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Gems from Patrick Hamilton (1503-1528)

Category Articles
Date February 11, 2011

An extract from Words Old and New: Gems from the Christian Authorship of all Ages (pp. 82-83).1

1. The law sheweth us our sin; the gospel sheweth us a remedy for it. The law sheweth us our condemnation; the gospel sheweth us our redemption. The law is the word of wrath; the gospel is the word of grace. The law is the word of despair; the gospel is the word of comfort. The law is the word of unrest; the gospel is the word of peace.

2. The law saith, Pay thy debt; the gospel saith, Christ hath paid it. The law saith, Thou art a sinner, despair, thou shalt be damned; the gospel saith, Thy sins are forgiven thee, be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved. The law saith, Make amends for thy sins; the gospel saith, Christ hath made it for thee. The law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction? the gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, thy goodness, and satisfaction. The law saith, Thou art bound and obliged to me, to the devil, and to hell; the gospel saith, Christ hath delivered thee from them all.

3· He that lacketh faith trusteth not God; he that trusteth not God, trusteth not his Word; he that trusteth not his Word, holdeth him false and a liar; he that holdeth him false and a liar, believeth not that he may do what he promiseth ; and so he denieth that he is God. Therefore it followeth, he that lacketh faith cannot please God.

4· No man can do a greater honour to God than to count him true.

5. Faith is a certainty or assuredness; he that hath faith well knoweth that God will fulfil his Word.

6. Faith is the root of all good; unbelief is the root of all evil. Faith maketh God and man good friends; unbelief maketh them foes. Faith bringeth God and man together; unbelief sundereth them.

7· Faith sheweth us that God is a sweet Father; unbelief sheweth him as a terrible Judge. Faith holdeth firm by the Word of God; unbelief wavers here and there. Faith knoweth God; unbelief knoweth him not. Faith only saveth us; unbelief only condemneth us. Faith extolleth God and his deeds; unbelief herself and her deeds.

8. Faith cometh of the Word of God; hope cometh of faith; and charity springeth of them both.

9· What is it to say that Christ died for thee? Verily it is that thou shouldest have died perpetually, and that Christ, to deliver thee from death, died for thee, and changed thy perpetual death into his own death. For thou madest the fault, and h suffered the pain, and that for the love he had to thee, before thou wast born.

10. Thou must do good works; but beware that thou do them not to deserve any good through them. For if thou do so, thou receivest the good, not as a gift of God, but as a debt due to thee, and makest thyself fellow with God, because thou wilt take nothing of him for nought. Therefore, do nothing to him, but take of him; for he is a gentle Lord, and with more glad will gives us all we need, than we can take it of him.


  1. An extract from Words Old and New: Gems from the Christian Authorship of all Ages
    selected by Horatius Bonar
    408 pages, paperback
    £5.50, $9.00
    ISBN 978 0 85151 643 1

The story of Patrick Hamilton’s life and martyrdom can be found in John Howie, The Scots Worthies, pp. 11-17.

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