Saving Grace Sovereign Grace

Samuel Pike

Originally Printed In 1758

Posted On June 20, 2021

Saving Grace – Sovereign Grace: Set Forth in Two Sermons Preached at the Merchant’s Hall By SAMUEL PIKE. “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:15-16.

Interestingly, these two sermons served, {as it were,} as a catalyst to exclude Mr. Pike from the Lectureship at Pinners’ Hall, a short summary of which is set forth in Wilson’s, History of Dissenting Churches, Volume II, 1808, from which we extract the following: “About this time, {September, 1758,} a rumor was spread abroad, that Mr. Pike had departed from the faith; and it was strengthened by some discreditable reports, which, however, were absolute falsehoods. Some sermons he delivered in his turn at the Pinners’ Hall Lecture, during the course of this year, gave great offence. Two of these, entitled, “Saving Grace, Sovereign Grace,” he published. But they were far from adding to his reputation in the eyes of his brethren; and, in short, the tide ran so high against him, that, ultimately, he was excluded from the lecture. This hasty step confirmed the popular odium against him, and very probably laid the foundation of much of the uneasiness he afterwards experienced, &c., the character of Mr. Pike, after his exclusion from the Pinners’ Hall Lecture, sunk considerably in the estimation of the religious world; but this is not at all surprising, when we consider the influence of prejudice, and how much it predominates over the minds of those whom we would charitably hope to be good men. Though a man of learning and piety, and a considerable biblical scholar, yet the fact of his yielding to the powerful reasoning of Sandeman, was sufficient to fix upon him the stigma of heresy, and exclude him from the society of his former friends and acquaintance, &c., from the opposition he experienced, a stranger would readily imagine that nothing less than some dreadful charge of heresy, or immorality, had been brought against him. But no such thing appears; nor, indeed, any direct or private accusation whatever. This he accounts for in the following way: ‘The reason why they have not specified any article against me is, because they are conscious I should give a direct denial to it. They have, indeed, asserted abroad, that I deny the work of the Spirit, the saints’ perseverance, and all Christian experience; these are all the charges that have come to my ears, which have any relation to the doctrines of the lecture, and all are utterly false.’ His soundness in the doctrines of the gospel he established, in the following confession of his faith: ‘I am fully persuaded {says he} of the doctrines of the ever blessed Trinity, the true divinity and humanity in the person of Christ; the perfection and vicariousness of his righteousness and atonement, as a substitute for sinners; the doctrines of particular election, and particular redemption; of original sin imputed, and the universal corruption of human nature; the entire necessity, the absolute sovereignty, and uncontrollable efficacy of the Holy Spirit’s work in the conversion of a sinner; together with the doctrine of the saint’s perseverance.’ — If these sentiments are not sufficient to screen a man from the charge of heresy, it is not easy to say what will? Mr. Pike, doubtless, had his failings, but they were not such as to tarnish the lustre of his character, either as a theologian, a philosopher, or a Christian.”

Excerpt: That saving Grace is sovereign Grace may be made to appear from the analogy of Faith. A phrase used by the Apostle, Romans 12:6, translated, the “proportion of faith,” by which I perceive that he meant something like what I now intend by it; namely, that central or fundamental Truth of the Gospel; by and according to which all our Doctrines and Exhortations ought to be regulated, in dispensing the Gospel; that Truth from whence all the lines of Gospel doctrine are extracted and in which they terminate and center, namely, that Jesus is the Christ, the only and perfect Saviour of sinners as such; the only and sure Foundation of faith and hope towards God. This is the maxim of the Gospel, that there is Salvation in no other, and that in him all fullness dwells, and that in him alone God is well pleased. This is the Truth which every real Christian is persuaded of; for the explaining, illustrating and improving of which the whole Bible seems chiefly to be written. Now if we understand this Truth clearly, we shall easily perceive from it, the sovereignty of Grace in the affair of Salvation; for if Jesus Christ be the only Saviour, then the sinner himself cannot be supposed to be his own saviour in any degree. Is Christ the perfect Saviour? Then the whole of a sinner’s Salvation is comprised in his Purchase and Fullness. Oh my brethren, this is the grand fundamental Truth of the Gospel; and it is its peculiar glory. Now, can a person clearly believe this, and yet imagine, that anything found in him, or done by him, contributes towards his Salvation from wrath or towards his title to eternal glory? Surely, he that apprehends and believes this truth, must look upon his entire Hope and Salvation to be contained in Christ alone. From whence it follows that his Salvation is of absolutely Free Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Here is no room left for requisites, conditions or qualifications on the sinner’s part; and if so, nothing else but free and sovereign Grace must take place. If we then look upon the whole of Salvation as purchased by Christ, for sinners, for sinners as such, and even for the worst of sinners, we must naturally infer from hence, that the Grace which saves must be sovereign. But if we allow that there is anything in the creature’s will or power that gives the turning point, we practically deny that Christ is the only and perfect Saviour of sinners. But it is evident, that persons are justified freely by God’s Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:24.