John Saltmarsh {?-1647}


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Antichrist in Our Midst


That antichristian mystery which seems to be working in so many figures and shapes without in the world, and makes up the truth of those Scriptures of the beast, and the whore, and the false prophet, &c., flows only from the antichrist within us, or the mystery of iniquity which lies in the flesh, or old man, or man of sin, the son of perdition {II Thes.2:3}, as in the root, seed, or principle; and in us you may find all the delusions and deceivableness of unrighteousness, with all the several figures it appears in, in the Revelation, and Epistle to the Thessalonians, and the spirit of the natural man in us acts all that wickedness in us, which in the world comes forth, only in images more visible, and fleshly; and to the destruction of this antichrist we should look, and lay the axe to the root of the tree, carnal wisdom, self-righteousness, high imaginations, fleshly apprehensions of God in Christ, changing the truth of God into a lie, with all the false testimonies of our own spirits for the Spirit of God, the counterfeit sealings and assurances of our carnal hearts, the deceivableness of carnal reason, with all other actings of the flesh - that the mystery of iniquity or antichrist is a false Christ, or false anointed one; that is, when any other thing but the Lord himself is in the place or office of Christ unto us, either our own righteousness, as our Priest and Sacrifice, or our own wisdom, with, or reason, as our Prophet, and Teacher, and Interpreter of spiritual things. And this mystery of iniquity, or antichrist, is from a falling away first; that is, from a departure from God, and the life and light of God, and dependency or subsistence in God; that is, when man, or the spirit of man will subsist of itself, live in itself, and be wise of itself, and worship of itself, and be righteous of itself; this is the man of sin, or son of perdition, or flesh which God will destroy; and this spirit of antichrist, or man fallen thus from God, sits in the temple of God as God; that is, is in all forms of worship, and there lives, and reigns, and rules the whole man into a fleshly obedience; and his coming or appearances are as Satan; that is, in spiritual wickedness, transforming himself into an angel of light, teaching, interpreting, revealing the mysteries of God in carnal reason and wisdom by natural parts and arts, not in the pure spirit and anointing of God, and so performing all things, in order to God and his worship, and communion with him, by lying signs and wonders, and all deceivableness of unrighteousness; for while the spirit of man, in its own wisdom and power, acts in the pretence of God and to God, and in the mighty working and power of Satan, it doth bring forth signs and wonders, even things wonderful in the eyes of the natural man; and such things as are very signs, very images, and shadows of spiritual things, though not the things themselves. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory - 1647}




Can the Free-grace of Jesus Christ tempt any one to sin of itself? Can a good Tree bring forth evil fruit? And shall we call every one Antinomian that speaks Free-grace, or a little more freely than we do? If any man sin more freely because of forgiveness of sins, that man may suspect himself to be forgiven; for in all Scriptures and Scripture-examples, the more forgiveness, the more holiness; Mary loved much, because much was forgiven to her; and righteous and holiness, blood and water, Jesus and Lord and Christ, called and justified, are still to be found together in the Word. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace or The Flowings of Christ’s Blood Free to Sinners, 1649}


Assurance in Christ Alone


This is the Scripture-assurance for a child of God, or believer, to see everything in himself as nothing, and himself everything in Christ. Faith is the ground of things hoped for, and the evidence of things unseen, Heb.11:1. All other assurances are rotten conclusions from the Word; and such things as true legal teachers have invented, not understanding the mystery of the Kingdom of Christ. The Scriptures bid you see nothing in yourself, or all as nothing. These teachers bid you see something in yourself; so as the leaving out Christ in sanctification, is the foundation of all doubts, fears, and distractions. And he that looks on his repentance, on his love, on his humility, on his obedience, and not in the tincture of the Blood of Christ, must needs believe weakly and uncomfortably. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Assurance in Christ Alone


Objection - You say, we are to try our Faith. Assertion: So say I too; but you would have the best assurance from trial; but so far I say not as you say, is that the best spiritual assurance that is from our own spirits in part, or from God’s alone? From our own reasoning, or His speaking? Can a spouse argue better the love of her friend from his tokens and bracelets, or from his own word, and letter, and seal? One of the three that bear witness on Earth is the Spirit, and in whom, after ye believe, ye were sealed with that Spirit of promise. Can any inference or consequence be drawn from Faith, Love, Repentance, or Obedience in us so assure us, as the breathing of Christ Himself, sealing, assuring, persuading, convincing, satisfying. “I will hear what God the LORD will speak; for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints.” A saint had rather hear that voice, than all its own inferences and arguments, which though they bring something to persuade, yet they persuade not so answerably till the voice speak from that excellent glory. John Saltmarsh {Shadows Flying Away, 1646}




Nor am I against Baptism by water, if administered according to the measure of light ye are under, and not in an Apostolical necessity and pressure, and as a dividing Ordinance to the unity of the Spirit of God in Christians. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory - 1647}


Believers Baptized into Christ


The Baptism of Christ, which is his own proper and Spiritual and only ministration, is that by which all true Christians are Baptized into fellowship with him, and oneness with him; and so becomes wholly washed in the New creature, or New man, or Baptized into the very Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of which that Baptism administered in gifts, or the Holy Ghost by the Apostles, more visibly was a sign. The Baptism of Christ, who is the Lord that Spirit {II Co 3:17 “Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”}, the Image of the invisible God, {Col 1:15  “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature”} the quickening Spirit, is that one Baptism spoken on in Ephes. 4 - One Lord, one faith, one Baptism, for Jesus Christ administering in himself, and his own Spiritual Nature, can only make us thus one with himself, and with his own body. The Baptism of Christ thus Administered in his own Spiritual Nature upon his, is that very Baptism by which we are in the fellowship of his sufferings and of his death; for as many as are baptized into Christ, are Baptized into his death, and as many as are baptized into Christ have put on Christ; so as this Baptism, by which we are all Baptized into Christ, and put on Christ and his death, is spiritual; for Christ cannot be truly put on, nor anything of his - his sufferings, death, or resurrection - but in Spirit and Truth, whereby we are truly crucified and dead with him, to ourselves and the world, and alive with him in one spirit; the same Spirit that raised up Jesus Christ shall also quicken our mortal bodies. The Baptism of Jesus Christ is that whereby we are baptized into his body; now his body is a Spiritual one, and fashioning like his glorious one, by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body. The Baptism of Christ is that whereby we are complete in him; now we are complete in him only by being one with him in Spirit and Nature; He being made unto us Righteousness and Sanctification &c. and thus we are said to be circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, and buried with him in baptism, wherein also we are risen with him through faith, or Spirit; so as we are Baptized in him as we are Circumcised in him; that is, we are all in him; and as the Circumcision is without hands, so is the Baptism, it being the Apostle's whole business in this Chapter to take us and the Colossians up higher than rudiments, which perish with using. The Baptism of Christ is that true spiritual washing and cleansing wherein all his are baptized, not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good Conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and this is the Baptism which is said in this place to save us, as Noah's Ark did those eight persons in figure, therefore saith the Apostle, the like figure whereunto Baptism doth now save us. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory - 1647}


Christ the Life of the Believer


There is a fulness, settlement, and establishment in truth, as in things of this world; there is a far more solid and real enjoyment in the substance of things here than in their shadows, counterfeits, or pictures, because there is a nature, or spirit and life in that thing to be enjoyed, that answers the spirit and life of him that enjoys, by communicating something substantial, solid, and proportionable than images and shadows are. So it is in the Truth, Jesus Christ, in whom is life, and more excellent, glorious, and spiritual form, or life, exceeding the nature of things here, and communicating more true and solid glory, than all things here, which are but as shadows to that, as other things are shadows to them; therefore, says David, “I shall behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness,” as if the face or likeness of God, which is Jesus Christ the image of the invisible God, could only satisfy; and the soul in such a prospect of light and glory is truly awakened, till when, it is but asleep and in dreams and visions of its own spirit, all the life and discoveries of sense and reason being but dreams rather than true awakenings; and therefore the more anyone hath seen of truth in Jesus, the more spiritually and highly they judge of all outward things, being not satisfied in the mere letter or form of them, but in the spirituality of them, and true life of them, which is Jesus Christ. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory, 1647}


Children of Wrath


Objection - God may be provoked to wrath by his Children. Assertion: I pray, Can God be as man is; can there be any variableness or shadow of change in Him? Can he love and not love? Doth he hate persons or sins? Is he said to chastise as a Father, otherwise than in expressions after the manner of men; because of the infirmities of our flesh. Must we conceive so of God as of one another? Can he be provoked for sins done away and abolished in Christ? Hath Christ taken away all the sin of his own? Hath he borne all upon his body or no? Speaks he of anger, in regards to His own, otherwise than by way of allusion  and allegory; as a Father &c. John Saltmarsh {Shadows Flying Away, 1646}


Christ the Life of the Believer


I have writ your name {Cromwell} to my Book that I may be one of your Remembrancers amongst the rest to the advancement of Truth; not but that they who know ye, know ye to be acted by a Spirit of Truth in yourselves. The Lord remember ye according to all the good ye have done {in your several Ministrations} to this people; and do that for ye which gives you most, and yet takes most from ye, even filling ye with himself, till he hath emptied ye of all but his own glory, and gathered ye up into the fullness and righteousness of Himself in Christ, where we are only nothing in our selves, and everything in Him; and surely the most, and best, and greatest thing he can do for the sons of men, is, thus to make them nothing in their own account, that he that glorieth may glory in the Lord. I may seem strange to wish ye thus; but I know it is not strange to ye, who know the Mystery of the Spirit, and of Christ. My Lord, and Sir, Go on still, yet still laying your designs in a glory above that of States and Kingdoms, and involving all your counsels there, where there is most of Heaven, and lest of the World. John Saltmarsh {In a Preface from the book SMOKE IN THE TEMPLE, dedicated to Lieutenant General Oliver Cromwell, and written in 1646}


