Sermon 385. Exposition of the Doctrines of Grace
Thursday, April 11th, 1861.
EDITOR'S NOTE: These messages are part of the inaugural ceremonies held at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, when it firstopened. Spurgeon had already preached the first sermons there, beginning March 25, while the building was not yet quite finished.This, however, was the official opening ceremony, and Spurgeon presided, choosing several fellow pastors to expound the doctrinesof Calvinism. This guide is offered the reader wishing to follow the familiar TULIPacronym:
? Total depravity-"Human Depravity," by Evan Probert (message 2).
? Unconditional Election-"Election", by John Bloomfield (message 1).
? Limited Atonement-"Particular Redemption," by J. A. Spurgeon (message 3).
? Irresistible Grace-"Effectual Calling," by James Smith (message 4).
? Perseverance of the Saints-"The Final Perseverance of Believers in Christ Jesus," by William O'Neill (message 5).
The Rev. C. H. SPURGEON took the chair at 3 o'clock.
The proceedings were commenced by singing the 21st Hymn-
Saved from the damning power of sin,
The law's tremendous curse,
We'll now the sacred song begin
Where God began with us.
We'll sing the vast unmeasured grace
Which, from the days of old,
Did all his chosen sons embrace,
As sheep within the fold.
The basis of eternal love
Shall mercy's frame sustain;
Earth, hell, or sin, the same to move
Shall all conspire in vain.
Sing, O ye sinners bought with blood,
Hail the Great Three in One;
Tell how secure the cov'nant stood
Ere time its race begun.
Ne'er had ye felt the guilt of sin,
Nor sweets of pard'ning love,
Unless your worthless names had been
Enroll'd to life above.
O what a sweet exalted son
Shall rend the vaulted skies,
When, shouting, grace, the blood-wash'd throng
Shall see the Top Stone rise.
The Rev. George Wyard, of Deptford, offered prayer.
The REV. C. H. Spurgeon in opening the proceedings said, we have met together beneath this roof already to set forth mostof those truths in which consists the peculiarity of this Church. Last evening we endeavoured to show to the world, that weheartily recognised the essential union of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. And now, this afternoon and evening, it isour intention, through the lips of our brethren, to set forth those things which are verily received amongus, and especially those great points which have been so often attacked, but which are still upheld and maintained,-truthswhich we have proved in our experience to be full of grace and truth. My only business upon this occasion is to introducethe brethren who shall address you, and I shall do so as briefly as possible, making what I shall say a preface to their remarks.
The controversy which has been carried on between the Calvinist and the Arminian is exceedingly important, but it does notso involve the vital point of personal godliness as to make eternal life depend upon our holding either system of theology.Between the Protestant and the Papist there is a controversy of such a character, that he who is saved on the one side byfaith in Jesus, dare not allow that his opponent on the opposite side can be saved while depending on hisown works. There the controversy is for life or death, because it hinges mainly upon the doctrine of justification byfaith, which Luther so properly called the test doctrine, by which a Church either stands or falls. The controversy againbetween the believer in Christ and the Socinian, is one which affects a vital point. If the Socinian be right, we are mostfrightfully in error; we are, in fact, idolaters, and how dwelleth eternal life in us? and if we be right, our largest charitywill notpermit us to imagine that a man can enter heaven who does not believe the real divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thereare other controversies which thus cut at the very core, and touch the very essence of the whole subject. But, I think weare free to admit, that while John Wesley, for instance, in modern times zealously defended Arminianism, and on the otherhand, George Whitfield with equal fervour fought for Calvinism, we should not be prepared either of us, on either side ofthe question,to deny the vital godliness of either the one or the other. We cannot shut our eyes to what we believe to be the grossmistakes of our opponents, and should think ourselves unworthy of the name of honest men, if we could admit that they areright in all things and ourselves right too. An honest man has an intellect which does not permit him to believe that "yes"and "no" can both subsist at the same hour and both be true. I cannot say, "It is," and my brother point blank say, "It isnot," andyet both of us be right on that point. We are willing to admit, in fact, we dare not do otherwise, that opinion upon thiscontroversy does not determine the future of even the present state of any man; but still, we think it to be so important,that in maintaining our views, we advance with all courage and fervency if spirit, believing that we are doing God's workand upholding most important truth. It may not be misunderstood, we only use the term for shortness. That doctrine which iscalled"Calvinism" did not spring from Calvin; we believe that it sprang from the great founder of all truth. Perhaps Calvinhimself derived it mainly from the writings of Augustine. Augustine obtained his views, without doubt, through the Spiritof God, from the diligent study of the writings of Paul, and Paul received them of the Holy Ghost, from Jesus Christ the greatfounder of the Christian dispensation. We use the term then, not because we impute any extraordinary importance to Calvin'shavingtaught these doctrines. We would be just as willing to call them by any other name, if we could find one which would bebetter understood, and which on the whole would be as consistent with fact. And then again, this afternoon, we shall havevery likely to speak of Arminians, and by that, we would not for a moment insinuate that all who are in membership with theArminian body, hold those particular views. There are Calvinists in connection with Calvinistic Churches, who are not Calvinistic,bearing the name but discarding the system. There are, on the other hand, not a few in the Methodist Churches, who, inmost points perfectly agree with us, and I believe that if the matter came to be thoroughly sifted, it would be found thatwe are more agreed in our private opinions than in our public confessions, and our devotional religion is more uniform thanour theology. For instance, Mr. Wesley's hymn-book, which may be looked upon as being the standard of his divinity, has init uponsome topics higher Calvinism than many books used by ourselves. I have been exceedingly struck with the very forcibleexpressions there used, some of which I might have hesitated to employ myself. I shall ask your attention while I quote versesfrom the hymns of Mr. Wesley, which we can all endorse as fully and plainly in harmony with the doctrines of grace, far moreso than the preaching of some modern Calvinists. I do this because our low-doctrine Baptists and Morisonians ought to be awareofthe vast difference between themselves and the Evangelical Arminians.
HYMN 131, verses 1, 2, 3.
"Lord, I despair myself to heal:
I see my sin, but cannot feel;
I cannot, till thy Spirit blow,
And bid the obedient waters flow.
'Tis thine a heart of flesh to give;
Thy gifts I only can receive:
Here, then, to thee I all resign;
To draw, redeem, and seal,-is thine.
With simple faith on thee I call,
My Light, my Life, my Lord, my all:
I wait the moving of the pool;
I wait the word that speaks me whole."
HYMN 133, verse 4.
"Thy golden sceptre from above
Reach forth; lo! my whole heart I bow;
Say to my soul, Thou art my love;
My chosen midst ten thousand, thou."
This is very like election.
HYMN 136, verses 8, 9, 10.
"I cannot rest, till in thy blood
I full redemption have:
But thou, through whom I come to God,
Canst to the utmost save.
From sin, the guilt, the power, the pain,
Thou wilt redeem my soul:
Lord, I believe, and not in vain;
My faith shall make me whole.
I too, with thee, shall walk in white;
With all thy saints shall prove,
What is the length, and breadth, and height,
And depth of perfect love."
Brethren, is not this somewhat like final perseverance? and what is meant by the next quotation, if people of God can perishat all?
HYMN 138, verses 6, 7.
"Who, who shall in thy presence stand,
And match Omnipotence?
Ungrasp the hold of thy right hand,
Or pluck the sinner thence?
Sworn to destroy, let earth assail;
Nearer to save thou art:
Stronger than all the powers of hell,
And greater than my heart."
The following is remarkably strong, especially in the expression "force." I give it in full:-
"O my God, what must I do?
Thou alone the way canst show;
Thou canst save me in this hour;
I have neither will nor power:
God, if over all thou art,
Greater than my sinful heart,
All thy power on me be shown,
Take away the heart of stone.
Take away my darling sin,
Make me willing to be clean;
Make me willing to receive
All thy goodness waits to give.
Force me, Lord, with all to part;
Tear these idols from my heart;
Now thy love almighty show,
Make even me a creature new.
Jesus, mighty to renew,
Work in me to will and do;
Turn my nature's rapid tide,
Stem the torrent of my pride;
Stop the whirlwind of my will;
Speak, and bid the sun stand still;
Now thy love almighty show,
Make even me a creature new.
Arm of God, thy strength put on;
Bow the heavens, and come down;
All my unbelief o'erthrow;
Lay th' aspiring mountain low:
Conquer thy worst foe in me,
Get thyself the victory;
Save the vilest of the race;
Force me to be saved by grace."
HYMN 206, verses 1, 2.
"What am I, O thou glorious God!
And what my father's house to thee,
That thou such mercies hast bestow'd
On me, the vilest reptile, me!
I take the blessing from above,
And wonder at the boundless love.
Me in my blood the love pass'd by,
And stopp'd, my ruin to retrieve;
Wept o'er my soul thy pitying eye;
Thy bowels yearn'd, and sounded, "Live!"
Dying, I heard the welcome sound,
And pardon in thy mercy found."
Nor are these all, for such good things as these abound, and they constrain me to say, that in attacking Arminianism we haveno hostility towards the men who bear the name rather than the nature of that error, and we are opposed not to any body ofmen, but to the notions which they have espoused.
And now, having made these remarks upon terms used, we must observe that there is nothing upon which men need to be more instructedthan upon the question of what Calvinism really is. The most infamous allegations have been brought against us, and sometime,I must fear, by men who knew them to be utterly untrue; and, to this day, there are many of our opponents, who, when theyrun short of matter, invent and make for themselves a man of straw, call that John Calvin, andthen shoot all their arrows at it. We are not come here to defend your man of straw-shoot at it or burn it as you will,and, if it suit your convenience, still oppose doctrines which were never taught, and rail at fictions which, save in yourown brain, were never in existence. We come here to state what our views really are, and we trust that any who do not agreewith us will do us the justice of not misrepresenting us. If they can disprove our doctrines, let them state them fairly andthenoverthrow them, but why should they first caricature our opinions and then afterwards attempt to put them down? Amongthe gross falsehoods which have been uttered against the Calvinists proper, is the wicked calumny that we hold the damnation of little infants. A baser lie was never uttered. There may have existed somewhere, in some corner of the earth, a miscreant who would dareto say that there were infants in hell, but I have never met with him, nor have I met with a man who ever sawsuch a person. We say, with regard to infants, Scripture saith but little, and, therefore, where Scripture is confessedlyscant, it is for no man to determine dogmatically. But I think I speak for the entire body, or certainly with exceedinglyfew exceptions, and those unknown to me, when I say, we hold that all infants are elect of God and are therefore saved, andwe look to this as being the means by which Christ shall see of the travail of his soul to a great degree, and we do sometimeshopethat thus the multitude of the saved shall be made to exceed the multitude of the lost. Whatever views our friends may hold upon the point, they are not necessarily connected with Calvinistic doctrine. I believethat the Lord Jesus, who said, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven," doth daily and constantly receive into his loving armsthose tender ones who are only shown, and then snatched away to heaven. Our hymns are no ill witness to our faith on thispoint, and one of them runs thus:
"Millions of infant souls compose
The family above."
"Toplady, one of the keenest of Calvinists, was of this number. "In my remarks," says he, "on Dr. Nowell, I testified my firmbelief that the souls of all departed infants are with God in glory; that in the decree of predestination to life, God hath included all whom he decreed to take away ininfancy, and that the decree of reprobation hath nothing to do with them." Nay, he proceeds farther, and asks, with reason,how the anti-Calvinistic system of conditionalsalvation and election, or good works foreseen, will suit with the salvation of infants? It is plain that Arminians andPelagians must introduce a new principle of election; and in so far as the salvation of infants is concerned, become Calvinists. Is it not an argument in behalf ofCalvinism, that its principle is uniform throughout, and that no change is needed on the ground on which man is saved, whetheryoung or old? John Newton, of London, the friend of Cowper, noted for hisCalvinism, holds that the children in heaven exceed its adult inhabitants in all their multitudinous array. Gill, a verychampion of Calvinism, held the doctrine, that all dying in infancy are saved. An intelligent modern writer, (Dr. Russell,of Dundee,) also a Calvinist, maintains the same views; and when it is considered that nearly one-half of the human race die in early years, it is easy to see what a vast accession must be daily and hourly making to the blessedpopulation ofheaven."
