being Seven papers on the Eternal Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ
V. W. J. H. Lawrence
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Psalm 11:3.
An Historical Aspect of the Eternal Sonship
Whatever the attitude of any might be towards, the momentous and glorious truth of the Divine and Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ, all have to own it as an historical fact in the life of the Church. For though a few here and there at various times during the past 1800 years have denied this truth whilst still claiming the name of Christian, yet the fact is that such denial has been the almost exclusive portion of heresy. Admitting a pre-existent Sonship of Christ, Arius was found guilty because he denied it to be essentially Divine and consequently eternal. To confess the essentially Divine and Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ is to confess Him to be GOD. Hence the denial of His Divine filiation has almost always been associated with Arianism in its varied forms, Socinianism, Unitarianism, Christadelphianism, and the like. Hence this grand fact of Christian doctrine has been held as vital by every section of the Church on earth; the must violent schisms, the must decided secessions in her history, where true believers in Christ were concerned, have not affected in any way the maintainance of this cardinal truth. To Martin Luther it was as grand and glorious as to the Church he left. John Wesley and John Nelson Darby believed it no whit less than the devout Anglican; to them, as to all, it was a "vital truth."
That is a fact of history; and how solemn it is that men, who dare not tamper with human history, will labour unceasingly to abrogate the power and authority of God's Word. From whence did these men of God, these men of faith, teachers, confessors, martyrs; these earnest students, these devout men of learning, these witnesses distinctly raised up of God; yea, this vast host of humble believers, from every nation and clime, of every class and character of humanity, these unnumbered myriads who have "believed on the name of the Only-begotten Son of God;" I say, from whence did they derive their belief, their grounded faith in so solemn yet so blessed a reality? From the scriptures and from them alone. John 1:14, 18 3:16-17; 14:9-11; 16:28; 17:5, 24; Romans 8:3; Galatians 4:4; Colossians 1:12-17; Hebrews 1:1-3; 1 John 4:9-10, 14; to name but a few passages, have ever been sufficient for the faith of a soul that was prepared unreasoningly to accept the blessed God at His own attested Word!
Yes, this is a fact of history; the Scriptures and the truth contained in them were as dear to Athanasius as to John Nelson Darby, as Divine to Augustine as to John Wesley; and to each and all they were the only court of appeal. However they may have differed in details of interpretation, they and myriads more of equal and lesser fame rise to bear unequivocal witness to this sublime reality of Christianity, that God did truly send His Son into the world to make Him known, to die for a race of lost and guilty sinners, the very and perfect revelation of His own infinite and eternal love, the unveiling of His heart.
Thus one thing is certain, the Scriptures must very evidently teach and set forth this fact as Divine truth or "so great a cloud of witnesses" would not have lived and died for it, treasuring it as the foundation of their richest blessings from God, even the Father. This historical fact proves this Divine truth present in the Word of God, and hence no system of interpretation can remove it. If such a thing is attempted that only proves the system false. One question remains; If Eternal Sonship be not true, why did not the Spirit of God, characterised in all His ways and power by infinite Divine foreknowledge, by means of unequivocal statements guard the saints of God against the possibility of receiving so false an impression, of believing so profound an untruth, regarding the blessed Son of God? He needed not to guard any against what He has made so evident in the scriptures of truth.
The Eternal Sonship and the Arian Heresy
Few of the great facts in the history of Christianity since Apostolic days are fraught with a more profound significance than the real nature of the great Arian Heresy. The controversy it raised, the strength it manifested, the influence it secured, and the overwhelming condemnation it earned, have all served to concentrate Christian attention upon the fourth century, and to secure for the life and works of Athanasius the Great the gratitude of all true believers in the Son of God. The victory of the truth in that mighty conflict is witnessed in the Creed of Nicaea. However much open to a certain character of criticism, however much marked by the frailty of human forms of speech, that word under God's hand has been the means of preserving the truth of the Divine Sonship and true Godhead of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for more than 1600 years. Neither can we recognise as of God any effort that would cast it aside to-day. Just as it embodied the essential truth of Scripture in the day it was framed; so it does now. We change, human opinions come and go; but Divine truth abides, and this ancient creed which protects that truth against human reason and logic is as powerful to-day as ever.
Because this was the root cause of the heresy, as Dr. W. Bright so ably expresses it in his 'life' prefixed to his edition of the Orations of Athanasius against the Arians, "He (Arius) then argued that since a father must needs be prior to a son, the Son of God must once have been nonexistent, and afterwards, at a period inconceivably remote, have been called, by the Divine fiat, 'out of what had not previously existed' … Such was Arianism in its outset: it rested on the assumption that the relation of priority and posteriority attaching to a human parent and child must hold good in regard to a Divine Fatherhood and a Divine Sonship; and (as was afterwards repeatedly observed) it ended by destroying the reality of that Fatherhood and Sonship; inasmuch as no identity of nature could exist between the One Creator and the highest product of His creative Will." p.x.
Thus, whilst Arius denied the true Godhead of the Saviour, he did so by launching his attack against His Divine and Eternal Sonship. He did NOT deny that He was the Son before coming into the world; he denied and opposed that the relation was essentially and intrinsically Divine. For, though humanitarian heresies had preceded, Paul of Samosata having been condemned and deposed in A.D. 270, it was this peculiar subtlety of Arianism that constituted its terrible evil. For the heresiarch not only acknowledged both a pre-existence and a pre-existent sonship of Christ, but was careful to use the word "only-begotten" of His relation to God. Indeed, had he not "embodied these facts in the doctrines he taught no one would have listened to him for an hour, least of all the learned Eusebius of Caesarea and the haughty Eusebius of Nicomedia. The truth that God had verily sent His Son into the world was to them, as to all, heretic and orthodox alike, the only possible meaning of the words of Scripture. The question at issue was, In what sense was this glorious Person the Son of God; was it only in a created sense, supremely great and wonderful, or was it in an essential Sonship, a relation in which He was both substantially and eternally one with the Father?
To this question no uncertain answer was given by the Church of that day; and to those who think and speak so disparagingly of that great victory, I would commend a consideration of two things that marked Athanasius, his devotedness to the Person of Christ and his profound reverence for Scripture. No one who has read the story of his life and has studied the records of that great controversy can fail to see the hand of God in the preparation of such a human instrument for the defence of His truth. This gifted confessor discerned at once the real point of attack; with him it was no mere question of dialectical skill. He was concerned with the truth and that only. Was the Son essentially one with the Father? He was. The Scriptures held for Athanasius in his day, as for the whole Church of God before and since, the vital truth of a real Divine co-inherent relation, existing and subsisting eternally, between the Father and the Son. This is clearly evident from his references in his Orations alone to such Scriptures as, John 1:14, 18; 5:18, 23; 10:30, 38; 14:6, 9-10; 17:5; also Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-3; I John 4:9; the clear sense of these passages being destroyed by such as deny the Divine and Eternal Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his day Athanasius maintained this supreme reality and thus frustrated perhaps the greatest attack of Satan against the truth of the Son of God; and in our day any will deny it only at their peril, and in so doing will they not surely forfeit their right to the full glory and preciousness of the name of Christian?
One final question remains, If the Divine and Eternal Sonship was not the truth of God, why did the enemy so relentlessly attack it, and heresy so passionately deny it? If, as we are told today, it was a theological invention and a pious fraud, then the enemy should have rejoiced that so great an untruth was believed by the saints of God. Surely the answer may be left to the judgment of any unsophisticated conscience!
Son of God and Son of Man
We learn much by analogy; we recognise its force, not only in our own temporal things, but also in the things of God. And in these latter there exists perhaps no greater instance of its power to teach us vital truth than in the two Names or Titles of our Lord Jesus Christ which we are about to consider—"The Son of God," and "The Son of Man."
