TO MR. JAMES WATTS
BOROUGH, April 24, 1855.
MY DEAR SIR, —
I am usually careless of the notices of papers concerning myself, referring all honor to my Master, and believing that dishonorable articles are but advertisements for me, and bring more under the sound of the gospel. But you, my dear Sir (I know not why), have been pleased to speak so favorably of my labors that I think it only right that I should thank you. If I could have done so personally, I would have availed myself of the pleasure, but the best substitute is by letter. Amid a constant din of abuse, it is pleasant to poor flesh and blood to hear one favorable voice. I am far from deserving much that you have said in my praise, but as I am equally undeserving of the coarse censure poured on me by the Essex Standard, etc., etc., I will set the one against the other. I am neither eloquent nor learned, but the Head of the Church has given me sympathy with the unenlightened. I never sought popularity, and I cannot tell how it is so many come to hear me; but shall I now change? To please the polite critic, shall I leave “the people,” who so much require a simple and stirring style? I am, perhaps, “vulgar,” and so on, but it is not intentional, save that I must and mill make the people listen. My firm conviction is, that we have quite enough polite preachers, and that “the many” require a change. God has owned me to the most degraded and off-cast; let others serve their class; these are mine, and to them I must keep. My sole reason for thus troubling you is one of gratitude to a disinterested friend. You may another time have good cause to censure me ; — do so, as I am sure you will, with all heartiness; but my young heart shall not soon forget “a friend.”
My dear Sir,
Yours very sincerely,
C. H. SPURGEON.
SECTION VII.–DESIGNS OF PROVIDENCE.
In the view which we have taken of God’s providential government, we have included the fact, that he so orders the events which occur, as to accomplish his purpose. This is called predestination. The purpose of God respects the end which he has in view; and also the means which he uses for the accomplishment of this end.
The doctrine of predestination teaches that no event comes to pass, which is not under the control of God; and that it is so ordered by him as to fulfil his purpose. If it would thwart his purpose, the event is prevented; or if, in part only it would conduce to his purpose, only so far is it permitted to happen. This divine control extends over all agents, animate and inanimate, rational and irrational; and is exercised over each in perfect accordance with its nature, and with all the laws of nature as originally established. Physical agents are controlled as physical agents; and moral, as moral agents. The latter act as freely as if no providence over them existed. Their ends are chosen, their means adopted, and their accountability exists, just as if there were no predestination of God in the matter. Yet God is not unconcerned in any of these acts, but overrules each and all of them according to his pleasure.
The holy men of ancient times were accustomed to view the hand of God in everything with which they had to do; and the passages of Scripture are numerous, in which God’s direction of man’s affairs and actions is taught. “A man’s heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps.” “The king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will.” The gardener has his rivulet, with which he waters his beds; and, by cutting a channel here, and damming up there, he directs the fertilizing stream to whatever part of his garden he pleases; while the water, however directed, moves according to its own natural tendency. So the kings heart moves according to its own inclination; but the directing hand of God guides his movements, though freely made, to the accomplishment of such ends as infinite wisdom has designed. The passages are also numerous, which show that this direction of events is for the accomplishment of some purpose. God meant it unto good. All things work together for good. Each particular event accomplishes some purpose; and the whole combined accomplishes the grand purpose, to which the particular purposes are subordinate. So he who builds a house, has, in adjusting each timber, a purpose subordinate to the general or final purpose for which the whole work was undertaken; and to the accomplishment of which, the whole is directed.
The possibility that God should possess this complete control of all things, cannot be doubted by any who admit the doctrine of necessity. Even if human volitions are absolutely contingent, his control of overt acts must be conceived to be as perfect, as on the other hypothesis. As length and breadth are necessary to constitute area, as weight and velocity are necessary to constitute force; so volition and power are necessary to constitute action. He does not act, who has the will without the power, or the power without the will. Now, power is in the hand of God, and under his perfect control; and, therefore, whatever the will may be, no overt act can be performed but by his permission; and consequently, no influence can be brought to bear on any part of God’s dominions, so as to disturb his administration. This hook God has in the nose of every rebellious subject; so that, however filled with rage, he cannot move but by God’s permission.
Again, even if human volition is absolutely contingent, it is still true, that men often foretell it with sufficient certainty or probability, to know how to direct their actions with respect to it. A sagacious sovereign knows the character of his subjects, and the parties which exist in his government; and he adapts the measures of his administration to meet the exigencies as they arise. Why cannot God, on the throne of the universe, manage the affairs of his government with equal skill? A human sovereign sometimes fails for want of time to deliberate. His enemies form their schemes, and their plots proceed to their accomplishment before he is aware of their designs; and, when they are discovered, he cannot command his resources, or digest his plan, in time to meet the emergency. But God sees every budding volition; and, as all his power man be exerted at any point of space, so all the resources of his infinite wisdom can arrange his plan, while the volition is taking its form as wisely and completely as if it were the result of an eternity of deliberation. God is verily able to govern the world; and who doubts that he is willing? And our belief that God governs the world, and predestinates its various events to accomplish the counsel of his will, is not dependent on a metaphysical speculation.
 Prov. xvi. 9.
 Prov. xxi. 1.
 Gen. l. 20.
 Rom. viii. 28.
 2 Kings xix. 28.
John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology
Others before us have pointed out that there is a Divinely designed analogy between the natural and the spiritual worlds. God so framed the visible realms as to shadow forth the invisible, the temporal to symbolize the eternal. Hence the similitudes so often employed by Christ, drawn by Him from the natural kingdom, were not arbitrary illustrations, but pre-ordained figures of the supernatural. There is a most intimate connection between the spheres of creation and of grace, so that we are taught thereby to look from one to the other.
“By means of His inimitable parables, Christ showed that when nature was consulted aright it spoke one language with the Spirit of God; and that the more thoroughly it understood, the more complete and varied will be found the harmony which subsists between the principles of its constitution and those of His spiritual kingdom” (P. Fairbairn).
Who can fail to perceive both the aptness and the sublimity of the parallel between that allusion from the natural realm and its antitypical realization:
“Until the day break, and the shadows flee away” (Song of Solomon 2:17), where the reference is to both the first (John 8:56) and second appearing of God’s Son in the flesh (Philippians 1:6, 10)?
Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures
Let a man receive the truths of the doctrines of the Grace of God and he will say, “God has saved me”
Brethren, let the man receive these truths; let them be written in his heart by the Holy Spirit, and they will make him look up. He will say, “God has saved me!” and he will walk with a constant eye to God. He will not forget to see the hand of God in nature and in providence; he will, on the contrary, discern the Lord working in all places, and will humbly adore him. He will not give to laws of nature or schemes of state the glory due to the Most High, but will have respect unto the unseen Ruler. “What the Lord saith to me that will I do,” is the believer’s language. “What is his will that will I follow; what is his word, that will I believe; what is his promise, on that I will live.” It is a blessed habit to teach a man to look up, look up to God in all things.
Charles H. Spurgeon- Salvation Altogether by Grace (2 Timothy 1:9)- Delivered on Sunday Morning July 29th, 1866
By Al Martin
B. B. Warfield describes Calvinism as ‘that sight of the majesty of God that pervades all of life and all of experience’. In particular as it relates to the doctrine of salvation its glad confession is summarized in those three pregnant words, God saves sinners. Now whenever we are confronted with great doctrinal statements in Holy Scripture, God does not leave us merely with the statement of doctrine. The end of God’s truth set before the minds of God’s people is that, understanding it, they might know its effect in their own personal experience. So the grand doctrinal themes of Ephesians, chapters 1, 2 and 3 are followed by the application of those doctrines to practical life and experience in Ephesians, chapters 4, 5 and 6. The end for which God gave his truth was not so much the instruction of our minds as the transformation of our lives. But a person cannot come directly to the life and experience, he must come mediately through the mind. And so God’s truth is addressed to the understanding and the Spirit of God operates in the understanding as the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge. He does not illuminate the mind simply that the file drawers of the mental study may be crammed full of information. The end for which God instructs the mind is that he might transform the life.
What, then, are the personal implications of Calvinistic thought and truth both in the life of the individual and in the ministry exercised by the individual? By personal implications I mean the implications of your own relationship to God without any conscious reference to the ministry.
Now, these things cannot be separated in an absolute sense, for as has been well said, ‘The life of a minister is the life of his ministry’. You cannot separate what you are from what you do; you cannot separate the effect of truth upon your own relationship to God personally from the effect of truth through you ministerially. For the sake of bringing the principles into sharp focus I am separating them, but in no way do I want to give the impression that these two are in rigid categories.
I ask then, What are the implications of Calvinistic thought, this vision of the majesty of God and of the saving truth of Scripture as it relates to us as individuals? In answer let us go back to that general principle which B. B. Warfield calls the ‘formative principle of Calvinism’. I quote Warfield’s words:
It lies then, let me repeat, in a profound apprehension of God in His majesty, with the poignant realisation which inevitably accompanies this apprehension, of the relation sustained to God by the creature as such, and particularly by the sinful creature. The Calvinist is the man who has seen God, and who, having seen God in His glory, is filled on the one hand with a sense of his own unworthiness to stand in God’s sight as a creature, and much more as a sinner, and on the other hand, with adoring wonder that nevertheless this God is a God who receives sinners. He who believes in God without reserve and is determined that God shall be God to him in all his thinking, feeling and willing — in the entire compass of his life activities, intellectual, moral and spiritual — throughout all his individual social and religious relations, is, by force of that strictest of all logic which presides over the outworking of principles into thought and life, by the very necessity of the case, a Calvinist. 1
Notice that when B. B. Warfield defines Calvinism and the Calvinist he used words of a strongly experimental nature. The words ‘apprehension’ and ‘realisation’ deal primarily with the understanding, though they go beyond that, but when we come to words such as ‘seen God’, ‘filled on the one hand with a sense of his own unworthiness’, ‘adoring wonder’, ‘thinking, feeling and willing’, these are words of experience. Warfield is really saying that no person is a Calvinist, no person is truly Biblical in his thinking of God, no man is truly religious, no man is truly evangelical until these concepts have been burned into the nerve fibres of his experience. In other words, Warfield would say that an academic Calvinist is a misnomer, as much as to speak of ‘a living corpse’ is a misnomer. When the soul and the body are separate death has taken place, and Warfield would teach us that when the soul of Calvinistic thought is dead or absent, all that remains is a carcase, a stench in the nostrils of God, and so often a stench in the church when found in a minister.
Table of Contents
The Experience of God
Acquaintance with our own sinfulness
Acquaintance with grace and forgiveness
Utter resignation before God
Have you seen God?
The Power of Saving Religion
Honest scriptural self-examination
Leads to the sane biblical pursuit of practical godliness
Distrust of oneself
A consistent prayerfulness
Dependence on God
Of Scandalous Persons guilty of gross Acts of Immorality
If any Member fall into any gross Acts of Sin, as Swearing, Lying, Drunken ness, Fornication, Covetousness, Extortion, or the like, and it is known and publickly spread abroad to the great scandal and reproach of Religion, and of the Holy Name of God, his Church, and People; the said Offender so charged, the Church must send one or two Brethren to him to come before the Congregation: if he will not come, but doth fight and contemn the Authority of the Church, that will bring farther Guilt upon him, for which Offence he incurs the Censure before-mentioned. But if he doth appear, his Charge is to be laid before him, and the Witnesses called; and after he has made his Defence, and said all he hath to say, and the Congregation finds him Guilty, then the same Censure is to pass upon him, to the end he may be brought to unfeigned Repentance, and the Name of God cleared; and some time must be taken to make it appear that he hath true Repentance, by the Reformation of his Life and holy walking afterwards, before he be received again, and the Censure of the Church in a solemn manner be taken off.
Dr. Chauncy puts this Question,
Quest. ‘How is a Church to proceed in case of open and notorious Scandals?’
The Answer is, ‘the matter of Fact, as such, being beyond all question; the Church is to proceed immediately to censure, to vindicate the Honour of Christ and his Church, and to manifest to the World their just Indignation against such Notorious Offenders, and wait for a well-grounded and tryed Evidence of his true Repentance under that Ordinance of Christ which is appointed to that end.’67
Observe, It is the opinion of the Doctor, that tho the Person be penitent, yet because his Sin is open and scandalous, he ought to be cast out to vindicate the Honour of Christ and the Church, as part of his just Punishment (that being one reason of the Ordinance of Excommunication) as well as to bring the Person to thorough Repentance; and we are of his Mind. Paul takes no notice in the case of the Incestuous Person of his immediate Repentance; or if he repent not, then, &c. But says he, deliver such a one to Satan, &c. Saith the Lord, if her Father had but spit in her Face, should she not be ashamed seven Days? Let her be shut out from the Camp Seven Days: (speaking of Miriam) and after that let her be received in again.68
Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)
TO MR. JAMES WATTS
BOROUGH, Tuesday, [April, 1855].
DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER, —
(D. V.) Thursday, I shall be with you at 1.30 by the mail train. I shall be glad to preach in St. Andrew’s Street Chapel, but shall disappoint you all. The people are silly to follow me so much. It now gets worse. Crowds awful on Sunday last. Collected £90 morning and evening at the hall. At Shoreditch, on Tuesday, there were eight or nine hundred where only six hundred should have been admitted; upon personally appealing to the throng outside, disappointed at not getting in, most of them dispersed, and allowed the rest of us to worship as well as we could with windows open to let those hear who remained outside.
Joseph is still shot at by the archers, and sorely grieved; (see Baptist Reporter, United Presbyterian Magazine, Critic, Christian News, etc., with a lot of small fry😉 but his bow abides in strength, neither does he tremble. Oh, my dear brother, envy has vexed me sorely; — scarcely a Baptist minister of standing will own me! I am sick of man; but when I find a good one, I love him all the better because of the contrast to others.
I have just received a handsome silver inkstand, bearing this inscription: “Presented to Mr. C. H. Spurgeon by J. and S. Alldis, as a token of sincere gratitude to him as the instrument, under Almighty God, of turning them from darkness to light, March 30, 1855.” The devil may look at that as often as he pleases; it will afford him sorry comfort.
And now farewell. Christian love to you and yours, from
Yours deeply in debt,
C. H. SPURGEON.