Jan 30, 2010

[book on duty faith] Help for the true disciples of Immanuel by John Stevens

Help for the true disciples of Immanuel by John Stevens - an answer to Andrew Fuller 1841
[These are picture PDF files below in a single column. This may be easier to read than the double column version.]

Quotes collected by John Brine on Eternal Justification

Quoted from John Brine, A Defense of the Doctrine of Eternal Justification Look, as God did not, in his decrees about creation, consider the body of Adam singly, and apart from his soul, nor yet the soul without the body (I speak of his creation and state thereby) neither should either so much as exist, but as the one in the other: so nor Christ and his church in lection, which gave the first existence to Christ as a head, and to the church as his body, which each had in God's decrees. Thomas Goodwin, Exposition of the First Chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians 1, part I, p. 72 (London, 1681).

This grace by which we are justified, was given us in Christ from eternity, because from eternity God loved us in Christ, and made us accepted in him. Jerome Zanchius, De Natura Dei, lib. 4, ch. 2, p. 355 (Heidelberg, 1577).

At the same time in which Christ became a surety for us, and our sins were imputed to him, we were absolved from guilt, and reputed just; that is, actively justified. Johannes Maccovius, Armin., ch. 10, p.120.

Christ's atonement and bearing sin was in the eye of God from eternity, as if already done: hence the patriarchs were actually and personally justified by it. Isaac Chauncy, Neonomianism Unmasked, Part 2 (London, 1692).

(In answer to the question whether or not justification goes before regeneration) Thus it is; for as sin inherent supposes that sin is imputed, so also inherent righteousness presupposes righteousness is imputed. Johannes Maccovius, Metaphysics, p. 118.

What is it that the remission of sins, and our acceptation, signify, if not inward and immanent acts in God, acts of which kind do not arise in God anew? William Twisse, Vindiciae Gratiae, Lib. 2, Crim. 4, par. 4, p. 79 (Amsterdam, 1632).

These acts of imputing, and not imputing, are immanent acts in God, and therefore eternal (this in reference to justification). Samuel Rutherford, Exercitationis Apologeticae Divina Gratiae, ch. 2, p. 25 (Amsterdam, 1636).

The elect always, yea, before they believe, are free from condemnation, for, and on account of, the death of Christ. Ibid, p. 56.

A sentence of justification was, as it were, conceived in the mind of God by the decree of justifying. William Ames, Medulla Theologica, lib. I, ch. 27, p. 117 (Amsterdam, 1623).

I am imposed on to lay the foundation of all Antinomianism to maintain Justification from eternity, or at least in the cross of Christ, of all that should believe, and Justification by faith to be but the sense of it in our consciences (which last I know better and wiser men than myself that do, though I do not). John Owen, Vindication from the Animadversions of Mr. R.B., p. 4. Quoted from John Gill, Body of Divinity

Justified then we were when first elected, though not in our own persons, yet in our Head, as he had our persons then given him, and we came to have a being and interest in him. Thomas Goodwin, Works, vol. 4, part 1, p. 105, 106.

We may say of all spiritual blessings in Christ, what is said of Christ, that his goings forth are from everlasting - in Christ we were blessed with all spiritual blessings, Eph. 1:3; as we are blessed with all other, so with this also, that were justified then in Christ. Ibid.

(God) told him (Christ), as it were, that he would look for his debt and satisfaction of him, and that he did let the sinners go free; and so they are, in this respect, justified from all eternity. Ibid.

Adoption is a gracious sentence of God, which sentence is pronounced in the same variety of degrees as justification; for it was first pronounced in divine predestination, Eph. 1:5, afterwards in Christ, Gal. 4:5; then in believers themselves, 6. William Ames, Medulla Theologica, lib. I, ch. 28.

Union with Christ is the first fundamental thing of justification and sanctification and all: Christ first takes us, and then sends us his Spirit; he apprehends us first; it is not my being regenerate that puts me into a right of all these privileges; but it is Christ takes me, and then gives me his Spirit, faith, holiness, etc. Thomas Goodwin, Works, vol. 1, part 1, p. 62. Quoted from William Eyre, The Free Justification of a Sinner

But Men are not believers before they are justified; the Scripture witnesseth that the Subject of Justification is a Sinner, or ungodly Person, Rom. 4.5. & 5.8, 10. Now the Holy Ghost never calls Believers Ungodly or Wicked, but Saints, Faithful, Holy Brethren, Children of God, Members of Christ, &c. W.E., p. 4.

For if the Righteousness of Christ doth come upon all the Elect unto Justification, in the same manner as Adams sin came upon all men, to condemnation, as the Apostle shows it doth, Rom. 5. Then it must follow, That the Righteousness of Christ was reckoned or imputed to the Elect, before they had a Being, and then much more before they do believe in him; for it is evident that Adams sin came upon all men to condemnation, before they had a being; for by that first transgression (says the Apostle, verse 12.) Sin entered into the World. And more plainly, Death passed upon all Men; The reasons follows, because in him, or in his loyns, all have sinned. Now as in Adam the [untranslated - foreign word], that is, All that shall perish, were constituted sinners, before they had a Being, by reason of the imputation of his disobedience to them; so in Christ the [untranslated - foreign word], All that shall be saved, were constituted righteous, his obedience be imputed unto them by God before they had any Being, otherwise then in him as their Head and common Person. W.E. p. 9.

Justification in God's sight, was purchased for us by Christ, long before we were born; for it is vain to think with the Arminians, that Christ's merits have made God only Placabilem, not Placatum, procured a Freedom, That God may be reconciled if he will; and other things concur, but not as an actual reconciliation: No, it is otherwise, Full Satisfaction to Divine Justice is given and taken; all the sins of the Elect are actually pardoned. This was concluded upon and dispatch'd between God and Christ, long before we had any Being, either in Nature or Grace; yet this benefit was ours, and belonged to us, though we knew not so much, till after that by Faith we did apprehend it, as Lands may be purchased, the Estate convyed and setled on an Infant, though he know nothing of it, till he come of Age. Pemble, Vind. Grat., p. 21 and 23.

Verily before any of the Elect do believe, the wrath of God and all the effects of his Wrath, are removed from their Persons by Vertue of Christ's Satisifaction. S. Rutherford, Exercitationis Apologeticae Divina Gratiae, p. 45.

Though we are not justified passively or terminatively, till we do believe, yet out justification actively considered, as it is in God (who is the only justifyer) was compleat and perfect, before we had a Being; and in this sense, Faith is not the instrument of our Justification. Ibid, p. 43.

Christ is said to be justified when he rose from the dead, I Tim. 3.16. And we then to be justified in him, Rom. 4ult. Because that discharge, to wit His Fathers raising him from the Dead, was an actual justification of him from the sins of others, for which he had satisified; and of us from our own sins, for which he became a surety. Parker, De Descensu Christi ad Inferos, Lib. 3, sect. 30, p. 59.

The righteousness of Christ was ours before we did believe; ours, I say, in respect of Right, because in the intention both of the Father and the Son, it was performed for us; though not in respect of the possession and enjoyment, because we have not the sense and knowledge of it, whereunto we do attain by Faith - for Faith coming (which the Spirit of God works in our hearts), the love of God to us in Christ is them perceived and acknowledged. Whence it is, That the Righteousness of Christ is said to be imputed unto us by Faith, Because we cannot know and discern that it is imputed to us but by Faith; and then we are said to be justified with that kind of justification and Absolution from Sin, which breedeth peace in our Consciences. W. Twisse, Vindiciae Gratiae, Lib. 1, p. 2, sect. 25, n. 5, p. 179.

Our justification in respect of God, doth precede our Faith. J. Calvin, Antid. Conc. Trident., Sess. 6, p. 282.

