Mar 30, 2009

Webster on Gill's Hyperism

The following are some citations from the book from C. Webster - The Nature and Instrument of Regeneration published in 1843. They concern Dr. Gill's supposed denial of means in regeneration. I think they are worth recording here in the Gadfly together with a link at the end with my own analysis of the Dr's. remarks.

See here

"The design and purpose of this change is to repair the loss which man sustained by the fall." The opinion of Dr. Gill, that the image of God, which is stamped upon the soul in regeneration, is not the image of the first Adam, is to be rejected. He seems to look upon regeneration as the creation of a new being, or at least as the creation of something in man essentially different from his nature in a state of innocence. He calls it the image of Christ, in opposition to the image which Adam possessed prior to the fall. Hence, he infers an impropriety, in the use of means by the Spirit, in its production. But the image of the first Adam was in all its moral lineaments the image of Christ. For "God made man in his own image;" and this is the same image which is restored." (pg. 70, 71)

"It is believed this peculiar view of the Dr. (Gill) lies at the bottom of his doubts respecting the instrumentality of the word in regeneration; and also his denial of that glorious doctrine of the scriptures, that the gospel is addressed indiscriminately to lost sinners of mankind; and is both the call and command of God to all who hear it, requiring faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only means of their deliverance from sin and wrath. "This is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son, Jesus Christ." 1 John iii. 23. (pg. 72)

"It is objected that Dr. Gill, the celebrated commentator, denied the doctrine of the instrumentality of the word in regeneration. To this it may be replied that Dr. Gill is to be regarded rather as speaking hesitatingly than as peremptorily denying the doctrine. His words are,—"The instrumental cause of regeneration, if it may be so called, are the word of God and the ministers of it. Yet this instrumentality of the word in regeneration seems not so agreeable to the principle of grace implanted in the soul in regeneration, and to be understood in respect to that; since that is done by immediate infusion, and is represented as a creation Wherefore, [the instrumentality of the word] is rather to be understood of the exertion of the principle of grace, and the drawing it forth into act and exercise...Though, after all, it seems plain that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men, which is done when the word comes not in word only, but in power and in the Holy Ghost." On this passage of Dr. Gill, it may be remarked, —1. "The word is the vehicle," &c. How the word can be the vehicle and not be the instrument, or rather not be employed as the objector has asserted, may be safely left to the solution of those profound metaphysicians, who can so easily tell how the word operates in regeneration.—2. The Dr.'s peculiar and erroneous views respecting the gospel call, which he restricted to "sensible sinners," would naturally lead him to speak in the above hesitating manner. For if the gospel offer be not made to dead sinners, it cannot, of course, be the means of their regeneration. 3. The Dr. was evidently philosophising when he penned the above paragraph. For in his Commentary, we find the following language—"The word of truth is made use of as a means of begetting souls again." " The gospel is the word of truth, and by this souls are begotten and born again." The authority of Dr. Gill, then, is, indeed, a slender foundation on which to rest a denial of the instrumentality of the word in regeneration."

I have previously said similar things about John Gill's citations about his theorizing that regeneration were apart from means. Webster's remarks are similar to mine and I was surprised to find someone who had said the same things. See my writing

No comments: