A favourite text of the late C. H. Spurgeon’s, and from which he frequently preached what was substantially the same sermon was Rom. 10:20,21 “But Esaias is very bold, and says (speaking for God) ‘I was found by those not seeking Me: I became manifested to those not enquiring after Me,’— (evidently, according to the context, the Gentiles,)— but to Israel, (and literal, national Israel are incontestably intended,) He saith, ‘Through the whole day, I stretched out My hands to a disobeying and conradicting people.’” Literal Translation.

The meaning, is, surely, plain. God’s sovereign and invincible grace in savingly revealing Himself to the benighted Gentiles, is presented, in a way of contrast with His conduct towards His nationally-favoured people. C. H. S., however, Sermon No. 207—saw here two apparently contradictory doctrines, Divine Sovereignty in verse 20, and Human Re­sponsibility in verse 21.

His remarks under the first head few but Arminians would dispute. He rightly urges that God’s gracious acts of salvation are unmerited and sovereign, and insists that these truths ought to be preached.

He then, by way of transition, indulges in a little abuse of “hypers,” and proceeds to preach man’s responsibility,— that God wooes sinners to be saved, and this repeatedly. He warns his congregation against the dangerous men who protest against Duty-faith, and informs his careless hearers that they are “tying faggots for their own burning for ever. If they perish under the sound of the ministry, they will do so more terribly and fearfully than if they perished anywhere else.”

James Wells also published a sermon from this text, (Surrey Tabernacle Pulpit, No. 447.)

He shows that verse 20 is a Gospel declaration, and beautifully expounds it by a running comment on Isaiah 65, from which it is an extract. He then explains that verse 21 is an old cove­nant Scripture, and gloriously combats the idea that Everlasting Love can put forth its hand, and fail to grasp its object.

He concludes thus:—“In this stretching forth of the hand there was nothing spiritual,—and it appears to me to be a serious thing to represent God as a Father, trying to save His children, and yet cannot: the Saviour as trying to save a sinner, and yet cannot: the Holy Ghost as trying to save a soul, and yet cannot—and to bring this verse to father such delusions.”

Such was the primitive doctrine of the Strict and Particular Baptists. If the reader is a preacher, does he side with free-grace Wells, or the universally popular C. H. S.?[1]

[1] The absurdity of offered grace is apparent in a hymn cited in Glad Tidings, No. 13, a Tract issued from the Stirling Tract Depot. The sinner is assured that though, when he commenced reading it, he was “dead in sins,” he may this very moment have life if he believes God, and accepts the gift of His Son.
“There is nothing to do, for, being bom ‘dead’,
You must have another to work in your stead;
Christ Jesus in Calvary’s terrible hour
Has done all the work in such marvellous power,
That, raised from the dead, He now offers to you
Life, pardon, salvation, and nothing to do!
No, nothing to do, till you’re saved from your sins,
Then the power of doing good only begins.”
Sinners are born “dead,” and, therefore, can do nothing. Jesus, however, has done all that was required, and offers them life, pardon, and salvation. How an effective offer can be made to a dead person—and how thoughtful preachers can urge such absurdities, is inexplicable! Death which admits of response to an appeal, is not death: or an offer to death is a farce.


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