II.–1. The word of God, in perfect recognition of the original adaptedness of human nature to the service and enjoyment of God, and of its present susceptibility in its fallen condition, to be restored to the lost image of God; furnishes in the divine Revelation it contains, the perfect knowledge of the divine method of the restoration of man. This knowledge comes to us in such a manner, namely, by the word of God, as to give to its absolute truth the highest certainty of which truth is capable: and it comes to us with that infinite authority of God, which invests it with an uncontrollable majesty and efficacy. The will of God is made known to us: that will which–whether as Creatures dependent on the Creator, or as sinners dependent on the Savior, it is the first necessity, the first interest, the first duty of man to obey. In the whole revealed will of God, nothing is more distinctly stated, than that God is not willing that any should perish, but is willing that all should come to repentance; and be appeals to his own longsuffering for proof of what he says.1 Nay, seeing that be hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom be hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead: he has added the weight of his infinite authority to the plea of his boundless mercy, and now commands all men everywhere to repent.2 He assures us that these holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.3 He declares to us, that this Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes.4 By prophets and by apostles alike, he has proclaimed to every generation of men, Behold now is the accepted time: Behold now is the day of salvation.5 And by Prophets and by Apostles alike, the fundamental principle of the divine administration of grace, has been loudly and continually asserted to be, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.6 And now what is the result of all this proclamation of divine mercy–all this gospel call to men, through all ages? Let us trace the whole career of grace from Adam’s day to our own–and see if we can discern one single clear instance in which, throughout all generations, one single sinner embraced this gospel call, in his own strength, and without God’s special grace added to the gospel call. Alas! no. All our natural ability, upon which we are so prone to rely; all our boasted free will, about which we are so sensitive; yea, all divine knowledge merely as such: however real may be our possession of these inestimable gifts of God–however great may be the obligation resting on us to bless God for them, and to use them all aright–however they may all enter and be taken for granted in our Effectual Calling: beyond a doubt neither of them, nor yet all of them, can deliver us from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Shall God, then, be robbed of the glory of his grace? Shall his elect be left to perish? Or will our stupid and perverse hearts consent that God may make one more effort?
Robert J. Breckinridge, The Knowledge of God, (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1859), 1:128-129. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]
12 Pet., iii. 9.
2Acts, xvii. 30, 31.
32 Tim., iii. 15.
4Rom., x. 18.
5Isa., xlix. 8; 2 Cor. vi. 2.
6Joel, ii. 32; Acts, ii. 21; Rom., x. 13.