The Instrumentality Of Truth In Regeneration -- By: Austin Phelps
BSac 23:91 (July 1866) p. 485
The Instrumentality Of Truth In Regeneration1
It is the misfortune of some of the doctrines of our religion that theological inquiry has often confounded their speculative with their practical elements. Questions respecting them, which never can be answered in this world, have stood side by side, as if of equal moment, with those which must be answered, if an earnest mind would find peace. The views of truth which are commended to the faith of an inquirer often exhibit, therefore, a singular medley of knowledge and conjecture. Volumes have been compiled of the Curiosities of Literature. A good service would be rendered to practical religion if the curiosities of theology could fee detached from its essential facts; yet without abridgment of legitimate theological inquiry.
The necessity of such a distinction becomes the more obvious the nearer we approach to any one of those centres of theological thought which represent an intermingling of
BSac 23:91 (July 1866) p. 486
agencies in human destiny. Such a centre of truth is the doctrine of The New Birth. In the spirit of these remarks, it is my desire to consider in this discourse :
The Instrumentality Of Truth In Regeneration
I. We shall reach the objects of this discussion most directly, by first observing the Biblical modes of representing Truth as an instrument of God. The scriptural representations on this subject are not recondite; yet they cover all those points of inquiry on which we need instruction, that we may form a consistent theory of the working of Divine Grace. They may be cited, not so much for their force as proof-texts, as for their pertinence in giving us the inspired doctrine in inspired expression. Fortunately, the most salient of the passages declarative of this doctrine need no comment. To utter them is to explain them. It is difficult to mistake the import of the text2 :”Of his own will begat He us with the word of truth.” To the same effect is the Psalmist’s declaration: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” The entire burden of the one hundred and nineteenth Psalm is a tribute of adoration to Truth, as an instrument of Divine purposes. Why was Paul “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ?” Because “it is the power of God unto salvation.”
Dogmatic statements of doctrine, however, are not the favorite forms of inspiration. The most emphatic representations of doctrine in the scriptures are pictures. Their forces of expression depend on the significance of figurative language. Scriptural style is thus hieroglyphic. “I have heard of Thee,”...
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