IN ITS POPULAR AND SCRIPTURAL ASPECTS
How common are these expressions! We hear them from the pulpit and the platform. We see them in books, and tracts, and pamphlets; but who can tell us what they mean? Who can give us any coherent explanation of them?
One thing is very evident to a thinker, viz., that the majority of the employers of these terms are under a thorough misconception of their meaning. This may readily be proved from the very books, tracts, and pamphlets in which they are found. "Grace," "Salvation by free-Grace," are terms that in ninety-nine instances out of every hundred, are wrested from their true meaning!
Let us take the following as examples:--
"Grace," says one, "is that gracious act of God by which he offers salvation to all."
"Grace," says another, "is that gracious provision which God has made for the eternal being of His creatures."
"Grace," says a third, "is that gracious purpose of God by which he designs to save people, which, if they fall in with, well and good; but which, if they neglect, woe betide them!"
"Grace," says a fourth, "is that gracious scheme by which God has arranged to accept fallen man's works of sincerity in lieu of works of perfection, for salvation."
These four definitions, I think, embody all that is advanced by the popular preachers or writers of the day upon the subject. And when we demur to any or all of them--when we insist upon it that there are no such things as offers of salvation in the Bible, and even supposing there were, there are millions upon millions of people upon earth who have never had the offer; when, again, we demur to the theory of God having made a provision for the eternal well-being of His creatures, which, in the vast majority of instances ends in failure; when we enquire, How could a purpose of God's be frustrated? Or How can works of any kind have anything to do with man's salvation, seeing that the Scriptures put a decided veto upon the idea?--Our enquiries are met by all sorts of equivocations, metaphysical subtleties, contradictory statements, and argumentative flounderings, which in any other cause but that of "divinity" would not be tolerated for a moment!
O how strange it is that professing religious men cannot give a clear and succinct statement of Biblical truth! Why should there be confusion or contradiction in theology any more than in law or in science!
True, in Revelation there are "some things hard to be understood;" but leaving those "hard things," is it not abundantly clear that salvation is not of works? (Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 3:20; Rom. 11:6) Is it not as clear that God deals arbitrarily with nations, and with individuals too? (Deut. 7:6,7; Ps. 78:67-70; Rom. 9:11-18) Is it not as clear that no salvation has been provided for devils, and that man, by nature, is worse than a devil? (Heb. 2:16; Rom. 4:16; Eph. 2:1; Rom. 8:7; Col. 2:13; James 2:19) Is it not as clear that Christ, the Mighty God, has wrought out salvation for His church or people? (Eph. 5:25; 1 Pet. 2:24; John 17:4; Dan. 9:24; Isa. 53) Is it not as clear that Christ Jesus has all power in His hands; that His prayers are never inefficacious; (John 17:2; Matt. 28:18; John 11:42) that He has God's people committed to His care, and that consequently they shall never perish? (John 6:37,39; John 10:15,28) Are not these things, and many others of a similar kind, unequivocally revealed in the Scriptures? And why should there be any confusion or contradiction of statement with regard to any of them? I answer, it is because of unbelief.
Men, though they profess to be religious, do not believe the Bible! Hence all the confusion of tongues and utterances. Men dare not deny the Scriptures; but when they meet with statements therein which they cannot reconcile with their carnal notions, they supply a commentary from their deceitful hearts, and hence we have sermons, and speeches, and tracts that clash with the Word of God, and render the authors ridiculous.
What is stranger than all, those very men charge us who speak and write about religion so that people can understand it (whether they "receive" it or not is another thing) with systematizing theology!
I would ask, What are they themselves continually doing but "systematizing?" Is it not by a system that the Trinitarian interprets the Scriptures? Is it not by a system that the Unitarian or Socinian interprets the Scriptures? Is it not by a system that the Tractarian interprets the Scriptures? Is it not by a system that the Evangelical interprets the Scriptures? Is it not by a system that the Methodist, the Baptist, the Independent, the Romanist, the Quaker, the Swedenborgian, the Mormonite, the Arminian of every shade and form, interprets the Scriptures? Surely so! And why should the consistent, the logical, and devoted admirers of free and sovereign grace be railed at for interpreting the Scriptures by a system?
