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Words Old And New

Category Articles
Date February 8, 2005

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) was one of the galaxy of young preachers at the Scottish Disruption period which included other men some of whose books have been reprinted by the Banner of Truth, Andrew Bonar, ‘Rabbi’ Duncan, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, W. C. Burns. Horatius Bonar was a prolific author, but one of his fascinating books has been reprinted by the Banner of Truth entitled Words Old and New. Moved by the richness of the piety of men of God throughout the history of the church Bonar gathered together some of their choicest saying. He did not do this in the contemporary way, under various headings arranged alphabetically, but rather chronologically, author by author.

The first twenty are men from the early church and from medieval times up until John Wycliffe (1324-1384). The next 35 men are from the Reformation period. The following 55 men are from the Puritan period. The next twenty men are leaders of the evangelical awakening of the 18th century, and the last twenty are men who became Bonar’s own contemporaries in the nineteenth century.

Bonar loved experiential religion especially that which magnified the Saviour and his free redemption. I was recently reading the extracts he gives of Tobias Crisp on justification (pp.161-164) and loved the gospel found in these quotations, and feared that the spread of the so-called ‘New Perspective’ on justification would rob the church of such great affirmations of full pardon and the robes of righteousness which was the heart of the preaching of Crisp and the Puritans. This is Crisp, mainly on justification.


BORN 1600 DIED 1642.

1. The iniquities of us all, the Lord hath laid upon Christ; they cannot lie upon Christ and upon us too; if they be reckoned to Christ, they are not reckoned to him that doth receive Christ.

2. ‘I spread my skirt over thee;’ mark it, I pray you. Not a scanty skirt to cover some of this filth, but a broad skirt, a large skirt, a white raiment, as Christ calls it Himself. There is such a covering of Christ that He casts upon a person to cover his nakedness.

3. Our sins are so translated to Christ that God reckons Christ the very sinner; nay, God reckons all our sins to be His, and makes Him to be sin for us, and we are made the righteousness of God in Him.

4. God neither looks to anything in the creature to win Him to show kindness, nor yet to anything in the creature to debar Him; neither righteousness in men persuades God to pardon sin, nor unrighteousness in men hinders Him from giving this pardon: it is only and simply for his own sake that He doth it unto men.

5. Had not Christ made a full satisfaction to the Father, He Himself must have perished under those sins that He did bear; but in that He went through the thing, and paid the full price, as He carried them away from us, so He laid them down from Himself. So that now Christ is freed from sin, and we are freed from sin in Him.

6. Our standing is not founded upon the subduing of our sins, but upon that foundation that never fails, and that is Christ Himself.

7. Christ is He that justifies the ungodly; Christ is He that is the peace-maker; our peace depends upon Christ alone. Beloved, if you will fetch your peace from anything in the world but Christ, you will fetch it from where it is not.

8. Christ is the fountain of peace and life; and men forget that peace is to be had in Christ, when they would have peace out of righteousness of their own, out of their enlargements or out of their humiliations. These are broken cisterns, and what peace is there in them? Is there not sinfulness in them? And if there be sinfulness in them, where, then, is their peace? Sin speaks nothing but war to the soul. Let me tell you, beloved, you that look for peace from the subduing of your sins, what peace can it afford you, in case there be any defects of subduing of your sins? There can be no peace.

9. None but Christ! None but Christ! While your own acts proclaim nothing but war, Christ alone and His blood proclaim nothing but peace.

10. I have not said that God is not offended with the sins that believers commit; but God stands not offended with the persons of believers for the sins committed by them.

11. The anger of God for sin hath spent itself upon the person of Christ; and having so spent itself, there remains none of it to light upon the person of a believer.

12. ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ He doth not say with whom I am well pleased, but in whom I am well pleased, that is, in whom I am well pleased with you.

13. Men are mistaken, who think that the law makes them see their own villenous; a gracious sight of our villenous is the work of Christ alone.

14. Christ is a free way; Christ is a near way; Christ is a firm way; there is no need of sinking; Christ is a pleasant way; ‘all They ways are pleasantness;’ Christ is a safe way; there is a continual guard in that way; Christ is an easy way to hit; ‘wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein;’ Christ is a spacious way; ‘Thou hast set my feet in a large room.’

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