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The Doctrinal Contents of the Confession

First there is assigned to me the consideration of the doctrinal contents of the Confession, with its fundamental and regulative ideas. Should I attempt an examination of these heads at doctrine in the limited time allowed for these addresses, the result could be little more than a table of contents, dry and uninstructive to educated Christians. The Shorter Catechism already gives us such a summary of most of the heads treated in the Confession, and superior to anything which one man could now produce. All admit that the Confession embodies that system of revealed theology sometimes termed the Pauline, sometimes the Augustinian, and popularly the Calvinistic. Should we question prevalent public opinion as to the peculiar and dominant features of that system, it would point us to what are popularly termed the five points of Calvinism. But these propositions are themselves consequences or conclusions drawn from more ultimate principles. It is among these, then, that the fundamental and regulative ideas of the Confession are to be sought. These I conceive to be two: the supreme end of God's dispensations revealed in Scripture, and the constitution and attributes of the Godhead.