The Refining and Polishing of the King
by Glenn Conjurske
From my earliest acquaintance with the modern King James Only doctrines,
it was evident to me that these are the doctrines of men who have done
very little thinking. This is a system of doctrine which is absolutely
----as much at variance with itself as it is with the
facts of history.
The doctrine affirms that God has promised (in Scripture) to preserve
his word, and that therefore the word of God, preserved in perfection,
does exist. This doctrine is applied not only to the original texts in
Greek and Hebrew, but also to the English translation. We are told that
the perfectly preserved Greek text is the Textus Receptus, and the perfectly
preserved English translation is the King James Version. But these assertions
immediately raise some serious questions in the minds of all who are accustomed
to think. Some of those questions are:
If the supposed promises of God to preserve his word in perfection secure
to us a perfect version in English, why did those same promises fail to
secure any such perfect version before the year 1611? Those promises were
not given by God in 1610, but thousands of years before that
of them in the Old Testament. How is it that those promises secured nothing
of this before 1611? Why, with these same promises in force, was there
no perfect English version in John Wycliffe's day ----or a hundred
years before Wycliffe's day? If for some reason those promises did not
apply in the days before 1611, what reason do we have to think that they
apply today? If the promises of God did not secure a perfect version in
English before 1611, who can say that they do secure a perfect version
after 1611? If these promises of God to preserve his word are such that
he may fail to keep them for the space of hundreds of years, what possible
reason can we have to suppose that he has any obligation to keep them
today? For observe, anyone who takes the trouble to think may plainly
see that these King James Only doctrines absolutely necessitate the conclusion
that for hundreds of years God failed to keep those promises. If the promises
of God actually mean what these men contend ----if to keep those
promises God is obliged to give to us a perfect English version ----then
those promises must have meant the same thing 600 years ago that they
mean now, and God must have had the same obligation to keep his promises
then as he has now. Yet none of these men will so much as pretend that
there was any perfect English version before the year 1611. Their own
system forces them to believe (if they will but think) that for hundreds
of years God failed to keep his promises, from the dawn of the existence
of the English language, until the year 1611. Those promises which are
supposed to mean so much to us, and secure so much for us, meant absolutely
nothing for Englishmen 500 years ago, for God was not in the business
of keeping those promises then. If the children of God looked to him for
bread in the year 1350, he gave them nothing ----except the Latin
Vulgate, for those who could read it. If they looked to him for bread
in the year 1450, he gave them a serpent ----an English Bible translated
from the Latin Vulgate, which the King James Only men are pleased to call
the devil's Bible. If the children of God looked to him for
bread in the year 1550, he gave them a stone ----an English Bible
which, whatever it may have been, was certainly not the perfect word of
God, for it differed in countless places from the version which they hold
to be perfect. Thus during century after century, the Lord left these
alleged promises of preservation on the shelf, and did not keep them.
But now, we are told, we have a perfect Bible in English, and the proof
alleged for this is, God has promised to preserve his word! Since 1611,
then, God has been keeping his promises, but he did not trouble himself
to keep them before that
----for none of these men can affirm that
there was a perfect version in English before 1611, without making manifest
fools of themselves. If there was a perfect Bible in English before 1611,
then the King James Version can only be regarded as a corruption of that
Bible, for it differs in hundreds of places from all of its predecessors.
There is no doubt that if any man today were to put forth a revision of
the King James Bible, reinstating the readings of the early English Bibles,
which were displaced in the process of revision, the King James Only men
would soon denounce the new version as corrupt ----as they denounce
every version which any way differs from the King James Version. But more,
if any man today were to put forth a new Bible version based upon the
same Greek text which William Tyndale used, the King James Only men would
be the first and foremost to denounce it as corrupt ----and that
entirely irrespective of the character of the translation. They would
denounce it as corrupt because it was translated from a different Greek
text ----for it is a plain matter of historical fact that the Greek
text of Tyndale's version differs in dozens of places from that of the
King James Version. Nor are many of those differences trivial in their
nature, but extend to the addition or omission of words, phrases, and
But the men who have flooded the church with this King James Only clamor
have been men who have done very little thinking. They sent their doctrines
into the world without ever thinking so far as to be aware of the existence
of the questions and issues which I have just rehearsed. Others, however,
have done some thinking for them, and forced them to face questions like
these. But with what result? Alas, they have responded exactly as did
the Jehovah's Witnesses, when they found themselves forced to face the
absurdities of their system. They have not stepped forward in a manly
fashion to acknowledge their errors, but have rather entrenched themselves
more deeply in those errors
----and added folly to foolishness in
order to do so. The men who fathered these doctrines did not trouble themselves
about the fact that there was no perfect Bible in English before 1611 ----obviously
never thought of it. Now that the fact has been forced upon their attention,
they must endeavor to account for it, but in so doing they have only added
to the self-contradictions of their system. From a little sheet called
The Enchiridion (Feb.-March, 1995), put forth by William W.
Van Kleeck of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies,
come the following statements:
God the Father has entered into a covenantal relationship with the
Son to preserve His Word. (Isaiah 59:21). The preserved Word of God therefore
exists. The inscripturated (written) Word is limited to a finite number
of words that can be empirically (actually) compared and rationally understood.
The (Holy Spirit filled) believer's role is to identify the existing Word
of God and unite it by way of collation with the rest of the canon (books
of the Bible). When the covenant keeping believers (not textual critics)
have identified all the words that God had prepared to receive the autographa
(the original language text) and made them a part of the exemplar (the
receiver language) the translation is complete and no further translation
is required nor possible. To the degree that the translation in process
reflects the autographa it is authoritative[,] but the final edition is
not relatively authoritative, it is absolutely authoritative.
That from the front side of the sheet, and from the back side, The
KJV was refined from 1525 to 1611 and polished until 1769. It is the true
Word of God.
For those who are unfamiliar with the events corresponding to the dates
which Mr. Van Kleeck mentions, I pause to inform them that in 1525 (or
1526) William Tyndale published his first New Testament, in 1611 the King
James Version was first printed, and in 1769 Benjamin Blayney put forth
the revision of the King James Version which is now in common use.
But in these statements Van Kleeck has actually given up
without thinking far enough to realize it ----almost everything
distinctive in the King James Only position. He has given up the very
foundations of the system, while still, of course, holding that system
fast. He grants that a Bible version may be the word of God without being
perfect. He grants that the English Bibles which preceded the King James
Version were the word of God, only in an unrefined state. He grants that
they were the word of God, though they were not absolutely authoritative.
They were relatively authoritative ----authoritative,
that is, only insofar as they truly represented the originals. This is
precisely what the rest of us have held from the beginning ----and
we have been accused of modernism for it by the King James Only men. And
if those who follow Mr. Van Kleeck in this opinion would but think a little,
they would be obliged to admit that if one version may be the word of
God, though not perfect, so may another. If William Tyndale's New Testament
may be the word of God, though less than perfect, and less than absolutely
authoritative ----if the same may be true of Coverdale's Bible,
of the Great Bible, of the Geneva Bible, and of the Bishops' Bible ----then
the same may be true also of the Latin Vulgate and of the Septuagint,
and the same may be true of the King James Version.
----yea, much more. Mr. Van Kleeck actually grants that
the same is true of the King James Version ----at least that it
was true of the original King James Version of 1611. He grants that the
version has been polished since 1611 ----and the polishing
of which he speaks has explicit reference to something so major as the
omission of the Apocrypha from later printings. But he is certainly aware
that a good deal more polishing than that has taken place ----with
spelling or punctuation changed in every verse, italics added throughout,
and many words added, omitted, or changed.
And in granting this much, he has actually entirely given up the King
James Only position. These men have told us for years that every jot and
tittle of the Bible is preserved pure and perfect and without error, and
this doctrine has been unhesitatingly, steadfastly, and belligerently
applied to the King James Version of 1611. Now we are told that the 1611
version was not perfect at all, but contained many thousands of jots and
tittles, besides whole letters and whole words, which must needs be changed.
The version needed to be polished for 158 years, the final result of which
is the perfect and completely authoritative word of God. But men who think
will naturally ask, if the 1611 version needed such a long course of alteration
in order to make it perfect and authoritative, how do we know that the
process is finished yet? If the English publishers were free to revise
the book as they pleased in 1616, and again in 1629, and again in 1638,
if Thomas Paris was free to revise it again in 1762, and if Benjamin Blayney
was free to correct it again in 1769, then who is to say that C. H. Spurgeon
was not equally free to correct it in 1869, or F. H. A. Scrivener in 1873,
or Glenn Conjurske in 1995? For more than twenty years these King James
Only men have been condemning as unbelievers and modernists all who dare
to correct a single word in the KJV
----1611, and now
they tell us that that process of correction went on for 158 years, from
1611 to 1769 (or 244 years, from 1525 to 1769), and that all of that correcting
was the work of God, in order to secure the final edition,
which is not subject to correction.
Thus does the mistaken zeal of these men vitiate the doctrine of inspiration.
For, make no mistake about it, what they are actually claiming for the
King James Version is inspiration. They claim that it is the word of God
in every jot and tittle, perfect and without error, and this, whatever
they may call it, is precisely the doctrine of inspiration. This is precisely
what the whole church of God has always claimed for the original texts
of Scripture, as they came from the original writers. But anyone who had
dared to teach such a process of inspiration, as these men are forced
to claim for their inspired English version, would have been disclaimed
as a heretic and a modernist. Let any man today claim that the Greek original
of the epistles of Paul reached its state of perfection in the same manner
that the King James Version is supposed to have done, and he will immediately
(and rightly) be denounced as a modernist. Let a man claim that the epistles
of Paul were written first by himself, and thus became the epistles
of Paul in process
----were afterwards revised three times
by Paul himself
----revised again by Barnabas while Paul lived ----revised
by Timothy after Paul died ----Timothy's revision revised by Barnabas,
then again by Apollos, and once more by Barnabas ----then Paul's
final version revised by the king's scribe, adopting many readings from
the last edition of Barnabas ----the scribe's version then made
the basis for a new edition, thoroughly revised ----that edition
thoroughly revised again three years later, by a company of exiles ----then
the last edition of Barnabas thoroughly revised by a company of bishops,
and revised again two years later ----the same thoroughly revised
again after the passing of nearly forty years, this time by a company
of scholars appointed by the king, adopting readings from all the previous
editions, including one put forth by the heretics ----and this latest
edition subjected to minor revisions numerous times by various scribes,
until at length the whole was revised throughout by a single scholar,
and so, after 244 years in process, became the preserved(!!)
epistles of Paul, perfect and without error. The man who made such
a claim would be denounced immediately as a heretic or a lunatic, by the
very men who make exactly the same claim for the King James Version ----for
mark, the process which I have just described is no imagination,
but the actual history of the King James Version.
And who determined that the edition of 1769 is the one which is perfect
and authoritative? Ah! Bible believers, no doubt. Spirit filled men, no
doubt. The real, final authority, then, does not rest in the King James
Version at all
----but in themselves. The final authority is not
in the Bible, but in the men who give us their ex cathedra pronouncement
as to which version and edition is authentic and genuine. Here, then,
is but one more way in which this ill-advised and intemperate reaction
against an imagined threat of Romanism brings us directly back to the
true doctrines of Romanism. The main tenet of this system, which exalts
a human and imperfect translation to the place of perfection, giving it
an authority equal (or superior) to the original, is a tenet of Romanism,
which no Protestant ever believed before the advent of the present generation.
Surely this is no accident, but the hand of the Lord, to confound ignorance
But to return, the real authority is now made to rest in certain covenant-keeping
believers, who determine which edition is the final one. Doubtless Mr.
Van Kleeck must suppose himself to be one of those covenant-keeping believers.
No doubt David Otis Fuller's Dean Burgon Society would qualify also, but
Dean Burgon himself must be excluded, for he was a textual critic. I suppose
I am disqualified as well, for I dabble in textual criticism also. Must
we then resign ourselves to the judgement of whoever inscripturated the
unspiritual and scarcely English jargon quoted above from The Enchiridion?
The fact is, we very much doubt that many of Mr. Van Kleeck's fellow King
James Only men will endorse this new position. We strongly suspect that
a large portion of them will continue to fight for the KJV
while they continue, of course, to use the KJV ----1769,
the same as Mr. Van Kleeck does, and the same as they have always done.
These men do not much concern themselves about the facts of history, and
most of them are doubtless unaware that there is any difference between
the KJV ----1611 and the KJV ----1769.
But how is it that they have settled upon the work of Benjamin Blayney
in 1769 as the final edition, subject to no further revision?
The answer to this question is exceeding simple. They have determined
upon this edition because this is the edition which is in everybody's
hands. There was obviously no critical inquiry of any sort in back of
----no exercise of any reason or judgement of any kind,
but only a fixed determination to pronounce the edition which is in their
hands to be perfect and without error. If reason had been consulted ----if
any Biblical Textual Studies had entered into the matter ----they
must certainly have decided otherwise. For observe, if the work of Benjamin
Blayney, which he carried out haphazardly and inconsistently, was so excellent
as to exalt his edition to the place of supremacy, how far superior must
that edition have been if his excellent design had been carried out with
greater care and consistency? But mark, his design has been carried out
with care and consistency, and that by a conservative, reverent, able,
and very careful and painstaking scholar. His name is F. H. A. Scrivener.
His edition was published in 1873, under the title, The Cambridge Paragraph
Bible of the Authorized English Version, with the Text Revised by a Collation
of its Early and Other Principle Editions, The Use of the Italic Type
Made Uniform, etc. Now, since one of the major contributions of Benjamin
Blayney was to make the italics more uniform than the earlier editions
left it, it is without all reason to leave the matter there, when a little
more painstaking work (such as Scrivener excelled in) might remove all
inconsistencies ----and when in fact the work was done a hundred
and twenty years ago. But these men are determined only to pronounce the
version in their hands to be perfect, regardless of any considerations
of truth or fact or reason. If men had been of this same spirit four centuries
ago, the King James Version would never have existed. Then the Geneva
Bible would have been the Bible which God uses, and Satan hates
(it was, by the way), and any attempt to revise it would have been belligerently
But there is yet more. Suppose it to be the very truth that The
KJV was refined from 1525 to 1611 and polished until 1769, and that
the final result of this process is the true Word of God.
The fact is, 1769 was too late, and a good deal too late. So was 1611.
So was 1525. Remember, the foundation of this system is the supposed promises
of God to preserve his word. It was far too late to think of preservation
in 1525, or 1611. If these men had done a little less asserting and denouncing,
and expended a little of their time and energies in thinking, they must
soon have realized that the very meaning of preservation completely overturns
their entire system. It destroys it root and branch. If they were to tell
us that God had promised to restore the purity of his word in 1611, or
1769, we might at least give them the credit for common sense and consistency,
but restoration and preservation are two different things. If God has
actually promised to preserve his word in perfect purity, 1611 is much
too late to begin keeping that promise. The very meaning of preservation
necessitates that he should keep it pure always, and not merely that he
should restore it to purity after the passing of hundreds of years. If
the New Testament which Tyndale produced in 1525 needed 244 years of refining
and polishing ere it could be regarded as absolutely authoritative,
this operation was not preservation at all, but restoration. In making
these affirmations about the refining and polishing of this translation
in process, Mr. Van Kleeck has in fact totally given up, so far
as the English translation is concerned, any possible doctrine of preservation.
Not that it much matters, for all of these men have in fact repudiated
their own doctrine of preservation from the first day that these King
James Only doctrines existed. What they have really been contending for
all along is the restoration of the word of God, though they have been
so little engaged in thinking as to suppose that they were contending
for its preservation. It really makes no difference whether they affirm
that the point of perfection was reached in 1611, or 1769. Either position
is an admission that the English Bible was not perfect before that date,
and therefore not preserved in perfection by God.
But all of this serves to demonstrate the unsoundness of the foundation
of the entire King James Only system. These men, if they are honest, must
confess that there was no perfect version in English before 1611 (or before
1769). They must therefore confess that the promises of God which form
the foundation of their system do not necessarily secure to any people
a perfect translation in their language. They must confess therefore that
those promises do not mean what they have till now contended that they
do mean. And thus their whole system, from the foundation up, falls to
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
The Eternal Sonship of Christ
by Glenn Conjurske
By the eternal Sonship of Christ I mean that Christ has been
the Son of God from all eternity, that he is the Son of God in his deity,
and not merely in his humanity. That this is the truth of God and the
doctrine of the Bible, I have no doubt. But there have not been wanting
certain prominent evangelicals to deny the doctrine, such as Adam Clarke
in history, and John MacArthur today. I intend to make a few remarks on
the nature of those denials, and then to present some solid proof (from
Scripture, of course) that Christ is indeed the eternal Son of God.
That Christ is the eternal Son of God I regard as a cardinal doctrine
of the Bible, but I must affirm two things concerning it.
1.It is not so clearly or indisputably revealed in the Bible as some other
cardinal doctrines, and we might therefore the more readily bear with
those who fail to perceive it.
2.Though I regard them as mistaken who deny it, I cannot on that account
alone regard them as heretical. It is plain enough that the motive behind
the denial of Christ's eternal Sonship is not ordinarily to detract from
his glory, but rather to uphold it. Sonship, it is supposed, implies a
beginning, and further implies some kind of inferiority, and it is therefore
in order to exalt Christ to a place of equality with the Father that his
eternal Sonship is denied. He is held to be the Son of God only in his
humanity, and so subordinate to the Father only in his humanity, while
he is every way equal with the Father in his deity.
So Adam Clarke writes on Luke 1:35, Here I trust I may be permitted
to say, with all due respect for those who differ from me, that the doctrine
of the eternal Sonship of Christ is, in my opinion, anti-scriptural, and
highly dangerous; this doctrine I reject for the following reasons:
1st.I have not been able to find any express declaration in the
Scriptures concerning it.
2dly.If Christ be the Son of God as to his divine nature, then he
cannot be eternal: for son implies a father; and father implies, in reference
to son, precedency in time, if not in nature too.
son imply the idea of generation; and generation implies a time in which
it was effected, and time also antecedent to such generation.
3dly.If Christ be the Son of God, as to his divine nature, then
the Father is of necessity prior, consequently superior to him.
4thly.Again, if this divine nature were begotten of the Father,
then it must be in time; i.e.there was a period in which it did not exist,
and a period when it began to exist. This destroys the eternity of our
blessed Lord, and robs him at once of his Godhead.
5thly.To say that he was begotten from all eternity, is in my opinion
absurd; and the phrase eternal Son, is a positive self-contradiction.
ETERNITY is that which has had no beginning, nor stands in any reference
to TIME. Son supposes time, generation, and father; and time also antecedent
to such generation. Therefore the conjunction of these two terms Son and
eternity is absolutely impossible, as they imply essentially different
and opposite ideas.
Thus it appears that the motive behind this denial is generally good.
Not that this is sufficient to justify the denial. Uzzah's motive was
good in putting forth his hand to steady the ark of God, but his deed
was not good. The denials of the eternal Sonship of Christ are of exactly
the same character as Uzzah's attempt to steady the ark, but the ark of
God was in no need of such a help, and God would not accept it. The denial
of Christ's eternal Sonship is of exactly the same character as the denials
of the Bible doctrine of the free will of man, with a view to exalting
God, or the denials of the Bible doctrine of repentance, for the purpose
of exalting the grace of God. This is will worship, and God will not own
Uzzah, however, felt a need to steady the ark, and there was a reason
for his feeling of that need. The reason consisted of a previous departure
from the word of God. If the ark of God had never been put upon a new
cart, contrary to the explicit ordinance of Scripture, Uzzah had never
felt a need to steady that ark. Now it appears to me that the need which
men feel to uphold the person of Christ by denying his eternal Sonship
has just such a reason behind it. It is the result of a previous departure
from the Scriptures, in embracing a false doctrine of the Trinity. That
false doctrine refuses to recognize any order of persons in the Trinity,
making God to exist eternally in three persons co-equal in everything.
Clarke rightly judges that the doctrine of the eternal Sonship of Christ
cannot co-exist with such a doctrine of the Trinity.
I cannot here enter into all that is involved in the doctrine of the Trinity,
but I do affirm that a false doctrine of it is widely held by evangelicals.
This false doctrine is widely manifested in an unscriptural manner of
speaking of the persons of the Godhead. We often hear of God the
Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God the Father
is altogether proper, and whenever Scripture speaks of God absolutely,
the reference is to the Father
----a fact, by the way, which these
false views of the Trinity move many to deny. But Scripture never speaks
of God the Son or God the Holy Spirit, but always
of the Son of God and the Spirit of God. Now the
use of unscriptural terminology is never a harmless thing. It is almost
always the offspring of false doctrine, or false emphasis, and if not
the offspring, it is very likely to become the parent of such. The Scriptural
phraseology implies an order in the Godhead, a subordination of the Son
to the Father, and of the Spirit to the Father and the Son. That subordination
belongs to the nature of the Godhead, and is therefore as eternal as God
himself. God the Father created the worlds through the Son, for the Father
was supreme in the Godhead, and the Son subordinate, before the incarnation.
The same is seen in the fact that the Father sends the Son, but is himself
never sent. The Father and the Son both send the Spirit, but are never
sent by him. Yet according to the views of the Trinity which many hold
today, it would be just as congruous and proper for the Son to send the
Father, as for the Father to send the Son, since they are co-equal in
all things. But it seems to me that the spiritual instincts of the godly
keep them from the natural effects of their mistaken doctrine. They all
hold to the traditional (and Scriptural) manner of speaking of the Trinity
as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and though they have never
given it a moment's thought, they would no doubt instinctively feel that
it were improper to reverse or alter the order in which the persons of
the Godhead are named. And this instinct is true, for the traditional
doctrine of the Trinity is the truth of God.
But Clarke's denial is also based in part upon an apparent mistake concerning
the nature of sonship. I and my Father are one, Jesus said
(John 10:30), and therefore the Jews took up stones to stone him. They
did not apprehend that in calling God his Father, he was affirming his
inferiority, in either time or nature, but just the reverse. For
a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that thou,
being a man, makest thyself God. All this, because I said,
I am the Son of God (verse 36). And again, in John 5:18, therefore
the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he had not only broken the
sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself
inferior to, but ----equal with God. All of this would
seem to make Clarke's fears groundless.
Isaiah 9:6 says, For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.
The child is born. The Son is given. But I observe that this text need
not have any such technical meaning, (for such language could be applied
to the birth of any son), and I would be the first to object to making
such a use of it, if it were not fully borne out by the rest of Scripture.
But it is borne out by the rest of Scripture. It was the Son of God who
came into the world. He did not merely become the Son by his coming, but
was the Son
----was with the Father, and came from the Father. The
Father sent the Son into the world. He did not become the Son by virtue
of his coming into the world. It was the Son which was sent into the world.
But all of this requires some proof. Scripture speaks often of Christ's
coming into the world, or being sent into the world, but what is meant
by this? Do these expressions refer to his being sent of God as John the
Baptist and the apostle Paul were sent, or to his coming to earth from
heaven? The latter, without question. First observe that this phraseology
is applied to others besides Christ, where it clearly refers to their
----joy that a man is born into the world.
I Tim. 6:7
----for we brought nothing into the world.
The same expression is used of Christ numerous times.
----I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son
of God, which should come into the world.
----I came forth from the Father, and am come into
----To this end was I born, and for this cause
came I into the world.
I Tim. 1:15
----Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
But observe, there is one substantial difference between Christ and all
other men. Of us it may be said that we came into the world, and that
is all, for we had no previous existence. Of Christ it is often said that
he was sent into the world, and (as quoted above) that he came forth
from the Father. Now observe who it was who was thus sent into the
world, and who it was who sent him.
----For God sent not his SON into the world to condemn
----him whom the FATHER hath sanctified and sent
into the world.
I John 4:9
----God sent his only-begotten SON into the world.
Observe, then, it was the SON who was SENT. He did not become the son
at his arrival, or by virtue of his being sent
----as they must
believe who apply his Sonship only to his humanity. The SON was SENT.
And observe further, it was the FATHER who sent him. He came forth
from the Father. The Father did not become the Father by virtue
of sending Christ into the world. He was the Father, who sent him. And
mark well, the coming of Christ was not a mere agreement, between two
co-equal persons in a triumvirate. Christ was sent, and sent by the Father,
and not merely sent as a man, but sent into the world to become a man.
I came forth from the FATHER, and am come into the world. Again,
I leave the world, and go to the FATHER. (John 16:28). The Father
was as much the Father when Christ left heaven to enter the world, as
when he left the world to enter heaven.
This is a matter of extreme importance, for I beg leave to point out that
all who deny the eternal Sonship of Christ must of necessity equally deny
the eternal Fatherhood of the Father. If God had no Son from all eternity,
then he was no Father. Those who hold that Christ became the Son of God
at his incarnation must equally hold that God the Father became the Father
at the incarnation. Prior to that there was neither Father nor Son
Father to send the Son into the world, nor Son to be sent.
The truth of the matter is, God is the eternal Father, and Christ the
eternal Son. This is borne out by a very precious Old Testament type.
Though there are very few types of God the Father in the Scriptures, one
there is which is obvious and indisputable
Abraham's name was first Abram, and then Abraham, and in these names we
see the eternal Fatherhood of God. Abram means high father,
and Abraham father of a multitude. God became the father of
a multitude, by virtue of his creation of angels and men, but he always
was the high Father, in his own nature and essence. He always was the
Father, for he always had a Son.
So John begins in his gospel, In the beginning was the Word, and
the Word was with God
----and his epistle, That which
was from the beginning, . . . that eternal life which was with the Father.
He was not only with God, but with the Father from the beginning,
ere he was born of the virgin Mary, and ere the creation of the world.
Yet the Father was no Father if he had no Son.
And though I do not much insist upon it, it seems to me that the term
only-begotten, which is several times applied to Christ, must
imply his eternal Sonship
----imply, that is, that he is the Son
of God in his deity. If this term only-begotten Son speaks
only of the humanity of Christ, then it seems that only-begotten
is saying too much. If only his humanity is in view, wherein does he differ
from Adam, or from the angels? If it is said he differs from them in that
he is God, this immediately becomes an argument that only-begotten
refers to more than his humanity.
Once more, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten
Son. Can this mean only that the Father gave the humanity of Christ
he had known and cherished for but thirty-three years? I should think
that every spiritual mind must recoil from such a thought. Unspiritual
intellectuals may embrace such emptiness, and feel no loss ----as
they may do also when they speak coldly of the precious blood of
Christ as though it were a mere symbol ----but I dare say
they have no tears in their eyes, no lump in their throat, and no yearning
in their heart, when they speak so. As I sit to pen these words, God
so loved the world that he gave HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, I feel my
soul moved to its depths, while the tears flow from my eyes ----but
I fear the fountain of my tears must dry up if I could not find here the
Son of God, who was with the Father before the world was, daily his delight
ere man or angel existed. This SON he GAVE.
I am well aware that the terms Father and Son
may be used retroactively. I say, My father was born in Milwaukee,
and this does not imply that he was my father when he was born. Yet it
seems to me that the manner in which this terminology is used in Scripture
plainly implies the eternal Sonship of Christ, for it implies the eternal
Fatherhood of God. Christ speaks often of the Father
merely of my Father. If this Fatherhood was something recently
acquired, the Father would seem a strange manner in which
to speak of it. The Father certainly seems to speak of something
which he is in his own nature. So also of the many references to the
Son. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given
to us an understanding, that we might know him that is true.
(I John 5:20). Is come
----from heaven, from the Father ----for
surely to apply this coming to anything subsequent to the incarnation
is to empty it. It was the Son of God who came.
Yet again, God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake
in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days
spoken unto us by HIS SON, whom he hath appointed heir of all things,
by whom also he made the worlds, who being the brightness of his glory
and the express image of his person, etc. (Heb. 1:1-3). There is
not the slightest question that all of this refers to the deity of Christ,
and yet it is all spoken of him as Son. God made the worlds by his Son.
So Proverbs 30:4
----Who hath established all the ends of
the earth? What is his name, and what is his Son's name? There can
be no retroactive speech here, for this was written long before the incarnation.
What can Adam Clarke do with this? Here is his comment on the place: Some
copies of the Septuagint have
: `Or the name of his sons;' meaning, I suppose, the holy angels, called
his saints or holy ones, ver. 3. But we are not concerned what some
copies of the Septuagint read here. Clarke himself proceeds to inform
us that the Chaldee, the Syriac, and the Vulgate read as the Hebrew
is, they have son in the singular, not sons. Clarke
continues, Many are of the opinion that Agur refers here to the
first and second persons of the ever-blessed TRINITY. It may be so; but
who would venture to rest the proof of that most glorious doctrine upon
such a text, to say nothing to the obscure author? The doctrine is true,
sublimely true; but many doctrines have suffered in controversy, by improper
texts being urged in their favour. But what admissions are these!
The doctrine ----that there is a first and a second person in the
Trinity, and that the second person was the Son at the creation of the
world ----this is sublimely true! Sonship aside, did he not perceive
that to admit of a first and a second person in the Trinity is in fact
to practically give up his ground? Once admit a first and a second person
in the Trinity, and he has little reason left to deny the Sonship of the
second person. As for the text, we do not think it obscure at all, and
as for the author of it, this was the Holy Ghost. As for Agur, he is not
so obscure as the authors of Job or Ruth, of whom we know nothing. We
know the name at any rate of Agur.
To return to Hebrews 1, God has spoken by his Son
by his Son, who is the express image of his person. There is no possible
reference to anything human here, yet this speaks explicitly of his Sonship.
So again, No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten Son,
who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18).*
The Son declared what he knew
----of his own eternal dwelling place,
in the bosom of the Father. For mark, the Son of God did not gain his
fitness to reveal the Father by virtue of union with the eternal Word ----as
we must suppose if he is the Son only as a man. All his fitness to reveal
the Father lay in the fact that he was the Son ----the express image
of the Father ----in the bosom of the Father, and there from all
Hebrews 7:3 gives very strong testimony to the real nature of the Sonship
of Christ. Speaking of Melchisedek as a type of Christ, it says, Without
father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days,
nor end of life, but made like unto the SON OF GOD. Certainly the
very point of all that the Holy Ghost here says of Melchisedek is that
he typifies something divine. Every word which he speaks is spoken precisely
to exclude everything which belongs by nature to humanity. Without
father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days,
nor end of life. And it is precisely in these things that he is
said to be made like unto the Son of God. This is explicit,
and it is hardly possible to imagine a stronger testimony than this to
the fact that the Sonship of Christ belongs to his deity. It is only as
----only as God, that is ----that he is without beginning
of days or end of life. And this may suffice to answer Adam Clarke's fears
that sonship must imply a beginning. If the word were v , child,
there might be some ground for those fears, for a v implies a birth, but
the word son, J v , may imply no more than identity of nature.