A more common charge, brought by more decent people,-for I must say that the last charge is never brought, except by disreputablepersons,-a more common charge is, that we hold clear fatalism. Now, there may be Calvinists who are fatalists, but Calvinism and fatalism are two distinct things. Do not most Christianshold the doctrine of the providence of God? Do not all Christians, do not all believers in a God hold the doctrine of hisforeknowledge? All thedifficulties which are laid against the doctrine of predestination might, with equal force, be laid against that of Divineforeknowledge. We believe that God hath predestinated all things from the beginning, but there is a difference between thepredestination of an intelligent, all-wise, all-bounteous God, and that blind fatalism which simple says, "It is because itis to be." Between the predestination of Scripture and the fate of the Koran, every sensible man must perceive adifference of the most essential character. We do not deny that the thing is so ordained that it must be, but why is itto be, but that the Father, God, whose name is love, ordained it; not because of any necessity in circumstances that suchand such a thing should take place. Though the wheels of providence revolve with rigid exactness, yet not without purposeand wisdom. The wheels are full of eyes, and everything ordained is so ordained that it shall conduce to the grandest of allends, theglory of God, and the next to that the good of his creatures. But we are next met by some who tell us that we preach thewicked and horrible doctrine of sovereign and unmerited reprobation. "Oh," say they, "you teach that men are damned because God made them to be damned, and that they go to hell, not becauseof sin, not because of unbelief, but because of some dark decree with which God has stamped their destiny." Brethren, thisis an unfair charge again. Election does not involvereprobation. There may be some who hold unconditional reprobation. I stand not here as their defender, let them defendthemselves as best they can; I hold God's election, but I testify just as clearly that if any man be lost he is lost for sin;and this has been the uniform statement of Calvinistic ministers. I might refer you to our standards, such as "The WestminsterAssembly's Catechism," and to all our Confession, for they all distinctly state that man is lost for sin, and that there isnopunishment put on any man except that which he richly and righteously deserves. If any of you have ever uttered that libelagainst us, do it not again, for we are as guiltless of that as you are yourselves. I am speaking personally-and I think inthis I would command the suffrages of my brethren-I do know that the appointment of God extendeth to all things; but I standnot in this pulpit, nor in any other, to lay the damnation of any man anywhere but upon himself. If he be lost, damnationis all of man; but, if he be saved, still salvation is all of God. To state this important point yet more clearly andexplicitly, I shall quote at large from an able Presbyterian divine:
"The pious Methodist is taught that the Calvinist represents God as creating men in order to destroy them. He is taught thatCalvinists hold that men are lost, not because they sin, but because they are nonelected. Believing this to be a true statement,it is not wonderful that the Methodist stops short, and declares himself, if not an Arminian, at least an AntiPredestinarian.But no statement can be more scandalously untrue. It is the uniform doctrine of Calvinism, thatGod creates all for his own glory; that he is infinitely righteous and benignant, and that where men perish it is onlyfor their sins.
In speaking of suffering, whether in this world or in the world to come; whether it respects angels or men, the Westminsterstandards (which may be considered as the most authoritative modern statement of the system) invariably connect the punishmentwith previous sin, and sin only. "As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God as a righteous judge FOR FORMER SINS doth blind and harden, from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have beenenlightened in their understandings and wrought upon in their hearts, but sometimes also with draweth the gifts whichthey had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan,whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves even under those means which God useth for the softening of others." The Larger Catechism, speaking of the unsaved amongangels and men, says, "God according to his Sovereign power and the unsearchable counsel of his own will (whereby he extendethor withholdeth favour as he pleaseth) hath passed by and fore-ordained the rest to dishonour and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice." Again, "the end of God appointing this day (of the last judgment) is for themanifestation of the glory of his mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect, and of his justice in thedamnation of the reprobate who are wicked and disobedient." This is no more than what the Methodist and all other Evangelical bodies acknowledge-that where men perish it is in consequenceof their sin. If it be asked, why sin which destroys, is permitted to enter the world, that is a question which bears notonly on the Calvinist, but equally on all other parties. They are as much concerned and bound to answer it as he; nay, thequestion in not confined to Christians. All who believein the existence of God-in his righteous character and perfect providence, are equally under obligation to answer it.Whatever may be the reply of others, that of the Calvinist may be regarded as given in the statement of the Confession ofFaith, which declares that God's providence extendeth itself even to the first fall, and other sins of angels and men, &c.;"yet so as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous,neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin." It is difficult to see what more could be said upon the subject; and if such be the undoubted sentiments of Calvinists, thenwhat misrepresentation can be more gross than that which describes them as holding that sinners perish irrespective of theirsin, or that God is the author of their sin? What is the declaration of Calvin? "Every soul departs (at death) to that place which it has prepared for itself while in thisworld."
It is hard to be charged with holding as sacred truth what one abhors as horrid blasphemy, and yet this is the treatment whichhas been perseveringly meted out to Calvinists in spite of the most solemn and indignant disclaimers. Against nothing havethey more stoutly protested than the thought that the infinitely holy, and righteous, and amiable Jehovah is the author ofsin; and yet how often do the supporters of rival systems charge them with this as an article of faith?
A yet further charge against us is, that we dare not preach the gospel to the unregenerate, that, in fact, our theology is so narrow and cramped that we cannot preach to sinners. Gentlemen, if you dare to say this,I would take you to any library in the world where the old Puritan fathers are stored up, and I would let you take down anyone volume and tell me if you ever read more telling exhortations and addresses to sinners in any of your own books. Did notBunyanplead with sinners, and whoever classed him with any but the Calvinist? Did not Charnock, Goodwin, and Howe agonise forsouls, and what were they but Calvinist? Did not Jonathan Edwards preach to sinners, and who more clear and explicit on thesedoctrinal matters. The works of our innumerable divines teem with passionate appeals to the unconverted. Oh, sirs, if I shouldbegin the list, time should fail me. It is an indisputable fact that we have laboured more than they all for the winning ofsouls. Was George Whitfield any the less seraphic? Did his eyes weep the fewer tears or his bowels move with the lesscompassion because he believed in God's electing love and preached the sovereignty of the Most High? It is an unfounded calumny.Our souls are not stony; our bowels are not withdrawn the compassion which we ought to feel for our fellowmen; we can holdall our views firmly, and yet can weep as Christ did over a Jerusalem which was certainly to be destroyed. Again, I must say,Iam not defending certain brethren who have exaggerated Calvinism. I speak of Calvinism proper, not that which has runto seed, and outgrown its beauty and verdure. I speak of it as I find it in Calvin's Institutes, and especially in his Expositions.I have read them carefully. I take not my views of Calvinism from common repute but from his books. Nor do I, in this speaking,even vindicate Calvinism as if I cared for the name, but I mean that glorious system which teaches that salvation is ofgrace from first to last. And again, then, I say it is an utterly unfounded charge that we dare not preach to sinners.
