From

Messiah the Prince

or,

The Mediatorial Dominion of Jesus Christ

by: William Symington

The Christian Statesman Press

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


INTRODUCTION TO THE AMERICAN EDITION

(1884)

The work of Dr. William Symington, of Glasgow, Scotland, on "The Mediatorial Dominion of Jesus Christ," a limited edition of which is now offered to the American public, holds a place in literature which is altogether unique. While books on the priestly work of the Redeemer, and especially on the Atonement, are numerous, no formal and exhaustive discussion of the kingly office of the Messiah—its necessity, its reality, its extent, and its application to various classes of moral agents—is elsewhere, I believe, to be found. Even elaborate systems of theology are found singularly defective here. Since, however, the royal authority of Christ has been clearly revealed, and is unquestionably exercised in the government of the world, it is manifest that an examination of this subject is essential to any complete view of the work of Redemption. It is cause for satisfaction that the only treatise, as yet, upon this subject, is a work of signal ability, lucid in arrangement, reverent in spirit, and, with hardly an exception, sound and judicious in its conclusions. Its very merits are probably, in part, the reason why no other work on the same subject has appeared, and until it is supplanted by a better work—an event not likely soon to occur—it will have a value peculiar to itself.

At two points the American publishers, and those who advocate a Christian reformation in the American government, would dissent from the conclusions in the ninth chapter as to the relations of church and state. These points are the adoption by the state of the creed of the church, and the bestowal upon the church, by the state, of direct pecuniary support. As to the first, the creed of the Church contains many doctrines pertaining to her own life and the individual salvation with which the state, as a moral person, has nothing whatever to do, and which it is absurd that she should be called on to ratify or to profess. As to the second, we hold it to be part of the divine constitution of the church that she is to be self-supporting and independent. The church in Israel had an independent provision—the tithes—assigned to her directly by her divine Head, and paid by the people into her treasury without the intervention of the state. The New Testament church has also her own fiscal officers and her divinely appointed sources of revenue. Departure from this principle has always proved inimical to her independence and spiritual purity. The Scriptures teach, indeed, with distinctness and emphasis, that it is the duty of the state to recognize and assist the church; but the suppression of moral evils, the work of public education, the intercourse of Christian governments with foreign powers, afford abundant opportunities for the discharge of this duty without the invasion by the state of the sacred precincts of the house of God, and the adoption, as pensioners upon her bounty, of those servants of Christ for whose support He has made other and more honorable provision.[2]

If the principles set forth in this volume are true, they are vital to the welfare of the nations. If Jesus Christ is King of kings, kings and governments must submit to His authority. His Word must be recognized as paramount law, and all laws, institutions and usages of government must be conformed to it. To maintain all existing Christian features in the American government, to supply such features where they may be lacking, and to secure the whole by suitable provisions in the National Constitution, is the aim of the "NATIONAL REFORM ASSOCIATION." The republication of this book in the United States at the present time is intended as a contribution to this movement.

T. P. Stevenson Philadelphia, January 31, 1884.

[2] It behooves the reader to consider the arguments presented by William Symington on the two points rejected by Stevenson. Stevenson's concerns are legitimate and not to be discounted, but it seems that Symington is sensitive to the potential problems and makes a sound argument in defense of his position. It is hard to see how you can have Christian civil government without the state adopting some creedal statement on what constitutes the Christian faith. In regard to pecuniary support of the church by the state, Symington argues that while such support is not necessary for the life of the church (which is supported by the tithes of church members), prophetic language implies the acceptability of such a practice (William Einwechter).

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