Buy our Entire Web site on CD Revival Reformation Classics:
Can Change the World Again.
Introduction to Alethea In Heart Ministries


By A. M. Hills.


I. Theology. II. Sources of theology—Nature and Revelation. | False sources—Creeds, Tradition, Mysticism, Reason, Christian consciousness, philosophy. | III. Theology can be systematized. | IV. The method to be pursued in Systematic Theology.

I. Theology is the greatest study that can occupy human thought. Well it may be. It has the nature of God and His attributes for its theme, and the principles of His government as displayed in His relation to finite moral beings. It necessarily involves a discussion of the nature and character of men and angels.

The term theology suggests as much. It is derived from Theos. God, and logos a discourse. It literally means a discourse about God as related to moral beings and His created universe. The great Hooker said, "Theology, what is it but a science of things divine?"

The very study presupposes a faculty in man which may know God and receive the knowledge which He imparts of Himself. It has been called "a capacity for religion." Even Voltaire said, "Man is a religious animal."

1. The two great sources of theology are nature and revelation. They are ~y no means equal in clearness and fullness. Some great truths we need to know, such as the Trinity, and the Atonement, and how God can forgive sin. These are peculiar to revelation. But the first question of all, theology, the existence of God, must be brought to nature and human reason. The Bible nowhere attempts to prove God's existence, but everywhere assumes it, e. g., Gen. 1: 1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The Apostle Paul in Romans 1:19-21, teaches that God is known to the heathen, being revealed by creation, and by the intuitions of their own souls, so that they are left without excuse for their sins. "Religious ideas are everywhere disclosed in human history,—ideas of God or of some supernatural Being, whose providence is ever over mankind, and whom men should worship and obey; ideas of moral obligation and responsibility, of future existence and retribution. These ideas are traceable to the light oof nature and rationally traceable to no other source." (Miley, Vol. I, p. 9.)

Under this light of nature men may so know God and His will as to be morally responsible to Him. The heathen universally admit this to our foreign missionaries. It is upon this ground that retribution is visited upon the Gentile world.

But the Holy Scriptures are the chief source of theology, whole realms of truth which man needed to know for his moral and spiritual well-being, were never discovered even by the most enlightened and thoughtful either of the ancient or modern heathen world. As the Psalmist said 'The entrance of thy Word giveth light." "If tested by the purest moral and religious intuitions, or by the sharpest inquisition of the logical reason, or by the profoundest sense of religious need, or by the satisfaction which its truths bring to the soul, or by its sublime and transforming power in the Spiritual life, the theology of the Scriptures rises infinitely above all other theologies of the world. That they are a direct revelation from God with the seal of a divine original clearly set upon them, gives to their theology a certainty and sufficiency, a grace and value, specially divine." (Miley, Vol. I, p. 12.)

(1) Creeds or Confessions of Faith.
These are valuable as a historic record of the theological opinions of scholars and divines of the age in which they were formed. They register the opinions of those who formed them on the subjects which they discussed. But they have no authoritative quality: and are in no sense binding upon other men of another age. They cannot, therefore, be regarded as a true source of theology.

Some of them are very excellent statements of Christian doctrine, and Bible truth. Others are equally horrible misrepresentations of God, and caricatures of the Gospel of Grace. They must all be tested and measured by the infallible Word of the infinite God.

(2) Tradition.
In Romanism, tradition is held to be co-ordinate with the Scriptures in matters of faith and morals. The Council of Trent decreed: "The sacred and holy, ecumenical and general synod of Trent, following the example of the orthodox fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety and reverence, all the books, both of the Old and the New Testament; AS ALSO THE SACRED TRADITIONS, as well those pertaining to faith as to morals, and preserved in the Roman Catholic Church by a continuous succession."2 (Schaff: "Creeds of Christendom," Vol. II, pp. 79, 80, quoted by Miley, p. 13.)

Tradition means anything handed down from person to person. This was of value in the years immediately following Christ's earthly ministry, but what is oft repeated and handed down from generation to generation becomes colored and changed. Innovators came upon the scene of action in the course of the centuries who defended their new doctrines by pretended traditions, "things at variance not only with other traditions, but with the very writings of the Apostles. From this time forward tradition became naturally more and more uncertain and suspicious." (Knapp: 'Christian Theology," p. 39.)

To meet this exigency of untrustworthiness, Romanism assumes and claims for itself an abiding inspiration which perpetuates its own infallibility. This abiding inspiration is now held to center in the papacy. This helps to explain how the Roman Catholic Church has developed such a vast body of doctrines and practices utterly unknown to the Scriptures, and often flatly opposed to them.

Some illustrations will he in order. "The first great historical fact inconsistent with this theory is, that the great majority of the bishops, both of the Eastern and Western Church, including the Pope of Rome, taught Arianism, a denial of the Divinity of Christ in the Third Century, which the whole Church, both before and afterward, condemned." "After this defection of the Romish Church in the bishop, Liberius, the whole Roman empire was overspread with Arianism." Then the Church afterward renounced Arianism.

