© Contra Mundum
Contra Mundum
Biblical law in Presbyterianism

John Brown of Haddington

John Brown’s Systematic Theology, published in 1782 (originally with the title of A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion) was used as a textbook at old Princeton Seminary, and is a good example of what was taught to future ministers in America as standard Presbyterian theology. Brown devotes fifty pages to the law of God in a chapter following the chapter on sanctification. His approach is a Ramist breakdown of the application of the moral law, which he takes to be the Ten Commandments. There is no exegesis of the law code as it is found in the Bible. Rather he gives an analytic breakdown of what he takes to be the implications of the law, accompanied by numerous proof texts from all over the Bible. Brown gives six rules for understanding and explaining the moral law of the Ten Commandments. I. Wherever a duty is required, the contrary sin if forbid; and wherever a sin is forbid, the contrary duty is required. II. Wherever a sin is forbid, every sin of the same kind, and every cause, occasion, and appearance thereof, are also forbid; and where a duty is commanded, every duty of the same kind, and all the means of performing it, are required. III. Whatever we ourselves are bound to be, do, or forbear, we are bound, according to our stations, to do all that we can to make others to be and do the same. IV. That which is forbid is never to be done: but actions required are only to be performed when God gives opportunity. V. The same sin is forbidden, and the same duty required, in different, nay, in all the commandments, in different respects. VI. No sin is ever to be committed in order to avoid a greater; but some duties required must give place to others. Our natural duties to God must be preferred to our natural duties to men, Acts iv. 19. v. 29. And the positive worship of God must sometimes give place to the natural duties of necessity and mercy towards men, Hos. vi. 6. Under the Fifth Commandment: The duties of the MAGISTRATES to their subjects are, 1) To establish good laws, and effectually execute them 2) To govern them with wisdom, equity, and affection 3. To protect them in their just rights and privileges derived from God 4) By good example and righteous laws to promote the true religion, and no other, among them 5) To punish evil doers, and encourage them that do well. And the duties of the SUBJECTS to their magistrates are, 1) To respect them as the deputies, image, and ordinance of God 2) Charitable construction of their conduct as far as it can bear it 3) Subjection to their just laws 4) Cheerful payment of just taxes 5) Defence of them from their enemies 6) Much solemn and fervent prayer for them 7) Earnest care to live under their government as an honour, comfort, and blessing to them and others. Under the Eighth Commandment he mentions that it forbids: 9) Exercise of unlawful callings,—gamesters, stage-players, puppet-shewers, pimps, pawn- brokers, smugglers, &c. Brown then says: The ten commandments, above explained, may be viewed in a threefold form: I. As a Law of Nature antecedent to, and disengaged from any covenant-transaction between God and us. In this form, 1) God, as a Creator and absolute Sovereign, imposed it. 2) It was written upon man’s heart in his creation 3) It contained no positive precept, but obliged all its subjects to believe every thing God should reveal, and perform every thing that he should command … 6) It did not admit of God’s accepting any thing less than perfect obedience 7) All men, as rational creatures, were subject to it. II. As a Covenant of Works. In this form, 1) An absolute God, condescending to friendship, makes alliance and familiarity with holy and perfect man, was the imposer of it .. 5) The original scope and end of it was, that man might obtain eternal life by his own obedience, as its condition … III. As the law of Christ, or rule of life.
© Lorem ipsum dolor sit Nulla in mollit pariatur in, est ut dolor eu eiusmod lorem
MyWebsite.com
Biblical law in Presbyterianism

John Brown of Haddington

John Brown’s Systematic Theology, published in 1782 (originally with the title of A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion) was used as a textbook at old Princeton Seminary, and is a good example of what was taught to future ministers in America as standard Presbyterian theology. Brown devotes fifty pages to the law of God in a chapter following the chapter on sanctification. His approach is a Ramist breakdown of the application of the moral law, which he takes to be the Ten Commandments. There is no exegesis of the law code as it is found in the Bible. Rather he gives an analytic breakdown of what he takes to be the implications of the law, accompanied by numerous proof texts from all over the Bible. Brown gives six rules for understanding and explaining the moral law of the Ten Commandments. I. Wherever a duty is required, the contrary sin if forbid; and wherever a sin is forbid, the contrary duty is required. II. Wherever a sin is forbid, every sin of the same kind, and every cause, occasion, and appearance thereof, are also forbid; and where a duty is commanded, every duty of the same kind, and all the means of performing it, are required. III. Whatever we ourselves are bound to be, do, or forbear, we are bound, according to our stations, to do all that we can to make others to be and do the same. IV. That which is forbid is never to be done: but actions required are only to be performed when God gives opportunity. V. The same sin is forbidden, and the same duty required, in different, nay, in all the commandments, in different respects. VI. No sin is ever to be committed in order to avoid a greater; but some duties required must give place to others. Our natural duties to God must be preferred to our natural duties to men, Acts iv. 19. v. 29. And the positive worship of God must sometimes give place to the natural duties of necessity and mercy towards men, Hos. vi. 6. Under the Fifth Commandment: The duties of the MAGISTRATES to their subjects are, 1) To establish good laws, and effectually execute them 2) To govern them with wisdom, equity, and affection 3. To protect them in their just rights and privileges derived from God 4) By good example and righteous laws to promote the true religion, and no other, among them 5) To punish evil doers, and encourage them that do well. And the duties of the SUBJECTS to their magistrates are, 1) To respect them as the deputies, image, and ordinance of God 2) Charitable construction of their conduct as far as it can bear it 3) Subjection to their just laws 4) Cheerful payment of just taxes 5) Defence of them from their enemies 6) Much solemn and fervent prayer for them 7) Earnest care to live under their government as an honour, comfort, and blessing to them and others. Under the Eighth Commandment he mentions that it forbids: 9) Exercise of unlawful callings,—gamesters, stage-players, puppet-shewers, pimps, pawn- brokers, smugglers, &c. Brown then says: The ten commandments, above explained, may be viewed in a threefold form: I. As a Law of Nature antecedent to, and disengaged from any covenant-transaction between God and us. In this form, 1) God, as a Creator and absolute Sovereign, imposed it. 2) It was written upon man’s heart in his creation 3) It contained no positive precept, but obliged all its subjects to believe every thing God should reveal, and perform every thing that he should command … 6) It did not admit of God’s accepting any thing less than perfect obedience 7) All men, as rational creatures, were subject to it. II. As a Covenant of Works. In this form, 1) An absolute God, condescending to friendship, makes alliance and familiarity with holy and perfect man, was the imposer of it .. 5) The original scope and end of it was, that man might obtain eternal life by his own obedience, as its condition … III. As the law of Christ, or rule of life.