John MacArthur and the Lies of Lordship Salvation – Part 1

In 1988, in an overreaction to the teachings of Zane Hodges, pastor and author, John MacArthur, introduced the world to Lordship Salvation with the publication of his book, “The Gospel According to Jesus”. Dr. MacArthur had already been preaching and teaching the substance of Lordship Salvation for some years prior. Some of his earlier works, like “Complete In Christ”, are testaments to this. But it wasn’t until 1988 that he set out to publish a robust exposition of what he taught concerning gospel assurance and the sanctified life.

His book received immediate criticism. Some pastors and theologians labeled it a return to Rome. Others called it Neonomianism. Either way, most who criticized it would later adopt it as their own view. Only a small minority continues today to resist it. In the face of the once and former initial criticism, Dr. MacArthur followed his book up a few years later with the publication of another. “The Gospel According to the Apostles.” Both books serve as his primary explanation and defense of what others have since termed, “Lordship Salvation.”

What is Lordship Salvation? In a nutshell, Lordship Salvation is a throwback to one of the many Anabaptist heresies which developed during the Reformation. It also does indeed mimic the teachings of that Neonomian heretic, Richard Baxter.  In direct contradiction with Luther and Zwingli, the Anabaptists were teaching people the sinner cannot know for certain he is justified apart from clear evidence of moral improvement. The Reformers asserted by faith alone. The Anabaptists shook their heads and then said, no, by faith and by sight.

To put it another way, Dr. MacArthur counts lack of moral improvement as a dead work. This does not mean he denies a dead work includes any work done in an attempt to establish one’s own righteousness. Rather, it means he adds one’s own lack of moral improvement to the definition of dead works, so that in his view, dead works are any works done in an attempt to establish one’s own righteousness, as well as a failure to show moral improvement in one’s lifestyle. This means that while Dr. MacArthur believes Christ is the object of one’s faith, he also believes Christ is not the object of one’s assurance.  Rather, he believes a man’s moral improvement is the object of a man’s assurance. And before anyone accuses me of making false accusations, I ask them to consider MacArthur’s own words for themselves.

“Behavior is an important test of faith. Obedience is evidence that one’s faith is real (1 John 2:3). On the other hand, the person who remains utterly unwilling to obey Christ does not evidence true faith (1 John 2:4)” – John MacArthur, The Gospel According to the Apostles, pg 25

“Real faith inevitably produces a changed life. Salvation includes a transformation of the inner person. The nature of the Christian is different, new. The unbroken pattern of sin and enmity with God will not continue when a person is born again.”– John MacArthur, The Gospel According to the Apostles, pg 24

“The gospel calls sinners to faith joined in oneness with repentance (Acts 2:38, 17:30; 20:21; 2 Pet 3:9). Repentance is turning from sin (Acts 3:19; Luke 24:47).”– ibid, pg 24

If this is what Dr. MacArthur believes about repentance, then what does he believe about faith and the gospel?

“The gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christ’s authority. That, in a sentence, is what ‘Lordship Salvation’ teaches.” – John MacArthur, The Gospel According to the Apostles, pg 22

“The lordship controversy is a disagreement over the nature of true faith. Those who want to eliminate Christ’s lordship from the gospel see faith as a simple trust in a set of truths about Christ. Faith, as they describe it, is merely a personal appropriation of the promise of eternal life. Scripture describes faith as more than that – it is a wholehearted trust in Christ personally (Gal 2:16; Phil 3:9). Not merely faith about Him; faith in Him. Note the difference: If I say I believe some promise you have made, I am saying far less than if I say I trust you. Believing in a person necessarily involves some degree of commitment. Trusting Christ means placing oneself in His custody for both life and death. It means we rely on His counsel, trust in His goodness, and entrust ourselves for time and eternity to His guardianship. Real faith, saving faith is all of me (mind, emotions, and will) embracing all of Him (Savior, Advocate, Provider, Sustainer, Counselor, and Lord God). – ibid, pg 30

According to Dr. MacArthur, the gospel call involves more than just repenting of your idolatrous view of God and thereby of all your attempts to establish your own righteousness.  Rather, according to MacArthur, it also involves you committing yourself to a promise of behaving better for Jesus. One of MacArthur’s favorite go-to verses is Titus 2:11-12.

