A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel

Treatise on Law and Gospel CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

Martin Luther said that the law ought never to be preached apart from the gospel, and that the gospel ought never to be preached apart from the law. We live in a day when few professing Christians understand either the law or the gospel, much less their relationship to each other.

In this important work, long out of print, the great Scottish preacher John Colquhoun helps eliminate this unnecessary confusion, showing how the law and the gospel differ as well as how they agree. If we do not understand the law and its role, we can never rightly understand the grace of the gospel. Faulty conclusions lead to antinomianism (“the law has no place”) or legalism (“God’s favor comes from doing the right things”). Both are deadly paths off the narrow road.

“The subject of this treatise is, in the highest degree, important and interesting to both saints and sinners. To know it experimentally is to be wise unto salvation, and to live habitually under the influence of it is to be at once holy and happy. To have spiritual and distinct views of it is the way to be kept from verging towards self-righteousness on the one hand and licentiousness on the other; it is to be enabled to assert the absolute freeness of sovereign grace, and, at the same time, the sacred interests of true holiness. Without an experimental knowledge of and an unfeigned faith in the law and the gospel, a man can neither venerate the authority of the one nor esteem the grace of the other.” –John Colquhoun

Source: Back Cover

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
ADVERTISEMENT
CHAPTER 1. The Law of God, or the Moral Law in General

Section 1. The law as inscribed on the heart of man in his creation.
Section 2. The law as given to Adam under the form of the covenant of works
Section 3. The law, in the hand of Christ the Mediator, as a rule of life to believers

CHAPTER 2. The Law of God, as Promulgated to the Israelites from Mount Sinai

Section 1. Of the covenant of grace, and of the Ten Commandments, as the rule of duty to believers according to that covenant, as published from Mount Sinai
Section 2. Of the moral law in the form of a covenant of works, as displayed on Mount Sinai to the Israelites
Section 3. Of the law promulgated from Mount Sinai to the Israelites, as the matter of a national covenant between God and them

CHAPTER 3. The Properties of the Moral Law

CHAPTER 4. The Rules for Understanding Aright the Ten Commandments

CHAPTER 5. The Gospel of Christ

CHAPTER 6. The Uses of the Gospel, and of the Law in Subservience to It

Section 1. The principal uses of the Gospel
Section 2. The uses of the moral law in its subservience to the Gospel

CHAPTER 7. The Difference between the Law and the Gospel

CHAPTER 8. The Agreement between the Law and the Gospel

CHAPTER 9. The Establishment of the Law and the Gospel

CHAPTER 10. The Believer’s Privilege of Being Dead to the law as a Covenant of Works, with a Highly Important Consequence of It

Section 1. What it is in the law as a covenant of works to which believers are dead
Section 2. What is included in the believer’s being dead to the law as a covenant
Section 3. The means of becoming dead to the law as a covenant
Section 4. Of the important consequence of a believer’s being dead to the law as a covenant of works
Section 5. Of the necessity of a beleiver’s being dead to the law as a covenant, in order to his living unto God

CHAPTER 11. The High Obligations under which Believers Lie, to Yield Even Perfect Obedience to the Law as a Rule of Life

CHAPTER 12. The Nature, Necessity, and Desert of Good Works

Section 1. The nature of good works
Section 2. The necessity of good works
Section 3. The desert of good works

John Colquhoun

John Colquhoun (1748-1827)

About the Author

While on a walking tour through Scotland during a College vacation, Alexander Moody Stuart spent a weekend at a country inn on the road between Glasgow and Edinburgh. His interest was aroused in two lads who arrived at the inn late on the Saturday evening. After spending the night there they left early next morning and returned to the inn again that evening. He discovered that they were working lads from Glasgow who, on coming under spiritual concern, had sought for a minister that preached the gospel fully. They eventually found a preacher to their mind in Edinburgh and were determined to wait on his ministry. That preacher was Dr John Colquhoun of the New Church in South Leith. Such value did they set upon Colquhoun’s preaching that they were willing to walk about a hundred miles each weekend to hear him and be back at their work at 6 o’clock on Monday morning. These young Christians were typical of many in Scotland at the beginning of the nineteenth century who had felt the power of the Word and therefore highly prized the full gospel ministry at South Leith. With much of the Church of Scotland lying under the blight of unbelieving Moderatism, ministries like that of Colquhoun and his contemporaries – Dr John Love of Glasgow and Dr MacDonald of Ferintosh – were oases in the desert.

John Colquhoun was born at Luss in Dunbartonshire on 1 January, 1748. The son of a small farmer, he received his elementary education at the local Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) school. The teacher, a Christian, not only instructed the minds of his pupils but sought to impress the truth upon their hearts. It was to his explanation and application of the Westminster Shorter Catechism question, ‘What is effectual calling?’ that Colquhoun afterwards traced his conversion.

On feeling led to devote himself to the ministry he entered Glasgow University in 1768, where he pursued his studies for ten years. The Presbytery of Glasgow licensed him to preach in 1780, and the following year he was ordained to what proved to be his only pastoral charge—the New Church in South Leith (St John’s, Constitution Street). There he exercised an effective ministry until forced to give up through ill-health a year before his death in 1827.

Shortly after his conversion John Colquhoun had walked all the way from Luss to Glasgow, a distance in all of about fifty miles, to buy a copy of Thomas Boston’s Fourfold State. This book had a moulding influence on his early Christian life. He came to esteem it next to his Bible. The influence of Boston’s teaching was later to permeate his ministry and writings. Thomas Boston’s remains had been laid to rest in the beautiful churchyard of Ettrick sixteen years before Colquhoun was born, but few if any of his followers bore such marks of his influence as the minister of South Leith.

Although a minister of the Established Church, Colquhoun was regarded as one of the ablest exponents of ‘Marrow’ theology. By an Act of Assembly on 20 May, 1720 his Church had condemned the book, The Marrow of Modern Divinity, because it maintained that there was a universal call and offer of the gospel to sinners. Defenders of the free offer—nicknamed ‘Marrowmen’—foremost of whom were Thomas Boston and the Erskine brothers, were forced to secede from the Church in 1722. Later, however, as we find in the case of John Colquhoun, upholders of ‘Marrow’ teaching continued to exercise their ministry within the Establishment. How Colquhoun reconciled his respect for an Act of the General Assembly with his uncompromising maintenance of ‘Marrow’ theology is illustrated in some advice he is reported to have given to the students who sought his counsel. ‘Noo, ye ken’, he would say to them in his colloquial tongue, ‘I daurna advise ye to read the “Marrow” for the Assembly condemned it; but though they condemned the “Marrow” they didna condemn Tammes Boston’s notes on the “Marrow”, and that’s a book that ye should read.’

It is not surprising that one of the great characteristics of Colquhoun’s ministry was the emphasis on the duty and necessity of sinners complying with the offers and invitations of the gospel. At the same time he dwelt much on the danger of hypocrisy. The depth of his own spiritual experience, his discriminating views of truth, and his aptitude for religious conversation made him of great use to those in spiritual distress.

Retired and unassuming by nature, he sought no place of distinction in the Church. Indeed, it was in his mature years that he began his career as an author. He wrote seven treatises, all of which are closely related in theme and manner of presentation. The first to appear was on Spiritual Comfort in 1813. It was followed by Law and Gospel (1815), The Covenant of Grace (1818), The Covenant of Works (1822), Saving Faith (1824), The Promises (1825), and Evangelical Repentance (1826; republished by the Trust in 1965 as Repentance).

It was in his writings perhaps more than anything else that Colquhoun came nearest to Boston. They were both at their best in expounding the grand central themes of salvation, and so thoroughly had Colquhoun imbibed The Fourfold State that in cast of thought, mode of development, and turn of expression his own writings bear striking similarities to it. Above all, the works of both are thoroughly experimental and practical. They preached and wrote for the common people, and it was the common people of Scotland for many generations following that loved and valued their works.

[John J Murray in his ‘Biographical Introduction’ to Colquhoun’s Repentance.]

Source: Banner of Truth

Don Kistler

Dr. Don Kistler (1949-)

About the Editor

Dr. Don Kistler, founder of the Northampton Press, was born in California in 1949, the second of five sons of Jack and Faye Kistler. He grew up on a dairy farm in Central California and graduated from Azusa Pacific College in Southern California in 1971 with a double major in public speaking and religion. He holds the M. Div. and D. Min. degrees, and is an ordained minister. Prior to entering the gospel ministry, Dr. Kistler coached high school and college football for over 15 years.

Dr. Kistler pastored a local church for four years. As part of his preaching and teaching ministry, he has spoken at conferences with such notable figures as Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. R. C. Sproul, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Dr. J. I. Packer, Dr. John Gerstner, Elisabeth Elliot, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, Dr. Michael Horton, Rev. Alistair Begg, Dr. Albert M. Mohler, the late Dr. James Boice, and Rev. Eric Alexander, to name just a few.

Dr. Kistler is the author of the book A Spectacle Unto God: The Life and Death of Christopher Love, and Why Read the Puritans Today? and is the editor of all the Soli Deo Gloria Puritan reprints. He was a contributing author for Justification by Faith ALONE!; Sola Scriptura; Trust and Obey: Obedience and the Christian; Onward, Christian Soldiers: Protestants Affirm the Church; and Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching.

He has edited over 150 books. He currently resides in Orlando, FL.

Source: Don Kistler Online

Hardcover, 320 pages

Publisher: Soli Deo Gloria Publications

Publication Date(s): 1835 (first American edition by Wiley and Long); 1999 (Soli Deo Gloria reprint and modernization)

ISBN: 1-57358-083-X

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

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