Patrick’s Places – the difference between Law and Gospel
by Patrick Hamilton, 1527.
Patrick Hamilton was Scotland’s first Reformer and martyr, burned at the stake by Roman Catholic cardinal Beaton at St Andrews in 1528 for preaching the Gospel.
Of noble birth, he graduated MA from the College of Montaigu, Paris, in 1520 and enrolled in the University of St Andrews on 9/6/1523, the same day that John Major was received as Principal of St John’s College, St Andrews, the precursor of the present St Mary’s College, where Major taught John Knox and later, in Paris, Major also taught John Calvin.
In 1527, Hamilton was one of the first students in the new University of Marburg founded in 1527 by Landgrave Philip I of Hesse. The same year Hamilton wrote Patrick’s Places in Latin, translated by John Frith into English who named it Patrick’s Places ‘for it treateth exactly of certain commonplaces, which known, ye have the pith of all divinity’.
We are not saved by keeping rules but Jesus Christ shows us that the way to heaven is by following Him faithfully. Patrick Hamilton laid out this contrast in two lists given below, in the language of his times.
The nature and office of the law and of the gospel
The law showeth us our sin, Rom. iii. 9-20.
The gospel showeth us remedy for it, John i. 29.
The law showeth us our condemnation, Rom. vii. 23, 24.
The gospel showeth us our redemption, Eph. i.
The law is the word of ire, Rom. iv. 15.
The gospel is the word of grace, Acts xx. 24.
The law is the word of despair, Deut. xxvii. 15-26.
The gospel is the word of comfort, Luke ii. 10.
The law is the word of unrest, Rom. vii. 24.
The gospel is the word of peace, Eph. vi. 15.
A disputation between the law and the gospel; where is shown the difference or contrariety between them both.
The law saith, Pay thy debt.
The gospel saith, Christ hath paid it.
The law saith, Thou art a sinner; despair, and 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, The Father of heaven is angry with thee.
The gospel saith, Christ hath pacified him with his blood.
The law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction?
The gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, thy goodness, thy 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.
Dr Donald M. Boyd
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