Antiquity and authority can both be pleaded for regarding the Gospel as an offer of Christ or a tender of grace to sinners. Thus in the Confession of Faith agreed upon in 1647 by the assembly of Presbyterian Divines at Westminster, we are told, chap. 10:2, that Effectual Calling ‘‘is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man; who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and con­veyed in it.”

This was, in substance, introduced into the Confession of Faith adopted by the Particular Baptists in 1689. They, however, while retaining the notion of offered grace, emphasised the testimony to the necessity of the Spirit’s work, by stating that Effectual Calling “is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that is by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.” Chap. 10, 2.

Again, the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism declares that (Question 31) “Effectual Calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, He doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely OFFERED IN THE GOSPEL.”

This was adopted by C. H. Spurgeon in “A Catechism with Proofs.”

It was—as Joseph John Gurney approvingly relates—the belief of William Wilberforce that the Gospel is “an effective offer of salvation made to every man born into the world,” and the vast majority of evangelical Christians would concur in this opinion.

It was through the labours of Tobias Crisp, (1600-1642), Joseph Hussey, (1660-1726), John Gill, D.D.,[1] (1697-1771), William Huntington, (1745-1813), John Stevens, (1776-1847) William Palmer, 1800-1873), and others, that the truth of God in this branch of the Gospel was subsequently elucidated.

The question, however, is not whether a doctrine is old or new, but whether or not it is supported by the word of God.

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[1] In his Introduction to the hymns of Richard Davis, of Rothwell, (reprinted in 1833 by J. Andrews Jones) Dr. Gill directs attention to the fact that in some of them the phrase,“offering Christ,” or, “grace” is used. Thus, hymn 6—“Sinners, this grace is tendered to the vilest of you all; Come, sinners, come, accept this grace, the Gospel gives a call. Stand not for to dispute and die; free, offered grace receive; Such love embrace, accept such grace; O, do this grace believe.”
“To the use of such phrases,” the Doctor observes, “the author was led, partly through custom, they not having then been objected to, and partly through his affectionate concern for gaining upon souls, and encouraging them to come to Christ. I can, however, affirm upon good and sufficient tes­tmony, that Mr. Davis before his death changed his mind in this matter, and disused the phrases, as being improper, and being too bold and free for a minister of Christ to make use of.”



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