August 2013

 Posted August 4, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Prayer: Question - What is prayer and the benefit thereof? Does it inform God; does it do good unto him, or prevail with, or change his mind? Answer - Prayer is the breath of God, or the breathings forth of his Spirit, by which God informs us, {we do not inform God,} by which he persuades us, prevails with and changes our minds; as we do not persuade God, prevail with God, nor change the mind of God. {Js.1:17, Mal.3:6} It is God that persuaded Japheth by his Spirit, to live in the tents of Shem, to believe in the Messiah that was to come, and to rest upon that Salvation that was to be accomplished by him in the fullness of time. {Gen.9:27} And it is that same Spirit that enables us that now live by the Faith of God’s power, as well as those that have lived or shall live hereafter by Christ, to cry Abba Father. {Rom.8:17, 26-27, Gal.4:6} From hence I conclude most certainly, that the spirit of prayer is given to help, succor, and bear us up in our infirmities, and not to assist, support and bear up God, for he hath no infirmities, needs no prayers, tears, or any of the means of grace offered us in endless mercies; but on the contrary, we stand in need of all Grace, as prayer, preaching, and reading the holy Scriptures; and God in and by prayer, &c., seeks us, persuades us, finds us, gathers, heals, comforts, instructs, enlarges, and adds to us; adorns, beautifies, enriches, allures, attracts and draws us up unto Himself that are poor, lost, dazed and castaway sinners in ourselves, both antagonistic and contrary to God, and from God, even from the womb; straggling sheep and fugitives from the right & only way – Christ; {Hos.2:14;} in the wilderness of sin, death, and hell, and in a high esteem of our own dunghill goodness and plague righteousness. {Is.64:6, Phil.3:7,8} Thus God by prayer discovers ourselves to ourselves, and others that join with us in prayer; he likewise manifests himself to us, imparting, communicating and revealing his secrets to us, and we being rapt with the discoveries, incomes, and constant enjoyments of God, do in prayer hold forth before the view of our faith and understanding, and of those that we pray with, and for, so clearly without blindfolding of Christ in his worth, excellencies and dignity; together with the absolute necessity of better prayers than we can pray, thoughts, words, and works that will commend us to God, which are only found in Christ, who is our Representative Person, and prayed for us. When we thus pray in faith, it doth prevail much with those drooping spirits, and they are mightily strengthened in the Faith, in hearing the Lord Jesus Christ in all his benefits, thus held forth in prayer. The believer is satisfied in the work of redemption, wrought by Christ and held forth by prayer, as well as in preaching, and this is God’s end in prayer; namely, the satisfying of our consciences, and confirming us in our faith, and in the true Grace of God, wherein we stand. {I Pet.5:12} God hath received satisfaction from Jesus Christ who hath saved us both freely, perfectly and permanently; and by the spirit of prayer according to the proportion of faith, the sick are healed in their consciences, to their comfortable knowledge, and so prayer prevails much with men and saves men; namely, it brings home that Salvation to the heart, which was wrought by Christ. {Js.5:15,16} So Elijah knew that there should be rain, for the Lord had told him before that he would send it, {I Kg.18:1,} but he prayed to affect the people; and so Hezekiah spread the letter of railing Rabshakeh, not to affect God, but himself and the hearts of the people; {Is.37:14,15;} and it is certain that God did prevail mightily against Jacob’s sense and reason that caused him to stagger through hesitancy or too much astonishment, when he had well warned him by the spirit of prayer, then as he went to meet Esau with undaunted resolution, though he were lame, and not able to go against his powerful adversary, then as God strengthened his faith with cheerfulness and good success, as he went on in the great and weighty business; and so indeed the end of prayer is to increase ours, not God’s faith, he being Faithfulness itself. Objection: But what say you of such texts of Scripture that call prayer sacrifice, incense, and odors? {Heb.13:15, Rev.5:8, 8:3, Acts 10:4} Answer: These Scriptures are all to be understood evangelically, thus by him let us offer the sacrifice to God continually; that is, let us always believe that Christ our Surety hath once for all offered one sacrifice that fully did satisfy God, and that forever. {Eph.5:2} Let us be content with that and rest quiet, and be satisfied therewith, and always be speaking thereof, for God is well pleased when we delight in, and are well pleased in Christ our sacrifice, which he offered in his bloody death and passion. May it please the Lord to set this always before our faith, that we may speak it out in all our prayers, believing that all his interests are ours, and being brought to the realization that he stands for us perpetually. {Lk.22:32, Jn.17:20, I Cor.3:20-23} Christ being that Eternal Surety and Covenant Representative Person in our stead for us, and to us; the new Adam, so that by Him, in Him, and through Him in Scripture language, is to stand in all that Christ accomplished, and in faith to apply, possess and enjoy Christ in all, and at all times, completely as he hath made us and presented us to God his Father. {Col.2:10, Heb.10:14, I Jn.4:17} For those texts, {Rev.5:8 & 8:3,} are both one in signification, and it is clear, that the ministers of the Gospel, their chiefest employment is to exalt Jesus Christ, by holding forth to the Church that one and only soul saving and soul satisfying sacrifice of Christ; {Eph.5:2, Heb.9:26;} and to appropriate that to the Church by telling her that her warfare is at an end; sin, death, hell and the curse are removed, and righteousness is come in their stead; {Is.40:2;} that a Son is born and given; {Is.9:6;} that is, all Christ, whatever he did or suffered, and that all the holy prayers that he prayed, the pure thoughts that he thought, the gracious words that he uttered and the righteous works that he wrought, are truly and in very deed ours evangelically by Grace. God hath given Christ to his Church, and all his excellencies, &c., and hence Christ’s prayer in those texts are to be understood. Christ is of God made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption; {I Cor.1:30,31;} and those sacrifices, odors and incense of old did but type out Christ to the Church as he was to come, and in this respect it may be truly said, that all their prayers were but shadowish prayers, &., holding forth the perfect prayers that Christ should offer on their behalf; and we are not to conceive that ministers under the Gospel are to offer incense or odors, but they are to preach Christ clearly to the Congregations and to present before the view of their understandings, the perfect and effectual prayers that Jesus Christ prayed in the days of his flesh for them; he prays no more now, but rules all in heaven and in earth, and tis his stock of prayers for the saints that are gone up into heaven for them. And thus Cornelius prayed and fasted in Christ that was to come, in his false apprehensions, for Christ was come in the flesh, and had indeed fasted and prayed on his behalf, though he knew it not, and therefore Peter must be sent for to undeceive Cornelius in this point and to unriddle this mystery to him, and to preach Christ and his prayers, alms, deeds and fastings on his behalf that were in heaven before God, and pleaded effectively for Cornelius, though he were ignorant of this glorious Truth, that Christ already come was his, and that all his prayers and alms that were had in remembrance in the sight of God were all mystically, passively and evangelically his and were come up to God for him, though he were not aware of it; {Acts 10:31, 43;} and thus are we not to conceive that it is our imperfect, weak, drowsy and spiritually drunken prayers, &c., that ascend to the throne of God; but Christ’s {and those offered in His Name alone,} are in prevailing approbation with Him to eternity, and it is confessed by all the faithful that Christ, as Surety, and the only Mediator between God and man is a spiritual and eternal Priest, and that his kingdom is spiritually universal and eternal, and all his actions are of eternal force, virtue and efficacy to the Church. This is to pray in faith, meekness, humility, temperance, sobriety, love, hope, sincerity, uprightness of heart, fervency of spirit and effectually, when we believe that Christ’s effectual prayer is offered on our behalf; yea, and that the perfection of faith that was in Christ is ours, as well as his wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, life, death, resurrection, ascension and his mediation. Is not all Christ’s thine? When God hath given him to thee, then doubtless all that perfection that dwelt in Him becomes the believers by virtue of Divine Imputation, by which the believer is sanctified in Him; so Paul is to be understood when he saith that Christ gave himself for me, Christ lives in me, and Christ in you, the hope of glory, or that amongst you; {Gal.2:20, Col.1:27;} by faith the Spirit presenting Christ in all that he did or suffered for thee, and before thy eyes, and this is to live by the Faith of the Son of God, by the Faith of God’s power, by the Faith of the Spirit of God, or the Faith of Jesus the Righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus unto all, and upon all, and in all them that believe. The wedding garment is the covering of God, the armor of God, the Righteousness of God, that the Lord God in a figure of coats of skins or fur brought to Adam, {Gen.3:21,} which being put on, {Rom.13:14,} by the Spirit of God, that can only make application of Christ to the soul, the Christian standing in the true Grace of God, {I Pet.5:12,} in Christ invincibly, {Mt.16:18, 7:25,} being built on the rock of eternity, {I Pet.2:6;} but also to understand any of this legally; {thus of our own heart, faith or magnanimity,} is the greatest dishonor to Christ that may be, yet most do so, for our own heart will fail us, and our faith droop, {being weak and feeble;} yea our magnanimity will prove mere spinelessness and gross cowardliness, and will not our fig leaf covering of man’s righteousness make us as Aaron did the nation of the Jews, {Ex.32:25,} naked, wretched and most miserable, our castles of air, strongholds, though huge mountains in our own blinded estimations, and others deluded as well, or as bad as ourselves will topple down before Christ, {Dan.2:44,45, II Cor.10:4,5,} like a tower of cards that little children are wont to make in winter nights, which by the least gale of wind, or breath of God’s wrath in a dismal day or time; or rather as the walls of Jericho by the sounding of the rams horns that fell down before the children of Israel upon their alarm, {Jos.6:20, I Sam.5:4;} just so when the true light appears; namely, Christ that Day Star {II Pet.1:19,} and Sun of Righteousness, {Mal.4:2,} to be ours, then and not before shall we see our false humility to be true pride, our sincerity - hypocrisy, our wisdom - folly, light - darkness, knowledge - ignorance, strength - weakness, and cry out that our candle is snuffed out, {Jer.25:10,} our heaven is hell, our patience is so threadbare that it may most fitly be called impatience, our righteousness is a very plague, our obedience – rebellion, and there is no health, nor help in any of these, and where Paul saith, “through Christ” he could do all things, {Phil.4:13,} tis to be understood, that Paul by faith believed that Christ had done all things for him, and thus Christ strengthens all his by his Spirit, and so all believers do the will of God, work well and are newborn, when they believe that his birth, {the “new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” Eph.4:24,} is theirs, and this is renewed every day to their faith, as they disclaim their old and first birth daily, by faith being crucified with Christ, work well, and so patience hath her perfect work, {Js.1:4, I Jn.4:17,} that they may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing, {possessing all in Him;} so the true Christian that eagle-eyes Christ in all his perfections, wants or lacks anything in Christ, for there in God’s esteem he stands a perfect man in Christ, and is daily strengthened in this faith, in and by the ways of grace, amidst all his distempers, manifold imperfections and countless defects; and so I understand that the Christian’s love is made perfect in a passive, mystical and evangelical way, and thus being ashamed of his own cold, little, and imperfect love; dares not for his life to appear in God’s presence in his own love, knowing that God hates that halt, blind, and lame love that is in man, but in the love of Christ is his delight; and so faith ventures boldly at the judgment seat; because as Christ is, so are we in Him. All things flourish in Christ’s kingdom, as there is nothing but blessed felicity & true tranquility at the right hand of God; that is, in Christ, there are pleasures for evermore; and it arises from this; namely, that Christians do frequently set before their eyes God’s justice, and seeing it fully satisfied, are bold to appeal unto God for justice, and so plead it out in the court of their own consciences, and are not afraid, {slavishly,} knowing that they stand in a state of perfection in Christ, so that they have no torment, seeing they now believe that Christ was once tormented for them, so fear and torment hath no room or place in Christianity, in the true sense aforesaid. Truly a believer neither fears the devil, sin, law, curse, death, hell, plagues, famines, wars, nor God as a wrathful Judge, but loves and fears God in spirit and truth, and so worships God in Christ, and believes that Christ’s pure and perfect worship unto his Father is reckoned to his account, and thus enabled to lie down in peace, love, and in that spiritual safety that Christ, his walls, bulwarks and tower afford him, {Ps.48:12,13, Is.32:2,3; 26:1,} singing songs of Zion, not to us, but to Christ, ascribing all glory to his name alone. {Col.3:16, Col.1:9, Ps.47:7} This is to sing in spirit and in understanding, with grace in our hearts, when we look to Christ, of whom it is most truly and properly to be understood. So Christians give thanks to God by Christ, {Heb.13:15;} namely, when we believe Christ was perfectly thankful for us, and when we are affected with it by meditation and contemplation thereof, and break out in words and deeds demonstrably in the sight and hearing of men. This properly is the believers thankfulness before God. I would gladly know of any man in the world, whether there be not a vast difference between the creature and the christian, the flesh and the spirit, the old {crucified} man and the new man in Christ Jesus. Truly so much difference there is between their faith and facts, and if this difference be not kept pure and apart, all religion will be corrupted quickly, as we see by woeful experience in Popery to this day; and what is it to be made perfect in every good work, but to look well to this text, {Heb.13:21;} “to do his will,” doing or working in you {by faith} that which is well pleasing {Christ} “in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen;” where note, that when he speaks of Christ, with what affection he speaks, “to whom be glory;” that is, let this glory be ascribed to Christ alone, &c., that none can come to God in their own doings, but through Christ, and what is that but to truly disclaim their own imperfect works, done in their own persons, and to embrace the perfect works wrought by Christ for them, he being their Surety, paying all that was owing to God the Great Creditor; but Christ having paid the debt that we owed, and now would have the fully discharged principle to make use of his Name when coming to God; namely, to believe constantly that God is just, and will not charge that on us, which Christ hath fully discharged, and so day and night we should say Amen to it, say that it is most true, and beyond all peradventure or question. Therefore consider what prayer is. Prayer is an imploring of God for help, and a direct fruit of the Spirit; the parts thereof consisting of confession, petition, intercession and thanksgiving; the properties thereof, being breathed forth faithfully, freely, fervently, feelingly, fruitfully and effectually. Its characteristics are humility, sincerity and heavenly mindedness; and its motive is that it is God’s way for obtaining good and removing evil. Its means to further it are hearing the word, reading, conference and serious consideration; and its end is always God’s glory, and the believers corroboration in the Faith. Prayer doth through God’s goodness remove evil and obtain good through Jesus Christ. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted August 5, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Divine Imputation: Question - Did Christ make us righteous in his Righteousness? Answer – Yes, doubtless and that freely, invisibly, perfectly and in due time visibly righteous. Thus before we have thought, spoke or wrought any good, without any endeavors, labors or works of our own, freely in Himself; and that perfectly righteous, not by our amended lives, as the papists falsely conceive, but by his own offering once for all the Church. Invisibly righteous above our reason, sense or feeling, that we might live by the Faith of God’s power and rely upon God’s speaking; and this Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness doth so work together to manwards by the Spirit of God, that the Christian brings forth good fruits more and more, declaratively in the sight of men, and for such ends as God hath appointed; namely, God’s glory, man’s edification and the further encouragement in the Faith. {Rom.4:5,6, 5:19, 3:24, Eph.2:1, 2:5,6, Heb.10:14, Eph.5:26,27, Col.1:22, 28,29, Rom.8:4, Col.2:10, Col.1:12,13, Tit.3:5,7, Rev.1:5,6, Is.60:21, II Cor.5:21, Jn.13:10, Lk.8:50, Tit.2:11-14, Eph.2:10, Rom.6:18, Is.61:3} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Faith and its Evidences: Question - What can sufficiently evidence my Salvation to me that I may rest satisfied in my conscience forever? Answer - There are two evidences of our Salvation, the one revealing, and the other sealing it up unto us; and these are the testimony of the Spirit and Faith. The illuminating epithets of the Eternal Spirit recorded in Scripture; as indwelling, directing, sealing, convicting, establishing, commanding, searching, witnessing, adopting, comforting and persuading. The Spirit of promise, the Spirit of revelation and demonstration, and the Spirit of Grace. The sealing evidence of our Salvation is Faith; and therein, the definition, distribution and the excellency of faith. Faith is the belief of the Gospel; and the special Object of Faith is Christ Jesus; and this faith must be considered negatively and affirmatively thus; not Christ abstractedly, nakedly and unfurnished, as reason, that monster in religion conceives him to be; namely, a hard man, a rigid Christ, gathering where he doth not straw; much less as antichrist and the arch-priests envisage him, left by the Roman soldiers as a most deformed and deplorable object of pity, full of gore blood, bleeding and dying upon the cross, bearing the sins of all the elect, unto the view of carnal reason, without form or beauty, and not to be desired, his visage being marred more than any mans. {Is.52:14, 53:2} Nor according to the slander that the high priests cast upon him, enough to cause a man to hide his face from him, reject him, and account him justly smitten of God, &c., {Is.53:4,9,} and to think him the poorest victim that ever lived upon the earth. But affirmatively, Christ adorned with all his benefits, merits and perfections; that blessing that maketh rich and adds no sorrow therewith, but brings with him all blessings in heavenly places. First; pardons, multiplicity of pardons; {Is.55:7, Zech.3:9, Lk.24:47, Ps.103.3, Mic.7:18;} secondly; privileges spiritual, universal and eternal; {Col.1:12, Prov.16:7, Rev.1:6;} thirdly; a righteousness, able to stand before God’s pure eyes and severest judgment; {Is.33:14, Dan.9:24;} fourthly; marriage, union and communion with Christ. {Hos.2:19, Is.54:5, 62:3-5, I Cor.6:17, Jn.17:22, I Jn.1:3} Now faith must be passively understood; that is, the faith of Jesus Christ, Christ’s perfections, his impeccable life and meritorious death, the value of which is imputed unto us for our Justification. {Rom.3:22} Not active as it resides in us, weak, impure and imperfect. Also; the excellency of faith, and therein we must consider the Author of Faith; that is, God. {Jn.12:37-40, Heb.12:2} The effects of faith, being love, joy and peace &c. {Ps.5:11, I Pet.1:8} The like precious nature of faith; {II Pet.1:1;} the rarity of faith, as few truly possess it; {Lk.18:8, II Thes.3:2;} the warrant of faith, ‘tis called for; {Is.55:1, II Cor.5:19;} the absolute necessity of faith, for without it, all is vile and naught; {Pv.28:9, Jn.3:18-19, Heb.11:6;} the perpetuity, eternity and everlastingness of faith. {Lk.22:32, I Jn.2:19} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Holy Scriptures: Question - How know you the Sacred Scriptures to be the Word of God; and what grounds have you for so to believe? Answer - By the testimony of the Scripture and that is sufficient of itself. {II Cor.1:21,22} By the testimony of the Spirit of God. {I Cor.2:14-16, I Jn.2:20,27} By the testimony of the Church in all ages. {II Pet.1:19, Ps.19:7-9} By the antiquity of the Holy Scriptures. {Heb.13:8, Ps.119:160} By the miracles wrought for confirmation of them. {I Kg.17:24} By the constancy of the saints in suffering in the defense of them. {Rev.12:11, 20:4, Heb.11:35-38, Acts 20:24} By the style being so majestical, high and yet plain. {I Cor.1:23,24, 2:14} By the admirable, heavenly and pure doctrine contained therein. {Ps.119:129,172, Deut.4:5,6} By the sweet consent both of Prophets and Apostles. {Jn.1:45, 5:39, 46, Deut.18:18-19, Acts 26:22, Rom.1:2} By the efficacy of the doctrine on the souls of multitudes of men and women of all nations, without a sword of steel or compulsion. {Ps.19:7,8, 119:50, 93, Acts 20:21, Phil.2:12,13, Rom.15:19, II Cor.3:6, 10:4,5, Col.1:6} By the nature of the word that is so contrary to the will and wisdom of men. {I Cor.2:14, Rom.8:6, Eph.6:12} By the pen-men, though despicable, yet subdued all the world. {Rom.15:19, Mt.4:18-20, Lk.6:13, II Cor.4:7, I Cor.2:4, II Pet.1:16} By the continuation of them, though millions of tyrants have sought their expiration. {Mt.24:35, Is.40:8, I Pet.1:25} By the fearful judgments on the enemies of them. {Is.30:12,13, II Chron.12:7} The Scriptures are the word of God because they speak of things above corrupt reason, God’s eternity, and the resurrection from the dead, &c., because they tend to God their center, &c., because the prophecies are accomplished, &c., because their drift is to destroy that which is most beloved by men, &c., because they require that which is contrary to man’s nature, and that is above their power to perform, &c., because the more any conforms thereto, the more the world calumniates, slanders and persecutes them for it, &c., because they condemn man’s wisdom, righteousness and excellencies, &c., because they are such a mystery, that neither the folly nor the wisdom of men can effect such a work; neither can the greatest head pieces in the world by all their parts find out the meaning of them without the Spirit, or agree on any one meaning of them. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted August 11, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

The two great Prophets of God’s Revealed Council, Moses {the Servant} and Christ Jesus {the Lord} as they have both declared unto us a Creation, a Creator, the Shipwreck of Mankind, the Restoration, the Restorer, so have they both revealed unto us a visible Company of holy Worshippers of this one most glorious Creator and Redeemer, and that as for his own most glorious praise, so in opposition to all false gods, who also are attended with their visible worships and worshippers. In order to God’s visible worship the Lord Jesus hath broken down the Wall of Division between the Jews and the rest of the Nations of the World, and sent forth his Ministers unto all Nations, to bring in {by the Gospel Proclamation} Proselytes, Converts, Disciples, and all such as should Eternally be saved, to begin that heavenly and eternal Communion in Heaven, here in an holy and visible Worship on the Earth. This going forth of the true Ministers of Christ Jesus is represented under the Figure of the white troopers in the opening of the first Seal where the Lord Jesus in his first Messengers rode forth upon the White horse, or Horses of the word of truth and meekness,{Psal.45:3,4,} conquering and to conquer the souls of Men. {Rev.6:2} From the 6th chapter of the Book of Revelation to the 19th, we hear no more of those white-horsemen, that is {as I conceive} of the Apostles or Messengers of Jesus Christ, {the whole stream of the intervening Prophecies, from the 6th to the 19th insinuating a total Routing of the Church and Ministry of Christ Jesus, put to flight, and retired into the Wilderness of Desolation. During this dreadful Apostasy and Desolation, the Lord hath not left the World without witnesses, but hath graciously and wonderfully stirred up his holy Prophets and Witnesses, such as {Huss, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin…} who have as Witnesses prophesied and mourned in sack-cloth 1260 days or years {prophetically.} - This Testimony is probably near finished and the Saints by their late and yet following wars {I say probably} must enrage the Antichristian world, so far as to provoke the Nations, to their great and general slaughter, called the slaughter of the Witnesses. {Revelation Chapter 11} - No man ever did nor ever shall truly go forth to Convert the Nations, nor to Prophecy in the present state of Witness against Antichrist, but by the gracious Inspiration and Instigation of the Holy Spirit of God; according to I Corinthians, chapter 12, where the Holy Spirit discoursing of those three {gifts, administrations, and operations,} tells us that “no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit;” and, Revelation, chapter 11, which states that the Lord himself “will give power” to his two Witnesses, &c. I know no other True Sender, but the most Holy Spirit; and when he sends, his Messengers will go, his Prophets will Prophecy, though the entire World should forbid them. From the former Conclusions we may first see upon what a false ‘sent’ or ‘word’ our fathers and ourselves have run as to the true Ministry appointed by Christ Jesus. How many thousands of Pretenders have been and are {Protestants and Papists} gone forth to that Grand Commission, {Matt.28,} “Go into all Nations, Teach and Baptize, &c?” In the poor small span of my life, I desired to have been a diligent and constant Observer, and have been myself many ways engaged, in City, in Country, in Court, in Schools, in Universities, in Churches, in Old and New-England, and yet cannot in the holy presence of God bring in the result of a satisfying discovery, that either the Begetting Ministry of the Apostles or Messengers to the Nations, or the Feeding and Nourishing Ministry of Pastors and Teachers, according to the first Institution of the Lord Jesus Christ are yet restored and extant. It may then be said, what is that Ministry that hath been extant since Luther and Calvin’s time, especially what is that Ministry that hath been Instrumental in the hand of the Lord, to the conversion of thousands? I answer, that the Ministry of Prophets or Witnesses, standing with Christ Jesus, against his great enemy and rival Antichrist. The whole Books of Martyrs {or Witnesses} is nothing else but a large Commentary or History of the Ministry of Witnesses, during all the Reign of the Beast to this day. Examine their Witnesses in two Particulars. 1. Negatively, wherein they witnessed against the False, against the Usurpations and Abominations of Antichrist; and therein they were the Infallible Witnesses, and Prophets of Christ Jesus, preaching and oft times suffering to the Death for his Names sake. Next, view them in their Positive Practice and Worships, as they have assumed and pretended to such and such Ministries, and Titles, and Churches, and Ministrations, and there is not one of them, no not Calvin himself {the greatest Pretender to Church-Order} but the Father of Lights, in our times of Light, hath been graciously pleased to discover their great mistakes, and wanderings from the first Pattern and Institutions of Christ Jesus. - Wherein hath the former and latter Ministry been defective? I answer; in their callings and wages. Some plead their Succession from the Apostles or Messengers, yet are they forced to run into the Tents of Antichrist, and to plead Succession from Rome, and neither such nor others which plead their Calling from the People, can prove to my conscience, from the testimony of Christ Jesus, that either, Christ’s succession did run in an Antichristian line, or that two or three godly persons might first make themselves a church, and then make their Ministers, without a preceding Ministry from Christ Jesus unto them, to gather, and to guide them in such their Administrations. - In their Wages, whether by tithes or otherwise, they have always run in the way of an Hire, and rendered such Workmen absolute Hirelings between whom and the true Shepherd {John, chapter 10,} the Lord Jesus puts so express and sharp a Difference; so that in all humble submission, I am bold to maintain, that it is one of the grand Designs of the Most High, to break down the Hireling Ministry, that trade, faculty, calling and living, by Preaching, and that if all the Princes, States, Parliaments and Armies in the world should join their Heads and Hearts and Arms and Shoulders to support it, yet being a part of Babel and Confusion, it shall sink as a Mil-stone from the Angels hand into the deeps forever. - Objection: But is not the Laborer worthy of his Reward? I answer, there is no Reward {by infinite degrees} comparable to an hundred fold {though with persecution} in this Life, and in the world to come eternal life, to all that deny themselves in this Life, and do, and teach, and suffer for the name of the Son of God. More strictly and particularly I answer; he that makes a Trade of Preaching, that makes the cure of Souls, and the charge of men’s eternal welfare, a trade, a maintenance, and living, and that explicitly a covenant or bargain, I am humbly confident to maintain, that the Son of God never sent such a one to be a Laborer in his Vineyard. Such motions spring not from the living and voluntary spring of the Holy Spirit of God, but from the artificial and worldly respects of Money, Maintenance, &c. - As to the Laborer worthy of his Reward, I answer, that we find no other pattern in the Testament of Christ Jesus, but that both the Converting {or Apostolical Ministry,} and the Feeding {or Pastoral Ministry,} did freely serve or minister, and yet were freely supported by the Saints and Churches, and that not in stinted Wages, Tithes, Stipends, Salaries, &c., but with larger or lesser supplies, as the Hand of the Lord was more or less extended in his weekly blessings on them. When either through poverty or neglect, support and maintenance failed, yet still they eyed {as Sea men and Soldiers say} the Good of the Voyage and the Battle {the common Cause of the Lord Jesus} and their own hands day and night, supplied their own and others necessities. And this was and will be the only way of the Laborers of the Son of God. Objection: The Priests and Levites under the Law had settled and constant Maintenance. I answer; blessed be the Father of Lights who hath shown his people of late times, the great difference between the stated and settled National Church, the Ministry, and maintenance thereof, and the ordinary, afflicted, tested & tried state of the Church, and Churches of Christ Jesus all the world over. Objection: Although it be granted that the Hireling Ministry, both explicit and implicit, is none of Christ’s, yet this is wonderful, what should be the reason why so much good hath been wrought thereby, as the conversion of thousands? I answer; all the wisdom, mercy, goodness, and piety that is in us, is but a drop to the Ocean of that which is in the Father of mercies, who with infinite pity and patience passeth by the ignorance and weaknesses of his Children. Hence Luther and other Monks, Cranmer and other Bishops, Calvin and other Presbyterians, God hath graciously covered their failings, and accepted {in Christ} his own Grace of sincere Desires, good Affections and Endeavors, though many ways defiled with sin. - There is but one God, Lord and Spirit, from whom those Gifts, Administrations and Operations proceed, {I Cor.12,} without whose holy and heavenly concurrence in all those three, both Gifts and Administrations and Operations, instead of Glorifying the name of Christ, and delivering Souls, do but Blaspheme his Name, and grieve his Spirit, and hinder and harden poor souls against Repentance. - Where, {and if,} God hath been pleased to bring nigh one soul to Himself by the Hireling Ministry, many more have been brought near by the voluntary and more single preachings of some, whether public or private; by the endeavor of private Christians, by the reading of the holy Scriptures, by godly examples, by afflictions, &c. Hence woeful experience hath made it evident, that many excellent men {in their own persons,} have labored a score of years and more, in an Hireling way, without the birth of one child to God; while others singly out of Love to Christ Jesus, have despised Bargains and Hire, and been more abundantly blest with merciful success and fruitfulness. Hence sure it is that there have been and are many excellent Prophets and Witnesses of Christ Jesus, who never entered {as they say} into the Ministry, to wit, Lawyers, Physicians, Soldiers, Tradesmen, and others of higher and lower rank, who by God’s Holy Spirit {breathing on their meditations of the Holy Scriptures, and other private helps} have attained and much improved, an excellent spirit of knowledge, and utterance in the holy things of Jesus Christ, which spirit they ought to cherish, and further to improve, to the praise of Christ. Amongst so many Instances {dead and living} to the everlasting praise of Christ Jesus, and of his Holy Spirit, breathing and blessing where he listeth, I cannot but with honorable Testimony remember that Eminent Christian, Witness, & Prophet of Christ, even that despised and yet beloved Samuel How, {Samuel How, author of “The sufficiency of the Spirit’s teaching without human learning; a treatise tending to prove human learning to be no help to the spiritual understanding of the word of God.” 1639,} who being by calling a Cobbler, and without human Learning, {which yet in its sphere and place he honored,} who yet I say, by searching the holy Scriptures, grew so excellent a Textuary or Scripture learned man, that few of those high Rabbis that scorn to mend or make a shoe, could aptly and readily from the Holy Scripture outgo him. And however {through the oppressions upon some men’s Consciences, even in Life and Death, and after death in respect of burying, as yet unthought and unremedied,} I say, however he was forced to seek a grave or bed in the very Highway, yet was his life, death and burial, being attended with many hundreds of God’s people, honorable, and how much more his Rising again, glorious. - The Church and people of God since the Apostasy, is an Army routed, and can hardly preserve and secure itself, much less subdue and conquer others, like a vessel becalmed at Sea, which though it make some way by rowing and towing, yet not comparable to what it doth when the mighty gales of God’s Holy Spirit breathe {as in former days,} in the ways of his own most holy Appointments. We may see a grave mistake as touching that great point of Conversion: There is a great breathing in the souls of God’s people after the Conversion of the English, Irish, Jews, Indians, and blessed be God for those breathings; yet doubtless, the first great work is the bringing of the Saints out of Babel, or confused worships, and the downfall of the Papacy, after the witnesses slaughtered. Hence it is probably conceived by some, {upon the testimony of Revelation, chapter 15,} that until the Vials be powered forth upon Antichrist, the smoke so filleth the Temple, that no man, that is {few of the Jews or Gentiles} shall by conversion enter in. Some will say, have there not been great and mighty conversions of whole Nations; England, Scotland, French, Dutch, &c. from Popery to be good Protestants? I answer; if the Holy Scripture, the first pattern, and doleful experience may be judge as to the point of true Conversion, and Regeneration by God’s Spirit, who can deny but that the body of this and of all other Protestant Nations {as well as Popish} are unconverted, and {as formerly} ready to be converted and turned forward and backward, as the Weather-cock, according as the powerful wind of a prevailing {antichrist spirit,} Sword and Authority, shall blow from the various points and quarters of it. - We may hence see our great mistakes, both of our selves & our Fore-fathers, as to the pretended Seed-plots and Seminaries for the Ministry, the Universities of Europe, and the Universities of this Nation, for although I heartily acknowledge that among all the outward gifts of God, human learning and the knowledge of Languages and good Arts are excellent and excel other outward gifts, as far as light excels darkness, and therefore that Schools of human learning, ought to be maintained, in a due way and cherished; yet notwithstanding, in ministerial ordinations, as to the ministry of Christ Jesus, {any one of those ministries, Eph.4. & I Cor.12,} upon a due survey of their Institutions and continual practices compared with the last will and testament of Christ Jesus, they will be found to be none of Christ’s, and that in many respects. First; as to the name Scholar, although as to human learning, many ways lawful, yet as it is appropriated to such as practice the Ministry, and have been at the Universities; {as they say;} it is a sacrilegious and thievish title, robbing all believers and saints, who are frequently in the Testament of Christ, styled Disciples or Scholars of Christ Jesus, and only they as Believers, and this title is so much theirs, that both men and women believing were called Disciples & Scholars. Secondly; as to their Monkish and idle course of life, partly so gentile and stately, partly so vain and superstitious, that to wet a finger in any pains or labor is a disgraceful and an unworthy act; but consider that the Church is built upon the Foundation of the Apostles & Prophets, who were Laborers, Fishermen, Tent-makers, &c., and I cannot but conceive, that although it should not please the most holy and jealous God to stir up this renowned State, and their renowned Cromwell {the 2nd} to deal with our refined Monasteries, as that blessed Cromwell the first, {Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, 1485-1540. In 1538 Cromwell spearheaded an extensive campaign against Popish Idolatry & Superstition. In 1539 he was instrumental in the publication of the ‘Great Bible,’ the first authoritative version in English. Soon thereafter he was condemned to death, for treason and heresy, without trial, and beheaded on Tower Hill on 28 July 1540; after the execution, his head was set on a spike on London Bridge,} did with the more gross and palpably superstitious in the days of Henry the Eighth; yet in his time the Lord Jesus whose is all power in Heaven and Earth will spew out these Seminaries of Hirelings, and mystical Merchants out of his mouth, as he hath done their Fathers the superstitious and bloody Bishops before them. Thirdly; as to their Popish and vaunting titles, so strange from the New Testament and language of Christ Jesus, or any word of title that came forth of his blessed mouth, Bachelors of Divinity, Doctor of Divinity, so clearly and expressly opposite to the command of the Lord Jesus; “call no man Father, Doctor, &c.,” that is, by way of eminency in spiritual and heavenly regards, Rabbi, Rabbi, Doctor, Doctor, &c. I omit {because possibly for shame left off in these days} their childish ceremonies {used even by the most ‘holy’ and conscientious} in their superstitious inaugurations, &c., their holy gowns, holy vestments, holy caps, holy scarfs, holy rings; yea, and holy boots also, &c., all as far from the purity and simplicity of the Son of God, as far as the honest attire of some sober and chaste matron, from the wanton and flaunting vanities of some painted Harlot. Fourthly; as to their {pretended} spiritual and holy exercises proper only to the Churches and Assemblies of the Saints, the only Schools of the Prophets appointed by Christ Jesus. How have they been by Courts imposed upon every natural and unspiritual man, who {in Truth} perceives not the things that be of God; how have they been prostituted to every profane and unclean lip; unto whom saith God, “What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?” {Ps.50:16} Fifthly; as to their being prepared and fitted by these means, as in a way of apprenticeship, to set up the Trade and way of Preaching, the science or faculty of Spiritual merchandizing, {Revelation, chapter 18 in a deep Mystery,} of all sorts of spices and precious things, the precious sweet Truths and Promises of Holy Scripture; yea, {which we may with holy trembling add,} a trade of selling God himself, Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Heaven and Hell, and {all too often} their own Souls, and the Souls of thousands. - Objection: But have there not come excellent men from thence, famous for learning, holiness, labors, success in the souls of thousands? Answer; I say, that there have been excellent men; famous Prophets and Witnesses of Christ Jesus; yea, they have sealed the holy Truths of God, which they have learned from the Holy Scriptures, and which they have declared to others, I say they have sealed them with their heart blood, but that is no justification of their evil standings, institutions, administrations, &c., which {as by degrees it hath pleased the Father of Lights to discover unto them} they have come out of such bondage with shame and sorrow, and labored after the purity and simplicity of the Son of God. Question: But since extraordinary gifts be ceased, how shall now the people of this Nation be supplied with Ministers, but from such Seminaries of Learning, which fit men both with Learning to know and Eloquence to utter the heavenly Mysteries; or would you have the people be of no Religion at all, mere Atheists, without God, without his Word, without a Ministry? I answer; it is true, that those glorious first ministerial gifts are ceased, and that is, or should be the lamentation of all Saints; namely, the desolation and widow-hood of Zion; yet I humbly conceive that without those gifts, it is no ground of imitation, and of going forth to teach and baptize the Nations, for the Apostles themselves did not attempt that mighty enterprise, but waited at Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit descended on them, and enabled them for that mighty work; least of all is that a ground of counterfeiting, and of suborning a liveliness picture of that first Ministry {like Jeroboams Institutions, I Kings 13:33 &c.,} when everyone that hath friends may be preferred to Fellowships in Colleges, to the superstitious Degrees and Titles of Divinity, {as they call it,} and by these stairs ascend up the Gospel preferments of rich and honorable benefices. Secondly; far be it from me to derogate from that honorable civility of training up of youth in Languages, and other human Learning, whether in the City of London, or other Towns and Cities, &c.; all that I bear witness against, is the counterfeiting and sacrilegious arrogating of the titles and rights of God’s Saints and Churches {as before} which are the only Schools of the Prophets; as also against their sacrilegious and superstitious Degrees {as they call them} in the profession of Divinity, as if they only knew Divinity, Godliness, Holiness, and by such skill in godliness, and by such Degrees might succeed the ancient Scribes and Pharisees in the uppermost seats in Synagogues and Feasts, in Reverend titles and salutations, as the only Masters and Teachers of religion and godliness, and all this in the way of the Hireling. Thirdly; in all humble reverence and due submission to the Higher Powers, I affirm, there was never merely Civil State in the World {for that of the Jews was mixed and Ceremonial} that ever did or ever shall make good work of it, with a civil sword in spiritual matters, and therefore have but built and pluckt down, planted and pluckt up, Churches, Ministries, Disciplines, &c. - It is true, I do absolutely deny it {against all comers} to be the Burden of the Civil State to take cognizance of any Spiritual cause; and I do positively assert it, to be the proper and alone work of the holy Son and Spirit of God in the hands of his Saints and Prophets, to manage Heavenly and Spiritual causes, and that only with Spiritual Weapons against Spiritual Oppositions. And therefore that the Higher Powers have been constantly deceived by the Mercenary and Hireling Ministry; who being themselves deceived, deceive; and flop about {as the Wind, and Time, and Advantage blows} from Popery to Protestantism; from Protestantism to Popery; from Popery to Protestantism again! From Prelacy to Presbytery; from Presbytery to Independency; and perhaps again to Presbytery and Prelacy, if not to Popery {in some cases} rather than lose {as they say} the Liberty of Preaching. But what that loss is of somewhat else {gain, honor, &c.,} let themselves, and all men, judge impartially in the fear of God. - I furthermore acknowledge with thankfulness, that many heavenly spirits, in King Edwards, and Queen Elizabeth’s days, and since that, have been forming and reforming the states and nations, Religion, Worship, Ministry, &c. Doubtless Intentions were holy, {as David’s,} labors great, and God’s mercy, pity and patience infinite; yet experience long and ever hath told us that there was never a Nation yet born in a day to God; that the bodies of all Nations is a part of the world, and although the Holy Spirit of God, in every Nation where the Word comes, washes white some of a darkened complexion, and changeth some Leopards spots, yet the bodies and bulks of Nations cannot by all the Acts and Statutes under heaven, put off the Ethiopian skin, or the Leopard spots, &c. {Jer.13:23} O why then should the wisdom of so many Ages, still each after other, be preached {by the prevailing Hirelings of each time, again and again} into the self-same delusion of changing the Ethiopian’s skin or removing the leopard’s spots? - Objection - Grant the bodies of the Nations to be but natural, but civil, and therefore cannot without the changings of God’s Spirit be possibly fit as spiritual flocks of sheep, for spiritual pastors or shepherds to feed and build them up with the spiritual Ordinance of Christ Jesus? Yet, need they not a converting or begetting ministry of Christ Jesus, to preach Repentance to them, to spiritualize and change them? And if so, where shall ten thousand Ministers be had to go to {about} that number of Parishes in England, without the constant supplies of the seed-plots of Seminaries, the Universities of the Nation? I answer; first, there are great Disputes among God’s people whether Apostles or Messengers sent out to teach and baptize, that is, to Convert the Nations, be yet an Ordinance of Christ Jesus continued, or being extraordinary ceased? There is a great dispute whether the Ministry of the twelve {Matt.10,} or of the 70, {Lk.10,} be continued since they both had an immediate call from Christ. And secondly; such excellent gifts, abilities, and furniture from Christ, which now we find none are furnished with, as healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out Devils, &c. Further, whether all these gifts and administrations, {Eph.4, & I Cor.12,} are to be expected? For myself; I am certain that the Ministry or Service of Prophets, and Witnesses, mourning and prophesying in Sack-cloth, God hath immediately stirred up and continued all along the reign of the Beast and Antichrist of Rome. This Witness is {probably} near finished, and the bloody storm of the slaughter of the Witnesses is yet to be expected and prepared for; but this, and the time, and many passages of Revelation chapter eleven are Controversial, and something like that of Christ’s expected personal presence, the state of the New Jerusalem, the New Heavens and Earth, &c. However this is clear, that all that are endued with spiritual or temporal Talents, must lay them out for their Lord and Master, for his Glory and Advantage alone. That, all {of what rank soever} that have knowledge and utterance of heavenly Mysteries, and therein are the Lord’s Prophets & Witnesses against Antichrist, must Prophecy against false Christ’s, false Faith, false Love, false Joy, false Worship, and Ministrations, false Hope, and false Heaven, which poor souls in a golden dream expect and look for. This Prophecy ought to be {chiefly} exercised among the Saints in the companies, meetings, and assemblies of the fellow-mourners, and witnesses against the falsehoods of Antichrist; for the first grand Design of Christ Jesus is to destroy and consume his Mortal enemy Antichrist, and this must be done by the breath of his Mouth in his Prophets and Witnesses. - Overall, the Lord Jesus Christ hath not forgotten to be infinitely Faithfull, and infinitely Wise and Tender to the Souls of his Chosen, but hath in all Ages, and in all Conditions and Changes of his Spouse, stirred up by his Holy Spirit, and sent such Voluntary Laborers into his Vineyard, and so will, as have been, and shall be abundantly sufficient for this Nation and all Nations, as may best suit the Holy ends and Periods of his Time and Kingdom. Roger Williams, 1652. Selected & Extracted from his work entitled, “The Hirelings Ministry None of Christ’s” printed in 1652.

Posted August 12, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Christian Liberty: True Christian liberty is a blessed immunity from the authority, dominion, offices and effects of the Law. The ends of Christian liberty are to settle consciences in the Truth of Christ; to prevent superstition and to direct Christians in their holy walk; and that they might stand for Christ and the Gospel with magnanimity, cheerfulness and charity, against all sorts of Pharisees whatsoever. One consequence of true Christian liberty is that believers know Christ to be their Head, by creation, donation, purchase, conquest, covenant, communion and union with Him; and his Headship, consanguinity, sympathizing, disposition, power, mercy, fidelity and eternity is the ground of their consolation. Christians do indeed know the care, love and bounty of Christ towards them; and Christ doth as a kind Husband and Head work powerfully by his Spirit in the Revelation of the everlasting Gospel to the conversion, justification, preservation, consolation and the bestowing of temporal and spiritual blessings on the Church. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Reign of Gospel Faith in Christ: When men are effectually called by the Gospel of God’s Grace how do they behave themselves? What would God have them do? Must they live diligently or lazily? Answer: They live a life of faith and conflict; which conflict is great, for the Law and the Gospel passeth over the heart of the true Christian daily, and through the believer’s weakness, there is too often more grief and unrest in their hearts than there was struggling in Rebecca’s womb; for in this warfare are conflicting sounds and several voices, distinct operations, and each sentence is so contrary. Live saith the Gospel, die saith the Law; peace by the Gospel, war by the Law; and when the believer hearkens to the Law and the spirit of infidelity, they are taken prisoners, and the sentence of death and perpetual woes are heard of them, and bitter lamentation; but when Christ, Faith and the Gospel speak, that distinctive voice both resuscitates their hearts, recalls their almost lost spirits, erects another frame in their hearts, and so enlarges their spirits that they sing the songs of Zion; praise, honor, glory, victory and Salvation to Christ their King, that hath so freely, perfectly and permanently redeemed, justified and eternally saved them from wrath present and wrath to come. {I Thes.1:10} - For the Lord hath already made up the churches happiness, in a full, perfect and plenary Satisfaction of Justice in our Redemption by Christ so that nothing can be added to it by us, and God sees the Church perfected forever and she shall in the fullness thereof enjoy it in heaven at last. – Yet, in this present state of warfare, the Truth is that God’s mind and pleasure is that after their effectual calling the true believer should fix his eyes on Christ, abide in Him and his Righteousness alone, rejoice continually in so full, complete and blessed a condition as God hath freely advanced him unto in Christ, and so let the confession of the tongue, both arise from, and agree with his faith and the confidence of the heart, and not return to bondage again, for it is the nature of faith to look directly to Christ, and to exclusively view that adequate Object, being the expectation and engagement of his whole heart. {Rom.10:10, II Cor.4:13, Gal.5:1, Rom.8:15, Hag.2:7, Heb.11:11} It is against the nature of Faith to conceive or entertain any thoughts of God in relation to herself which do not in every way correspond with the word of Faith, {the Covenant of free Grace in Christ,} for it is the office of special faith to captivate and confine every imagination and conception or thought of God as he is alone, from revealing and communicating Himself, and his mind in the Son of his love who for that end is called the “image of the invisible God,” because God will be known to faith no otherwise than in him; so faith admits of no other Object but Christ, and sees by that never failing eye, {the Spirit and the Word,} herself in a blessed condition; righteous, glorious, washed and adorned with clothing of God’s own providing, giving and putting on. {Eph.5:26,27, Rev.1:5, Cant.4:7, I Cor.6:11, Ez.16:8-16, Ps.45:13,14, Is.61:10, Rev.19:7,8, Rev.3:18} Faith believes the abolishing of sin, that there is no defect in Christianity, but only in our own infidelity; Christ having perfected the saints forever in Himself, purged them; yea, made the Christian holy, happy and unreprovable in God’s sight, by the bright beams of his Son’s Righteousness; who continually expels and consumes the sins that daily do arise out of our earthly members, as darkness is by the beams of the sun, so that though the Christian sees not an holy saint upon earth, yet he believes there truly are such, and contrary to sense believes himself to be one through Christ’s sanctity, and hath more power against sin by eyeing Christ by faith, than ever he could by all the arguments of the Law. {Zech.3:9, Jer.31:34, Jer.50:20, Mic.7:18,19, Mt.1:21, Num.23:21, II Sam.12:13, II Cor.5:14,15, Rom.6:15, Mal.4:2} You shall perceive that the Christian that doth possess and enjoy Christ; that is, grace reigning “through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord,” and in agreement therewith thus living, walking {in Gospel order} and delighting in Christ and in conformity to the Lord’s precepts is in all readiness to study every good work, but is likewise careful of misplacing works, as the candle he hath in his hand when he walks in an attic thatched with straw that it fire not the house, he keeps it down; and though he enjoys fire in his chimney, yet he is careful to keep it from his gunpowder, &c., for he knows it would quickly mar all, if it should once come there; and just so the believer keeps works low amongst men, and dares not present them before God’s pure eyes, as true faith brings nothing to God in the office and work of Justification and Redemption, being brought along in a way of self-destruction, as poor, lost and miserable sinners, finding themselves empty of all goodness, naked, wretched and deplorable in themselves, nothing else but a lump of vanity, a kind of sin and a composition of all kinds of wickedness, taken captive by Satan, spoiled and wounded by the Law, receiving Christ the only way and means of recovery; by faith coming into God’s presence, minding and apprehending alone the mere, rich and free bountifulness of God in Christ, in saving, healing, clothing, delivering, cleansing and freeing him from sin, death, hell, curse and all evil, and giving him all good, righteousness, peace and joy in Christ Jesus; thus faith sets up a lively and joyful light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ and only raises thoughts of God correspondent with that declaration of his loving and Fatherly goodwill towards us in his Son, in whom alone God is well pleased; and in this Gospel God requireth nothing of man to Salvation, but hath wrought that already in his Son according to his free promise made to the fathers of old; {“in the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory,” Isa 45:25, &c.,} by faith in Christ is bred in Christians assured confidence, lively hope, pure love towards God, invocation of his name, without all wandering, doubting and questioning his goodwill, audience and acceptance, which swalloweth up all former slavish fears and causes new thoughts, motions and ways towards God, different from his former legal and false apprehensions of Him; he being now dead to all opinions and conceits of God according to his own worth, by works, performances, and his own obedience, though assisted by the Spirit of God in the doing of them; but now he is raised to a gospel life in Christ, and is in another Kingdom which is of sheer Grace, Salvation and Righteousness; and this apprehension of Christ and his Righteousness is so effectual that he is carried on the wings of love and delight, indeed on the four gales of righteousness, holiness, sanctification and redemption, that he now thinks all things worthy of Christ, doth all and suffers all in love and thankfulness to God; and if you will have a mark of a saint he may well be defined as in the Faith, as one that doth rightly understand, purely embrace, and solely rest confidently in the doctrine of Free Grace alone for Justification and Salvation, without any addition of works to that end, and that Faith is sufficient of itself, {though it never be alone,} to stay, succor and make confident the spirit and settle the heart, and quiet the conscience in the midst of all the failings, infirmities and menstruous obedience of our own works, though they be of the best sort and biggest size. Now believing is called obedience to the Gospel, or to the Faith, and accompanying Salvation in all its appearances, perceiving our safety in Christ, and being made truly obedient to all God’s commandments, believing Christ obeyed all; and unbelief is termed the not obeying the Gospel, and therefore the breach of all Commandments. {I Jn.4:18, Lk.1:74.75, Rom.8:15, Heb.12:28, Phil.3:7,8, II Pet.1:3, Rom.5:1,2,21, I Jn.5:11-13, Acts 6:7, I Jn.3:23, II Thes.1:8} The Scriptures propound God in Christ, and his righteousness to be known by believers in Christ; God is to be apprehended as their God and Father in Christ, God is reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their sins to them, but to Christ; and were not God’s fullness in Christ, how should the creature come to the Creator, but in Christ, as sons of God, spouses of Christ, heirs of all things, conquerors of sin, death and hell, advanced with Christ in heavenly places, washed from sin and made perfectly just, holy and righteous, mystically, passively and evangelically, and are neither male nor female, but one in and with Christ, and in this respect out of the power, kingdom and limits of the Law; yea lords over law, heaven and earth are theirs. These treasures only faith discerns, attains and possesses, and from this proceeds all the joy, peace, consolation, security, contentment, delight, felicity, tranquility, happiness and blessedness of the believer’s life; tis through Christ these streams make glad the city of God. {Jn.4:24, II Cor.4:6, 5:18, Mt.11:27, Col.2:8, Jn.20:17, II Cor.1:3, Gal.3:28, Rom.8:17, Heb.1:2, Tit.3:7, Gal.4:7, Jn.14:6, 15:5, Rom.8:37, Eph.1:3, Heb.10:14, Col.2:9,10, I Cor.6:17, Ps.87:7, Is.12:3} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted August 13, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: The Lord Jesus Christ our Deliverer hath freed all true Christians from the Law rightly understood; and this Law hath no more power over a true believer than a dead husband hath over a living wife; that is freed from the laws of Moses by Christ Jesus their new and spiritual Husband. The Law is the head over the soul, commanding and forbidding, backing truth, and detecting error; it calls for all good and forbids all evil; yea, the Law rules like a man of knowledge in its cruelty in the soul until the Lord Jesus Christ come by his Spirit, and sets the captive free. The Law exacts absolute obedience and perfect righteousness, void of the least aberration; it respects no man’s person, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, and it is without dispensation, mitigation or commutation, for it never discovers or knows of a Savior, but rules rigorously and tyrannically. “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” {Gal.3:10} The Law is like a jealous and cruel husband, who’s eye is never absent from the poor wife, but spies the least failing in love or duty and cries out guilty, guilty in the court of conscience; blood and vengeance against a poor sinner. The Law damns presently, constantly and upon the first breach thereof by those that are under it, as all Christ-less men are. The Law is armed with a curse to scorch the disobedience thereof by taking vengeance on them that fail in the least particular and fetches blood in the soul, even in men’s secret thoughts. “Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” {Rom.2:15} Thus, by declaring wrath from heaven against all unrighteousness, though it be in the most holiest things, yea the sin of our burnt offerings, as the Law takes hold of us and shuts us up forever in its prison, by restraining natural conscience, that hellish fire within us, that else would break out into outrageous flames to the annoying of all round about us. Oh what a hell of confusion would there be, seeing the whole world lies in wickedness, if the Law did not bridle men and keep them from iniquity, violence and outrageousness, they being spiritually mad men, would break out into unheard of vileness. {I Jn.5:19} The Law doth not only discover the toad-like complexion of sin, but tyrannizes over all, and condemns them for it, declaring that they are under God’s wrath for it and threatens wrath and vengeance against all sin and sinners, it respecting no man’s person. “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.” {Jn.3:36} They that are true believers and they only to their own comfortable knowledge are freed from the Law by the body of Christ. {Rom.7:6, Gal.2:19, Rom.6:1-4} Then it is not the performance of some external duties that will prove that a man love the Law; does a traitor by wearing irons and being shut up in prison declare thereby that he loves his jailer? Doubtless no! Then they that walk in fear and trembling because they can find nothing in themselves to settle and ground their consciences upon, but their own works, and therefore are full of doubts and fears, and as certainly under the dominion, power, jurisdiction and authority of the Law, as the notorious murderers or blasphemers in the world are. {I Tim.1:9,10} The wrath of God rests only on them that are under the Law, and the Law will rule in their conscience until Christ comes in by his Spirit unto them. Then they {whoever they be} abuse the Law {in the preaching thereof or rather prating thereof, not knowing what they affirm} that do let the people find ease, liberty, peace and comfort therein, and fearing the desperate denunciation thereof, do mask the face of Moses continually and cast forth a certain, but bastard evangelical contrition as an anchor of hope to them, bearing their congregations in hand, that upon such a form, and upon such a new resolution of amendment, and so to make satisfaction for whatever hath been done amiss, that then the Law will spare them, and this springs from their ignorance of that change, how deep it ought to be, even from death to life, and that we must not be wounded only, but killed by the Law before we can be healed and made alive by the Gospel; that is, Christ is never esteemed, nor embraced to Salvation until the Spirit of bondage hath eaten out the heart of old Adam. That to abate the power of the Law by slacking the rigor thereof is not to preach remission of sins by Christ, but it is a deceitful course, because the Law councils no man to Christ, but keeps him in himself after conviction and that man is apt to take comfort and expect Salvation in his own way of working. Thus, when he finds troubles, sin and guilt, then merely upon his good purposes and pious endeavors to amend his sinful life, he gets heart and recovers himself and gathers hope of Salvation though he never went the right way, the way of believing in Christ; yet he, I say, hopes all will be well at last and God will have mercy upon him and that the Law will be mealy mouthed being mitigated to his fancy or dream, and all this is for the want of the clear light of the Gospel and Christ contained therein, that they know not the spirituality of the Law. Then such ministers do not well that set people upon performances of duties to get God’s favor, and so life everlasting; and labor to bring them to reform their lives, and conform them to the Law, and so leave them ignorant of Christ. These men in their preachings tread not with the right foot to the Gospel, have neither the power of Christ nor the Gospel, but mix Law and Gospel in a confused manner, bringing forth poisonous doctrine, and their simple ensnared souls their listeners, for the most do but call Christ their Savior, and are Christians in name only, and if any rule in them, it is Moses and not Christ. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” {Jn.1:17} Then preach the Law; shut up Christ-less men under sin, and stop every mouth. Preach the Law in its uttermost authority to the death, it being that ministration only; that it may increase wrath, and cast all out of Christ as condemned criminals in the Court of Justice. Moses’ face is to be unveiled, that the splendor and glory of the Law in the spirituality thereof may appear to every eye and that to the confusion of all flesh, it must thunder with such flames of hell fire, curses, and threatenings to the demolishing of man in his works, into the beating down of every false conception, imagination or expostulation that exalts itself against Christ, and to the dissolution of that accursed opinion of wisdom and righteousness, which is so strongly rooted in the reason of man; and so the Law may kill and leave the creature heartless, hopeless and without all help in this way of working, to come before an angry and just God that is so terrible a judge, that it is ten thousand times worse to be met withal, or come before God without Christ, than rob a bear of her whelps. {Hos.13:8} The true child of God that hath been enlightened by the Spirit and broken by the Law, and who is made conscious of his own estate by nature, and what uncleanliness, hypocrisies and abominations are in every heart, and how the plague runneth daily in them. They will then cry out, “my life is death, my light is darkness, my heaven is hell, my goodness is as the morning dew; {yea a very plague as the word renders it in the original;} my best works are so vile that without Christ all will be found but dung, and I must for the evil in them perish forever and be damned, if I stand in old Adam.” {Rom.7:23, Gen.6:5, Lev.13:44, Is.64:6} Doctrine: That Jesus Christ hath saved the Church from the Law by a due course of justice, paid what the Law required, suffered what it threatened to the utmost, and not by force, power or violence; for it is his dying and not our crying that did it. Then the freeing of a believer from the bondage of the Law is indeed marvelous, considered actively or passively. Thus, that God hath procured the Salvation of our souls by the death of his Son, and so covered us with his Son’s Righteousness, and made us so happy whilst we feel nothing but sin, that deserves wrath and damnation forever, that he should hold it forth in the Gospel, and make application thereof to our hearts by his Spirit. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted August 14, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” {Rom.7:6} The reason thereof is that the believer hath the matter of the Law - Righteousness in, from, and through Christ alone; and for the form of the Law, the authority thereof, it is abolished; the jurisdiction in commanding upon pain of death, in threatening vengeance, and the curse upon any breach thereof, and the promising of life to the obeyers thereof. Now the Christian hath life, before the Law came, and the blessing of the Lord that makes rich and adds no sorrow with it is upon him, instead of the curse, the blessing of Abraham is fallen upon him, for his standing is in Christ, the day is won by him, for his sins are all pardoned, and his warfare accomplished, and he is saved already, and God will discover it more and more unto himself and to others. {Pv.10:22, II Tim.1:9} Then Christians are not in a state of sin, nor mass of sin, stain or reign of sin; {I Jn.3:9, Rom.8:1;} but the contrary, they are in a state of grace, life and righteousness. {II Cor.5:21, I Cor.15:56, Rom.4:5, Col.2:13,14} It is from our imbecility, ignorance and infidelity, and not from Christ, or the Truth of the Gospel, that the Law puts in its foot in the soul or conscience of a believer in the authority thereof; {Rom.7:6;} but Christians might send Moses to his smoking mountain by turning to Christ their Husband, the true mercy seat and propitiatory. {Rom.3:25} Then the ground of all the outrages, doubtings and hideous complaints in the world amongst most professors of the Truth is from the ignorance in them of the true Gospel, Christ, and the freedom he hath purchased for them, he having freed them from sin, law and the curse; but they crying out thus, “O the ways of the Lord, the wrath that I am under, I am in the shadow of death, I am in the place of dragons, my sins are more than can be pardoned, there was never any in my condition, oh what sin and guilt am I under,” and so despairing, they destroy themselves, and it is the fault of their ministers as well as their own selves, because they teach not the Gospel purely, and the Law distinctly, therefore both the blind leader and those blindly led fall into the ditch. They should preach the abrogation of the Law to the true believer, but this is the plague upon the world, that they love such contaminated doctrine, better than the pure wheat of God’s own providing and winnowing, so that most men split themselves on one of these two rocks, presumption or despair of God’s mercy, and this is that great sin against God, Christ and the glorious Gospel, that the whole world lieth in. {Jn.8:36, Gen.4:13, Ps.77:1-9, I Jn.5:19} To preach the Law or works can never quiet the consciences of poor sinners, no works or any false respecting consideration can do it; for those do but engage to the Law, and engender infidelity and bring forth continual doubtings, questionings, heart aching and heartbreaking fears. As thus, “thou has not sacrificed as thou shouldest, prayed as thou ought’st, thou hast defiled holy things, thou hast omitted that thou ought’st have done, thou hast committed that which God hath forbidden, thou has not done good so sincerely as thou should’st have done, nor shunned sin but for sinister ends, thou has not grieved for sin as sin, nor hated it with an eternal, total and unsatisfiable hatred, thou hast not grieved for the sins of others, as though thyself hast committed them, thy obedience has been divided, partial and picked obedience, and not universal, sincere and perfect as it should have been;” and this distracts so, that men are always fearful, that go this way to work and doubting of God’s free favor in Christ; yea, heartless, faithless and still drooping under every cross; none so much discontented, peevish and impatient as they who pass over slightly the precious treasure of free justification in Christ alone as these men do, as they pitch their infallible signs, marks and legal performances. These sort of people rail against the children of God, calling the doctrine of Free Grace, the doctrine of liberty, licentiousness and loose doctrine because they and such like abuse it. What fault is in the wine or gifts that they have been so long spiritually drunken with? Is there any fault in the sun that hardens the clay, or causes the carcass to stink? Is there any fault in the Gospel that causes those carcass-like ‘Christians’ to be so hot persecutors of it, and of the professors {possessors in truth} of the same; these are so deluded by Satan, that they verily believe that they do God service in so doing, as once the old Pharisees did; for have not some of them declared themselves in print what they could have done to the innocent lambs of Christ and fought against them as their desperate enemies; and must the timber of their houses be made gallows to hang them on; shall they be driven into remote islands; shut up in prisons or debarred from the privilege of the freeborn subjects because they do not approve of mixing pigeon feathers with eagles plumes, dross with gold, water with wine, light with darkness; or that which is the greatest cheat in the world, the making of merchandise of souls and the word of God by preaching Law and Gospel, works and faith, life and death, God’s and man’s Righteousness, as one and the same doctrine, whereas in truth there is as much difference as there is between heaven and hell, Christ and Belial, the elect and reprobate, the brightest day and the darkest night in the doctrine itself, as all true enlightened Christians know; and this under the pretense of preaching Gospel and the Righteousness of Christ, though indeed they are the greatest opposers of it in the world and would have those burnt that embrace the Gospel in the purity thereof. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ, and no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” {II Cor.11:13-15} Then turn thou thine eyes from that hideous darkness of the Law unto the light of the glorious Gospel through the which shineth the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, to enlighten those that sit in the shadow of death. It is God in Christ that exalts the miserable, comforts the afflicted, heals the wounded, strengthens the weak, binds up the broken hearted, deals gently with the bruised, quickens the dead, saves the damned, and justifies the ungodly and pitches the soul entirely on Christ; thus living in Christ, by Christ, with Christ and to Christ. {Mt.4:16, Is.9:1-4, Rom.5:8, II Pet.1:19, Gal.2:20, Col.3:3} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted August 15, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: The Law is to be considered as a Covenant, or a rule; now as a Covenant it is canceled by Christ who hath fulfilled it, and hath so taken away the believer from under the authority of it; its threats and promises are not able to reach the true believer; the Law cannot save him by his works, nor damn him for his sins; and is not Christ the believers life, and a far better rule, more spiritual and full to the true Israel of God; and they that walk according to this rule Christ are the Israel of Christ. {Gal.6:15,16} I never read of any Law human or Divine, which hath not power from its author whilst it is in force and unabrogated to punish the breakers thereof and reward the fulfiller’s of it; no, not the Law of Faith itself. Again, if the Law received such an abatement as men talk of, I would they could show how far it binds, how far we may go and no further? How should we look on the Law? Truly a Christian, as a Christian is lord over the Law, rejoices in his freedom from it and sees it fulfilled by Christ his Surety, and sticks close to that by faith. Away with that perpetual kingdom of the Law, pretended by the legalists, that cry up the Law so much, and cry down the Gospel by terms of reproach on the true preachers thereof; besides, they frown on the preachers of free Grace, and set its doctrine as it were upon a slippery slope; but the decree of Free Grace is as a goodly, fair and soft plain in which they may solace themselves in God and Christ; it is a lovely and a delightful doctrine to all those impoverished hearts who have been made to feel their need of Christ; it is more precious than the ruby, gold or any created excellencies. Doctrine: Until the death of the old man Adam, the authority, dominion, offices and effects of the Law do not end, cease or expire, but are in full force to all mankind. Consider what is meant by man? What is meant by the authority, dominion, offices and effects of the Law? Negatively, by man is not meant either the nature or substance that consists in soul and body; nor their powers, abilities or natural parts; neither the relation they have to common wealth; but that degenerated condition, lost estate and accursed standing in relation to a Law broken before God by nature since the Fall of Adam, and so man is styled the old man, sensual, natural and fleshly, being without Christ, and whilst we are in the flesh in that natural, sinful and degenerated estate, the Law has dominion over us, but he whose sins are forgiven him is dead to the Law; that is, he is freed from the Law, {by the body of Christ; that is, the substitutionary  death of the Redeemer.} Man is one thing by natural generation and propagation, in his conscience and before men, but another thing in the sight of God. The Scriptures proclaim and all truly enlightened men by regeneration, new birth and renovation believe that Christ’s life, death, &c., is theirs in Him. But when the old man is abolished, annihilated and dead in a spiritual and evangelical sense, after which time in thine own conscience, and to faith thou art not found of God to be a transgressor, sinner or impure; but contrary, when thou therefore ceaseth to be a sinner before God, and it is made unto thee in the Consistory of thine own conscience, and as soon as thou dost possess and enjoy Christ, {by faith,} then the power that the Law had over thee immediately ceases, but not before according to the revealed will of God. As we see in marriage, the bond of union is dissolved by the death of one party, so in this case, as soon as God hath given thee to know that thou art not in thy sins, the yoke of the Law doth immediately cease and thou art delivered from prison, from the power, force, authority and offices of the Law, as it stood in force by Divine institution before marriage to Christ. - So then you see the ministry of the Law reveals not Christ, nor his Righteousness; it sets forth not God unto us as a justifier of them that are of the Faith of Jesus, or as pacified and well pleased forever in his beloved Son; it dispenses not the invaluable and unsearchable treasures of Christ, it declares not the name of God our Father in Jesus Christ, according to the New Covenant of Grace, that is so full that nothing can be added to it, wherein the secret, sweet and incomprehensible love, wherewith he loved his Son may be in us. {II Cor.3:9, Mt.3:17, Jn.17:26} The Law was given that we should see our sins and have recourse to Christ for our Righteousness. Now the offices of the Law are several; to make sin known, to increase, aggravate and make sin out of measure great and sinful, and to show the wrath of God against sin and sinners, then to put man that lives in sin in fear, and being not able to fulfill the Law, he becomes angry with God and doth wish that there were neither God or Law, because he; that is, the old man neither is, nor can be subject to the Law of God. The office of the Law is to constrain the sinner to fly out of himself and go to God for Christ, as the old Israelites begged for Christ, when they said to Moses, speak thou to us, and let God speak no more in the terrible voice of the Law to us, for that is a cursing, killing and damning voice, {“let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not,”} and the Lord commended them for it, {“and the LORD said unto me, they have well spoken that which they have spoken,”} it being most apparent that they were by God’s Spirit enabled to beg Christ that was to come and they knew full well that Moses was a type of him as the Lord himself expounds it. “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him; and it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” {Deut.18:16-19} Yea, we do not read in all the Scriptures that ever they were praised or commended of God for any other thing, than for their desiring of a Mediator between God and them, the which God most willingly granted them. {Jn.1:45} Then the principal end why God promulgated the Law in Mount Sinai was that a way might be made for Christ Jesus our Lord. “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} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted August 18, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: Such is the absoluteness of God, he is of so pure eyes that he cannot abide sin, but must needs declare his whole displeasure and hatred against that creature whoever he be that he finds sin upon, and thence it was that Adam was banished out of paradise upon his Fall, angels drove out of heaven, and the great and terrible judgment inflicted since on several sorts of men. {Hab.1:13, Is.59:2, Gen.3:24, 6:5-8} Because God doth and ever will proceed against sinners according to the Law, and so God must necessarily, {if we may so speak,} deal with such in rigor, fury and wrath, both abhorring, cursing and condemning all such persons that are in old Adam, and so all men out of Christ, and their sacrifices, though ever so glorious in their own eyes and in the estimation of the saints; yea, though they be according to the letter of the Scripture in the largest extent, in their foolish fancies; {Lk.16:16, Pv.16:25;} because there is no congruity, concord or agreement between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, righteousness and unrighteousness, so that God must kill the sin or the sinner, or the Law will condemn the sinner for it, and God will hear the Law in all just demands against those that are under it. {II Cor.6:14, Gal.3:10, Deut.28:15-29} To inform our judgments, how rightly to use the Law, that we pervert it not, the Law is to be charged upon all sinners in its utmost authority, seeing it entered into the world because of transgression, and is not the Law God’s sergeant to find out and arrest all the Lord’s debtors, {whose debts are discharged by Christ,} to arraign and indict them, yea to cast and condemn them in the court of conscience. Therefore the face of Moses is to be unveiled, that the splendor and glory thereof may break out in the ministry of the Law, to the confusion of all flesh; man and his works are to be proved clearly thereby to be abominable and accursed, and they so to remain till mercy and favor in Jesus Christ relieve them, and God for Christ sake forgive and justify them. The Apostle is plain, that the Law is the ministration of death and condemnation, and therefore will proceed in its office of condemning man, and it will so long as man liveth in sin, and not give over wounding, condemning and killing sinners, that the slain of the Lord may be many. So that ministers of the Gospel to whom it is committed are aright to use it, but they must be aware that men find not life, ease, rest, liberty or comfort in the Law, and after conviction and guiltiness, though the power of it be in men’s consciences, they dare not slack, abate or mitigate the rigor and power of the Law. Thus, by dealing treacherously in promising life on the condition that if they will be truly sorrowful, repent and amend their sinful lives that the Law will spare them and that God will accept their polluted endeavors; the will for the deed, which is most false and from gross ignorance. Truly this is to deal deceitfully with men, to weave the spiders web, and to skin over the wound and mar souls as much as in them lieth. It is most dangerous, yet old Adam likes as well, and is apt to take it for a safe way to cure his poor soul by. Alas poor soul, when the wretch finds trouble and anguish, through sin guiltiness, for him merely upon his purposes, promises and endeavors to amend his sinful life, to get heart, to recover himself and gather hopes that all will be well with him another day without Christ is but the greatest delusion and folly in the world; yet how many are there in this kingdom and other deluded parts of the world that think themselves and go current in the opinions of likewise deluded ones for good Christians, and yet know not what Christianity is, but think it some monster of their own doing, framing and working, and so place Christianity, {which is the revealing, receiving and sealing of Christ and all that he is, or hath done and suffered for the elect,} in reforming their lives and conforming to the external worship of God, and the religion professed in the country where they live, and passes down the current of the times; yea, and are ready and do turn to that religion professed by the stronger side, and so they gather comforts from themselves or their performances, though halt, blind and lame, and their reformation being put to the touchstone of the Truth, proves but deformation, distortion and falsification, and if it any time those sect of men preach Christ, or speak of Christianity, it is so confusedly and with such pride, and with the language of the serpent, hiss out shibboleth; but to a truly humbled believer in Christ there is nothing but frothiness, and their words are like unsavory salt, as they cannot pronounce shibboleth Christ; {Judges 12:6;} for of Him they are ignorant, and have no feeling of Christ’s spiritual influence and power reigning in the saints; but rigid Moses, the Law and curses rule and reign in them, they working from false grounds to wrong ends, which mars all their undertakings, and produce monstrous works proceeding from a bad root, they themselves being bad trees and can bring forth no other. {Mt.12:33, II Cor.7:9, Is.59:5} That men and women must not be dallied with in this weighty matter, God requires seriousness and urgency in prosecuting the Law against transgressors, for there is no peace without Righteousness, and it is not a piece or a little parcel of righteousness that will be accepted of God, for the Lord will have it perfect or else it will be abominable unto Him, yea a very plague and he will detest it as dogs-meat righteousness, though it seem as the flower of the field in its own apprehension, and others who may look upon it as a gay thing, as the flowers in their month, so they look upon their own peacock feathers, their works as gay things, till the Sun of Righteousness arise by his fervent heat and burn up the hay and stubble, yea their silver, gold and their cursed opinions of their own righteousness which they have treasured up and looked upon in their unregenerate state as precious things; but upon the sight of Christ, the beauty of them is gone, and there is no more moisture left in them to a believer’s eye, and no more taste in them than there is in the white of an egg, and so I understand. {Phil.3:7,8, James 1:11, Is.40:8, I Pet.1:24, I Cor.3:13, Heb.12:29} But all this whilst in a state of unregeneracy thou findest and feelest sin and sin guiltiness, hence is thy inward fear and trembling, unrest and torment in thy bosom; is it not from this, that the presence of God is so terrible unto thee. I say, is it not from this that you live in a continual expectation of wrath, death or some vengeance to be poured down upon thee, what is this but the force and power of the Law and sin in thee which shows thee {to thine own apprehension} thy estate before God according to the Law, as yet thou standest accursed and faith {to anchor securely and solely in Christ} is not yet given thee; and so the wrath of God resteth upon all men so long as they continue in a state of sin and alienation. Then by right all sinners are the wife of this rigid and hard hearted husband, the Law; which knoweth not what mildness, mercy or indulgency is, but rules with extreme severity. Truly sinners are the subjects of this kingdom of miseries, curses and destruction, and the Law hath dominion over them to look after them, and to teach them, and to see that they do their duty to God, to accuse them and terrify their consciences, and pursuing them with a deserved vengeance, and thus the old man and unbeliever is the disobedient, wicked and rebellious man; for disobedience and unbelief is one and the same thing in Gospel phrase and truth. {I Tim.1:9, Eph.4:22, II Thes.1:8, Acts 5:32, Rom.16:26} Then Christians are redeemed from the Law by Christ in a due and right course of justice, he having paid the utmost mite that the Law could require; not by might, violence and power, and so wronging the Law or suffering it to sustain any loss or damage, but by fulfilling the same; thus our David, {shepherd and anointed, not without hazard, but with the loss of his life,} taketh this lamb out of the lion’s mouth, and frees him from the power of the bear; that is, from the power of the Law, sin, death, hell, &c., and the curse; and here Paul in showing how and by whom this rescue is made denotes two things to us, the equity thereof and the fullness thereof; and in the equity of it, he prevents this objection that might be made against this doctrine: Are not men debtors to the Law so long as they have sin remaining in them; are they not sinners then and hath not the Law power over them; first, to hold them prisoners and keep them forever, and to put them to death too, and keep them under death perpetually? Answer: No, for Christ by the body of his death hath freed the whole Church from death, hell and the curse in this sense, and from the Law of commandments two ways; by paying the debt of suffering and by paying the debt of service as our Surety Representative, and its fullness is that it is a complete, perfect and an everlasting redemption; {Rom.10:4, Is.53:5,6, II Cor.5:21, Gal.4:5, Is.59:20, Rom.11:26, Heb.7:22, Heb.10:14, Col.2:9,10, Heb.7:25,26;} and hence the church is freed from the authority, dominion, offices and consequences of the Law. Hence observe the change of the believers estate, for he is married to Christ and dead to the Law and alive to God. It is true that I grant you were once {in your own fearful apprehensions,} under the tyranny of that tyrant the Law, till it wearied you and made your lives bitter in causing death to pass upon your consciences, so that you had no life, nor light, nor help; no hope of heaven or Salvation at all, but were possessed with fears and only had such sad conclusions as these, “O; I shall perish, I am utterly lost, I am a damned castaway sinner, God hath forsaken me entirely, there is no mercy for me and I am undone forever; O, vile sinner that I am, a wretched captive and a hell-hound; what will become of me another day; where wilt thou go, O my poor soul; into darkness, utter darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth and pains that are ceaseless, endless and remediless.” This was the working of God’s spirit of bondage on thee, though thou knewest it not, and what a jubilant time of deliverance, through that exceeding and transcendent mercy of thy God, when all did unexpectedly turn to thy good and unspeakable benefit; God seeing thee in this woeful plight, deplorable state and condition, did commensurate thy case, and stepped in to rescue thee, and by his Son the true David, did freely, fully and completely save thee at once from the Law, sin, death and the curse; so that as in the case of marriage, whilst the wife lives she is bound to her husband to obey in all things, but death dissolves this bond and union forever. So here thou art dead to the Law, but know then, by whose means, power and godliness it is that thou art delivered out of so bad a condition and put into so glorious, full and happy estate. It is by the body of Christ; namely in that Christ died, was crucified and buried for thee; to this end, that thou mightest have union and communion with Him and bring forth fruit to God, and Christ thy new Husband, by disclaiming thy own worth and works, thy treasure and all, and live upon thy Husband’s worth, excellency, dignity and inexhaustible treasure. {Rom.7:1-4} That after the receiving of God in open vision, Christ comes and rules by his Word and Spirit, as once he did in the days of his flesh, but far more gloriously, mystically, influentially, effectually, powerfully, persuasively, significantly and evangelically, and he appears and reveals himself {by his word and Spirit,} inwardly, spiritually and effectually to the believer in Christ, and declares himself to be the same to that soul that he is in his own nature and office; namely, a Redeemer, Jesus a Savior; {“thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins,”} and this is that revelation of the Son of God in the believing child of Grace. It is true that Christ was so before in respect of God, in his purpose and decree and in the outward ministry of the Gospel, but the consolation thereof was hid from thine eyes until this time and day of Salvation, or rather the application of that Salvation which was wrought by Jesus Christ before thou wast born; but behold now the spirit of wisdom, revelation and well-grounded consolation is now come into thee, revealing the Lord Jesus in all the benefits of his death and passion unto thee; for this is undoubtably certain, that as face answereth face in the glass, so the outward Word and inward work of the Spirit doth in the believer. {Eph.1:17-19} So that there is nothing spoken touching a mans estate in the Law or Gospel, but the Christians conscience can subscribe and seal to it, out of an inward feeling and experimental knowledge thereof; so then, this house of darkness and distress becomes the time of life and light in Christ. “When I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.” {Ez.16:6} Now the Son of Righteousness arises, who hath health in his wings, and bringeth light to make himself known, by that his own light, the soul may see light; Christ doth manifest himself, who is the inward man of the heart according to his office, a preacher of glad tidings to the meek, a proclaimer of liberty to the captives and the recovering of sight to the blind, and the opener of the door to the poor prisoners of hope, though they were shut up and bound, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, by which the soul finds such succor, help, health, life, liberty, peace, happiness, righteousness and tranquility, and there it rests satisfied and can say, “my God, and my Lord, who hath loved me and hath given himself for me.” {Jn.20:28, Gal.1:16, 3:23, Col.1:27, Is.61:1-4, Lk.4:18.} But thou wilt say, is the man that is a Christian a sinner still, a dog or swine? God forbid. For it is only sin that enthralls the creature to the Law and subjects poor men to bondage, and as long as sin remains the authority of the Law cannot cease, but will prevail forever in such a case; but behold Christ washes truly, really and thoroughly in his own immaculate blood; {Rev.1:5, I Jn.1:7, I Pet.1:19;} so that he leaves no spot nor blemish upon the believer’s soul. {Eph.5:27, Col.1:22} Christ hath freely and entirely bestowed himself, his own perfect obedience, which is the Righteousness of God upon the believer, and also the matter of our sanctification; {II Cor.5:21;} and hence, the soul is altogether fair by the beauty and glory of Christ which God hath provided richly and bestowed effectually upon the believer; for no measure or portion of attainable righteousness can appease the conscience; for it is exclusively Christ’s Righteousness alone; and until we be clothed with Christ’s pureness, the conscience dare not appear in God’s sight, for Righteousness is the mother of peace and the elder sister Justification is before reconciliation in this sense, being justified by Christ we are no longer reckoned sinners, sins discharged are no longer debts; sins remitted no sins; the bond that is canceled is a nullity. In the New Covenant there is no remembrance of iniquity, for when once the Spirit of God hath made it out to the soul that they are through Christ freely, certainly and fully pardoned. {Heb.10:17} Then how marvelous is the Lord among his saints, should all true Christians say; who by free donation and Imputation of Christ’s perfections makes the saints freely, invisibly and perfectly fulfillers of the Law thereby; so that he cannot be charged with any fault, sin, or punishment, he being now stated into that spiritual, universal and eternal kingdom of his Son, where there is nothing flourishing but righteousness, justice, liberty, safety, peace, joy and pleasures for evermore. {Ps.16:11, Col.1:13, Rom.14:17, Rom.8:33,34, Col.1:22, Eph.5:27} Then let all the children of the bondwoman be schooled daily by their law-teachers, taskmasters and exactors of works to Salvation; I say let these daily impose on them new burdens, and spare not, and require their full tale of bricks, and daily appointed works and services, and load their consciences and memories too with multitudes of precepts, rules, cautions, marks and duties; yea, threaten to whip and lash them too, that they may enjoy no peace, except they diligently and carefully perform all things imposed upon them. But oh my soul hearken thou what thy God speaketh unto thee from mount Zion, who tells thee that thy labor is at an end, the warfare is accomplished, iniquity is pardoned, thy danger is passed, and the work of Salvation is finished already. {Is.40:2, II Tim.1:9} God himself hath wrought it for thee and brought in everlasting Righteousness instead thereof, and do thou peacefully enjoy this, {only blessing that name in which God is comfortably known, who hath done all these things for thee,} truly and with gladness of heart; and do thou impart of what thou hast received to thy brethren, in the like freedom of love, to the pleasuring of others in the corroboration, edification and the building them up in the most holy Faith; and so confirming them in the true Grace of God in which they stand. {Rom.15:2, Jude 20, I Pet.5:12} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted August 19, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: What doth the Scripture hold forth to us concerning the Law of Moses? The definition, distribution, signification, to whom it was given, the promulgation thereof, it’s abrogation; and why it was abrogated and when it was abrogated. The definition is that it is a ordination of right reason to the common good of all, and singular subordination given by God, that hath the care of the whole community, and every individual in it. Moral and ceremonial; and in the moral Law two things are considerable. First, there is the matter of it, which is justice, equity and righteousness, which the believer hath in Christ Jesus without the Law. Secondly, there is the form of the Law, and that is the authority of it, commanding obedience, threatening the disobedient upon pain of the curse, but this also the believer is freed from. The signification of the word Law, for sometimes it signifies the whole of Scripture; {Jn.12:34, Ps.1:2, Mt.5:17;} sometimes the teachings of Moses only; {Lk.24:44;} the instructions of Moses; {Jn.5:46;} but chiefly, principally and most properly it signifies Christ, to whom Law and Prophets directly lead unto as their center. {Rom.3:21, Is.51:4, Lk.24:25,26. Jn.5:39, Jn.1:45, Acts 26:22,23, Rom.1:2, Re.19:10} The promulgation of the Law was on mount Sinai; {Ex.19:18, Heb.12:22;} the Law was given to the Jews, therefore called Judicial, Ceremonial and Mosaical, and to remain so till Christ should come. {Gal.3:24, 3:11, Ps.147:20, Is.32:1} The Law is altogether abrogated to a Christian, a true believer; {Rom.7:6, 6:14, II Cor.3:11, Gal.3:19, I Tim.1:9, Gal.5:18;} Christians being made righteous freely, perfectly and evangelically; {I Cor.1:30, Rom.3:24, 9:30, Heb.10:14, Rom.4:22-25;} do demonstratably to men-wards walk in truth and love; {Tit.3:8,14, Mt.5:16, Job 22:3, II Cor.4:13, Acts 20:24, Ps.110:3, Lk.12:35;} but exhorted obedience from the Law of Moses, and walking with God without Christ; {Eph.2:2, Is.48:1,22, 58:3;} is the regeneration of hypocrites, who work from false grounds to wrong ends; {Amos 5:21,22;} and though they reform their lives and conform themselves to the Law, it is but man’s righteousness and it will not exempt men from vengeance, nor stand them in any stead towards Salvation. {Is.65:5, Lk.16:15, Ps.9:16, Mk.16:16, Pv.28:9, Mt.22:12} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted August 25, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

God's Efficacious Providence Regarding Sin & Afflictions: The reason whence all changes by sins or sorrows arise upon believers is fourfold: First, it is from God. Secondly, it is from God through a powerful decree. Thirdly, it is from God through a decree everlastingly. Fourthly, it is from God through a Covenant of Grace; wherefore it must all tend only to their good. All changes by sins or sorrows come upon believers from God and his Hand; I say all afflictions come upon them from God. This is easily and generally granted according to the drift of Divine Scripture, to raise us up to see and acknowledge God’s Hand in every affliction; {Amos 3:6, Job 5:6;} whatever instruments thereof have been, it comes from God; and it is as evident by Scripture and Reason that all sin come also from God and his Hand, and yet he is in no way defiled or dishonored thereby, neither is sin extenuated or the creature excused by it in the least. The fear of some of these inconveniences hath made believers not acknowledge so much of God in sin, as is in sin; and out of a fear of falling into that error dissuaded from James 1:13-16, they have erred on the other hand, and made sin more of the creature and itself, and less from God than it truly is. They grant that God is willing sin should be, and that he permits it, orders circumstances about its production and therefore overrules it; but that he in no sense hath an Hand in it, neither is he any Author at all thereof; which opinion is safe enough from the error it shuns, and to avoid danger it keeps so far off, that it goes wrong another way; and because it would not give God too much, it gives him not enough in this, not so much as he takes to Himself in Scripture, and tends; yea, is even necessary to his Glory and the comfort of his people; and though Pelagians, Arminians and carnal hearts will abuse this doctrine, and bark against it with pretense that it dishonors God, because it undermines their carnal buildings; yet let us embrace and profess the Truth which is after Godliness, and not fear to say that of God, which he in his Holy Book saith of Himself; namely that, “of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory forever. Amen.” {Rom.11:36} “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.” {I Chron.29:11-12} “The LORD hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” {Pv.16:4} Thus we assert that God is and hath a Hand in, and is the Author of the sinfulness of his people. For the evidencing whereof; consider these arguments, besides the voice of God in Scripture. God’s will and pleasure is the womb that conceived and whence springs every work of the creature, whatever it be, whether it be good or bad; as they are {that is, continue,} for his pleasure. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” {Rev.4:11} So they so do and work, because it is his pleasure that they should so do; the first reason {and that which determines all} why the creature sins, must be because God’s will was that it should sin; for “who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him;” {Is.40:13;} or gave advice by counsel to him to let the creature sin? “Behold, God exalteth by his power; who teacheth like him? Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?” {Job.36:22,23} Was it not his own device, counsel and will that it should so be? Did any necessity arising upon the creatures being, enforce it, that sin may be? Could not God have hindered sin if he would? Might he not have kept man from sinning, as he did some of the angelic host? Therefore it was his predeterminate purpose before the creature was, that there should be sin; and what incongruity is it that God’s sovereign will and good pleasure should first lay a groundwork to bring forth sin? For what is sin, but an effect and discovery of the weakness and mutability of the reasonable creature? Wherefore God’s unchangeableness is alleged in opposition to the creature’s sinning, and sinful tempting to sin, {James 1:13,17, as we shall more fully show,} because sin, as it is sin, arises from mutability and weakness. Now what incongruity is it for the Creator to will and order it in such a manner that the creature shall show itself and its own shame? Yea, is it not necessary thus to give to God the first hand in contriving and willing the creature’s sin, because most of God’s greatest works in this world and the everlasting world to come hinges on the creature’s sin; and it is by sin that most of God’s glory in the discovery of its attributes doth arise; wherefore must it not be said and thought that his will first and chief was in the providing this means and way for all those his ends. Therefore certainly it limits him much to bring in sin by a contingent accident, simply from the creature, and thus to deny God a hand and will in its being and bringing forth. Next, there is much good comes by sin; yea, the greatest good either to God’s glory, {the manifestations of God,} or the creature’s happiness; {in all that eternal glory through Christ;} it is all, only brought about by sin. The creature separate from God, as it is in sinning can produce no good; yet the creatures sin doth produce good, therefore God hath also a hand in the sin of the creature, as well as the creature; and however God may be thought to take up the creatures sin, after it is committed or foreseen to be committed or brought about or did decreed to bring about good by it, without having a will beforehand unto the being of it; yet {if we will consider} this cannot be in God, who so in his will, the ground of everything in the creature and the creation, both its standing and falling; as that he must first will the creature shall stand or fall, before the creature can do either; and the creature therefore falls and sins, because his will before was that it should so do. For sin is but the weakness of God’s creature, it’s mutability; by which his strength and unchangeableness is the better set forth. Can it be anything to God, his impeachment, that his creature is frail? Can he be a God and impeached by anything? Yea, doth not sin occasion the manifestation of many, yea, most of his attributes? Indeed, sin doth eclipse God’s manifested glory; that glory, which he should have from the creature, rising up to him upon his manifestation of Himself, that is much lost by sin; for sin buries and hides that glory of God, it fights against it, sins against God’s heart, as contrary to his own Image and the disorder of his whole workmanship, and the ruin of his creature; and the thief which steals away his glory; and in this is sins vileness, and herein it is in comparatively worse than afflictions; but yet it damages God no more than an eclipse of the sun damages the sun, which is nothing; for the sun shines as gloriously, but the Earth beholds it not, and so hath not the comfort and benefit of its influence; so that all the evil of sin towards God, is not at all to him in his own essential blessedness, but in his glory which should arise to him from the creature, for the good of the creature; which glory, as he is Creator is his end and most dear to him {as a wise mans end is, because else his work is in vain;} wherefore, the Lord professes his hatred against all sin, and that he hath no will to it, hand in it, nor is the author of it; and yet he may as truly and safely have a will, and a hand in, and be the author of sins, as well as afflictions. So God wills and is the author of afflictions and wills not, nor is the author of afflictions; for he wills not afflictions simply and absolutely as they be the creatures hurt; for that is against his nature {which is mercy} and his relation, who is their Creator and Father. Neither doth he inflict them until he is moved by some end and consideration which presents greater good, both in regard of his own glory and his people’s good. And thus God is brought on to afflict, by a further end than the misery itself; wherefore as to Christ in a more transcendent way, as he was his fellow and no sinner in himself, he would not, or could not afflict him; wherefore his sword slept; yet, on other considerations, as he was the representation of all his elect, God having “made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;” {Christ made sin by imputation; the sins of all his people were transferred unto him, laid upon him, and placed to his account; he sustained their persons, and bore their sins in his own body on the tree;} for God there willed to strike him; and therefore awakened his sword. “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts; smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” {Zech.13:7} So it is in regard to all afflictions, the Lord wills and works them, and yet he wills and works them not in several respects. As evils simply, and on no other consideration, he wills them not, nor works them; but it is the creature’s own harvest which he sowed; but as they tend to and produce high, great and good effects, there is no evil of misery, but God effectually works all. Even thus it is in regard of sins; for in some respects and considerations, God neither doth, nor can will sin, or have any hand in it, or be any author thereof; namely, as it is evil, or a good only in appearance, answering only the absurdity of a weak and mutable creature. Thus, and in these respects only, God wills not, works not sin, but abhors it infinitely, for sin defiles, and is most contrary to his holy nature; and thus the creature wills it, and works, and on no other respects; or, {to express the matter more fully and plainly,} God neither hath a will or hand in sin; as it only springs from an evil root, and rises upon a weak or evil ground; that is, as the mind is moved to sin, out of an evil, inbred principle of inherent corruption; or, from a concomitant weakness and mutability of nature; so God is not moved to will or work sin, for that argues an imperfect and polluted nature; but thus, the devil and man wills and works sin; and that, this is the true scope and sense of that verse found in James. {Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man; but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” 1:13-17} God doth not so, or on such grounds and respects tempt or move any man to sin as to be moved thereto from an inward principle of sin, or of weakness and mutability; therefore he saith, “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man;” that is, as it is evil, and the fruit of an evil principle within him; so God is not tempted, nor temps, but thus man tempts himself; {vs.14,15;} being moved from an evil principle of lust within him; which shows, that this is the Apostle’s scope, to show that on these grounds and respects, God is not moved to will and work sin; so that he denies it not to God absolutely, but on these grounds, which further appears because {vs.16,17} the error he confutes is, that God should tempt to sin, as it is sin, an evil and foolish thing, flowing out of an inherent weakness and mutability; for thus to will and work sin only, he proves God cannot; because all good is of Him, as a Father; therefore he cannot send forth evil, and he hath no variableness, whereas all sin, as sin, arises from the mutability of the creature. Hence our Savior refers sin, as it is an evil, to an evil rise, ground and root; all that is of evil, and so evil. {Mt.5:37, 15:19} But now if there be a ground on which sin may be willed and wrought, that is not from evil, or weakness and mutability, moving God to will and work it, God does will and work it. God neither hath a will or hand in sin, as sin is moved to, or effected by means that is naught; namely, by telling a lie, or any such way; for this evil is in the doer; therefore, when God willed that Ahab should sin in going to Ramoth-Gilead, he would not by lying persuade him to do it, but asked who of his evil ministers would do it; and one of the devils undertook to do it, by filling his prophets with lies, so as to be a liar in them. “And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also; go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.” {I Kg.22:20-23} Thus God neither doth nor can act any ill means to bring about sin, as the devil did to draw Eve to sin, by beguiling her with lies; though God may will that it shall be done by them that are evil. As sin only respects some appearance of good, but real evil ends namely, God’s dishonor and the creatures hurt; so God neither can, nor will; either will or work it, for then it should be evil, for the end of an action in moral things gives the name. Thus in these respects, God wills not, works not and is not the Author in the least degree of any sin; but is of Satan, and one’s own evil nature; as when Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number the people; that is, Satan from an evil mind, by evil means, to an evil end; namely, to hurt Israel, as they were God’s people, provoked David to that particular sin, in these respects, it was Satan and not God. “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” {I Chron.21:1} But in respect to the ultimate glory of God that would at last result from that very sin, we also read; “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” {II Sam.24:1} And so also, it is of our own hearts; wherefore David charges this sin wholly upon himself, and not on Satan, nor on God. “And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered; even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done?” {I Chron.21:17} This again corresponds perfectly with that statement that we find in James. {1:13-15} But now, all this notwithstanding, as there are good respects, on which sin may be Divinely willed and wrought, so God may be the Author thereof. As; firstly; sin may be willed and wrought from good principles and grounds of wisdom, power, sovereignty and holiness, to set up only Himself, &c. Secondly; sin may be willed and wrought by good means; namely, a wise and holy ordering of things, so as shall draw forth and discover the creatures mutability and weakness, and a leaving the creature to it, being in no way tied to add an assistance and strength against it, as sin was brought about in Adam and Eve; and after sin is in, then by leaving the heart to its own corruption, and by wise and holy dispensations and providences to stir up those corruptions, not by anything in the Providence, but through the sin itself, abusing such providences, as sin is brought about now, since the Fall. Thirdly, sin may be willed and wrought for good ends; as, showing the creature’s weakness, in order to set up the Creator’s power and glory; and the gaining more glory to God, and good to his people. Thus God is said to move David to number the people, {II Sam.24:1,} in these respects; as in the other, the devil is said to do it; {I Chron.21:1;} and under these considerations, and these only, sin is good, {as poison may be for the body, and as the killing a malefactor by a Law,} and as good as other things; and may as perfectly be willed and brought about by God, and have him for its Author, as anything else. Yea, in truth it is most congruous that the Lord should be its Author, for whom becomes it so well as the Ultimate Good to bring about the greatest good by the greatest evil; and whoso fitly as the immutable and everlasting God, who can bring out the weakness and the mutability of the creature? Thus we see, that true reason and the Scripture exclude not God from being in any respects the Infinite and Holy One that so wills and authorizes sin; and as it hath good respects it is fathered on Him, the Father of all good. Therefore we affirm that all changes by sin or sorrow which befall believers come from God by a Decree most powerful; that is a working Decree; he hath so resolved and decreed it, as that his hand and power concurs to affect it. In regard of troubles and afflictions, this is said expressly. “For I am the LORD; I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged; for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.” {Ez.12:25} “Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you.” {Zeph.2:2} “And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil.” {Dan.9:12} There was a decree pregnant which conceived and bred trouble for them, and was strong and able to bring it forth, and not miscarry. So in like manner, also for sins. “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together; for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” {Acts 4:27,28; see also Acts 2:23} That sin of theirs in crucifying Christ; all that which they did sinfully against Christ, is said to be determined before by God’s counsel and hand; that is, a sovereign decree that was concurring in power to effect what it determined. Yet is not this any excuse to the sinner or extenuation of the sin; for as it is said of Assyria; he thinks not so, as he eyes not this Decree of God in his sinning, nor is he moved by a respect thereto, but he does it out of his own evil heart. “Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so.” {Is.10:7} All changes upon believers by sins and sorrows come to them from God by an Everlasting Decree, even by that eternal Love and Counsel, in, and by which they were ordained to life eternal. Wherefore the prophet Habakkuk encourages himself against the great affliction of the Babylonian captivity by this, that God’s Decree had ordained them for that end; and therefore the issue should be their good, and not their ruin, {“we shall not die,”} and sets God before him, as a God from everlasting, and his God; that is, his God from everlasting. “Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One; we shall not die. O LORD.” {Hab.1:12} And what doth he instance in this attribute of everlasting but to intimate that God being from everlasting; and so all his decrees being from everlasting; among which this was one, of that their great affliction by the hand of the Babylonians; therefore they should not be hurt or ruined thereby; and when Christ is called the Everlasting Father, {Is.9:6,} it seems to be meant, not only that from an everlasting decree; but as one who designed to make all things, and as it were to beget them, but more especially to be a Father to the elect, and so as a Father to chastise them with afflictions, {Heb.12:5-9,} which afflictions also must be by the same everlasting decree appointed out to them. Wherefore Christ is called their Father, {Is.63:16, 64:8,} who from everlasting had his Name, their Redeemer; for so it is read in the margin and seems to be meant. Now, as their redemption, so their miseries must be decreed from everlasting; even those goings forth, {Mic.5:2,} and not only his councils, but those works of his towards the creature, works without, as the phrase of “goings forth” implies. And as all the sorrows, so all the sins of believers are determined by God’s eternal decree; how oft, how many, how great; for, if Christ from everlasting be their Redeemer, and went forth to save them, it was first and chiefly from sins; then must from everlasting the sins be set down from whence he should save them, as it is certain they were, because when he accomplished the decree by dying on the cross, he there actually redeemed them, then all their sins met on him, as it is in Isaiah 53:6, where we read in the margin, “the Lord hath made the iniquity of us all to meet on him.” Now none met on him there, but what were decreed for him to remove, when he was predestinated to that work of redemption, which was from everlasting. {Heb.9:12, Rev.13:8} For Adam in his fall and sinning was a figure or type of Christ’s taking away sins, {Rom.5:14-21;} therefore, Christ’s taking away sins was decreed before Adam, or the world was, and so from everlasting; or else how could Adam typify him, if he were not before intended to that work? And if Christ were from everlasting decreed to take away sins, then were the sins that he should take away decreed from everlasting. This also appears by Deuteronomy 32:32-37, where it is stated, that both the sins of God’s people, {vs.32-34,} and their afflictions, {vs.35,} and their deliverance, {vs.36,} are all aforehand laid up in store with God, and sealed among his treasures; that is, in the eternal decrees of his wisdom and knowledge, in the deepest secrecy and hiddenness hath God set down his people’s sins and punishments, which in a set time he will avenge, and at the end do his people good. And the reason, ground and further evidence of all this is that by the same decree that sets down the end are all the means thereto set down; wherefore that eternal goodwill and wisdom of God which decreed believers to eternal blessedness, decreed all the afflictions and sins, how much and how long, God would leave them to weakness, and let loose corruptions as the ways and means by which he would bring them to that glory appointed to them in Christ; for everything which befalls believers in this world is a means to that great end of eternal glory to which God hath ordained them; and therefore was fore-ordained for them, in and by that great and eternal love, and so cannot but be in love and for their good. {Rom.8:28-32} “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” {Eph.1:11} “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” {Acts 15:18} All changes upon believers by sins or sorrows come upon them, by, and through an Eternal Covenant of Grace made with Christ on their behalf; and this Covenant of Grace is but the gathering together, and revealing with an obligation to them, to perform whatever were his eternal purposes in Himself concerning believers; wherefore all that is decreed concerning them is exhibited to them through a Covenant of Grace, which cannot but season it and make it wholesome to them, however pernicious it be to others. Which Covenant encompasses the Father’s everlasting decree about them; the Son’s eternal union with them, and Headship to them, and his merits and intercession; and the Holy Spirit’s inhabitation in them, and office towards them, {to unfold and set forth the glories of Christ unto them,} to work all their works for them, {for God’s words as applied by the Spirit are operative as well as imperative, as they carry a power to do that which is a command believers, as in the creation, “let there be light, and there was light, &c.”} till he hath made them meet for glory, all which is expressed in the Covenant of Grace; in which they may be assured that nothing shall befall them but for their good; that the corruption of their natures shall be so ordered and overruled, both before and after conversion, as that it shall culminate and turn to God’s glory, and their eternal good; and that Christ hath made atonement for all sin, past, present, and to come; inasmuch as the sins of all the elect were laid upon him or met in him. {Is.53:6} Thus all afflictions come through a Covenant of Grace, “which is ordered in all things and sure,” and are expressed in it; {Ps.89:32-34;} for they be Fatherly chastisements for good, and tokens of love to which the Covenant binds God; whence it is that God is called the terrible God, keeping Covenant and mercy; because his Covenant for mercy is often to afflict. {Neh.1:5} So compare we sin in its guilt with Jesus Christ in his Righteousness; and it is not so much as a cloud compared with the Sun in its strength, it is nothing; and so also compare we sin in its being with the Council, Decree and Intent of God the Father, and it is nothing. Thus the Lord puts forth power to nullify sin on the behalf of believers. {For Sin unfits the child of God for his Christian service which is to eat the holy things and keep a continual feast all his lifelong; that is, to feed by Faith with joy continually on the Righteousness, Passion and Merits of Christ which were typified by the holy sacrifices and feasts of old; I Cor.5:7,8; the joy of the Lord; that is, joy in the Lord Christ being their strength. Neh.8:10.} Now then to sum up all; since all changes by sins or sorrows which befall believers come from God, and from his Decree Everlasting and are dispensed to them as a nurture through a Covenant of Grace, it must needs be that they must all work together for their good. Furthermore, troubles either by sin or affliction are to be looked on two ways; both as sins that are our own, and come from our accursed nature, dishonoring unto God, crucifying Christ, grieving the Holy Spirit, and transgressing the commandment, &c.; and so afflictions may be so considered, either as coming from our sin, or at the least, our sinfulness exposing them; and thus, with hope in Christ for pardon, believers do grieve and humble themselves for sins and afflictions; as sins or afflictions are beheld, only as our own, and their bad effects, bitter roots; and God, and his will, and his hand in them, and their good effects through him are not considered; which indeed is rarely done by believers; yea, hardly known and therefore I have enlarged upon it; for believers often judge God’s holy dispensations by sense and carnal reason, and not by Faith; and God carries things in contraries, and usually lays foundations of greatest good and comfort in greatest appearances of the contrary. {Is.55:8,9, Ez.18:29} John Archer {Comfort for Believers, 1645}

Posted August 27, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Gospel of the Grace of Christ: What is the Gospel and the particulars that are necessary to be known therein? Tis a glad, great, glorious and hidden mystery to carnal men, but revealed to believers by the eternal Spirit. The Gospel is glad tidings; it is glorious in its original, instruments and sequel that follow it; its glories are hidden in part from believers, and totally from the reprobates in regard of the experimental knowledge thereof and it’s true enjoyment; it is certain in Christ and to the Faith of God’s elect; it is full of influence, urging Faith and Repentance; it is an everlasting Gospel, for it was from the beginning propounded to man as soon as he needed Christ; it is effectual, as it reveals life, brings blessings, works magnanimity in our hearts, violence in our pursuit of evangelical righteousness, poverty of spirit, purifies the conscience, and sets the soul at true liberty in teaching how to serve God in Spirit and in Truth; and to believe that Christ hath fulfilled all righteousness in our place and on our behalf. {Lk.2:10, Rom.10:15, 15:13, Col.1:26-27, Jn.16:13, Col.2:2-3, II Cor.1:20, 4:3, Gen.3:15, Rev.14:6, Is.61:1, Mt.11:5, Lk.16:16, 4:18-19, Jn.4:24} The true Gospel is that which sets forth Christ’s benefits, as pardon of sins, peace, joy, and the believer’s Righteousness in Him. The Gospel transcends the Law, in matter, subjects, ends, condition, qualifications, quality, manner, confirmation, persons and in seals; and the true Gospel is to be preached plainly, clearly, purely, sincerely, constantly, vehemently and powerfully; not darkly or in a cloud, much less mixed with a strange tongue. The Gospel was revealed to the fathers of old for their comfortable expectation of Christ, that they might long for the Messiah. {Is.40:2, 64:1,2} That none might plead ignorance, {Heb.1:1-2,} that their speculations might be above the shadows, types and figures in Christ, who is the Substance and Truth of them all; that the majesty, honor and glory of Christ might be the more perspicuous when he should be exhibited in the flesh. {Is.40:3} Doubtless the fathers of old knew God comfortably in Christ that was to come, for they ate and drank Christ sacramentally, had faith unfeigned, and were effectually saved by Christ that was to come, as we are by Christ that is already come; {Acts 15:11, Heb.11:1-37, I Cor.10:3, Jn.1:18;} that all {Jew and Gentile} the elect as united in Christ, seeing more distinctly the efficient, formal, material and final causes of their Salvation; and when Christ was exhibited, crucified and ascended, they having a fuller revelation of him and consolation from him; that they might be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory and continually sound forth his praise. {I Pet.1:18-21} The Gospel was left on record to prevent heresy, to settle faith, to be a perfect Cannon and Rule; and therefore to keep out counterfeit books and expose anything else that might be written and entertained for Scripture. {Gal.1:8, Rom.15:4, Jn.20:31} The Gospel is most excellent in the authority of it; in the antiquity of it; and in the quality of it. The Gospel is Divine, ancient, durable, precious and engenders faith in Christ; and true Christians do honor it by their presence when it is preached, and by their practicing of it, by pleading for it, by promulgating it and by providing sufficient maintenance for the preachers of it. The Gospel was indicted by the Holy Ghost for holy ends, to teach, convince, direct and instruct in righteousness. {II Pet.2:21, II Tim.3:16} The Gospel and the Law agree in the Author which is God; in the matter, that is Truth; in the end, that is God’s glory. God the Author appears in the Gospel as a Father reconciled, but in the Law only as a Creator; the Law for the matter of it is of works, but the Gospel is of Grace; the Law was in a righteousness mutable, the Gospel is Christ’s Righteousness immutable; the reward of the Law was of debt, but the Gospel reward is of Grace. God appeared angry in the Law, but well pleased in the Gospel; for the mediator of the Law was a servant, but the Mediator of the Gospel is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Law in its effects was a bill to bind, a prison to shut up and a very death to all that are under it; but the Gospel is an acquittance, discharge and life; that is, both free, full and forever in Christ. {II Cor.3:7-10} The Law was written in tables of stone, and that without; but the Gospel is written in the flesh and that within the heart of every true believer. {Ex.34:1, II Cor.3:6-11, Jer.31:33,34} The place of the Law was Sinai in darkness, but the Gospel is Zion in light. {Heb.12:18-22} The time of promulgation of the Law was the infancy of the Church, and for duration, it was for a while; {Gen.49:10;} but the Gospel in clearness of vision and fuller dispensation in the fullness of time, is to remain forever to the world’s end, and to be published to the saints. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted August 31, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Mystery of Godliness: What is considerable in the Mystery of Godliness, Christ come in the flesh? “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” {I Tim.3:16} Christ is the truth of all Truth, the embodiment of that Covenant that is firm and sure in all things and is ordered aright. {II Sam.23:5} It was Christ that brought us into favor again with God, made up the breaches for us, for he hath knit the true knot, united us to God, restored God’s image again in us, and hath worshiped God perfectly for us, and so presents us unto his Father in all his perfections. {Heb.10:14} Christ by his incarnation, assuming our nature, was conceived without sin, born without sin; for all his thoughts, words and works were pure, perfect and all together without sin; true it is, God and man were quite out, and all bonds were quite burst asunder by the violation of his pure Law, but Christ hath knit them together in one again; and God and man that were at odds, are now made one again; yea, and are decisively reconciled together in him. Christ in our flesh became sin, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in him. {II Cor.5:21} Christ by his fulfilling of Righteousness for us, that as God was pleased to lay on him the iniquity of us all, so he hath borne them all and paid an all sufficient price, so that justice itself can demand any more of him, or any that he died for; for Christ satisfied God’s justice in its entirety, pacified his wrath, beat out the teeth of the Law, took away sin, destroyed death, the devil, hell; removed the curse, shut up hell’s gates, opened heaven, obtained mercy and life eternal for all those whom he represented; namely, all the elect that are newborn, that believe that Christ was born for them, and that Christ hath paid the debt of service to God for them. {Is.53:1-12} Angels saw these things to be just and testified the same to men; they saw Grace and Truth brought into the world by Christ, the true Elias that was to restore all things again, and of whom Elias was but a type; they saw God and man united together in Christ’s conception; they saw the birth, life, death, passion, agony in the Garden, his blood like sweating at the work of our redemption, they heard his groans and prayers, saw his tears which he shed for our sins, his miracles that he wrought, goings out, and comings in, were eyewitnesses of his burial, resurrection and ascension; and now see his glory in heaven. All the good that ever God did to his Church in former times was through Christ Jesus the Messiah that was to come, and all that he doth, or will bestow upon his Church to the world’s end, both grace and glory, is in, through and for Christ Jesus, that is already come, and he never will bestow anything in mercy but through Jesus Christ, he being the new and living way, that he hath made for us, to come unto God by, through the veil of his flesh. The merits of the Lord Jesus Christ are as effectual for the elected, yet unborn; as those that lived in his time, before and since; for the Lord Jesus Christ is in all respects as fully the Savior of those that are elected, that are yet unborn, as those that now believe, or those that have formerly believed in him, and were saved by his merits. {Heb.13:8, I Jn.2:2} These thus saved in Christ, do walk in Christ, possess and enjoy Christ, and are in favor with God, do worship God in spirit and truth, {that is,} in Christ Jesus, {that is,} they do believe that the perfect worship Christ hath performed on their behalf, and stands for them forever, and in all ordinances the Spirit of God presents this before the view of their Faith. {Heb.10:20} Christ by his exaltation to heaven hath made way for man that was shut out by sin, {to his Father in heavenly glory,} so that his coming in his humiliation was not in vain, for he hath not left ought to pay for the Church, but hath got more for her than Adam lost, for he only lost created felicity, but Christ hath purchased of his Father remission of sins and eternal glory; so we see clearly that Christ is all that ministers should preach and people enjoy; for all things in former times did but shadow out Christ that was to come; and Christ is that new Adam in whom believers stand, for he is a Representative Person, and whatsoever he thought, spake, or did was for the Church, and every particular member thereof, to make them freely, perfectly, invisibly, mystically, evangelically and passively righteous. {Rom.5:19, I Cor.1:30} It is God’s special decree touching the conferring of eternal Salvation by Christ the Redeemer to certain men and women of mere Mercy, Favor and Grace, choosing them to eternal life in Christ Jesus before the world was made. Therefore the Church doth well in holding forth and believing that God from all eternity hath by his immutable purpose and decree, predestinated unto life, a certain elect number of particular men; the elect and true Church of Christ that neither can be augmented nor diminished; and the rest are eternally, unchangeably, and perpetually reprobated unto death eternal. {Eph.1:4,5, Rom.9:15-16, 11:7} The only moving efficient cause of election is the mere good pleasure, love, free grace and mercy of God, and not foreseen faith, good works, pre-required qualities or conditions in the persons elected; and though sin be the only cause of damnation, yet the sole and primary cause of non-election or reprobation is the mere free will and pleasure of God, and not the prevision or pre-consideration of any actual sin, as infidelity or final impenitency. That there is no such thing as free will, universal grace or sufficient abilities communicated unto all men whereby they may repent, believe and be saved if they will. That Christ Jesus died exclusively, really and effectually for none but only the elect, for whom alone he hath actually and effectually obtained remission of sins and life eternal. These elect obey evangelically; neither do they, nor can they finally or totally resist the inward, powerful and effectual working of God’s Spirit in their hearts in the very act of their own conversion, neither is it in their own power to convert or not convert themselves in the day of their conversion; {the day of their espousal to Christ,  the day of sovereign and efficacious application.} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Our Virtue in Christ: All virtue empowered to lead a godly life is communicated by Christ alone to the believer, so that there cannot be a fleshly licentiousness allowed in the conversation of such nations, people, or persons that are united and married to Christ in real and spiritual bond; for true religion is pure and undefiled, and Christ is the pure fountain whose streams that do flow from him must needs be pure also; and for certain, all licentious conversations or miscarriages of those that profess Christianity are not from Christ, or any part of their life in Christ, for they have never so learned Christ; and Christ, the Gospel, nor Christianity; and therefore if at any time believers break out into a criminal fault or sin, the Gospel ought not be blamed, but the saddle must be set on the right steed, old Adam, the old man and the devil; and punishment rendered not upon the Truth as it resides in Jesus Christ, but upon sin itself. Thus we hear, “oh; this is indeed religion, these are your professors in former times, but now these are your new lights, these things should not be;” but now you should say, “oh; the policy of the devil that would render Christ and believers so odious in the world; oh, the prevalency of the old man; what should we do if God leave us?” Rebuke the sinner and spare not, and punish the fault where it is found, be no respecter of persons and ye do well; that this monster be made exemplary, and cut off its head by your two edged sword of justice; let the laws of the land in God’s name be executed, but be ye ever tender of Christ, Christianity and believers; strike not Christ, and tell the people that there is no fault whatsoever in the Gospel; that true light wherever it be preached and entertained in the love thereof by any, either in the Army, Parliament, Town, City or Country or anywhere; though something be done by some that are abominable, wicked and detestable to God and all good men, and both against law and conscience, blame not the whole for the fault of some, but know and conclude that the intents and practices of the rest may be glorious, and that the work of God in hand shall go on, prosper and be perfected; {in its appointed time;} that the Gospel in the purity of it shall break forth, {wherever it be sent in its effectual power,} taking root downward, flourishing and bringing forth in abundance; when it is entered into the hearts of servants, masters, parents and children. Truly men live, when their life is by Faith which produces love and all good works. Christ is a fruitful Husband, and the true Gospel works full reformation, &c How did Philip’s preaching to the Samaritans turn all topsy-turvy? Did the Apostles preach any other doctrine to reform the world by; and was it not effectual? Truly it hath not lost any of its heavenly power, strength or virtue. Oh that it were preached more frequently, purely and distinctly. Oh what a blessed reformation God by the preaching of the Gospel hath wrought and brought forth for us; “not by might, nor by power, {sword or steel,} but by my Spirit, {in the preaching of the Gospel,} saith the LORD of hosts.” We know that all the promises that are conditional center in Faith, for though they be legally expressed, yet they are evangelically to be understood of believers made to Christ properly, and Christians in him, and where works are commanded they are only as fruits of Christ the good Tree, tending to our conversation only, for Salvation is to be attributed to God and Christ alone; and Free-Grace teachers affirm that works do necessarily follow Faith in conversation and demonstration as fruits, effects and consequences that do more or less shadow faith according to the operations of that all-sanctifying, all-directing and all-working Spirit; and as the word is full of goodness, justice, pureness, holiness and peaceableness, so the believer is made like to the word, he being united to it and so is a partaker of the virtue thereof, that he is metamorphosed and made like to it, and is ready to every good word and work. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Law and Gospel Exhortations Fulfilled in Christ: What is to be considered in all the promises made in Scripture which are dependent upon our obedience? “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” “If you turn to the Lord.” “If you walk in my statutes.” “If you will hearken to my voice.” “If we confess our sins and forsake them, we shall find mercy.” “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged of the Lord.” “If you mortify the deeds of the flesh by the Spirit you shall live.” “Call upon me, and I shall hear you.” “Seek and you shall find.” &c. Answer: They are to be considered either legally {Law} or evangelically {Gospel.} Legally thus; thou being out of Christ, and though fallen, justice requires perfect, sincere, universal, undivided and constant obedience to all the Commandments in thy own person upon pain of death, and if thou fail in the least, for matter, manner or end, thou must eternally perish. Thou art gone forever in the Court of Justice, though thou servest God devoutly, diligently, earnestly, instantly, distinctly and with all sincerity, conscientiously, zealously, freely, and feelingly and as spiritually as thou canst; all this will not pass for current in heaven, except thou be clothed in the righteousness of Christ, his obedience exclusively and entirely, for he indeed and alone served God undividedly, constantly and perfectly, &c., thou canst not do well, but will be found in evildoer and a worker of iniquity, though thou shinest like an angel in man’s esteem, and thinkest thyself somebody righteous, rich and holy enough in thine own eyes. It is not a lazy seeking, a half turning, to turn from one extreme to another, nor our halting in the way, and picking and choosing what we like, and refusing the rest, hearing such voices as we fancy, and running the deaf ear to the rest, and confession by halves, and with a bold face and stony heart, forsaking what sins we please; or our own mortar making, {for we at best are but mortar makers,} seeming to kill one sin, and smooth, forsake and cherish multitudes as sweet bits under our tongues, &c. But the meaning is this; ask for matter, manner and end, just as thou oughts to do, or else receive God’s curse; knock not too soft, nor too hard, lest God knock thee down for thy insolvency or spew thee out of his mouth for thy luke-warmness; look to it, see that you do all that is commanded without the least aberration, or thou must perish everlastingly by the Law. And what man under heaven dare appear before God in his own obedience, service, worship, prayers, corrupt tears, humility, contrition and amendment of life; who is so foolhardy as to think he hath sufficiently been willing and obedient to God, and served him {since he came to know him} so meekly, reverently and spiritually as God doth in his Law require? The thought of this will make thy heart to quake and thy joints to tremble. Now considered evangelically thus; though we cannot do well per se in our own persons as the Law requires, for matter, manner and end; yet ‘per alium’ {‘qui facit per alium facit per se’ is a Latin legal term meaning, he who acts through another does the act himself,} in the Person of our Mediator we may; and this when we believe that Christ hath accomplished all; and in Him alone is the Father well pleased. Christ was conceived, born, thought, spake and wrought well for us; he willed and was obedient too, fasted, prayed and worshiped God aright, fulfilled the Law, satisfied God’s justice, and by his death mortified sin, so that it is stone dead, and can never move where he is. It was Christ that sought God for us aright, and found him too, he asked and was heard, and was heard always, he only knocked, {no harder or softer than was requisite,} and ‘twas opened to him for us, his zeal was not too hot or cold, but of right temper, so that in all things he thought, spake and wrought well. ‘Twas Christ that judged himself, having taken mans sins upon himself, it was he that confessed sin, and made a good and perfect confession, and forsook it perfectly, hated it totally and absolutely with an eternal hatred; he only was perfectly willing and obedient, and kept the charge of the Lord, fulfilled his statutes, working well always; he only called upon God perfectly in humility and sincerity; having true sorrow on account of {mans} sin, ‘twas he that worshipped God in Spirit and Truth; he alone was without sinful wrath or revenge, being pure, holy, harmless and without hypocrisy; the right mourner, peacemaker and sufferer for righteousness sake, being temperate, compassionate and of a sweet disposition, and all the conditions required in all the aforesaid Scriptures must be looked for where they are, namely, in Christ Jesus, for in him, and through him, and by him are all things; yea, all the promises of God in him are yea and amen; but nay to us without him; so then by him we mortify sin, do well, are obedient, and perform all conditions; in him we worship God in Spirit and Truth, and fulfill the whole Law evangelically, and being one with him by union, &., But my full answer is, that all hypothetical propositions whose promises run seem to run conditional, do actually run unconditionally as they center in Christ, in whom, and by which only we perform the conditions; and I am bold to affirm, that there was never any mere man that lived upon the earth since Adam sinned, in which any one of the conditions were performed perfectly, and in this case imperfection will not pass unpunished in the strictness of justice; and who dare say, “I hate sin with a perfect, universal, unsatisfiable and eternal hatred? I do well for matter, manner and end, and have worshiped God perfectly, served him undividedly, constantly, universally, and with that dexterity, enthusiasm, and in that spirituality that God requires.” Who can say, “I have crucified the old man, and utterly abolished the whole body of sin, so that there is no tincture of that left, but sin is killed that it stirs no more;” and who is so temperate, meek, patient and humble, but there is some piece of pride in him? And therefore I understand all such places of Scriptures that affirm the doers of the Law to be just, to be blessed in their deed and doing, workers of righteousness, walkers with God, to be righteous as he is righteous, and men after God’s own heart evangelically as they stand in Christ, either as he was to come, or as he is come already, and hath fulfilled the Law for them, for there is nothing out of Christ that pleases God. To speak properly and truly, ours is imperfect, and there is stain and contamination in all, &c., and therefore all that a believer may or can, or ever shall be able to find in himself is this, that he is destitute of all goodness, grace and virtue, for he may and doth see what he should be, but never what he truly is; that is, perfected in Christ, looking entirely to him for full supply, and there alone finding rest, comfort and abundant consolation from this fountain that is never failing. This is the Christian’s magazine, shop of medicines, storehouse for provision, and paradise of pleasures in which he may solace himself, without danger either of drowning, blowing up, poisoning, surfeiting or famishing forever. Christ being thy armor, who can kill thee; thy food, health and clothing, canst thou want or miscarry; is not Christ eyes to the blind, legs to the lame, that Balm of Gilead to the wounded, light to them that sit in darkness, life to the dead, honor to the contemptible, joy to them that are of a sad heart, riches to the poor, the garments of righteousness to poor sinners, the coverings of God, the well of life, the pillar of fire by day and night to lead thee to salvation glory in all its fullness. To Christians he is all things and better than all things; and whatsoever is excellent in heaven or earth are but glimpses of that excellency that doth transcendently remain in him forever, and the flowings of it are our portions in this vale of misery, in which sense bears the sway; and sin, death, hell, and the curse are most perspicuous and predominant, contrary to the intentions, desires, and prayers of all the faithful, who would do all things for matter, manner, and end, as God requires, and are only grieved aright for their aberrations, swervings and failings; which they obtain by the eternal Spirit, whom God hath appointed to reveal the everlasting Gospel to those that now live or shall live hereafter. I say that the flowings of it forth in all the incomes of God are but so many beginnings, gracious touches and experimental feelings, the better to carry on the poor child of God in this spiritual warfare. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Our Life in Christ: Question - What think ye therefore of all such places of Scripture that affirm that Christ is of God made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, and that he was made sin for us, that knew none experimentally, and we are made the righteousness of God in him, and that he was our Surety, Daysman, Mediator and Redeemer. {I Cor.1:31, II Cor.5:21, Heb.7:22, I Jn.2:2, Job 9:33, Is.59:20, Rom.11:26} Answer: That by Imputation, all the knowledge and understanding, counsel, direct action, wisdom and prudence in Christ is now become the believers; and Christ’s purity, holiness, plainness, honesty, uprightness, integrity, justice and righteousness is his also, and the virtues, and graces or gifts that Christ had above all men, supplies their emptiness in God’s sight. In this sense Christ is made to them of God, sound wisdom, perfect righteousness, absolute holiness and eternal wisdom. ‘Twas the infinite, exact and inexpressible wisdom of God to provide so free, full and perfect redemption for us; that in Christ we might have all our losses restored, breaches made up, and a full supply of perfect wisdom, righteousness and holiness in Christ the New Man, that presents us to God, and endured the trial of justice itself at his own tribunal, and presents us everlastingly righteous, just and holy in the integrity, uprightness, plainness, honesty, purity and holiness of himself, and therein to stand accepted in the Beloved, being freed from all evil, sin, transgression and iniquity, and all the fearful consequences that follow upon the same, as the curse, wrath, horrors, fears, perplexities, shame and confusion of face forever; so that our own emptiness, folly and sinfulness is done away; and Christ’s sufficiency made manifestly ours, we receiving from him true righteousness for false, wisdom for folly; sanctification instead of corruption; love for hatred; redemption instead of captivity; meekness for pride; chastity for uncleanliness; mercifulness for hard heartedness; perfect patience for waywardness; true zeal for false; and instead of a curse the blessing of the Lord that maketh rich and adds no sorrow. And the believer is made a partaker of everlasting righteousness and the holiness of truth, and the truth of holiness; yea, the manifold wisdom of God. That is, the Christian doth possess and enjoy Jesus Christ who is variously dispensed and held forth in the ways of Grace, with new delights and contentments to the believers soul every day; so that the Christian rests in that redemption wrought by Jesus Christ, fully satisfied, and goes on in the assurance of Faith, believing that his debts are paid, he completely saved, having nothing chargeable against him in heaven, and so the mediation, contemplation and continual application of Christ, his wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption so freely and fully wrought, revealed and sealed to him by the Spirit, {of revelation & application,} becomes his life; and all other employments in this world, as his following his particular calling, discharging his trust, either as he stands in relation to church or state; as a servant unto all, and doing all in love, as it is termed the labor of love; so he preaches, prays and performs religious, civil, moral and all his actions in love; and though his works are imperfect and can do him no good towards his Salvation, yet comparatively and unintentionally, {being kept in their place,} they shine forth and are profitable to others, both for imitation and emulation in the best sense; namely, that others may have occasion to praise God that ever Christ is thus lifted up in the profession of the Gospel; and thus teach the believer to look on God through Christ, the Crystal sea of glass and inexhaustible well of Salvation; and Shiloh that is our felicity, plenty, all God’s excellent things, and the Author thereof, as the word Shiloh signifies. {Gen.49:10, I Sam.3:21, Col.3:11, Acts 4:12} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.


                 Index of Authors                

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