Dabney on the Offer and Call of the Gospel

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in The Well-Meant Offer


God’s design in the common call of the unconverted may be said to be threefold.

To Gather Elect.

First, it is His appointed and proper means for saving from among them, the elect. And He either must have adopted this generality in the outward call, or else He must have adopted one of two expedients. He must have actually saved all, or He must have separated the non-elect wholly from the participation of the common call. Had He adopted the latter plan, surely those who now complain of partiality would then have complained far more loudly. Had He adopted the former, where would have been His manifestation of His sovereignty, and where that evidence of regular customary connection between means and ends, conduct and destiny, on which He has seen fit to found His government?

To Express His Benevolence.

God’s second design in making the common call universal was the exercise of the general holiness, goodness, and compassion of His nature, (which generally regard all His creatures), in dissuading all from sin and self destruction. God’s holiness, which is universally opposed to sin, makes it proper that He shall dissuade from sin, every where, and in all sinners. God’s mercy and goodness, being made possible towards the human race by their being under a gospel dispensation, make it proper that He shall dissuade all from self destruction. And this benevolence not only offers a benefit to sinners generally, but actually confers one–i. e., a temporary enjoyment of a dispensation of mercy, and a suspension of wrath, with all the accompanying mercies, and the offer itself of salvation. This offer is itself a benefit, only man’s perverseness turns it into a curse. Blessed be God, His word assures us that this common call is an expression of sincere benevolence towards all sinners, elect and non-elect, (a compassion whose efficient outgoing is, however, conditioned, as to all, on faith and penitence in them). Ezek. 33:11; Ps. 81:13; 1 Tim. 2:4.

To Clear Himself.

God’s third design in making the common call universal is that when men ruin themselves, as He foresaw they would, His holiness, goodness, compassion and truth may be entirely cleared, in their fate, before heaven and earth. It was a part of His eternal plan, to magnify His own goodness, by offering to human sinners a provision for salvation so complete, as to remove every obstacle arising out of His justice and law; so that in their final damnation all the universe may see how lovely God is; and how desperate an evil sin is. And this is properly God’s highest end.”

R. L. Dabney, Systematic Theology, 555-556.

credit to Tony; and c.f., Robert Dabney on 1 Tim 2:4-6.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 6:29 am and is filed under The Well-Meant Offer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed at this time.