In one of our Articles (XX.), we have a system clearly laid down for the interpretation of the Scriptures. It is this, viz., "Neither may the Church so expound one place of Scripture that it be repugnant to another." Now, that is exactly the system which we, the holders of the doctrine of free and sovereign grace adopt and follow. We cannot believe that there are two opposing doctrines taught in the Scriptures.
Truth, like its Author, must be One: so let our accusers look to it. They themselves adopt a system; but the difference between them and us is--their system is a bungling one, ours is that of "a workman who needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15)
But it is time that I came to the true definition of the terms "Grace," "Free-Grace," "Salvation full and free by Grace." The word rendered "grace" in our version, in the original, means favor or kindness, or charity; so that our text will read--"by favor, or kindness, or charity, ye are saved through faith, etc."
The term "free-grace" is not in the Scriptures; but this is no reason why we may not legitimately employ it, for its equivalent is there (Rom. 3:24); and, besides, it is acknowledged on all hands that whatever may be proved by Scripture is, or ought to be, as much an article of belief as if it were expressed in so many words.
It is with the term "free" or "freely" we have now to do. What does it mean?
Many would answer, "Without restriction"--"Open to all"--"Without money and without price for every one under the sun." But I can have no hesitation in asserting that this is not the meaning of the term; and that it is from want of knowledge of the correct signification of this word there is so much delusion in the world upon the subject of salvation.
The word rendered "free," or freely," in our version, is, in the original, without cause, or undeservedly: and hence it also means gratuitously or without charge.
Our text, then, will read, "by undeserved or gratuitous favor ye are saved," etc.; and the passage in Rom. 3:24 will read, "being justified undeservedly by His favor, etc., i.e., being justified without any inducing cause, by His favor through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
This completely excludes all works, merits, or claim on man's part in the way of salvation, and stamps God, and God alone, as the dispenser of His grace or favor to whom He wills. Free-grace is consequently diametrically opposed to free-will. It is only by confounding the two terms "free" in these compound words that the opposite idea can be fostered. The word "free" in the compound "free-grace," means, as has been shown, without cause or undeservedly: the word "free" in the compound "free-will," means unrestricted, or a power to act at pleasure on the part of man. In short, it is only by confounding the sound with the sense of these two words that the absurdity I allude to can meet with acceptance. Free-grace is grace given by God to the individual on whom He wills to have mercy. Free-will is the will or power of man to seize upon, or to demand grace from God, whether God wills to give it or not! An awful error! An error that has been held tenaciously, as a lie in the right hand, by countless souls gone into eternity; and error that is still slaying its thousands, and tens of thousands! May the Lord be pleased to deliver the readers of these pages from its terrible consequences!
If I might simplify the Scripture doctrine of free-grace, I would illustrate it thus, viz.:--Suppose a rich gentleman moving amongst a crowd of ragged and loathsome beggars, and giving a sovereign to this, and a sovereign to that person, just as he thinks fit. There is nothing in one of them more than in another to induce this benevolent gentleman to give his money. Not one of them all has any claim upon him, but he gives his money because he is pleased to give it. Now there is God giving His grace to those of His fallen, ruined creatures whom He chooses to give it to. Not one of them has anything in him to induce God to give His favor: not one of them has any claim upon God: but God gives it where He chooses, and just because it is "the good pleasure of His will." (Eph. 1:5)
So far for the real and unstrained meaning of "Grace," and "Free-grace." Now for the signification of the expression, "Salvation by grace, both full and free." There can be no question but that the majority of the employers of this phrase understand by it, Salvation provided for every individual of the fallen race of Adam. It is not easy to get at their meaning of the word "full" here, but of their meaning of the word "free," there can be no doubt that it is founded upon the false or erroneous signification of that term that has just been exposed. Salvation is not thus free; but is exactly "free" in the sense that grace is "free" in. But what about the fullness of salvation? Do the popular preachers and writers mean Completeness? Salvation finished? Salvation wrought out by Christ? Salvation secured for all?
If so, then we ask, why are not all saved?