So the Jews understood it when they accused Christ of making himself equal
with God, and so the Lord used it when requiring his own to walk in love,
that ye may be sons, J v, of your Father which is in heaven.
v they were already, children of God by birth, but sonship implies a like
But we must yet reckon with Psalm 2:7, Thou art my Son: this day
have I begotten thee. This day may present a difficulty,
but difficulties are not unusual, even when we hold the very truth. And
I find that those who oppose the eternal Sonship of Christ, as Adam Clarke,
have difficulties with Psalm 2:7 also, and must wrest it to make it square
with their position
----and after all their wresting, it will not
Clarke says, We have St. Paul's authority for applying to the resurrection
of our Lord these words, `Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee;'
Acts xiii.33; see also Heb. v.5; ----and the man must indeed be
a bold interpreter of the Scriptures who would give a different gloss
to that of the apostle. It is well known that the words, `Thou art my
Son; this day have I begotten thee,' have been produced by many as a proof
of the eternal generation of the Son of God. On the subject itself I have
already given my opinion in my note on Luke i.35, from which I recede
not one hair's breadth. Still however it is necessary to spend a few moments
on the clause before us. The word <wyh, haiyom, TO-DAY, is in no part
of the sacred writings used to express eternity, or anything in reference
to it; nor can it have any such signification. To-day is an absolute designation
of the present, and equally excludes time past and time future; and never
can, by any figure or allowable latitude of construction, be applied to
Be it so, and grant also that Psalm 2:7 must therefore refer to the humanity
----or suppose that we do not know what Psalm 2:7 refers
to ----does any or all of this overturn the doctrine of the eternal
Sonship of Christ, as established above? Supposing that this text refers
to his humanity, we are yet persuaded that other texts ascribe Sonship
to his deity.
But Clarke must wrest the text to have it his way, for he will not affirm
that such things were spoken to the Son on the day of his conception in
the womb, but insists upon the application of the text to his resurrection.
Yet on that side, he dare not affirm that Christ became the Son of God
at his resurrection
----for he is repeatedly called the Son of God
before his death. Well, what then? Why, have begotten does
not mean have begotten at all. So Clarke writes further:
The word ytdly yalidti, `I have begotten,' is here taken in the
sense of manifesting, exhibiting, or declaring; and to this sense of it
St. Paul (Rom. i.3,4) evidently alludes when speaking of `Jesus Christ,
who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, J J
J , : and declared (exhibited or determined) to be the Son of God with
power, according to the Spirit of holiness.' . . . I need not tell the
learned reader that the Hebrew verb dly yalad, to beget, is frequently
used in reference to inanimate things, to signify their production, or
the exhibition of the things produced.
But this is all error. In the first place, it is absolutely inadmissible
to affirm that the verb signifies production OR exhibition. Let it be
one or the other, for the two are not the same thing, and the word does
not mean both. The word means to beget or bear children, whether of men
or animals. It is used hundreds of times in that sense in the Old Testament
to hatch eggs, and in the Piel, to act as midwife ----but never
in the sense of exhibiting the young which are brought forth. As for its
numerous applications to inanimate objects, I can find seven of them in
the Old Testament, and in every one of them the word means to produce
or bring forth, which is its own natural meaning. Never once does it mean
to exhibit or manifest. Let the reader judge:
----They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity.
----Who hath begotten the drops of dew, . . .
and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?
----He travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived
mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
----Before the mountains were brought forth, or
ever thou hadst formed the earth.
----Thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
----We have been with child, we have been in pain,
we have as it were brought forth wind.
----watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth
One time, however, the word actually does mean something very near exhibiting.
This is in Numbers 1:18, where it is rendered, they declared their
pedigrees after their families. But here the word is in the Hithpael,
or reflexive, in which it has a meaning entirely diverse from the Kal
and other modes. This is the only place in the Bible where the Hithpael
appears, and so the only place where it is so rendered. Its meaning here,
in the Hithpael, has nothing to say to Psalm 2:7.
I hold, then, that in this day I have begotten thee, begotten
must mean begotten. It cannot mean manifested or declared
it never means that. If the passage applies to the resurrection, as Clarke
insists, then it was upon the resurrection day that Christ became the
Son of God. This is manifestly false. But it is said that the apostles
applied the text to the resurrection. If they did, it is no matter. An
application of a text does not necessarily exhaust its meaning ----does
not necessarily even touch its primary meaning. We cannot confine the
meaning of Old Testament passages to the application which the New Testament
makes of them, and I hold it to be a false and pernicious principle to
insist that we must. By this means much of the Old Testament may be ----and
is ----emptied of its meaning. If the passage applies to the humanity
of Christ, it must apply to his incarnation. If so, it affirms that Christ
is the Son of God in his humanity ----but this says nothing against
the fact that he is so also in his deity. If this is established by plain
Scripture, we need not answer every objection which can be brought against
it. There are many things which we cannot explain. We see in a glass darkly.
We cannot understand eternal existence at all, much less eternal self-existence,
but once grant that an eternal God exists at all, and it is no more tax
upon reason to believe that he has eternally existed as Father, Son, and
Spirit, than to believe in any other mode of existence.
Repentance: Law or Grace?
by Glenn Conjurske
Paul speaks of some desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding
neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. (I Tim. 1:7). Alas,
today the same must be said of many who think themselves teachers of grace.
A host have followed in the wake of Sir Robert Anderson, who says, Are
faith and the Spirit's work enough? or is not repentance no less a necessity,
if men are to be saved? I meet this question boldly and at once by denouncing
it as based, not so much on ignorance as on deep-seated and systematic
error. The repentance which thus obtrudes itself and claims notice in
every sermon is not the friend of the gospel, but an enemy.
I meet this assertion just as boldly, and counter that Sir Robert's position
is indeed deep-seated and systematic error, and nothing else.
But I am not accustomed to deal in assertions, but in arguments, and by
the help of God I hope to give the reader a few of them in this article.
Anderson offers a couple of arguments also, but they are weak and insufficient.
Says he, Neither as verb nor noun does it [repentance] occur in
the Epistle to the Romans
----God's great doctrinal treatise on
redemption and righteousness ----save in the warnings of the 2nd
chapter. And the Gospel of John ----pre-eminently the gospel-book
of the Bible ----will be searched in vain for a single mention of
it. The beloved disciple wrote his Gospel, that men might believe and
live, and his Epistle followed, to confirm believers in the simplicity
and certainty of their faith; but yet, from end to end of them, the word
`repent' or `repentance' never once occurs.
This last is utterly unworthy the name of an argument, for the dullest
of minds must be able to perceive that the thing may be present where
the word is not. Anderson surely believed in the Trinity, though the word
never once occurs in all the Bible. The word repentance is
not in John, but the doctrine of repentance is there plainly enough, as
I have shown elsewhere. And even if the doctrine could not be found in
John, it would yet prove nothing, for John's are not the only books in
the Bible. This argument from the supposed silence of one portion of Scripture
must at best be very precarious. But it is worse than precarious. It is
in reality the special pleading of a man determined to maintain his own
doctrine in spite of the plain statements of Scripture.
Again, he argues also from the silence of the book of Romans
he is compelled to admit that repentance does occur in the book of Romans,
albeit only in the warnings of the 2nd chapter. But where
else would he expect to find it? Paul puts repentance where it belongs,
at the beginning of the gospel. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus
Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1) consisted of the preaching of
repentance by John the Baptist. And against all of his prejudices, Anderson
is yet forced to admit that the book of Romans does contain the doctrine
of repentance. He must admit that Romans ----God's great doctrinal
treatise on redemption and righteousness ----does contain
the word repentance, though it be only in the second chapter.
The absence of the term from the rest of the book is no argument at all,
for (not to insist upon the fact that the doctrine of repentance is plainly
present in the sixth and eighth chapters) Paul was not obliged to repeat
in every chapter what he had so plainly and so strongly insisted upon
already. It had been much more to Anderson's purpose to explain why repentance
is present in one portion of the book, than to call attention to its absence
from the rest of the book. The fact is, we can prove anything if we argue
from the silence of certain portions of Scripture, while we ignore the
positive statements of other scriptures. But Anderson's arguments do prove
one thing: they do prove the real weakness of his cause. They do prove
how hard pressed he is for arguments. A man who has good arrows in his
quiver does not resort to bad ones.
Anderson grants us also, Salvation there cannot be without repentance,
any more than without faith; but the soundest and fullest gospel-preaching
need not include any mention of the word. We can grant that
sound gospel preaching need not mention the word repentance.
But if it does not contain the doctrine of repentance it is certainly
not sound ----and we hardly suppose it is the word which troubles
Anderson and his ilk, but the doctrine. These men have reduced repentance
to a non-entity, and therefore it is of course superfluous to mention
it. So William Pettingill: ...repentance is a necessary part of
saving faith. Strictly speaking, the word repentance means `a change of
mind.' . . . Since it is not possible for an unbeliever to become a believer
without changing his mind, it is therefore unnecessary to say anything
But certainly Christ and his apostles thought otherwise, for they mentioned
it continually. But it is really amazing how the teachers of the modern
church labor to rid the gospel of repentance. They have an argument (or
an assertion) for every facet of the subject, but put all of those arguments
together, and you will find them a mass of contradictions. First, repentance
is law, not grace. Then, it is an integral part of saving faith. Next,
it is a mere change of mind. Next, it is only for the Jews. Then, we must
do it, but need not mention it. Next repent is a mere synonym
of believe. The fact is, there is not a grain of truth in
any of these assertions, for they all contradict the plain Scriptures
of truth, as much as some of them contradict each other.
Once more Robert Anderson: Faith and repentance are not successive
stages on the road to life; they are not independent guides to direct
the pilgrim's path; they are not separate acts to be successively accomplished
by the sinner as a condition of his salvation. The only one of these
three assertions which is true is the second, and it is mere rhetoric.
But if repentance and faith are not separate and successive acts, why
did the Lord preach repent ye, AND believe the gospel (Mark
1:15)? Why did the apostle Paul preach repentance toward God, AND
faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21)? We shall of course
be told that when Christ preached repent YE, he did not mean
ye men, but YE JEWS. But this is mere assertion,
and the all-sufficient answer to it is, He did not
one assertion without proof is as good as another. It is plain also that
this contention cannot be applied to Paul's preaching, for he preached
both to the Jews, and ALSO to the Greeks, repentance toward God,
AND faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. But here we are told that
this repentance, which Paul preached, is a mere change of mind. I do not
stay to answer this, except to affirm that it is false, for here I endeavor
only to prove that, whatever repentance may consist of, it belongs to
grace, not law.
For it must be understood that the settled antipathy
opposition ----of these men to the Bible doctrine of repentance
is built upon its supposed inconsistency with salvation by grace. Wherever
they see any conditions of any kind annexed to the grace of God, wherever
they see any insistence upon any form of human responsibility, wherever
they see anything required of men, they immediately affirm that this is
law, not grace. But the only thing which they prove by it is that they
understand neither law nor grace, and certainly have no proper understanding
of the difference between them. It is not the existence of conditions
which distinguishes the law, but the nature of those conditions. The law
requires perfection, where grace makes provision for our lack of perfection.
Yet grace has conditions. They must all grant that faith is a condition
of salvation, though they often labor to make it appear otherwise. Believing,
they say, is nothing which we do, but the gift of God, wrought in
us, not by us. To this I need only say that if believing is nothing
which we do, it is strange enough that God so often requires us to do
it. Did he give us the Holy Scriptures on purpose to confuse and mislead
us? But again, it is said that believing is not doing anything at all,
but is rather ceasing to do anything. But this is mere begging of the
question, mere playing with words, mere trifling with holy things, for
(even if that were a proper account of faith, which it is not) to cease
to do anything is as much an act of the will as to begin it. The plain
truth is, faith is a condition of salvation.
Grace has conditions, and one of those conditions is repentance. And the
real fact is, repentance must belong to grace, and cannot belong to law.
The very nature of law absolutely excludes it. There is no place for repentance
under law. The principle of law says, Cursed is every one that continueth
not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
(Gal. 3:10). The first moment a man fails to continue in those things,
and do them, he is cursed, and no place of repentance is so much as offered
him. He may repent from the moment of his fall to the end of eternity,
and it will avail him not one whit, if he is under law.
Understand, now, I speak of the principle of law, and not of the Mosaic
system. The Mosaic system is full of grace. Anyone who will not acknowledge
this must deny that ever a man was saved from Moses to Christ, for they
certainly know that no man can be justified under the law
every man who is under the law is under the curse. The first half of the
text quoted above affirms, as many as are of the works of the law
are under the curse. That is, as many as operate upon that principle,
as many as belong to that sphere. They are all under the curse, for none
have continued in all things written in the law to do them, and there
is no mercy in the law, no forgiveness for transgressions, no place of
repentance, and no hope for those who once fall. This is the principle
of law. It demands perfection, and settles for nothing less. The law says,
This do, and thou shalt live, but it never dreams of This
fail to do, and thou mayest be forgiven. The moment forgiveness
is contemplated, we have left the ground of law entirely, and are standing
on the ground of grace. In days when thinking was deeper than it generally
is today, and theology sounder, men used to know this, though few enough
seem to have an inkling of the matter today. Thus Richard Baxter: The
Law of pure Works, taught not Repentance as a means to pardon, nor required
any but despairing Repentance: for it gave no hope of pardon. To preach
Repentance therefore as a means to pardon, is not to preach that Law,
but the Covenant of Grace, and Christ, that gives Repentance to Israel,
and Remission of sin.
But suppose that I am all in error
----suppose that repentance belongs
to the law, and not the gospel ----and mark what the consequence
must be. If repentance is law, not grace, then the plain fact is, the
Lord Jesus, among his last words to his apostles, after his resurrection,
commissioned them to go into all the world and preach the LAW to every
creature. For he enjoined upon them that repentance and remission
of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at
Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47).
Yet observe, there is no possibility that this is law, for the reader
will note that repentance is here joined to remission of sins, of which
the law knows nothing. There is no forgiveness of sins possible under
law. The very foundation principle of law absolutely excludes it. Forgiveness
is precisely what the law never can proffer, upon any terms whatsoever,
and the fact that the forgiveness of sins is here made consequent upon
repentance is the full proof that repentance belongs to grace, not law.
And yet with such scriptures as this before their eyes, men will solemnly
affirm that repentance is law, not grace. That is indeed a deep-seated
and systematic error, which can so blind the eyes of good and intelligent
But worse than this, if repentance belongs to law, not grace, then Christ
not only commissioned his apostles to preach the law to all the world,
but he himself was guilty of preaching the most consummate confusion,
for he preached, in one breath, repent ye, AND believe the gospel.
If repentance is of the law, then the message which Christ preached consisted
of, Meet the demands of the law, and believe the gospel. Let
him believe this who can. We shall of course be told that the gospel
which Christ thus preached is not the gospel. It is some other
gospel, the gospel of the kingdom, or some half-breed, half
law, half grace gospel, and not the gospel of the grace of God.
But this is grasping at straws. In their eagerness to overturn the scriptural
doctrine of repentance, these men forget to examine their arguments to
see whether they have any semblance of truth about them. The truth is
this: nothing which can be called the gospel can be anything
but grace. I care nothing whether it is the gospel of the kingdom,
or the gospel of God, or the gospel of the grace of
----whether Paul's gospel, Peter's gospel, the gospel of Christ,
or what have you ----if it is gospel, it is grace, and therefore
not law. When Christ preached repent ye, and believe the gospel,
he was not preaching the law in the first half of his sentence, and the
gospel in the second half. He was preaching grace, pure grace, and only
grace. Was the Savior of the world guilty of preaching in the same sentence,
in the same breath, both law and grace? Oh, ye poor, blind teachers of
grace, who are always wiser than the Son of God, always wiser
than the apostles of Christ, always wiser than Holy Scripture, can there
be any possible excuse for your doctrine?
Would ye could bear with me a little, while I quote a few words from one
of the strongest exponents of grace in history. C. H. Mackintosh says,
But let us turn for a moment to Acts. iii. Here the preacher, after
charging his hearers with the same awful act of wickedness, enmity, and
rebellion against God, even the rejection and murder of His Son, adds
these remarkable words, `And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance
ye did it, as did also your rulers. But these things, which God before
had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer,
he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your
sins may be blotted out. The reader will note that here again repentance
is made the condition of the forgiveness of sins. That is, it is made
the condition of grace. Mackintosh continues: It is not possible
to conceive anything higher or fuller than the grace that shines out here.
It is a part of the divine response to the prayer of Christ, `Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do.' This surely is royal grace.
It is victorious grace
----grace reigning through righteousness.
To C.H.M., then, the offer of forgiveness upon the condition of repentance
was abounding grace. He saw nothing of law here. One more word from C.H.M.,
and I have done. It is vanity and folly, or worse, to talk about
its being legal to preach repentance, to say that it tarnishes the lustre
of the gospel of the grace of God to call upon men dead in trespasses
and sins to repent, and do works meet for repentance. Was Paul legal in
his preaching? Did he not preach a clear, full, rich, and divine gospel?
Have we got in advance of Paul? Do we preach a clearer gospel than he?
How utterly preposterous the notion!
The plain truth is, repentance belongs to grace, and to the gospel, and
those who do not preach repentance, as Christ and his apostles preached
it, do not preach the true gospel of the grace of God.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -------
Walter Hilton? on Worldly and Heavenly Joy
[The following is either by Richard Rolle (died 1349) or one of his followers.
It is printed in English Prose Treatises of Richard Rolle de Hampole,
edited by George G. Perry; London: Early English Text Society, 1866, 1921,
pp. 40-41, and in Richard Rolle of Hampole...and His Followers, edited
by C. Horstman, London: vol. I, 1895, pp. 287-289. Horstman says, In
all the prints the treatise is ascribed to W. Hilton, and there can be
no doubt as to his authorship. ...many of his works are mixed up with
works of R. Rolle, while he himself follows in the track of R. Rolle.
The original is in the left column, with the same in modernized English,
line for line, in the right column. A line above m or n in the original
is a contraction for a final e. Added words in the translation are in
italics. Notes are at the end.
Also for to thynke of êe mercy of oure Lorde êat he
hase schewed to êe and to me, and to all synfull kaytyfes
êat hase bene combirde in synná, sperideb so lange
in êe deuells presone, how oure Lorde sufferde vs pacyently
in oure syná, and tuke na vengeance of vs, as he myghte ryghtfully
hafe donne, and putt vs till helle, if his mercy had noghte lettide
hymá, Bot for lufe he sparede vs, he had pete of vs, and
sente his grace in-till oure hertes, and callid vs owte of oure
syná, and by his grace hase turnede oure will hally to hymá,
for to hafe hymá, and for his lufe to for-sake all maner
of syná. The mynde of êis mercy and êis gudnes
made, with oêer circumstance mo êaná I can or
may reherse now, brynges in-to my saule grete triste in oure Lorde
and full hope of saluacyoná, and it kyndylls desire of lufe
myghtily to êe Ioyes of Heuená. Also for to thynke
of êe wrechidnes, êe myscheues and êe perills,
bodily and gastely, êat fallis in êis lyfe, and after
êat, for to thynke of êe Ioyes of Heuená, how
mekill blysse êare es, and how mekill Ioye; For êare
es no syná, no sorowe, no passioná, no payne, no hungre,
no thriste, no sare, no sekenes, no dowte, no drede, no schame,
no schenchipe, no defaute of yghte, ne lakkynge of lyghte, no wanttynge
of will; Bot thare es souerayne fairenes, lyghtnes, strenghe, Fredomá,
hele, lykynge aylastande, wysedomá, lufe, pees, wirchipe,f
sekirnes, ryste, Ioy and blysse with-owttená end. The more
êat êou thynkis and felis êe wrechidnes of êis
lyfe the more frequently sall êou desire êe Ioye and
êe riste of êat blyssede lyfe. Many mená er couetouse
of werldly wyrchips and erthely reches, and thynkes nyghte and day,
dremande and wakande, how and what maner êay myghte wynág
êare-to, and for-getes êe mynde of thaymá selfe
of êe paynes of helle and of êe Ioyes of Heuená.
Sothely êay are noghte wyse: Thay ere lyke vn-to êe
childir êat rynnes aftire buttyrflyes, and, for êay
luke noghte to thaire fete, êay fall sumtyme, and brekes êaire
legges. What es all êe wirchipe and êe pompe of êis
werlde in reches and Iolyte, bot a buttirflye? Sothely noghte elles,
and 3itt mekill lesse. Thare-fore I praye êe, be êou
couetouse of êe Ioyes of Heuená, and êou sall
hafe wirchipe and reches êat euer more sall laste. For at
êe laste ende, whená werldly couetouse mená
brynges no gud in thaire handis, (for all êe wirchipes &
rechese er turned to noghte saue sorowe and payne,) Thaná
sall heuenly couetous mená êat forsakes trewly all
vayne wyrchips of êis werlde,
----or ells if êay
hafe wirchips & reches êay sett noghte êaire lykynge
ne êaire lufe in thaymá, Bot ay in drede, in meknes,
in hope, and in sorowe sum-tymá, and habydesj êe mercy
of Godd paciently, ----êay sall êaná hafe
fully êat êay hase couetid, For thay sall be coround
as kynges, and sitt vpe with oure Lorde Ihesu in êe blysse
of Heuená. |Also for to think of the mercy of our Lord that he has
showed to thee and to me, and to all sinful caitiffsa that have been
cumbered in sin, shut up so long in the devil's prison, how our Lord
suffered us patiently in our sin, and took no vengeance of us, as
he might right-fully have done, and put us into hell, if his mercy
had not restrained him. But for love he spared us, he had pity of
us, and sent his grace into our hearts, and called us out of our sin,
and by his grace has turned our will wholly to himself, for to have
him, and for his love to forsake all manner of sin. The minding of
this mercy and this goodness made, with other circumstances more than
I can or may rehearse now, brings into my soul great trust in our
Lord and full hope of salvation, and it kindles desire of love mightily
to the joys of heaven.c Also for to think of the wretchedness, the
mischiefs, and the perils, bodily and ghostly,d that befall in this
life, and after that, for to think of the joys of heaven, how much
bliss there is, and how much joy; for there is no sin, no sorrow,
no suffering, no pain, no hunger, no thirst, no sore, no sickness,
no doubt, no dread, no shame, no disgrace, no default of might, nor
lacking of light, no wanting of will. But there is sovereigne fairness,
lightness, strength, freedom, health, liking everlasting, wisdom,
love, peace, honor, security, rest, joy, and bliss without end. The
more that thou think and feel the wretchedness of this life, the more
frequently shalt thou desire the joy and the rest of that blessed
life. Many men are covetous of worldly honors and earthly riches,
and think night and day, dreaming and waking, how and what manner
they might add thereto, and forget the reminding of themselves of
the pains of hell and of the joys of heaven. Verily they are not wise.
They are like unto the children that run after butterflies, and, because
they look not to their feet, they fall sometimes, and break their
legs. What is all the honor and the pomp of this world in riches and
jollity, but a butterfly? Verily nought else, and yet much less. Therefore
I pray thee, be thou covetous of the joys of heaven, and thou shall
have honor and riches that evermore shall last. For at the last end,
when worldly covetous menh bring no good in their hands, (for all
the honor and riches are turned to nought save sorrow and pain,) then
shall heavenly covetous meni that forsake truly all vain honors of
|----or else if they have honors and riches they
set not their liking nor their love in them, but always in fear, in
meekness, in hope, and in sorrow sometime, and await the mercy of
God patiently, ----they shall then have fully that which they
have coveted, for they shall be crowned as kings, and sit up with
our Lord Jesus in the bliss of heaven.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ------
a That is, captives, but may also mean a wretched or miserable person.
b Speared, archaic, meaning shut up or confined.
c That is, mightily kindles desire for love of the joys of heaven.
d = spiritual.
e = surpassing, superior.
f That is, worship, which is constantly used in old writers for honor.
So always in what follows.
g Win usually = gain in old writers.
h = men covetous of worldly things.
i = men covetous of heavenly things.
j That is abides, meaning awaits.
Ï Stray Notes on the English Bible Ï
by the Editor
Cannot Away With
Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination
unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot
away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn assembly. So we read
in Isaiah 1:13 in the common English Bible. But what is meant by cannot
away with? This is one of the very few expressions in the King James
Version which is so archaic that, in itself, it is likely to mean little
to modern readers. Yet the context seems to require the meaning I
cannot endure, or cannot stomach, though this seems
to be the virtual opposite of what we would expect away with
to mean. Yet such is its actual meaning
----though how I cannot
away with came to mean I cannot endure is beyond my
ken. Suffice it to say that the expression was once a common English idiom.
A few examples of its use follow:
Job 6:7, Coverdale Bible, 1535
----The thinges that sometyme
I might not awaye withall, are now my meat for very sorow. Sometyme
means once, or formerly ----the things
that once I could not endure. King James Version: the things
that my soul refused to touch.
Job 33:20, Coverdale Bible, 1535
----he laieth sore punyshment
vpon his bones, so that his life may awaye with no bred & his soule
abhorreth to eate eny meate. King James Version: his life
Matthew 19:10-11, Tyndale, 1534
----Then sayde his disciples
to hym: yf the mater be so betwene man and wyfe/ then is it not good to
mary. He sayde vnto them: all men can not awaye with that saying save
they to whom it is geven. The meaning is, All men cannot endure
Luke 5:39, Tyndale, 1534
----Also/ no man yt drinketh olde
wine strayght waye can awaye with newe/ for he sayeth ye olde is plesaunter.
The Oxford English Dictionary cites an instance of the usage of the expression
as late as 1869, and it may perhaps be found yet among those who breathe
the air of the King James Bible.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -
George Whitefield on Study
upon CHRIST'S immediate teachings, without making use of books and proper
means of instruction, you may assure yourself is a terrible temptation.
It is the very quintessence of enthusiasm [fanaticism, that is], and will
lay you open to a thousand delusions. `Give thyself to reading,' says
Paul to Timothy. If thou cannot think of being a Latin, strive to be an
English scholar. ----The Works of George Whitefield, London: vol.
II, 1771, pg. 189.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
J. C. Ryle on Bible Study
----It is neglect
of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom
they hear. They would have us believe that `they are not learned, and
do not pretend to have decided opinions.' The plain truth is that they
are lazy and idle about reading the Bible, and do not like the trouble
of thinking for themselves. Nothing supplies false prophets with followers
so much as spiritual sloth under a cloak of humility. ----Expository
Thoughts, on Matthew 7:12-20.
Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske
Rescue Mission Books
At the head of the list of books on rescue mission work must stand the
Water Street Mission books
----the life of Jerry McAuley, and Sam
Hadley's matchless Down in Water Street. Of those I have spoken elsewhere,
and will not repeat here what I have said there. There are a number of
other books on rescue missions, however, which are worthy of mention.
First in time is The Old Brewery, and the New Mission House at The Five
Points, by Ladies of the Mission. This is a book of 304 pages, published
in 1854. The Five Points was a district of the most wretched
squalor in the city of New York, inhabited by the lowest sort of people.
The Ladies' Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church
secured an old brewery in this district, and erected on its site a large
mission house, containing school rooms, apartments, and of course an auditorium
for meetings. This book recounts the work after only four years of operations.
The beginning of the book, describing the Five Points, the erection of
the mission house, etc., is a little dull, but the larger portion of it
is taken up with detailed accounts of individual redemption, and some
of these are moving and edifying. Though the book avows that the purpose
of the mission is spiritual, some of these accounts seem to present a
mere cleaning up of the old man, without conversion. The mission at the
Five Points was no doubt one of the first rescue missions in the country,
if not the very first, preceding Jerry McAuley's mission by more than
twenty years. It differed from most later rescue missions in the fact
that much of its work was done with children.
In point of merit, the Mel Trotter Mission in Grand Rapids must be placed
high on the list. Its story is told in These Forty Years, by Melvin E.
Trotter. Portions of this are written in slang, which to my mind is a
detraction, but the book is edifying. Another by Trotter is Jimmie Moore
----slang throughout, but very well written, and one
of the most moving and precious accounts of the grace of God which I have
ever read. It is better than any fiction, and true. There is a small biography
of Trotter, by Fred C. Zarfas, published in 1950, and entitled Mel Trotter.
I have also a precious pamphlet of sixteen large pages, with many photographs,
entitled Silver Anniversary of the City Rescue Mission, Grand Rapids,
Michigan. The City Rescue Mission (as it was called at the beginning)
was then a great power for God, with meetings nightly, attended by thousands,
with hundreds of the most degraded of characters converted. The mission
still exists, but is scarcely a shadow of what it was. I spoke there a
few years ago, to a handful of gospel-hardened men, who attended the meeting
because it was required of them in order to get a bed for the night. The
man in charge at the mission instructed us not to say Amen
if we prayed at the beginning of the meeting, for the men would all bolt
for the door when they heard the word Amen ----and so
The Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago was also justly famed, but I have
seen no good book on it. A book there is, however, entitled The Pacific
Garden Mission, by Carl F. H. Henry, published in 1952. This book is worldly
and unspiritual in tone, as we might expect from one of the fathers of
----and five years after he published his baneful
Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. But in those days Fundamentalism
and Neo-evangelicalism were all one movement, and Harry Ironside wrote
the introduction to this book.
Another of the better of rescue mission books is Dave Ranney, or Thirty
Years on the Bowery, which is the author's autobiography, published in
1910 by the American Tract Society.
The Dragon and the Lamb, by Leon Tucker, briefly recounts the conversion
of a burlesque theater into the City Rescue Mission in Buffalo, New York.
The books contains accounts of a few of the converts.
There are a number of rescue mission books of a rather mediocre sort,
mostly of fairly recent date, and reflecting the general spiritual and
intellectual weakness of the modern church. They may be worth something,
however, especially to those who cannot find the better works, and I therefore
list a few of them.
The Street of Forgotten Men, by John Vande Water, without date
strange book, most of its case histories being of those who heard the
gospel and were not converted.
Skid Row Stopgap, by Mel Larson, 1950.
Soup, Soap, and Salvation, Compiled by Pat B. Withrow, 1952. The author's
life story has also been published, as A Miracle of Grace, 1947.
Skid Row Life Line, by Arnold J. Vander Meulen, 1956.
Though the need which called rescue missions into existence is as great
as ever, the rescue missions are largely a thing of the past. Some of
them still exist, but alas, they too truly reflect the declining spiritual
state of the modern church, and are scarcely a shadow of what they once
were. Yet every large city in America is full of dens of iniquity, and
the streets and hovels of every such city are teeming with the wrecks
and derelicts of humanity, male and female, with none to save them. Oh,
for laborers! This is no easy work
----probably not half so easy
as most of the foreign mission work which is carried on by the church
today. It requires men who know the true gospel of God, which saves men
from their sins ----for the gospel which is usually preached at
missions today only hardens men in their sins. But more, this work requires
men (and women) who are filled from head to foot with the love of God,
who have a burden and a vision and a purpose and a passion to heal the
broken-hearted and set at liberty the captives. The reading of these books
may contribute something to the making of such laborers.
OP&AL is a testimony, not a forum. Old articles are printed without
alteration (except for correction of misprints) unless stated otherwise,
and are inserted if the editor judges them profitable for instruction
or historical information, without endorsing everything in them. The editor's
own views are to be taken from his own writings.