Stuart Robinson.

Discourses of redemption : as revealed at sundry times and in divers manners, designed both as Biblical expositions for the people and hints to theological students ... online

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Sec



\



\



DISCOURSES



OF



REDEMPTION:



AS REVEALED AT



"SUNDRY TIMES AND IN DIVERS MANNERS,"



DESIGNED BOTH AS



BIBLICAL EXPOSITIONS FOR THE PEOPLE AND HINTS
TO THEOLOGICAL STUDENTS



OP A POPULAR METnOD OP EXHIBITING THE



" DIVERS" REVELATIONS THROUGH PATRIARCHS, PROPHETS,
JESUS, AND HIS APOSTLES.



BY EEV. STUAET KOBINSON, "

PASTOB OF THE SECOND CHTTRCH, LOUISVILLE, AND LATE PBOFESSOR 09

CHURCH GOVEBN3IENT AND PASTORAL THEOLOQT AT

DANVILLE, KENTUCKY.



THIRD AMEKICAN EDITION.



RICHMOND:

PEESBYTERIAN COMMITTEE OF PUBLICATION.



Entered according to Act of Congress, In 1806, by Rev. Stuart Robinson, in the
Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United Sfates in and for the District
of Kentucky.



PREFACE



That the noble conception of British and American Chris-
tians, half a century since, of the Bible, " the religion of
Protestants," in every household has produced its fruits, is
evinced in the general Bible Renaissance of our age — as
seen in the elaborate Biblical disquisitions of infidelity itself ;
in the multiplication of learned critical helps for the exposi-
tions of scripture ; and, more than all, in the almost innu-
merable issues of expositions and illustrations of scripture
to meet the general demand for such knowledge among the
people.

However we may account for the fact, this Renaissance
has not yet manifested itself in an equal degree in the pulpit
— that divinely appointed agency for the special and autho-
ritative teaching of the Word of God to the people. With
the exception of perhaps a slight increase of the expository
lecture, the prevailing method of preaching is still that of
theological disquisition, ethical essay, rhetorical, persuasive
or emotional appeal — founded upon a shred of the Sacred
Text chosen as a motto, or, at best, as suggesting simply the
theological topic of the occasion. Whereas the true theory
of preaching as gathered from the scriptures, manifestly
assumes its purpose to be the showing of the people how to
read the Word of God ; and leading them to feel that '^ this
day is the scripture fulfilled m their ears," and that these



IV PREFACE.

are the words of a Jesu3 who not only spahe by holy men of
old, but who is now speaking with living utterance to the
men of this generation.

Having, through a ministry of twenty years, to congrega-
tions variously composed, in four different cities, been accus-
tomed, in pursuance of the latter theory of preaching, to
appropriate one of the public services of the Sabbath to
showing the people how to read the scriptures, and to follow
the development of the one great central thought of the Book
throuf'-h the successive eras of revelation — the author can
testify from practical experience that the people need no
other attraction to draw them to the house of God than a
simple, rational and practical exposition and illustration of the
Bible. And he who may once attract them by such teaching
will find no occasion for devising sermons on special subjects,
or any other theatrical devices to draw men to the sanctuary.
The author's first experiment was in a congregation composed
largely of the professional and public men that gather in the
capital of a state ; his last experiment in a city of colleges and
in a congregation composed in large measure of professional
men and students in every stage of professional education ;
in two intervening experiments in commercial cities among
business men. And his experience is, that with all classes
alike the preaching which aims most directly at making the
scriptures a living message from God to men, translating
them into the current forms of thought -and speech, is more
permanently attractive than any other. Perhaps the most
encouraging assurance he ever received that his labours were
profitable to hearers, was in a recent testimony from the



PREFACE. V

Students of Arts, Law, Medicine and Theology in the various
institutions of learning in Toronto, which specially and very
intelligently pointed out the bcnoSts which they considered
themselves to have received from the exposition of the gospel
in the order of the successive revelations, under the several
covenants in the history of redemption.