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age

God’s grace, says the apostle Paul, trains us to renounce ungodliness. What the apostle does not say is this grace trains us to look to our renouncing of ungodliness for the assurance of our salvation. But looking to our renouncing rather than to the cross is itself ungodliness! Looking to our renouncing is what the grace of God trains us to renounce! MacArthur has flipped this on its head though. And again, lest anyone assert I am making false accusations, consider MacArthur in his own words.

“No-lordship theology utterly ignores the biblical truth that grace instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age. Instead, it portrays grace as a supernatural Get Out of Jail Free ticket – a no-strings-attached, open-ended package of amnesty, beneficence, indulgence, forbearance, charity, leniency, immunity, approval, tolerance, and self-awarded privilege divorced from any moral demands.” – John MacArthur, The Gospel According to the Apostles, pg 56-57

If you have not committed yourself to behaving better for Jesus, says MacArthur, then you do not have real faith; and if you do not have real faith, then you have no basis to think you are really justified, because grace trains us to deny ungodliness. The problem with MacArthur’s premise is the fact he excludes grace from grace. He says no-lordship theology portrays grace as a no-strings-attached, Get Out of Jail Free, open-ended package of amnesty divorced from any moral demands. But that is exactly what grace is! A no-strings-attached, open-ended, Get Out of Jail Free, open-ended package of amnesty divorced from any moral demands!

Romans 4:4-5 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.

A grace which makes demands on us so that we may be assured we have received it is no grace at all. If we are required to deny ungodliness in order to be assured we have received grace, then assurance is not a gift, but rather our due. We will have earned our assurance by looking to our behavior for any signs of improvement. MacArthur conditions assurance upon his efforts to deny ungodliness – an act very ungodly in itself. He does it with boldfaced clarity too, calling the No-Lordship view a no-strings-attached, Get Out of Jail Free, open-ended package of amnesty divorced from any moral demands.

What must I do to be saved, asked the Philippian jailor. MacArthur might answer, you must first believe, but then afterwards, to know for certain you have believed, you must take these moral demands here, you see, and you have got to dedicate yourself to obeying them, and over the course of time you will learn whether your faith is real by staring intently at your navel long enough to notice whether your behavior has improved.

MacArthur claims the gospel calls sinners to faith joined in oneness with repentance. He provides as his proof texts, Acts 2:38, Acts 17:30, Acts 20:21 and 2 Pet 3:9.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent

Acts 20:21 testifying both to Jews and Gentiles of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Which one of these texts say repentance is to be joined in oneness with a transformation of the inner person producing a changed life of obedience? If you say none of them, you would be correct. And yet MacArthur insists that –

“Real faith inevitably produces a changed life (2 Cor 5:17). Salvation includes a transformation of the inner person (Gal 2:20). The nature of the Christian is different, new (Rom 6:6). Behavior is an important test of faith. Obedience is evidence that one’s faith is real (1 John 2:3). On the other hand, the person who remains utterly unwilling to obey Christ does not evidence true faith (1 John 2:4)”– ibid, pg 25

What about repentance? MacArthur argues repentance is turning from sin. His proof texts are Acts 3:19 and Luke 24:47.

Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out

Luke 24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations.

Which one of these texts say repentance is turning from our sins? If you say none of them, you would again be correct. Yet MacArthur asserts that repentance means a turning from sin. MacArthur believes the blotting out of a person’s sins (Acts 3:19) is conditioned upon that person turning from his sins. He also believes the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47) is conditioned upon a person turning from his sins. What must I do to be saved? Answers MacArthur, you must turn from your sins.

“Sanctification is the continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in believers, making us holy by conforming our character, affections, and behavior to the image of Christ. Justification is a one-time event; sanctification is an ongoing process. Justification frees us from the guilt of sin, sanctification from the pollution of sin. As we are seeing, one is as much a necessary part of God’s saving work as the other.”– John MacArthur, The Gospel According to the Apostles, pg 109

The logic in MacArthur’s argument is clear here. MacArthur deduces that because sanctification is a process which works to improve our sinful behavior, therefore a lifestyle of less sinful behavior will prove we have been justified. The problem lies in MacArthur’s definition of sanctification. MacArthur claims sanctification frees us from the pollution of sin. Does it really though? Does the Bible promise us a gradual lessening of sin in our lives? Is this what sanctification means?

Luther made famous the words, “at once righteous and a sinner.” What he meant was that believers are perfect and sinless in God’s sight by virtue of Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to them. Even though they are still very aware they are sinners, they also know they are righteous in God’s sight by virtue of Christ’s righteousness imputed to them. This is not a denial of the law, as MacArthur will later assert.  I do not deny God’s law still has application in the Christian life. The law tells them what sin is, and it reminds them they are indeed sinners. But the law is not then made an opportunity to assure myself that God views me as perfect and sinless. The law tells me what I should do, and not instead what I can do. Good works flow out of thanksgiving to God for having freely and graciously made me perfect and sinless in His sight, rather than from fear I will fail to obtain perfection. If I do not know for certain beforehand that I am established in righteousness by the free and gracious imputation of Christ’s righteousness alone, then anything I do in respect to righteousness is going to be done from a basis of fear with the hope that God will finally one day see me as perfect and sinless. This is the definition of a dead work. It is the only definition of a dead work.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

The imputation of the elect’s sins to Christ and of Christ’s righteousness to the elect means that we who are in Christ are no longer thieves, murderers, adulterers, homosexuals, effeminates, cowards, idolaters, witches, revilers and the like, because we have been made all that He is, and He was made all that we were. MacArthur has no room for this in his theology. He would have us remaining unrighteous until we have ceased from thieving. Does this mean I am saying God winks at our thieving? God forbid! In no way am I saying that. God disciplines His own. He will discipline those of His who continue to steal. But this says nothing about their righteousness. It has no bearing whatsoever upon their eternal state before God. Yet according to MacArthur it is evidence they are not perfect and sinless in God’s sight.

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14 Responses to John MacArthur and the Lies of Lordship Salvation – Part 1

  1. Paco says:

    Reformers teaches that there are 3 principal foundations for the Assurance of salvation. One of them is Sanctification, but it is not the most important because it is not infallible and inmutable since we are stil sinners and there are also temptations and spiritual war.

    Nevertheles, sanctification is stil one of the “acid tests” for unbelivers and also helps neglect sons of God to repent and “return” to the way of Salvation.

    If you speak spanish, I encorage you to visit this exposition on Romans 5 about Salvation Assurance.

  2. The Reformers taught that the sacraments were necessary for salvation.Read the Lutheran Catechism and Calvin’s Institutes. Contact me for more discussion. pchet@gnmc.us

    • David Bishop says:

      Calvin, Zwingli and Beza were covenant theologians, MacArthur is a Dispensationalist. It sounds like you’re confusing the role of the sacraments in covenant theology with Lordship. MacArthur falls somewhere between Baptist Theology and Dispensationalism (he claims to be a “leaky Dispensationalist”).

      • My point is that Luther and Calvin were not saved according to their writings. Nor are those that follow them today.

        The following statement by John Calvin, taken from Calvin’s Institutes, Book IV, Chap. XVI, p. 531, typifies the attitudes of these religions ,

        “We have, therefore, a spiritual promise given to the fathers in circumcision, similar to that which is given to us in baptism, since it figured to them both the forgiveness of sins and the mortification of the flesh. Besides, as we have shown that Christ, in whom both of these reside, is the foundation of baptism, so must He also be the foundation of circumcision. For He is promised to Abraham, and in Him all nations are blessed. To seal this grace, the sign of circumcision is added. There is now no difficulty in seeing wherein the two signs agree, and wherein they differ. The promise, in which we have shown that the power of the signs consists, is one in both – viz. the promise of the paternal favour of God, or forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. And the thing figured is one and the same – viz. regeneration.”

