Sayer Rudd

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Brief Biographical Sketch

Sayer Rudd {date of birth unknown} was assistant in 1716, ‘when very young,’ to the Baptist Church at Glasshouse Street, London. Later he was a member of Edward Wallin's church at Maze Pond, Southwark. There he was publicly set apart for the ministry, with laying on of hands, on 2 July 1725, as successor to Thomas Dewhurst at Turner's Hall, Philpot Lane, London. In 1727 the congregation of the Baptist Chapel in Devonshire Square {this was the assembly which the early Particular Baptist William Kiffin, who was a signer of the London Confession, was instrumental in gathering together in 1638} was united with his own, which removed to Devonshire Square. In April 1733 he became much unsettled in mind, and applied to his congregation for leave to visit Paris. This being refused, he nevertheless left for France anyway, which severed his connections with the Devonshire Assembly. Soon thereafter {upon returning from France} he was invited to preach at Maze-pond, after the death of Mr. Edward Wallin, with a view to his settlement there. This however, was prevented by a discovery which the people made that his sentiments upon some points of faith were different to what they had apprehended, and that with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity in particular, being suspected of doctrinal views that tended towards Sabellianism. Being dismissed by those of the Calvinistic Baptist Board, whose leaders, including John Gill & John Brine; who were his chief antagonists, as stated by himself – page 5 - in his 3rd defense against their charges, entitled: “A third letter to the ministers of the Calvinistic Baptist Board 1735.” In fact; Rudd claimed that because the names of Gill & Brine were attached to those ‘false’ accusations against him, it had the effect of spreading like ‘wild fire’ throughout the land. His exact words are: “You have given it out, and it works as you designed it; it spreads like wild fire; and you are all too sensible of your advantage upon this account; for whatever comes from your quarter, you very well know, is sure to succeed with the bulk of the people; for they being so weak as to receive all that you say for truth, they readily become your drudges, and propagate it as such.” Around this time he offered his services as preacher to the Quakers. Regarding his association with the Quakers {though true to an extent, but not as it has been portrayed,} he had this to say: “being dissatisfied with the judgment of the Quakers in doctrinal matters, I was far from being under any temptation to sacrifice my conscience or complement them with my faith; so far from it, that if ever I was more expressly Calvinistical {as you call it} than otherwise, it providentially happened about this time; and besides that the people at Devonshire Square may remember, I became less acceptable to them in the latter part of my ministry on this very account.” As the Calvinistic Baptist Board accused him of Unitarianism, and issued a minute against him. He defended himself in three ‘Letters,’ published 1734, 1735, and 1736, and in ‘Impartial Reflections,’ London, 1735, 8vo. The board, which met at Blackwell's Coffee House, Queen Street, disowned him on 26 Feb. 1735. Mr. Rudd still found friends who were willing to patronize both him and his cause. These, however, do not appear to have been very numerous; for in a dedication to his congregation, prefixed to the above discourse, he speaks of them as “but few in number.” In this circle of his friends, a Mrs. Elizabeth Ginn appears to have been one of the most affectionate, both for reputation and substance, and it was principally at her expense that a Meeting House in Snow’s-fields was erected for Mr. Rudd and his adherents. Mrs. Ginn, a widow, passed away in the 60th year of her age; and Rudd preached her funeral sermon, which was later published, entitled: “A Funeral Sermon for Mrs. Elizabeth Ginn,” upon the subject of a believer’s subjection to Death by the offence of Adam, and our reigning in Life through the Righteousness of Christ. Mrs. Ginn was a woman of very remarkable zeal in her strict attachment to the revelation of Scripture Truth, and firmly Baptist in her persuasion; who in the latter part of her life, met with much unreasonable and cruel treatment. Notwithstanding, her exemplary virtue and good behavior as a serious upright Christian, could not screen her from the censure of those who lay more stress upon mysteries, upon speculative notions, and needless distinctions than on the power of Christ’s reign of grace in the soul of the believer. But her ill treatment only served to increase and quicken her inclination to attempt promoting the liberty of private judgment and Christian charity in a better