25 July, 2017

David Dickson Quotes

Here is a list of quotes from the writings of David Dickson (1583 – 1663) that either do not fit with, or out-rightly contradict central tenets of the theory of “common grace” and the “well-meant gospel offer.”

[N.B. These quotes are not intended to imply, however, that Owen never made erroneous statements on this subject or that all his writings were always entirely consistent on these points.

1. Against the theory of Common Grace

(a) On Psalm 11:5:

However he giveth the wicked and violent persecutor to have a seeming prosperity, while the godly are in trouble, yet that is no act of love to them: for the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth ... All the seeming advantages which the wicked have in their own prosperity, are but means of hardening them in their ill course, and holding them fast in the bonds of their own iniquities, till God execute judgment on them: upon the wicked he shall rain snares ... Whatsoever be the condition of the wicked for a time, yet at length sudden, terrible, irresistible, and remediless destruction they shall not escape: fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest is the portion of their cup (Commentary on the Psalms [Edinburgh: Banner, 1959], vol. 1, p. 51).

(Source: Commentary on the Psalms [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1959], vol. 1, p. 51—emphasis added)

Dickson is not confusing the “wicked” and the reprobate here. He is simply stating the clear teaching of Scripture. He sees clearly that not all the wicked are reprobate but all reprobate are wicked, and, therefore, he describes them according to their character. He is dealing with God’s attitude and purpose in the giving of “good” gifts. God has no gracious purpose in good gifts to the wicked reprobate.


(b) On Psalm 69:

This is the second part of the psalm [Ps. 69]; wherein the prophet, as a type of Christ, by way of imprecation against his malicious enemies, prophesieth of the vengeance of God against all obstinate adversaries, and malicious persecutors of him, whether in his own person or in his members; and denounceth ten plagues, or effects of God’s wrath, to come upon them for their wickedness. The first whereof is this, God shall curse all the comforts of this life unto the obstinate adversaries of Christ, and of his followers: all these comforts shall serve to harden their hearts to sin, and lengthen their life therein, till they fill up the measure of their iniquities: let their table become a snare before them. The second plague is, all the means appointed for men’s conversion and salvation shall turn for the aggravating of their sin and just damnation: and as all things work together for the good of those that love God, so shall all things work for the woe and torment of God’s enemies: that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. The third plague is, they shall not perceive the true intent of God’s work, nor consider the day of their visitation: let their eyes be darkened, that they see not. The fourth plague is, there shall be no peace to the wicked, but as even in laughter their heart shall be sorrowful; so also their conscience for fear shall never dare to abide the light of the Lord’s word, to be examined by it; and even in their greatest prosperity they shall have perpetual secret fear, smother it as they will: make their loins continually to shake. The fifth plague is, the threatened wrath of God shall be fully executed against them, and never depart from them when it is once poured out: pour out indignation on them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. The sixth plague is, the curse of God shall be on their houses and posterity, and the place they have dwelt in shall be abhorred: let their habitation be desolate, and let none dwell in their tents.

(Source: Commentary on the Psalms [London: Banner, 1959], vol. 1, pp. 419-420)


(c) On Psalm 73:4-10:

Whence [i.e., from Ps. 73:4-10] learn, to the wicked – God for His own holy ends useth to give health of body, long life, little sickness, and a quiet death ... yet God doth not love them, nor approve any whit more of them for this.

(Source: Commentary on the Psalms [London: Banner, 1959], vol. 1, p. 446—emphasis added)

These statements echo the clear and unequivocal teaching of Scripture. God’s love and gracious attitude are not manifest toward the reprobate in the giving of good things.


(d) On Psalm 73:16-17:

The last refuge of brangled faith, is God himself manifesting his will in his word and ordinances; no settling or satisfaction of doubts in divinity but by the Scriptures: it was too painful for me until I went unto the sanctuary of God [Ps. 73:16-17]; that is, till I consulted the Scriptures, and considered what God had revealed in his church by his ordinances: this satisfied and settled him. The Lord hath revealed in Scripture what shall be the end and close of men’s course, who study not to walk according to his direction, how prosperous soever they may seem to be; and because the felicity of men is not to be known by God’s outward dispensation of worldly comforts or crosses, therefore man’s end must determine the difference: then understood I their end.

(Source: Commentary on the Psalms [London: Banner, 1959], vol. 1, pp. 451-452)


(e) On Psalm 92:7:

The wicked may for a time spring up, flourish in worldly prosperity, as here is presupposed; but this springing up and flourishing is of short continuance, and subject to sudden alteration: they spring up, and flourish as the grass. The end of the temporal prosperity of the ungodly, is perdition: they shall be destroyed for ever, yea, their very prosperity (by its fomenting their sinful lusts, and hardening their hearts against God’s word,) becometh a means to draw on their everlasting perdition, and that in God’s righteous judgment against those who have preferred earth to heaven, their bodily lusts unto the salvation of their souls and bodies: for, when the wicked spring up as grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish, it is that they shall be destroyed for ever [Ps. 92:7].

(Source: Commentary on the Psalms [London: Banner, 1959], vol. 2, p. 369)

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