« PreviousContinue »
Church of Rome, yet it has changed Sec. 6, of Chap. xxv, so as to make it agree with accepted facts. Instead of reading, Sec. 2, Chap. xxix, “The popish sacrifice of the Mass,” the revised Confession, if adopted, will read, “the Roman Catholic doctrine of the sacrifice of the Mass.” The unqualified statement in Sec. 2, of Chap. xxx, that the officers of the Church" have power respectively to retain and remit sins," is so modified as to read, that the power thus given them is “ministerial and declarative.” A few
" changes of important words also have been made, but the reason for the same is so clear as to need no explanation in this connection.
Communications from various sources were received by your Committee asking for the publication of this Report before the spring meetings of the Presbyteries, in order that it might be considered at that time, and Commissioners to the Assembly be elected who would fairly represent the views of the majority of the members on the proposed changes. It was impracticable to accede to this reasonable request. But, to meet the case in fact, .
, if not in form, the Committee would recommend that the General Assembly send this Report down to the Presbyteries for consideration, criticism, or amendments, with the request that they forward their criticisms and amendments in print or typewriter form by December 1, 1891, to the Secretary of the Revision Committee, and that said Committee be instructed to consider these commu. nications, and prepare its final Report for adoption, modification, or rejection by the General Assembly of 1892. Such procedure will have the happy effect of securing the coöperation of all the Presbyteries in a work that is felt by all to be most difficult, far-reaching, and important, and of affording your Committee time to review, and, if necessary, revise in a new light the changes which they have made.
The alterations, amendments and additions which the Revision Committee is prepared to recommend to the General Assembly are the following:
NOTE.-The changes recommended are in italics.
OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURE.
V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem for the Holy Scripture. And the truthfulness of the history, the faithful witness of prophecy and miracle, the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word, in our hearts.
Sections i and ii unchanged, Sections iii and iv stricken out; and Section v amended so that [new] Section iii will read:
III. God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath predestinated sone of man. kind unto life, and hath particularly and unchangeably chosen them in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions or causes, moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.
Section vi remains unchanged and becomes Section iv. Sec. tion vii was amended, and becomes Section v, and is as follows:
V. The rest of mankind, God was pleased according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extendeth or with. holdeth mercy as He pleaseth, not to elect unto everlastiny life, but to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice; yet so as thereby neither is any limitation put upon the offer of salvation to all, upon condition of faith in Christ; nor is restraint laid upon the freedom of any one to hinder his acceptance of this offer. VI. Section viii remains unchanged and becomes Section vi.
I. It pleased God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom and good. ness, in the beginning, to create of nothing, the universe, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, and all very good. The heavens and the earth, with all that they contain, were made by Him in six creative days.
OF THE FALL OF MAN, OF SIN, AND OF THE PUNISHMENT THEREOF.
IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly in. disposed, disabled, and made opposite to all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to evil, do proceed all actual transgressions. Nevertheless, the Providence of God, and the common operations of His Spirit, restrain unregenerate men from much that is evil, and lead them to exercise many social and civil virtues.
OF GOD'S COVENANT WITH MAN.
III. Man by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by
at covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly
Section iv was stricken out, Section v becomes Section iv.
I. The Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Trinity, being very
1 Cor. ii, 11. 22 Cor. xiii, 14. Gal. v, 22, 23. Eph. iv, 4-6. Heb. ix, 14.
II. The Holy Spirit who of old revealed to men in various ways the mind and will of God, bath fully and authoritatively made known this mind and will in all things pertaining to life and salvation in the sacred Scriptures,' holy men of God speaking therein as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;' and these Scriptures, being so inspired, are the infallible Word of God, the supreme rule of faith and duty. –'1 Cor. ii, 10-13. Heb. i, 1, 2. John xvi, 13. ?Acts i, 16. 2 Tim. iii, 15, 16. 2 Peter i, 21. 31 Thess. ii, 13. John v, 39. Col. iii, 16.
III. The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, is every: where present among men, confirming the teachings of nature and the law of God written on the heart, restraining from evil and inciting to good; and is the source of all the wisdom, virtue, and reverence for God found in men, and of all the peace and good order in society; thus preparing the way for the Gospel wherever it is preached. He everywhere accompanies the Gospel with His persuasive energy, and urges its message upon the unregenerate, enlightening their minds concerning divine things, quickening their consciences, and drawing them by His grace, so that they who reject the merciful offer of the Gospel are not only without excuse, but are also guilty of resisting the Holy Spirit.'—'Joel ii, 28. John i, 9. Rev. xxii, 17. Rom. x, 18. Rom. i, 19, 20; ii, 14, 15. ?John xvi, 8. Isa. ixiii, 10. Acts ii, 16–18. Acts vii, 51; xxiv, 25. Heb. x, 29.
IV. The Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in applying and communicating redemption. He effectually calls sinners to new life in Christ Jesus, regenerating them by His almighty grace, freeing them from the bondage of sin and death, and persuading and enabling them to embrace Jesus Christ by faith. He dwells in all believers as their Comforter and Sanctifier, and as the Spirit of adoption and of supplication, leading them into all the truth, making the means of grace efficacious in their edification, strengthening them for all duty, sustaining them in all asliction, and forming all other gracious offices by which they are sanctified, sealed, and made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.
John iii, 5. 2 Cor. v, 5, 17. Rom. viii, 2. 1 Cor. xii, 3. 2 Cor. vii, 10. ?John i, 12 ; xiv, 17. Rom. viii, 15, 26, 27. Gal. v, 5, 22. Jude 20, 21. Eph. iii, 16; iv, 30. 2 Thess. ii, 13. Col. i, 12.
V. By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit all believers are vitally united to Christ, who is the head, and are thus united to one another in the Church, which is His body.' He calls and anoints ministers for their holy office. He also calls and qualifies all other officers in the Church for their special work, and imparts various gifts and graces to its members.' He gives efficacy to the Word and to the ordinances of the Gospel; keeps the Church from apostasy, revives it in times of declension, and
enables it to bear effectual testimony to the truth. By Him the Church has been and will be preserved, increased, and purified, until it shall cover the earth, and at last be presented to Christ a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing: 11 Tim. iii, 15. Eph. i, 22, 23; iii, 10; iv, 16. Acts xiii, 2. 1 Cor. ii, 4. *Eph. iv, 3, 4. 1 Tim. iv, 1. Joel ii, 28. Acts ii, 17. Matt. xxviii, 18–20. “Eph. v, 27. Rev. v, 11-13; xi, 15.
CHAPTER IX (x). OF FREE WILL.
III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether indisposed to that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto. Yet is his responsibility as a free moral agent not thereby impaired.
The chapter “Of the Universal Offer of the Gospel ” becomes Chapter xi, and the number of all succeeding chapters is increased by two.
OF THE UNIVERSAL OFFER OF THE GOSPEL,
I. God so loved the world that He provided in the covenant of grace, through the mediation and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, a way of life and salvation sufficient for and adapted to the whole lost race of man;' and He doth freely offer this salvation to all men in the Gospel.'— Rom. i, 16. 2 Cor. v, 19. Eph. i, 10. Col. i, 20. Heb. ix, 26; x, 14. 1 John i, 7; ii, 2. 'Luke xxiv,
, 1 47. Acts ii, 39; xiii, 47. Col. i, 23.
II. The Gospel declares the love of God for the world,' and His desire for the salvation of all men. It sets forth fully and clearly the only way of salvation, which is through Christ alone ;: promises that all who truly repent and believe in Him shall be saved;" commands, exhorts, and invites all to embrace the offered mercy; and urges every motive to induce men to accept its gracious invitations. This free and universal offer of the Gospel is accompanied by the Holy Spirit,o striving with and entreating men to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.-John iii, 16. 1 John iv, 14. 'Ezek. xxxiii, 11. Matt. xxiii, 37. Luke xix, 41, 42.
' 1 Tim. ii, 4. 'Isa. liii, 5. Matt. i, 21. Luke ii, 30–32. 1 Cor. i, 30; iii, 11. 1 Tim. ii, 5, 6; iii, 16. *John v, 24; vi, 47; xx, 31. Acts ii, 38; iii, 19; x, 43; xvi, 31. Rom. x, 9-11. Isa. lv, 1-3. Matt. xi, 28-30. Mark i, 15; viii, 36. Luke iv, 18. John vii, 37. Acts xvii, 30. 2 Cor. v, 20. John xvi, 8–11. _Acts ii, 17; x, 44, 45; xvi, 14. 1 Cor. ii, 4. Titus iii, 5, 6. Heb. ii, 4. Rev. xxii, 17.
III. It is the duty and privilege of every one who hears the Gospel immediately to accept its merciful provisions. Great guilt and danger are incurred by delay or neglect. And they who