All the Elect, who are the Members of Christ, when he by his death had expiated their Sins, were freed from the guilt of eternal death, and obtained a right to eternal life. J. Zanchius, On Ephesians (2:5).

We are not certainly persuaded, that our sins are pardoned before we do believe; for we deny that Infants do believe, and yet Infants have their sins forgiven. Chamier, Cham. Panstrat., Tom.3, lib. 13, cap. 10, sect. 18.

I deny that Faith is the cause of our Justification, for then our justification would not be of Grace, but of our selves; but Faith is said to justify, not because ti effecteth Jusification, but because it is effected in the justified person. Ibid, cap. 6, sect. 4.

Faith doth neither merit, obtain, nor begin our Justification, for if it did, then Faith should go before Justification, both in nature and in time; which may in no wise be granted, for Faith it self is a part of Sanctification; now there is no Sanctification but after Justification: which is really and in its own nature before it. Ibid, Lib. 22, cap. 12, sect. 5 & sect. 9.

Faith concurs in no otherwise to Justification, then in respect of the passive application, whereby a man applies the Righteousness of Christ unto himself; but not in respect of the active application, whereby God applieth unto Man the Righteousness of Christ, which application is in the mind of God. Johannes Alstedius, Supplement to Chamier, (Lib. 2, cap. 11, sect. 6).

This sentence (of justification) was long before in the mind of God and was pronounced when Christ our Head arose from the dead, 2 Cor. 5.19. W. Ames, Medulla Theologica, lib. I, ch. 27, sect. 9.

All they for whom Christ in the intention of God hath made satisfaction, are reconciled unto God. Ibid.

Jan 29, 2010


  You can read the original article HERE [Note: the article starts on pg 5 and continues on pg 27 after pg.7]

Duty faith? Nay Mr. Spurgeon

The quotes from Spurgeon are from a sermon of his HERE. This sermon was preached in 1864. Spurgeon's sermon "What God Cannot Do!" may be found in Volume 10, sermon 568 on pg. 253. The quotes from John Gill have been collected from various writings from him which can be found on this blog. I have formed these quotes so that they appear as a dialogue. John Gill died before Spurgeon came on the scene. But, I imagine that Gill might have responded with the truths which he faithfully defended. The portions from John Gill have been collected from these works:

John Gill, The Body of Divinity: "Of the Gospel", "SERMON 95 AN ANSWER TO THE BIRMINGHAM DIALOGUE-WRITER", and the "Dr. Gill And Mr. Brine Vindicated From The Charge Of Error And Mistake With Respect To Faith In Christ" Sermon

Duty faith? Nay Mr. Spurgeon
A created reply to Spurgeon's view on duty-faith from John Gill's writings 

Charles Spurgeon: Brethren, if it be so that God cannot lie, then it must be the natural duty of all his creatures to believe him. I cannot resist that conclusion. It seems to me to be as clear as noonday, that it is every man's duty to believe truth, and that if God must speak and act truth, and truth only, it is the duty of all intelligent creatures to believe him.

John Gill: The law is not of faith, so faith is not of the law. There is a faith indeed which the law requires and obliges to, namely, faith and trust in God, as the God of nature and providence; for as both the law of nature, and the law of Moses, show there is a God, and who is to be worshipped; they both require a belief of him, and trust and confidence in him; which is one part of the worship of him enjoined therein: moreover the law obliges men to give credit to any revelation of the mind and will of God he has made, or should think fit to make unto them at any time.

Charles Spurgeon: Here is "duty-faith," again, which some are railing at; but how they can get away from it, and yet believe that God cannot lie, I cannot understand. If it be not my duty to believe in God, then it is no sin for me to call God a liar. Will any one subscribe to that — that God is a liar? I think not; and if to think God to be a liar would be a most atrocious piece of blasphemy, then it can only be so on the ground that it is the natural and incumbent duty of every creature understanding the truthfulness of God to believe in God.

John Gill: As is the revelation which is made to men, such is the faith which is required of them. If there is no revelation made unto them, no faith is required of them; and unbelief, or want of faith in Christ, will not be their damning sin, as is the case of the heathens; ‘for how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?’ No; they will be condemned not for their want of faith in Christ, or His Gospel, which they never heard of, but for their sins committed against the law and light of nature, ‘As many as have sinned without Law shall perish without Law’: if a revelation is made, this is either external or internal; if only an external revelation is made, the faith required is an assent unto it, and a reception of it; and such who do not attend to the evidence it brings with it, or reject and despise it, shall be damned: but if besides the external revelation, an internal revelation is made by the Spirit of Wisdom, in the knowledge of Christ; or if God by His Word calls men effectually by His Grace, and reveals His Son in them, as well as to them; this kind of revelation comes with such power and influence upon the mind, as certainly to produce a true and living faith in the soul, which infallibly issues in eternal life and happiness; and of such persons, and of such only, acts of special faith in Christ are required.

Charles Spurgeon: If God has set forth the Lord Jesus Christ as the propitiation for sin, and has told me to trust Christ, it is my duty to trust Christ, because God cannot lie; and though my sinful heart will never believe in Christ as a matter of duty, but only through the work of the Holy Spirit, yet faith does not cease to be a duty; and whenever I am unbelieving, and have doubts concerning God, however moral my outward life may be, I am living in daily sin; I am perpetrating a sin against the first principles of morality. If I doubt God, as far as I am able I rob him of his honor, and stab him in the vital point of his glory; I am, in fact, living an open traitor and a sworn rebel against God, upon whom I heap the daily insult of daring to doubt him.

John Gill: as for special faith in Christ as a Saviour, or believing in him to the saving of the soul; this the law knows nothing of, nor does it make it known; this kind of faith neither comes by the ministration of it, nor does it direct to Christ the object of it, nor give any encouragement to believe in him on the above account; but it is a blessing of the covenant of grace, which flows from electing love, is a gift of God's free grace, the operation of the Spirit of God, comes by the hearing of faith, or the word of faith, as a means, that is, the gospel; for which reason, among others, the gospel is so called; and it is that which points out Christ, the object of faith; and directs and encourages sensible sinners under a divine influence to exercise it on him; its language is, "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved", Ac 16:31".

Charles Spurgeon:O my hearers! there are some of you who do not believe in Christ; I wish you would look at your character and position in this light. You are not trusting in Christ for your salvation. Remember, "He that believeth not God hath made him a liar." Those are John's own inspired words, and you are, every day that you are not a believer in Christ, virtually writing upon your door-post, and saying with your mouth, "God is a liar; Christ is not able to save me; I will not trust him; I do not believe God's promise; I do not think he is sincere in his invitation to me to come to Christ; I do not believe what God says. "Remember that you are living in such a state as this; and may God the Holy Ghost impress you with a sense of the sin of that state; and, feeling this your sin and misery, I pray God to lead you to cry, "Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief." This, then, is our first practical conclusion from the fact that God cannot lie.

John Gill: [on sincere gospel invitations to all mankind from God] the Bible is hereby knocked down at once, and made to be the most delusive, and cheating book in the world; when the whole Bible is one standing offer of mercy to a guilty world. What! the whole Bible? the Bible maybe distinguished into these two parts, historical and doctrinal; the historical part of the Bible is surely no offer of mercy to a guilty world; the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the first verse of it, can hardly be thought to be so. The doctrinal part of it may be distinguished into law and gospel; the law, which is the killing letter, and the ministration of condemnation and death to a guilty world, can be no standing offer of mercy to it: if any part of the Bible is so, it must be the gospel; but the gospel is a declaration of salvation already wrought out by Christ, and not an offer of it on conditions to be performed by man. The ministers of the gospel are sent to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15.) that is, not to offer, but to preach Christ, and salvation by him; to publish peace, and pardon as things already obtained by him. The ministers are kerukav, criers or heralds; their business is khrussein, to proclaim aloud, to publish facts, to declare things that are done, and not to offer them to be done on conditions; as when a peace is concluded and finished, the herald’s business, and in which he is employed, is to proclaim the peace, and not to offer it; of this nature is the gospel, and the whole system of it; which preaches, not offers peace by Christ, who is Lord of all.

