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The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell (4 Volume Set)

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Full Title:
The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell (4 Volume Set)
Author:
James Henley Thornwell
Media:
Digital Download (Adobe PDF)
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Yes
PDF Index:
Embedded, Appended
Pages:
2698
File Size:
104.75 MB
Publisher:
Still Waters Revival Books

Resource Description

CONTENTS of The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell (Volume 1) Lectures on the Doctrine of God and on Divine Government by J.H. Thornwell:

THEOLOGICAL LECTURES.

  • LECTURE I. PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS.
  • LECTURE II. THE BEING OF GOD.
  • LECTURE III. MAN'S NATURAL IGNORANCE OF GOD.
  • LECTURE lV. THE NATURE AND LIMITS OF OUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. LECTURE V. THE NAMES OF GOD.
  • LECTURE VI. THE NATURE AND ATTRIBUTES OF GOD.
  • LECTURE VII. SPIRITUALITY OF GOD.
  • LECTURE VIII. THE INCOMMUNICABLE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD.
  • LECTURE IX. CREATION.
  • LECTURE X. MAN
  • LECTURE XI. MORAL GOVERNMENT.
  • LECTURE XII. THE COVENANT OF WORKS.
  • LECTURE XIII. ORIGINAL SIN.
  • LECTURE XIV. THE STATE AND NATURE OF SIN.
  • LECTURE XV. THE POLLUTION AND GUILT OF SIN.
  • LECTURE XVI. DEGREES OF GUILT.

THEOLOGY, ITS PROPER METHOD AND CENTRAL PRINCIPLE.

A REVIEW OF BRECKINRIDGE'S OBJECTIVE THEOLOGY.

THE PERSONALITY OF GOD.

NATURE OF OUR RELATION TO ADAM IN HIS FIRST SIN.

A REVIEW OF BAIRD'S ELOHIM REVEALED.

APPENDIX A.

DISCOURSE DELIVERED BY DR. THORNWELL, UPON BEING INAUGURATED AS PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY.

APPENDIX B.

QUESTIONS UPON THE LECTURES IN THEOLOGY.

APPENDIX C.

ANALYSIS OF CALVIN'S INSTITUTES, WITH NOTES AND COMMENTS.

APPENDIX D.

QUESTIONS ON CALVIN'S INSTITUTES.

CONTENTS of The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell (Volume 2), The Doctrines of Grace; Sermons; Discourses on Truth by J.H. Thornwell:

I. OUTLINE OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE AND TESTIMONY TO SUBLAPSARIANISM.

I. OUTLINE OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE.--

  • Recapitulation of the Heads to which Theology was reduced in the previous Lectures.
  • First head: Moral government as involving the relations of the creature to God as Creator and Ruler.
  • Second head: The Dispensation of the Covenant of Works.
  • Third head: The Dispensation of the Covenant of Grace, or Redemption.
  • Nature of the scheme of Redemption.
  • Principles common to it and the Covenant of Works.
  • Its distinctive peculiarities.
  • Logical order of the topics involved in the discussion of the Covenant of Grace.

II. SUBLAPSARIANS AND SUPRALAPSARIANS.--

  • 1. Moral significance of the distinction between these parties.
  • 2. The question whether the Divine decrees are conditioned.
  • 3. Three opinions as to the order of the Divine decrees.
  • 4. The state of the question between Sublapsarians and Supralapsarians. Reasons in support of Sublapsarianism.
  • 5. The true order of the Decrees. The New School order.

III. TESTIMONIES TO SUBLAPSARIANISM.--

  • 1. Helvetic Confession.
  • 2. Gallic Confession.
  • 3. Anglican Confession.
  • 4. Scotch Confession.
  • 5. Confession of Dort.
  • 6. Synod of Dort. IV.

PREDESTINATION AS HELD BY SUBLAPSARIANS.--

  • 1. The decree respects man as fallen. Objections to Supralapsarian view.
  • 2. The decree respecting man as fallen is absolutely sovereign.
  • 3. The decree is to everlasting life, and the means to that end.
  • 4. The decree is eternal.
  • 5. (1.) Sublapsarian order of the decrees. (2.) Supralapsarian order. (3.) General-atonement-Calvinists' order. Redemption includes the general proposition of salvation.

II. THEOLOGY AS A LIFE IN INDIVIDUALS AND IN THE CHURCH: BEING A REVIEW OF BRECKINRIDGE'S SUBJECTIVE THEOLOGY.

  • An account of the design of Dr. Breckinridge's work.
  • 1. Remarks upon the first point of the first book--the posture of the world under the condemnation of sin as modified by grace.
  • 2. Upon the second point--the nature and provisions of the Covenant of Grace.
  • 3. The third point--the conditions of the covenant with respect to the sinner. Strictures upon the author's views. Faith maintained as the sole condition.
  • 4. Upon the main subject of the treatise--the exhibition of the work of grace upon the human soul.
  • 5. Upon the doctrine of the book as to the Church. The nature of the Church. Its relation to the State and to secular institutions.
  • 6. Upon Dr. Breckinridge's views as to the future of the kingdom of God.
  • 7. Estimate of the merits of the work.

III. THE NECESSITY AND NATURE OF CHRISTIANITY.

  • Description of the Apostle Paul at Athens.
  • Analysis of his sermon on Mars' Hill. Effects of the sermon.
  • 1. The necessity of Christianity does not spring simply from man's ignorance. Its necessity not that of a mere revelation. Not simply a republication of natural religion. Christianity discriminated from natural religion. Peculiar contents of each system. Necessity of Christianity that of a scheme which contemplates a work to be done as well as truths to be revealed.
  • 2. The necessity of Christianity does not arise from the want of a new principle of government. It does not make sin pardonable upon mere repentance. Maintains the principle of distributive justice. Provides for the pardon of sin in consistency with that principle.
  • 3. The necessity of Christianity not a necessity created by the demands of governmental policy. The theory of mediation which grounds it upon public policy discussed. Dr. Wardlaw's views considered.
  • 4. The necessity and nature of Christianity as a scheme which reconciles the pardon of the guilty with the perfections of God and the principles of His government. The distinctive provisions of Redemption.

IV. ELECTION AND REPROBATION.

  • I. A precise statement of these doctrines as held by Presbyterians.
  • II. Scriptural proofs that Election--
    • 1. Is personal.
    • 2. Contemplates man as a fallen being.
    • 3. Is unto everlasting life or salvation.
    • 4. Is from eternity.
    • 5. Is sovereign.
  • The Arminian view discussed.
  • Elements and proofs of Reprobation.
  • III. A consideration of prominent objections to Election and Reprobation--
    • 1. That they are inconsistent with the justice of God.
    • 2. That they ascribe partiality to God.
    • 3. That they are inconsistent with the sincerity of God. Distinction between the love of complacency and the love of benevolence. Distinction between the decretive or secret and the preceptive or revealed will of God. Examination of Scripture passages adduced by Arminians.
    • 4. That they are inconsistent with the liberty and responsibility of man. That no violence is done to these elements of human agency appears from the nature of effectual calling. Its elements enumerated.
    • 5. That they destroy all solicitude about personal holiness. Graces which election encourages.
    • 6. That they render the use of the means of grace nugatory.
  • IV. Inferences from the doctrine of Election.
  • 1. It pre-eminently glorifies God.
    • (1.) The independence and omnipotence of His will.
    • (2.) His grace.
    • (3.) His justice.
  • 2. It necessitates the perseverance of the saints.
  • 3. It establishes the doctrine of limited atonement. Distinction between the sufficiency and the extent of the atonement. The offer of the Gospel universal.

