Jul 31, 2010

Attempting to give to the goats what belongs to the sheep, and to the sheep what belongs to the goats - William Gadsby

"It does appear that most teachers think there should be a distinction made between the sheep and goats, but does it not appear that the greatest part of preachers, in this day, are attempting to give to the goats what belongs to the sheep, and to the sheep what belongs to the goats? For when on the one hand they address the unconverted, they tell them that it is their duty to look to Christ, and believe in him, and that they are warranted to offer them all the blessings of the gospel, thus making the gospel the unconverted man’s rule of faith and practice; they, on the other hand, send the sheep to the law of works, and tell them that their comfort depends upon their walking according thereunto. And when any poor soul is in darkness, through the power of the world, the flesh, or the devil, instead of pointing them to Christ, and telling them that it has pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell, they tell them to ‘remove the cause, and the effect will cease;’ and thus the goats are sent to the law of life, and the sheep to the killing letter." -William Gadsby

Jul 30, 2010

The Moral Law - William Huntington

"The moral law is a chastening rod in the hand of God the Father, which he uses upon all the elect children that he has given to Christ, who are all of them transgressors of his law, being by nature under it, and children of wrath even as others; and guilty before him: hence it is, "If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments: if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not make void from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to lie" Psalm lxxxix. 30, 31,32. All the elect have broken this law—therefore God sends the commandment home, and reveals his wrath in the soul till the sinner becomes dead, and left without either hope or help, the Father then leads the soul to Christ, in whom he has chosen him, where loving kindness is to be had, and where faithfulness is not to fail.

"Thus God chastens the sinner upon his bed with pains, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain; so that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat; his flesh is consumed, that it cannot be seen; and his bones, that were not seen, stick out. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life unto the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness; then he is gracious unto him, and saith. Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom" Job, xxxiii. This is God the Fathers teaching. An "interpreter" is one that has passed under it, understands it, and can explain it to others; and these are like Solomon's "faithful men". "One among a thousand"; he is to shew the uprightness of God, in correcting the sinner for his folly, and then to point him to Christ, the ransom which God has provided, where he can be gracious unto him, and deliver him from going down into the pit.

When Moses passed under this discipline, he expected nothing but destruction; till Christ was exhibited to his faith, and God called him to the fellowship of him. "Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men" Ps. xc. 3.

Those who never knew any thing of this severity of God, never rightly knew any thing of his goodness. God gave Israel the law first, and then ordered a mercy-seat to be made. He disciplined them with blackness and darkness, storm and tempest, and spoke to them in the secret place of thunder; and after that pointed them to Christ by a sacrifice, and to the voice of mercy from off the mercy-seat; and he does the same now: "Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant" Ezek. xx. 36,37. God’s pleading against the sinner in the law, is to teach him the need of an advocate; passing under the rod, is feeling the terrors of the law; and going into the bond of the covenant, is the enjoyment of Gods eternal love in Christ Jesus, which neither life nor death shall ever separate us from." -William Huntington

Jul 27, 2010

True faith and false faith - William Huntington

"...But to give you a description of false faith is more then I can pretend to, unless you will allow me to describe true faith and oppose it to false, and so lead your mind in the line between the two.

As for the faith of arminianism, I believe it to be worse than the faith of devils; for I have heard arminians mention the awful decrees of God, and wantonly laugh at them; but devils believe and tremble. True faith holds every revealed truth of the Bible, but opposes none. If you live by faith, Christ, the bread of heaven, will be the food of thy faith. If you walk by faith, Christ, the living way, will be the path of faith, If you stand fast by faith, Christ will be faith's foundation; faith will stand no where, but on Christ; and Christ will always bear every weight that faith lays on him. Christ will never suffer faith to fail, nor will faith ever suffer Christ to have a co-partner; Christ will never suffer faith to be confounded; nor will faith ever suffer Christ to be dishonoured.

Jul 25, 2010

John 10:24-29 - John Brine

John 10:24-29
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

"Tis evident, that the Words are expressive of this, that there Persons believed not, because they were not of the Number of such, who were made the Care and Charge of Christ, and in Consequence of that, hear his Voice, follow him, to whom he gives eternal Life, do not perish, and whom none can pluck out of Christ’s Hand, nor out of the Father’s Hand. This is clear from the very Scope of the Place. However , says he [the Baxterian] , your Conclusion from there Words , is directly contrary to the Intention of them . For , when the Jews demand an open and direct Declaration from Jesus , whether he was the Christ, v.23 [24] . he blames their Unbelief in there Words , v. 24 [25] . I told you , and ye believed not : The Works that I do in my Father’s Name bear Witness of me . And pray let it be observed , that it is one and the same Object of Faith , viz. Christ Jesus in his Character of the promised Messiah , which is here spoken of ; which one Sort are blamed for not believing in , and which the Sheep of Christ did believe in. And therefore the Duty must be one and the same to both . I answer, the Jews Question is, whether Christ was the Messiah, he observes he had told them that he was, and that his Works testified it, and ye believed not, i.e. ye did not think it true that I am the Messiah, which they might have done without special Faith. Special Faith includes common, but common Faith includes not special. And then he asserts, that they believed not, because they were not of his Sheep, in which Words special Faith is intended, or more than common Faith, as appears by what follows; but in the preceding Faith is put for common Faith, or a bare Persuasion of his being the Messiah, so that this is no Proof, that it was the Duty of these Jews to exercise special Faith."

Accused of not preaching the gospel to sinners - John Brine

"We are often accused of not preaching the gospel to sinners because we believe the unregenerate have no open claim to the blessings of Christ's redemption." -John Brine

All who see their need of him - John Brine

"With Respect to Offers and Tenders of Mercy and Salvation to Sinners I observe: That Christ and his Salvation are to be proposed for Acceptance, to all who see their Need of him, that this includes an Offer in it, but is more than an Offer, and that he is graciously given to them, and ‘tis their Duty to embrace and receive him." -John Brine

He submits to a rule which is falsely represented - William Huntington

"[Duty-faith] ...leads men to presume on the mercy of God, without either witness, evidence, or a claim by the Spirit of adoption; and without the influence of grace, by which alone he can have access; and without real faith, without which there can be no holy boldness. The unconverted sinner, who is thus encouraged to put in his claim or urge his plea, is excited to boldness, insolence, and rash presumption. For, if he calls God Father, it is a lie; if he calls Jesus his Lord, it is the same, for no man can do it without the Holy Ghost; if he calls himself a believer, his own heart condemns him; his profession is only the sheep skin, and in heart he is an hypocrite in Zion. He submits to a rule which is falsely represented; and his obedience is taught by the precepts of men, and therefore cannot be the obedience of faith: the whole of his religion is without the aid of the Holy Ghost, from the beginning to the end; and therefore his subjection, submission, profession, confession, devotion, and reformation, is not done as God has willed it to be done; and we doubt not, but there is the nature of sin in the whole of it." -William Huntington

The commands of Christ are quite distinct from the moral law - William Huntington

"The commands of Christ are quite distinct from the moral law, with respect to the person, and the office of the person speaking; the persons spoken to, who are his own elect; the divine power that attends his commands; his orders, his sayings, and his words, being life; and the divine aid promised and given to the evangelical servants who serve him in the newness of the Spirit." -William Huntington

