Founders Journal · Winter 2001 · pp. 32
A Sea of Wisdom Without Shore
Charles H. Spurgeon
I have heard persons rail at Calvinistic doctrine, who never in their lives have read a word that Calvin wrote. If you were to offer them a small treatise in which that noble system of divinity should be vindicated, they would say, “Oh! it is no doubt so dry, I should not be able to read it.” Yet these learned gentlemen know what is inside a book without opening it! They are like some critics of whom I have heard, who, when they meet with a new volume, take the knife and cut the first page, smell it, and then condemn or praise. Many there are who do just the same with the Bible. They have heard some verses of it once or twice, they have got some idea of it, and straightway they are wise. They take to themselves their own degree of Doctor of Divinity, and they have much boldness in their unbelief. Now, of any man who should denounce the system of truth which is taught in Scripture as ridiculous and foolish, I can only say he has never taken the trouble to search it out for himself. Have not the mightiest intellects confessed that the truths of this book were infinitely above their highest flights? Even Newton, who could thread the spheres, and map the march of what else had seemed discordant planets, even he said there were depths here which no mortal could fathom. “O the depths of the wisdom of God!” This has been the exclamation of some of the most glorious minds that have ever enlightened the world. And I can say, and I know it to be a truth, that every man who reads the Word of God, and studies the divinity therein revealed–if he at first thinketh that he understandeth it, when he reads again, finds that he has only begun to know; and when he shall have searched year after year, and have become more than usually prescient in the study of the things of God, he will still say, “Now I begin to know my folly, now I began to discover that God is above me and beneath me, but I cannot grasp him, I cannot find out the Almighty to perfection, his words, his works, his ways, herein revealed to the sons of men, are past finding out.” You wise fellows who turn upon your heels, and sneer at things which have astonished minds infinitely vaster than yours, prove your own folly when you call the things of God folly. With regard to that particular form of divine truth which we hold so dear, currently called Calvinistic doctrines–there is no philosophy propounded by any sage, so profound as that philosophy. There are no truths that were ever taught so wonderful, so worthy of the profoundest research of the most expanded minds, as those doctrines of the eternal love, the discriminating grace, and the infinite power of God, co-working to produce the results which his wisdom had decreed. When every other science shall have been exhausted, when astronomy shall have no wonders left, when geology shall have no secrets to unravel, when natural history and philosophy shall have given up all their infinite treasures, there will still remain a mine without a bottom, there will still remain a sea of wisdom without a shore, in the doctrines of the gospel of the grace of God.
–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Natural or Spiritual?” Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1861, Vol. 7, Sermon No. 407, pp. 473-480. Available online at http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0407.htm.