And then further, that I may clear up these points and leave the less rubbish for my brethren to wheel away, we have sometimesheard it said, but those who say it ought to go to school to read the first book of history, that we who hold Calvinisticviews are the enemies of revivals. Why, sirs, in the history of the Church, with but few exceptions, you could not find arevival at all that was not produced by the orthodox faith. What was the great work which was done byAugustine, when the Church suddenly woke up from the pestiferous and deadly sleep into which Pelagian doctrine had castit? What was the Reformation itself but the waking up of men's minds to those old truths? However far modern Lutherans mayhave turned aside from their ancient doctrines, and I must confess some of them would not agree with what I now say, yet,at any rate, Luther and Calvin had no dispute about Predestination. Their views were identical, and Luther, "On the bondageof thewill," is as strong a book upon the free grace of God as Calvin himself could have written. Hear that great thundererwhile he cries in that book, "Let the Christian reader know then, that God foresees nothing in a contingent manner; but thathe foresees, proposes, and acts, from his eternal and unchangeable will. This is the thunder stroke which breaks and overturnsFree Will." Need I mention to you better names than Huss, Jerome of Prague, Farrel, John Knox, Wickliffe, Wishart, and Bradford?Need I do more than say that these held the same views, and that in their day anything like an Arminian revival was utterlyunheard of and undreamed of. And then, to come to more modern times, there is the great exception, that wondrous revival underMr. Wesley, in which the Wesleyan Methodists had so large a share; but permit me to say, that the strength of the doctrineof Wesleyan Methodism lay in its Calvinism. The great body of the Methodists disclaimed Palagianism, in whole and in part.They contended for man's entire depravity, the necessity of the direct agency of the Holy Spirit, and that the first stepin the change proceeds not from the sinner, but from God. They denied at the time that they were Pelagians. Does not the Methodisthold as firmly as ever we do, that man is saved by the operation of the holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost alone? And are notmany of Mr. Wesley's sermons full of that great truth, that the Holy Ghost is necessary to regeneration? Whatever mistakeshe may have made, he continually preached the absolute necessity of the new birth by the Holy Ghost, and there are someother points of exceedingly close agreement; for instance, even that of human inability. It matters not how some may abuseus, when we say man could not of himself repent or believe; yet, the old Arminian standards said the same. True, they affirmthat God has given grace to every man, but they do not dispute the fact, that apart from that grace there was no ability inman todo that which was good in his own salvation. And then, let me say, if you turn to the continent of America, how grossthe falsehood, that Calvinistic doctrine is unfavourable to revivals. Look at that wondrous shaking under Jonathan Edwards,and others which we might quote. Or turn to Scotland-what shall we say of M'Cheyne? What shall we say of those renowned Calvinists,Dr. Chalmers, Dr. Wardlow, and before them Livingstone, Haldane, Erskine, and the like? What shall we say of the men oftheir school, but that, while they held and preached unflinchingly the great truths which we would propound to-day, yetGod owned their word, and multitudes were saved. And if it were not perhaps too much like boasting of one's own work underGod, I might say, personally I have never found the preaching of these doctrines lull this Church to sleep, but ever whilethey have loved to maintain these truths, they have agonised for the souls of men, and the 1600 or more of whom I have myselfbaptized, upon profession of their faith, are living testimonies that these old truths in modern times have not lost theirpower to promote a revival of religion.
I have thus cleared away these allegations at the outset; I shall now need a few minutes more to say, with regard to the Calvinisticsystem, that there are some things to be said in its favour, to which of course I attach but little comparative importance,but they ought not to be ignored. It is a fact that the system of doctrines called the Calvinistic, is so exceedingly simple and so readily learned, that as a system of Divinity it is more easily taught and moreeasily grasped by unlettered minds than any other. The poor have the Gospel preached to them in a style which assiststheir memories and commends itself to their judgments. It is a system which was practically acknowledged an high philosophicgrounds by such men as Bacon, Leibnitz, and Newton, and yet it can charm the soul of a child and expand the intellect of apeasant. And then it has another virtue. I take it that the last is no mean one, but it has another-that when it is preachedthereis a something in it which excites thought. A man may hear sermons upon the other theory which shall glance over him as the swallow's wing gently sweeps the brook, butthese old doctrines either make a man so angry that he goes home and cannot sleep for very hatred, or else they bring himdown into lowliness of thought, feeling the immensity of the things which he has heard. Either way it excites and stirs himup not temporarily, but in a most lasting manner. These doctrines haunt him,he kicks against the pricks, and full often the word forces a way into his soul. And I think this is no small thing forany doctrine to do, in an age given to slumber, and with human hearts so indifferent to the truth of God. I know that manymen have gained more good by being made angry under a sermon than by being pleased by it, for being angry they have turnedthe truth over and over again, and at last the truth has burned its way right into their hearts. They have played with edge-tools,but they have cut themselves at last.
It has this singular virtue also-it is so coherent in all its parts. You cannot vanquish a Calvinist. You may think you can, but you cannot. The stones of the great doctrines so fit into eachother, that the more pressure there is applied to remove them the more strenuously do they adhere. And you may mark, thatyou cannot receive one of these doctrines without believing all. Hold for instance that man is utterly depraved, and you drawthe inference then thatcertainly if God has such a creature to deal with salvation must come from God alone, and if from him, the offended one,to an offending creature, then he has a right to give or withhold his mercy as he wills; you are this forced upon election,and when you have gotten that you have all: the others must follow. Some by putting the strain upon their judgments may manageto hold two or three points and not the rest, but sound logic I take it requires a man to hold the whole or reject the whole;the doctrines stand like soldiers in a square, presenting on every side a line of defence which it is hazardous to attack,but easy to maintain. And mark you, in these times when error is so rife and neology strives to be so rampant, it is no littlething to put into the hands of a young man a weapon which can slay his foe, which he can easily learn to handle, which hemay grasp tenaciously, wield readily, and carry without fatigue; a weapon, I may add, which no rust can corrode and no blowscan break, trenchant, and well annealed, a true Jerusalem blade of a temper fit for deeds of renown. The coherency ofthe parts, though it be of course but a trifle in comparison with other things, is not unimportant. And then, I add,-but thisis the point my brethren will take up-it has this excellency, that it is scriptural, and that it is consistent with the experienceof believers. Men generally grow more Calvinistic as they advance in years. Is not that a sign that the doctrine isright. As they are growing riper for heaven, as they are getting nearer to the rest that remaineth for the people of God,the soul longs to feed on the finest of the wheat, and abhors chaff and husks. And then, I add-and, in so doing, I would refutea calumny that has sometimes been urged,-this glorious truth has this excellency, that it produces the holiest of men. Wecan look back through all our annals, and say, to those who oppose us, you can mention no names of men more holy, moredevoted, more loving, more generous than those which we can mention. The saints of our calendar, though uncanonized byRome, rank first in the book of life. The names of Puritan needs only to be heard to constrain our reverence. Holiness hadreached a height among them which is rare indeed, and well it might for they loved and lived the truth. And if you say thatour doctrine is inimical to human liberty, we point you to Oliver Cromwell and to his brave Ironsides, Calvinists to a man.If yousay, it leads to inaction, we point you to the Pilgrim Fathers and the wildernesses they subdued. We can put our fingerupon every spot of land, the wide world o'er, and say, "Here was something done by a man who believed in God's decrees; and,inasmuch as he did this, it is proof it did not make him inactive, it did not lull him to sloth."
The better way, however of proving this point is for each of us who hold these truths, to be more prayerful, more watchful,more holy, more active than we have ever been before, and by so doing, we shall put to silence the gainsaying of foolish men.A living argument, is an argument which tells upon every man; we cannot deny what we see and feel. Be it ours, if aspersedand calumniated, to disprove it by a blameless life, and it shall yet come to pass, that our Church andits sentiments too shall come forth "Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners."
Rev. JOHN BLOOMFIELD,
OF MEARD'S COURT, SOHO.
My dear Christian friends, those who best know my cast of mind and ministry will readily believe me when I say I would ratherhave spoken on the majesty and mystery of the person of Christ, or I would rather have spoken on the perfection and intrinsicworth of the mediation of Christ, or on the great attraction of Christ as a gracious and omnipotent Saviour, than on the subjectthat has been assigned to me. The subject that has been given me is that of the doctrine ofeternal and personal election; I have to prove that the doctrine of election is a scriptural truth; and, at the commencementof my few remarks on this profound subject, allow me to say that I hold and firmly believe the Bible to be revelation fromGod, that the revelations of God's mind are essentially and infallibly true, that its ancient historical records are of thegreatest value, that its prophecies are to be studied and to be venerated, that the doctrines of the Bible are in harmonywiththe majesty, wisdom, holiness and goodness of their Author. Now it should not be a point with us whether a doctrine islike or disliked, whether it is believed or disbelieved, but whether it is a doctrine according to godliness, whether it isthe doctrine of the Word of God. Truth has never been popular in this world: Jesus Christ when on earth was by no means popular.Truth never will be popular in this world while men are influenced by sin, and enmity against God. Perhaps no doctrine hasmetwith such bitter opposition as the doctrine on which I have to speak. It has been fearfully misunderstood for a want ofprayerful and independent study of the Holy Scriptures, or perhaps from the miserable misrepresentations that have been givenof it by some public men. It is a truth which has been bitterly opposed; we may oppose a doctrine which we cannot with allour puny efforts depose. We may dispute in our blindness and enmity a doctrine which we cannot refute. We believe firmly thatthedoctrine of election to salvation in Jesus Christ is a doctrine of the Scriptures. We believe in sovereign love, but notin sovereign hatred. We believe in salvation by the grace of God without works, but not in damnation without sin. We believefirmly in election to salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but we discard from our creed the miserable, wretched doctrineof reprobation without sin. Is the doctrine of election a Scriptural doctrine? Can we prove it from the word of God? It isone thing to believe it to be a doctrine of Divine revelation, and it is another thing to have the sanctifying grace andpower of it in our hearts. The election we read of in the Scriptures is inseparably connected with holiness, and we believein no election to salvation without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He who has appointed salvation as an end has appointedthe methods by which that end shall be accomplished. Perhaps no man possessed of his reasoning powers questions the truththat Godhas predestinated harvest as long as this world shall continue. But without sowing of seed, without the agricultural labourthat is given to the land, we should have no harvest, because he who predestinated harvest predestinated the sowing of theseed as much. And God has appointed us not unto wrath, but to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ. I shall endeavour nowto prove, from the quotation of a few Scriptures, that the doctrine of eternal and personal election is a Scriptural and Divinetruth. Jesus Christ himself was said to be "chosen of God and precious." He is God's elect, for Jehovah himself says,"Behold my servant, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth." Angels that continue in their unfallen dignity and felicity aretermed elect angels. Elect angels are employed as ministering spirits to those that shall be heirs of salvation. Elect angelswill be employed in the gathering of God's elect into the heavenly world. The Jewish nation was a chosen nation, and as suchtheywere privileged with the oracles of God, and stood as a representative people. They were chosen not because of their personalworth, they were chosen not because of their goodness, but they were chosen to be a separated people, a people that shouldbe God's peculiar treasure, and should be holiness unto the Lord; of them it was said, "For thou art a holy people unto theLord thy God-the Lord hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of theearth." Jesus Christ himself, in the 24th chapter of Matthew, speaks of certain days being shortened because of God'select. The Psalmist craved to be remembered with the favour that God was pleased to bear towards his people, that he mightsee the good of his chosen. And Jesus Christ himself said to his disciples, "Ye have not chose me, but I have chosen you."And the Apostle Paul very often in his writings has brought out this great and profound doctrine. He says, "There is a remnantaccording to the election of grace." He speaks to the Ephesian Church, and says, "Ye are chosen in Christ before the foundationof the world that ye may be holy, and that ye may stand before God without blame in love." God hath in the exercise of hissovereignty chosen a people in Christ to salvation before time began-it was before the foundation of the world, here is its antiquity-it is in Christ according to the riches of God's grace, and it is toholiness and salvation. He, in his addresses to the Church at Thessalonica, said he could but thank God "that they were chosen tosalvation through sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the truth." Peter speaks of the people of God as a chosengeneration and a royal priesthood. He wrote to the elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. More Scriptures might be given upon this subject, but I think they wouldbe unnecessary. If we would only give our attentionto the simple teachings of the Spirit of God by the prophets, by the Psalmist, by Christ, and by the Apostles, we couldnot have one moment's doubt as to the doctrine of Divine election being a Scriptural truth.
My second point is to show that God has chosen his people to the highest possible relation to himself, and to the enjoymentof the most precious blessings in Christ. All spiritual relations stand in Christ; all spiritual relations originated in God'sgrace; and all spiritual relations are standing manifestations of the sovereignty of God's favour and of the immutabilityof God's love. If we are the sons of God, what has constituted us the sons of God? We are sons of God byGod's sovereign love; it is by an act of adoption, it is by an act of Jehovah's will, that we are constituted his sonsand his daughters. Adoption is relation established to which we have no natural right; adoption is one thing, and the spiritof adoption is another. Now Christ is God's first-born, and all the family are chose in him; Christ is the glorious Head ofthe Church, and all the family of God are chosen members in him; Christ is the everlasting Priest of his Church, and he representsall the family, just as the Jewish priest represented by his breast-plate and in the fulfilment of his office the wholeof the Jewish nation. All relation to God then stands in Christ, originated in the sovereignty of Jehovah's will, and is expressiveof the infinite love of Jehovah's heart. We are chose to salvation-that is the end; the means by which that end is accomplishedis by the "sanctification of the Spirit, and the belief of the truth." We are chose to usefulness; every Christianshould seek to be useful; every Christian in his right mind is a witness for God; every Christian, as he is influencedby Christian principles, bears testimony to the dignity of the relation that God has established, and bears testimony to theholiness of the principles by which his heart is influenced; every Christian should be a living gospel, his life should beartestimony to the holiness of that Christianity that he studies and is influenced by. We are chosen to eternal life, but itiseternal life through Christ. Without faith there is no evidence of interest in Christ, without faith there is no enjoymentof salvation by Christ. Without faith, a man has no evidence of interest in the Lamb's Book of Life; but he who believes inChrist, however weak and trembling his faith has evidence in his own heart that his name is written in the Lamb's Book ofLife; and his conduct corresponding with the holiness of the gospel, he carries in his life a witness to his interest in allthepurposes of heaven, and in all the redemptive excellency of the Lord Jesus Christ. The great evidence of interest in electionis holiness. A man to talk of believing in election, and going to heaven, because he is one of God's elect, and yet livingin sin, and in enmity to God, this can never, never be. We are chosen unto salvation, it is said, "through sanctificationof the Spirit and the belief of the truth;" and, without this sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the truth, thereisno holiness; and, "without holiness, no man can see the Lord." Without holiness, no man would be capable of serving Godin heaven; without holiness, no man would be capable of beholding the glories of Jesus Christ there; without holiness, noman can serve God with power and success here; without holiness, no man can have fellowship with God, and so have fellowshipwith us, for truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his son Jesus Christ. It is only by practical life of consistencywithfaith in Christ Jesus, that we have evidence of our interest in election. We are chosen, not because we are holy, butthat we might be holy; we are chosen, not because we are good, but that by the principles of the everlasting Gospel, we mightbecome so; we are chosen, not because we are saved, but that we may be saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I hold,dear friends, that the great doctrine of election should be preached. It should be preached, because it is part of a grandsystemof truth. Truth is not one doctrine, but it is a grand system, and you cannot leave out one part without impairing itsbeauty, nor leave out one part of this system without weakening its strength. The beauty of truth lies in its perfection,and in that harmony of its connection; the strength of truth lies in the unity of its parts, and it is like gold dust-it isall precious. If Election be not a truth inspired by the Spirit of the living God-if it be not a truth proclaimed by the prophetsthat were inspired-if it be not a truth published by the Apostles-if it be not a truth found in the teachings of the wordof God, let us never say one word about it; but if it was truth in the days of the Apostles, then it is no less a truth now.What the Apostles preached, I hold, we ought to preach in the spirit of love, in the spirit of faith, in the spirit of meekness,entirely depending on the power of the Holy Spirit to give us success in the conversion of immortal souls. One momentlonger, and I have done. There is nothing in the doctrine of election that is discouraging to a penitent, seeking sinner.There is everything in the Gospel to welcome the returning prodigal to his Father's house; there is everything to meet thenecessities of an awakened conscience; there is everything in the Gospel to satisfy the longing of a penitent soul. I knowsome may say, "I fear, Sir, I shall not be saved because I am not one of God's elect." Art thou a sinner? art thou a penitentsinner? art thou a seeking sinner? If thou art a seeking, penitent sinner, you cannot imagine how welcome you are to theprovisions of infinite love. Every truth in the Gospel is open to you; every promise in the Gospel is open to you; every invitationin Scripture speaks to you. If thou art a sinner seeking mercy, let this cheer thy heart-that God delighteth in mercy. Ifthou art seeking salvation, Jesus is a willing and an able Saviour, and he has said, "All that the Father giveth to meshall come to me, and him that cometh I will in no wise cast out." There is nothing, dear friends, in the doctrine ofelection as it stands in the Scriptures that should discourage any penitent in seeking after mercy through Jesus Christ. Iknow, in the miserable misrepresentation of this great and glorious truth, men might well be discouraged from seeking mercythrough the Saviour. But see it in its Scriptural connection; see it in the simplicity of it as it is put before us by thegreatApostles; see it in the teachings of the Saviour himself, and there is nothing in it but that which welcomes a penitentsinner. It is a great encouragement to a seeking soul. Does the farmer who sows his seed sow that seed with less or more encouragementbecause he knows that God has ordained that harvest shall be? He sows his seed with a heart brimfull with hope, because Godhas promised that a harvest shall be as long as the world continues. Only let the means be used according to the HolyScriptures; only let the poor awakened, penitent sinner renounce everything but Christ and him crucified, mercy will rollinto his troubled heart and fill his spirit with peace, and he shall come off more than conqueror, shouting, Victory throughthe blood of the Lamb-Victory, victory through Jesus Christ.
Rev. EVAN PROBERT,
My Christian friends, you are quite aware that the subject which is to engage our further attention this afternoon, is HUMANDEPRAVITY-a subject about which there are different opinions, which I shall not attempt to examine at the present time, butI shall confine myself to the teachings of God's word, which is the only infallible rule of faith and practice, and from whichwe learn what man was when he came from the hands of his Maker, and what he is now as a fallencreature. It is explicitly declared by the sacred writers, that God made man upright, and therefore his condition wasone of perfect innocence and high moral excellence. There was no tendency to evil in any part of his nature, nothing thatdeviated in the least from the rule of moral rectitude. Whatever his duty was, it was to him his invariable and delightfulemployment. But, alas! man in honour did not long continue. Through the insinuating wiles of the devil, our first parentswere inducedto violate the positive command of their Maker, the observance of which was the condition of their happiness, and, aspunishment for their transgression, they were driven out of Paradise, and became liable to be cut off by the sentence of death,and consigned to everlasting misery; and, in consequence of our connection with Adam, as our federal head and representative,we became subject to the dreadful consequences of his fall. This is evident from the testimony of the Apostle Paul, in thefifth Chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. There we read, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, sothat death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." And, again, "By the offence of one, judgment came upon all mento condemnation, and by the disobedience of one, many were made sinners." It is evident from these passages that God viewedAdam in the covenant of works as the head and representative of his natural posterity, and consequently, when he fell we fellin him,and became subject to the tremendous consequences of his fall. Here it may be asked, what are the consequences of hisfall? what were they to him, and what are they to us? To answer this question, we must ascertain what the Apostle means whenhe uses the words death, judgment, and condemnation. I think that he uses these words in opposition to the grace of God, tojustification of life, and to the reign of the redeemed in life by Jesus Christ. These are the benefits which result fromthe graceof God through Christ, and which stand opposed to the evils which sin has introduced into our world; and, as it cannotbe supposed that these benefits relate to temporal life, or solely to the resurrection of the body, it cannot be that theevils involved in the words, death, judgment, and condemnation, relate simply to temporal death, but they must be consideredas including temporal, legal, and spiritual death.
From the very hour that Adam transgressed, he became mortal,-the sentence of death was pronounced upon him, and the seedsof depravity were sown in his system; thus the fair and beautiful and glorious creature began to fade, wither, and die, andall his posterity became mortal in him, and have from that day to this come into the world dying. Whatever the case of manmight have been if he had not sinned we cannot say. This however we know, that he would not have died; fordeath is the result of the federal failure of the father of our race. "Dust thou are," God said to him, "and unto dustshalt thou return." "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin." "In Adam all died." So that it may be saidto every one of Adam's sons and daughters, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
But Adam by his transgression not only brought temporal death upon himself and his posterity, he also brought legal death.Having violated the law that was given him to observe, he became under the curse of that law, which involved not only temporaldeath and expulsion from Paradise, but an exposure to suffer the just demerits of his transgression; and, in consequence ofour connection with him as our federal head, we are under the curse of the same law-"By one man'sdisobedience judgment came upon all men to condemnation;" and further, "By the offence of one many were made sinners."The very moment our progenitor transgressed, all his descendants became subject to the curse. The holy nature of God abhorredthe apostate race; the curse of his holy and righteous law has ever rested upon that race; judgment has been given and recordedagainst us as a fallen world, in the court of Heaven, and unless it is reversed it must fall upon us with all its tremendousconsequences.
We are also, in consequence of Adam's transgression, become the subjects of spiritual death, which consists not merely inthe deprivation of the principle of life; but in having become depraved creatures, all the faculties of our souls and membersof our bodies are depraved, so that it may be said of us, as the prophet says of the Jewish nation, "The head is sick, thewhole heart is faint; from the sole of the foot unto the head there is no soundness." What! no soundnessin any part? nothing good in any part? nothing spiritually good? nothing if cherished and fostered that will not leadto God, to Heaven, and to happiness? Nothing whatever. Let no one mistake me. I do not mean to say for a single moment, thatsin has destroyed any of the faculties of man's soul, for they are all there. They all exist as they did when they were produced;but I mean to say, that sin has deprived man of the principle of spiritual life, and made him a depraved and debased creature;and we believe that we can prove this from the word of God, as well as from observation.
First,-From the conduct of little children. Children begin to sin very early in life. If there were any good in us, it wouldshow itself in infancy, before good habits became corrupted, and evil principles were produced by our connection with theworld. But do little children prefer good? Are they inclined to the good and the excellent? Do you see from the earliest periodof their existence that they are desirous of good? On the contrary, I say, as soon as they begin toact, they prove by their action, that in them there is a depraved nature, from which they act. "Madness," says a wiseman, "is bound up in the heart of a child," they go astray from the womb telling lies. But it may be said, in the way of objection,that this may arise from the unfavourable circumstance in which some children are placed. No doubt, unfavourable circumstanceshave a bad influence upon the minds of children; but it is not so with the whole race. Point out to me, one child who isdisposed from infancy to seek that which is good, that which is holy. And surely, if the tendency of infants from theirearliest history is to evil, it is a proof that it must arise from the evil propensities within them, which grow with theirgrowth, and strengthen with their strength.
Secondly,-We have further proof of human depravity from the aversion of sinners to come to Christ. They are invited to come,persuaded to come, and are assured that they shall find pardon, acceptance, and salvation. But they cannot be induced to cometo him; and why will they not come? Is it because he is not willing to receive them, or because there is anything in him toprevent them? No, but it is because of the deep-rooted depravity in their hearts. The heart isaverse to all that is good, and therefore rejects the Saviour and turns away from him. Hence he complained when in ourworld, "How often would I have gathered you, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." "Yewill not come to me, that ye might have life." What more needed to be added? Man turns away in proud disdain from all theblessings of the gospel, and the glories of heaven brought before him, and rushes on with steady purpose to damnation. "Lightis comeinto the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." Oh, to how many in this landmay it be said, "They hate knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of his counsel, they despisedall his reproof."
