Crest Of Human Pride

Robert Sandeman writes:

“Having briefly pointed at some of the methods by which the popular preachers set aside the Divine justice, so as to render the sacred truth of little or no value in the eyes of men, let us next observe how they set themselves in opposition to the Divine sovereignty — and we shall find, that for every jewel they rob from the crown of the Most High, they plant a feather in the crest of human pride. They are disaffected to the simple belief of the gospel as the sole ground of hope, because it leaves a man even in the full assurance of faith, or when the truth is most present to his thoughts, entirely at the mercy of God for his salvation; or because it leads him to the greatest reverence for, and submission to the Divine sovereignty, without having any claim upon God whatsoever, or finding any reason why God should regard him more than those who perish.

Hence it is, that in leading their hearers to faith, they constantly instruct them how to qualify themselves, so as they may be in a condition to advance some claim upon the Deity, and treat with him on some rule of equity; or so as they may find some reason why he should regard them more than others, and, accordingly, grant the favours they desire of him. They maintain, indeed, that men can obtain no benefit from the Deity but in the way of grace; yet, it is evident, that grace obtained in the way they direct is improperly so called, at least it is very different from the apostolic notion of the Divine grace.

Paul, when speaking of the sovereignty of the Divine choice of men to salvation, as proceeding upon grace, in opposition to every notion of desert in those who are chosen, distinguishes that grace in the following manner: And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace; but if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no work. If this one text were well understood, the whole body of the popular doctrine would fall to the ground at once” (Sandeman).

This well describes those Calvinists who say that things such as salvation and justification are conditioned on the sinner’s “graciously” enabled faith. Thus according to this scheme they are “graciously” being enabled to put God in their debt (contra Romans 4:4-5). It is quite true that if these conditionalist Calvinists well understood Romans 11:6, “the whole body of [their] popular doctrine would fall to the ground at once.” Next Page (30)

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