The present volume is the result of an attempt to give per-
manent form, so far as oral instruction can be transferred to
the printed page, to such outline specimens of the author's
Biblical Expositions in the several sections of the inspired
Word as might be most suggestive to younger preachers in
their attempts to develop the various parts of Scripture to the
comprehension of the people, and at the same time be instruc-
tive to Christians, and inquirers, and other earnest persons
troubled with doubts touching the inspiration or the doctrines
of the Bible. From the titles of the several sections, it
will be seen that this is not a collection of miscellaneous
discourses, but a logical development of the gospel in the
order of its communication. And from the titles of the several
discourses under each section it will be seen that the general
aim is to discuss some of the more germinal points of each
revelation. Want of space for the full execution of his plan
has compelled the author to omit several subjects embraced
in the programme originally, and has suggested the purpose,
if the present effort is acceptable to the public, to prepare a
second series of " Discourses of Redemption," filling up more
completely this outline, while yet constituting a volume com-
plete in itself, devoted more especially to the great cardinal
truths developed in the symbols of the Protestant Reformation.



VI PREFACE.

Of course students and others accustomed to more exact
forms of presenting religious truth will not expect to find in
this volume the precise and scientific style of discussion of
the systems of divinity ; nor must literary critics look for the
carefulness and finish of the religious essay where the author
is aiming to transfer spoken language, in its popular forms,
to the printed page. It is hoped, however, that students will
find many valuable suggestive hints ; and that earnest-minded
persons — whether Christian believers, or inquirers after the
way of salvation, or those harassed and tempted by sceptical
doubts — may find these discourses of some advantage to them.

In the Appendix, the author has discussed two or three
points having a direct relation to the subjects of the discourses
— especially the place of the Church in the scheme of Re-
demption, its ordinances of public worship, and its relation to
the Civil Government — in a more elaborate manner than
suited the style and limits of a sermon. The conviction grows
upon him daily, that the questions there discussed have a far
higher importance in the Gospel system than that hitherto
attached to them by the Protestant ministry ; and that these
are destined to be the great questions of the next ten years
both in the British and American Churches.

New Yoek, March 26 th, 1866.



CONTENTS.



INTRODUCTORY DISCOURSES
DISCOURSE I.

THE DIVERSITY I:N UNITY OF THE llEVELATION OF REDEMPTION.

Hebrews i. 1, 2, and ii. 1-4.

PAGB

The passages stand in the relation of premise and conclusion. The
Apostle reasons to directly an opposite conclusion from this pre-
mise from that of the Rationalist and the Romanist. Significance
of the Apostle's premise. Fallacies of the Rationalistic reasoning
from the diversities of scripture —of the reasonings of the Romanist.
False views of Church diversities 17

Significance of the Apostle's reasoning. The compound syllogism.
"With whom he does not reason here? What is assumed of those
with whom he reasons. The force and solemnity of the Apostle's
conclusions 31

DISCOURSE II.

THE SCRIPTURES OP THE "SUNDRY TIMES" INSPIRED OF GOD:
THE ONLY SOURCE OF SAVING KNOWLEDGE: THE ANTIDOTE
TO PEKILOUS ERROR.

II. Timothy iii. 1, IG.

Features of the perilous times. Why the scriptures are antidotes to
such perils. The logical and exhaustive character of the classifi-
eation of their uses — for doctrine — reproof — correction — instruc-
tion in righteousness. Inspired, in what sense, and to what extent.
Difficulties of the theory of inspiration far less than the difficulties
of unbelief. Divine adaptation of scripture to doctrine, reproof,
correction, instruction in righteousness 37



SECTION I.
DISCOURSE III.



REDEMPTION AS REVEALED TO THE PATRIARCHS IN THE THEO-
PHANIES. THE GOSPEL COVENANT AND WORSHIP OF THE
LOST EDEN.

Genesis ii. 8-17; iii. 15, 21, and iv. 4.

Principles of the interpretation of these ancient records. The estate
of man anterior to Eden. The Eden covenant of works. The



VIII CONTENTS.

PAGE

rationale thereof. Its reasonableness and adaptation to the case
of man as a new order of being, from whom a race of beings is to
be propagated. The third estate of sin without hope. The fourth
estate ; the sinner with a gospel preached. Analysis of the Eden
gospel ; its eight points of doctrine. Evidences of the exercise of
true faith under the Eden gospel. How Christ crucified was
preached. The manner, place and time of the worship of the first
sinners. The germinal Church instituted at Eden — substantially
the same with the Church still existing 57



DISCOURSE IV.

