And to what can we possibly attribute this apostolic silence on points which, if true, must give feature and figure to all other points of the gospel of God? I cannot possibly, for myself, account for this dead silence on duty faith and universal invitations otherwise than that these points were nonentities in the apostolic gospel of God; and that it is of the devil, antichrist, and the pride and false piety of men, that they have either name, place or being for gospel, the truth of God, or anything related thereunto now. Duty faith men make duty faith and universal invitations to give countenance and cast to the whole of their gospel; and how is this, that our duty faith men make that to be so much in every thing, which the apostles were as silent upon as death in every thing? This awful difference has not come from God, but from the parent of those spirits, 1 John 4:1, and is of their fraternity only.
Our God is of one uniform mind, and the Spirit of truth speaketh one and the same thing, in the same ministry, through all ages, without contradiction. And most certainly, that which was not gospel truth in the mouth of the apostles’ public ministration of the `whole counsel of God,’ of `all the words of this life,’ declaring all that they had heard, seen, and handled of the `word of life,’ 1 John 1:1,2, cannot now belong to the truth of God, the gospel of his grace, and ministry of the word of life, as delivered by the understanding, inspiration, and public labors of the apostles; and I know not, for myself, by what law, in the name of the Lord, we are to take that for gospel truth, that has no apostolic testimony or example.
The apostles, in their ministry, fully and plainly maintained the very same doctrinal truths, to the very letter of them, as those which the prophets had done, concerning Christ, and salvation by grace in him only; according to the sovereignly settled will of God the Father, and operative power of the Holy Ghost in Christ’s name, Acts 26:22,23. And in my opinion there cannot be a greater evidence of a spirit of error in the ministry of any age, than when that is made of all things most prominent which the apostles were totally silent upon; and that which the apostles maintained most prominently, as paramount points of revealed truth, is kept most carefully and cautiously in almost total silence; and which to an awful degree is the unconceivable and undeniable case in the present day. And in proportion as duty faith is maintained, the doctrines of sovereign, determined, and distinguishing favor must be kept out of sight; these two being in absolute opposition, and impossible to be maintained together in relation to eternal salvation. And as duty faith, in the very nature and spirit of it, does and must deny all necessity of the Holy Spirit’s agency and power, and being also, in most sweet and perfect harmony and agreement with the universal pride and delusion of fallen human nature, about doing something as a duty whereby to acquire eternal life, this of course takes best among men, is most popular, as the very sentiment of nature without one word of revelation; and this buttered side being discovered by the schools, the ministers keep this side most upwards, as standing first in importance, and as giving the only allowable countenance to all other things relating to godliness, although it be in direct opposition, First. To the state of man, as `without strength’ under the law. Second. To the sovereignty of the divine pleasure of the universally offended Lawgiver, who saith, `I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.’ Third. To the fact that eternal life is the free gift of God, and divine gift only. Fourth. To the total silence of our Lord and his apostles on every thing that belongs to duty faith unto salvation; which silence we have above observed, and shall further observe in due order.
John Foreman (1792-1872) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He was appointed the Pastor of Hill Street Chapel, Marylebone, serving this position for close to forty years.