Saturday, August 19, 2006

Eternal Praise

"O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD." -- Psalm 117

From all that dwell below the skies,
Let the Creator’s praise arise;
Let the Redeemer’s Name be sung,
Through every land, by every tongue.

Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;

Eternal truth attends Thy Word.
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Till suns rise and set no more.

By Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David, 1719


GeneMBridges said...


I'm posting this here because I can't reach your email address. I keep getting a message about Rate Limits. I can send to other domains, but not yahoo, so I don't think the problem is on my end. Yours is the only address that gives me this message.

In answer to your email:

R.L., you are correct. The LBCF2 does not refer to the Word as "Christ." If you substitute Christ or Jesus Christ for Word, it doesn't make sense. What's happening here is that your PB interlocutor is reading Chapter 10 in isolation from the rest of the confession as if the confession shifts the definition of terms from one section to the next.

This is most clear in Chapter 8:

8._____ To all those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for them; uniting them to himself by his Spirit, revealing unto them, in and by his Word, the mystery of salvation, persuading them to believe and obey, governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit, and overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation; and all of free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them to procure it.
( John 6:37; John 10:15, 16; John 17:9; Romans 5:10; John 17:6; Ephesians 1:9; 1 John 5:20; Romans 8:9, 14; Psalms 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:25, 26; John 3:8; Ephesians 1:8 )

This paragraph would not make sense if "Word" referred to Christ . If this person is right, it would mean: he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same...uniting them to himself by his and by his Jesus Christ!?!. Will anybody seriously argue this?! Yikes! (You've got a live one, don't you RL!) This is where the discussion of the effectual call related to Christ is located in the confession, and it relates to the procession of the Holy Spirit and the gospel message! It wouldn't make sense otherwise, and this is what the confession is referring to in Chapter 10 when it talks in more detail about effectual calling.

"The Word" in the LBCF2 is defined here:

The First London Confession does oscillate between the Word and the word. The Word is Christ. The word is the gospel/Scripture.

For example:

In this divine and infinite Being there is the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; each having the whole divine Essence, yet the Essence undivided; all infinite without any beginning, therefore but one God; who is not to be divided in nature, and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties.



That He might be a prophet every way complete, it was necessary He should be God, and also that He should be man; For unless He had been God, He could never have perfectly understood the will of God; and unless He had been man, He could not suitably have unfolded it in His own person to men.

John 1:18; Acts 3:22; Deut. 18:15; Heb. 1:1.


That Jesus Christ is God is wonderfully and clearly expressed in the Scriptures. He is called the mighty God, Isa. 9:6. That Word was God, John 1:1. Christ, who is God over all, Rom 9:5. God manifested in the flesh, 1 Tim. 3:16. The same is very God, 1 John 5:20. He is the first, Rev. 1:8. He gives being to all things, and without Him was nothing made, John 1:2. He forgiveth sins, Matt. 9:6. He is before Abraham, John 8:58. He was and is, and ever will be the same, Heb. 13:8. He is always with His to the end of the world, Matt. 28:20. Which could not be said of Jesus Christ, if He were not God. And to the Sone He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, Heb. 1:8, John 1:18.

Compared with


The rule of this knowledge, faith, and obedience, concerning the worship of God, in which is contained the whole duty of man, is (not men's laws, or unwritten traditions, but) only the word of God contained [viz., written] in the holy Scriptures; in which is plainly recorded whatsoever is needful for us to know, believe, and practice; which are the only rule of holiness and obedience for all saints, at all times, in all places to be observed.

Faith is the gift of God, wrought in the hearts of the elect by the Spirit of God; by which faith they come to know and believe the truth of the Scriptures, and the excellency of them above all other writings, and all things in the world, as they hold forth the glory of God in His attributes, the excellency of Christ in His nature and offices, and of the power and fullness of the Spirit in its [His] workings and operations; and so are enabled to cast their souls upon His truth thus believed.


Faith is ordinarily begotten by the preaching of the gospel, or word of Christ, without respect to any power or agency in the creature; but it being wholly passive, and dead in trespasses and sins, doth believe and is converted by no less power than that which raised Christ from the dead.

The reason it does this is the source document that it follows. That document is the True Confession of 1596. Notice they are nearly identical. There is no difference between the theology of the 2 confessions, because the basis for the True Confession was Ames. See here: Dr. R. has an article coming out in the next Reformed Baptist Theological Review on this very topic. It isn't out yet, though, because the publisher for the RBTR has literally just moved. I'd add that 3 of the signatories to the 2LBCF are on the First.