Again that Church now teaches errors:
1. It is a monstrous error, contrary to the Bible, to its letter and spirit, and shocking to the common sense of mankind, that the salvation of men should be suspended on their acknowledging the Pope to be the head of the Church in the world or the vicar of Christ. This makes salvation independent of faith or character.

2. Again, it is contrary to the express teachings of the Bible that the Sacraments are the only channels of communicating to men the benefits of redemption. Romanists teach that all who die unbaptized, even infants, are lost.

3. The Church of Rome teaches that the ministers of the Gospel are priests: that the people have no access to God or Christ, and cannot obtain the remission of sins, or other saving blessings, except through their ministrations.

4. The doctrine of the merit of Good Works as they teach it, is a prolific error. They hold that a man may do more than the law requires of him, and perform works of supererogation, and, thus obtain more merit than is necessary for his own salvation. And they hold that this superfluous merit of the saints may be dispensed to others as indulgences.

5. The Roman Catholic Church teaches the doctrine of Purgatory, where believers are perfected, and the sufferings of Purgatory may he lessened or shortened by priests of the church.

6. That Church teaches error concerning the Lords Supper,— Transubstantiation. or that the priest by a few words of Latin, can transmute the whole substance of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and the whole Christ, body, soul and divinity, is present in the consecrated wafer, which is to be worshiped as the very Christ. This constitutes the idolatry of the mass, against which John Knox thundered.

7. That Church teaches the idolatrous use of images and the worship of the Virgin Mary, or Mariolatry: also the worship of the saints. (Hodge: 'Systematic Theology," Vol. I, pp. 144-149.)

All these facts conspire to prove that tradition can be no proper source of theology, and that the claim to infallible tradition is a delusion. The Holy Scriptures are the great fountain of truth and the sufficient and only infallible rule of faith and practice.

(3) Mysticism.
Few words have been used in such a vague and indefinite sense as Mysticism. Mystics are those who claim to be under the immediate guidance of God or His Spirit, In the philosophical use of the word, Mysticism includes all those systems of thought which teach either the identity of God and the soul (a form of Pantheism) or the immediate intuition of the infinite.

In a still wider use of the word, any system of thought, whether in philosophy or religion, which ascribes more importance to the feelings than to the intellect, is mystical. "Reason is no longer viewed as the great organ of truth. Its decisions are regarded as well-nigh worthless, while the inward impulses are held up as the true and infallible source of human knowledge. The fundamental process, therefore, of all Mysticism is to reverse the true order of nature and give the precedence to the emotional instead of the intellectual element of the human mind. This is the common ground of all Mysticism. (Morell: 'History of Modern Philosophy," p. 556 if.)

It holds that God may be known face to face, and that we attain directly, without the aid of the senses or reason, by an immediate intuition of God, the real and absolute principle of all truth. It therefore, naturally tends to mistake for a divine manifestation the operation of a merely human faculty.

The Mystics easily become imbued with the notion that they receive an immediate communication of divine knowledge from God to the soul independently of the Scriptures, or the use of any ordinary means of Grace.

It will be readily seen that this differs essentially from the Scriptural doctrine of divine illumination as held by all evangelical Christians. The Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit takes truth already made known in the Bible, and makes it real to our minds by quickening in us a spiritual discernment of its meaning. The Mystics, on the other hand, claim a revelation of truth quite apart from the Bible, and the use of any means of grace, and, indeed, by an utter neglect of them.

But God gives no promise of such revelations which shall supersede the Scriptures, or bring higher truth to the soul. As a matter of fact, while some Mystics have been blessed examples of a pure and elevated Christian life, like Tauler, Boehm, Fenelon, Madame Guyon and Thomas a Kempis, and some blessed Friends, eminent for piety, yet, through the Christian centuries, from Montanus of the Second Century till now, the system of thought has developed or tended to a rashness and arrogancy of Spirit which easily ran into evil excesses of conduct and wild and reckless fanaticism. (Miley's Theology, Vol. I, p. 18.) In places it well-nigh wrecked the Protestant Reformation under Luther. It has led many Quakers into great errors of doctrine. Some explicitly denied the authority of Scriptures, and the doctrine of the Trinity and the Atonement. Some ignored the historical Christ altogether. The Scriptures were only "to be a secondary rule subordinate to the Spirit."

Romanists, while admitting the infallibility of the Bible, still contend that it is not sufficient; and hold that God's Spirit continues to make revelations to the leaders of the Church.

Mystics, making the same admission concerning the worth of the Bible, claim that the Spirit is given to every man, whose instructions and influence are the highest rule of faith, and sufficient, even without the Scriptures, for the Salvation of the Soul.

The following objections may be urged alike against both these theories:
1. There is no warrant for such notions in the Scriptures. The Word is sufficient, and we are warned against adding to, or taking from, its precepts and doctrines, as men are continually doing who accept the theories under consideration.

2. The doctrine in question is Contrary to Scriptures. It is opposed to God's uniform method and plan of guiding His people. Everywhere and always, He has delivered His truth through chosen and authenticated messengers, "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." And from their "thus saith the Lord" there was no appeal. "To the Law and to the testimony: "If they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20.

