Excerpt of a sermon onby Joseph Irons, preached at the Welsh Chapel, Jewin Crescent, Aldersgate Street on October 27, 1841.
First of all, it must be preaching, that honours all the Persons and perfections of Diety. It must not rob the Father of His sovereignty; it must not rob the Son of His responsibility; it must not rob the Holy Ghost of His efficient ministry. It must not rob either or all of the Persons of the Trinity, nor the divine essence of the Godhead, of absolute sovereignty; but if it be apostolic preaching, it must be just according to the statement I have so often made in your hearing, that “Christ Jesus is of God made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord”—honor the Lord, exalt the Lord. Then wherever the preaching of the everlasting gospel comes up to the apostolic standard, the Father’s ancient settlements of love must form the base, upon which it rests; the Son’s eternal responsibility, undertaking His Church’s cause as her covenant Head, must be the sum and substance of it; and the Spirit’s ministry, in His invincible power and perpetual operation, personally communicated and felt, must always accompany the statement of a precious Christ and His finished work.
‘What!’ say you, ‘is this to be every thing? I thought this was but a very small part of the gospel. What! nothing about duties, nothing about exhortations, nothing about broken hearts or how we are to make them so? nothing about the contingencies that depend upon if we will believe, and if we repent, and, if we will pray, and if we will seek, and if we will be faithful?’ Oh! my hearers, I had so much of them something like five-and-thirty years ago, so much of these awful things in the first stages of my experience, it became such a stench in my nostrils, that I heaved them to the dunghill, and have had nothing more to do with them. It is no part of the gospel. ‘What!’ say you, ‘repenting and believing and praying no part of the gospel?’ No, not contingently. They are, indeed, as effects and fruits, as things that follow as a necessary part of the Holy Spirit’s work; for it is He that gives repentance, and renders it acceptable, and calls it into exercise,—and it is He that gives faith, and He that breathes prayer. But let me remark, that if any or all of these things are preached as conditions, as contingencies, all the Persons of Diety are robbed—all the Persons of Diety are insulted. If my love to God is made a condition, a criterion, a contingency, I shall never have any, never exercise any, and God will be disappointed and cannot save me; but if my love to God is an emanation, a spark of the flame of His own, which He first sheds abroad in my heart, then it is sure and safe in His hands. So also if any thing depends upon my obedience to the law, if any thing depends upon any merit to be found in me, or even any effort to get the salvation that is already procured and safe in Christ Jesus—if any thing depends upon me in a meritorious sense, then I am finally and entirely lost, and the Father cannot have the object of His love, the Saviour cannot “see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied,” nor the Holy Ghost have the pupil He began to teach. But we cannot, we will not rob the Persons of Diety; by preaching apostolically, we will preach that the love is all with the Father, the blood all flowing from the Son, and the power and efficiency entirely of the Holy Ghost. All the power and action, all the enjoyment in doctrine, in attainments, in growth, in usefulness and Christian character, in fellowship with the followers of the Lamb—all flow down from the Lord, are poured forth from the bosom of eternal love, glide down with the waves of atoning blood, and are borne upon the gale of invincible grace. So that we honour all the Persons and perfections of Diety in every doctrine we state.