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Was John Gill a Hypercalvinist? (Part I)

July 10, 2009

[Part II continues here.]

From two critical sources, the one key element of classic hypercalvinism is the denial of duty-faith.

David Englesma:

But hypercalvinism is the denial that God in the preaching of the gospel calls everyone who hears the preaching to repent and believe. It is the denial that the should call everyone in the preaching of the Gospel. It is the denial  that the unregenerate have a duty to repent and believe.  It manifests itself in the practice of the preacher’s addressing the call of the gospel, “repent and believe on Christ crucified,” only to those in his audience who show signs of regeneration and, thereby, of election, namely, some conviction of sin and some interest in salvation. Hypercalvinism and the Call of the Gospel, 15-16. [Underlining mine.]

Engelsma goes on to identify by name, John Gill, as denying that it is the duty of the sinner to savingly believe and trust in Christ. Englelsma also notes the classic hypercalvinistic distinctions between natural and evangelical faith, noting that for Gill, sinners are only called to the former, not the latter (16-17).

Phil Johnson:

2. The denial of faith as a duty. This variety of hyper-Calvinism (“type-2 hyper-Calvinism”) suggests that since unbelievers are incapable of faith apart from enabling grace, believing in Christ must never be presented to them as a duty. (See Arthur Pink’s excellent article “Duty-Faith,” refuting this this erroneous notion.)

Those holding this position go to great lengths to deny that faith is ever presented in Scripture as the duty of the unregenerate. (Obviously, much Scripture-twisting is necessary to justify such an opinion. See, for example, Acts 17:30.) Instead, advocates of this position suggest that each sinner must seek a warrant for his faith before presuming to exercise faith in Christ. The sinner does this by looking for evidence that he is elect (an utterly absurd notion, since faith is the only real evidence of election).

Understandably, this brand of hyper-Calvinism tends to make sinners obsessed with conviction of sin and self-examination. Those who hold this position rarely know true, settled assurance. [underlining mine.]

Phil Johnson also rightly points out the second key element of hypercalvinism namely, the denial that there is an offer of the gospel:

3. The denial of the gospel offer. Type-3 hyper-Calvinism is based on a denial that the gospel makes any “offer” of Christ, salvation, or mercy to the non-elect. An alternative of this view merely denies that the offer of divine mercy is free and universal…

If the hyper-Calvinists in England tend to be Baptists, in America the Presbyterian variety seems more common. The best-known American hyper-Calvinists are the Protestant Reformed Churches (PRC). They deny that there is any sort of “offer” (in the sense of a proffer or tender or proposal of mercy) in the gospel message. They also deny that they are hyper-Calvinists, because they insist that the only variety of hyper-Calvinism is that which denies the gospel call (Type-1 above). [Underlining mine.

The infamous Gospel Standard Articles sum up the theology well enough:

XXIV We believe that the invitations of the Gospel, being spirit and life, are intended only for those who have been made by the blessed Spirit to feel their lost state as sinners and their need of Christ as their Saviour, and to repent of and forsake their sins. (Isa. 55:1, John 7:37, Prov. 28:13, Matt. 11:28-30, John 6:37.)

XXVI We deny duty faith and duty repentance – these terms signifying that it is every man’s duty spiritually and savingly to repent and believe (Gen. 6:5, Gen 8:21, Matt. 15:19, Jer. 17:9, John 6:44, John 6:65.) We deny also that there is any capability in man by nature to any spiritual good whatever. So that we reject the doctrine that men in a state of nature should be exhorted to believe in or turn to God of themselves. (John 12:39-40, Eph. 2:8, Rom. 8:7-8, 1 Cor. 4:7.)

XXIX While we believe that the gospel is to be preached in or proclaimed to all the world, as in Mark 16:15, we deny offers of grace; that is to say, that the gospel is to be offered indiscriminately to all. (2 Cor. 4:3-4.)

The following collection of comments from John Gill demonstrate all the above:

1)  That John Gill denied that sinners are required or obligated to believe on Jesus Christ in a saving way, for the salvation of their souls.

2) That John Gill denied that there is any offer, tender, proffer, conditional or otherwise, to any man.

