tumultuous mob in the theater at Ephesus; 39 — “the
regular assembly”; 9:31 — “So the church throughout all Judea and
Galilee and Samaria had peace; being edified”;

1 Corinthians 12:28 —
“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets,
thirdly teachers”;

Philippians 3:6 — as touching zeal, persecuting the

1 Timothy 3:15 — “that thou mayest know how men ought
to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the
living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
In the original use of the word ejkklhsi>a, as a popular assembly, there
was doubtless an allusion to the derivation from ejk and kale>w, to call
out by herald. Some have held that the N. T. term contains an allusion to
the fact that the members of Christ’s church are called, chosen, elected by
God. This, however, is more than doubtful. In common use, the term had
lost its etymological meaning and signified merely an assembly, however
gathered or summoned. The church was never so large that it could not
assemble, The church of Jerusalem gathered for the choice of deacons

Acts 6:2, 5), and the church of Antioch gathered to hear Paul’s
account of his missionary journey (

Acts 14:27).
It is only by a common figure of rhetoric that many churches are spoken
of together in the singular number, in such passages as

Acts 9:31. We
speak generically of’ ‘man,’ meaning the whole race of men and of ‘the
horse,’ meaning all horses. Gibbon, speaking of the successive tribes that.210
swept down upon the Roman Empire, uses a noun in the singular number,
and describes them as “the several detachments of that immense army of
northern barbarians,” — yet he does not mean to intimate that these tribes
had any common government. So we may speak of “the American
college” or “the American theological seminary,” but we do not thereby
mean that the colleges or the seminaries are bound together by any tie of
outward organization.
So Paul says that God has set in the church apostles, prophets, and

1 Corinthians 12:28), but the word ‘church’ is only a
collective term for the many independent churches.
In this same sense, we may speak of “the Baptist church” of New York or
of America. It must be remembered that we use the term without any such
implication of common government as is involved in the phrases ‘the
Presbyterian Church’ or ‘the Protestant Episcopal Church’ or ‘the Roman
Catholic Church.’ With us, in this connection, the term ‘church’ means
simply ‘churches.’
Broadus, in his Com. on Matthew, page 359, suggests that the word
ejkklhsi>a in

Acts 9:31, “denotes the original church at Jerusalem,
whose members were by the persecution widely scattered throughout
Judea and Galilee and Samaria and held meetings wherever they were but
still belonged to the one original organization. When Paul wrote to the
Galatians, nearly twenty years later, these separate meetings had been
organized into distinct churches and so he speaks (

Galatians 1:22) in
reference to that same period, of “the churches of Jafiza which were in
Christ.” On the meaning of ejkklhsi>a see Cremer, Lex. N. T., 329;
Trench, Syn. N. T., 1:18; Girdlestone, Syn. O. T., 367; Curtis, Progress
of Baptist Principles, 301; Dexter, Congregationalism, 25; Dagg, Church
Order, 100-120; Robinson, N. T. Lex., sub voce.
The prevailing usage of the N. T. gives to the term ejkklhsi>a the second
of these two significant meanings. It is this local church only which has
definite and temporal existence and of this alone we henceforth treat. Our
definition of the individual church implies the two following particulars:
A. The church, like the family and the state, is an institution of divine
appointment. This is plain:
(a) from its relation to the church universal as its concrete embodiment,
(b) from the fact that its necessity is grounded in the social and religious
nature of man,.211
(c) from the Scripture, as for example, Christ’s command in

18:17, and the designation ‘church of God,’ applied to individual churches

1 Corinthians 1:2).
President Wayland: “The universal church comes before the particular
church. The society which Christ has established is the foundation of
every particular association calling itself a church of Christ.” Andrews in
Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan. 1853:35-58, on the conception ejkklhsi>a in the
N. T., says that “the ‘church’ is the prius of all local ‘churches.’
ejkklhsi>a in

Acts 9:31 = the church, so far as represented in those
provinces. It is ecumenical local, as in

1 Corinthians 10:33. The local
church is a microcosm, a specialized localization of the universal body.
lh;q;, in the O. T. and in the Targums, means the whole congregation of
Israel, and then secondarily those local bodies which were parts and
representations of the whole. Christ, using Aramaic, probably used lh;q;

Matthew 18:17. He took his idea of the church from it, not from the
heathen use of the word ejkklhsi>a, which expresses the notion of locality
and state much more than the lh;q;. The larger sense of ejkklhsi>a is the
primary. Local churches are points of consciousness and activity for the
great all inclusive unit and they are not themselves the units for an
ecclesiastical aggregate. They are faces, not parts of the one church.”
Christ, in

Matthew 18:17, delegates authority to the whole
congregation of believers and, at the same time, limits authority to the
local church. The local church is not an end in itself but exists for the sake
of the kingdom. Unity is not to be that of merely local churches but that of
the kingdom, and that kingdom is internal, “cometh not with observation”

Luke 17:20), but consists in “righteousness and peace and joy in the
Holy Spirit” (

Romans 14:17). In the universal sense, the word
“church” is not employed by any other N. T. writer before Paul’s
writings. Paul was interested, not simply in individual conversions but he
was more interested in the growth of the church of God as the body of
Christ. He held to the unity of all local churches with the mother church at
Jerusalem. The church in a city or in a house is merely a local
manifestation of the one universal church and derived its dignity
therefrom. Teaching of the Twelve Apostles: “As this broken bread was
scattered upon the mountains, and being gathered became one, so may thy
church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom.”
Sabatier, Philos. Religion, 92 — “The social action of religion springs
from its very essence. Men of the same religion have no more imperious
need than that of praying and worshiping together. State police have.212
always failed to confine growing religious sects within the sanctuary or
the home. God, it is said, is the place where spirits blend. In rising toward
him, man necessarily passes beyond the limits of his own individuality. He
feels instinctively that the principle of his being is the principle of the life
of his brethren also, that that which gives him safety must give it to all.”
Rothe held that, as men reach the full development of their nature and
appropriate the perfection of the Savior, the separation between the
religious and the moral life will vanish and the Christian state, as the
highest sphere of human life representing all human functions, will
displace the church. “In proportion as the Savior Christianizes the state
by means of the church, must the progressive completion of the structure
of the church prove the cause of its abolition. The decline of the church is
not therefore to be deplored but is to be recognized as the consequence of
the independence and completeness of the religious life” (Encyc. Brit.,
21:2). But it might equally be maintained that the state, as well as the
church, will pass away when the kingdom of God is fully come. See

John 4:21 — “the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in
Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father”;

1 Corinthians 15:24 —
“Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even
the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and

Revelation 21:22 — “And I saw no temple therein: for the
Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb, are the temple thereof.”
B. The church, unlike the family and the state, is a voluntary society.
(a) This results from the fact that the local church is the outward
expression of that rational and free life in Christ, which characterizes the
church as a whole. In this it differs from those other organizations of divine
appointment, entrance into which is not optional. Membership in the
church is not hereditary or compulsory.
(b) The doctrine of the church, as thus defined, is a necessary outgrowth of
the doctrine of regeneration. As this fundamental spiritual change is
mediated not by outward appliances but by inward and conscious reception
of Christ and his truth, union with the church logically follows, not
precedes, the soul’s spiritual union with Christ.
We have seen that the church is the body of Christ. We now perceive that
the church is, by the impartation to it of Christ’s life, made a living body
with duties and powers of its own. A. J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit,
53, emphasizes the preliminary truth. He shows that the definition — the
church, a voluntary association of believers, united together for the
purposes of worship and edification, is most inadequate, not to say.213
incorrect. It is no more true than that hands and feet are voluntarily united
in the human body for the purposes of locomotion and work. The church
is formed from within. Christ, present by the Holy Ghost, regenerating
men by the sovereign action of the Spirit and organizing them into himself
as the living center, is the only principle that can explain the existence of
the church. The Head and the body are therefore One — one in fact and
one in name. He whom God anointed and filled with the Holy Ghost is
called “the Christ” (

1 John 5:1 — “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is
the Christ is begotten of God”); and the church which is his body and
fullness is also called “the Christ” (

1 Corinthians 12:12 — “all the
members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is the Christ”).
Dorner includes under his doctrine of the church:
(1) The genesis of the church through the new birth of the Spirit or
(2) The growth and persistence of the church through the continuous
operation of the Spirit in the means of grace, or Ecclesiology proper, as others
call it.
(3) The completion of the church, or Eschatology. While this scheme seems
designed to favor a theory of baptismal regeneration, we must commend its
recognition of the fact that the doctrine of the church grows out of the doctrine
of regeneration and is determined in its nature by it. If regeneration has always
conversion for its obverse side and if Conversion always includes faith in
Christ, it is vain to speak of regeneration without faith. And if union with the
church is but the outward expression of a preceding union with Christ, which
involves regeneration and conversion then involuntary church membership is
an absurdity and a misrepresentation of the whole method of salvation.
‘The value of compulsory religion may be illustrated from David Hume’s
experience. A godly matron of the Canongate, so runs the story, when
Hume sank in the mud in her vicinity and, on account of his obesity, could
not get out, compelled the skeptic to say the Lord’s Prayer before she
would help him. Amos Kendall, on the other hand, concluded in his old
age that he had not been acting on Christ’s plan for saving the world, and
so, of his own accord, connected himself with the church. Martineau,
Study, 1:319 — “Till we come to the State and the Church, we do not
reach the highest organism of human life, into the perfect working of
which all the disinterested affections and moral enthusiasms and noble
ambitions flow.”.214
Socialism abolishes freedom, which the church cultivates and insists upon
as the principle of its life. Tertullian: “Nec religionis est cogere
religionem” — “It is not the business of religion to compel religion.”
Vedder, History of the Baptists: “The community of goods in the church
at Jerusalem was a purely voluntary matter. See

Acts 5:4 — ‘While it
remained, did it not remain thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in
thy power?’ The community of goods does not seem to have continued in
the church at Jerusalem after the temporary stress had been relieved and
there is no reason to believe that any other church in the apostolic age
practiced anything of the kind.” By abolishing freedom, socialism destroys
all possibility of economical progress. The economical principle of
socialism is that, relatively to the enjoyment of commodities, the
individual shall be taken care of by the community, to the effect of his
being relieved of the care of himself. The communism in the Acts was not
for the community of mankind in general but only for the church within
itself, it was not obligatory but left to the discretion of individuals and
was it not permanent but devised for a temporary crisis. On socialism, see
James MacGregor, in Presb. and Ref. Rev., Jan. 1892:35-68.
Schurman, Agnosticism, 166 — “Few things are of more practical
consequence for the future of religion in America than the duty of all good
men to become identified with the visible church. Liberal thinkers have, as
a rule, underestimated the value of the church. Their point of view is
individualistic, ‘as though a man were author of himself and knew no
other kin.’ ‘The old is for slaves,’ they declare. But it is also true that the
old is for freedmen who know its true uses. It is the bane of the religion of
dogma that it has driven many of the choicest religious souls out of the
churches. In its purification of the temple, it has lost sight of the object of
the temple. The church, as an institution, is an organism and embodiment
such as the religion of spirit necessarily creates. Spiritual religion is not
the enemy, it is the essence, of institutional religion.”
1. The fact of organization.
Organization may exist without knowledge of writing, without written
records, lists of members, or formal choice of officers. These last are the
proofs, reminders and helps of organization but they are not essential to it.
It is however not merely informal but formal organization in the church, to
which the New Testament bears witness.
That there was such organization is abundantly shown from.215
(a) its stated meetings,
(b) elections, and
(c) officers,
(d) from the designations of its ministers, together with
(e) the recognized authority of the minister and of the church,
(f) from its discipline,
(g) contributions,
(h) letters of commendation. More is shown from
(i) registers of widows,
(j)uniform customs, and
(k) ordinances,
(l) from the order enjoined and observed,
(m) the qualifications for membership and of
(n) the common work of the whole body.

Acts 20:7 — “upon the first day of the week, when we were
gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them”;

Hebrews 10:25 — “not forsaking our own assembling together, as the
custom of some is, but exhorting one another.”

Acts 1:23-26 — the election of Matthias; 6:5, 6 — the election of

Philippians 1:1 — “the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi,
with the bishops and deacons.”

Acts 20:17, 23 — “the elders of the church . . . . the flock, in
which the Holy Spirit bath made you bishop, [margin: ‘overseers ‘1.”

Matthew 18:17 — “And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the
church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the
Gentile and the publican”;

1 Peter 5:2 — “Tend the flock of God
which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but
willingly, according to the will of God.”

1 Corinthians 5:4, 5, 13 — “in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye
being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the
spirit may he saved in the day of the Lord Jesus…Put away the wicked
man from among yourselves.”

Romans 15:26 — “For it hath been the good pleasure of
Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among.216
the saints that are at Jerusalem”,

1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 — “Now
concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of
Galatia, so also do ye. Upon the first day of the week let each one of you
lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collection be made when I

Acts 18:27 — “And when he was minded to pass over into Achaia,
the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him”;

2 Corinthians 3:1 — “Are we beginning again to commend ourselves?
or need we, as do some epistles of commendation to you or from you ?”

1 Timothy 5:9 — “Let none be enrolled as a widow under
threescore years old”; cf.

Acts 6:1 — “there arose a murmuring of the
Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected
in the daily ministration.’

1 Corinthians 11:16 — “But if any man seemeth to be contentious,
we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”

Acts 2:41 — “They then that received his word were baptized”;

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 — “For I received of the Lord that which also
I delivered unto you” — the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

1 Corinthians 14:40 — “let all things be done decently and in

Colossians 2:5 — “For though I am absent in the flesh yet am
I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the
steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”

Matthew 28:19 — “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the
nation; baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit”;

Acts 2:47 — “And the Lord added to them day by
day those that were being saved.”

Philippians 2:30 — “because for the work of Christ he came nigh
unto death, hazarding his life to supply that which was lacking in your
service toward me.”
As indicative of a developed organization in the N. T. church, of which
only the germ existed before Christ’s death, it is important to notice the
progress in names from the Gospels to the Epistles. In the Gospels, the
word “disciples” is the common designation of Christ’s followers but it is
not once found in the Epistles. In the Epistles, there are only “saints,”
“brethren,” “churches.” A consideration of the facts here referred to is.217
sufficient to evince the unscriptural nature of two modern theories of the
A. The theory that the church is an exclusively spiritual body, destitute of
all formal organization, and bound together only by the mutual relation of
each believer to his indwelling Lord.
The church, upon this view, so far as outward bonds are concerned, is only
an aggregation of isolated units. Those believers, who chance to gather at a
particular place or to live at a particular time, constitute the church of that
place or time. This view is held by the Friends and by the Plymouth
Brethren. It ignores the tendencies to organization inherent in human
nature, confounds the visible with the invisible church and is directly
opposed to the Scripture representations of the visible church as
comprehending some, of whom, are not true believers.

Acts 5:1-11 — Ananias and Sapphira show that the visible church
comprehended some who were not true believers;

1 Corinthians 14:23
— “If therefore the whole church be assembled together and all speak
with tongues, and there come in men unlearned or unbelieving, will they
not say that ye are mad?” — here, if the church had been an unorganized
assembly, the unlearned visitors who came in would have formed a part of

Philippians 3:18 — “For many walk, of whom I told you often, and
now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of
Some years ago a book was placed upon the Index, at Rome, entitled:
“The Priesthood a Chronic Disorder of the Human Race.” The Plymouth
Brethren dislike church organizations for fear they will become machines.
They dislike ordained ministers, for fear they will become bishops. They
object to praying for the Holy Spirit, because he was given on Pentecost,
ignoring the fact that the church after Pentecost so prayed. See

4:31 — “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they
were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and
they spake the word of God with boldness.” What we call a giving or
descent of the Holy Spirit is, since the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, only a
manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit, and this certainly may be
prayed for. See

Luke 11:13 — “If ye then, being evil, know how to
give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly
Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
The Plymouth Brethren would “unite Christendom by its dismemberment
and do away with all sects by the creation of a new sect, more narrow and.218
bitter in its hostility to existing sects than any other.” Yet the tendency to
organize is so strong in human nature, that even Plymouth Brethren, when
they meet regularly together, fall into an informal, if not a formal,
organization, certain teachers and leaders are tacitly recognized as officers
of the body, committees and rules are unconsciously used for facilitating
business. Even one of their own writers, C. H. M. speaks of the “natural
tendency to association without God, as in the Shinar Association or
Babel Confederacy of Gen. 11, which aimed at building up a name upon
the earth. The Christian church is God’s appointed association to take the
place of all these. Hence God confounds the tongues in Gen. 11
(judgment), gives tongues in Acts 2 (grace) but only one tongue is spoken
in Revelations 7 (glory).”
The Nation, Oct. 16, 1890:303 — “Every body of men must have one or
more leaders. If these are not provided, they will make them for
themselves. You cannot get fifty men together, at least of the Anglo-Saxon
race, without their choosing a presiding officer and giving him
power to enforce rules and order.” Even socialists and anarchists have
their leaders, who often exercise arbitrary power and oppress their
followers. Lyman Abbott says nobly of the community of true believers:
“The grandest river in the world has no banks. It rises in the Gulf of
Mexico, it sweeps up through the Atlantic Ocean along our coast, it
crosses the Atlantic, and spreads out in great broad fanlike form along the
coast of Europe. Whatever land that it kisses, there the land blooms and
blossoms with the fruit of its love. The apricot and the fig are the witness
of its fertilizing power. It is bound together by the warmth of its own
particles and by nothing else.” This is a good illustration of the invisible
church and of its course through the world. But the visible church is
bound to be distinguishable from unregenerate humanity and its inner
principle of association inevitably leads to organization.
Dr. Wm. Reid, Plymouth Brethrenism Unveiled, 79-142, attributes to the sect
the following Church principles:
(1) The church did not exist before Pentecost.
(2) The visible and the invisible church identical.
(3) The one assembly of God.
(4) The presidency of the Holy Spirit.
(5) Rejection of a one-man and man-made ministry.
(6) the church is without government.
Also the following heresies:.219
(1) Christ’s heavenly humanity.
(2) Denial of Christ’s righteousness, as being obedience to law.
(3) Denial that Christ’s righteousness is imputed.
(4) Justification in the risen Christ.
(5) Christ’s non-atoning sufferings;
(6) Denial of moral law as rule of life.
(7) The Lord’s day is not the Sabbath.
(8) Perfectionism.
(9) Secret rapture of the saints caught up to be with Christ. To these we may
(10) Pre-millennial advent of Christ.
On the Plymouth Brethren and their doctrine, see British Quar., Oct.
1873:202; Princeton Rev., 1872:48-77; H. M. King, in Baptist Review,
1881:438-465; Fish, Ecclesiology, 314-316; Dagg, Church Order, 80-83;
R. H. Carson, The Brethren, 8-14; J. C. L. Carson, The Heresies of the
Plymouth Brethren; Croskery, Plymouth Brethrenism; Teulon, Hist. and
Teachings of Plymouth Brethren.
B. The theory that the form of church organization is not definitely
prescribed in the New Testament but is a matter of expediency, each body
of believers being permitted to adopt that method of organization which
best suits its circumstances and condition.
The view under consideration seems in some respects to be favored by
Neander and is often regarded as incidental to his larger conception of
church history as a progressive development. But a proper theory of
development does not exclude the idea of a church organization already
complete in all essential particulars before the close of the inspired canon
so that the record of it may constitute a providential example of binding
authority upon all subsequent ages. The view mentioned exaggerates the
differences of practice among the N. T. churches. It underestimates the
need of divine direction as to methods of church union and admits a
principle of ‘church powers,’ which may be historically shown to be
subversive of the very existence of the church as a spiritual body.
Dr. Galusha Anderson finds the theory of optional church government in
Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity and says that not until Bishop Bancroft,
was there claimed a divine right of Episcopacy. Hunt, also, in his
Religious Thought in England, 1:57, says that Hooker gives up the divine
origin of Episcopacy. So Jacob, Ecclesiastical Polity of the N.T., and
Hatch, Organization of Early Christian Churches, both Jacob and Hatch.220
belonging to the Church of England. Hooker identified the church with the
nation. See Ecclesiastical Polity, book viii, chap. 1:7; 4:6; 8:9. He held
that the state has committed itself to the church and that therefore, the
church has no right to commit itself to the state. The assumption,
however, that the state has committed itself to the church is entirely
unwarranted. See Gore, Incarnation, 209, 210. Hooker declares that, even
if the Episcopalian order were laid down in Scripture, which he denies, it
would still not be unalterable. Since neither “God’s being the author of
laws for the government of his church nor his committing them unto
Scripture, is any reason sufficient wherefore all churches should forever
be bound to keep them without change.”
T. M. Lindsay, in Contemp. Rev., Oct 1895:548-563, asserts that there
were at least five different forms of church government in apostolic times.
They were derived from the seven wise men of the Hebrew village
community, representing the political side of the synagogue system. Some
were derived from the ejpisko>pov, the director of the religious or social
club among the heathen Greeks, from the patronate prosta>thv
proista>menov known among the Romans, the churches of Rome,
Corinth, Thessalonica, being of this sort. Others were derived from the
personal prominence of one man, nearest in family to our Lord. James,
being president of the church at Jerusalem and from temporary
superintendents (hJgou>menoi, or leaders of the band of missionaries, as in
Crete and Ephesus. Between all these churches of different polities, there
was intercommunication and fellowship. Lindsay holds that the unity was
wholly spiritual. It seems to us that he has succeeded merely in proving
five different varieties into one generic type (the generic type being only
democratic, with two orders of officials, and two ordinances.) In other
words, in showing that the simple N. T. model adopts itself to many
changing conditions, while the main outlines do not change. Upon any
other theory church polity is a matter of individual taste or of temporary
fashion. Shall church order be conformed by missionaries to the degraded
ideas of the nations among which they labor? Shall church government be
despotic in Turkey, a limited monarchy in England, a democracy in the
United States of America and two-headed in Japan? For the development
theory of Neander, see his Church History, 1:179-190. On the general
subject, see Hitchcock, in Am. Theol. Rev., 1860:28-54; Davidson,
Ecclesiastical Polity, 1-12; Harvey, The Church.
2. The nature of this organization..221
The nature of any organization may be determined by asking first who
constitute its members, secondly, for what object has it been formed and
thirdly, what are the laws, which regulate its operations.
The three questions with which our treatment of the nature of this
organization begins are furnished us by Pres. Wayland, in his Principles and
Practices of Baptists.
A. They only can properly be members of the local church, who have
previously become members of the church universal or, in other words,
have become regenerate persons.
Only those who have been previously united to Christ are, in the New
Testament, permitted to unite with his church. See

Acts 2:47 — “And
the Lord added to them day by day those that were being saved [Am.
Rev.: ‘those that were saved’]”; 5:14 — “and believers were the more
added to the Lord’;

1 Corinthians 1:2 — “the church of God which is
at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to he
saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every
place, their Lord and ours.”
From this limitation of membership to regenerate persons, certain results
(a) Since each member bears supreme allegiance to Christ, the church as a
body must recognize Christ as the only lawgiver. The relation of the
individual Christian to the church does not supersede the church but
furthers and expresses his relation to Christ.

1 John 2:20 — “And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye
know all things” — see Neander, Com., in loco. No believer is at liberty
to forego this maturity and personal independence, bestowed in that
inward anointing [of the Holy Spirit], or to place himself in a dependent
relation, inconsistent with this birthright, to any teacher whatever among
…This inward anointing furnishes an element of resistance to such
arrogated authority.” Here we have reproved the tendency on the part of
ministers to take the place of the church, in Christian work and worship,
instead of leading it forward in work and worship of its own. The
missionary who keeps his converts in prolonged and unnecessary tutelage
is also untrue to the church organization of the New Testament and untrue
to Christ whose aim in church training is to educate his followers to the.222
bearing of responsibility and the use of liberty. Macaulay: “The only
remedy for the evils of liberty is liberty.” “Malo periculosam libertatem”
— “Liberty is to be preferred with all its dangers.” Edwin Burritt Smith:
“There is one thing better than good government, and that is self-government.”
By their own mistakes, a self-governing people and a self-governing
church will finally secure good government whereas the “good
government” which keeps them in perpetual tutelage will make good
government forever impossible.

Psalm 144:12 — “our sons shall be as plants grown up in their
youth.” Archdeacon Hare: “U a gentleman is to grow up, it must be like a
tree; there must be nothing between him and heaven.” What is true of the
gentleman is true of the Christian. There needs to be encouraged and
cultivated in him an independence of human authority and a sole
dependence upon Christ. The most sacred duty of the minister is to make
his church self-governing and self-supporting and the best test of his
success is the ability of the church to live and prosper after he has left it
or after he is dead. Such ministerial work requires self-sacrifice and self-effacement.
The natural tendency of every minister is to usurp authority
and to become a bishop. He has in him an undeveloped pope. Dependence
on his people for support curbs this arrogant spirit. A church
establishment fosters it. The remedy both for slavishness and for
arrogance lies in constant recognition of Christ as the only Lord.
(b) Since each regenerate man recognizes in every other a brother in
Christ, the several members are upon a footing of absolute equality

Matthew 23:8-10).

Matthew 23:8-10 — “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your
teacher, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father on the earth:
for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven”;

John 15:5 — “I am
the vine, ye are the branches.” No one branch of the vine outranks
another. One may be more advantageously situated, more ample in size,
more fruitful but all are alike in kind and draw vitality from one source.
Among the planets “one star differeth from another star in glory” (

Corinthians 15:41), yet all shine in the same heaven, and draw their light
from the same sun. “The serving man may know more of the mind of God
than the scholar.” Christianity has therefore been the foe to heathen
castes. The Japanese noble objected to it, “because the brotherhood of
man was incompatible with proper reverence for rank.” There can be no
rightful human lordship over God’s heritage (

1 Peter 5:3 — “neither
as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but by making yourselves
enemies to the flock”)..223
Constantine thought more highly of his position as member of Christ’s
church than of his position as head of the Roman Empire. Neither the
church nor its pastor should be dependent upon the unregenerate members
of the congregation. Many a pastor is in the position of a lion tamer with
his head in the lion’s mouth. So long as he strokes the fur the right way,
all goes well but, if by accident he strokes the wrong way, off goes his
head. Dependence upon the spiritual body, which he instructs, is
compatible with the pastor’s dignity and faithfulness. But dependence
upon those who are not Christians and who seek to manage the church
with worldly motives and in a worldly way, may utterly destroy the
spiritual effect of his ministry. The pastor is bound to be the impartial
preacher of the truth, and to treat each member of his church as of equal
importance with every other.
(c) Since each local church is directly subject to Christ, there is no
jurisdiction of one church over another but all are on an equal footing and
all are independent of interference or control by the civil power.

Matthew 22:21 — “Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are
Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”;

Acts 5:29 — “We
must obey God rather than men.” As each believer has personal dealings
with Christ and for even the pastor to come between him and his Lord is
treachery to Christ and harmful to his soul. So much more does the New
Testament condemn any attempt to bring the church into subjection to any
other church or combination of churches, or to make the church the
creature of the state. Absolute liberty of conscience under Christ has
always been a distinguishing tenet of Baptists, as it is of the New
Testament (cf.

Romans 14:4 — “Who art thou that judgest the servant
of another? to his own lord he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made
so stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand”). John Locke, 100
years before American independence: “The Baptists were the first and
only propounder of absolute liberty, just and true liberty, equal and
impartial liberty.” George Bancroft says of Roger Williams: “He was the
first person in modern Christendom to assert the doctrine of liberty of
conscience in religion. Freedom of conscience was from the first a trophy
of the Baptists. Their history is written in blood.”
On Roger Williams, see John Fiske, The Beginnings of New England:
“Such views are today quite generally adopted by the more civilized
portions of the Protestant world but it is needless to say that they were not
the views of the sixteenth century, in Massachusetts or elsewhere.” Cotton
Mather said that Roger Williams “carried a windmill in his head,” and
even John Quincy Adams called him “conscientiously contentious.”.224
Cotton Mather’s windmill was one that he remembered or had heard of in
Holland. It had run so fast in a gale as to set itself and a whole town on
fire. Leonard Bacon, Genesis of the New England Churches, vii, says of
Baptist churches: “It has been claimed for these churches that from the
age of the Reformation onward they have been always foremost and
always consistent in maintaining the doctrine of religious liberty. Let me
not be understood as calling in question their right to so great an honor.”
Baptists’ hold that the province of the state is purely secular and civil,
religious matters are beyond its jurisdiction. Yet for economic reasons and
to ensure its own preservation, it may guarantee to its citizens their
religious rights and may exempt all churches equally from burdens of
taxation in the same way in which it exempts schools and hospitals. The
state has holidays but no holy days. Hall Caine, in The Christian, calls the
state, not the pillar of the church, but the caterpillar that eats the vitals out
of it. It is this, when it transcends its sphere and compels or forbids any
particular form of religious teaching. On the charge that Roman Catholics
were deprived of equal rights in Rhode Island, see Am. Cath. Quar. Rev.,
Jan. 1894:169-177. This restriction was not in the original law but was a
note added by revisers, to bring the state law into conformity with the law
of the mother country.

Ezra 8:22 — “I was ashamed to ask of the king
a band of soldiers and horsemen…because…The hand of our God is on all
them that seek him, for good” — is a model for the churches of every age.
The church as an organized body should be ashamed to depend for
revenue upon the state, although its members as citizens may justly
demand that the state protect them in their rights of worship. On State and
Church in 1492 and 1892, see A. H. Strong, Christ in Creation, 209-246,
esp. 239-241. On taxation of church property, and opposing it, see H. C.
Vedder, in Magazine of Christian Literature, Feb. 1890:265-272.
B. The sole object of the local church is the glory of God, in the complete
establishment of his kingdom, both in the hearts of believers and in the
world. This object is to be promoted:
(a) By united worship including prayer and religions instruction,
(b) by mutual watch care and exhortation,
(c) by common labors for the reclamation of the impenitent world.

Hebrews 10:25 — “not forsaking our own assembling together, as
the custom of some is, but exhorting one another.” One burning coal by
itself will soon grow dull and go out, but a hundred together will give a
fury of flame that will set fire to others. Notice the value of “the crowd”.225
in politics and in religion. One may get an education without going to
school or college and may cultivate religion apart from the church but the
number of such people will be small and they do not choose the best way
to become intelligent or religious.

1Thess. 5:11 — “Wherefore exhort one another, and build each
other up, even as also ye do”;

Hebrews 3:13 — “Exhort one another
day by day, so long as it is called Today; lest any one of you he hardened
by the deceitfulness of sin.” Churches exist in order to create ideals,
supply motives and direct energies. They are the leaven hidden in the three
measures of meal. But there must be life in the leaven or no good will
come of it. There is no use of taking to China a lamp that will not burn in
America. The light that shines the furthest shines brightest nearest home.

Matthew 28:19 — “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the

Acts 8:4 — “They therefore that were scattered abroad went
about preaching the word”;

2 Corinthians 8:5 — “and this, not as we
had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us
through the will of God”; Jude23 — “And on some have mercy, who are
in doubt and some save, snatching them out of the fire.” Inscribed upon a
mural tablet of a Christian church, in Aneityum in the South Seas to the
memory of Dr. John Geddie, the pioneer missionary in that field, are the
words: “When he came here, there were no Christians; when he went
away, there were no heathen.” Inscription over the grave of David
Livingstone in Westminster Abbey: “For thirty years his life was spent in
an unwearied effort to evangelize the native races, to explore the
undiscovered secrets, to abolish the desolating slave trade of Central
Africa, where with his last words he wrote: ‘All I can add in my solitude
is, May Heaven’s richest blessing come down on everyone, American,
English or Turk, who will help to heal this open sore of the world.’”
C. The law of the church is simply the will of Christ, as expressed in the
Scriptures and interpreted by the Holy Spirit. This law respects:
(a) The qualifications for membership. These are regeneration and baptism,
i.e., spiritual new birth and ritual new birth. The surrender of the inward
and of the outward life to Christ, the spiritual entrance into communion
with Christ’s death and resurrection, and the formal profession of this to
the world by being buried with Christ and rising with him in baptism.
(b) The duties imposed on members. In discovering the will of Christ from
the Scriptures, each member has the right of private judgment, being.226
directly responsible to Christ for his use of the means of knowledge and for
his obedience to Christ’s commands when these are known.
How far does the authority of the church extend? It certainly has no right
to say what its members shall eat and drink, to what societies they shall
belong, what alliances in marriage or in business they shall contract. It
has no right, as an organized body, to suppress vice in the community or
to regenerate society by taking sides in a political canvass. The members
of the church, as citizens, have duties in all these lines of activity. The
function of the church is to give them religious preparation and stimulus
for their work. In this sense, however, the church is to influence all human
relations. It follows the model of the Jewish commonwealth rather than
that of the Greek state. The Greek po>liv was limited because it was the
affirmation of only personal rights. The Jewish commonwealth was
universal because it was the embodiment of the one divine will. The
Jewish state was the most comprehensive of the ancient world, admitting
freely the incorporation of new members and looking forward to a
worldwide religious communion in one faith. So the Romans gave to
conquered lands the protection and the rights of Rome. But the Christian
church is the best example of incorporation in conquest. See Westcott,
Hebrews, 386, 387; John Fiske, Beginnings of New England, 1-20; Dagg,
Church Order, 74-99; Curtis on Communion, 1-61.
Abraham Lincoln: “This country cannot be half slave and half free” = the
one part will pull the other over; there is an irrepressible conflict between
them. So it is with the forces of Christ and of Antichrist in the world at
large. Alexander Duff: “The church that ceases to be evangelistic will
soon cease to be evangelical.” We may add that the church that ceases to
be evangelical will soon cease to exist. The Fathers of New England
proposed “to advance the gospel in these remote parts of the world, even
if they should be but as stepping stones to those who were to follow
them.” They little foresaw how their faith and learning would give
character to the great West. Church and school went together. Christ
alone is the Savior of the world, but Christ alone cannot save the world.
Zinzendorf called his society “The Mustard seed Society” because it
should remove mountains (

Matthew 17:20). Hermann, Faith and
Morals, 91, 238 — “It is not by means of things that pretend to be
imperishable that Christianity continues to live on. But by the fact that
there are always persons to be found who, by their contact with the Bible
traditions become witnesses to the personality of Jesus and follow him as
their guide and therefore acquire sufficient courage to sacrifice themselves
for others.”.227
3. The genesis of this organization.
(a) The church existed in germ before the day of Pentecost, otherwise
there would have been nothing to which those converted upon that day
could have been “added” (

Acts 2:47). Among the apostles, regenerate
as they were, united to Christ by faith and in that faith baptized (

19:4), under Christ’s instruction and engaged in common work for him,
there were already the beginnings of organization. There was a treasurer of
the body (

John 13:29), and as a body they celebrated for the first time
the Lord’s Supper (

Matthew 26:26-29). To all intents and purposes
they constituted a church, although the church was not yet fully equipped
for its work by the outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2), and by the
appointment of pastors and deacons. The church existed without officers,
as in the first days succeeding Pentecost.

Acts 2:47 — “And the Lord added to them [margin: ‘together’] day by
day those that were being saved”; 19:4 — “And Paul said, John baptized
with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should
believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus”;

13:29 — “For some thought because Judas had the bag, that Jesus said
unto him, Buy what things we have need of for the feast; or, that he
should give something to the poor”;

Matthew 26:26-29 — “And as
they were eating, Jesus took bread…and he gave to the disciples, and said,
Take, eat . And he took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying;
Drink ye all of it”; Acts 2 — the Holy Spirit is poured out. It is to be
remembered that Christ himself is the embodied union between God and
man, the true temple of God’s indwelling. So soon as the first believer
joined himself to Christ, the church existed in miniature and germ.
A.J. Gordon. Ministry of the Spirit, 55, quotes

Acts 2:41 — “and
there were added,” not to them, or to the church, but, as in

Acts 5:14,
and 11:24 — “to the Lord.” This, Dr. Gordon declares, means not a
mutual union of believers but their divine co-uniting with Christ, not
voluntary association of Christians, but their sovereign incorporation into
the Head and this incorporation effected by the Head, through the Holy
Spirit. The old proverb, “Tres faciunt ecclesiam,” is always true when one
of the three is Jesus (Dr. Deems). Cyprian was wrong when he said that
“he who has not the church for his mother, has not God for his Father” for
this could not account for the conversion of the first Christian and it
makes salvation dependent upon the church rather than upon Christ. The
Cambridge Platform, 1648, chapter 6, makes officers essential, not to the
being, but only to the well being of churches, and declares that elders and.228
deacons are the only ordinary officers. See Dexter, Congregationalism,
Fish, Ecclesiology, 14-1l, by a striking analogy, distinguishes three
periods of the church’s life: First is the pre-natal period, in which the
church is not separated from Christ’s bodily presence, secondly, the
period of childhood, in which the church is under tutelage, preparing for
an independent life. Third is the period of maturity, in which the church,
equipped with doctrines and officers, is ready for self-government. The
three periods may be likened to bud, blossom and fruit. Before Christ’s
death, the church existed in bud only.
(b) Provision for these offices was made gradually as exigencies arose, is
natural when we consider that the church immediately after Christ’s
ascension was under the tutelage of inspired apostles and was to be
prepared, by a process of education, for independence and self-government.
As doctrine was communicated gradually yet infallibly
through the oral and written teaching of the apostles so we are warranted
in believing that the church was gradually but infallibly guided to the
adoption of Christ’s own plan of church organization and of Christian
work. The same promise of the Spirit, which renders the New Testament
an unerring and sufficient rule of faith, renders it also an unerring and
sufficient rule of practice, for the church in all places and times.

John 16:12-26 is to be interpreted as a promise of gradual leading by
the Spirit into all the truth;

1 Corinthians 14:37 — “the things which I
write unto you…they are the commandments of the Lord.” An
examination of Paul’s epistles in their chronological order shows a
progress in definiteness of teaching with regard to church polity, as well
as with regard to doctrine in general. In this matter, as in other matters,
apostolic instruction was given, as providential exigencies demanded it. In
the earliest days of the church, attention was paid to preaching rather than
to organization. Like Luther, Paul thought more of church order in his
later days than at the beginning of his work. Yet even in his first epistle
we fine the germ which is afterwards continuously developed. See:

1Thess. 5:12, 13 (A. D. 52) — “But we beseech you, brethren, to
know them that labor among you, and are over you proi~stame>nouv in
the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them exceeding highly in love
for their work’s sake.”

1 Corinthians 12:23 (A. D. 57) — “And God hath set some in the
church, first apostles, secondly prophet; thirdly teachers, then miracle;.229
then gifts of healing, helps [ajntilh>yeiv = gifts needed by deacons],
governments [kubenh>seiv = gifts needed by pastors], divers kinds of

Romans 12:6-8 (A.D. 58) — “And having gifts differing according
to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy
according to the proportion of our faith; or ministry [diakoni>an], let us
give ourselves to our ministry; or he that teacheth, to his teaching; or he
that exhorteth, to his exhorting: he that giveth, let him do it with liberality;
he that ruleth [oJ poi`stame>nov], with diligence; he that showeth mercy,
with cheerfulness.”

Philippians 1:1 (A.D. 62) — “Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus
Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the
bishops [ejpiskopiv, margin: ‘overseers’] and deacons [diako>noiv].”

Ephesians 4:11 (A.D. 63) — “And he gave some to be apostles;
and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and
teachers [poime>nav kailouv].”

1 Timothy 3:1, 2 (A.D. 66) — “If a man seeketh the office of a
bishop, he desireth a good work. The bishop [toskopon] therefore
must be without reproach.” On this last passage, [Luther in Meyer’s Com.
remarks: “Paul in the beginning looked at the church in its unity, only
gradually does he make prominent its leaders. We must not infer that the
churches in earlier time were without leadership but only that in the later
time circumstances were such as to require him to lay emphasis upon the
pastor’s office and work.” See also Schatt, Teaching of the Twelve
Apostles, 62-75.
McGiffert, in his Apostolic Church, puts the dates of Paul’s Epistles
considerably earlier, as for example: 1Thess., circ. 48; 1 Corinthians, c.
51, 52; Romans, 52, 53; Philippians, 56-58; Ephesians, 52, 53, or 56-58;
1Tim, 56-58. But even before the earliest Epistles of Paul comes

James 5:14 — “is any among you sick? let him call for the elders of
the church” — written about 48 A. D., and showing that within twenty
years after the death of our Lord there had grown up a very definite form
of church organization.
On the question how far our Lord and his apostles, in the organization of
the church, availed themselves of the synagogue as a model, see Neander,
Planting and Training, 28-34. The ministry of the church is without doubt
an outgrowth and adaptation of the elder-ship of the synagogue. In the
synagogue, there were elders who gave themselves to the study and.230
expounding of the Scriptures. The synagogues held united prayer and
exercised discipline. They were democratic in government, and
independent of each other. It has sometimes been said that election of
officers by the membership of the church came from the Greek
ejkklhsi>a, or popular assembly. But Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus
the Messiah, 1:438, says of the elders of the synagogue that, “their
election depended on the choice of the congregation.” Talmud, Berachob,
55 a: “No ruler is appointed over a congregation, unless the congregation
is consulted.”
(c) Any number of believers, therefore, may constitute themselves into a
Christian church by adopting for their rule of faith and practice Christ’s law
as laid down in the New Testament, and by associating themselves
together, in accordance with it for his worship and service. It is important,
where practicable, that a council of churches be previously called to advise
the brethren proposing this union as to the desirableness of constituting a
new and distinct local body and if it be found desirable, to recognize them
after its formation as being a church of Christ. But such action of a council,
however valuable as affording ground for the fellowship of other churches,
is not constitutive but is simply declaratory and without such action, the
body of believers alluded to, if formed after the N. T. example, may
notwithstanding be a true church of Christ. Still further, a band of converts,
among the heathen or providentially precluded from access to existing
churches might rightfully appoint one of their number to baptize the rest
and then might organize, de novo, a New Testament church.
The church at Antioch was apparently self-created and self-directed.
There is no evidence that any human authority outside of the converts
there was invoked to constitute or to organize the church. As John
Spillsbury put it about 1640: “When there is a beginning, some must be
first.” The initiative lies in the individual convert and in his duty to obey
the commands of Christ. No body of Christians can excuse itself for
disobedience upon the plea that it has no officers. It can elect its own
officers. Councils have no authority to constitute churches. Their work is
simply that of recognizing the already existing organization and of
pledging the fellowship of the churches, which they represent. If God can,
of the stones raise up children unto Abraham, he can also raise up pastors
and teachers from within the company of believers whom he has converted
and saved.
Hagenbach, Hist. Doct., 2:294, quotes from Luther, as follows: “If a
company of pious Christian laymen were captured and sent to a desert.231
place, and had not among them an ordained priest and were all agreed in
the matter and elected one and told him to baptize, administer the Mass,
absolve and preach, such a one would be as true a priest as if all the
bishops and popes had ordained him.” Dexter, Congregationalism, 51 —
“Luther came near discovering and reproducing Congregationalism. Three
things checked him. The first was undervalued polity as compared with
doctrine, secondly, he reacted from Anabaptist fanaticism and thirdly, he
thought Providence indicated that princes should lead and people should
follow. So, while he and Zwingle alike held the Bible to teach that all
ecclesiastical power inheres under Christ in the congregation of believers,
the matter ended in an organization of superintendents and consistories,
which gradually became fatally mixed up with the state.”
1. Nature of this government in general.
It is evident from the direct relation of each member of the church, and so
of the church as a whole, to Christ as sovereign and lawgiver, that the
government of the church, so far as regards the source of authority, is an
absolute monarchy.
In ascertaining the will of Christ, however, and in applying his commands
to providential exigencies, the Holy Spirit enlightens one member through
the counsel of another, and as the result of combined deliberation, guides
the whole body to right conclusions. This work of the Spirit is the
foundation of the Scripture injunctions to unity. This unity, since it is a
unity of the Spirit, is not an enforced but an intelligent and willing unity.
While Christ is sole king, the government of the church, so far as regards
the interpretation and execution of his will by the body, is an absolute
democracy. The whole body of members is entrusted with the duty and
responsibility of carrying out the laws of Christ, as expressed in his word.
The seceders from the established church of Scotland, on the memorable
18th of May, 1843, embodied in their protest the following words, We go
out “from an establishment, which we loved and prized. Through
interference with conscience, the dishonor done to Christ’s crown and the
rejection of his sole and supreme authority as King in his church.” The
church should be rightly ordered, since it is the representative and
guardian of God’s truth — its “pillar and ground” (Tim. 3:15) — the
Holy Spirit working in and through it..232
But it is this very relation of the church to Christ and his truth, which
renders it needful to insist upon the right of each member of the church to
his private judgment as to the meaning of Scripture. In other words,
absolute monarchy, in this case, requires for its complement an absolute
democracy. President Wayland: “No individual Christian or number of
individual Christians, no individual church or number of individual
churches, has original authority or has power over the whole. None can
add to or subtract from the laws of Christ or interfere with his direct and
absolute sovereignty over the hearts and lives of his subjects.” Each
member, as equal to every other, has right to a voice in the decisions of
the whole body and no action of the majority can bind him against his
conviction of duty to Christ.
John Cotton of Massachusetts Bay, 1643, Questions and Answers: “The
royal government of the churches is in Christ, the stewardly or ministerial
in the churches themselves.” Cambridge Platform, 1648, 10th chapter —
“So far as Christ is concerned, church government is a monarchy. So far
as the brotherhood of the church is concerned, it resembles a democracy.”
Unfortunately the Platform goes further and declares that, in respect of
the Presbytery and the Elders’ power, it is also an aristocracy.
Herbert Spencer and John Stuart Mill, who held diverse views in
philosophy, were once engaged in controversy. While the discussion was
running through the press, Mr. Spencer, forced by lack of funds,
announced that he would be obliged to discontinue the publication of his
promised books on science and philosophy. Mr. Mill wrote him at once,
saying that, while he could not agree with him in some things, he realized
that Mr. Spencer’s investigations on the whole made for the advance of
truth, and so he himself would be glad to bear the expense of the
remaining volumes. Here in the philosophical world is an example, which
may well be taken to heart by theologians. All Christians indeed are
bound to respect in others the right of private judgment while steadfastly
adhering themselves to the truth as Christ has made it known to them.
Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, dug for each neophyte a grave,
and buried him all but the head, asking him: “Art thou dead?” When he
said: “Yes!” the General added: “Rise, then and begin to serve for I want
only dead men to serve me.” Jesus, on the other hand, wants only living
men to serve him, for he gives life and gives it abundantly (

10:10). The Salvation Army, in like manner, violates the principle of sole
allegiance to Christ and, like the Jesuits puts the individual conscience and
will under bonds to a human master. Good intentions may at first prevent
evil results but, since no man can be trusted with absolute power, the.233
ultimate consequence, as in the case of the Jesuits, will be the enslavement
of the subordinate members. Such autocracy does not find congenial soil
in America, hence the rebellion of Mr. and Mrs. Ballington Booth.
A. Proof that the government of the church is democratic or
(a) From the duty of the whole church to preserve unity in its action.

Romans 12:16 — “Be of the same mind one toward another”;

Corinthians 1:10 — “Now I beseech you…that ye all speak the same
thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected
together in the same mind and in the same judgment”;

2 Corinthians
13:11 — “be of the same mind”;

Ephesians 4:3 — “giving diligence to
keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”;

Philippians 1:27 —
“that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the

1 Peter 3:8 — “be ye all likeminded.”
These exhortations to unity are not mere counsels to passive submission,
such as might be given under a hierarchy or to the members of a society
of Jesuits. They are counsels to cooperation and to harmonious judgment.
Each member, while forming his own opinions under the guidance of the
Spirit, is to remember that the other members have the Spirit also and that
a final conclusion as to the will of God is to be reached only through
comparison of views. The exhortation to unity is therefore an exhortation
to be open-minded, docile, ready to subject our opinions to discussion, to
welcome new light with regard to them and to give up any opinion when
we find it to be in the wrong. The church is, in general, to secure
unanimity by moral suasion only though, in case of willful and perverse
opposition to its decisions, it may be necessary to secure unity by
excluding an obstructive member for schism.
A quiet and peaceful unity is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in the
hearts of Christians. New Testament church government proceeds upon
the supposition that Christ dwells in all believers. Baptist polity is the best
possible polity for good people. Christ has made no provision for an
unregenerate church membership or for satanic possession of Christians.
It is best that a church, in which Christ does not dwell, should by
dissension reveal its weakness and fall to pieces. Any outward
organization that conceals inward disintegration and compels a merely
formal union after the Holy Spirit has departed, is a hindrance instead of a
help to true religion..234
Congregationalism is not a strong government to look at. Neither is the
solar system. Its enemies call it a rope of sand. It is rather, a rope of iron
filings held together by a magnetic current. Wordsworth: “Mightier far
Than strength of nerve or sinew, or the sway of magic portent over sun
and star, Is love.” President Wayland: “We do not need any hoops of iron
or steel to hold us together.” At high tide all the little pools along the
seashore are fused together. The unity, produced by the in-flowing of the
Spirit of Christ, is better than any mere external unity, whether of
organization or of creed, whether of Romanism or of Protestantism. The
times of the greatest external unity, as under Hildebrand, were times of
the church’s deepest moral corruption. A revival of religion is a better
cure for church quarrels than any change in church organization could
effect. In the early church, though there was no common government,
unity was promoted by active intercourse. Hospitality, regular delegates,
itinerant apostles and prophets, apostolic and other epistles, still later the
gospels, persecution and even heresy promoted unity, heresy compelling
the exclusion of the unworthy and factious elements in the Christian
Dr. F. J. A. Hort, The Christian Ecclesia: “Not a word in the Epistle to
the Ephesians exhibits the one ecclesia as made up of many ecclesú. The
members, which make up the one ecclesia, are not communities but
individual men. The unity of the universal ecclegia is a truth of theology
and religion, not a fact of what we call ecclesiastical politics. The ecclesia
itself, i. e., the sum of all its male members, is the primary body, and it
would seem even the primary authority. Of officers higher than elders we
find nothing that points to an institution or system, nothing like the
Episcopal system of later times. The monarchical principle receives
practical though limited recognition in the position ultimately held by St.
James at Jerusalem and in the temporary functions entrusted by St. Paul
to Timothy and Titus.” On this last statement Bartlett, in Contemp. Rev.,
July, 1897, says that James held an unique position as brother of our Lord
while Paul left the communities organized by Timothy and Titus to govern
themselves, when once their organization was functional. There was no
permanent diocesan episcopate, in which one man presided over many
churches. The ecclesú had for their Officers only bishops and deacons.
Should not the majority rule in a Baptist church? No, not a bare majority
when there are opposing convictions on the part of a large minority. What
should rule is the mind of the Spirit. What indicates his mind is the
gradual unification of conviction and opinion on the part of the whole
body in support of some definite plan so that the whole church moves
together. The large church has the advantage over the small church in that.235
the single crotchety member cannot do too much harm. One man in a
small boat can easily upset it but not so in the great ship. Patient waiting,
persuasion and prayer will ordinarily win over the recalcitrant. It is not to
be denied, however, that patience may have its limits and that unity may
sometimes need to be purchased by secession and the forming of a new
local church whose members can work harmoniously together.
(b) From the responsibility of the whole church for maintaining pure
doctrine and practice.

1 Timothy 3:15 — “the church of the living God, the pillar and
ground of the truth”; Jude 3 — “exhorting you to contend earnestly for
the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints”; Revelations 2
and 3 — exhortations to the seven churches of Asia to maintain pure
doctrine and practice. In all these passages, pastoral charges are given,
not by a so called bishop to his subordinate priests, but by an apostle to
the whole church and to all its members.

1 Timothy 3:15, Dr. Hort would translate “a pillar and ground of
the truth” — apparently referring to the local church as one of many.

Ephesians 3:18 — “strong to apprehend with all saints what is the
breadth and length and height and depth.” Edith Wharton, Vesalius in
Zante, in N. A. Rev., Nov. 1892 — “Truth is many tongued. What one
man failed to speak, another finds Another word for. May not all
converge, In some vast utterance of which you and I, Fallopius, were but
the halting syllables?” Bruce, Training of the Twelve, shows that the
Twelve probably knew the whole O. T. by heart. Pandita Ramabai, at
Oxford, when visiting Max Muller, recited from the Rig Veda passim,
and showed that she knew more of it by heart than the whole contents of
the O. T.
(c) From the committing of the ordinances to the charge of the whole,
church is to observe and guard. As the church expresses truth in her
teaching, so she is to express it in symbol through the ordinances.

Matthew 28:19, 20 — “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them…teaching them”; cf.

Luke 24:33 — “And they
rose up that very hour…found the eleven gathered together, and them chat
were with them”;

Acts 1:15 — “And in these days Peter stood up in
the midst of the brethren, and said (and there was a multitude of persons
gathered together, about a hundred and twenty)”;

1 Corinthians 15:6
— “then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once” — these.236
passages show that it was not to the eleven apostles alone that Jesus
committed the ordinances.

1 Corinthians 11:2 — “Now I praise you that ye remember me in all
things, and hold fast the traditions, even as I delivered them to you”; cf.
23, 24 — “For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you,
that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and
when he had given thanks, he brake it and said, This is my body, which is
for you: this do in remembrance of me” — here Paul commits the Lord’s
Supper into the charge, not of the body of officials, but of the whole
church. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, therefore, are not to be
administered at the discretion of the individual minister. He is simply the
organ of the church and pocket baptismal and communion services are
without warrant. See Curtis, Progress of Baptist Principles, 299;
Robinson, Harmony of Gospels, notes, ß170.
(d) From the election by the whole church, of its own officers and
delegates. In

Acts 14:23, the literal interpretation of ceirotonh>santev
is not to be pressed. In

Titus 1:5, “when Paul empowers Titus to set
presiding officers over the communities, this circumstance decides nothing
as to the mode of choice nor is a choice by the community itself thereby
necessarily excluded.”

Acts 1:23, 26 — “And they put forward two…and they gave lots for
them; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven
apostles”; 6:3, 5 — “Look ye out therefore, brethren, from among you
seven men of good report… And the saying pleased the whole multitude:
and they chose Stephen…and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and
Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus” — as deacons;

Acts 13:2, 3 —
“And as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said,
Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called
them. Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on
them, they sent them away.”
On this passage, see Meyer’s comment: “‘Ministered’ here expresses the
act of celebrating divine service on the part of the whole church. To refer
aujtw~n to the ‘prophets and teachers’ is forbidden by the ajfori>sate are
— and by verse 3. This interpretation would confine this most important
mission act to five persons, of whom two were the missionaries sent, and
the church would have had no part in it, even through its presbyters. This
agrees neither with the common possession of the Spirit in the apostolic
church nor with the concrete cases of the choice of an apostle (ch. 1) and
of deacons (ch. 6). Compare 14:27, where the returned missionaries report.237
to the church. The imposition of hands (verse 3) is by the presbyters as
representatives of the whole church. The subject in verses 2 and 3 is ‘the
church’ — (represented by the presbyters in this case). The church sends
the missionaries to the heathen and consecrates them through its elders.”

Acts 15:24, 22, 30 — “the brethren appointed that Paul and Barnabas
and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem…And when they
were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church and the apostles
and the elders…Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with
the whole church, to choose men out of their company, and send them to
Antioch with Paul and Barnabas…So they…came down to Antioch; and
having gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle”;

Corinthians 8:19 — “who was also appointed by the churches to travel
with us in the matter of this grace” — the contribution for the poor in

Acts 14:23 — “And when they had appointed
ceirotonh>santev for them elders in every church” — the apostles
announced the election of the church, as a College President confers
degrees, i.e., by announcing degrees conferred upon by the Board of
Trustees. To this same effect witnesses the newly discovered Teaching of
the Twelve Apostles, chapter 15: “Appoint therefore for yourselves
bishops and deacons.”
The derivation of ceirotonh>santev, holding up of hands, as in a popular
vote is not to be pressed any more than is the derivation of ejkklhsi>a
from kale>w. The former had come to mean simply ‘to appoint,’ without
reference to the manner of appointment, as the latter had come to mean an
‘assembly,’ without reference to the calling of its members by God. That
the church at Antioch “separated” Paul and Barnabas and that this was
not done simply by the five persons mentioned, is shown by the fact that,
when Paul and Barnabas returned from the missionary journey, they
reported not to these five but to the whole church. So when the church at
Antioch sent delegates to Jerusalem, the letter of the Jerusalem church is
thus addressed: “The apostles and the elders, brethren, unto the brethren
who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Celica” (

15:23). The Twelve had only spiritual authority. They could advise but
they did not command. Hence, they could not transmit government since
they had it not. They could demand obedience only as they convinced their
hearers that their word was truth. It was not they who commanded, but
their Master.
Hackett Com. on Acts — ceirotonhsantev is not to be pressed, since
Paul and Barnabas constitute the persons ordaining. It may possibly
indicate a concurrent appointment in accordance with the usual practice of.238
universal suffrage but the burden of proof lies on those who would so
modify the meaning of the verb. The word is frequently used in the sense
of choosing, appointing, with reference to the formality of raising the
hand.” Per contra, see Meyer, in loco: “The church officers were elective.
As appears from analogy of 6:2-6 (election of deacons), the word
ceirotonh>santev retains its etymological sense and does not mean
‘constituted’ or ‘created.’ Their choice was a recognition of a gift already
bestowed, not the ground of the office and source of authority but merely
the means by which the gift becomes [known, recognized and] an actual
office in the church.”
Baumgarten, Apostolic History, 1:456 — “They the two apostles —
allow presbyters to be chosen for the community by voting.” Alexander,
Com., on Acts — “The method of election here, as the expression
ceirotonh>santev indicates, was the same as that in

Acts 6:5, 6,
where the people chose the seven, and the twelve ordained them.” Barnes,
Com. on Acts: “The apostles presided in the assembly where the choice
was made — appointed them in the usual way by the suffrage of the
people.” Dexter, Congregationalism, 138 — “‘Ordained’ means here
‘prompted and secured the election’ of elders in every church.” So in

Titus 1:5 — “appoint elders in every city.” Compare the Latin:
“dictator consules creavit” = prompted and secured the election of consuls
by the people. See Neander, Church History, 1:189; Guericke, Church
History, 1:110; Meyer, on

Acts 13:2.
The Watchman, Nov. 7, 1901 — “The root difficulty with many schemes
of statecraft is to be found in deep seated distrust of the capacities and
possibilities of men. Wendell Phillips once said that nothing so impressed
him with the power of the gospel to solve our problems as the sight of a
prince and a peasant kneeling side by side in a European Cathedral.” Dr.
W. H. Huntington makes the strong points of Congregationalism to be a
lofty estimate of the value of trained intelligence in the Christian ministry,
a clear recognition of the duty of every lay member of a church. Each lay
member is to take an active interest in its affairs, temporal as well as
spiritual. He regards the weaknesses of Congregationalism to be a certain
incapacity for expansion beyond the territorial limits within which it is
indigenous and has an under valuation of the mystical or sacramental, as
contrasted with the doctrinal and practical sides of religion. He argues for
the object symbolism as well as the verbal symbolism of the real presence
and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Dread of idolatry, he thinks, should
not make us indifferent to the value of sacraments. Baptists, we reply,
may fairly claim that they escape both of these charges against ordinary
Congregationalism, in that they have shown unlimited capacity of.239
expansion and in that they make very much of the symbolism of the
(e) From the power of the whole church to exercise discipline. Passages,
which show the right of the whole body to exclude, show also the right of
the whole body to admit members.

Matthew 18:17 — “And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the
church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the
Gentile and the publican. Verily I say unto you, What things soever ye
shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye
shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” These words are often
improperly inscribed over Roman Catholic confessionals since they refer,
not to the decisions of a single priest, but to the decisions of the whole
body of believers guided by the Holy Spirit. In

Matthew 18:17, quoted
above, we see that the church has authority, that it is bound to take
cognizance of offenses, and that its action is final. If there had been in the
mind of our Lord any other than a democratic form of government, he
would have referred the aggrieved party to pastor, priest or presbytery. In
case of a wrong decision by the church, would have mentioned some
synod or assembly to which the aggrieved person might appeal. But he
throws all the responsibility upon the whole body of believers. Cf.

Numbers 15:35 — “all the congregation shall stone him with stones”
— the man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath day. Every Israelite was
to have part in the execution of the penalty.

1 Corinthians 6:4, 5, 13 — “ye being gathered together…to deliver
such a one unto Satan…Put away the wicked man from among

2 Corinthians 2:6, 7 — “Sufficient to such a one is this
punishment which was inflicted by the many; so that contrariwise ye
should rather forgive him and comfort him”; 7:11 — “For behold, this self
same thing…what earnest care it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of
yourselves…In every thing ye approved yourselves to be pure in the

2 Thess. 3:6, 14, 15 — “withdraw yourselves from every
brother that walketh disorderly any man obeyeth not our word by this
epistle, note that man, that ye have no company with him, to the end that
he may be ashamed. And yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish
him as a brother.” The evils in the church at Corinth were such as could
exist only in a democratic body and Paul does not enjoin upon the church
a change of government but a change of heart. Paul does not himself
excommunicate the incestuous man but he urges the church to
excommunicate him..240
The educational influence upon the whole church of this election of
pastors and deacons, choosing of delegates, admission and exclusion of
members, management of church finance and general conduct of business,
carrying on of missionary operations and raising of contributions together
with responsibility for correct doctrine and practice, cannot be
overestimated. The whole body can know those who apply for admission
better than pastors or elders can. To put the whole government of the
church into the hands of a few is to deprive the membership of one great
means of Christian training and progress. Hence the pastor’s duty is to
develop the self-government of the church. The missionary should not
command but he should advise. That minister is most successful who gets
the whole body to move and who renders the church independent of
himself. The test of his work is not while he is with them but after he
leaves them. Then it can be seen whether he has taught them to follow him
or to follow Christ, whether he has led them to the formation of habits of
independent Christian activity or whether he has made them passively
dependent upon himself.
It should be the ambition of the pastor not “to run the church,” but to
teach the church intelligently and in a Scriptural manner to manage its
own affairs. The word “minister” means not master, but servant. The true
pastor inspires but he does not drive. He is like the trusty mountain guide
who carries a load thrice as heavy as that of the man he serves, who leads
in safe paths and points out dangers but who neither shouts nor compels
obedience. The individual Christian should be taught to realize the
privilege of church membership, to fit himself to use his privilege, to
exercise his rights as a church member, to glory in the New Testament
system of church government and to defend and propagate it.
A Christian pastor can either rule or he can have the reputation of ruling
but he can not do both. Real ruling involves a sinking of self, a working
through others, a doing of nothing that some one else can be got to do.
The reputation of ruling leads sooner or later to the loss of real influence
and to the decline of the activities of the church itself. See Coleman,
Manual of Prelacy and Ritualism, 87-125; and on the advantages of
Congregationalism over every other form of church polity, see Dexter,
Congregationalism, 236-296. Dexter, 290, note, quotes from Belcher’s
Religious Denominations of the U. S., 184, as follows: “Jefferson said
that he considered Baptist church government the only form of pure
democracy, which then existed in the world and had concluded that it
would be the best plan of government for the American Colonies. This
was eight or ten years before the American Revolution.” On Baptist.241
democracy, see Thomas Armitage, in N. Amer. Rev., March, 1887:232-
John Fiske, Beginnings of New England: “In a church based upon such a
theology [that of Calvin], there was no room for prelacy. Each single
church tended to become an independent congregation of worshipers,
constituting one of the most effective schools that has ever existed for
training men in local self-government.” Schurman, Agnosticism, 160 —
“The Baptists, who are nominally Calvinists, are now, as they were at the
beginning of the century, second in numerical rank [in America]. Their
fundamental principle — the Bible, the Bible only — taken in connection
with their polity has enabled them silently to drop the old theology and
unconsciously to adjust themselves to the new spiritual environment.” We
prefer to say that Baptists have not dropped the old theology but have
given it new interpretation and application. See A. H. Strong, Our
Denominational Outlook, Sermon in Cleveland, 1904.
B. Erroneous views as to church government refuted by the foregoing
(a) The world-church theory or the Romanist view. This holds that all local
churches are subject to the supreme authority of the bishop of Rome, as
the successor of Peter and the infallible vicegerent of Christ and, as thus
united, constitute the one and only church of Christ on earth. We reply:
First, Christ gave no such supreme authority to Peter.

Matthew 16:18,
19, simply refers to the personal position of Peter as first confessor of
Christ and preacher of his name to Jews and Gentiles. Hence other apostles
also constituted the foundation (

Ephesians 2:20; Revelations 21:14). On
one occasion, the counsel of James was regarded as of equal weight with
that of Peter (

Acts 15:7-30), while on another occasion Peter was
rebuked by Paul (

Galatians 2:11), and Peter calls himself only a fellow
elder (

1 Peter 5:1).

Matthew 16:18, 19 — “And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter
and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall
not prevail against it. I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of
heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shalt be loosed in heaven.” Peter
exercised this power of the keys for both Jews and Gentiles, by being the
first to preach Christ to them, and so admit them to the kingdom of
heaven. The “rock” is a confessing heart. The confession of Christ makes
Peter a rock upon which the church can be built. Plumptre on Epistles of.242
Peter, Introduction, 14 — “He was a stone, one with that rock with which
he was now joined by an indissoluble union.” But others come to be
associated with him.

Ephesians 2:20 — “built upon the foundation of
the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief
Cornerstone”; Revelations 21:14 — “And the wall of the city had twelve
foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the

Acts 15:7-30 — the Council of Jerusalem.

Galatians 2:1l
— “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because
he stood condemned”;

1 Pet 5:1 — “The elders therefore among you I
exhort, who am a fellow elder.”
Here it should be remembered that three things were necessary to
constitute an apostle. He must have seen Christ after his resurrection so as
to be a witness to the fact that Christ had risen from the dead. He must be
a worker of miracles to certify that he was Christ’s messenger. He must
be an inspired teacher of Christ’s truth so that his final utterances are the
very word of God. In

Romans 16:7 — “Salute Andronicus and Junias
my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the
apostles” means simply, who are highly esteemed among, or by, the
apostles.’ Barnabas is called an apostle, in the etymological sense of a

Acts 13:2, 3 — “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the
work whereunto I have called them. Then, when they had fasted and
prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away”;

3:1 — “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even
Jesus.” In this latter sense, the number of the apostles was not limited to
Protestants err in denying the reference in

Matthew 16:18 to Peter:
Christ recognizes Peter’s personality in the founding of his kingdom. But
Romanists equally err in ignoring Peter’s confession as constituting him
the “rock.” Creeds and confessions alone will never convert the world;
they need to be embodied in living personalities in order to save. This is
the grain of correct doctrine in Romanism. On the other hand, men
without a faith, which they are willing to confess at every cost, will never
convert the world. There must be a substance of doctrine with regard to
sin and with regard to Christ as the divine Savior from sin; this is the just
contention of Protestantism. Baptist doctrine combines the merits of both
systems. It has both personality and confession. It is not hierarchical but
experiential. It insists, not upon abstractions but upon life. Truth without
a body is as powerless as a body without truth. A flag without an army is
even worse than an army is without a flag. Phillips Brooks: “The truth of
God working through the personality of man has been the salvation of the
world.” Pascal: “Catholicism is a church without a religion; Protest-.243
autism is a religion without a church.” Yes, we reply, if church means
Secondly, if Peter had such authority given him, there is no evidence that
he had power to transmit it to others.
Fisher, Hist. Christian Church, 247 — “William of Occam (1280-1347)
composed a treatise on the power of the pope. He went beyond his
predecessors in arguing that the church, since it has its unity in Christ, is
not under the necessity of being subject to a single primate. He placed the
Emperor and the General Council above the pope as his judges. In matters
of faith he would not allow infallibility even to the General Councils.
‘Only Holy Scripture and the beliefs of the universal church are of
absolute validity.’” W. Rauschenbusch, in The Examiner, July 28, 1892
— “The age of an ecclesiastical organization, instead of being an
argument in its favor, is presumptive evidence against it because all
bodies organized for moral or religious ends manifest such a frightful
inclination to become corrupt. Marks of the true church are present
spiritual power, loyalty to Jesus, an unworldly morality, seeking and
saving the lost, self-sacrifice and self-crucifixion.”
Romanism holds to a transmitted infallibility. The pope is infallible when
he speaks as pope, when he speaks for the whole church, when he defines
doctrine, or passes a final judgment, when the doctrine thus defined is
within the sphere of faith or morality. See Brandis, In N. A. Rev., Dec.
1892:654. Schurman, Belief in God, 114 — “Like the Christian pope,
Zeus is conceived in the Homeric poems to be fallible as an individual but
infallible as head of the sacred convocation. The other gods are only his
representatives and executives.” But, even if the primacy of the Roman
pontiff were acknowledged there would still be abundant proof that he is
not infallible. The condemnation of the letters of Pope Honorius,
acknowledging monothelism and ordering it to be preached, by Pope
Martin I and the first Council of Lateran in 649, shows that both could
not be right. Yet both were ex cathedra utterances, one denying what the
other affirmed. Perrone concedes that only one error committed by a pope
in an ex cathedra announcement would be fatal to the doctrine of papal
Martineau, Seat of Authority, 139, 140, gives instances of papal
inconsistencies and contradictions and shows that Roman Catholicism
does not answer to either one of its four notes or marks of a true church,
viz.: unity, sanctity, universality and apostolic succession. Dean Stanley
had an interview with Pope Pius IX and came away saying that the.244
infallible man had made more blunders in a twenty minutes of
conversation than any person he had ever met. Dr. Fairbairn facetiously
defines infallibility, as “inability to detect errors even where they are most
manifest.” He speaks of” the folly of the men who think they hold God in
their custody, and distribute him to whomsoever they will.” The Pope of
Rome can no more trace his official descent from Peter than Alexander
the Great could trace his personal descent from Jupiter.
Thirdly, there is no conclusive evidence that Peter ever was at Rome, much
less that he was bishop of Rome.
Clement of Rome refers to Peter as a martyr but he makes no claim for
Rome as the place of his martyrdom. The tradition that Peter preached at
Rome and founded a church there dates back only to Dionysius of Corinth
and Irenæus of Lyons, who did not write earlier than the eighth decade of
the second century or more than a hundred years after Peter’s death.
Professor Lepsius of Jena submitted the Roman tradition to a searching
examination and came to the conclusion that Peter was never in Italy.
A. Hodge, in Princetoniana, 129 — “Three unproved assumptions are that
Peter was primate, that Peter was bishop of Rome, that Peter was primate
and bishop of Rome. The last is not unimportant because Clement, for
instance, might have succeeded to the bishopric of Rome without the
primacy, as Queen Victoria came to the crown of England but not to that
of Hanover. Or, to come nearer home, Ulysses S. Grant was president of
the United States and husband of Mrs. Grant. Mr. Hayes succeeded him
but not in both capacities!”
On the question whether Peter founded the Roman Church, see Meyer,
Com. on Romans, transl., vol. 1:23 — “Paul followed the principle of not
interfering with another apostle’s field of labor. Hence, Peter could not
have been laboring at Rome at the time when Paul wrote his epistle to the
Romans from Ephesus; cf.

Acts 19:21;

Romans 15:20;

Corinthians 10:16.” Meyer thinks Peter was martyred at Rome but that he
did not found the Roman church, of which the origin is unknown. “The
Epistle to the Romans.” he says, “since Peter cannot have labored at
Rome before it was written, is a fact destructive of the historical basis of
the Papacy” (p. 28). See also Elliott, Horæ Apocalypticæ, 3:560.
Fourthly, there is no evidence that he really did so appoint the bishops of
Rome as his successors.
Denney, Studies in Theology, 191 — “The church was first the company
of those united to Christ and living in Christ, then it became a society.245
based on creed and finally a society based on clergy.” A. J. Gordon,
Ministry of the Spirit, 130 — “The Holy Spirit is the real ‘Vicar of
Christ.’ Would any one desire to find the clue to the great apostasy whose
dark eclipse now covers two thirds of nominal Christendom, here it is.
The rule and authority of the Holy Spirit ignored in the church, the
servants of the house assuming mastery and encroaching more and more
on the prerogatives of the Head. At last one man sets himself up as the
administrator of the church and daringly usurps the name of the Vicar of
Christ.” See also R. V. Littledale, The Petrine Claims.
The secret of Baptist success and progress is in putting truth before unity.

James 3:17 — “the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then
peaceable.” The substitution of external for internal unity, of which the
apostolic succession, so called, is a sign and symbol, is of a piece with the
whole sacramental scheme of salvation. Men cannot be brought into the
kingdom of heaven nor can they be made good ministers of Jesus Christ
by priestly manipulation. The Frankish wholesale conversion of races, the
Jesuitical putting of obedience instead of life, the identification of the
church with the nation are all false methods of diffusing Christianity. The
claims of Rome need irrefutable proof, if they are to be accepted. But they
have no warrant in Scripture or in history. Methodist Review: “As long as
the Bible is recognized to be authoritative, the church will face Rome-ward
as little as Leo X will visit America to attend a Methodist camp-meeting,
or Justin D. Fulton be elected as his successor in the Papal
chair.” See Gore, Incarnation, 208, 209.
Fifthly, if Peter did so appoint the bishops of Rome, the evidence or
continuous succession since that time is lacking.
On the weakness of the argument for apostolic succession, see remarks
with regard to the national church theory, below. Dexter,
Congregationalism, 715 — “To spiritualize and evangelize Romanism or
High Churchism, will be to Congregationalize it.” If all the Roman
Catholics who have come to America had remained Roman Catholics,
there would be sixteen millions of them whereas there are actually only
eight million. If it is said that the remainder has no religion, we reply that
they have just as much religion as they had before. American democracy
has freed them from the domination of the priest but it has not deprived
them of anything but external connection with a corrupt church. It has
given them opportunity for the first time to come in contact with the
church of the New Testament, and to accept the offer of salvation through
simple faith in Jesus Christ..246
“Romanism,” says Dorner, “identifies the church and the kingdom of
God. The professedly perfect hierarchy is itself the church or its essence.”
Yet Moehler, the greatest modern advocate of the Romanist system,
himself acknowledges that there were popes before the Reformation
“whom hell has swallowed up.” See Dorner, Hist. Prot. Theol.,
Introduction, ad finem. If the Romanist asks: “Where was your church
before Luther?” the Protestant may reply: “Where was your face this
morning before it was washed?” Disciples of Christ have sometimes
kissed the feet of Antichrist but it recalls an ancient story. When an
Athenian noble thus, in old times, debased himself to the King of Persia,
his fellow citizens at Athens doomed him to death. See Coleman, Manual
on Prelacy and Ritualism, 265-274; Park, in Bibliotheca Sacra, 2:451;
Princeton Rev., Apr. 1876:265.
Sixth, there is abundant evidence that a hierarchical form of church
government is corrupting to the church and dishonoring to Christ.
A.J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 131-140 — “Catholic writers claim
that the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ, is the only mouthpiece of the Holy
Ghost. But the Spirit has been given to the church as a whole, that is, to
the body of regenerated believers and to every member of that body
according to his measure. The sin of sacerdotalism is that it arrogates for
a usurping few that which belongs to every member of Christ’s mystical
body. It is a suggestive fact that the name klh~rov, ‘the charge allotted to
you,’ which Peter gives to the church as ‘the flock of God’ (

1 Peter
5:2), when warning the elders against being lords over God’s heritage.
This now appears in ecclesiastical usage as ‘the clergy,’ with its orders of
pontiff and prelates and lord bishops, whose appointed function it is to
exercise lordship over Christ’s flock. But committees and majorities may
take the place of the Spirit, just as perfectly as a pope or a bishop. This is
the reason why the light has been extinguished in many a candlestick. The
body remains but the breath is withdrawn. The Holy Spirit is the only
Canon Melville: “Make peace If you will with Popery, receive it into your
Senate, enshrine it in your chambers, plant it in your hearts. But be ye
certain, as certain as there is a heaven above you and a God over you, that
the Popery thus honored and embraced is the Popery that was loathed and
degraded by the holiest of your fathers. The same in haughtiness, the same
in intolerance, which lorded it over kings, assumed the prerogative of
Deity, crushed human liberty, and slew the saints of God.” On the
strength and weakness of Romanism, see Harnack, What Is Christianity?
(b) The national church theory or the theory of provincial or national
churches. This holds that all members of the church in any province or
nation are bound together in provincial or national organization and that
this organization has jurisdiction over the local churches. We reply:
First, the theory has no support in the Scriptures. There is no evidence that
the word ejkklhsi>a in the New Testament ever means a national church

1 Corinthians 12:28,

Phil 3:6 and

1 Timothy 3:15,
may be more naturally interpreted as referring to the generic church. In

Acts 9:31, ejkklhsi>a is a mere generalization for the local churches
then and there existing and implies no sort of organization among them.

1 Corinthians 12:28 — “And God hath set some in the church, first
apostles, secondly prophets, Thirdly teachers, then miracles then gifts of
healing, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues”;

Philippians 3:6
— “as touching zeal, persecuting the church”;

1 Timothy 3:15 —
“that thou mayest know how men ought to behave themselves in the house
of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the

Acts 9:31 — “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee
and Samaria had peace, being edified.” For advocacy of the Presbyterian
system, see Cunningham, Historical Theology, 2:514-556; McPherson,
Presbyterianism. Per contra, see Jacob, Ecclesiastical Polity of N. T., 9
— “There is no example of a national church in the New Testament.”
Secondly, it is contradicted by the intercourse which the New Testament
churches held with each other as independent bodies, for example, at the
Council of Jerusalem (Acts. 15:1-35)

Acts 15:2, 6, 13, 19, 22 — “the brethren appointed that Paul and
Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the
apostles and elders about this question…And the apostles and the elders
were gathered together to consider of this matter…James answered…my
judgement is that we trouble not them that from among the Gentiles turn
to God…it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole
church, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch
with Paul and Barnabas.”
McGiffert, Apostolic Church, 645 — “The steps of developing
organization were recognition of the teaching of the apostles as exclusive
standard and norm of Christian truth, confinement to a specific office, the
Catholic office of bishop and of the power to determine what is the
teaching of the apostles and designation of a specific institution, the
Catholic church, as the sole channel of divine grace. The Twelve, in the.248
church of Jerusalem, had only a purely spiritual authority. They could
advise but they did not command. Hence, they were not qualified to
transmit authority to others. They had no absolute authority themselves.”
Third, it has no practical advantages over the Congregational polity but
rather tends to formality, division and the extinction of the principles of
self- government and direct responsibility to Christ.
E. G. Robinson: “The Anglican schism is the most sectarian of all the
sects.” Principal Rainey thus describes the position of the Episcopal
Church: “They will not recognize the church standing of those who
recognize them and they only recognize the church standing of those
Greeks and Latins who do not recognize them. Is not that an odd sort of
Catholicity?” “Every priestling hides a popeling.” The elephant going
through the jungle saw a brood of young partridges that had just lost their
mother. Touched with sympathy he said: “I will be a mother to you,” and
so he sat down upon them as he had seen their mother do to them. Hence,
we speak of the “incumbent” of such and such a parish.
There were no councils that claimed authority till the second century and
the independence of the churches was not given up until the third or fourth
century. In Bp. Lightfoot’s essay on the Christian Ministry, in the
appendix to his Com. on Philippians, progress to episcopacy is thus
described: “In the time of Ignatius, the bishop, then primus inter pares,
was regarded only as a center of unity. In the time of Irenæus, as a
depositary of primitive truth, in the time of Cyprian, as absolute
vicegerent of Christ in things spiritual.” Nothing is plainer than the steady
degeneration of church polity in the hands of the Fathers. Archibald
Alexander: “A better name than Church Fathers for these men would be
church babies. Their theology was infantile.” Luther: Never mind the
Scribes, what saith the Scripture?”
Fourth, it is inconsistent with itself, in binding a professedly spiritual
church by formal and geographical lines.
Instance the evils of Presbyterianism in practice. Dr. Park says that, “the
split between the Old and the New School was due to an attempt on the
part of the majority to impose its will on the minority. The Unitarian
defection in New England would have ruined Presbyterian churches but it
did not ruin Congregational churches. A Presbyterian Church may be
deprived of the minister it has chosen, by the votes of neighboring
churches or by the few leading men who control them or by one single
vote in a close contest.” We may illustrate by the advantage of the.249
adjustable card catalogue over the old method of keeping track of books in
a library.
A.J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 137, note — “By the candlesticks in
the Revelation being seven, instead of one as in the tabernacle, we are
taught that whereas, in the Jewish dispensation God’s visible church was
one. In the Gentile dispensation there are many visible churches and that
Christ himself recognizes them alike” (quoted from Garratt, Com. on
Rev., 32). Bishop Moule, Veni Creator, 131, after speaking of the unity
of the Spirit, goes on to say: “Blessed will it be for the church and for the
world when these principles shall so vastly prevail as to find expression
from within in a harmonious counterpart of order. A far different thing
from what is, I cannot but think, an illusory prospect — the attainment of
such internal unity by a previous exaction of exterior governmental
Fifth, it logically leads to the theory of Romanism. If two churches need a
superior authority to control them and settle their differences, then two
countries and two hemispheres need a common ecclesiastical government,
and a world church, under one visible head, is Romanism.
Hatch, in his Bampton Lectures on Organization of Early Christian
Churches, without discussing the evidence from the New Testament,
proceeds to treat of the post-apostolic development of organization as if
the existence of a germinal Episcopacy very soon after the apostles
proved such a system to be legitimate or obligatory. In reply, we would
ask whether we are under moral obligation to conform to whatever
succeeds in developing itself. If so, then the priests of Baal as well as the
priests of Rome had just claims to human belief and obedience. Prof.
Black: “We have no objection to antiquity, if they will only go back far
enough. We wish to listen not only to the fathers of the church, but also to
the grandfathers.”
Phillips Brooks speaks of “the fantastic absurdity of apostolic
succession.” And with reason, for in the Episcopal system, bishops
qualified to ordain must be baptized persons, not scandalously immoral,
not having obtained office by bribery and must not have been deposed. In
view of these qualifications, Archbishop Whately pronounces the doctrine
of apostolic succession untenable and declares that “there is no Christian
minister existing now who can trace up with complete certainty his own
ordination through perfectly regular steps to the time of the apostles.” See
Macaulay’s Review of Gladstone on Church and State, in his Essays,
4:166-178. There are breaks in the line, and a chain is only as strong as.250
its weakest part. See Presb. Rev., 1886:89-126. Mr. Flanders called
Phillips Brooks “an Episcopalian with leanings toward Christianity”
Bishop Brooks replied that he could not be angry at “such a dear old moth
eaten angel.” On apostolic succession, see C. Anderson Scott, Evangelical
Doctrine, 37-48, 267-288.
Apostolic succession has been called the pipeline conception of divine
grace. To change the figure, it may be compared to the monopoly of
communication with Europe by the submarine cable. But we are not
confined to either the pipeline or to the cable. There are wells of salvation
in our private grounds and wireless telegraphy practicable to every human
soul apart from any control of corporations.
We see leanings toward the world church idea in Pananglican and
Panpresbyterian Councils. Human nature ever tends to substitute the unity
of external organization for the spiritual unity, which belongs to all
believers in Christ. There is no necessity for common government,
whether Presbyterian or Episcopalian since Christ’s truth and Spirit are
competent to govern all as easily as one. It is a remarkable fact, that the
Baptist denomination, without external bonds, has maintained a greater
unity in doctrine and a closer general conformity to New Testament
standards than the churches, which adopt the principle of episcopacy or of
provincial organization. With Abp. Whately, we find the true symbol of
Christian unity in “the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits”
(Revelations 22:2). Cf.

John 10:16 — genh>sontai mi>a poi>mnh ei=v
poimh>n — “they shall become one flock, one shepherd” = not one fold,
not external unity, but one flock in many folds. See Jacob, Ecclesiastical
Polity of N. T., 130; Dexter, Congregationalism, 236; Coleman, Manual
on Prelacy and Ritualism, 128-264; Albert Barnes, Apostolic Church.
As testimonies to the adequacy of Baptist polity to maintain sound
doctrine, we quote from the Congregationalist, Dr. J. L. Withrow: “There
is not a denomination of evangelical Christians that is throughout as
sound theologically as the Baptist denomination. There is not an
evangelical denomination in America today that is as true to the simple
plain gospel of God as it is recorded in the word as the Baptist
denomination.” And the Presbyterian, Dr. W. G. T. Shedd, in a private
letter dated Oct. 1, 1886, writes as follows: “Among the denominations,
we all look to the Baptists for steady and firm adherence to sound
doctrine. You have never had any internal doctrinal conflicts and from
year to year you present an undivided front in defense of the Calvinistic
faith. Having no judicatures and regarding the local church as the unit, it
is remarkable that you maintain such a unity and solidarity of belief. If.251
you could impart your secret to our Congregational brethren, I think that
some of them at least would thank you.”
A.H. Strong, Sermon in London before the Baptist World Congress, July,
1905 — “Cooperation with Christ involves the spiritual unity not only of
all Baptists with one another but of all Baptists with the whole company
of true believers of every name. We cannot, indeed, be true to our
convictions without organizing into one body those who agree with us in
our interpretation of the Scriptures. Our denominational divisions are at
present necessities of nature. But we regret these divisions and, as we
grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth, we strive at least in spirit,
to rise above them. In America our farms are separated from one another
by fences and in the springtime when the wheat and barley are just
emerging from the earth, these fences are very distinguishable and
unpleasing features of the landscape. But later in the season, when the
corn has grown and the time of harvest is near, the grain is so tall that the
fences are entirely hidden and for miles together you seem to see only a
single field. It is surely our duty to confess everywhere and always that
we are first Christians and only secondly Baptists. The tie, which binds us
to Christ, is more important in our eyes than that which binds us to those
of the same faith and order. We live in hope that the Spirit of Christ in us
and in all other Christian bodies may induce such growth of mind and
heart that the sense of unity may not only overtop and hide the fences of
division but may ultimately do away with these fences altogether.”
2. Officers of the Church.
A. The number of offices in the church is two. First, there is the office of
bishop, presbyter, or pastor and secondly, the office of deacon.
(a) That the appellations ‘bishop,’ ‘presbyter,’ and ‘pastor’ designate the
same office and order of persons, may be shown from

Acts 20:28 —
ejpisko>pouv poimai>nein (cf. 17 — presbute>rouv);

Philippians 1:1;

1 Timothy 3:1, 8;

Titus 1:5, 7;

1 Peter 5:1, 2 —
presbute>rouv… parakalw~ oJ sumpresbu>terov…poima>nate
poi>mnion…ejpiskopou~ntev. Conybeare and Howson: “The terms
‘bishop’ and ‘elder’ are used in the New Testament as equivalent, the
former denoting (as its meaning of overseer implies) the duties, the latter
the rank of the office.” See passages quoted in Gieseler, Church History,
1:90, note 1 — as, for example, Jerome: “Apud veteres iidem episcopi et
presbyteri, quia illud nomen dignitatis est, hoc aetatis. Idem est ergo
presbyter qui episcopus.”.252

Acts 20:28 — “Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in
which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops [margin ‘overseers’], to feed
[lit. ‘to shepherd,’ ‘be pastors of’] the church of the Lord which he
purchased with his own blood”; cf. 17 — “the elders of the church” are
those whom Paul addresses as bishops or overseers and whom he exhorts
to be good pastors.

Philippians 1:1 — “bishops and deacons”;

Timothy 3:1, 8 — “If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a
good work…Deacons in like manner must be grave”;

Titus 1:5, 7 —
“appoint elders in every city…For the bishop must be blameless”; 1Pet
5:1, 2 — “The elders therefore among you I exhort who am a fellow
elder…Tend [lit. ‘shepherd,’ ‘be pastors of’] the flock of God which is
among you, exercising the oversight [acting as bishops] not of constraint,
but willingly, according to the will of God.” In this last passage, Westcott
and Hort, with Tischendorf’s 8th edition, follow a and B in omitting
ejpiskopou~ntev. Tregelles and our Revised Version follow A and a in
retaining it. Rightly, we think, since it is easy to see how, in a growing
ecclesiasticism, it should have been omitted from the feeling that too much
was here ascribed to a mere presbyter.
Lightfoot, Com., on Philippians, 95-99 — “It is a fact now generally
recognized by theologians of all shades of opinion that in the language of
the N. T. the same officer in the church is called indifferently ‘bishop’
ejpiskopov and ‘elder’ or ‘presbyter’ presbu>terov. To these special
officers the priestly functions and privileges of the Christian people are
never regarded as transferred or delegated. They are called stewards or
messengers of God, servants or ministers of the church and the like, but
the sacerdotal is never once conferred upon them. The only priests under
the gospel, designated as such in the N. T., are the saints, the members of
the Christian brotherhood.” On

Titus 1:5, 7 — “appoint elders…For
the bishop mast be blameless” — Gould, Bib. Theol. N. T., 150, remarks:
“Here the word ‘for’ is quite out of place unless bishops and elders are
identical. All these officers, bishops as well as deacons, are confined to
the local church in their jurisdiction. The charge of a bishop is not a
diocese but a church. The functions are mostly administrative, the
teaching office being subordinate and a distinction is made between
teaching elders and others implying that the teaching function is not
common to them all.”
Dexter, Congregationalism, 114, shows that bishop, elder, pastor, are
names for the same office. From the significance of the words, the fact
that the same qualifications are demanded from all, the fact that the same
duties are assigned to all and the fact that the texts held to prove higher.253
rank of bishop do not support that claim. Plumptre, in Pop. Com., Pauline
Epistles, 555, 556 — “There cannot be a shadow of doubt that the two
titles of Bishop and Presbyter were in the Apostolic Age interchangeable.”
(b) The only plausible objection to the identity of the presbyter and the
bishop is that first suggested by Calvin, on the ground of

1 Timothy
5:17. But this text only shows that the one office of presbyter or bishop
involved two kinds of labor and that certain presbyters or bishops were
more successful in one kind than in the other. That gifts of teaching and
ruling belonged to the same individual, is clear from

Acts 20:28-31;

Hebrews 13:7;

1 Timothy 3:2 — ejpiskopon

1 Timothy 5:17 — “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of
double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching.”
Wilson, Primitive Government of Christian Churches, concedes that this
last text “expresses a diversity in the exercise of the Presbyterial office
but not in the office itself” and, although he was a Presbyterian, he very
consistently refused to have any ruling elders in his church.

Acts 20:28, 31 — “bishops, to feed the church of the Lord…wherefore
watch ye”;

Ephesians 4:11 — “and some, pastors and teachers” —
here Meyer remarks that the single article binds the two words together
and prevents us from supposing that separate offices are intended. Jerome:
“Nemo…pastoris sibi nomen assumere debet, nisi possit docere quos

Hebrews 13:7 — “Remember them that had the rule over you,
men that spake unto you the word of God”;

1 Timothy 3:2 — “The
bishop must be…apt to teach.” The great temptation to ambition in the
Christian ministry is provided against, by having no gradation of ranks.
The pastor is a priest only as every Christian is. See Jacob, Ecclesiastical
Polity of N. T., 56; Olshausen, on

1 Timothy 5:17; Hackett on

Acts 14:23; Presb. Rev., 1886:89-126.
Dexter, Congregationalism. 52 — “Calvin was a natural aristocrat, not a
man of the people like Luther. Taken out of his own family to be educated
in a family of the nobility, he received an early bent toward exclusiveness.
He believed in authority and loved to exercise it. He could easily have
been a despot. He assumed all citizens to be Christians until proof to the
contrary. He resolved church discipline into police control. He confessed
that the elder-ship was an expedient to which he was driven by
circumstances, though after creating it he naturally enough endeavored to
procure Scriptural proof in its favor.” On the question, The Christian.254
Ministry, is it a Priesthood? see C. Anderson Scott, Evangelical Doctrine,
(c) In certain of the N. T. churches there appears to have been a plurality
of elders (

Acts 20:17;

Philippians 1:1;

Titus 1:5). There is,
however, no evidence that the number of elders was uniform or that the
plurality which frequently existed was due to any other cause than the size
of the churches for which these elders cared. The N. T. example, while it
permits the multiplication of assistant pastors according to need, does not
require a plural elder-ship in every case nor does it render this elder-ship,
where it exists, of coordinate authority with the church. There are
indications, moreover, that, at least in certain churches, the pastor was one
while the deacons were more than one in number.

Acts 20:17 — “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called to
him the elders of the church”;

Philippians 1:1 — “Paul and Timothy,
servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at
Philippi, with the bishops and deacons

Titus 1:5 — “For this cause I
left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were
wanting, and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge.” See,

Acts 12:17 — “Tell these things unto James, and to the
brethren”; 15:13 — “And after they had held their peace, James
answered, saying, Brethren, hearken unto me”; 21:18 — “And the day
following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were

Galatians 1:19 — “But other of the apostles saw I none,
save James the Lord’s brother”; 2:12 — “certain came from James.”
These passages seem to indicate that James was the pastor or president of
the church at Jerusalem, an intimation which tradition corroborates.

1 Timothy 3:2 — “The bishop therefore must be without reproach”;

Titus 1:7 — “For the bishop must be blameless, as God’s steward”;

1 Timothy 3:8, 10, 12 — “Deacons in like manner must be
grave…And let these also first be proved; then let Them serve as deacons,
if they be blameless…Let deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their
children and their own houses well” — in all these passages the bishop is
spoken of in the singular number, the deacons in the plural. So, too, in
Revelations 2:1, 8, 12, 18 and 3:1, 7, 14,” the angel of the church” is best
interpreted as meaning the pastor of the church and, if this be correct, it is
clear that each church had, not many pastors, but one.
It would, moreover, seem antecedently improbable that every church of
Christ, however small, should be required to have a plural elder-ship,
particularly since churches exist that have only a single male member. A.255
plural elder-ship is natural and advantageous only where the church is
very numerous and the pastor needs assistants in his work and only in
such cases can we say that New Testament example favors it. For
advocacy of the theory of plural elder-ship, see Fish, Ecclesiology, 229-
249; Ladd, Principles of Church Polity, 22-29. On the whole subject of
offices in the church, see Dexter, Congregationalism, 77-98; Dagg,
Church Order, 241-266; Lightfoot on the Christian Ministry, appended to
his Commentary on Philippians and published in his Dissertations on the
Apostolic Age.
B. The duties belonging to these offices.
(a) The pastor, bishop, or elder is:
First, a spiritual teacher, in public and private.

Acts 20:20, 21, 35 — “how I shrank not from declaring unto you
anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly, and from house
to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks repentance toward God
and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. In all things I gave you an
example that so laboring ye ought to help the weak, and to remember the
words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, It is more blessed to give
than to receive”;

1 Thess. 5:12 — “But we beseech you, brethren, to
know them that labor among you and are over you in the Lord, and
admonish you”;

Hebrews 13:7, 17 — “Remember them that had the
rule over you, men that spake unto you the word of God; and considering
the issue of their life, imitate their faith…Obey them that have the rule
over you, and submit to them: for they watch in behalf of your souls, as
they that shall give account.”
Here we should remember that the pastor’s private work of religious
conversation and prayer is equally important with his public ministrations.
In this respect he is to be an example to his flock, and they are to learn
from him the art of winning the unconverted and of caring for those who
are already saved. A Jewish Rabbi once said: “God could not be every
where, therefore he made mothers.” We may substitute, for the word
‘mothers,’ the word ‘pastors.’ Bishop Ken is said to have made a vow
every morning, as he rose, that he would not be married that day. His own
lines best express his mind: “A virgin priest the altar best attends; our
Lord that state commands not, but commends.”
Secondly, administrator of the ordinances..256

Matthew 28:19, 20 — “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son, and of
the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I

1 Corinthians 1:16, 17 —
“And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not
whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to
preach the gospel.” Here it is evident that, although the pastor administers
the ordinances, this is not his main work nor is the church absolutely
dependent upon him in the matter. He is not set, like an O. T. priest to
minister at the altar, but to preach the gospel. In an emergency any other
member appointed by the church may administer them with equal
propriety, the church always determining who are fit subjects of the
ordinances and constituting him their organ in administering them. Any
other view is based on sacramental notions and on ideas of apostolic
succession. All Christians are “priests unto…God” (

Revelation 1:6).
“This universal priesthood is a priesthood, not of expiation but of worship
and is bound to no ritual or order of times and places” (P. S. Moxom).
Thirdly, superintendent of the discipline, as well as presiding officer at the
meetings of the church.
Superintendent of discipline:

1 Timothy 5:17 — “Let the elders that
rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor
in the word and in teaching”; 3:5 — “if a man knoweth not how to rule his
own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” Presiding
officer at meetings of the church:

1 Corinthians 12:28 —
“governments” — here kubernh>seiv, or “governments,” indicating the
duties of the pastor, are the counterpart of ajntilh>yeiv, or “helps,” which
designate the duties of the deacons;

1 Peter 5:2, 3 — “Tend the flock
of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint,
but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of
a ready mind; neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but
making yourselves ensamples to the flock.”
In the old Congregational churches of New England, an authority was
accorded to the pastor, which exceeded the New Testament standard. “Dr.
Bellamy could break in upon a festival which he deemed improper and
order the members of his parish to their homes.” The congregation rose as
the minister entered the church, and stood uncovered as he passed out of
the porch. We must not hope or desire to restore the New England regime.
The pastor is to take responsibility, to put himself forward when there is
need, but he is to rule only by moral suasion and that only by guiding,.257
teaching and carrying into effect the rules imposed by Christ and the
decisions of the church in accordance with those rules.
Dexter, Congregationalism, 115, 155, 157 — “The Governor of New
York suggests to the Legislature such and such enactment and then
executes such laws as they please to pass. He is chief ruler of the State,
while the Legislature adopts or rejects what he proposes.” So the pastor’s
functions are not legislative but executive. Christ is the only lawgiver. In
fulfilling this office, the manner and spirit of the pastor’s work are of as
great importance as are correctness of judgment and faithfulness to
Christ’s law. “The young man who cannot distinguish the wolves from the
dogs should not think of becoming a shepherd.” Gregory Nazianzen:
“Either teach none, or let your life teach too.” See Harvey, The Pastor;
Wayland, Apostolic Ministry; Jacob, Ecclesiastical Polity of N. T., 99;
Samson, in Madison Avenue Lectures, 261-288.
(b) The deacon is helper to the pastor and the church, in both spiritual and
temporal things.
First, relieving the pastor of external labors, informing him of the condition
and wants of the church and forming a bond of union between pastor and

Acts 6:1-6 — “Now in these days, when the number of the disciples
was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the
Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It
is not fit that we should forsake the word of God, and serve tables. Look
ye out therefore, brethren, from among you seven men of good report, full
of the Spirit and of wisdom and those who we may appoint over this
business. But we will continue steadfastly in prayer, and in the ministry of
the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose
Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and
Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus a
proselyte of Antioch; whom they set before the apostles: and when they
had prayed, they laid their hands upon them”; cf. 8-20 — where Stephen
shows power in disputation;

Romans 12:7 — “or ministry
[diakoni>an], let us give ourselves to our ministry”;

1 Corinthians
12:28 — “helps” — here ajntilh>yeiv, “helps,” indicating the duties of
deacons, are the counterpart of kubernh>seiv, “governments,” which
designate the duties of the pastor;

Philippians 1:1 — “bishops and
Dr. E. G. Robinson did not regard the election of the seven, in

6:1-4, as marking the origin of the diaconate, though he thought the
diaconate grew out of this election.
The Autobiography of C. H. Spurgeon, 3:22, gives an account of the
election of “elders” at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. These
“elders” were to attend to the spiritual affairs of the church, as the
deacons were to attend to the temporal affairs. These “elders” were
chosen year by year, while the office of deacon was permanent.
Secondly, helping the church, by relieving the poor and sick and
ministering in an informal way to the church’s spiritual needs and by
performing certain external duties connected with the service of the
Since deacons are to be helpers, it is not necessary in all cases that they
should be old or rich, in fact, it is better that among the number of
deacons the various differences in station are wealth and the opinions in
the church should be represented. The qualifications for the diaconate
mentioned in

Acts 6:14 and

1 Timothy 3:8-13 are, in substance
wisdom, sympathy and spirituality. There are advantages in electing
deacons, not for life, but for a term of years. While there is no New
Testament prescription in this matter and each church may exercise its
option, service for a term of years, with re-election where the office has
been well discharged, would at least seem favored by

1 Timothy 3:10
— “Let these also first be proved, then let them serve as deacons, if they
be blameless”; 13 — “For they that have served well as deacons gain to
themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in
Christ Jesus.”
Expositor’s Greek Testament, on

Acts 5:6, remarks that those who
carried out and buried Ananias are called oiJ new>teroi — “the young
men” — and in the case of Sapphira they were oiJ neani>skoi — meaning
the same thing. “Upon the natural distinction between presbu>teroi and
new>teroi — elders and young men — it may well have been that official
duties in the church were afterward based.” Dr. Leonard Bacon thought
that the apostles included the whole membership in the “we,” when they
said: “It is not that we should forsake the word of God, and serve tables.”
The deacons, on this interpretation, were chosen to help the whole church
in temporal matters.

Romans 16:1, 2, we have apparent mention of a deaconess — “I
commend unto you Phúbe our sister, who is a servant [margin:.259
‘deaconess’] of the church that is at Cenchreæ…for she herself also hath
been a helper of many, and of mine own self.” See also

1 Timothy
3:11 — “Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, temperate,
faithful in all things” — here Ellicott and Alford claim that the word
“women” refers, not to deacons’ wives, as our Authorized Version had
done but to deaconesses. Dexter, Congregationalism, 69, 132, maintains
that the office of deaconess, though it once existed, has passed away, as
belonging to a time when men could not, without suspicion, minister to
This view that there are temporary offices in the church does not,
however, commend itself to us. It is more correct to say that there is yet
doubt whether there was such an office as deaconess, even in the early
church. Each church has a right in this matter to interpret Scripture for
itself and to act accordingly. An article in the Bap. Quar., 1869:40, denies
the existence of any diaconal rank or office, for male or female. Fish, in
his Ecclesiology, holds that Stephen was a deacon, but an elder also, and
preached as elder, not as deacon,

Acts 6:14 being called the
institution, not of the diaconate, but of the Christian ministry. The use of
the phrase diakonei~n trape>zaiv, and the distinction between the
diaconate and the pastorate subsequently made in the Epistles seem to
refute this interpretation. On the fitness of women for the ministry of
religion, see F. P. Cobbe, Peak of Darien, 199-262; F. E. Willard,
Women in the Pulpit; B. T. Roberts, Ordaining Women. On the general
subject, see Howell, The Deacon-ship; Williams, The Deacon-ship;
Robinson, N. T. Lexicon, ajntilh>yiv On the Claims of the Christian
Ministry and on Education for the Ministry, see A. H. Strong, Philosophy
and Religion, 269-318, and Christ in Creation, 314-331.
C. Ordination of officers.
(a) What is ordination?
Ordination is the setting apart of a person divinely called to a work of
special ministration in the church. It does not involve the communication of
power; it is simply recognition of powers previously conferred by God and
a consequent formal authorization, on the part of the church, to exercise
the gifts already bestowed. This recognition and authorization should not
only be expressed by the vote in which the candidate is approved by the
church or the council which represents it but should also be accompanied
by a special service of admonition, prayer and the laying on of hands

Acts 6:5, 6; 13:2, 3; 14:23;

1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22)..260
Licensure simply commends a man to the churches as fitted to preach.
Ordination recognizes him as set apart to the work of preaching and
administering ordinances, in some particular church or in some designated
field of labor, as representative of the church.
Of his call to the ministry, the candidate himself is to be first persuaded

1 Corinthians 9:16;

1 Timothy 1:12) but, secondly, the church must
be persuaded also, before he can have authority to minister among them

1 Timothy 3:2-7; 4:14;

Titus 1:6-9.)
The word ‘ordain’ has come to have a technical signification not found in
the New Testament. There it means simply to choose, appoint or to set
apart. In

1 Timothy 2:7 — “whereunto I was appointed ejteqhn a
preacher and an apostle…a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” — it
apparently denotes ordination of God. In the following passages we read
of an ordination by the church:

Acts 6:5, 6 — “And the saying pleased
the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen and Philip, and Prochorus,
and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus… whom they set
before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands upon
them” — the ordination of deacons; 13:2, 3 — “And as they ministered to
the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul
for the work whereunto I have called them. Then, when they had fasted
and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away”; 14:23 —
“And when they had appointed for them elders in every church, and had
prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had

1 Timothy 4:14 — “Neglect not the gift that is in thee,
which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the
presbytery”; 5:22 — “Lay hands hastily on no man, neither be partaker of
other men’s sins.”
Cambridge Platform, 1648, chapter 9 — “Ordination is nothing else but
the solemn putting of a man into his place and office in the church
whereunto he had right before by election, being like the installing of a
Magistrate in the Commonwealth.” Ordination confers no authority — it
only recognizes authority already conferred by God. Since it is only
recognition, it can be repeated as often as a man changes his
denominational relations. Leonard Bacon: “The action of a Council has no
more authority than the reason on which it is based. The church calling
the Council is a competent court of appeal from any decision of the
Since ordination is simply choosing, appointing, setting apart, it seems
plain that in the case of deacons, who sustain official relations only to the.261
church that constitutes them, ordination requires no consultation with
other churches. But in the ordination of a pastor, there are three natural
stages. First, there is the call of the church, second, the decision of a
council (the council being virtually only the church advised by its
brethren) and third, the publication of this decision by a public service of
prayer and the laying on of hands. The prior call to be pastor may be said,
in the case of a man not yet ordained, to be given by the church
conditionally and in anticipation of a ratification of its action by the
subsequent judgment of the council. In a well instructed church, the
calling of a council is a regular method of appeal from the church
unadvised to the church advised by its brethren. The vote of the council
approving the candidate is only the essential completing of an ordination,
of which the vote of the church calling the candidate to the pastorate was
the preliminary stage.
This setting apart by the church, with the advice and assistance of the
council, is all that is necessarily implied in the New Testament words
which are translated “ordain” and such ordination, by simple vote of
church and council, could not be counted invalid but, it would be
irregular. New Testament precedent makes certain accompaniments not
only appropriate but is obligatory. A formal publication of the decree of
the council, by the laying on of hands, in connection with prayer, is the
last of the duties of this advisory body, which serves as the organ and
assistant of the church. The laying on of hands is appointed to be the
regular accompaniment of ordination, as baptism is appointed to be the
regular accompaniment of regeneration while yet the laying on of hands is
no more the substance of ordination than baptism is the substance of
The imposition of hands is the natural symbol of the communication, not
of grace, but of authority. It does not make a man a minister of the gospel
any more than coronation makes Victoria a queen. What it does signify
and publish, is formal recognition and authorization. Viewed in this light,
there not only can be no objection to the imposition of hands upon the
ground that it favors sacramentalism but insistence upon it is the bounden
duty of every council of ordination.
Mr. Spurgeon was never ordained. He began and ended his remarkable
ministry as a lay preacher. He revolted from the sacramentalism of the
Church of England, which seemed to hold that in the imposition of hands
in ordination divine grace trickled down through a bishop’s finger ends
and he felt moved to protest against it. In our judgment, it would have
been better to follow New Testament precedent and at the same time, to.262
instruct the churches as to the real meaning of the laying on of hands. The
Lord’s Supper had in a similar manner been interpreted as a physical
communication of grace but Mr. Spurgeon still continued to observe the
Lord’s Supper. His gifts enabled him to carry his people with him, when a
man of smaller powers might by peculiar views have ruined his ministry.
He was thankful that he was pastor of a large church because he felt that
he had not enough talent to be pastor of a small one. He said that when he
wished to make a peculiar impression on his people he put himself into his
cannon and fired himself at them. He refused the degree of Doctor of
Divinity, and said that “D. D” often meant “Doubly Destitute.” Dr. P. S.
Henson suggests that the letters mean only “Fiddle Dee Dee.” For
Spurgeon’s views on ordination, see his Autobiography, 1:355 sq.
John Wesley’s three tests of a call to preach: “Inquire of applicants,” he
1. Do they know God as a pardoning God? Have they the love of God
abiding in them? Do they desire and see nothing but God? And are they
holy, in all manner of conversation?
2. Have they gifts, as well as grace, for the work? Have they a clear
sound understanding? Have they a right judgment in the things of God?
Have they a just conception of salvation by faith? And has God given
them any degree of utterance? Do they speak justly, readily, clearly?
3. Have they produced fruit? Are any truly convinced of sin and converted
to God, by their preaching?” The second of these qualifications seems to
have been in the mind of the little girl who said that the bishop, in laying
hands on the candidate, was feeling of his head to see whether he had
brains enough to preach. There is some need of the preaching of a “trial
sermon” by the candidate, as proof to the Council that he has the gifts
requisite for a successful ministry. In this respect the Presbyteries of
Scotland are in advance of us.
(b) Who are to ordain?
Ordination is the act of the church, not the act of a privileged class in the
church, as the elder-ship has sometimes wrongly been regarded, nor yet the
act of other churches assembled by their representatives in council. No
ecclesiastical authority higher than that of the local church is recognized in
the New Testament. This authority however, has its limits and since the
church has no authority outside of its own body, the candidate for
ordination should be a member of the ordaining church..263
Since each church is bound to recognize the presence of the Spirit in other
rightly constituted churches and its own decisions, in like manner, are to be
recognized by others. It is desirable in ordination, as in all important steps
affecting other churches, that advice be taken before the candidate is
inducted into office and that other churches be called to sit with it in
council and, if thought best, assist in setting the candidate apart for the
Hands were laid on Paul and Barnabas at Antioch, not by their
ecclesiastical superiors as High Church doctrine would require, but by
their equals or inferiors as simple representatives of the church.
Ordination was nothing more than the recognition of a divine appointment
and the commending to God’s care and blessing of those so appointed.
The council of ordination is only the church advised by its brethren, or a
committee with power, to act for the church after deliberation.
The council of ordination is not to be composed simply of ministers who
have themselves been ordained. As the whole church is to preserve the
ordinances and to maintain sound doctrine, and as the non ordained
church member is often a more sagacious judge of a candidate’s Christian
experience than his own pastor would be, there seems no warrant, either
in Scripture or in reason, for the exclusion of lay delegates from ordaining
councils. It was not merely the apostles and elders, but the whole church
at Jerusalem, that passed upon the matters submitted to them at the
council, and others than ministers appear to have been delegates. The
theory that only ministers can ordain has in it the beginnings of a
hierarchy. To make the ministry a close corporation is to recognize the
principle of apostolic succession, to deny the validity of all our past
ordinations and to sell to an ecclesiastical caste the liberties of the church
of God. Very great importance attaches to decorum and settled usage in
matters of ordination. To secure these, the following suggestions are made
with regard to this.
I. PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS to be attended to by the candidate:
1. His letter of dismissal should be received and acted upon by the church
before the Council convenes. Since the church has no jurisdiction outside of
its own membership, the candidate should be a member of the church, which
proposes to ordain him.
2. The church should vote to call the Council.
3. It should invite all the churches of its Association..264
4. It should send printed invitations, asking written responses.
5. Should have printed copies of an Order of Procedure, subject to adoption
by the Council.
6. The candidate may select one or two persons to officiate at the public
service, subject to approval of the Council.
7. The clerk of the church should be instructed to be present with the records
of the church and the minutes of the Association, so that he may call to order
and ask responses from delegates.
8. Ushers should be appointed to ensure reserved seats for the Council.
9. Another room should be provided for the private session of the Council.
10. The choir should be instructed that one anthem, one hymn and one
doxology will suffice for the public service.
11. Entertainment of the delegates should be provided for.
12. A member of the church should be chosen to present the candidate to the
13. The church should be urged on the previous Sunday to attend the
examination of the candidate as well as the public service.
1. His demeanor should be that of an applicant. Since he asks the favorable
judgment of his brethren, a modest bearing and great patience in answering
their questions are becoming to his position.
2. Let him stand during his narration, and during questions, unless for reasons
of ill health or fatigue he is specially excused.
3. It will be well to divide his narration into 15 minutes for his Christian
experience, 10 minutes for his call to the ministry, and 35 minutes for his
views of doctrine.
4. A viva voce statement of all these three is greatly preferable to an elaborate
written account.
5. In the relation of his views of doctrine,
(a) the more fully he states them the less there will be need for questioning..265
(b) His statement should be positive, not negative (what he does believe and
none of what he does not believe).
(c) He is not required to tell the reasons for his belief, unless he is specially
questioned with regard to these.
(d) He should elaborate the later and practical, not the earlier and theoretical,
portions of his theological system.
(e) He may well conclude each point of his statement with a single text of
Scripture proof.
1. It should not proceed to examine the candidate until proper credentials have
been presented.
2. It should in every case give to the candidate a searching examination,
in order that this may not seem invidious in other cases.
3. Its vote of approval should read: “We do now set apart,” and “We will
hold a public service expressive of this fact.”
4. Strict decorum should be observed in every stage of the proceedings,
remembering that the Council is acting for Christ the great head of the
church and is transacting business for eternity.
5. The Council should do no other business than that for which the church
has summoned it, and when that business is done, the Council should
adjourn sine die.
It is always to be remembered, however, that the power to ordain rests
with the church and that the church may proceed without a Council or
even against the decision of the Council. Such ordination, of course, would
give authority only within the bounds of the individual church. Where no
immediate exception is taken to the decision of the Council, that decision is
to be regarded as virtually the decision, of the church by which it was
called. The same rule applies to a Council’s decision to depose from the
ministry. In the absence of immediate protest from the church, the decision
of the Council is rightly taken as virtually the decision of the church.
In so far as ordination is an act performed by the local church with the
advice and assistance of other rightly constituted churches, it is justly
regarded as giving formal permission to exercise gifts and administer
ordinances within the bounds of such churches. Ordination is not,.266
therefore, to be repeated upon the transfer of the minister’s pastoral
relation from one church to another. In every case, however, where a
minister from a body of Christians not scripturally constituted assumes the
pastoral relation in a rightly organized church, there is peculiar propriety.
This occurs not only in the examination by a Council, but also of his
Christian experience, call to the ministry and views of doctrine and in that
act of formal recognition and authorization which is called ordination.
The Council should be numerous and impartially constituted. The church
calling the Council should be represented in it by a fair number of
delegates. Neither the church, nor the Council, should permit a
prejudgment of the case by the previous announcement of an ordination
service. While the examination of the candidate should be public, all
danger that the Council is unduly influenced by pressure from without
should be obviated, by its conducting its deliberations and arriving at its
decision in private session. We subjoin the form of a letter missive, calling
a Council of ordination, an order of procedure after the Council has
assembled and a programme of exercises for the public service.
LETTER MISSIVE. The __ church of __ to the ___ church of _: Dear
By vote of this church, you are requested to send your pastor and two
delegates to meet with us in accordance with the following resolutions,
passed by us on the __, 19_. Whereas, Brother __, a member of this
church, has offered himself to the work of the gospel ministry, and has
been chosen by us as our pastor, therefore, Resolved,
1. That such neighboring churches, in fellowship with us, as shall be
herein designated be requested to send their pastor and two delegates each,
to meet and counsel with this church, at __O’clock _. _M., on __,19_ and
if, after examination, he be approved, that Brother __ be set apart, by vote
of the Council, to the gospel ministry, and that a public service be held,
expressive of this fact. Resolved,
2. That the Council, if it do so ordain, be requested to appoint two of its
number to act with the candidate, in arranging the public services.
3. That printed letters of invitation, embodying these resolutions, and
signed by the clerk of this church, be sent to the following churches,
__and that these churches be requested to furnish to their delegates an.267
officially signed certificate of their appointment, to be presented at the
organization of the Council. Resolved,
4. That Rev. __ and Brethren ___ be also invited by the clerk of the
church to be present as members of the Council. Resolved,
5. That Brethren ___, ___ and ___ be appointed as our delegates, to
represent this church in the deliberations of the Council and that Brother
__ be requested to present the candidate to the Council, with an
expression of the high respect and warm attachment with which we have
welcomed him and his labors among us. In behalf of the church, __ Clerk.
__ , 19_
Order Of Procedure.
1. Reading, by the clerk of the church of the letter-missive, followed by a
call, in their order, upon all churches and individuals invited, to present
responses and names in writing, each delegate, as he presents his
credentials, taking his seat in a portion of the house reserved for the
2. Announcement, by the clerk of the church, that a Council has convened
and call for the nomination of a moderator, the motion to be put by the
clerk after which the moderator takes the chair.
3. Organization completed by election of a clerk of the Council, the
offering of prayer, and an invitation to visiting brethren to sit with the
Council, but not to vote.
4. Reading, on behalf of the church, by its clerk of the records of the
church concerning the call extended to the candidate and his acceptance,
together with documentary evidence of his licensure, of his present church
membership and of his standing in other respects, if coming from another
5. Vote by the Council that the proceedings of the church and the standing
of the candidate warrant an examination of his claim to ordination.
6. Introduction of the candidate to the Council, by some representative of
the church, with an expression of the church’s feeling respecting him and
his labors.
7. Vote to hear his Christian experience. Narration on the part of the
candidate, followed by questions as to any features of it still needing
8. Vote to hear the candidate’s reasons for believing himself called to the
ministry. Narration and questions.
9. Vote to hear the candidate’s views of Christian doctrine. Narration and
10. Vote to conclude the public examination, and to withdraw for private
11. In private session, after prayer, the Council determines, by three
separate votes in order to secure separate consideration of each question,
whether it is satisfied with the candidate’s Christian experience, call to the
ministry and views of Christian doctrine.
12. Vote that the candidate be hereby set apart to the gospel ministry and
that a public service be held expressive of this fact, that for this purpose,
a committee of two be appointed to act with the candidate in arranging
such service of ordination and to report before adjournment.
13. Reading of minutes, by clerk of Council and correction of them to
prepare for presentation at the ordination service, and for preservation in
the archives of the church.
14. Vote to give the candidate a certificate of ordination, signed by the
moderator and clerk of the Council and to publish an account of the
proceedings in the journals of the denomination.
15. Adjourn to meet at the service of ordination.
PROGRAMME OF PUBLIC SERVICE (two hours in length).
1. Voluntary: five minutes.
2. Anthem: five minutes.
3. Reading minutes of the Council, by the clerk of the Council: ten
4. Prayer of invocation: five minutes.
5. Reading of Scripture: five minutes.
6. Sermon: twenty-five minutes.
7. Prayer of ordination, with the laying on of hands: fifteen minutes.
8. Hymn: ten minutes..269
9. Right hand of fellowship: five minutes.
10. Charge to the candidate: fifteen minutes.
11. Charge to the church: fifteen minutes.
12. Doxology: five minutes.
13. Benediction by the newly ordained pastor.
The tenor of the N. T. would seem to indicate that deacons should be
ordained with prayer and the laying on of hands, though not by council or
public service. Evangelists, missionaries, ministers who serve as
secretaries of benevolent societies should also be ordained since they are
organs of the church, set apart for special religious work on behalf of the
churches. The same rule applies to those who are set to be teachers of the
teachers, the professors of theological seminaries. Philip, baptizing the
eunuch, is to be regarded as an organ of the church at Jerusalem. Both
home missionaries and foreign missionaries are evangelists and both, as
organs of the home churches to which they belong, are not under
obligation to take letters of dismissal to the churches they gather. George
Adam Smith, in his Life of Henry Drummond, 265, says that Drummond
was ordained to his professorship by the laying on of the hands of the
Presbytery: “The rite is the same in the case whether of a minister or of a
professor. The Church of Scotland recognizes no difference between her
teachers and her pastors, but lays them under the same vows and ordains
them all as ministers of Christ’s gospel and of his sacraments.”
Rome teaches that ordination is a sacrament, and “once a priest, always a
priest,” but only when Rome confers the ordination. It is going a great
deal further than Rome to maintain the indelibility of all orders, at least of
all orders conferred by an evangelical church. At Dover in England, a
medical gentleman declined to pay his doctor’s bill upon the ground that it
was not the custom of his calling to pay one another for their services. It
appeared however that he was a retired practitioner and upon that ground
he lost his case. Ordination, like vaccination, may run out. Retirement
from the office of public teacher should work a forfeiture of the official
character. The authorization granted by the Council was based upon a
previous recognition of a divine call. When, by reason of permanent
withdrawal from the ministry and devotion to wholly secular pursuits and
there remains no longer any divine call, all authority and standing as a
Christian minister, should cease also. We therefore repudiate the doctrine
of the “indelibility of sacred orders,” and the corresponding maxim:
“Once ordained, always ordained” although we do not, with the.270
Cambridge Platform, confine the ministerial function to the pastoral
relation. That Platform held that “the pastoral relation ceasing, the
ministerial function ceases and the pastor becomes a layman again to be
restored to the ministry only by a second ordination, called installation.
This theory of the ministry proved so inadequate that it was held scarcely
more than a single generation. It was rejected by the Congregational
churches of England ten years after it was formulated in New England.”
“The National Council of Congregational Churches, in 1880, resolved
that any man serving a church as minister can be dealt with and
disciplined by any church, no matter what his relations may be in church
membership or ecclesiastical affiliations. If the church choosing him will
not call a council, then any church can call one for that purpose”; see
New Englander, July, 1883:461-491. This latter course however,
presupposes that the steps of fraternal labor and admonition, provided for
in our next section on the Relation of Local Churches to one another, have
been taken and have been insufficient to induce proper action on the part
of the church to which such minister belongs.
The authority of a Presbyterian Church is limited to the bounds of its own
denomination. It cannot ordain ministers for Baptist churches, any more
than it can ordain them for Methodist churches or for Episcopal churches.
When a Presbyterian minister becomes a Baptist, his motives for making
the change and the conformity of his views to the New Testament
standard need to be scrutinized by Baptists, before they can admit him to
their Christian and church fellowship. In other words, he needs to be
ordained by a Baptist church. Ordination is no more a discourtesy to the
other denomination than Baptism is. Those who oppose re-ordination, in
such cases, virtually hold to the Roman view of the sacredness of orders.
The Watchman, April 17, 1902 — “The Christian ministry is not a
priestly class which the laity is bound to support. If the minister cannot
find a church ready to support him, there is nothing to prevent his entering
another calling. Only ten per cent of the men who start in independent
business avoid failure and a much smaller proportion achieve substantial
success. They are not failures, for they do useful and valuable work. But
they do not secure the prizes. It is not wonderful that the proportion of
ministers securing prominent pulpits is small. Many men fail in the
ministry. There is no sacred character imparted by ordination. They
should go into some other avocation. ‘Once a minister, always a minister’
is a piece of Popery that Protestant churches should get rid of.” See essay
on Councils of Ordination, their Powers and Duties, by A. H. Strong, in
Philosophy and Religion, 259-268; Wayland, Principles and Practices of.271
Baptists, 114; Dexter, Congregationalism, 136, 145, 146, 150, 151. Per
contra, see Fish, Ecclesiology, 365-399; Presb. Rev., 1886:89-126.
3. Discipline of the Church.
A. Kinds of discipline. Discipline is of two sorts, according as offenses are
private or public.
(a) Private offenses are to be dealt with according to the rule in

Matthew 5:23, 24; 18:15-17.

Matthew 5:23, 24 — “If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the
altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee,
leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to
thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Here is provision for self-discipline
on the part of each offender; 18:15-17 — “And if thy brother
sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he
hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he hear thee not take with
thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every
word may he established. And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the
church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the
Gentile and the publican.” Here is, first, private discipline, one of another
and then, only as a last resort, discipline by the church. Westcott and
Hort, however omit the eijv se< — “against thee” — in

18:15, and so make each Christian responsible for bringing to repentance
every brother whose sin he becomes cognizant of. This would abolish the
distinction between private and public offenses.
When a brother wrongs me, I am not to speak of the offense to others nor
to write to him a letter, but to go to him. If the brother is already penitent,
he will start from his house to see me at the same time that I start from my
house to see him and we will meet just half way between the two. There
would be little appeal to the church and little cherishing of ancient
grudges if Christ’s disciples would observe his simple rules. These rules
impose a duty upon both the offending and the offended party. When a
brother brings a personal matter before the church, he should always be
asked whether he has obeyed Christ’s command to labor privately with
the offender. If he has not, he should be bidden to keep silence.
(b) Public offenses are to be dealt with according to the rule in

Corinthians 5:3-5, 13, and 2Thess. 3:6.

1 Corinthians 5:3-5, 13 — “For I verily, being absent in body but
present in spirit, have already as though I were present judged him that.272
hath so wrought this thing, in the name of the Lord Jesus, ye being
gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, to
deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the
spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus…Put away the wicked
man from among yourselves.”
Notice here that Paul gave the incestuous person no opportunity to repent,
confess or avert sentence. The church can have no valid evidence of
repentance immediately upon discovery and arraignment. At such a time
the natural conscience always reacts in remorse and self-accusation but
whether the sin is hated because of its inherent wickedness or only
because of its unfortunate consequences, cannot be known at once. Only
fruits meet for repentance can prove repentance real. But such fruits take
And the church has no time to wait. Its good repute in the community and
its influence over its own members are at stake. These therefore, demand
the instant exclusion of the wrongdoer, as evidence that the church clears
its skirts from all complicity with the wrong. In the case of gross public
offenses, labor with the offender is to come, not before but after, his
excommunication; cf.

2 Corinthians 2:6-8 — “Sufficient to such a one
is this punishment which was inflicted by the many…forgive him and
comfort him…confirm your love toward him.”
The church is not a Mutual Insurance Company, whose object is to
protect and shield its individual members. It is a society whose end is to
represent Christ in the world, and to establish his truth and righteousness.
Christ commits his honor to its keeping. The offender who is only anxious
to escape judgment and who pleads to be forgiven without delay, often
shows that he cares nothing for the cause of Christ which he has truly
injured but that he has at heart only his own selfish comfort and
reputation. The penitent man will rather beg the church to exclude him, in
order that it may free itself from the charge of harboring iniquity. He will
accept exclusion with humility, will love the church that excludes him,
will continue to attend its worship and will, in due time, seek and receive
restoration. There is always a way back into the church for those who
repent. But the Scriptural method of ensuring repentance is the method of
immediate exclusion.

2 Corinthians 2:6-8 — “inflicted by the many” might at first sight
seem to imply that, although the offender was excommunicated, it was
only by a majority vote, some members of the church dissenting. Some
interpreters think he had not been excommunicated at all but that only.273
ordinary association with him had ceased. But, if Paul’s command in the
first epistle to “put away the wicked man from among yourselves” (

Corinthians 5:13) had been thus disobeyed, the apostle would certainly
have mentioned and rebuked the disobedience. On the contrary he praises
them that they had done as he had advised. God blessed the action of the
church at Corinth in the quickening of conscience and the purification of
life by. In many a modern church the exclusion of unworthy members has
in like manner given to Christians a new sense of their responsibility,
while at the same time it has convinced worldly people that the church
was in thorough earnest. The decisions of the church, indeed, when guided
by the Holy Spirit, are nothing less than an anticipation of the judgments
of the last day. See

Matthew 18:18 — “What things soever ye shall
bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye shall
loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” In

John 8:7, Jesus
recognizes the sin and urges repentance, while he challenges the right of
the mob to execute judgment and does away with the traditional stoning.
His gracious treatment of the sinning woman gave no hint as to the proper
treatment of her case by the regular synagogue authorities.

2 Thess 3:6 — “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that
walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which they received of us.”
The mere “dropping” of names from the list of members seems altogether
contrary to the spirit of the N. T. polity. Exclusion, dismissal and death
are the only three methods of exit from the local church that are
recognized. To provide for the case of members whose residence has long
been unknown, it is well for the church to have a standing rule that all
members residing at a distance shall report each year by letter or by
Contribution. In case of failure to report for two successive years, shall be
subject to discipline. The action of the church, in such cases, should take
the form of an adoption of preamble and resolution: “Whereas A. B. has
been absent from the church for more than two years, and has failed to
comply with the standing rule requiring a yearly report or contribution,
therefore, Resolved, that the church withdraw from A. B. the hand of
In all cases of exclusion, the resolution may uniformly read as above, the
preamble may indefinitely vary and should always cite the exact nature of
the offense. In this way, neglect of the church or breach of covenant
obligations may be distinguished from offenses against common morality,
so that exclusion upon the former ground shall not be mistaken for
exclusion upon the latter. As the persons excluded are not commonly
present at the meeting of the church when they are excluded, a written.274
copy of the preamble and resolution, signed by the Clerk of the Church,
should always be immediately sent to them.
B. Relation of the pastor to discipline.
(a) He has no original authority,
(b) but is the organ of the church,
(c) superintendent of its labors for its own purification and for the
reclamation of offenders and therefore,
(d) may best do the work of discipline, not directly, by constituting himself
a special policeman or detective, but indirectly, by securing proper labor on
the part of the deacons or brethren of the church.
The pastor should regard himself as a Judge, rather than as a prosecuting
attorney. He should press upon the officers of his church their duty to
investigate cases of immorality and to deal with them. But if he himself
makes charges, he loses dignity, and puts it out of his power to help the
offender. It is not well for him to be, or to have the reputation of being,
one, who ferrets out misdemeanors among his church members. It is best
for him in general to serve only as presiding officer in cases of discipline,
instead of being a partisan or a counsel for the prosecution. For this
reason it is well for him to secure the appointment by his church of a
Prudential Committee, or Committee on Discipline, whose duty it shall be
at a fixed time each year to look over the list of members, initiate labor in
the case of delinquents and, after the proper steps have been taken,
present proper preambles and resolutions in cases where the church needs
to take action. This regular yearly process renders discipline easy
whereas, the neglect of it for several successive years results in an
accumulation of cases. In which case, the person exposed to discipline has
friends and these are tempted to obstruct the church’s dealing with others
from fear that the taking up of any other case may lead to the taking up of
that one in which they are most nearly interested. The church, which pays
no regular attention to its discipline, is like the farmer, who milked his
cow only once a year in order to avoid too great a drain or like the small
boy who did not see how any one could bear to comb his hair every day.
He combed his own only once in six weeks and then it nearly killed him.
As the Prudential Committee, or Committee on Discipline, is simply the
church itself preparing its own business, the church may well require all
complaints to be made to it through the committee. In this way it may be
made certain that the preliminary steps of labor have been taken and the.275
disquieting of the church by premature charges may be avoided. Where
the committee, after proper representations made to it, fails to do its duty,
the individual member may appeal directly to the assembled church. The
difference between the New Testament order and that of a hierarchy is,
according to the former, all final action and responsibility is taken by the
church itself in its collective capacity, whereas on the latter, the minister,
the session or the bishop, so far as the individual church is concerned,
determines the result. See Savage, Church Discipline, Formative and
Corrective; Dagg, Church Order, 268-274. On church discipline in cases
of remarriage after divorce, see A. H. Strong, Philosophy and Religion,
1. The general nature of this relation is that of fellowship between equals.
Notice here:
(a) The absolute equality of the churches. No church or council of
churches, no association or convention or society, can relieve any single
church of its direct responsibility to Christ, or assume control of its action.
(b) The fraternal fellowship and cooperation of the churches. No church
can properly ignore or disregard the existence or work of other churches
around it. Every other church is presumptively possessed of the Spirit, in
equal measure with itself. There must therefore be sympathy and mutual
furtherance of each other’s welfare among churches, as among individual
Christians. Upon this principle are based letters of dismissal, recognition of
the pastors of other churches and all associated unions, or unions for
common Christian work.
H. O. Rowlands, in Bap. Quar. Rev., Oct. 1891:669-677, urges the giving
up of special Councils and the turning of the Association into a Permanent
Council, not to take original cognizance of what cases it pleases but to
consider and judge such questions as may be referred to it by the
individual churches. It could then revise and rescind its action, whereas
the present Council when once adjourned can never be called together
again. This method would prevent the packing of a Council and the
Council, when once constituted, would have greater influence. We feel
slow to sanction such a plan, not only for the reason that it seems destitute
of New Testament authority and example, but because it tends toward a
Presbyterian form of church government. All permanent bodies of this
sort gradually arrogate to themselves power. Indirectly, if not directly,.276
they can assume original jurisdiction. Their decisions have altogether too
great influence, if they go further than personal persuasion. The
independence of the individual church is a primary element of polity,
which must not be sacrificed or endangered for the mere sake of inter-ecclesiastical
harmony. Permanent Councils of any sort are of doubtful
validity. They need to be kept under constant watch and criticism, lest
they undermine our Baptist church government, a fundamental principle,
which is that there is no authority on earth above that of the local church.
2. This fellowship involves the duty of special consultation with regard to
matters affecting the common interest.
(a) The duty of seeking advice. Since the order and good repute of each is
valuable to all the others, cases of grave importance and difficulty in
internal discipline, as well as the question of ordaining members to the
ministry, should be submitted to a council of churches called for the
(b) The duty of taking advice. For the same reason, each church should
show readiness to receive admonition from others. So long as this is in the
nature of friendly reminder that the church is guilty of defects from the
doctrine or practice enjoined by Christ. The mutual acceptance of whose
commands is the basis of all church fellowship and no church can justly
refuse to have such defects pointed out or to consider the Scriptural
relationship of its own proceeding. Such admonition or advice, however,
whether coming from a single church or from a council of churches, is not
itself of binding authority. It is simply in the nature of moral suasion. The
church receiving it has still to compare it with Christ’s laws. The ultimate
decision rests entirely with the church so advised or asking advice.
Churches should observe comity and should not draw away one another’s
members. Ministers should bring churches together and should teach their
members the larger unity of the whole church of God. The pastor should
not confine his interest to his own church or even to his own Association.
The State Convention, the Education Society, the National Anniversaries
should all claim his attention and that of his people. He should welcome
new laborers and helpers instead of regarding the ministry as a close
corporation whose numbers are to be kept forever small. E. G. Robinson:
“The spirit of sectarianism is devilish. It raises the church above Christ.
Christ did not say: ‘Blessed is the man who accepts the Westminster
Confession or the Thirty-Nine Articles.’ There is not the least shadow of.277
Churchism in Christ. Churchism is a revamped and whitewashed Judaism.
It keeps up the middle wall of partition which Christ has broken down.”
Dr. P. H. Mell, in his Manual of Parliamentary Practice, calls Church
Councils “Committees of Help.” President James C. Welling held that
“We Baptists are not true to our democratic polity in the conduct of our
collective evangelical operations. In these matters we are simply a
bureaucracy, tempered by individual munificence.” A. J. Gordon,
Ministry of the Spirit, 149, 150, remarks on

Matthew 18:19 — “If
two of you shall agree” — sumfwnh>swsin, from which our word
‘symphony’ comes: “If two shall ‘accord,’ or ‘symphonize’ in what they
ask, they have the promise of being heard. But, as in tuning an organ, all
the notes must be keyed to the standard pitch, else harmony were
impossible, so in prayer. It is not enough that two disciples agree with
each other, they must agree with a Third — the righteous and holy Lord,
before they can agree in intercession. There may be agreement, which is in
most sinful conflict with the divine will. ‘How is it that ye have agreed
together’ — sunefwnh>qh — the same word — ‘to try the Spirit of the
Lord?’ says Peter (

Acts 5:9). Here is mutual accord, but guilty discord
with the Holy Spirit.”
3. This fellowship may be broken by manifest departures from the faith or
practice of the Scriptures, on the part of any church.
In such case, duty to Christ requires the churches, whose labors to reclaim
a sister church from error have proved unavailing, to withdraw their
fellowship from it, until such time as the erring church shall return to the
path of duty. In this regard, the law, which applies to individuals, applies to
churches and the polity of the New Testament is congregational rather than
Independence is qualified by interdependence. While each church is, in the
last resort thrown upon its own responsibility in ascertaining doctrine and
duty, it is to acknowledge the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in other
churches as well as in itself. The value of the public opinion of the
churches is an indication of the mind of the Spirit. The church in Antioch
asked advice of the church in Jerusalem, although Paul himself was at
Antioch. Although no church or union of churches has rightful jurisdiction
over the single local body, yet the Council, when rightly called and
constituted, has the power of moral influence. Its decision is an index to
truth, which only the gravest reasons will justify the church in ignoring or
refusing to follow..278
Dexter, Congregationalism, 695 — “Barrowism gave all power into the
hands of the elders, and it would have no Councils. Congregationalism is
Brownism. It has two foci: independence and interdependence.” Charles S.
Scott, on Baptist Polity and the Pastorate, in Bap. Quar. Rev., July,
1890:291-297 — “The difference between the polity of Baptist and of
Congregational churches is in the relative authority of the Ecclesiastical
Council. Congregationalism is Councilism. Not only the ordination and
first settlement of the minister must be with the advice and consent of a
Council, but every subsequent unsettlement and settlement.” Baptist
churches have regarded this dependence upon Councils after the
minister’s ordination as extreme and unwarranted.
The fact that the church has always the right, for just cause, of going
behind the decision of the Council and of determining for itself whether it
will ratify or reject that decision, shows conclusively that the church has
parted with no particle of its original independence or authority. Yet,
though the Council is simply a counselor, an organ and helper of the
church, the neglect of its advice may involve such ecclesiastical or moral
wrong as to justify the churches represented in it, as well as other
churches, in withdrawing from the church that called it their
denominational fellowship. The relation of churches to one another is
analogous to the relation of private Christians to one another. No
meddlesome spirit is to be allowed. In matters of grave moment, a church,
as well as an individual, may be justified in giving advice unasked.
Lightfoot, in his new edition of Clemens Romanus, shows that the Epistle,
instead of emanating from Clement as Bishop of Rome, is a letter of the
church at Rome to the Corinthians, urging them to peace. No pope and no
bishop existed, but the whole church congregation addressed its counsels
to its sister body of believers at Corinth. Congregationalism, in A. D. 95,
considered it a duty to labor with a sister church that had in its judgment
gone astray or that was in danger of going astray. The only primacy was
the primacy of the church, not of the bishop. This primacy was a primacy
of goodness, backed up by metropolitan advantages. All this fraternal
fellowship follows from the fundamental conception of the local church as
the concrete embodiment of the universal church. Park:
Congregationalism recognizes a voluntary cooperation and communion of
the churches, which independence does not do. Independent churches
ordain and depose pastors without asking advice from other churches.”
In accordance with this general principle, in a case of serious
disagreement between different portions of the same church, the council
called to advise should be, if possible, a mutual, not an ex parte, council..279
See Dexter, Congregationalism, 2, 3, 61-64. It is a more general
application of the same principle, to say that the pastor should not shut
himself in to his own church, but should cultivate friendly relations with
other pastors and with other churches. He should be present and active at
the meetings of Associations and State Conventions and at the
Anniversaries of the National Societies of the denomination. His example
of friendly interest in the welfare of others will affect his church. The
strong should be taught to help the weak, after the example of Paul in
raising contributions for the poor churches of Judea.
The principle of church independence is not only consistent with, but it
absolutely requires under Christ, all manner of Christian cooperation with
other churches and Social and Mission Unions to unify the work of the
denomination. To secure the starting of new enterprises, to prevent one
church from trenching upon the territory or appropriating the members of
another are only natural outgrowths of the Principle. President Wayland’s
remark, “He who is displeased with everybody and everything gives the
best evidence that his own temper is defective and that he is a bad
associate,” applies to churches as well as to individuals. Each church is to
remember that even though it is honored, by the indwelling of the Lord, it
constitutes only a part of that great body of which Christ is the head.
See Davidson, Ecclesiastical Polity of the N. T.; Ladd, Principles of
Church Polity; and on the general subject of the Church, Hodge, Essays,
201; Flint Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, 53-82; Hooker, Ecclesiastical
Polity; The Church, a collection of essays by Luthardt, Kahnis, etc.;
Hiscox, Baptist Church Directory; Ripley, Church Polity; Harvey, The
Church; Crowell, Church Members’ Manual; R. W. Dale, Manual of
Congregational Ministry; Ross, The Church-Kingdom — Lectures on
Congregationalism; Dexter, Congregationalism, 681-716, as seen in its
Literature; Allison, Baptist Councils in America. For a denial that there is
any real apostolic authority for modem church polity, see O. J. Thatcher,
Sketch of the History of the Apostolic Church..280
By the ordinances, we mean those outward rites, which Christ has
appointed to be administered in his church as visible signs of the saving
truth of the gospel. They are signs in that they vividly express this truth and
confirm it to the believer.
In contrast with this characteristically Protestant view, the Romanist
regards the ordinances as actually conferring grace and producing holiness.
Instead of being the external manifestation of a preceding union with
Christ, they are the physical means of constituting and maintaining this
union. With the Romanist, in this particular, sacramentalists of every name
substantially agree. The Papal Church holds to seven sacraments or
ordinances (ordination, confirmation, matrimony, extreme unction,
penance, baptism, and the eucharist). The ordinances prescribed in the N.
T., however, are two and only two (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper).
It will be well to distinguish the words, symbol, rite and ordinance from
one another.
1. A symbol is the sign, or visible representation, of an invisible truth or
idea. For example, the lion is the symbol of strength and courage, the
lamb is the symbol of gentleness, the olive branch of peace, the scepter is
dominion, the wedding ring is marriage and the flag is country. Symbols
may teach great lessons. As Jesus’ cursing the barren fig tree taught the
doom of unfruitful Judaism and Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet
taught his own coming down from heaven to purify and save and the
humble service required of his followers.
2. A rite is a symbol, which is employed with regularity and sacred intent.
Symbols became rites when thus used. Examples of authorized rites in the
Christian Church are the laying on of hands in ordination and the giving
of the right hand of fellowship.
3. An ordinance is a symbolic rite which sets forth the central truths of
the Christian faith, and which is of universal and perpetual obligation.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are rites, which have become ordinances
by the specific command of Christ and by their inner relation to the
essential truths of his kingdom. No ordinance is a sacrament in the.281
Romanist sense of conferring grace but, as the sacramentum was the oath
taken by the Roman soldier to obey his commander even unto death, so
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are sacraments, in the sense of vows of
allegiance to Christ our Master.
President H. G. Weston has recorded his objections to the observance of
the so called ‘Christian Year,’ in words that we quote as showing the
danger attending the Romanist multiplication of ordinances.
“1. The ‘Christian Year’ is not Christian. It makes everything of actions
and nothing of relations. Make a day holy that God has not made holy and
you thereby, make all other days unholy.
2. It limits the Christian’s view of Christ to the scenes and events of his
earthly life. Salvation comes through spiritual relations to a living Lord.
The ‘Christian Year’ makes Christ only a memory and not a living,
present, personal power. Life, not death, is the typical word of the N. T.
Paul craved the power of the resurrection but, not with just a knowledge,
of it. The New Testament records busy themselves most of all with what
Christ is doing now. 2. The appointments of the ‘Christian Year’ are not
in accord with the N. T. These appointments lack the reality of spiritual
life and are contrary to the essential spirit of Christianity.” We may add
that where the “Christian Year” is most generally and rigidly observed, it
is there popular religion is most formal and destitute of spiritual power.
Christian Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, in token of his
previous entrance into the communion of Christ’s death and resurrection
or, in other words, in token of his regeneration through union with Christ
1. Baptism an Ordinance of Christ
A. Proof that Christ instituted an external rite called baptism.
(a) From the words of the great commission,
(b) from the injunctions of the apostles,
(c) from the fact that the members of the New Testament churches were
baptized believers,
(d) from the universal practice of such a rite in Christian churches of
subsequent times..282

Matthew 28:19 — “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit”;

Mark 16:16 — “He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved” — we hold, with Westcott and Hort, that

Mark 16:9-
20 is of canonical authority, though probably not written by Mark

Acts 2:38 — “And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission
of your sins”;

Romans 6:3-5 — “Or are ye ignorant that all we who were
baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried
therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was
raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might
walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the
likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection”;

Colossians 2:11,12 — “in whom ye were also circumcised with a
circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the
flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in
baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the
working of God, who raised him from the dead.”
(d) The only marked exceptions to the universal requisition of baptism are
found in the Society of Friends and in the Salvation Army. The Salvation
Army does not regard the ordinance as having any more permanent obligation
than feet washing. General Booth: “We teach our soldiers that every time they
break bread, they are to remember the broken body of the Lord, and every
time they wash the body, they are to remind themselves of the cleansing power
of the blood of Christ and of the indwelling Spirit.” The Society of Friends
regard Christ’s commands as fulfilled, not by any outward baptism of water,
but only by the inward baptism of the Spirit.
B. This external rite intended by Christ to be of universal and perpetual
(a) Christ recognized John the Baptist’s commission to baptize as derived
immediately from heaven.

Matthew 21:25 — “The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven
or from men?” — here Jesus clearly intimates that John’s commission to
baptize was derived directly from God; cf.

John 1:25 — the delegates
sent to the Baptist by the Sanhedrin ask him: “Why then baptizest thou, if
thou art not the Christ, neither Elijah, neither the prophet?” thus.283
indicating that John’s baptism, either in its form or its application, was a
new ordinance that required special divine authorization.
Broadus, in his American Com. on

Matthew 3:6, claims that John’s
baptism was no modification of an existing rite. Proselyte baptism is not
mentioned in the Mishna (A. D. 200). The first distinct account of it is in
the Babylonian Talmud (Gemara) written in the fifth century. It was not
adopted from the Christians but was one of the Jewish purification, which
came to be regarded after the destruction of the Temple as a peculiar
initiatory rite. There is no mention of it as a Jewish rite, in the O. T., N.
T., Apocrypha, Philo, or Josephus.
For the view that proselyte baptism did not exist among the Jews before
the time of John, see Schneckenburger, Ueber das Alter der judischen
Proselytentaufe; Stuart, in Bib. Repos., 1833:338-355; Toy, in Baptist
Quarterly, 1872:301-332. Dr. Toy, however, in a private note to the
author (1884), says: “I am disposed now to regard the Christian rite as
borrowed from the Jewish, contrary to my view in 1872.” So holds
Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus, 2:742-744 — “We have positive
testimony that the baptism of proselytes existed in the times of Hillel and
Shammai. For, whereas the school of Shammai is said to have allowed a
proselyte who was circumcised on the eve of the Passover to partake after
baptism of the Passover, the school of Hillel forbade it. This controversy
must be regarded as proving that at that time (previous to Christ) the
baptism of proselytes was customary.”
Porter, on Proselyte Baptism, Hastings’ Bible Dict., 4:132 — “If
circumcision was the decisive step in the case of all male converts, there
seems no longer room for serious question that a bath of purification must
have followed, even though early mention of such proselyte baptism is not
found. The law (Leviticus 11-15; Num.’19) prescribed such baths in all
cases of impurity, and one who came with the deep impurity of a heathen
life behind him could not have entered the Jewish community without such
cleansing.” Plummer, on Baptism, Hastings’ Bible Dict., 1:239 — “What
is wanted is direct evidence that, before John the Baptist made so
remarkable a use of the rite, it was the custom to make all proselytes
submit to baptism. Such evidence is not forthcoming. Nevertheless, the
fact is not really doubtful. It is not credible that the baptizing of proselytes
was instituted and made essential for their admission to Judaism at a
period subsequent to the institution of Christian baptism. The supposition
that it was borrowed from the rite enjoined by Christ is monstrous.”.284
Although the O. T. and the Apocrypha, Josephus and Philo are silent with
regard to proselyte baptism, it is certain that it existed among the Jews In
the early Christian centuries and it is almost equally certain that the Jews
could not have adopted it from the Christians. It is probable, therefore,
that the baptism of John was an application to Jews of an immersion
which, before that time was administered to proselytes from among the
Gentiles. It was this adaptation of the rite to a new class of subjects and
with a new meaning, which excited the inquiry and criticism of the
Sanhedrin. We must remember, however, that the Lord’s Supper was
likewise an adaptation of certain’ portions of the old Passover service to a
new use and meaning. See also Kitto, Bib. Cyclop., 3:593.
(b) In his own submission to John’s baptism, Christ gave testimony to the
binding obligation of the ordinance (

Matthew 3:13-17). John’s baptism
was essentially Christian baptism (

Acts 19:4), although the full
significance of it was not understood until after Jesus’ death and
resurrection (

Matthew 20:17-23; Luke l2:50;

Romans 6:3-6).

Matthew 3:13-17 — “Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill
all righteousness”;

Acts 19:4 — “John baptized with the baptism of
repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him that
should come after him, that is, on Jesus”;

Matthew 20:18, 19, 22 —
“the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and scribes; and
they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him unto the Gentiles to
mock, and to scourge, and to crucify…Are ye able to drink the cup that I
am about to drink?”

Luke 12:50 — “But I have a baptism to be
baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!”

Romans 6:3, 4 — “Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized
into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore
with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from
the deed through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in
newness of life.”
Robert Hall, Works, 1:367-399, denies that John’s baptism was Christian
baptism and holds that there is not sufficient evidence that all of the
apostles were baptized. The fact that John’s baptism was a baptism of
faith in the coming Messiah, as well as a baptism of repentance for past
and present sin refutes this theory. The only difference between John’s
baptism, and the baptism of our time, is that John baptized upon
profession of faith in a Savior yet to come. Baptism is now administered
upon profession of faith in a Savior who has actually and already come.
On John’s baptism as presupposing faith in those who received it, see
treatment of the Subjects of Baptism, page 950..285
(c) In continuing the practice of baptism through his disciples (

John 4:1,
2), and in enjoining it upon them as part of a work which was to last to the
end of the world (

Matthew 28:19, 20), Christ manifestly adopted and
appointed baptism as the invariable law of his church.

John 4:1, 2 — “When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had
heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John
(although Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples)”;

28:19, 20 — “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you:
and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
(d) The analogy of the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper also leads to the
conclusion that baptism is to be observed, as an authoritative memorial of
Christ and his truth until the time of his second coming.

1 Corinthians 11:26 — “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink
the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.” Baptism, like the
Lord’s Supper, is a teaching ordinance and the two ordinances together
furnish an indispensable witness to Christ’s death and resurrection.
(e) There is no intimation whatever that the command of baptism is limited,
or to be limited, in its application, that it has been or ever is to be repealed
and, until some evidence of such limitation or repeal is produced, the
statute must be regarded as universally binding.
On the proof that baptism is an ordinance of Christ, see Pepper, in Madison
Avenue Lectures, 85-114; Dagg, Church Order, 9-21.
2. The Mode of Baptism.
This is immersion, and immersion only. This appears from the following
A. The command to baptize is a command to immerse. We show this:
(a) From the meaning of the original word bapti>zw. That this is to
immerse, appears:
First, from the usage of Greek writers, including the church Fathers, when
they do not speak of the Christian rite and the authors of the Greek version
of the Old Testament..286
Liddell and Scott, Greek Lexicon: bapti>zw, to dip in or under water; Lat.
immergere.” Sophocles, Lexicon of Greek Usage in the Roman and
Byzantine Periods, 140 B. C. to A. D 1000 — “bapti>zw, to dip, to
immerse, to sink…There is no evidence that Luke and Paul and the other
writers of the N. T. put upon this verb meanings not recognized by the
Greeks.” Thayer. N. T. Lexicon: “bapti>zw, literally to dip, to dip
repeatedly, to immerge, to submerge…metaphorically, to overwhelm…
ba>ptisma, immersion, submersion…a rite of sacred immersion
commanded by Christ.” Prof. Goodwin of Harvard University, Feb. 13,
1895, says: “The classical meaning of bapti>zw, which seldom occurs
and of the more common ba>ptw, is dip (literally or metaphorically), and I
never heard of its having any other meaning anywhere. Certainly I never
saw a lexicon which gives either sprinkle or pour, as meanings of either. I
must be allowed to ask why I am so often asked this question, which
seems to me to have but one perfectly plain answer.”
In the International Critical Commentary, see Plummer on Luke, p. 86 —
“It is only when baptism is administered by immersion that its full
significance is seen”; Abbott on Colossians, p. 251 — “The figure was
naturally suggested by the immersion in baptism”; see also Gould on
Mark, p. 127; Sanday on Romans, p. 154-157. No one of these four
Commentaries was written by a Baptist. The two latest English Bible
Dictionaries agree upon this point. Hastings, Bib. Dict., art.: Baptism, p.
243 a — “The mode of using was commonly immersion. The symbolism
of the ordinance required this”; Cheyne, Encyc. Biblica, 1:473, while
arguing from the Didache that from a very early date “a triple pouring
was admitted where a sufficiency of water could not be had,” agrees that
“such a method [as immersion] is presupposed as the ideal, at any rate, in
Paul’s words about death, burial and resurrection in baptism (

Conant, Appendix to Bible Union Version of Matthew, 1-64, has
examples “drawn from writers in almost every department of literature
and science, from poets, rhetoricians, philosophers, critics, historians,
geographers, from writers on husbandry, on medicine, on natural history,
on grammar, on theology, from almost every form and style of
composition, romances, epistles, orations, fables, odes, epigrams,
sermons, narratives, from writers of various nations and religions, Pagan,
Jew, and Christian, belonging to many countries and through a long
succession of ages. In all, the word has retained its ground meaning
without change. From the earliest age of Greek literature down to its
close, a period of nearly two thousand years, no example has been found.287
in which the word has any other meaning. There is no instance in which it
signifies to make a partial application of water by affusion or sprinkling,
or to cleanse, to purify, apart from the literal act of immersion as the
means of cleansing or purifying.” See Stuart In Bib. Repos., 1883:313;
Broadus on Immersion. 57, note.
Dale, In his Classic, Judaic, Christic, and Patristic Baptism, maintains
that bapti>zw alone means ‘to dip,’ and that ba>ptw never means ‘to dip,’
but only ‘to put within,’ giving no intimation that the object is to be taken
out again. But see Review of Dale, by A. C. Kendrick, in Bap. Quarterly,
1869:129, and by Harvey, in Bap. Review, 1879:141-163. “Plutarch used
the word bapti>zw, when he describes the soldiers of Alexander on a
riotous march as by the roadside dipping (lit.: baptizing) with cups from
huge wine jars and mixing bowls and drinking to one another. Here we
have bapti>zw used where Dr. Dale’s theory would call for ba>ptw. The
truth is that bapti>zw, the stronger word, came to be used in the same
sense with the weaker and the attempt to prove a broad and invariable
difference of meaning between them breaks down. Of Dr. Dale’s three
meanings of bapti>zw:
(1) intusposition without influence (stone in water),
(2) intusposition with influence (man drowned in water),
(3) influence without intusposition. The last is a figment of Dr. Dale’s
imagination. It would allow me to say that when I burned a piece of paper, I
baptized it. The grand result is this: Beginning with the position that to baptize
means to immerse, Dr. Dale ends by maintaining that immersion is not
baptism. Because Christ speaks of drinking a cup, Dr. Dale infers that this is
baptism.” For a complete reply to Dale, see Ford, Studies on Baptism.
Secondly, every passage where the word occurs in the New Testament
either requires or allows the meaning ‘immerse.’

Matthew 3:6,11 — “I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance…he
shall baptize you in the holy Spirit and in fire”; cf. 2Kings 5:14 — “Then
went he [Naaman] down, and dipped himself [ejbapi>zeto] seven times in
the Jordan”;

Mark 1:5, 9 — “they were baptized of him in the river
Jordan, confessing their sins…Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and
was baptized of John into the Jordan”; 7:4 — “and when they come from
the market place, except they bathe [lit.: ‘baptize’] themselves, they eat
not: and many other things there are, which they have received to hold,
washings [lit.: ‘baptizings’] of cups, and pots, and brasen vessels” — in
this verse, Westcott and Hort, with a and B, read rJanti>swwntai,.288
instead of bapti>swntai; but it is easy so see how subsequent ignorance
of Pharisaic scrupulousness might have changed bapti>swntai into
rJanti>swntai; but not easy to see how rJanti>swntai should have been
changed into bapti>swntai. On

Matthew 15:2 (and the parallel

Mark 7:4), see Broadus, Com. on Matthew, pages 332, 333.
Herodotus, 2:47, says that if any Egyptian touches a swine in passing,
with his clothes, he goes to the river and dips himself from it.
Meyer, Com. in loco — “eja<n mhswntai is not to be understood
of washing the hands (Lightfoot, Wetstein), but of immersion, which the
word in classic Greek and in the N. T. everywhere means; here, according
to the context, to take a bath.” The Revised Version omits the words “and
couches,” although Maimonides speaks of a Jewish immersion of couches;
see quotation from Maimonides in Ingham, Handbook of Baptism, 373 —
“Whenever in the law washing of the flesh or of the clothes is mentioned,
it means nothing else than the dipping of the whole body in a layer. For if
any man dip himself all over except the tip of his little finger, he is still in
his uncleanness. A bed that is wholly defiled, if a man dip it part by part,
it is pure.” Watson, in Annotated Par. Bible, 1126.

Luke 11:38 — “And when the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that he
had not first bathed [lit.: ‘baptized’] himself before dinner”; cf.
Ecclesiasticus 31:95 — “He that washeth himself after the touching of a
dead body” baptizo>menov ajpozeto in a fountain of water by the camp”;

Leviticus 22:4-6 —
“Whoso toucheth anything that is unclean by the dead…unclean until the
even…bathe his flesh in water.”

Acts 2:41 — “They then that received
his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about
three thousand souls.” Although the water supply of Jerusalem is
naturally poor, the artificial provision of aqueducts, cisterns, and tanks,
made water abundant during the siege of Titus, though thousands died of
famine, we read of no suffering from lack of water. The following are the
dimensions of pools in modern Jerusalem: King’s Pool, 15 feet x 16 x 3;
Siloam, 53 x 18 x 19; Hezekiah, 240 x 140 x 10; Bethesda (so-called),
360 x 130 x 75; Upper Gihon, 316 x 218 x 19; Lower Gihon, 592 x 260
x 18; see Robinson, Biblical Researches, 1:323-348, and Samson, Water
supply of Jerusalem, pub. by Am. Bap. Pub. Soc. There was no difficulty
in baptizing three thousand in one day for, in the time of Chrysostom,
when all candidates of the year were baptized in a single day, three
thousand were once baptized and, on July 3, 1878, 2222 Telugu
Christians were baptized by two administrators in nine hours. These
Telugu baptisms took place at Velumpilly, ten miles north of Ongole. The.289
same two men did not baptize all the time. There were six men engaged in
baptizing, but never more than two men at the same time.

Acts 16:33 — “And he took them the same hour of the night, and
washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately” the
prison was doubtless, as are most large edifices in the East, whether
public or private, provided with tank and fountain. See Cremer, Lexicon
of N. T Greek, sub voce — “bapti>zw, immersion or submersion for a
religious Purpose.” Grimm’s ed. of Wilke — “bapti>zw,
1. Immerse, submerge;
2. Wash or bathe, by immersing or submerging (

Mark 7:4, also
Naaman and Judith); & Figuratively, to overwhelm, as with debts,
misfortunes, etc.” In the N.T. rite, he says it denotes “an immersion in
water, intended as a sign of sins washed away, and received by those who
wished to be admitted to the benefits of Messiah’s reign.”
Dollinger, Kirche mid Kirchen, 837 — “The Baptists are, however, from
the Protestant point of view, unassailable, since for their demand of
baptism by submersion they have the clear Bible text and the authority of
the church and of her testimony is not regarded by either party” — i e., by
either Baptists or Protestants, generally. Prof. Harnack, of Giessen, writes
in the Independent, Feb.19, 1885 —
“1. Baptizein undoubtedly signifies immersion (eintauchen).
2. No proof can be found that it signifies anything else in the N.T. and in
the most ancient Christian literature. The suggestion regarding a ‘sacred
sense’ is out of the question.
3. There is no passage in the N.T. which suggests the supposition that any
New Testament author attached to the word baptizein any other sense
than eintauchen = untertauchen (immerse, submerge).” See Com. of
Meyer, and Cunningham, Croall Lectures.
Thirdly, the absence of any use of the word in the passive voice with
‘water’ as its subject confirms our conclusion that its meaning is “to
immerse.” Never is it said that water is to be baptized upon a man.
(b) From the use of the verb bapti>zw with prepositions:
First, — with eijv (

Mark 1:9 — where Iorda>nhn is the element into
which the person passes in the act of being baptized)..290

Mark 1:2 margin — “and it came to pass in those days; that Jesus
came from Nazareth of Galilee; and was baptized of John into the
Secondly, with ejn (

Mark 1:5, 8; cf.

Matthew 3:11.

John 1:26,
31, 33; cf.

Acts 2:2, 4). In these texts, ejn is to be taken, not
instrumentally, but as indicating the element in which the immersion takes

Mark 1:5, 8 — “they were baptized of him in the river Jordan,
confessing their sins…I baptized you in water; but he shall baptize you in
the Holy Spirit” — here see Meyer’s Com. on

Matthew 3:11 — “ejn”
is in accordance with the meaning of bapti>zw (immerse), not to be
understood instrumentally, but on the contrary, in the sense of the element
in which the immersion takes place.” Those who pray for a ‘baptism of
the Holy Spirit’ pray for such a pouring out of the Spirit as shall fill the
place and permit them to be flooded or immersed in his abundant presence
and power; see C. E. Smith. Baptism of Fire, 1881:305-311. Plumptre:
“The baptism with the Holy Ghost would imply that the souls thus
baptized would be plunged, as it were, in that creative and informing
Spirit, which was the source of light and holiness and wisdom.”
A.J.. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 67 — “The upper room became the
Spirit’s baptistery. His presence ‘filled all the house where they were
sitting.” (

Acts 2:2) Baptism in the Holy Spirit was given once for all
on the day of Pentecost, when the Paraclete came in person to make his
abode in the church. It does not follow that every believer has received
this baptism. God’s gift is one thing; our appropriation of that gift is quite
another thing. Our relation to the second and to the third persons of the
Godhead is exactly parallel in this respect. ‘God so loved the world, that
he gave, his only begotten Son’ (

John 3:16). ‘But as many as received
him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them
that believe on his name’ (

John 1:12). We are required to appropriate
the Spirit as sons, in the same way that we are required to appropriate
Christ as sinners… ‘He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive
ye’ — take ye, actively — ‘the Holy Spirit’ (

John 20:22).”
(c) From circumstances attending the administration of the ordinance

Mark 1:10 — ajnabai>nwn ejk tou~ u[datov;

John 3:23 — u[data

Acts 8:38, 39 — kate>bhsan eijv tobhean ejk
tou~ u[datov)..291
Mark 1:l0 — “coming up out of the water”;

John 3:23 — “And John
also was baptizing in Ænon near to Salim, because there was much water
there” — a sufficient depth of water for baptizing; see Prof. W. A.
Stevens, on Ænon near to Salim, In Journ. Soc. of Bib. Lit, and Exegesis,
Dec. 1883.

Acts 8:38, 39 — “and they both went down into the water,
both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they came up
out of the water…In the case of Philip and the eunuch, President Timothy
Dwight, in S. S. Times, Aug. 27, 1892, says: “The baptism was
apparently by immersion.” The Editor adds that, “practically scholars are
agreed that the primitive meaning of the word ‘baptize’ was to immerse.”
(d) From figurative allusions to the ordinance.

Mark 10:38 — “Are ye able to drink the cup that I drink? or to be
baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Here the cup is the
cup of suffering in Gethsemane; cf.

Luke 22:42 — “Father, if thou be
willing, remove this cup from me”; and the baptism is the baptism of
death on Calvary, and of the grave that was to follow; cf.

Luke 12:50
— “I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I am straitened till
it be accomplished!” Death presented itself to the Savior’s mind as a
baptism, because it was a sinking under the floods of suffering.

Romans 6:4 — “We were buried therefore with him through baptism
into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory
of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life” — Conybeare and
Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul, say, on this passage, that “it
cannot be understood without remembering that the primitive method of
baptism was by immersion.” On

Luke 12:49, margin — “I came to
cast fire upon the earth, and how would I that it were already kindled!” —
see Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, 2:225 — “He knew that he was called to
bring a new energy and movement into the world, which mightily seizes
and draws everything towards it, as a hurled firebrand, which wherever it
falls kindles a flame which expands into a vast sea of fire” — the baptism
of fire, the baptism in the Holy Spirit?

1 Corinthians 10:1, 2 — “our fathers were all under the cloud, and all
passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and
in the sea”;

Colossians 2:12 — “having been buried with him in
baptism, where in ye were also raised with him”;

Hebrews 10:22 —
“having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and having our body
washed [leloume>noi] with pure water” — here Trench, N. T.
Synonyms, 216, 217, says that “lou>w implies always, not the bathing of
a part of the body, but of the whole.”

1 Peter 3:20, 21 — “saved
through water: which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even.292
baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation
of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus
Christ” — as the ark whose sides were immersed in water saved Noah, so
the immersion of believers typically saves them, that is, the answer of a
good conscience, the turning of the soul to God, which baptism
symbolizes. “Oil, blood and water were used in the ritual of Moses and
Aaron. The oil was poured, the blood was sprinkled, the water was used
for complete ablution first of all, and subsequently for partial ablution to
those to whom complete ablution had been previously administered”
(Wm. Ashmore).
(e) From the testimony of church history as to the practice of the early
Tertullian, De Baptismo, chap. 12 — “Others make the suggestion
(forced enough, clearly) that the apostles then served the turn of baptism
when in their little ship they were sprinkled and covered with the waves,
that Peter himself also was immersed enough when he walked on the sea.
It is however, as I think, one thing to be sprinkled or intercepted by the
violence of the sea and another thing to be baptized in obedience to the
discipline of religion.” Fisher, Beginnings of Christianity, 565 —
“Baptism, it is now generally agreed among scholars, was commonly
administered by immersion.” Schaff, History of the Apostolic Church,
570 — “Respecting the form of baptism, the impartial historian is
compelled by exegesis and history substantially to yield the point to the
Baptists.” Elsewhere Dr. Schaff says: “The baptism of Christ in the
Jordan, and the illustrations of baptism used in the N. T., are all in favor
of immersion, rather than of sprinkling, as is freely admitted by the best
exegetes, Catholic and Protestant, English and German. Nothing can be
gained by unnatural exegesis. The persistency and aggressiveness of
Baptists have driven pedobaptists to opposite extremes.”
Dean Stanley, in his address at Eton College, March, 1879, on Historical
Aspects of American Churches, speaks of immersion as “the primitive,
apostolic and till the 13th century, the universal mode of baptism, which
is still retained throughout the Eastern churches and which is still in our
own church as positively enjoined in theory as it is universally neglected
in practice.” The same writer, in the Nineteenth Century, Oct. 1879, says
that “the change from immersion to sprinkling has set aside the larger part
of the apostolic language regarding baptism and has altered the very
meaning of the word.” Neander, Church Hist., 1:310 — “In respect to the
form of baptism, it was, in conformity with the original institution and the
original import of the symbol, performed by immersion, as a sign of entire.293
baptism into the Holy Spirit, of being entirely penetrated by the same. It
was only with the sick, where exigency required it that any exception was
made. Then it was administered by sprinkling. Many superstitious persons
imagined such sprinkling to be not fully valid and stigmatized those thus
baptized as clinics.”
Until recently, there has been no evidence that clinic baptism, i. e., the
baptism of a sick or dying person in bed by pouring water copiously
around him, was practiced earlier than the time of Novatian in the third
century. In these cases there is good reason to believe that a regenerating
efficacy was ascribed to the ordinance. We are now, however, compelled
to recognize a departure from N. T. precedent somewhat further back.
Important testimony is that of Prof. Harnack, of Giessen, in the
Independent of Feb. 19, 1885 — “Up to the present moment we possess
no certain proof from the period of the second century in favor of the fact
that baptism by aspersion was even then facultatively administered; for
Tertullian (De Púnit., 6, and De Batismo, 12) is uncertain, and the age of
those pictures upon which is represented a baptism by aspersion is not
certain. The ‘Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’ however, instructed us in
that already. In very early times, people in the church took no offense
when aspersion was put in place of immersion when any kind of outward
circumstances might render immersion impossible or impracticable. But
the rule was also certainly maintained that immersion was obligatory if
the outward conditions of such a performance were at hand.” This seems
to show that, while the corruption of the N. T. rite began soon after the
death of the apostles, baptism by any other form than immersion was even
then a rare exception, which those who introduced the change sought to
justify upon the plea of necessity. See Schaff, Teaching of the Twelve
Apostles, 29-57, and other testimony in Coleman, Christian Antiquities,
275; Stuart, in Bib. Repos., 1883:355-363.
The ‘Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,’ section 7, reads as follows:
“Baptize in living water. And if thou have no living water, baptize in other
water and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm. And if thou have
neither, pour water upon the head thrice.” Here it is evident that ‘baptize’
means only ‘immerse,’ but if water be scarce then pouring may be
substituted for baptism. Dr. A. H. Newman, Antipedobaptism 5, says that
‘The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’ may possibly belong to the second
half of the second century but in its present form is probably much later.
It does not explicitly teach baptismal regeneration but this view seems to
be implied in the requirement, in case of an absolute lack of a sufficiency
of water of any kind for baptism proper, that pouring water on the head.294
three times be resorted to as a substitute. Catechetical instruction,
repentance, fasting and prayer must precede the baptismal rite.
Dexter, in his True Story of John Smyth and Sebaptism maintains that
immersion was a new thing in England in 1641. But if so, it was new, as
Congregationalism was new — a newly restored practice and ordinance of
apostolic times. For reply to Dexter, see Long, in Bap. Rev., Jan.
1883:12, 13, who tells us, on the authority of Blunt’s Ann. Book of Com.
Prayer, that from 1085 to 1549, the ‘Salisbury Use’ was the accepted
mode and this provided for the child’s trine immersion. “The Prayerbook
of Edward VI succeeded to the Salisbury Use in 1549 but, in this too,
immersion has the place of honor — affusion is only for the weak. The
English church has never sanctioned sprinkling (Blunt 226). In 1664, the
Westminster Assembly said ‘Sprinkle or Pour,’ thus annulling what
Christ commanded 1600 years before. Queen Elizabeth was immersed in
1533. If in 1641 immersion had been so generally and so long disused that
men saw it with wonder and regarded it as a novelty, then the more
distinct, emphatic and peculiarly their own was the work of the Baptists.
They come before the world, with no partners or rivals or abettors or
sympathizers, as the restorers and preservers of Christian baptism.”
(f) From the doctrine and practice of the Greek Church.
De Stourdza, the greatest modern theologian of the Greek Church, writes:
“bapti>zw signifies literally and always ‘to plunge.’ Baptism and
immersion are therefore identical, and to say ‘baptism by aspersion’ is as
if one should say ‘immersion by aspersion,’ or any other absurdity of the
same nature. The Greek Church maintain that the Latin Church, instead
of a baptismo>v, practice a mere rJantismo>v — instead of baptism, a
mere sprinkling” — quoted in Conant on Matthew, appendix, 99. See also
Broadus on Immersion, 18.
The evidence that immersion is the original mode of baptism is well
summed up by Dr. Marcus Dods, in his article on Baptism in Hastings’
Dictionary of Christ and the Apostles. Dr. Dods defines baptism as “a rite
wherein by immersion in water, the participant symbolizes and signalizes
his transition from an impure to a pure life, his death to a past he
abandons and his birth to a future he desires.” As regards the “mode of
baptism,” he remarks: “That the normal mode was by immersion of the
whole body may be inferred
(a) from the meaning of baptizo, which is the intensive or frequentative form
of bapto, ‘I dip,’ and denotes to immerse or submerge. The point is, that ‘dip’.295
or ‘immerse’ is the primary and ‘wash’ is the secondary meaning of bapto or
(b) The same inference may be drawn from the law laid down regarding the
baptism of proselytes. ‘As soon as he grows whole of the wound of
circumcision, they bring him to baptism and being placed in the water, they
again instruct him in some weightier and in some lighter commands of the
Law. Having heard, he plunges himself and comes up and behold, he is an
Israelite in all things’ (Lightfoot’s Horæ Hebraicæ). To use Pauline language,
his old man is dead and buried in water and he rises from this cleansing grave
a new man. The full significance of the rite would have been lost had
immersion not been practiced. Again, it was required in proselyte baptism that
‘every person baptized must dip his whole body, now stripped and made
naked, at one dipping. And wheresoever in the Law washing of the body or
garments is mentioned, it means nothing else than the washing of the whole
(c) That immersion was the mode of baptism adopted by John is the natural
conclusion from his choosing the neighborhood of the Jordan as the scene of
his labors and from the statement of

John 3:23 that he was baptizing in
Ænon ‘because there was much water there.’
(d) That this form was continued in the Christian Church appears from the
expression Loutron palingenesias (bath of regeneration,

Titus 3:5), and
from the use made by St. Paul in Romans 6 of the symbolism. This is well put
by Bingham (Antiquities xi. 2).” The author quotes Bingham to the effect that
“total immersion under water” was the universal practice during the early
Christian centuries “except in some particular cases of exigence, wherein they
allow of sprinkling, as in the case of a clinic baptism or where there is a
scarcity of water.” Dr. Dods continues: “This statement exactly reflects the
ideas of the Pauline Epistles and the ‘Didache’” (Teaching of the Twelve
The prevailing usage of any word determines the sense it bears, when
found in a command of Christ. We have seen, not only that the prevailing
usage of the Greek language determines the meaning of the word ‘baptize’
to be ‘immerse,’ but also that this is its fundamental, constant and only
meaning. The original command to baptize is therefore a command to
As evidence that quite diverse sections of the Christian world are coming
to recognize the original form of baptism to be immersion, we may cite
the fact that a memorial to the late Archbishop of Canterbury has recently.296
been erected in the parish church of Lambeth. It is in the shape of a “font-grave,”
in which a believer can be buried with Christ in baptism. The
Rev. G. Campbell Morgan has had a baptistery constructed in the newly
renovated Westminster Congregational Church in London.
Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion, 2:211 — “As in the case of the Lord’s
Supper, so did Baptism also first receive its sacramental significance
through Paul. As he saw in the immersing under water the symbolical
repetition of the death and resurrection of Christ, baptism appeared to him
as the act of spiritual dying and renovation, or regeneration, of
incorporation into the mystical body of Christ, that ‘new creation.’ As for
Paul the baptism of adults only was in question, faith in Christ is already
of course presupposed by it and baptism is just the act in which faith
realizes the decisive resolution of giving one’s self up actually as
belonging to Christ and his community. Yet the outward act is not on that
account a mere semblance of what is already present in faith. According
to the mysticism common to Paul with the whole ancient world, the
symbolical act effectuates what it typifies and therefore, in this case the
mortification of the carnal man and the animation of the spiritual man.”
For the view that sprinkling or pouring constitutes valid baptism, see Hall,
Mode of Baptism. Per contra, see Hovey, In Baptist Quarterly, April,
1875; Wayland, Principles and Practices of Baptists, 85; Carson, Noel,
Judson, and Pengilly, on Baptism; especially recent and valuable is
Burrage, Act of Baptism.
B. No church has the right to modify or dispense with this command of
Christ. This is plain:
(a) From the nature of the church. Notice:
First, that besides the local church, no other visible church of Christ is
known to the New Testament. Secondly, that the local church is not a
legislative but is simply an executive body. Only the authority, which
originally imposed its laws can amend or abrogate them. Thirdly, that the
local church cannot delegate to any organization or council of churches any
power which it does not itself rightfully possess. Fourthly, that the opposite
principle puts the church above the Scriptures and above Christ and would
sanction all the usurpations of Rome.

Matthew 5:19 — “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least
commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the
kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be
called great in the kingdom of heaven”; cf.

2 Sam. 6:7 — “And the.297
anger of Jehovah was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for
his error; and there he died by the ark of God.” Shakespeare, Henry VI,
Part I, 2:4 — “Faith, I have been a truant in the law, And never yet could
frame my will to it, And therefore frame the law unto my will.” As at the
Reformation believers rejoiced to restore communion in both kinds, so we
should rejoice to restore baptism as to its subjects and as to its meaning.
To administer it to a walling and resisting infant or to administer it in any
other form than that prescribed by Jesus’ command and example is to
desecrate and destroy the ordinance.
(b) From the nature of God’s command:
First, is forming a part, not only of the law but also of the fundamental law
of the Church of Christ. The power, which is claimed, for a church to
change it is not only legislative but also constitutional. Secondly, is
expressing the wisdom of the Lawgiver. Power to change the command
can be claimed for the church, only on the ground that Christ has failed to
adapt the ordinance to changing circumstances and has made obedience to
it unnecessarily difficult and humiliating. Thirdly, as providing in immersion
the only adequate symbol of those saving truths of the gospel which both
of the ordinances have it for their office to set forth and without which they
become empty ceremonies and forms. In other words, the church has no
right to change the method of administering the ordinance, because such a
change vacates the ordinance of its essential meaning. As this argument
however, is of such vital importance, we present it more fully in a special
discussion of the Symbolism of Baptism.
Abraham Lincoln, in his debates with Douglas, ridiculed the idea that
there could be any constitutional way of violating the Constitution. F. L.
Anderson: “In human governments we change the constitution to conform
to the will of the people. In the divine government we change the will of
the people to conform to the Constitution.” For advocacy of the church’s
right to modify the form of an ordinance, see Coleridge, Aids to
Reflection, In Works, 1:333-348 — “Where a ceremony answered and
was intended to answer several purposes, which at its first institution were
blended in respect of the time but which, afterward by change of
circumstances were necessarily disunited, then either the church hath no
power or authority delegated to her or she must be authorized to choose
and determine to which of the several purposes the ceremony should be
attached.” For example, at first baptism symbolized not only entrance into
the church of Christ but also a personal faith in him as Savior and Lord.
It is assumed that, entrance into the church and personal faith, are now.298
necessarily disunited. Since baptism is in charge of the church, she can
attach baptism to the former and not to the latter.
We of course deny that the separation of baptism from faith is ever
necessary. We maintain, on the contrary, that thus to separate the two is
to pervert the ordinance, and to make it teach the doctrine of hereditary
church membership and salvation by outward manipulation apart from
faith. We say with Dean Stanley (on Baptism, in the Nineteenth Century,
Oct. 1879) though not, as he does, with approval, that the change in the
method of administering the ordinance shows “how the spirit that lives
and moves in human society can override the most sacred ordinances.”
We cannot with him call this spirit “the free spirit of Christianity.” We
regard it rather as an evil spirit of disobedience and unbelief. “Baptists are
therefore pledged to prosecute the work of the Reformation until the
church shall return to the simple forms it possessed under the apostles”
(O. M. Stone). See Curtis, Progress of Baptist Principles, 234-245.
Objections: 1. Immersion is often impracticable. We reply that when
really impracticable, it is no longer a duty. Where the will to obey is
present but providential circumstances render outward obedience
impossible, Christ takes the will for the deed.
2. It is often dangerous to health and life. We reply that, when it is really
dangerous, it is no longer a duty. But then, we have no warrant for
substituting another act for that which Christ has commanded. Duty
demands simple delay until it can be administered with safety. It must be
remembered that ardent feeling nerves even the body. “Brethren, if your
hearts be warm, ice and snow can do no harm.” The cold climate of
Russia does not prevent the universal practice of immersion by the Greek
Church of that country.
3. It is indecent. We reply, that there is need of care to prevent exposure
but that with this care there is no indecency, more than in fashionable sea-bathing.
The argument is valid only against a careless administration of
the ordinance, not against immersion itself.
4. It is inconvenient. We reply that, in a matter of obedience to Christ we
are not to consult convenience. The ordinance, which symbolizes his
sacrificial death and our spiritual death with him, may naturally involve
something of inconvenience, but joy in submitting to that inconvenience
will be a test of the spirit of obedience. When the act is performed, it
should be performed as Christ enjoined..299
5. Other methods of administration have been blessed to those who
submitted to them. We reply that God has often condescended to human
ignorance and has given his Spirit to those who honestly sought to serve
him even by erroneous forms such as the Mass. This, however, is not to
be taken as a divine sanction of the error, much less as a warrant for the
perpetuation of a false system on the part of those who know that it is a
violation of Christ’s commands. It is, in great part, the position of its
advocates, as representatives of Christ and his church, that gives to this
false system its power for evil.
3. The Symbolism of Baptism.
Baptism symbolizes the previous entrance of the believer into the
communion of Christ’s death and resurrection, or, in other words,
regeneration through union with Christ.
A. Expansion of this statement as to the symbolism of baptism. Baptism,
more particularly, is a symbol:
(a) Of the death and resurrection of Christ.

Romans 6:3 — “Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into
Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” cf.

Matthew 3:13 —
“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan unto John, to be baptized
of him”;

Mark 10:38 — “Are ye able to drink the cup that I drink? or
to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”;

Luke 12:50
— “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till
it be accomplished!”

Colossians 2:12 — “buried with him in baptism,
wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God,
who raised him from the dead.” For the meaning of these passages, see
note on the baptism of Jesus, under B. (a), pages 942, 943.
Denney, in Expositor’s Greek Testament, on

Romans 6:3-5 — “The
argumentative requirements of the passage…demand the idea of an actual
union to, or incorporation in Christ. We were buried with him [in the act
of immersion] through that baptism into his death. If the baptism, which is
a similitude of Christ’s death, has had a reality answering to its obvious
import, so that we have really died in it as Christ died, then we shall have
a corresponding experience of resurrection. Baptism, inasmuch as one
emerges from the water after being immersed, is a similitude of
resurrection as well as of death.”
(b) Of the purpose of that death and resurrection, namely, to atone for sin
and to deliver sinners from its penalty and power..300

Romans 6:4 — “We were buried therefore with him through baptism
into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory
of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life”; cf. 7, 10, 11 —
“for he that hath died is justified from sin…For the death that he died, he
died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Even so
reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ
Jesus”; 2 Corinthians5:14 — “we thus judge, that one died for all,
therefore all died.” Baptism is therefore a confession of evangelical faith
both as to sin, and as to the deity and atonement of Christ. No one is
properly a Baptist who does not acknowledge these truths which baptism
T. W. Chambers, in Presb. and Ref. Rev., Jan. 1890:113-118, objects
that this view of the symbolism of baptism is based on two texts,

Romans 6:4 and

Colossians 2:12 which are illustrative and not
explanatory, while the great majority of passages make baptism only an
act of purification. Yet Dr. Chambers concedes: “It is to be admitted that
nearly all modern critical expositors (Meyer, Godet, Alford, Conybeare,
Lightfoot, Beet) consider that there is a reference here [in

Romans 6:4]
to the act of baptism, which as the Bishop of Durham says, ‘is the grave
of the old man and the birth of the new. It is an image of the believer’s
participation both in the death and in the resurrection of Christ. As he
sinks beneath the baptismal waters, the believer buries there all his
corrupt affections and past sins and as he emerges thence, he rises
regenerate, quickened to new hopes and a new life.’”
(c) Of the accomplishment of that purpose in the person baptized, who
thus professes his death to sin and resurrection to spiritual life.

Galatians 3:27 — “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ
did put on Christ”;

1 Peter 3:21 — “which [water] also after a true
likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the
filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God,
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”; cf.

Galatians 2:19, 20 —
“For I through the law died unto the law, that I might live unto God. I
have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ
liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the
faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for

Colossians 3:3 — “For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ
in God.”
C.H.M., “A truly baptized person is one who has passed from the old
world into the new. The water rolls over his person, signifying that his.301
place in nature is ignored, his old nature is entirely set aside. In short, that
he is a dead man and that the flesh with all that pertained thereto, its sins
and its liabilities is buried in the grave of Christ and can never come into
God’s sight again. When the believer rises up from the water, expression
is given to the truth that he comes up as the possessor of a new life, even
the resurrection life of Christ, to which divine righteousness inseparation
(d) Of the method, in which that purpose is accomplished, by union with
Christ, receiving him and giving one’s self to him by faith.

Romans 6:5 “For if we have become united [su>mfutoi] with him in
the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his
resurrection” — su>mfutoi, or snmpefukw>v, is used of the man and the
horse as grown together in the Centaur, by Lucian, Dial. Mort., 16:4, and
by Xenophon, Cyrop., 4:3:18.

Colossians 2:12 — “having been buried
with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith is
the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” Dr. N. S. Burton:
“The oneness of the believer and Christ is expressed by the fact that the
one act of immersion sets forth the death and resurrection of both Christ
and the believer.” As the voluntary element in faith has two parts, a giving
and a taking, so baptism illustrates both. Submergence = surrender to
Christ; emergence = reception of Christ; see page 839, (b). “Putting on
Christ” (

Galatians 3:27) is the burying of the old life and the rising to
a new. Cf. the active and the passive obedience of Christ (pages 749,
770), the two elements of justification (pages 854-859), the two aspects of
formal worship (page 23), the two divisions of the Lord’s Prayer.
William Ashmore holds that incorporation into Christ is the root idea of
baptism, union with Christ’s death and resurrection being only a part of it.
We are “baptized into Christ” (

Romans 6:3), as the Israelites were
“baptized into Moses” (

1 Corinthians 10:2). As baptism symbolizes
the incorporation of the believer into Christ, so the Lord’s Supper
symbolizes the incorporation of Christ into the believer. We go down into
the water but the bread goes down into us. We are “in Christ,” and Christ
is “in us.” The candidate does not baptize himself but puts himself wholly
into the hands of the administrator. This seems symbolic of his
committing himself entirely to Christ, of whom the administrator is the
representative. Similarly in the Lord’s Supper, it is Christ who, through
his representative, distributes the emblems of his death and life.
E. G. Robinson regarded baptism as implying death to sin, resurrection to
new life in Christ and entire surrender of ourselves to the authority of the.302
triune God. Baptism “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit” (

Matthew 28:19) cannot imply supreme allegiance to
the Father and only subordinate allegiance to the Son. Baptism therefore
is an assumption of supreme allegiance to Jesus Christ. N. E. Wood, in
The Watchman, Dec. 3, 1896:15 — “Calvinism has its five points but
Baptists have also their own five points, which are the Trinity, the
Atonement, Regeneration, Baptism, and an inspired Bible. All other
doctrines gather round these.”
(e) Of the consequent union of all believers in Christ.
Ephesians4:5 — “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”;

1 Corinthians
12:13 — “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether
Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one
Spirit”; cf. 10:3,4 — “and did all eat the same spiritual food; and did all
drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that
followed them: and the rock was Christ”

Ephesians 4:5, it is noticeable that, not the Lord’s Supper, but
baptism, is referred to as the symbol of Christian unity. A. H. Strong,
Cleveland Sermon, 1901 — “Our fathers lived in a day when simple faith
was subject to serious disabilities. The establishments frowned upon
dissent and visited it with pains and penalties. It is no wonder that
believers in the New Testament doctrine and polity felt that they must
come out from what they regarded as an apostate church. They could have
no sympathy with the ones who held back the truth in unrighteousness and
persecuted the saints of God. But our doctrine has leavened all
Christendom. Scholarship is on the side of immersion. Infant baptism is
on the decline. The churches that once opposed us now compliment us on
our steadfastness in the faith and on our missionary zeal. There is a
growing spirituality in these churches, which prompts them to extend to
us hands of fellowship. There is a growing sense among us that the
kingdom of Christ is wider than our own membership, and that loyalty to
our Lord requires us to recognize his presence and blessing even in
bodies, which we do not regard as organized in complete accordance with
the New Testament model. Faith in the larger Christ is bringing us out
from our denominational isolation into an inspiring recognition of our
oneness with the universal church of God throughout the world.”
(f) Of the death and resurrection of the body, which will complete the work
of Christ in us and Christ’s death and resurrection assure to all his

1 Corinthians 15:12, 22 — “Now if Christ is preached that ho hath
been raised from the dead, how say some among you that there is no
resurrection of the dead.” For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall
all be made alive.” In the Scripture passages quoted above, we add to the
argument from the meaning of the word bapti>zw the argument from the
meaning of the ordinance. Luther wrote, in his Babylonish Captivity of
the Church, section 103 (English translation in Wace and Buchheim, First
Principles of the Reformation, 192): “Baptism is a sign both of death and
resurrection. Being moved by this reason, I would have those that are
baptized to be altogether dipped into the water, as the word means and the
mystery signifies.” See Calvin on

Acts 8:38; Conybeare and Howson

Romans 6:4; Boardman, in Madison Avenue Lectures, 115-135.
B. Inferences from the passages referred to:
(a) The central truth set forth by baptism is the death and resurrection of
Christ and our own death and resurrection only as connected with that.
The baptism of Jesus in Jordan, equally with the subsequent baptism of
his followers, was a symbol of his death. It was his death, which he had in
mind when he said: Are ye able to drink the cup that I drink? or to be
baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (

Mark 10:38);
“But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it
be accomplished!” (

Luke 12:50). The being immersed and
overwhelmed in waters is a frequent metaphor in all languages to express
the rush of successive troubles; compare

Psalm 69:21” — am come
into deep waters, where the floods overflow me”; 42:7 — “AII thy waves
and thy billows are gone over me”; 124:4, 5 — “Then the waters had
overwhelmed us, The stream had gone over our soul; Then the proud
waters had gone over our soul.”
So the suffering, death, and burial, which were before our Lord, presented
themselves to his mind as a baptism, because the very idea of baptism was
that of a complete submersion under the floods of waters. Death was not
to be poured upon Christ, it was no mere sprinkling of suffering which he
was to endure but a sinking into the mighty waters and a being
overwhelmed by them. It was the giving himself to this, which he
symbolized by his baptism in Jordan. That act was not arbitrary or formal
or ritual. It was a public consecration, a consecration to death, to death
for the sins of the world. It expressed the essential nature and meaning of
his earthly work: the baptism of water at the beginning of his ministry
consciously and designedly prefigured the baptism of death with which
that ministry was to close..304
Jesus’ submission to John’s baptism of repentance, the rite that belonged
only to sinners, can be explained only upon the ground that he was “made
to be sin on our behalf” (

2 Corinthians 5:21). He had taken our nature
upon him, without its hereditary corruption indeed, but with all its
hereditary guilt, that he might redeem that nature and reunite it to God. As
one with humanity, he had in his unconscious childhood submitted to the
rites of circumcision, purification and legal redemption (

Luke 2:21-24;

Exodus 13:2, 13 see Lange, Alford, Webster and Wilkinson on

Luke 2:24) — all of those rites appointed for sinners. “Made in the
likeness of men” (

Philippians 2:7), “the likeness of sinful flesh”

Romans 8:3), he was “to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself”

Hebrews 9:26).
In his baptism, therefore, he could say, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all
righteousness” (

Matthew 3:15). Because only through the final
baptism of suffering and death, which this baptism in water
foreshadowed, could he “make an end of sins” and “bring in everlasting
righteousness” (Dan 9:24) to the condemned and ruined world. He could
not be “the Lord our Righteousness” (

Jeremiah 23:6), except by first
suffering the death due to the nature he had assumed, thereby delivering it
from its guilt and perfecting it forever. All this was indicated in that act
by which he was first “made manifest to Israel” (

John 1:31). In his
baptism in Jordan, he was buried in the likeness of his coming death and
raised in the likeness of his coming resurrection.

1 John 5:6 — “This
is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not in the water
only but in the water and in the blood” = in the baptism of water at the
beginning of his ministry and in the baptism of blood, which was to close
that ministry.
As that baptism pointed forward to Jesus’ death, so our baptism points
backward by the same, as the center and substance of his redeeming work,
the one death by which we live. We who are “baptized into Christ” are
“baptized into his death” (

Romans 6:3), that is, into spiritual
communion and participation in that death which he died for our
salvation. In short, in baptism we declare in symbol that his death has
become ours. On the Baptism of Jesus, see A. H. Strong, Philosophy and
Religion, 226-237.
(b) The correlative truth of the believer’s death and resurrection, set forth
in baptism implies a confession of sin and humiliation on account of it, as
deserving of death, a declaration of Christ’s death for sin, and of the
believer’s acceptance of Christ’s substitutive work. It implies an.305
acknowledgment that the soul has become partaker of Christ’s life and now
lives only in and for him.
A false mode of administering the ordinance has so obscured the meaning
of baptism. To multitudes, it has lost all reference to the death of Christ
and the Lord’s Supper is assumed to be the only ordinance which is
intended to remind us of the atoning sacrifice to which we owe our
salvation. For evidence of this, see the remarks of President Woolsey in
the Sunday School Times: “Baptism it [the Christian religion] could share
in with the doctrine of John the Baptist and if a similar rite had existed
under the Jewish law, it would have been regarded as appropriate to a
religion which inculcated renunciation of sin and purity of heart and life.
But [in the Lord’s Supper] we go beyond the province of baptism to the
very penetrale of the gospel, to the efficacy and meaning of Christ’s
Baptism should be a public act. We cannot afford to relegate it to a
Corner or to celebrate it in private, as some professedly Baptist churches
of England are said to do. Like marriage, the essence of it is joining of self
to another before the world. In baptism we merge ourselves in Christ,
before God and angels and men. The Mohammedan stands five times a
day and prays with his face toward Mecca, caring not who sees him.

Luke 12:8 — “Every one who shall confess me before man, him shall
the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.”
(c) Baptism symbolizes purification in a peculiar and divine way, namely
through the death of Christ and the entrance of the soul into communion
with that death. The radical defect of sprinkling or pouring as a mode of
administering the ordinance is that it does not point to Christ’s death as the
procuring cause of our purification.
It is a grievous thing to say by symbol, as those do say who practice
sprinkling in place of immersion, that a man may regenerate himself or, if
not this, yet that his regeneration may take place without connection with
Christ’s death. Edward Beecher’s chief argument against Baptist views is
drawn from

John 3:22-25 — “a questioning on the part of John’s
disciples with a Jew about purifying.” Purification is made to be the
essential meaning of baptism, and the conclusion is drawn that any form
expressive of purification will answer the design of the ordinance. But if
Christ’s death is the procuring cause of our purification, we may expect it
to be symbolized in the ordinance, which declares that purification; if
Christ’s death is the central fact of Christianity, we may expect it to be
symbolized in the initiatory rite of Christianity..306
(d) In baptism we show forth the Lord’s death as the original source of
holiness and life in our souls, just as in the Lord’s Supper we show forth
the Lord’s death as the source of all nourishment and strength after this life
of holiness has been once begun. As the Lord’s Supper symbolizes the
sanctifying power of Jesus’ death, so baptism symbolizes its regenerating
The truth of Christ’s death and resurrection is a precious jewel and it is
given us in these outward ordinances as in a casket. Let us care for the
casket lest we lose the gem. As a scarlet thread runs through every rope
and cord of the British navy, testifying that it is the property of the
Crown, so through every doctrine and ordinance of Christianity runs the
red line of Jesus’ blood. It is their common reference to the death of Christ
that binds the two ordinances together.
(e) There are two reasons therefore, why nothing but immersion will satisfy
the design of the ordinance. Nothing else can symbolize the radical nature
of the change effected in regeneration, a change from spiritual death to
spiritual life and nothing else can set forth the fact that this change is due to
the entrance of the soul into communion with the death and resurrection of
Christian truth is an organism. Part is bound to part and all together
constitute one vitalized whole. To give up any single portion of that truth
is like maiming the human body. Life may remain, but one manifestation
of life has ceased. The whole body of Christian truth has lost its symmetry
and a part of its power to save.
Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion, 2:212 — “In the Eleusinian mysteries, the act
of reception was represented as a regeneration, and the hierophant
appointed to the temple service had to take a sacramental bath, out of
which he proceeded as a ‘new man’ with a new name. This signifies that,
as they were wont to say, ‘the first one was forgotten,’ that is, the old man
was put off at the same time with the old name. The parallel of this
Eleusinian rite, with the thoughts, which Paul has written about Baptism
in the Epistle to the Romans, and therefore from Corinth, is so striking
that a connection between the two may well be conjectured. All the more
striking that even in the case of the Lord’s Supper, Paul has brought in
the comparison with the heathen festivals, in order to give a basis for his
mystical theory.”
(f) To substitute for baptism anything, which excludes all symbolic
reference to the death of Christ, is to destroy the ordinance. Just as.307
substituting for the broken bread and poured out wine of the communion
some form of administration, which leaves out all reference to the death of
Christ would be to destroy the Lord’s Supper, and to celebrate an
ordinance of human invention.
Baptism, like the Fourth of July, the Passover, the Lord’s Supper, is a
historical monument. It witnesses to the world that Jesus died and rose
again. In celebrating it, we show forth the Lord’s death as truly as in the
celebration of the Supper. But it is more than a historical monument. It is
also a pictorial expression of doctrine. Into it are woven all the essential
truths of the Christian scheme. It tells of the nature and penalty of sin, of
human nature delivered from sin in the person of a crucified and risen
Savior, of salvation secured for each human soul that is united to Christ,
of obedience to Christ as the way to life and glory. Thus baptism stands
from age to age as a witness both to the facts and to the doctrine of
Christianity. To change the form of administering the ordinance is
therefore to strike a blow at Christianity and at Christ, and to defraud the
world of a part of God’s means of salvation. See Ebrard’s view of
Baptism, in Baptist Quarterly, 1869:257, and in Olshausen’s Com. on N.
T., 1:270, and 3:594. Also Lightfoot, Com. on

Colossians 2:20, and
Ebrard: “Baptism = Death.” So Sanday, Com, on Romans 6 —
“Immersion = Death; Submersion = Burial (the ratification of death);
Emergence = Resurrection (the ratification of life).” William Ashmore:
“Solomon’s Temple had two monumental pillars: Jachin, ‘he shall
establish,’ and Boaz, ‘in it is strength.’ In Zechariah’s vision were two
olive trees on either side of the golden candlestick. In like manner, Christ
has left two monumental witnesses to testify concerning himself —
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.” The lady in the streetcar, who had
inadvertently stuck her parasol into a man’s eye, very naturally begged his
pardon. But he replied: “It is of no consequence, Madame. I have still one
eye left.” Our friends who sprinkle or pour put out one eye of the gospel
witness, break down one appointed monument of Christ’s saving truth.
Shall we be content to say that we have still one ordinance left? At the
Rappahannock one of the Federal regiments, just because its standard was
shot away, was mistaken by our own men for a regiment of Confederates
and was subjected to a murderous enfilade of fire that decimated its ranks.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two flags of Christ’s army and we
cannot afford to lose either one of them.
4. The Subjects of Baptism..308
The proper subjects of baptism are those only who give credible evidence
that they have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit or, in other words, have
entered by faith into the communion of Christ’s death and resurrection.
A. Proof that only persons giving evidence of being regenerated are proper
subjects of baptism:
(a) From the command and example of Christ and his apostles, which
First, those only are to be baptized who have previously been made

Matthew 28:19 — “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit”;

Acts 2:41 — “They then that received his word were
Secondly, those only are to be baptized who have previously repented and

Matthew 3:2, 3, 6 — “Repent ye…make ye ready the way of the
Lord…and they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their

Acts 2:37, 38 — “Now when they heard this, they were pricked
in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren,
what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye and be baptized
every one of you”; 8:12 — “But when they believed Philip preaching good
tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they
were baptized, both men and women”; 18:8 — “And Crispus, the ruler of
the synagogue believed in the Lord with all his house; and many of the
Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized”; 19:4 — “John baptized
with the baptism of repentance saying unto the people that they should
believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus.”
(b) From the nature of the church, as a company of regenerate persons.

John 3:5 — “Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God”;

Romans 6:13 — “neither present your
members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present
yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as
instruments of righteousness unto God.”
(c) From the symbolism of the ordinance, as declaring a previous spiritual
change in him who submits to it..309

Acts 10:47 — “Can any man forbid the water, that these should not be
baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit as well as we?”

6:2-5 — “We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? Or
are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were
baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through
baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through
the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we
have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also
in the likeness of his resurrection”;

Galatians 3:26, 27 — “For ye are
all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as
were baptized into Christ did put on Christ”
As marriage should never be solemnized except between persons who are
already joined in heart and with whom the outward ceremony is only the
sign of an existing love, so baptism should never be administered, except
in the case of those who are already joined to Christ and who signify, in
the ordinance their union with him in his death and resurrection. See Dean
Stanley on Baptism, 24 — “In the apostolic age and in the three centuries
which followed, it is evident that, as a general rule, those who came to
baptism, came in full age of their own deliberate choice. The liturgical
service of baptism was framed for full grown converts and is only by
considerable adaptation applied to the case of infants”; Wayland,
Principles and Practices of Baptists. 93; Robins, in Madison Avenue
Lectures, 136-159.
B. Inferences from the fact that only persons giving evidence of being
regenerate are proper subjects of baptism:
(a) Since only those who give credible evidence of regeneration are proper
subjects of baptism, baptism cannot be the means of regeneration. It is the
appointed sign, but is never the condition of the forgiveness of sins.
Passages like

Matthew 3:11;

Mark 1:4; 16:16;

John 3:5;

2:38; 22:16;

Ephesians 5:26;

Titus 3:5; and

Hebrews 10:22, are
to be explained as particular instances “of the general fact that, in Scripture
language, a single part of a complex action and even that part of it, which
is most obvious to the senses, is often mentioned for the whole of it. Thus,
in this case, the whole of the solemn transaction is designated by the
external symbol.” In other words, the entire change, internal and external,
spiritual and ritual, is referred to in language belonging strictly only to the
outward aspect of it. So, the other ordinance is referred to, simply by
naming the visible “breaking of bread.” The whole transaction of the.310
ordination of ministers is termed the “imposition of hands” (cf.


1 Timothy 4:14).

Matthew 3:11 — “I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance”;

Mark 1:4 — “the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins”;
16:16 — “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”;

1 John
3:5 — “Except one be born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into
the kingdom of God.” Here Nicodemus, who was familiar with John’s
baptism and with the refusal of the Sanhedrin to recognize its claims, is
told that the baptism of water, which he suspects may be obligatory is
indeed necessary to that complete change, by which one enters outwardly
as well as inwardly, into the kingdom of God. He is taught also, that to
“be born of water” is worthless unless it is the accompaniment and sign of
a new birth of “the Spirit” and therefore, in the further statements of
Christ, baptism is not alluded to. See verses 6, 8 — “that which is born of
the Spirit is spirit…so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

Acts 2:38 — “Repent ye, and be baptized…unto the remission of your
sins” — on this passage see Hackett: “The phrase ‘in order to the
forgiveness of sins’ we connect naturally with both the preceding verbs
(‘repent’ and ‘be baptized’). The clause states the motive or object, which
should induce them to repent and be baptized. It enforces the entire
exhortation, not one part to the exclusion of the other” i. e., they were to
repent for the remission of sins, quite as much as they were to be baptized
for the remission of sins.

Acts 22:16 — “arise, and be baptized, and
wash away thy sins, calling on his name”; Ephesians5:26 — “that he
might sanctify it [the church], having cleansed it by the washing of water
with the word”;

Titus 3:5 — “according to his mercy he saved us,
through the washing of regeneration [baptism] and renewing of the Holy
Spirit [the new birth]”;

Hebrews 10:22 — “having our hearts
sprinkled from an evil conscience [regeneration]: and having our body
washed with pure water [baptism]”; cf.

Acts 2:42 — “the breaking of
bread”; 1Tim 4:44 — “the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.”
Dr. A. C. Kendrick: “Considering how inseparable ‘believe and be
baptized’ were in the Christian profession and how imperative and
absolute was the requisition upon the believer to testify his allegiance by
baptism that it could not be deemed singular that the two should be united,
as it were, in one complex conception. We have no more right to assume
that the birth from water involves the birth from the Spirit and thus do
away with the one, than to assume that the birth from the Spirit involves
the birth from water, and thus do away with the other. We have got to
have them both, each in its distinctness, in order to fulfill the conditions of.311
membership in the kingdom of God.” Without baptism, faith is like the
works of a clock that has no dial or hands by which one can tell the time,
or like the political belief of a man who refuses to go to the polls and vote.
Without baptism, discipleship is ineffective and incomplete. The inward
change (regeneration by the Spirit) may have occurred but the outward
change (Christian profession) is lacking.
Campbellism, however, holds that instead of regeneration preceding
baptism and expressing itself in baptism, it is completed only in baptism,
so that baptism is a means of regeneration. Alexander Campbell: “I am
bold to affirm that every one of them who, in the belief of what the apostle
spoke was immersed did in the very instant in which he was put under
water, receive the forgiveness of his sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
But Peter commanded that men should be baptized because they had
already received the Holy Spirit:

Acts 10:47 — “Can any man forbid
the water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy
Spirit as well as we?” Baptists baptize Christians, Disciples baptize
sinners, and in baptism think to make them Christians. With this form of
sacramentalism, Baptists are necessarily less in sympathy than with
pedobaptism or with sprinkling. The view of the Disciples confines the
divine efficiency to the word (see quotation from Campbell on page 821).
It was anticipated by Claude Pajon, the Reformed theologian, in 1673: see
Dorner, Gesch. prot. Theologie, 448-450. That this was not the doctrine
of John the Baptist would appear from Josephus, Ant., 18:5:2, who in
speaking of John’s baptism says: “Baptism appears acceptable to God,
not in order that those who were baptized might get free from certain sins,
but in order that the body might be sanctified, because the soul
beforehand had already been purified through righteousness.”
Disciples acknowledge no formal creed and they differ so greatly among
themselves that we append the following statements of their founder and
of later representatives. Alexander Campbell, Christianity Restored, 138
(in The Christian Baptist, 5:100): “In and by the act of immersion, as
soon as our bodies are put under water, at that very instant our former or
old sins are washed away. Immersion and regeneration are Bible names
for the same act. It is not our faith in God’s promise of remission but our
going down into the water that obtains the remission of sins.” W. E.
Garrison, Alexander Campbell’s Theology, 247-299 — “Baptism, like
naturalization, is the formal oath of allegiance by which an alien becomes
a citizen. In neither case does the form in itself effect any magical change
in the subject’s disposition. In both cases a change of opinion and of
affections is presupposed, and the form is the culmination of a process. It
is as easy for God to forgive our sins in the act of immersion as in any.312
other way.” All work of the Spirit is through the word, only through
sensible means, emotions being no criterion. God is transcendent, all
authority is external, enforced only by appeal to happiness, a thoroughly
utilitarian system.
Isaac Erret is perhaps the most able of recent Disciples. In his tract
entitled “Our Position,” published by the Christian Publishing Company,
St. Louis, he says: “As to the design of baptism, we part company with
Baptists, and find ourselves more at home on the other side of the house.
Yet we cannot say that our position is just the same with that of any of
them. Baptists say they baptize believers because they are forgiven and
they insist that they shall have the evidence of pardon before they are
baptized. But the language used in the Scriptures declaring what baptism
is for, is so plain and unequivocal that the great majority of Protestants as
well as the Roman Catholics admit it in their creeds to be, in some sense,
for the remission of sins. The latter, however, and many of the former,
attach to it the idea of regeneration, and that in baptism regeneration by
the Holy Spirit is actually conferred. Even the Westminster Confession
squints strongly in this direction, albeit its professed adherents of the
present time attempt to explain away its meaning. We are as far from this
ritualistic extreme as from the anti-rituals into which the Baptists have
been driven. With us, regeneration must be so far accomplished before
baptism that the subject is changed in heart and in faith and penitence
must have yielded up his heart to Christ, otherwise baptism is nothing but
an empty form. But forgiveness is something distinct from regeneration.
Forgiveness is an act of the Sovereign, not a change of the sinner’s heart.
While it is extended in view of the sinner’s faith and repentance, it needs
to be offered in a sensible and tangible form, such that the sinner can seize
it and appropriate it with unmistakable definiteness. In baptism he
appropriates God’s promise of forgiveness, relying on the divine
testimonies. ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved’; ‘Repent
and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the
remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ He
thus lays hold of the promise of Christ and appropriates it as his own. He
does not merit it nor procure it nor earn it in being baptized but he
appropriates what the mercy of God has provided and offered in the
gospel. We therefore teach all who are baptized that, if they bring to their
baptism a heart that renounces sin and implicitly trusts the power of
Christ to save, they should rely on the Savior’s own promise — He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved.’”
All these utterances agree in making forgiveness chronologically distinct
from regeneration, as the concluding point is distinct from the whole..313
Regeneration is not entirely the work of God, it must be completed by
man. It is not wholly a change of heart, it is also a change in outward
action. We see in this system of thought the beginnings of sacramentalism,
and we regard it as containing the same germs of error, which are more
fully developed in pedobaptist doctrine. Shakespeare represents this dew
in Henry V. 1:2 — “What you speak is in your conscience washed As
pure as sin with baptism “; Othello, 2:3 — Desdemona could Win the
moor — were’t to renounce his baptism — All seals and symbols of
redeemed sin.”
Dr. G. W. Lasher, in the Journal and Messenger, holds that

3:11 — “I indeed baptize you in water unto eijv repentance” — does not
imply that baptism effects the repentance. The baptism was because of
the repentance, for John refused to baptize those who did not give
evidence of repentance before baptism.

Matthew 10:42 — “whosoever
shall give…a cup of cold water only, in eijv the name of a disciple” — the
cup of cold water does not put one into the name of a disciple, or make
him a disciple.

Matthew 12:41 — “The men of Nineveh… repented at
eijv the preaching of Jonah” = because of. Dr. Lasher argues that, in all
these cases, the meaning of eijv is “in respect to,” “with reference to.” So
he would translate

Acts 2:38 — “Repent ye, and be baptized…with
respect to, in reference to, the remission of sins.” This is also the view of
Meyer. He maintains that bapti>zein eijv always means “baptize with
reference to (cf.

Matthew 28:19;

1 Corinthians 10:12;

Galatians 3:27;

Acts 2:38; 8:16; 19:5). We are brought through
baptism, he would say, into fellowship with his death, so that we have a
share ethically in his death, through the cessation of our life to sin.
The better parallel, however, in our judgment, is found in Romans 10:l0
— “with the heart man believeth unto eijv righteousness and with the
mouth confession is made unto eijv salvation,” where evidently salvation
is the end to which works the whole change and process, including both
faith and confession. So Broadus makes John’s ‘baptism unto repentance’
mean baptism in order to repentance, repentance including both the
purpose of the heart and the outward expression of it, or baptism in order
to complete and thorough repentance. Expositor’s Greek Testament, on

Acts 2:38 — “unto the remission of your sins”: “eijv, unto, signifying
the aim.” For the High Church view, see Sadler, Church Doctrine, 41-
124. On F. W. Robertson’s view of Baptismal Regeneration, see Gordon,
in Bap. Quar., 1869:405. On the whole matter of baptism for the
remission of sins, see Gates, Baptists and Disciples (advocating the
Disciple view); Willmarth, in Bap. Quar., 1877:1-26 (verging toward the.314
Disciple view); and per contra, Adkins, Disciples and Baptists, booklet
pub. by Am. Bap. Pub. Society (the best brief statement of the Baptist
position); Bap. Quar., 1877:476-489; 1872:214; Jacob, Eccl. Pol. of N.
T., 255, 256.
(b) As the profession of a spiritual change already wrought, baptism is
primarily the act, not of the administrator, but of the person baptized.
Upon the person newly regenerate, the command of Christ first terminates;
only upon his giving evidence of the change within him does it become the
duty of the church to see that he has opportunity to follow Christ in
baptism. Since baptism is primarily the act of the convert, no lack of
qualification on the part of the administrator invalidates the baptism, so
long as the proper outward act is performed, with intent on the part of the
person baptized to express the fact of a preceding spiritual renewal

Acts 2:37, 38).

Acts 2:37, 38 — “Brethren, what shall we do? Repent ye and be
baptized.” If baptism be primarily the act of the administrator or of the
church, then invalidity in the administrator or of the church renders the
ordinance itself invalid. But if baptism be primarily the act of the person
baptized, an act, which it is the church’s business simply to scrutinize and
further, then nothing but the absence of immersion or of an intent, to
profess faith in Christ, can invalidate the ordinance. It is the erroneous
view that baptism is the act of the administrator, which causes the anxiety
of High Church Baptists to deduce their Baptist lineage from regularly
baptized ministers all the way back to John the Baptist, and which induces
many modern endeavors of pedobaptists to prove that the earliest Baptists
of England and the Continent did not immerse. All these solicitudes are
unnecessary. We have no need to prove a Baptist apostolic succession. If
we can derive our doctrine and practice from the New Testament, it is all
we require.
The Council of Trent was right in its Canon: “If any one saith that the
baptism, which is even given by heretics in the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Ghost, with the intention of doing what the
church doeth, is not true baptism, let him be anathema.” Dr. Norman Fox:
“it is no more important who baptizes a man than who leads him to
Christ.” John Spilsbury, first pastor of the church of Particular Baptists,
holding to a limited atonement, in London, was newly baptized in 1633,
on the ground that “baptizedness is not essential to the administrator,” and
he repudiated the demand for apostolic succession, as leading logically to
the “popedom of Rome.” In 1641, immersion followed, though two or.315
three years before this, or in March, 1639, Roger Williams was baptized
by Ezekiel Holliman in Rhode Island. Williams afterwards doubted its
validity, thus clinging still to the notion of apostolic succession.
(c) As entrusted with the administration of the ordinances, however, the
church is, on its part, to require of all candidates for baptism credible
evidence of regeneration.
This follows from the nature of the church and its duty to maintain its own
existence as an institution of Christ. The church which cannot restrict
admission into its membership to such as are, like itself in character and
aims, must soon cease to be a church by becoming indistinguishable from
the world. The duty of the church to gain credible evidence of regeneration
in the case of every person admitted into the body, involves its right to
require of candidates, in addition to a profession of faith with the lips,
some satisfactory proof that this profession is accompanied by change in
the conduct. The kind and amount of evidence, which would have justified
the reception of a candidate in times of persecution, may not now
constitute a sufficient proof of change of heart.
If an Odd Fellows’ Lodge, in order to preserve its distinct existence, must
have its own rules for admission to membership, much more is this true of
the church. The church may make its own regulations with a view to
secure credible evidence of regeneration. Yet it is bound to demand of the
candidate no more than reasonable proof of his repentance and faith.
Since the church is to be convinced of the candidate’s fitness before it
votes to receive him to its membership, it is generally best that the
experience of the candidate should be related before the church. Yet in
extreme cases, as of sickness, the church may hear this relation of
experience through certain appointed representatives.
Baptism is sometimes figuratively described as “the door into the church.”
The phrase is unfortunate, since if by the church is meant the spiritual
kingdom of God, then Christ is its only door. If the local body of believers
is meant, then the faith of the candidate, the credible evidence of
regeneration which he gives, the vote of the church itself, are all, equally
with baptism, the door through which he enters. The door, in this sense, is
a double door, one part of which is his confession of faith, and the other
his baptism.
(d) As the outward expression of the inward change by which the believer
enters into the kingdom of God, baptism is the first, in point of time, of all
outward duties..316
Regeneration and baptism, although not holding to each other the relation
of effect and cause, are both regarded in the New Testament as essential to
the restoration of man’s right relations to God and to his people. They
properly constitute parts of one whole and are not to be unnecessarily
separated. Baptism should follow regeneration with the least possible
delay, after the candidate and the church have gained evidence that a
spiritual change has been accomplished within him. No other duty and no
other ordinance can properly precede it.
Neither the pastor nor the church should encourage the convert to wait for
others’ company before being baptized. We should aim continually to
deepen the sense of individual responsibility to Christ and of personal
duty to obey his command of baptism just so soon as a proper opportunity
is afforded. That participation in the Lord’s Supper cannot properly
precede Baptism will be shown hereafter.
(e) Since regeneration is a work accomplished once for all, the baptism,
which symbolizes this regeneration is not to be repeated.
Even where the persuasion exists, on the part of the candidate, that at the
time of Baptism he was mistaken in thinking himself regenerated, the
ordinance is not to be administered again, so long as it has once been
submitted, with honest intent, as a profession of faith in Christ. We argue
this from the absence of any reference to second baptisms in the New
Testament and from the grave practical difficulties attending the opposite
view. In

Acts 19:1-5, we have an instance, not of rebaptism, but of the
baptism for the first time of certain persons who had been wrongly taught
with regard to the nature of John the Baptist’s doctrine. These people had
so ignorantly submitted to an outward rite, which had in it no reference to
Jesus Christ and expressed no faith in him as a Savior. This was not John’s
baptism nor was it in any sense true baptism. For this reason Paul
commanded them to be “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
In the respect of not being repeated, Baptism is unlike the Lord’s Supper,
which symbolizes the continuous sustaining power of Christ’s death while
baptism symbolizes its power to begin a new life within the soul. In

Acts 19:1-5, Paul instructs the new disciples that the real baptism of
John, to which they erroneously supposed they had submitted, was not
only a baptism of repentance but a baptism of faith in the coming Savior.
“And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord
Jesus” — as they had not been before. Here there was no rebaptism, for
the mere outward submersion in water to which they had previously.317
submitted, with no thought of professing faith in Christ, was no baptism
at all — whether Johannine or Christian. See Brooks, in Baptist
Quarterly, April, 1867, art.: Rebaptism.
Whenever it is clear, as in many cases of Campbellite immersion, that the
candidate has gone down into the water, not with intent to profess a
previously existing faith, but in order to be regenerated, baptism is still to
be administered if the person subsequently believes on Christ. But
wherever it appears that there was intent to profess an already existing
faith and regeneration there should then be no repetition of the immersion
even though the ordinance has been administered by the Campbellites.
A rebaptism, whenever a Christian’s faith and joy are rekindled so that he
begins to doubt the reality of his early experiences, would, in the case of
many fickle believers, require many repetitions of the ordinance. The
presumption is that, when the profession of faith was made by baptism,
there was an actual faith, which needed to be professed, and therefore that
the baptism, though followed by much unbelief and many wanderings,
was a valid one. Rebaptism, in the case of unstable Christians, tends to
bring reproach upon the ordinance itself.
(f) So long as the mode and the subjects are such as Christ has enjoined,
mere accessories are matters of individual judgment
The use of natural rather than of artificial baptisteries is not to be elevated
into an essential. The formula of baptism prescribed by Christ is “into the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 28:19 — “baptizing them into the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit”; cf.

Acts 8:16 — “they had been
baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus”;

Romans 6:3 — “Or are ye
ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized
into his death?”

Galatians 3:27 — “For as many of you as were
baptized into Christ did put on Christ” Baptism is immersion into God,
into the presence, communion, life of the Trinity. See Com. of Clark, and
of Lange, on

Matthew 28:19; also C. E. Smith, in Bap Rev.,
1881:305-311. President Wayland and the Revised Version read, “into the
name.” Per Contra, see Meyer (transl., 1:281 note), on

Romans 6:3;

Matthew 10:41; 18:20; in all which passages, as well as in

Matthew 28:19, he claims that eijv to< o[noma signifies “with reference
to the name.” For the latter translation of

Matthew 28:19, see Conant,
Notes on Matthew, 171. On the whole subject of this section, see Dagg,
Church Order, 13-73; Ingham, Subjects of Baptism..318
C. Infant Baptism.
This we reject and reprehend, for the following reasons:
(a) Infant baptism is without warrant, either expressed or implied, in the
First, there is no express command that infants should be baptized.
Secondly, there is no clear example of the baptism of infants. Thirdly, the
passages held to imply infant baptism contain, when fairly interpreted, no
reference to such a practice. In

Matthew 19:14, none would have
‘forbidden,’ if Jesus and his disciples had been in the habit of baptizing
infants. From

Acts 16:15, cf. 40, and

Acts 16:33, cf. 34. Neander
says that we cannot infer infant baptism.

1 Corinthians 16:15 shows that
the whole family of Stephanas, baptized by Paul, was adults. It is
impossible to suppose a whole heathen household baptized upon the faith
of its head. As to

1 Corinthians 7:14, Jacobi calls this text “a sure
testimony against infant baptism, since Paul would certainly have referred
to the baptism of children as a proof of their holiness, if infant baptism had
been practiced.” Moreover, this passage would in that case equally teach
the baptism of the unconverted husband of a believing wife. It plainly
proves that the children of Christian parents were no more baptized and
had no closer connection with the Christian church than the unbelieving
partners of Christians did.

Matthew 19:14 — “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to
come unto me: for to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven”;

16:15 — “And when she [Lydia] was baptized, and her household”; cf. 40
— “And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia:
and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.”

Acts 16:33 — The jailer “was baptized, he and all his, immediately”;
cf. 34 — “And he brought them up into his house, and set food before
them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his house, having believed in God”;

1 Corinthians 16:15 — “ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the
first fruits of Achaia, and that they have set themselves to minister unto
the saints”; 1:16 — “And I baptized also the household of Stephanas”;
7:14 — “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the
unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother: else were your children
unclean; but now are they holy.” Here the sanctity or holiness attributed
to unbelieving members of the household is evidently that of external
connection and privilege, like that of the O. T. Israel..319
Broadus, Am. Com., on

Matthew 19:14 — “No Greek Commentator
mentions infant baptism in connection with this passage, though they all
practiced that rite.” Schleiermacher, Glaubenslehre, 2:383 — “All the
traces of infant baptism which it has been desired to find in the New
Testament must first be put into it.” Pfleiderer, Grundriss, 184-187.
“Infant baptism cannot be proved from the N. T., and according to

Corinthians 7:14 it is antecedently improbable yet it was the logical
consequence of the command,

Matthew 28:12 sq., in which the church
consciousness of the second century prophetically expressed Christ’s
appointment that it, should be the universal church of the nations. Infant
baptism represents one side of the Biblical sacrament, the side of the
divine grace but it needs to have the other side, appropriation of that grace
by personal freedom, added in confirmation.”
Dr. A. S. Crapsey, formerly an Episcopal rector in Rochester, made the
following statement in the introduction to a sermon in defense of infant
baptism. “Now in support of this custom of the church, we can bring no
express command of the word of God, no certain warrant of holy
Scripture, nor can we be at all sure that this usage prevailed during the
apostolic age. From a few obscure hints we may conjecture that it did, but
it is only conjecture after all. It is true St. Paul baptized the household of
Stephanas, of Lydia, and of the jailer at Philippi, and in these households
there may have been little children but, we do not know that there were
and these inferences form but a poor foundation upon which to base any
doctrine. Better say at once and boldly, that infant baptism is not
expressly taught in Holy Scripture. Not only is the word of God silent on
this subject, but those who have studied the subject tell us that Christian
writers of the very first age say nothing about it. It is by no means sure
that this custom obtained in the church earlier than in the middle of the
second or the beginning of the third century.” Dr. C. M. Mead, in a
private letter, dated May 27,1895 — “Though a Congregationalist, I
cannot find any Scriptural authorization of pedobaptism, and I admit also
that immersion seems to have been the prevalent, if not the universal, form
of baptism at the first.”
A review of the passages held by Pedobaptists to support their views leads
us to the conclusion that were expressed in the North British Review,
Aug. 1852:211, that infant baptism is utterly unknown to Scripture.
Jacob, Ecclesiastical Polity of N. T., 270-275 — “Infant baptism is not
mentioned in the N. T. No instance of it is recorded there, no allusion is
made to its effects, no directions are given for its administration. It is not
an apostolic ordinance.” See also Neander’s view, in Kitto, Bib. Cyclop.,.320
art.: Baptism; Kendrick, in Christian Rev., April, 1863 Curtis, Progress
of Baptist Principles, 96; Wayland, Principles and Practices of Baptists,
125; Cunningham, lect. on Baptism, in Croall Lectures for 1886.
(b) Infant baptism is expressly contradicted:
First, by the Scriptural prerequisites of faith and repentance, as signs of
regeneration. In the great commission, Matthew speaks of baptizing
disciples and Mark of baptizing believers but infants are neither of these.
Secondly, by the Scriptural symbolism of the ordinance. As we should not
bury a person before his death, so we should not symbolically bury a
person by baptism until he has in spirit died to sin. Thirdly, by the
Scriptural constitution of the church. The church is a company of persons
whose union with one another presupposes and expresses a previous
conscious and voluntary union of each with Jesus Christ. But of this
conscious and voluntary union with Christ, infants are not capable.
Fourthly, by the Scriptural prerequisites for participation in the Lord’s
Supper. Participation in the Lord’s Supper is the right only of those who
can discern the Lord’s body (

1 Corinthians 11:29). No reason can be
assigned for restricting to intelligent communicants the ordinance of the
Supper, which would not equally restrict to intelligent believers the
ordinance of Baptism.
Infant baptism has accordingly led in the Greek Church to infant
communion. This course seems logically consistent. If baptism is
administered to unconscious babes, they should participate in the Lord’s
Supper also. But if confirmation or any intelligent profession of faith is
thought necessary before communion, why should not such confirmation
or profession be thought necessary before baptism? On Jonathan Edwards
and the Halfway Covenant, see New Englander, Sept. 1884:601-614; G.
L. Walker, Aspects of Religious Life of New England, 61-82; Dexter,
Congregationalism, 487, note — “It has been often intimated that
President Edwards opposed and destroyed the Halfway Covenant. He did
oppose Stoddardism, or the doctrine that the Lord’s Supper is a
converting ordinance and that unconverted men, because they are such
should be encouraged to partake of it.” The tendency of his system was
adverse to it but for all that appears in his published writings, he could
have approved and administered that form of the Hallway Covenant then
current among the churches. John Fiske says of Jonathan Edwards’s
preaching: “The prominence he gave to spiritual conversion, or what was
called ‘change of heart,’ brought about the overthrow of the doctrine of.321
the Halfway Covenant. It also weakened the logical basis of infant
baptism and led to the winning of hosts of converts by the Baptists.”
Other Pedobaptist bodies than the Greek Church save part of the truth, at
the expense of consistency, by denying participation in the Lord’s Supper
to those baptized in infancy until they have reached years of
understanding and have made a public profession of faith. Dr. Charles B.
Jefferson, at the International Congregational Council of Boston,
September 1899, urged that the children of believers are already church
members and that as such they are entitled, not only to baptism, but also
to the Lord’s Supper — “an assertion that started much thought!”
Baptists may well commend Congregationalists to the teaching of their
own Increase Mather, The Order of the Gospel (1700), 11 — “The
Congregational Church discipline is not suited for a worldly interest or for
a formal generation of professors. It will stand or fall as godliness in the
power of it does prevail or otherwise. If the begun Apostasy should
proceed as fast the next thirty years as it has done these last, surely it will
come that in New England (except the gospel itself depart with the order
of it) that the most conscientious people therein will think themselves
concerned to gather churches out of churches.”
How much of Judaistic externalism may linger among nominal Christians
is shown by the fact that in the Armenian Church animal sacrifices
survived, or were permitted to converted heathen priests, in order they
might not lose their livelihood. These sacrifices continued in other regions
of Christendom, particularly in the Greek Church and Pope Gregory the
Great permitted them. See Conybeare, in Am. Jour. Theology, Jan.
1893:62-90. In The Key of Truth, a manual of the Paulician Church of
Armenia, whose date in its present form is between the seventh and the
ninth centuries, we have the Adoptianist view of Christ’s person and of
the subjects and the mode of baptism. “Thus also the Lord, having learned
from the Father, proceeded to teach us to perform baptism and all other
commandments at the age of full growth and at no other time. For some
have broken and destroyed the holy and precious canons which by the
Father Almighty were delivered to our Lord Jesus Christ and have trodden
them underfoot with their devilish teaching, baptizing those who are
irrational and communicating the unbelieving.”
Minority is legally divided into three separate tenets.
1. From the first to the seventh year, the age of complete irresponsibility,
in which the child cannot commit a crime..322
2. From the seventh to the fourteenth year, the age of partial
responsibility, in which intelligent consciousness of the consequences of
actions is not assumed to exist, but may be proved in individual instances.
3. From the fourteenth to the twenty-first year is the age of discretion.
This is the age in which the person is responsible for criminal action, may
choose a guardian, make a will, marry with consent of parents, make
business contracts not wholly void. This person is not yet permitted fully
to assume the free man’s position in the State. The church however is not
bound by these hard and fast rules. Wherever it has evidence of
conversion and of Christian character, it may admit to baptism and church
membership, even at a very tender age.
(c) The rise of infant baptism in the history of the church is due to
sacramental conceptions of Christianity, so that all arguments in its favor
from the writings of the first three centuries are equally arguments for
baptismal regeneration.
Neander’s view may be found in Kitto, Cyclopædia, 1:287 — “Infant
baptism was established neither by Christ nor by his apostles. Even in
later times Tertullian opposed it, the North African church holding to the
old practice.” The newly discovered Teaching of the Apostles, which
Bryennios puts at A. D.140-100 and Lightfoot at A. D. 80-110, seems to
know nothing of infant baptism.
Professor A. H. Newman, in Bap. Rev., Jan. 1884 — “Infant baptism has
always gone hand in hand with State churches. It is difficult to conceive
how an ecclesiastical establishment could be maintained without infant
baptism or its equivalent. We should think, if the facts did not show us so
plainly the contrary, that the doctrine of justification by faith alone would
displace infant baptism. But no. The establishment must be maintained.
The rejection of infant baptism implies insistence upon a baptism of
believers. Only the baptized are properly members of the church. Even
adults would not all receive baptism on professed faith, unless they were
actually compelled to do so. Infant baptism must therefore be retained as
the necessary concomitant of a State church.
“But what becomes of the justification by faith? Baptism, if it symbolizes
anything, symbolizes regeneration. It would be ridiculous to make the
symbol to forerun the fact by a series of years. Luther saw the difficulty
but he was sufficient for the emergency. ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘justification is by
faith alone. No outward rite, apart from faith, has any efficacy.’ Why, it
was against opera operata that he was laying out all his strength. Yet.323
baptism is the symbol of regeneration and baptism must be administered
to infants or the State church falls. With an audacity truly sublime, the
great reformer declares that infants are regenerated in connection with
baptism and that they are simultaneously justified by personal faith. An
infant eight days old believe? ‘Prove the contrary if you can!’
triumphantly ejaculates Luther, and his point is gained. If this kind of
personal faith is said to justify infants, is it wonderful that those of more
mature years leaned to take a somewhat superficial view of the faith that
Yet Luther had written: “Whatever is without the word of God is by that
very fact against God.” See his Briefe, ed. DeWette, 11:292; J. G. Walch,
De Fide in Utero. There was great discordance between Luther as
reformer and Luther as conservative churchman. His Catholicism, only
half overcome, broke into all his views of faith. In his early years, he
stood for reason and Scripture, in his later years he fought reason and
Scripture in the supposed interest of the church.

Matthew 18:10 — “See that ye despise not one of these little ones” —
which refers not to little children but to childlike believers. Luther adduces
as a proof of infant baptism, holding that the child is said to believe —
“little ones that believe on me”(verse 6) — because it has been
circumcised and received into the number of the elect. “And so, through
baptism, children become believers. How else could the children of Turks
and Jews be distinguished from those of Christians?” Does this involve
the notion that infants dying without having been baptized are lost? To
find the very apostle of justification by faith saying that a little child
becomes a believer by being baptized, is humiliating and disheartening (so
Broadus. Com. on Matthew, page 334, note).
Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion, 2:342-345, quotes from Lang as follows: “By
mistaking and casting down the Protestant spirit which put forth its
demands on the time in Carlstadt, Zwingle and others, Luther made
Protestantism lose its salt. He inflicted wounds upon it from which it has
not yet recovered today and the ecclesiastical struggle of the present is
just a struggle of spiritual freedom against Lutherism.” E. G. Robinson:
“Infant baptism is a rag of Romanism. Since regeneration is always
through the truth, baptismal regeneration is an absurdity.” See Christian
Review, Jan. 1851; Neander, Church History, 1:311, 313; Coleman,
Christian Antiquities, 258-260; Arnold, in Bap. Quarterly, 1869:32;
Hovey, in Bap. Quarterly, 1871:75..324
(d) The reasoning by which it is supported is unscriptural, unsound and
dangerous in its tendency.
First, in assuming the power of the church to modify or abrogate a
command of Christ. This has been sufficiently answered above. Secondly,
in maintaining that infant baptism takes the place of circumcision under the
Abrahamic covenant. To this we reply that the view contradicts the New
Testament idea of the church, by making it a hereditary body, in which
fleshly birth and not the new birth, qualifies for membership. “As the
national Israel typified the spiritual Israel, so the circumcision which
immediately followed, not preceded natural birth, bids us baptize children,
not before but after spiritual birth.” Thirdly, in declaring that baptism
belongs to the infant because of an organic connection of the child with the
parent, which permits the latter to stand for the former and to make
profession of faith for it, germinal faith already existing in the child by
virtue of this organic union and certain for the same reason to be
developed the child grows to maturity. “A law of organic connection as
regards and the child, such a connection as induces the conviction that the
character of the one is actually included the character of the other, as the
seed is formed in the capsule.” We object to this view that it unwarrantably
confounds the personality of the child with that of the parent. It practically
ignores the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s regenerating influences in the case
of children of Christian parents and presumes in such children, a gracious
state which facts conclusively show not to exist.
What takes the place of circumcision is not baptism but regeneration.
Paul defeated the attempt to fasten circumcision on the church, when he
refused to have that rite performed on Titus. But later Judaizers succeeded
in perpetuating circumcision under the form of infant baptism, and
afterward of infant sprinkling (McGarvey, Com. on Acts). E. G.
Robinson: “Circumcision is not a type of baptism. It is purely a gratuitous
assumption that it is so. There is not a word in Scripture to authorize it.
Circumcision was a national, a theocratic and not a personal, religious
rite. If circumcision is a type, why did Paul circumcise Timothy? Why did
he not explain, on an occasion so naturally calling for it, that circumcision
was replaced by baptism?”
On the theory that baptism takes the place of circumcision, see Pepper,
Baptist Quarterly, April, 1857; Palmer, in Baptist Quarterly, 1871:314.
The Christian Church is either a natural or hereditary body or it was
merely typified by the Jewish people. In the former case, baptism belongs.325
to all children of Christian parents and the church is indistinguishable
from the world. In the latter case, it belongs to spiritual descendants only
and therefore only to true believers. “That Jewish Christians, who of
course had been circumcised, were also baptized and that a large number
of them insisted that Gentiles who had been baptized should also be
circumcised, shows conclusively that baptism did not take the place of
circumcision. The notion that the family is the unit of society is a relic of
barbarism. This appears in the Roman law, which was good for property
but not for persons. It left none but a servile station to wife or son, thus
degrading society at the fountain of family life. To gain freedom, the
Roman wife had to accept a form of marriage which opened the way for
unlimited liberty of divorce.”
Hereditary church membership is of the same piece with hereditary
priesthood, and both are relics of Judaism. J. J. Murphy, Nat. Selection
and Spir. Freedom, 81 — “The institution of hereditary priesthood, which
was so deeply rooted in the religions of antiquity and was adopted into
Judaism, has found no place in Christianity. There is not, I believe, any
church whatever calling itself by the name of Christ, in which the ministry
is hereditary.” Yet there is a growing disposition to find in infant baptism
the guarantee of hereditary church membership. Washington Gladden,
What is Left? 252-254 — “Solidarity of the generations finds expression
in infant baptism. Families ought to be Christian and not individuals only.
In the Society of Friends every one born of parents belonging to the
Society is a birthright member. Children of Christian parents are heirs of
the kingdom. The State recognizes that our children are organically
connected with it. When parents are members of the State, children are
not aliens. They are not called to perform duties of citizenship until a
certain age but the rights and privileges of citizenship are theirs from the
moment of their birth. The State is the mother of her children. Shall the
church be less motherly than the State? Baptism does not make the child
God’s child; it simply recognizes and declares the fact.”
Another illustration of what we regard as a radically false view is found in
the sermon of Bishop Grafton of Fond du Lac, at the consecration of
Bishop Nicholson in Philadelphia. “Baptism is not like a function in the
natural order, like the coronation of a king. It is an acknowledgment of
what the child already is. The child, truly God’s loved offspring by way of
creation, is in baptism translated into the new creation and incorporated
into the Incarnate One and made his child.” Yet, as the great majority of
the inmates of our prisons and the denizens of the slums have received this
‘baptism,’ it appears that this ‘loved offspring’ very early lost its ‘new
creation’ and got ‘translated’ in the wrong direction. We regard infant.326
baptism as only an ancient example of the effort to bring in the kingdom
of God by externals, the protest against which brought Jesus to the cross.
Our modern methods of salvation by sociology and education and
legislation are under the same indictment, as crucifying the Son of God
afresh and putting him to open shame.
Prof. Moses Stuart urged that the form of baptism was immaterial but
that the temper of heart was the thing of moment. Francis Wayland, then a
student of his, asked: “If such is the case, with what propriety can
baptism be administered to those who cannot be supposed to exercise any
temper of heart at all and with whom the form must be everything?” —
Bushnell, in his Christian Nurture,-90-223, elaborates the third theory of
organic connection of the child with its parents. Per contra, see Bunsen,
Hippolytus and his Times, 179, 211; Curtis, Progress of Baptist
Principles, 262. Hezekiah’s son Manasseh was not godly and it would be
rash to say that all the drunkard’s children are presumptively drunkards.
(e) The lack of agreement among Pedobaptists as to the warrant for infant
baptism and as to the relation of baptized infants to the church, together
with the manifest decline of the practice itself, are arguments against it.
The propriety of infant baptism is variously argued, says Dr. Bushnell,
upon the ground of “natural innocence, inherited depravity and federal
holiness. Because of the infant’s own character, the parent’s piety and the
church’s faith, for the reason that the child is an heir of salvation already
and in order to make it such, no settled opinion on infant baptism and on
Christian nurture has ever been attained to.”
Quot homines, tot sententiæ. The belated traveler in a thunderstorm
prayed for a little more light and less noise. Bushnell, Christian Nurture,
9-89, denies original sin, denies that hereditary connection can make a
child guilty. But he seems to teach transmitted righteousness or that
hereditary connection can make a child holy. He disparages “sensible
experiences” and calls them “explosive conversions.” But, because we do
not know the time of conversion, shall we say that there never was a time
when the child experienced God’s grace? See Bibliotheca Sacra,
1872:665. Bushnell said: “I don’t know what right we have to say that a
child can’t be born again before he is born the first time.” Did not John
the Baptist preach Christ before he was born? (

Luke 1:15, 41, 44).
The answer to Bushnell is simply this: regeneration is through the truth
and an unborn child cannot know the truth. To disjoin regeneration from
the truth is to make it a matter of external manipulation in which the soul
is merely passive and the whole process irrational. There is a secret work.327
of God in the soul but it is always accompanied by an awakening of the
soul to perceive the truth and to accept Christ.
Are baptized infants members of the Presbyterian Church? We answer by
citing the following standards:
1. The Confession of Faith, 25:2 — “The visible church… consists of all
those throughout the world, that profess the true religion, together with
their children.”
2. The Larger Catechism, 62 — “The visible church is a society made up
of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true
religion, and of their children.” 166 — “Baptism is not to be administered
to any that are not of the visible church…till they profess their faith in
Christ and obedience to him but Infants descending from parents either
both or but one of them professing faith in Christ and obedience to him
are in that respect within the covenant and are to be baptized.”
3. The Shorter Catechism, 96 — “Baptism is not to be administered to
any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ
and obedience to him but the infants of such as are members of the visible
church are to be baptized.”
4. Form of Government, 3 — “A particular church consists of a number
of professing Christians, with their offspring.”
5. Directory for Worship, 1 — “Children born within the pale of the
visible church and dedicated to God in baptism are under the inspection
and government of the church. When they come to years of discretion, if
they be free from scandal, appear sober and steady, and to have sufficient
knowledge to discern the Lord’s body, they ought to be informed it is their
duty and their privilege to come to the Lord’s Supper.”
The Maplewood Congregational Church of Maiden, Mass., enrolls as
members as children baptized by the church. The relation continues until
they indicate a desire either to continue it or to dissolve it. The list of such
members is kept distinct from that of the adults but they are considered as
members under the care of the church.
Dr. W. G. 2 Shedd: “The infant of a believer is born into the church as the
infant of a citizen is born into the State. A baptized child in adult years
may renounce his baptism, become an infidel and join the synagogue of
Satan, but until he does this, he must be regarded as a member of the
church of Christ.”.328
On the Decline of Infant Baptism, see Vedder, in Baptist Review, April,
1882:173-189, who shows that in fifty years past the proportion of infant
baptisms to communicants in general, has decreased from one in seven to
one in eleven. Among the Reformed, the proportion has decreased from
one in twelve to one in twenty, among the Presbyterians it has gone from
one in fifteen to one in thirty-three. Among the Methodists it has dropped
from one in twenty-two to one in twenty-nine and among the
Congregationalists it is from one in fifty to one in seventy-seven.
(f) The evil effects of infant baptism are a strong argument against it:
First, in forestalling the voluntary act of the child baptized, and thus
practically preventing his personal obedience to Christ’s commands.
The person baptized in infancy has never performed any act with intent to
obey Christ’s command to be baptized, never has put forth a single volition
looking toward obedience to that command. See Wilkinson, The Baptist
Principle, 40-46. Every man has the right to choose his own wife. So every
man has the right to choose his own Savior.
Secondly, in inducing superstitious confidence in an outward rite as
possessed of regenerating efficacy.
French parents still regard infants before baptism as only animals
(Stanley). The haste with which the minister is summoned to baptize the
dying child shows that superstition still lingers in many an otherwise
evangelical family in our own country. The English Prayerbook declares
that in baptism the infant is “made a child of God and an inheritor of the
kingdom of heaven.” Even the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism, 28:6,
holds that grace is actually conferred in baptism, though the efficacy of it
is delayed till riper years. Mercersburg Review: “The objective medium or
instrumental cause of regeneration is baptism. Men are not regenerated
outside the church and then brought into it for preservation but they are
regenerated by being incorporated with or engrafted into the church
through the sacrament of baptism.” Catholic Review: “Without baptism,
these little ones go into darkness but baptized, they rejoice in the presence
of God forever.”
Dr. Beebe of Hamilton went after a minister to baptize his sick child but
before he returned the child died. Reflection made him a Baptist and the
Editor of The Examiner. Baptists unhesitatingly permit converts to die
without baptism, showing plainly that they do not regard baptism as
essential to salvation. Baptism no more makes one a Christian than.329
putting a crown on one’s head makes him a king. Zwingle held to a
symbolic interpretation of the Lord’s Supper but he clung to the
sacramental conception of Baptism. E. H. Johnson, Uses and Abuses of
Ordinances, 33, claims that, while baptism is not a justifying or
regenerating ordinance, it is a sanctifying ordinance, sanctifying, in the
sense of setting apart. Yes, we reply, but only as church going and prayer
are sanctifying; the efficacy is not in the outward act but in the spirit
which accompanies it. To make it signify more is to admit the sacramental
In the Roman Catholic Church the baptism of bells and of rosaries shows
how infant baptism has induced the belief that grace can be communicated
to irrational and even material things. In Mexico people bring caged birds,
cats, rabbits, donkeys and pigs for baptism. The priest kneels before the
altar in prayer, reads a few words in Latin then sprinkles the creature with
holy water. The sprinkling is supposed to drive out any evil spirit that
may have vexed the bird or beast. In Key West, Florida, a town of 22,000
inhabitants, infant baptism has a stronger hold than anywhere else does at
the South. Baptist parents had sometimes gone to the Methodist preachers
to have their children baptized. To prevent this, the Baptist pastors
established the custom of laying their hands upon the heads of infants in
the congregation, and ‘blessing’ them, i.e., asking God’s blessing to rest
upon them. But this custom came to be confounded with christening and
was called such. Now the Baptist pastors are having a hard struggle to
explain and limit the custom, which they themselves have introduced.
Perverse human nature will take advantage of even the slightest additions
to N. T. prescriptions and will bring out of the germs of false doctrine a
fearful harvest of evil. Obsta principiis — “Resist beginnings.”
Thirdly, in obscuring and corrupting Christian truth with regard to the
sufficiency of Scripture, the connection of the ordinances and the
inconsistency of an impenitent life with church membership.
Infant baptism in England is followed by confirmation, as a matter of
course whether there has been any conscious abandonment of sin or not.
In Germany, a man is always understood to be a Christian unless he
expressly states to the contrary. In fact, he feels insulted if his Christianity
is questioned. At the funerals even of infidels and debauchees the pall
used may be inscribed with the words: “Blessed are the dead that die in
the Lord.” Confidence in one’s Christianity and hopes of heaven based
only on the fact of baptism in infancy are a great obstacle to evangelical
preaching and to the progress of true religion..330
Wordsworth, The Excursion, 596, 602 (book 5) — “At the baptismal
font. And when the pure And consecrating element hath cleansed The
original stain, the child is thus received Into the second ark, Christ’s
church, with trust That he, from wrath redeemed therein shall float Over
the billows of this troublesome world To the fair land of everlasting
life…The holy rite That lovingly consigns the babe to the arms Of Jesus
and his everlasting care.” Infant baptism arose in the superstitious belief
that there lay in the water itself a magical efficacy for the washing away
of sin and that apart from baptism there could be no salvation. This was
and still remains the Roman Catholic position. Father Doyle, in Anno
Domini, 2:182 — “Baptism regenerates. By means of it the child is born
again into the newness of the supernatural life.” Theodore Parker was
baptized, but not till he was four years old, when his “Oh, don’t!” — In
which his biographers have found prophetic intimation of his mature
dislike for all conventional forms — was clearly the small boy’s dislike of
water on his face. See Chadwick, Theodore Parker, 6, 7. “How do you
know, my dear, that you have been christened?” “Please, mum, ‘cos I’ve
got the marks on my arm now, mum!”
Fourthly, in destroying the church as a spiritual body, by merging it in the
nation and the world.
Ladd, Principles of Church Polity: “Unitarianism entered the
Congregational churches of New England through the breach in one of
their own avowed and most important tenets, namely that of a regenerate
church membership. Formalism, indifferentism, neglect of moral reforms
and, as both cause and results of these, an abundance of unrenewed men
and women were the causes of their seeming disasters in that sad epoch.”
But we would add that the serious and alarming decline of religion, which
culminated in the Unitarian movement in New England, had its origin in
infant baptism. This introduced into the church a multitude of
unregenerate persons and permitted them to determine its doctrinal
W. B. Matteson: “No one practice of the church has done so much to
lower the tone of its life and to debase its standards. Godly and
regenerated men established the first New England Churches. They
received into their churches, through infant baptism, children
presumptively but alas not actually, regenerated. The result is well known
swift, startling, seemingly irresistible decline. ‘The body of the rising
generation,’ writes Increase Mother, ‘is a poor perishing, inconverted,
and, except the Lord pour out his Spirit, an undone generation.’ The
‘Halfway Covenant’ was at once a token of preceding, and a cause of.331
further decline. If God had not indeed poured out his Spirit in the great
awakening under Edwards, New England might well, as some feared, ‘be
lost even to New England and buried in its own ruins.’ It was the new
emphasis on personal religion, an emphasis, which the Baptists of that
day largely contributed, that gave to the New England churches a larger
life and a larger usefulness. Infant baptism has never since held quite the
same place in the polity of those churches. It has very generally declined.
But it is still far from extinct, even among evangelical Protestants. The
work of Baptists is not yet done. Baptists have always stood, but they
need still to stand, for a believing and regenerated church membership.”
Fifthly, in putting into the place of Christ’s command a commandment of
men, and so admitting the essential principle of all heresy, schism, and false
There is therefore no logical halting place between the Baptist and the
Romanist positions. The Roman Catholic Archbishop Hughes of New
York, said well to a Presbyterian minister: “We have no controversy with
you. Our controversy is with the Baptists.” Lange of Jena: “Would the
Protestant church fulfill and attain to its final destiny, the baptism of
infants must of necessity be abolished.” The English Judge asked the
witness what his religious belief was. Reply: “I haven’t any.” “Where do
you attend church?” “Nowhere.” “Put him down as belonging to the
Church of England.” The small child was asked where her mother was.
Reply:” She has gone to a Christian and devil meeting.” The child meant a
Christian Endeavor meeting. Some systems of doctrine and ritual
however, answer her description, for they are a mixture of paganism and
Christianity. The greatest work favoring the doctrine, which we here
condemn is Wall’s History of Infant Baptism. For the Baptist side of the
controversy see Arnold, in Madison Avenue Lectures, 160-182; Curtis,
Progress of Baptist Principles, 274, 275; Dagg, Church Order, 144-202.
The Lord’s Supper is that outward rite in which the assembled church eats
bread broken and drinks wine poured forth by its appointed representative,
in token of its constant dependence on the once crucified, now risen
Savior, as source of its spiritual life. In other words, in token of that
abiding communion of Christ’s death and resurrection through which the
life begun in regeneration is sustained and perfected.
Norman Fox, Christ in the Daily Meal, 31, 33, says that the Scripture
nowhere speaks of the wine as “poured forth”; and in

1 Corinthians.332
11:14 — “my body which is broken for you,” the Revised Version omits
the word “broken” while, on the other hand, the Gospel according to John
(19:36) calls special attention to the fact that Christ’s body was not
broken. We reply that Jesus, in giving his disciples the cup did speak of
his blood as “poured out” (

Mark 14:24); and it was not the body, but
“a bone of him,” which was not to be broken. Many ancient manuscripts
add the word “broken” in

1 Corinthians 11:24. in the Lord’s Supper in
general, see Weston, in Madison Avenue Lectures, 183-195; Dagg,
Church Order, 203-214.
1. The Lord’s Supper an ordinance instituted by Christ.
(a) Christ appointed an outward rite to be observed by his disciples in
remembrance of his death. It was to be observed after his death; only after
his death could it completely fulfill its purpose as a feast of

Luke 22:19 — “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he
brake it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for
you: this do in remembrance of me. And the cup in like manner after
supper, saying “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that
which is poured out for you”;

1 Corinthians 11:23-25 — “For I
received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord
Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had
given Thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you.
This do in remembrance of me. In like manner also the cup, after supper,
saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. This do as often as ye
drink it, in remembrance of me.” Observe that this communion was
Christian communion before Christ’s death, just as John’s baptism was
Christian baptism before Christ’s death.
(b) From the apostolic injunction with regard to its celebration in the
church until Christ’s Second Coming, we infer that it was the original
intention of our Lord to institute a rite of perpetual and universal

1 Corinthians 11:26 — “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink
the cup ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come”; cf.

Matthew 26:29
— “But I say unto you, I shall not drink henceforth of the fruit of the
vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s
kingdom”; Mark l4:25 — “Verily I say unto you, I will no more drink of
the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of
God.” As the paschal supper continued until Christ came the first time in.333
the flesh, so the Lord’s Supper is to continue until he comes the second
time with all the power and glory of God.
(c) The uniform practice of the N.T. churches and the celebration of such a
rite in subsequent ages by almost all churches professing to be Christian, is
best explained upon the supposition that the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance
established by Christ.

Acts 2:42 — “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching
and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers”; 46 — “And day
by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking
bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart”
— on the words here translated “at home” kat oi=kon` but meaning, as
Jacob maintains, “from one worship room to another,” see page 961.

Acts 20:7 — “And upon the first day of the week, when we were
gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them”;

Corinthians 10:16 — “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a
communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a
communion of the body of Christ? Seeing that we, who are many, are one
bread, one body for we all partake of the one bread.”
2. The Mode of administering the Lord’s Supper.
(a) The elements are bread and wine.
Although the bread, which Jesus broke at the institution of the ordinance,
was doubtless the unleavened bread of the Passover, there is nothing in
the symbolism of the Lord’s Supper, which necessitates the Romanist use
of the wafer. Although the wine, which Jesus poured out, was doubtless
the ordinary fermented juice of the grape, there is nothing in the
symbolism of the ordinance, which forbids the use of unfermented juice of
the grape. Obedience to the command “This do in remembrance of me”

Luke 22:19) requires only that we should use the “fruit of the vine”

Matthew 26:29).
Huguenots and Roman Catholics, among Parkman’s Pioneers of Prance in
the New World, disputed whether the sacramental bread could be made of
the meal of Indian corn. But it is only as food that the bread is symbolic.
Dried fish is used in Greenland. The bread only symbolizes Christ’s life
and the wine only symbolizes his death. Any food or drink may do the
same. It therefore seems a very conscientious but unnecessary literalism,
when Adoniram Judson (Life by his Son, 352) writes from Burma: “No
wine to be procured in this place, on which account we are unable to meet
with the other churches this day in partaking of the Lord’s Supper.” For.334
proof that Bible wines, like all other wines, are fermented, see Presb.
Rev., 1881:80-114; 1882:78-108, 394-399, 586; Hovey, in Bap. Quar.
Rev., April, 1887:152-180. Per contra, see Samson, Bible Wines. On the
Scripture Law of Temperance, see Presb. Rev., 1882:287-324.
(b) The communion is of both kinds; that is, communicants are to partake
both of the bread and of the wine.
The Roman Catholic Church withholds the wine from the laity although it
considers the whole Christ to be present under each of the forms. Christ
however, says: “Drink ye all of it” (

Matthew 26:27). To withhold the
wine from any believer is disobedience to Christ, and is too easily
understood as teaching that the laity have only a portion of the benefits of
Christ’s death. Calvin: “As to the bread, he simply said ‘Take, eat’ Why
does he expressly bid them all drink? And why does Mark explicitly say
that ‘they all drank of it’ (

Mark 14:23)?” Bengel: Does not this
suggest that, if communion in “one kind alone were sufficient at is the cup
which should be used? The Scripture thus speaks, foreseeing what Rome
would do.” See Expositor’s Greek Testament on

1 Corinthians 11:27.
In the Greek Church the bread and wine are mingled and are administered
to communicants, not to infants only but also to adults, with a spoon.
(c) The partaking of these elements is of a festal nature.
The Passover was festal in its nature. Gloom and sadness are foreign to
the spirit of the Lord’s Supper. The wine is the symbol of the death of
Christ but of that death by which we live. It reminds us that he drank the
cup of suffering in order that we might drink the wine of joy. As the bread
is broken to sustain our physical life, so thorns and nails and spear to
nourish our spiritual life broke Christ’s body.

1 Corinthians 11:29 — “For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and
drinketh judgment unto himself; if he discern not the body.” Here the
Authorized Version wrongly had “damnation” instead of “judgment.” Not
eternal condemnation, but penal judgment in general, is meant. He who
partakes “in an unworthy manner” (verse 27), i. e., in hypocrisy, or
merely to satisfy bodily appetites, and not discerning the body of Christ of
which the bread is the symbol (verse 29), draws down upon him God’s
Judicial sentence. Of this judgment, the frequent sickness and death in the
church at Corinth was a token. See versa 30-34 and Meyer’s Com.; also
Gould, in Am. Com. on

1 Corinthians 11:27 — “unworthily” — “This
is not to be understood as referring to the unworthiness of the person
himself to partake, but to the unworthy manner of partaking. The failure
to recognize practically the symbolism of the elements, and hence the.335
treatment of the Supper as a common meal, is just what the apostle has
pointed out as the fault of the Corinthians and it is what he characterizes
as an unworthy eating and drinking.” The Christian therefore should not
be deterred from participation in the Lord’s Supper by any feeling of his
personal unworthiness, so long as he trusts Christ and aims to obey him,
for “All the fitness he requireth is to feel our need of him.”
(d) The communion is a festival of commemoration, not simply bringing
Christ to our remembrance, but making proclamation of his death to the

1 Corinthians 11:24, 26 — “this do in remembrance of me…For as
often as ye eat this bread and drink this clip, ye proclaim the Lord’s death
till he come.” As the Passover commemorated the deliverance of Israel
from Egypt and as the Fourth of July commemorates our birth as a nation,
so the Lord’s Supper commemorates the birth of the church in Christ’s
death and resurrection. As a mother might bid her children meet over her
grave and commemorate her; so Christ bids his people meet and
remember him. But subjective remembrance is not its only aim. It is
public proclamation also. Whether it brings perceptible blessing to us or
not, it is to be observed as a means of confessing Christ, testifying our
faith and publishing the fact of his death to others.
(e) It is to be celebrated by the assembled church. It is not a solitary
observance on the part of individuals. No “showing forth” is possible
except in company.

Acts 20:7 — “gathered together to break bread”;

1 Corinthians
11:18, 20, 22, 32, 34 — “when ye come together in the church…assemble
yourselves together…have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise
ye the church of God, and put them to shame that have not?…when ye
come together to eat…If any man is hungry, let him eat at home; that your
coming together be not unto judgment”
Jacob, Ecclesiastical Polity of N. T., 191-194, claims that in

2:40 — “breaking bread at home” — where we have oi=kov, not oijiki>a,
oi=kov is not a private house, but a ‘worship room,’ and that the phrase
should be translated “breaking bread from one worship room to another,”
or “in various worship-rooms.” This meaning seems very apt in

5:42 — “And every day, in the temple and at home [rather, ‘in various
worship rooms’], they ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus as the
Christ”; 8:3 — “But Saul laid waste the church, entering into every house
[rather, ‘every worship room’] and dragging men and women committed.336
them to prison”;

Romans 16:5 — “salute the church that is in their
house [rather, ‘in their worship room’]”;

Titus 1:11 — “men who
overthrow whole houses (rather, ‘whole worship rooms’] teaching things
which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.” Per contra, however, see

1 Corinthians 11:34 — “let him eat at home,” where oi=kov is
contrasted with the place of meeting; so also

1 Corinthians 14:35 and

Acts 20:20, where oi=kov; seems to mean a private house.
The celebration of the Lord’s Supper in each family by itself is not
recognized in the New Testament. Stanley, In Nineteenth Century, May
1878, tells us that as infant communion is forbidden in the Western
Church, evening communion is forbidden by the Roman Church, solitary
communion is forbidden by the English Church and deathbed communion
by the Scottish Church. E. G. Robinson: “No single individual in the New
Testament ever celebrates the Lord’s Supper by himself.” Mrs. Browning
recognized the essentially social nature of the ordinance when she said
that truth was like the bread at the Sacrament — to be passed on. In this
the Supper gives us a type of the proper treatment of all the goods of life,
both temporal and spiritual.
Dr. Norman Fox, Christ in the Daily Meal, claims that the Lord’s Supper
is no more an exclusively church ordinance than is singing or prayer and
that the command to observe it was addressed, not to an organized,
church, but only to individuals. Every meal in the home was to be a
Lord’s Supper, because Christ was remembered in it. But we reply that
Paul’s letter with regard to the abuses of the Lord’s Supper was
addressed, not to individuals, but to “the church of God, which is at
Corinth.” (

1 Corinthians 1:2). Paul reproves the Corinthians because
in the Lord’s Supper each ate without thought of others: “What, have ye
not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and put
them to shame that have not?” (11:22). Each member having appeased his
hunger at home, the members of the church “come together to eat”
(11:30), as the spiritual body of Christ. All this shows that the celebration
of the Lord’s Supper was not an appendage to every ordinary meal.

Acts 20:7 — “upon the first day of the week, when we were
gathered together to break bread, Paid discoursed with them” — the
natural inference is that the Lord’s Supper was a sacred rite, observed
apart from any ordinary meal and accompanied by religious instruction.
Dr. Fox would go back of these later observances to the original
command of our Lord. He would eliminate all that we do not find in
Mark, the earliest gospel. But this would deprive us of the Sermon on the
Mount, the parable of the Prodigal Son and the discourses of the fourth.337
gospel. McGiffert gives A. D. 52, as the date of Paul’s first letter to the
Corinthians, and this antedates Mark’s gospel by at least thirteen years.
Paul’s account of the Lord’s Supper at Corinth is therefore an earlier
authority than Mark.
(f) The responsibility of seeing that the ordinance is properly administered
rests with the church as a body and the pastor is, in this matter, the proper
representative and organ of the church. In cases of extreme exigency,
however, as where the church has no pastor and no ordained minister can
be secured, it is competent for the church to appoint one from its own
number to administer the ordinance.

1 Corinthians 11:2, 23 — “Now I praise you that ye remember me in
all things, and hold fast the tradition even as I delivered them to you…For
I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord
Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread.” Here the
responsibility of administering the Lord’s Supper is laid upon the body of
(g) The frequency with which the Lord’s Supper is to be administered is
not indicated either by the N. T. precept or by uniform N. T. example. We
have instances both of its daily and of its weekly observance. With respect
to this, as well as with respect to the accessories of the ordinance, the
church is to exercise a sound discretion.

Acts 2:46 — “And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord
in the temple, and breaking bread at home [or perhaps, ‘in various
worship rooms’]”; 20:7 — “And upon the first day of the week, when we
were gathered together to break bread.” In 1878, thirty-nine churches of
the Establishment in London held daily communion; in two churches it
was held twice each day. A few churches of the Baptist faith in England
and America celebrate the Lord’s Supper on each Lord’s day. Carlstadt
would celebrate the Lord’s Supper only in companies of twelve and held
also that every bishop must marry. Reclining on couches and meeting in
the evening are not commanded and both, by their inconvenience, might in
modern times counteract the design of the ordinance.
3. The Symbolism of the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper sets forth, in general, the death of Christ as the
sustaining power of the believer’s life.
A. Expansion of this statement..338
(a) It symbolizes the death of Christ for our sins.

1 Corinthians 11:26 — “For as often as ye eat this bread and drink the
cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come”; cf.

Mark 14:24 —
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” The
blood upon which the covenant between God and Christ, and so between
God and us who are one with Christ, from eternity past was based. The
Lord’s Supper reminds us of the covenant, which ensures our salvation
and of the atonement upon which the covenant was based. Cf.

Hebrews 13:20 — “blood of an eternal covenant”
Alex. McLaren: “The suggestion of a violent death, implied in the
doubling of the symbols, by which the body is separated from that of the
blood, and still further implied in the breaking of the bread, is made
prominent in the words in reference to the cup. It symbolizes the blood of
Jesus which is ‘shed.’ That shed blood is covenant blood. By it the New
Covenant, of which Jeremiah had prophesied, one article of which was,
“Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more,” is sealed and ratified,
not for Israel only but for an indefinite ‘many,’ which is really equivalent
to all. Could words more plainly declare that Christ’s death was a
sacrifice? Can we understand it, according to his own interpretation of it,
unless we see in his words here a reference to his previous words

Matthew 20:23) and recognize that in shedding his blood ‘for many,’
he ‘gave his life a ransom for many’? The Lord’s Supper is the standing
witness, voiced by Jesus himself, that he regarded his death as the very
center of his work and that he regarded it not merely as a martyrdom, but
as a sacrifice by which he put away sins forever. Those who reject that
view of that death are sorely puzzled what to make of the Lord’s Supper.”
(b) It symbolizes our personal appropriation of the benefits of that death.

1 Cor 11:24 — “This is my body, which is for you”; cf.

Corinthians 5:7 — “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us”; or R. V. —
“our Passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ.” Here it is evident
not only that the showing forth of the Lord’s death is the primary meaning
of the ordinance, but that showing our partaking of the benefits of that
death is as dearly taught as the Israelites’ deliverance was symbolized in
the paschal supper.
(c) It symbolizes the method of this appropriation, through union with
Christ himself.

1 Corinthians 10:16 — “The cup of blessing which we bless is it not a
communion of [margin: ‘participation in’] the blood of Christ? The bread.339
which we break, is it not a communion of [margin: ‘participation in’] the
body of Christ?” Here “is it not a participation” = ‘does it not symbolize
the participation?’ So

Matthew 25:26 — “this is my body” = ‘this
symbolizes my body.’
(d) It symbolizes the continuous dependence of the believer for all spiritual
life upon the once crucified, now living Savior, to whom he is thus united.

John 6:53 — “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the
flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in
yourselves.” Here is a statement, not with regard to the Lord’s Supper,
but with regard to spiritual union with Christ, which the Lord’s Supper
only symbolizes. See page 965, (a). Like Baptism, the Lord’s Supper
presupposes and implies evangelical faith, especially faith in the Deity of
Christ. Not all that partake of it realize its full meaning but that this
participation logically implies the five great truths of Christ’s
preexistence, his supernatural birth, his vicarious atonement, his literal
resurrection and his living presence with his followers. Because Ralph
Waldo Emerson perceived that the Lord’s Supper implied Christ’s
omnipresence and deity, he would no longer celebrate it and so broke with
his church and with the ministry.
(e) It symbolizes the sanctification of the Christian through a spiritual
reproduction in him of the death and resurrection of the Lord.

Romans 8:10 — “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of
sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness”;

Philippians 3:10 —
“that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the
fellowship of his sufferings becoming conformed unto his death; if by any
means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead.” The bread of life
nourishes; it transforms me, not I it.
(f) It symbolizes the consequent union of Christians in Christ their head.

1 Corinthians 10:17 — “seeing that we, who are many, are one bread,
one body for we all partake of the one bread.” The Roman Catholic says
that bread is the unity of many kernels, the wine the unity of many berries
and all are changed into the body of Christ. We can adopt the former part
of the statement without taking the latter. By being united to Christ, we
become united to one another and the Lord’s Supper, as it symbolizes our
common partaking of Christ, symbolizes also the consequent oneness of
all in whom Christ dwells. Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, ix — “As
this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains and being gathered.340
together became one, so may thy church be gathered together from the
ends of the earth into thy kingdom.”
(g) It symbolizes the coming joy and perfection of the kingdom of God.

Luke 22:18 — “for I say unto you, I shall not drink from henceforth
of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come”;

14:25 — “Verily I say unto you, I will no more drink of the fruit of the
vine, until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God”.

Matthew 26:29 — “But I say unto you, I shall not drink henceforth of
this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my
lather’s kingdom.”
Like Baptism, which points forward to the resurrection, the Lord’s
Supper is anticipatory also.
It brings before us, not simply death but life, not simply past sacrifice but
future glory. It points forward to the great festival, “the marriage supper
of the Lamb” (Revelations 19:9). Dorner: “Then Christ will keep the
Supper anew with us and the hours of highest solemnity in this life are but
a weak foretaste of the powers of the world to come.” See Madison
Avenue Lectures, 178-216; The Lord’s Supper, a Clerical Symposium, by
Pressense, Luthardt and English Divines.
B. Inferences from this statement
(a) The connection between the Lord’s Supper and Baptism consists in
this, that they both and equally are symbols of the death of Christ. In
Baptism, we show forth the death of Christ as the procuring cause of our
new birth into the kingdom of God. In the Lord’s Supper, we show forth
the death of Christ as the sustaining power of our spiritual life after it has
once begun. In the one, we honor the sanctifying power of the death of
Christ, as in the other we honor its regenerating power. Thus both are
parts of one whole, setting before us Christ’s death for men in its two great
purposes and results.
If baptism symbolized purification only, there would be no point of
connection between the two ordinances. Their common reference to the
death of Christ binds the two together.
(b) The Lord’s Supper is to be often repeated, as symbolizing Christ’s
constant nourishment of the soul whose new birth was signified in Baptism..341
Yet too frequent repetition may induce superstitious confidence in the
value of communion as a mere outward form.
(c) The Lord’s Supper, like Baptism, is the symbol of a previous state of
grace. It has in itself no regenerating and no sanctifying power but is the
symbol by which the relation of the believer to Christ, his sanctifier, is
vividly expressed and strongly confirmed.
We derive more help from the Lord’s Supper than from private prayer.
Simply because it is an external rite, impressing the sense as well as the
intellect, celebrated in company with other believers whose faith and
devotion help our own and bringing before us the profoundest truths of
Christianity — the death of Christ and our union with Christ in that death.
(d) The blessing received from participation is therefore dependent upon,
and proportioned to, the faith of the communicant,
In observing the Lord’s Supper, we need to discern the body of the Lord,

1 Corinthians 11:29). To recognize the spiritual meaning of the
ordinance and the presence of Christ, who through his deputed
representatives gives to us the emblems and who nourishes and quickens
our souls as these material things nourish and quicken the body. The faith,
which thus discerns Christ, is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(e) The Lord’s Supper expresses primarily the fellowship of the believer,
not with his brethren, but with Christ, his Lord.
The Lord’s Supper, like Baptism, symbolizes fellowship with the brethren
only as consequent upon, and incidental to, fellowship with Christ. Just as
we are all baptized ‘into one body” (

1 Corinthians 12:13) only by
being “baptized into Christ” (

Romans 6:3), so we commune with other
believers in the Lord’s Supper, only as we commune with Christ. Christ’s
words: “this do in remembrance of me” (

1 Corinthians 11:24), bid us
think, not of our brethren, but of the Lord. Baptism is not a test of
personal worthiness. Nor is the Lord’s Supper a test of personal
worthiness, either our own or that of others. It is not primarily an
expression of Christian fellowship. Nowhere in the New Testament is it
called a communion of Christians with one another. But it is called a
communion of the body and blood of Christ (

1 Corinthians 10:16) or
in other words, a participation in him. Hence there is not a single cup, but
many: “divide it among yourselves” (

Luke 22:17). Here is warrant for
the individual communion cup. Most churches use more than one cup. If
more than one, why not many?.342

1 Corinthians 11:26 — “as often as ye eat…ye proclaim the Lord’s
death” — the Lord’s Supper is a teaching ordinance and is to be observed,
not simply for the good that comes to the communicant and to his
brethren, but for the sake of the witness which it gives to the world that
the Christ who died for its sins now lives for its salvation. A. H. Ballard,
on The Standard, Aug. 18, 1900, on

1 Corinthians 11:29 — “eateth
and drinketh judgment unto himself if he discern not the body” — “He
who eats and drinks and does not discern that he is redeemed by the
offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, eats and drinks a double
condemnation because he does not discern the redemption which is
symbolized by the things which he eats and drinks. To turn his thought
away from that sacrificial body to the company of disciples assembled is a
grievous error, the error of all those who exalt the idea of fellowship or
communion in the celebration of the ordinance.”
The offense of a Christian Brother therefore, even if committed against
myself, should not prevent me from remembering Christ and communing
with the Savior. I could not commune at all, if I had to vouch for the
Christian character of all who sat with me. This does not excuse the
church from effort to purge its membership from unworthy participants; it
simply declares that the church’s failure to do this does not absolve any
single member of it from his obligation to observe the Lord’s Supper. See
Jacob, Ecclesiastical Polity of N. T., 285.
4. Erroneous views of the Lord’s Supper.
A. The Romanist view that the bread and wine are changed by priestly
consecration into the very body and blood of Christ, that this consecration
is a new offering of Christ’s sacrifice and that, by a physical partaking of
the elements, the communicant receives saving grace from God. To this
doctrine of “transubstantiation” we reply:
(a) It rests upon a false interpretation of Scripture. In

Matthew 26:26,
“this is my body” means: “this is a symbol of my body.” Since Christ was
with the disciples in visible form at the institution of the Supper, he could
not have intended them to recognize the bread as being his literal body.
“The body of Christ is present in the bread, just as it had been in the
Passover lamb, of which the bread took the place” (

John 6:53 contains
no reference to the Lord’s Supper, although it describes that spiritual union
with Christ which the Supper symbolizes; cf. 63. In

1 Corinthians
10:16, 17, koinwi>an tou~ sw>matov tou~ Cristou~ is a figurative
expression for the spiritual partaking of Christ. In

Mark 8:33, we are.343
not to infer that Peter was actually “Satan,” nor does

1 Corinthians
12:12 prove that we are all Christs. (Cf. Gen. 41:26;

1 Corinthians

Matthew 26:28 — “This is my blood…which is poured out” cannot be
meant to be taken literally, since Christ’s blood was not yet shed. Hence
the Douay Version (Roman Catholic), without warrant, changes the tense
and reads, which shall be shed.” At the institution of the Supper, it is not
conceivable that Christ should hold his body in his own hands, and then
break it to the disciples. There were not two bodies there. Zwingle: “The
words of institution are not the mandatory ‘become’, they are only an
explanation of the sign.” When I point to a picture and say, “This is
George Washington,” I do not mean that the veritable body and blood of
George Washington are before me. So when a teacher points to a map and
says, “This is New York,” or when Jesus refers to John the Baptist, and
says: “this is Elijah, that is to come” (

Matthew 11:14). Jacob, The
Lord’s Supper, Historically Considered — “It originally marked, not a
real presence, but a real absence of Christ as the Son of God made man.”
That is, a real absence of his body. Therefore the Supper, reminding us of
his body, is to be observed in the church till he come (

1 Corinthians

John 6:53 — “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and
drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves” must interpreted by verse
63 — “It is the spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words
that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life.” 1 Corinthians 10:l6
— “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of
[margin: ‘participation in] the blood of Christ? The bread which we break,
is it not a communion of [margin participation in’] the body of Christ?”
See Expositor’s Greek Testament, in loco;

Mark 8:33 — “But be
turning about, and seeing his disciples rebuked Peter, and saith, Get thee
behind me, Satan”;

1 Corinthians 12:12 — “For as the body is one,
and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many,
are one body; so also is Christ.” cf.

Gen. 41:26 — “The seven good
kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream
is one;”

1 Corinthians 10:4 — “they drank of a spiritual rock that
followed them and the rock was Christ.”
Queen Elizabeth: “Christ was the Word that spake it: He took the bread
and brake it; And what that Word did make it, That I believe and take it.”
Yes, we say, but what does the Lord make it? Not his body, but only a
symbol of his body. Sir Thomas More went back to the doctrine of
transubstantiation, which the wisdom of his age was almost unanimous in
rejecting. In his Utopia, written in earlier years, he had made deism the.344
ideal religion. Extreme Romanism was his reaction from this former
extreme. Bread and wine are mere remembrancers, as were the lamb and
bitter herbs at the Passover. The partaker is spiritually affected by the
bread and wine, only as was the pious Israelite in receiving the paschal
symbols. See Norman Fox, Christ in the Daily Meal, 25, 42.
E. G. Robinson: “The greatest power in Romanism is its power of visible
representation. Ritualism is only elaborate symbolism. It is interesting to
remember that this prostration of the priest before the consecrated wafer
is no part of even original Roman Catholicism.” Stanley, Life and Letters,
2:213 — “The pope, when he celebrates the communion, always stands in
exactly the opposite direction [to that of modern ritualists], not with his
back but with his face to the people, no doubt following the primitive
usage.” So in Raphael’s picture of the Miracle of Bolsina, the priest is at
the north end of the table, in the very attitude of a Protestant clergyman.
Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion, 2:211 — “The unity of the bread, of which
each enjoys a part, represents the unity of the body of Christ, which
consists in the community of believers. If we are to speak of a presence of
the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper that can only be thought of in the
sense of Paul, as pertaining to the mystical body, i e., the Christian
Community. Augustine and Zwingle, who have expressed most clearly
this meaning of the Supper, have therefore caught quite correctly the sense
of the Apostle.”
Norman Fox, Christ in the Daily Meal, 40-53 — “The phrase
‘consecration of the elements’ is unwarranted. The leaven and the mustard
seed were in no way consecrated when Jesus pronounced them symbols of
divine things. The bread and wine are not arbitrarily appointed
remembrancers; they are remembrancers in their very nature. There is no
change in them. So every other loaf is a symbol, as well as that used in the
Supper. When St. Patrick held up the shamrock, as the symbol of the
Trinity, he meant that every such sprig was the same. Only the bread of
the daily meal is Christ’s body. Only the washing of dirty feet is the
fulfillment of Christ’s command. The loaf not eaten to satisfy hunger is
not Christ’s symbolic body at all.” Here we must part company with Dr.
Fox. We grant the natural fitness of the elements for which he contends.
But we hold also to a divine appointment of the bread and wine for a
special and sacred use, even as the “bow in the cloud” (

Gen. 9:13)
because it was a natural emblem, was consecrated to a special religious
(b) It contradicts the evidence of the senses, as well as of all scientific tests
that can be applied. If we cannot trust our senses as to the unchanged.345
material qualities of bread and wine, we cannot trust them when they
report to us the words of Christ.
Gibbon was rejoiced at the discovery that, while the real presence is
attested by only a single sense, our sight [as employed in reading the
words of Christ], the real presence is disproved by three of our senses,
sight, touch, and taste. It is not well to purchase faith in this dogma at the
price of absolute skepticism. Stanley, on Baptism, in his Christian
Institutions, tells us that in the third and fourth centuries the belief that the
water of baptism was changed into the blood of Christ. This was nearly as
firmly and widely fixed as the belief that the bread and wine of the
communion were changed into his flesh and blood. Dollinger: “When I am
told that I must swear to the truth of these doctrines [of papal infallibility
and apostolic succession] my feeling is just as if I were asked to swear
that two and two make five and not four.” Teacher: “Why did Henry VIII
quarrel with the pope?” Scholar: “Because the pope had commanded him
to put away his wife on pain of transubstantiation.” The
transubstantiation of Henry VIII is quite as rational as the
transubstantiation of the bread and wine in the Eucharist.
(c) It involves the denial of the completeness of Christ’s past sacrifice, and
the assumption that a human priest can repeat or add to the atonement
made by Christ once for all (

Hebrews 9:28 — ajpax prosenecqei>v).
The Lord’s Supper is never called a sacrifice nor are altars, priests or
consecrations ever spoken of in the New Testament. The priests of the old
dispensation are expressly contrasted with the ministers of the new. The
former “ministered about sacred things,” i.e., performed sacred rites and
waited at the altar but the latter “preach the gospel” (

1 Corinthians
9:13, 14).

Hebrews 9:28 — “so Christ also, having been once offered” — here
a[pax means ‘once for all,’ as in Jude 3 — “the faith which was once for
all delivered unto the saints”;

1 Corinthians 9:13, 14 — “Know ye not
that they that minister about sacred things eat of the things of the temple,
and they that wait upon the altar have their portion with the altar? Even so
did the Lord ordain that they that proclaim the gospel should live of the
gospel.” Romanism introduces a mediator between the soul and Christ,
namely, bread and wine, and the priest besides.
Dorner, Glaubenslehre, 2:680-687 (Syst. Doct. 4:146-163) — “Christ is
thought of as at a distance and as represented only by the priest who
offers anew his sacrifice. But Protestant doctrine holds to a perfect Christ,
applying the benefits of the work which he long ago and once for all.346
completed upon the cross.” Chillingworth: “Romanists hold that the
validity of every sacrament but baptism depends upon its administration
by a priest and without priestly absolution there is no assurance of
forgiveness. But the intention of the priest is essential in pronouncing
absolution, and the intention of the bishop is essential in consecrating the
priest. How can any human being know that these conditions are
fulfilled?” In the New Testament, on the other hand, Christ appears as the
only priest and each human soul has direct access to him.
Norman Fox, Christ in the Daily Meal, 22 — “The adherence of the first
Christians to the Mosaic law makes it plain that they did not hold the
doctrine of the modern Church of Rome that the bread of the Supper is a
sacrifice, the table an altar and the minister a priest. For the old altar, the
old sacrifice and the old priesthood still remained and were still in their
view appointed media of atonement with God. Of course they could not
have believed in two altars, two priesthoods and two contemporaneous
sets of sacrifices.” Christ is the only priest. A. A. Hodge, Popular
Lectures, 257 — “The three central dangerous errors of Romanism and
Ritualism are the perpetuity of the apostolate, the priestly character and
offices of Christian ministers and the sacramental principle, or the
depending upon sacraments, as the essential, initial, and ordinary channels
of grace.” “Hierarchy,” says another, “is an infraction of the divine order;
it imposes the weight of an outworn symbolism on the true vitality of the
gospel. It is a remnant rent from the shroud of the dead past to enwrap the
limbs of the living present.”
(d) It destroys Christianity by externalizing it. Romanists make all other
service a mere appendage to the communion. Physical and magical
salvation is not Christianity but is essential paganism.
Council of Trent, Session vii, On Sacraments in General, Canon iv: “Ft
any one saith that the sacraments of the New Testament are not necessary
to salvation, but are superfluous, and that without them and without the
desire thereof, men attain of through faith alone, the grace of justification.
Though all [the sacraments] are not indeed necessary for every individual,
let him be anathema.” On Baptism, Canon iv: “If any one saith that the
baptism which is even given by heretics in the name of the Father, Son
and Holy Ghost, with the intention of doing what the church doth, is not
true baptism, let him be anathema.” Baptism, in the Romanist system, is
necessary to salvation and baptism, even though administered by heretics,
is an admission to the church. All baptized persons who, through no fault
of their own, but from lack of knowledge or opportunity, are not
connected outwardly with the true church, though they are apparently.347
attached to some sect, yet in reality belong to the soul of the true church.
Many belong merely to the body of the Catholic Church, and are counted,
as its members, but do not belong to its soul. So says Archbishop Lynch,
of Toronto and Pius IX extended the doctrine of Invincible Ignorance so
as to cover the case of every dissentient from the church whose life shows
faith working by love.
Adoration of the Host (Latin hostia, victim) is a regular part of the
service of the Mass. If the Romanist view were correct that the bread and
wine were actually changed into the body and blood of Christ, we could
not call this worship idolatry. Christ’s body in the sepulchre could not
have been a proper object of worship, but it was so after his resurrection,
when it became animated with a new and divine life. The Romanist error
is that of holding that the priest has power to transform the elements; the
worship of them follows as a natural consequence, and is none the less
idolatrous for being based upon the false assumption that the bread and
wine are really Christ’s body and blood.
The Roman Catholic system involves many absurdities but the central
absurdity is that of making religion a matter of machinery and outward
manipulation. Dr. R. S. MacArthur calls sacramentalism “the pipe line
conception of grace.” There is no patent Romanist plumbing. Dean
Stanley said that John Henry Newman “made immortality the
consequence of frequent participation of the Holy Communion.” Even
Faber made game of the notion and declared that it “degraded celebrations
to be so many breadfruit trees.” It is this transformation of the Lord’s
Supper into the Mass that turns the church into “the Church of the
Intonement.” “Cardinal Gibbons,” it was once said, “makes his own God
— the wafer.” His error is at the root of the super-sanctity and celibacy of
the Romanist clergy and President Garrett forgot this when he made out
the pass on his railway for “Cardinal Gibbons and wife.” Dr. C. H.
Parkhurst: “There is no more place for an altar in a Christian church than
there is for a golden calf.” On the word “priest” in the N. T., see
Gardiner, in O. T. Student, Nov. 1889:285-291; also Bowen, in Theol.
Monthly, Nov. 1889:316-329. For the Romanist view, see Council of
Trent, session XIII. Canon III: per contra, see Calvin, Institutes, 2:585-
602; C. Hebert, The Lord’s Supper: History of Uninspired Teaching.
B. The Lutheran and High Church view, that the communicant, in
partaking of the consecrated elements, eats the veritable body and drinks
the veritable blood of Christ in and with the bread and wine, although the
elements themselves do not cease to be material. To this doctrine of “con-substantiation”
we object:.348
(a) Scripture does not require the view. All the passages cited in its
support may be better interpreted as referring to a partaking of the
elements as symbols. If Christ’s body be ubiquitous, as this theory holds,
we partake of it at every meal, as really as at the Lord’s Supper.
(b) That the view is inseparable from the general sacramental system of
which it forms a part. In imposing physical and material conditions of
receiving Christ, it contradicts the doctrine of justification only by faith and
changes the ordinance from a sign into a means of salvation. It involves the
necessity of a sacerdotal order for the sake of properly consecrating the
elements and logically tends to the Romanist conclusions of Ritualism and
(c) That it holds each communicant to be a partaker of Christ’s veritable
body and blood, whether he be a believer or not. The result, in the absence
of faith, is condemnation instead of salvation. Thus the whole character of
the ordinance is changed from a festival occasion to one of mystery and
fear and the whole gospel method of salvation is obscured.
Encyc. Britannica, art.: Luther, 15:81 — “Before the peasants’ war,
Luther regarded the sacrament as a secondary matter, compared with the
right view of faith. In alarm at this war and at Carlstadt’s mysticism, he
determined to abide by the tradition of the church and to alter as little as
possible. He could not accept transubstantiation and be sought a via
media. Occam gave it to him. According to Occam, matter can be present
first, when it occupies a distinct place by itself, excluding every other
body, as two stones mutually exclude each other and, secondly, when it
occupies the same space as another body at the same time. Everything,
which is omnipresent must occupy the same space as other things, else it
could not be ubiquitous. Hence con-substantiation involved no miracle.
Christ’s body was in the bread and wine naturally and was not brought
into the elements by the priest. It brought a blessing, not because of
Christ’s presence, but because of God’s promise that this particular
presence of the body of Christ should bring blessings to the faithful
partaker.” Broadus, Am. Com. on Matthew, 529 — “Luther does not say
how Christ is in the bread and wine but his followers have compared his
presence to that of heat or magnetism in iron. But how then could this
presence be in the bread and wine separately?”
For the view here combated, see Gerhard, x:352 — “The bread, apart
from the sacrament instituted by Christ, is not the body of Christ, and
therefore it is ajrtolatri>a (bread worship) to adore the bread in these.349
solemn processions” (of the Roman Catholic church). 897 — “Faith does
not belong to the substance of the Eucharist. Hence it is not the faith of
him who partakes that makes the bread a communication of the body of
Christ nor on account of unbelief in him who partakes does the bread
cease to be a communication of the body of Christ.” See also Sadler,
Church Doctrine, 124-199; Pusey. Tract No. 90, of the Tractarian Series;
Wilberforce, New Birth; Nevins, Mystical Presence.
Per contra, see Calvin, Institutes, 2:525-584; G. P. Fisher, in
Independent, May 1, 1884, Calvin differed from Luther in holding that
Christ is received only by the believer. He differed from Zwingle in
holding that Christ is truly, though spiritually, received.” See also E. G.
Robinson, in Baptist Quarterly, 1869:85-109; Rogers, Priests and
Sacraments. Con-substantiation accounts for the doctrine of apostolic
succession and for the universal Ritualism of the Lutheran Church.
Bowing at the name of Jesus however is not, as has been sometimes
maintained, a relic of the papal worship of the Real Presence but is rather
a reminiscence of the fourth century when controversies about the person
of Christ rendered orthodox Christians peculiarly anxious to recognize
Christ’s deity.
“There is no ‘corner’ in divine grace” (C. H. Parkhurst). “All notions of a
needed ‘priesthood,’ to bring us into connection with Christ, must yield to
the truth that Christ is ever with us” (E. G. Robinson). “The priest was
the conservative, the prophet the progressive. Hence, the conflict between
them. Episcopalians like the idea of a priesthood but do not know what to
do with that of prophet.” Dr. A. J. Gordon: “Ritualism, like eczema in the
human body, is generally a symptom of a low state of the blood. As a
rule, when the church becomes secularized, it becomes ritualized, while
great revivals, pouring through the church, have almost always burst the
liturgical bands and have restored it to the freedom of the Spirit.”
Puseyism, as defined by Pusey himself, means high thoughts of the two
sacraments, high estimate of Episcopacy as God’s ordinance, high
estimate of the visible church as the body wherein we are made and
continue to be members of Christ. Additionally, it means regard for
ordinances as directing our devotions and disciplining us, such as daily
public prayers, fasts and feasts, regard for the visible part of devotion,
such as the decoration of the house of God, which acts insensibly on the
mind. It also means reverence for and deference to the ancient church,
instead of the reformers, as the ultimate expounder of the meaning of our
church.” Pusey declared that he and Maurice worshiped different Gods..350
5. Prerequisites to Participation in the Lord’s Supper.
A. There are prerequisites. This we argue from the fact:
(a) Christ enjoined the celebration of the Supper, not upon the world at
large, but only upon his disciples.
(b) The apostolic injunctions to Christians, to separate themselves from
certain of their number imply a limitation of the Lord’s Supper to a
narrower body, even among professed believers.
(c) The analogy of Baptism, as belonging only to a specified class of
persons, leads us to believe that the same is true of the Lord’s Supper.
The analogy of Baptism to the Lord’s Supper suggests a general survey of
the connections between the two ordinances.
1. Both ordinances symbolize primarily the death of Christ. Secondarily,
our spiritual death to sin because we are one with him. It, being absurd,
where there is no such union, to make our Baptism the symbol of his
2. We are merged in Christ first in Baptism and then in the Supper Christ
is more and more taken into us. Baptism = we in Christ, the Supper =
Christ in us.
3. As regeneration is instantaneous and sanctification continues in time, so
Baptism should be for once, the Lord’s Supper often or, the first single,
the second frequent.
4. If one ordinance, the Supper, requires discernment of the Lord’s body,
so does the other, the ordinance of Baptism. The subject of Baptism
should know the meaning of his act.
5. The order of the ordinances teaches Christian doctrine, as the
ordinances do. To partake of the Lord’s Supper before being baptized is
to say in symbol that one can be sanctified without being regenerated.
6. Both ordinances should be public, as both “show forth” the Lord’s
death and are teaching ordinances. No celebration of either one is to be
permitted in private.
7. In both, the administrator does not act at his own option but is the
organ of the church. Philip acts as organ of the church at Jerusalem when
he baptizes the eunuch..351
8. The ordinances stand by themselves and are not to be made appendages
of other meetings or celebrations. They belong, not to associations or
conventions, but to the local church.
9. The Lord’s Supper needs scrutiny of the communicant’s qualifications
as much as Baptism and only the local church is the proper judge of these
10. We may deny the Lord’s Supper to one whom we know to be a
Christian, when he walks disorderly or disseminates false doctrine, just as
we may deny Baptism to such a person.
11. Fencing the tables, or warning the unqualified not to partake of the
Supper may, like instruction with regard to Baptism, best take place
before the actual administration of the ordinance. The pastor is not a
special policeman or detective to ferret out offenses. See Expositor’s
Greek Testament on

1 Corinthians 10:1-6.
B. The prerequisites are those only which are expressly or implicitly laid
down by Christ and his apostles.
(a) The church, as possessing executive but not legislative power, is
charged with the duty, not of framing rules for the administering and
guarding of the ordinance, but of discovering and applying the rules given
it in the New Testament. No church has a right to establish any terms of
communion; it is responsible only for making known the terms established
by Christ and his apostles.
(b) These terms, however, are to be ascertained not only from the
injunctions but also from the precedents of the New Testament. Since the
apostles were inspired, New Testament precedent is the “common law” of
the church.
English law consists mainly of precedent, that is, past decisions of the
courts. Immemorial customs may be as binding as are the formal
enactment of a legislature. It is New Testament precedent that makes
obligatory the observance of the first day, instead of the seventh day, of
the week. The common law of the church consists however, not of any
and all customs, but only of the customs of the apostolic church
interpreted in the light of its principles or the customs universally binding
because sanctioned by inspired apostles. Has New Testament precedent
the authority of a divine command? Only so far, we reply, as it is an
adequate, complete and final expression of the divine life in Christ. This.352
we claim for the ordinances of Baptism and of the Lord’s Supper and for
the order of these ordinances. See Proceedings of the Baptist Congress,
The Mennonites, thinking to reproduce even the incidental phases of N.T.
action, have adopted
1. washing of feet,
2. marriage only of members of the same faith,
3. non-resistance to violence,
4. use of the ban and the shunning of expelled persons,
5. refusal to take baths,
6. the kiss of peace,
7. formal examination of the spiritual condition of each communicant
before his participation in the Lord’s Supper,
8. the choice of officials by lot. They naturally break up into twelve sects.
Dividing upon such points as holding all things in common, i.e. plainness
of dress. One sect repudiating buttons and using only hooks upon their
clothing, whence their nickname of Hookers, the holding of services in
private houses only, the asserted possession of the gift of prophecy (A. S.
C. Upon examining the New Testament, we find that the prerequisites to
participation in the Lord’s Supper are four, namely:
First, Regeneration.
The Lord’s Supper is the outward expression of a life in the believer,
nourished and sustained by the life of Christ. It cannot therefore, be
partaken of by one who is “dead through trespasses and sins.” We give no
food to a corpse. The Lord’s Supper was never offered to unbelievers by
the apostles. On the contrary, the injunction that each communicant
“examine himself” implies that faith, which will enable the communicant to
“discern the Lord’s body,” is a prerequisite to participation.

1 Corinthians 11:27-29 — “Wherefore whosoever shall eat the bread
or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the
body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let
him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he that eateth and drinketh,
eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself if he discern not the Lord’s
body.” Schaff, in his Church History, 2:517, tells us that in the Greek
Church, in the seventh and eighth centuries, the bread was dipped in the.353
wine and both elements were delivered in a spoon. See Edwards, on
Qualifications for Full Communion, in Works, 1:81.
Secondly, Baptism.
In proof that baptism is a prerequisite to the Lord’s Supper, we urge the
following considerations:
(a) The ordinance of baptism was instituted and administered long before
the Supper.

Matthew 21:25 — “The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven
or from men?” Here Christ intimates that even before his own, God had
instituted John’s baptism.
(b) The apostles who first celebrated it had, in all probability, been

Acts 1:21, 22 — “Of the men therefore that have accompanied with us
all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning
from the baptism of John…of these must one become a witness with us of
his resurrection”:19:4 — “John baptized with the baptism of repentance,
saying unto the people that they should believe on him that should come
after him, that is, on Jesus.”
Several of the apostles were certainly disciples of John. If Christ was
baptized, much more his disciples were. Jesus recognized John’s baptism
as obligatory and it is not probable that he would take his apostles from
among those who had not submitted to it. John the Baptist himself, the
first administrator of baptism must have been himself not baptized. But
the twelve could fitly administer it, because they had themselves received
it at John’s hands. See Arnold, Terms of Communion, 17.
(c) The command of Christ fixes the place of baptism as first in order after

Matthew 28:19, 20 — “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
commanded you.” Here, the first duty is to make disciples, the second to
baptize, and the third to instruct in right Christian living. Is it said that
there is no formal command to admit only baptized persons to the Lord’s
Supper? We reply that there is no formal command to admit only
regenerate persons to baptism. In both cases, the practice of the apostles.354
and the general connections of Christian doctrine are sufficient to
determine our duty.
(d) All the recorded cases show this to have been the order observed by
the first Christians and sanctioned by the apostles.

Acts 2:41, 46 — “They then that received his word were
baptized….And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the
temple, and breaking bread at home [rather, ‘in various worship rooms’]
they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart”; 8:2 — “But
when they believed Philip…they were baptized”; 10:47, 48 — “Can any
man forbid the water, that these should not be baptized, who have
received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be
baptized in the name of Jesus Christ”; 23:16 — “And now why tarriest
thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his
(e) The symbolism of the ordinances requires that baptism should precede
the Lord’s Supper. The order of the facts signified must be expressed in the
order of the ordinances, which signify them, else the world, is taught that
sanctification may take place without regeneration. Birth must come before
sustenance — ‘nascimur, pascimur.’ To enjoy ceremonial privileges, there
must be ceremonial qualifications. As none but the circumcised could eat
the Passover, so before eating with the Christian family must come
adoption into the Christian family.
As one must be “born of the Spirit” before he can experience the
sustaining influence of Christ, so he must be “born of water” before he
can properly be nourished by the Lord’s Supper. Neither the unborn nor
the dead can eat bread or drink wine. Only when Christ had raised the
daughter of the Jewish ruler to life, did he say: “Give her to eat.” The
ordinance, which symbolizes regeneration, or the impartation of new life,
must precede the ordinance, which symbolizes the strengthening and
perfecting of the life already begun. The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,
dating back to the second half of the second century, distinctly declares
(9:5, 10) — “Let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist except those
baptized into the name of the Lord; for as regards this also the Lord has
said: ‘Give not that which is holy unto the dogs’…The Eucharist shall be
given only to the baptized.”
(f) The standards of all evangelical denominations, with unimportant
exceptions, confirm the view that this is the natural interpretation of the
Scripture requirements respecting the order of the ordinances..355
“The only protest of note has been made by a portion of the English
Baptists.” To these should be added the comparatively small body of the
Free Will Baptists in America. Pedobaptist churches in general refuse full
membership, holding of office and the ministry to persons not baptized.
The Presbyterian Church does not admit to the communion, members of
the Society of Friends. Not one of the great evangelical denominations
accepts Robert Hall’s maxim that the only terms of communion are terms
of salvation. If individual ministers announce and conform their practice
to this principle, it is only because they transgress the standards of the
churches to which they belong.
See Tyerman’s Oxford Methodists, preface, page vi — “Even in Georgia,
Wesley excluded dissenters from the Holy Communion, on the ground
that they had not been properly baptized and he would himself baptize
only by immersion, unless the child or person was in a weak state of
health.” Baptist Noel gave it as his reason for submitting to baptism, that
to approach the Lord’s Supper conscious of not being baptized would be
to act contrary to all the precedents of Scripture. See Curtis, Progress of
Baptist Principles, 304.
The dismissal of Jonathan Edwards from his church at Northampton was
due to his opposing the Halfway Covenant, which admitted unregenerate
persons to the Lord’s Supper as a step on the road to spiritual life. He
objected to the doctrine that the Lord’s Supper was “a converting
ordinance.” But these very unregenerated persons had been baptized; he
himself had baptized many of them. He should have objected to infant
baptism as well as to the Lord’s Supper, in the case of the unregenerate.
(g) The practical results of the opposite view are convincing proof that the
order here insisted on is the order of nature as well as of Scripture. The
admission of persons not baptized to the communion tends always to and
has frequently resulted in, the disuse of baptism itself. It also obscures the
truth, which it symbolizes, transforms scripturally constituted churches into
bodies organized after methods of human invention and promotes complete
destruction of both church and ordinances as Christ originally constituted
Arnold, Terms of Communion, 76 — The steps of departure from
Scriptural precedent have not infrequently been the following:
(1) Administration of baptism on a weekday evening, to avoid giving
(2) Reception without baptism of persons renouncing belief in the
baptism of their infancy.
(3) Giving up of the Lord’s Supper as non-essential, to be observed or not
observed by each individual, according as he finds it useful.
(4) Choice of a pastor who will not advocate Baptist views.
(5) Adoption of Congregational articles of faith.
(6) Discipline and exclusion of members for propagating Baptist doctrine.
John Bunyan’s church, once either an open communion church or a mixed
church both of baptized and not baptized believers is now a regular
Congregational body. Armitage, History of the Baptists, 482 sq., claims
that it was originally a Baptist church. Vedder, however, in Bap. Quar.
Rev., 1886:289, says that, “The church at Bedford is proved by
indisputable documentary evidence never to have been a Baptist church in
any strict sense.” The results of the principle of open communion are
certainly seen in the Regent’s Park church in London, where some of the
deacons have never been baptized. The doctrine that baptism is not
essential to church membership is simply the logical result of the previous
practice of admitting non-baptized persons to the communion table. If
they are admitted to the Lord’s Supper, then there is no bar to their
admission to the church. See Proceedings of the Baptist Congress, Boston,
November 1902; Curtis, Progress of Baptist Principles, 296-298.