Christ the Life of the Believer


A believer hath a twofold condition; {yet as a believer but one} in Christ, in himself; yet he ought ever to consider himself in Christ by faith, not in himself; in Christ he hath perfectly obeyed the whole Law, perfectly suffered and satisfied for all his sins to the Justice of God, and in Christ is perfectly just and righteous; and therefore it is said that our life is hid with Christ in God, and we are raised up with Christ, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, even already; but in himself there is a body of lust, corruption, and sin; and there is a Law revealing sin, accusing, and condemning; so as if a believer live only by sense, reason, and experience of himself, and as he lives to men, he lives both under the power and feeling of sin and the Law; but if he live by faith in Christ, believing in the life, righteousness, obedience, satisfaction, and glory of Him, he lives out of the power of all condemnation, and unrighteousness. And thus a believer is blessed only in a righteousness without, not within; and all his assurance, confidence, comforts, are to flow into him through a channel of faith, not of works, believing himself happy for what another, even Christ, hath done for him, not what he hath done or can do for himself. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Christ the Life of the Believer


All the ground of a believers righteousness and salvation, and exemption from the Law, sin, and the curse, is from the nature, office, and transaction or work of Christ, and Gods accounting, or imputing. Christ stood clothed in our nature, betwixt God and man, and in that with all the sins of believers upon him, God having laid on him the iniquities of us all. In his Office he obeyed, suffered, satisfied, and offered up himself, and now sits as a Mediator to perpetuate or make his sacrifice, obedience, suffering, and righteousness everlasting; and thus bringing in everlasting righteousness; and God accounts, reckons or imputes all that is done in our nature, as done by us, calling things that are not, as if they were; and in his person, as in our person; and thus he is made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Christ the Life of the Believer


A believer in all his dealings with God, either by Prayer, or other way of drawing near, is to state, and consider himself thus in Christ in the first place, and to put on the relation of sonship and Righteousness, and to look at or consider sins no otherwise in himself than as debts paid and cancelled by the blood of Christ; and by this all bondages, fears, and doubtings are removed, and his Spirit is free; for the Son hath made him free; and now he comes in the spirit of adoption, and calls God Father; and here begins all faith, hope, confidence, love, liberty, when as others dare not believe themselves in such a condition till upon terms of humiliation, sorrow for sin, works of righteousness, they have as they think, a reasonable measure, price, or satisfaction to come with, and then begin to believe, hope, and be confident; and thus in way of compounding and bargaining with God, deal with him at all occasions; but such submit not to the righteousness of God, and the free-gift of justification by grace, and give not glory to God; for they that believe upon something first in themselves, shall as they have kindled a fire, lie down in the sparks of their own kindling, and have nothing in Christ, because they will not have all in him; for we must either have all in Him, or nothing; and though some will have all in Christ for salvation, yet they will have something in themselves to believe their interest in this salvation; and though this be not to reject Christ for righteousness, yet it is to reject his free-promise or Word of assurance for this righteousness, and rather to be persuaded upon sight than faith, and sense than promise, and something in our selves them in Himself. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}




Objection - That we disdain those that bid men repent, and be humbled, and be sorry for sins, and pray, &c., as Legal Teachers. Assertion: If ye press repentance and humiliation legally, why wonder ye at such words as Legal Teachers? Will you do ill, and not be told of your faults? Must we prophesy smooth things to you, and say that ye are able Ministers of the New Testament, when we are persuaded that truth is detained in unrighteousness? We blame not any that bid men repent, or be sorry for sin, &c., be humble, &c., if they preach them as Christ and the Apostles did; as graces flowing from Him, and out of His fullness, and not as springings of their own, and waters from their own fountains; as if the teachers, like Moses, would make men believe that they could with such rods and exhortations, smite upon men’s hearts as upon rocks, and bring waters out of them, be they ever so hard and stony. We agree with you; that repentance, sorrow for sin, humiliation and self-denial are all to be preached, and shall contend with you, who preaches them most, and clearest; but then, because John said ‘Repent,’ and Christ said ‘Repent,’ and Peter said ‘Repent;’ are we to examine the mystery no further? Know ye not that the whole Scripture in its fullness and integrality reveals the whole truth; and must we not look out, and compare Scripture with Scripture, spiritual things with spiritual, and so finding out truth from the degrees, to the glory and fullness of it, preach it in the same glory and fullness as we find it? We hear Christ preaching before the Spirit was given, ‘Repent;’ and we find, when the Spirit was given, Christ is said to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins; and shall we not now preach Jesus Christ, and Repentance in Jesus Christ the Fountain of repentance, the Author of repentance, and yet preach repentance, and repentance thus, and repentance in the glory of it more? The Apostle in one place saith, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;’ and in another place, ‘He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith.’ Shall we not now preach Jesus Christ first; and Jesus Christ the Fountain, and Jesus Christ the Author of faith and believing, and yet preach faith; yea and thus preach faith, faith in the glory, faith in the revelation of it, faith from Christ, and faith in Christ? One Scripture tells us ‘godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, &c.’ And another tells us that, ‘they shall look on Him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, &c.’ Shall we not now preach sorrow for sin in relation to the sufferings of Christ; Christ piercing, and wounding, and melting the heart; Christ discovering sin, and pouring water upon dry ground? This is sorrow for sin in the glory of the Gospel. One Scripture bids, ‘He that will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross.’ Another saith, ‘It is He that worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure;’ and ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ Shall we not now preach Christ our strength, and Christ our self-denial; and is not this self-denial in the glory of the Gospel? So as the difference betwixt us is this; Ye preach Christ and the Gospel, and the graces of the Spirit in the parts as ye find it; we dare not speak the mystery so in pieces, so in half and quarter revealings; we see such preaching answers not the fullness of the Mystery, the riches of the Gospel, the glory of the New Testament. We find that in the fullness of the New Testament, Christ is set up as a Prince, as a King, as Lord, as a crown and glory to every grace and gift; nay, He is made not only righteousness, but sanctification too; and so we preach Him. Whereas to preach his riches without him, his graces by themselves single, and private; as, repent, and believe, and be humbled, and deny yourselves, ye make the gifts lose much of their glory; Christ of his praise, and the Gospel of its fullness. John Saltmarsh {Shadows Flying Away, or a reply to Master Gataker’s – [Thomas Gataker 1574-1654 Westminster Divine] - Answer to some passages in my book entitled Free-Grace, 1646}




Objection - 1. That John, Christ, and the Apostolic method were all one for matter and manner; for they all preached Faith and Repentance; and yet we are taxed for these things as Legalists by this Author. 2. John and the rest preached life and salvation upon condition of Faith, Repentance, and Obedience. Assertion: To the first, that I tax you for preaching Faith and Repentance, as the Apostles did, and John did, as Legalists. Nay, I tax ye only because ye preach it not as they did, according to the full revelation of it in the New Testament; but you preach it only as you find it in their summaries, and in the brief narration of their Doctrine; and this you ought not to do, if you will preach according to that glorious Analogy of the Gospel. - To the second; that Faith, Repentance, and Obedience, were conditions of life and salvation. Why keep you not to the Form of wholesome words in Scripture? Where doth the Scripture call these conditions of salvation? They that belong to Christ, do believe, and repent, and obey; but do they believe, repent, and obey that they may be Christs? Hath not God chosen us in Him, and predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ? But I know you will say; that when the Apostles did believe, repent, and obey, it is by consequence as much as a condition, and the same with a condition. But I answer: The interpreting the Spirit thus in the letter, and in consequence, hath much darkened the glory of the Gospel. When some of Christ’s Disciples took his words as you do, under a condition, ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man;’ &c., the words, saith he, that I speak are Spirit. Consider but what straits you bring the Gospel into. First, you make life appearing to be had in the Covenant of Grace; Do this, and live; so, believe, repent, obey and live; thus runs your Doctrine; nor can you with all your distinctions make Faith in this consideration, less than a work, and so put Salvation upon a condition of works again. Is this Free-Grace? But you say Faith is a gift freely given of God, and here is Free-grace still. Is this Free-grace indeed? All the works wrought in us are freely of God, and of free gift too, and we being wrought upon only from a gift given. Either place Salvation upon a free bottom, or else you make the New Covenant but an Old Covenant in new terms; instead of ‘do this and live,’ ‘believe this and live,’ ‘repent and live,’ ‘obey and live;’ and all this is for want of revealing the Gospel more fully. - Faith is of all Spiritual increasings in us, the most gloriously working towards Christ. Faith goes out, and Faith depends, and Faith lives in Christ, and Faith brings down Christ, and Faith opens the riches, and Faith fetches home all strength, comfort, glory, peace, promises. Faith hath so much put upon it, as becomes a stumbling stone, and a rock of offence to many. Justification, imputation of righteousness is put upon Faith; Salvation upon Faith as Christ’s Blood is put upon the Wine; and Christ’s body upon the bread; and yet neither the Wine nor the Bread is his Blood or his Body; no more than Faith is either Justification or Righteousness; but such a work as goes out most into Christ, and carries the soul into Him who is Righteousness and Justification to us. Gospel Truth would need no Divine revelation, if it were not thus ordered, and things so mingled, that the Spirit only could discern and distinguish. Do not the Papists stumble at Works? And why? Because they see not Faith for Works. And do not others stumble at Faith? And why? Because they see not Christ for Faith! John Saltmarsh {Shadows Flying Away, 1646}