        Luther states:

        II. THE BENEFITS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER (p.200) Luther’s Catechism

        What is the benefit of such eating and drinking? That is shown us by these words, “Given and shed for you for the remission of sins”; namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

        BLESSED SACRAMENT OF BODY OF CHRIST
        We have, therefore, two principal sacraments in the church, baptism and the bread. Baptism leads us to a new life on earth; the bread guides us through death into eternal life. . . . So entirely is this sacrament intended and instituted for a strengthening against death and an entrance into eternal life.
        LUTHER’S WORKS, Vol. 35, Word And Sacrament, I, (Fortress Press, 1981) (p. 67, )

        . . . and I can boast that Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself, moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, . . .
        The LARGE CATECHISM by Martin Luther (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921) (p. 565, )

        Contact me for verbal discussion.
        Chet

      • David Bishop says:

        Correct. Calvin, Zwingli and Knox all identified the Abrahamic covenant and the new covenant as one and the same covenant with the only difference being an administration. Beza went on after Calvin to formulate the addition of a covenant of works which the second generation of reformers then added to Zwingli’s one covenant of grace scheme. This was all done in overreaction to the Anabaptists. The end result is they confused their types with their anti-types.

      • You say “This was all done in overreaction to the Anabaptists. The end result is they confused their types with their anti-types.”

        . “Anabaptists,” a title given them by Catholics, then the Protestants, were where we would have found any true born again people. The Protestants were steeped in Catholicism. It is that which fueled their theology.

        I do not believe that it was “overreaction to Anabaptists causing confusion,” but 1300 years of soul damning theology. Compare the Catholic Catechism to Luther’s Catechisms or Calvin’s Institutes. They read basically the same.

        pchet@gnmc.us

      • David Bishop says:

        You don’t seem to want to talk about the reformed concept of covenant theology. Why is that? If you think this concept is 1300 years old, then clearly you have no idea what it is. Zwingli created it. He created it after he found himself the object of criticism in the published works of the German and Swiss Anabaptists who had begun taking him to task for his failure to abolish the RC practice of infant baptism and the Mass. I agree with the Anabaptists in this respect. I have no love for covenant theology. But let’s not pretend the Anabaptists weren’t rank legalists in themselves or that the Protestants were, as you put it, “steeped in Catholicism.” You want to accuse Bullinger, Beza, and the Huguenots of being “steeped in Roman Catholicism” then go ahead, but I think you’d be seriously oversimplifying the problem if you did.

        I do not defend Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and Knox. I do not pretend that I believe they taught the pure gospel of God’s sovereign grace. But please, let’s not start overgeneralizing the problem.

        Were there some elements of Roman Catholicism they refused to give up? Sure. I just pointed out two of Zwingli’s biggest. But let’s not pretend it was because they loved Rome or even wanted to keep these elements. Zwingli himself went on record as saying he wanted to get rid of infant baptism and the Mass, but that he was afraid of losing support from the citizens of Zurich if he did. Does this excuse what he did? Absolutely not! But does it mean he loved RC? No. Come on man, the man died in battle fighting an RC army! Calling his reasoning a love for RC is like accusing the Puritan of RC for holding to the false gospel of American exceptionalism. It’s just a gross oversimplification.

        The biggest problem with Zwingli, Calvin, Knox and the men who followed them was covenant theology. The Catholic Church does not practice covenant theology. It has nothing to do with covenant theology.

      • No, their “biggest problem,” and it still exists today, is their soul damning sacramental salvation plan, just like the Catholic church. You accuse me of “gross oversimplification. I think you make confusing that which is very simple and to the point. READ their writings on salvation. Their plan of salvation is the issue.
        Sacraments are works! Luther, Calvin and the rest of the “reformers were lost. Although many of the Anabaptists were not saved, those people who were saved (except for the cowardly pretenders) would have been found among the Anabaptists, just as it is today. The big picture is not as difficult as you try to make it.