3) That John Gill believed that sinners are only called and required to exercise a natural, notional, and/or national faith, which is distinguished from evangelical faith in Christ.

A note regarding the quotations below. The following is a sample from his writings. As more relevant quotations are found, they will be added here.

Gill Denies of Duty-Faith:

1) That the obligation to believe in Christ, and so the faith to which men are obliged are in proportion, and according to the nature of the revelation of the Gospel, which obliges them Now the Gospel revelation is either external or internal: the external revelation is by the word, and the ministry of it; which respecting Christ, lies in these things, that he is really and properly God, and truly man; that he is the Son of God, and the Mediator between God and men; that he is the Messiah, who is actually come in the flesh; that he died and rose again the third day; is ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, and will come a second time to judge the world in righteousness; and that by his obedience, sufferings, and death, he is become the Savior of sinners, and that none can be saved but by him. Now let it be observed, that this revelation is general and not particular, and does not necessarily oblige persons to whom it comes to believe that Christ is their Redeemer and Savior, and that he died for them particularly, though the Spirit of God may and does bless it to many for the begetting special faith; and it may and does lay a general foundation for special and appropriating acts of that grace, yet it only requires an historical faith, or bare assent to the truth of the said propositions. Now such a faith is not saving; men may have this, and yet be damned; yea, the devils themselves have it. It follows that men may be obliged to believe, and yet not to the saving of their souls, or that Christ died for them. Besides, this revelation is not made to all men; and therefore all men, such as Indians, and others, are not obliged to believe in Christ, nor even to give a bare assent to the truth of the above said things, much less to believe that Christ died for them; and indeed, How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14.) And perhaps all are not obliged to believe who live in a land where this revelation does come; as those who have not their natural reason and hearing, or the due and proper use and exercise of the same, such as infants, idiots, madmen, and those who are entirely deaf; only such to whom this revelation is made, and are capable of hearing and understanding it, are obliged to have faith in Christ by it, as were the Jews of old, who were condemned for their unbelief, not because they did not believe that Christ died for them, to which they were not obliged, but because they did not believe him to be God, the Son of God, the true Messiah, and Savior of sinners.  Gill, Cause of God, on John 1:7, pp., 31-32.

2) 3. Though there is a close connection between evangelical repentance, true conversion, and pardon of sin; that is to say, that such who are really converted and truly repent, have their sins pardoned; yet not repentance and conversion, but the free grace of God and blood of Christ are the causes of pardon. Forgiveness of sin is indeed only manifested to converted penitent sinners, who are encouraged and influenced to repent of sin, and turn to the Lord from the promise of pardoning grace; hence the most that can be made of such an exhortation is only this; that it is both the duty and interest of men to repent and turn to God, that they may have a discovery of the remission of their sins through the blood of Christ, and not that they shall hereby procure and obtain the thing itself: though, after all, neither evangelical repentance and internal conversion, nor the grace of pardon are here intended; not evangelical repentance and internal conversion, as has been before observed, nor the spiritual blessing and grace of pardon; for, though pardon of sin is signified by blotting it out, Psalm 51:1,9; Isaiah 43:25, and Isaiah 44:22; yet forgiveness of sin sometimes means no more than the removing a present calamity, or the averting of a threatened judgment, Exodus 32:32; 1 Kings 8:33 to 39; and is the sense of the phrase here. These Jews had crucified the Lord of glory, and for this sin were threatened with miserable destruction; the apostle therefore exhorts them to repent of it, and acknowledge Jesus to be the true Messiah; that so when wrath should come upon their nation to the uttermost, they might be delivered and saved from the general calamity; which, though these would be terrible times to the unbelieving Jews, yet would be times of refreshing to the people of God from troubles and persecutions. Though the last clause may be considered, not as expressing the time when their iniquities should be blotted out, but as a distinct additional promise made to penitents, and be read with the other thus: that your sins may be blotted out, that the times of refreshing may come; as they are by the Syriac and Arabic versions, and to which the Ethiopic agrees, and is the reading preferred by Lightfoot; and the sense is this, “Repent of your sin of crucifying Christ, acknowledge Jesus as the true Messiah, and you shall not only be saved from the general destruction of your nation, but shall have the gospel and the consolation of Israel with you. Jesus Christ, who was first preached unto, you, shall be sent down unto you in the refreshing consolatory ministry of the word, though he in person must refrain in heaven, until the times of restitution of all things.” John Gill, Cause of God, on Acts 3:19, pp., 35-36.