The substance of things hoped for - Robert Hawker

"The Church of GOD can never be sufficiently thankful to the HOLY GHOST, for this most precious Chapter. It forms a compendium of the most blessed things, all leading to JESUS. The antient fathers of the Church, were accustomed to call it, the book of GOD'S Martyrs. And to be sure, it doth contain some of the most precious things, by which we are led to see, how it was they lived so strong in faith, and died so triumphant in hope, by the grace of GOD, being made perfect in their weakness. In order to enter into a proper apprehension of the blessedness of that principle of faith, in which they were made so strong by the LORD; before that we look at the effects of it in their lives, and deaths, as here recorded, it may not be amiss to attend a little more closely to the LORD'S own account of faith, as stated in those words.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. There is somewhat very striking in this account of faith, as given by the HOLY GHOST himself. It is called by him a substance, meaning; that the object the soul resteth on being substantially formed in the mind; and which, so realizeth that object to view, as for the mind to become as perfectly assured of its existence and reality, as though seen. This is faith. And in this sense, it is the substance of things which are at a distance; but as perfectly alive to the soul; as though present to bodily sense. To explain great things by small. I have a child, a friend, a relation, whom I have never seen, and living at a distance from me. But I am continually receiving tokens from him by message, or by letter, both of his existence, and his affection towards me. Now, though I have never seen him, yet I no more doubt of his being and existence, than my own. I therefore substantiate, and realize in my mind, this certainty; and I am actuated by it accordingly. Such, but in an infinitely higher degree, are the great objects of faith, in relation to things supernatural, and unseen. I have received evidences upon evidences; and love tokens multiplied with love tokens from JESUS my LORD. By faith, therefore, I substantiate, and realize all those blessed things concerning JESUS. .And it is to me substance. JESUS saith, I will cause them that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures, Proverbs 8:21. Hence, therefore, as the Apostle saith, in relation to JESUS; Whom having not seen we love; in whom though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory; receiving the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls, 1 Peter 1:8-9. It was thus with the Patriarch and holy men of old. Their faith needed not the presence of what they believed in. GOD'S testimony concerning it was enough. It became therefore the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen." -Robert Hawker

CHRIST is the Author and finisher of faith - Robert Hawker

"One word more concerning faith before we enter upon the blessed history, contained in this glorious Chapter, of the fruits and effects of it. Faith is the gift of GOD, Philippians 1:29. CHRIST is the Author and finisher of faith, Hebrews 12:9. Hence it must fol ow, that what is GOD'S gift is not man's merit; and therefore the glory of faith, in the exercise of his people, is wholly the LORD’s. It may perhaps appear strange to some, when I say, that I consider faith as the act of CHRIST upon my soul, more than my act of dependence upon him. Paul said, and saith with truth, that his life of faith was not his, but the LORD'S. Hear his own words. The life (saith he) which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the SON of GOD. Mark the expression. Not Paul's life of faith in the SON of GOD, but the faith of the SON of GOD, Galatians 2:20. It is not Paul's act upon CHRIST, but CHRIST’S act upon him. And how is this proved? The life of faith, like any other life, is a life of receiving, not giving. Similar to animal life, which is wholly kept up and preserved, by receiving food, air, strength. These things are received to live upon. They are incomings, not out-goings. The incomings are first received, as the cause. The out-goings are exercised as the effect. Reader! if these things are so, how doth it reduce, and bring low the pride of all our attainments? How forcibly come home the words of the Apostle, For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? 1 Corinthians 4:7" - Robert Hawker

Isreal's National Crimes and National Repentance - John Brine

"[Brine is responding to a Baxterian] Tis to be observed, that the Jews were a People separated from all others, they dwelt alone and were not reckoned among the Nations , and God became their God providentially, to confer temporal Favours upon them, to protect them; he entered into a Covenant with them, as a Nation, and required on their Part, that they should worship him only, observe his Laws, exercise Justice shew Benevolence and Kindness one to another; on his Part, he promised them a peaceable Possession of the good Land, Plenty, Victory over their Enemies, and their Multiplication in that Land, and long Life, on Condition of their Observance of his Statutes and Judgments, which they on their Part promised; God threatened them with Evils of the forest Nature if they did not, viz . the Sword, Famine, noisome Beasts and Pestilence, and with Captivity; but at the same Time assured them, that if they humbled themselves under these Judgments, and turn’d to him, he would remove those Evils, and restore to them Peace, Plenty, and Security from their Enemies, and that he would not totally destroy them. (Leviticus 26. Deuteronomy 4. Chap. 28 and 29) Agreeable to the Plan of this Covenant, the Prophets treat with that People, remonstrate against their national Crimes, exhort to national Repentance, Humiliation and Reformation, denounce temporal Evils, promise temporal Blessings, in Case of Amendment, as may be abundantly seen in their Writings. (Isaiah 1:19,20. Ezekiel 18. Amos 2:3,4,5,6.) But it is not to be proved, that spiritual and eternal Blessings were promised in that Covenant, nor, that evangelical Repentance and special Faith were therein required, it will as soon be made evident, that when the Land of Canaan , and Affluence and Plenty therein are promised, that Heaven is intended or included in those Promises, as that, when the People of the Jews are exhorted to Repentance and turning to the Lord, evangelical Repentance is designed and implied in those Exhortations. That Covenant contained not spiritual Blessings, neither did it oblige to any spiritual Acts, such as evangelical Repentance, and special Faith are. It will as soon be proved, that Earth is Heaven, as that the Repentance required and enjoyned by Vertue of that Covenant, was of a heavenly Kind. This Writer, Sir, sometimes makes a great Difficulty of admitting the Distinction of natural and evangelical Repentance, of historical and special Faith; but here he is obliged. to allow of it, tho’ he pleads that natural Repentance and historical Faith, were not the whole of the Duty required and enjoyned by the Law of Sacrifices, on the Nation of the Jews ; this he argues from God being represented as their Redeemer in Christ . When he is able to prove this fine Point, I shall freely grant his Work is done. This contains, if I mistake not, a tacit Acknowledgment, that evangelical Repentance and special Faith, are the Duties only of such Persons, to whom God reveals himself in his Word, as their Redeemer through Christ He seems to suppose, that God so revealed himself the Body of the Jewish Nation, than which nothing is more false in Fact; and therefore all his Reasoning on this Head is impertinent, groundless, and inconclusive. There is not any thing advanced from the Old Testament, which amounts to the Proof of the Point." -John Brine

Be thou my wisdom - Robert Hawker

"Precious JESUS! be thou my wisdom, for then shall I delight myself in the LORD, and triumph in the Holy One of Israel. Fill my soul with true understanding and knowledge, for sure I am, in thee I shall find every possible happiness of light and life, and the fulness of joy in my soul. And while the wisdom of this world gives pride to the worldly wise; and the might of this world gives confidence to the mighty, and the rich man glorieth in his riches; this will be my glory, that I understand and know thee, that thou art the LORD, and that in these things thou delightest, 0 LORD. Here, LORD, let my soul rest convinced that however poor in myself, in thee I possess all things. Thou art the strength of my heart, and thou my portion for ever." -Robert Hawker [Proverbs 2 Prayer]

Jul 23, 2010

Hebrews 4:1-11 - Robert Hawker

Hebrews 4:1-11 
(4) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  (2)  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.  (3)  For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.  (4)  For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.  (5)  And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.  (6)  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:  (7)  Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.  (8)  For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.  (9)  There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  (10)  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  (11)  Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

The opening of this Chapter is so immediately connected with the close of the former, that it becomes the very inference of it. Let us therefore fear, saith the Apostle, while beholding the awful carcasses of unbelievers, as from such distinguishing grace as we have received, in being given to believe in God for salvation, we have abundant reason to rejoice with trembling, Psalm 2:11. The fear here spoken of, cannot mean a fear of coming short of Christ; for the Apostle had before said, we are made partakers of Christ; and we are his house. Neither are we called upon to the exercise of bondage fear, while conscious of having received a spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father, Romans 8:15. Neither can the seeming to come short of it, mean the seeming so to a believer's own soul; for it is expressly added, (Hebrews 4:3.) For we which have believed do enter into rest. A plain proof, that the child of God, resting on Christ, could not doubt his interest in Christ. But what then is to be supposed the fear here recommended, and to be sought after? Certainly that holy, jealous, child-like fear, which an obedient son wishes to have always before him, not to do or say any thing towards a kind father, which might grieve him. Such as is inculcated towards the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 4:30. And the Apostle beautifully illustrates the subject, by a case in point. The Gospel was preached in the old Church, in type, and figure, as it is now in substance, and reality, in the New. But there were then hearers who never felt the power of it, as there are now; and, consequently, to both alike, it is unprofitable. But the mark is decisive, where faith cometh by hearing. A child of God regenerated, heareth to the salvation of the soul. The unawakened doth not. And the Lord Jesus himself sets this down, as the sure, unerring testimony, in his account, to the carnal Jews, He that is of God, (saith Christ,) heareth God's Words. Ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God, John 8:47.

I admire the very beautiful manner of expression, made use of in these verses, in allusion to the Lord’s resting, after the works of creation. And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. What rest? Not in a way of taking repose, as (speaking after the manner of men) we are said to do, when tired, and our work is over. But the calling into being of creatures, then ceased; and God rested from it, in a way of creation, when the whole which the LordChrist, as Christ. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own work, as God did from his. Yes! For when Jesusby himself purged our sins, be sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:3. Herein Christ, as our High Priest, differed from all other priests, who always stood ministering. And so far from ceasing, their offerings were daily. Christ’s but once, and that in effect for ever. Oh! the preciousness of Christ! And true believers also, when ceasing from seeking justification, either in whole, or in part, from any, or all the works of their own; but count themselves, and every thing in themselves, filthy, and unclean; hanging upon Christ only, as the vessel upon the nail in a sure place: such may be said, as indeed was said before (Hebrew 4:3), to rest on Christ, and enter by faith upon the enjoyment of it. ordained to bring forth into life, was made. It is in this sense, the expression plainly means. And the same is meant of the personal work of had

It may not be improper to observe, on what is said of Jesus, not having given the people rest, that it doth not mean the Lord Jesus Christ, but Joshua, the son of Nun, who succeeded Moses in the ministry of the Church, See Joshua 1:1. The name Joshua is the same in the Hebrew language, as Jesus; and signifies Savior. But though Joshua did bring the people into Canaan, yet this was only typical of a better rest, which remaineth for the people of God. Hence it is plain, by the Lord’s speaking of another rest, this of Joshua's was not the one intended. Christ himself is indeed the rest wherewith the Lord causeth the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing, Isaiah 28:12. Reader! it will be your happiness, and mine, if, under divine teaching, we are come to Christ, as our rest; and from a knowledge of Him, are made sensible of his bountiful dealing with us, in the rest of salvation, Matthew 11:28 &c; Psalm 116:7.

Hebrews 3:7-19 - Robert Hawker

Hebrews 3:7-19 
(7) Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice,  (8)  Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:  (9)  When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.  (10)  Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.  (11)  So I swore in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)  (12)  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  (13)  But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  (14)  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;  (15)  While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.  (16)  For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.  (17)  But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it  not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? (18)  And to whom swore he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?  (19)  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

I pause the more frequent over those verses, where God the Holy Ghost is spoken of, in any of his more express personal acts, in order to direct the Reader's attention to the subject. Among the latter-day heresies, the denial of his Person and Godhead, is specially marked. And the Reader will do well to consider, how very often the Lord hath ascribed to himself personal exercises; such as speaking and commanding, and the like, as if to guard the Church against this deadly sin. Surely the thing itself, being so plain, as all the ministry of the Holy Ghost must imply; it need not have been said as here; Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith; unless it had been intended in a more palpable way, and manner, to keep the minds of the faithful always alive, in their attention, both to his Person, and Godhead. See Hebrews 9:8 and Commentary.

Concerning what is here said, by God the Holy Ghost, in charging the people, to be on the watch, lest an evil heart of unbelief should creep in among them; (and he holds up before them the history of those whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, by way of remark, I shall beg to offer a few brief observations.

And, first. Let the Reader take notice, to whom these words are spoken, namely, to the brethren. Not to the carnal and unregenerate; but to those of whom it is said, verse 14, for we are made partakers of Christ; or, as it might have been rendered, for we have been made partakers of Christ; for it refers to an act past: and an act made on God's part; not on ours: having been so made, before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4-5. Let the Reader make this his first observation on the passage. It is to the Church, the brethren, to whom the Holy Ghost speaks.

Secondly. They are admonished to take heed against an hardness of heart, and an evil heart of unbelief. Now this is not the original stony heart, which the Church, as well as the whole Adam-race, has by nature. For the Lord promised to take this away, and in regeneration it is actually taken away, Ezekiel 36:26 with John 3:3-8. But it is that hardness of heart, which even the Lord’s people, in the unrenewed part of their nature, their body of sin which they carry about with them, are too apt to imbibe, from mingling with carnal company, and an absence from ordinances, neglect in reading the word of God: and a shyness, or little frequency at the mercy seat. These things bring on coldness, and distance, between Christ and the soul: and like the Church, a sleepy, slothful frame is felt, Song of Solomon 5:2 and Commentary.

Thirdly. The Lord plainly shews in what follows, by calling upon the Church to exhort one another, that it is the Church, and not the carnal which is here admonished; and by the remedy proposed by exhortation, it is as plain, that absence from the Lord, and his courts, and inattention to the several means of grace, were referred to, as the causes of inducing this hardness, and insensibility of heart and unbelief.

Fourthly. The carcasses of those which fell in the wilderness, plainly shew, that they differed wholly from the Lord’s people here admonished. They are so spoken of elsewhere, as those with whom God was not well pleased, 1 Corinthians 10:5. And who were they? Not the Lord’s people in Christ, who from everlasting are chosen in him; predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself; and accepted in the beloved, Ephesians 1:4-6. Who are they then, I answer, the children of Israel, after the flesh: or perhaps also partly that mixed multitude, which went up out of Egypt with Moses. See Exodus 12:37-38 and Numbers 14:26-37. Those men, while the miracles of the Lord’s servant in Egypt, were warm in their remembrance, followed Israel, but they knew not the Lord; neither followed the Lord. Hence the expressions: For some, howbeit not all. See Reader! distinguishing grace! And do not forget, what God the Spirit hath also said on the same subject. For they are not all Israel which are of Israel. Neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children, but in Isaac shall thy seed be called, Romans 9:6-7. The nation of Israel, as a nation, like any other nation where there is a professing Church, as a professing Church, did all enjoy the outward privileges. They had all the Manna, and all drank of the Rock; the Cloud to screen by day, and the pillar of fire by night. But these were only common things to them, like Ordinances. Unbelief then, and un-regeneration now, produce the same effect. The five words of Christ, Ye must be born again: John 3:7, becomes the sole qualification to an entrance into Christ’s kingdom.

Jul 22, 2010

The passive and active exercises of faith - William Styles

"The exercises of Faith are two-fold—passive and active. Its passive exercises are reception and reliance (Col. 2:6; 1 Thess. 1:6; Heb. 11:33, “obtained promises”—Isa. 30:7; 2 Tim. 1:12); its active exercises are all the gracious duties enjoined in the gospel, for Faith is the motive power of every act which is spiritually pleasing to God through Christ (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 5:2; 2 Cor. 1:2, 4 and 5:7; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 11 whole chapter). The passive and active exercises of Faith are brought together in Heb. 11:13. “They saw the promises afar off, were persuaded of them, and embraced them”—then, in the power of this persuasion, they voluntarily acted as “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” So also in Col. 2:6, “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord”—passive reception, “so walk in Him”—gracious activity." -William Styles

Fully Persuaded - William Huntington

"God promised that He would “persuade Japhet, and he should dwell in the tens of Shem,” (Gen. 9:27), and this work of persuading seems to be His working Faith in the minds of men by the power of the Holy Ghost. Hence God is said to send the gospel to the souls of men with power in the Holy Ghost, and much assurance (1 Thess. 1:5). And the operation of this divine power put forth is said to produce Faith: “God fulfills all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of Faith with power” (2 Thess. 1:11). This persuasion Paul asserts to be the Faith of Abraham, who was fully persuaded that what God had promised He was able also to perform” (Rom. 4:31)."—William Huntington.

Evangelical and Legal Repentance - John Stevens

"Evangelical is, again, to be distinguished from legal or moral repentance. It is the duty of men individually or collectively to repent of and abandon any known transgression. Thus it was incumbent on Simon the Sorcerer, to repent of his sin (Acts 8:22); on the inhabitants of Ninevah to repent of their malpractices (Jonah 2:10); on the Jewish nation to repent of their departure from the will and ways of God (Matt. 3:2, etc.); on the heathen to repent of idolatry when commanded by God (Acts 17:30); but all these forms of repentance merely required that exercise of natural reason and conscience, and involved nothing that was spiritual and sanctifying. See also Matt. 4:17, 5:20, 12:41, 21:29 and 32, and 27:3; Mark 1:15 and 6:12; Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Kings 9:47-49; 2 Chron. 12:5-12; and Acts 14:15-16. “However such Scriptures may be accommodated to illustrate spiritual things—their direct sense is to require a natural and legal repentance, answerable to the kind of relation (see chapter 17, page 204) in which the persons addressed were standing to God and one another." —John Stevens.

