Sermons on Several Occasions (Complete Vol. 1-4) (With Active Table of Contents)
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It will be understood, as a matter of course, that I cannot have the most remote intention of considering myself as the real editress of a work which is far above the scope of my capacity: I only stand at its side as an affectionate companion on its entrance into the world. This position I may well claim, as a similar one was allowed me during its formation and progress.
Those who are acquainted with our happy married life, and know how we shared everything with each other—not only joy and sorrow, but also every occupation, every interest of daily life—will understand that my beloved husband could not be occupied on a work of this kind without its being known to me. Therefore, no one can like me bear testimony to the zeal, to the love with which he laboured on it, to the hopes which he bound up with it, as well as the manner and time of its elaboration.
His richly gifted mind had from his early youth longed for light and truth, and, varied as were his talents, still he had chiefly directed his reflections to the science of war, to which the duties of his profession called him, and which are of such importance for the benefit of States. Scharnhorst was the first to lead him into the right road, and his subsequent appointment in as Instructor at the General War School, as well as the honour conferred on him at the same time of giving military instruction to H. A paper with which he finished the instruction of H.
But it was in the year , at Coblentz, that he first devoted himself again to scientific labours, and to collecting the fruits which his rich experience in those four eventful years had brought to maturity. He wrote down his views, in the first place, Edition: current; Page: [ xix ] in short essays, only loosely connected with each other.
The following, without date, which has been found amongst his papers, seems to belong to those early days. I looked upon them only as materials, and had just got to such a length towards the moulding them into a whole. My view was at first, without regard to system and strict connection, to put down the results of my reflections upon the most important points in quite brief, precise, compact propositions. The manner in which Montesquieu has treated his subject floated before me in idea. I thought that concise, sententious chapters, which I proposed at first to call grains, would attract the attention of the intelligent just as much by that which was to be developed from them, as by that which they contained in themselves.
I had, therefore, before me in idea, intelligent readers already acquainted with the subject. But my nature, which always impels me to development and systematising, at last worked its way out also in this instance. For some time I was able to confine myself to extracting only the most important results from the essays, which, to attain clearness and conviction in my own mind, I wrote upon different subjects, to concentrating in that manner their spirit in a small compass; but afterwards my peculiarity gained ascendency completely—I have developed what I could, and thus naturally have supposed a reader not yet acquainted with the subject.
But it was my wish also in this to avoid everything common, everything that is plain of itself, that has been said a hundred times, and is generally accepted; for my ambition was to write a book that would not be forgotten in two or three years, and which any one interested in the subject would at all events take up more than once. In Coblentz, where he was much occupied with duty, he could only give occasional hours to his private studies. It was not until , after his appointment as Director of the General Academy of War at Berlin, that he had the leisure to expand his work, and enrich it from the history of modern wars.
This leisure also reconciled him to his new avocation, which, in other respects, was not satisfactory to him, as, according to the existing organisation of the Academy, the scientific part of the course is not under the Director, but conducted by a Board of Studies. Free as he was from all petty vanity, from every feeling of restless, egotistical ambition, still he felt a desire to be really useful, and not to leave inactive the abilities with which God had endowed him.
In active life he was not in a position in which this longing could be satisfied, and he had little hope of attaining to any such position: his whole energies were therefore directed upon the domain of science, and the benefit which he hoped to lay the foundation of by his work was the object of his life. That, notwithstanding this, the resolution not to let the work appear until after his death became more confirmed is the best proof that no vain, paltry longing for praise and distinction, no Edition: current; Page: [ xxi ] particle of egotistical views, was mixed up with this noble aspiration for great and lasting usefulness.
Thus he worked diligently on, until, in the spring of , he was appointed to the artillery, and his energies were called into activity in such a different sphere, and to such a high degree, that he was obliged, for the moment at least, to give up all literary work. He then put his papers in order, sealed up the separate packets, labelled them, and took sorrowful leave of this employment which he loved so much. In March , he accompanied his revered Commander to Posen.
When he returned from there to Breslau in November after the melancholy event which had taken place, he hoped to resume his work, and perhaps complete it in the course of the winter. The Almighty has willed it should be otherwise. On the 7th November he returned to Breslau; on the 16th he was no more; and the packets sealed by himself were not opened until after his death. The papers thus left are those now made public in the following volumes, exactly in the condition in which they were found, without a word being added or erased. I must also mention my much-loved brother, who was my support in the hour of my misfortune, and who has also done much for me in respect of these papers; amongst Edition: current; Page: [ xxii ] other things, by carefully examining and putting them in order, he found the commencement of the revision which my dear husband wrote in the year , and mentions in the Notice hereafter annexed as a work he had in view.
This revision has been inserted in the place intended for it in the first book for it does not go any further. There are still many other friends to whom I might offer my thanks for their advice, for the sympathy and friendship which they have shown me; but if I do not name them all, they will, I am sure, not have any doubts of my sincere gratitude. It is all the greater, from my firm conviction that all they have done was not only on my own account, but for the friend whom God has thus called away from them so soon.
If I have been highly blessed as the wife of such a man during one and twenty years, so am I still, notwithstanding my irreparable loss, by the treasure of my recollections and of my hopes, by the rich legacy of sympathy and friendship which I owe the beloved departed, by the elevating feeling which I experience at seeing his rare worth so generally and honourably acknowledged.
The trust confided to me by a Royal Couple is a fresh benefit for which I have to thank the Almighty, as it opens to me an honourable occupation, to which I cheerfully devote myself. May this occupation be blessed, and may the dear little Prince who is now entrusted to my care, some day read this book, and be animated by it to deeds like those of his glorious ancestors. I look upon the first six books, of which a fair copy has now been made, as only a mass which is still in a manner without form, and which has yet to be again revised.
In this revision the two kinds of War will be everywhere kept more distinctly in view, by which all ideas will acquire a clearer meaning, a more precise direction, and a closer application. The two kinds of War are, first, those in which the object is the overthrow of the enemy, whether it be that we aim at his destruction, politically, or merely at disarming him and forcing him to conclude peace on our terms; and next, those in which our object is merely to make some conquests on the frontiers of his country, either for the purpose of retaining them permanently, or of turning them to account as matter of exchange in the settlement of a peace.
Transition from one kind to the other must certainly continue to exist, but the completely different nature of the tendencies of the two must everywhere appear, and must separate from each other things which are incompatible. Besides establishing this real difference in Wars, another practically necessary point of view must at the same time be established, which is, that War is only a continuation of State policy by other means.
This point of view being adhered to everywhere, will introduce much more unity into the consideration of the subject, and things will be more easily disentangled from each other. Although the chief application of this point of view does Edition: current; Page: [ xxiv ] not commence until we get to the eighth book, still it must be completely developed in the first book, and also lend assistance throughout the revision of the first six books. Through such a revision the first six books will get rid of a good deal of dross, many rents and chasms will be closed up, and much that is of a general nature will be transformed into distinct conceptions and forms.
The seventh book—on attack—for the different chapters of which sketches are already made, is to be considered as a reflection of the sixth, and must be completed at once, according to the above-mentioned more distinct points of view, so that it will require no fresh revision, but rather may serve as a model in the revision of the first six books. For the eighth book—on the Plan of a War, that is, of the organisation of a whole War in general—several chapters are designed, but they are not at all to be regarded as real materials, they are merely a track, roughly cleared, as it were, through the mass, in order by that means to ascertain the points of most importance.
They have answered this object, and I propose, on finishing the seventh book, to proceed at once to the working out of the eighth, where the two points of view above mentioned will be chiefly affirmed, by which everything will be simplified, and at the same time have a spirit breathed into it. I hope in this book to iron out many creases in the heads of strategists and statesmen, and at least to show the object of action, and the real point to be considered in War.
Now, when I have brought my ideas clearly out by finishing this eighth book, and have properly established the leading features of War, it will be easier for me to carry the spirit of these ideas into the first six books, and to make these same features show themselves everywhere. Therefore I shall defer till then the revision of the first six books. Should the work be interrupted by my death, then what is found can only be called a mass of conceptions not brought into form; but as these are open to endless misconceptions, they will doubtless give rise to a number of crude criticisms: for in these things, every one thinks, when he takes up his pen, that whatever comes into his head is worth saying and printing, and quite as incontrovertible as that twice two make four.