Thirdly,-We have further evidence of native depravity from the testimony of Scripture. In the first place, let me refer youto the fifth chapter of the Book of Genesis, and the third verse. There we read, that Adam, after he had lived one hundredand thirty years, begat a son in his own likeness after his image. Mind, the image in which Adam was created was the imageof God, but that image he had lost before he begat Seth; therefore, the image in which Seth was born musthave been the image of his progenitor, as a fallen and depraved creature. Let me refer you, in the second place, to thethird chapter of the Gospel of John. "He that is born of the flesh," said the Saviour to Nicodemus, "is flesh, and he thatis born of the Spirit is spirit." To be born of the flesh, according to the wisest interpretation of that passage, is to beborn of a depraved nature; to be born of the Spirit is to be born of the Holy Spirit of God-which birth, the Saviour toldNicodemus he must experience before he could see the kingdom of God. And again, we have several passages in proof of thispoint. In the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, at the fifth verse of that chapter, the Apostle says, "When wewere in the flesh, the motions of sin by the law which worked in us to bring forth fruit unto death." "When we were in theflesh," means this-when we were in an unrenewed depraved state. In the same chapter he says, at the 14th verse, "We know thatthelaw is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin;" as if he had said, "I am as a sinner, a depraved creature." In accordancewith this the Apostle says, at the 18th verse of the same chapter, "In me-that is, in my flesh-there dwelleth no good thing."No love to God, no holy aspirations! No, none whatever. At the beginning of the eighth chapter the same Epistle, we find theterms "flesh" and "Spirit" placed in opposition to each other, "Who walk not after the flesh,' says the Apostle,describing Christians, "but after the Spirit." To be in the flesh is to be in a depraved state, to be in the Spirit isto be a partaker of his grace; to walk after the flesh is to walk after the dictates of corrupt principles and propensities,to walk after the Spirit is to be governed by spiritual principles and by the Holy Spirit of God; and the Apostle, in writingto the Galatians, says to them, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh." These passages, I think,prove beyond all contradiction, that man as a fallen creature, is a depraved creature, destitute of any good. There aremany other passages of Scripture that confirm this doctrine, such as the following, "Who can bring a clean thing out of aunclean." Not one. What is man that he should be clean, or the son of man that he should be just. "Behold," says a Psalmist,"I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." Read the account of man before the deluge, and there wefind thatevery imagination and the thought of his heart were only evil, and that continually. The same account is given of himafter the flood. The deluge could not wipe away the stains of moral pollution, could not destroy in man the deep-rooted depravityof his heart. "The heart," says Jeremiah, "is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it." I thinkthat what our blessed Lord said to the Jews of old, is applicable to every unconverted man under heaven-"But I know you thatye have not the love of God in you." Some of you may be more humane that others, more benevolent than other, more compassionatethan other, as men, and as women, but one has as much of the love of God in him as others. "The carnal mind is enmity againstGod," against the being of God, against the government of God, against the gospel of God, against the purposes of God. Theenmity of the human heart is unconquerable by any human agency whatever. It is mortal enmity, it strikes at the being ofGod, and, therefore, as President Edwards, of America, justly observes, "that when it found God in our nature, in ourworld, it put him to death on the accursed tree." Such, my brethren, is the enmity of the heart of man, such is its deeprooteddepravity, that in him there is no good thing. We can never speak too bad of what sin has done for us, and we can never speaktoo much, or too well, of what God has done for us, in the person of his Son, and in us, by the agency of his Holy Spirit.
Fourthly-The doctrine of human depravity may be proved from those passages which assert the universal necessity of redemptionby Jesus Christ. "Thou shalt call his name Jesus," said the angel, "because he shall save his people from their sins," "Inhim we have redemption through his blood," says St. Paul, "even the forgiveness of sin according to the riches of his grace."Now, the work of redemption pre-supposes the sinful state of man, and implies a deliverance fromthat state and from the punishment to which man is exposed. Hence it is said of Christ, that he came into the world tosave sinners, to seek and to save that which was lost, and that he died-the just for the unjust-that he might bring us toGod. Now, if redemption by Christ is necessary, it is evident that man is a sinner; and, if man is a sinner, it is evidentthat man has a depraved nature. You cannot make anything else of it. Say what you like about man and about his excellencies,youmust come to this conclusion, that he is a condemned and a depraved creature, or else he would not need redemption throughthe blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Fifthly,-The passages that assert the universal necessity of the new birth prove this very truth-"Except a man be born ofwater," said the Saviour, "and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Marvel not that I said unto you, ye must beborn again." But if a man has some good in him, and if that good could be cherished, and be increased, and worked up so asto make men fit for heaven, what need of the new birth? what need of the Spirit of all grace to renewhim in the spirit of his mind? Whenever, my brethren, you pray to God for the Spirit to change the human heart, whetheryou believe the doctrine or not, you imply it in your petition before the mercy-seat. They are represented by the sacred writersas having been called from darkness into light, as having an unction from the Holy One whereby they know all things, and thoseof them who have been called readily acknowledge that they were once foolish, once deceived and deceiving, once depraved- very depraved; and not only so, but the very best of Christians in the world confess with humility the depravity oftheir hearts, and I believe that the man who knows himself best is the man who is most ready to confess this and to humblehimself before God-"Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" And while Christians feelthis, their language is, "Create within me a clean heart, oh God! and renew a right spirit within me; purge me with hysopand Ishall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." Apply the blood of sprinkling to my guilty conscience, and letthe Spirit of all grace work in my polluted and depraved heart, and form me to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, and meetenmy immortal spirit for the inheritance of the saints in light, and of angels in glory. My dear friends, I need not say more.I should not think there is an individual here this afternoon who is not disposed to agree with me, when I say that man isfallen creature, is a depraved creature, is a condemned creature: he is under the curse of God's righteous law, and atthe same time the subject of the reigning power of depravity, the subject of the effects of sin throughout his whole nature;and that, as a sinner, let it be recorded in high heaven there is no good in man's nature until God puts it there, and youwill never be brought, by beloved hearers, into a right state of mind before God, until you are brought to feel that you havenothing, and that you must have all in the Lord Jesus Christ. "Oh! Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself!" But here areblessed tidings, "But in me is their help found." Does not this subject, my hearers, teach us, in the first place, the amazinglong suffering of God towards our race. God might, as soon as man sinned, without the least imputation of injustice to hischaracter, have cut him down, because the fall was the result of his criminal choice, and attended by the most aggravatingcircumstances; but God has borne with us, and is bearing still, which shows that he has no pleasure in the death of thesinner, but rather that he should turn from his ways and live. "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die, oh! house of Israel?"And does not the subject teach us also the helplessness of man as a sinner? He is unable to atone for his sins or to renewhis heart. Many attempts have been made to atone for human transgression, and to cleans and purify the human heart, but theyhaveall failed, not one has succeeded. No sacrifice, short of an infinite one, could satisfy Divine justice