Thomas Collier

{1615 - 1691}

Note: Though Collier lived until 1691,
only those writings that were published by him,
prior to 1660, will be included herein!


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PDF - Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus


What Antichrist or the Man of Sin is? Antichrist or the Man of Sin is to be considered either in the spirit, or in the Letter. 1. In the Spirit, Antichrist signifies one seemingly for Christ, yet indeed is against him, and so is but a man of sin, a son of perdition, and this he will appear to be, both in the Mystery, and in the History. 1. In the mystery, or spirit, and in this he hath taken hold of every man, especially in these latter days; yet tis true, much time hath been spent by many, to find out this man of sin, who he is, and for the most part ascribe it to some particular man, never looking at the mystery, or root of iniquity, which is not in the first place, a man, but a wicked thing in man, and this, for want of a spirit of discerning; for we have not seen Antichrist in ourselves, but have cast him upon others, and so miss of the thing, or at least, most strike at the top boughs, and are ignorant of the root. Now Antichrist in the mystery or spiritual and internal part is a confederacy between Satan and the deceitful heart of man, transforming himself into an angel of light; nay, into the Son of Light; and while nothing less than Christ, and Christian will satisfy; he will be the Christ, or at least the Antichrist, instead of Christ to deceive souls. For this was and is the last, the greatest and most deceiving stratagem that ever Satan made use of to ruin souls; that where he cannot content souls but they must be Christians, he can be content with that, so he may be the Christ; hence he is called the man of sin, the son of perdition, that wicked deceiver. {II Thes.2} It is not Satan acting in a carnal and filthy form of flesh, but in the most refined part of the first Adam, so he keeps the creature in the first Adam still, he cares not. 1. There must be a reformation that it shall enjoy, provided it be legally in the Letter; it must believe or else it cannot be satisfied, and believe it doth; but the ground must be built upon self-reformation and qualification, &c.; and carnal wisdom is required to walk in God’s ways, and to the knowledge of the mind of God; wisdom must and may be obtained; provided it be human, the wisdom of the first Adam that is enough. A power of acting must likewise of necessity be obtained, and a power shall be obtained, but it must be a creature-power, and a creature-acting under the name and notion of the power of God; that is indeed and in truth condemned though in name owned, there must now sometimes be a spiritual mind, that enjoys likewise in its own apprehension, although hardly obtained and indeed the highest pitch of spiritualness is but carnal to the spiritual man’s enjoyment; this is a high pitch of spiritual mindedness where Satan dwells; to have self-thoughts of reformation, thoughts to pray more, to walk more exactly, and to please God better; never, thoughts of living out of its self more, and of living in the enjoyment of God in the Spirit more; and spiritual joy it must have sometimes too. That it shall have likewise, but it must arise from enlargement in duties, humiliations, self-actings, reformation and all from self, and thus Satan and the deceitful heart joins together to the delusion of many a soul, and this is Antichristian in the mystery; the man of sin spoken of in Scripture that comes with all deceivableness of unrighteousness; and well may be called a man of sin, an Antichrist, a mystery of iniquity; for in this shape he deceives souls, and they are never sensible of it, drawn in and never know it, until everlastingly undone, and he hath his diversities of forms in this kind. 1. If the name of Christian will serve, and yet live loose and profane, that they shall have and there he will hold them. If there must be a conformity to Christ, and a more zealous and conscionable walking; to quiet the conscience, it shall have it; he will go as near unto Christ with the soul as may be; provided it rest itself below; and thus, Christ saith many shall come under this delusion expecting life from duty, and it will appear to be but works of iniquity of sin; why, because acted by the man of sin, acted not from a right principle, nor by a right power, neither to a right end; acting there must be, but not Christ acting. Hence it is, that though he will be a Christian, and so talks much of Christ, yet, he denies Christ to be come in the flesh; that is, in the flesh of his Saints; the spirit of Christ acting and working all things in the Saints, {and they being sensible of it,} and thus this deceivable man of sin carries on hood-winked to perdition many and many a soul. And now it is more wicked and deceivable than when in its proper place, acting after the lusts of the flesh, {Gal.5:19,20,21,} then everyone almost is sensible of it. Hence it is, that Christ saith, {Mt.12:45,} the unclean spirit being cast out, that is, cut in its unclean form it can no longer be owned, he is now content to come in when it is swept and garnished, profaneness and filthiness is gone, and now becomes in a more refined form, perhaps legal reformation, as the present Pharisees to whom Christ spoke, or else the name of Christian or the knowledge of Christ after the flesh; but Christ saith the latter end of the man thus deceived is seven times worse than the beginning; he comes in this refined form with seven worse spirits than himself, and so makes him seven times more, the child of perdition than before. Oh then, how doth it concern every one bearing the name of Christian to look about themselves, if they are not deceived and deluded, with this Antichrist under the name of Christ! Seeing it is the highway of souls ruin, now in the days of the Gospel; for herein doth Satan declare himself to be the Master of arts in transforming himself into the son of light, and under the name of Christ, and Christian to ruin souls. Thomas Collier {Brief Discovery of Antichrist, 1647}


There is Antichrist in the History or in the Letter, and this flows from Antichrist in the spirit. Now the soul being possessed with Antichrist, he grows up into some form, and now not only in the spirit invisibly, but in the letter; more visible, he appears sitting in the seat of God, and he may be descried principally under these three heads, as sitting in the seat of Christ, and acting those things which properly belong to Christ. 1. In making Christians by a human power, it being the proper work of God in Christ to make Christians. {Jn.6:37,44} But now here an Antichrist will undertake the business and so turns the world into Christians or rather Antichristian, and pretend that they do the work of Christ, too; when, if he did the work of Christ, he would rather keep of all carnal ignorant ones, and accept of none, until made willing and spiritual by Jesus Christ; for Christ doth not only own souls when they come, but first gives them a will to come, and that by a spiritual, and not a human power. Hence it comes to pass that there are so many carnal profane ones under the name of Christian, because made Christian not by Jesus Christ, but by men. Oh that the Lord would be pleased to enlighten the understandings of these men betimes, that they might not walk in a way so directly opposite to the Gospel, and destructive to their own and millions of souls. In prescribing rules of worship which is properly only to Jesus Christ, to prescribe rules, and to carry through the soul in acting according to these rules. To prescribe rules; this belongs unto Christ, and whosoever undertakes it, puts themselves in the room of Christ, and is Antichrist. This is to exercise creature wisdom in the things of Jesus Christ and indeed to sit in the seat of God. It is the work of Christ in the spirit to direct in prayer or any duty; we know not what we pray for as we ought, but the Spirit helpeth our infirmities. {Rom.8:8-26} It is Christ that helpeth both to see our want, and forms by his Spirit, words within accordingly. Therefore those who prescribe forms and rules of worship put themselves in the room of Christ. 2. It belongs to Christ to give in power to act according to those rules, but Antichrist gives the command, and so carries on an external acting, and not according to Christ, but his own mind. 3. Antichrist may be discovered as sitting in the seat of God, not only, 1. In making Christians, 2. In prescribing rules; but also, 3. In compelling all unto those rules whatever Christ saith, that matters not; he himself will the Christ, and must be obeyed, let Christ say what he will, and all that question his power must be the Antichrist, for he exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God, sitteth in the Temple of God; showing himself that he is God, and in all these particulars, there is a mystery lieth, a mystery of iniquity, that is iniquity hid under the name and notion of Christ; therefore so much the more to be dreaded. To be Christian, is accounted a gallant thing; and therefore, not himself only, but others likewise, look upon it to be a matter of much piety to make men Christians and cause them to own Christ. Oh, but here lies a mystery of iniquity, many souls made Christians by a human power, are but Antichristian, and so under the name of Christian, are likely to be undone forever, if the Lord prevent it not; for it is an excellent thing accounted in the world to make creature Christians, as soon as they are born, by sprinkling a little water upon them, and so in bearing them in hand, that they are so ever after; but here lieth a mystery of iniquity, and one of the soul-running mysteries of iniquity as ever came from Hell. Speak England, speak all Nations called Christian; whether {almost all people of all sorts, devoutly slain in the spirit under this mystery of iniquity} to have forms of worships prescribed, that all Priests and People may walk in one form and one way of worship, and all compelled unto it, is accounted an excellent part of Christianity; but here lieth a mystery of iniquity under it. First, it brings all sorts of people to be acting in something, though worse than nothing, and so delude themselves in all their actings; it causeth them to look to men, and not to Christ. Secondly, it causeth them to bless themselves in their unity, in forms and worships, never questioning their Oneness with Christ in the spirit, for they are as strangers unto it. Hence it is, that uniformity in the Letter, is so much called for amongst all sorts of People; being wholly ignorant of unity in spirit. I could instance in divers other particulars, as Ministry, Gifts, Church Ordinances, all have something like Christ in them; but it is all but this number of a man. Thomas Collier {Brief Discovery of Antichrist, 1647}

Authority of Holy Scripture

It is a very sad thing that men professing Godliness, should fall into such absurdities, in receiving such principles as are destructive to the very power and being of godliness, for how can a man walk if he have no absolute rule? How can a man walk without his compass, his line; he knows not when he is in or when he is out, so it must needs be with those that cast off Holy Scripture, for they cannot know when they walk according to the mind of God, or when they do not. Objection: Christ hath promised to write his laws in the hearts of his people, and that they shall be all taught of God, and that he would send his Spirit, which should teach them all things; therefore, for those thus taught of God, it is too legal for them to walk by the Scripture. Answer: First, those that deny some Scripture, must by the same ground deny all; and if one Scripture be not a truth to me, and to be received in any practice, how can I judge of the truth of another; and the truth is, that those, that will believe, but on that Scripture which they have a mind to believe {rejecting the rest} do not rightly believe any Scripture; for there is the same ground to believe all, as to the believe one. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation; for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” {II Pet.1:20,21} If you do indeed believe these Scriptures to be a truth, I make no question, but you will soon believe the truth of the whole Scripture, these being opened in comparing them with other Scriptures. First, Christ promising to send his Spirit, &c. I answer, that it was a particular promise made to the Apostles most principally; and in some measure, to all the Saints. Two things here mentioned in this Scripture, are most principally to the Apostles. The first that is mentioned is that the Spirit shall bring all things to your remembrance, “whatsoever I have said unto you.” {Jn.14:26} Note, the Disciples of Christ were with him, saw his miracles, heard his word; but now when Christ is gone to heaven, he will send his Spirit, which shall bring all things that Christ spake or did, {necessary to be remembered for our information and consolation,} to their remembrance; that they might leave it upon record to future generations; and this promise of the Spirit properly belongs to the Apostles of Christ, who were both eye and ear witnesses of all he did or spake; and this may confirm us admirably in the truth of the Gospel, as it was you see, written by the Immediate Inspiration of that Spirit of Promise, bringing it to the remembrance of those that wrote it, and by no means serves to destroy the rest of the Scriptures. The second thing promised here is, “that it shall teach them all things.” Note, here also an admirable word, Christ tells his Disciples, that the Spirit, which he would send them, should teach them all things; that is, all things that God intended to make known to man, for their rule and direction in this life; and this without question, Christ who is truth itself, made good to his Disciples. Therefore I hope this doth not serve to destroy Scripture, but to confirm it abundantly; for if Christ did, {as without question, it is blasphemy to say he did not,} teach his Disciples all things, then are the rules prescribed by the Apostles in their Epistles true, and perfect rules, and you, and I are bound in duty, as we will approve ourselves Christians, to submit unto them, to receive them, as the holy, promised Truth of God. Objection: But Christ makes this promise not only to the Disciples, but to all the Saints also, for all Scriptures is written for our learning. &c. Answer: True, but in the first place it is to the Apostles, that they might leave us a perfect pattern from himself, and in this there is much comfort for the Saints, that we have in the Scripture, truth and all truth, needful for a Christian to know; and secondly, this promise is made good to all the Saints in its measure, God gives them his Spirit to understand the Scriptures, and therefore it is, that the Apostle saith; “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” {II Tim.3:16,17} Note that it is the Scriptures that thoroughly furnishes or perfects the man of God to every good work; and we are said to be built upon the Apostles and Prophets, that is, the doctrine, the truth, laid down by the Apostles and Prophets, Christ himself being the chief corner stone. “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” {Eph.2:20} And for the second Scripture, that God hath promised, to write his laws in the hearts of his people, and they shall be all taught of God, &c. It is true, God makes this promise good, for he writes his law in the heart; where he once comes in a way of grace; that is, he puts his Spirit in them, makes them freely willing to walk according to the rule of Scripture; for the Spirit and the Word do answer each other. If any man will say he hath received the Spirit of Christ, and refuses to walk according to the rules of Christ, “he is a liar; and the truth is not in him.” {I Jn.2:4-6}  It is true also, that God teaches all his people, for they are all taught of God; but how? God doth teach, and lead into all truth, by the rule of Scripture; therefore Christ saith in his prayer, “sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.” {Jn.17:17} See then what a sweet harmony is held forth in all the Scriptures; the Spirit teaching and leading; and all according to the Scriptures. The Spirit of Christ, where present, leads into truth, and that truth is contained in Scripture. Now for any man to say that he hath the Spirit of Christ, and yet casts away Scripture, or for every man to say, he hath the Spirit of Christ, and yet casts away Scripture, I must give him leave to say it; but he must give me leave not to believe him; and also to tell him, that it is a diabolical lying spirit, that casts away Scripture, for if any man speaks not according to this rule, it is because there is no truth in him. {Is.8:20} Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Christ Alone Exalted

Now I come to my text, for the manner how he is to be exalted, as in the preaching of the Gospel, and in the hearts of his people, in his offices, so in my text which sets forth that Christ is to be exalted and lifted up even as Moses lifted up the Serpent in the wilderness. Now it is true, this has a primary relation to his lifting up upon the cross; “and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all {elect} men unto me.” {Jn.12:32} Now John interprets it in the next verse, “this he said, signifying what death he should die.” So that Christ was lifted up upon the cross, {Jn.8:28,} so he is still to be lifted up, a dying, a crucified Christ for sin. But he then was, and still is to be lifted up as the Serpent was lifted up in the wilderness. First, there was the lifting up of the Serpent with the manner of it above all the people. The cause of it, that whosoever was bitten with the fiery Serpent, might look to this brazen Serpent and be cured. Note the lifting up of the Serpent, with the manner of it. “And the LORD said unto Moses, make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” {Num.21:8,9} Here was the lifting up of the Serpent in the wilderness; he was lifted up, upon a pole above all the people, to the end that all that were bitten, might behold him; so Christ is to be lifted up, he is to be exalted above all, as the Serpent in the wilderness; and that either in the world, or in the Church. So Christ is to be exalted in the preaching of the Gospel, in the view of all, above all, that so men may come to the view of him; and in the Church that so Christ may have the preeminence. Christ is to be exalted above the world, or any creature. O how doth the world prevail amongst men? Nay, too much amongst Christians; but where Christ comes, he sets the soul above the creature. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? {I Jn.5:4,5} It is the clear sight and apprehension of the Lord Jesus Christ that sets the soul above the world, for the more the soul enjoys of Christ, the more it slights things below; thus Christ is to be lifted up, both in the preaching of the Gospel, and in the hearts of the Saints. Christ is to be lifted up above duties and all legal righteousness, thus the Apostle lifts up Christ, both in preaching and in his own soul, for he preached Christ and him exclusively. “For I determined not to know {or make known} anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” {I Cor.2:2} Christ as the alone Justifier of all that believe. “Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ;” {Rom.3:24;} so that he is just, and “the Justifier” of all which believe in Jesus. {vs.26} “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” {Rom.10:4} Christ justifying believers from all things, from which they could not have been justified by the Law of Moses, {Acts 13:39,} and thus is Christ to be lifted up in the view of all. “Preach the Gospel to every creature,” {Mk.16:15,} and thus is Christ to be lifted up above all and every name, that is or may be named under heaven, wherein men usually rest and deceive themselves, for “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” {Acts 4:12} Christ is to be lifted up in the hearts of the Saints, as he is to be lifted up above all duties, legal righteousness, or anything that may be named; all in the soul of the Christian is laid down as emptiness, nay, as dung and dross, at the feet of Christ, and the soul glories in nothing else but Christ and him crucified; thus Christ is to be exalted and lifted up as upon a pole, as the brazen Serpent, above everything or name, that may be named under heaven. Question: What is the reason that Christ is thus to be exalted? Answer: Because God hath exalted him and lifted him up for that end and purpose. “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, &c,” {Phil.2:9} God hath given to Christ a high transcendent name, a name above every name, the name of a Saviour, and there is no salvation to be attained without him. “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” {Hag.2:7} That the desire of all his people in every Nation might be to him, as the desire of the wife to the husband; the King of his people, men may come, and bow and fall down, and worship before him. God the Father hath set him up as the ensign to whom the Nations must come. “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious;” {Is.11:10;} as the Saviour and Governor of all God’s elect. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Christ Alone Exalted

Question - But some may say, how shall I know that I do {not “I do,” but rather that “he is” – God has} indeed exalt Christ in my soul? Answer - First, Christ is then exalted in the soul, when the Lord brings over the soul to look upon Christ, as its alone justification. O beloved then is the Lord exalted, when the soul comes to see that there is nothing but emptiness in itself, when the soul can through the power of God cast down all at the feet of Christ, and look upon all its own righteousness as dung and dross in comparison of Christ, so the Apostle Paul, {Phil.3:7-9,} the Apostle having in the 5th & 6th verses laid down what he was once in divers particulars in his own righteousness, he amongst all the grounds, {as once he thought them grounds of comfort,} one and the least was, he walked “as touching the Law blameless;” but what things were gain that is, I counted gain, and rested upon them, I now count them loss for Christ’s sake; “yea doubtless, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,” and ver.9, “and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” O here is a soul exalting Christ above all, laying all his own righteousness low, even as low as dung and dross in comparison of Christ. What saith thy soul to this, now man, woman, didst ever see thine own righteousness, or at least thine own unrighteousness? Hath the Lord opened thine eyes to see a vanity, emptiness in that you once trusted? Hath the Lord let forth a glimpse of his glory into thy soul, shining down in the face of Jesus Christ? Can you say, “Yea doubtless, I account all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” Is thy soul carried forth above, and beyond thy self to the Lord Jesus Christ as thine alone righteousness? “Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” {Is.45:24,25} In the Lord Christ thou seest thy justification, and in him thou dost glory, thou canst say, God forbid, I should glory in anything below Christ. “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” {Jer.23:6} This is his name by which he shall be called, “The Lord our Righteousness,” the Lord our covering, our justification; this is the ground, when thou canst look upon Christ as thy alone righteousness and justification, and so seeing an excellency in the knowledge of Christ in this particular. A soul then exalts Christ, when it looks so upon Christ, as that it is carried with a principle of love after him, and it is by love as it were glued and knit up to him, so the Apostle; “who shall separate us from the love of God?” {Rom.8:35-38} And when love constrains thy soul to follow God, “the love of Christ constrains us,” {II Cor.5:14,} and when love so glues and knits thy soul to Christ; when thou canst follow Christ in all conditions, to trial, prisons, death, nothing severs thee from him, when as with Abraham thou goest forth from thine own Country, thy sins, sinful companions, and followeth Christ, not knowing whether thou goest, whether to liberty or prison, that makes nothing with thee. “By faith Abraham…obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went;” {Heb.11:8;} this flows from faith; “faith which worketh by love.” {Gal.5:6} Thirdly: When the Lord Jesus is the alone delight and joy of thy heart, believe it beloved, if the soul exalt Christ rightly, he will be thy delight and joy, thou wilt be able to sing the song of Mary. “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my Spirit rejoyceth in God my Saviour;” {Lk.46:47;} there will be joy and peace come in through believing, “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice.” {Phil.4:4} The soul that truly exalts Jesus, is satisfied in the enjoying of him, and now the soul hath enough, when it hath Christ, let who will have the world, sin, pleasure, “I have Christ,” saith the soul, a goodly portion; now the soul is fitted for any condition, come affliction, persecution, the soul glories in all, because it enjoys God through Christ in all. After the Apostle has mentioned his afflictions, he concludes that he will glory in all. {II Cor.11:30, 12:9} Lastly, when Christ is all in all to the soul, then doth the soul rightly exalt and lift up Christ, when it enjoys a fullness in Christ in the want of all things, and sees an emptiness in all things without Christ; this the Apostle could see and say, “he is all and in all.” {Col.3:11} Christ is all and in all, he is the way, the truth and the life. {Jn.14:6} He is the light and life of men. {Jn.1:4} He is meat, drink and clothing as we use to say, to the Saints, he is their meat and drink. “My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” {Jn.6:55}  O beloved, every believer spiritually eats and drinks the flesh and blood of Christ; that is, lives upon Christ, as he doth not build upon ordinary prayers, duties; “No, No, give me Christ,” saith the believing soul, Christ in hearing, Christ in preaching, Christ in the Ordinances of the Lord &c. Believe it, beloved, nothing less than Christ can satisfy the living, the believing soul and likewise in temporal things, the believer sees all purchased for him by the blood of Christ, and so in every situation, he lives upon the flesh and blood of Christ, and believe it beloved, thus every believer lives upon Christ. “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” {Jn.6:53} Hearken ye friends; he that doth not thus spiritually eat and drink the flesh and blood of Christ hath no life in him; a sign of a dead soul that lives upon ordinary creatures without Christ. Christ is clothing and covering also, as he covers the nakedness of men and women that believe. “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed.” {Rev.3:18} What is this clothing? The righteousness of the Saints. “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” {Rev.19:8} The fine linen is the righteousness of the Saints; Christ Jesus is the Saints righteousness. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” {I Cor.1:30} “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS;” {Jer.23:6;} and so the Saints covering. The Saints spiritually enjoy Christ also in their external covering, so that I say, he rightly exalts Christ in his soul, that sees Christ to be all, and in all to him, &c. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Christ Exalted as the Alone High Priest of Saints

Christ our High Priest offered himself a sacrifice for the sins of his people only; for he had no sin of his own, there was no sin found in him; he was the innocent, holy, harmless, Lamb of God, slain, without spot, or blemish. He offered himself without spot or without fault to God. {Heb.9:14} Herein Christ wonderfully exceeded the Old Testament high priests; they, it is true, had holy garments, made them, {Exod.28:2,} typing forth what holiness it was meet a High Priest, a Peacemaker should have; likewise typing forth what perfection of holiness that was in Christ; as he was the perfection of that type. “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” {Heb.7:26} Those high priests had holy garments, Christ is holiness itself. Here was a meet Sacrifice, to be offered in the place of those, for whom he propitiated; had he not been such a one, he could not have taken away sin; therefore such a one became us. The Old Testament High Priests offered many sacrifices; once every year they went into the holy place. “Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements; once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations; it is most holy unto the LORD.” {Ex.30:10} “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.” {Heb.10:3} But Christ our High Priest offered himself, “by the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all;” {Heb.10:10;} and then sat down on the right hand of God; a wonderful Gospel mystery! Under the Jewish priests there was a remembrance of sin in the consciences of the sinners, though holy, and godly; for that ministration, could never take away sin; {Heb.10:11;} that is, never take away the guilt of sin; they held under those sacrifices, but offered present pardon, and so present peace, every new sacrifice being a new remembrance of sin. But by Christ our High Priest, who hath offered himself once for all, and by that one sacrifice, we have obtained eternal redemption. {Heb.9:11} Objection: Had not the believing Jews eternal redemption by Jesus Christ under the legal Priesthood? Answer: It is true, they eternal redemption, but by that Priesthood they had it not so sealed to their souls at once, but had their peace coming in by new sacrifices; there was ever a sin consciousness, a remembrance of sin, for if they had had everlasting pardon come in at one sacrifice, there need not to have been an offering for sin again; {Heb.10:1,2;} but we under the Gospel, who believe, have obtained everlasting redemption; that is, see all our sins past, present, and to come, done away, by one sacrifice, so that now there remains no more conscience of sin; {Heb.10:1;} that is, sin doth not lie upon the conscience of believers unpardoned, but they see all done away in Christ. This may inform you of the reason, why so many poor creatures, go without comfort; they obtaining their comfort by fits, as we often say; namely, when they can pray well, think well, read well &c., and thus their comfort comes in from their duties; an argument of a legal spirit. They pray to get peace from hence; but these things will never make you perfect; that is, bring you perfect and true peace, but Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and the same forever, brings in true and perfect peace, eternal redemption to the souls of his people. The legal high priests were but for a time, until the time of reformation; but Christ our High Priest is an everlasting High Priest, a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. {Heb.7} Melchisedec was without beginning, that is known, and without end; so is Christ without beginning and without end. {Heb.7:3 & 21} Hence it is that all that ever Christ {as he is a High Priest} hath purchased for his people, is like himself, everlasting. Thus, everlasting reconciliation, everlasting life, &c. Lastly, the High Priest entered into the holy place, within the veil once a year; namely, into a worldly Sanctuary, indeed a type of Heaven, {Heb.9:1-4,} but Christ as he hath obtained a more excellent ministry, {Heb.8:6,} so he is “not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” {Heb.9:24} O blessed word for believers! Christ our High Priest is entered into the very heavens, to appear for his people, as he undertook to bear their sins, and pay their debts, so he now ever appears personally for his people, and thus you see that Christ is our great High Priest, and wherein he not only answers the legal priesthood, but also exceeds them. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Christ’s Mediatorial Intercession

The second part of Christ’s priestly office, consists in his intercession at the right hand of the glory of his Father. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” {Rom.8:34} “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” {Heb.7:25} Beloved, this is one part of Christ’s Priestly office to intercede for the Saints. He maketh intercession for us, also he ever liveth to make intercession. O blessed word for the Saints; for he maketh intercession for every particular Saint, he maketh intercession for his Churches, “for us” saith the Apostle, and through him it is, we have access with boldness, unto the Father, &c. Objection: But some may object, did not Christ make satisfaction, peace and reconciliation when he died upon the cross, when he said, “It is finished?” Answer: It is true that Christ in his death, and resurrection finished the work of man’s justification, “being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him;” {Rom.5:9;} Christ made peace and reconciliation through his blood. “Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself.” {Col.1:20} We are not to understand by Christ’s interceding any new act of Christ, done, either in way of satisfaction, or justification; neither are we to understand that Christ sits in Heaven pleading with the Father in words, as a counselor pleads a cause before the judge; but Christ is in Heaven with the Father at his right hand; that is, in glory with him, presenting our persons, and in presenting our persons, all our services, in his own person; not by any new act of doing, but by the worth of his merits, the excellency of his person, the near relation of the Saints to himself, viz. members of his body; so that now God cannot look upon the Son but he must behold the Saints in him, he having so near a relation to his Father, both by his personal presence, and the excellent worth of his merits, {whose blood spake better things then the blood of Abel, Heb.12:24,} he continually makes intercession to God for the Saints. “He hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” {Is.53:12} Here you have the whole priestly office of Christ - bearing sin, and so working peace - making intercession by that means for transgressors. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Christ our High Priest

If Christ be the alone High Priest, the alone Reconciler and Peace Maker betwixt God and man, as you have heard he is; “for there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” {I Tim.2:5;} then here is a word of information, to inform us of the vanity and folly of those that create to themselves other grounds of peace and comfort besides Christ. Note first, that there are many that do thus create to themselves other grounds of comfort, other Saviors besides Christ, notwithstanding the Lord hath said, “there is no other name given under heaven whereby men must be saved;” yet believe it, for many there are, that rest upon duties and performances, and make that the ground of their consolation. “Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water;” {Jer.2:12,13;} my people; that is, not only mine by creation, or election, but by profession, forsake me, and dug cisterns to themselves; for how do men love to draw water out of their own cisterns; to create comforts to themselves, to kindle sparks of their own fire, until the Lord bring them off from it. It is a foolish thing for a man to be content with the shell without the kernel, the shadow without the substance. Beloved, all things without Christ, are but a shadow, and will prove nothing. He is the substance of all Ordinances, and professions; farther than you have Christ in them, they are dead. O how foolish would you count that man, that woman that should strive to catch the shadow, leaving the substance? It is a vain thing without profit, the vanity of it is this, they deceive themselves, for they think they have something; when they have nothing. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” {Rev.3:17} This is thy folly, this is thy vanity, thou thinkest, that thou hast much to say for thyself, because thon hast gotten a form of godliness, when the truth is that all without Christ is nothing; nay, less than nothing, altogether vanity; they cannot help thee; for certainly Christ died in vain, if anything beneath himself can save thee. “I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” {Gal.2:21} Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Christ our Prophet

Now there were three things ordinary to the prophets under the Law; namely, teaching, working miracles and foretelling of things to come. Now in all these three, Christ answers them; yea, and excels them all, for he himself is the substance of all their prophecies. “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” {Jn.1:45} “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” {Lk.24:27} “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” {Acts 10:43} “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” {Jn.5:39} “Worship God; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” {Rev.19:10} It was the work of the prophets to teach the people, so Moses a type of Christ; both in respect of Law and Worship, God taught Israel by him; so Isaiah throughout his prophecy; as Jeremiah, {Jer.1:5-7,} and all the prophets. In this Christ have manifested himself wonderfully to be a prophet, this part of Christ’s prophetical office; namely, as he is the Teacher of his people. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Christ our Sabbath Rest

There remaineth yet a Sabbath to the people of God; but this Sabbath is spiritual, known and enjoyed only by those who live in and after the Spirit. A Sabbath signifies a rest, and believers in Christ enter into this rest; the rest of the Jewish Sabbath, and of all the Jewish Sabbaths of the land of Canaan, &c., were typical, and presented us with the spiritual rest of the Gospel; therefore the Apostle, after he had mentioned both the rest of the Sabbath, and the land of Canaan, he concludes, “there remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God;” {Heb.4:9;} and, “we which have believed do enter into rest.” {vs.3} As God finished his work in six days, and rested the seventh, and so ceased from his work; namely, of creation; so when a soul comes to believe, he enters into spiritual rest, and so keepeth Sabbath with the Lord, resting from his own work, and this is the Christians Sabbath and Holy Days, a day of delight and spiritual solace to the soul, who lives in it; a day of spiritual liberty, and not of bondage; a day in which the soul enjoys all good in the Fountain; this is that land of rest, even the land of Canaan, that promised good land, “flowing with milk and honey,” a land of oil, olives and butter. Oh, this glorious, spiritual land; were it more known, it would be more sought after; this is the substance of all those types in the Old Testament; this is Israel’s land in the Spirit; this is that land God hath promised to gather his people into, in these latter {gospel} days, and David their King show reign over them, and be their Prince forever. My dear brethren, did your souls but see into the glorious rest of this spiritual Sabbath, into the riches of this glorious land, the abundance of all spiritual delights, and soul satisfying excellencies, the high honor of the inhabitants of this Kingdom, all kings and priests in the Spirit to the Lord, and shall reign forever; oh, you could not be so taken up in, and possessed with the glories of any external excellency, or thing without you; it would make you trample under feet all fleshly honors and dignities, all resting in anything short of this rest in Christ; in a word, it would make you slight the delights and glories of any kingdom, of any Canaan short of spiritual Canaan, this land of spiritual rest, and soul satisfying delight; if you saw Jesus Christ to be the substance, the body of those shadows, from your being gathered up into, and so living in this substance, this body, it would soon end all controversies in your spirits about things below and short of this heavenly rest. Thomas Collier {General Epistle to the Universal Church, 1651}

Christ our Sin Bearer

God laid sin upon Christ. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” {Is.53:6} It is all laid upon Christ, so that now the sin of all the elect become the sin of Christ, they are laid upon Christ. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” {II Cor.5:21} Christ bare the sins of his people, God did not only lay sin upon Christ, but he bare it; “who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” {I Pet.2:24,} and so hath borne our grief, and carried our sorrows. This is the way by which Christ hath made peace for his people in bearing their sins; for there was no other way left for reconciliation between God and man; but God must become man, {Jn.1:14,} that so he might bare our sins and so our grief and sorrows, that he might be bruised for our iniquities, and that the chastisement of our peace might be upon him. {Is.53} At the cross God condemned sin, and Christ there bears not only sin, but Justice for sin. Man sins - justice is offended, and that must be satisfied. Christ stepped sin, he takes the blow, he becomes Surety for sinners, stands in our room, and pays the debt. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” {Rom.8:3} God did not only lay sin upon Christ, but Christ bears it, and there God condemns it, where God finds sin, there he condemns it. God condemns the sin of his people in the flesh of his Son. Learn hence to take heed of sin, do not take delight in any sin, truly beloved, you that love the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot love that which was such a heavy burden unto him. Oh beloved, how should justified, saved persons take heed of sin, of every sin; for the least sin that thou canst imagine took hold on Christ as well as the greatest. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom

The matter of Christ’s Kingdom is spiritual, Saints called out of the world; this is the Church, the Kingdom of Christ; the Saints gathered out of the World, by the preaching of the Gospel, into the order and fellowship of the Gospel; they are Saints, although some think strange to hear of Saints in this World, yet they are in Scripture called Saints, {I Cor.1:2,} “called to be Saints,” called to be holy. “Wherefore holy brethren partakers of the heavenly calling;” {Heb.3:1;} so that the kingdom of Christ is, or should be Saints, holy ones; not the world, for all the world are not Saints, but the Kingdom of Christ, are Saints called out of the World. “Because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” {Jn.15:19} The Church of Christ are Saints chosen out of the World, they are not of the World, they are a people separated, or severed out of the World, so was the Church of the Jews. “And ye shall be holy unto me; for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” {Lev.20:26} And thus it is with the spiritual Israel of Christ, under the Gospel, of which the natural was a type; they are not of this World, they are called out of this World, and severed or separated from the World. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness; and what communion hath light with darkness; and what concord hath Christ with Belial; or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel; and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” {II Cor.6:14-18} They are to be separated from the world, although the world hath gotten a form of godliness. The Apostle speaking of the last times, reckons up what courses men should take, what sins they should be addicted to, and yet concludes they shall have a form of godliness, but from such turn away, or be separated. {II Tim.3:1-5} So that you see, the Church, which is Christ’s Kingdom, are a people called out of the world, they are not of this world as he is not of this world. Then certainly those are no friends to Christ, that would turn the World into a Church, and so make the kingdom of Christ not a spiritual, but a carnal kingdom; and so make the Lord Jesus Christ a liar, for he hath said that, “his Kingdom is not of this world;” but let Christ be true, and every man a liar. The Church of Christ, his kingdom, they are such as are in the order and fellowship of the Gospel, compacted together, according to the Gospel rule, in order and fellowship; it is in the spiritual kingdom of Christ in this case, as in the body political; the whole kingdom under one government is but one body politic, or state; so the Kingdom of Christ, his church, although gathered in many bodies, yet it is but one body, and everybody hath the same power, the same privileges, so that it ought to be a body compacted together, under the reign and rule of one Lord Jesus Christ. {Eph.4:16} Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant

What a Mediator is - the word ‘Mediator’ signifies a middle person, or one between. It’s taken from an umpire or middle person that is chosen between two at difference, to make up the breach between them; and this is what I understand that Job intends in his complaint. “Neither is there any daysman betwixt us that might lay his hand upon us both.” {Job 9:33} Under his affliction he saw the want of such a one, between God and him, and doubtless he relates to Christ, being low in his faith in this matter, under his pressing affliction. But now Jesus Christ is the daysman, the middle person, that is come between God and his people, which is the second particular proposed; namely, to prove that Jesus Christ is the middle person between God and man, or the Mediator of the New Covenant. For proof, see not only the text which is full and clear, {“and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant,” Heb.10:24;} but likewise, {8:6,} where Christ is said to be “the Mediator of a better Covenant;” that is, of the New Covenant which is established upon better promises, &c.; “and for this cause he is the Mediator of the New Testament, &c.,” {9:15,} “for there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” {I Tim.2:5} Thus you see the truth lieth clear; that Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant, a truth of very great and special concernment for the Lord’s people to be acquainted with, and established in; it being the enemy’s design and great endeavor to ruin faith in this truth, and he hath gone very far in the work with many at this day. Next, note the persons for whom he is a Mediator, and the matter for what, and that not only, generally for men, “for there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” but secondly, and more particularly, and especially he is a Mediator of the New Covenant; so that then he is a Mediator for those included in the Covenant, between the Father and Christ. I have before showed that the Covenant is made with Christ, and in him, with, and for all his elect, and the chosen of the Father, so that he mediates for, and in behalf of those given to him by the Father, in order to the work of conversion, and coming in to own the grace of the Covenant. My beloved friends, I do believe, that there is never a sinner converted from the evil of his way, but it is by virtue of the Mediatorship of Jesus Christ at the right hand of God. Christ saith, “except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God;” {Jn.3:3;} so the word ‘born again’ in the Greek signifies “from above,” and we read, that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” {James 1:17} And truly the work of conversion and faith in Christ is a good work. Therefore it is added, “of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.” {vs.18} It is such a gift as he that hath it not must be damned. It is a fruit of the Spirit, that is the earnest of our inheritance, the evidence of things not seen. I suppose that none of spiritual understanding and conscience dare deny but that all good is by virtue of Christ. God gives it by him, and that in a way of Mediatorship. It is true, some there are who are so bold as to deny faith and conversion to be the gift of God, that they would have to be beaten out of their own brains; but as it is a gift from heaven, so it is by virtue of Christ being there. To deny this is to deny salvation by Jesus Christ; for if faith and salvation be not by virtue of Christ, his Mediatorship with the Father, then salvation may be obtained without a Mediator, and this absolutely destroys the Gospel and salvation by Jesus Christ. But the new birth is a heavenly birth; that is, a birth from above. Hence it is the Apostle saith, “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all;” {Gal.4:26;} and speaking prophetically of the New Covenant, and of Jerusalem that city which is above, and the flowing in of the Gentiles, saith, “of Zion it shall be said, this and that man was born in her;” {Ps.87:5;} that is, Jerusalem which is above; from thence is the work wrought, thence is the Spirit given. “If I go away {saith Christ} I will send the Spirit and he will convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” {Jn.16:7,8} It is the work of the Spirit to convince of sin, &c.; that is, to effect by the doctrine of the Gospel, the whole work of conversion; and the sending of the Spirit is a fruit of Christ’s Mediatorship. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” {Jn.16:7} “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.” {Jn.14:16} The Mediatorship of Christ, and the doctrine of the Gospel concurs together, and the Spirit, that is a fruit of Christ Mediatorship, as well as the doctrine of salvation, and is given to conversion, in the preaching of the doctrine of the Gospel. “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” {Gal.3:2} So that it is evident that Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant in the behalf of unconverted ones, for their conversion and work of faith, that they might come to know the grace given to them in Christ, and so come to receive the grace prepared for them. Christ is a Mediator for all his people, believers to whom the Covenant is revealed, or made known, he is with the Father for them. He is between God and man; namely, his people. That is it the Apostle saith, “and if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, &c.” {I Jn.2:1} Christ is now in the presence of God for us; that is, for his people, believers, for when they sin he is their Mediator and Advocate. Question: But what does he mediate for, for his people? Answer: In brief; he is all to his Father for his people, and brings down all good from the Father to his people; he makes both the persons and services of his people acceptable with the Father, and makes the Father’s goodness, and will, acceptable to and with his people. This is the sum of all, from whence every branch flows. But more particularly, as he mediates to the Father for his people; so he presents their persons and makes them accepted, though they are poor and wretched in themselves; yet, to the Father they are lovely in his Son. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved” - Christ. {Eph.1:6}  A word of singular consolation for poor saints, who live in the sight and sense of their own poverty. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” {Mt.3:17} God is not only well pleased with Christ, but he is well pleased in Him with all his poor people, and that is it Christ saith, “blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” {Mt.5:3} Jesus Christ is a Mediator for such, and they are made accepted in Him. Thus through the Mediatorship of Christ the persons of his people are accepted of the Father, and so they stand in an acceptable justified state with God. Their services are by virtue of the Mediatorship of Christ accepted with God; for he is not only well pleased with their persons, but he is likewise well pleased with their services, their obedience in every duty done in faith according to his will, and their praises and prayers, that is made acceptable with the Father by Jesus Christ, for it is Christ that bears the “iniquity of their holy things,” obtaining the pardon of all their defects; for he mixes much incense with their prayers, or adds it to their prayers, {Rev.8:3,4,} even the incense of the precious worth of his death and suffering, being offered up in his Mediatorship a sweet smelling savor to God. {Eph.5:2} Thus the services of the saints are presented to God acceptable by Jesus Christ. Oh then let the saints learn to know where and in whom their acceptation is, not in themselves, but in another, even in Jesus Christ who is with the Father for them. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant

Christ doth not only make the services of saints acceptable, but he himself who knows their wants better than they, presents their wants for them, which I shall more distinctly speak unto, when I come to show you the manner how he mediates for his people. And as he is all to the Father for his people; so, he is all from the Father to his people; that is, he mediates for, and brings down all from the Father to his people. He mediates for the Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is the fruit of Christ Mediatorship, a special word to direct us to the right way of obtaining a greater measure of the Spirit of promise, for it must be by virtue of the Mediatorship of Christ, if ever we have it. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth.” {Jn.14:16,17} “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” {Jn.15:26} Mark it my friends; the Father will send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter in the name of Christ; in his Authority and by virtue of his Mediatorship. “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” {Jn.16:7} The Father will send the Holy Spirit, &c., for he is said to proceed from the Father, but here Christ will send the Spirit, and what doth this teach us, but first, the unity of the Father and Son, in the work of sending the Holy Spirit. The Father, the Head and Fountain from whence he proceeds and is originally sent, the Son in way of Mediatorship by virtue of office, and so both Father and Son sends the Spirit. So likewise it is the same according to the Apostle who sets forth that when Christ “ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” {Eph.4:8} He ascended up on high, that he might do it; that is, by virtue of his Mediatorship; so that Jesus Christ brings down the Holy Spirit to his people. He mediates for, and brings down peace to his people from the God of peace, that so he may perform his legacy and promise when he went away. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” {Jn.14:27} “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” {Jn.16:33} And this he doth by sending down the Spirit of peace, working in the Gospel of peace. “Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” {II Cor.1:2} Peace comes from God and Christ, from God as the Father and Fountain of peace, from Christ the Mediator for peace. Christ mediates and brings down comfort and consolation for and to his people, according to his promise, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you;” {Jn.14:18;} and the way he comforts his people is by sending the Comforter the Holy Spirit, a fruit of his Mediatorship, to lead them into truth, and apply it to them for their comfort. Christ mediates and brings down the grace of sanctification for and to his people. It is the work of the Father to work a thorough sanctification in his people, that they may be holy in body and in spirit, and meet to possess their holy inheritance. Hence is that prayer of the Apostle; “and the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” {I Thes.5:23} Now Christ prays that his Father would do it. “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” {Jn.17:15-17} So that the Lord’s peoples sanctification and universal conformity to his mind and will is a blessed fruit and effect of the mediatorial office of Jesus Christ. Christ mediates for, and brings down the power and strength of, upholding and persevering grace, of performing duty, of overcoming sin and temptations, of holding on in the Lord’s way, and holding out unto the end, notwithstanding afflictions, tribulations and persecutions that the saints meet with because of the Word. The Lord Jesus mediates for the strength of grace. “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name; those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost.” {Jn.17:11,12} “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” {Lk.22:31,32} Oh friends, look to God for supporting, sustaining, supplying and renewing grace to be given down unto you through the mediation of Jesus Christ; for it is by him your strength is renewed, continued and increased, whereby you run and are not weary, walk and are not faint. Christ mediates for and brings down the answers of all the saints prayers, and a supply of all their necessities. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” {Jn.14:13} Christ will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; namely, the Father will glorify himself, in and by the Son, in giving answers to his people by Jesus Christ; “that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” {Jn.15:16} “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” {Jn.16:23} “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” {Phil.4:19} Mark it my friends, God will supply the needs of his people, but it must be by Jesus Christ as he is the Mediator of the New Covenant. And finally, not to multiply anymore particulars of this nature in this place, Jesus Christ mediates for, and brings down to his people all the blessings of the New Covenant, of which he is the Mediator, for on that account it is that he is the Mediator of the Covenant, for the bringing down all the blessings of Grace and Glory that are contained in the Covenant, and that is as hath been before proved, all things which may tend to make them truly and eternally blessed; justifying, sanctifying, persevering, comforting and glorifying grace. Grace and Glory, and no good thing will he withhold from his people. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant

We now come to the fourth particular proposed; namely, the place where Jesus Christ mediates for his people, and that is in heaven, whither he ascended when he was taken up. “And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” {Acts 1:10,11} A truth of special concernment for saints to be established in, for lose the place and lose the Person and Work, and all at once. A great cheat of the adversary at this day that persuades poor people of such a heaven and Christ within them, as to deny and gainsay Christ and heaven above, and pretend a supposition, that if Christ be personally in heaven, and by his Spirit in his people, it must necessarily make two Christs. But this is a truth, and it concerns all true believers that expect salvation by Jesus Christ, to believe and know that {according to the Scriptures} Jesus Christ is in heaven, at the right hand of God in the work of Mediatorship. “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” {I Pet.3:22} “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.” {Heb.4:14} “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” {Heb.9:24} “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” {Rom.8:34} Thus we see that it is clear from the word of truth, {which I believe above all the fancies of men on earth,} that Jesus Christ is in heaven, at the right hand of God in the great work of Mediatorship. He is said to be ascended far above all heavens; {Eph.4:10;} that is, above all the known heavens that are seen with the eye or understood in their motions, by the skill and art of natural wise men, called therefore the third heaven. {II Cor.12:2} “We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” {Heb.8:1} And there it is he mediates, and thither let the saints look, and there let their hearts and affections be. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” {Col.3:1,2} Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant

We now come to the fifth particular; namely, the way by which Christ hath established this Covenant, and that is by his blood. Oh friends in this undertaking of Jesus Christ for poor sinners, this Covenant must be by blood, for there must of necessity be the death of the Testator. Hence it is called a Covenant that is by blood. “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.” {Zech.9:11} And the blood of Christ is called the blood of the Covenant. “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” {Heb.10:29} And Christ saith, “this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” {Lk.22:20} And you will find that the blood of Christ; namely, Christ crucified, his body and blood broken and shed, hath its place in the whole work, for justification and remission of sins must be by the blood of Christ; reconciliation and peace must be through his blood; purging of the conscience must be by blood; redemption must be by his blood; Mediatorship, purchase of the kingdom, all by blood; therefore it is called the blood of the Everlasting Covenant. {Heb.13:20} And by the shedding of his blood hath he established this Covenant. Oh, learn hence to prize Christ crucified more and have a high esteem of the blood of Christ, and tremble in the thoughts of such horrid principles as tend to the trampling underfoot the blood of the Covenant, counting it an unholy thing. - Note that Christ mediates with his blood as he was a sacrifice, for when he was on earth, he offered up himself a sacrifice on the behalf of his people. He then performed the priestly work in offering himself, but having offered up himself a sacrifice, he is gone into heaven and makes good that sacrifice there. The high priest was a type of this in entering into the holy place, and that not without blood. Christ is entered with his own blood into heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of God for us. {Heb.9:23,24} And by his blood he mediates; that is clear by the words following: “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” {Heb.12:24} The blood of Christ pleads for the Lord’s people, for it was shed for them, and therefore it pleads for them better things than that of Abel, Abel’s blood cried for vengeance, but the blood of Christ crieth for mercy for poor sinners, for the giving down the good things of the Covenant, for which it was shed. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant

Christ mediates vocally in behalf of his people. He prays for them as a Son, as a High Priest, that is the Son of God consecrated for evermore. And that Christ doth so, will appear: 1. From Scripture; the words of Christ are full and plain in this matter. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, &c.” {Jn.14:16} Here is Christ’s promise at his departure, that he will pray &c.; and this is further clear from chapter 16, verse 7; “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you;” that is, I will pray the Father and he shall send him. The words of Christ, “I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you;” {Jn.16:26;} that is, I say not only that I will pray for you, but as a further ground of strong consolation, “the Father himself loveth you,” by which I’m sure to prevail in what I pray for, and this is evident, for he had promised it before; and I shall prove this from reasons grounded on the Scriptures. Reason 1. From his praying for them when he was in this world, in some sense more remote from the Father, and less exercised in the work of mediation, gives a strong and undoubted grounds to believe and conclude that now that he is ascended to the Father, and is in the work of mediation, he is much more exercised in that work of mediating by praying for them. Reason 2. From the nearness of relation, and that both to the Father and the saints, the only Son of the Father, and elder brother to the saints. “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” {Jn.20:17} Now may we suppose that this only Son of God, so near to the saints, hath nothing to say to the Father in behalf of his poor people, now that he is in heaven with him, that had so much to say for them when here on earth? Christ’s intercession on the behalf of his elect also appears from the various titles given to the work of Christ in heaven, as an Advocate; that is, one to plead for us, an Intercessor. “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” {I Jn.2:1} “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” {Heb.7:25} Which clearly demonstrates the truth, that Christ mediates in way of praying for the saints, and on these grounds, I do believe it, in a measure with joy. Christ is a tender and faithful Mediator, one that the saints may confide in, and trust with their cause. Men here on earth, may and often do choose such mediators or umpires, that they are much in doubt of their tenderness and faithfulness in the cause, but Jesus Christ is both tender and faithful to both parties in his mediation, for he will not, and he cannot be unfaithful to either. The one is his dear and Almighty Father; the other are his brethren, his children, flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, &c. See both of these; namely, his tenderness and faithfulness, stated in one Scripture. “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” {Heb.2:17} “Who was faithful to him that appointed him.” {Heb.3:2} Christ is a powerful and prevailing Mediator, he accomplishes what he mediates for, as he was never denied by the Father of what he asked, nor fails in a tittle of all the good he undertakes to ask for his people. Hence Christ saith; “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me; and I knew that thou hearest me always.” {Jn.11:41,42} Great in power, able to give what he pleads for, and therefore doubtless he will do it. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” {Mt.28:18;} saith Christ; and “the Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” {Jn.3:35} He is great in favor with God, the only beloved Son of his bosom, and therefore must needs be a powerful and prevailing Mediator. He mediates by virtue of all his offices, King, Priest and Prophet, and therefore must needs obtain what he mediates for. Christ mediates, particularly and distinctly for all saints, and for all wants. For all his people, for he is no respecter of persons, he respects not the rich more than the poor. The poorest saints are as near and dear to him as the richest. He bears them all upon his heart before his Father. A blessed word of comfort it is for poor Christians, whether outwardly poor or spiritually poor. “Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven;” {Lk.6:20;} and, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” {Js.2:5} Christ mediates for the particular ones of his people. He mediates knowingly, for he knows the wants of all his saints, and all their various temptations. He knows it first, as it is their case distinctly, and he knows it secondly, by experience, and therefore mediates suitable to their wants. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted {tested} like as we are, yet without sin.” {Heb.4:15} Christ is a constant Mediator with the Father for his people; for he doth not mediate for a time, and then have done, but he waits upon the work continually, for it is his office, and he is thereunto appointed by the Father. He is gone into heaven for that very end, now to appear in the presence of God for us. {Heb.9:24} My friends, Jesus Christ is not like unto a bad lawyer that will plead suitable to his fee, and it may be when he is most needed may be away about another business, or forget his clients; No, No, beloved friends, although he hath undertaken the cause of all the saints in the world, yet he will not forget one, nor be away while any business is past, for he waits on that very work. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant

The privileges and advantages that comes to the saints by the Mediatorship of Christ, and that is: 1. Acceptance, and through it boldness with the Father. Oh, my friends, believers may come with boldness to the throne of grace. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” {Heb.4:15,16} God hath given by Jesus Christ a liberty for a humble, holy boldness to his people. 2. An assured care taken for the well-being of saints. The Father hath taken care in appointing his Son to such a work; and Jesus Christ taketh care in the performance thereof. See both these in John 6:39; “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand;” {Jn.10:27,28;} and this is accomplished by the Mediatorship of Jesus Christ. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” {Rom.5:10} Note, we shall be saved by his life; that is, by his Mediatorship, for he ever lives to make intercession, and his ability to save is stated upon his ever living to make intercession. “But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” {Heb.7:24,25} 3. Everything that is good and best for them they shall have. Know Christians, that your Father, your Mediator, knows what is best for you, and you shall have all assuredly. Oh, that the saints did all believe this, how would it tend to quiet and comfort their hearts in all estates? How would they learn that lesson in all estates wherewith to be content? “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” {Phil.4:11} It is with the Lord’s people many times as it is with children, they would fain have their own wills, when it may be sometimes it would be to their hurt, but their Father knows best what is good for them, and therefore denies their will, and gives them what He will. So doth the Lord, the Mediator of the New Covenant, mediate for and give that which is best to his people, though it may be they murmur at it through weakness and ignorance; for it may be they desire health and he gives them sickness; they desire riches and he gives them poverty, &c. Why? Your Lord, your Mediator knows sickness to be best, and poverty to be best; therefore be content man, with what the Lord brings down. Paul prays thrice that the thorn in the flesh might be taken away or depart from him, &c., God answers him in that which was best for him, gives him another thing for the present, and that is strength of grace, to encounter with it, to resist and bear it until it should be removed. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” {II Cor.12:8,9} And that was as good or better, than the sudden removal of the temptation, &c. 4. Advantage of the Mediatorship of Christ is the preparation of the kingdom and the glory for the saints. Christ is with the Father in heaven, not only mediating for present supplies and supports, and giving a present acceptation to the persons and prayers of the saints, but he is preparing the kingdom for them, that the Father giveth to them. “I go and prepare a place for you.” {Jn.14:2} Hark you, friends, Jesus Christ is gone to prepare a place for you, a heavenly, a glorious place, “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” {I Pet.1:4} “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” {II Cor.5:1} And this is done by virtue of the Mediatorship of Christ, for it is purchased by virtue of his death. Hence it is called the purchased possession. {Eph.1:14} But it shall be prepared and given to them by virtue of the Mediatorship of Christ. “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” {Jn.17:24} Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant

I come now to the reasons why the New Covenant, which is Free, Absolute, and altogether Glorious, must have Christ to be the Mediator thereof. Why it must be so: First because it was the Father’s Eternal Council and Will, that although the Fountain of love and all good was and is in God from all eternity, yet he never intended to bring it forth to the sons of men any other way, but by the Death and Mediatorship of Jesus Christ. Hence the Apostle saith, “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you; who by him do believe in God.” {I Pet.1:21,22} It being so, there was a necessity that Christ should be the Mediator of this Covenant. This being the way ordained by the Father for the conveyance of grace and glory to his people, and the way for his people to come up to him. {Jn.14:6, Heb.10:19,20} So that here is a necessity for Christ to be the Mediator of the New Covenant. Likewise there was, and is a necessity in respect of the fall and miserable state of man by nature, and the weak and poor state of believers through the remainders of the corruption of nature, that without it there was no way of redemption from wrath, nor of standing and persevering, and no access to God, but alone, and by, and through this Mediator of the New Covenant. So that it appears here was a necessity for Christ to be the Mediator of the New Covenant; namely, for and in behalf of his people interested in the Covenant, for the giving forth of the good things of the Covenant unto them. Secondly; why it is so: Because he was thereunto appointed of God, and it is his Office and his Work to be mediating in behalf of his people, and therefore in it Christ answers the Father’s will and performs his office that he was appointed unto. Also, it is so, because Christ hath accepted of, and taken the office upon him, and undertaken too, for, and in the behalf of all his people. “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” {Heb.10:9} Christ came to undertake the office and to do the work for those that could not do it themselves. Christ was appointed by the Father, and accepted of the office and work of Mediator; that so salvation might be sure to all the seed; that is the way of assurance that God hath given to his people, that Christ hath undertaken the work for them, and takes the care of them. He is become their good Shepherd and Bishop; namely, the overseer of their souls. He hath undertaken according to the Father’s will, to take the care of all the sheep, and to see that they do not perish, and he is enabled to do it by the very power of the Father, that he might be able to accomplish it, in order that salvation might be sure. “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” {Is.55:3} Sure support and preservation from enemies, that they might be surely and safely kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Christ - the Wisdom of God

The Lord Jesus Christ, the wisdom of the Father, him in whom the Father manifests his wisdom, was ordained before the world began. “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” {Eph.3:10,11} Well may it be called manifold, for it is infinite, and there is no numbering of it. “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.” {Ps.145:3} How should this take off from the Saints all cares and fears concerning the things of this world? He who is infinite in wisdom; wisdom himself hath taken care for thy soul, for thine eternity. Doubt not, but rest upon him, his wisdom shall be for thee, he will so order, and dispose of all thy actions, as shall be most advantageous for his own honor, and thy good. And know this, that nothing comes to pass but by his wise disposing hand of grace; nay, he is made unto thee, that believest, wisdom. {I Cor.1:30} O admirable mercy, that the God of wisdom, should not only, wisely contrive a way for the reconciling of sinners to himself, but should become their wisdom, he is made to us wisdom, admire at this, all the sons and daughters of God; what, God himself become your wisdom; then truly, thy folly shall not harm thee. O thou art ready to say I am so foolish, so ignorant, &c. O poor soul, it matters not, it is mercy thou seest thy folly; for the truth is, thou must be a fool that thou mayst be wise. {I Cor.3:18 & 4:10} That is, thou must renounce all thine own wisdom as folly; for it is self-wisdom that is the greatest enemy to Christ. Therefore let no man deceive himself, “if any man amongst you seem to be wise in this world, let him be a fool that he may be wise.” Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Church of Christ

The Church of Christ under the Gospel are the spiritual seed, the seed according to the promise. “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” {Rom.2:29} None are to be looked upon as the sons of Abraham by natural generation, as they are borne of the bodies of believers under the Gospel. {Rom.4:16} “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” {Gal.3:26,29} Observe it, you must first be Christ’s, before you are Abraham’s seed, not Abraham’s seed as soon as you are born; it is by faith that ye are manifested to be Christ’s, and being thus manifested by faith, then they are Abraham’s seed according to the promise. Abraham’s promised seed are only believes, such as are indeed Christ’s. It is true, some may profess faith in hypocrisy, of whom we having no ground to the contrary, are bound to receive, but none are indeed Abraham’s seed, but they that are Christ’s. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Church of Christ

Objection - The churches are under much weakness and many divisions, therefore not the true churches of Christ; for the Church of Christ is one, and ought to dwell in unity, &c. Assertion – True, we indeed acknowledge ourselves to be weak, yet weakness argues not the Church to be no true Church, no more than weakness argues a man to be no true man, or weakness in faith argues a believer to be no true believer; for if there be so much of God made manifest, by which souls come to see their interest in Him, and their relation to Him, by virtue of which they enjoy communion and fellowship with Him, which is the greater; doubtless they may and ought to yield obedience to Him which is but an effect of the former; and if true believers in relation, then they are Christ’s though weak, and if united together upon the account of Christ by his Spirit in the obedience of faith, they are the Church of Christ; for the word ‘Church’ signifies an assembly or company of believers walking together in and according to the revealed will of the Lord; and so this weak company of believers thus waiting upon Him, and walking with Him in the expectation of his strength are then strongest, {II Cor.12:10,} and to them is the promise made, {Is.40:29-31,} therefore weakness with the sight and sense thereof is no ground of discouragement to the saints in their waiting upon the Lord and in their walking with Him. And as for divisions, if that will prove the churches to be no churches of Christ, the same argument will prove that there never was a Church of Christ; for I suppose there was never a Church yet without divisions. {I Cor.1:10, 3:3} It is true that unity is desirable and to be sought after, {Eph.4:3,4,} and those that cause divisions are to be noted, {Rom.16:17,} by which it appears that there were divisions. Paul and Barnabas were divided; {Acts 15:38-40;} Paul and Peter were likewise divided; {Gal.2:11;} and these were the chosen ministers of Christ, yet divided in their principles or opinions. Objection - This was in churches, not between churches, as now it is, one of one opinion and another of another opinion, so un-churching each the other. Assertion - So it was in the primitive times, the believing Jews did un-church the believing Gentiles, for they did un-saint them, for they taught, that unless they were circumcised after the manner of Moses, they could not be saved, {Acts 15:1,} which occasioned a great dissension; yet neither were the believing Jews or Gentiles either un-churched by it; so that divisions in the Church is no good argument to prove it no Church. Objection - There hath been a cessation of the practice of Ordinances a long time by reason of the Apostasy, so that there is no succession; therefore it is requisite that there should be some men extraordinarily gifted and called of God for the raising and renewing of the Ordinances of Christ. Assertion - First, it is true there hath been an apostasy, and by reason of that a cessation of the Ordinances of Christ; so there was amongst the Jews in their Babylonian captivity, a type of the mystical Babylon, and spiritual captivity of the saints, and Ordinances of Christ under the Gospel; but when the times of their deliverance was come, the Lord brought them forth, not by might, nor by power, but by his Spirit, {Zech.4:6,} so in the spiritual deliverance now in the last days, we find the Lord’s work to be the same, not by might or power of signs and wonders, but by his Spirit; and indeed here is a great and precious work of the Lord to bring over souls to believe in him, and to follow him by his Spirit in the ministry of the Gospel without signs and miracles according to the words of Christ himself. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” {Jn.20:29} And we shall find that when the Lord brought his people out of the material Babylon, he did not raise up any new Moses, but they found the Book of the Law, and read in that, and so came to find out the mind of the Lord, and practiced accordingly, and that with great joy too. Read Nehemiah the eighth chapter. And thus hath God dealt with his people, notwithstanding the great apostasy and captivity, yet the Lord hath preserved the Scriptures, the Law and Rule of saints, and hath given his Spirit, the Enlightner and Director of his people; we have as truly Christ and his Apostles as the Old Testament saints had Moses and the Prophets; and it were well if it were more the saints joy, that the Lord hath dealt thus graciously with us, for he hath not dealt so with all people, neither have they the knowledge of his will, so that we are to have recourse to the Scriptures, Christ being the same unto us, as he was to the saints in the primitive times; and we as truly having the mind of Christ, by his Apostles, as they; and the Apostles are truly our Apostles, and the Gospel of Truth recorded by them is ours who believe in Jesus as truly as it was theirs; so that the saints by the light of the Spirit coming to know the Lord, and believe in his Name, are to do his will revealed in the Scriptures; and I know no reason why we should look for a succession of Ordinances any more than a succession of Faith; for if the Lord hath left us the Scripture and Ministry by which the Spirit worketh faith, this Word and Ministry is sufficient for the practice of Ordinances. {Is.8:20, Rev.22:13} Objection - But the Scripture hath been carried along through the Apostasy of the man of sin, and may be corrupted, &c. Assertion - First, suppose there may be some circumstantial corruptions, yet in the body and substance thereof, it is the Word of truth, and whosoever denies this, must deny all: God, Christ, and all Truth. But secondly, that it is not corrupted is evidenced by the work and witness of the Spirit of Grace in the hearts of the saints bearing witness, for hereby we know the truth of the Scriptures, the answerableness of the work of the Spirit in us, and then the Lord’s work by his Spirit in us is witness by the Scriptures. Likewise, we know the truth of it, by its power through the work of the Spirit in converting souls; and if antichrist had corrupted the Scripture, surely he would have done it for his own ends; but he hath not done it upon that account, for there is nothing in it for his gain, but enough to destroy all. Likewise, there is no special practice in the Church taken not from one single Scripture, but it hath the test of many, and the joint harmony of Scripture confirming all; and all matters of justification, sanctification and obedience are therein plainly asserted, that whoso runs may read it, &c. Thomas Collier {Right Constitution & True Subjects of the Visible Church of Christ, 1654}

Coming to Christ

What are we to understand by coming or being brought to Christ? To come to Christ is to believe in him. “He that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” {Jn.6:37} To come to Christ by faith, is to own him in all his offices, to look to him, and rest upon him for salvation, to come to him, as to the Mediator of the New Covenant, to come to him as your Lord and King, to submit to him in all things. To come to him so, as to expect all good from God by him, both in respect of grace and glory. Thus are believers come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant. Those that have come to Christ have seen a need of him, and a worth in him above all the world besides, they have left all for him, and do account their own righteousness as filthy rags, as dung and dross, all their own wisdom to be foolishness, and their own strength to be but weakness; they loath themselves in their own eyes, in the sight and sense of their own vileness, and they are made willing to have all in Christ, and to follow him, {apart from all their vanities and beloved lusts,} through all difficulties they meet withal. Oh; how few are there that are thus come to Jesus Christ, it is true the world is come to him in their own fancies and imaginations, but it is but a cheat and delusion. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Confession of Faith in Christ

It seems that our errors are so great, so dangerous in your eye, as that you fear miserably some great disaster come upon us; you cry out lamentably upon our doctrine, as that it will bring destruction to Church, State, souls and all. But what are our principles that are so full of danger? Answer: I shall give some brief hints. 1. That Justification and Salvation is by Grace alone through Christ, without any relation to anything done by the creature. 2. That this Justification and Salvation is enjoyed by faith. 3. That this Faith is the gift of God. 4. That where this faith is truly wrought, it produces a universal obedience to the whole Law of Christ, and that it is the believers privilege only to be baptized. 5. That obedience to Magistrates is the will of God, and we submit for conscience sake. 6. That believers are to press forwards after perfection, in the use of means, as prayer, preaching, conference, fellowship, &c. 7. That none are the Ministers of the Gospel but such as have received the Spirit, and Power from on High. 8. That the Spirit of Christ and the Scripture is sufficient for the calling of a minister, and for our salvation. 9. That it is the work of the Lord and of Him alone in the ministry of the Gospel to convert and build up souls. 10. That all the saints may and ought to exercise their gifts for the good of others, according to the measure that they have received. 11. That it is their duty to be men of peace and as much as in them lieth, to live peaceably with all. 12. That a mask and show of holiness and innocency to deceive others, without the power and life of godliness, is the deepest hypocrisy, and shall be punished with the deepest damnation. 13. Our expectation is of a change in the day of the Lord, wherein we shall be made conformable to Him in glory. 14. And in the meantime we are saved by hope, that as the anchor of the soul is cast into that which is within the veil, where we are held both sure and steadfast in Christ; where we are cheered and comforted against all the black mouths, false scandals, and lying tongues of devils, priests, or men that shall be opened against us; notwithstanding they fear not, neither tremble to do the work of the devil, in laying false scandals and accusations to the charge of God’s elect without just cause; the Lord will in his time reprove and rebuke you. Thomas Collier {Pulpit Guard Routed, 1651}

Covenant of Grace in Christ

God hath greatly enriched this New Covenant with all blessings, and greatly enriched his people in this Covenant, for he hath with Christ given to them all things. First: Remission of sins; for this is to be preached and is freely given in the New Covenant. This is one special part of the Gospel, and branch of the Covenant of Grace, remission of sins by Jesus Christ. “That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” {Lk.24:47} And as it is to be preached in the name of Christ, so it is administered and applied to all true believers; and this is such grace that we do not only need it in our first conversion and work of grace, for the remission of sins that are past, {Rom.3:25,} but all the time we live here, as sin remains and cleaves to us, so we need remission, and in the New Covenant it is administered to us according to the tenor therein expressed. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” {Heb.8:12} “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.” {I Jn.2:12} “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” {I Jn.1:9} In all which this blessing or blessed gift is clearly stated. “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” {Rom.4:6,7} Secondly: Peace and Reconciliation with himself is another blessing of the New Covenant, which the Lord gives to all his people, and this peace is likewise first preached in the Doctrine of the Gospel. Hence it is that God saith, “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD.” {Is.57:19} And Christ sent his disciples with the message of peace; {Lk.10:5;} and the Apostles came “preaching peace by Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,” {Acts 10:36,} and this peace and reconciliation is applied and enjoyed by faith. “Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ; for He is our peace.” {Eph.2:13,14} “Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” {Rom.5:1} Thirdly: The blessing of the Spirit is another blessing of the New Covenant, and truly included in that blessing promised to Abraham; for there is nothing that tends to make the saints truly and eternally blessed, but it must be included in that blessing promised to Abraham, without which persons could not be blessed; therefore this promise of the Spirit is reckoned as one of the blessings promised to Abraham, and not the least neither. “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” {Gal.3:14} This is the great Gospel blessing and promise of Christ when he was to leave this world and go to the Father, that he would send the Holy Spirit the Comforter, which promise believers now have a share in. “As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and forever.” {Is.59:21} Therefore let the saints be encouraged to expect such a portion of his promised Spirit as may concur to the effecting of God’s Covenant. Fourthly: The adoption of sons by the same Spirit is another blessing of the New Covenant, for out of Christ men are strangers, enemies; but in Christ, friends, sons and daughters to the Lord God Almighty. Oh friends, here is a blessing and a blessed privilege the Lord hath given to his people in this New Covenant. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” {Jn.1:12,13} “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” {I Jn.3:1} “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” {Rom.8:17} Oh, learn to cherish this privilege and this interest in and relation to the Lord. Fifthly: An interest in great and precious promises, both of Grace and Glory. This the Lord gives in this Covenant to all his people. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises &c.” {II Pet.1:4} Oh, the great and precious promises relating both to grace and glory, that God hath interested his people in, in this Covenant; every New Testament promise is a branch of the Covenant, and must be performed. Promises of pardoning, and purging, and supporting, and preserving grace; promises of the Kingdom and the Glory that is yet to come; this hath God promised in the New Covenant, and given his people an interest in, for the godly have the promises of this life, and of that which is to come. Oh, therefore let them learn to acquaint themselves more with the promises, and more to prize them, and to live by faith in the expectation of God’s faithfulness in performing of them, for they are his people’s portion until they come to enjoy the promised possession. Sixthly: Free access to the throne of Grace as sons and daughters in the name of Christ, a great and precious favor, too little prized and developed by the Lord’s people. God delights to have his children come to him, and call upon him in the spirit and faith of sons, for this is the Lord’s gift, and it is marvelous that he should admit such worthless worms to come to him with acceptance. Oh let us learn to prize it and improve upon it, for it is a New Covenant mercy, that which none can claim a right to but believers. It is their privilege, it is their duty, let them therefore know it, and be encouraged to come with boldness to the Throne of Grace. Never a carnal man in the world can claim a right to this as a New Covenant mercy. “But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?” {Ps.50:16} Let not the Lord’s people be found negligent in this work, nor undervaluing it as a low and legal thing; but know it is a high and precious privilege; be therefore faithful in the cultivation thereof. Seventhly: Outward comforts of this life are given in as New Covenant mercies, although the great promises on which the Covenant is established are spiritual and eternal, and not such on which the Old Covenant was established, yet the New Covenant is not altogether without the promises of this life. Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come; for your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of these things, and all these things shall be added; {Mt.6:33, Lk.12:31;} namely, added in, with, and to the kingdom. It is true, our Lord hath not promised great things in this life to his people, but food and clothing; therefore having that which God hath promised, let us be therewith content, for we brought nothing with us into this world, and it is certain, that we shall carry nothing out; and let us learn to enjoy all our mercies, as handed to us in the New Covenant, upon the account of Christ, and improve all for God, not bestow it upon our lusts, but be faithful in answering God’s precious ends, in embracing such worthless worms in such an enriching Covenant as this is, in which both grace and glory are included. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Covenant of Grace in Christ

It is a Free Covenant. Oh, the freeness of God’s love in this Covenant. This Covenant is free, either as relation to God the Author, or relating to man the receiver. First, relating to God, it was free, for his own Council and Purpose of Grace freely conceived it in Himself, and brought forth by, and of Himself. Such was the freeness of the love of God in this Covenant, that nothing could put a stop to Him, notwithstanding he foresaw what man would be and do; and yet this put no stop to the free coming forth of this Covenant, for all the parts of it are free. His doing for, working in, and giving to, are all free. Christ a free gift, so is the work of faith, “of his own will begat he us by the word of truth.” {Jas.1:18} So is the Kingdom and the Glory. “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” {Lk.12:32} Likewise, this Covenant is free in relation to man, there being nothing in us to procure it, neither of dessert or desire after it, which puts a very great luster and beauty in the Grace of the Covenant, that is extended to such worthless creatures, who not desiring their own good, but would rather have chosen the way of sin and death, than the way of righteousness and life, if mercy had not prevented. The Lord meets with poor souls in the way of mercy, when they are hastening headlong to Hell and Destruction. The Covenant of Grace is a powerful Covenant; for it effects what it requires in point of power; for it requires faith and gives power to believe; it requires obedience and gives power to obey &c. God in it and by it doth effect it, for God is the Power of this Covenant, as the grace of making, so the power of effecting belongs to God. Hence it is that the language of God is, {as hath been already minded, when he speaks of the work of conversion,} “I will take away the stony heart, and give them a heart of flesh, and will put my Spirit in them,” &c., and, “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and live,” &c., and when he speaks of the state of saints in the Covenant, the Lord says, “I will keep them that none shall pluck them out of my hands,” “none shall be able to pluck them out of my Father’s hands,” and “I will put my fear in them, that they shall not depart away from me.” Thus it appears that the Covenant of Grace is a powerful Covenant. Oh, let the saints learn to live by faith more & more in the Gospel power and strength, which is able to keep them until that day. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” {Is.40:29-31} The Covenant of Grace is a Holy Covenant. “To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant.” {Lk.1:72} And that not only in the matter of it, for so was the Old a Holy Covenant. “Wherefore the Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good;” {Rom.7:12;} but this is holy as it effects and works holiness in those who are gathered into it, and this the other did not. But this is a holy Covenant, as it makes holy, as well as requires to be holy. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” {I Thes.5:23} The God of peace sanctifieth in this Covenant. The Covenant of Grace is a gracious Covenant, a Covenant of Mercy, and a Covenant of Peace; hence it is that we call it a Covenant of Grace, because it is free, and effects what it requires, and pardons the defects of those that are in it. Hence it is, that God hath made known Himself to be a God of mercy indeed, a God pardoning iniquity, transgression and sin. Oh, my beloved friends, in whose hearts God hath written this Covenant, look up and be comforted. It is a Covenant of Grace, Mercy and Peace from God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. This Covenant is a rich Covenant. Oh, the riches of this Covenant for it is filled full of precious pearls, so that it greatly enriches those that are in it. “Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment; that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.” {Pv.8:18-21} Here is a rich Covenant filled with riches and honor, better than gold and silver, because it speaks of spiritual and eternal riches, above and beyond the sight of carnal men. Oh, the blessed state of those that are in this Covenant, for they are greatly enriched in all spiritual wisdom and knowledge; they are interested in a Covenant filled with great and precious promises of grace and glory, an inheritance, a kingdom, an everlasting kingdom that shall never be taken from them. Here is riches indeed, riches of substance that will fill all the saints treasures. Remember this, for it is a rich Covenant indeed! “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” {Jas.2:5} This Covenant gives an interest in God and Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. {Col.2:3} Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath the heart of man conceived, what riches God hath prepared and will bestow upon those that love him. It is an everlasting Covenant, in the Council of God, for it was from everlasting, and in the execution of it, it shall be to everlasting. “Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” {Is.55:3} “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” {Jer.32:40} “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.” {II Sam.23:5} This is a Covenant that shall never fail. It is said to be everlasting, because it shall endure forever in heaven, it shall stand to eternity; for if we might suppose any time when this Covenant might be broken, we might suppose a possibility of falling from God, even from the state of glory; but the ground of assurance for the saints eternal standing, and not falling after they come to the perfect glory is in this Everlasting Covenant, where the eternal blessedness is contained and promised to the saints; for God hath promised, and sworn that he will not lie to David; namely, to Christ in this Covenant. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Covenant of Grace in Christ

The house of Israel must be understood as the elect in Christ, considered in God’s Eternal Council and Purpose, to whom the Promise and Covenant did indeed belong, the chosen of God in Christ before the world was, whether Jew or Gentile. Of the Jew consider and compare the Scripture, and it will appear that although God hath made many promises unto the natural seed of Abraham to do them good, and they are all branches of this Covenant, yet they are to them not as natural, but spiritual, even the elect of God. Therefore not general to all the seed, but to a remnant whom the Lord shall call. “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” {Joel.2:32} “A remnant shall be saved;” {Rom.9:27;} and chapter 11, verse 5 explains this remnant: “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” So that there is a remnant at this present time according to the election of grace, and this “election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” {vs.7} In a word the Covenant is made to the elect in Christ, and effected in and with believers, whether Jew or Gentile, which is with whom the Covenant is established, and that is with Jesus Christ, and in him with all the elect, and by him, established for the elect, and accomplished in and with them in his times. It is with the Jesus Christ as the Head, he being the foundation of God’s election and choice. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles;” {Is.42:1} “the firstborn among many brethren;” {Rom.8:29;} “that in all things he might have the preeminence.” {Col.1:18} That this Covenant was first made with Christ is clear from the Scripture. If we take it as given to Abraham the Covenant was with his seed personally; that is, Christ, as hath been before proved. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ;” {Gal.3:16;} so that the Covenant is clearly stated to and with Jesus Christ, and is with and in him; hence it is that the Apostle saith, “that all the promises are in Him yea and amen, &c.” {II Cor.1:20} Now all the promises are branches of the Covenant, and the Covenant being with and in him, all the promises must be in Him, and in Him sure, yea, and amen, to the praise and glory of God. And further, if we consider David as personating Christ, the Covenant was with him. God hath sworn by his Holiness that he will not lie to David, {Ps.89:35;} namely, to Christ, but his Covenant shall stand fast forever. So that Christ stands Head in this Covenant to his body the Church; and as this Covenant is made with Christ, it is in the behalf of all the elect. Christ hath covenanted here in behalf of all the elect for: 1. Bringing in; 2. Preservation; 3. Giving the kingdom and glory. For bringing in: “All that the Father hath given me, shall come to me.” {Jn.6:37} Note, here is a giving before coming, which occasions coming, they shall come, a giving before believing. And it is a giving by Covenant, as is clearly expressed; “for I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me; and this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” {Jn.6:38,39} Here is the Father’s will, and Christ came to do it, so that here is Christ’s will, and the Covenant and Agreement between the Father and the Son, and that before Christ came down from heaven. “For I came down from heaven,” saith Christ, “to do the will of Him that sent me.” The Father purposed the work and the terms on which it must be undertaken; Christ receives it, and undertakes it. The first part of it is to bring in all that the Father hath given him, “they shall come to me,” saith Christ. Objection: All are given to Christ. Assertion: It is true that all are given to him, but to differing ends. “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” {Ps.2:8} But the gift we are speaking of is a gift by Covenant, in a way of grace, so that only a remnant are given to Christ, and these shall come to him. “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice.” {Jn.10:16} That is his elect among the Gentiles; yea all that Christ was to bring to God from among the Gentiles are here included, and they were his sheep before they were born, and before conversion. How his, but by gift, in a way of Covenant; and Christ must bring them in; and why, but to answer the Covenant on this behalf. Secondly: For preservation; “and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” {Jn.10:28,29} They are in the Son’s hand by way of Gift and Covenant, in the Father’s hand in way of power, the power of the Father, and the Son being one and the same in working; therefore the Father worketh, and the Son worketh. Christ holdeth them fast, and the Father holdeth them fast, who is greater than all, and his greatness is manifest in the Son. It is the Father’s will that Christ should lose nothing of all that he had given him, but that he should raise it up, and make it good at the last day, and this is Christ’s will still, and this is the essence of the Covenant of Grace. {Jn.6:39} Thirdly; for the donation and giving of the Kingdom and the Glory, this Christ hath undertaken. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” {Jn.17:2} This is the Father’s will in the Covenant, and Christ receives it; for it is his will too, and so Christ comes into the world about the work and establishment of this Covenant for the elect, that they might be brought into it, and have their share in it, in his times. And this is the truth we are upon, that Christ hath established this Covenant for his elect, and doth manifest it to them in his times in the work of faith, and now the Covenant is said to be made with them for two reasons: 1. Because now they give consent to it, and resign up themselves to the Lord in what he hath done for them; and believe the Grace and the Covenant of Grace; for now is their acceptation of what Christ hath done, and justifying him in the work, together with their resignation of themselves unto Him as their Head and Lord, in this Blessed and Holy Covenant. 2. They come now to claim a right in the Covenant, which before they could not do, though God and Christ had a special right in them, yet they could claim no right by Covenant in the Father and in the Son, before or without believing, and this is Christ’s work, to work faith in all his elect, for he is the Author and Finisher thereof. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Covenant of Grace in Christ

Here is a strong ground of consolation for all true believers, Jesus Christ hath taken away the First, the Old, and established the Second, the New Covenant of Grace and Peace. Here lies the grace, the love, the peace, the glory and all blessedness in this Covenant, and “it is sure to all the seed,” and God hath made it to the end that it might be sure, and the comers thereunto might have strong consolation. “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.” {Heb.6:17-20} This is a Covenant in which it is “impossible for God to lie;” for he hath covenanted and sworn to it, that we might have strong consolation therein. Oh therefore my beloved friends, I speak to you that are interested in this Sure and Everlasting Covenant of Grace, let it be your work to be much in the meditation and consideration of the grace, the love, the glory of this Covenant; for all true believers may truly say with the Apostle, “so then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” {Gal.4:31} Not of the Covenant from Mount Sinai which gendereth to bondage, but of the Covenant from mount Zion which is free, which is the mother of us all. Let it be therefore your pursuit by faith and hope and meditation about the grace and glory of this Covenant to suck the sweetness, and feed on the marrow and fatness that is freely from the Father given to you in Christ Jesus. I am persuaded, nay, I am very much assured, that the Lord’s poor people very often go without the comfort of the Covenant of the Grace of the Gospel, for want of feeding their souls thereon. There is bread enough in the Father’s house, but there wants a will, or skill to feed thereupon. Either want of sight of its worth, or an appetite to it, or else a supposition of unfitness and unworthiness, occasions many a soul truly interested in the grace of the Covenant to rest short of a right improvement of their interest there, and so lose the comfort and sweetness they might otherwise enjoy. Here is a ground for, and matter of consolation in all conditions, under all temptations, all sins and infirmities. If it be sense of weakness, and fear of holding out to the end, here is all the attributes of God himself engaged for thy support, the promise is {resides} in Christ, thou shalt be blessed. See the great and precious promises of the New Covenant to this purpose: Jer.32:40, Is.40:28-31, 41:10, 43:1,2, Heb.13:5. These with many more are the promises of the new Covenant. If it be reproach and persecution for the name of Christ, or poverty, or any affliction whatsoever, here is peace and spiritual contentment, and assured promises of the Kingdom and the Glory in the end. “If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” {Rom.8:17} “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” {II Cor.4:17,18} And that your souls may live upon the goodness of God in this Covenant of Grace, let it be your care to make much of the Scripture, in which the Covenant is stated and held forth; and acquaint yourselves with the promises of the Covenant, which are all but branches thereof, and they are suitable to all estates, and will afford assured comfort to thy soul if rightly and suitably applied {by the Spirit of Christ.} And in the promises of the Covenant, if faith be rightly set on work, thou wilt gather in all the Attributes of God for thy comfort, goodness and love in engaging himself, and interesting thee in such a Covenant; power, wisdom, faithfulness and justice in performing. Oh here is a stable and sure Covenant; for saints may draw stable and sure consolation to their own souls therein; yet notwithstanding they may say with David, “although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting Covenant;” {II Sam.23:5;} although I am weak and frail and in my flesh dwelleth no good thing, and I have cause to loath myself in mine own eyes, yet God hath made with me, {or rather with Christ for me,} a sure Covenant. But some may say, here is a ground of strong consolation indeed for those that are interested in it, and have a right unto it, but how may I know that I have a right to this Covenant, that I may improve it to my comfort. Answer: Notwithstanding that God and Christ hath an interest in persons, and that by virtue of this Covenant, before they believe, yet we cannot claim any interest or right before and without faith; therefore we may truly say as the prophet, “by this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.” {Ps.41:11} So I say, we come to know our interest in the Covenant by the work he hath wrought in us, therefore hath the Lord wrought the work of faith and hope in God through Jesus Christ, and this attended with self-loathing, and a sense of spiritual poverty, and adhering to, and depending upon the rich grace of God in Christ crucified, and this attended with a true desire and endeavor of living to God and answering of his goodness. I say, if this Law of God be thus written by the Spirit in your hearts, you may comfortably conclude your interest in the Covenant; for I say, you must come to conclude your interest in the Covenant, from the work of the Spirit in you which answers the terms of the Covenant, and holds harmony to what God hath promised in the Covenant. I say not, that this work within is the ground of our being in the Covenant, nor the cause, nor the ground of our faith, but a demonstration of our interest therein, for all is grounded upon the free and everlasting love of God in Christ; who hath and doth work his people into a capacity thereof. Therefore remember this, that God’s goodness and absoluteness in the Covenant, no whit diminishes the saints duty, but rather supports and engages thereunto. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Dependence upon the Lord

Christ thy High Priest will have thee to live Him, and upon Him, out of, and above thyself. He will have thee to fetch all from Himself. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” {Col.3:3} Dead to sin, and dead in yourselves; not able to act or do anything, but as you are carried on by the power of God. “Without me ye can do nothing.” {Jn.15:5} Christ is, and will be, all in all to your souls. {Col.3:11} If all sin in the saints were subdued, and they made perfect in this life, I mean personally perfect, they they could not live by faith upon Another, and so should not be in a dependency upon Christ; this was Adam’s condition, and he quickly lost it; but it is the wisdom of God, and it is much for our good, to keep us in our ways in a state of dependency upon Himself, where our stock remains; for our life, our consolation, our salvation is all hid with Christ in God, and therefore it is sure, although we have not the full enjoyment of it in this world. God keeps his people always in a way of dependency, in a way of believing, in a way of receiving, and so causes them to live by faith. This is one end whereby God gives faith unto his people, that they might live comfortably in their patient expectation of what God hath promised in Christ. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Eternal Generation of the Son of God

I am accused of denying that Jesus Christ is the Son of God by an eternal generation. That which they undertook to maintain in this particular was, the eternal generation of the Son by the Father in the Godhead, which was and is by me denied. The Scripture they had at first to prove it, was that in the Common Prayer book, in Athanasius Creed: That he was very God of very God, begotten before all worlds; I denied that to be Scripture; they affirmed it to be in the Scripture; I told them I knew no such Scripture, and desired them to look it; they searched the Scripture, turned their Concordance, but could not find it; I then told them where they might find it; but in the second meeting they produced these Scriptures, John 3:16. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son;” and John 1:14, I John 4:9. “He sent his only begotten, that we might live,” &c., and hence endeavored to maintain this argument, that if Christ was the only begotten, then he was eternally begotten, &c., and this I deny; for he is not said to be begotten but as in the womb of the Virgin, by the power of the Most High, {Luke 1,} and upon this account he is said to be the only begotten Son of the Father, because there was never any son so begotten; but they still pressed this argument, that this begetting must of necessity be a begetting before all time. I answered them out of Psal.2:7, “I will declare the decree; the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee,” which is a begetting in time; they then fell to that in Prov.8:25. “Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth;” hence endeavoring to maintain an eternal begetting, which was denied; bringing forth and begetting being not the same; although after the flesh begetting precedes bringing forth; yet in the Divine mystery there is a bringing forth without begetting. In conclusion I charged Person Smith with blasphemy and nonsense; blasphemy in holding forth a generation in the Godhead, which is proper only to the creature; and nonsense in holding forth a generation in the Godhead, the Father begetting the Son, and yet the Son to be co-eternal, and that it was him that indeed denied the Eternity of the Son. Thomas Collier {Heads and Substance of a Discourse; first private, and afterwards public; held in Axbridge, in the county of Somerset, about the 6th of March, 1650; between John Smith of Badgworth, and Charles Carlile of Bitsham, &c., on the one part; and Thomas Collier of Westbury on the other, 1651}

Eternal Justification & the Blood of Christ

As Christ hath made peace in bearing the sins of his people, so also in laying down his life and blood for them. Beloved, before ever there could be peace and reconciliation made, Christ must die for it, give his life and blood for it. All those ceremonial sacrifices under the Law were a type of a dying Christ; hence it is that he is called a Lamb slain from the beginning. Beloved, Christ having undertaken to become a High-Priest, a Peace-Maker between God and man, nothing less than his blood could do it. Without blood there is no remission; {Heb.9:22;} no justification without blood; Christ’s dying is a believer’s justification; “being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved,” &c., {Rom.5:9,} no purging of sin without blood; “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” {Heb.9:14} “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood;” {Rev.1:5;} there is no pardon and so no peace without blood. {Heb.9:22} Thus beloved you see that all must be done by blood, and that by the blood of Christ too, for the blood of all the creatures in the world, nay of all the men in the world, was not able to redeem, to make satisfaction for one soul, nay, for one sin, nothing less than the precious blood of Christ could do it. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” {I Pet.1:18,19} Some may say that God had never anything against his elect, for he loved them from eternity. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” {Jer.31:3} “He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” {Eph.1:4} It is indeed true that God ever loved his elect in Christ, and ever intended mercy and love unto them; yea he so loved them as with relation to the death of his Son, that from everlasting He determined to satisfy his justice, to take away sin, and work peace by the death of his Son; and the truth is that God had as really an eye to the death of his Son from all eternity, and saw it as actual then, as if Christ had already suffered. “He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world;” in Him, with relation to his death, to his making satisfaction for sin, not that God could not have made the saints at once, and have saved them presently, and never have suffered them to sin, but this is the way God in his wisdom appointed to manifest his mercy on the vessels of mercy, and his justice on his enemies; so that now Beloved, God having appointed this to be the means to bring sons to glory, there could never have been any remission, any peace, but by a dying Christ; therefore he is called, the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;” {Rev.13:8;} and indeed, Christ was as a Lamb ever slain in God’s account, and he beheld all things as present, and saw both the works of creation, redemption and the glory of his saints from all eternity. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Everlasting Love of God in Christ

What cause have the Saints to admire God in Christ for his love! O admirable love! What, God to give his Son to become a propitiation for the sin of sinners? Is not this rich grace and mercy? For God to take upon him the nature of man, and the sins of men, to make peace and reconciliation for men? What soul can behold this love, this mercy, and not stand admiring in the enjoyment of it? Beloved, this love of God manifested unto men; it is Free, Full and Everlasting. Love, it is free without desert, for there was nothing in man for to procure it, he hath loved thee freely, poor soul. “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for mine anger is turned away.” {Hos.14:4} Beloved, God loved freely, for he loved his before they were; “according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” {Eph.1:4} He loved them freely, for he loved them when they were sinners. {Rom. 5:8} The manifestation of this love is free, for it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. This love he manifests unto them, when they would none of it, when men had rather keep their sins than receive Christ, as a Priest, and an atonement; so Paul {Acts 9;} the Lord meets him and overpowers him, when he was going in a way of persecution, as it is in Is.65:1; “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not; I said, Behold me, behold me, &c.” God first seeking and finding, causes the creature to seek after God. 2. It is full grace and love, great love; “God so loved the world, that he gave his Son, &c.” {Jn.3:16}  O unspeakable love, that nothing less than the Son of God can serve for a gift, and truly beloved, nothing less could have done the deed, and therefore nothing less could be given from a God of love, who intended in his gift to do good to man. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins;” {I Jn.4:9,10;} and herein is the love of Christ manifested to become a Priest, a Sacrifice, to lay down his life for sinners. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” {Jn.15:13} Here is great love, love to be admired of all the Saints. 3. This love of God manifested in the Son is everlasting love. “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” {Jer.31:3} Harken you, {beloved friends,} God hath loved his people from everlasting, and he will love them to everlasting. “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end;” {Jn.13:1;} that is, forever. Hence it is that the kindness of God is called everlasting kindness. “With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.” {Is.54:8} His mercy is everlasting mercy. “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” {Ps.100:5} His Covenant made with thee {in Christ} who art a believer, is an everlasting covenant. “I will make an everlasting covenant with them;” {Is.61:8;} a Covenant that shall not be removed; “for the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee;” {Is.54:10;} neither shalt they depart out of it; “and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me;” {Jer.32:40;} and hence it is that the joy of the Saints shall be everlasting, for indeed, were not God’s mercies, God’s Covenants, &c. everlasting, there could be no true joy, but this is that which occasions both true and everlasting joy and consolation. “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, &c.” {II Thes.2:16} Here is everlasting consolation flowing from the love of God, and truly the consolation could not be everlasting, were not that love communicated through grace everlasting. Here is admirable mercy, admirable grace, free full and everlasting. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Exaltation of Christ

Question: What is the reason, poor souls walk so sadly and so sorrowfully? Answer: Is it not because they forsake the Lord the Fountain, and dig cisterns to themselves; kindle a fire of their own, and then sit down, and think to comfort themselves; and hence it comes to pass, that so many poor souls lie down in sorrow. Is it not thy case poor soul; if thou settest up this duty and that duty, this prayer, and that ordinance, and expectest comfort in them, and thou wouldest fain compass thyself about with those sparks of prayers and duties, &c., and this makes thee lie down in sorrow, and all because thy soul is not carried through these to Christ, who is the substance of all Ordinances. It is a shameful thing to rest upon anything beneath Christ, certainly, beloved, it will make you ashamed one day, either here or hereafter. “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed; for the end of those things is death.” {Rom.6:21} What were those things? Deeds of darkness, and certainly to rest upon anything beneath CHRIST, is a deed of darkness, and will cause shame. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” {Jer.17:7} “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.” {Jer.17:13} O beloved, will it not be a shame, when men shall profess Christianity all their days, when they shall hear, and pray, and perform duties, resting in those things, and when they shall come to appear before the Lord Jesus, shall be rejected? “They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them; they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols; {that rest upon anything beneath Christ;} but Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation; ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” {Is.45:16,17} “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever.” {Ps.125:1} To trust in anything beneath the Lord Jesus is a cursed, damning sin; so it is, to those that live and die in that condition. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name have cast out devils; and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” {Mt.7:22, 23} O beloved, this will be the sad sentence pronounced against all that shall come before Christ at the last day in their own righteousness. “But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.” {Lk.13:27} A word of exhortation; if it be so that Christ be the alone High Priest and Peacemaker between God and man, O how should this stir up your souls to look to Him for all of salvation? Do not mistake me, I shall not set you upon this duty as if it were in your own power to do it, for it is God that worketh both to will and to do of his own good pleasure, but as a means by which God may come in with power upon thy spirit, working up thy soul above thyself to his Son, and to encourage any poor soul to whom God shall be pleased to come in graciously in his own means. God calls thee to look above and beyond all, to himself, in his Son. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” {Is.45:22} “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” {Is.55:1} Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Exaltation of Christ