way. To that end a place of worship was erected at her own expense, and encouragement given, that truth in its native purity and plainness, might again be preached, and the religion of Christ freed from obscurity and imposition. After her death, the congregation was soon dissolved, and the chapel soon thereafter fell into the hands of the Arminian Wesley. Following soon after, and no doubt in part because of his being excluding from preaching amongst the Particular Baptists, it would appear that he had some inclinations towards the Established Church {Church of England} as he applied to the Lord Chancellor for admission. Regarding his attempts to the conformity of the Established Church of England; it was to the effect that he perceived a greater liberty of speech would be granted him, and though his sentiments, in most respects, conformed to their doctrinal standards, his conscience would suffer manifest injury in regards to the sprinkling of infants and the common prayer. During this turbulent & unsettled period in his life he speaks of coming afresh to the Throne if Grace, in all his bewildered circumstances, as one begging direction of the Lord; and resolving in His strength to act as conviction might open. He finally studied midwifery under Grégoire and Dussé of Paris, and proceeded to the degree of M.D. at Leyden. On returning to London he had some practice, and attended and took down in shorthand the lectures of Sir Richard Manningham {Male midwife, afterwards Bishop of Chichester}. One of these, ‘The certain Method to know the Disease,’ he published at London in 1742. After his conformity he was presented by Archbishop Potter to the living of Walmer, Kent, and in 1752 to the vicarage of Westwell in the same county. He then lived near Deal, and kept a school. Rudd died at Deal on 6 May 1757. This brief biographical sketch was largely taken from Walter Wilson’s {History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches, Vol.2, 1808} and interlaced with a few extracts from other sources. MPJ

Righteousness of Christ as Comprehensive of all Divine Grace

“For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” {Rom.5:17} With regard to the gift of Righteousness; this the people of God receive passively, forasmuch as it is secretly applied to their persons, and constantly operates for their good, even before they are regenerate; and is indeed, the meritorious cause of their being brought into the actual or sensible enjoyment of all saving benefits. Hence it is that Peter speaks of the saints, as obtaining “like precious faith through the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Christ Jesus.” {II Pet.1:1} Keeping the branches of the text distinct, after the present version, the term ‘righteousness’ as applied to the Divine Being may intimate his veracity and faithfulness; but, as applied to Christ, his Mediatorial undertakings, or righteousness in particular. But reading the words thus: “through the righteousness of God, even our Saviour Christ Jesus,” or, as it is in the margin: “through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Christ Jesus;” as the whole of the matter will then rest with the Mediator; so the precise doctrine of the text will be; that it is upon the foot of Christ’s righteousness, by or through this means, that we are brought to believe to the saving of our souls. The consequence of which must be, that we have, somehow or other, such interest in his Righteousness; or, to speak in the language of our text, receive it in such a manner, and this before our conversion, or as I may say, before our open existence, as to secure the production of our persons, the preservation of our lives, and the actual possession of all the promised blessings in the time appointed. And what greater instance can we desire of this, than that of our Apostle, who by virtue of his secret interest or passive reception of this Righteousness was preserved in the loins of his parents, till brought into personal being, and actually wrought upon by Divine Grace, notwithstanding the tribe of Benjamin, to which he belonged, was entirely cut off, excepting only six hundred, who hid themselves in the rock Rimmon. {Rom.11:1 compared with Judges 20:47.} As to what concerns the first operations of Divine Grace upon the soul in Regeneration, to say nothing of a future influx, or repeated impulse; why here again, the reception is equally wholly passive. In this state of things, there is no difference between the new creation and the old; for as we had no hand in raising the natural man, so neither have we any share in producing the spiritual. We are in both respects God’s workmanship, and both cases alike passive. {Ps.100:3 compared with Eph.2:10} And where are there any hardy enough to dispute the matter with the Almighty? Can it be, that any will not resign to Him? That any dare refuse Him the preference? What can we possibly think of more preposterous than to set the creature before God? Or make the actions of the man lead those of the Deity? What say the Scriptures to these things? He first quickens us, and then we live, {Eph.2:1,} enlightens us, and then we see, {I Jn.5:20, II Cor.4:6,} he first calls us, and draws us, and then we hear Him, and run after Him. {Isa.65:1, Rom.10:20, Cant.1:4} He first loves us, and then we love him; {I Jn.4:19;} in one word, he first works in us, both to will and to do of his own good pleasure, and then we work in or about, our own salvation. {Phil.2:13} Thus it was in particular with Paul; for God had apprehended, or laid hold upon him, and then he wanted to apprehend that which God had apprehended him for. {Phil.3:12} Not barely with respect to duty and comfort in this life; but perfection and happiness in the future. This also is the order with respect to the gifts of grace; particularly, as to the righteousness of Christ; God first puts this grace or righteousness upon us, clothes us with it, imputes it to us; and then enables us to see it, to receive it, to take it home to ourselves, and put it on by faith. He gives us power to trust in it, and depend upon it; and privilege to plead it as our justifying righteousness, both with Him, and at the bar of conscience. {Ps.71:16, Is.45:24,25, Rom.3:25, 5:1} By this means we see at once, and readily understand, how it is, that we receive that grace which was eternally resident in the heart of God, and there operative for us; as also, those spiritual blessings which were given to us in Christ before the foundation of the world; and lastly, whatever it is, that we possess both as to righteousness and grace, within the limits of time; namely, by the lively exercise of true faith, or as it is sometimes expressed, apprehensively and experimentally. And indeed, if I may be allowed the question; what is it but a view of God’s love, as eternally engaged in the interest of the soul, making such settlements for him, before time, and such applications, {though secret only, at first,} in time, as his necessities required; that gains upon the hearts of his people and provokes them to the return of love upon their conversion? This if I mistake not, is the account which God Himself gives of it, when he speaks to the Church by the prophet, saying, “yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” {Jer.31:3} Agreeable with what has been now said, and farther to illustrate this active sense of the word ‘receive,’ it may also be observed, that it is, in short, by this means alone, through this applicatory reception of the Grace of God and the Righteousness of Christ, that our interest in the great privilege of the text, rises to us with satisfactory evidence, since it is absolutely in this light, that a child of God is enabled to conclude, that the dominion of sin is broken, that the sting of death is taken away, and that he shall reign in life, by One, Christ Jesus. It is to such only that the promise is made, and therefore the text says, “he that hath the Son {in the sense that we are now speaking of} hath life;” {I Jn.5:12;} “is passed from death to life,” and shall live forever. {Jn.3:3,6} And therefore this is laid down as a rule by which we are to judge of our interest, according to what Moses says, “the secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed, belong unto us and to our children forever.” {Deut.29:29} Thus it is, that the persons capable of this act, this spiritual vision, {this revealed spiritual apprehension of the ground of their salvation; namely, the Blood & Righteousness of Christ alone,} receive an abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness. The aboundings of Divine love, particularly the settlement of all grace upon them in Christ, and the gift of righteousness to them for justification, stand displayed to the eye of faith in such sort, that they receive the evidence of their interest in these things; together with that joy, which necessarily results therefrom. In this light they behold all the perfections of God united in the Mediator, {II Cor.4:6,} for their present and everlasting happiness; and therefore they receive Christ as the brightness of his Father’s glory and the express Image of his Person; {Heb.1:3;} as the Repository and Medium of all grace. {Col.1:19, Jn.1:16} They look upon Him and therefore, in the language of our text, receive Him as the Bright and Morning Star; {Rev.22:16;} as the Sun of Righteousness; {Mal.4:2;} as One fairer than the children of men, {Ps.45:2,} in a spiritual, as well as a literal sense. In fine, they make the same estimate of Christ as the Church once did; he is the “chiefest among ten thousand,” and “altogether lovely.” {Cant.5:10,16} “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear;” {Mt.11:15} for the Gospel is described not only as the word of Faith, {Rom.10:8,} but as the joyful sound, {Ps.89:15,} as a proclamation of peace, and as glad tidings of great joy. {Is.52:7} And in truth, where persons are blessed with this spiritual ear, they receive the Grace of God and the Gift of Righteousness as Good News from a far country, to allude to an expression in the Proverbs. {Pv.25:25} The Gospel summarily comprehended under the blessings last mentioned, proves the most agreeable news, the most delightful report, {Is.53:1,} they ever met with. The time was, indeed, when they were entirely averse to this gracious message; the Jubilee trumpet of the Gospel had nothing musical, nothing entertaining in it; but when the Lord has once planted the ear of faith; when they once come to hear as new creatures; it is all melody, all rapture to the soul. A malefactor, who lives ready for execution, never received the news of a pardon with such transport as one who hath the sentence of spiritual condemnation in himself and receives the glad tidings of the everlasting Gospel. And how should it be otherwise, when he hears of that grace, which abounds over all the aboundings of his sins; {Rom.5:20;} and of that righteousness, which is much more prevalent to save, than the one offense of Adam in conjunction with all his numerous offenses is to condemn? Who can hear the Divine Being proclaim Himself the “LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth;” {Ex.34:6;} saying to his soul, “be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee;” {Mt.9:2;} and again, “fear not, I am with thee; be not afraid, I am thy God;” {Is.41:10} but must be all ecstasy at the sound, and meet the Report with that joy, which is unspeakable and full of glory. {I Pet.1:8} Now, I have only farther to observe, as it were, in the general, to complete what I design under this head, that the action in the text, as expressive of the means by which we claim interest in the grace of God and the righteousness of Christ, may be accommodated to the faculties of the mind, as well as the organs of the body. Thus, for example, when we receive these things, {heavenly treasures in Christ,} it is natural to suppose that they gain upon the judgment or find admission with the understanding. Upon this, the receiver is undoubtably furnished for a spiritual estimate of the Mediatorial Constitution. He must, as necessary to this act, be so far a judge of the Person and Offices of Christ, the Characters he sustains, and the Compass that he takes, as to be able to pronounce, that salvation by the Righteousness of Christ is not more agreeable to the Perfections of the Divine Nature than it is adapted to the necessities of his own soul. Upon which it follows of course, that the mind, thus enlightened, will make a farther advance in this spiritual act, and in the next place, receive the Person and Undertakings of Christ as comprehensive of all salutary blessings, into the will and understanding; where the judgment is so thoroughly confirmed in the fitness of this Constitution, a child of God, in the exercise of faith, cannot but make choice of it. He has already viewed the Redeemer in his full capacity, in the variety of his characters; and is, upon the best conviction so entirely satisfied with Him, that he has no desire, no voice for any but Christ. Every false lover is discarded, every pretended refuge disclaimed; and as he sees there is salvation with none but Christ, Christ alone shall be his Sanctuary. Not that this is the whole of it either; for now the doors of the heart are immediately thrown open to her Beloved. Such as are capable of this spiritual act are impatient until the Lord Jesus Christ is exalted in their souls. All distance is lost and all reserve is banished. They receive Him with the utmost stretch of affection and confidence; and as they love Him above all, so they trust Him with all, by putting their souls into His hands; believing with the heart unto righteousness and confessing with the mouth unto salvation. {Rom.10:10} But then finally, as the soul is concerned in this work, the Grace of God and the Gift of Righteousness are received by the believer into his conscience for the complete removal of guilt and the establishment of peace and comfort. This was a service too important for the legal sacrifices; as they could not purify the conscience from guilt; for there was still a remembrance of sin and therefore still a repetition of them; {Heb.10:1,2 &c.;} but the blood of Christ hath prevailed, {Heb.10:14,} that cleanseth from all sin; {I Jn.1:7;} that speaks peace and pardon wherever it descends; and as it is a Fountain set open, {Zech.13:1,} a Spring that perpetually flows, the believer under a sense of guilt cannot but apply to it and entreat that his heart may be sprinkled with it. {I Pet.1:2} Note also that; the Grace of God is not only abundant in itself, but also in its fruits. This will appear a just account of Divine Grace, whether we consider the fruits of it more generally, as including all new Covenant Blessings in Christ; or whether we restrain it, after the manner of some, to the particular Gift of Righteousness as mentioned in the text. We cannot contemplate the various productions of this Grace, both with respect to those blessings which God has bestowed upon us, and the many great things which he has wrought in us, but we must acknowledge with the Apostle that his grace towards us has been exceeding abundant. I will not here pretend to recalculate the several fruits of Divine Love, but leave you to collect the principle of them, from what has been suggested, only to animate you for this necessary work, and if the Lord please, warm your affections in the discharge thereof. Suffer me to repeat that heavenly ejaculation of the royal psalmist, where addressing himself to the Lord, he breaks out as one transported with the thought: “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” {Ps.31:19} And again, in another place: “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God; how great is the sum of them!” {Ps.139:17} But this is a general view of the Divine gifts by which the grace of God, as the source of them, appears greatly to abound. Wherefore we have to observe, that the case will be entirely the same, should we restrain the expression to the particular gift of righteousness here in the text {Rom.5:17} - the Righteousness of Christ as comprehensive of all Divine Grace, will, for several reasons, challenge the exuberance that we are now speaking of; because, in its original or spring, it takes its being from those eternal riches of Divine Love as generating from the Throne of Grace of God’s infinite love in Christ. For such were the aboundings of this grace in itself; and in such a manner did it flow forth towards us, that neither the foreviews of our great personal unworthiness, nor the number and aggravation of our sins, could prevent it in operating for us, could hinder it from discovering itself in a way of kindness to our souls! The Divine Being, from the pure impulse of his goodwill, pitched upon our persons, as the objects of his love; and he gave it full scope to exert itself in all proper acts of beneficence for our recovery; particularly in the contrivance and production of this Righteousness. Such Riches of Grace are there with our God! So much has his love abounded towards us, both before, and in time! The Righteousness of Christ may deservedly be called abundance of grace, because it was the overflowing of his love which engaged him to submit to those duties and undergo those sufferings which are considered as necessary parts of our justifying righteousness. Hence it is, that the New Testament with general consent, perpetually attributes all that he did and suffered as our Substitute and Representative to the love and to the grace of Christ. Thus in the general, he is said “to have loved the Church,” and, as a consequence of this love, to “have given Himself for her.” {Eph.5:2,25} With which corresponds the acknowledgment of the Church itself in the Revelation of John, where they begin their doxology by saying, “to Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, &c.” {Rev.1:5} And our Apostle, in this case, appeals to the conscience of those who believed at Corinth to witness to the truth thereof. For his words are “for ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” {II Cor.8:9} And when he comes to bring it down to himself and speaks of his own interest in the obedience and sufferings of the Redeemer, he is bold enough to say, “who loved me and gave Himself for me.” {Gal.2:20} Well, that is another good reason, why the Grace of God, as it includes or signifies the Righteousness of Christ may be called abundant. I add; that it merits this ascription, because we are obliged to consider this Righteousness as the means or meritorious cause of our deliverance from all those numerous evils and enemies, which we either fell under or lie exposed to through the Fall; such as, the guilt of sin, the curse and condemnation of the Law, the wrath of God, death in all the significations of the word, together with everything, that either threatens with distress in this life or misery in that which is to come. Whatsoever calamities can be charged upon the sin of Adam, or can be supposed to take place through his disobedience, the Righteousness of Christ is still exhibited as a certain antidote against them all, a complete deliverance therefrom. Of which the passage before us {Rom.5:17} in connection with the context is a sufficient proof. Once more, what is here said of grace, as it terminates upon the righteousness of Christ will farther appear worthy thereof because it is by this means, on the foot of this righteousness, that a way is open to instate us in the possession of everything valuable. An abundance of good descends to us by this avenue; all the good, indeed which we have either at present in hand, or which our hope reaches out after in a glorious futurity. All the blessings of time and eternity, whether they concern our deliverance from evils or our enjoyment of mercies; grace here or glory hereafter are conveyed and secured to us through this medium. Hence, the Scriptures perpetually ascribe them to the overflowings of his Blood and the perfection of his Righteousness. It is by this, that Grace reigns to us at present, and that we shall hereafter reign in eternal life with Christ. This again is the doctrine of our text, supported by what follows in the same chapter. I add only, that Grace in this sense of the word may well be said to abound, since the Righteousness of Christ, as such, not only overspreads, but covers and hides all those aboundings of sin and iniquity which are found with us. Nay verily, such is the nature and efficacy of this Grace that notwithstanding in many things we offend all; notwithstanding every day is big with some new transgression, in thought, word or deed; yet it keeps its hold on the beloved object where it settled at first, and there it abides forever. Though it be certain that the manifestation of this Grace or the comfortable views of interest in this Righteousness may and often are, by reason of sin, very justly intercepted and cut off; but we never say, there is no sun, though it be frequently invisible in our horizon. In like manner, be the outward discovery as it will, more bright or more obscure; it however makes no difference as to the nature and reality of the thing; and so, whatever this grace be as to personal apprehension, it is certainly unchangeable in itself; and therefore is that Righteousness, which Christ has wrought out, said to be an Everlasting Righteousness. {Dan.9:24} And if the righteousness itself be of this kind, no doubt but the fruits of it are equally durable. If any here should suddenly start a further inquiry, and ask, but why is it said to be the Gift of Righteousness? If the question be with respect to the things intended by the word ‘righteousness,’ why they bear that denomination; my answer is, because by God’s imputation of them to us, we are made righteous; for Christ’s righteousness becomes ours after the same manner that our sin became his; namely, by imputation; and therefore Paul says, “that He was made sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” {II Cor.5:21} The obedience and sufferings of Christ, not excluding his personal holiness, commonly called the purity of his nature, are what God is pleased to account to us for righteousness; and by means of which, he looks upon us and deals with us as righteous. The believer hath no other righteousness under the convert of which he dare venture into the Divine presence; neither, if we may be allowed to make our Apostle a precedent in this case, does he desire any other. In this respect, they possess one common desire, and speak one common language; “and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the Righteousness which is of God by faith.” {Phil.3:9} But if the question be concerning the gift of this righteousness, why it takes that character; I answer, that it is or may be represented in this way for two reasons. First, because our claim to it is founded in God’s imputation; for we have no natural title or right to it, but it becomes ours as imputed or reckoned to us for righteousness. This we have just spoken to; and therefore observe secondly; that this righteousness may farther bear the name of the gift, because it is originally the produce of Divine Grace, because it descends to us as unmerited favor, as that which is freely given, freely imputed to us by God. Hence, in one verse of this fifth chapter, it is styled the “gift by grace,” and in another, “the free gift;” {Rom.5:15,16} and here in our text, “the gift of righteousness;” to suggest to us, that this righteousness is conferred upon us as an instance of undeserved bounty; as an act of mere free and sovereign grace. Sayer Rudd, M.D. {A Funeral Sermon for Mrs. Elizabeth Ginn, late of Newington Butts, Widow; who deceased, June the eleventh, 1738, in the 60th year of her Age; upon the subject of a Believer’s Subjection to Death by the Offence of Adam, and our Reigning in Life through the Righteousness of Christ. 1738}


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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