      • David Bishop says:

        “We have, therefore, a spiritual promise given to the fathers in circumcision, similar to that which is given to us in baptism, since it figured to them both the forgiveness of sins and the mortification of the flesh. Besides, as we have shown that Christ, in whom both of these reside, is the foundation of baptism, so must He also be the foundation of circumcision. For He is promised to Abraham, and in him all the nations are blessed. To seal this grace, the sign of circumcision is added. There is now no difficulty in seeing wherein the two signs agree, and wherein they differ. The promise, in which we have shown that the power of the signs consists, is one in both-viz, the promise of the paternal favor of God, or forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. And the thing figured is one and the same-viz, regeneration.”
        — John Calvin, Institutes, Book IV, Chap. XVI, p. 531

        This is covenant theology, not Roman Catholicism. Calvin, like the Westminster does today, believed the Abrahamic covenant and the new covenant were the same covenant, but with different administrations. It’s not a difficult issue. It’s wrong, it’s a false gospel, but it isn’t a difficult issue. And it is certainly is not Roman Catholicism.

      • Calvin makes it clear in his writings that his theology came from Augustine! That’s not Roman Catholic? Luther was an Augustinian monk. Their theologies are like three peas in a pod. They all equate infant baptism with circumcision. They pervert the same Bible verses.

  3. Larry Kuhn says:

    This is very poor exegesis to say the least. Can I ask a personal question, do you think it would be okay if everyone who’s married just started cheating on there wives continuously and expected their wives to just deal with it, because after all, they do really love their wives. Or better yet, would you like to have a wife who’s faithful 90% of the time? I bet you don’t even know what I’m talking about do you. I bet you’ll reply with some idiotic explanation that’s nothing more than clever semantics. the word Grace isn’t JUST undeserved kindness, it’s GOD’S power in us to live a holy life! Why do you think God told Paul ‘My Grace is sufficient for you’,? do you think God meant, ‘don’t worry Paul, my undeserved favor will get you through your thorn in the flesh’? NO NO NO!!! He meant that in Paul’s weakness He would be strong in Him to get him through. I hope this isn’t one of those good ol’ independent baptists because as far as I can tell the only thing they’re independent of is DISCERNMENT, AND GODLY WISDOM!

    • David Bishop says:

      Larry, there is this idea found in many false gospels that says the purpose of the cross was to prepare God’s people for the Holy Spirit’s work of making them more obedient and less sinful, and so therefore if a person are not progressing towards becoming less sinful and more obedient, then they have not the Spirit of Christ and are not really a Christian.

      Now think about that for a moment, Larry. Suppose just for a moment that this were true. Suppose the purpose of the cross was indeed to prepare God’s people for the work of becoming better, more law obedient, less sinful people with the help of the Spirit. If this was true, then wouldn’t we be in the process of becoming less needful of the cross?

      If I am becoming less sinful, then the fact is I am needing less of His cross today than I did when He first converted me. Do you think Christ is glorified by people growing less needful of His sacrifice?

      You see Larry, a man who is growing less sinful every year is also a man who is needing less of the cross every year. He is needing less of that righteousness that Christ obtained by His death, because he is gaining a righteousness of his own from his own obedience.

      In addition to this foolishness there is another problem. If we are getting better about not sinning, then it is true our conscience remains polluted with the sin that we have not gotten better about yet. How Larry, in that case, with a polluted conscience, are we supposed to approach the throne of grace with confidence? We couldn’t.

      This nonsense is not only found among the Pentecostals, and Methodists, and Finney-Wesley circles of Arminianism either. No, it is every bit as entrenched in Presbyterian and reformed circles, as well.

      The purpose of the cross was not to prepare the elect for the process of becoming conformed in their obedience to Christ’s law obedience. The gospel tells us what the purpose of the cross was for. The purpose of the cross was to perfect the elect once and for all time. In other words, to present them perfect and complete in righteousness. The cross has done that, once and for all. Once and for all is not progressive, Larry. Once and for all is definite, done, finished. This is why there are no more sacrifices.

      The reason why the elect have the right to enter into God’s presence is because Christ has redeemed them and has imputed them righteous. And because they are convinced this is true, the elect also know and are convinced that their sins have been put away and so therefore their conscience is clean.

      Now here you come, Larry, and your argument is Christ has failed! Your argument is He has not once and for all put away His peoples’ sins. Your argument is that it’s the Holy Spirit and not Christ who is in the process of putting away His peoples’ sins.

      Let me say again as I have stated in this essay and have said at other points in times past, I am against the Zane Hodges’ tattoo version of Christianity in which you stroll up to an altar to repeat a prayer, and boom, you got your ticket punched. You got your permanent Jesus tattoo. You can go home, never think of Christ again, you can even decide to become a Buddhist or an Atheist, it doesn’t matter, you’re still going to heaven no matter what you believe, because you got your ticket punched. No, I am against that. That is a false gospel, make no mistake about it.

      But I am equally against this modern brand of Neonomianism called Lordship Salvation that says you aren’t really saved if you don’t have less sin to show for it.

      These Lordshippers like you, Larry, they love to talk about “balance”. This is their favorite word, “balance.” I’ve heard them talk about Christ’s death as if it were just one side of a two-sided coin.

      They’ll say yes, Christ’s death, it’s all outside you it’s all about the work being finished, it’s about what Christ has accomplished for His elect. But now we have to BALANCE that. We have to “balance” all that grace and redemption with some human responsibility. We can’t just go out there start acting like all that grace and has been redeemed stuff is actually true. No, we have to temper that grace with a big heaping helping of self righteous motivation. It might be finished, but it ain’t finished until it’s finished in us.

      I’ve said it before, let me say it again. These guys, they stand outside the front door of their churches crying, “By grace alone, by grace alone, it’s all been finished by Christ.” But the moment you cross the threshold and step inside, that’s when they demand you show them some works to prove you belong inside. And if you can’t, then they escort you out the backdoor while they continue to shout it’s all by grace alone at the front door.

      Lordship Salvation is a false gospel. It dishonors God and perverts the gospel into a morning makeover show. But the gospel is no morning makeover show. God is not Dr Phil, and there are no before and after photos.

      • David Bishop says:

        Let us now attend them both at their prayers, and notice how they present their supplications before God. –Methinks I see first a decent respectable company advancing to the house of prayer, and then stepping forward with a graceful assurance, beginning their address thus: “We give thee thanks, O God, for the aversion we feel to sin, and for every other amiable qualification by which thou hast distinguished us from other men; we bless thee for every fine endowment wherewith thou hast ornamented us, and more especially for the peculiar right thou hast given us of advancing our claim to all the blessings of the kingdom of thy Messiah; whom we prize above all things, and to whose merits we are indebted for every advantage we enjoy. We humbly acknowledge that our qualifications are by no means the ground of our right. For, had it not been for thy grace assisting our feeble efforts, we might have been as yet like other men, drinking up iniquity like water. We acknowledge the righteousness of thy Messiah to be the only meritorious cause of all our happiness. For his sake, therefore we earnestly beg the continuance of thy grace, that we may always come into thy house of prayer with a comfortable assurance, and may never be filled with confusion of face in thy presence.”

        Behind them, at some distance, I see an abject company approaching, with remorse in their faces, as if they had just come from the gratification of some guilty passion. They dare not venture beyond the port, as if afraid to pollute the sacred mansion, but pointing toward the inner recess where the propitiatory stands, they are encouraged to utter these words, “God be propitious to us sinners.”

        Methought, as they went up, I overheard of them saying to his fellow, “Surely there is not a wretch upon earth riper for hell than I. My life has been one continued course of injustice, profaneness, and excess, by which last I have so reduced my health and circumstances, that instead of having any opportunity of lessening the debt I owe society, through my injustice, I must necessarily increase it, by the claims of my wants upon their compassion. Upon occasional touches of remorse after satiety, I have often made resolutions of amendment; but the first temptation always broke them. – In short, the more I look into my heart, the scene appears the more shocking. Whether I look backward or forward – reason, – experience, – feeling, suggests nothing but matter of anguish – But I am informed upon good authority, that there is a propitiation for sin, – that there is forgiveness with Him who hath mercy on whom He will have mercy. – Let us therefore draw near.”

        – Robert Sandeman, Letters on Theron and Aspasio: Addressed to the Author, pgs 40-41

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