Samuel Rutherford on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel


A Summary

A Summary of Rutherford on the Revealed Will by Dr. Guy Richard




The Gospel is Conditional  1648, 3 pages, being Part 2, Chapter 38, pp. 39-40 of his A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist.

While the gospel is not conditional as respects any merit or power in us (contra Arminians), yet it is equally wrong to say with the hyper-calvinists that the gospel has no conditions whatsoever.  Rutherford here exposits (in congruity with Larger Catechism #32) how the gospel has evangelical conditions, without which we will never see everlasting life (Heb. 12:14). 



Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself

Rutherford observes that objections justly raised against the deficient Arminian view of God’s decree are not pertinent respecting God’s revealed will, because God’s revealed will does not purpose to effectuate anything.

1647, p. 443-45 [irregular pagination: colophon lll2-lll3] and 440-42 [colophon: Kkk4-Lll1]

5. Christ in the Gospel, as a great Conqueror, sends out writs signed under his excellency’s hand, come and meet Me, who will, and be saved, as far as graced will can go, as far goes the good will of the conquering Prince, Rev. 22:17.  

It’s much worthy of observation, how that sweet evangelic invitation is conceived, Isa. 55:1Ho, everyone that thirsts, come to the waters, and he that hath no silver, come buy, and eat: as if the Lord were grieved, and said, Woe is me, Alas that thirsty souls should die in their thirst, and will not come to the water of life, Christ, and drink gratis, freely, and live.  For the interjection, Ho, is a mark of sorrowing, as ah, or woe, everyone that thirsts. It expresses two things,

1. A vehemency and a serious and unfeigned ardency of desire that we do what is our duty, and the concatenation of these two, extremely desired of God, our coming to Christ and our salvation. This moral connection between faith and salvation is desired of God with his will of approbation, complacency, and moral liking, without all dissimulation, most unfeignedly; and whereas Arminians say, we make counterfeit, feigned, and hypocritical desires in God, they calumniate and cavil egregiously, as their custom is.

2. The other thing expressed in these invitations is a sort of dislike, grief, or sorrow (it’s a speech borrowed from man, for there is no disappointing of the Lord’s will, nor sorrow in him for the not fulfilling of it), or an earnest nilling and hating dislike that these two should not go along, as approved efficaciously by us, to wit, the creature’s obedience of faith and life eternal. God loves, approves the believing of Jerusalem and of her children, as a moral duty, as the hen does love to warm and nourish her chickens; and he hates, with an exceeding and unfeigned dislike of improbation and hatred, their rebellious disobedience and refusing to be gathered: but there is no purpose, intention, or decree of God, held forth in these invitations called his revealed will, by which He says He intends and wills that all He makes the offer unto shall obey and be saved.  But it’s to be observed, that the revealed will of God, held forth to all, called voluntas signi, does not hold forth formally that God intends, decrees, or purposes in his eternal council, that any man shall actually obey, either elect or reprobate; it formally is the expression only of the good liking of that moral and duty conjunction between the obedience of the creature and the reward, but holds forth not any intention or decree of God, that any shall obey, or that all shall obey, or that none at all shall obey.

And what Arminians say of Christ’s intention to die for all and every one, and of the Lord’s intention and catholic good will to save all and every one, to wit, that these desires may be in God though not any be saved at all, but all eternally perish, which makes the Lord’s desires irrational, unwise, and frustraneous — that we say with good reason of God’s good will, called voluntas signi, it might have its complete and entire end and effect though not any one of men or angel obey, if there were not going along with this will of God another will, and eternal decree and purpose in God, or working by free grace in some chosen ones what the Lord wills in his approving will…

[Margin Note: The Lords wishes, expostulations and crying, bold forth, how earnest he is in drawing sinners to himself.]