I will refer briefly first to the second of these—"The Son of Man," a title the Lord almost always used regarding Himself. It speaks the perfection of His Humanity, the intense unquestionable reality that "God was manifest in the flesh." The absolute certainty of the perfect Humanity of our Lord is the faith of Christianity: no Christian would permit for a moment any weakening of this vital truth. And how is this truth of the perfection of His Humanity assured to us? "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same;" and, "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren." Hebrews 2:14, 17. "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." John 6:53. Adam had been created in developed manhood, but Jesus came into the world by this way of surpassing lowliness and littleness,
He was "made of a woman," Galatians 4:4. As the ancient creed states, 'He did not abhor the Virgin's womb;' He was born truly Man, real flesh and blood, so we confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. 1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 7.
Now though it be clear from Daniel 7, that the title "Son of Man" is Messianic, yet it belongs pre-eminently to the lowly suffering One. The Son of God became Son of Man that He might suffer. John 12:23-24, 34; Luke 9:22. But is there not also a deep meaning in the fact that He was Son of Man? Indeed there is. It testifies the perfection, the reality of His Manhood. Nothing could do so more. No greater witness to His Humanity was possible than that He was in deed and truth—THE Son of Man. Was it any dishonour to His Manhood, was its real character lowered, its truth weakened, because He was Son of Man? Far be the thought. Jesus was truly Man because He was truly the Son of Man. In this Sonship the certainty of His real Humanity is assured to faith. We cannot limit the Creator in the exercise of His Sovereign right: Jesus was the Creator, and He might have become flesh another way; but He chose to come this way, even that of the weakness and blessed simplicity of a Babe. That great fact meant that He was truly the Son of Man. His Sonship as Son of Man was no mere figment; it was infinite and glorious truth.
And just as truly as Jesus was the Son of Man, so truly was He the Son of God. And just as certainly as the fact that He was the Son of Man meant no diminution of the truth of His Manhood; so certainly the fact that He was the Son of God meant no diminution of the truth of His Godhead. He was none the less Man though Son of Man in the perfection of His human Nature; neither was He any the less God though Son of God in the perfection of His Divine Nature. Scripture makes this abundantly plain; "But Jesus answered them, My Father works hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His own Father, making himself equal with God." John 5:17-18. "… his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." 1 John 5:20; Luke 22:70-71. (See also "The Son of God" by J. G. Bellett, Chapter 1.)
In closing I will refer to Peter's confession in Matthew 16:13-18. "… Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? … And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou are the Christ, the Son of the LIVING GOD." How very evident is the distinction between these two titles of Jesus in this Scripture! The Son of Man, a lowly despised Galilaean, walked among men: Who was He? The Christ? Yes, indeed; but even more than that: He was the Son of the LIVING GOD. That truth had been the subject of a revelation of the Father to Peter. His virgin birth; His name—"Immanuel," one that could be borne only by a Divine Person incarnate, (Isaiah 7:14); His Majesty in the Divine prophecies that went before concerning Him, (Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2); these were in the Scriptures; but the revelation of the Son of God must come from the Father. He with whom He stood in eternal relationship according to the essential Nature of God, could alone reveal the truth concerning this lowly despised One—yet, God's own Son. For just as His being the Son of Man belongs to His essential Nature as Man, so does His being the Son of God belong to His essential Nature as God. The one is as true as the other. And just as one relation resulted from His coming here, so did the other relation belong to His proper and eternal part in Godhead with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
As I desire to base my few remarks upon three well-known Scriptures, I will first quote them: "And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knows this man letters having never learned? Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." John 7:15-17. "Judas says to him, not Iscariot, Lord how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us and not to the world? Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him." John 14:22-23. "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. But, as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God." 1 Corinthians 2:7-10.
What I call attention to first is the precious truth that the Divine disclosures intimated in the two passages in John's Gospel are dependent upon something on our side; we may secure them: but on what grounds shall we secure them? Obedience and love. There is something deeply affecting about this; for obedience and love are two of the greatest elements in God's universe. Love is what God is; it is the greatest of all, His Nature; and obedience flows out of love. On our side, in rendering these, on account of these, we receive Divine disclosures. The secrets of God are revealed to obedient and loving hearts. There is never any doubt about it. "The secret of Jehovah is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant." Psalm 25:14. So also the words of Jesus Himself in Matthew 11:25.