3) Now could it be proved that God, in this sense, would have all men converted, regenerated, be brought to repentance unto life, and everlastingly saved; and that he has appointed, and uses means for the effecting of all this, and yet withholds, and has decreed to withhold that which alone can make these means sufficient; as there would be an apparent contradiction in his will, his purposes, and decrees, and actions, so it would be a most gross impeachment of his wisdom. But then we utterly deny that God has willed converting and regenerating grace evangelical repentance, and everlasting salvation, to every individual of mankind; or that he has appointed, or uses means for the effecting of these in all men; and therefore, as it is no contradiction to his eternal purposes, nor to his methods of acting in time, to withhold, and to decree to withhold from, or to deny his grace to some men, so it can be no reflection upon his wisdom to do so. It is true, indeed, it is his will of command, that all men should repent, and turn from the evil of their ways, but this is more properly expressive of what is man’s duty, than of what is the will of God; or in other words, this shows what God has made it man’s duty to do, and not what he himself has willed shall be done. Now God has appointed means, and he uses them, and makes them sufficient to acquaint men that he has made such and such things their duty; whereby they are left inexcusable, though he does not give them grace to repent and turn, which he is not obliged to. Gill, Cause of God, 154.

4) It will be owned, by those who are on the other side of the question, that a man, by a long train of sinning, or by a continued course of vicious practices, may be so habituated to sin, as that it is as impossible for him to do good, as it is for the: Ethiopian to change his skin, or the leopard his spots; yet it will not follow that he is obliged any longer to do that which is good. It is man’s duty to believe the word of the Lord, and obey his will, though he has not a power, yea, even though God has decreed to withhold that grace without which he cannot believe and obey. So it was Pharaoh’s duty to believe and obey the Lord, and let Israel go; though God had determined to harden his heart, that he should not let them go. However there are many things which may be believed and done by reprobates, and therefore they may be justly required to believe and obey; it is true, they are not able to believe in Christ to the saving of their souls, or to perform spiritual and evangelical obedience, but then it will be difficult to prey, that God requires these things of them, and should that appear, yet the impossibility of doing them, arises from the corruption of their hearts, being destitute of the grace of God, and not from the decree of reprobation, which though it denies them that grace and strength, without which they cannot believe and obey in this sense, yet it takes none from them, and therefore does them no injustice. Gill, Cause of God, 158.

5) Do that which can no more be done without it, than men can make bricks without straw; and thy servants are beaten, but the fault is in him who denies us straw, and yet requires bricks; yea, who requires that faith, and that repentance, which he never would afford us sufficient means to perform. This is a bold charge, an insolent way of treating the Almighty, to compare him with Pharaoh’s officers, and say the fault is in him who requires faith and repentance, and affords no special grace, no divine energy to perform. Moreover the case is not parallel; the impotence of the Israelites to make bricks, arose from straw being denied them, and withheld from them, which they formerly had; but the impotence of men to believe and repent, does not arise from special grace and a divine energy being denied or withheld from them, which they never had: but from the corruption and vitiosity of their nature, their enmity to God, alienation from him, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness or hardness of their hearts. Besides, God never calls persons to evangelical repentance, or requires them to believe in Christ to the saving of their souls, but he gives that special grace, and puts forth that divine energy which enables them to believe and repent. God does not require all men to believe in Christ, and where he does, it is according to the revelation he makes of him. He does not require the heathens, who are without an external revelation of Christ, to believe in him at all; and those who only Save the outward ministry of the word, unattended with the special illuminations of the Spirit of God, are obliged to believe no further than that external revelation they enjoy reaches; as that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, etc., not to believe these things is the sin of all that are under the gospel dispensation, as it was of the Jews; who though they saw his miracles, and heard its doctrines, yet, through the corruption and prejudices of their minds, did not believe the to be the Messiah, and therefore died in their sins; nor had they a just excuse, or sufficient plea, why they should not be punished or condemned, for their infidelity an a unbelief respecting the Messiah, even though: they could not come to him, or believe him to the saving of their souls, without the special grace of God; they were not condemned for the want of that they had not and which was not bestowed upon them; but for that which was really in them, the sin of unbelief; nor were they, nor are any, condemned for not believing that Christ died for them, but for the transgressions of the law of God, and the disbelief or contempt of his gospel. And as for those, who besides the external, have also an internal revelation of Christ, as they are called to the exercise of evangelical repentance, and to faith in Christ as their Savior and Redeemer, who loved them, and gave himself for them; they have that grace bestowed upon them, and that power put forth in them, which enables them to believe and repent.  Gill, Cause of God, 166.

6) 3. It is said, that “the great duty required from the Jew and Gentile is, to love the Lord with all our hearts; but if he in tended no such kindness to the greatest part of mankind (as the sending of his Son to be their Savior,) what motive can they have to love him, who never had any love to their souls? Surely they cannot be obliged to love him for that’ redemption which never was intended for them, or for that grace which will not be vouchsafed to them.” To which may be replied; that it is the duty of all men to love the Lord, as they are the creatures of his make, the care of his providence, and supplied by him with the blessings of life; and, so long as they are, the obligation to love him continues, and would have continued, had there been no redemption at all by Christ. It is true, redemption by Christ lays a fresh obligation on those who are interested in it, to love the Lord; and, indeed, those who have no interest in that special blessing of grace, have reason to love the Lord upon the account of it; since it is owing to Christ’s engagement to redeem his own people, that the rest are continued in their being, and supplied with the blessings of providence, which were forfeited by sin. Besides, though such cannot be obliged to love the Lord for that redemption which never was intended for them, nor for that grace which will not be vouchsafed to them; yet, all to whom the gospel revelation comes, are obliged to love the Lord on the account of redemption by Christ; since all who see their need of it, and are desirous of interest in it, have no reason to conclude otherwise, than that Christ died for them, and has redeemed them by his blood. Gill, Cause of God, 170.

7) I have already observed, that to represent it to be the duty of every man, wherever the Gospel comes, to believe immediately in the Lord Jesus Christ, with a special, spiritual, vital faith, is an error that injures all the moral perfections of God.   Dr. Gill And Mr. Brine Vindicated, From The Charge Of Error And Mistake With Respect To Faith In Christ… SERMONS AND TRACTS OF JOHN GILL SERMONS PREACHED AT JOHN GILL’S DEATH OR IN VINDICATION OF HIS FAITH & PRACTICE

Gill Denies the Offer:

1) The gospel is indeed ordered to be preached to every creature to whom it is sent and comes; but as yet, it has never been brought to all the individuals of human nature; there have been multitudes in all ages that have not heard it. And that there are universal offers of grace and salvation made to all men I utterly deny; nay, I deny they are made to any; no, not to God’s elect; grace and salvation are provided for them in the everlasting covenant, procured for them by Christ, published and revealed in the gospel, and applied by the Spirit; much less are they made to others wherefore this doctrine is not chargeable with insincerity on that account. Let the patrons of universal offers defend themselves from this objection; I have nothing to do with it; till it is proved there are such universal offers, then Dr. Watts’s reasoning on that head, will require some attention; but not till then.   Sermon 7: THE DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION STATED, AND SET IN THE SCRIPTURE LIGHT.

2) To all which I reply, that God’s act of election does no injustice either to the elect or non-elect; not to the elect, to whom it secures both grace and glory; nor to the non-elect, or to the rest who are left out of it: for as God condemns no man but for sin, so he has decreed to condemn no man but for sin. And where is the unrighteousness of such a decree? It would have been no unrighteousness in God to have condemned all mankind for sin, and would have been none in him, if he had decreed to condemn them all for sin. If therefore it would have been no injustice in him to have decreed to condemn all mankind for sin, it can be none in him to decree to condemn some of them for sin, when he could have decreed to have condemned them all. Herein he shows both his clemency and his justice; his clemency to some, his justice to others. As to the things particularly instanced in, I answer, that when this author points out any offers of help in a saving way God has made to all mankind, or to any to whom he has decreed no saving help, and then threatens them with a severer damnation for non-acceptance of them, I shall attend to the charge of unrighteousness. Sermon 94, AN ANSWER TO THE BIRMINGHAM DIALOGUE-WRITER.

3) To which I answer, that salvation is not offered at all by God, upon any condition whatsoever, to any of the sons of men, no, not to the elect: they are chosen to it, Christ has procured it for them, the gospel publishes and reveals it, and the Spirit of God applies it to them; much less to the non-elect, or to all mankind; and consequently this doctrine, or God according to it, is not chargeable with delusion and insult. When this author goes about to prove any such offers, I shall attend to them; and if he can prove them, I own, I must be obliged to think again. Sermon 94, AN ANSWER TO THE BIRMINGHAM DIALOGUE-WRITER.

4) This doctrine is farther charged with insincerity, or as representing God as an insincere and deceitful Being; since he offers to sinners a salvation never purchased for them, and on conditions not to be complied with. The answer to this is, that salvation is not offered at all by God, upon any condition whatsoever, to any of the sons of men, elect or non-elect; and therefore God, according to this doctrine, is not chargeable with insincerity and deceit. SERMON 95 AN ANSWER TO THE BIRMINGHAM DIALOGUE-WRITER.

5) This author owns, that hereby we are consistent, in preaching and writing, with ourselves and scheme, and so not chargeable with self-contradiction; and since it is of a piece with the rest of our tenets, and is likely to share the same fate with them, we need not be in much pain about the consequences of it. But this tenet, that there is no offer of salvation to men in the ministry of the gospel, is said to be inconsistent with all the dictates of reason, our ideas of God, and the whole system of the gospel: not surely with all the dictates of reason; for how irrational is it, for minister to stand offering Christ, and salvation by him to man, when, on the one hand, they have neither power nor right to give; and, on the other hand, the persons they offer to, have neither power nor will to receive? What this author’s ideas of God are, I know not, but this I say, it is not consistent with our ideas of God, that he should send ministers to offer salvation to man, to whom he himself never intended to give it, which the ministers have not power to bestow, nor the men to receive: but, it seems, denying offers of salvation, is inconsistent with the whole system of the gospel; the Bible is hereby knocked down at once, and made to be the most delusive, and cheating book in the world; when the whole Bible is one standing offer of mercy to a guilty world. What! the whole Bible? the Bible maybe distinguished into these two parts, historical and doctrinal; the historical part of the Bible is surely no offer of mercy to a guilty world; the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the first verse of it, can hardly be thought to be so. The doctrinal part of it may be distinguished into law and gospel; the law, which is the killing letter, and the ministration of condemnation and death to a guilty world, can be no standing offer of mercy to it: if any part of the Bible is so, it must be the gospel; but the gospel is a declaration of salvation already wrought out by Christ, and not an offer of it on conditions to be performed by man. The ministers of the gospel are sent to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15.) that is, not to offer, but to preach Christ, and salvation by him; to publish peace, and pardon as things already obtained by him. The ministers are kerukav, criers or heralds; their business is khrussein, to proclaim aloud, to publish facts, to declare things that are done, and not to offer them to be done on conditions; as when a peace is concluded and finished, the herald’s business, and in which he is employed, is to proclaim the peace, and not to offer it; of this nature is the gospel, and the whole system of it; which preaches, not offers peace by Christ, who is Lord of all. The ministers are “kerukas,” criers or heralds; their business is “kerussein,” to proclaim aloud, to publish facts, to declare things that are done, and not to offer them to be done on conditions; as when a peace is concluded and finished, the herald’s business, and in which he is employed, is to proclaim the peace, and not to offer it; of this nature is the gospel, and the whole system of it; which preaches, not offers peace by Christ, who is Lord of all. As for the texts of scripture produced by this writer, several have nothing in them respecting pardon, life and salvation, and much less contain an offer of either; as I have shown at large in my first part of The Cause of God and Truth; whither I refer the reader;… SERMON 95 AN ANSWER TO THE BIRMINGHAM DIALOGUE-WRITER.