V. THE NECESSITY OF THE ATONEMENT.

  • Paul's argument in the Epistle to the Romans.
  • Its fundamental postulate the inseparable connection between guilt and punishment.
  • The Gospel God's power to save, because it provides a vicarious righteousness.
  • The Gospel not simply a republication of natural religion.
  • It provides atonement.
  • Two principles on which atonement rests--the inseparable connection between guilt and punishment, and the admissibility of a competent substitution.
  • The necessity of atonement the necessity of a means to an end.
  • Atonement the effect, not the cause, of saving mercy.
  • The denial of unconditional pardon of guilt not inconsistent with God's perfections.
  • The proof of the necessity of atonement must consist in showing that the glory of God necessitates the punishment of sin.
  • The power to arrest the sentence of a judge not an essential element of sovereignty.
  • In human governments it arises from the imperfection of legal processes.
  • No real analogy between them and the Divine government in this respect.
  • Discussion of the theory that atonement is demanded not by justice, but by wisdom; is expedient, not necessary.
  • Socinian and Hopkinsian views examined.
  • The good of the subjects not the primary design of the Divine government: that end the glory of God.
  • The end of the creation of the universe a moral one.
  • This necessitates moral rule over moral agents.
  • Three elements essential to moral government--competent authority, a rule of action and a suitable sanction.
  • These suppose necessary relations, and are consequently not dependent upon the suggestion of expediency.
  • Proof that the authority of the Ruler is inalienable.
  • Proof of the necessity of the law as a rule of action.
  • Proof of the necessity of a penal sanction.
  • The immutable necessity of the Divine government having been proved, the necessity of the punishment of sin is established.
  • The punishment of sin, however, does not take place according to the analogy of physical laws.
  • Sovereign discretion of God as to certain circumstances attending its infliction.
  • Discussion of the theory that repentance secures pardon.
  • True repentance shown to be impossible to an unpardoned sinner.
  • The infinite ill-desert of sin.
  • The moral impossibility of annihilation.
  • No escape to the unpardoned sinner from the penal consequences of sin.
  • The substitution and atonement of Christ the only ground of the remission of guilt.
  • The glory of the cross.

VI. THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST.

  • The prominence given by the Scriptures to the priestly office of Christ.
  • The doctrine of the Epistle to the Romans the legal substitution of Christ.
  • That of the Epistle to the Hebrews the priesthood of Christ.
  • Question: wliy mediation was accomplished, not by legal representation simply, but also by priesthood.
  • The latter the method in which the law of substitution has been actually applied in the redemption of the race.
  • Reasons for the priestly functions of Christ.
    • 1. Conceptions of the origin of salvation are rendered clearer and more impressive by Christ's priesthood.
    • 2. The priesthood of Christ relieves His punishment of all appearance of inexorable rigour on the part of God.
    • 3. The priesthood of Christ makes provision for the application of redemption.
    • 4. The priesthood of Christ stimulates devotion by the provision it makes for the acceptance of the imperfect worship of sinners.
    • 5. The priesthood of Christ is the form of mediation in which consolation is most effectually administered. Inferences from the doctrine of Christ's priesthood.

VII. CHRIST TEMPTED AS THE SECOND ADAM.

  • The temptation a most important portion of our Saviour's history.
  • Rationalist objections to the narrative.
  • The credibility of the account vindicated.
  • Import of the temptation.
    • 1. Christ is to be considered in His public character as the representative of men and unfallen angels.
    • 2. The trial more severe and protracted than that of Adam for two reasons--
      • (1.) The magnitude of the results.
      • (2.) As a vindication of the principle on which man had fallen.
    • 3. The trial was public and conducted upon the same principles with that in Eden. The bitterness and intensity of the trial evinced by comparing it with that of Adam.
      • 1. The place.
      • 2. The extent--that is, the points at which both might be assailed.
      • 3. The thing to be tested and the mode of attack as adapted to the different circumstances of the parties. The sum of all is, Christ as the second Adam fulfills the second probation of the world.
    • Inferences from the success of Christ--
      • 1. The race had not been hardly dealt with in Adam.
      • 2. The sublimity of Christ's virtue was illustrated.
      • 3. Individual life, as to temptation, is an analogue of the dispensation which rules the history of the race.