3. The assumption of Mystics is contrary to universal facts. Without the revealed Word of God men live in darkness, "without hope and without God," in great ignorance of moral and spiritual truth. What the sun is to the natural world, the Bible is to the moral and spiritual nature of mankind. Where the Bible has not gone, and where it is not loved and trusted, and believingly read, there is a moral darkness that may be felt."

4. The Mystical theory affords no test or criterion to measure these inward impulses. The Devil can speak to us, as well as the Holy Spirit, and often does, feigning to be the Spirit of God, as all fanaticism proves. No strength of conviction affords any assurance to its possessor that it is from God. It must be tested by the Holy Word. To tell men, who have carnal hearts, and to whom Satan has access, to follow their inner impressions and spiritual convictions, is to offer them a sure guide to darkness and death.

5. Mysticism has ever been a source of evil. Under its influence, men have neglected divine ordinances, set aside plainly revealed doctrines of the Holy Word, ignored the Church, the ministry, the sacraments, the Scriptures, and have run after the wildest vagaries of opinion and fanatical excesses of conduct. Manifestly, Mysticism is no true source of Theology. (Hodge: 'Systematic Theology" Vol. I, pp. 98-103.)

(4) Reason is not an independent and Adequate Source of Theology. Nor do we, in saying this, belittle the service of reason in matters of religion. It has a most responsible service to perform in all that concerns faith.

A. "In the first place, reason is presupposed in every revelation. Revelation is the communication of truth to the mind. But this presupposes a capacity to receive the truth. Revelations are not made to stones or beasts of the field. Truths to be accepted must be apprehended. A proposition to which no meaning can be attached cannot be an article of faith. In other words, knowledge is essential to faith.

B. "In the second place, it is the prerogative of reason to judge of the credibility of a revelation. The credible is that which can be believed. Nothing is incredible but the impossible. What may be, may be rationally believed. A thing may be strange, unaccountable, unintelligible and yet perfectly credible.

"Christians concede to reason the prerogative of deciding whether a thing is possible or impossible. If it is seen to be impossible, no authority, and no amount or kind of evidence can impose the obligation to receive it as true."

"What is impossible?
(a) What involves a contradiction is impossible, as that right is wrong and wrong is right.
(b) It is impossible that God should do or approve what is morally wrong.
(c) It is impossible that He should require us to believe what contradicts any of the laws of belief which He has impressed upon our nature.
(d) It is impossible that one truth should contradict another. It is impossible, therefore, that God should reveal anything as true which contradicts any well authenticated truth, whether of intuition, experience, or previous revelation." (Hodge: "Systematic Theology" Vol. 1, pp. 49-53.) C. "Reason must judge of the Evidence of a Revelation. We may remark here:
1. Faith involves assent, and assent is conviction produced by evidence. It follows that faith without evidence is either irrational or impossible.

2. This evidence must be appropriate to the nature of the truth believed. Historical truth requires historical evidence: empirical truths, the testimony of experience: mathematical truths, mathematical evidence; moral truth, moral evidence: and "the things of the Spirit," the demonstration of the Spirit.

3. Evidence must not only be appropriate but adequate. The Scriptures never demand faith except on the ground of adequate evidence. Faith is not a blind irrational assent, but an intelligent reception of truth on adequate grounds. It is the prerogative of reason to judge of all these things."

In the same vein, Richard Watson defends the use of Reason in religion: "Many pious men think it presumptuous to apply reason in any way to the revelations of God. They think it safer to resign their minds to devout impressions, than to exercise their understandings in any speculations upon sacred subjects.

Enthusiasts and fanatics of all names and sects agree in decrying the use of reason, because it is the very essence of fanaticism to substitute, in the place of the sober deductions of reason, the extravagant fancies of a disordered imagination, and to consider these fancies as the immediate illumination of the Spirit of God.

The Church of Rome, in order to subject her votaries to her authority, has reprobated the use of reason in matters of religion. She has held that things may be true in theology which are false in philosophy, and has in some cases, made the merit of faith to consist in the absurdity of that which was believed.

1. The first use of reason in matters of religion is to examine the evidences of revelation.
2. It must decide what are the truths revealed. They are not communicated by immediate inspiration. The knowledge must be acquired by a reverent candid study of the Word.
3. Reason is of eminent use in repelling the attacks on Christianity.
4. The fourth use of reason consists in judging of the truths of religion, and weighing the doctrines that others draw from the Bible. Nothing can be received by us as true which is contrary to the dictates of reason, because it is impossible for us at the same time to receive the truth and the falsity of a proposition. Many things are true which we do not fully comprehend: and many propositions appear incredible which further examination proves to be true.

These are the steps by which reason proceeds.
(1) We examine the evidences of revelation. If these satisfy our understanding, we are certain that there can be no contradiction between the doctrines of this true religion and the dictates of right reason.

(2) If any such contradiction appears there must be a mistake in the interpretation of the Gospel. We suppose it contains doctrines which it does not teach. Or we give the name of right reason to some narrow prejudice, which deeper reflection and enlarged knowledge will dissipate.

(3) One of the most important offices of reason is to recognize her own limits: but she never can be moved, by any authority, to receive as true what she perceives to be absurd," (Watson: "Dictionary of Religious Knowledge.")

In a conversation with the writer in his own study, Dr. Josiah Strong once said: "I believe that what is true is reasonable, and what is reasonable is true." There is a world of truth in this brief sentence. Every reverent, spiritual mind, with the Bible in his hands, is profoundly impressed with the sweet reasonableness of its doctrines and revelations of truth.

D. The steps by which Reason marches to the con quest of theological truth seem to be the following:
1. Since reason is the intuitive faculty or function of the intellect, it gives the primary or essential truths of the soul: such as the existence of God—an immediate datum or intuitive truth of the reason, the absolute—for example, right and wrong; the necessary— space exists; the infinite—space is infinite; the perfect—God is perfect; moral law and the sense of obligation to obey God. (Finney, pp. 13-70, and Miley, Vol. I, p. 40) All nations believe in God and that He is a personal Moral Governor to whom they are responsible. The idea seems to be as universal as mind itself.

2. On the ground of a personal God, reason decides that a divine revelation is rationally probable. God, it decides, must be benevolently concerned for our well-being. As an infinitely wise and good Father he must have a concern for the moral and spiritual well-being of His children.

3. Reason decides that the highest moral and religious truth is profoundly important. The importance of such a revelation is enhanced by the supreme interests of the soul that are at stake. Human destiny is involved.

4. Reason affirms that the highest certainty of religious truth is supremely desirable. The uncertainties and disagreements of human speculation cannot meet the needs of man. We need truth as God knows it, and not as man guesses about it. The history of mankind reveals a craving for certainties in religion.

5. Reason decides that we can have no such truth as the world needs and craves, without a divine revelation. The history of human thought proves that apart from the Bible, or on a denial of its divine origin, there never has been certain knowledge about God and ourselves as moral beings in sin and on the way to the judgment. Therefore a revelation is a rational probability.

6. Reason decides that such a revelation is possible only through a supernatural agency of God. The manifestations of religious truth revealed by nature and the moral constitution of man are indeed helpful and efficient; but they are not sufficient. There are truths of Christianity of which nature gives no hint and the intuitions do not speak. We need to know them. They were never discovered by the unaided mind of man and could never have been known, save as God revealed them. Such are the doctrines of the Trinity, the doctrines of sin in its origin and consequences, the divine Incarnation, the personality of Christ, the Atonement Justification by faith, the work of the Holy Spirit in Sanctification. These immeasurably important truths have come to us only as a direct communication from God.

7. Reason declares that such a stupendous revelation must be supernaturally attested. Hence the necessity of miracles. Miracles are the appropriate credentials of God's messengers and the proof that a declared revelation is really from God. Thus a miracle may be defined as "a supernatural event wrought by God to accredit some messenger as divinely commissioned, or some truth as divinely given." It is not always antinatural but it is usually supranatural—an event out of the ordinary course of nature, and sometimes involving a temporary suspension of nature's laws.

8. After such a body of truth has been revealed, it is the province of reason to construct the revelations and truths into a scientific system. (Miley's Theology, Vol. I, pp. 30-33.) God himself submits His revelations and His own character and conduct to the investigation of human reason. "Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord" (Isa. 1: 18).

After thus admitting the noble use of reason in determining the contents of theology, let it be remembered, that it may be perverted and misused. This is the chief peril of present day theology, and higher criticism. IT HAS OFTEN DEGENERATED, AND CONSTANTLY TENDS, TO RATIONALISM AND BALD INFIDELITY. "Rationalism in religion, as opposed to supernaturalism means the adoption of reason as our sufficient and only guide, exclusive of tradition and revelation—such rationalism leads to the elimination of all the vital truths of Christian Theology."

We have said that reason had her own limits. She can apprehend truths when revealed which she cannot comprehend or fully explain. There is a vast difference between knowing and understanding or fully comprehending. The wisest electricians cannot tell us what electricity is. But Morse and Field and Edison can invent ways of using it and even we have sense enough to permit it to haul us about the city in the street car, or to pull the lever and light our chamber, and use it to send our messages half across America and across the Atlantic to England.

A group of new theologians and higher critics, could stand beside a clover field where a drove of hogs, a flock of sheep, a flock of geese and a herd of cattle are feeding. They could not all of them tell, after a day of consultation, why, eating the same clover, the hogs grow bristles, the sheep grow wool, the geese grow feathers, and the cattle grow hair. Yet they will go to their homes and feed on ham and mutton and beefsteak and baked goose, and lie down to sleep on hair mattresses, and pillow their heads on feathers, and rise in the morning and brush their bald heads with bristles, and clothe themselves with woolen raiment, and then coolly decide to reject the great doctrines of revelation, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Divine-human nature of Christ, the Supernatural birth and resurrection of Jesus, the Miracles and the Inspiration of Scriptures, because these truths are contrary to their settled convictions or prejudices, their preconceptions or feelings, or because they cannot wholly understand and comprehend them.

We will quote a single illustration from a man with whom we were once a guest at a dinner table. "Rationalism is the antitheses of all systems of thought which depend on authority as the source of truth. Modern thinkers reject the strictly miraculous everywhere. Hence they reject the authority of the Scriptures. The doctrine of the Incarnation is totally unintelligible, no theologian having yet succeeded in putting any intelligent meaning into the proposition that in Christ is found two natures, divine and human. With the incarnation will also disappear the doctrine of the Trinity and the Atonement."

Such an assertion from the pen of a so-called Christian minister, can only come from a carnal, wicked heart that is abusing and perverting reason, and leading him into a fathomless and shoreless sea of infidelity. German rationalism is the theological peril of the hour, from which few of our prominent schools wholly escape. It is manifest from the above that human reason is not an independent and adequate source of theology.

(5) Christian Consciousness is not an independent source of Theology.
Consciousness is the mind in the act of knowing itself. Van Oosterzee tells us that chiefly through the influence of Schleiermacker in the last century, Christian Consciousness began to be considered a source of dogmas or doctrines. It is a phrase to designate the pious feeling which a believer or community of believers finds in his heart relative to some doctrine. About fifty years ago the religious press was full of discussion of this subject. Men would say, "My Christian Consciousness forbids me to believe this and that, and the other doctrine of Scripture."

But this theory which makes religious feeling the source of theology, is a strange reversal of true order of thought, and puts the effect above and prior to the cause. It was the mental apprehension of the revealed truths of the Gospel which men have put in practice that developed the refined feelings and tender sentiments of men. And shall men now kick down the ladder by which they have climbed, and let their feelings reject or determine the contents of the doctrines? Shall sentimental feelings now determine what truths are to be rejected and what received? It is unscientific.

Besides the Christian Consciousness varies in different times and in different communions. A Protestant shudders at the idolatry of the mass and the images; but these awaken devout emotions in the breast of the Roman Catholic. There are different views of God and man, duty and destiny, and they severally develop a form of consciousness in accord with the doctrines held. It is manifest, therefore, that Christian Consciousness is no safe and reliable and adequate source of Christian doctrine, and a sound theology. We must first have the great revealed doctrines of sin and redemption, and God's method of salvation, before any Christian Consciousness can exist.

(6) Human Philosophy is not an adequate source of Theology.
Philosophy has been defined as "the attainment of truth by the way of reason." Philosophy and theology therefore occupy common ground. Both assume to teach what is true concerning God, man and the world, and the relation which God sustains to His creatures. But their methods are fundamentally different. Philosophy seeks to attain knowledge and arrive at its conclusions by speculation, simply by the use of our mental powers. Theology, on the other hand, relies on authority, receiving as truth what God in His Word has revealed.

Both these methods are legitimate. God is the author both of the Bible and that older Bible—the book of nature. He is the maker of heaven and earth. He does not contradict Himself. Therefore both Books when rightly interpreted will agree. The laws of nature and the real facts of the external world will agree with the Book Divine. Dr. Hodge well says: "Philosophers should not ignore the teachings of the Bible, and theologians should not ignore the teachings of science. Much less should either class needlessly come into collision with the other. It is unreasonable and irreligious for philosophers to adopt and teach theories inconsistent with the facts of the Bible, when these theories are only sustained by plausible evidence, which does not command the assent even of the body of scientific men themselves.

On the other hand, it is unwise for theologians to insist on an interpretation of Scripture which brings it into collision with the real facts of science. Both of these mistakes are often made." (Hodge: Systematic Theology, Vol. I, p. 51.) Many naturalists and evolutionists have contradicted Scripture as to the single origin of the human race as we shall see, against the protests of their own scientific brethren. Theologians, on the other hand, foolishly opposed the adoption of the Copernican theory of our solar system. Such contradictions are extremely unwise. Facts cannot contradict God, who made the facts. But we must have the FACTS and not UNSUPPORTED THEORIES AND GUESSES.

"Philosophy, in its widest sense, being the conclusions of the human intelligence, as to what is true, and the Bible being the declarations of God as to what is true, it is plain that where the two contradict each other, philosophy must yield to revelation; man must yield to God. What is the philosophy of the Orientals, of Brahmins and Buddhists, of the early Gnostics, of the Platonists, of the Scotists in the Middle ages, of Leibnitz with his Monads and pre-established harmony; of Des Cartes and his vortices; of Kant and his Categories; of Fichte, Schelling and Hegel with their different theories of idealistic pantheism? These are simply so many forms of human speculation. So far as they agree with the Bible they are true; and so far as they differ from it, they are false and worthless." (Hodge: Systematic Theology, Vol. I, pp. 58, 59.)

The Bible teaches that God creates, and governs, and controls, in human history. Any philosophy that denies that He can act in time, and relegates Him back into a past eternity, is false. Human philosophies are a tangled wilderness of conflicting opinions. "The wisdom of man is foolishness with God,'' and it is no reliable and adequate source of theology.