Now this desire of approbation is an abundantly sufficient closing of the mouth of such as stumble at the gospel, being appointed thereunto, and an expression of Christ’s good liking to save sinners:

Expressed in his borrowed wishes, Deut. 5:29O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep my commandments. Ps. 81:13O that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel walked in my ways. Which wish, as relating to disobeying Israel, is a figure, or metaphor borrowed from men, but otherwise shows how acceptable the duty is to God, how obligatory to the creature.

2. By the Lord’s expostulations, Eze. 18:31.Why will ye die, O house of Israel? Verse 32. For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies.

3. In the Lord’s crying to sinners, Prov. 1:20Wisdom cries, she uttereth her voice in the streets. The word is to cry with strong shouting, either for joy, Ps. 81:2, or sorrow, Lam. 2:19, which expresses Christ’s desire to save sinners.

[Margin note: No lip-love, nor any empty love in God, but that which is effectual and real to work the good He desires to the party loved.]

We are hence taught to acknowledge no love to be in God which is not effectual in doing good to the creature; there is no lip-love, no raw well-wishing to the creature which God does not make good.  We know but three sorts of love that God has to the creature, all the three are like the fruitful womb; there is no miscarrying, no barrenness in the womb of divine love.

[Margin note: A threefold love in God effectual.]

1. He loves all that he has made, so far as to give them a being, to conserve them in being as long as He pleases.  He had a desire to have sun, moon, stars, earth, heaven, sea, clouds, air. He created them out of the womb of love and out of goodness, and keeps them in being. He can hate nothing that He made.

2. There is a second love and mercy in God, by which He loves all men and angels, yea, even his enemies, makes the sun to shine on the unjust man as well as the just, and causes dew and rain to fall on the orchard and fields of the bloody and deceitful man, whom the Lord abhors, as Christ teaches us, Matt. 5:43-48. Nor does God miscarry in this love. He desires the eternal being of damned angels and men; he sends the gospel to many reprobates, and invites them to repentance and with longanimity and forbearance suffers pieces of froward dust to fill the measure of their iniquity, yet does not the Lord’s general love fall short of what he wills to them.

[Margin note: Christ’s love of election cannot miscarry.]

3. There is a love of special election to glory; far less can God come short in the end of this love. For the work of redemption prospers in the hands of Christ, even to the satisfaction of his soul; saving of sinners (all glory to the Lamb) is a thriving work and successful in Christ’s hands…



The Trial and Triumph of Faith

p. 129ff 

He offers in the Gospel, life to all[this is] God’s moral complacency of grace, revealing an obligation that all are to believe if they would be saved; and upon their own peril be it, if they refuse Christ … Christ comes once with good tidings to all, elect and reprobate.

The end of Sermon 12

2. If Christ be sent for lost Israel, and say in the Gospel, Who will go with me?  And say to thee, My Father the King sent me his own son, to bring thee up to his house: Why?  But thou shouldst go: When old Jacob saw the Chariots and Messengers that Prince Joseph his own son, yet living, had sent to fetch him, His heart failed for joy: See thou the Chariot of Pharaoh paved with love: make then for the journey: the home we have here [on earth], is a taking lover [that is, competes with Christ]: Why?  But thou may [rightly] say, I cannot stay here, the King has sent for me.



p. 302-303, 1845 edition

3. Faith can stand upon one foot, even on a general word; hence, this is a gospel word in the Prophets, which requires faith, Turn to the Lord for He is merciful, (Jer. 3:12; Joel 2:13; John 4:2).  And because a general promise received with heart-adherence and confidence gives glory to God; and if it be held forth to a humbled soul, who is now within the lists and bounds of grace, and, for anything that the person thus laden with sin knows on the contrary, (for the secrets of election and reprobation belong to the Lord) Christ minds and intends to him salvation, therefore he is to believe.