Now I do not wish to be in any way obscure or ambiguous in the definite challenge I put down in regard of these Divine promises of the blessed Son of God! From Apostolic days, throughout the entire history of the Church of God and in the testimony of every man of God, the Divine and Eternal Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ has been believed as the truth of God in distinction from the "lie," (1 John 2:21-24), and has been regarded as the most precious and holy treasure of Divine revelation and vital to Christian faith and doctrine. And, mark it well, this truth has not been regarded as a mere synonym for His eternal existence or even for His Godhead, but as a real Divine fact of the inner life and Being of the blessed Trinity. Now men have arisen who deny it to be such, who deny the essentially Divine nature of the relation and its eternal existence. Yet dare we even imply that, throughout these long years, in the instance of myriads of devoted and faithful men, loving and obedient hearts, gifted and toiling labourers in the work of God, none have done "His will" and hence known of "the doctrine"? The very idea is too preposterous to require a moment's consideration. Have none of these men loved the blessed Son of God and kept His words, and, in consequence, have experienced the Father's love and the abiding presence of the Father and the Son? Indeed they have; and their ministry, prayers, hymns, yea, their very life, have borne witness to the power and blessing of that abiding Presence. They have done the Father's will, and hence have known of the doctrine; they also have loved the Son and have kept His words, and, hence, have experienced the Father's love and the dwelling of the Father and the Son with them. To suppose that all these men, who knew of the "doctrine" and who experienced the "Presence," have believed a monstrous lie, is surely an idea to be condemned at its birth; for the "Didache" and the "Presence" must bring the truth with them. (John 1:14; 3:33; 8:32; 14:6; 15:26; 16:13-14; 2 John 1-3.)
I need add little regarding the passage in 1 Corinthians 2, "the Spirit searches all things, yea, the depths of God." May we not justly say, that the truth of the Divine and eternal relation of the Father and the Son of necessity includes itself in—"the depths of God."? Most certainly. And has not the Spirit of God, through the long years, in His gracious and mighty activity in many hearts, searched "the depths of God" in regard of this blessed and wondrous mystery? Indeed He has; and faith will not surrender that mystery now!
The new teaching; does it dishonour the Son of God?
My purpose is to examine in the briefest possible manner the idea that has been brought forward recently, to the effect that the denial of the Divine and Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ enhances His glory. I maintain emphatically that it does no such thing; but, on the contrary, that it lowers that glory immeasurably.
Firstly: seeing the new teaching denies the eternal character of this holy relation, attributing it directly to our Lord's human birth of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:35), this will mean that the relation itself came into existence, there being a time when it was not. Now what is essentially and intrinsically Divine does not come into existence, cannot do so, simply because it is Divine. What is Divine IS; it subsists in and of itself. This is clearly seen in John 1:1-3, and in John 8:58. The Word WAS; all things "came into existence" through Him. Abraham also "came into existence;" Jesus is I AM. Hence if it be predicated that this relation of the Father and the Son came into existence, that will mean that in and of itself it is not essentially and intrinsically Divine. Surely no devout mind could deceive itself into the belief that a relation which has come into existence in time could excel in glory one which subsists eternally, in and of itself. Thus does the new teaching lower immeasurably the character of this relation.
Secondly: there is however another equally solemn aspect of our question. If, as we are told now, the relation of the Father and the Son is not one inherent in the Godhead, but one that came into existence through Jesus being born of a woman, then what is proper to the Godhead does not enter into the relation itself. Let us examine this. "John 1:18 tells us of the Son in the bosom of the Father; John 5:23 tells us of honour accorded to the Son as it is accorded to the Father; John 10:30 tells us of the unity of the Father and the Son; John 14:9-11 tells us of the Divine co-inherence of the relation, the Son in the Father and the Father in the Son; John 16:5 and 24 tells of the glory and the love proper to the Father and the Son before any world existed or creatures dwelt upon it. And this is only a part of the Divine evidence at our disposal!
Now notice what we are asked to believe: that a relation which needed the creature to give it existence, one brought about by the Spirit's power in the Virgin Mary, a relation proper only to the humanity of Christ, and issuing in His humiliation, suffering and death, and marked by the limitations to which He willingly submitted Himself, is greater and more glorious than one inhering in the Godhead, partaking of supreme Majesty, ineffable blessedness, Divine perfections, and unsullied delight, beyond all creature knowledge as to their inner nature and extent, infinitely sublime, yet such that creatures might contemplate in adoring love for ever though not share (John 17:24). I can never believe this; whilst I affirm that such a notion lowers beyond our present realisation the Sonship glory of Jesus. And if, in the ineffable greatness of His relation to the Father, the Son of God be so dishonoured, how can it be supposed that the teaching which does this in finality exalts the totality of His glory? If so great a glory of Jesus shall thus suffer in its true nature, then all His glory suffers.
A Fresh Page in the History of the Church
Standing at what is undoubtedly the close of the Spirit's day and on the verge of the translation of the Church to be for ever with Christ, a glance in retrospect over the history of 1900 years reveals on the one hand the glorious record of Divine faithfulness, if, on the other, the sorrowful record of our failure. Publicly the Church has failed; we would own it with shame and with a deep sense of our own share in that failure. Nevertheless we can give God thanks for much, and for all those faithful hearts who have toiled and striven, suffered and died, for Christ's Name and Truth. We can rejoice in all that has been wrought for God, testimony rendered, the Gospel preached, doctrine maintained, practical holiness manifested, needy souls sought for and succoured, above all, in what there has been for our God and Father and for our Lord Jesus Christ from the hearts of His own, both as individuals and as the Church, in particular where saints were prepared to abide in the truth and to gather in His Name alone.
Four hundred years ago God wrought a mighty work in Europe for which we render to Him deep and unfeigned thanksgiving; and though much remained obscure to the reformers, and doctrines were allowed we should not acquiesce in to-day, that does not disturb the greatness of the work itself. Again: God wrought most powerfully and graciously just a century ago, and for that also we cannot thank and bless Him enough. But what of ourselves on whom the very ends of the ages have come; shall we not cling to what these men under God's hand held and taught with so much unction and power? For, of a certainty, the Spirit's power was livingly manifested at both seasons. We shall surely cling and hold fast to such truth and doctrine.
Now others have often indicated, what is a very precious help to faith when its significance is realised, the fact that in the midst of breakdown, and throughout the whole Church on earth in all its recorded history and that of those men of God who have served it, the truth of "the Trinity" has never been disturbed. Individuals have arisen who have questioned it, and heresies have denied it; but no body of saints living in a state of Christian communion have made such denial a tenet of their beliefs. As J. N. Darby says, speaking of those claiming to be regarded as Christians, "One who denied the Trinity I would not own at all." Now we know what the truth of the Trinity meant to him, even the revealed relation of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in one eternal, all-blessed Godhead. This is evident from all his works; and in this, following the testimony of Scripture, he was at one with the whole Church.
How changed is all this to-day, and amongst those who claim to have followed in his steps, and who have possessed and benefited by his labours, ministry, hymns, translation of the Scriptures, and above all his devotedness to Christ! But I do not eulogise J. N. Darby; I only seek to show that something is tragically wrong, when faithful men are excommunicated from the communion to which he belonged and which under God's hand owed its existence to the truth he had, because they utterly refuse to repudiate and deny the doctrine of the Trinity. For a trinity of "inscrutable" undefined persons, called for the sake of designation, "Absolute Deity," or simply "The Absolute," is neither the Trinity of Scripture nor the Trinity the truth of which J. N. Darby and the whole Church believed and delighted in, yea, loved and worshipped.
I repeat, something is tragically wrong. We have indeed turned over a fresh (and oh! how sorrowful) page in the history of the Church. Is this state of things to continue? Do my brethren truly, and in all depth of soul and sincerity of heart, deny the Father and the Son in Their essentially Divine and hence Eternal, Co-existent conditions? Do they in very deed realise what they have done, the truth they have sacrificed, yea, the darkness which sooner or later must overwhelm them? May God in His great goodness and mercy deliver His saints from the deadly snare in which their foot is taken to-day.
In the early days of the Church, Docetism, a gnostic heresy, owing to belief in the fundamental evil of all that is material, rejected the reality of our Lord's Humanity on the ground that a true incarnation of God was impossible by virtue of the supposed antagonism between what God is as infinitely good and what matter is as fundamentally evil. Thus we perceive that, quite apart from the grossness of the error, this denial of the truth of a real incarnation resulted from an a priori assumption. And I wish to shew how the denial of the Eternal Sonship of Christ in our day has also resulted from a similar a priori assumption. For before they have considered any Scriptural teaching or any feature of Divine revelation, those who deny this truth rest their hypothesis on the arbitrary assumption that Godhead and sonship are irreconcilable. Thus, in the eternal Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the interpretation that the whole Church has placed upon Scripture, true Godhead and true Sonship have met and have subsisted from all eternity. So we speak of that sonship relation of Jesus with God the Father firstly as Divine because it subsisted in His Godhead, and secondly as eternal because He was the Son of the Father before all worlds; John 5:17-18, etc.; John 10:30, 38; John 14:7-11; John 16:28; John 17:5, 24. The Divine equality of John 5:18, the Divine unity of John 10:30, and the Divine co-inherence of John 14:11, prove the first truth; whilst the pre-incarnate activity of John 16:28, and the pre-incarnate glory and love of John 17:5, 24, prove the second truth. Such is the Divine and Eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now those who deny this truth are themselves obsessed with an idea which they place in the forefront of every consideration; they commence from it as an hypothesis, neglecting or rejecting the clear evidence of the written Word. This idea consists in what they are pleased to term the irreconcilability of Godhead and Sonship in our Lord's eternal Person, on the ground that sonship involves a state of posteriority and inferiority incompatible with the mode of the Divine evidence. Thus a purely human and rational principle is made use of in order to question a most blessed Divine truth.
I need not indicate the worthlessness and emptiness of this principle: for even if it could be shown to be true of human conditions, this would not constitute a reason for compelling the impassible Godhead to exist only according to what is proper to passible creatures. Nothing could be more morally degrading to the mind that postulates such a theory of compulsion. And the error in so doing is magnified when it is realised that even in our human conditions a son is neither posterior nor inferior to a father. Yet these teachers labour to impose upon the blessed God a principle that cannot be maintained even in regard to the creature!
Let us examine, however, the only possible result of adherence to this theory. That result must take one of two forms, either Arianism or the Denial of Eternal Sonship. Both errors take their rise in the same fountainhead.
Arianism maintains the pre-existent sonship of Christ, but denies His Godhead; the present denial of Eternal Sonship retains the truth of His Godhead, but sets aside that of His Sonship. For if Godhead and Sonship cannot be reconciled in the eternal Person of Jesus, then the one or the other must disappear. Either His Divine and Eternal Sonship or His Eternal Godhead must be set aside; for both cannot exist together according to this hypothesis. Now a careful study of the New Testament reveals, as we have seen, evidence as clear and as decisive for the Divine and Eternal Sonship of Christ as for His Godhead; indeed, the first chapters of John and of the epistles to the Colossians and Hebrews reveal clearly the great fact that to predicate His true, real Sonship is to predicate His Godhead. If He be the Son then He is God! (Colossians 2:9: "For in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.")
Truly all those devout and intelligent men of God who have lived and served Christ for 1800 years have not been mistaken in this. The spiritual man and the scholar are alike agreed that such can be the only possible meaning of the language of Scripture, its direct voice to us, its simple yet powerful message. Any other meaning will be one forced upon it necessarily, one evolved out of it by a process of subtle interpretation; and hence a meaning quite different from what the holy writers intended to convey to us.
Should not such a consideration as this, regarded prayerfully and without bias, tend to arrest our feet from pursuing this road further, and tend also to lead them once more, through unquestioning faith in the simplicity and integrity of the Word, into paths of truth and uprightness?
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