If such a one would take the pains, as I have done, to think over the subject, for years, and to compare his ideas with military history, he would certainly be a little more guarded in his criticism. Besides this notice, amongst the papers left the following unfinished memorandum was found, which appears of very recent date:. The manuscript on the conduct of the Grande Guerre, which will be found after my death, in its present state can only be regarded as a collection of materials from which it is intended to construct a theory of War.
With the greater part I am not yet satisfied; and the sixth book is to be looked at as a mere essay: I should have completely remodelled it, and have tried a different line. But the ruling principles which pervade these materials I hold to be the right ones: they are the result of a very varied reflection, keeping always in view the reality, Edition: current; Page: [ xxvi ] and always bearing in mind what I have learnt by experience and by my intercourse with distinguished soldiers. The seventh book is to contain the attack, the subjects of which are thrown together in a hasty manner: the eighth, the plan for a War, in which I would have examined War more especially in its political and human aspects.
The first chapter of the first book is the only one which I consider as completed; it will at least serve to show the manner in which I proposed to treat the subject throughout. The theory of the Grande Guerre, or Strategy, as it is called, is beset with extraordinary difficulties, and we may affirm that very few men have clear conceptions of the separate subjects, that is, conceptions carried up to their full logical conclusions. In real action most men are guided merely by the tact of judgment which hits the object more or less accurately, according as they possess more or less genius.
This is the way in which all great Generals have acted, and therein partly lay their greatness and their genius, that they always hit upon what was right by this tact. Thus also it will always be in action, and so far this tact is amply sufficient. But when it is a question, not of acting oneself, but of convincing others in a consultation, then all depends on clear conceptions and demonstration of the inherent relations, and so little progress has been made in this respect that most deliberations are merely a contention of words, resting on no firm basis, and ending either in every one retaining his own opinion, or in a compromise from mutual considerations of respect, a middle course really without any value.
Clear ideas on these matters are therefore not wholly useless; besides, the human mind has a general tendency to clearness, and always wants to be consistent with the necessary order of things. Owing to the great difficulties attending a philosophical construction of the Art of War, and the many attempts at it that have failed, most people have come to the conclusion that such a theory is impossible, because it concerns things which no standing law can embrace.
That the conception of the scientific does not consist alone, or chiefly, in system, and its finished theoretical constructions, requires nowadays no exposition. System in this treatise is not to be found on the surface, and instead of a finished building of theory, there are only materials. The scientific form lies here in the endeavour to explore the nature of military phenomena to show their affinity with the nature of the things of which they are composed.
Nowhere has the philosophical argument been evaded, but where it runs out into too thin a thread the Author has preferred to cut it short, and fall back upon the corresponding results of experience; for in the same way as many plants only bear fruit when they do not shoot too high, so in the practical arts the theoretical leaves and flowers must not be made to sprout too far, but kept near to experience, which is their proper soil.
Unquestionably it would be a mistake to try to discover from the chemical ingredients of a grain of corn the form of the ear of corn which it bears, as we have only to go to the field to see the ears ripe. Investigation and observation, philosophy and experience, must neither despise nor exclude one another; they mutually afford each other the rights of citizenship. Consequently, the propositions of this book, with their arch of inherent necessity, are supported either by experience or by the Edition: current; Page: [ xxx ] conception of War itself as external points, so that they are not without abutments.
It is, perhaps, not impossible to write a systematic theory of War full of spirit and substance, but ours, hitherto, have been very much the reverse. To say nothing of their unscientific spirit, in their striving after coherence and completeness of system, they overflow with commonplaces, truisms, and twaddle of every kind. If a house takes fire, we must seek, above all things, to protect the right side of the house standing on the left, and, on the other hand, the left side of the house on the right; for if we, for example, should protect the left side of the house on the left, then the right side of the house lies to the right of the left, and consequently as the fire lies to the right of this side, and of the right side for we have assumed that the house is situated to the left of the fire , therefore the right side is situated nearer to the fire than the left, and the right side of the house might catch fire if it was not protected before it came to the left, which is protected.
Consequently, something might be burnt that is not protected, and that sooner than something else would be burnt, even if it was not protected; consequently we must let alone the latter and protect the former. Thus the seemingly weakly bound-together chapters of this book have arisen, but it is hoped they will not be found wanting in logical connection. Perhaps soon a greater head may appear, and instead of these single grains, give the whole in a casting of pure metal without dross. He served in the campaigns of on the Rhine, after which he seems to have devoted some time to the study of the scientific branches of his profession.
In he entered the Military School at Berlin, and remained there till During his residence there he attracted the notice of General Scharnhorst, then at the head of the establishment; and the patronage of this distinguished officer had immense influence on his future career, and we may gather from his writings that he ever afterwards continued to entertain a high esteem for Scharnhorst.
In the campaign of he served as Aide-de-camp to Prince Augustus of Prussia; and being wounded and taken prisoner, he was sent into France until the close of that war. He was also at this time selected as military instructor to the late King of Prussia, then Crown Prince. In Clausewitz, with several other Prussian officers, having entered the Russian service his first appointment was as Aide-de-camp Edition: current; Page: [ xxxiv ] to General Phul. All doubt is now at an end; your troops do not come up; you are too weak; march I must, and I must excuse myself from all further negotiation, which may cost me my head.
The letters were read. Tell General Diebitsch that we must confer early to-morrow at the mill of Poschenen, and that I am now firmly determined to separate myself from the French and their cause. His name is frequently mentioned with distinction in that campaign, particularly in connection with the affair of Goehrde. After the Peace, he was employed in a command on the Rhine. In , he became Major-General, and Director of the Military School at which he had been previously educated.
Fate has unfortunately denied him an opportunity of showing his talents in high command, but I have a firm persuasion that as a strategist he would have greatly distinguished himself. After the Prussian Army of Observation was dissolved, Clausewitz returned to Breslau, and a few days after his arrival was seized with cholera, the seeds of which he must have brought with him from the army on the Polish frontier.
His death took place in November We propose to consider first the single elements of our subject, then each branch or part, and, last of all, the whole, in all its relations—therefore to advance from the simple to the complex. But it is necessary for us to commence with a glance at the nature of the whole, because it is particularly necessary that in the consideration of any of the parts their relation to the whole should be kept constantly in view.
We shall not enter into any of the abstruse definitions of War used by publicists. We shall keep to the element of the thing itself, to a duel. War is nothing but a duel on an extensive scale. If we would conceive as a unit the countless number of duels which make up a War, we shall do so best by supposing to ourselves two wrestlers. Each strives by physical force to compel the other to submit to his will: each endeavours to throw his adversary, and thus render him incapable of further resistance. War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfil our will.
Violence arms itself with the inventions of Art and Science in order to contend against violence. Self-imposed restrictions, almost imperceptible and hardly worth mentioning, termed usages of International Law, accompany it without essentially impairing its power. Violence, that is to say, physical force for there is no moral force without the conception of States and Law , is therefore the means; the compulsory submission of the enemy to our will is the ultimate object. In order to attain this object fully, the enemy must be disarmed, and disarmament becomes therefore the immediate object of hostilities in theory.
It takes the place of the final object, and puts it aside as something we can eliminate from our calculations. Now, philanthropists may easily imagine there is a skilful method of disarming and overcoming an enemy without causing great bloodshed, and that this is the proper tendency of the Art of War. However plausible this may appear, still it is an error which must be extirpated; for in such dangerous things as War, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.
As the use of physical power to the utmost extent by no means excludes the co-operation of the intelligence, it follows that he who uses force unsparingly, without reference to the bloodshed involved, must obtain a superiority if his adversary uses less vigour in its application. The former then dictates the law to the latter, and both proceed to extremities to which the only limitations are those imposed by the amount of counteracting force on each side.
