The Bible addresses us in plain and intelligible language, While there are many mysteries in it that angels desire in vain to look into and many things difficult to be understood which the perverse frequently wrest to their own destruction, those truths which pertain to eternal life are revealed in the most unambiguous language. God does not dishonor Himself and trifle with His creatures by making their salvation to depend upon the reception of doctrines that are either unintelligible or contradictory. His system of heavenly truth is harmonious and consistent; and revealed with perspicuity and precision. Commencing here on earth with the first “principles of the doctrine of Christ” — with “repentance from dead works and faith toward God,” it ascends a glorious chain, each link shining more brightly as it rises into the pure heavens above until it glitters in the effulgence that shines from God’s throne. We are not only commanded to search the scriptures, but we are encouraged by the promise that we shall know if we follow on to know the Lord. Like his sanctification, the path of the Christian’s knowledge is as the shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day. God designed that His people should understand His truth– nay, He has made their salvation to depend upon their belief of it — and it is His will that they should all come into the unity of the faith, that they should be one as Christ and the Father are one. Why then is there such a diversity of sentiment in the Christian world? Why is it that even evangelical sects draw from the scriptures systems so diametrically opposite? That good men do differ in theological sentiment is indisputable and is as lamentable as it is true; but the reason is not to be found in any ambiguity in the word of God. Some of the difference, perhaps, is to be ascribed to the diversity of their mental constitution and the different way in which the same evidence strikes different minds; much to the force of early bias, to the influence of association, and to the distorted media, therefore through which the truth is seen much to the carelessness with which many read the scriptures and to the indolence which causes them to construct a system out of fragments of Bible truth; but without doubt no inconsiderable part of the disagreement is to be attributed to presumption. Professing Christians (sometimes unconsciously) not infrequently form in advance an idea in their minds — drawn from the teachings of others or from their own reflections — of the character of God and of the doctrines which he ought to promulgate and then afterwards consult the Bible to prove that their views are correct; and some carry their presumption to such daring lengths as to reject the Bible if it fails to sustain them in their positions. May not those opinions, which would rob Christ of His divinity, which deny the doctrine of the trinity — and those others which would make eternal life the portion of all mankind, have their origin here?
Patrick Hues Mell (1814 – 1888) President, Southern Baptist Convention 1863-1871 and 1880-1887 From “Predestination and the Saints’ Perseverance”