Just as the facts of the animal kingdom can be arranged into a system, or science, so can the facts of theology. There is a sufficient certainty to the facts, and the theologian has a right to arrange the truths revealed into an orderly science, or a system of doctrines. There is an inter-relation between the various doctrines which needs to be exhibited. People not only need to know truths, but also to know them in their relations to each other.

Objections have been made to a systemization of theological truths. It is said: "Religion is a life and not a doctrine." There is truth in this. True religion is a right state of the heart and life, more than it is a set of opinions.

But the fact is, there is a vital connection between the doctrines and the life. A religious movement, with power to lift up souls and reform communities and leaven nations, must have its inception and progress in a body of Gospel doctrines that glorify Jesus and His Atonement as the only hope of the world. Unitarianism can produce no such results. Compare the influence of Wesleyan doctrines in England and America with the influence of Roman Catholic doctrines in Spain or Ireland or anywhere on earth. Why should we repent of sins? Why should we be born of the Spirit? Why did Jesus die for us? Why is faith in Him necessary to salvation? Why shol]d we be sanctified, and how? The answer to such questions involve and call out a great system of doctrines. Again, it is argued that the systematizing of the doctrines of theology leads to bigotry and strife.

This is not a necessity. The greatest of theologians have been sweet-spirited and free from bigotry. But when these doctrines are embraced in a living faith, there is necessarily a profound sense of their importance. They should be held with tenacity, and defended with earnestness. God even commands us to "contend earnestly for the faith, once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3.) The possession of truth is incomparably more important than any false peace. There is nothing more withering and subtly dangerous than an easy-going, indifferent, "go-as-you-please" and "believe-what-you-will" liberalism, that derides all serious convictions of faith, and all conscientiousness of life. And oftentimes the most illiberal and bigoted element of human thought is the much-vaunted liberalism. The strings of its bows are incessantly vibrant, and the air is sulphurous from the fiery darts it is perpetually shooting at the orthodox faith in a divine, atoning Savior.

There is as much bigotry of negation, as there is of affirmation. Man ought to have a positive belief for rest to his soul.

We might name many systems and methods of discussing Christian doctrine. Dr. Charles Hodge divided his great Systematic Theology as follows:
"Part I. Theology Proper—the doctrine of God.
Part II. Anthropology—The Nature of Man.
Part III. Soteriology—God's Plan of Salvation.
Part IV. Eschatology—The Doctrine of Last Things."

Dr. Miley in his noble theology gives the following divisions:
"Part I. Theism: The Existence of a Personal God, Creator Preserver and Ruler of All Things.
Part II. Theology: The Attributes of God; the Trinity.
Part III. Anthropology: The Origin of Man, his Fall, and the Consequent Ruin of the Race.
Part IV. Christology: The Incarnation of the Son: the person of Christ.
Part V. Soteriology: The Atonement and Salvation in Christ.
Part VI. Eschatology: The Intermediate State: the Second Advent; the Resurrection; the Judgment, and the Final Destinies."
We shall closely follow this latter order in our discussions.