VIII. THE GOSPEL, GOD'S POWER AND WISDOM.

  • The Gospel as viewed by the Jew and the Greek.
  • Why it was a stumbling-block to the Jew.
  • Why it was foolishness to the Greek.
  • "Christ crucified" a compendious phrase for the scheme of redemption.
  • The Gospel as proclaiming a crucified Saviour the highest exponent of God's power and wisdom.
  • Three forms in which God's power is displayed in the salvation of men--
    • 1. In the exercise of naked strength, or of immediate causation, in producing new physical effects. To this kind of power must be referred the Incarnation, the Miracles of Jesus and His Resurrection.
    • 2. In the secret and silent influence which is exerted upon the minds of men. The power which controls mind greater than that which creates and upholds matter. The regeneration and sanctification of sinners extraordinary effects of power.
    • 3. In the adjustment of the legal relations of sinners under the Divine government to the conflicting claims of justice and mercy. The greatest moral difficulties overcome in making the salvation of the sinner consistent with the principles of justice.
  • The forms in which God's wisdom is displayed in redemption--
    • 1. In the manifestation of the Divine glory. The ultimate end of God the glory of His name. His immediate end is redemption, the salvation of sinners. The immediate contributes to the advancement of the ultimate end. The glory of God is most conspicuously displayed in the salvation of sinners.
      • (1.) The attribute of mercy could not otherwise have been known.
      • (2.) The scheme of redemption proves the compatibility of the exercise of mercy with that of justice.
      • (3.) Sin is made the occasion for the most striking and glorious manifestation of the Divine excellences.
    • 2. Divine wisdom displayed in the adaptation of the means to the end in view. The employment of the principle of representation. The extraordinary constitution of Christ's person.
    • 3. Divine wisdom displayed in redemption by so applying its blessings as to secure the distinct acknowledgment of grace. The repudiation of personal obedience as the ground of acceptance and the appointment of faith as the mere instrument of justification. Man becomes nothing, Christ all. Representation and Imputation still employed as in man's first religion, and enforce our dependence on God's grace in Christ.
    • 4. God's wisdom displayed in redemption by so arranging its provisions as to allure human confidence and secure the interests of personal holiness. The humanity of Christ provides for sympathy between Him and men, and His Deity affords the surest ground of confidence. Divine love draws us to Christ, and repels us from sin. Conclusion: the motives urging the subjects of grace to overflowing gratitude. They are introduced into a supernatural world--the world of grace. They are endued with supernatural vision--the vision of faith. They behold Christ crucified the power and wisdom of God.

IX. THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY GHOST.

  • The defectiveness of the popular belief in regard to the nature, office and operations of the Spirit.
  • The ministration of the Spirit the characteristic glory of the New Testament dispensation.
  • The possession of the Spirit the true distinction of Christ's people.
  • Bearing of our views of the Spirit upon the whole of redemption.
  • The existence and functions of three Divine persons proved by the phenomena of grace, as the being of God is evinced by those of nature.
  • The proof of the Trinity as derived from Christian experience.
  • The experience which fails to recognize the personality of the Spirit essentially defective.
  • The admission of the personality of the Spirit, and of the supernatural character of faith, stand or fall together.
  • The formalist theory, which affirms a course of grace analogous to the course of nature, discussed.
  • The operations of the Spirit supernatural, and imply a voluntary, sovereign agent.
  • These operations analogous not to the fixed order of nature, but to those extraordinary exercises of power which produce miracles.
  • The means of grace are not laws, and the Spirit is not simply the invisible means connecting the spiritual cause with its effect.
  • The experimental processes of grace necessitate the acknowledgment of the direct personal agency of the Spirit.
  • The witness of the Spirit supposes the knowledge of a person who testifies, in contradistinction from our own spirit as witness.
  • The objection met that, according to the author's theory, the means of grace, not having the efficacy of laws, are nugatory.
  • The true end subserved by the means of grace expounded.
  • The doctrine of supernatural grace vindicated from the charge of leading to fanatical enthusiasm.
  • Enthusiasm defined, and supernatural illumination discriminated from it.
  • Supernatural illumination and prophetic inspiration distinguished.
  • Relation of faith as a supernatural gift to the supernatural phenomena of grace.
  • The argument from abuse refuted.
  • The importance of the doctrine of the Spirit's personality as a guard against formality on the one hand and fanaticism on the other.

