Joel 2:32 "Whosoever shall call on the name of the
Lord shall be saved."
One example of the promise of salvation will server to illustrate and confirm this teaching as well as a hundred. If, it is presumed, any part of the divine record can make it to be the duty of every man, in order to his salvation, to believe the promises of God, it will be some such passage as that in Joel ii. 32, which is quoted once and again in the New Testament, thus "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." No one could desire this promise to be spoken with less limitation. No union with any outward association, no hereditary succession, and no genealogical descent helps or hinders fulfilment. Gentiles stand on equal terms with Jews. Nothing is mentioned of nationality, of civil standing, of natural parts, nor of moral excellency.
Individuals, as such, independently of all such distinctions are spoken of, and that to an extent as wide as the world. But, can any one fail to see that, nevertheless, the promise here is not made indefinitely, but only to whosoever may be found pursuing a particular course, and this such a one, indeed, as, in this ungodly world, must make him that takes it a broadly distinguished person? No man that does not call upon the name of the Lord is entitled, according to this Scripture, to believe that he shall be saved, and no one who is not thus distinguished can be obliged to believe he shall be saved, because such a consummation respecting him is not in evidence from this promise. Should any one say that every man who hears this word of the gospel ought to call upon the name of the Lord in order to his salvation, that by so doing he might bring himself within the promise, it will be enough to answer that nothing of this kind is taught here or elsewhere in the Scriptures, and that such a way of putting the matter, is but a very sorry method of begging the whole question. Such a method may please a partisan who is eager to support a theory by any means, but no such a course can ever satisfy one that is seeking for the truth.
Further, what constitutes this particular exercise ought not to be mistaken. As every true spiritual character has its spurious resemblance, as there are foolish virgins as well as wise ones, it ought not to be taken for granted that everything which looks like a calling upon the name of the Lord is such in truth. Certain it is that to call on the name of the Lord is something more than to say prayers, and, indeed, more than to pray. It may also be safely asserted that this sacred exercise can only proceed upon a previous appreciative knowledge of some of the forms of remedial character which God has graciously assumed by name in his Word, which he embodies in his great work of salvation, and which, in the experience of enlightened minds, are happily appropriate to man's ruined condition. If there is not an appeal in petition, or an offering praise in thanksgiving to God under some one of his characteristic excellencies, whatever there may be of devout feelings and of fervent utterance, there is not a calling upon the name of the Lord. On the one band, this sacred exercise may be wholly absent
from the deepest utterances of the most supplicating litany, from all the forms of the most complete liturgy, conducted as this may be with profound devotion, and with whatever costly and ostentatious accessories, and from the most eloquent expressions of impromptu prayer and praise ; and, on the
other hand, a tear may be the voiceless sign of this blessed employment in its truest character and highest degree.