I. Theology. II. Sources of theology—Nature and Revelation. False sources—Creeds, Tradition, Mysticism, Reason, Christian consciousness, philosophy. III. Theology can be systematized. IV. The method to be pursued in Systematic Theology. Pages 11-24. PART I. THEISM CHAPTER I THE EXISTENCE OF GOD A. Definitions of God. B. Origin of the idea of God. C. Corroborating proofs of theism. I. Ontological argument. II. The Cosmological argument. III. The Teleological argument. IV. The Anthropological argument. 1. Constitution of man as a whole. 2. Argument from the existence of mind. 3. Argument from capacities and wants. 4. Argument from the moral nature. Pages 27-49. CHAPTER II ANTITHEISTIC THEORIES I. Atheism. II. Pantheism. III. Positivism. IV. Materialism. Pages 50-65. CHAPTER III ANTITHEISTIC THEORIES, CONCLUDED V. Secularism. VI. Agnosticism. 1. Lost in their definitions. 2. God can be known. Pages 66-75. PART II. THEOLOGY CHAPTER I BEING AND PERSONALITY OF COO Being of God. Attributes. Pages 79-81. CHAPTER II DIVINE REVELATION I. Revelation is necessary. 1. Human reason insufficient. 2. Knowledge of Divine unity lost. 3. Knowledge of God's holiness lost. 4. Religion and morality divorced. 5. Assurance of immortality lost. Man could not discover, 1. The pardon of sin. 2. On what grounds. 3. Whether God would help him. 4. What is his destiny. II. Is a revelation probable? III. Is a supernatural revelation possible? Pages 82-89. CHAPTER III THEN MIRACLES I. The shallow sneer at miracles, but not the wise. II. Miracles admit of proof. Hume's argument worthless. Prof. G. P. Fisher's reply. There are false miracles. Pages 90-100. CHAPTER IV GENUINENESS AND AUTHENTICITY OF SCRIPTURES I. The Old Testament. Seven evidences. II. The New Testament. Evidence from the fathers. Catalogues of the New Testament books. Different versions. III. The integrity of the Scriptures. I. The Canon—Made by degrees. Scriptures could not be corrupted—Variations in readings. Easily explained. IV. The Authenticity of Scriptures. Leslie's four rules. Applied to miracles. Michaelis' tests of a spurious book. Pages 101-116. CHAPTER V REVELATION AND INSPIRATION Revelation and Inspiration defined. I. The proof of inspiration. II. The extent of inspiration. Theories of inspiration, Plenary theory. Verbal theory. Essential inspiration. Dynamical theory. Moral inspiration. III. The degree of Inspiration. 1. Superintendence. 2. Elevation. 3. Suggestions. 4. Mechanical inspiration. IV. Difficulties and objections. Discrepancies. Inaccurate quotations. Closing remarks. Pages 117-135. CHAPTER VI AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURES I. Miracles. 2. Prophecy. Jesus foretold. 3. Internal evidence, 4. Harmony with nature. 5. Remedial. 6. Meets test of Conscience. 7. Teaches perfect morality. 8. Highest inspiration to man. 9. Stimulates faculties. 10. Ennobles man. 11. Restrains him. 12. Redeems. 13. Empowers. 14. Blessed influence. Pages 136447. CHAPTER VII HIGHER CRITICISM I. Its Fountain. II. Its underlying purpose. III. Their methods and ruling hypotheses. Brazen assumption of a monopoly of scholarship. Their disagreements. Pages 148-171. CHAPTER VIII HIGHER CRITICISM CONTINUED IV. Results. Infidelity and immorality in schools and in pulpits. Doctrinal results in Germany. Spiritual effects. Germany. England. United States. V. Eight fallacies of the critics. Overthrown by Archaeology. The Bible vindicated against the infidel critics. The most dangerous infidels of all the Christian centuries. Pages 172-203. CHAPTER IX THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD Classification. Natural and Moral. Hodge's classification. Miley's. I. Omniscience. Errors. II. Divine sensibility. 1. Holiness. 2. Justice. 3. Love of God. 4. Mercy. 5. Truth. III. Omnipotence. Pages 204-225. CHAPTER X DIVINE PREDICABLES. NOT DISTINCTLY ATTRIBUTES I. Eternity. Dr. Charles Hodge, "With God duration is an eternal now." Dr. Miley's "There is no such thing." Wakefield, "Contradicts Scripture." Fairchild: "No finite thought to eternal now." Succession of time is a rational necessity with God as with us. II. Unity of God. The only self-existent One. Whatever the Trinity implies must be consistent with unity of being. Evidence of divine unity. 1. Metaphysical argument. 2. Evidences in creation. 3. No rational requirement of more than one God. III. Omnipresence of God. It means His existence everywhere by His essential being. He fills all space. Everywhere equally present. Miley in a long argument denies: God's personality is confined to one place: only by His knowledge and power He reaches all. 1. The Scriptures and theologians are against Dr. Miley. 2. Wherever God's power creates or works there His essence must be. 3. So of His Providence. "He upholds all things," but is above all. IV. The Immutability of God. This refers to His nature and moral principles. His character will not change. He will govern with the steady hand of unerring wisdom. Pages 2 26-235. CHAPTER XI GOD IN TRINITY I. The Unitarians sneer—"Three Gods". No contradiction between Unity and Trinity. Trinity in Scripture. Trinity in creeds. All divine attribute ascribed to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Errors respecting trinity. 1. Sabellianism. 2. Arianism. 3. Socinianism. 4. Swedenborgianism. Illustrations of trinity. A. The Son of God. I. Sonship. II. Deity of the Son. I. Titles. 2. Attributes. 3. Divine works. 4. Worshiped. B. The Holy Spirit. I. Personality. II. Deity of the Spirit. 1. Names. 2. Perfections. 3. Works. 4. Worshiped. Thus a Trinity. Pages 236-258. CHAPTER XII GOD IN CREATION I. Theories of Origin of Universe. II. Intelligence in matter. III. Scriptural Doctrine. Immediate and Mediate creation. The Inorganic era. The Organic era. IV. Evolution. 