THE GOSrEL CHURCH VISIBLE SEPARATELY ORGANIZED: ITS
COVENANT CHARTER WITH ITS SEAL: ITS CONSTITUENT
ELEMENTS.

Genesis xvii. 4, 7, 10, 11, 13.~Romans iv. 11.— Mark x. 14.

Importance of the study of the Old, as the key to the New Testament.
Remarkable prominence of Abraham in scripture. Why, at this
era, an organization of the Chureh as distinct from the family.
Era of Abraham in the history of redemption, analagous to the
fourth day in the history of creation. How shown that this is the
origin of the visible Church as a separate organization — The
charter — its seal. Constituent elements not individuals merely
but as representing families. Relation of children to the visible
Church — to the invisible. Argument for the safety of all the
dead children 75



SECTIOlSr II.

EEDEMPXION AS REVEALED IN THE LAWS AND ORDINANCES OF
THE THEOCRATIC ERA.

DISCOURSE V.

THE COVEN- ANT OP THE CHURCH'S REDEJUPTION ; ITS SEAL
AND THE SIGNIFICANCE THEREOF.

Exodus xii. 3, 7, 11-14.— Luke xxii. 15, 20.— I Corinthians v. 7, 8.

Significance of the Passover Covenant. Its relations to preceding
and succeeding covenants. Two great classes of truths exhibited
in the institution and observance of the first Passover. Objective
truths — Retributive justice of God — An elect covenant people
— Vicarious atonement for sin. Subjective truths — Tendencies
to unbelief— to cavil — obscure faith — feeble faith — strong faith.
Free offer of mercy 101



CONTENTS. IX

DISCOURSE VI.

THE GOSPEL OF THE SIXA[ COVENANT: ITS RULE OF LIFE TO
CONVICT OF SIN: ITS RITUAL TO TEACH THE TAKING AWAY
OF SIN: AND ITS MOULDING OF THE SOCIAL ORDER AS A
TYPE OF CHRIST'S SPIRITUAL COMMONWEALTH.

Exodus xix. 3-6, xx. 1-17, xxiv. 7-9.— Deuteronomy v. 2, 3, 22, vi. 1-5, x. 1-5.

PAGE
Circumstances of this covenanting. Facts touching the Sinai revela-
tions. Their nature and purpose. This a covenant with tlie C hurch
— as representative of the Church in all ages — spiritual in its
significancy — fuller development of previous covenants. In this
view of it lies the key to the interpretation of the last four books
of the Pentateuch. Israel stood at Sinai in three aspects, and with
reference to each the revelations were made. Its chief purpose
to give the Church a law to convince of sin ; and ritual to teach the
taking away of sin and purification of the nature. Rationale of
teaching by symbols. Popular view of the Mosaic laws as repealed
erroneoiis 119



SECTION III

EEDEMPTION AS REVEALED THROUGH THE-SPIRIT OF 'CHRIST IX
THE PROPHETS.

DISCOURSE VII.

THE-OOSPEL CHURCH BY COVENANT TYPICALLY SET FORTH
AS THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF DAVID'S SON.

II. Samuel vii. 1-24.— Psalm Ixxii. 1, 8, 17.— xxxix 3, 4.— Luko i. 32,— Acts ii. 30.

The origin of the covenant with David historically considered. Its
importance appreciated by David as placing hira in the sphere of
Adam, Noah and Abraham. This covenant the key to all the
subsequent parts of the Old Testament; explains the prominence
of David and Solomon in the history of redemption ; develops the
kingly office of the mediator. Hence at the opening of the New
Testament dispensation the theme of the gospel is, " The kingdom
of heaven is at hand." Practical lessons from these views — the
importance of the churchly element in the gospel — the kingship
of Christ obscured by confounding the secular and spiritual
powers — the conversion of a sinner brings him into a new citizen-
ship — the evil tendencies of ignoring the Church 141



X CONTENTS.

DISCOURSE VIII.

THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM IN CONFLICT WITH AN APOSTATE
CHURCH; AND WITH DESPONDING FAITH.

I Kings xviii. 17-20, and xix. 1-14.
PART I.

PAGE

History of the apostasy of Israel. The crisis on Mount Oarmel. Its
representative character. Whom the prophet represents. The
fire test — why chosen. Ridicule a just method with imposture.
Victory of faith on Oarmel 159

PART II.

Fury of the Baal representative. Failure of faith. Effort at se.f-
restoration by will worship. Readiness to die as an evidence of
piety. The lessons of Horeb. Faith restored 179

DISCOURSE IX.

aHE gospel OF PARDONING MERCY AS PREACHED BY THE
PROPHETS OF THE KINGDOM.

Isaiah i. 10-18.

Of whom the prophet speaks, and to whom he makes the offer of mercy.
The gospel ever an appeal to reason. Why sin must be the first
question reasoned with God. What elements of aggravation?
enter into the sins of " scarlet and red like crimson." The
grounds of this assurance of pardon 193



SECTION IV.

REDEMPTION AS TAUGHT BY JESUS THE INCARNATE WORD.

DISCOURSE X.

THE OFFICIAL AUTHORrTY, NATURE, LIMITS, AND PURPOSES
OP GOSPEL PREACHING.

Luke iv. 16-21.

The condition of the typical kingdom at the opening of Christ's min-
istry. This may he considered the inauguration discourse of the
New Testament ministry, to take the i^lace of priests and prophets.
The qualification for th3 office. The commission to speak authori-



♦ CONTENTS. XI )

PAGE j

tatirely. The security a^^ainst abuse of the authority lies in con- \

fining the minister strictly to the functions of his office, viz., — |

" To preach the gospel " — nothing else. Manner of preaching — to |

aim to meet the capacities of the poor. The purposes of preach- ]

ing — to comfort the heart-broken, in a world full of sin, and there- 1

fore of sorrow — to deliver the captives — to restore spiritual j

vision — to hold forth a power to overcome sin — to proclaim an i

ever-present, ever-ready Saviour 207 \

DISCOURSE XI. I

j

THE GROUND OF OUR SALVATION NOT ETHICAL BUT EVAN- '<

GELICAL; AND LIES WHOLLY IN THE INFINITE DESIRE OF
FATHER, SON AND SPIRIT TO SAVE SINNERS.

Luke XV.

This chapter contains a discourse of Jesus, in three parts, in reference
to ethical religionists. Method of the argument. Designed in the
three parables, to represent severally the mediator, the Spirit
working in the Church, and the Father receiving sinners. !

Sympathy of heavenly orders in the work. The true analogies
for interpreting the gospel are the heart impulses rather than \

ethical reasonings. Picture of the straying soul — and of the love \

of the Father. Portraiture of ethical religionism in the elder
brothe" 22T

DISCOURSE XII.

''HE AWARD OF THE JUDGMENT TO COME TO BE MADE ON \

PRINCIPLES NOT ETHICAL BUT EVANGELICAL. |

Matthew xxv. 31-46.

Connection of this judgment scene as the peroration of the discourse
begun in Matthew, chapter xxiv, concerning the close of the two

dispensations. Sublime views of the close of the present dis- i

pensation. The assize— the award. On what principle made? i

Mistakes concerning the principles of the award. Tlie six acts j

cited a logical and exhaustive summary of human acts. What !

think you of Christ ? the pivot upon which all turns. This tost \

universally applicable. Its application to this age of the Church.. 251 j

DISCOURSE XIII. I

THE DIVINE TRAGEDY OF EARTH. HEAVEN AND HELL— HUMANITT

IN ITS OWN ESSENTIAL ATTRIBUTES TO INHABIT ETERNITY ]

Luke xvi. 19-31. '

Occasion of this utterance. The heroes of the tragedy in contrast on J

earth, preparatory to an infinite contrast after death. Meaning



XII CONTENTS.

PAGE

of " carried to Abraham's bosom." The life and immortality
taught by Jesus, is a transfer of the sinless, pleasures of
life over death. Christ's estimate of the value of services.
Rich and poor on a level at death. Fallacies of the argument
against a hell. The dialogue between hell and heaven. Prayer
too late— the real monument of every man's life. Hell the just
award of retribution. Hell the natural and necessary sequence
of a sinful life. The insincerity of unbelief. Scepticism comes
from want of heart, not want of proof 269

DISCOURSE XIV.

REDEMPTION AS PREACHED AT THE FINAL APOSTASY OF
THE TYPICAL KIXaOOM, IN THE "LIFTING UP" AND THE
"PIERCING" OF JESUS ON THE CROSS.

John xix. 15 37; iii. 14, andxii. 32, 33.

'Final act of aposta?y of the typical kingdom. Why the inspired word-
pictures of his death exhibit him surrounded with relative objects.
The hand-washing magistrate. Relative pictures — humanity
receiving the gospel from the cross. Central figure — circumstan-
ces attending his last hours on the cross. His death expiatory
or the facts inexplicable. Note — Blasphemous criticism of Dr.
Bushnell. The prophetic chorus around the cross. The cross-
preached gospel full of comfort , 295



SECTION V.



KEDEMPTION AS PREACHED BY APOSTLES UNDER-THE DISPEN-
SATION OF THE SPIRIT.

DISCOURSE XV.

THE APOSTOLIC STATEMENT OF THE TERMS OF SALVATION.

Acts. xvi. 29 31.

This an actual case arising, and just such precedent as we need. The
miracle does not affect the case. Place of miracles in the
gospel. Two things only to be understood — the object of faith
"the Lord Jesus Christ" — and the subjective act — "believe."
Why we hold forth Jesus Christ as the answer to inquiring sin-
ners. What it is to believe. Proof that this believing, without
respect to degree of strength, is all that the gospel demands to
secure acceptance 32 1



CONTENTS. XIII

DISCOURSE XVI.

THE APOSTOLIC SUMMARY OF THE CHRISTIAN CREED.

1 Timothy i. 15.

PAGB
The seven points involved in this comprehensive creed. The true key
to the meaning is in the spirit of the utterance. The gospel rests
on the assumptior of man a sinner condemned and helpless. How
consciousness attests the gospel teaching of sinfulness. Eeason
attests the gospel offer as faithful, worthy of all confidence—
the heart and moral nature, as worthy of acceptation. The
Apostles proof that Jesus will accept any who accept this saying. 343

DISCOURSE XVII.

THE APOSTOLIC GROUND OF CHRISTIAN COMFORT AMD COURAGE.

Romans viii. 28-31.

That God brings mercies out of apparent ills— specially atftested In
Christian experience. Tour classes of scoffers at the gospel view
of Providence. The natural Saduceeism. Transcendental Atheism
Theological Scepticism— Sentimental Scepticism. The last, bad
taste, worse theology and still worse logic. Who mny apply the
comfort — How determine whether we love God ? '• The called. •"
The key to the interpretation of this love — and also to all
that follows. Uelation of the gospel truths to the emotions.
Hence the error of making the 29th and 30th verses the battle-
ground of controversy. "The called" are further assured by the
purpose of election. The true end of predestination. Why all
real Christians must here practically agree. How this doctrine
meets all the necessities of the human soul 363-

DISCOURSE XVIII.



THE GOSPEL DOCTRINE OF IMMORTALITY CONTRASTED WITE
THAT OF THE SCHOOLS.

II Timothy i. 10— I Cor. xv. 22, 53, 54,

Prevalent mistakes concerning what the schools have taught. An
immortality of bliss has not, neither can be proved from reason
and natural religion. What in f\ict true philosophy does teach.
The gospel doctrine of the resurrection alone solves the puzzle of
the schools. The gospel teaching concerning "'Life and immor-
tality." The doctrine of the resurrection essential to any gospel
faith. Practical lessons 383.



XIV CONTENTS.

DISCOURSE XIX.

THE GOSPEL ALARUM, -ITS IMPORT.

Ephesians v. 11.

PAGS

Seeming abruptness of the Apostle — reason of it. The sieep and
death stupor the natural condition of men. It is a dreamy sleep.
The -waking from it at death — may be conceived of from partial
awakening before death. The drunken sleeper at Niagara. The
somnambulist girl. The awakening from Christ; who not only
awakes but gives aid. Ethical gospsls, mere guide-boards, useless
to a cripple. Different methods in which Christ gives light. The *
bast-eful urgency of the gospel calls ..,.,... 415



SECTION VI.

REDEMPTION AS PROCLAIMED BY JESUS ASCENDED; CONFIRMING
ALL THAT HAD BEE>f REVEALED AT THE "SUNDRY TIMES
AND IN DIVERS MANNERS."

DISCOURSE XX.

THE GOSPEL ADAPTED TO THE CONSCIODS WANTS OF THE
HUMAN SOUL; ITS ARGUMENTS, TERMS AND AGENCIES.-

Revelations xxii. 16-18.

Whence, when, and what, this message. The reference to the last of tho.
old covenants. Import of the term " water of life " — tendency of •
scriptures to generalizations — what the import of the '^ thirst." Tol
be understood in a general sense as well as of longing for salva*
tion by the special call of the Spirit. True inference from th©
unconscious prophecies of heathenism. The vision of the ship in.
the air by the pilgrims. The causes which develop a consciousness
of this thirst. They are natural and supernatural. The terms ara?
'' Freely." The agencies to bring thirsty soyls to the 'A'atwr of
life— natural and supernatural , 431



APPENDIX.



NOTE A. TO DISCOURSE IIL



THE RECENT OBJECTIOX IN TEIE CHURCH OP SCOTLAND CONCERN-
ING THE PERPETUAL OBLIGATION OF THE SINAI COVENANT,
AND ITS SABBATH.

PAGB

The argument founded upon the views presented in Discourse VI., the
most efifective method. The reasoning against the Sabbath
founded wholly upon insufficient and erroneous views of the
Sinai covenant. Errors of the friends of truth in stating the
grounds for legislation to protect the Sabbath 451



NOTE B. TO DISCOURSE lY.



THE PLACE OF THE CHURCH IN THE SCHEME OF REDEMPTION.

The science of Ecclesiology yet remains to be developed. Prejudice
against theoretical reasoning on the subject not accordant with
the spirit and method of scripture. Relation of the idea of the
Church to other points of Theology. The relation of the four
phases of Theology. — Papal, Zuinglian, Lutheran, and Calvinis-
tic. The latter theory naturally points to the central truth of
Ecclesiology in the mode of the divine purpose to save not merely
sinners individually but a body of sinners. This peculiarity of
the divine purpose must enter as an clement into the true defini-
tion of the Church. The Church visible the development of this
idea of the purpose of God. This view not exclusive of other
views of the Church. To the Church directly as an agency for
calling and training the elect have been given all the revelations,
ordinances, and promises, and not to the race at large as such.
General results from this view. The Church essentially one in
all ages. Proper definition of the Church. This view in accord-
ance with the Westminster Confession. And necessary to any
right understanding of what the scriptures teach of the Church.
The source of all Church power is Jesus Christ the Mediator.
The power delegated by him is vested neither in the people nor in
the officers, but in the body contemplated as such. The power
of rule is a joint power to be exercised by tribunals, 453

The distinction between the Civil power ordained of God, the Author
of Nature and llie Spiritual power ordained of Christ the
Mediator. The distinction, not arbitrary or incidental, but intrin-
sic and exclusive of the idea of a concurrent jurisdiction. The



XYI COXTEN'TS.

PAQB

three functions to be discharged — and the three offices. The
government of the Church is held forth in scripture as bj
tribunals 466



NOTE 0. TO DISCOURSE X



THE ORDINANCES OF PUBLIC WORSEIIP AS SET FORTH IN SCRIP-
TURE ; THEIR RELATION TO THE IDEA OF THE CHURCH.

"What arc the divinely appointed ordinances of worship — Rationale
thereof. The distinction between the acts of public worship and



Online LibraryStuart RobinsonDiscourses of redemption : as revealed at sundry times and in divers manners, designed both as Biblical expositions for the people and hints to theological students ... → online text (page 1 of 40)