"Ah, but," the objectors suggest, "men won't do as God bids them, and so they cannot be saved." "What!" I inquire, "are you for overthrowing salvation by grace, that you talk about men's doings in the matter? A great man, and an acute reasoner, a long time ago, wrote thus upon the very subject:--"If by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Rom. 11:6) And, besides, I ask, what about this fullness--this completeness--of salvation that you speak of? Can that be full or complete that needs some of my doing? Surely it is monstrous to talk of a full or a complete salvation for every man, if every man is not a partaker of that salvation, or if this salvation requires the finishing stroke to be put to it by every one who would enjoy it!
O, no, not at all," objects a flippant opponent; "it might be full and complete for a man, and he not partake of it, just as it is possible for a dinner to be complete for a man, and he not partake of it. If the man won't eat the dinner, he will derive no benefit from it. So it is with salvation full and free; if men will not take advantage of the privilege provided, it will be of no use to them.
To this I reply--This is exactly the sort of reasoning we might expect from one who is only partially acquainted with the case. He knows something of the Atonement, but he knows nothing of his own ruin. He has yet to learn that, and also the part which the Holy Spirit takes in the scheme of salvation. But, reader, think with me for a moment whilst I examine and analyze this oft-used and most deceptive illustration.
First, in order that salvation, full and complete, be fairly represented by the dinner here and the supposed diner, it should be a fact that it (salvation) is offered to every man. Secondly, it should be a fact that every man has an appetite for it, as a healthy man before his dinner is supposed to have an appetite for it. Thirdly, it should be a fact that the salvation that God has provided is in no wise repulsive to man, as the dinner is supposed to have nothing in its composition repulsive to the anticipated partaker's tastes.
Now, it so happens that the illustration breaks down in all of these three particulars! For, first, there is no such thing as an offer of salvation in the entire Bible. Secondly, man, by nature, has no appetite whatever for what God has provided for His people. Man has not only no appetite for spiritual food, but he is "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1)--and consequently cannot partake of it. Thirdly, even if man, by nature, can get to understand the quality of the feast provided, and the mode in which God serves it, he will rise in opposition and disgust, for "the carnal mind is enmity against God." (Rom. 8:7)
I grant that salvation, full and free, may be compared to a feast (a feast, indeed it is, "a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined," (Isa. 25:6) but it is a feast "full and free" only to those who have been quickened by the Holy Spirit, who have had appetites given them to enjoy what God has provided, and have had their understandings enlightened to know that this grace is wholly undeserved, or without cause on their part.
I distinctly, advisedly, and unhesitatingly declare this, whether men believe it or not. Salvation is full and free indeed--full, so full that nothing can be done to mend it or to mar it; and so free that it is wholly undeserved and gratuitous--but it is only so for those to whom God in His sovereign will chooses to grant it.
Here is the axe laid at the root of free-will or creature power, that "damnable heresy" by which the churches in all ages, but especially in this, have been deceived, mocked, and deluded!
But let no humble or timid reader be scared by this out-spoken truth. Reader! If you are a poor Spirit-convinced sinner, seeing that there is no hope but in Christ's finished work; if you really feel that you are unworthy of the least of all God's kindnesses; if you are content to be dealt with according to a Sovereign God's will and wisdom, or if you are praying for resignation to be content therewith; if you have renounced that self-righteousness and supposed power of yours that you brought into the world with you; in short, if you are humbled in the dust, and dare "never more to open your mouth, because of your shame for all that you have done" (Ezek. 16:63)--you have no need to be afraid: the Lord has been with you, and either is, or has been, teaching you the lesson, "By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8,9) You are already saved with an everlasting salvation! You have nothing whatever to do to help out your salvation. The thing is done for you by Him who planned it, wrought it out, and is now applying it.
I think I have now clearly and accurately defined the terms "Grace," "Free-grace," and "Salvation by grace, both full and free." If the definitions are right, of course there is an extinguisher put upon the popular idol, "Free-will;" but I am not weak enough to suppose that the idolaters will close their temple, or demolish their god for all that. They have many objections to urge against the Scriptural state of things. I would fairly state some of them, and logically and Scripturally answer them.
The great objection against free or sovereign grace is, that it represents God as unjust.
"If man's salvation is sheerly a matter of God's arbitrary favor, then God must be unjust in damning any body." Such is the rash conclusion to which Arminians of all kinds come!
As I have been observing a little while ago, in reply to another objection, this is just the sort of reasoning we might expect from one who did not know the whole of the case; but when we take the solemn fact into consideration that all men, without a single exception, fell in Adam, and that consequently all, without exception, come into this world as fallen, ruined sinners, enemies of God, whom God might, if He chose, leave without a single loop-hole of escape, and shut out for ever from His presence, there can be no warrant whatever for this rash charge against Him. Of course, if a man deny the fall in Adam, and its consequences, I cannot argue with him; but if he acknowledge what the Scriptures positively assert, my conclusions must be irrefragable.
Men come into the world God-hating, blaspheming sinners, without a single claim upon God's favor or grace, and God would have been perfectly just if He had left us all to perish. But in the Sovereignty of His will, He purposed to have mercy on some. His own words are, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy--I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." (Exod. 33:19; Rom. 9:15) All men acknowledge the right of a sovereign to exercise the prerogative of mercy, and why should they deny God the exercise of it?
How silly and insane would a man convicted of a capital offence and sentenced to be hanged, appear if he were to ask for justice, or if he were to complain of injustice! "Why, man," the judge would reply, "you have had justice, impartial justice, meted out to you!" "But," observes the criminal, "here is a fellow prisoner, one equally guilty with me, whom you have let off; why not hang him as well as me?"
"It can be no injustice to you," replies the judge, "if your fellow-prisoner be let off; your case is beyond question, and though all the criminals in England were let off, you are the subject of pure justice: hold your tongue." "But why," continues this irrational, illogical man, "why let my fellow-prisoner off, and not me?" "Mercy," says the judge, "has been shown to your fellow-culprit, not through any extenuating circumstances of the case, but simply because the sovereign whose right it is to exercise grace, has chosen to grant this man a free pardon.
Now, let this fair and natural illustration be applied to the case of the sinner who complains of injustice on the part of God towards him, because He chooses to grant a free pardon to another sinner equally guilty, and the unreasonableness of the charge will at once be seen, and must be acknowledged, if men will submit even to reason.
But let us carry the illustration further. Let us suppose this unreasoning culprit to be convinced of the justice of his sentence, and that he on bended knees, and with an accusing conscience and a broken heart, pleads for Mercy, then he is in his right mind, then he occupies his proper position.
Dear reader, it is exactly so with the sinner and God. To demand justice is insanity. To plead for mercy is right reason. And I am certain that I have full warrant from my Master to declare to you that if you feel convicted of hell-deserving sin, if you feel that it can only be by sovereign mercy, through atoning blood, you can be saved, and if you plead for that mercy, you will be saved, yea, you are saved by grace!
Another form in which this objection against God's justice is often put is this, viz., "If God saves a man freely, or without cause, then of course, it follows that he damns a man freely or without cause."
To this I reply, Certainly not: though God saves a man without cause in the man, He does not damn a man without cause, for man is damned for his sins. Though God saves a sinner by His sovereignty, He damns a sinner by His equity or justice.
There is a vast difference between God's sovereignty and God's equity. Sovereignty is that attribute by which God "does as He wills in the armies of heaven and amongst the inhabitants of the earth." Equity is that attribute by which God, "as a God of justice," gives to every man according to his works or deserts. This last attribute shuts up every door of hope from fallen man. The first is that which alone opens the door of mercy. Were it not for God's sovereignty no man could be saved! Man is a criminal, for God's law has been outraged by him. Justice demands her victim. God's sovereignty alone can interfere, and make a way of escape through the door of "free-grace."
On any other principle, the Scriptures are flatly contradicted, grace is ignored, and man's salvation is established as a matter of debt on the part of God, or wages for work and labor done!
O that every reader of these pages, that the many children of God who are now walking in the darkness and impiety of "free-will," could see these things! O that all the Lord's dear and redeemed people, yet uncalled, were convicted of the daring iniquity they commit, whilst they rob God of His sovereign mercy in the matter of their salvation!
What free-willer or co-operator, under heaven, can take these words into his mouth--
"A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing!"
Not one! At least not one without stultifying himself or playing the hypocrite! For man must know that he is by nature lost, and merits hell, before he can understand what grace or mercy is, or be content to be saved by the sovereignty of God.
Another objection commonly made against the doctrine of salvation by free or sovereign grace is this, viz., "We acknowledge that man is justified by grace, and freely too, for the words are in the Scriptures, (Rom. 3:24) but this is what they mean, viz., God by an act of His sovereign will has thus placed all men in a new position, or forgives sins that are past (Rom. 3:25) by the atonement of Christ; but man must work out his own salvation after he has been placed in this new position."
To this I reply, It is very melancholy to think that such egregious ignorance should find countenance in the churches; but that it is widely spread there can be no doubt. Alas! Poor, deluded creatures, is this your theology? Then, you will as assuredly be excluded from God's presence as the sun is in heaven! But let me refute this dangerous delusion.
In the first place, the objectors draw a distinction between justification and salvation--a distinction that Paul knew nothing of, as is manifest by comparing Rom. 3:24, with Eph. 2:8,9, and many other passages. As "grace is glory begun," so is justification the first fruits of salvation. He that is justified is clear from all charges of sin and guilt, and consequently must be saved.
Secondly, It is a dreadful mistake to suppose that the passage in Rom. 3:25, alludes to the past sins of believers under the new dispensation, and to them only. For if this were true who could be saved, seeing that we all sin continually, (James 3:2) and that "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us?" (1 John 1:8)
Reader! Do you know that it is written--Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all?" (James 2:10) And that it is also written--"Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things written in the law to do them?" (Gal. 3:10) Now, "Sin being the transgression of the law;" (1 John 3:4) and, we believers, being conscious of continual breaches of that law (James 3:2) and it being a fact that it is written, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the law to do them," (Gal. 3:10) it must follow that if only our past sins have been remitted, we must all be damned!
Depend upon it, that he that has but one sin unatoned for, or one sin to answer for before God, will never enter heaven; for he is exposed to the whole wrath of God!
But the true meaning of Rom. 3:25, is thus clearly given by a late eminent divine, Mr. Haldane:--"Jesus Christ hath been set forth by God to be a propitiatory sacrifice, by which He brought in 'everlasting righteousness,' and by which it is now publicly manifested. On account, then or this righteousness, even before it was introduced, God pardoned or remitted the sins of His people under the Old Testament dispensation. Those having received the promises, although their accomplishment was yet afar off, were persuaded of them, and embraced them; thus exercising faith in the blood of that great propitiatory sacrifice, which was typified by the legal sacrifices, and through this faith, they received the remission of their sins." What is meant by "the forbearance of God" here, is, "It was owing to God's forbearance that He passed by the sins of His people before the death of Christ, till which time His law was not honored, and His justice had received no satisfaction.
"No sufficient atonement previous to that event was made for their sins, yet, through the forbearance of God, He did not immediately proceed to punish them, but had respect to the everlasting righteousness to be brought in the fullness of time (Dan. 9:24) by the propitiatory sacrifice of His Son, by which their sins were to be expiated. This verse beautifully indicates the ground on which Old Testament saints were admitted into heaven before the death of Christ." Let this passage be compared with Heb. 9:15, and the true meaning will at once be seen.
O Reader, if not yet "taught of God," be assured that there is no greater, more delusive, more awful error than that I am here combating! If your and my sins, past, present, and to come are not covered by Jesus Christ's blood, we can never be saved! Heed not ignorant speculators, give no ear to presumptuous adventurers, beware of even the most erudite and gifted "ministers" who would dare persuade you that anything depends upon your carnal doings in connection with your salvation! All is done, if it be done at all, for you and me. By the free, unmerited favor of God we are saved; through faith we get to know it. The whole work (the salvation and the faith) is the sheer gift of God: we have nothing to do with it; and for this good reason, amongst many others, lest any of us should boast by and by that we were not altogether debtors to the free, gratuitous mercy and favor of God for our salvation!
Thirdly, in reply to the last noticed objection, I would ask, What can men mean who say that all are now by Christ's death "placed in a new position?" Is the Turk, Jew, or Atheist "placed in a new position" by Christ's atonement? Are the millions of souls who have never heard of Christ "placed in a new position" by His death? Are all children born into the world "placed in a new position" by the sacrifice of Christ? If so, what does it consist in? Is every one now born into the world forgiven original sin, as some would insinuate, and given a fair start in life to make the best of it for another world? Then I assert, fearlessly, they have a far worse chance than Adam had, for he began with purity and power, they begin with impurity and impotence! And if he broke down with all his advantages, what is to become of us with all our disadvantages? Is God's law repealed? Has He relaxed in any of His requirements? Has He consented to admit the unclean, and unholy, and unrighteous, into heaven at last? Albeit He hurled the proud, the aspiring, and intellectual out of it at first?
Let the Scriptures answer:--
"Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:20)
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life." (Rom. 6:23)
"Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the law to do them." (Gal. 3:10)
This is decisive! Where, then 'is this "new position?'" Unmeaning and unwarranted phrase! Man, by nature, is in the same position as ever with regard to God! (Eph. 2:3) In Christ alone he is in a new position: and there he is placed by "free-grace," or by the sovereign mercy of God; and glory be to His holy name, he is in an impregnable position, a position that not only defends him from successful assaults, but defies the very "gates of hell!" (Col. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5; Matt. 16:18)
O, blessed be God for grace, free-grace! It has never been baffled, never surprised, never stopped in its progress; for it is of God, and from God, and so it acts like God, and saves with an everlasting salvation! This grace buries all our sins, covers all our guilt, comforts our souls, encompasses us in danger, prepares us for death, and fits us for eternity!
Let poor Pharisees and Formalists, Free-Willers and Co-operators, chalk out for themselves a way of salvation according to their own fond notions, but as for me, I would be saved by free and sovereign grace alone, to the honor and glory of my God!
"'By grace are ye saved!' The Bible declares;
Come, sinners, here's cause to rejoice;
Though you find yourselves carnal and sold under sin,
Yet wish to make Christ all your choice.
'By grace are ye saved!'--Good tidings indeed
To a man who is loaded with sin;
To hear of a Saviour who shed His own blood
To wash such a filthy wretch clean.
'By grace are ye saved!'--Encouraging thought!
To a sinner who feels himself lost:
Whose heart is a sink of all manner of sin,
And whose works are as dung and as dross.
'By grace are ye saved!'--That not of yourself:--
O sinner! This news suits you well;
For Jesus has died (astonishing thought!)
To redeem the poor sinner from hell.
'By grace are ye saved!'--Let Pharisees boast,
And despise a salvation this way;
I venture my all on my Jesus alone,
Whatever the Pharisees say.
'By grace are ye saved!' And the saved know it too,
When the Lord by His grace makes to see--
Salvation no soul ever yet did obtain
But by Jesus who bled on the tree.
'By grace are ye saved!' And that freely too;--
'Tis this makes the sinner rejoice;
When he feels himself drawn by unchangeable love,
He cannot but make Christ his choice.
'By grace are ye saved!' 'I grant it,' says one,
'For grace reach'd its arm out to me,
While I was a sinking to ruin and hell!
I'm sure that salvation is free.'"
Reader! My space prevents me saying much more. But there is one thing I desire to call your attention to, before I leave you, viz., the importance of searching the Scriptures, to see whether these things are so. As far as plain, clear, common sense can go towards solving a difficulty, I think I have been enabled to lead you. You can see how consistently the views of a believer in the doctrines of "free," or discriminating, or sovereign grace hang together. There is no contradiction, no confusion, no playing fast and loose with God or man, in any of them. They all beautifully harmonize. Now you know it is not so with the opposite party. They say and unsay, they build up and pull down, they tell you one thing today and another thing tomorrow; they cannot give a rational or connected outline of their theology, with the Bible in their hand. You know this. Now I ask you, which is most likely to be from God? God is not the author of confusion. I ask you to think. But here my province ceases: and here your power ends. The Spirit of God (if He have not been already with you) must take you in hand, He must convict you of sin, He must "take of the things of Christ and show them unto you," and He must teach you the great and blessed lesson of
to the doctrine of Salvation by "free-grace," which means not unrestricted, unlimited, or universal grace, but grace given by God to the objects of His choice, according to the sovereignty of His will. And, believe me, until you are taught this lesson, until you are content to be as "clay in the hands of the Potter," you are unconverted to God and the Lord Jesus, though you were the highest and the holiest moralist on the face of the earth!