1. Naturalistic evolution. 2. Theistic evolution. 3. Evolution unproved. Evidences against the theory, Biology gives no better support than geology. Everything brings forth after its kind. The gulf of separation between man and animals bridgeless. The greatest scientists against the theory. Virchow calls evolution clubs 'Bubble clubs." Hacekel's disgrace. Pages 259-295. CHAPTER XIII GOD IN PROVIDENCE 1. Affirmed in Bible. 2. Universal. 3. Absolute in matter. 4. Not changeless in matter. 5. Not continuous creation. 6. An inference from power and wisdom of God. 7. Occasionalism. 8. Providence and lower animals. 9. Providence and moral beings. 10. Part of His kingdom not controlled by Omnipotence. Providence and sin. God does not foreordain whatsoever comes to pass. Fairchild's words. 12. Providence and freedom. 13. Implied in personality of God. 14. Infidelity objects to providence. Pages 206-311. PART III. ANTHROPOLOGY The Origin of Man: His Fall: Consequent Ruin of the Race. CHAPTER I ORIGIN AND UNITY OF MAN I. The Origin of Man. Three theories. Miley on evolution. II. Time of Man's origin. 1. Wild speculations of scientists. 2. No necessary conflict with the Bible. Bible genealogy and chronology uncertain. Language variations and race variations. Unity of origin. Effects of climate. 3. Defence of the view. Seven arguments. Pages 315-325. CHAPTER II PRIMITIVE MAN I. Genesis story literal. II. Constituent nature of man, Dichotomic and Trichotomic. III. Primitive man constituted as now. Suffering was possible. Perfect memory. IV. Bore the image of God. 1. Intellect. 2. Sensibility. 3. Freedom of will. Question is, Is man a free moral agent? Consciousness says, "yes." He is free in forming his choice, Pages 326-336. CHAPTER III MAN'S MORAL AGENCY I. Schemes of Necessity. 1. Fatalism. 2. Mechanical theory. 3. Materialism. 4. Pantheism. 5. Theory that refers everything to God. 6. Calvinistic doctrine of predestination and divine sovereignty and monergism. 7. The Calvinistic doctrine that choice must be as the strongest motive. II. President Edwards' theory. Edwards' errors. Miley's criticism. Finney's. Edwards' untenable distinctions—Natural ability and moral ability, and natural and moral inability. Natural ability is identical with freedom of the Will. III. Charles Hodge's doctrine. "Man has no power of contrary choice." He must act according to the motives, inclination, character, etc. 'It is fixed from all eternity how a man will act." His "certainty" is nothing but necessity and fatalism. Pages 33 7-355. CHAPTER IV THE TRUE THEORY OF MORAL FREEDOM IV. The rational theory. 1. Motive defined. The choice not as the strongest motive. The will determines the motive. 2. Nature of choice. 3. The true freedom. How man may differ from an animal. Power of suspension of choice to have time for reflection. A matter of consciousness that we have power over motive states. This makes a noble life possible. Conscience and moral reason are realities. V. Proofs of free moral agency nine. VI. Irresistible inferences to be drawn. I. There is no moral inability. 2. The term gracious ability" a mistake. Finney's strictures. Unanswerable. Daniel Steele's matchless argument. Pages 356-375. CHAPTER V PRIMITIVE HOLINESS AND PROBATION I. Nature of Adamic holiness. II. Proofs of primitive holiness. Mistakes of both Augustine and Pelagius. III. Elements of primitive holiness. 1. Romish views. 2. True Doctrine. IV. The primitive probation. 1 . Natural and reasonable. 2. Complete ability for obedience. 3. Why was sin permitted? V. The probationary law. VI. The probation fair. Pages 3 76-382. CHAPTER VI THE FALL I. Circumstances of the fall. 1. Agency. 2. The method. 3. The penalty. The kind of death. 4. Race-wide consequence. II. Man free to fall. III. How holy beings sin. IV. Why God permitted the fall. The fall and redemption. V. The fall of angels involved the same principles. Pages 383-391. CHAPTER VII EFFECT OF THE FALL UPON THE RACE I. Original Sin. The absurd doctrine of Imputation. Fairchild and Finney on Imputation Daniel Steele. Leads to Antinomianism Fletcher's "Creed of Antinomians." Doctrine of Plymouth Brethren. Depravity real. Finney's peculiar view of moral depravity. Depravity defined. Not depravity but men make themselves sinners. Not "born sinners." No such thing as a sinful nature, in the sense of being blameworthy. "The stronghold of Universalism," and of 'Calvinism." Summary. Pages 392-406. CHAPTER VIII PROOFS OF NATIVE DEPRAVITY I. Scripture. 2. Universal need of justification. 3. Universal need of regeneration. 4. Universal sin. 5. Universal tendency to sin. Efforts to deny depravity. Depravity is not guilt. Guilt defined. 6. Universality of death. 7. Slow progress of gospel agencies. Cheap denial of depravity Pages 407-415. CHAPTER IX PHILOSOPHICAL THEORIES ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF DEPRAVITY I. Supralapsarian Calvinistic Theory. II. Imputation Theory. III. Sin in pre-existent life. IV. Realistic Mode of Adamic Sin. Reflects on God and mocks reason. "Fooleries I" V. A lower form of realism. VI. The representative mode of Adamic guilt. There was no such Federal Headship. Other strictures. The doctrine against the Convicting work of Spirit. Pages 416-426. CHAPTER X GENETIC LAW OF DEPRAVITY I. Definition. I. Sufficient account of depravity. 2. Sufficiency of the law. 3. Must be the true law. II. Doctrine of native demerit. Arminianism vs. Calvinism. Definitions of actual sin. III. The state of infants. Godbey's prenatal justification, regeneration and sanctification. Baptismal regeneration of babes taught by Augustine—a terrible legacy. All infants saved by Christ. IV. Theological Inconsistencies of Methodist writers. Pages 427-438.