X. THE NATURE OF SALVATION.

  • The senses in which the term Saviour has been used.
  • The question is, In what does the salvation of Jesus consist?
  • The great end of the scheme of salvation is deliverance from sin and ruin, and the impartation of eternal life.
  • The difficulties to be overcome growing out of man's condition.
  • The depravity of man.
  • The enmity of the carnal heart to God.
  • The removal of this enmity necessary to salvation.
  • This is done by removing its cause.
  • The cause of enmity to God is the consciousness of sin and the dread of its consequences.
  • This state can only be removed by the exhibition of Divine love.
  • The principle of imputation furnishes the conditions upon which God's love can be shown to the sinner.
  • His guilt is transferred to Christ and Christ's righteousness to him.
  • Two results are thus secured.
  • The sinner's guilt being removed, God can show him love, and the sense of guilt being destroyed, the sinner is able to love God.
  • The final effect is that the sinner delivered from guilt is attracted to God by love manifested in the cross, and moved by the same cause to the hatred of sin.

XI. ANTINOMIANISM.

  • Definition of the term.
  • Account of the origin of Antinomian principles.
  • The circumstances which produced the Antinomianism of the Apostolic age.
  • The origin of the Antinomianism of the time of the Reformation.
  • Legalism the parent of Antinomianism.
  • Question of Dr. Crisp's relation to Antinomianism.
  • The "Middle Way," a scheme originating with Vossius and Grotius, and maintained by Richard Baxter and Bishop Bull.
  • Arminian view of the relation between Calvinism and Antinomianism.
  • Traill's refutation of that view.
  • Vindication of the Calvinistic doctrine of justification from leading to Antinomianism by Robert Bragge.
  • Bishop Bull's elaborate effort to reconcile justification by works with the grace of God.
  • Refutation of this and kindred schemes.
  • Exposure of the error that grace is whatever is opposed to merit.
  • In the Scriptures grace is not opposed to merit, but to legal obedience.
  • The true antithesis pointed out.
  • Important distinction between merit on the part of the moral agent and debt on the part of God.
  • No connection between them.
  • Definition of a legal scheme.
  • The scheme of Baxter and Bull legal.
  • No medium in principle between Pelagianism and Calvinism.
  • Salvation, as including deliverance from the guilt and dominion of sin alike, is the free gift of God in Christ.

XII. CHRISTIAN EFFORT.

I. The leading objects of Christian effort.

  • 1. Personal holiness.
  • 2. The edification of the Church.
  • 3. The conversion of sinners.

II. The manner in which Christian effort should be put forth.

  • 1. Striving with earnestness.
  • 2. Unanimity; concert of action.
  • 3. Steadfastness and regularity.
  • 4. The adoption of those measures alone which the Gospel warrants.
  • 5. Deep and entire dependence upon God for success. Importance of Christian effort.

XIII. THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST, THE TYPE AND MODEL OF MISSIONARY EFFORT.

  • The nature of the Father's commission to the Son to execute redemption.
  • The free consent of the Son.
  • His sovereign authority over His own life.
  • He was Master of Himself.
  • The Son an independent, sovereign party to the covenant of redemption.
  • The death of Jesus a special ground of His Father's love to Him.
  • Jesus a free, heroic actor in His death.
  • His death a sacrifice rendered as a free-will offering.
  • The nature of sacrifice; its matter and form.
  • Considerations which evince the moral greatness of Jesus in His death--
    • 1. It was an act of worship.
    • 2. The moral elements which entered into that act of worship.
      • (1.) An intense zeal for the glory of God.
      • (2.) Tender compassion for man.
    • 3. These two elements, love to God and love to man, constitute the essence of virtue. The resurrection of Jesus as also furnishing a special ground of His Father's complacency in Him. Application of the subject to the work of Missions as calling out the priestly character of believers--
      • 1. The zeal for God's glory which characterized Jesus in dying must be the dominant principle of action in the Christian heart.
      • 2. The form which our zeal for the Divine glory is to take--that is, the works to which we should be impelled by it--is determined by the influence of the other motive which entered into the sacrifice of Christ, pity for man.
      • 3. These two motives should not be transient emotions, but active and operative principles leading to sacrifice of self.
      • 4. As there was a joy set before Jesus in dying, so there is a glorious reward attached to our sacrifices and labours of love.

XIV. DISCOURSES ON TRUTH.

DISCOURSE I.--THE ETHICAL SYSTEM OF THE BIBLE.

  • Design of the discussion to determine what there is in the domain of ethics peculiar to revelation, and what is the real nature and extent of our obligations to the Bible.
  • Thus there may be attained a just estimate of secular morality and a proper appreciation of the Gospel.
  • I. As to the simple knowledge of duty there may be on the one hand an exaggeration of the necessity of revelation, and on the other of the sufficiency of reason. The spheres of revelation and reason distinguished.
  • II. The superior efficiency of the Bible as teaching duty with greater certainty, and enforcing it by motives of greater power.
  • III. The Bible as unfolding the scheme of redemption goes still farther: it teaches lessons new and distinctively its own which are unknown to philosophy.
    • 1. It sheds new light upon the doctrine of Happiness. This exemplified by a comparison of the teaching of the Bible as to the nature of happiness with that of Aristotle.
    • 2. It is singular in its doctrine of Holiness, The nature of holiness.
    • 3. It furnishes the only satisfactory answer to the question. How shall man accomplish the end of his being? That answer is, The provision of a method by which a double work is supernaturally effected: first, a change in man's judicial relations; secondly, a change in the temper and disposition of his soul.

Discourse II. THE LOVE OF TRUTH.

  • The purpose of this discussion, to show that the love of truth as a regulative law of the whole man ought to attach to the processes of the understanding and the formation of opinions. The doctrine of the Scriptures is that the domain of morality extends to the whole man, including the understanding.
    • 1. The will has jurisdiction over the whole man. The springs of action directed to the mind, especially curiosity, have an ethical character as coming under the jurisdiction of the will.
    • 2. It is the prerogative of truth alone to invigorate the mind.
    • 3. The intimate connection between the moral and intellectual natures renders lubricity of principle a consequent of confusion of the understanding as to truth. The theory discussed that the faculty which distinguishes between truth and falsehood is the same which distinguishes between right and wrong.
    • 4. The love of truth is the general habit of mind, of which honesty, frankness, sincerity and faithfulness are only specific manifestations. Examination of the objection to these views that the operations of the mind in the department of speculative truth are exempt from the authority of the will. Mackintosh, Brougham. Men responsible for their opinions, because responsible--
      • 1. For the motives which influence their mental operations, and
      • 2. For the circumstances which give direction to them. Practical conclusion: the obligation to make truth for its own sake the great end of intellectual effort.

Discourse III. THE LOVE OF TRUTH.

  • All men not bound to know all truth. But in the inquiries in which each man is engaged he is bound to seek nothing but truth. Each man is bound to seek that degree of knowledge which is necessary to furnish him for his particular sphere of duty. The design of this discussion is to point out the nature of the love of truth, and some of the prominent difficulties which hinder the pursuit of truth. Commendation of Locke's view that the mind should be in a state of indifference as to what upon honest inquiry shall prove to be truth. The great and comprehensive law for the conduct of the understanding, that evidence is the measure of assent, expounded. The primary data of consciousness the standard and measure of evidence. The ways in which we are liable to be misled: first, in mistaking other things for these original data; secondly, in misapplying these data themselves. In the first, a wrong standard of judgment is assumed; in the second, a right standard is improperly used. To these two heads all prejudice ultimately referable. Specimens of these false methods. Importance of the principle that evidence is the measure of assent. Necessity of maintaining to this end liberty of discussion. The right temper of controversy. The danger resulting from tlie influence of vanity upon the pursuit of truth. Similar danger from the influence of the sense of shame.

Discourse IV.--SINCERITY.

  • Two leading aspects of truth--speculative and practical. Practical truth includes three things: sincerity, faithfulness, consistency. The matter of veracity twofold--immediate and remote.
    • I. The grounds of the obligation of veracity discussed. Views of Paley and Whewell criticised. The real ground affirmed.
    • II. The modes in which the law of sincerity is to be applied.
      • 1. Application not to speech alone, but to all the signs of thought.
      • 2. Application of the law in the case of parables, fictions, tales and figurative language.
      • 3. Application of the law to what may be called interrogatories by action.
      • 4. Application of the law to cases of silence, or partial and evasive information.
    • III. Modes in which the law of sincerity is evaded, or deceit practiced.
      • 1. Vain-boasting and self-disparagement.
      • 2. Flattery.
      • 3. Pretensions to a friendship which is not felt.
      • 4. Equivocation.
      • 5. Mental reservations, when what is suppressed is not obvious from the circumstances, or is not necessary to prevent deception.
    • IV. The question of the justifiableness of lying under any circumstances discussed.

Discourse V.--FAITHFULNESS.

  • Definition of the term and the thing. Three heads which embrace Faithfulness--Promises, Pledges, Vows.
  • I. Definition of Promises. Defective definition criticised. Distinction between apparent and real promises. Elements involved in true definition.
    • 1. Any mode of voluntary signification, without limitation to any particular class of signs.
    • 2. The signification must be voluntary.
    • 3. The signification must have a known tendency to excite expectation.
    • 4. The signification must be in regard to a matter which is possible and right.
  • II. The ground of the obligation of promises.
    • 1. The law of sincerity requires a correspondence of the signification to the mental purpose.
    • 2. The same law requires a correspondence between words and the reality of things.
    • 3. A promise creates a right to the fulfillment of the expectation it excites. No right created by promises to do unlawful or impossible things. Two questions of casuistry:
      • 1. Are extorted promises binding?
      • 2. Does an unlawful condition invalidate a promise?
  •  Paley's and Whewell's views criticised.
  • Concluding remarks as to the promises of the Gospel.
  • PLEDGES.
  • Definition.
  • Honour pawned by the pledge.
  • Guilt and injury involved in the violation of pledges.
  • The sacredness of the pledge can never justify wrong-doing in carrying it out.
  • God's condescension in the use of pledges to man.
  • Cautions in regard to the thoughtless making of promises.

Discourse VI.--VOWS

  • Different estimate of vows by Protestants and Romanists.
  •  I. The nature of vows.
    • 1. They are of the general nature of promises.
    • 2. They are distinguished from other promises by the party to whom they ai-e made--God. They thus become--
      • (1.) Acts of worship.
      • (2.) Oaths.
    • This determines the nature of their matter and the spirit in which they should be made. Cautions against profaneness drawn from the matter of vows:
      • 1. If they respect an act specifically religious, it must be appointed in God's Word.
      • 2. If they respect an act not specifically religious, it must be either the elicit or imperate one of some virtue.
      • 3. The matter should be in our power either according to nature or grace.
  • II. The utility of vows.
    • The expediency of making them.
    • The whole question dependent upon the spirit in which they are made.
      • 1. If they are made in the spirit of bribes, they are insults to God and injuries to us.
      • 2. If they are regarded as possessing merit, their usefulness is destroyed.
      • 3. Proper vows made in the right spirit are helps to piety.
        • (1.) They strengthen the general bonds of duty.
        • (2.) They increase the sense of union with God.
        • (3.) They contribute to the habit of specific virtues, and so fortify the general principle of integrity. Calvin's four ends of vows. Vows not to be made common.
  • III. The obligation of vows.
    • Paley's view refuted.
    • True ground of their obligation.
      • 1. As promises to God they are binding on the ground of truth and justice.
      • 2. As oaths, on the principle of reverence. Magnitude of the sin of vow-breach. Practical reflections suggested by the discussion.

Discourse VII.--CONSISTENCY.

  • Primary import of the term.
  • By a natural accommodation of its primary import consistency embraces three things--stability of opinion, harmony of life, and propriety of behaviour.
  • Consistency a virtue only when we have begun well.
  • I. Stability of opinion.
    • 1. This species of consistency not incompatible with all change. The love of truth the regulative principle by which all opinions are to be tested. The cause of fickleness of opinion.
    • 2. Consistency not to be confounded with obstinacy.
      • Distinction between them.
      • Consistency the mean between bigotry and spurious charity.
      • Stability of opinion never the result of direct effort.
      • Necessity of discipline of thought as a guard against that fickleness of opinion which springs from weakness of understanding.
      • Moral and religious culture the antidote to that fickleness which results from dishonest motives.
  • II. Harmony of life.
    • 1. Consideration of that species of inconsistency of life which arises from defect of the understanding--fickleness.
    • 2. Consideration of the inconsistency which springs from defect of will--weakness.
    • 3. The inconsistency occasioned by defect of honesty--hypocrisy. The conduct of men as to religion chargeable with inconsistency in all these aspects.
  • III. Propriety of behaviour or decorum.
    • The obligation to make our actions correspond to our external circumstances and incidental relations. To this are necessary sensibility to beauty and moral culture. This species of consistency to be maintained in our relaxations and amusements. Appeals to the young to cultivate consistency.