[on trusting Christ for your salvation being the duty of all mankind] Those who only save [hear] the outward ministry of the word, unattended with the special illuminations of the Spirit of God, are obliged to believe no further than that external revelation they enjoy, reaches; as that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, etc., not to believe these things is the sin of all that are under the gospel dispensation, as it was of the Jews; who though they saw his miracles, and heard its doctrines, yet, through the corruption and prejudices of their minds, did not believe [him] to be the Messiah, and therefore died in their sins; nor had they a just excuse, or sufficient plea, why they should not be punished or condemned, for their infidelity [and an] unbelief respecting the Messiah, even though: they could not come to him, or believe him to the saving of their souls, without the special grace of God; they were not condemned for the want of that they had not and which was not bestowed upon them; but for that which was really in them, the sin of unbelief; nor were they, nor are any, condemned for not believing that Christ died for them, but for the transgressions of the law of God, and the disbelief or contempt of his gospel. And as for those, who besides the external, have also an internal revelation of Christ, as they are called to the exercise of evangelical repentance, and to faith in Christ as their Savior and Redeemer, who loved them, and gave himself for them; they have that grace bestowed upon them, and that power put forth in them, which enables them to believe and repent.

No man will be lost or damned because he has not this faith; to say that God will damn any man because he has not this special faith in Christ, is to represent Him as the most cruel of all beings, as the Arminians say we make Him to be; to damn a man for that which is solely in His own power to give; for no man can believe in Christ with this sort of faith, unless it be given him of His Father; and which yet he determines not to give unto him, as unto all the non-elect; and which man never had in his power to have or exercise, no, not in the state of innocence. Can any man believe that God will ever damn a man on such an account as this? This is just such good sense as if it should be said, that a malefactor dies in Tyburn for want of receiving the king's pardon he did not think fit to give him; it is true, if the king had given him his pardon, and he had received it, it would have saved him from dying; but then it is not the want of the king's pardon, or of his receiving it, that is the cause of his condemnation and death, but the crimes he was charged with and convicted of in open court. So, if it please God to give men special faith in Christ, for the remission of their sins, they will certainly be saved; but then it is not the want of this faith in the blood of Christ, for the pardon of sins, that is the cause of any man's condemnation and death, but the transgressions of the Law of God, and the contempt of His Gospel they have been guilty of.

Duty-faith is a stranger to deep waters - a solemn letter from William Gadsby

You can read the original letter HERE. It begins on page 371.

"To the Committee of Conway Street Chapel. Dear Brethren and Fellow-travelers in the road really known and traveled by few, but heartily abhorred by hundreds of thousands,—I received yours, dated Dec. 28th, and read it with great pleasure, feeling thankful that the Lord had blessed the good word of his grace to your souls by the instrumentality of his various servants. I can truly say that I feel thankful to the great Head of the church that he has not left himself without witnesses in this dark day; for a dark day it is, both in things temporal and things spiritual. But the counsel of the Lord must stand, and he will do all his pleasure. But I can assure you I find it hard work to say, " The will of the Lord be done."

Jan 28, 2010

Duty Faith - Avoiding Extremes by George Wyard, Sen.

Below is a quote from a letter. You can read it HERE.

In the context of the quote he is referring to those who teach duty faith because the read a text without scriptural exposition and how this is one extreme error. The other is from some who would deny duty heaven-born faith and go further to deny duty natural-law faith on the basis of their own reasoning and logic rather than scriptural exposition. Both extremes are errors which came from men and not scriptural exposition of the word of God.

"...By the words " For such a course there does appear to be in the word both precept and precedency," I meant that, if we interpreted Scripture by the sound rather than by the sense of it, there are many passages which appear (but only appear) to support the doctrine known as " duty-faith."

With regard to the following clause, which reads thus, " For the other there is only inference and certain conclusions deducible from certain premises laid down after a logical form; by "the other" I intended the opposite course, that is, that extreme at which some have arrived in opposing Mr. Fuller's system. For while the advocates of one extreme would teach the unconverted that it is their duty to believe savingly in Jesus Christ, those who advocate the opposite assure the ungodly that it is not their duty to believe at all. Hence I intended to say that, while the advocates of " duty-faith" had the appearance of scriptural authority, those who insist upon the other extreme have not an example in Scripture for their guidance, the only possible support for their statements being inferential.

In my own ministry, while seeking to avoid both extremes, I have taught that saving faith is the gift of God, arising from vital union to Christ under the new covenant; for the exercise of which those who are not interested in that covenant are not responsible ; their responsibility being identical with that of Adam their only federal head, and being bounded by that law under which they are created. Hence I have endeavoured to show that their obligation under the Gospel dispensation is such only as arises from the law of nature under which they stand, that law requiring them to hear the Gospel when opportunity is afforded, to believe its statements, and to obey its moral precepts."

-George Wyard, Sen.

Human Merit in the Duty Faith Tribes from "The Earthen Vessel"

Human Merit in the Duty Faith Tribes

The quote below is from an article in "The earthen vessel and Christian record & review, Volumes 15-21". It can be viewed Here. [Note: the article begins on pg. 26]

' It was the same love that spread the feast, That sweetly forced us in.'

Light thrown upon the four Gospels [duty faith book] by William Odling

Light thrown upon the four Gospels, being a treatise on the indispensability of the distinction to be made betwixed natural faith and repentance, as a duty according to Law: and Spiritual Faith and Repentance as a Sovereign Gift; or New Covenant Blessings According to the Gospel. by William Odling

Download PDF HERE (image version)
or you can read the book online in the same format HERE

Below is a small portion from the book from the introduction.

1. Must it not appear to every mind that is not deeply tainted with infidelity, deism or atheism, that God is a God of truth ? Deut. xxxii. 4. And that nothing contrary to truth can proceed from him; nor can the Spirit of God teach anything but that which is consistent with truth. Should it be asked, What is truth ? the reply is, " Thy (God's) word is truth." John xvii. 17. And " he that speaketh truth showeth forth righteousness; but a false witness deceit." Prov. xii. 17. " I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee." 3 John iii.

Jan 23, 2010

Adoption as an Eternal and Immanent Act of God by John Gill

Adoption as an Eternal and Immanent Act of God
by John Gill

From A Body of Doctrinal Divinity
Book II, Chapter V, section I.

Justification as an Eternal and Immanent Act of God by John Gill

Justification as an Eternal and Immanent Act of God

by John Gill

From A Body
of Doctrinal Divinity
Book II, Chapter V, section II.
Justification is an act of God's grace, flowing from his sovereign good will and pleasure; the elect of God are said to be "justified by his grace"; and as if that expression was not strong enough to set forth the freeness of it, the word "freely" is added elsewhere; "Being justified freely by his grace", #Tit 3:7 Ro 3:24. Justification is by many divines distinguished into active and passive. Active justification is the act of God; it is God that justifies. Passive justification is the act of God, terminating on the conscience of a believer, commonly called a transient act, passing upon an external object. It is not of this I shall now treat, but of the former; which is an act internal and eternal, taken up in the divine mind from eternity, and is an immanent, abiding one in it; it is, as Dr. Ames {4} expresses it, "a sentence conceived in the divine mind, by the decree of justifying." 

Romans 7:25 by Gilbert Beebe

Romans 7:25
by Gilbert Beebe

“So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” – Rom. vii. 25.

