December 2013


Posted December 1, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Gospel Truths Stated; the Bastard-Calvinist detected: or, the Arminian Unmasked. In a letter to the Rev. Samuel Blatchford, at Topsham, Devon. Containing a Fair Refutation of his Sermon Preached to the Western Calvinistic Association, at Bridport, Dorset, 16 May, 1792. Wherein is briefly proved, that some who profess themselves to be Calvinists, when they are nothing but Arminians; and would fain be taken for Gospel-Ministers, and Free-Grace Preachers, while their Ministry abounds with Free Will, Human Merit, &c. who, under the specious appearance of preaching up Creature-Holiness and Righteousness as the Conditions of Life, do sap and undermine the Foundation of the Church of God, and subvert the only Method of Salvation by unconditional Grace, to the Dishonour of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. By Robert Jeffery, Bridport. 1793.

Although the degeneracy of the times in which we live, and on account of the blindness of the teachers of the present day, things are quite altered; for Calvinism, is by the generality of our modern daubers called Antinomianism; and those who believe it, by way of reproach are called Antinomians, persons who hold licentious principles, &c. Words in the mouth almost of every schoolboy who has been at an Academy to be qualified for the ministry; and as for the old Arminian plan, that they now style Gospel, free grace, Calvinism; and themselves Calvinistic ministers, &c., and those who believe it, and contribute to the support of such a ministry are deemed a charitable, candid, moderate, pious, and good meaning people; thus matters are quite turned about; and I verily believe, that it was some Arminian priest or other that first christened or named the Calvinistic doctrines Antinomianism, because they savor so much of Free Grace, and cut off all degrees of boasting from man, or in man; and give the glory entirely to God. Besides, they are frequently calling those who differ from them, particularly on the free grace side, by the name antinomians; though they themselves do not probably know what antinomianism is, nor who the persons are that do really profess to be such; but it is a cant word, promiscuously used by the advocates of free will in order to bring into dis-esteem; and if possible, to blacken in the eyes of others, the persons and characters of those who are the friends of truth. If the Arminians of old have “called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore; for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.” {Mt.10:25,26}

Hear ye, therefore, the word of the Lord, ye self-righteous {Pv.30:12;} ye Arminian free-willers, that “except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.” {Mt.5:20} For the generality of mankind judge mostly by outward appearance, and therefore they look more to the preachers dress, learning, and profession, than they do to the subject matter of his ministry, or the doctrine that he delivers, to see whether it is agreeable to the mind of God in his Word, or not, and so are deceived. Hence it is that the different preachers amongst the Socinians, Arians, Arminians, &c., all pass without exception for Christian ministers, Gospel preachers, Ministers of Christ, &c., “and no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” {II Cor.11:13-15} “Take heed therefore how ye hear.” {Lk.8:18} There were many, even amongst the Dissenters, who professed one thing, and preached another, {Pv.27:19,} and who would be as Gospel ministers, and Free Grace preachers, although they legalize and pervert the Gospel into a general and universal command for all and every individual of mankind, to believe, &c., which they make the grand condition, or term, of life and salvation, and upon which eternal life is suspended; upon this they exhort sinners, dead in sins, to believe, or they’ll be damned; so that if they don’t believe, they have no interest in Christ, or his benefits; but if they do believe, then they become interested in Christ, &c., thus faith is not only made a condition of life, but the creature’s own act at least in part; for they say that a man may act or believe if he will; and what is this but Moses in an apparently gospelized dress, or, Do this and live? And as to what they term free grace, it is this; that Christ having by his death purchased certain blessings as the love of God, the pardon of sin, the kingdom of heaven, which are now freely offered to the acceptance of every man upon the terms of the Gospel, namely, faith and repentance, and is as free for one man as another, if they will but accept of it; and this is their free grace, free for everybody without any exception; hence we have been told that “none are excluded from the favor of God, nor the kingdom of heaven, but only such as exclude themselves.” So under a Calvinistic name, cloak and profession, some zealously maintain the doctrines of Arminian free will; and this is professing one thing, and preaching another. --- The Arminian asserts that by conditions met, is that for which we are respected or loved of God, the falseness of which I shall now discover, by proving that all who are the objects of God’s love of delight and complacency were such before the foundation of the world; so that they fulfilling certain, so-called, conditions in time, does not make them such; namely, the objects of God’s love. To this purpose we read, “herein is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us;” {I Jn.4:10;} “we love him, because he first loved us.” {I Jn.4:19} Also the same Apostle tells us, that “God is love;” {I Jn.4:8,16;} and that “God so loved the world;” {Jn.3:16;} but all and every individual of mankind are not so signally loved of God; neither is the term ‘world’ here to be so understood in such an extensive manner as including the whole of mankind, because it is only a certain and particular number of persons who are the objects of God’s love from amongst the rest of mankind; hence it is recorded, “I have loved you;” saith the Lord to Israel of old; “yet ye say, wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother, saith the LORD; yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau.” {Mal.1:2,3} So says the Holy Ghost, “Jacob have I loved; but Esau have I hated;” {Rom.9:13;} and Paul also, in treating of the grand and sublime doctrine of Predestination unto life; “having,” says he, “predestinated us,” {not all the inhabitants of Ephesus,} “unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself.” {Eph.1:5} By what rule, according to their being new creatures, repentant, holy, or believers? No; for it was done before the foundation of the world. “According as he hath chosen us in him {Christ} before the foundation of the world.” {Eph.1:4} Was it because he foresaw that in some future period that they would be so and so, and with this view predestinate them? No; not a word of this in all the Holy Scripture. {II Thes.2:13} What was it then? Why, it was by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. {Eph.1:5} That was the rule, and there was never any other, nor ever will be; that is, according to his infinite love of delight and complacency which he had towards them in Christ Jesus before the world began, without any regard being had to works, good or evil, that should be done by the creature man; {Rom.9:11;} hence it is with propriety said to be of his own will, {James 1:18,} and according to the purpose of him, namely, God, who “worketh all things, after the counsel of his own will.” {Eph.1:11} --- Now whatever God the Father is in Himself, as the God of Grace and Glory, {Ps.84:11,} to the objects of his eternal love; that he is to them in his Son Jesus Christ; for Christ as the Head, {Eph.5:23,} and they as the members of his mystical body have been always viewed as One in the Covenant Counsel, and mind of God. {Eph.3:7-11} This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and his Church; {Eph.5:32;} hence he says to his disciples, “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me,” {John 14:11,} and “all things that the Father hath are mine;” namely, all things, in the mind, counsel, covenant, and promises of God, {II Cor.1:20,} respecting the elect, are mine to reveal, manifest, and apply by my Spirit experimentally to them in due time, and to them only. {John 17:6} So speaking of the Spirit which he promised to send, Christ declares that when He comes, “he shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you; for all things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” {John 16:14,15} Now as Christ was the Object of his Father's love of delight and complacency, “for the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things,” {John 5:20,} as it is written, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.” {Is.42:1} So all those who are the objects of God's love of delight and complacency, were so loved, and so delighted in Christ, with the same love of complacency and delight as He was, and that before the foundation of the world, as is plain by Christ's praying for them upon this very principle, as being the objects of God’s ancient and eternal love; and so it is recorded, “neither pray I for these alone;” namely, the disciples who were then present with him, “but for them also which shall believe on me through their Word, that they all may be one;” namely, openly and experimentally one in the personal enjoyment thereof, “even as we are one, I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me…for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” {John 17:22-24} --- Thus from the testimonies of God in his Word, already advanced, it is plain that those who are the special objects of God’s love and delight, were such before the foundation of the world; therefore it is impossible that anything in man, or that should be done by him, could be the cause, or that for which he is, or can be, respected or loved of God, as it was fixed upon the objects of it even in eternity, before ever they had any personal existence; so that those who in time are made new creatures, believers, or born again of God, are not made so as a condition or qualification to reinstate them into the favor of God, or as in the least being necessary or available to make them the objects of his love. No; but as the fruits or effects thereof; and because being some of that happy number, to which it is entirely owing that any are in time effectually called by grace. “For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake; because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.” {I Sam.12:22} So we read, “the LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” {Jer.31:3} “But as many as received him, to them gave he power {privilege} to become {manifestly} the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” {Jn.1:12,13} “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” {Gal.4:6} “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.” {James 1:18} All which fully proves to a demonstration, the subtlety and falseness of the Arminian scheme; who join grace with creature merit, as being that for which any are accepted of God, when God himself, as I have briefly shown, solemnly and positively declares, again and again to the contrary; to which I answer in the words of Paul to the Arminians of old; “let God be true and every man a liar.” {Rom.3:4} --- Objection: But some may say, did we not fall in Adam and thereby become sinners before God; and how can God love sinners with a love of complacency and delight? Answer: It is true we did fall in Adam, and thereby became sinners; but as to our being sinful or righteous in ourselves, it hath nothing at all to do with it; for as to God’s fixing his love of unchanging delight on a peculiar and certain number of his creatures in Christ before the foundation of the world, it was from himself, and he did it in and of the good pleasure of his will or because he would; {Eph.1:5,6;} so that the creature’s own goodness or righteousness, could be no cause or inducement why God should set his love upon them; nor their sinfulness or bad works, any motive why he should not, seeing it was prior to the fall of man, and done in eternity, it being an eminent act of the Divine will, and the only grand cause, source, and spring from whence all spiritual blessings do proceed, that the Church and people of God do enjoy in time, and to all eternity. Hence we read, “in this was manifested the love of God towards us,” says John, “because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world; that we might live through him.” {I Jn.4:9} So says Paul, “husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it, &c.” {Eph.5:25} Thus love, eternal and unchanging love, is at the bottom of all that God does for his people. {Is.38:16-18} And this being the true state of the case, the creature man cannot, by any means do anything at all, in the least, to merit, procure, or obtain it on the one hand; {Job 22:3, Cant.8:6,7;} nor to remove, abate or hinder it on the other hand; {Job 22:2, 35:5,6;} but because that which is only temporal, can have no possible influence or effect upon that which is eternal, though some have arrogantly asserted, “That God never did, nor never can, take delight in any till they are renewed in their minds, or till they believe.” Then certainly their pretended faith and holiness must be what will make them the objects of God’s delight, if God does not, nor can delight in them before. The reverse of which by Scripture I have already sufficiently proved, and do still maintain upon the fame authority, that though there often is, and may be, some variations or difference in the manifestations of God’s love to his people, as to the time, way, and manner of it, yet in itself it remains {Job 23:13} an unchanging love of complacency and delight towards them in every state and condition that they possibly can be in, in the present world; and in God’s own appointed time, that they will all surely be brought to the happy enjoyment of it, because it is not such a irresolute, undecided, ambiguous and vague piece of trade as some bunglers make of it, who represent Christ as willing and wooing the Salvation of all without exception, if they will but be saved; or in other words, I will, if ye will. No; but I will and ye shall, says God to his people; for he is the Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are judgment; a God of Truth. And so it is recorded; “Yea, I have,” it is not to say, I will; but “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” {Jer.31:3} So says Paul, “but God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” But when? When we were holy and become believers in Christ? No. When then, Paul? “Even when we were dead in sins,” and as a consequence of it, “hath quickened us together with Christ; by Grace ye are saved.” {Eph.2:4,5} Again; “but God commendeth his love toward us,” says Paul. What; not before our being believers, holy or righteous in ourselves? Yes. When then? Why, “in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” {Rom.5:8} So says John also, “herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” {I Jn.4:10} And the Lord Jesus having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them unto the end; “for the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness {or invariable love} shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.” {Is.54:10} --- Thus, upon the veracity of God in his Word it plainly appears that the love wherewith he loved his people is an eternal and unchanging love of complacency and delight in Christ Jesus towards them from eternity; {Jn.17:23,24;} in time, when fallen and dead in trespasses and sins; {I Jn.3:16;} and when called, even to eternity the same; {Zeph.3:17;} for “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,” and it is certain that God’s love of complacency and delight in Christ towards the objects of it, is both a good and perfect gift, “and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” {James 1:17 --- Ah! There are no degrees in the love of God, as the Arminians vainly talk, and would have it to be. First, a natural love, or love of goodwill, as some are pleased to term it, alike extended to all the human race; and when any are supposed, according to the judgment of charity, to become holy, believers, obedient, &c., then the Lord loves them better than he did before; and it increases towards such a natural love of goodwill, to a sovereign love of complacency and delight, but not before. So that those who are so unfortunate as not to improve their natural free will before their day of Grace is passed, fall from this love of God’s goodwill into hell, and so are lost forever. This is the doctrine of the day by many candid, school refined, nominal Gospel ministers; but it will not stand in the scrutiny of God’s word; neither is it in any sense agreeable to sound doctrine. --- Secondly, you assert that your new creature is necessary or available as “it interests us in Christ the Redeemer,” {pg.35,} but no positive proof is brought to ascertain the Truth thereof, only a perversion of Scripture, and carnal reasonings, and negative conclusions, as yea and nay; which establish nothing to the glory of God; nor is it of any spiritual benefit or advantage to the soul, but leaves the mind in a dilemma about something supposed, but does not certainly know what, running away with the shadow and losing the substance. I shall therefore endeavor to discover the falseness of this assertion also, in proving by the word of God, {1} an specific election of persons; {2} that it was before the foundation of the world; {3} speak of the grand cause thereof; which will entirely overthrow this Arminian system. --- That there is an election of particular persons is plain from the following positive Scripture declarations: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia; Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father;” {I Pet.1:1,2;} “and he;” that is, Christ, “shall send his angels;” that is, his ministers, “with a great sound of a trumpet,” {Mt.24:31;} to preach his pure and precious Gospel, but not to make a general offer of it; and the great sound that does attend it, does not mean the sound of verbosity, or noisy speech, nor the vain jangling of those, who “desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm;” {I Tim.1:7;} nor is it the sound of confused words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers, which consists in doubtful observations and unwarrantable negations, self-contradictions and unscriptural suppositions, with unsettled probabilities. No; but it signifies the Power of Christ to Salvation, speaking in and by his ministers, to the hearts of his own elect, according to his word, “and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” {Mt.24:31} Again; “for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, {II Pet.2:1,} and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect; {Mt.24:24;} “and except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.” {Mk.13:20} --- I come now to show that this election in Christ was before the foundation of the world. “Ye have not chosen me,” says Christ to his disciples, “but I have chosen you.” And, “blessed,” says Paul, “be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world.” “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared” or appointed “for you from the foundation of the world.” {Mt.25:34} What then has, or can the new creature, or believing, have to do, as being necessary or available to interest us in Christ, seeing that those who are, or ever will manifestively be made to enjoy a sense of interest in him here, or the kingdom of heaven hereafter, do experience and enjoy it by virtue of their being so elected, or predestinated before the foundation of the world. “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself; that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him. 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.1:9-11;} “for God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” {I Thes.5:9} --- Question - But were all and every individual of mankind so chosen in, or predestinated by Christ unto eternal life before the foundation of the world? Answer – No; as it is evident and plain from such, and the like following Scripture declarations: “I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.” {Phil.4:3} “And all the world wondered after the beast,” “and all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, {the Beast} whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” {Rev.13:3,8} Paul also, speaking of certain heretics, who by their false doctrine had overthrown the temporary faith of some nominal, candid, bastard professors; and lest God’s people should become sick and faint on account of the apparent success of their enemies, he administers for their relief, a double dose of eternal, personal, particular, and unconditional election, as prescribed by the Great Physician and Bishop of souls, being the only efficacious remedy, and preservative against all false prophets, {Mt.24:24,} with their false and delusive doctrines of free will, and universal grace offered to all, although they may, and frequently do, come in sheep's clothing, {Mt.7:15;} namely, under the name, garb, color, or cloak of Gospel ministers, ministers of Christ, styling themselves ambassadors, Calvinists, &c., by which they are the more likely to deceive others. {Rom.16:17,18} “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his; and, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” {II Tim.2:18,19} Not only from corrupt practices, but from soul deceiving and corrupt principles also. --- Again, “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Know ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace;” {Rom.11:2-5;} and not according to the new creature or our faith, &c. This is the Arminian opinion, and it is the common notion that exists in the hearts of merit mongers of every class, for they generally put the cart before the horse; and when questioned on the subject, they’ll tell you that they did not mean so. --- Thirdly, I come now to speak of the grand cause of it; or how any are interested in Christ; and this we are assured, that it is by the unmerited Grace, Favor and Will of God alone, and not works; of which Jacob was a typical and significant representation, as being one of the objects of God’s eternal love and choice; as Esau was of his eternal hatred and rejection, irrespective of works. “And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels.” {Gen.25:21-23} And lest any objector should endeavor by sophistry or carnal reasonings, to pervert the Truth here stated; the Lord hath fully established it by the mouth of Paul; “for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, {Rebekah,} the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” {Rom.9:11-13} And the same Apostle, speaking of himself and his brethren, says, “having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” {Eph.1:4,5} --- Thus have I briefly shown, as I proposed, an election of particular persons in Christ before the foundation of the world; and that the unmerited favor and will of God alone is the only grand cause of it, and not of works. So that the Arminians supposed, or ideal new creature, upon Scripture authority can by no means be necessary or available to interest us; that is, to give us a share in the Person and Benefits of Christ, as it was entirely owing to that infinite and unchangeable love of complacency and delight, called by the Apostle the good pleasure of his will towards them in particular, that the Father, ere time began, chose or elected them in Christ; he their Head, and they the members of his mystical body. {I Cor.12:12-14} And it is from this that a personal interest in Christ is to be dated; being chosen in him before the foundation of the world, and not upon being new creatures, holy or believers, &c., because in this view, is that Christ and his Church are considered as one; husband and wife eternally united in the indissoluble bond of everlasting, electing and invariable love. Hence it is, that whatever the Lord Jesus Christ has done, he did it for them, and them only, it being the effect of his love towards them, and on account of their eternal union to Him as their living Head. The great Apostle of the Gentiles describes this glorious mystery in the following manner, “unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see {not carnal and unenlightened men, but all spiritual men} what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” {Eph.3:8-11} And let me tell you, that without this eternal purpose, this eternal love, and this eternal election of persons in Christ, with their eternal union to him, and that before the foundation of the world, which are God’s holy mountains, {“his foundation is in the holy mountains.” Ps.87:1,} there would be no Church at all, nor one single soul would ever be brought to the spiritual and experimental enjoyment of God here, or to eternal glory hereafter. --- And here, permit me to drop a hint or two as a means, should the Lord enable you to attend to them which will help you out of some of those difficulties relative to the different descriptions given in Scripture of the people of God, as being the objects of God’s eternal love of complacency and delight; and yet at the same time, in Adam, in themselves, and in a Law sense, are “by nature children of wrath, even as others;” and that is, to remember that the Holy Ghost speaks of the elect, as being interested in two different heads or persons; the one from eternity, and the other in time; Christ and Adam. The one as their natural head; and the other their living, quickening, {Jn.5:21,} and spiritual Head. {Eph.5:23} “And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first {as to open existence or manifestation in the present world} which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” {I Cor.15:45,46} Hence in the order of Divine manifestations, “the first man {Adam} is of the earth, earthy; {Gen.2:7;} the second man {Christ} is the Lord from heaven.” {Jn.6:38} All the divine settlements of grace and glory, with all those spiritual blessings that the elect were blessed with before the world began, and are experimentally favored with in time, and will forever enjoy to all eternity, is in, by, and through the Lord Jesus Christ alone, and consequence of their eternal union to Him as their Head; {II Tim.1:9-10;} here, {I Cor.15:45-47,} called the last Adam, the second Man, the Lord from heaven. Were they the objects of God the Father’s eternal love of complacency and delight before the foundation of the world? It was in Christ that they were then and there so loved. {John 17:23,24} Did God the Father predestinate them unto eternal life before the foundation of the world? It was by Jesus Christ that they were then and there so predestinated. {Eph.1:5} Are they in time brought to hear and know the joyful sound or glad tidings of salvation? It is through Jesus alone that is preached unto them the forgiveness of sins, &c.; and so it might with equal propriety be said of everything else that appertains to their spiritual life here, with their safe arrival to the kingdom of eternal glory hereafter, that it is all safe and perfectly secured in Christ their Head. {I Thes.4:17} --- It should be observed, that all mankind in Adam, in a Law sense, and in themselves are sinners, elect as well as non-elect; and so are fallen creatures. Yet by the fall, the elect did not fall out of God’s love or favor, being loved with an eternal and unalterable love. They did not fall out of Christ, and thereby lose their personal interest in Him, being chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. Neither are they the children of God today, and tomorrow the children of the devil; in a state of grace and favor with God today, and tomorrow in hell. No; the Bible contains no such kind of Arminian trumpery; which would really be the case, if ever the love or favor of God were lost towards the object of it, or those who were chosen in Christ, to be dispossessed of an interest in Him. Hence it is, that although the elect are sinners in themselves; yet it is in Christ that they are what they are in the sight of God, before time, in time, and to all eternity; and not on the account of what they are in themselves, or by virtue of any works or doings of their own, either in whole or part, before or after they are manifestatively made the partakers of Divine and Sovereign Grace. --- I would additionally note that in all your sermon, there is not a mention made of the everlasting righteousness {Dan.9:24} of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the purest, the best robe, {Lk.15:22,} the only wedding garment, {Mt.22:11,12,} for a poor unworthy sinner to appear in, in the sight of God. No; this would have degraded your holy image too much; and besides, such old-fashioned patriarchal, {II Pet.2:5,} prophetic, {Jer.23:6,} apostolic, {Rom.10:1-10,} and free grace doctrine as this, does not suit you. The whole of your subject, in general, terminates in making faith the matter or material cause of justification, or that for which any are justified in the sight of God; for without it none, they say, are in a justified state; and if none are in a justified state in the sight of God until they believe, and upon believing become justified, then faith is their justification, or the material cause thereof, in the sight of God, and not Christ; which is a fundamental error, and opposite to the revealed will of God; {Isa.45:20-25;} and not only so, but in general they are so confused, and inconsistent on the subject, that they do not explain their meaning of justification; for sometimes it is faith, the new creature, or whatever they are pleased to term it; sometimes it is Christ; and sometimes it is both together, which they make the matter of justification before God; and such equivocal and uncertain sounds do their Arminian trumpets give. For my own part, I freely confess I've heard many of those daubers, {Ez.13:11-15,} and warpers; but in all my life I never heard one of them yet fairly, experimentally, and confidently state the grand doctrine of a full and complete justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ alone, and steadily to abide thereby, in making it the grand subject of their ministry; for if they do touch upon it in one sermon, they will surely contradict it in the same, or in another; and so it might be justly said, respecting all the grand, essential, and foundation doctrines of the everlasting Gospel of Christ; let the text to be it whatever it will, they are entirely omitted, or but very obscurely mentioned by them; but creature power, creature holiness, and works, and more works is their darling theme from week to week, and year after year, as verified by the Poet: “Thus they play on from year-to-year - on the Arminian dulcimer - and let the text be what it will - their subject matter is free will.” And yet such style themselves, Calvinists, Gospel preachers, and ministers of Christ, &c., when it is nothing but a dead letter ministry, a dull priest, and a dull people. The sense of all true, genuine servants of Christ upon the subject matter of justification is not that they are justified by the habit, or act of faith; but by the Object of faith - Christ and his righteousness, with which the faith of God's elect, when in exercise, is conversant; and not self-purity, or self-righteousness, as some modern Arminians assert. – Everyone who knows what it is really and truly to be made anew in Christ Jesus, knows that it is not in any sense their justifying righteousness, in whole or part, before God; but do sweetly and harmoniously join with the redeemed of the Lord in declaring that in the Lord have I righteousness and strength alone. {Is.45:25} This is the language of grace, and not of works; the experimental language of one who is made a new creature in Christ Jesus, and thus determined to give Christ all the glory. Robert Jeffery {Gospel Truths Stated or Bastard-Calvinist Detected & Arminian Unmasked, 1793}

Posted December 8, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Justification in Christ Alone: We assert that God having out of his mere good pleasure from all eternity, elected some to Salvation, did enter into a Covenant of Grace with his own Son Jesus Christ as the common Head and Representative of the elect; and so with them in him, as the second Adam, to bring them out of their estate of sin and misery into a state of Life and Salvation on condition that he should be their Surety, stand in their Law place, assume human nature and thereby perfectly fulfill the precepts of the Law and make full and complete satisfaction to the justice of God for their sin, by his death and sacrifice, &c.; which Covenant he hath kept, and all the elect are considered in him as his seed, and obeyed in him, were crucified with him, were justified with him, ascended with him, and now are set down in heavenly places in him, and thus all saved, and all called with an holy calling; not according to their own works, but according to his own Purpose and Grace, which was given them in Christ as their Covenant Head before the world began; {Rom.5:19, Eph.1:4, Rom.8:23, Heb.7:22, Eph.2:5, II Tim.1:9;} and that Justification is before faith; that Justification is in Christ alone, and not in our own persons or consciences; and that it was a glorious act of God to transfer and transmit our sins from us to his Son as Surety, who took all upon him, and therefore dis-charged us; and if the Covenant was from eternity, then he must be an Eternal Surety; and if so, God always saw our sins upon him, and not upon us, as we were in Christ justified in God’s sight before the foundation of the world; not that he saw that we would be justified only, but the choosing and viewing us in Christ before the world began; and there he viewed us all fair without one spot; and such a virtue had the sacrifice and death of Christ, as that before God, ii perfected forever them that were set apart or sanctified; {Heb.10:14;} so that it finished their transgressions, made an end of their sins, reconciled for their iniquities and brought in an everlasting Righteousness, {Dan.9:24;} inasmuch as the Apostle declares, “when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son;” {Rom.5:10;} which I think is so far from deserving the name of a wild and extravagant notion, that it is a solid Truth of God, and a glorious article of our Faith; which ought to be maintained against such that would have no other Justification than that by faith, and so they might destroy the freedom, the absoluteness and unconditionality thereof. But we think, that it is equally absurd to deny Justification in Christ, as to deny a being in him before the foundation of the world, which the Scripture is most abundant in setting forth; {Eph.1:4, Tit.1:2, II Tim.1:9;} and yet at the same time we dream not that a man personally, particularly and actually in his own soul is justified before he believes; but this is by faith whereby he comes to see his interest in the Obedience and Satisfaction of Jesus Christ, and so receives that Righteousness of Christ imputed by the Father to his own soul. - Thus the elect, as considered in Christ, and by virtue of his Suretyship, were indeed justified in God’s sight in eternity, and that as represented in him, as they were crucified with him, so they arose with him, and were justified with him in his Resurrection and Justification, and when called, the Spirit justifies them in their own consciences, by the application of Christ’s Blood and Righteousness which is received by faith alone; which Faith is that spiritual eye whereby we view New Covenant blessings in Christ; and by which we are led into the amazing mysteries of electing and redeeming Grace, into the way of God’s saving sinners by Jesus Christ, in whom all is laid up, and wherein all is secured as the Head, the Surety and Mediator of the New Covenant, so that the believer sees his standing safe in Christ, and that because Christ lives he shall live also, and that nothing shall be able to separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus; neither devils, men, nor sin; that all things are well and securely ordered in a Covenant of Grace made with Christ, the Head and with the elect as the Covenant seed; that every perfection of the Divine Nature are as Towers about the walls of the Covenant; and that Covenant Truth, Holiness and Faithfulness are tied and obliged for the security of his Salvation, and that the word and oath of God hath made it surer than heaven and earth. Joseph Taylor “Beauty of the Lord in His Temple,” 1705.

Posted December 15, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

“Christ is all.” Col.3:11: Comprehending Greatness of the Person of Christ: It is the glory of our holy religion that all its Truths are immutable, being built in the indestructible Person of the God-man: Christ Jesus the Lord; as all the branches of Divine Truth emanate from him, who is the Truth, and are the Reflection of its Immutable Character and Sublime Glory. Infinite certainty reigns in all the vast designs of Grace, the glorification of God’s holy character; the ingathering of his people, and their perfection in Christ alone. What a pitiable representation of the Gospel is that which attaches anything to the creature in the reception and Salvation thereof; while the cloudless glories of the Trinity in unfrustrable acts of Grace and Salvation are concealed behind the curtain of human ability! Where is the Majesty and Divinity of the Gospel marching through the world under the Authority and Almighty Reign of God the Holy Ghost, gathering up the people under the line of election, and the special marks of Sovereign Redemption? Where are the honors of his essential Majesty and Covenant undertakings; his Almighty reign, official greatness and glorious presidency in Zion? Where are his infinite prerogatives, his eternal love, his deep interest, his fullness of anointing, his omniscient care, his all sufficiency of power to raise the dead, quicken the living, reveal the profound glories of Christ, nurture the children of God, {the children of the promise who are numbered for the seed,} bring up the people in faith, knowledge, assurance, &c.? To support them in trouble, to regulate their sorrows, to keep them in temptation, to make them conquerors, to empower them in spiritual acts of faith & love to live on Christ; and to indwell them in all the Majesty of rich Grace as the Inexhaustible Fountain of eternal life, the Earnest of eternal fruition and the pledge of their endless inheritance? Ye living witnesses in Jerusalem; is it not a solemn fact that the Majesty of the Holy Ghost is little known in Zion, and his immortal honors seldom broadcasted forth from our pulpits. O Lord the Holy Ghost arise, and shine forth those radiant beams of Christ’s essential glory, that under thy blissful rays our souls may live; be lively and go forth to meet our celestial Bridegroom. Without thy unction, teaching and reviving presence, we fade, droop and die; without thy illumination and revelation, we sink into formality; and without thy powerful soul renewing energies, we get cold and barren, and indifferent in the ways of the Kingdom. It is Zion’s infinite mercy that her Teacher is Divine, and her Salvation built in her Immortal Husband and already crowned Redeemer. All creature boasting is excluded, but boasting in the Lord is illimitable. Here the saints may glory fearless of excess, may strive with each other in extolling his name, and never end the song, while he is the comprehensive Subject thereof. There is an infinite variety in his glorious Character that will fill the thoughts of his redeemed forever. It was heaven’s grand design to glorify the Son of God; and the summit of the newborn souls desire is to aid in the uplifting of his matchless Person. In dependence on the alone spiritual Revealer of his saving Majesty, I have assumed to take up this sacred motto for our contemplation – “Christ is all.” Christ was all in Jehovah’s everlasting decree and purpose. It was his gracious determination and eternal decree to exalt Christ. He everlastingly decreed to set forth his peerless sovereignty; and all gracious design of the Everlasting God revolved on the Person of his Christ as the Brightness of his glory, the Center of all communicable fullness, the Medium of Divine communication, the Foundation of creation acts, the grand Reflector of eternal attributes, and the Developer of heavens harmonious wonder of redemption. The LORD delighted in him as the Alpha and Omega of all his proceedings; the eternally appointed Agent to effect the eternal designs of peerless Grace and reveal the glorious acts of Eternal fore-thought.

"Jehovah’s great all, in counsel Divine,

When all his Grace, acts embodied doth shine;

The mirror through which Divine Majesty’s seen,

And all Divine honors resplendently beam."

Christ was God’s decreed basis, whereon all the supreme acts of his gracious will are founded. God went forth in the infinite resolves of his purpose in Christ to bless the myriads of his delight; all the purposes of his perpetual goodness in embracing the elect was in Christ; without him was not any imminent act of the Divine mind to bless eternally. Sovereignly loved in Him, eternally elected in Him, predestinated to the adoption of children by Him, fore-known in Him, blessed in Him, accepted in Him, justified in Him and glorified in Him. Christ was God’s all, being dignified in Divine counsel, exalted in Divine thought, appointed Head and Mediator in Everlasting Settlements; in whom all the plans of eternity centered; all the everlasting councils were fixed, and all the great mysteries of Eternal Redemption were folded, and Jehovah’s apprehended channel of conveying all the blessings of his grace to the objects of his everlasting love secured. He was exalted into preeminent greatness by Jehovah in Trinity, in all imminent Acts of Grace; relation is built in Him; personal election is pitched on us in Him; we were appointed heirs in Him and with Him; and we were loved as personally considered in Him. He was the comprehending Head in whom were embraced all the members. God’s immutable thoughts settled upon us in Him, and all our bliss and blessedness was fortified in connection with Him, the all uniting Center of unity and circumference of Divine Grace & Everlasting Love. Christ was all in the Divine Decree as apprehended in his Eternal Suretyship, was all in the fore-knowledge of all Jehovah’s unfoldings of Grace, the Mirror through which the Church was beheld, the comprehending fullness of all her provision, and the glorious Husband to whom the King’s daughter was everlastingly espoused. Relation is built in Him, Redemption is accomplished in Him, Sanctification found in Him and Glorification secured in him. Christ is all in all! Not simply as possessing all Divine perfections, as being all wise, all-powerful, all just, all righteous, and all in every perfection of his Divine nature as originally inherent in himself; but in his complex character, as God the Word, the eternal Son of God. Thus my faith beholds in this glorious character an Object of Jehovah’s Infinite Delight, an Object great enough for all his Immeasurable Pleasure & Divine Purpose to revolve on, his affections to take up, and his delights to rest on forever. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ declared from heaven, “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;” “mine elect in whom my soul delighteth;” “I was daily his delight.” What mortal thoughts can enter into the Father’s complacency in his Divine Christ, his only Son, full of Grace & Truth, whom he hath appointed heir of all things; of whom it is said, “he is in the bosom of the Father.” This is the glory he had with the Father before the world was. He was the great center of Divine attraction, “for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world.” Jehovah rested in his love in the Person of Christ, through whom the vast love of the Deity ran upon the Church. Christ is the all attracting Object of the Father’s delight, for he is the Son of his love; the only begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father, the image of the invisible God, the brightness of his glory, whom the Father so loved as to make him Head of all principalities and powers, and so loved him that when his glory was concealed in our flesh, he commanded all the Angels to worship him. The infinite mind and heart of Jehovah set upon Christ. Truly it was in reference to this great anti-type of the temple that Jehovah declared mine eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually. “And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me; I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there forever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.” {I Kgs.9:3} Christ was God’s all to glorify the Godhead in the stupendous designs of Eternal Sovereignty. He was all in the great Covenant of Sovereign Grace, fitted in his matchless Person to enter into, and to undertake all the stipulations of that vast agreement. Jehovah’s honor was everlastingly secured. He could rest with infinite repose on the God-man Contractor, with holy satiety in his all sufficient Person, was eternally satisfied with his word, could trust all the myriads of his elect, all the weight of his own character, all the eternal honor that was to issue from the wisdom mystery of Zion’s Salvation, and the everlasting glorification of all the redeemed in ultimate bliss. Here was Divine dignity maintained, and Divine honors secured; one able to carry into effect all the Divine intentions of everlasting forethought, and to bring an immeasurable revenue of honor to Deity. This great theme of the Godhead lay wrapped in the infinite mind of the LORD, and Christ was the Great Daysman & Eternal Surety of all the countless host he represented. He was God’s all in the Covenant of Grace, emphatically styled, “this Covenant;” also to undertake and accomplish all in Himself. God the Father could trust no other, the honor was too great, the undertaking too vast, the deed too mighty, and the consequences too infinite to rest short of an Infinite Person. Oh the immutable and immortal honors of our Divine Christ! No angel was thus honored and exalted; it was the exclusive glory of the Son of his love to stand in this nearness to God, who in his complex Person is the Ancient of Days, Jehovah’s all in appointment, Jehovah’s all in power and greatness, and Jehovah’s all in his fullness of officiating glory! New York July 5, 1832. T.W. {Signs of the Times, Volume II}

Posted December 23, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Intercession of Christ: In which T. G. endeavoureth to maintain that the work of our Salvation is not yet effected, but Christ is a doing of it by his Intercession, &c. I thought it necessary for the clearing the truth, {namely, that we are justified by his blood} to remove these objections by giving a brief Answer to what he there saith. --- T.G. Asserts: Concerning the Intercession of Christ; he saith, intercession is an act; {pg. 204;} in his intercession he entreats the Father on our behalf. {pg. 194} It’s Christ praying for us in heaven; {pgs. 176, 179, 185 & 189;} intercession is asking; {pg. 339;} Christ by his own prayers seconds the cry of his blood. {pg. 253} Jesus shall intercede for the pardon of them. {pg. 246} The 17th chapter of John is a pattern and instance of his intercession for us in heaven. {pg. 24} --- Answer:  The 17th of John declares Christ spake words in his own Person; and then the sum of that you say, is this; that Christ in his person, now he is glorified, speaks words to God for us, &c. 1. If it be so, then there is no perfection in glory, for where perfection is, there needs no words; God is perfect, so is Christ in glory, and must Christ speak words to God, that God might know his mind, and so prevail; is this suitable to a condition of glory, in which is perfection? 2. Your words imply that God the Father loveth us less than Christ; that he needs to be prayed and entreated, &c. But Christ is so far from needing any to pray and entreat him, that he prayeth and entreateth God for us; which cannot be, because they are one; {I Jn.5:7;} therefore equal in love. God the Father is said to elect us, give us to Christ, and send Christ to die for us; God is as well pleased with us as Christ is, and he loveth us as well as he loveth Christ. Christ saith, “and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me --- for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” {Jn.16:26,27} He of himself without entreaty loveth us; God cannot love us more nor less than he doth, for his love is infinite, without beginning or end; and that which is infinite, is not capable of being greater or lesser; and its the more glorious, because it is so; his knowledge cannot be greater nor less than it is; and the same may be said of his love, he never began to know, to will, to love, they are one in God. God is love; it’s his Being. {I Jn.4:16} I can say in a holy reverence and confidence, in the Satisfaction of Christ, in admiration and thankfulness; if God can condemn me let him, he cannot deny himself; the eternity and certainty of the Saints happy estate, lessneth not his love; when we conceive of him in the highest eminency we can, still we come short, we cannot reach it; “such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.” {Psal.139:6} “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” {Rom.11:33} Christ’s blood speaketh; “and to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” {Heb.12:24} It speaketh peace to the conscience. --- T.G. Asserts: But he saith; Intercession is a praying for us in heaven. {pg. 180} --- Answer: There be many heavens, {Deut.10:14;} the kingdom of heaven is within you; {Lk.17:21;} the Church is called Heaven; {Rev.12:7; Mt.11:12;} and the air is called heaven. {I Kg.18:45} The heaven of heavens cannot contain God; “in him we live, move, and have our being.” 2. Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us, {in us;} the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us; {Rom.8:26,27;} Christ, the Father, and Spirit are ONE; the Spirit of Christ which was in them; {I Pet.1:11;} now the Lord is that Spirit; {II Cor.3:17;} the Spirit of your Father speaketh in you. {Mat.10:20} “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” {Rom.8:34} 3. Christ is our Advocate and Intercessor, in respect of that which he did for us in his own Person when he was upon the earth before he suffered; when he poured out his soul unto death, and made intercession for us. “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” {Isa.53:12} “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me.” {Jn.17:11} “I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” {vs.9} “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” {vs.20} “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” {vs.24} 4. Christ’s intercession holds forth the continuation of the efficacy of the virtue and fruit of Christ’s sacrifice; that it doth forever remain in force a full satisfaction for all the sins of the Elect. This is very sweet, and full of divine consolation, to satisfy the discouraged soul, which is the main thing intended by such expressions. It is a figurative speech, as the Scripture ascribes to God, eyes, hand, arm, &c., the Anthropomorphites conclude that God the Father hath a body, with eyes like unto us; and so the Papists picture him to be an old man, &c., as if one should say, God is capable of forgetfulness, because he saith, he will remember our sins no more. These conclusions are unreasonable, and so is your position that Christ speaks words now in his Person, &c. --- T.G. Asserts: But he saith; Christ doth as much work for us in heaven at this instant, as ever he did on the earth. {pg.214} Answer:  You confess that a Surety is more than an Intercessor; and is it not more to die for one, than to speak for him; if so, Intercession is not so much; see you not how you contradict yourself in your discourse. Christ is said to be set down at the right hand of God, to declare to us that his work is accomplished; while the Priest was executing his offices, he was to stand, {Heb.10:11,} which declared that Christ the substance of those Priests, was not to sit until he had finished in his Person his offices of Priesthood. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.” {Heb.10:12} --- T.G. Asserts: He saith; that none of his offices should lie idle, he appoints this full and perpetual work in heaven, that as a Priest by praying and interceding God would have Christ never to be out of offices, or out of work forever. Answer: If the end of Christ’s praying and interceding is that he might not be out of offices, or out of work, then it’s not because of our sins. That he doth execute any offices in his Person in glory, or that he doth any work there, is still to prove; do the Angels pray for us, &c., or are they idle and out of work. --- T.G. Asserts: He saith; Christ lives but to intercede. {pg. 208} Answer: Then it seems after this life when all the Saints are gloried, Christ must continue praying and interceding for us, or else he must cease to live. I hope you will not say, when we are in glory, that he shall need then to intercede for us; if so, then it seems he shall be out of office, or out of work; by your exposition you have run yourself upon a rock, I shall be glad to see you get off again, I have afforded you my help. --- T.G. Asserts: He saith; Christ living to intercede, is said to keep God and us friends, that we may never fall out more, though pardoned by his death. Intercession is principally intended for sins after conversion; {pg. 208;} God says to him, now do you look to them, that they and I fall out no more; not but sins after conversion are taken away by his death, and sins before it by intercession also. {pg. 209} Answer: God saith no such thing, you vent your vain conceits, and father them upon God, and say he says so; I wonder at your boldness; sure you either know not what you say, or think you may say anything that was not belched forth before. When you write again, tell us in what place we may read that God says so; it is better to say less, and prove more. 2. Can you tell that ever God fell out with his Elect, and was not their friend, or that it is possible for God not to love us, or not to be a friend to us, for you insinuate both, but are able to prove neither. 3. Tell me, what is God liable to fall out with us for? If for sin, you confess that sin is pardoned by his death, and those sins after conversion taken away by his death; to what purpose is it for Christ to pray and entreat for that which he knows is pardoned before; and what hath God granted Christ, in granting the pardon of that which was pardoned before? Suppose I pay to one all that I owe him, all that he can desire and require, need I pray and entreat him to forgive me the debt; but if I do, and he grant my desire, he forgives me nothing, because I owe him nothing; is not this the case also? How are our sins pardoned, if we be liable to suffer for them? 4. You present God to be a friend, but a very uncertain one, in that he need to have one to be continually praying and entreating him, to keep him friends with us, that we may not suffer for that which is pardoned; hath God pardoned us, and is he now ready to destroy us? He said, that he would remember our sins no more. “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” {Heb.10:17,18} And doth he now remember them? You present God to be changeable, who is immutable and changeth not. 5. You present God to be an angry God, yet God saith that anger is not in him. {Isa.27:4} How can I, or Christ say, “thy will be done,” if his will be to fall out with us; it seems he hath a great will to it, if he must be continually prayed and entreated to forbear, and to be pacified, and not to fall out with us. 6. The Father needs no more entreating than Christ doth, and that is none at all, for these Reasons: A. There is no place for Intercession; for Satisfaction is made for the sins of the Elect, for them it was that Christ suffered death; it is an act of injustice for to suffer for that which is satisfied for, or to require anything of me, for that which before full satisfaction hath been made. B. We are reconciled, therefore need none to reconcile us; also his death is that which reconciled us, therefore not his praying and entreaty. {Rom.5:10} Before Christ suffered, he made intercession; also there is no place for intercession for that which is pardoned by his death. C. If Christ’s blood cleanseth from all sin, praying and intercession cleanseth us not from any sin. D. If Christ blessing his Disciples, blessed all those that shall believe to the end of the world, as you confess, {pg. 42,} and that the offering of himself once, made so full a satisfaction, as he needed to do it but once, {pg. 242,} why may not this intercession when he was upon the earth, though if it were but once, be as effectual to serve forever, as the rest, especially when we consider that in the 17th of John, Christ prayed for all that were given him that shall believe. Christ’s prayer was granted. “Father, I know thou hearest me always.” What benefit have we to the end of the world by that prayer in John 17, if it was not sufficient and effectual for us; and if it was sufficient and granted, there is no need of his continued praying for it. If Christ had intended in his Person to pray and entreat for us now, what needed Christ to have prayed for us when he was upon the earth, so many hundred years before we were born; if he prays so for us now, would not they be sufficient for us, seeing they are continually, as you say. If all that Christ can ask, is less, yea far less than the service he hath done to God comes to; our lives, pardon, salvation, if these be not enough, but too small a requital, as you affirm, {pg. 244,} there is no ground, or reason, justice or equity, that Christ should forever ask and pray, before he or we can have it; especially if we consider God teacheth us to give to others their due without a continual asking, yea before they ask; to pay and pray comes not freely off. E. Because the Father himself loveth us, his heart is as much for our happiness as Christ’s is; therefore Christ need not pray to God to love us, the reason is rendered by Christ. {Jn.16:26,27; Jn.3:16; Eph.1:3,5,9 & 11} The Spirit of the Lord doth not, nor need not help us to make requests, to be loved, to be justified, saved from the punishment of sin; these things are already done, only to know it not, or more fully to know it; Christ’s prayer {Jn.17,} is to keep us from evil; and we are to pray for many things, though not to be loved &c. F. If Christ by his death had fully satisfied for our sins, as you confess, and that at Christ’s Resurrection, God gave Christ an acquittance for all our sins, a discharge, {pgs. 103-107,} and that Justification gives title to eternal life, {Rom.5:18,} and that by Christ’s Resurrection our Justification is made irrevocable forever, {pg. 103,} then there is no need of any intercession, for it is safe and sure, there is no danger, there needs no care or fear, because it’s done and past recalling; he died as a public person, {as a Covenant Surety,} he rose as a public person, and there is a formal, legal, irrevocable act of Justification of us passed and enrolled in the Court of Heaven between Christ and God, in his being justified, we were justified in him; so that thereby our Justification is made past recalling, {pg. 286;} and if so, there is no need of Christ’s praying and entreating in his Person in glory for us. --- T.G. Asserts: He saith that Intercession is a praying for us in heaven, otherwise the salvation by his death were not perfect, the performance of that part in heaven is the perfection of it; {pg. 189;} and that the virtue of his blood with his prayers in the heavens, makes atonement by both. {pg. 180} Blood hath the loudest cry of all things else in the ears of the Lord; {Gen.4:10;} Christ’s blood crieth louder than the blood of Abel, {pg. 218,} Christ’s blood crieth for pardon; {pg. 250;} and if his righteousness be put into the opposite balance with all our sins, will carry it by mere righteousness and equity. {pg. 246} Answer:  Then that cry is enough, and another needless; then his righteousness is enough, and there is no need of more; you answer and contradict yourself, for you deny the Sufficiency and Perfection of Christ’s Righteousness, and add something to it to make atonement, and so deny Christ’s death to be sufficient to perfect us, contrary to Heb.10:10,14; and so piece it out to make it up, but if it be by both, one is not sufficient to do it, nor is it by the offering of himself; and in another place ye extoll it beyond all bounds. --- T.G. Asserts: Moreover he saith; God hath two attributes, Justice and Free Grace; the first is satisfied by blood, the latter by entreaty; {pg. 192;} free grace must be sought too and entreated by Christ’s favor and entreaty to effect it. {pg. 175} Answer: If Justice be satisfied, there is no more required. You lessen the glory and freedom of free love. That love itself need to be satisfied, or was ever unsatisfied, that it ever needed any entreaty, I remain unconvinced; tell me in what place in the Bible may I read, that free grace, the free love of God was ever to be satisfied, or to be entreated; or that entreaty is any satisfaction at all?  --- T.G. Asserts: He saith, that the greater the Person Christ, the sooner he will prevail; {pg. 15;} all matters of intercession are carried by way of favor, if he should deny him anything, he should deny himself, which God can never do. {pg. 335} Answer: If Christ and the Elect are one, tell me which is the greatest, the Elect are a piece of himself; “flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone.” We are not only in favor, and so shall ever be, but we are in union with God, and one with him; “thy Maker is thy Husband;” {Isa.54:5;} Christ saith, “I go to my Father, and to your Father, and to my God and your God.” “Ye are of God, little children;” {I Jn.4:4;} they are one with God, and God is one with them. We have favor and interest with God, and “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” {Heb.10:19} We are well; we are healed, and delivered from the curse. Christ hath destroyed him that had the power of death; that is, the Devil, {Heb.2:14,15;} he brought “many sons unto glory,” {Heb.2:10,} and “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” {Jn.13:1} The Elect are his own, and God loves them in Christ. --- T.G. Asserts: Furthermore he saith that Salvation is as free as if Justice had not been satisfied. {pg. 193} Answer: It is so to us, but not to Christ, for he paid a great price for it. --- T.G. Asserts: Objection: Christ’s favor with the Father, and intercession alone, might have procured pardon for us, but it was God’s will to have Justice satisfied. Answer: If it had not been his will to make a Law, and to have it satisfied, we should never have needed neither favor, nor a Saviour. --- T.G. Asserts: But you say, those words of Christ, “I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you;” {Jn.16:26;} is such a speech as Christ used, “I will not accuse you to the Father;” {Jn.5:45;} he insinuates that he will; as we say, I do not love you. {pg. 279} Answer: This your exposition teacheth us not to believe what Christ saith, and that his words are not truth, and that he doth not mean as he saith, but the quite contrary; and that Christ would not have us think that he meaneth as he saith. Christ saith; “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father;” {Jn.5:45;} yet; you say, he insinuated that he will. By this rule I may say, when God saith, “thou shalt not commit adultery,” he would not have us think he meaneth so; these words insinuate that we may; for is not this the same? I wonder at your rashness, vanity, and boldness. Samuel Richardson, “An Answer to several Passages in a Treatise, entitled, the Triumph of Faith; by T.G.,” 1649.

Posted December 29, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Greek & Hebrew Knowledge as an Idolatrous Substitute for Understanding the Holy Scripture: The Priests say that we know not the original, and our Bibles are not rightly translated, nor cannot be pronounced according to the original; besides in translations there are errors, for no translation is simply authentical, and the undoubted Word of God. We demand of you, answer if you can; as to how know you that your Hebrew and Greek copies are true copies? Is it not possible for any to write contrary to their copy, if copies may be printed false, they may be written false, the art of Printing is not above 350 years old. Can you produce the first original copy, or any of those the Apostles wrote? If not, the cause is the same and you know the original no more than those that know not Greek or Hebrew? If you may depend upon the faithfulness of the Writer and Printer of your Copies, why not others upon those that did it upon oath? Doctor Fulke in his confutation of the Rheims Testament justifieth the English Translation of the Bible. {William Fulke “New Testament Confutation,” 1589} But we receive not the truth by tradition. I would know of you that are so for Hebrew and Greek, &c., if the knowledge of the tongues be sufficient to teach those that have those tongues the mind of the Spirit of God in the Scriptures or no? If yea, then all that know these tongues know the mind of God; if no, then it is but an insufficient help, and what is an insufficient help worth more than nothing. The knowledge of Greek and Hebrew is a help to read a Greek and Hebrew Bible, because else they cannot read them. So the knowledge of the English tongue is of necessity to read the English Bible. The cause is the same; but the understanding the English tongue, and reading it in the Bible cannot give them to understand, the meaning of it no more than the knowledge of the tongues Greek and Hebrew though it helps them to read the Bible in those tongues, yet is not able to give them to understand the meaning of it. That this is so, some of them, who know the tongues confess; for Apollo was a learned man, he saw the first copies of the Bible, and if that could have caused him to know the mind of God what need had he to learn of Aquila a tradesman {one of the laity as the Priests use to say} and Priscilla his wife the mind of God as he did. {Acts.18:26} Also what is the reason that those that know the tongues cannot agree among themselves? What is the mind of God in his Word, that some of you in your expositions are as contrary to each other as light is to darkness; the natural man cannot perceive the things that be of God; a natural man may be, and some are learned men it’s confessed; some of the Jesuits are good Scholars, &c., for they know the tongues, &c.; then it will follow a man may be such a learned man and yet cannot understand nor perceive the things of God. Nicodemus was a great scholar and teacher in Israel yet how simple was he concerning the meaning of Christ’s words. Tell me then what a help their human learning is to them in spiritual knowledge in the things of the Spirit. The Word saith that he reveals to us the deep things of God by his Spirit, {I Cor.2:10;} he saith not by Greek and Hebrew. If our translation be true then we can tell the meaning of it as well as you; if it be not true tell me what is that Preaching worth that is proved by a false translation, and if we must believe contrary to our translation because you say so, what is this but an implicit faith and human? And seeing you so differ among yourselves about the meaning of the word or the mind of God in it, tell me, how I may know which of you I am to believe? Also you confess that one word {in the ‘original’} could bear nine or ten divers significations; how know you which of them is the mind of God in that place, unless he reveal it to you? And if God please he can reveal it to a simple man, and God doth do so, and this is that for which Christ thanks his Father, because he hath hid these things from the wise and the learned, and revealed it unto babes, “the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed; and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I am not learned.” “For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.” {Is.29:10-12} Neither of them can read it, both put it off for they cannot understand it, the unlearned thinks as he hath been taught, that if he were learned in Greek and Hebrew he could understand it; but the former who was such a learned man could not do it, it is hid from the learned; for it’s not in being learned, nor in not being learned. What then will some say, it is because God hath not revealed it to them therefore they do not know it. The Lord saith that none can know the things of God, but he to whom the Spirit will reveal them. {I Cor.2:9-16} {See also Ps.119:99,100} The knowledge of Greek, Hebrew and English are all human learning of equal excellency, necessity, and use for the translation and reading of the Bible; and as without the knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, the Bible could not be translated into English, so he that translated the Bible into English, could not have done it without the knowledge of the English tongue; therefore there is the same use and help and necessity of the English tongue as of the Greek or Hebrew tongue; so there is the same to be said for the French and Dutch tongue, and all other tongues and therefore why the Greek and Hebrew tongues should be of any more use and excellency than other tongues, there is no reason to be given for it. As Aaron the Priest set up the golden calf it was called a god and Aaron made Proclamation, {Ex.32:4-8, &c.,} and the people idolized it and danced about it, so the Priests have set up Greek and Hebrew as a god, and the people rejoice exceedingly in it, for they Idolize it and fall down and worship it, because the Priest have made a Proclamation for it and commended it for such a rare thing to help them to the knowledge of the mind of God. A golden business by custom is turned into necessity and it is in such an esteem as they do idolize it and worship it, as they did the calf. - But, what, are there not means and helps to the understanding the Scriptures without Greek and Hebrew? Yes, only the self-evidencing light of the Spirit of God, which first inspired the Pen-men of Scriptures, who is in the hearts of the Saints, the only Interpreter of the Scriptures. Secondly; the knowledge of the body of Divinity, or the Analogy of the faith, to which the Scripture is to be referred for its right interpretation. Thirdly; the Law of God written in the hearts of the Lord’s, which favors the truth, and disrelishes errors. The fourth help to the understanding the Scriptures, is the manifold experience of varieties of temptations, and the experiences of the work of Grace in the soul. Lastly, to compare Scriptures that are dark with Scriptures of the same nature that are more plain, and so to let the Scriptures expound themselves. I conclude this, all men are pure blind, yea dead, till God gives life, and opens men’s eyes. And although human learning is necessary for translating the Scriptures, &c. yet many idolize it, as the children of Israel did their golden Calf. Samuel Richardson {An Answer to the London Ministers Letter &c., 1649}


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