Tag Archives: Predestination

Objections to the Doctrine of Election

 

Having already laid the foundation for the doctrine of election and looked at some important distinctions in the various uses of related biblical words, we now turn our full attention to several of the more prominent objections to this doctrine. In introducing this we find several tensions and incorrect responses that must be addressed before looking clearly at some stated objections.

When addressing a doctrine such as unconditional election, it naturally stirs the emotions and immediately all manner of objections soon ensue. Thankfully, God’s Word is true and not only answers these objections, but anticipates them. One such passage where God sets forth the plan of His redemption by way of election, and anticipates the subsequent objections, is Romans chapters 9-11. Naturally, these chapters build upon and help explain Romans 8, which we have already looked at it some detail.

Using Romans 9 as our springboard into the arguments, we find the Apostle transitioning from the arguments of God’s unconditional, unbreakable love towards His elect people to the solemn, heartbreaking anguish of Paul. We must ask, given the glorious nature of the hope-filled chapter 8, which should serve as an anchor for the Christian soul, why now does Paul have such a somber tone to start chapter 9? Note how he begins:

1I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 9:1-5

Paul begins be establishing the truthfulness of his statements and heartfelt emotions, which he will unpack, on the basis of Christ, his conscience, and the Holy Spirit. This emphasis is meant to frame the seriousness of what’s to come and to express to the utmost how he is feeling. Lest there be any notion of anti-Semitism in the Christian, Paul undercuts that right away by expressing his sorrow which he tells us in verse 3 is for “his kinsmen according to the flesh,” in other words, national, ethnic Israel. Paul is not an outsider setting forth a doctrinal position that alienates the Jews, he is an insider, a Jew according to the flesh. As he has asserted in Philippians 3:5-6

5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.” Therefore, if anyone is qualified to speak the truth concerning Christ to the Jews, it is Paul.

The Apostle then proceeds to tell of the advantages of the Jew in Romans 9:4-5, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” An argument could be made that this is a continuation of a thought that began in chapter 3 when Paul wrote, 1Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.”   We can see here that Paul is establishing the advantages that the Jew has historically had. Summarizing the advantages listed in chapter 9:

  1. The Oracles of God, i.e. the inscripturated Word of God
  2. Adoption; Israel was the chosen nation of God, though we must be careful here to qualify this and ask “Chosen unto what?”, as we will see later in chapter 9.
  3. The glory; likely a reference to the glory of God that traveled with them out of Egypt and resided in the temple until the Exile of 586 BC.
  4. The covenants; A Reference to the collection of covenants that God established beginning with Abraham, Moses, Aaron, and David (and others).
  5. The giving of the Law; Note here that this is seen as a positive appendage from God; a clear reference to the giving of the Law to Moses at Sinai.
  6. The worship; God had provided Israel with explicit instructions for how He was to be worshipped.
  7. The promises; Likely the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that included Land, Blessing, and Seed
  8. The Patriarchs; Again, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  9. The Christ; Paul here brings his argument to the present with the incarnation of Christ from the Jewish race.

All of this has been written to show the favor of God toward the Jews, but why was this necessary? The Jewish people considered themselves to have exclusive rights to God. We can see this vividly portrayed in the ministry of Jonah to Nineveh, but more recently in the book of Acts. From Pentecost, to the stoning of Stephen, and the vision given to Peter concerning Cornelius, we see the tension building between Jews and Christian Jews/Christian Gentiles. Much of the strife that the Apostles faced in establishing the Church built on the cornerstone of Christ was from the Jews. They persecuted them fiercely. While we may rejoice over such passages as Acts 11:18, the majority of the Jews were not rejoicing that salvation had come to the Gentiles. In fact, the promulgation of the Gospel by the disciples led to their martyrdom at the hand of their own people, just as their Master, Jesus Christ.

Given then the inclusion of Gentiles into God’s plan of salvation combined with what Paul had just written in chapter 8, it would give the appearance that God had abandoned the Jews in favor of the Gentiles, that all He had promised them was worthless, and that He had failed to be faithful to His promises. This is why Paul goes to such great lengths in enumerating the advantages that the Jews had to show that they were not worthless, but had value in pointing toward Christ.

The argument then that Paul is anticipating to begin chapter 9 of Romans is that election was for national Israel and if it is to include the Gentiles, then God has been unfaithful to His word. This objection argues that on the basis of nationality, Israel is the chosen nation/people/race of God and that God does not elect individuals unto salvation. Tangentially, this belief is not limited to the doctrine of election, but shapes many people’s understanding of Israel today and has led to such errant beliefs as Zionism, Dispensationalism, and the assumption that the secular, atheistic state of Israel today remains God’s “chosen people.” You can see then how unconditional election is intimately related to an understanding of the New Covenant promises and people of God, which we were examining from Dr. Sam Waldron’s brief but helpful book A Reformed Baptist Manifesto. This nationalistic objection is the one that Paul anticipates at the beginning of Romans 9 and is felt in the transitional tension of chapter 8 through verse 5 of chapter 9.

To ease this tension and attempt to provide an answer to the doctrine of election that Paul unfolds here, some have assumed that Romans 9 is addressing the national election of Israel and they would use the arguments that Paul sets forth as referring to Israel verses the nation of Edom (Romans 9:13), thus stripping Romans 9 of any notion of election on an individual basis. However, a simple reading of Romans 8 will show that the context is election of individuals who collectively and corporately make up the people of God. This view is generally held by Arminians who deny that God would ever choose anyone unto salvation.

A second attempted answer to this national election dilemma is that God has elected national Israel, but the inclusion of the Gentiles is an entirely separate plan of redemption. Therefore, God has two peoples and two separate and distinct ways of salvation; Elect National Israel under the Old Covenant/Future New Covenant economy and believing Gentiles under a Parenthetical economy. They would argue that all of the advantages that Paul has listed are strictly for the Jews and all lend themselves to Jewish salvation. Upon Christ’s arrival and subsequent rejection by the Jews, God turned His plan of redemption temporarily to the Gentiles, who were a Plan B. There were then those who were saved in the Old Testament under Plan A, which has since been paused while Plan B has commenced and salvation of Gentiles under an entirely different plan, namely Christ, has begun. This explanation is the one given by Historic Dispensationalists such as Scofield and the Two-way of salvation dispensationalists.[1]

Introduction of this tension that Paul feels at the beginning of chapter 9 will go a long way towards helping us understand the objections that are answered concerning election in the remaining verses. Paul will unravel this tension in his response to the first implicit objection found in verse 6, namely that God’s Word has failed. Lord willing we’ll examine that in a subsequent post.

[1] Those these sentiments can be seen and deduced in more modern works by Charles Ryrie, largely dispensationalism today has rejected this two-way of salvation scheme.

Foreknowledge, Predestination, and Election: A Divine Distinction

 

Continuing on with our look at the “U” from the T.U.L.I.P. commonly associated with Calvinism, we have already looked at a general introduction to the doctrine of unconditional election and have pointed out that the Scripture uses different words to convey the idea of election, i.e., elected, chosen, predestined, foreknowledge, before the foundation of the world. We must now pause and examine how a few of these words actually have a nuanced distinction that is helpful for understanding better the doctrine of election.

First is foreknowledge. Foreknowledge is often confused and taken to mean simply knowledge beforehand, i.e. that God knows some information or facts beforehand (Acts 26:5; 2 Peter 3:17). As it is applied to election, the Arminian argument takes foreknowledge to mean that God sees a person’s faith beforehand, via foreknowledge, and elects them on the basis of their foreseen faith. Simply stated, God’s foreknowledge is of a person’s faith before it is exercised in time and space. But that is not what foreknowledge means in the context of divine election. God’s knowledge of events beforehand falls within His omniscience, so in one sense He certainly does have “foreknowledge” or knowledge beforehand that events will happen, but this is because He has ordained them to happen. He does not look down a narrow corridor of time to see what events will take place, He foreordains those events. This is the sovereignty of God.

Therefore, we can begin to see how the Arminian view assumes that God is limited both in His sovereignty and on the basis of a timescale, like we are, as though some new information regarding a person’s future faith had at one time occurred to God. But God transcends time and is not limited in His knowledge to specific time-based events. The thought never occurred to God that a person would believe, He has always known that. He is the Alpha and Omega, determining the beginning from the end.

To see foreknowledge in context, let’s look briefly at Romans 8:29 and 1 Peter 1:1-2;20.

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29

Remember that the Arminian argument from above stated that God’s foreknowledge was of a person’s faith, that He sees the future and knows whether or not a person will exercise faith in Him and then “elects” them on that basis. Here, however, God’s foreknowledge is not in any way related to a person’s faith, but is instead intimately related to a person, “whom” He foreknew. The idea being conveyed here is not of general knowledge of facts, but a relational knowledge. The following verses are helpful uses of this intimate, relational knowledge:

  • Genesis 4:1 “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”
  • Genesis 18:19 “For I have chosen [known] him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
  • Exodus 33:12 “Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’”
  • Deuteronomy 7:6-8 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
  • Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
  • Hosea 13:4-5 “But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought”
  • Amos 3:2 “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
  • John 10:27-28 “27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
  • Galatians 4:9 “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?”

Note the contrasts here:

  • Matthew 7:23 “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
  • Romans 11:1-2 “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?”

To put this in terms of a human example (that will certainly collapse at some point in the analogy), my wife and I are expecting a baby boy. My knowledge of this fact is not simply general in knowing that this son will come, but it is an intimate knowledge. I am his father, I named him, I have seen him before he has been born and I love him; he is my son…now…even before his first breath. This is the idea that God conveys to Jeremiah in Jer. 1:5. Though our friends may also be expecting a child, my knowledge of the birth of that baby is not the same as the knowledge of my own. In a similar, yet divine and infinite way, God has intimate eternal knowledge, which the Bible calls foreknowledge (or fore-love) of His own children. John Murray helpfully defines the use of foreknowledge from the Romans 8 passage as, “It means ‘whom he set regard upon’ or ‘whom he knew from eternity with distinguishing affection and delight’ and it is virtually equivalent to ‘whom he foreloved’”[1]

The second example, from 1 Peter 1:1-2; 20, shows how the Apostle Peter uses the word foreknowledge in relation to the elect exiles and then in terms of Christ (vs. 20) who was foreknown before the foundation of the world. Does that foreknowledge mean that God looked down the corridor of time and saw Christ’s faith and elected Him? Certainly not, that would be nonsensical. It has more to do with Isaiah 42:1

1To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you” 1 Peter 1:1,2; 20

Next is the word predestined or predestination. Strong’s defines the Greek word for predestined as 1. To predetermine, decide beforehand 2. In the NT of God decreeing from eternity 3. To foreordain, appoint beforehand. We can see the distinction between foreknowledge and predestination from the Romans 8:29 passage above, but their action is linked together. In this context, they do not mean the same thing, but refer to essentially the same event. While foreknowledge refers to an intimate personal relationship, predestined refers to the ordained plan of God for that individual person. Note the passage from Romans 8:29 again, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” Here predestination is conformity to the image of Christ. Foreknowledge is the cause, predestination is the plan to bring about the effect of conformity to Christ.

Does predestination to the conformity of Christ happen for everyone? No, only to whom God has foreknown. Notice the order of events in the golden chain of redemption that unfold in the verse that follows: 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:30 In some sense, foreknowledge must precede predestination, which was followed by the outward calling of the Spirit, the justification by Christ, and the certain glorification that will come in eternity with Christ. The predetermined plan of God unfolded in the calling, justification, and glorification of saints whom He foreknew.

A further example may be seen in the Apostle Paul’s use of predestined in the following passage from the epistle to Ephesians:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

Finally, a third use of predestined, this time in relationship to the crucifixion of Christ on the cross, 27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” Acts 4:27-28

That God unfolds His plan on the basis of predetermination or predestination is simply undeniable, as seen in several passages listed below. Therefore, that God saves on the basis of predestination should not be a surprise, as it is consistent with His character, how He fulfills His own prophecies, and how He brings His plan of redemption to fruition.

  • Isaiah 46:9-11 ff
  • Psalm 33:11
  • Isaiah 25:1
  • Isaiah 14:27
  • Daniel 4:35
  • Job 42:2
  • Is. 53:10
  • Eph. 1:11 (The source of predestination – the counsel of God’s Will)
  • 1 Cor. 2:7

Lastly, we arrive at election proper having already devoted much space to the similar concept of foreknowledge and predestination. Election simply refers to God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation.  It is more closely related to the Bible’s use of chosen, than are the other two terms and this is where the heart of the objection lies. While the argument laid out for the understanding of foreknowledge may receive some push back, and the definition of predestination perhaps less so, the opposition is no doubt most concentrated on the meaning of election. Election or references to the elect is actually much more commonly used than the other two terms and many times it even seems that its meaning is already understood, especially by the recipients of Paul’s epistles. The uses are below:

  • Matthew 24:22 “And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”
  • Matthew 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”
  • Matthew 24:31 “And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
  • Mark 13:20 “And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.”
  • Mark 13:22 “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.”
  • Mark 13:27 “And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”
  • Luke 18:7 “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?”
  • Romans 8:33 “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”
  • Romans 9:11 “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—“
  • Romans 11:7 “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,”
  • Romans 11:28 “As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.”
  • 1 Timothy 5:21 “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:10 “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
  • Titus 1:1 “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness,”
  • 1 Peter 1:1 “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,”
  • 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
  • 2 Peter 1:10 “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
  • 2 John 1:1 “The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth,”
  • 2 John 1:13 “The children of your elect sister greet you.”

The relationship between foreknowledge, predestination, and election is one of similarity, but also distinction. Understanding the terms that the Bible uses in the context that it uses them will go a long way towards untangling any webs of confusion that may develop when attempting to understand God’s sovereign, divine election.

Next, Lord willing, will begin looking at some common objections.

[1] John Murray Romans vol. 1 pg. 317

Predestination and the Free Offer

I read this on the Pyromaniacs blog and since I often include posts from Charles Spurgeon, I thought I would include this one.  It’s an excerpt from a sermon entitled “High Doctrine and Broad Doctrine” available HERE with most all of Spurgeon’s sermons/works.  I don’t know if I’ve ever read/heard a better explanation of the sovereign grace of God and the necessity of man to except the free offer.  If you struggle with reconciling these two views, then read below to better understand their relationship and how they are complementary. Sola Gratia!

 

By Charles H. Spurgeon 

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”—John 6:37.

These two sentences have been looked upon as representing two sides of Christian doctrine. They enable us to see it from two stand-points—the Godward and the manward.

The first sentence contains what some call high doctrine. If by “high” they mean “glorious towards God,” I fully agree with them; for it is a grand, God-honoring truth which our Lord Jesus declares in these words,—”All that the Father giveth, me shall come to me.” Some have styled this side of truth Calvinistic, but while it is true that Calvin taught it, so also did Augustine, and Paul, and our Lord himself, whose words these are. However, I will not quarrel with those who see in this sentence a statement of the great truth of predestinating grace.

The second sentence sets forth blessed, encouraging, evangelical doctrine, and is in effect a promise and an invitation,—”Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” This is a statement without limitation of any kind: it has been thought to leave the free grace of God open to the free will of man, so that whosoever pleases may come and may be sure that he still not be refused.

We have no permission to pare down either sentence, nor is there the slightest need to do so. The first sentence appears to me to say that God has chosen a people, and has given these people to Christ, and these people must and shall come to Christ, and so shall be saved. The second truth declares that every man who comes to Christ shall be saved, since he shall not be cast out, and that implies that he shall be received and accepted.

These are two great truths; let us carry them both with us, and they will balance each other. I was once asked to reconcile these two statements, and I answered, “No, I never reconcile friends.” These two passages never fell out: they are perfectly agreed. It is folly to imagine a difference, and then set about removing it. It is like making a man of straw, and then going out to fight with it.

The grand declaration of the purpose of God that he will save his own is quite consistent with the widest declaration that whosoever will come to Christ shall be saved. The pity is that it ever should be thought to be a difficulty to hold both truths; or that, supposing there is a difficulty, we should have thought it our duty to remove it. Believe me, my dear hearers, the business of removing religious difficulties is the least remunerative labor under heaven.

The truest way is to accept the difficulty wherever you find it in God’s word, and to exercise your faith upon it. It is unreasonable to suppose that faith is to be exempted from trials: all the other graces are exercised, and why should not faith be put to the test? I often feel a joy within my spirit in having to believe what I cannot understand; and sometimes when I have to say to myself, “How can it be?” I find a joy in replying that it is so written, and therefore it must be so.

In spite of all reasoning stands the utterance of God. Our Father speaks, and doubts are silenced: his Spirit writes, and we believe. I feel great pleasure in gliding down the river of revelation, upon a voyage of discovery, and hour by hour obtaining fresh knowledge of divine truth; but where I come to an end of progress, and see my way blocked up by a sublimely awful difficulty, I find equal pleasure in casting anchor under the lee of the obstacle, and waiting till the pilot tells me what next to do.

When we cannot go through a truth, we may be led over it, or round it, and what matters? Our highest benefit comes not of answering riddles, but of obeying commands by the power of love. Suppose we can see no further into the subject—what then? Shall we trouble about that? Must there not be an end of human knowledge somewhere? May we not be perfectly satisfied for God to appoint the boundary of understanding? Let us not therefore run our heads against difficulties of our own invention, and certainly not against those which God has seen fit to leave for us.

Take, then, these two truths, and know that they are equally precious portions of one harmonious whole. Let us not quibble over them, or indulge a foolish favouritism for one and a prejudice against the other; but let us receive both with a candid, large-hearted love of truth, such as children of God should exhibit. We are not called upon to explain, but to accept. Let us believe if we cannot reconcile.

Here are two jewels, let us wear them both. As surely as this Book is true, God has a people whom he has chosen, and whom Christ has redeemed from among men; and these must and shall by sovereign grace be brought in due time to repentance and faith, for not one of them shall ever perish. But yet is it equally true, that whosoever among the sons of men shall come and put his trust in Christ shall receive eternal life. “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

“None are excluded hence but those
Who do themselves exclude.
Welcome the learned and polite,
The ignorant and rude.”

The two truths of my text are by no means inconsistent the one with the other: they are perfectly agreed. Happy is the man who can believe them both, whether he sees their agreement or does not see it.

I was cruising one day in the western Highlands. It had been a splendid day, and the glorious scenery had made our journey like an excursion to Fairy Land; but it came to an end, for darkness and night asserted their primeval sovereignty. Right ahead was a vast headland of the isle of Arran. How it frowned against the evening sky! The mighty rock seemed to overhang the sea. Just at its base was a little bay, and into this we steamed, and there we lay at anchorage all night, safe from every wind that might happen to be seeking out its prey. In that calm loch we seemed to lie in the mountain’s lap while its broad shoulders screened us from the wind.

Now, the first part of my text, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me,” rises like a huge headland high into the heavens. Who shall scale its height? Upon some it seems to frown darkly. But here at the bottom lies the placid, glassy lake of infinite love and mercy: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Steam into it, and be safe under the shadow of the great rock. You will be the better for the mountain-truth as your barque snugly reposes within the glittering waters at its foot; while you may thank God that the text is not all mountain to repel you, you will be grateful that there is enough of it to secure you.