Friday, August 26, 2016

Great Quotes: Charles Spurgeon, "Arminius speaks right well upon this point. I quote his words"

From Charles Spurgeon’s 1860 sermon on John 15:5, “Without Me you can do nothing" (bold mine):

And now, having thus sought to explain the text in regard to the Christian, let me try to support it. I would support it, first of all, by the common consent of all Believers in all ages. With the exception of ancient Pelagians and their modern off-spring, I do not know that the Church has afforded any instance of any professors who have doubted the inability of man apart from God the Holy Spirit. Our confessions of faith are nearly unanimous upon this point. But I hear someone say—"Do not the Arminians believe that there is natural strength in man by which he can do something?" No, my Brothers and Sisters, the true Arminian can believe no such thing! Arminius speaks right well upon this point. I quote his words, as I have them in a translation—
"It is impossible for free will, without Grace, to begin or perfect any true or spiritual good. I say, the Grace of Christ, which pertains to regeneration is simply and absolutely necessary for the illumination of the mind, the ordering of the affections, and the inclination of the will to that which is good. It is that which operates on the mind, the affections, and the will, which infuses good thoughts into the mind, inspires good desires into the affections, and leads the will to execute good thoughts and good desires. It goes before, accompanies, and follows; it excites, assists, works in us to will, and works with us that we may not will in vain. It averts temptations, stands by and aids us in temptations, supports us against the flesh, the world, and Satan; and in the conflict, it grants us to enjoy the victory. It raises up again those who are conquered and fallen; it establishes them and endues them with new strength, and renders them more cautious. It begins, promotes, perfects and consummates salvation. I confess that the mind of the natural and carnal man is darkened, his affections are depraved, his will is refractory, and that the man is dead in sin."

Richard Watson, who among modern Arminians is considered to be a standard divine, especially in the Wesleyan denomination, is equally clear upon this point. He fully admits that, "The sin of Adam introduced into his nature such a radical impotence and depravity, that it is impossible for his descendants to make any voluntary effort (of themselves) towards piety and virtue," and then he quotes with warm approval, an expression of Calvin's, in which Calvin says that, "Man is so totally overwhelmed, as with a deluge, that no part is free from sin, and therefore, whatever proceeds from him is accounted sin." It is very satisfactory to have these testimonies to the common Doctrine of the Church. I know that some Arminians are not so sound, even as Arminius or Richard Watson; I know that some of them do not understand any creed at all, not even their own, for in all denominations there are men so ignorant of all theology that they will venture upon any assertion whatever, claiming to be Arminian, or Calvinistic, without knowing what either Calvin or Arminius taught! Arminians would be much better, even if they were as good as Arminius! Much as he swerved from the faith in some respects [...] but in many points would be as stern and unflinching a defender of the faith as John Calvin, himself!

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