John Brown of Haddington on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel




The Systematic Theology of John Brown of Haddington2002 ed., formerly titled, A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion, pp. 343-344.  This quote was compiled by Andrew Myers.

All men who read and hear the gospel contained in the Scriptures, are called to the fellowship of Christ, and to receive a full salvation in Him, as the free gift of God to themselves.  The law, which manifests our sinfulness and danger, and warns us to flee from the wrath to come, and which, upon a revelation of Christ, binds us to believe in Him, is binding upon all men, Ezek. 33:11; Rom. 3:10-20; Gal. 3:10, 24; John 6:29; 1 John 3:23.  And the gospel, which exhibits and offers Christ and his salvation, invites every man that hears it to receive Him in it, as given to himself, without regarding whether he be well or ill qualified, elect or reprobate….

In the gospel, Jesus Christ is indefinitely presented and offered to all men that hear it, as the absolutely free gift of God, and the official Saviour of mankind, Psalm 68:18; Rom. 11:26-27, 1 John 4.14, John 3:14-17, 4:42, 6:32, 39-40; 1 Tim. 1:15, Heb. 7:25; Isa. 42:6-7, 49:6-8….

In the gospel men are, in the most general and unlimited manner, called to receive the blessings of salvation, Isa. 45:22-25, 55.1-7; Prov. 8.4; Matt. 11:28; John 7.37-39, 6:37….

Such men as appear most likely to be excluded, are expressly invited to receive Christ and his salvation, — as the lost, the stupid, foolish, haters of knowledge, scorners, notorious transgressors, stout-hearted, and far from righteousness, rebellious, who have sinned to the uttermost, self-conceited, insensible of their sinfulness and misery, etc. Matt. 28.11; Luke 19.10; Hos. 13.9; Prov. 1.21-23, 9.4-5; Isa. 1.18, 46.12-13, 55.2; Jer. 3.1,4-5, 14, 22; Matt. 9.13; 1 Tim. 1.15-16; Rev. 3.17-18….

The moral law, which requires men to receive God and obey God as the only true God, and their God, is precisely of the same extent in its object as his offers of Himself to be their God.  And it is observable, that, in the moral law, there is a five-fold grant of God by Himself to men, as their God, Ex. 20.2-17, Deut. 5.6-21, 30.6….

Unless the gospel offers and calls were directed to all men in general that hear it, none durst embrace them, till they were certain of their having the required qualifications….

Whosoever will, in Rev. 22.17, denotes the universality of the invitation, not the qualification of the persons invited, John 6.37, 7.37.



An Address to the Rising Generation, an appendix to Two Short Catechisms Mutually Connected (Edinburgh: 1769), as given in the Torwood Press edition, Addresses to Children Concerning Salvation, 2013

p. 9-15

And O how He ‘travails in the greatness of his strength, mighty to save! able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him.’  O His infinite willingness to save us! how deeply marked in words, in oaths, in cries, in tears, in sighs, in groans, in blood, in death of an expiring God!  He ‘comes in the name of the Lord to save us–to seek and to save that which was lost; and him that comes unto Him, He will in no wise cast out;’  all day long He stretches out his hands to invite and receive a disobedient and gainsaying people.  Now the Master comes! knocks at the door of thy heart, and calls for you:

‘How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity, and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?  Turn ye at my reproof: behold, I will pour my Spirit upon you; I will make known my words unto you.  To you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of man.  Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither; and as for him that wants understanding, let him eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.  To you is the word of salvation sent.  Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.  Ho! every one that thirsts,’ though it be for the pleasures of sin or sense, ‘come, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk,’ receive freely My person and benefits, ‘without money and without price.  Wherefore spend ye money for that which satisfies not? incline your ear and come unto Me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.  Come unto Me, all ye that labor’ in vanity and wickedness, ‘and are heavy laden’ with guilt, corruption, or trouble, ‘and I will give you rest.  Suffer little children to come unto Me and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.’  ‘My son, my child, give me your heart.’  Open to Me, your God, your Savior; for my head has been ‘filled with the dew’ of divine wrath, ‘and my locks with the drops’ of fearful affronts ‘for they sake:’ come with Me, your Maker, your Brother, your husband, your bleeding Redeemer, from the Lebanon of all created enjoyments, ‘with me from Lebanon.’…

Are you ‘froward as a bullock, unaccustomed to the yoke?’  My bowels are troubled for you, I do earnestly remember you still, I surely will have mercy on you: I have seen your ways, and ‘will heal you.’

Let therefore ‘the wicked forsake his ways’ of iniquity and self-righteousness, and ‘let him return to Me the Lord, for I will have mercy on him; to me his God, for I will abundantly pardon.  As I live, says the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked: turn you, turn you form the evil of your ways,’ of rejecting and offending Me: why will you die?   Reasonable soul, why madly do yourself infinite, eternal harm?  Brother of an incarnate God, why willfully perish in your guilt?  Baptized person,  why perjure yourself in rejecting the Son of God, and rush into endless misery?  You who have salvation offered; you, whom times without number, I the Lord your Savior have besought, by love, by tears, by blood, by heavenly joys, and infernal horrors, to accept of it: why tread on my bowels, and make Me your stumbling-block into deeper damnation?  You whose conscience, My Word, Spirit, and providence , are striving with, why rush on the thick bosses of the Almighty’s buckler, and do despite unto the Spirit of grace?  why will ye die?  why continue dead in trespasses and sins?  why embitter your natural death?  why run headlong into the second, the eternal death?  why slight the gift of God, which is eternal life?  why despise so ‘exceeding great and precious promises’ of life?  why ‘tread under foot’ My divine blood, the price of it?  why contemn Me, ‘the resurrection and the life, who died that you might live?’  why refuse the ‘quickening Head that speaks, that woos your soul, from heaven?‘  what ails you at the Great God your Savior, that you will have ‘none of Me?’  Are they more noble, excellent, or comely than Me, ‘God over all, blessed forever, the chief among ten thousand, and brightness of the Father’s glory?’  Are they more kind than a dying Redeemer?  Have they done, can they do more for your soul than I?… But why such spite against God your Maker and Preserver, as to deny Him an opportunity, in your salvation, ‘to show forth the ages to come, the exceeding riches of his grace?’  Why such outrage against Me, your bleeding Savior, as to refuse that in you I should ‘see the travail of my soul, and be satisfied’?  O!  My son, ‘my son, give Me your heart.’  Dear child, say Him not ‘nay’: request Him to apprehend it Himself, as it is beyond your power to give it: beseech Him, the blessed of the Lord, that has the key of David, to draw it with His promises, His cords of love; to open it and come in.  Thus taste and see that the Lord is good.

May the lovely Bridegroom, the Almighty Savior, persuade you… 



An Address to the Young Readers of this Catechism  1781, reprinted in Addresses to Children Concerning Salvation (Torwood Press, 2013)

p. 17 ff.

…Alas!  my young friends, must souls, formed by God Himself; souls formed to live forever; souls formed for the everlasting and immediate service and enjoyment of God;… souls upon which God Himself has bestowed such instruction, warning, terrible alarms, and engaging allurements, and such striving of His Spirit, be lost, forever lost, forever damned, by you who possess them, in order to obtain some trifling, some carnal, some filthy, some pernicious gratification, that perhaps a beast would contemn?

p. 20

They [your sins] are committed against His authority over you, and against all His warnings, counsels, promises, threatenings, mercies, and judgments.  They are ungratefully committed against all His peculiar favors in preserving and providing for you, while you could not help yourselves.  They are committed against all His peculiar calls, invitations, promises, and encouragements, to young ones.

p. 28

And, O think–with application think–with what infinite candor, and compassionate earnestness, Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by all His words, declarations, invitations, commands, promises, and threatenings; by all His works, as therewith connected; by all His mercies and judgments; by all His ordinances and ministers; by all your needs in time and eternity; by all your desires; and by all your vows and engagements; calls, beseeches, entreats, obtests, and expostulates with you, to receive Himself, and all His full and everlasting salvation, offered to you in the gospel, ‘freely, without money and without price!’

Alas! my dear young men and women, why are you so prone to hunt after, listen to, and comply with every temptation of Satan, your destroyer; every enticement of your vain companions; every suggestion of your foolish and wicked heart, to your temporal and eternal ruin: and yet so deaf, so averse to, and obstinate against the most earnest entreaties of the great God your Savior?  do they love you more; or have they, or will they, or can they do more for your everlasting welfare, than He?

p. 31

‘Behold, I stand at the door’ of your heart and ‘knock: Open to Me, my sister, my love, my’ defiled; ‘for my head is filled with the dew, and m locks with the drops of the night.’…  ‘When He waits to be gracious, and exalts Himself to show mercy.’ why tire out his patience till He ‘shut up all his tender mercies in his wrath?’  ‘Is it a small thing for you to weary men,’ weary parents, and ministers?  ‘But will ye weary my God also?




Related Pages

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Historic Reformed Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel