November 12, 2014

Nathanael Ball (1623–1689) on Pleading, not Merely Publishing

To be Pleaders with you about it. The Lord gives us leave to be exceeding earnest with you about the matters of your souls, to stir you up by all the Ways and by all the Arguments that possibly we can, to look after this Freedom. He requires that we should lay out the very strength of our spirits in this Work; that we should deal with you as for our lives, and as for the saving of our own souls. He would have us study what to say to you, and to pray much to God, that he would fill our mouths with Arguments when we come to speak to you; and that he would help us, that we may not be willing to let you alone in your trifling careless delays; but to urge upon you the necessity of this Freedom, and the danger of missing of it, and the benefit that you will reap by it. Ministers should not only be Publishers, but they should be Pleaders, yea, Beseechers of their hearers in this matter: We pray you in Christ's stead (saith the Apostle) be ye reconciled to God, 2 Cor. 5:20.
Nathanael Ball, Spiritual Bondage and Freedom (London: Printed for Jonathan Robinson, at the Golden Lion in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1683), 56–57.

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Credit to Travis Fentiman for bringing Nathanael Ball to my attention.

Similarly, B. H. Carroll said:
This scripture [Ezek. 33:11] teaches that those commissioned to publish the good tidings of salvation to men are exhorted by the Spirit of God to pray as they publish. They are not to be dumb placards on the wall; they are not to be cold advertisements in a paper; they are not be mere abstract announcements, but that publication shall be loving, sympathetic, earnest, accompanied by their prayers that God will lead the men to salvation whom he thus invites through the gospel.
[Note: Observe today how some preachers and apologists merely declare facts or abstract propositions in their evangelistic endeavors. They do not plead with men to lay hold of the freedom available in Christ. John J. Murray (in his preface to Silversides' book on The Free Offer) observes of our day that "although the gospel offer has not been consciously denied, the wooing note of former times has been lacking." We need to be watchful against this subtle coldness of heart and spirit of the hyper-Calvinist error.]

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