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Speaking of Blasphemy…

September 28, 2011

The general love of God towards mankind is so clearly testified in Holy Scripture, and so demonstrated by the manifold effects of God’s goodness and mercy extended to every particular man in this world, that to doubt thereof were infidelity, and to deny it, plain blasphemy: yet for all this, if any man shall go about to magnify the common love of God extended promiscuously to all men, that thereby he obscured the special love and mercy of God prepared for all eternity, and bestowed in due time upon elect men, this may lead the ignorant and unlearned into a dangerous error: And therefore obliquely to oppose the eternal free and absolute decree of Predestination or Election under the color of disproving an absolute decree for any man’s Damnation, befits not any Divine who acknowledges the truth of that doctrine which the Scriptures have delivered, St. Augustine cleared, and the Church of England established in the xvii Article.  John Davenant, Animadversions Written By the Right Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of Sarisbury, upon a Treatise intitled “God’s love to Mankind, (London: Printed for Iohn Partridge, 1641), 3. [Some spelling modernized.]


3. The Wooings of Christ to gain your Hearts: Consider him bowing the Heavens, and coming down, and laying aside his Robes of Majesty, and putting on your filthy Garments: Consider him going about from Place to Place, on no other Errand, but to gain your Hearts, and win your Souls: And, who ever spake such effectual Words as Christ spake when he was upon the Earth? Who ever gave such precious Jewels to a Bride, as Christ gave to his Spouse? Who ever put on such Apparel as Christ did, when he wooed his Church? The Prophet wonders at it, Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed Garments from Bozrah?—- Wherefore art thou red in thine Apparel, and thy Garments like him that treadeth in the Wine Fat? Isa. 63. 1. 2. Whoever gave such a Love Token, as Christ gave when he laid down his Life? Oh, consider him living, or dieing, and say, Never Love like to this. Ah! poor Sinners, see your Jesus hanging on the Cross, dropping out his last Blood, breathing out his last Breath, stretching out his dying Arms to incircle Sinners; and come, Oh come and throw your selves into his bleeding Arms! Away with all prejudicate Opinions! Who shall say, Christ is not willing to save him, and not blaspheme eternal Love? Speak Truth: Corrupt Hearts speak Truth; say not Christ is unwilling, but you are unwilling; I would, but ye would not.  Isaac Ambrose, Looking Unto Jesus: A View of the Everlasting Gospel; Or, the Soul’s Eyeing of Jesus as Carrying on the Great Work of Man’s Salvation, from First to Last (Edinburgh: Printed for James Ormiston, 1723), 246-247.

And especially, Berkhof:

b. It is a bona fide calling. The external calling is a calling in good faith, a calling that is seriously meant. It is not an invitation coupled with the hope that it will not be accepted. When God calls the sinner to accept Christ by faith, He earnestly desires this; and when He promises those who repent and believe eternal life, His promise is dependable. This follows from the very nature, from the veracity, of God. It is blasphemous to think that God would be guilty of equivocation and deception, that He would say one thing and mean another, that He would earnestly plead with the sinner to repent and believe unto salvation, and at the same time not desire it in any sense of the word. The bona fide character of the external call is proved by the following passages of Scripture: Num. 23:19; Ps. 81:13-16; Prov. 1:24; Isa. 1:18-20; Ezek. 18:23,32; 33:11; Matt. 21:37; II Tim. 2:13. The Canons of Dort also assert it explicitly in III and IV, 8. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), 462.

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