John Foreman on Duty Faith (Complete)

58 ’O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…How Often Would I Have Gathered Thy Children Together … And Ye Would Not’

‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not,’ Matt 23:37. If that which is not of the truth be falsehood, and that which is not after the mind of the Spirit, the meaning and intent of the speaker, be not of the truth on a text, I should think there have been as many falsehoods told in the name of the Lord (but I should hope ignorantly) on this text by making it out to be an everlasting gospel text, in regard to eternal salvation by grace in Christ, and in saying that Christ would have saved and gathered the Jews unto eternal life, and all other sinners too in like manner where the gospel has come, who are now lost, but that they would not be saved, and that Christ consequently could not save them, as any deceiver ever told falsehoods to deceive on any subject under the whole heavens. Burkitt says on this text, ‘There is no longing like unto God’s longing for a people’s salvation: 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thee. When shall it once be?’ How very different is this to the truth which saith, ‘What his soul desireth, even that he doeth,’ Job 23:13. ‘His arm shall rule for him,’ Isaiah 40:10. ‘He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou?’ Dan 4:35, saying, ‘I will work, and who shall let it?’ Isa 43:13. When a witness contradicts himself, he is considered to know nothing in truth of the case in hand, and that he is a perjured wretch, who deserves to be transported for interfering as a witness in a matter he properly knows nothing of. And a very little time since, a public meeting was held at Dr A R’s chapel, and it was said to be ‘a time of humiliation, for that doubtless there were many lost who might have been saved if the church had done their duty.’ I feel at a loss to know what sort of inefficacious corner such men really assign to the God of all grace in regard to the salvation of sinners. Is not salvation God’s own property? and to whom hath he at any time committed the outlay, further than to ‘declare the testimony?’ 1 Cor. 2:1.

Follow those very humiliation men a little way, and when they come to our text, you would hear them as piously declare, ‘That the Lord would save many who are not saved, because they will not believe and be saved, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!’ And so at one time human duty performed, might have saved the lost, and at another time, even God himself cannot save the lost that he would save, because they will not believe and be saved. There is no part of the truth of God in either of those points; and how men can stand up and say such things in the Lord’s name I cannot tell, except it is that they know not the scriptures nor the power of God. On our text let us consider,

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.