6) To which he answers, “When we are upon the nature of the gospel and the universality of its offers, there is no need to evade the argument, by transferring the scene to the heathen world.”

I am at a loss to know what argument is evaded by putting the question; for, if grace is free and common to all men, if God’s decree of salvation is universal, and reaches to all the individuals of mankind, and Christ has died for them all, then, surely, the heathen world has a concern in these things; and it must seem strange, if all this is true, that the knowledge of salvation, and the means of it, should not be afforded them, and they left in their sins to perish without law. Where is the grace of this scheme? What is now become of free, common, and universal grace? And an idle thing it is, to talk of the universality of the offers of the gospel, when the gospel is not preached to a tenth part of the world, nor anything like it; when multitudes, millions, whole nations know nothing of it. What this man means by saying that this is equally a difficulty against God’s government of the world, I know not; since this argument does not concern God’s government of the world, but the administration of his grace to the sons of men. SERMON 95 AN ANSWER TO THE BIRMINGHAM DIALOGUE-WRITER,

7) He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. — Isaiah 55:1. 1.

THESE words are no call, invitation, or offer of grace to dead sinners, since they are spoken to such who were thirsty, that is, who, in a spiritual sense, were thirsting after pardon of sin, a justifying righteousness, and salvation by Christ; after a greater knowledge of him, communion with him, conformity to him, and enjoyment of him in his ordinances, which supposes them to be. spiritually alive; for such who are dead in sin, thirst not after the grace of God, but the lusts of the flesh; Gill, Cause of God, 19-20.

8 ) The argument above cited, is founded on a manifest falsehood, that the apostles tendered the saving grace of God to all men, without exception whereas they tendered it to none, but preached the Gospel to all, without any distinction of persons who came to hear it. The Arminians frequently argue from an universal offer of the Gospel to an universal redemption; such whose ministrations run in he strain of offers and tenders, would do well to consider this, and deliver themselves from this argument, who only are pinched by it. Gill, Cause of God, 53.

9) It is intimated, that, “supposing an absolute decree of reprobation, the tenders of the gospel to reprobates must be false and hypocritical; and the offers of grace are not made in good earnest, and with sincerity.” But it should first be proved, that there are any offers of grace at all, made to any, whether elect, or non-elect. The gospel is not tendered to the elect, but is the power of God unto salvation to them. The grace of God is bestowed upon them, applied to them, and wrought in them, but not offered. And as for the non-elect, grace is neither offered to them, nor bestowed on them, and therefore there can be no falsehood or hypocrisy, dissimulation or guile, nothing ludicrous or delusory in the divine conduct towards them, or anything which disproves God’s act of preterition or reprobation. Gill, Cause of God, 156.

10) It is also said, that “whereas the justice of God shines evidently from the doctrine which asserts that God doth only punish men for willful sins, which it was in their power to avoid; it never can be glorified by that doctrine which supposes, that he punisheth men with the extremest and most lasting torments, for not accepting those offers of grace tendered by the gospel, which it was not possible for them to comply with or embrace, without that farther grace which he purposed absolutely to deny them.” I reply, for my own part, I do not think that any man will be punished for not accepting offered grace, he could not comply with or embrace, for want of further grace, because I do not believe that grace was ever offered to them; but then they will be punished for their willful contempt and neglect of the gospel preached unto them; and for their manifold transgressions of the righteous law of God, made known unto them; and surely this doe. trine can never be derogatory to the glory of God’s justice. Gill, Cause of God, 181.

11) III. It is further urged, that “the doctrine of man’s disability, by the fall of Adam, to do what is spiritually good, is inconsistent with the new covenant of grace, established in the blood of Jesus, and tendered to all to whom the gospel is vouchsafed.” Some men, indeed, plead for offers of Christ, and tenders of the gospel; but the offer or tender of the new covenant, is what I never met with in other writers. If this covenant is tendered, upon the conditions of faith and repentance, to all to whom the gospel is vouchsafed, how can it be said to be established in the blood of Jesus? It must be very precarious and uncertain, until the conditions of it are fulfilled by those to whom it is tendered. The doctrine of man’s disability to do what is spiritually good, may seem inconsistent with the covenant of grace, to such who have no other notions of it, than that it is a conditional one; that faith, repentance, and obedience, are the conditions of it; and that these are in the power of man to perform; but not to those who believe, and think they have good reason to believe, that the covenant of grace is made with Christ, as the head and representative of the elect, and with them in him, and with them only; and that, with respect to them, it is entirely absolute and unconditional, to whom grace is promised in it, to enable them to believe, repent, and obey. The covenant of grace supposes the disability of man to do that which is spiritually good, and therefore provides for it; for God promises in this covenant to put his law in the inward parts, and write it in the hearts of his people: yea, to put his Spirit within them, and cause them to walk in his statutes; and says, they shall keep his judgments, and do them. (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:27.) Gill, Cause of God, 184.

12) Though Christ did not offer or tender the blessings of grace to any, much less to them in general; but as a preacher of the Gospel, published the truths of it to all; and as the Mediator of the new covenant, dispensed the blessings of it to those who were (not should be) given him by the Father. Gill, Cause of God, 88.

13) That no man can be condemned at the last day for neglecting that great salvation tendered to, or purchased for him; Christ having neither purchased for or offered to them any salvation, unless he offered to them that salvation which he never died to purchase for them.” It is certain, that for those who shall not be saved, salvation was not purchased, nor should it be offered to them, nor indeed to any. Such for whom salvation is purchased, are the church whom Christ has purchased with his own blood; and to these, this salvation is not offered, but applied. The Gospel is not an offer, but the power of God unto salvation, to these persons. Gill, Cause of God, 103.

14) Such who have only an external revelation of him by the ministry of the word, are obliged to believe no mole than is included in that revelation, as that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, who died and rose again, and is the Savior of sinners, etc., but not that he died for them, or that he is their Savior. It is true, the ministers of the Gospel, though they ought not to offer and tender salvation to any, for which they have no commission, yet they may preach the gospel of salvation to all men, and declare, that whosoever believes shall be saved: for this they are commissioned to do: Gill, Cause of God, 164.

15) First, This may be considered either as a call to saints, to such who have a work of grace already begun in them; and to such it is a call, not only to the means of grace, but to partake of the blessings of grace; to come as thirsty persons, eagerly desirous of spiritual things, “to the waters”, the ordinances, and drink at them; to “buy wine and milk”, spiritual blessings, signified hereby, without “money, and without price”, these being to be had freely: and these are also called as laboring under a sense of sin, and under a spirit of bondage, to “come” to Christ for “rest”, peace, pardon, life, and salvation, Isaiah 55:1 Matthew 11:28 and these in and by the ministry of the word, are called, excited, and encouraged to the exercise of evangelical graces, wrought in them, and bestowed upon them; as repentance, faith, hope, love, and every other; such were the three thousand converts under Peter’s sermon, and the jailor, who were under a previous work of the Spirit of God, when they were called and encouraged to repent and believe in Christ, Acts 2:37,38 16:29-31 and these are also called, and urged, and pressed, in and by the ministry of the word, to a constant attendance on ordinances, and not to forsake the assembly of the saints, and to a diligent performance of every religious duty, and to be ready to every good work in general: or this external call may be considered, as a call of sinners in a state of nature and unregeneracy; but then it is not a call to them to regenerate and convert themselves, of which there is no instance; and which is the pure work of the Spirit of God: nor to make their peace with God, which they cannot make by anything they can do; and which is only made by the blood of Christ: nor to get an interest in Christ, which is not got, but given: nor to the exercise of evangelical grace, which they have not, and therefore can never exercise: nor to any spiritual vital acts, which they are incapable of, being natural men, and dead in trespasses and sins. Nor is the gospel ministry an offer of Christ, and of his grace and salvation by him, which are not in the power of the ministers of it to give, nor of carnal men to receive; the gospel is not an offer, but a preaching of Christ crucified, a proclamation of the unsearchable riches of his grace, of peace, pardon, righteousness, and life, and salvation by him.

16) Yet there is something in which the ministry of the word, and the call by it, have to do with unregenerate sinners: they may be, and should be called upon, to perform the natural duties of religion; to a natural faith, to give credit to divine revelation, to believe the external report of the gospel


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