CONTENTS of The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell (Volume 3), Theological and Controversial; Rationalist Controversy:

Reason, Revelation and Miracles; Papal Controversy; Baptism, Justification, Infallibility, the Apocrypha l by J.H. Thornwell:

PART I.- RATIONALIST CONTROVERSY. PREFATORY NOTE BY THE EDITOR THE STANDARD AND NATURE OF RELIGION IN THREE SECTIONS.

Section 1. An External Standard Vindicated.

Section 2. Religion Psychologically Considered.

Section 3. Revelation and Religion.

THE OFFICE OF REASON IN REGARD TO REVELATION. MIRACLES. Their Nature. Their Apologetic Worth. Their Credibility.

PART II.- PAPAL CONTROVERSY. PREFATORY NOTE BY THE EDITOR.

THE VALIDITY OF THE BAPTISM OF THE CHURCH OF ROME.

ROMANIST ARGUMENTS FOR THE APOCRYPHA DISCUSSED.

  • Letter I. Preliminary Statements - Council of Trent and the Canon.
  • Letter II. The Argument for Inspiration Examined.
  • Letter III. The Argument for an Infallible Body.
  • Letter IV. Historical Argument.
  • Letter V. Infallibility- Historical Difficulties.
  • Letter VI. Infallibility and Skepticism.
  • Letter VII. Infallibility and Superstition.
  • Letter VIII. Infallibility and Civil Government.
  • Letter IX. The Apocrypha not quoted in the New Testament.
  • Letter X. The Apocrypha and the Jewish Canon.
  • Letter XI. Silence of Christ as to the Apocrypha.
  • Letter XII. The Apocrypha and the Jewish Church - The Apocrypha and the Primitive Church.
  • Letter XIII. The Apocrypha and Ancient Versions of Scripture - The Apocrypha and the Apostolic Fathers.
  • Letter XIV. Patristic terms applied to the Apocrypha.
  • Letter XV. Testimonies from the Second Century.
  • Letter XVI. Testimonies from the Third Century.
  • Letter XVII. Testimonies from the Fourth Century.
  • Letter XVIII. The Real Testimony of the Primitive Church.
  • APPENDIX.
  • Original Article on the Apocrypha by the Author.
  • Specimen Letters of a Reply by the Rev. P. N. Lynch, D. D.
  • Collection of Passages in which Dr. Lynch represents the Fathers as quoting the Apocrypha.

Contents of The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell (Volume 4), Writings on the Church: Church Officers; Church Operations; Church Disciplines; The Southern Presbyterian Church, etc., Sermons and Appendices:

CHURCH OFFICERS

  • The Call of the Minister.
  • The Ruling Elder.
  • The Ruling Elder a Presbyter.
  • Resolutions as to the Eldership.
  • Presbyterianism and the Eldership.

CHURCH OPERATIONS

  • Argument against Church Boards.
  • Argument for Church Boards Answered.
  • Debate touching Church Boards.
  • Church Boards and Presbyterianism.

CHURCH DISCIPLINE

  • The Revised Book of Discipline.
  • The Revised Book Vindicated.

THE CHURCH AND SLAVERY

  • Relation of the Church to Slavery.
  • The Christian Doctrine of Slavery.

THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

  • Reasons for Separate Organization.
  • Address to all Churches of Christ.
  • Valedictory Letter to the Northern Church.

THE CHURCH AND SECULAR SOCIETIES

  • Societies for Moral Reform.
  • Speech on African Colonization.

MISCELLANEA

  • Review of the General Assembly of 1847.
  • Report on Systematic Beneficence.
  • Report on Foreign Missions. Sermon on National Sins.
  • Relation of the State to Christ. (A Memorial.)
  • The Scribe Instructed.
  • The Gospel Ministry.
  • APPENDIXES A.
  • Argument for Church Boards, by the Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D. B. Presbyterianism, by the Rev. Charles Hodge, D. D.

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