4.  This would be considered, that unbelief breaks with Christ first, before Christ break with the unbeliever; and the elect of God finds no more, nor any higher favor in the kind of external means to open the Lamb’s book of life, which is sealed and closed with God’s own hand, than the commandment of believing.  Now, when our Lord makes offer of the kingdom of sons, to slaves, and casts his jewel of Christ offered in the gospel, in the lap and bosom of a bastard, whatever be the Lord’s secret decree and purpose in so doing, the bastard is to take God as his word, and to catch the opportunity of God’s love in so far; and if he do it not, the gospel offer to the reprobate being a treaty of peace, then the treaty breaks off first upon his side; for Christ comes within a mile of mercy, to meet the sinner, and the sinner comes not the fourth part of a mile, yea, not half a step of love and thankful obedience, to meet Christ; and so, Christ kills the unbeliever with the sweetness of the preventing courtesy of offered mercy.

5.  But if the sinner be wearied and laden, and sees, though through a cloud only, Christ only must help and save; if not, he is utterly and eternally lost.  What is there upon Christ’s part to hinder thee to believe, O guilty wretch?  Oh, (saith he,) I fear Christ only offers Himself to me, but he minds no salvation to me?  Answer:  Is not this to raise an evil report and slander on the Holy One of Israel?  For Christ’s offer is really an offer, and in so far, it is real love, thought it cannot infer the love of election to glory, yet the total denial of this offer opens up the black seal of reprobation to heathens without the church.  And therefore it is love to thee, if thou be humbled for sin;  2. And have half an eye to the unsearchable riches of gospel mercy;  3. And be self-condemned;  4.  And have half a desire of Christ: thou mayest expound love by love, and lay hold on the promise, and be saved.  An error of humble love to Christ, is no error.


A Sermon

Preached to the Honorable House of Commons, Jan. 31, 1643, p. 28-29

“God’s decree of election or his intention to save me is not the proper object of my faith, but rather of my sense and feeling; we go mightily beside the line, in the method of believing, when we got to believe at first God’s intention to save me.  The order is, being humbled for sin, we are to adhere to the goodness of the promise, not to look to his intention to persons, but to his complacency and tenderness of heart to all humble sinners; so Paul, 1 Timothy 1:15, embraceth by all means that good and faith­ful saying, Jesus Christ came to save sinners; before he put himself in as the first of these sinners, as the condemned man believeth first the king’s grace and clemency to all humbled supplicants, who sue for grace, before he believe grace to him­self; and if this were not, the method of applying Christ were unreasonable.  The woman diseased with the bloody issue heard of Jesus, and therefore came and touched the hem of his garment.  What had she heard?  Nothing of his exorable kindness and tender mercy towards herself, but towards others, and upon this be­lieved; so a rope is cast down in the sea to a multitude of drowned men, and all are bidden, for their life, lay hold on the rope that they may be saved, it were unseasonable and foolish curiosity, for any of these poor men, now upon death and life commanded to hold fast the rope, to dispute whether did the man who cast down the rope intend and purpose to save me or not, and while my mind be at a point in that, I will not put out one finger to touch the rope; but fool, dispute with hands and arms, and lay hold on the remedy, and do not thou begin a plea with Christ, and leave that question to another time.  A prince pro­claimeth a free market of gold, monies, fine linen, rich gar­ments, and all precious jewels to a number of poor men, upon a purpose to make honorable courtiers and officers of estate, all these men are now not to dispute the king’s secret purpose, but to repair to the market, and to improve their prince’s grace, and buy without money.  Christ holdeth forth his rope to drowned and lost sinners, and layeth out an open market of the rich treasures of heaven; do thou take it for granted, without any further dispute, as a principle after to be made good, that Christ hath thoughts of grace and peace concerning thee, and do but now husband well the grace offered, lay hold on Christ, ay while he put thee away from him, and if there be any question concerning God’s intention of saving thee, let Christ first move the doubt, but do not thou be the first mover.”


The Covenant of Life Opened

1655, p. 86-88

Q. What warrant is there, Acts 2:39, for Infant Baptism?

2. The promise is to you and to your children, can have no other sense than: the promise and word of the Covenant is preached to you and to your children in you, and this is to be externally in Covenant, both under the Old and New Testament.

If it have another sense it must be this,the Lord hath internally Covenanted with you the 3000, who have heard the word and with your children, and you are the spiritual seed, and sons of promise, predestinate to life eternal: as Rom. 9. they expone the seed in Covenant:  But,

1. Were all the 3000. Ananias and Saphira and their children the spiritual and chosen seed? for he commands all, whom he exhorts to repent, to be baptized: And,

2. Now to Simon Magus and Demas, and numbers of such, Peter could not have said, the promise is made to you and to your children, if it be only made to real and actual believers, as they say, Peter therefore must own them all whom he exhorts to repent, as the chosen seed. But if the former sense be intended (as how can it be denied?) to wit, the word of the Covenant is preached to you, an offer of Christ is made in the preached Gospel to you. Then it cannot be denied, but the promise is to all the Reprobate in the Visible Church whether they believe or not, for Christ is preached and promises of the Covenant are preached to Simon Magus, to Judas and all the Hypocrites who stumble at the Word, to all the Pharisees, as is clear, Matt 13:20-23; Acts 13:44-45; 18:5-6; Matt 21:43; 1 Pet. 2:7-8. 


The Covenant of Life Opened

p. 94

It is no inconvenience that the Reprobate in the Visible Church, be so under the Covenant of Grace, as some promises are made to them, and some mercies promised to them conditionally, and some reserved special promises of a new heart, and of perseverance belong not to them. For all the promises belong not the same way, to the parties visibly and externally, and to the parties internally and personally in Covenant with God. So the Lord promises life and forgiveness shall be given to these who are externally in the Covenant, providing they believe, but the Lord promises not a new heart and grace to believe, to these that are only externally in Covenant. And yet he promises both to the Elect.

Hence the Covenant must be considered two ways, 

in abstracto and formally, in the letter as a simple way of saving sinners, so they believe, so all within the Visible Church are in the Covenant of Grace, and so it contains only the will of precept. 

2. In the concret, as the Lord caries on the Covenant in such and such a way, commensurably with the decrees of Election and Reprobation…


The Covenant of Life Opened

p. 107

Yea the Covenant is made to Christ and his seed, Gal. 3.16. and the same blessings of Abraham, comes on us Gentiles, Gal. 3.13,14. But he and all his seed were blessed and in grace by the external call of the Covenant. Eze. 16:1-8; Deut. 7:7-8; Rom. 10:23. I will call them my people that were not my people, and her beloved which was not beloved. And this external calling is of Grace and so Grace, no merit, as well as predestination to life is grace or for grace. For whosoever are called, not because Elect, but because freely loved of such a God and without merit called, Father and Son, they are in a state of grace: But so are all within the Visible Church. If any object, by Christ’s coming all the Nations old and young are not become the Nations of the Lord and of his Christ, but only true Believers, even by our Doctrine,

Answer: 1. They are become the Kingdoms of the Lord, not only because they are truly converted, but because they are the chosen of God in the Office house of Christ, and Christ reigns over them by the Scepter of his Word whom he is to convert. And external Covenanting with God is of it self free Grace and a singular favour bestowed of God, Ps. 147:19-20; Deut. 5:1-2; Matt 21:42-43; Luke 14:16-21.

2. It is free Grace that God will have hypocrites and real infidels to beget children to him that are internally in Covenant with Him; and fills up the number of the Elect by Reprobate Parents who are instrumental to the in-coming in the world, and into the Visible Church, of many Heirs of Glory: and in so doing there is a Church right communicated from Reprobate Parents to their Children, that are Heirs of Glory.


A Survey of the Survey of that Sum of Church Discipline 

Book 1, Chapter 5

3. The active call of God by the preached word may be transient and occasional to mocking Athenians, Act. 17, and yet intended to save some, and to be a seed to some Church, v. 34, certain be led, this is the seed of some Church, like some corns of wheat scatteredly fallen in a field that may have an harvest,

4. This active call may be refused, and the refusers never be the Church, Lk. 14:16,17, not visible members, they visibly refusing the call and counsel of God and neglecting obstinately to be baptized, Lk. 7:30.

5. But we mean, beside this active call some passive professing and receiving of, and yielding to the offered Gospel.  So as they came to the marriage-supper, whether they have, or want a wedding garment, Matt 22, and receive the seed, whether they be thorny, rocky, or a way-side ground, or they be good soil, and may yield some external obedience…

Book 1, Chapter 16

…Then let [Thomas] Hooker [Rutherford’s New England congregational opponent] clear the wisdom of God in appointing a Ministerial and Pastoral offer of Covenant-mercies, Christ, Pardon, the Anointing, the new heart, Life eternal, to be made to such as Magus, and Judas the traitor.

2. Whereas he [Hooker, wrongfully] says, The distinction of voluntas beneplaciti [will of good-pleasure, God’s decrees and election], and voluntas approbans [will of approval, God’s commands including the sincere offer of the gospel], contains apparent contradictions.  It seems he never heard of this distinction allowed by the Reformed Churches; and that he joins with the Arminians [and those who deny the sincere free offer of the gospel], who teach, That this distinction places in God two contrary wills; and that he wills and decrees one thing from eternity, and commands and approves the contrary to his creatures: Hence there must be guile and dissimulation, and no serious dealing in the Lords commands, says Arminius, Corvinus, and the Arminians at the Conference at Hague, and the Synod of Dort.

Influences of the Life of Grace

Epistle to the Reader

(7) Mans free-will, if it be the only determiner of itself and his own free acts [as Arminians say]; and if the strong dominion of grace, for fear of strangling of liberty created, had no determining power, might well have sent that saving Redeemer back to heaven again to his Father, and none of mankind should ever have received Christ, tasted of his precious love, his sweet promises, and the offered salvation; for created free-will [according to Arminians] is such as may nil, will, refuse, let God decree and allure, draw, move, determine as he can or will, yet omnipotency of grace cannot ravish free-will.


Part 2, Chapter 2

…yet has the Lord of purpose left to all unrenewed men born where the Gospel is preached, the gates and ports of wisdom’s house open, that they may come and hear, and pass their judgment what they think of Emanuel’s land, that runs with wine and milk; yea and the entry to this house is feasible and accessible, by natural strength, to fools and idiots, to learned and unlearned; so that they need not say, Who shall ascend up to heaven? That is, to bring Christ again from above: Or, who shall descend into the deep? That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead. But the word is now near even in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that is, the word of faith which we preach, Rom. 10:7-10; Deut. 13:14.  The preached Law leading pedagogically to Christ in Moses’ time, and the plainly preached Gospel offered to all in Paul’s time, is an open door to all, who love to come near to Christ and to be warmed by him; in which consideration there is a key put in every man’s hand.


Part 3, Chapter 13

4. There is not a promise made to using of means, but there is a sad threatening of wrath to such as use no means…

the Lord is at the pains to charm them, and does it wisely, they will be deaf as the adder; well then, Ps. 58, since they will keep the Serpent’s poison whether God, who uses means to the contrary, will or no, v. 4-6, Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth. 7. Let them melt away as waters which run continually, v. 8, As a snail which melts, let every one of them pass away. So plagued and melted away sinners, you might have been charmed by God and would not, can you blame God?  Jer. 51:9, We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: well then, it follows, forsake her, let us go every one into his own Country, for her judgment is reached up to heaven, and is lifted up unto the skies.  So God is clear, and even Babylon’s refusing to be healed, and to hear the Prophets, and her neglecting means is justly plagued, Prov. 1:20.  What can wisdom do more but cry and utter her voice, and throw over the line to such as are in the Kingdom of darkness, the promises?  22. Behold, I will pour out my spirit to you. But v. 24. Ye refused, no man regarded. 25. ye set at nought all my counsel, and would have none of my reproof. 29. They hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; and therefore the Lord laughs at their destruction, and mocks when their fear cometh.  And Luke 14:16-18, many are bidden come to the Supper, and the Lord is cleared, an offer is made to them; they all with one consent refuse the use of other means, and the Lord says, none of them who were bidden shall taste of his Supper.  So the Lord’s justice goes no farther than the obstinacy of men, who refuse to come in at the outer gate opposes him…  