Objection - That Christ and his Apostles never Preached Free-grace, without conditions, &c., on their parts. Assertion: I answer; they Preached Faith, and Repentance, and Obedience; but how? First; in degrees of Revelation, the Gospel came not all out at once in its glory; they preached them, but how? Not in parts, as we have their Doctrine, as you confessed they Preached them; but all along in the New Testament there is more of their glory and fullness revealed concerning them; so as the degrees of revealing, the parts or summaries of their Sermons, the fuller discovery in the whole New Testament, are those things you consider not, and they are the things we only consider, and so dare not Preach the Gospel so in halves, in parts and quarters as you do, and yet will not believe you do, which is so much worse, “Ye say ye see, and therefore your sin remaineth.” - Free Grace is of God in Jesus Christ; Prophets and Apostles are but dispensers of it, and Ambassadors of it, and Ministers of it; and yet Ambassadors not in the same habit; for the Prophets preached Grace in a rough and hairy garment, or, more legally; the Apostles in a more clear and bright habit, in the revelation of the mystery of Christ. The Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth by Jesus Christ. John Saltmarsh {Shadows Flying Away, 1646}




Objection - Christ bids us repent as well as believe; yea, first repent. Assertion: Yea, but will you take the Doctrine of the Gospel from a part, or summary of it, as you say, and not from the Gospel in its fullness, and glory, and Divine Revelation? Will ye gather Doctrines of Truth, as Ruth for a while did gleanings, here one ear of Corn, and there another; and not rather go to the full sheaf, to Truth in the Harvest and Vintage? Will you pluck up Truth by pieces and parcels, in Repentance, Obedience, and Self-denial; and not reveal these as Christ may be most glorified, and the saints most Sanctified, and these gifts most Spiritualized and improved? Will ye Preach Doctrines as they lie in the Letter, or in their analogy and inference of Truth? The Papists preach Christ very flesh and blood to be in the Wine; and why? Because they look but half way to the demonstration of Truth in the Spirit, they shut up Christ in one Notion and not in another, and so lose the Truth by revealing it in that Form of words which is too narrow for it, and too short of the height, and depth, and length of it. John Saltmarsh {Shadows Flying Away, 1646}


Contemplation of Christ


There is not anything of Jesus Christ, but it should be matter for a believers faith to be exercised in; from his divine nature to his incarnation, and so to his exaltation; that they may be able to comprehend with all Saints, the height, and depth, and breadth of the love of God; for God was infinitely influencing into every passage of his birth, his growing up, his infancy, his circumcision, his baptism, his preaching, his praying, his temptations, his fasting, his obedience to the whole Law, his sufferings, his reproaches, his poverty, his humiliation, his bloody sweating, his judgment and Judges, his condemnation, his crucifying, his piercing, his nailing, his drinking Vinegar and Gall, his strong cries and tears, his crown of thorns, his blood flowing out from his feet, hands, and side, his giving up the ghost, his death, burial, resurrection, ascension, exaltation, and sitting on the right hand of God, his Priesthood, Mediation, Intercession and Dominion. There is infinite virtue in all these, and the Gospel is made up of these; in these are those unsearchable riches of grace, love, and Redemption. These are to be the subjects of every believers meditation, and he is to seek into the spiritual extent of these, and deepness of these. Out of these he is to draw strength, power, love, holiness, spiritualness, regeneration, mortification, new obedience, faith, repentance, humiliation, meekness, temperance, &c. Christ and everything of Christ, is to be matter for him, and meditation for him. These are those ministerial and instrumental means of grace and life to sinners; not an historical use of these, but a believing use, a relying, resting, comforting, spiritualizing use. These were all but parcels of the work of redemption, but parts of the whole; and to all these, there is an infinite depth. It is not enough to look on Jesus Christ in his single person glorified and exalted, but to study every part and parcel, and passage of Jesus Christ; and thus to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Contending for the Faith



And for your desire rather to deal with Bellarmine {Robert Bellarmine 1542-1621: Italian Jesuit and a Cardinal of the Romish Church} than me; I did not think I had been so formidable an enemy; but I will not presume. Indeed, Bellarmine is a more easy adversary, because he opposes the Truth; and I, though a weak one, may be more considerable, because Truth defends me, rather than I the Truth; for I will rather make it my Champion, than myself a Champion for it. And for my new-sprung notions {as you say;} you can never call it out of its own nature or essence; for Truth is God’s own Notion; neither mine nor yours; and new only to the old man, not to him who after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Nor am I less a Disputant in Divinity, because against Forms of Art and Logic ({as you say} for I may dispute in Christ’s School, though refused in the School of Tyrannus. And if you will challenge me in any point of Philosophy, I shall not refuse you there in Logic or Forms of Art. They are Forms only for the wisdom of men, not the wisdom of God. Nor dare I take my discoveries of Christ from Reason, nor seek the glory of Him in Forms so much below him, and fashion the Creator like to the creature, who is God blessed forever. You and I must die more to vain Philosophy, to the wisdom of the Greek, to the rudiments of the world. I allow learning its place anywhere in the kingdoms of the world, but not in the Kingdom of God. As for my being an Antinomian, If to say we serve not in the oldness of the Letter, but in the newness of the Spirit; If to say, The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth by Jesus Christ; If to say, We are not under the Law, but under Grace; If to say, We are delivered from our enemies, that we might serve Him without fear, in holiness, and righteousness; If to say, The Commandment is holy, just and good; If to say, Shall we sin that Grace may abound? God forbid. If this be Antinomianism, I am one of that sort of Antinomians, I know no other for my part, though you have filled the world with a noise; if this be Heresy, so worship we the God of our Fathers; nor have I miss-quoted any, but only singled out that truth from many, in one leaf, before they spoiled it in the next, and like Pilate, who asking only what truth was, would not tarry by it, but departed. John Saltmarsh {An End of One Controversy, 1646}


Covenant of Grace


God makes no Covenant properly under the Gospel as he did at first; but his Covenant now is rather all of it a Promise. Man is not restored in such a way of Covenant and condition as he was lost, but more freely, and more by grace and mercy; and yet God covenants too, but it is not with man, but with him that was God and man, even Jesus Christ; he is both the Covenant, and the Messenger or Mediator of the Covenant. God agreed to save man, but this agreement was with Christ, and all the conditions were on his part. He stood for us, and articled with God for us, and performed the conditions for life and glory; and yet because we are so concerned in it, it is called a Covenant made with us, “I will make a new Covenant with them;” and yet that it may not be thought a Covenant only with us, as the first was, it is called a new Covenant, and a better Covenant; and Christ is called the Mediator of it. And lest we should think some conditions were on our part, it is added, “I will write my Law in their hearts, I will put my spirit within them.” So as in this new Covenant, God is our God of free-grace and righteousness on his part, not for any conditional righteousness on ours; yet in Scripture it is called still a Covenant, because God is our God still in a way of righteousness, though of Redemption too, and of condition too; yet not on ours, but on Christ’s part for us; and yet it is a Covenant with us, because we belong to Christ. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Covenant of Grace


God takes us into Covenant, not upon any condition in us before; he brings with him Christ, and in him all the conditions, and makes us as he would have us; not for the Covenant, but in it, or under it; we are not his people before he be our God first. I will make a new Covenant with thee, I will be thy God, and thou shalt be my people. I will write my Law in your hearts, and put my spirit within you. Heb.8:10. “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Divine Inspiration of Holy Scripture


Why should it not be thought the most direct way for God to manifest Himself to man but by Word, Gospel, and Epistle; and so by an infinite and invisible power and hand commend and convey it from age to age, from generation to generation, as well as for men to make out their art, reason, knowledge, experience into books and words written, to their own and other generations? - The very manner of dispensation or writing, is such as hath the authority, power, wisdom, counsels of God, the whole business of it being a work discovered to be begun by God, and amongst men, to set forth the glory of God; the mercy, love, and wisdom of God; and the way by the Son of God, and Spirit of God, and all to be glorified with God; and thus treating only of things divine, and a work divine, in a way divine. - The Holy Scriptures carry things in such a rare way of mercy, of justice, of love, of piety; and as it is a salvation from God to man, so it is a salvation managed by One who is God and Man; and everything belonging to it, is accordingly mixed or tempered, of Word and Spirit, of power divine and outward dispensation, or ordinance; and all this for man who is of a mixed nature of flesh and spirit. Thus things are carried in a way of proportion and suitableness, so full, so suitable, and complete, and serviceable, as the invention of men could never devise. John Saltmarsh {Smoke in the Temple, 1646}


Divine Inspiration of Holy Scripture


The Word of the Lord is accompanied by continued or standing miracles, though miracles of a more spiritual nature, as discovery of the counsels and hearts of men, as conversion from sin, mortification of sin, changing temperaments from evil to good, planting in new dispositions, inclinations, affections into the soul. Now, if such changes and conversions were in material or sensible things, as from water to blood, from water to wine, how would it astonish? - The Word itself is the best way to bring in evidence and discovery in its own behalf to the souls of those that are brought under the power, operation, and experience of it, under the enlightening, convictions, impressions of it, in the reading, hearing, and meditating of it. These things are written that ye may believe. And being thus expressed are above all miracle, and are persuaded enough by itself without the help of an outward work. John Saltmarsh {Smoke in the Temple, 1646}


Everlasting Love of God in Christ


The mercies of God are called sure mercies, his love an everlasting love, his Covenant an everlasting Covenant; I am persuaded, saith Paul, that neither death nor life, nor principalities, nor powers, &c. shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. So then, to whom he is once merciful he is ever merciful; whom he once loves he ever loves; whom he once takes into Covenant, he is ever theirs. I am the Lord, I change not. Whom the Father loves, he loves in the Son in whom he is well pleased; and his Son is always alike beloved of him; the same yesterday and today, and forever; and whom he loves in his Son, he accounts as his son; he is made unto us righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; so as we being not beloved for our own sakes, but for the Sons, nothing in us can make God love us less because he loves us not for ourselves, nor anything in ourselves, but in and through his Son in whom he is well pleased. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Everlasting Love of God in Christ


The Prophet sets forth God rather at first in mercy and compassion to us, none eye pitied thee, to have compassion of thee; when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thy blood, I said unto thee Live, Ezek.16:6. And the Apostle calls us vessels of mercy, that he might make known the riches of his glory on his vessels of mercy. Rom.9:23. So as in this manner of revealing the infinite work of Salvation, we may be better satisfied, than by going out into the glory of Gods counsels, where we may lose ourselves rather in the fullness of Truth than find any. So as thus God hath drawn out things more to our reason; for how can we think God who is infinitely pure, whose eyes are purer than to behold iniquity, can love a sinner as a sinner? All love is from something amiable in the thing loved; but what is there in man fallen, and corrupted, for God to love or delight in, to make his delight with the sons of men; where is the comeliness? Therefore God must from mere grace more properly than love, order some righteousness or new glory for man; in which, he may beautify, adorn, and love him. And this is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, in which we are said to be chosen and predestinated to the adoption of sons. Thus God in free-grace had mercy on us, and gave Christ for us; and in him we are made capable of the love of God, and accepted in the Beloved, Eph.1:6. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}




“For the just shall live by Faith,” which is not a life by sense and sanctification, but a life by believing for life in Another, in Christ; and therefore our life is said to be hid with Christ, and Christ is called our life; “when Christ who is our life, &c.” John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Faith & Believing


Salvation is not made any puzzling work in the Gospel; it is plainly, easily, and simply revealed; Jesus Christ was crucified for sinners; this is salvation, we need go no further; the work of salvation is past, and finished; sins are blotted out; sinners are justified by Him that rose for justification. And now if you ask me what you must do to be saved, I answer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29. “This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.” I Jn.3:23. That is, that ye be persuaded of such a thing, that Christ was crucified for sins, and for your sins; and we are called on to believe, because they only that can believe, are justified; “By him all that believe are justified.” Acts 13:39. So as salvation is not a business of our working, and doing; it was done by Christ with the Father; sin, and Satan, and Hell, were all triumphed over by Christ Himself openly for us; and all our work is no work of salvation, but in salvation; in the salvation we have by Christ, we receive all, not doing anything that we may receive more, but doing because we receive so much. This is short work, Believe and be saved; and yet this is the only Gospel-work and way. Christ tells ye in few words, and his Apostle in as few; “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. {John 3:14,15} Paul tells you, “Say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into heaven; that is, to bring Christ down from above; or, who shall descend into the deep; that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead. But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved, &c. {Rom.10:6-9} So as here is but looking up on Jesus Christ, and salvation is in thy soul; and believing with thy heart, and thou art saved; thou wert saved by Christ before, but now in thy self. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Faith & Repentance


In the Gospel-way or Dispensation, faith and repentance is to be preached, but Jesus Christ still with it. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” And you are not to consider repentance apart from believing, nor believing apart from repentance, nor either as separated from Jesus Christ, nor Jesus Christ without them; and yet neither of them as bringing in Christ to the soul, but Christ bringing in them, and working them more and more in the soul; for Christ is not ours by any act of our own but Gods, God imputing and accounting. To make Christ ours is an Almighty work, and not the work of anything created; so as Christ is ours without faith, by a power more glorious and infinite; but we cannot here know him to be ours but by believing; nor partake of him as ours but by believing. If faith should give us our interest in Christ, then as our faith increases, our interest should increase, and we should be more and more justified and forgiven, which none allow, calling these other acts of faith - faith of assurance, and acts of manifestation; and if faith be thus in its other degrees of working, why not in its first? It is the evidence of things unseen, Heb.11. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Faith & Repentance


Objection - The sum of my Divinity is, that men may be saved whither they Repent or no, or believe or no. Assertion: Should I say to you, The sum of your Divinity is this; That Faith, Repentance and Obedience are helps with Christ, and conditions with Christ to mans salvation; and that salvation is not free, but conditional; the Covenant of Grace is as it were a Covenant of Works? Should I do well in this to upbraid you and those of your way? Say not then that I think men may be saved that never repent nor believe. Why do you thus set up and counterfeit opinions, and then engrave our names upon them? Could not I piece up your book so {if I would be unfaithful} as make ye appear as great an heretic as any whom you thus fancy; because I preach not Repentance, or Faith as you do; because I make all these as gifts from God’s love in Christ, not as gifts to procure us God, or his love, or Christ; because I make all these the fruits of the Spirit, given to such whom Christ hath suffered for, to such whom God hath chosen in Him; because I preach Faith, Repentance and Obedience in that full Revelation in which they are left as in the New Testament. Brethren must ye forbid us to Preach, because we follow not with you, because we Preach not the Law as ye do, nor Faith as ye do, nor Repentance as ye do? Therefore do we not preach them at all? We Preach them all, as we are persuaded the New Testament and Spirit will warrant us, and as we may make Christ to be the power of all, and fullness of all, as we may exalt Him whom God hath exalted at his own right hand. And we wish that ye and all that hear us, were both almost, and altogether as we are, except in reproaches. John Saltmarsh {Shadows Flying Away, 1646}


Free & Sovereign Grace in Christ


We find the Scriptures set forth God in a notion of Free-grace; and therefore we must so order our apprehensions and conceptions of God, that we may know him in his Free-grace, as well as in his Love, and look on him and consider him in this order of working. God first and more properly, had mercy upon man fallen and under the curse; and he is called a God showing mercies, and great in mercy, and rich in mercy, and plenteous in mercy, abundant in mercy, and Father of mercies, and the Lord God merciful and gracious. So as sinful man, who by the power of sin and the curse, was under condemnation {for death entered by sin,} yet by a power more infinite than that of sin and the curse, was raised up to be the subject of this mercy. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}




Wherever there is any appearance of God in mercy, or grace, or love, there is Gospel; and wherever there is any Gospel, there are such expressions and appearances of God. As in the Old Testament we find him under these names, the Lord thy God, the Lord, the Lord merciful, and gracious, long suffering, and of much goodness; a Lord passing by the transgression of his people, loving His freely, counting them the Apple of his eye, the signet upon his hand, his Jewels, his Vineyard, his Children. And in the New Testament, where God appeared in the fullness of love, there he is called a Father of mercies; and his grace, free-grace; and his love, a love manifested, and unsearchable. And thus the soul is to look on him, and consider him in grace, not in glory; in love, not in righteousness; and this is that which will draw on the soul to have communion with him. We have only to do with him now in the Gospel appearances and expressions. In our first man Adam we had to do with him only in a way of subjection and righteousness; but now in our second Adam, in a way of sonship, or adoption, and free-grace. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Gospel Assurance in Christ Alone


The stream of the Word runs all against our own righteousness. But you will say, What are all the divers Scriptures which set us upon trial and examination of our faith and works? I answer; There is another kind of analogy and rule to interpret these by more principal, and not of assurance for salvation. These are rather marks for others, than ourselves, to know us by; as in the Epistles of John and James, &c. And for those other few Scriptures they are rather to be interpreted to the testimony of the Spirit of God witnessing and persuading, than to the mixed, spiritually carnal works of our obedience and holiness, which can give but a mixed act of assurance at the best, being of a mixed nature of flesh and spirit. But you will say; What way of assurance would you commend to a soul thus troubled? I answer; Christ in the Word and Promise to believe in for assurance. This was that way the Lord himself commended to his Disciples; as to Peter, when he knew he should deny him, and foretold him of it, and knew how it would discourage him and wound him; yet he puts not Peter to this course, saying, Peter, thou art an holy, obedient, loving Apostle; remember this to comfort thyself under thy denial. But he says; Peter, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. And thus he laid him in an encouragement from a word or promise to believe by, and not from anything in himself; and so to his Disciples when he was to leave them, he laid them not in assurances thus; O my Disciples, though I am from you, yet ye have been thus and thus penitent, humble, loving, obedient; and let this be your ground and assurance when I am gone. But he lays in words and promises; You believe in God, believe also in me, I will send the Comforter, and I will see you again. And these are the grounds for their assurance to believe by; and this was Abraham’s way; He believed the promise in hope against hope. And so all that walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace, 1649}