If Paul had in him these two opposite principles, and both so identified with his person that with the one he himself served the law of God, and with the other at the same time he himself served the law of sin, was he like all other christians in these respects? Have all christians in them a mind with which they themselves serve the law of God, or can any man be a christian who has nut such a mind? And have all christians, like Paul, a principle or law in their members which is at war with this law of sin? Or is the flesh of some christians so purified by regeneration that they are unlike Paul, and have no wicked propensities in their flesh whereby they serve the law of sin?


by Gilbert Beebe

From Signs of the Times -February 15, 1869.

There is, and long has been, much controversy between legalists and the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, not only as to what the gospel is, but also in regard to whom it is or should be addressed. If all the parties engaged in the controversy could understand the scriptural signification of the word, those who are now zealously contending for a universal application of it to all mankind indiscriminately, would desire rather to restrict than to extend its application, as they have ever exerted themselves to suppress its publication. What they call gospel differs very widely from what Christ and the holy apostles proclaimed in the primitive days of the gospel church. Our Redeemer encountered the same class of zealous fanatics, who compassed sea and land to disseminate their false gospel, but a perversion of the gospel of Christ; and exposing and denouncing their hypocrisy charged them with teaching for doctrines, the commandments of men. The voluntary religious institutions originated and enjoined by men without any divine authority from God are now very widely taught and greedily received by graceless men, and such teaching is by them dignified with the name of gospel. Their preachers may entertain conflicting opinions in regard to what is contained in the Scriptures, for the doctrine of the Bible and the laws and institutions of Christ are regarded by them as minor points, while opposite sects can freely unite in opposing the doctrine of Christ, and in the propagation of any or all of the inventions of men. They can and do, with much seeming cordiality, take each other by the hand, and with wonderful reciprocity compliment each other as “truly evangelical,” while in truth there are but two points in which they are really agreed among themselves; the one is that salvation is attainable by works, and the other is in denouncing the Old Primitive order of Baptists. As to precisely what works will secure salvation, and by what mode of warfare they should fight the Old Baptists, they may differ widely without interruption of fellowship. What they call gospel may be obtained in any quantity from the schools of men, in which every man is engaged in teaching his brother and neighbor, saying, “Know the Lord.” From Infant and Sabbath Schools, and Bible Classes, as well as from Theological Seminaries; from books and tracts, and various other sources, they can procure all of that kind of delusion which they call gospel in indefinite quantities. We would by no means misrepresent them; but we have failed to understand their language, if what they call gospel is not with them an article of commerce. Do they not propose to send it to the heathen; to Burma, Hindostan, and to all the distant islands where they can find a profitable market? They gravely tell us, in a business way, what amount of capital must be invested, what number of men and amount of money, how many ships and seamen must be employed, and how long it will take to supply the world.

What of their falsely called gospel they retain for home consumption, if we may judge from ruling prices, ought to be superior to what they ship to foreign markets, as those who retail it from their pulpits at home frequently amass large sums by this traffic.

To make their false gospel salable, they must, of course, adapt it to the taste of all. Those who have no ears to hear what the Spirit saith to the churches, have no difficulty in hearing the doctrines of men; hence there is a great cry about preaching to sinners. Their doctrine is precisely what unconverted sinners can feast upon; for instead of being told that they are condemned already and the wrath of God abideth on them, they are told that they are probationers, free agents, and have ability to move by their prayers the power that moves the world. Instead of being told that “No man can come to the Father but by Christ,” and that “No man can come to Christ except the Father draw him,” they are told that they can do a great deal for the Lord. And this is profanely called preaching the gospel to sinners. While with an air of affected superiority, they charge the Old order of Baptists, that we do not preach the gospel to sinners, while they themselves do not preach a word of gospel to saints or sinners. It is not gospel to utter falsehood in the name of the Lord; there is no gospel in telling men what they can and must do, or be damned. To call on dead sinners to repent and believe the gospel implies ability in them to do so, whereas the gospel proclaims that Christ is exalted to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel and the forgiveness of sins. It is as exclusively the work of our exalted Savior to give repentance as it is to forgive sins, and the dead sinner can no more do the one than the other. True repentance which is unto life and needeth not to be repented of, must proceed from life. If the repentance be spiritual it proceeds from a spiritual source, and must be preceded by the quickening Spirit of God. The sorrow of the world worketh death; but godly sorrow worketh repentance unto life; and to be godly, in distinction from the sorrow of the world, it must come from God, it must be given by the exalted Prince and Savior. Faith is also the gift of God, Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of it, if it be genuine; for it is not the faith of the creature, but it is the faith of the Son of God, and without it no man can please God. Paul says, It is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. To preach the opposite to what the inspired Scriptures teach, is not preaching the gospel to saints, nor to sinners.

But we propose to show how the Scriptures define the word gospel. Compare Isaiah 61:1, with Luke 4:18, and you will see that what is by the prophet called good tidings, is by our Lord rendered gospel, and to prevent any caviling, the good tidings in the prophecy, and the gospel in its fulfillment, are defined to mean, good tidings to the meek - “to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all that mourn. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Observe who these meek, poor, broken-hearted, prisoners are, and what gospel is preached to them. The Spirit of the Lord God qualifies those on whom it is poured, to follow the blessed Savior in preaching good tidings, or gospel, to the meek; not to the proud, haughty, and self-righteous. It proclaims liberty, not to free agents who were never in bondage, who have all the religion they live for, and could have as much more if they pleased to work for it. The poor broken hearted, helpless prisoner hails with joy the tidings that proclaims his release from prison. But how could the same tidings be joyful, or gospel, to those who are not poor, nor captive, nor broken hearted, nor meek? When Jesus said to the poor dying thief, “This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise,” we cannot doubt it was good tidings to him. But would the same words, if spoken to his murderers who were reviling him, been appreciated as gospel tidings? The gospel is discriminating; it finds out the “humbled sinner in whose breast a thousand thoughts revolve.” You who complain of the Old Baptists, that we do not preach the gospel to sinners, would you have us, if we meet a band of robbers, pirates or murderers, say to them, in gospel terms, “Fear not, little flock; it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom?” Or to a company of Atheists, “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Jesus?” If this is not what they mean by preaching the gospel to sinners, how far short of this do they come, when they address the most blessed and sacred assurances which Christ gave to the meek, the poor in spirit, the pure in heart, the peace makers, and the persecuted saints, to unconverted sinners, as an inducement to them to “get religion,” saying to them, Seek, and ye shall find; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you; Ask, and it shall be given to you? Not one of these gracious promises were ever addressed by our Lord or any minister of his to any but to quickened subjects of his saving grace. Instead then of preaching the gospel to saints or sinners, they pervert the gospel, in attempting to give the children’s bread unto dogs, in direct defiance of the special command of Jesus Christ, who positively forbid that that which is holy should be given to the dogs. By their artful misapplication of the Scriptures, they are charged by an apostle with “turning the truth of God into a lie,” by making the Scriptures seem to say what they do not say; and so by handling the word of God deceitfully, they not only lead the blind into the ditch, but frequently perplex and worry many of the unsuspecting honest hearted enquirers after truth. We have at this moment a case before us that is in point. An esteemed and dear friend who has long been held in captivity among the New School Baptists, has recently withdrawn from their communion, writes us that there is still one point of difference in which she cannot yet feel satisfied that the Old order of Baptists are right, and that is the point which we are now discussing; namely, that our pastors confine their addresses to the churches, or in other words, do not preach the gospel to sinners, and she refers us to the parable of the king’s son as favoring her position, or as being in the way of her accepting the views supposed to be held by us.

Without digression from the theme of this article, we will examine the objection to what is supposed to be our views, and the bearing of the parable upon the subject.

