A lack of depth in the inner life accounts for most of the doctrinal error in the church. Sound conviction of sin, deep humiliation on account of it, and a sense of utter weakness and unworthiness naturally conduct the mind to the belief of the doctrines of grace, while shallowness in these matters leaves a man content with a superficial creed. Those teachings which are commonly called Calvinistic doctrines are usually most beloved and best received by those who have had much conflict of soul, and so have learned the strength of corruption and the necessity of grace.
Note, also, that Paul in this chapter has been treating of the sufferings of this present time; and though by faith he speaks of them as very inconsiderable compared with the glory to be revealed, yet we know that they were not inconsiderable in his case. He was a man of many trials; he went from one tribulation to another for Christ’s sake; he swam through many seas of affliction to serve the church. I do not wonder, therefore, that in his epistles he often discourses upon the doctrines of foreknowledge, and predestination, and eternal love, because these are a rich cordial for a fainting spirit. To be cheered under many things, which otherwise would depress him, the believer may betake himself to the matchless mysteries of the grace of God, which are wines on the lees well refined. Sustained by distinguishing grace, a man learns to glory in tribulations also; and strengthened by electing love, he defies the hatred of the world and the trials of life. Suffering is the college of orthodoxy. Many a Jonah, who now rejects the doctrines of the grace of God, only needs to be put into the whale’s belly and he will cry out with the soundest free-grace man, “Salvation is of the Lord.” Prosperous professors, who do no business amid David’s billows and waterspouts, may set small store by the blessed anchorage of eternal purpose and everlasting love but those who are “tossed with tempest, and not comforted, are of another mind.” Let these few sentences suffice for a preface. I utter them not in the spirit of controversy, but the reverse.
GLORIOUS PREDESTINATION. NO. 1043 A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD’S DAY MORNING, MARCH 24TH, 1872, BY C. H. SPURGEON,