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John Foreman, Duty Faith

The fact that universal invitations cannot be made to agree with any doctrine of particular grace and ensured salvation, is forced to be admitted by some of those duty-faith ministers who profess to hold election, particular redemption, free Justification, and such like doctrines of grace. But they endeavour to excuse themselves in their evident self inconsistency, by saying, that ‘truth is no system, and that it is impossible for any man to reconcile the mode of address to sinners, authorized by the word of God, with the counsels of God.’ See James Smith’s Warrant, &c. However this may appear to others, to me it appears one of the most awful conclusions that any man can come to, in the name of the great Fountain of all wisdom and order for the support of a point. Surely our God is not chargeable with this strife, this war, this opposition, this contradiction, this say and unsay with himself in his word; for he is not the author of such confusion, 1 Cor. 14: 33. What! When there is not a term used among men significant of system, but what the Holy Ghost has summoned as a figure whereby to express the systematical economy and settled order of the grace of God to men, as that of the Vine and its branches, and God the Father its husbandman; the Shepherd and his flock, the Husband and his bride, the Father and his family, the Head and its body, the covenant and the Mediator, the Testament, or will, and the Surety, &c.; and yet the truth of it, truth by which it is published, and by which only it is made known to the sons of men in the power of the Holy Ghost, is no system! There cannot be a more pointed self-contradiction. If truth be no system, then God can have no determined method, boundary, harmony of parts, or end in his…

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First, that universal invitations can never be made to agree with particular, fixed, and eternal purposes; a particular covenant that shall never be broken, is everlasting, immovable, ordered in all things and sure; a particular redemption that is real and eternal; particular promises that are all yea and amen in Christ; and a particular provision which God ‘will abundantly bless.’ And it is most certain, that if universal invitations cannot be made to agree with those great points, they can form no part of the ministry of those great points, and so, no part of the ministry in the communication of the blessings thereof. The economy of grace can only be sure, as it is particular, and must be as particular as it is really sure. And that it is particular must be admitted, if the Bible be admitted as the standard law-book of the case; for the Lord knew the end from the beginning, Isaiah 46:10; ‘For he himself knew what he would do, John 6: 6; ‘That the purpose of God according to election might stand, Rom 9:11; ‘Even so, then, there is at this present time a remnant according to election of grace; and if by grace, then it is no more of works,’ Rom 9:5,6; ‘Our God is in the heavens, and he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased,’ Psalm 115:3: ‘Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight,’ Matt 11:25-27. ‘So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy,’ Rom 9: 16; Now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe, John 14:29; that in purpose, God’s works were finished from the foundation of the world,’ Heb 4:3.

The provisions of grace are not only made for the certain support and eternal salvation of all them that come to Christ by faith, but are equally and altogether as much made for the purpose of quickening, disposing, and bringing by faith to Christ, all and every one that shall be saved by him; none have ever come to Christ in any other way than by the…

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One radical and very fruitful evil in the spirit of duty faith is, that it turns all the particular invitations of the gospel into general ones, saying, ‘they belong to all alike, and not to any particular characters,’ as are named in the invitations. The invitations of the gospel are a very rich and precious part of the word of God, and in them are contained four jewel ingredients of precious truth for special purposes, and which are, first, the nature of a promise; second, the welcome character described; third, the adapted blessing named; and fourth, the welcome expressed, come, &c. And the invitations of the gospel are in every point and property as sure and infallibly amen in Christ Jesus, as the more simple promises are; for the truth of the Lord, of which the invitations are a most gracious part, ‘endureth for ever.’ Divine truth never did fail, nor in part of it can it fail, in the use and end that God himself intends thereby; and if any part fail in the way that man takes it up and applies it, that is a clear and undeniable proof at once, of its being taken up wrong, and in a way and for an end the Holy Spirit of truth never intended. And nothing is more self-evident than that universal invitations have failed, do fall, and must fail; many of the invited being in a state in which it is impossible for them to come, and are without any warrant from the Lord that they ever will be in a possible state to come, and if the invited to the eternal salvation of God never come, does not the invitation fall? Because it cannot be said in this case as in a mere natural one, ‘That I sent for them to come if…

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Duty faith, or the duty of the natural man to believe unto salvation, is a doctrine, in my opinion, really bad in its nature, being altogether opposed to the spirit, nature, and truth of God’s purely free grace salvation; and, consequently, that it is bad in all its branches, forms, and degrees, in which and to which it is carried out by its different advocates. Some hold it in a manner quite contradictory to…

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If for believing the sinner should be saved, or for not believing he should be damned, and such faith to be the natural man’s duty, this would indeed be putting salvation into man’s own hands. And if the Lord had thus put salvation into man’s own hands as a charge, together with the endowment of sufficient ability at any time to be able to keep and perform that charge, then man would be justly subject to capital punishment, as a sort of spiritual murderer, if he neglected to exercise his given ability to the salvation of his soul.

But is the case so? Is this in fact the truth? No; for Job was a believing man of God, Job 1:8; but as he was not by experience quite strip, emptied, and brought down to the…

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Duty faith goes by proposals to put the world of sinners in the same position for heaven and eternal salvation, as Moses addressed the Israelites, saying, ‘I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live,’ Deut 30:19. As though the world had only to make their own choice in believing, and so obtain salvation, or lose it; yea, more, be damned for not believing unto salvation when it was so proposed to them. But these cases are not at all parallel, because Moses did not hereby propose to the heathen world, much less made it their penal obligation to make themselves Israelites of the seed of Abraham and his seed, so as to possess that land in common with them, or to be cut off from the face of the whole earth for not being and doing all this. But Moses was speaking to them as…

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Duty faith unto salvation says in the Midland Counties Association, that the power of salvation lies sufficiently in religious means; but the Bible faith says, that the power of salvation lies alone in God the Saviour, sovereignty and severally as he will, Matt 7:13; 2 Cor 4:7; 1 Cor 12: 2.

Duty faith in Mr. H., treating a spiritual state with disdain, as the mere invention of fancy, says, that the natural man can know and receive the things of the Spirit, and that the common intellect of man is sufficient of itself savingly to comprehend all such things; but the faith of the Bible says, ‘What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man that is in him? Even so the…

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Faith unto salvation considered and enforced as the natural man’s duty, is not of grace, nor of the spirit of grace; but it is, (1) Of the spirit of that zeal by which the Jews went about to establish their own righteousness, not submitting themselves unto the righteousness of God, Rom 10:3. (2) It is of that spirit of the five foolish virgins whose vessels were without oil, who made creatures their first recourse, and then thought by the natural duty, like self-effort of purchase, to establish a right to, and acquire to themselves the possession of all things, which the five wise virgins had and took, without any…

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