John Eaton

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Brief Biographical Sketch

John Eaton was born in Kent, in the year 1575, and educated in Trinity College, Oxford. For several years after he left the University, he preached in various places; was curate at Katherine-Colemar, near Aldgate, London; and in 1625, became vicar of Wickham-Market in Suffolk, where he continued to the end of his days. It is said that he was a person of a peculiar mold, very paradoxical in his opinions, and reckoned a great ‘Antinomian,’ for which he was more than once cast into prison. His writings, which contain his peculiar sentiments, were, "The Discovery of a most Dangerous Dead Faith;" 1641, "Abraham's Steps of Faith;" 1641, and "The Honey-combe of Free Justification by Christ Alone," 1642. For the publication of a former edition of the last book, he was imprisoned in the Gatehouse, Westminster. Indeed, he was for several years questioned and censured by the high commission, for maintaining that God does not see sin in those who are justified. He was in perils often, in London, Norwich, and Wickham. Nevertheless, he is represented as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ; and, by the blessing of the Lord upon his labors, was instrumental in begetting many children to God. Archdeacon Echard admits, that by means of his zeal, his exemplary patience, and his great piety, he was exceedingly admired in the neighborhood where he lived, and highly valued for many years after his death; - he was, upon the whole, "a pattern of faith, holiness, and cheerfulness in his sufferings, to future generations." He died in the year 1641, and in the sixty-sixth year of his age. Benjamin Brook “Lives of the Puritans” 1813.

Justification by Christ Alone

Let us know for a certainty that free justification is the very head, heart, and soul of all Christian religion, and true worship of God; without the true and joyful knowledge thereof, our religion is headless, our profession and worship heartless, and our very zealous conversation is a mere corruption of the Gospel, and rottenness, like a body without a soul that stinketh before God. Briefly in a word, as the perfect righteousness of Christ is only worthy to be acknowledged for the wedding garment; because all the righteousness of our imperfect sanctification is {as the Prophet saith} as filthy, menstrous, stained rags - Isaiah 64:6; so true faith of free justification, being the having on of this wedding-garment, because it alone doth truly abolish all the filthy nakedness of our sins out of God's sight, and it alone doth make us perfectly holy, and sufficiently righteous in the sight of God freely, without works. Therefore it alone doth make us fit brides, and is only meet to marry us to so glorious a Bridegroom, as is the King of glory - Christ Jesus. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone - 1642}

Law and Gospel

Surely the apples, nuts and cakes {blessings;} and the rod of temporal punishments {cursings;} with which God did govern that first people, as little children, buried by Paul, Gal.3:25, ever since the coming of Christ, and now rotten, are fit foundations for their childish and rotten buildings; not only these do thus play the children again; but also we ministers of this glory of the gospel, too many amongst us, do not only limp in our practice, and lisp in our speech, but even halt downright; being so far from passing John the Baptist in opening the kingdom of heaven, that we come not near him; neither in his inward fulness of joy in hearing the voice of the Bridegroom, that then was come to enrich so royally the bride; nor in outward washing the people from all their sins; that is, in not preaching and opening the glory of free justification as he did; much less do we lay out the glory, that does exceed in glory. But contra wise, we slide back to the legal teaching of the Old Testament, from which we not understanding the intent of God in such high commending, and sharp exacting of works and legal righteousness, do fetch our principal vein of preaching; and do make it our common and chiefest manner of teaching, only a little as the old prophets did, to glance at free justification, mercy and grace in general terms; but all our main labor is to command things that are right, and to forbid wicked things, to promise rewards to the followers of righteousness, and to threaten punishments to the transgressors; which seems in preachers and people a good and plausible course to flesh and blood, because it is the teaching of reason, and the light of nature described, Rom.2:14,15, to be thus in the very Gentiles; namely, that "the Gentiles which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law;" much more then do they approve and allow of the hearing of it; "for they have the effect of the Law written in their hearts accusing them" with fear of punishment for their evil doings, and excusing them with hope of speeding well for their well doings. This kind of teaching the people do like and applaud as agreeing with that light of nature; but what comes hereof? Truly we sew up again the veil that was rent in two pieces, from the top to the bottom; we shut up the holy of holies; we hide and darken, if not put out the benefits of Christ; preaching as if the children of God were not made perfectly holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely. We confound the Old Testament with the New; we bring back the full grown heir to school again to be whipped of his school master, contrary to the express doctrine and direction of the Holy Ghost, saying, that after faith is come {that is Christ - the object of faith,} we are no longer under a school master, Gal.3:25. - O that our tongues were united, and our lips touched with the burning coal from the Altar Christ, that we might lay out the worth and glory of these things, then should we be right ministers of the gospel of Christ; then should we make our feet beautiful, by bringing these glad tidings of peace, and these glad tidings of good things, not confounding but truly distinguishing between the glory of the Old Testament, and the exceeding glory of the New. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone - 1642}


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Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle
and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. Hebrews 3:1