Jul 21, 2010

Faiths mentioned in the Bible and Principles of Interpretation by William Styles

...Faiths mentioned in the Bible—The various meanings of the Terms. 
It is common to assume that the Bible mentions but one kind of Faith or Belief—namely, that which is spiritual and with which salvation is conjoined. There are, however, six descriptions of Faith referred to in the Inspired Volume.

John 16:8, 10 - William Styles

John 16:8, 10. “And when He is come He will convict (not “convince” or “reprove”) the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go away to my Father; concerning judgment, because the Prince of this world is judged.” These words are ordinarily regarded as descriptive of the saving and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the elect, in which He convinces of sin, reveals the necessity of the righteousness of Jesus, and impresses the certainty and solemnity of future judgment upon the heart. By some, however, this time-honoured exposition is considered to rest on insufficient grounds.

For 1.—The specific force of the word “world” is overlooked, which is here evidently antithetical to the “you” of verses 7, 13, 14. “He shall convict the world of sin,” while “He shall guide you into all truth,” etc. The construction is similar to John 14:19, and the verse refers to the world in opposition to the church. And,

2. The word translated “reprove” means to convict, or to prove guilty. Its force is not to reduce to penitence on account of sin, but rather to demonstrate a person’s sin, to make evident on what grounds he should be judged to have sinned. Compare John 8:46, “Which of you convicts me concerning sin,” i.e., which of you is prepared to prove that I am a sinner.

3. The words sin, righteousness, and judgment have to be most materially accommodated, in order to extort from them the meaning contended for. The verse is ordinarily quoted “sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come.” This is clearly an error, for the “judgment” referred to is that which has been passed upon “the Prince of this world.” The resurrection of Jesus demonstrates the failure of Satan’s crowning act of rebellion in leading the world to crucify God’s Son.

4. The force of the word “howbeit,” or, but, by which verse 13 is introduced, and which evidently marks a contrast between the conduct of the Spirit toward the world and in the church is overlooked.

5. If this interpretation is received, the words teach that the lack of spiritual faith is sin, which is not true.

It is, therefore, needful to see for a new exposition, in harmony with the rest of revealed truth.

It is submitted that the words teach that the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and His conduct then and since, demonstrate the sin of the Jewish world in not having received Jesus as the Messiah. His presence in the church is a standing witness to the fact that Christ was what He claimed to be—that the judgment of Heaven is in His favour, and against the Prince of this world—that His cause was righteous, and that those who rejected Him, and procured His death, sinned most foully. Every expression in the words under consideration accommodates itself naturally to this exposition.

If, moreover, a more extended view of the word “world” be pleaded for—the same view is not untenable. The ground virtually taken by the world in relation to Jesus is that it does not require such a Saviour. It ignores the testimony of the death of incarnate God as a sacrifice for sin, because it does not want anything of the kind. The Jews treated Christ as an obnoxious intruder, and the world regards Him still much in the same light, and treats Him with apathy or animosity. In thus acting the world sins, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the church is a perpetual demonstration of its guilt and folly, in ignoring the mission and work of Christ.

All men ought to believe in Jesus Christ—not that He is their Saviour, and that He died for them, that is a widely different matter—but they ought to receive His testimony concerning Himself, and own Him as God’s Son, and the universal Lord. It should not be overlooked that every person who is acquainted with the New Testament—the recorded testimony of the Holy Spirit to the risen Saviour—sins in not owning His claims, and in denying His divine and royal rights. God, by raising Him from the dead has powerfully demonstrated that He is His Son (Rom. 1:4). All, therefore, that do not thus acknowledge Him are guilty, and the presence and testimony of the Holy Spirit convict them of the wickedness of their skeptical refusal to call Jesus Lord. A modern Unitarian is more blameworthy than were Seneca or Pliny. It will be observed that there is a material difference between the unbelief here referred to, and the absence of spiritual faith in Christ.

Yet another view is proposed, and it must be noted that it is propounded by one who builds with the utmost tenacity what is advanced on page 104. It is thus expressed, “Our consideration of the work of the Holy Spirit should not be restricted to His saving and sanctifying operations in the hearts of the elect. Like the goodness of God (Matt. 5:45) and the mediation of Jesus (page 81), the work of the Spirit has a universal aspect. While He guides the saints into all truth (John 16:13), He will convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (verse 8). Thus He will so influence the consciences of the lost at the last great day, that they will be brought to admit the justice of their condemnation, and honestly assent to the righteousness of their punishment. By His agency, every mouth will be stopped, and all the world be brought in guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19)—Charles Hill.

Revelation 3:20 - William Styles

Rev. 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, etc.,” has been supposed to teach that Jesus knocks by His Spirit at the door of sinners’ hearts, but can obtain no entrance unless they are willing to admit Him.

“Behold! A stranger’s at the door!
He gently knocks, has knock’d before;
Has waited long; is waiting still;
You treat no other friend so ill.
“Admit Him, ere His anger burn,
His feet depart, and ne’er return:
Admit Him, or the hour’s at hand
When at His door denied you’ll stand.”

That the text will not bear this interpretation is, however, evident; for (1) It is not addressed to the unconverted, nor does it refer to them at all. It is part of an epistle sent through its pastor to the church at Laodicea. (2) The end proposed is not salvation from the punishment of sin, but supping with Christ, which refers to communion with Him, and partaking of His flesh and blood by faith. (3). The persons referred to are therefore regenerated, and the text is an appeal to life and intelligence previously imparted. The church was in a low and lukewarm state, and showed but little regard to the glory of the Redeemer. But He had not forgotten them, and assures them, that though the Assembly as a whole had proved faithless, any individuals among them who might be stirred up to seek nearer fellowship with Him, would find Him graciously inclined to draw nigh to them in near and endeared fellowship (compare Song 5:2-5).

2 Peter 3:9 - William Styles

2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is long-suffering to us-ward (or as in the Revised Version ‘you-ward’) not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance:” often quoted to prove that the Spirit benevolently desires the salvation of all men, and therefore strives in our hearts. This interpretation, however, overlooks the oft-omitted word “us-ward,” or “you-ward,” which restricts the scope of the verse to God’s chosen and redeemed people. His good pleasure is, that these should be saved; nor is He willing that one should perish. The context discusses the Day of Judgment, the passing away of the heavens, and the burning up of the earth and the works that are therein. Yet, however great the severity of God toward His enemies, toward us He is long-suffering. None of His children shall perish, and those yet uncalled, and those even that are unborn shall be brought to repentance. Time must last, and the present constitution of the world be maintained, until every chosen and blood-bought sinner has become the subject of sanctifying grace, and been “made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in life.”

1 Timothy 2:4 - William Styles

1 Tim. 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved,” quoted to prove that the Spirit desires and endeavours to save all men, but fails when sinners resist Him. If, however, this interpretation is true, the Spirit is not God, unless the reader can accept the idea of a baffled Deity. An examination of the context removes all difficulty. St. Paul has exhorted that prayer be offered for all men—not surely for every individual member of the human race—but men of all characters and conditions. In this sense, understand the term “all” in the text. The election of grace is restricted to no one nation, is irrespective of men’s social or political standing—its range being predetermined by God’s good pleasure, whose will it is that “all (sorts of) men (Jews, Gentiles, Greek, barbarian, bond and free) shall be saved.”

Ephesians 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:19 - William Styles

Eph. 4:30, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God:” 1 Thess. 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit:” quoted to prove that the Spirit will be grieved by the sinner’s non-acceptance of offered grace, and that continued resistance of His monitions will so enrage Him as to cause their final and fatal extinction in the heart. The incorrectness of this interpretation is, however, evident from the fact that both portions are addressed, not to the unregenerate, but to Christians. They therefore simply indicate that the Spirit may be grieved by God’s people, and His operations quenched in the church, and solemnly warn us to watch against so sad a form of sin.

2 Corinthians 6:1 - William Styles

2 Cor. 6:1. We then [as] workers together [with Him]. Quoted to prove that the Spirit works or labours to convert sinners by striving within their hearts, while the gospel minister labours to impress them by earnestly warning and inviting them, and that thus the Spirit and the preacher are joint labourers in endeavouring to effect the salvation of men. That this is a fair inference from the text as it stands in ordinary Bibles, cannot be denied, but the translation is inaccurate. It reads literally, “But working together we exhort.”—Catesby Paget. By J.N. Darby it is rendered, “But (as) fellow workmen we also beseech you.” The words “with Him” are therefore, an unnecessary interpolation, as the meaning without them is obvious; suits the connection and harmonizes with the whole scope of the Gospel. St. Paul had to pen a warning to the opiniative and self-satisfied Corinthians, but to relieve his words from the offensiveness of a personal rebuke, he associates his colleague with himself as sending the message of entreaty, “As fellow labourers (see 1 Cor. 3:9), I and Sosthenes (see chap. 1:1), exhort you, etc.” The idea of God’s labouring in vain by the Spirit, to convert sinners, has no support from the passage.

2 Cor. 6:1. We beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. Quoted to prove that some grace is imparted to and received by all men, to whom also pardon is fully and freely offered. If, however, the grace be resisted, and the offer slighted, they irretrievably seal their doom and perish. This view, however, overlooks the fact that the persons addressed were regenerated, believing and baptized persons, who in their collective capacity composed the church at Corinth. The “grace” referred to is therefore not the manifestation of Divine favour to sinners in their lost condition, nor is the salvation of those addressed the object of the exhortation. They were thus appealed to that their outward conduct might be free from inconsistency—that they might “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they were called,” and thus manifest the fruits of grace in their lives. St. Paul’s meaning is therefore clear. The doctrines of grace conveyed to the mind by the medium of the gospel may be received in a flippant and prayerless spirit, which will lead to careless and unbecoming conduct, alike discreditable to the person himself, the ministry he attends, and the church to which he belongs. Such a one is a living stumbling block. The Corinthians were in danger of becoming such. Hence the propriety of the appeal.

1 Corinthians - William Styles

1 Cor. 3:9: “For we are labourers together with God.” Quoted to prove that the Spirit, conjointly with earnest ministers, labours to effect the salvation of men. Such, however, is not its meaning. Literally translated it runs, as in the Revised Version: “For we are God’s fellow-workers”—“together with God,” is positively incorrect. The Corinthians were prone to exalt one Christian minister above another. Some gave the precedence to Paul—others to Peter or Apollos. “But,” argues the Apostle, “he that plants and he that waters are one” in the nature of their ministry. “Paul and Apollos are but God’s servants, through whose testimony ye believed, even as the Lord gave (success) to each. So, then, we are God’s joint-labourers, alike engaged in God’s cause, and dependent on God’s blessing.” It does not meant that God associated Himself with them as a fellow-worker, but that as His servants, they laboured together in the same employment. Preeminent honour should not therefore be accorded to one above another.

Acts 7:51 - William Styles

Acts 7:51, “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did so do ye:”—often quoted to show that sinners have it in their power to oppose the work of the Spirit. But the passage forms part of the last Divine appeal to the Jewish nation, who are exclusively addressed. Stephen explains His meaning in verse 52. They “resisted” the Spirit, just as their fathers had “vexed” Him (Isa. 63:10), by opposing and persecuting the prophets who addressed them by His inspiration. The verse has therefore no relation to the saving operation of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:17 - William Styles

Acts 2:17: “I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh:” quoted to prove that every man has a share in the Spirit’s operations, and hence a fair chance of salvation. A. Barnes, however, observes that the word “all” here does not mean every individual, but every class or rank of men; which he fully substantiates. If the disputed interpretation were correct, every young woman would be a prophetess, every young man a seer, and every old man would dream God-sent dreams. The words simply refer to the distribution of supernatural gifts, at and immediately after the day of Pentecost, when God’s “servants” (verse 18) of every class were endowed with miraculous powers.

John 12:32-33 - William Styles

John 12:32-33, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all (men) unto me. This He said signifying what death He should die. Quoted to prove that Jesus, since His death and resurrection has, by the Spirit, endeavoured to induce all men to give their hearts to Him, though many that are thus drawn, refuse His grace and are lost.

The verse, however, must be forced to bear this meaning. For (1) The word here rendered “draw” is used in John 6:44, 18:10, 21:6 & 11; and Acts 16:19: and it is evident from the passages that it cannot mean “attempt or endeavour to draw,” but must be understood in the absolute sense of inducing by means that cannot fail. To whom the “all” refers, may be questioned, but it is beyond dispute that these persons, whoever they prove to be, should and would be drawn to Himself. He speaks of what would infallibly occur. 2. The persons referred to “all” (not men). Three interpretations are possible. (1). That Jesus would save the whole human race. For this none but Universalists would contend, nor need we here refute it. (2). That the “all” refers to the people that were given to Christ by covenant before time was, and that the verse teaches the gathering of the elect to Him as their Saviour and Head after His uplifting on the cross as their Saviour. This is the view of Dr. Gill. (3). That the word “all” is used in an anti-national sense (see remarks on the word “world” on pages 50 and 51) and refers like the same time in 1 Tim. 2:4 and 6 (see pages 52 and 118) to men of all nations, in contradistinction to the one nation favoured by the Jewish covenant. This suits the scope of St. John’s Gospel as a whole, and especially the immediate context. Some Greeks, who were at Jerusalem to attend the Feast, applied to Philip for an introduction to Jesus, from whose lips they doubtless received the counsels desired. The incident brought to His mind the nearness of His death, through which His salvation would be brought to the world at large; for “if lifted up,” by the death of the cross He would be rewarded by seeing men the wide world over, and while Time should last, drawn unto Him. (Compare John 11:51-52.) See “The Life and Words of Christ,” by Cunningham Geikie, vol. 2, pages 434-437.

The thought that Jesus seeks by His Spirit to induce all men to be pious is entirely foreign to the passage.

John 1:9 - William Styles

John 1:9, “That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world:” cited to prove that the Spirit, in Christ’s name, imparts some measure of saving light to every man, which, if used and followed will result in his salvation. A. Barnes, however, explains the verse to mean that Jesus would enlighten, not every individual of the human family—but men of all nations, Gentiles as well as Jews which (1) accords with the context, which is a contrast between the ministries of John and Jesus, and a description of the latter; and (2) is necessitated by the verb rendered lighteth, which means enlighten, and cannot be understood to indicate the partial and transient illumination contended for (compare, “doth give the light” Luke 9:36; “will bring to light,” 1 Cor. 4:5; “enlightened,” Eph. 1:18; “made manifest,” 2 Tim. 1:10, “once enlightened,” Heb. 4:4, “illuminated,” Heb. 10:82, “lightened,” Rev. 18:1, ”lighten” Rev. 21:28, “giveth them light,” Rev. 22:5.) It is therefore clear that spiritual and saving illumination is intended, of which truly saved sinners only are the subjects, and that the text teaches the anti-national and world-wide character of the work of Him who “came into the world to save sinners.”

The verse has by some been supposed to refer to the light of reason or Conscience, bestowed by Christ on all men. It is certainly true that the Three-one God in the person of Christ created all men (page 12), and that the Lord may thus be considered as the author and giver of our rational and moral faculties. This, however, does not harmonize with the evident design of the passage which is to set forth the results of the incarnation and death of Jesus.

Luke 13:6-9 - William Styles

Luke 13:6-9, “These three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree and find none; cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?” etc. Often quoted to prove that God spares sinners in long-suffering, while He makes merciful endeavours to bring them to repentance; but that if they repulse these kindly attempts, He will abandon them, and in His wrath punish them with greater severity for not yielding to His power, and consenting to become religious. But the parable of the Fruitless Fig Tree has no reference to this subject at all. It is a parabolic history of the Jewish Nation. The “certain man” is Jehovah. The three years point to the three epochs in their national existence: 1. From Moses to Saul, the first king. 2. From Saul to the Captivity. 3. From the Captivity to John the Baptist. The year of verse 8 refers to the ministry of Jesus: and the cutting down to the dispersion of the Jews, and the termination of their national history.

Luke 19:41 - William Styles

Luke 19:41, “He beheld the city, and wept over it,” etc. “The tears of our Lord over the perverseness of Jerusalem,” says Dean Alford, commenting on Matt. 23:37, are witnesses of the freedom of man’s will to resist the grace of God. They are indeed currently regarded as manifesting that Christ would have saved the souls of all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but could not; and similarly that He now strives by His Spirit to save all men, but cannot do so.” This is, however, an unwarranted view of the passage. Christ was made in all things like unto His brethren, and as a sinless man He felt the sincerest love for His country. As God, the future lay open to Him, and He fully foresaw the woe that would so soon overtake them. His tears therefore witnessed to the love and pity of His perfect humanity; and to His patriotism and real affection for the Jewish nation, but they do not teach that His sovereign will to save sinners was then, or has been since frustrated, or that “the Holy Spirit strives in many a heart in the name of a weeping Christ—but in vain.”

Matthew 23:37 - William Styles

“O Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not” (Matt. 23:37). Often quoted to prove that Christ (since “He is the same yesterday, today, and for ever”), still vehemently desires to effect the salvation of sinners, and to this end tries to gather them to Himself by striving with them by His Spirit, but that many are unwilling to be saved, and therefore resist the Spirit, and are thus lost.

Notice, however, 1. The design of the passage as a whole. It consists of an address to the Scribes and Pharisees (verses 13-39) in which their hypocrisy and persecuting spirit are rebuked, and the destruction of their city and temple is predicted. This determines the scope of the verse. The Lord is speaking as the Jewish Messiah to Jews, and declaring that by rejecting Him they would seal their national doom. His words cannot therefore, by any fair principle of interpretation be referred to sinners in general.

2. The determination which the Lord asserts had influenced Him. “I would have gathered you.” Does this express His will as one of the great Sacred Three, or His will as a man, with that independence of judgment and decision with which His human nature necessarily invested Him? The will of Christ as God, to save His elect is eternal and immutable, but the attributes of the human nature of Christ while on earth were often affected by local and relative considerations—in proof of which consult Mark 10:21, Luke 19:41, and 22:42. The will referred to was not eternal and continuous as the adverb “often” demonstrates. The verse therefore, does not teach that Jesus determined and endeavoured to effect the spiritual and eternal salvation of these people, but that He frequently attempted to gather them around Him that He might instruct them.

3. The persons mentioned in the verse, “the children of Jerusalem,” and the Scribes and Pharisees, addressed by the pronoun “ye.” Two distinct parties are contemplated. The verse is often quoted, “How often would I have gathered you, but ye would not.” This suits a theological purpose, but perverts the meaning of the verse. Notice then the persons alluded to—“thy children.” This may be understood literally or metaphorically. Literal children may be intended. Jesus received little children on one memorable occasion (Matt. 19:14-15), nor can we say that it was an isolated one. If this view be adopted, Jesus is here rebuking the Scribes and Pharisees for putting obstacles in the way of children who would have received His teachings. Surely Jesus must have been popular with the children. Never once do we read of an insult offered to Him by a child. The word “children” may, again, be used metaphorically, in the sense of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. “The common people heard Him gladly,” until they were prejudiced against Him by the scribes and Pharisees. It will be noticed that the latter supposition really embodies the former. Children were comprehended in the whole population. Notice the persons addressed, “ye.” The Scribes and Pharisees were determined that the people, young and old, should not be gathered to Christ (John 12:42.)

The sum then of the passage is, “that Christ as the Messiah out of a compassionate regard for His people, the Jews, to whom He was sent as the minister of the Circumcision, would have gathered them together under His ministry, and have instructed them in the knowledge of Himself as the Messiah; which, if they had only nationally received, would have secured them, as chickens under the hen, from impending judgments,”—perhaps the Roman eagle is implied in the figure. “Their” religious teachers and “governors however—not they themselves—would not.” Hence the national punishment they afterwards suffered.—From Gill’s Commentary. The verse, therefore, by no means teaches or implies the doctrine of the common strivings of the Spirit.

Malachi 2:15 - William Styles

“Yet had He the residue of the spirit,” Mal. 2:15. These words have no connection with the work of the Holy Spirit. The prophet is reproving the Jews for marrying idolatrous women (verse 11), on account of which the Lord rejected their offerings. On their enquiring why (verse 14), the answer is given: “Because He hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth against whom that hast dealt treacherously (by casting her off in order than an alliance with an idolatrous woman might be formed) although she is thy companion and the wife of the (lawful marriage) covenant.’ “Did not He, at the creation make one?” i.e., Adam, the only man created immediately by Him, “though He had the residue of the spirit,” i.e., He had no lack of creative energy, and the acts of His power were limited solely by His pleasure. And wherefore (died He create but) one? That He might seek or secure a godly seed—that the human race might be produced by generation in honourable wedlock. Thus the fact that God created one and but one man, and provided but one help meet for him is alleged against the evil practices which the prophet condemns. These passages therefore do not assert or imply that the Spirit endeavours to effect the salvation of all men." -William Styles

1 Corinthians 12:7 - William Styles

“Thou hast given unto every man of the residue of the Spirit, that he may profit withal.” The above was advanced to the writer by a Wesleyan class leader, in proof of the doctrine that the Spirit endeavours to induce every man to become religious at some period of his life. No such text, however, occurs in the Bible, though its phraseology is borrowed from the following:

“The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal”—1 Cor. 12:7. This, according to Albert Barnes, himself an Arminian, “simply means that the Spirit gives to each Christian (for the Apostle is discouraging of Christians only) such graces and endowments as He pleases—not equally, but in a manner which He shall choose—that all Christians should use their endowments for the common good.”

Isaiah 30:18 - William Styles

Isa. 30:18, “And therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious to you:”—supposed to teach that God, by His Spirit, waits on sinners for a period during which He is prepared to save them, if they are willing. But the chapter primarily refers to the Jews, who are threatened with banishment for their sins, v. 17. Yet their national recovery is predicted. God would wait the allotted time of their punishment, and in due time be gracious unto them: and they should again dwell at Jerusalem.

By no fair principle of accommodation can the verse be made to bear the popular, but erroneous, interpretation, for there is no analogy between God’s conduct to His ancient people, to which the verse alludes, and the presumed efforts which the Spirit makes to save all men.

It is nowhere asserted in the Bible that God waits on sinners in order to save them—but He does wait in relation to periods, places, and persons. (1) Periods. He waits for His own pre-appointed time to bless His people—and never either hurries or delays (Psa. 102:13; Hab. 2:3; Rom. 5:6; Gal. 4:24; 1 Pet. 5:6). (2) Places. He waits at the Mercy-seat that He may be gracious—holds Himself engaged to be present, and wait at every spot of difficulty in our journey (Isa. 43:2; 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Tim. 4:17). (3) Persons. He waits on and for His people in seasons of special trial. Every gospel promise binds god to wait in grace on the character portrayed in it. Note, this is the only text in the bible in which the word “wait” applies to Jehovah.

Genesis 6:3 - William Styles

Gen. 6:3: “My Spirit shall not always strive with man,” often cited to prove that the Spirit, for a limited time, endeavours to induce all men to become religious. This, however, is not the meaning of the text: for (1), The context refers to the impending destruction of the world by the Flood, and not to the salvation of sinners. (2) Its obvious interpretation is, that one hundred and twenty years should elapse between the first intimation of God’s purpose to destroy the world, and the occurrence of the Deluge. (3) The operations of the Spirit in the hearts of sinners are never in the Scriptures designated “strivings,” nor would the term be accurate. His saving dealings are not with men but in men—and He does not struggle with opposing life, but comes to quicken where death reigns. (4) The verse is an allusion to Noah, who as a preacher of righteousness,” not of salvation, was inspired by the Spirit, and who through him, strove with the antediluvians. The neglect of these warnings necessitated the fearful judgment to which the chapter refers.

The cross the only ground of Justification in all dispensations - William Styles

"The cross the only ground of Justification in all dispensations. We hold that the saints who lived before the death of Jesus were justified on the ground of the work which He had undertaken to perform; while those that have lived since are justified on the ground of His actually accomplished work, and that thus the cross of Jesus lays the one, all-sufficient and most glorious foundation for the salvation of the whole election of grace (Luke 10:24; John 8:56; Heb. 9:4 and 13; Rev. 13:8; Rom. 3:25, “Whom God hath set forth” in the covenant before time, and now, declaratively in the proclamation of the gospel, “to be a propitiation through faith in His blood; to declare His righteousness,” in two most momentous particulars. First “For the remission of sins that are past,” that is to say, in respect to His pardoning sins that had taken place before Jesus died; and, Secondly, “to declare at this time His righteousness” in justifying sinners who have lived since; “that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” The Cross is the eternal vindication of God’s righteousness in His displays of grace. He has poured out His righteous wrath upon sin, in order that He might pour the everlasting beams of His favour on chosen sinners. Psa. 32:1, 71:16; Rom. 4:2; Isa. 38:17).

“Thus Abraham, the friend of God,
Thus all the armies bought with blood,
Saviour of sinners, Thee proclaim,
Sinners—of whom the chief I am.”

-William Styles

In the secret views of God, justified from everlasting - William Styles

"Effect of Atonement and Redemption. Eternal Justification. We believe that on the ground of the righteousness which the Lord Jesus engaged to work out; the whole election of grace were, in the secret views of God, justified from everlasting, and were thus accepted, approved, and acquitted in His sight as they stood in association with their glorious Surety from before the foundation of the world. (Num. 23:21; Jer. 1:20; Eph. 1:6. Note.—The restricted view of this text popularly given, falls sadly short of its real meaning. It stands in connection with God’s secret acts of eternal and sovereign grace, and teaches that by the unchanging settlements of the covenant, we were chosen, adopted, and accepted in Christ before the foundation of the world. Compare the rendering in the Revised Version.

“The chosen people” were of old,
Pure in Jehovah’s sight,
And never did He them behold,
But with a vast delight.
“O, with what pleasure He surveyed,
The highly favoured train,
Saw Jesus and His honoured bride,
In perfect splendour shine.
“In the pure arms of Sovereign grace,
He clasped the chosen see,
Determined evermore to bless,
The members in their Head.”

-William Styles

Aware of their interest in His justifying righteousness - William Styles

"Christ’s blood, when sprinkled on the conscience, imparts peace. We believe that the blood which Jesus carried into heaven, and sprinkled upon Jehovah’s throne (Heb. 9:12), is in due time sprinkled by the Holy Spirit on the conscience of His people (Heb. 9:14, 1 Pet. 1:2), by which most gracious act they become aware of their interest in His justifying righteousness, and realize the fact that their heavenly Father hath, for Christ’s sake, forgiven them all trespasses (1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:5)." -William Styles

Justification terminates in the consciences of redeemed sinners - William Styles

"Justification terminates in the consciences of redeemed sinners. We thus hold that the act of Justification by the power of the Holy Spirit, terminates in the consciences of believers, who through faith are brought to know and rejoice that the satisfaction of Jesus has availed for them, and that they stand for ever accepted and acquitted in the person and through the righteousness of the dear Redeemer (Heb. 9:14 and 10:2, 15-18)." -William Styles

Justified declaratively by works in the sight of the church and the world

"Justification by works. We believe that all who were justified decretively before the foundation of the world; virtually when Christ rose from the dead (Rom. 4:25); and experimentally when His blood is brought into vital contact with their consciences (Rom. 5:9, 10; Heb. 10:19-22), are justified declaratively by works in the sight of the church and the world by the performance of those holy actions which openly demonstrate their reception of the saving grace of God (James 2:17, 18)." -William Styles

1 Timothy 4:10 - William Styles

“God is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe” (1 Tim. 4:10); by which we are to understand not Christ, but the Father, as the Governor of the universe, in which capacity He exercises a general providence over mankind, and a special one over His people, and thus even false teachers who pervert and deny the truths of the Gospel, have their forfeited lives, spared with much long suffering for many years, and enjoy the benefits of the mercy they abuse; and when sickness and danger bring them near to destruction, are again and again ‘bought’ or ‘redeemed’ from the jaws of destruction by the power of the God they deny. But in their case, the redemption is by power, not by blood, and is only a postponement, for wise purposes, of the doom that awaits them. Thus in these particulars, they answer to the ignoble types presented in the history of the darkest age of God’s ancient people.”—Abridged from an article in The Gospel Herald for 1876, by G.W. Shepherd.

For fuller information, the reader may consult The Cause of God and Truth, by John Gill, D.D. Two papers in the Gospel Herald for 1874, by the writer, may prove helpful.—Epistles to Theophilus, by James Wells, Nos. 1, 2. and 3.

2 Peter 2:1 - William Styles

“Denying the Lord that bought them,” 2 Pet. 2:1, quoted to prove either that the truly saved may apostatize, or that Christ died for some that live and die unsaved, and therefore that His atonement is universal. The word translated Lord is, however, not Kyrios, the title usually given to Christ; but Despotes, a term implying absolute ownership, as of a master who has purchased slavs. It is rendered “Master” by Alford, and in the Revised version. By many it is referred to God the Father, as it must indisputably be in Jude 4, and perhaps in Rev. 6:10 and other passages.

The Apostle is dwelling upon the Divine origin, and reliable character of the Old Testament. “Holy men spake as moved by the Holy Ghost.”

These “holy men” are then contrasted with the “false prophets” contemporary with them, and it is predicted that in like manner in New Testament times there should be “false prophets,” who like their ancient prototypes, “should privily bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that brought them.”

We, therefore, inquire who these Old Testament prophets were who denied the Lord; and in what sense the Lord bought them. We shall then perceive in what manner, and to what extent, the same phraseology can be applied to the false teachers referred to.

The prophets of Baal are included. Zedekah the son of Chenaanah (1 Kings 22:11), Pashur the son of Immer (Jer. 20;6), Hananiah the son of Asure (Jer. 28:15) with others occur to the mind. In what sense can the Lord be said to have bought those? For upon this the present interpretation depends.

If they were bought savingly by the blood of Christ, and yet perished (as there can be no doubt they did), we could not maintain that redemption by the blood of Jesus ensures salvation, in which case the hope of every redeemed soul would be shaken. But if not, how were they bought? There is a scriptural alternative. The words, “redeemed,” “saved,” “ransomed,” and “bought,” are in one or two passages used in reference to the mercies of Providence. “and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm (Exod. 6:6); “But because the Lord loved you, He hath redeemed you from the hand of Pharaoh” (Deut. 7:8); “Go ye forth from Babylon, say ye the Lord hath redeemed Jacob” (Isa. 48:20); “For I am the Lord thy God, thy Saviour. I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee” (Isa. 43:3); “Do ye thus requite the Lord? Is not He thy Father that hath bought thee?” (Deut. 32:6).

From which it is clear that the whole nation of Israel are said to have been bought, saved, ransomed, and redeemed; and with them, of course, the false prophets. But it is equally clear that nothing saving in a gospel sense is involved, except in a typical way, and that the buying or redemption related to their deliverance from Egypt and Babylon, and in general to the temporal mercies of a gracious Providence.

Now, if this was the case with the false prophets, who furnished the apostle with his examples, is it not just to conclude, that the same thing is meant of those of whom he writes?

Romans 3:22 - William Styles

“Even the rightreousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe,” Rom. 3:22. An amended punctuation of these words is suggested to defend the doctrine of a universal atonement. “Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all—and upon all that believe;” but neither Alford, Bloomfield, Valpy, nor Calvin favour it. J.N. Darby, who suggested it, being almost the only scholar who can be appealed to in its support. David Brown, D.D., indeed suggests that it means that “Christ’s righteousness is extended to all, and rests on all them that believe,” but on no authority, and his meaning is hard to grasp. There is therefore no doubt but that our translation is correct. The words, “and upon all,” are pleonastic, introduced (so Calvin and Tholuck say) “for the purpose of confirming and emphasizing the preceding clause, ‘which is unto all;’” and are intended to state, with all possible emphasis, that believing sinners, whether Gentiles or Jews, are interested in the salvation of God. In the Revised Translation “and upon all” is omitted. If this reading is received, the verse requires no comment.

1 Timothy 4:10 - William Styles

“Who is the Saviour of all men,” 1 Tim. 4:10. Rightly understood, these words do not imply that the atonement is universal. St. Paul is referring to his arduous labours in the Master’s service, and he tells us that he and his colleagues “both labour and suffer reproach: because we trust in the living God.” This does not mean that he was reproached for his faith in God, but that his perseverance and patience were attributable to his making God his trust, through grace. It has been supposed that the Father, and not Christ, is here intended. It is, however, doubtful whether the term Saviour can, with propriety be applied in the New Testament, to any but the Lord Jesus. The passage would then have no parallel, nor is it needful to give the word an exceptional explanation. Christ, as the result and reward of His mediatorial triumphs, has ascended “the throne of his glory,” and exercises His regal sway in heaven, on earth, and even makes His supremacy felt in hell. Every good sovereign is, in a sense, the saviour of his subjects, and the King of kings is emphatically so of the children of men. He upholds all things by the word of His power. His authority secures the perpetuity of all that is peaceful and pleasant. His power controls the influence of the Prince of darkness. Every rill of social joy flows at His bidding. The pierced hands of the once crucified Redeemer wield the scepter of universal dominion with clemency and consideration; and He is thus, in a temporal and providential sense, the Saviour of every man under heaven. Hence J.N. Darby renders it “preserver of all men,” in which sense it is strictly parallel with Job. 7:20. but Christ is the Saviour of His people. In this two-fold character the Lord was the object of the Apostle’s confidence—as the universal King, sustaining and supporting all men, and as the church’s Surety and Shepherd to whom He extends peculiar care.

Hebrews 2:9 - William Styles

“That He, by the grace of God should taste death for every man,” Heb. 2:9. These words have been quoted to prove that Christ died for the whole human race. Two consideration, however, lead to a contrary opinion. (1.) The context—The Apostle is discussing the grace of the Redeemer in identifying himself with the “many sons,” whom it is the sovereign purpose of God to bring unto glory. As the “Captain of their salvation,” it was needful that He should be made, relatively and officially, “perfect through sufferings;” and to this end He tasted death—not for every man universally—but for every member of the enrolled family whose cause He had undertaken. (2.) A critical examination of the original shows that the word man is inserted without authority in our translation. The latitude of the word pantos (every, or each) must, therefore, be determined by the connection, which, as we have seen, limits it to the children of God, for each or every one of whom Christ has tasted death. The force of the word “tasted” is often misunderstood. As in Psa. 34:8, and 1 Pet. 2:3; the force of the term is to drink slowly, as a wine taster might who wishes to ascertain the exact character of a sample. Christ did not simply die (see page 46), but died in the full cognizance of all the horrors of death. A popular modern view of this verse which regards it as teaching that all men are benefited by Christ’s mediation (true as that idea undoubtedly is) is untenable. It refers only to His dying for His elect.

1 Timothy 2:6 - William Styles

“Who gave Himself a ransom for all,” (1 Tim. 2:6). Supposed to teach that Christ has given Himself a ransom for the whole human race; but an examination of the context will show the view to be untenable. St. Paul’s subject is prayer, which he exhorts should be offered for “all men,” verse 1. This determines the force of the word “all” in the passage before us. To suppose that we should pray for every human being that lives, has lived, or shall live, is absurd. Men of all classes and characters are evidently intended. In this sense, too, Christ was a ransom for all. Salvation is restricted to no one nation. Its range is predetermined by the sovereign will of Jehovah, irrespectively of men’s social or political standing, and He purposes that all sorts of men, Jew, Gentile, Greek, barbarian, bond and free, old and young, shall be saved, verse 4. Such therefore have been bought with the blood of Christ, and faith is encouraged to offer petitions for any for whose eternal welfare we are solicitous.

2 Corinthians 5:15 - William Styles

(2 Cor. 5:15), “He died for all,” words which, says A. Barnes, demonstrate that the atonement is general, and that the merits of Christ’s death have an original applicability to all men. They, however, admit of a different interpretation. St. Paul is addressing the Corinthians among whom his apostleship was questioned. Conscious of integrity, he appeals to the Judge of all hearts and notions, before whom he must finally appear, and he assures those to whom he wrote that he and his colleagues were—like all true Christians—actuated by the constraining love of the Redeemer. They felt that all the blessings of salvation were meritoriously attributable to Him. Formerly they all alike had been dead in trespasses and sins. Now they were the favoured participators of eternal life; which was His gift, who had redeemed them by His blood. Christ’s dying on their behalf proved their former condition to have been one of death, and gave Him the strongest right to their gratitude and service. Hence their devotion to Him. These considerations limit the latitude of the term “all,” to the recipients of spiritual life. The passage may be thus explained:— “Our labours in the cause of Christ are indeed great, but His love in giving Himself a sacrifice for us constrains us. For we gratefully remember that since nothing short of His agonizing death could have effected the sacrifice of any one of us—whether Jews or Gentiles, and whatever our moral or social standing may have been—all of us alike without distinction, were legally and spiritually dead. We judge, therefore, that since all of us are saved by His death, now that we are, through His grace, alive unto God, we should not live unto ourselves, but to promote the cause of our dying and risen Lord.” The “all,” therefore, refers to regenerated persons only, and does not imply a universal atonement.

John 1:29, John 3:16-17, John 4:42, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:14 - William Styles

“The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) “For God so loved the world,” etc. (John 3:16), and “sent His Son, that the world, through Him, might be saved.” (John 3:17) “This is the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42) “He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” (1 John 4:14). These passages admit of two interpretations. (1) That the design of salvation was absolutely universal: That God sent Christ to expiate the sins of the whole of Adam’s race: and, That all the sins of all sinners have been removed by His oblation. If a universal sense of the word “world” be insisted on, we contend for nothing short of this. The verses do not express the idea that Christ died to give all men a chance of salvation—or that He died for all, if they are willing to accept Him. Whatever may be the scope of the word “world,” the force of the other expressions is too plain to be evaded. Theologians, therefore, who insist that the word “world” in the above passages, means every sinner who ever has lived, or will live, must behold in the case of every lost soul a frustrated God, and an inefficacious atonement—or they must believe with the Universalists in the final salvation of the whole human race. (2) But surely a more consistent interpretation may be found. The word world is used in the Bible in a great variety of sense. Thus in Psalm 93:1, it means the material earth; in Col. 1:6, all to whom Christianity is a subject of interest; in Matt. 28:20, time; in John 12:19, the majority of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; in Luke 2:1, the nations which were subject to Rome at the time of the nativity; in Rom. 5:12, the whole human race; and in John 7:7, sinners who oppose the gospel. It is therefore disingenuous to employ it as if it always had one unvarying and definite meaning. Like all universal terms its range must be decided by the context. Its meaning in the texts before us may readily be determined by considering the evident scope and design of their writer.

The range of the salvation of Israel after the flesh was limited to one nation, while that of the gospel is world-wide, sinners of all nations being interested in it. This fact demanded declaration by all that were first commissioned to proclaim the gospel of Christ, especially as it was regarded with disfavour by the Jews. As embodying and enforcing this truth, we regard the passages quoted, “Behold the Lamb of God!” the benefits of whose sacrifice shall avail not for one nation only, but for sinners of all nations—the term being employed in an anti-national sense. Christ “is the propitiation,” not for converted Jews alone, as some were incorrectly contending, but ”for the sins of the whole world,” or (omitting, as is preferable, the italicized interpolation), “the whole world.” Those interested in the propitiation of Jesus are scattered over the habitable globe. Hence the gospel commission to the disciples to “go out—not into Jewish territories alone, but—into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The elect of God are dispersed in all countries. Hence the declaration, that “the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions