Strict and Particular Baptists object to General Invitations not only on the ground of their having no support in the Bible, but for three specific reasons.

1. They insult God. Royal invitations are admitted to be tantamount to commands, and cannot be disregarded with im­punity. A subject who does not respond to the invitation of his Sovereign is guilty of disloyalty and rebellion. If (as is pleaded) God invites all men to be saved and some only re­spond, the latter resist His will. This, however, can never occur. In “A Manual of Faith and Practice ” it is shown that the words “Who will have all men to be saved,” 1 Tim. 2:4, simply mean men of all classes, agreeably to the context. It follows an exhortation to Christians to pray for all men—friends and foes, Jews and Gentiles, princes and peasants,—the “all” evidently intending all such as might oome within the range of their personal observation.

“In the word of a king there is power;” but if the King of kings invites many who arrogantly refuse, His word has exceedingly limited power. The error, therefore, involves serious misapprehension of the character of God.

Again, universal invitations are generally preached in con­nection with threatenings of Divine anger if they are disre­garded. God’s patience will be exhausted, Christ’s pity will turn into indignation. The insulted Spirit will strive no more, but abandon ungrateful men to darkness and doom. Their “day of grace” will terminate. It will then be too late to pray.

Jesus indeed said, “If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins,” (John 8:24,) and “He that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16,) and His solemn words demand frequent repetition. These preachers, however, are not content with reiterating them, but add to them by representing that a refusal to come to Jesus will inspire Him with passion and fury against those who spurn His overtures of love. All such state­ments are misrepresentations of God, and should be earnestly eschewed.

2. General Invitations are a sore hindrance and injury to repentant sinners. If gracious invitations are to be extended to all men, irrespective of their attitude to God, a preacher has no better news for a contrite sinner than for a contumaceous one. This is depriving anxious enquirers of the rich comfort which belongs to them by Divine right, under the plea of a desire to benefit all men. What is this but “hurrying the goats and worrying the sheep,” without doing good to either? On the other hand, the faithful proclamation of men’s danger as lost sinners, and the gracious invitations which extend to those who want salvation, may benefit all, while broken-hearted sinners must eventually be helped.

3. General Invitations are inseparable from other errors. Calvinists who urge them are compelled to advance plausible reasons for so doing. Some (for example) have been driven to the fiction that a distinction should be drawn between the merit of Christ’s atoning work—which is, they plead, infinite, and its application, which, they admit, extends to the elect only. Yet, if other men are willing to rest in this infinitude of unavailing merit, while the elect must be saved these may be saved. Thus a popular preachor—once a Strict and Particular Baptist—holds “the certain salvation of some men, and the possible salvation of all men.”[1] On the ground of this truth (?) it is urged that general invitations are consist­ent with God’s covenant order of things. It is hoped that the fallacy of this notion will be evident to every reader, and that he will repudiate the mistaken view of the proclamation of the Gospel which originated it.

General invitations are often the point of departure from the truth of the Gospel—the first false step in the direction of great and grievous error. May we avoid them, whatever sac­rifice may be involved by our adherence to the truth.

[1] Thus certain Scotch preachers were wont to speak of the possibility of sinners receiving pardon through “the uncove­nanted mercy of God,”—as if there were a scheme of salvation exterior to that which is effected through the Covenant of Grace.


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