Gospel Glory of Christ


The Gospel is everlasting, for it is the tidings and Revelation of God, in love, grace, or mercy to his own; or God manifested in flesh, or making his Tabernacle with men. This Gospel, which is no other than the mystery of Salvation, revealed or declared in Spirit to men, is clothed in several administrations, as that of the Old Testament and the New, the Scriptures of both being the Revelation of heavenly things by earthly or created things, or by natural forms and expressions, so as the letter is a parable, figure or allegory, by which spiritual things are spoken and brought forth amongst men; they are they which testify of Christ. “Hitherto I have spoken to you in Proverbs,” &c. The Scriptures or writings of the everlasting Gospel, are the true scriptures, as they are the very Image and Letter of the Mystery of Salvation, or of spiritual things, or the mind of God, or as they are in that pure and spiritual Order and form of words to truth itself; not as they are merely in their grammatical construction and sense or common reading, which any that understand the Hebrew or Greek may receive, and therefore the Scriptures according to such or such interpretations and consequences of men, are not to be imposed as mere things of faith and fundamentals, but so far as the spirit of God reveals them to be that very truth and mind of God in those who receive them, else they are received and acknowledged for the Authority, and reputation of men, not of God; therefore Christ told the Pharisees they erred, not knowing the Scriptures, and yet they had the Scriptures, and read them, and understood them in the letter, but not in the Spirit. The Gospel being thus distinguished into the spiritual nature of it, and into the administration with which it is clothed. Nothing is pure, spiritual, divine Gospel, but that which is light, life, glory, spirit, or God revealed. Whatsoever is of mere letter, form, Ordinance, is of the administration or Gospel-clothing and appearance, as to men and as in the flesh, things that are seen are temporal, things that are not seen are eternal. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory, 1647}


Gospel Mortification


I speak here, you see, to further and advance a Gospel-mortification, or a dying to sin in the power and life of Christ, as well as the spiritual nature or new man; but I would not have the power of mortification and conversion from sin, mistaken to be in the not acting such or such a particular sin which was acted before, or merely in the particolored change or inchoative sanctification only; we know what an overvaluing of that hath brought, because such a mortification is too low and legal for pure believers; but in that implantation and mystical engrafting the soul into the glorious fellowship of Christ his death, &c. As for instance; We put not a mans living and excellency of reason in an outward motion of the body, or some one or two reasonable words spoken, but in the life, and soul, and glorious spirit within him. We put not the glory of the light in the windows or panes of glass where it shines, and clearly too; but in the body of the Sun, the Fountain of light below. So pure and spiritual mortification, is radically or principally in our fellowship and union with Him who killed sin in our nature in the body; and thus we are spiritually and mystically dead to sin, and that corruption which is within us, will not be able to live long under the power of such a spiritual death and nature as Christ’s is, but will waste and die daily; though still pure mortification consists not principally in the not indwelling of corruption, but in our implantation into fellowship with Christ; for if such dying of corruption were true mortification, then they that are dead in the grave and can sin no more actually, or they that are on their sick bed and disabled to former sins, are mortified persons. No, it is an higher mystery to be mortified to sin, than to not sin or not act corruption, or to be spiritually changed by the spirit, or spiritual nature within. Nor can any interpret, as if they that were thus spiritually mortified, need not strive against sin or the strength, or the growing of it in the flesh or nature. No, that would be a contradiction, and is an impossibility; for the cherishing corruption and fomenting or nourishing sinful nature, will no more stand with such a spiritually, mystically mortified believer, than liberty to sin will stand with assurance of pardon for sin in the same child of God. Show me any taken into the fellowship of Christ’s death that can make such provision for sin. I speak not of some particular acts, and that is the reason we read in Scriptures of so little conversation in sin, or continuing in sin in the saints & former believers; nor do the Scriptures put the form of sin or wickedness upon particular acts of sin, calling David an evil man for his uncleanness, or Job for his passions, or Moses for his unbelief, or Peter for his denial, but upon sinful and unregenerate nature, as in Cain, Esau, Jeroboam, Ahab, Judas; such are wicked men in the Scriptures account, who are wicked by nature, not from any particular action. A Tree is not evil, because it bears evil fruit, but because it is naturally an evil Tree. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Gospel Mortification


Now that power wherein we are perfectly mortified, is our union with Christ, our being planted in the fellowship of his death, &c., and that wherein we are imperfectly, or in part mortified, is in that transformed nature, or spiritual nature, the body of sin being in a believer more or less, till he lay down this body, and take it up a more glorious one. So as a believer is to consider himself dead to sin only in the fellowship of Christ’s death mystically, and to consider himself only dying to sin in his own nature spiritually; so as in Christ he is only complete, and in himself imperfect at the best. We are complete in Him, saith the Apostle, Col.2:10. Yet there is such a power, and efficacy, and mighty working in this mystical union and fellowship with Christ, that he shall find sin dying in him from this, the spirit working most in the virtue of this; this being like the spice or the spirit of the wine that makes it powerful and quick. Therefore we are said to be risen with Christ and to die with Christ, and our life to be hid in Christ, Col.3:1-3. Christ being the life, power, virtue, and energy of the spirit; and the more of Christ we take against sin, the greater and surer will our Victory against corruption and sin be. And this would be well observed by those that are a little legally biased, or carried to mortify sin by vows, promises, shunning occasions, removing temptations, strictness and severity in duties, fear of hell and judgments, scarce rising so high for their mortification as Christ. Now these in themselves are but empty, weak means of prevailing against sin, like the mighty sails of a ship without either wind or tide; many of those do well in their place and order, like oars in a boat, which though it be carried with the tide, if well managed, they may help it to go the faster; as that of shunning occasions, strictness & severity in duties, and watchfulness. But it is Christ crucified, which is the power of all, and in all; it is Christ lifted up as Moses lifted up the Serpent, which strikes in more soundness into the wounded beholder, than any other merely legal way or experiment, wherein many believers have toiled and carnally fished all their time for power over some corruptions; and like Peter and the rest, have caught little or nothing, because Jesus Christ was not in the company. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Gospel Ordinances


Let us seek for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, to open to us the Mystery of the Scriptures called The Revelation; for in that Book is the Prophecy of the Churches laid up, and the seasons and times for Truth revealed. Let us search and seek out by the Spirit of Jesus, even that Jesus which was in the Vision, and gave it out to John; for there is none found worthy to open the Book with Seals, but the Lamb. Surely in the Mystery of Angels, Vials, Sea of glass with fire, Temple with Smoke, the Angel with the everlasting Gospel, the Angel enlightening the Earth, the Whore in scarlet and precious pearls, the Cup of Abomination, the Beast like a Lamb, the Image of the Beast, the Horns and Kings of the Earth, the mark in the forehead and in the right hand, the buying and selling, the Tabernacle of God with men, the first and second Resurrection, the Throne of God, the pure crystal River of Water, the Holy Jerusalem descending from God, &c. In these is much of the glory wrapped up, and from these shall the Truth we contend for, appear to our further enlightening. We that are thus contenders for Ordinances, for the Temple and the Vessels in it, let us take heed we forget not him who is greater than the Temple; for one greater than the Temple is here. It would be spiritually considered, that while we strive for the Vessels and Cups, we spill not the Wine. And it ought to be so carried by all of us; that, because we are so much in opinion, we may not be thought to place Religion there, as I fear too many do, making a Christ of the very Ordinance of Christ, and pressing some outward Ordinances of the Gospel so legally; as some hearing such a power of salvation put into them, and finding an outward dispensation more easily got than the spiritual, make haste thither only, and then sit down as saved under a mere outward Ordinance. The Lord grant that we may neither undervalue an Ordinance nor the least Institution of Jesus Christ, nor raise it up into a Jesus Christ, and set up the Law above or beside the Law-giver. We must now learn to know Jesus Christ less after the flesh, and not to embody salvation in a mere outward dispensation, and so incarnate Jesus Christ over again from the glory and spirituality he is in. John Saltmarsh {Smoke in the Temple, 1646}


Gospel Ordinances


Jesus Christ hath appeared more of late, and his glory hath been more abroad, than this Kingdom ever saw before; and indeed Antichrist goes never rightly down, but when Christ is lifted up; and if Jesus Christ had been more in the divinity of these latter times, and in their preachings for Reformation, and Moses less, we had not only had more of His grace, but more of His glory than we yet see. Yet I do not see that the power of Christ crucified, is so abroad among believers as it should be; but some several Ordinances are rather the business of this age. Yet thus it hath been always, whenever there were any shadows or carnal Ordinances, believers went more after them, than Christ himself. Under the Law it was so, and under the Gospel it is so; some outward truths of Christ are sought after more than Christ himself, and we make more of the beams than the Sun of righteousness, and rather warm ourselves by the sparks than the fire; like those Soldiers who cast lots for his Garments, but let his Body alone upon the Cross; not but that everything of Christ is precious, yet nothing so precious as Himself. So as these things ought we to have done, and not to leave the other undone. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}




Heresy which was judged by the Apostles accordingly, was a choice of something contrary to the faith and sound doctrine of Holy Scriptures delivered by inspiration or in Spirit and Truth; so as Heresy is something against the very Doctrine of Faith in the Word or Scriptures, not against any interpretations, doctrines, conclusions, glosses, comments, or preachings of men, who speak not Scripture, nor the word of truth originally nor infallibly, as the Apostles did; but so far as that is the very Scripture they speak, and so far as they speak the truth in Jesus;  and in the Spirit of God, else they teach for Doctrines the traditions of men. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory - 1647}


Holy Scripture


That the Scriptures of the Gospel, or New Testament, are of such a Divine and even Spiritual glory in the letter, as no other word. There is a power to discover the reason and secrets of the heart, which the reason and heart of man witnesses unto. There is a power to convince, to accuse, to terrify, to comfort; as clearly, undeniably and experimentally known. These Scriptures we have, as they are, do make a Discovery of such a way of Religion as reason never yet in any age attained to. The men of purest reason, as your old Philosophers, never attained further than the knowledge of something infinite which they did not know, and a Religion of human or moral righteousness and purity, and some sacrifices of atonement, &c. And there is not any Religion in the world, Jewish or Turkish, but they are made up of carnal principles, and are founded upon reason and nature; but this Gospel-Religion hath opened a new way of righteousness in One that is both God and Man in a most rational, though infinite way of salvation, and a way of Worship contrary to all methods and ways of reason, and the world, opening new ways by a new Spirit, purifying natural reason into more divine and glorious notions than ever it yet attained, bringing in a way of believing, and placing a Religion upon a spiritual persuasion called Faith, which is more proportionable to an infinite God, and an infinite way and depth of salvation, than reason ever invented, viz., for the soul to believe upon One, even Jesus Christ, in whom God hath laid up all love and fullness; and so for man to become one with Him who is God and Man; and there cannot be a more rational way for man to become one with God, than by One who is both God and Man. That the Scriptures or Gospel of the New Testament being as many hundred years old as from the Apostles, even in that Original we have them, no very material differences in Copies, as it seems; and though they have passed through the great Apostasy, yet they have not had the power to corrupt them materially in their Original, to advantage their heresies and corruptions; which very constant Preservation of Truth in the midst of the very Enemies of Truth, is both a constant and standing miracle of itself; and so we need not stay for a Ministry with miracle, being we have a Word with miracle, which in its matter, subject, power, speaking of God, of his Son, God and Man, of his Spirit, of the depths, windings, and workings of reason, &c., is of as much efficacy to persuade as anything else we can have; and the way of the pure Spirit is a more glorious way of operation than any other of a visible sensual nature. And God may be more glorified by quickening and spiritualizing a word, and using the spiritually glorious Ministry of that, than of man; and they are far too low who look for their original teachings from man, and not from the Word and Spirit. John Saltmarsh {Smoke in the Temple, 1646}




The Lord Jesus hath a day and time to be revealed in, which is his coming in the Saints, when he will judge the World, and then shall Antichrist be consumed, and the flesh of the whore, or Babylon in all administrations shall be tormented and burnt with fire, and not a little one of Babylon shall be spared, but dashed against the stones, not the purest Idols she hath, even Idols of gold and silver, with all her merchandize, pearls, and precious stones, and cinnamons and odours, and frankincense, all things of false worship &c.,  and administration, though very sweet and precious in the judgment of flesh and blood. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory, 1647}




A person justified or in Covenant, is as pure in the sight of God as the righteousness of Christ can make him, {though not so in his own eyes, that there may be work for faith,} because God sees His children only in Christ, not in themselves; and if they were not in such a perfect righteousness, they could not be loved of him, because his eyes are purer than to behold iniquity, or to love a sinner as a sinner. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Justification in Christ Alone


Faith they {gospel conditionalists} say, is a grace wrought by the Spirit of God, whereby a believer rests upon Jesus Christ for justification, and this they call faith of adherence; and when this faith works through love, obedience, self-denial, and other fruits, they call it the faith of assurance; for they say, assurance is obtained through the Spirit of God bearing witness in promises and good works, as well as by itself; and faith working thus, is sanctification too, or holiness wrought by graces. - We look not on justification as flowing from Christ acted upon by the faith of a believer first, and so a consequent of believing or of faith, but an antecedent or going before faith; we hold Jesus Christ to be righteousness and justification to a sinner, and that all are justified before they believe or repent; faith and repentance are fruits of righteousness or justification, Christ being given to open the eyes of the blind, and to bring the prisoners out of prison &c., and that all such righteousness and justification clothes the sinner so completely through God’s imputation, that all sin is done away like a thick cloud, and none imputed to believers; Christ hath taken away all sin by his offering up one sacrifice once for all; and that faith in the believer doth nothing, no not instrumentally as to justification, but as by way of revelation and manifestation of that justification - all this righteousness and justification we take upon the account merely of God’s imputation, of Christ without us, or in heaven, who calleth things that are not as if they were; and we look upon all works and duties, &c. as works flowing from love, and from justification or righteousness, not directed to justification or in any order to it; we believe, repent, love, and obey not that we may be saved, but because we are saved; and any other way of believing, obeying, &c. we look upon as legal, and not so purely evangelical; and we hold forth all the work of justification and righteousness to be of mere grace, and that all Gospel promises are free; and Christ is freely offered to sinners as sinners, in the ministery of the Word. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory - 1647}


Kingly Office of Christ


Christ is a King to the Nations, and to the Church; nor doth He rule the Nations as the Church, nor the Church as the Nations; he rules ministerially in his Church, and monarchically in the Nations; he rules with a golden Scepter in his Church, with an Iron Rod in the Nations; nor doth Christ rule as the kings of the Nations, who finding people rude, barbarous, uncivil, subdue them into obedience and civility; but so doth not Christ in his Church. It is true, Christ is an Head, but not an Head to everybody; he will have a body proportionable to his Headship both here and hereafter, in earth as well as in heaven; he is a pure, holy, glorious Head in his Gospel dispensation, and will have a body suitable pure. Not only is the visible body of Christ thus pure, but every truth of Christ bears the Image of Christ; every truth of His hath something of himself in it who is Truth itself; I am the Truth, saith Christ; every beam of light is light; every truth is a sparkle of truth itself. Thus we may judge of truth, by what of Christ we see in it. They who break a crystal, may see their face in every piece and parcel; so in everything of Christ there is an Image of Christ, either of his purity, or holiness, or love, or humility, or meekness, &c. John Saltmarsh {Smoke in the Temple, 1646}


Law & Gospel Distinctions


I observe, that the calling and conversion which souls have in a legal-Gospel-way, not from a pure and clear apprehension of Jesus Christ revealed in the Gospel, Covenant, or Promises; though there may be truth in such a calling, and Christ received; yet the manner being not in the way of pure Gospel-revelation, the soul may be exceedingly puzzled and perplexed; so though Christ may be truly there, yet being not in a Gospel-form, but a legal, the soul may mistake and lose the knowledge of Christ, as when Christ was in the habit of a Gardener, many knew Him not; and when He walked with the two Disciples to Emmaus, they knew Him not. And thus many under the Law, though they had Christ as truly then as now, yet not in that form, not manifested in the flesh, and the free Promises, as now; and Christ observes this to His Disciples, “Ye believe in God,” says He, implying how their Faith was more carried out to God as then, then to Himself; and therefore He adds, “Believe also in me,” that is, ‘Now let me manifested in the flesh be the truth whom you believe.’ John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Law & Gospel Distinctions


I know the Divinity of some former ages to these present times, made up all their receipts for distempered souls of so much Law, and so much Gospel, and usually but a grain or dram of Gospel to a pound of Law; not being then clear enough in judgment, to unmingle things which Antichrist had confounded and put together, as the two Testaments, and two Covenants, and not rightly discerning Christ’s manner or way of preaching, and the Apostles, both in their holding forth Law and Gospel. Now we know that the Apostle saith, “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Gal.3:2. And therefore, they that would make the Law the Ministry of life, and of the Spirit, are not of such a spiritual discerning as the Lord hath now revealed; and such put a soul upon a legal method of conversion, or coming to Christ. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Law and Gospel Distinctions


Gospel-Commandments and Legal Commandments, do not command in the same power, in the same manner, or to the same end. The Law commands us to obey, to love, to fear, to be holy, that God may be our God, and we his people; the Gospel commands us to obey and love, because we are the people of such a God. The Law commands us in the power of God as a Lawgiver, and Tutor, or Minister; the Gospel in the power of a Father; the Law commands by promises and threatenings, blessings and cursings; the Gospel persuades rather than commands, and rather by promises; and exhorts rather than bids, and reasons us to duty rather than enforces, and rather draws us than drives us; and by setting forth promises, and privileges, and prerogatives, and works done on God’s part, and Christ’s part for us, and in love, rather argues us into doing and working, and loving reflections again; and Christ is chiefly propounded, both for holiness and obedience, for mortification and newness of life; so as the Gospel commands us rather by pattern than precept, and by imitation than command. Heb.12:1-3. The end of the Law was to bondage, fear, tutorship, revealing of sin, outward obedience and conformity. The end of Gospel-laws is to love, newness of spirit, praise and thanksgiving for righteousness and life received, and testimony to our righteousness received in Christ. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” {II Cor.7:1} And thus, Christ’s yoke is easy, and his burden light, and his Commandments are not grievous; for they are Commandments that carry life and power, and quicken to that duty they command, like the Sun who warmeth us in the very shining upon us; and we work, and walk and live under the Gospel, as being saved already, and redeemed, and bringing forth the power of this redemption and salvation, though the spirit of adoption, freely working to the praise of that free-grace, and freely obeying for such free redemption, and doing everything in love, because of the love shed abroad in our hearts; and neither taking in judgments, nor hell, or damnation; nay, nor Heaven, nor glory, to force on the work, or quicken the duty; but doing all from the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Law and Gospel Distinctions


So as Gospel-times have the substance and body of Christ, and all that belongs to Christ; the Gospel-ministry hath the flowings of the Spirit Acts 2:17,18, hath power and life in it, to change the soul from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord, {II Cor.3:18, John 5:25,} hath spiritual freedom to set souls at liberty from death and the curse; and everlasting righteousness is brought in, {Dan.9:24,} and the fullness of age is come, so as the severity of the Law, the Schoolmaster, hath done whipping us; we are now under grace, {Gal.4:5,6,} the Gospel-ministry hath Jesus Christ himself, no sign of him, no type of him; here is no sacrifice now, no Moses now, but the very Son of God, and with Him a whole change of the Priesthood and Ordinances; now no more priests to reconcile God, but God reconciled, and Ministers of reconciliation; the Ordinances, new, clear, and spiritual; and the ministry free and large; no more to Jew only, but to Jew and Gentile, even to the world. God so loveth the world now, that whosoever believeth, shall have life. Isa.54:1. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Love of God in Christ Jesus


Objection - God loves us for His own graces in us. Assertion: I thought that He had loved us in Himself, and from that love given Christ for us, and yet loved us in Christ too. Can anything without God, be a cause of God’s love? Doth God love as we love one another, from complexions or features without, or loves He not rather thus? God is love, and therefore we are made, redeemed, and sanctified; and not because we are sanctified, is the reason He loves us. We love Him, because He first loved us; He loved us, because He loved us, and not because we love Him; not because of any spiritual complexion or feature in us. His Image upon us is but an earnest of His love to us, that is only given us, because He loved us. He loves us from His will, not from without; for though we are like Him, yet we are not Himself, and He loves us as in Christ and Himself. Whereas you say, God is as man, and as a father; I hope you mean not as in Himself, but as in his ways of speaking and appearing to us, and if so, we are agreed. But your taking things more in the Letter, than the Spirit, makes your Divinity less Divine, and your conceptions more like things of men than of God. This makes the Gospel so legal and carnal, when we rise little higher than the bare Letter of Scripture, not the inspiration by which it came, all Scripture being given by Divine Inspiration. John Saltmarsh {Shadows Flying Away, 1646}


Preaching Christ


We preach Christ the Power, and Life, and Spirit; that both stands and knocks, and yet opens the door to Himself. We preach not Receiving as a gift, or condition given or begun for Christ, but Christ working all in the soul, and the soul working up to Christ by a power from himself. John Saltmarsh {Shadows Flying Away, 1646}


Preservation in Christ Jesus


God hath a time before Christ come in Spirit, as he had before Christ came in the flesh, a time wherein he suffered long and was patient, and was revealed to his people, though dwelling in much Gentilism, Judaism and ignorance; and therefore God's appearance, or communion with his people, from the time of the falling away, or of the man of sin being revealed, hath been in grace and long suffering, and hath patiently borne his being crucified in spiritual Sodom or Egypt, and therefore he hath been with his people under Popery, under Episcopacy, and is at this day, not in approbation of their form but in his own mere love, grace, and long-suffering; and is at this day accordingly with the people in Independency, Presbytery, Baptism, and all other man made administrations. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory, 1647}


Progressive Revelation


Your Question was accordingly put by you, and accordingly answered by me. And for my appearing for Truth not all at once in my Treatises, you may see I was not hasty to believe, nor to write in the behalf of a Truth before I saw it, nor to plunge myself into any way till I had examined it. The Apostles waited for the full revelation of all truth by the Spirit's coming. {Acts 1:4-8, I Jn.4:1, I Thes.5:21} The Bereans searched daily to see whether the things were so, or no. Apollos preached not Christ clearly till he was instructed in the way of God more perfectly. We are bidden to try the spirits, and prove all things; so as I appeared in those degrees but by Scripture-warrant. And I could name to you examples of another sort; Augustine, Luther, both finding truth but in degrees; and the latter sweetly acknowledging how he was enlightened by beam after beam. Angels, who lie more naked towards God, and take in the things they know, by way of vision; yet see not any of that will of God which gives Laws to them, but as He reveals. Much less such as we who dwell in houses of clay, and whose foundations are in the dust, and who come by the sight of things discursively, and by spiritual reasoning; God giving in the revelation of His Truths in a natural, yet supernatural way. John Saltmarsh {Smoke in the Temple, 1646}


Redemptive Glory of Christ


The Scriptures reveal to us a pure God, a just God, a perfect law, the first man sinning, a law broken, a curse entering, mercy working in a promise of life, a way of salvation faintly discovered, Jesus Christ this way of salvation, Jesus Christ given for sinners, and yet purchasing sinners. All this wrought in time, and yet a predestination and election of grace before all time. God loving us, and giving Christ for us, and yet loving us in the same Christ. These things are thus brought forth in the Word; and the Spirit of God can only guide us into safe constructions of the mystery thus revealed. And to conceive the work of redemption in such order, that sin and death by the first man may appear, and righteousness and life by the second, and the counsel of God concerning both, before either was brought forth to the world; to conceive something of it, though not all. I find, before sin and righteousness did thus appear in the world, that God is said to predestinate and elect, and choose us. I find that all this work, thus wrought in time; yet is said to be present before God before time began. Therefore Christ is called, "the Lamb slain" (Rev. 13:8) so long ago; and we are said to be "chosen in Christ before the foundations of the world were laid." (Eph. 1:4) So I can find out this glorious mystery, which is made up of such contrary ways and workings of sin and grace, justice and mercy, an old Adam and a New, and predestination or election of grace, will amount to this; that man sinned, God had mercy, and gave his Son, who was God with him from everlasting, to be that for man, and in man, which he could not be in himself, righteousness and true holiness; and thus man becomes a new creature to God again, not in himself, but in another, even in Christ. God still is the same, though man is not, nor is God the less unchangeable because of several carriages or distributions of this his work respecting man. Man's falling, and redemption in Christ; man's sin, and Christ's suffering, may be said to be but the love of God, ordering man to the praise of his free grace, through several conditions of innocency, sin and righteousness. This main and glorious work of redemption was that full and final work ordained by God the Father himself. So man's sin only made a way for this, for the bringing about the work of redemption, decreed of God, and occasioned by man's fall. God foreknowing the changeableness of his creature, and so working by that, not taking any new counsels upon this change in man, which he took not before, but ordering this, to that salvation he had ever ordained. Nor is the revealing of God's predestination or election in Christ so much to let us see into the order of his counsels, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" as to set up God in the glory of his power, will, and wisdom, before our eyes, that we may not look at anything as happening from its own causes, and to order us from conceiving any change in God, as if our sin and Christ's sufferings had wrought any alteration in Him either to enmity or to love. If you would know this mystery without confusion, and yet in admiration know that all this work of free grace, and man's salvation in Jesus Christ, was ever the same with God, who calleth things that are not, as if they were. And man's sinning, and God's revealing Christ in promises, and in the flesh, and in the gospel, is, that the creature may partake of it. And whereas there is a work of sin, of time, of persons, of order, of Scripture notions, of manifestation, etc., these are but so many several ways by which the work of grace, love, sin, Christ, salvation, is made an end of in the things themselves. And all these several parcels of law, gospel, sin, righteousness, free grace, election, etc., go to the completing the body of Christ, the elect. If the law had been wanting, then there had been no transgression; if sin not committed, there could have been no free grace; if righteousness were not established, then there had been no redemption, etc. So as this one infinite work of salvation is manifested in many parts to us, who could neither enjoy it, nor know it otherwise, in that fullness or infiniteness as it is in God. And these many parts make up that one work of redemption in Jesus Christ. Nor can we know anything of it, but thus in parts, nor in the whole glorious depth of it: "we know but in part." There are certain Scriptures which contain the mystery; yet in the letter of them hold it forth under a diverse notion or word. 1. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," etc. (John 3:16) with other Scriptures of this kind, as 1 John 4:9,10.  2. Of the other sort are these Scriptures: "God has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world." (Eph. 1:4) "God hath saved us according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us through Jesus Christ, before the world began;" (2 Tim. 1:9) with other Scriptures of this kind. Now these words say, that God loved us, and gave Christ, and that he loved us in Christ. And these are both true according to the manifestation of this mystery to us; for one Scripture contains not all of the mystery of God's love to sinners. Some hold forth only so much of it as to make his power and will in it appear. Some so much as to make his free grace in it appear. Some so much as to make love in it appear. Some so much as to make predestination and election in it appear. Some so much as to make Jesus Christ appear as the Lamb slain before the world for sinners. Some so much as to make Jesus Christ appear crucified in time for sinners. Some to make God's love appear in giving Christ. Some to make Christ's love appear in giving himself. Some to make God's love appear complete to us in Christ. Some that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Some that he is the Son of man, and Saviour of men; some, so much as to make Him appear to die for all, and for the world; and some, so much as to establish this all, and this world such only as were His before the world, and only all such as He had loved and chosen. And thus is the mystery opened to the sons of men in each part of Scripture, which, like so many several stars, give out their beams and light for the manifestation of this mystery of godliness. "God manifested in the flesh." (1 Tim. 3:16) Now we must be sure in our conceptions concerning this redemption, and beware that we raise not up, nor form to ourselves, anything to explain this mystery which God himself would not approve by his Word and Spirit. There being so many discoveries and displays of God, who, though he be one pure, glorious essence, yet his creation cannot behold him so, but as in so many compound parts and beams of glory. Man cannot take God, nor the mystery of God in, but by way of parts in distinct kinds of excellency, and so view him in one thing with another; thus he is best discovered in Jesus Christ. So, when we would consider the work of salvation in and by Jesus Christ, we must take heed of confining it to the mystery of God's love only, lest something be left out by our narrow conceptions, or the mystery be but in part represented, and the other parts of the work have no room. By which, though we may know more of one part, yet we may know less of another. Like one who, pumping water through a narrow pipe, may not fill his vessel, while another, that works through a larger, filleth his. And indeed the not taking in Scripture interpretations in spiritual extent and variety, but running away to someone doctrine more than another, which agrees better with some principle in us, may make us rather opinionated than spiritually wise. In the work of salvation we must consider Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as he is revealed, distinct from his incarnation, before his incarnation, and in it. Before it, he is revealed to be the Word of God, the Wisdom of God, the eternal God. Before it, he is revealed to be the Seed of the woman, the Promise, the Elect, the Covenant, the Angel of the covenant, etc. In his incarnation he is revealed to be Emmanuel, or God with us, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, the Mediator, the Priest, the Propitiation, the Son, the Son of man, etc. Now these several descriptions will direct us, and order our thoughts according to a scriptural revelation of this mystery. When we read of this Son of God, under the names or characters last spoken of, as the Son, or Jesus, or Redeemer, then we are to consider of this work of redemption in the flesh, manifested and amongst us; and then consider what part of the work comes under that description. And, when we read of his other names we are to consider what part of the mystery falls under those, either without incarnation, or flesh, as he was one with the Father etc, or else before incarnation, and so he was in the time of the law of ceremonies and types. And from all these we may draw this conclusion: That the Son of God, as Jesus and Christ, and so manifested in the flesh, was sent out, and given as it were of God; foretold and figured before he was given; ever with God, being God himself, and everlastingly present as God, and present as Mediator in the election of grace, being the Elect, in whom we are chosen, and whose body we are. These conceptions of God, as the Word, and as Jesus Christ, and Redeemer, and Mediator, is but the drawing forth the mystery of redemption in its several parts and degrees. And all this is true, that God loved us, and gave Christ, and we are chosen in Christ, and he was the Lamb slain before the world in purpose, and in the world according to his purpose. Nor are we to consider God's love to us without Christ, nor God's love to us before Christ, nor ourselves out of Christ, in whom we are chosen; but rather thus, God loved us in Christ, and yet gave Christ. And all this is true in the way and order of manifestation, beyond which we cannot see; nor can we Scripturally consider any act of grace from God, but in the Son; there being no way of union and communion with God for man, but by him who is both God and man. John Saltmarsh {Free Grace; or the Flowings of Christ's Blood Free to Sinners, 1646}


Regulative Principle of Divine Truth


Things of Prudence merely, are not to be admitted into the Spiritual way and Gospel-design. Prelacy had its Prudence for every new addition in Worship and Government. And once let Prudence open a door, and then will more of man crowd in, then the Law of God can keep out. Nor is that to be admitted which is so received a Maxim, though not directly, yet not repugnant to the Word. Christ’s rule is not such; He opposes any Tradition to the Commandments of God. Not direct from Scripture, is indirect and repugnant though not to the very letter of such words, yet to the form and Analogy of truth to the general Scripture-law, viz. the will of God that nothing shall be added nor diminished; and ye are only my friends, saith Christ, if ye do what I command you; and the Lord will raise you up a Prophet, him shall ye hear in all things. For if anything of Prudence is to be let in, then something of Tradition; for Prudence can make nothing higher, nor purer, nor better; man can but give his own Image to the things he makes himself; though he make them up of divine materials from Scriptures, yet the form none but the Lord himself can give; and the form is that which stamps Christ’s Image upon every Truth. Everything in the Word hath a form; that is, it is such a thing of truth, and not another. Nothing but God’s power and will can make a thing Truth; for his power creates it, and his will creates it such a Truth. Nothing is agreeable to the will of Christ, but the very will of Christ. The will of Christ is the only Legislative power in the Gospel. Nothing is agreeable to his will but what he wills; and everything is repugnant to his will but what he wills. So as this will is the supreme general Law, and indeed the very form or essence of Holy Scripture and the Word of God. And whatsoever is devised by Prudence, though upon Scripture-materials, yet being not the work of this Divine will, nor having the Stamp or Image upon it, is none of Christ’s, but as repugnant as any other Tradition or Invention of men. And here let us look to that new, though old design against Truth, the most subtle, indiscernible kind of will-worship in the world; that which some call Scripture-consequence, an unwholesome word as it hath been used; for under color of consequence, what conclusions may be promoted! What may not Reason draw from Scripture, and what may it not fashion like a Truth! But consider, in Parliament Laws, or Ordinances, or Commissions, is it lawful to take them, and from every part of them to draw out results of our own; and when there is but one Law, make many subordinate Laws of our own; and frame Laws out of Laws, and Ordinances out of Ordinances, and Commissions out of Commissions? Never; for we must keep to that one, general, entire literal Law and Will of the Parliament. If it is thus in laws human, how far more in Ordinances Divine? Yea here is the same oneness, entireness, indivisibility, and essentiality of the Truth. John Saltmarsh {Smoke in the Temple, 1646}




And all the Reformation that hath been endeavored, hath been only in some outward things, as Discipline or Church-government, and some outward ordinances of Baptism, and the Supper; not any purer or more glorious discoveries of God, or the Spirit, or Jesus Christ, or our union with the Spirit, or glory, as to spiritual things, or Christ risen, but as to Christ in the flesh, or under the law, of which these ordinances were a sign. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory - 1647}



Did David and Peter, as you say, make up their peace with God by Repentance? Is there any that makes peace but one Jesus Christ, who makes peace through the blood of his Cross? Can Repentance make peace? Or Obedience make peace? Is there any sacrifice for sin, but that which was once offered, even he that appeared in the end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself? And was not this called by the Apostle, “One sacrifice for sins forever?” John Saltmarsh {Shadows Flying Away, 1646}


Righteousness of Christ


Consider though God be merciful, yet he is only merciful of his own fashion, not of ours, not in the way we may corruptly think him. “Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself.” Psal.50:21. God’s love, and grace have ways and fashions of their own they move in; and if we be not in their way, we shall not receive of his fullness. The Jews were very zealous after God, yet not in Gods fashion, but went about to establish their own righteousness. The Papist is a follower after God; and the legal, formal, poor ignorant Protestant, runs in a course of obedience and serving God; yet it is not in Gods way of righteousness; and so they miss of salvation for not seeking it purely in Christ their righteousness. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Satisfaction of Christ


Before Jesus Christ came in the flesh, and offered up himself, God offered him beforehand in Types and Sacrifices of blood, &c., and the whole Ministry was a Priesthood, so as the Priesthood and Sacrifices of the Law did set forth and shadow Christ in way of offering, or sacrifice to God the Father; and therefore God under that dispensation, did appear rather under a condition of reconciliation than reconciled, though all were saved then actually in the same Christ who was to suffer. But how much of this salvation they knew, is a question; it is very likely, and something clear from the Word, that God was very sparing in that time of the discoveries of Himself in Christ; and they rather saw Him in his glory above than below; and possessed the inheritance of the Redemption, rather than the Ministration or Gospel of it. God appearing thus, the whole ministry of the Law was taken in as agreeable to this manner or pattern; and the Law of Commandments revealed on Mount Sinai, did help to the form of this ministry, and made sin appear and abound more; for which, such sacrifices were prepared. And thus the whole frame of the old Testament, was a draught of Gods anger at sin; the Law revealing sin, and Jesus Christ offering for sin; and so God in this time of the Law, appeared only as it were upon terms and conditions of reconciliation; and all the worship then, and acts of worship then, as of prayer, fasting, repentance, &c., went all this way, and according to God under that appearance; and everything of worship seemed to bring something of peace and atonement in relation to the great atonement to come by Jesus Christ. But now under the New Testament, God appears in Christ, and reconciliation is finished; peace is made by the blood of His Cross; and now the Ministry of the New Testament, is not a Priesthood of anymore offering Christ to God in sacrifice, but of proclaiming the tidings of a fully reconciled God in Christ to man, and of a sacrifice already accepted for sin; so as now there are no Priests; but Ministers, or Stewards, or Ambassadors for dealing out, and dispensing the love of God to man, and for publishing the glad tidings of peace; so as all worship now, and spiritual obedience is to run in the way of this dispensation; not for procuring love or peace from God, nor for pacifying; but for love procured, and peace purchased by Jesus Christ. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Sin & the Believer


No sins can make God who loves forever & unchangeably, love us less; and yet a believer will grieve for sin, because it grieves the Spirit of his God; and though he know sin cannot now separate from God, yet because it once separated, he hates it; and because it separates still; though not from God, yet from Communion with God, grieving the holy Spirit of God. John Saltmarsh {Free-Grace,1649}


Truth as it is Christ Jesus


There is but one Truth, and that is Jesus Christ. “I am the way, and the truth,” and he is Truth in the original or pattern; and we see nor know no more Truth than we see and know in him, this is called “the truth as it is in Jesus.” For Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of all things, and comprehends all essence, and form, and life, and Spirit of things in himself; and all things of this Creation are but Shadows and Images of this Truth, and the outward forms of that glory. This Truth makes free, that is the operation of it; and therefore so much of Truth or of Christ any one knows or receives, so much freedom or liberty they receive, and so much they are delivered into the “glorious liberty of the sons of God;” and where “the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” And therefore as Truth is in any, so is spiritual liberty, and the Spirit of bondage in them passes away, and such are disburdened of the legal terrors, fears, of the lies, delusions, false conceptions, traditions under which they have lived as they grow up into Truth. The Spirit of Truth only teaches and reveals this Truth; and opens those “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” which are in Christ. Truth, though it be but one, yet it shines forth in many streams of glory, and opens like day. In Jesus Christ this variety of truth appears; that truth, or glory, or true brightness of God, and all that truth of this Creation or forms of the world; and all truth of Letter of Scripture, or outward Ordinance is in its pure Essence and Spirit in Jesus Christ. Truth gathers up men more into Christ from the flesh and loose vanity of the world; and therefore we are said to have our loins girt with truth; the girdle of truth, as it were, binding us up, and keeping close in Spirit to the Lord. John Saltmarsh {Sparkles of Glory - 1647}


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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