If the Wars of civilised people are less cruel and destrucsive than those of savages, the difference arises from the social condition both of States in themselves and in their relations to each other. Out of this social condition and its relations War arises, and by it War is subjected to conditions, is controlled and modified. But these things do not belong to War itself; they are only given conditions; and to introduce into the philosophy of War itself a principle of moderation would be an absurdity. Two motives lead men to War: instinctive hostility and hostile intention. In our definition of War, we have chosen as its characteristic the latter of these elements, because it is the most general.
It is impossible to conceive the passion of hatred of the wildest description, bordering on mere instinct, without combining with it the idea of a hostile intention. On the other hand, hostile intentions may often exist without being accompanied by any, or at all events by any extreme, hostility of feeling. In short, even the most civilised nations may burn with passionate hatred of each other.
We may see from this what a fallacy it would be to refer the War of a civilised nation entirely to an intelligent act on the part of the Government, and to imagine it as continually freeing itself more and more from all feeling Edition: current; Page: [ 4 ] of passion in such a way that at last the physical masses of combatants would no longer be required; in reality, their mere relations would suffice—a kind of algebraic action.
If War is an act of force, it belongs necessarily also to the feelings. If it does not originate in the feelings, it reacts, more or less, upon them, and the extent of this reaction depends not on the degree of civilisation, but upon the importance and duration of the interests involved. Therefore, if we find civilised nations do not put their prisoners to death, do not devastate towns and countries, this is because their intelligence exercises greater influence on their mode of carrying on War, and has taught them more effectual means of applying force than these rude acts of mere instinct.
The invention of gunpowder, the constant progress of improvements in the construction of firearms, are sufficient proofs that the tendency to destroy the adversary which lies at the bottom of the conception of War is in no way changed or modified through the progress of civilisation.
We therefore repeat our proposition, that War is an act of violence pushed to its utmost bounds; as one side dictates the law to the other, there arises a sort of reciprocal action, which logically must lead to an extreme. This is the first reciprocal action, and the first extreme with which we meet first reciprocal action.
We have already said that the aim of all action in War is to disarm the enemy, and we shall now show that this, theoretically at least, is indispensable. If our opponent is to be made to comply with our will, we must place him in a situation which is more oppressive to him than the sacrifice which we demand; but the disadvantages of this position must naturally not be of a transitory nature, at least in appearance, otherwise the enemy, instead of yielding, will hold out, in the prospect of a change for the better.
Every change in this position which is produced by a continuation of the War should therefore be a change for the worse. The worst condition in which a belligerent can be placed is that of being completely disarmed. If, therefore, the enemy is to be reduced to submission by an act of War, he must either be positively disarmed or placed in such a position that he is threatened with it.
From this it follows that the disarming or overthrow of the enemy, whichever we call it, must always be the aim of Warfare. Now War is always the shock of two hostile bodies in collision, not the action of a living power upon an inanimate mass, because an absolute state of endurance would not be making War; therefore, what we have just said as to the aim of action in War applies to both parties. Here, then, is another case of reciprocal action. As long as the enemy is not defeated, he may defeat me; then I shall be no longer my own master; he will dictate the law to me as I did to him.
This is the second reciprocal action, and leads to a second extreme second reciprocal action. If we desire to defeat the enemy, we must proportion our efforts to his powers of resistance. This is expressed by the product of two factors which cannot be separated, namely, the sum of available means and the strength of the Will. The sum of the available means may be estimated Edition: current; Page: [ 6 ] in a measure, as it depends although not entirely upon numbers; but the strength of volition is more difficult to determine, and can only be estimated to a certain extent by the strength of the motives.
Granted we have obtained in this way an approximation to the strength of the power to be contended with, we can then take a review of our own means, and either increase them so as to obtain a preponderance, or, in case we have not the resources to effect this, then do our best by increasing our means as far as possible. But the adversary does the same; therefore, there is a new mutual enhancement, which, in pure conception, must create a fresh effort towards an extreme.
This is the third case of reciprocal action, and a third extreme with which we meet third reciprocal action. Thus reasoning in the abstract, the mind cannot stop short of an extreme, because it has to deal with an extreme, with a conflict of forces left to themselves, and obeying no other but their own inner laws.
If we should seek to deduce from the pure conception of War an absolute point for the aim which we shall propose and for the means which we shall apply, this constant reciprocal action would involve us in extremes, which would be nothing but a play of ideas produced by an almost invisible train of logical subtleties. If, adhering closely to the absolute, we try to avoid all difficulties by a stroke of the pen, and insist with logical strictness that in every case the extreme must be the object, and the utmost effort must be exerted in that direction, such a stroke of the pen would be a mere paper law, not by any means adapted to the real world.
Even supposing this extreme tension of forces was an Edition: current; Page: [ 7 ] absolute which could easily be ascertained, still we must admit that the human mind would hardly submit itself to this kind of logical chimera. There would be in many cases an unnecessary waste of power, which would be in opposition to other principles of statecraft; an effort of Will would be required disproportioned to the proposed object, which therefore it would be impossible to realise, for the human will does not derive its impulse from logical subtleties.
But everything takes a different shape when we pass from abstractions to reality. In the former, everything must be subject to optimism, and we must imagine the one side as well as the other striving after perfection and even attaining it. Will this ever take place in reality? It will if,. With regard to the first point, neither of the two opponents is an abstract person to the other, not even as regards that factor in the sum of resistance which does not depend on objective things, viz.
This Will is not an entirely unknown quantity; it indicates what it will be to-morrow by what it is to-day. War does not spring up quite suddenly, it does not spread to the full in a moment; each of the two opponents Edition: current; Page: [ 8 ] can, therefore, form an opinion of the other, in a great measure, from what he is and what he does, instead of judging of him according to what he, strictly speaking, should be or should do. But, now, man with his incomplete organisation is always below the line of absolute perfection, and thus these deficiencies, having an influence on both sides, become a modifying principle.
If War ended in a single solution, or a number of simultaneous ones, then naturally all the preparations for the same would have a tendency to the extreme, for an omission could not in any way be repaired; the utmost, then, that the world of reality could furnish as a guide for us would be the preparations of the enemy, as far as they are known to us; all the rest would fall into the domain of the abstract.
But if the result is made up from several successive acts, then naturally that which precedes with all its phases may be taken as a measure for that which will follow, and in this manner the world of reality again takes the place of the abstract, and thus modifies the effort towards the extreme. Yet every War would necessarily resolve itself into a single solution, or a sum of simultaneous results, if all the means required for the struggle were raised at once, or could be at once raised; for as one adverse result necessarily diminishes the means, then if all the means have been applied in the first, a second cannot properly be supposed.
All hostile acts which might follow would belong essentially to the first, and form in reality only its duration. But we have already seen that even in the preparation for War the real world steps into the place of mere abstract conception—a material standard into the place of the hypotheses of an extreme: that therefore in that way both parties, by the influence of the mutual reaction, remain below the line of extreme effort, and therefore all forces are not at once brought forward.
It lies also in the nature of these forces and their application that they cannot all be brought into activity at the same time. These forces are the armies actually on foot, the country, with its superficial extent and its population, and the allies. In point of fact, the country, with its superficial area and the population, besides being the source of all military force, constitutes in itself an integral part of the efficient quantities in War, providing either the theatre of war or exercising a considerable influence on the same.
Further, the co-operation of allies does not depend on the Will of the belligerents; and from the nature of the political relations of states to each other, this co-operation is frequently not afforded until after the War has commenced, or it may be increased to restore the balance of power. That this part of the means of resistance, which cannot at once be brought into activity, in many cases, is a much greater part of the whole than might at first be supposed, and that it often restores the balance of power, seriously affected by the great force of the first decision, will be more fully shown hereafter.
Here it is sufficient to show that a complete concentration of all available means in a moment of time is contradictory to the nature of War. Now this, in itself, furnishes no ground for relaxing our efforts to accumulate strength to gain the first result, because an unfavourable issue is always a disadvantage to which no one would purposely expose himself, and also because the first decision, although not the only one, still will have the more influence on subsequent events, the greater it is in itself.
But the possibility of gaining a later result causes men to take refuge in that expectation, owing to the repugnance in the human mind to making excessive efforts; and therefore forces are not concentrated and measures are not taken for the first decision with that energy which would otherwise be used. Whatever one belligerent omits from weakness, becomes to the other a real objective ground for limiting his own efforts, and thus again, through this reciprocal action, extreme tendencies are brought down to efforts on a limited scale.
