Feb 17, 2009

Dr. Watson on the Dry Bones

Dr. John M. Watson wrote:

"What said the prophet? "O ye dry bones, hear ye the word of the Lord." I would just state here, at once, that I have no idea that sinners, dead in tresspasses and sins, will ever believe through the exhortations of the Lord's ministers, any more than that the dry bones would have lived through the prophesying of the prophet, apart from what the Lord did for them. But that fact does not nullify the commission to preach to them, but on the contrary greatly strengthens it. The divine assurance that God's word will prosper in the thing whereunto He hath sent it, affords great encouragement to preach to sinners. If it be said by the objector that they are deaf and cannot hear it, faith replies God can open their ears; if said they are dead, faith again says God will give them life; and thus faith can meet all the objections which can be urged against preaching to the very chief of sinners, and at the same time exclude that Arminianism which some affect to see in a course of this kind. Where is the Arminianism, I would ask, in doing what the Lord has expressly commanded us to do? unless, however, it be by doing these things without faith. It seems to me that two very opposite errors may be indicated here:

1. The Arminian takes the means out of the hands of God, in toto, or in part, and uses them according to His own strength, and they then degenerate into Arminian powers.

2. The Antinomian will not regard any thing in the light of means, and in his doctrine will not allow even the Lord to employ them, says that the Lord is not dependent on means, and can do all His work without them. Now, the truth is, had it been the will or the way of the Lord, He could have breathed upon the dry bones as well without the prophesying of the prophet as with it, and could have given repentance to John's converts, or to Paul's, without their preaching; but their preaching to such, even to those dead in tresspasses and sins, had been included in the divine plan, and it needs must be done, let it be termed means, the will or way of the Lord, as you please."
("Old Baptist Test," pages 327, 328)

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