August 4, 2017

Remaining Quotes by Asahel Nettleton (1783–1844) on the Free Offer and the Death of Christ

1) The Free Offer
5. Death puts a period to our probation. This world is not our home. The great errand on which we were sent into the world, is, that we may prepare for eternity. It is now the season of trial—the most important period of our being. Every act of ours will have some influence on us through interminable ages. To every soul God has assigned a great and important work. All things are now preparing for the day when God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing. The gates of heaven are now flung wide open to every sinner. Heaven with all its glories, is brought within his reach. At this critical moment, the world is presenting all its charms. The path to hell is broad, and easy, and of rapid descent. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, and all the fascinating pleasures of sin, are now exerting their united influence to try this immortal soul, whether it will yield and go to hell, or whether it will resist, deny itself, and take up every cross, despising the shame. Every hour, and every moment is big with consequences. The season of trial is short. It is to be enjoyed but once. Eternity comes hastening on. Every sinner is now on trial once for all. He is now invited by all the love and compassion of a bleeding Saviour, and urged by all the horrors of the second death, to enter the ark of safety. He is now called upon to strive—to agonize to enter the strait gate. But death closes the scene forever. At midnight the cry is made, “behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.” Then those that are ready enter heaven, and the door is shut. To the impenitent, death closes the door of heaven, and closes it forever. The voice of the Saviour, and the sound of the gospel will be heard no more. Ministers will preach no more. No more will they warn every man night and day with tears. No Sabbath will again dawn upon the sinner. The doors of the sanctuary will never again be opened to him, and a voice from the mercy-seat inviting him to enter, will be heard no more.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon XIII: Death,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 178–179. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 2: The Contemplation of Death (Deuteronomy 32:29),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 13–14. There are some minor discrepancies between the 1995 version and the 1854 edition.
6. Is it because salvation is not freely offered. The invitation is, “Ho everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; buy wine and milk without money and without price.” “The Spirit and the bride say come; and let him that heareth, say come; and let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” “Come for all things are now ready.” Salvation is now freely offered, and always has been; and you may rest assured, that it will never be offered more freely.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon VIII: Indecision in Religion,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 121. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 3: Indecision in Religion (I Kings 18:21),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 20. There is a discrepancy. In this edition, before the Isa. 55:1 quotation, it is introduced by the sentence, “Salvation is freely offered.” The last sentence in this version says, “And you are invited, entreated, nay, commanded to accept. This always has been the case; salvation always has been freely offered to you.”
The Spirit strives with men, not merely to show them their guilt and danger; but to show them their need of a Saviour, and to incline them to come to Christ. When they see their need of Christ, they are unwilling to come to him. “Ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Now the Spirit comes to draw reluctant hearts. If it were not for this awful reluctance of the sinner to come to Christ, this drawing would not be necessary.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon XXXVI: God’s spirit will not always strive,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 360. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 52: God’s Spirit Will Not Always Strive (Genesis 6:3),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 440.
3. The sinner is invited to Christ for life. “I am come,” said Christ, “that they might have life.” “He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” Sinners are invited to Christ that they may receive life. And Christ says, “ye will not come unto me that ye might have life!” Now it is clear, that none but those who are under sentence of death, and are destitute of spiritual life, are invited to Christ for life. The offer of life, is proof positive that all to whom the offer is made, are lost. The gospel offer, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely,” is made to those, and those only who are spiritually dead.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon XXXVII: Salvation for the Lost,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 367. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 53: Salvation for the Lost (Luke 19:10),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 447.

2) The Atonement
Though salvation is freely offered to every sinner who hears the gospel, yet such is the depravity of the human heart, that not a single son or daughter of Adam will accept. Left to themselves, all will go to destruction, notwithstanding the atonement and the free offer of salvation. What then shall be done? Shall the Saviour’s death be in vain? Here the covenant of redemption comes in as the only ground of hope. It is through this covenant, that any one ever was, or ever will be saved.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon V: Perseverance of the Saints,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 73. This entire portion is strangely missing or omitted in the 1995 edition (see “Sermon 25: The Perseverance of the Saints [Philippians 1:6],” p. 193), which alleges to be “Taken from the original handwritten manuscripts of the Rev. Asahel Nettleton” (Title page). William C. Nichols, of International Outreach, Inc., says the “first 29 chapters [which this section is included in] have been taken word for word from Nettleton’s handwritten manuscripts.” Apparently the “Hartford Seminary [in Hartford, Connecticut] manuscripts...are fragile, faint, torn, and difficult to read and handle.” One wonders if perhaps this is the reason for this omission. It would be worth investigating the original. This discrepancy or deletion can’t be due to “illegible handwriting” since a “hole in the manuscript” since there is no footnote indicating such, as Nichols says would be the case (ibid., i.). In 1995, as indicated in Nichols’s preface, Mr. Tom Newman (director of the Hartford Seminary Library) and Mrs. Carolyn Sperl (head of Reference and Interlibrary Loans at the Seminary) assisted Nichols as the time.
But this is not all. Think of his love—his boundless compassion for sinners. Think of your vileness—the number and aggravation of your sins; and yet the Saviour has laid down his life for you. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son”—And what returns have you made for this unspeakable gift? You have been ashamed of him. Were you justly condemned to die by the laws of the state; and at the awful crisis, should some kind friend step forward and offer to die in your stead; and with his dying breath, request an affectionate remembrance; would not the bare mention of his name, bring tears into your eyes? But what has the Saviour done? Groaned and died under the weight of all your sins, to deliver you not from the momentary pangs of death; but from the fire that shall never be quenched. And what returns have you made? You have been ashamed of him. “Scarcely for a righteous man will one die.” “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” How ungrateful to be ashamed of Christ!
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 31: The Sin and Consequences of Being Ashamed of Christ (Luke 9:26), in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 269. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon III: The Sin and Consequences of Being Ashamed of Christ,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 47. Christ’s “love” and “boundless compassion for sinners” includes his “laying down his life” for all the lost Nettleton is addressing. He quotes John 3:16 to support that idea, and indiscriminately tells the lost in his audience that the Savior “groanded and died under the weight of all their sins” to deliver them from “the fire that shall not be quenched,” or for their eternal salvation, not merely temporal sufferings.
Bring this subject, my hearers, home to your hearts. How do you feel when you know that others are ashamed of you? Suppose one of your companions should be ashamed to own an acquaintance with you—should blush and hide his face at the bare mention of your name—should flee at your approach—and should bolt and bar his door lest he should be disgraced by your society. To be treated thus by your equal would be trying. To be treated thus by your best friend, would be heart rending. But this is nothing. Christ the friend of sinners, who groaned and died on the cross to save you, will be ashamed of you. O, to have Christ ashamed of you! Let all your friends—Let all the world be ashamed of you—Let them cast out your name as evil—Let them point and hoot at you as you pass along the streets; still it is nothing to the punishment that is coming upon you, if you are now ashamed of Christ. If Christ were your friend, this might be easily borne. It would be nothing. You might even esteem “the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of” this world. But to have Christ ashamed of you—who can bear it?
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon III: The Sin and Consequences of Being Ashamed of Christ,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 49. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 31: The Sin and Consequences of Being Ashamed of Christ (Luke 9:26), in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 271. There is a slight discrepancy in this version. Instead of “best friend,” it has “your equal.” In the context, clearly Nettleton is talking to unbelievers who are ashamed of Christ, and will have “punishment coming upon” them.
Let me appeal to the experience of impenitent sinners. Do you love to pray? Do you love to meditate and converse on the subject of religion? Why is it that all the motives which are presented to your minds, are insufficient to induce you to comply with the terms of the gospel? Why do you not repent? Do you say, you cannot? Then certainly you are totally depraved. If you had the least love to God, you could not help repenting. Think against who you have sinned. What a heart must that be that can feel no contrition for sin committed against such a glorious being? Think of the love of Christ in dying for your sins, and in offering you salvation without money and without price. Surely if this is not sufficient to melt your hearts, they must be harder than adamant.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 44: Total Depravity (Genesis 6:5),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 397–98. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon XXVIII: Total Depravity,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 317–18. It is clear in the context that Nettleton is addressing the unregenerate, or those who may “venture on in sin in view of these threatenings.”
Hence we find that the Scriptures speak of God’s reconciling the world unto himself—not of his being reconciled to the world, or to their plans of salvation. But the fact that Christ has died, and that a way of salvation has been provided, does not settle the question whether the sinner will be saved. If he is displeased with the plan of salvation, and does not freely subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, instead of being saved, he will fall under an aggravated condemnation.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon XX: Sinners Entreated to be Reconciled to God,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 252. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 39: Sinners Entreated to be Reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 359.
That God should give his Son to die for this rebellious world—that Christ should consent to assume our nature, and suffer in out stead—and that salvation should be freely offered to the children of men, in an exhibition of astonishing mercy. And that all with one consent, should begin to make excuse, and refuse to accept of offered mercy, is proof of astonishing depravity. We should naturally expect that God would do no more for such ungrateful creatures. But he has given us his Holy Spirit to strive with them. This may properly be styled God’s last effort with sinners.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 52: God’s Spirit Will Not Always Strive (Genesis 6:3),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 439. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon XXXVI: God’s spirit will not always strive,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 359. It is clear in the context that Nettleton is addressing lost sinners, and telling them God gave his Son to die for them, or for “all” who “with one consent, should begin to make excuse, and refuse to accept of offered mercy,” due to their “astonishing depravity.”
Your sins have been committed against Christ who died for sinners—and is it hard that you should be required to feel sorrow for sins which have contributed to nail the Saviour to the cross? What a heart must that be which does not melt in view of a Saviour’s dying love?
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon XXXV: The Nature and Reasonableness of Evangelical Repentance,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 356. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 51: The Nature and Reasonableness of Evangelical Repentance (Acts 17:30),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 436. Nettleton is obviously speaking to unbelievers in the context, and including all of them in the class of “sinners” for whom Christ died. That he says their “sins...contributed to nail the Saviour to the cross” bespeaks an unlimited imputation.
We learn from this subject why ministers preach the gospel. Although Christ has come and laid down his life for sinners, they all with one consent refuse to come to him for pardon and eternal life. The business of ministers is to show them their lost condition, and to urge them to come to Christ for life. This is the reason why Paul, and the other apostles preached the gospel to sinners;—and this is the reason why missionaries are sent into all parts of the world to proclaim the gospel.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 53: Salvation for the Lost (Luke 19:10),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 449. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon XXXVIII: Salvation for the Lost,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 369. It is clear in the context that Nettleton is addressing all the lost when he says that the “sinners” for whom Christ came and “laid down his life” are those who “with one consent refuse to come to him for pardon and eternal life.”
II. Why is it [the inefficacy of the means in themselves to convert sinners] so?
Not because the atonement is not sufficient for all men.
Not because salvation is not offered to all
.
But it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, because
Sinners always will wrong, and always run wrong.
Asahel Nettleton, “Plans of Sermons, and Brief Observations on Texts of Scripture: Romans ix:16,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 375–76. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Plans of Sermons, and Brief Observations on Texts of Scripture: Romans 9:16,” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 455–56.
The house of heaven.
I. The door of heaven is opened.
By whom? Rev. iii:7, 8. “These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and no man shutteth,” &c.
How?  By his sufferings and death.
For whom? “Who gave himself a ransom for all.” “Tasted death for every man.” “We thus judge if one died for all.”
II. The door will be shut.
When? At death—when the Spirit ceases to strive.
By whom? By Christ the master of the house.
How long will it be shut?
Forever. He that is holy—holy still. He that is filthy—filthy still.
When the door is shut some will be shut out, and some will be shut in.
If it should now be shut, where should we be found?
Asahel Nettleton, “Plans of Sermons, and Brief Observations on Texts of Scripture: Matthew xiii:25,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 389–90. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Plans of Sermons, and Brief Observations on Texts of Scripture: Matthew 13:25,” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 469–70. Nettleton appears to use 2 Cor. 5:14, 1 Tim. 2:6, and Heb. 2:9 in universal ways, as he includes all who will be eventually shut out within the scope of these texts. The door of heaven is currently opened for them by the death of Christ.

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1 comment:

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