Discussion on the Canons (3)


Questions on Articles 17, 18:

  1. What does article 17 say about children that die in infancy?
  2. Does the Bible teach anything definite with respect to this ?
  3. What should be our answer to them that mur­mur at the doctrine of election? (Article 18.)
  4. To what should a believing contemplation of election and reprobation lead us? Why?



  1. Article 17 seems to teach that all children of believers that die in infancy are surely saved. However, it may be remarked:

(1)  That for such an absolute statement there would be no ground in Scripture. The Bible certainly teaches that not all the children of believers are elect. Only the children of the

promise are counted for the seed. This must also be borne in mind when it teaches that children of believers are holy. And Scrip­ture does not clearly teach that all the child­ren of believers that die in infancy are saved.

(2) That, however, upon closer consideration it is evident that article 17 does not make such a statement. In the first place, it does not speak of all confessing believers, but of godly parents, that is, parents that walk in the way of God’s Covenant, receive their children from the Lord, earnestly consecrate them to God and purpose to instruct them in the fear of the Lord. And secondly, it looks at the matter from the viewpoint of these parents and merely expresses that they have no reason to doubt the salvation of their children.

(3)  That it is our conviction that here we are dealing with a matter that strictly falls under the category of the secret things that belong unto the Lord our God.

  1. The above is also the answer to question 47. The example of David and his child that was taken away, and of Jeroboam and his son do not shed any light upon this ques­tion.
  2. Our answer to them that murmur at the doc­trine of election should not be that we make an attempt to defend God. if the doctrine of election and reprobation is denied we can quote Scripture to prove that it is true. But if anyone murmurs at this doctrine we should do as Scripture does and appeal to the high sovereignty of God over against mere man.
  3. A believing contemplation of the -truth of predestination must always lead us to glorify and adore God with thankful hearts. The reason is, that it is this doctrine that main­tains -that God is all and man is nothing, and our salvation is to be attributed only to the wondrous and glorious grace of the Most High.

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Chapter II.

Questions on Article 1:

  1. With what does the second chapter of the Canons deal?
  2. How is this subject related to that of the first chapter?
  3. What, in general, is the teaching of the Arminians with respect to the atonement of Christ?
  4. What attribute of God is mentioned in article 1 of this second chapter and why?
  5. What follows from the justice of God with respect to the only way in which we can be saved? (Article 1.)


  1. The subject of the second chapter of the Canons is the atonement of Christ.
  2. It is related to the subject of the first chap­ter as cause and effect. The doctrine of election or the denial of this doctrine neces­sarily determines our view of the atone­ment of Christ, with a view to the question: for whom did Christ die?
  3. In general the teaching of the Arminians regarding this subject is that Christ died for all men without distinction, in His and God’s intention.
  4. Article 1 makes mention of the attribute of God’s justice, because it is by virtue of this attribute that sin must be punished, and for­giveness of sin can be granted only on the basis of complete satisfaction. God’s justice, then, makes atonement necessary unto sal­vation.
  5. It follows that satisfaction, i.e., suffering the punishment of sin is necessary unto salvation.


Questions on Chap. 2, Art. 2, 3:

  1. Why cannot we ourselves make satisfaction for sin? (Article 2.)
  2. Who, then, made this satisfaction, and how?
  3. What does it mean that Christ was made sin for us? What does it not mean?
  4. What is said of the death of the Son of God in article 3?
  5. In what sense can we speak of the death of the Son of God? Did Christ die as to His divine nature?
  6. How must we understand that the death of Christ was sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world? Did Christ suffer more than was necessary for the salvation of the elect?



  1. We cannot make satisfaction.

(1)  Because we constantly owe our all to God and would never be able to pay any debt with God.

(2)  Because we are dead in sin and can never bring to God a pleasing sacrifice. Yet such must be the act of satisfaction. It must not merely be the bearing of the punishment, but the active, willing suffering of that punishment from the motive of love in per­fect obedience.

(3)  Because we could never bear eternal punishment and live.

  1. God’s only begotten Son in the flesh, however, was able to make this satisfaction,

(1)  Because He was without sin Himself and perfectly obedient.

(2)  Because His death has infinite value. He could bear the wrath of God and live.

(3)  Because He was ordained the head of

His people and could die vicariously in their stead.

  1. That Christ was made sin does not mean that He became in any way sinful, for He was perfectly righteous and holy. Bat it does mean that He stood judicially at the head of His sinful people and that God treated Him as He were the sinner, causing Him to bear our punishment.
  2. Article 3 speaks of the death of the Son of God.

(1)  As the only and most perfect sacrifice. It is such because it was brought in perfect obedience to God from the principle of the love of God, and hence, it was blameless.

(2)  As being of infinite value. It is this because it is the death of the Son of God. This is to he understood, not as if He died in His divine nature, but so, that the Person of the Son of God died in His assumed human nature.

(3)  That it is sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world. This is not mean to express that Christ died for all in the world; nor even that He suffered more than is neces­sary for the satisfaction of the justice of God. But it does mean that Christ’s sacrifice is of unlimited value. If it had pleased God to save more than the elect through the death of the Son of God, no other sacrifice would have been necessary.

  1. Christ died, not according to His divine, but according to His human nature. Neverthe­less, it was the Person of the Son of God that so died in His human nature.
  2. Christ did not suffer more than was neces­sary for the salvation of the elect. But the death of Christ is of infinite value, because it was the death of the Son of God. and be­cause of this it was always sufficient in power of expiation.