First, we will correct a misapprehension of the position and practice of the ministers of our order. While we believe and preach the gospel, as Christ and his apostles did, wherever a door is open for that purpose, openly addressing our preaching to every one within the sound of our voice, the gospel which we preach discriminates between the living and the dead. It is a savor of life unto life, to those who are quickened by the Holy Ghost, and a savor of death unto death, to them that perish. It is “to the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” And if our preaching is not a savor of death unto death to the ungodly, and a stumbling block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Greeks, and if it be not a savor of life to the quickened, and if it be not to them that are called, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God, then it is not apostolic preaching. Who ever knew an Old School Baptist to refuse to preach the gospel to any but saints? We cannot search the hearts or try the reins of those to whom we preach; but the word which we preach makes the discrimination; for it is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do, (Heb. 4:12,13). The gospel which we preach is good tidings to the meek; but if any part of our audience are not meek, it is not gospel, or good tidings to them. All who have an ear to hear, are more than welcome to hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. But if any have not hearing ears, the preachers cannot supply them; for the hearing ear and understanding heart are of the Lord. The Son of God alone has power to cause the dead to hear his voice and live; for the words which he speaks to them, they are spirit, and they are life. Therefore his sheep hear his voice, and he knows them, and they follow him; for he gives to them eternal life, and they shall never perish. He, and he alone has power over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him. All this the Old Baptists preach to every creature. But we do not give the children’s bread to any but the children, nor do we give what belongs to the dogs to the children.

But let us examine the parable of the marriage of the king’s son, (Matt. 22:1-14). Unto whom, and for what purpose was it spoken by our Lord, and why spoken in parable? The context will show that it was addressed to the Jews, including the Pharisees, who were so much enraged on hearing it, that they went and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk, (see v. 15). As whatsoever God speaks is certain to secure the object for which it is spoken, (Isa. 55:11). What was accomplished by this parable shows conclusively for what purpose it was spoken. And the reason why he spake to all but his saints in parables, is given in his own words to his disciples, in Luke 8:10. “And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?” Alluding to the parable of a sower, “And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God; but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.” We must reject Christ’s own explanation of his reason for using parables, or admit that this parable was spoken expressly to discriminate between his disciples to whom was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, and all others from whom that gift was withheld, and by the inscrutable purpose of God all but the disciples, in seeing should not see, and hearing should not understand. Instead of his parables being used to elucidate, illustrate, and make the mysteries of the kingdom of God clear and plain to the understanding of the ungodly, they were designed to make them the more obscure, that they might be a stumbling block to the Jews, and folly to the Greeks. “Therefore Jesus rejoiced in spirit, when he said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight.” Perhaps our esteemed friend will perceive that neither this nor any other parable, correctly understood, will sustain the position taken, that the address of the ministers of Christ should be indiscriminate. The same gospel preaching which elucidates the mysteries to the saints on whom the heavenly gift is bestowed, involves them in parabolic obscurity to all but such. Still the question may return, What does the parable mean? We have already shown that it was intended like all the parables to baffle the wisdom of the Scribes, Pharisees and work mongers of that and of all subsequent ages, and bring down their lofty imagination, humble the pride of man, and cause that none should glory, only in the Lord. It was nevertheless full of wholesome instruction to those to whom it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom. The kingdom of God, which in this parable or similitude is compared to a king who made a marriage for his son, embraces Christ and his people in both the legal and then prospective dispensations. The marriage of the king’s son represents the public espousal, and marriage of Christ and his bride, the church, which was then about to be consummated, according to prophecy. The oxen and fatlings, representing all the sacrifices under the law, had been killed, and the Bridegroom had come to redeem his bride from under the law, that she might be identified with him in his resurrection from the dead. The marriage festivities, or feast, was now about to be spread, in the opening of the gospel dispensation. The Jews, as a nation or people, had been notified and bidden to the marriage by the prophets, and they had professed to be anxiously awaiting the coming of the Bridegroom and announcement of the feast. “The law and the prophets were until John.” John the Baptist had announced the advent of Christ as the Bridegroom, saying, “He that hath the bride, is the Bridegroom; but the friend of the Bridegroom rejoiceth because of the Bridegroom’s voice: thus my joy is fulfilled.” John’s mission was to make ready a people prepared of the Lord. Seventy servants had been sent to announce to the commonwealth of Israel that the feast was prepared; but they were not ready to leave Judaism, nor had they any disposition to embrace Christianity. These servants had been forbidden to go with this proclamation to any but those Jews which had been bidden by the prophets. “Go ye not in the way of the Gentiles,” nor into any city, even of the Samaritans were they not to enter, but to go exclusively to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. “But they made light of it.” He came to his own, and his own received him not. He grew up among them as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form, nor comeliness; and when they saw him there was no beauty or attraction for them to desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not, (Isa. 53:1-3). Again other servants, the apostles, were sent out, with the same charge to go only to the Jews which were bidden; but they made no serious matter of it; and they slew the servants. This was literally true of the disciples and apostles which were sent with this message to the Jews; they not only rejected their message, but put the messengers to death. All this preceded the wrath which was brought upon the Jewish nation, when nationally they were destroyed, and Jerusalem and other cities were terribly destroyed.

Then said the king to his servants, or ministers: The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden, the carnal Israelites, were not worthy. The law could make nothing perfect. Their legal self-righteousness was but filthy rags, and would not answer for a wedding garment. They with all their filthy rags, or legal works, were now utterly rejected, and the decree of the king is published, that none of them which were bidden, or to whom the prophets had been sent, should taste of the supper, the gospel feast. And now the servants are sent forth to the Gentiles, who had not been bidden to the feast as were the Jews. Comparing the version of Luke 16 of this same parable with that of Matthew, we perceive that when those who were whole had declined the feast, the servants were instructed to gather from the streets and lanes of Jerusalem, or Israel, the poor, the maimed, the halt and the blind; quite a different description of guests; yet the very description to whom the gospel is good tidings; and of this description there were gathered by the apostles from the secluded lanes and streets of Israel all the original constituent members of the gospel organization. And the apostles reported to their Lord, saying, “It is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.” Poor, helpless, halt and blind sinners who felt their poverty, and had no works or merits of their own to plead, were gathered to the gospel feast; but those of that character called from the Jews did not exhaust the provisions of grace, and the gospel proclamation is by divine command extended to the high-way and hedges of the Gentile world. “Go ye,” the ministers of the everlasting gospel, who had received a “Go ye” from their King, “and as many as ye shall find bid to the marriage.” Certainly not as many of the self-righteous work-mongers, but as many as they should find of the character already gathered into the marriage, of the poor, lame, broken hearted, helpless and guilt-stricken; bid them welcome, in the name of the King to the marriage. But none others should partake of the feast, as we see how he fared who came in not having on the wedding garment. The broad phylacteries of self-righteous Pharisees would not do; the guest must be clothed with garments of salvation, as sinners saved by grace alone, and covered with the robe of Christ’s own righteousness, that is the wedding dress; and a profession of religion without it will avail nothing. All who come in without God’s grace will be thrust out without his favor.

Again, permit us to ask, What is there in this parable that can be justly construed to favor an indiscriminate address of the gospel ministry to all mankind?

The work of the gospel ministry is very clearly and fully stated in the words of our risen Savior to the apostles immediately before he ascended to heaven. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” This is a most vitally important introduction to their commission. If there are any sinners who have power to resist his will, or to secure their own salvation, or to prevent their own salvation, then all power in earth is not in him. If ministers have power to save souls, to quicken dead sinners, or to prevent their quickening and salvation, then there is power besides what is vested in him. Or if Theological Schools have power to prepare men for the gospel ministry, or Mission Boards have power to commission men to preach, then that power is not exclusively found in him. The fact is not only in itself important, but it is also important that all who are called by him to the work should know it; for it is upon this very therefore that they are commanded to go. Go ye therefore, or from this consideration. It does not allow the alternative, to them to tarry at home, and send somebody else. “Go ye therefore.” And what? “Teach all nations.” He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, having all power in both worlds, has a right to send them over every state, territory, and division of the universe; and no king, potentate or ruler of the earth has any legitimate right to forbid, or throw impediments in their way. All nations. The command of Christ is no longer restricted to the Jews; now the middle wall of partition is taken down, and the messengers of Christ are commanded to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. For God has a people in every tribe and nation, and his gospel shall search and find them out, and call them out; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. That is as was understood and practiced by the apostles, baptizing all who gladly receive the word, and who believe with all their heart on the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus by baptism adding them manifestively to the apostles, and to the apostolic church. “Teaching them.” They need instruction, and Christ has by his supreme authority authorized this manner of instruction, by and through the diversified gifts which he has received for and given to them. But what are they to teach them? Not the arts and sciences of this world; for in the knowledge of them the ministers of Christ are generally quite limited themselves. But the orders of the King are very plain and definite. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” No new lessons that Jesus has not commanded the apostles. No progression beyond the commands of Christ. Nothing that he has commanded may be omitted. Nothing that he has not commanded may be added. If any man shall add to the words of the book of this prophecy, or instruction, God shall add to him the plagues written in this book; and if any man shall take from the words of his instructions, he shall be expelled from the church of God, the communion of the saints, and from the privileges of the Holy City, New Jerusalem. But, “Blessed and happy are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs.”

We have been the more particular in showing what the gospel is, by whom, and to whom Christ has commanded it be preached, that not only our friend, but all who read may see that very much of what passes currently for gospel at our day, is but the teaching for doctrines the commandments and institutions of men, instead of the all things whatsoever Christ commanded his apostles to teach. In conclusion of this extended article we wish to add a few words in regard to the object and utility of the gospel ministry. The apostle, who is commanded to teach us, defines it thus: “Feed the flock of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.” Jesus commanded Peter, saying, Feed my sheep, and feed my lambs. None but the flock of God can feed upon the gospel; none but they can live on every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The beloved disciple and inspired apostle John says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world; therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God; he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error,” (1 John 4:4-6). Finally, as the sun in the heavens can only be seen in its own light, so the light and glory of the everlasting gospel can only be discerned in its own divine radiance. Until God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shines in our hearts, we cannot comprehend the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shining in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.


by Gilbert Beebe

The Preceding writings are from the March 1, 1863 edition of the publication “Signs of the Times” founded and published for over 45 years by Elder Gilbert Beebe.

We have received a communication from the north, over the signature, “A Friend of Truth,” desiring our views in regard to what are called the invitations of the gospel; whether they are addressed indiscriminately to sinners or exclusively to the quickened children of God. We learn from the letter that some of our esteemed brethren are differing seriously on the subject. Such passages as Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” etc. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” The marriage of the king’s son: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Also the first and eighth of Proverbs. Some brethren take the position that these are invitations to sinners indiscriminately, and others contend that these are invitations addressed only to the children of God.

In giving our views we beg leave to differ, very respectfully, however, from both parties. We deny that there are any invitations, either in the law or gospel, to saints or sinners. We think that a little reflection on the subject will satisfy all honest inquirers after truth that it would be altogether incompatible with the eternal perfections of Jehovah to issue invitations to any of His creatures.

First: We will remark that none of the communications from God to men are anywhere in the Bible called invitations, and it is therefore speculative and idle to argue theologically a position or question which has no scriptural foundation, and therefore, like the endless genealogies and questions about the law, which the apostle warns us against, is only calculated to gender strife, but cannot edify or comfort the family of God.

Second: An invitation is a complimentary request or message from a party having, and claiming to have, no authority to enforce the request, or message, which concedes to the party invited the undisputed right to respectfully decline the invitation, leaving it entirely optional with the party invited to accept or decline without transcending his right.

Third: All those who have been brought to a saving knowledge of God will admit that He speaks the word, and it stands fast; He commands and it is done. “Where the word of a king is, there is power,” and God is the King eternal, and the word that proceeds from Him shall not return unto Him void of the work whereunto He hath sent it. Even the carnal Jews perceived that our Redeemer spake as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Should the writer of these remarks receive a card of invitation from the President of these States, or from the Governor of New York, the fact of its being an invitation guarantees the right to accept or decline without involving a wrong or a crime in doing either. But should either the President or Governor, as chief magistrate of the nation or the State, send an authoritative message to any citizen, summoning him to be or appear at any place, that message would be clothed with all the authority and power of the magistrate from whom it issues; but it could not be regarded as an invitation, because it does not concede to the party to whom it is addressed any right to decline or disobey its authority.

Will any of our brethren contend that when the God of heaven peremptorily says to the seed of Israel, “seek ye my face,” that they have a right to disobey or regard it only as a mere invitation? If He says to them, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else,” does this imply that the people thus addressed have the same right to decline it as an invitation to obey it as a sovereign mandate from the throne of God? Since God has commanded men to look to him for salvation, have they a right to look anywhere else for that salvation? If there be any authority implied in the address it destroys the nature of the invitation. Indeed, we cannot, without detraction from a proper sense of the eternal power and majesty of Jehovah, entertain the preposterous idea that He deals in invitations to any of His creatures in heaven, earth or hell. All His words are big with power and high in authority; He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will, and submits nothing to the volition of any of His creature’s wills. But in regards to the passages referred to, they bear the impress of His divine authority; they can none of them be disregarded or disobeyed. The passage referred to, Isaiah 45:22 is a sovereign command to the seed of Jacob scattered to the ends of the earth, to look to Him for salvation, because He is God, and beside Him there is no Savior. All who looked anywhere else, or to any other being, or to themselves, for salvation, were not only guilty of disobedience, but also of idolatry.

The passage, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,” etc. is sufficiently clear and explicit. It is addressed to all who labor and are heavy laden, and to no others; and whenever and wherever these words are applied by the Holy Spirit to any poor, laboring, heavy laden sinner, that sinner will as surely come to Jesus as it is sure that the dead will rise when the voice of God calls them forth. The dead neither labor nor are they heavy laden, they slumber unconsciously in their graves; and all men are dead in sin, and as destitute of spiritual vitality until they are quickened by the Spirit, as the body of Lazarus was of natural life before Jesus raised him from the grave. But as soon as a sinner is quickened by the Holy Ghost he becomes a laborer, and is burdened with a heavy weight of guilt, and such are called to Jesus and find rest to their souls in bearing His yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light. To take the yoke of Jesus is to come under His law, to be baptized in His name and be yoked together in communion and fellowship with His disciples in all the privileges of the church of God. But are the unregenerated called to be baptized and identify themselves with the church of God? Philip did not so understand it when he said to the Eunuch, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest,” (Acts 8:37). None but believers are called or commanded to be baptized and come under the yoke of Jesus, for they must first be delivered from the yoke of Moses, the yoke of bondage.

In Matthew 20:16, in the conclusion of the parable of the householder and his hired laborers for his vineyard, Jesus used these words, “so the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” There was murmuring among some of the disciples; the sons of Zebedee desired distinguished places in the kingdom and some said, “We have forsaken all,” etc. “What shall we receive?” The parable was to rebuke this selfish principle, and to show not only the right of our Lord to choose from the whole company of His called children whom He pleased, to labor in His vineyard, but also to reward them equally. Those who had labored the most or the longest were amply rewarded, but Jesus chose to make those who had labored least, equal with those who had borne the heat and toil of the day.

Again in Matthew 22:14, the same words are used at the end of the parable of the marriage of the king” son. The application was made to the Jewish nation, which had been called as the carnal or fleshly descendants of Abraham, and under the covenant of works. God, by the prophets, had informed them of the approaching marriage. In the type they were bidden to the marriage, but in the election of grace they were not the chosen people of God. As the apostle Paul explains, “For they are not all Israel. which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Rom. 9:6-8) Although the whole nation of Israel was called in the type, or shadow of good things which were to come, how very few of them were found to be included in the covenant of grace. Esias, also cried concerning Israel, “Though the number of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved,” (Rom. 9:27). “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election [or the few chosen] hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded,” (Rom. 11:7).

We have not time nor space to enlarge on these parables, but it is sufficient for us to demonstrate that there are none called by grace but the chosen people of God, whose salvation is fully secured in our Lord Jesus Christ. “For whom He [God] did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified, and whom He justified, them He also glorified,” (Rom. 8:29,30). In this calling none but the predestinated are called, and all who are called are justified and ultimately glorified. They are saved and called with a holy calling, not according to their works, but according to His own [God’s own] purpose and grace which was given them in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Tim. 1:9). To prove, therefore, that they are the called according to God’s purpose, is to prove that they love God; that all things work together for their own good; that they are predestinated to bear the image of the Son of God; that they are justified and glorified in Christ. The passages, therefore, which speak of many being called, do not, nay, they cannot possibly relate to this holy calling in which Christ, the good shepherd, calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. For in this calling, the dead shall hear His voice, and they that hear shall live. (John 5:25) The promise of God is unto “all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” (Acts 2:39).

The declaration of Christ to the self-righteous Jews that He had not come to call or save righteous people, but to call sinners to repentance, does not admit of the construction that He had come to call all the sinners of Adam’s race to repentance, for millions of them had already left these mortal shores. The Pharisees upbraided him for associating with publicans and sinners, and He told them that this was His business in the world, to save sinners. The whole did not need a physician, nor did the righteous need one to save and purge them from sin.

The first chapter of Proverbs is also referred to as favoring the doctrine of invitations, etc. But an examination of the Proverbs of Solomon will show that Solomon personifies Wisdom; and Wisdom, we are told, is justified of her children. In a spiritual sense, Christ is the Wisdom of God to His children. He is of God made unto them wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption. But wisdom, abstractly considered, is the opposite of folly and madness. As rational beings, we disobey the maxims or proverbs of wisdom when we transgress her dictates; and wisdom will laugh at us in our calamities, into which we foolishly plunge ourselves, and mock us when our fear cometh. The voice of wisdom is loud in her reproofs when we rush heedlessly into trouble. But the wisdom of God is only known to those who are made wise unto salvation, through faith, which is in Christ Jesus.

Brethren should be careful to avoid any interpretation of the Scriptures which will clash with other plain declarations of the inspired word. We may fail to comprehend or understand some portions of the divine testimony, but our ignorance will not justify us in forcing interpretations which must necessarily conflict with the teachings of the word and the Spirit of the Lord. If our views are right, both the word and the Spirit will harmonize with our views, but if we entertain opinions or views which the Scriptures do not so justify, they must be discarded as wrong and pernicious. Now, in conclusion, we will reiterate to our legally inclined brethren of the north the appeal which the great apostle to the Gentiles made to the bewitched Galatians: “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:2,3). Review your own experiences, see if in your own salvation you only accepted an invitation and availed yourself of it to secure your acceptance with God, or were you awakened to a sensibility of your guilt, lost and helpless condition by the irresistible and almighty power of God? Was it left optional with you to decide whether you would live or die, when the arrows of the Almighty you were arrested and arraigned before the bar of eternal justice? Why did you there cry, “Lord, save, I perish?” Why did you not say, “Lord, I will accept thy invitation.”


by Gilbert Beebe

The Preceding Classic is from the November 1, 1862 edition of the publication “Signs of the Times” founded and published for over 45 years by Elder Gilbert Beebe.

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6

This text is found in the closing part of what is familiarly termed, “Christ’s Sermon on the Mount,” in which he taught them privately, and gave them lessons of instruction, which are the greatest importance to the saints in all subsequent ages. These instructions should often be examined and re-examined by the children of God, as they are given for their special benefit, and contain admonitions and precepts of the most vital importance. From the rich cluster of golden maxims and rules laid down for the observance of the disciples of the Redeemer in this sermon, we are requested to give our views on the text written at the head of this article, to which we will call the especial attention of the readers.

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs.” The things which were holy under the ceremonial law were the things which were especially consecrated, or sanctified (set apart) for holy purposes, as were the tabernacle, the ark, the altar and the consecrated things of the inner temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, The tribes themselves, being solemnly set apart from all the families of mankind, were ceremonially holy, and forbidden to intermingle with the other nations of the earth, and as a consecrated and holy people they were to live on consecrated and holy food; they were forbidden to eat that which was common or unclean. Of all the beasts of the field, none but those which divided the hoof and chewed the cud were set apart by the special enactment of the Lord as the consecrated or holy sustenance of the consecrated tribes of the Lord, and these consecrated things must not be polluted by contact with other things which were not set apart; no mixture with anything else was allowed. All this was undoubtedly to signify to us that God’s chosen and redeemed people, who are born of God, receive from him spiritual and immortal life, which must be fed and sustained on spiritual and immortal food. This lesson is taught us in all the types and shadows going before. For instance, when God had created man out of the dust of the ground, He provided that the food necessary for man’s subsistence should grow out of the same dust of the ground. His nature and composition being of the earth, earthy, his subsistence must, to be adapted to the support of his earthly nature, be also earthy; and when man had transgressed the law of God and fallen under the curse, the earth out of which he was to subsist was also cursed for his sake, that it might be still adapted to his nature as a fallen, sinful earthy man. So in the figure, we are taught that in the spiritual creation in Christ Jesus, they who are born of the Spirit of God must be sustained on spiritual things-, as their spiritual life is in God, so is all their spiritual food and sustenance. The productions of the earth cannot feed and sustain the inward man, nor can all the joys of the Spirit, which do feed and sustain the new man, prevent the old man, the earthy nature, from requiring its earthly nourishment. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that flesh is of the earth, earthy, and cannot be sustained without that food which is produced from the earth, and he that is born of God, although he might possess all the produce of the earth, would starve if he were not fed on that bread which cometh down from heaven. Except we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus, we have no spiritual life in us, for spiritual life can live on nothing else. Those who are thus born of God are a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people,” etc., chosen, consecrated and set apart, “sanctified by God the Father,” “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit,” etc., cleansed and washed, purged and justified, they shall be called the holy people, and as a holy, consecrated people, they are made partakers of the divine nature, and qualified to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, who is the true bread which came down from heaven.