Lastly, even the final decision of a whole War is not always to be regarded as absolute. The conquered State often sees in it only a passing evil, which may be repaired in after times by means of political combinations. How much this must modify the degree of tension, and the vigour of the efforts made, is evident in itself. In this manner, the whole act of War is removed from the rigorous law of forces exerted to the utmost. If the extreme is no longer to be apprehended, and no longer to be sought for, it is left to the judgment to determine the limits for the efforts to be made in place of it, Edition: current; Page: [ 11 ] and this can only be done on the data furnished by the facts of the real world by the laws of probability.
Once the belligerents are no longer mere conceptions, but individual States and Governments, once the War is no longer an ideal, but a definite substantial procedure, then the reality will furnish the data to compute the unknown quantities which are required to be found. From the character, the measures, the situation of the adversary, and the relations with which he is surrounded, each side will draw conclusions by the law of probability as to the designs of the other, and act accordingly. Here the question which we had laid aside forces itself again into consideration see No.
The law of the extreme, the view to disarm the adversary, to overthrow him, has hitherto to a certain extent usurped the place of this end or object. Just as this law loses its force, the political object must again come forward. If the whole consideration is a calculation of probability based on definite persons and relations, then the political object, being the original motive, must be an essential factor in the product.
The smaller the sacrifice we demand from our opponent, the smaller, it may be expected, will be the means of resistance which he will employ; but the smaller his preparation, the smaller will ours require to be. Further, the smaller our political object, the less value shall we set upon it, and the more easily shall we be induced to give it up altogether.
Thus, therefore, the political object, as the original motive of the War, will be the standard for determining both the aim of the military force and also the amount of effort to be made. This it cannot be in itself, but it Edition: current; Page: [ 12 ] is so in relation to both the belligerent States, because we are concerned with realities, not with mere abstractions.
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One and the same political object may produce totally different effects upon different people, or even upon the same people at different times; we can, therefore, only admit the political object as the measure, by considering it in its effects upon those masses which it is to move, and consequently the nature of those masses also comes into consideration. It is easy to see that thus the result may be very different according as these masses are animated with a spirit which will infuse vigour into the action or otherwise.
It is quite possible for such a state of feeling to exist between two States that a very trifling political motive for War may produce an effect quite disproportionate—in fact, a perfect explosion. This applies to the efforts which the political object will call forth in the two States, and to the aim which the military action shall prescribe for itself.
At times it may itself be that aim, as, for example, the conquest of a province. At other times the political object itself is not suitable for the aim of military action; then such a one must be chosen as will be an equivalent for it, and stand in its place as regards the conclusion of peace. But also, in this, due attention to the peculiar character of the States concerned is always supposed. There are circumstances in which the equivalent must be much greater than the political object, in order to secure the latter. The political object will be so much the more the standard of aim and effort, and have more influence in itself, the more the masses are indifferent, the less that any mutual feeling of hostility prevails in the two States from other causes, and therefore there are cases where the political object almost alone will be decisive.
If the aim of the military action is an equivalent for the political object, that action will in general diminish as Edition: current; Page: [ 13 ] the political object diminishes, and in a greater degree the more the political object dominates. Thus it is explained how, without any contradiction in itself, there may be Wars of all degrees of importance and energy, from a War of extermination down to the mere use of an army of observation. This, however, leads to a question of another kind which we have hereafter to develop and answer.
However insignificant the political claims mutually advanced, however weak the means put forth, however small the aim to which military action is directed, can this action be suspended even for a moment? This is a question which penetrates deeply into the nature of the subject. Every transaction requires for its accomplishment a certain time which we call its duration.
This may be longer or shorter, according as the person acting throws more or less despatch into his movements. About this more or less we shall not trouble ourselves here. Each person acts in his own fashion; but the slow person does not protract the thing because he wishes to spend more time about it, but because by his nature he requires more time, and if he made more haste would not do the thing so well.
This time, therefore, depends on subjective causes, and belongs to the length, so called, of the action. If we allow now to every action in War this, its length, then we must assume, at first sight at least, that any expenditure of time beyond this length, that is, every suspension of hostile action, appears an absurdity; with respect to this it must not be forgotten that we now speak not of the progress of one or other of the two opponents, Edition: current; Page: [ 14 ] but of the general progress of the whole action of the War.
If two parties have armed themselves for strife, then a feeling of animosity must have moved them to it; as long now as they continue armed, that is, do not come to terms of peace, this feeling must exist; and it can only be brought to a standstill by either side by one single motive alone, which is, that he waits for a more favourable moment for action. Now, at first sight, it appears that this motive can never exist except on one side, because it, eo ipso, must be prejudicial to the other.
If the one has an interest in acting, then the other must have an interest in waiting. A complete equilibrium of forces can never produce a suspension of action, for during this suspension he who has the positive object that is, the assailant must continue progressing; for if we should imagine an equilibrium in this way, that he who has the positive object, therefore the strongest motive, can at the same time only command the lesser means, so that the equation is made up by the product of the motive and the power, then we must say, if no alteration in this condition of equilibrium is to be expected, the two parties must make peace; but if an alteration is to be expected, then it can only be favourable to one side, and therefore the other has a manifest interest to act without delay.
We see that the conception of an equilibrium cannot explain a suspension of arms, but that it ends in the question of the expectation of a more favourable moment. After this conquest, his political object is accomplished, the necessity for action ceases, and for him a pause ensues. If the adversary is also contented with this solution, he will make peace; if not, he must act. Now, if we suppose that in four weeks he will be in a better condition to act, then he has sufficient grounds for putting off the time of action.
But from that moment the logical course for the enemy appears to be to act that he may not give the conquered party the desired time. Of course, in this mode of reasoning a complete insight into the state of circumstances on both sides is supposed. If this unbroken continuity of hostile operations really existed, the effect would be that everything would again be driven towards the extreme; for, irrespective of the effect of such incessant activity in inflaming the feelings, and infusing into the whole a greater degree of passion, a greater elementary force, there would also follow from this continuance of action a stricter continuity, a closer connection between cause and effect, and thus every single action would become of more importance, and consequently more replete with danger.
But we know that the course of action in War has seldom or never this unbroken continuity, and that there have been many Wars in which action occupied by far the smallest portion of time employed, the whole of the rest being consumed in inaction. It is impossible that this should be always an anomaly; suspension of action in War must therefore be possible, that is no contradiction in itself.
We now proceed to show how this is. As we have supposed the interests of one Commander to be always antagonistic to those of the other, we have assumed a true polarity. We reserve a fuller explanation of this for another chapter, merely making the following observation on it at present. The principle of polarity is only valid when it can be conceived in one and the same thing, where the positive and its opposite the negative completely destroy each other.
In a battle both sides strive to conquer; that is true polarity, for the victory of the one side destroys that of the other. But when we speak of two different things which have a common relation external to themselves, then it is not the things but their relations which have the polarity. If there was only one form of War, to wit, the attack of the enemy, therefore no defence; or, in other words, if the attack was distinguished from the defence merely by the positive motive, which the one has and the other has not, but the methods of each were precisely one and the same: then in this sort of fight every advantage gained on the one side would be a corresponding disadvantage on the other, and true polarity would exist.
But action in War is divided into two forms, attack and defence, which, as we shall hereafter explain more particularly, are very different and of unequal strength. Polarity therefore lies in that to which both bear a relation, in the decision, but not in the attack or defence itself. If the one Commander wishes the solution put off, the other must wish to hasten it, but only by the same form of action. That is plainly something totally different.
If the form of defence is stronger than that of offence, as we shall hereafter show, the question arises, Is the advantage of a deferred decision as great on the one side as the advantage of the defensive form on the other? If it is not, then it cannot by its counter-weight overbalance the latter, and thus influence the progress of the action of the War. We see, therefore, that the impulsive force existing in the polarity of interests may be lost in the difference between the strength of the offensive and the defensive, and thereby become ineffectual.
If, therefore, that side for which the present is favourable, is too weak to be able to dispense with the advantage of the defensive, he must put up with the unfavourable prospects which the future holds out; for it may still be better to fight a defensive battle in the unpromising future than to assume the offensive or make peace at present.
The weaker the motives to action are, the more will those motives be absorbed and neutralised by this difference between attack and defence, the more frequently, therefore, will action in warfare be stopped, as indeed experience teaches. But there is still another cause which may stop action in War, viz. Each Commander can only fully know his own position; that of his opponent can only be known to him by reports, which are uncertain; he may, therefore, form a wrong judgment with respect to it upon data of this description, and, in consequence of that error, he may suppose that the power of taking the initiative rests with his adversary when it lies really with himself.
This want of perfect insight might certainly just as often occasion an untimely action as untimely inaction, and hence it would in itself no more contribute to delay than to accelerate action in War. Still, it must always be regarded as one of the natural causes which may bring action in War to a standstill without involving a contradiction. But if we reflect how much more we are inclined and induced to estimate the power of our opponents too high than too low, because it lies in human nature to do so, we shall admit that our imperfect insight into facts in general must contribute very much to delay action in War, and to modify the application of the principles pending our conduct.
The possibility of a standstill brings into the action of War a new modification, inasmuch as it dilutes that action with the element of time, checks the influence or sense of danger in its course, and increases the means of Edition: current; Page: [ 19 ] reinstating a lost balance of force. The greater the tension of feelings from which the War springs, the greater therefore the energy with which it is carried on, so much the shorter will be the periods of inaction; on the other hand, the weaker the principle of warlike activity, the longer will be these periods: for powerful motives increase the force of the will, and this, as we know, is always a factor in the product of force.
But the slower the action proceeds in War, the more frequent and longer the periods of inaction, so much the more easily can an error be repaired; therefore, so much the bolder a General will be in his calculations, so much the more readily will he keep them below the line of the absolute, and build everything upon probabilities and conjecture.
Thus, according as the course of the War is more or less slow, more or less time will be allowed for that which the nature of a concrete case particularly requires, calculation of probability based on given circumstances. We see from the foregoing how much the objective nature of War makes it a calculation of probabilities; now there is only one single element still wanting to make it a game, and that element it certainly is not without: it is chance.
There is no human affair which stands so constantly and so generally in close connection with chance as War. But together with chance, the accidental, Edition: current; Page: [ 20 ] and along with it good luck, occupy a great place in War.
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If we now take a look at the subjective nature of War, that is to say, at those conditions under which it is carried on, it will appear to us still more like a game. Primarily the element in which the operations of War are carried on is danger; but which of all the moral qualities is the first in danger? Now certainly courage is quite compatible with prudent calculation, but still they are things of quite a different kind, essentially different qualities of the mind; on the other hand, daring reliance on good fortune, boldness, rashness, are only expressions of courage, and all these propensities of the mind look for the fortuitous or accidental , because it is their element.
We see, therefore, how, from the commencement, the absolute, the mathematical as it is called, nowhere finds any sure basis in the calculations in the Art of War; and that from the outset there is a play of possibilities, probabilities, good and bad luck, which spreads about with all the coarse and fine threads of its web, and makes War of all branches of human activity the most like a gambling game.
Although our intellect always feels itself urged towards clearness and certainty, still our mind often feels itself attracted by uncertainty.
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Instead of threading its way with the understanding along the narrow path of philosophical investigations and logical conclusions, in order, almost unconscious of itself, to arrive in spaces where it feels itself a stranger, and where it seems to part from all well-known objects, it prefers to remain with the Edition: current; Page: [ 21 ] imagination in the realms of chance and luck. Instead of living yonder on poor necessity, it revels here in the wealth of possibilities; animated thereby, courage then takes wings to itself, and daring and danger make the element into which it launches itself as a fearless swimmer plunges into the stream.
Shall theory leave it here, and move on, self-satisfied with absolute conclusions and rules? Sayers--"Creed or Chaos? Davis, The Necessity of Systematic Theology a powerful article , writes:. Theology is necessary for the overall ministry of the Church. They latched onto a piece of truth in the Bible and became so enamored with their brand-new discovery that they never bothered to learn what else the Bible had to say on that same subject.
And when they did bother to look at the rest of the Bible, they twisted the other passages all out of shape to make them say just what the first passage said" DTTW, Theology helps prevent wrongful appropriation of individual teachings. Dangers Involved in Constructing a Systematic Theology. It is possible to seek to construct a system of theology without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Theology is not just religious information--it involves a dynamic interaction and a personal relationship. A great moral temptation exists to evade the truth K, The one who ceases to be a man of the Spirit, furthers a diabolical theology Thielicke, We must not be crushed by theology and become a corpse on the battle field Thielicke, There is a real temptation to speculate where the Bible is silent.
Theology cannot deliver where revelation does not H. Thielicke, Little Ex. The subject matter of theology God is infinitely more difficult to understand than is the subject matter of physical science nature. A[O]ur theological models and paradigms are but responses to revelation, and not themselves revelation. ANo theology has canonical status. We are tempted to go off on doctrinal tangents K, Through pride of intellect we might become enamored of our system of theology. For some, theology has become a means of personal triumph, just the opposite of love.
In such a case, it produces one who operates not to instruct, but to kill the church Thielicke, A snobbishness can develop, an arrogant sophistication. Faith must mean more to us than a commodity stored in lecture notes Thielicke, Some see theology as a military training exercise. James Henley Thornwell comments about Scholastic Theology. Thielicke speaks of the great gap between the intellectual knowledge of the young theologian and his actual spiritual growth p.
Thielicke calls it "the problem of theological puberty. We must maintain a dialogue with the ordinary children of God Thielicke, We must watch that we do not lose the second person in our speech and lapse only into the third Thielicke, The interpreter must approach the Scriptures with an open mind. The interpreter must pay careful attention to the rules of General Hermeneutics. There is no sound doctrine which does not rest upon a strict grammatico-historical interpretation of Scripture. No doctrine should be constructed from an uncertain textual reading.
Base doctrine on plain statements rather than on obscure ones. Base doctrine primarily on didactic passages, rather than on historical ones. Base doctrines on all the relevant passages, not on just a few. The interpreter should always keep in mind the heart of the BibleBthe message about Christ and salvation. The interpreter should keep in mind the relationship of the O.
The theologian must use his proof texts with proper understanding of this procedure. The main burden of doctrinal teaching must rest on the literal portions of the Bible. The theological interpreter should take into account the development of doctrine throughout the history of the Church. The analogy of faith is the rule that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.
This means, quite simply, that no part of Scripture can be interpreted in such a way as to render it in conflict with what is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, It is "that principle under which the truthfulness and faithfulness of God become the guarantee that He will not set forth any passage in His Word which contradicts any other passage. It has been called "the principle of analogy" Fairbairn, This matter cannot be escaped in any serious study of hermeneutics See Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics, and Kaiser, Toward an Exegetical Theology, Manual, However, this verse talks about a subjective faith, not an objective faith.
Kaiser, Fairbairn, Some of the Early Fathers mention a regula fidei rule of faith to which all teaching in the Church was to be conformed Fairbairn, However, the expression "the rule of faith" came by-and-by to be understood as the creeds publicly authorized and sanctioned by the Church. Fairbairn, ; Ramm, 55; Berkhof, The Latin fathers referred to the Regula fidei: the analogy of doctrine or faith which rests upon the main points of Christian doctrine evidently declared in Scripture Fairbairn, The Church of Rome had issued the Glossa ordinaria, a commentary that enjoined uniformity in all matters relating to faith and practice.
Ramm, Scripture is the inspired Word of God and is therefore trustworthy. Sproul, There is an organic, theological unity within the Bible. The Bible is essentially one revelation, giving one message about God. They indicate together one beautiful, harmonious, and gloriously connected system. For each scriptural book is in itself something entire, and though each of the inspired penmen has his own manner and style of writing, one and the self-same spirit breathes through all; one grand idea pervades all. Scripture, like all other books, ought to be interpreted consistently. The resolution of apparent conflicts through the comparison of Scripture with Scripture is necessary and legitimate.
McQ, This principle is the rationale and justification for systematic theology and doctrinal statements. All of the teachings of Scripture are not everywhere announced with equal clarity. We should not use this rule of the analogy of faith to deny the progressive unfolding of Biblical Truth. Kaiser, Toward an Exegetical Theology, Hartill Principles of Biblical Hermeneutics mentions two other principles which have not been absolutely proven. Somewhere in the Word, God gathers together the scattered fragments that have to do with a particular truth, and puts them into one exhaustive statement.
That is His full mind concerning that truth. There are two genuine and legitimate degrees which are distinguished in Hermeneutics texts Cellerier, ; Terry, ; Berkhof, New York: Anson D. Positive Analogy--this is the degree "in which the doctrine or revelation is so plainly and positively stated, and supported by so many distinct passages, that there can be no doubt of its meaning and value. Cell, Terry, General Analogy--this is "the analogy which is deduced from the object, tendency, and the religious impression that the passages make upon the careful reader. As a connoisseur, in judging a masterpiece of painting, fixes his attention, first of all, on the central object of interest, and considers the details in their relation to this; so the interpreter must study the particular teachings of the Bible in the light of their fundamental truths" PBI, Principles and Guidelines for the Use of the analogy of Faith.
The degree of evidence and authority of the analogy varies directly according to 4 basic factors. Cell, ; McQuilkin, ; Berkhof, A frequent and constant repetition strengthens the authority of the teaching Cell, From this point of view the universality of sin rests upon an analogy much stronger than that of the inability of man. McQ, UAB, Other verses including I John ; indicate that Christians are not impeccable and their depravity is not completely eradicated at present.
It is evident that if the writer were speaking of two real sacraments instituted by Christ, they would be mentioned elsewhere in the sacred volume. This word means conflict as of principles, ideas, or aspirations insoluble in the light of available knowledge. Robertson McQuilkin, in "Understanding and Applying the Bible" an earlier, unpublished edition , , writes:. The Bible is clear in its teaching throughout that man is responsible for his choices and actions. Therefore, it would seem reasonable that man has a free will.
In this way, the theologian has deduced from Scripture, step by step, by logical extension that which is in clear and grave conflict with balancing teachings of Scripture. Again, it is the logical deduction that is in conflict more than the teaching itself. I suggest that it is not our reasoning process, but Scripture that is inspired. Therefore in the interpretation of Scripture and in building a systematic theology, the interpreter should go as far as Scripture goes. When he comes to the boundaries of revelation, he would bow humbly in the presence of the mystery that lies beyond and acknowledge his finitude and fallenness.
In other words, both the meaning of individual passages and the overall construction of systems should be done with the biblical data alone. Not to do this is an arrogance that can ill be afforded by the interpreter or the Church. It is an arrogance that will certainly lead astray from the truth of God. The middle way of biblical tension may not be easy. But certainly it is closer to the ultimate truth as it moves in perfection in the mind of God than could be any humanly devised logical extension of revealed truth.
It is probably best to begin with both God the object of knowledge and the Bible the means of knowledge. If we begin just with the Bible, how do we know that it is revelation from God. Non-evangelicals often want to start with the human subject reason, feeling, aesthetics. The basic presupposition is God and his self-revelation. We may begin with the self-revealing God Erick, It will be possible then to validate the whole system from this point Erick, There is a similar procedure in theology. AThe basic axioms of the Christian religion are two.
The basic ontological axiom is the living God; the basic epistemological axiom is divine revelation. To adopt a false method is like a man who takes a wrong road which will never lead him to his destination. Charles Hodge says the true method is the Inductive one which comes to the study of theology as the scientist studies scientific data The scientist assumes the trustworthiness of his sense perceptions and his mental operations. He also assumes certain axioms such as every effect must have a cause and that the same cause under like circumstances will produce like effects.
Hodge The theologian begins with certain innate truths, which are tested by universality and necessity Hodge, The first step is to gather all the relevant Biblical passages on the doctrine being investigated not just those favoring a particular emphasis Erick, On the other hand the Bible must not be treated so reverently that the normal laws of language are not applied to its interpretation.
The Bible has both a divine and a human character Erick, The interpreter should attempt to see what was said, what was meant by the writer or speaker, and how the ancient message would have been understood by the readers or hearers. Obviously the collection of facts must be done with diligence and care. We must not change the data to suit our own prejudices or desires. The attempt must be made to coalesce the various emphases into a coherent whole. ATheological method includes the inner coherence of the truths about God, so that each is understood in its relationship to the whole.
A theology that unfolds the trusts about God in a systematic way should help the whole pictures to be grasped rather than only a part. After the synthesis of the doctrinal material, the question is appropriate--"what is really meant by this statement or these statements? Scientists must make deductions from facts. Our concepts of sin, of responsibility, etc.
We must never press the facts of the Bible into our preconceived theories. The formulation of various doctrines in history can be very helpful. We find models that can be adopted for modern doctrinal formulations. We see the consequences of doctrine worked out historically Erick, To disregard tradition is to display sheer egotism and a proud independence.
AThe role of church tradition is like that of an elder brother in the faith. It not only helps us interpret biblical passages but also shows how the Scriptures were applied to the historical and cultural situations of the past so the people of God could be obedient to God in their day Kantzer, DTTW, Spykman writes, ATheologizing cut loose from tradition is like taking a leap in the dark. If God has revealed Himself in nature, conscience, etc. The contribution made to Christian theology by general revelation is necessarily limited. The aim is not to try to make the message acceptable and thus remove the offense of the cross but to make it understood Erick, Others consider it union with Christ and the vicarious humanity of Christ.
He is supposed to have suggested the Holy Spirit at a later date as an organizing motif. The central motif is the perspective from which the data of theology are viewed. Good theological method does not allow a center to be forced upon Scripture from a priori thinking apart from Scripture. This stratification is the arranging the topics on the basis of their relative importance. Organizing the material according to the importance of topics will help to prevent expending major amounts of time and energy on secondary matters.
Degrees of Authority of Theological Statements. An example is "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. By direct implication is meant what is seen by logical inference from Scripture. Obviously this factor does not have as much weight as A since there is the possibility of error Erick, We must not base doctrine only on a logical deduction.
A properly derived deduction deserves respect but must be held somewhat tentatively. The greater probability is with those which take into account the higher percentage of references Erick, One example is the notion that God providentially attempts to educate the world morally throughout history. Another example is the spiritual presence of Christ in the Eucharist. General Revelation is less particular and less explicit than special revelation. Data from General Revelation must always be subject to the clearer statements of Scripture. Outright speculations, which frequently include hypotheses based upon a single statement or hint in Scripture, or derived from somewhat obscure or unclear parts of the Bible, may also be utilized by the theologians.
Griffith Thomas, W. Forlines, F. Nashville: Randall House, Pub. Carter, Charles W. Mickey, Paul A. Oden, Thomas. Life in the Spirit. San Francisco: Harper and Row, Ralston, Thomas N. Elements of Divinity. Edited By T. Nashville: Pub. House M. Church, South, Watson, Richard. Theological Institutes. Wiley, H. Christian Theology.
Kansas City: Nazarene Publishing House,. Baker, Charles F. A Dispensational Theology. Grand Rapids: Grace Bible Pub. Blaising, Craig A. Progressive Dispensationalism. Chafer, Lewis Sperry.
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Systematic Theology. Ryrie, Charles C. Dispensationalism Today. Chicago: Moody Press, Saucy, Robert L. The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Empie, Paul C. Marburg Revisited: A Reexamination of. Kantonen, Taito A. Resurgence of the Gospel. Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, Pieper, Francis. Christian Dogmatics. Louis: Concordia, Dictionary of Pentecostal and. Duffield, Guy P. Hollenweger, Walter J. The Pentecostals. Translated by R. Land, Steven J. McDonnell, K. Nicol, John Thomas. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International, Pearlman, Myer.
Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible. Springfield, Missouri: Gospel. Williams, Ernest. Frank Boyd. Williams, J. Renewal Theology: God, the World, and Redemption. Boettner, Loraine. The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. Philadelphia: Presbyterian. Buswell, James Oliver, Jr. A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion. Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Ford Lewis Battles.
Philadelphia: Westminster Press, Coppes, Leonard J. Are Five Points Enough? The Ten Points of Calvinism. Dabney, Robert L. Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, Grudem, Wayne. Hodge, Charles. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, reprint. Murray, John. Collected Writings of John Murray. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth. Packer, J. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.
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Chicago: Inter-Varsity Press, Reymond, Robert L. Robertson, O. The Christ of the Covenants. Grand Rapids: Baker, Shedd, William G. Dogmatic Theology. Smith, Morton H. Greenville, South Carolina: Greenville. Warfield, Benjamin B. The Plan of Salvation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Erickson, Millard J. Lewis, Gordon R. Integrative Theology. Grand Rapids:.
Mullins, Edgar Young. The Christian Religion in its Doctrinal Expression. Strong, Augustus Hopkins. Valley Forge, Pa.
Geisler, Norman. Minneapolis: Bethany House, Thiessen, Henry Clarence. Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology. Gulley, Norman R. Before theology can speak, it must establish its own basis of speaking.
This problem of the foundation-authority is the continental divine on which everything else hangs Pinnock, At the time of the Reformation Scripture sola scriptura was seen as the formal i. All other authority whether council, creed, or church is subordinate to holy Scripture. There are three great authorities in religious matters to which appeal is often made Packer, Church Tradition the position of the Roman Catholic Church.
The final authority for faith and life is the official teaching of the institutional Church Packer, Tradition has to supplement and rightly interpret the Scriptures. Louis, Herder, , p. Sproul, "Sola Scriptura, Crucial to Evangelism," pp. Boice, The Foundation of Biblical Authority. This option assumes many forms, such as the mysticism of the Quakers or the rationalism of the Socinians and Deists.
I decide on the basis of my reason, my feeling, my intuition, or my discerning process what I ought to do or believe. A high percentage of modern scholarship employs the higher critical method Packer, Fund, Scholars who follow this method assume it is valid and anyone who does not accept it is hopelessly out of date. They look to Evangelicals as "funny mentalists.
They treat the biblical documents in a way which would be congenial to the atheist or to the agnostic Morris, I Believe in Revelation, Conservative evangelicals are declared in an uncomplimentary fashion to be "pre-critical" or "pre-scientific. We hear the word of men, not the word of God Morris, Casserley states, "We are confronted with the paradox of a way of studying the word of God out of which no word of God ever seems to come" Morris, While there is no lack of religious verbosity, a sure word resonant with divine authority is scarcely to be heard" p.
Contemporary theology is almost entirely descriptive rather than normative. Increasingly we are confronted with a theology in motion Pinnock, Proverbs BAThere is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof is the way of death. The proper doctrine of revelation is the gateway to proper theological thinking and all sound doctrine.
There is a fundamental distinction between mythology and theology. If there is not, theology becomes self-worship; it becomes a creative enterprise. If there is no revelation from God, then man must discover truth about God on his own. God is inaccessible to the creature by means of his own investigation.
God is transcendent. He is ontologically above and beyond man. Sin has separated man from God and produced spiritual blindness and ignorance. Unlike all other religions, Christianity is a revealed religion. Amos "Surely the Lord does nothing except He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets. Deuteronomy "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever. Literally galah means "an unveiling to sight"--sometimes the emphasis is on the objective side of the unveiling, sometimes on the subjective aspect. I Corinthians "For to us God revealed them through the Spirit.
Romans "according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past.
The root meaning of both galah and apokalupto is to make apparent to external sight of objects or to mental awareness of truths. These include:. Revelation presupposes both the capacity of God to reveal Himself and the capacity of man to know God whether it is natural or supernaturally restored. It is not given on a casual, take-it-or-leave-it basis. It is not intended to be received as information. Man is responsible and will give an account. Revelation is both personal relational and propositional grammatical. How would you relate to someone of whom you knew no propositions or facts?
I Samuel "Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. The words for "reveal" in both the O. The object of revelation may be a thing, an object, a proposition, a person. The Bible sets forth the mighty acts of God mainly for a saving purpose, not a revelatory purpose. The Incarnation is for the purpose of delivering man from sin, not just to reveal God Kantzer, Tenney, Events must be accompanied by an inspired interpretation.
Those who saw Jesus die would not know the significance of that great event, apart from revelation Kantzer, Tenney, Biblical revelation involves a blend of both act and interpretation Kantzer, in Tenney, God interprets His own mighty acts, in a revelatory word--not just deeds Kantzer, Tenney, God has given His revelation progressively in history Warfield, Psalm "The heavens are telling of the glory of God, And the firmament is declaring the work of His hands.
General Revelation "refers to those communications available for all mankind, not merely to the chosen people of God" Kantzer, Tenney, Natural Revelation is "that which comes through the world of physical and human bodies through ordinary processes. Natural revelation is "that revelation of God given to all men either innately or in physical nature which brings everyone to an acknowledgment of God" Helm, The Divine Revelation, It is a revelation in res things, objects rather than in verba words Berkhof, IST, It is a revelation which God continuously makes known to all people Warfield, It is addressed to all intelligent creatures, and accessible to them Warfield, Special Revelation is "that revelation which relates specifically to the redemptive program of God given to a particular people Kantzer, Tenney, General Revelation gives the framework in which special revelation fits.
Man could not understand the program of redemption without the knowledge of General Revelation. It would be frustrating and depressing to have general revelation without special revelation. While we do distinguish between nature and grace, nature is an expression of grace. K, In Scripture we find special revelation grafted upon the natural Kuyper, God enters our hearts first by nature, and then by grace Kuyper, Sometimes when breathing is obstructed, it is necessary for the windpipe to be slit--then the lungs can breathe. Four passages are of particular importance for understanding general revelation.
Order in the heavens bears witness to God as well as order on the earth. Men should recognize in the works of power in the infinite series of means and ends which are revealed in them, the undeniable traces of benevolence and intelligence Godet, Men are inexcusable because they possessed the knowledge of God which ought to have caused them to glorify God and give Him thanks, but they did not act rightly on this knowledge.
Men not only damage themselves, but also congratulate others in doing those things which they know will bring damnation There is a distinction between right and wrong in all cultures and peoples. God has instituted, authorized, and prescribed the civil magistrate as His instrument for maintaining order and punishing of criminals who violate that order. The existence of a civil authority points to a higher authority in the universe.
The Spirit accuses men of sin and brings them to an inescapable sense of guilt so that they realize their shame and helplessness before God Tenney, EBC, Psalm "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained, what is man that Thou dost take thought of him? The existence of the created order in its vastness and complexity bears witness to God the Creator. Acts "and yet He did not leave Himself without a witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.
The regulation and control of the creation by an intelligent hand points to the sovereign God. Romans Gentiles "in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or defending themselves. Man knows right and wrong He knows that theft and murder are wrong.
This fact shows that there is a supreme Lawgiver who embodies the Law Th, People all over the world are haunted by a need of expiation or atonement Pache, Man himself--a huge gap exists bio-cultural gap between mankind and all other parts of the visible world. This gap is seen in human culture and civilization, harnessing of energy, aesthetics, architecture, art and medicine. Genesis "Then God said, Let us make man in our own image, according to our likeness.
Romans "because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them. Psalm "I will give thanks to thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are thy works, and my soul knows it very well. Human Reason--This source and fact is largely assumed in Scripture because it is possessed by every rational creature.
Its existence and viability can be traced back to God. Romans "for there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God. History--The study of history provides vivid illustrations of sin being punished. Psalm "But God is the judge; He puts down one, and exalts another. Proverbs "righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
Augustine wrote The City of God in which he contrasted the two kingdoms. He judged her and brought her back. The ancient Greeks declared that the wheels of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. John "And He the Holy Spirit when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness and judgment. The Holy Spirit is active in the consciousness of every person. Psalm "Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their utterance to the end of the earth.
It is addressed to all intelligent creatures and is therefore accessible to all men Warfield, What specifically about himself does God reveal to mankind through General Revelation? Romans "for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.
God reveals His eternal power and Godhead Kantzer, Bible, Those who heed the light which has been given them will be given more light. Romans makes it clear that there is a truth or knowledge about God which is being repressed or held down Classical Apologetics, The effect is that people are "without excuse" C.
It is dishonest and vain to appeal to ignorance. The problem is not a lack of knowledge, or a lack of evidence, or a lack of cognitive equipment. Sin has so blinded and perverted man that he does not live up to the light God has given him. Man does not want to see Kantzer, Bible, An irrational principle is now in operation in man Pache, Our human race, once fallen in sin, can have no more supply of pure or sufficient knowledge of God from the natural principium. We must distinguish between what this revelation can do theoretically and actually there are two types of possibility. Romans "so that they are without excuse.
Acts Paul moves from the general revelation to the special revelation. The right knowledge of God within a man is the product of a divine creation worked upon the soul by a miracle of God. There is therefore the necessity of missions and evangelism. There is the possibility of apologetics. God is not something we encounter only in our religious experience.
He has created and rules all things. This fact has implications for science. General and Special Revelation are supplementary. They form a unitary whole so that each is incomplete without the whole Warfield, God has given His revelation in a variety of forms and media Hebrews God reveals the covenant of works set up in Eden and the redemptive covenant which came after the fall J. Revelation is generally restricted to the patriarchs and to those associated with them Payne, 4. God reveals Himself by theophany, by vision Genesis and by dream Genesis God uses three classes of human media for giving revelation: a the prophet, b the priest, and 3 the wise men.
Also to some of the patriarchs God granted special revelations of a predictive character when they were near death Genesis , 2; cf. God reveals Himself in great providential acts, especially the Exodus. The great single manifestation of God was His spectacular appearance upon Mt. Sinai Payne, The Israelites asked that God no longer speak to them directly Exodus Illegitimate means of obtaining revelation such as astrology and spiritism are condemned Leviticus 19, 20, and Deuteronomy There is an absolute incompatibility between prophecy from God and heathen superstition. There was little revelation between Moses and David except for the official priestly oracles I Samuel ; Payne, The most significant feature of this period was the rise of the prophets into an organized class for regular use by God.
Prophets were both forth-tellers preachers of righteousness and fore-tellers predicting the future Payne, God communicated His will to the prophet by bringing him under the personal influence of the Holy Spirit so that he then conveyed the Word of God. In the writings of David the distinction between general and special revelation first comes to conscious expression Psalm 19 and Payne, Wisdom embraces all the best in life Prov.
The wise men of Israel drew their conclusions from observation and reflection Job ; ; Proverbs ; Eccl. Nevertheless, they spoke absolute truth Proverbs During this stage the reformed prophets, Elijah, Micah, and Elisha, also appear. The words of the true prophet had to conform to what was already revealed in the Word of God Deuteronomy ; Isaiah Payne, This is the time of the first prophets who wrote down their messages and whose books constitute holy Scripture Payne, God directed His messengers both in speaking and in writing the redemptive message Payne, The prophets proclaimed the word of God authoritatively, and the people are held responsible for the message preached to them.
There was in these prophets a dominating conviction that God had communicated to them an all-important message that they must relay to their fellow men Joel ; Micah Payne, As far as the mode of revelation is concerned, "the fellowship of Jeremiah with God serves as the highest example of the objectivity and yet of the personal nature of the way in which God communicated with the prophets" Payne, Ezekiel had visions, and Daniel had revelation in the form of visions.
From the decree of Cyrus, B. The priests were admonished to teach the already-revealed law Malachi Their duties were more and more restricted to the performance of temple rituals. Revelation was not given again until the events connected with the births of John the Baptist and Christ. Deuteronomy "For who is there of all flesh, who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have and lived?
Romans "Who are Israelites to whom belong the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises. Numbers "The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression. When God sends men His word, He also confronts them with Himself. This reality is seen in the theophanies and in "the angel of the Lord. In one sense God is His own messenger. God addresses the man personally, calling for a personal response to God as the author of that word Packer, NBD, There is no philosophical or existential impossibility for God to reveal Himself.
We cannot know God fully as He is Thomson, O. View of Revelation, In the context it has to do with future things not being known, but it has broader implications. There is an area where we in our finiteness cannot penetrate. God has not given us total knowledge even of the universe, much less of Himself. He has revealed His law to us that we might know Him. Our responsibility is to be obedient to what He has revealed. Obviously there is a selective principle at work in all of Biblical revelation.
God has sovereignly chosen what to reveal and what not to reveal. There are silences inspired in the Bible. We must beware of speculating in areas which are beyond our comprehension. What God reveals is not just information, but it leads to a relationship with the living God. Isaiah "The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations; That all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God. Hosea "Since Ephraim has multiplied altars for sin, they have become altars of sinning for him.
Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My Law, they are regarded as a strange thing. Though Moses was the human author of the Law, God claimed to have written it. Packer, NBD, Joshua "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. Deuteronomy Moses commands the Israelites to be assembled periodically for the public reading of the Law.
Special Revelation refers to "Those acts of God whereby He makes Himself and His truth known at special times and to specific peoples. Kuyper described it as cosmic in that it must truly enter our world and take the forms of our world in order to be represented by us. Barth referred to it as sacramental in that the elements of this world are called into the service of revelation to serve as signs of revelation.
It could also be called anthropic in that it is accommodated to man--his language, his culture, his powers Ramm, SR, Special Revelation is needed because of the inadequacy of General Revelation. God has to republish, correct, and interpret the truths which man could originally learn from nature. Man in his sin distorts the intelligible revelation and caricatures it, whether in terms of polytheism, atheism, or some other perverse alternative.
Instead of conflicting with the earlier revelation, the later revelation builds on it at each stage Packer, God Has Spoken: Revelation and the Bible, The explanation is in terms of propositions propositional revelation. The revelation of the mighty deeds of God without revelation of the meaning of those deeds would be like a TV without sound--we would have to guess what God is doing Pinnock, BR, This direct communication through the lot, the urim thummim, deep sleep, the dream, the vision, or angels.
Many times we are not told the manner in which God spoke to prophets Jonah A miracle is a direct act of God, accomplishing some useful benevolent work and revealing the presence and power of God Th, Genuine miracles demonstrate the existence, presence, concern, and power of God Th, This mode is the foretelling of events, not by virtue of human insight or prescience foreknowledge , but by virtue of a direct communication from God Th, Matthew "You are the salt of the earth. Let your light so shine before men. I Peter "Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evil-doers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
II Corinthians "You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. The life of a Christian is a living epistle which may be read and known of all men indirectly. The whole New Testament is the explanatory word accompanying Him W, After the definitive interpretation is given, revelation ceases Morris, John "but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
We must be careful not to worship a Christ which is only of our own imagination. Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory? John "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life. John "But this is life eternal that they may know Thee, the only true God. AIt is consequently impossible to speak of an authoritative Christ apart from Scripture in which He is set forth; for we cannot know Christ at all if we do not know the Scriptures, and we do not know the Scriptures at all if we fail to find Christ.
McDonald, in Challenges to Inerrancy, ed. Gordon Lewis and Bruce Demarest, He contrasts two basic positions:. He transforms human words of Scripture into contemporary speech of the living God. He might react to it only as one would to propositions in geometry p. But he does not allow the Bible to bring him sharply into immediate contact with God p. The ancient words are only the instrument which God uses to reveal Himself to us today. The liberal commonly considers that the Bible has errors and mistakes.
Special revelation is given as a treasure to be shared with the whole world Th, Luke "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people. Inspiration is the connecting link between revelation and its permanent embodiment. We find no mention of the writing of Scripture until the time of Moses.
In Exodus Moses is commanded to write in a book that God would utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. The words of Moses were to be read before the people, including the children, every 7 years Deuteronomy ; cf. Nehemah and were to be diligently taught Deuteronomy , especially by the priests Leviticus ; Deuteronomy Payne, Joshua indicates that Joshua before his death recorded some of his own words as a designed edition in Athe book of the law of God.
Joshua probably adds Deuteronomy 34 which tells of the death of Moses. David was made to understand the plans of the temple in writing from the hand of the Lord Payne, The words of the wise came to be treated as of equal authority with the commandment of the Law. Mashal may mean an authoritative statement Job ; ; cf.