Nor hath our Lord in John vi only, denied and condemned all possible truth and consistency in every notion of universal invitations and exhortations to eternal life, but in other places also; as (1) In his thanksgiving address to the Father; saying ‘I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight,’ Matt. 11:25,26. Is it, or can it be possible, that all universally are to be invited to come of themselves and see what God himself hath bid from many, and even from the wise and prudent? Duty faith divinity says yes, but most assuredly the truth and gospel of the grace of God says no; for moral deism is more self consistent than it is to say, that God invites and makes it the duty of all to see what he himself hath so hid, that many shall not see. Law requirements and man’s inability being no argument here, because man was originally equal to all the law requires, and lost his ability by sin only. (2) Our Lord’s speaking in parables, and not plain to some, because to them it was not given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, while to others he did speak plain, because to them it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom, Matt 13:10, 11, is a full and clear denial to all consistency in the idea of universal invitations; because they equalize the whole on the ground of duty for the kingdom of heaven, whereas, here is a decided discrimination made for the kingdom of heaven, and that by divine gift only. (3) Our Lord’s declaration, that ‘whosoever blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come,’ Matt 12:31,32, is a full declaration, that there is no truth in the idea of universal invitations; for as there are some characters whom our Lord says shall never be forgiven, he has most certainly never authorized them to be invited. And as they are among the dead in sin, and are not to be invited, and no man can distinguish one from another, that is evidence clear enough that we have no business to invite any of the dead in sin, but preach the truth, and explain their state, and leave the rest in the hand of God. (4) That our Lord prayed for all those who shall believe through the word of truth, and would not pray for the world universally, John 17:9,20. That to sit with him in his kingdom is not even his to give, but to them for whom it is prepared of the Father, Matt 20:23. That no man is anything for the kingdom of God, unless born of the Spirit, John 3:5. That Christ laid down his life for his sheep only, and that there are some that are not his sheep, John 10:15,16,26. That all the vessels of mercy are of God afore prepared unto glory, while there are vessels of wrath, Rom 9:21-23, and that it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy, verse 16. The total absence of divine truth and authority from universal invitations is hereby fully declared; and that they are not only perversions of the truth of God, the inventions of that sort of pious benevolence toward fellow man, which is exceedingly pleasing to man, but which runs counter to, and despises the sovereignty of the divine will, in the independent dispensation of the blessings of eternal life, as an act of grace, only because he will be gracious. Fourth. ‘Which the Son of Man shall give unto you.’ Unto you Jews, as well as unto the Gentiles; and to as many, ‘as touching election, are beloved for the fathers’ sakes,’ Rom 11:2,8, ‘even to as many as the Lord our God shall call,’ Acts 11:39; in the same sense as in verse 5, saying, ‘And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world:’ to a people out of the whole world, but not to the whole world of people, for so he would not pray for the world. Upon these grounds, therefore, we conclude, that our Lord never spake the words of our text in the spirit and meaning of a universal invitation or exhortation, or with any intention thereby to give authority for any thing of the kind; the harmony of scripture being divine evidence.
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.