Hath Christ been lifted up in your souls above all things? Hath he had the preeminence above all? He who is indeed above all, and in all, and through all? Have your souls seen Christ, the chief among ten thousand? Is Christ exalted in your souls as your alone Priest and Atonement, your peace-maker with God, or else do you look upon anything beneath Christ as the ground of your peace? I fear me the Saints live too much below Christ, and that is the cause of so much sadness of spirit, resting upon duties and legal performances, they deprive themselves of much comfort they might otherwise enjoy. Is Christ exalted as your alone Prophet to teach you? Are your eyes fixated upon the Lord Jesus in all his dispensations, expecting teaching from him alone? Is Christ exalted as King in thy soul; submitting to him in all things, yielding universal obedience to him, and that out of love submitting to all his laws and statutes. Examination: Whether Christ have been thus exalted in the Kingdom, in the Nation, as they desire to stand to him under the relation of a National Church as their Priest, Prophet and King, and in all these it would easily appear that he hath not been thus exalted; he hath not been exalted the alone Priest and atonement indeed and in truth, but merely in word and show; but duties, preparations, and qualifications, have been held forth with him, and that none but those thus fitted and qualified might in any case believe. First, bringing men to the Law, and then to Christ, which is a legal way, and not evangelical; it is true, the Jews were first brought to the Law and then to Christ, but under the Gospel men are first to be brought to the Gospel to Christ, and then to duties and the privileges of the Gospel, for all preparations and qualifications whatsoever, which is not of faith, is sin, and I am sure faith comes by preaching of the Gospel, not of the Law. Therefore the preaching of qualifications and preparations before faith is sin, for all things before, or without faith, is sin. Hath Christ been received as the alone Prophet, to teach? Hath his Word been made the rule of all actions, submitting to him in all things. “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” {Acts 3:22,23} Judge of the truth of it. Hath Christ been exalted as King, to submit to him as the alone Law giver of his Church of his people? Hath not man been submitted unto? Hath not man sate in the seat of God, making laws and constitutions of their own, compelling all thereunto, as once Darius made a Decree, that all that should ask any Petition of God or man for thirty days, should be cast into the den of lions? {Dan.9:16} So men set up themselves, their own decrees, and compel unto it; this is not agreeable to the Kingly Dominion of Christ. Christ hath not been exalted King, it is true, there hath been a name of Christ, but that is all; the power of Christ in all his offices, hath been rejected, and the truth is, that the generality have been wholly legal, fetching rules from the Law, from Moses, and so denying Christ to be come in the flesh. Legal churches, National, as the Jews; a legal Covenant of works made with the Jews, taken away to us that believe, legal preaching, setting up of works with Christ, when the Apostle saith, “He that worketh not but believeth, &c.” {Rom.4:4,5} Legal Priests, the very title, and legal maintenance, tithes, but they that preach the Gospel, live of the Gospel. Legal administrations, I mean after legal rules, circumcision, and the like, legal prayers and duties to make peace and atonement; legal laws and institutions compelling all to one worship, persecuting the contrary minded, because the Jews did so. Thus beloved, hath the men of this and former Generations, both in this and other Nations, raised up Moses from the dead, and put his laws in execution, under the name of Christ; and so in deed and practice deny Christ to be come in the flesh, although in word they acknowledge him. The Lord open their eyes that they may see farther into the mystery of the Gospel. In a word, Christ hath not been exalted as the brazen serpent upon a pole, above everything, all duties, prayers, ordinances, in the hearts of men, and that hath caused so many {as I cannot but judge gracious souls} to go with sorrow to their graves, ever kept in a way of working, under a legal bondage, longer prayers and greater spirituality in religious duties &c., as if a Christian lived by prayer, preaching, and ordinances; no, no, beloved, they live above these, upon the Lord Jesus Christ by faith; not that the Saints do not make use of these, but they not live upon them. Christ is the Christians life, and so far as he communicates himself in these to the Christian, he hath cause of joy, but if he deny himself there, for the trial of the soul, it is to let him see the emptiness of all things without himself, and to cause the Christian to live by faith alone, for we live by faith and not by sense. {II Cor.5:7} But enough of this, here only let the Saints who are delivered out of this bondage, this spiritual Babylon, this confused Captivity, give God the Glory. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Exaltation of Christ as Alone King of Saints

Christ rules and reigns in the Saints; the kingdom of God is within you; beloved, Christ hath a kingdom within you, if ye are his; “Christ is in you except ye be reprobates. {II Cor.13:5} And this is a privilege more than all the kings in the earth have, for they may reign here over their subjects, but not in them; but Christ first reigns in them, and then over them; he reigns spiritually over none, but those in whom he reigns. Now Christ reigns in the souls of the Saints; first in opposing all things that are contrary to himself; for there are other lords that will seek to rule in the hearts of the Saints, if Christ subdue them not; the Devil, he will seek to be Lord, {he that is the god of the world, and rules and reigns in the hearts of the children of disobedience,} where Christ doth not rule; but when the Lord Jesus comes he dispossess him, and casts him out, and so keeps him out. The Devil will make many a strong assault, throw many a fiery dart at the soul of the Christian, endeavoring if possible to shake his hold; but Christ, he is the King, he is the Watchman, the Keeper of Israel, he giveth power to the weak fainting soul, to overcome all those laws and edicts, that Satan shall endeavor to set up in the soul; so that now the Christian espies all Satan’s plots and artificial devices to trap and ensnare him, rejects all his temptations, and says as Christ, “Get thee behind me Satan;” when the Devil acts and works in others, he hath no power over the soul where Christ reigns; though it is true he may throw in his darts, sometimes make effects either to tempt to some evil, or to shake the faith of Christians, but Christ the King reigns there still, conquers him, subdues him, and so caries on his own work, that the gates of hell cannot prevail against that soul where he dwells. Thus Christ reigns keeping under Satan; believe it beloved, for Christ and Satan cannot reign both in one soul. Christ opposes the power of sin in the soul, where he reigns; sin bears a strong sway in the soul, now Christ he opposeth it; sets himself against it; hence it is there is such a strong opposition {warfare} between the flesh and the spirit; that is, the spirit of Christ; the spirit lusting against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit, and these two are contrary each to other; and thus the Lord Jesus continues opposing of sin, of the lust and corruption that is in the hearts of the Saints. Question: How doth Christ oppose sin and Satan; for sin is Satan’s work. “For this cause was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the work of the Devil.” {I Jn.3:8} The work of the Devil is sin, he that committeth sin is of the Devil. Answer: Christ destroys sin, which is Satan’s work, two ways. First, Christ destroys the guilt of it, and that he did, in bearing both the sin, guilt, and condemnation of it upon his own body; {“who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness” - I Pet.2:24 - “for what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” - Rom.8:3;} and now he comes, and in the Gospel makes it known unto his people; “and not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” - reconciliation. {Rom. 5.11} Secondly; he destroys the power of it by his Spirit, by the operation of his power, working, reigning, and ruling in the hearts of his people. Now Christ subdues this iniquity by his Kingly Office, reigning in the Saints. “Ye are not under the law but under grace,” under Christ, in whom was manifested the fullness of grace. This doth Christ two ways; first, he comes to the soul of a poor sinner, discovering his excellency, the riches of his grace, and so shedding abroad his love in the heart, as to make the soul willing to receive him out of love unto him, desires to have Christ set up, and his Kingdom within itself; for Christ hath never a Kingdom in the heart of man, till he thus comes and breaks in upon the soul, discovering love; yet now saith the soul, let Christ be King, and none but him; although it is true, it is by his power he breaks in upon, and subdues the stout spirit of man, who would not willingly submit of himself, yet Christ makes him willing, by the shedding abroad of his love in the heart. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” {Rom.5:5} So that now, the Lord Jesus with the free consent of the gracious soul, sets up his kingdom in the heart, so that when Christ saith, “my Son give me thine heart;” the soul replies, “Lord, take my heart, dwell there, rule there, set up thy kingdom there;” so that you see Christ doth not rule as tyrant in the souls of his people, but with the free and full consent of the mind of the person in whom he reigns, for this is both the wisdom and power of Christ, that he makes his people - a willing people. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” {Psal.110:3} Then secondly, Christ having purged the heart of man in some measure, overcomes those strong lusts and affections, and makes it a meet mansion house, a Temple for his Holy Spirit to dwell in; as he then sets up laws and statutes in the hearts of his children, in his kingdom, and there he rules, opposing all other laws, for there are, and will be, the stirring of corruption, and that very strongly too. Now Christ first sets up the law of faith in the hearts of his people, and that in opposition of infidelity; for naturally the Saints are subject to infidelity, through the motions of corruptions, and temptations of Satan. The believing soul, when it sees, what a base nature it still carries about within itself, being sensible of the stirring of lusts and corruptions, Satan helping, then it is seriously troubled. “O this evil nature of mine,” saith the soul, “who shall deliver me from this body of sin?” Now the law of Christ is to believe, and in this condition to live by believing; and so Christ enables to put faith in exercise, and to believe above hope, almost as Abraham; and so he still quiets the soul by enabling it to believe constantly in the name of the Son of God; and that when it cannot work, for he is the Prince of our faith, the Author and Finisher of it; and so here is in the heart of the Christian a strong conflict between the law of faith, and the law of infidelity; the spirit of faith and the spirit of infidelity; infidelity coming in with a mighty commanding authority upon the soul of that Christian, set on by Satan’s malice, and perhaps, sometimes seems almost in the eyes of reason to get the victory over faith; but then Christ {who maintains his laws, and puts them in execution} arises and raiseth up the heart above those doubtings and carries on the soul in a way of believing still, and so quashes infidelity, and treads it under feet, and leaves it dead, executed for present by the law of faith. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Exaltation of Christ as High Priest

I shall now come to the exaltation of Christ in his offices, in the days of the Gospel, Priest, Prophet and King, for in these is Christ to be exalted. Christ is the great High Priest of his people, and in this particular he is to be exalted in the days of the Gospel, that is, as the alone atonement and peace maker betwixt God and man. The Levitical High-Priests under the Law were a type of Christ our Great High-Priest under the Gospel. Therefore, for my more clear proceeding, I shall endeavor to unfold unto you what was the Office of the High-Priest under the Law. What their office is, and wherein they agree, for those High-Priests in all their administrations, typed forth Christ our Great High-Priest. 1. The Office of the High-Priest was to offer sacrifice for the sins of the people. “And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.” “And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel; and he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD. And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering; also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD; and a meat offering mingled with oil, for today the LORD will appear unto you; and they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation; and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD; and Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do; and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you; and Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people; and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.” {Lev.9:1-7} This hath Christ done; he hath offered sacrifice for sin, and herein Christ doth not only agree with those High Priests in offering sacrifice for sin, but he differs also, excelling those High-Priests, for they offered sacrifice it is true, but it was the flesh and blood of creatures, a lamb, a ram, goats, bulls, &c. “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” {Heb.9:13,14} Christ offered not the blood of goats and calves, but his own blood, {Heb.9:12,} his own body. {Heb.10:10} Christ hath offered himself a sacrifice. “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” {Eph.5:2} So you see Christ exceeds in the very first, in the offering, in the Sacrifice; he offers his own body, his own blood upon the cross a sacrifice for sin, and indeed those legal sacrifices were but a type of Christ our sacrifice, and in themselves could not do away sin, but as they directed to Christ, therefore Christ is called the Lamb slain from the beginning, or from the foundation of the World. {Rev.13:8} 2. The High-Priests by offering sacrifice were to make atonement and peace for their own sins, and for the sins of the people. “And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people; and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.” {Lev.9:7} The Priest for the unclean woman, was to offer a sin offering, and a burnt offering, to make an atonement for her before the Lord; {Lev.15:30;} this was the end wherefore he went into the holy place, {Lev.16:3,} to make an atonement for the children of Israel before the Lord. {vs.34} This Christ our High-Priest hath done; harken you beloved, Christ our High Priest hath offered sacrifice, and by his sacrifice he hath put away sin, made an atonement, that is peace and reconciliation between God and man. “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” {Rom.5:10} Note, here is Christ reconciling by his death, Christ a sacrifice dying, and so reconciling; you shall see all along the Scripture that it is Christ a Sacrifice, Christ dying; that is, our reconciliation, our atonement, and peace. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ;” {Eph.2:13;} “he is our peace,” {vs.14,} “having abolished in his flesh the enmity, &c.,” {vs.15,} “and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross, &c.” {vs.16}  You see Christ hath made peace by his blood, having abolished in his flesh the enmity of the Law, made reconciliation by his cross. And making peace how? Through the blood of his cross. {Col.1:20} It is by the blood of his cross, by his death, wherein he offered himself a Sacrifice for sin, that he hath made peace for all his people. Note, in this also, that Christ our High-Priest exceeds those Jewish High-Priests. Christ our High-Priest hath indeed made peace and reconciliation for sin, he is our peace; and that the Jewish High-Priest could not do, their Sacrifice could not make peace farther than the soul was lead unto Christ. “The law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” {Heb.10:1} “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” {vs.4} Christ hath done that which the blood of bulls and goats could not do, that which never a High-Priest in the world could do, he hath taken away sin, he hath made peace, and every believer receives the atonement from his hands. “We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” {Rom.5:11} O beloved! What do your souls say to this? Christ hath wrought peace for every soul rightly receiving him, he hath done that which the Priest could not do, he hath done that which thou thyself could never have done, if the Lord help thee rightly to look to him; and this he hath done in offering himself a Sacrifice for sin, dying upon the cross. How should this inform poor creatures where to look for their peace and atonement? O do not look for it in duties, in tears, in professions; it is not crying but dying that will take away sin; it is not tears but blood that will make peace. {Col.1:20} Without blood there is no remission. {Heb.9:22} Believe it, if ever thou hast peace, thou must have it from a Christ dying. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, &c.” {Rom.8:33,34} Christ died for our sins, and rose again for our justification; {Rom.4:25;} it is through him who hath given himself a Sacrifice for sin that sinners are brought to see their sin pardoned, if ever they see it pardoned. O how do poor ignorant blind creature deceive themselves, seeking peace where it is not to be found, in duties, tears, &c. They hew “them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water, {that is the reason they are so empty;}” {Jer.2:13;} they compass themselves about with sparks of their own kindling; which is the reason they lay down in sorrow; {Is.50:11;} they seek the living among the dead; that is, living consolations amongst dead works, and that is the reason they find it not. Believe it beloved, if ever your souls enjoy true peace, it must be let into your souls by a dying Christ, if ever you are saved it must be by eying of, and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” {Is.45:22} 3. The High-Priest was to bear the names of the children of Israel in two stones between his shoulders. {Ex.28:12} So hath Christ born, not only the names, but the sins of his people also upon his shoulders. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” {I Pet.2:24} He which knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Believe it, beloved, those sins and corruptions that so much trouble the souls of Saints, he hath borne them all himself, he himself bare our iniquities upon his own body on the cross. 4. The High-Priest bare the names of the children of Israel on a breast-plate of judgment, for a memorial before the Lord continually. “And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.” {Ex.28:29} He bears their names, and judgments before the Lord, &c., and so doth Christ, our High-Priest, bear the names of all his people; yea, their nature, and judgments upon his heart, before the Lord continually; he presents them before his Father continually. Now Christ may be said to bear the names of the Saints upon his heart. First, in his continual presenting them to himself, and Father, {without spot} righteous in his own righteousness. “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” {Eph.5:25-27} Secondly, in respect of their nearness unto him. Beloved, that which comes to a man’s heart, comes near him; the Saints of God are as near unto him as his own heart; he that toucheth them, toucheth the apple of his eye; {Zech.2:8;}  he that persecutes them persecutes Christ. {Acts 9:4} O, therefore, let men take heed how they persecute Christians; for it were better a millstone were hanged about their necks, and they cast into the Sea, then offend or persecute the Saints. But the Saints, whom the Lord hath, or shall call, are upon his heart, in respect of his love unto them. Beloved, the elect were upon the heart of Christ from all eternity. {Eph.1:4} That was the reason, why he comes into the world, to take their nature upon himself, their sins, become sin and a curse for sinners. It was his love; the elect of God was so upon the heart of Christ from eternity; and he will give his heart blood before he will lose one of them. O what do your hearts say to this; {dear brethren and sisters;} is not here comfort for your souls? O thou art perhaps afraid whether Christ loves thee; this is the complaint many times of a gracious soul; but know this, you, to whom, God hath given faith in his Son, thou art upon the heart of the Son in respect of nearness, in respect of love, he loves the more than thou canst love him, for God is love. {I Jn.4:8} He bears thee upon his heart, {poor soul,} and what canst thou desire more? “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm.” {Cant.8:6} See what Christ saith of his Church. {Cant.4:9, 6:5} Thirdly, the Saints are upon the heart of Christ in respect of his remembering of them. “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.” {Psal.112:6} Here is comfort for the poor afflicted souls of the Saints! It may be, you are under affliction, either external or internal, and art ready to complain, as once David did, as if the Lord had forgotten to be merciful. {Ps.13:1,2} Whatever thy condition be, God hath not forgotten thee; No, No, thou art upon his heart, thou art near and dear unto him, thou art very precious unto him, he hath set thee as a seal upon his heart, and he cannot forget thee. Objection: But you will say, perhaps, will not God forget me when I forget him? I have a wicked deceitful heart that gives me the slip, when I come to pray, and the name of the Lord is not so precious upon my heart as I wish it were many times. Answer: But God will not forget thee. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” {Is.49:15,16} O blessed word, the Lord will not forget, thou art not only upon his heart, but within his hands; also, ever in his sight, his eye is ever over thee for good. Fourthly; the Saints are upon the heart of Christ, and there he will keep them. “Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost.” {Jn.17:12} Ah blessed word! Able to bear up the spirits of the Saints, to whom God hath given faith. O you poor doubting Christians, who are sometimes afraid that your hearts will deceive you, and perhaps are ready sometimes to complain with David, “I shall one day fall by the hand of Saul.” So thou art ready to say, “O this wicked heart of mine, O this proud, this stubborn heart of mine, I am afraid lest all is nothing, and that I shall one day fall by it.” O beloved, you {to whom God hath given faith} are upon the heart of Christ, and if thou canst but once see thyself there, it is enough, thou needest not fear thy falling. Dost think that Christ hath set thee there for nothing? No, No, he will keep thee there; it is true, if the power of standing or falling were left to thy self, then thou might well doubt, but thou art kept by the power of God, through faith. {I Pet.1:5} Thou art preserved at, and in the heart of Christ; his love is so to thee that he will not lose thee, for none shall pluck thee out of his hands, he loving thee once, will love thee to the end; however some pretend a falling away from grace, after the soul comes truly to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is but a vain fancy, and an imaginary conceit, for it is a part of the Covenant of Grace on God’s part, to keep thee from falling. “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, {in Christ,} that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” {Jer.32:40} Fifthly, the High-Priest was to bear the iniquity of the holy things in a plate of pure gold on their fore-heads, before the Lord, always, that they might be accepted before the Lord. {Ex.28:37,38} So Christ bears the iniquity of the holy things of the Saints, the best Saints, I mean the most consecrated, is not able to performed any duty to God, but there is a great deal of sin in it, iniquity cleaving thereunto. Now beloved, as Christ hath borne all the rest of the sins of the Saints, so he bears all the sin, all the iniquity of the holy things of the Saints. O comfort for the Saints, thou canst not even hear, nor pray without sin. Christ bears all the iniquity of thy holy things, he presents thy person and prayers to God without spot. {Eph.5:27} There is never a prayer put up unto God in the name of Christ in faith, but Christ presents it. “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, it shall be given you.” {Jn.16:23}  “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” {Rev.8:3} Thus, Christ Jesus, the Messenger {our Covenant Messenger & Angel} of the Covenant, stands at the Altar, and having a golden censer with much incense, that he might offer it or add it to the prayers of the Saints. O beloved, here is a blessed word for the souls of the Saints, whether particular Saints or Churches. Christ adds to your prayers much incense, the incense of his own merit. Sixthly, the High-Priest was to go once a year into the most holy place, within the veil. “And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements; once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations; it is most holy unto the LORD.” {Ex.30:10} “And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not; for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.” {Lev.16:2} “And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.” {Lev.16:34} Compared with that which is spoken of Christ in Hebrews. “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people; the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing; which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” {Heb.9:7-12} So Christ our Great High-Priest is passed into the heavens, within the veil, into the Holy of Holies. Neither with the blood of goats and calves; but by his own blood, he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. What doth Christ there? Why beloved, as he hath made peace and reconciliation for his people, so he is entered in within the veil to make intercession for them. “But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” {Heb.7:24,25} Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Excellency of Christ

“He taketh away the first that he may establish the second.” {Heb.10:9} The Apostle or Author of this Epistle mainly and chiefly treats of the excellency of Christ, and the Gospel Covenant or Ministration above that of the Law. Of the excellency of Jesus; a truth of very great concernment, and thus it is the duty, so it should be the care of every Gospel Minister and Christian to keep up the dignity and excellency of Jesus Christ in his person, work, and offices; I mean the true Messiah, Jesus that was born of Mary the Virgin according to promise. {Mt.1:20,21, Lk.1:31 & 2:7} “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel;” {Is.7:14;} who was, and is truly the Son of God and the Son of Man. “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power.” {Rom.1:3,4} {Acts 2:29,30} I say, it concerns us to know and have faith in this Jesus, thus promised, and born, and crucified, and raised, and ascended into heaven, who is at the right hand of God; angels, and principalities and powers being made subject unto him. A principle of truth is this, being truly believed and lived in, will preserve souls in life and truth, and root out and vanquish the new notions and imaginary fancies about Christ, making heaven, and Christ, and the right hand of God, and all to be within them, a bottomless fancy, an imaginary Christ and salvation. But to our work, which is to exalt the true Christ, whom God hath exalted, and to honor him whom God the Father hath honored. {Jn.5:22,23, II Pet.1:16-18} In this Epistle our Apostle, or Author, exalts Christ, or rather discovers his exaltation by the Father. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Faith & Believing

Sinners come to have benefit by Jesus Christ, by believing, John 3:16,36, “he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Faith as an instrument is the means appointed of God, by which sinners receive and own Jesus Christ, and life by Him. For clearing of this truth, three things will be necessary to be considered. First, what faith is? Secondly, how faith comes? Thirdly, the properties and effects of faith. Faith is the apprehending and applying Christ, and so the Father, and his everlasting grace in Him. It is the apprehending of Christ that is the observing and beholding Him, as he is in Himself, the seeing of Him in his beauty, and Excellency. “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty.” Is.33:17. It is to see all that worth to be in Him that the soul needs, and then to apply Him according to the souls present occasion, a dying Christ to a dead soul, and this Christ commends unto us to be the faith by which souls come to enjoy salvation. “This is the will of Him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life.” John 6:40. Note; he that seeth the Son, that is apprehends that worth and excellency, that ability the Father hath put in Him to save sinners, able to save all those to the utmost that come unto God by Him, and believeth on him; that is, applieth him, receiveth him as its alone Savior and Justifier. To them he gives power to become the sons of God, John 1:12, “even to as many as believe on his name.” This faith doth not only apply Christ, as given forth of the Father singly, and a part from the Father, but it applies; that is, owns the Father in the Son, and that everlasting love of the Father to the soul, brought down through the Son; for the Son is but the Fathers way down to sinners. John 14:6. “He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me,” John 12:44; that is, believeth not alone in Christ, but believes and enjoys that everlasting good will and love of the Father to the soul, and so seeth the Father in Christ, commending love and so giving forth himself to the soul, and so is able to see and say that it is indeed God that justifies, and that God was in Christ, {as the way} reconciling sinners to himself, not imputing their sins; and now the sinner sees that Christ never acted anything, or brings down anything to the soul, but what was and is the good will and pleasure of the Father, and so faith owns, not only Christ, but the Father giving forth the Son as the Price of their redemption, Eph.1:7, Gal.3:13, and the way of their adoption. Gal.4:5. It is the free gift of God, as Christ who is its object and all other good things, or every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father. God in Christ is the Prince and Author of our faith. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Heb.12:2. Ye are saved freely; “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph.2:8. Faith is the proper and peculiar gift of God, for ”no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” John 6:44. It is the Father that works all, the Father first loves, and then gives his Son, and then draws souls up unto Himself in the Son, else they never come. No man comes to Christ, unless the Father draw him. Hence it is that the experienced soul desires to be drawn, Cant.1:4. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ - to believe on Him.” Phil.1:29. Objection: Is not faith held forth in the Gospel, as the condition of the Covenant of Grace, for he that believeth shall be saved? Assertion: Although it seems in the letter of the Gospel, to be held forth as a condition of the Covenant {he that believeth shall be saved;} yet it is in the spirit or mystery of the Gospel, a condition on God's part, for it is true that none can be said and say truly himself, that he is in the Covenant of grace, before faith; yet this faith is the gift of God, as you have heard, and if any condition it is on God's part in the mystery, and it is his promise, Heb.8:10, “this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts” saith the Lord; that is, I will take them off themselves, and make them partakers of my Spirit, which shall cause them to own love in God, and so live out of themselves in God, and shall cause them to act spiritually, even as Christ himself acted; and so faith may be said {indeed} to be rather a branch, or part of the Covenant of Grace than the condition, for God in the covenant promiseth to write his Law, and to give faith and all good unto the soul; he gives Christ a covenant, and with him he gives all, for “he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Rom.8:32. Faith is indeed an evidence to the soul that it is in the Covenant of Grace and made one with God, hence it is called “the evidence of things not seen,” Heb.11:1; that is, not seen with a carnal eye, the Spirit alone evidencing it, and faith receiving that evidence, &c., so the soul is satisfied through faiths believing of the Word by Spirit of God. Question: What is the means by which God worketh faith? Answer: The means by which God works faith is his Word and Spirit, by the preaching of the Gospel as the instrumental means of his Spirit working as the principal means. Rom.10:14, John 6:63. Now it is true, God is not limited in his way of working; that is, he hath not confined himself to a verbal preaching, although it is true likewise, that he ordinarily and usually worketh faith by such means; but a Gospel preaching as of the necessity in the working of faith; that is, a spiritual Gospel declaring the love of God in Christ, and such a preaching may be by the Spirit of Christ in reading some word, or any other way he pleaseth to work; and so it may truly be called a Gospel preaching; any spiritual Gospel discovery to the soul, through which it is brought up into Gospel enjoyments, may truly be called a spiritual unfolding or preaching of the Gospel. Hence it is, that the preaching of the letter, or a verbal preaching, is nowhere called a powerful and prevailing preaching, unless the Spirit preach, {for “it is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63,} for it is the Spirit that must convince the world of sin, John 16:8, and our Gospel came not only in word, but in power and in the Holy Spirit. I Thes.1:5. Question: How may faith be said to justify? Answer: Not as the efficient cause of our justification; that is, God only in Christ. “It is God that justifieth.” Rom.8:33. Faith justifies as it receives Christ and applies him as its justification; so that it is said to justify, because it satisfies and quiets the soul in Christ who is its justification. “To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Rom.4:5. Note; he that “believeth on him that justifieth;” that is, Christ. All that believe are justified by him. “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:39. So it is Christ that justifieth; faith only owns that justification held forth in Christ. Also note; “his faith is counted for righteousness;” that is, either first, God never declares a man righteous and just until he give him faith to enjoy his righteousness in Christ; or else secondly, his faith is counted or called his righteousness, because he never till then enjoyed this righteousness. And so that when I say, or the Scripture saith, that faith justifieth; that is, faith receives and owns the justification of God in Christ declared, and so the soul by it lives in the enjoyment of justification and freedom from sin. The second property or effect of faith is union and peace with God. “Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Rom.5:1. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Rom.15:13. This is one glorious effect, that those who once were afar off, should now be made nigh by the blood of Christ, and be brought into the enjoyment of it by believing. The third effect is that it puts the soul into the possession of the love of God. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” I John 4:16. It acts the soul above itself, and causeth it to dwell in God, and so to dwell in his love, and this is an exceeding glorious effect, and that which, in the fourth place, fills the soul with joy; that is, “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” I Pet.1:8. What can a soul desire more than to dwell continually in the love of God. When the soul is satisfied from its union with God, and it's dwelling in God, that all the administrations and makings forth of God is love unto it. And thus it dwells in love, and from hence is filled with joy, it causeth the soul always to dwell at the right hand of God, where is joy and pleasure forevermore. Thomas Collier {Marrow of Christianity, 1647}

Faith Defined

Question: What is that Gospel faith Christ teacheth to his people? Answer. It is a believing of that record God hath given concerning his Son, with a depending upon him for Justification and Life. 1. It is a believing of the report God hath given concerning his Son; that is, that he is the Son of God. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” {Mt.3:17} The Son of Man - God and Man. {Rom.1:3,4, Col.2:9} That he is the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. {Is.9:6} That he came into the world to save sinners; {I Tim.1:15;} to save them from their sins, {Mat.1:23,} and from all their enemies. {Lk.1:71} This is the record God hath in Scripture given, concerning his Son, and faith is given to believe it. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son;” that is, to believe that he is the Christ the Anointed sent of God, and fitted for the work to save sinners. {I Jn.5:10} “This is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” {I Jn.5:11} 2. Faith is a dependence upon this Christ for life, flowing from a sensible apprehending of all that fullness that is in him. “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” {Jn.6:67-69} Mark here the Apostolic faith, “We believe thou art the Christ, thou hast the words of eternal life;” therefore, whether shall we go but to thee? If all forsake thee yet we cannot, whether shall we go? Here is faith, when a soul believes indeed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, and there leaves itself entirely, sees no way or means else in the world of help, but sticks close to the Lord Jesus in a way of dependency; and this none can do, but by the power of God. “Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed art thou Simon, flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto the, but my Father which is in heaven;” {Mt.16:17;} and none can call Jesus the Lord but by the Holy Spirit, &c. {I Cor.12:3} Now the fruit of this faith is Obedience, wherever Christ works this faith in the heart it produceth obedience. “By whom we have received Grace and Apostleship, to the obedience of faith,” {Rom.1:5,} so is the word in the Greek. Faith is a working grace, it is not idle where it is, for it worketh by love. “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” {Gal.5:6,} Christ is ever teaching a believer, and he receives this teaching by faith which worketh by love, and constraineth the soul in whom it is, to submit unto the teachings of Christ, which is according to Scripture, as you have heard. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Gospel of Reconciliation

In the preaching of the Gospel Christ is to be exalted, as the alone High Priest, the atonement, peacemaker, and reconciliation, between God and man; and that in opposition to all legal righteousness, or peace, sought for in a legal way. Thus Christ was exalted in the days of the Apostles. “The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ; he is Lord of all.” {Acts 10:36} Peter came preaching peace by Jesus Christ; and in the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is the main drift of the Spirit of God to discover; yea to exalt, to lift up Christ, the alone High Priest, holding forth the dignity, the excellency and utility of his office. And this was received always in the hearts of the Saints, Christ our High Priest, Christ our Peace. “For he is our peace, &c.” {Eph.2:14} Now to speak more punctually to the Priestly Office of Christ, it consists in these two particulars, partly in Reconciliation, partly in Intercession. In Reconciliation; that is, in reconciling God to man, and man to God. Now it is true, God was ever reconciled to his elect in his Son from all eternity, for he loved them in his Son, {Eph.1:4,} from before the foundation of the world; he never looked upon them but in his Son; yet so, as with relation to his death, so working peace. This was the great design of God in sending Christ into the world to make peace and reconciliation. “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world {namely the elect amongst the Gentiles, who were always counted for the world, see Rom.11:11,12, &c.} unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” {II Cor.5:19} This was the great work God had to do in the world, when he manifested that great mystery of godliness. “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, &c;” {I Tim.3:16;} and this Christ hath accomplished; he hath perfected it, and finished it. “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.” {II Cor.5:18} “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life; and not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” {Rom.5:10,11} “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God;” why, but “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people;” a blessed word for all believers. {Heb.2:17} God is reconciled to them in his Son, God is at peace with them, this was the end wherefore Christ came into the world to make peace for the Saints, and to give life unto them, hence it is that Christ saith, “I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have yet more abundantly;” {Jn.10:10;} hence it is, that the Gospel of Christ is called the Gospel of peace; {Eph.6:15;} and the glad tidings of peace; {Is.57:7;} the Covenant of the Gospel is a Covenant of peace; {Is.54:10, Ezek.37:26;} God is a God of peace, and at peace with believers; {Rom.5:1, I Thes.5:23;} and Christ is a Prince of Peace. {Is.9:6} - How should the Saints admire his wisdom? Truly, the wisdom of God as in other things, so in this particular {making peace by the blood of his Son} is most admirable. The wisdom of God wonderfully appeared in the whole work of God, with relation to the creation. “Hearken unto this, O Job; stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine? Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge, &c.” {Job.37:14-16} “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding, &c;” {Job 38:4;} and this the Saints should be acquainted with, that their hearts might admire him; but, the redemption of the Saints is much more admirable, for this was God’s end in making a world, that he might set forth his wisdom in the redemption of the Saints. {Is.40} The Lord speaking with relation to the coming of his Son, a Saviour, “he shall feed his flock like a shepherd, and gather his lambs in his arms, &c.” {vs.11} Again he saith, “who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding?” {vs.13,14} Certainly none, for there was none to do it, for he determined his whole work, both of creation and redemption before all things. If there had been any being then for any of the sons of men, who could have invented such a way, such a means of recovering, of reconciling fallen man? Truly none but the God of wisdom, and therefore Christ is called in Scripture the Wisdom of God. “We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” {I Cor.1:23,24} “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” {I Cor.2:7} Note, the Lord Jesus Christ, the wisdom of the Father, him in whom the Father manifests his wisdom, was ordained before the world began. “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” {Eph.3:10,11} Well may it be called manifold, for it is infinite, there is no numbering of it. “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.” {Ps.145:3} Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Justice and Mercy in Christ

The mercy of God is here admirably manifested, in freely choosing some in his Son to life and glory. “That he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, &c.” {Rom.9:23,24} Here is the mercy of God wonderfully made known unto the sons of men; and note, that this mercy was never manifested but in a way of justice; justice must be satisfied for man’s transgression. Now that God may show mercy without any wrong to his justice, he gives his Son to take upon him man’s sin, and to suffer for the sins of his people, that so mercy and justice might meet together. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” {Ps.85:10} An admirable work of grace; where God shows mercy and his justice is satisfied. Never any mercy to be expected, but where justice is satisfied. It is in vain for thee, O man, to expect mercy out of Christ; for there alone is justice satisfied, if ever thou hast mercy, it must be there, therefore Christ calls, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” {Mat.11:28} Now, the Saints alone may admire and rejoice in the justice of God; for the justice of God is for every believer, and is as ready to plead for them, as the mercy of God. A creditor, that is honest, he will be ready to acquit and clear the principal, when the surety hath paid the debt, and made full satisfaction, and to declare, that he hath nothing against him; it is true the surety may pay the debt, and the principal not know it, and he may be afraid and troubled; but when the surety shall come and tell him that the debt is paid, and the creditor satisfied; and when the creditor shall send his bond, and discharge under his hand and seal; now this satisfies the man, and now he is clear, and comforted, now he walks boldly. So it may be with the poor soul; for Christ hath paid the debt, he hath satisfied the justice of his Father; but perhaps thou wantest the assurance of it? Beloved, to whomsoever the Lord hath, or shall give faith, there it is sure. “The righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise…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.” {Rom.10:6-9} The Lord hath sent his Ministers to proclaim it to your souls, “that whosoever believeth shall be saved;” and here he hath sent his word to confirm it unto you, and if that will not satisfy, thou shalt have his seal too. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” {Eph.1:13} And justice is now ready to plead for such a soul, to acquit him, “I am satisfied, I have nothing against him;” and so justice is thine, and for thee, who {indeed} believest. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Law & Gospel Distinctions

Believers are not without Law to God but under Law to Christ as given from Mount Zion, ministered forth in the hand of Christ, not in the hand of Moses, for if we take it from Moses, we must be the disciples of Moses; but if from Christ, as given forth on the Gospel account, then we are Christ’s disciples indeed, and receive it in power {from Christ himself, the Minister and Mediator thereof} to live to God according to it, not for righteousness unto justification, but Jesus Christ having fulfilled all its righteousness, having borne the curse for us. It is a rule of righteousness and conversation to the honor of Him that hath done all for us in point of justification to eternal life; and so it becomes a Law of love, a Royal Law of Liberty to all that are by faith in the New Covenant, and a Law to which every believer is in bounden duty to Jesus Christ, to own as his precious rule of life thereby to honor him by, as it is given forth by him in the Gospel and no otherwise. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Law & Gospel Distinctions

Christ is to be lifted up, that so men may have life by him. The serpent was lifted up, that whosoever was bit with the fiery serpent might live, for the Lord sent fiery serpents amongst the Jews in the wilderness, for their sins, as you may see, {Num.2:6,7,} who bit them that they died, and this was the end, that whosoever was bit with the fiery serpent might look to the brazen Serpent and live. Now I am apt to conceive, that the fiery serpent holds forth the Law, for I find the Law called a fiery Law. “From his right hand went a fiery law for them;” {Deut.33:2,} and the brazen Serpent holds forth Christ. Now as the fiery serpent did bite the children of Israel for their sin in the wilderness, so the Law which hath nothing but fire in it, bites men, and when they are bitten of the Law, they are to look to Christ. Objection: It seems then that the preaching of the Law is that which prepares for Christ. Answer: Nay, it is not so, for although all men are under the law by nature, yet it is the preaching of the Gospel that discovers it. I give you these grounds. A man never savingly sees his evil condition without a Christ, but it is the Spirit of God that discovers it unto him; this all that are sound in the faith agree unto; then the preaching of the Law brings not this spirit. “This only would I learn of you, {saith the Apostle, speak out of your experience,} received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” {Gal.3:2} Beloved, God hath appointed his Spirit to be the means in the preaching of the Gospel, to convince the world of sin. {Jn.16:9} It is the Spirit of God that convinces the world of sin, and that in the preaching of faith, the Apostle was once alive without the Law, that is, without the spiritual understanding of the Law, but when the commandment came, sin reigned, and he died; that is, when Christ had opened his eyes to see into the spirit of the Law, for you may see that the ministry by which Paul comes to see himself, is the voice of Christ, “I am Jesus of Nazareth,” then Paul comes trembling, &c.; {Acts 9:4,5, &c.;} so that it is Christ in the preaching of the Gospel which is glad tidings for sinners, remission of sins for believers, and this Gospel, this glad tidings, cannot be rightly held forth to the world; but withal, men must be showed that they are sinners, and the emptiness of duties, all other foundations must be discovered, the danger of not submitting to Christ, &c.; this preaching of Christ and faith in opposition to all legal work and duties, is the means Christ hath appointed to bring men to the knowledge, both of himself and themselves. It is true, every man and woman without faith, is bitten with the fiery serpent, the fiery Law, but are not sensible of it, till Christ come in the preaching of the Gospel, to discover it unto them. So that this is the reason why Christ is to be lifted up in the days of the Gospel, that sinners who behold him may live. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Law & Gospel Distinctions

The Law in the letter was but a character of the spiritual righteousness of God, which is the life of the Saints, and that by which God never intended to justify any to eternity; for, the Law in the letter killeth, not justifieth; but the Spirit giveth life. {II Cor.3:6} The Law was given to Adam in the letter, and Moses was the minister of the Law in the letter; but, Christ is the Minister of the Law in the Spirit. Therefore Moses saith, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.” {Deut.18:15, Acts 3:22,23} Objection: It is said, Rom.15:8, “that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” Assertion: True, he was the Minister of it for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto Abraham, he was a minister of it, so as to fulfill the truth held forth in it. So the word minister signifies; God having promised Christ to come of the seed of Abraham, he gives forth circumcision, and diverse other ordinances as types representing Him, and he is the Minister of all, to act and fulfill all, and to be the substance of all those types for the truth of God; else God had not been true in his promises, neither had salvation been obtained either by the fathers, to whom the promises were made, or the Gentiles who were afar off, and likewise included in the promises. Therefore he was the Minister of circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises unto the fathers, and likewise that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; not so much a minister in the giving forth of it; but in the fulfilling of it, which gives occasion to the Gentiles to rejoice and praise the Lord. Objection: Paul applieth the words of Moses in the Law, Deut.30:12-14, Rom.10:6-8, to be the righteousness of faith. “The righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise.” Assertion: It is true, that Christ and the righteousness of the Gospel, was included in the Law. There was a literal or external righteousness expressed in the letter, to which were external promises annexed; but there was a spiritual and internal righteousness included, which only believers were made partakers of, which was a righteousness brought in by Christ, and obtained by faith, which is the Law in the Spirit, or that spiritual righteousness of God, that believers are made partakers of. The Law in the Spirit, or the spiritual righteousness contained in the Law is the righteousness of God, which every believer is made partaker of. There was a spiritual righteousness included mystically in the letter of the Law, which none ever saw into; but those spiritually enlightened. Paul had experience of it, Rom.7:14, “For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal.” The Law in the letter was not spiritual; for the same Apostle could say, that he walked concerning the righteousness of the Law in the letter blameless, {Phil.3:6,} yet he calls it, a fleshly walking. “If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust {glory} in the flesh, I more.” {Phil.3:4} And he saith that he, “was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” {Rom.7:9} Alive without the Law in the Spirit; for, he was not without the Law in the letter; by that it was he judged himself to be alive; he walked concerning that blameless; but when the commandment came; that is, when the spiritual righteousness of the Law was unfolded, which was no less than the righteousness of God; then he saw how short he came of that righteousness; he was yet but in the letter, in the flesh, and not in the Spirit. “Then sin revived, and I died.” {Rom.7:9} This Law in the Spirit is that spiritual righteousness of God, that believers are made partakers of, II Cor.3:6, “the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.” The letter killeth, the letter requireth an exact and perfect obedience, which none was able to perform; and so, the very letter of the Law did kill. So at first it killed Adam and his posterity; and so it killed the Jews, being given forth in a more large way; for it was the administration of death; but the Spirit giveth life; that is, the Lord Jesus, the spirit and substance of the Law, both moral and ceremonial; for the first man was made a living soul, to answer a moral righteousness; the second was made a quickening Spirit, to give life to those dead in the first Adam; “as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;” and he “quickeneth whom he will.” {Jn.5:21,26} The Law in the letter killeth; the Law, in the Spirit quickeneth; therefore Christ saith, “I came not to destroy, but to save.” {Jn.12:47} Thomas Collier {Marrow of Christianity, 1647}

Law & Gospel Distinctions

The difference between the Law and the Gospel is both in the letter and in the Spirit. The Gospel in the Spirit is the substance of that righteousness, spiritually included in the Law, as the type, image, or character of that spiritual substance the Saints are partakers of. Hence, it is often called the Law in the Spirit, the letter killeth, the Spirit giveth life, and “I through the law am dead to the Law, that I might live unto God,” {Gal.2:19,} that is, I through the Law of the Spirit; that is, the righteousness of God in Christ, am dead to the Law in the letter, that I might live unto God in the Spirit, and not to the Law and self in the letter. The letter of the Law required a righteousness that was broken, death cometh upon all by that means; the Gospel in the letter holds forth a righteousness in Christ, fulfilling the letter of the Law, so that what righteousness is in the Law required is obtained by Christ, and every believer is made partaker of it, and so the difference is; the Law prescribes a rule, the Gospel fulfills the rule. {Mt.5:17} The Law requires a righteousness, the Gospel fulfills that righteousness. {Rom.10:4} The Law was the administration of death; the Gospel, the administration of life. Thomas Collier {Marrow of Christianity, 1647}

Law & Gospel Distinctions

Accusation - That Christ hath removed the Law, and now the pure Gospel is the only Rule. Assertion - What yet more ignorance and malice? Is this one of the wrinkles and deformities, one of the delusions of that deluded sect that is everywhere spoken against? I wonder you have left out one; this comes very near it, that they expect Salvation by the Free Grace of God in Jesus Christ. Is this such a strange wrinkle and delusion with you, that Christ hath removed the Law? I pray what was the end of his coming, if not to remove the Law as a dispensation held forth in the hands of Moses? “For the law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ.” {Jn.1:17} First, he came to fulfill the Law, every jot and tittle of it. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” {Mt.5:17} He fulfilled all the righteousness of it; “for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness;” {Mt.3:15;} and so Christ is the End of the Law for righteousness to all those who believe. {Rom.10:4} Secondly, he hath removed the Curse and Condemnation of the Law. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” {Gal.3:13} “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” {Rom.8:1} Thirdly, he hath removed the rule of it as in the hands of Moses; for there it was the rule that produced the curse, it was a ministration of death, and now the pure Gospel is the only rule of saints; and is this such a mystery and deformity to you; you, a minister of the Gospel and ignorant of this truth? Sir, I must tell you, that if you were a Christian in good earnest, you should not, you could not be ignorant that the Gospel, the Law of Christ, is the Rule of the saints. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” {Mt.28:8} “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” {Acts 3:23} They are married to him, and subject to him. “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” {Rom.7:4} Christ takes all that old dispensation, both moral and ceremonial into his own hands, and is the Substance of the ceremonies and righteousness of the Law, and now gives forth the substance of the Law again, to them, in them, not as a rule of righteousness, but as a Law of love, a Law of Grace, and pure Gospel if you will have it; though you think the word ‘pure Gospel’ is reproach enough; although you cannot be literally ignorant that the Gospel signifies glad tidings, and is not this glad tidings think you and pure Gospel, when a soul comes to see that all the wrath and enmity that was against him contained in ordinances taken away and fulfilled, and now there is no ministration of death against him; {Eph.2:15,16;} the Law of God in his heart, within him, without him, a Law of love and grace; no death, no wrath, nothing but love and grace, and the love of Christ constrains such souls to yield obedience to him, and to follow him wherever he goes. Thomas Collier {Pulpit Guard Routed, 1651}

Law & Gospel Distinctions

I am accused of asserting that the Moral Law is abolished. The truth was, and it was assented to, that the Moral Law was abolished to believers, as held forth in the hand of Moses; but unbelievers are still under the Law; for whatsoever the Law saith, it saith to them which are under the Law, {Rom.3:19,} but believers are not under the Law, {Rom.6:14,} therefore the Law saith nothing to them. They answered, that was, they are not under the condemnation of the Law; nay, but the Apostle saith, they are not under it, therefore the Law, {viz.} as in the hands of Moses, saith nothing to them; for there is a great mystery in the right understanding of the difference between the dispensation of Law and Gospel, Moses and Christ. “The Law came by Moses, Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ.” Person Smith, asked if I denied the Law, and whether there was no Law to believers? I told him No; I knew a Law under which believers were; he professed that he knew no other Law than the Law of Moses; I told him if he would confess his ignorance, I would tell him of another Law; he said, he knew it not; I answered there is a Law of Grace, both within and without; that within, is the Law written in the heart; promised in Jeremiah 31, and made good in the Gospel, Hebrews 8. That Law of the spirit of life, spoken of by Paul, {Rom.8:2,} which made him free from the Law of sin and death; this Law is the light and guide of Saints; whosoever hath not this Law within him, is none of his. {Rom.8:9} There is a Law without likewise, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Law of Love, a light and guide likewise in our weakness and childhood, unto the heavenly Canaan. He answered; this was all one with what he held. I answered nay; for he held still to the Law of Moses; he asked if believers should act contrary to the Law of Moses? I answered nay; not in the substance of it; yet it behooves them to know the difference between Moses and Christ, Law and Grace. I produced Rom.7:1-4, “the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband;” {vs.4;} “wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” That as a woman is dead to the law of her husband, so are believers dead to the Law; and as a woman is at liberty to marry with another, and then is subject to the Law of that husband; even so believers, being married to Christ, live to him, are subject to him, that so they might bring forth fruit unto God. At this Scripture he was at a stand; I pressed him to answer the Scripture; he refused, saying, I brought Scriptures which were not to the purpose, nor have any tendency to the thing in hand; and would not answer it; thus thinking to shift out when he could not answer; but I desired him then that he would give the meaning of that Scripture to the people, that so they might be satisfied in the truth of it, if I did misapply it; he endeavoring to wind out, refused; but being earnestly pressed to it, he answered, that notwithstanding believers were made partakers of Christ, yet the Law was holy and just and good. I told him it was a truth, but nothing to the truth intended in that Scripture, and desired him earnestly to speak to that Scripture; he then answered, that believers were freed from the rigor of the Law; I answered again, that in substance he granted what I affirmed; for if believers be not under the rigor, then they are not under the command; for it is the command which occasions the rigor; the transgression of the Law occasions the rigor. I farther produced II Cor.3:13, where it is said, the Law is done away and abolished, vs.11 & 13, and it’s the Moral Law that is there intended, as appears in verse 7. It was that which was written and engraved in stone. He answered, that it was true that the ministry of the Law was done away, but not the Law; it is the ministration of it that is there intended; I asked him then, why he did preach the Law & plead for it, if the ministration of it was done away? The truth is, that as the ministration of it, as it is death, so the ministry of it is to work up souls into its righteousness for deliverance from death; so in the Gospel, though a Gospel of grace and peace; yet those who reject it shall be damned; therefore is the ministry accompanied with it for the working up of souls into its grace and peace. If it be objected, that the Law was never given that men might seek or obtain life in it, but Christ was life then as well as now. I answer, its truth, the Law was in itself a ministration of death, and not of life; yet under that dispensation, the wisdom and way of God was such to his people, as that they first looking into that Law, seeing how far short of life they came in their not performing of it, might look above unto that righteousness which was presented in it, much like unto the fiery and brazen serpent; the one bites, the other cures; and this was the constant way and course of the Lord’s communicating himself unto his people; but now the manner of the dispensation is changed, and all things are made new; the way of God to his people is first, to bring them into view of his goodness, and to possess them with his love, and then from the same principle and power of love gives forth a Law within, a Law without, which is a Law of love, in which there is no condemnation to them who walk not after the Law of Moses, but the Law of Christ; not the Moral Law in the hand of Moses, but the Law of Grace in the hand of Christ, who serve not after the Law of a carnal command, but after the power of an endless life; not in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the spirit. But to return, he asked me what was the difference then between the Law in the hand of Moses, and the Law in the hand of Christ? I answered, as much as between life and death; in the one the ministration of death, in the other the ministration of life; if the ministration of death was glorious, how much more shall the ministration of the Spirit exceed in glory? Thomas Collier {Heads and Substance of a Discourse; first private, and afterwards public; held in Axbridge, in the county of Somerset, about the 6th of March, 1650; between John Smith of Badgworth, and Charles Carlile of Bitsham, &c., on the one part; and Thomas Collier of Westbury on the other, 1651}

Law of Heavenly Mindedness

Christ sets up the Law of heavenly mindedness in the heart of a believer, and indeed it is no wonder, for his Kingdom is there, heaven is there, “the Kingdom of heaven is within you,” {Lk.17:21,} and therefore needs must Christ set up this Law in his Kingdom, and that in opposition to earthly mindedness, sinfulness, or anything that is opposite to holiness and heavenliness; and you know how the spirits of men, nay, of Christians, are apt to be below the Lord Jesus Christ, sometimes overcome with earthly objects; sometimes, vain, proud, unprofitable things running in the mind, but Christ comes, and scatters those low things, and raiseth the heart to himself, and keeps the heart in such a temper, that nothing can satisfy it but himself, and when it loseth its heavenly temper, its heavenly glory, it is presently troubled, and it cannot possibly take comfort in anything beneath the Lord Jesus Christ; and here is a continual combat and conflict between the flesh and the spirit, the corrupt nature and the divine nature; and certainly here corruption and Satan, many times brings sadness upon the spirits of the Saints, in darkness, in overshadowing their heavenly enjoyment, I mean in way of sense, although they can never shake the faith of the soul in whom Christ dwells, as “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” {Mt.16:18} Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Law of Love to Christ

Christ sets up the law of love in his Kingdom, I mean in the heart of the Saints; and that in opposition to hatred. For the truth is, that every soul in whom Christ reigns not, doth indeed hate Christ; now Christ sets up this law of love in the hearts of the Saints; love to himself, to his holiness, to his Gospel, Ordinances, Saints, everything that have the name of Christ stamped upon it, he loves it for his sake, and this law of love opposeth hatred, for there may come sometimes, hard thoughts into the souls of the Saints under afflictions, and fiery trials, ready perhaps, to say with David, “Hath the Lord forgotten to be merciful? Hath he shut up his tender mercy in displeasure?” Now the law of love comes in, and helps the soul to see that there is in Christ nothing but love to it, notwithstanding the souls present apprehensions, and sees all things shall work for good to them that love the Lord; and so can say with the Prophet, “Lord, out of very love hast thou afflicted me;” and so the soul is knit to Christ in all conditions, and cannot but have high thoughts of him, even then, when it suffers either for him or from him. For him; that is, for want of the enjoyment of the manifestations of his pleasing countenance, and the fresh incomes of his love; or for the bearing up of his name in a visible profession of the Gospel of Christ. From him; Fatherly chastisements out of love, to make us “partakers of his holiness.” {Heb.12:10} In all these sufferings, when perhaps sometimes the carnal part is ready almost to quarrel against Christ, this law of love quells and subdues all, brings this heart-rising in subjection, and knits the soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. 2. As it causeth the soul to love the Lord Jesus, so it causeth it to love all that is Christ’s, and highly to esteem of it; and opposes any other Law that may seem to arise, as sometimes perhaps through the workings of Satan, with the corruptions of the Saints, there may be some beginnings of slighting the Saints, of entertaining hard thoughts of them, but then Christ stirs up, and revives this Law of love in them, kills that hatred, those hard thoughts, that it was apt to conceive against them, and so knits the soul to them by a more firm united love than ever, and thus this law of love, overcomes this law of hatred. In a word, it causeth the Saints to do all that they do out of love, the love of Christ constraining them. {II Cor.5:14} Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Law of Perfect Liberty in Christ

As the Law in the Spirit is a Law of light; so likewise is it a Law of liberty, a Law which produces much freedom of spirit where it is in truth. This the prophet David knew by experience, when he prayed, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” {Ps.51:12} It is a free spirit, for it sets believers at liberty from sin and Satan; and I join them together because that sin is Satan’s work, and all natural men are servants and slaves to both; servants to Satan, enslaved to his will; servants to sin, willfully doing his work; for his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. {Rom.6:16} Now this Law in the Spirit, which is Christ in you the hope of glory, delivers souls from this captivity; from that pit of sin in the conscience, which flows from the enlightening power of this Law, which doth not only make souls sensible of sin, but works likewise a deliverance from sin, and so sets the soul at liberty from that bondage, in taking away the guilt, the sting of death, which is sin. This Law discovering God’s grace in Christ, brings home that grace and pardon, and seals up the soul till the day of redemption, the day of its complete deliverance. It sets the soul at liberty from the love and affection of sin; for naturally the very affections of love and joy are captivated and enslaved to base, fleshly and carnal lusts. Now this spirit of liberty sets the soul free in its affections, through its light, discovering the evil nature of sin, and so its power in delivering the soul from the love thereof. Believe it friends, this is the light and liberty of the Spirit, enlightening souls to see the evil of sin, and where it is a light enlightening, there it is a law of liberty, setting free from the guilt, and free from the love and affection of sin. Likewise, it works a liberty from sin in the conversation. How, saith the Apostle, “shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” {Rom.6:2} Sin shall not reign in the mortal body; sin shall not have dominion where this Law of the Spirit is in power, neither over the conscience, the affections, nor conversation; for this grace of God which brings home salvation, teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. {Tit.2:12} Thus, this Law in the Spirit is a Law of liberty from sin, from Satan, whom natural men serve, being taken captive at his will, and that willingly. It is true that souls in whom this Law of liberty is manifest may be taken captive; but it is contrary to their minds, it is their burden, it is their prison, and they can say with Paul, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me!” And they can say likewise through this spirit of liberty say, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin;” {Rom.7:25;} and, “thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.” {II Cor.2:14} This Law works a liberty from the world likewise, men naturally being enslaved to it, there being such a suitableness unto it in the minds of men. The first man being of the earth, earthly, this first man looks after nothing, delights in nothing, because it apprehends nothing above its creation; but souls born from above by the Spirit of liberty, {for that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, being created after the image of Him that created them in righteousness and true holiness; that as they have borne the image of the earthly, now they bear the image of the heavenly,} they are made capable to apprehend spiritual and heavenly things; for being risen with Christ, they now seek after things above, things of another nature; and being delivered into the enjoyment of those spiritual and heavenly things, that they can say, “I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine;” and now their hearts are taken off from things below, they have a loose affection unto it, for they see now that nothing is good to them, but as they have God in it, as they have God’s love and grace revealed therein; being set at liberty from the inordinate affection to it by this Spirit of liberty; and this is a definite part of that glorious liberty of the sons of God. Thomas Collier {Second Epistle to all Saints, 1651}

Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus

This Law in the Spirit, is the Spirit himself conforming souls to himself; and it is first a Law of light, even that “true Light, which lighteth every” soul that comes to the Father. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” {I Jn.1:5} The Spirit enlighteneth the understanding, by which it comes to see the evil of sin, the evil nature thereof, and the evil consequences of it. The evil nature of it is that evil fountain from whence it flows, even the fountain of flesh and the devil, a bitter, and filthy root, which produceth fruit suitable to such a tree, which is death, the consequence or fruit of sin. “The wages of sin is death,” the soul is now taught to see and feel the evil nature of sin, the contrariety of it unto the Divine nature; and the soul can see and say truly, that although sin is nothing to God, although sin reacheth not God, yet it is absolutely contrary to those divine and heavenly discoveries of God made forth to the hearts of believers. If you search the Scripture, you shall find this a manifest truth in the Spirit’s working. If you search your own experience, you shall find it suitable; for never any soul that is made a partaker of grace, but first is made sensible of the want of grace, by the enlightening power of the Spirit of grace in the discovery of a man’s self unto himself; and so of the evil nature, of the evil consequence of sin, which is a sensibleness of an internal and spiritual death under darkness; and this work of discovery by this Law of light is effected not only in souls at their first conversion, but all along while flesh and sin remains; till death is swallowed up in life, and mortality hath put on immortality, till Christ who is our life shall appear, for then shall we also appear with Him in glory. Question: What is sin. Answer: Sin is a transgression of, or a turning aside from a righteous Law. If we judge sin by a letter, a Law without us, then it is a transgression of the Law, a turning aside from the Law; but if we judge of sin according to the light of the Law in the Spirit, then all turnings aside from, all motions and actings contrary unto that Spirit of life and light are sin; and indeed souls living in the light of this Law, are able to judge between the motions and actings of flesh and spirit, they are made able to judge truly of good and evil, and that not by eating of the forbidden fruit, but by being made a partaker of the fruit of the Tree of Life. So that now the Christian’s discovery of sin is not so much after the Law of the old, as after the Law of the new man, that Law of spirit and life in Christ, which is a sin discovering Law where it enlightens; so that a believer in the light of this Law, sees every motion to evil, every lust and corruption, the whole body of flesh, to be contrary to that Divine and Spiritual Law; and hence is maintained a continual war against it. In a word, the soul in whom this glorious light of God is manifest is able in a measure, to judge between flesh and spirit, shadow and substance, fancy and reality, form and power, notions and true discoveries, delusions and true enjoyments. “He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man;” that is, according to the measure of light received he judges. This Law of light is a light and lamp unto the feet and paths of those in whom it is manifest, to lead and direct them into its ways; for it is that voice behind them saying, “this is the way.” “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” {Is.30:21} When thus they turn to the right or left hand, it is that light which guides them into all their undertakings whether civil or spiritual; it is their Great Comforter, without whose direction they cannot comfortably act in any of their undertakings; in a word, it is that Spirit of life and light that occasions motion and action suitable to its own nature, and sets the soul upon that work which is higher than itself, that way which is a way of light and truth. Thus the law of the Spirit is a Law of light, giving understanding unto the simple, enlightening the mind; it is the true light that lighteneth the darkness of every son and daughter of Zion. Thomas Collier {Second Epistle to all Saints, 1651}

Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus

I shall now proceed to speak a word regarding the power of this Covenant of Grace, this Law in the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus; for as it is a Law of light, liberty, righteousness and true holiness, it creates a new man within, in righteousness and true holiness; so it is a principle of power and much glory. “We preach Christ,” saith the Apostle, “the power of God and the wisdom of God.” This is that word which is mighty in operation, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, it enters into the dividing of the joints and the marrow; it is a searcher of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The power of this Law of Christ is a convincing power, for it overpowers the spirits of men, it convinces men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; it convinces them of sin, making them truly and deeply sensible of it. Of righteousness, making souls sensible of the unrighteousness of all their best righteousness; {and if there be any true righteousness, it will only be found in Christ alone.} Of judgment, that all those things delighted in formally must be judged, must receive the sentence of death from Jesus Christ, sitting as a refiner and purifier in them, &c. This Law of Christ in the hands of the Spirit converts as well as convinces, it changes and renews the mind, unshackles the mind from sin; it changes the mind, and the conversation, making a clear separation between the flesh and spirit, as it separates between a man, and his beloved lusts; as it converts a soul from the love of sin, and converts it likewise from the practice of sin, and effectually works a real change within, which produces a change without. This is that power which overcomes the flesh, the world and the devil; and that is the reason why many a poor soul would many times gladly be rid of sin, but they lack a power, not being sensible where their actual power lieth; but perhaps oppose flesh in the strength of the flesh, when its proper only to the Spirit to destroy the workings of flesh. Therefore let saints be informed where their actual power lieth, after they may wait upon God; {in earnest prayer and supplications to be fortified by the Spirit in Christ, and thereby enabled to subdue the flesh; as they “through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body,” and live unto God;} whose work it is to subdue all things in them, and all things without them that are contrary to Him, in his time. This Law of the Spirit convinces and converts, so it makes those in whom it effectually worketh a free and a willing people. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” {Ps.110:3} Willing to have sin sacrificed, lust and corruption subdued; willing in the beauty of holiness to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God in Christ Jesus; it is this powerful Spirit which works in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure;” for nothing in the world is able to over-power the will, and liberate the affections, but this {reign of Grace in Christ} spirit of power, for it is this Spirit which makes souls willing to yield up themselves to the Scepter of the Almighty, which makes souls free and willing subjects to the King of Kings, that fills them with joy at the beholding of his presence, of his power, in faith triumphing and rejoicing because the Lord God Omnipotent reigns, keeping under all other laws and powers beside itself. Thus the Lord reigns, and the saints rejoice; the Lord reigns, and the world trembles! The power of this invincible Law of Christ will appear in the destruction of Antichrist, that man of sin, that son of perdition; this the Lord himself will effect by the spirit of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming. The coming of Christ in the Spirit, which is the glorious manifestation of this Holy Law, is that power that does and must destroy Antichrist. By Antichrist, that man of sin, we understand anything within us, or without us, whether it appear in wisdom or power, if it be of the flesh, though its pretenses be ever so fair and glorious, yet it is but an antichrist, a man of sin, a son of perdition; so whilst it is true that all the workings of the flesh are against Christ, but these are workings in a more higher and sophisticated way, and then it is more deceitful, and the more dangerous; as it consists principally in wisdom and power, whether within us or without us; that is, that wisdom and power of the flesh in the things of God, which occasions much pride and fleshly exaltation, above all that is called God or that is worshiped. This is that deceivable spirit of antichrist, that “deceivableness of unrighteousness” in the perishing, that mystery of unrighteousness, which the Lord will destroy by the Spirit of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming. Therefore let all the wisdom, pride, and power of the flesh, veil itself to this excellent glory; for certainly it is that which must be accomplished. “For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.” {Is.2:12} Every proud thing within the saints, every high & lofty thought that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, {II Cor.10:5,} and every proud and lifted up person among them; “upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up; and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall; and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures; and the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.” {Is.2:13-17} The day of the Lord’s power will be upon all the wisdom, pride, power, confidence, comfort and beauty of the flesh, and then the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day; and this is the day of the Lord’s power, in which his saints do rejoice and are glad therein, for this will minister true occasions of joyfulness to those that belong to him, when they can say and sing this song, “the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” And thus this powerful Law in the Spirit will appear in the subjecting of these powers below, or contrary to it, unto itself, when all created powers whatsoever below this omnipotency shall be made to acknowledge, “that thou Lord God Almighty are worthy to receive glory, and honor, and majesty, for thou only art worthy.” Then shall this power cause all other powers to bend the knee unto it, to submit and fall down before it. Learn therefore to wait upon this prevailing and powerful Law of the Spirit of Christ to accomplish all your works for you, both within you and without you, to bring down all your fleshly enemies, and then in conclusion shall you be enabled to see and say, that through the help of God you have gone through an host, by the help of God you have leaped over the wall. “For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. For thou wilt light my candle; the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.” {Ps.18:27-29} The power of this Covenant and Law in the Spirit appears, in that it upholds those in whom it is effectually operative from falling; it engenders the soul to Christ; for the power of standing or falling is not left to the believer, {weak in himself,} but the power of God is that very power put forth to uphold him in Christ; therefore “we preach Christ - the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” {I Cor.1:23,24} Not only wisdom and power to convert, but to uphold and keep up the soul in a way of grace; hence this Covenant is called an Everlasting Covenant. And saith the Lord, “I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me;” {Jer.32:40;} for this is the power of this spiritual Law, it keeps souls perpetually with itself, so that as the Father’s love is an everlasting love, so he makes with his people an everlasting Covenant in Christ, and so their souls might live everlastingly in his everlasting love. In a word, it is a Law of Power which hath undertaken the effecting of all the saints work both within them and for them, to carry them through temptations, and trials, and all oppositions both within and without, until they come to be completed in that Heavenly Kingdom. “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” {Is.41:8-10} A blessed word being spoken to the hearts of God’s elect; how will this raise souls above themselves; and work them to a dependency upon Him who is higher than themselves. When the Lord speaks this word with power, “Fear not, I am thy God, I will uphold thee, I will help thee, &c.,” what need such a soul fear temptations, trials and enemies? This is that rock upon which Christ builds his Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. This is a word of comfort for the weak saints, for they are not left to themselves to stand or fall in their own power, but they are carried along in the everlasting arms of the Almighty. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” {Is.40:11} The Lord will not lose one of his little ones, but will raise them up at that last day. “Now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” {Is.43:1-3} This is made good in the spiritual Israel of God, for he undertakes for them, and his power and strength is to become theirs, for he will deliver them and uphold them, and carry them through fiery temptations and trials, through floods of afflictions and tribulations; and thus through many a fiery trial will he carry them to the Kingdom. Oh therefore look to Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith; look to him who is your Eternal Surety, your Covenant Representative, and works all for you, and all in you; it is his word to you, and likewise in you. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” {Is.45:22} There is no power below or besides God able to save you, able to uphold and keep you, but he alone is able to keep that which is committed unto him until that day; and his power is made especially known in our weakness; and thus revealed, as declared and experienced in our hearts. “Nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” {II Tim.1:12} The power of this Covenant, this Law in the Spirit enables to do what it commands; for it is not only a law of light, enlightening the mind, giving understanding to the simple, but it carries on the soul in acting suitable to the light communicated; hence it is that the Apostle could say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me;” {Phil.4:13;} and Christ says, “without me ye can do nothing.” {Jn.15:5} “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” {Phil.2:13} I work, saith the Apostle, “yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” {I Cor.15:10} “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” {Gal.2:20} “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” {I Thes.2:13} It is Christ’s power in the believer that is effectually destroying those inward corruptions of the flesh; it is Christ who is in you that works you up to a suitable acting and walking with himself. I, saith the Apostle, “am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” {Gal.2:19} Through the power of this Law in the Spirit am I dead to the Law in the flesh, that so in the same power I might live unto God. Thus the saints live in the power of this Law, act to God in the light and power of God; an excellent thing to be known of saints, where their power, the life of their lives lieth. “Because I live, ye shall live also.” {Jn.14:19} Thus is Christ, who is the Covenant, become not only the wisdom of God, but the power of God in everyone that believes. Thus this Law in the Spirit transcends all other laws besides itself; for the Law and Covenant of Moses commanded, but gave no power unto obedience; hence it is the Lord who says, that they had broken the Covenant, though he was a Husband unto them; but this is a Law, a Covenant not to be broken, because it effects what it commands. “Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD.” {Jer.31:32} “Yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.” {II Sam.23:5} “What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh &c.” {Rom.8:3} This Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is a Law of spiritual power, for it doth that which the Covenant in the letter could not; that was a Covenant that could not give life, this is a Law of life, a Law of power in the spirits of believers. As this Law, this Covenant in the Spirit is a Law of power, so there is a powerful law in the flesh likewise, though this Law in the Spirit overpowers it, and subjects it to itself, where it is manifest in power. This law or principal of power in the flesh may be considered, either as it is more gross, or more refined. As it is more gross, powerfully working the minds and actions of natural men into a conformity unto itself; it carries on the natural man to act all manner of unrighteousness, and that with greediness; inasmuch that they think strange of those who run not with them to the same excess of riot; and thus it operates in natural men. This law of the flesh works with much power many times even in the hearts of believers; for this law of the flesh rebels against the law of the spiritual mind, and leads captive to the law of sin in the members. How do saints painfully experience this truth? Many times though the inner man be upright, {as considered in Christ,} and as he is born of God, they sin not; yet what temptations, what workings of flesh appears within them; which occasions blackness and darkness many times, the appearance of flesh in a way of power, which seems to stop the current of the souls present communion, and leaves it under a waiting condition for deliverance. Question: Is this law in the flesh too strong and powerful for that in the Spirit, when it seems thus to prevail in its rebelling against that Holy Law of Christ? Answer: It is not too strong for it, but wisdom gives way to this rebelling law, that it may act its part, that so the soul may feel itself what it is by nature, and so the more prize grace, and the more earnestly wait for a deliverance; {through Him who tells them to “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” Jn.16:33, and thus they overcome the world in Him;} and likewise for the keeping of the soul in an humble, waiting dependency upon this Almighty Power; therefore he sends a prick in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet, lest there should be an exaltation above measure, as experience teacheth us, that flesh is ready to take advantage, and that from spiritual discoveries. This Law in the flesh worketh in a more refined and pure manner, though in a more deceivable way; not only in working souls with violence and greediness in a way of sin, but likewise works souls, when they come to see their sin, {or become blinded to their sin,} into a fleshly righteousness; so that the soul being ignorant of the righteousness of God, it goes about to establish its own righteousness. “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” {Rom.10:3} And so it works the soul into a fleshly boasting, and a fleshly glorying in an external, or even internal self-righteousness, and that with as much violence as into a way of sin and profaneness, unless the power of the Spiritual Law prevent; then it’s true, that the soul is content with joy to suffer the loss of all, and to account all things but dung and dross that it may win Christ, and be found exclusively in Him; then it is content not only to suffer the loss of this law in the flesh in its grosser considerations, but even in its most refined considerations; for then it can truly say, “but what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” {Phil.3:7-9} This Covenant in the Spirit is a glorious Covenant, when Christ comes, he comes with power and much glory; and this Law rules in that Kingdom, where there is power and much glory. The glory of this Covenant appears not only in all those fore-mentioned particulars, as it is a law of light, liberty, righteousness, holiness, and power, &c., which must needs produce much glory where all these heavenly infusions are met together in one soul; as it is sensibly made a partaker of Christ; of the light, liberty, righteousness, holiness, power and glory of the glorious Gospel of the Grace of God in Christ. Besides this, for illustrating of this glorious Law, I mind how it interests the soul, in whom it is, into a near relation to the Father, not only of son, and of heir, but likewise the relation of a wife or spouse, and so is married to the Lord eternally; and this is a name better than that of sons and daughters. “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you; and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” {Jer.3:14} “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” {Is.54:5} “And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the LORD.” {Hos.2:19.20} This glorious Law makes forth many glorious discoveries and revelations in the hearts of believers, such as “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” {I Cor.2:9,10} O, those sweet discoveries that God oft makes in the hearts of his saints, that they may say sweetly to their souls after a black and dark day, “return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.” {Ps.116:7} “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy Free Spirit.” {Ps.51:12} Thus are they let see into that glorious mystery of love which passeth all knowledge. This Law of the Spirit works a glorious mind, a desire in the mind to be completed in this glory; not out of self-love, {as most do desire heaven that they might avoid hell,} but for the excellency and glory of Christ himself, it beholding the beauty, the sweetness, the purity, the perfection of Christ, and so the soul is overcome, nothing in the world is to be compared to it; and hence it is that saints have such a noble heroic spirit, looking above, fighting all things below as nothing, all riches, creature excellencies and glories are as grass and dross unto it; for this is the nature of this glorious Law as it fills the soul with so much glory where it is, that the desire is overcome with it, because it far out-glories all other glories in the world besides; and as it is an out-glorying glory, and so draws the desire of the mind unto it; so it is likewise a transforming, changing glory, for it never leaves the soul in whom it is effectually operative, until it completes them in all the glory set before them, working up souls more and more to itself, until it hath perfected them in the glory of the Father. “Well done, good and faithful servant - enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” {Phil.1:6} “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” {Heb.13:20,21} “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” {Rom.8:30} Hence it was Paul being possessed with this truth, expecting this completion in glory, pressing unto the mark of the prize of Christ set before him, who was enabled to say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” {II Tim.4:7,8} O, therefore my dear brethren, in the unity of the spirit, look and wait for this day of God, the glorious appearing of the Great God, because when he shall appear, you shall appear with him in glory, and you will never enjoy the end of your faith, until you come into the perfection of this glorious salvation in Christ. Thomas Collier {Second Epistle to all Saints, 1651}

Life in Adam – Life in Christ

That the discovery of the first man Adam, to be but a human man; a man, indeed with human perfections; is not a strange, but a glorious truth, and necessary to be known, for the knowledge of this one particular, leads us to the knowledge of the Creatures nothingness; for the wisdom, power, righteousness, &c. of the Creature is all but of the Earth; and that it is the proper work of Christ, the Second Man to ruin and destroy in thee, all, that is of the first Adam, even those relics that remain; that wisdom is turned into folly; that strength, into weakness; that righteousness and holiness, into mere filthiness and pollution, so that Christ doth not where he comes in mercy, restore man to his first condition, as it was in Adam; but destroys those principles, as we are Christians, and so creates a new man in us, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness, {Eph.4:24,} and he that is in Christ, is a new Creature, {II Cor.5:17,} old things are done away, behold all things are become new; and as is the earthly, such are they who are earthly; as is the heavenly {that is, Christ} such are they who are heavenly. {I Cor.15:48} The glory of the Christian life is in the knowledge of Christ living in him; so the Apostle, “I am crucified with Christ; Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,” {Gal.2:20,} and Christ in you, the hope of glory, is the great mystery of the Gospel for the Saints to know; {Col.1:27;} that is, not to live wholly on the eying of what Christ hath done without us for us; but likewise to be able to experience the life of that Christ in us, being made partaker of the same spirit, of the same Anointings, &c. - “I,” saith Christ, “will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, and he shall abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive.” {Jn.14:16} This spirit of Christ, or this spiritual anointing, is that which every son and daughter of God are made partakers of. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” {Rom.8:9} Christ dwells spiritually in all the Saints. “Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.” {II Cor.13:5} Therefore it concerns all who profess themselves to be Christians, to examine themselves, for it is much to be feared, that there are exceeding many carnal professors, I mean, that bear the name of Christians, and that in a more than a common and ordinary way. “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin;” {Rom.8:10;} that is, the body is a dead and sinful body, and cannot act toward God; and if Christ be in you, you shall be sensible of it. Never a soul wherein Christ dwells, but is sensible of its own deadness, through the dwelling of Christ there. “Ye are dead {saith the Apostle} and your life is hid with God in Christ;” {Col.3:8;} but the spirit is life because of righteousness, that spirit of Jesus that adopted sons to the Father in him, and hath discovered and made the soul partaker of the righteousness of God in him, lives and acts continually in the spiritual Christian. Hence it is, the Apostle could say by experience, “I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” {Gal.2:20} Thus are the Saints made partakers of the same spirit of life that was in Christ Jesus. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,” {I Cor.6:17,} of the same anointing; and the anointing that ye have received shall teach you all things. {I Jn.2:27} Thomas Collier {Marrow of Christianity, 1647}

Life of Faith in Christ

When the soul hath nothing of its own to rest upon, when duties and performances and all is gone, then to believe and live by believing, this is to live by faith indeed, upon this ground the soul believes. “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” {Rom.4:4,5} He that worketh not, he that cannot perform one acceptable duty in way of righteousness, but sees all is nothing, yet believes in Christ, and so lives by believing, this is the constant stay of a believer, he ever sees his own emptiness, the unrighteousness of his best actions; I say, to believe in, and to live upon Christ in all such conditions, it is to live by faith, above duties and performances; but how do many a professing man and woman comfort themselves in the performing of duties, in their enlargement in duty, and the like, but when they fail in this, then they call all in question again; this faith was not right, for they think they believe, because they can pray and meditate, &c., when indeed the soul that rightly believes, doth believe because he cannot pray, nor act or do anything that is acceptable, and therefore he cannot live by faith; but when that power he has to perform duty fails, his faith and all fails; this is not to live by faith, yet this hath been the life of most professors in this Nation. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Lord’s Day

When did John receive this Revelation? Upon the Lord’s Day; for he was in the Spirit upon the Lord’s Day. What day was that? The day and time in which the Lord discovered those mysteries unto him; how many days it was, is not revealed; but it was the Lord’s Day; though many, all was but the Lord’s Day. It is probable that it was the day of Christ’s coming unto John in the Spirit, more than ordinarily, according unto his word, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee;” {Jn.21:22;} that is, until he come discovering the glorious work of the Lord, till the end of the world; and this is called the Lord’s Day, for he saw the mystery of iniquity, with the ruin of it, and the glorious Kingdom of Christ in the latter days, as if he had been present in those latter days; it was brought unto him in the Spirit, and he had a clear sight thereof, and therefore called the Lord’s Day. Question: It hath been generally understood, that by the Lord’s Day, was meant the first day of the week, commonly called the Sabbath Day. Assertion: That is an interpretation much too narrow for this Scripture. The first day of the week is nowhere called either the Lord’s Day or the Sabbath Day, more than any other day; but any other day or time wherein the Lord discovers himself unto his people is properly called the Lord’s Day, or the day which the Lord hath made, {Ps.118:24,} and sometimes it is called the sinner’s day to obtain mercy; “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, &c.” {Lk.19:42} What are we to understand then, in that John saith he was in the spirit upon the Lord’s Day? That when the Lord intended to discover mysteries unto him, he took him up in the spirit; and that we may learn from hence is, that whenever the Lord intends to reveal mysteries unto his saints, he raises them up to himself in the spirit; hence it is that he saith, “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” {Rev.4:1} God never makes forth much discoveries of himself to his people, when they are low and carnal in their minds; but when he intends to discover himself unto them, he raises them up to himself in the spirit, that so they might be capable of those discoveries. Thomas Collier {Glory of Christ, and the Ruin of Antichrist, 1652}

Love of Brethren in Christ

A second command of Christ is love to the Saints, which was the second thing I propounded in the manifestation of love. It is first to Christ, “He that loveth not the Lord Jesus let him be accursed.” {I Cor.16:22} “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” {Jn.13:34} Question: Why is it called a New Commandment, seeing it is not new, but the same that was from the beginning. Answer: 1. It is New, because given anew by Christ, and so are all the commands of Christ given anew, and are new commands given to a new people; namely, to believers. As Moses’ commands were given to all the whole body of natural Israel; so Christ’s to the whole body of spiritual Israel, the Saints. None else hath to do with any law as it comes from Christ, but are still under the Law, as it came from Mount Sinai. 2. It is new in respect of the nature of it, which is double: 1. As it flows from Christ’s love to us. 2. It must be the same as Christ’s love was to us ever; “as I have loved you;” and as this is the special command of Christ, so it is the property of the Saints, that the grace they receive from Christ, causeth them to do it; the love of Christ constrains them. Therefore the Apostle thanks God for the Colossians; for the increase of their faith, and love to all the Saints. {Col.1:3,4} Where faith increaseth, love increaseth; for faith increaseth love to Christ; and love to Christ increaseth love to the Saints. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Love of the World

This love of the world; and being taken up with, and living in its pleasures and glories, is not only sin, and will be the shame of those who are taken away by its seductive charms, and who have their portion in this life; but it is also a temptation that lights many times very heavy upon those who are believers; yea, saints indeed. Christ himself was set upon by this temptation; and that I believe Christians, who have experience within themselves of that new and heavenly birth which is from above, walking the way of true holiness, can bear witness to this truth, amongst all their fiery trials and temptations this is one, to embrace this present evil world, not evil in and of itself, but evil to him who hath an evil heart to depart from the living God, making the world its dead idol; as it’s pollutions overcome; mad they become in the embracing of its honors, profits, and pleasures; for this is that which overcomes the hearts of many a Judas? “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” {II Pet.2:20} Of many a Demas, who after much profession, forsakes the Lord, embracing this present world. “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.” {II Tim.4:10} Be therefore prayerful and watchful, for your adversary the devil goes about night and day, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; {I Pet.5:8;} and one of his greatest temptations and delusions is this presenting to your understandings of the glory of this world, although it is true, he falsely represents it too; for he presents it glorious in itself, to the deceiving of the soul, but never presents God, who is the quintessence, the excellency and the glory of all things, without whom there is nothing glorious, nothing excellent, nothing truly satisfactory or lovely; for this is the second false or deceivable light, presenting things which are indeed good without Him who is the goodness of them. Thomas Collier {Second Epistle to all Saints, 1651}

Love to Christ

When Christ is presented to the view of the soul, the understanding by the power of God is enlightened and comes to apprehend in some measure that excellent worth that is in Him, the affection of love goes forth after Him, and desire is not satisfied until it truly enjoys Him. Love to Christ refuses to receive satisfaction in any enjoyment beneath the Lord Jesus. A soul truly enlightened in the excellency of the knowledge of God in Christ refuses to take content and satisfaction in anything that comes short of Christ. It is true that there may be many turnings and windings in the heart, and the profits and pleasures of the world shall be presented, {as Satan presented them to Christ,} and duties, creatures, performances, gifts, &c., and thus Satan can, and often doth present himself like an angel of light, and that to the saints too; for they that know anything of God, know too, that if possibly he could, Satan would delude and cheat a poor creature, but the soul truly loving Christ will not be thus cheated and deluded by that old serpent for he must have Christ, and nothing else will satisfy. A living child may be quieted awhile with a rattle, which is nothing but folly; but in conclusion, it finds by experience the emptiness and vanity of such things and then casts them all away, and nothing but bread will satisfy. So it may be with the soul, the living child of God, for he may receive some contentment in duties and prayers for a time, but in the conclusion he comes to see the emptiness of these things, and then nothing but Christ will contend him. When a soul truly loving Christ comes to see how he hath deluded himself in mistaking Christ, thinking that he hath had Christ, when indeed he had nothing but some external ordinance, visible form, which is indeed the shell without the kernel; oh then nothing less than a living Christ will satisfy. O give me Christ saith the soul or else I die; Christ in every ordinance, for now the soul must enjoy Christ in ordinances, Christ in preaching, and praying, in the supper of the Lord, nothing gives content to the soul but Christ. O this is the excellent quality of true spiritual love to the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence it is that the spouse in the Canticles so earnestly seeks her Beloved, for she could take no rest until she had found Him, and then she holds Him, and will not let Him go. {Song 3:1-4} This is the property of love, it soars very high, flies aloft like the Eagle, and why? Because God in Christ is its object, and thither will the Eagles be gathered together. Christ is the single Object of faith and love, and to him all true believers come, and in him shall all the seed of Israel be justified and shall glory; {Is.45:25;} only note this, that the soul comes by faith to enjoy Him whom the soul loves. A second excellency of love to the Lord Jesus is that it is quieted and satisfied in the single enjoyment of Christ; for the soul that hath Christ hath enough, it can say as Jacob, “It is enough, Joseph my son is yet alive;” so the believing soul, whose heart is truly inflamed with love to Christ for his own excellency, it hath enough, it is content now to lose all, as the Apostle Paul, he accounts all things but loss, yea, dung, that he may win Christ. {Phil.3:7,8} This is the excellency of the grace of love to Christ, it carries the soul above the world, above creature, or anything beneath Christ, it desires nothing but Christ; it glories and rejoices in nothing but Christ, {I Cor.2:1,} and him crucified. {Gal.6:14} If it have the world, so it is, if not, it is still content, it is quiet in any condition; if it enjoy all things, I mean {in the world} yet Christ is the sum of all; if it want all things, yet in Christ it enjoys all, so the Apostle, as having nothing, yet possessing all things, so that now the soul that believes in, and loves the Lord Jesus Christ, knows how to be abased, and how to abound; that is, it knows how in that lowest condition to live satisfied upon Christ, and it knows how in the highest condition to live also upon Christ, it can do all things through Christ that strengthens it. {Phil.4:12,13} Do you not see on the contrary, men that have no love to the Lord Jesus, how they let forth their hearts upon the creature; they live upon the creature; take away the world from them, you take away their life; but the man that loves Christ, hath enough in the enjoyment of him, whatever befall them in the world, they can say as Christ, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of,” {Jn.4:32,} the Lord Jesus is the Saints meat and drink which they live upon, and are satisfied with Him. The third property of love is that it slights all hardships and sufferings that it meets withal for the name and sake of Christ. Nothing can quench this love, many waters cannot quench it; many floods of affliction cannot quench love; when others that love not the Lord Jesus but themselves, and their own ease, start and are affrighted at the reproach of Christ, as at some strange apparition; when the soul that sees spiritually, that looks not at things that are seen, that is, at the outside of things, which carnal eyes only see, but at things that are not seen; they hence go cheerfully, slighting persecutions, being persuaded that nothing can make a separation between Christ and their souls; glorying and triumphing in the cross of Christ, being not only ready to suffer reproach, but death itself, if the Lord call them to it, for the name and sake of their Beloved. Thus you see the excellency of this grace, it carries the soul sweetly out to Christ, it lies down in the bosom of love, and there it is satiated, there it is indeed satisfied, there it hath enough, there it lives, and there it dies, yet with Him it shall forever live. O the admirable excellency in this grace of love, it makes hard things easy, and bitter things sweet; it lives upon that others cannot see, no, not never shall see, unless the Lord open their eyes; it rejoyceth in that which others dread; it takes that for a crown, that others count shame; it makes their hearts to leap for joy, in the beholding of those things, that makes others faint and fail. - I might branch forth in many other particular Gospel commands which would be too tedious; only thus, where the love of Christ is indeed shed abroad by the Holy Spirit, there love constrains the soul to yield itself up wholly to the Lord Jesus, and all his commands; whatsoever things are of good report, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are warranted, and required in the Gospel way, the soul that truly loves the Lord Jesus, is ready in the peace and strength of Christ to walk up unto it; it will not consult with flesh and blood, it will not stand upon carnal arguments, but as the Lord Jesus hath glorified mercy, grace, and love, in doing unto the soul, so it will now look what it is may conduce to the exaltation of his name, and then the soul that truly loves the Lord Jesus is satisfied; let the name of Jesus have the glory, and the soul that truly loves him, hath its end, and rests satisfied. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Love to Christ

The will and command of Christ is that his people should yield obedience to all his commands; and indeed he doth not only command, but gives power to perform that which is commanded, for there is a power that goes with the commands of Christ. He is the King of his people, he gives their laws and statutes, and withal gives abilities to do what he commands. Christ knows that without him you can do nothing, {Jn.15:5,} the will and command of Christ is that his people should be holy in all manner of holy conversation; and the will of God is their sanctification. “Ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus; for this is the will of God, even your sanctification;” {I Thes.1:4,5;} and the reason is rendered in the 7th verse, “for God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” God hath not given his Son to redeem men, that so they might live in unclean and unholy ways; he does not call them to fellowship with Himself, and one with another, that so they might take their pleasures in the world, in way of sin, for God calls his own to holiness, and therefore the Apostle Peter says, “as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” {I Pet.1:16} The Apostle Paul’s exhortation answers this command, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service; and be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God;” {Rom.12:1,2;} that is, seeing God hath renewed your minds, may your bodies, your external walkings be made conformable to Jesus Christ, and not to the world. O beloved, holiness becomes the saints, especially holiness becomes the household of saints, the churches of Christ; for the Church of saints is God’s House, {I Tim.3:15,} his dwelling place, {Ps.132:13,14,} and holiness becomes the Lord’s house forever, and it is the love of Christ that constrains the saints thus to walk. Question: But is it not the saints duty thus to walk? Answer: Yea, without question it is their duty, for “as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God;” {Gal.6:16;} but they perform this duty of holy walking out of love to Christ, therefore Christ saith, “if ye love me keep my commandments.” {Jn.14:15} None hath to do with the commands of Christ but those that love him, which love flows from faith, for faith worketh by love. {Gal.5:6} Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Mystery, Babylon the Great

What are we to understand by that Scarlet Colored Beast, full of names of blasphemy, &c.? “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” {Rev.17:3} That beast that came forth of the sea, {chap.13,} and out of the earth in the same chapter, though they are two, and are raised up at several times, yet they both are but one, that is, they do both one and the same work, though under diverse forms, and after diverse manners; and he is said to be a scarlet colored beast, with relation to his glorious forms, and shows of godliness, yet full of the names of blasphemy; that is, blaspheming God, even the Spirit, and them that dwell in heaven. What are we to understand by that Great Whore sitting upon many waters; {“Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.” Rev.17:1;} that woman sitting upon many waters arrayed in purple, upon her forehead and name written, “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH;” ”and I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints…” {vs.5,6} ? By the woman, I understand the whole Church of Antichrist, therefore called a woman; the seat upon which she sits is that beast mentioned, {chap.13,} which indeed came forth of the bottomless pit, {17:8,} from beneath, not from above; and this woman, or Anti-Christian National Church is clothed in gay clothing, goodly forms, ordinances, formal professions. “Having a golden cup in her hand,” she pretends to have the cup of the wine of the Spirit, of spiritual enjoyment, of heavenly praises, and continual worship, when there is in it nothing but abomination, and filthiness of spiritual fornication; upon her forehead a name written, “Mystery of Iniquity hid under glorious shows and forms, Babylon the Great, Great Confusion, the Mother of Harlots;” never such a Harlot as this is, almost all nations pretending Christianity, and the spouse of Christ; and when all is done, here is nothing but an abominable harlot, the very abomination of the earth; thus she will appear one day; she pretends to be for Christ, but is drunk with the blood of Christians; pretends to be the spouse of Christ in show, and trades with other lovers, thrusts both persons and worships upon him that he will never own. As for his saints and servants, she will root them out of the world, if possible she can. But is not the woman Rome; for it is said, “the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” {vs.18} It may have some relation unto Rome; first, because the first rise of this filthiness and abomination came forth from thence; the first beast was raised there; secondly, because Rome hath mystically reigned over the nations; but thirdly, it is principally meant that persuasion that the kingdoms of the earth {National Christendom} have within themselves, that they are the Church, and Christians in good condition; this city, this confident persuasion of a spiritual compacting together according to Christ, hath reigned over all the kingdoms called Christian, although it is indeed nothing else but a mystical Babylon, a great Whore, a very lie in the spirits of the nations. What are the plagues by which Babylon shall be destroyed? Spiritual plagues, and not temporal, although I do not question but God will pour down temporal plagues upon the men of the earth, as wars, famine, and pestilence; but it is spiritual plagues by which Antichrist shall be destroyed; it is not a material sword that can kill Antichrist, but only the sword of the Spirit that proceeds out of the mouth of Christ; those vials mentioned, {chap.16,} are vials of spiritual wrath, and those plagues, {chap.18,} are spiritual plagues; the saints are not to kill their bodies with swords, and to recompense unto them double killing and persecution, for in this case we are to do them good; but to show them no pity in their religion and worship, and to let them know the vanity thereof, {and in this we shall do them the greatest good, if God work with it,} and this is that which will make the spiritual merchants, namely, preachers to stand afar off, crying and weeping, “Alas! Alas;” the great city Babylon, for no man will buy their merchandise anymore, {18:11,15,16,} for these men fell all; a great deal of goodly merchandise you may read of, {vs.11-13,} which presents us with the abundance of fruit, that these spiritual merchants seem to bring forth, but they fell all, and the souls of men too; nay, the truth is, so these merchants may have what their souls lust after, namely, honor, riches, &c., {vs.14,} let souls be deluded, let souls be damned, it matters not; for they tell them they are Christians, whilst these assent unto their words; but if not, they are heretics, castaways, &c., and is this the trading these men use amongst themselves, to sell the souls of men? Be astonished O Earth at this, and tremble O ye heavens at this wickedness. What discerning ear can hear it, and not tingle? What spiritual eye can see it and not mourn over it? What broken heart can think on it, and not tremble? But the time is coming on apace, that this merchandising in the things of God shall have an end, although it makes many a sad heart, and many a mournful countenance, {vs.19,} to those merchants who sell it; yet certainly Jesus Christ will whip those buyers and sellers out of his temple, and this shall produce much joy in the spirits of saints. “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” {18:20} Thomas Collier {Glory of Christ, and the Ruin of Antichrist, 1652}

Old & New Covenant Distinctions

Some may object and say, if the Covenant be of such power as you speak of, as to effect what it commands, whence then comes it that godly people should be ignorant of it, and what need is there to earnestly to exhort to the inquiring into it? Answer: The Covenant is free, and full of power, and effects what it requires, it is so in the first work of grace, and converting sinners. Hence it is that the Lord saith, “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not, &.,” and “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.” {Jn.5:25} Yet, after God in the New Covenant hath communicated life to dead souls, he expects that they should know from whence their life comes, and seek him, and wait upon him in the way that he hath appointed, diligently inquiring after his will that they may know it, and do it. In Ezekiel chapter thirty six, God having in the former part of the chapter promised what great and good things he would do for his people according to the New Covenant, says in vs.37, “thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.” “If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” {PV.2:3-5} Seeking is a great and special duty of saints in the new Covenant, and God will be found in this way of seeking and doing his will; yet notwithstanding the ignorance and miscarriage of the Lord’s people {those that are in the New Covenant indeed} shall not destroy and damn them, yet it may bring them under judgment and afflictions, and will prove their loss in the great day of account. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged; but when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” {I Cor.11:31,32} “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” {I Cor.3:11-15} So that notwithstanding the Covenant is a Sure Covenant to those that are in it, and full of power, yet it requires diligence and seeking in God’s way, and doing his will, without which God may let his own people miscarry, and in so doing they will be sure to suffer loss in the judgment although they may be saved. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Old & New Covenant Distinctions

The Covenant then is God’s Engagement and Promise in Jesus Christ, in way of Covenant and Oath, freely to do for, work in, and give to his people all things that may tend to make them truly and eternally happy and blessed. To prove this to be the New and Gospel Covenant I must have recourse unto Genesis chapter 12:3, & chapter 22:18, where the Covenant is most lively stated, made to, and with Abraham in promise, as it was to be promulgated when the fullness of time was come; namely, “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” God upon Abraham’s obedience {“because thou hast obeyed my voice” 22:18} in offering his Son Isaac {a lively type of Christ, the true Seed that was to be offered} brings up his Covenant into an oath, and swore to Abraham that he would perform it, that in thy seed shall all nations be blessed; that is, truly and eternally blessed. Hence it is that in the New Covenant the blessing is eternal life, not only life as in the old, but eternal life. And doubtless, there is no blessing spiritual or eternal that the saints are interested in, but it is the blessing of this Covenant, and as God freely gives blessedness in this Covenant, so he works all things in his people in order to do it, without which they could not be blessed; and that is evident in the promise of this Covenant. “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, &c.;” that is, I will work a willing mind in them, to do whatever I do require of them in order to their true and eternal blessedness. {Jer.31:31-33} This is the New Covenant that God in Christ {the true seed} hath interested all his people in. Hence it is said that God made this Covenant in Christ. {Gal.3:17} But second, I shall come to open the Covenant in its parts, that so by faith we may suck the sweetness of this honey, and feed upon the marrow and fatness of these New Covenant blessings in Christ; for I do believe that there is not one promise, I mean Gospel promise, to a Christian, but it is either a branch of, or is stated in or upon the New Covenant. The branches or parts of the New Covenant consist mainly, as hath been minded, in these three heads: 1. Doing for his people all things that might tend to make them truly and eternally happy and blessed in Christ. 2. Working in his people all things that might tend to make them truly and eternally happy and blessed in Christ. 3. Giving to his people all things that might tend to make them truly and eternally happy and blessed in Christ. What he hath done for his people on the New Covenant account, consist especially in these two things. 1. He loved them freely, and that while they were enemies; a wonderful mercy indeed! He loved them before they were, and so before they had any love to him. “But God, who is rich in mercy for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” {Eph.2:4,5} Note that God’s love was a great love to his people, even when they were dead in sin. Hence it is that God saith, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” {Jer.31:3} {Some may say this was spoken of old Israel, under the Old Covenant; but it is clear that God is discovering in chapter 30 & 31, what he will do for his elect by virtue of the New Covenant, which is not yet performed; and we may truly reason thus, that if God’s love were from everlasting to them in that Covenant, much more is it in the New Covenant; just as we may reason in this as the Apostle doth about the Old.} 2. He gave Jesus Christ freely for them, and this is a New Covenant mercy, Jesus Christ given for us. “Unto us a Son is given,” {Is.9:6,} and Jesus Christ is the gift of God, for and to his people. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” {Jn.3:16} Jesus Christ was not only a gift, but a great gift, a new Covenant gift, such a new Covenant gift, as without which the New Covenant could not have been established; for the Covenant is established in Him, and with Him, and by Him for us, and God having given Him for us. He hath freely given himself, his life, and blood for us, and that upon the New Covenant account, for his blood is the blood of that Covenant, and the Covenant is established in his blood. “For this is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” {Mt.26:28} “Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” {Lk.22:20} “As Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us.” {Eph.5:2} “As Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” {Eph.5:25} This God hath done, and Christ hath done for the Church. “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” {Tit.2:14} And God having given us his Son, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? {Rom.8:32} Here is the exceeding riches of God’s grace to his sons and daughters, that he hath given his own only beloved Son for them, that they might have life through him; and this is the great grace of God in the New Covenant. God hath not only given Christ for his people, but he hath also wrought faith in them by the word, and so hath applied Christ to them. This is the rich grace of our God, and all upon the account of the New Covenant of Grace in Christ. For the word of the Gospel publisheth these glad tidings, and the Lord by that word worketh faith, which believeth and applieth the truth of the doctrine of the Gospel. For faith is the Law that God in the Covenant did promise to write in the hearts of his people. {Jer.31:32 compare with Rom.3:27} Hence it is that faith is said to be the gift of God. “Ye are saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” {Eph.2:8} Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Old & New Covenant Distinctions

I come to state the New or Second Covenant, that is called in Scripture a New Covenant, a Second Covenant, an Everlasting Covenant: “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” {Is.55:3} A Covenant of Peace: “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.” {Ez.37:26} A Holy Covenant: “To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant.” {Lk.1:72} This Covenant we shall consider; as it lay in promises, so it was from the beginning; the Lord speaking of the enmity that he would put between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, said, “it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” {Gen.3:15} In these few words is held forth the suffering of Christ and his conquest over the serpent and his seed, which is the substance of the Covenant of Grace. This Covenant we find again renewed in promise to Abraham. “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed;” and “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” {Gen.12:3, 22:18} This seed to whom the promises were made was Christ. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” {Gal.3:16} And this is the Covenant the Apostle saith, God made with Abraham in Christ, which the Law could not disannul; {Gal.3:17;} where you may note by the way that this Covenant is mentioned by the Apostle as distinct from the Law, that was another Covenant, yet such a one as could not disannul this. Again, this Covenant we have in promise, {Jer.31:31-33, Heb.8:8-13,} “I will put my laws in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, &c.” “I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” {Jer.32:40} In sum, this is the Covenant of Grace, that God now owns his people in; a Covenant of grace and peace in Jesus Christ, the blessing of Abraham, writing the Law of faith, love, and the fear of his Name in their souls, by his finger, the Holy Spirit, interesting them in grace here, and assurance of glory hereafter, by virtue of which they are made willing faithfully to live to him here, and patiently to wait for the glory that shall be revealed. And in this Covenant are none of God owned, but the true seed; namely, Christ and such as are in Him. “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” {Gal.3:29} And this Covenant as it is written in the hearts of believers, without which in the Gospel account they are none of his, so it is written in the Scriptures of truth, by the same Spirit, and the Spirit in believers works them and guides them to the truth of God in Scripture; {for by this means; namely, the holy Scriptures, it is all first received, and afterwards by degrees increased;} so that it is none of the Spirit of Christ that leads away from and besides the Law of Christ in Scriptures, so that the Law written in the heart, guides to the Law of Christ in Scripture, and makes souls willing to walk according thereunto. “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” {Is.8:20} This is the Covenant that gives grace and peace, faith and love, strength and perseverance, even blessedness comes in with this Covenant, both as to grace and glory. This is the Everlasting Covenant, that is by blood, by virtue of which poor prisoners are delivered out of the pit, wherein was no water. {Zech.9:11} So that the first Covenant had relation to the old estate of man, and gathered in the natural seed, the second to the new estate of man, in Christ, and gathers in only the spiritual seed. Here is a mystery too high for the carnal heart, the cold and natural man. Blessed are those that are truly interested in this grace. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” {Rom.11:33} Well, I hope that you will remember this, that the old man, and the old Covenant was first, and the new Covenant, and the new man is second; and the carnal seed were in the first, and the spiritual seed are in the second. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Old & New Covenant Distinctions

The second difference between the two Covenants was in the manner of administrating, and this difference lieth especially in these two things: 1. In the manner of the giving. 2. In the manner of the execution. The first was given not only, as hath been minded, with condition, but also with a great deal of fear and dread; a sounding of trumpets, a burning of fire, blackness, and darkness, and Tempest, which made the people to tremble; {Ex.19:16;} and so dreadful was the giving of this Covenant, that Moses the Mediator thereof, said at the sight of it, “I exceedingly fear and quake;” {Heb.12:21;} thereby to present its nature, as a dreadful Covenant; hence it is called a fiery Law or a Law of fire. {Deut.33:2} But the New Covenant from mount Zion was, and is administered in all sweetness and love. It preacheth forth Grace and Peace, and there is never a word of dread or darkness therein, but to those that reject it. Hence it is so ordinarily called the Gospel; that is, glad tidings, or good tidings of good things. Tidings of Peace and Reconciliation, tidings of Pardon and Remission of Sins; in a word, tidings of Grace and Glory; and this is the manner of the Ministry of the New Covenant. 2. In the manner of execution; and that in its power, for the Law, as hath been minded, commanded obedience while it continued, but gave no power to obey; but this New Covenant in its ministration begets life, love, and obedience; it accomplishes the birth from above; it begets to a lively hope, &c., for it is the Ministration of the Spirit. There is never a soul actually in this Covenant, but by the virtue flowing therefrom. Hence it is that persons come not visibly into it by natural generation as into the Old, but by regeneration, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Believe it friends, this is a great Gospel Truth, that whosoever cannot set seal unto it, will one day know that they are strangers to it. Notwithstanding the great cheats, and deceits that are in the world about this matter, some carrying on the Covenant in way of generation, and others suppose they come to it of their own will, but both will find it first or last, that they are no further than the first Covenant, that of nature, and short of that of Grace. The old Covenant executed the curse, wrath, and vengeance on all transgressors thereof; but this mercy and forgiveness, healing of backslidings; the voice of the first was, “cursed is everyone that continues not in all things that are written in the book of the Law to do them;” but the voice of the second is, if they sin, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and remember their sins no more.” “And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” “If we confess our sins he is Faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is a Covenant in which Justice and Faithfulness is engaged to forgive the sins of those that are in it. In a word, that Covenant in its administration brought first to duty, and from thence some few, even a remnant, were brought to Christ. This brings first to Christ and Grace, and then to duty. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Old & New Covenant Distinctions

The Righteousness of this New Covenant is the righteousness of faith, even the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which comes on all that believe, “and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS;” {Jer.23:6;} and in Him “shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory;” {Is.45:25;} for “by him {Jesus Christ} all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” {Acts 13:39} Note, believers in this Covenant are justified from that which the Law of Moses could not justify them. What is that? From sin; the Law could not justify from sin; that could curse and condemn for sin, but could not justify from sin; but this Covenant justifieth from sin, because the Blood of this Covenant taketh away sin, and that out of the conscience, as well as out of the conversation; so that {in a word} as the righteousness of that Covenant was a righteousness of works, and so was their own righteousness; so saith the Apostle, “not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law;” {Phil.3:9;} but the righteousness of this Covenant is the Righteousness of Jesus Christ, apprehended, applied by faith, even the righteousness, that is of God by faith. A blessed word for believers, as they stand to God, not in their own righteousness, but in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ wrought for them, revealed to and in them, and applied. Another difference between the two covenants is in the seed with whom the covenants were made, and here lies a truth of very great concernment to distinguish between the distinct seeds of the Covenant. The seed with whom the old Covenant was made were the natural seed of Abraham; namely, such as came of Isaac, the fleshly seed were the subjects of that Covenant. Take it first as made with Abraham in circumcision, or after as it was enlarged from Mount Sinai, it was given to the body of Israel, to the fleshly seed, and so it continued till Christ came. {Gen.17:7,8} But this New Covenant is made with Christ and all the spiritual seed in Him. The New Covenant knows no fleshly seed, though Old Covenant spirited men {law mongers} are loath to know any other seed now than the fleshly seed, yet account themselves instructed in the New Covenant, but the New Covenant “knows no man after the flesh;” “but if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, &c.,” the new Covenant knows none, nor owns none to be the seed but such as are Christ’s; “and if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise;” {Gal.3:29;} be they Jew or Gentile, for there is no difference by nature, all alike, and by grace are the true seed of the Covenant. “The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” {Rom.11:7} Oh beloved, it highly concerns every Christian to come to a right distinction in this matter, the one whereof occasions the generality of the sons and daughters of men to content themselves in the old nature, under the Old Covenant, merely the name ‘Christian’ satisfying, or at best a little reformation, and old Covenant zeal filled with pharisaical pride and self-conceit of their own good estate, making Christians by generation, being strangers to the great New Covenant Work of Spirit Regeneration, and the birth from above. I leave this with you, my friends, as an undoubted truth and the true distinction between the covenants; the one with the fleshly seed, the other with the spiritual, even with Christ, and in Him with all the spiritual seed. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Old & New Covenant Distinctions

The subject matter of the Old Testament promises consisted in outward things temporal, worldly blessings, &c., “I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan.” {Gen.17:8} You may take a view of it at your leisure, and clearly discern the promises and blessings of that Covenant, as in Deuteronomy chapter 28; “and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out, &c;” {vs.2-6} so that they were outward blessings. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” {Is.1:19} These, and the like, were the Old Testament promises; but the New Testament promises are of another nature, not so much of outward blessings, “for God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom;” but they are spiritual and eternal blessings. “And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” {Jn.6:40} “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” {Lk.11:32} “The crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” {James 1:12} “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;” {Mt.25:34;} and the like precious promises of the New Covenant that relate to life and glory. Hence it is that Gospel believers look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. {II Cor.4:18} Another difference is as to the manner of the promises. The first were conditional, as hath been proved. “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” {Ex.19:5,6} “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth; and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God;” {Deut.28:1,2} etc… but the promises of the Gospel Covenant are absolute as hath also been proved. “The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.” {Jn.5:25} “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people;” {Heb.8:10} etc…thus they differ very much in the promises; in which respect the New Covenant is said to be established upon better promises. {Heb.8:6} The promises of the Old Covenant were on condition of performance, but gave no power; but the New Covenant promises make partakers of the Divine nature. {II Pet.1:4} - They also differ in their ends. The ends of the first Covenant were, “to make sin become exceeding sinful;” {Rom.7:13 & 3:29;} that “every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” {Rom.3:19} And so it was a killing Covenant, a ministration of death, and not of life. {II Cor.3:6,7} A Covenant that could not give life, for if that Covenant could have given life, then verily righteousness had been by it, even by the Law. {Gal.3:21} But God’s end in the New Covenant is to give life by it. Hence it is called a Covenant of Life and Peace. {Is.54:10, Mal.2:5} It was to recover poor lost sinners out of their perishing state and condition; it was to make the comers thereunto perfect, which the other could not do. {Heb.10:1} It was to justify believers from all those things, from which they could not be justified by the Law of Moses; {Acts 13:39;} namely, the First Covenant. In a word, the end of God in the New Covenant was to save from the curse and condemnation of the Old Covenant, without which there is no salvation. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, &c.” {Gal.3:13} Finally, the difference between the Old and the New Covenant, is as much as is between the type, the shadow, and the substance; it was but a shadow, and a representation of the New Covenant, a typical Covenant from first to last. Hence it is that they had types and resemblances of everything in the Gospel Covenant, but they were but shadows, but resemblances. They had a righteousness commanded, which was a righteousness of doing, which they could not attain, a representation of the righteousness of Christ who was to fulfill all, and so become “the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” {Rom.10:4,5} Secondly, they had an election and sonship, but it was of the natural seed; the New Covenant is of the spiritual seed. {Rom.9:7,8, Gal.3:26,29} They had a priest, a sacrifice, tabernacle and temple, but all typical. They had promises likewise, but typical as well as conditional; so that it is as evident as the sun that shines at noon, to all whose eyes have been opened, that the differences between the covenants are clear and very great; and therefore it much concerns you not to mistake in this matter, lest you live under the Old instead of the New, for the Old will prove a Covenant of death to those who live and die in it; “but there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit;” {Rom.8:1;} namely, not after the Law or Old Covenant, but after the Gospel or New Covenant, which is called the ministration of the Spirit. {II Cor.3:6,8} Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Old & New Covenant Distinctions

The Old Covenant, Priesthood, and Promises were no other ways everlasting than as they led to Christ, the New Covenant and the everlasting rest, so they were everlasting; namely, as they represented and typed out everlasting things, but when the substance was come the shadow did vanish away. Objection: The Gospel Covenant is conditional as well as that of the Law, as at the first entering into it there is the condition of believing. “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned;” {Mk.16:16;} and persons continue in it on condition of continuing in the faith and obedience, and persevering in a way of well doing unto the end. {Heb.3:6,14, Mt.10:22, Mk.13:13} And the Gospel promises of life and glory are on condition. {Rom.2:7,10, 8:17} Assertion: It is true, on one account it may be said to be so, that as God never intended to save any but by Jesus Christ, and that through faith in him and obedience to him, in persevering in a way of gospel obedience, all these conditions God hath in his eternal counsel, and therefore he is said to love freely, but it was in Christ, and to those elect and chosen before the world was, but it was in Christ. {Eph.1:4} And calling, and justifying, and glorifying, it was all done over in God’s counsel. {Rom.8:27,30} And all that which may seem to be conditions, God undertakes the performance of them; and as God did elect and choose in Christ, so likewise he did choose them to believe and obey. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” {I Pet.1:2} Yet God in the carrying on of the great design of salvation in the Gospel ministration proposes it to us on the terms he had in his Counsel concluded before time; namely, faith in Christ, obedience, perseverance, &c., and that because it is the duty of all the Lord’s people so to do, and those that do it not cannot expect the grace of the Covenant; yet notwithstanding all this, faith, obedience, perseverance, &c., is a branch of the New Covenant on God’s part to us, so that what he relates to us as duty and is presented on conditional terms, on God’s part is a branch and part of the Covenant. As for faith, this is included in the Covenant. “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts;” {Heb.8:10;} and “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” {Jn.5:25} The Law written in the heart is the Law of faith and love, and where this Law is, there will be persevering in a way of gospel obedience. Christ is said to be the Author and Finisher of our faith; {Heb.12:2;} if so, then undoubtedly the whole work is effected by Him, and indeed this is the life of true believers, that the Lord hath undertaken for them, and it is He that works in them to will and to do of his own good pleasure. {Phil.2:13} So that in a word, interest in the Covenant and in the Promises of life and glory are on such conditions or terms which God himself has engaged for his peoples performance of; he requires of them, and works to will and to do what he requires, and yet he that doth it not must be damned. Here is a mystery that confounds the carnal heart, and indeed is the height and depth of it, as it is a mystery to the saints; but we may rather cry out with the Apostle, “How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out;” then suppose to fathom this depth of God. Let the Lord’s people know their duty, and continue in the faith, and persevere to the end, looking up to the Lord, fetching supply of strength and grace from Christ daily, for they are “kept by the power of God,” but it is through faith; {I Pet.1:5;} and this golden truth so full of consolation to the truly godly, no whit derogates from their duty, or leaves an indifference of performance or of spirit in them, but truly engageth their souls to the Lord therein, and that upon the New Covenant account, not in the oldness of the Letter, but in the newness of the Spirit. Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Old & New Covenant Distinctions

Question - Was not the Gospel and New Covenant in being in the time of the Old Covenant? Answer - Yea, doubtless it was, and there was never any saved with an everlasting salvation but by virtue of the New Covenant in Christ, for it was made and lay in promise, {Gen.3:15, 12:3,} and brought forth into an oath. {Gen.22:18} Yet the New and Old covenants were kept clearly distinct throughout all the time of that ministration, inasmuch that few of them in the Old understood the New. God made the New Covenant first with Abraham, {Gen.12:3,} but the Old came first into a ministration as an additional Covenant till the seed was come, to which the New was made. It is said, that Sarah and Hagar were an allegory of the two Covenants, {Gal.4:24,} for they were both in Abraham’s house at once, and the freewoman was there before the bond, but the bondwoman bare seed first. So it was in the Covenant; and the New Covenant was ministered through the Old, as it typed out Jesus Christ, and required righteousness and made promises, and virtually it was doubtless to the salvation of all God’s elect, for as the elect obtained it when Christ came, and the rest were blinded, {Rom.11,} so it was before in the typical Covenant they had Christ and the New Covenant held forth especially in types, in promises, and in prophecies. Question – Was not Jesus Christ the Mediator of the Covenant then, and could anyone be saved by a Covenant of which Jesus Christ was not the Mediator? Answer - Doubtless he was as to come, for so the Covenant though made, yet lay in Promise, and they were to look for the Seed {Christ} to whom the promise was made. And so the Covenant, Mediator and all, lay in promise, and they were saved by that Covenant, as Jesus Christ was considered to be the Mediator thereof. Hence they must have a typical Mediator, as well as Covenant in both to lead to a Covenant and Mediator; namely Christ to come. Question - Was the Covenant made with Christ only, or with him and all the elect; or are we to understand that the promises to Abraham and his seed, was to Christ personal or to Christ mystical; namely, Christ and all his mystical body? Answer - The Covenant was made first, and chiefly with Christ personally, as the Head of the body the Church, and in him, with all his body and every member thereof, {Is.59:21,} but especially, and primarily with Christ personally. So the Covenant and Promises to Abraham in his seed, was Christ personally, as he was the seed to whom the promises were made. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” {Gal.3:16} The Covenant and Promises was to Christ, and indeed it would be improper to understand it otherwise; for the promise to Abraham’s seed, was, that “in thy seed shall all the nations be blessed.” {Gen.22:18} If we understand by seed in this place the seed mystical; namely, all the elect, then we must read it thus, that in Christ and all the elect the nations shall be blessed; then who will there be in the nations to be blessed by the seed thus understood, for the wicked, though they live a hundred years, yet they must be accursed. {Is.65:20} Therefore the seed is Christ, and the blessing by Him came forth to us Gentiles, and all nations; namely, all that believe in him are blessed, and none else. Hence it is said, “that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ,” {Gal.3:14;} that is, the blessing that God promised to Abraham should come on the nations {that is the Gentiles} in his seed; namely, in Jesus Christ, “that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” {Gal.3:14} It is further said that this Covenant was “confirmed before of God in Christ,” and therefore could not be disannulled by the Law; {vs.17;} namely, the Law or Covenant from Mount Sinai, could not prevent the coming fourth of Christ, and so make void the Covenant and Blessing promised to the nations in Christ the true seed, so that we are to distinguish {though not divide} between Christ the True Seed as the Head, and his body the Church as members. They are in Scripture called the seed, or children of Christ. {Is.59:21, Ps.22:30, 89:29,30} So that in a word the Covenant is made with Christ, and in him the blessing of the Covenant comes forth to all his people, and by faith they come to claim their interest in this Covenant of free and rich grace, wrought forth and brought to light in and by Jesus Christ in whom all the promises are yeah, and amen, to the praise and glory of God. {II Cor.1:20} Thomas Collier {Discourse of the True Gospel Blessedness in the New Covenant, 1659}

Old and New Covenant Distinctions

The subject I have treated on, and at present command to your consideration is the Covenant of Grace, that Law in the Spirit which God promised in the Prophets, and now makes good in the saints; because the knowledge of this in power, is that which will keep saints upright with God, prevent them from running into those extravagancies and unheard of opinions and practices, which men pretending godliness run into nowadays; there is no law but this Law of the Spirit that I know can deliver souls from this danger. When I mention so often the Law in the Spirit, I mind by it only the Covenant of Grace, Jesus Christ, who is “the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Question: In what respect may Christ be said to be the Covenant? Answer: Christ is the Covenant of Grace as he was given forth by the Father therein to demonstrate and declare Grace, the Father to make forth that fullness of grace that was, and is in Himself for sinners, gives forth his Son as the Covenant. ‘There is my Son, my only Beloved, behold Him for a Covenant, that your souls may be satisfied in the knowledge of my grace.’ “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the LORD; that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another.” {Is.42:6-8} “Behold, I will send my Messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” {Mal.3:1} Christ is called the Minister or Messenger of the Covenant; because the Father by him and through him declares this grace unto the sons of men, and communicates it to whom he pleaseth. As the Father thus gives forth Christ a Covenant, in whom he declares grace, doing all in Him for us, without us, so he comes into souls by the same Spirit that was in Christ; so that Christ comes not only as a Covenant to us, but in us; and the same Law of Spirit and Life takes possession of us; and this is the Law written in the heart, which will occasion souls in whom it is, never to depart from God. Question: Why is this Covenant called a new Covenant; is it not the same that was in the Old Testament? Answer: It is true, that those that were saved, were saved in and by the same Eternal Covenant of Grace; yet, this Covenant, to speak in the language of Scripture, was not then made visible; but the Covenant then made verbally, in word, was another Covenant, and that of works, which was broken. Now because this seems to be a doubt and scruple, I shall give you several clear demonstrations for the confirmation thereof. First, the Scripture calls it two covenants, an Old and a New. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an Husband unto them, saith the LORD; but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” {Jer.31:31-33} Objection: But some will say, that it’s called an Old and a New, but therein to declare the clearness of Grace under the Gospel, yet the same Covenant, as there is the old and new Moon, when all is but one and the same. Answer: It is not called a New Covenant simply in respect of the clearness, but in respect of the nature thereof; for it is not the same. “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel…not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers.” The difference of the nature of these covenants will appear if we consider. The old Covenant was written and engraven in tables of stone; this is a Covenant written and engraven in the heart. That was a Covenant that could not give life, nor cause to walk, because of its weakness; {Heb.7:18;} this Covenant is a Covenant of Life. That was a Covenant that directly tended to bondage; {Gal.4:23,24;} but this unto Grace and Spiritual liberty. That Covenant was but a type, a shadow; this the substance; therefore not the same, no more than the Jewish ordinances which were all typical and shadows was the substance or thing shadowed; no more the same than those creatures sacrificed were Christ; no more than the blood of the Paschal Lamb sprinkled on the door posts, was the blood of Christ; or the land of Canaan, the spiritual rest of believers; but all was typical, and the substance was shadowed forth in those types; and saints found graced couched under this old Covenant. Mistake in regards to this difference occasions much miscarriage amongst many, who looking upon the Covenant to be the same now as formally, will have a Covenant without now as then; and hence set up fleshly ordinances of their own invention, suitable to such a Covenant, by which thousands are deluded; whereas the truth is, that then there was a Covenant in the flesh which gendered to bondage, which only those in the Spirit were delivered from, by the mystery couched under that Covenant, which none after the flesh could see into; but we, as in Christ, are only under this Covenant in the Spirit, which is a Covenant of liberty, a Covenant of grace, and much glory; and none are owned in this Covenant, but those who are in it; that is, those in whose hearts it is written. It is true, men may be in the profession of this Covenant who are not in it, nor ever knew it, but they ought not to be there; and there shall not a man pass for current that hath not on this wedding garment, with, “friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?” “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth; for many are called, but few are chosen.” {Mt.22:13-14} Thus, this Covenant being rightly known, we shall be able to see and say that it is a Covenant of Grace indeed, a Covenant of Peace and Love indeed, in which our souls shall be abundantly refreshed, and powerfully upheld in and under all temptations and conditions. The Old Covenant was a Covenant that might be broken, and that was broken; this is a Covenant that shall never be broken; for it is an Everlasting Covenant possessing souls with everlasting grace and love, everlasting joy and praises. This Covenant, in the Spirit is the everlasting, never ending light and rule of saints experienced; it is that “anointing which ye have received of him,” which “anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” Thomas Collier {Second Epistle to all Saints, 1651}

Priests unto God in Christ

The saints are made priests to the Lord, and so can now through Christ have access with boldness to the throne of grace; for every believer is made a priest in Christ; and note this by the way, that those that dare attribute that name to themselves, by way of office, it is no less than high blasphemy against the Lord Christ; but every believer is made a spiritual priest to the Lord, and so the Church is a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God by Jesus Christ; not propitiatory sacrifice, for that belonged to Christ alone, but yet acceptable sacrifice. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” {I Pet.2:5} “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” {I Pet.2:9} Beloved, here is your privilege, let it be your comfort that now you are made a holy priesthood unto God, you may come boldly to the throne of grace. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” {Heb.4:16} Is it not a mercy, that God should make a way for sinners to come into his presence, and to have access unto him; and that with confidence of acceptance. “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” {Eph.2:18} “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” {Eph.3:12} Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs

What are we to understand by the four beasts, and the four and twenty elders falling down before the Lamb, with harps and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints; and of them singing a new song? “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth.” {Rev.5:9,10} The Spirit of Christ now causeth the saints to fall down before Him, and to wait upon Him for the discovery of Gospel mysteries, with a new song in their mouths, a song of praise, that Christ hath undertaken to unseal the book unto them. Why is it called a new song? In opposition to all carnal forms and fleshly singing. Then it seems that singing is lawful? Yes, Gospel singing is lawful, spiritual singing is lawful; Gospel singing is such a singing as natural men are not capable to attain unto. Do you not think that singing of Psalms in meter, as it hath been used in the Church of England is spiritual, and so lawful according to the Gospel? Nay, no more lawful, nor spiritual than their common prayer; for one is formal, as well as the other; one is comprised together by the wisdom of men, as well as the other; then the truth is, singing of Psalms is wholly spiritual, as prayer; therefore the Apostle saith, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also;” {I Cor.14:15;} and it is without question that a man may as well pray in a form, as sing in a form. What is spiritual praise? It is for a soul from the spiritual enjoyment of God to speak forth the praises of God; hence it is said, they sung a new song; first, that is a song different from the world’s song; a song that none could learn, but those that are redeemed from the earth. {Rev.14:3} Now, this common singing is that which all men may learn; and the truth is, that all earthly people are set a singing in it; but the Lord Jesus is teaching his people such a song, that none can learn but those that have the Spirit of Christ; the carnal Church will have carnal members, and carnal ordinances, and carnal singing; but the spiritual Church, will follow the Spirit, in all these who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. {Rom.8:1} What is the sum of their song? In giving all glory to Christ, that he alone is worthy, and it is his work to unseal the book; and an acknowledging Him to be their only Redeemer. What may we learn hence? That the saints are a special redeemed people; and that this shall be one great part of the saints spiritual joy and praise, that they are redeemed out of nations, and kindreds, and tongues, and people, and so are made unto God kings and priests. Thomas Collier {Mysteries Unveiled, 1651}

Quakers Anatomized

So likewise in what he saith about the Supper in the same book, making it to be the common eating at their own table, so understanding all the Ordinances of Christ, and laying of them aside as vile and contemptible; else what means their not only judging all except themselves to be carnal, publicans, &c., {and themselves Pharisees,} but themselves who are all spirit, life and power {if any will believe them,} yet they practice not any of the Ordinances of Christ; and others are too bad to believe in the Lord and obey him, and themselves too good in their own account; so that indeed it is the way to make an end of all faith and profession at once. But indeed we are bad, and vile, and wretched, and stand in need of the grace of God every hour; pardoning grace and supporting grace, and we account it our great privilege that God hath opened a way for such poor sinners as we are to look to him; for we believe that he hath made us accepted in the Beloved, and in Him {Christ} alone he doth accept our services and pardon our miscarriages; and we do not only live by grace now, but we hope for the mercy of God to eternal life in the Appearing and Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, &c., and in this grace we stand poor and needy in ourselves, and in this faith we wait in obedience to our Lord in his Ordinances, rejoicing that he hath accepted of such poor ones as we are to honor him in the profession of his Name; and in this faith and profession I am confident God will keep a remnant to his Kingdom and Glory, notwithstanding all the rage of devils, Quakers and men. Regarding a perfection in the flesh, thou nameth Job and several others whom God witnessed that they were perfect. {Job 1:8 …} They were indeed perfect; that is, sincere, upright, walking with God in their generation, {Gen.6:9,} but sensible of sin; not boasting like you Quakers.  “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth;” {Job 40:4;} after the Lord had said that he was a perfect man. As for the rest of his rallying nonsense, I pass it by and make no question but that God hath made him manifest before men and angels, and all that do indeed quake and tremble at the Word of the Lord will quake and tremble at the delusions of those poor blind deluded people, as they are deceiving being deceived. I know the letter of the Scripture is the rule of saints, and the Spirit the guide to that rule; I know that the Gospel is the ministration of the Spirit; yet not without the letter, but in and according to it. I do indeed own perfection by faith in Jesus Christ, and personal perfection I believe and wait for at the appearing of Jesus Christ; let Pharisees and Hypocrites boast of it before they have it, they shall be found naked in that needful day. Thomas Collier {Looking Glass for the Quakers, 1657}

Religious Priestcraft

The person that you mention with whom you disputed, and as you say, occasioned this pulpit discourse, was, a Carpenter, a Baker, a Farmer, a Weaver and a Baker’s Boy; and as it appears clearly in this, and all of your discourse, in which you often mention them, that you mention them in a way of reproach, as if it were a reproach and scandal for a Carpenter, a Baker, a Farmer, and a Weaver to preach the Gospel. I cannot but take notice of two things in this particular; first ignorance and secondly envy. 1. Your ignorance, and that under two considerations: First, ignorance in not knowing; else willfulness in not acknowledging that God hath always, and in all ages of the world hitherto made, and will make use of men of callings to be the ministers of his Gospel unto the people, as Moses, David, Elisha, Peter, Paul, &c., and I challenge you again to produce any example in the Scripture, that ever God made choice of any to be ministers of his mind unto the people, who were bred up idly all the days of their life, without a calling, as the priests of our time have been; that whereas idleness is forbidden in all ages, and God hath called men of particular callings to minister in the Gospel; but forsooth we must have idlers, and them only, drones that never knew what it was to live lawfully in the world by a particular calling, that must be put into the priests office, that they may eat a piece of bread and clothe themselves with the wool, and feed themselves with the fat of the people; and none must preach but themselves, lest their idleness and baseness should be discovered. Objection: There are many prophets and ministers in the Scripture whose callings are not mentioned. Assertion: True, but it’s enough, first that many, nay most are mentioned. Idleness was forbidden, and was altogether unlawful; therefore we may not judge that God made choice of loafers, because they were so, nay but that it is the devil’s choice, and Sodom’s sin, pride and idleness. Objection: The ministers are not bred up idly, as you say, but have particular callings, being bred up to learning, which is a calling. Assertion: That is no calling; for a calling is that, in and by which men may in the sweat of their face get their living, {Gen.3:19, Eph.4:28,} breeding to school is proper to children, when they cannot labor, to fit them for some calling. {Pv.22:6} Secondly, ignorance in not knowing that it is that which tends most to the glory of God, and wherein his power, wisdom, &c., is the more made manifest and magnified, in gifting weak ones; and this he doth that no man might glory in his presence, nor in his own wisdom, parts, arts, sciences, &c., that men might not give the glory to those outward base things of the world, which glory belongs to God; and of this it seems that you and the men of your generation are ignorant, worst and more blind. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” {Acts 4:13} But you are so blind that you cannot take knowledge of the Lord’s servants, that they have been with Jesus, being ignorant of the truth that, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger;” {Ps.8:2;} God ordaining strength out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, and in that way making his power and wisdom to appear, that so he might still the enemy and the avenger; but you are such an enemy, that you will not take notice of God’s working in this way, but you will be an enemy the more, and avenge the more and blaspheme the free operation of the Spirit in the saints, Pharisee like, a dangerous sin indeed. Thomas Collier {Pulpit Guard Routed, 1651}

Religious Tradesmen

A parallel between them {ministerial Hirelings} and the Artificial Merchandizing Tradesman. The oneness between the Artificial Tradesman and the Priests, will appear, as these few things are considered. The tradesman, before he attains his craft, or calling, must first be an Apprentice seven years, that so he may get understanding and art in his calling, for there is some mystery in every calling; therefore time is required for the understanding of it, which by the Law is not judged less than seven years. So it is with the Priest; he must, before he can be his crafts-master, spend many years in the Schools, perhaps twice seven before he comes to maturity, at least, he had need be one seven years in the University, commonly called the schools of the Prophets, the nursery of piety, or rather of impiety and wickedness, the well-head of Divinity, or rather humanity; and then by this time he hath gotten a pretty good head and hand, he is, it is likely, able to make a sermon now and then, or else he must needs be a very dunce, for he hath a very dull head that cannot learn his trade in seven years; yet so it comes to pass among these men very often, as well as other tradesmen, that some are more ready and handy in it than others, one can make two Sermons perhaps, while another can scarce make one; so it is with your Shoemakers, Taylors, or any other handicrafts men; and so like other tradesmen, they prove differently; some pretty honest in their way, others knaves; some drunkards, others sober; some whore-masters, others chaste; some more wise and crafty, others simple and foolish; and thus now their Apprenticeship being expired, they are become Masters of Art. The second thing to be expected is their freedom to set up their trade; so it is with the handicraftsman especially in the City of London, or other privilege places, for a small matter they are declared free-men of London. So it is with the priests, after they have served their Apprenticeship, gained the Art of making a Sermon, and before too, some of them succeed, they now must get their freedom, which is the approbation and ordination of some principle men of the same Art; thus it is with the tradesman, and thus it is with the Priests, that is, either the hands of the Prelate, or some other Prelatical, Episcopal creatures, newly Anabaptized into the name of Presbyters or Classes. 3. The tradesman having obtained his freedom, he now opens shop-windows, and sets himself to work; so likewise those Priests, they have their shops, {namely,} their studies full of good old books, Authors, Fathers, all Expositors of Scripture, and they set themselves to work, search one Author, and another Author, and for the most part these are the fountains from whence they draw all. Come to ask their judgment upon any text of Scripture, you must tarry till they have looked their expositors, and then they will tell you what their expositors say, whether it be true or false; for you must note, they are not infallible, nor Apostolic. 4. The tradesmen must have a time to make their wares, he cannot make them with his word, nor blow them together with the wind; the shoemaker must have his time to make his shoes, the Taylor to make a garment, &c., and when it is made, it’s made, and not before. So must these tradesmen of another nature have their times to make a Sermon, some a month, some two weeks, others one, some two or three in a week, when like to have good sale, but a time they must have to make it up, they cannot preach by the spirit, for alas; they know not what it is, they are strangers unto it, they oppose it. This is that which will throw down these Sermon-makers in conclusion; when poor Tradesmen, Cobblers, Taylors, Tinkers, Plow Men, Carpenters, and all sorts of men shall preach the Everlasting Gospel, with so much light, life, liberty and power, that will darken all the light of these Sermon-makers; and then none will buy their wares anymore. {They built the Tombs of the Prophets, and garnished their Sepulchers, {Mt.23:29,} but they persecuted Christ and his Apostles; and so do our Priestly Scribes, Pharisees, and Hypocrites, pretend to have high thoughts of Christ and his Apostles, but are as ready to persecute and kill the true disciples & followers of Christ as ever the Priests of old; they build their Tombs, and garnish them; they spend all their time, and study to find out the mind of Christ and his Disciples in their writings, and yet come infinitely short of it. Christ a Carpenter, Paul a Tent-maker, Peter a Fisher-man, all of them poor tradesmen; yet these men of Arts and parts, spend all their time, and make use of their Authors, to understand what they write; but if God raise up any Fisher-man, Carpenter, Cobbler, or the like, in him, and by him, to reveal his truth; O away with such a fellow from the earth! He is a Mechanic fellow, one of no breeding; he knoweth not the Original, &c. I warrant you if Christ and his Apostles were on the earth again, they should find as hard measure from them, as ever from the Priests of old. What do these but justify the proceedings of all persecutors that have gone before them, and so bring upon themselves all the righteous blood-shed, even from the blood of Abel, until this time?} Sometimes when necessity or idleness drives them to it, they buy of other men; namely, preach a Sermon of another mans, if the people know it not, it goes for currant, though sometimes they can read along with them as they preach, but I must confess this is something base. Thus it appears, that our spiritual Merchants run parallel with the temporal, and that Preaching is become a mere art amongst men; and truly they have their shops full of godly wares; by which they delude and deceive souls. “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise anymore; the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.” {Rev.18:11-13} Herein their shops are opened, or rather their pack, where he gives them the term of Merchants; and abundance of good ware there is, and they sell all, and the souls of men too. - Thus it evidently appears, that the artificial tradesman and the Masters of Arts, the Priests, run parallel together, for there is as much spirituality in the one as in the other; I mean in relation to their calling; although its confessed that the first is lawful, the second, altogether earthly, sensual and devilish. Thomas Collier {Brief Discovery of the Corruption of the Church of England, 1651}

Religious Zeal without Christ

Many souls are deluded by that lying spirit within them, which will set the creature on work, with Adam, to make clothes to cover itself withal, although it be but fig leaves; that is, it will present unto the soul some creature righteousness and reformation, some form of godliness without the power, as light and life enough to deliver the soul out of this condition; it clothes the creature with a righteousness of its own setting up, reformations, prayers, tears, preaching and hearing in the room of Christ, and the Spirit; like unto Ephraim and Judah, when they saw their sickness, their sin and wound, then they went to the Assyrian for help, but he could not help them; {Hos.5:13;} and if they are healed, that is falsely and unsoundly cured, it proves their ruin; for they become seven times more the children of hell and darkness than before; thus this law of flesh will through its deceivableness gather up the soul into fleshly forms, things suitable to itself, mistaking Christ and the Spirit of truth; saying, this is Christ, thus transforming himself into an angel of light, to deceive souls; but those who are indeed risen with Christ, seek things above, of a higher nature; and if they at any time act in forms, it is not the form that satisfies them, but Christ who is the substance thereof. - This false light presents a universal will and power in all men, to accept and receive grace from God, that one man might obtain mercy as well as another, all having alike power, or at least power enough to receive grace; that faith is but an act of reason, and they are unreasonable men that do not believe; not knowing that “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy;” not knowing that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do” his good pleasure; not experiencing that mighty power of God in those who believe, so giving all glory to God; but rather laying the stress of all upon the creature, giving all to the creature; whereas souls rightly taught by that Spirit of light see all, not only love and grace, but will and power, flowing from that Eternal Fountain; and hence it is, that as streams flowing from the fountain, return thither again; so those who truly live in grace, return all to that infinite Fountain of Grace. “I am nothing, I can do nothing, all flows from that fountain;” and thus the Lord alone is exalted in that soul. - Others under the notion of joining Christ and duty together, flesh and spirit as co-workers together; talking of the righteousness of Christ, but looking for it, as it were, by the works of the Law, being indeed ignorant of the righteousness of God; these are zealous, but not according to knowledge; and this is looked after, and pleaded for, as a high degree of righteousness, when perhaps there is no more in it than what Paul accounted loss; yea, dung and dross, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord; and was content to suffer the loss of all such things, as grounds of righteousness, that he might win Christ, and be found in Him. Good it were, and much mercy to such, if they could with Paul, suffer the loss of all such righteousness, in a way of grace; for it must be lost first or last, and if not till last, then they must be bid depart from all their works, as workers and works of iniquity, “into outer darkness;” where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Others seem to come higher than this again, seeming to be delivered from their works, as it is their righteousness, and are all for Christ and his righteousness, free justification without works; but they are ignorant of, if not enemies unto the righteousness of this Law in the Spirit; although I question not but that many who are yet come no further, may be precious, and enjoy true comfort, according to that measure received. Thomas Collier {Second Epistle to all Saints, 1651}

Ruin of Antichrist

The preaching of the Gospel is the means of Antichrists ruin; and the sermon is; “Fear God, and give glory to Him.” {Rev.14:7} This sermon is that which will ruin Antichrist, both in the letter, and in the spirit. Give glory to God, that God is all, and in all. {Col.3:11} That God be your enjoyment in the spirit, living upon nothing below Him; giving no glory to creatures, duties, actings or anything either of the first Adam or Antichrist. Give glory to God in the letter, give not glory to man; nor set up man in the room {place} of God; {II Thes.2:4;} do not cry the voice of man, and not of God, in any of the things of God; and this is the sermon that shall ruin Antichrist. Thomas Collier {Marrow of Christianity, 1647}

Salvation in Christ

The Saints have cause also to admire the power, the almighty power of God, working salvation for them, for he doth declare himself to be the Almighty God, able to do whatsoever he pleaseth, he is able to save, he is able to work salvation for his people which way he pleaseth, and the power of God is manifested in Christ, working salvation for his people. “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save;” {Is.63:1;} behold the Lord Jesus is called the Mighty God, {Is.9:6,} and a Mighty Redeemer, {Prov.23:11,} and their Redeemer is mighty, he shall plead their cause, &c., and truly beloved, he had need be mighty, for he hath undertaken a mighty work, the redemption and salvation of sinners, and this appears to be a mighty work; because none else could do it. Beloved, God hath done such a work for his people that no creature, nor created power in heaven or earth could do it. “There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me;” {Is.45:21;} none can save beside God, “for there is no Saviour beside me;” {Hos.13:5;} therefore in “vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains; truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.” {Jer.3:23} Beloved, it is in vain to look for salvation from the hills and mountains, from creatures, or anything beneath the Lord Jesus Christ, for “there is none other name given under heaven whereby we must be saved,” but by the name of Jesus. {Acts 4:12} O beloved, how should the Saints praise God, and admire him for that great and glorious salvation he hath wrought for his people; this is the song the Saints sing unto his praise: “And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen; Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen.” {Rev.7:10-12} They sing forth God’s saving power, for who is a God able to save after this manner? It appears to be a mighty work, exceeding the work of the creation, or any of the rest of the work of God, if we consider the several circumstances, or concomitants thereunto appertaining. Beloved, the Lord made the world with his word, he spake the word and it was done, but it was not a word that could save man being fallen; No, no, beloved, there is more to be done, first, God must take upon him the nature of man, that is, the seed of David, {Rom.1:3,} of Abraham, {Heb.2:16,} and “who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” {I Pet.2:24,} taking their curse, “being made a curse for them,” {Gal.3:13,} and their condemnation. {Rom.8:3} And to effect this great work of man’s salvation, He that was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, was found in the form of a servant, and became obedient to the death, even the death of the Cross. {Phil.2:6,7} Here is a great work by which man’s salvation is accomplished; and was there ever the like work wrought by God, greater than the creation; there a word doth it, here must be blood, not of an ordinary man, but of the Son of God; greater than the destroying or building of Nations or Kingdoms, here a word doth it, {Jer.18:7,8,} here must be blood. {Heb.9:22} Thus you see, beloved, the admirable power of God, manifested in this work of reconciliation. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Self-Denial – an Effect of the Grace of Christ

There is righteous self, that is in self-apprehension, though it is true, none can do good, and the best actions out of Christ are but filthiness, yet such a disposition there is in nature, that is ever apt to have high thoughts of itself, they that know anything aright know it. But when Christ commeth, he teacheth men to deny it, to cast off all their own righteousness as filthiness. See Paul, who was indeed full of self-righteousness before his conversion, as he himself confessed. Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the Tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, and touching the Law a Pharisee, concerning zeal, persecuting the Church, touching the righteousness which is in the Law blameless. {Phil.3:5,6} Here was a righteous soul, who would think now this man should have any need of Christ; but follow him a little, and see the change, for all this must be denied, cast off and rejected, as a thing of naught, as filthy polluted things. Those things that I once esteemed gain, all that confidence that I had in the flesh, I see they were all nothing, I was content to lose them all for Christ, Yea doubtless, and I account all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things {that is, all that was mine own} and do count them dung that I may win Christ. {Phil.3:7,8} Beloved, here is self-denial in a wonderful measure, to account all your own righteousness but as dung or filthiness, that you may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the Law, {the Apostle exclaims that, casts it away,} but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Here is a denying of righteous self, a rejecting of all his own righteousness as nothing; nay, as very filthiness, and believe it, where Christ comes in some measure, he teacheth this lesson. I confess, this is a very hard lesson, flesh and blood cannot attain it; herein lies the great mystery of the Gospel, which appears to flesh and blood to be the greatest folly, for a man to deny himself, his duties, prayers, best actions, cast them down at the feet of Christ as dung and dross. O it is a hard lesson, yet such a lesson as the Saints must learn, yea, and do learn it, in some measure from Christ. The righteous shall say, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee, or thirsty, and gave thee drink. {Mt.25:37} Note it, the Saints disown all that ever they have done, they take no notice of it, they do not remember it. It was not that whereon they built their consolation; they looked to the righteousness of Christ and there they lay their salvation; and note again, Christ remembers the good work of the Saints when they do not remember it themselves. O it is a sweet thing to be above these things, then Christ will remember them; but when men live upon these things, and come to remember duties as a ground of comfort, then Christ will not remember them; Christ will profess, “I never knew you.” Now the want of this grace in this particular, it occasions two evils, the first and best of them is, and that even to the Saints, it deprives them of much comfort and spiritual peace; the poor soul looking upon its duties, seeing the weakness, the imperfection of them, he is troubled and complains, and doubts and questions its condition, and all for want of self-denial, that is not looking for anything in those duties. I dare say that the Saints duties kills them in their own apprehensions more than any other of their sins; but if the Lord help you to deny yourselves, that is, not to expect anything in duty, but lay it down at the feet of Christ, and to live upon Christ your all in all, you shall find abundance of influence of grace, and new manifestations of love, and in your duties you shall have more fellowship and communion with God, than ever; it is your expectation of comfort in your own righteousness that deprives you of it; and just it is that it should be so, nay, it is a mercy that it is so, for if God should give thee thy desire in duties, thou wouldest then live upon them, and undo thy self forever. Thomas Collier {Exaltation of Christ, 1647}

Tithes & Offerings

The Jewish Priests were to live by Tithes and Offerings, for they had no portion given them in the Land of Canaan; and this have the Priests of our times appropriated to themselves, that they are Priests of the Tribe of Levi, as themselves say, and they do the work of the Priesthood, and therefore they must have the maintenance of Priests; to wit, Tithes and Offerings, and this they plead for by Divine Right, from the Old Testament, because set apart for the Priests then under the Law. It is true, some of them plead for it from human right, because the Parliament {say they} have given it unto them; but it seems it matters not much with them, whether it be of Divine, or Human right, so they have it, and thus desire not much to dispute the business. I shall a little examine the business about Tithes, before I pass this particular. You shall find that Tithes were given to the Tribe of Levi; “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, &c.” {Num.18:21} Where you may take notice: First, that Tithes were set apart by God, “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S; it is holy unto the LORD.” {Lev.27:30} Secondly, commanded only of the Jews, and none else. Thirdly, to be paid in the Land of Canaan, and no other Land mentioned in Scripture; the Jews were not commanded to pay it, till they came into that Land, where the rest of the Tribes had inheritances given them, and the Tribe of Levi none, for the tenth was reserved for their Inheritance. Fourthly, it was to be paid to that Tribe, {viz.} the Tribe of Levi and none else, if any other Tribe or person had appropriated it to themselves, they had been Thieves and Robbers. {Mal.3:8} How this illegitimate Tribe, that now appropriates Tithes to themselves, can free themselves from the like, I leave it to all men to judge. 5. The end of the payment of Tithes was for the livelihood of those who served at the Altar. {I Cor.9:13} They were under a Legal administration, therefore they were to live of the Law; but those who are under the Gospel Dispensation, they live of the Gospel; that is, free, for Gospel people are a free people; and Ministers who live in a free Covenant of Grace, can trust God for their maintenance, and be content with a little; as Christ and his Apostles, who could say truly, that though they had nothing, yet they possessed all things. Objection: It is said, that Abraham paid Tithes to Melchizedek, which was not in the Land of Canaan, neither yet to the Tribe of Levi. Gen.14. Answer: True, yet note; First, Abraham gave the tenth voluntarily, and freely, not by compulsion, as now the Priests demand it. Secondly, Abraham paid the tenth of the spoil which he had taken in war from the enemy, and none else, which is no warrant for the taking of the tenth of all; therefore all that can be expected thence, is but the tenth of spoil taken in war, if the Soldiers are free to give it. Thirdly, this tenth of the spoil was given to Melchizedek, and not to them; therefore unless they prove themselves to be Melchizedek, this Scripture will do them no good at all, which I think they will not assume; for he was an immediate Type of Christ, {Heb.7,} as were the Priests and Levites, to whom Tithes were due, and that by an Ordinance not of man, but of God. 4. The Tribe of Levi in Abraham paid Tithes to this Melchizedek; therefore no ground for our second Tribe to demand Tithes, but rather to pay Tithes, if Melchizedek come to demand them. Objection: If Tithes are not paid, how should Ministers be maintained, for it is meet that those that preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel; but we know by experience that many places would scarce maintain their Ministers bread, if they were not compelled by a Law; therefore it is convenient that Tithes should be paid. Answer: First, it is an evident ground, that they are no Ministers of Christ, that will not trust the Lord Himself for their maintenance, and a principal note of infidelity; a wonderful dishonor to Jesus Christ, to pretend to be his Servants, and yet will not trust Him, but will be caring and providing for themselves. It is, as if a servant conditioning with his master to serve him, should not only indent with him for maintenance, but would be caring and providing for himself; nay, not only caring and providing for himself, but conditioning with another man to care for him, and to give him wages; this is the dealings of the Priests with Jesus Christ, for they will not trust Him. In essence it is because they are none of his Servants, they do not his work, for if they did, they would be content with His wages, which is free gift, as well Temporally as Spiritually. Secondly, those who cannot preach without Tithes, or any other stinted maintenance, it is an argument they seek more their own bellies, than the honor of Jesus Christ, like unto your day-laborers, that will be sure to know their pay, or else they will not work. Such belly-gods are they, that if any put not into their mouths, they even prepare war against them. Question: Did ever Christ and his Apostles practice the like? Answer: They never set forth an holy Ordinance for Tithes, they never vexed men at Law in all their lives; nor ever were they Wolves unto the Sheep, but rather as meek Lambs, in sufferings deep. It is very just that they should be pined for want, and that for these Reasons: First, because they would not trust Jesus Christ, but forsake Him, and trust to the power of Magistracy to maintain them; the civil Sword is the fundamental of their livelihood; now can they blame Christ, if He care not for those that will not trust Him? Did he ever engage Himself by promise to such a people, if ever their Masters that set them awork, from whence they expect power to fetch in maintenance, leave them they perish? Secondly, because they thrust such a people upon Jesus Christ as He never owned, no wonder if such a people starve their Teachers; and just it is it should be so, for they starve, delude, and undue their Souls, telling them they are Christians, a Church, when they are not. Was ever such a thing as this heard of, that a Minister of Christ should be in doubt of starving, unless he provide for himself by a Law? “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof?” {Jer.5:30,31} Third; because the Lord hath said it, “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger; but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” Quire: Are the Priests of England Lions? Answer: Yea; for first, Lions get their prey by violence, so do they; witness their holy Ordinance for Tithes, witness their taking by violence from those to whom they might better give; witness their greedy desire to devour with open mouth the lambs of Jesus Christ, would the Parliament once grant their insatiable desire. Witness their Petition to the Parliament to have them burnt with the letter B, and to have them prosecuted as felons for their lives. This was the good will of the Priests to the poor lambs of Jesus Christ; but when their Lion, the Lord Jesus shall roar out of ZION, all the Beasts of the Forrest shall tremble, which will be ere long. Thus are they like to be a Generation that must suffer want, at least in their Souls, in the time of drought, when the Towers fall. {Is.65:11-13} Yea, {to wit} the Saints shall eat, but they shall be hungry; yea, shall drink, but they shall be thirsty, &c. The Priests were the greatest enemies to Jesus Christ in those times; they it were, who hired Judas to betray him; who cried out, ‘crucify him, crucify him, a way with such a fellow from the earth;’ they it was who gave large monies to the soldiers to belie him, and to say that his Disciples stole him away by night, &c. This hath been, and is the practice of the Priests in our days, under the notion of Heretics and Seducers, to destroy the Saints; and why? Because the Saints discovering truth, will destroy their error and falsehood. Finally the end of all was, that they might hold up their Religion, and in that their honor and profits; for they know, if they should let Christ alone, he would destroy their religion, and so lay them open unto contempt. Thomas Collier {Brief Discovery of the Corruption of the Church of England, 1651}

Unity of the Spirit in Christ

One will say, I am of Paul; another, I am of Apollos; a third, of Cephas. One will be a Presbyter, another an Independent, a third an Anabaptist, as they are called; that is, they will not look so much after those forms, be so fleshly in their knowledge of Christ, as to say, “Lo here, and lo there is Christ;” that is, here or there, and nowhere else, not knowing that he is free in dispensing Himself, not being tied to or bound up in any form whatsoever; and I cannot pass at present without speaking something to all saints under all dispensations, tending to the uniting of all saints together in the Unity of the Spirit. First, you that go under the name of Presbyterian, I cannot but judge some amongst you to be tender and precious; although I must confess, that I look on that form to be one of the lowest where Christ may be found; although I question not but that a right presbytery is agreeable to what we find written in the Scripture; yet I must tell you, that I know no such presbytery in the world, much less amongst you; and I must tell you likewise that your principles in many things be so low, so carnal, as that I am put to a stand in consideration thereof. Your ignorance in the Covenant of Grace, entailing it to the natural seed; hence baptizing, or rather cozening your infants, calling it the seal of the Covenant, though there be no seal, but that of the Spirit, and none are in that Covenant, but saints. Your ministers, for the most part, preaching for hire, and you love to have it so, making them your lords, and almost your rule of faith and practice, desiring and endeavoring, could you have your purpose, to compel all to walk by your rule, to submit to your light. Do you not say that Christ is here in this form and nowhere else? How could you else desire to deal so harshly with those who are contrary to you, lest you dealt hardly with Christ? Are you not carnal and walk as men? Did you but know that God is not tied to this or the other form; he is neither here nor there limited nor confined, but makes known himself, where, when and how he pleases. Did you but know that your form is the lowest of all forms that come near the truth, and therefore the less to be esteemed, you would not, you could not be so exact and rigid in it; nay, you would never continue under the practice of it; for behold a little, and you shall see the evil that is couched under it. First, it makes your infants Christians, as you say, though they never heard of Christ. Is not this a root of bitterness? From whence flows all that gross ignorance in the nation? Whence come those delusions amongst the ignorant ones, that they are Christians, &c., but from this corrupt fountain? Could you but look up and down the nations, and see the wonderful delusions of souls, under this anti-Christian invented form; Oh, your hearts would yearn over them, you would have bowels of pity towards them, thousands, and ten thousands perishing under your deluded forms; nay, could you but look at home, see how you account yourselves and children the better for it; and who knows but that your children may be deluded under it, as well as others? See again how your Ministry for the most part stands corrupted, not only in admittance, for if any man well furnished with arts and human abilities, {the smoke of the bottomless pit, the wisdom of man, which is darkness, ignorance and folly with God,} confessing or owning presbytery is a meet minister in your society; but likewise generally seeking themselves, and not you, but yours; if that fail, they are gone, keeping you ignorant, frighting and keeping you from looking after the knowledge of God further than they teach you; and if you put not into their mouths, they even prepare war against you; which if the Lord did but make you sensible of your ignorance and folly in these things from the discovery of higher light and glory, you would not be so satisfied; did you but know that there are various dispensations from God to the sons of men. Did you but know that God is Spirit, and that he is the Fountain, the Light, the Life and fullness of all things, you would not, you could not make so much of these your carnal things, nor judge so hardly and harshly of those who differ from you. Did you but know indeed that we know but in part, and that it is as possible for you to err as others, you would not so earnestly desire to confine others to your light, lest you might possibly lay a burden of falsehood and sin upon them. In a word, did you but know that God is Spirit, and that he will be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth; and that a believer’s obedience is due to none but Jesus Christ; which is to be performed by, and in the Law of the Spirit, which is a Law both of light and power; I say, did you but know this, from being taught by the Spirit, you could not, you dare not usurp any power over the consciences of your brethren, but the Spirit of unity, love and peace, would rule in you. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, it consists not in meat and drink, not in observations, as touch not, taste not, handle not; not in forms and fleshly uniformity, in external prescriptions by men, but in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Spiritual uniformity, or a unity in that one Spirit; they who are joined to the Lord are one Spirit; you see, or shall see, that it belongs not to man to punish heresy, blasphemy, atheism, nonconformity, &c.; nay, you see, or shall see, that those who cry out most against heresy, blasphemy, &c., call for your assistance to punish with the death, are indeed the greatest heretics, blasphemers, and enemies to Jesus Christ. Secondly, you who go under the name and notion of the Independents; nay, although it is true, I could desire that all the saints were indeed more independent to men, to creatures, to forms, &c., and more dependent upon the great God, the Rock and Refuge of his people; I must needs tell you, that I see something amiss in you; for I am now writing impartially from bowels of tenderness and pity to all the saints, without respect; therefore suffer a word of exhortation. First, methinks I see amongst you a spirit almost ready to say, lo here is Christ; namely, in this form, ready almost to deny communion with any else; thus knowing Christ after the flesh; that is, fleshly forms, and this knowing Christians after the flesh, being too carnally rigid in that form and nowhere else, and yet, not up in your forms to that form of doctrine prescribed in the Scriptures, but rather cleave fast unto those invented ordinances of man, who have no better author or father than the Pope, no better end than deluding souls; namely, infant baptism, &c., herein discovering your ignorance in the knowledge of God and the Covenant of Grace; which is a Covenant in the Spirit, and not in the flesh, to and with the spiritual, but not with the natural seed. {Gal.3:29} Did you but see that God might as well be in other forms as this, manifesting himself; nay, that God might be enjoyed without all forms, you could not in any case be rigid in this form, nor would you desire the exaltation of it, &c. And for you saints likewise who go under the name and notion of Anabaptists, though for practicing as you judge of the truth according to what is written, and I confess you in your practice to be in the highest form, according to the Letter; yet what I see to be amiss, I must at present tell you; and that is your making too much of forms, though according to the Scripture, that this is truth, witness, first your readiness as soon as any to say, Lo here is Christ and nowhere else, as if Christ were tied to this form; that this is truth, witness your unwillingness to own Christ in, or to have communion with Christ in any out of this fellowship; nay, calling it the way of God, &c., witness your readiness to deny Christ to be truly, really, spiritually enjoyed without all forms, ordinances, &c., witness your making of your union in the Letter the ground of your Communion in the Spirit, not seeing that union in the Spirit and belief of the Truth to be the alone rule and everlasting ground of communion in the Gospel of God’s grace. In a word, your too much preferring of one in form with you, though carnal, before one out of that form, though spiritual. And for you Christians, who are for no churches, denying all forms for want of ministers; is it not your fault and folly likewise to think and say, Lo here, and lo there is Christ? Are you not apt to say, he is in the desert, in the wilderness, in the private chamber and nowhere else? Do you not see and know that Christ may as well be with others, under other dispensations as with you? Do you not likewise know Christ exceedingly after the flesh? Hardly can you judge those to be Christians, which are not of your mind, or perform a spiritual action with those, though scriptural, that suit not to your opinion; did you likewise know Christ more in the mystery, you could not but know saints in the mystery, though differing in their apprehensions from you about externals or things without. Thomas Collier {General Epistle to the Universal Church, 1651}

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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