It is the expressed will of the Lord Jesus that the Gospel should be preached to every creature, (Mark 16:15.) This is often understood to mean that salvation should be offered to every creature, and that all men indiscriminately should be invited to participate in its benefits. Our article, however, insists that “the invitations of the Gospel are addressed to those who possess spiritual life, and should be pre­sented only to conscious and contrite sinners, whose characters as such are so clearly described in the word of God.”

For example, those who spiritually hunger and thirst, (Isa. 55:1,2, John 7:37); those who “labour and are heavy- laden,” (Matt. 11:28); those who look to and call upon God, (Isa. 65:22; Rom. 10:12,18); those who are willing[1] to take the water of life, and those who, conscious of danger, flee to the refuge, (Heb. 6:18.) These expressions incontestably apply only to persons who have a consciousness of need and danger, and a perception of the suitability of the provisions of the Gospel to meet their case. Life precedes sensation. Such are therefore “quickened,” (Eph. 2:1,) or they could not feel thus.

[1] Rev. 22:17: “He that wills (ho thelon), let him take the water of life freely.” Will is the essence of character. What a man wills he is. This, therefore, so far from being a general invitation, is most specific in its delineation of the character of him to whom it is addressed.
Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” was addressed to an anxious enquirer, not to an unregenerate man.


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