Systematic Theology - Vol. 2

By Charles Hodge | Go to book overview

PART III. — SOTERIOLOGY.

UNDER this head are included God's purpose and plan in relation to the salvation of men ; the person and work of the Redeemer ; and the application of that work by the Holy Spirit to the actual salvation of the people of God.


CHAPTER I.

THE PLAN OF SALVATION.

§ 1. God has such a Plan.

The Scriptures speak of an Economy of Redemption; the plan or purpose of God in relation to the salvation of men. They call it in reference to its full revelation at the time of the advent, the οἰκονομία του̑ πληρώματος τω̑ν καιρω̑ν, "The economy of the fulness of times." It is declared to be the plan of God in relation to his gathering into one harmonious body, all the objects of redemption, whether in heaven or earth, in Christ. Eph. i. 10. It is also called the οἰκονομία του̑ μυστηρίου, the mysterious purpose or plan which had been hidden for ages in God, which it was the great design of the gospel to reveal, and which was intended to make known to principalities and powers, by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God. Eph. iii. 9.

A plan supposes: (1.) The selection of some definite end or object to be accomplished. (2.) The choice of appropriate means. (3.) At least in the case of God, the effectual application and control of those means to the accomplishment of the contemplated end.

As God works on a definite plan in the external world, it is fair to infer that the same is true in reference to the moral and spiritual world. To the eye of an uneducated man the heavens are a chaos of stars. The astronomer sees order and system in this confusion ; all those bright and distant luminaries have their appointed places and fixed orbits; all are so arranged that no one interferes with any other, but each is directed according to one comprehensive and magnificent conception. The innumerable forms of vegetable

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