…and since it cannot be denied that multitudes within the visible Church perish for their sin against the Law, or the externally proposed Covenant of grace, and yet all these so perishing are not alike guilty; our Savior says some had greater guiltiness in his sufferings than Pilate had, John 19:11, holy and spotless justice doth cut off some in their sins for sinning against that Covenant, whether it be the Covenant of grace so called, or the Covenant of works, who even are many mile distant from sinning against the actings of the regenerating spirit, and some come nearer to the strangling of the new birth, and are cut off by holy justice also.  When our Savior says, John 3:18,36. He that believeth not is condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on him; his meaning shall not be, that all condemned within the visible Church perish, because the man coming to the nick of a gracious receiving of Christ, and having done all requisite to a professor until it come to the breaking forth of the new birth, he there only fails; for many sins and degrees of failing against that Covenant (however it be called) go before that, by reason whereof men are said not to believe in the Son of God, and upon which account they remain under wrath, and are condemned for non-believing: he who will not hear of the Physician, though he never come within reach of personal communing with him, dies of his disease deservedly, because he contemns the only Physician who can cure him, as well as he who sees the Physician’s face, hears his words, and beats back on his face the saving cup which would cure his disease.


Part 3, Chapter 13

2. Though it ill becomes us to censure the wisdom of God; if the Lord rebuke those within the visible Church for refusing offered mercy; as Jer. 3; John 5:40; John 8:21, how does He not reprove the Brasilians for rejecting a promise of so much love?


Part 3, Chapter 14

2. You do not so much as try whether you can do or not: when a Master bids a Servant carry a sack of corn to the mill, I cannot, says he; but cannot you try, says his master, cannot you go about it? no, he will not try; why, then he is willful: if his master should see him sweating and striving to carry it, it were something, then he will say he stuck at a cannot; but when he will not be at the pains to try, he sticks at a will not; p. 10.  God offers the good motions of power, I will help thee, and I will enable thee, and thou wilt not be helped, Jer. 6:17, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet, but they said, they will not hearken.—O, saidst thou, I do hear the word, and I cannot hear it better; I do pray daily, and I cannot pray better; thus thou retortest upon God, as the unprofitable servant, Lo, here thou hast what is thine; lo, here is the best faith thy spirit helps me to, here is the best obedience, that thy power enabled me to do, etc., lo, there thou hast that is thine, thou helps me with no more.


Part 4, Chapter 3

It’s like the devils are incapable of influences of grace, because of the horror and slavish trembling fear that is upon their conscience: they be ever under the law of works, never under grace, no not so much as in offerMatt 8:29; Jam. 2:19.  


Part 4, Chapter 5

Nay he did the work first, and first gave us life, and then sought and obtained our after-consent.  As a Prince, who by strong hand conquers a people, never treats with them whether he shall be their King or not, till he first subdue them, take their forts and castles, disarm the inhabitants, and then he offers them good conditions, and gains their after-good will that he rule over them. And we are translated and in Christ’s bounds, and have laid down arms, before ever we yield a spiritual, vital, lively, and sincere amen and closing with Christ, that He, and none but He only shall reign over us.


Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself

Part 1

2. Mercies grow invisibly, and we see not; we are ready to sleep at mercies offered. When Christ knocks in love, we are in bed; Cant. 5

Part 1

Proposition 3.  It is not our doctrine, but the weakness of sinners, and of the flesh, that we should be shy to Christ, and stand aloof from the Physician, because of the desperate condition of our disease.  This is, as if one should say, it is not fit for the naked to go to Him who offers white linen to clothe him, nor that the poor should go to Him, who would be glad, you would take His fine gold off His hand, or to say, set not a young plant, but let it lie above earth, till you see if it bear fruit. 

Part 2

2. Peter desires not Simon Magus to believe that God had loved him, in Christ Jesus, with an everlasting love; nor does the Gospel-promise offer immediate soul-rest to the hardened, and proud sinner, wallowing in his lusts, as he is a hardened sinner; nor is the acceptable year of the Lord proclaimed, nor beauty and the oil of joy offered immediately to any, but to those who are weary and laden, and who mourn in Sion, and wallow in ashes, Matt 11:28-30Isa. 61:1-3.  It’s true, to all within the visible Church, Christ is offered without price or money; but to be received after Christ’s fashion and order, not after our order; that is, after the soul is under self-despair of salvation, and in the sinner’s month, when he has been with child of hell.

Part 3

Death hath conquered the earth, and these many hundred Ages hath been breaking of the clay-pots, both men and other corruptible things, into broken chips and pieces of dust.  But Christ draws, by offering a more enduring City: That Christ can give, and promises heaven to his followers, is a strong argument, and draws powerfully

Part 3

Pos. 7.  Yet can it not be said, but here is a begun satisfaction, for, John 4:14, Christ enjoyed is a draught of the water of life freely given, Rev. 22:17That whosoever will, may drink of the water of life freely, John 7:37In the last, and great day of the feast, Jesus stood, and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. 

2. Not a drink only is offered, but a well, a fountain, Ps. 36:9, For with thee is the fountain of life; a fountain is more than a drink, because the whole is more than the part.

Part 3

In this Grammar of the Holy Ghost, observe we, by the way, for resolution, the wisdom of God, in framing the words of the Gospel.  It cannot be said that God loved all the world in Christ, his beloved, and all, and every sinner, and all the race of mankind.  Yet laying down this ground, that God keeps up in his mind, the secrets of Election and Reprobation, till he, in his own time, be pleased to reveal them, the Lord hath framed the Gospel-offer of Christ in such indefinite words, and so general (yet without all double dealing, lying, or equivocating), for his own good pleasure is a rule both of his doings and speeches, As

1. seldom does the Lord open Election and Reprobation to men, till they, by grace, or in the order of his justice, open both the one and the other, in their own ways; and therefore he holds out the offer of Christ, so as none may cavell at the Gospel, or begin a plea with Christ.

2. Seldom does the Gospel speak, who they be that are Elect, who Reprobate; yet doth the Gospel offer no ground of presuming on the one hand, or of despairing on the other. For if thou bee not a believer, nor a weak reed, nor a Saint, yet thou art a sinner, if not that, thou art a man, if not that, thou art one of the world; and though the Affirmative conclude not; I am a sinner, I am a man, I am one of the world, but it follows not, therefore I am elected to glory, or, Therefore, I am ransomed of the Lord. Yet the Negative, touching Reprobation, holds. I am a Sinner, I am of the World, I am a man; hence it follows not, therefore I am a reprobate, and therefore I have warrant to refuse the promise, and Christ offered in the Gospel.  It follows well therefore, I must be humbled for sin, and believe in Christ, there is room left for all the Elect, that they have no ground of standing aloof from Christ, (and the rest never come, and most willingly refuse to come) nor have the Reprobate ground to quarrel at the decrees of God, though they be not chosen, yet they are called, as if they were chosen, and they have no cause to quarrel at conjectures, they have as fair a revealed warrant to believe, as the Elect have; they are men, sinners of the world, to whom Christ is offered, why refuse they him upon an unrevealed warrant?

Part 3

4. His offer must be real, John 7:37, for with vehemency he speaksHe stood and shouted in the Temple, if any man thirst, let him come to me and drink.  Here is a dear fountain to all thirsty souls and most free: Christ thirsts and longs to have thirsty sinners come gratis and drink.



These quotes were compiled by Sherman Isbell and Travis Fentiman

 The first quote at the top is from the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)’s website



Related Pages

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel