‘He took the blind man by the hand …; when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, … and he … saw every man clearly.’ Mark 8:23–25
Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 5:11–14
Be not satisfied, my dear friends, with being saved; desire to know how you are saved, why you are saved, the method by which you are saved. It is a rock on which you stand, I know, but think upon the questions—how you were put upon that rock, by whose love you came there, and why that love was set on you. I would to God that all the members of this church were not only in Christ Jesus, but understood him, and knew by the assurance of the understanding whereunto they have attained. Recollect there are many grave distinctions in Scripture which will save you a world of trouble if you will know and remember them. Try to understand the difference between the old nature and the new. Never expect the old nature to improve into the new, for it never will. The old nature can never do anything but sin, and the new nature never can sin. These are two distinct principles; never confound them. Do not see men as trees walking. Do not confuse sanctification and justification. Recollect that the moment you trust in Christ you are justified as completely as you will be in heaven, but sanctification is a gradual work, which is carried on from day to day by God the Holy Spirit. Distinguish between the great truth that salvation is all of God, and the great lie that men are not to be blamed if they are lost. Be well assured that salvation is of the Lord, but do not lay damnation at God’s door. Be not ashamed if men call you a Calvinist, but hate with all your heart Antinomianism. On the other hand, while you believe human responsibility, never run into the error that man ever turns to God of his own free will. There is a narrow line between the two errors; ask for grace to see it.
Sermon no. 701
22 July (1866)