Free Will A Slave! Part 2
Universal Atonement A Lie
Another says, `I want to know about the rest of the people. May Igo out and tell them – Jesus Christ died for every one of you? MayI say – there is life for every one of you?’ No; you may not. Youmay say – there is life for every man that comes. But if you saythere is life for one of those that do not believe, you utter adangerous lie. If you tell them Jesus Christ was punished for theirsins, and yet they will be lost, you tell a willful falsehood. To thinkthat God could punish Christ and then punish them – I wonder atyour daring to have the impudence to say so! A good man was oncepreaching that there were harps and crowns in heaven for all hiscongregation; and then he wound up in a most solemn manner: `Mydear friends, there are many for whom these things are preparedwho will not get there.’ In fact, he made such a pitiful tale, asindeed he might do; but I tell you who he ought to have wept for -he ought to have wept for the angels of heaven and all the saints,because that would spoil heaven thoroughly.
You know when you meet at Christmas, if you have lost yourbrother David and his seat is empty, you say: `Well, we alwaysenjoyed Christmas, but there is a drawback to it now – poor Davidis dead and buried!’ Think of the angels saying: `Ah! this is abeautiful heaven, but we don’t like to see all those crowns up therewith cobwebs on; we cannot endure that uninhabited street: wecannot behold yon empty thrones.’ And then, poor souls, they mightbegin talking to one another, and say, `we are none of us safe herefor the promise was – “I give unto my sheep eternal life,” and thereis a lot of them in hell that God gave eternal life to; there is anumber that Christ shed his blood for burning in the pit, and if theymay be sent there, so may we. If we cannot trust one promise wecannot another.’ So heaven would lose its foundation, and fall.Away with your nonsensical gospel! God gives us a safe and solidone, built on covenant doings and covenant relationships, oneternal purposes and sure fulfillments.
No Man Wills To Come
IV. This brings us to the fourth point, THAT BY NATURE NOMAN WILL COME TO CHRIST, for the text says, `Ye will notcome unto me, that ye might have life.’ I assert on Scriptureauthority from my text, that ye will not come unto Christ, that yemight have life. I tell you, I might preach to you for ever, I mightborrow the eloquence of Demosthenes or of Cicero, but ye will notcome unto Christ. I might beg of you on my knees, with tears in myeyes, and show you the horrors of hell and the joys of heaven, thesufficiency of Christ, and your own lost condition, but you wouldnone of you come unto Christ of yourselves unless the Spirit thatrested on Christ should draw you. It is true of all men in theirnatural condition that they will not come unto Christ.
But methinks I hear another of these babblers asking a question:`But could they not come if they liked?’ My friend, I will reply tothee another time. That is not the question this morning. I amtalking about whether they will, not whether they can. You willnotice whenever you talk about free will, the poor Arminian, in twoseconds begins to talk about power, and he mixes up two subjectsthat should be kept apart. We will not take two subjects at once; wedecline fighting two at the same time, if you please. Another day wewill preach from this text: – `No man can come except the Fatherdraw him.’ But it is only the will we are talking about now; and it iscertain that men will not come unto Christ, that they might havelife.
We might prove this from many texts of Scripture, but we will takeone parable. You remember the parable where a certain king had afeast for his son, and bade a great number to come; the oxen andfatlings were killed, and he sent his messengers bidding many tothe supper. Did they go to the feast? Ah, no; but they all, with oneaccord began to make excuse. One said he had married a wife, andtherefore he could not come, whereas he mighty have brought herwith him. Another had bought a yoke of oxen, and went to provethem; but the feast was in the night-time, and he could not prove hisoxen in the dark. Another had bought a piece of land, and wanted tosee it; but I should not think he went to see it with a lantern. Sothey all made excuses and would not come. Well the king wasdetermined to have the feast; so he said, `Go into the highways andhedges, and’ invite them – stop! not invite – `compel them to comein,’ for even the ragged fellows in the hedges would never havecome unless they were compelled.
Take another parable: A certain man had a vineyard; at theappointed season he sent one of his servants for his rent. What didthey do to him? They beat that servant. He sent another; and theystoned him. He sent another and they killed him. And, at last, hesaid, `I will send them my son, they will reverence him.’ But whatdid they do? They said, `This is the heir, let us kill him, and casthim out of the vineyard.’ So they did. It is the same with all men bynature. The Son of God came, yet men rejected him. `Ye will notcome unto me that ye might have life.’
The Fall – How Far?
It would take too much time to mention any more Scripture proofs.We will, however, refer to the great doctrine of the fall. Any onewho believes that man’s will is entirely free, and that he can besaved by it, does not believe the fall. As I sometimes tell you, fewpreachers of religion do believe thoroughly the doctrine of the fall,or else they think that when Adam fell down he broke his littlefinger, and did not break his neck and ruin his race. Why, beloved,the fall broke man up entirely. It did not leave one powerunimpaired; they were all shattered, and debased, and tarnished;like some mighty temple, the pillars might be there, the shaft, andthe column, and the pilaster might be there; but they were allbroken, though some of them retain their form and position. Theconscience of man sometimes retains much of its tenderness – stillit has fallen. The will, too, is not except. What though it is `the LordMayor of Mansoul,’ as Bunyan calls it? – the Lord Mayor goeswrong. The Lord Will-be-will was continually doing wrong.
Your fallen nature was put out of order; your will, amongst otherthings, has clean gone astray from God. But I tell you what will bethe best proof of that; it is the great fact that you never did meet aChristian in your life who ever said he came to Christ withoutChrist coming to him.
No ‘Free Will’ Prayers
You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say; butyou never heard an Arminian prayer – for the saints in prayerappear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Arminian on hisknees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot prayabout free will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying, `Lord, Ithank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord,I was born with a glorious free will; I was born with power by whichI can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. Ifeverybody had done the same with their grace that I have, theymight all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make uswilling if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace toeverybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many thatwill go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was;they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had asgood a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thygrace that made us differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turnedthe point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not -that is the difference between me and them.’
That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such aprayer as that. Ah! when they are preaching and talking veryslowly, there may be wrong doctrine; but when they come to pray,the true thing slips out; they cannot help it. If a man talks veryslowly, he may speak in a fine manner; but when he comes to talkfast, the old brogue of his country, where he was born, slips out.
I ask you again, did you ever meet a Christian man who said `Icame to Christ without the power of the Spirit?’ If you ever didmeet such a man, you need have no hesitation in saying, `My dearsir, I quite believe it – and I believe you went away again withoutthe power of the Spirit, and that you know nothing about the matter,and are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.’ Do I hearone Christian man saying, `I sought Jesus before he sought me; Iwent to the Spirit, and the Spirit did not come to me’? No, beloved;we are obliged, each one of us, to put our hands to our hearts andsay –
`Grace taught my soul to pray, And made my eyes o’erflow; `Twas grace that kept me of this day, And will not let me go.’
Is there one here – a solitary one – man or woman, young or old,who can say, `I sought God before he sought me’? No; even youwho are a little Arminian, will sing –
`O yes! I do love Jesus – Because he first loved me.’
Then, one more question. Do we not find, even after we have cometo Christ, our soul is not free, but is kept by Christ? do we not findtimes, even now, when to will is not present with us. There is a lawin our members, warring against the law of our minds. Now, if thosewho are spiritually alive feel that their will is contrary to God, whatshall we say of the man who is dead in trespasses and sins? Itwould be a marvelous absurdity to put the two on a level; and itwould be still more absurd to put the dead before the living. No; thetext is true, experience has branded it into our hearts, `Ye will notcome unto me that ye might have life.’
Why None Come
Now, we must tell you the reasons why men will not come untoChrist. The first is, because no man by nature thinks he wantsChrist. By nature man conceives that he does not need Christ; hethinks that he has a robe of righteousness of his own, that he is welldressed, that he is not naked, that he needs not Christ’s blood towash him, that he is not black or crimson, and needs no grace topurify him. No man knows his need until God shows it to him; anduntil the Holy Spirit revels the necessity of pardon, no man willseek pardon. I may preach Christ for ever, but unless you feel youwant Christ you will never come to him. A doctor may have a goodshop, but nobody will buy his medicines until he feels he wantsthem.
The next reason is, because men do not like Christ’s way of savingthem. One says, `I do not like it because he makes me holy; Icannot drink or swear if he saved me.’ Another says, `It requiresme to be so precise and puritanical, and I like a little more licens’.Another does not like it because the ‘gate of heaven’ is not quitehigh enough for his head, and he does not like stooping. That is thechief reason ye will not come to Christ, because ye cannot get tohim with your heads straight up in the air; for Christ makes youstoop when you come. Another does not like it to be grace fromfirst to last. `Oh!’ he says, `if I might have a little honor.’ But whenhe hears it is all Christ or no Christ, a whole Christ or no Christ, hesays, `I shall not come,’ and turns on his heel and turns away. Ah!proud sinners, ye will not come to Christ. Ah! ignorant sinners, yewill not come unto Christ, because ye know nothing of him. Andthat is the third reason.
Men do not know his worth, for if they did they would come untohim. Why did not sailors go to America before Columbus went?Because they did not believe there was an America. Columbus hadfaith, therefore he went. He who hath faith in Christ goes to him.But you don’t know Jesus; many of you never saw his beauteousface; you never saw how applicable his blood is to a sinner, howgreat is his atonement; and how all-sufficient are his merits.Therefore, `ye will not come unto him.’
And oh! my hearers, my last thought is a solemn one. I havepreached that ye will not come. But some will say, `it is their sinthat they do not come.’ It is so. You will not come, but then your willis a sinful will. Some think that we `sew pillows to all armholes’when we preach this doctrine, but we don’t. We do not set this downas being part of man’s original nature, but as belonging to his fallennature. It is sin that has brought you into this condition that you willnot come. If you had not fallen, you would come to Christ themoment he was preached to you; but you do not come because ofyour sinfulness and crime. People excuse themselves because theyhave bad hearts. That is the most flimsy excuse in the world. Donot robbery and thieving come from a bad heart? Suppose a thiefshould say to a judge, `I could not help it, I had a bad heart.’ Whatwould the judge say? `You rascal! why, if your heart is bad, I’llmake the sentence heavier, for you are a villain indeed. Yourexcuse is nothing.’ The Almighty shall `laugh at them and shallhave them in derision.’ We do not preach this doctrine to excuseyou, but to humble you. The possession of a bad nature is my faultas well as my terrible calamity.
It is a sin that will always be charged on men; when they will notcome unto Christ it is sin that keeps them away. He who does notpreach that, I fear is not faithful to God and his conscience. Gohome, then, with this thought; `I am by nature so perverse that Iwill not come unto Christ, and that wicked perversity of my natureis my sin. I deserve to be sent to hell for it.’ And if the thought doesnot humble you, the Spirit using it, no other can. This morning Ihave not preached human nature up, but I have preached it down.God humble us all. Amen. -New Park Street Pulpit Vol. I, pp.395-402