Posts Tagged ‘Covenant’

The Solemn Covenant of the Church of Christ, meeting in White-street, at it’s Constitution; June, 5, 1696

The Solemn Covenant of the Church of Christ, meeting in White-street, at it’s Constitution; June, 5, 1696

We who desire to walk together in the Fear of the Lord, do, through the Assistance of his Holy Spirit, profess our deep and serious Humiliation for all our Transgressions. And we do also solemnly, in the Presence of God, of each other, in the Sense of our own Unworthiness, give up our selves to the Lord, in a Church state according to the Apostolical Constitution that he may be our God, and we may be his People, through the Everlasting Covenant of his Free grace, in which alone we hope to be accepted by him, through his blessed Son Jesus Christ, whom we take to be our High Priest, to justify and sanctify us, and our Prophet to teach us; and to subject to him as our Law-giver, and the King of Saints; and to conform to all his Holy Laws and Ordinances, for our growth, Establishment, and Consolation; that we may be as a Holy Spouse unto him, and serve him in our Generation, and wait for his second Appearance, as our glorious Bridegroom.159

Being fully satisfied in the way of Church-Communion, and the Truth of Grace in some good measure upon one anothers Spirits, we do solemnly join our selves together in a Holy Union and Fellowship, humbly submitting to the Discipline of the Gospel, and all Holy Duties required of a People in such a Spiritual Relation.160

1. We do promise and ingage to walk in all Holiness, Godliness, Humility, and Brotherly Love, as much as in us lieth to render our Communion delightful to God, comfortable to our selves, and lovely to the rest of the Lord’s People.161

2. We do promise to watch over each other’s Conversations, and not to suffer Sin upon one another, so far as God shall discover it to us, or any of us; and to stir up one another to Love and good Works; to warn, rebuke, and admonish one another with Meekness according to the Rules left to us of Christ in that Behalf.162

3. We do promise in an especial manner to pray for one another, and for the Glory and Increase of the Church, and for the Presence of God in it, and the pouring forth of his Spirit on it, and his Protection over it to his Glory.163

4. We do promise to bear one another’s Burdens, to cleave to one another, and to have a Fellow-feeling with one another, in all Conditions both outward and inward, as God in his Providence shall cast any of us into.164

5. We do promise to bear with one another’s Weakness, Failings, and Infirmities, with much Tenderness, not discovering to any without the Church, nor any within, unless according to Christ’s Rule, and the Order of the Gospel provided in that case.165

6. We do promise to strive together for the Truths of the Gospel, and Purity of God’s Ways and Ordinances, to avoid Causes, and Causers of Division, endeavouring to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace; Ephes. 4.3.166

7. We do promise to meet together on Lord’s Days, and at other times, as the Lord shall give us Opportunities, to serve and glorify God in the way of his Worship, to edify one another and to contrive the good of the Church.167

8. We do promise according to our Ability (or as God shall bless us with the good things of this World) to Communicate to our Pastor or Minister, God having ordained that they that Preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. (And now can any thing lay a greater obligation upon the Conscience, than this Covenant, what then is the Sin of such who violate it?)168

These and all other Gospel Duties we humbly submit unto, promising and purposing to perform, not in our own Strength, being conscious of our own Weakness, but in the Power, and Strength of the Blessed God, whose we are, and whom we desire to serve: To whom be Glory now and for evermore. Amen.

Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)

Avoid Legalism: Emphasize the Law

by Tom Hicks

Many of today’s young evangelicals have happily thrown off the legalistic fundamentalism of their childhood. They’ve come to a greater understanding of God’s abundant grace, and the gospel has liberated them from slavery to guilt and fear. That’s a very good thing. But I submit that recovering the gospel alone isn’t enough to keep legalism at bay. We need a renewed emphasis on the law of God or else legalism will inevitably reemerge. Specifically, we need a clear emphasis on (1) the law as a covenant, and (2) the law as a standard or rule.

The Law as a Covenant

The law as a covenant says, “Do this and live” (Lev 18:5; Ez 20:11; Lk 10:28; Rom 10:5; Gal 3:12). It demands perfect obedience for eternal life (Gal 3:12; 5:3). It makes no provision for forgiveness of sins (Gal 3:10). The law covenant is inflexible and absolute. Even one sin against the law covenant brings guilt and eternal condemnation…..




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1689 Conference REIGN of GRACE 2016

December 28, 2015 Leave a comment

1689 Conference REIGN of GRACE 2016 from on Vimeo.

MARCH 18,19 – 2016

covenant – cross -consummation

That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21 (KJV)

It seems as though in the year 2015 there has been many challenges facing us as Christians, both from outside our walls and from within.

The church needs to be encouraged with the reminder of the steadfastness and surety of God’s reign through grace,
which will not be thwarted by sin nor traitors in our ranks.

If it would please the Lord, we are hoping to achieve several things with this year’s theme: REIGN of GRACE.

Beginning on Friday we hope to provide an overview concerning a very important way in how to understand God’s redemptive plan which is interwoven all throughout the Scriptures – the Covenant of Grace. This Covenant is central to the 1689 Baptist Confession and is sure to provide God’s people with confidence and renewed hope that the Lord fulfills His promises!

Then on Saturday, following the reassurance and reminder of the promises and plans made to Christ’s people, we will offer teachings that have a more practical mood, in hopes they may exhort, encourage and equip those in attendance to continue to fight the good fight, and not to grow weary in well doing.

So then, please join us that we may continue steadfastly unto the end in the most holy faith which we confess.

Come, gather and meet new friends who share with you in precious like faith.



Source [1689Conference]

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith: 1997 National Conference

December 1, 2014 2 comments

Free Ebook-The Mercies of a Covenant God

September 11, 2014 Leave a comment

By John Warburton

Preface to Former Editions
by J. C. Philpot

I HAVE been asked to write a Preface to a new edition of the Mercies of a Covenant God. In complying with this request, it is not because I think either that the book itself requires a Preface, or that I am qualified to write one; but my respect and affection for the late Mr. Warburton, and my desire for the edification of the church of God, both combine to induce me to lend a helping hand, however feeble, to advance the spread of a book which will embalm his name and memory to future generations. The generation that heard the truth from his lips with that unction, sweetness and savour which so specially attended it will soon pass away. A few scattered sermons may remain, which were taken down as they fell from his lips, but these will indeed furnish a most inadequate idea of the peculiar power which attended their delivery.

Mr. Warburton’s minis-try was so peculiarly his own that the sermons reported in the Penny Pu1pit, etc., no more resemble his preach-ing than a dead corpse resembles a living man. The shorthand writer could take down the exact words, and the printer could stamp them in enduring characters, but they could not breathe into them the breath of life as the Lord did when He spake by and through him to the hearts of the people. Nor, indeed, can any written words portray his venerable appearance, in the latter years of his life, as he stood in the pulpit; his expressive countenance; his voice so full and clear, yet pos-sessing a peculiar pathos and feeling which went straight to the heart as I never heard any other; his simple, childlike prayers, so full of honest confessions, and yet breathing such a spirit of filial confidence; his solemnity of manner, and the command which almost every accent of his tongue exercised over the congregation, especi-ally when his own soul was under the sweet bedewings and melting influences of the Holy Ghost the Comforter. These are things never to be forgotten by those who saw and heard him, but of which the very remembrance will in time pass away.


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A King Like David

August 15, 2014 1 comment

Spurgeon 6“God promised to David that his seed should always sit upon his throne, but if Jesus dies, then is that Covenant broken? That Jesus’ reign may endure forever, He must live. Though He bows His head in death, yet must He live. He must rise again, otherwise the King is gone, the throne is vacant, the Covenant has failed. Jesus must rise from the dead, else how can He save His people? Can a dead Christ save us? The Church of Rome continually sets before us Christ either as a Baby in His mother’s arms, or else as a Man dead on the Cross. Neither of these is a true portrait of Christ! He is no more a Baby and He is no more dead! He sits on the Throne of God, reigning and ruling, and He will come, the second time, without sin, unto salvation! The living Christ is our hope! It is witnessed of Him that He lives at the right hand of God and, as I quoted to you just now, it is for this reason that ‘He is able, also, to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.’”—1894, Sermon #2366

Charles H. Spurgeon-The Sure Mercies of David-1894

Chapter 25-Christ in the Old Testament

Christ in the Old Testament

THE history of the Jewish nation is peculiarly marked by its expectation of a Messiah. Christians believe that this was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, the son of Mary. The object of this chapter is to show what testimony the Old Testament gave of the coming of such a personage, and what were its predictions about the nature of his person and work. This is preliminary to the more full information to be gathered from the Christian Scriptures. It is well to see that the true doctrine as to the Saviour of man is not that of the New Testament only, but of the whole Bible. The unity of divine revelation will thus appear. The testimony of prophecy will be added to that of the miracles which attended the life of Jesus and the ministry of his followers. The authority of the later revelation will be seen to rest, not upon these miracles alone but also upon the concurrence of its teachings with the inspired truth already accepted by the Jews. Our Lord himself and his apostles were constantly accustomed to appeal to these then existent Scriptures as testifying of him: Matt. 1:22, 23; 2:23; Mark 1:2; Luke 1:70; 4:21; 24:27, 44; John 1:45; 5:39, 46; Acts 2:25-31; 3:13, 22, 24; 7:52; 8:30-35; 10:43; 13:32-37, 47, 15:15-17; 24:14; 26:6, 22, 23; Rom. 1:2; 2 Tim. 3:15, 16, 2 Pet. 1:19-21. We may therefore profitably consider some of the more important predictions of the Messiah which appear in the Old Testament.



The human character of the Messiah was foretold in the prediction that he should be of human seed. This was presented in three special forms: first, in the seed of the woman; second, in that of the patriarchs; and third, in that of the family of David.


1. The Seed of the Woman.

The earliest prediction of the coming Messiah took place in Eden. It is sometimes called the prot-evangelium or first gospel. Yet it should not be forgotten that, whatever of glad tidings it conveyed to man, it was uttered in the form of a curse upon the serpent. “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Gen. 3:14, 15. The whole tenor of subsequent Scripture, especially that of the New Testament, shows that this is not to be regarded as merely declarative of hostility between mankind and the serpent tribe, but more particularly of the future strife between Christ and Satan, and of the final triumph of the former over the latter. See especially John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3; Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8; and Rev. 12:9. To what extent our first parents comprehended the full blessedness of this promise cannot be ascertained. Much of the knowledge of the antediluvians, especially as to the gracious purposes of God in redemption, has been left unrecorded. But we have glimpses of their faith and knowledge which furnish reasons for believing that they were not left by God without sufficient information to lead them to expect a deliverer from their sinful and spiritually lost condition. The faith of Abel, by which he “offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain” (Heb. 11:4) and the “coats of skins” which “the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife” (Gen. 3:21), are strongly suggestive of bloody sacrifices, typical of Christ, commanded by God in the very beginning. The prophecy of the second coming of Christ which Jude (vers. 14, 15) tells us was made by “Enoch, the seventh from Adam,” betokens a degree of knowledge to the very end of the world which, but for that record, would never have been imagined. We are therefore not to be hindered by any presumption that our first parents did not know what God was promising, from carefully scrutinizing the record left us, nor from giving to it all the fullness of meaning its literal interpretation may convey. Now that record taken in its strictest grammatical interpretation teaches not only that the promised seed had become a ground of hope to the woman, but that she had learned to associate with him who was to be the antagonist of the serpent the name of Jehovah himself.

The King James version of the Scriptures translates her language upon the birth of Cain (Gen. 4:1): “I have gotten a man from the LORD.” The Canterbury revision reads: “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” The literal rendering is: “I have gotten a man, the Jehovah himself.” The Hebrew particle translated in the former of these versions “from” and in the latter “with the help of” is equivalent to the Greek “autos” and the Latin “ipse.” Dr. J. Pye Smith says: “The primary, proper, and usual force of the particle “eth” (eth) placed here before Jehovah is to designate an object in the most demonstrative and emphatical manner. In this use it occurs immediately before and after this clause, and forty times in the first four chapters of these primeval records, not including the instance before us. It is also prefixed to every proper name in the governed ease throughout the fifth chapter. This prodigious number of instances, all occurring in the same connection, in the same strain of topic and discourse, in the same most venerable documents (supposing them to have been pre-existing fragments, before the age of Moses), is surely sufficient to determine a grammatical question. It is true that, in subsequent periods of the language, this particle came to be used as a preposition to denote with, or by the instrumentality of; but this was only a secondary idiom, and many of ifs supposed instances, on a close consideration, fall into the ordinary construction. There seems, therefore, no option to an interpreter who is resolved to follow faithfully the fair and strict grammatical signification of the words before him but to translate the passage as given above” (I have obtained a man Jehovah). [Scripture Testimony to the Messiah, Book II., Chap. IV., Sec. 1.]

It is true that Eve was mistaken in supposing that the son thus born to her was the Messiah. The language of inspiration only asserts that she said this, without admitting that she was correct. Indeed, the record shows she was not. It is not here quoted, therefore, as proof of the divine character of the Redeemer, but only of the fact that she had believed the promise of God, was looking forward to its fulfilment, and had learned in some way to associate the name of Jehovah with the expected seed of the woman. It is also evident that not only did she believe that Jehovah was to be the Messiah, but that she expected his appearance in human form.


2. The Patriarchal Seed.

A more definite and undoubted promise of the Messiah as “a seed” was made to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. The apostle to the Galatians distinctly declares that “the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed.” Gal. 3:8. He also says emphatically (Gal. 3:16) that this seed “is Christ.” The predictions of this kind to Abraham are recorded in Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:17, 18. Each of these three passages refers in so many words to “the Seed,” in connection with the spiritual blessing of the nations. Others, as indeed do the first two of these, contain also promises of the bestowal of the land of Canaan upon the natural descendants of Abraham. See Gen. 12:7; 13:14-17; 15:5-18; 17:8; 24:7. By this promise as to the nations the prediction in Eden, which had heretofore been general of the race, confined the birth of the Messiah to a descendant of Abraham. Both promises, that of the earthly Canaan and that of the spiritual seed, were repeated to Isaac (Gen. 26:2-5), (see also ver. 24); while to Jacob was given that of the earthly Canaan in the blessing by Isaac (Gen. 28:3, 4), and by God (Gen. 35:10-12) at Bethel, where the promise of both blessings had been previously made to him also by God, as recorded in Gen. 28:14.

These predictions constitute properly the patriarchal promise of “the Seed,” which is more commonly spoken of as the promise to Abraham, because of his greater prominence, as well as because first announced to him. To what extent it was understood by them is also beyond our knowledge. But the language of Christ (John 8:56), “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad,” shows a more full comprehension of the blessings promised than the recorded statements in Genesis would suggest. Perhaps to Abraham, “the father of all them that believe,” was revealed somewhat clear ideas of the future person and work of his blessed Seed. It has been supposed, not without justification, that this occurred in connection with the commanded sacrifice of Isaac, related in the twenty-second chapter of Genesis. Certainly that occasion furnishes, if not a type, yet a very apt illustration of the offering up by the Divine Father of his only-begotten Son (Cf. Heb. 11:17), whom he did not withhold from “the father of us all” (Rom. 4:16), nor from them which, being “of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham” (Gal. 3:7). It is not, indeed, improbable that Abraham had before this been taught, or was so on this occasion, that by the sacrifice of “the seed,” the blessing was to come which had been promised through him to mankind. Was not his reply to Isaac singularly prophetic when he said: “God will himself provide a lamb for die burnt-offering.” Gen. 22:8? Especially may this be imagined when we find him calling the place of sacrifice “Jehovah Jireh;” so that it became a saying at least to the days of the record: “In the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Gen. 22:14.


3. The Seed of the Family of David.

This title is used in full recognition of the truth that Christ is almost constantly called the Seed or Son of David. It is intended only to recall the fact that Christ was also foretold as “a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots” (Isa. 11:1), and that he is called “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David” (Rev. 5:5). Indeed, the prophecy, “until Shiloh come” (Gen. 49:10), which was made of Judah in the blessing of his sons by Jacob, has been largely regarded by Jewish as well as by Christian writers as a prophecy of Christ. This opinion is strengthened by the declaration that “Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the prince.” 1 Chron. 5:2.

The promise of the Seed of David was, like that to the Patriarchs, of a two-fold nature: first, of the continuance of the kingly rule in Solomon, and, secondly, of the reign of Christ as the truly everlasting King.

The beginnings of both promises appear in the vision of Nathan, the prophet, which he made known to David when the latter was forbidden to build a house for God, and in the exultant and grateful prayer of David which followed (2 Sam. 7:4-29). David naturally regarded this as a promise of the continuance of his house “for a great while to come” (ver. 19). The words “for ever,” as applied to any earthly kingdom, could only be thus relative. But this double prophecy included, as subsequently developed, another of a King truly everlasting, of whose kingdom there shall be no end, and with whom is really associated the “sure mercies of David.”

This prophecy was uttered in the early part of the reign of David, and the understanding of it to which he attained may be traced through such of his Psalms as are of a Messianic nature. These, therefore, become exegetical of the original statements. The true key to the interpretation of these Psalms is to be found in David’s comprehension of the theocratic nature of the government of Israel. The earthly was known to he only the vicegerent of the heavenly King. The glory of the royal office was to be exercised perpetually and everlastingly by Jehovah himself; and only temporarily by the one who from time to time might sit in God’s place on the throne. Thus, in the conceptions and language of David, the two were mingled perpetually, and his thoughts and utterances passed instantaneously from the earthly monarch to the true King of kings. Hence much of his language became prophetic, and led Israel onward to the idea of the Messiah as King of Israel. The following may be taken as some of the proofs of these facts and of the consequent characteristics of Messiah pointed out by him:

1. That Jehovah was theocratic King is distinctly asserted, Ps. 22:28; 24:1-10; 93:1.

2. Yet the king of whom he writes is also human; for he is a sufferer for others, whose prayers for deliverance show the intensity of his agony and despair. Ps. 22:1-22. These sufferings are the essential means by which those who fear the Lord will be called on to praise and glorify and fear God, and by which the meek shall eat and be satisfied, and hearts shall live forever and all the nations shall remember and turn to God and worship Him.

3. This was to be an exalted king. Ps. 2:6; 110:2, 5, 6.

4. To be a universal monarch. Ps. 2:10-12; 22:27; 110:5, 6.

5. His kingdom was to be everlasting. Ps. 145:13.

6. The king himself was to be glorious, reigning in truth, meekness and righteousness, and the sceptre of equity would be the sceptre of his kingdom. Ps. 45:4, 6.

7. He was to escape the corruption of the grave. Speaking in the person of the king, David Said, “My flesh also shall dwell in safety, for thou wilt not leave my soul to sheol; neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption.” Ps. 16:9, 10. (Cf. Acts 2:25-27; 13:35, 36.)

8. He is the begotten Son of Jehovah. Ps. 2:7.

9. David calls him his Lord. Ps. 16:2; 110:1 (Cf. Matt. 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44; Acts 2:34-36).

10. He is also addressed as God. Ps. 45:6, 7.

11. He was to be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Ps. 110:4. (Cf. 1 Sam. 2:34, 35, as a possible germ prophecy of this priesthood; but especially Hebrews, chapters 4-10.)

These references will suffice to show that David expected not only the perpetuity of the merely earthly kingdom, with its succession of monarchs of his family, but that he also looked in the same line of descent for a true appearance of Jehovah, whose reign in this human person would thus be universal, whose flesh would never see corruption, of whose kingdom there would be no end, whose power would be terrible and his wisdom and righteousness superhuman, to whom as his Lord, David would himself be subservient, who is already the begotten Son of God and can justly be called God, whose government would be especially spiritual, who, with the kingly, would combine a priestly office of peculiar character and origin, and yet whose sufferings would be intense, and these sufferings the foundation of the blessings of his people and of their devotion to God. Are not these the characteristics of the Christian idea of the Messiah as set forth in the New Testament? In whom, except in Jesus Christ, have these expectations been fulfilled? In what respect has he not met them fully?



The Messiah, thus promised as the seed in the three forms we have considered, was the subject of frequent prophecy unto the days of Malachi. The predictions as to his birth became more distinct. The belief which separated him from all other kings of the nation and made him an especial object of hope and desire constantly increased. The association and identification of him with Jehovah appeared more clear. The application to him of the Divine names and attributes was made with less reserve. The nature and object of his sufferings and their saving efficacy were more plainly revealed, and the participation of the Gentiles in the blessings of his reign was more distinctly set forth.

1. As to his birth. Isaiah foretold the coming forth of “a shoot from the stock of Jesse and a branch out of his roots” (11:1), and of the birth from a virgin of a child who should be called Immanuel (7:14); and Jeremiah, the raising up unto David of a righteous Branch in whose days “Judah shall be saved and Israel dwell in peace,” and whose name should he “THE LORD IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Jer. 23:6. Gabriel announced that the Messiah would come and be cut off within seventy weeks from the time of the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. Dan. 9: 24-27. Micah predicted the coming forth from Bethlehem Ephratah of the ruler of Israel “whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2. Haggai declared that “the desirable things of all nations shall come” and fill the house then building with greater glory than that of Solomon. The Revisers, while so translating the word which, in the King James’ version, is “desire,” state in the margin that the Hebrew is “desire,” which should suffice to retain the older translation regarded by many as a prophecy of Christ’s appearance in that temple, especially when the extraordinary manifestations are considered as accompanying, viz., the shaking of “the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land.” Haggai 2:6, 7. Finally, Malachi tells of a messenger who shall go before and prepare the way for the Lord, the angel of the covenant who will suddenly come to his temple.

2. A special king. The following passages will fully set this forth. Isa. 32:1; 33:17; 57:19; Jer. 8:19; 23:5; Ezek. 37:2; Dan. 2:44; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:8, 9, and Zech. 9:9.

3. The hope of Israel and Judah were as associated with Jehovah as king. Isa. 6:5; 12:2, 6; 33:22; 43:3, 10, 11, 14, 15; 44:6, 23; 45:15, 21, 22, 25; 60:2, 9, 14, 16, 19, 20; Jer. 10:6-10; 23:5; 46:18; 48:15; 49:38; 51: 57; Zech. 14:9, 16.

4. The divine names and attributes are ascribed with less reserve to the predicted Messiah. He is called “Immanuel.” Isa. 7:14. His name was also to be “Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isa. 9:6. Mention is made of one for whom the way in the wilderness should be prepared and a highway made straight after the manner of kings’ journeying in ancient days. This one is called Jehovah, God; in him shall the glory of Jehovah be revealed, and he that tells good tidings to Zion is directed “Lift up thy voice with strength, hit it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold, your God! Behold, the LORD God will come as a mighty one, and his arm shall rule for him.” Isa. 40:3, 5, 9, 10. The Branch of David foretold by Jeremiah was to be called “The LORD is our righteousness.” Jer. 23:6. The ruler of Israel to come forth from Bethlehem Ephratah was one “whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2.

5. The nature and the object of his sufferings are more plainly revealed. These are set forth with such marked distinctness in the 53d chapter of Isaiah, that from it may be gathered all the main ideas which enter into the atoning work of Christ. We have there the substitution of a victim, himself innocent, in the place of the guilty; upon whom their sins are laid; who is wounded for their transgressions; with whose stripes they are healed; whose soul is made an offering for sin, and whose travail is rewarded with a satisfactory seed. The imputation of sin, and its punishment and the reward are all from God. The lamb-like patience of the sufferer is no less descriptive of Jesus than are the sinlessness of his character, and the two-fold aspect of God exercising avenging justice and unceasing love. He is still God’s righteous servant, whose work is worthy of great reward.

The angel Gabriel also said to Daniel: “After three-score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off; but not for himself.” Dan. 9:26. We have also that remarkable language of Zechariah applicable to Christ and to none other: “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts.” Zech. 13:7.

6. The participation of the Gentiles in the blessings was more distinctly enunciated. The earlier prophecies to David had been simply; of conquered foes. In like manner also some of the later days spoke of triumphing Israel, or merely indicated the increase of the government without reference to special blessings. But the following refer to the Gentiles as blessed with the Jews, and even sometimes without them: Isa. 11:10; 42:1-17; 49:6-13; 62:2; Jer. 16:19-21; Hosea 2:23; Mal. 1:11.

Thus does it appear that the prophecies give still more complete development of the promises made in the seed of the woman and of the patriarchs and of the family of David, by which he who was the hope of Israel is made known also as the Saviour of man-kind.
The discussions above will suffice to show how abundantly the Old Testament taught of the Messiah in the aspects referred to. But the doctrine of Christ in the Old Testament will not be completely shown without considering that manifestation in which he revealed himself as.



There were other manifestations of God to the senses of man. Such was that of the voice heard in Eden (Gen. 3:8), and by Moses from the burning bush (Ex. 3:2-5), and by the children of Israel out of the fire in Hebron, when they heard the voice of words and saw no form (Deut. 4:12), and by Moses at Sinai (Ex. 19:19), and by Samuel (1 Sam. 3:1-14), and by Elijah (1 Kings 19:9-20). But we have no reason to confine such a manifestation to the Son of God, especially as a like voice from the Father is recorded in the New Testament at the Baptism of Christ (Matt. 3:17), at the transfiguration (Matt. 17:5), and in answer to the prayer of Christ (John 12:28). By such a voice, or by dreams, or by other sensible means, must God also have forbidden the eating of the tree of knowledge, and commanded Noah to build the Ark, and communicated with Balaam (Numbers, chaps. 22 and 23), and with many of his true prophets to whom the “word of the Lord” came. But except in the interview with Balaam, when “the angel of the LORD” met him (Numbers 22:22-35), no reason presents itself why these communications should be ascribed to the second person of the Trinity alone. Whatever opinion one may have upon this point cannot be supported by any direct or positive language of Scripture.

But this is not true of the appearances of the angel of the covenant. The prophecy of Malachi should leave this question without doubt. “Behold,” says Jehovah to Israel through that prophet, “I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger (angel) of the covenant, whom ye delight in, behold, he cometh, saith the LORD of hosts.” Mal. 3:1. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD shall come.” Mal. 4:5. We have here:

1. A distinct promise of the sending of the angel of the covenant, in whom srael delights.

2. After the manner of Hebrew parallelisms he is identified with the Lord who shall come to his temple.

3. At first a mere messenger is announced as his forerunner, but afterwards it is declared that this shall be Elijah the prophet.

4. The office of the messenger or prophet is to prepare the way for the angel of the covenant.

Here is an undoubted reference to the coming Messiah. It could not otherwise be understood, even without the application made of it in the New Testament to Christ and his forerunner, John the Baptist. Matt. 11:10.

Having therefore identified the Messiah with the angel of the covenant, it only remains to show that this was a divine angel, having the names, attributes and authority of God, and receiving the worship peculiar to him alone.

1. Divine names are given to him and claimed by him.

(1) That of JEHOVAH. By the inspired writers: Gen. 16:13; 18:1, 17, 20, 26, 33; Ex. 3:4, 7 (cf. ver. 2); 13:21 (cf. with Ex. 14:19); Joshua 5:13 (cf. with 6:2).

(2) That of GOD. By Hagar, Gen. 16:13; by Jacob, Gen. 32:30; 48:15, 16; by the writer, Ex. 3:4, 6; by God himself, Gen. 31:13 (cf. ver. 11; also chap. 28:13-22 and 32:9); Ex. 3:6 (cf. ver. 2).

2. The angel of the Lord is also identified with Jehovah and with God.

(1) With Jehovah. A signal instance of this is to be found in the events recorded in the 33d to the 40th chapters of Exodus. Because of the great sin of Israel in making and worshipping the golden calf recorded in the 32d chapter, God was very angry with the people. He threatened them: “I will not go up in the midst of thee.” Ex. 33:3. This filled Moses and the people with alarm, although God had promised to send an angel before them. Moses therefore went to the tent of meeting, and the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tent, and “The Lord spake with Moses.” Ex. 33:8, 9. The reassuring promise was then given by Jehovah: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Ex. 33:10.

This was followed by the hewing of the “two tables of stone like unto the first” (Ex. 34:2), and by the making of the tabernacle (chapters 35 to 40), upon the finishing of which “the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward through all their journeys; but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and there was fire therein by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” Ex. 40:33-38.

A comparison of the threat of Ex. 33:3 and of this record with the language of Ps. 99:7: “He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar,” and Isaiah 63:9: “And the angel of his presence saved them,” shows that the cloud was the visible manifestation of Jehovah to Israel, and that the angel of his presence embodied the glory of Jehovah. Its presence with Israel was the presence of Jehovah himself.

This identification of Jehovah with the angel is also exhibited with equal clearness by a comparison of Ex. 13:21 and 14:19. In the former it is said that “The LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them the way;” in the latter we read of “the angel of God which went before the camp of Israel.”

(2) With God. This identification of himself with God is made by the angel which appeared to Abraham, by saying: “Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.” Gen. 22:12. (See also verses 15, 16.)

3. Divine attributes and authority are ascribed to the angel.

(1) Creative power. He promised Hagar: “I will greatly multiply thy seed, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” Gen. 16:10. And in like manner said to Abraham: “I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.” Gen. 18:10.

(2) Sovereignty The power of absolute right over the cities of the plains is asserted in the foretold destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and his answers to the successive prayers of Abraham that upon certain conditions he would spare those cities. Gen. 18:18-33.

(3) The Judge of all the earth is the efficacious title given by Abraham as he pleads with the Man before him, whom he recognizes as Jehovah, not “to slay the righteous with the wicked.” Gen. 18: 25. Two of the three men who appeared to Abraham are called angels (Gen. 19:1), and this third is manifestly “the angel of the Lord.”

4. Divine worship is paid to and received by him. This worship was demanded of Moses at the Bush in which the angel of the Lord appeared (Ex. 3:2) when “God,” by which name as well as that of Jehovah the angel is called, commanded him: “Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Ex. 3:5. A like command was given to Joshua (Joshua 5:15) by the man that appeared to him and claimed to be “the captain of the LORD’S host,” before whom “Joshua fell on his face to the earth and did worship.” Ver. 14.

Thus does it appear that we have in the record abundant testimony to the identity with the Jehovah God of this angel of the covenant whom Malachi predicted as the coming hope of Israel. His appearance was not delayed until the time of his permanent incarnation. The seed of the woman appeared in human form and as angelic messenger and as glowing fire and cloud long before that “fulness of the time came” in which “God sent forth his Son, born of a woman” (Gal. 4:45), when the Word, which “was with God,” “and was God” “in the beginning,” “became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:1, 2, 14. What relation these earlier manifestations had to the subsequent birth in the flesh or to the human nature then assumed is beyond our knowledge. Nor is it wise by conjectures induced by curiosity to prosecute inquiries which can accomplish no good and may be fraught only with evil. Speculation about the unknowable too often results in skepticism as to what is actually known, especially when such knowledge has come through revelation from God. It is sufficient to know that God added this outward “sign” to confirm faith in the promises he had given, and by it taught the future interposition of his own Son in human flesh for the deliverance of his true people, the spiritual Israel, from a severer bondage than that of Egypt, and the guidance of them by the Covenant Redeemer into the unspeakable blessings and glory of the Heavenly Canaan.

Thus did the Old Testament testify of Jesus the Christ, the Saviour of men. As the seed of the woman, he has utterly destroyed the power of the serpent, the great enemy of man. In him the day has come which Abraham foresaw and was glad. In him the Lion of Judah, the seed of David, appears as the King of kings, the Lord of lords, whose reign is universal, not over those living on earth only at any one time, but over all the living and the dead of this world, and indeed of the whole universe. His untold sufferings have secured the happiness of his people and their devotion to God. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. His priesthood has neither beginning nor end. He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He ever liveth to make intercession for us. He hath made us kings and priests unto God. At his name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. His flesh is indeed the tabernacle which is filled with the glory of Jehovah, in whom the ancient prophecy to Israel is fulfilled: “Behold your God!”

In the testimony thus given in the Old Testament as to Christ we perceive a portion of the evidence it also affords to that doctrine of the Trinity which was developed more clearly in the New Testament. Here is seen one not only identified with God and Jehovah, but also distinguished from him. Here also are other glimmerings of a tri-personality in God presented to a people unto whom God was especially revealed in his unity, and which had almost unconquerable tendencies to polytheism. What was thus revealed was understood very obscurely, if at all, in Old Testament days. For what purpose was it given except that in the later time might be apparent the unity of the doctrines of both Testaments, and the evidence of the inspiration of each in their testimony in common to this and to other doctrines which were divinely foreshadowed in the former, but have been distinctly declared in the latter revelation?


Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

Chapter 22-The Fall of Man

The Fall of Man


THE chapter on the creation of man presented him in all the sinless perfection with which God can create an intellectual and moral spiritual being. It was there shown that this consisted, as the Scriptures declare, not merely in an innocent sinlessness, which left him without taint or tendency to sin, but in original righteousness, which comprised a love of holiness and natural choice of good rather than of evil.

The excellence of such a nature is seen in the difficulty which men have had in explaining the possibility of its fall. The value of this fact as testimony to the goodness of God is not to be overlooked. To escape this difficulty some have even maintained that there was originally in man a mere condition of equilibrium in which it was as easy to choose the wrong as the right. Nor can it be shown that, if this had been true, a trial upon probation, in which was given a choice of good and evil, with consequent reward and punishment, would have been unjust to man or derogatory to the character of God. But the plain teaching of Scripture is that man was not created in perfect equilibrium, but with a holy nature, the whole tendency of which was naturally towards the good and the holy. In thus fitting him for his trial, God is seen, by special endowment, to have given him most graciously all the powers possible to fit him for a wise choice in any instance in which he should be left to act according to his good pleasure.



In reply to the question how a being thus endowed could fall, the following suggestions may be made. While they may not be entirely satisfactory, they must be recognized as at least constituting a possible explanation of a subject so completely environed with difficulties.

1. The excellent nature thus bestowed was, after all, only that of a mere creature. The perfection, as such, could be only natural and bestowed, not essential and inalienable. Therefore, unless preserved by the purpose and acts of God, it might be lost.

2. It was that of a creature, the excellence of whose action consisted in always choosing the right and rejecting the wrong, but which had the power, should the inclination arise, of making and pursuing a contrary choice. No natural or compulsory necessity existed to prevent such choice. The right would only be chosen so long as the motive to do so should be the prevailing one. While, therefore, the nature wholly inclined by its nature to the right would naturally and certainly act in that direction, yet if that nature could be so affected as to incline towards the wrong, there would be no hindrance to its sinful action.

3. Under such circumstances, against any gross violation of the law of God, or sinful rebellion against him, the heart would so naturally revolt that the beginning of sin in this direction would be almost impossible. But if any desire should be awakened in itself sinless when duly exercised, that desire might so increase as ultimately to acquire sufficient strength to overcome the right tendency of the nature, and to lead finally by undue exercise to wrong action for its gratification.

4. The foundation for such desire might be found in the wish to gratify the lower appetites, or to attain higher exercise of the intellectual faculties.

5. The cause of its springing up would naturally be the denial of some means by which it would appear that either or both of these wishes could be attained. This accords with the principle stated by the Apostle Paul. “I had not known coveting except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Rom. 7:7.

6. The natural result would be not immediately to determine to do the wrong, but to question the justice or intention with which the act was forbidden.

7. This doubt of God would so lead the nature towards sin that the act would then be done from the motive arising from the desire of gratifying either the sensual or the spiritual appetite.



We have the account of the fall in Gen. 3:1-7. The statement is very brief yet complete. This is a proof of its inspiration, which also appears from its accurate agreement with the best thoughts men have been able to attain as to how such an event could take place.

The narrative shows that the attack upon man had to be made in a most subtle manner.

1. We have the occasion; in God’s forbidding man to eat of the fruit of a certain tree, called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Gen. 2: 17.

2. We have that love of wisdom, natural and proper in an intelligent being, excited by the idea that through its increase would be given elevation in the scale of existence.

3. Led by this desire to think of its possible gratification, the very name of the tree whose fruit was forbidden seemed to confirm the language of the tempter.

4. The good thus attainable appeared to be one which God would so naturally wish to bestow, that it created doubt whether God could really have meant to forbid its use, and particularly whether he would fulfil his threats, or had even intended them to be effective to prevent the proposed action.

5. Then followed the result, the statement of which shows the processes through which the mind of the woman had gone; “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a light to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” Gen. 3:6.

The Scriptures say but little of the difference between Adam and Eve in this transaction. The narrative of Genesis simply relates that the woman was the first tempted, and the first to sin, and that through her the fruit was given to the man. The only other allusion is that in which Paul states that “Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression.” 1 Tim. 2:14. This may mean only that the woman was tempted by Satan, while the man was not; or that Eve believed the tempter, and did not perceive the consequences of transgression, while Adam acted in full knowledge of them.

As to the reality of an external agent in the temptation, there has been no little dispute. Some have held that there was no actor, but that the temptation was the result merely of the emotions and desires of the woman. But the Scriptures say distinctly that there was a serpent, present and active. Temptation, through a serpent might have occurred in several ways.

1. A serpent might innocently and alone have been the occasion of the suggestion of the thoughts to Eve.

2. Some evil being might have accompanied the innocent acts of the serpent to suggest to her mind the thoughts by which he would tempt her to sin.

3. This evil spirit, in the form of a serpent, or taking possession of an actual serpent, might have used and uttered the language or suggested the thoughts attributed to him in the narrative.

4. A fourth explanation has been suggested, and is somewhat advocated by Turner in his Commentary on Genesis, p. 187. This supposes that the devil was the only agent, and that all reference to the serpent is allegorical.

The Scriptures seem to accord more nearly with the third of these theories. There appears to be no valid objection to the acceptance of this their most obvious import.

(1) It is surely not inconsistent with the power ascribed to Satan that he should thus enter the form of a creature already existent, or even assume the appearance of such a creature. “For even Satan fashioned himself into an angel of light.” 2 Cor. 11:14. The temptation of Jesus shows that Satan can assume bodily form. Mere mental suggestion cannot account for all that then occurred. It is necessary to believe that he appeared in bodily form to our Lord and addressed him in words uttered with the voice. This is involved in the offer recorded in Luke 4:7. “If thou therefore wilt worship before me it shall all be thine.”

(2) The force of the objection from the curse against the serpent, as against an innocent animal, vanishes with the light thrown by modern science upon creation. This shows that the serpent has always had its present form. The curse, therefore, so far as uttered against the animal is merely equivalent to an assertion of the continuance of what had always been, and only places before man a constant and dreaded memorial of the first sin. This is consistent with God’s method of cursing and blessing as seen in the bow of Noah, Gen. 9:8-17, and Jacob’s language as to Simeon and Levi in Gen. 49:5-7.

This third theory is favoured by the following facts:

1. The title serpent and dragon is given elsewhere in Scripture to Satan. See Rev. 12:3, 4, 7, 9, 12-17; Rev. 13:2-4, especially Rev. 12:9, “the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan.” See also Matt. 3:7, where John calls the Pharisees “an offspring of vipers,” and compare it with John 8:44, our Lord’s language: “Ye are of your father the devil.”

2. The narrative in Genesis demands more than mental suggestion through a mere animal.

(a) A characteristic special subtlety is ascribed to the serpent. If the temptation of Eve arose from mere mental suggestion to her by the purposeless acts of a purely irrational animal, the mention of this subtlety is unaccountable.

(b) The thoughts suggested could not have arisen in the mind of the woman alone, nor in that of the woman through any mere act of the serpent. These are (aa) That death would not ensue. (bb) That the knowledge of good and evil would elevate them to be Gods (mighty ones).

3. The subsequent references in the Scriptures to this transaction show that this was the beginning of the great struggle of Satan for the ruin of man, which was to end in his destruction by the man Christ Jesus, the seed of the woman.

4. In the New Testament it is both directly asserted, and in various forms assumed, that Satan seduced our first parents into sin. In Rev. 12:9, it is said, ‘The great dragon was east out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan.’ In 2 Cor. 11:3, Paul says, ‘I fear lest . . . as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so also your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.’ But that by the serpent he understood Satan is plain from ver. 14, where he speaks of Satan as the great deceiver; and what is said in Rom. 16:20, ‘The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet,’ is in obvious allusion to Gen. 3:15. In John 8:44, our Lord calls the Devil a ‘murderer from the beginning, and the father of lies, because through him sin and death were introduced into the world.'” [Hodge, Syst. Theol. Vol. 2, p. 128.]



The fall of Man occurred when he was on probation under the Covenant of works.

Theologians are accustomed to speak of two especial covenants, the one of works, the other of grace. These do not embrace all the covenants between God and man, which indeed have been very numerous. The others most prominently mentioned in the Scriptures are that with Noah, Gen. 9:11-17; with Abraham, Gen. 17:2-14; (repeated to Isaac, Gen. 26:2-5; and to Jacob, Gen. 28:13-15;) with Israel in giving the law, Ex. 24:7; Deut. 5:2, 3; with Moses and Israel, Ex. 34: 27; with David, 2 Sam. 7: 1~16; with Solomon, 2 Chron. 7: 1~22; and that of Nehemiah and the Israelites with God, Neh. 9: 38 to 10: 39. The two covenants of works and grace are spoken of in Gal. 4: 2~31, and are called “the two covenants” in verse 24. That of grace is the covenant of redemption made by God with his elect, or more properly with Christ, the second Adam, as their representative. That of works, is the covenant of the law entered into between God and all mankind through the first Adam, their natural head and appropriate and appointed representative.

[Upon the Scripture use of the word covenant see Hodge’s Out-lines of Theology, pp. 309 and 367-369.]

A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties by which any one or more things are to be done under the sanction of rewards and penalties.

This is the ideal form of a covenant. Some parts of it may he wanting, and still it may he a covenant. Thus there may be penalties and no reward, or reward and no penalties. Also, the agreement may arise, not from mutual consultation, but from a command given and accepted. This may take place at the time it is given, and with the person to whom it is spoken, or the command may be given, or promise made, to be accepted and acted upon by any who may at any time choose. Thus, between a government and its responsible subjects, law becomes a covenant. Rewards also are promised, as for the killing of dangerous or destructive animals, or for the capture of criminals; or threats are uttered, for violation of the rights of others, either as to life, liberty, or property.

These preliminary statements may remove the difficulties sometimes felt as to the existence of a covenant of works. Law prescribed by God as lawgiver is admitted to exist together with its sanctions and penalties; and, as in human law, so here, no excuse can he made of want of formal agreement; because of the natural obligation to obey.

These facts are, however, more fully applicable to the covenant of works, regarded as the general law of obtaining and maintaining spiritual life, given to all mankind, and still held forth to them, than to the transactions under that covenant connected with Adam’s fall.

In this latter the elements of a covenant more distinctly appear.

I. There are here the two parties to a covenant, God and man; the one prescribing what was to be done, or left undone; the other receiving the command to do or not to do it.

If it be objected to the parties, that God enjoined an act through his sovereign and supreme power and dominion, to which man dared not object; the sufficient reply is that God was no more sovereign lord than man was willing subject. The holy constitution of his nature, rendered his ready acceptance absolutely certain.

I. Here also we find the subject matter of a covenant, the forbidding under penalty the eating of a certain fruit. That which made this properly a part of the covenant, was that man knew that he was commanded not to eat; that he recognized God’s right to command, and his duty to obey; that he had a natural inclination towards obedience; and that, accepting the command of God, lie proceeded to submit himself to it.

Both the knowledge and assent of man, however, may be absent from the general covenant of works, where it appears under the especial form of law, or duty, whenever that absence is the result of man’s sinfulness, and man still be held responsible. But in an innocent being this knowledge and assent are essential to responsibility. Yet that very innocence, because of the holiness of the creature’s nature, secures such assent to God’s law when known as completes the more formal covenant.

I. The third element of the covenant is the penalty, death, the meaning of which will be hereafter examined. The threat of God “thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17), was known not only to Adam, but to the woman also, as appears from her conversation with the serpent. Gen. 3:1-3.

II. The promises made or implied constitute a fourth element. It is questioned whether promises were added to the covenant. None appear in the narrative. None were necessary to make this a covenant. None are necessarily involved except such as are implied as attendant upon the result of obedience. These, therefore, may be first stated as being thus implied, and such considerations may be added as, from our further information, suggest that others were actually expressed.

Those implied are:

(1) Continuance of God’s favour, which having been bestowed on them as innocent creatures, would continue to be shown if they should not disobey his commands.

(2) Continuance of their happy, holy condition until by their own act they should forfeit it.

(3) Continuance, therefore, unless in like manner forfeited, of the immortality natural to their souls; and as to their bodies, continuance of their then existent condition, or, if any change should occur, a change into higher forms, bestowed for their greater happiness.

(4) To this may be added that their children, so long as this state of innocence should continue, would be born with like innocent and holy natures.

These results of obedience are implied.

(1.) In the benevolent holiness and justice of God’s nature. Even if never stated to Adam as promises, they would be naturally inferred by him from his knowledge of God.

(2.) They are also implied in the very threat against disobedience, if, as we shall hereafter see, that threat involved not merely natural death, but also, and chiefly, that absence of God’s favour and communion which is the death of the soul.

If death would follow disobedience, then life ought to follow obedience–life in all the opposites to death, and therefore life both of the body and the soul.

It would seem, therefore, that there ought to be no question that these blessings were believed by Adam to have been made dependent upon his obedience to God’s commands.

But not only were these thus implied, but the fact that life was promised “is clearly taught in other passages of Scripture. Lev. 18:5; Neh. 9:29; Matt. 19:16, 17; Gal. 3:12; Rom. 10:5.” [Hodge’s Outlines, p. 311.]

There are three further points of inquiry as to the probation upon which Adam was thus placed.

1. How long was the probation to last if man continued innocent?

2. Was there to be but this one test of obedience?

3. Was confirmation in holiness and happiness promised our first parents in any way as a reward of obedience?

We may answer these by saying that, while we have no means of knowing how long man was to be tried under this particular form of covenant, it is more than probable that there was to be but the one form of test, and that, after a period which could not be very long, confirmation in spiritual life was to be attained if man continued obedient.

In favour of but one form of test is:

1. The fact that the simple purpose was to test man’s confidence in God and obedience to his will. So long as a sufficient one was presented, no multiplication of tests was necessary.

2. God knew whether his purpose was to allow man to fall or not, and knowing this, knew what test would be sufficient. He needed to try man, not to show to himself but to others what man would do.

3. In a case like that of Job, when his purpose is to exhibit his grace in his creature, he may allow many tests, one after another, but when that purpose is to permit the fall of his creature, it is not probable that he would allow his hopes of success to be raised, after successive trials, to result only in final and more embittered disappointment.

With respect to confirmation in spiritual life as resulting from continuance in holy obedience, it may be remarked that:

1. The fact that God selected this one thing to forbid, while he granted indulgence in all others, indicates that it was for a special test. That test would naturally be accompanied by a promise as well as by a threat.

2. A further evidence of such a promise, as well as of its nature, is to be found in the statements about the tree of life. Its suggestive name, its prominent position “in the midst of the garden,” (Gen. 2:9), its conspicuous character, such that it is one of the only two mentioned, its power of confirmation in life, which Gen. 3:22 shows to have been known to Adam–all of these indicate that the idea, not only of life, but of confirmation in life, had been conveyed to Adam.

3. The fall which resulted from the temptation shows that God’s purpose in causing that tree to grow there was not to use it in the confirmation of Adam in holiness, for no such confirmation was to occur. We must find its use, therefore, in something prior to the fall. But in what, save to place constantly before Adam the promise of confirmed spiritual life, should the period of this probation he safely passed?

4. The necessity of his removal from the garden shows that some promise of confirmation in some existent condition thereafter unchangeable had been attached to this tree, to he fulfilled when man should be permitted to partake of it. Gen. 3:22.

Three objections have been made to this transaction.

1. That it made so much, even all, to depend upon a single act.

But this arises (1) from the nature of sin; as guilt demanding punishment for any one transgression, even the least; and as corruption, rendering incapable of subsequent acts of holiness; and (2) from the nature of God’s justice, which cannot pardon sin unatoned for. Any one sin must therefore necessarily terminate probation.

2. That the test was in so unimportant a matter as the eating of a piece of fruit. But the more trifling the prohibition, the easier was the act of obedience, and the more flagrant that of disobedience.

3. That the precept was a positive and not a moral injunction.

But this very fact made it a better test of obedience, (a) as testing the whole man; not his love of holiness only, nor his reverence for God, nor the tendencies of his holy nature, nor those of his will only, but all; (b) as making a well and sharply defined test of his confidence and obedience towards God; and (c) as plainly manifesting to the guilty the sin they had committed and the condition into which they had brought themselves.


Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

Scripture represents God’s character as the same as revealed through his works

March 26, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Explanation of the knowledge of God resumed. God as manifested in Scripture, the same as delineated in his works.

1. We formerly observed that the knowledge of God, which, in other respects, is not obscurely exhibited in the frame of the world, and in all the creatures, is more clearly and familiarly explained by the word. It may now be proper to show, that in Scripture the Lord represents himself in the same character in which we have already seen that he is delineated in his works. A full discussion of this subject would occupy a large space. But it will here be sufficient to furnish a kind of index, by attending to which the pious reader may be enabled to understand what knowledge of God he ought chiefly to search for in Scripture, and be directed as to the mode of conducting the search. I am not now adverting to the peculiar covenant by which God distinguished the race of Abraham from the rest of the nations. For when by gratuitous adoption he admitted those who were enemies to the rank of sons, he even then acted in the character of a Redeemer. At present, however, we are employed in considering that knowledge which stops short at the creation of the world, without ascending to Christ the Mediator. But though it will soon be necessary to quote certain passages from the New Testament, (proofs being there given both of the power of God the Creator, and of his providence in the preservation of what he originally created,) I wish the reader to remember what my present purpose is, that he may not wander from the proper subject. Briefly, then, it will be sufficient for him at present to understand how God, the Creator of heaven and earth, governs the world which was made by him. In every part of Scripture we meet with descriptions of his paternal kindness and readiness to do good, and we also meet with examples of severity which show that he is the just punisher of the wicked, especially when they continue obstinate notwithstanding of all his forbearance.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 10-Henry Beveridge Translation

Confession statement 34

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XXXIV. TO this Church He hath made His promises, and giveth the signs of His covenant, presence, acceptation, love, blessing, and protection. Here are the fountains and springs of His heavenly graces flowing forth to refresh and strengthen them.

Matt.28:18, etc.; 1 Cor.11:24. 3:21; 2 Cor.6:18; Rom.9:4.5; Ps.133:3; Rom.3:7,10; Ezek.47:2.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46