Colquhoun: Every Passage Of Scripture Is Either Law Or Gospel

The law and the gospel are the principal parts of divine revelation; or rather they are the center, sum, and substance of all the other parts of it. Every passage of sacred Scripture is either law or gospel, or is capable of being referred either to the one or to the other. Even the histories of the Old and New Testaments, as far as the agency of man is introduced, are but narratives of facts done in conformity or in opposi- tion to the moral law, and done in the belief or disbelief of the gospel. The ordinances of the ceremonial law, given to the ancient Israelites, were, for the most part, grafted on the second and fourth commandments of the moral law; and in their typical reference they were an obscure revelation of the gospel. The precepts of the judicial law are all reducible to commandments of the moral law, and especially to those of the second table. All threatenings, whether in the Old or New Testament, are threatenings either of the law or the gospel; and every promise is a promise either of the one or the other. Every prophecy of Scripture is a declaration of things obscure or future, connected either with the law or the gospel, or with both. And there is not in the Sacred Volume one admonition, reproof, or exhortation but what refers either to the law or the gospel or both. If then a man cannot distinguish aright between the law and the gospel, he cannot rightly understand so much as a single article of divine truth. If he does not have spiritual and just apprehensions of the holy law, he cannot have spiritual and transforming discoveries of the glorious gospel; and, on the other hand, if his view of the gospel is er- roneous, his notions of the law cannot be right.

John Colquhoun A Treatise on the Law and Gospel (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books), xxv–xxvi.


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One comment

  1. From the roots of Calvin, the Marrow, Boston and the “Marrow Men”, to the fruit of Colquhoun’s comprehensive and systematic treatment of the law-gospel distinction we have an exquisite and rich history of the best wine reaching its age of near perfection. It never ceases to amaze me that folks, even claiming to stand in the Reformed tradition, should seem to ignore or even eschew this well preserved vintage. Where has our Gospel gone? Get back to it by dusting off and uncorking these law-gospel offerings from the basement of the best Reformed wineries. My little band of praying men read and discussed this volume several years ago. Its value cannot be overstated. Thank you, Dr. Clark, for bringing this to our attention.

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