Here is Keach:

From Keach's Catechism:

Q. 35. What is effectual calling?

A. Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, He does persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the Gospel.

(2 Tim. 1:9; John 16:8-11; Acts 2:37; 26:18; Ezekiel 36:26; John 6:44,45; 1 Cor. 12:3)


Q. 36. What benefits do they that are effectually called, partake of in this life?

A. They that are effectually called, do in this life partake of justification, adoption, sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.

(Rom. 8:30; Gal. 3:26; 1 Cor. 6:11; Rom. 8:31,32; Eph. 1:5; 1 Cor. 1:30)

Q. 4. What is the Word of God?

A. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

(2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Isaiah 8:20)

Knollys on means: God "requires poor sinners to use the meanes he hath appointed" These means are "effectual for salvation." None are "exempted" but "every one that has an ear is required to heare. You ought to seek, to wait, aske, and use all the means which God hath appointed, and afforded you." He said, "It is my duty to to preach the Gospel to you, and to exhort you to seek Christ," but again only "the meer mercy and free grace of God" will drive any to Christ and "nothing but his everlasting love can move him." to initiate and consummate this effectual action." (Christ Exalted, 12 - 14).

Notice here how Knollys oscillates between word and Word. Here "Word" is referring to the gospel and Scripture.

Clearly he affirmed instrumentality!

That ought to tide you over for a bit.

Gene M. Bridges

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing
to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun
by scribbling 'darkness' on the wall of his cell..."
C.S. Lewis

amity said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
amity said...

Since it is Watts, I am sure it is a matter or record what scripture the "Fromm all that dwell below the skies" poetry is based on, and you are absolutely correct about this, but frankly I always associated this with Revelation 5:13.

"13And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

Guess that is "Since it is Watts, I am sure it is a matter or record what scripture the "Let every creature join" poetry is based on, and you are absolutely correct about this, but frankly I always associated this with Revelation 5:13.

"13And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

Guess that is what the "Let every creature join" poetry is based on.

R. L. Vaughn said...

That verse harmonizes with "Let every creature join", but according to Christian Classics Ethereal Library, the hymn is based on Psalm 148. Here it is in entirety:

Universal praise.

Let every creature join
To praise th' eternal God;
Ye heav'nly hosts, the song begin,
And sound his name abroad.

Thou sun with golden beams,
And moon with paler rays;
Ye starry lights, ye twinkling flames,
Shine to your Maker's praise.

He built those worlds above,
And fixed their wondrous frame;
By his command they stand or move,
And ever speak his name.

Ye vapors, when ye rise,
Or fall in showers of snow;
Ye thunders, murmuring round the skies,
His power and glory show.

Wind, hail, and flashing fire,
Agree to praise the Lord,
When ye in dreadful storms conspire
To execute his word.

By all his works above
His honors be expressed;
But saints that taste his saving love
Should sing his praises best.

Let earth and ocean know
They owe their Maker praise;
Praise him, ye wat'ry worlds below,
And monsters of the seas.

From mountains near the sky
Let his high praise resound;
From humble shrubs and cedars high,
And vales and fields around.

Ye lions of the wood,
And tamer beasts that graze,
Ye live upon his daily food,
And he expects your praise.

Ye birds of lofty wing,
On high his praises bear;
Or sit on flowery boughs, and sing
Your Maker's glory there.

Ye creeping ants and worms,
His various wisdom show,
And flies, in all your shining swarms,
Praise him that dressed you so.

By all the earth-born race
His honors be expressed;
But saints, that know his heav'nly grace
Should learn to praise him best.

Monarchs of wide command,
Praise ye th' eternal King;
Judges, adore that sovereign hand
Whence all your honors spring.

Let vig'rous youth engage
To sound his praises high:
While growing babes, and with'ring age,
Their feebler voices try.

United zeal be shown
His wondrous fame to raise:
God is the Lord; his name alone
Deserves our endless praise.

Let nature join with art,
And all pronounce him blest;
But saints, that dwell so near his heart,
Should sing his praises best.

Be sure and check out Christian Classics Ethereal Library. It is a very good online resource.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Thanks, Gene.

amity said...

Thank you, Robert.

I am sending a song a day out to a Bible study listserver I am on and just blowing everyone's minds with this great poetry!

I will check out that Christian Classics Etheral Library for the Sacred Harp scriptural index.