Then the things which are holy are appropriated exclusively to a holy people, a people whom God has cleansed, and which, we are forbidden, to call common. This sanctified people are called sheep, lambs and doves, and by many other figurative names, but they are never called dogs or swine. A dog is a very different kind of animal from a sheep or lamb; he neither divides the hoof, nor does he chew the cud, he is therefore unclean. His disposition is also very unlike that of the sheep or lamb; he is ferocious, quarrelsome, vicious, and, like the wolf, it is his nature to worry, scatter and kill the sheep. His food, or that on which the dog subsists, is not that which would feed the sheep and lambs, nor can the sheep and lambs subsist on what the dog can feed upon. The dog would starve in the richest pasture field, where the sheep would fatten, and the sheep starve if fed only on what dogs delight to feed upon. Dogs are dangerous animals, and we are admonished to beware of them. Some of them are said to be dumb dogs that cannot bark; sleepy dogs, lying down, loving slumber, and greedy dogs that can never have enough. In Revelation 22:15, they are classified with sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

The admonition of the Lord in our text then clearly means that his disciples shall not give, nor minister the gospel, or its provisions, its promises, its comforts, its ordinances, or any of its commands, to any who are thus designated dogs, or who are in nature, disposition, practice or appetite as unlike the regenerated and spiritual people of God as dogs are unlike and inimical to the sheep and lambs. The gospel is food to the saints, because it is Christ; the preaching of the gospel is preaching Christ, and it is food to the spiritual, and hence the ministers of the gospel are commissioned to feed the sheep and feed the lambs; to feed the flock of God which he hath purchased with his own blood, but charged to give not that which is holy (and the gospel and all its ordinances are holy) to dogs. Dogs have no use for holy things, they can do them no good, for they are not adapted to their nature or suited to their appetites; besides, it is a desecration of holy things to give them to dogs or to swine. It is true, that the Gospel is to be preached to every creature, to all nations, and in all the world, for a witness to all nations, but only those who have ears to hear can hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. The ministers of Christ have nothing but the Gospel to preach, and that they must preach wherever God is pleased to open a door for them to preach, and its effect will be to discriminate between the living and the dead. All who have been pricked in the heart by the life-giving power of the Spirit will gladly receive the Word, as did the quickened on the day of Pentecost, while all others will mock and reject the testimony. But what we understand as being intended by this admonition, is that we are forbidden to attempt to Christianize unregenerated men, by teaching them the letter of the Word, and applying to them the ordinances of the Gospel as a means of salvation, by Catechisms, Bible classes, Sunday Schools, though we could so improve their carnal minds as to make them acceptable to God, without being born of the Spirit.

According to our understanding of the subject, every effort to apply the things of the Spirit of God to unregenerated men, is to give that which is holy to dogs. Theological institutions for giving ministerial qualifications to graceless youths for preaching, and to unrenewed children and adults for church membership, and for evangelizing the world by humanly devised plans and schemes, is an attempt to give that which is holy to the dogs, and is clearly a transgression of the authority of our Lord, and an open violation of the words of our text: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine.” It is not in the nature of swine to appreciate the value or beauty of pearls any more than it is the nature of dogs to relish the rich pasture on which the sheep feed. The children of God are in possession of jewels of inestimable value, which none but the children of God can appreciate or enjoy. Their spiritual privileges, their Christian love and fellowship, their gifts and graces, their experimental joys and peculiar exercises, their knowledge of divine things, are all pearls of great value to them, but their excellency cannot be known or appreciated by those who know not God. There is a fitness and utility in exhibiting these pearls among those of like precious faith, but those who have never possessed them would rudely trample on them if cast before them, as swine would trample upon the most costly and precious jewels.

Christians are greatly edified and comforted by speaking often to each other of all the way in which the Lord has led them; they can talk freely one to another of their joys and sorrows their conflicts and victories, but should they make these things the theme of their conversation in the streets and market places, or in the synagogues of Satan, they would be treated roughly; infidels, Arminians, will-worshipers, like swine, would trample them under their feet, and turn and rend the child of grace. The psalmist said, “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.” They who fear the Lord can understand the language, they know too well the value of such precious pearls to despise or trample on them. But those who have only religion of the world neither divide the hoof nor chew the cud and like swine , serve only their swinish appetites, their god is their belly and their glory is their shame. The swine seem to have but one desire, and that is the gratification of their ravenous appetite-, cast before them the most costly and splendid gems, or pearls, and as they cannot eat them, they have no other use for them, and they would as soon trample on them as on the most common earth, and they will turn again and rend you, determined to obtain something that they can eat; so when the Christian attempts to display the glorious things of the kingdom of Christ to unbelievers, they will sometimes be surprised to find that those with whom they labor cannot appreciate those experimental things of which they speak. Expostulate with them, and demonstrate what you say by the most clear and positive Scripture authority, and they will disregard your testimony and your Scripture, and trample both under their feet, and then assail you again with as much vigor and determined violence as though you had not exhibited to them your pearls.

Sheep, swine and dogs are not suitable companions for each other, they cannot live in good communion together, nor should unnatural amalgamation be attempted, but let the sheep be associated with sheep, and let them “beware of dogs,” and avoid the society of swine, and they will be more pleasantly and comfortably situated. The great and good Shepherd has told his flock, Ye “are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” He has chosen them out of the world, and called them to be a separate people. Let us then heed the admonition of our Lord, and give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast our pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend us.

Dr. Gill And Mr. Brine Vindicated From The Charge Of Error And Mistake With Respect To Faith In Christ

Dr. Gill And Mr. Brine Vindicated
From The Charge Of Error And Mistake
With Respect To Faith In Christ

Below is a small portion of the sermon.

[Again in] Gill’s Sermon on 2 Chronicles 20 [he said:] “As is the revelation which is made to men, such is the faith which is required of them. If there is no revelation made unto them, no faith is required of them; and unbelief, or want of faith in Christ, will not be their damning sin, as is the case of the heathens; ‘for how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?’ No; they will be condemned not for their want of faith in Christ, or His Gospel, which they never heard of, but for their sins committed against the law and light of nature, ‘As many as have sinned without Law shall perish without Law’: if a revelation is made, this is either external or internal; if only an external revelation is made, the faith required is an assent unto it, and a reception of it; and such who do not attend to the evidence it brings with it, or reject and despise it, shall be damned: but if besides the external revelation, an internal revelation is made by the Spirit of Wisdom, in the knowledge of Christ; or if God by His Word calls men effectually by His Grace, and reveals His Son in them, as well as to them; this kind of revelation comes with such power and influence upon the mind, as certainly to produce a true and living faith in the soul, which infallibly issues in eternal life and happiness; and of such persons, and of such only, acts of special faith in Christ are required”.

[Once more in] Gill's Sermon on 2 Chronicle 20 [he said:] “The whole of Divine Revelation is to be believed, which God has made by His Prophets, whether of the Old or of the New Testament; and which is all comprehended in these words our Lord began His ministry with, ‘Believe the Gospel.’ Not to believe this, is the damning sin of unbelief, same as spoken of in the New Testament: this was the sin of the Jews, and in which the greater part died, that they believed not that Jesus was the Messiah, and other important truths concerning Him, though they came with such full evidence; this is the sin of all to whom the external revelation of the Gospel comes, and they believe it not; this is the sin of the Deists of the present age, of all deniers, rejecters, and despisers of the Gospel; who either neglect to examine the evidence of it, or, notwithstanding the evidence of it, reject and contemn it. This sort of unbelief, and not want of special faith in Christ, is the cause of men's damnation. No man will be lost or damned because he has not this faith; to say that God will damn any man because he has not this special faith in Christ, is to represent Him as the most cruel of all beings, as the Arminians say we make Him to be; to damn a man for that which is solely in His own power to give; for no man can believe in Christ with this sort of faith, unless it be given him of His Father; and which yet he determines not to give unto him, as unto all the non-elect; and which man never had in his power to have or exercise, no, not in the state of innocence. Can any man believe that God will ever damn a man on such an account as this? This is just such good sense as if it should be said, that a malefactor dies in Tyburn for want of receiving the king's pardon he did not think fit to give him; it is true, if the king had given him his pardon, and he had received it, it would have saved him from dying; but then it is not the want of the king's pardon, or of his receiving it, that is the cause of his condemnation and death, but the crimes he was charged with and convicted of in open court. So, if it please God to give men special faith in Christ, for the remission of their sins, they will certainly be saved; but then it is not the want of this faith in the blood of Christ, for the pardon of sins, that is the cause of any man's condemnation and death, but the transgressions of the Law of God, and the contempt of His Gospel they have been guilty of.”

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions